TLDR Daily Update 2020-06-16

TMobile's mass outage πŸ“±, Tesla MegaPack πŸ”‹, Zoom with celebrities πŸŽ₯

Big Tech & Startups

T-Mobile hit by phone calling, text message outage (2 minute read)

T-Mobile customers have been reporting that they can't make or receive phone calls and some customers are saying that text messaging is also affected. Data appears to be unaffected by the issue. The outage started around 9-10 am PT on Monday. Some users reported issues on other networks. There is no evidence that the outage was caused by a cyberattack.

Cameo now lets people pay up to $15K to have a Zoom call with a celebrity (1 minute read)

Cameo Live is a new video call option from Cameo that allows users to book a Zoom call with a celebrity. The prices can go up to as high a $15,000 for 10 minutes with Jeremy Piven, or $1,000 to spend time with Tony Hawk. Up to four additional friends or family are allowed to join the call. Users have up to 24 hours before the call to cancel, and if the celebrity doesn't show up, they'll get a refund. There are fifty stars signed up to the service on launch.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Tesla deploys new Megapacks at β€˜WindCharger’ project (3 minute read)

Tesla's new Megapacks are an energy storage product for electric utility projects. Each Megapack has up to 3MWh of storage capacity and a 1.5MW inverter. They take up almost half the space and have a faster installation time compared to competing products. Canadian electric company TransAlta will be installing Megapacks in its Summerview Wind Farm. The Windcharger project will use nine Megapacks to help TransAlta's wind farm more efficiently use its power.

SpaceX will have to demonstrate Starlink internet’s low latency within the next month to qualify for up to $16B in federal funding (2 minute read)

Companies that want to participate in the FCC's $16 billion federal funding auction for rural broadband access must demonstrate latency under 100 milliseconds within the next month. The Phase 1 auction for the funding will be on October 29. SpaceX is aiming for latency times under the 20-millisecond mark. It has 418 satellites so far in its Starlink network, which is more satellites than any other private satellite operation has currently working. SpaceX aims to begin service in the US and Canada sometime this year.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Playwright (GitHub Repo)

Playwright is a Node library that automates Chromium, Firefox, and Webkit. It enables cross-browser web automation that is ever-green, capable, reliable, and fast. Playwright is supported on all platforms.

How to detect if your visitors use Facebook, Google and MOST other websites (2 minute read)

Many popular sites allow anyone to detect if users are logged into their website. This can be exploited to understand user behavior, profile users, phishing, and de-anonymization. The redirect mechanism provided by almost all popular websites can confirm whether a user has visited a site as well as whether a user is logged into the website. Users can avoid this by using proper browser isolation, privacy badger, plugins, disabling third-party cookies, or incognito mode.

AI - The No Bullshit Approach (20 minute read)

What we currently call AI are computer programs. Deep learning is not magic and it is just another way to construct computer programs. Programs can be manually written, generated from high-level logical specifications, or generated based on data. Commercial AI looks at solving problems with the technology that is available to us. The scientific approach should ideally aim to build a system that could develop high-level symbolic representations and be able to spontaneously manipulate these symbols. Many AI researchers are not interested in solving this problem, with most of the field focused on enjoying AI's success in non-critical applications.

eBay Executives Accused of Horrifying Harassment Campaign Against Journalists (4 minute read)

Six former eBay directors and employees allegedly sent a box of cockroaches and a package of fly larvae, among other items, to intimidate a pair of journalists who they believe negatively covered the company. CEO Devin Wenig was apparently aware of the campaign and may have helped direct it. The targets were a couple in Massachusetts who ran an e-commerce review website. Threatening messages were sent to the couple using anonymous email accounts, cell phones, and internet connections. Packages containing disturbing items that were sent to the couple were paid for with prepaid debit cards. The company also engaged in other acts of harassment which are listed in the article.

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