Tech News

Tech News and Analysis from around the web

Nilesh Christopher / Rest of World:
Flipkart-owned Indian fashion retailer Myntra is penalizing users who return items too often; studies: 25% to 40% of clothes sold online in India are returned  —  Across India, e-commerce giants like Myntra and Flipkart are canceling free returns to boost profits.  —  • BENGALURU, INDIA

New York Times:
Alphabet, Amazon, and other tech firms begin 2023 by championing austerity after facing the worst year on Wall Street in 2022 since the 2008 financial crisis  —  After years of expansion and billions in profits, Big Tech is pulling back from its famously lavish spending as a long boom finally ends.

Mike Masnick / Techdirt:
Utah lawmakers are fast tracking two bills that would require social media companies to age verify users, grant parents access to their kids' accounts, and more  —  The evidence-free moral panic over social media keeps getting stupider, and when things get particularly stupid about the internet …

The LockBit ransomware gang claims ION Trading UK paid a ransom after the group's cyberattack on the software firm upended derivatives trading around the world  —  The hacking group behind the attack on ION Trading UK — the software firm that was struck by a cyberattack earlier this week …

Kai Nicol-Schwarz / Sifted:
Valencia-based Jeff, which provides a frontend app, data insights, and other tools to manage businesses, raised a $90M Series C, split ~50/50 in equity and debt  —  Profitability is now the number one priority for the company  —  Spanish startup Jeff — which helps entrepreneurs launch …

Diane Bartz / Reuters:
A US judge denies the FTC's bid to stop Meta's acquisition of Within, rejecting the regulator's concerns of the deal reducing competition in the AR/VR market  —  A judge on Friday released a ruling denying the Federal Trade Commission's request to stop Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) …

A federal jury in San Francisco finds Elon Musk not liable in a Tesla shareholder suit over 2018 tweets in which he said he was considering taking Tesla private  —  - Tesla CEO Elon Musk was found not liable in a shareholder class-action suit stemming from 2018 tweets in which he said he was considering taking Tesla private.

Josh Zumbrun / Wall Street Journal:
ChatGPT testing shows the chatbot struggles with basic arithmetic questions, confidently offering entertaining but wrong answers, an inherent problem with LLMs  —  ‘Large language models’ supply grammatically correct answers but struggle with calculations  —  Cheating With ChatGPT: Can an AI Chatbot Pass AP Lit?

Dan Primack / Axios:
LeafLink, whose e-commerce marketplace connects 3,700+ cannabis brands with 8,400+ cannabis retailers, raised a $100M Series D co-led by CPMG, L2, and Nosara  —  LeafLink, a New York-based wholesale cannabis platform, raised $100 million in Series D funding co-led by CPMG, L2 Ventures and Nosara Capital.

Mary Ann Azevedo / TechCrunch:
Treasury Prime, which offers APIs to help businesses integrate with banks, raised a $40M Series C led by BAM Elevate, bringing its total raised to about $73M  —  Treasury Prime co-founder and CEO Chris Dean believes that the best outcomes for consumers will result from traditional banks and fintechs working together.

This is a screen shot of the Sounds panel of my Android phone. Note that the Media slider is disabled. This means that while the speakers work, I can't listen to any podcasts, audiobooks or music. How do I get the slider to be re-enabled? I've already tried restarting the phone a few times.

Callum Cyrus /
Germany-based Sdui, whose software provides communication and diary tools for schools, raised an $18M Series A extension, bringing total Series A to €25M  —  Described as an operating system for digital education, five-year-old startup Sdui is live in seven European markets.

Ron Miller / TechCrunch:
Onehouse, a cloud data lake service based on the Apache Hudi platform, raised a $25M Series A led by Addition and Greylock, bringing its total funding to $33M  —  Onehouse emerged last year with a cloud data lake product built on top of the open source Apache Hudi project.

