TLDR 2024-02-07

Adam Neumann's WeWork bid 🏢,  WhatsApp cross-app messaging 💬, fastest growing dev populations 📈

Big Tech & Startups

Adam Neumann is trying to buy back WeWork (2 minute read)

WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann, who stepped down in 2019, is attempting to buy the company out of bankruptcy. WeWork was once valued at $47 billion. It filed for bankruptcy last November, listing debts of over $18.6 billion at the time of filing. Neumann's current venture, Flow, is a residential real estate outfit focused on rentals. Flow received a $350 million investment from a16z in August 2022.

WhatsApp is working on secure cross-app messaging to connect users across platforms (3 minute read)

WhatsApp has been working on an initiative for two years that will allow its users to send messages across different messaging applications using end-to-end encrypted methods. The initial phase of the interoperability rollout will enable basic functionalities such as text, image, voice message, video, and file sharing between individuals. Advanced features such as calls and group chats are expected to be introduced later. The feature will be opt-in. Third-party apps will have to encrypt their messages using Signal's encryption protocol and meet specific technical standards.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Bluesky is ready to open up (4 minute read)

Bluesky is removing its invite system and opening its doors to anyone who wants to sign up. It will start letting outside developers host their own servers on its underlying AT Protocol later this month. Bluesky users will be able to opt into experiences that aren't run by Bluesky and bring their profiles with them to rival apps on the network. The company plans to make money by charging users for additional features in its app, taking a cut of purchases for things like custom feeds (which developers will be able to charge for), and through a service that will help others manage servers on the AT Protocol.

It's Confirmed! Laser Fusion Experiment Hit a Critical Milestone in Power Generation (4 minute read)

A series of papers detailing the US National Ignition Facility's 2022 achievement of a break-even fusion reaction have passed peer review. In the breakthrough experiment of December 2022, lasers fired 2.05 megajoules of energy into a fuel source, which resulted in 3.15 MJ being released. Researchers have fired more energetic lasers and produced even more energy in several experiments since. Links to the five peer-reviewed papers are available at the end of the article.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Mojo CSS (Website)

Mojo CSS is a framework for crafting UIs without shipping any CSS. It features multiple color themes, a small package size, compatibility with a wide range of technologies, and more. Developers can use Mojo CSS to build custom design systems. A short introduction video is available.

The fastest-growing countries for software development, according to GitHub (6 minute read)

GitHub releases data on developer contributions quarterly as part of its Innovation Graph project. The most recent batch of data, released on January 18, shows a jump in the number of developers from Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Pakistan. The data only measures registered accounts rather than code commits, so it's heavily skewed to less active contributors.

The Apple Vision Pro (28 minute read)

visionOS suffers from several UI shortcomings. It is difficult to manage multiple windows on the screen and its eye tracking is not nearly as precise as it needs to be for productive window management. The Vision Pro's field of view is very narrow, making it difficult to have more than two or so apps open without encountering z-axis issues. These problems result in the device not being a great productivity tool - better hardware may not change this reality.

GFiber looking for external investment to expand to more cities (1 minute read)

GFiber (formerly Google Fiber) is planning to raise external capital to expand. The company is currently entirely funded by Alphabet and customer revenue. GFiber is aiming to be independent from Alphabet, similarly to how Waymo and Verily have done over the years. External capital will enable GFiber to scale its technical leadership, expand its reach, and provide better internet access to more communities. The internet service provider is operating or has announced availability in 18 US states.
Quick Links

Too much of a good thing: the trade-off we make with tests (6 minute read)

The cost of writing tests should be lower than the cost of bugs.

Amazon cuts hundreds of jobs in Pharmacy, One Medical units: Read the memo (5 minute read)

Amazon bought PillPack in 2018 as an entry point into the online pharmacy market and acquired One Medical in 2022 for roughly $3.9 billion.

Why We Can't Have Nice Software (13 minute read)

Software offers humans a chance to create something magical, but this opportunity is squandered in a doomed quest for endless growth.

BuildKit in depth: Docker's build engine explained (12 minute read)

BuildKit takes configuration files and converts them into built artifacts using parallelizing build steps whenever possible.

Midjourney hires ex-Apple Vision Pro engineer for hardware push (1 minute read)

Ahmad Abbas, who was previously a hardware engineer manager on Apple’s Vision Pro team, is now Midjourney's head of hardware.

On Spatial Computing, Metaverse, the Terms Left Behind and Ideas Renewed (35 minute read)

While the Metaverse is usually referred to as something we may one day reach, spatial computing has been here since Snow Crash was published.
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