betaworks opens applications to LiveCamp

Fresh on the heels of the launch of betaworks Studios, the startup factory is opening its doors once again as applications have opened for LiveCamp.

LiveCamp is the fourth installment of betaworks’ accelerator program, following the progress of BotCamp, VoiceCamp and VisionCamp.

LiveCamp is a bit less straightforward with its thesis. Inspired by Twitch streamers and platforms like HQ Trivia, LiveCamp is looking for companies that are interested in digital live experiences, where the line between performer and audience is blurred.

“You can think of eSports with commenting as the 1.0,” said Camps General Manager Danika Laszuk. “HQ really brought the idea of live to a more mainstream audience. I mean, there is no game if people aren’t playing it. But there are plenty of examples, like Peloton, where you could get a bike or go to a studio, or take a live spin class right from your home on your bike, with a community all over the world.”

Betaworks has always employed the “rising read more

Security, privacy experts weigh in on the ICE doxxing

In what appears to be the latest salvo in a new, wired form of protest, developer Sam Lavigne posted code that scrapes LinkedIn to find Immigration and Customs Enforcement employee accounts. His code, which basically a Python-based tool that scans LinkedIn for keywords, is gone from Github and Gitlab and Medium took down his original post. The CSV of the data is still available here and here and WikiLeaks has posted a mirror.

“I find it helpful to remember that as much as internet companies use data to spy on and exploit their users, we can at times reverse the story, and leverage those very same online platforms as a means to investigate or even undermine entrenched power structures. It’s a strange side effect of our reliance on private companies and semi-public platforms to mediate nearly all aspects of our lives. We don’t necessarily need to wait for the next Snowden-style revelation to scrutinize the powerful — so much is already hiding in plain sight,” said Lavigne.

Doxxing read more

Facebook prototypes tool to show how many minutes you spend on it

Are you ready for some scary numbers? After months of Mark Zuckerberg talking about how “Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits,” Facebook is preparing to turn that commitment into a Time Well Spent product.

Buried in Facebook’s Android app is an unreleased “Your Time on Facebook” feature. It shows the tally of how much time you spent on the Facebook app on your phone on each of the last seven days, and your average time spent per day. It lets you set a daily reminder that alerts you when you’ve reached your self-imposed limit, plus a shortcut to change your Facebook notification settings.

Facebook confirmed the feature development to TechCrunch, with a spokesperson telling us, “We’re always working on new ways to help make sure people’s time on Facebook is time well spent.”

The feature could help Facebook users stay mindful of how long they’re staring at the social network. This self-policing could be important since both iOS read more

Amazon FreeTime Unlimited finally lands on Apple’s App Store

Five and half years after it launched, one of the more popular apps for kids’ reading and entertainment has finally arrived on the iOS. Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, the e-commerce giant’s subscription service for children 3-12 that gives unlimited access to 10,000 books, movies and TV shows starting at $2.99 for one user per month for Prime members, and going up to $9.99 per month for non-Prime members for a family plan of up to four users across tablets, phones, e-readers, and smart speakers, is now available on the App Store.

Apple is promoting the new app at the moment on the home page of the App Store, where a reader saw it and flagged it to us. Prime members get a discount to $6.99 per month for the family plan, but you’d need to buy that via Amazon’s site, not iTunes.

“We launch new products and features as they’re ready,” an Amazon spokesperson said. “We’re excited to bring the FreeTime Unlimited experience to iOS devices, including iPhone, read more

Lime scooters are live in Paris

Lime is the hot new thing in San Francisco, but will it work in other countries? The company just launched its electric scooter service in Paris.

This isn’t the first European city as Lime is also operating in Berlin, Bremen, Frankfurt and Zurich. But it’s a significant launch as alternative mobility solutions have all been trying to grab some market share in Paris.

Yesterday, you could see 200 scooters in the South East of Paris ready to be deployed. Lime plans to expand its fleet over time. Every day, the company will collect all the scooters at 9 PM to recharge them and put them back on the streets at 5 AM.

Between October and January, four bike-sharing services launched in Paris — GoBee Bike, Obike, Ofo and Mobike. GoBee Bike has left the market since then because it was underfunded and suffering from too much competition.

But Mobike and Ofo seem to be doing really well, especially if you compare it to the docked bikes — Vélib is more or less broken read more

WordPress.com parent company acquires Atavist

Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, WooCommerce, Longreads, Simplenote and a few other things, is acquiring Brooklyn-based startup Atavist.

