Facebook rolls out its downvote button to more users

Earlier this year, Facebook confirmed it was trialling Reddit-style upvote and downvote buttons on public posts, with the aim of improving the quality of discourse on the platform. Now, it appears the feature is rolling out to a greater number of users. Hmmmm. Not sure I like the Upvote and Downvote feature of Facebook. Time will tell I guess. pic.twitter.com/hxvjW7HaTX — BEN SLATER 🌀 (@iambenslater) April 29, 2018 Upvote and downvote comments on Facebook, when did this happen? pic.twitter.com/q9F7OcJ4R3 — Carter (@cwsbbb) April 29, 2018 ok seriously facebook comments having an upvote/downvote system now is hurting my brain — emily…

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On the shores of the Iberian Peninsula: A look inside Cascais’s tech scene

Ever since King Luis I decided to set up his royal summer retreat on Portugal’s coast in the late 19th century, the fishing village of Cascais has been transformed into one of the country’s top getaway destinations. But tourists and retirees from all over the world aren’t the only ones who flock to the inviting beaches that rest only 20 miles west of the capital, Lisbon. Over the last decade the city of Cascais has complemented its atmosphere with lucrative business incentives that make it a locale where startups are blossoming on the shores of the Iberian Peninsula. Government initiatives supporting…

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Unlock the secrets of Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma project management for under $70

Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma have both become successful and dominant project management doctrines because they’re geared toward avoiding all those nightmare scenarios. You can unlock all the secrets of both Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma with the comprehensive Complete Six Sigma Training and Certification course bundle. It’s $69.99 (over 90 percent off) right now from TNW Deals.

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4 reasons why your startup should go to China RIGHT NOW

Some places in the world are extremely well-suited to incubating and cultivating startups and startup culture. You’ve already heard of the most important ones, of course: Silicon Valley, New York, London… the big names. But there’s another place that you may not think of as being in the top worldwide locations for startups, even though it’s probably the most exciting place anywhere for business these days: China! Yeah, you heard that right! Your startup, whatever it is, could benefit from being in China RIGHT NOW. Here are four great reasons. 1. Everything is bigger in China Everyone’s heard “everything is…

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How plastic-eating bacteria actually work

  The plastic bottles we throw away today will be around for hundreds of years. It’s one of the key reasons why the mounting plastic pollution problem, which is having a deadly effect on marine life, is so serious. But scientists recently discovered a strain of bacteria that can literally eat the plastic used to make bottles, and have now improved it to make it work faster. The effects are modest – it’s not a complete solution to plastic pollution – but it does show how bacteria could help create more environmentally friendly recycling. Plastics are complex polymers, meaning they…

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Jeff Bezos, fashion model? This boot-clad billionaire strikes a pose for Blue Origin

If being Amazon’s CEO ever gets tiresome for Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest human, he could always turn to a career modeling Western wear.

Bezos demonstrated that today after the successful test flight of his Blue Origin venture’s New Shepard suborbital spaceship. In his apres-landing photo shoot, shared via Twitter, Bezos wears a cowboy hat, Blue Origin shirt, jeans, sunglasses and cowboy boots as he leans against the New Shepard crew capsule.

The boots are the piece de resistance:

Those lucky boots made their first appearance back in April 2016, after the similarly successful flight of an earlier New Shepard craft. They’re branded with Blue Origin’s motto, “Gradatim Ferociter,” which is Latin for “Step by Step, Ferociously.” The footwear also showed up on Twitter to celebrate Blue Origin’s success two months later, and again in October 2016.

“Gradatim Ferociter” boots aren’t the only fashion touches tied to Blue Origin.

When there’s a formal occasion, the folks from Team Blue are the ones wearing space-flown silver feather lapel pins. (Bezos says the feather logo is “just a symbol of the perfection of flight.”)

