Light Start: WhatsApp’s QR codes, Iron Man VR demo, No more Huawei in UK, and the historic manned space flight

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WhatsApp is testing QR codes for business and personal chats

Imagine this: You’re out for a jol post-lockdown, and you’re not in the mood to read out your mobile number to potential friends, so you print out little cards with a QR code on each. Typing someone’s WhatsApp number by hand is just sooo 2012, which is why WhatsApp is now testing a feature that will make adding a WhatsAoo contact that much easier. WABetaInfo has published a report that will allow support for using QR codes in the upcoming beta of the chat app. People testing the beta found a small QR code on their settings page, which can probably be used by the potential friend to add your WhatsApp number quickly and seamlessly. This is also a brilliant feature for businesses, who can go back to distributing business cards but this time with small QR codes printed on them instead of boring old numbers. “This isn’t the first way that WhatsApp has used QR codes to grease the wheels for its users, and already uses them to quickly log in to the platform’s online client,” Engadget reports. We’re not sure who this feature will roll out to in future, and whether it’ll only be a WhatsApp for Business feature or something anyone can use. Honestly, it seems like a logical evolution of the phone number, just as binary code evolved into actual readable code. But we’ll see closer to the launch of this version of WhatsApp. 

Sauce: Engadget

Get your VR hat on, because the Iron Man VR demo looks amazing

At one point, we weren’t sure whether the world will get to experience the glory that is Iron Man VR before we were too old to play it, but it looks like the continuously delayed game will finally become available soon enough. According to a recent demo reveal, the final launch date is set for 3 June, which is in a week’s time. To get you pumped, the demo is available to check out on YouTube and if you’re equipped with a PS VR, you can experience the extended playable demo of this PS VR exclusive, downloadable from the PlayStation Store. In the demo, you can test out Iron Man’s flying mechanisms by using body movements and hand placements similar to those of the Iron Man suit. It looks brilliant, and we can’t wait to literally be Iron Man for a short while. This demo brings to life pretty much every small child’s dream of flying like Tony Stark himself. The demo includes a tutorial mission titled ‘Malibu’, an Interactive Stark Jet cinematic scene starring Tony, Friday and Pepper Potts, the ‘Out of the Blue’ Stark Jet gameplay mission, the Flight Challenge optional mission and the Advanced Combat Challenge optional mission. That’s quite enough gameplay to keep you busy for a while. It’s lockdown guys, we totally have enough time to get through this demo and even more. 

Sauce: YouTube via Engadget

The UK is planning to phase out all of its Huawei network equipment

Like the US, the U has become increasingly paranoid about the Chinese telecom, Huawei. As we know, Huawei’s main business isn’t in the shape of smartphones, but rather networking equipment and network towers, and this is especially true when it comes to 5G. “Citing national security concerns, members of the UK’s Conservative party have pushed for Huawei technology to be removed from the UK’s 5G infrastructure and the rest of its telecom network by 2023,” The Verge reports. Although there has not been concrete evidence of Huawei’s alleged ‘spying’ through networks, and we’re not even talking about the 5G conspiracy theories just yet, this feels a lot like a direct attack on China’s economy. With Huawei being a subsidiary of the Chinese government, this move is far more politically motivated that people may realise. The Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson has been under increased pressure from the US and pres. Trump to minimise Huawei’s footprint in the networking space of the UK. “Johnson had limited how much Huawei equipment could be used for 5G networks in the UK, banning the use of the company’s technology in the most sensitive parts of the network. He said in January that there were not a lot of other options available for the UK’s 5G infrastructure, and telecom Vodafone said removing Huawei equipment from its networks would be extremely costly,” The Verge details. If this turns out to be another weirdly motivated cold war, hopefully, SA is on the good side. 

Sauce: The Verge

SpaceX and NASA’s historic manned space flight is a go for this week

While we’re witnessing one of the worst pandemics in the 21st century, we’ll see some more history being made this week. NASA and SpaceX have teamed up to send a manned flight to the International Space Station, and the mission has been greenlit and will happen on 27 May. Astronauts will take off from US soil for the first time since 2011, on the SpaceX capsule on a Falcom 9 Rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The flight will include the veteran NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley who will act as co-commanders on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon vehicle. The mission, known as Demo-2, will fly the astronauts to the International Space Station and are scheduled to arrive at the space station on 28 May after which they’ll stay up there for up to four months. And you thought your lockdown has been bad? These guys won’t be allowed to leave the ISS for a long time, because as we know the vacuum of space is far more deadly than COVID-19. Demo-2 will be the first crewed launch to orbit from American soil since NASA’s shuttle program ended in 2011. May the force be with them. “While NASA says SpaceX is “go” for launch, there’s still quite a bit of work to do before the company’s rocket takes flight. On Saturday, Behnken and Hurley will do what’s called a “dry dress rehearsal,” where they’ll suit up in SpaceX’s custom spacesuits and go through all of the steps leading up to flight, without actually launching,” The Verge reports.

Sauce: The Verge

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Deputy Editor at Stuff. Nevermind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.

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