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Smile Innovation’s Watch #21

Smile Innovation’s Watch #21

🥶 Winter is definitely here for most of us and it’s Friday afternoon. Just a few hours before leaving work and don’t want to start an entirely new project? Why not taking a moment to check out this edition of our tech watch, XXL format with more article than ever.

#dronedelivery & #EV are a thing for big corpo like Walgreen & Amazon, which just released nearly 10 new Alexa product including … #smartframes & smart rings. Facebook continues to work on its “portal” offer with PortalTV, India wants to be the next China regarding #masssurveillance without any safeguard for citizen privacy and we are glad to see a new stronger partnership between NXP and our friends at Snips. We’ll see also Twitter dealing with fake accounts controlled by China mainland trying to discredit HK protesters, Microsoft publishing a new #opensource font and Google working with Chateau de Versailles to release a 4TB #VR experience. Last but not least, our selection of fun projects and cool tool for your day to day life, this time with more tech tools at the end of the newsletter for all the developers who read us.

This is Smile’s Innovation Watch.

*This content was sent on Oct. 11th via our Tech Watch Newsletter*

Innovation •/ˌɪnəˈveɪʃən/

Amazon will order 100 000 ⚡️ electric vans by 2024

The company behind the competitors of Tesla’s first car, the Lotus-based Roadster, called Rivian, went stealth for a few years and is coming back with major investments. This announcement came when Bezos unveiled Amazon’s effort to tackle climate change.

Walgreens and FedEx will test drone delivery with Wing

Started as a Google X lab experience, the company called Wing announced the test program in the state of Virginia with Walgreens and FedEx, along with other smaller local brands. While drones are not allowed to take off and land anywhere, the company got around this small legal issue and used a tethered pickup to deliver the package, up to ±1,4Kg. The drone is also able to detect any tension in the cable and can release the tether in case getting stuck on something.

Amazon released Alexa smart Glasses & Smart Ring

Talking to your voice assistant on your phone, headphones or on your pixel buds / AirPod while having social interaction with other people is weird and rude. But Amazon levels it up to a point where it’s completely surreal and they are o with it as you can see in this ad.

Privacy •/ˈpɹaɪ. və. si/

Facebook introduces PortalTV, a video chat accessory for your TV

For $149, you’ll have a wide-angle camera which let you sign-in with your Facebook account and make video-calls over Messenger and WhatsApp. WhatApps calls are still end-to-end encrypted. It looks like a small Kinect and it’s able to follow people’s faces and zoom or pan if needed. You can disable the camera and microphone with a sliding switch but Facebook said upfront they’ll use a small part of your voice and video-recording to enhance the product skills. As a Facebook’s product, it will obviously be flagged as something bad for our privacy but, at this point, it’s just as bad as all the other competitors (Amazon and Google). As Facebook is seamlessly integrated into your network of friends and family and brings you yet a new way to communicate with them. This is a domain Facebook has been trying to master for a few months with their Portal devices.

India is going for China-style facial recognition without even the hint of a start of a privacy law

India will open bids this month to build a facial recognition system, in an attempt to assist its understaffed police force. Obviously, the project is raising concerns in a nation with no data privacy laws and which just shut down the Internet for the last seven weeks in Kashmir (as we reported in our latest edition).

NXP + Snips teams up for local offline recognition

We have been eagerly waiting for this announcement since January after Thibault went to CES and talked with NXP about Snips and what we are doing at Smile. The NXP production-ready solution based on the i.MX RT106L crossover MCU drastically reduce the cost and time to market for brands and OEMs, the solution includes customisable, low latency, far-field wake work and commands, noise suppression and echo cancellation.

Acquisition •/ˌakwɪˈzɪʃ (ə) n/

Tesla is buying computer vision startup Deepscale

The idea is obviously to faster penetrate the market of self-driving vehicles. Tesla stopped hiding their ambitions for autonomous robotaxis while reducing power consumption.

WeWork paused their IPO

You may have heard about WeWork going public on the stock exchange but failing to get credible in the eyes of the public (as we told you on our latest edition). To a point where WeWork decided to stop the procedure of going public for a while.

Openness • /ˈəʊ.pən/+/nəs/

Twitter took down nearly 1000 accounts controlled by mainland China to discredit Hong Kong protesters

NY Times made a really nice piece of infographic and journalism about one of the many accounts disabled by Twitter. “The end goal is to control the conversation”. Twitter reacted by shutting down nearly 1000 account controlled by the Chinese government. Facebook and YouTube quickly followed the effort. Even if the three platforms are blocked in China, the government invests repeated effort to create content on those to control the world public opinion about topics that matter to them.

Microsoft Cascadia Code

That’s not the first time Microsoft + Open Source is sharing nice stuff under open-source licences. Today it’s a nice monospaced font for developers with programming ligatures. What does it mean? Arrow, ***, ++, >= and != will be rendered in a specific way.

Google creates a VR version of Versailles Castle

In an effort to make culture accessible to everyone, the Château de Versailles teams up with Google to create a detailed VR tour of Versailles. 21 rooms, 4 TB of data and 15 billion pixels textured. The app is available for free on Steam for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. You can handle and inspect over 100 sculptures, paintings and works of arts with incredible close-up details. You can even do the night tour with for sole lighting the flames of hearths.

Fun • /fʌn/

Software architecture is overrated, clear and simple design is underrated

Whether or not you agree with the author’s opinion, his article is quite interesting. First, because he worked on Uber’s distributed payment system, designed and shipped Skype on Xbox One and one source Uber’s mobile framework. So he may be not a mere stranger going for a rant against developers. Instead, you’ll find an interesting experience sharing about the common culture in startups and online pure players in the tech industry when it comes to software architecture.

Using deep learning for cracking WIFI password

Own&gotcha is an A2C-based “AI” leveraging bettercap that learns from its surrounding WIFI environment in order to maximise the crackable WPA key material it captures. Why does this project exist? For hackers to learn reinforcement learning, WIFI networking and have an excuse to get out for more walks. Also, it’s super cute (check out the README).

Stoop, a newsletter reader app

Ok, you all know RSS. So you also know the concept of an RSS client. You add different feeds you want to follow and you get a reader with all the content from all your feeds. Well. Stoop is the same, for newsletters. You get an email address you can use for newsletter subscribing, so all your newsletters are going into the app, which lets you read them whenever you want, and manage subscriptions from the app.

Tool • /tuːl/

PostgreSQL 12 arrives with Generated Columns supports

Using PostgreSQL and having the need for computed values? Tired of using computed views to do it? Lots of reads and few write? Say hello to generated columns! Just imagine you’re storing the surface of an area, which is w * h. Now you can do it automatically inside your DB ❤

Super, the RoR admin framework

Super is a single dependency admin framework for Ruby on Rails applications. Its mission: to evade dependencies, to improve developer productivity and admin efficiency, to go where no one has gone before. Most of the alternatives I tried were either too limited or required a large and complicated DSL for configuration.

Can I Email …

Do you know “Can I use…”? Well, that’s basically the same tool, which lets you know which of the technical HTML / CSS / JS function, element, API or attribute will work on which browser, but for email clients.

That’s all folks!

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