TLDR Daily Update 2019-12-11

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Big Tech & Startups

Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
Apple Card’s interest-free iPhone installment plan goes live, now with 6% back on Apple holiday purchases (2 minute read)
Apple will launch a new program that will allow Apple Card users to purchase an iPhone over 24 months with no interest. Previously, customers could pay for iPhone purchases interest-free through a loan from Citizens One, but this involved some other fees. Customers can also bundle in AppleCare over the 24-month period. The payment plan may lay the groundwork for larger subscription offerings in the future. Apple is already experimenting with small subscription bundles that offer both Apple Music and Apple TV+ at a lower price for students. Customers who use their Apple Card to buy Apple products will receive a 6 percent cashback between December 10 and December 31. The cashback offer is available for purchases made at Apple Stores, on Apple.com, or through the Apple Store app.
The Other Shoe Drops: Away Fires CEO Steph Korey After Months-Long Search for Her Replacement (4 minute read)
Steph Korey, the CEO of online luggage retailer Away, will step down as CEO and be replaced by Stuart Haselden, the former COO of Lululemon Athletica Inc. Korey will remain as executive chairman of the company. Away has been searching for a CEO since spring after Korey's management style was criticized as being harsh. The story around Korey's dismissal has been building for several months. It was reported that Korey had created a toxic culture within the startup. However, many of the sources were probably disgruntled ex-employees. Some of the circumstances around the story suggest that the company had been trying to remove Korey for some time.

Science & Cutting Edge Technology

Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
Architects Are Playing With the Future of Design in Video Games (5 minute read)
Games are built on code. Code is written to define the physics and possibilities of a game, and it is used to create a visual world that players can exist in. In the real world, objects and materials have set physical properties, but in games, these can be altered to whatever the programmers want it to be. Games could be a good place to train architects. Architects can be free to build whatever they want to while also testing out concepts in controlled environments. Building in games requires understanding, and sometimes writing, the rules which certain materials have to follow, and this could result in more creative uses of materials in the real world.
Self-driving semi makes first cross-country trip, thanks to Plus.ai tech (1 minute read)
Residents in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, will soon have their food delivered to grocery stores via a self-driving semi-truck. Plus.ai recently announced that it completed a cross-country trip from Tulare, California, to Pennsylvania. The trip took less than three days and was the first time a Level 4 self-driving system handled a commercial freight trip. Plus.ai's self-driving system was able to handle the 2,800 mile trip primarily in autonomous mode. A human driver had to take over for federally mandated breaks and refueling. The trucked operated throughout the day and night, was unfazed by elevation changes and road construction, and was able to handle rain and snow.

Programming, Design & Data Science

Tools, open source libraries, and other resources for programmers, designers, and data scientsts
MicroPython: An Intro to Programming Hardware in Python (17 minute read)
Hardware programming is now an easy area to get into, with robots, microcontrollers, electronics, and other hardware easily accessible by anyone. Traditionally, developers had to learn low-level languages like assembler or C++ to effectively program these devices. With the introduction of languages like MicroPython, developers no longer need to sacrifice functionality to program devices. This tutorial is an introduction to MicroPython and the world of electronics hardware.
Openstacks (Website)
Openstacks helps developers discover tech stacks from companies that are leading the way in transparency and openness. Each listing has a link to the company website, as well as a list of the technologies that they use. Users can easily contribute to the list, as well as receive updates when new tech stacks are added.

Miscellaneous

Random stuff techies might be interested in
Exclusive: Facebook Fired A Contractor Who Was Paid Thousands In Bribes To Reactivate Banned Ad Accounts (4 minute read)
A Facebook contractor was fired after it was discovered that they took thousands of dollars in bribes to reactivate banned ad accounts. Ads Inc. ran a sophisticated scam through Facebook Ads that tricked users into signing up for expensive monthly subscriptions. Under current laws, neither the victims of the scam nor the state may hold Facebook accountable for their continued facilitation of fraud. Ads Inc. may have hired more than one Facebook insider to reactivate ad accounts. The contractor was paid an initial $5,000 to reactivate the accounts and a $3,000 per month retainer as long as the accounts remained active for a few weeks.
Disney Crushes Own Global Box Office Record With Historic $10 Billion (1 minute read)
Disney has become the first studio to surpass $10 billion at the worldwide box office. It crossed $3.28 billion in North America and $6.7 billion overseas over the weekend. These numbers don't include Fox titles, which if included, would push the record up to $11.9 billion. Disney established a new record in August for having five movies cross $1 billion in a single year. Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker could potentially put that number to seven movies for the year. Disney currently holds six of the 10 biggest movies of the year globally, including Avengers: Endgame, the highest-grossing film of all time.
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