Technologizer

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

Bridgestone's Airless Tires Will Soon Let Cyclists Abandon Their Bike Pumps

First revealed way back in 2011, Bridgestone’s airless tires use a series of rigid plastic resin spokes to help a wheel keep its shape as it rolls, …

Transportation

Google’s Dueling Neural Networks Spar to Get Smarter, No Humans Required

The day Richard Feynman died, the blackboard in his classroom read: “What I cannot create, I do not understand.”<p>When Ian Goodfellow explains the …

How Google Book Search Got Lost

B<b>ooks can do anything.</b> As Franz Kafka once said, “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.”<p>It <i>was</i> Kafka, wasn’t it? Google confirms this. …

Google

How A Former iPod Chief Built The World’s Most Advanced First-Aid Kit

Built for places where doctors are far away, 19Labs’s Gale “clinic-in-a-box” contains sensors, interactive guides, and on-demand video access to health care pros.<p>The Gale high-tech first-aid kit was born on a terrifying night in Mexico.<p>Its creator, Ram Fish, who once led the iPod group at Apple, …

Health Care

Inside Twitter’s Obsessive Quest To Ditch The Egg

An icon that came to represent Twitter’s dark side is giving way to one designed not to turn anyone off, without looking like something you’d want to stick with.<p>Once upon a time, the designers responsible for Twitter’s look and feel reveled in the service’s association with birds. For instance, …

Design

Legal threats and disgruntled clients: inside the ‘Uber for private jets’

Tim Martz made his fortune in broadcast radio, but even as a wealthy man, the price of chartering a private jet always stung a bit. So when Martz joined JetSmarter in February 2015, the service seemed like a steal. In return for a $7,000 annual membership fee, plus a $2,000 initiation charge, he …

Uber

Meet The Man Whose Site Mark Zuckerberg Reads Every Day

For the last decade, Gabe Rivera has been quietly shaping the tech industry’s story for its top executives, investors, and journalists. But is the editor behind Silicon Valley’s Drudge Report ready to reckon with his influence?<p>Gabe Rivera was halfway through his lamb gyro when it became clear he’d …

Journalism

Fury Road: Did Uber Steal the Driverless Future From Google? - Bloomberg

Travis Kalanick, the chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc., says he needs leadership help. He recently dispatched former U.S. Attorney …

Sinclair ZX Vega+ funding campaign halted by Indiegogo

<b>Crowdfunding platform Indiegogo intervened to stop a handheld retro computer console campaign from acquiring further funding, the BBC has learned.</b><p>The Spectrum ZX Vega+, backed by Sir Clive Sinclair, had achieved its original crowdfunding target.<p>But then Indiegogo halted further fundraising because …

Inside the Changes That Could Save Twitter’s Business—and Reshape Civil Discourse

What do you see when you open Twitter? Until a year ago, the answer was straightforward: With minor exceptions, you’d see every tweet from every …

Social Marketing

Alphabet lawsuit against Uber cements end of uneasy marriage

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - When Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] was raising venture capital in 2013, it was one of the hottest deals around – and no one was more eager to write a check than Bill Maris and David Krane of Google's venture capital arm.<p>Not everyone at Google Ventures, since renamed GV, …

The Untold Story of Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell’s Visionary 1980s Tech Incubator

After bringing us Pong and Chuck E. Cheese’s, the legendary entrepreneur built a startup factory that tackled 21st-century ideas with 1980s tech.<p>In the annals of Silicon Valley history, Nolan Bushnell’s name conjures up both brilliant success and spectacular failure. His two landmark achievements …

Innovation

YouTube’s Monster: PewDiePie and His Populist Revolt

Felix Kjellberg, known to his fans as PewDiePie, is by far YouTube’s biggest star. His videos, a mix of video-game narration, humorous rants and commentary, have cumulatively been viewed billions of times, and more than 53 million people subscribe to his channel. He has been called “the king of …

A Controversial Minister Makes Peace With Techies in the Battle for San Francisco’s Soul

SCROLL DOWN<p>The Battle for the Soul of San Francisco<p>Healing the Tension<p>Between Wealthy<p>Tech Workers and Their<p>Impoverished Neighbors<p>Healing the Tension …

