Big Tech &
Uber will now let users book rides 30 days in advance and pick a favorite driver (3 minute read)
Uber riders in 20 US cities will soon be able to reserve rides up to 30 days in advance with their favorite driver. The feature will show up in the app from next week. Drivers will not be penalized for not accepting rides. The fare and driver will be shown to the user ahead of the trip. Riders are given a 15-minute grace period in case they are running late. If a driver is more than one minute late, the rider will receive $50 in Uber Cash as compensation. Drivers will receive the full fare of the trip if the Reserve ride is canceled within an hour of the trip. A list of the initial launch cities is provided at the end of the article.
The 5 biggest announcements from Apple’s ‘One More Thing’ hardware event (4 minute read)
Apple announced new versions of the MacBook Air, the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and the Mac mini at its 'One More Thing' live stream. The new hardware will use Apple's new M1 chip, which features an octa-core processor containing the fastest CPU cores of any processor ever made and the best performance per watt of any CPU in its class on the market. It also has an eight-core integrated graphics processing unit. The new MacBook Air will start at $999, the Mac mini at $699, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro at $1,299. They are available for pre-order now. macOS Big Sur will launch on November 12.
Alphabet project uses light beams to bring broadband to remote regions (2 minute read)
Alphabet X has been working on a high-speed wireless optical communications network that uses a network of light emitters and receivers. The company has partnered with the Econet Group to install its technology in Kenya. Building cables is challenging for many reasons. Using Alphabet X's technology, information can be sent between terminals at up to 20 Gbps at distances of up to 12 miles. Engineers can ensure a constant flow of data by placing the terminals high above the ground. The technology will now roll out to remote areas of Kenya that were previously beyond the reach of traditional solutions.
Computer Scientists Achieve ‘Crown Jewel’ of Cryptography (10 minute read)
Indistinguishability obfuscation is a technique of hiding data collection and also the inner workings of a computer program to create a cryptographic master tool from which nearly every other cryptographic protocol could be built. Computer scientists have tried to create versions of iO since 2013, but so far, all but one attempt has failed. A paper posted in August describes how to build iO using only standard security assumptions. The protocol is still far from ready for real-world use. However, the paper provides a way to build new cryptographic tools that were previously out of reach.
Programming, Design & Data Science
PIFuHD (GitHub Repo)
This repository contains a PyTorch implementation of "Multi-Level Pixel-Aligned Implicit Function for High-Resolution 3D Human Digitization". The code can create high-resolution 3D models of humans from a single image. A Google Collab demo is available, and user-submitted examples are available on Twitter.
Create Awesome Git readMe Profile (8 minute read)
This tutorial teaches you how to customize your git with badges, icons, a blog, site stats, social media integration, and more. A screenshot of the customizations the article covers is provided at the beginning.
On Apple's Piss-Poor Documentation (10 minute read)
Apple provides developers with tools, many of which are fairly straightforward to use. However, sometimes developers run into problems that require documentation, and that's when they find out how bad Apple's documentation is. There could be many reasons as to why Apple might have bad documentation, but it is definitely a problem that should be fixed.
'It's the screams of the damned!' The eerie AI world of deepfake music (4 minute read)
OpenAI's Jukebox project uses artificial intelligence to generate music in a variety of genres and artist styles. The project has imitated many artists, alive and dead. A sample of one of Jukebox's productions is available in the article. Deepfake music will have wide-ranging ramifications for the music industry. Companies could eventually start generating their own music rather than paying for royalties. Already, artists are suing companies for creating tracks based on their voice. The legal status of AI impersonation is still yet to be determined.