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06.30.16 | 9:10 pm

Here is the Chipotle CEO’s memo about the indictment of exec Mark Crumpacker in a drug bust

The following memo was sent out by CEO Monty Moran in the wake of the Manhattan District Attorney's indictment of Mark Crumpacker in a massive crackdown on cocaine buyers in the city's Lower East Side:

To: All Chipotle Email Users

Subject: Mark Crumpacker

Hi Everybody:

As you may have heard, Mark Crumpacker is apparently under investigation for one or more misdemeanor offenses, and he has been placed on administrative leave from Chipotle while this matter is being investigated. Mark is a valuable member of our leadership team, but we have very strong teams in marketing and development who will oversee his responsibilities while this situation is sorted out. Our Executive Director of Development, Carolyn Roberts will oversee development activities, and our Director of Brand Marketing, Mark Shambura, will oversee marketing. We made the decision to place Mark on administrative leave, because we believe that it is important for all of us at Chipotle to remain focused on our business without unnecessary distraction, and to allow Mark to focus on these personal matters.

Please let us know if you have questions or concerns regarding this unfortunate situation. If media contact you regarding this matter, please do not speak to them, but instead direct them to Chris Arnold.

Thank you very all very much,

Steve & Monty

Monty Moran | Co-Chief Executive Officer

Chipotle Mexican Grill

10.28.16 | 15 minutes ago

Due to Apple price hikes in the U.K., it’s now cheaper for Brits to fly round-trip to the U.S. to buy a MacBook Pro

On Thursday, Apple raised prices by as much as £500 on its products sold in the U.K.—thus making it cheaper to buy a round-trip ticket to the U.S. or Canada to buy your latest device and fly back to London, reports the Financial Times. For example, a MacBook Pro just jumped in price from £2,499 to £2,999, but starts in the U.S. at $2,999 and in Canada at C$3,499, about £530 and £800 less, respectively, than the price in pounds sterling.

Right now, Air India is offering roundtrip tickets from London to New York from $441 and WestJet is offering roundtrip tickets from London to Toronto for £349. Oy, how badly do you want one of these new laptops?

10.28.16 | 2 hours ago

78,000 Corinthian Colleges students have filed debt relief claims

Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit education chain that once operated over 100 campuses across North America, filed for bankruptcy last year amid a torrent of lawsuits alleging that many of the company's programs were a sham. 

Corinthian's collapse left thousands of students in the lurch and on the hook for thousands of dollars of debt, prompting the Obama Administration to review its write-down policies in cases of fraud and abuse. In the months since, over 78,000 Corinthian students and an additional 4,000 students from other trade schools have requested debt relief.

The Education Department said today that is has already approved more than 15,000 claims, together worth $247 million. All told, student-friendly changes in policy could cost taxpayers as much as $21.2 billion over the next 10 years. 

[Photo: Flickr user college.library]

10.28.16 | 2 hours ago

This online master’s program is now producing more computer science grads than any other university

These days there are dozens of ways to learn how to code, from bootcamps to YouTube videos. But until the Georgia Institute of Technology introduced a low-cost, online version of its master's degree in computer science in 2014, earning an advanced credential in the subject was expensive and often inconvenient.

Now, for just $7,000, students can earn the same CS diploma as master's students who attend Georgia Tech in person. In just two years, the program has become the nation's largest computer science MS in terms of annual graduates, increasing production by roughly 7%.

Even better: the average student in the program is 34 years old and would not otherwise have had the means to attain the degree, implying a significant increase in access for lower-income, mid-career professionals.  

10.28.16 | 2 hours ago

N.Y.C. becomes first city in U.S. to pass wage protection for freelancers

The "Freelance Isn't Free" bill, aimed at protecting freelance professionals in New York City from clients who don't pay or pay late, was passed unanimously by the New York City Council yesterday. Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign it into law, and it would go into effect 180 days later.

The law mandates that employers pay freelancers in full within 30 days after they render services (unless otherwise specified in a contract). It is still not determined whether the protection will extend to freelancers residing outside New York who work for N.Y.C.-based companies.

One of the chief complaints of freelance professionals is getting paid on time. As many as 7 out of 10 freelancers encounter this costly problem, according to the most recent survey from Upwork/Freelancers Union. The survey estimates as many as 38% of New York City's workers are independent contractors.

10.28.16 | 3 hours ago

Facebook mimics Snapchat again with its new messaging camera

It's happening again—Facebook is mimicking Snapchat with its new product. Just like Instagram Stories was considered a copy of Snapchat Stories, Facebook is testing a new camera and messaging features that ape its rival, including facial masks and photos or videos that disappear if you don't respond within 24 hours, reports Recode. Facebook says that the new features let users "share moments as they happen and express yourself more" . . . and, they're hoping, have fewer reasons to use Snapchat.

[Image: Facebook]

10.28.16 | 3 hours ago

Morning intel: WhatsApp’s privacy policy in Europe, Tesla’s solar roof reveal

• European regulators have asked WhatsApp to stop sharing user data with Facebook, to ensure WhatsApp's new privacy policy complies with European laws. 

