NN146: India Mobile Money Momentum — New iPhones? — Psychedelic Temple — Dog Punks Lions

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Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

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💰 As as I’ve mentioned here – and written about in stories – there’s growing interest these days in India’s burgeoning internet economy. From e-commerce to ride-sharing to mobile devices, global tech companies are hustling for a piece of the action as people get online for the first time, and as customers already accessing the web spend more and more money online.

One particularly promising sector is mobile payments. Few people in India have credit or debit cards, but lots of people have smartphones. After Prime Minister Modi took the largest domination notes out of circulation in Nov. 2016 and a cash crunch ensued, masses of citizens flocked to a mobile wallet called Paytm for their everyday transactions.

This week mobile payments were in the news again: Berkshire Hathaway – yes, the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet’s, firm – is investing in Paytm, joining the ranks of Asian tech titans who have already done so, like Alibaba and SoftBank.

Meanwhile Google also rolled out some new features for its mobile payments app in India. Keep reading for more…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

📱 1) By me and a colleague: Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Invests in India Mobile-Payments Firm [WSJ].

📈 2) Also by me: Mobile Money Heats Up in India as Google Doubles Down [WSJ] – The lede: “Alphabet Inc.’s Google is raising its mobile-payments game in India with new functions and services as global players race to woo the nation’s legions of consumers who are skipping credit cards and transacting on smartphones instead.”

🔍 3) Meanwhile, an important story by my WSJ colleagues Doug MacMillan, Sarah Krouse and Keach Hagey: Yahoo, Bucking Industry, Scans Emails for Data to Sell Advertisers [WSJ] – Yahoo’s owner “has been pitching a service to advertisers that analyzes more than 200 million Yahoo Mail inboxes and the rich user data they contain…”

🍎 4) Apple announces next iPhone event for September 12: ‘Gather round’ [9to5Mac] – Look out for “three new flagship iPhones and a redesigned Apple Watch,” Zac Hall says, in addition to new iPad Pros and possibly details on a new wireless charging mat.

🎹 5) Music-related story of the week: Show Tunes [Real Life] – In the age of social media and streaming, “The business model for music doesn’t require a must-have album, then, but rather a week-to-week narrative within the music world to justify a monthly subscription,” writes David Turner. (Editor’s note: I find this all so tiresome. I’ll keep listening to decades-old vinyl, as pretentious as that sounds!)

🛐 6) Crazy art/architecture story of the week: In upstate New York, a DMT-inspired psychedelic temple rises [Architect’s Newspaper] – The story contains this utterly amazing sentence, among many others:

“Selecting a point on their 40-acre plot that aligns with the solar plexus of a projected goddess, ‘the kabbalistic sephirot of justice,’’ CoSM has begun converting a former carriage house into a three-level, 12,000-square-foot concrete structure replete with modern amenities, including an ADA-compliant elevator.”

🔭 7) Mind-blowing photo of the week: Hubble Observes Energetic Lightshow at Saturn’s North Pole [European Space Agency] – Click through to see the “fluttering auroras.” Astounding.

😴 8) #ProTip of the week: How to Fall Asleep in 120 Seconds [Medium] – It can be done, Sharon Ackman writes, with these steps developed by the U.S. Navy Pre-Flight School.

🔥 9) College soccer golazo of the week, featuring my old team: Khattab’s OT Goal Gives No. 8 Emory Men’s Soccer 5–4 Win over No.14 W&L in Instant Classic [EmoryAthletics] – Click through for a video.

💪 10) Brave canine of the week: Dog chasing lions [YouTube] – As the saying goes: It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,
Newley

NN 144: Elon’s Amazing Interview; the New Facebook; Goats on the Lam

The latest edition of my email newsletter went out last week. Subscribe to receive it before it’s posted here.


Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.
So, apropos of nothing: I saw something (especially) funny while in traffic here in Delhi today.

Hint 1: It was a passenger vehicle full of animals.

Hint 2: These particular creatures have been in the news in the U.S. this week.

Hint 3: They are almost as awesome as llamas.

Give up? Click here to see my pics.

And now, baaaack to our originally scheduled newsletter (#sorrynotsorry)…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

⚡ 1) Elon Musk Details ‘Excruciating’ Personal Toll of Tesla Turmoil [New York Times] – An astounding interview. I pointed out in a Newley.com post what I see as the most remarkable passages.

