Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired A Bet on Uber Is a Bet on Self-Driving

Hexbyte Tech News Wired A Bet on Uber Is a Bet on Self-Driving

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired

Uber’s self-driving cars could be crucial to the company reversing operating losses that topped $3 billion last year.

Natalie Behring/Reuters

On Friday morning, Uber executives rang the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange as their 10-year-old, $82 billion company went public. The IPO is significant, even in a year chock-full of important IPOs: It’s the largest by a tech company in the past half decade and the second by a ride-hailing company in the past two months. Uber shares fell 7.6 percent on their first day, from the IPO price of $45 to $41.57.

Aarian Marshall covers autonomous vehicles, transportation policy, and urban planning for WIRED.

But the most important activity Friday for Uber’s future may happen 370 miles away, in Pittsburgh, headquarters of the company’s Advanced Technologies Group. If Friday is like any other for ATG, autonomous vehicle safety drivers will pilot a handful of sensor-laden SUVs on short test trips around the city’s Strip District. They will collect data on road situations and probably run through a few trials conceived by the company’s engineers to ensure their software is working properly.

If it works, that self-driving technology might finally lead the ride-hailing company to the kind of profitability its investors—who have sunk more than $22 billion into Uber already—would like to see. At least some day.

“I’m not sure [automated vehicle tech] is necessary for ride-hail companies to get to profitability, but it does feel like once they’re able to achieve that, then they have an opportunity to be wildly profitable,” says Barrett Daniels, a partner in the national IPO practice at Deloitte. Investors may need to be patient; Uber’s operating loss last year topped $3 billion. “The question is, does that mean 2025 or 2035? I don’t know,” Daniels says.

In 2016, then-CEO Travis Kalanick said the quiet part out loud when he argued that autonomous technology—that is, getting rid of drivers—was existential for the ride-hailing company. “What would happen if … we weren’t part of the autonomy thing? Then the future passes us by, basically, in a very expeditious and efficient way,” he told Business Insider.

Since then, Uber has poured money into the Advanced Technologies Group’s work—nearly $1.1 billion since 2016, including $457 million in 2018, according to Uber’s public S-1 filing. “We believe that autonomous vehicle technologies will enable a product that competes with the cost of personal vehicle ownership and usage, and represents the future of transportation,” the company wrote in its prospectus. It continues to invest despite slowing revenue growth, which fell by half in 2018.

It hasn’t always been smooth. Last year, an autonomous vehicle being tested in Arizona struck and killed a woman. Uber subsequently shut down its Arizona operations and halted its testing for nine months as it revamped its safety operations. After the company relaunched limited testing in Pittsburgh late last year, ATG head Eric Meyhofer pledged “we’ve made safety core to everything we do.”

Nonetheless, Uber’s investment in autonomy makes sense, because it spends tons of money on drivers—on recruiting them to a job that can be unpredictable and low-paying, and on incentivizing them to travel to where riders want to go. Drivers typically receive roughly 70 percent of each fare. In addition, Uber says it spent $1 billion in 2018 on driver referrals and “excess driver incentives”—that is, incentives the company paid out beyond what the driver brought in in revenue. The incentives alone totaled $837 million last year, up from $531 million in 2017. (A lot of this money went into creating incentives for drivers new to Uber Eats, the company’s delivery service.)

The money Uber spends on drivers could climb further. On Wednesday, small but noisy crowds of ride-hail drivers and their allies took to sidewalks across the world to demand a minimum wage, a greater share of IPO proceeds, and to be considered employees, rather than contractors. The boycott didn’t seriously disrupt ride-hail service, but it attracted the attention of some political heavyweights, injecting the issue of gig-economy work into an already fractious national tech policy debate. Expect Uber and its ilk to spend serious money on beating back new labor regulations, driven in part by precedent-setting class actions in important states like California. Or, as Uber put it, bloodlessly, in its prospectus: “Our business would be adversely affected if Drivers were classified as employees instead of independent contractors.”

