Sign up now for 2-for-1 tickets to TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin, released April 5

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 Disrupt Berlin 2017 doesn’t take place until December, but if you’re looking to attend the best startup show in Europe for the lowest possible price, an important deadline is fast approaching. We’ll be releasing a limited number of tickets to Disrupt Berlin on Wednesday, April 5 and the special price of two for the price of one. That’s two full tickets for no more… Read More

Walmart subsidiary Jet.com to buy ModCloth for less than $75m

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 Online fashion retailer ModCloth, known for its vintage-inspired and indie apparel, is on the verge of being acquired by Walmart, by way of its subsidiary, Jet.com. The deal, which had already been rumored, is almost finalized and will fetch a price tag between $50 million and $75 million, sources tell TechCrunch. This is a disappointing outcome for ModCloth, which had raised $78… Read More

A futurist looks to the past to understand the present “Gutenberg Moment”

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Over at the Stanford Social Innovation Review, my friend and Institute for the Future colleague Marina Gorbis looks back at Johannes Gutenberg’s 15th century invention of the printing press and the unintended consequences of our own “Gutenberg Moment“:

As we try to adjust and make sense of the dizzying changes that seemed to climax in the latest US presidential election, a few lessons from history seem particularly relevant. First, we should probably ignore the utopian pronouncements of many tech creators. With their “inventor” or “marketer” zeal, they are too eager to sell us the promises of future glories—democratization, personal freedoms, more access, more transparency. Remember Joe Trippi, Howard Dean’s tech-savvy campaign manager, declaring, ‘‘The Internet is the most democratizing innovation we’ve ever seen, more so even than the printing press”? The tech zealots are only partially right: Yes, we are getting all of those great things, but for every utopia, we also get a dystopia. David Sarnoff, radio and television pioneer and founder of Radio Corporation of America (RCA), saw new broadcast technologies as avenues for enlightening the public—bringing classical music, opera, theatre, and the arts into people’s living rooms. Today, with hundreds of broadcast channels, you can probably find great operas, theatre, and a lot of other educational programming. But along with education, we are served Jerry Springer and Real Housewives of New Jersey. As we open up new channels, we can expect more of everything to pour in—more opera and more reality shows, more truths and more lies, more objective journalism and more Breitbart news. The unintended consequence of democratization of media channels is that good stuff gets harder to find or pay attention to as it gets drowned out in the sea of trash. And as more trash pours in, we begin to see a second unintended consequence: the undermining of established sources of expertise and judgment.

Our Gutenberg Moment” (SSIR)

Slashdot Asks: Is the Internet Killing Old and New Art Forms or Helping Them Grow?

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The thing about the internet is that as it gained traction and started to become part of our lives, it caused a lot of pain — bloodbath, many say — to several major industries. The music industry was nearly decimated, for instance, and pennies on the dollar doesn’t begin to describe what has happened to the newspapers. But things are starting to change, many observers note. As Netflix CEO Reed Hastings noted at the New Yorker Tech Festival last year, the internet is increasingly changing the way people consume content and that has forced the industries to innovate and find new ways to cater to their audiences. But some of these industries are still struggling to figure out new models for their survival. Farhad Manjoo, a technology columnist at The New York Times, argues that for people of the future, our time may be remembered as a period not of death, but of rejuvenation and rebirth. He writes: Part of the story is in the art itself. In just about every cultural medium, whether movies or music or books or the visual arts, digital technology is letting in new voices, creating new formats for exploration, and allowing fans and other creators to participate in a glorious remixing of the work. […] In the last few years, and with greater intensity in the last 12 months, people started paying for online content. They are doing so at an accelerating pace, and on a dependable, recurring schedule, often through subscriptions. And they’re paying for everything. […] It’s difficult to overstate how big a deal this is. More than 20 years after it first caught mainstream attention and began to destroy everything about how we finance culture, the digital economy is finally beginning to coalesce around a sustainable way of supporting content. If subscriptions keep taking off, it won’t just mean that some of your favorite creators will survive the internet. It could also make for a profound shift in the way we find and support new cultural talent. It could lead to a wider variety of artists and art, and forge closer connections between the people who make art and those who enjoy it.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Last Days of Club Penguin

