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The Spotify Apple Issue1

Many people who follow tech know that Spotify has filed a complaint with the European Commission regarding the challenges that Spotify has doing business in the iOS app store. I am very sympathetic to Spotify’s complaint. In my post last week on The Warren Breakup Plan, I wrote: The mobile app stores, in particular, have always seemed to me to be a constraint on innovation vs a contributor to it. Spotify has a huge user base and brings in billions of dollars of revenues every year but it has a challenging business model. Let’s say that 70cents of every dollar they bring in goes to labels and artists. That seems fair given that the artists are the ones producing the content we listen to on Spotify. But if they also have to share 30cents of every dollar with Apple, that really does not leave them much money to build and maintain their software, market to new users, pay for servers and bandwidth, and more. You might say “well that’s what they signed up for” and you would be right except that their number one competitor is Apple. So their number one competitor does not pay the 30% app store fee, meaning that they have a competitive advantage. But this is about more than money. If you look at the web page Spotify put up to explain how challenging it has been to do business with Apple, you will see numerous instances of Apple not approving app upgrades. We see this with our portfolio companies a fair bit too. Apple has complete control over what gets into their app stores and what does not. And the process can be arbitrary and frustrating. But that is how it works and our portfolio companies are reluctant to make any noises publicly for fear of making their situation with Apple even worse. I am not a fan of Warren’s idea of breaking up companies like Apple. I like my partner Albert’s ideas better which he expressed in a tweet last week: A better set of policies to restore competition in the digital age would be (1) consumer right to API access (2) consumer right to side load apps (3) restored ability for small companies to go public / sensible regulation of crypto currencies.— Albert Wenger (@albertwenger) March 12, 2019 If it was the law of the land that any company could side load any application onto the iPhone or any iOS device, including third party app stores, we would have a much more competitive market with a lot more innovation, and Spotify would not have to go to the European Commission to deal with this nonsense.

Tarheels v Blue Devils

Source: If you are a basketball fan, last night you were treated to a spectacular basketball game when the North Carolina Tarheels played the Duke Blue Devils. Duke took it 74-73 and the game was every bit that close as the Heels missed several opportunities to take the game. This is the best rivalry in college basketball. It is a guaranteed dramatic struggle. There is no rivalry that has been as consistently excellent as these two teams. Last night, the rivalry was made even better. This year, the Tarheels beat the Blue Devils twice but those wins have to be asterisked because Zion Williamson did not play in those two games. [OK, injuries and staying healthy ARE part of the game and you have to play with the team who shows up and laces up. Fair point.] This game Zion Williams came with a full strength performance of 31 points and one of the fiercest dunks ever recorded in the history of collegiate basketball. This is guy is amazing. Duke starts a lot of freshmen. Coach K has come to grips with building teams around “one-and-done” players who will not stay long enough to graduate. These Duke athletes are some of the best to ever play the game. Ever. Roy Williams builds his teams around players who may never play in the NBA or who will not be leaving early. This is a difference in style and strategy that translates into two competitive programs and teams, but with a different view of things. There is more than one way to skin a cat. Your Big Red Car thinks the Heels lost the game because the Heels Coach Roy Williams failed to call a time out and organize things when the Heels had the ball at the end of the game and were behind by a single point. When the Heels did try to win it, they took a poorly selected three point attempt. Still, it had a chance to go in and we would be singing a different song if it had. It certainly could have. The Heels, usually a good shooting team, went 4/27 on three point shots. In spite of this, both teams could have won this game. When you win by a single point, every shot and every free throw was a game winner. But, if you shoot 15% from beyond the arc, you are likely to lose. Now, let’s get onto the National Championship. But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? Hook ‘Em Heels!       Share this:EmailTweetShare on TumblrPrint Related Source:

Despite Crackdowns, White Supremacist and Neo-Nazi Videos Take Stubborn Root on YouTube

