Notepad++ 6.8.6

Notepad++ 6.8.6
Notepad++ 6.8.6 - Notepad++ merupakan sebuah software bahasa pemrograman yang banyak digunakan, bahkan oleh programmer yang pro saat ini. Selain karena memiliki tampilan yang simpel, Notepad++ juga merupakan software yang terbilang ringan, size nya tidak terlalu besar. Di versi terbarunya ini, terdapat perbaikan-perbaikan bugs yang dilakukan serta penambahan fitur-fitur baru. Mau tau apa aja fitur baru nya? Simak fitur baru dari Notepad++ 6.8.6 di bawah ini.

Screenshot :

Notepad++ 6.8.6

New Features :
  • Fix function list not working for Javascript regression.
  • Fix maintain indent not working in javascript regression.
  • Improve the language detection at the beginning of file content.
  • Fix possible file corruption during macro playback.
  • Fix wrong EOL mode for opening/reloading big files.
  • Fix loading 3 bytes file error due to bad encoding detection (UTF16 w/o BOM).
  • Fix DocMap not updating issue when switching to user defined language or external lexer.
  • Fix reload file issue: document marked as unsaved after reloading.
  • Enhance the detection of EOL: if a document has no EOL for detecting, use EOL of new document settings.
Download :
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How To Download

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Hacking The Pipeline: How HBCUs Are Taking Tech's Diversity Issue Into Their Own Hands

Michelle Rial / BuzzFeed News


Leslie Tita's tone grows oddly anxious as he curls into the back of a Lyft, and speeds away from Howard University. Tita is a successful entrepreneur who owns a co-working space for entrepreneurs from Africa. He's strikingly tall and sturdily built, with long fine dreadlocks and an infectious grin, and doesn't seem the type to be worried about anything. But ask him about the "pipeline problem" in tech — the notion that tech companies don't hire enough people of color because there is not enough available talent — and you'll see his brow furrow.

“Lately there's been a lot of talk about race in general and that’s translated to tech, but what worries me is that it feels very trendy,” he says. "I have mixed feelings on how the big companies are trying to address it without working together, and I feel this fear that in a couple of months it's going to die down."

Tita has reason for this trepidation: Despite tech’s insistence that the talent pool for engineering students of color is insufficient, that it is a so-called pipeline problem, data suggests that’s not exactly true. A study in USA Today last year suggested that universities are graduating black and Hispanic computer science and computer engineering graduates at twice the rate that technology companies are hiring them.

Perhaps its because they're looking in the wrong places. The feeder universities for the big tech companies, like MIT and Stanford, have their own diversity issues. (At Stanford, African-Americans represent a paltry 7.8% of undergraduates. At MIT it's 10%.) In short, tech firms are building pipelines from places without any black people to begin with.

Which explains why Tita is volunteering his weekend as a mentor for an event called HBCU Hacks — a series of two-day hackathons held at historically black colleges and universities, organized by the nonprofit organization Black Founders. At these events, computer science and engineering students of color spend their weekends to conceive of, code, and hopefully finish some variety of app, game, or technical product. In short, they're trying to re-route the pipes.

That is, if they can get the internet working. A few minutes before we bailed in the Lyft, Tita was moving across the floor inside the wood-paneled reading room in Downing Hall, a linoleum-floored engineering building on the edge of the Howard University campus. Fifteen or so students were also milling about quietly, idly tapping their phones or staring at the ground, backpacks on their shoulders. Tables strewn with ethernet cables sat empty, and a table with breakfast food and cold cardboard jugs of Starbucks coffee had been picked apart by bored and hungry students. One student wearing a hooded sweatshirt with Google's logo across the back tended to a sagging sign that read "HBCU Hacks." It should be an exhausting, nonstop event, but the students and mentors were idle, due to a particularly vexing hurdle: a campus-wide internet outage.

"There's really only two things you need for a hackathon, and that's a computer and internet and, of course, we're missing one of them," said Tita, before letting out a strained laugh.

Black Founders

The Howard hackathon comes at a time when tech companies are under increasing scrutiny for their lack of diversity. Yet as the likes of Apple, Google, and Facebook increasingly roll out diversity reports and announce new efforts to fix the pipeline problem, the obvious fact remains that it's especially hard for people of color to gain employment at the elite companies of Silicon Valley. Diversity is frequently discussed among big tech companies now but it remains underserved in terms of actual hiring.

“We are working to increase diversity in the talent pipeline and make Yahoo a great place to work for a diverse employee base,” Yahoo’s 2015 report read after disclosing that African-Americans made up just 2% of its workers. Facebook, whose 2014 report revealed the 5,500 person company had only 81 black employees, stressed that it was "trying desperately to have a more diverse workforce and deal with the constraints on the pipeline.” And yet to some extent, the problem may be that tech companies view the problem as, well, a pipeline.

Despite hopeful and sometimes even grand gestures from companies like Apple, which last year gave a massive grant to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, much of the difficult work of building companies that genuinely reflect the ethnic makeup of their users will ultimately fall to the students of color and their institutions. The majority of that work — as many black entrepreneurs see it right now — won't take place onstage or at a press conference, but under the fluorescent lights of co-working spaces and engineering halls, where engineers, coders, and designers of color strive to build the workforce that can bridge Silicon Valley's diversity gap.

It’s this sense of self-reliance that has led people like Monique Woodard, the executive director of the diversity-in-tech nonprofit Black Founders, to partner with historically black colleges and universities across the country for this series of hackathons. Black Founders hopes to create the foundation necessary to build a culture of innovation in the tech space that, pipeline or not, Silicon Valley won’t be able to ignore.

“You see a lot of companies paying lip service about diversity, but when you talk about HBCUs there’s some pushback. That’s not where they’re recruiting,” Woodard told BuzzFeed News. “They are still looking for a Stanford student, a Harvard student, an MIT student — they just want that person to be black now. That’s not always realistic. Why not work with the engineering and business schools at HBCUs as well?”

Black Founders

Of course, no matter where they come from, they need internet to get there. And currently, the Howard hackathon is all out of that. But resourcefulness is the rule of the day. So Tita hatched a new plan and offered to host the students at his office, I/O Spaces, a few miles up the road in Silver Spring, Maryland. "Everybody call an Uber or Lyft," one of the hackathon organizers told the group. "Grab a buddy and let's just get out of here."

On the ride over, Tita was upbeat and focused on getting the students up and hacking. "I think it's so important to give young engineers at these HBCUs the chance to see what it's like to build something and maybe even get the chance to get funding," he explained. "But really, it's a chance to say to them, 'Hey, this is real — this tech stuff is not just like a specific niche of people. You can build a startup.'"

As the Lyft driver pulls up to the co-working space Tita says that part of his urgency comes from the realization that although the world appears to be paying closer attention to racial inequality across the country, he’s worries it’s a momentary cycle, and is aware that window might close.

But his wariness passes quickly. “The good thing is that even though it's a trend, people can make good money off of trends,” he says, flashing a smile before entering the co-working space. “The question is, how can we, as black entrepreneurs, make the best of this moment in time?”

Hackathons aren’t much as far as spectator sports go. Save for trips to the bathroom and scuttling back and forth to a modest table stacked with pre-made sandwich wraps and soda, the students rarely move from their respective seats. Allee Clark, a senior computer science student at Howard, is working at a table with three other students on an app called Nemesis, which will employ a Tinder-like swipe interface to allow friends to find worthy partners to debate on any number of issues. “Arguing with people is pretty much the oldest and best part of the internet,” he laughs, before explaining that the group will try to develop “a behavioral API of sorts to show what kind of person you are.” The project is light-hearted and Clark and his team are using the weekend as valuable practice. They are less focused on the outcome than the experience. “If I weren’t here, I’d probably be be back in my room trying to build something else, but here there’s at least some free food,” Clark says.

That lackadaisical mood is a bit disheartening to Aaron Saunders, a local entrepreneur and adjunct faculty member teaching computer science at Howard. Saunders worries that Howard and other HBCUs have fallen behind in providing a curriculum advanced enough to graduate top-tier engineering talent.

