Trump-Era Congressional Hearings Have Succumbed to Conspiracy Politics

Stanley Kubrick helped the US government fake the moon landing. Beyoncé and Jay-Z are in the Illuminati. These stories are so well-worn that folks know them by heart. By now, conspiracy theories are a part of everyday American life—so much so that they even come from the mouths of besuited members of Congress on live …

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Gadget Lab Podcast: A Deep Dive into Microsoft’s HoloLens 2

Microsoft just unveiled a brand new product, but it really doesn’t want to hype it. That’s according to Alex Kipman, technical fellow at Microsoft who is credited with inventing Kinect and HoloLens. Kipman joins the Gadget Lab podcast this week to talk about HoloLens 2, the next-generation mixed reality headset.

HoloLens 2 has some significant upgrades: It’s lighter, more comfortable, and “smarter” than the previous version. Due to a new, patented optics module, its field-of-view is larger. But if you’re an officer dweller or average tech consumer, you likely won’t be buying one, both because of its price ($3500) and because of who it’s built for. Microsoft is focused entirely on commercial clients; think frontline employees, field workers, and maintenance professionals.

“The majority of the world does not sit in front of desks all day, and a lot of these jobs are being digitally transformed,” Kipman told WIRED in an earlier interview. “Things are getting more complex. [...]  read more

Alpha, the geek-friendly streaming service from Nerdist and Geek & Sundry, is shutting down

Another overly niche streaming service is closing up shop. On Friday, Alpha – a geek-friendly streaming service that focused on TV, pop-culture, sci-fi, comics, video games and more – announced it was shutting down. The subscription-based streaming service had been a joint venture between Nerdist and Geek & Sundry, and offered $4.99-per-month access to a mix of exclusive original content and other fan favorites from both brands.

Launched in 2016 by Legendary Digital Networks, the company had claimed a year ago it had a “six-figure” subscriber base that had grown by 200 percent over the past year. But even then, its potential reach would have remained small – Nerdist and Geek & Sundry combined had 8 million monthly uniques. Only a fraction of that audience would have likely converted to paying customers.

The company says today Alpha customers watched a cumulative 600 million minutes.

In an announcement to subscribers, the company said Alpha will no longer be active as of [...]  read more

Facebook reveals it misreported number of teen users of Research VPN

Facebook is drawing additional controversy over its Research Program, that collected data on teens through its Onavo VPN app, now that TechCrunch has revealed that the social networking giant misreported the number of users in the program.

When the news initially broke, the company said that “Less than 5 percent of the people who chose to participate in this market research program were teens”. However, this has been proven to be incorrect thanks to Facebook’s responses to a letter from US Senator Mark Warner on the issue.

The senator wrote to CEO Mark Zuckberg about how its Research Program specifically targeted teens and their mobile data usage which it obtained by paying users to install a VPN which spied on them.

Facebook’s VP of US public policy Kevin Martin responded to the senator’s questions, saying:

“At the time we ended the Facebook Research App on Apple’s iOS platform, less than 5 percent of the people sharing data with us through this program were teens. Analysis [...]  read more

How I podcast: Effectively Wild’s Ben Lindbergh

Last month, Spotify announced that it had paid $340 million for Gimlet and Anchor in a push to make its mark on podcasting. But while it’s encouraging to see media giants throw weight and money behind the medium, the beauty of the format has always been its accessibility.

It’s the rare form of entertainment that’s nearly as easy to create as it is to consume. And now, thanks to the proliferation of devoted hardware and software solutions, it’s never been easier. Podcast studios run the range from NPR to Skype chat and every variation in-between, with recording rigs every bit as diverse as the shows themselves.

After receiving some great feedback from my writeup of my own setup, I’ve reached out to some of my favorite podcasters to see what they’re working with. I’ll be highlighting some of those in the coming weeks, beginning with Ben Lindbergh, the host of my favorite baseball podcast, Effectively Wild.

For six and a half years and 1,341 episodes, [...]  read more

How far are you willing to go for growth?

There is a deep dilemma facing startup founders that I think just isn’t brought to light often enough. On one hand, almost all (and I do mean almost all) founders are reasonably ethical people. They can be over-optimistic, they can over-promise, they can be inexperienced around management, but at their core, they want to improve …

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