Saturday Tech Reader

By Tech | Flipboard Editorial Director Josh Quittner's weekly missive.

Reweaving the Web

The movement to decentralize the Internet<p>Last spring, the government of <b>Turkey</b> did a terrible thing: It blocked its citizens’ access to <b>Wikipedia</b> on national security grounds. But then, one of the more amazing and wonderful things in Internet history happened: Activists, using a new open-source …

Blockchain

Why SpaceX Matters

A Tesla in space today, Elon Musk on Mars tomorrow<p>For a half hour last week, <b>Silicon Valley</b> shut down with the rest of Techland to watch <b>Elon Musk</b> launch his rocket-borne <b>Tesla</b> <b>Roadster</b> at <b>Mars</b>.<p>I got to enjoy the spectacle at <b>Flipboard</b>, in Palo Alto, where someone had rigged up the <b>SpaceX</b> video stream to …

Space Travel

Mr. Fix It

Now even healthcare is getting Amazonified<p>Is there anything the world’s richest man, <b>Jeffrey Preston Bezos,</b> <i>can’t</i> do?<p>I don’t mean to go all fan boy-ish on you, but it’s been riveting watching him run the table. Bezos has grown Amazon into a juggernaut whose value exceeds <b>Walmart</b>, <b>Costco</b>, <b>Target</b>, <b>Kohls</b> …

Jamie Dimon

Selfie World

They’re fun, dumb, dangerous—and just hitting their stride<p>Have you used <b>Google’s Arts & Culture</b> app yet?<p>Along with more than 30 million people in the U.S. during the past few weeks, I downloaded it the other day to try its new selfie-related feature, which finds the best match of one’s face to a …

Breaking (the) News

Facebook’s coup de grâce to publishers<p>A show of hands, please: How many of you were thrilled to hear about the upcoming changes to <b>Facebook’s News Feed</b>?<p>Chances are that unless you’re a publisher or an advertiser—most of whom have greeted <b>Mark Zuckerberg’s</b> January 11 post as if it were a bad report …

Crypto High Flyers

What goes up must come down<p>Good ol’ <b>Kodak</b> jumped on the blockchain train last week, and its stock rocketed 44% on the news. That was nothing compared to the multiples enjoyed by a raft of small-cap companies—ranging from <b>Rich Cigars</b> (up 1000% at one point) to <b>Long Island Ice Tea</b>—when, somehow, they …

How Roku Morphed From a Quirky Hardware Startup to a TV Streaming Powerhouse

Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood doesn’t fit the image of your typical tech mogul. In person, he comes across as quiet and introverted. He keeps a …

Meme’s Best Friend: The Rise of 'Doggo'

The only way to explain the reaction to Merriam-Webster’s year-end announcement that “doggo” was one of the dictionary’s “Words We're Watching” is to …

All the President’s Tweets

Should Trump be banned from Twitter?<p>There he tweets again: <b>Donald John Trump</b>, the president of the <b>United States of America</b>, crazily boasting, bullying, slandering and threatening violence against his enemies.<p>Of course, lots of trolls do this on <b>Twitter</b>, occasionally crossing the line and causing the …

Silicon Valley Gets Spiritual

<b>Consciousness hacking and tech’s search for your soul</b><p>A group of techies got together in San Francisco last week for a light little something called “UnPanel: Leverage Points for Uplifting Humanity.” The goal was to discuss how humanity can shift from “an extractive (selfish) to an additive …

Slow Down Ahead?

Toll roads, traffic blocks and the future of the Infobahn<p>The other day, I got into a cab and was surprised to see a 9-inch television streaming a local news station—in the front of the cab, so the driver could see it.<p>“What should we watch?” the cabby asked.<p>“The road!” I warbled. “Please, just watch …

Killing Time

Requiem for an Empire<p>In 1995, <b>Time magazine</b> hired me to be its first staffer to write exclusively about the <b>Internet</b>.<p>Stop for a second and think about how bizarre that was. The job was a little like being made the official biographer of your very own assassin. I was supposed to chronicle the thing …

“HIGH” TECHNOLOGY

There’s gold in them thar weeds!<p>Some years ago, a relative of mine decided to move to Northern California to become a legal <b>marijuana</b> grower. Easy money, he thought.<p>He had been, for much of his life, a long-haul trucker and the back-breaking work was taking a toll on his body. So he and a pal, who …

The Silicon Valley Diet

Tech’s body obsession<p>Not very long ago, while en route to lunch in downtown <b>Palo Alto</b>, I bumped into my dour pal, Arthur. He’d lost so much weight I hardly recognized him. He looked like a walking snake or eel. His eyeballs, which protruded slightly, were the only round things on him. My first …

Like if You Want the Truth to Win

How to deal with our Facebook problem<p>Anyone who watched the Congressional hearings last week knows that <b>Silicon Valley</b> is being castigated for helping</b> …

Masayoshi Son

Does Apple Think We’re Clowns?