“When I finally got in to teach, I told myself I was going to focus on getting students to build, and it was a struggle because I was asking them to make something and they’re only being taught theory, not real-world application,” he explained. “They're prepping kids to go off to Lockheed Martin and IBM and those kinds of jobs and that’s all fine and good but they’re not doing what Stanford and the best universities are doing — preparing kids to create things — to create their own company.”

Black Founders

Worse, Saunders worries that curriculums at many HBCUs can be too slow to evolve to match what’s happening in the private sector, putting graduates at an even further disadvantage when they try to score jobs at big, fast-moving tech firms. “My personal opinion is that I don't think a lot of these kids are, on the whole, ready to work at Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter. And that's the harsh reality,” he said. “If you’re not turning out a product these tech companies want, then you’re setting people up for failure.”

While Saunders admitted tech curriculums lag at many public institutions across the country, he argues the effects are amplified at HBCUs like Howard. “If you go to some other state schools and say, 'Hey, raise your hand if you know somebody in software development,' there's a likelihood that in that network they know somebody. That doesn’t exist at HBCUs. The difference is other communities have a strong network. Most here don’t.”

The students suggest a more nuanced perspective: Access to bigger tech companies is available, but only on the companies’ terms. “Google is always around; they have Googlers that come to stay and teach at Howard’s campus, so Google is literally, like, downstairs,” one junior engineering student said, speaking of Howard’s Googler in Residence program. (Google declined to make its Googlers in Residence available for comment, but Yolanda Mangolini, Google's director of diversity and inclusion, told BuzzFeed News via a prepared statement that "Historically Black Colleges and Universities are and have always been an important pillar in the black community, and embedding our Googler engineers as instructors has helped bring practitioners to the classroom.")

Indeed, the Googler in Residence program has its engineers embed and teach not just at Howard, but also at Hampton University, Fisk University, and Spelman and Morehouse colleges. The mere fact of that presence can make a difference, say students. “Google makes it a lot easier to get an internship, not because they’re biased toward us but because they are here. Microsoft and Facebook are around maybe twice a year at most, but when I apply to Microsoft using their site I get nothing; no response, no confirmation email. Never. It's like it's going into a black hole,” another junior mechanical engineering student said.

For Alanna Walton, a Howard sophomore in computer engineering, Big Tech’s real presence at the university has helped shape the trajectory of her still-young academic career. After taking a class with the Googler in Residence, Walton secured an internship at the search giant over the summer. By the time she made it back to campus this fall, she’d already begun laying the groundwork for her startup idea with three other Howard students, a customizable haircare business called GottaBeYour. Walton is soft-spoken and wears a high school shirt that reads “Powderpuff Seniors” but speaks about her business with the concern of a seasoned entrepreneur, already trained in speaking about scalability and unreliable vendors.

At the hackathon, Walton sits cross-legged on the ground, balancing her laptop on her knees, deep in focus. Amid haggling with shampoo vendors for GottaBeYour and bootstrapping the project with the money she made at Google, she’s using the weekend to build something different. “Bringing something that you already started into a hackathon, that feels weird or kind of like cheating,” she said. “Plus, I can try something different and maybe learn another thing or two — I’m really into wireless beacons right now.”

And so she and her partner Lucretia Williams are working on Food EZ, an app that allows people to set up drive-thru orders ahead of time but that aren’t sent to the kitchen until you reach the beacon’s connectivity radius. “Maybe it won’t work, but the technology is really interesting and there’s a lot to figure out.”

To talk to the hackathon mentors this ability to embrace and be comfortable with failure is just one of many cultural barriers complicating diversity programs — and learning to embrace it is critical. “We talk about culture fit all the time and accepting failure is just completely outside of our culture. We don't have the luxury to fail,” Howard graduate and mentor Beverly Turner, who runs her own private technology exposure programs, said.

That willingness to try something new — and maybe fail at it — is prized worldview in Silicon Valley. Failure, breaking things, the perennially available exciting and potentially lucrative opportunities on the horizon for every failed startup founder: This is the standard template for success in the tech industry. But as even the most successful entrepreneurs of color have found, the luxury of failure is a foreign concept.

Black Founders

Cooking Fever v1.5.0 MOD for Android

Cooking Fever v1.5.0 MOD for Android
Cooking Fever v1.5.0 MOD for Android merupakan game ber-genre arcade yang dikhususkan untuk android. Dari judul game ini saja, kita sudah bisa sedikit membayangkan seperti apa game ini. Yup, di game ini kamu berperan sebagai koki di sebuah restoran yang kerjaannya ialah memasak, sekaligus melayani pelanggan. Game yang memiliki gameplay seperti ini memang sudah banyak, namun Cooking Fever ini bisa dibilang salah satu yang terbaik. Yang terdapat di versi MOD ini adalah unlimited gold dan gems.

Screenshot :

Cooking Fever v1.5.0 MOD for Android
Cooking Fever v1.5.0 MOD for Android


System Required : Android OS 2.3.3 or Higher

Download :
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How To Download

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There Were Way More Ads Supporting Airbnb Than Opposing It On TV This Summer

According to the Internet Archive, for every minute of TV ads that supported a San Francisco ballot measure that would restrict Airbnb, there were 100 minutes of opposing Proposition F.

Via blog.archive.org

Ads opposing a local ballot measure that would restrict Airbnb in San Francisco vastly outstripped those in favor of the measure, according to a review by the Internet Archive.

Proposition F would limit the number of days a year hosts can rent out their homes to 75, require home-sharing platforms to report regularly to city government, ban rentals of in-law apartments and more. Airbnb has spent $8 million so far in hopes of defeating the ballot measure, which they say is overly aggressive.

The Internet Archive records and stores hours and hours of TV footage, but claims to have found only one ad supporting the ballot measure. That ad, their survey says, played 32 times for a total of 16 minutes; in comparison, ads in support of Airbnb aired for more than 26 hours.

Of course, these days, TV ads are only one part of how the campaigns have tried to reach voters; both sides have played in the digital space as well. In fact, the campaign that support Prop F, known as Share Better SF, released a new ad on YouTube today, which in a press release was said to be part of a "significant digital media buy."

youtube.com

Another Startup Is Moving Away From Contract Labor

Shift is the latest in a string of on-demand companies that have decided to stop using independent contractors.

Via Flickr: hugo90

Shift, an on-demand startup that helps people buy and sell cars, is looking to make employees out of its contract-based labor force. Almost 100 California-based "car enthusiasts" — what Shift calls the people who do price checks, coordinate inspections, facilitate test drives, and otherwise help with the transaction — are being given the opportunity to join the company as employees, starting December 1.

Use of contract labor by tech companies is a hot topic. Companies including Postmates, Washio, Handy, Lyft and Uber are currently being sued by workers who say they should be receiving the benefits and compensation befitting employees.

Not all on-demand companies use independent contractors — Munchery, WashUp, Alfred and Managed by Q, to name a few, use employees. Still others, such as Shyp, Instacart and Sprig, have announced intentions to transition their workforce from contract-based to employee status.

While lawsuits are a definite threat, those on-demand companies that forego the savings associated with hiring independent contractors often say its because hiring employees is better for business long term. A car is a big purchase, a Shift representative said in an email, and W-2 employees help the company deliver "premium, white glove service" to customers. As employees, the "enthusiasts" are now eligible for equity in the company as well; a spokesperson for Shift said the news was greeted with cheers.

Take The Ultimate Sext Poll

Do you recycle nudes?

It's time we had a serious discussion about sexting. Let's find out how normal your sexting habits are compared to everyone else.

It's time we had a serious discussion about sexting. Let's find out how normal your sexting habits are compared to everyone else.

Comedy Central / Via giphy.com


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SXSW Reinstates Online Harassment Panel After Criticism

Jack Dempsey / Invision for Universal Music Group

South by Southwest director Hugh Forrest said Friday he "made a mistake" in canceling two panels on gaming and online harassment amid threats — a decision that drew criticism — and said he is reinstating an all-day panel on the topic.

“Earlier this week we made a mistake,” Forrest said in a blog post published Friday.

Several media companies — including BuzzFeed and Vox — said they would not participate unless the panels retuned.

