China’s richest man Jack Ma will retire on Monday

In an interview with the New York Times Jack Ma revealed his plan to step down as executive chairman of Alibaba — often referred to as China’s Amazon — on Monday. He co-founded the Chinese internet retailer in 1999 and built it into an empire currently worth $420 billion and making the former English teacher China’s richest man worth about $40 billion. According to the paper current CEO Daniel Zhang is a “candidate” to replace Ma, who plans to pursue philanthropy in education. Monday is his 54th birthday, and the Chinese holiday Teacher’s Day, making the announcement particularly timely.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #engadget


Fortnite hits 15 million installs on Android

Circumventing the Google Play store wasn’t exactly a gamble for Epic, given the fact that Fortnite is essentially a license to print money. But even by its own standards, the game is posting some impressive numbers three weeks after hitting Android.

In a blog post this week, Epic noted that the wildly popular sandbox survival game hit 23 million players on Google’s mobile operating system, spread out across 15 million APK installs. Those numbers are arriving 21 days after the title launched on the OS.

This, like every other piece of Fortnite news, means big bucks for Epic. That’s especially the case here, however, given that the launch means the gaming company is cutting Google’s 30 percent take out of the equation.

Along with the numbers, Epic also highlighted some of its efforts to tackle potential malware threats — an added issue given that the game isn’t distributed through Google’s official channel.

“So far, Epic has instigated action on 47 [...]  read more

The Victoria & Albert Museum’s videogames exhibition will remind you why you love games

Sometimes, between the hot takes and community controversies, it can be hard to remember why we fell in love with videogames. Although games are an unequalled immersive and interactive medium, the artistic nature of them can be buried under the weight placed on their entertainment value. The Victoria & Albert Museum’s latest exhibition aims to excavate these dusty remains and put them front and centre – reminding you why you fell in love with videogames in the first place.

The V&A’s Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt exhibition is the first major exhibition of its kind in the UK, investigating contemporary videogames (from 2000 onwards) and how modern technologies such as the internet have had an impact on their design and increasing success – allowing designers to push boundaries and increase their cultural reach. 

Design is at the heart of this exhibition, which from the moment you walk in is evident. A quote from Frank Lantz’s 2014 Game Developer’s Conference [...]  read more

How ‘Searching’ Nails Our Online Anxieties

One of the more charming slices of ‘90s-era web-culture ephemera is, the fake pie-delivery site frequented by Sandra Bullock’s hacker in 1995’s The Net. Though glimpsed only briefly in the movie, was clearly among the chillest faux-online services of the Clinton era. Check out its easy-clicking interface, its friction-free payment plan! The experience of using is so mellow, it will inspire you to throw on a flannel and cue up some Annie Lennox.

The Net was released back when Hollywood was still trying to combine high drama with high baud rates, resulting in movies like Hackers, Masterminds, the still-quite-charming Sneakers. Twenty years later, these films—and the technology they employed—are amusing for all sorts of reasons: Their clunkiness, their design, their forced edginess. And while these films were supposed to be thrillers, [...]  read more

And the winner of Startup Battlefield at Disrupt SF 2018 is… Forethought

At the very beginning, there were 21 startups. After three days of incredibly fierce competition, we now have a winner.

Startups participating in the Startup Battlefield have all been hand-picked to participate in our highly competitive startup competition. They all presented in front of multiple groups of VCs and tech leaders serving as judges for a chance to win $100,000 and the coveted Disrupt Cup.

After hours of deliberations, TechCrunch editors pored over the judges’ notes and narrowed the list down to five finalists: CB Therapeutics, Forethought, Mira, Origami Labs and Unbound.

These startups made their way to the finale to demo in front of our final panel of judges, which included: Cyan Banister (Founders Fund), Roelof Botha (Sequoia Capital), Jeff Clavier (Uncork Capital), Kirsten Green (Forerunner Ventures), Aileen Lee (Cowboy Ventures) and Matthew Panzarino (TechCrunch).