Uber also noted in its prospectus that the competition for drivers is particularly vicious in “large metropolitan areas,” exactly the places where it books most of its rides. And where it will need to continue duking it out with rivals Lyft, Didi, and Ola. Unless someone makes a major acquisition—as Uber recently did by beginning a merger with Middle Eastern competitor Careem—the company may have to continue to pour money into the seemingly bottomless pit of driver recruitment and retention.

Enter robot taxis, though, and the sea change Uber once promised—No more personal cars! For anyone!—could, perhaps, come to pass, especially in high-density cities. “If people don’t have cars anymore, they might use ride-hailing to do literally everything,” Daniels says. “The sky is the limit.”

In its quest for profitability, Uber has opened up some side hustles. Drivers are less important in, say, an Uber dominated by its new (and capital intensive) bike- and scooter-share services or in a world where Uber Freight—the company’s trucking brokerage platform, which recorded $359 million in gross bookings last year—takes off. As unprofitable companies continue to make bids for IPO, it’s been increasingly clear that investors are somewhat comfortable with the idea of taking long-term bets, be they bikes or flying taxis or even robot cars. The real question is how long they’re willing to wait.

Updated 5-10-19, 1:35 pm ET: This story has been updated to reflect the start of trading in Uber shares.

Updated 5-10-19, 5:40pm ET: This story has been updated to reflect the close of first-day trading.


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Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired How the Climate Plans of Presidential Hopefuls Stack Up

Hexbyte Tech News Wired How the Climate Plans of Presidential Hopefuls Stack Up

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired

Beto O’Rourke is one of two presidential candidates who want the US to be carbon neutral within the next three decades and have a detailed plan for how to get there.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

This story originally appeared in The Guardian and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Of the nearly two dozen Democrats running for president, only two campaigns have so far laid out deadlines for transforming American life to slash the pollution that is warming the planet’s climate.

The world’s scientists warn that governments have about 11 years to put in place strategies to cut emissions from power plants, cars, buildings, factories, and land use. Once the next US president takes office, they will have nine years.

Passing large-scale climate legislation or writing new regulations for industry could take years, even if it is the next president’s primary priority. Any new administration will need to enter office with a detailed proposal and timeline to make a dent in the country’s share of climate pollution, experts agree.

What needs to be done and when?

“The more that we delay, the harder it will be,” said Sonia Aggarwal, vice president of the climate policy group Energy Innovation. “The sooner we get started, the more we’ll see deployment of new and increasingly very low-cost technologies that can reduce emissions.”

Aggarwal said the changes required are “nothing short of remaking our economy” at a “fundamental level.” Energy Innovation advocates for tackling the biggest and least complicated emissions cuts first. That includes switching to clean sources of electricity and scaling back super-polluting gases, including methane emissions from the oil and gas industry and fluorinated gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning.

But as Democrats cast Donald Trump and other Republicans as resistant to even acknowledging the crisis, most Democratic candidates have yet to reach that level of detail in their policy proposals.

Who is ahead of the pack?

Washington governor Jay Inslee and Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke want the US to be carbon neutral within the next three decades. Both have unveiled detailed climate policy plans. Inslee would set milestones for three sectors that could drive major reductions: power, transportation, and buildings. He has earned praise for his specificity. O’Rourke would also spend $5 trillion on green infrastructure.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed banning new coalmining and oil drilling on public lands, which could cut US emissions but fall short of what scientists say is needed. A House climate committee will consider the idea.

Some advocates say it is too soon to judge Democratic candidates on climate, with the 2020 election season starting earlier than ever.

“At this early stage in the campaign, the most important thing is that the candidates get the policy right and commit to making climate change a top priority,” said Varshini Prakash, the leader of the youth-run Sunrise Movement. She said the group is looking for candidates who will “put the full weight of the government behind a transformation of our economy and society.”

Lynn Scarlett, a vice president for policy at the Nature Conservancy, said, “Regardless of the details, it is encouraging to see how elevated this issue has become.

“We recognize that successfully getting policy across any finish line often means going in with some broad principles and some broad paradigm but using the legislative process in a give-and-take to work out the devilish details,” Scarlett continued.

