Big Tech &
First Apple TV+ AR app launches with 'For All Mankind' backstory through mixed reality (3 minute read)
'For All Mankind: Time Capsule' is now out on the iOS App Store. The augmented reality experience was built using Apple's ARKit framework. It includes exclusive experiences for the latest iPad Pro, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. The app lets users interact with virtual objects through the lens of their devices. It adds on to the story in-between seasons of For All Mankind, but knowledge of the series isn't required to enjoy the app. A short ad for Time Capsule is available in the article.
Google's Fi VPN is coming to iPhones soon (2 minute read)
Google's Fi VPN is a service available to subscribers of its Fi network. VPNs are services that give users a private connection while using the open internet, ensuring that traffic is encrypted. A decent VPN usually costs money, but Google is offering Fi VPN to its customers for free as a shield against attackers and tracking software. The service is moving out of beta for Android users, and it will be coming to iPhone in Spring. Google is also taking steps to protect Fi users from various mobile scams.
New wearable device turns the body into a battery (3 minute read)
Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have created a wearable device that transforms the human body into a battery. It can be worn like a ring, bracelet, or any other accessory that touches the skin. The device converts body heat into electricity using thermoelectric generators. It generates about 1 volt of energy per square centimeter of skin space, enough to power devices like watches or fitness trackers. The device can heal itself when damaged and it is fully recyclable.
Elon Musk tells Joe Rogan he wants the new Tesla Roadster to hover (2 minute read)
Elon Musk has been working on adding rocket thrusters to the second-generation Tesla Roadster for speed. He told Joe Rogan in a recent interview that he has been considering using the thrusters to make the Roadster hover as well. Making a car hover is dangerous, but Musk thinks it will be ok if the car doesn't hover too high. It is sure to create a headache for safety regulators if he is able to pull it off when the new Roadster comes out in 2022.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Remotion (GitHub Repo)
Remotion is a suite of libraries for creating videos programmatically using React. With Remotion, you can render whatever you want with your favorite web technologies, using programming to create new effects. Three example videos are available. The source code for the example videos is provided.
WTF Python (GitHub Repo)
This repository contains Python code snippets that have surprising behaviors. It aims to explain what is happening under the hood for some of the lesser-known features of Python. A Google Colab interactive version is available where you can run the code examples in-browser.
How Cubans make island Internet work for them (20 minute read)
Internet development in Cuba has been slow, with it becoming available on mobile phones only beginning in 2018. Many citizens aren't able to afford private internet connections. Public Wi-Fi hotspots and government-run cybercafes are how many citizens communicate with the rest of the world. USBs, portable hard drives, and DVDs are popular for those who need to transfer large amounts of data. The situation is changing, with more and more citizens gaining more access every year. It is uncertain what the impact of increasing Internet access will have on Cuba's population in the long-term, but most residents are thrilled with the progress so far.
The cinemas now hiring out their screens to gamers (4 minute read)
South Korea's largest cinema chain, CGV, has begun hiring out its screens to gamers. CGV came up with the idea as a way to bring in new revenue as it deals with the effects of the pandemic. It costs $90 to hire the screen for two hours before 6 pm and $135 after. Up to four people can join a session, but they have to bring their own consoles, games, and controllers with them. CGV has booked more than 130 sessions since the start of the year, with the majority of customers being men in their 30s or 40s. Customers can order cinema food to be delivered.