Stories for Mar. 4, 2014
In Brief

An e-commerce startup called Reflektion has raised an $8 million series B round of venture capital for its technology that helps retailers personalize the online shopping experience for consumers. Intel Capital led the round, and Nike and several private investors also pitched in. This seems like the latest thing in marketing — not just targeted advertising but entire tailored experiences for individual shoppers. It does add an Amazon-like recommendation experience, although one might fairly question whether most product catalogs are large enough to warrant it.

In Brief

The UK-based Wellcome Trust, the world’s second-largest funder of medical research behind the Gates Foundation, has launched a free online magazine called Mosaic that is dedicated to longform science writing. The site will be run by former Times science editor Mark Henderson — who was involved with a monthly science magazine published by the Times called Eureka, which was shut down in 2012 — and will publish a new 3,000-word piece on a scientific topic every Tuesday. In an unusual twist, the content will be free for anyone to use under a Creative Commons license, provided they include attribution.

Farmer seed are a major source of borrowing, in Pakkoku, Myanmar
photo: Courtesy of Venetia Tay

It’s an unprecedented moment in Myanmar’s history as the country opens up to financing, technology and connectivity. Will mobile payments play a role in transforming the country? Read more »

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In Brief

A Belgian magistrate has mulled blocking Apple’s websites there, according to local reports on Tuesday, as spotted by This was as a result of the still-ongoing kerfuffle over Apple and warranties – although EU law says consumer goods should automatically come with a two-year warranty, and although Apple acknowledges as much on a webpage, the firm still advertises its gadgets as being covered by a one-year warranty and tries to upsell customers to a two-year AppleCare plan. The reports suggest the magistrate may have realized blocking Apple’s sites would mess with iTunes and other services, so is still considering his next move.

Stories for Mar. 3, 2014
In Brief

With the toy industry stagnating due to competition from digital games, Lego is among the companies looking at 3D printing as a potential fix. The Danish plastic brick manufacturer told The Financial Times that it is considering “what potential opportunities there are for consumers.” Legos are very easy to print on home 3D printers (in fact, some people are already printing them). 3D printing also opens up the opportunity for highly customized shapes, which could expand what people are able to make. But Lego isn’t considering 3D printing bricks itself; it’s more about printing them efficiently, and currently prints about 2,000 bricks a second.

In Brief

Vudu, the Walmart-owned premium video service, is adding Chromecast support to its iOS and Android app soon. Vudu announced the upcoming Chromecast support on its website Sunday, adding that users will also be able to cast video straight from the Vudu website. Google opened up the Google Cast SDK to developers a month ago, but so far, there haven’t been any new apps from major publishers. However, both Rdio and Beats Music have announced that they’re working on adding Chromecast support to their apps as well.

In Brief

Events-focused site Meetup has been offline intermittently since Thursday, due to a massive DDoS attack on the company’s servers. According to a blog post from co-founder and CEO Scott Heiferman, it’s the first attack of this magnitude in the 12 years since Meetup was founded, and the chain of attacks were attached to a ransom of $300. The company made the decision not to negotiate with the hackers, and continues to fight off attacks — as of 10 a.m. PST, the website remains down and redirects to the blog post.

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