Thursday, July 19, 2018

Samsung’s foldable phone will reportedly have a 7-inch screen and a secondary display -- TNW

Details rumored to unfold at CES 2019
"The Wall Street Journal’s Timothy Martin reports that Samsung’s highly anticipated foldable phone will arrive early next year with a flexible 7-inch screen and a secondary display bar on the exterior of the device.

At that size, Samsung is veering into tablet territory – but because it’s foldable, the handset will likely be as portable as smaller models.

It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out. The Korean hardware conglomerate is also believed to be working on curved batteries for this upcoming device, along with flexible OLED displays. The latter should come easy to Samsung, seeing as how it’s the leading supplier of this type of screen tech worldwide."
Samsung’s foldable phone will reportedly have a 7-inch screen and a secondary display -- TNW

IBM delivers Q2 revenue growth, IBM Z leads hardware gains -- ZDNet

In other not-dead-yet news, see Best Buy Should Be Dead, But It’s Thriving in the Age of Amazon (Bloomberg)
"Big Blue reported non-GAAP second quarter earnings of $3.08 a share on revenue of $20 billion. Wall Street was expecting IBM to deliver non-GAAP second quarter earnings of $3.04 a share on revenue of $19.85 billion. IBM delivered its second consecutive quarter of revenue growth following a solid first quarter.

The company said its cloud as-a-service revenue was at an annual run rate of $11.1 billion. IBM also showed revenue growth of 15 percent for its "strategic imperatives" revenue, which includes analytics, security, cloud and Watson.

Hardware, led by IBM Z systems, delivered the strongest revenue growth in the quarter."
IBM delivers Q2 revenue growth, IBM Z leads hardware gains --  ZDNet

The last Siri co-founder has retired from Apple -- The Verge

Hey Siri, is this a big deal?... Also see Apple put Google's former AI boss in charge of Siri and machine learning (CNBC)
"Gruber, along with Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer, cofounded Siri Inc, the company which created the original Siri app and which Apple purchased in 2010 for $200 million. Siri was introduced in the iPhone 4s the following year, with its then-unique combination of speech recognition and “assistant” features wowing critics. The honeymoon period lasted a few years, but Siri has since lost ground to rivals like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.

Kittlaus and Cheyer left Apple years ago and founded Viv Labs; another digital assistant startup that was bought by Samsung in 2016 to help shape its Bixby functionality. Gruber, meanwhile, became head of Siri’s Advanced Development Group. According to The Information, he will be leaving the company to pursue “personal interests in photography and ocean conservation.” The same story also noted the departure of Apple’s head of search, Vipul Ved Prakash, who joined the company in 2013 with the acquisition of his company Topsy, which was integrated into Spotlight to search the web and social media."
The last Siri co-founder has retired from Apple -- The Verge

Why Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook won’t ban Infowars and Holocaust deniers -- The Washington Post

Also see Mark Zuckerberg clarifies: ‘I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that.’ (Recode)
"Zuckerberg said if people flag posts as potential hoaxes, Facebook will send the content to fact-checkers who can verify the claims. If the posts are false, Facebook will “significantly reduce the distribution of that content” in the News Feed, he said.

“Reducing the distribution of misinformation — rather than removing it outright — strikes the right balance between free expression and a safe and authentic community,” Facebook said in a statement Wednesday. The company said that in coming months it will change its policies to allow the social network to remove certain types of misinformation that contribute to physical harm."
Why Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook won’t ban Infowars and Holocaust deniers -- The Washington Post

Facebook to Remove Misinformation That Leads to Violence -- NYT

For some deeply disconcerting details, see How WhatsApp Leads Mobs to Murder in India (NYT)
"“We have identified that there is a type of misinformation that is shared in certain countries that can incite underlying tensions and lead to physical harm offline,” said Tessa Lyons, a Facebook product manager. “We have a broader responsibility to not just reduce that type of content but remove it.”

Facebook has been roundly criticized over the way its platform has been used to spread hate speech and false information that prompted violence. The company has struggled to balance its belief in free speech with those concerns, particularly in countries where access to the internet is relatively new and there are limited mainstream news sources to counter social media rumors."
Facebook to Remove Misinformation That Leads to Violence --  NYT

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Murdoch Scores Another Win as Rival Sinclair Deal Imperiled -- Bloomberg

There can be only one true "Trump TV..."
"Things in Washington just keep going Rupert Murdoch’s way.

The 21st Century Fox Inc. chairman stands to be a big winner after rival Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.’s plan to buy Tribune Media Co. was thrown into jeopardy on Monday. Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, questioned the legality of the deal and proposed a hearing that could kill it.

The sudden setback for Sinclair is the latest evidence of Murdoch enjoying a hot streak in the nation’s capital. Since the 2016 presidential election, the billionaire has forged close ties with President Donald Trump. The president’s administration has recently made a series of decisions that could benefit Fox’s business or thwart its competitors. A spokesperson for Fox declined to comment."
Murdoch Scores Another Win as Rival Sinclair Deal Imperiled -- Bloomberg

Zuckerberg: The Recode interview (Recode)

A timely Kara Swisher interview; full transcript here
"In this 90-minute interview we talked about a range of things, from news to data to privacy to China to his political ambitions. As you will hear, Zuckerberg can cling closely to talking points, but he also did reveal more than he has about this annus horribilis for him and, well, the rest of us.

While many are justifiably angry at him and at Facebook, I decided to not strafe the billionaire entrepreneur. I tried instead to engage him in a conversation about how he has mishandled his growing power and responsibility and what he planned to do about it.

I think the interview gives a picture of an earnest and canny tech leader who is also grappling with the darker side of his creation. At one point, I asked him who was to blame and who should pay the price for the Cambridge Analytica controversy and he rightly named himself, as the person who invented Facebook. “Do you want me to fire myself on this podcast?” Zuckerberg joked. Spoiler alert: He did not."
Zuckerberg: The Recode interview (Recode)

Microsoft and Walmart form a digital alliance against Amazon -- Engadget

In other Walmart news, see Walmart is reportedly planning a video streaming service to compete with Netflix and Amazon (Quartz)
"Walmart has found itself a fairy godparent in Microsoft. The two companies have teamed up to "further accelerate Walmart's digital transformation in retail," and Microsoft chief Satya Nadella told The Wall Street Journal that their shared rivalry against Amazon is "absolutely core" to their partnership. Over the next five years, the retail giant will expand its use of Microsoft's cloud solutions, including Redmond's Amazon Web Services competitor Azure. While their announcement didn't specifically mention it, a Reuters report in June said Microsoft is developing a cashier-less technology powered by Azure that works just like Amazon Go. The report also said that the tech giant is already in talks with Walmart to take the tech for a spin."
Microsoft and Walmart form a digital alliance against Amazon -- Engadget

Delivering increased connectivity with our first private trans-Atlantic subsea cable -- Google Keyword blog

