Universal and Illumination follow up their success on “Despicable Me” with a successful retelling of the holiday classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”
The latest animated movie by the studio behind “Despicable Me” and “Minions” has another hit with “The Grinch.”
This most recent retelling of the classic Dr. Seuss story won the weekend box office with $66 million.
This opening bests the 2000 Jim Carrey-starring version, which had a $55 million opening.
But it wasn’t good news for “The Girl in the Spider’s Web.” The $40 million-plus reboot of the Lisbeth Salander franchise only had an $8 million opening.
It seems like everyone is already in the holiday spirit as the latest telling of the Dr. Seuss classic, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” took a nice bite out of the US box office over the weekend.
The most recent title from animation studio Illumination (creators of “Despicable Me,” “Minions,” and “Sing”) has definitely put a smile on Universal’s face, which releases the animation studio’s works. The movie took in an estimated $66 million to easily win the weekend.
Benedict Cumberbatch had the task of voicing the green menace of Whoville and seems to have passed with flying colors. Previously, the holiday classic was told with the ambitious live-action 2000 release, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” with Jim Carrey playing the title role.
That had a $55 million opening and went on to earn over $345 million worldwide.
Read more: Netflix’s Oscar contender ‘Roma’ will not be shown at Alamo Drafthouse in a big blow to its exclusive theatrical run
While Universal/Illumination found success dusting off a known property, Sony/MGM/New Regency didn’t have the same luck with “The Girl in the Spider’s Web.”
The latest American release from the beloved Millennium book series that features the adventures of hacker Lisbeth Salander, “Spider’s Web” comes seven years after the US kickoff of the franchise with “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Helmed by David Fincher and starring Rooney Mara in the Salander role, the movie opened with a soft $12.7 million opening (made for $90 million) but went on to earn a solid $232.6 million worldwide.
Sony will have to work a lot harder to make back its money this time. The revamp of the franchise with Claire Foy in the lead and Fede Alvarez (“Don’t Breathe”) directing didn’t excite audiences, as the movie only took in $8 million over the weekend (its production budget was around $40 million).
HTC VIVE announced its new headset, Vive Focus. Here’s how VR can be used for businesses and even seeing what the inside of a human nose looks like.
On Thursday, virtual reality company HTC VIVE announced its new headset called the Vive Focus, which is aimed at enterprises.
Although VR has previously mostly been used for gaming, it is quickly growing for enterprise use.
It can be used for business collaboration, training and education, such as teaching medical students about sleep apnea, showing car designers how to fix and prototype a car, and conducting remote meetings in a 3D virtual space.
As I put on a bulky white headset and adjusted it to fit my head, I found myself in a hospital room. One doctor leaned over a sleeping patient who had an air pumping device on his nose, while another was preparing tools. I felt like I was on an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Suddenly, a floating robot head appeared, explaining that we would be learning how to identify and treat sleep apnea. It guided me towards the patient’s nose, and before I knew it, I had jumped inside his nostril!
This was a simulation from SimforHealth, a French company that creates virtual reality simulations for medical students and pharmaceutical corporations. This simulation is supposed to teach medical students about sleep apnea, guiding students inside a virtual nose to show what happens to patients when they sleep. On this simulation, the inside of a nose looked like a pulsing red cave, with long, thin spikes coming out of the walls — nose hairs, I assume.
Although virtual reality is typically associated with consumers, such as for video gaming, the technology is increasingly being adopted for use in professional settings. VR and augmented reality are projected to grow to $162 billion by 2020, and more products are targeting enterprise use.
On Thursday, the VR company HTC VIVE announced its Vive Focus, an all-in-one headset that includes storage, built-in speakers and more. It’s targeted at businesses and can used for education and training simulation, including at NASA and hospitals.
What makes this hardware significant is that it’s much simpler and more portable for customers to use, says Dan O’Brien, General Manager of the Americas at HTC VIVE. Other VR headsets that only developers may use might involve expensive hardware and require users to stay in one place.
The possibilities for this are endless, O’Brien says. This could be used for surgical and medical training, like when medical students might work together to perform a virtual surgery. This could even be used for automotive design, where employees can prototype and design cars in VR, or even learn to fix cars. Innoactive, a German VR enterprise software company, had partnered with Volkswagen to create a training scenario for workers to learn to put together a car in a factory.
“Executives are understanding they can save time and money,” O’Brien said. “Their designers don’t all have to fly to Germany to meet in one room and talk about design. They can go to VR design room and talk collaboratively there.”
VR can also be used to collaborate on code. Primitive, which creates software development visualizations, created an app to review code. When I tried out this simulation, I was transported to a dark space with floating lines of code connected by a laser web — a scene almost straight out of “The Matrix.”
It showed me how different files of code were linked, and with my laser pointer, I could pull up an entire floating page of code in front of my eyes. With this application, developers can work together to review code, circle the parts they want to highlight and dig through open source projects.
“It was quite fascinating because I was not a software coder myself,” O’Brien said. “It’s also about efficiency. When I sat in and watched 5 developers get in the space together, they were having intense conversations about the code.”
Read more: How to pick out the best VR headset for you, even if you’ve never experienced virtual reality before
In addition, VIVE had also launched its own workforce collaboration tool built specifically for enterprise called the VIVE Sync. This can be used to help employees collaborate with each other in a virtual space, especially when they work remotely. Each employee’s avatar can share ideas, show presentations, import images, show videos and more all in a 3D virtual space.
In the coming months, Vive plans to launch developer kits to add to the headset so developers can create their own applications for VR. Although the buzz around VR has died down, O’Brien believes there will be tremendous growth for VR in the enterprise space.
“We see it growing at a really rapid rate,” O’Brien said. “We have seen consumer VR grow at a healthy rate. Now enterprise is growing faster than consumer.
Google recently updated the desktop version of Gmail. There’s new visual changes and features, but the user experience mostly remains the same. If you were dying for a change in your email status-quo, Google recently rolled out some updates to the desktop version of its popular email client, Gmail.
With the new Gmail design, you’ll find some user interface upgrades, some visual changes, and a few other additions — those who used the old Gmail will still find the new version recognizable, and it’s not a game-changing update where you’ll have to relearn everything.
But there’s some new features thanks to some additional integrations with other Google apps like Calendar, Keep, and Tasks, as well as third-party plugins.
To switch to the new Gmail version, click on the gear in the upper right-hand corner of the Gmail page, and click ‘Try the new Gmail.’ You can use the same process to switch back to the old version of Gmail as well.
Here’s how the new and old versions of Gmail compare to each other:
Here’s what the old Gmail inbox looked like.
And here’s what the new inbox looks like.
The new inbox has three ‘views’ — default, comfortable, and compact. Upon first glance, the new inbox doesn’t look much different from the old one. However, there are a few additions that are meant to improve your experience within the app. On the right side of the screen, there’s now an area for plugins. By default, Google has included Calendar, Keep (a note-taking app), and Tasks. These have been included so you don’t have to keep tabbing out of your email to check things like upcoming meetings on your calendar, or to look at any important information in your notes or tasks.
