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06.13.16 | 1:47 pm

The Apple “experience” is getting bigger and, yes, better

It's clear that a theme of this year's WWDC is how ownership of many Apple devices makes your life better. So a new feature on the Watch will automatically log you in to your Mac. You can now see all your stuff on your desktop on all your devices. Cut something from a doc on your Mac; it will be available on your iPad. Apple Pay is easy across many devices now. 

This is called Continuity, which is an appropriate description of how Apple wants you to feel. From your storage to your TV to your phone to your Mac, you'll be living in an Apple world. And another development that holds it al together is Siri on your Mac. It's as if she's your invisible, or imaginary, friend while you're continuously moving through the Apple experience. No Echo in Apple world!

09.26.16 | 8 minutes ago

Drug maker Mylan underplayed its profits to Congress 

After months of public criticism, Mylan CEO was asked by Congress to justify the price hike for its potentially life-saving allergen treatment. CEO Heather Bresch responded that Mylan's profit was $100 for a two-pack of the injectors, which seemed odd to many given the $608 list price. 

The Wall Street Journal had a few questions for Mylan. The company admitted that the number it initially shared included U.S, corporate tax rates. Those are five times higher than Mylan's overall tax rate last year.

A filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission today shows that without the tax reduction, the company's profit is $83 per pen. Or $166 total. And that's a difference of millions. 

09.26.16 | 39 minutes ago

Siri doesn’t seem to know there’s a debate tonight

I asked the same question Walt asked of Siri, and got a different answer. She helpfully provided me with the time of day here on the West Coast. Siri doesn't appear to know much about the candidates either: 

09.26.16 | an hour ago

Feds say Thiel-founded Palantir discriminates against Asian applicants

If you have a lot of government contracts and specialize in big data, as Palantir Technologies does, you should be very well aware if your own data suggests you're not treating all job applicants equally.

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor accused the software company, which was co-founded by Silicon Valley big-wig Peter Thiel, of treating Asian job applicants different than those from other races. And not in a good way.

"In a complaint, the Department of Labor accused the Palo Alto, Calif.-based data mining company of utilizing a hiring process since Jan. 2010 that prevented the hiring of Asian applicants on the basis of their race," Forbes wrote. "Asian applicants were 'routinely eliminated' in resume screening and telephone interview phases of the hiring process, despite being 'as qualified as white applicants' for engineering positions, according to the complaint."

Palantir has denied the allegations, which the Feds first brought to the company's attention nearly a year ago, Forbes wrote.

09.26.16 | an hour ago

Journalists covering tonight’s debate are paying $200 for a basic internet connection. What?

And if they try to use their own mobile hotspot to connect they could have their press credential revoked. That's the way they play at Hofstra University, where reselling Wi-Fi is apparently a big part of the payoff for holding the debate. Ken Vogel of Politico posted a pic of the fancy device the tech cops at Hofstra are using to locate and shut down mobile hotspot use. 

09.26.16 | an hour ago

Drake’s “Views” is the first album to stream more than a billion times on Apple Music

The record debuted April 29 and was available from Apple Music exclusively for a week. The Canadian rapper made the happy announcement on Instagram earlier today. Drake also debuted a 23-minute companion film to Views called Please Forgive Me on Apple music today, also an exclusive. 

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A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

09.26.16 | 2 hours ago

Want to track more than steps? This new startup is pioneering an approach it calls “scientific wellness” 

Today's step count isn't a particularly useful window into your overall health, but it can be if analyzed over months alongside other biometric data. That's why a Seattle-based startup, called Arivale, is marketing a new concept called "scientific wellness," and it is planning to demonstrate its efficacy through peer-reviewed research.  

Arivale CEO Clayton Lewis, who started the company with biologist Leroy Hood, says the company aggregates wellness information, such as activity levels and lifestyle, and couples it with genetic data and clinical labs. It then assigns a coach to each customer to make actionable health recommendations by phone. To avoid regulation, the company's coaches will suggest that users see a doctor if they discover something potentially concerning ("we don't diagnose and we don't prescribe," Lewis stresses). The price tag isn't cheap at $3,500, but Lewis says it is working with employers to subsidize the cost for their workers. 

Arivale is part of a broader trend of private companies offering health and wellness coaching to make up for the lack of preventative care. But some in the medical sector see a potential downside: As ProPublica's Charles Ornstein writes, too much data can lead to potentially risky tests and procedures. 

