Business

NakeFit’s Sticky Pads For Your Feet Could Eliminate The Need For Sandals

NakeFit’s Sticky Pads For Your Feet Could Eliminate The Need For Sandals

The stick-on sole protector promises to protect your precious feet from rocks, hot sand, slipping at the pool and from the gross floor at the spa. Just stick them on and when you’re done with them, peel them off, according to Huffington Post.

“Imagine a world where you could just jump and run around without worrying about being barefoot,” a promotional video for the products says. “NakeFit is the ultimate way of protecting your feet in every circumstance.”

“Forget about carrying around stupid flip flops and sandals,” the video for NakeFit so boldly declares.

People probably aren’t ready to throw away their sandals just yet, but considering the NakeFit’s Kickstarter got $163,205 ― way beyond its goal of $22,292 ― people seem excited about the product. NakeFit currently comes in three colors (black, pink and blue) and it looks like the earliest people can receive the product after they’ve preordered it is July 2017.

Just keep in mind that podiatrists don’t approve of flip-flops because of their lack of support, so going nearly barefoot likely isn’t any better.

Dr. Alex Kor, president of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, told HuffPost in an interview last year that the most important feature in any shoe is something called the shank, which provides structure for the arch of your foot. Flip-flops don’t have this, which means they supply limited support for your feet ― and NakeFit provides even less support.

Uber CEO takes leave of absence amid crises

Uber CEO takes leave of absence amid crises
  • Jun 14, 2017
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“It’s hard to put a timeline on this — it may be shorter or longer than we might expect,” Kalanick wrote in a company-wide memo, according to CNN. “Tragically losing a loved one has been difficult for me and I need to properly say my goodbyes.”

The announcement came moments before Uber held a staff meeting to discuss recommendations from a months-long investigation into Uber’s office culture conducted by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Uber hired Holder to conduct the probe after a former engineer named Susan Fowler blogged about her experience in February. Fowler claimed the company refused to properly address sexual harassment that she and other women had reported.

The report recommended reevaluating Kalanick’s responsibilities at the company as well as “enhancing board oversight” and boosting the board’s independence.

It also suggested establishing protocols for escalating HR complaints, as well as modifying Uber’s performance review process to create transparency and provide continuous feedback to employees. The report said there needed to be a more professional work environment, and suggested restricting reimbursement of alcohol-related events and prohibiting romantic relationships within the same chain of command.

Uber has been hit by an endless series of PR crises and an executive exodus in the months since Fowler’s post, casting doubt on the $68 billion startup’s leadership and momentum.

Uber’s board met for seven hours Sunday to approve all the recommendations from the report and weighed the future of Kalanick and his right-hand man, Emil Michael.

Michael, Uber’s SVP of business, left the company after the board meeting. That makes him the most high-profile executive departure during Uber’s ongoing crises.

Separately, Uber announced last week that it was firing 20 employees after a parallel investigation from another law firm. Dozens more employees were placed in training or counseling.

Fowler was less than impressed by the recommendations, describing it in a tweet as “all optics.” Uber investors, however, sounded a more positive note.

“The recommendations are both thoughtful and extensive, and we are very encouraged that they have taken this as seriously as we had hoped,” early Uber investors Mitch and Freada Kapor wrote on Tuesday. The Kapors had previously blasted the company’s culture.

“Uber’s termination of a number of employees, including some in senior leadership, has also shown sincerity in action,” they added.

Another Uber investor described Michael as “the worst part” of its culture and the “driving force behind that company being out of control.”

But others had characterized Michael as a scapegoat. Michael’s name was mentioned alongside Kalanick in multiple scandals revealed recently.

Michael visited an escort bar in South Korea with Kalanick and other employees in 2014. He was also said to have been one of the executives who viewed medical records of a woman who had been raped by an Uber driver in New Delhi.

Despite outside pressure, the decision to step aside or not likely rested with Kalanick. He and his allies from Uber’s early days are said to dominate the board’s voting power.

Uber’s board includes Kalanick, his cofounder Garrett Camp, Uber’s first CEO Ryan Graves, longtime Uber investor Bill Gurley and Arianna Huffington, among others.

Kalanick previously admitted he needed to “fundamentally change as a leader and grow up” after video surfaced of him arguing with an Uber driver.

A source at Uber previously told CNN Tech there is a key effort underway to fill top leadership positions around Kalanick with seasoned executives. That included a search for a COO who might do for Kalanick what Sheryl Sandberg did for Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook.

Kalanick said Tuesday that his leadership team would be running the company in his absence. But much of that leadership team has left or been pushed out.

