The Facebookverse, QR privacy, and more: THE WEEKLY RECAP (2021#30)

I am writing this at 22:30 and its 30º with ~80% humidity. So yes, I am finally back in Spain after one year without visiting. Not sure if the following weeks there will be any updates, but let’s keep the ball rolling while we can.


Ready Facebook One

If you like cyberpunk there is a big chance you know about Snow Crash. While I am not a big fan of the book, there are many ideas floating around there that are quite interesting, and it is probably the most famous book on the genre. Some years ago we got Ready Player One (the XXI century version of the book) and it was obviously worse and almost any aspect. Even more, while I could not image any way to make it worse, we got a movie adaptation and a second book. Anyway, it seems that some billionaires are not planning to go to space, but instead they want to make that dystopia real. And coming from Zuckerberg, I can’t wait to see the shitshow Facebook is gonna build. Get ready for disaster, people.

PS: it was all fun and laughs when Epic talked about a metaverse in Fortnite during the Apple vs Epic trial, but now we start to see other companies trying to go that route. Interesting times ahead…

Facebook announces Metaverse product group headed by Instagram VP Vishal Shah, on protocol
Mark Zuckerberg Wants To Build An Online “Metaverse” Accessible On All Game Consoles, on thegamer

Hi [customer_name], nice to have you back. Do you want your usual [customer_name_usual_food]?

It seems that there are many places where you can go to eat something, and the menu is digitally implemented by using a QR-code. By doing it this way, there is no need for interaction (so that’s a good thing you might think, we have corona after all), and they also need less people working there (that’s not so good?). Oh, and one last thing: they can also sell your data / use it for marketing. What a time to be alive.

QR Codes Are Here to Stay. So Is the Tracking They Allow, on the nytimes

On China and their industry decisions

Very interesting read on what does it mean to be a tech company, what value do tech companies really produce, and how different countries might have totally different views on that.

Why is China smashing its tech industry? in noahpinion

Google doing something nice?

I see on openculture that Google has been digitizing many many paintings at astonishing resolutions. Besides being super cool to “visit” virtually, I think it might be even useful for many interesting side projects (if I find some way to download them).

A Gallery of 1,800 Gigapixel Images of Classic Paintings: See Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring, Van Gogh’s Starry Night & Other Masterpieces in Close Detail, on openculture
Google Arts and Culture

And that’s it for the week (month?). Stay safe!

404, Robotaxis, and more: THE WEEKLY RECAP (2021#29)

OnE wEeK uNtIl HoLiDaYs. LET’S GO!


Trump or gangbang?

Funny story of the week. It seems that an old YouTube competitor was storing many videos for different media outlets. This is fine, except when the service dies and the domain is sold to a porn website. After that, you start having porn videos instead of your news archive. Very nice side-read about the fragility of the internet on the atlantic piece, too.

A Defunct Video Hosting Site Is Flooding Normal Websites With Hardcore Porn, on vice
The Internet Is Rotting, on the atlantic

Powered by you

Literally. Well, being more precise, powered by your sweat. I did not know this kind of research was being done, so I was greatly surprised by it. While the amount of energy is not super big, it seems that we will be able to charge many interesting biometric devices in the near future without worrying about cables.

Your sweaty fingertips could help power the next generation of wearable electronics, on science

Portable gaming never dies

The playdate is coming! honestly I always loved portable consoles much more than their bulky counterparts, so this new wave of devices is something I cannot help but look closely. The most interesting thing about this one, at least for me, is that it has some strong limitations (1-bit display), but also some unique input (the crank). This kind of stuff is what generates unique videogames, so I can’t wait to see what people does with it.

Playdate hands-on: a Game Boy from a different dimension, on theverge

Some thoughts about driverless cars

Very nice read on the different technologies behind one of the hottest topics nowadays (automatic driving). I cannot lie, I would be so happy to see all the mega corporations fail to predict the best solution to the problem… anyway, still not sure at all their approach is not the right one. Time will tell. BTW, there are also a bunch of interesting comments in the comment section of the article, for those of you who are interested.

Robotaxis: have Google and Amazon backed the wrong technology? on financial times

You guys paid for all this

It should not surprise me anymore, but I still get amazed at how much these guys are disconnected from reality.


And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!

Billion dollar dreams, Stadia’s fall? and more: THE WEEKLY RECAP (2021#28)

Fully vaccinated (finally!) and one week closer to holidays. Let’s do this!


Nintendo does it again

A new screen, the worst possible name ever, an ethernet port for the dock (wow, 2021 guys), and the same broken joycons. I was not expecting 4k 120fps as some crazy people on the internet, but maybe their own videogames without frame drops? Too much to ask for, apparently.

Nintendo refuses to say if the OLED Switch fixes Joy-Con drift, on theverge
I’m skipping Nintendo Switch OLED and waiting for a Switch Pro — here’s why, on tomshardware

Wait, what? The real Switch Pro

And out of the blue, Valve decided it was time to show its own “console”. Honestly I like it, but I think there is really no market for this kind of device (and knowing how Valve operates, probably it will die in less than one year). I hope I am wrong, because I would love to this stick around and people building newer models in the future.

Steamdeck homepage
Valve’s gaming handheld is called the Steam Deck and it’s shipping in December, on theverge

I sleep in a race car bed

In less than a month, two of the most rich people in the world have been playing around with their ‘dreams’ of travelling through space. I guess they are in that period of their lives where white dudes tend to buy a sports car, but given their power they went for even bigger showing off moves. I particularly liked the piece by Meghan Bartels on space.com, taking her time to think about what all of this really means for society (hint: not much).

