Tag Archives: newleys_notes

In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: Google’s Internet Bikes; James Paan; Bradley to Swansea; Trump Fallout

Newleys notes

Edition 68 of my email newsletter went out to subscribers yesterday. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox before I post them here, sign up at this link. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief — and few people unsubscribe.


Hi friends, thanks for reading Newley’s Notes.

Story of the week, and story of next week – and weeks to come, I’m sure: Donald Trump.

Here’s the very NSFW audio, and a piece on how it surfaced. Here’s a list of the Republican leaders who have jumped ship, and when they did so. Will he quit? Trump tells the The WSJ “I never, ever give up.". And finally, from a WSJ colleague, the fallout:

A divided Republican Party descended into turmoil, as a startling chorus of GOP candidates and officials repudiated their own presidential candidate and scrambled to find personal paths to political survival just a month before Election Day.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Saturday told party officials to redirect funds away from nominee Donald Trump to down-ballot candidates, according to an official informed of the decision. In practical terms, the party will be working to mobilize voters who support GOP House and Senate candidates regardless of their position on the presidential race.

What I wrote in The WSJ

James Bond Actor Pierce Brosnan Stars in Ad for Indian Pan Masala

Sometimes you have to hunt hard for stories. Sometimes they find you:

Pierce Brosnan is the new face of Pan Bahar, an Indian brand of “paan masala,” a concoction of areca nut, a stimulant, and spices often chewed along with tobacco or betel leaf by millions in South Asians.

The debonair actor, a former James Bond, is appearing as a pitchman for the mixture, which carries a government-mandated warning declaring that it is “injurious to health.” The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies the areca nut as carcinogenic to humans.

A front-page ad in the Times of India on Friday featured a photo of a bearded Mr. Brosnan in a tuxedo holding a container of Pan Bahar above the slogan “Class never goes out of style.”

How Google’s Bicycle-Riding Internet Tutors Are Getting Rural Indian Women Online

For this story, I traveled to a village outside Jaipur, India. Click through for photos. The story begins:

The internet fails to reach millions of women in the small towns and villages of India, so Google is trying to deliver it to them — by bicycle.

The Alphabet Inc. unit has built an army of thousands of female trainers and sent them to the far corners of the Subcontinent on two-wheelers, hoping to give rural woman their first taste of the web. Each bike has a box full of connected smartphones and tablets for women to try and train on.

The idea is to give people who have never even sent an email a better understanding of how being connected could improve their lives. Families that can afford to be online often chose not to be because they do not see the value. Meanwhile women are sometimes blocked by their families from new technology.

5 items that are worth your time this week:

1) Email newsletter of the week: Sunday New York Times Digest

I’ve mentioned many times how much I love email newsletters, like the one summing up stories in every New Yorker issue.

Here’s a similar one – it’s not new, but it’s new to me – that provides a round-up of what’s in every edition of the Sunday New York Times.

2) “In a wealthy Virginia suburb, their cars are their beds.”

The Washington Post profiles people in Fairfax County whose only homes are their cars.

3) Huge news for U.S. soccer: Bob Bradley, former men’s national team coach, is the new manager of English Premier League club Swansea. Sports Illustrated has the story. Here’s more from The Guardian about what Bradley had to say, not long after joining Swansea, about current U.S. coach Jürgen Klinsmann.

4) “The Opposite of a Muse.”

That’s the title of a New Yorker story about Isabelle Mège, a woman in Paris who for 16 years has been gotten well-known photographers to take photos of her.

5) Here’s a fun, informative, two-minute video on the benefits of meditation.

Have a great week, and let me know what’s new in your world.

@Newley

In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: LinkedIn Lite for India; India Telco Merger; Inflatbale Irish Pubs, Slankets for Hipsters

Edition 65 of my email newsletter went out to subscribers on Monday. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox a few days before I post them here, sign up at this link. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief — and few people unsubscribe.


Hi friends,

Thanks for reading Newley’s Notes.

What I wrote in The WSJ

LinkedIn to Launch Stripped-Down Mobile Website for Indians With Poor Connections:

LinkedIn Corp. is set to launch its first-ever pared-down mobile website so users in India can access its platform through patchy web connections.

The Mountain View, Calif. professional social network, which Microsoft Corp. in June acquired for $26.2 billion, is eager to expand in the country.

