Tech News

Tech News and Analysis from around the web

Kane Wu / Reuters:
In China, investors and bankers say SoftBank's involvement, once a sign of promising prospects, is now viewed as a red flag that a company was likely overvalued  —  HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) - For SoftBank Group Inc, financial technology firm OneConnect's IPO should have been a vindication of an aggressive China investing strategy.

Anil Dash:
Instagram's limit of allowing one web link for users as a “Link in Bio” is a slow knife - a subtle, pervasive attempt to kill the open web  —  We don't even notice it anymore — “link in bio”.  It's a pithy phrase, usually found on Instagram, which directs an audience to be aware …

Jeff John Roberts / Fortune:
Researchers claim they used 3D masks and photos to deceive facial recognition systems used by Alipay, WeChat Pay, Schiphol Airport, and train stations in China  —  Masks and simple photographs are enough to fool some facial recognition technology, highlighting a major shortcoming in what is billed as a more effective security tool.

Manish Singh / TechCrunch:
Reliance Industries has acquired an 85% stake in NowFloats, an Indian startup that helps small businesses and individuals build an online presence, for ~$20M  —  Reliance Industries, one of India's largest industrial houses, has acquired a majority stake in NowFloats, an Indian startup …

Amanda Mull / The Atlantic:
How the concept of free shipping forces small e-commerce businesses to eat the cost of shipping, as large sellers like Amazon do so at scale  —  How retailers hide the costs of delivery—and why we're such suckers for their ploys  —  It was a pair of feather earrings that helped Ann Miceli get out from underneath strangers' cars.

Michael Sheetz / CNBC:
Morgan Stanley estimates Amazon is delivering half of its US packages, will soon pass UPS and FedEx in total volume, at a current rate of 2.5B packages a year  —  - Amazon Logistics is the e-commerce giant's in-house logistics operation.  — “Our AlphaWise analysis shows …

Congressional panel chair asks Apple and Google if app devs are required to disclose any non-US ties, amid concerns of Chinese investment in apps like TikTok  —  WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chair of a U.S. congressional panel wrote to Alphabet's (GOOGL.O) Google and to Apple (AAPL.O) …

Michael Hytha / Bloomberg:
Ping An's financial technology arm OneConnect closes flat on its first day of trading after raising $312M in its US IPO, which valued the company at $3.66B  —  - Shares close first day of trading at its $10 offer price  — Software company Bill.Com's performance tops week's U.S. IPOs

Brian Deagon / Investor's Business Daily:
Social media management startup Sprout Social closes down 2.4% on its first day of trading after raising $150M in its IPO, which valued the company at $814M  —  Sprout Social (SPT) climbed then fell on its first day of trading Friday with an initial public offering that raised $150 million …

Sam Danley / Food Business News:
Zippin raises $12M Series A led by Evolv Ventures, Kraft Heinz's VC arm, for Zippin Cube, a modular, prefabricated cashierless “store-in-a-box”  —  SAN FRANCISCO —Zippin, a start-up focused on cashierless checkout for brick and mortar retail, secured $12 million in a Series …

Li Yuan / New York Times:
Liu Jingyao, the college student who accused founder Richard Lui of rape, describes what it's like to be slut-shamed by the Chinese internet  —  Liu Jingyao, a college student, describes what it's like to be slut-shamed by 800 million people.  —  MINNEAPOLIS — When Liu Jingyao introduced herself …

Polina Marinova / Fortune:
WeWork sells SEO startup Conductor, which it bought for $113.6M, back to its management team, shuts down Spacious, which it acquired for $42.5M four months ago  —  As WeWork looks to sort out its future, the flashy startups it acquired are also seeking a new path forward.

Ashley Carman / The Verge:
Apple and Spotify podcasts are available through Alexa-enabled devices in the US, starting today  —  Sad for HomePod  —  Starting today, Apple Podcasts is available through Amazon Alexa-enabled devices like Echo speakers.  People just have to say, “Alexa, play (insert show name here) on Apple Podcasts” to get a program.

Manish Singh / TechCrunch:
India shuts down internet in two states that are home to 32M people, after protests over a citizenship bill, as Kashmir shutdown continues into its fourth month  —  India maintained a shutdown of the internet in the states of Assam and Meghalaya on Friday, now into 36 hours …

Question. I just booted up an old Wii on my modern 4K video setup. It looks very rough. I also have a Switch that I'm going to set up. I love Wii Sports. I don't think they have anything like that for Switch. Plain simple bowling, golf, tennis, baseball, etc?

Dean Takahashi / VentureBeat: raises $25M Series A led by Intel Capital for Tourney, its rapidly growing AI-powered esports platform focused on small gaming communities  — has raised $25 million in funding to build out Tourney, its AI-powered esports tournament platform for mobile games.

Culinary tip. Peanut butter with honey is even more delicious than with jelly. Toast the bread, if possible use Bread Alone nine grain.

A middle-of-the-night tweet when I heard that BJ was re-elected in the UK: "Brits are idiots. Congrats. We thought we Americans were the stupidest people on the planet, but you all had a chance to throw the asshole with the creative hair under the bus and you said nah give ‘im another chance mate."

If you think of the United States as a company, we've had a strategic partnership with Russia for the last three years, kind of like the one Microsoft had with IBM. Russia is analogous to Microsoft. They're about to roll over us in the 2020 election. Our last gasp is the impeachment.

