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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

YouTube Debuts Plan to Promote and Fund 'Authoritative' News

The video platform is less focused on getting rid of conspiracy theorists than on trying to elevate journalism it considers valuable.
Source: Wired

Indianapolis vice cop says SESTA/FOSTA closure of Backpage has ‘blinded’ investigators

Online sex market Backpage was seized in April following new regulation intended to stem human trafficking, but the results haven’t been entirely positive. This story of Indianapolis cops reverting to pre-web tactics for catching pimps and others in the sex trade shows how the closure has taken away a valuable tool for keeping tabs on the unsavory but ineradicable industry.

Backpage, where prostitutes would list themselves and attract customers, let the whole business take place rather in gig economy fashion rather than out on the street.

As controversial as the sex industry is, it’s not going anywhere, and at the very least most of us can agree that it should at least be conducted as safely as possible. And Backpage did at least provide some level of safety and regularity to it, even if it also contributed to worse issues like sex trafficking.

“We used to look at Backpage as a trap for human traffickers and pimps,” explained undercover vice investigator John Daggy to RTV6. “We would subpoena the ads and it would tell a lot of the story. Now, since it has gone down, we’re getting late reports of them and we don’t have much to go by.”

As evidence, in 2017 Indianapolis cops charged four pimps using Backpage data, and dozens of prostitution cases used it as well. But this year only one pimp has been charged, caught via old-school undercover work: a cop posing as a prospective prostitute.

That may be what the movies present vice investigations as, but the truth is that kind of work is extremely dangerous, not to mention time-consuming and difficult. Having a nice digital trail to follow or cite in court was clearly a godsend.

As critics noted earlier this year, SESTA/FOSTA has good intentions but a seriously flawed execution resulting in numerous unforeseen consequences. This decline in police effectiveness in vice investigations is one of them.

“I get the reasoning behind it, and the ethics behind it,” Daggy said. “However, it has blinded us.”

You should read the rest of the story, as it has context from others and is part of a series on the sex trade in the city.


Source: TechCrunch

Retail startup Bulletin is giving brands new tools to manage their in-store presence

If you visited a Bulletin store, or bought products off its website, COO Ali Kriegsman said you might “pigeonhole” the company as a “feminist apparel brand” — a place to buy T-shirts and accessories with fun, provocative political slogans.

And yes, that is part of what draws consumers. But Kriegsman and her co-founder Alana Branston have also laid out their broader vision for a more flexible, WeWork-style approach to brick-and-mortar retail, one where brands essentially rent out shelf space in Bulletin stores.

So brands that may have only sold online can experiment with physical sales, while shoppers can purchase from a curated, constantly refreshed selection of brands and products.

“We’re building this more feminine retail company, but we are also part real estate company, and now, we are also part technology company,” Kriegsman said.

Bulletin Omni

The “now” that she’s referring to is the launch of Bulletin Omni, a software platform that allows brands to apply to sell with Bulletin, manage their inventory and track their sales.

Bulletin has actually been working on something like this since I first talked to the team last year, but according to Maggie Braine, the company’s director of product and brand experience, Omni only just reached the point where the company is ready to roll it out to all of the 150 brands it works with. She said that without it, the company has mostly relied on “emails, phone calls, and a very, very large Google Doc” to manage the process.

Braine gave me a quick walk-through of Omni, showing me how a brand could, with just a few clicks, add a new product to its offerings in a given store, confirm once that product has actually arrived and then see how each product is selling in each store.

That’s “unheard of” in traditional retail, she said, where “there’s very little transparency” once goods are purchased by retailers. With Omni, Braine said the goal is to give brands the same kinds of data around physical purchases that they have access to when they promote and sell their products through online channels.

She also said the team plans to introduce ways for in-store staff to offer feedback to the brands — like whether a product isn’t selling because it’s too expensive.

Bulletin Omni

Kriegsman said that if the software does well enough, she could imagine Bulletin becoming “a retail software destination,” where other companies buy the software to manage non-Bulletin stores.

Either way, she predicted that Omni will allow Bulletin itself to expand more quickly. The company currently has three New York City stores — one in SoHo, one in Williamsburg and a recently opened location near Union Square — with plans to open in additional cities later this year.


Source: TechCrunch

Overwatch ‘Pink Mercy’ sale raises $12M for breast cancer research

It can be hard sometimes to grok the scale of the gaming community, but the occasional charity event not only demonstrates the hugeness of the industry but also its diversity and willingness to shell out for a good cause. Today Blizzard announced that an Overwatch charity campaign raised an impressive $12.7 million for breast cancer research in just two weeks.

Overwatch is an extremely popular team-based shooter that has made an impression not just with its solid gameplay, but its striking and inclusive character design. This sensitivity to the ever-widening demographics of gaming led them to conceive of this charity campaign back in May.

Players could for a limited time purchase a special “skin,” or 3D model, for the character Mercy — she’s the most powerful healer in the lineup, so the choice makes sense, even though the statuesque blonde isn’t exactly their most interesting character work. (A Pink Genji would probably look cool, but it would probably just make more people play him — a regrettable outcome.)

Special skins are highly sought-after, and while many can be obtained through in-game loot boxes, they can also be purchased. In this case, the price was set at $15, rather high for a skin but clearly that didn’t deter players, who shelled out by the thousand for both it and related t-shirts.

I asked for a breakdown, but a little napkin math gives a basic idea of the volume. The press release announcing the $12.7 million number says “thousands” of t-shirts were sold at $30 apiece; usually if it’s 10,000 or more they say so, so we’ll just use 10K as our estimate. That makes $300K from shirts, so the remaining $12.4 million means somewhere north of 820,000 people paid for the Pink Mercy skin.

Think about that! In two weeks more than three quarters of a million people paid $15 each for a virtual item. Pretty great. It’s all going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, by the way. They got a big novelty check:

And this is by no means the only big gaming charity event. Games Done Quick regularly raises millions, and Penny Arcade’s Child’s Play got so big that it had to be spun off as its own thing. It just recently announced a round of grants funding pediatric hospital equipment and staff, by the way.

This event went well enough that we can probably expect more in the future for other causes — I’ve asked Blizzard for any details on that front and will update if I hear back.


Source: TechCrunch

An Apple fan took six months to cross-stitch the original Mac’s Control Panel

Clearly one of Apple’s biggest fans, Glenda Adams recently jumped on Twitter to showcase a hand-stitched version of the original MacOS Control Panel. More specifically, she stitched each pixel as seen on the original screen.

The post An Apple fan took six months to cross-stitch the original Mac’s Control Panel appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

iOS 11.4.1 is here, and the police may not be happy – CNET

Cops may have a hard time cracking your iPhone after this.
Source: CNET

IHOP flips back to pancakes, drops IHOb name – CNET

Our long breakfast nightmare is over.
Source: CNET

Uber's next big thing is Lime scooters to get around town – CNET

Alphabet, Uber and Google Ventures invest $335 million in the scooter startup turning it into the latest unicorn.
Source: CNET

See a glacier spawn an iceberg in this dramatic video – CNET

The 4-mile-long iceberg made quite an exit.
Source: CNET

Amazon Prime Day 2018: The best deals so far – CNET

Prime Day starts in 7 days. Here’s everything you need to know, including what’s already on sale.
Source: CNET

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