Tech News

Tech News and Analysis from around the web

Front page of the NYT one year ago today.

Tage Kene-Okafor / TechCrunch:
Report: fintech startups across India, Africa, and Latin America raised a total of $23B since 2017; Indian companies raised $11.6B, including $4.8B just in 2019  —  Tech investments in emerging markets have been in full swing over the past couple of years and their ecosystems have thrived as a result.

Robert Hart / Forbes:
Study of 430K+ adolescents from the US and UK finds that there is “little evidence” of a link between teens' technology use and mental health problems  —  There is “little evidence” of a link between teens' technology use and mental health problems, according …

I'm working on the docs for Drummer's twitter verbs today, and came across a few examples from the early days of Twitter lists.

Anna Wiener / New Yorker:
A look at the rise of “renderporn”, the aspirational, hyperrealistic interior design imagery on Instagram created using 3D modelling software like SketchUp  —  “Renderporn” domesticates the aspiration and surreality of the digital age.  —  Last spring, several months into the pandemic …

Poll: Have you invested in cryptocurrency such as BitCoin?

As a basketball fan this is how I look at where we are with Covid in the US. We have a 2 point lead going into the fourth quarter. Our two star players are out with injuries. Our fans are going home, they think the game is won. I know anything could happen at this point.

The reason Warren's campaign failed is that once she was the frontrunner and people got a good look at her, they didn’t like her. She’s kind of what you’d expect, a Harvard professor. They do well at the top of academia, but don’t have a popular touch, and I’m being generous. Certainly there was some sexism, people who wouldn't vote for a woman under any circumstances, but she became the frontrunner with everyone aware of her gender. A woman candidate could have won the nomination in my opinion, someone like Amy Klobuchar or Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer. It's ridiculous to conclude that a woman couldn't get the nomination, esp since the Democratic nominee in 2016 was a woman. If Warren wants to be president she's going to have to listen to people outside her bubble. People who will, as they say, speak truth to power.

When you hear about new strains of Covid that are ripping into India, as an American do you feel as if it's far away and won't affect me? Does it make you want to get vaccinated? What if our vaccines don't protect against the new strains? Are you ready for a new lockdown?

Miguel Bustillo / Wall Street Journal:
Colonial Pipeline, which carries 45% of fuel consumed on the US East Coast, says it halted operations due to a ransomware attack  —  Operator of the Colonial Pipeline, the leading fuel conduit to the East Coast, said it had temporarily halted operations after discovering the threat Friday

Global chip shortage is forcing automakers to leave out some high-end features like navigation systems and “intelligent” rearview mirrors from their vehicles  —  - Automakers cut back on functions to keep production going  — Navigation systems, large displays get nixed as crisis worsens

Carnegie Mellon University:
Researchers used an ML algorithm based on neural networks to upgrade a cosmological simulation from low to super resolution, helping to accelerate their studies  —  - Associate Dean for Communications, MCS  —  A universe evolves over billions upon billions of years, but researchers …

Prim Chuwiruch / Bloomberg:
Bain & Co: social commerce accounted for ~44% of Southeast Asia's $109B e-commerce market in 2020; Vietnam leads with 65% adoption while Thailand is at ~50%  —  - Shopping via social media gains popularity in Southeast Asia  — Hit by Covid, retailers use chat apps to speak with customers

Don Clark / New York Times:
Semiconductor firms received more than $12B from equity investors in 2020, up 8x since 2016, as the industry sees a spike in new startups and ideas  —  While a variety of industries struggle with supplies, semiconductor experts say there are plenty of new ideas and, most surprising, start-ups.

Zachery Eanes / Raleigh News & Observer:
Prescient, a North Carolina-based startup that makes architectural software, raises $190M from JE Dunn and Eldridge, bringing its total raised to around $295M  —  Prescient, a North Carolina-based startup that makes architectural software, said Monday it has raised $190 million from investors …

Brian Barrett / Wired:
Using PayPal for Twitter's Tip Jar could reveal tipper's address to the recipient and possibly recipient's email to the tipper; Twitter says it will add a label  —  Sending its users to PayPal has created all sorts of problems that Twitter should have caught ahead of time.

