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GitHub says goodbye to cookie banners

Microsoft -owned GitHub today announced that it is doing away with all non-essential cookies on its platform. Thanks to this, starting today, GitHub .com and its subdomains will not feature a cookie banner anymore, either. That’s one less cookie banner you’ll have to click away to get your work done.
“No one likes cookie banners,” GitHub CEO Nat Friedman writes in today’s announcement. “But cookie banners are everywhere!”
The reason for that, of course, is because of regulations like GDPR in the U.S. and the EU’s directive to give users the right to refuse the …

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GitHub gets a dark mode

It’s GitHub Universe week and unsurprisingly, the ubiquitous code management service is announcing a slew of updates. Companies can now become GitHub Sponsors and invest in open-source projects by paying developers directly, there is automatic merging of pull requests (if that’s your thing), discussions for all public repositories and the beta of dependency reviews. GitHub is also making some updates to its continuous delivery features.
That’s all good and well, but let’s face it: you came here to see GitHub’s new dark mode.
Here it is:
Image Credits: GitHub
“Dark mode may offer respite from …

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Google opens its Fuchsia operating system to outside developers

For the longest time, Google’s new Fuchsia operating system remained a bit of a mystery — with little information in terms of the company’s plans for it, even as the team behind it brought the code to GitHub under a standard open-source license. These days, we know that it’s Google’s first attempt at developing a completely new kernel and general purpose operating system that promises to be more than just an experiment (or a retention project to keep senior engineers from jumping ship). For the most part, though, Google has remained pretty mum about the subject.
It …

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AWS goes after Microsoft’s SQL Server with Babelfish for Aurora PostgreSQL

AWS today announced a new database product that is clearly meant to go after Microsoft’s SQL Server and make it easier — and cheaper — for SQL Server users to migrate to the AWS cloud. The new service is Babelfish for Aurora PostgreSQL. The tagline AWS CEO Andy Jassy used for this service in his re:Invent keynote today is probably telling: “Stop paying for SQL Server licenses you don’t need.” And to show how serious it is about this, the company is even open-sourcing the tool.
What Babelfish does is provide a translation layer for SQL Server’s proprietary …

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Daily Crunch: GitHub reinstates YouTube downloading project

GitHub defies a takedown order, Strava raises a big round and Moderna reports promising COVID-19 vaccine results. This is your Daily Crunch for November 16, 2020.

The big story: GitHub reinstates YouTube downloading project

Back in October, the Recording Industry Association of America sent a DMCA complaint to GitHub over a project called YouTube-dl, which allows viewers to download YouTube videos for offline viewing. According to the trade group, YouTube-dl both circumvented DRM and, in its documentation, promoted the piracy of several popular songs.

However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation sent GitHub a letter criticizing the RIAA’s argument and suggesting that, among other things, it mischaracterizes how YouTube-dl’s code actually works.

In response, GitHub has restored the project’s code. It also says it’s rethinking how it will handle takedown notices in the future, with a new $1 million developer defense fund and the response of technical and legal review of any future claims filed under section 1201 of the DMCA.

The tech giants

You can now embed Apple Podcasts on the web — Apple is making it easier to discover and listen to podcasts via the web.

Apple’s IDFA gets targeted in strategic EU privacy complaints — The complaints, lodged with German and Spanish data protection authorities, contend that Apple’s setting of the IDFA breaches regional privacy laws.

Spotify adds a built-in podcast playlist creation tool, ‘Your Episodes’ — The feature lets you bookmark individual episodes from any podcast, which are then added to a new “Your Episodes” playlist.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Strava raises $110M, touts growth rate of 2 million new users per month in 2020 — Strava has 70 million members already according to the company, with presence in 195 countries globally.

Squarespace adds support for memberships and paywalled content — Squarespace’s new Member Areas allow businesses to charge for access to exclusive content.

Computer vision startup Chooch.ai scores $20M Series A — Chooch.ai hopes to help companies adopt computer vision more broadly.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

Will edtech empower or erase the need for higher education? — Campuses are closed, sports have been paused and, understandably, students don’t want to pay the same tuition for a fraction of the services.

Three growth tactics that helped us surpass Noom and Weight Watchers — Over the past year, nutrition app Lifesum has acquired users at nearly twice the rate of both Noom and Weight Watchers.

