Tech Friday (11 – 17 Dec 2020)

Weekly Tech News related to Google and Apple Banning Tech for Location Sharing, Google Service Hit by Massive Outage, Cyberpunk 2077 and Refunds, Stylus Support for Samsung S-Series, VR With Normal 360-Degrees Camera, Teaching Artificial Intelligence to Adapt

Note: I do not write/own any of the tech news bits (and cover picture) given here. The links on each of the news bits will redirect to the news source. The content given under each headline is a basic gist and not the full story.

1. Google And Apple Are Banning Technology for Sharing Users’ Location Data

Source: The Verge

11 Dec 2020

Code from the company X-Mode Social may be in some of the apps on your phone, tracking and selling your location data. Now, Google and Apple are trying to put a stop to it. According to a Wall Street Journal article, the tech companies have told developers to remove X-Mode’s code from their apps, or risk getting them pulled from their respective app stores.

Original written by: Mitchell Clark

2. Gmail, YouTube, Google Docs, And Other Google Services Hit by Massive Outage

Source: The Verge

14 Dec 2020

Multiple Google services and websites including YouTube, Gmail, Google Assistant, and Google Docs were down for around an hour on Monday after being hit with a widespread outage. Google acknowledged the issues with Gmail, affecting both its business and personal services and said the problem was fixed for the “vast majority” of users after an hour. Identical notices were posted across the status pages for the rest of Google’s services.

Original written by: Jon Porter

3. Cyberpunk 2077 Developer Says Disappointed Players Can Ask for Refunds

Source: The Verge

14 Dec 2020

Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red has acknowledged the performance issues plaguing the game on base last-gen consoles, and has apologized for not showing the game running on the original PS4 and Xbox One prior to its release. The developer said it is hoping to fix the “most prominent problems” with a series of patches to be released over the coming months, but added that anyone who doesn’t want to wait will be able to return their copy of the game.

Original written by: Jon Porter

4. Samsung Confirms Stylus Support Is Coming to Galaxy Phones Like the S21

Source: The Verge

15 Dec 2020

Samsung’s president of mobile, TM Roh, dropped several hints about the company’s product roadmap in a blog post on Tuesday. He confirmed Samsung will hold an event in January — presumably for the Galaxy S21. He also implied that S Pen support will come to more phones and that Samsung intends to broaden its line of folding phones with less expensive options.

Original written by: Dieter Bohn

5. Create A Realistic VR Experience Using A Normal 360-Degree Camera

Source: University of Bath

14 Dec 2020

Scientists have created a new type of 360° VR photography accessible to amateur photographers called OmniPhotos. It can be captured quickly and easily using a commercially available 360° video camera on a rotating selfie stick. Using a 360° video camera also unlocks a significantly larger range of head motions.

6. Teaching Artificial Intelligence to Adapt

Source: Salk Institute

16 Dec 2020

Researchers have used a computational model of brain activity to simulate this process more accurately than ever before. The new model mimics how the brain’s prefrontal cortex uses a phenomenon known as “gating” to control the flow of information between different areas of neurons. It not only sheds light on the human brain, but could also inform the design of new artificial intelligence programs.

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