Uber currently has no COO, CMO, CFO or president.

Trump Effect: J.Crew Shirt Sold Out After Barron Spotted Wearing It

Trump Effect: J.Crew Shirt Sold Out After Barron Spotted Wearing It
  • Jun 13, 2017
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Barron was seen wearing the the T-shirt, with the words “The Expert” emblazoned across the front, as he and first lady Melania Trump arrived at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Sunday.

“Whatever his skill set may be, this is the T-shirt that identifies him as the expert,” the J.Crew website states, according to The Daily Caller, although it now contains an additional note: “We’re sorry. This item has been so popular, it has sold out.”

This isn’t the first time clothing has flown off the shelves after a member of the Trump family was seen wearing it. The dress Melania Trump wore to the Republican National Convention last July sold out within an hour of her speech.

It should be recalled that President Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, and youngest son, Barron, have moved into the White House Sunday, four and a half months after the president was sworn into office.

Someone in 2010 bought 2 pizzas with 10,000 bitcoins — which today would be worth $20 million

Someone in 2010 bought 2 pizzas with 10,000 bitcoins — which today would be worth $20 million
  • May 23, 2017
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Bitcoin is going nuclear. Its price is tearing upward, with each bitcoin worth $2,128 (£1,638) — a little shy of its all-time-high of $2,185 (£1,682) reached earlier Monday morning, according to Business Insider.

Just a year ago, it was trading at just $443 (£341), after deflating from what was then seen as the giddy highs of about $1,100 (£847) in late 2013. It has since embarked on an epic bull run.

“The Japanese have caught the Bitcoin bug and inefficiencies across markets are being exposed,” CryptoCompare founder Charles Hayter said to the edition in an emailed comment. “Irrational exuberance is taking hold as the Japanese stumble over each other to enter the Bitcoin market and drag up international prices.”

The digital currency has come a long way since 2010, when the purchase of the two Papa John’s pizzas by Laszlo Hanyecz from another bitcoin enthusiast marked what is believed to be the first “real-world” bitcoin transaction.

He posted on the Bitcoin Talk forum on May 22, 2010, writing (emphasis ours):

“I’ll pay 10,000 bitcoins for a couple of pizzas.. like maybe 2 large ones so I have some left over for the next day. I like having left over pizza to nibble on later. You can make the pizza yourself and bring it to my house or order it for me from a delivery place, but what I’m aiming for is getting food delivered in exchange for bitcoins where I don’t have to order or prepare it myself, kind of like ordering a ‘breakfast platter’ at a hotel or something, they just bring you something to eat and you’re happy!

“I like things like onions, peppers, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, pepperoni, etc.. just standard stuff no weird fish topping or anything like that. I also like regular cheese pizzas which may be cheaper to prepare or otherwise acquire.

“If you’re interested please let me know and we can work out a deal.”

Ten thousand coins were then worth about $40 (£30). A British user agreed to buy the pizza for him, and even at the time the buyer got a good deal out of it: The person paid only $25 (£19) for the two pizzas.

The date is a marked on an annual basis by bitcoin users as “Bitcoin Pizza Day.”

Today, 10,000 bitcoins add up to about $20.5 million (£15.8 million).

“It wasn’t like Bitcoins had any value back then, so the idea of trading them for a pizza was incredibly cool,” Hanyecz told The New York Times in 2013. “No one knew it was going to get so big.”

Kodi users face crisis as this popular add-on Navi-X closes down

Kodi users face crisis as this popular add-on Navi-X closes down
  • May 20, 2017
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Kodi users are facing a crisis – after one of the most popular add-ons decided to call it a day, according to BirminghamMail.

Kodi was was originally created for the Microsoft Xbox and Xbox Media Center (XBMC).

But the software has continued to evolve, spawning a community of its own.

Unlike services like Chromecast or Plex, Kodi is managed by the non-profit XBMC Foundation.

And it’s constantly being modified and upgraded by hundreds of coders around the world.

More and more are opting to use Kodi for their streaming needs – be it films, sport or television.

But Navi-X, a popular add-on among Kodi users, has called it a day.

Read also: European court rules ‘fully loaded’ Kodi boxes are illegal.

Speaking about why it closed, the Navi-X team said: “Every good thing must come to an end.

“After ten years of successful operation, Navi-X has sadly being discontinued. Navi-X was first released in April 2007, and is the oldest Kodi addon of its kind.

“The main reason why the decision was made to discontinue the Navi-X service is the current legal climate surrounding Kodi.

