Day: April 21, 2018

Donald Trump suggests he may pardon Jack Johnson because — c’mon, you know why

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While past presidents were mourning former First Lady Barbara Bush at her funeral in Houston today, President Trump was on his phone in Mar-a-Lago, having his usual Twitter meltdown.

In between excoriating James Comey and tossing around conspiracy theories about Mr. Peepers, President Trump decided to suddenly announce he was considering a pardon for Jack Johnson, the history-making boxer.

Trump, as you might imagine, appears to have taken a particular interest in pardons as of late.

Some background on the controversy: Jack Johnson was the first black man to ever hold the title of world heavyweight champion. By 1912, he hadn’t lost a match in four years. Other white boxers refused to fight him. When one, Canadian Tommy Burns, did, Johnson destroyed him soundly.  Read more…

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Pivotal CEO talks IPO and balancing life in Dell family of companies

Pivotal has kind of a strange role for a company. On one hand its part of the EMC federation companies that Dell acquired in 2016 for a cool $67 billion, but it’s also an independently operated entity within that broader Dell family of companies — and that has to be a fine line to walk.

Whatever the challenges, the company went public yesterday and joined VMware as a  separately traded company within Dell. CEO Rob Mee says the company took the step of IPOing because it wanted additional capital.

“I think we can definitely use the capital to invest in marketing and R&D. The wider technology ecosystem is moving quickly. It does take additional investment to keep up,” Mee told TechCrunch just a few hours after his company rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

As for that relationship of being a Dell company, he said that Michael Dell let him know early on after the EMC acquisition that he understood the company’s position. “From the time Dell acquired EMC, Michael was clear with me: You run the company. I’m just here to help. Dell is our largest shareholder, but we run independently. There have been opportunities to test that [since the acquisition] and it has held true,” Mee said.

Mee says that independence is essential because Pivotal has to remain technology-agnostic and it can’t favor Dell products and services over that mission. “It’s necessary because our core product is a cloud-agnostic platform. Our core value proposition is independence from any provider — and Dell and VMware are infrastructure providers,” he said.

That said, Mee also can play both sides because he can build products and services that do align with Dell and VMware offerings. “Certainly the companies inside the Dell family are customers of ours. Michael Dell has encouraged the IT group to adopt our methods and they are doing so,” he said. They have also started working more closely with VMware, announcing a container partnership last year.

Photo: Ron Miller

Overall though he sees his company’s mission in much broader terms, doing nothing less than helping the world’s largest companies transform their organizations. “Our mission is to transform how the world builds software. We are focused on the largest organizations in the world. What is a tailwind for us is that the reality is these large companies are at a tipping point of adopting how they digitize and develop software for strategic advantage,” Mee said.

The stock closed up 5 percent last night, but Mee says this isn’t about a single day. “We do very much focus on the long term. We have been executing to a quarterly cadence and have behaved like a public company inside Pivotal [even before the IPO]. We know how to do that while keeping an eye on the long term,” he said.

Meal Plan for April Week 4

Meal Plan for April Week 4

This month, Summer Miller is back, sharing her meal plans for April. Summer is a mom, a full-time food writer, and also helps test the fabulous recipes we bring you every week at Simply Recipes.

Each spring I tiptoe out to my garden to check the buds on our perennials and the blossoms on our apple trees, and to plant seeds for early-season vegetables. As an avid gardener, I want to spend these extra hours of daylight outside with my hands in the dirt.

Continue reading “Meal Plan for April Week 4” »

Yup, ‘Jane the Virgin’ just gave fans the most shocking TV twist ever

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SPOILER ALERT: This post contains major spoilers for the Season 4 finale of Jane the Virgin: “Chapter Eighty-One.”

Jane the Virgin has always had a knack for wringing our hearts out like old rags (sometimes in a good way), but the Season 4 finale ended with a special kind of torture. 

In the very last moment of the episode, Jane visits a grimly aloof Rafael at his apartment, expecting him to propose, where instead he reveals the secret he learned from Rose:  a living, breathing Michael Cordero.

So, in no particular order, here are 12 thoughts we had during that 5-second scene that felt like it lasted an eternity, and which we subsequently watched dozens of times and will haunt us until fall. Read more…

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Orchid Labs is in the process of raising $125 million for its surveillance-free layer atop the internet

Orchid Labs, a San Francisco-based startup that’s developing a a surveillance-free layer on top of the internet, has raised a bunch of funding, according to a newly processed SEC filing that shows the year-old startup has closed on $36.1 million. The money comes just five months after Orchid closed on a separate, $4.5 million in funding from investors, including Yes VC, cofounded by serial entrepreneurs Caterina Fake and Jyri Engeström.

Others of its earliest backers include Andreessen Horowitz, DFJ, MetaStable, Compound, Box Group, Blockchain Capital, and Sequoia Capital, according to its site.

The stated goal of the Orchid is to provide anonymized internet access to people across the globe, particularly individuals who live in countries with excessive government oversight of their browsing and shopping. Part of the point also seems to be to insulate users from the many companies that now harvest and sell their data, including walled gardens like Facebook and other giants like AT&T.

In a word where one assumes the Cambridge Analytica scandal is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to data abuse, it’s easy to see the project’s appeal. So far, says the filing, the company has raised that $36.1 million via a SAFT agreement, an investment contract offered by cryptocurrency developers to accredited investors (42 of them in this case).

But the filing shows a target of $125,595,882 million, and based how hot particular blockchain ideas are getting, and how aggressively they’re being funded (see the Basis deal earlier this week), you can imagine more money will flow to the company if it hasn’t already. That’s also an awfully specific target on its filing.

We’ve reached out to the company for more information. You can also check out its white paper if you’re curious.

In the meantime, it’s worth noting that Orchid has five founders with varied and interesting backgrounds. They include Stephen Bell, who spent seven years as a managing director at Trilogy Ventures, shopping for opportunities in China, before returning to the states in 2015; Steve Waterhouse, long an investor with the digital currencies-focused firm Pantera Capital; former Ethereum Foundation developer Gustav Simonsson; software engineer Jay Freeman; and Brian Fox, who is credited with building the first interactive online banking software for Wells Fargo in 1995 and who was the first employee of the legendary programmer Richard Stallman’s Free Software Foundation, among other things.

Between the money involved, the mission, and the founders, this one looks like a Big Deal. Stay tuned.