This week’s podcast focuses on the rise of the casual stock trader.

It’s been a chaotic couple of days for Gamestop, Reddit (well, subreddit WallStreetBets) and Robinhood. Respectively, a gaming retailer that’s recently struggled, a forum for small-scale investors and an app aimed at casual stock traders. It all started when r/WallStreetbets funneled efforts into Gamestop, increasing its stock price, which many considered undervalued, and, in the process, harming hedge funds that had bet on Gamestop’s stock value dropping further. 

In early January, GameStop was trading around $18. As noted and explained well here, by the end of yesterday, it had reached $364.15. There’ve been a lot of twists and turns (we dedicated this week’s podcast to it), but Robinhood had to temporarily halt trading on its platform, only to promise more recently that it’ll re-enable Gamestop trading on Friday after raising $1 billion. That was after it was hit with a class-action lawsuit over the trade restrictions.

It’s already gone as far as Congress. The Senate Committee on Banking will hold a hearing “on the current state of the stock market.” 

— Mat Smith

Apple’s CEO didn’t mention the company by name, but he didn’t need to.

In a wide-ranging keynote delivered at the (online-only) 2021 Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook called for greater scrutiny of businesses “built on misleading users” and data exploitation. Given the role it has played in allowing the spread of misinformation, it’s clear that Cook had Facebook in mind — he referred to these larger issues as a “social dilemma.”

Cook’s comments came one day after Apple reported all-time-high quarterly revenues, fueled largely by demand for the company’s new iPhone 12s. Facebook reported fairly strong financials, too, but the ongoing tension between the companies was still on display — at one point during the customary post-earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg criticized Apple for overstating its positions on data privacy and the way underlying changes in iOS 14 could dampen Facebook ad revenue. Facebook is reportedly already planning an antitrust lawsuit against the iPhone maker. Continue reading.

Mi Air Charge promises to charge up your phone from several meters away.

Morning After

Xiaomi’s touchless “true” wireless charging could energize devices from several meters away. It’s calling the tech Mi Air Charge, a 5W charging system that uses 144 antennas in the base station to send millimeter-wide waves to your phone, which receives them on a 14-antenna array of its own. 

We’ve seen remote wireless charging equipment before, but it hasn’t come to market yet. Xiaomi isn’t talking release dates or compatible hardware, but showing off a demo and talking about the 17 patents it has is more than we’ve seen from other phone manufacturers. Continue reading.

It’s a report you’ll actually want to read.

Morning After

Microsoft has released a free Minecraft map that brings the goals of its latest sustainability report to life. “Sustainability City” lets you walk through eco-friendly food production, tour an energy-efficient home and explore concepts ranging from alternative energy to water outflow, aimed at educating younger Minecraft users. 

As for the report itself? Microsoft said it’s making some progress, but there is clearly a long way to go before it hits its targets. It’s slightly closer to becoming carbon negative after securing 1 million metric tons of carbon removal for fiscal 2021. Continue reading.

What you need for Google’s cheapest 5G phone.

pixel 4a accessories

The $459 Pixel 4a 5G might share a name with the cheaper Pixel 4a, but it has a bigger screen, a second wide-angle camera and a 5G radio, making it more future-proof than its predecessor. We run through the best cases and peripherals. Note: I love Google’s first-party cases, start your investigations there! Continue reading.

Facebook is reportedly building a newsletter tool for indie writers 

Facebook’s oversight board’s first judgments overturn four moderation decisions

Tesla’s Cybertruck is on track for volume production in 2022

Tesla’s Roadster delayed until 2022

Telegram makes it easier to import your WhatsApp chat history

GM plans to exclusively sell electric vehicles by 2035

‘Cyberpunk 2077’ update fixes game-breaking bug from the last patch

Razer claims the Viper 8K is its most responsive mouse ever

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