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TLDR Daily Update 2020-04-02
Building scalable web scrapers has never been easier. Scraper API handles proxies, browsers, and CAPTCHAs for you, so you can get the HTML from any web page with an API call. Instantly turn any website into an API!
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Big Tech & Startups
Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
TikTok has changed the video entertainment scene and now YouTube is looking to compete directly with it by launching its own version called 'Shorts'. Users will be able to upload brief videos into a feed inside the Shorts app and take advantage of the licensed music that YouTube Music has in its catalog. It is clear from TikTok's growth why YouTube now wants a piece of the action. YouTube has previously taken features from other social media platforms and integrated it into its own, for example, Instagram Stories. Facebook is currently testing its own version of TikTok in Brazil.
Zoom's popularity has recently rocketed and this has led to an increased focus on the company's security and privacy practices. Three bugs have been discovered, one that can be abused to steal Windows passwords, and another two that can be abused to take over a Zoom user's Mac, including tapping into the webcam and microphone. One of the Mac bugs allows a user with low-level privileges to inject the Zoom installer with malicious code to obtain root access. The other bug tricks Zoom into giving an attacker the same access to the webcam and microphone that Zoom already has without notifying the user. Zoom has not yet fixed the Mac vulnerabilities.
Science & Cutting Edge Technology
Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
The first version of SpaceX's Starship spacecraft user manual has been released. It is not as detailed as SpaceX's manuals for other spacecraft but it provides insight into how the Starship will be used. Starship will be able to transport plenty of cargo into space and can be configured to support as many as 100 people. SpaceX will be launching Starships from both the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Boca Chica in Texas.
COVID-Net is a convolutional neural network that is trained to identify signs of COVID-19 in chest x-rays. It is being released as an incomplete solution and the firm that created the system is encouraging others to help make it complete. Other research teams have announced AI tools that can diagnose COVID-19 from x-rays, but none of these tools have been made fully available to the public. While COVID-Net as yet to prove itself, public releases have historically proven to be effective methods of improving software.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Tools, open source, and other resources for programmers, designers, and data scientists
tsParticles is a lightweight TypeScript library for creating particles. It is almost completely dependency-free (it requires pathseg for the Polygon Mask feature and Icon Fonts must be included in the page). It is fully compatible with the particles.js configuration - you only need to change the script source to convert it to tsParticles. tsParticles supports custom shapes and presets.
Theia is an extensible platform for developing full-fledged multi-language Cloud & Desktop IDE-like products with state-of-the-art web technologies. It provides a highly flexible architecture and supports VS Code Extension protocol. Guide and examples of common scenarios are provided.
Random stuff techies might be interested in
45 people in Seattle will soon get an experimental COVID-19 vaccine. Several vaccines are in development, but the first to be tested is a novel type of shot developed by Moderna Therapeutics. Study participants signed a 20-page consent form which acknowledges that the vaccine might not be effective and that they agree to the experimental conditions. There are risks such as anaphylactic shock and antibody-dependent enhancement. The vaccine delivers the genetic material required for the immune system to produce coronavirus antibodies. This type of vaccine has been in development for some time, and one in three patients in the past who have received it experienced severe pain that interfered with normal activity for the rest of the day. Volunteers are paid, and the study lasts for 14 months.
University of Pennsylvania students recreated their campus in Minecraft after being told that their college commencement would be held online. Students report it being a rewarding experience to be able to recreate the campus they are graduating from, allowing them a chance to properly finish out their experience. Minecraft servers and creations are now being shared on Discord, Facebook, and Reddit. Minecraft has become a place where students can log in and process the sudden loss of an on-campus community. In May, there will be in-game graduations on a server specifically created to host Class of 2020 graduations for students from hundreds of different universities. At least 278 institutions have signed up so far.
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