Slack unveiled a new version of its desktop app yesterday, and it promises a significant boost in performance. Thanks to a complete overhaul, the app will supposedly launch 33 percent faster and use 50 percent less RAM. You could say Slack isn’t slacking anymore.

In a lengthy blog post, Slack explained how it completely refactored its code, comparing the process to the Ship of Theseus. On the outside, Slack looks the same; channels are where you’ve always found them, as are keyboard shortcuts, message threads, and so on. But with all new code, the app should run much better.

With previous versions of Slack, if you logged into multiple workspaces, the app created a standalone copy for each workspace. That was a drain on resources that only got worse as you joined more workspaces. Now, Slack reuses components wherever possible to avoid that drain.

As a result, Slack should be speedier and leave you with more RAM to use elsewhere. The new update also introduced an “offline mode” that reportedly helps keep things running smoothly when you drop off Wi-Fi.

As long as you’re already running version 4.0, Slack should update itself automatically to this newer better version. The company says it will roll out the update to all users over the coming weeks. [Slack]

In Other News:

  • Pandora is rolling out a new Voice Mode to iOS and Android today: Pandora has a “personal assistant” similar to Google Assistant or Alexa for you, but this one skips the smart lights and focuses on music. In Pandora’s app, you can now tap the microphone and say, “Hey, Pandora: play some music to start my day,” and Pandora will use what it knows about you to play the music you like. You don’t have to be a paid subscriber to benefit, which is pretty awesome for everyone. [Pandora]
  • Apple’s latest watchOS update restores walkie-talkie: Apple disabled the Watch’s walkie-talkie feature last week after discovering a vulnerability that allowed bad actors to eavesdrop on conversations. Now, the company is rolling out an update to watchOS and iOS that resolves the vulnerability and reenables the feature. Good turn around.  [9to5Mac]
  • Facebook Messenger for Kids let children talk with unauthorized individuals: Facebook Messenger for Kids promises to let your children message only the people you approve. But it turns out the app has a glaring loophole: anyone you approve can add unapproved individuals to a group chat with your child. If it’s another child, that means their parent had to accept the third party. Facebook shut down the group chats and promises to prevent the loophole in the future. [The Verge]
  • Amazon will deliver to the trunk of some Hondas now: Amazon’s in-car delivery is continuing to grow. If you have a Honda with HondaLink’s Remote Services package, you can now have Amazon drop off orders in the trunk of your car. The service is free, and if your vehicle is in a predictable place (like a public garage at work), it could be a good way to keep your deliveries off your porch all day. [Engadget]
  • Lancaster University is warning students hackers may have stolen their data: Lancaster, a university in the United Kingdom, says it discovered a breach of its systems on July 19th. Malicious actors managed to take names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses from the school’s servers. Worse yet, they also took student applications for the 2019 and 2020 school years, so the hackers may have stolen data for people who aren’t attending the school. The university hasn’t made it clear yet how many people are affected. [ZDNet]

Chris Kraft, NASA’s first flight director, died at the age of 95.

To say Chris Kraft was crucial to NASA would be understating his value. He drew up rules and procedures for crewed space missions and created the concept for NASA’s mission control. As Nasa chief Jim Bridenstine put it, “His legacy is immeasurable.” Kraft lived long enough to see the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing. [BBC]

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Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code.
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