Who doesn’t have a comprehensive plan?

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders speaks frequently about the urgency of the climate change problem and supports a Green New Deal to fight global warming while making life more equitable for the poor and people of color. In 2015, Sanders unveiled a plan to cut US carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050, but so far this campaign season he has not laid out a timeline for the broad strategies he supports.

Sanders has signed a pledge to refuse donations from fossil fuel interests, but other prominent Democrats have not, including New Jersey senator Cory Booker, California senator Kamala Harris, and former vice president Joe Biden.

Booker has an environmental justice plan to crack down on pollution in vulnerable communities, but he has not set a timeline for cutting carbon emissions. Harris is a cosponsor of the Green New Deal but has otherwise said little about what she would do.

Biden entered the race last month, marketing himself as the only candidate who can beat Donald Trump. Biden was the first senator to propose climate legislation, but he has not endorsed a Green New Deal or any other specific policies recently.

When will the others catch up?

RL Miller, chair of the California Democratic party environmental caucus and political director of Climate Hawks Vote, said the campaigns are progressing on climate but running out of time.

“We have two plans and a lot of buy-in on some concepts that have not been fleshed out into plans,” Miller said.

One poll of Democrats recently showed climate change is their top issue. A United Nations report warned this week that as the Earth absorbs rising temperatures, human society is in jeopardy.

Miller said with the first debate in less than two months, candidates should be expanding on their ideas more.

“The sooner you lay out a plan early on, the sooner you stand out,” Miller said.


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Hexbyte  News  Computers Why Mothers Are the Unsung Heroes of Prison

Hexbyte News Computers Why Mothers Are the Unsung Heroes of Prison

Hexbyte News Computers

Every day, come rain, sleet or snow, worried mothers flood prison visiting rooms across our great nation.

They sacrifice their time and hard-earned money to see their “babies” who have somehow ended up on the wrong side of the law.

These unsung heroes hold our prisons together, though the authorities, who search them before every visit, may think otherwise. I’ve seen disasters averted, assaults stopped, even a gang war set aside because another inmate said these five simple words: “What would your mother think?”

In here, oftentimes, the only person we have left is our mom. She sends us encouraging cards, much-needed food and warm clothing. She picks up our children and reminds them that Daddy still loves them. She acts as our conduit to the free world. Without her, we would never know that Cousin John finally married his high school sweetheart, or that our favorite aunt, Juanita, passed quietly in her sleep. We’d never know how much we are still loved, and still thought of with respect and dignity. We’d never know what type of world awaits us.

We’ve pierced our mothers’ hearts again and again with our selfish foolishness—not just our crimes—yet, for some reason that only a mom can comprehend, they continue to hug us and kiss us and forgive.

It is this unyielding love that shifts our moral tillers and sets so many of us back on the path to redemption. Over the years, many of the biggest changes I’ve accomplished in my incarcerated life have started with these other simple words from my mother:

“Jerry, what about this…?” “Have you considered…?” “I know things seem…, but believe me when I say…”

I wouldn’t be the loving, caring individual I am today—yes, even here in prison, where I’m a good friend and neighbor and contribute to the world through my writing—without the guidance my mother has drilled into me until it stuck. I often recall a phone call she and I shared several years ago when I find myself feeling, for whatever reason, like it’s not my duty to care about and love all those around me.

“Hi, Jer,” my mom said, accepting my (at that time, $7.50-per-15 minutes) call.

“Hi, Mom,” I grumbled. Back then I was seldom in a good mood.

“What’s the matter?” Her voice sounded worried.

“Nothing.” I sighed. “It’s nothing serious. Mike keeps borrowing stuff from me and he hasn’t paid me back, so now I have nothing to eat.”

Mike is a good friend of mine and my mom knows this. She also knows both of Mike’s parents have passed away.

“Well, what’s he borrowing stuff for?” she asked.

“He got fired from his job … You know how it is, he needs food and soap and stuff.”

My mom tsked. “Then what’s the problem?”

“The problem is it’s my money,” I said sharply.

