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Rust programming language: We want to take it into the mainstream, says Facebook




Facebook has joined the Rust Foundation, the organization driving the Rust programming language, alongside Amazon Web Services, Google, Huawei, Microsoft, and Mozilla. 

Facebook is the latest tech giant to ramp up its adoption of Rust, a language initially developed by Mozilla that’s become popular for systems programming because of its memory safety guarantees compared to fast languages C and C++. Rust is appealing for writing components like drivers and compilers. 

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The Rust Foundation was established in February with initial backing from Amazon Web Services, Google, Huawei, Microsoft, and Mozilla. Microsoft is exploring Rust for some components of Windows and Azure while Google is using Rust to build new parts of the Android operating system and supporting an effort to bring Rust to the Linux kernel

SEE: Hiring Kit: Python developer (TechRepublic Premium)

Facebook’s engineering team has now detailed its use of Rust beginning in 2016, a year after Rust reached its 1.0 milestone

“For developers, Rust offers the performance of older languages like C++ with a heavier focus on code safety. Today, there are hundreds of developers at Facebook writing millions of lines of Rust code,” Facebook’s software engineering team said. 

Facebook has joined the Rust Foundation at the highest tier alongside its tech giant peers, giving it a spot on the foundation’s board.  

“Facebook has embraced Rust since 2016 and utilizes it in all aspects of development, from source control to compilers,” says Joel Marcey, open source ecosystem lead at Facebook, and now board director at the Rust Foundation. 

“We are joining the Rust Foundation to help contribute to, improve and grow this language that has become so valuable to us and developers around the world. We look forward to participating with the other foundation members and the Rust community to make Rust a mainstream language of choice for systems programming and beyond.” 

Facebook has used Rust in a number of projects, including its controversial Libra cryptocurrency and blockchain effort, which is now governed by the Diem Association. Facebook is now just a core member of that association via its Novi digital wallet. Facebook notes that the Diem blockchain is primarily written in Rust. 

Before that Facebook turned to Rust for Mononoke, a source control server, in a 2016 project. 

“Developing Mononoke in C++ was the obvious choice at first. At the time, Facebook’s back-end codebase was very C++ heavy, meaning Mononoke would have been implemented in C++ by default,” Facebook engineers note. 

“But the Source Control team needed to consider the reliability needs of the source control back end. When corruption or downtime can potentially bring services to a halt, reliability is a top priority. That’s why the team chose to go with Rust over C++.”

Adopting Rust was a big and risky decision due to the time required to learn a new language and the amount of time already invested in projects written in another language, as Facebook software engineer, Jeremy Fitzhardinge, explained at a talk at RustConf 2019.  

He liked Rust because of its ability to detect major bugs at compile time was orders of magnitude cheaper than discovering them when code was running on production systems. 

After proving a successful Rust transition for Mononoke, developer interest within Facebook grew. Facebook notes many of the engineers attracted to Rust came from Python and JavaScript backgrounds. That’s notable, given these are the two most popular programming languages. Python is popular for machine learning and back-end systems development, while JavaScript rules web front-end systems.   

“They appreciated Rust’s combination of high performance with compile-time error detection. As more success stories, such as performance improvements at two to four orders of magnitude, circulated within the company, interest grew in using Rust for back-end service code and exploring its use in mobile apps as well,” Facebook notes. 

In 2020, Facebook created a Rust team in its Programming Languages unit, which is also responsible for its work on C++ standards and toolchains. 

SEE: Programming languages: JavaScript has most developers but Rust is the fastest growing

That team focussed on Rust toolchains, code reviews of the Rust compiler, and ensuring Rust’s safe interoperability with C++ code. 

“We have a vast amount of C++ code that is necessary to communicate with the back-end systems that services are built on. We need developers to be able to use these libraries safely and easily from Rust without sacrificing the benefits that Rust offers,” Facebook explains.

