Technologizer

By Harry McCracken | What Harry McCracken is writing--and reading--on the web

On the urban legend that Marissa Mayer is a cupcake freak

05.24.16 | 43 minutes ago<p>In Part I of our ongoing coverage of <i>Variety</i>'s big story on Marissa Mayer and Yahoo, Ainsley O'Connell said that the famously fashion-conscious Mayer would never wear the suit she's depicted in on the magazine's cover. In Part II, our colleague Cale Weissman reported on …

Marissa Mayer

Is Donald Trump’s Hair a $60,000 Weave? A Gawker Investigation

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has generated an unceasing torrent of press attention that some estimate to be worth roughly $2 …

Donald Trump

A Brief History Of Twitter's 140-Character Limit

Whether you love it, hate it, or are simply inspired to riff on it, Twitter's maximum character count matters. And seems to be here to stay.<p>When Twitter was born in 2006, it was designed to be used via wireless carriers' text-messaging services. They were (and are) limited to 160 characters. So …

Biz Stone

Twitter's New Tweaks Make The 140-Character Limit Less Limiting

At long last, Twitter is eliminating a bunch of things that got in the way of expressing yourself in the space it supposedly gave you.<p>In a move that people have suggested for years—and that Bloomberg's Sarah Frier got wind of last week—Twitter is about to open up some elbow room in its …

Jack Dorsey

How Russia's New Facial Recognition App Could End Anonymity

FindFace's technology may one day allow anyone to identify you with their phone.<p>Imagine you’re sitting in a coffee shop. Out of the corner of your eye, you see a stranger pointing his phone in your direction. The next day, you get an email from someone claiming to have seen you at the coffee shop. …

Anonymity

The Dangerous Acceptance of Donald Trump

“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, / As, to be hated, needs but to be seen,” the poet Alexander Pope wrote, in lines that were once, as they said back in the day, imprinted on the mind of every schoolboy. Pope continued, “Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, / we first endure, then pity, …

Donald Trump

Amazon stopped giving refunds when an item's price drops after you purchase it

Except for TVs.<p>The company that prides itself on customer centricity may have just alienated some customers.<p>Amazon has been known to give refunds if the price of an item drops after a purchase and the customer notifies customer service. But it appears that Amazon stopped providing these refunds …

Amazon

Turns Out The History Of The Virtual Boy Is More Interesting Than The Console Itself

While the dismal commercial performance of the Wii U has made headlines recently, it's a long way from being Nintendo's most famous failure - that …

Machine Bias: There’s Software Used Across the Country to Predict Future Criminals. And it’s Biased Against Blacks.

On a spring afternoon in 2014, Brisha Borden was running late to pick up her god-sister from school when she spotted an unlocked kid’s blue Huffy …

Wenner Media to Launch Gaming Site ‘Glixel’

Wenner Media is betting that video game culture is here to stay with the launch of Glixel, a site that will cover the world of gaming. When Glixel …

Advertising

The beauty of old, cheap Soviet watches

This is an old “Wostok”, made in the Soviet Union back in — probably — the 80s. I got it off Ebay for about $25, which has become one of my new …

Russia

Morley Safer, Mainstay of ‘60 Minutes,’ Is Dead at 84

Morley Safer, a CBS television correspondent who brought the horrors of the Vietnam War into the living rooms of America in the 1960s and was a mainstay of the network’s newsmagazine “60 Minutes” for almost five decades, died on Thursday at his home in Manhattan. He was 84.<p>His wife, Jane Safer, …

Journalism

At Apple's New San Francisco Store, The Indoors Feels Like Outdoors

The big new flagship store isn't just located in Union Square—it feels like it's part of it.<p>Long before I visited the new "global flagship" Apple Store in San Francisco's Union Square, I was reasonably sure of some of the elements it would feature. Such as long tables displaying Apple devices, …

San Francisco Bay Area

Amazon's Echo Created The Smart Speaker Category. Google's Home Could Own It

Google can bring a powerful set of data tools to the home assistant category that Amazon will have a hard time matching.<p>Someday soon we’ll sit Amazon’s Echo and Google Home side by side on the kitchen counter and do the Pepsi Challenge to see which smart speaker is smarter and most helpful.<p>We’ll …

Amazon

How Google Search Got Past "10 Blue Links"

