Big Tech &
Microsoft has turned the Surface Duo into a handheld Xbox (2 minute read)
Microsoft has updated its Xbox Cloud Gaming app for Android, adding support for the dual-screen Surface Duo. Surface Duo users will see a virtual gamepad on one screen and the game on the other. Microsoft has added Xbox Touch Controls to more than 50 titles. Regular Bluetooth or Xbox controllers can be used with the Surface Duo.
Google now lets you password-protect the page that shows all your searches (2 minute read)
Google users now have the option to add a password to their Web and Activity page. Turning on the option will prevent anyone who picks up a logged-in device from seeing the device owner's search history, YouTube watch history, and Google assistant queries without first entering a password. Instructions on how to turn the feature on are available in the article. Google focused a lot on privacy at its I/O keynote last week, announcing a new Private Compute Core for Android, a locked photos folder, and a feature that deletes the last 15 minutes of browsing in Chrome.
Scientists Added a Sense of Touch to a Mind-Controlled Robotic Arm (3 minute read)
A new type of robotic arm prosthesis uses a direct connection to the brain to provide a sense of touch without connecting to nerves and muscles. Patients using the device were able to complete tasks in half the time compared to using an arm without feedback. The sensory information received from the arm is still rudimentary, but it was enough to improve performance in a pretty significant way. Adding a sense of touch may give patients a greater sense of ownership over their replacement limbs.
How futuristic floating wind turbines might ride the waves (4 minute read)
Floating wind farms hold a lot of potential, but they have so far been too costly to deploy at a commercial scale. GE has received a $3 million award from the US Department of Energy to support a two-year project to solve some of the technical challenges of deploying floating wind farms. It has partnered with Glosten to develop advanced turbine controls that can automatically adjust to catch strong gales without tipping over. The turbines will allow the wind farms to maximize their power output, making them more profitable.
Programming, Design & Data Science
YOLO: Uber's Rider App Rewrite, From the Front Seat (16 minute read)
In 2016, Uber decided to rewrite its entire rider app. The team had less than 3 months to rewrite over 1 million lines of code per platform. This article follows an engineer’s experience during the process, from when the project was first proposed, to the launch of the rewritten app and what happened afterwards. It discusses how the experience impacted those that worked at Uber during that period and how the project changed the way the company developed future apps.
CandyGraph (GitHub Repo)
CandyGraph is a 2D plotting library for rendering datasets on the GPU at interactive speeds. It can handle huge datasets, performing all rendering on the GPU, including axes and text. Tutorials and examples are available in the repository.
How Blockchains Work (4 minute read)
Blockchains are a type of ledger. Miners make calculations and add messages to the blockchain over time. The messages are hashed to protect the ordering and contents of messages. These hash ledgers are tamper-resistant as the contents of later entries depend on the contents of earlier entries. Bitcoin uses a distributed system with no owner. Instead of a central authority, many miners compete to write a new message to the blockchain, each with their own copy of the ledger.
IBM’s Project CodeNet will test how far you can push AI to write software (5 minute read)
Project CodeNet is a multi-purpose dataset that can be used to train machine learning models for various tasks. It contains 14 million code samples with 500 million lines of code written in 55 different programming languages. A large amount of annotation has been added to the samples. CodeNet could be used to develop machine learning models for programming tasks like language translation or code recommendation. A link to the Project CodeNet repository is available in the article.