Here’s a preview of what the ‘default’ view would look like.
This view will show the names and file types of any attachments in the email below the subject line.
And ‘comfortable’ view.
This view will only show whether or not there’s an attachment, and is slightly more compact than default view.
And finally, ‘compact’ view.
This view is the most compact, hence the name, and will show the most emails per page in your inbox.
Here’s what the Calendar integration will look like, located at the right side of the screen.
Now you don’t have to switch tabs to see what’s coming up on your Google Calendar.
Under the Calendar, you can keep track of your notes with Keep.
You can import your notes from any other device that you use the Keep app with.
Finally, here’s the Tasks integration.
You can also choose to add third-party plugins from the G Suite Marketplace to Gmail.
You can add more plugins by clicking on the ‘plus’ sign on the right side of the screen, underneath the three integrated Google plugins.
You can now choose to archive, delete, mark as read/unread, or ‘snooze’ emails in your inbox, by clicking on one of the icons on the right.
You can pick a specific date and time for the ‘snooze’ effect to end.
You can also collapse the menu on the left side by clicking the three bars next to the ‘Gmail’ icon at the top left.
This lets you have more space for your inbox, while still retaining the menu icons to navigate through different folders.
You can also send messages in ‘confidential mode,’ which adds some extra security to your messages.
People you send emails to in confidential mode won’t be able to forward, copy/paste, download, or print your email. However, if you really need to send something securely, you probably shouldn’t be using Gmail for that in the first place.
The verdict: There’s really not much of a reason to keep using the old Gmail.
The improvements are minor, but this wasn’t intended to be a dramatic overhaul of the Gmail platform. It’s definitely convenient to be able to check your calendar, notes, and tasks all within your Gmail tab — and that means two fewer tabs that you would have needed to open. The inbox does look noticeably different, but barely. It is nice to be able to see exactly what attachments are in your inbox, but I found that it adds more clutter and chose to use the ‘comfortable’ inbox view. So the biggest reason to switch is probably the plugin integration — other than that you’re not missing much. And if you switch over and decide you don’t like the change, you can easily switch back to the old Gmail.
Pointy partnered with Google to help bricks-and-mortar retailers compete with Amazon to show what they have in stock online.
Irish entrepreneur Mark Cummins is the founder of Pointy, a startup that helps bricks-and-mortar retailers show what they have in stock online.
Cummins is a serial entrepreneur and sold his first startup, visual search app Plink, to Google in 2010.
Ironically, he was rejected for a job at Google years earlier as a graduate from Oxford University.
Pointy has announced a major partnership with Google and has won investment from the founder of Google Maps.
The startup says it has signed up thousands of US retailers.
LISBON — As an engineering and computer science graduate from the University of Oxford, Mark Cummins fancied his chances of landing a job at Google.
Oxford is one of the most prestigious universities in the world and ranks highly on global league tables for computer science. Cummins had graduated top of his year from Balliol College and, as he put it, “thought I had a pretty good CV.”
Cummins filed his application and, like any Oxbridge graduate with a top-tier degree, expected the offers to roll in.
“I didn’t even get a phone call,” he told Business Insider during an interview at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon. “I had a back and forth with a recruiter, but I never really understood it.”
Cummins had the last laugh. Five years later, Google would go on to buy his first startup. And a few years after that, Google would also be integral to the success of his second.
Mark Cummins’ first startup was Plink, an app that recognised artwork
After several more job rejections, Cummins opted to stay at university and do a PhD in the then-unfashionable area of robotics and machine learning. This was before breakthroughs like DeepMind’s AlphaGo made AI sexy again, and the entire field of learning was still emerging from a second “AI winter.”
The interest in robotics provided the germ of a startup idea. Cummins was working on place recognition for robots for his thesis, specifically around how they process images to determine their location.
“My PhD work was on a robot [that] would collect images as it drove along to determine: ‘Have I come back to a place I’ve been before?’” Cummins explained. “The first iPhone had just come out, the first Androids were just coming out, and mobile was just starting to take off. I thought, this seems interesting, maybe we can do something with photo matching, so we launched a company around that.”
The company, Plink, was a kind of Shazam for art. Users would photograph a piece of artwork, and the app would identify it. The app garnered 50,000 users in its first six weeks and Cummins and his cofounder, James Philbin, won $100,000 during an Android Developer Challenge. That brought the app to the attention of Google, Cummins’ one-time dream employer.
Google began courting the startup and the young Oxford founders ended up meeting senior execs at the time, such as Android product spokesman Hugo Barra and Google+ architect Vic Gundotra. They impressed the top brass enough to field an offer.
The pair accepted what Cummins described as a life-changing amount of money, and took jobs within Google. While Plink’s consumer app shut down, its technology ended up being used in several Google image recognition services, such as Google Lens and Google Photos.
Cummins hit on his second startup idea while working at Google
Three years later, Cummins had moved to Australia and was still working for Google. He had an inkling for his second startup when he realised there were still elementary questions the search engine couldn’t answer for users.
Specifically, he was drinking craft beer at a party one night, and then wasn’t able to find a nearby shop that sold the same brand. “Where’s the nearest store that has this product available? It seemed like a basic question,” Cummins told Business Insider.
The problem is that most small local retailers don’t bother to log all the inventory they have. Their cash registry, as Cummins put it, can “look like it’s from a Western.” There’s no way for consumers to know for sure whether a local shop is selling an item they need — and so they turn to Amazon and deprive the smaller retailer of valuable footfall.
Cummins began nosing around small retailers in Australia, asking what it would take for them to upload their inventory and make it searchable online. He concluded that some hardware would be required and set about looking for another technical cofounder.
Philbin, his Plink cofounder, had a young family and was not available. Cummins rang up another old friend from his Oxford days, Charles Bibby, a sailing expert who was in the middle of a yearlong sailing trip around the Mediterranean.
Bibby found the vision so compelling that he cut the trip short after three months and sailed home to start Pointy.
Pointy helps people find what their local shops have in stock
The end result is the Pointy box, a small device that looks a little like a 9-volt battery.
It plugs into a retailer’s barcode scanner and logs items as they’re being scanned for purchase. Eventually, Pointy’s software logs what a retailer is selling and can take a good guess as to when it’s out of stock.
That information is then listed online on a dedicated page hosted by Pointy, so anyone trying to find a local shop that sells, for example scotch tape, can click on a Pointy link and see whether it’s available nearby.
While it’s easy to see on Google when your local hardware store is open, it’s currently quite difficult to check what it might have in stock. “It’s not ecommerce, it’s more about driving footfall,” said Cummins.
The box costs $499 for US retailers. Pointy also offers to place local ads for retailers on Google, and takes a slice of the ad revenue.
It feels like a strange decision to focus on bricks-and-mortar stores in the age of Amazon, but Cummins argues that online shopping only accounts for 10% of US commerce. The majority of the population still prefers to a trip to a local store when they need something.
