Big Tech &
The Apple Card starts rolling out today (4 minute read)
Apple's new credit card will begin a preview roll out today and will become available to all iPhone owners in the US later this month. A random selection of people will be allowed to go through the application process, which involves entering personal details which are sent to Goldman Sachs and TransUnion. Applications are approved or declined in less than a minute. The Apple Card is meant to be broadly accessible to every iPhone user, so the approval requirements will not be as strict as other credit cards. Once the application has been approved, users will be able to use the card immediately from the Apple Wallet app. The physical titanium card can be requested during setup for free, and it can be activated with NFC once it arrives.
Disney announces $12.99 bundle for Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ (2 minute read)
A bundle package from Disney including Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ will be available from the 12th of November for $12.99 a month. The pricing is cheaper than or on par with competitor streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. While Disney plans to launch Disney+ internationally, details have yet to be released. The bundle may not be available for an international audience due to licensing issues. Disney is still in talks with distributors for where Disney+ will be available, but it is likely to be at least available through Apple and Amazon.
Japan successfully tests flying car which hovers steadily for a minute (2 minute read)
A flying car unveiled by NEC at a facility in the city of Abiko was able to hover steadily for about a minute using its four propellors during two brief demonstrations. Japan aims to be using flying cars by 2030 to connect islands in the Mie resort area. Dubai is also aggressively pursuing the technology. Flying cars are defined as aircraft which are electric, or hybrid electric, with driverless capabilities and the ability to take off and land vertically. They are also known as EVtol, electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft. Compared to helicopters, they are less expensive to maintain, produce less noise, and don't require trained pilots. Uber is also launching a similar technology called Uber Air, starting demonstrator flights in 2020 and commercial operations in 2023.
NASA worked out how to make food out of thin air - and it could feed billions (2 minute read)
A company from Finland, Solar Foods, is planning to sell a protein powder that is made out of CO2, water, and electricity. The idea for Solein originally began at NASA, and it is made by capturing CO2 from the air then combining it with solar energy, water, nutrients, and vitamins to promote a natural fermentation process similar to the one that produces yeast and lactic acid bacteria. Solein contains 50 percent protein, up to 10 percent fat, and 20 to 25 percent carbs. It can be produced indoors, so production is not dependent on the outside environment. The impact of meat production is one of the main drivers behind many of the planet's problems, so creating food from two of the most renewable things on the planet, CO2 and sunlight, will help provide food for our growing population without increasing our impact on the planet. Solein is expected to be available in 2021.
Programming, Design & Data Science
PyTorch Lightning (GitHub Repo)
PyTorch Lightning is a lightweight wrapper for Pytorch which allows researchers to focus on the data and training/validation loop logic without having to worry about building and debugging the rest of the machine learning code. You only need to define the Lightning Model and fit with a trainer, and PyTorch Lightning will handle everything else.
Using TensorFlow.js to Train a “Rock-Paper-Scissors” Model (6 minute read)
It is possible to create a machine-learning algorithm to detect whether a hand is making the symbol for rock, paper, or scissors within 10 minutes in a browser. This tutorial uses a website that implements TensorFlow.js so that all the processing happens within the browser. Picture data from a pre-made dataset is used to train the model, and then the model is tested using a webcam. The full source code for the website is available.
Yelp is Screwing Over Restaurants By Quietly Replacing Their Phone Numbers (9 minute read)
Yelp has been redirecting customer calls through Grubhub owned numbers before connecting with the restaurant in order to enforce a referral fee of between 15 and 20 percent of the order total. Restaurants may not be aware of the routing until they try to call themselves through the app. Grubhub offers marketing and delivery services to restaurants, and it claims that restaurants would not have received orders if the restaurant was not listed in its directory. It has also created thousands of websites in restaurants' names in order to drive more online orders and commissions for itself. Restaurants have complained that Grubhub's tracking systems were inaccurate as sometimes customers called without placing orders. Employees are also unaware that they are being recorded. In response to the backlash from restaurants, Grubhub has extended the window in which restaurants can dispute charges from 60 days to 120 days.