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Journalism Newley's Notes

NN201: Newest Page One Story — Podcast Appearance — 1 Billion Surveillance Cams — Bonus Puppy Content

2019 12 04wsjpage1

Sent as an email newsletter December 9, 2019.

👋 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.

Apologies for NN’s absence last week. After an enjoyable Thanksgiving…your faithful correspondent promptly fell ill. But I’m back now!

✍️ I’m proud to say I had another page one story (the second in a week’s time, following my piece on lending apps), this one out on Wednesday. The headline: U.S. Tech Giants Bet Big on India. Now It’s Changing the Rules.

And the first few grafs:

NEW DELHI – After Walmart Inc. sealed a $16 billion deal last year to buy India’s biggest domestic e-commerce startup, it got some bad news. India was changing its e-commerce regulations.

Foreign-owned online retailers would need to modify their supply chains and stop deep discounting. Those rules didn’t apply to Indian companies.

India, the world’s biggest untapped digital market, has suddenly become a much tougher slog for American and other international players.

It’s not just Walmart, but also the likes of Amazon, Google, and Facebook’s WhatsApp that are facing shifting regulatory sands.

Please give it a read.

📹 Meanwhile, my colleague Liza Lin and I had a story out Friday that has captured a lot of attention (it was even shared on Twitter by Marco Rubio. The headline: A World With a Billion Cameras Watching You Is Just Around the Corner. It begins:

As governments and companies invest more in security networks, hundreds of millions more surveillance cameras will be watching the world in 2021, mostly in China, according to a new report.

The report, from industry researcher IHS Markit, to be released Thursday, said the number of cameras used for surveillance would climb above 1 billion by the end of 2021. That would represent an almost 30% increase from the 770 million cameras today. China would continue to account for a little over half the total.

Fast-growing, populous nations such as India, Brazil and Indonesia would also help drive growth in the sector, the report said.

🎧 Other news: I was on the latest edition of the excellent Asia Matters podcast. In an episode called “What China’s ambitions tell us about tech in Asia,” I joined my ex-WSJ colleague Andrew Peaple and Julian Gewirtz of Harvard to share my perspective from India.

You can listen here, or search for “Asia Matters” on Spotify or in your favorite podcast app.

Okay – enough self-promotion. On to this week’s links…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

📈 1) Google Management Shuffle Points to Retreat From Alphabet Experiment [WSJ]

“Sundar Pichai’s appointment this week as chief executive of Google parent Alphabet Inc. effectively shifts the focus back on the company’s advertising profit machine and away from its “moonshots” and other potential new businesses.”

👓 2) Warby Parker Wants to Be the Warby Parker of Contacts [Bloomberg]

“At $440 for a year’s supply, the lenses will be slightly cheaper than many daily contacts but will be sold with what Warby says will be a much improved ordering process.”

⛺ 3) How Hipcamp Became the Airbnb of the Outdoors [New Yorker]

“Alyssa Ravasio, Hipcamp’s founder and C.E.O., is not a purist. For her, camping is a leisure activity, an escape valve, a business opportunity, a wealth-redistribution system, and a political strategy: an avenue to environmental awareness, engagement, even activism.”

🍎 4) Apple worth more than US stock index’s energy sector [Financial Times]

“Apple is now worth more than all large-cap US energy stocks put together.”

🧘 5) Buddhism scholars: Meditation apps are fueling tech addiction, not easing stress [Fast Company]

“…Buddhist apps, rather than curing the anxiety created by our smartphones, just make us more addicted to them and, in the end, even more stressed.”

🏎️ 6) These Guys Just Drove an E63 AMG Across America in a Record 27 Hours 25 Minutes [Road & Track]

“After leaving the Red Ball garage on the east side of Manhattan at 12:57 a.m. on November 10, it took Toman, Tabbutt and Chadwick 27 hours and 25 minutes to reach the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach, in L.A.’s South Bay. In a car.”

💾 7) Version Museum [VersionMuseum]

“A visual history of your favorite technology.”

🗺️ 8) Map: The most common last name in every country [Reddit]

🏈 9) Sad/heartwarming dog-related story of the week: This college football player lost his parents before Senior Day, but he didn’t walk out alone [CBS News]

“A Michigan State University football player whose parents died before Senior Day walked out with his adopted dogs onto the field for the occasion.”

🐶 10) Dog-related video of the week: This is the most Indian photo bomb [Twitter: @Tim_Kimber]

💡 Quote of the week:

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Raymond Chandler

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN200: Elon’s Cybertruck Fail — Dems Get Facebook Guru — Delhi’s Jungle Prince — Puppies on the Prowl

2019 11 26fireworks

Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

Sent as an email newsletter November 24, 2019

👋 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.

