Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Lime is debuting its line of shareable vehicles in Seattle this week

Lime, the well-funded startup known for its fleet of brightly colored dockless bicycles and electric scooters, has a new way for its customers to get around: cars.

Beginning this week, Lime users in Seattle will be able to reserve a “LimePod,” a Lime-branded 2018 Fiat 500, within the Lime mobile app. There will be 50 cars available to start as part of the company’s initial rollout. Lime plans to increase that number at the end of the month.

“LimePods, Lime’s car-sharing product line, a convenient, affordable, weather-resistant mobility solution for communities,” a spokesperson for Lime said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “The ease of use of finding, unlocking, and paying for cars will be consistent with how riders use Lime scooters and e-bikes today.”

Lime will roll out 50 “LimePods” in Seattle this week.

Rides in the LimePod will cost $1 to unlock the car and 40 cents per minute of use. The company plans to unleash additional shareable cars in California early next year. Its scooters and e-bikes, for reference, are $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute and regular pedal bikes are $1 to unlock and 5 cents per minute.

Founded in 2017 by Berkeley graduates Toby Sun and Brad Bao, the startup has raised a total of $467 million to date from GV, Andreessen Horowitz, IVP, Section 32, GGV Capital and more. Reports indicate that Lime is on the fundraising circuit now, targeting a $3 billion valuation, or nearly 3x its latest valuation.

LimePods will be available to order in the Lime mobile app.

The company is expanding rapidly, most recently releasing a fleet of e-scooters and bikes in Australia, as well as making notable hires on what seems like a weekly basis. In the last month, Lime has tapped Joe Kraus, a general partner at Alphabet’s venture arm GV and an existing member of the startup’s board of directors, as its first chief operating officer. Before that, it brought on Uber’s former chief business officer David Richter as its first-ever chief business officer and interim chief financial officer.

In July, the company hired Peter Dempster from ReachNow to lead the LimePod initiative out of Seattle.

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Faraday Future: the rise and fall of the electric car startup

Following the EV company’s best and worst moments, from its 2015 debut to its most recent struggles

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Camp Fire Still Raging in California

Camp Fire Still Raging in California
The fire has become the deadliest in state history.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Volvo's subscription service is so popular it's running out of XC40s

dims?crop=1400%2C800%2C0%2C0&quality=85&Volvo made it clear back in June that its Care by Volvo subscription service was going to be a big hit. Now, it's got the stats to back it up: in just four months the company has sold as many subscriptions as it originally anticipated selling in the... https://ift.tt/2FhAXGF
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The kilogram is dead; long live the kilogram

The US National Prototype Kilogram, a copy of the original International Prototype Kilogram. Credit: Robert Rathe / NIST

This week scientists will meet to redefine the world’s weights

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Watch Rocket Lab try again to launch its first commercial mission to space

Aerospace startup Rocket Lab will try again this weekend to launch its first commercial mission to space, a flight the company has dubbed “It’s Business Time.” The small satellite launcher is aiming to send up seven tiny probes into low Earth orbit on its Electron rocket. If successful, the flight will officially kick off commercial operations for the company, which has only pulled off two test flights so far.

Rocket Lab has had a hard time getting “It’s Business Time” up in the air, though. The company, which launches out of a private site in New Zealand, has tried multiple times to fly this particular mission, but had to stand down after noticing some weird behavior with one of the rocket’s motor controllers. After implementing a few...

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Major UK supermarket launches TV ad with Greenpeace against the use of palm oil, but Clearcast bans it from airing

A popular UK grocery store – Iceland – became the first major supermarket to take palm oil out of all of its own products. The production of palm oil, which is used in everything from cooking oil to snacks and baked goods to cosmetics and shampoos, is contributing to mass deforestation in countries like Malaysia, and is responsible in part for the loss of 25 orangutans per day. The organutans are now classified as critically endangered.

But Iceland took their environmental stance a step further and teamed up with Greenpeace to rebadge this Christmas ad in order to bring awareness to the issue. But, unfortunately, the ad was banned because Clearcast says "it doesn’t comply with the political rules of the BCAP code."

