Today’s Tech Headlines

1. Amazon warehouse managers describe cutthroat working conditions. We spoke with nine current and former managers, each of whom experienced long hours, low pay, and a workplace obsessed with hitting increasingly lofty — and sometimes unrealistic — goals. 

  • During peak season, typically around the holidays, many managers said they have to work mandatory overtime, or in some cases, come in an additional day to help with the workload — without receiving overtime pay. 
  • Some said the pressure to reach goals can trickle down to the rest of their team, forcing them to implement extreme “bootcamp-like” strategies to incentivize subordinates to meet Amazon’s metrics. 
  • In a memo to superiors, one manager described working at Amazon like “drinking through the fire hose, underwater, while a group of people try to prevent you from coming up for air.”
  • The memo caught the attention of an HR vice president, who asked his colleagues to come up with ideas on how to “overcome many of the points raised.” It’s unclear if any solutions were raised. 

2. Meta signed a huge lease in Austin. Facebook’s parent company will rent 589,000 square feet of office space across 33 floors of the city’s soon-to-be largest skyscraper. 

3. Alphabet’s secretive quantum technology group plans to spin out into an independent company. The group, known as Sandbox, focuses on software and experimental quantum projects. According to two insiders, its leader Jack Hidary is now looking to turn Sandbox into its own separate company. 

4. VCs have been relentlessly bullish on Web3, which is proving to be one of tech’s most-divisive ideas in years. Tesla boss Elon Musk and ex-Twitter chief Jack Dorsey have both questioned its merits while investors are betting that it could become the next generation of the internet. 

5. Solana could be a bitcoin killer. Blockchain platform solana’s market cap has gone up more than 62,000% in the past year, and experts are saying it may soon become one of the top three cryptocurrency platforms.

6. Meta has been sued over the killing of a federal security guard. The guard’s sister sued the platform for allegedly “knowingly promoting extremist content” that contributed to his death. The suspected gunman had ties to “a far-right extremist movement” cited in several Facebook groups.

7. A software engineer shares what to know before choosing a coding boot camp. Dan Molitor broke into the tech industry after completing a 12-week course. Molitor, who’s worked for major tech companies like Apple, says people interested in a boot camp should try coding on their own first. 

8. Cats love Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite dishes. The dishes radiate heat, and as parts of the country see heavy snowfall, people are taking to Twitter to report cats curling up on the satellites to shield from the cold weather. 

9. China just revealed a new driverless bullet train. Designed specifically for the 2022 Olympics, the driverless Fuxing bullet train travels at 217 miles per hour to shuttle passengers to and from Olympic venues. 

10. Disney has patented new “virtual-world simulator” technology. The company has won approval for a patent to project 3D images on objects throughout its parks. The tech would track visitors and project personalized images for them — without needing a headset or goggles.

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