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Cover image for The Grind: Tech & Coding Weekly — Issue #2
Trey Huffine
Trey Huffine

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The Grind: Tech & Coding Weekly — Issue #2

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Science & Society

Microsoft Says It Won’t Sell Facial Recognition To The Police. These Documents Show How It Pitched That Technology To The Federal Government. (4min 43sec)

The technology we live with today has helped us achieve all sorts of efficiencies and possibilities that could only have been imagined 10 years ago. Facial recognition has returned as a topic of hot contention, and we are starting to learn what the big players in tech have been doing with it. Despite publicly stating they won’t sell this tech to police departments, newly surfaced documents show that Microsoft has already attempted to sell this technology to the US government multiple times, most recently to the DEA in 2017.

Boston Dynamics now sells a robot dog to the public, starting at $74,500 (8min 36sec)

Since 2016, YouTube videos like this one have been introducing the world to Boston Dynamic’s robot dog. What started off as a slightly creepy proof of concept has turned into a robot pet you can now buy for yourself! (Provided you have seventy five thousand dollars to burn)

A Super Sensitive Dark-Matter Search Yields Strange Results (6min 41sec)

A recent study on dark matter found surprising “anomalous data” that may turn out to be a brand new particle. This “unexpected bump” in the data could be the hypothetical solar axion particle much like a photon, and indicates the possibility of “new physics beyond the Standard Model.”

Security

Massive spying on users of Google’s Chrome shows new security weakness (3min 33sec)

Google recently announced they removed over 70 malicious extensions from the Chrome Web Store after they were notified by security researches of their existence. It is troubling that Google has been unable to keep up with ensuring the security of software within their ecosystem, even though they’ve promised many times to “do regular sweeps to find extensions” that harbor malware.

Multiple “CIA failures” led to theft of agency’s top-secret hacking tools(3min 57sec)

A new report published last Tuesday found that a leak of CIA secrets to WikiLeaks occurring in 2017 was possible due to a systemic lack of security that does “not appear to be limited to just one part of the intelligence community.” Named Vault 7 by WikiLeaks, it entails details of numerous hacks and vulnerabilities kept secret by the CIA.

Introducing Firefox Private Network’s VPN — Mozilla VPN (2min 37sec)

Mozilla is getting into the VPN game. They have garnered a reputation for security and privacy, so a VPN offering makes a lot of sense.

Tech Business

DoorDash valued at $16 billion after new funding round (1min 16sec)

Thanks in no small part to the COVID-19 lockdown, delivery service DoorDash has announced an impressive sixteen billion dollar valuation. Big players in the gig economy are proving they can flourish during a pandemic, at a time when many other companies are struggling.

Wirecard CEO exits as search for missing billions hits dead end in Asia (3min 30sec)

11.2 billion dollars is a lot of money to lose in two days. At this time, it appears this unfortunate turn of events for the once uber-hot German company Wirecard has been caused by its involvement in “a web of sham transactions.” The company has hired a former compliance officer from Germany’s stock exchange as the interim CEO in an attempt to recover.

Unbounce raises $38.4M to build better landing pages with automation (1min 58sec)

Most everyone with a website wants an attractive landing page. Startup Unbounce has been fulfilling this need since 2009, and recently raised over 38 million dollars to continue this effort. The company hopes to use machine learning to provide end users with automated landing pages that custom fit their site’s needs.

Health

On Coding, Ego, and Attention (11min, 29sec)

This is an intelligent, meditative treatise on how ego and attention affect us, told through the lens of personal experience and multiply world paradigms.

There’s a reason we procrastinate and it’s not laziness (4min 27sec)

It turns out procrastination has more to do with our negative emotions associated with a given task. This is a nice quick write up of the current science behind procrastination along with a few practical tips to keep it from affecting your work.

Dev Thoughts

Github isn’t fun anymore (2min 40sec)

A thoughtful lament on the state of the trending repositories board on GitHub. It doesn’t quite have the same magic, or usefulness, it once did.

The Coming Chip Wars (13min 36sec)

Tech expert Steve Blank’s sprawling opinion piece on how computer chips are quickly becoming one of the most sought after commodities on the planet, and what ramifications that might have on global politics in the near future. According to Blank, “The country that controls [chip] manufacturing can throttle the military and economic power of others.”

Dev Tools

RSS Box

A handy little tool created by Stefan Sundin that allows you to create RSS feeds for sites that don’t have their own. It supports Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, and many other social media sites.

GoatCounter

Most any modern developer will be familiar with Google Analytics. There are solid alternatives however, which can provide user privacy and a more streamlined interface. GoatCounter is created by the one man team of Martin Tournoij, and is a great example of what can be achieved with an indie made analytics dashboard.

98.css

If you miss the dated look of Windows 98’s UI, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this minimalist CSS framework created by Jordan Scales. Looks like the real thing!

Fancy Projects

Drive and Listen

A nice little project made by Erkam Şeker which combines video footage of driving in a major city, accompanied by the local radio for that city. Simple, elegant, and a great distraction to have on your 2nd screen.

The Evolution of Stock Photography Aesthetics

A sleek and engaging history of stock photo, touching on change in aesthetics, and the advancements in technology around stock photography since the 1990s.


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