Video Of The Week: Computer Science Education For All


This post is by Fred Wilson from AVC


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I heard the news last night that the $6mm that Governor Cuomo was seeking for K12 CS Education was not included in the final NY State budget. I had blogged about this issue at the start of this week.

UPDATE: It appears I heard wrong and that the $6mm did make it into the budget. If that is the case, then it is great news.

In this short (50 sec) video, NYC Mayor de Blasio explains why this is so important. We need more leaders like him who will put themselves out there on this issue, make it a priority, and fight for it.


USV TEAM POSTS:

Rebecca Kaden — April 1, 2018
USV Thesis 3.0

Albert Wenger — April 2, 2018
World After Capital: Laying a Foundation (Regulation & Self-Regulation)

Bethany Marz Crystal — April 2, 2018
Dear New York…I think it might be love

Tesla says fatal crash involved Autopilot


This post is by Megan Rose Dickey from TechCrunch


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Tesla has provided another update to last week’s fatal crash. As it turns out, Tesla said the driver had Autopilot on with the adaptive cruise control follow-distance set to minimum. However, it seems the driver ignored the vehicle’s warnings to take back control.

“The driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive and the driver’s hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision,” Tesla wrote in a blog post. “The driver had about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view of the concrete divider with the crushed crash attenuator, but the vehicle logs show that no action was taken.”

The promise of Tesla’s Autopilot system is to reduce car accidents. In the company’s blog post, Tesla notes Autopilot reduces crash rates by 40 percent, according to an independent review by the U.S. government. Of course,

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How Facebook Can Better Fight Fake News: Make Money Off the People Who Promote It


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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Facebook and other platforms are still struggling to combat the spread of misleading or deceptive “news” items promoted on social networks.

Recent revelations about Cambridge Analytica and Facebook’s slow corporate response have drawn attention away from this ongoing, equally serious problem: spend enough time on Facebook, and you are still sure to see dubious, sponsored headlines scrolling across your screen, especially during major news days when influence networks from inside and outside the United States rally to amplify their reach. And Facebook’s earlier announced plan to combat this crisis through simple user surveys does not inspire confidence.

As is often the case, the underlying problem is more about economics than ideology. Sites like Facebook depend on advertising for their revenue, while media companies depend on ads on Facebook to drive eyes to their websites, which in turn earns them revenue. Within this dynamic, even reputable media outlets have an implicit

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UberRUSH is shutting down


This post is by Megan Rose Dickey from TechCrunch


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Uber is closing the doors on its on-demand package delivery service, RUSH, in New York City, San Francisco and Chicago, TechCrunch has learned. In an email to users, Uber said it plans to close RUSH operations June 30, 2018.

“At Uber, we believe in making big bold bets, and while ending UberRUSH comes with some sadness, we will continue our mission of building reliable technology that serves people and cities all over the world,” Uber’s NYC RUSH team wrote to customers.

Uber has since confirmed the wind-down.

“We’re winding down UberRUSH deliveries and ending services by the end of June,” an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We’re thankful for our partners and hope the next three months will allow them to make arrangements for their delivery needs. We’re already applying a lot of the lessons we learned together to our UberEats food delivery business in over 200 global markets across more

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Niantic to settle Pokémon GO Fest lawsuit for over $1.5M


This post is by Greg Kumparak from TechCrunch


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Back in July of last year, Niantic organized an outdoor festival focusing on its augmented reality game, Pokémon GO. In theory, players would come from all around for a day of wandering Chicago’s Grant Park, meeting other players and catching new/rare Pokémon.

It… did not go as planned. Widespread cellular connectivity and logistical issues brought the game (and thus the event itself) to a halt before the doors even opened. People booed. People threw things at the stage. People sued.

While Niantic quickly announced that they’d be refunding all ticket costs (and giving players $100 of in-game currency), that still left many of the estimated 20,000 attendees out the cost of hotels, transportation, etc.