Check the full post for more details and a full list of Google's subsea cable investments
"This year, we’ve announced major expansions to our global cloud infrastructure, which helps us provide high quality services to our customers. We introduced new cloud regions in the Netherlands, Montreal, Finland, and opening just yesterday, Los Angeles. We invested in three consortium subsea cables--Havfrue, HK-G, and JGA-S. And we we became the first major non-telecom company to build a private intercontinental cable with our investment in the Curie cable.
Today, we’re announcing our newest private subsea cable project: Dunant. This cable crosses the Atlantic Ocean from Virginia Beach in the U.S. to the French Atlantic coast, and will expand our network--already the world’s largest--to help us better serve our users and customers. The Dunant cable is expected to become available in late 2020."
Delivering increased connectivity with our first private trans-Atlantic subsea cable -- Google Keyword blog

Facebook, boosting artificial-intelligence research, says it’s ‘not going fast enough’ -- The Washington Post

For more details: Facebook AI Research Expands With New Academic Collaborations (Facebook Newsroom)
"The world’s biggest social network said it would recruit high-profile engineers and expand its AI-research division to roughly 170 scientists and engineers across eight global offices, including Paris, Pittsburgh, Montreal, London and Tel Aviv. The expansion of the international labs and new academic partnerships will be devoted to the study of robotics, virtual animation, learning machines and other forms of AI.

Yann LeCun, Facebook’s chief AI scientist and an early machine-learning architect, said the expanded research effort was pushed by Facebook leaders such as CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “AI has become so central to the operations of companies like ours, that what our leadership has been telling us is: ‘Go faster. You’re not going fast enough,’ ” LeCun said."
Facebook, boosting artificial-intelligence research, says it’s ‘not going fast enough’ -- The Washington Post

The Biggest Spender of Political Ads on Facebook? President Trump -- NYT

On a related note, Republicans accused Facebook, Google and Twitter of bias. Democrats called the hearing ‘dumb.’ (The Washington Post) and A reporter posing as a Dublin Facebook moderator found that pages from far-right groups face looser content standards; Facebook vows to improve its training (The Verge)
"It’s official: President Trump is the single biggest political advertiser on Facebook.

Mr. Trump and his political action committee spent $274,000 on ads on the social network since early May, outpacing the second-biggest spender, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a nonprofit organization that provides reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood spent just over $188,000 on Facebook ads over the same period.

The ads bought by Mr. Trump and his PAC were also seen the most by Facebook’s users, having been viewed by at least 37 million people since May. That compared with 24 million people who saw the second-most viewed group of political ads, which were also from Planned Parenthood."
The Biggest Spender of Political Ads on Facebook? President Trump -- NYT

Google Fined $5 Billion by EU and Told to Alter Android Model -- Bloomberg

Also see Google fined a record $5 billion by the EU for Android antitrust violations (The Verge) and Google Escapes Microsoft Levels of Antitrust Pain (Bloomberg)
"The EU’s decision would bring the running total of Google fines to about 6.7 billion euros after last year’s penalty over shopping-search services. It could soon be followed by more fines from a probe into online advertising contracts.

The European Commission fine exceeds last year’s then-record 2.4 billion-euro penalty following an investigation into Google’s shopping-search service. Google owner Alphabet Inc. and the commission both declined to comment on the Android fines.

Although the fine is a record, Alphabet generated about the same amount of money every 16 days in 2017, based on the company’s reported annual revenue of $110.9 billion for the year."
Google Fined $5 Billion by EU and Told to Alter Android Model -- Bloomberg

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Washington Post is starting a channel on Amazon-owned Twitch -- Digiday

For more details, see The Washington Post launches on Twitch (The Washington Post)
"The channel will kick off with two shows. One is live news coverage hosted by video reporter Libby Casey, starting July 16 with a livestream covering President Trump’s meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, with the frequency to be determined by the news cycle. The other is a series starting July 19 called “Playing Games with Politicians” where political reporter David Weigel will interview prominent politicians (Rep. Matt Gaetz, Sen. Corey Booker and Rep. Suzan DelBene are confirmed for the first season) while they play video games.

The Post had been watching Twitch for a while because it has a big, untapped video audience. Per the platform, it has 15 million daily active users and it reportedly has 1 million views at any given time. (Twitch is also owned by Amazon, which happens to share an owner with The Washington Post.) Its decision to launch a channel was validated when it broadcast Mark Zuckerberg’s hearings on Capitol Hill in April and got 380,000 viewers the first day and 1.5 million views in all on its top clip that day. For comparison’s sake, the top channel on Twitch Friday afternoon was Fortnite, with just over 200,000 live views."
The Washington Post is starting a channel on Amazon-owned Twitch -- Digiday

How Apple Could Deliver the “Next” Big Thing in Personal Computing -- Tech.pinions

If anyone from Apple reads this blog, please consider me an enthusiastic beta test candidate :)
"While other companies are working on similar AR apps and even glasses, Apple’s historical track record suggests they could be the one that defines and refines this “next” computing experience for the masses via AR, the iPhone, and AR or mixed reality glasses. Apple’s iPod was not the first MP3 player in the market, but it became the best and dominated this market for over ten years. Apple did not bring out the first smartphone, but the iPhone redefined what a smartphone should be, and Apple is a dominant player in smartphones that also brings in over 50% of all smartphone revenues. The iPad was not the first tablet, but it is still considered the best and brings in the most revenue of any tablet maker in the market today.

However, as Apple moves to deliver their “next” version of man-machine interfaces with smart glasses, they most likely will deviate from the competition in one significant way. Most vendors I talk to believe all of the intelligence for intelligent glasses needs to be integrated into the headset or glasses themselves. The problem is that this makes these glasses bulky and heavy and makes a person look like a dork.

I believe Apple’s strategy will have the iPhone serve as the CPU and brains behind these glasses and feed the data and AR content to what I call “skinny” glasses, which would be Apple’s “next” significant way they will drive the future of personal computing. By using a future iPhone designed and tuned to deliver rich AR content to a set of smart glasses wirelessly, Apple would allow their glasses to be light and most likely look like a regular pair of glasses. It will need special optics as well as a small battery, but all of the processing and content shared through the glasses will come from an iPhone." 
How Apple Could Deliver the “Next” Big Thing in Personal Computing -- Tech.pinions

IBM seeks $167 million from Groupon in dispute over early internet patents -- Reuters

Perhaps Prodigy finally has a net-positive ROI -- earlier in the article: "IBM lawyer John Desmarais told a jury in federal court in Delaware that Groupon infringed patents describing foundational e-commerce technology that had already been licensed to Amazon Inc, Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google for between $20 million and $50 million per company."
"Two of the four patents at issue relate to Prodigy, a late-1980s forerunner to the internet, developed by IBM and others, that describe a system for showing applications and advertisements that reduces server loads.

IBM also said it patented so-called “single sign on” technology that allows consumers to log in to a retailer’s website with their Facebook or Google account.

