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Big Tech & Startups
Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
Bloomberg: New low-cost iPhone entering production next month, could be released in March (2 minute read)
Apple's upcoming low-cost iPhone will begin mass production next month and will be officially unveiled as early as March. Production of the phone is split between Foxconn, Pegatron, and Winstron. The name of the device has not been revealed but it has been commonly referred to as the iPhone SE 2 and iPhone 9. It is said to feature Touch ID, an A13 processor, and a design similar to the iPhone 8. Reports predict that the phone will have a starting price as low as $399. The phone is mainly targeted at iPhone 6 users, who will need to upgrade their phones if they want to run iOS 13.
Uber tests letting California drivers set their own prices (2 minute read)
A new feature for Uber drivers in California will let them set their own prices for some circumstances instead of accepting Uber's set price. Drivers will be able to increase fares up to five times more than Uber's original price. The test is currently limited to drivers going to airports from Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, or Sacramento. California has recently implemented a new gig work law that changes how independent contractors are classified. The new fare-setting system is part of Uber's plan to continue classifying drivers as independent contractors. Other new changes include drivers receiving more trip information before accepting rides, drivers being able to reject customers without penalties, customers being given estimated prices rather than exact prices upfront, and the ability for customers to select favorite drivers to request them again.
Science & Cutting Edge Technology
Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic
technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
The US has its first case of the new Wuhan coronavirus (2 minute read)
A case of the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, has been reported in a patient in Seattle, Washington. The patient is clinically healthy but under observation. Despite the report, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention believes that the threat to the US remains low. The virus is currently known as 2019-nCoV, and it has killed around six people. Experts are concerned about the virus’s similarities to SARS. Enhanced health screenings have been put in place at some airports for passengers who flew from or through Wuhan. Coronaviruses are common in animals and can evolve into forms that can be passed to and infect humans. The World Health Organization identified a wholesale food market in Wuhan as the possible source of the virus. China has admitted that there has been at least one confirmed case where the virus passed directly from one person to another.
Walking sharks discovered in the tropics (2 minute read)
Researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia have discovered four new species of tropical sharks that use their fins to walk. The walking sharks were the top predator on reefs during low tides due to their ability to walk in very shallow water. At less than a meter long on average, the sharks are more of a threat to small crustaceans and mollusks than they are to humans. The walking sharks live in the coastal waters around northern Australia and the island of New Guinea. There are now a total of nine known types of walking shark.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Tools, open source libraries, and other resources
for programmers, designers, and data scientsts
Natural Language Processing for Web Developers (5 minute read)
OpenAI, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and Salesforce all released natural language processing models in 2019. Some examples of applications of this technology include a service that can recommend films, text autocomplete programs, customer support chat, content summarizers, and more. This article discusses examples of different applications of natural language processing and makes recommendations on the architecture and models that should be used for each application.
What is Rust and why is it so popular? (8 minute read)
Rust has been StackOverflow's most loved language for four years, but many people still don't know what it is. While Rust has its downsides, it solves pain points present in many other languages, providing a solid step forward. Rust's static typing attempts to stay out of a programmer's way while encouraging long-term maintainability. It gives developers control over memory management, resulting in more efficiency for optimized applications. Rust can be used to write extremely low-level code, such as operating system kernels or microcontroller applications. Developers don't need to focus on tiny details, as Rust tries to have as many zero-cost abstractions as possible. Rust gives developers the option to write unsafe code in order to have more control over the application. It also comes with a complete ecosystem that has plenty of libraries, complete with documentation, and a community that has created many extra development tools.
Random stuff techies might be interested in
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos's phone 'hacked by Saudi crown prince' (5 minute read)
Jeff Bezos’s phone was hacked in 2018 after receiving an infected video file sent from the personal WhatsApp account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Bezos and the prince were reportedly having a friendly chat on the app when the video file was sent, resulting in large amounts of data being exfiltrated from Bezos' phone within hours. The move indicates that the prince may have had personal involvement in targeting the world's richest man, raising concerns for westerners looking to invest in Saudi Arabia. A Washington Post journalist was killed five months after the hack, and some of Bezos' intimate details and text messages were published nine months after the hack. Saudi Arabia denies all involvement with the hack or the killing.
Exclusive: Apple dropped plan for encrypting backups after FBI complained - sources (5 minute read)
Two years ago, Apple dropped plans to let iPhone users fully encrypt iCloud backups after the FBI complained the move would harm investigations. The company did not want to be attacked by public officials for protecting criminals, sued for moving data out of reach of government agencies, or used as an excuse for new legislation against encryption. Last week, US Attorney General William Barr called Apple to unlock two iPhones used by a Saudi Air Force officer who had shot and killed three Americans at a Florida naval base last month. President Donald Trump added pressure, accusing Apple of refusing to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers, and other violent criminal elements. Apple provided the shooter's iCloud backups to law enforcement and rejected accusations that it had not provided substantive assistance. In the first half of last year, Apple provided full device backups or other iCloud content to US authorities for over 6,000 accounts for 1,568 cases. If Apple had continued plans to encrypt iCloud backups, it would not have been able to provide any data.