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I hope it is a good day for you. Delta Air Lines has announced that SkyMiles frequent flyers will get free wi-fi on February 1st. May you find something that makes you happy. Get into the news.

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Yet more layoffs: Yesterday it was Salesforce; today it is Amazon. Though these layoffs were foreshadowed in recent months, the amount of people being let go was today’s surprise. Knowing doesn’t take the sting away for employees, I imagine. Paul takes you inside the cuts.
  • Secret secrets hurt someone: Secret secrets are no fun. Just ask CircleCI customers, who were urged to rotate their passwords and private keys after a breach compromised the company’s system, Carly reports.
  • Take a bite out of this Apple: Apparently you all made a resolution to read more in 2023. Among the announcements Apple made today, the one that got a lot of clicks was the company’s new AI-powered book narrations for select titles on Apple Books, Ivan reports. If fitness is more your goal this year, Apple Fitness+ is adding new features, like kickboxing workouts and sleep meditation, Aisha writes.

Startups and VC

In continuing with what seems to be a trend in layoffs,Natasha M's story is very important in getting perspectives from former employees laid off from startup to see how they are handling things and how their next jobs might evolve There seems to be a cycle going on with her asking where tech workers go from here.

Here's four more.

  • That next text might be from Fido: My dog has trouble telling me when he needs to go outside, so I am eyeing FluentPet’s talking button system that has programmable buttons that, when pressed, speak voice commands and text you. Sarah has more.
  • VR isn’t just for the youngins: Rendever, a big startup in the virtual reality space, acquired Alcove from AARP, showing “VR comes of age,” Ingrid reports.
  • Neighbors don’t shake hands; neighbors gotta hug!: Okay, well maybe not hug, but if you live in an apartment complex and want to get to know the others living nearby, you might want to check out my story on OneRoof grabbing some funding to help apartment dwellers cozy up to their neighbors.
  • Here’s a metaverse optimist: Conversational AI startup MeetKai is expanding its offerings with new room-scanning tech and a metaverse builder with a focus on capturing objects and spaces, Kyle writes.

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Big Tech Inc.

The Consumer Electronics Show is happening if you can't tell by your social media accounts. Brian shows you how to get all the relevant information for the rest of the conference. Kyle rounded up a list of the best products at the conference.

Kyle wrote a story about Ring bringing back its peephole cam. The product was going to be discontinued in 2021. You can get it at the starting price of $129.

Here are a few favorites from the day.

I am giving you an extra Big Tech story over the usual five.

  • Back in the saddle again: Who had Stitch Fix’s former CEO taking back the helm on their 2023 BINGO card? No one? Connie fills in some details surrounding Katrina Lake coming back for an interim stint, adding to a CNBC report that included another round of layoffs, this time 20% of the company’s 1,700 employees.
  • You gotta fight for your right to communicate privately: And WhatsApp is behind you 100%. Aisha reports that the messaging giant launched a proxy support for users globally to be able to maintain access even if their connection is blocked or disrupted.
  • Art is in the eye of the AI-powered beholder: Kyle reports on Picsart’s AI-powered SketchAI app that turns images and outlines into digital art.
  • And the streaming crown goes to…: Lauren writes about Roku ending 2022 with a new milestone — over 70 million active accounts. The streaming company is claiming it’s still No. 1 among TV streaming platforms in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico by hours streamed.
  • Another bytes the crypto dust: Jacquelyn reports that the New York Attorney General sued Alex Mashinsky, the former Celsius CEO, for defrauding crypto investors. The crypto lender filed for bankruptcy over the summer.
  • Privacy ping: As Natasha L notes, Apple received a rare fine. France’s data protection watchdog group fined the consumer tech giant about $8.5 million related to Apple’s practice of “not obtaining local mobile users’ consent prior to placing (and/or reading) ad identifiers on their devices in breach of local data protection law.”