Big Tech &
Google unveils Stadia cloud gaming service, launches in 2019 (3 minute read)
Google announced its new cloud gaming service, Stadia, at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The service will launch in the UK, US, Canada, and Europe in 2019, and will be able to stream games to the Chrome browser, Chromecast, and Pixel devices. Stadia will be closely integrated with YouTube, with features such as a ‘play now’ button on game videos, the ability to share gameplay clips, and also by letting viewers play games alongside content creators. Along with Stadia, Google will also be releasing a new game controller and launch their own game studio, Stadia Games and Entertainment.
Instagram tests in-app shopping with Kylie Cosmetics, Nike and Huda Beauty (2 minute read)
A new feature is being tested on Instagram that will allow users to shop directly inside the app. Since September, users have been able to view products that feature inside posts and videos, and more than 130 million users used this feature to explore products in the month of February. In the beta, when users tap the ‘View the Product’ button, they will also see a ‘Checkout on Instagram’ option which will allow them to purchase items directly from the app. The feature will roll out over the next few weeks to users in the US, with items from only a few of the most popular brands available for purchase.
Nvidia’s latest AI software turns rough doodles into realistic landscapes (2 minute read)
Using a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) AI model, Nvidia has developed prototype software that gives users a ‘smart paintbrush’ that can turn sketches into realistic landscapes. While it is not the first of its kind, it is the most polished demonstration of the concept. A GIF and a two minute video showing the software in action is available in the article. The software demonstration is impressive, but it skips over the limitations of these AI systems, as it is geared towards painting only certain types of simple textures that the GAN has trained well on. Other, more complex textures are much tricker and the results would look a lot less impressive.
Programming, Design & Data Science
swift-log (GitHub Repo)
swift-log is an API package that aims to establish a common logging system for server-side or cross-platform Swift applications. It implements a simplistic and non-configurable logging backend that writes all log messages to stdout. swift-log is designed to be adopted by anybody so that all libraries can log to a shared destination, as not all logging packages support the specific style and requirements needed for every project. Developers are encouraged to configure additional logging backend implementations that log in their preferred style for real-world applications.
postgresqltuner (GitHub Repo)
postgresqltuner is a simple script that analyzes your PostgreSQL database and outputs with tuning advice. Installation instructions are available for Debian, Fedora, and MacOS systems. There is an example of the output included in the repository.
Kickstarter’s staff is unionizing (3 minute read)
The staff at Kickstarter announced their intention to unionize today, and if recognized, Kickstarter will be the first major tech company in the US with union representation. Staff are working with the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), an organization that has experience in unionizing companies both domestically and internationally. Union leaders claim the aim of forming the union is to uphold Kickstarter’s values of inclusion, solidarity, transparency, and accountability, which they feel have failed to manifest. A spokesperson for Kickstarter has said that Kickstarter is open to listening to the concerns of its employees.