"The resulting feedback from the individuals involved and the community-at-large resonated loud and clear,” he said. “While we made the decision in the interest of safety for all of our attendees, canceling sessions was not an appropriate response.”

“By canceling two sessions we sent an unintended message that SXSW not only tolerates online harassment but condones it, and for that we are truly sorry,” Forrest wrote.

SXSW said that the Saturday March 12 “Online Harassment Summit” could feature participants from the two previously planned panels, including Katherine Cross and Caroline Sinders from the session “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games."

While the sessions have been reinstated, Recode quoted original panelist Randi Harper saying that not all panelists have agreed to speak.

Rep. Katherine Clark, who also criticized SXSW's decision in a letter to Forrest, has been invited to speak at the summit.

"Online harassment isn’t just a virtual problem, and the decision earlier this week by SXSW to cancel a panel on the topic was a glaring example," she told BuzzFeed News.

"I am grateful to the thousands of people who spoke out against this ill-advised decision. Their collective effort to stand up for those who are bullied, marginalized and threatened online has done more to raise awareness about this issue than one panel ever could."

She added: "I am proud to join such a distinguished list of speakers and thank SXSW for their willingness to listen and for taking a role in keeping the internet open to everyone.”

The U.S. Information Chief Wants To Modernize The Government’s Cybersecurity

US Chief Information Officer Tony Scott. Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

Tony Scott, the country’s chief information officer, wants to overhaul the way government IT is run. On Friday, he will announce a long-term cybersecurity strategy focused on hiring elite technologists, utilizing emerging tech, and fostering consistent, rapid responses to cyberattacks.

“Most of the things we have built systems out of today have their design point 10, 15, even 20 years ago,” Scott told BuzzFeed News. “I’m talking about operating systems, I’m talking about hardware and software. What we’ve had to do in response to today’s cyberthreats is kind of air-bag and Bubble Wrap the things that we’ve built. And we can only do so much of that.”

Scott envisions a government model built on cloud computing and recurring upgrades. He will task federal agencies with taking a more active role replacing outdated networks and their underlying technology. And he hopes to lure cybersecurity talent with appeals to public service and with the seemingly insurmountable challenge of protecting government networks from multiplying adversaries.

Scott’s cybersecurity implementation plan follows a series of sophisticated data breaches targeting government agencies. The largest hack, and perhaps the most embarrassing for the Obama administration, struck the Office of Personnel Management earlier this year, when millions of Social Security numbers and fingerprints belonging to current, former, and prospective federal employees were stolen. The colossal theft, which affected more than 21 million people, led to the resignation of OPM’s director, Katherine Archuleta, and urgent calls to update antiquated networks and to rectify the government’s glaring IT vulnerability.

In the aftermath of the breach, Scott instituted government-wide security measures, including patching vulnerabilities, shrinking the number of privileged administrators, and utilizing basic tools, like two-factor authentication. The use of smart cards by federal employees to securely access government machines has increased from 42% following the breach to 80% in mid-October, he said. This form of strong authentication is believed to function as a preventative measure. In both the OPM and Target data breaches, compromised credentials granted hackers a way in.

“I think that one of the key differences between this effort and things that have gone on before is we are going to measure,” Scott said, referring to quantifiable improvements within the federal workforce. “And Congress is watching, the inspectors general are watching, the GAO [Government Accountability Office] is watching, and we are reporting the results. That creates a focus that might have been missing before.”

In what has been described as a victory for tech companies, the Obama administration has decided to not seek legislation forcing Silicon Valley firms to install so called “backdoors” on their encrypted devices, a thorny cybersecurity issue that companies like Apple and Google have been watching closely.

Throughout 2015, the FBI Director James Comey and other government officials have expressed their frustration to Congress with what they describe as the “going dark” problem, whereby encrypted devices and applications place criminals beyond the reach of the law. In turn, cryptologists and privacy advocates argue that granting privileged access to law enforcement is both technologically unworkable and necessarily introduces security weaknesses.

On this debate, CIO Scott is clear: “I think in the long run we are probably not well served by backdoors to encryption and in general we end up benefiting as a society by having very strong non-hackable encryption,” he said. “And I say that knowing that it will present some challenges for law enforcement and investigative agencies.”

Scott is the country’s third CIO, a position established during President Obama’s first term in 2009. Before joining the federal government, Scott served as CIO of VMware, Microsoft, and the Walt Disney Company.

Facebook Is Making Enforcement Changes To Its "Real Names" Policy

Facebook today announced a couple of process improvements meant to smooth the road for those unfairly removed from its service due to its 'real names' policy. The changes are designed to give people caught up in the policy more room to provide context, and will also now require more information from anyone reporting violations.

The policy, which requires people to go by their "authentic name" on Facebook, has been heavily criticized, largely by members of the trans community as well as advocates who find it dangerous to use their real names in their work.

"We want to reduce the number of people who are asked to verify their name on Facebook, when they are already using the name people know them by," wrote Facebook VP of Growth Alex Schultz in a letter the company released today. "We want to make it easier for people to confirm their name if necessary," he added.

To that end, those required to "confirm" their name to Facebook will now have the ability to add context and details to the cases they make to the company. They were previously unable to do so. "This should help our Community Operations team better understand the situation," said Schultz. "It will also help us better understand the reasons why people can’t currently confirm their name, informing potential changes we make in the future."

The second big change is a new requirement forcing Facebook users who flag others under the policy to provide the company with more information about why they are reporting the profile. The change should add more friction to the reporting process, potentially lessening the likelihood it will be used as a weapon, locking certain people out of their profiles via the name-proving process.

The changes are expected to start rolling out in December.

Despite the introduction of these changes, Facebook is not backing away from the policy, which Schultz argued is making Facebook a safer place. "When people use the name others know them by, they are more accountable for what they say, making it more difficult to hide behind an anonymous name to harass, bully, spam or scam someone else," he said.

Schultz's letter comes in response to an open letter sent to Facebook by a number of groups — including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Human Rights Watch, and ACLU of California — calling Facebook's policy "broken" and demanding it be fixed.

"Facebook maintains a system that disregards the circumstances of users in countries with low levels of internet penetration, exposes its users to danger, disrespects the identities of its users, and curtails free speech," the letter said.

Once someone gets shut out of Facebook for violating the real-names policy, the process of "confirming" an authentic name can be arduous and frustrating. Given that, any process improvement will likely be welcome, though it's difficult to say if it will smooth out the edges enough to make the policy work for everyone.


Airbnb Eve: A Tech Behemoth Comes Face To Face With San Francisco

With the next big vote for regulating Airbnb is less than a week away, Airbnb product executives gathered for dinner. Here’s what they talked about.

Columbus St. in San Francisco and the exterior of The Cookhouse, where the Airbnb dinner took place.

Via Flickr: mobili

On Wednesday night, less than week before a citywide election will determine the fate of Airbnb in San Francisco, a small group of journalists met with an even smaller group of the company's executives over dinner. The event, proposed a few weeks back, was hosted by Airbnb in a rented event space called the Cookhouse.

The Cookhouse has whitewashed brick walls and airy windows and french doors that look out over the heavy foot traffic and flashing neon lights of Columbus Street, in San Francisco's version of Little Italy; the space is, in other words, a rental that feels like the home of a well-kempt and nice-smelling rich person, which made it the perfect place to contemplate the future of Airbnb, a company that has made its money out of helping people rent out their own well-kempt and (hopefully!) nice-smelling homes. Even if the company's future — which is particularly muddled at the moment — is not what any of the Airbnb employees wanted to talk about.

In fairness, it's been a hard couple of weeks for them. Last week, the company became the subject of a social media (and, ultimately, regular media) outcry after pictures of an ill-conceived ad campaign went viral. The ads, which were less-than-gentle suggestions by Airbnb for where the city could spend its taxes dollars, were seen by many as a sign of the entitled disconnection of the city's tech elite, and roundly lambasted.


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Yet More Amazon Workers Are Suing Amazon

Amazon doesn’t want to be known as a bad employer. But with factory workers striking, corporate employees allegedly crying at their desks, and now, contract employees suing, that’s an increasingly hard case to make.

