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The great Japanese toaster problem

FT | Jan. 15, 2022, 7:01 p.m.

It is an article of national faith that manufacturers of domestic appliances should be able to have a crack at mobile phones

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🇻🇳 Gaming firm launches blockchain fund

Tech in Asia | Jan. 15, 2022, 8 p.m.

Funverse Capital will invest in NFT games and blockchain startups with up to US$1 million worth of funding for each of their qualified projects.

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The Information Weekend Does Wyoming, Featuring the Tech Transplant’s Guide to Cowboy Living, an Intro to Crypto’s Favorite Senator, and a Glimpse of the Great DAO Land Grab

The Information | Jan. 15, 2022, 11 a.m.

Hi, welcome to your Weekend: Special Wyoming Edition!Why devote a whole issue to Wyoming, you ask? Because the smallest state in the union has been been playing an outsized role in tech lately, writing laws that encourage the growth of cryptocurrencies, DAOs, and other instruments that are at the forefront of Silicon Valley innovation right now. Forget Miami and Austin; crypto companies like Kraken and Cardano are doubling down on the famously libertarian and laissez faire Cowboy State. Also, because Sen. Cynthia Lummis is fascinating, and keeps a mounted jackalope on her office wall. Because we keep hearing about people relocating there. Because DAOs are falling over themselves to purchase land there. And, finally, because it’s January, high season in the Tetons, and wouldn’t a trip to Jackson Hole be lovely to think about right about now? It all added up to a no-brainer: Wyoming, here we come!the big readThe Beltway’s ‘Bitcoin Lady’: How Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis Became Crypto’s Most Powerful ChampionThe junior Republican senator from Wyoming used to be unknown outside of the state. But by the end of last summer, she emerged as crypto’s public face in Washington. It’s a designation she’s embracing: Bitcoin, she says, is “freedom money”:  “It’s ‘freedom from Venezuela’s totalitarian regime’ money. It’s ‘freedom from runaway inflation’ money. It’s ‘freedom from the Chinese Communist Party’ money. To me that just says ‘freedom’ to people who have no personal freedom in their lives.” Nancy Scola sits down with Lummis, and learns more about crypto’s best friend in Congress. crypto cowboysTheir First Rodeo: Why Are DAOs Suddenly Leaping Into Wyoming Real Estate?Following state passage of pro-crypto laws, distributed autonomous organizations are dropping serious coin on wild—and sometimes uninhabitable—tracts of land. The mission is to “build the future of real estate ownership on chain,” and the whole thing—the kidding-not-kidding desire to buy a town, the commitment to scooping up wild tracts of land, the whispers of wanting to purchase Kanye West’s 4,000-acre ranch—seems both on brand and completely off the rails. decampedA Venture Capitalist Found “Cowboy Self-Reliance” in Wilson, WyomingIn this week’s “Decamped,” we chat with Wesley Chan, a former general partner at Felicis Ventures and the founder of Google Analytics and Google Voice. In August 2020, he moved from San Francisco to Wilson, Wyo., where he now frequents levees and meets moose in his backyard. He's also appreciating the respite from Silicon Valley culture—“No one cares what you do,” he says. “That’s what I love about this place.”relocation kitSo You’re Moving to Wyoming—Here’s Your Tech-Scene Starter KitOnce the Wild, Wild West (or, really, just a fancy ski destination), the state of Wyoming is now a popular relocation destination for tech and venture capital entrepreneurs lured there by wide open spaces and world-class skiing. Tempted to join the rush? Then read on: We’ve asked a handful of Wyomingites, both longtime residents and recent transplants, about their preferred haunts. Whether you opt for luxe Jackson Hole, buttoned up Cheyenne or rustic Cody, here is where to live, eat, play and socialize.Reading: The influencers are not alright.Vox’s Rebecca Jennings writes a delicious review of the Hype House’s new Netflix show, where none of the members seem to want to be there. Back in 2020—a lifetime ago in TikTok years—the Hype House touted famous influencers like Addison Rae and Charlie D’Amelio and graced the pages of The New York Times. But by the time the Netflix deal was solidified, the top tier talent had fled, leaving a shell of what the content machine once was. While the series doesn’t seem all that fun to watch, Jennings makes a compelling case for it as a cultural artifact: a look at what social media fame promises teenagers and the often lonely life it actually delivers. Listening: A viral TikTok “Open Verse Challenge.”The Open Verse Challenge format is sweeping songwriter TikTok, as aspiring pop stars notice it’s an easier way for their songs to reach more users. In these challenges, the originator sings a few bars, and then leaves open an instrumental verse, allowing fellow TikTokers the opportunity to fill in the blank through the app’s “Duet” feature. Sadie Jean,  a sophomore at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music hit TikTok gold when her song “WYD Now?” reached rapper and singer Lil Yachty’s algorithm. The “Broccoli” rapper delivered an adorable, heartfelt, and, yes, catchy reply—prompting instant virality. The Times cataloged the duet’s full journey here.Noticing: A plague of NFT art heists.While a metaverse art heist may sound sexy, the reality is just kind of sad. It turns out non-fungible marketplaces are flooded with stolen work, with artists telling NBC they’ve seen thousands of NFT listings selling their art without permission. It’s part of the broken promise of NFTs: anyone can log onto OpenSea and sell pretty much any digital image they want, potentially robbing artists in the process. And to get illegal posts removed, artists have to prove ownership by sending individual copyright requests—a tall order for some who are already struggle to make ends meet. One artist told NBC they’ve given up trying to flag stolen works at all. Makes You ThinkHumans may still have doubts about the Metaverse, but the cows? The cows are here for it!Until next Weekend, thanks for reading!—JonWeekend Editor, The Information