We should have had this confrontation sooner, we would have had a better chance of prevailing. Going back to the Electoral College vote in 2016. We could have briefed the electors on the misdeeds of the Trump campaign in collusion with Russia. We could have had nightly candlelight vigils in the state capitals where the electoral votes would be cast. We could have at least honored the passing of a political system that kind of worked and provided us with an incredible standard of living, and hosted the development of the Internet, won the space race, and Woodstock and the Mets! Saved my family. I wouldn't exist without the US and probably neither would you. We could have been serious about resisting right from that point, instead as with all the points at which we could have acted, we hoped somehow this would blow over without us having to disrupt our lives. We're a lazy, fat culture, Russia knows and is taking full advantage.

Anyway back to the tech analogy. Impeachment is like IBM shipping OS/2 and the Micro Channel Architecture. Both were designed to rid IBM of Microsoft once and for all. But it didn't work. It was too little too late. Microsoft came out with Windows 3.0, and IBM became a global consulting company. The company that dominated the computer business left the computer business. With the US and Russia analogy substitute "computer business" with "democracy business."

Impeachment is the last gasp bet that the rule of law still works, even though the Supreme Court has been stuffed with Russian puppets, as has the Senate. The only places that are still following the rule of law is the House and parts of the Department of Justice. Think of it as a two party system about to become one party. The one that prevails in impeachment will have the right to anihilate the other, and must do it. There may still be a few courageous defectors to the Rule-of-Law Party, but unless there's a great awakening in the Senate, the courts, DoJ, the military and other branches of service, Putin has the power to put down impeachment, and from there, will complete the replication of the political system of Russia in the US, where political opponents are jailed or assassinated, as with uncooperative journalists. This is about to happen in the US, but journalism and discourse on the net has yet to catch up.

Putin could really fuck with us (but probably won't), and instruct McConnell to have a change of heart and the Senate votes to remove Trump. What an opportunity to screw up the US for a few generations, if not longer. From this point we're never going to know what's actually going on, we don't really know now (btw), but it's going to get a lot worse.

Wheeee! 💥

Good morning sports fans! 🏀

I've re-done the PagePark website. Now it gets the docs from the GitHub repository. It gets the markdown text using GitHub's API, a new built-in feature in PagePark. I'm getting ready to work on the XML-RPC website, this is the way I want to do it.

It pisses me off when Repubs talk about the Dems trying to redo the election they lost. I forgot about the voter suppression, "her emails" and Comey's last minute surprise, and realized no, she won the election, you guys stole it. The gall of Trump to try to make a lie stick, that he was the victim of all that.

Lots of stuff relating to the question Twitter asked yesterday. To people who are new to my world, this is a big deal. We'll probably be talking about it for years, assuming we make it (not so sure after watching the House hearings). But other stuff is going on, I'll put those links here, thinking of the email going out tonight, which more and more is the pulse of my blogging. If you're not subscribed imho you're missing something. ;-)

So, what about Mastodon? It does everything, right? I'm sure, but Twitter is where the people are and that's what matters. This happens all the time in tech, people think the solution is to rebuild something from scratch with the feature we wish the default platform would have. It isn't about the feature as much as where the feature is. I have a blogging system that's way more fun that Twitter and has none of its limits. BFD, the people use Twitter.

This is the mistake people who created Atom made, they thought what if we had invented RSS instead of the messy process by which RSS was created, we'll do it the right way and it'll be wonderful. Then they finished and no one knew what to do next. I'm sure they were very proud but unless they can get everyone who already supported RSS to go back and reimplement their support, we all still have to support RSS. And it's one of those things that no matter how much better it is, people will ask "Is everyone doing this" and if the answer is no, they do something else they have to do, putting out fires etc.

Another example, if I have to go to NYC I take the George Washington Bridge or the Holland or Lincoln Tunnels. I'd much rather take the Golden Gate Bridge, it's so much nicer, but it doesn't go where I want to go!

I wonder how many people know that Facebook turned off its most basic API after the 2016 election. Got no press, there's no developer memory of it. It's as if all the Hudson crossings to NYC were shut down permanently, only bigger because the population of Facebook is billions not millions. Twitter on the other hand shut down a portion of its APIs in 2012 and it put an indelible mark on the reputation of the company with developers. I personally forgave them because I anticipated it, I've been down this road many times, on both sides.

Follow-up: Now that (I think) I understand Twitter's goal, what they really want is a way to have a feed be hooked into a Twitter "location." So one could follow, for example:, and it would get updates from that server. RSS 2.0 would totally be able to do it.

Note: If Twitter really wanted to help they could make it unnecessary to paste images of blog posts in tweets (example). Such an obvious thing. What could possibly stand in the way of doing this, when they do it for images and videos?

I've had a chance to think more about Twitter's surprising proposal to come up with a web standard that turns Twitter into a protocol. I'm guessing the practical reason for this is so that Twitter can no longer be held responsible for abuse. They could ask Trump, for example, to host his own twitter, and people could subscribe to it anywhere, including Jack's twitter. It's basically a return to the open web after 13 years as silo that's been sucking the life out of the open web. I don't see why anyone but Twitter and its shareholders would go for this. I am still hoping Twitter, for the good of the web and the world, would expand to attach and display data from blogging software, as they attach and display video and images. That way writing beyond 280 chars with titles, links, simple styling can flourish. Same with podcasts. Twitter improves at a glacial pace, and they're hogging the fast lane of web media, of course along wtih the other silos.