“Your money?” my mom asked, voice hard. “More likely my money, or your father’s.” She sighed. “Look, Jer. Mike’s your friend—but even if he wasn’t, he’s in need of food and soap. The world, same out here as in there, would be such a better place if we helped those we cared about. You do care about your friend, right?”

“Yes, Mom, I do,” I said, overcome with the shame only a mother can generate.

“I thought so. So stop your bitching and do what’s right and help him out.”

“Thanks, Mom,” I said, not completely sure at the time that she was right.

But as the years passed and I began, more and more often, to think of others first, her words proved true. Thank you, Mom, indeed.

Of course, I do still have friends who disagree. One of them said just yesterday (which gave me the idea for this essay): “Why do you keep giving shit to that crazy, broke-ass beggar? It’s like giving a stray cat milk, he just keeps coming back.”

Like I always do when one of my peers in here challenges my food, soap and toothpaste donation policy, I laughed. “I don’t do it for him. I do it for me… Plus, my mom told me to.”

That last line always hooks them: Mom said to do it. Who can argue with that, especially a momma’s boy, which almost all convicts are?

To quote the film adaptation of “3:10 to Yuma”—originally by Michigan’s late, great Elmore Leonard—“even bad men love their mommas.”

Without our mothers’ guiding light, many of us would surely founder on the dark shoals that lurk just beneath the surface of prison life. The violence, solitude and emotionlessness would swallow us utterly whole.

Over the years, I’ve also known several real monsters, and without exception, every single one of them began their prison sentences without anyone loving them, and continued doing their time in the same loveless fashion. When the chance arises, I make it a point to ask these monsters whether, if their mother had still been in the picture, they believe they would have behaved differently.

Almost all of them say yes, for what that’s worth. One, an older, now-decrepit predator of a man who has spent 50 years behind bars, and who has committed murder, rape and assault, actually broke down and cried.

“I can’t believe all the shit I did,” he muttered, tears sliding down his cheeks. “And for what? To get a blow (dose of heroin)?” He shook his head. “My momma would skin me if she knew even half of it.”

He took a deep breath and stared up at the sky. “I often pray God sends me straight to hell just so I don’t have to see her.”

We sat at a picnic table away from any other convicts, I with a pencil and notepad, he in a state-issued wheelchair that had seen better days. Nearby, sparrows chirped in a tree, and behind us, near the prison garden, dogs frolicked in a pen. Off to our left a ways, some young inmates played basketball on a scorching hot blacktop.

How incomprehensible of a statement was that? How might this man’s life have been different had his mother been around to offer him hugs and kisses and forgiveness?

Either way, as a society, I believe we owe these mothers—and all mothers—a thank you for being the moral rock upon which we all stand. Instead of making it harder for our moms and other family members to visit us, or forcing them to visit us via video chat. Instead of making it more expensive for them to accept our phone calls or send us emails. Instead of making it damn near impossible to mail us a letter due to all the crazy rules like only blue or black ink, only white envelopes, no photographs on glossy photo paper.

Maybe we should consider just how much positive influence these wonderful ladies have on the penal system, every day of the year.

Jerry Metcalf, 44, is incarcerated at the Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer, Michigan, where he is serving 40 to 60 years for second-degree murder and two years for a weapons felony; he was convicted of both in 1996.

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Hexbyte  News  Computers I wrote the book on user-friendly design. What I see today horrifies me

Hexbyte News Computers I wrote the book on user-friendly design. What I see today horrifies me

Hexbyte News Computers

By Don Norman7 minute Read

More people than ever are living long, healthy lives. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average life expectancy is 78.6 years for men and 81.1 for women. More relevant, however, is that as people grow older, their total life expectancy increases. So for those who are now 65, the average life expectancy is 83 for men and over 85 for women. And because I’m 83, I’m expected to live past 90 (but I’m aiming a lot higher than that). And these are averages, which means that perhaps half of us will live even longer.

