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08.24.16 | 9:53 am

Questlove is Pandora’s newest weapon against Apple and Spotify

As Pandora gears up to challenge Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal, the internet radio pioneer is going to need all the star power it can get.  With artist relationships, exclusive releases, and music curation becoming competitive weapons in the streaming music war,  Pandora doesn't have much choice. 

It's a good thing Questlove stopped by. The Roots drummer, NYU professor, and tireless party DJ just partnered with Pandora as its first artist ambassador and will soon host a radio show called "Questlove Supreme." 

Whether or not it was obvious when Pandora made a string of expansion-minded acquisitions last year, this type of partnership has become crucial as Apple Music's star-studded executive team has tapped into its extensive industry network (and Apple's cash reserves) to bring on household names from Drake and Elton John, even aiming squarely for Pandora's legacy territory with the launch of its Beats 1 radio station. For its part, Spotify recently hired Troy Carter to head up its artist relations efforts. 

This is a natural move for Pandora, which has been sharpening its focus on artists for some time, aided in no small part by cofounder (and one-time  touring musician) Tim Westergren. The partnership is also well timed: Pandora plans to launch a new Spotify-style, on-demand streaming service before the end of the year. 

[Photo: Flickr user Fort Greene Focus]

10.21.16 | 44 minutes ago

A European space probe has crash-landed on Mars

In a devastating setback for the Mars ambitions of the European Space Agency, a probe meant to study the Red Planet has crash-landed on the surface. The Schiaparelli probe apparently deployed its parachute too soon after separating from its orbiting mother ship, the agency said. It's likely the craft exploded on impact. BBC reported that the agency has now identified a crash site. 

The probe was supposed to collect information for future Mars missions. ESA has more info on its website.  

[Photo: ESA]

10.21.16 | 2 hours ago

The number of women in computing jobs is about to decline

The number of women working in computer science-related fields is dropping, according to a new study from Girls Who Code and Accenture. Between now and 2025, the number of women in computing is expected to drop from 24% to 22%. This despite many overtures to diversity from Silicon Valley's tech elite.  

"Despite unprecedented attention and momentum behind the push for universal computer science education, the gender gap in computing is getting worse," said Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code. "The message is clear: a one-size-fits-all model won't work. This report is a rallying cry to invest in programs and curricula designed specifically for girls. We need a new mindset and willingness to prioritize and focus on our nation's girls, and we need it now." The report calls for a reversal of this trend by putting resources toward recruiting women in junior high school, high school, and college and encouraging them into tech-related jobs. 

10.21.16 | 3 hours ago

Just how negative were Clinton and Trump during the third debate?

Nearly every person who watched the third and final presidential debate on Wednesday saw just how ugly this election has become: Trump called Clinton a "nasty woman" and they both exchanged personal attacks. 

Fast Company asked the digital video analytics company HireVue to visualize the emotional intelligence of the candidates. Here's what the company's AI-driven platform found:

As you can see, things were pretty negative. Trump, in the red, emoted a lot of "fear," "negative sentiment," and "contempt." Conversely, Clinton, in blue, exhibited a lot of "disgust" and "surprise." 

You can read the full analysis here, which looks at both candidates' performance in all three debates.

10.21.16 | 3 hours ago

Time Warner shares soar to highest level since AOL era after report of AT&T merger talks

It's 2001 all over again for Time Warner Inc. whose shares soared past $90 today following news that it is in "advance talks" with AT&T about a possible merger. The company's stock hasn't seen such levels since its calamitous $160 billion merger with AOL Inc. 

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the two companies could have a deal as early as this weekend. Such a merger would create a content-distribution behemoth on par with Comcast-NBCUniversal. 

The Time Warner-AOL merger, completed in 2001, is widely seen as one of the worst in history. Time Warner has spent the last several years slimming down—it separated from AOL and Time Warner Cable in 2009 and spun off its magazine unit, Time Inc., in 2014. 

[Photo: HBO]

10.21.16 | 3 hours ago

Morning intel: Trump’s roast, DDoS attack, Microsoft stock

What happened to the internet this morning? A number of sites—including Twitter, Reddit, Spotify, Fast Company, and many other online services and news outlets—were down due to a DDoS attack on a major domain name server host, Dyn. The issue seems to have been resolved. 

Donald Trump wasn't exactly a hit at the Alfred E. Smith dinner last night, an annual Catholic charity fundraiser in New York. Trump's not-so-friendly roasting of Hillary Clinton even drew boos at one point. Clinton's jokes didn't fare much better, but at least they weren't mean-spirited.  

Microsoft's stock hit an all-time high of $60—something that hasn't happened since 1999—after a strong Q3 earnings report yesterday boasted a booming cloud business. 

• Even President Obama is taking digs at Samsung over its struggles with the Galaxy Note 7. Yesterday, he drew a parallel between Obamacare and smartphones: "When one of these companies comes out with a new smartphone and it has a few bugs, what do they do? They fix it. They upgrade. Unless, of course, it catches fire."

• NBCUniversal is reportedly investing another $200 million in BuzzFeed, which would give the publisher a valuation of about $1.7 billion.

