TIME Internet

Reddit’s Ellen Pao and Alexis Ohanian Explain Site Shut Down

Ellen Pao
Eric Risberg—AP Ellen Pao, the current interim chief of the news and social media site Reddit, has alleged she faced gender discrimination from former employer Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers.

Site-wide protests rippled through much of the popular message board on Friday

Reddit moderators shut down hundreds of the online message board’s most popular sections on Friday. The outages were part of an apparent protest by users after the surprisal removal of a popular employee, Victoria Taylor, Reddit’s director of talent and a facilitator of the Ask Me Anything feature.

The move affected nearly 300 individual discussion areas, or subreddits that focus on various topics ranging from technology to art. Subreddits are moderated by community members, not Reddit employees. The shutdowns began on Thursday evening and expanded quickly on Friday.

“I want to apologize to our community for yesterday,” Reddit’s interim CEO Ellen Pao told TIME on Friday. “We handled the transition in a way that caused some disruption, and we should have done a better job.” Pao said the company’s management should have informed moderators earlier about planned personnel changes. Pao declined to comment further on Taylor’s departure.

Alexis Ohanian, one of Reddit’s co-founders and the company’s current chairman, said the site has appointed a dedicated point of contact on staff to communicate with the site’s moderators. Kristine Fasnacht, a long-time Reddit user and current employee, will take on the role, he said.

Ohanian said the plan was to have an email alias available for moderators who needed to contact Reddit employees, but that was not widely communicated after Taylor’s departure. “Unfortunately, we did not announce the transition right after that happened,” he said.

Ask Me Anythings, or AMA for short, are the tumbling question-and-answer sessions hosted on the site that have become very popular over the past few years. They are an entirely user-created genre—any Reddit moderator can host one. In instances with famous participants, like President Barack Obama’s 2012 AMA, the site has an employee help with planning and managing the logistics. “They existed before we had anything to do with them,” said Ohanian. The company is looking into appointing an staffer to continue doing that kind of liaising in the future.

Reddit users speculated Taylor’s dismissal was connected with her moderation of Rev. Jesse Jackson’s AMA on Wednesday, which became disorganized after a flurry of questions about racial issues. “That definitely had nothing to do with it,” said Ohanian.

Ohanian, who has tight bond with the community, said he spent the last 24 hours communicating with the site’s moderators and other users, much of it over Reddit itself. He was fielding questions on the site until about 3 AM Thursday night, he said, and made about a half-dozen phone calls to users. “Some people are understandably skeptical,” he said, “but at the very least it’s a step in the right direction.”

“Now it’s on us to act,” Ohanian continued, “to use Reddit to create a dialogue to better keep our community and user based informed.” He said the discussions so far had been fruitful. “They made some very good points. The first thing we could do was get a moderator like Christine to be the point person just for moderators. So if users have a question or want someone to talk to, we’re there.”

Pao and Ohanian said the site had returned to almost normal as of Friday evening. “Of the 50 default subreddits, 48 of them are up and that’s most people see on the front page,” said Pao. The site’s homepage—the content on which is generated by the number of up-votes on threads throughout the site, a measure of activity and popularity—contained several threads on Taylor’s dismissal. One pointed out that Google searches for “Reddit alternative” had spiked in the wake of the protests.

After years under the ownership of Advance Publications, parent of the Conde Nast magazine empire, Reddit was spun off and raised $50 million in funding last year. It is reportedly valued at about $250 million. The company is currently trying to kickstart a major expansion but has weathered a series of hiccups over the last few months including policy changes to address bullying and “involuntary pornography.”

“We have a responsibility to [users] to figure out how we can be better stewards,” Ohanian said. “There have been times when we made mistakes. The important thing is that we learn from them.”

TIME Web

Reddit Moderators Lash Out After Employee’s Unexpected Dismissal

Some of the site's most popular pages were shut down

Reddit moderators shut down hundreds of the online bulletin board’s most popular pages on Friday in response to an employee’s unexpected dismissal.