Documenting Hate Tracking Hate Crimes and Bias Incidents In his 74-page manifesto, Brenton Tarrant, the alleged gunman responsible for the massacres at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, lays out a hyper-extreme worldview animated by racist and fascist thought. While the authorities say Tarrant posted his treatise on 8chan — a relatively obscure web forum that attracts trolls, hackers and hardcore white supremacists — the ideas in the document are also circulating on many of the world’s most popular social media platforms. Over the past four months, for instance, a YouTube user known as Third Positionist posted over 100 videos espousing extremist ideas that closely resemble what the authorities have identified as Tarrant’s writings. The user’s videos — full of racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic views — have attracted more than a half-million views. YouTube said on Friday that it had terminated the Third Positionist account after being alerted to it by ProPublica and HuffPost. It said it had found no evidence that the account belonged to the accused New Zealand gunman. Social media giants have long struggled to moderate extremist content, and most have waged periodic crackdowns. But in recent months, YouTube has emerged as something of a flourishing option for white supremacist and neo-Nazi videos. The material posted by the user named Third Positionist — mirroring much of the hateful content subscribed to and promoted by the gunman in New Zealand — is but one example. Third Positionism is a variant of fascism that blends elements of the extreme right and left. Tarrant’s online writings praised Sir Oswald Mosley, a mid-20th-century British fascist leader who supported Adolf Hitler and fiercely opposed immigration. At least two speeches by Mosley are featured in Third Positionist videos. The symbol used as the logo for Third Positionist’s YouTube channel — nine interlocking crosses — was also drawn on one of the gunman’s rifles. The graphic on the front page of Tarrant’s treatise also appears repeatedly in Third Positionist videos, albeit in a slightly altered form. Get Our Top Investigations Subscribe to the Big Story newsletter. A recent video posted to the Third Positionist channel featured a discussion about the merits of Nazi Germany and the need to remove all Jews from “positions of power. Another, uploaded late last year, argued that the U.S. fought on the wrong side during World War II. On March 11, 2019, the channel posted an interview with Thomas Rousseau, one of the organizers of the 2017 white power rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and leader of Patriot Front, a right-wing extremist group that uses the Nazi slogan “Blood and Soil.” Rousseau said the group is focused on “reclaiming America” for white men. White supremacist YouTube channels have been online for years, but many appear to have launched — or relaunched — in the past few months. Banned videos seem to reappear regularly, sometimes with new titles, confounding the efforts of content moderators. “It’s a war of attrition against those who keep coming back, keep coming back and posting,” said Oren Segal, director of the Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League. White supremacist content “is a huge challenge” for social media platforms. “They don’t have the technology to assure that once you’re banned you can’t come back.” Much of the material on the Third Positionist channel is drawn from podcasts and livestreams originally posted by Mike “Enoch” Peinovich, a New York City-based white nationalist and anti-Semite. Peinovich, who helms a racist media micro-empire called The Right Stuff, maintains a YouTube channel, as well. “The muslims are in the process of conquering Europe through migration and birth rates,” wrote one commenter on the TRS Radio page. “Something needs to be done about this above all else.” Another added: “It’s time to become Vikings and wipe these people out.” A media organization calling itself Vanguard Streaming Network is typical of the recent activity on YouTube. The network has created an array of channels on YouTube over the past year, many of them featuring the same content in an apparent attempt to elude censors. The network is quite open about its beliefs: Its logo features the SS insignia used by the Nazis, and one of the hosts calls himself Goebbels. One Vanguard video features a cross-Atlantic conversation between Richard Spencer, the American white nationalist, and Mark Collett, a longtime racial extremist in England. Some of the videos include links to Streamlabs, a streaming service that white nationalists have been using to collect