Missed Opportunity


Why Congress Won't Regulate Big Tech


At a historic antitrust hearing yesterday, lawmakers had a chance to grill the men who control four companies — Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Google — each so massive that they rival nation-states in their power. But instead of asking the CEOs questions about their market power, many conservatives focused on political drama, Vox reports.


Kodak Shares Surge Nearly 2,000 Percent


Eastman Kodak shares surged as much as 1,900 percent in two days after the camera company was awarded a $765 million federal government loan to make drug ingredients in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Business Insider reports. The U.S. International Development Finance Corp. said it would lend the cash to Kodak under the Defense Production Act, which requires companies to accept and prioritize government contracts for national security and other reasons.



Is Instacart Customers’ Personal Data Being Sold Online?

The personal information of what could be hundreds of thousands of Instacart customers is being sold on the dark web, BuzzFeed reports. As of last week, sellers in two dark web stores were offering information from what appeared to be 278,531 accounts. The company denied there had been a breach of its data.


TikTok Will Release Its Algorithm Code, New CEO Says

In his first public statement as CEO of TikTok, Kevin Mayer says the company will be releasing that code that drives its content-moderation algorithms so that experts can observe how its policies are enforced in real time, Axios reports. He says TikTok will also reveal its data flows to regulators. It’s an unprecedented move that could help defuse concerns that the app is a data-harvesting tool for the Chinese government.


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Helping Schools and Parents When Learning Is Virtual 


Many of the country's school districts are starting the year remotely or with a "hybrid" model. That means schools and families are looking for ways to keep kids engaged, up to speed, and out of their caregivers' hair while they learn from home, Inc.com reports. Startups—some born virtual, others pivoting to meet the moment—are offering solutions.


Getting Past Zoom Fatigue

“What happened with a pandemic is interesting,” Zoom’s chief product officer Odel Gal tells Recode. “All the people that were resistant to using the technology were forced to use it.” Zoom, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft all acknowledge the shortcomings of video chat. But they think it's here to stay.


One Designer's Must-Have Tools


When Ben Moss sat down to write a list of tools he can’t design without, he realized just how many tools he relies on as an integral part of his creative process. On Web Designer Depot, he describes the 17 tools he currently finds essential.


How AI Will Change Programming 

Intuit CTO Marianna Tessel sees the shift to designing products and building with AI to be as fundamental as the shift from assembly programming languages to the modern higher-level programming developers use today. Protocol spoke recently with Tessel about how AI will change the way developers work, how companies run, and how customers are treated.


A Covid-19 Contact-Tracing App That Works

Ireland’s oft-maligned health care system has a pandemic success story: a Covid-19 contact-tracing app that is popular and appears to work, The Guardian reports. The app uses a phone’s Bluetooth signal to exchange a digital handshake with another device also running the app when users come within 2 metres of each other for more than 15 minutes.


Pretty Cool


Sony has invented a new way to beat the heat: The Reon Pocket is a fairly slim palm-sized white plastic device that charges over USB-C and connects to your iOS or Android phone with Bluetooth, The Verge reports. There’s a silicone pad on the back that you can press against your skin, and the Reon Pocket uses the Peltier effect to cool or warm itself up by absorbing and releasing heat.