NN193: Impeachment Must-Reads Edition; Also: Singing Beagles

2019 09 30washington

Photo by Matt 📸 on Unsplash

👋 Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

📬 Not a subscriber yet? Get it here.

I try to keep NN focused on technology and its intersection with business and culture. (And dog videos. There’s always room for dog videos.)

But this was an unusual week. (Though there’s still a dog video!)

🇺🇸 🚨 Two words: impeachment inquiry.

Read on…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

⚖️ 1) The latest from my WSJ colleagues in Washington: Democrats Set Rapid Timetable for Trump Impeachment Probe [WSJ]

“House Democrats have settled on a narrow impeachment inquiry into President Trump centered on his campaign to enlist Ukraine to hurt a political rival, a rapid strategy that will produce hearings within a few weeks and build to a possible vote by November.”

🐻 2) Analysis from The WSJ’s Peggy Noonan: Democrats Set a Bear Trap [WSJ]

“Everything, the entire outcome, will depend on public opinion.”

And:

“What is immediately striking is that no one who has spoken in defense of the president, including his spokesmen, has said these words: ‘Donald Trump would never do that!’ Or, ‘That would be unlike him!’ That will be the president’s problem as public opinion develops: everyone knows he would do it, everyone knows it is like him. There’s no mystique of goodness to be destroyed.”

🇺🇦 3) Politico’s legal affairs columnist Renato Mariotti: Trump Didn’t Bribe Ukraine. It’s Actually Worse Than That [Politico] (Thanks, Anasuya!)

“What Trump is alleged to have done is not a garden variety crime; it’s worse. It involved misusing $250 million in aid appropriated by Congress for his benefit – the kind of gross misconduct that easily clears the bar of high crimes and misdemeanors set by the Constitution when impeaching a president. Which means the best way to hold Trump accountable for that misconduct isn’t a criminal trial; it’s for Congress to impeach him.”

❓ 4) 14 Answers to the Impeachment Inquiry, and What May Come Next [New York Times]

“Our journalists in Washington responded to readers’ questions about the Ukraine dispute and the impeachment process.”

🌐 5) Brace Yourself for the Internet Impeachment [New York Times]

“As impeachment looms, disinformation experts are bracing for a fresh cyclone of chaos, complete with fast-twitch media manipulation, droves of false and misleading claims, and hyper-polarized audiences fiercely clinging to their side’s version of reality.”

⌛ 6) “Do Us a Favor”: The Forty-eight Hours That Sealed Trump’s Impeachment [New Yorker]

“The most interesting moments to be in Washington are when the conventional wisdom is shifting and not everyone knows it yet, or when an old certainty has been shredded and nothing has emerged to replace it.”

📅 7) A Timeline of the Trump-Ukraine Scandal [Lawfare]

To help sort through the story, we have put together a timeline of how allegations of wrongdoing by the Bidens in Ukraine percolated up through right-wing news circles to the president’s desk, what the president and his lawyer have said and done about it, what the Ukrainian government has said about the situation, and how Congress has reacted.”

➡️ 8) The process of impeachment [Axios]

“Below is a graphic that explains the typical procedures for impeachment and removal from office.”

📰 9) When Trump’s special envoy to Ukraine resigned, a student newspaper beat everyone to the story [Washington Post]

“They were trying to find a local angle to a national story. Instead, journalists at Arizona State University’s student newspaper beat every news outlet in the country to the latest twist in the burgeoning controversy over President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.”

🐕 🎤 10) The perfect video does not exi— [Twitter: @chadloder]

📖 Book I’m Currently Reading

The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age,” by James Crabtree. It’s excellent. Stat of the week: “In 2010 Forbes ranked two Indians…among the five richest men in the world. Four years later India’s billionaire total crossed the one hundred mark…”

💡 Quote of the week:

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

NN192: Google’s Mobile Money Momentum; WeWork Founder in Spotlight; Saharan Cellphone Jams; Puppy + Cookie Monster

2019 09 25india money

Photo by Ishant Mishra on Unsplash

👋 Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

📬 Not a subscriber yet? Get it here.

🔌 My latest story, out Thursday: Cash May Be King in India, but Google Is Prince of Mobile Payments.

