Quibi had 1.7 million downloads in its first week, is working on TV casting support

After all of the hype and a barrage of TV advertising, Quibi tallied over 1.7 million downloads in its first week after launch. CEO Meg Whitman revealed the stat to CNBC’s David Faber this morning, also noting that the median age of Quibi viewers is (so far) somewhere in the low 30s.

Quibi, which is exclusively available on Android and iPhone, gives users a free trial period of 90 days, and the company previously said it would “refrain” from disclosing subscriber numbers and app download figures until after the trial window. 1.7 million is a bit better than analysts had been expecting, with estimates ranging between 1 and 1.5 million. But that number is still small potatoes compared to Quibi’s much larger rivals. Disney Plus surpassed 10 million users (and 3.2 million app downloads) on its launch day, which is a tough act to follow. After the trial, Quibi charges $4.99 per month for an ad-supported plan or $7.99 for commercial-free viewing.

Whitman noted that 80 percent of customers who start watching a show at least finish the first episode. That’s not necessarily impressive when you consider that Quibi’s “quick bites” content always runs under 10 minutes in length. So it’s not at all clear whether any of Quibi’s originals have staying power, and making shows harder to share isn’t helping. On a separate Fox Business interview this morning, Whitman mentioned that Quibi is stocked up on original programming through November.

Quibi’s other main problem is a lack of TV support. Jeffrey Katzenberg and Whitman launched their big streaming gamble without any kind of TV app or large-screen experience, but the company seems to be fast-tracking that part now — after initial reviews cited it as a major downside to the paid video service. “We had always planned to be able to cast to your TV, so we’re going to see if we can accelerate that in the engineering roadmap,” Whitman said on CNBC. “We’ll eventually get there, but it was never a part of the launch. If we had known about COVID, maybe it would have been.”

(Disclosure: Vox Media, which owns The Verge, has a deal with Quibi to produce a Polygon Daily Essential, and there have been early talks about a Verge show.)

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Square’s Cash App details how to use its direct deposit feature to access stimulus funds

Payments platform Square is now suggesting users deposit their COVID-19 stimulus payments through its Cash App for faster and easier access to the funds, in the event someone doesn’t have access to a traditional bank account. The app has started showing users a pop-up explaining how to go about getting the payment deposited without having to wait for a paper check in the mail, and a Square spokesperson told The Verge that the company is attempting to make its deposits feature “more accessible” by highlighting it.

Much like a bank account, you can get a routing and account number directly through Cash App to receive deposits. Square released this feature back in early 2018, allowing you to set up direct deposit to receive paychecks.

A lot of people don’t have or are unable to acquire a bank account, and Cash App offers a quick way for them to access deposits (physical stimulus checks are supposed to take longer to arrive). You will need to sign up for a Cash Card to set up a routing and account number. Once you do that, you will need to submit your banking information to the IRS. If you happened to file a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019 or you don’t normally file a tax return, but would still like the money to go to Cash App, the company says the IRS is releasing a tool on April 17th to update your direct deposit info with a new account.

Cash App’s competitors, like Venmo and its parent company PayPal, offer similar services, allowing you to use their platforms and set up direct deposits with them without a bank account. Like with the Cash Card, you will need to apply and get approved for a Venmo card or a PayPal Cash Card in order to use those features.

Square CEO Jack Dorsey has been trying to involve his company in delivering stimulus payments. Two weeks ago, Dorsey tweeted, “US government: let us help.” Today, he promoted Cash App’s instructions for getting direct deposit payments with “no bank account needed.” Use of the app can certainly speed the process up for people unable to access a bank account. Of course, it also helps Square, too, by sending it new users and putting large sums of money into accounts on its platform. (Cash App makes money off transaction fees for certain services it offer stop both businesses and individuals.)

Last month the US Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, a $2 trillion stimulus package aimed at providing financial relief to citizens undergoing financial hardship amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Stimulus checks are now in the process of being direct deposited into US citizens’ accounts, but that automatic deposit requires you to have made a certain amount of money in 2019 or to have filed a federal income tax return. For those who don’t fall in those categories, Square is now offering Cash App as an alternative to getting your hands on the money in a timely manner.

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People are baiting Instacart workers with huge tips then slashing them to zero

Instacart workers are being wooed by orders with large tips only to find them dropped to zero after a delivery has been made, according to a new report by CNN. Instacart lets users set their own custom tip with each shopping request, but it also allows them to change it for up to three days after an order is completed to adjust for experience. Workers, however, claim that some users have been abusing this feature, baiting them with big tips to get their shopping requests completed sooner amid the pandemic rush — only to find the tip slashed afterward without much feedback.

One Instacart worker said their tip was dropped from $55 to $0 despite finding everything the customer needed. Another worker claimed their tip changed to $0 since they could not find toilet paper in stock, to which the customer described in the feedback report as “unethical.”

Many people sheltering at home are relying on grocery delivery apps like Instacart, Peapod, and Postmates to avoid waiting in line at supermarkets and heading into crowded public spaces. While demand for these delivery apps has been higher, workers also feel that they are risking their health in order to continue doing their job and find it “demoralizing” when they experience this form of tip-baiting.

“I don’t pretend to be a hero, like a nurse in a hospital … but I literally am exposing myself [to coronavirus] and when I return home, exposing my own family to the possibility of transmitting this disease,” Instacart worker Annaliisa Arambula, whose household relies on her job while her diabetic husband is unemployed, told CNN. “When you know that it’s somebody who’s just doing it to game the system and to get their order when they want it, it’s really frustrating.”