“In case you aren’t aware, the abundance of preloaded Kodi box sellers has resulted in a lot of heat on Kodi in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

“It’s unfortunate, because the people who are bringing the heat have nothing to do with the Kodi community anyway, they’re just leeches trying to profit from the hard work of Kodi developers.

“Nevertheless, hosting Navi-X playlists is no longer something we feel comfortable doing due to the potential liability that comes with it.

“Navi-X had slowly become overrun with people trying to make a quick buck.” Continues the post.

“Many were using it as an easy way to advertise their paid IPTV services to our users, which is something we’ve always been strongly against.

“We also had found that a lot of adult content was improperly labelled, which is a pretty big problem in itself for anyone with a family.

“We tried to moderate the database, but there was just too much content, no one had the time to watch thousands of videos to remove ads and distasteful content.”

Designed to run on computers and home servers connected to larger TVs, Kodi pulls content directly to your front room.

However, recent community-led products mean it’s now possible to run the software on selected smartphones and tablets.

Kodi isn’t held back by licensing or a curated app store, so it lets you download a range of community-made apps, and watch whatever you like.

Most of the add-ons listed below are available directly from the Kodi Add-on Repository.

The doubts about Kodi’s legality basically comes down to piracy.

So, if an add-on is letting you access movies which aren’t even out on DVD yet, you may want to avoid it.

Likewise, if they are showing films which are currently out at the cinema – like La La Land right now – you could potentially be accessing pirated content.

The same applies to TV, of course.

If you see an add-on that lets you watch shows from HBO, Sky or Netflix Originals without subscribing to those service then it is most likely to be illegal.

Tesla launches solar roof tiles pre-order today

Tesla launches solar roof tiles pre-order today
  • May 10, 2017
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CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company will be accepting orders for the tiles from later this afternoon. Although only two of the four possible tile styles are being made available at this point, according to TechCrunch.

Responding to a question via Twitter Musk said the first version of the tiles that can be pre-ordered are the black glass smooth and textured versions.

Tuscan and French slate versions will be available to order “in about six months”, he added.

Musk said the tiles can be ordered “for almost any country”, including specific confirms for Australia and the UK.

He also confirmed that deployment — i.e. delivery and installation — will be this year in the US, and in 2018 for overseas orders.

There’s no official confirm on price yet which really is the key detail here. Because, while traditional solar panels may look unsightly, the historical cost of the renewable technology has undoubtedly been the biggest barrier to wider uptake — though the price of solar has also been falling significantly in recent years.

Previous hints from Tesla on the cost of its solar tiles have suggested the price of the system will amount to the price of an ordinary roof plus the cost of electricity.

Which implies solar tiles will require an initial outlay that’s more than the upfront cost of a traditional slate roof.

 

Tesla announced the quartz glass solar roof tiles last fall, showing off four aesthetic looks that resembled fairly closely a current roofing material style.

The tiles are transparent to allow sunlight to penetrate the cells from above but appear opaque when viewed from an angle. And they have roughly equivalent efficiency of traditional solar power gathering cells, while aiming to blend in rather better with traditional roofing aesthetic.

The product is being billed as being able to generate enough energy to fully power a household. While any excess power generated could be stored in Tesla’s Powerwall 2.0 battery units, giving the homeowner a backup energy source to cover demand spikes.

Uber faces criminal probe over software used to evade authorities

Uber faces criminal probe over software used to evade authorities
  • May 5, 2017
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Uber has acknowledged the software, known as “Greyball,” helped it identify and circumvent government officials who were trying to clamp down on Uber in areas where its service had not yet been approved, such as Portland, Oregon, according to Reuters.

The company prohibited the use of Greyball for this purpose shortly after the New York Times revealed its existence in March, saying the programme was created to check ride requests to prevent fraud and safeguard drivers. The Times report triggered a barrage of negative publicity for the company.

The criminal probe could become a significant problem facing the company that is already struggling with an array of recent business and legal issues.

An Uber spokesman and the Justice Department declined to comment. Uber lawyers said in letters to Portland authorities, which Portland made public in a report last week, that the Greyball technology was used ”exceedingly sparingly” in that city, before the service was approved there in 2015.

The nature of any potential federal criminal violation, and the likelihood of anyone being charged, is unclear. The investigation is still in its early stages, the sources said.

Bloomberg news service reported the existence of a federal probe last week, but did not identify it as criminal.

Uber received a subpoena from a Northern California grand jury seeking documents concerning how the software tool functioned and where it was deployed, one person familiar with the request said. That indicates a criminal investigation is underway. The second source confirmed that was the case.

