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Jack Smith IV

Jack is a reporter covering tech business in NYC, Silicon Alley founders and funding, trends in tech innovation and venture capital investment.
Facebook

You Can Now Use Facebook Through Tor, Still Can’t Actually Be Anonymous

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People are starting to wake up to the fact that using Facebook is like selling your quantified soul to an advertising giant, and Facebook clearly realizes that they might want to adjust their course lest they creep us all out eternally. Unfortunately, everything they do in the name of progress is anything but.

Today, Facebook announced in a post that they’ve built a direct route to using Facebook through Tor, the popular tool for browsing the Internet without being tracked. So this means you can use Facebook anonymously now? Of course not. Read More

Apples and Androids

New Nexus Phones Will Charge 6 Hours in 15 Minutes, Praise Google

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No matter how close our computers become to holistically taking care of our every need, there’s one thing that seems like it will never change: phone batteries suck. Worse yet, according to ~science~, they’re not going to be getting better, especially as our phones get smaller. Considering that, a shorter phone charge time than my iPad mini is the least we can ask for, and by ask, we mean beg.

Google debuted Android Lollypop and their new lineup of hardware at an event that was like Willy Wonka meets the Quantified Self. At their “tasting bar,” which was like their edition of an Apple Genius Bar without the assholes and with candy, they showed off their new Turbo Chargers. Read More

Secrets Secrets Are No Fun

Peak Irony: Whisper CEO Thinks It’s Unfair That Lies Spread So Quickly

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Update: Whisper reached out to remind us and our readers that they continue to deny the Guardian’s accusations, and have set the record straight in Michael Heyward’s “Setting the Record Straight,” which can be read in full here.

Since the Guardian published their tell-all of how Whisper employees allegedly bragged to them about stalking and exploiting their users’ private information, the team behind the anonymous dishing app has had one public relations nightmare after another.

On Tuesday, Whisper’s Chief Irony Executive Officer Michael Heyward took to the stage at a Wall Street Journal conference to bemoan how rapidly lies spread. Read More

Planet Reddit

Reddit Launches Crowdfunding Site That Basically Just Sells T-Shirts

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Everybody is getting in on the crowdfunding game. In a space previously dominated by Kickstarter and Indiegogo, now everyone who wants to up their ecommerce game is starting their own crowdfunding platforms — just this week, Amazon launched their own crowdsourcing page for book ideas so that they can further erode the American literary tradition.

As of this morning, Reddit launched their own crowdfunding site, called Redditmade, into open beta. It’s a natural extension of the Reddit ethos, given that crowdfunding is basically upvoting with money, and Reddit is the poster child for upvote-driven communities — even if that title should really belong to Imgur. Read More

Guns Don't Kill People 3D Does

This 3D Printed Gun Is Inscribed With the Declaration of Independence

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Just about every new technology is married at first to some illicit activity — the Internet and pornography, for example. Or bitcoin and drug dealing. Or Whisper and also drug dealing (only Whisper hasn’t grown out of that one yet). For 3D printing, a technology that has the ability to literally save lives and cure ailments, that darker element is 3D-printed guns.

The newest weapon in the ever-growing arsenal of 3D-printed weaponry is a metal handgun called the Reason. According to 3Dprint.com, this is the second run of guns in Solid Concepts’ 1911 line of 3D-printed firearms, the first of which ran for nearly $12,000 a pop. Read More

hack the vote

Google’s New App Gives You One Less Excuse to Skip Midterm Elections

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Voter turnout is consistently much lower in midterm elections, and it’s not hard to figure out why. Press obsession and controversy always drive people in droves to come out for presidential elections, and there’s always that general feeling that there’s less at stake when you’re just deciding on one or two local politicians — most of us are much less likely to take a day off to cast a ballot for a single senator than for a slew of national representatives.

Get to the Polls is a new tool that robs you of another excuse to skip the midterms by telling you exactly where you need to go to vote. The web tool is simple: You punch in your address and it tells you where you go to vote and who’s going to be on the ballot. It’s much cleaner than Googling “where to vote,” calling hotlines and texting your number to some clunky SMS service for voters. Read More

The Singularity is Nigh

Elon Musk Calls For Regulation of ‘Demonic’ Artificial Intelligence

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Not much scares intrepid entrepreneur Elon Musk — not outer space, exploding rockets, supersonic air travel or disappointing us with unfulfilled promises. Robots, on the other hand? Elon Musk does not like smart robots.

While speaking on stage at MIT’s Centennial Symposium last week, Mr. Musk was asked if he had any thoughts on artificial intelligence. Read More

Ello

This Is Ello’s New Charter and What It Means

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This morning, Ello officially closed a deal for $5.5 million in venture capital funding. Normally, this would be alarming — VC money typically indicates an exit strategy, which for social networks usually means ad-mongering and selling user data to the highest bidder. But Ello’s found a way to permanently head those complaints off at the pass.

Right before they received their investment, Ello wrote up a charter that basically reframed their infamous manifesto, only in more clear, specific language. In it, they say that there are three things they will never do: sell their user’s data, run ads on their site, or sell Ello to anyone who would compel them to do either of those things. The charter says: Read More