According to The Guardian:

Clearcast, the body responsible for vetting ads before they are broadcast to the public, said it was in breach of rules banning political advertising laid down by the 2003 Communications Act.

One of the stipulations enshrined in the broadcast code for advertising practice (BCAP), is that an ad is prohibited if it is “directed towards a political end”.

“Clearcast and the broadcasters have to date been unable to clear this Iceland ad because we concerned that it doesn’t comply with the political rules of the BCAP code,” said a spokeswoman for Clearcast. “The creative submitted to us is linked to another organisation who have not yet been able to demonstrate compliance in this area.”

But an Iceland's spokesperson disagrees. “We wanted [the ad] to be our signature campaign...We have said repeatedly we are not anti-palm oil, we are anti-deforestation...We think this is a huge story that needs to be told. We always knew there was a risk, but we gave it our best shot.”

Via The Guardian

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

2018 MacBook Air Teardown Confirms Improving Repairability With Adhesive Pull-Tabs Under Battery and Speakers

The repair experts at iFixit have completed their teardown of the new MacBook Air, providing a closer look inside the notebook.

iFixit started by confirming the keyboard on the new MacBook Air has the same silicone membrane under the keycaps as the latest MacBook Pro, as expected since they both use Apple's third-generation butterfly keyboard.


Next, they flipped the notebook onto its bottom side and encountered Apple's usual pentalobe screws that require a special screwdriver to unfasten. On the inside, there is a compact array of components, including a small logic board, a fan, a pair of large speakers, and a "radiator-esque heat sink."


iFixit proceeded to remove the logic board, providing a glimpse at the Apple T2 security chip, along with a Thunderbolt 3 controller from Intel, 128GB of flash storage from SanDisk, and 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM from SK Hynix.


Diving deeper, iFixit discovered that the two Thunderbolt 3 ports in the new MacBook Air are modular, and applauded Apple for this repair-friendly design consideration. "This MacBook is off to a good start as far as we're concerned," they wrote. "All the ports sit on their own boards and are easily replaceable."

Continuing the repair-friendly trend, iFixit uncovered ten pull-to-remove adhesive tabs securing the 49.9 Wh battery and speakers.

"The mere presence of stretch-release adhesive generally means that someone at least thought about possible repair and disassembly situations," the teardown says. "Are you there, Apple? It's us, iFixit. Have you heard our pleas?"


As first reported by MacRumors, the battery in the new MacBook Air is still glued into the top case — the aluminum enclosure that houses the keyboard and trackpad — but Apple will be providing Apple Authorized Service Providers with tools to remove the battery and reinstall a new one with no top case replacement required.

In all other MacBook and MacBook Pro models with a Retina display released since 2012, Apple has replaced the entire top case when a customer requires a new battery, so the change is good news for both repairability and the environment.

Last, iFixit confirmed that the Touch ID sensor is also modular in the new MacBook Air. According to the new MacBook Air's service guide obtained by MacRumors, the Touch ID button does not require a logic board replacement, but the notebook must pass Apple diagnostics in order for the repair to be completed.

While the new MacBook Air has improved repairability relative to Apple's standards, the notebook earned a low 3/10 repairability score from iFixit.

"The Air still uses external pentalobes to keep you out, requires lots of component removal for common fixes, and both RAM and storage are soldered to the logic board," said iFixit. "All together, that means Apple has an easy time with their knowledge and tools, but the average DIYer is left out to dry when it comes to upgrades."

Nevertheless, iFixit said it hopes this is "just the beginning of an upswing in repairable design" for Apple products.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Buy Now)

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Why Delta’s new A220 feels bigger on the inside

Delta Air Lines gave the world a peek at the PaxEx on its new Airbus A220-100 (formerly the Bombardier C Series CS100) aircraft on the 10th anniversary of its merger with Northwest Airlines, and it is a big leap forward in a relatively short time.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian said of the new twinjet: “We have big plans for our A220 fleet and are confident that Delta customers and Delta people alike will be delighted with the inflight experience provided by this thoroughly modern and efficient aircraft.”

For a small aircraft, the Pratt & Whitney PW1500G-powered A220 is a bit like Dr. Who’s TARDIS: it’s bigger on the inside. The plane was designed by Bombardier from the start to feel wide. It offers many of the same environmental, lighting and structural features that make the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350 XWB widebody aircraft more comfortable for long-haul flights.