Members of the online community became outraged after Victoria Taylor, Reddit’s director of talent and chief facilitator of the popular Ask Me Anything pages (AMAs), was dismissed on Thursday without an explanation, the New York Times reports. Moderators say Taylor’s dismissal will prevent them from coordinating AMAs, as Taylor was the main point of contact for celebrities, politicians and other public figures who participated in the online Q&A sessions.

Reddit users speculated Taylor’s dismissal is connected with her moderation of Rev. Jesse Jackson’s AMA on Wednesday, which soon became disorganized after a flurry of questions about racial issues and his personal history.

[NYT]

TIME Aviation

Solar-Powered Plane Lands in Hawaii After Record-Breaking 5-Day Journey

APTOPIX Solar Plane
Marco Garcia—AP The Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered airplane, circles the Kalaeloa Airport in Kapolei, Hawaii, on July 3, 2015.

Solar Impulse 2 flies without fuel

(KAPOLEI, Hawaii) — A plane powered by the sun’s rays landed in Hawaii Friday after a record-breaking five-day journey across the Pacific Ocean from Japan.

Pilot Andre Borschberg and his single-seat aircraft landed at Kalaeloa, a small airport outside Honolulu. His 120-hour voyage from Nagoya broke the record for the world’s longest nonstop solo flight, his team said. The late U.S. adventurer Steve Fossett set the previous record of 76 hours when he flew a specially-designed jet around the globe in 2006.

But Borschberg flew the Solar Impulse 2 without fuel. Instead, its wings were equipped with 17,000 solar cells that charged batteries. The plane ran on stored energy at night.

The plane’s ideal flight speed is about 28 mph though that can double during the day when sun’s rays are strongest. The carbon-fiber aircraft weighs over 5,000 pounds or about as much as a minivan or mid-sized truck.

Borschberg and his co-pilot Bertrand Piccard have been taking turns flying the plane on an around-the-world trip since taking off from Abu Dhabi in March. After Hawaii, it will head to Phoenix and then New York.

The project, which began in 2002 and is estimated to cost more than $100 million, is aimed at highlighting the importance of renewable energy and the spirit of innovation. Solar-powered air travel is not yet commercially practical, however, given the slow travel time, weather and weight constraints of the aircraft.

The plane is visiting Hawaii just as the state has embarked on its own ambitious clean energy project. Gov. David Ige last month signed legislation directing Hawaii’s utilities to generate 100 percent of their electricity from renewable energy resources by 2045. The utilities currently get 21 percent of their power from renewable sources.

Borschberg took naps and practiced yoga to cope with the long hours.

“Yoga is a huge support for this flight above the Pacific: it positively affects my mood and mindset,” he wrote in a tweet from the plane on Thursday.

TIME Video Games

The Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Replica Won’t Work With These Phones

Bethesda

Anything over 6 inches is a no-go

The Fallout 4 limited edition, honking big, bona fide replica Pip-Boy won’t work with the iPhone 6 Plus, in case you’re rocking Apple’s 6.22-by-3.06-inch phablet.

Mind you, Fallout developer Bethesda’s $120 not-so-smartwatch, modeled after the gigantic arm-computer players wear in the series, still looks like something a Ghostbuster might strap on — the antithesis of fashion feng shui, but kind of cool anyway. It’s for diehard fans of the upcoming post-apocalyptic free-for-all, which is to say, probably not you.

But even if you are secretly jonesing to cosplay one of the game’s survivors, you’ll need a phone smaller than 6 inches to get the thing to actually do something recognizably Pip-Boy-like via Bethesda’s companion iOS and Android app. The list of compatible smartphones includes all models of the iPhone from 4 until the iPhone 6. You can apparently insert foam to jury-rig a snug fit for other devices, but the top-end size to jam a phone into the Pip-Boy’s frame is 6 inches. That, among others, means no to the Huawei Ascend Mate 7, no to the Nokia Lumia 1520, and definitely no to Sony’s monstrous Xperia Z Ultra.