TLDR: India is the world’s biggest untapped market for digital payments. Google – known for its search business, not mobile money – is showing surprising momentum.

The story begins:

"The leading player in the battle for mobile payments in India isn’t either of China’s pioneers, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. or Tencent Holdings Ltd. It isn’t Apple Inc., Visa Inc. or even PayPal Holdings Inc. It’s Google.

The Alphabet Inc. unit has for years tried to diversify its revenues beyond advertising by pushing into new fields like cloud computing and hardware. While its profits remain healthy, it needs new ways to make money as the specter of regulation looms at home and around the globe. Its booming new business in the world’s largest untapped digital market could be the engine of expansion that it has been looking for."

🎙️ I discussed the story on Friday’s edition of our “Your Money Briefing” podcast. You can listen or download it via Apple Podcasts and other platforms here.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

⚠️ 1) There were two important and engaging tech stories from my WSJ colleagues this week. The first, by Dana Mattioli: Amazon Changed Search Algorithm in Ways That Boost Its Own Products [WSJ]

“Amazon.com Inc. has adjusted its product-search system to more prominently feature listings that are more profitable for the company, said people who worked on the project—a move, contested internally, that could favor Amazon’s own brands.”

👀 2) And the second, by Eliot Brown: How Adam Neumann’s Over-the-Top Style Built WeWork. ‘This Is Not the Way Everybody Behaves.’ [WSJ]

“Mr. Neumann muses about the implausible: becoming leader of the world, living forever, amassing more than $1 trillion in wealth. Partying has long been a feature of his work life, heavy on the tequila.”

📵 3) Parenting’s New Frontier: What Happens When Your 11-Year-Old Says No to a Smartphone? [Vogue]

“As I learned on his birthday, my son had decided three things about smartphones. 1. They’re infantilizing, a set of digital apron strings meant to attach you to your mother. (He was onto something there.) 2. They compromise a boy’s resourcefulness because kids come to rely on the GPS instead of learning Scout skills. 3. They make people trivial.”

⌛ 4) Can We Slow Down Time in the Age of TikTok? [New York Times]

“There is no Soylent version of thought and reflection – creativity is unpredictable, and it simply takes time.”

📸 5) An iPhone 11 Pro Review For Dogs (And Their Owners) [Buzzfeed News]

I take more pictures of my dogs than I do of my kids. I feel no guilt in saying this. My dogs are often a lot more entertaining than my kids, who spend a lot of time doing homework and don’t have an irrational fear of Amazon boxes, large bags, or the wind. ”

🎧 6) The 100 best albums of the 21st century [The Guardian]

“We polled 45 music writers to rank the definitive LPs of the 21st century so far.”

🎬 7) The signature film of every major city [YardBarker]

“Even if you’re a casual movie fan, it’s impossible to visit a major city and not conjure the memory of a favorite movie that was shot there. ”

🌍 8) Music from Saharan Cellphones [Sahel Sounds/Bandcamp]

“Music from Saharan cellphones is a compilation of music collected from memory cards of cellular phones in the Saharan desert.”

🕹️ 9) USA PIXELART!! A map of the U.S. done in video game style, by Pixeldance. [Deviant Art]

🐾 10) The joy of this dog when receiving his new prosthesis and being able to walk is priceless. Simply wonderful 😍 [Twitter: @akkitwts]

🍪 BONUS CANINE CONTENT: @MeCookieMonster and a puppy – it just doesn’t get any cuter than this! [Twitter: @sesamestreet]

📖 Book I’m Currently Reading

The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age,” by James Crabtree. Very much enjoying it.

💡 Quote of the week:

“The only interesting ideas are heresies” – Susan Sontag

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

An Excellent, Dog Friendly New Delhi Outing: Sunder Nursery

sunder nursery dog friendly

New Delhi can be very dog-unfriendly.

It’s hard to walk canines here, and most restaurants and cafes don’t allow furry companions.

So we were excited today to discover that Sunder Nursery, a recently opened park that friends have raved about, lets you bring in pooches – provided you clean up after them, and keep them leashed, and off the grass (humans must also stick to most pathways).