As space billionaires take flight, ‘the right stuff’ for space travel enters a new era, on space.com
Elon Musk has a ticket to ride on Richard Branson’s spaceplane, on theverge

Is this the end?

First you launch a service no one was asking for, then you close the developer studio you created to build games for your platform, then you buy a lot of temporal exclusive games for people to go to your platform. When all of that fails (what a surprise), you try to get back devs by lowering the cut you take (which was clearly abusive). Honestly I bet they are going to close the whole thing maximum in a couple years. Wait and see…

Google slashes Stadia’s revenue share to try to attract developers, on theverge

Point-and-click adventures are cool

And I played some good old Blade Runner last week. Boy, the story is so much better than the two films! If you never tried it, it is actually a fantastic game, and I did not notice a lot of gameplay problems even being such and old game (1997!). Now I am playing The Dig, which also has a very interesting story behind (but it is also quite hard). If you are interested, I stream live on twitch, and we also update the VODs later on youtube.

Publish or go home, ramen coins, driving is hard, and more: THE WEEKLY RECAP (2021#27)

Another week, another batch of nice reads. Three more until summer holidays! Let’s start.


Life finds a way

As every month, astonishing bundle of science-related images, with amazing stories behind.

Sea snot, stars and sleeping elephants — June’s best science images, on nature

Publish or die

Really happy to see that people are catching up with some of the biggest problems people doing science face: the field is a complete shitshow that chews you until there is nothing left, and then spits you out. All of this allowed by universities, society in general, and based on the fact that you love to do research, so you put up with all that bullshit for years.

Mental health of graduate students sorely overlooked, on nature

Are you eating that?

Curiosity of the week. Apparently, people stopped using tobacco as currency in prisons long ago, and moved to ramen noodles. You can read more about this on the openculture post, and the following video.

How Ramen Became the Currency of Choice in Prison, Beating Out Cigarettes, on openculture

We have a problem

Breaking news: Elon Musk is a blabbermouth, exhibit #N

Elon Musk just now realizing that self-driving cars are a ‘hard problem’, on theverge

Apple vs the wo… wait, Google vs the world

As expected, we are starting to see more and more scrutiny for big tech companies. After the Epic vs Apple trial (boy that was fun), now we have similar lawsuits going on on Android. Remember, tech companies are evil, no matter their motto.

A lawsuit that ignores choice on Android and Google Play, on google blog
Google feared Samsung Galaxy Store and tried to quash it, lawsuit alleges, on theverge

And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!

Cheap cyberpunk, reading with Alexa, LEGO microscopes, and more: THE WEEKLY RECAP (2021#26)

One less week until summer holydays. Let’s go!


You can film all you want

I’ve had this conversation many times with some friends: what is your favourite science-fiction genre? Some of them usually say: cyberpunk. And every time, I told them the same: that should not count, we already live in that scenario. Exhibit #N:

The pity is that, even though we are already controlled by mega corporations, in a highly-developed technology environment, we are missing the flying cars, holograms, and commonly available virtual reality… I guess we just have to accept that we live in the darkest timeline…

Watch a police officer admit to playing Taylor Swift to keep a video off YouTube, on theverge

Space wanks

Funny story of the week, coming from Japan, as usual. I am not even going to try to make any jokes.

Japan’s Tenga wants to create a masturbatory aid for people to use in outer space, on soranews24

For years now, it is very common to see scientific instruments made with LEGO. This time, a very simple yet nice microscope where the only non-brick parts are the optics. It even comes with a familiar manual for building the whole thing, documentation, and a cool paper (Github).

LEGO MICROSCOPE AIMS TO DISCOVER FUTURE SCIENTISTS, on hackaday


Alexa, let’s read

Amazon Official Site: All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids Edition | Designed  for kids, with parental controls | Tiger

Another story that makes me think about science-fiction. On The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson introduces a super cool gadget, the young lady’s illustrated primer, that helps little girls get a good education. The book creates stories, teaches to read, to code, to defend yourself, and a long etc. It is a distilled educational system, but also a love supply for any person, no matter how fucked up your family is, or if you are rich or poor. Could Alexa end up doing something similar? Of course, we are witnessing the baby steps of digital education, but it does not seem impossible. If only we could trust any of the companies exploring these ideas…

Amazon’s latest Alexa trick is helping kids read, on theverge

And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!

PS: Featured image: fanart from The Diamond Age, by Kamikaye

It’s Prime day & hospitals selling datasets: The weekly recap (2021#25)

Must. Keep. Going. Summer. Holidays. Are. Coming.


It’s Prime Day!

Go give Bezos some more money. After all, he seems like a cool billionaire. First, let’s destroy all the bookshops. Then, make everyone sell at my stores, and steal their designs to sell them cheaper. Slaves? that sounds good too, it will improve our margins. Recycling? mate, that seems like such a big effort.

Amazon destroying millions of items of unsold stock in one of its UK warehouses every year, ITV News investigation finds, on itvNews

The hunt for medical datasets gets wilder

Hospitals selling “de-identified” medical data “for science”. Made me think about the news some weeks ago about ransomware paralyzing the oil industry in the US. Will we see these kind of attacks directed at hospitals soon? How much money are those datasets worth? In case of attack, how much would they pay for getting them back? Could they just not negotiate with the data from patients?

Hospitals are selling treasure troves of medical data — what could go wrong?, on theverge

And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!