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Yellowjackets finale recap: Hello, Antler Queen - CNET

CNET | Jan. 16, 2022, 3:04 a.m.

The first season of the gripping Showtime series comes to a satisfying end. We get some answers, more questions and a tease for next season.

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Report: 69% of fintech employees say they would move jobs for access to more advanced tech

VentureBeat | Jan. 15, 2022, 7:40 p.m.

As work becomes increasingly hybrid, employees demand the tools they need to succeed – and aren't afraid to leave if employers don't deliver.

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Elon Musk's Tesla Asked Law Firm to Fire Associate Hired From SEC

Wall Street Journal | Jan. 15, 2022, 11:43 a.m.

Long dismissive of regulators, the Tesla boss has recently aimed his ire at individuals with ties to regulatory agencies with which he has sparred.

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The Pain of Online School Remains, Even When Kids Are in Classrooms

Wall Street Journal | Jan. 15, 2022, 9 a.m.

Digital tools such as Google Classroom and Canvas are still used during in-person school. Tracking online assignments is a chore, and many parents wish schools would go back to pencil and paper.

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Responsible AI will give you a competitive advantage

VentureBeat | Jan. 15, 2022, 4:15 p.m.

Responsible AI practices are becoming prerequisites to even bidding on certain contracts, especially when governments are involved

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A Teen Took Control of Teslas by Hacking a Third-Party App

Wired | Jan. 15, 2022, 9:29 a.m.

Plus: Open source sabotage, Ukrainian website hacks, and more of the week's top security news.

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Old Climate Clues Shed New Light on History

Wired | Jan. 15, 2022, 8 a.m.

Historians are reexamining eras of social turmoil and linking them to volcanic eruptions, prolonged droughts, and other disturbances in the natural world.

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Our Favorite Period Products

Wired | Jan. 15, 2022, 8 a.m.

Try a subscription service—or opt for budget- and eco-friendly gear like a menstrual cup, period underwear, or reusable pads.

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Eco tech for a smarter planet

FT | Jan. 15, 2022, 5:55 a.m.

A mini solar power station, a hand-powered phone charger – and more

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16 Great Deals on Laptops, Cameras, and Video Games

Wired | Jan. 15, 2022, 7 a.m.

Whether you're headed out in the cold this long weekend or curling up on the couch at home, we've rounded up the web's best sales for you.

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Galloping Ghost Gives Arcade Gaming an Extra Life

Wired | Jan. 15, 2022, 7 a.m.

One of the world's largest arcades is still making history, preserving video games for posterity and inviting anyone who wants to play to the table.

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15 Great Chinese Dramas to Binge

Wired | Jan. 15, 2022, 7 a.m.

There's really no excuse to miss out on C-dramas' epic fight scenes and time travel romances—especially since you can find a lot on YouTube or for free.

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CES 2022 attendance fell 73% to 45K from 2020 numbers. Was it worth it?

VentureBeat | Jan. 15, 2022, 11:45 a.m.

CES 2022‘s attendance numbers were battered by the Omicron variant of COVID, with numbers hitting 45,000 attendees and 2,300 exhibitors. The numbers are down from 171,000 attendees and 4,400 exhibitors at the last in-person event in January 2020, according to the Consumer Technology Association, the trade group that puts on the show in Las Vegas. […]

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How digital experiences are fueling the new digital economy

VentureBeat | Jan. 15, 2022, 11:20 a.m.

