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    Daily Podcast Episode 19 – July 21, 2017 (Jul 21, 2017)

    The daily podcast episode for July 20 is up now on SoundCloud and should be syncing shortly to iTunes, Overcast, and other podcast apps. As usual, the podcast spends about one minute on each of the items covered on the site today, and also points to a few other items in the news today which I didn’t cover but which are nonetheless interesting. You can find today’s episode on SoundCloud and all episodes on iTunes, Overcast, and so on. The additional items covered are below:


    Verizon Accused of Throttling Netflix and YouTube, Says Testing Video Optimization (Jul 21, 2017)

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    WhatsApp is Hiring Business Sales and Monetization Product Roles (Jul 21, 2017)

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    Lyft Announces its own Vaguely-Defined Autonomous Driving Effort (Jul 21, 2017)

    It’s been somewhat heartening lately to see Lyft partnering with a number of different players around autonomous driving technology, and even announcing its own “open platform” (mostly an API for integrating with its ride sharing data) for the space. At a time when Uber, Waymo, Tesla, and a raft of big legacy automakers are all competing around self-driving systems, it appeared Lyft was going to avoid diving into the fray and instead try to partner with the best in the industry. However, all that got rather turned on its head today when it announced that it will also be developing its own self-driving technology, with 10% of its engineers already devoted to this area and a big expansion and new offices planned for the team. On paper, that looks like something of a contradiction given the recent announcements about partnerships, or at the very least a serious hedge that will make at least some of those partners think twice. However, in reading both Lyft’s own blog post and several press articles about the news, I’m coming to the conclusion that there’s actually very little there, and in fact Lyft may be building something far more limited in scope than what most others mean when they talk about a self-driving system. All that’s really described in Lyft’s announcement is leveraging its existing ride sharing data and possibly adding sensors to some of its drivers cars to create 3D mapping. The former is already the centerpiece of its open platform, while the latter seems overly ambitious and probably also redundant given the much larger and more advanced high definition mapping efforts underway for the last several years. What I don’t see any references to are developing LIDAR or other hardware necessary for self-driving, or even software to steer self-driving cars – it’s almost as if Lyft expects its partners to fill those roles, though it still talks about Lyft’s own self-driving cars as distinct from those run by partners. I’m hoping we’ll get more clarity as this project moves forward, but suspect it’s less momentous and therefore also less contradictory than it might at first seen based on the headlines.

    via Medium


    India’s Jio Launches Free VoLTE Feature Phone, Cheaper Data Plans (Jul 21, 2017)

    I don’t usually cover the Indian market in depth here, but Jio feels like one of those stories that more people outside of India need to know about. It’s part of one of the big Indian conglomerates, Reliance Industries, and launched public LTE-only mobile services in September last year, signing up 125 million customers since then, an unprecedented rate of growth for any mobile operator anywhere. Until now, that service was available only on smartphones, either compatible devices customers brought with them or those sold by Jio. But today, Jio announced its own VoLTE-capable feature phone, which it will offer for free (albeit with a 1500 rupee – $23 – refundable security deposit) starting next month, with an unlimited voice, text and data plan for 153 rupees ($2) per month. What Jio has done in India over the past year or so is one of those things that just doesn’t seem like it should be possible – massive customer growth from zero, while offering fairly leading edge technology in devices and its network. The big enabler is that Jio is part of that massive conglomerate, which makes lots of money from the petroleum industry and therefore doesn’t need Jio to be profitable, at least not yet. In addition, although Jio touts its broad coverage (and promises to cover 99% of the population shortly), my understanding is that the coverage can be unreliable and some users are deploying it as a second-SIM solution rather than their only option. A lack of network density is likely the big problem, offering nominal coverage across a wide area but offering spotty coverage within that area in practice. But it’s been disruptive nonetheless, providing access to 4G and smartphones for those who previously hadn’t taken the plunge, and the new feature phone is going to extend 4G and some basic data services to a far larger number.

    via NDTV


    Apple is Reportedly Partnering with Chinese Battery Maker CATL (Jul 21, 2017)

