7 paid iPhone apps that are free downloads today


7 paid iPhone apps that are free downloads today  BGRApple wants to make iPads cheaper. Here’s how that might happen  CNETApple proposes guide dogs, wheelchairs & other disability-themed emoji for next version of Unicode  AppleInsiderWhat to expect from Apple’s education-themed ‘Field Trip’ event  EngadgetFull coverage



Soothing places online to escape the hellhole that is 2018


Though the internet can occasionally feel like a very bad, high-key terrifying, downright vomit-inducing place to spend time, some parts of the web are, dare we say, GOOD. (No seriously, we swear.)

When life gets tough, social media’s got you down, or it simply feels like there’s no good news in the world, the internet can help soothe your soul — you just have to know where to look.

In order to survive in this crazy world, we all need an occasional lighthearted, mindless escape. We need puppy GIFs, we need videos of babies giggling and drooling, and gosh darn it we need to watch Kinetic Sand being deliciously sliced by a sharp AF knife. Read more…

More about Animals, Internet, Relaxation, Web Culture, and Culture


How to Clean Up Your Instagram Explore Feed


Algorithmic feeds, how I loathe thee. I hate Twitter’s, minor as it is. I hate Facebook’s, because I just want a simple chronological News Feed. And I hate Instagram’s, because its Explore tab can fill up with all sorts of weird shit that the service thinks I should like. There’s not that much you can to do get a…

Read more…


Apple proposes new emojis to represent people with disabilities


Apple has proposed a number of emojis to the Unicode Consortium, the emoji gatekeeper of sorts, to better represent people with disabilities and depict accessibility-related tools like hearing aids, guide dogs and prosthetic limbs. That’s because Apple is unable to include these emojis in iOS and Mac OS until the Consortium adopts them.

The proposed emojis depict people who experience blindness or low-vision, those who experience deafness or have trouble hearing, those with physical disabilities, as well as those with hidden disabilities like Autism, anxiety and PTSD.

Here are the proposed emojis:

“At Apple, we believe that technology should be accessible to everyone and should provide an experience that serves individual needs,” the company wrote in a proposal to the Unicode Consortium. “Adding emoji emblematic to users’ life experiences helps foster a diverse culture that is inclusive of disability. Emoji are a universal language and a powerful tool for communication, as well as a form of self-expression, and can be used not only to represent one’s own personal experience, but also to show support for a loved one.”

In order to develop these proposed emojis, Apple worked with the American Council of the Blind, Cerebral Palsy Foundation and National Association for the Deaf. What Apple put forward is not a comprehensive list of all the possible depictions of people with disabilities, the company noted in its proposal, but it could serve as a starting point.

The next step is for the Unicode Technical Committee to meet up and vote on whether to approve these new emojis. That meeting happens next month. If approved, those characters would get shortlisted for Emoji 12.0, which is scheduled for a March 2019 release. If you want to hear more about what goes into emoji approval, be sure to check out this interview with Jeremy Burge, vice-chair of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee.

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Y Combinator’s Jessica Livingston on Dropbox IPO: “It was just a dream of ours”


Dropbox, after more than a decade, finally went public this morning — and the stock soared more than 40% in its initial trading, making it a marquee success for one of the original Web 2.0 companies (at least for now).

While we still have to wait for the dust to settle, it’s been a very long road for Dropbox. From starting off as a file-sharing service, to hitting a $10 billion valuation in the middle of a massive hype cycle, to expectations dropping and then the announcement of a $1 billion revenue run rate. Dropbox has been a rollercoaster, but it’s another big moment this afternoon: it’s Y Combinator’s first big IPO. And Y Combinator still has a very deep bench of startups that are, thus far, obvious IPO candidates down the line like Airbnb and Stripe.

That isn’t to take away anything from the work of CEO Drew Houston and the rest of Dropbox’s team, but Y Combinator’s job is to basically take a bunch of shots in the dark based on good ideas and potentially savvy founders. Houston was one of the first of a firm that now takes in a hundred-odd founders per class. Y Combinator Founder and partner Jessica Livingston was there for the start of it, recalling back to the day that Houston rushed to her and Paul Graham to show him his little side project.

We caught up with Livingston this morning ahead of the IPO for a short interview. Here’s the conversation, which was lightly edited for clarity:

TC: Can you tell us a little bit about what it’s like to finally see the first Y Combinator company to go public?

