Big Tech &
Gmail’s big merger with Google Chat, Meet, and Docs launches for everyone (6 minute read)
Google is bringing Google Chat and Gmail's merger with Google Chat, Google Docs, and Google Meet to consumer accounts. The features were rolled out to paid Google Workspace accounts last August. The new Gmail UI has a segmented sidebar with Google apps on it. Users can open Google Docs files inside Gmail through links in Google Chat. Google Hangouts users will be upgraded to Google Chat at some point, after which Hangouts will finally shut down.
Apple Watch model for extreme sports reportedly in development (1 minute read)
This year's Apple Watch, likely called the Apple Watch Series 7, will have a faster processor, an updated screen, and ultra-wideband functionality. It likely won't have blood glucose monitoring. Apple is working on an extreme sports model of the Apple Watch which will be launched in 2022. The watchOS 8 beta has a new Portrait watch face, enhanced messaging, AssistiveTouch for single-arm and hand gestures, a locator app for AirTags, and more. A stable version will be released later this year.
MIT Researchers Make New Chips That Work On Light (3 minute read)
Lightelligence is a startup from MIT that makes high-speed optical chips with low power consumption and low latency. Its processors have orders of magnitude better performance than standard architectures. The chips generate very little heat due to their low power consumption. Servers for computationally intensive AI processing take up a huge chunk of data center capacity, so there is a lucrative market for chips that reduce running costs while increasing computational capability.
This self-healing concrete automatically fills in cracks (2 minute read)
A new type of concrete uses an enzyme found in red blood cells to heal itself. Making concrete more durable could help lower carbon emissions due to concrete production, repair, and transport. Earlier attempts at making self-healing concrete used bacteria, but the process was slow and expensive. Carbonic anhydrase is the enzyme that transfers CO2 from cells into the bloodstream. When added to concrete powder, it helps the concrete turn CO2 from the atmosphere into calcium carbonate crystals, filling in cracks. It can be put into a spray and used to fix cracks in traditional concrete.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Gooey (GitHub Repo)
Gooey converts console applications into GUI applications, allowing developers to build programs without having to worry about how users will see and interact with them. It is attached to code via a simple decorator. Examples are available in the repository.
System Design Interview Tutorial – The Beginner's Guide to System Design (12 minute read)
System Design is an important topic for software engineers, so it is a good idea to get a head start on learning about it. System design interviews are open-ended and the lack of structure can be intimidating. This article aims to provide a roadmap for navigating system design interviews. It covers what system design interviews are and why they are used, the main stages of a system design interview, and an example interview problem. An 18-minute video version of the article is available.
A Self-Driving Bicycle Is Something To Marvel At (2 minute read)
A YouTuber recently unveiled a self-driving bicycle that can hold itself perfectly upright even while balanced on a fence rail. It can drive itself without a rider using an onboard camera and LIDAR system. The 11-minute video showing off the bike is in the article. It is in Mandarin with no subtitles or translation.
This Weirdly Smart, Creeping Slime Is Redefining Our Understanding of Intelligence (7 minute read)
Physarum polycephalum is a yellow slime mold that can learn, solve complex puzzles, and remember novel substances. It doesn't have a central nervous system or any specialized tissues. Scientists have always assumed that thought required a brain or some type of higher information processing system, but the mold proves otherwise. While the mold is acellular, it still has parts that operate independently, sharing information with its neighboring sections. The article contains pictures and videos of the mold.