Via youtube.com

To get packages on your doorstep in under two hours and make almost any item you can think of available for purchase online, Amazon relies on a massive, diffuse labor network. Some of these workers are contracted by other companies; some of them contract with Amazon; still others are employees. Some are robots. But all arund the organizational chart, their dissatisfaction is causing problems for the company. Workers on Mechanical Turk have long complained that they are underpaid and undercut by the company. In Los Angeles, some workers in a factory that Amazon contracts with are currently on strike, BuzzFeed News reported last month. The Huffington Post just ran an excruciating story about a Virginia contract factory worker who died on the job in 2013.

Even at the top, things may not be much better. A New York Times article that portrayed Amazon as a grueling place to work was revived in the public eye last week when Amazon's Jay Carney publicly contested the trustworthiness of some of the sources in the story. (After the story was published, the ACLU paid for a full page ad in the Seattle Times asking disgruntled Amazon employees to contact them with potential lawsuits; BuzzFeed News has not gotten a response to an inquiry asking whether any employees had responded.) While the story of a PR executive routing around the press by publishing his concerns directly to Medium dominated the conversation of late, it didn't totally drown out the central question — is Amazon, a company that has in many ways revolutionized labor, a good place to work?

After this week, it seems we can add another four people to the roster of those who have come out and said it's not.

Four Amazon contractors — drivers who worked for Prime Now, Amazon's two-hour local delivery service and were hired through a third-party contracting company — have proposed a lawsuit against the company, accusing Amazon of misclassifying them as contractors.

The drivers, their lawyer Beth Ross argues, should be classified as employers for a number of reasons, including that they work shifts rather than on a gig basis, have to wear shirts and hats with company branding, and are told by the company where to be and when. In addition, the workers are concerned that the cost of gas, tolls and other incidental expenditures makes their total income below the legal minimum wage in California. (Amazon advertises that the drivers will make around $20 an hour; the minimum wage in California, where these workers live, is $9.)

Ross, who has been working a similar case against FedEx for a number of years, says her case is much firmer than other misclassification cases against tech companies, such as the high-profile legal battle over contract labor of the moment, the one Shannon Liss-Riordan is fighting over Uber. "Once they pick their schedule, they're on the schedule," Ross told BuzzFeed News of her clients and their fellow Prime Now contractors. "They work 8 hours, they get paid by the hour, and then they go home. It's as different from Uber as it could be."

Incidentally, Amazon recently launched a program for on-demand local delivery that is actually a lot like Uber. Flex allows drivers to pick up and deliver packages using an app, the same way Uber drivers deliver people. A rep for Amazon said the company is always experimenting with new ways to get packages to doorsteps faster, relying on a combo of FedEx, USPS, UPS, DHL and more to do so.

Serena Williams Is Apparently Dating The Founder Of Reddit

Exsqueeze me?

Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

Grant Lamos Iv / Getty Images

Ew, who holds hands at the gym. BUT ANYWAY.


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This "Nespresso For Tea" Is Amazing But No One Can Afford It

Just move oolong…nothing to see here.

Last week, I tried out a new intelligent tea infuser called Teforia. It's like the Nespresso of tea.

Last week, I tried out a new intelligent tea infuser called Teforia. It's like the Nespresso of tea.

Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed

Teforia uses special loose leaf tea capsules with wireless "RFID" tags in the lid. These tags store information like that particular tea's ideal brewing temperature.

Teforia uses special loose leaf tea capsules with wireless "RFID" tags in the lid. These tags store information like that particular tea's ideal brewing temperature.

Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed

Eventually you'll be able to tap the pod on the machine, which will then calibrate its settings accordingly.

Eventually you'll be able to tap the pod on the machine, which will then calibrate its settings accordingly.

The prototype I demo'd didn't have the feature implemented yet.

Teforia

You can completely control Teforia's settings through the app.

You can completely control Teforia's settings through the app.

Each tea has a standard profile. Its caffeine intensity, flavor, and antioxidant levels can be adjusted to your preferences.

Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed


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The New York Times Is Considering "Technical Solutions" To Ad Blockers

NYTimes.com


"Let me make it clear that we oppose ad blocking," New York Times chief executive Mark Thompson said on an earnings call Thursday. "The creation of quality news content is expensive and digital advertising is an important way in which we and other high-quality news providers fund operations."

The company seems set to test a number of responses to ad blocking software, in a manner similar to the Washington Post. As BuzzFeed News reported in September, the Post has experimented with pop-up windows asking users to turn off ad blockers, and others directing those who want an ad-free experience to become paying subscribers.

Thompson said the Times was "exploring a number of options, including, but not limited to, technical solutions, to mitigate the blockers should the threat increase."

Like most print media companies transitioning to digital, the Times is banking its future on a combination of paid online subscriptions and digital advertising. While the former category has outperformed expectations, the latter is struggling amid an industrywide glut of ad inventory and the rapid shift by readers mobile devices.

In the third quarter, the Times pulled in $48.6 million in revenue from its more than 1 million digital subscribers. Revenue from digital advertising shrunk 5% to $36.5 million and made up just over a quarter of its total advertising revenue of $136 million. In total, the company made a $22 million operating profit on revenues of $365 million.

While other publications have taken direct action in response to the rise of ad blockers, the Times has not. Along with the Washington Post, GQ sometimes asks readers to turn off their ad blocker or pay $.49 for an article, while the Guardian asks readers who use ad blockers to make a donation.

Meredith Kopit Levien, the Times' chief revenue officer, told analysts "I think the Times is at industry average in terms of the rate of adoption of blockers on the web." And the company, she said, is working to address the basic dislike of online ads that has driven the rise of blocking software in the first place.

"We're hard at work at making better digital advertising and creating more relevant experiences for our users that kind of match the surrounding New York Times product and editorial experience," Levien said.

While revenue from classified and display advertising both declined from a year ago, the "other" advertising category, which includes branded content, jumped 42% to $5 million.

Thompson told analysts "you can certainly expect to see us experimenting" and that the company was "exploring reactions and working out what works best."

On Thursday, the popular AdBlock tool reported spotting 17 blockable ads on NYTimes.com.

Flywheel Is Going Head To Head With The Companies Powering Taxi Meters

Flywheel

Flywheel wants to be known as the "non a-hole alternative" to Uber, as an email pitch the company recently sent to BuzzFeed News read. But with the launch of its latest product, TaxiOS, it won't just be Uber and its ilk that Flywheel is competing with — it'll be the companies that manufacture the meters that have dominated the taxi industry for so long.

Starting today, Flywheel — which started simply as yellow cab-hailing app and later came to include a digital payment service for cashless taxi transactions — is rolling out its newest product: an all-in-one taxi operating system. According to Flywheel CFO Oneal Bhambani, the idea is that TaxiOS, a driver-facing app, will effectively replace — and, ideally, improve upon — all the hardware in taxis. That includes the payment, navigation, and dispatch systems, in addition to the taxi meters, which determine fares by counting the number of times a taxi's tires revolves during the ride. The TaxiOS app will use GPS to determine the fare, which makes it more accurate than the existing and "antiquated" taxi meters, according to Bhambani; it will also allows riders to hail taxis, then pay for the rides on their phones or swipe their card through a Square-like credit card reader.

As of right now, Flywheel's TaxiOS is operating completely independently of taxi hardware in 70 San Francisco cabs as part of a pilot program with the city's Metro Transportation Authority; the company hopes to fully implement the system in all of the Flywheel-enabled fleets in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, Sacramento, and Portland pending regulatory authority. In New York City, Flywheel is applying to be just one of the few companies participating in a Taxi and Limousine Commission program seeking to implement new and innovative payment and taxi systems. In the meantime, Flywheel has distributed TaxiOS to approximately 1,200 taxis, and according to Bhambani, there have been more than 1 million test rides of the product and the meter to ensure it works without a hitch. (Because the company has yet to receive regulatory approval, the app works in parallel with existing meters and hardware.)

