NASA just made thousands of hours of Apollo 11 tapes public for the first time


When Apollo 11 descended from the heavens, touching down on the moon on July 20, 1969, three brave men became immortals, the types of men forever remembered for a single act that defined their storied careers. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins might be the names we associate with that first mission to the moon, but it was a team of engineers, analysts, supervisors, and experts who ultimately got them there. Today, for the first time ever, NASA has released over 19,000 hours worth of audio from this historical mission. Included are digitized versions every conversation, from the mundane…

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Secret TSA program spies on unsuspecting passengers


An investigation revealed over the weekend that the American Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is secretly monitoring and tracking hundreds of American citizens. They’re not on any kind of watchlist — the TSA just deems their flight patterns worthy of suspicion. This program, called “Quiet Skies,” requires the TSA to keep an eye on certain US citizens when they’re in the airport. These citizens haven’t been accused of any crime, and they appear to have been selected for surveillance based on details in their movements that no one’s been able to adequately define. The level of surveillance those in the program…

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There’s zero chance Elon Musk tricks me into covering the Tesla surfboard


Elon Musk is at it again. For a very limited time today Tesla listed a “Limited Edition Tesla Surfboard” at its online shop. It would have set you back a cool $1,500 if you were able to snag one before the limited run of 200 sold out. Now they’re going for up to $5,000 on eBay. But I won’t be covering it. The board is a collaboration with two expert board makers, Lost Surfboards and Matt “Mayhem” Biolos, so the quality, presumably, is quite high. That said, Lost’s boards typically sell for around $750, so adding a Tesla logo seems…

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China set to leapfrog US in the AI race


China’s progress towards its goal of becoming the world’s leader in AI by the year 2025 remains unchecked. While its efforts still lag behind the US, thanks to the likes of Google and Microsoft, there’s an alarming amount of research indicating the gap is shrinking. It’s only been a year since TNW reported China’s announcement it was shifting its national strategy to claim the artificial intelligence crown. In that time China has advanced its agenda to a startling degree, at least according to the experts. Air Force General VeraLinn “Dash” Jamieson, deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance…

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Twitter’s newly commissioned health studies may be shots in the dark


Twitter today announced it had selected two finalists in its months-long search for a “health metric” — essentially a giant, figurative dipstick by which it can tell how well everyone’s getting along on the site. Twitter selected researchers with dazzling bona fides, but the company should also disclose what, if anything, it could do with their findings. Last March, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey waved the figurative white flag and announced he was calling on someone, anyone to come up with a way of measuring the platform’s health. Specifically, he said: What we know is we must commit to a rigorous…

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TLDR: T-Mobile & Nokia’s $3.5B 5G alliance, Ofo shuts down in Seattle, Magic: The Gathering

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Tech Moves: Nohla Therapeutics hires chief medical officer; Apptio adds to board; and more

Sarah Noonberg. (Nohla Therapeutics Photo)

Seattle biotech startup Nohla Therapeutics has an ambitious goal: Make umbilical stem cell transplants, currently a rare procedure, the new frontline treatment for leukemia. The company will have a new hand in its mission in the form of biotech executive Sarah Noonberg, who just joined Nohla as its new chief medical officer.

In her new role, Noonberg will be in charge of medical and clinical strategy, including development and regulatory matters. That role will be increasingly important as Nohla continues to develop its drugs through clinical trials and prepares to launch them to the market.

Noonberg has over 14 years of experience in clinical development, and is a licensed physician and scientist. Prior to Nohla, Noonberg was the chief medical officer at biotech company Prothena and global head of clinical development at biotech company BioMarin. She is also on the board of directors at Protagonist Therapeutics.

“Sarah’s broad expertise and proven track record in global clinical development will be invaluable to Nohla as we continue to advance our pipeline of universal, off-the-shelf cell therapy products toward commercialization,” Nohla president and CEO Katie Fanning said in a press release.

Nohla recently raised $11 million in a series B funding round that reached $56 million. The company’s flagship product is called dilanubicel, and is in its second of three clinical trials. It uses an umbilical cord blood transplant, with tech similar to a bone marrow transplant, to treat leukemia.

Rebecca Jacoby. (Photo via LinkedIn)

— Apptio, the Bellevue, Wash.-based software company that helps businesses track IT spending, announced both an addition and a departure from its board of directors. Former Cisco executive Rebecca Jacoby will be joining the board and Ravi Mohan, the managing director of venture firm Shasta Ventures, has resigned.

Jacoby was the senior vice president of operations at Cisco until she retired in January. Jacoby joined the San Jose, Calif.-based technology conglomerate in 1995. Since, she’s held multiple roles, including a stint as the company’s CIO. Apptio also said that Jacoby will join the company’s audit committee.

Ravi Mohan. (Photo via LinkedIn)

“Rebecca is a strategic leader and technology visionary, as well as an early Apptio customer, deeply respected by CIOs around the world,” Apptio CEO Sunny Gupta said in a press release. “Her expertise lies in the unique combination of operations and technology with a strong growth mindset – an invaluable addition to our Board.”