Cummins says that Pointy “ranks very well” on Google. And over the summer, the startup announced a partnership with search firm that means product information appears on the “knowledge panel” in search and Google Maps.
To date, the firm has raised $19 million from Vulcan Capital, Polaris, Boston Ventures, LocalGlobe, Seedcamp and well-known angels such as Google Maps founder Lars Rasmussen, TransferWise cofounder Taavet Hinrikus, and WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg. It is headquartered in Dublin — Cummins is Irish — and manufactures the Pointy box in Ireland.
For now, Pointy is focused on persuading retailers to adopt its technology. Cummins says that 1% of all US retailers are on board, citing US Census Bureau statistics. That amounts to around 10,000 US retailers. It also has some pickup in its home market and across the UK.
On the consumer side, it looks like the startup is pretty reliant on Google — which is fine, as long as the firm plays ball and integrates Pointy’s data into its search results. The current partnership is a blessing, but the startup might need to branch out to defend its turf. Cummins says Pointy plans to build out its offering so that retailers can do more than just have a store page online, but he wouldn’t give any further detail at this point.
And could another Google acquisition be in the offing? Cummins said his former employer came sniffing around to be involved with Pointy early in its development, but gives a firm denial that there might be a buyout. “There’s nothing on the cards,” he says.
Dangerous wildfires are raging in California. The Camp Fire has charred 90,000 acres, the Hill Fire burned 6,000, and the Woolsey Fire scorched 35,000.
California is dealing with several dangerous wildfires. The Woolsey and Hill fires are burning on the outskirts of LA, and the Camp Fire in northern California destroyed an entire town in less than a day.
Authorities said at least nine people were killed by the Camp Fire, which remained at only 5% containment as of early Saturday.
Two people were found dead Saturday in Malibu after the Woolsey and Hill fires stretched more than 100 square miles across the area, authorities said, bringing total fatalities across the fires to 11.
The flames are being fueled by dry, hot conditions as well as strong winds.
People in San Francisco, more than 170 miles from the Camp Fire, woke up to a hazy sky and extremely poor air quality.
Another small brush fire started Friday morning near the Los Angeles Zoo in Griffith Park, and quickly scorched three acres.
California wildfires are becoming so frequent and pervasive that officials there say there’s almost no need for the term “wildfire season” anymore.
Three dangerous wildfires are raging in California.
The Camp Fire, in northern California, started Thursday morning and quickly charred the entire town of Paradise, which is home to 27,000. The flames grew so fast — at a pace of 80 football fields per minute — that four people were burned to death in their cars, the Butte County sheriff Korey Honea told the Associated Press. One deceased person was found near a vehicle.
According to the sheriff, the department has received 35 missing persons reports. So far, at least nine people have died as a result of the Camp Fire. In addition to those found in or near a vehicle, one person was found inside a home.
Authorities announced Saturday two people were found dead in Malibu after the Woolsey and Hill fires raged over 100 square miles of Southern California.
As of 6:00 a.m. PT, the blaze had burned 90,000 acres in just over 24 hours and was 5% contained.
More than 6,700 structures were destroyed. It is now considered the most destructive wildfire in California history in terms of the number of structures destroyed.
To the south, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, two smaller fires also started Thursday and are now creating havoc for drivers and forcing homeowners to flee. The Woolsey and Hill Fires are burning through parts of Ventura and LA counties. The flames have threatened the homes of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and shut down stretches of the 101 freeway.
Inside the city limits of LA, another smaller fire broke out Friday morning in Griffith Park near the zoo. Firefighters scrambled to reach the area by helicopter since the area was not accessible by truck. At 4:30 p.m. on Friday, the fire was 60% contained.
Southern California fire officials say the flames have burned at least 150 homes. They say that number is likely to increase.
Already this year, 7,578 fires have burned across California, fueled by hot, dry conditions and aggressive winds.
Camp Fire claims at least 9 lives
The Camp Fire started about 6:30 a.m. on Thursday. So far, more than 6,700 structures have burned and thousands more are threatened.
According to the Butte County sheriff’s office, five of the people whose deaths have been confirmed were found near Edgewood Lane in Paradise, California, in or near “vehicles that were overcome by the Camp Fire.” The sheriff’s office was not yet able to identify those victims because of their burn injuries. Other residents ran from the fire, the Sacramento Bee reported.
California Acting Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Butte County because of the Camp Fire Thursday, and sent a letter to President Donald Trump and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) asking for federal assistance.
Smoke from that fire is blanketing wide swaths of Northern California in a gray haze. On Friday morning, people in San Francisco woke up to the smell of smoke and poor air quality, and some donned masks to protect their lungs.
Federal air monitors have suggested that older adults, children, teens, and people with heart and lung conditions should limit their time outside because of the high number of dangerously small pollutants in the air. The air in San Francisco right now is as bad as Beijing, CBS reported.
Two found dead as Hill and Woolsey fires swallow 100 square miles in Ventura and LA counties
Authorities announced Saturday two people were found dead near Mulholland Highway in Malibu Los Angeles County sheriff’s Chief John Benedict said. Benedict did not explain further, saying detectives are investigating.
Late Friday night, fire officials downgraded the Hill Fire to 4,500 acres burned in Ventura County, and mandatory evacuation orders are in place for people at the Point Mugu Naval Base and California State University Channel Islands, among other areas. The blaze was 15% contained as of 6:15 a.m. local time Saturday.
The Woolsey Fire (the one that forced Kim and Kourtney Kardashian out of their homes) has charred 35,000 acres, the AP reported Friday evening, and the LA County Fire Department said the blaze was still 0% contained as of 6:15 a.m. PT Saturday. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in areas including Malibu, Topanga, and Thousand Oaks (the same city where a mass shooter killed 12 people on Wednesday), the LA Times reported.
“Imminent threat! Malibu lakes residents must leave area immediately,” the LA County fire department wrote on Twitter Friday morning.
Shortly after noon on Friday, the City of Malibu said on its website that the “fire is now burning out of control and heading into populated areas of Malibu. All residents must evacuate immediately.” LA County Sheriff’s Deputies were knocking on doors there, telling everyone in the star-studded beach town to get out.
You can view the full evacuation orders on the Ventura County Emergency Information site and the LA County Woolsey Fire site.
So far, there are no reported injuries or deaths from either of the Southern California fires. But as a result of the blazes, 250,000 people in Ventura and LA counties had been evacuated as of Friday night, the Times said.
By Friday evening, about 75% of the Ventura County city of Thousand Oaks had been abandoned, fire officials said according to the Associated Press.
Firefighters are racing to keep flames from charring people’s homes, but as the LA Fire Department’s Eric Scott pointed out on Twitter, some houses are better protected than others, since green vegetation can help keep flames back.
On Friday morning, less than 24 hours after the two fires broke out, acting Gov. Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Read More: A California wildfire just demolished an entire town and forced the Kardashians to evacuate. Here’s why wildfire season is getting longer and stronger.