Sankalp Phartiyal / Reuters:
Sources: India has held up approvals for import of WiFi modules from China for months, causing companies like Dell and Xiaomi to delay product launches in India  —  A man watches a video on his mobile phone as he commutes by a suburban train in Mumbai, India.  Picture taken March 31, 2016.

Anna Leask / NZ Herald:
US endorses Christchurch Call, an effort to stop the spread of extremist content online, which Big Tech signed on to in 2019 and Trump's White House rejected  —  Anna Leask is a senior reporter for the New Zealand Herald  —  The United States has joined the Christchurch Call to Action …

Why people hate Elon Musk starts a rambling Twitter thread.

Ben Zimmer / Wired:
Dr. Fill, a puzzle-solving AI, won the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament last week, the first time AI managed to outscore human solvers at the national event  —  Dr. Fill, a puzzle-solving automaton, came out victorious at last week's national tournament—but human solvers shouldn't throw in the towel just yet.

Filipe Espósito / 9to5Mac:
Court docs detail Apple's app review process: 500+ people review ~100K apps/week, app rejection rate is less than 40%, less than 1% of rejections are appealed  —  As the Epic Games v. Apple court case goes forward, we have been learning more details about internal discussions within each company about their business models and more.

James Vincent / The Verge:
Sennheiser sells its consumer electronics division to Sonova, a Swiss company best known for its medical audio products like hearing aids and cochlear implants  —  From blasting your eardrums to assisting them in later life  —  Sonova, a Swiss company best known for its medical audio products …

Today's Daily podcast was sad, both because we learned that herd immunity is slipping away and also because Donald McNeil wasn't there to explain it in context of all his other prognostications.

Google Maps on my iPhone has been giving bad driving directions around Kingston, NY. Sending me on a five mile loop to go somewhere that's less than 1/2 mile away. This is new behavior. I wonder if it is related to my blog not supporting HTTPS. (That was a joke, but it could happen. Their search index for my blog gets worse all the time. And I believe that is punishment for not obeying their edict.)

I listened to another Kawasaki podcast, an interview with Mark Manson, a deliberately foul-mouthed young man. They talked about people's legacies. I don't doubt that people want to leave something behind, but as I've aged, I've come to an unorthodox view of this. With 8 billion people on the planet, if we all succeed at leaving something of ourselves behind, what a fucking mess that would be! Some of these behind-leavings will cancel each other out. And others will be horribly misguided, they'll be exactly the wrong thing to leave behind. A better approach, imho, is to do things that please you, and others. Be kind. Help people. And whatever is left behind, incidentally, from that all that, is what you leave behind. Don't consciously try to change the world. Just do your thing. I'm not perfect about this. I would like to see what I've written, both in software and prose, survive me. They won't take up a lot of space. And, in all likelihood none of it will survive me, I'm aware of that. What can I do but shrug? Even so, I'm still diggin!

BTW I've heard it asked -- what's the big deal about Art Show -- I could write it in an afternoon. Well maybe you could (actually no you can't), but that's not the point. The points are this: 1. Art and 2. A community of curators doing it for love. But really it's about #1. It's nice to add art to your life where ever it makes sense. Beautiful images scrolling through the screen of a computer is a good thing, if that's what you like. If my development work ever was about prowess, that part of my life is long-gone. It's something young people worry about. Perhaps a residual part of the mating dance. As you get older, you're constantly reminded that you have no prowess. And gentler things, like appreciating other people's artistic visions, come to the front. So why do Art Show? It's the art, dummy! 😄

Thanks to John Naughton for the very nice writeup of Art Show in his Memex 1.1 blog and newsletter.

The changes happening in the Republican Party are more than disturbing. Given that there have been no charges or arrests of political leaders for instigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, it's fair to assume that it will happen again, and next time it: 1. Might be successful and 2. It will happen with the full support of one of the two major political parties. We are sleeping through this.