donations. Streamlabs has taken some action against racist material, recently shutting down two Vanguard channels. Carla Hill, a senior investigative researcher at the Anti-Defamation League, said she’d heard of the Vanguard Streaming Network through Augustus Sol Invictus, a far-right attorney who attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville and defends white supremacists. “He is collectively working with these other individuals to form these media outlets for podcasting, which is the new way for white supremacists to get their messages out,” she said. Invictus, which is his legal name, didn’t respond to a request for comment. One relatively new show on the Vanguard Streaming Network is called “Goy Talk” co-hosted by a masked man calling himself “Dino.” Prominent white supremacist and neo-Nazi figures have appeared on the show, including Christopher Cantwell and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. As reported by the anti-racist blog Angry White Men, in November, a “Goy Talk” host wore a large rubber nose and pretended to be a Jewish man named “Finky Heebstein,” talking in a nasal voice about the “caravan of love” moving through Mexico. The skit was meant to promote the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews are hastening immigration to the U.S. as a way to replace white people. It’s the same conspiracy theory that prosecutors say motivated Robert Bowers to massacre 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in October, only a few weeks before the episode of “Goy Talk” aired. Both the Third Positionist and Vanguard Streaming channels share followers with The Red Elephants, a channel that predominantly features controversial political commentary from the channel’s owner, Vincent James, and livestreams of anti-Muslim and pro-Trump rallies and protests. At times, James has been a vocal supporter of the Rise Above Movement, a white power gang. See the Project Documenting Hate Tracking Hate Crimes and Bias Incidents James livestreamed an event billed as the “March Against Sharia” in San Bernardino, California, in June 2017. In his video, streamed to his Facebook page and later published on the Red Elephants YouTube channel, James bantered with Rise Above Movement leader Robert Rundo. On camera, James asked Rundo to “say the 14 words,” a reference to a neo-Nazi slogan about preserving the white race. Rundo responded by saying, “I’m a big fan of the 14 words.” Later in the video, James filmed Rundo and fellow RAM member Ben Daley running through the crowd, boasting that they had “physically removed” counterprotesters. Rundo added, “We chased ’em down the block, smashed up their car.” Late last year, Rundo, Daley and six other members or associates of RAM were jailed on federal rioting charges. Rundo and Daley have pleaded not guilty and are currently incarcerated while awaiting trial. Two of their co-defendants have already admitted their guilt and taken plea deals. Segal, of the Anti-Defamation League, credited YouTube and other major platforms with having become more aggressive about policing white supremacist content. Still, he noted, “It’s pretty easy still to find anti-Semitic and white supremacist videos online.” Becca Lewis, of Data and Society, a New York-based research center, said YouTube has historically taken a “hands-off, laissez faire” approach to white supremacist content, focusing mostly on eradicating “explicit slurs or threats to violence” from the platform. But white supremacists, she said, have become “extremely adept at masking use of slurs and the inherent violence in their discourse.” “There are certain white supremacist channels that have been running for upwards of 10 years on YouTube,” said Lewis, an affiliate researcher with the center. YouTube did not respond to a request for comment on its efforts over the years to deal hateful content. It did promise to investigate the channels brought to its attention by ProPublica and HuffPost. The killings in Christchurch are part of an international pattern of attacks on Muslims, which seem to have increased over the past two years. In January 2017, a man entered a mosque in Quebec City and shot and killed six people. He was sentenced to at least 40 years in prison this year. The killer followed white supremacists, conspiracy theorists and right-wing commentators online, and he was fixated on Muslims and immigrants. He was a fan of President Donald Trump and his Muslim ban. Since 2016, at least three U.S. mosques have been set afire, and at least three other Islamic institutions across the country have targeted for terrorist attacks. YouTube is owned by Google, which is a ProPublica Donor.