“Inversely, if we want to see Rust components integrated with our larger C++ binaries, we need smart runtime interoperability in asynchronous code. Facebook’s servers are highly distributed and heavily threaded. Rust tasks need to play nicely on a C++ threadpool and safely share synchronization primitives and I/O resources.” 

That team also supported and quickly adopted C++20’s coroutines, the C++ standard finalized by the Working Group 21 (WG21) in September. 

“Bringing Rust into the game will be an extension of that and will build on the excellent work already happening in the Rust asynchronous library stack.” 

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Google rolls out privacy update, new ML features for Google Analytics




Google on Thursday released an update for its measurement and analytics products, including a significant privacy update for Google Analytics. The company said the new capabilities stem from its investments in machine learning and modeling and are designed to help marketers operate without cookies and other identifiers on websites and apps.

In October, Google rolled out what it said was the biggest overhaul of Google Analytics in nearly a decade. The revamp ushered in new machine learning capabilities, unified app and web reporting, native integrations and privacy updates. 

This latest update builds on last year’s overhaul, with features aimed at helping the marketing industry evolve to new privacy expectations and shifts in consumer behavior. 

On the privacy front, Google said it will soon extend its advanced machine learning models to behavioral reporting in Analytics. For example, in User Acquisition reports, machine learning models will be able to fill any gaps in the numbers of new users a campaign has acquired. The idea is to enable marketers to track customer journeys without relying on cookies.

Google also said it has developed an additional privacy-minded way to help preserve accurate conversion measurement when cookies aren’t available. The company’s new enhanced conversions allow tags to use consented, first-party data to generate insights related to performance, like conversion lift, and to improve measurement in cases where an ad is viewed on one device and clicked through on another. Google said the data is hashed to guard user privacy and security. 

“Now’s the time to adopt new privacy-safe techniques to ensure your measurement remains accurate and actionable,” said Vidhya Srinivasan, VP of Engineering for Google Ads. “And while this can seem daunting, we’re here to help you succeed in a world with fewer cookies and other identifiers with new ways to respect user consent, measure conversions and unlock granular insights from your sites and apps.”

Google Analytics has been the industry standard web analytics tool since 2005. It doesn’t cost anything to sign up for and use the standard version of Google Analytics, which is ideal for individuals or small businesses. Larger enterprises can utilize Google Analytics 360, the premium version. 

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Two in three parents would quit their jobs without work from home flexibility




If you have experienced burnout since the pandemic hit, you are not alone. According to a recent study by Boulder, CO-based remote working jobs site FlexJobs, three in five (60%) parents with children aged 18 or younger have experienced stress and burnout.

FlexJobs surveyed over 1,100 parents with children 18 or younger living at home to find out what they want from their workplace post pandemic. The survey showed that during the pandemic working parents have found it difficult to create boundaries.

Also: The pandemic has taken a serious toll on mental health. What happens when it’s over? (Healthline)

Two in five (40%) found they were unable to unplug after work, one in four (26%) struggled with technology problems and 24% experienced video meeting fatigue.

One in five (19%) reported having too many video meetings and 16% said that collaborating was difficult.

However, three in five (61%) of parents said that they want to work remotely full time and 62% said that they would quit their current job it they could not continue working remotely.

But what job could a working parent consider that would be less stressful, have large numbers of job openings, and have the opportunity to work remotely? The company cross-referenced its database with the online careers database O*Net ( run by the U.S. Department of Labor) to compile a list of jobs for working parents to consider.

Roles such as BI Analysts (scoring 63 on the stress level rating chart), document management specialists (64), search marketing strategist (66), and Technical writer (69) may work. Even Computer Systems Engineers/Architects score 79 on the stress chart.

There are many benefits in working from home. You do not need to commute, can spend more time with the family, your partner and your children, and enjoy a better work-life blend as you experience a better control over your work schedule.

However, if you are a social person who thrives on seeing your co-workers face to face, and enjoy the buzz that office life gives you.

Hybrid environments are surely the way to go for most workers. Having the flexibility to work from home or go into the office when you choose to do so will make for a far better working environment that those workers forced to go into the office, or stay at home against their will.

