Dfinity launches an open source platform aimed at the social networking giants

When Dfinity raised $102 million in funding in 2018 at a $2 billion valuation in a round jointly led by Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital, it was thought of as a step change in the world of blockchain technology. In an area that was  synonymous generating a lot of headlines around cryptocurrency speculation, this was a shift in focus, looking instead at the architecture behind Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the rest, and how it could be used for more than just “mining”, distributing and using new financial instruments — with a major, mainstream VC backing the idea, no less.
Dfinity launched with a very lofty goal: to build what it called the “Internet Computer”: a decentralized and non-proprietary network to run the next generation of mega-applications. It dubbed this public network “Cloud 3.0”.
Now, looks like this is Cloud is now about to break.
In Davos this week, Dfinity launched the Bronze edition of


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Here is the first stable release of Microsoft’s new Edge browser

Right on schedule, Microsoft today released the first stable version of its new Chromium-based Edge browser, just over a year after it first announced that it would stop developing its own browser engine and go with what has, for better or worse, become the industry standard.
You can now download the stable version for Windows 7, 8 and 10, as well as macOS, directly. If you are on Windows 10, you can also wait for the automatic update to kick in, but that may take a while.
Since all of the development has happened in the open, with various pre-release channels, there are no surprises in this release. Some of the most interesting forward-looking features like Collections, Microsoft’s new take on bookmarking, are still only available in the more experimental pre-release channels. That will quickly change, though, since Edge is now on a six-week release cycle.
As I’ve said throughout the development cycle,


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Lawyers hate timekeeping. Ping raises $13M to fix it with AI

Counting billable time in six minute increments is the most annoying part of being a lawyer. It’s a distracting waste. It leads law firms to conservatively under-bill. And it leaves lawyers stuck manually filling out timesheets after a long day when they want to go home to their families.
Life is already short, as Ping CEO and co-founder Ryan Alshak knows too well. The former lawyer spent years caring for his mother as she battled a brain tumor before her passing. “One minute laughing with her was worth a million doing anything else” he tells me. “I became obsessed with the idea that we spend too much of our lives on things we have no need to do — especially at work.”
That’s motivated him as he’s built his startup Ping, which uses artificial intelligence to automatically track lawyers’ work and fill out timesheets for them. There’s a massive opportunity to


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Adobe is bringing Illustrator to the iPad in 2020

Adobe will be bringing another of its desktop-class imaging and graphics apps to the iPad: Illustrator, which is set for a launch win 2020, the company announced today at its annual MAX conference. Last year, Adobe announced a similar plan to deliver Photoshop for iPad, and that app launched on the App Store early on Monday.
Illustrator for iPad is still in “early” development, the company said, so we don’t know exactly what it’ll look like relative to the desktop version. But it will focus on making the most of touch and Apple Pencil-based input, which are uniquely available to the iPad. As with Photoshop, documents created on one platform will be available in full fidelity to edit on any others via Creative Cloud storage.
The app will be available in a limited private beta beginning immediately, but the group of those with access will remain very tight until Adobe has managed


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Facebook isn’t free speech, it’s algorithmic amplification optimized for outrage

This week Mark Zuckerberg gave a speech in which he extolled “giving everyone a voice” and fighting “to uphold a wide a definition of freedom of expression as possible.” That sounds great, of course! Freedom of expression is a cornerstone, if not the cornerstone, of liberal democracy. Who could be opposed to that?
The problem is that Facebook doesn’t offer free speech; it offers free amplification. No one would much care about anything you posted to Facebook, no matter how false or hateful, if people had to navigate to your particular page to read your rantings, as in the very early days of the site.
But what people actually read on Facebook is what’s in their News Feed … and its contents, in turn, are determined not by giving everyone an equal voice, and not by a strict chronological timeline. What you read on Facebook is determined entirely by Facebook’s algorithm, which


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Microsoft introduces Windows 10X for dual-screen devices

At its annual Surface hardware event in New York, Microsoft today announced the expected set of updates to its existing hardware lineup. The biggest surprise, though, was surely the announcement of the company’s dual-screen Surface Neo, which will go on sale before the 2020 holiday season. To make this kind of dual-screen device possible, Microsoft also built a new version of Windows 10: Windows 10X.
Microsoft says it’s announcing the hardware and software today in order to get it into the hands of developers ahead of the launch.
Just like HoloLens, Surface Hub and Xbox use the core technologies of Windows 10, the dual-screen Surface, too, will run this new version, as will dual-screen devices from Dell, HP, Lenovo and other partners. Unsurprisingly, these devices — and Windows 10X — will feature improved pen support (and a virtual keyboard).

Microsoft teases Neo dual-screen Surface, set to debut holiday 2020

Windows 10X is the result


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Actor and HitRecord founder Joseph Gordon-Levitt says we should all get off YouTube

The multi-hyphenate actor-director-entrepreneur, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (best known for roles in “3rd Rock from the Sun,” “Inception,” “Snowden” and “10 Things I Hate About You,”) came to TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2019 this morning to talk about his startup, the collaborative media platform HitRecord.
Specifically, he addressed how HitRecord differs from other platforms for creators. In doing so, he also called out the YouTube business model as problematic and something we should all get away from. 
The comments around YouTube followed a discussion of some of the criticism HitRecord’s platform has faced — namely, that it doesn’t offer high enough payouts or a way for creatives to make a living.
Since 2010, it has only paid out some $3 million dollars to its creators.
Gordon-Levitt said that HitRecord doesn’t emphasize that you’ll gain entry into the creative industry by using its platform, nor does it market itself as something you can turn into a full-time


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Why is Dropbox reinventing itself?

According to Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, 80% of the product’s users rely on it, at least partially, for work.
It makes sense, then, that the company is refocusing to try and cement its spot in the workplace; to shed its image as “just” a file storage company (in a time when just about every big company has its own cloud storage offering) and evolve into something more immutably core to daily operations.
Earlier this week, Dropbox announced that the “new Dropbox” would be rolling out to all users. It takes the simple, shared folders that Dropbox is known for and turns them into what the company calls “Spaces” — little mini collaboration hubs for your team, complete with comment streams, AI for highlighting files you might need mid-meeting, and integrations into things like Slack, Trello and G Suite. With an overhauled interface that brings much of Dropbox’s functionality out of the OS


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Disney CEO Bob Iger resigns from Apple’s board of directors

Disney CEO Bob Iger has resigned from Apple’s board of directors, according to a just-published SEC filing.
Neither company has given any reason for the departure — the explanatory text of the SEC filing is literally just “On September 10, 2019, Bob Iger resigned from the Board of Directors of Apple Inc.” — but with Disney and Apple both prepping to launch their own video streaming services in November, it may be that there’s starting to be too much overlap. Given that the services are called “Disney+” and “Apple TV+” respectively, it’s easy to see where things might start to get too muddled.
Iger originally joined Apple’s board in November of 2011.
Apple’s Board of Directors now has seven members: Chairman Arthur D. Levinson (CEO of Alphabet’s biotech R&D company Calico), James A. Bell (the former CFO of Boeing), Al Gore, Andrea Jung (CEO of Grameen America), Ronald Sugar (Former CEO Northtrop Grumman),


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