LinkedIn says it already has more than 37 million members in India, making it the firm’s second-largest market after the U.S., where it has more than 130 million users.

The new mobile website, called LinkedIn Lite, should launch in the coming weeks. It will load four times faster than other websites and use less data, LinkedIn says.

Reliance Communications Merges Wireless Unit With Aircel:

Indian cellular service company Reliance Communications Ltd. said Wednesday it is combining its wireless business with smaller rival Aircel Ltd., closing the distance between it and bigger players in an increasingly competitive sector.

Under the terms of the agreement, which the two companies in a joint statement called the “largest-ever consolidation in the Indian telecom sector,” Reliance Communications and Malaysia’s Maxis Communications Bhd., Aircel’s majority owner, will each own half of the new company.

What I wrote at Newley.com

Image of the Day: Amazingly Hardcore Hacker Stock Photo – I am very much enjoying perusing local newspapers here in India every day.

5 items that are worth your time this week:

1) Here’s an epic, 31-page review of iOS 10.

iNerds out there will know that iOS 10, Apple’s newest mobile operating system, is now available for download. And at his excellent Mac blog Macstories, Federico Vitici provides a detailed round-up of what’s new.

2) Earth’s warming temperature, visualized over thousands of years.

This comes from the fantastic xkcd webcomic, and starts at 20,000 BC, so you can get a sense of how rapidly temps have been rising since we started burning fossil fuels.

3) “Abandoned places: the worlds we’ve left behind.”

Beautiful photos from a book by Kieron Connolly showing once-busy, now-neglected locations.

4) Behold The Napsack, a Slanket for hipsters

While the Slanket was merely a blanket with sleeves, the $135 (!) Napsack has zippers, chest pockets for your gadgets, and even a hole for headphones. The description says it all:

Perfect for summer trips, couch surfing, music festivals, jumping into after snowboarding, surfing or any other activity that brings your core temperature down

5) Forget bouncy castles. For your next party, pick up an inflatable Irish pub for your backyard.

I think it goes without saying that the provider of this service, the Paddy Waggon Pub, is Boston-based. The pubs can also be purchased.

Have a great week, and let me know what’s new in your world.

@Newley

P.S. If someone forwarded you this email, you can subscribe here.

In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: iPhone 7 in India; Trendy Ayahuasca; U.S. Fortuneteller in Cambodia

Edition 64 of my email newsletter went out to subscribers on Saturday. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox a few days before I post them here, sign up at this link. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief — and few people unsubscribe.


Hi friends,

Thanks for reading Newley’s Notes. From the new iPhone to Pokemon Go to women on Facebook in India, it’s a been a busy week.

What I wrote in The WSJ

Why Will Apple’s New iPhone 7 Cost So Much More in India?

Apple Inc.’s new iPhone 7 smartphones go on sale Friday in the U.S. at a starting price of $649. They won’t be available in India until next month, and when they do land their base price will be close to $250 more expensive.

India Petition Seeks to Ban Pokémon Go for Insulting Hindus With Virtual Eggs:

An attorney has filed a petition to ban the smartphone game sensation “Pokémon Go” in India for placing virtual eggs in houses of worship and allegedly offending some people’s religious sensibilities.

In the hit game–which uses location-tracking and augmented-reality technology– players visit landmarks called PokéStops, where they can collect goodies including virtual eggs, which hatch into the eponymous Pokémon or pocket monsters. While the game hasn’t officially been launched yet in India, Pokémon Go enthusiasts have already found ways to play.

On Indian Facebook, Men Outnumber Women Three-to-One

As inexpensive smartphones allow millions of Indians online for the first time, internet newbies are rushing to sign up for Facebook at an unprecedented rate. Unfortunately, new data shows, an overwhelming majority of the Indians on the network are men

A report this week from U.K. consultancy We Are Social found just 24% of India’s 153 million Facebook users are women — meaning there are more than three men on the platform for every woman.

That figure, one of the lowest in the world, illustrates that even as technology starts to trickle down to more Indians, women are not accessing some online tools at the same rate as their male counterparts.

At a Glance: The Billion-Dollar Battle Between Tata and NTT DoCoMo

The battle over a potential $1.17 billion payment from Tata Sons Ltd., the holding company of Indian conglomerate Tata Group, to Japan’s NTT DoCoMo Inc. has its roots in an ill-fated deal that was agreed in 2009.