IMG 5750

Located near Humayun’s Tomb in central Delhi, it opened earlier this year after being renovated. It houses a 16th century tomb, various gardens and lawns, and is meticulously maintained. You can find it on Google Maps here.

An added bonus: There’s a farmers’ market every Sunday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. You can buy coffee and juices, snacks, produce and more. There are tables to sit down and eat, as well.

The complex is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. There’s a small admission charge for entry.

You can find more info on the Sunder Nursery Wikipedia page, and on TripAdvisor. Scroll down for pics — and a photo of the rules posted outside the entrance stipulating that canines are allowed in.

Highly recommended by us – and Ginger.

IMG 5735
Sunder Nursery

IMG 5739
Just inside the entrance

IMG 5742
The place is surprisingly un-crowded

IMG 5748
Acres of green

IMG 5756
The farmers market

IMG 5753
The farmers market

IMG 5754
Produce

IMG 5757
Stare-down with some local dogs

IMG 5738
See point number nine.

Cash May Be King in India, but Google Is Prince of Mobile Payments

2019 09 19Google Pay

That’s the headline on my latest story, out today.

It begins:

NEW DELHI–The leading player in the battle for mobile payments in India isn’t either of China’s pioneers, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. or Tencent Holdings Ltd. It isn’t Apple Inc., Visa Inc. or even PayPal Holdings Inc. It’s Google.

The Alphabet Inc. unit has for years tried to diversify its revenues beyond advertising by pushing into new fields like cloud computing and hardware. While its profits remain healthy, it needs new ways to make money as the specter of regulation looms at home and around the globe. Its booming new business in the world’s largest untapped digital market could be the engine of expansion that it has been looking for.

In India today, the company has one of its fastest-growing hits ever with Google Pay, a two-year-old app that millions of consumers are using to spend and transfer tens of billions of dollars.

Resembling a chat app and available in local languages, Google Pay was the most downloaded financial technology app world-wide last year, according to SensorTower, a research and marketing firm for the app industry.

Click through to read the rest.

NN191: Apple vs. Netflix; What’s Up With WeWork?; Ascendant Analog; Motocross Dogs

2019 09 17apples
Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

Not a subscriber yet? Get it here.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🆕 1) News from Apple’s event on Tuesday: Apple Undercuts Rivals With Streaming Price [The Wall Street Journal]

My colleague Tripp Mickle has the big picture:

“Apple Inc. revealed a trio of upgraded iPhones, including a lower-priced model, and detailed its plans to enter the increasingly competitive video-streaming market with an offering that is cheaper than rivals.”

To wit:

“Apple set monthly prices for its TV+ video-streaming service and Arcade videogame-streaming service at $4.99, largely undercutting rivals. TV+ comes free for a year with the purchase of a new iPhone, iPad or Mac, a perk that could get more people to buy a new device or upgrade.”

That’s cheaper than Netflix’s $12.99 standard offering and lower than the $6.99 Disney’s new service will cost.

Meanwhile Wilson Rothman breaks down the new iPhones and other offerings:

“The company delivered upgrades to last year’s three iPhone models, plus some minor tweaks to the Apple Watch and iPad lines and an update on its coming subscription services.”

🔨 2) California Bill Makes App-Based Companies Treat Workers as Employees [New York Times]

“California legislators approved a landmark bill on Tuesday that requires companies like Uber and Lyft to treat contract workers as employees, a move that could reshape the gig economy and that adds fuel to a yearslong debate over whether the nature of work has become too insecure.”

⚖️ 3) Google under antitrust investigation by 50 attorneys general [The Verge]

“On Monday, 50 attorneys general from US states and territories signed onto an antitrust investigation into Google, placing even more pressure on the major tech firm that is already facing intense scrutiny over its market dominance from the government. ”

💰 4) Runaway Story or Meltdown in Motion? The Unraveling of the WeWork IPO [Musings on Markets/Aswath Damodaran]

“In a year full of high-profile IPOs, WeWork takes center stage as it moves towards its offering date, offering a fascinating insight into corporate narratives, how and why they acquire credibility (and value) and how quickly they can lose them, if markets lose faith. ”

📸 5) I Was Caroline Calloway [New York/The Cut]

“Seven years after I met the infamous Instagram star, I’m ready to tell my side of the story.”