The fires have forced the 101 freeway to shut down in a couple different areas. In Ventura County, a nine-mile southbound stretch from Wendy Drive to Lewis Road where the Hill Fire raged, was closed. In LA County, a section of the freeway from the Mulholland Drive/Valley Circle Boulevard exit to Reyes Adobe Road was closed to traffic both ways after flames from the Woolsey Fire jumped across the highway.
Many of the Ventura County public schools closed on Friday, as well as Pepperdine University, Moorpark Community College, California State University Channel Islands, and Cal Lutheran University.
Wildfire “season,” in California used to run from late summer through the fall, since autumn’s Santa Ana winds help blow flames around. But as the planet heats up, unseasonably high temperatures and drought conditions are becoming more common. So fire officials in the state are succumbing to the idea that fires may not be limited to any specific season anymore.
Ellen Cranley contributed reporting.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
The book was inspired by true stories from the Sarah Cooper’s own Google career, as well as her friends and co-workers. And it’s hilarious.
Former Google employee turned comic Sarah Cooper has help for women in tech with a new book called “How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings.”
The book is, of course, a satirical look a corporate life for women. And it’s hilarious.
Still, the author tells Business Insider, it was inspired by true stories from her own Google career, as well as her friends and co-workers.
Sarah Cooper is like the anti-Sheryl Sandberg
Instead of telling women to “lean in,” the former Google employee is offering more practical advice for women in tech with her new book, called ” target=”_blank”How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings.”
“Ambitious women are scary. In this fast-paced business world, female leaders need to make sure they’re not perceived as pushy, aggressive, or competent,” the book’s promotional materials explains. Chapters include “How to be harassed without hurting his career” and “How to bring your true self to work and then hide it completely.” Each chapter ends with a list of “inaction items.”
Behind the humor there is, of course, a serious message.
“‘How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings’ was sparked from all the things I did at Google to seem more likable and approachable, like being less direct with feedback and using all those smiley faces in my emails, as well as the double standards I saw between my male and female coworkers,” she said.
Read more: One of Google’s new sexual harassment policies could be the key to changing all of Silicon Valley’s bro culture
It was inspired by a blog post she wrote called ” target=”_blank”9 Non-threatening Leadership Strategies for Women” which went instantly viral with “many women writing to tell me they experienced the same thing,” she said.
That post has become part of the book. It offers such gems as: “If a male coworker steals your idea in a meeting, thank him for it. Give him kudos for how he explained your idea so clearly. And let’s face it, no one might’ve ever heard it if he hadn’t repeated it.”
The stories and illustrations in the book are sometimes fictionalized, sometimes not, but all inspired by real incidents experienced by Cooper, her friends, and her co-workers.
‘I got free food and lots of free material’
After spending five-plus years as a woman in tech working her way up to a manager position at Google, Cooper had plenty of inspiration for the book and her new career as a comedian. She’s best known for her previous book, 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings and for her blog, The Cooper Review.
Although Cooper also did a short stint at Yahoo, both books and much of her blog was mainly inspired by Google, she told Business Insider.
“At Google, I got free food and lots of free material,” she said.
Beyond giving women in tech a much-needed laugh, Cooper hopes to let women know that, no, they aren’t imagining it.
That’s a super helpful message in today’s #MeToo world. It is particularly potent given the recent uproar at Google as the company comes clean over how it has dealt with various sexual harassment incidents.
A Non-Threatening Women’s Foundation
We asked Cooper if she considered reaching out to Sandberg with a copy of the book. Sandberg is, of course, the former Googler, now COO at Facebook, who is famously leading today’s renewed feminist movement seeking gender equality in the workplace.
Cooper tells us she didn’t send the book to Sandberg, but if she ever gets a chance to hang with her, “I’d like to hear how much she leans back after leaning in, and then leans in again, and then has to lean back again, and if it’s good workout for her abs.”
We also asked her if she would model her book after Lean In organization and start a Non-Threatening Women’s Foundation, with meetups and support circles.
“Yes I’d love to start a non-threatening woman’s foundation where we’d probably spend all our meetings just apologizing to each other,” she quipped.
It turns out Apple’s new MacBook Air was the computer I wanted all along. But how could I have known that last year?
Apple’s new MacBook Air seems to be the perfect laptop for me.
The problem is that I spent thousands on a new Apple laptop last year.
I’m annoyed because my MacBook Pro has several issues that the new MacBook Air fixed.
When I received my MacBook Pro with Touch Bar in August of 2017, I was pumped.
15 months later, I have mixed feelings about my major purchase — and many of them are caused by Apple’s new MacBook Air with Retina display, which is the laptop I wish I had bought.
I thought I had made the purchase correctly. I researched the specs, saved up, and waited until Apple refreshed its laptops with the latest Intel chips, so I wouldn’t be buying old technology.
Reader, it was expensive. I loaded it up with lots of bells and whistles, including an upgraded processor, additional RAM, and extra storage space. I had owned my last MacBook Air for over six years, so I was ready to amortize the roughly $2,000 cost over a long period of time.
And now, just over a year later, I regret my purchase. It’s not really a knock on the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar — although there are issues — it’s just that the new MacBook Air is the right machine for what I need to do, and I’m frustrated that there was no similar option when I needed a new Mac.
Now, I’ve got an expensive laptop that I’m not completely satisfied with that I expected to own through 2023, and my wandering eye is looking towards Apple’s latest and greatest.
Read more: Hands-on with Apple’s new redesigned MacBook Air: This could be the laptop that Apple fans have been waiting for
A few issues
It’s not that the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is a bad machine — I’ve worked on it, traveled with it, and generally used it heavily, as I expected when I purchased it.
But I shouldn’t have to deal with daily annoyances on what is a premium laptop.
Let’s start with the Touch Bar.
I dislike it. I wish it weren’t on my laptop. I frequently control iTunes through the function keys, and the touchscreen simply doesn’t provide the same feedback as a button. I hit mute all the time when I’m in meetings to make sure my music doesn’t start playing and embarrass me. These are buttons I press perhaps 30 times a day or more.
It’s also really easy on the Touch Bar to accidentally activate a key, whether it’s Siri (right above backspace!) or the screen brightness. It also frustrated me that I have to look at the Touch Bar to determine what I’m doing, because by default, it changes from app to app. There’s a setting that basically turns it into the old keys, but even then, it’s just a less effective version of what I had on my laptop in 2011.
The MacBook Pro with Touch Bar also has disappointing battery life — about four hours, in my experience. It’s bad enough that when working in the field and covering events like Apple’s iPhone launch, I frequently need to plug-in before the day is done. My 2011 MacBook Air had better battery life.
One place where that energy is going is heat: My MacBook Pro with Touch Bar gets extremely hot. It’s too hot to use on my lap or in bed. I’ve worried that it’s too hot to put directly on my dining room table.
