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Kayak’s emoji search function brings the speed and fun of texting to travel

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Travel should be fun, not a hellish slog through dystopian security checkpoints and zombie-service employees with penal institution levels of charm. 

That’s why Kayak’s decision to add a bit of whimsy into the travel process by adding an emoji search function is more than welcome. 

If you’re not emoji fluent, this is the perfect excuse to step up your emoji game and learn about some of the more obscure symbols hiding in your texting arsenal. 

The function doesn’t work for all cities yet, but the first cities included are New York (🗽), Tokyo (🍣  sushi!), Chicago (🐇  O’Hare Airport), Dublin, Ireland (☘️ ), Las Vegas (slots! 🎰 ), Easter Island (🗿 ), Amsterdam (🚨 red light, get it?), Los Angeles, San Francisco (📱 yep, that’s a smartphone), and Toronto (🍁 ).  Read more…

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Mark Zuckerberg is still the only one using Facebook Stories and he really likes Iowa

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Everyone’s best friend, Mark Zuckerberg, has a new Facebook story and he’s having a great time in Iowa. 

Zuckerberg used Facebook stories—that product Facebook introduced to add onto Instagram Stories but that hasn’t quite caught on yet—to document his trip midwest. The Facebook CEO traveled to Iowa as part of his 2017 promise to visit U.S. states he’s never been to. 

That trip led Zuckerberg to declare, “Iowa is my kind of place.” Everyone on Facebook who follows Zuckerberg was basically guaranteed to see his trip, since no one else is really using Facebook stories. Zuckerberg’s story waited to be watched in a little bubble all alone, without any other friends’ stories to distract from exciting photos of Iowa.  Read more…

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Virgin Media thinks 800,000 users should change their router passwords

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Virgin Media wants you to change your router password. 

The company recently published guidance on how to do that for older router models after Which? magazine — a publication “known for testing household products” — found that Virgin Media routers weren’t so hard to hack. 

Which? found that Virgin Media’s Super Hub 2 “can be hacked in a matter of days” if users don’t change the default password the devices come with. Once someone hacks into a router, that person can often get access to devices that use that router. Around 864,000 people apparently own a Super Hub 2. Read more…

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5 ways to overcome the entrepreneurial dilemma with Randi Zuckerberg

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Police raid homes of 36 accused of spewing hate online in Germany

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German police searched the homes of three dozen people on Tuesday, all of whom are accused of writing hateful messages on social media.

The raids illustrate significant differences between how Germany treats hate speech online when compared with the United States. 

The 36 targeted people are accused of threatening others, racism, and other forms of harassment, and most of them are classified as “right wing,” according to The New York Times

In the U.S., speech meant to threaten is illegal, but hate speech is not. In Germany, both can result in a visit from policeGerman law prohibits speech that “incites hatred” against a number of groups, including groups defined by race, national origin, and religion. Read more…

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Don’t cry for me, Ubertina

 Uber has been in trouble for a while. The company was built on a bro-tastic, anything goes attitude that goes way back to God View and the targeted harassment of journalists. In short, it was built on an original sin that was never washed clean. There are two takeaways circulated in the valley this week regarding Travis Kalanick departure. The first is similar to this one: Travis leaving Uber… Read More

Business

Mad about the tampon tax? Try a subscription box

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Despite surges of activism around the issue, the tampon tax is alive and well. 

The sales tax on sanitary products—a tax that isn’t applied to many kinds of condoms or any products that mostly men use—was upheld in Australia this week. In the United States, sales tax is still applied to feminine hygiene products in all but seven states.  

While Australia’s decision disappointed activists, there is one group that can make the best of it: period subscription services. 

Some subscription services, where you sign up and get organic tampons and maybe chocolate delivered to your door every month, are marketing themselves as a way to ensure your unfair tax dollars are used for good.  Read more…

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5 ways to make your relationship with your mentor mutually beneficial

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Business

The ICO is a revolutionary new way to get funded, and everyone wants in

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A few days ago, a startup called Bancor raised around $153 million in two hours and twenty-five minutes. 

The ICO, short for initial coin offering, followed several similar, equally successful funding events, and the numbers are rising. Prediction market Augur raised around $5.2 million over two months in 2015; this year, its competitor Gnosis raised $12 million in just 15 minutes. 

And we could only be getting started. 

The initial coin offering (sometimes also called a token crowdsale) is, in certain ways, similar to an initial public offering. Instead of stock, in an ICO a company sells a number of cryptocurrency tokens.  Read more…

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Governments shouldn’t pretend to be startups — no matter what politicians say

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The hot new name in tech is France, a centuries-old startup that provides security, healthcare, and education in exchange for taxes. 

Newly elected French president Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that the country needs to “think and move more like a startup” and, presumably, less like a stodgy social democracy.

“When an entrepreneur has too much success, he gets stigmatized and, in general, he gets taxed. This is over!” Macron told a crowd of techies in Paris, according to Reuters. “We will drive through these [sic] transformation without delay.” Read more…

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German court lashes out at Google over the ‘right to be forgotten’

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A German court doesn’t believe Google knows what it means to be “forgotten.”

The Higher Regional Court of Munich recently yelled at Google via legal injunction, The Next Web reports, telling the company it’s not doing enough to comply with the European Union’s “right to be forgotten.”

That right — which dates back several years — allows E.U. citizens to request that search engines remove certain links containing personal information that is “inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant, or excessive.” 

Google has done this by removing requested links and replacing them with text that reads, “As a reaction to a legal request that was sent to Google, we have removed one search result. You can find further information at LumenDatabase.org.” Read more…

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Amazon files oh-so-ironic patent to block people from comparing prices in its stores

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Amazon has earned plenty of sales from shoppers comparing its prices to those of items on the store shelves in front of them.

Now the online retail giant has locked down a patent on technology to prevent people from doing just that in its own stores.

The system, filed under the Orwellian title “Physical store online shopping control,” would intercept certain URLs, search terms, and other web activity that takes place on its in-store Wi-Fi. 

The document explains how that information could potentially be used to send you a digital coupon to cover the price difference between a product in the store and a cheaper offer you might have viewed online. Read more…

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500 Startups closes $35M Japan fund with the backing of the Japanese government

 500 Startups has announced the close of its fund for Japan, more than 18 months after it was first unveiled. The effort is backed by the Japanese government, which has chipped in as an LP via its Cool Japan Fund. (Yes, that really is the name of the fund, which is aiming to use about $1 billion in public money over its lifecycle.) Initially U.S.-based 500 Startups targeted a $30 million close,… Read More

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Uber drivers aren’t sweating Kalanick’s departure

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“He stepped down? No way!”

I was on my fourth Uber ride of the afternoon, trying to gauge the temperature of the contractors who are the life’s blood of the increasingly controversial startup.

Firas, who was taking me back to Mashable‘s mid-town Manhattan office had no idea that Uber CEO and founder Travis Kalanick was taking time away from the company to focus on becoming a better leader and deal with the death of his mother.

Like most of my other drivers, Firas (none of the drivers provided their last names) is under 30, has been driving an Uber for less than two years (most I spoke to had just a year under their belt) and is not exactly connected to the day-to-day machinations of the company that pays him. Read more…

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