How Silicon Valley should celebrate Labor Day


This post is by John Chen from TechCrunch


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Ask any 25-year old engineer what Labor Day means to him or her, and you might get an answer like: it’s the surprise three-day weekend after a summer of vacationing. Or it’s the day everyone barbecues at Dolores Park. Or it’s the annual Tahoe trip where everyone gets to relive college.

Or simply, it’s the day we get off because we all work so hard.

And while founders and employees in startup land certainly work hard, wearing their 80-hour workweeks as a badge of honor, closing deals on conference calls in an air-conditioned WeWork is a far cry from the backbreaking working conditions of the 1880s, the era when Labor Day was born.

For everyone here in Silicon Valley, we should not be celebrating this holiday triumphantly over beers and hot dogs, complacent in the belief that our gravest labor issues are behind us, but instead use this holiday as

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Apple is late to a self driving milestone — it’s first test car accident


This post is by Kirsten Korosec from TechCrunch


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Apple’s secretive self-driving vehicle program has disclosed its first accident, according to a report filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

The low speed accident, which occurred August 24, is a milestone of sorts for the company, albeit not one that is being celebrated. These days, as more companies head out onto public streets to test their autonomous vehicle systems, accidents have become more common. The vast majority are minor, low-speed incidents.

There was just one accident involving a self-driving vehicle (that one was owned by Delphi) reported to the DMV in 2014. So far this year, there have been more than 40 accidents involving self-driving cars reported to CA DMV.

The first fatal autonomous vehicle accident, which involved an Uber self-driving vehicle striking a pedestrian, occurred in March in Arizona.

The Apple test car was attempting to merge onto an expressway near its headquarters in Cupertino, California,

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Thailand is becoming a critical country for blockchain


This post is by Joyce Yang from TechCrunch


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While United States regulators are still trying to figure out how to think about cryptocurrencies, Thailand’s government is already mapping out its own central bank digital currency.

This is just one of numerous examples how Thailand has emerged as one the most interesting cryptocurrency and blockchain countries in Southeast Asia in 2018.

Since the start of the year, the Thai government has become increasingly outspoken and welcoming of cryptocurrency projects and exchanges. In just a few months, Thai regulators have made notable progress, from setting up cryptocurrency company licenses to permitting exchanges and ICOs. More importantly, the country has attracted foreign companies by providing clear and explicit guidelines for foreign blockchain companies to operate. It’s a pattern that we are seeing across Southeast Asia, and one that blockchain and cryptocurrency startup founders should take note as they think about global expansion.

Southeast Asia regulators are keen to understand cryptocurrency and blockchain 

To

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In recruiting win, GM’s Cruise employees offered equity in Cruise


This post is by Kirsten Korosec from TechCrunch


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In what will be seen as a big recruiting and retention win for Cruise, employees will be offered equity in GM’s self-driving technology subsidiary rather than shares of GM. The securities offering was disclosed in a recent SEC filing for GM Cruise Holdings LLC.

The filing, which also lists the initial officers of GM Cruise Holdings LLC, is a result of SoftBank’s investment in Cruise earlier this year. SoftBank’s Vision Fund announced in May plans to invest $2.25 billion in Cruise. Once that deal closes, GM will invest another $1.1 billion.

GM Cruise Holdings LLC’s board of directors includes Cruise’s CEO and co-founder Kyle Vogt, GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra, GM president Dan Ammann, GM general counsel Craig Glidden and GM’s VP of autonomous technology Doug Parks. Vogt, Cruise’s CFO Geoff Richardson and Cruise general counsel Matt Gipple are executive officers of GM Cruise Holdings.

The equity

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Skullcandy aims upscale with two new headphones


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Skullcandy has always been an odd brand. Aimed at a younger, hipper audience, the headphones always featured wacky graphics and a lower price point. Now, facing competition from multiple players, they’ve decided to step up their game in terms of quality and style.

Their two new models, the noise-cancelling Venue and the bass-heavy Crusher 360, are designed to hit the Bose/B&O/Sony quality point while still maintaining a bit of Beats styling. The Venue are the most interesting of the pair. They are true over-ear noise cancelling headphones that cost a mere $179 – over $100 less than Bose’s best offerings.

