Posts tagged with "Apple"

Trans Rights illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Montana’s Anti-Trans Sports Bill

Montana Sends Anti-Trans Sports Bill To Gov. Gianforte 

Today, the Montana Senate passed House Bill 112, an anti-LGBTQ bill that would ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports at the elementary, secondary, or post-secondary level consistent with their gender identity. The bill now heads to Governor Greg Gianforte’s desk for signature or veto. Montana was the first legislature to take up anti-transgender legislation in the 2021 session, considering it in January in a rushed House process and before any serious legislation to address the COVID-19 crisis.

Montana has been at the tip of the spear in the legislative fight to pass discriminatory anti-transgender legislation, a fast and furious effort led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states. There are so far 192 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country. Of those, 93 directly target transgender people and about half of those would, like HB 112, ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity.  Legislators across the country have failed to provide examples of issues in their states to attempt to justify these attacks, laying bare the reality that these are attacks on transgender youth that are fueled by discrimination and not supported by fact.  Collegiate and professional sports organizations have had trans-inclusive policies for years without incident, and there is no reason Montana needs a ban on transgender participation in sports.  Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David issued the following statement in reaction:

“Montana legislators have sadly led the national effort to advance these discriminatory bills that put fear over facts, science, and medicine. Montana legislators are putting Governor Gianforte in a position to jeopardize the wellbeing of the state and put transgender kids in danger in favor of [this] anti-equality political talking point. While no Montana legislator has provided examples of what they claim to be legislating against, they continue to justify prioritizing this manufactured issue over addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. Transgender kids are kids, and they deserve better than this targeted discrimination. Ultimately, this is a bad deal for all Montanans, who would also be subject to the catastrophic consequences that other states have faced after passing anti-transgender legislation.”

Wide range of business and advocacy groups, athletes oppose anti-trans legislation

  • Earlier this month, more than 55 major U.S. corporations stood up and spoke out to oppose anti-transgender legislation being proposed in states across the country. New companies like Facebook, Pfizer, Altria, Peloton, and Dell join companies like Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, AirBnB, Google, Hilton, IBM, IKEA, Microsoft, Nike, Paypal, Uber, and Verizon in objecting to these bills.
  • Nearly 550 college athletes have stood up to anti-transgender legislation by demanding the NCAA pull championships from states with anti-trans sports legislation
  • The nation’s leading child health and welfare groups representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1000 child welfare organizations released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular.

A fight driven by national anti-LGBTQ groups, not local legislators or public concern

These bills come from the same forces that drove previous anti-equality fights by pushing copycat bills across state houses — dangerous, anti-LGBTQ organizations like the Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom (designated by Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group), and Eagle Forum among others.

  • For example, Montana’s HB 112, the first anti-transgender sports bill to be passed through a legislative chamber in any state, was worked on by the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Trans equality is popular: Anti-transgender legislation is a low priority, even among Trump voters

In a 10-swing-state poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group last fall:

  • At least 60% of Trump voters across each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should be able to live freely and openly.
  • At least 87% of respondents across each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should have equal access to medical care, with many states breaking 90% support
  • When respondents were asked about how they prioritized the importance of banning transgender people from participating in sports as compared to other policy issues, the issue came in dead last, with between 1% and 3% prioritizing the issue.

Another more recent poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group revealed that, with respect to transgender youth participation in sports, the public’s strong inclination is on the side of fairness and equality for transgender student athletes. 73% of voters agree that “sports are important in young people’s lives. Young transgender people should be allowed opportunities to participate in a way that is safe and comfortable for them.”

States that pass anti-transgender legislation suffer economic, legal, reputational harm

Analyses conducted in the aftermath of previous divisive anti-transgender bills across the country, like the bathroom bills introduced in Texas and North Carolina and an anti-transgender sports ban in Idaho, show that there would be or has been devastating fallout.

  • The Idaho anti-transgender sports bill that passed was swiftly suspended by a federal district court. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) came out against the Idaho bill and others like it and subsequently moved planned tournament games out of Idaho.
  • The Associated Press projected that the North Carolina bathroom bill could have cost the state $3.76 billion over 10 years.
  • During a fight over an anti-transgender bathroom bill in 2017, the Texas Association of Business estimated $8.5 billion in economic losses, risking 185,000 jobs in the process due to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and professional sporting event cancellations, a ban on taxpayer funded travel to those states, cancellation of movie productions, and businesses moving projects out of state.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

church illustration by 360 Magazine

Montana’s Religious Refusal Bill

Montana House Sends Religious Refusal Bill To Governor Gianforte’s Desk

RFRA bill similar to controversial Indiana law signed by then Gov. Mike Pence

Today, the Montana House passed passed anti-LGBTQ Senate Bill 215, an expansive religious refusal bill that could grant a license to discriminate against Montanans and visitors, including LGBTQ people, people of faith, and women, across a wide range of goods and services in the state. The bill now heads to Governor Greg Gianforte for signature or veto. In 2015, then-Governor of Indiana Mike Pence signed a similar piece of legislation into law that encouraged widespread discrimination from medical providers, businesses, government officials and taxpayer-funded entities. Mississippi also passed a RFRA in 2016. In the wake of Indiana, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a RFRA bill at the urging of Senators John McCain, Jeff Flake, and Mitt Romney, saying that it would have “unintended consequences” and divide the state. The Arizona bill faced serious business opposition, including Apple, AT&T, Delta Airlines, Major League Baseball, and the Super Bowl House Committee.