JL: I feel like 13 years ago, it was just this dream of ours. It was this seemingly unattainable dream that goes, ‘maybe one of the startups we fund could go public someday.’ That was the holy grail. It’s an exciting day for Y Combinator. It shows what a long game investing is in early-stage startups. I do feel kind of validated.

TC: How did Y Combinator first end up in touch with Houston?

JL: He applied as a solo founder. We had met Drew the summer before. Back then, we were so small that we always encouraged people to bring friends to a Y Combinator dinner. [Xobni founder Adam Smith] brought [Houston], and we met him then and talked it through. When he applied, we invited him to come to an interview, and Paul [Graham] before the interview reached out to [Houston]. He said, “I see you’re a solo founder, and you should find a cofounder.” Three weeks later Drew showed up with [co-founder Arash Ferdowsi]. It was a great match that worked well.

TC: As Dropbox has grown, what’s stood out to you the most during changes in the market?

JL: They’re a classic example of founders who are programmers who built something to solve their own problem. Clearly, this is a perfect example of that. Drew gets on the bus, he forgets his files, and he can’t work on the whole trip down. He then creates something that will allow him to access files from everywhere. At the time, when he came on the scene with that, there were a lot of companies doing it but none were very good. I feel like Dropbox, regardless of market dynamics, from the very beginning was always dedicated to wanting to do well by building a better solution. They wanted to build one that actually works. I feel like they’ve stuck to that and that’s been driving them since. That’s been their guidepost.

TC: What was your first meeting with Houston like, and do you think he has changed in the past 10 years?

JL: When I first met him, he was young — he was very young — and he was always a good hacker, and very earnest. During Y Combinator he was very focused on building this product and was not distracted by other things. That’s when there were just two people. He’s really evolved over the years as an incredible leader. He’s grown this company and he’s navigated through all different parts of his life cycle. I’ve witnessed his growth as a leader and as a human being. He’s always been a great person. It’s sort of exciting to see where he is now that he’s come a long way, it’s really cool.

TC: Houston and Ferdowsi still own significant portions of the company even after raising a lot of venture capital. Do you think Y Combinator had any effect on companies looking for more founder friendly deals?

JL: I think when Y Combinator started, our goal in many ways was to empower founders. It was to level the playing field. You don’t have to have a connection in Silicon Valley to get funding. You just have to apply on our website. You don’t have to have gone to an Ivy League school. We [try to tell them], don’t let investors take advantage of you because you’re young and have never done this before. In general, times have changed over the past 15 years. Hopefully Y Combinator played a small role in some of those changes in making things a little more found friendly.

TC: What’s one of your favorite stories about Houston?

JL: He was always very calm, cool, and collected under pressure. I remember that was definitely a quality about him. His feathers didn’t get ruffled easily. One of the things I remember most clearly is from that summer when we had demo day. Back then it was, like, 40 people tops. Still, there was a lot of pressure. I remember Paul [Graham] came up with this idea that, ‘hey, Drew, during your demo day you should show people how well Dropbox actually works by deleting your presentation live and restoring it through Dropbox.’ That’s kind of risky, right? To delete your presentation. You’re just standing up there without anything. And he did it and he nailed the presentation. It sounds a little gimmicky, but it really worked and showed his product worked. I remember thinking, like, wow, he’s pretty calm. If it were me I don’t think I could hit the delete button in front of these people. That’s an important quality in someone, not to get flustered.

By the way, we funded them in 2007. If you asked me in 2008 how were they doing, I would say, well, they’re making progress. But it wasn’t like we funded them and we could say, ‘this is gonna be a great one.’ We just knew, yeah they’re making progress, but it’s always hard to know there.

TC: Back then, what were you just expecting? M&A? Did you even anticipate an IPO?

JL:  As we were formulating the idea, the hope was rather than going to work at Microsoft — I use them as an example because that was the company back then — and rather than going to get a job out of college, why not build a company and make Microsoft acquire you to get you to work for them? We had low expectations back then. We were hoping there’d be some small acquisitions. But yes, the hope was always acquisitions, but maybe someday in our wildest dreams there’d be an IPO. We didn’t even think YC would work when we started, people didn’t believe in YC’s models for many years.

TC: Looking back, what would you say is one of the biggest things you’ve learned throughout this experience?

JL: What a long road it is for startups. When we started YC back then, it wasn’t a popular thing to do a startup. Now, thank goodness, more people are starting them, and more types of people are starting them. It’s not just super high-tech companies. That’s exciting, but what I think a lot of people don’t realize is how hard startups are. You say, yeah, I know how hard, but people don’t realize how difficult they are and how long the commitment is. If you’re successful, it takes such a long time. For [someone like Houston] to make it to that point, they’ve committed a lot of their life and energy and all their intellectual capacity to making this work. To me, that’s so exciting, but I think it would surprise people to know realistically how long that could take.