🎵 6) Shot: Vinyl set to outsell CDs for first time since 1986 [NME]

“With vinyl revenue growing by 12% in the second half of 2018 and first half of this year, and CD rates barely changing at all, it could see vinyl revenue overtake that of CDs by the end of the year. If it does happen, it’ll be the first time that vinyl has generated more revenue than CDs since 1986.”

📚 7) Chaser: Why book reading is looking good [Irish Times]

“In the US, 2011 was the first year in which more ebooks were sold than hardbacks; by 2016, though, hardbacks were outstripping ebooks once again.”

🔪 8) 50 States of True Crime [New York Times]

“Every state has an infamous crime – and a book about it.”

🦝 9) Wildlife photographer of the year – highly commended images [The Guardian]

“The Natural History Museum has released a selection of highly commended photographs from a range of categories.”

Come for the hippos, stay for the raccoon.

🏍️ 10) Stunt pooch 🐶💫🔥 [Twitter: @SpicyWengz]

📖 Book I’m Currently Reading

Yesterday I finished “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” Patricia Highsmith’s famed psychological thriller from 1955. I loved it. Fast-paced and beautifully written. And just a couple weeks back I read “Googled: The End of the World as We Know It,” a book on the search titan by The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta. Highly recommended for understanding the company’s history.

Next up, at long last: “The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age,” by my pal James Crabtree (whose newsletter you should subscribe to here).

Reminder: I keep track of all the books I’m reading on my website here.

💡 Quote of the week:

“The best way out is always through.” – Robert Frost

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

Newley’s Notes 190: Facebook Dating; New iPhones; Vaping Risks; Puppy Pool Party

2019 09 09cargo

Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

Not a subscriber yet? Get it here.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

➡️ 1) MIT Media Lab Director Resigns Over Epstein Donations [WSJ]

“The director of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology resigned following the publication of a news report detailing his ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein and Mr. Epstein’s donations to the highly esteemed institution.”

➕ Related, recently released New Yorker longread by Ronan Farrow: How an Élite University Research Center Concealed Its Relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.

💘 2) Facebook’s dating service finally hooks up with Instagram [Axios]

“Instagram’s role in Facebook’s dating service will be limited for now to a ‘secret crush’ feature and letting users link select photos from the app to their dating profiles (a feature rivals like Tinder and Bumble already offer).”

🎹 3) Apple Music launches a public beta on the web [Tech Crunch]

“The web version is now one of several ways Apple is making its music service more accessible across platforms.”

📱 4) Shot: Everything to expect from Apple’s iPhone event [The Verge]

“Apple is expected to announce three new iPhone models at its event on Tuesday: the iPhone 11 Pro, the iPhone 11 Pro Max, and the iPhone 11, replacing the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, respectively. ”

📵 5) Chaser: A Radical Guide to Spending Less Time on Your Phone [Medium]

“It’s there: in your pocket. On the desk. In the cup holder of the car. You want to use it…”

🚬 6) People Urged to Stop Vaping Following More Deaths, Hundreds of Illnesses [WSJ]

“Health authorities are urging people to stop using electronic cigarettes and other vaping products while they investigate three more deaths from a mysterious illness that federal officials say may have affected over 450 users of the devices around the U.S.”

🏠 7) Why Can’t California Solve Its Housing Crisis? [Rolling Stone]

“It’s the epicenter of the tech industry and the wealthiest, most progressive state in the union, but homelessness is surging – and no one can agree on how to fix it”

💯 8) We’re Not In Whoville Anymore: Welcome to Goose Creek Tower [YouTube]

“When he’s not working as one of Alaska’s top trial attorneys, this DIY architect is building his ’poem to the sky.’​”

📻 9) Radio Garden [Radio Garden]

“Explore live radio by rotating the globe.”

🐕 10) Lots of doggos frolicking in a pool [Reddit]

💡 Quote of the week:

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” – Harry S. Truman

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

Newley’s Notes 189: Our Amazon-Gojek Scoop; Spying via LinkedIn; Mr. Bubz Anniversary

2019 09 02clouds

The latest edition of my email newsletter has gone out to subscribers. It’s pasted in below. To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox, sign up 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.

