Weekly Digital News Roundup: Aug 13- Aug 17
Depiction of Amazon Stirs a Debate About Work Culture
- A recent article in The New York Times —“Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace” — offered a glimpse into what could be described as a workplace that is both bruising and thrilling. It gave accounts of workers who suffered from cancer, miscarriages and other personal crises who said they had been evaluated unfairly or edged out rather than given time to recover in Amazon’s intense and fast-paced workplace.
- The reaction to the story was voluminous and spirited. On websites like Redditand Hacker News, tech workers, Amazon employees and friends and relatives offered thoughtful and detailed reflections of their experiences at the company. Jeff Bezos, its chief executive, also weighed in. Many of the more than 4,000 comments posted to nytimes.com recounted what life was like at Amazon.
- A recent hire noted that for him, the grueling environment feels like it’s worth it in terms of career development — an attitude he believes is shared among other young engineers in the tech industry. He expects to be pushed, he said.
Hackers claim to have leaked Ashley Madison data trove online
- According to the Washington Post, Hackers claim to have released data stolen last month during a breach at Ashley Madison, a dating site for people looking for affairs. A roughly 10-gigabyte file that purported to contain several points of personal data, including e-mails, member profiles, credit-card transactions and other sensitive information about Ashley Madison’s millions of users became available Tuesday.
- The download was initially posted to a site on the dark web only accessible by using the anonymous browsing tool Tor, according to One file appeared to contain credit card transaction data, but did not appear to include billing addresses or full payment card numbers, according to Ars Technica.
- Another site, Established Men, was also swept up in the data dump, according to various media reports. Established Men is aimed at women hoping to connect with wealthy men. Both sites are owned by Avid Life Media. A spokesperson for Avid Life said it was investigating whether the sites were the source of the data. Avid said it is working with Canadian law enforcement and the FBI to investigate the incident.
Richard Branson’s latest investment: Santa Monica company making video doorbells
- According to the LA Times, Ring, a Santa Monica tech start-up that sells a doorbell with a video camera, announced a $28-million investment Wednesday coming mostly from business mogul Richard Branson and the venture capital arms of top home builder J.F. Shea Co. and big home insurer American Family Insurance Group. They bought into the 4-year-old start-up’s goal of reducing crime, said Ring Chief Executive James Siminoff.
- People who use the $199 “smart doorbells” can chat with visitors via a smartphone app regardless of their location, which Ring says deters would-be thieves who often want to be sure no one’s home. If someone at the door doesn’t tap on Ring, motion-detection technology triggers smartphone alerts. Video recordings saved online for $30 a year provide a way to identify perpetrators.
- Siminoff said he wants to learn about “the dynamics” of communities and crime from the new investors. He’ll use their money to hire people with video analysis and data-crunching skills to develop other uses for the videos. Ring, which doubled its office space in Santa Monica last week, has 120 employees. The company had raised $10.5 million in the past year.