As reported by The 19ththis is among 36 anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” measures coursing through state legislatures as part of a national flood of anti-LGBTQ legislation and an effort by national, far-right extremist groups to sow fear and division for political gain. This represents the fourth anti-LGBTQ bill sent to a governor’s desk this session, and just the second RFRA bill. Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David issued the following statement in reaction to today’s House vote:

Governor Gianforte was elected in part on the promise of bringing new businesses and industries to Montana. He should seriously consider vetoing this legislation, which would not just discriminate against LGBTQ people, but threaten to ward off the very businesses he is hoping to attract. In 2015, then-Indiana Governor Mike Pence saw a steep decline in revenue and loss of business that hurt Indiana. Montana could resign themselves to the same fate if this bill becomes law. The people of Montana believe in religious liberty and LGBTQ equality — those two values are not mutually exclusive. Rejecting this legislation is crucial for the equality of all and for the future of the state. In trying economic times and in the midst of a global pandemic, discrimination should not be on the agenda.

Indiana passed a similar bill which cost them $60m in lost revenue

  • The backlash from the business community and voters was swift, and Pence soon became a national disgrace. Pence’s discriminatory bill had enormous consequences for Indiana’s economy and reputation. Indianapolis’s non-profit tourism agency estimated that in their city alone, Pence’s anti-LGBTQ bill cost up to 12 conventions and $60 million in lost revenue
  • The State of Indiana had to spend $365k of taxpayer money on a PR firm to help dampen the backlash and attempt to restore the reputation of Indiana
  • A reported by the Associated Press detailed that “12 out-of-state groups were surveyed and all said that the state’s controversial religious objections law played a role in their decision to hold their events elsewhere.”

Voters strongly disapproved of Indiana’s religious refusal law and punished Pence for signing it

  • And polling conducted by HRC after the 2015 fight found that 75 percent of Hoosiers said the law was bad for the state’s economy, and 70 percent of those surveyed said they opposed it.
  • Following the embarrassing fallout, his approval ratings tanked with voters and Pence decided not to run for re-election. Yet, his appalling record on LGBTQ equality won him a place on the ticket with Trump as his running mate. Now, Pence has been working behind the scenes at the White House to push his own disgraced values onto the national stage.
  • A poll conducted by the Indianapolis tourism department showed that the city was still facing the lingering repercussions of the reputational harm it incurred as a result of the legislation a year later

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Cryptocurrency illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Cryptocurrency × NTFs

By: Heather Skovlund-Reibsamen

Cryptocurrency × NTFs

In recent news, Tautachrome Inc. has announced its patent attorney’s opinion on the early applicability of its KlickZie patents. The KickZie application will enable users to capture images that are invisibly marked and verified as the original. The owner of the image or video will have the ability to use, sell, and monetize their images. A simple tap on the image will allow users to communicate with the image’s author or others currently viewing the image. The patent is among many in the market of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens).

Cryptocurrency Breakdown:

Understanding cryptocurrency can be a headache! It is best to research thoroughly before investing your hard-earned money into just any digital asset. Let’s start with the basics: what is cryptocurrency?  Crypto, crypto currency, or cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange where individual coin ownership records are stored in a ledger existing in a form of computerized databases using strong cryptography to secure transaction records, control the creation of additional coins, and to verify the transfer of coin ownership. Now, cryptocurrency does not exist in a physical form, like your wallet filled with dollar bills.

Crypto Coins – Altcoins: Tokens, cryptocurrencies, and other forms of digital assets that are NOT bitcoin are known as alternative cryptocurrencies.

A few examples:

  • Peercoin
  • Litecoin
  • Dogecoin
  • Auroracoin
  • Namecoin

Tokens: Created and given out through an Initial Coin Offering, or ICO – much like a stock offering. Crypto tokens are a blockchain account that can provide functions other than making payments. Tokens are usually issued within a smart contract running on top of a blockchain.

  • Value tokens (Bitcoins)
  • Security tokens (to protect your account(s))
  • Utility tokens (designated for specific uses)

What does it mean when a cryptocurrency forks?

Sometimes a cryptocurrency will ‘fork’ and yes, that does sound confusing. It can be broken down into Forks, Hard Forks, or Soft Forks. Forks can be classified as accidental or intentional. An accidental fork happens when two or more miners find a block at the same, or almost same, time. The fork is then resolved when subsequent blocks are added and one of the chains becomes longer than the alternative. The network then abandons the blocks that are not in the longer chain, then referred to as orphaned blocks.

Hard Fork: A hard fork happens if a protocol or rule is changed so that the old protocol version is no longer valid.

Soft Fork: A soft fork occurs when a protocol or rule is changed, and the old version accepts the new version; enabling it to continue working.

What exactly are NTFs?

 A non-fungible token is a unit of data within a digital ledger called a blockchain. This is where each NFT can represent a unique digital item and are not interchangeable. A blockchain is a growing list of records (blocks), that are linked using cryptography. Each block has a cryptographic hash (a mathematical algorithm that maps data), a timestamp, and transaction data.

NFTs can be used to represent digital files such as audios, art, collectibles, sports, pornography, video games, and other forms of creative work. While copies can be made of these creative means, the NFTs representing the original are tracked on their underlying blockchains; therefore, providing the buyers with proof of originality and ownership.

In order to create an NFT, a file is uploaded to an NFT auction market. This creates a copy of the file recorded on the digital ledger as an NFT. This enables it to be bought with cryptocurrency and then resold. The artist can sell an NFT representing the work and still retain the copyright to the work as well as create more NFTs of the same file.

In addition, the buyer of the file does not gain exclusive access to the work or the original digital file. Unfortunately, a seller does not have to prove that they are the original artist either. There have been many cases where are was used for NFTs without the true artist’s permission.

Most Common Types of Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin: Invented in 2008 by a person or group using the name Satoshi Nakamoto. The currency began being used in 2009 when its implementation was released as open-source software. Bitcoin was the first decentralized cryptocurrency leading the way for many others in the years to come. Bitcoins were created as a reward for a process known as mining (record-keeping service done electronically). Bitcoins can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services.

Bitcoin Cash: A spin-off or altcoin of Bitcoin that was created in 2017 eventually splitting into two cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV. Bitcoin Cash is one of the most popular types of cryptocurrency on the market and holds a block size of 8MB. To compare, Bitcoin’s block size is just a mere 1MB. This means Bitcoin Cash processes at faster speeds for its users.

Litecoin: A peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and open-source software project released under the MIT/X11 license. Litecoin is nearly identical to Bitcoin. Created by Charlie Lee to improve on Bitcoin technology, with shorter transaction times, lower fees, and more concentrated miners. In May 2017, Litecoin became the first of the top 5 cryptocurrencies to adopt Segregated Witness – a soft fork implementation change in the transaction format of Bitcoin.

Ethereum: A decentralized, open-source blockchain with smart contract functionality developed by Vitalik Buterin. Ether (ETH) is the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum platform. It is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Ethereum is also the most actively used blockchain. It focuses on decentralized applications (phone apps) – almost like an app store. Ethereum looks to return control of apps to its original creators instead of the middlemen (like Apple, for instance). The token name is Ether, which is used as currency by app developers and users.

Ripple: A real-time gross settlement system, currency exchange, and remittance network created by Ripple Labs Inc.  Ripple was released in 2012 upon a distributed open-source protocol that supports tokens representing fiat currency, cryptocurrency, commodities, or other units of value (frequent flier miles, for example). Ripple is geared more towards large companies and corporations than it is for individual users. Ripple is well known for its digital protocol because it allows large amounts of money in any form to be transferred.

Basketball illustration by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

North Carolina Introduces Anti-Trans Sports Ban

On Fifth Anniversary of HB 2 ‘Bathroom Bill’ Passage, North Carolina Introduces Anti-Trans Sports Ban.

North Carolina puts forward another anti-transgender bill, again invoking the rhetoric of protecting women and girls from transgender people.

Late Monday, the North Carolina House introduced House Bill 358, an anti-transgender bill that would ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports (including college sports) consistent with their gender identity. The timing of this bill introduction could not have been more ironic, as it came on the eve of the fifth anniversary of Governor Pat McCrory signing the now-notorious House Bill 2, which mandated discrimination against transgender people in bathrooms.

Like HB2, the “Save Women’s Sports” bills rely on false narratives based in fear, rather than facts or science. Like HB2, these sports bans are fear mongering and an attempt to score political points by singling out already marginalized people for additional discrimination.

“In a moment of sad irony, North Carolina legislators have shown they clearly did not learn their lesson from the HB 2 ‘Bathroom Bill’ fight that threatened the state to the tune of billions in revenue, taxpayer-funded litigation, and a tarnished reputation–in addition to the personal reputational harm Gov. Pat McCrory suffered that cost him his job,” said Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Kate Oakley. “By introducing an anti-transgender sports ban bill, they are playing with fire once again, and engaging in a fight that is doomed to the same fate. This legislation is simply the latest iteration in a failed series of attempts to thwart equality for LGBTQ people. Two conservative governors have either threatened to veto or vetoed anti-transgender sports ban legislation out of the same fears that were realized in North Carolina five years ago. Let North Carolina’s ‘bathroom bill’ fight be a lesson to all states and governors considering anti-transgender legislation this session. North Carolina does not want to go down this road again.”

The legislative fight to pass discriminatory anti-transgender legislation has been fast and furious, led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states – quite like the bathroom bill push in 2016. There are 174 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country so far this year. Of those, 95 directly target transgender people and about half of those would, like HB 358, ban transgender girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. As was the case in the HB 2 fight, legislators across the country invoke hypothetical scenarios of harm but have failed to provide actual examples of issues in their states to attempt to justify these attacks, laying bare the reality that these are attacks on transgender youth that are fueled by discrimination and not supported by fact.  Collegiate and professional sports organizations have had trans-inclusive policies for years without incident, and there is no reason North Carolina or any other state needs a ban on transgender participation in sports.

Wide range of business and advocacy groups, athletes oppose anti-trans legislation

  • Earlier this month, more than 55 major U.S. corporations stood up and spoke out to oppose anti-transgender legislation being proposed in states across the country. New companies like Facebook, Pfizer, Altria, Peloton, and Dell joined companies like Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, AirBnB, Google, Hilton, IBM, IKEA, Microsoft, Nike, Paypal, Uber, and Verizon in objecting to these bills.
  • Nearly 550 college athletes have stood up to anti-transgender legislation by demanding the NCAA pull championships from states with anti-trans sports legislation
  • The nation’s leading child health and welfare groups-representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1,000 child welfare organizations-released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular.

States that pass anti-transgender legislation suffer economic, legal, reputational harm

Analyses conducted in the aftermath of previous divisive anti-transgender bills across the country, like the bathroom bills introduced in Texas and North Carolina and an anti-transgender sports ban in Idaho, show that there would be or has been devastating fallout.

  • The Idaho anti-transgender sports bill that passed was swiftly suspended by a federal district court. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) came out against the Idaho bill and others like it and subsequently moved planned tournament games out of Idaho.
  • The Associated Press projected that the North Carolina bathroom bill could have cost the state $3.76 billion over 10 years.
  • During a fight over an anti-transgender bathroom bill in 2017, the Texas Association of Business estimated $8.5 billion in economic losses, risking 185,000 jobs in the process due to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and professional sporting event cancellations, a ban on taxpayer funded travel to those states, cancellation of movie productions, and businesses moving projects out of state.

The economy and reputation of North Carolina suffered very real harm caused by HB2. Here’s just a snapshot of the overwhelming outcry at the time of the bill’s passage:

  • Over 200 major business leaders, from Apple to Zola, signed an open letter to NC Gov. Pat McCrory opposing HB2, because discrimination is bad for business. The letter was first announced on March 29, 2016, when it was hand-delivered to Pat McCrory by HRC President Chad Griffin, Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro and transgender advocate Candis Cox.
  • On April 5, 2016, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman announced that the company will seek an alternative location for its new “global operations center.” PayPal’s investment was expected to bring 400 skilled jobs to North Carolina, with an annual payroll impact of more than $20 million. In its statement, Schulman said, “The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.”
  • On April 8, 2016 Bruce Springsteen cancelled his concert in North Carolina over HB2, saying, “Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry-which is happening as I write-is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.”
  • On May 4, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice determined North Carolina’s discriminatory HB 2 violates federal civil rights law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. At a press conference on May 9, Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke directly to the transgender community, saying “We see you. We stand with you, and we will do everything we can to protect you going forward.”
  • On July 21, 2016, the NBA decided to stand up to North Carolina lawmakers who refused to repeal HB2 by pulling its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, NC. Despite the NBA’s repeated warnings that it would have to consider moving the high-profile game out of the state if the anti-LGBTQ law was not repealed, the state’s General Assembly shamefully adjourned after 100 days of inaction.
  • In North Carolina, basketball is king-but that didn’t stop the NCAA from standing up for their LGBTQ players, employees and fans by vowing to move tournament events from the state because of HB2. The NCAA announced that they would move all 2016-2017 championship games out of the state on September 12, 2016.
  • On Election Day, NC Governor Pat McCrory, who signed HB2 into law, was defeated at the ballot box — the only incumbent governor from either party to lose on Election Day. Polling by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research showed that HB2 was the most cited issue leading to McCrory’s defeat in those who voted against McCrory.
  • In February, the North Carolina Sports Association sent a letter to lawmakers warning of a loss of NCAA championship games through 2022 if HB2 is not immediately repealed. In the letter, the sports association warned that the NCAA decision could cost the state at least another half a billion dollars in economic activity when other sports organizations follow the NCAA’s lead in moving events out of the state. In November 2016, Forbes estimated that the state had already lost hundreds of millions of dollars due to HB2.
  • In March, the Greensboro Coliseum Complex revealed it had lost $23.5 million in revenue from various championships and conventions because of HB2.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people  are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Gaming Controllers illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Piepacker Launching on Kickstarter

New Social Gaming Platform with online multiplayer and video chat, Piepacker, Launching on Kickstarter

Over 100,000 users have already tested the platform, helping developers create something never seen before.

Piepacker, the new free social gaming platform that allows users to play officially licensed retro games with friends online, will launch on Kickstarter on April 6th.

At the crossroads of online multiplayer gaming and video chatting, Piepacker is a free and legal platform that provides instant access to officially licensed retro video games from a web browser, without any download.

Through its Kickstarter campaign, Piepacker is offering early access to its platform along with an exclusive piece of technology developed for nostalgic retro gaming: the PieReader. This new retro gaming dock is equipped with adapters to import one’s own retro game cartridges to the multiplayer world of Piepacker and play with their friends online, with only one cartridge.

Piepacker’s video chat features video game-themed 3D masks and filters as a fun way for players to (re)discover the greatest titles of retro gaming among friends as well as new indie and exclusive games.

Currently, most retro video games are acquired on pirate websites with direct downloads. Piepacker brings to the world of video games what Spotify brought to the world of music, making retro gaming accessible to all, for free and legally while guaranteeing a high quality of service.

“While many are limiting their face-to-face interactions due to the ongoing pandemic, connecting with others and remaining socially active has never been more important,” said Benjamin Devienne, co-founder of Piepacker. “Piepacker provides a fun way to interact. This innovation is at the forefront of transgenerational pop-culture, mixing gaming, video chat, 3D filters, and masks in augmented reality. It’s exciting for everyone.”

Under development since March 2020, Piepacker opened its beta version to the public in late December. Before the beta closed, 100,000 people had taken the opportunity to try out the platform and contribute to its development.

Piepacker provides access to games that have been featured on a variety of platforms: arcade machines, NES, Super NES, Saturn, Mega Drive, NeoGeo, and PlayStation with more to come. Piepacker has partnerships with publishers Codemaster, Team 17, and Interplay and indies like Bitmap Bureau or Morphcat. The catalog continues to grow with plans to add modern indie as well as original exclusive cards and board games.

For German indie studio Morphcat, Piepacker is currently “the easiest way to enjoy multiplayer games with your friends over the internet”. British studio Bitmap Bureau is “extremely impressed with the range of features that Pie Packer has to offer, most noticeably the ability to play Xeno Crisis with another player remotely, and believe that retro gamers around the globe will be especially interested in this new technology, with many classic games making their way to the platform.”

There are currently over 60 games including 2 cloud gaming exclusives available for free on Piepacker. Among the available titles are the iconic Worms World Party, Earthworm Jim 1 & 2, Xeno Crisis, and Micro Mages.

The Kickstarter campaign will close May 7, 2021, and the platform itself will be accessible to the public later this year.

About Piepacker

Piepacker was created by two friends, Benjamin Devienne and Jules Testard, two Frenchmen who expatriated long ago and share a decade-long friendship. Benjamin, the face of Piepacker, has an outstanding track record. Before graduating, he was at the head of an academic research project that led him to participate in a major TEDx in Canada, along with many celebrities. Benjamin was also a distinguished guest lecturer in several universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technologies (MIT). He founded the data science department of Gameloft, a French mobile game giant, and became a leader in that field. Facebook convinced him to step outside the video game industry to manage key teams of their data science department as Head of Analytics. The giant of video game streaming, Twitch, a company belonging to Amazon, was next in recruiting him as Head of Research Strategy on machine learning-oriented projects. Benjamin was not yet 30 years old.

When starting Piepacker, the pair recruited some of the world’s most talented experts in the field. They assembled a team of former employees of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, EA, Blizzard-Activision, and Twitter.

After just a few weeks of development, Piepacker got noticed and backed by Y Combinator, the startup accelerator that has engineered the birth of Airbnb, Twitch, Dropbox, and even Reddit. Thanks to their key support, Piepacker’s development has been accelerated and also helped the two founders gather an elite group of advisors from the industry.

On the list of video game veterans advising them, one finds Kenji Matsubara, former president of SEGA, Justin Waldron and Tom Bollich, co-founders of mobile gaming gem Zynga, Kun Gao, co-founder of Crunchyroll, the platform dedicated to Japanese anime and Jeffrey Rosen, co-founder of video game distributor Humble Bundle.

5G Illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Huawei Tops Share of 5G Devices

Huawei tops share of active 5G-ready devices globally with Samsung, Apple lagging behind

Data analyzed by Finbold indicates that Chinese firm Huawei is leading in active 5G-ready devices with a share of 26.9% globally during Q4 2020. Samsung ranks second with a share of 25.1%, while Apple accounts for 19.5%. Vivo, another Chinese firm, controls a share of 11.8%, with Honor accounting for 6.9% of the active 5G-ready devices. The Finbold analysis also compared the share of 5G-ready devices between Samsung and Huawei from August 2020 to December 2020. The findings show that Samsung dominated the share for the four months before December.

In August, Samsung’s share was 45.2% against Huawei’s 10.2%. As of September, the South Korean manufacturer share increased to 48.1%, with Huawei accounting for 10.1%. The dominance continued in October, with Samsung taking a share of 48.6% while Huawei accounted for 9.5%. In November, both players saw their active 5G-ready devices share drop as Samsung accounted for 44.9% against Huawei’s 8.6%. As of December, Huawei flipped the status to rank top at 27%, with Samsung accounting for 25.1%.

 Huawei leverages on pandemic to emerge top

The report explains circumstances that potentially contributed to Huawei emerging as a dominant force in active 5G-ready devices. According to the research report: “Like other industries, most of the manufacturers were impacted with Covid-19 disruption that affected global supply. However, Huawei appears to have sustained the downturn after China controlled the pandemic early, unlike competitors in the west which entered the pandemic’s second wave towards Q4.”

The growth of Huawei might soon be challenged since competitors are increasingly launching new 5G devices. For instance, Apple, with just one active 5G-ready device, ranked third.

 Read the full story with statistics here.

 

Illustration of a Booker by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Ambition Ladiez: Up-And-Coming Agency Proves That ‘Representation Matters’

In an era that has been ripe for the gradual erosion of longtime social stigmas in seemingly every area of human activity, the emergence of Ambition Ladiez has proven to be quite timely.

Founded in 2018 by Easop Winston, the San Francisco Bay Area-based agency equally fills niches in the urban and women’s markets, both of which feature strong consumer and brand loyal bases.

From its inception, Ambition Ladiez established itself as an urban lifestyle model and marketing agency which specializes in various forms of media, including photoshoots, brand ambassadorships, event hosting, music videos, and television placements. Ambition Ladiez has also branded itself as a disruptive outlier in its industry, having a diverse roster of models — Women of Color ( or BIPOC) — represent the company in a refreshing and empowering manner that would provide a beacon of inspiration for upcoming generations of young women who aspire to work in the modeling world.

Although the company has made its mark on the industry as a model and marketing agency, Ambition Ladiez is currently evolving to be yet another trendsetter — this time venturing into the podcast space. Original programming such as “The Lounge,” the “Cooking With” series, and the “Conversations” series have proven to give viewers a smorgasbord of delectable content for their consumption.

Adding more gas to the blazing path that the brand is currently on, Ambition Ladiez has ramped up its digital footprint, now making it virtually impossible for its movement to be slowed down — or, for the sake of the brand’s most ardent supporters — ignored either. In the past couple of years, Ambition Ladiez was able to successfully launch its app, which includes its featured content (of all forms/genres) uploaded on to major streaming platforms, such as Apple, Google Play, and Amazon Appstore, Roku, Fire TV, and Android TV.

One of the more popular shows on the Ambition Ladiez digital platform  — the “Cooking With” series — allows viewers to get a glance into their more redeeming sides of the models that supersede just their outward beauty by giving a glance of their cooking skills.

Another branch of the marketing and modeling agency’s ecosystem is its magazine. As of this writing, Ambition Ladiez Magazine has already successfully pressed and launched two issues of its quarterly publication, with more expected to be released by the end of 2021. The magazine remains true to its core demographic of longtime supporters and subscribers, providing written features on public figures, Bay Area-based artists, health, politics, and other hot topic social issues which peak the interest(s) of its target audience.

One of the magazine’s featured artists in mind is Yung Lott. A Bay Area Native and well-respected recording artist, Yung Lott’s alliance with the Ambition Ladiez brand has been solidified through him having Ambition Ladiez models featured in his music videos, as well as having a story written about him in the magazine. All of this is a testament to the agency’s reach and streamlined operations.

Prior to the widespread shutdowns of entertainment venues and live events due to the COVID outbreak of 2020, Ambition Ladiez models could be seen at such events, usually working as brand ambassadors, hosts of parties, or even utilizing their interpersonal skills to conduct red carpet interviews with VIP guests at many of the more premier events. 

The events are not only relegated to the San Francisco Bay Area. Ambition Ladiez soon will look to extend its presence to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. These two cities would be an ideal accommodation for the fast-growing entertainment/media centered brand.

In light of the country’s progressive transition towards inclusion, diversity, and proper representation in all industries, Ambition Ladiez is writing the blueprint for how to construct an outlet that’s a great alternative to traditional modeling and marketing agencies by focusing on BIPOC models. The agency then uses its multimedia capabilities to highlight not only the naturally appealing ethnic features of its models, but it can also use its original series to profile them in a favorable light in which they may not have been if they worked elsewhere.

In spite of the company’s fast growing profile among industry peers, Ambition Ladiez has enabled enthusiasts of the brand to actually buy into what it stands for, having merchandise for sale. This helps to expand its already fast growing fanbase, and allows them to feel a sense of connectivity to the brand by donning Ambition Ladiez merchandise.

The movement that the brand is creating can be likened to a record-setting storm, and in the eye of ‘Hurricane Ambition Ladiez’ exists two powerful components yet to be mentioned in great detail: company Founder & CEO Easop Winston, and…the Ambition Ladiez themselves.

A Bay Area Native, Winston has always embodied the very essence of ambition. A man of tremendous vision and unmatched work ethic, he learned the ins and outs of the entertainment and media business as a recording artist. Touring the world, writing and recording countless music projects, and weathering the treacherous paths of ‘The Business’ has molded Easop into a seasoned veteran, and quite the entrepreneur. After witnessing misrepresentation and mistreatment of creatives in the industry for years, he has assumed the role of an emancipator of sorts, allowing individuals who want to step foot into the entertainment or media world a platform to let their light(s) shine. “As a young artist, I would have relished the opportunity to be signed to an agency that thoroughly cultivates its talent with care in the manner that Ambition Ladiez does,” he states. “Once I was in a position to impart the knowledge that I have acquired on to up-and-coming generations of talent, I did not hesitate. This is what compelled me to launch the agency.”

The lucky recipients of Easop Winston’s tutelage are none other than the ACTUAL Ambition Ladiez. This extensive assortment of young women who hail from different places, ethnicities, and skill sets have set the modeling industry’s bar higher for the precise blend of riveting beauty, natural talent, and marketable personalities. Holding true to its ethics as a modeling and marketing agency, Ambition Ladiez has managed to maintain an impressive retention rate — from one of its original ‘Day 1’ signees (Nicole), to one of its newest faces (Lulu). The agency does its due diligence to provide an adequate platform that will allow them placement for other opportunities, while preparing them for longevity in the industry.

The way in which Easop establishes leadership to his company is worth taking notes from. As Owner of Ambition Ladiez, he has built an operation that’s reminiscent of many of the same methods Barry Gordy used to successfully run the legendary Motown Records many decades ago. While from first glance, the business appears to move smoothly and emanates an atmosphere of fun and leisure, Easop gives us a friendly reminder of the figurative blood, sweat, and tears that go into all things Ambition Ladiez. “I preach punctuality (for both in-person and recorded appearances), dedication to excellence, and an open line of communication for the ladies signed to this team (agency).”

With such a strong and rich culture of opulence infused into the Ambition Ladiez brand, the agency could very well forge its own path into the history books as a shining example for industry peers to follow for many years to come. 

Now THAT’s “Ambition.”

Computer illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Echo Dominates Voice Assistant Market

20% of US Adults Own an Amazon Echo

The smart home technology industry has grown incredibly in the last decade with homes becoming more and more interconnected than ever before. The most popular smart home device by far is the smart speaker, with Amazon’s Echo dominating its competitors. According to data presented by Trading Platforms, 20% of Americans surveyed indicated owning Amazon’s Echo with Google Nest as its closest competitor at only 8%.

Smart Speakers with Voice Assistant Systems – Most Popular Smart Home Device

The smart home trend has been on the rise in recent years as more and more household gadgets become interconnected. The industry’s strength is reflected by revenue projections for 2021, with the smart home market projected to record just under $1 billion in revenue for the coming year. Smart speakers, specifically those with voice-integrated assistants like Amazon’s Echo, are the most popular form of smart home devices. It is estimated that in 2020 there were 128 million voice assistant users in the US with that number projected to grow to close to 136 million by 2022.

Of those who said they owned a smart home device in the US 28% indicated that they owned a smart speaker – the biggest share among the different types of smart home devices. This popularity is not limited to the US, similarly, in the UK 29% of smart home device owners owned a form of a voice-assistant smart speaker.

Amazon Echo Dominates Smart Speaker Market Competitors Google and Apple

Amazon’s Echo was first released in 2014 and quickly became the standard-bearer for the smart speaker market. The Echo makes use of Amazon’s voice assistant system, Alexa. In January 2019 the company announced that it had sold over 100 million Echo smart speakers, passing an important milestone. In a survey from Q3 of 2020, over 20% of 4000+ respondents in the US indicated that they owned Amazon’s Echo.

This number is even made more impressive by comparing it to its two main competitors, Google’s Nest (formerly Google Home) which uses the Google Assistant system and Apple’s HomePod which uses its Siri voice assistant system. In the same survey, only 8.1% indicated owning Google’s Nest while only 2% owned Apple’s HomePod. Amazon’s dominance over its two main competitors is even more apparent with a further breakdown of the smart speaker market share. 74% of 1000+ smart speaker owners in the US, owned the Amazon Echo, while in the UK a similar 77% of 600+ smart speaker owners indicated that they owned the Echo.

You can read more about the story with more statistics and information here

Donald Trump illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE

Donald Trump Impeached Again

By Dana Feeney

The House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time in his four-year term as president, which started in January of 2017. He is the third president to be impeached and the first president ever to be impeached more than once. This second impeachment comes shortly after the riots in the capital last week on January 6th, 2021. Trump is being impeached on the charge of “incitement of insurrection’’ because of the statements he made on January 6. He told his supporters to “fight like hell” because the Democrats were stealing the election. You can watch the speech hereDuring the riots, Trump supporters carrying a variety of racist and white supremacist paraphernalia swarmed the Capitol and forced their way into the building to stop the count of electoral votes. The riot caused the deaths of at least five individuals, including a Capitol police officer. 

Because of the insurrection, Democrats pushed for Vice President Mike Pence to enact the 25th amendment, which he could use to declare Trump unfit to serve as president and remove him from office. Republicans blocked this move. U.S. Congressmen David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Ted Lieu (CA-33), and Jamie Raskin (MD-08) introduced the article of impeachment to the House of Representatives on the morning of January 11, 2021. The article of impeachment is co-sponsored by 211 members of Congress according to Cicilline’s press release. You can read the full article of impeachment here. On January 13, 2021, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump with a 232 to 197 majority. 10 Republicans voted to impeach, more members of the president’s party than in any prior impeachment.

Impeachment does not mean removal from office; impeachment is adjacent to an indictment. The difference in American law is that indictment applies to criminal charges, while impeachment is the accusation of misconduct in a political setting. Any civil officer in the United States can be impeached. In the case of the President or Vice President, the first step is the introduction of the article(s) of impeachment in the House of Representatives. After the article(s) of impeachment are introduced to the House, the House then votes on each article of impeachment, and if any pass by a simple majority, more than 50%, the articles will be tried in front of the Senate. During the Senate trial, the chief justice of the Supreme Court presides over the Senate trial, the Senate body functions as the jury, a committee of House representatives, called “managers,” act as the prosecution, and the president and his or her lawyers act as the defense. All articles of impeachment are argued on the Senate floor, then are voted on by the Senate body to either convict or acquit; to convict, there must be a two-thirds majority. Only two presidents, Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson, were impeached and reached the Senate trial, both were acquitted. Despite an extensive impeachment investigation, Richard Nixon was never impeached because he resigned.  

Yesterday, January 13, 2021, the House voted to impeach Trump with only six days until the inauguration of Joe Biden. It is highly unlikely that Trump will be removed from office before the end of his term as president. The Senate is not set to be in session until January 19, 2021, and neither Democrats nor Republicans benefit from rushing the trial to be any sooner as this Senate trial will be a lengthy process that requires preparation from both the prosecution and the defense. Despite Trump losing the support of some members of his party, it is unclear how likely it is that Trump will be convicted because, even Mitt Romney, who voted to impeach in the first impeachment, has implied he is unsure that this is the right way to go. Many Republicans may hesitate to vote to convict because of the 74 million people who voted for Trump; these are the people who control whether Republicans will be reelected in the future. The main person who could cause a possible shift is Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. If McConnell chooses to vote to convict Trump, other members of the Republican party may do the same. McConnell released this statement on January 13 saying that “there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week.”

Trump has been silent since besides releasing this video condemning violence and has not acknowledged the second impeachment. He has been banned from social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, and Snapchat. Along with these bans, the tech industry has made broad statements against this recent violence. Apple and Google have removed the app Parler from their app stores. The app was used by Trump supporters and white supremacists to communicate and coordinate the attack on the Capitol. Further, Amazon Web Services, which hosted the app, has cut off its service to Parler on the premise that it violated its terms of service. One feature of the app was that users could upload a photograph of their government-issued ID or driver’s license to become a “Verified Citizen.” The app lost the support of its security services, which protected user data, leaving it vulnerable to hackers who stole the data and turned it over to the FBI to be used to identify terrorists present at the riot. Read more about it here. Additionally, there are accounts publicly identifying people in photographs from the riots on platforms including Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Federal officials are identifying and arresting individuals who were at the event.

 The riots have caused many security changes in Washington D.C. and state capitals across the U.S. as Joe Biden’s inauguration grows closer and threats of further violence continue to spread online. These changes include the resignation of the U.S. Capitol Police chief, Steven Sund, increased police and national guard presence in Washington D.C. and the implementation of high security barriers around the Capitol building. Many D.C. businesses inside of the security perimeter are already making changes in preparation for the inauguration. Some are boarding up their windows in preparation for possible protests while others are preparing to serve guests who come to D.C. for the inauguration. In response to various local, state, and federal officials asking people not to travel to Washington, D.C., Airbnb has canceled all reservations in the Washington, D.C. metro area during the inauguration week, according to this press release. Some hotel chains in the city have stated that they will be hosting guests; as of now, nothing has been done to prevent this.

The events in this article, including the Senate trial, the consequences of the riots, and the coming inauguration, are all ongoing.

 

Elmo illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

SKOOG x SESAME WORKSHOP – A NEW WAY TO PLAY

SKOOG Inc., a media tech company with a mission to enrich children’s lives through creative and immersive play, today announced a global partnership with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, introducing a new interactive platform that merges tactile technology with an ever-expanding content library featuring Sesame Street characters. The platform combines multi-sensory play with fun, interactive content and meaningful learning experiences.

Originally focused on helping children with disabilities express their creativity through music, the team at SKOOG created a suite of unique hands-on technology devices that children of all abilities can enjoy. SKOOG’s patented platform includes a parent-controlled app with unique cube-like hardware that lets kids play and create without relying solely on a smartphone screen.

Sesame Street is SKOOG’s first children’s brand collaboration; the new platform will combine SKOOG technology with Sesame Workshop’s early childhood expertise and educational content to create a new hands-on – and screen-independent – way to play. By pressing soft, squeezable, interchangeable RFID buttons on their SKOOG Cube, little ones will be able to enjoy interactive songs, games, and stories featuring the voices of beloved Sesame Street characters.

“Children’s interactive play has never been as important as it is right now. In today’s complex digital world, we set out on a mission to help motivate and inspire children, leading the shift from passive consumption to active engagement—while enabling children of all abilities to play, engage, and consume safe and smart content independently,” said Gregg Stein, SKOOG Inc., CEO.

“As huge Sesame Street fans, we’re thrilled to be collaborating with Sesame Workshop, a community of creators, educators, and unforgettable characters built on diversity, equity, and inclusion,” continued Stein. “Together, we have created a best-in-class physical and digital creative sandbox that will empower millions of children to experience the joy of infinitely expandable personal play patterns, enabled by stories and audio books, branching adventures, games, musical instruments, songs and so much more.”

“Playful learning is at the heart of everything we do at Sesame Workshop, so we’re thrilled to work with SKOOG, Inc. to bring this enriching new play experience to life,” said Scott Chambers, Sesame Workshop’s Senior Vice President & General Manager, North America Media & Licensing. “We hope that our unique combination of SKOOG technology and Sesame Workshop’s powerful content will inspire kids and families to get creative together – with a little help from the Sesame Street Muppets!”

Skoog is launching at CES Digital 2021. Be the first to learn more by signing up at: https://skoog.media/

About Skoog, Inc.

A multi-award winner and sold at Apple stores worldwide, SKOOG is on a mission to enrich children’s lives through creative and immersive play. SKOOG Inc.’s  technology has developed from education and disability-led innovations to technology that helps motivate and inspire children, leading the shift from passive consumption to active engagement while enabling children of all abilities to actively play, engage, consume safe and smart content independently. Inclusive and accessible, learn more athttps://skoog.media/

About Sesame Workshop

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the pioneering television show that has been reaching and teaching children since 1969. Today, Sesame Workshop is an innovative force for change, with a mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. We’re present in more than 150 countries, serving vulnerable children through a wide range of media, formal education, and philanthropically-funded social impact programs, each grounded in rigorous research and tailored to the needs and cultures of the communities we serve. For more information, please visit www.sesameworkshop.org

SKOOG CES 2021 Photo
SKOOG CES 2021 Photo
SKOOG CES 2021 Photo