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

Edition 139 of my email newsletter went out last Sunday.

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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.

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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.

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) 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’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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Newley’s Notes 135: India’s WhatsApp-ocalypse; the Ascent of Fortnite; Year’s Best Fail

Edition 135 of my email newsletter went out a few 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 in The WSJ: Think American Elections Are Bad? Indian Voters Get 1,000 Texts a Day [WSJ] — A story with my colleagues about how political parties in India are turning WhatsApp into a potent communications weapon. The opening few grafs:

For Gurupad Kolli, a 40-year-old lawyer who lives in a remote Indian village, the torrent of WhatsApp messages surging to his phone a few weeks ago meant one thing: election day was near.

They’re at turns strident, angry, buoyant, informative, misleading, gripping and confusing, he says. Some days he received as many as 1,000 of them through the popular messaging service. Pleased to no longer “depend on the mass media like newspapers,” the resident of Ramapur village in the southern state of Karnataka nonetheless also conceded “there’s so much false and fake news going around.”

He isn’t alone in his bewilderment. The rapidly falling cost of smartphones and mobile data in the world’s second-most-populous nation has turbocharged the spread of WhatsApp, where it is growing far faster than other social media and messaging platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

🥚 2) By me on my blog: Delhi Snapshot: Transporting Eggs [Newley.com] — Delhi traffic is no joke. I snapped a pic of perhaps the coolest customer in all of this teeming metropolis.

✏️ 3) You Can Draw, and Probably Better Than I Can [RogerEbert.com] — Not new, but new to me: an inspiring 2011 post from the late film critic Roger Ebert on the pleasures of drawing and the risks of perfectionism. Just doing the sketching, and not worrying about getting every little detail right, is crucial — and something I always struggle with as I continue by own drawing and watercolor painting, since accuracy is so central to my day job. (Via Austin Kleon.)

🎮 4) Tech longread of the week: How Fortnite Captured Teens’ Hearts and Minds [New Yorker] — Nick Paumgarten has the crazy stats:

Released last September, it is right now by many measures the most popular video game in the world. At times, there have been more than three million people playing it at once. It has been downloaded an estimated sixty million times.

And the wider significance:

Game fads come and go: Rubik’s Cube, Dungeons & Dragons, Angry Birds, Minecraft, Clash of Clans, Pokémon Go. What people seem to agree on, whether they’re seasoned gamers or dorky dads, is that there’s something new emerging around Fortnite, a kind of mass social gathering, open to a much wider array of people than the games that came before.

👂 5) We Made a Tool So You Can Hear Both Yanny and Laurel [NY Times] — Obligatory entry about this week’s internet “controversy.” TLDR: Your interpretation depends on the frequencies you hear.

💊 6) My Adventures with the Trip Doctors [NY Times Magazine] — Last week I pointed to Michael Pollan’s WSJ essay adapted from his new book about promising new research into psychedelics. He’s back with another piece, this one looking at the therapists working underground to treat patients.

🗣️ 7) What Google isn’t telling us about its AI demo [Axios] — Remember that bit I mentioned last week about Google showcasing new tech in which an artificial intelligence system carried on a real-life conversation with unwitting participants? Google won’t say if the audio was edited, Axios’s Dan Primack reports.

⛵ 8) This Armada of Saildrones Could Conquer the Ocean [Bloomberg Businessweek] — A fascinating profile (with cool visuals) by Ashlee Vance of Richard Jenkins, whose vision is to launch 1,000 seafaring robots for tasks like collecting scientific data and prospecting for oil and gas.

⚡ 9) Headline of the week: Motorised shed hits 100mph to break speed record at Pendine Sands [BBC News] — Hats off to 53-year-old Kevin Nicks, from England, for this spectacularly silly feat.

🤭 10) Fail of the week: Hilarious video as man tumbles down set of steps into Thames [YouTube] — I love a good fail video. And this one is excellent, from the narration to the blooper itself to the fact that they guy wasn’t hurt. I only hope it wasn’t staged. It’s an instant classic for me, right up there with 2012’s “Catch the Ice Dude.”

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Newley’s Notes 134: Indians in America; Scary AI; Feline Parkour

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Edition 134 of my email newsletter went out last weekend.