• Speaking of privacy: The FCC just ruled that AT&T, Comcast, and other broadband providers can no longer collect user data without getting permission—a big step forward for online privacy advocates. 

Soylent is reformulating its powder, after finding that the new version was inducing stomach issues in customers similar to those caused by Soylent's bars

• Both Microsoft and Apple released new computers this week. Here's how Apple's new MacBook Pros compare to Microsoft's new Surface Studio, according to Fast Company's Mark Sullivan, who said Microsoft was the clear winner in terms of innovation.

• ICYMI: Vine is dead. What platform will Vine creators flock to now? After the news broke, PornHub offered to buy Vine because, as VP Corey Price said, "six seconds is more than enough time for most people to enjoy themselves."

• Coming up today: Tesla is unveiling its solar roof at 5:30 p.m. PT, a first look at what will come of the Tesla-SolarCity acquisition. 

10.28.16 | 7:08 am

Now Soylent is pulling its powder from shelves after customers get sick

First it was Soylent's Food Bars that were making customers vomit, causing it to halt sales and shipments. Now, it's the powder that is making a "handful of customers" extremely ill, prompting them to pull the product from shelves, according to a blog post on Thursday. Soylent says that "for the past several weeks, we have worked aggressively to uncover why people were having these negative experiences" and has failed to uncover any "food pathogens, toxins, or outside contamination." Yet it has been able to isolate the problem to Powder 1.6, since customers who tried the earlier versions didn't get sick. 

Soylent says it is reformulating the bar and powder, sharing its findings with the Food and Drug Administration, and expects both products to be ready in the first quarter of 2017. So far, it hasn't heard complaints about Soylent Drink or Coffiest.

[Image: Soylent]

10.28.16 | 12:13 am

In historic victory for online privacy, FCC rules that broadband providers need permission to track users

In a huge victory for internet privacy advocates, the FCC ruled on Thursday that broadband giants like AT&T and Comcast can no longer collect and give out data on their users without first getting their permission. Currently, those companies can track their users' activity online—including the websites they visit and apps they use—unless they're told to stop doing so.  The 3-2 decision was historic because it marks "the first time" the agency has passed such online protections, reports the New York Times. Previously, such privacy rules only applied to phones and cable TV.

10.27.16 | 11:39 pm

Pornhub just offered to buy Vine because “six seconds is more than enough”

Soon after it was announced on Thursday that Twitter was shutting down Vine, adult site Pornhub VP Corey Price expressed his interest in buying the platform. In a letter obtained by CNET, Price wrote Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that in light of Twitter's troubles, "you and your stakeholders could benefit from a cash infusion from the sale of Vine." He also promised to "restore Vine to its NSFW glory," adding that clips "of porn in six seconds is more than enough time for most people to enjoy themselves."

10.27.16 | 7:19 pm

Evening intel: Mac attack, GE’s big bet, hacker gets jail time for nude photo heist

• A day after Microsoft set the world ablaze with its much-hyped Surface product launch, Apple (remember them?) struck back by unveiling some shiny new MacBooks Pros.

• A hacker who stole nude photos of celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande, and Kate Upton is getting 18 months in prison. H/T Variety.

General Electric is in talks to buy the industrial-services company Baker Hughes Inc., according to those chatty "people familiar with the matter" who always seem to talk to the Wall Street Journal. The acquisition would be GE's biggest ever, WSJ reports.

• Alphabet investors are a little concerned about what Google's business model will look like—or sound like, rather—as the company shifts to voice-based services.

• And finally, what do fossilized dinosaur brains actually look like? See for yourself.

10.27.16 | 6:32 pm

Alphabet investors are worried about voice search push and talent retention 

On Alphabet's third-quarter earnings call, multiple investors asked how Google will continue to capitalize on search ads as it moves toward voice search through Google Home and Google Assistant products. If consumers are asking a screen-less device to look something up, there's no ad for them to see. What will voice ads sound like? Will they draw the same kind of money that display and video ads do? Google CEO Sundar Pichai says only that his team will be thoughtful about it. 

Another question that popped up: Is the Alphabet structure good for retaining top talent? Alphabet changed its stock-based compensation this year so that it could rise or dip based on the division's performance. Employees in some of Alphabet's more daring endeavors might not be keen to take on that risk. Questioning Alphabet's ability to retain key talent isn't off base. This year, Otto, a self-driving truck startup composed of 15 former Google Maps and autonomous vehicle project employees, was acquired by Uber for $680 million. On the call, Pichai said he's comfortable with how the company approaches creating a culture of innovation.

10.27.16 | 6:17 pm

Microsoft’s great week just got even better with LinkedIn’s 3Q earnings

Amid all the talk this week about Microsoft's sexy resurgence, the software giant just got more good news. LinkedIn's third-quarter earnings report—perhaps its last before Microsoft completes its $26 billion acquisition of the company later this year—shows all the arrows pointing in the right direction. More users. More revenue. What more could Redmond ask for? Below are some of the key highlights.