A subpoena from a grand jury is a formal request for documents or testimony concerning a potential crime. It does not, in itself, indicate wrongdoing or mean charges will be brought.

The ride services company’s board has retained an outside law firm, Shearman & Sterling LLP, to conduct its own internal investigation into what transpired, those two sources and a third said.

A Shearman spokeswoman did not return a message seeking comment.

Uber, a venture capital-backed firm most recently valued at $68 billion, has long had a reputation as an aggressive startup.

It has been battered with multiple controversies over the last few months that have raised questions about Chief Executive Travis Kalanick and led him to say he needed “leadership help.”

The technology at issue in the criminal probe helped Uber tag some users so that they saw a different version of its standard app, the company said in a blog post in March.

Uber said Greyball obscured the real location of Uber cars in various circumstances, including the possibility of physical threats or merely to test new features.

The programme was part of a broader Uber system, called Violation of Terms of Service, that analysed credit card, device identification, location data and other factors to predict whether a request for a ride was legitimate, current and former employees said.

The technology was used partly to prevent fraud and protect drivers from harm, the company blog post said. If a ride request was deemed illegitimate, Uber’s app showed bogus information and the requester would not be picked up, the employees told Reuters.

However, the Greyball technique was also used against suspected local officials who could have been looking to fine drivers, impound cars or otherwise prevent Uber from operating, the employees said.

The system might have gone farther than suggested by Uber’s terms of service for app users. For example, it mined credit card information to see if the owner was affiliated with a credit union used by police and checked social media profiles to assess the likelihood that the person was in law enforcement.

After the Times exposed the programme in March, regulators who had been unable to catch Uber in places where it was banned accused the company of obstructing their inquiries.

Transportation officials in Portland investigated and reported last week that Uber had used Greyball to evade 16 Portland Bureau of Transportation officials, denying them dozens of rides, in December 2014 before Uber was authorized to operate there.

The city said it found no evidence that the behaviour was repeated when Uber re-entered the market in April 2015.

Uber said it used the Greyball technology in December 2014, while it was operating without approval, because it was “deeply concerned that its driver-partners would be penalized financially” or otherwise for their driving.

See also: Uber aims to show off the flying vehicles at an expo in Dubai in 2020.

Facebook to hire 3,000 workers to monitor content

Facebook to hire 3,000 workers to monitor content
  • May 3, 2017
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Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook said that this would be in addition to the 4,500 people already working in this capacity. What is not clear is whether these are full-time employees or contractors, and how screeners will, in effect, be screened, according to TechCrunch.

It’s a big hiring move, but is it enough? The company currently has close to 2 billion users — we’ll be getting an update on that number later today when Facebook posts its quarterly earnings (interesting timing to release this on just ahead of those) — and Zuckerberg said that there are “millions of reports” received every week.

“If we’re going to build a safe community, we need to respond quickly,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post earlier today. “We’re working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner — whether that’s responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down.”

The move to add more human curation into the mix is nevertheless a step in the right direction. To date, the company has put more emphasis on building algorithms and mechanisms for people to report on friends or even themselves if they are concerned. In March, it launched a new set of suicide prevention tools. A month later it new tech to combat revenge porn.

While the reviewers will be given a role to speed up some of the bottleneck that results in the gap between reporting content and that content being taken down, Facebook said it will continue to work with authorities and also continue to invest in — yes — more technology.

“We’re going to make it simpler to report problems to us, faster for our reviewers to determine which posts violate our standards and easier for them to contact law enforcement if someone needs help. As these become available they should help make our community safer,” Zuckerberg wrote.

As the world’s biggest social network, Facebook has held a contentious place in the ongoing debate about what role social media is playing in how information is spread around the world today.

During recent political events like the U.S. elections and the referendum in the U.K., many accused Facebook of helping to disseminate inaccurate spins, or downright false information, about the issues at hand and candidates, connecting that dissemination directly to the outcomes of those voting events.

Facebook has on the one hand claimed to have a statistically small influence, while at the same time recently pledging to do more to try to combat the spread of false information on its platform, both with more human curation and the creation of more tools for people to flag and take the edge off of posts intentionally created to be incendiary and viral, but perhaps not ultimately to enlighten anyone at all.

See also: Facebook wants to build its own “brain-to-computer interface” that would allow us to send thoughts straight to a computer.