09.26.16 | 3 hours ago

Do we expect to know too much when it comes to presidential candidates’ health? 

Why do we expect so much transparency from presidential candidates like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump when it comes to their health? It wasn't always that way. John Dickerson, a history buff and Slate columnist, recently spoke to the New York Times' "The Run-Up" podcast (a must listen for those following the election) on the history of voters demanding medical information from presidents. Some highlights: 

* After president Dwight Eisenhower had a heart attack in the middle of the night, reporters were told that it was a bout of indigestion. The press soon learned the truth, but Eisenhower's press secretary, James Hagerdy, came up with a brilliant strategy to divert their interest elsewhere. The president's physician reported that Eisenhower had a "successful bowel movement," and the Associated Press printed it as "official news."

* Sen. John McCain also overwhelmed the press with too much information. He released thousands of carefully selected medical records for several hours to the media during his 2000 and 2008 bids for the presidency. 

*A president's health was once considered out of the public view, for the most part. Former presidents John F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson all hid serious medical conditions from the public. 

Where would you draw the line on how much you'd want to know about a presidential candidates' health? Let me know @chrissyfarr on Twitter

09.26.16 | 4:23 pm

Reid Hoffman says he’s in a “constant state of argument” with buddy Peter Thiel over Trump

It's like a buddy movie out of the 1980s, but based in Silicon Valley and featuring a presidential election. Stanford classmates, PayPal coworkers, and longtime buddies, LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman and investor Peter Thiel are feuding over Donald Trump. Hoffman has been just as vocal in his opposition to the Republican nominee as Peter Thiel has been in support of him. 

"We're in a constant state of argument over this," Hoffman told Bloomberg TV today, adding that though he liked Thiel's speech at the Republican National Convention in July, he thinks his buddy is "inventing policies for Trump that Trump doesn't actually have." He says that fellow tech entrepreneurs often ask him whether Thiel is crazy. When asked the question, Hoffman replied, "Maybe a little."

Hoffman also discussed his biggest concern about Trump—that he doesn't have a policy plan and "no demonstrated record of public service." He added that the impact of a Trump presidency on the American economy and Silicon Valley would "range between disastrous and terrible." 

09.26.16 | 4:13 pm

Update: Twitter sale could happen in the next month 

Disney, Salesforce, and now Microsoft are all exploring a potential bid for Twitter, according to CNBC's David Faber. Sources tell the financial news outlet that a sale could be coming in the next 30-45 days. Among those not interested: Facebook.

09.26.16 | 3:33 pm

Hollywood hitmakers adapting short VR film for the big screen

Comics. Books. True-life stories. Now add VR films to the list of source material for Hollywood movies.

Today, Roth Kirschenbaum Films (R/K)—whose producers helped bring Alice in Wonderland, The Huntsman, and Maleficent to the silver screen—announced they plan on developing a full-length theatrical movie based on Invasion, an award-winning short VR film.

Although there is no script and no time frame for the project yet, it will be a collaboration between R/K and Baobab Studios. It will be written and directed by Eric Darnell, who directed Antz and all three Madagascar movies.

Kane Lee, Baobab's head of content, told Fast Company that his studio plans on releasing more VR content for Invasion, but that the full-length project will be a standard animated theatrical film. 

09.26.16 | 2:26 pm

Disney is reportedly toying with the idea of buying Twitter

The Walt Disney Company has begun working with a financial adviser to decide whether it should bid on Twitter, reports Bloomberg. It joins the ranks of Salesforce, which is also reportedly thinking about acquiring the social network.

What would Disney want from Twitter? Well, it's a content creator—one of the oldest and biggest content companies around—so Twitter would serve as a new distribution medium. So it's not a crazy idea, but it does make for a juicy story. 

09.26.16 | 1:51 pm

Shoppable hotels? West Elm announces a new chain

Shinola just announced that it's building a hotel in Detroit. And today, home furnishing company West Elm says it wants to get into the hotel business together with DDK, a hospitality management and development company. 

In 2018, it will be opening properties in Charlotte, North Carolina; Indianapolis, Indiana; Detroit, Michigan; Savannah, Georgia; and Nashville, Tennessee, with more locations to be announced. 

Much like West Elm stores, each location will feature local design elements, but presumably these hotels will include furniture that guests will be able to buy. 

[Image via West Elm]