Niantic is settling a class action suit surrounding the festival, TechCrunch has learned, paying out $1,575,000 dollars to reimburse various costs attendees might have picked up along the way. Things like airfare, hotel costs, up to

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Chinese police foil drone-flying phone smugglers at Hong Kong border


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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Dozens of high-tech phone smugglers have been apprehended by Chinese police, who twigged to the scheme to send refurbished iPhones into the country from Hong Kong via drone — but not the way you might think.

China’s Legal Daily reported the news (and Reuters noted shortly after) following a police press conference; it’s apparently the first cross-border drone-based smuggling case, so likely of considerable interest.

Although the methods used by the smugglers aren’t described, a picture emerges from the details. Critically, in addition to the drones themselves, which look like DJI models with dark coverings, police collected some long wires — more than 600 feet long.

Small packages of 10 or so phones were sent one at a time, and it only took “seconds” to get them over the border. That pretty much rules out flying the drone up and over the border repeatedly — leaving aside that landing a

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Alexa gets a DVR recording skill


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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Slowly but surely, Alexa’s becoming a more competent catchall video assistant. Back in January, Amazon launched its Video Skill API designed to offer more control over apps from cable and satellite companies. An update this week brings the ever-important ability to use the smart assistant to start recoding.

The skill joins a number of functions already available from top providers, including Dish, TiVo, and DIRECTV and Verizon — each of whom will likely be updating their Alexa skill set to reflect the new feature. The whole thing works pretty much as you’d expect.

Say, “Alexa, record the A’s game,” and the associated service will do just that. Or, you know, any baseball team, really. 

Also new in this update is the ability to jump directly into frequently used navigation options, like DVR interfaces or video services like Netflix orPrime, the example that Amazon gives in its post on the

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Another chapter on Facebook’s privacy woes is being written in Latin America


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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The abuse of Facebook’s platform for political purposes is a problem that doesn’t stop at the U.S border. Governments around the world are continuing to wrestle with the implications of Cambridge Analytica’s acquisition of Facebook user data from the heart of Europe to the capitals of Latin America’s most populous nations. 

In South America, several chapters are still being written into the public record of Facebook’s privacy privations. Some Latin American democracies are also beginning to investigate whether the data harvesting techniques associated with Cambridge Analytica (CA) were used in their electoral processes.

Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and South America: a recap

Brazil

The Brazilian Public Prosecutor’s Office started an investigation to clarify if Cambridge Analytica (CA) had illegal access to Facebook’s private information from millions of Brazillians through their subsidiary, a Sao Paulo-based consulting group named A Ponte Estratégia Planejamento e Pesquisa LTDA.

The investigation came as a

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The real threat to Facebook is the Kool-Aid turning sour


This post is by Josh Constine from TechCrunch


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These kinds of leaks didn’t happen when I started reporting on Facebook eight years ago. It was a tight-knit cult convinced of its mission to connect everyone, but with the discipline of a military unit where everyone knew loose lips sink ships. Motivational posters with bold corporate slogans dotted its offices, rallying the troops. Employees were happy to be evangelists.

But then came the fake news, News Feed addiction, violence on Facebook Live, cyberbullying, abusive ad targeting, election interference and, most recently, the Cambridge Analytica app data privacy scandals. All the while, Facebook either willfully believed the worst case scenarios could never come true, was naive to their existence or calculated the benefits and growth outweighed the risks. And when finally confronted, Facebook often dragged its feet before admitting the extent of the issues.

Inside the social network’s offices, the bonds began to fray. An ethics problem metastisized into a morale

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Clipisode launches a ‘talk show in a box’


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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A company called Clipisode is today launching a new service that’s essentially a “talk show in a box,” as founder Brian Alvey describes it. Similar to how Anchor now allows anyone to build a professional podcast using simple mobile and web tools, Clipisode does this for video content. With Clipisode, you can record a video that can be shared across any platform – social media, the web, text messages – and collect video responses that can then be integrated into the “show” and overlaid with professional graphics.

The video responses feature is something more akin to a video voicemail-based call-in feature.

Here’s how it works. The content creator will first use Clipisode to record their video, and receive the link to share the video across social media, the web, or privately through email, text messaging, etc. When the viewer or guest clicks the link, they can respond to the question

?
??