Desmarais told jurors IBM is a prolific innovator and seeks to license its patents on reasonable terms. IBM had no choice but to sue Groupon after it refused to negotiate a licensing deal, he said."
IBM seeks $167 million from Groupon in dispute over early internet patents -- Reuters

Netflix shares plunge as subscriber growth rate stalls -- BBC

Also see Netflix isn't doomed by one quarter unless people start questioning the long-term investor thesis (CNBC)
"Netflix said it added 5.2 million subscribers in the three months to the end of June, the same number it did during the period last year.
The streaming service had forecast growth of 6.2 million.
The decline in share price follows a successful run for the stock, which had roughly doubled so far this year.
The firm's shares ended Monday's trading session at about $400, but tumbled by 14% after the market closed as investors digested the firm's quarterly results."
Netflix shares plunge as subscriber growth rate stalls -- BBC

Amazon Prime Day: Worker strikes and a site crash dent the online shopping bonanza -- The Washington Post

Perhaps they should consider migrating to Google Cloud Platform... On a brighter Amazon note, Jeff Bezos is now the richest man in modern history (CNBC)
"Prime Day, which Amazon created four years ago, has grown rapidly in recent years and now brings in billions in sales for the company. On Monday, the sale kicked off at 3 p.m. – and almost immediately crashed Amazon’s website and mobile app for about 45 minutes. “UH-OH,” said a message on the company’s app. “Something went wrong on our end.” Amazon said it was trying to fix the problem.

The Prime Day computer glitch – which appeared to be the most widespread to date – and worker strikes added up to a spate of bad news for the online giant, which has been heavily promoting its discount event for weeks."
Amazon Prime Day: Worker strikes and a site crash dent the online shopping bonanza -- The Washington Post

In Blow to Sinclair, F.C.C. Chief Says He Has ‘Serious Concerns’ With Tribune Deal -- NYT

Sinclair may also want to reconsider the informal a.k.a. "Trump TV," unless they have big plans to expand into Russia...
"The Sinclair Broadcast Group’s plan to create a broadcasting behemoth that could rival Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News was dealt a potentially crippling blow on Monday by the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Sinclair, already the largest owner of local television stations in the United States, is seeking to buy the rival Tribune Media for $3.9 billion. The F.C.C.’s chairman, Ajit Pai, said Monday that he had “serious concerns” with the acquisition and was seeking to have a judge review aspects of the deal."
In Blow to Sinclair, F.C.C. Chief Says He Has ‘Serious Concerns’ With Tribune Deal -- NYT

Monday, July 16, 2018

Kodak Bitcoin mining 'scam' evaporates -- BBC

Not a pretty picture for whoever is responsible for brand licensing at Kodak
"In January, a Bitcoin mining computer labelled Kodak KashMiner was on display on Kodak's official stand at the CES technology show in Las Vegas.
But critics labelled it a "scam" and said the advertised profits were unachievable and misleading.
Now the company behind the scheme says it will not go ahead. Kodak told the BBC it was never officially licensed."
Kodak Bitcoin mining 'scam' evaporates -- BBC

The Google Translate World Cup -- NYT

Getting closer to Star Trek's universal translator...
"The last few weeks in Russia, however, have highlighted a much more significant technological shift, a real-world innovation that has far-reaching ramifications for all of us. The defining image of this World Cup is fans from all over the planet, hosts and visitors alike, holding their cellphones out to each other to conduct conversations in languages they have never learned and would never claim to speak. This has been the Google Translate World Cup.

Across Russia for the last month, fans (and journalists) have used translation apps for everything: asking for directions, chatting with taxi drivers, getting slightly nerve-racking haircuts, checking into hotels, making friends, even flirting. The app’s camera function — which can scan and translate text — has allowed visiting fans to decode menus, decipher signs and read the names of subway stations, even if the Cyrillic alphabet remains a mystery to them."
The Google Translate World Cup -- NYT

Twitter finally suspends Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks in light of Mueller indicting 12 Russian agents who used the accounts (The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Trump's favorite media channel finally gets around to some long-overdue housekeeping
"The Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks suspensions prompted criticism from Clinton supporters who said Twitter was doing too little, too late.

Robby Mook, Clinton’s former campaign manager, said the development should serve as a sobering reminder for journalists and politicians.

“Every campaign and media outlet needs to think long and hard about how their actions may make them accessories to a foreign attack on our democracy,” Mook told The News. “This will happen again and all of us — all sides and parties — will be tested.”"
Twitter finally suspends Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks in light of Mueller indicting 12 Russian agents who used the accounts (The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Microsoft calls for regulation of facial recognition, saying it’s too risky to leave to tech industry alone -- The Washington Post

Tangentially, see Looking Through the Eyes of China’s Surveillance State (NYT)
"On Friday, company president Brad Smith urged lawmakers in a blog post to form a bipartisan and expert commission that could set standards and ward against abuses of face recognition, in which software can be used to identify a person from afar without their consent.

“This technology can catalog your photos, help reunite families or potentially be misused and abused by private companies and public authorities alike,” Smith said. “The only way to regulate this broad use is for the government to do so.”

Smith’s announcement comes amid a torrent of public criticism aimed at Microsoft, Amazon and other tech giants over their development and distribution of the powerful identification and surveillance technology — including from their own employees."
Microsoft calls for regulation of facial recognition, saying it’s too risky to leave to tech industry alone -- The Washington Post

How Russian Spies Hid Behind Bitcoin in Hacking Campaign -- NYT

Final paragraphs from a timely *coin reality check
"The Russians also used Bitcoin to pay for the servers from which they launched malware campaigns and “spearphishing” attacks against the Democratic National Committee, according to the indictment. In those attacks, it said, the Russian operatives gained control of the email accounts of American officials.

American investigators were able to use the blockchain to go back and identify some of the transactions that Russian agents made. But it was not enough to stop them from making the transactions at the time.

“The fact that cryptocurrencies are global and real time means that you might only find out about these things after the fact,” Mr. Levin said. “We need to think about the responsibilities that we all have in a world where payments move seamlessly across borders in the blink of an eye.”"
How Russian Spies Hid Behind Bitcoin in Hacking Campaign -- NYT

Friday, July 13, 2018

Fifteen months after launch, traffic and donations at WikiTribune are low, its editor Peter Bale has left, and the majority of stories are written by staff -- Nieman Lab

Excerpt from a WikiTribute profile:
"This new, “raw” design was rolled out at the end of May. Before the redesign, Wales wrote to the site’s email list, WikiTribune had started to feel complex and intimidating despite being “beautiful.”

“We didn’t really have genuine community control, and we didn’t get very much work done,” he wrote. The relaunch is not just in style, but in concept. “The push is to turn over genuine control to the community, to let people work live without a net. It’s about trusting you, and it’s about welcoming you.” A new front-end editor was rolled out this week, making it easier for anybody to hop in and start editing.

“I realized that I built Nupedia again — too top-down, too restrained, not trusting enough,” Wales told me in a Slack DM last month. (Nupedia was the predecessor of Wikipedia, but it required a seven-step, editor-driven approval process for any updates to any of its content; in its three years of operations, only 25 fully approved articles were actually published.) “I should have known better, but hey, at least this time it only took me a year to realize it — last time it took two.”"
Fifteen months after launch, traffic and donations at WikiTribune are low, its editor Peter Bale has left, and the majority of stories are written by staff -- Nieman Lab

Russian Influence Campaign Sought To Exploit Americans' Trust In Local News -- NPR

Related recommended reading: The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age
"The discovery and suspension of the local accounts suggests two things as investigators continue to build their understanding about Russia's campaign of active measures against the United States and the West.

First, that the Russian misinformation project was a years-long effort, one that wasn't simply focused on the 2016 election but on destabilizing the United States over an extended period of time.

"The Russians are playing a long game. They've developed a presence on social media. They've created these fictitious persons and fictitious organizations that have built up over a period of time a certain trustworthiness among people that follow them," said Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee.

Second, the failed effort to create local news accounts also says something about how Americans trust local news sources more than national news — and how the Russians evidently knew about that vulnerability."
Russian Influence Campaign Sought To Exploit Americans' Trust In Local News -- NPR

Apple announces $300 million clean energy fund in China -- CNBC

Meanwhile, in the U.S., Andrew Wheeler, the EPA’s new leader, is a former coal lobbyist (Boston Globe)
""Traditionally China has relied on coal, but in the past several years renewable energy has grown dramatically and is starting to take away part of coal’s market share — and with a strong push from China’s government," Sandalow said.

Thanks to those efforts, China last year installed more solar panels than the rest of the world combined and led the world in wind and hydro-power.

China may be a receptive market for incubating renewable energy initiatives, but for smaller companies with limited resources, transitioning to clean energy can be challenging. Apple hopes the scale of the China Clean Energy Fund will give fund participants greater purchasing power to pivot toward clean energy."
Apple announces $300 million clean energy fund in China -- CNBC

Thank You for Your Help NoSQL, but We Got It from Here -- MemSQL Blog

Check the full post for a timely NoSQL reality check by MemSQL's product management lead
"Dealing with these trade-offs might be NoSQL’s greatest contribution to the database world. It forced an evolution, combining the best of the big data capabilities with the structure and flexibility of the proven relational model to produce a scalable relational database.

Relational databases evolved to create an entirely new generation of systems that can handle nearly all of the workloads, with the scalability, reliability, and availability requirements that modern applications demand. From traditional workloads such as transactional applications and business analytics, to newer workloads such as multi-tenant services and operational analytics. The rise of new databases such as Google Spanner, Azure Data Warehouse, and our eponymous database, MemSQL, have proven that, for the majority of use cases, relational databases are easier to use and generally perform better than the NoSQL systems.

I know this might be controversial. I also know that you might quickly dismiss my perspective as biased. But let me break down the history, architecture, and applications of these databases, then judge for yourself."
Thank You for Your Help NoSQL, but We Got It from Here -- MemSQL Blog

The Scooter Wars will be a bloodbath — and Uber will win -- Recode

An Uber reality check by the co-founding CEO of Sidecar
"Like other marketplaces — think Airbnb and Amazon — Uber brings together supply and demand. Demand comes from consumers wanting to go from A to B. Supply comes from drivers giving rides in their own cars. If you have a lot of demand, it’s relatively easy to build out new supply.

So when Uber bought Jump, the bike-sharing startup, it signaled the beginning of the end of Bird and Spin. Why? Because Uber already won the ride-sharing wars and now has a dominant source of demand for mobility solutions. When you combine this advantage with the lessons Uber learned from its first fight, the only hope for the scooter companies is an anti-Uber backlash — or to be bought by Uber. That is why Uber’s deal with Lime — the ride-hail giant is investing in Lime in a new $335 million round that values the electric scooter company at $1.1 billion — is so important. It is likely the first step toward an eventual acquisition."
The Scooter Wars will be a bloodbath — and Uber will win -- Recode

Justice Department to appeal its loss in the AT&T-Time Warner trial -- The Washington Post

I'm guessing it'll take a few decades for the increased DirectTV Now profits to cover the next round of AT&T legal fees...
"During the trial the Justice Department argued that the merger could raise prices for consumers and for the companies' rivals, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year. In response, AT&T said that the deal would actually lead to lower prices for TV viewers.

Soon after the deal closed, AT&T announced a price increase for DirecTV Now, the company’s online streaming video service. The company said it was increasing rates to bring the product in line with the rest of the market. But it is unclear how that price hike could affect the litigation. Some analysts said it could reflect negatively on judge Richard Leon’s analysis of the case and possibly benefit the Justice Department. The agency did not respond when asked whether the price changes contributed to its decision to appeal."
Justice Department to appeal its loss in the AT&T-Time Warner trial -- The Washington Post

Thursday, July 12, 2018

4 new ways Microsoft 365 takes the work out of teamwork—including free version of Microsoft Teams -- Microsoft Office 365 blog

I'm old enough to remember when people actually had to pay for communication/collaboration apps...
"Beginning today, Teams is available in a free version worldwide in 40 languages. Whether you’re a freelancer, a small business owner, or part of a team inside a large organization, you can start using Teams today.
The free version includes the following for up to 300 people:
  • Unlimited chat messages and search.
  • Built-in audio and video calling for individuals, groups, and full team meetups.
  • 10 GB of team file storage plus additional 2 GB per person for personal storage.
  • Integrated, real-time content creation with Office Online apps, including built-in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
  • Unlimited app integrations with 140+ business apps to choose from—including Adobe, Evernote, and Trello.
  • Ability to communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside your organization, backed by Microsoft’s secure, global infrastructure."
p.s. the Standard edition of Workplace by Facebook is also free, and the Premium edition is at most $3/active user/month; the Premium version is also free for nonprofits and educational institution staff
4 new ways Microsoft 365 takes the work out of teamwork—including free version of Microsoft Teams -- Microsoft Office 365 blog

Magic Leap is shipping its first headset this summer -- The Verge

See Magic Leap One will ship this summer with Nvidia Tegra X2 processor (VentureBeat) for more details
"Magic Leap’s first “spatial computing” mixed reality headset, the Magic Leap One Creator Edition, is shipping this summer. The company announced the news in a live stream today, narrowing down a previous statement that it would ship this year. It’s following up on an announcement from this morning, when AT&T revealed that it would be the exclusive US carrier partner for Magic Leap. However, Magic Leap still hasn’t confirmed an exact date or a price, although the company has previously said it would cost at least as much as a high-end smartphone.