Reuters: Tesla’s Klaus Grohmann ousted after clash with CEO Musk – sources

Reuters: Tesla's Klaus Grohmann ousted after clash with CEO Musk - sources
  • Apr 27, 2017
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The Silicon Valley luxury electric carmaker is counting on Grohmann Engineering’s automation and engineering expertise to help it ramp up production to 500,000 cars per year by 2018, according to Reuters.

At the time of the purchase, it described Klaus Grohmann and the company he founded as a “world leader in highly automated manufacturing”.

Tesla planned to keep Grohmann on, and Grohmann wanted to stay, but the clash with Musk over how to treat existing clients resulted in his departure, the source said.

Grohmann disagreed with Musk’s demands to focus management attention on Tesla projects to the detriment of Grohmann Engineering’s legacy clients, which included Tesla’s direct German-based rivals Daimler and BMW, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Reached by phone, Klaus Grohmann declined to comment on the circumstances of his leaving, citing confidentiality clauses.

“I definitely did not depart because I had lost interest in working,” Grohmann said, without elaborating.

A Tesla spokesman, asked about Grohmann’s departure, praised him for building an “incredible company” and said:

“Part of Mr Grohmann’s decision to work with Tesla was to prepare for his retirement and leave the company in capable hands for the future. Given the change in focus to Tesla projects, we mutually decided that it was the right time for the next generation of management to lead.”

Two sources familiar with the matter said Tesla’s plans to ramp up production with the help of the company now renamed Tesla Grohmann Automation remain on track.

The management layer below Klaus Grohmann is continuing his work, they told Reuters. But they said parts of the workforce felt insecure about becoming so dependent on one client after the founder’s departure.

Last year, Tesla had said: “Under the continued leadership of Mr Grohmann, several critical elements of Tesla’s automated manufacturing systems will be designed and produced in Pruem, to help make our factories the most advanced in the world.”

“Our factories are so important that we believe they will ultimately deserve an order of magnitude more attention in engineering than what they produce. At very high production volumes, the factory becomes more of a product than the product itself,” Tesla said at the time.

Tesla started out as a client of Grohmann Engineering, a small unlisted company based in Pruem, near the Luxembourg border, that helped companies design highly automated factories, a source familiar with the company told Reuters.

As pressure grew to increase production volumes at Tesla, Musk decided to buy Grohmann Engineering and make Pruem a base for Tesla Advanced Automation.

As well as BMW and Daimler, Grohmann counted the auto parts maker Bosch [ROBG.UL], chip maker Intel, and pharmaceutical firms Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) and Roche (ROG.S) among its clients.

Negotiations have started with some of the clients about how to compensate them for lack of resources devoted to their projects, one of the sources said.

The German labor union IG Metall has demanded that Tesla’s management formalize multi-year job guarantees and increase salaries as a way to provide assurance amid management turmoil.

See also: Tesla is making a big expansion to its Supercharger network.

United Airlines reaches settlement with passenger who was dragged off plane

United Airlines reaches settlement with passenger who was dragged off plane
  • Apr 27, 2017
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Dao’s lawyers announced the deal Thursday, but did not disclose the financial terms of the settlement, CNN reports.

The announcement includes praise for United CEO Oscar Munoz from Thomas Demetrio, one of Dao’s lawyers.

“Mr. Munoz said he was going to do the right thing, and he has,” he said. “In addition, United has taken full responsibility for what happened…without attempting to blame others, including the City of Chicago.”

It was a police officer who worked for the city who actually removed Dao from the aircraft. The officer has since been suspended.

United wanted to remove Dao from the flight in order to make room for commuting crew members. United has since promised it will no longer use officers to forcibly remove paying customers from its flights.

The incident occurred on April 9, and United has been reeling from the backlash ever since.

Dao’s lawyers previously said Dao suffered a concussion, broke his nose and lost teeth during the ordeal. Dao can be seen with blood streaming down his face in footage of the incident.

The settlement announcement comes the same day that United outlined a plan to make its passengers more comfortable and ensure that what happened to Dao won’t happen to any one else.

“Dr. Dao has become the unintended champion for the adoption of changes which will certainly help improve the lives of literally millions of travelers,” Dao’s lawyer said in a statement.

The ordeal has already brought about changes in the industry. Southwest said Thursday it will no longer overbook flights in an effort to ensure ticket-holding customers will never be booted from a flight. Delta said earlier this month that it will offer volunteers up to $10,000 to give up their seats.

Its common for airlines to offer cash rewards to incentivize travelers to give up seats on overbooked flights, but it’s not customary to attempt to remove a passenger who has already boarded and was seated.

Other passengers on the flight Dao was on said the airline only offered $800 for a volunteer before they randomly selected Dao to be ousted.