TLDR Daily Update 2019-03-14

Big Tech & Startups

Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are still down for some users around the world (2 minute read)
Facebook and its services today experienced widespread outages across the world. The outages affected all of its services, including Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus VR. Users could not load content, send messages, or use apps that required a Facebook sign-in. An official response by Facebook said they were aware of the outages and that it was not due to a DDoS attack.
Spotify files complaint with European Commission against Apple (7 minute read)
Spotify claims that Apple’s App Store introduced rules that purposely limited choice and stifled innovation at the expense of the user experience, and has filed a complaint with the European Commission accusing the company of anti-competitive behavior. Apple is a direct competitor to Spotify through its Apple Music service, and Spotify sees several of its rules as unfair. Spotify is required to pay a 30% tax to Apple on subscriptions to its services, which increases the subscription cost so that it is more expensive than Apple Music. If they avoid this tax by using a direct subscription model, their communication with customers is contractually restricted. Upgrades to their app are also routinely blocked, and they have been locked out of using Apple services such as Siri, HomePod, and the Apple Watch.

Science & Cutting Edge Technology

Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
Physicists reverse time using quantum computer (4 minute read)
In a four-stage experiment, scientists have successfully reversed the state of a qubit in a quantum computer, effectively reversing the effects of time by a fraction of a second within the computer. To explain the experiment, an analogy of playing billiards is used. When you begin a game, the cue ball breaks the starting pyramid, and balls go in all different directions. Continuing with the analogy, the scientists were able to reverse the effect of the cue ball and reverse the trajectory of the balls so they go back into their starting state, ie. back to the starting pyramid. While this was on a microscopic scale (and performing this on actual real-world objects would be impossible at this stage), this discovery may prove useful for making quantum computers more precise.
“They’re more attractive than real boyfriends.” Inside the weird world of Chinese romance video games (5 minute read)
While TV shows, movies, and books commonly feature romance as an integral part of their stories, romantic games are still relatively uncommon. Previous attempts have generally been unsuccessful, as the more emotional nuances to relationships are difficult to translate into game controls, usually resulting in transactional-relationship type interactions in games. A mobile game produced in China, Love and Producer, has become a hit, attracting millions of female users looking for love. Users play a TV producer with four love interests, and they can interact with these characters through phone calls and social media updates. Players can purchase special voice episodes where they can ‘talk’ to their virtual sweethearts on the phone. Producers say the success of the game is due to their focus and understanding of the emotional needs of their audience.

Programming, Design & Data Science

Tools, open source libraries, and other resources for programmers, designers, and data scientsts
Introducing Android Q Beta (10 minute read)
The Beta 1 of Android Q has been released, bringing additional privacy and security features for users, enhancements for foldables, new APIs for connectivity, new media codecs and camera capabilities, Neural Network API extensions, Vulkan 1.1 support, faster app startup, and more. An SDK has been released for developers to test their apps on the new OS so developers can start to take advantage of the new features and APIs. Pixel 1, 2, and 3 owners can download and install the beta immediately after enrolling into the beta program, and developers with other Android devices can use the new Android Emulator to test their apps.
Awesome Personal Blogs (GitHub Repo)
This repository contains links to personal blogs written by people in tech. From automation to web development, these blogs contain a ton of information to keep you up to date on the latest developments in technology. As well as providing technical information, the blogs also tell a story of the personal and professional development of the writers, with many writers posting thoughts and reflections on their careers.

Miscellaneous

Random stuff techies might be interested in
Google has quietly added DuckDuckGo as a search engine option for Chrome users in ~60 markets (3 minute read)
It appears that the Chromium 73 update released yesterday included an update to the list of default search options, which now includes the privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo. The search engine is now available as an option in around 60 markets. Another privacy search engine, French-based Qwant, has also been added, but only in its home market, France. Pro-privacy search engines have been growing steadily in popularity in the last few years, and DuckDuckGo has recently received outside investment in order to scale its efforts and increase in size. Google has also finally released the Duck.com domain-name to DuckDuckGo, where it previously had it pointing back to Google.com.
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