Issue 873

Friday, 10th May 2019

In This Issue


Jeff Bezos shows off plans for a lunar landing craft that'll launch in 2024

Mr. Amazon, aka Jeff Bezos, has unveiled the plans for a lunar lander called "Blue Moon". The aim is to get this thing ready by 2024 so that Blue Origin (Blue Origin is to Bezos as SpaceX is to Elon Musk) can participate in NASA's goal to land humans on the moon again in 2024. Jeff reckons that the moon will play a big role in further human space exploration as it's way easier/cheaper to launch rockets from the moon due to lower gravity and lack of atmosphere than it is from Earth.

One of Facebook's co-founders reckons his creation has gone rogue and needs regulation

One of Facebook's co-founders, Chris Hughes, has an op-ed in the NYT and said what we all know - Mark Zuckerberg has too much power at Facebook and as a result of Facebook's dominance in social media, has too much control over society at large. His solution is to split Whatsapp and Instagram from Facebook and create a US Federal agency to regulate social media and "create guidelines for acceptable speech on social media". Good idea, but fuck all chance of that ever happening in the USA.

Instagram to block more anti-vax hashtags & launches ability to appeal deletions

Instagram has said they "will block hashtags that surface "verifiably false" information regarding vaccinations" as part of their wider policy to ban hashtags spreading harmful bullshit on their platform. Blocking hashtags seems to work really well for preventing this kinda content spreading. Instagram is also rolling out the ability to appeal post takedowns. So if someone deletes your beautiful photo of (insert disgusting content here), you can ask Instagram to review it and maybe they'll change their mind.

New Chromebooks will be able to run Linux apps alongside Chrome & Android apps

Google I/O is over for another year, but on their way out Google announced that you'll be able to run Linux apps on all upcoming Chromebooks - making the Chromebook potentially way more useful, particularly when combined with the existing ability to run Android apps. You can already run Linux apps on some Chromebooks with a bit of fucking around, but now it'll be a thing on all new ones going forward, out of the box. Neato.

Sydney and Melbourne slide in latest Startup Genome rankings

Sydney and Melbourne have dropped rankings the "highly regarded Startup Genome report". Sydney is now the 23rd "best startup ecosystem in the world" and Melbourne isn't even in the top 30. Back in 2015, Sydney was 15th, so what's happened to make Sydney a worse place for startups in 2019 than in 2015? According to StartupAUS, it's because the government's innovation boom (remember that?) fizzled out and they're not keen to get involved again. The report's author reckons it's just the fact other cities give more of a damn, not that Sydney or Melbourne have fucked up.

Not News, But Still Cool

Nike uses augmented reality to measure your feet

Nike's got a new app coming for the iPhone that uses ARKit to measure your feet and tell you what size shoes to wear. "You open up the Nike app, go to a product page and, next to where there's usually a menu that lets you pick the size of your shoes, you'll see a new option to measure your feet. From there, the camera will pop up and you'll be asked to stand next to a wall and point your smartphone at your feet, which will prompt a view that uses two AR circles to level your phone". ARKit never took off with practical uses like I thought it would - nice to see something happening now.

Moore's Law is cooked

Another article that's been sitting in my bookmarks for years is this one from Nature, about how Moore's Law has shit the bed. If you're unfamiliar, Moore's Law is the "observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years" and with that increase in transistors comes an increase in performance. The computer industry has been built on that premise for decades and now that it's coming to and end, what does it mean for computing in the future if we can't rely on raw power to achieve new innovations?

Cheap Samsung smartwatch, Onkyo stereo, DAB+ radio, Google Home and Sandisk USB-C flash drives

That's it, see ya Monday!

 Pedestrian at Best - Courtney Barnett