Tech News Today for October 31, 2016
Tech News for Monday October 31, 2016
It's fitting that today is halloween and GIF, the image file format that seems like it was resurrected from the dead in recent years, is driving Giphy to new heights. Giphy announced $72 million in new funding with a valuation at $600. All this for a company that has no method of monetization whatsoever. Giphy plans to use the funding to build out its editorial staff to increase its GIF library so it can be seen as “the YouTube of GIFs.” The company also just announced a tool called Giphy Love Vine that will turn all of those 6-second Vine videos that Twitter is about to abandon into animated GIFs so they can live on in comment threads for ever and ever, or at least as long as GIF still remains relevant. Read more at wsj.com.
Here's something scary for your Halloween. VentureBeat pointed us to a post on the Google Security Blog that reveals a critical vulnerability in Windows for which no advisory or fix has yet been released. Google says they reported this vulnerability to Microsoft 10 days ago and it's their policy to release their findings in that time period, whether or not the company has released a fix. They also say that they have seen hackers actively exploiting the flaw in the wild. The Windows vulnerability is a local privilege escalation in the Windows kernel. Read more at venturebeat.com.
Researchers from MIT, Stanford, and University of Washington released a study that indicates the level at which racial discrimination is taking place with ride hailing services like Uber and Lyft. Riders with noticably ethnic-sounding names posted to their profile were more than twice as likely to have their rides canceled by drivers according to the study, ultimately resulting in longer wait times. Sharing photos with the profile would also influence those rates. Read more at bloomberg.com.
Unconscious bias. It's in all of us whether we're willing to admit it or not. There are many out there who make the argument that women or people of color are just not interested in, or good at, coding. A new startup aims to find out if there's any truth to that. CodeFights, a new San Francisco company with 150,000 users lets job candidates compete against bots or against each other in timed competitions. Job seekers can also hone their skills by competing against themselves in the self-paced CodeFight Arcade. Once you reach a certain level in CodeFights, you'll be asked if you want to be connected with the company’s partners. Uber has used the platform to present specific ride-hailing problems to potential coders. The video game-style challenges help filter candidates without letting the bias of hiring managers get in the way. Read more at qz.com.
This just in: The music industry is struggling to deal with the threat of pirated compact discs. That may sound outdated, but apparently, it's still a huge problem. Amazon along with other online retailers are offering counterfeit CDs that often cost just as much as the real deal and look nearly as pristine. Driving the sales are Chinese pirates who offer new CDs a few weeks after the initial release of an album on sites like Amazon for slightly less than the standard cost, and many times those illegitimate copies end up in Amazon’s buy box. The Recording Industry Association of America launched a study in August to test the severity of the probem, finding that out of 194 ordered CDs, 44 were counterfeit with 18 of those fulfilled by Amazon itself. Amazon says it has a zero tolerance policy on the sale of counterfeit items and is working to identify those who are offering fraudulent items on the site. Read more at wsj.com.
Megan Morrone and Jason Howell are joined today by Alex Davies from Wired to talk about Uber's plan to make flying cars a reality. Tech News Today streams live weekdays at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern at twit.tv/live. You can subscribe to the show and get it on-demand at twit.tv/tnt.