TLDR Daily Update 2020-03-19

New Macbook & iPad πŸ’», Netflix Party πŸŽ‰, Bill Gates AMA πŸ‘Ύ

Big Tech & Startups

Apple Unveils Updated MacBook Air, iPad Pro (2 minute read)

Apple has announced updates to the MacBook Air and iPad Pro product lines. The new MacBook Air has a starting price of $999, with twice the microprocessor performance and 80% faster graphics performance than the previous edition. It will have the new Magic Keyboard, a 13-inch Retina display, and at least 256 gigabytes of storage. The new iPad Pro will start at $799 for the Wi-Fi-only model of the 11-inch version. It will have an ultrawide camera, studio-quality microphones, and a LiDar scanner. The new iPad OS will add trackpad support.

Netflix Party Lets You Watch Movies Online With Friends, Mixing AOL Chatroom With Streaming Services (2 minute read)

Netflix Party is a Chrome extension that allows people to watch shows together with a chatbox. The host just needs to select a show and then share a link. Anyone with the link can join the chatroom and watch the show together in real-time. The extension uses the host to stream video to those watching, so there is a slight delay in the video.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Police Are Using Drones to Yell at People for Being Outside (2 minute read)

Many people are still not following social distancing policies. Spanish authorities are dealing with non-compliant citizens by using speaker-mounted drones to find and yell at people congregating on the streets. A video was released earlier this year showing a Chinese drone telling citizens to remain indoors and wear masks, but it is unknown whether the video is real or not. US authorities are unlikely to employ these tactics on home soil.

Japanese flu drug 'clearly effective' in treating coronavirus, says China (2 minute read)

A Japanese drug used to treat new strains of influenza has been shown to be effective in coronavirus patients. Favipiravir has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment, with those who were treated with the drug turning negative for the virus after a median of four days of becoming positive. X-rays showed a 91% improvement in lung condition after treatment. The drug appeared to be less effective in those with more severe symptoms. Favipiravir was used in 2016 as an emergency aid to counter the Ebola virus outbreak in Guinea. Governmental approval is still needed for full-scale use on COVID-19 patients, but health officials say that the drug could be approved as early as May.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Backstage (GitHub Repo)

Backstage is an open platform for building developer portals. It allows engineers to ship code without having to think about their toolset. Tools, services, and features can be added via plugins. This allows the engineering team to add value without other teams having to learn how to use and support new tools.

Google launches Android 11 Developer Preview 2 with foldable, call screening, and Neural Networks API improvements (5 minute read)

Google has released the second Android 11 developer preview. It features hinge angle detection, call screening improvements, and new ops in the Neural Networks API. DP2 is only available on eight Pixel phones, and it can only be installed via a manual flash. Android 11 is still not ready for early adopters to try. Google will likely release Android 11 to more phones in DP3 or by the first beta.

I’m Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. AMA about COVID-19 (Reddit Thread)

Over the years, Bill Gates has had the chance to study diseases such as influenza, Ebola, and now, COVID-19, including how epidemics start, how to prevent them, and how to respond to them. Over the next few months, many things will need to change in order to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Schools will have to change how they operate and use online resources. A vaccine is unlikely to be widely available anytime soon but hopefully will come within 18 months. Therapeutic treatments are likely to be available much earlier. Testing needs to be more organized and efficient. The only effective known model of containing the outbreak is social distancing. This strategy will lower the load on hospitals and raise everyone's chances of survival significantly.

Steam’s new indie festival lets you try 40 upcoming games for free (1 minute read)

The Games Developer Conference will be canceled this year, so Steam has launched a spring edition of its Steam Game Festival starting today to spotlight small creators. The festival now features 40 indie games that can be previewed with free-to-play demos via Steam. It will run from March 18 to March 23.

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