Big Tech &
Amazon launches Amazon Care, a virtual medical clinic for employees (4 minute read)
Amazon has launched a virtual health clinic with in-home follow-ups for Amazon employees and their families in Seattle. The Amazon Care clinic will offer a combination of telemedicine and in-person services. Employees and their families will be able to talk to a doctor or nurse using an app, and a nurse will be dispatched to their home if a follow-up is required. Prescriptions will be available via the app. Amazon will not have knowledge of employees' health conditions.
WeWork CEO Adam Neumann to step down and retain chairman role (3 minute read)
WeWork CEO Adam Neumann has announced that he will step down after issues with governance and valuation prevented the company from going public. Neumann will remain a non-executive chairman and the CEO role will be split between Sebastian Gunningham and Artie Minson. WeWork still plans to go public this year. Neumann will no longer have majority voting control. SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son led the charge to remove Neumann due to long term disagreements. WeWork executives have been considering cost reduction measures which may include laying off a third of WeWork's employees as well as closing ancillary businesses.
Facebook acquires neural interface startup CTRL-Labs for its mind-reading wristband (3 minute read)
Facebook has acquired CTRL-Labs, a neural interface startup that makes a wristband capable of translating electrical signals from the brain into computer input. The deal is the most substantial acquisition Facebook has made since acquiring Oculus VR. CTRL-Labs' wristband will allow for the development of new ways of interacting with machines. The acquisition of CTRL-Labs represents Facebook's commitment to futuristic tech. It has recently been revealed that Facebook is designing two different models of AR glasses which are prime candidates for CTRL-Labs' interface technology.
Boston Dynamics’ Spot is leaving the laboratory (4 minute read)
Boston Dynamics will be releasing its Spot robot to companies who have good uses for it. Spot is able to go where you tell it, avoid obstacles, and keep its balance under extreme circumstances. It can carry up to four hardware modules on its back, so companies can swap in whatever skills the robot needs for its jobs. Boston Dynamics is focusing on uses in closed and controlled spaces. The company has stated that they are not interested in Spot being used as a weapon. Spot's model of the world is pretty shallow, consisting mostly of obstacles, footholds, and preprogrammed routes. It is not designed to interact with humans. Academic roboticists usually develop human-robot interaction skills early in development as it is harder to retrofit human interaction into existing systems, so Spot's inability to interact with human beings remains a major question mark for the project's future.
Programming, Design & Data Science
navi (GitHub Repo)
navi is an interactive cheatsheet tool for the command line. Users can browse through cheatsheets and execute commands, with prompts for argument values. The project aims to improve terminal usage as a whole by making commands easier to find, run, and share. Users can create custom cheatsheets.
Cascadia Code (GitHub Repo)
This repository contains the source code for Cascadia Code. There are instructions for modifying the font. Glyphs is required for modifying the font on Mac and Microsoft VTT and FontTools is required for modifying the font on Windows.
Google Contractors Officially Vote to Unionize (6 minute read)
Google contract workers employed by HCL America voted to unionize with the United Steel Workers, organizing under the name Pittsburg Association of Tech Professionals. HCL has been active in discouraging contractors from unionizing. Google has stated that it will continue to partner with HCL. Many HCL employees are concerned that they are paid less than Google staffers and receive fewer benefits, with almost no job security, despite completing similar work. Contracted workers are usually unable to discuss their work or pay. There have been more instances of tech workers supporting unionization within the last year.