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Club Penguin, a decade-old tween-focused social network by Disney is shutting down. From a report on The Outline: Club Penguin, which launched in 2005, will shutter on March 29, ending an 11-year run that at its peak drew 200 million users to the site. While the traffic has reportedly been in decline over the past few years — the OG Club Penguin kids have mostly aged out (most of the site’s user are 8-13), and there’s growing competition from other social networking games, like the new LEGO Life — fans both young and old are reacting to the news with emotions that run the Kubler-Ross gamut. Some have been reduced to shell-like human embodiments of the Loudly Crying Face emoji. James Charles, the beauty-obsessed 17-year-old Instagram star who was recently announced as the first male face of CoverGirl, tweeted, “my entire childhood is going down the drain wow I’m gonna cry RIP greendude50.” Others are lashing out, attempting speedruns or willfully disobeying chat rules in the hopes of getting booted in an act of you-can’t-fire-me-I-quit defiance. And of course, plenty are soaking up the last days, taking part in the community-wide “Waddle On” celebration that’s essentially a G-rated version of an end-of-days rager.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Matrix universe should be expanded, not remade

See the original posting on The Verge

The Hollywood Reporter revealed this week that Warner Bros. is working on a follow-up to the Wachowskis’ 1999 classic, The Matrix, with Creed’s Michael B. Jordan in talks to play a major role. Despite the franchise’s star falling thanks to a host of misfires and failures in the 2000s, the original film remains one of the finest movies to come out of the heady, tech-addled days of the late 20th century pop culture. With virtual reality and expanded universes enjoying a resurgence, now is as a good a time as any for the series to make its return.

It’s not entirely clear yet if the studio wants a remake with Neo, Agent Smith, and the rest of the core characters, a new film set in the established world, or something between the two. There’s…

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Defense Department asks employees not to stream March Madness games on Pentagon network

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On Wednesday, the IT service provider at the Pentagon sent an email to employees asking them not to stream March Madness games at work. While not explicitly forbidding any on-the-clock basketball-watching, the Joint Service Provider (JSP) asked employees to consider their bandwidth use. The email, obtained by CBS News, reads, “Please keep in mind; if you’re streaming video to watch your favorite player shooting free throws, you’re consuming network resources that could be served to support the Warfighter [an informal term for military personnel].”

JSP said its engineers would “closely monitor bandwidth consumption” and presumably warn sports fans who are a little too rabid in their viewing practices. As Deadspin points out, today is the…

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Android tablets aren’t getting Google Assistant anytime soon

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If you have an Android tablet running Marshmallow or Nougat and have been wondering why the Google Assistant isn’t showing up, here’s the reason: it’s not coming yet.

Android Police confirmed with Google that the Assistant is currently rolling out to Android phones only. “The Assistant will be available on Android Marshmallow and Nougat phones with Google Play Services, this does not include tablets,” the company wrote.

Why the distinction? It’s not at all clear. Google could be planning a different interface for tablets’ bigger screens, but it didn’t change a thing for the Assistant’s predecessor, Now on Tap.

It’s also possible that Google is just trying to maintain a slow rollout…

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WeWork’s Adam Neumann is coming to Disrupt

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 Eight years ago, WeWork didn’t exist. But since 2010, Adam Neumann and his cofounder, Miguel McKelvey, have been taking over the world — literally — with what sounds like a deceptively simple business model: to rent office space from landlords wholesale, splinter it into smaller pieces, make it cozier and more attractive (think mosaics, exposed beams), then sublease it at… Read More

Hulu teases its Live TV service’s features including real-time alerts, DVR, simultaneous streams & more

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 Hulu’s live TV service is just around the corner, and will enter a competitive market where rivals like AT&T’s DirecTV NOW, Dish’s Sling TV, Sony’s PlayStation Vue, and YouTube TV are now battling for cord cutters’ dollars. To date, Hulu hasn’t offered a ton of information on how its service will differentiate itself from others, but it has now added a… Read More

Swatch is working on its own smartwatch OS

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 At a moment when it’s hard to be bullish about smartwatches, Swatch isn’t just embracing the category. It’s going all in. Swatch, Switzerland’s biggest watchmaker, isn’t just planning to launch a smartwatch, the company is actually developing its own operating system in hopes of competing with the likes of Apple and Samsung (which uses a forked version of Tizen).… Read More

Mimas in Saturnlight

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Today’s Astronomy picture of the day is Saturn’s moon, Mimas, bathed in light from both the planet and the sun. The image has had the darker side brightened somewhat; click through for the unenhanced original.