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6 creative ways to solve problems with Linux containers and Docker


This post is by Sean Kane from All - O'Reilly Media


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An outside-the-box exploration of how containers can be used to provide novel solutions.

Most people are introduced to Docker and Linux containers as a way to approach solving a very specific problem they are experiencing in their organization. The problem they want to solve often revolves around either making the dev/test cycle faster and more reliable while simultaneously shortening the related feedback loops, or improving the packaging and deploying of applications into production in a very similar fashion. Today, there are a lot of tools in the ecosystem that can significantly decrease the time it takes to accomplish these tasks while also vastly improving the ability of individuals, teams, and organizations to reliably perform repetitive tasks successfully.

That being said, tools have become such a big focus in the ecosystem that there are many people who haven’t really spent much time thinking about all the ways containers alone can provide

Velocity 2018

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Veriff wants to make it simple to present identification online


This post is by Ron Miller from TechCrunch


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Whenever you are doing something online that requires you to present an official ID like a passport or driver’s license to complete the transaction, it presents risk to both parties. Consumers want to know they are secure and brands want to know the person is using valid credentials. That’s where Veriff comes in.

Kaarel Kotkas, CEO and founder of the company, says the goal is to be “the Stripe of identity .” What he means is he wants to provide developers with the ability to embed identity verification into any application or website, as easily as you can use Stripe to add payments.

The company, which was originally launched in Estonia in 2015, is a recent graduate of the Y Combinator winter class. When you undertake any activity on the web or a mobile app that requires a valid ID, if Veriff is running under the hood, you can submit

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Facebook’s mission changed, but its motives didn’t


This post is by Jordan Crook from TechCrunch


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In January, Facebook announced that it would be changing its feed algorithm to promote users’ well-being over time spent browsing content. That’s a relatively new approach for a company whose ethos once centered around “move fast, break things.”

It wasn’t all that long ago (approximately a year and a half before the algorithm change) that Facebook VP Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, published an internal memo called “The Ugly,” which was circulated throughout the company. In it, Boz made it clear to employees that connecting people (i.e. growth) is the main focus at Facebook, at all costs.

Buzzfeed first published the memo, which said:

Maybe it costs a life by exposing someone to bullies. Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools.

And still we connect people.

The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people so deeply that anything that allows us to connect more

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Google’s on-by-default ‘Articles for You’ leverage browser dominance for 2,100 percent growth


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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When you’ve got leverage, don’t be afraid to use it. That’s been Google’s modus operandi in the news and publishing world over the last year or so as it has pushed its AMP platform, funding various news-related ventures that may put it ahead, and nourished its personalized Chrome tabs on mobile. The latter, as Nieman Labs notes, grew 2,100 percent in 2017.

You may have noticed, since Chrome is a popular mobile browser and this setting is on by default, but the “Articles for You” appear automatically in every new tab, showing you a bunch of articles the company things you’d like. And it’s gone from driving 15 million article views to a staggering 341 million over the last year.

In late 2016, when Google announced the product, I described it as “polluting” the otherwise useful new tab page. I also don’t like the idea of being served news

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Moment lenses — the DSLR killer?


This post is by Veanne Cao from TechCrunch


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I travel with a Canon DSLR and two primes, a 35mm f1.4 and an 85mm f1.2 (endearingly nicknamed, “the fat kid”). Switching lenses is cumbersome and not ideal in certain environments, like a Saigon street market, densely crowded with vendors, tourists and thieves.

After lugging this camera kit through six countries last year, I upgraded my iPhone to the X in hopes of replacing the DSLR as a travel camera. Despite our Editor in Chief’s praises for the iPhone X’s camera, it wasn’t enough for me. I needed more creative control and didn’t want to rely on mobile software.

The first few Google search results for “best iPhone lens” led me to Moment, a company that started off with a 2014 Kickstarter fund and since has grown into a well-respected smartphone lens manufacturer.

