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Venture Capitalists' Critiques of Journalism Secretly Leaked to Journalists

A confrontation between venture capitalists and journalists has been slowly playing out on Twitter — and in an incendiary article on VICE US. It started when... A luggage startup's co-CEO complained on Instagram about young reporters who "forgo their personal ethics." A New York Times reporter called the posts "incoherent" and "disappointing." Angel investor Balaji S. Srinivasa (also the former CTO of Coinbase) later said the reporter "attacked" the co-CEO, who he then needed to defend — calling the reporter a sociopath in a multi-tweet thread. The New York Times reporter tweeted that VC had "been ranting about me by name for months now." The reporter and the angel investor both finally ended up on Clubhouse, an elite invitation-only audio social network popular with venture capitalists, but the reporter left early. Later Vice published leaked audio of the subsequent conversation, which included Srinivasa and several other Andreessen Horowitz venture capitalists, in which Vice says participants "spent at least an hour talking about how journalists have too much power to 'cancel' people and wondering what they, the titans of Silicon Valley, could do about it." Then things got really ugly...

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Political Protests Are Now Happening in Videogames

Business Insider reports that some players are adapting their avatars in the game world of Animal Crossing: New Horizons to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement in the real world: In "Animal Crossing: New Horizons," players are creating customized signs and clothing for their game characters that say "BLM" and depict symbols of "No justice, no peace...." Anyone with access to a Nintendo Online account can host an online protest in the game; one such virtual protest was held on June 7. As there's a limit of only eight players allowed to be on another player's island at a time, interested players were directed to a site which put folks in line to gain access. When the player's turn came, they were given a special code needed to enter the island. The protest host made customized signs, pillows, and memorial photos, and carved out a special path and area on their island to hold the sit-in protest. Players were encouraged to bring in-game currency (also known as bells) to the island, which would be converted into a charity donation by the host in the name of the player who contributed. This protest raised money for six different charities. including the NAACP, the National Bail Fund Network, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Meanwhile, Forbes reports: Roblox, a popular game among children and early teens that announced 100 million active players last year, has become a small-scale battleground in the upcoming U.S. presidential elections. The BBC is reporting that hackers are taking over accounts to spread pro-Trump propaganda, dressing them up in red hats like Trump supporters and putting pro-Trump messages in profiles... There are ton of posts on social media from players who say that their accounts have been hacked, and Gamespot notes that since Roblox accounts are indexed by Google, it's easy to see a ton of accounts featuring the same message in the "about field": Ask your parents to vote for Trump this year!#Maga2020. A search on Google yields about 1,800 results... They also appear to be spamming friend requests and friend lists to send out pro-trump messages far beyond the single hacked account.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Tesla to Make Molecule Printers for Gates-Backed Vaccine Developer

Tesla is building mobile molecule printers to produce a potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed in Germany by CureVac, reports Reuters: CureVac, an unlisted German company, has said it is developing portable, automated mRNA production units that it calls printers and which Musk described as "RNA microfactories". They are being designed to be shipped to remote locations, where they can churn out its vaccine candidate and other mRNA-based therapies depending on the recipe fed into the machine. But for the immediate pandemic use — should its vaccine candidate win market approval — it has production sites with regulatory approval in Germany with a capacity to produce hundreds of millions of doses. The company, based in Tuebingen and backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a pioneer of the so-called messenger RNA approach, which is also pursued by BioNTech and its partner Pfizer as well as Moderna.... The "microfactories" would be built at Tesla Grohmann Automation in Germany, Musk said in a Twitter thread late on Wednesday night.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Why Apple Stopped Updating Over 15,000 Games in China's App Store

Apple "has faced mounting pressure from the Chinese government in recent weeks to comply with local regulations, including that all games show proof of a government granted license," writes Engadget. And now it's finally come to a head, CNBC reports: Apple has blocked updates on tens of thousands of revenue-generating iPhone games on its App Store in China amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, according to a report from The Financial Times... There are currently around 60,000 mobile games hosted on the China App Store that are paid for or have in-app purchases, according to AppinChina figures cited by the FT. However, China's regulators have only issued slightly more than 43,000 licenses since 2010, while just 1,570 were given out in 2019... Developers were told in February that they'd finally have to comply with China's mobile video game laws by June 30... "Android app stores have largely observed the license rule since 2016," notes Engadget. "Apple, however, took a looser approach, allowing developers to publish their games while they waited for authorization, which could take months." (CNBC points out that "Grand Theft Auto" maker Rockstar Games "relied on the loophole for years.") They also report that Apple's App Store earns more money in China than any other country -- including about 20% of all of Apple's in-app advertising revenue. A columnist at The Street estimates that Apple earned about $2.2 billion last year from App Store revenue in China. "If I am right in my calculations, gaming app revenues from China add up to roughly one-sixth of the total company's number" for App Store revenues

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Amazon Stops Selling 'Active Content' Games in Kindle Reader's Store

Once upon a time, you could play Scrabble on your black-and-white Kindle readers. Or chess or sudoko, or even solve New York Times Crossword Puzzles. Amazon's Kindle Store had included 500 slick Java-based "Active Content" downloads... Electronic Arts even produced Kindle-specific versions of Monopoly, Yahtzee, and Battleship, while Amazon created original games with titles like Every Word and Pirate Stash — and even a choose-your-own-adventure game named Dusk World. Amazon soon moved into color touchscreen tablets, where there are many more games to choose from. But while any old downloaded "Active Content" will still work on their black-and-white Kindle readers, Amazon has now stopped selling it in its Kindle Store, reports The Digital Reader: The feature launched in 2010/2011, and was essentially abandoned by 2014 when Amazon launched the Kindle Voyage. Amazon decided to not support Active Content on its then newest ereader. Later Kindle models also lacked support for Active Content, and that meant it was only a matter of time before Amazon also removed the section from the Kindle Store. And now one of the last remaining holdovers from that crazy time when ebooks were new is now gone. There was a time, back in the early ebook era, when everyone was throwing really cool ideas up against the wall to see what stuck. Enhanced ebooks, for example, got tried a dozen times in around 7 years, and failed to find a market every time. Augmented reality ebooks was also tried several times, and for the most part failed because the tech wasn't there (AR was always going to be a niche product, but it's time will come). Digital textbooks were tried and failed several times because students could see they didn't make economic sense, but then publishers found a way to force them down students' throats (site licenses)... And now Kindle Active Content is joining all the other formerly great ideas in the ebook graveyard.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



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