Flywheel

"We don’t think anyone else has this technology," Bhambani said of the in-app GPS-enabled meter. "We are the only one to have to have a single device solution. The old meter was essentially invented in 1891 — it counts the revolution of the tire to determine the fare. That is a really big technological barrier to entry, that’s why we believe we’re pretty well positioned to be one of the first participants in the [TLC] pilot."

While a press release Flywheel circulated to announce the launch of TaxiOS goes as far as to call existing technology "dated" and "disparate," Jason Gross, the global head of product and marketing at Verifone — one of the first companies to offer credit card payment services in taxis — patently disagrees. In fact, Gross says, Flywheel is only just getting around to doing something Verifone has been working on for a while.

"We've actually already been developing and have a virtual meter ourselves," Gross told BuzzFeed News. "We've known about the TLC pilot and have our solution ready. We have 100,000 cars around the world, we have the same exact solution as they do. This is not disruption. This is not what Uber did to taxis."

And according to Gross, Verifone is no stranger to facing off (and ultimately winning out) against newer tech companies looking to get a piece of the yellow cab industry and several years ago that was Square.

"The TLC routinely tries out new technologies and give companies the opportunity to pilot and then they see what happens in the pilot," he said. "[The TLC accepts] any vendor that can meet the rules and qualify." In 2012, Verifone and Square both participated in a TLC pilot that aimed to test out new payment systems, but when the TLC drew up rules that Gross said became too "cumbersome" for Square, Square dropped out. Verifone ended up becoming an approved vendor, ultimately signing up more than half the taxis and 80 percent of the green cabs in New York.

While offering a single-device solution like TaxiOS may seem more convenient, having a credit card reader attached to a driver's phone has proven to be a problem, Gross said. "In the past, the drivers typically ask you to pass them your
card, but the TLC has said 'no, the reader in this case is going to have to be passed
to the passenger,'" he said. "In these new Nissans there’s not even a way to pass anything, so we see a lot of reason to have a credit card reader in the backseat of a cab ... A virtual meter makes perfect sense, and we're willing to try out any new technology but we still think a device in the backseat of the cab is important."

Bhambani, however, contends that existing taxi technology has a high failure rate, forcing many drivers to get them fixed frequently — in some cases as often as once a month, he said. TaxiOS would help drivers avoid that issue, in addition to enabling drivers to accept e-hails, which ideally would increase the volume of rides. Eventually, taxi drivers will also be able to use the TaxiOS platform to provide a delivery service for businesses, not unlike UberRush. But Verifone is doing that too. With its acquisition of e-hail company Curb earlier this month, and its plan to combine it with the company's proprietary taxi-hailing app Way2Ride, Verifone may prove to be as formidable a competitor to Flywheel as Uber has been.

Flywheel's technology may prove to bring more business to taxi drivers in New York City, and improve upon both the driver and rider experiences in taxis in the west coast. But with TaxiOS Flywheel certainly has a lot more than just Uber and Lyft to worry about.

Apple TV's Siri Search Will Soon Include Apple Music

Jeff Chiu / AP

One of the most useful features of Apple's new Apple TV is its Siri-enabled universal search. It's something Apple TV owners have been asking about for years — the ability to quickly and effectively search across multiple video platforms simultaneously. And now that Apple's enabled it for video, the company is working to extend it to music as well. In a few months, Apple TV owners will be able to tell the device to find a song or album the same way they'd tell it to find a movie.

Apple confirmed to BuzzFeed News that Siri is coming to Apple Music on Apple TV at the beginning of next year.

This means that using the Apple TV remote control, people will be able to say, "Play 'Hotline Bling'" or "Play the newest Taylor Swift album," and Siri will take it from there.

Extending Apple TV's universal search to Apple Music turns the streaming box into a voice-controlled music player. It's a savvy consolidation of the living room entertainment system, positioning the new Apple TV as a sort of one-stop shop for video, gaming, and music.

Apple also likely hopes that enabling Siri search for Apple Music on the new Apple TV will drive subscribers to its still-new on-demand streaming service. To date, Apple Music has amassed about 6.5 million paying listeners. That's a hefty number and one that makes it the fastest growing music streaming service ever. But those numbers still put it far behind industry leader Spotify, which has more than 20 million paying subscribers, and an additional 55 million ad-supported free listeners.

In Congress, Drones Represent Money, Freedom — And A Security Threat

Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

This holiday season, roughly one million drones will be purchased as gifts. That’s a Christmas miracle for manufacturers, a boon for young pilots looking skyward, and — maybe, if you're Congress — an ominous harbinger a disaster to come.

In the U.S. Senate Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein laid out the stakes of an unregulated airspace, and made the case that the government is doing too little to prevent untrained hobbyists from dominating the sky. “Without regulation, Mr. Huerta, it’s only a question of time before a commercial airliner comes down because one of those,” she said, addressing Michael Huerta, the chief of the Federal Aviation Association.

That argument characterizes much of the opposition to a flexible and liberal drone policy — something that hobbyists and manufacturers want, but airline pilots and first responders fear. This summer, the FAA released figures detailing the number of close calls between pilots and unmanned aircraft, which has drastically increased. Between January 1 and August 9, there were 650 incidents of drone sightings in restricted airspace. That’s almost triple the amount of sightings from all of last year, 238.

In response to the increase, earlier this month, the FAA and the Transportation Department announced a plan to require all owners of recreational and commercial drones to register their aircraft with the federal government. It was an aggressive first step to integrate drones into the national airspace without, regulators hope, slowing the staggering growth of markets tethered to unmanned aircraft. One widely cited estimate puts the US economic impact of drones over the next ten years at $82 billion.

A special task force comprised of government and industry officials will recommend how the national drone registry will take shape and what information will be collected from owners. The task force will also purpose which types of aircraft should fall under mandatory registration; when the registration should occur; if the process would carry a fee; and if it would be web-based.

In the hearing, Huerta expressed a careful optimism about the growth of drones. Safety remained his paramount concern, but he shared with lawmakers a vision of economic flourishing and rapid innovation. “This has been characterised by some as really being a Wright Brothers moment in aviation of our generation,” he said.

His thoughts weren’t shared by everyone in the room. “Mr. Huerta, I do not share your excitement over the drone,” said Sen. Feinstein. “We see harm, dramatic harm that can be done by drones, and the re-rigging of drones, and those drones falling into some very bad hands.”

“So this is a new industry, it is an unregulated industry, you do not have the authority currently to do anything to see that that does not happen. And this is a serious and grave concern to me,” she said.

Sen. Feinstein proposed offering the FAA unambiguous authority to require drone manufacturers to install technological safeguards like geo-fencing, collision-avoidance software, and transponders. While her plan is welcomed by established groups like the Air Line Pilots Association International, drone industry organizations, like the Small UAV Coalition, are skeptical of legislators prescribing technological fixes.

While Aviation and Transportation officials plan to have the national drone registry set up by Christmas, the final rules for regulating commercial drones won’t come until next summer. And these rules will apply only to commercial operators, not recreational ones. This may prompt Congress to act — meaning we may soon see lawmakers pitted against a nascent industry skeptical of regulators in a battle for our skies.

SXSW Director Responds To Criticism Over Canceled Online Harassment Panel

SXSW Interactive and Film Festival attendees crowd the Austin Convention Center, in 2013.

Jack Plunkett / AP

Responding to criticism over canceling a planned gaming and online harassment panel, the director of South by Southwest Interactive issued a statement on Tuesday saying safety is a top priority, “and so is your voice.”

The statement from Hugh Forrest follows a Monday blog post announcing that SXSW had canceled two sessions due to “numerous threats of on-site violence related to this programming.” Forrest defended his team’s decision by citing safety concerns and “preserving the sanctity” of an open and diverse marketplace of ideas.

But the move by SXSW to cut the panels prompted BuzzFeed and Vox Media to threaten to withdraw from participating in the conference if organizers didn’t reverse course.

SXSW’s cancellation of the sessions also drew the attention of Rep. Katherine Clark, a Democrat from Massachusetts and an advocate for survivors of domestic violence. Within Congress, Clark is a vocal proponent for more federal resources to combat non-consensual pornography and online harassment.

U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, (D-Mass.), at right walks out of a campaign event last year.

