Silicon Valley is raiding tech academia: “Uber would like to buy your Robotics Department”

The National Robotics Engineering Center, part of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon. Credit Christopher Payne for The New York Times
Silicon Valley is raiding technology departments of universities around the U.S.—can tech academia survive?

Cab driver records music video with passengers


I hated this song, but it's growing on me now.


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NYC decides not to nuke Uber from orbit just yet

An Uber sign is seen in a car in New York June 30, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
The winds shifted in Uber's favor after a little help from the state's governor.

Judge says Uber should be suspended in California and fined $7.3 million


A California administrative judge ruled that Uber's license to operate in California will be suspended in 30 days if it doesn't appeal or start complying with state laws. At issue: Uber has not provided "operational data that is required under the 2013 law that legalized ride-hailing firms."

An Uber spokeswoman called the decision "deeply disappointing... We will appeal the decision as Uber has already provided substantial amounts of data to the California Public Utilities Commission, information we have provided elsewhere with no complaints. Going further risks compromising the privacy of individual riders as well as driver-partners." Read the rest

Report: Uber uses GPS to punish drivers in China who get close to protests

To appease the Chinese government, Uber is using GPS on drivers’ phones to ID and threaten any Uber drivers who get too close to the taxi drivers' protests.

Courtney Love attacked by anti-Uber rioters in Paris


Courtney Love was in the wrong place at the wrong time earlier today. Leaving Charles De Gaulle airport via Uber, thousands of taxi drivers protesting Uber held her car hostage for over an hour, breaking the car's windows and slashing its tires. The rioters even tried to open  the car doors. In the middle of the chaos, the 50-year-old singer tweeted: "They've ambushed our car and are holding our driver hostage. They're beating the cars with metal bats. This is France?? I'm safer in Baghdad." Finally a couple of guys on motorcycles came to the rescue, but the angry mob made sure to hurl rocks at Love until the motorcycles were able to get her to safety. Love says police saw what was happening but did nothing. For now travelers coming out of both Charles de Gaulle and Orly are advised to take a train to avoid the violence and blocked roads. For more details click here. Read the rest

Uber bans guns


The taxi-ish service has forbidden drivers and customers from carrying firearms. Read the rest

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The Knowledge: London cabbies' multi-year, grueling training

If you want to drive a black cab in London -- the only cars that passengers can hail from the kerb -- you have to pass "The Knowledge," an unbelievably tough exam that tests you on your minute knowledge of every street, landmark, hotel, restaurant, hospital, church, stadium, airline office, club, police station, court, and tourist destination within six miles of Charing Cross station. Read the rest

Uberdystopian: the surge-priced nightmare future

Paul Ford's short story "One Day, I Will Die on Mars," depicts a chilling, all-too-believable dystopian world where Uber becomes a massive transhuman immortal colony-organism that treats its labor force as its gut-flora, to be continuously measured and perfected or discarded. Read the rest

Uber launches internal investigation over privacy violation involving Buzzfeed reporter

Buzzfeed: “Uber said Tuesday that it is investigating its top New York executive for tracking a BuzzFeed News reporter without her permission in violation of what the transit giant says has long been its privacy policy.” Read the rest

Uber can track your one-night stands

Image: Shutterstock

Uber's bad PR just got worse. Read the rest

Uber and the appropriation of public space

The debate over technology and disruption is a red herring, writes Glenn Fleishman. The trouble with Uber is that it's a middleman that can control both ends of the market.

As car service app Uber grows, D.C. council pushes to regulate

I absolutely love the smartphone app Uber, which allows you to order car service on demand, instead of trying to hail or call a cab or order a black car. It became an essential tool during my radiation treatment for cancer in LA, when treatment made me too weak to drive, public transportation didn't serve the route I needed to get to the hospital, and I was just too flaked out to arrange rides in other ways. When my friends Tara Brown and Sean Bonner "gifted" me some Uber credits, I tried it once and was hooked. Uber wasn't a luxury for me, but a truly practical service.

It is also the very definition of a disruptive technology: as Napster was to the recording industry, Uber is to taxi unions. And, not coincidentally, the guy behind it is Travis Kalanick, who was once sued for $250 billion by the MPAA, RIAA, and NMPA over his now-defunct P2P search engine Scour.

In his latest round of pissing off legacy industries by building great internet-based services, Kalanick has managed to upset the forces that represent Washington, DC area cab drivers. And the DC city council is now considering regulation that would mandate much more government oversight over Uber's operations, and severely cramp its style. Snip from WaPo:

The regulations, among other things, would require drivers and companies to obtain licenses to be renewed annually; require companies to operate at least 20 vehicles, with at least 10 percent of them wheelchair-accessible; and require the vehicles to be painted black and meet age and model standards.

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