Big Tech &
Nightmare Google Photos bug sent private videos to the wrong people (1 minute read)
Between November 21 and November 25, 2019, a bug in Google Takeout resulted in users getting other users' videos when downloading archives of their Google data. Google has sent emails to affected Takeout users alerting them of the issue. The emails were only sent to Google Takeout users who attempted to archive their data, and the unrelated users whose videos were sent to others have yet to receive notifications. Google says that the issue has now been resolved and only affected less than 0.01% of users who were using the Takeouts service.
Samsung leaks images of its new Galaxy S20 (1 minute read)
Samsung accidentally revealed the Galaxy S20 through a set of marketing images posted on one of Samsung's online stores in a European country. The posts were quickly removed but they confirmed a few details about the new phone, including its Galaxy S20 name, a hole-punch selfie camera, and a tall camera bump. A new gray case with LEDs similar to the LED case for the Galaxy S10 was also included in the leak. Samsung's Unpacked event is on February 11 and it is expected that Samsung will be revealing three variants of the S20 and a new vertically folding phone.
Handheld Bioprinter Treats Severe Burns by ‘Printing’ New Skins Cells Directly Onto Wound (2 minute read)
Canadian researchers have successfully trialed a handheld 3D skin printer that treats severe burns by printing new skin cells directly onto a wound. The printer provides a method of treatment for patients whose injuries are too extensive for skin grafts. It uses a bioink based on the protein involved with clotting and cells that support the growth of other cells and assist in the body's immune response. The device is able to deploy skin sheets onto wounds uniformly, safely, and reliably all over the body. Patients who were treated with the device healed extremely well, with a reduction in inflammation, scarring, and contraction compared to other treatments.
Bosch Gets Smartglasses Right With Tiny Eyeball Lasers (7 minute read)
A few weeks before CES, Bosch released a concept video of its new Smartglasses prototype. The three-minute video is linked in the article. In the video, people are shown wearing glasses with a completely transparent display. It shows people viewing notifications and messages and also interacting with the display by tapping on the arms of the glasses. The Smartglasses require custom fitting as they work by firing colored lasers directly on the retina to create images. It only takes a few minutes to fit the glasses, and they can be repositioned slightly without the image disappearing. As the image is projected directly onto the retina, it is always in focus, although it will disappear if the user looks to the side. This can feel weird to the user as there is no depth to the image. Observers will not be able to tell when the display is active as only the user can see the projected display.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Basque (GitHub Repo)
Basque is a game engine for top-down 2D games. It features map editing, sprite sheet animations, the ability to add background music, collision detection, and some frame-rate limiting. There are two GIFs that show quick snippets of Basque in action.
Ask HN: What Skills to Acquire in 2020? (Hacker News Thread)
The most recommended skill to learn is cooking. It is a versatile skill that can help enrich many other parts of a person's life. Knowing how to cook can help you save money, increase overall health, and help with socializing and dating. It is also an enjoyable pastime for many. Building something that you need can be a practical way to learn a new set of skills. Other hobbies, such as photography, have well-documented guides on sites like Reddit and communities that can help you learn skills.
Iowa caucus debacle is one of the most stunning tech failures ever (4 minute read)
Iowa Democratic Party officials found irregularities in the data collected by its caucusing app during the recent elections, causing them to switch from the app to counting votes manually. The Iowa Democrats were using an app made by a startup named Shadow Inc, which is managed by a nonprofit investment company called Acronym. According to the party, the issue only affected reporting and did not affect how accurate the data was. The Iowa Democratic Party used an application made by Microsoft in 2016 and the reason they chose to switch to using the untested startup's app is unclear. In August, the Democratic National Committee had recommended Iowa stop using an app altogether. The fact that it has taken so much time for the party to recover from the coding issue shows how unprepared they would have been in the event of an actual cyberattack.
Doing Western students' homework is big business in Kenya (6 minute read)
In Kenya, academic writing can earn workers as much as $1,000 a month, as long as the work gets clients good grades. Contract cheating has become a lucrative business in Kenya in recent years. Kenya is where most academic writers are based, according to researchers. People in Kenya are incredibly qualified with very high levels of English and they are able to write high quality essays quickly. Students can bypass anti-plagiarism software by contracting off their assignment work. The global contract cheating industry is worth more than $1 billion, with writers in Kenya only seeing a small share of it as businesses take most of the money. Some countries, such as Australia, and many states in the US, have implemented legislation against contract cheating, and governments have urged PayPal and Google to lock payments and advertisements for contract cheating websites. This hasn't done much to slow down the industry. It will exist as long as writers need money and students need to pass assignments to earn degrees.