Two. Hundred.

Two hundred!

🏆 This is the two hundredth edition of Newley’s notes. I can hardly believe it. The first one went out on February 15, 2015 – four years and nine months ago. As I described it then:

This is a regular email newsletter where I’ll share my stories, blog posts, and various links about technology,
journalism, culture and more.

The formatting has changed slightly, but NN is still pretty much that!

Thanks for reading, friends. I always relish your feedback, whether it’s just your latest news or suggestions on items to feature in upcoming editions.

On to this week’s links…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

⚾ 1) Tesla Unveiled a Bulletproof Pickup. Then the Window Broke [WSJ]

“But when it came to demonstrating the Cybertruck’s toughness, things went ominously off script. Mr. Musk asked his head of design to throw a small metal ball at the vehicle’s side window. The resulting crack of the window surprised the audience, including Mr. Musk. ‘Oh my f-ing god,’ Tesla’s chief said. ‘Maybe that was a little too hard.’”

🤔 Related, speculative Twitter thread: “Have you noticed that Elon Musk is driving development of at least 4 technologies needed for easier living in a failed state?” [@futurepundit]

🧙‍♂️ 2) How a Facebook Employee Helped Trump Win – But Switched Sides for 2020 [WSJ]

“After the 2016 presidential election, Republican Party officials credited Facebook Inc. with helping Donald Trump win the White House. One senior official singled out a then–28-year-old Facebook employee embedded with the Trump campaign, calling him an ‘MVP.’ Now that key player is working for the other side…

👑 3) India-related longread of the week: The Jungle Prince of Delhi [New York Times]

“For 40 years, journalists chronicled the eccentric royal family of Oudh, deposed aristocrats who lived in a ruined palace in the Indian capital. It was a tragic, astonishing story. But was it true?

📹 4) This Japanese hotel room costs $1 a night. The catch? You have to livestream your stay [CNN]

“And while the $1 rooms are clearly a loss leader, Inoue is thinking beyond the cost of a single night’s stay. The YouTube channel has already passed 1,000 subscribers. Once it accumulates more than 4,000 view hours, he will be able to put ads on the channel and monetize it.”

☎️ 5) Dial Up! How the Hmong diaspora uses the world’s most boring technology to make something weird and wonderful [The Verge]

“The shows weren’t the traditional kinds you’d find by tuning to an AM or FM band; they were operated independently from media companies by ordinary Hmong citizens, aired live all-day, every day and were free to call into for as long as you’d like. They used free conference call software to do it, a network that is still in place to this day.”

🌐 6) Firefox’s fight for the future of the web [The Guardian]

“In the early days, we thought all companies and social networks cared about us and cared for us…And increasingly it has become clear that, no, you need someone looking out for you.”

🔱 7) Exclusive: This 7,000-year-old woman was among Sweden’s last hunter-gatherers [National Geographic]

“Her real name was likely last uttered some 7,000 years ago in the fertile marshes and forests of what is now southwest Sweden. But while that name is forgotten to history, a team led by archaeologist and artist Oscar Nilsson was able to breathe life into her remarkable burial with a reconstruction that will be unveiled at Sweden’s Trelleborg Museum on November 17.”

🎧 8) An Oral History of LimeWire: The Little App That Changed the Music Industry Forever [Mel Magazine]

“LimeWire was by no means an overnight success. But with a team of dedicated engineers, the software slowly grew into a file-sharing behemoth.”

🐎 9) A thread of rating every horse emoji: [Jelena Woehr/Horse Girl Autumn on Twitter]

🏃‍♂️ 10) Dog-related video of the week: run for ur lives! [Reddit/aww]

💡 Quote of the week:

“The true price of anything you do is the amount of time you exchange for it.” – Henry David Thoreau

What’s new with you? Hit reply to share your news or just say hi.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN199: Google in the Spotlight; Hong Kong Twitter Tips; Busting ‘Ballers’ on Insta; Playful Puppies

Google

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński 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.

💕 We just celebrated our second anniversary with Ginger! I posted a few recent pics – and a special video showing her patented Ginger Pounce ™️ in action – in this blog post:

Two Years with Our Adopted New Delhi Street Dog, Ginger

🇭🇰 ⚠️ Other news: Unrest in Hong Kong appears to be escalating. The latest today from my colleagues on the ground, out just now:

"Protesters shot a police officer in the leg with an arrow, started a large fire, and blocked a key tunnel, pushing back police firing water cannons and tear gas near a fortified university as tensions flared following one of the most violent weeks in more than five months of antigovernment protests.