Aisha Majid / Press Gazette:
An analysis of 68 news domains: 45 ranked worse in UK Google search results in January 2023 vs. January 2022; those with non-news content saw the biggest gains  —  Data from SEO experts Sistrix reveals big losses for news domains in organic search in 2022.  —  News websites saw a significant drop …

Erin Woo / The Information:
Internal messages: Twitter wants to charge brands $1,000 per month to keep their gold verification badges, plus $50 per month for each affiliated account  —  Twitter is likely to charge brands $1000 a month to keep their gold verification badge, plus $50 a month for each affiliated account …

The first big project I'm undertaking in the transition away from Twitter is Drummer. In the new world, Drummer will manage identity for itself using email addresses, and thus it will use HTTPS. So the first step in the conversion is getting rid of all the hard-coded http URLs in the app. I'm sure they're not all gone yet, but the app does boot up without errors now both on a test server (which uses HTTPS), and the same code runs on the current Drummer site (which uses HTTP). You can help test it out by using Drummer with the JavaScript console open, and note any errors that have to do with HTTP and HTTPS and report them here.

Natasha Lomas / TechCrunch:
Italy's privacy watchdog orders San Francisco-based AI chatbot maker Replika to stop processing local users' data over concerns its tech poses risks to minors  —  San Francisco-based AI chatbot maker, Replika — which operates a freemium ‘virtual friendship’ service based …

So journalists, there’s nothing surprising about twitter screwing with their api. But we should be nailing Google for trying to steal the open web.

Starting to do small things for the corner-turn away from Twitter. We no longer have RT icons on items on the Scripting News website. And there no longer is a button in the upper left corner that lets you log on and off of Twitter. Watch this space for more updates, and I'm also adding notes to the thread about changes people are making.

When you build on corporate APIs you have to know there's a fair chance the owner will pull the rug out on you, as twitter is doing now. The only APIs you can trust are open APIs that aren’t owned by anyone -- like the web -- http, html, rss. You have to watch out because the bigco’s will try to own those too. Journos are oblivious. Can’t get their attention. To a large extent Google already owns the web. And they are throwing their weight around in much more consequential ways than twitter. But Google is invisble to the press. That will end some day.

Do you have an app that runs on the twitter api? What is your plan for next week? I started a thread on the Scripting repo to gather comments. Let's not use Twitter for this one. 😀

In 2001 downloading an MP3 song took 328 seconds.

Re my experience as a Twitter developer, now coming to an end.

I wrote this eight years ago.

I have a friend who's going thru a familiar struggle. I have some advice that's imho worth sharing.

Go some place natural. Alone. Where no one knows you or who you know. Subtract everything that defines you as a pundit or friend of the rich and famous. No gadgets.

Swim. Get massaged. Try being quiet. Talk about your childhood. Find yourself, the person you've been hiding from.

Just be another random person, one of seven billion, because that is the truth. That is who you are. Who I am. Who everyone is. When you really feel it a weight comes off. None of this shit matters.

Over night Twitter announced that they're cutting off free access to their API, which we depend on in all my products. They made the announcement in a vague way and with just seven days notice. I think there's a good chance they'll realize that this is a shitty way to do it, and will take it back, on one hand, but on the other hand, let's get out of here now. This is not a good place to develop products. I hoped they would leave this part of their API alone, and I expected more notice, but it didn't turn out that way. It is what it is.

A disclaimer, all of what I write here today is seat-of-pants. I don't know how this is going to turn out, but right now I want you, if you use my products, to prepare for a complete shutdown, just in case.

In some cases, esp for products that were designed only to enhance Twitter, they will not come back. For example, It only works with Twitter, so when the API is gone, I will just shut it down.

The two products I care about most are Drummer and FeedLand. I will do everything I can to transition them.

Little Outliner which I have left running even though Drummer is a better version of the same product, will not transition.

Both Drummer and Little Outliner have commands to download all your outlines. You should do that now. There's no excuse for you losing any data, and I will not help get your data after Twitter shuts off the API. Take care of yourself. Download your stuff. Now.

For FeedLand there's nothing to worry about. All your data is public, so even if for some reason you cannot log onto FeedLand, you will still be able to get your data because you don't need to log in to get it.

Follow Scripting News for more notes about the transition.

Finally, I am just one person. I won't stand for people treating me like a corporation with a staff of people working on this. I am not more powerful than you are, so remember that when you ask for help. There will no tolerance of abuse.

And if you have questions, here's a place to ask.