Bezos has been known to wear green-tortoise cufflinks, which pays tribute to the fable of the hare and the tortoise, as well as Bezos’ view that “slow is smooth, and smooth is fast” when it comes to sustainable spaceflight. The tortoise is also featured prominently on Blue Origin’s coat of arms. (So, who’s the hare in Bezos’ tale? I wonder…)

During a reception at this month’s Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, we even caught a glimpse of branded Blue Origin socks.

Which suggests a marketing opportunity: Why not open an online store to sell Blue Origin goods, ranging from stickers and socks to boots and model rockets? If SpaceX can make it happen, surely the mastermind of “The Everything Store” can as well.

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Internal memo: T-Mobile CEO assures employees ‘we’ll still be magenta’ after Sprint merger

T-Mobile CEO John Legere.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere bleeds magenta, and the trademark color of the Bellevue, Wash.-based wireless carrier won’t be going anywhere if its mega merger with Sprint goes through. At least that’s the word from Legere.

“We’ll still be called T-Mobile, we’ll still be magenta, I’ll still be your leader, and we’ll continue to be customer obsessed!” Legere wrote in an email to employees obtained by GeekWire. (See full memo below).

In a blockbuster announcement Sunday morning, T-Mobile released plans to merge with Sprint, a deal that will value the combined company at $146 billion and give it 127 million total retail and wholesale customers. That’s just behind rivals Verizon, with an estimated 150 million customers, and AT&T, which boasts 141 million customers, according to Strategy Analytics data reported by Fierce Wireless.

Using a multitude of exclamation points throughout the memo (14 by our count), the high-energy Legere stressed that the new T-Mobile will be “bigger & better.”

“As a larger, stronger, better-scaled competitor we’ll strive to deliver an incredible set of services to consumers and businesses at lower prices than ever before,” Legere wrote. “We’ll drive broader, better competition in the rapidly converging content and communications marketplace, including traditional wireless, in-home broadband, entertainment & beyond. And, we’ll bring REAL wireless choices and mobile broadband competition to Americans in rural areas for the first time.”

[Follow-upT-Mobile HQ2: Sprint merger to give Seattle-area company a ‘second headquarters’ in Kansas]

Full memo here:


I’ve got some incredible news to share, and I wanted to be the first one to reach out and make it official! Today marks a huge step forward for ALL of us as we prepare to take the Un-carrier revolution to a whole new level!

We just announced that T-Mobile and Sprint have reached a definitive agreement to come together and form a new, bigger, stronger company! Yep. You read that right, we are merging with Sprint. If you want to know how excited Mike and I are about this – check out our video here

This combination sets us up to SUPERCHARGE the Un-carrier and to quickly deliver the only Nationwide 5G network with BOTH the breadth and depth needed to offer the kind of capacity and performance that American consumers want and need in the 5G era!

We’ll still be called T-Mobile, we’ll still be magenta, I’ll still be your leader, and we’ll continue to be customer obsessed! I’m also excited to share that Mike Sievert will be the President and COO of the New T-Mobile, and we are making big plans to innovate and drive this business forward just like we always have.

Trust me when I say that this is the deal we have been waiting for, and this is the combination that will take everything to a new level!

We think that ONLY the New T-Mobile can quickly deliver a NATIONWIDE 5G NETWORK with the capacity and scale to truly accelerate innovation and increase competition in the U.S., and we plan to make that a reality! Leading early in nationwide 5G will result in leadership for the country in the digital economy, and it will drive a giant wave of U.S. innovation and disruption that we believe will benefit customers with lower prices, better service and innovative applications.

New T-Mobile will absolutely SUPERCHARGE the pro consumer Un-carrier strategy! As a larger, stronger, better-scaled competitor we’ll strive to deliver an incredible set of services to consumers and businesses at lower prices than ever before. We’ll drive broader, better competition in the rapidly converging content and communications marketplace, including traditional wireless, in-home broadband, entertainment & beyond. And, we’ll bring REAL wireless choices and mobile broadband competition to Americans in rural areas for the first time.

