Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy explains how the business that allows everything from Slack to Netflix to function came to be

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Photo: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a web platform that powers everything from Netflix to Slack to NASA. Launched in 2006, AWS is a suite of storage, database, and other services that allows anyone to build an internet application without ever purchasing physical hardware. (If you’ve ever heard about “cloud computing,” Amazon Web Services was one of its pioneers.) AWS has also turned into a cash machine for Amazon, generating billions in pure profit. …


Would you share data about your health habits to save a few bucks on your insurance?

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Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images for Fitbit

On Tuesday, life insurance provider John Hancock announced it would be rolling out a change for all incoming customers. If you signed up for a life insurance policy, you would be automatically enrolled in a program called “Vitality Go,” which provides policy holders with free stuff (think: gift cards or discounts at the grocery store) if you you hit certain health goals, from walking a certain number of steps to having low blood pressure. …


Does Tesla motor along? Does it get acquired? Will Elon serve jail time? We do some divination for America’s weirdest CEO.

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Elon Musk is living his own Choose Your Own Adventure book at this point, except most of the choices involve “tweet something that will make things worse.” Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

On Tuesday, news broke that the Department of Justice had started a probe into Elon Musk’s August 7 tweet: “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” The news of the DOJ inquiry sent Tesla stock tumbling yet again, continuing what has been an extremely tumultuous 2018 for Musk (and, by proxy, Tesla). Since the beginning of 2018, Musk has [deep breath] angrily lashed out an an analyst on an earnings call; accused someone of being a pedophile; accepted a blunt from Joe Rogan on video; started a feud with the media about “fake news”; maybe trapped rapper Azealia…


Why a newer, slightly faster smartphone really isn’t news anymore

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Apple CEO Tim Cook at the unveiling of the newest generation of iPhones and an updated Apple Watch. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

I was not all that jazzed about this year’s iPhones after Apple’s presentation on Wednesday, but I was somewhat at a loss as to why. Most years, even if some of Apple’s glossy smarm can be grating, my rat brain still usually wants that shiny new phone it’s showing off. This year, not so much. Was it just that most of the improvements were incremental at best? Am I just getting old and tired? Was it an off year for Apple?

But Wall Street Journal reporter Christopher Mims explained it pretty well, I think:

Or as Popular Mechanicseditor…


Facebook used 100 million people as a test bed for cheap internet provided by Facebook, and unwittingly helped fuel a brutal crackdown

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Funeral workers carry away the body of a suspected drug pusher who was killed by unknown assailants in Manila, Philippines, April 1, 2018. Photo: Ezra Acayan/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In 2013, Facebook hit upon an idea to grow its user base: It would subsidize internet access to Facebook on mobile devices in countries where cellular data was pricey, physical internet infrastructure was poor, and the smartphone revolution meant many leapfrogged from having no internet access at all to using their smartphone as their only source to the web. It found the perfect country to test this out on, in the 100 million citizens of the Philippines, calling it “Free Facebook.”

If the idea sounds familiar, it’s because Facebook attempted to do a version of this in many more countries…


Two new parents try to figure out whether it’s okay to yell at Alexa in front of their child

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Photo by Andres Urena on Unsplash

My wife and I recently had our first child, a happy and healthy daughter who just turned 1 month old. We’ve also had an Amazon Echo sitting on our kitchen counter for about two years now, and before our daughter arrived, my wife had expressed concerns about how she would talk to Alexa in front of our daughter. We took a rainy afternoon while our daughter was napping to talk about her concerns about Alexa, while Alexa occasionally interrupted.

So what are your worries about how we speak to Alexa? I think it all started when I realized how much…


Wearable smart baby sensors promise parents peace of mind, but for the cost and functionality they deliver, parents should feel more like preyed upon

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Photo: andriano_cz/Getty Images

When my daughter was about three hours old, she and my wife were sleeping soundly in the postpartum room at the hospital. I hadn’t slept in over 40 hours, but I was wide awake, worrying about my daughter’s feet. More specifically, her feet seemed to be elevated above her head. I thought I remembered something from one of the many things I’d read preparing for our first kid — weren’t newborns supposed to have their heads higher than their feet?

It was then that I made my first mistake as a father. I Googled. I scrolled through message boards and…

Jake Swearingen

I write about technology for New York magazine.

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