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Code/red: LA Unified iPad Deal Failure Impressively Well-Realized

Plus, Mark Zuckerberg's first reaction to the Oculus Rift, Lyft gets the Al Franken treatment and a great video called Time Trap.

Comedy Central

// HAPPENING TODAY



LA Unified’s iPad Deal Ends in Total Shitshow

The Los Angeles Unified School District’s once-promising iPads-for-every-student deal has come to an ignominious end — in a federal investigation. FBI agents this week seized 20 boxes of documents from LAUSD headquarters, all of them related to a $1.3 billion effort to outfit district students with iPads that was poorly executed enough to be a subplot on “Saved by the Bell.” The investigation is the final gyre in a death spiral that began this past summer after the discovery of a disconcertingly cozy relationship between former LAUSD Supt. John Deasy and executives at Apple and educational publisher Pearson. The morning after the FBI visited LAUSD headquarters, Supt. Ramon C. Cortines said he’s scrapping the contract behind the iPads-for-all project entirely. “We’re not going to use the original iPad contract anymore,” Cortines told the Los Angeles Times. “I think there have been too many innuendos [and] rumors.”


Yeah, Two Billion Dollars Better …

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s first reaction to the Oculus Rift: “Wow, that was a lot better than I was expecting it to be.”


FCC Commissioner Flips Rhetorical Table on Netflix — “Jersey Housewife” Style

If Netflix believes Internet “fast lanes” are such a lousy idea, why is it supporting them? That’s the question FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai put to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Tuesday, calling the company out for what he implies is brazen hypocrisy. Netflix has been one of the principal advocates for subjecting Internet service providers to public utility regulation under Title II of the Communications Act, arguing that this step is necessary to prevent the development of so-called “fast lanes” on the Internet, Pai wrote. “For this reason, I was surprised to learn of allegations that Netflix has been working to effectively secure ‘fast lanes’ for its own content on ISPs’ networks at the expense of its competitors.” Netflix hasn’t yet responded to Pai’s claims, but it’s worth noting that they seem at first look a little wobbly and, as Ars Technica notes, lacking key information — specifically solid evidence backing up that “fast lanes” claim.


Point/Counterpoint: Let’s Hope Common Decency Prevails vs. So Much for Common Decency

Sony chiefs Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal: “While we are not yet sure of the full scope of information that the attackers have or might release, we unfortunately have to ask you to assume that information about you in the possession of the company might be in their possession. While we would hope that common decency might prevent disclosure, we of course cannot assume that.”

Kevin Roose, Fusion: “Here are just a few of the revelations I found in the leaked [Sony] archives — most in normal, unencrypted Excel and Word files, labeled as plain as day: A spreadsheet listing Sony Pictures employees who were fired or laid off in 2014 as part of the company’s reorganization, along with the reasons for their termination.”


Al Franken Welcomes Lyft to Al Franken Decade

Looks like Uber isn’t the only ride-hailing service furrowing Sen. Al Franken’s brow. On Tuesday, the chairman of the Senate subcommittee on privacy, technology and the law sent Lyft CEO Logan Green a letter questioning him about the company’s data collection practices and reports about “inadequate regard among Lyft executives for customers’ privacy.” The missive is nearly identical to the one Franken sent to Uber, and touches on points of concern about proper use of consumer data and just who has access to it. And Lyft’s response to it is as predictably saccharine as Uber’s was. Just like its pugnacious rival, Lyft looks forward to discussing its “commitment to consumer privacy in depth.”


Coincidentally, Bemusement and Disgust Also Typical Response to Your Article

Business Insider’s Mike Bird on the typical response to his ridiculous BlackBerry Passport: “His reaction was similar to that of most of the people I’ve met since: A cross between bemusement, excitement, and disgust.”


Fortune Calls Apple PR as First Witness in E-Book Price-Fixing Appeal Article

Eddy Cue — Apple’s master dealmaker and central witness in the U.S. Department of Justice’s e-book price-fixing case against it — has a message for the DOJ and anyone else (cough, Amazon) who claims that Apple conspired to shift the e-book industry from the wholesale pricing model established by Amazon to an agency model where publishers, not retailers, set e-book prices, sending them higher than they had been in the past. Even after the DOJ’s victory against Apple, he says, in hindsight, he’d do nothing differently. “If I had it to do all over again, I’d do it again,” Cue told Fortune. “I’d just take better notes.” Wonder if Cue, described by the government as the “chief ringleader” of Apple’s e-book price-fixing cabal, will be equally forthright with such sentiments when the case heads to appeal later this month.


Asked Myself the Same Question While Writing This …

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs on RealNetworks in 2011: “Do they still exist?”


Sounds Like a Wednesday Lunch Special at the Google Cafeteria

Motherboard’s Jason Koebler on Soylent alternative Schmoylent: “In theory, Schmoylent wins points for being full of ingredients that I can find in my pantry right now. In practice, well, it doesn’t seem that much more complex than something I could make if I simply threw every powder I have in my house into a ziplock bag and crushed some multivitamins in it.”


Off Topic

Time Trap and Stephen Colbert on the new lightsaber in the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” trailer.

Thanks for reading. Send tips, comments, Off Topics and Nutshell isolation pods to John@recode.net, @johnpaczkowski. Subscribe to the Code/red newsletter here.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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