TC: What would you tell startups with the hindsight of what happened with Dropbox’s valuation hype cycle?

JL: I will say, with startups, sometimes you just have to stick to what you’re doing. There’s a lot of stuff going on around you, especially now with social media and things like that. With a startup, you just have to keep moving forward with building a company and building a great product.

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Elon Musk just deleted Tesla’s and SpaceX’s Facebook pages in response to #DeleteFacebook

“Looks lame anyway,” Musk tweeted.

Oh, Elon.

Earlier this week, WhatsApp co-founder and former Facebook employee Brian Acton went to Twitter to encourage people to #DeleteFacebook in light of the company’s recent privacy scandal with Cambridge Analytica.

What’s Facebook?

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 23, 2018

Turns out Elon Musk, the eccentric CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla, thought it was a great idea.

After tweeting back to Acton asking, “What’s Facebook?” someone suggested Musk delete SpaceX’s corporate Facebook page.

“I didn’t realize there was one. Will do,” he replied.

I didn’t realize there was one. Will do.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 23, 2018

Then someone suggested he also delete Tesla’s corporate Facebook page.

“Definitely. Looks lame anyway,” Musk replied.

Definitely. Looks lame anyway.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 23, 2018

And that was that. Both pages appear to have been deleted. SpaceX’s page had more than 2.7 million followers.

It’s possible Musk is just playing around and the pages will be restored — and I’m sure Facebook and the social media employees at SpaceX and Tesla hope that’s the case. SpaceX utilized its Facebook page to show rocket launches on Facebook Live.

But that’s not really Musk’s style. When Sonos announced on Friday that it would suspend advertising on Facebook for a week, Musk replied, “Wow, a whole week. Risky …”

Wow, a whole week. Risky …

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 23, 2018

There might be something deeper to this Musk vs. Facebook situation. If you’ll recall, Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had a little beef last year when Zuckerberg suggested that people who created doomsday scenarios about artificial intelligence were irresponsible. Musk has said often that he thinks AI could ultimately lead to the end of civilization as we know it.

I’ve talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 25, 2017

“I’ve talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited,” Musk said in response to Zuckerberg’s comments. Well okay then!

To add to the tension between the two CEOs, when a SpaceX rocket accidentally exploded during a 2016 launch, it was carrying a Facebook satellite. “I’m deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite,” Zuckerberg said at the time.

Musk deleting his company Facebook pages is certainly funny. But if they stay deleted, and others see how easy it is for a major corporation to cut Facebook out of its life, maybe others will follow along. And that would be bad news for Zuckerberg.


How to Check Battery Life for Paired Bluetooth Accessories on Android

check-bluetooth-battery-life-android-heaEven if you’re firmly on Team Android and sneer at the superficial slickness of Apple’s iOS operating system, there is one thing you have to give it: it makes managing battery life on paired Bluetooth devices much easier. A battery life manager is coming to Android, however, in Android 8.1, but as we all know, that may take literally forever to get to your particular device. If you want to monitor your Bluetooth battery life in the meantime, here’s the best way to do it. Related: How to Fix the Cellular Data Not Working on Android BatON The  simplest, way of getting your Bluetooth device… Read more

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HBO’s Silicon Valley gets the VR treatment for Season 5


For a long time, we’ve heard that VR is three to five years from becoming mainstream. While that premise remains questionable, HBO’s Silicon Valley is celebrating its fifth season with the launch of a VR experience called Silicon Valley: Inside the Hacker Hostel.

The experience will be available on the HTC Vive, and will offer users more than 700 interactive experiences, from playing foosball to taking bong rips.

The Silicon Valley VR experience takes place inside the same house where the cast has lived and worked to build a successful company for the past five years, and it all looks eerily similar to the set we’ve seen on the show, from the sloppy kitchen to the bunkbeds in the bedroom.

But it’s not just a bunch of wandering around. Silicon Valley: Inside the Hacker Hostel also includes challenges from Dinesh and Gilfoyle, as well as the opportunity to help Richard with a coding conundrum. And no Silicon Valley experience is complete without Jared, who will have a secret message that users need to track down.

The attention to detail is comes down to the fact that Rewind, the developers of the experience, took 360-degree video of the show’s real set, and worked with set blueprints, according to Fast Company.

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