Those of us who are still active and healthy at advanced ages–I qualify–discover that we aren’t quite as capable as our younger selves. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t healthy and workable–I still have a very active job and travel on business around the world, but I have to admit that I’m getting slower and weaker, with diminished eyesight, hearing, taste, touch, and, well, almost everything physical. The number of active, healthy oldsters is large–and increasing. We are not a niche market. And businesses should take note: We are good customers often with more free time and discretionary income than younger people.

Despite our increasing numbers the world seems to be designed against the elderly. Everyday household goods require knives and pliers to open. Containers with screw tops require more strength than my wife or I can muster. (We solve this by using a plumber’s wrench to turn the caps.) Companies insist on printing critical instructions in tiny fonts with very low contrast. Labels cannot be read without flashlights and magnifying lenses. And when companies do design things specifically for the elderly, they tend to be ugly devices that shout out to the world “I’m old and can’t function!” We can do better.

Hexbyte News Computers What older consumers want and need

As we age, we have more experience with life, which can make us better decision-makers and managers. Crystalized intelligence, it is called, and it gets better with experience. A caveat is that we often face physical changes that designers fail to account for into their work.

Vision deteriorates. The lens of our eyes harden, making focusing more difficult. I used to be able to read tiny text by holding it close to my eyes, but my inability to focus at close distances defeats that activity. Floaters and debris start accumulating inside the eye, which scatters the light on its way to the retina, reducing contrast and making it more difficult to see small, low-contrast objects. For the increasing number of people who have cataract surgery, the eye’s lenses have ben replaced with plastic, which usually have a fixed focus. (Artificial lenses that can be focused are under development.) A flashlight has become an essential item, whether the one built into many phones or carried separately, because illumination makes tiny type easier to read although even then, a magnifying glass might be useful.

Hearing decreases. High frequencies are first to go, which also tends to impair directional sensitivity, which in turn makes it more difficult to attend to someone in a crowded, noisy environment. Loud restaurants are torture. So, more and more, my wife and I select restaurants by their noise level rather than by their food quality. At home while watching TV, whether shows, streaming events, or movies, we always turn on the captions, which often block critical parts of the image. Even worse, when a film shows someone speaking in a foreign language, the film often translates the words, but so too does the closed captioning, and the two are placed on top of one another, making both attempts to help the viewer completely unhelpful.

Hexbyte  News  Computers
[Photo: sergeyryzhov/iStock]

Hexbyte News Computers Bad design abounds

The problems I face are much milder than those faced by millions of aging people. With so many of us needing better devices, why are so many things still designed in ways that defeat our ability to function?

Take the screen design for Apple’s phones. The designers at Apple apparently believe that text is ugly, so it should either be eliminated entirely or made as invisible as possible. Bruce Tognazzini and I, both former employees of Apple, wrote a long article on Apple’s usability sins ,which has been read by hundreds of thousands of people. Once Apple products could be used without ever reading a manual. Today, Apple’s products violate all the fundamental rules of design for understanding and usability, many of which Tognazzini and I had helped develop. As a result, even a manual is not enough: all the arbitrary gestures that control tablets, phones, and computers have to be memorized. Everything has to be memorized.

These thoughtless, inappropriate designs are not limited to Apple. New technologies tend to rely on display screens, often with tiny lettering, with touch-sensitive areas that are exceedingly difficult to hit as eye-hand coordination declines. Physical controls are by far the easiest to control–safer too, especially in safety-critical tasks such as driving a car, but they are disappearing. Why? To save a few cents in manufacturing and in a misplaced desire to be trendy. Speech can be a useful substitute for physical controls, though not as helpful as proponents claim.

Then there’s the aesthetic problem. When products are developed for the elderly, they tend to be ugly and an unwanted signal of fragility. As a result, people who need walkers or canes often resist. Once upon a time, a cane was stylish: Today it is seen as a medical device. Why can’t we have walkers and canes for everyday use, to help us in everyday life, to carry our packages, provide a way to sit when we are tired, or viewing some event, and yes, to maintain our balance? Make them items of pride, stylish enough that everyone will want one.