Singapore’s Garena Raises Fresh Funds for Expansion

Southeast Asia-focused online entertainment and e-commerce startup Garena Interactive Holding Ltd. has raised additional funding from some high-profile investors as it seeks to expand across the populous region.

Reliance’s Ambani Lays Out Plan for Low-Cost Mobile Data in India

Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, on Thursday outlined his plans to shake up the country’s telecommunications industry through his new cellular company, which aims to lure customers away from the competition and bring millions of Indians online for the first time by offering data at low rates.

The chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd. told the company’s annual general meeting that its new wireless phone unit, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., will undercut its competitors by offering data for 50 rupees (75 cents) per gigabyte and monthly plans as low as 149 rupees, or $2.22. The first group of users signing up for the new platform, which launches Monday, will be offered free service until next year, said Mr. Ambani.

What I wrote at Newley.com

Book Notes — The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller

My notes from a surprisingly optimistic and hope-infused novel…that just happens to be about what happens when a mysterious plague wipes out all but a few people on earth. ¯(ツ)

Delhi Snapshot: ‘Selfie Garlic Bread’

The title of the post says it all.

5 items that are worth your time this week:

1) Apple’s iPhone 7 launch, condensed into a two-minute video.

Just the highlights. Or the lowlights, if like many you found their newest smartphone underwhelming. (Personally, I’m pretty stoked about the new camera. And not too fussed about the new audio jack.)

2) Speaking of Apple, here’s how to fix a major design flaw in the Apple TV remote

Thanks, A!

3) “The Drug of Choice for the Age of Kale”

That’s the title of this week’s #longread, a New Yorker’s story by Airel Levy examining the growing popularity in the U.S. of Ayahuasca, a powerful hallucinogenic drug found in the Amazon.

4) How to choose the fastest supermarket line.

There are some good tips here. For example, it makes sense to get in line behind someone with a full cart rather than several people with smaller amounts of items because the time taken between customers tends to be longer than you’d imagine.

5) American Soothsayer Rakes In Small Fortune

Interesting story about an American woman who has set up shop at a market in Cambodia, providing tarot-card readings in Khmer. My favorite part is the end of this passage:

“I didn’t have a job, I needed something to do and I wanted to help people through my spiritual work. I was getting messages to do this, so I just followed my gut,” said Eileen, who speaks conversational Khmer and asked to be identified only by her first name so that her mother in the U.S. would not find out about her new trade.

Have a great week, and let me know what’s new in your world.

@Newley

P.S. If someone forwarded you this email, you can subscribe here.

In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: Ford in India; a ‘City’ in the Desert; Experts’ Book Picks; Invasive Capybaras

Edition 63 of my email newsletter went out to subscribers on Wednesday. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox a few days before I post them here, sign up at this link. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief — and few people unsubscribe!


Hi friends,

Thanks for reading Newley’s Notes.

What I wrote in The WSJ

India Payment Firm Paytm Raises $300 Million:

NEW DELHI—Indian online payment and e-commerce firm Paytm is raising $300 million from a group of investors led by Taiwanese chip-design company MediaTek Inc., according to a person familiar with the situation.

The investment values the Noida, India-based company at $5 billion, up from an earlier valuation of about $2.5 billion, the person said. MediaTek’s contribution amounted to $60 million, according to the person.

In a country where users are increasingly coming online via low-cost smartphones, Paytm provides a popular mobile app that can be used to pay for services like rides from Uber Technologies Inc. and utility bill payments.

Ford Leads $24 Million Funding in India Car-Rental Startup Zoomcar:

NEW DELHI—A Ford Motor Co. subsidiary is among the investors contributing $24 million to a vehicle-rental startup in India, the latest development in the race to use technology in new ways to target consumers in the world’s second-most-populous country.

Bangalore-based Zoomcar allows users to rent its vehicles for as little as an hour at a time, a model similar to the U.S.’s Zipcar Inc., which Avis Budget Group acquired for about $500 million in 2013.

India Wins Its First Olympic Medal in Rio as Wrestler Sakshi Malik Gets Bronze:

Indian wrestler Sakshi Malik won bronze in women’s wrestling at the Olympic Games in Rio on Wednesday, bringing home her country’s first medal of the competition — and she did it in dramatic fashion.

