Tech News

Tech News and Analysis from around the web

Daniel Palmer / CoinDesk:
Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten launches crypto exchange for trading in bitcoin, ether, and bitcoin cash, via an Android app, with no fees for making trades  —  Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has launched its own exchange for crypto spot trading.  —  Announced Monday …

Google shuts down its free service to show carriers weak spots in their coverage, sources say to avoid potential scrutiny over sharing data from its users  —  NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's Google has shut down a service it provided to wireless carriers globally that showed …

Chris Welch / The Verge:
Roku Channel adds a kids section with 7,000 free TV shows and movies curated by an in-house team  —  Curated by humans, not algorithms  —  The Roku Channel currently offers a mix of free-to-watch, ad-supported movies, TV shows, and live news.  You can also purchase subscriptions to HBO …

I think private Facebook groups are filling in the gaps more than most professional news people are aware.

Elisabeth Brier / Forbes:
Online mortgage service raises $160M Series C led by Activant Capital, bringing total raised to $254M  —, an online mortgage website that promises faster and cheaper home buying, raised $160 million in its latest funding round, the company announced Monday.

Chris Welch / The Verge:
Disney+ to launch in Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand along with the US in November, will stream on all major platforms except Fire TV  —  Disney today confirmed its first global launches for the company's upcoming Disney+ subscription service, and it outlined which devices …

As a commercial software developer I had heard about InfoWorld's review guidelines, written in 1994, but had not seen them until yesterday when Harry McCracken, a former member of their review board, posted an excerpt to Twitter. I asked if I could have a copy of the full manual so I could get them into the archive of my blog, and he kindly provided them. If anyone wants to reboot software reviews this would be a good place to start. In any case it's good to have this archived for future reference.

Tiernan Ray / Fortune:
Cerebras Systems unveils the world's biggest semiconductor chip with 400K cores, 1.2T transistors, and 18GB of SRAM memory, fit in the size of a silicon wafer  —  Tucked in the Los Altos hills near the Stanford University campus, in a low-slung bunker of offices across from a coffee shop …

Sam Byford / The Verge:
Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo are working on an AirDrop-style wireless file transfer protocol that will work between their devices with speeds of up to 20MB/s  —  Three of China's biggest smartphone makers are working together on a new wireless file transfer protocol that will work between their respective devices.

Steve O'Hear / TechCrunch:
Cloud-based file transfer company WeTransfer raises €35M in a secondary funding round led by European growth equity firm HPE Growth  —  WeTransfer, the Amsterdam-headquartered company that is best know for its file-sharing service, is disclosing a €35 million secondary funding round.

Yogita Khatri / The Block:
Binance says it plans to launch Venus, an “independent regional version of Libra”, which will develop “localized” stablecoins pegged to fiat currencies  —  The world's largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance is planning to launch “Venus,” calling it an …

Steven Loeb / VatorNews:
Two Chairs, which operates mental health clinics using a personalized therapist-client matching system, raises $21M Series B, six months after a $7M Series A  —  The company will be opening its largest clinic yet, in San Jose, sometime next month  —  The mental health space is becoming …

Steve Dent / Engadget:
Spotify's Premium Family Plan is getting parental controls with an explicit content filter and a Family Mix personalized playlist for the whole family  —  Spotify is rolling out a new Premium Family Plan with a much-awaited setting.  Parents will now have the ability to filter out songs with swearing …

Andrew Hutchinson / Social Media Today:
After launching Chats in Facebook Groups in October of last year, Facebook says it is removing the feature and will archive existing chats on August 22  —  Facebook has announced that it's removing the group chat functionality that it launched in October last year, which was designed …

Wouter Geerts / Skift:
Report: top 5 short-term rental firms like Airbnb, which accounted for only 4% of bookings in 2010, are estimated to account for 73% of gross bookings in 2019  —  The short-term rental ecosystem, from property managers and platforms to business-to-business vendors, is rapidly expanding.

Thomas Ohr / EU-Startups:
UK property finance marketplace LendInvest raises €216M in additional funding from the National Australia Bank, has raised €1.94B+ in debt and equity since 2008  —  LendInvest, the UK's leading marketplace for property finance, has secured €216 million of additional funding …

Olga Kharif / Bloomberg:
Report: 650K+ tests in the US from early 2018 to early 2019 show that carrier throttling on mobile for Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video, is pervasive  —  - New research finds location, time of day play no role  — Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video targeted for slowdowns

I read this VC appraisal of Dropbox vs Slack, which service was going to be the foundation for groupware in the enterprise world. I was unaware of this perspective and it was enlightening. I have studied both. Slack has the API, Dropbox went it alone. I think if Dropbox had fully embraced the idea that it was a developer's platform, there were a few small doors they had to open, they would have become the storage for networked apps. Same with Amazon S3. Each had the opportunity to bridge into the others' space, but neither has. I think the assumption at Dropbox was they knew everyone who was capable of making great groupware apps. That was their mistake. It's still not too late, they are dominant and totally baked in. They should be killing instead they are flailing. One of the biggest wasted opportunities I've seen in my career.

I'm getting ready for my next binge -- Big Little Lies season 2. I'm looking over the review summaries on Metacritic, and see they're all based on the first three episodes only. This was the same problem with software reviews, back when they did reviews of software (too bad they stopped). They would review the software based on a day's worth of use, if that much. But we design software so that it gets better the more you use it. We balance the tradeoffs. Of course we want the product to be easy to learn, but we also want it to be something you use all the time. It's as ridiculous to judge a serial show based on a third of a season. If I make it through the whole season, which seems likely based on the first season, I'll review the whole thing here on my blog. And I still have to relaunch bingeworthy so we accumulate judgements of Scripting News readers on these shows. I have an idea how to do it. 💥

The NYT needs a real public editor, a member of the public who is not a journalist, and has unfettered access to the op-ed page, and can provide perspective for other readers and for the writers and editors.

I don't know if anyone else finds NPM to be unreliable, as I do, over many years. Here's a scenario. I have to make a minor change to a package. So I increment the version in package.json, and npm publish it. Then in the app that's using it, I do an npm update. The update happens. But the app doesn't get the latest version. Something is cached somewhere, because if I look in the node_modules folder, the new version is there. I've resorted to using a lib folder and keeping a copy of the package updated there. But of course I'm reinventing npm in scripts by doing this. Sometimes NPM works as I understand it should, but every so often it goes crazy like this.

I groan when passwords are required to have at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase, a number and/or a special character. I know as a matter of math that these requirements doesn't make passwords better. Does it help people who type asdf as their password come up with more random strings? Also I hate sites that make me create a new password every so often. I can manage that myself. I suppose maybe they're saying hey we were hacked recently and are requiring everyone to change their passwords instead of making a public statement.