Issue 530

Tuesday, 28th November 2017

In This Issue


Tumblr's founding CEO is leaving as Tumblr circles the drain

David Karp, the CEO of Tumblr, is moving on after sticking around since co-founding it with Marco Arment back in 2007. That's pretty good for a tech company! Here's his Tumblr post about leaving. Sounds to me like he's just sick of it and wants to do something new. Understandable after 10 years. Maybe part of David's reason for leaving is that Tumblr isn't as relevant as it used to be. After a peak of 106 million posts per day in Feb 2014, it's down to around 35 million a day now. People still care about it, 35m posts a day is no piss in the ocean, but as it goes on the web, if ya ain't growing, you're dying.

Airbnb is a money laundering hotbed

Airbnb is very popular with Russian money launderers. The scam is simply taking stolen credit cards, using them on Airbnb to pay for accommodation, then splitting the cash with complicit property owners to keep everyone quiet. The property owners love it as they get as much as 50% of the total rate as kickback and nobody actually uses their property. The money launderers love it as they get an easy way to use the large amount of stolen credit cards floating around the darkweb. And Airbnb loves it as they get their cut either way - not much of an incentive to stop I guess, even if they do say all the usual stuff about fraud prevention and machine learning.

Big Bash League team boss moves to e-sports

The profile of eSports (e-sports? E-Sports? E Sports? I dunno) in Australia is getting a big boost, as Dominic Remond, the GM of Big Bash League (it's cricket you absolute nerd) side Sydney Sixers will be the CEO of Gfinity Australia in Feb 2018. Gfinity run the "Elite Series" eSports competition, which is basically the Big Bash League, but with videogames instead of cricket. There's teams for cities across Australia playing "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rocket League and Street Fighter V" and is scheduled to begin in Q2 2018. Who will be the first free-to-air network to broadcast this live in Australia ya reckon?

Facebook using AI to detect if you're suicidal

Facebook has started to roll out "proactive detection" of posts it thinks are signs someone could kill themselves. It's developed "pattern recognition to identify signals - like comments asking if someone is okay", which will then flag that post automatically for moderators to assess and then send on info to the user about how to get help. The anti-suicide AI won't be used in the EU, as they have laws against "profiling users based on sensitive information" - everywhere else in the world seems to be fair game for Facebook's omnipresent AI.

500 tech jobs to magically appear in Geelong thanks to LiveTiles

The Victorian state government is very proud to announce that "tech giant" LiveTiles is going to bring 500 new jobs to Geelong. (the article I wanted to link to is paywalled). The Premier rocked up to announce it and LiveTile's CEO couldn't be more excited. This company makes plugins for crap like Sharepoint and according to their 2017 annual report, their revenue last financial year was $1.8m gathered from 366 customers. So... where are those 500 jobs going to come from? That's more staff than customers! It seems to me like 500 new jobs is a best case scenario, in a few years time, if LiveTiles manages to grow and resist being bought out by Microsoft (unlikely).

Not News, But Still Cool

Using a Tesla Supercharger to mine cryptocurrency

This is extremely my shit - an absolute legend has set up a few cryptocoin mining rigs in the back of their Tesla and hooked it up to a Supercharger. You can see where this is going right? Free electricity! I don't quite know how they managed to get enough electricity out of the car, into the computers in the boot, but they did, and it works. The Model S can be left at a Supercharger indefinitely (which is free for more Model S drivers), powering the car, which powers the mining rigs. Ingenious, but an ethical grey area.

Tech companies need to do more more research and less development

Tim Harford (you should all listen to his 50 Things That Made The Modern Economy podcast), has a short opinion piece about the lack of research coming out of tech companies that love to be known for innovation. Instead of the groundbreaking leaps in science companies like IBM, Sony and Texas Instruments achieved with their Nobel Prize winners, we're in a world were tech companies go after cheaper, less revolutionary marginal improvements that arrive sooner. Like Tim says, there's nothing wrong with that, but what is society missing out on when industrial titans don't invest in science like they used to?

20% off Myer's eBay store means cheap Apple gear

Myer has 20% off on eBay (code is PMYER), so that means some decent prices on Apple gear:

That's it, see ya tomorrow!