Finally, my MacBook Pro with Touch Bar has the “sticky key” problem that’s led to a slew of stories and even class-action lawsuits. The “1” key sticks and sometimes types two 1’s when I only mean to press it once. The spacebar sometimes doesn’t register.
It’s a problem. Apple says it will fix the sticky keys free-of-charge, but that’s time and effort I’ll need to spend.
But the MacBook Air solves all these problems
Enter the new MacBook Air, which went on sale this past week. It appears to be the device that I wanted last year, when I bought my MacBook Pro.
For example, although it has Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner — a nice feature — it doesn’t have the Touch Bar, bringing back my beloved media controls and escape key.
In terms of battery life, Apple says the MacBook Air can get up to 12 hours on a single charge. That might be optimistic, given that Apple boasts 10 hours for the model I have that usually runs out of battery in half the time, but it’s a step in the right direction.
And it has an improved keyboard that should address the sticky key issues I’ve experienced. Apple even highlighted it at its launch event in Brooklyn. “The new MacBook Air has our latest-generation keyboard with keys that offer four times the stability over the previous generation, creating a modern keyboard with a more precise and responsive typing experience,” an Apple official said at the launch.
A teardown from iFixit shows that these keys have a plastic piece inside the keys that should cut down on crumbs and other debris getting inside the keys.
While the price — starting at $1199 — isn’t that far off from what I paid for mine, especially after upgrading the storage and RAM, it’s hard to not feel buyer’s remorse.
The MacBook Air does still have some shortcomings compares to the Pro — it has a less powerful Intel chip, for example. But I don’t really need massive processor power.
Of course, it’s not Apple’s fault that every year it comes out with new computers that are better than the last year’s models. That’s how the business works.
But I think a little bit of my annoyance is due to the fact that all of these changes could’ve been made in 2017. People were complaining about these issues with the MacBook Pro back then. Apple never said it was preparing a new computer that addressed the issues — it never talks about upcoming products.
Which left me in a sticky situation in the summer of 2017. It wasn’t the right time to buy Apple’s best 13-inch laptop, as it turns out the next year’s model ended up being what I wanted.
While it’s great that Apple has fixed many consumer complaints with its main laptop line, it highlights that computer purchases are big items that people plan to use for years, unlike phones, which have a two to three year lifespan. And people who end up buying lemons are stuck with them for a long time.
People who now buy the new MacBook Air seem happy, and are likely to say they’re satisfied with their purchase. But by not having a reliable release schedule and a roadmap for future updates, there’s a chance that some people — like me — will end up in a generation of customers who are stuck with a laptop they’re not completely happy with.
After calling San Francisco’s homelessness crisis a human rights violation, UN expert Leilani Farha said it represented unsurpassed cruelty.
Conditions for homeless residents in San Francisco are among the worst in the world, with many living in crowded camps filled with trash, feces, and discarded needles.
In September, United Nations Special Rapporteur Leilani Farha released a report calling the crisis a “human rights violation.”
Business Insider spoke with Farha about the root causes of homelessness — and what she sees as the most viable solutions.
Farha doubled down on her previous comments, arguing that San Francisco’s homelessness crisis suggests a “cruelty that is unsurpassed.”
When Leilani Farha paid a visit to San Francisco in January, she knew the grim reputation of the city’s homeless encampments. In her four years as the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Adequate Housing, Farha has visited the slums of Mumbai, Delhi, Mexico City, Jarkarta, and Manila. The crisis in San Francisco, she said, is comparable to these conditions.
While New York City and Los Angeles have the highest numbers of homeless people in the US, San Francisco has the highest rate of street homelessness nationwide. On any given night, more than 4,300 citizens sleep without a roof over their heads.
But not even this knowledge could prepare Farha for what she witnessed in January.
In the city’s core, homeless residents were denied basic access to water, toilets, and sanitation facilities. There were piles of trash and scattered feces on the ground. In the neighboring camps in Oakland, rats dug through the mud and families huddled outside in the cold. The experience, she said, shook her to her core.
“The idea that a government would deny people those services … when they have nowhere else to go suggests a kind of cruelty that is unsurpassed,” Farha told Business Insider. “It’s an attempt to erase people. Worse than erase — I can only use the word annihilate. It is a denial of someone’s humanity.”
The visit led to a report in which she described San Francisco’s crisis as a human rights violation. The language may sound grave — but so is the crisis.
San Francisco’s homeless are often victims of hard times
At one point on her trip, Farha encountered a young man living underneath a highway underpass, cooking quesadillas on a small stove with an open flame.
Read more: UN report: San Francisco’s ‘cruel and inhuman’ homelessness crisis is a human rights violation
“The last time I had seen someone cooking on the sidewalk like that was in India, with the pavement dwellers there, and here I am in San Francisco in a state with the sixth largest GDP in the world,” said Farha.
She asked the man about how he came to be homeless, and found that he had traveled from the Midwest after his mother died and his family broke down.
“I think he was in the midst of developing a psychosocial disability from the trauma of being on the streets,” she said.
While many homeless residents in California are native to the area, the man’s story is relatively common. Farha said most of the homeless residents she met in San Francisco were victims of hard times.
“They were working and then their apartment building got sold to someone, the investor raised the rents, the person couldn’t afford it anymore, they couch surfed for a while, and then they hit the street,” she said.
Her comments echo the understanding among homeless residents and advocacy organizations like the National Coalition for the Homeless, which attributes homelessness to “a complex set of circumstances that require people to choose between food, shelter, and other basic needs.”
A crisis of open air drug markets, discarded needles, and poop piles
San Francisco’s crisis of open air drug markets, discarded needles, and piles of poop on the sidewalk dates back to the nation’s neo-liberal housing policies in the 1980s, according to Farha.
These policies allowed the private sector to wrest control of investments in the affordable housing market, while the government slowly retreated. In 1986, President Reagan signed a housing tax credit that gave big corporations more oversight over low-income housing. By the 2000s, companies were selling off social housing — dubbed “housing of last resort” — for major profits.
“It’s very hard for a city to compete against a private equity firm in terms of buying up land,” Farha said. “Private equity firms have such a huge amount of capital at their disposal. They call them vultures for a reason. They can go in and use their power and wealth and buy up a huge amount of property very quickly.”
After the global financial crisis in 2008, firms like Blackstone and Goldman Sachs began purchasing single-family dwellings and charging high rents, rendering them unaffordable for most residents. These properties were then bundled together so that shareholders effectively became landlords.
In the current market, investors in cities across the country frequently buy units and flip them into short-term rentals on services like HomeAway and Airbnb. All the while, the world’s wealthy billionaires are scooping up luxury apartments, creating a demand for high-end real estate.
To make sense of the San Francisco crisis, Farha has had to sift through this winding history. “I’ve had to get my head around all this stuff just to understand homelessness,” she said.
Resident blame tech companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook
Many residents have been quick to blame San Francisco’s housing crisis on major tech companies like Google, Intel, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter. As early as 2013, San Franciscans took to protesting the private buses that shuttle Google workers from their homes in the city to the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters.
