technology

US, China putting trade war on hold after progress in talks

The United States and China are pulling back from the brink of a trade war after the world’s two biggest economies reported progress in talks aimed at bringing down America’s massive trade deficit with Beijing. “We are putting the trade war on hold,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday. After high-level talks Thursday and Friday in Washington, Beijing agreed in a joint statement with the U.S. to “substantially reduce” America’s trade deficit with China, but did not commit to cut the gap by any specific amount. The Trump administration had sought to slash the deficit by $200 billion. Still, Mnuchin said the two countries had made “meaningful progress” and that the administration has agreed to put on hold proposed tariffs on up ...

For Apple, this year’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day is all about education

Steven Aquino Contributor Steven Aquino is a freelance tech writer and iOS accessibility expert. More posts by this contributor What Apple’s education announcements mean for accessibility At this month’s WWDC, Apple unveiled refined accessibility tools Following Apple’s education event in Chicago in March, I wrote about what the company’s announcements might mean for accessibility. After sitting in the audience covering the event, the big takeaway I had was Apple could “make serious inroads in furthering special education as well.” As I wrote, despite how well-designed the Classroom and Schoolwork apps seemingly are, Apple should do more to tailor their new tools to better serve students and educators in special education settings. After all, accessibility and special education are inextri...

Uber ends forced arbitration for sex misconduct victims — but only for individuals

The rideshare company Uber announced Tuesday that it is doing away with a rule that forced arbitration on passengers and drivers who come forward claiming they’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted. But the move is drawing some criticism for applying only to individuals and not class-action suits. The policy shift was detailed in a letter titled “Turning the lights on” published on the company’s site. Uber’s Chief Legal Officer Tony West wrote that the company “will no longer require mandatory arbitration for individual claims of sexual assault or sexual harassment by Uber riders, drivers or employees.” This update, he continued, will “give riders, drivers and employees options to continue taking accusations of harassment or assaults into ar...

Broadening education investments to full-stack solutions

Ryan Craig Contributor More posts by this contributor College for the 21st century Hiring has gone Hollywood As an education investor, one of my favorite sayings is that education is the next industry to be disrupted by technology, and has been for the past twenty years. When I started my career at Warburg Pincus, I inherited a portfolio of technology companies that senior partners naively believed would solve major problems in our education system. It would have worked out fine, of course, except for all the people. Teachers weren’t always interested in changing the way they taught. IT staff weren’t always capable of implementing new technologies. And schools weren’t always 100% rational in their purchasing decisions. And so while, given the size of the market, projections inexorably led ...

California may require solar panels on new homes in 2020

California may start requiring solar panels on new homes and low-rise apartment buildings built after 2020, the first such mandate nationwide and the state’s latest step to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The California Energy Commission, which will vote on the regulations Wednesday, estimates they would add an average $10,500 in construction costs for a single-family home but generate about $16,000 in energy savings. The standards also include requirements around ventilation and indoor air quality. California has positioned itself as the nationwide leader on clean energy, pushing for more electric vehicles on the roads and fewer emissions from residential and commercial buildings. “This is going to be an important step forward for our state to continue to lead the clean energy ...

The formula behind San Francisco’s startup success

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor What does it take to be a startup that raises huge sums quickly? Not a minimalist? Startups will gladly store, manage and deliver your items Why has San Francisco’s startup scene generated so many hugely valuable companies over the past decade? That’s the question we asked over the past few weeks while analyzing San Francisco startup funding, exit, and unicorn creation data. After all, it’s not as if founders of Uber, Airbnb, Lyft, Dropbox and Twitter had to get office space within a couple of miles of each other. We hadn’t thought our data-centric approach would yield a clear recipe for success. San Francisco private and newly public unicorns are a diverse bunch, numbering more than 30, in areas ranging from ridesharing to online l...

Twitter warns users to change their passwords

Twitter is warning users to change their passwords after a bug could have exposed them to prying eyes. The social media company identified a bug that stored passwords “unmasked” (in plain text) in an internal log, according to a Twitter blog post. Twitter already patched the bug, it claimed Thursday, and an investigation by the company doesn’t indicate any “breach or misuse by anyone,” though they are still advising users to take the extra precaution and reset their passwords. Additionally, Twitter stated they’re “implementing plans to prevent this bug from happening again.” When users set up their account with Twitter, they use a technology that masks the password through a process called “hashing,” encrypting passphrases with a randomized string of letters and numbers, allowing the...

Data firm at center of Facebook privacy scandal will close

Cambridge Analytica, the Trump-affiliated data firm at the center of Facebook’s worst privacy scandal in history, is declaring bankruptcy and shutting down. The London firm blamed “unfairly negative media coverage” and said it has been “vilified” for actions it says are both legal and widely accepted as part of online advertising. Cambridge Analytica said it has filed papers to begin insolvency proceedings in the U.K. and will seek bankruptcy protection in a federal court in New York. “The siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the company’s customers and suppliers,” Cambridge Analytica said in a statement. “As a result, it has been determined that it is no longer viable to continue operating the business.” Faceb...

WATCH: New Facebook feature helps protect user data

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Sprint and T-Mobile agree to combine in $26.5 billion deal

T-Mobile and Sprint reached a $26.5 billion merger agreement Sunday that would reduce the U.S. wireless industry to three major players — that is, if the Trump administration’s antitrust regulators let the deal go through. The nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless companies have been considering a combination for years, one that would bulk them up to a similar size as industry giants Verizon and AT&T. But a 2014 attempt fell apart amid resistance from the Obama administration. The combined company, to be called T-Mobile, would have about 127 million customers. Consumers worry a less crowded telecom field could result in higher prices, while unions are concerned about potential job losses. In a conference call with Wall Street analysts, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure acknow...

Investing in frontier technology is (and isn’t) cleantech all over again

Shahin Farshchi Contributor More posts by this contributor Investing in frontier technology is (and isn’t) cleantech all over again The dos and don’ts of crafting frontier-tech companies I entered the world of venture investing a dozen years ago.  Little did I know that I was embarking on a journey to master the art of balancing contradictions: building up experience and pattern recognition to identify outliers, emphasizing what’s possible over what’s actual, generating comfort and consensus around a maverick founder with a non-consensus view, seeking the comfort of proof points in startups that are still very early, and most importantly, knowing that no single lesson learned can ever be applied directly in the future as every future scenario will certainly be different. I was fortunate to...

After Facebook scrutiny, is Google next?

Facebook has taken the lion’s share of scrutiny from Congress and the media for its data-handling practices that allow savvy marketers and political agents to target specific audiences, but it’s far from alone. YouTube, Google and Twitter also have giant platforms awash in more videos, posts and pages than any set of human eyes could ever check. Their methods of serving ads against this sea of content may come under the microscope next. Advertising and privacy experts say a backlash is inevitable against a “Wild West” internet that has escaped scrutiny before. There continues to be a steady barrage of new examples where unsuspecting advertisers had their brands associated with extremist content on major platforms. In the latest discovery, CNN reported that it found ...