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Pastors are getting in on Ring’s ever-growing surveillance state

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God is always watching — and soon, thanks to Amazon, a bunch of church pastors may join in on the fun. 

According to the Baltimore Sun, the Seattle tech giant has partnered with a host of religious leaders to equip Baltimore residents with Ring surveillance cameras. Amazon reportedly helped the group of pastors secure $15,000 to acquire the Amazon-owned cameras that have gained notoriety as a privacy-violating, police-fueled creep show.  

Notably, these cameras will not be deployed at physical places of worship — often a sad necessity in an age of rising anti-semitism and white nationalist violence — but rather employed to bust people in the community.  Read more…

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Revolut launches new, effortless way to donate to charities

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Revolut is a UK-based financial services company that offers clients a bank account and a pre-paid card, with many of its services free or incurring a lower fee than you’d get from a typical bank. It’s now also offering a new feature that makes it really easy to donate to charities — every time you make a payment. 

The feature, called Donations, lets you round up your Revolut card payments and donate the spare change to a charity of your choice. The service is kicking off with three charities: ILGA-Europe, Save the Children and WWF

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It’s Jony Ive’s world now. We just live in it.

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Sometimes, nice guys finish first — even in the corridors of the world’s wealthiest company. 

Apple’s design guru Sir Jony Ive is departing the company he helped shoot into the stratosphere on the best possible terms. He gets to found his own company, called LoveFrom, and design for other clients; Apple maintains its longstanding link by being first among those clients. The world gets more streamlined Ive designs in its daily life. It’s a rare win-win-win. 

Whatever he builds next, Ive will take over the world in the same behind-the-scenes manner that got him here. How behind-the-scenes? Here’s a telling tale of the first time I interviewed him in 2001, long before he added the “Sir.” His groundbreaking iPod had just hit the market. He was soft-spoken, careful, serious. A lot of what he said was the usual overly evocative design language — even then, his speech was peppered with the oft-parodied Jony Ive-ismsRead more…

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MacOS Catalina removes Dashboard, Apple’s kinda useful widget feature

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Remember widgets?

Apple has quietly killed off Dashboard, its widget app, in its forthcoming version of macOS Catalina which was announced at its WWDC yesterday.

The discovery comes from Appleosophy, who found no sign of the feature when looking through the operating system, and no option to turn it off or on.

Dashboard was first introduced in 2005 in Tiger, as widgets became something of a hot new thing to have on your computer. 

These widgets had basic functions like telling the weather, a calendar, and a calculator, but you could add on new widgets that could tell you how warm your computer was, or play the radio, for instance. Read more…

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Huawei reportedly cut off by major chipmakers Intel and Qualcomm

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Huawei is finding itself in even more of a pickle.

Chipmakers Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx, and Broadcom have told employees to stop supplying to Huawei until further notice, according to Bloomberg, which cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

In another Bloomberg report, Huawei is said to have prepared for a ban by stockpiling chips and other essential components which will allow it to keep running for three months.

The company has reportedly been preparing for a potential supply freeze since the middle of 2018, while designing its own chips to go into phones, laptops, and networking products. Read more…

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Reddit waits until it’s too late to ban violence-glorifying subreddits

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Another day, another internet giant belatedly deciding to apply its own policies in the face of a tragedy. 

Following the tragic Christchurch terrorist attack in New Zealand that left 49 people dead and scores more injured, and the subsequent sharing online of a livestream from the killer, Reddit has banned two subreddits that it now says glorified or celebrated violence. 

The first, r/watchpeopledie, was pretty much exactly what it sounds like — a place where people shared and commented on grisly videos of real deaths. The second, r/gore, was less specific in its death requirements but also contained violent video and images.  Read more…

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Amazon’s QVC-style shopping channel is a monument to sadness

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Even in these dark online times, there are places on the internet that manage to shine through and offer us some form of digital redemption; places where we yearn to stay and build new forms of community.

Amazon Live is not one of those places. 

The QVC-like streaming media service — soft-launched on Amazon’s mobile apps, in stealth mode on the web, and first discovered by TechCrunch — offers a carousel of teeth-whitened enthusiasts detailing all the ways a featured product will improve their lives. 

But wait, there’s more.  Read more…

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Microsoft is dropping a lot of money to help improve affordable housing in Seattle

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Where the tech sector has boomed, affordable housing has suffered.