The New T-Mobile will CREATE JOBS and be a driver of investment and the U.S. economy! We expect to create thousands of jobs – well beyond what the two companies could do by themselves – by bringing T-Mobile’s world-class customer care to Sprint customers, by hiring employees to merge networks and build out our 5G network and systems and by investing in new businesses.

But let me say this… it is YOUR hard work and efforts over the past 5 years that has put our company in the position to make this deal happen – so THANK YOU! T-Mobile is going to be even BIGGER & BETTER than you ever imagined!

This will take time.

As is typical of any merger, this deal has to go through all the standard regulatory review processes which will take a while. We are optimistic this will clear regulators but nothing is ever guaranteed, so as excited as you all are – please continue to focus on doing exactly what you have been doing for the past 5 years… Listen to our customers and do what they tell you. It is the success that you have all delivered that has gotten us this far – so don’t stop now!

We’ll keep you updated on the process and timelines as we go. And you can check out T-Nation to get the latest information and resources anytime. We’ve also launched a site externally for people who want to learn more about the deal here.

Today’s news is about taking this fight – on behalf of consumers – to the next level and beyond! The next wave of mobile is too important not to fight for and now we are positioned to accelerate that fight for consumers everywhere!

Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and the others better watch out because…We. Are. Coming.

And…We. Won’t. Stop.

Don’t miss our webcast tomorrow at 10:00 AM PT / 1:00 PM ET to hear more. Invite to follow.

You can hear all about the agreement from Marcelo and I here.

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T-Mobile HQ2: Sprint merger to give Seattle-area company a ‘second headquarters’ in Kansas

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure and T-Mobile CEO John Legere. (T-Mobile Photo)

T-Mobile has found its own HQ2 — no nationwide search required.

The wireless company’s deal to merge with Sprint, announced Sunday morning, will give T-Mobile two headquarters, following the lead of Amazon, Accolade and other companies in designating multiple locations as “headquarters,” contradicting the traditional meaning of the term.

The combined company, to be called T-Mobile, “will be headquartered in Bellevue, Wash.,” the longtime home of T-Mobile, “with a second headquarters in Overland Park, Kan.,” which is Sprint’s hometown, just outside of Kansas City, Mo. That’s the language used in the official news release this morning.

What does that mean, in effect? We’ve asked T-Mobile to clarify where John Legere will be based as the CEO of the combined company, which is ultimately the best proxy for determining the center of power. In the meantime, Legere called the dual headquarters approach a “no-brainer” on a conference call with reporters and analysts this morning.

Two great companies are coming together, and they have two fantastic headquarters locations, two amazing communities for people to work, two great labor forces and two great places to attract more talent. So it’s just a complete no-brainer that this company will be anchored around two major headquarters locations. The energy and the talent and the people there. And again, as we’ve gotten to know the two companies, certainly Seattle is known as a great place to live and work, you know, the headquarters of Sprint is a fantastic place that we see to attract talent, a place to live and so core to this company is going to be both locations anchored with the teams that are there. So I couldn’t be more emphatic about that.

The Seattle region is a longtime home to pioneering wireless companies, dating back to the early days of McCaw Cellular and other early leaders in the industry.

More than 200,000 people will work for the combined company initially, and defying the traditional logic of such mergers, Legere insisted on the call that the new T-Mobile will add thousands of jobs to their combined workforce, spending $40 billion to integrate their operation. All of this depends on regulatory and shareholder approval. The companies say the deal should close no later than the first half of next year.

EARLIER: T-Mobile and Sprint agree to merge, creating $146B rival to AT&T and Verizon, led by John Legere

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Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin venture sends its New Shepard spaceship to new heights

New Shepard launch
Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital spaceship, dubbed RSS H.G. Wells, blasts off from its West Texas launch pad. (Blue Origin via YouTube)

Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture notched another record today when it sent its New Shepard suborbital spaceship on its highest-ever round trip to space.

It was the eighth uncrewed test flight for the New Shepard program, and the second go-around for this particular spaceship, which is dubbed RSS H.G. Wells in honor of the English science-fiction writer and futurist.

