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Jeremy Keith / Flickr CC

For the first time in in a couple of years, thousands of techies have had to get around Austin during South by Southwest without being able to hop in an Uber or Lyft ride—and the alternatives have had mixed success.

  • Back story: Uber and Lyft packed up and left town last year after a failed campaign to reverse a new city requirement that drivers get fingerprinted. Fasten, Fare, and Ride Austin, among others, have since set up shop and won drivers over by charging them less while offering passengers a familiar service via mobile apps at reasonable prices.
  • Stress test: While these alternatives seem to have generally done well for Austinites on average days, SXSW is no usual time. On Saturday night, many found themselves frustrated as they attempted to get a ride to avoid the rain, yet the apps weren't working.
  • Counterpoint: Though seemingly a huge inconvenience, it may be much ado about nothing, as some on Twitter have argued. After all, Uber and Lyft have only existed for a few years, and festival-goers managed just fine before that. What's more, Uber and Lyft haven't been banned—they're simply choosing not to operate in Austin because it requires their drivers get fingerprinted.

Go deeper

Cyberattack forces shutdown of major U.S. fuel pipeline

A police officer stands guard inside the gate to the Colonial Pipeline Co. Pelham junction and tank farm in Pelham, Alabama, in 2016. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A major U.S. fuel pipeline running from Texas to New York has been taken offline by its operator because of an apparent cyberattack.

The big picture: Colonial Pipeline "carries 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel supplies," the N.Y. Times reports.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Health

The end of quarantine

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Long quarantines were a necessary tool to slow the COVID-19 pandemic during its first phases, but better and faster tests — plus vaccines — mean they can be scaled back considerably.

Why it matters: Quick tests and regular surveillance methods that identify who is actually infectious can take the place of the two-week or longer isolation periods that have been common for travelers and people who might have been exposed to the virus, speeding the safe reopening of schools and workplaces.

Amazon rollups are the hottest deals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new generation of companies is forming to scoop up Amazon marketplace sellers — and venture capital firms are writing big checks to support the effort.

Why it matters: These e-commerce aggregators are all about data and using it to optimize and turbocharge sales, which means they’re using Amazon’s own playbook.