🇷🇺 2) Russian Hackers Target Conservative Groups in Widening Cyberattacks [WSJ] – Just out from my colleagues Dustin Volz and Robert McMillan: “Russian hackers linked to the 2016 election cyberattacks on the Democratic Party are widening their targeting for the coming midterms to include the U.S. Senate and well-connected conservative groups, according to new research from Microsoft…”

📱3) Modern Horror Films are Finding Their Scares in Dead Phone Batteries [The Verge] – Tasha Robinson on the “new standard trope.”

✈️ 4) How TripAdvisor changed travel [The Guardian] – “Over its two decades in business,” Linda Kinstler writes, “TripAdvisor has turned an initial investment of $3m into a $7bn business by figuring out how to provide a service that no other tech company has quite mastered: constantly updated information about every imaginable element of travel, courtesy of an ever-growing army of contributors who provide their services for free.”

💬 5) College chat app pulls a page from Facebook [Axios] – Kia Kokalitcheva on a messaging app called Islands that’s big on college campuses in the U.S. “We launched Islands and our thesis was the group chats are the new social network,” the company’s founder says. (Note: I think he’s right about this. Who needs Facebook when you have WhatsApp groups?)

👂6) The future is ear: Why “hearables” are finally tech’s next big thing – Apple, Amazon and Google are all “working on products that combine the utility of the hearing aid with the entertainment value of a pair of high-end headphones,” reports Peter Burrows.

🚀 7) Tech-related #longread of the week: Virgin Galactic’s Rocket Man [New Yorker] – Nicholas Schmidle on the “ace pilot risking his life to fulfill Richard Branson’s billion-dollar quest to make commercial space travel a reality.”

🌭 8) Fun, useless link of the week: Buns.life is a website that allows you to…“put words between buns.”

⚽ 9) Soccer video of the week: Wayne Rooney’s Incredible World class tackle and Assist vs Orlando City [YouTube]. Honorable mention: trailer for Kaiser: The Greatest Footballer to Never Play Football [YouTube].

🐶 10) Adorable dog video of the week: Kirk, a female Border Collie, watching herself win the 2017 Purina Pro Challenge [Twitter].

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👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,
Newley

NN 143: Alex Jones’s Very Bad Week; Wither Snapchat?; White Shark Breach

Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🖥️ 1) By me at Newley.com: Book Notes: ‘The Master Switch,’ by Tim Wu. The book’s subtitle: “The Rise and Fall of Information Empires.” An archive of my Book Notes posts is here.

🚫 2) Apple Kicked Alex Jones Off Its Platform, Then YouTube And Facebook Rushed To Do The Same [Buzzfeed News] — “In all, the actions will currently seriously limit Jones’s ability to reach his massive audience,” John Paczkowski and Charlie Warzel wrote. “Twitter and Periscope remain one of the sole major platforms to still host Jones.”

↘️ 3) Snapchat’s Users Slide in Latest Setback for Social Media [WSJ]– After it appears that user growth is slowing at Facebook and Twitter, Snapchat “reported its first quarterly decline in daily users, sending its stock price gyrating,” my colleague Marc Vartabedian reported. The number of daily users fell 2% to about 188 million, the first such decline in seven years.

🤖 4) Robotics-related link of the week: All Is Full of Björk Bots [Slate] — “I couldn’t escape the feeling I’d seen this sort of robot design before, and in a strikingly similar context,” Benjamin Frisch writes. “Then I realized where I recognized it from: the seminal video for Björk’s ‘All Is Full of Love.’”

📹 5) This week in surveillance/fashion-related news: Camouflage from face detection [CV Dazzle] — Click through to read how “avant-garde hairstyling and makeup designs” can be used to “break apart the continuity of a face.”

📚 6) Shot: Gutenberg’s Revenge [Strategy+Business] — Why “the consumer market for physical, printed books is holding its own in an increasingly digital world.”

💯 7) Chaser: 17 Places Book Lovers Need to Visit [Conde Nast Traveler] — Gorgeous pics, ranging from a trippy bookshop in Yangzhou, China to a three-story library in Rio de Janeiro and a monstary in Prague.

🔥 8) No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man [Smithsonian American Art Museum] — In the first exhibit of its kind, the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. is showing artwork from the legendary desert party.

🗣️ 9) 10 of the best words in the world (that don’t translate into English) [The Guardian] — My favorite: “sisu.” Runner up: tiáo (条).

🦈 10) Crazy-ass shark-related video of the week: White shark surprise breach off Wellfleet, MA. [YouTube/Atlantic White Shark Conservancy] — Title says it all. (Thanks, Milo!)

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👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,
Newley

Newley’s Notes 142: Apple Soars; Google in China; QAnon; Wingsuit Craziness

Edition 142 of my email newsletter went out on Monday.