Mohan tendered his resignation from the board on July 27. He is a managing director at early stage venture capital firm Shasta Ventures, which has invested in Apptio. Mohan was on Apptio’s board since 2010.

Apptio acquired Digital Fuel, a company that also tracks cloud spending for companies, in February for $42.5 million, the company’s largest acquisition to date.

Scott Kennedy. (Photo via LinkedIn)

— Maven, the Seattle-based digital media company, announced Scott Kennedy as the manager of its sports division. Maven is a digital publishing, advertising, and distribution platform, and announced its expansion into team sports media in June.

Kennedy has been a presence in sports media for 20 years, including 16 years at Scout.com, which was acquired by Fox and later CBS. Most recently, Kennedy was a strategic consultant for Cox Media Group.

“Scott is a significant player in the digital sports space,” Maven CEO James Heckman said in a press release. “He knows as much about our business as anyone in the industry — leading at every level, from publishing, scouting, video production and general management of our entire network at Scout. His range of experience in our exact business model and impressive record make him one-of-a-kind in this industry.”

Kennedy’s time at Scout gives him prior experience working with Heckman and Maven COO Bill Sornsin, who co-founded the site.

Madhu Khatri. (Icertis Photo)

— Bellevue, Wash.-based Icertis, which makes cloud-based contract tracking and management software, hired its first chief evangelist. Madhu Khatri will “drive market understanding” of the industry and promote Icertis at industry events and conferences.

Khatri was the associate general counsel for Microsoft prior to joining Icertis. She also led legal and corporate affairs for Microsoft’s India division. Before Microsoft, Khatri was a general counsel at Bengaluru, India-based IT company Wipro Technologies.

“Companies looking to digitally transform their global contracting footprint need a sage guide who has faced the challenges they are tackling,” Icertis CEO and co-founder Samir Bodas, said in a press release. “Madhu’s experience working in the legal departments of innovative global brands and unique perspective on the intersection of technology and legal operations will bring great value to our customers as we continue to rapidly expand and become the contract management platform of the world.”

Icertis has been expanding its executive team. In the past month, the company has brought on Neal Singh as COO and Todd Smith as general counsel.

Laura Jones. (Photo via LinkedIn)

— Former Microsoft product marketing manager Laura Jones has a new role at Google, where she now does product marketing for Chrome.

At Microsoft, Jones worked on the company’s search business.

Jones started at Microsoft in 2015, and has since worked in PR and marketing for a variety of different products, including Cortana, search, and browser. Prior to Microsoft, Jones was the head of PR for e-commerce company zulily.

— Seattle-based international law firm Perkins Coie has hired Andrew Moriarity as a partner in the labor and employment division. Moriarity was a senior corporate counsel at Amazon, working in the labor and employment division for almost 5 years. He was previously at Perkins Coie from 1998 to 2013.

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Ofo officially shutting down in Seattle after $250K bikeshare fee passes

Say goodbye to Ofo’s yellow bikes, Seattle. (Ofo Photo)

Ofo confirmed it will shut down operation in Seattle Monday afternoon after the city adopted a new $250,000 annual fee for bikeshare operators.

Related: Seattle adopts 250K annual fee for bikeshare companies that could pump the brakes on the new mobility service

Ofo is one of three companies permitted to launch in Seattle under a one-year dockless bikeshare pilot. The pilot concluded this month and the city is finalizing regulations for a permanent bikeshare program — one that will not include Ofo’s bright yellow bikes.

Ofo’s Seattle General Manager, Lina Feng, issued the following statement after the City Council unanimously approved the new fee:

The exorbitant fees that accompany these new regulations — the highest in the country — make it impossible for Ofo to operate and effectively serve our riders, and as a result, we will not be seeking a permit to continue operating in Seattle. We’re incredibly disappointed to be leaving the first U.S. city to welcome Ofo and thank the City for its partnership and support this last year.

Although the new fee clearly impacted Ofo’s decision, the Beijing bikesharing company has been pulling out of markets across the U.S. Last week, Ofo confirmed widespread layoffs, with several news outlets reporting more than half the company’s American workforce had been let go. A former Ofo employee told GeekWire that the company’s entire American communications team had been laid off.

Seattle’s permanent bikeshare program allows four companies to operate in the city. Lime has already announced plans to apply for a permit and accept the $250,000 fee. Spin, the other company in Seattle’s pilot, could not immediately be reached to comment. If both companies remain in Seattle, that leaves room for two new entrants.

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Seattle adopts 250K annual fee for bikeshare companies that could pump the brakes on the new mobility service

Dockless shared bikes, LimeBike, Spin, and Ofo, in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / John Cook)

Seattle approved a new $250,000 annual fee for dockless bikeshare companies that want to operate in the city Monday in a move that could have big implications for the nascent mobility service.

The fee will pay for designated bike parking zones and other costs. The Seattle Department of Transportation plans to allow four companies to run dockless bikeshare programs in the city.