Stephan Savoia / AP

In her letter to Forrest, Clark said organizers “should be amplifying the voices of those willing to speak up, not capitulating to the harassers.”

“They certainly proved our point about how difficult it is for women and girls who are navigating online,” Clark told BuzzFeed News. “Unfortunately, they decided to be complicit with the people who continue to harass women online, and do exactly what they had hoped by silencing the women on that panel.”

In his response, Forrest assured the SXSW community that his team understands their concerns.

“We are working with local law enforcement to assess the various threats received regarding these sessions,” he said in his statement. “Moving forward, we are also evaluating several programming solutions as we continue to plan for an event that will be safe, meaningful and enjoyable for all involved.”

LINK: SXSW Cancels Gaming Panels Over “Numerous Threats Of On-Site Violence”

LINK: BuzzFeed To Withdraw From SXSW Over Canceled Gaming Panels


Those Controversial Airbnb Ads Don’t Appear To Have Hurt Airbnb's Anti-Regulatory Campaign

Despite the backlash to Airbnb’s controversial (and quickly removed) recent ad campaign, the percentage of voters who say they will vote against the San Francisco ballot measure meant to regulate the company has actually increased.

In the middle of Airbnb's months-long, big-budget battle for its home city, the last thing it needed was a massive backlash to an ad campaign its internal marketing team ran.

The ads, which were meant to cast the company as a good civic citizen, made suggestions for how different city departments could spend the $12 million in taxes Airbnb has paid. They swiftly went viral in the Bay Area, with many taking to social media to criticize messaging that at least one Twitter user called "entitled" and the New York Times called "flippant".

But while the negative reaction to the campaign was loud and widespread online, the damage to the home-sharing company's chances in next week's election seems to have been minimal, if not nonexistent.

Based on a poll of 500 likely voters conducted by David Binder Research this week, 55% of respondents who were read the ballot question said they would vote against the proposition; only 36% said they would vote yes. In other words, more than half of those polled said they would vote in favor of not passing a measure that would hurt Airbnb. That's up from 52% of respondents who said they would vote no in a similar poll conducted by Binder earlier this month.

Proposition F would impose regulations on private, short-term housing rentals. It would restrict all such private rentals to 75 nights per year and impose provisions designed to ensure such private rentals are paying hotel taxes and following city code.​ It would also require guest and revenue reports from rental hosts and "hosting platforms" every three months. Its proponents say these regulations are necessary; its detractors say the legislation is an ill-conceived, last-ditch attempt at regulation that unfairly punishes Airbnb. With the majority of those polled saying they would not support such a measure, it would seem that, despite the virality of those ads, Airbnb's campaign against Proposition F is looking strong in the last week leading up to the election.

For what it's worth, the ads that had people so riled up came from Airbnb's internal marketing team, not SF for Everyone, the Airbnb-funded entity managing the campaign against Proposition F. Local political analyst David Latterman spoke with staffers shortly after the ads went up last week described SF for Everyone staffers as "irate." But SF for Everyone Director Patrick Hannan said what voters care about is what's in the measure, not a PR debacle — even one that underscores the cultural tensions between longtime San Franciscans and the tech workers who have flooded the city in recent years. "In this line of work, the one thing that can always be expected is the unexpected," Hannan told BuzzFeed News. "I believe that everybody in our office was well-prepared, and rose to the occasion of managing the unexpected."

San Francisco is small, containing a tiny fraction — only around 5,500 — of Airbnb's more than 2 million global listings. Stringent regulations in the city would have minimal impact on the company's bottom line. But what really matters here is the symbol — Airbnb can't stand the idea of losing out to city regulation in its own backyard. On top of that, as cities around the country (and the globe) try to figure out how to regulate Airbnb and other home-sharing companies should be regulated, they will look to San Francisco. "Airbnb wants to stop this here. They don't want other cities to use this model," Latterman said.

In the last few months, Hannan's team has recruited 444 local volunteers, who together have knocked on over 153,000 doors, made 137,000 phone calls, and talked directly with 62,000 voters. For reference, the number of people expected to turnout to vote this year in San Francisco is somewhere around 140,000 and 150,000. Door hangers, fliers, phone calls, billboards, and TV spots have been employed, at significant cost.

Airbnb has aggressively worked to build a national reputation as a company that builds communities and supports middle-class families; the idea that the city in which the company was founded and is headquartered would have some of the most aggressive regulations against it would be a major disappointment. Already, it would seem, this election has drawn the company into making snide, unpopular political remarks; for it to lose would only make matters worse.

A big win for Airbnb next week could effectively put an end to opposition in San Francisco. Ballot measures could be raised again and the issue could be revisited by the Board of Supervisors, but a landslide would prove that the majority of civically engaged San Franciscans side with the company, and with home-sharing. It now seems unlikely that the marketing gaffe from last week will lose the election for Airbnb, despite last week's outcry over the company's perceived sense of entitlement.

Given the attention that's been given to how many blue-chip political strategists Airbnb and its ilk have hired to promote their causes politically, and the ink spilled over how much Airbnb has spent on this particular election, it was surprising to see the company stumble so dramatically. Though it's unlikely anyone will ever isolate the impact of those ads from the rest of the messaging surrounding Prop F at large, their virality, and impact on Airbnb's reputation, ​could​ be more lasting.

I Tried The Insane Office Chair Of The Future

Michelle Rial / BuzzFeed

Depending on whom you ask and their level of optimism for the future, the Altwork chair looks either like a dentist's chair or an astronaut's. Regardless, with its many limbs, wonky angles, and robotlike aesthetic, it's not something that springs to mind when you think "office chair." And according to Altwork CEO Che Voigt, that's precisely the point; the desks and chairs we use at work haven't changed all that much over the years. Voigt thinks his small team in Sonoma County, California, has figured out a way to make them better — and, by extension, a better way to work.

That better way to work is Altwork's eponymous first chair, a vaguely intimidating mass of cushioned fabric, motors, and metal arms. The hardware is necessary because the Altwork is designed to be adjustable. It has four main modes: standing; sitting; collaborating — sitting, but the chair's display facing outward so co-workers can see what you're working on; and "focus" — reclined fully, the screen suspended above your head.

Focus mode is extraordinarily comfortable -- so comfortable that after I saw a demo in a windowless room in a San Francisco co-working space (no windows because Altwork was keeping its designs under wraps), it was hard for me to imagine not falling asleep in it. Maybe that's because I'm not really one for the kind of sustained focus that the Altwork is built to facilitate. This is less a chair than it is an ergonomic, adjustable productivity tool for the technological workhorses — the coders, CAD engineers, competitive gamers; the people who spend intense, sustained hours in front of two screens.

The Altwork in standing mode.

Altwork

Whether you need something as heavy-duty as the Altwork to remain good at your job remains to be seen. It certainly does feel better than a normal chair: It's designed to be ergonomic in its sitting position, plus desks that can alternate between sitting and standing are all the rage right now. What remains to be seen, essentially, is whether the close-to-horizontal, focus mode is actually productivity-inducing and not just a supremely comfortable, very expensive way to fall asleep watching Netflix. So while Altwork is actively pursuing research to prove that a relaxed, supported position does, in fact, make you a more industrious worker, the only way to prove it for now is to start getting people into its chairs.

And to get an Altwork, you have to pay. A lot. For preorders — which start today — it's going to cost $3,900. However, that's actually a hefty discount. When the chair ships in mid-2016, it's going to come with a listing price of $5,900. Of course, the first question to ask is who, exactly, is shelling out $6,000 for a chair that looks like something from Stark Trek or, less charitably, Wall-E.

The answer is companies — specifically, tech companies. Altwork expects to sell very few to individual consumers, instead envisioning the employers of software developers and engineers replacing the desk-and-chair workspaces with these pods. The 18 square feet of space they take up isn't that much more than what a worker uses in an open-plan office, after all.

Given the money flowing into Silicon Valley and the attendant office perks that come with it, $6,000 for an office chair and desk combination is squarely in the realm of possibility. The Altwork, while expensive, does compete economically with the pairings of very high-end ergonomic executive's chairs and motorized standing desks — essentially the two things it's combined into one. The biggest challenge isn't going to be convincing companies to shell out, it's going to be convincing people to change what working looks like entirely.