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Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🍎 1) Apple sees strong quarter ahead as earnings top estimates [Axios] — The micro: iPhone revenue rose 20% compared to a year earlier and services sales rose 31%. The macro, from my colleague Tripp Mickle: The results show how Apple is “finding ways to grow amid a contracting global smartphone market that is roiling its rivals,” he writes. And:

The company’s services business reported record revenue of $9.55 billion, a 31% increase from a year earlier, strengthening the case that Apple is in the midst of a transformation from a device-driven business into one increasingly reliant on sales of subscriptions and software.

💯💯💯💯💯 2) … and Apple later marked a milestone: Apple’s Market Cap Hits $1 Trillion [WSJ] — It’s the first U.S. firm to surpass $1 trillion in market cap. Click through for an amazing graphic showing the stock’s rise.

🔍 3) This week also saw two interesting Google-China stories. First: Google Plans to Launch Censored Search Engine in China, Leaked Documents Reveal [The Intercept] — The service “will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest,” Ryan Gallagher reports.

🇨🇳 4) And second: Google Developing News App for China [The Information] — The news app “will comply with the country’s strict censorship laws,” Wayne Ma and Juro Osawa report.

⁉️ 5) Bizarre story of the week: What Is QAnon: Explaining the Internet Conspiracy Theory That Showed Up at a Trump Rally [NY Times] — TLDR: It’s super weird and totally nonsensical. There’s more from Know Your Meme.

📚 6) Meet the YouTube Stars Turning Viewers Into Readers [New York Times] — Concepción de León speaks with “BookTubers,” young book fans who have become influencers on YouTube.

🥤 7) The Decline and Fall of Diet Coke and the Power Generation That Loved It [New Yorker] — “To an astonishing extent,” Nathan Heller writes, “the age of Diet Coke — its rise, its reign, its fall — maps onto a historical bracket that began with the launch of MTV and ended with the emergence of social media: the era of the power of the image in a mainstream burnished form.”

💥 8) Venezuela President Maduro survives ‘drone assassination attempt’ [BBC] — Nicolás Maduro was speaking at a gathering in Caracas when “Two drones loaded with explosives went off near the president’s stand, Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said,” the BBC reports. Meanwhile, Reuters’s Joseph Ax has some analysis:

Wherever the investigation leads, Maduro’s allegations raised the specter of unmanned aerial vehicles being used by militant groups or others to launch bombing, chemical or biological attacks, a tactic that has long worried security experts.

💔 9) Tech longread of the week: Growing Up Jobs [Vanity Fair] — Lisa Brennan-Jobs recounts her difficult relationship with her father, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

🌌 10) Mind-blowing video of the week: Stars orbiting the black hole at the heart of the Milky Way [YouTube] — “This time-lapse video from the NACO instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile shows stars orbiting the supermassive black hole that lies at the heart of the Milky Way over a period of nearly 20 years.”

⛰️ Honorable mention: Formation Wingsuit Terrain Flying at the Mettlehorn in Switzerland [YouTube] — Title says it all. Insane.

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👊 Fist bump from New Delhi

Newley

Newley’s Notes 141: Back from Summer Break!; Data-Siphoning Apps Exposed; Pachelbel’s Chicken

Edition 141 of my email newsletter went out last Sunday.

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Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

🇺🇸 So, I’m back after a few weeks of summer holiday. Anasuya and I enjoyed the 4th of July (and biscuits and grits and burgers and sausages and going out on the water) with family and friends in Beaufort, S.C..

We celebrated a milestone birthday with family in central Pennsylvania.

We caught up with amigos in Washington, D.C., and then spent nearly a week in New York working and eating and visiting with pals and colleagues.

It was fantastic to be back in the U.S., see people close to us, and — let’s not forget about the beautiful game — watch the conclusion of a memorable World Cup (Croatia almost did it, but a dynamic and exciting France were deserving winners).

Now we’ve returned to Delhi and are getting back into the swing of things. Thankfully, while we were away, the blistering heat gave way to the monsoon rains, so the weather is cooler.

On to this week’s NN…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

📵 1) By me: App Traps: How Cheap Smartphones Siphon User Data in Developing Countries — [WSJ] The story, which I wrote with my colleagues Josh Chin, Myo Myo and Kersten Zhang, ran on the front page of our Business and Finance section and online July 5. It begins:

For millions of people buying inexpensive smartphones in developing countries where privacy protections are usually low, the convenience of on-the-go internet access could come with a hidden cost: preloaded apps that harvest users’ data without their knowledge.

