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Smile Innovation’s Tech watch #25

Smile Innovation’s Tech watch #25

Reading this email, you’re probably in lockdown, mandatory, or because you care about doing your best to protect people around you. Well, to help you clear your mind or not die from boredom, here’s our selection of news, links, mostly COVID19 free!

That’s Smile’s Innovation watch.

🧼 Don’t forget to wash your hands, stay at home the most you can, and take care.

*This content was sent on Mar. 20st in our Tech Watch Newsletter*

💡 Innovation

The first HD orbital space debris radar

Ask anyone in the space business, and they’ll tell you that orbital debris is a serious problem that will only get worse, but dealing with it is as much an opportunity as it is a problem. Leo Labs is building a global network of radar arrays that can track smaller debris than we can today, and with better precision — and the first of its new installations is about to start operations in New Zealand.

Oculus is rolling out native hand tracking to the Quest

The facebook-owned company released the Quest in April 2019, and it was the first self-contained VR headset from the brand, with no wires and 100% autonomous. Now, they are upgrading it with native support of hands, which means you don’t need to use the controllers anymore to interact with VR content.

MIT’s A.I. can rewrite outdated Wikipedia Pages

Robot editing isn’t something new. It’s widespread nowadays to have a sport article or game summarized by algorithms. The MIT wanted to push a little step further by developing a model, capable of updating articles from Wikipedia. The system follows the style and grammar of the original article, and include fact-checking and neutrality component.

🗽 Privacy & Freedom

Equifax hacked by Chinese military officers

For those who are not familiar with that name, Equifax is one of the biggest credit score providers in the USA. In this country, the credit score is used not for banks, but anyone from your insurer, landlord, phone company, or employer (42% of them do) can use it. People have a free credit report (but not access their score) every year, and you don’t know how those companies calculate it. Wanting to know your credit score has an impact on your credit score too. Hackers started in May 2017, exploiting a vulnerability in the Apache Struts framework used by Equifax. The massive breach exposed names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers, with credit card numbers for more than 200,000 people and other personally identifying information for approximately 182,000 people also compromised.

Avast Antivirus tracks all your activity and sell that information to everyone

Avast antivirus program installed on a person’s computer collects data, and a subsidiary called Jumpshot repackages it into various products sold to many of the largest companies in the world. Some past, present, and potential clients include Google, Yelp, Microsoft, McKinsey, Pepsi, Home Depot, Condé Nast, Intuit, and many others. Some clients paid millions of dollars for products that include a so-called “All Clicks Feed,” which can track user behavior, clicks, and movement across websites in highly precise detail.

Google Photos bug sent private videos to the wrong people

Google has disclosed a nightmare of a security and privacy bug affecting Google Photos users: for a time, private videos could be downloaded by unrelated users. The bug happened through Google Takeout, a service that lets you download archives of your Google Data. The wrong videos were included in these user-generated archives, resulting in the users getting local copies of somebody else’s videos.

💰 Acquisition

NPM is joining Github

With the recent launch of Github Packages as a clear competitor of the pro & enterprise offer of NPM (while also supporting Docker, Maven, NuGet et RubyGems), it was something to expect to see coming. Read the PR from NPM point of view.

🔓 OpenSource

Ethical, easy to use and privacy-conscious alternatives to well-known software

Using an alternative to big names in tech isn’t easy. Use it if you feel the need to reduce your digital footprint in big players or just looking for a more fair alternative to popular services. You can check on this website alternative to popular products like dropbox, Facebook products, Microsoft Office, Gmail, Google Chrome, Doodle, …

In-browser machine learning that removes people from video feed

That’s a fun project you can try in your browser. The model will learn from the video frames where you’re not and then try to recreate a realistic feed without you when you’re entering the field of vision. Good pet project if you want to learn A.I.

Netflix open-sourced their incident management stack

Dispatch helps them effectively manage security incidents by deeply integrating with existing tools used throughout their organization (Slack, GSuite, Jira). Dispatch can leverage the existing familiarity of these tools to provide orchestration instead of introducing another tool. That means you can let Dispatch focus on creating resources, assembling participants, sending out notifications, tracking tasks, and assisting with post-incident reviews, allowing you to focus on actually fixing the issue!

