YouTube Red is Having an Identity Crisis

During an onstage conversation at Recode's Code Media this week, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki called YouTube Red a music streaming service -- first time any executive from the company has referred to YouTube Red as foremost a music service. From a report: This differs from comments that other YouTube executives have made in the past, including YouTube's head of global content Susanne Daniels, who last year described YouTube Red as a premium subscription streaming service that offers Hollywood-quality shows and movies. Launched in October 2015, YouTube Red has always been positioned by YouTube as three services in one: It offers ad-free access to all of YouTube; it's a music streaming service that also gives access to Google Play Music; and it's consistently releasing original movies and TV shows, starring Hollywood talent and homegrown stars that users already subscribe to. Two years later, this has created somewhat of an identity crisis for the streaming service. As Wojcicki said in her interview, she sees YouTube Red as a music service. And she does not expect to spend billions of dollars on content to effectively compete with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and others.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sqreen wants to become the IFTTT of web app security

 French startup Sqreen recently launched a Security Hub with dozens of plugins to put you in control of the security of your web app. In many ways, it feels like enabling tasks on popular automation service IFTTT. Sqreen participated in TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield and Y Combinator’s current batch. The vision of the product hasn’t changed. Sqreen lets you protect your… Read More

A peek inside Alphabet’s investing universe

 Chances are you’ve heard of Google. You’re likely a contributor to one of the 3.5 billion search queries the website processes daily. But unless you’re a venture capitalist, an entrepreneur or a slightly obsessive tech journalist, you may not know that Google, or, more properly, Alphabet, is also invests in startups. And, like most of what Google does, Alphabet invests… Read More

RightEye’s portable eye-tracking test catches concussions and reading problems in five minutes

 They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, but physiologically speaking, they’re windows to the brain. RightEye is a startup that looks through that window to detect common but often subtle vision issues resulting from concussions and other brain troubles. Its quick, portable eye-tracking station can tell in minutes whether you should see a doctor — or look into becoming a pro… Read More

Gillmor Gang: Where’s The Beef

Gillmor Gang Artcard The Gillmor Gang — Keith Teare, Esteban Kolsky, Denis Pombriant, and Steve Gillmor. Recorded live Friday, February 16, 2018. The Gang catches its breath as cryptocurrency crashes and rebounds, Facebook attacks its stream or does it, while publishers and their aggregators cozy up to a wave of bundling @stevegillmor, ekolsky, @DenisPombriant Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor… Read More

Learning To Program Is Getting Harder

theodp writes: While Google suggests that parents and educators are to blame for why kids can't code, Allen Downey, Professor at Olin College argues that learning to program is getting harder . Downey writes: The fundamental problem is that the barrier between using a computer and programming a computer is getting higher. When I got a Commodore 64 (in 1982, I think) this barrier was non-existent. When you turned on the computer, it loaded and ran a software development environment (SDE). In order to do anything, you had to type at least one line of code, even if all it did was another program (like Archon). Since then, three changes have made it incrementally harder for users to become programmers: 1. Computer retailers stopped installing development environments by default. As a result, anyone learning to program has to start by installing an SDE -- and that's a bigger barrier than you might expect. Many users have never installed anything, don't know how to, or might not be allowed to. Installing software is easier now than it used to be, but it is still error prone and can be frustrating. If someone just wants to learn to program, they shouldn't have to learn system administration first. 2. User interfaces shifted from command-line interfaces (CLIs) to graphical user interfaces (GUIs). GUIs are generally easier to use, but they hide information from users about what's really happening. When users really don't need to know, hiding information can be a good thing. The problem is that GUIs hide a lot of information programmers need to know. So when a user decides to become a programmer, they are suddenly confronted with all the information that's been hidden from them. If someone just wants to learn to program, they shouldn't have to learn operating system concepts first. 3. Cloud computing has taken information hiding to a whole new level. People using web applications often have only a vague idea of where their data is stored and what applications they can use to access it. Many users, especially on mobile devices, don't distinguish between operating systems, applications, web browsers, and web applications. When they upload and download data, they are often confused about where is it coming from and where it is going. When they install something, they are often confused about what is being installed where. For someone who grew up with a Commodore 64, learning to program was hard enough. For someone growing up with a cloud-connected mobile device, it is much harder. theodp continues: So, with the Feds budgeting $200 million a year for K-12 CS at the behest of U.S. tech leaders, can't the tech giants at least put a BASIC on every phone/tablet/laptop for kids?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Uber, Google and other tech employees form Coalition of Black Excellence

 When black employee resource groups from a variety of tech companies come together, black magic happens. More specifically, black excellence happens. The Coalition of Black Excellence Week, spearheaded by Uber Litigation Counsel Angela Johnson in collaboration with black ERGs from over 40 tech companies like Facebook, Google, eBay, Lyft and Microsoft, kicks off this Monday in the San Francisco… Read More

How ad-free subscriptions could solve Facebook

 At the core of Facebook’s “well-being” problem is that its business is directly coupled with total time spent on its apps. The more hours you pass on the social network, the more ads you see and click, the more money it earns. That puts its plan to make using Facebook healthier at odds with its finances, restricting how far it’s willing to go to protect us from the harms… Read More

Facebook didn’t mean to send spam texts to two-factor authentication users

 Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos apologized for spam texts that were incorrectly sent to users who had activated two-factor authentication. The company is working on a fix, and you won’t receive non-security-related text messages if you never signed up for those notifications. Facebook says it was a bug. But calling it a bug is a bit too easy — it’s a feature that… Read More

New Scanning Technique Reveals Secrets Behind Great Paintings

Researchers in the US have used a new scanning technique to discover a painting underneath one of Pablo Picasso's great works of art, the Crouching Woman (La Misereuse Accroupie). From a report: Underneath the oil painting is a landscape of Barcelona which, it turns out, Picasso used as the basis of his masterpiece. The new x-ray fluorescence system is cheaper than alternative art scanning systems -- and it is portable, making it available to any gallery that wants it. Details were revealed at the American Association for the Advancement for Science in Austin, Texas. The Crouching Woman is a painting from Picasso's blue period. What is remarkable is that the landscape painting beneath -- probably by a student artist -- is turned 90 degrees. The contour of the hills in the background becomes the crouching woman's back. She takes on the shape and form of the Catalan countryside. Kenneth Brummel, a curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, said that he was "excited" when he first learned what lay underneath the Crouching Woman. "It helps to date the painting and it also helps to determine where the painting was made," he told BBC News. "But it also gives a sense of the artists with whom the painter was engaging. And these insights help us ask new, more interesting and scientifically more accurate questions regarding an artist, their process and how they arrived at the forms that we see on the surface of a painting."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.