RSS H.G. Wells flew for first time last December, and was refurbished in line with Blue Origin’s strategy for rocket reusability. On that flight, the craft rose to a height of 99.39 kilometers, just shy of the 100-kilometer Karman Line that defines the internationally accepted boundary of outer space.

The target altitude for this flight was a record-setting 106.7 kilometers, or 350,000 feet. After today’s picture-perfect launch and landing, Bezos reported in a tweet that the craft reached 351,000 feet (107 kilometers).

“That’s the altitude we’ve been targeting for operations,” he said. “One step closer.”

A test dummy nicknamed Mannequin Skywalker was placed in one of the crew capsule’s six seats for the purposes of collecting flight data, just as it was for December’s flight.

Liftoff from Blue Origin’s suborbital launch facility in West Texas was delayed for more than three hours, in part due to weather. “Mother Nature threw us a couple of thunderstorms,” webcast commentator Ariane Cornell explained.

Equipment checks added to the countdown holds. But once New Shepard’s booster lit up at 12:06 p.m. CT (10:06 p.m. PT), things escalated quickly.

During a 10-minute flight, the booster sent the capsule straight upward into partly cloudy skies at supersonic speeds, separated, coasted to its apogee and then plummeted back toward the ground.

Under autonomous control, the booster maneuvered its air brakes and relit its hydrogen-fueled BE-3 rocket engine to slow its speed. A double sonic boom heralded its approach, and the booster set down smoothly on its landing legs in the designated landing area.

Blue Origin booster touchdown
Blue Origin’s rocket booster touches down at the end of an uncrewed test flight. (Blue Origin via YouTube)

Meanwhile, the capsule floated down at the end of three parachutes and set down in the desert with a retro-cushioned floomph.

Scientific payloads were flown in the capsule for NASA’s Johnson Space Center and German research teams. Yet another payload, provided by New Mexico-based Solstar, was aimed at testing a Wi-Fi system that could be used by suborbital spacefliers.

For now, however, Mannequin Skywalker was the only one filling a seat. The current round of uncrewed flight tests is aimed at clearing the way for Blue Origin’s test astronauts to start taking their turns around the end of this year or early next year.

Paying passengers — including tourists as well as researchers — will eventually climb aboard the autonomously piloted spaceship. But Blue Origin hasn’t yet set a ticket price or taken customer reservations for those crewed flights.

Blue Origin is building on its experience with the New Shepard suborbital program as it proceeds with its New Glenn orbital program, which could start flying as early as 2020. The New Glenn’s mainstay BE-4 rocket engine is currently being produced at the company’s headquarters in Kent, Wash., and undergoing tests at the West Texas facility.

Blue Origin capsule touchdown
The New Shepard crew capsule fires retro rockets as it touches down. The only “crew” in the capsule for this test flight was an instrument-laden dummy nicknamed Mannequin Skywalker. (Blue Origin via YouTube)

Once the BE-4 passes muster, Blue Origin plans to ramp up engine production at a new facility in Alabama, and integrate the engines with New Glenn rockets at its mammoth Florida factory.

Blue Origin is taking a slower approach to spaceflight development than that pursued by SpaceX. But the approach is no less steady: Bezos is devoting billions of dollars’ worth of his personal riches to Blue Origin, in line with his vision of having millions of people living and working in space.

Last week in Berlin, he said his space venture is “the most important work that I’m doing,” even though he acknowledged it may be up to his great-grandchildren’s great-grandchildren to see his vision fully realized.

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T-Mobile and Sprint agree to merge, creating $146B rival to AT&T and Verizon, led by John Legere

John Legere
T-Mobile CEO John Legere will lead the combined company. (GeekWire File Photo)

After years of on-again, off-again talks, wireless rivals T-Mobile and Sprint plan to merge in a deal that values the combined company at $146 billion, aiming to create a much stronger competitor to AT&T and Verizon, the giants of the U.S. wireless industry.

