Here’s our curated list of important tech news from this week in byte size.
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Jack Dorsey’s Square purchases bitcoins worth $170 million
Jack Dorsey’s Square on Tuesday announced that it has purchased approximately 3,318 bitcoins at a total purchase price of $170 million. Combined with Square’s previous purchase of $50 million in bitcoin in October 2020, this represents approximately 5% of Square’s total cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities as of December 31, 2020, the firm noted in a release. “Aligned with the company’s purpose, Square believes that cryptocurrency is an instrument of economic empowerment, providing a way for individuals to participate in a global monetary system and secure their own financial future,” Square said, and added, “The investment is part of Square’s ongoing commitment to bitcoin.” Earlier in the month, Tesla had said that it has invested around $1.5 billion in Bitcoin and it plans to begin accepting the digital currency as payment for its high-end vehicles soon.
Zoom to release automatic closed captions for all users
Zoom on Wednesday said it is working towards making automatic closed captioning available to all of our users later this year. The video-conferencing platform will also be offering automatic closed captioning to meeting hosts who need the feature prior to its broader release, upon request, it noted in a blog post. Zoom already provides AI-powered live transcription in English for all paid accounts. It also allows meeting hosts to add closed captions during a meeting or use an integrated third-party closed captioning service. In addition, the platform offers accessibility features like manual closed captioning, keyboard accessibility, pinning or spotlighting interpreter video, and screen reader support. Earlier this month, Zoom had announced updates for some of its sharing, device management, and utility features to support hybrid workforces and help organisations re-enter office.
Instagram updates to support people affected by eating disorders
Facebook on Monday said it is introducing new ways to support people on Instagram who may be affected by negative body image or an eating disorder. The social network will surface more expert-backed resources like contacts for local eating disorders hotlines in certain countries, when people search for eating disorder-related content; collaborate with community leaders to help them create and share positive, inspiring body image content; expand its work with experts globally to learn more about emerging issues in the eating disorders space, and new approaches for offering support, it noted in a blog post. In the coming weeks, the company will also make it easier to connect with friends in the moment by adding the ability to message on Instagram directly from the resources, it added. In another update, Facebook has added new features to curb child harassment and exploitation on its platform by focusing on content that victimises children.
CD Projekt delays Cyberpunk 2077’s big patch
CD Projekt, the developer of Cyberpunk 2077, has delayed the delivery of patch 1.2 for the game to second half of March, the company said on Twitter. Earlier this month, the Polish game developer had announced that it was hit by a targeted ransomware attack, which had compromised some of its internal systems. “While we dearly wanted to deliver Patch 1.2 for Cyberpunk 2077 in the timespan we detailed previously, the recent cyberattack on the studio’s IT infrastructure and extensive scope of the update mean this unfortunately will not happen — we’ll need some additional time,” it tweeted. “Our goal for Patch 1.2 goes beyond any of our previous updates. We’ve been working on numerous overall quality improvements and fixes,” the game developer added. This week, we reviewed Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game. In another update, Chinese spies cloned and actively used cyber offensive tool codes, developed by the U.S. National Security Agency, for their hacking operations.
LiDAR sensor’s effectiveness decreases in heavy rain
Autonomous vehicles are equipped with LiDAR sensors, which help in detecting objects in their path. The effectiveness of the LiDAR sensors in detecting objects at a distance in heavy rain decreases, according to a team of researchers from the University of Warwick. The team used a simulator to test an autonomous vehicle’s LiDAR sensors in different intensities of rain, and found that, in a short-range from the vehicle (up to 50m), several raindrops were erroneously detected; in a medium-range (50m-100m) this had decreased; but as rainfall increased to up to 50mm per hour, the sensor’s detection of objects decreased in conjunction with a longer range in distance, a university release noted. The team detailed their work in the paper, ‘Realistic LiDAR with Noise Model for Real-Tim Testing of Automated Vehicles in a Virtual Environment’, published in the IEEE Sensors Journal. In another development, Microsoft and Bosch have partnered to build a vehicle platform to streamline and accelerate development and deployment of vehicle software for cars.
Microsoft releases nine new languages for text translation
Microsoft has released nine new languages for text translation in Microsoft Translator, including Albanian, Amharic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Khmer, Lao, Myanmar, Nepali, and Tigrinya. The nine new languages combined are spoken by more than 170 million people worldwide, opening up new opportunities for them to interact with the world around them, the software giant noted in a blog post. These languages are available now in the Microsoft Translator apps, Office, and Translator for Bing to translate text to or from any of the 83 languages, with additional dialects being available in languages like French and Portuguese and multiple writing systems being available in languages like Chinese and Serbian, it added. The software giant also announced the next edition of its productivity suite, Microsoft Office, for both personal and enterprise users. In another update, Microsoft launched two new surface devices in India, a portable Surface Pro 7+, and a touch-based fully integrated Surface Hub 2S 85”; both targeted at professional users.
You can read more at thehindu.com/technology