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How to get rid of the Gmail Meet tab on iPhone and Android




I use Gmail.

A lot.

This means that anything that gets between me and my emails means a productivity hit.

Lately, the Meet tab that Google has added to the Gmail app on iOS, iPadOS, and Android — presumably to try to get us to use it — has been annoying me, getting in the way of my fingers, and taking up screen space.

Here’s how to make the Meet button go away, freeing up more screen space.

Must read: What happens when iOS 14.5 finishes recalibrating your iPhone’s battery?

The procedure is identical on both the iPhone and iPad and Android:

  • Fire up the Gmail app
  • Tap the burger menu located at the top-left of the app, then tap Settings
  • Tap the Gmail account
  • Toggle the setting for Meet Show the Meet tab for video calling off
  • If you use multiple accounts, you’ll need to do the same for all that use the Gmail app

The annoying Meet tab is now gone! If you ever need it back, reverse the above steps.

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In smartphone exit, LG’s loss will be Samsung’s gain




Despite being hinted at for a year and leaving writing on the wall for much longer, LG’s announcement that it will depart the mobile phone market was still surprising given the high volumes the company shipped. In the US, the company had about 9% of the smartphone market, as strong a position as any company not named Apple or Samsung and far beyond that of faded stalwarts HTC and Sony that hang onto the business with the most tenuous grips.

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LG’s legacy includes a series of innovations. Alas, though, while nature may abhor a vacuum, markets have even less patience for one, and the smartphone brand’s demise has already attracted a circle of ravenous competitors eager to feed on its vacated market share. While each will surely grab scraps here and there, many of the same factors that kept LG from grabbing more of the market will also apply to those aspiring brands.

Have a look at the websites for the three major US carriers and you’ll see rows of smartphones dominated by Apple and Samsung that extend to refurbished models. One can’t count Apple out. The company has long touted its ability to sway Android users and has been as aggressive as ever in catering to value buyers with the iPhone SE and iPhone mini, albeit with mixed results.

Between the two megabrands, though, Samsung will emerge as the next brand for most LG owners. Not only do Samsung phones provide a more familiar Android experience that preserves any app investments that LG owners may have made, but Samsung has timed the US introduction of its Galaxy A-series to perfectly coincide with LG’s exit. Indeed, LG’s recognition that Samsung would inherit its users may well have served to keep LG in the market for as long as it did given the fierce, decades-long rivalry between the companies.

Among Samsung naysayers, the brands with the next biggest opportunities would be Motorola and Nokia. Longtime LG owners who appreciated the longevity of the brand versus an upstart such as OnePlus may remember feature phone powerhouses, the brands of which have transitioned to new companies via acquisition and licensing. While those who preferred LG’s more demure G-series phones may be drawn to the more conservative Moto designs, those who held out hope with the more fashion-forward Velvet might opt for the Nokias. Much may be swayed by the carrier portfolio, though.

Beyond the recognized brands, the LG diaspora has dwindling carrier-provided options, particularly if one considers the carriers’ value brands. For example, at OnePlus-friendly Metro by T-Mobile, one can pick up a Nord. At AT&T’s Cricket, which had a rich LG portfolio that included the Stylo, Risio, Harmony, and K92, there are a few Alcatel-branded options. And for the least brand-sensitive, each value carrier offers at least one house brand. These include the T-Mobile Revvl, the Cricket Icon, Influence, and Ovation, and Visible’s Blade. Those handsets represent the Android reality for the US mainstream: A sea of sameness in which only Samsung has been able to float to the top.


LG will shut down smartphone business in July to focus on smart home, robotics
It’s the end of an era for the one-time phone giant, which has struggled to compete with Apple, Samsung and Chinese brands.

Galaxy A series phones are more appealing and affordable than Samsung’s flagships
Samsung’s latest announcement adds more confusion to its smartphone lineup, but not because it’s too crowded.

Seven innovations brought to the smartphone world by LG
While LG is exiting the smartphone market, the company brought innovation to the smartphone world

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