One such app, included on thousands of Chinese-made Singtech P10 smartphones sold in Myanmar and Cambodia, sends the owner’s location and unique-device details to a mobile-advertising firm in Taiwan called General Mobile Corp., or GMobi. The app also has appeared on smartphones sold in Brazil and those made by manufacturers based in China and India, security researchers said.

I worked on this piece for a some time and am proud of it because it involved some deep digging and hit on some important themes. Several outlets picked it up, as well.

📉 2) Shot: Facebook Suffers Worst-Ever Drop in Market Value [WSJ] — TLDR: Shares plummeted 19%, wiping out nearly $120 billion in market value, with investors concerned about decelerating growth.

⬇️ 3) Chaser: Twitter User Numbers Slip as It Shuts Fake Accounts; Stock Drops [WSJ] — TLDR: Twitter slipped more than 20% after it said its global monthly active users fell.

🤑 4) And the context: Investors Step Back From Social-Media Highfliers [WSJ] — My colleagues Marc Vartabedian, Yoree Koh and Michael Wursthorn write:

Facebook and Twitter have different business models but each is dependent on grabbing — and keeping — people’s attention and then showing ads to them. That imperative on occasion has led them to embrace content that is viral or provocative, and now they are trying to find a better balance that will keep users engaged without driving them away. For instance, both are scrambling to clean up their platforms, which were the epicenter of Russian misinformation campaigns around the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In a look at Facebook’s earnings, specifically, Shira Ovide at Bloomberg writes:

If what the company predicts comes to pass, the internet’s best combination of fast revenue growth and plump profit margins is dead. All at once, it seemed, reality finally caught up to Facebook.

🛍️ 5) Online shopping-related longread of the week: How E-Commerce Is Transforming Rural China [New Yorker] — Jiayang Fan profiles JD.com, the Amazon of China, which is pushing into the country’s hinterlands.

🗣️ 6) Speaking of China: Balding Out — A bittersweet essay in which a well known American business school professor, Christopher Balding, describes why he’s leaving China after nine years. My colleague Chun Han Wong in Beijing has more on the wider story.

🗳️ 7) Interactive of the week: An Extremely Detailed Map of the 2016 Election [New York Times] — This feature is pretty straightforward, allowing you to zoom in to examine individual precincts to see how people voted. But it’s a reminder of the stark political differences between people in big cities and more rural areas. More info available in an accompanying piece called “Political Bubbles and Hidden Diversity.”

✨ 8) Not tech-related, but getting lots of buzz online: How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million [New York Times] — Taffy Brodesser-Akner on the “most controversial brand in the wellness industry,” and the woman behind it.

🐐 9) Alpaca-related story of the week: Altiplano review: A brain-tickling board game about…alpacas [Ars Technica] — “Don’t let the grinning llamas (alpacas?) fool you,” Tom Mendelsohn writes, “this can be a powerful gaming experience… but only for a certain kind of player.”

🐔 10) Silly video of the week: Pachelbel’s Chicken [YouTube] — Yes, that’s Pachelbel’s Canon…played on rubber chickens.

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👊 Fist bump from New Delhi — and I hope your summers are going well, friends!

Newley

Newley’s Notes 140: Instagram TV; China’s Tech Prowess; Dancing in Movies; See You in a Month!

Edition 140 of my email newsletter went out last Sunday.

If you’d like NN delivered to your inbox before it’s posted here, simply enter your email address at this link. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief, and few people unsubscribe.


Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

🏖️ First, an administrative note:

NN will be on summer holiday for the next month or so. So I’ll be back at you the last week in July.

⚽ So, have you been enjoying the World Cup? Of course you have, because it is the the greatest sporting competition in the history of humankind.

How about defending champion Germany’s injury time win yesterday, to salvage their campaign, against an impressive Sweden, whose Ola Toivonen had earlier chipped Manuel Neuer, perhaps the world’s best goalkeeper?

How about Leo Messi and Argentina’s collapse?

How about Ronaldo showing his might?

Can Belgium go all the way? Can Brazil’s Neymar carry the (imagined?) weight of a country’s expectations on his slender shoulders?

All this, and we’re only, like, still in the group stages!

On to this week’s NN…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🎥 1) Instagram Unveils New Long-Form Video Hub [WSJ] — It’s IG’s “latest attempt to tap into growing demand among consumers and advertisers for mobile video,” my colleagues Benjamin Mullin and Deepa Seetharaman write. IGTV, as it’s called, will compete with Snapchat and YouTube.

