Headlines 

Email Is Broken. Can Anyone Fix It?

Let's start this story at the end: You can't kill email. Attempting to do so is a decades-long tradition of the tech industry, a cliché right up there with "Uber, but for" and "the Netflix of X." AOL Instant Messenger tried to kill email. So did MySpace. Then Facebook took up the mantle, followed by Slack and Symphony and WhatsApp and HipChat. Through it all, email persists—always dying, never dead. Except email isn't dying. There are 3.7 billion users worldwide who collectively send 269 billion emails every day, according to…

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Odds and Ends 

Sleeperbot is the best place to host your fantasy football league this season

Sleeperbot, which has raised about $2M in seed funding from Birchmere VC and Expa, and boasts hundreds of thousands of users, calls itself Slack for sports. Its essentially an app (and website) that lets sports fans have conversations around different subjects theyre passionate about. These discussions happen in channels some of which are created by the company and are general topics like fantasy advice, and some are created by users like an Eagles fan club. And now they are adding another feature that is sure to make it even more…

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Odds and Ends 

Venmo rolls out QR codes for user profiles in its mobile app

Venmo today rolled out a feature designed to make it easier to find friends within its mobile payments app, so you can add them to your connections list or get paid yourself. The feature, found under the new menu option Scan Code, is available now in both the iOS and Android version of the Venmo app. When tapped, it launches a new interface that allows you to either use the phones camera to scan a friends code or view your own, unique Venmo code. Your Venmo code itself is a…

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Odds and Ends 

Amazons chat fiction app Rapids ties up with Amazon Studios with launch of Signature Stories

Todays kids arent just reading books. Theyre also tapping and playing with interactive stories on tablets as preschoolers, then delving into instant messaging-like chat fiction apps as teens. Amazons entry in this space, Amazon Rapids, was announced late last year as a way to bring this style of interactive fiction to readers in the 5 to 12 age range. The company more recently introduced a new program called Signature Stories that aims to make its stories more appealing by integrating characters from TV shows kids already know and love. The…

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Odds and Ends 

Netflix was the top grossing app in Q2, with mobile revenue up 233% since last year

Netflixs booming subscriber growth, announced in the companys earnings last week, is also being felt on the App Store, where its app has again become the top earner in terms of revenue. According a recent report from app store analytics firm Sensor Tower, the app in Q2 saw 233 percent revenue growth year-over-year to $153 million in the most recent quarter. Thats up from the $46 million seen at this same time last year, across both top app store platforms, and on the iOS App Store alone. This level of…

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Odds and Ends 

Alexa is coming to the Amazon app on Android, starting this week

This spring, Amazon introduced Alexa to a wider audience by making the virtual assistant a feature that could be accessed within the retailers main shopping app. However, that integration which allows you to ask Alexa about news, weather, basic facts, or use the assistants add-on skills, among other things was available only for iPhone users. This week, Alexa is arriving on Android, as well. Amazon hasnt made a formal announcement about the launch but, when asked, the company confirmed the integration is indeed rolling out this week. Looks like Alexa…

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Odds and Ends 

Outlooks mobile makeover includes a much smarter search, powered by Microsoft Graph

Microsoft today unveiled a redesigned version of its popular Outlook mobile app for iOS and Android, which most notably includes a more intelligent search feature, powered by Microsoft Graph, along with other changes to navigation and conversations. Microsoft Graph, the companys technology used to make productivity applications smarter, is being used to turn Outlooks search feature into a tool that can surface more than just emails it will be augmented to include things like contacts, attachments, flight and travel itineraries, package deliveries and more. Search is also becoming a more…

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Odds and Ends 

The new Taster VR app brings VR content from the BBC to your smartphone

The BBC today released a new mobile application that will allow it to experiment with transforming BBC content into VR experiences. The app, called BBC Taster VR, comes from the broadcasters testing ground for new ideas, Taster, and uses technology from EEVO to publish videos in a VR format. Initially, Taster VR only offers a couple of projects, one of which is 360 video from the popular nature documentary, Planet Earth II. In the Planet Earth VR story, David Attenborough guides viewers through six of Planet Earths most amazing destinations,…

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Headlines 

Travis Kalanick’s future as Uber CEO under threat

Cab company has approved recommendations to fight sexual harassment in firm, which some say is caused by the chief executives management style The future of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is hanging in the balance after the embattled cab companys board voted to adopt a portfolio of recommendations to fight sexual harassment in the firm. Uber said its board had unanimously approved recommendations which stem from a report prepared by former US attorney general Eric Holder after a sprawling, multi-month investigation into Ubers cultures and practices but declined to reveal what…

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Odds and Ends 

Target and Cartwheel apps to merge starting this summer, mobile payments and improved maps to follow

Targets mobile app strategy will undergo a significant change, starting this summer. The retailer announced this week it will soon combine the functionality of its Cartwheel savings app with its main shopping app, in preparation for an eventual Cartwheel shutdown. The Target app will also receive a notable upgrade this year, adding support for an indoor map that shows your location in the store, along with the nearby Cartwheel deals, in addition to support for mobile payments. According to Target, the decision to merge its apps into one is a…

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Headlines 

How low does Uber have to go before we stop using it?

From sexual harassment claims to acquiring a rape victims medical records, Ubers reputation goes from bad to worse – but with little effect on its bottom line Theres a pattern thats becoming clear: a news story breaks revealing Uber to have been engaged in illegal, unethical, or just downright gross behaviour. Uber half-heartedly swears its an exception, or its in the past, or that actually it is the law that is wrong anyway. Everyone expresses outrage, arguing that this is surely the story which will spell the end of Uber…

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Sherpa turns Instagrams best photos into a travel guide

There are a number of places to find travel inspiration Pinterest, Google Destinations, travel blogs or media sites like Cond Nasts Traveler, among others. But a new application called Sherpa launching this week believes that some of the best travel ideas can be found on Instagram. The iOS application curates photos from top Instagram photographers and turns them into visual travel guides that are augmented with data from other services, like Foursquare and Wikipedia. Sherpa co-founder and CEO Paul Aaron previously founded NYC-based design studio Modern Assembly, which worked with…

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Odds and Ends 

Ex-Apple designer & former Twitter engineer launch Halide, a premium iPhone camera app

An ex-Apple designer and former Twitter engineer have teamed up fora new take on iPhone photography, with todays launch of theiriOS camera app called website, the new apps gesture-based control scheme is meant to feel asintuitive and tactile as a great film camera, like an old Leica or Pentax. While there are a number of alternative camera applications for iOS today like Camera+ or Camera Awesome, for example these tend to bemarketed towards mainstream users who want to shoot like a pro. Halide, on the other hand, is designed more…

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