Turns out that the company with the best shot at figuring out what comes after Google may be . . . Google.<p>For years, tech companies launching new search tools would confidently announce that they'd come up with a new way to do search that was superior to providing a page of results with "10 blue …

Search Engines

'Batman v Superman' Fallout: Warner Bros. Shakes Up Executive Roles

The fallout from <i>Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice</i> continues to ripple through Warner Bros.<p>The Burbank-based studio is making changes to the way it …

Comics

The biggest plot hole in Captain America: Civil War happened because Marvel loves China

<i>Captain America: Civil War</i> is in theaters, raking in all the money that a worldwide Marvel summer movie event is supposed to. Although it’s …

Product Placement

Complaints Over Airport Security Delays Surged 10-Fold in March

Frustrated travelers are turning to the complaint box in growing numbers as long lines and delays getting through airport security result in missed …

Airports

Amazon Wants Alexa to Take Control of Your Smart Home

Amazon.com Inc., having conquered online retail and cloud computing, is reaching ever deeper into the workings of everyday life by throwing its weight behind voice-controlled devices.<p>In the past year, Amazon has provided ways to dim the bedroom lights, summon Uber rides, play song lists, check bank …

Amazon

Google I/O 2016: Everything (We Think) Will Be Announced

In its first I/O since the Alphabet reorganization, Google will trot out its latest magic in front of thousands of developers.<p>It’s I/O time again, when thousands of developers flock to California to see and learn about Google's latest product advancements and dev tools.<p>These conferences are hugely …

Google

Inside the Final Days of LendingClub CEO Renaud Laplanche

On April 22, LendingClub Corp. founder and Chief Executive Renaud Laplanche accepted a “disruptive innovation” award in New York with other winners such as “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and scientist Richard Leakey.<p>Mr. Laplanche, 45 years old, who built the largest online lender in the U.S. …

Loans

The Mind of Donald Trump

In 2006, Donald Trump made plans to purchase the Menie Estate, near Aberdeen, Scotland, aiming to convert the dunes and grassland into a luxury golf resort. He and the estate’s owner, Tom Griffin, sat down to discuss the transaction at the Cock & Bull restaurant. Griffin recalls that Trump was a …

Psychology

Everything You Need To Know About AI Assistants, From Siri To Ozlo

An army of nonhuman helpers are here—or on their way—to make life easier. Here’s how they compare.<p>In the latest attempt to fulfill sci-fi movie fantasies, tech firms have been lining up to provide you with a virtual assistant. From well-known voice-powered AIs such as Apple’s Siri to upstarts like …

Artificial Intelligence

The (Not So Secret) History Of Sexist Political Campaign Buttons

Sexism in campaign buttons isn't new, but with Hillary Clinton, we're seeing an entirely new kind of attack.<p>In 2013, campaign buttons comparing Hillary Clinton to fried chicken hit the concession stands at the California Republican Party Convention. "KFC Hillary Special," they announced. "2 fat …

Political History

Everything you love will die, especially in tech

Never get too attached to an app.<p>A little over a year ago, Microsoft bought beloved calendar app Sunrise. For the past 14 months or so, things have been more or less business as usual... at least for customers. But this week, the other shoe finally dropped: August 31st will be the last day that …

Google Calendar

When Websites Won’t Take No for an Answer

Harry Brignull, a user-experience consultant in Britain who helps websites and apps develop consumer-friendly features, has a professional bone to pick with sites that seem to maneuver people into signing up for services they might not actually want.<p>He even has a name for the exploitative …

SXSW

What Happens When Your Tech Predictions Tank

A New York Times software columnist revisits his prognostications from the 1980s.<p>In the 1980s, Erik Sandberg-Diment was a household name in Silicon Valley.<p>He had what was at the time a radical gig at <i>The New York Times</i>, or any other mainstream publication for that matter. He was a software and …

Big Ideas

Uber Wants To Save Us From Racism — Backchannel

We’re far enough into the buildout of the app economy to have data showing people dragging their same old stubborn biases right into the app-verse. …

Backchannel

Antitrust in the Age of Amazon

Pens matter. Ink does not.<p>In the age of Amazon, evaluating antitrust concerns is sometimes twisting government officials into knots. That was made clear this week, when the Federal Trade Commission blocked the merger of Office Depot and Staples, in part by drawing elaborate distinctions between who …

Amazon