Twenty three-year-old Malik defeated Kyrgyzstan’s Aisuluu Tynybekova in the 58-kilogram freestyle in a thrilling bout, making a comeback in the final seconds to win 8–5. At one point early in the match she trailed 5 points to none.

India’s Ola Lays Off Workers Amid Growing Competition From Uber:

NEW DELHI—ANI Technologies Pvt.’s ride-hailing service Ola is laying off hundreds of workers at a fellow Indian operator it bought last year, a sign of possible consolidation amid increased competition in the country from Uber Technologies Inc.

Bangalore-based Ola last year acquired Serendipity Infolab Pvt.’s TaxiForSure for $200 million in cash and stock, saying the two companies would continue to operate separately. Ola said at the time that it would retain TaxiForSure’s 1,700 employees.

What I wrote at Newley.com

The Capybaras are Coming. Be Very Afraid. Forewarned is forearmed. How awesome/creepy are these rodents?

5 items that are worth your time this week:

1) This Century-Old Map Details the Path to Musical Success

A map from 1913 shows musicians how to become successful: by climbing a mountain toward one’s objectives, and keeping clear of pitfalls like flattery, laziness and “weak morals.” Also: avoid bohemianism.

2) LongRead of the week: “A Monument to Outlast Humanity,” by Dana Goodyear, in The New Yorker.

The story is abuot artist Michael Heizer, who has been building an enormous work, called “City,” in the Nevada desert since 1972. It is not open to the public, but will be viewable in a few years:

After decades of torment—“When’s it gonna be done, Mike?”—the piece is nearly complete. Michael Govan, the director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, says that the site, which lacma will help to administer, will admit its first visitors from the general public in 2020. Govan, who has been raising money for “City” for twenty years, sees it as one of our civilization’s greatest achievements. “Mike started the idea that you can go out in this landscape and make work that is sublime,” he says. “There is nothing more powerful, romantic, and American than these gestures that in Mike’s case have taken his whole life.”

Click through for a few fascinating images.

3) FiveBooks.com is a fantastic repository of book recommendations.

It’s not a new site, but it’s new to me. The concept is simple: experts recommend five of their favorite books that help explain their areas of expertise. It’s that simple.

Check out WSJ columnist Jason Zweig on the best personal finance books, the Center For American Progress’s Van Jones on change in America, academic and author Ian Buruma on books about the east and west; author William Dalrymple on the best books about ancient and modern India, and much, much more. A truly fantastic resource.

4) “A Critic’s Lonely Quest: Revealing the Whole Truth About Mother Teresa.”

An interesting look, in the New York Times, at Dr. Aroup Chatterjee, who has devoted years to exposing the dark side of Mother Teresa’s work.

5) “The 21st Century’s 100 Greatest Films.”

To be sure, we’re only talking a decade and a half here, but this BBC roundup has some gems.

Have a great week, and let me know what’s new in your world.

@Newley

P.S. If someone forwarded you this email, you can subscribe here.

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In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: India’s Hike; Alibaba’s Expansion; Ugly McMansions, Gorgeous Goats

The latest edition of my email newsletter went out to subscribers on Wednesday. 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,

Thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter in which I share my WSJ stories, posts from my blog, and various interesting links.

Anasuya and I are continuing to settle in nicely here in New Delhi. Between new jobs and seeing friends and family and getting the house set up, it’s been a whirlwind.

Not lost amid all of that, though, is this milestone: Seven years ago this week we adopted Ashley, our beloved Bangkok street dog.

(Ashley, by the way, is also loving India, especially our small yard, where she enjoys sunning herself and watching the birds and squirrels in the trees above.)

Here’s a blog post I wrote on the fifth anniversary of our adopting her.

What I wrote in The WSJ

India’s WhatsApp Rival Hike Valued at $1.4 Billion

The story begins:

Indian messaging app Hike Ltd. has raised $175 million in a fundraising round led by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Taiwanese electronics assembler Foxconn Technology Group.

The new investment values the homegrown app, a rival to Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp, at about $1.4 billion, Kavin Bharti Mittal, Hike’s founder and chief executive, said on Tuesday.

Alibaba Thinks Outside the China Box

Click through for a video. You may recognize the narrator’s voice.

The story begins:

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., its business maturing at home in China, is seeking out growth in India and Southeast Asia.