Good luck getting the most expensive iPhone ever<p>So, are you planning to line up at your local <b>Apple Store</b> Friday to buy that new $1,000 <b>iPhone X</b>?<p>It’s become an American tradition since the first iPhone launched 10 years ago, as regular as Groundhog Day: an annual cycle of iPhone lust, followed by …

Silicon Valley vs. Wall Street

How tech is breaking the bank<p>Thirty years ago last Monday, the <b>Dow Jones Industrial Average</b> fell by 508 points.<p>The 22.6% drop, known as <b>Black Monday</b>, was the biggest decline ever recorded on Wall Street. The culprit was an algorithm run amok: software automatically started selling off futures when …

Here Come the Drones

Our love/hate relationship with tiny mechanical flying things<p>Last weekend, while hiking with my wife on an otherwise beautiful Sunday, a drone buzzed by.<p>I don’t know about you, but these days we’re frequently seeing amateurs flying the things in parks, at the beaches, and in school yards. A few …

Down with Tech!

The digital natives are getting restless<p>Happy Cyber Security Awareness Month, everybody.<p>You do know that the month formerly known to FM DJs as “Rocktober” has transmuted into a time when we’re supposed to think about “cyber threats,” right? Yes, this Hacktober, change your passwords frequently and …

Arriving Now: Your Self-Driving Car

In technology, big breakthroughs always seem to take longer than we assume. There’s an amusing recursive “law” that describes this phenomenon, <b>Hofstadter’s Law</b>, which states: “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.” <b>**</b><p>Hofstadter’s Law is a wry way of …

Bubble Trouble

Why “ICO” is becoming a bad word—and what’s next<p>Everyone’s going gaga for Initial Coin Offerings. “What’s an <b>ICO</b>?” asks, then answers, <b>Bloomberg</b>. “The ICO Craze Explained,” explains <b>Recode</b>. “WTF is an ICO?” demands <b>TechCrunch</b>. And here’s “Everything you need to know about ICOs,” soothes <b>TNW</b>.<p>Techland’s …

The God Watch

With the Apple Watch, it looks like 3’s the charm<p>As you’d expect, the first wave of stories about <b>Apple’s</b> big announcements last week centered on the debut of the 10th anniversary edition of the iPhone (the eponymous “X”) and its duller siblings, the 8 and 8 Plus. (See canonical <b>Flipboard</b> magazine …

The Internet of Disaster

Tech, hypervigilance and the national PTSD<p>As of this writing, <b>Irma</b>, a hurricane of unimaginable and historic proportions, is bearing down on South Florida. But you already know that.<p>Surely you’ve heard by now—online, on TV, or maybe both while you were looking at a screen in an elevator, cab, or …

The Evolution of Mobile

Are you ready to get your AR on?<p>Sometime after September 12, when <b>Apple</b> unveils the <b>iPhone 8</b>, the company also will release <b>OS 11</b> — and just like that, …

A Time in the Desert

The Five Things Entrepreneurs Learn at Burning Man<p>If you work in Silicon-something—Valley, Alley, Wadi, Beach, etc.—and your coworkers are disappearing right about now, they might just be finding their <i>chi</i> at <b>Burning Man</b>, also known as T.T.I.T.D., Black Rock City, or Home.<p>The attraction between …

Searching for Civility

A Google Memo and the Summer of Hate<p>While much of the world gripped armchairs in white-knuckled horror as nuclear tensions escalated between the U.S. and North Korea, last week <b>Silicon Valley</b> was melting down over an incendiary Google Memo.<p>After an engineer named <b>James Damore</b> argued that biology …

Fake Chews

Are new meat substitutes truly better than the real thing?<p>This week, some of the world’s biggest tech investors put their money into a surprising new venture: fake meat.<p>Redwood City, CA-based <b>Impossible Foods</b> got a new $75 million investment to shore up its manufacturing capabilities in its battle …

Why I’m Not Quitting Twitter

I Just Can’t Quit You<p>Dear <b>Twitter</b>,<p>Hey — it’s me, <b>@twittner</b>. I guess you had a fairly rough week, huh? I just wanted to check in, see how you’re feeling …

The Future of Work

What happens when the robots get all the jobs?<p>The biggest problem facing <b>Silicon Valley</b> is not undervalued unicorns.<p>Nor is it sexual harassment, …

The Best Listens of Summer

My 7 favorite podcasts<p>One of the surprise hits of new media these days is podcasts.<p>Many of the most popular ones are descendants of the 2014 hit …