Explanation:

Peering from the shadows, the Saturn-facing hemisphere of Mimas lies in near darkness alongside a dramatic sunlit crescent.

The mosaic was captured near the Cassini spacecraft’s final close approach on January 30, 2017.

Cassini’s camera was pointed in a nearly sunward direction only 45,000 kilometers from Mimas.

The result is one of the highest resolution views of the icy, crater-pocked, 400 kilometer diameter moon. …
Other Cassini images of Mimas include the small moon’s large and ominous Herschel Crater.

Artist Jay Lynch, of Garbage Pail Kids fame, dead at 72

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Underground comix cartoonist Jay Lynch, perhaps best known for Bijou Funnies and his contributions to the Garbage Pail Kids trading card series, died March 5, reports the New York Times..

“Underground comix were the most important art movement of the 20th century,” he wrote, using the “comics” spelling preferred by underground cartoonists, in the introduction to “Underground Classics: The Transformation of Comics Into Comix” (2009), by Denis Kitchen and James Danky.
“Copies of many of the early books sell to collectors for many thousands of dollars,” he continued. “It’s all quite ironic: Rebellious cartoonists mocking consumer culture were inadvertently producing collectible artifacts for the same consumer culture 40 years down the road.”

And I do believe that’s his art on the 30th Anniversary Box set. Alex Balk
wrote a commemorative poem and it’s perfect. John Pound is still with us.

Netflix Will Explore Mobile-Specific Cuts of Its Original Series

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An anonymous reader shares an article: Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt said in a briefing today with journalists in San Francisco that the company plans to explore streaming mobile-specific cuts of its original movies and TV shows, to satisfy what he said was a growing audience of mobile Netflix watchers. “It’s not inconceivable that you could take a master [copy] and make a different cut for mobile,” Hunt said. To date, Netflix hasn’t been delivering different cuts for different viewing platforms, Hunt said, but “it’s something we will explore over the next few years.” The idea would be to create a version of the content with scenes or shots that are more easily visible or immersive on a mobile phone, since certain shots can be hard to see or can appear diminished on a relatively small phone screen.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Brooklinen tucks in $10M in Series A from FirstMark

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 At some point, everyone has an ‘Aha!’ moment when it comes to the importance of high-quality bed linens. For Brooklinen founders, Rich and Vicki Fulop, that moment came on vacation at a hotel, where the sheets were too good to be true but unfortunately not for sale. As the couple searched for some nice sheets, everywhere from Bed Bath & Beyond to ABC Home, they realized that… Read More

Cubspot finds camps and classes for your wee ones

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 Cubspot: come for the “EdTech SaaS marketplace” but stay for the opportunity to find camps and classes for your kids this summer. Cubspot is the brainchild of Rachael Shayne, a former brand manager for Nestle, The North Face, and Oakley. Over a bottle of wine she and her friends talked about how hard it was to find classes for their kids in the summer.
“We talked about how… Read More

Qualcomm doesn’t want you to call its Snapdragon processors ‘processors’ anymore

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 Take note, tech writers: as of this morning, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors are no longer processors. Henceforth, the company would like you to refer to Snapdragon as a “platform.” In a post this morning, the San Diego-based chip – sorry processor – maker has detailed why it’s replaced one p-word with another. And why it thinks you ought to… Read More

The Lucid Air electric car starts at just $60,000 – before tax credit

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 Lucid’s first electric vehicle doesn’t cost what you think it does – the company revealed basic pricing information for the Air on its blog, basically just to mute speculation that its price tag would begin north of $100,000. The Lucid Air’s actual price will start at $60,000, hitting $52,500 once you apply the federal tax credit for EV buyers. That’s for the… Read More

Six months in, iMessage App Store growth slows as developers lose interest

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 When the iMessage App Store first launched, its was touted as the next big platform for apps – a new way for developers to gain users and make money, and was followed by an initial surge of iMessage app downloads. Now, however, the excitement is fading as is the app store’s growth. During the first few months after its debut, the iMessage App Store was seeing growth of over… Read More

McDonald’s serves up one more, calling Trump a ‘disgusting excuse of a President’ on Twitter

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 It was a direct reply, but when the world’s second largest restaurant chain slides into the Trump’s mentions to call him “a disgusting excuse of a President,” people are going to take notice. And screenshot the hell out of it. Billions and billions served, indeed. McDonald’s has since deleted a tweet reading, “@realDonaldTrump You are actually a… Read More

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