Late Sunday, police warned protesters to evacuate the area around Hong Kong Polytechnic University immediately, after protesters vandalized facilities, threw bricks and hurled Molotov cocktails. ‘Police are now planning for the next round of operation,’ the police said in a statement."

🐦 Meanwhile, a friend is passing through Hong Kong on a trip now and I shared with him some journalists I recommend following on Twitter for real-time updates. Very much worth your time, if you’re on the platform and keen to know the latest:

On to this week’s links…

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🔎 1) Shot: An important story by my colleagues based on more than 100 interviews and WSJ testing: How Google Interferes With Its Search Algorithms and Changes Your Results [WSJ]

“Over time, Google has increasingly re-engineered and interfered with search results to a far greater degree than the company and its executives have acknowledged, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found.”

💊 2) …and chaser: Google’s ‘Project Nightingale’ Gathers Personal Health Data on Millions of Americans [WSJ]

“Google is engaged with one of the U.S.’s largest health-care systems on a project to collect and crunch the detailed personal-health information of millions of people across 21 states.”

🇨🇳 3) ‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims [New York Times]

“More than 400 pages of internal Chinese documents provide an unprecedented inside look at the crackdown on ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region.”

🗳️ 4) Why the Impeachment Fight Is Even Scarier Than You Think [Politico Magazine]

“Political scientists have a term for what the United States is witnessing right now. It’s called ‘regime cleavage,’ a division within the population marked by conflict about the foundations of the governing system itself – in the American case, our constitutional democracy. In societies facing a regime cleavage, a growing number of citizens and officials believe that norms, institutions and laws may be ignored, subverted or replaced. ”

🆕 5) Moto Razr 2019 is official: A foldable smartphone with no display crease [Ars Technica]

“One of the most iconic flip phones ever is rebooted as a $1,500 foldable smartphone. ”

🔮 6) The Myth and Magic of Generating New Ideas [New Yorker]

“A mathematician on how to get the mind into motion.”

💸 7) On the Internet, No One Knows You’re Not Rich. Except This Account [New York Times]

“In February, an Instagram account called @BallerBusters cropped up and began wreaking havoc on the flashy Instagram entrepreneur community.”

📦 8) The everything town in the middle of nowhere [Wired]

“How the tiny town of Roundup, Montana, became a hub in Amazon’s supply chain”

🚃 9) I am railing: Sir Rod Stewart reveals his epic model railway city [BBC News]

“In between making music and playing live, Sir Rod has been working on a massive, intricate model of a US city for the past 23 years. He unveiled it as part of an interview with Railway Modeller magazine.”

🐶 10) Dog video of the week: My dad who didn’t want a dog right after my family got a new puppy [Reddit]

💡 Quote of the week:

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” – Gretchen Rubin (Thanks, Anasuya!)

What’s new with you? Hit reply to share your news or just say hi.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

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Newley's Notes

NN 198: Amazing Oregon — Instagram’s War on Likes — ‘Hide the Pain Harold’ Dishes — Dubious Doggos

eastern_oregon

👋 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.

🇺🇸 Anasuya and I are back in Delhi after a brief trip over the Diwali break to visit my dad, step-mom and siblings in…scenic Eastern Oregon!

💯 It was a fantastic trip: chilly fall weather, stunning countryside landscapes, and – best of all – time to catch up with family and friends. I’ve been posting some photos on Instagram – I’m @Newley – with more to come.

📍 Let me tell you: going from Delhi (population 20 million or so) to Pendleton, Oregon (population about 16,000) is nothing if not eye-opening, in a good way!

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

⚖️ 1) Facebook Feared WhatsApp Threat Ahead of 2014 Purchase, Documents Show [WSJ]

“In the months before acquiring WhatsApp in 2014, Facebook Inc. executives described the messaging service and others like it as a threat to the company’s core business, offering potential evidence to regulators in the U.S. and Europe that are pursuing antitrust probes into the social-networking company.”

👍 2) Instagram will test hiding likes in the US as soon as next week [The Verge]

“In tests that have rolled out so far, likes are hidden from public posts in the Feed, on the web, and in profiles. However, you should still be able to see how many likes a post gets — it’s only other people that won’t be able to. ”

💽 3) I Got Access to My Secret Consumer Score. Now You Can Get Yours, Too. [New York Times]

“Little-known companies are amassing your data — like food orders and Airbnb messages — and selling the analysis to clients. Here’s how to get a copy of what they have on you.”

