Big Tech & Startups
Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
Salesforce is buying data visualization company Tableau for $15.7B in all-stock deal (3 minute read)
Salesforce will buy Tableau, a data analytics platform, for $15.7 billion in an all-stock deal. At the close of trading on Friday, Tableau was valued at $10.79 billion, according to Google Finance. Trading has stopped for the stock due to the announcement. The purchase of Tableau will allow Salesforce to extend its engagement and data intelligence for customers. Data analytics is becoming an area that all major tech companies are starting to focus on. Google has recently purchased Looker, another data analytics company. Tableau will continue to operate independently under its own brand and with the current leadership team.
Mozilla says paid subscription service is coming to Firefox (1 minute read)
Premium features, such as a VPN service and cloud storage, will soon be available in Firefox for a monthly subscription fee. The subscription service will be available in October, one year after Mozilla first started limited testing on a VPN subscription offering. Mozilla aims to diversify its income sources so that it is less dependent on income from search companies. Existing features will remain free for all users. The free, high-performing, private-by-default Firefox browser will continue to be the core service offering from Mozilla.
Science & Cutting Edge Technology
Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic
technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
AI deepfakes are now as simple as typing whatever you want your subject to say (3 minute read)
Students at Stanford University used a combination of techniques to create software that allows users to edit a text transcript of a video to generate realistic deepfake edits. The software matches the sounds made by the actor in the video with facial expressions, and this information is used to create a 3D model of the lower half of the face. The software then changes the 3D model of the face based on the edited text transcript and then pastes it into the target video. Changes in expression, emotional content, and visual interruptions, such as a hand obstructing a clear view of the face, heavily affect the believability of the deepfakes. The development of this software is an indicator that deepfake technology is becoming increasingly accessible. Deepfakes could significantly impact our ability to trust the media we see. A nine minute video is available that demonstrates and explains the software.
NASA Is Sending an Atomic Clock Into Deep Space (3 minute read)
SpaceX plans to launch its Falcon Heavy Rocket for the third time on June 22 at the Kennedy Space Center. Included in the cargo for this flight is the Deep Space Atomic Clock, a toaster-sized device designed to make future space missions easier and less expensive. Atomic clocks are used by satellites to help pinpoint exact locations, both in Earth and Space, due to their ability to accurately measure the travel time of radio signals. Using the exact times it takes for radio signals to be sent and received, calculations can be made about the location of an object or device. The DSAC’s mercury ion-based design allows it to tell time more accurately than existing atomic clocks and its location in space will allow spaceships to receive data faster.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Tools, open source libraries, and other resources
for programmers, designers, and data scientsts
about SwiftUI (GitHub Repo)
There are many docs, examples, videos, and tutorials on SwiftUI and this repository aims to gather all of the material to create a central source of information for SwiftUI. SwiftUI allows developers to easily build user interfaces across all of Apple’s devices using a simple set of tools and APIs. Developers are welcome to contribute to the list.
Stein (GitHub Repo)
Stein connects to Google Sheets to create an API service. Developers can quickly deploy projects using familiar tools, such as Google Forms and Google Sheets. Stein offers a hosted service, but developers can easily copy to code from the repository and host their own Stein API service if desired. Once the API is set up, developers can easily read, search for, and update data hosted on Google Sheets.
Random stuff techies might be interested in
CBP says traveler photos and license plate images stolen in data breach (2 minute read)
The US Customs and Border Protection agency has confirmed that photos of travelers and vehicles passing through US borders have been stolen in a data breach. A subcontractor had copied the images directly to their private network, and the data was later obtained by a third party via a malicious cyber attack. The subcontractor, who has not been identified, is now having their other CBP-related work reviewed. According to the CBP, its networks remain secure. Less than 100,000 people were affected by the data breach, and no passport or travel document information was stolen. It is unclear whether the stolen data came from the CBP’s new facial recognition initiatives or from standard data collection procedures.