There are currently three dockless bikesharing companies operating in Seattle as part of a pilot program: Spin, Lime, and Ofo. Monday afternoon, Ofo formally announced plans to leave the Seattle market.

“The exorbitant fees that accompany these new regulations — the highest in the country — make it impossible for Ofo to operate and effectively serve our riders, and as a result, we will not be seeking a permit to continue operating in Seattle,” said Lina Feng, Ofo’s Seattle general manager.

Councilmember Mike O’Brien championed the permanent bikeshare regulations. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

Ofo was already cutting most of its U.S. workforce and shutting down in many cities around the country before Seattle passed its fee. Ofo sent messages out to Seattle riders on Friday notifying them that the company was leaving. But on Sunday Ofo said those messages may have been sent in error.

Seattle concluded its bikeshare pilot this month. The city’s permanent dockless bikeshare program will increase the maximum number of bikes in Seattle to 20,000. There are currently about 10,000 shared bikes operated by Spin, Lime, and Ofo.

As soon as the Council adopted the fee Monday, Lime announced plans to pursue a permanent operator permit in Seattle.

“We’ll absolutely be applying for bikeshare permits when they become available next month, and plan to continue to serve this city and beyond with viable, accessible and affordable mobility options,” said Gabriel Scheer, Director for Strategic Development at Lime, in a statement.

Spin did not immediately respond to requests to comment. We’ll update this story when we hear back from them.

Uber, which acquired bikeshare startup JUMP in April, is eager to enter the Seattle market. The company has been giving demos of JUMP bikes in Seattle and has been eagerly waiting for Seattle’s final bikeshare regulations.

Seattle’s highest estimated costs will be creating designated parking areas for shared bikes. SDOT says it needs $400,000 to construct 150-200 bike parking zones on sidewalks and streets throughout the city. On Monday, the City Council passed an amendment that requires SDOT to come up with a bike parking enforcement plan.

Seattle has been experimenting with parking zones in certain networks, like Ballard. But even with the designated zones, riders often leave the free-floating bikes where it’s most convenient, not necessarily where SDOT wants them parked.

Lime bikes sit near an empty designated bike parking zone in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

Seattle is one of the first cities in the country to embrace dockless bikesharing, which has gained popularity abroad. Other markets have kept a close eye on Seattle; the city’s new permanent bikeshare regulations could establish a model for others.

But when it comes to another hot new mobility service, Seattle lags behind other cities. Free-floating shared electric scooters have emerged across the country in cities like Washington, D.C. and Portland.

Scooters are not included in the regulations approved Monday. In fact, SDOT has notified scooter companies, like Bird and Lime, that if they try to launch in Seattle they will face fines and see their scooters confiscated.

That’s a hardline approach but a close look at the fee adopted Monday shows that SDOT wants to remain flexible.

The fiscal note associated with the legislation empowers SDOT to modify its annual fees if fewer than four bikeshare companies apply for the program or “to pilot additional mobility devices.”

That’s likely to encourage scooter share companies, which are chomping at the bit to enter the Seattle market.

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Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene on wane of cloud pricing wars: “You never want to win on price”

Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene discusses bringing customers like Target on board at Cloud Next 2018. (Google Photo)

After years of precipitous declines in the price of cloud computing, things seem to be stabilizing, and Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene thinks that’s because the nature of the customer is changing.

In an interview with GeekWire on the sidelines of Google Cloud Next 2018, Greene discussed several aspects of the modern cloud computing world but took some time to discuss pricing. While cloud market share has been relatively fixed for the last few years — with Amazon Web Services well out in front and Google trailing Microsoft Azure — the buyers of cloud services are changing as bigger multiyear deals get cut by high-ranking executives, as opposed to a dozen engineers running up bills on the company credit card.

And with those buyers, you take a different approach. And that is why Greene was hired to lead Google’s cloud group in 2015, when it was known for its prodigious tech skills and its difficulty related to the needs of average companies.

“You never want to win on price, you want to win on the value of your product,” Greene said. Enterprise customers want service-level agreements, bespoke consulting services, and integration help, and they are willing to pay for more than just the basic compute and storage services that launched cloud computing a decade or so ago.

(GeekWire Photo / Tom Krazit)

In the early days of cloud computing, cloud providers raced down the price list cutting list prices for those basic services every few months. That started to change around 2016 as more and more companies started to realize how cloud computing could help their businesses.

And believe it or not, figuring out the price of cloud computing services can be even harder than figuring out how to use cloud computing services. That incentivizes buyers and sellers alike to cut deals where everything is spelled out ahead of time, giving buyers the assurance that they’ll have help when they need it, and sellers like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud a predictable revenue stream.

“It’s a reflection of us becoming more enterprise-focused, I think, and really looking at the business more holistically and the value we’re bringing and seeing the whole business together,” Greene said. “Because in addition to the service itself, we’re giving support for it and we’re giving engineering help to deploying it.”

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