The combined company will be named T-Mobile, with current T-Mobile CEO John Legere at the helm. The “New T-Mobile,” as it’s called in a news release, will have its headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., where T-Mobile is based, along with a “second headquarters” in Sprint’s home of Overland Park, Kan.

On a conference call with Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure this morning, Legere told reporters and analysts that the deal will create a “pro-consumer, strongly disruptive, revved-up competitor.” He expressed confidence that regulators will see consumer value in the deal and approve the acquisition.

Even so, the review could take many months, given the size of the deal and the implications for U.S. wireless communications. T-Mobile and Sprint say it should close no later than the first half of 2019. T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom will own 42 percent of the new company, and Sprint parent SoftBank Group will own about 27 percent after the acquisition.

The companies together would have about 127 million total retail and wholesale customers, compared with AT&T at 141 million and Verizon at 150 million, according to Strategy Analytics data reported by Fierce Wireless.

Statistic: Wireless subscriptions market share by carrier in the U.S. from 1st quarter 2011 to 4th quarter 2017 | Statista

The companies envision a much broader competitive landscape than that, as the wireless, broadband Internet and video markets converge, pitting the traditional U.S. wireless companies against cable giants such as Comcast and Charter. T-Mobile plans to launch its own TV service this year, leveraging its acquisition of Denver-based Layer3TV.

Although the Sprint deal is an all-stock merger, T-Mobile looks like the survivor. In addition to Legere running the company under the T-Mobile name, T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert will be President and COO of the new company. The companies say “the remaining members of the new management team will be selected from both companies during the closing period.” In addition to Sievert, T-Mobile’s CFO Braxton Carter and CTO Neville Ray spoke on the call. Sprint CTO John Saw was also on the call, and Legere observed that Ray and Saw work well together.

Asked about the “dual headquarters” approach, Legere said he sees an advantage in having operations in both cities. “It’s a complete no brainer that this company will be anchored around two major headquarters locations,” he said, calling Sprint’s hometown a “fantastic place to attract talent.” Legere added, “Core to this company is going to be both locations, anchored with the teams that are there. I couldn’t be more emphatic about that.”

[Follow-up: T-Mobile HQ2: Sprint merger to give Seattle-area company a ‘second headquarters’ in Kansas]

Sprint’s Claure used his longtime rival’s language in his prepared remarks on the call. “Now is the time to come together to turbo-charge the Un-carrier strategy,” he said, referring to the industry-disrupting initiatives led by Legere that have helped T-Mobile add millions of new customers over the past few years.

Legere promised that T-Mobile and Sprint together will create the “highest capacity network in U.S. history,” and said deal will position the combined company as a leader in next-generation 5G wireless technologies. About 20 milion of Sprint’s customers have phone handsets that are compatible with the T-Mobile network already, Sievert said on the call.

[Follow-up: Internal memo: T-Mobile CEO assures employees ‘we’ll still be magenta’ after Sprint merger]

In any merger, duplication of roles means that jobs can be eliminated, but the companies say the deal will create thousands of jobs. Here’s what Legere said on Twitter this morning.

Legere said the new T-Mobile will spend $40 billion to integrate the companies in the first three years after the deal closes, a “huge portion” of which will be spent on jobs to build out network, business and retail capacity. More than 200,000 people will work for the combined company initially.

T-Mobile’s chief financial officer, Braxton Carter, said on the call that recent U.S. tax reform, pushed ahead under the Trump administration, will be “particularly helpful” in making the economics of the deal work. Legere also reiterated that “Trump-led tax reform” helped to make the deal happen, overcoming past failed efforts between T-Mobile and Sprint to come together.

“The intent here is to create the mother of all networks,” said Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s chief technology officer. “We need every ounce of spectrum that the combined companies bring to the table.”

The companies say they will continue to compete aggressively while the acquisition is pending. On the call this morning, Legere alluded to past feuds with Claure, joking, “Marcelo and I will probably attack each other on Twitter tomorrow afternoon just to keep up the spirit.” In the meantime, Legere’s weekend cooking ritual this week is an homage to T-Mobile’s new merger partner’s hometown.

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