🔌 🍨 My latest scoop, with my colleagues Julie Steinberg and Jon Emont, is about Amazon and Gojek in Indonesia. The story, out Wednesday, begins:

Amazon.com Inc. Indonesian ride-hailing startup Gojek Group have held preliminary talks on a partnership, according to people familiar with the matter, which could expand the online retail giant’s services into a populous new market.

The companies have discussed an arrangement by which Amazon would make a sizable investment in Gojek and tap into the Jakarta-based company’s delivery infrastructure in Indonesia, one of the people said.

Click thorough to read the rest. Bloomberg and Reuters, among others, followed with pieces of their own.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🇨🇳 1) How China Uses LinkedIn to Recruit Spies Abroad [New York Times]

“‘Instead of dispatching spies to the U.S. to recruit a single target, it’s more efficient to sit behind a computer in China and send out friend requests to thousands of targets using fake profiles.’”

🚓 2) You can now find out if Amazon’s Ring has partnered with your local police [CNET]

“Ring has released an official map detailing every police department that’s partnered with it, showing how widely and rapidly it’s been cozying up to law enforcement. ”

📱 3) Google unearths 2-year iPhone spyware attack [Financial Times]

“Apple’s prized reputation for protecting its customers’ security and privacy has taken another hit, with the discovery that iPhone owners were susceptible to more than a dozen software vulnerabilities for at least two years.”

🌯 4) Kiwibots win fans at UC Berkeley as they deliver fast food at slow speeds [SF Chronicle]

“The Kiwibots do not figure out their own routes. Instead, people in Colombia, the home country of Chavez and his two co-founders, plot ‘waypoints’ for the bots to follow, sending them instructions every five to 10 seconds on where to go.”

🍎 5) Apple Opens Door to iPhone Repairs by More Outside Vendors [WSJ]

“Apple Inc. is launching a new product-repair program in the U.S. in which independent businesses can repair Apple products using the same parts and tools as the company’s authorized service providers.”

🆕 And: “Separately, Apple said Thursday it plans to host a Sept. 10 event at the Steve Jobs Theater on its corporate campus, where it is widely expected to unveil products including three new iPhone models.

🌐 6) Startups’ new frontier: Optimizing your friendships [Axios]

“Now ‘personal CRM,’ which applies the same techniques to personal relationships, has become one of the hottest app categories in Silicon Valley…”

🧬 7) Search For ‘Gay Genes’ Comes Up Short In Large New Study [NPR]

“A huge new study finds a faint hint of genetic variation that may be linked to same-sex behavior. The study broadly reinforces the observation that both biology and a person’s environment influence sexuality, but the results reveal very little about that biology.”

🎼 8) The Ultimate List of Work and Study Music [LifeHacker]

“Here are some of my greatest sources of background music for work, studying, and creativity.”

🌌 9) The Complete Galactic Plane: Up and Down [Astronomy Picture of the Day]

“Is it possible to capture the entire plane of our galaxy in a single image? Yes, but not in one exposure – and it took some planning to do it in two.”

🐺 10) 1 year later and Mr Bubz is still the greatest video to ever hit the internet [Twitter: @elvishpresley]

💡 Quote of the week:

“I don’t care what anybody says about me as long as it isn’t true.” – Truman Capote

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

Amazon Holds Talks With Indonesian Ride-Hailing Startup Gojek

2019 08 29amazon gojek

That’s the headline on my newest story, out yesterday, a scoop with my colleagues Julie Steinberg and Jon Emont.

It begins:

Amazon.com Inc. and Indonesian ride-hailing startup Gojek Group have held preliminary talks on a partnership, according to people familiar with the matter, which could expand the online retail giant’s services into a populous new market.

The companies have discussed an arrangement by which Amazon would make a sizable investment in Gojek and tap into the Jakarta-based company’s delivery infrastructure in Indonesia, one of the people said.

An Amazon spokeswoman said the company doesn’t comment on “rumors and speculation.” A spokesman for Gojek didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

There is no guarantee a deal will result.

Click through to read the rest.

The story was followed by Bloomberg and Reuters.