Virtual Skinny: Where’s The October Surprise?

10.7.2016

(WOD) Word of the Day: Virtual Reality describes a computer-generated environment that’s similar to real life but not quite. Side note: Virtual Reality is all the rage so it really should be the word for the month of October.

THE SKINNY


When You’re Waiting for the ‘October Surprise…’

This week, Wikileaks’ Julian Assange announced that he’ll be putting Google, the U.S. presidential election process, mass surveillance, etc. on blast over the next 10 weeks. 

When You Thought Sh*t Would Hit the Fan …

The 10-week timeline was unexpected. Assange held a press conference earlier this week where he told us about his new plan.  Rather than letting us in on some alleged truth bombs right then and there, Assange decided against it due to security concerns.  That’s what we call an October Surprise!

When You’re Not Sure What to Expect …

If you’ll remember, Assange’s release of the Democratic National Conventions’ (DNC) emails back in June forced Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to step down as the DNC’s Chair. So it’s expected that the upcoming leaks may derail Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. We’ve been put on notice that the latest documents related to the election will come out Nov. 6 (the day before the election). Assange won’t go as far as to confirm that he’s trying to host the #HillaryIsOverParty, but, he did say the info he has is ‘significant’ and will reveal ‘interesting features of US power factions.’ 

WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?


From Bad to Worse …

This week, reports came out that Yahoo was low-key using custom software to search through users’ emails. The company has neither confirmed nor denied this but looks like the U.S. government (NSA) may have made them do it. Some people who know about government surveillance are saying that this might just be the first time that an Internet company has complied with this type of government request. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer made the call to move forward on the request though it seems some of her subordinates probably disagreed. Twitter, Microsoft, Google, and other tech companies said ‘not it’  and would like to be excluded from this narrative. Meanwhile, since Yahoo can’t stay away from the drams lately, Verizon is asking for a billion dollar discount off the initial US $4.8 billion sale price.

THE STREETS ARE TALKIN’


Snap, Inc. aka Snapchat wants to keep up with the Joneses. To get on the same level as Google and Facebook, it needs more money. IPO, anyone? Rumor has it that the company’s first public sale will do down early next year for a cool US $25 billion (at least). 

What a difference a week makes! Twitter was getting ready to hand out a rose to one of its potential suitors (Google, Disney, and Apple). Rumors of a potential acquisition by any of the three sent Twitter’s stock price up.  Then just like that all three backed away. Twitter’s stock went back down. Salesforce is the last company standing for now. #EmotionalRollercoaster  

Blood-testing company Theranos has been through A LOT of regulatory and business challenges. At one time, the company was valued at US $9 billion but now – not so much. Theranos just dropped over 40% of its employees like they were hot (and not in a good way). It’s also shutting down its clinical labs and blood-testing center. 

Blackberry doesn’t want to make its own smartphones anymore. It’s passing that off to its partners. With that said, expect a new Blackberry smartphone with a physical keyboard within the next six months.

Google’s going all in on hardware. The company just announced a slew of new products taking aim at its competitors. Say hello to Pixel (smartphone), Google Home (the company’s response to Amazon’s Echo); Daydream (virtual reality headset), Chromecast, etc. 

Facebook’s working with White House officials to make the Internet accessible all across America via its Free Basics program.  The program’s had issues in India, and it won’t get any better in the U.S. but worth the try. Meanwhile, FB was all VR every-thang. The social network wants to help people emote better via its ‘VR emoji.’  

virtual reality

Over the summer, home rental site AirBnB sued the city of San Francisco for trying to enforce a law that would require listings on the site to be verified by the city. AirBnB wants a federal judge to put an end to this requirement, but the judge seemed skeptical. Unclear where the case is headed, but New York’s probably got next.