Michelle Rial / BuzzFeed


Facebook Is Finally Getting Rid Of The "Other" Inbox So No More Creepy Messages

A new feature enables users to search anyone by name and send them a “message request.” So…maybe more creepy messages?

Facebook is getting rid the "Other" messages folder which was basically a place for non-friends to send you messages that were creepy AF.

Facebook is getting rid the "Other" messages folder which was basically a place for non-friends to send you messages that were creepy AF.

Alice Robison / Flickr: failedheterosexual / Via buzzfeed.com

David Marcus, who runs Facebook Messenger, announced Tuesday that the Other folder in the inbox will be replaced by a new feature called "Message Requests."

David Marcus, who runs Facebook Messenger, announced Tuesday that the Other folder in the inbox will be replaced by a new feature called "Message Requests."

But do you promic David? Do you really promic?

Facebook

The new feature enables any Facebook user to search your name and send a message. You have the option of accepting or ignoring the requests without the requestor knowing you've read their message.

The new feature enables any Facebook user to search your name and send a message. You have the option of accepting or ignoring the requests without the requestor knowing you've read their message.

facebook.com


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Ski Safari 2 v1.1.1.0823 MOD for Android

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Ski Safari 2 v1.1.1.0823 MOD for Android
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It's Getting Harder And Harder For Twitter To Find New Users

Twitter just isn't growing like it used to.

The social media company said on Tuesday that its number of monthly active users totaled 307 million in the third quarter of the year, excluding those who use the service through texting. While that may seem like a big number, it's only 8% more users than in the corresponding period a year earlier. Compared to the second quarter of this year, the number of users grew just 1%.

This 8% growth rate is slow, particularly in the eyes of Wall Street investors. In all of the quarters since Twitter went public in 2013, it hasn't reported a slower rate, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal.

Employees of Japanese toy company Tomy dressed as Twitter birds during the company's Halloween Day event.

Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP / Getty Images

In important ways, Twitter exceeded analysts’ projections. The company reported $569 million of revenue for the quarter, beating the expectation of $560 million. And its profit, adjusted to exclude some expenses, came in at $67 million, or 10 cents a share, better than the expectation of 5 cents per share. Without those adjustments, the company made a $132 million loss.

But Twitter's struggles with growth are what investors have focused on in the last year, and its stock fell more than 12% in after-hours trading on Tuesday. Investors were also spooked by the company's disappointing forecast for its fourth-quarter performance.

As of the close of trading on Tuesday, Twitter stock is down 30% from the price it traded at after its first day as a public company in November 2013. On that first day, investors valued the then loss making company at almost $25 billion, betting that it would grow in the explosive manner familiar to those who have followed internet success stories like Facebook and Google. Instead, the company has struggled.

Just take a look at this chart. One almost gets the feeling that Twitter is a slowly deflating balloon. Each quarter, a little more air seeps out.

Users are the crucial ingredient in Twitter's business plan. More people using the service means more eyeballs viewing ads and other promotions, thus generating more revenue for Twitter.

Twitter is doing some things to try to attract more people. It recently introduced Moments, which lets people follow particular stories, and it's planning on running an ad during the World Series tonight.

But so far, Twitter hasn't been able to produce the kind of hockey-stick-shaped growth that investors love. It's not Facebook, a company that overcame an initial setback after its IPO by dramatically sharpening its focus on mobile devices.

Here's another version of the user growth chart, focusing on the United States. The big question for Twitter -- and the fear keeping investors up at night -- is whether user growth has simply begun to plateau.

Amazon Is Considering Making Its Own Clothing Lines

Amazon / Via amazon.com

Amazon, which has been working hard for years to build up Amazon Fashion, anticipates selling its own private-label clothing brands, an executive said at a conference Tuesday.

"For Amazon, we know our customers love brands, many of the brands in this room...and that's where the lion's share of our business comes from," Jeff Yurcisin, vice president of clothing at Amazon Fashion and CEO of Amazon's Shopbop unit, said at the WWD Apparel and Retail CEO Summit on Tuesday. "When we see gaps, when certain brands have actually decided for their own reasons not to sell with us, our customer still wants a product like that." Amazon may get into private-label for those kinds of goods, he added.

The remark is significant given Amazon Fashion's efforts have centered around convincing clothing brands to sell their goods on a website better known for its low prices and efficiency over, say, presentation and curation. Amazon's willingness to manufacture its own version of products that it can't get from actual fashion brands might be a new negotiating chip for the company, not to mention more profitable.

Amazon Fashion / Via instagram.com

Amazon has targeted food and clothes as two of its major growth opportunities in coming years, and in late may the Wall Street Journal reported the company was preparing to launch a number of private-label grocery products.

Expanding into apparel could come with its own challenges. As The New York Times wrote in July, many fashion brands have been "concerned about tying their brands to a website that is far more a utility than a boutique." In June, the Business of Fashion said: "While women’s, men’s and children’s apparel are some of the e-tailer’s fastest growing product categories, Amazon is simply not the first place most people think of when it comes to buying clothing."

Yurcisin, speaking to a roomful of retail industry executives, was conscious of such criticism as he emphasized that 40 million customers shop Amazon Fashion, and that its pricing model is no different from other retailers.

“We work just like any other retailer — we buy at full price, try super-hard to sell at full-price…then we follow a traditional markdown cadence,” he said. He also noted that Amazon has a hold on its Prime customers, which major retailers can gain access to by selling on Amazon. The company does carry a number of well-known brands on its website, such as Calvin Klein, Levi's, Kate Spade, New Balance, PUMA and Steve Madden, as per its website.

Earlier this year, the Times of India reported that Amazon India was building a team for private fashion brands though it was unclear where those goods would be sold. Amazon declined to comment on the report at the time.

Fashion goods generally have a profit margin of 30% to 40% while private label products can earn 55% to 65%, according to a note from Nomura analysts in April.

Senate Passes Controversial Cybersecurity Bill

Lawmakers move to defend against malicious hackers by encouraging companies to share information about cybersecurity threats.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell. Alex Wong / Getty Images

Congress has moved to improve the nation's defenses against hackers, but in this particular fight, lawmakers and Silicon Valley don't see eye to eye.

In response to the recent barrage of data breaches targeting government agencies and businesses, the Senate approved a measure Tuesday that encourages companies to share cyberthreat information with the government, granting businesses legal protection if they choose to participate. The bill passed with a vote of 74–21, but many web companies stand against the measure, believing it does too little to ensure their customers' privacy, undermining consumer trust.

Known as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), the bill represents the Senate's most ambitious effort yet to thwart cyberattacks.

CISA works by establishing a central cybersecurity portal within the Department of Homeland Security, where companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft can voluntarily share threat information. That data, stripped of personal information, can be collected and passed to other government agencies and private businesses.

CISA's supporters say increased information sharing will aid law enforcement efforts to prosecute cybercrime and help companies secure sensitive consumer data. Proponents have the backing of the Obama administration and a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives, which approved CISA companion bills earlier this year.

"The challenges posed by cyberattacks are real and they are growing," Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday. CISA's "voluntary information sharing provisions are key to preventing cyberattacks and protecting the personal information of the people we represent."

Critics of CISA, including a vocal faction of technology companies like Apple, Twitter, and Reddit, have publicly taken a stand against the bill, citing a lack of privacy protections. Others, like Sen. Ron Wyden, dispute CISA's efficacy as a cybersecurity tool and liken its information sharing incentives to a new, invasive surveillance law.

Sen. Wyden, along with Sens. Rand Paul, Patrick Leahy, and Al Franken, were among a group of lawmakers who sought to amend CISA through privacy-enhancing measures. Proposals to restrict the types of consumer information that can be shared, and the removal of a blanket Freedom of Information Act exemption on the shared data, all failed.