And now, meet the Startup Battlefield winner of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018.

Winner: Forethought

Forethought [...]  read more

Apple yanks Alex Jones’ InfoWars app

After Alex Jones and InfoWars drew bans from Facebook, YouTube and Apple Podcasts over repeated violations of their conduct policies, fans of the network downloaded its apps to continue accessing the same content. Tonight Apple confirmed to BuzzFeed News that it has permanently banned InfoWars from the iOS App Store.

Apple was not specific about what caused the move, simply referring to its guidelines about objectionable content in the store. Before Twitter finally banned Jones and his site yesterday, we listed a series of posts that violated its policies and had somehow not resulted in the accounts being removed. Despite whatever reason the app had avoided removal until now despite engaging in the kind of defamatory and discriminatory language explicitly banned, Jones’ move to confront reporters and even [...]  read more

Best web hosting resellers of 2018

Web hosting is normally a service you’ll buy just for your own use, but sometimes it pays to think bigger. If you’re running your own business, for instance, perhaps as a developer or web designer, offering web space as an extra service to your customers could make a lot of sense.

Many web hosts offer reseller schemes where you can buy a block of resources – disk space, bandwidth, a number of cPanel accounts – to divide and sell in any way you like. Costs can be very low, sometimes just $1.40 or $2.80 a month per account, so you could bundle hosting in other business products with very little impact on your bottom line.

There are some significant issues to think about. For example, reseller hosting may look cheap, but that’s because you’ll probably have to be the first line of support for your customers. If they encounter any questions or technical difficulties, you’ll be their first port of call. You can pass anything complicated onto the web host, but they [...]  read more

Fake Beto O’Rourke Texts Expose New Playground for Trolls

A screenshot of the suspicious text message began making the rounds on social media Wednesday.

“Hi, it’s Patsy here w/Beto for Texas. Our records indicate that you’re a supporter,” the text message read, purportedly coming from a volunteer for Texas Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke’s campaign. “We are in search of volunteers to help transport undocumented immigrants to polling booths so that they will be able to vote. Would you be able to support this grassroots effort?”

The text did originate from a service called Relay, which O’Rourke’s volunteers use to contact potential voters. But the message itself—promoting overt voter fraud—wasn’t sanctioned by the campaign. “It was sent by an impostor,” O’Rourke’s communications director Chris Evans said in a statement. The opposing Ted Cruz campaign has said they had nothing to do with it either. Within a day, Relay shut down the account [...]  read more

Coinbase’s Brian Armstrong: ‘I’d love to run a public company’

Brian Armstrong, the CEO of cryptocurrency trading platform Coinbase, wants to take his company public — maybe on the blockchain.

Onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018, Armstrong dished on his ambitions for the future of Coinbase.

“We are self-sustaining,” Armstrong said. “You know, we’ve been profitable for quite a while. We don’t have any plans to raise additional capital at this point, but never say never … Someday I’d love to run a public company.”

Armstrong didn’t rule out going public on the blockchain. He said he’s even considered going public on his own platform.

“I think it would be very on mission for us to do that because, of course, we are creating an open financial system,” he said. “Companies could list their stock, which are really tokens, and instead of a cap table, you tokenize the cap table. But I don’t have any decisions on that to share at the moment.”

An innovative exit would be very on-brand for Coinbase. As one of the earliest players [...]  read more

Apple: Proposed China tariffs will make Watch, AirPods more expensive

“Because all tariffs ultimately show up as a tax on US consumers, they will increase the cost of Apple products that our customers have come to rely on in their daily lives,” Apple wrote in its letter to the US Trade Representative’s office, which you can read below.

The public comment period for the proposed 25 percent levy on products and parts has now closed, and the government will make a decision on enforcing the tariffs after assessing the comments. The proposal follows a prior round of tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said Friday that he is mulling yet another round of levies on imports from China, this time on $267 billion worth of goods.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #engadget