🌱 Sustainability & Society

How Google Got Its Employees to Eat Their Vegetables

Google’s free food is a well-known perk, both in and beyond Silicon Valley. For some time now, Google has been quietly adding a (virtuous) new wrinkle to its food program: It’s no longer enough just to keep its employees happy; it’s trying to make them healthy, too. Over the past five years, the company has taken a typically Google-ish approach to the food it serves — methodical, iterative — to create the largest and most ambitious real-world test of how to nudge people to make healthier choices at mealtime.

Google just launched several new apps to help you spend less time on your phone

Digital detox is a thing, and nobody can tell you it’s not. But how could our smartphone be smarter to help us realize the time we spend on it and lead us to a better usage? That the question Google Wellbeing experiment is trying to answer with a bunch of different apps. Try it on your android phone.

Cost Cutting Algorithms Are Making Your Job Search a Living Hell

More companies are using automated job screening systems to vet candidates, forcing job seekers to learn new and absurd tricks to have their résumés seen by a human. It seems online seminars about how “Beating the Applicant Tracking System” are a thing now …

😁 Fun & WTF

Apple won’t allow villains to use its products on screen

Smartphones have become as ubiquitous in movies as they are in real life, but there are still limits to how closely we can mirror reality. Apple is so obsessed with how the public conceptualizes its products that the company has taken steps to ensure none of the bad guys ever use its phones in movies.

IKEA gave Dubai customers discounts based on their Google Maps travel times

The feature is called “Buy with your time”. Using Google Maps Timeline, which records routes taken every day, customers can show staff at IKEA how long it’s taken them to get there, and customers can convert that time into cash. Working on IKEA’s Dubai prices, though, this means shoppers traveling for 49 minutes could get a free Lack coffee table, while a more extended one hour and 55-minute trip would be the equivalent of a Billy bookcase. Even a five-minute trip is suitable for a veggie hotdog.

Wuhan Kids Give Bad Ratings to Homework-Assigning App to Remove It from App Store

Ah, kids! They’re wonderful and creative, especially when it comes to getting out of schoolwork. While COVID19 is at his peak in China, kids confined at home are told to use an app to check-in and attend online classes, get homework, and report for it. But they find out that if an app rating falls at 1 star, the app is removed from the App Store. Tens of thousands of reviews flooded in, and DingTalk (that the app name used in China)’s rating plummeted overnight from 4.9 to 1.4.

🛠 Tools

Run virtual machines on iOS

Without any jailbreak, run any OS, emulate any processor, for free and open-source. Except Emulating macOS and iOS because you can only do that from macOS legally.

Open Source Password Manager for Teams

Free, open-source and self-hosted, extensible, and based on OpenPGP. It uses GnuPG to authenticate users and verify secrets server-side, got a JSON API for password automation, and deployable through Docker. That sounds like an excellent alternative to 1Password for teams (which is free during the COVID outbreak ). Made in Luxembourg!

Pure SVG set of free, open-source, icons

A set of free MIT-licensed high-quality SVG icons for you to use in your web projects.140 icons per style currently, more to come in the future.

📊 Trends

For seven years, Ikea has treated the smart home as a hobby. That’s changing now that Björn Block’s Home Smart division has been promoted to the same importance as Living Room, Bedroom, and all the other Ikea businesses that have come to define the company. Ikea faces the challenge of teaming up with Google, Amazon, Apple, and other tech giants while also battling them for primacy in the home.

VISA Grants Coinbase power to issue Bitcoin Debit cards

Perhaps even more importantly, though, Coinbase is the first cryptocurrency company with the authority to issue debit cards for others, including other cryptocurrency companies.

Harvard geneticist George Church’s goal: to protect humans from viruses, genetic diseases, and aging

George Church’s lab at Harvard Medical School is working to make humans immune to all viruses, eliminate genetic diseases, and reverse the aging process. Scott Pelley reports on how close the geneticist’s team is to a breakthrough.

That’s all folks!

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