The Pip-Boy is essentially a green-screen gauntlet, an old-school IBM mainframe screen you clap to your arm. In the game, it’s the interface to all the fiddly roleplaying minutia like characters stats and inventory. It’s also a pretty slick portable radio, say you want to listen to the Ink Spots croon something ironic as you probe the game’s post-nuclear mutant-scape. The limited edition replica version is mostly fan service most likely to grace display shelving. But if you really want your second screen experience served on your forearm (and you managed to snag one of the things before they sold out), bear in mind it’s not phablet-friendly.

TIME Autos

Chevy’s New Cars Will Keep Your Phone Cool While it Charges

Chevy Vent
Chevy Chevy Vent

To help prevent your smartphone from overheating

A cell phone stuck baking in the summer sun in a car can turn piping hot fast. Now, Chevrolet has devised a solution: an air conditioning vent made especially for phones.

Many of Chevy’s 2016 fleet of vehicles, including the Malibu, Volt and and Impala will feature a special AC vent in the middle console in the spot where people often stash their phones.

The feature only works when the whole car’s AC is on, so leaving the phone in a hot car when you’re out and about is still a bad idea. But it could help keep a phone cool when it’s doing things like charging, giving directions or streaming music.

TIME Media

Apple Music Is Cheaper Depending on Where You Live

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Opens In San Francisco
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue speaks during the Apple WWDC on June 8, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

Apple wants to make its service competitive with other apps available on Android

Apple Music may cost about $10 per month in the United States, but that’s not the case everywhere.

The music streaming service, which rolls out in more than 100 countries this week, is considerably cheaper in parts of Asia and South America. In India, a subscription will cost about $2 per month, according to Quartz. In Brazil, Indonesia and Thailand, the cost is about $5. These countries also have the group membership subscription, which costs $15 in the U.S., offered at a similar discount.

Other streaming services like Rdio already offer competing services in foreign markets at a pretty low price. In the past, Apple hasn’t tried to compete on price in emerging markets, instead positioning the iPhone as a luxury item. But with Apple Music set to launch on Android, the world’s most popular mobile operating system, in the fall, it makes sense for Apple to price its service in a way that makes it affordable to all smartphone users and not just iPhone owners.

TIME Apple

Here’s What Steve Wozniak Thinks of The Steve Jobs Trailer

"I felt a lot of the real Jobs"

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says parts of the trailer for the upcoming biopic Steve Jobs are inaccurate—but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like the direction the movie is taking.

In the trailer, Wozniak (played by Seth Rogen) confronts Jobs (Michael Fassbender) about his lack of technical skills. “What do you do?” the film’s Wozniak says. “You’re not an engineer. You’re not a designer. You can’t put a hammer to a nail. I built the circuit board. The graphical interface was stolen. So how come, 10 times in a day, I read ‘Steve Jobs is a genius?'”

In an interview with Bloomberg, the real Wozniak says he never uttered those exact words, but their spirit “carried the right message” about his relationship with Jobs, who quickly became the face of the company the two men co-founded.

“I felt a lot of the real Jobs in the trailer, although a bit exaggerated,” Wozniak said.

The trailer paints Jobs in a less-than-flattering light, showing him going on tirades against employees and disavowing his own daughter. The movie, written by The Social Network writer Aaron Sorkin, debuts on Oct. 9.

TIME robotics

Robot Kills Man at Volkswagen Plant

The machine grabbed and crushed the technician

A robot crushed a worker at a Volkswagen production plant in Germany, the company said Wednesday.

A 22-year-old man was helping to put together the stationary robot that grabs and configures auto parts Monday when the machine grabbed and pushed him against a metal plate, the Associated Press reported. He later died from the injuries. Volkswagen did not release the man’s name.

A spokesperson for the car company told the Associated Press that the robot can be programmed for specific tasks and that the company believes the malfunction was due to human error.

Though the company uses some lightweight robots to work on the production line next to humans, a spokesperson told the Financial Times that this was not one of those robots. The type of robot that crushed the employee is usually kept in a cage. The man was working on the robot inside the cage when he was grabbed.

Prosecutors are still deciding whether to bring charges and whom they would pursue.