The protestors have even come up with a name for the massive influx of high-tech firms: “techsploitation.” In May, protestors in the Mission District — home to a number of the city’s homeless residents — stood outside chanting the phrase, “Sweep tech not tents.”
Though Farha acknowledges the stark contrast between the city’s multi-billion-dollar tech firms and residents sleeping on the streets, she doesn’t think techies are exclusively to blame.
“I absolutely do not want to only point the finger at the big tech firms,” she said. “I think they actually come to the table late on this.”
Even so, she said, companies with massive amounts of wealth have a responsibility to share it.
In early November, Farha praised Salesforce chairman Marc Benioff’s decision to support Proposition C, a controversial ballot measure in San Francisco that will tax the city’s largest corporations to fund services for the homeless. The measure passed on Tuesday, but was just shy of a two-thirds majority, meaning it could be stalled by legal proceedings for years to come.
In a New York Times editorial, Benioff said homelessness was an even bigger threat to his business than a “small tax” because “companies can truly thrive only when our communities succeed as well.”
Housing is a human right
At least one key player in California has taken note of Farha’s concerns. After releasing her report in September, Farha received a call from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who wanted to start a dialogue about addressing the Bay Area homelessness crisis.
Despite the complicated nature of the issue, Farha isn’t short on solutions. But first, she said, people have to understand that housing isn’t a commodity — it’s a human right.
“No international human rights treaty codifies the right to gold, but several codify the right to housing,” said Farha. “That’s because housing goes to the core of what it means to live in dignity. You can’t live in dignity without decent housing.”
Under international human rights law, governments are required “to apply the maximum of available resources to upgrading informal settlements” like slums, shanty towns, and homeless encampments.
For Farha, these resources include taxes like Proposition C that go toward identifying and addressing the root causes of homelessness. It also means getting rid of forced evictions from homeless camps, adopting inclusionary zoning laws, and offering skills training programs for homeless residents. In the past, Farha has also criticized laws that prohibit the homeless from living out of their vehicles.
“It’s not to say that we want to bring down capitalism,” Farha said. Instead, she said, the human rights obligation lies with the government, which is responsible for regulating private actors.
One of her dreams as Special Rapporteur is to get people to understand the role of government in homelessness.
If a person is walking along the street and sees someone homeless, it’s okay to think whatever you want, she said. “But also think, ‘That homeless person represents my government’s failure to implement the right to adequate housing.
TouchBase has released collectible trading cards sporting Silicon Valley’s top investors and advisors. A pack of five cards goes for $59.99.
TouchBase has released collectible trading cards featuring Silicon Valley’s top investors and advisors.
Cards include notable investors like Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham and Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen.
The cards include stats for each investor, like their total number of investments and number of exits.
A pack of five cards goes for $59.99.
Ever think you’d hear someone say: “I’ll trade you a Paul Graham for a Marc Andreessen?”
A San Francisco company is hoping that the tech industry’s biggest VC dealmakers have attained the same kind of celebrity status that has driven kids to trade baseball cards for generations.
New collectible trading cards, created by a company called TouchBase, feature Silicon Valley’s top investors and advisors, including Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham, Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen, Benchmark general partner Bill Gurley, and Mary Meeker, formerly a partner at Kleiner Perkins.
Read more: Famed tech investor Mary Meeker is looking to raise about $1.25 billion for a new growth fund
The cards include stats for each investor, like their total number of investments and number of exits.
They’re also not cheap. A pack of five cards goes for $59.99.
But, as TouchBase mentions on their website, “the VCs featured have had multiple exits, but are on their way to more. This makes their cards highly collectible.”
Some of the rarest VC cards include Don Valentine (Sequoia, an investor in Atari), Mike Markkula (Angel, an investor in Apple), and Jenny Lee (GGV, an investor in Alibaba). A recent Boing Boing report showed one lucky collector scored a Sam Altman in their pack.
A TouchBase spokesperson wouldn’t confirm how many different VC cards exist today, but said it’s “always creating new series.” In fact, on the company’s website, visitors can suggest new investors or founders that they’d like to see added to the collection.
To view the entire collection, TouchBase is offering a limited number of private showings in their San Francisco office.
Packs will start shipping in November — right in time for the holidays.
Oprah’s Favorite Things includes a range of tech products, like the Amazon Echo Spot, the Apple iPhone XR, and a light-up bike helmet. It’s almost time to start shopping for holiday tech gifts, but don’t worry — Oprah has you covered.
The mogul released her annual list of “favorite things” on Wednesday, and it includes a bevy of very giftable items, from clothes to cook wear to gifts for you pet — and even tech gadgets.
Oprah’s list includes a few flagship products that were released in 2018, like the iPhone XR and the Apple Watch Series 4. But it also includes a few items you may not have otherwise come across, like a panic button that attaches to your smartphone.
Here are the 10 tech gadgets Oprah recommends for 2018:
10. Katana Safety Arc
The Katana Safety Arc is a personal alarm system that attaches to your smartphone. It comes equipped with two alarms: one is an audible siren, and the other is a silent alert button. The alerts will then bypass your lock screen and contact Katana’s subscription service, which will in turn alert the police or your emergency contacts. The device costs $100, comes in 10 colors, and is available on Amazon.
9. Ricoh Theta SC 360 camera
Ricoh’s Theta camera takes 360-degree photos and videos, works with both Android and iOS devices, and has an optional weatherproof case for shooting outdoors. Oprah recommends trying it in “stadiums, gymnasiums, or any other vast space” to get the full effect. The camera costs $179.95 right now and is available on Amazon.
8. Lumos smart bike helmet
The Lumos smart bike helmet is intended to make bikers more visible on the road. It’s outfitted with LED lights: 10 on the front, 38 on the back, and 11 for both turn signals. Plus, it comes with a remote for your handlebars that lets you safely turn on your turn signal. Lumos says the battery will last about six hours on flashing mode and three hours on solid mode. The helmet costs $179 and is available on Amazon.
7. RapidX X5 car charger
This $25 car charger can charge five devices simultaneously via USB and plugs into your car’s outlet or cigarette lighter. It’s also capable of fast charging, if your device supports the appropriate standard. It’s available on Amazon for $22.53 right now.
6. Apple Watch Series 4
Leave it to Oprah to pick the best-looking and most expensive new Apple Watch you can buy: the Apple Watch Series 4 in gold stainless steel with a gold Milanese Loop. The new Apple Watch has a bigger screen, a thinner body, and new health features like an ECG app that can take basic heart readings that can alert you that you should consult a doctor. The Apple Watch Series 4 starts at $399, but Oprah’s choice is much pricier: it starts at $799 and can cost as much as $849.
5. Apple AirPods
Apple’s AirPods were introduced two years ago, but they still made Oprah’s 2018 list. The wireless buds look a lot like the EarPods that come with every iPhone purchase, but they’re entirely cordless. They pair with devices like iPhones, iPads, and even the Apple TV, and they charge up inside their case. AirPods cost $159 and are available at Apple stores and on Apple’s website.