San Francisco

BuzzFeed vs. Trump

BuzzFeed News pushes further than its competitors. Can it handle the consequences?<p>It happened fast. Just like everything else in Trumpland.<p>On January 10th, CNN published an explosive story: a dossier alleging President-elect Donald Trump had been embarrassingly compromised by the Russian government …

Journalism

Inside the 20-Year Quest to Build Computers That Play Poker - Bloomberg

Four of the best professional poker players in the world spent most of January holed up at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, losing. They’d show up …

The making of Apple’s HAL

I used to devote hours to feverishly writing up my annual Super Bowl ad review. And then, one day, the thrill was gone.Between the lack of surprise …

Steve Jobs

The MIT Dropouts Who Created Ms. Pac-Man: A 35th-Anniversary Oral History

The amazing, little-known backstory of the most popular arcade game in U.S. history.<p>Thirty-five years after its release, Ms. Pac-Man is one of the most successful and enduring video games of all time. After debuting publicly on February 3, 1982, in its original form as an arcade game from Bally …

Game Development

Google, in Post-Obama Era, Aggressively Woos Republicans

WASHINGTON — Few companies have been as intimately tied to the Democratic Party in recent years as Google. So now that Donald J. Trump is president, the giant company, in Silicon Valley parlance, is having to pivot.<p>The shift was evident a day after Congress began its new session this month. That …

Twitter, Still Exploring…

A rant about Twitter’s new ‘Explore’ tab<p>Look, it’s hard to roll out changes to any product, let alone one with hundreds of millions of users. And …

Inside Instagram’s reinvention

How Kevin Systrom got over minimalism and snapped into building mode.<p>Toward the tail end of 2015, Kevin Systrom, the CEO of Instagram, came to a realization: The photo-sharing app he had founded five years earlier was straying too far from its roots.<p>Instagram was growing, yes, and finally …

Instagram

When Their Shifts End, Uber Drivers Set Up Camp in Parking Lots Across the U.S. - Bloomberg

<b>In the 1970s, the Safeway grocery store in San Francisco’s gleaming Marina neighborhood, known as the Social Safeway, was a cornerstone of the</b> …

With Nintendo’s Switch Game Console, New Ideas Create New Experiences

Even in the era of Super Mario Run, Nintendo is serious about pursuing its own vision and building its own hardware. Here’s why.<p>Link, the elfin hero of the Legend of Zelda series, has been rescuing the princess for over 30 years and 17 games. With the latest installment, <i>Breath of the Wild</i>, he …

Nintendo

This Team Runs Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Page - Bloomberg

When Facebook went public five years ago, the world had a pretty vivid picture of who Mark Zuckerberg was. As much as anything, that image was of …

LinkedIn’s Major Makeover Is Designed To Make You Want To Actually Use LinkedIn

This cleaner, faster desktop version of LinkedIn makes it easier to read news, connect with people, and spruce up your profile.<p>Today, however, the kingpin of business-oriented networking–now officially part of Microsoft–is unveiling a significant desktop redesign. For all that’s changed, it may …

LinkedIn

The Unexpected Design Challenge Behind Slack’s New Threaded Conversations

For years, Slack has known that people wanted discussions to appear in clusters. It just wanted to do it right rather than do it quickly.<p>At first blush, threaded conversations sound like one of the most thoroughly mundane features a messaging app could introduce.<p>After all, the idea of neatly …

Software Engineering
Google

Music’s Weird Cassette Tape Revival Is Paying Off

It turns out there’s a place for archaic physical media of questionable audio fidelity–even in the Spotify era.<p>For Andy Molholt, there’s something oddly special about hitting play on his boombox at the beach. The Philadelphia-based musician tours frequently with his band Laser Background and, …

Vinyl Records

Spotify, Netflix, LINE, Pandora & HBO NOW top the list of 2016’s biggest apps by revenue

According to a new year-end report from Sensor Tower detailing the top apps of 2016, streaming services dominated when it came to which apps, outside of games, pulled in the most revenue over the past year. At the top of the list is Spotify, which not only scored the number one spot on the iTunes …