Big Tech &
Android is now the world’s largest earthquake detection network (3 minute read)
The Android Earthquake Alerts System is an earthquake detection network that uses Google Play Android phones. All smartphones contain accelerometers that are sensitive enough to detect P-waves, the less damaging initial wave that comes out of an earthquake. When an Android phone detects something that could be an earthquake, it will send a signal to Google's earthquake detection center along with a general location. The server collaborates the information to detect earthquakes as they happen. The system can notify people of earthquakes up to one minute before the damaging S-wave of an earthquake arrives. It will be distributed through Google Play Services for every Android device running version 5.0 and up. Users will be able to toggle the feature through the Google Location Services switch in settings.
Airbnb plans to confidentially file for IPO this month (1 minute read)
Airbnb is planning to submit a confidential filing with the SEC to go public this month, with shares trading by the end of the year. The company's plans to go public have been delayed due to the pandemic. It has laid off a quarter of its employees to cut costs. Airbnb's 2020 revenue will be less than half of its 2019 earnings. Its valuation has dropped to $18 billion from $31 billion in 2017. The company has raised $2 billion in funds since April to get through the crisis.
New AI Dupes Humans into Believing Synthesized Sound Effects Are Real (3 minute read)
AutoFoley is an AI that can synthesize background sound effects based on a scene. It analyzes the movement in video frames and then creates artificial sound effects to match the scene. In a study, a majority of people who viewed clips generated with AutoFoley believed that the fake sound effects were real. Three examples of sound effects generated by AutoFoley are available in the article.
Xiaomi unveils a ridiculous see-through TV (1 minute read)
Xiaomi's Mi TV Lux OLED Transparent Edition is a TV that looks like a piece of glass when it is turned off. The 55-inch TV will cost 49,999 yuan and will go on sale in China on August 16th. It is unlikely that the TV will be sold outside of Asia. Images of the device are available in the article.
Programming, Design & Data Science
EventNative (GitHub Repo)
EventNative is an event collection service. It can capture events generated by an application and stream to any Data Warehouse. EventNative can capture events stopped by AdBlock, push data to multiple destinations at once, determine location from a user's IP address, and more. A demo page is available.
100+ No Code Resources (Trello Board)
This Trello board list contains over 100 No Code resources. Categories include tools, newsletters, communities, online courses, podcasts, and more. Each card contains a link and a short description.
The last Blockbuster has been turned into an Airbnb (2 minute read)
The world's last Blockbuster can be booked on Airbnb for $4 a night. Bookings will be available from the 17th of August for either September 18, 19, or 20. The store will be transformed into a living room including a TV and pull-out couch. Guests will have access to the store's movie collection. Due to Covid-19 regulations, overnight guests must come from the same household. A link to the Airbnb listing is provided at the end of the article.
Mozilla is laying off 250 people and planning a ‘new focus’ on making money (2 minute read)
Mozilla is laying off around a quarter of its workforce and will refocus its teams on more profitable projects as its plans before the pandemic are no longer workable. The company makes money through companies paying to make their search engines default, royalties, subscriptions, and advertising. Its revenue has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. Mozilla will now focus on its VPN service, VR chat room, and security and privacy tools. It will reduce investments in some areas, such as in building out developer tools.