Todd’s Tech Report: August 7, 2014


AirBnB Caught Panhandling for $475 Million


What’s going on?

The short story is they raised a huge round of funding bringing their total to somewhere around $801 million. That’s massive. Plus they had to pay for their new logo. What’s it look like to you?

Why does it matter?

Brian Chesky and Co. are in deep on numerous legal fronts in cities around the world since they take folks out of hotel rooms or landlords abuse the AirBnB system for long term rentals. Every city is different and most don’t have up-to-date laws to deal with the flood of people hoping to rent out their shed for $400/night. So stuff the war chest and lawyer up. Just talk to Uber.


Artificial Wombs Are Completely Ratchet


What’s going on?

Two efforts have been quietly happening. The Japanese have successfully gestated goat embryos in a machine that holds amniotic fluid in tanks. Likewise researches at Cornell have now grown a human embryo, for ten days in an artificial womb. Don’t worry, their work is limited by legislation that imposes a 14-day limit on research projects of this nature. Whew. Am I right?

Why does it matter?

While completely terrifying the core of this work is to develop better situations for premature babies. It could also go further, faster than we think. The advent of ectogenesis could mean females would no longer have to solely bear the responsibility of childbirth, or ponder the stressful questions often faced while carrying a child in one’s body for nine months. I mean who wants to bond with their child while in utero or while listening to it? #cobain #illbehereallweek


PR Nightmares and Complete Apathy Are No Secret

What’s going on?

Looks like Secret’s CEO is the new poster child for PR nightmares (my bad). Secret is a great place for teens to bully and it turns out Secret don’t care. Why bother when you gotta press the flesh and raise that skrilla because your shit’s white hot. Am I right? Seriously, who cares about teen suicide prevention caused by online bullying when you MUST get a table at State Bird Provisions? Well it’s no Secret that they now care, because they said they don’t care and then their app reviews melted down into a campaign for their ouster from the App Store.

Why does it matter?

Because #1 bullying is wrong. #2 bullying is wrong. #3 bullying is wrong. While it happens all over the web, as a founder of a popular anonymous app it’s best to get out ahead of it instead of blatantly not caring because you need to make it rain. Not shocking but not surprising either.


The Impossible Engine That Runs On Light


What’s going on?

Inventor Roger Shawyer gets the last laugh. No one believed he got it to work but it does. His quantum vacuum plasma thruster engine is extremely light and simple. It provides a thrust by “bouncing microwaves around in a closed container.” The microwaves are generated using electricity that can be provided by solar energy. No propellant is necessary which means that this thrusters can work forever unless a hardware failure occurs.

Why does it matter?

Though know one is quite sure how or why it works it does and that could mean no more need to carry fuel in space. Less weight means cheaper flights. Ride the light man.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QpZGcELlW0

Snapchat Stories With Casey Neistat


What’s going on?

Your favorite workaholic film maker has taken to Snapchat to create real-time stories. It doesn’t look pro. It’s not supposed to but it’s an interesting take on storytelling. If you follow him you get updated when he’s added a new section to his story.

Why does it matter?

Because the kids love Snapchat for sexting or whatever and Casey decides he’s going to use it as a real-time story making machine. Does it legitimize it as a great video platform. No. Come on, everything is shot in portrait mode. BUT it’s a unique way to see a platform and might be a window into a new frontier. Get your raccoon skin hat, musket and fishing hooks. There’s land beyond them mountains.


1 Billion Passwords Are Back in the USSR


What’s going on?

Russian hackers have amassed over 1.2 million login credentials. The records, discovered by Hold Security, a firm in Milwaukee, include confidential material gathered from 420,000 websites, including household names, and small Internet sites. Hold Security has a history of uncovering significant hacks, including the theft last year of tens of millions of records from Adobe Systems.

Why does it matter?

“The ability to attack is certainly outpacing the ability to defend,” said Lillian Ablon, a security researcher at the RAND Corporation. “We’re constantly playing this cat and mouse game, but ultimately companies just patch and pray.” Good plan everyone, good plan. It worked for Target.


iBeacons Can Lead The Blind


What’s going on?

London-based digital design studio ustwo is working on a project with the Royal London Society for Blind People (RLSB) to determine whether iBeacons/Bluetooth Low Energy beacon technology can be used to help visually impaired individuals navigate public transport by mapping their location dynamically and providing audio cues to direct them through stations and onto trains via an app.

Why does it matter?

Because it’s better than having an iBeacon blast my clip with coupon alerts every time I walk past a Froyo. Also it’s great to see a platform repurposed for social good.


The Doctor Will See You Now


What’s going on?

Doctor on Demand, the service that lets you video connect with a U.S. physician on Android and iOS for $40, closed a $21 million Series A round led by Venrock, Shasta Ventures and angel investor Sir Richard Branson. With the announcement, Doctor on Demand is available as a web-based app on desktop computers.

Why does it matter?

Because it’s a step in the right direction and just makes sense. They use a HIPAA-secure network and synchronous video chat for non-emergency clinical issues that do not immediately require a direct presence, lab work or imaging. The service says the team of physicians can treat colds, coughs, allergies and infections, among other ailments. Or use it to refill a prescription. #xanies


Get Your Dope The Same Day


What’s going on?

It won’t come by drone but Amazon has expanded it same day delivery service in six cities that include Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. You can now order from a catalog of a million common items (such as movies, games and supplies) and expect to get the shipment within hours.

Why does it matter?

Because it’s as close to instant consumer gratification as we can get. Whatever you want, right now. Just like that Push for Pizza app that doesn’t really work but got a shit-ton of press this week.


iPads Out, Chromebooks In


What’s going on?

Steve Jobs wouldn’t be happy but iPads aren’t the queen bee they used to be for educators. Chromebooks are cheaper, they are supported by educational publishers, and iPads are great but they lack keyboards, which limits what you can do with them. Schools have taken note and are returning iPads or not ordering replacements.

Why does it matter?

Students saw the iPad as a “fun” gaming environment, while the Chromebook was perceived as a place to “get to work.” And as much as students liked to annotate and read on the iPad, the Chromebook’s keyboard was a greater perk — especially since the new Common Core online testing will require a keyboard.



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