Sen. Richard Burr, one of the co-sponsors of CISA, said on the Senate floor Tuesday that the bill is the product of several years of careful bipartisan work and strikes the right balance of privacy protections and heightened security. Supporters describe CISA as legislation urgently needed, with financial data, personal identities, and national security at stake. Evoking the massive data breaches at Sony, Home Depot, and the Office of Personnel Management, where the social security numbers and fingerprints of millions of government employees were stolen, CISA's backers depicted a vulnerable world without the bill.

Sen. Burr specifically addressed the companies that are opposed to CISA, saying, "You might not like the legislation, but for goodness' sakes do not deprive every other business in America from having the opportunity to have this partnership."

Along with his co-sponsor Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Burr highlighted in the final days of debate the broad support CISA enjoys from the private sector, and their accommodations to privacy critics of the bill.

Now that the upper chamber has approved CISA, members appointed by the Senate and the House will negotiate discrepancies between the differing versions. A final vote on the comprise-bill will take place before hitting President Obama's desk.

What Is The Actual Market Value Of A Rare Pepe?

rare-pepes-everyday.tumblr.com

Pepe, the name of the “sad frog” meme, has been around for several years — a low steady hum on 4chan and Reddit, not wildly popular but a handy shorthand to accompany a story of something bad happening to you, to indicate you “know that feel.” However, sometime in the last year, Pepe exploded: Pepe as a member of ISIS, Pepe as Drake, Pepe fully nude. When some of 4chan’s users saw that their Pepe was proliferating across the internet among “normies” (Katy Perry even tweeted a Pepe), they flipped out. They declared that certain images of Pepe were rare, and insisted that certain images could not be copied by poorly watermarking them.

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Then in April 2015, as a sweeping act of meme seppuku, someone uploaded collection of 1,272 different pictures of Pepe to Imgur, and announced that the market of rare Pepes has been flooded and all Pepes are devalued. It was like Black Friday 1929 for the (fake) meme market.

Of course, there were no rare Pepes. The very idea of collecting Pepes like comic books or other geeky collectibles (something the average redditor would likely be more familiar with than the world of fine art dealing) was all a big joke.

An Israeli news show with subtitles pretending that it's talking about the Pepe market crash.

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And yet, the joke’s preposterous premise that a digital image could be rare or valuable is itself flawed. Digital art can be rare and valuable. That’s a real thing. Net art and digital art are real, and there are real working digital artists and pieces that are bought and sold for real money. So is it actually so unrealistic that certain images of Pepe could indeed be rare and valuable?

The art world has a long tradition of appreciating works that might appear to an untrained eye to be commonplace and valueless, like Duchamp’s urinal or Warhol’s soup cans. A work of visual art where the cultural meaning and gravity extends far beyond just the aesthetic value. There are Pepes that echo serious political or pop cultural themes like ISIS Pepe or Drake Pepe. Even the most plain Pepe expresses a deep and complex portrayal of the feelings of isolation of the young male in a hyper-connected digital world. We as a society agree that art that speaks to our hearts has value. Why can’t Pepe be considered fine art? What if there ARE rare Pepes, expensive ones, even?

To find out how an actual market value for a rare Pepe might work, I asked experts in the field of digital art.


"When I think about the fine art world market, I can't point to a Pepe-centric artwork; however, Richard Prince's recent Instagram series comes to mind." —Zoë Salditch, Electric Objects

Michael Connor, artistic director of Rhizome, a digital arts organization affiliated with the New Museum: "A piece of digital art can definitely be rare. Consider, for example, Constant Dullaart looking for images of the vacation photograph of Jennifer Knoll that was widely used as a Photoshop demo image. However, rarity is a complicated way to assign value to digital works.

"Unlike a Picasso painting, which has a kind of built-in rarity because each one is one of a kind, a digital artwork that has widely recognized value can only maintain its scarcity if it is lost or if it is protected in some kind of legalistic way. Owning digital art either means having the original files as well as certain kinds of legal rights to use it, or it might mean owning the only copy of something and hoarding it like Gollum.

"One very nice way that artists can protect the scarcity value of their work is by assigning it a specific URL. For example, there can be many copies of a particular .swf file, but in some sense there can be only one jellotime.com."

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Zoë Salditch, director of artist relationship for Electric Objects, a hardware device specifically designed for displaying digital art: "When I think about the fine art world market, I can't point to a Pepe-centric artwork; however, Richard Prince's recent Instagram series comes to mind. He used appropriated screenshots (definitely a technique of memes as well as postmodernism) of other people's — mostly young women's — selfies from Instagram and blew them up on a canvas, sold them for tens of thousands of dollars a piece, and generated a lot of drama. There are also artists that engage with meme and internet culture who are selling well in fine art markets, like Jon Rafman, and Brad Troemel (and his collective The Jogging).

"I would say that the most valuable and rare Pepe would be some sort of original Matt Furie [the artist who first drew the frog] Pepe. Perhaps a sketch from his sketch book, a study drawing/illustration, poster or something along these lines from the early '00s when Pepe was first created. He's currently selling his drawings and watercolors for about $200–400 a piece online.

"If there were some sort of event that created a ton of fanfare around an original, 'vintage' or 'rare' Pepe by Furie — like an art auction — it's possible the 4chan/meme communities could rally around it and dramatically raise the price (a la the picture of 4chan on eBay). There could be other Pepe inspired art from great and relevant cartoonists, like Ben Jones, that could drive even more attention to the event. This is actually a common tactic that fine art auction houses use to generate more and bigger sales for artwork on the auction block."

The Daily Dot reported on rare Pepes selling on Craigslist.

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"Selling memes, GIFs, and other internet-based material is complicated and at this point frankly next to nonexistent." —Madgalena Sowan, Postmasters Gallery

Michael Duca, co-founder and CEO of NeonMob, a digital art sharing and trading site (think more like DeviantArt and less the Museum of Modern Art): "Ownership and viewability when it comes to digital art are two separate things. Ownership is who legally owns a particular work of digital art. Viewability is who has the ability to see it. Programmers can limit viewability with some tricks, but completely preventing people from sharing digital art is close to impossible. That doesn't mean the underlying work has no value or that people won't spend money to own it.

"In short, yes, it is possible to have a rare Pepe that is actually worth money. You'd want for the original work to be sold on a platform that recorded the buyer and allowed for future transactions of that digital work (e.g., via trade or resale). You would want to authenticate the work was original and ideally the artist would be the one selling the work. You would have to be OK with assuming the image would be shared more widely. But still, just like software or physical goods there would be one or more owners, depending on the number of authentic, original prints sold, and they would have a finite scarcity corresponding to some monetary value, which is determined by the market demand for that print."

“I think it's cheating to paint a Pepe and call it rare.” —Michael Connor, Rhizome

Magdalena Sawon, owner and director of the Postmasters Gallery in NYC, which specializes in new media and net artists: "Selling memes, GIFs, and other internet-based material is complicated and at this point frankly next to nonexistent because if the work itself belongs and functions exclusively online; it is counter to its nature to have it removed from that 'habitat'. And if you do not, what exactly does the ownership mean?

"I work with an artist Rafael Rozendaal and we sell his websites. The buyer’s name appears in the browser header, but the sale comes with a contract that new owner must keep it online. It’s more like having a bench in the park named after you.

"The frog thing is a playful joke.

"Price for these — I have no clue. Zero. Zip. Nada."


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So the experts seem to agree: Rare Pepes aren’t valuable yet, but it’s possible they could be. Either by the original artist claiming his stake in memebucks, or someone uses a method of creating actual ownership or rarity.

There have been some work-arounds. Starting last April, people have been selling rare Pepes on eBay. They’re sometimes just single digital files, and sometimes larger collections, or even actual, physical paintings. However, when I showed Michael Connor of Rhizome an eBay listing for a $250 painting of Pepe, he said, “I think it's cheating to paint a Pepe and call it rare.”

I emailed Matt Furie, the artist who first drew the frog as a character in his web comic Boy's Club, to ask what he thought about the rare Pepe market. He replied, “I’ll be happy to answer your question for $5,000 USD.”

So perhaps, we have an answer: The market value of rare Pepe information is in the mid–four figures, but in an egalitarian move, BuzzFeed News is bringing you this article for the low, low price of $0.