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 in The WSJ: Walmart Picks a Freewheeling Partner for Its $15 Billion Passage to India [WSJ.com] — It’s official. Walmart on Wed. completed its blockbuster acquisition — the largest in the company’s history — of India’s biggest e-commerce startup, Flipkart. In this piece, my colleagues and I examined the potential corporate culture clash ahead. The lede:

The famously frugal and focused Walmart Inc. is betting $15 billion on a much different kind of company: a sprawling Indian e-commerce startup that has burned through mountains of cash to try to conquer the country’s online shopping market.

🇮🇳 2) By me on my blog: Book Notes: ‘The Other One Percent: Indians in America,’ by Sanjoy Chakravorty, Devesh Kapur and Nirvikar Singh [Newley.com] — My notes from an excellent work I recently read. My brief summary: “An illuminating look at how Indians in America – a tiny percentage of the overall population – have come to enjoy such outsized success.” Highly recommended.

🗣️ 3) Shot: Should our machines sound human? [Kottke.org] — Google just showcased new tech that allows an artificial intelligence system to carry on life-life conversations with people.

Click through to listen to the demos as people unwittingly, it seems, speak with this program. This raises real ethical concerns. Should the person on the other end of the call not be made aware somehow that they’re not speaking to a real human?

🔮 4) Chaser: How Frightened Should We Be of A.I.? [New Yorker] — “If the arc of the universe bends toward an intelligence sufficient to understand it, will an A.G.I. be the solution—or the end of the experiment?” Tad Friend writes in the New Yorker.

🕵️ 5) Related: Alexa and Siri Can Hear This Hidden Command. You Can’t. [NY Times] — From the top of Craig S. Smith’s story:

Over the last two years, researchers in China and the United States have begun demonstrating that they can send hidden commands that are undetectable to the human ear to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant.

And:

Mr. Carlini added that while there was no evidence that these techniques have left the lab, it may only be a matter of time before someone starts exploiting them. “My assumption is that the malicious people already employ people to do what I do,” he said.

📖 6) 50 Pulp Cover Treatments of Classic Works of Literature [Literary Hub] — Love it. And these are not spoofs! “Classic works of literary fiction have existed as pulps from the very beginning of pulp—the new paperback publishers of the 1940s and 50s printed them right along with classic crime and some genuinely lowbrow (and sometimes quite lurid) new novels, often commissioning the very same artists to design their covers,” Emily Temple writes.

🎮 7) How is this speedrun possible? Super Mario Bros. World Record Explained [YouTube] — One video game “speedrunner” explains how another, Kosmic, set the world record for completing the game in 27 minutes. Taking advantage of glitches, timing screen scrolling, and more — this is simply incredible.

💊 8) The New Science of Psychedelics [WSJ] — An essay adapted from Michael Pollan’s new book “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence.” Related: Pollan, author of books like “Food Rules” and “In Defense of Food” was also recently on the Tim Ferriss podcast.

✈️ 9) Heartwarming story of the week: He searched for his Japanese birth mother. He found her — and the restaurant she had named after him [Washington Post] — Kathryn Tolbert tells Bruce Hollywood’s remarkable story.

🐈 10) Silly cat video of the week: Graceful Alley Run [Neatorama/YouTube] — Lest you think I am too dog-centric, here’s a video of a majestic feline parkour-ing through a sticky situation — all set to AWOLNATION’s song “Run.”

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Newley

Newley’s Notes 133: Facebook Dating; Angry Elon; Stoned Raccoons

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Edition 133 of my email newsletter went out last weekend.

If you’d like NN delivered to your inbox before it’s posted here, simply enter your email address here. 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) More on Walmart and Flipkart from my colleagues and me Friday: Walmart Takes on Amazon With $15 Billion Bid for Stake in India’s Flipkart [Wall Street Journal] — The story begins:

Walmart Inc.’s battle with Amazon.com Inc. is heading to India.

Walmart is leading a group that will invest about $15 billion for a roughly 75% stake in Flipkart Group, India’s largest e-commerce company, according to people familiar with the matter. Google parent Alphabet Inc. is planning to invest in Flipkart as part of the deal, other people familiar with the situation said.

It would be a big bet by Walmart that India will be a source of growth at a time when Amazon is gaining ground in the country. It is also an effort by Google to keep Amazon from potentially acquiring Flipkart itself.

Watch this space.

😠 2) Highlights From Elon Musk’s Combative Tesla Earnings Call [Wall Street Journal] — Worth a listen. “During the more than one hour call, Mr. Musk cut off two analysts asking about capital-expenditure plans and reservations for the Model 3 sedan, dismissing them as ‘boring, bonehead’ questions and ‘dry,'” my colleague Tim Higgins wrote in an accompanying story. Tesla’s stock fell nearly 6% after the call. I found listening to be interesting insight into Musk’s personality.