Unpacking the C3.ai IPO filing — C3 is actually in pretty good financial shape, generating both growing recurring software revenues and cash in some quarters.

(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Moderna reports its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5% effective in first data from Phase 3 trial — Following fast on the heels of Pfizer’s announcement of its COVID-19 vaccine efficacy, Moderna is also sharing positive results from its Phase 3 trial.

HBO Max arrives on Amazon Fire TV devices — As a part of the new deal, existing HBO subscribers on Amazon will be able to use the HBO Max app at no additional cost.

Original Content podcast: ‘The Vow’ offers a muddled look at the NXIVM cult — It’s a fascinating documentary hampered by some unfortunate storytelling choices.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

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Python creator Guido van Rossum joins Microsoft

Guido van Rossum, the creator of the Python programming language, today announced that he has unretired and joined Microsoft’s Developer Division.

Van Rossum, who was last employed by Dropbox, retired last October after six and a half years at the company. Clearly, that retirement wasn’t meant to last. At Microsoft, van Rossum says, he’ll work to “make using Python better for sure (and not just on Windows).”

A Microsoft spokesperson told us that the company also doesn’t have any additional details to share but confirmed that van Rossum has indeed joined Microsoft. “We’re excited to have him as part of the Developer Division. Microsoft is committed to contributing to and growing with the Python community, and Guido’s on-boarding is a reflection of that commitment,” the spokesperson said.

The Dutch programmer started working on what would become Python back in 1989. He continued to actively work on the language during his time at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology in the mid-90s and at various companies afterward, including as Director of PythonLabs at BeOpen and Zope and at Elemental Security. Before going to Dropbox, he worked for Google from 2005 to 2012. There, he developed the internal code review tool Mondrian and worked on App Engine.

Today, Python is among the most popular programming languages and the de facto standard for AI researchers, for example.

Only a few years ago, van Rossum joining Microsoft would’ve been unthinkable, given the company’s infamous approach to open source. That has clearly changed now and today’s Microsoft is one of the most active corporate open-source contributors among its peers — and now the owner of GitHub . It’s not clear what exactly van Rossum will do at Microsoft, but he notes that there’s “too many options to say” and that “there’s lots of open source here.”

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Developer productivity tools startup Raycast raises $2.7M from Accel

Workplace SaaS tools for teams have seen rocket ship growth in the past several years, and that adoption has given rise to a host of software tools geared towards improving individual productivity. Many of the startups behind these tools see building a cult following among individual users as the best way to set themselves up for later enterprise-wide success.

Raycast is a developer-focused productivity tool that aims to be the quickest way to get common tasks done. Today, it’s launching into public beta and sharing with TechCrunch that the team has raised new funding from Accel months after graduating from Y Combinator.

The company has closed a $2.7 million seed round led by Accel with participation from YC, Jeff Morris Jr.’s Chapter One fund as well as angel investors Charlie Cheever, Calvin French-Owen and Manik Gupta .

The desktop software takes a note from peers like Superhuman and Command E, allowing users to quickly pull up and modify data with keyboard shortcuts. Users can easily create and re-modify issues in Jira, merge pull requests in Github and find documents. The software is very much a developer-focused version of the Apple’s Spotlight search that aims to help software engineers navigate all of the parts of their job that aren’t development work with a single tool.

Image via Raycast.

Like plenty of workplace tools startups, one of the keys for Raycast is building out a network of extensions that can encompass a user’s workflow. For now, the software supports integrations from Asana, Jira, Zoom, Linear, G Suite, Calendar, Github and Reminders alongside core functionality that can help manage system settings and a calculator that can handle complex math problems. As the startup launches out of public beta, they’re looking to double down on extensions and are rolling out a developer program for early access to their API.

The Mac-only software is free while in public beta, but the company does plan on charging a monthly subscription for the service eventually, though they aren’t quite ready to talk about pricing yet.

Raycast’s team is interested in appealing to individual users for now, but might eventually expand to becoming a teams-level enterprise product that could help onboard new employees faster by quickly orienting them with their office’s software suite, but that’s all a bit down the road, the team says.

“We’re staying focused on single-player mode for a while,” CEO Thomas Paul Mann tells TechCrunch.

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