Big Tech &
Google Pay team reportedly in major upheaval after botched app revamp (4 minute read)
Google Pay's recent revamp was a disaster, with a difficult transition period for customers to a service with less features. The app transition was also frustrating for employees, with dozens of employees and executives leaving the Google Payments team in recent months. Google had wanted to update Google Pay to be more in line with the version the company had built for India. The service only had a 3 percent market share for NFC mobile payments. Google plans to open a full banking service in partnership with Citibank.
TikTok is building its own AR development platform, TikTok Effect Studio (3 minute read)
TikTok is building tools to allow developers to build augmented reality experiences and features on its platform. Effect Studio is currently in private beta testing. Developers can sign up for early access on TikTok's new Effect House website. Effect Studio is still an early experiment and might not make it to launch. TikTok has been increasing its investment in developer tools over the last few years, with a focus on toolkits aimed at third-party developers for better app integration.
Contemporary Installations Where Art Meets Engineering (8 minute read)
Art installations are a genre of contemporary art that lets users interact with art in a way that would not be possible with classic paintings and sculptures. When combined with engineering, these artworks evolve into both a visual and physical experience. This article contains nine examples, with photos and videos, of art installations that masterfully combine art and engineering.
Farmers Are Creating Circular Gardens in the Sahara Desert. Here’s Why (2 minute read)
The Great Green Wall project was launched in 2007 to help prevent desertification in Africa. Overall, the program has only managed to plant four percent of the pledged 100 million hectares due to issues with planting trees in the desert and a lack of funding. Senegalese farmers have started to build circular gardens with plants and trees that produce fruits and medicines as part of the project. The circular pattern allows roots to grow inwards, trapping liquids and bacteria and enhancing water retention and composting. The gardens were a response to the pandemic, as Senegal had to close its borders and many villages were dependent on foreign food and medicines.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Getting Started with React Cosmos (10 minute read)
React Cosmos reduces component complexity by providing a testing sandbox for developing and testing React components in isolation. The library allows developers to isolate components, see what they look like, make changes, and iterate quickly. Changes reflect in the sandbox instantly. This article shows how React Cosmos works by testing the components of a food ordering app in isolation.
Kubescape (GitHub Repo)
Kubescape is a tool for testing if Kubernetes is deployed securely. The tests are configured with YAML files, making Kubescape easy to update as test specifications evolve. A GIF demo is available.
Old iPhones become faster if you change the region to France (2 minute read)
Recent benchmark tests found that old iPhones, for example, the iPhone 7, run slightly faster after switching regions to France. A few years ago, Apple was found to intentionally reduce the performance output of old iPhones. Apple had to pay a fine in France, but it avoided paying fines in most other regions by adding battery health options in iOS and introducing a policy to reduce the price of replacement batteries. The reduction of iPhone performance doesn't affect new iPhones. Performance test results are available in the article.
Scientist Captures First-Ever Footage of a Tortoise Committing Grisly Murder (3 minute read)
Scientists have captured footage of a giant tortoise killing and eating a baby bird. It is the first documented observation of a tortoise deliberately attacking and consuming another animal. There are reports of giant tortoises killing other animals, but none have been deliberate acts of hunting. Giant tortoises are almost entirely herbivorous, but a boom in bird populations in the area may have resulted in tortoises adopting bird chicks into their diets. The video is available in the article.