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December 16, 2020
☕ Good morning! Surprisingly busy day for this time of year, strap in!

Tesla and the words Full Self-Driving (FSD) are always burning topics for lots of people, as autonomous driving slowly creeps forward at a pace slower than promised from Elon Musk, but still creeps forward.

Leaving the issue of beta testing software on real-world cars aside, the best Tesla hacker out there, @greentheonly, has once again dug into something that is unquestionably cool: an augmented reality view. 


This AR view presumably lets Tesla developers see what the car sees in real-time, helping with ironing out bugs, and Tesla drivers may get the view someday too, given it’s not strictly a developer mode. 

  • Hacks from @greentheonly take you under the hood, and he says he managed to activate the “Autopilot assist app” to get the view, which isn’t accessible for customers yet.
  • Our man Green here is operating at a different level in terms of what he’s seeing so don’t worry about not understanding it all; I sure don’t.
  • But what everyone can see is the sheer amount of data being processed, at all times, for Autopilot mode to make decisions.
  • Watch the 5:45 min long video — and here’s a clip:
tesla fsd small
  • Folks on Reddit are discussing the visible errors that appear, including problems with lanes and boundaries lines and region outlines.
  • Keen-eyed people are spotting features referenced that have no current explanation: “California Stop,” “California Boost,” and “Chiropractor Adjust Skeleton,” whatever they are.
  • I don’t have a lot more to add, other than the complexity of the problem and how Tesla is handling it without LIDAR, only visual cameras,
  • shows it’s one of the harder nuts to crack in software right now.

📸 This is the first real press image of the Samsung Galaxy S21 but there’s not a lot to see yet. Still, Samsung confirming stylus support is coming to Galaxy phones like the S21 is interesting. (Android Authority)

✏ And on that Note (pun intended), now there’s a counter-report from an unnamed Samsung official in a Korean publication, that says a Galaxy Note is in the works for 2021. Lots of reports both ways here (Android Authority).

🚤 Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 678 wrings more speed for mid-range phones from a two-year-old chip (Android Authority).

🔊 You can listen to Netflix videos like podcasts if you really want, with a new update gradually rolling out now, at least on Android and possibly iOS (Android Authority).

♻ Google buys a company that turns old PCs into Chromebooks, which might help schools (Android Authority).

Amazon’s Luna cloud gaming service gets limited Android rollout (Engadget).

🍎 Understanding ProRAW, Apple’s new photography format. This is a super interesting look at computational photography and the new ProRAW from Halide, which offers a popular RAW photography app on iOS (Halide).

📹 Periscope is shutting down and being integrated into Twitter, but it’s OK if you forgot it existed (SlashGear).

🧪 FDA authorizes use of a nonprescription home COVID test(Ars Technica).

🔓 The massive SolarWinds hack may have exposed deep US secrets; the damage is yet unknown, and there’s still no word from The White House, either (AP).

The EU triples down on tough rules for tech, laying down the law to digital platforms and markets in new proposals. These proposals can become law quickly, and they’re set to give companies with 45 or more million monthly users, or 10,000 plus business customers, heavy scrutiny (Axios).

📦 Wish, the digital goods market housing anything and everything (at often insanely low prices and quality), launches its IPO today — parent company ContextLogic, from San Francisco, says it sells two million items a day (MarketWatch).

🥚 Can 2020 be saved by a perfect, magical spherical chicken egg? (Mel Magazine).

📽 Wonder Woman 1984 reviews are out (CNET).

🦴 Among Us has hit the Nintendo Switch today (Engadget).

🚀 Rocket launch startup Astra’s rocket called Rocket (yes, Rocket) reaches space, joining an elite set of companies and nations (TechCrunch)

Wednesday Weirdness
google blob
Tristan Rayner / Android Authority

First: Google’s Blob Opera experiment is just wonderfully weird, please enjoy. It took a second to figure out but it’s super fun to play with each blob through the octaves and have it all mash up.

Bonus: I’ve filed a few stringer shifts in my time for very serious international news agency AFP, where hard deadlines for reporting make you sweat. A good bunch of people.

It includes things you’ll remember like the monolith saga, fights over toilet paper, etc. Standard 2020.

But there are many stories I didn’t see through the year, such as:

  • “A Swiss couple named their baby daughter after an internet provider because it offered free Wi-Fi for 18 years to anyone who named their child Twifia.”
  • (I thought that fad was early 2000s and not somewhere sensible like Switzerland, I was wrong. Or was I? As this VG247 investigation shows about a similar thing in 2002 for a game called Turok, companies love to actually just make stuff up for a bit of PR)
  • A school in Avignon, France, put a sign asking parents to stop throwing their children over a six-foot (1.8-metre) gate when they were late in the morning. “I do not throw my children over the gate,” it warned. 
  • (From another report: “Head teacher Sanaa Meziane said staff were tired of “irresponsible” parents quite literally throwing their kids into school.”)
  • Enjoy the rest.


Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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