Patreon defends new pricing after user uproar

Patreon is defending a new payment structure that critics say hurts smaller artists. The change, which goes into effect on December 18th, adds a processing fee to each individual patron pledge, instead of taking the cut out of creators’ total earnings. Because this fee includes a flat 35-cent charge on top of a percentage, it disproportionately affects people making small pledges, or pledging to multiple artists. Artists have complained that they’re losing patrons after the announcement — but Patreon says it’s an inevitable consequence of some other changes to the platform.

Patreon initially said that this fee made artists’ earnings more predictable, because they’d only have to worry about a single 5 percent cut taken by Patreon. In an…

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Andy Rubin has returned to his company weeks after he took leave amid allegations of inappropriate behavior

He’s back at Essential, his smartphone startup.

Andy Rubin, the founder of smartphone startup Essential, has already returned to his company less than two weeks after it was announced that he took a leave of absence amid questions about an alleged inappropriate relationship.

Rubin as of Friday ended the personal leave that he took in November after dealing with personal issues, according to two people familiar with his activities. His leave was reportedly only shared with employees on November 27, though a company representative said at the time that he began his leave earlier that month.

The CEO of Essential last month took leave as The Information was about to report that an “internal investigation determined that he had carried on an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate,” when he served as a top executive at Google.

Rubin has denied any wrongdoing and stressed that the relationship was consensual.

The decision to return to Essential will likely calm jitters about the future of the phone company, which has raised $ 330 million to develop its highly anticipated product. Rubin, the creator of the Android operating system, is a dominant figure in the phone industry.

Even while on leave from Essential, Rubin was still able to show up to work at the same physical workplace. That’s because he did not take a similar leave from Playground Global, the venture capital firm he founded, which shares the same office space as Essential.

Essential and Rubin declined to comment.

Rubin started Playground in 2015 and it has raised $ 300 million to incubate companies. Playground and Essential are inextricably linked beyond just being physically intermixed in different corners in the same open-space office: Playground led Essential’s first major fundraising round and Rubin serves as the CEO of both companies.

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Jony Ive is retaking control of Apple’s design team after two years in hands-off role

Jony Ive, technically Apple’s design chief since 2015, is once again assuming management control of the iPhone maker’s design team after two years in a largely hands-off role, according to a report from Bloomberg. Ive, responsible for the look and feel of Apple hardware throughout a majority of former CEO Steve Jobs’ revolutionary second run at the helm of the company in the late ‘90s and 2000s, was freed from much of his day-to-day management responsibilities in 2015, when he took on the chief design officer title. He still oversaw design, but other executives and employees on the team no longer reported to him.

At the time, the move was viewed as Ive, who is 50 years old, laying the groundwork to retire from his intensive position at…

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Uber has settled with a woman whose medical files an executive accessed after she was raped

The woman, who was raped by her Uber driver in India, sued the company for intrusion of privacy and defamation.

Uber has settled a lawsuit with a woman who was raped by her Uber driver in India. The woman, who has remained nameless, sued the company, its former CEO Travis Kalanick and former executives Eric Alexander and Emil Michael after Recode revealed Alexander accessed her medical files following the rape.

As Recode first reported, following the incident, Alexander obtained her medical records and carted the file around for many months after, showing it to a number of executives including Michael and Kalanick. Alexander has since been fired. Michael left the company and Kalanick was forced out by the company’s board of directors.

The parties entered mediation in the hope of settling the lawsuit in September. In October, the woman dropped her claims against Michael.

The victim was suing for intrusion into private affairs, public disclosure of private facts, and defamation. She was seeking damages of an unspecified amount.

The woman previously settled a suit with the company over failing to maintain basic safety measures in 2015. The driver was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

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YouTuber tragically survives after cementing his head into a microwave

A YouTube prankster almost died after placing his head into a microwave and filling it with Polyfilla — a building material used to plaster walls. Jay Swingler, 22 from Wolverhampton, attempted the dangerous prank for a YouTube video with his co-star, Rommel Henry, but after his breathing tube became blocked, was forced to seek the assistance of the emergency services. You can watch the video above. After it became clear Swingler — who stubbonly continues to breathe the same air as us — was having difficulties breathing, his friends attempted to dismantle the microwave and remove the cement with limited…

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