❤️ 3) The 5 biggest announcements from Facebook’s F8 developer conference keynote [The Verge] — Facebook: Tinder killer? Among the news from Facebook’s annual developer conference: The social media titan is getting into dating. A new feature “allows people to browse potential matches at inside groups or events you’re interested in attending,” Natt Garun reports.

🌈 4) Tourists flocking to Peru’s newfound ‘Rainbow Mountain.’ [AP] — The latest Andean backpacker must-see, near Pitumarca, Peru: “Stripes of turquoise, lavender and gold blanket what has become known as ‘Rainbow Mountain,” a ridge of multicolored sediments laid down millions of years ago and pushed up as tectonic plates clashed.”

🎵 5) Swan Songs: Music For Your Final Exit [NPR] — I challenge you to listen to this podcast without choking up. NPR’s “All Songs Considered” asked listeners what songs they’d want to have played at their funerals. Morbid? Maybe a little. But also highly moving and inspirational.

🚲 6) The Bike-Share Oversupply in China: Huge Piles of Abandoned and Broken Bicycles [The Atlantic] — Absolutely insane images.

📷 7) Scenes Unseen: The Summer of ’78 [NY Times] — And speaking of striking pics: Last year a New York City conservancy worker found nearly 3,000 unpublished color slides of life in the city’s parks during the summer of 1978. An intriguing photo essay from the NY Times. There’s beer drinking, swimming, double dutch, landscape paining — and so smartphones.

🎾 8) A Competitive Team Sport. For Your Dog. [NY Times] — My new favorite thing, probably ever: Flyball, aka relay races for dogs (and their owners). Sample videos here and — best of all — here.

😂 9) Quote of the week:

“I’m sitting at one of the firehouses. No pet raccoons are overdosing here.”

That’s from this story out of KSHB in Kansas City: “Pet raccoon, stoned off of too much weed, brought to Indianapolis firehouse. Confusion ensues.” And yes, there is audio.

🐶 10) Silly video of the week: Sound way up –> “Do you like your new toy?”. My favorite part is the owner’s resigned “alright” at the end. Oh, and it has spawned some memes, natch.

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👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

Newley’s Notes 132: Walmart –> India; SF Scooter-pocalypse; Amazonian Robots

2018 05 03abstract

Edition 132 of my email newsletter went out on Sunday.

If you’d like NN delivered to your inbox, simply enter your email address here. 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. It’s hot here in Delhi.

Like, really hot.

Today the high was over 100 Fahrenheit (39 Celsius), and it could get up to 109 later in the week. Crazy!

Unlike tropical Bangkok and Singapore, where we lived earlier, it’s not humid here in the Indian capital. But man is it starting to feel oven-like. The monsoon rains should start in July, bringing perhaps some relief.

Anyway, on to this week’s NN:

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🛒 1) Just out, a new story with my colleagues Sarah Nassauer and Luciana Magalhães: Walmart Looks to Scale Back in U.K. and Brazil, With an Eye on India [Wall Street Journal] — It begins:

The world’s biggest retailer has concluded it can’t take on the whole world by itself.

Walmart Inc. is in discussions to give up control over hundreds of stores in the U.K. and Brazil, two big markets where it has struggled for years, according to people familiar with the talks. At the same time, it is preparing to pour billions of dollars into an Indian e-commerce startup to crack a promising market that has long eluded the U.S. giant.

Yes, we could be seeing Amazon vs. Walmart – here in India.

🐷 2) Amazing headline of the week: Researchers are keeping pig brains alive outside the body [MIT Technology Review] — Contains the memorable quote, “I think a lot of people are going to start going to slaughterhouses to get heads and figure it out.”

📷 3) I’m Sorry To Report Instagram Is Bad Now [Buzzfeed] — The photo sharing platform’s Stories feature — which allows people to post ephemeral images on the fly — may mean they’re sharing less to the more carefully curated main feed, Katie Notopoulos writes. (I’m neither here nor there on this feature, but my feeling is that we’re about a year away from a more serious Instagram backlash; I think newsfeed-based social media platforms are on the way out.)

🛴 4) Adults Are Terrorizing San Francisco On Tiny Electric Scooters [WSJ] — My colleague Eliot Brown reports in a memorable A-hed that:

Last month, a trio of well-funded startups began flooding the city with hundreds of electric for-rent scooters that can travel up to 15 miles an hour—starting at just $1 a ride. Riders pick them up and leave them most anywhere.

