Don't Panic Labs Reading List

DPL Reading List – September 28, 2018


| September 28, 2018 | in

Here are some of the articles we found this week.

Carnegie Mellon is Saving Old Software from Oblivion – “While perusing such vintage source code might delight hard-core programmers, most people aren’t interested in such things. What they want to do is use the software. But keeping software in ready-to-run form over long periods of time is enormously difficult, because to be able to run most old code, you need both an old computer and an old operating system.”

6 takeaways from Tim Cook’s Apple keynote that will make you a better presenter – “Apple’s keynotes have been seen as examples of public speaking excellence for almost two decades. Steve Jobs’s launch of the iPod in 2001 and the iPhone in 2007 are not just product launches that changed how we communicate, they’re also among the best examples of public speaking. In the post-Jobs era at Apple, that trend continues. The products may be more evolutionary than revolutionary, but there’s always something to learn from these events.”

What eight Google products looked like when they were brand-new – “A lot can change in 20 years. Helpless newborns become campus-dwelling scholars, carefree twentysomethings turn into responsible adults, and tiny tech startups grow into colossal corporations—complete with sprawling portfolios of polished products. Yes, indeed: Just as hominids mature over the course of two decades, Google—which is officially marking its 20th birthday on Thursday—has undergone quite the dramatic transformation since its founding. Heck, even Google products that launched 10 years ago are now barely recognizable from their infant forms.”

Here is Jack Dorsey’s first sketch of Twitter’s platform from 2005 – “Twitter’s UI has obviously come a long way since that first sketch, and since then the platform has grown to 336 million monthly active users. Not bad for something that started out as a rough drawing on a legal pad.”

Atom-based antenna could protect us from solar flares, microwave attacks – “The Rydberg Technologies team realized they could zap their vapor cells filled with excited cesium atoms with laser light tuned to just the right critical frequency. This saturates the atoms so they can’t absorb any more light, such that a second laser beam can pass right through them, effectively making the gas transparent. The critical frequency at which this transition happens will change in response to a passing radio wave, so the light from that second laser beam will flicker in response. The vapor cell becomes a purely optical radio wave detector, with no need for any wires or circuitry.”

Inside Apple’s iPhone XS Camera Technology – “Inside the A12 chip is the neural engine that analyzes frames not just for exposure but for discrete image elements. It’s identifying facial features and looking for motion. If the system detects motion, it looks for the frame with the sharpest image of the motion and adds it to the image. Similarly, an image with red-eye is not just fixed but replaced with a frame where the eye isn’t red or with the reference eye color from the frame without red-eye.”

How to solve complex problems (by not focusing on them) – “Think about the moments when your most creative ideas struck. Wherever you were, you likely weren’t focused on them. If you’re stuck on a creative problem right now, don’t actively try to work through it. Get up, let your mind wander, and take a look around instead.”

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