Hexbyte News Computers Everyone needs better design

Do not think that thoughtful design is just for the elderly, or the sick, or the disabled. In the field of design, this is called “inclusive design” for a reason: It helps everyone. Curb cuts were meant to help people who had trouble walking, but it helps anyone wheeling things: carts, baby carriages, suitcases. Closed captions are used in noisy bars. As Kat Holmes points out in her book Mismatch, all of us are disabled now and then. Some of us have permanent disabilities, but all of us have suffered from situational and temporary problems. When outside in the sun, the text message that just arrived is unreadable: wouldn’t it be nice if the display, whether cellphone, watch, or tablet, could switch to large, higher contrast lettering? Are elderly people handicapped? Maybe, but so is a young, athletic parent while carrying a baby on one arm and a bag of groceries in the other (and perhaps trying to open their car door). Ride-share bicycles and scooters cannot be used by people who need to carry bulky packages. Everyone has difficulty hearing people in noisy environments. Noise-canceling headphones are for everyone, not just the elderly. Almost anything that will help the elderly population will end up helping everyone.

Hexbyte News Computers The promise of good design

Jeremy Myerson, a designer at London’s Royal College of Art (and a good friend) curated an enticing exhibit at London’s Design Museum entitled “New Old,” that explored the potential for design and designers to enhance the experience of our later lives (described in this Fast Company article “Why you should be designing for your 73-year-old self). Walkers, scooters, and shopping carts for the elderly tend to lack any semblance of grace or elegance. Not so the “scooter for Life,” designed by the British firm PriestmanGoode, which has three wheels for stability and a sleek pouch for storing groceries.

Hexbyte  News  Computers
The Scooter for Life, designed by PriestmanGoode, on display at the London Design Museum’s New Old pop-up exhibition in 2017. [Photo: courtesy The Design Museum]

Powerful lightweight motors and batteries promise to motorize many new things, including walkers, wheelchairs, bicycles, tricycles, baby carriages, and shopping carts. I’ve even seen electric surfboards. If these devices are stylish and useful, they will empower everyone, from the very young to the very old. Stylish, motorized things will benefit everyone. Moreover, once the stigma attached to devices that look medical is eliminated, we will see more elderly adding to their activities, and more 90-year-olds surfing. One of my 90-year-old friends just started scuba diving. Age is not a barrier.

Are there any other examples of promising designs for older people? Yes, but they are surprisingly difficult to find. They are so rare that when they are found, museums put on them on exhibit and newspapers write articles. (Newspapers, mind you, don’t write about everyday life–they write about the unusual. See Sarah Nassauer’s Wall Street Journal article on “Design Flair for the Least-Stylish Devices.“)

Hexbyte News Computers Looking Ahead

Designers and companies of the world, you are badly serving an ever-growing segment of your customer base, a segment that you too will one day inhabit. Isn’t it time to reform: to make things that are functional and stylish, useable and accessible? Every ailment that I described that impacts the elderly is also present in people of all ages. Designs that make it easier for elderly people often are of equal value for younger people. In fact, for everyone. Help the elderly, and the results will help many more, including yourself, someday.

Aside from being old, Don Norman is a leading authority on the design of emotional pleasing and useable technology. He is the author of Design of Everyday Things and Emotional Design, a former vice president at Apple, and professor and director of the Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego.

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Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Microsoft: The open source company

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Microsoft: The open source company

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |

It’s not even April 1st —

The times, they are a-changin’—even bits of Windows will be open source.


Hexbyte - Tech News - Ars Technica | Microsoft: The open source company

The news from Microsoft’s Build developer conference that surprised me most was that Microsoft will ship a genuine Linux kernel—GPLed, with all patches published—with Windows. That announcement was made with the announcement of Windows Terminal, a new front-end for command-line programs on Windows that will, among other things, support tabs.

Microsoft’s increased involvement with open source software isn’t new, as projects such as Visual Studio Code and the .NET runtime have operated as open source, community-driven projects. But this week’s announcements felt a bit different.