The whimsical transit option has turned sidewalks into breeding grounds of conflict, pitting pedestrians against fans of cheap car-free transportation. In compact San Francisco, where a freewheeling culture often collides with anti-tech sentiment, scooters are joining an array of unconventional transportation from self-driving cars to electric unicycles.

Bonus link, from Curbed: Everything you need to know about the great electric-scooter takeover of San Francisco.

⚙ 5) RIP AirPort Base Stations [iMore] — AirPort Express, Extreme, and Time Capsule are being discontinued, Rene Ritchie writes. It’s unclear why Apple no longer wants to make routers; perhaps sales were never that significant to begin with.

😑 6) Shot:Researchers Hacked Amazon’s Alexa to Spy On Users, Again [ThreatPost] — As I wrote on Twitter, “I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. If you’re concerned about privacy, you’re nuts to have a connected device in your home.”

🤖 7) Chaser: Amazon Has a Top-Secret Plan to Build Home Robots [Bloomberg] — “Prototypes of the robots have advanced cameras and computer vision software and can navigate through homes like a self-driving car,” Mark Gurman and Brad Stone report.

⚽ 8) The Admirable Legacy of Arsène Wenger [New Yorker] — Hua Hsu provides a balanced summation of what Wenger leaves behind, now that he’s announced he’s leaving. “Wenger’s teams have always seemed cultured and sophisticated, hard-wired to entertain and delight,” Hsu writes.

🗞️ 9) A farewell to free journalism [Washington Post] — The excellent Megan McArdle, riffing on the news that Bloomberg might be the latest news organization to erect a paywall, says the days of the free-news-in-exchange-for-viewing-ads business model may well be numbered. Increasingly, if you want quality journalism, you’re just going to have to pay for it.

🤣 10) One heartwarming thing: A 9-Year-Old Girl Enters The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest [YouTube] — This is adorable.

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👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

Newley’s Notes 131: India’s Tech Market; Hong Kong Trip Notes; Exuberant Black Labs

hong kong

Edition 131 of my email newsletter went out on Monday.

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

🇭🇰 We’re back in Delhi after an action-packed four days in Hong Kong last week. I was there for our annual Wall Street Journal D.Live tech conference, where top executives from the region gathered for panel discussions and networking.

Our our main takeaway story from the event sums things up, amid ongoing political tensions between Washington and Beijing: A U.S.-China Trade War Would Reshape Tech Investment.

A snippet from one attendee, mentioned in the story: “‘Chinese companies will be more likely to invest in emerging markets such as India and Southeast Asia,’ said Fan Bao, the chairman and chief executive of investment bank China Renaissance Partners.”

Meanwhile, here’s a wrap-up of the panels, including tidbits from India’s Paytm (mobile payments and e-commerce), Southeast Asia’s Lazada (e-commerce) and Grab (ride-hailing), Google in India and more.

🍴 On a more personal note, a culinary highlight of the trip, in a city where good food is abundant, was a dinner one night at Yardbird. It’ a “modern izakaya” restaurant in Sheung Wan that reminded me in its approach somewhat to David Chang’s Momofuku).

Standout dishes: the liver mousse; meatball yakitori; and “KFC” (Korean fried cauliflower). A ordered expertly, as she always does. Highly recommended.

💎 Oh, and I also saw a very bling-tastic Hong Kong vanity license plate on a blue BMW: “PLAYHARD,” it said.

On to this week’s NN:

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🇮🇳 1) By me, online and in Thursday’s print WSJ: Why Tech Titans Are Betting on India, in 14 Charts [WSJ] — My colleagues MinJung Kim, Rosa de Acosta and I pulled together data showing the opportunities — and very real challenges — of investing in the country’s nascent internet economy.

📵 2) A story I helped my colleague Dan Strumpf with while in HK: American Hustle: ZTE’s Surprise U.S. Success, Now Under Threat [WSJ] — A look at how the Chinese telecoms giant is likely to be hit by the U.S. government blocking sales of American products to the company.

🛍️ 3) Amazon Prime has 100 million-plus Prime memberships [Recode] — Many have speculated about how many members they’ve got; now we know: A lot. As Rani Molla notes, that’s fewer than HBO (142 million) and Netflix (125 million), but more than Spotify (71 million) and Hulu (17 million).