Now, Microsoft is following other tech giants in wanting to be part of the solution, announcing a $500 million fund targeting homelessness and affordable housing in Seattle on Wednesday.

It’s the biggest pledge in the company’s history, and one of the largest by a private corporation towards housing, according to the Seattle Times. 

Seattle, much like Northern California, is facing a lack of affordable housing, as the rapid growth of tech has led to people being priced out of the housing market. Read more…

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Mark Zuckerberg shares the first projects he ever coded

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The key to being first-to-market? Working to create products that service the public by listening to their needs. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has always been working to get his products to the public as soon as possible. This episode is narrated by Masters of Scale Host Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn Cofounder, Greylock investor).

This editorial series is created by Mashable & Masters of Scale and sponsored by Skillshare, the online learning community. Get 2 months of Skillshare classes for free by visiting this link → http://skillshare.com/masters Read more…

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Uber introduces minimum rating requirements for riders, so don’t be a jerk

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It’s long-known that Uber drivers who fall under a certain star rating face getting kicked off the platform, and now that threat will extend to riders.

The ride-hailing company announced a new minimum average rating requirement for passengers in Australia and New Zealand, as per its update on its community guidelines.

Those changes will go into effect Sept. 19, and riders who veer too close to the minimum will be alerted before they sink below the requirement.

Once a rider drops below the minimum rating of 4.0, their account could be deactivated if they fail to improve after multiple notifications. Riders can reactivate their account after taking a “short educational exercise.”  Read more…

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Instagram just made it way too easy to accidentally unfollow someone

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Instagram used to have a safeguard in place to make sure you really, truly wanted to stop following someone on its mobile app. 

If you clicked on the “unfollow” button (it looks like the top half of a person with a check mark next to it) intentionally or accidentally, it would ask if you were sure you wanted to unfollow that account, giving you a final chance to change your mind. 

But it quietly removed the dialogue box in the latest app update. Now your hasty swiping or large thumbs could make for some awkward re-follow request situations.  Read more…

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Google removes ‘Don’t Be Evil’ motto from its Code of Conduct

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To be evil or not to be evil — that is the question, Google.

It seems after years of the tech company’s commitment to its low-key creepy-sounding mantra, “Don’t Be Evil,” Google has removed the phrase from its Code of Conduct.

So I guess that means evil is totally chill now?? Cool. Very cool and not at all concerning, right?

On Friday, Gizmodo noted that “Don’t Be Evil,” which has been part of Google’s Code of Conduct since 2000, was recently removed in either April or May, as shown by the Wayback Machine. 

Digging into the Wayback Machine’s April 21, 2018 archive shows the three-word phrase still present in an earlier Code of Conduct: Read more…

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Tesla fires hundreds of workers companywide amid production struggles

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Tesla just made some drastic changes to its workforce.

The automaker fired between 400 and 700 workers from its south Bay Area headquarters and production plant this week, the San Jose Mercury first reported. The company claims the employees were fired for subpar job performance rather than laid off.

“Like all companies, Tesla conducts an annual performance review during which a manager and employee discuss the results that were achieved, as well as how those results were achieved, during the performance period,” a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement. “Performance reviews also occasionally result in employee departures.” Read more…

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Elon Musk says story about fired assistant is 'total nonsense'

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In the last couple of days, a story lifted from Ashlee Vance’s biography of Elon Musk has been making the rounds on the internet, claiming that Musk fired his assistant of 12 years when she wanted a raise.

The story portrays Musk as an unusually cruel (or extremely efficient, depending on your perspective) leader, but now Musk himself has taken to Twitter to explain that the story isn’t true. 

The anecdote, originally published in Vance’s book Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, goes like this. Mary Beth Brown asked for a significant raise after having worked as Musk’s assistant for 12 years. Musk responded by asking Brown to take two weeks’ leave to see whether she’s really indispensable to him. After he’d realized she’s not, he promptly fired her.  Read more…

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Amazon under investigation for violating Iran sanctions

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Turns out when you sell a lot of stuff to a lot of people, you sometimes, maybe violate international sanctions. 

#AmazonProblems

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, the company said it is under investigation for selling around $34,000 of music, clothes, electronics, jewelry, books, office supplies, and other items to an Iranian embassy and others connected to the Iranian government since the start of 2012. 

The sales may have violated United States sanctions against Iran that prevent sales to certain Iranians associated with that nation’s government.  Read more…

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