How to Build an iMessage Extension for a React Native App (Part 2)

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In this post, I will show you how we built an iMessage extension by writing a bridge for our React Native-based mobile app. This approach took our team around two weeks to explore and might save you significant time if you have a similar intention. This is part two out of two (you can find Part 1 here). 

Project Recap

When we set out to build an iMessage extension for Lisk Mobile using React Native, we immediately hit an exciting challenge. As it turns out, when it comes to third-party applications, Apple likes developers to play by its own rules. If a company wants to benefit from the features of the tech giant’s operational systems and rich user base, it needs to be built using Apple’s own tools and programming language. iPhone’s iMessage is definitely worth this hassle. It has proven to be a big hit since its release in 2016. Within the first six months, iMessage has generated thousands of innovative in-messenger extensions including those created by Airbnb and Dropbox. Late in 2018, Mark Zuckerberg admitted this feature is one of Facebook’s ‘biggest competitors by far.’ Since the release of Lisk Mobile during Lisk’s Berlin meetup in October 2018, our team has been busy implementing features such as Face ID Authentication, as well as developing blockchain-specific solutions. Identifying the opportunity to extend the iMessage option for our users, we got to work on our own integration.

We don’t need no education?

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I’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately, and I’ve been watching the rise of Lambda School — which I think is fantastic, incidentally — and the combination has me wondering two things: how educated do software engineers need to be? And how well does that map to what they actually learn from formal education? […]

Microsoft unveils new Surface Book 2 model with Intel’s latest quad-core processor

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Surfacebook 2

Microsoft is quietly refreshing its Surface Book 2 base model today. The software giant is introducing Intel’s latest 8th Gen quad-core i5 processor for the 13-inch Surface Book 2 model, and keeping the existing dual-core 7th Gen model at a discounted price of $1,299. The refreshed quad-core model will be priced at $1,499, and includes an i5-8350U which bumps the processor’s maximum boost clock speed up to 3.6GHz.

The new mid-range Surface Book 2 will also include 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. The processor is the only significant change, but it should make a big difference for performance. We saw impressive jumps in performance from quad-core Surface Pro 6 models compared to the dual-core chips used in previous models. Microsoft has…

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Banksy’s art authentication system displays top-notch cryptographic nous

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Banksy’s anonymity makes it hard to authenticate his pieces and prints, so Banksy has created a nonprofit called “Pest Control” that issues certificates of authenticity: you send them an alleged Banksy print and £65 and if they agree that it’s authentic, they’ll return it with a certificate that has a torn-in-half “Di-faced” fake banknote with Lady Diana’s face on it, with a handwritten ID number across the bill.

As Clinton Freeman points out, this is a great piece of cryptographic engineering: faking a Banksy cert involves matching the tear precisely, and also requires that a would-be counterfeiter know what was written on the other half of the note, which is stored at Pest Control and is not made available.

Let’s say someone did manage to recreate a convincing copy of a print, certificate and the public half of the matching Di Faced Tenner. And you want to purchase this thing that looks like an authenticated print, so you head over to Pest Control’s website and make a change of ownership request. They contact who they have on file as the current owner of the work: ‘Hey, are you going to give your print to Joe Bloggs?’. Naturally the owner, unaware of the forgery and has no intention of selling their current print is going to be confused and reply ‘WTF are you talking about?’

Can an information system be art? Because, like I said, it’s flipping sweet, and all executed in Banksy’s trademark tongue in cheek style. This whole authentication process would easily be my favourite artwork by Banksy.

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Google Maps adds Snakes game in app for April Fools’ Day

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Google is temporarily adding a version of the classic game Snakes into its Google Maps app for April Fools’ Day this year.

The company says that the game is rolling out now to iOS and Android users globally today, and that it’ll remain on the app for the rest of the week. It also launched a standalone site to play the game if you don’t have the app.

Image: Google

Users can find the game in the menu of the Maps app. To play, you select a city (Cairo, São Paulo, London, Sydney, San Francisco, Tokyo, or the entire world), and swipe to move your train or bus around the map to pick up passengers and landmarks.

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The Amazon Dash button was a physical interface to digital shopping

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In today’s digital age, it can sometimes feel like hardware has taken a back seat to the software that drives devices. Button of the Month is a column that looks at some of these buttons and switches on devices both old and new to appreciate how we interact with our devices on a physical, tactile level.

Shopping on Amazon is a vastly digital experience. Until the last few years, there hasn’t been a physical way to go and buy things from Amazon. For the overwhelming majority of Amazon purchases, there’s still no checkout lane, no aisles to browse, no physical interactions at all — famously, the company’s “One Click” software removes nearly all barriers between wanting something and buying it.

Amazon’s now-defunct Dash buttons — small,…

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These stunning drone photos really put humanity in its place

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<em>“The famous monastery of Mont Saint Michel during a foggy morning.”</em>

It may be a cliché, but drone photography really does offer a new perspective on the world.

Winners of the 2018 Aerial Photo and Video Contest from SkyPixel (an online photo-sharing community owned by Chinese drone maker DJI) show how. The pictures and videos put architecture, nature, and humanity on display from unexpected heights and angles. The resulting imagery is stunning, and might make you rethink your place in the world.

Just consider it for a second. Where are you standing or sitting right now? What would it look like if you could see yourself from a distance? What surrounds you?

This year’s winning photo in SkyPixel’s contest was taken by Deryk Baumgärtner using a Mavic Pro (above). It’s typically beautiful, showing the…

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Vignettes looks simple, but hides a deeper puzzle game

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It can be difficult to find time to finish a video game, especially if you only have a few hours a week to play. In our biweekly column Short Play we suggest video games that can be started and finished in a weekend.

Before I started playing Vignettes, I was expecting it to be a lot like Gnog, a puzzle game that turned puzzle boxes into toy-like dioramas. Maybe it was because the two games share the same brightly colored aesthetic, centered on an object floating in space. But where Gnog adds a lot to the enjoyment of its puzzles by turning them into toys you can fiddle with, Vignettes goes in the opposite direction: it starts as a toy before turning into a puzzle.

Most of Vignettes is predicated on a visual trick. You are presented with…

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Everything coming to Netflix in April 2019

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Warmer weather is finally peeking through for parts of the US — and for some reason, that’s bringing more opportunities to watch horror films. Jordan Peele’s newest horror film, Us, is still in theaters, while Netflix will start showing rebooted classics like Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D. It’s also made its own zombie apocalypse series, Black Summer, about survivors finding each other at the beginning of an outbreak. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is returning for season 2, with tensions brewing at an all-time high, as Sabrina bounces between her human friends and her magical enemies.

That said, even if horror is your least favorite genre, Netflix still has new content for all kinds of moods. Fans of Aggretsuko, a…

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Watch the creepy first trailer for AMC’s new horror series, NOS4A2

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AMC has released the first trailer for its upcoming adaptation of Joe Hill’s horror novel, NOS4A2. The network also announced that the series will premiere alongside the next season of Fear the Walking Dead on June 2nd, 2019.

First published in 2013, NOS4A2 follows the story of Victoria “Vic” McQueen (played by Ashleigh Cummings in the series), who discovers that she has a supernatural ability to find lost things by riding her bike across a strange bridge. She crosses paths with a man named Charlie Manx (played by Zachary Quinto), who kidnaps children to take them to supernatural place called Christmasland, where he feeds off of their souls and corrupts them. Vic was the only child to have ever encounter Manx and escape and those…

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