🚢 4) The Secret Language of Ships [Hakai Magazine] — From loan lines to symbols denoting bulbous bows and more, a fascinating look, accompanied by nice photos, of signs and symbols on huge seafaring craft.

🏙️ 5) A story that’s been kicking around inside my head since I read it: Was There a Civilization On Earth Before Humans? [The Atlantic] — “We’re used to imagining extinct civilizations in terms of the sunken statues and subterranean ruins,” Adam Frank writes. “These kinds of artifacts of previous societies are fine if you’re only interested in timescales of a few thousands of years. But once you roll the clock back to tens of millions or hundreds of millions of years, things get more complicated.”

Bonus link: Frank and a colleague’s International Journal of Astrobiology paper, “The Silurian Hypothesis: Would it be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geological record?”

🧠 6) Standing Up at Your Desk Could Make You Smarter [NY Times] — Richard A. Friedman, director of the psychopharmacology clinic at the Weill Cornell Medical College, writes about a new report showing endless hours sitting could result in “possible impairment in learning and memory.” And exercise might not even help.

😮 7) Headline of the week: Experience: I was swallowed by a hippo [The Guardian] — “There was no transition at all, no sense of approaching danger,” says Paul Templer in this riveting account. “It was as if I had suddenly gone blind and deaf.”

🌐 8) Wondrous thing of the week: GlobeGenie — click the “teleport” link to be “transported” to random spots around the globe, then explore the destinations via Google Maps. So cool. Not new, but new to me.

 9) The Woman Who Gave the Macintosh a Smile [New Yorker] — Alexandra Lange on Susan Kare, who designed the Mac’s first icons.

Bonus link: Scans of the very notebook containing her sketches.

🐶 10) Silly dog video of the week: “JUST CUT THE BULLSHIT AND THROW IT STEVE.

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👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

Newley’s Notes 130: Zuckerberg Testimony Takeaways; Apple Leakers; Goats On Bridges

Newleys notes

Edition 130 of my email newsletter went out last week.

If you’d like NN delivered to your inbox, simply enter your email address here. 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) Shot: Facebook hearings didn’t move the needle on regulation. [Axios] — That’s Axios’s big takeaway after Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional testimony. Among the other important themes, Kim Hart and David McCabe write: “Confusion over the digital ads ecosystem,” Zuckerberg’s many mentions of AI applications for fighting scourges like fake news, and the “trust gap” between Facebook and its users.

🕵️ 2) Chaser: I Downloaded the Information That Facebook Has on Me. Yikes. [NY Times] — Opening the file “was like opening Pandora’s box,” Brian X. Chen writes.

₿ 3) A Sidelined Wall Street Legend Bets on Bitcoin [NewYorker.com] — In this tech-related longread of the week, Gary Shteyngart profiles Michael Novogratz.

🍎 4) Headline of the week: In a Leaked Memo, Apple Warns Employees to Stop Leaking Information. [Bloomberg] — A reminder that Apple — and other Silicon Valley firms that wield enormous power — are furious when their staff talk to the press. My favorite line from the memo to staff: “While it may seem flattering to be approached, it’s important to remember that you’re getting played.”

🍜 5) Where to Find Bangkok’s Best Street Food While You Can [NY Times] — My pal Matt Gross spent a week in the Thai capital eating tasty food from roadside vendors. The piece is an illuminating look at at the ever changing nature of cuisine and culture in that great city.

🏍️ 6) The American Chopper meme, explained. [Vox] — Matthew Yglesias sheds some light on something you may well have seen online, and scratched your head at, over the last week or so.

👩‍💻 7) How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You) [WaitButWhy] — Another epic post from Tim Urban, featuring characteristic humor, rudimentary art, and mind-boggling flow charts.

📺 8) That One Night: The Oral History of the Greatest ‘Office’ Episode Ever [Rolling Stone] — Ten years after “The Dinner Party” aired — yep, the one in which Pam, Jim, Andy and others pay a visit to Michael and Jan at their condo — the actors weigh in on what Rolling Stone calls “a master class of dark comedy.”

🐐 9) So 2 Goats Were Stuck On A Beam Under A Bridge… — The feel good story of the week comes from Pennsylvania. The photos are required viewing. The creatures wandered out onto a narrow beam on a bridge 100 feet above the ground. And got stuck. Click through to find out what happened. (Thanks, Arun!)

⏳ 10) Mesmerizing YouTube videos of the week: The Sand Tagious YouTube channel features dozens of sound-rich videos showing the manipulation of modeling sand. Volume all the way up on this one.

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👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

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