In India, the internet company in recent months has snapped up executives with experience in the country’s fast-growing, highly competitive e-commerce sector, a sign it could be planning an online-shopping push there. In Southeast Asia, Alibaba paid $1 billion in April for a controlling stake in Singapore-based e-commerce startup Lazada Group, its biggest overseas acquisition to date.

Apple Is Still Mulling Over Its Plans for India Stores, Government Says

The story begins:

India may have paved the way for Apple Inc. to open stores in the country, but a senior government official says the company hasn’t submitted any detailed plans yet — likely because of local-sourcing rules.

India’s government in June loosened foreign-direct investment restrictions in several sectors.

The government said foreign-owned single-brand retailers like Apple, which is keen to tap potential growth in the huge market, would have a three-year grace period from local-sourcing requirements. Such rules require firms buy at least 30% of their manufacturing materials from Indian vendors.

But since June, “we haven’t heard” anything about Apple’s plans, said a senior government official, declining to be identified.

Facebook Makes New Wi-Fi Push into India After Free Basics

The story begins:

Facebook Inc.’s controversial plan to get Indians online may have failed earlier this year, but the company says it is making a new push to expand internet access in the country, a key market for future user growth.

In the new effort, which Facebook is calling Express Wifi, the Menlo Park, Calif. company is working with internet service providers, or ISPs, and carriers to provide wireless hot spots in rural parts of the country, such as mom-and-pop shops, where users can get cheap access to the internet.

5 items that are worth your time this week:

1) “Superblocks: how Barcelona is taking city streets back from cars”

Interesting story in Vox, with images, illustrating how planners have used “superblocks” (or superilles) to make the city more pedestrian friendly.

2) “This Basically Anonymous Fund Manager Oversees $800 Billion”

Bloomberg profiles Gerry O’Reilly, who’s in charge of the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund.

“Index funds are often called ‘passive investments,’” Ben Steverman writes, “yet there’s nothing particularly passive about what O’Reilly and his Vanguard colleagues do all day.”

3) “McMansions 101: What Makes a McMansion Bad Architecture?”

An explanation, in architectural terms, of why McMansions are ugly.

4) “Baton Rouge 2016 Flood: Man saves woman and dog from sinking car.”

Remarkable video. But pretty heavy. Do you need a chaser? Here you go…

5) “These may be the most magnificent portraits of goats and sheep you’ll ever see”

Lovely.

Have a great week, and let me know what’s new in your world.

@Newley

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P.P.S. If someone forwarded you this email, you can subscribe here.

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Some news: WE MOVED TO INDIA!

2016 08 08 indiatweet

More on this in future posts, but…A and I moved to India! I’m penning this post from New Delhi, our new home after two and a half years in Singapore.

Above is a Tweet I posted sharing the news. Below is the Newley Notes missive in which I explain a bit more.

I’m very excited about this new adventure. Expect more posts on India, tech, and life in the world’s second-most-populous nation.


Hi friends,

Thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly (most of the time) newsletter in which I share my WSJ stories, posts from my blog, and various interesting links.

This is a special edition: it’s the first one I’m penning from New Delhi, our new home!

Anasuya and I moved here from Singapore about a week and a half ago — hence the weeks-long Newley’s Notes absence — and are settling in well so far.

I’ll be working out of the WSJ bureau here in the capital of the world’s second-most-populous country. I’m so, so excited to be in this vibrant, dynamic nation, and to be able to focus more on tech developments here. And having family and friends nearby is a huge bonus.

It’s an exciting time for India, a country of 1.3 billion where people are increasingly coming online for the first time, many on low-cost smartphones.

How is technology changing their lives? Is it improving them? What are some of the world’s biggest tech firms — Facebook, Google, Amazon, Uber — doing to win here? How are local startups innovating? These are questions I hope to answer in my stories.

On to this week’s edition.

What I wrote in The WSJ

Grab, an Uber Rival in Southeast Asia, Is Set to Raise $1 Billion

The story, which I wrote with two exceptional colleagues in Hong Kong, begins:

As Uber Technologies Inc. turns away from China, a competitor is raising funds to cement its dominance in Southeast Asia and fend off the tech titan based in San Francisco.

Uber’s decision to sell its China business to Didi Chuxing Technology Co. is giving Singapore-based Grab renewed confidence it can take on Uber and win on its home turf. Grab says it has captured much of Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing market with more than half of private-car rides in the region.

