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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.
controversy

Amazon Stops Selling Racy Leggings After Backlash From the Hindu Community

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When you run the world’s largest online marketplace with millions upon millions of items, tasteless, even brashly offensive merchandise is bound to make its way onto the site. For Amazon, this means an endless game of whack-a-mole.

The latest series of problematic apparel is a collection of leggings and hot pants covered with depictions of Hindu deities sold through a third party dealer called Yizzam. Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, lodged a complaint with Amazon that 11 pairs of Yizzam’s leggings with images of Hindu gods like Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu and Muruga were blatantly disrespectful of Hindu practices. Read More

The Education of NY Tech

General Assembly’s New Credentials Will Sort the True Talent From the Sub-Par Code Monkeys

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Hiring developers can be a nightmare. Besides a general scarcity of talent, most of the traditional indicators of skill have become virtually meaningless — simply having a B.S. in Computer Science doesn’t tell a CTO whether someone can actually code worth a damn.

General Assembly (GA), the leading code academy based in New York, is establishing a credential program from scratch that CEO Jake Schwartz hopes will set a new standard for hiring coders. In order to bring more legitimacy to the new credentials than your standard technical school faire, GA established a “consortium” of partner companies from all corners of tech, including heavyweights like GE, Paypal, Coinbase, Newscred, Medium, Glassbreakers and Relate IQ. Read More

Fun with Data

The Floodwatch Plug-In Exposes Exactly How Advertisers Are Profiling You

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Ever gone looking for a certain pair of shoes — just once even — and had some banner ad follow you to every site you visit for a month trying to sell you those loafers? Or maybe you’ve accidentally stumbled into someone’s Pinterest board for five seconds and been pushed for a week to shop for chapel-length wedding veils and event florists? That’s because advertisers are using everything they can learn about you to sell to who they think you are based on your browsing habits.

A new browser extension called Floodwatch scrubs up all of those ads that you’re shown throughout the day and builds a profile of how you’re being advertised to. The project is a collaboration between a data firm called The Office for Creative Research (OCR) and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ashkan Soltani. Read More