Magic Leap has been slowly pulling back the veil on its headset. On its stream today, it revealed a few specifications on the headset, like the fact that it will use an Nvidia Tegra X2 processor. The stream also showed an an actual experience: a tech demo known as Dodge, where users have to dodge or block shots from a rock-throwing golem."
Magic Leap is shipping its first headset this summer -- The Verge

Weirdest. Acquisition. Ever. Broadcom buys CA Technologies -- The Register

I'm reminded of Larry Ellison's comment about Computer Associates, when it was busy acquiring faltering enterprise DBMS companies: "every ecosystem needs a scavenger" (see this 2007 Platformonomics post for context); on a related note, see China is winning the global tech race (Financial Times)
"This acquisition doesn’t offer any immediately obvious “commercial synergies” - overlaps that let the new management play The Hunger Games with engineers working on duplicate projects - but rather propels Broadcom into an entirely new market.

The two have this in common: their appetite for acquisitions (at its 2018 financial presentation CA highlighted its latest strategic buys, application security company Veracode and devops automation outfit Automic). Apart from that, enterprise software has nothing much in common than silicon chips.

The stock announcement doesn’t mention management arrangements, but it’s likely that CA will form the basis of a new business unit under Broadcom, since there’s no obvious division to roll it into."
Weirdest. Acquisition. Ever. Broadcom buys CA Technologies -- The Register

Hell for Elon Musk Is a Midsize Sedan -- Bloomberg

Final paragraphs from an extensive Tesla reality check; also see Tesla makes massive bet on China with new 500,000-car Shanghai factory (Ars Technica)
"At present, the Model 3 is selling more units in the U.S. than any comparably priced midsize sedan, including those offered by Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi. It’s fast and fun to drive. When you stomp the accelerator, the Model 3 stomps back, and Tesla’s designers tried to replicate the feeling of instantaneous acceleration in every aspect of the driving experience. “Point and shoot,” says Lars Moravy, Tesla’s director of chassis dynamics. “There’s no overshoot, and there’s no delay. That’s the essence of the electric motor and our name.”
Of course, quick acceleration isn’t unique to the Model 3; it’s true of all electric cars. But the fact that there even is a market for these vehicles is to a large extent Musk’s doing. He set out to teach the world that consumers would pay for zero-emissions cars in huge numbers. Whatever happens to Tesla, he’s succeeded in that. Tesla is, as Musk says, “a real car company.” That’s glorious, and it’s also hell."
Hell for Elon Musk Is a Midsize Sedan -- Bloomberg

Battling Fake Accounts, Twitter to Slash Millions of Followers -- NYT

Also see Twitter’s wiping tens of millions of accounts from its platform (Vox)
"The reform takes aim at a pervasive form of social media fraud. Many users have inflated their followers on Twitter or other services with automated or fake accounts, buying the appearance of social influence to bolster their political activism, business endeavors or entertainment careers.

Twitter’s decision will have an immediate impact: Beginning on Thursday, many users, including those who have bought fake followers and any others who are followed by suspicious accounts, will see their follower numbers fall. While Twitter declined to provide an exact number of affected users, the company said it would strip tens of millions of questionable accounts from users’ followers. The move would reduce the total combined follower count on Twitter by about 6 percent — a substantial drop."
Battling Fake Accounts, Twitter to Slash Millions of Followers -- NYT

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Inside X, the Moonshot Factory Racing to Build the Next Google -- Wired

From an extensive profile
"Loon and Wing are not the first projects to get their diplomas from X (and, yes, employees get actual diplomas). Verily, a life sciences outfit with plans to monitor glucose levels with contact lenses, made the leap in 2015. And lo, the self-driving effort made the leap in December 2016, taking on the name Waymo. Cybersecurity project Chronicle ascended to autonomy in January.

The dual graduation of Loon and Wing—both big, ambitious, projects—marks a watershed for X and perhaps the moment when the secretive research and design division starts to make good on its mission. For the technological giant that has made its billions in advertising, X isn’t a junk drawer for unusual projects that don’t fit elsewhere in the corporate structure. It’s a focused attempt to find a formula for turning out revolutionary products that don’t just sit on a screen but interact with the physical world. By launching Loon and Wing into the world, X will soon discover whether it can effectively hatch new Googles—and put Alphabet at the head of industries that don’t yet exist.

But Alphabet’s attempt to birth the next generation of moonshot companies raises two questions. Can this behemoth grow exponentially? And do we want it to?"
Inside X, the Moonshot Factory Racing to Build the Next Google -- Wired

Elon Musk Defends Mini Submarine Left Unused in Thai Cave Rescue -- Bloomberg

Rescue different
"Videos of tests conducted in the swimming pool of Palisades Charter High School, about 20 miles from SpaceX headquarters, showed divers towing the pod through the water, lifting it out and depressurizing it. An engineer who had been riding inside then emerged from the tight space. He appeared to have just enough room to fit while lying down with his arms folded over his chest.

The aluminum pod followed earlier rescue ideas Musk suggested, including using an inflatable tube or air sock, and another type of pod made from Kevlar. Musk tweeted on Monday that the pod was “ready if needed” and that he would leave it in Thailand “in case it may be useful in the future.” With some modifications, the project could come in handy on a future rocket mission, Musk wrote. “This could also work as an escape pod in space.”"
Elon Musk Defends Mini Submarine Left Unused in Thai Cave Rescue -- Bloomberg

Jaron Lanier on Fighting Big Tech’s ‘Manipulation Engine’ -- Financial Times

Also consider listening to Jaron Lanier’s case for deleting social media right now (The Ezra Klein Show)
"One of his biggest critiques of social media is that it de-contextualises and mashes up meaning. Every statement is chopped up into algorithmic-friendly shreds and recontextualised, often triggering a “cranky backlash” that renders it meaningless; the election of Donald Trump was the natural outcome of this cognitive confusion. Lanier says he has met Trump several times over the past three decades and has always regarded him as a typical New York conman. But, he argues, Trump has been reprogrammed by his interactions with social media. “What has happened with Trump is that he’s taking on a personality disorder that’s associated with social media addiction, the snowflake personality, where the person is super-insecure, super-ready to jump into a bizarre social pissing match.”
According to Lanier, Trump’s election has shaken the social media companies out of their complacency. The subsequent scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica’s abuse of Facebook data has further rattled Silicon Valley and left the sector open to outside thinking. “I’m still considered a bit of an outlier, and my ideas might be somewhat radical but they’re definitely treated as a normal part of the conversation now.”"
Jaron Lanier on Fighting Big Tech’s ‘Manipulation Engine’ -- Financial Times

Valley of Genius book excerpt: an oral history of the early days at Google as told by its founders, early employees, advisers, and more -- Vanity Fair

For another excerpt, see Sex, Beer, and Coding: Inside Facebook's Wild Early Days (Wired)
"In 1996, as the World Wide Web was taking off, Larry Page and Sergey Brin watched from the sidelines. Unlike the rest of Silicon Valley, they weren’t interested in using the Internet to buy and sell stuff, or to read and publish stories, or even to score Grateful Dead tickets. They wanted to use it, rather, to get their doctorates. The Web was the uncharted frontier of computer science, and Page and Brin were hardly interested at all in the Web’s content—what they wanted to understand was its shape.