Valued at $1.6 billion in its previous funding round, Grab is planning to raise about $1 billion in fresh capital from investors including Didi and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp.,a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday. The first chunk of that fundraising, a $600 million dose, is expected to be completed this week, the person said.

How Uber Plans to Avoid Getting Didi-ed in India

The story begins:

Uber is upping its game in India following its retreat from China.

The San Francisco ride-hailing company earlier this week gave up its costly battle for users in China, selling its business there to homegrown rival Didi Chuxing Technology Co…

What I wrote at Newley.com

Three additions to my “book notes” series of posts, in which I share notes from my readings.

Book Notes — ‘Never Eat Alone,’ by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz

Brief recap: A popular book about the power of networking. I didn’t find it revelatory, but appreciate the central theme, which is common sense: that you should help friends just to help them, not because you expect something in return. In other words, as the author writes, networking can be a huge advantage – but don’t keep score.

Book Notes — ‘Deep Work,’ by Cal Newport

Brief recap: Newport, an assistant professor of computer science at Georgetown University, argues that knowledge workers must devote themselves entirely to the most sophisticated and valuable contributions they can make – they must concentrate on what he calls “deep work.” Common sense, yes, but the book provides some compelling insights and plenty of practical tips. Highly recommended.

Book Notes — ‘Den of Thieves,’ by James B. Stewart

Brief recap: An absolute classic. Pulitzer-prize winning Jim Stewart tells, though in-depth reporting and riveting storytelling, the story of the insider trading scandals that rocked Wall Street in the 1980s.

5 items that are worth your time this week:

1) Nice Cargo Shorts! You’re Sleeping on the Sofa

A lighthearted WSJ story out of New York that blew up online — we’re talking 83,000 Facebook shares and 600 comments. The nut graf:

Relationships around the country are being tested by cargo shorts, loosely cut shorts with large pockets sewn onto the sides. Men who love them say they’re comfortable and practical for summer. Detractors​ say they’ve been out of style for years, deriding them as bulky, uncool and just flat-out ugly.

2) After you’ve read that, check out this hilarious Vice piece, in which the author unpacks the WSJ story.

3) When LBJ Ordered Pants From the White House

Speaking of clothing, this is not new, but new to me. Visit the link and scroll down to the hear the remarkble audio of a phone call Lyndon Johnson made to the Haggar clothing company in Dallas in 1964. Audio is possibly NSFW, given graphic anatomical descriptions — not to mention audible burping.

4) America Seen From Abroad: Arrogant, Nice, Tech-Savvy, Free

I love this. The AP asked people all over the world for their impressions of Americans.

One of my favorites:

— “America? Uhh, that’s a huge country. Burgers, the American dream, choppers, … Elvis, cowboys. We dream of America and they dream about Europe. But one thing for sure, they cannot make beer.” — Knut Braaten, 43, handyman, Oslo, Norway.

5) App of the week: Prisma, which turns “every photo into art.” It’s like Instagram, but it makes your pics way cooler.

Have a great week, and let me know what’s new in your world.

@Newley

P.S. If someone forwarded you this email, you can subscribe here.

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In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: Grab v. Uber; Why England Lose; Illiberalism on the Rise; Amazonian Book Nerds; Awesome Fireworks Packaging

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,

Thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly* newsletter in which I share my WSJ stories, posts from my blog, and various interesting links.

*Okay, make that mostly weekly! I have been traveling and generally busy in recent weeks, and thus have missed sending these missives out on occasion. But I shall endeavor to do better.

What I wrote in The Wall Street Journal

Uber Rival Grab Gains Ground in Southeast Asia – a look at how Singapore-based Grab, an Uber competitor operating in six Southeast Asian countries, is doing in its battle with the U.S. behemoth. The story begins:

SINGAPORE—Uber Technologies Inc. is locked in major tussles with local rivals in China and India, but a homegrown upstart is also grabbing an advantage in the race for another Asia prize.

A startup called Grab is winning ride-hailing turf in Southeast Asia—home to 600 million people, almost double the population of the U.S. The startup serves more cities in the region than Uber and, according to mobile-app analytics firm App Annie, is beating the world’s most valuable startup in the race for users here.

Click through for a graphic and photos. There’s also a video online here; you may recognize the narrator’s voice.

Indian Internet Startups Face Money Crunch – The story begins:

Investors’ enthusiasm for Indian startups continues to wane.