While there have been cases of Instacart users abusing the tip adjustment feature, the company says that it is uncommon and that, in March, workers saw a 30 percent increase in earnings from customer tips. To encourage more tipping, the company updated the app to remove “none” as an option for tip so that customers would need to manually enter zero to give no tip. The app also now defaults to the last tip percentage the user gave instead of 5 percent.

Instacart says shoppers who experience tip-baiting can report instances in-app, though some workers say this relies too much on their end and that the company should make a 10 percent-minimum tip mandatory for all orders during the pandemic.

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How to install PowerShell on Ubuntu Linux

Any admin coming to Linux from Windows might want to add PowerShell to the open source operating system. Jack Wallen shows you how.

Most every Windows admin is very familiar with PowerShell. Everyone else might not know about this tool. If you’re of the latter category, know that PowerShell is a task-based command-line shell and scripting language that was built with .NET. With PowerShell, you can easily automate tasks for the management of operating systems and much more. 

At one point, PowerShell was only available for MS Windows. Now, however, this admin tool can be installed and used on Linux. Let me show you how to install PowerShell on Ubuntu Server 18.04. 

SEE: Choosing your Windows 7 exit strategy: Four options (TechRepublic Premium)

The first thing you must do is download and install the necessary repository GPG keys with the commands:

wget -q https://packages.microsoft.com/config/ubuntu/18.04/packages-microsoft-prod.deb
sudo dpkg -i packages-microsoft-prod.deb

Next, update apt with the command:

sudo apt-get update

You must also enable the “universe” repository with the command:

sudo add-apt-repository universe

Finally, install PowerShell with the command:

sudo apt-get install powershell -y

For those using Linux distributions that support snap, you can install PowerShell with a single command:

sudo snap install powershell --classic

Once PowerShell is installed, you can start it with the command:

pwsh

That’s all there is to it. You now have the ability to work with what was once a Windows-only scripting tool for the automation of many tasks. For those that come from a Windows environment, enjoy that added familiarity. Everyone else, time to learn a new tool.

Also see

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How to use port forwarding with containers deployed in a Kubernetes cluster

Port forwarding within a Kubernetes cluster is a helpful tool for debugging. Find out how it’s done.

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Image: Jack Wallen

Port forwarding is a very handy tool that can help you debug various applications and deployments within your Kubernetes cluster. For example, you might have one specific pod that is misbehaving, so you need to connect to it directly. Because this is a microservice environment, you can (with the help of port forwarding) talk to a back-end service you wouldn’t otherwise expose.

How do you do that? 

It’s actually pretty simple. Let me show you.

SEE: How to become a network administrator: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

What you’ll need

In order to pull this off, you’ll need a Kubernetes cluster up and running. If you’re not sure how to do that, read my tutorial: How to deploy a Kubernetes cluster on Ubuntu server

How to deploy the pod

The first thing we’re going to do is deploy an NGINX pod. Do this with the command:

kubectl run web-pod --image=nginx --port=80 --generator=run-pod/v1

This will deploy a pod, named web-pod, using the NGINX image on port 80.

To make sure the pod has been successfully deployed, issue the command:

kubectl get pods

You should see web-pod listed (Figure A).

Figure A

Our new pod has been deployed.

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Our new pod has been deployed.

Get the detailed information about the pod with the command:

kubectl describe pods web-pod

You should see more information about the pod than you probably need (Figure B).

Figure B

The details for our new pod.

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The details for our new pod.

How to configure port forwarding for the pod

It’s now time to configure port forwarding for our newly-deployed NGINX pod. This is done using the port-forward option of the kubectl command like so:

kubectl port-forward web-pod 8080:80

You should then see that forwarding is working (Figure C).

Leave that session as is.

Figure C

Port forwarding in action for our NGINX pod.

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Port forwarding in action for our NGINX pod.

To test the port forwarding, access a new session within your deployed container and use the curl command to test the forwarding like so:

curl 127.0.0.1:8080

You should see the NGINX welcome page print out and the original terminal window indicating that forwarding is in action (Figure D).

Figure D

Port forwarding is working with our NGINX container.

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Port forwarding is working with our NGINX container.

That’s it. You’ve set up port forwarding for a Kubernetes pod. With this technique, you can debug deployments by accessing ports you wouldn’t normally expose. From here you can build on this fundamental technique for tasks like database, application, or network debugging within your container deployments.

Also see

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Everyone can now access their Instagram DMs on the web

Instagram’s making it easier for people to send direct messages from their browser. The company announced on Friday that it’s rolling out access to DMs on the web to everyone globally. The rollout starts today at 10AM ET.

Instagram has been testing web DMs with a small group of users since January, and the experience isn’t changing with the wider rollout. Since that test started, Instagram has made small updates to more closely mimic DMs on the app, like including the emoji keyboard and adding a gallery view to photos and videos.

Web DMs are especially convenient for people who use Instagram all the time, like reporters, influencers, and social media managers. It’s the easiest way to communicate privately on the platform, especially if someone is trying to respond to possibly hundreds of messages a day. Even for non-power users, typing on a laptop keyboard is easier than typing on their phone screen, so they might be more incentivized to chat over Instagram DM if they can access their inbox through a browser.

Bringing DMs to the web fits with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s broader vision for the company’s future. Zuckerberg told The New York Times last spring that “private messaging, groups, and Stories” were the “three fastest-growing areas of online communication,” and the company announced a year ago that it would shift toward becoming a “privacy-focused communications platform” with a focus on encryption.

He also said he eventually wants to allow Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram users to message each other, regardless of the platform they’re using. The browser could potentially play an important role in making this system work, if only to give users even more flexibility about where they have conversations.

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