10.21.16 | 4 hours ago

Twitter’s first designer is now a partner at the startup studio Expa

Vítor Lourenço, who was Twitter's first designer, has announced via a blog post that he's joining the startup studio Expa as a partner. Lourenço worked at Twitter for five years, left in 2012, and has worked at a variety of startups since, including the visitor registration company Envoy

Expa works with founders to build out startup ideas. Lourenço has been working on a stealth company at the startup studio for some time, but will now begin also focusing on other Expa-related projects. Past Expa projects include Ando, David Chang's delivery restaurant, which we wrote about earlier this year

10.21.16 | 8:07 am

UPDATE: Twitter is down . . . now how will people share their trauma over Twitter being down? 

UPDATE: As of 9:30am EST, Twitter is back online. As is Reddit, CNN, the Guardian, Fast Company and a number of other news outlets apparently hit by a massive DDoS attack this morning.  

EARLIER: Twitter has been down for at least the last half hour—but what are we supposed to do to share our grief, go on Facebook to complain? According to's map, the outage appears to be limited to the U.S. Northeast and parts of the Middle East.

10.21.16 | 7:11 am

Even President Obama is making fun of Samsung for the exploding Galaxy Note 7

You know you've become a popular cultural meme when even the president can make a joke about your biggest scandal—and everyone in the audience chuckles along with him. Yesterday in Miami, President Obama was defending his signature achievement, Obamacare, and at one point compared it to smartphones. "When one of these companies comes out with a new smartphone and it has a few bugs, what do they do? They fix it. They upgrade. Unless, of course, it catches fire." 

The audience laughed and Obama continued: "And then they pull it off the market. But you don't go back to using a rotary phone. You don't say, 'Well, we're repealing smartphones. We're just gonna do the dial-up thing.' That's not what you do."

10.21.16 | 6:55 am

Facebook under fire for removing a cancer awareness video featuring cartoon breasts

Once again, Facebook is being criticized for censoring content that doesn't deserve to be taken down. Just over a month after coming under fire for removing the iconic "napalm girl" Vietnam War photo, Facebook this week removed a video produced by Cancerfonden, a Swedish cancer charity. The video's offending content: It features a pair of cartoon breasts to emphasize the need for women to regularly check for lumps. Facebook told the organization: "Your ad can not market sex products or services nor adults products or services," reports the Guardian

When Cancerfonden protested, Facebook apologized in a statement: "We're very sorry, our team processes millions of advertising images each week, and in some instances we incorrectly prohibit ads. This image does not violate our ad policies. We apologize for the error and have let the advertiser know we are approving their ads." 

[Image: Cancerfonden]

10.20.16 | 9:21 pm

Donald Trump gets booed at Al Smith dinner after mean-spirited shots at Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump showed he was incapable of self-deprecating humor tonight as he spoke at the annual Alfred E. Smith dinner. The Catholic charity event is known for being a light-hearted affair in which the most vicious of political opponents set their differences aside and trade playful barbs with each other. But Trump's shots at Hillary Clinton didn't feel that way, particularly when he hit her on the Haiti scandal surrounding her foundation.  

"Everyone knows, of course, Hillary has believed that it takes a village, which only makes sense, after all, in places like Haiti, where she has taken a number of them," Trump said.

The comment attracted boos from the audience, as did the line when Trump said, "Here she is in public pretending not to hate Catholics." 

Clinton strained to keep her smile throughout the speech. As for Trump, he seemed to be reading his "jokes" under protest. At one point, he looked down at his notes and said, "This is corny stuff."

When it was Clinton's turn to speak, some of her jokes didn't go over much better, but at least they didn't feel nasty. One line that fell a little flat was a jab at Trump's coziness with Russia. "Donald really is as healthy as a horse," she said. "You know the one Vladimir Putin rides around on." 

Maybe it was the delivery.  


10.20.16 | 8:27 pm

DJI cops to Mavic Pro delivery delays

Plopped down many hundreds of dollars for one of the hottest drones available this holiday season, but heard nothing about when you'll be able to unfold it (yes, it's a foldable drone) and send it aloft? You're not alone.

DJI has admitted to production issues with the Mavic Pro that have caused delivery delays, Gizmodo reports. So hang on, it'll be there soon.

10.20.16 | 6:37 pm

Evening intel: Guess who’s coming to dinner?  

• In what will probably be the most awkward charity event in history, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both attending the annual Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York tonight. Seriously, they just had a debate. 

• How would you feel if AT&T owned Game of Thrones? It could happen if the telecom giant purchases HBO's parent company, Time Warner Inc. According to Bloomberg, some informal merger talks have been taking place. Winter is coming to Time Warner Center.

Microsoft is partying like it's 1999 after a strong earnings report pushed shares past a record high set at the end of the 20th century. 

• In a speech in Miami today, President Obama conceded that there's room for improvement with his signature health care law.

And finally, if you play video games, be aware that your favorite voice actors may be hitting the picket lines tomorrow. The union that represents them hasn't been able to reach a deal with game-makers.