Private-equity and venture-capital funds raised by Internet companies in the world’s second-most-populous country fell 56% to $528 million in the three months ended June 30.

That is a sharp drop from the $1.19 billion raised in the previous quarter and $1.3 billion a year earlier, according to a research report from Jefferies India.

What I wrote at Newley.com

Why You Shouldn’t be Surprised When England Lose – I posted this item a few hours before they kicked off against Iceland…and promptly lost. From the post:

Here’s why you shouldn’t be surprised that the England national team aren’t more successful than they are.

Are you ready?

Here it is:

They’re actually not a global footballing power.

(Between the loss and Brexit, “This has been the worst week to be English since the Second World War,” as one Briton told The WSJ.)

5 items that are worth your time this week:

1) Speaking of which, Englishman John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, reflects on Brexit:

The great sweep of economic history is a series of “rises” and “falls”—from the fall of Rome to the rise of China. The intriguing episodes that spark the “what ifs” of history come lower down—when a medium-size power suddenly reverses an inevitable-seeming trajectory. That’s what Britain did under Margaret Thatcher and her successors: a crumbling country unexpectedly overturning years of genteel decline to become Europe’s most cosmopolitan liberal entrepôt. My fear is this revival ended on June 23, 2016.

2) Meanwhile, Sohrab Ahmari’s recent “Illiberalism: The Worldwide Crisis” – written, as it happens, before Brexit even occurred – is worth a read. It begins:

According to the bland conventional wisdom, Americans frustrated by the failure of the establishment to address issues like immigration and economic inequality have turned to an unlikely pair of political outsiders, a New York developer-turned-reality-TV-star and a Vermont socialist, to set things right. This account is true as far as it goes, but it is also hopelessly parochial and inadequate to the scope of the changes afoot. Trumpism (and Bernie Sanders-ism) are but the American symptoms of a global phenomenon: the astonishing rise of illiberal movements of the far right and far left.

3) Amazon is said to be run by super-smart analytic types who live and die by spreadsheets. But here’s a look at a decidedly right-brained group within the tech titan: the Amazon Book Reviewers team.

4) “The History of Urbanization, 3700 BC – 2000 AD” is a video charting, in just over three minutes, the rise of global cities through the millennia. Very cool.

5) This amazing collection of photos of Fourth of July fireworks packaging makes me miss America so much.

Have a great week!

@Newley

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In This Weeks’s Newley’s Notes: Stand-Up Desk Benefits; ‘Brexit’ Explainer; ‘Blade Runner’ Typography; the Business of Guns

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Hi friends,

Thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter in which I share my WSJ stories, posts from my blog, and various interesting links.

What I wrote in The Wall Street Journal

India Relaxes Foreign Direct Investment Rules. This is big news for Apple, which may now be able to open its own stores in the country.

What I wrote at Newley.com

IPhone 6 Touchscreen Problems? You’re Not Alone – I’ve encountered a beguiling problem. It is driving me nuts. Have you experienced something like this? Lemme know.

5 items that are worth your time this week:

1) Stand-up desks are supposed to be healthier than ones at which you sit. But a recent study shows another benefit: greater productivity. That’s probably because standing makes workers more active and thus more comfortable, so they concentrate better.

2) Everything you always wanted to know about “Brexit” – the potential exit of Britain from the EU, set for a vote on Thurs. – but were afraid to ask:

– The New York Times has an explainer.

– The argument for leaving, as articulated by The Telegraph, is:

Once we have left and are no longer subject to the free movement of labour, popular worries about immigration will become a matter for the British government and for Parliament. This does not mean there will be no immigration; quite the contrary. People will be welcome to come and work in the country and visitors and tourists will flock here as they always have.

But we will control our own borders; we will let in who we want to come and contribute to our economy. And if the country does not like the way the Government is conducting its immigration policy then it can turf it out. As things stand, there is nothing that can be done.

And the argument for remaining, by The Economist:

The liberal Leavers are peddling an illusion. On contact with the reality of Brexit, their plans will fall apart. If Britain leaves the EU, it is likely to end up poorer, less open and less innovative. Far from reclaiming its global outlook, it will become less influential and more parochial. And without Britain, all of Europe would be worse off.

