March Madness: Here’s the bracket for the 2019 GeekWire Bash dodgeball tourney

Robyn Posey of Voxus PR in action during last year’s tournament (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota) The lineups are in and the stage is set. The GeekWire Bash dodgeball tournament is days away. Thirty three high-energy teams — some returning for another shot at glory, others entering the field for the very first time — will battle it out between the nets as we crown the ultimate dodgeball champion on March 7. Take a look at the bracket below, and see where your company lands. Some intriguing first-round matchups are in store. Frenetic action on the dodgeball court isn’t the only thing to see at the Bash, a giant geek… Read More

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A DNA Website Wants to Upload Einstein’s DNA

Last fall, Gilad Japhet, the founder of a DNA-testing company, got up at an industry conference to talk about his grandmother Rosa’s love letters. Japhet’s company, MyHeritage, sells cheek swabs to people interested in their family history. It now has 2.4 million people in its DNA database, making it the third largest behind 23andMe and AncestryDNA. But Japhet wasn’t satisfied with only testing the living; he wanted to test the dead. Which brings us to the love letters—or really, the envelopes they came in. The envelopes were sealed by his grandmother, and the stamps on them presumably licked by her. “Maybe our ancestors did not realize it,” Japhet said, a… Read More

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Melania Trump to learn about online safety programs for children in tour next week of Seattle-area tech company

Melania Trump (Photo via WhiteHouse.gov) First lady Melania Trump is headed to the Seattle area on Monday to visit with an undisclosed tech company as part of her Be Best initiative, according to a statement from the White House. The visit is part of a three-state tour, which will also take her to Tulsa, Oklahoma and Las Vegas, Nevada. After visiting an elementary school in Tulsa on Monday, First Lady Trump “will then visit a tech company near Seattle, Washington to receive a tour and briefing on some of their programs and applications meant to teach children online safety, as well as technology innovations meant to help children with disabilities.”… Read More

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Tesla starts selling $35,000 Model 3 electric cars and shifts to online-only sales

Tesla has started offering the long-promised $35,000 standard version of its Model 3 electric car. (Tesla Photo) Tesla is finally following through on its pledge to sell its Model 3 electric cars at the standard price of $35,000, but says it’s shutting down on-the-spot showroom sales to remain “financially sustainable” at the lower price point. Going forward, worldwide sales will shift to online only, the company says. Many of Tesla’s stores will be shut down over the next few months, the company said on its website. A small number of stores in high-traffic locations will remain open as galleries, showcases and information centers, but would-be buyers will have to go… Read More

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Beyond ‘Zucked,’ what concerns author Roger McNamee most about our future in tech

Roger McNamee and his new book. (Rick Smolan Photo, left, Amazon.com Image) Roger McNamee is a veteran investor in Silicon Valley, and one of the earliest people to invest in Facebook, even offering advice to Mark Zuckerberg when he was a young CEO. A fan of Facebook for many years, McNamee became concerned with posts in his feed about the election early in 2016. His concerns soon grew into his own investigation into Facebook’s role in the spread of misinformation and its consequences, which he shares in his latest book, Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe, and which we reviewed last week. He tells us that reception for his… Read More

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Amazon ending sales of physical Dash Buttons, one of its wackiest smart home innovations

(Amazon Photo) Amazon is killing off the small, plastic, WiFi-enabled Dash Buttons that let customers quickly restock items like laundry detergent, baby food, paper towels and more. CNET reported Thursday that Amazon is no longer selling the physical buttons, primarily because the company’s shopping tech has made them no longer necessary. The intent behind Dash buttons, first released in 2015, was to remove the un-fun experience of shopping for common household items and bring a dash of IoT connectivity to appliances. Since then, Amazon has introduced the Dash Replenishment program for appliances to automatically re-order items when supplies are low. Amazon also created a virtual version of the Dash Button… Read More

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Report: Spurned New York officials begging Amazon and Jeff Bezos to rethink HQ2 reversal

Long Island City, the Queens neighborhood that almost became home to a large Amazon presence. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg) New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is doggedly trying to convince Amazon to resume plans to build a massive office in the Queens borough of New York City. Cuomo has personally appealed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, according to a Thursday report by The New York Times. A business group also plans to run an open letter to Amazon as an advertisement in the Times on Friday. It promises “Governor Cuomo will take personal responsibility for the project’s state approval.” New York politicians, CEOs, and labor leaders signed onto the letter.… Read More

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Funko stock soars as pop culture toy maker crushes Wall Street expectations to cap rebound year

Funko CEO Brian Mariotti rang the Nasdaq opening bell in November 2017. (Nasdaq Photo) Funko capped off a strong year, rebounding from a tough start to life as a public company in late 2017, by cruising past Wall Street expectations for its fourth quarter financials. Revenue: Net sales increased 38 percent over a year ago to $233.2 million, well ahead of analyst expectations of $198.2 million. For the year, Funko’s net sales rose 33 percent to $686.1 million, also cruising past expectations. Profits: Funko reported $6 million in net profits for the quarter and adjusted earnings of $0.44 per share, exceeding Wall Street expectations of $0.34 per share. For all… Read More

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Which Uber ride do you prefer? Seattle driver offers menu with comedy, compassion, silence and more

Uber driver George Ure poses with his car and his “Ride Type Menu.” (Luke Randall Photo) George Ure is a talker. And he’s funny. He can also be crass and irreverent. Or, he’ll just shut the hell up. It all depends on what you order him to do when you step into the Seattle driver’s Uber. Ure takes orders because he actually printed a menu listing them for his riders. The “Ride Type Menu,” as he has called it, lists five different types of experiences for those who sit in the back of his 2014 Nissan Versa. There’s “The Stand Up,” in which he tells jokes ranging from prison stories… Read More

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Huawei pleads not guilty to federal charges of stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile, trial set for 2020

(GeekWire Photo) Huawei pleaded not guilty to charges of stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile in the first hearing of a federal case that comes amid a U.S. crackdown on the Chinese smartphone giant. In a short hearing in federal court in Seattle Thursday, Chief District Judge Ricardo Martinez set a trial date of March 2, 2020. The long wait for the beginning of the trial is due to the complexity of the case and the large of volume of evidence collection that will be required. “This is a complex case, more complex than many cases that have come before the court, and there will be voluminous discovery materials,” Assistant U.S.… Read More

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