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Product Hunt’s Success Begs the Question: What Is Tech News Even For?

Steve Banfield:

Been wondering this about sites like Pando Daily since they launched. Too many “publications” are just startups of their own with “reporters” being as much PR flacks for their company as they are digging into and reporting accurate news about the industry. Walt and Kara are probably the best current industry reporters (I used to live in fear of doing press tours to visit Mossberg when I ran the RealPlayer group). Who is going to carry us to the next level of journalism in technology?

Originally posted on Betabeat:

The new trend in news startups doesn't involve anyone actually reporting the news. (Photo via //sugar)

The latest trend in news startups doesn’t involve anyone actually reporting the news. (Photo via //sugar)

Welcome to Freshly Minted, where we examine an overlooked deal or funding announcement in tech from the past week, and tell you what you need to know, and why it matters.

The deal: Product Hunt, a site that where users can upvote new products every day, raised $6 million from Andreessen Horowitz at a $22 million valuation.

For as long as there’s been an Internet, self-proclaimed new media evangelists and armchair philosophers have been saying that online media was going to kill off the need for us “real” journalists. But even as dwindling ad revenue wreaks havoc on the news biz, here we are, still occasionally pulling in a salary — though every once in a while, some new service shows up to keep us journos in check.

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Why Sony must wish the smartphone was never invented

Steve Banfield:

There are lots of things that Sony wish hadn’t been invented (including many Sony creations like Blu-ray), the smartphone is just the most recent addition to that list.

Originally posted on Quartz:

Sony, the Japanese consumer electronics colossus, had some bad news for its shareholders last night.

The company that once made Walkmans and still makes Playstations and televisions (and owns major film studios and record labels) said it expects its annual loss to be nearly five times as much as previously anticipated. It is also suspending its dividend for the first time since 1958.

The reason: a ¥180 billion ($1.6 billion) write-down of its mobile communications segment, which accounted for about 20% of the company’s total business last year, according to FactSet.

In sum, Sony now expects to earn less from that business than it had previously forecast. Why? It’s changing its strategy in mobiles to concentrate on premium products and reduce the number of mid-range models it produces. Over the long term, it thinks this will deliver more stable profits. The company now expects to lose about ¥230 billion this fiscal year (which ends next March), which would be its sixth loss in seven years.

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Moto X review: Say hello to the best Android phone in the world

Steve Banfield:

I ordered mine today, in black with a “walnut” wood back. It should be here before the iPhone 6 Plus (also known as the iPad Mini Mini) arrives.

Originally posted on BGR:

“The best.” I know, I know… who’s to say which Android phone is the best? No two people are alike and different users have different priorities. There are so many factors to consider, it’s obviously impossible to determine the “best” phone for everyone.

But it’s BGR’s job to try.

While we obviously can’t say which phone will be the personal favorite of each and every person out there, we can consider users’ most common needs and wants in an effort to determine which smartphone might be most suited to the widest range of people.

Since we handle so many phones here at BGR, we’re also able to tell you which handsets offer unique and innovative features that other devices do not. More than that, we’re well equipped to say which smartphones’ unique features might be more widely appreciated than others.

It might seem like each and every new flagship Android phone that comes out is…

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Should We Work In A Software Factory?

We have this factory model, and we think someone’s working if they show up in the morning and they’re not drunk, they don’t sleep at their desks, they leave at the right time. But that has so little to do with what you create. And we all know people who create a lot without fitting into those norms.

Matt Mullenweg, creator of WordPress

Taken from a good article on WordPress and their distributed workforce policy.

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Apple’s 4 million iPhone 6 pre-orders in context

Steve Banfield:

yeah, I pre-ordered one too.

Originally posted on Quartz:

Apple sold 4 million of its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus phones in 24 hours—a record, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). How does that compare to other iPhone launches—and its normal sales rate?

  • Over the past year, through the company’s June quarter, Apple sold 163.7 million iPhones. That’s about 449,000 per day.
  • The Christmas period, Apple’s December quarter, is typically the busiest. Last year, Apple sold 51 million iPhones in 91 days. That’s about 560,000 per day.
  • Apple sold 9 million iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C models on opening weekend last year, including pre-orders. Previous opening weekends: 5 million for the iPhone 5 (including 2 million pre-orders in the first 24 hours); 4 million for the iPhone 4S; 1.7 million for the iPhone 4; “over 1 million” for the iPhone 3GS; and 1 million for the iPhone 3G.
  • Apple sold 270,000 original iPhones during the first 30 hours of sales…

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iPhone 6 vs. the world: Here’s how Apple’s new iPhones compare to rival phones

Originally posted on BGR:

Apple finally unveiled its next-generation iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones on Tuesday during its huge press conference at the Flint Center in California, and not a soul in the building was surprised. Thanks to months of leaks, we knew nearly every single detail about Apple’s new iPhone lineup long before it was unveiled. Despite the lack of surprise, however, everyone in the building seemed to be impressed by Apple’s sleek new smartphones, and it looks like we could be marching toward a record launch yet again.

But how do the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus compare to the competition?

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Why people love paying for Netflix but hate paying for the BBC

Originally posted on Quartz:

In the United States, nearly 36 million households voluntarily pay some $8 a month for access to Netflix. Add in international subscribers and DVD-only subscribers, and that’s a grand total of 54 million paying subscribers.

In the United Kingdom, over 25 million households compulsorily pay £12.13 ($19.57) every month for the privilege of owning a television. This amount—collected yearly—is the “license fee” that UK residents with a television pay to fund the BBC.

In return for the fee, British TV owners get four radio stations, two television channels, a website that streams all the BBC’s radio and TV from the past week, and several more free channels and stations if they have a digital box. The programming across these media covers drama, comedy, movies, children’s shows, sports, live events, and some wonderful documentaries—and precisely zero advertising. It is by any measure a great value for money.

But is it a better value than Netflix? The BBC…

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Amazon’s Fire Phone is officially as big of a flop as the Facebook phone

Steve Banfield:

Perhaps true, but Amazon has the commitment to keep after it into they are successful. Bezos will endure losses and criticism whereas I don’t see Zuck being willing to do so. The mistake is to judge the Fire phone as if it has to drive units at the same level as a Samsung or Apple device. It doesn’t and probably never will. Eventually Amazon will find a sweet spot for their phone and make money on the commerce options along the way.

Originally posted on BGR:

We already knew that Amazon’s Fire Phone was doing very poorly but now it’s reached a grim milestone that’s reminiscent of the HTC First, a.k.a., the Facebook phone. Per Business Insider, Amazon has now slashed the price of the Fire Phone down to just $0.99 with a two-year contract with AT&T. This price cut comes less than three months after its official release, when it came out priced at $199.99 with a two-year contract from AT&T. For perspective, the HTC First got slashed from $99.99 on contract to $0.99 on contract just a month after its unveiling, so at least the Fire Phone hasn’t bombed quite that quickly.

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This is why you never end up hiring good developers

Originally posted on Quartz:

You are bad at giving technical interviews. Yes, you. You’re looking for the wrong skills, hiring the wrong people, and actively screwing yourself and your company. Without changing anything about your applicant pool, you can hire different people and your company will do better and you will enjoy your job more.

I realize these are bold claims. In the ten years since I became senior enough to be asked to interview people, I have conducted a great number of technical interviews, been part of a lot of teams at companies big and small, and watched the effect that different types of hires have had on those companies. I’m not claiming to be perfect at hiring — at various points, I have done nearly all of the things wrong that I’m about to tell you not to do. But here’s what I’ve learned so far.

You are looking for the wrong…

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