Benedict's
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This is a weekly newsletter of what I've seen in tech and thought was interesting. I work at Andreessen Horowitz.

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🗞 News

Marriott's Starwood business (W, Weston and many other brands) had its database hacked, apparently on an ongoing basis since 2014. 500m people are affected, and for over 300m some combination of data of birth, passport details and home mailing address was compromised. Also possible that credit cards were compromised as well. Everything has been hacked - we just don't know about it yet. Broader point: the threat environment has changed radically, the attack surface area is much larger than many companies understand, and all of this is a major incentive to move to SaaS and the cloud, and to full encryption. Link

Amazon has been inserting product ads into baby register lists, with the subtlest and most easily missed 'this is an ad' label. Trust is important and easily lost in the push for optimization. Link

Google's exploration of a limited/censored search engine for China ('Dragonfly') is getting people inside Google very uncomfortable. Link

🔮 Reading 

New Yorker profile of Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat, machine learning pioneers. Link

An archive of startups's pitch decks. Link

Nice summary of all the companies trying to reinvent productivity apps (text + tasks + tables+ messaging +...). Link

The NY Times is not impressed by Amazon's '4-Star' stores. But then, Amazon is not a retailer, and Amazon's attempts at physical retail come across as the creation of extremely clever people who have studied photographs of shops on Google Streetview but never actually been inside one. Link

How Google is using machine learning to deduce depth from a single image sensor. Link

Easy summaries of ten important AI research papers from 2010. Link

The future of tech and insurance. Link

A business with no end: the 'church' that owns Newsweek also has an empire selling weird goods on Amazon through dozens of front companies. Link

This week I learnt that AutoCAD has a malware problem. Link

"Don't even think about parking there". Link

😮 Cool things of the week

Indian wedding chariots. Link

The fiction best-sellers of the last 100 years: note how many of these are now forgotten books by forgotten authors. Link

The trade journal cooperative. Link


 
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