Newley's Notes

Newley’s Notes 118: Hot CES Gadgets; Facebook’s Big Change; HQ Trivia is Killing It


Edition 118 of my email newsletter went out on Sunday.

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💬 What I Wrote at

My Favorite Email Newsletters of 2017 — The last in a series of year-end posts. My recommendations for newsletters to stay on top of politics, media news, tech and more. (Earlier, I re-capped my most popular blog posts of the year, and the ten best books I read in 2017.)

📲 5 Cool Tech-ish Reads This Week

1. The most buzzed-about tech from CES, the annual Las Vegas tech trade show that went down this week, can be seen in this clickable WSJ gallery.

Included here: a smart pet bed (hmm…), a cuddle-able sleep robot (creepy?), the coolest-looking smart speaker yet (pretty dope if you’re into these gadgets), and electric skates (cooler than Wheelie shoes?). For a round-up of the biggest news stories, Axios has a day-by-day collection of announcements.

2. Facebook’s changing its news feed. Our WSJ story puts things in perspective. (Emphasis mine.)

Facebook Inc. is broadly overhauling the way it presents news and information on its platform, as it struggles to address criticism from users and others about the quality of the content shared there and its effect on society.

Under planned changes announced Thursday, Facebook will favor posts, photos and videos in the news feed that are shared and discussed among users and their friends over those posted by businesses and news organizations—a likely blow to companies that rely on Facebook to reach customers. The company also is weighing another major change that could eventually elevate media outlets deemed more trustworthy compared with publishers considered less credible, people familiar with the matter said.

TLDR: You’ll probably see more stuff from your friends and family in your newsfeed, and fewer news stories (both legitimate ones and clickbait).

Related: an important piece in Washington Monthly from early Facebook investor Roger McNamee that’s gotten a lot of attention: “How to Fix Facebook—Before It Fixes Us.”

3. The biggest threat facing U.S. workers, writes Danny Vinik at Politico Magazine, isn’t robots or automation. It’s the rise of independent contractor jobs, aka the “gig economy”:

The repercussions go far beyond the wages and hours of individuals. In America, more than any other developed country, jobs are the basis for a whole suite of social guarantees meant to ensure a stable life. Workplace protections like the minimum wage and overtime, as well as key benefits like health insurance and pensions, are built on the basic assumption of a full-time job with an employer. As that relationship crumbles, millions of hardworking Americans find themselves ejected from that implicit pact.

4. HQ Trivia is the new hotness. The mobile trivia game (iOS app here; Android version here), in which people participate in live contests for cash, just passed one million players. I haven’t tried it. Have you?

5. Streaming officially rules audio consumption. For the first time, more people last year consumed audio in streaming format than any other way, Nielsen says.

💫 1 Silly Thing

The trailer for “Silicon Valley” season 5 is out. You can watch it here.

Related: If, like me, you’re a fan of Thomas Middleditch, who plays Pied Piper CEO Richard Hendricks on the show, be sure to follow him on Instagram for even more laughs.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,


By Newley

Hi. I'm Newley Purnell. I cover technology and business for The Wall Street Journal. I use this site to share my stories and often blog about the books I'm reading, tech trends, sports, travel, and our dog Ginger. For updates, get my weekly email newsletter.

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