Start with the economy. Even those voting Leave accept that there will be short-term damage… More important, Britain is unlikely to thrive in the longer run either. Almost half of its exports go to Europe. Access to the single market is vital for the City and to attract foreign direct investment. Yet to maintain that access, Britain will have to observe EU regulations, contribute to the budget and accept the free movement of people—the very things that Leave says it must avoid. To pretend otherwise is to mislead.

(Thanks to Jake for the last two links.)

3) The New York Times has a disturbing look at thousands of people suffering psychotic symptoms who have banded together online, claiming they are victims of a vast conspiracy. Isn’t the internet awesome?

4) This painstakingly researched piece on the typography in “Blade Runner,” one of my favorite movies, is exceptional.

There is even an examination of newspaper fonts in the movie. Headline: “FARMING THE OCEANS, THE MOON AND ANTARCTICA.” Dek: “World Wide Computer Linkup Planned.”

5) Post-Orlando #longread of the week: “Making a Killing: The business and politics of selling guns,” by The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos.

Have a great week!

@Newley

P.S. If someone forwarded you this email, you can subscribe here.

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In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: Tech Stories from HK; Asian Godfathers; Ode to Trustafarians; Aging Goalkeepers; King Tut’s Meteoritic Dagger

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Hi friends,

Thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter where I share my WSJ stories, posts from my blog, and various interesting links.

What I wrote in The Wall Street Journal

Singapore’s Grab App Can Now Hail Lyft Cars in U.S.:

The latest step in a global ride-sharing alliance between rivals of Uber Technologies Inc. went into effect Thursday, allowing users of a popular Southeast Asia-focused transportation app to begin making car bookings via Lyft Inc. in the U.S.

I also spent Thurs. and Fri. in Hong Kong attending The WSJ’s Converge tech conference. In addition to posing for creepy pics with humanoid robots, I wrote some stories. To wit:

Microsoft Not Building Driverless Car But Wants to Help With Tech:

Microsoft Corp. isn’t building its own self-driving car, but is bullish on helping others with related technology, a senior executive said.

Southeast Asia Startup Scene Is Sunny, Investors Say:

Venture capitalists and investors attending the Converge technology conference in Hong Kong on Friday expressed optimism about the future of startups in Southeast Asia, despite significant challenges.

What I wrote at Newley.com

Book Notes — ‘Asian Godfathers,’ by Joe Studwell – Probably the best book I’ve ever read on Southeast Asia. Highly recommended.

5 items that are worth your time this week:

1) An interesting thread on Quora sure to appeal to productivity nerdz: “What is the most powerful tip you’ve gained from reading a self-help book?”

2) “Why I Quit My Job to Travel the World”, by Joe Veix at The New Yorker, is an excellent send-up of “digital nomad” (or, perhaps more fittingly, “trustifarian”) culture. It opens:

On paper, my life seemed great. I had a dream job, a swanky apartment, and a loving girlfriend. But something was off. I couldn’t bear being chained to my desk in a stuffy office any longer. So I decided to quit and travel the world, bringing only my passport, a small backpack, and my enormous trust fund.

I also like:

As a citizen of the world, I rarely get lonely. Everywhere I go, I meet such diverse groups of people. In hostels, I’ve shared beers with friendly British and Australian twenty-somethings. In hotels, I’ve sipped wine with friendly British and Australian forty-somethings. We all became lifelong friends, despite the language barriers.

And:

Of course, this “no reservations” life style isn’t for everyone. In many ways, it’s harder than the old corporate grind. Many stores don’t accept my Centurion card. Sometimes it’s difficult to get even one bar of cell service, which makes Instagramming more gelato a real struggle.

3) The Onion has a nice take on the passing of The Greatest: “Dozens Of Social Issues Thankful They Never Had To Go Toe-To-Toe With Muhammad Ali.”

4) Video of the week: Mexcian club Pachuca’s 43-year-old (yes, 43-year-old!) goalkeeper, Oscar “El Conejo” Perez, pulls off a triple save against Monterrey in his side’s the Mexican league title-winning game. Did I mention he’s 43?

5) So, King Tut’s dagger was made out of a meteorite. Here’s the original paper.

Reader feedback

Remember Flyover Country, the app I mentioned last week that provides geographic details on the land you’re flying over? Reader Mechum P. writes to point out that it does, indeed, work outside the U.S. “Flyover Country works everywhere! but it can be slow to download your routes,” he says. Thanks for the feedback.

Have a great week!

@Newley

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