News & Analysis

  1. Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 8.45.04 PM

    Why the Instagrammers whose photos Richard Prince sold for $90,000 should stop complaining

    Richard Prince is an artist with a long history of “reappropriation.” In 1989, he re-photographed an existing photo of a cowboy from a cigarette ad and sold it for $1 million. He did the same with a highly sexualized photo of Brooke Shields taken when she was 10 years old. And now he’s attracted the ire of the Internet’s outrage machine after blowing up a number of other people’s Instagram photos and selling them for upwards of $90,000. Which isn’t fair,…
  3. deep-web

    As Ross Ulbricht is jailed for life, Alex Winter’s “really fucking sad” Silk Road movie feels even more tragic

    Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind behind Silk Road, has been sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors described Ulbricht as “the kingpin of a worldwide digital drug-trafficking enterprise.” During sentencing, the judge told him “what you did in connection with Silk Road was terribly destructive to our social fabric.” In Alex Winter’s documentary, “Deep Web,” which airs Sunday night on Epix, the director paints Ulbricht as, at worst, a naive idealist who found himself at the mercy of an overzealous, even…
  4. Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 4.00.19 PM

    The dawn of the Age of the Silicon Valley Tuxedo – A company is Kickstarting “classy” sweatpants

    Over the past week, I’ve probably changed my opinion a dozen times over how I feel about a new Kickstarter campaign from a Chicago-based “fashion” startup called Public Rec. At first, my reaction to their All Day Every Day pants was a mix of horror, laughter, and a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me awe. You see, the company is trying to dress up sweatpants. But as I thought about Public Rec’s pants a bit more, the idea of being able to wear…
  5. amazon-prime

    Amazon’s reportedly planning its own line of grocery products and household items

    Amazon isn’t content selling household goods from other companies — it wants to offer its own branded products as well, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company is said to be focusing on a variety of goods that will be marketed under its Elements brand. (Apparently fire-related branding is restricted to the company’s e-book readers, set-top boxes, and budget tablets or smartphones.) Among those products are baby food, household cleaners, milk, and others. Here’s a partial list…
  7. nsa_eagle

    UN: Government efforts to undermine encryption threaten basic human rights

    The United States is once again at odds with the United Nations over the country’s efforts to undermine encryption tools, curtail anonymity, and engage in wanton spying. A report from special rapporteur David Kaye argues against all those endeavors, but it’s particularly focused on how efforts to subvert the security of encrypted information threatens free expression and the unimpeded flow of information. Kaye writes in the report that encryption and anonymity “create a zone of privacy to protect opinion…
  8. elsewhere

    iPhone bug heads to Twitter and Snapchat

    Remember the bug that can make an iPhone crash whenever it receives a specific string of characters in a text message? Well, thanks to a few innovative assholes, we now know that it also works if the characters are sent via Twitter or Snapchat. Is there nothing sacred? [Source: The Guardian]
  9. Overheard

    “Trust is incredibly important when it comes to photos. With the rise of smartphones, photography has extended way beyond kids, sunsets, and puppies. It’s now common to photograph receipts, passports, credit cards, and all kinds of legal documents as a means of record keeping. We still photograph our kids in the tub, only now they’re stored with geotags.”

    — The Verge's Thomas Ricker on Google's new Photos

  11. elsewhere

    Apple explains how to recover from messages bug

    Apple has told its customers how to regain access to its Messages app after someone sends a malicious text that causes it to bug out. The trick: using Siri to respond to whoever sent the message, opening the Messages app, and deleting the offending line of text. There’s no proof that this works better if you also cut ties with whoever sent the message, but it can’t hurt, either. [Source: Apple]
  12. Path big in Inodnesia

    Dave Morin sells Path’s social networking and messaging services to prevent the rest of the Path ship from sinking

    Path’s Dave Morin announced yesterday that Daum Kakao, the company behind the KakaoTalk messaging platform, has acquired Path and Path Talk. Rumors about the acquisition have been swirling for some time. Path is a natural fit for Daum Kakao, given the social network’s popularity in Southeast Asia and its relative lack of traction in the United States and other markets. But that doesn’t mean Morin is giving up on the West. TechCrunch reports that…
  14. strictly-business

    Postmates raising ‘more than $50M’

    Postmates is reportedly raising “more than $50 million” at a “roughly $400 million valuation.” Details about new investors are unknown, but “many” existing investors are participating in the new round. [Source: The Information]
  15. elsewhere

    VPN service hijacks connections

    A free virtual private network (VPN) service popular with consumers who want to access their Netflix accounts abroad is using all those connections to power a premium anonymity service. It also didn’t tell its users that this was happening, meaning it used a free service to hijack consumers’ connections without their consent so it could profit off an anonymity tool. [Source: Motherboard]
  16. apple-press-release

    Apple acquires augmented reality company

    Apple has acquired Metaio, an augmented reality company that actually began as a spin-off from Volkswagen in 2003, for an undisclosed sum. The company has said it won’t accept new product purchases, shut down its Twitter accounts, and said it will end email support of its products in June. [Source: TechCrunch]
  18. Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 2.43.49 AM

    The dangers of cliquebait: Crashing the Code conference, days two and a half

    “I’m not kicking you out, and believe me I could if that was my personality. I took a bunch of people off of the list this year… I’m not kicking you out.”Kara Swisher, 12 hours before I was kicked out of her Code conference I’m writing this final dispatch a couple of miles from the Terrenea Rancho Palos Verdes hotel, where the Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg’s Code conference is just wrapping up. I’m filing from here, rather than there,…
  19. unicorn

    Your chances of becoming a unicorn? Just over 1%

    “A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion dollars.The Social Network is a pretty silly movie. But in addition to be being beautifully shot the film also captured — and probably helped create — the new obsession with starting not just a successful business, not just a wildly successful business, but a stupidly ridiculously successful business worth a billion dollars. Investors are kept up at night thinking about the billion dollar companies — today we call them unicorns —…
  20. elizabethwarren

    “These are not startups.” Elizabeth Warren is worried about big tech — and big banks — influencing politics

    This morning, Massachusetts Democratic senator and human Wall Street bullshit meter Elizabeth Warren stopped into Greentown Labs, a clean-tech hardware incubator space in Somerville — Boston’s version of Brooklyn. The senator, who has continually been forwarded as a potential threat to Hilary Clinton’s seemingly preordained Democratic Party presidential nomination, took a tour of the manufacturing, prototyping, and shared office space, meeting and greeting some of the startups that call the facility home. While Warren has denied any intention of running…

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