Big Tech &
Windows 10X is now Microsoft’s true answer to Chrome OS (4 minute read)
A near-final version of Windows 10X has leaked. The operating system will ship on Chromebook-like devices later this year. It will only ship on new hardware. Windows 10X was originally designed for dual-screen devices. It has a simplified interface, with features comparable to Chrome OS. Screenshots are available in the article. Windows 10X will probably not support desktop apps at launch, but Microsoft is working on a container technology to run traditional apps in a lightweight virtual machine. A redesign of Windows 10 is planned for later this year.
DuckDuckGo surpasses 100 million daily search queries for the first time (2 minute read)
DuckDuckGo recently recorded more than 100 million user search queries in a day. The company has seen sustained growth over the last two years. It has been seeing more than 2 billion search queries a month since August 2020. The search engine now offers mobile apps and a dedicated Chrome extension. It does not collect user data and it provides the same search results to all users. The company's lack of data makes it hard for it to estimate the size of its user base. Privacy-centric apps have recently seen major periods of growth.
Physicists Find New State of Matter in a One-Dimensional Quantum Gas – “Beyond My Wildest Conception” (4 minute read)
Physicists have produced an ultra-stable one-dimensional quantum gas that can move to higher and higher energy states without collapsing. As the gas gained energy, the researchers observed the development of scar states. Scar states are rare trajectories of particles that could offer a protected refuge for information encoded in a quantum system. The research is truly experimental and the researchers can't strongly predict what new knowledge will come from the discovery.
Artificial heartmaker Carmat to start sales after EU approval (2 minute read)
Artificial heartmaker Carmat has received approval from the European Commission and will start selling its devices from the second quarter of this year. Carmat's devices give patients with end-stage biventricular heart failure an alternative to hospital stays. The artificial heart has not been approved as a permanent implant. Each device will cost up to 150,000 euros. Around 2,000 patients in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Britain with this specific condition are on waiting lists for a heart.
Programming, Design & Data Science
VMCLI (GitHub Repo)
VMCLI is a set of utilities for macOS Virtualization.framework for managing VMs. It can be used to configure a VM and launch it. A GIF demo is available in the repository.
Simplql is an in-browser tool that lets you query data files with SQL without using a database. It does everything in the browser and doesn't upload your data files to the server. Users can export the results from their queries in CSV or JSON.
How I hijacked the top-level domain of a sovereign state (6 minute read)
In late December, the domain name that managed the name servers for the Democratic Republic of Congo expired. If a malicious actor had purchased the domain, they could have passively intercepted all .cd DNS traffic, made domain names out of thin air, launched remote code execution attacks on local networks, or replied to legitimate DNS queries with fake DNS responses. The domain name was purchased by an ethical hacker before anything bad could happen, and the issue has now been fixed.
Outcry Over Power Outages, Smog Forces Iran To Act Against Bitcoin Miners (3 minute read)
Iranian authorities are blaming bitcoin mining operations for power outages and worsening air pollution. Bitcoin farms use huge amounts of energy to supply their banks of high-powered computers. Iran eased its restrictions on cryptocurrencies in 2019 after facing US economic sanctions. This resulted in bitcoin operations becoming cheaper in Iran than in other countries. Thousands of illegal cryptocurrency farms have popped up around the country. Winter temperatures have added to the problem as the need for home heating rises. Road traffic has increased due to public transport closures, resulting in a visible rise in air pollution. The Iranian government has expanded its crackdowns on illegal cryptocurrency operations due to growing public outcry.