The Linux kernel will be powering Microsoft’s second generation Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). The first generation WSL contains a partial re-implementation of the Linux kernel API that uses the Windows NT kernel to perform its functionality. In choosing this approach, Microsoft avoided using any actual Linux code, and hence the company avoided the GPL license with its “viral” stipulations that would have arguably forced Microsoft to open source WSL and perhaps even parts of Windows itself.

In the second-generation WSL? It’s a full GPLed Linux kernel running in a lightweight virtual machine. This won’t be part of the base Windows installation—I’m told that developers will need to enable Developer Mode in Windows first—but it is, nonetheless, a GPL-licensed component forming part of a Windows component. Windows’ WSL feature has GPLed underpinnings, and that’s not something I would have expected to write even a year or two ago.

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Opening up Windows itself

No less significant is the Windows Terminal project. Many Windows users will know that Windows’ command-line programs depend on a p

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Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Uber suffers disappointing stock market debut

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Uber suffers disappointing stock market debut

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |

Billions and billions —

Uber is worth $76 billion—far below previous estimates as high as $120 billion.


Hexbyte - Tech News - Ars Technica | Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

Enlarge / Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Uber’s long-anticipated debut on public stock markets failed to live up to expectations on Friday, with the company’s stock falling 7.6 percent during its first day of trading. As the closing bell rang, Uber’s stock was worth $41.57, valuing the entire firm at $76 billion.

Uber has suffered from steadily diminishing expectations in recent months. When Uber solicited proposals from banks to handle the massive stock offering, some banks reportedly estimated that the company could be worth as much as $120 billion. By the time Uber’s shares actually went on sale, the company was seeking a more modest $82 billion. Now the company isn’t worth even that much.

Still, Uber raised $8.1 billion in the initial public offering, replenishing the company’s warchest. That’s important because Uber has yet to turn a profit. In fact, Uber reportedly lost more than $1 billion in each of the last three quarters.

Uber’s new valuation makes Travis Kalanick, Uber’s founder and former CEO, worth $4.9 billion. At least two other Uber insiders, Garrett Camp and Ryan Graves, have become billionaires from their Uber holdings.

Uber’s $76 billion valuation also provides something of a vindication for those who invested in Uber during previous years. A lot of observers scoffed when investors valued Uber at $17 billion during a 2014 fundraising round. They scoffed even more when the company was valued at $62.5 billion in 2015. Yet despite a series of setbacks over the last three years—and despite a steady string of money-losing quarters—Wall Street now believes the company is worth around $76 billion.

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Perennial pri

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Hexbyte – News – Science/Nature | OMEGA Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary With A Star-Filled Event – Haute Time

Hexbyte – News – Science/Nature | OMEGA Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary With A Star-Filled Event – Haute Time

Hexbyte – News – Science/Nature |

OMEGA hosted a star-filled tribute at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and the moon landing. George and Amal Clooney, Chiara Ferragni, Douglas Booth, and an impressive line-up of NASA veterans attended the celebratory event.

Following space-related discussions, VIP guest and media enjoyed a “Golden Moments,” dinner served under the remarkable Saturn 5 Rocket. Veteran astronauts Charlie Duke and Thomas Stafford, NASA pilot and ISS commander Terry Virts, Astronaut and artist Nicole Stott, amongst others were also in attendance.

Hexbyte - News - Science/Nature | Amal and George Clooney
Amal and George Clooney

Photo Credit: OMEGA

Drawing a large media attraction, George Clooney, ensured the spotlight was focused on his history-making guest. “It’s a great pleasure to be here – and an honor. I have enormous respect for the people who made the Apollo missions such a success,” said Clooney, who was joined on stage by NASA veterans.

Boasting in the company’s success as the first watch worn on the moon, President and CEO of OMEGA Raynald Aeschilimann stated, “It’s a huge achievement to land on another world. I can’t think of a better reason to raise a glass in tribute.”