Atavist has been working on a content management system for independent bloggers and writers. With an Atavist website, you can easily write and publish stories with a ton of media.

You might think that this isn’t particularly groundbreaking as anyone can create a website on WordPress.com or Squarespace and do the same thing. But the company also lets you create a paywall and build a subscription base.

Many writers don’t want to deal with the technical details of running a website. That’s why Atavist gives you the tools so that you can focus on your stories.

Atavist is also running a publication called Atavist Magazine. The publication is also joining Automattic. It’s unclear if it’s going to be part of Longreads or remain its own thing.

The CMS itself won’t stick around. read more

Bag Week 2018: Timbuk2’s Launch featherweight daypack is tough and tiny

If you need something small, lightweight and indestructible, Timbuk2’s Lightweight Launch Backpack ($129) might be right up your alley. The pack, constructed from famously tough Tyvek, can fit a 13″ laptop comfortably and plenty else. At only 18L, it sounds small, but due to its drawstring-top design and large main compartment, it holds more than enough to make it a functional all-purpose daypack for work or play.

The Launch’s distinct look will be what makes up most people’s minds about this pack. Beyond the drawstring design and this fun lemon-lime interior color, the Launch doesn’t have too many bells and whistles. Still, it checks important boxes with the inclusion of stuff like a water bottle holder, a sternum strap and weather resistant build material.

If you’re a fan of tough lightweight packs, know that the Launch’s Tyvek material gives it more structure than most stuff made out of this kind of material. That’s both a good and bad thing: more structure read more

Apple will repair busted keyboards on recent MacBooks and MacBook Pros for free

Back in 2016, Apple redesigned the MacBook Pro’s keyboard. It… hasn’t gone as well as they probably hoped.

Complaints of failing keys quickly started popping up. Some keys had a tendency to get stuck in place; others move freely, but simply don’t respond.

Two years and a lawsuit later, Apple is officially acknowledging the issue with a free keyboard repair program.

And if you already paid Apple to fix your keyboard? Give them a call. According to this support page, they’re planning on refunding previous repair charges.

Apple says the following models are eligible:

  • MacBook (Retina, 12-­inch, Early 2015)
  • MacBook (Retina, 12­-inch, Early 2016)
  • MacBook (Retina, 12-­inch, 2017)
  • MacBook Pro (13­-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2016)
  • MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2017)

To get the process started, you’ll have to take your affected laptop into an authorized service provider or an Apple retail store, or mail the whole thing in. They’ll examine it to make sure that it’s actually the keyboard’s fault (read: to make sure you didn’t spill a cup of juice on it or something), then either replace the affected key or swap out the whole board. Alas, this repair isn’t often a quick one read more

Bag Week 2018: P.MAI’s women’s leather laptop bag is luxury packed with utility

Welcome to Bag Week 2018. Every year your faithful friends at TechCrunch spend an entire week looking at bags. Why? Because bags — often ignored but full of our important electronics — are the outward representations of our techie styles, and we put far too little thought into where we keep our most prized possessions.

I’ve always preferred carrying a backpack to work instead of a purse. Like many women, I’ve accepted that it means sacrificing style for comfort and utility. There are tons of women’s backpacks on the market with all sorts of colors, designs, materials and overall aesthetics.

But the minute you look for a quality, women’s leather laptop backpack the options are sparse and divided into two camps. They seem to either be casual in aesthetic and centered around a utilitarian design, or straight off the runway and built more for show than function.

P.MAI surprised me in its ability to find an uncompromising middle ground between read more

Facebook mistakenly leaked developer analytics reports to testers

Set the “days without a Facebook privacy problem” counter to zero. This week, an alarmed developer contacted TechCrunch, informing us that their Facebook App Analytics weekly summary email had been delivered to someone outside their company. It contains sensitive business information, including weekly average users, page views and new users.

Forty-three hours after we contacted Facebook about the issue, the social network now confirms to TechCrunch that 3 percent of apps using Facebook Analytics had their weekly summary reports sent to their app’s testers, instead of only the app’s developers, admins and analysts.

Testers are often people outside of a developer’s company. If the leaked info got to an app’s competitors, it could provide them an advantage. At least they weren’t allowed to click through to view more extensive historical analytics data on Facebook’s site.

Facebook tells us it has fixed the problem and no personally identifiable information or contact info was read more