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TLDR Daily Update 2020-03-25
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Big Tech & Startups
Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
Snapchat-owned location app Zenly is gamifying social distancing with a leaderboard for people who have spent the most time at home. Zenly usually encourages people to share locations to meet up with friends, but it has switched up its incentives and is now encouraging people to stay at home. The app also shows an overlay that shows the number of coronavirus cases in a state or country.
Chinese tech companies have started developing their own software since the US has blocked China from using its software and hardware. Unified Operating System is a Linux-based system that can boot in 30 seconds on China-made chips. There are a variety of other Chinese operating systems. Screenshots and descriptions of these systems are available in the article. China missed an opportunity to switch operating systems when Windows XP reached the end of its lifecycle, but now the country is ready.
Science & Cutting Edge Technology
Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
UPS has partnered with German startup Wingcopter to develop a new type of delivery drone. Wingcopter will be working closely with UPS’s Flight Forward delivery drone unit. The startup has successfully demonstrated its electric vertical takeoff and landing drones in several projects already. Its drones have a low-noise forward flight mode that makes it better suited to use in populated areas. The collaboration with UPS will help Wingcopter's eVTOLs get certified for commercial delivery in the US, as well as pave the way for the development of additional types of aircraft for a variety of needs.
Scientists have found a way to control bacteria to transport microscopic cargo. The method involved using a liquid crystal to control bacterial movement. It essentially creates a track for the bacteria to follow. The bacteria can move through the track without any external force, essentially creating a self-pumping fluid.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Tools, open source, and other resources for programmers, designers, and data scientists
Spotify has released a new podcast API for developers. It will allow developers to explore all of the public data on Spotify, for example, show and episode titles, description, and art. Developers will be able to search through Spotify's catalog of over 700,000 podcasts. The API will allow apps to perform actions on behalf of users.
pgsync is a command-line tool for syncing Postgres data between databases. It is 4x faster than traditional tools on a 4-core machine, has built-in methods to prevent data from leaving the server, and can sync partial tables, groups of tables, and related records.
Random stuff techies might be interested in
Facebook's employees were sent to work from home due to the pandemic. This resulted in Doordash blocking Facebook's VPN IP from making orders as too many of its employees were ordering from the IP at the same time. Many tech workers haven't needed to cook in a long time and this is causing a large spike in the use of delivery services. Workers are also sharing memes on social media about their lack of cooking skills. Some tech workers who do have cooking skills have started sharing the meals that they have made online. Overall, it is a strange time to be watching how the tech community continues to be social during this time of social distancing.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that the country will go into lockdown for 21 days. All citizens will be banned from venturing outside their homes. India currently has 482 confirmed cases for COVID-19 and nine deaths.
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