News & Analysis

  1. smart_watch_health

    The FTC cracks down on health apps that promise to detect diseases without proof

    Snake oil used to be sold in bottles; now it’s downloaded from the App Store. That’s what the Federal Trade Commission has decided in settlements with two developers who made applications which promised to detect signs of melanoma. Both have agreed to pay a small fine and to stop incorrectly advertising their apps. The applications, which have been removed from the App Store, independently claimed to be able to determine if a mole is a sign of skin…
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    The War Nerd: Tomb Raiders of Kobane

    It’s the stuff of horror movies: A convoy of military vehicles rolls over a highly militarized border, through a blasted, burnt-out war zone, to the tomb of an ancient chieftan. They dig up his remains, but one soldier dies “in an accident” while they’re doing it. Then they bump their way back north, passing through the silent, wet streets of Kobane, and deposit the remains in a new tomb, a “temporary” resting place for the old Steppe conqueror. Then they…
  4. pebblewatch

    Pebble Time proves once and for all that, no matter what it says, Kickstarter is a store

    Kickstarter should never again claim it doesn’t run a store. Pebble has made that clear with a campaign meant to support the latest version of its smartwatch, the Pebble Time, which met its $500,000 fundraising goal in 17 minutes. This isn’t a theoretical product that will only debut if its campaign is successful. It’s a long-planned update from a well-funded company that would have released it either way. But that hasn’t stopped people from flocking to this…
  5. Up in the Air

    NexTravel launches out of Y Combinator to make booking corporate travel easier and less expensive

    For most business people, the concept of effortless, cost-effective travel has more in common with mythical creatures like unicorns than it does the realities of everyday life. The truth is that while the travel industry was massively disrupted by technology two decades ago, most of the innovation to date has focused on the consumer side of the business, and even there very little has changed from an end-user perspective since the early days of Expedia, Priceline, and Kayak. Most business travel…
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  7. elsewhere

    Lizard Squad hijacks Google Vietnam page

    Lizard Squad hijacked the Vietnamese page for Google’s search engine yesterday to advertise the distributed denial of service (DDoS) tool that was previously hacked, revealing a list of all its customers. The group didn’t take over the page itself; it simply redirected the URL to a page of its choosing. [Source: HotForSecurity]
  8. wafflehousebreakfast

    Waffle House offers a safe(r) place to use Roadie, the scandal waiting to happen

    Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: Waffle House is getting into the tech industry. The greasy diner chain is partnering with Roadie, a peer-to-peer delivery service that — like all “Uber for X” startups — is probably going to face more than its fair share of scandals, to provide a place for shoppers to receive their items from Roadie drivers without risking injury. You read that right. A startup is being built around an idea so risky its…
  9. apple-press-release

    Apple reportedly acquires Camel Audio

    Apple has reportedly acquired Camel Audio, the London-based company behind the Alchemy synth software suddenly shuttered on January 8. It’s not clear what Apple plans to do with the company; it could simply incorporate Camel Audio’s tools into the Logic or GarageBand music-making applications. [Source: MacRumors]
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  11. strictly-business

    Twitter’s recap feature heads to Android

    Twitter has brought the “While You Were Away” feature, which allowed iPhone users to catch up on any important tweets they missed when they unplugged from the service’s information stream, to its Android applications. [Source: TechCrunch]
  12. drone

    This company wants to use drones to track your location through WiFi

    Here’s another reason to appreciate the Federal Aviation Administration’s proposed limitations on when, where, and how drones can be flown: a company called Adnear has tested drones that gather information about consumers through WiFi networks. It works by monitoring the unique identifiers a smartphone offers whenever it looks for WiFi networks. Adnear can use those identifiers to display advertisements based on someone’s current location, observed habits, and other collected information. All of this is easily accomplished with sensors installed on…
  13. PandoLive_MG_3955_web

    Oscars, Surveillance Valley and Paul’s horrible music taste: Listen again to tonight’s PandoLIVE

    If you missed tonight’s PandoLIVE, you missed Rdio’s Marc Ruxin talking about the Oscars, Yasha Levine discussing Surveillance Valley and everyone agreeing I have horrible taste in music. It was a doozy. You can listen again to the whole thing below. Or subscribe via iTunes here so you never miss another installment. … SPONSOR MESSAGE: Free Hosting! Visit http://www.rackspacestartups.com to see if your startup qualifies for free hosting from Rackspace.
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    Apple posts job listing for a music journalist. More evidence that traditional music criticism is dying?

    Last month I wrote an article about how Rap Genius and explainer sites are killing journalism. The basic argument was that, by turning music into something to be explained and intellectualized, it made experiencing music on a emotional level a tertiary action. The post elicited a fair amount of criticism from Rap Genius’ devoted band of acolytes — which I expected and largely cast aside. But it also inspired a number of negative comments from the music criticism community. Indeed, I admit that…
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    PandoLIVE is LIVE with media bribes, Greenwald outrage (part 356), Ruxin on Oscar night, and Yasha

    Oh so much  to talk about on tonight’s PandoLIVE. The headline says it all. And if you’d like to share your personal Oscar outrage Tweet at us or call in! Listen live here.  
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    Autodesk at the Oscars

    A couple of weeks ago Pando’s Sarah Lacy sat down with Autodesk’s Carl Bass to tape a new episode of their (sponsored) audio show, the Pandocast. I don’t normally write posts about the Pandocast episodes because they’re sponsored things and they have their own site. But his month’s episode is particularly topical, and interesting, given last night’s Oscar’s ceremony. As Bass explains, for the 20th year running, not just every winner of the visual effects Academy Award but every nominee…
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    Ellen Pao discrimination suit against Kleiner Perkins goes to trial this week

    Legendary venture film Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers has had a rough few years. But things could get even worse as a discrimination suit filed by former employee Ellen Pao heads to trial this week. [Source: New York Times]
  20. snowden-nsa

    Despite being deemed “irresponsible” by Greenwald, Snowden laughs at NPH’s “treason” joke at Oscars

    Citizenfour, Laura Poitras’ film about Edward Snowden and the NSA surveillance documents he released, was named Best Documentary at last night’s Academy Awards. It beat out worthy competitors like the great Netflix-produced war documentary Virunga (which I wrote a little about here) not to mention the transcendent Jodorowsky’s Dune (which I wrote a lot about here) which wasn’t even nominated. The win also served as fodder for one of host Neil Patrick Harris’ better jokes of the night, as he told the audience to…
  21. Got Slack

    Consumers are using Slack beyond the enterprise, whether the company likes it or not

    Rarely when a team sets out to build a new product do they have an accurate idea of how users will actually adopt and make use of its features. Look no further than Twitter, which has embraced and productized the hacked-together features created by its earliest and most engaged users, including tagging (@), retweets (RT), hashtags (#), and favorites (✭). The truth is, when you build a great product that solves a real market need, users will flock to that…
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The Week in Review