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    Google is Working with Publishers to Detect and Combat Ad Spoofing (Jul 21, 2017)

    Business Insider reports that Google has been working with a number of big publishers to detect and combat a form of ad fraud known as spoofing, where ad inventory purporting to be available on a major site is in fact merely offering space on little visited sites spoofing those domains. It’s apparently found that there’s lots of this activity going on, and at the same time is pushing an industry standard called ads.txt which aims to get each publisher to host a text file listing the ad exchanges with which it’s working and thereby make it easier to establish which inventory is legitimate and which isn’t. Ad fraud in various forms is one of several big issues which threaten to undermine the online ad industry, along with viewability and measurement issues, ads showing up against the wrong content, and so on. Cutting down on spoofing would go some way to reducing at least this one form of ad fraud.

    via Business Insider


    Facebook Patent Filing Shows Modular Device (Jul 21, 2017)

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    Daily Podcast Episode 18 – July 20, 2017 (Jul 20, 2017)

    The daily podcast episode for July 19 is up now on SoundCloud and should be syncing shortly to iTunes, Overcast, and other podcast apps. As usual, the podcast spends about one minute on each of the items covered on the site today, and also points to a few other items in the news today which I didn’t cover but which are nonetheless interesting. You can find today’s episode on SoundCloud and all episodes on iTunes, Overcast, and so on.


    Amazon is Paying Full Retail Price for Some Non-Available Items to Boost Inventory (Jul 20, 2017)

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    ★ Microsoft Announces Stronger Than Expected Growth, Modest Guidance (Jul 20, 2017)

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    Facebook Provides Official Update on Progress Working with News Organizations (Jul 20, 2017)

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    YouTube TV Adds 10 New Markets with Local Channels (Jul 20, 2017)

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    Midia Suggests Amazon Now 3rd Largest Music Streaming Service (Jul 20, 2017)

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    Study Finds Publication Recall is Poor for News Reached through Search and Social (Jul 20, 2017)

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    Twitter Provides Data on Abuse Efforts, Fails to Address Inconsistent Application (Jul 20, 2017)

    Twitter has a blog post up and apparently also spoke to reporters about its efforts to curb abuse and harassment on the platform. The company released data about the improvements it’s made over the past year and the positive effects it says these are having, such as acting on ten times as many abusive accounts, removing twice the number of repeat offenders, and so on. But there’s nothing in the new data or the blog post about why so many reports still get dealt with as false positives, as reported by BuzzFeed earlier in the week. And there’s no real transparency about how the decisions are made, by whom, or what exactly the guidelines are. Twitter clearly is making progress here – the numbers show that – but the fact that BuzzFeed had no trouble quickly finding cases where it’s still falling short suggests it’s far from done here yet. And though Twitter is clearly taking the problem more seriously today than it was even six months ago, before this current effort began, it’s still too often defensive and closed rather than transparent and honest in talking about why abuse and harassment are still such issues. At root, it feels like Twitter is still erring too much on the side of maximum freedom of speech rather than on the side of protecting users from abuse, while much behavior by Twitter users is utterly unacceptable and yet likely goes unreported simply because it’s not directed at a specific individual.

    via Twitter


    Intel Shutters First Party Wearables Business (Jul 20, 2017)

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    Daily Podcast Episode 17 – July 19, 2017 (Jul 19, 2017)

    The daily podcast episode for July 19 is up now on SoundCloud and should be syncing shortly to iTunes, Overcast, and other podcast apps. As usual, the podcast spends about one minute on each of the items covered on the site today, and also points to a few other items in the news today which I didn’t cover but which are nonetheless interesting. You can find today’s episode on SoundCloud and all episodes on iTunes, Overcast, and so on.


    Qualcomm’s Financial Results Heavily Impacted by Various Disputes and Fines (Jul 19, 2017)

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    ★ T-Mobile Q2 Results Show Strong Growth, Lower Switching From Other Carriers (Jul 19, 2017)

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