4. Samsung Q7FN QLED TV
Samsung introduced a new TV technology in 2018: QLED displays. The “Q” stands for “quantum dots,” and the promise this new technology brings is to take the best of both LCD and OLED and put them together. Oprah recommends Samsung’s Q7FN TV because it’s “eye-poppingly pristine.” Plus, it mounts flush to the wall and uses a single cable. The TV starts at $1,300 right now and is available through Samsung’s website.
3. iPhone XR
The iPhone XR is one of three new phones from Apple, alongside its sister devices, iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max. The iPhone XR has a 6.1-inch LCD screen, a single-lens camera that can still do portrait mode, and comes in come in six colors (black, white, red, yellow, coral, and blue) and three storage sizes (64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB). Oprah says that “Apple has really outdone itself with the new XR.” The iPhone XR starts at $749 and is available to buy at Apple stores and on Apple’s website.
2. Courant wireless charging accessory tray
If you have a smartphone from the last year or so, chances are that it supports wireless charging. But phones don’t usually come with wireless chargers, so you’ll have to invest in one yourself. That’s where the Courant wireless charging accessory tray comes in: it’s a leather-bound tray that has a Qi wireless charging pad built in. The other side of the tray is a good spot for your keys, wallet, headphones, or jewelry. Oprah says that “one of these leather-bound miracle devices in white has my name all over it,” and we have to agree — the white version is gorgeous. You can buy one in black, ash, or bone colors for $175 on Amazon.
1. Echo Spot
Amazon’s Echo Spot, which was introduced in September of last year, is a tiny, $129 gadget with a 2.5-inch touchscreen, a camera, and Amazon’s smart assistant, Alexa, built in. It can make video calls, play music and music videos, make visual lists and reminders, and it can work as a smart alarm clock. Oprah calls it “wonderfully more compact” than its larger Echo siblings. You can buy the Echo Spot for $100 on Amazon right now.
Smartphones are getting all the good stuff.
Laptops should be more like smartphones, at least when it comes to certain features.
It seems that smartphones are getting all the innovations and goodies while laptop design and features have remained fairly stagnant over the last few years. It’s understandable, as mobile devices are incredibly important, but surely laptops aren’t less important, are they?
Check out the five smartphone features I’d love to see in laptops:
The OLED displays of top smartphones.
With richer colors and supreme contrast, OLED displays on smartphones not only make operating systems, apps, and content look better than traditional LCD displays, they’re also more power efficient, too. One of the ways OLED displays are more efficient is that pixels can essentially turn themselves off when displaying the color black, and they don’t shine as much as LCD displays when displaying certain colors and certain brightnesses. That power efficiency can often lead to better battery life. With that in mind, OLED displays seem like a no-brainer for laptops, but most laptop makers still use LCD displays. There are some laptops that come with OLED displays, but not many. One reason why more laptops don’t come with OLED displays is cost, as devices with OLED displays tend to be more expensive. Still, cost can be mitigated by manufacturing advances and production volume, and it doesn’t look like much has been done to mitigate the cost of OLED for laptops — yet.
Facial recognition to unlock Mac laptops.
Owners of some Windows 10 laptops can use the Windows Hello facial-recognition feature to unlock their devices by simply sitting in front of their laptops. Despite Apple’s advanced Face ID facial recognition on its latest iPhones, facial recognition hasn’t made its way to Apple’s laptops yet. Some laptops, like the new MacBook Air, come with fingerprint scanners, which is a decent alternative. But nothing beats just existing in front of your laptop to unlock it.
I’m not the biggest advocate of wireless charging for mobile devices, but wireless charging for laptops could make more sense seeing as laptops are less “mobile” than mobile devices. Indeed, if your laptop usually rests on a desk all day, you could constantly keep it topped up. And it can keep charging while you’re using it, unlike smartphones that you need to pick up from wireless charging pads to use. Wireless charging is basically the same thing as plugging in a charger into a laptop, just without the whole plugging in part. You could just set down your laptop on a desk with a wireless charging pad and it’ll charge and power itself without any further interaction. At this stage, it looks like the technology for laptop wireless charging is still in its nascence. Dell announced a laptop in 2017 that came with wireless charging, but the feature hasn’t really taken off so far, nor is it widely available.
A switch like the iPhone’s silent-switch, but for a laptop’s camera and microphone.
Judging by how many stickers and cheap plastic accessories I see on laptop cameras, the paranoia that a hacker can access your camera without you knowing is real. Stickers are fine, and some laptops even have sliding covers to blur out the camera, but these are inelegant and primitive solutions. As for eavesdroppers activating your microphones without your knowledge, few laptop makers have done anything about it. Apple’s solution in its latest MacBook Pros and MacBook Air physically disconnects the microphone when you close your laptop’s lid. It’s a step forward, but not a complete solution, as eavesdroppers can still activate compromised microphones when the lid is open. It’s a wonder why laptop designers haven’t adopted a small physical switch that lets you physically disconnect the camera and microphone. I’m not asking for anything crazy, but perhaps something small, tasteful, and unobtrusive like the notification-silent switch on the iPhone. That way, you’ll know that you camera and microphone are totally disabled and can’t be accessed. And when you need your camera or microphone, just flick the switch again to re-enable them.
Laptops succumb to liquid damage far too often. If it’s not a problem for smartphones anymore, it shouldn’t be a problem for laptops, where cups of coffee and other drinks are often in close proximity. There’s certainly a challenge for laptop makers to add water resistance. Laptops need relatively large open ports, usually on the bottom or lower edges, to allow fresh air into the enclosure to cool down the components inside. It just so happens those air ports are exactly where liquid is likely to end up after a spill. And then, of course, there’s the physical keyboard — something most modern smartphones don’t have — with the spaces around each key a liability when liquid is poured on the surface.
Dell’s XPS laptops and Huawei’s MateBook X Pro have the thinnest bezels on laptops, but thin bezels still aren’t the standard yet like they are on high-end smartphones. With thinner bezels, laptops could get the same benefits as smartphones, like bigger screens in smaller sizes, and a premium modern look that makes bezels look dated. Are there other smartphone features — or any other features, for that matter — you’d like to see on a laptop? Get in touch at email@example.com.
It’s the 6th day and the team is still in OAU. Here are interesting discoveries and highlights for the day.
On Friday, Apple announced that two of its products — the iPhone X and the 13-inch MacBook Pro (non Touch Bar) — have known hardware issues.
On Friday, Apple announced that two of its products — the iPhone X and the 13-inch MacBook Pro (non Touch Bar) — have known hardware issues.
Apple said that some iPhone X screens do not respond or intermittently respond to touch.
For the 13-inch MacBook Pro, Apple said some devices might have an issue that causes data loss or drive failure.