The Venue’s noise cancellation was excellent as was the sound quality. The headphones were solidly built and last for two five-hour flights, a first for me when it comes to wireless or wired noise-cancelling headphones. Usually in almost every model I’ve tested I’ve had to charge or change the

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Twitter hints at new threaded conversations and who’s online features


This post is by Sarah Buhr from TechCrunch


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Twitter head Jack Dorsey sent out a tweet this afternoon hinting the social platform might get a couple of interesting updates to tell us who else is currently online and to help us more easily follow Twitter conversation threads.

“Playing with some new Twitter features: presence (who else is on Twitter right now?) and threading (easier to read convos),” Dorsey tweeted, along with samples.

The “presence” feature would make it easier to engage with those you follow who are online at the moment and the “threading” feature would allow Twitter users to follow a conversation easier than the current embed and click-through method.

However, several responders seemed concerned about followers seeing them online.

Google and AISense will talk voice at Disrupt SF 2018


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Only a few years ago, talking to your phone or computer felt really weird. These days, thanks to Alexa, the Google Assistant and (for its three users) Cortana and Bixby, it’s becoming the norm. At this year’s Disrupt SF 2018, we’ll sit down with AISense founder and CEO Sam Liang and Google’s Cathy Pearl to discuss the past, present and future of voice — both for interacting with computers but also as a way to help us capture and organize information.

It’s probably a fair guess that you’ve heard of Google, and Cathy Pearl has literally written the book on designing voice user interfaces. You’re probably also quite familiar with the Google Assistant.

AISense, on the other hand, may not be a household name yet, but its flagship product, Otter.ai, is quickly gaining a following. Otter.ai is a mobile and web app that automatically transcribes phone calls, lectures, interviews

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It’s Friday, so here’s a rap video about scooter startup Bird


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Listen, if you’re the kind of person who wants to watch a rap video about scooters, here’s a rap video about scooters. Don’t let me stop you.

Also, if you make it to the end, you might as well stick around for the credits. For one thing, you’ll learn that it was directed by Andrew Oleck, the man who created that fake Mark Zuckerberg video, “A World Without Facebook.”

And then there’s the disclaimer: “This video is not an advertisement. It is comedic satire. Bayview Drive Films is not endorsed, affiliated or otherwise sponsored by Bird .”

It’s the kind of message that raises more questions than it answers. Like: What’s the joke here? Is the video pro-scooter, anti-scooter, neither, both? Was I supposed to laugh? I mean, I chuckled a little at the rubber chicken, but mostly I cringed. Is that normal? Would I have gotten more

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User’s Guide to Disrupt SF 2018


This post is by Emma Comeau from TechCrunch


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Disrupt SF (Sept 5-7) approaches with just a few days until things kick off. We have an all-star lineup that only TechCrunch can assemble, and we’re expecting our largest number of attendees yet. Check out our star-packed agenda here, and keep reading to find out everything you need to make for a stellar conference experience.

Pre-Event Badge Pick Up

Disrupt is 3x the size as previous years! Skip the Wednesday rush by picking up your badge early on Tuesday, September 4th from 12pm – 4pm at Moscone West. Please have your Universe ticket confirmation email and a government-issued photo ID on you.

You can also pick up your badge at the WeWork Welcome Reception, also on Tuesday from 5:30pm – 7:30pm at their Montgomery Street location (44 Montgomery St.). Space is limited. Please register your interest here. Please have your ticket and a government-issued photo ID on you.

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Rappi raises $200M as Latin American tech investment reaches new highs


This post is by Kate Clark from TechCrunch


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Rappi, the Colombian on-demand delivery startup, has brought in a new round of funding at a valuation north of $1 billion, as first reported by Axios and confirmed to TechCrunch by a source close to the company. DST Global has led the more than $200 million financing, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia—all of which were existing investors in the company.

Rappi kicked off its business delivering beverages and has since expanded into meals, groceries, and even tech and medicine. You can, for example, have a pair of AirPods delivered to you using Rappi’s app. The company also has a popular cash withdrawal feature that allows users to pay with credit cards and then receive cash from one of Rappi’s delivery agents.

Rappi charges $1 per delivery. To help keep costs efficient, the company’s fleet of couriers use only motorcycles and bikes.

Simón Borrero, Sebastian Mejia and Felipe Villamarin

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The Village Voice will no longer publish new stories


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The Village Voice is dead — at least, as a functioning journalistic organization.

Starting today, the legendary alternative newspaper will no longer publish new stories. Gothamist reports that at a staff meeting, owner Peter Barbey said that about half the team would be laid off, while the other half would remain on-board for now to “wind things down” and work on creating a digital Voice archive.

