Big Tech &
Airbnb will start designing houses in 2019 (4 minute read)
Airbnb has launched an initiative called Backyard, that will "design and prototype new ways of building and sharing homes". The project will concentrate on using sophisticated manufacturing techniques, smart-home technologies, and insight from the Airbnb community to design the homes of the future. Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia says "Backyard isn't a house, it's an initiative to rethink the home".
Microsoft Surface roadmap revealed in new book — including mysterious ‘Andromeda’ device (2 minute read)
Tech journalist Brad Sams' new book "Beneath a Surface" talks about Microsoft's hardware roadmap. Next spring Microsoft may unveil an "ambient computing" device, a device that can sense and respond to a user's presence. 2020's Surface will include a "modular design" to make the device super easy to upgrade in piecemeal fashion instead of having to buy a completely new one every couple of years. Finally, there's "Andromeda", a foldable, dual-screen device that could mark the company's re-entrance into the smartphone market, due later next year.
NES.css (Open Source)
This is a new open source CSS framework that makes your whole site look like an old school Nintendo game. If anybody decides to use this in a real project please let me know because it looks really cool!
CSS Animation 101 (Open Source)
This is a 95 page open source guide to web animation, covering topics like transitions, animations, keyframes, etc. The thing I really like about this is that it's extremely practical, for example there are sections like "Things transitions don't work on" and "Keyframes: Things to watch out for".
Pwning Ebay - How I Dumped Ebay Japan's Website Source Code (2 minute read)
So this guy was basically scanning for vulnerabilities in Alexa's Top 1 Million websites. He found that Ebay Japan ran a version control system that wasn't properly secured, so he just went to www.ebay.co.jp/.git/HEAD and used GitTools to dump their entire codebase including production database passwords. He informed them of the bug, and Ebay didn't have a bug bounty program, but one employee was nice enough to donate $500 to Doctors Without Borders in his name. Happy ending all around, yay!
NASA is offering private companies up to $2.6 billion to get the US back to the moon's surface (5 minute read)
NASA is offering $2.6 billion in contracts to nine American companies to get back to the moon's surface by 2022. The idea is to use these contracts as an incentive to drive private sector competition and get the cost of space travel down for everyone. Jim Bridenstine, NASA's administrator, says "When we go to the moon, we want to be one customer of many customers in a robust marketplace between the Earth and the moon." NASA has bigger goals, they want to figure out how to get useful resources on the Moon back to Earth and build a permanent lunar space station to launch further deep space exploration.
Elowan: A Plant-Robot Hybrid (2 minute video)
Plants are naturally occurring circuits that can respond to environmental factors. MIT scientists have used this fact to design Elowan, a plant-robot hybrid that uses the plant's natural reaction to stimuli to drive the decision making for a plant-robot hybrid. In this video, scientists have used the plant's natural tendency to move towards light stimuli to navigate a plant-on-wheels towards a light that they turn on.