Big Tech &
Snapchat Cameo edits your face into videos (2 minute read)
Snapchat will launch a new feature that will allow people to replace faces in videos with their own. Cameos will be an alternative to Bitmoji for conveying emotions, reactions, or silly situations in Snapchat messages. Some French users were recently able to access a test version of the feature. Users will be able to access Cameo through the Bitmoji button. Several short looping videos are available, and users will be able to choose from a few generated videos that will show different facial reactions. Cameos might keep Snapchat messaging interesting, which is critical since other apps have started to gain success by copying Snapchat's other core features. Snapchat has only started monetizing its messaging service by placing ads inside social games.
Tesla boss Elon Musk wins defamation trial over his 'pedo guy' tweet (4 minute read)
A federal court jury has dismissed the $190 million claim brought against Elon Musk by a British cave explorer, Vernon Unsworth. Musk had called Unsworth a 'pedo guy' during a disagreement on Twitter. Unsworth, 64, claimed that Musk's statement would overshadow his relationships and job prospects for years to come. Musk's lawyers argued that the comments were off-hand insults in the middle of an argument that no one would take seriously. Unsworth failed to demonstrate that any harm came from the Twitter comments. In 2018, Musk's erratic Twitter behavior ended up with him paying a $20 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. For most of 2019, his public statements have largely focused on Tesla's new Models and improved profitability, as well as SpaceX's technical progress.
SpaceX working on fix for Starlink satellites so they don’t disrupt astronomy (2 minute read)
The next batch of Starlink satellites will include one satellite that has been treated with a special coating designed to make the spacecraft less reflective and less likely to interfere with space observations. 120 high-speed internet satellites have already been deployed. Astronomers noted that the satellites were extremely bright soon after the first launch in May. Starlink will experiment with different methods of dealing with the issue. The experimental coating may affect the satellite's performance. A new batch of 60 satellites will be launched every two to three weeks in the next year. Starlink aims to provide global coverage by mid-2020.
Nine More EU States Commit To Building A Quantum Communication Infrastructure (3 minute read)
A quantum communication infrastructure system in Europe will link sensitive public and private communications systems together using emerging quantum technologies. Its aim is to provide the highest levels of security against eavesdropping and wire-tapping. The system will integrate quantum technologies with current communication infrastructures. Quantum computing takes advantage of a phenomenon called quantum entanglement, which allows the computers to process multiple values simultaneously. This makes them infinitely more powerful than current supercomputers. Whoever masters quantum communications technology will be able to communicate in a controlled, concealed way from any other actor. Quantum cryptography secures communication against any eavesdropping. It is better than current methods and is future-proof. Nine more countries have recently joined the effort to establish the quantum communication network across Europe.
Programming, Design & Data Science
AIDungeon2 (GitHub Repo)
AIDungeon2 is a text-based adventure game that is generated using a deep learning model. Users can enter any action they want and the model will continue generating a story based on the action. Players can choose from several possible settings and characters. The game is available to play online. Code for the game is available but the model for AIDungeon2 is temporarily unavailable to download due to cost.
What interesting bugs have you fixed recently? (Lobste.rs Thread)
Some bugs can be hard to figure out, especially because the problem might not be where you think it should be. Many things can go wrong during testing, for example, developers might forget to swap out testing and production data sets. Small bugs in the early stages of processing may cause bigger problems down the line. Users might also provide inputs that developers never expected. Software engineering and other kinds of engineering follow similar troubleshooting processes. One needs to reproduce the problem, isolate every possible thing that can go wrong, check each issue one by one, and sometimes, get a little lucky.
‘I lost my £193,000 inheritance – with one wrong digit on my sort code’ (4 minute read)
Peter Teich gave his solicitor the wrong sort code, and as a result, his £193,000 inheritance from his father was transferred to another Barclays customer. In the UK, banks are not required to check names along with account numbers for transfers. The banking industry had promised that it would start checking names from mid-2019, but this has been delayed and will not come into force until the end of March next year. Barclays refused to reverse the transfer as the bank had done nothing wrong with the processing on its end. Teich pursued the case through the court system, paying £46,000 upfront in legal costs. He was able to recover the money. Eventually, after contacting the media, Barclays agreed to refund the legal costs, including interest, with some compensation.