At Bloomberg, Shira Ovide predicts it will likely soon be home to inappropriate material, like Facebook and other platforms. From a user standpoint, expect Instagram to become even yet more cluttered. As I wrote recently on Twitter, “Remember when Instagram was a straightforward platform for sharing pics, much lauded for its simplicity?”

🇨🇳 2) Alibaba v. Tencent: The Battle for Supremacy in China [Fortune] — In this lengthy piece, Adam Lashinsky looks at the battle between China’s leading tech firms, which are “as different in culture, style, and approach as Apple is from Google.”

🏆 3) And speaking of which: China is winning the global tech race [FT] — Michael Moritz, a partner at famed Silicon Valley VC firm Sequoia Capital, says “Uber, Airbnb and SpaceX may be hogging the limelight” when it comes to tech firms worth $1 billion or more, “but the undisputed gold medal leaders are the Chinese.”

🍳 4) What did ancient Babylonians eat? A Yale-Harvard team tested their recipes [Yale News] — A team “painstakingly recreated — step by step — three stews” from a clay culinary tablet “as closely as possible to how they would have been prepared and eaten almost 4,000 years ago.”

📼 5) Vintage tech-related blog of the week: Vault of VHS [Vaultofvhs.tumblr.com] — Tag line: “Dedicated to the design of retail VHS packaging, for both home & pre-recorded tapes.”

⚭ 6)Five myths about marriage [Washington Post] A piece in which John Gottman — of the the Gottman Institute, whose email newsletter I recommend — and Christopher Dollard dispel fictions about issues such as common interests, going to bed angry, couples therapy, affairs and relationship contracts.

📣 7) Futbol-related long read of the week: How We Watch Soccer Now [New Yorker] — The dek on Leo Robson’s story: “The World Cup shows how money and media saturation have changed the nature of fandom.”

🐾 8) Canine-related story of the week: These dogs sniff out cybercrime [CNET Magazine] — “Only one out of every 50 dogs tested qualifies to become an electronic storage detection, or ESD, dog” writes Alfred Ng.

🥁 9) Adorable video of the week: Watch this 8-Year-Old Channel John Bonham with Impeccable “Good Times Bad Times” Cover [Reverb] — Go, Yoyoka Soma!

🕺🏾 10) SPECIAL BONUS feel-good video of the week because DID I MENTION THE WORLD CUP IS HERE?! Dancing in Movies [Vimeo] — You’re welcome. (The full list of almost 300 films is here.)

Quote of the week:

“It’s almost as if Warner Bros. has been taken over by Voldemort, trying to use dark magic to destroy the light of a little town.”

That’s from this Kristen de Groot story from Philadelphia headlined “Warner Bros. crackdown puts Dark Mark over Potter festivals.

If you like this newsletter, please forward it to a friend. If you received this from a pal, you can sign up here.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi — and see you a month!

Newley

Newley’s Notes 139: Toyota –> Grab; AT&T-Time Warner; Soccer Hair; Renegade Raccoon

Edition 139 of my email newsletter went out last Sunday.

If you’d like NN delivered to your inbox before it’s posted here, simply enter your email address at this link. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief, and few people unsubscribe.


Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

It’s been a fantastic World Cup opening weekend! Can’t decide which I’ve enjoyed most: Ronaldo’s hat trick in the scintillating Spain-Portugal game or the Iceland goalkeeper’s penalty save on Messi! And there’s still so much more to come!

On to this week’s NN…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🚘 1) A story by my colleague Sean McLain and me: Toyota Plans Billion-Dollar Investment in Ride-Hailing Startup Grab [WSJ] — Toytota is trying to expand beyond its core cars business, and is now pouring funds into Singapore-based grab, which as you’ll recall has chased Uber out of Southeast Asia.

💲 2) A huge legal and business story this week: AT&T Beats U.S. in Antitrust Fight Over Time Warner [WSJ] — The federal judge’s decision is a “historic defeat for the Justice Department that could rewrite the media landscape and set the stage for other deals,” write my colleagues Brent Kendall and Drew FitzGerald. The New York Times‘s Jim Stewart, in a column surveying the state of antitrust law, writes that “The most immediate impacts of the ruling on Tuesday are the removal of an obstacle to a megamerger and the likely bursting of a dam of mergers that were waiting the decision.”

⏏️ 3) Apple Tries to Stop Developers From Sharing Data on Users’ Friends [Bloomberg] — “Sharing of friends’ data without their consent is what got Facebook Inc. into so much trouble when one of its outside developers gave information on millions of people to Cambridge Analytica,” write Bloomberg’s Sarah Frier and Mark Gurman, and now Apple’s “quietly closing” a related loophole.