As we enter a new era of the digital economy, the would-be winners of tomorrow must continue to gather the data that they need to innovate.

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Google might’ve accidentally approved an ad for a Target gift card scam

The Verge | Jan. 15, 2022, 7 p.m.

Photo by Michael Loccisano / Getty Images Most of us check our gift card balances online (because who actually keeps those receipts that tell us how much money we have left on them?), making an apparent oversight by Google all the worse. It appears that Google inadvertently approved a prominent ad for a phony Target gift card balance checker that’s meant to steal your funds.A Reddit user on r/assholedesign discovered the slip-up when searching Google for “Target gift card balance” on mobile, and found that the very first result is an ad, titled “Check Gift Card Balance - Target.” Only, the site isn’t Target — it’s actually a site called “bristolhirevan.” The ad’s description says it will let you check your gift card balance “immediately,” and that it also offers “all van sizes to fit your needs” — how can you get more legit than that? My colleague Sean Hollister and I found the same phony ad when searching for the exact phrase ourselves. I googled target gift card balance to check gift card balances. An ad appears above the actual target website that copies the target website. I'm imagining it steals card numbers from people that don't check. I reported the ad to Google a few days ago and nothing has happened to it. from assholedesign Okay, while the name of the site doesn’t sound convincing at all, its interface sure looks like the real thing, although the actual Target site requires you to sign in to check your gift card balance, while this fake site doesn’t. Besides that, the only things that are off about the webpage are the URL, which still has the “bristolhirevan” domain and the fact that every single link on the page leads to the real Target homepage, despite promising to link to a weekly ad or a gift registry. If you were really in a rush (and were somehow distracted enough to ignore the mention of vans), you just might accidentally enter your gift card’s number and security code here, resulting in it getting stolen.Gift card scams appear to be on the rise. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that victims of gift card scams lost a total of $148 million within the first nine months of 2021 — more than all of 2020. Target gift cards are apparently scammers’ cards of choice, as FTC data shows people were scammed out of $35 million worth of Target gift cards last year, more than double the amount of any other gift card brand. As pointed out by the FTC, gift card scams often take place over the phone, with the scammer pretending to be an employee of a company like Google or Amazon (or even someone from a federal agency) who demands the victim make a payment in the form of a gift card. However, fake balance checker sites like these often hide in plain sight — apparently even as ads on Google.A 2020 report from BleepingComputer draws attention to sites that impersonate Target gift card balance checker pages, noting that Target is actually one of the most popular sites for scammers to replicate. The Verge reached out to Google with a request for comment about how this scam may have slipped through its ad review process, and if it will be removed, but didn’t immediately hear back.

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AT&T, Dish, and T-Mobile spend billions on more 5G spectrum

The Verge | Jan. 15, 2022, 3:29 p.m.

Photo by George Frey/AFP via Getty Images AT&T, Dish, and T-Mobile dropped billions of dollars in a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction to acquire more 5G spectrum licenses in the midrange 3.45GHz to 3.55GHz band, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).While AT&T was the biggest spender at $9 billion, Dish spent $7.3 billion, and T-Mobile followed behind at $2.9 billion. Verizon was notably absent from the auction. A number of smaller players also made the list, like Three Forty-Five Spectrum, which you can view on Light Reading’s site.This is the third-largest FCC auction yet, with total bids reaching about $22.5 billionThe auction officially ended in November, but the FCC hasn’t publicly disclosed the winning bidders until now (PDF). Total bids reached about $22.5 billion, making it the third-largest FCC spectrum auction yet. Only last year’s $80 billion C-band auction (over half of which was contributed by Verizon), and 2015’s $44.9 billion AWS-3 auction top this amount of spending, as pointed out by Next TV (via Light Reading).When it comes to using the 3.45GHz band, however, Light Reading says that companies will have to deploy new radios on cell towers that have the ability to broadcast signals across it. Smartphones that support C-band may already be capable of using the band, Light Reading also notes, as they both fall under the 3rd Generation Partnership Project’s (3GPP) n77 technical standards that cover 3.3GHz to 4.2GHz, which existing 5G smartphones already use.Although the 3.45GHz band operates closely to C-band, the WSJ notes that it’s not as likely to interfere with aircraft equipment. Verizon and AT&T are set to deploy their expanded 5G C-band services on January 19th after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) delayed the rollout twice due to aircraft safety concerns.

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