As such, Google, in its capitalist incarnation, was kind of a mistake—an accidental by-product of graduate-student whimsy and curiosity and preposterous dreams. The company itself was almost literally founded at Burning Man, which is apt, because the true point of Google was always to get as far-out as possible: to build cars that drove themselves, an elevator that could reach into outer space, even someday (a day that seems to be approaching rather quickly) a true, general artificial intelligence."
Valley of Genius book excerpt: an oral history of the early days at Google as told by its founders, early employees, advisers, and more -- Vanity Fair

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Building a better news experience on YouTube, together -- YouTube blog

From a multifaceted YouTube news update; hopefully not partnering with Sinclair Broadcast Corp.; also see YouTube Debuts Plan to Promote and Fund 'Authoritative' News (Wired)
"Showcasing more local news, starting with the U.S.
Many people want, value, and trust local news. And when a major event happens, local reporters are often the first on site to capture events as they unfold. We’ve begun testing features that surface local news in the YouTube app for TV screens across 25 media markets around the United States, making it easy to access local news in the living room--our fastest growing screen. So far, local news has seen strong engagement, and we will be expanding it to dozens more markets like Cincinnati, Las Vegas and Kansas City."
Building a better news experience on YouTube, together -- YouTube blog

Intel’s Toxic Culture -- Monday Note

From a stark Intel reality check
"Sharp-eyed readers will see that my psychologized exploration of Intel’s troubles (some of them, anyway; there are more) is but an alternative description of the x86 maker allowing itself to be disrupted because of its fixation on high margins. This is true. But I believe the emotional, cultural element is just as crucial. We see in other walks of life how annoying facts harden into counterfactual beliefs and paralyze us into inaction. Staying inside our tech world, we’ve seen how Microsoft’s OS licensing culture dismissed Android’s “free and open” model until it was too late. Indulge me and imagine a world where, in 2007, instead of yuk-yucking at Apple’s iPhone price, Microsoft had come out a week before the Android announcement and made their own offer: A free and open Windows Mobile OS.
As Peter Drucker reportedly said: Culture eats strategy for breakfast."
Intel’s Toxic Culture -- Monday Note

Elon Musk unveils ‘kid-size’ submarine for Thai cave rescue -- The Washington Post

Repurposing a SpaceX liquid oxygen transfer tube; also see Elon Musk's submarine 'not practical' for Thai cave mission, rescue head says (CNET)
"The world is captivated by the plight of a Thai soccer team trapped in a flooded cave — and so, too, is billionaire inventor Elon Musk.

As rescuers began a daring extraction of the boys and their coach from the cave over the weekend, Musk said he had sent a “kid-size submarine” to the country to assist in the massive rescue effort.

“Hopefully useful,” he wrote in one tweet, noting that the device would arrive in 17 hours. “If not, perhaps it will be in a future situation.”"

Elon Musk unveils ‘kid-size’ submarine for Thai cave rescue -- The Washington Post

Facebook’s Push for Facial Recognition Prompts Privacy Alarms -- NYT

Two paragraphs later: "Rochelle Nadhiri, a Facebook spokeswoman, said its system analyzes faces in users’ photos to check whether they match with those who have their facial recognition setting turned on. If the system cannot find a match, she said, it does not identify the unknown face and immediately deletes the facial data." Tangentially, see Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras (NYT)
"Facebook’s push to spread facial recognition also puts the company at the center of a broader and intensifying debate about how the powerful technology should be handled. The technology can be used to remotely identify people by name without their knowledge or consent. While proponents view it as a high-tech tool to catch criminals, civil liberties experts warn it could enable a mass surveillance system.

Facial recognition works by scanning faces of unnamed people in photos or videos and then matching codes of their facial patterns to those in a database of named people. Facebook has said that users are in charge of that process, telling them: “You control face recognition.”

But critics said people cannot actually control the technology — because Facebook scans their faces in photos even when their facial recognition setting is turned off."
Facebook’s Push for Facial Recognition Prompts Privacy Alarms -- NYT

Microsoft’s Surface Go tablet has a 10-inch screen and starts at $399 -- The Verge

In other tablet news, see Why Amazon keeps making tablets when the market has been struggling (The Washington Post), which notes "Amazon doesn’t release sales figures, but analysts at IDC said that last year the company’s tablet business grew 50 percent in the holiday quarter, when it makes most of its tablet sales. Compare that with Apple, which IDC estimates saw just 0.6 percent growth at that time, or Samsung, which saw its market share decline by 13 percent from the previous year."
"Microsoft might have a challenge finding the right customer for the Surface Go, as it straddles the line between a consumption device like Apple’s $329 iPad and a more powerful (and more expensive) productivity tablet like Microsoft’s own Surface Pro or the iPad Pro. Compared to the standard iPad, the Surface Go will be challenged by Apple’s deep bench of apps designed for touchscreens and entertainment, as Windows 10 still lags far behind when it comes to touch optimized apps. For use as a dedicated productivity machine when paired with the keyboard attachment, the Go’s lower-end processor might not be powerful enough to really work well as an everyday computer.

It seems like Microsoft is targeting the person that uses an iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard instead of a laptop, but doesn’t rely on it enough to pony up for the iPad Pro or the even more expensive Surface Pro. The Surface Go will provide that person with access to the full Windows 10 experience, along with Microsoft’s full Office productivity suite, while still being significantly less expensive than the Surface Pro. We should be able to find out the answers to these questions and more when the Surface Go hits shelves next month."
Microsoft’s Surface Go tablet has a 10-inch screen and starts at $399 -- The Verge

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Self-Driving Cars are Headed Toward an AI Roadblock (The Verge)

For a related reality check, consider listening to After On podcast Episode 23: Rodney Brooks | Robotics & AI - Their Present & Future
"On its face, full autonomy seems closer than ever. Waymo is already testing cars on limited-but-public roads in Arizona. Tesla and a host of other imitators already sell a limited form of Autopilot, counting on drivers to intervene if anything unexpected happens. There have been a few crashes, some deadly, but as long as the systems keep improving, the logic goes, we can’t be that far from not having to intervene at all.

But the dream of a fully autonomous car may be further than we realize. There’s growing concern among AI experts that it may be years, if not decades, before self-driving systems can reliably avoid accidents. As self-trained systems grapple with the chaos of the real world, experts like NYU’s Gary Marcus are bracing for a painful recalibration in expectations, a correction sometimes called “AI winter.” That delay could have disastrous consequences for companies banking on self-driving technology, putting full autonomy out of reach for an entire generation."
Self-Driving Cars are Headed Toward an AI Roadblock (The Verge)

Crypto Thefts Triple, Driving Growth in Coin Money-Laundering -- Bloomberg

Maybe something like a government-based central authority would help...
"Crypto coins number more than 1,600, and tracking them all is increasingly difficult -- which gives criminals an opening. Regulators have said that many exchanges and startups issuing new coins still don’t do enough to check customer identities and verify that users aren’t laundering stolen funds. Users buying and selling coins are typically represented by anonymous addresses.

Meanwhile, many exchanges -- and new ones are opening all the time -- have security vulnerabilities. And cryptocurrencies, once stolen, often can’t be returned or even traced to the thieves.

“It’s a lot easier than robbing banks,” Jevans said."
Crypto Thefts Triple, Driving Growth in Coin Money-Laundering -- Bloomberg

How Smart TVs in Millions of U.S. Homes Track More Than What’s on Tonight -- NYT

A good way to encourage people to dumb-down their "smart TVs..."
"Once enabled, Samba TV can track nearly everything that appears on the TV on a second-by-second basis, essentially reading pixels to identify network shows and ads, as well as programs on Netflix and HBO and even video games played on the TV. Samba TV has even offered advertisers the ability to base their targeting on whether people watch conservative or liberal media outlets and which party’s presidential debate they watched.

The big draw for advertisers — which have included Citi and JetBlue in the past, and now Expedia — is that Samba TV can also identify other devices in the home that share the TV’s internet connection.

Samba TV, which says it has adhered to privacy guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission, does not directly sell its data. Instead, advertisers can pay the company to direct ads to other gadgets in a home after their TV commercials play, or one from a rival airs. Advertisers can also add to their websites a tag from Samba TV that allows them to determine if people visit after watching one of their commercials."
How Smart TVs in Millions of U.S. Homes Track More Than What’s on Tonight -- NYT

Employee Uprisings Sweep Many Tech Companies. Not Twitter. -- NYT

From a timely Twitter reality check; tangentially, see Trump Twitter Risk Adds a New Wild Card to Friday’s Jobs Report (Bloomberg)
"The social network favored by President Trump has a complicated political ethos. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder and chief executive, is an outspoken supporter of liberal causes, and the company has reveled in its centrality to viral progressive movements — the Arab Spring, #BlackLivesMatter, #metoo and #MarchForOurLives were all animated by forces on Twitter.

But Twitter’s real-world effect has hardly been a liberal panacea. Around the world and particularly in the United States, Twitter is used every day to infuse misogyny, racial and ethnic animus and conspiratorial thinking into mainstream news coverage.

And Twitter is obviously the favored tool of President Trump, who has recently picked up the pace of his tweeting. The president often uses the service to seed threats and falsehoods into the world — falsehoods that are then picked up and amplified by supporters and critics alike, ricocheting to deafening effect across the news."
Employee Uprisings Sweep Many Tech Companies. Not Twitter. -- NYT

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Apple’s Most Strategic Investment So Far This Year -- Tech.pinions

News with Texture -- see the full post for more details on Apple's content + curation possibilities
"There has been a lot of speculation lately that Apple is getting ready to create some media bundle that would be under subscription. According to multiple sites, the idea would be to bundle all of their media properties under a special program that mirrors something like Amazon’s Prime services.

I have no direct knowledge that this will happen but if you read the tea leaves surrounding Apple’s various acquisitions and new media emphasis, it is not too hard to see this possibility.

With that in mind, their most strategic investment so far this year that could be related to this is Texture, the magazine subscription service that has close to 200 magazines in this service for $9.99 a month. I am a big fan of Texture and use it almost daily to read highlighted articles they put in a particular article overview section as well as actual magazines I like to read, especially the food, sports and news magazines available."
Apple’s Most Strategic Investment So Far This Year -- Tech.pinions

Amazon Closes on Apple in the $1 Trillion Stakes -- Bloomberg

Tbd if Amazon and/or Apple will get there before Trump recession 1.0...
"Apple Inc. has had a lock on its spot as the world’s most valuable public company by stock value for several years, and we’ve been waiting for it to crest the $1 trillion market cap milestone. The company inched within $50 billion of that mark in early June before its share price retreated a bit. Apple’s trek to $1 trillion has been closely chronicled by news outlets, including this one, and it’s a good bet there are articles and essays prepped for what seems like an  inevitable moment for Apple.

Amazon, though, is coming up fast.

At the beginning of this year, Apple’s stock market value was 50 percent bigger than Amazon’s. Now the gap is about 10 percent. The spread between the two companies was about $85 billion as of Friday’s U.S. market close. That is a big but not insurmountable gap if Amazon keeps up its torrid stock gains. In 2018 alone, the value of Amazon’s shares has climbed $260 billion. Yes, Amazon has added the equivalent of Walmart’s total market cap in just six months."

Amazon Closes on Apple in the $1 Trillion Stakes  -- Bloomberg

A Bug in Samsung's Default Texting App Is Sending Random Pics to Other People -- Gizmodo

Oops...
"Sending pictures to others is one of the most basic functions of a smartphone, but when your phone’s texting app starts randomly pushing out photos without your knowledge, you got a problem.

And unfortunately, according to a smattering of complaints on Reddit and the official Samsung forums, it seems that’s exactly what happened to a handful of Samsung phone users, including owners of late model devices such as the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S9.

According to user reports, the problem stems from Samsung Messages, the default texting app on Galaxy devices, which (for reasons that haven’t been determined), is erroneously sending pictures stored on the devices to random contacts via SMS. One user on Reddit even claims that instead of sending one pic, Samsung Messages sent out their entire photo gallery to a contact in the middle of the night."
A Bug in Samsung's Default Texting App Is Sending Random Pics to Other People -- Gizmodo

Lyft gets into bike-share business, acquiring operator of Capital Bikeshare and Citi Bike -- The Washington Post

Ride different
"The ride-hailing company acquired Motivate, the operator of Capital Bikeshare and New York’s Citi Bike, among other bikeshare services, in a deal believed to be valued at least $250 million. The company will introduce “Lyft Bikes,” seizing on the momentum around dockless and pedal-assist e-bikes in major U.S. cities, and inject resources into the bikeshare operator to expand those offerings around the country.

It was not immediately clear where Lyft planned to launch those services; the company declined to comment Monday on the details of any product rollouts.

“Lyft and Motivate have both been committed for years to the same goal of reducing the need for personal car ownership by providing reliable and affordable ways to move around our cities,” Lyft co-founder and President John Zimmer said in a statement. “Bringing together Lyft and Motivate will accelerate our collaboration with cities and deliver even better experiences to our passengers and riders.”"
Lyft gets into bike-share business, acquiring operator of Capital Bikeshare and Citi Bike -- The Washington Post

Facebook Isn’t Silicon Valley’s Only Problem -- NYT

A timely personal data reality check; on a related note, see Interpublic is near a deal to buy Acxiom's marketing solutions unit for around $2.2 billion (CNBC)
"Take, for instance, the industry’s widespread but largely nontransparent partnerships with data brokers — companies that are in the business of quietly collecting an enormous amount of sensitive personal data and selling it to whoever will pay for it. Facebook announced recently that it will shut down Partner Categories, the feature that allows data brokers to pipe sensitive information — like your personal interests and behaviors — into Facebook’s advertising management system. That allows marketers like Chanel or the N.B.A. to target you with digital ads that they predict you will find relevant. Facebook’s pivot was both necessary to protect individual privacy and long overdue.

But the use of data provided by leading data brokers like Acxiom, Experian and Oracle — which typically disclose very little about what kinds of personal data they have and how they use it — is still commonplace across the internet, and most tech companies are willfully uncommunicative about the nature of their commercial partnerships with data brokers. Digital marketers still purchase access to tools and products provided by data brokers and apply them in ad campaigns on major internet platforms as a matter of everyday business."
Facebook Isn’t Silicon Valley’s Only Problem -- NYT

Monday, July 02, 2018

Tim Berners-Lee, the Man Who Created the World Wide Web, Has Some Regrets -- Vanity Fair

See the Solid site for more details
"The idea is simple: re-decentralize the Web. Working with a small team of developers, he spends most of his time now on Solid, a platform designed to give individuals, rather than corporations, control of their own data. “There are people working in the lab trying to imagine how the Web could be different. How society on the Web could look different. What could happen if we give people privacy and we give people control of their data,” Berners-Lee told me. “We are building a whole eco-system.”

For now, the Solid technology is still new and not ready for the masses. But the vision, if it works, could radically change the existing power dynamics of the Web. The system aims to give users a platform by which they can control access to the data and content they generate on the Web. This way, users can choose how that data gets used rather than, say, Facebook and Google doing with it as they please. Solid’s code and technology is open to all—anyone with access to the Internet can come into its chat room and start coding. “One person turns up every few days. Some of them have heard about the promise of Solid, and they are driven to turn the world upside down,” he says. Part of the draw is working with an icon. For a computer scientist, coding with Berners-Lee is like playing guitar with Keith Richards. But more than just working with the inventor of the Web, these coders come because they want to join the cause. These are digital idealists, subversives, revolutionaries, and anyone else who wants to fight the centralization of the Web. For his part, working on Solid brings Berners-Lee back to the Web’s early days: “It’s under the radar, but working on it in a way puts back some of the optimism and excitement that the ‘fake news’ takes out.”"
Tim Berners-Lee, the Man Who Created the World Wide Web, Has Some Regrets -- Vanity Fair

Why LinkedIn wants to make original journalism -- The Drum

On a related note, from February: Facebook is taking a page from LinkedIn and expanding its job listings (Quartz)
"Having reached the point where more than a million posts, videos and articles are being shared on its platform every day, LinkedIn is now moving beyond merely hosting others’ work and is attempting to forge a surprising reputation of its own for original journalism.

The Microsoft-owned company, which started life as a social network for professionals 15 years ago, has been metamorphosing into an increasingly sophisticated publishing platform and is today home to a 50-strong and growing team of professional journalists spread across five continents.

Alumni of distinguished publishers such as Reuters, The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal, it is their job to sprinkle editorial credibility on top of the mountains of user-generated content – of varying degrees of quality – posted into LinkedIn news feeds every day by legions of ‘thought leaders’."
Why LinkedIn wants to make original journalism -- The Drum

Did Satoshi Nakamoto Write This Book Excerpt? A Wired Investigation -- Wired

A new summer hobby for cryptocurrency fans; also see Bitcoin Creator, Whoever It Is, Hints at Telling All in Book (Bloomberg)
"The “who was Satoshi” game is more than a cute online parlor exercise, given the vast resources apparently locked away in Nakamoto’s digital wallets. Researchers believe that the person or persons who invented Bitcoin still retains upwards of 900,000 Bitcoins, a fortune that even at today’s depressed prices—Bitcoin is down about 70 percent from its peak value of $22,000 per coin at the end of last year—would net Nakamoto about $5.8 billion. That’s roughly the equivalent of designer Ralph Lauren’s fortune and enough, if he is an American, to place Nakamoto among the 100 wealthiest Americans.

“The truth is one that people will not come to expect,” Nakamoto says in the excerpt, continuing, “Because the truth is too special to give away, requires a long answer, which will be in the book.”"
Did Satoshi Nakamoto Write This Book Excerpt? A Wired Investigation -- Wired

Here’s Some Cryptocurrency. Now Please Use It. -- NYT

That inevitable phase in the introduction of a new cryptocurrency in which you have to bribe people to actually use it for its ostensible function...
"Ripple, a San Francisco company that is rolling in money thanks to last year’s run-up in the value of cryptocurrencies, was behind the giveaways. And it has quietly become one of the most valuable start-ups of the last decade thanks to the value of XRP, the digital token its founders created six years ago.

Now comes the hard part: persuading people to use XRP for something other than speculative trading. It is an issue facing most of the still-young cryptocurrency industry. Digital tokens like Bitcoin and its many imitators (like XRP) were designed to make electronic transactions of all sorts easier. But today almost no transactions are happening, other than on virtual currency exchanges where people bet on their price."
Here’s Some Cryptocurrency. Now Please Use It. -- NYT

CEO Musk: Tesla hits weekly goal of making 5,000 Models 3s -- The Washington Post

Also see Can Elon Musk and Tesla Reinvent the Way Cars Are Made? (NYT)
"Electric car maker Tesla Inc. has delivered on its CEO’s promise to build a lower-priced car at a rate of 5,000 per week by the end of June.

CEO Elon Musk sent an e-mail to company employees Sunday praising them for producing 5,000 Model 3s, a compact car that’s designed to shift Tesla from a niche manufacturer to a mainstream automaker. Musk also said the company had cranked out a combined 2,000 of Model S sedans and Model X sport-utility vehicles, bringing overall production to a record 7,000 for the week."
CEO Musk: Tesla hits weekly goal of making 5,000 Models 3s -- The Washington Post

Dell to Return to Public Trading, but Still in Its Founder’s Hands -- NYT

Dude, you're getting DVMT shares (but no meaningful shareholder voting rights); also see Dell Is Said to Acquire VMware's $17 Billion Tracking Stock (Bloomberg)
"Mr. Dell and Silver Lake are expected to announce as early as Monday that they have struck a $21.7 billion deal to buy out investors in a special class of shares created in 2016 to help Dell buy the networking company EMC. That stock effectively tracks the performance of Dell’s 82 percent stake in VMware, the fast-growing network software company that Dell inherited when it bought EMC. (The other 18 percent of VMware is publicly traded as a different stock.)

The deal, which was approved by the boards of Dell and VMware on Sunday evening, would simplify the stock structure of Dell and its publicly traded subsidiary. But it would also mark the return of Dell to the public markets, with a twist: The special shares held by Mr. Dell and Silver Lake would give them more votes than other investors."
Dell to Return to Public Trading, but Still in Its Founder’s Hands -- NYT