🎬 4) And speaking of Apple: Oprah strikes deal with Apple as new Hollywood content wars heat up [CNN] — Apple joins Amazon and Netflix in building up stables of original content.

⛔ 5) Smart speaker story of the week: Senators Demand Answers From Amazon on Echo’s Snooping Habits [Wired] — Remember the woman in Portland, Oregon who said an Alexa-powered gadget, without her permission, recorded and sent to a contact a conversation she had with her husband? Two senators are asking Jeff Bezos to explain how it happened.

🚁 6) Take a First Look at Larry Page’s Latest Flying Car [Bloomberg] — “The Kitty Hawk Flyer sports 10 battery-powered propellors and two control sticks,” Brad Stone writes, “and looks like a human-sized drone.” Click through for photos.

🏫 7) Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey! ‘Saved by the Bell’ Now a Restaurant [New York Times] — It looks amazing. Pics on Instagram are here.

🆒 8) How Soccer Players’ Hair Became So Influential [Racked] — TLDR: stars’ haircuts have become are clearly on display (no hats or helmets); a diversity of cultures means a lot of variation; players can pioneer cool coiffures to stand out.

😎 9) Chilled out video of the week: Open Ocean: 10 Hours of Relaxing Oceanscapes [YouTube/BBC Earth]. “Be wowed by the brilliant hues of our blue planet and the incredible animals that live therewith…”

⚾ 10) Fun dog video of the week: Bark In The Park Event Goes Sideways [Twitter video] — It was dog night at a double A baseball game in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and an enthusiastic German Shepherd became entranced by a ball…

✌️Quote of the week:

“All they could do was put enough stinky food up there to encourage him to go up the last two floors…We were all kind of worried he might be too tired to do so but thankfully the little guy kept going.”

That’s from a New York Times story headlined Daredevil Raccoon Climbs Minnesota Skyscraper and Becomes a Sensation.

If you like this newsletter, please forward it to a friend. If you received this from a pal, you can sign up here.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

Newley’s Notes 138: The. World. Cup!; RIP Tony Bourdain; Japanese Mini-Truck Gardening

Edition 138 of my email newsletter went out on Sunday.

If you’d like NN delivered to your inbox before it’s posted here, simply enter your email address at this link. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief, and few people unsubscribe.


Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

So, can you believe the World Cup begins on Thursday? I am nearly giddy with excitement, as I always am when the world’s most popular sporting event rolls around every four years.

Passion! Bravery! Physical skill! Cheating! Subterfuge! National pride! Abject disappointment!

The month-long tournament has all of these, and more. The world today feels increasingly fragmented, destabilized and disjointed; the competition, though, is one of the few truly global events anymore that the vast majority of the world watches and cares about.

Sadly, as you probably know, the U.S. won’t be participating, having failed to qualify for the first time in more than three decades, however. For a post-mortem on this disaster, I suggest this longread from Andrew Helms and Matt Pentz in The Ringer: Own Goal: The Inside Story of How the USMNT Missed the 2018 World Cup.

On a happier note, here’s something decidedly up-beat to consume: a “mixtape” video on YouTube by Beats (yes, Beats) featuring Brazil’s Neymar, Germany’s Mesut Ozil, England’s Harry Kane and more. My favorite part: the cameo by France’s Patrice “I Love This Game” Evra.

With no U.S. to root for, I will be cheering on Egypt. Not just because of their supremely gifted and lovable striker Mohamed Salah, but for their veteran goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, who at age 45 will be the World Cup’s oldest-ever player. More on goalkeeping below…

Meanwhile, a World Cup-related hobby of mine: Watching from afar as the British media and pundits talk up up England’s chances of victory, then subsequently blame factors supposedly beyond England’s control when the team inevitably crashes out. (I’m betting that this year’s excuse will be that the players are inordinately consumumed with, and have been derailed by, criticism on social media.)

For more on this, see my 2016 blog post, Why You Shouldn’t be Surprised When England Lose. I penned that just hours before England took the field against Iceland in the Euros. Looking back, my only regret in the piece is that I said I expected them to win that game. They lost, of course.

And finally, a new blog post at Newley.com: Loris Karius and the Existential Pain of Goalkeeping. Contains a requisite Albert Camus quote. A subject so close to my heart it has taken me something like two weeks to hit the publish button on this.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🖥️ 1) Microsoft Is Buying GitHub for $7.5 Billion in Stock [WSJ] — Satya Nadella wants to expand beyond Micrsosft’s older products and focus on new tech like cloud computing. GitHub, which allows developers to post and collaborate on code, fits the bill. In a similar deal, you’ll recall Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $27 billion in 2016. (Among the winners in the GitHub deal: prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which is getting $1 billion back on its $100 million investment in the startup in 2012.)