Extra large windows let in plenty of sunlight and offer passengers better views from above. LED lighting lets Delta mark its brand and set a mood. Generous overhead bins can accommodate passenger baggage with ease.

Delta has made the most of this big little jet by offering wide seats, inflight entertainment throughout – Gogo’s new wireless seatback IFE system called Gogo Vision Touch – plus Gogo’s 2Ku broadband inflight connectivity, and a bathroom with a view.

The US major has introduced the optimally designed 21″-wide Rockwell Collins MiQ seat. First class accommodates 12 passengers in a two-by-two configuration with 36” pitch, as well as power outlets and large IFE screens.

Delta offers first class, Comfort+ extra legroom economy and economy class on the A220-100. Image: Delta Air Lines

There are 15 Delta Comfort+ 18.6″-wide seats on board with a 34” pitch, in a two-by-three configuration, with signature quilted dress covers. Delta will offer Comfort+ passengers dedicated slots in the overhead bin.

The 82 Main Cabin seats are also laid out in a two-by-three configuration and are 18.6” wide, with foam-backed blue leather dress covers and a 30”-31” seat pitch.

Both Comfort+ and Main Cabin passengers get USB power outlets.

Economy class is laid out 2-3. Image: Delta Air Lines

Delta upgraded the lavatory too, with more room and a window – a feature one might expect to find widebody jets. This plays up to the A220’s “widebody in a small-body” character.

A bathroom with a view. Image: Delta Air Lines

Gil West, Delta’s senior executive vice president and Chief Operating Officer said: “In many ways, the A220 represents our continued work to make flying better for everyone and represents the go-forward objectives of our fleet strategy.”

If going forward means going large for Delta, even in the smaller packages, then they are headed in the right direction. Delta has made a number of surprise moves in recent years to position itself as the US airline that means business. The Delta One suite is a prime example, but it’s not the only one.

Delta’s A220s will feature 18.6″ wide Main Cabin seats — the widest Main Cabin seats in Delta’s fleet. Image: Delta Air Lines

Delta has been laser-focused on establishing a continuity of experience that makes flying for work comfortable and affordable. Whether work is in the continental US or in far-flung cities overseas, whether the traveller is a senior executive, a junior executive, or one of the growing community of hidden productivity flyers (freelancers), Delta has a product that will fit the bill. We shouldn’t forget that Delta also maintains a private jet service for those who require the VVIP treatment.

This is not to detract from the progress American has made in becoming a hospitality brand, or from United’s ongoing efforts to right its ship and aim for the stars. Nor does it interfere with JetBlue’s very refreshing and successful Mint, or Southwest’s bold heart, or Alaska’s home comforts, or Spirit’s budget-friendly sass.

Even economy class passengers can expect a solid #PaxEx. Image: Chris Rank/Rank Studios 2018)

US carriers, each in their own way, are starting to carve out a niche for themselves and defining brands that customers can identify with.

Rotation
Knowing your target market and accommodating their needs – while leaving plenty for other customers to love about you – is a level of sophisticated merchandising that has been somewhat lacking in the aviation industry post-regulation. Desperate efforts to hold onto market share have meant that many erred in trying to be all things to all people, and that consistently disappoints.

There is still some work to do before the airlines that have survived the shake-up really reflect brand confidence by abandoning killer fares wars, but that may come in time.

Perhaps for this reason it was particularly poignant that Delta chose to reveal its Time Lord worthy A220-100 when it did. Not a trace of the old Northwest remains, or the old Delta for that matter. Instead, what we have is something new, unexpected and as welcome as it is welcoming.

The A220 is a noteworthy addition to Delta’s fleet, but it is also a remarkable addition to Airbus’ portfolio of aircraft. Image: Airbus

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The Future of Safe Self-Driving Cars Is Thermal Imaging

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By the end of this year, Google’s Waymo self-driving program plans on expanding its public self-driving ride-sharing program in Arizona, and in the next decade there are about 46 companies working to do the same. Many of these systems don’t yet use thermal imaging, but after a demonstration of how effective it is at…

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