Moment recently released a new version of their four lenses: Superfish (fisheye), Wide, Tele Portrait

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ClearVoice helps freelance writers show off their portfolios


This post is by Anthony Ha from TechCrunch


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ClearVoice recently launched a new feature to give freelancers a better way to show off their work and get new jobs.

CV Portfolios offer an easier alternative to personal websites that are often sparsely populated, out-of-date or otherwise neglected.

Thanks a technology that the company is calling VoiceGraph, writers no longer have to keep the pages updated themselves. Instead, co-founder and CEO Joe Griffin said VoiceGraph indexes stories from the top publishers online (about 250,000 currently) and matches them to their authors. It also aggregates metrics around social sharing and connecting to the authors’ own social media accounts.

“At the end of the day, what we want to do here is give freelancers very robust tools that make it as simple as possible to address one of the biggest hurdles freelancers were having: creating a portfolio and maintaining it,” Griffin said.

cv portfolio

So for example, you can visit my CV

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Twitch lays off some employees as part of ‘team adjustments’


This post is by Megan Rose Dickey from TechCrunch


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Twitch, the Amazon-owned live-streaming platform for gaming, laid off “several” people yesterday, Polygon first reported.

It’s not clear how many people were let go, but according to Polygon, probably no more than 30 people were let go. Twitch has since confirmed the layoffs to TechCrunch.

“Coming off the record-setting numbers shared in our 2017 Retrospective, Twitch is continuing to grow and advance with success stories from Overwatch League to Fortnite’s milestone-setting streams,” a Twitch spokesperson told TC. “In order to maintain this momentum, we have an aggressive growth strategy for 2018 with plans to increase our headcount by approximately 30%. While we’ve conducted team adjustments in some departments, our focus is on prioritizing areas most important for the community.”

As marketing data proliferates, consumers should have more control


This post is by Ron Miller from TechCrunch


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At the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas this week, privacy was on the minds of many people. It was no wonder with social media data abuse dominating the headlines, GDPR just around the corner, and Adobe announcing the concept of a centralized customer experience record.

With so many high profile breaches in recent years, putting your customer data in a central record-keeping system would seem to be a dangerous proposition, yet Adobe sees so many positives for marketers, it likely believes this to be a worthy trade-off.

Which is not to say that the company doesn’t see the risks. Executives speaking at the conference continually insisted that privacy is always part of the conversation at Adobe as they build tools — and they have built in security and privacy safeguards into the customer experience record.

Offering better experiences

The point of the exercise isn’t simply to collect data for data’s

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Huawei says it’s still committed to the U.S., in spite of, well, everything


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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A funny thing happened the last couple of times I was briefed on a Huawei flagship product: news was breaking about some major roadblock for the company’s U.S. distribution plans. First it was AT&T backing out in the midst of CES and then it was Best Buy’s decision to drop the company just ahead of the big P20 launch (though a rep for the company told me the States were never part of its plans for that handset). 

It’s been one thing after another as the Chinese hardware maker has worked to establish a meaningful presence here in the States. In spite of all of this fallout from government pushback, however, the company insists that it’s not going anywhere.

In an email to CNET, the company’s consumer CEO reaffirmed that commitment. “We are committed to the U.S. market and to earning the trust of U.S.

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Uber and Taxify are going head-to-head to digitize Africa’s two-wheeled taxis


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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Global ride-hailing rivals Taxify and Uber have launched motorcycle passenger service in East Africa. Customers of both companies in Uganda and Taxify riders in Kenya can now order up two-wheel transit by app.

uberBoda, as its branded, is Uber’s first motorcycle service offering in Africa, and second globally after Asia. For Taxify, it’s the first two-wheel launch in any of the company’s 20 plus international markets. 

The moves come as Africa’s moto-taxis — commonly known as boda boda­s in the East and okadas in the West –upshift to digital.

Taxify’s “Boda” button

For Taxify, the reasons for entering the market were twofold, according to Kenya Operations Head Chisom Anoke. “We noticed there was a need for this service because boda boda’s haven’t been very well organized or regulated,” he told TechCrunch from Taxify’s Nairobi office.

“The other thing was people had to go search for boda bodas. We want

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