🔍 2) Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends [New York Times] — Facebook permitted makers like Apple and Samsung “access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders,” the Times reports.

🔫 3) Google Renounces AI Weapons; Will Still Work With Military [Bloomberg] — After unrest among staff, Google “pledged not to use its powerful artificial intelligence for weapons, illegal surveillance and technologies that cause ‘overall harm,'” but will keep working with the military, Mark Bergen reports.

📱4) Apple iOS 12: the biggest new features coming to the iPhone [The Verge] — Among the tweaks to Apple’s newest mobile operating system, writes Chris Welch, are Screen Time (reveals how much time you’re spending on your device); grouped notifications (to try to tame alert chaos); Group FaceTime (for video-calling with friends); and Memoji (a Bitmoji-like feature that lets you craft an emoji that looks like you).

📺 5) Amazon Scores Rights Deal for English Premier League Soccer [WSJ] — The deal allows the Seattle giant to stream in the UK 20 matches a season on Amazon Prime. “But the move represents a significant boost to Amazon’s so-far modest foray into live sporting events,” my WSJ colleagues write.

🍴 6) Anthony Bourdain loved Asia without fetishizing it. And Asia loved him back [Quartz] — “Anthony Bourdain was, in many ways, the US’s top ambassador to Asia,” Anne Quito writes. RIP.

🍔 7) The Ultimate Guide to Regional Beach Food in America [Eater] — Sadly, the shrimpburgers at Beaufort, S.C.’s Shrimp Shack appear not to have made this otherwise fine list.

🔑 8) Web surfing #ProTips of the week: 27 Incredibly Useful Things You Didn’t Know Chrome Could Do Shift-Control-T to re-open a recently closed tab, which I discovered a few months back, is a game changer. (Thanks, Mech!)

🌿 9) Gorgeous Japanese thing of the week: The Japanese Mini Truck Garden Contest is a Whole New Genre in Landscaping [Spoon & Tamago] — Every year the Japan Federation of Landscape Contractors puts on a contest in which landscapers build (super cool) mini-gardens in the backs of pickup trucks. Click through for pics; more images here and here.

🍉 10) Silly dog of the week: This very good boy eats watermelon in a spectacularly gentle fashion [Twitter video].

🔥 Quote of the week:

“Maybe you’ve seen people doing this in public and thought, what is that person doing with those bonded sheets of paper. FYI, it’s called reading a goddamned book.”

That’s from an excellent video by The Onion called Increase Your Cognitive Ability By Reading A Fucking Book For Once.

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Newley

Newley’s Notes 137: Tommy Talks Royals; China’s Tech Titans; Singing Bulldogs

Edition 137 of my email newsletter went out on Sunday.

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Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🇬🇧 1) Must-read of the week, despite having nothing to do with tech: British Expert on the Royal Family Is Actually Tommy From Upstate New York [Wall Street Journal] — In this masterful A-hed, my colleague Bradley Hope reveals that purported royal commentator Thomas J. Mace-Archer-Mills, Esq. — who has appeared on the BBC and in the Economist, speaking in a posh British accent — is Thomas “Tommy” Muscatello.

He grew up in upstate New York, went to college at Coastal Carolina in Myrtle Beach, S.C., then apparently moved to the U.K. — and reinvented himself. So fascinating.

📹 2) Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018 [PewInternet.org] — When it comes to internet platforms, forget Facebook. Teens today are into YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat, according to the latest Pew Research Center survey.

🇨🇳 3) Mary Meeker’s 2018 internet trends report: All the slides, plus analysis [Recode] — Famed Silicon Valley VC Meeker released this week her annual report on big picture tech topics. Of particular interest, writes Rani Molla:

China is catching up as a hub to the world’s biggest internet companies. Currently, China is home to nine of the world’s 20 biggest internet companies by market cap while the U.S. has 11. Five years ago, China had two and the U.S. had nine.

🏻 4) 82-Year-Old Proves You’re Never Too Old to Code [AARP] — Japan’s Masako Wakamiya, a retired bank clerk, learned Apple’s Swift programming language and created a free iOS game. You can find it here.

🕵️ 5) The Curious Case of Bryan Colangelo and the Secret Twitter Account [The Ringer] — Does the president of basketball operations for the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers take to the platform anonymously?

