TLDR Daily Update 2022-11-21

Amazon guts Alexa ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ, Twitter's 1:30am meeting ๐Ÿฆ, layoffs reset Silicon Valley culture ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ’ป

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Big Tech & Startups

Amazon is gutting its voice-assistant Alexa (10 minute read)

Mounting losses and massive job cuts are leading to the downfall of Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. Amazon's Worldwide Digital unit, which includes Echo smart speakers and Alexa voice technology, had an operating loss of over $3 billion during the first quarter of this year. A vast majority of the losses were tied to Alexa and other devices. The Alexa division is now the prime target for layoffs at the company. Amazon's Senior Vice President for Devices and Services claimed in a statement that the company remains committed to Alexa and will continue to invest in the technology.

Elon Musk posts pictures with engineers as they leave a Twitter 'code review' at 1:30 a.m. (3 minute read)

Elon Musk posted pictures of himself with engineers at Twitter's San Francisco offices. The photo was posted at 1:30 am on Saturday with the caption, 'Just leaving the Twitter HQ code review'. Musk had asked the engineers to help with a code review on Friday afternoon. The employees were asked to send Musk a bullet point summary of their code along with screenshots of their most salient lines of code before the meeting.
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Science & Futuristic Technology

Are You Ready for Workplace Brain Scanning? (11 minute read)

Neural sensors are now reliable and affordable enough to support commercial pilot projects. There are many projects currently underway that aim to extract productivity-enhancing data from workers' brains. The companies behind the technology claim that it will improve workers' lives. This article looks at two current brain-tracking projects and how their technologies work.

Is Hacking Photosynthesis the Key to Increasing Crop Yields? (12 minute read)

Widespread droughts across the US this past summer have lowered crop yields by as much as one-third. The scenario is likely to become more common in the coming decades. Some plants have hacked photosynthesis in ways that allow them to thrive in hot and dry environments. Scientists are working to figure out how these plants achieve this feat so they can engineer crops to be grown in lands that can't currently be farmed.
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Programming, Design & Data Science

cheat.sh (GitHub Repo)

cheat.sh gives users access to the best community-driven cheat sheet repositories in the world. It features a simple curl/browser/editor interface and support for 56 languages and more than 1,000 of the most important Unix/Linux commands. cheat.sh can be used directly from code editors and there is a special stealth mode where it can be used fully invisibly by just highlighting text.

FlagAI (GitHub Repo)

FlagAI is a fast and extensible toolkit for large-scale general AI models. It supports trains, fine-tuning, and deployment of large-scale models on various downstream tasks with multi-modality. A collection of pre-trained models, examples, and tutorials are available.

The Invisible Thief: How Freemium Apps are Reverse-Engineered by Cyber Attackers (Sponsor)

If your app isnโ€™t secure, it can be reverse engineered. Modded apps can bypass monetization or be used for more nefarious purposes - acting as a launchpad for cyber attacks. In this webinar, Guardsquare will discuss the problem pathology and share practical suggestions for mitigation - including code hardening, runtime analysis self-protection (RASP), security testing, and threat monitoring.

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Miscellaneous

Elizabeth Holmes Is Sentenced to More Than 11 Years for Fraud (7 minute read)

Elizabeth Holmes, convicted on four charges of fraud in January for deceiving investors with claims about her startup Theranos, has been sentenced to 135 months in prison. Holmes raised $945 million for the startup, which promised to revolutionize health care with tests that required just a few drops of blood. Holmes has no plans to appeal. She must surrender to custody on April 27, 2023.

Silicon Valley layoffs arenโ€™t just a cost-cutting measure. Theyโ€™re a culture reset (9 minute read)

Not only are many tech companies slashing jobs, they are also doing away with some of the perks that have become synonymous with working in tech. One of the reasons tech companies are cost-cutting is that they are now mature and can no longer provide investors with the same kind of massive growth that they have over the last two decades. This will have all kinds of ramifications in the industry. This article contains excerpts from an interview with Peter Kafka where he discusses how tech culture is changing and the slowing of growth in the industry.

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Transcribe and Understand Complex Audio with only speech-to-text API trusted by NASA (Sponsor)

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Kangas (GitHub Repo)

Kangas is a tool for exploring, analyzing, and visualizing large-scale multimedia data.

quickjs-emscripten (GitHub Repo)

quickjs-emscripten is a collection of JavaScript/TypeScript bindings for QuickJS compiled to WebAssembly.

mojo.js (GitHub Repo)

mojo.js is a real-time web framework for Node.js designed for hypermedia-driven backend web services.

Ask HN: What is the most impactful thing you've built? (Hacker News Thread)

This thread discusses the most impactful projects that Hacker News readers have built.

I've seen a lot of people asking "why does everyone think Twitter is doomed?" (4 minute read)

This Twitter thread contains a list of hypothetical scenarios that threaten the integrity of Twitter over the coming weeks.

The leap secondโ€™s time is up: world votes to stop pausing clocks (4 minute read)

Representatives at the General Conference on Weightings and Measures have voted to allow astronomical time to diverge by more than one second from coordinated universal time.

Byte sized news for busy techies

Byte sized news for busy techies

TLDR is a daily newsletter with links and TLDRs of the most interesting stories in tech ๐Ÿ“ฑ, science ๐Ÿš€, and coding ๐Ÿ’ป!

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