Customers with eligible devices can have both issues fixed for free at an Apple retail store or with an Apple Authorized Service Provider.
On Friday, Apple announced that two of its products — the iPhone X and the 13-inch MacBook Pro (non Touch Bar) — have known hardware issues. Bloomberg first reported on these issues after being posted on Apple’s support pages on Friday.
Apple said that on some iPhone X devices, display screens are experiencing touch issues. Those issues include:
The screen, or part of the screen, does not respond or responds intermittently to a user’s touch.
The screen reacts even when a user hasn’t touched it.
The company said users with eligible iPhone X devices can have their display modules replaced for free at one of its retail stores or an Apple Authorized Service Provider.
According to the Bloomberg report, iPhone X users had been complaining about touch issues online for months. Also, interestingly, the iPhone X was on the market for less than one year after being discontinued in September following the release of the iPhone XS and iPhone XR.
A similar touchscreen issue crept up in 2016 with the iPhone 6 Plus. To repair the problem back then, however, Apple charged it’s customers $149.
Read more:Apple just announced it will fix iPhones with Touch Disease for $149
Apple also confirmed that its 13-inch MacBook Pro (non Touch Bar) sold between June 2017 and June 2018 might have an issue that causes data loss or drive failure.
The company said affected laptops could be serviced at one of its retail locations or an Apple Authorized Service Provider for free as well. To know if your MacBook Pro needs to be serviced, you’ll need to enter your device’s serial number on Apple’s support page.
Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson announced that his company will commit $1 million to support homelessness programs.
Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson announced that his company will commit $1 million to support homelessness programs.
This comes after 60 percent voted “yes” to San Francisco’s homelessness measure “Prop C” on Tuesday, but this measure, which would bring the city $300 million in funding for homelessness programs, is likely to face legal disputes that could keep the funding on reserve for years.
Twilio previously did not take a position on Prop C, but Lawson says Prop C should motivate San Francisco business leaders to take action on homelessness.
After San Franciscans voted “yes” on the hotly debated homelessness measure called “Prop C,” Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson announced that his company will commit $1 million to support homelessness programs.
Leading up to the election, the cloud communications company did not take a position on Proposition C. However, other tech giants in the city were especially vocal — notably Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff who advocated for Prop C, and Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, who spoke out against it.
“As we thought about it, there were so much attack, so much personal attacks,” Lawson told Business Insider. “To me, the biggest positive outcome [of Prop C] is kicking action on homelessness to the top of the leaders of the city’s mind. Obviously we see the problem but there wasn’t a lot of action on it.”
Lawson announced Twilio’s commitment Thursday night at an event where he was honored as one of San Francisco Business Times’ Most Admired CEOs. Earlier in the week, Lawson watched Twilio’s stock soar 35% after delivering blockbuster quarterly financial results.
On Tuesday night, Prop C won 60 percent among San Francisco voters. But the measure is likely to face legal challenges in the coming months, so Lawson says he wants to make help contribute to the cause right now.
“Let’s get it done,” Lawson said. “Our thinking is how can we start funding initiatives that get the process for Prop C started? If there’s a challenge before funds can be deployed, why don’t we start now?”
“This issue tore apart our cities”
Twilio didn’t take a position on Prop C ahead of the election because it didn’t “feel like our voice would add anything.” But now that it’s passed and with legal challenges likely to come, business leaders can work on tackling this problem now, Lawson says.
Right now, there’s a legal dispute in the city on a measure to raise taxes on commercial rents to pay for child care services and early education, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. A coalition of commercial property owners sued the city in August, saying that a simple majority vote is not enough to pass this measure and it violates state law — instead, it should be a two-thirds majority, they said.
This could also potentially affect Prop C, so the city won’t spend the money until this legal dispute is resolved. The massive flow of cash from this measure — $300 million a year — for homelessness programs may sit on reserve for years.
Read more: Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff on his Twitter beef with Jack Dorsey: You’re either ‘for the homeless’ or ‘you’re for yourself’
Lawson hopes to get other business leaders on board.
“After this election, we’ve come together to say we’re going to address the homelessness crisis,” Lawson told Business Insider. “As I was thinking about it, this issue tore apart our cities in a lot of ways. This was a difficult proposition. It’s time to come together.”
Although the company hasn’t decided exactly where the donation will go, Twilio.org, Twilio’s social impact arm, is currently evaluating options and will provide updates in the following weeks.
“We’ve seen several organizations in San Francisco fighting homelessness,” Erin Reilly, VP of Social Impact at Twilio, told Business Insider. “We are looking at how we can support with technology, funding, and time and help folks who live in the city. Now is the time we’re coming together to fight homelessness.”
Below is Lawson’s Tweet about Twilio’s commitment.
Celebrities like Alyssa Milano, Guillermo del Toro, and Khloe Kardashian all had to leave home. The fire is spreading rapidly, and is 0% contained.
Flames are racing along the southern California coastline as firefighters work to contain the fast-moving Woolsey Fire. The blaze has already scorched 14,000 acres on the outskirts of Los Angeles, and the nearby Hill Fire has charred 6,100 acres in Ventura County.
They’re just two of thousands of California wildfires recorded this year. Meanwhile, to the north, the Camp Fire has killed five people and leveled the entire town of Paradise.
Both of the LA-area fires started Thursday afternoon, and though no deaths have been reported, many people have had to leave behind their beloved pets and homes and flee.
Here’s a glimpse at the devastation in southern California so far.
The beach city of Malibu is home to about 13,000 people. On Friday, as flames from the Woolsey Fire raced towards the coast, the entire town was forced to evacuate.
Shortly after noon on Friday, the City of Malibu said on its website that the “fire is now burning out of control and heading into populated areas of Malibu. All residents must evacuate immediately.”
Source: Business Insider
Stars including Alyssa Milano, Melissa Etheridge, director Guillermo del Toro, and the Kardashian sisters all had to leave their homes in the area.
Milano said she packed up her “kids, dogs, computer,” and Doc Marten boots and headed for shelter. Sources: @Alyssa_Milano, @RealGDT, Business Insider, @metheridge
More than 20,000 structures have burned in the Woolsey Fire, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. Nearly 78,000 people have evacuated.
Source: VCFD PIO
As of 1 p.m. on Friday, the Woolsey Fire was 0% contained.
Firefighters went door to door urging people in the Malibu area to evacuate via the Pacific Coast Highway, which was turned into a 4-lane one-way road to safety.
Nearby, in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, the National Park Service said that “Western Town,” a movie set used in the popular show Westworld, had burned to the ground.
On its website, LA County says there’s no such thing as a wildfire season anymore — “fire season is now year-round.”
Source: LA County
To the north, meanwhile, residents of Paradise, California ran for their lives on foot and packed into cars to escape the Camp Fire. Five people burned to death in their cars.
Source: Business Insider
These fires are part of a trend: Wildfires are getting bigger and stronger as the planet heats up. The worst blaze in California history happened earlier this year, when the Mendocino Complex fire burned down more than 410,000 acres.