Daily Tech Observations

Some technology related observations from the last few days in these exceptional times we are facing at the moment. A lot of positive actions and activities going on.

COVID-19 Apps

A number of organizations try to build apps that help to control the spread or inform affected people. Most ideas take personal data protection into consideration and allow transfer of data to authorities or servers only upon consent and approval. Though nothing has been releases yet at a larger scale.

  • CoEpi: Community Epidemiology In Action (link)
  • geoHealthApp: Spread the app not the virus (link)
  • ebolaApp: Its team tries to reuse an existing app (link)

Google Playstore and COVID-19 Apps

With hackers, malware and virus producers jumping on the train to misuse the situation (just to mention the ransomware that people behind coronavirusapp[.]site trying to spread an app that locks mobile phones), Google decided not to release any apps in this context until they find appropiate ones. Until a few days ago you did not find any app when searching for the term. By now you find only 1 app in the Germany Play Store with a app released by Singapore government funded app.

Hackathons

Put smart people together and let them work in short time on ideas, this time solely virtually.

  • #WirVsVirus Hackathon by the German government last weekend (link)
    Not less than 42.000 people attended in one way or another.
  • Hack the crisis – Accelerate Estonia (link)
  • AI for mankind hackathon (link)
  • Not to forget to mention the Kaggle Competition (link)

Transparent Prices for panic-buying products

While supermarkets run out of toiletpaper and a few other more important products, mainly due to distribution and logistic problems, the net revelead a whole universe of profiteers via the usual selling and market platforms or through self-created shop websites. Interesting to observe the price development, two weeks ago it was very much wild west with skyrocketing prices, by now the market platforms try to remove and ban any ridicolously priced offers and shops. The below screenshots from a local price tracking shows only samples of “reasonable” increased prices.
Good to see other companies like car manufacturers jumping in and trying to produce equipment in high demand (which hopefully can be produced b y non-medical companies). (Link)

Toiletpaper prices up 40%
Desinfection (hand sanitizer) price tripled

Still it need someone to buy these items and willing to pay the price or being very desperate. Open market physics..

Apps in Trend

Now communication apps like Zoom, Skype, Teams, etc are seeing more downloads. Also streaming apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. But some trending apps are rather weird, like the game Plague Inc. in the current top 10 of games. The game was released in 2012 (not to blame the company) and was not updated since Feb 2019 but getting downloaded more often now. Not sure who wants to play this while we face it for real without a “restart game” button..

Quote description: “Can you infect the world? Plague Inc. is a unique mix of high strategy and terrifyingly realistic simulation. Your pathogen has just infected ‘Patient Zero’. Now you must bring about the end of human history by evolving a deadly, global Plague whilst adapting against everything humanity can do to defend itself.

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