Did the dam just open for internet TV? What the FCC news means for the cable industry and you

Gigaom

Why can no one figure out how to sell TV over the internet? Some of the biggest names in tech have tried and flamed out, like Intel, or offered only half-hearted solutions, like Apple TV. The reason these companies have come up short has less to do with technology than it does with a business and regulatory logjam that protects incumbents.

Now, that logjam is about to break. This week, the FCC announced a process that is poised to change the TV business and let everyone from [company]Apple[/company] to Aereo line up to compete with the cable companies.

What exactly did the FCC announce?

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a blog post he is passing around a proposal that would allow would-be internet TV providers to operate the same way that cable and satellite companies do. The goal is to create a “technology-neutral” regime for TV.

Why is this a big deal?

This…

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Venture Investors Get Fashion Fever As Early Stage Deals Soar

TechCrunch

Editor’s Note: Christine Magee is an analyst for CrunchBase.

There’s a brand new dance in venture capital, as investors have gone fashion-mad.

After watching JustFab and Gilt Groupe explode into billion dollar companies while Warby Parker raised over $100 million to sell stylish eyeglasses, investors are eager to discover the next big hit.

Venture investors have spent nearly $800 million in fashion-related deals so far this year, over half of which are seed stage fundings for young startups.

2014 investment totals are on pace to beat last year’s $900 million, with Q2 of this year seeing a record high of over $300 million in venture deals tracked.

High fashion e-commerce giants like JustFab and Gilt Groupe in the U.S., Zalora in Asia, Russia’s Lamoda and Brazilian Dafiti are all fashion marketplaces that have racked up some of the highest totals for venture investments in the fashion space.

But recently a new generation of vertically integrated, venture-backed brands have emerged…

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Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai Urges Girls To Participate In Code.org’s Hour Of Code

TechCrunch

Young Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has thrown in her support for Code.org’s Hour of Code program to get young women and girls into computer science.

Just days after becoming the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner in history, Yousafzai took to YouTube to implore young women and girls in every country to do one hour of code. “You can do it, even if you don’t have a computer,” she tells the audience.

The program was backed with support from President Obama and a slew of other politicians, celebrities and tech giants such as Microsoft and Google through a grass roots campaign last December. The idea was to get every student to try their hand at coding.

Code.org founders Hadi and Ali Partovi expected to reach about 5 million students at the beginning of last year’s campaign. Hour of Code has now reached 40 million students in over…

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Social Commerce App CardBlanc Puts A Shopping Mall On Your Phone

TechCrunch

CardBlanc, a new e-commerce application targeting millennial spenders officially launched today, introducing a financial platform for easier mobile checkout combined with social activity similar to what you’d see on sites like Pinterest or Wanelo. The effort, which involves an iOS app and virtual payment card backed by PayPal, aims to turn product discovery into real-world purchases by allowing users to not only see what their friends “like,” but also what they’re actually buying.

To use CardBlanc, consumers just download the app to their phones and set up an account. The “card” provided is merely a front-end to a PayPal account for now, but co-founder and CEO Tina Hay says they want to open up to more funding sources in the future, including credit and debit cards.

In the meantime, however, users can load funds onto their virtual cards by transferring from their bank accounts, or they can simply use their…

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Twitter’s CEO Will Respond To Whether He’s High Once He Finishes These Doritos

TechCrunch

Peter Thiel thinks Twitter is more 420 than 140-characters. In a CNBC interview today, the famous Facebook investor bashed its competitor saying “Twitter is hard to evaluate. They have a lot of potential. It’s a horribly mismanaged company—probably a lot of pot-smoking going on there.”

And when Twitter employee Jason Goldman ribbed Twitter CEO and former improv comedian Dick Costolo about it, the chief had the perfect response. After Goldman joked that maybe it was Thiel who was blazed when he said he wanted to live on a seasteading platform with its own laws, Dick replied “working my way through a giant bag of Doritos. I’ll catch up with you later.”

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Technology And The Challenge Of Democracy

TechCrunch

Editor’s note:Dennis Hu is the CEO of fundraising platform Fundly.

Information is more available and accessible than ever before, and we are witnessing the power of the crowd to respond to news events with greater impact. As technology continues to play a larger role in our everyday lives, we must ask ourselves what ultimately is the responsibility of technology when it comes to the dissemination of information?

At Fundly, we see thousands of campaigns daily, from a small-town parent raising money for her kid’s school to massive fundraising efforts by some of the world’s largest charities. We also see polarizing campaigns such as the one started by a teacher from North Carolina that raised over $150,000 in a few days to help feed the children of Ferguson, Mo.

The Role of Technology

While the campaign to feed the students of Ferguson was mostly well-received by the public…

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White House names two ex-Googlers to top technology posts

Gigaom

The Obama Administration on Thursday announced it is naming Megan Smith (pictured above), an engineer who overseas Google X “moonshot” projects, as its new chief technology officer, while naming Alex MacGillivray, a former lawyer for Google and Twitter as her deputy.

Smith will replace outgoing CTO Todd Park, who will continue to serve the White House from Silicon Valley, and who is best known for helping to repair the disastrous launch of the HealthCare.gov site.

The arrival of Smith and MacGillivray, both of whom are very highly regarded in Silicon Valley, suggests the Obama Administration remains committed to revamping the federal government’s benighted IT system, while addressing a growing host of tech-related privacy and free speech issues.

Smith is an MIT-trained engineer who has worked on projects like “Project Loon,” which aims to put deliver blimp-based internet service and helped develop familiar services like Google Earth and Google Maps.

MacGillivray is known…

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