🥂 6) Long-read of the week: Maybe She Had So Much Money She Just Lost Track of It [NY Mag/The Cut] — The story of how Anna Delvey, a young and seemingly moneyed German socialite, played a long con on a handful of rich folks in New York.

🦈 7) Great White Sharks Have A Secret ‘Cafe,’ And They Led Scientists Right To It [NPR] — Why do these creatures head to a remote part of the ocean one thousand miles off the Baja Coast? Turns out they’re after a “a complete food chain” built on plant life that exits deep underwater.

🕉️ 8) The one “fascinating” mind-training exercise Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella practices every day [Quartz] — TLDR: Before you get out of bed, take a deep breath, identify something for which you’re grateful, set your intention for the day, then feel your feet.

🎧 9) Hurry, Boy, It’s Waiting There for You: Weezer Covers “Africa” [NewYorker.com] — It came, Amanda Petrusich writes, after “nearly six months of devoted needling from a Twitter account dedicated expressly to the cause.” You can listen here.

🐾 10) Silly dog of the week: The Singing Bulldog [Neatorama/YouTube] — Walter the French bulldog doesn’t bark. He sings.

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Newley

Newley’s Notes 136: Go-Jek Expands; Theranos Exposed; Gareth Bale = Genius

Edition 136 of my email newsletter went out a couple weeks back.

If you’d like NN delivered to your inbox before it’s posted here, simply enter your email address at this link. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief, and few people unsubscribe.


Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🛵 1) By me, with a colleague, in The WSJ: Hot on the Wheels of Grab, Go-Jek Rides Further Into Southeast Asia. The story begins:

Motorcycle-taxi service PT Go-Jek Indonesia will invest $500 million to expand its operations in Southeast Asia, revving up competition in a fast-growing consumer market just two months after Uber Technologies Inc. reached a landmark deal to exit from the region.

The Indonesian company said in a statement Thursday it plans to enter Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines in the next few months and is currently working with regulators and stakeholders across the region.

Go-Jek will initially offer motorcycle-hailing services in Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines, and provide traditional taxi services in Singapore, where motorcycle taxis aren’t permitted, a company spokesman said. The move, in effect, puts Go-Jek in direct competition with regional market leader Grab Inc.

🚫 2) Cautionary tale of the week: Amazon Alexa-Powered Device Recorded and Shared User’s Conversation Without Permission [WSJ] — /Begin rant/ Not to beat a dead horse, but Newley’s Notes readers have been warned about these devices on several occasions. Think long and hard about installing one in your house, if you’re privacy-conscious. Consider Amazon’s business model — selling you stuff — and how that might inform their product strategy. Same with Google Home. The Big G is an advertising company fueled by personal data. And it should come as no surprise that Facebook is also said to be considering getting into the connected speaker business. /End rant/

🤑 3) Tech longread of the week: How the Math Men Overthrew the Mad Men [The New Yorker] — “Once, Mad Men ruled advertising,” Ken Auletta writes. “They’ve now been eclipsed by Math Men — the engineers and data scientists whose province is machines, algorithms, pureed data, and artificial intelligence.”

💉 4) Tech video of the week: The Theranos deception — “60 Minutes” sums up the Theranos scandal — uncovered by The WSJ‘s John Carreyrou — in this 14-minute piece. Carreyrou’s new book, “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup,” is just out.

🃏 5) How Trump changed everything for The Onion — [Politico] — How do you make jokes about a president who “often defies satire“? Politico’s Andrew Restuccia interviews The Onion‘s editor in chief, Chad Nackers.

🎹 6) The Songs of the Years, 1925-2018 [Kottke.org] — A simple, cool idea: a playlist featuring one song from each year, running through the decades. On Spotify here; on Apple Music here; on Google Play Music here.

⚽ 7) Soccer trend piece of the week: A New Atlanta, United by Soccer [New York Times] — “For 10 years, I didn’t look at Atlanta as my home,” one fan of the new MLS side Atlanta United says in this story about how team has built its fan base. “Now, Atlanta United is the glue to the community for me.”

💯 8) Soccer goal of the week/year/decade/in Champion’s League history? A must-see from Gareth Bale in Real Madrid’s 3-1 win over Liverpool yesterday. On YouTube (for now at least) here. And here’s a fan’s view on Twitter.

😂 9) One silly thing: Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas “Outtakes.” [YouTube] — Fantastic.

📚10) A quote I’ve been pondering:

If you want to think long-term, you can’t spend all day reading things that train your brain to twitch.

That’s from Wall Street Journal investing columnist Jason Zweig — one of the sharpest minds out there on behavior and money — describing what he reads and why.

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👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley