News & Analysis

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    Aereo admits defeat, files for bankruptcy

    Aereo seems to have finally accepted its demise. The company announced today that it has filed for bankruptcy to “maximize the value of its business and assets without the extensive cost and distraction of defending drawn out litigation in several courts.” The absurd tale is over. It’s taken a while for Aereo to admit defeat. The company fought to survive after the Supreme Court ruled in June that its service was violating the Copyright Act of 1976 because it acted…
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    Utah might stop sending water to an NSA data center — in 2021

    Here’s a novel solution to the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs: shut off the water that will allow its data centers to store and analyze unimaginable amounts of information without turning into a puddle of melted hard drives. It’s hard to conduct digital surveillance when the estimated one-million gallons of water sent to critical areas each day stops flowing. That’s not quite what Utah legislators discussed on Wednesday — their proposal involves the suspension of the NSA’s water service contract in 2021,…
  4. elsewhere

    China tries to get World Internet Conference attendees to support its policies

    China attempted to get World Internet Conference attendees to agree to a proposed declaration that called for stricter porn controls, the destruction of “all dissemination channels of information of violent terrorism,” and respect for individual countries’ Internet sovereignty. The declaration, which was literally slipped under attendees’ doors the day before many were scheduled to leave, wasn’t released. [Source: TechCrunch]
  5. Overheard

    “Beyond structural gender disparities, many respondents complained of a ‘macho, misogynist culture’, with bosses organizing events at strip clubs, and frequent commentary on women’s bodies the norm. That culture was reinforced elsewhere, with female staff told to smarten up, wear lipstick, and some required to attend trade shows where ‘booth babes’ – scantily-clad models promoting products – were commonplace.”

    — The Guardian, after polling readers on Valley sexism

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    With the help of Ben Horowitz, rapper Ryan Leslie wants to reinvent the record label for the new music economy

    I arrived a few minutes early to Open Kitchen, a cafeteria-style hangout in New York’s Financial District, to meet Ryan Leslie. Leslie is a Grammy-nominated R&B/hip-hop producer and performer who’s collaborated with Beyonce, Britney Spears, and Kanye West, to name a few. In fact, West once said that, along with himself, Leslie was among the only celebrities qualified to serve as a creative director for a tech company. (Kanye likening somebody else to Kanye is the highest praise the noted egomaniac could…
  8. travisferguson

    On stage at Goldman Sachs event, Uber CEO compared his company’s woes to Ferguson

    Last night, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick took a break from his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week to speak at a ritzy gathering of bankers and tech tycoons in Las Vegas, hosted by Goldman Sachs. As Buzzfeed’s Claudia Koerner reported, Kalanick opened his remarks by explaining that the company’s recent scandals weren’t the result of a rotten, top-down culture but rather: “that the company’s fast growth is responsible for a series of mistakes that have left it reeling in…
  9. uber

    Uber Sought To Hire Opposition Researcher To “Weaponize Facts”

    “Uber has in recent weeks sought to hire opposition researchers to “weaponize facts” to use against its taxi industry competition, according to a confidential recruiting document obtained by BuzzFeed News and confirmed by the company.” – Buzzfeed
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    Seth Meyers: Travis Kalanick is Axe body spray in a suit, turned sentient

    “What exactly is going on with the corporate culture at Uber? … Are you a man [Travis Kalanick], or did they just spray Axe Body Spray into a suit until it became sentient?” Seth Meyers responds to Uber’s threats against Pando’s Sarah Lacy. There’s very little funny about his whole situation, but this comes pretty damn close…
  12. bitcoin-foundation

    With Bitcoin Foundation to focus solely on core development, crypto-bulls look to wipe the slate clean in 2015

    A major shift is underway for the Bitcoin Foundation, which yesterday announced that it will cease all education, outreach, and public policy efforts in favor of focusing exclusively on core development of the Bitcoin protocol – its original purpose. In a blog post euphemistically titled “Everybody Pivots,” a reference to the popular HBO show “Silicon Valley,” the organization outlines its new mandate, writing: In the beginning, the foundation did it all — public policy, education and outreach, core development…
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    The War Nerd: Why Sherman was right to burn Atlanta

    KUWAIT CITY — There are times when the sheer ignorance and ingratitude of the American public makes you sick. This week marks the 150th anniversary of Sherman’s March from Atlanta to the Sea, which set off on November 16, 1864—the most remarkable military campaign on the 19th century, the campaign which got Lincoln reelected, broke the back of the Confederacy, and slapped most of Dixie’s insane diehards into the realization they were defeated. You’d think our newspaper of record, the…
  15. Trust Fall

    ZenPayroll CEO: Fundraising is a lot like recruiting. We care about shared values and vision

    For ZenPayroll founder Joshua Reeves, fundraising is a lot like hiring. It’s an opportunity to build a team of people with shared values, complementary skills, and a parallel vision for how a product and industry should evolve. And fortunately for Reeves, his cloud-based payroll startup is among the hottest tickets in Silicon Valley today, meaning he has his choice of “recruits” to work with. Nine months after closing its $20 million Series A financing, ZenPayroll today revealed…
  16. uber

    The New York Tech Scene Is Buzzing Over The Uber Scandal — Lots Of People Think The CEO Should Be Canned

    “Almost every startup founder or serial entrepreneur we spoke to was adamant that either Uber SVP Emil Michael or CEO Travis Kalanick — or both — needs to go.” – Business Insider
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    Is Snapcash a tool for the porn industry in disguise?

    Earlier this week, the disappearing-messages app Snapchat took a huge leap into an industry few people would have expected from what’s still considered by many to be a “sexting app”: Payments. With Snapcash, the company has partnered with Jack Dorsey’s payment company Square to allow users to send each other money as easily as adding a debit card and texting a dollar amount. It’s an inspired idea that capitalizes on Snapchat’s overwhelming popularity with young people and its super-simple user interface. This…
  19. bezos

    Bezos has turned the Washington Post into a public relations tool for Amazon’s tablets

    Kindle Fire tablet owners now have exclusive access to a new application from the Washington Post, and they’ll be able to use it for six months without having to pay for a subscription, just by virtue of using a product made by the company that allowed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to buy the Post in 2013. The arrangement could increase the Post’s distribution, make Kindle Fire tablet owners better informed, and show that both companies can innovate despite all their…
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    Amnesty International’s anti-spyware tool is the epitome of post-Snowden software

    Amnesty International has partnered with several other human rights groups to release Detekt, a free tool that allows Windows users to determine if their machines are infected with spyware. It’s part of a wider effort to maintain a modicum of privacy in the face of mass surveillance programs. It’s impossible to know how long Detekt will be able to find advanced spyware. Intelligence agencies are some of the best-funded government organizations in the world, and they have a vested interest in making…
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The Week in Review