[AP]

Read next: Driverless Car Maker Denies Claim of Near-Miss With Google Car

TIME apps

6 Must-Know Tricks for Mastering Apple Music

A guide to Apple's powerful but somewhat confusing new app

Apple Music, Apple’s new streaming service, is finally here. The $9.99-per-month service is trying to beat competitors like Spotify and Google Play Music by cramming in as many features as possible: access to 30 million songs on demand, playlists curated by music experts, algorithmically powered radio stations and a live radio station like the ones you hear on the classic FM dial.

All those features add up to make Apple Music an incredibly powerful app, but also one that can be pretty challenging to navigate. Here are five quick tips to make the experience a bit more seamless:

Understanding Apple Music’s Tabs

Apple Music is divided into five main sections, and it’s not exactly obvious what each one does. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • For You shows you personalized playlists and albums based on the genre and artist preferences you pick out when you first open the app, as well as your play history.
  • New shows a list of new songs and albums, currently popular content, videos and thematic playlists.
  • Radio features Beats 1, Apple’s 24/7 live radio station, and algorithmically driven stations based on genre.
  • Connect is a social network that lets artists connect directly to fans.
  • My Music shows the songs you have in your library, as well as any playlists you’ve built.

Show Only Songs You’ve Downloaded

Apple Music doesn’t do much to help denote which songs are downloaded to your phone and which are floating in the cloud. On the “My Music” tab, you can select the drop-down menu that begins with “Artists” in the middle of the screen and activate the “Music Available Offline” option at the bottom of the menu. That will make it so only songs on your iPhone show up.

Turn Off Your Subscription’s Auto-Renewal

Apple Music comes with a free three-month subscription, but be careful—Apple has already “helpfully” signed you up to begin paying the $9.99 monthly fee via your iTunes account when the trial ends. To make sure you don’t get charged, press the human silhouette icon in the top left corner of Apple Muisc, select “View Apple ID,” then select “Manage” under the Subcriptions header. Select “Apple Music Membership” and then select “Free Trial.” The app should then show you the date your trial is set to end, and it won’t charge you after that time expires.

 

Download Songs Using Cellular Data

By default, the iPhone only downloads songs over Wi-Fi to help prevent large data bills. If you want to be able to download Apple Music songs to your phone via wireless data, go to the Settings menu and then select “iTunes & App Store.” Toggle the “Use Cellular Data” option on, and Apple Music will be able to download songs whenever you have an Internet connection.

See the Upcoming Schedule for Beats 1

Beats 1, Apple Music’s live radio station, is a new twist for music streaming, but presents an age-old problem for music listeners: how do you know what the radio station is going to play next? If you simply click on the “Beats 1” art at the top of the “Radio” tab, you’ll be presented with a schedule of the upcoming shows over the next several hours. Bonus protip: you can add any song playing on Beats 1 to your library by selecting the three periods to the right of the song’s name and clicking “Add to My Music.”

Adjust Your Genre/Artist Preferences

When you first boot up Apple Music, the app will ask you to pick a few favorite genres to help it show you songs catered to your tastes. Later on, if you realize the app is serving you a bit too much death metal, you can change these preferences easily. Click the human silhouette icon in the top left corner, select “Choose Artists for You” and you’ll be taken to the same selection screen for genres and artists that you saw when you first used the app.

TIME Narendra Modi

Here’s How India Is Getting Serious About Wi-Fi

BJP Leader Narendra Modi Campaigns In Gujarat
Kevin Frayer—Getty Images India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The plan is expected to create millions of jobs

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to make sure his country’s population can get fast Internet as soon as possible.

In fact, he’s pumping $18 billion into a campaign called “digital week,” which plans to do just that. The move comes after Wi-Fi became available at the iconic Taj Mahal palace for the first time.

“Now we are at a place where we can take off,” a spokesman for Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told Reuters. “The idea is to bridge the gap between haves and have-nots of services and deliverables.”

The plan’s goal is to create over 100 million jobs for Indian citizens.

In May, Modi, who is known for having a strong social media presence and being technologically savvy, grabbed headlines for clashing with Chinese social media users on the popular Weibo service.

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