5 Things You Need to Know About the Closing of Immigrant Youth Shelters in Illinois

Zero Tolerance Trump’s Immigration Policy at the Border This story was first published in ProPublica Illinois’ newsletter. Sign up for weekly updates here. Since last summer, we’ve done a lot of reporting on a secretive network of shelters in Illinois that houses thousands of immigrant children each year. We started looking into the network after the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy; we were part of a broader ProPublica effort to report on the issue. That led us to the nine facilities run by the nonprofit Heartland Human Care Services, where 99 children who’d been separated from their parents were sheltered. Our reporting, based on dozens of interviews, reports to state child welfare officials and police, and a review of thousands of confidential records, found instances of inadequate supervision, including cases involving children having sex in a common area, an employee in an alleged inappropriate relationship with a detained teen and more than a dozen runaways. Well, some news: We obtained an internal memo Heartland sent last week to inform staff of plans to close four of those shelters in the Chicago area. Read the full story here. Dive Deeper Into Our Reporting Our newsletter is written by a ProPublica Illinois reporter every week Who: Heartland Human Care Services is part of Heartland Alliance, a large, Chicago-based nonprofit that works on health services, homelessness prevention and other social issues. Its shelters are part of a federal network of about 100 sites that house more than 11,000 children and teens, according to the most recent data. What: Heartland said it will close four shelters in suburban Des Plaines, including a complex of three cottages known collectively as Casa Guadalupe. Altogether, the Des Plaines shelters can house as many as 116 children and teens; the change will cut Heartland’s total capacity under state rules a little more than 20 percent, from 512 to 396. In addition, Heartland says it will hire more staff, add training and provide additional resources for its employees. When: Heartland officials told ProPublica Illinois they plan to move children out of the Des Plaines shelters between now and the end of May. Where: The suburb of Des Plaines is located directly north of O’Hare International Airport, just past the Chicago city limits on the northwest side. The four shelters closing are located on the campus of Maryville Academy, a Catholic child welfare agency that runs two shelters of its own and is planning to open two more. Heartland will continue operating five shelters in Chicago’s Rogers Park, Bronzeville, Englewood and Beverly neighborhoods. Why: In a statement, Heartland officials said the decision was prompted by the end of the lease for the facilities in Des Plaines and a desire to “align capacity” to the average number of children it has housed in recent years. But Heartland officials said in the memo that the decision comes after an internal review and listening sessions with staff in the chaotic aftermath of the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown. Know something about this, or want to tell us something else about immigration in Illinois? Email reporter Melissa Sanchez at [email protected]. Filed under: Immigration

Tech and Austin By God Texas

Source: It is hard to explain and embrace how well Austin By God Texas is doing as it relates to its tech sector. I will give it a try. First, Austin did NOT get the Amazon HQ2 project. Neither did New York City, so I guess that’s some solace. Here’s what’s going on in the ATX.  1. First, it’s SXSW which means politicians, musicians, movies, and tech. Technically, it is supposed to be music, film, and interactive. << get it, “technically”? The Dem Presidential candidates arrived in droves — Julian Castro, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Robert Francis O’Roadtrip, Beto, Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang. We also got a full  dose of Mazie Hirono and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The biggest draw was, by far, AOC. She was on fire at her interview.  2. Apple has exploded in Austin. Apple will be the city’s largest civilian employer shortly. It already has 6,200 employees in Austin, but is spending an additional $1,000,000,000 to add 15,000 additional employees starting with an initial staffing of 5,000. Austin is Apple’s second largest location, surpassed only by the mother ship.  3. Dell Technologies continues to be a large employer with 12,000 employees at its Round Rock facility. This is ten miles from Apple’s digs.  4. In the last year, Austin has seduced 136 tech companies to relocate or expand thereby creating almost 20,000 jobs. This includes names like Charles Schwab, PIMCO (investment management firm) and the US Army’s Futures Command that will design how the Army goes to war in a tech future.  5. Amazon was already active, but seems to have ratcheted it up a notch. They  are leasing half of a 300,000 SF building at the Domain. Amazon has a huge warehouse in San Marcos, Texas down the road from Austin and will be adding another 1,000,000 SF.  6. Google has leased an entire 800,000 SF building in downtown plus is leasing another 150,000 SF building in East Austin. What is driving this growth, Big Red Car? It appears that the growth is driven by the following considerations:  1. Austin and Texas are open for business. Unlike New York City that could not get the Amazon deal done, Austin closes deals. This is in spite of being a very liberal, eco-friendly town. They just get it done.  2. Austin is a much less expensive place to do business than Silicon Valley, New York, San Francisco, Chicago. No winter clothes required.  3. Central Texas has an enormous pipeline of tech talent being driven by the University of Texas, Texas A & M University, Baylor University, Texas State University, Saint Edwards, Concordia Lutheran College, and Austin Community College. This is just the local talent pool.  4. Austin is cool with its music scene, fabulous restaurants, vibrant outdoors, and vibe. It is way cooler than Waco.  5. Killer TexMex and fantastic BBQ. Last word on SXSW — this festival has an enormous economic impact on the city. It is as great an impact as the Final Four or the Super Bowl — $350,000,000. It brings almost 250,000 people to town including AOC. But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car, y’all, and it’s Friday, convertible weather with the bluebonnets blooming. Come on down.     Share this:EmailTweetShare on TumblrPrint Related Source: