Paresh Dave

Deep dives

Google internet balloon spinoff Loon still looking for its wings

June 30, 2019 at Reuters

Google’s bet on balloons to deliver cell service soon faces a crucial test amid doubts about the viability of the technology by some potential customers.

When it comes to disclosing sponsors, your Google Assistant may be mute

April 1, 2019 at Reuters

Google’s conundrum is one facing several big tech companies whose users increasingly seek help from voice-enabled speakers and gadgets: how to deliver greater convenience while still generating the ad revenue that traditionally has funded free searches.

Facebook 'labels' posts by hand, posing privacy questions

May 5, 2019 at Reuters

Over the past year, a team of as many as 260 contract workers in Hyderabad, India has ploughed through millions of Facebook Inc photos, status updates and other content posted since 2014.

Fearful of bias, Google blocks gender-based pronouns from new AI tool

Nov. 27, 2018 at Reuters

Google has a new cloud computing boss and big ambitions to someday produce more revenue from that business than from advertising. Now comes the hard part: winning over big-spending customers.

In India, Google races to parry the rise of Facebook

Sept. 3, 2018 at Reuters

Google retains only a slight lead over Facebook in the competition for digital ad dollars in the crucial India market, sources familiar with the figures say, even though the search giant has been in the country far longer and has avoided the controversies that have dogged its rival.

Google's 'Reserve' tool winning converts, taking search to next level.

May 31, 2018 at Reuters

Alphabet Inc’s Google is drawing thousands of new customers to gyms and salons each month through an appointment-booking tool released last year, Reuters has learned, a quiet step in the company’s transition to the next generation of search.

Google's app network quietly becomes huge growth engine

Feb. 14, 2018 at Reuters

For years, the star of the network was Google’s AdSense, which delivers ads to websites in exchange for a cut of ad revenue. But as consumers migrate from desktop computing to mobile, momentum has shifted to AdMob, Google’s mass-market tool for third-party apps, and DoubleClick for Publishers, its higher-end mobile software.

Google's G Suite is no Microsoft killer, but still winning converts

Jan. 31, 2018 at Reuters

Google has made inroads by throwing more resources at this lucrative market and finally listening to its business customers.

In e-sports, it's the bosses who are rallying for a union

May 26, 2017 at Los Angeles Times

Such demonstrations of player activism in the last few years have e-sports management not sweating through the typical corporate nightmares about unionization, but instead dreaming about a future with players’ associations.

Venture capitalists look beyond tech to the dietary supplements market. Scientists express worry.

April 21, 2017 at Los Angeles Times

There are signs that these start-ups, like many supplement companies before them, leave out key facts and overstate health claims.

Azubu wasn't funded like most start-ups — and it may have nearly killed the e-sports video firm

Jan. 9, 2017 at Los Angeles Times

Windhorst, 40, now admits he devoted insufficient attention to Azubu, allowing features to launch months late and its recently departed chief executive to work from Canada. And Windhorst acknowledges his loans to Azubu were unusual for Silicon Valley standards.

Weedmaps — a Yelp for pot — is riddled with suspicious reviews

Aug. 24, 2016 at Los Angeles Times

a key feature — user reviews of pot businesses — may be tainted by thousands of potentially fraudulent comments, a flaw in the company's software revealed.

Why Vizio has no official standards for how its suppliers treat workers

Aug. 3, 2016 at Los Angeles Times

Vizio, which recently agreed to sell itself to Chinese mega-firm LeEco for $2 billion in cash, doesn't require vendors to comply with a formal code of conduct — a common industry practice defining a company's labor and environmental standards.

Owners of professional video game teams in a battle of their own

June 11, 2016 at Los Angeles Times

Months after Susan Tully and friends bought a pair of professional video game teams for an estimated $1 million, her four-man “Call of Duty” squad finished its season in 11th out of 12 places. A loss in a post-season gunfight would relegate Tully’s H2K squad to the second-tier league. There, exposure and sponsor interest would dissolve.

How a hot L.A. start-up went bankrupt: Inside the 'stress cage' that was Fuhu

Aug. 27, 2016 at Los Angeles Times

When graphic designers at children's tablet and app maker Fuhu Inc. put up a Christmas tree with wacky ornaments for the holidays, an executive ripped them off and trashed them.

Hyperloop One is in a massive legal fight. Do investors deserve some blame?

Aug. 13, 2016 at Los Angeles Times

With the financing, investors showed their faith in Pishevar, the co-founder, initial funder and executive chairman. Now the question is whether they trusted him too much.

VoIP phone hackers pose public safety threat

July 18, 2013 at Los Angeles Times

Hospitals, 911 call centers and other public safety agencies can be shut down by hackers using denial-of-service attacks.

Harvard-Westlake Alums Provide Powerful Backing To Eric Garcetti

February 20, 2013 at NeonTommy.com

Some of L.A.’s best and brightest packed into the speakeasy-themed Next Door Lounge on Hollywood Boulevard last November to hear Eric Garcetti, the front-runner in the mayoral race, speak. But these talent agents, Internet entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, real estate developers, movie producers, writers, and brokers had more in common than deep pockets and powerful positions.

Reform Law Intensifies Push To Better Coordinate Healthcare

Feb. 29, 2012 at Neon Tommy

Doctors nationwide are rapidly bringing on extra nurses to closely monitor patients between visits and after hospital stays.

California Hospitals Expand With Eye To The Future

Jan. 9, 2012 at Neon Tommy

As the scaffolding goes up on the new medical tower at Tulare Regional Medical Center, the hospital knows it will be adding tens of new steady and well-paying jobs.

L.A. Ice Cream Trucks, Food Carts Question A Revolution In Fees Amid Recession

Oct. 31, 2011 at Neon Tommy

Until the recession hit, operating a business on wheels seemed like a slick job to many L.A. immigrants. ALSO SEE: Double Parking Tickets Spike For Some L.A. Ice Cream Trucks.

Profiles

Google's new cloud boss has big task to catch rivals, Reuters data show

Feb. 21, 2019 at Reuters

Consumers have become accustomed to embarrassing gaffes from autocorrect on smartphones. But Google refused to take chances at a time when gender issues are reshaping politics and society, and critics are scrutinizing potential biases in artificial intelligence like never before.

Dollar Shave Club succeeded with razors, but the rest of the bathroom is a challenge

Sept. 1, 2017 at Los Angeles Times

Unilever bought into the idea that Dollar Shave Club could sell more lucrative products than razors and that it could win over consumers abroad. But the initial results of what’s expected to be a multiyear transition — Act Two, as Dubin calls it — have been underwhelming, according to two sources familiar with the company but unauthorized to discuss it.

1 million people pay nothing for cellphone service, so how does FreedomPop make money?

Aug. 25, 2017 at Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles company says its emergence over the last six years has led to imitation from T-Mobile, a near-acqusition for as much as $450 million by Sprint and price cuts at Verizon and AT&T. And all that has come while serving just a fraction of the 18% of U.S. cellphone subscribers not tied to a Big Four carrier, according to market researcher Besen Group.

Loot Crate became the nation's fastest-growing start-up, then it laid off over a quarter of its staff

June 30, 2017 at Los Angeles Times

On its ascent to becoming the nation’s fastest-growing start-up, Loot Crate Inc. fostered a workplace in which employees warred with Nerf guns, proudly brandished Captain America socks and chanted the company’s name like a rally cry. But by last summer, when the Los Angeles firm landed on the cover of Inc. magazine for its stupendous expansion, the enthusiasm had been zapped.

Ring modernized the doorbell, then its inventor, Jamie Siminoff, went to war against crime

May 12, 2017 at Los Angeles Times

If booming sales, expanding offices and a parade of TV commercials hadn’t put Jamie Siminoff on the radar of the home security industry, an early March incident certainly did.

Bobby Murphy cleaned up after frat parties; now he stands to clean up in Snapchat IPO

March 1, 2017 at Los Angeles Times

Relative to Spiegel, Murphy is an unknown entity publicly. He's rarely seen or heard from outside the research and development teams he leads as chief technology officer. The few people willing to discuss him describe him as quiet, unpretentious and stoic.

There's one part of Snapchat that Facebook can't copy: CEO Evan Spiegel

March 1, 2017 at Los Angeles Times

Spiegel’s view of social media is decidedly different from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is six years older. But with Facebook racing to catch up, Spiegel is challenging investors to shell out for young and cool at the expense of safe and mainstream.

L.A.'s latest $1-billion tech company has a female CEO

Oct. 28, 2016 at Los Angeles Times

Therese Tucker tried studying business and art. She tried launching a wealth management software start-up. And she tried selling her company. But at each juncture, Tucker thought better of it.

The key to Vizio founder William Wang's $2-billion business? Trust in his employees

Aug. 27, 2016 at Los Angeles Times

He crystallized that dictum several years ago when he handed deputies batons. Like orchestra conductors, he wanted them to arrange operations as they saw fit.

The unusual work environment that helped Naughty Dog make the hot game 'Uncharted 4'

May 27, 2016 at Los Angeles Times

Co-presidents. Co-directors. Co-animation leads. Co-art directors. At Santa Monica video game maker Naughty Dog, it doesn’t take long to notice that co-responsibilities are commonplace.

How Blizzard turned a costly failure into the highly anticipated 'Overwatch'

Dec. 27, 2015 at Los Angeles Times

Blizzard Entertainment spent millions of dollars and more than five years designing a vast, ambitious video game only to realize that it wasn't fun. The project, code-named Titan, "utterly, completely and miserably" failed, according to the guy who ran it, veteran designer Jeffrey Kaplan.

Features

Some Facebook content reviewers in India complain of low pay, high pressure

Feb. 28, 2019 at Reuters

On a busy day, contract employees in India monitoring nudity and pornography on Facebook and Instagram will each view 2,000 posts in an eight-hour shift, or almost four a minute.

People's Bitmoji obsession gives Snapchat a quiet edge in augmented reality

Sept. 14, 2017 at Los Angeles Times

The hilarity and absurdity of those images has turned Bitmoji into one of the most-downloaded apps in the world, and its illustrations have taken over text-messaging threads and Snapchat conversations. They’ve become such an important form of self-expression that it’s common to encounter people like Desai, who regularly update their Bitmoji avatars to reflect new hairdos and fashion choices.

Snapchat has changed Venice, and the neighborhood isn't changing back

Jan. 17, 2017 at Los Angeles Times

The strategy could reflect Snap's acknowledgement that additional Venice development would blunt the creative diversity and bohemian vibrancy that drew it to the locale five years ago. Snap doesn't comment on real estate, but says it strives to be a friendly neighbor. It has donated to local programs for the homeless and arts education.

Venues are catering to e-sports fans with beanbag chairs, energy drinks and food on sticks

July 7, 2016 at Los Angeles Times

It's among the accommodations event spaces across the country are making in bids to capitalize on the rise of arena-packing video-game contests, which they hope will attract a new generation of event-goers -- and with them increased ticket and concession sales.

Celebrity cybersecurity consultants protect stars from hackers

June 4, 2016 at Los Angeles Times

The celebrity entourage has a new member.

Fitness app Strava faces an uproar over an elite cycling user linked to doping

April 18, 2016 at Los Angeles Times

Some cyclists want the account's jewels stripped, arguing that people connected to cheating deserve no rewards, even in cyberspace. Alternatives they've suggested include leaving a syringe emoji next to the account's profile photo in perpetuity.

Futsal, soccer in miniature, gains popularity at L.A. parks

Jan. 15, 2014 at Los Angeles Times

The fast-moving game of five-player teams is taking over tennis and volleyball courts. Costing 10% of a soccer field, a futsal court is also a bargain for parks officials.

Sports agents sometimes have a balancing act with clients

Dec. 26, 2013 at Los Angeles Times

It's not unsual for a representative to negotiate for clients vying for the same position. The case of USC football coaches Ed Orgeron and Steve Sarkisian is an example.

The NFL carried on after JFK's assassination, even as players mourned

Nov. 21, 2013 at Los Angeles Times

The pictures on the television in the bar were more captivating than the potential thrill of ramming Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas into the Coliseum grass. Plus, the live programming had no end in sight. Surely, CBS wouldn't even televise the game. No point in playing.

Play me now, pay me later

Nov. 17, 2013 at Los Angeles Times

By deferring some earnings, athletes can help themselves and their teams. But problems can occur.

Lent Becoming A Second Christmas For Charities

May 15, 2013 at The NonProfit Times

During the 40-day period before Easter known as Lent, Christians of all denominations traditionally focus on praying, fasting and serving the community. Capitalizing on that last pillar, charities that make a push for donations and volunteers during Christmas increasingly see Lent as a similar opportunity.

Northern Ireland Attempts to Bridge Religious Rifts Through Youth Soccer

June 11, 2013 at TheAtlantic.com

Little by little, Protestants and Catholics are coming together to form integrated teams, although tensions in their communities still run high.

At Irish Weddings And Funerals, Priests Pushed Away

May 21, 2013 at Religion News Service

Although many observers have noted the impact of secularization and child abuse scandals on church membership and finances, only now are the Irish seeing the cultural and socioeconomic reverberations. These include a class of people willing to observe life’s most significant milestones outside the church.

Public records

Exclusive: Texas signs ex-Microsoft lawyer, others to aid in Google antitrust probe

September 26, 2019 at Reuters

The Texas attorney general’s office has hired three consultants for a multi-state probe it is leading into Alphabet Inc’s Google, including an economist who worked with some of the firm’s major rivals and a lawyer who is a Microsoft veteran.

Facebook's flood of languages leave it struggling to monitor content

April 22, 2019 at Reuters

Facebook Inc’s struggles with hate speech and other types of problematic content are being hampered by the company’s inability to keep up with a flood of new languages as mobile phones bring social media to every corner of the globe.

In North Dakota's oil bonanza, natural gas goes up in flames

July 16, 2014 at Los Angeles Times

Frank and Wanda Leppell once lived on a quiet cattle ranch in the middle of a rolling prairie, the lowing of cattle and the chirping of sparrows forming a pleasant soundtrack to their mornings. No more.

Serial rapist's search for housing underscores challenges of release

July 8, 2014 at Los Angeles Times

On a dirt road near Palmdale Boulevard, the isolated 800-square-foot house is surrounded by more snake holes than trees and there is barely a footprint in the soft sand.

Will Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs And Other Street Food At Last Be Legalized In L.A.?

Dec. 7, 2012 at Neon Tommy

Even the few vendors who secure a $671-a-year permit from the county can receive fines of a few hundred dollars or community service if city street inspectors or Los Angeles Police Department officers catch them selling on a sidewalk. The prohibition is designed to ensure clear paths for pedestrians.

UCLA, UC Berkeley Travel Far-And-Wide To Diversify Applicants

Nov. 10, 2011 at Neon Tommy

High school senior Anna Milioutina would love the chance to escape what she described as the "gray monotony" of Seattle and get her creative juices flowing in the culture capital that is Los Angeles.

L.A. Mayoral Campaigns Largely Financed By Westside Donors

May 16, 2013 at Neon Tommy

Almost half of the $10 million raised by this year's Los Angeles mayoral candidates comes from the Westside, an area that accounts for just 15 percent of the city’s population.

Money-Making, Congestion-Reducing Express Lanes Spread On California Freeways

Dec. 18, 2012 at Neon Tommy

Between July 2012 and June 2013, non-carpoolers in California are projected to pay $54.7 million to drive in carpool lanes that have been rebranded as Express Lanes, according to public budget documents and interviews with project managers.

In California, Obama's High-Speed Rail Network Slowed By Authority's Miscues

May 9, 2011 at Neon Tommy

They are the women who ditch their heels and relax into walking shoes at the end of the day. They are the men who prefer light messenger bags or rolling briefcases. They are the people found at L.A.'s Union Station who commute to and from work everyday by train. Also see: California High-Speed Rail's PR Mess.