Barbey acquired the Voice in 2015 and took the paper online-only last year. In a statement released today, he said:

In recent years, the Voice has been subject to the increasingly harsh economic realities facing those creating journalism and written media. Like many others in publishing, we were continually optimistic that relief was around the next corner. Where stability for our business is, we do not know yet. The only thing that is clear now is that we have not reached that destination.

The

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Leaked shots show off new Google Pixel 3 design, specs


This post is by Lucas Matney from TechCrunch


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The Google Pixel 3 XL has had a truly comical amount of leaks to date, but for the most part its younger, smaller brother has been a bit a more camera-shy. Well, today we finally have some purported photos of the real-life baby Pixel 3 via an anonymous Reddit user who leaked the shots that were discovered by 9to5Google.

The device seems to have a modest forehead and chin, certainly a bit larger than what we’ve seen on the screen-to-body ratio of the Pixel XL 3 photo leaks, but it seems to be a marked improvement over the smaller-bodied Pixel 2 and seems pretty similar to a miniature Pixel 2 XL in design.

We also have some screenshots of the phone’s specs pointing to a 5.5 inch 2160 x 1080 display that’s rocking 440 dpi. From this leak we also can see that the battery capacity of

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More Alexa ‘blueprints’ arrive, offering customizable voice apps for families and roommates


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Earlier this year, Amazon rolled out a new feature that allowed Alexa device owners to create their own custom skills using preconfigured templates. Today, Amazon is expanding Alexa Blueprints, as the service is called, to include a handful of new templates designed for families and roommates.

These include a chore chart template, a house rules template for roommates, and others.

The Chore Chart template allows families to schedule and track children’s weekly chores, and even lets multiple kids (or anyone, really) compete to see who has done the most. Parents first configure the skill with a list of weekly chores and who those chores are assigned to.

Throughout the week, the kids can log their completed chores by asking Alexa. (“Alexa, ask Chore Chart to log a chore.”). Anyone can then check the progress by asking for the “Chore Score.”

Another blueprint is a variation on the existing

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Samsung Galaxy Watch review


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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The industry is forever chasing the Apple Watch. After all, the smartwatch has been a rare bright spot in a plateauing wearables category. Even Fitbit recently found itself heading in that direction, finding a fair bit of success with the Versa.

Samsung’s approach, on the other hand, has always been very, well, Samsung. The company’s watches are big, hulking things, covering chrome with a kind of Swiss Army knife approach customary of its various other products.

Announced alongside the Note 9, the Galaxy Watch wasn’t the departure many expected. While the name implied a potential shift toward Android Wear, the company is intent on sticking with Tizen. And why not? Samsung’s spent a lot of time making Tizen its own — multiple generations have been devoted to tweaking the operating system to its specifications.

It’s the result of a pretty clear cost-benefit analysis. The biggest drawback of not embracing Wear

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BlackRock pushes for separation of powers at Tesla


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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The world’s largest investor is joining the chorus of voices pushing for a separation of powers at the electric vehicle, solar panel and battery manufacturer, Tesla.

Funds managed by BlackRock, a top 10 shareholder in the electric vehicle company run by Elon Musk (and the manager of roughly $6.3 trillion in global assets), joined calls for the creation of an independent chairman position at Tesla.

The shareholder initiative, which was solidly defeated, would not have affected Musk’s standing as chief executive.

News of BlackRock’s push comes as a new article in The Wall Street Journal further underscores the autocratic ways in which Musk manages his electric vehicle startup, and highlights the singular grip Musk has on his companies and the public’s perception of them.

The mass exodus at Social Capital continues


This post is by Kate Clark from TechCrunch


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Something is going on at Social Capital.

A series of departures continued this morning at former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya‘s venture capital firm, with Mike Ghaffary, a partner since August 2017, announcing he was moving on to focus on angel investing.

That’s just a day after Ashley Mayer, a partner and VP of marketing since 2015, said she was departing the firm to pursue “new adventures.”

The pair of exits is just the latest in a line of high-profile departures for the firm. We’ve reached out to Palihapitiya for some explanation.

The mass exodus began when

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How Do You Move Text Messages Between Android and iOS?


This post is by David Murphy from Lifehacker


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We’re kicking Tech 911 up to “hard mode” this week—a little—because moving data from one smartphone platform to the other can be tricky. In a perfect world, there would be a quick, easy-to-use solution to getting your text messages from the platform you’re leaving to the platform you’re going to. And there is—you just…

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