Hexbyte - News - Science/Nature | President and CEO of OMEGA Raynald Aeschlimann and George Clooney
President and CEO of OMEGA Raynald Aeschlimann and George Clooney

Photo Credit: OMEGA

In addition, to celebrate the 50th anniversary, OMEGA released a 42 mm Speedmaster in 18K Moonshine™ in an exclusive alloy offering a paler hue and higher resistance to fading. The new design features modern materials including OMEGA’s Master Chronometer Calibre 3861, a manual-winding OMEGA Co-Axial escapement movement with Moonshine™ with burgundy markings and a gold-plated main plate.

Hexbyte - News - Science/Nature | OMEGA_Speedmaster
OMEGA Speedmaster

Photo Credit: OMEGA

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Hexbyte – Science and Tech Competitive Fortnite Is About To Experiment With Controlled Chaos – Kotaku

Hexbyte – Science and Tech Competitive Fortnite Is About To Experiment With Controlled Chaos – Kotaku

Hexbyte – Science and Tech

Hexbyte - Science and Tech Illustration for article titled Competitive Fortnite Is About To Experiment With Controlled Chaos

Last weekend, a vault opened beneath Loot Lake in Fortnite. Players were given the option of bringing back one of the game’s previously retired weapons. They chose the Drum Gun, one of the most overpowered weapons in the game’s history. Then, on Thursday, Epic announced the Drum Gun would be coming to the game’s tournament playlist starting this weekend, much to the frustration of some of the game’s most competitive players.

“You can expect to see the Drum Gun in this weekend’s Tournament playlist,” Epic Games said. “In the v9.00 update today we’ve adjusted the spawn rate of the Drum Gun to be more in line with other similar items. We will be closely monitoring feedback over the Season launch to determine any next steps.”

Many users on the game’s competitive subreddit believe this signals a reprisal/return to the “spray and pray” meta that got popular last summer when the Drum Gun was first introduced. The weapon’s combination of damage, accuracy, and rate of fire made it a boon to more casual players, but it’s unclear why it would be introduced onto playlists dedicated to ranked play.

“It’s starting to get ridiculous with the drum gun being added back and shotguns being nerfed,” wrote one person on the subreddit. “The game is not fun anymore when you’re trying to make each fight almost like a coin flip.”

The move has also opened up questions about if and when the Drum Gun will begin to play a part in Fortnite’s ongoing World Cup tournament. “The Drum Gun will not appear in the Fortnite World Cup Online Open this weekend,” Epic tweeted following the announcement of the patch notes. That phrasing seems to leave open the possibility that it could become a factor in later weeks, or potentially in the finals in the summer.

The company also said it plans to look at adding new competitive modes for the Fortnite World Cup once the open qualifiers have finished up. “In the weeks leading up to the Fortnite World Cup Finals, we’ll be experimenting with adding additional non-Battle Royale events, such as Creative modes and LTMs, to our weekly tournament rotation,” Epic said. “This will open up a more dynamic competitive scene that allows for more paths to win.”

Rapid change like this is nothing new for Fortnite, but it is uncommon in the wider world of esports. The studios behind other major competitive games like Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have made a point of keeping the meta stable in the lead-up to big events. Epic, on the other hand, seems intent on marching to the beat of its own Drum Gun.

Week five of the Fortnite World Cup open qualifiers gets underway on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET with the semi-finals before resuming on Sunday at the same time for this week’s finals with everything streaming live on the Fortnite Twitch channel.

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Hexbyte – Science and Tech Debate! Platforming vs. Puzzle Courses in Mario Games – Nintendo Minute – Nintendo

Hexbyte – Science and Tech Debate! Platforming vs. Puzzle Courses in Mario Games – Nintendo Minute – Nintendo

Hexbyte – Science and Tech

Hi, we both have Super Mario Maker 2 on the brain! It’s very exciting that the game is coming out on June 28th and it reminded us of the incredible amount of creativity that comes with making Mario levels. So today, we’re going to debate what’s more fun in a Mario game, platforming or puzzle courses. Tell us in the comments what you think and what type of course you’re planning on creating or playing in Super Mario Maker 2. As always, thanks so much for watching and we’ll see you next week!

-Kit & Krysta

Learn more about Super Mario Maker 2! https://bit.ly/2L8n8NJ

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