🕵️ 4) Inside the Phone Company Secretly Run By Drug Traffickers [Vice]

“All over the world, in Dutch clubs like the one Kok frequented, or Australian biker hangouts and Mexican drug safe houses, there is an underground trade of custom-engineered phones. These phones typically run software for sending encrypted emails or messages, and use their own server infrastructure for routing communications.”

🏦 5) Viral Tweet About Apple Card Leads to Goldman Sachs Probe [Bloomberg News]

“A series of posts from David Heinemeier Hansson starting Thursday railed against the Apple Card for giving him 20 times the credit limit that his wife got.”

📮 6) In France, Elder Care Comes with the Mail [New Yorker]

“Every day except Sunday, postal workers inform the program’s subscribers, through an app, if their elderly relatives are ‘well’: if they require assistance with groceries, home repairs, outings, or ‘other needs.’”

😑 7) Experience: my face became a meme [The Guardian]

“Nine years ago, I did a reverse image search on a photograph of me and was shocked to discover it had become a meme. People online thought my smile, combined with the look in my eyes, seemed terribly sad. They were calling me ‘Hide the Pain Harold.’

🍷 8) Useful infographic: a taste map of different types of wine [Reddit via WineFolly]

🔭 9) Mindblowing interactive: The Size of Space [Neal.fun/Neal Agarwal]

🐾 10) Dog video of the week: Human what’s happening here. [Reddit/aww]

💡 Quote of the week:

“For writers it is always said that the first twenty years of life contain the whole of experience – the rest is observation.” – Graham Greene

What’s new with you? Hit reply to share your news or just say hi.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley

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NN197: Google Buys Fitbit – WhatsApp Attack – Accent Explainer – Conan’s Presser

2019 11 05abstract

Photo by Jared Verdi 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) Google to Buy Fitbit, Amping Up Wearables Race [WSJ]

“Google reached a deal to buy wearable fitness products company Fitbit Inc. for roughly $2.1 billion, a move that intensifies the battle among technology giants to capture consumers through devices other than smartphones.”

🇮🇳 2) Indian Activists Targeted in Alleged WhatsApp Attack Demand Answers [WSJ]

“‘It makes me wonder whether our very own government was behind it,’ said Degree Prasad Chauhan, an activist who has worked alongside Ms. Gera and was also informed that he was targeted.”

📹 3) Emotion recognition is China’s new surveillance craze [Financial Times]

“The technology, which is being rolled out at airports and subway stations to identify criminal suspects, is the latest development in crime prediction systems in the world’s largest surveillance market, which already relies on facial and gait recognition, eye tracking and crowd analysis.”

🔍 4) U.S. opens national security investigation into TikTok [Reuters]

“The U.S. government has launched a national security review of TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance Technology Co’s $1 billion acquisition of U.S. social media app Musical.ly, according to three people familiar with the matter.”

🏠 5) I Accidentally Uncovered a Nationwide Scam on Airbnb [Vice]

“While searching for the person who grifted me in Chicago, I discovered just how easy it is for users of the short-term rental platform to get exploited.”

🥫 6) The first map of America’s food supply chain is mind-boggling [Fast Company]

“Our map is a comprehensive snapshot of all food flows between counties in the U.S.—grains, fruits and vegetables, animal feed, and processed food items.”

🌊 7) Rising Seas Will Erase More Cities by 2050, New Research Shows [New York Times]

“The new research shows that some 150 million people are now living on land that will be below the high-tide line by midcentury. Southern Vietnam could all but disappear.”

🗣️ 8) Video: Accent Expert Explains How to Tell Accents Apart [YouTube]

“Have you ever had a hard time telling the difference between an Aussie and a Kiwi accent? Dialect coach Erik Singer breaks down the subtle differences between a few commonly confused regional accents. ”

🌌 9) Photo: The Milky Way Reflected in the World’s Largest Mirror [Kottke.org]

“I love this photograph by Peruvian photographer Jheison Huerta. It’s a shot of the Milky Way above the Salar de Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia.”

🎤 10) Conan the hero dog holds a press conference on ‘SNL’ [CNN]

“Conan, the dog who chased down the leader of ISIS, got his own press conference on this week’s episode of ”Saturday Night Live."

💡 Quote of the week:

“No man can ever be secure until he has been forsaken by Fortune.” – Boethius

What’s new with you? Hit reply to share your news or just say hi.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley