Bloglikes - Tag: .tech https://www.bloglikes.com/tag/tech en-US Tue, 23 Apr 2019 00:59:41 +0000 Sat, 06 Apr 2013 00:00:00 +0000 FeedWriter Employees Call On Microsoft To Protect GitHub From China Censors http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/pOetArbed9I/employees-call-on-microsoft-to-protect-github-from-china-censors

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 20:20:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs
Tesla Will Allow Aggressive Autopilot Mode With 'Slight Chance of a Fender Bender' http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/yCa4--MZo_g/tesla-will-allow-aggressive-autopilot-mode-with-slight-chance-of-a-fender-bender

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 19:40:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs
NIH, FBI Accuse Scientists In US of Sending IP To China, Running Shadow Labs http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/GtbubuYRqEQ/nih-fbi-accuse-scientists-in-us-of-sending-ip-to-china-running-shadow-labs

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 19:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs
Toyota Establishes Research Institute In China To Study Hydrogen, Green Tech http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/_28vl8sLGYM/toyota-establishes-research-institute-in-china-to-study-hydrogen-green-tech

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 18:20:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs
Vine reboot Byte begins beta testing http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/3QYVxwG-sxw/ Twitter shut down Dom Hoffman’s app Vine, giving away the short-form video goldmine to China’s TikTok. Now a year and half since Hoffman announced he’d reimagine the app as V2 then scrapped that name, his follow-up to Vine called Byte has finally sent out the first 100 invites to its closed beta. Byte will let users record or upload short, looped vertical videos to what’s currently a reverse-chronological feed.

the byte beta we’ve been running with friends and family *feels* exactly like the vine friends and family beta, down to the weird but appealing randomness of the videos. that’ll change as we expand, but it’s a pretty good sign pic.twitter.com/rBbQrNtTJ7

— dom hofmann (@dhof) April 22, 2019

It will be a long uphill climb for Byte given TikTok’s massive popularity. But if it differentiates by focusing less on lip syncing and teen non-sense so it’s less alienating to an older audience, there might be room for a homegrown competitor in short-form video entertainment.

Hoffman tells TechCrunch that he’s emboldened by the off-the-cuff nature of the beta community, which he believes proves the app is compelling even before lots of creative and funny video makers join. He says his top priority is doing right by creators so they’ll be lined up to give Byte a shot when it officially launches even if they could get more views elsewhere.

For now, Hoffman plans to keep running beta tests, adding and subtracting features for a trial by fire to see what works and what’s unnecessary. The current version is just camera recordings with no uploads, and just a feed with Likes and comments but no account following. Upcoming iterations from his seven-person team will test video uploads and profiles.

One reassuring point is that Hoffman is well aware that TikTok’s epic rise has changed the landscape. He admits that Byte can’t win with the exact same playbook Vine did when it faced an open field, and it must bring something unique. Hoffman tells me he’s a big fan of TikTok, and sees it as one evolutionary step past Vine, but not in the same direction as his new app

Does the world need Vine back if TikTok already has over 500 million active users? We’ll soon find out of Hoffman can take a Byte of that market.

It’s time to pay serious attention to TikTok

]]> Mon, 22 Apr 2019 18:01:18 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Apps Mobile Social Startups TC Byte Dom Hoffman Short Video Tiktok V2 Vine TurboTax Uses Dark Patterns To Trick You Into Paying To File Your Taxes http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/vSgkBla3Qps/turbotax-uses-dark-patterns-to-trick-you-into-paying-to-file-your-taxes

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 17:40:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs
Tesla plans to launch a robotaxi network in 2020 http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/8VAuckIx9B8/ Tesla expects to launch the first robotaxis as part of broader vision for an autonomous ride-sharing network in 2020, CEO Elon Musk said during the company’s Autonomy Day.

“I feel very confident predicting that there will be autonomous robotaxis from Tesla next year — not in all jurisdictions because we won’t have regulatory approval everywhere” Musk said without detailing what regulations he was referring to. He added that he is confident the company will have regulatory approval somewhere next year.

Tesla will enable owners to add their properly equipped vehicles to its own ride-sharing app, which will have a similar business model to Uber or Airbnb . Tesla will take 25 percent to 30 percent of the revenue from those rides, Musk said. In places where there aren’t enough people to share their cars, Tesla would provide a dedicated fleet of robotaxis.

Musk has talked about the Tesla Network and ambitions to allow owners to place their vehicles on the ride-hailing app since 2016.

All new Tesla vehicles are now produced with its custom full self-driving computer chip, a detail that Musk revealed during the event Monday. That chip fulfills the hardware requirements for full self-driving, according to Musk, who boasted that it was the best in the world. (Tesla vehicles are equipped with a suite of sensors such as forward-facing radar and cameras. It does not have lidar, or light detection and ranging radar, a sensor that most AV developers say is critical, but that Musk argues is a fool’s errand and “doomed.”)

The remaining step is the software, which Musk says will be “feature complete” and at a reliability level that we would consider that no one needs to pay attention, by the middle of next year.

“From our standpoint, if you fast forward a year, maybe a year and three months, but next year for sure, we’ll have over a million robotaxis on the road,” Musk said. “The fleet wakes up with an over the air update; that’s all it takes.”

Musk also noted at numerous times that the full self-driving and the robotaxi fleet will require regulatory approval. However, he didn’t explain what kinds of regulatory approval is needed. The federal government does not have any laws regulating autonomous vehicles. There are only voluntary guidelines. And if the vehicles are not altered in any way on the hardware side — such as removing the steering wheel or pedals, for instance — it’s unclear how the federal government could limit Tesla.

Musk could be referring to local and state laws that regulate ride-hailing networks. Again, it’s unclear and we’ll update the story if Tesla provides new information.

Recharging the Tesla robotaxis is one of few challenges that the company will face as it prepares to deploy.

Musk noted that he sees a future where the robotaxis would return home and automatically park and recharge. While he stopped short of confirming a production version of the snake charger Tesla unveiled in 2015, it was clear that Tesla sees a similar version coming to market alongside the robotaxi network.

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 17:38:02 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Automotive TC Transportation Airbnb Cars Elon Musk Federal government Self-driving Car Tesla Tesla Model 3 Tesla Model S Transport Uber
Charter Avoids Getting Kicked Out of New York, Agrees To New Merger Conditions http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/TNobDTofFaY/charter-avoids-getting-kicked-out-of-new-york-agrees-to-new-merger-conditions

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 17:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs
Tesla’s full self-driving computer is now in all new cars and a next-gen chip is already ‘halfway done’ http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/Ebt9xX5wpio/ The Tesla computer, a new custom chip designed to enable full self-driving capabilities, is now in all new Model 3, X and S vehicles, CEO Elon Musk said during the company’s Autonomy Day.

Tesla switched over from Nvidia’s Drive platform to its own custom chip for the Model S and X about a month ago and for the Model 3 about 10 days ago, Musk said.

“All cars being produced all have the hardware necessary — computer and otherwise — for full self-driving,” Musk said. “All you need to do is improve the software.”

Work is also already underway on a next-generation chip, Musk added. The design of this current chip was completed “maybe one and half, two years ago.” Tesla is now about halfway through the design of the next-generation chip.

Musk wanted to focus the talk on the current chip, but he later added that the next-generation one would be “three times better” than the current system and was about two years away.

The software caveat about full self-driving is an important one. Tesla vehicles are not considered fully autonomous, or Level 4, a designation by SAE that means the car can handle all aspects of driving in certain conditions without human intervention.

Instead, Tesla vehicles are “Level 2,” a more advanced driver assistance system than most other vehicles on the road today. Musk has promised that the advanced driver assistance capabilities on Tesla vehicles will continue to improve until eventually reaching that full automation high-water mark.

Tesla offers two different advanced driver assistance packages to customers: Autopilot and Full Self-Driving. Autopilot is ADAS that offers a combination of adaptive cruise control and lane steering and is now a standard feature on new cars. The price of vehicles has been adjusted higher to reflect the addition of Autopilot as a standard feature.

Full Self-Driving, or FSD, costs an additional $5,000. (And, to be clear, vehicles are not full self-driving driving.) FSD includes Summon as well as Navigate on Autopilot, an active guidance system that navigates a car from a highway on-ramp to off-ramp, including interchanges and making lane changes. Once drivers enter a destination into the navigation system, they can enable “Navigate on Autopilot” for that trip.

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 16:00:23 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Automotive Transportation Autonomous Vehicles Autopilot Elon Musk Model 3 Model S Model X Self-driving Cars Tesla
Google Walkout Organizers Say They're Facing Retaliation http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/iJKd2XtR9Y4/google-walkout-organizers-say-theyre-facing-retaliation

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 15:44:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs
Death by 1,000 clicks: Where electronic health records went wrong http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/KevinMd-MedicalWeblog/~3/cxg5XgYq4r8/death-by-1000-clicks-where-electronic-health-records-went-wrong.html The pain radiated from the top of Annette Monachelli’s head, and it got worse when she changed positions. It didn’t feel like her usual migraine. The 47-year-old Vermont attorney turned innkeeper visited her local doctor at the Stowe Family Practice twice about the problem in late November 2012, but got little relief. Two months later, […]

Find jobs at Careers by KevinMD.comSearch thousands of physician, PA, NP, and CRNA jobs now. Learn more.


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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 15:00:27 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Tech Health IT
Podcast Wars: $100 Million Startup Luminary To Launch Tomorrow Without Some Publicly Available Popular Podcasts http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/hp3ev6DMaUY/podcast-wars-100-million-startup-luminary-to-launch-tomorrow-without-some-publicly-available-popular-podcasts

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 15:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs
Security lapse at contract startup Evisort exposed sensitive data http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/luZL2gfXsfQ/ Evisort, a document and contract management company, left one of its document databases unsecured, exposing thousands of documents.

The startup, founded by former Harvard and MIT students in 2016, bills itself as an artificial intelligence contract management company, which it says helps to better organize its customers’ legal documents and contracts. Among its claims, the company can evaluate and pull out the most relevant information in a 30-page contract in a matter of seconds. And so far, the investors like the pitch, securing $4.5 million in seed funding led by Village Global and Amity Ventures, with contributions from Accenture and SAP.

According to an anonymous tip sent in to TechCrunch, the company left an Elasticsearch database open without a password, allowing anyone to search the files inside. When reached, Evisort’s chief executive Jerry Ting said the database was “for testing and development purposes only” and an audit was under way.

While some of the documents were marked “dummy” and “test” files, many documents seen by TechCrunch contained customer data.

“These are confidential agreements between many established large famous companies that are hosted on the internet for anyone to see,” said the anonymous tipster, who provided links to several files in the database.

The company lists Stack Overflow and TravelZoo as customers. The database also contained non-disclosure agreements between Evisort and Samsung. A similar agreement with Squarespace found in the database was signed by Ting.

Many of the files included employee contracts, loan agreements (one worth $200 million) and resumes. We reached out to several people whose information was found in the database. One person we spoke to said they had no idea how their resume got into Evisort’s database. Other files appeared to be contracts and agreements submitted by Evisort customers.

Many of the documents we saw had confidential information.

Another file contained details of an agreement by Evisort and a third-party security company, dated February 21, to conduct a penetration test on its network — a way of finding and fixing security vulnerabilities before they are exploited.

Evisort shut down the database within an hour of TechCrunch reaching out.

In a follow-up email, Ting conceded that some customer data was exposed. (Ting declared his email “off the record,” which requires both parties agree to the terms in advance, but we are printing the reply as we were given no opportunity to reject.)

“The database is not part of our production environment, but a part of our internal development environment used by our engineers,” he said.

“Although our investigation is ongoing, the vast majority of information contained in the development database was placeholder or benign information used for testing purposes,” he said in the email. “However, it appears that there may be a small number legitimate documents in this environment.”

“As part of our investigation, we will be reviewing the entire data set in the environment, along with any available logging data, to determine what information may have been affected and we will be communicating directly with any of our customers who could be affected,” he added.

Ting added that the company is “in the process of retaining” an outside forensic firm to assess the impact on customers.

Evisort didn’t say how long the data was exposed. Data search engine Binary Edge first detected the system on March 22.

It’s the latest in a string of sizable data exposures in recent months, including text messages, medical records, a watchlist of high-risk individuals, a robocalling firm, millions of mortgage and loan documents and even a spam operation.

Read more:

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 14:55:46 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Security Evisort
Talk media and TED2019 key takeaways with TechCrunch’s Anthony Ha http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/2HnVq3tArZk/ Anthony just returned from Vancouver, where he was covering the TED2019 conference — a much-parodied gathering where VCs, executives and other bigwigs gather to exchange ideas.

This year, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey got the biggest headlines, but the questions raised in his onstage interview kept popping up throughout the week: How has social media warped our democracy? How can the big online platforms fight back against abuse and misinformation? And what is the Internet good for, anyway? Wednesday at 11:00 am PT, Anthony will recap the five-day event’s most interesting talks and provocative ideas with Extra Crunch members on a conference call.

Tune in to dig into what happened onstage and off and ask Anthony any and all things media.

To listen to this and all future conference calls, become a member of Extra Crunch. Learn more and try it for free.

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 14:53:57 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Advertising Tech Developer Entertainment Events Media Social Startups TC Conference Call Extra Crunch Conference Call Jack Dorsey Misinformation Social Media Ted Twitter
How Neuroaesthetics Will Shape the Future of Design http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/core77/blog/~3/AxsX95eZcRc/How-Neuroaesthetics-Will-Shape-the-Future-of-Design Unexpectedly, one of the few installations at Milan Design Week that resonated past the thick, blurry Instagram lens wasn't created just by designers. Google's A Space for Being (in collaboration with Muuto and the Arts + Minds Lab at Johns Hopkins University) provoked deep thoughts about the future role of technology in intimate spaces like the home by bringing visitors into a world where their only requirement was to 'be'—no cell phones and no talking allowed.

Before entering the space, a colorful screen-less band was placed on the wrist to measure each individual's reactions, like heart rate and skin temperature. Upon entering, winding hallways led you through three separate rooms, each designed with different furniture (most by collaborator Muuto), textures, books, color schemes and even scents. At the end of the experience, the bands were collected and the data was interpreted by Google, revealing which of the three spaces the algorithm felt you were most 'at ease' in. For Google, this installation was less about designing the next best wearable and more about demonstrating the potential for this technology to influence the design process, whether it be conducting user research before designing a new appliance, or even redecorating a home based on what makes the owner feel most comfortable.

After experiencing A Space for Being ourselves, we sat down with Ivy Ross, VP of Hardware Design at Google, to learn more about the collaboration and to hear her thoughts on technology's role in the future:

When I initially read this installation would be about neuroaesthetics, I thought it would be depicting this scary sci-fi world, but I was shocked to see that it's quite the opposite.

I'm so glad that we surprised and delighted you! Last year when we showed up people said, "oh the tech giant showed up so unexpectedly human". Well yeah, because that's what we are. Us being here is about being a thought leader. We really want to share with everyone the way we think and how thoughtful we are when we design product.

So how did the idea for A Space for Being come about?

It all started last year when Muuto saw our installation here in Milan and said, "Oh my god, we love your aesthetic", and we said, "We love your aesthetic!" We had pictures of their dots up on our wall at the time. They brought up the idea of doing something together for this year, and I just didn't want to put our home products in their living room settings. That would be really boring.

Photo: Maremosso

Two years prior, I had been contacted by Susan [Magsamen] in the Arts + Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins. She told me that she runs the Arts + Mind Lab, and that they were studying something called neuroaesthetics. I didn't know what neuroaesthetics meant, so she explained to me that it's the study of the effect that aesthetics have on the brain and the body. I know the effects it has because I've been a designer and an artist my whole life, and we know that intuitively. But wow, if neuroscience can prove this, than that could be such a great support system for designers.

I also met Suchi Reddy of Reddymade Architecture a few years ago. She is designing a room in a hospital for kids who are coming out of comas to help knit back their brains each sense at a time. It's a beautiful project, so I put them in touch.

I called both of them and said, "Ladies, I have an idea. Can we actually put people through living situations?" I wanted it to be like real life, not some art project. We could make bands with sensors, and Johns Hopkins could help us make an algorithm. We decided to pick at the feeling of 'ease' because it's the opposite of stress, and right now I think there are a lot of stressed people in the world. We could've picked anything, right? I mean excitement is good, being relaxed is good... so we picked this phrase "at ease". We did a lot of research to find a phrase that everyone understands.

"Preference and taste are so individual. I want the world to go in a way where we're amplifying our own individuality, we're not trying to be like each other. We're celebrating who we are."

The idea was to show that we are in control of our environments. Everything affects us, and we have agency over that. I think we've gotten a bit flat lined as a society. Aesthetics isn't just making something look pretty, it's awakening all the senses. And we can do that through an appreciation of all of these different elements—sound, light, color, texture.

On that note, everything within the space and the user experience is so thoroughly executed, down to the data presented as a piece of art. This is, of course, something that appeals to designers because it's a beautiful presentation, but it also makes data more readable for people who aren't designers. Is this something you considered during the design process?

This is the greatest gift for all this hard work, that you get it. For designers that are here experiencing this, we want to support them and tell them that what they do matters. For people that aren't designers, we want to tell them that design matters. Everything you encounter matters. What you choose to surround yourself with matters.

Preference and taste are so individual. I want the world to go in a way where we're amplifying our own individuality—we're not trying to be like each other, and we're celebrating who we are. But in order to have any insight into who we are, we need to understand that who we've been and everything we'll become is a byproduct of what we have experienced.

The data presented at the end looked like a piece of art—the bigger, warm splotches represent spikes in excitement, while the thinner, cool splotches represent moments of zen. Photo: Maremosso

I love that people are telling me how surprised they are that the data is coming out as this beautiful art piece. The data is a series of numbers that feed into this system, but the truth is that the output in the infographics could look like anything. My team worked hard on devising how to use the spread of the ink and bursts of color to indicate one thing versus another.

This installation is obviously one scenario in which this type of data collection can be applied, but do you see other ways in which it could be useful?

Even in the Google School for Learning, we've started to think about what the right environments are for learning. There are certain neuroaesthetic things that actually encourage retention, memory and learning. So I think its just a matter of being aware. The research around this has been going on for 20 years, but only in the last three years has it come into the applied area—out of the science realm and into real world applications. This is pretty much the first exhibit that talks about it.

There are definitely implications in terms of applying this to homes. I don't want to see a world where we're all striving for the same chair or the same table. What's right for one person is not right for another. In different situations, I think this could amplify that. You think we're riding the elephant, we're controlling the elephant but the elephant is really controlling us, and the elephant is the subconscious. Are we saying we love a specific room because that is the room we believe is the prettiest or the one that we should like versus how our body actually feels in it. So in homes we should not get obsessed with it but just use it for a little bit of self knowledge.

Do you think being comfortable is more important than being surrounded by beautiful things?

Not necessarily. Some people equate being calm with being bored. And you know, being bored is a mental construct, but being calm is a physiology thing. What we are finding is healthy for our body is being in that calm state, where we're not excited or stressed all the time. But we live in a world where we're optimizing everything all the time.

Photo: Maremosso

I'm interested in this idea of finding those calm places beyond the spa where we can just be chilled out, so I particularly picked the home environment because it's an environment that you can control. So for me, I designed this modern tree house for myself. Anything could be going on at work, but when I come home to the trees, sit on my couch and look up at that forest—I can just feel it.

People say to me, "oh you have so much responsibility at work but you're so calm". I think it's because I've learned to know what works for me. There's all this pressure for us to meditate. It's about finding that calm at times, which you can do even just by listening to the right music and just being. We've asked you to not have your phones in [A Space for Being] because it should just be about being. For some people it's really hard to spend five minutes—it seems to be a real treat that we have to give ourselves permission to do. But it's really important that we do it. So A Space for Being is just a little exercise to remind you that you are in control of finding a peaceful environment.

When I first saw the bands, I was surprised to see that they are screen-less and don't send out notifications. They weren't bossing us around like we're used to. Is silent but helpful the next wave of wearable tech?

The band, which is currently not a commercial product, was done for this exhibition, but it does represent our philosophy that tech is able to amplify our humanity and that it can be here to help us. It's what we do with it that matters. This is a prime example of an indication that tech should give you information about yourself without being scary—just helpful.

Photo: Maremosso

It's just like Google Maps—how did we live without it? Before that you had to carry a thick Thomas Guide in the passenger seat. I don't know how we didn't get into more accidents because how did you even look up A9 on a grid while driving? Anyway, even though the band is just for this exhibition, we were very thoughtful with how and why we were doing it.

Oftentimes, technology acts as a way to disconnect from your emotional intelligence. What you're envisioning is instead a way of using tech to better understand yourself and what you need...

Absolutely. We have dug these pathways that thinking and feeling are two separate things. We think we're being smarter by operating from our neck up and always being in our heads, but we forget that the body is an incredible barometer.

Did you see the movie "Her"? It was such an impactful movie to me. It came out right before I took this job at Google. I remember thinking that it was an interesting example of where technology actually helped someone learn more about themselves than any shrink or anyone else seemed to be able to. Now I'm not suggesting that we walk around with an operating system like Samantha, but technology that is additive to your life instead of taking away humanity is the type of technology that my team and I are interested in.

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 14:44:30 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Milan Design Week Designer Profiles Tech
After Easter bombings, Sri Lanka blocks social media https://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/2019/0422/After-Easter-bombings-Sri-Lanka-blocks-social-media Sri Lanka has blocked Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram after Sunday's attacks left hundreds dead. The government fears the spread of inflammatory "false news reports" online could spur more violence.

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 14:26:19 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs
Why it’s so hard to know who owns Huawei http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/phFntbgP6z0/ It’s one of the greatest technology “startup” success stories of the personal computer and smartphone eras. Yet, despite selling 59 million smartphones and netting $27 billion in revenue last quarter in its first-ever public earnings report this morning, a strange and tantalizing question shrouds the world’s number two handset manufacturer behind Samsung.

Who owns Huawei?

To hear the company tell it, it’s 100% employee-owned. In a statement circulated last week, it said that “Huawei is a private company wholly owned by its employees. No government agency or outside organization holds shares in Huawei or has any control over Huawei.”

That’s a simple statement, but oh is it so much more complicated.

As with all things related to Huawei, which outside of its 5G archrival Qualcomm is probably the tech company most entrenched in geopolitics today, the story is never as simple as it appears at first glance.

]]> Mon, 22 Apr 2019 14:24:24 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Asia Mobile China Huawei Blueland launches with a suite of eco-friendly cleaning supplies designed to reduce plastic waste http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/38d0A0RslLQ/ Sarah Paiji had the idea to launch the eco-friendly refillable cleaning supply retailer Blueland after hearing about the abundance of microplastics in the water she was using to dilute her child’s baby formula.

Paiji wanted to cut back on her plastic consumption, and reduce her contribution to the overabundance of plastic waste in the environment, but felt that as a consumer she didn’t have a choice. So the former venture capital investor from the consumer startup brand studio Launch set out to create one.

The answer she came up with is Blueland, a new line of cleaning products that launches today. Blueland’s cleaners — a bathroom cleaner, glass cleaner, and multi-purpose cleaner —  are sold as tablets that customers add to the cleaning containers the company provides.

“These cleaners are mostly water,” says Paiji. “I’m paying for a plastic bottle that I don’t really need and water which I have at home for free.”

By adding water to the company’s cleaning formulation in refillable containers the company sells, Blueland thinks its customers over time can eliminate the need for 100 billion single-use plastic bottles in the U.S.

Blueland cleaning products/Image courtesy of Blueland

To provide the initial marketing push and continue its product development and sales efforts, the company has raised $3 million in a new round of funding from Global Founders Capital, Comcast Ventures, Cross Culture Ventures, BAM Ventures, along with individual investors like Justin Timberlake and the founder of the Los Angeles-based sustainable fast food chain, Sweetgreen, Nicholas Jammet; and sustainable online food retailer, Thrive Market, Nick Green.

After coming up with the idea Paiji had to find a manufacturer, who’d be willing to help reinvent an entire product category for a startup retailer.

Blueland also wasn’t Paiji’s first choice for a new startup idea. That would have been a botox bar that would sell cosmetic treatments to folks who wanted treatments, but didn’t want to pay high prices for them.

After putting the brakes on the botox business, Paiji reached out on LinkedIn to Syed Naqzi, the director of research and development at Method with her pitch for the cleaning product business.

With Naqzi on board, the company began filing patents for its unique process and the products it’s bringing to market, says Paiji. “E verything is proprietary everything is backed by patents,” she says.

While Paiji won’t disclose who the manufacturing partner is for the cleaning supplies, she did note that the company was in an adjacent consumables category to cleaners.

Within a year of reaching out to Naqzi last April, Paiji had a product supplier and the $3 million she needed to go to market.

Blueland refills/Image courtesy of Blueland

Joining Paiji and Naqzi in setting up the business was John Moscari, a fellow Harvard Business School classmate of Paiji’s who’d launched a company called Bundle Organics.

The company’s refills cost $2 and the initial cleanup kits clock in at $30. “With the refills it’s unequivocally cheaper than buying a full bottle on the market,” says Paiji.

The refills are 300 times lighter and 200 times smaller than traditional packaging for cleaning supplies and the company has plans to develop new products with similar packaging footprints across adjacent categories each quarter.

“ Just from a shipping perspective alone we cut out 90% because one to one we’re that much smaller,” says Paiji. 

Other, far larger, companies are thinking about their waste streams and end of life issues around their products — an issue which is becoming more important since China tightened the regulations around the scrap materials it would collect — and the amount of contamination those pallets of scrap could contain.

Last year, a coalition of major manufacturers of consumer packaged goods and foods formed Loop — an ambitious project to create zero-waste supply chains for their products with consumers who’d opt in.

Taking their cues from the milkman models of years long passed, companies like Procter & Gamble, Nestle, PepsiCo, Unilever, worked with the company TerraCycle to develop an updated version of the plan.

Consumers get refillable containers and as they use up the items, they can call a Loop pick up driver to take their containers away to be refilled or send them off at a UPS store.

Paiji argues that Blueland does something different — with lower carbon emissions coming from the process and a greater impact on reuse.

“We’ve completely invented a new form factor for this,” she says. “And we’re providing a more convenient way for people to reuse and refill.”

Blueland box/Image courtesy of Blueland

 

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 14:20:09 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs TC Articles China Comcast Ventures Containers Cross Culture Ventures Driver Economy Global Founders Capital Harvard Business School Justin Timberlake Los Angeles Manufacturing Method Nestle Packaging Procter & Gamble Reuse Sarah Paiji Sweetgreen Thrive Market Unilever Waste-management
Facial Recognition Creeps Up on a JetBlue Passenger http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/8337fdbfEms/facial-recognition-creeps-up-on-a-jetblue-passenger

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 14:13:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs
Seaport invests in All Traffic Data http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/pehub/blog/~3/z08bBgKThew/ Seaport Capital has made an investment in Wheat Ridge, Colorado-based All Traffic Data, a provider of traffic data collection and reporting, consulting services and transportation asset management. No financial terms were disclosed.

PRESS RELEASE

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. & NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Seaport Capital, a New York-based private equity firm, announced today that it has completed a strategic investment in All Traffic Data (“ATD”) to support the continued growth of the company. All Traffic Data is a provider of traffic data collection and reporting, consulting services, and transportation asset management for civil engineering firms, state and local transportation authorities, municipalities, and commercial establishments across the United States.

All Traffic Data founders Eric and Dawn Boivin will continue to lead the company management team and are investing alongside Seaport in future growth initiatives. ATD’s primary service offerings include traffic pattern surveys, average daily traffic counts, turning movement counts, origin / destination studies, and safety study diagrams. The company also offers consulting services for transportation infrastructure maintenance, development, and safety. Seaport funded the investment through Seaport Capital Partners V, a $230 million private equity fund.

“All Traffic has multiple, exciting growth opportunities in front of it,” said Eric Boivin, Co-Founder and CEO of All Traffic Data. “Our partnership with Seaport will provide the capital, support and strategic guidance to help us execute on our shared vision for the future of our business. They understand that our historical success is due to the attentive and responsive service we provide our clients, and this focus will be the guiding light of our strategy going forward.”

Dawn Boivin, Co-Founder and COO of All Traffic Data said, “Our partnership with Seaport will allow us to grow while continuing to provide the service and attention to detail that our long-standing clients have come to expect from us. Eric and I look forward to leading this exciting new chapter of our company for our clients and our employees.”

Drew Meyers, Partner at Seaport Capital, discussed the investment, saying “Over the years, the All Traffic Data team has achieved impressive growth and earned a reputation for leadership in their industry by developing long-term client relationships built on trust, innovation and reliability. Through our new partnership with Eric, Dawn and the rest of the ATD team, Seaport Capital is proud to continue our long-standing track record of providing capital and support to founders of leading business services companies.”

About All Traffic Data
Founded in 2001 in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, All Traffic Data provides traffic data collection and reporting, consulting services and transportation asset management to a multitude of civil engineering firms, state and local transportation networks, commercial establishments and cities across the US. ATD also has offices in Seattle, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Portland (OR), Columbia (SC), and San Jose.

For additional information, visit www.alltrafficdata.net.

About Seaport Capital
Founded in 1997, Seaport Capital is a lower middle market buyout firm that invests in communication infrastructure and services, business and information services and media companies (the “Focus Sectors”). Seaport’s senior investment team has over 100 years of combined experience investing in the Focus Sectors, and the team has worked collectively for over 15 years. Seaport typically invests $10 to $30 million of equity capital in companies generating EBITDA between $3 and $15 million, with the goal of maximizing the return on invested capital.

Seaport’s substantial industry expertise and investing experience enable it to develop successful strategies; its relationships and team help achieve them. Nearly all of Seaport’s platform investments have been owned by founders or entrepreneurs seeking a collaborative institutional partner to provide the financial and operational resources to grow their businesses and execute on a successful strategic plan.
For additional information, visit www.seaportcapital.com.

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 13:55:10 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs PE Deals Tech SC OR
Daily Crunch: Samsung delays the Galaxy Fold http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/Hcwr1j0wqOU/ The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Samsung reportedly pushes back Galaxy Fold release

Four days out from the Galaxy Fold’s official release date, Samsung is pushing things back a bit, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. There’s no firm time frame for the launch, though the phone is still expected “in the coming weeks.”

TechCrunch’s reviewer Brian Heater says he hasn’t experienced any issues with his device, but a number of others reported malfunctioning displays.

2. Tencent’s latest investment is an app that teaches grannies in China to dance

Called Tangdou, or “sugar beans” in Chinese, the app announced that it has raised a Series C funding round led by Tencent.

3. SiriusXM’s new streaming-only ‘Essential’ plan targets smart speaker owners

The company has launched a new plan called SiriusXM Essential, targeting those who listen in-home and on mobile devices. The streaming-only plan is also more affordable — $8 per month, versus the $15.99 per month (and up) plans for SiriusXM’s satellite radio service for cars.

4. Confirmed: Pax Labs raises $420M at a valuation of $1.7B

That’s right, $420 million for a vape maker. CEO Bharat Vasan said, “This financing round allows us to invest in new products and new markets, including international growth in markets like Canada and exploring opportunities in hemp-based CBD extracts.”

5. Sony launches a taxi-hailing app to rival Uber in Tokyo

The service is a joint venture between Sony, its payment services subsidiary and five licensed taxi companies. Because ride-hailing with civilian cars is illegal in Japan, the service will focus on connecting licensed taxis with passengers.

6. The Exit: an AI startup’s McPivot

An in-depth interview with investor Adam Fisher about the recent McDonald’s acquisition of Dynamic Yield. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

7. This week’s TechCrunch podcasts

This week’s episode of Equity addresses the aforementioned cannabis vaping round, followed up by an Equity Shot about the Fastly S-1. Meanwhile, on Original Content we reviewed Donald Glover’s “Guava Island” and discussed the new season of “Game of Thrones.”

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 13:38:54 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Mobile Japan China Samsung Tech Canada Sony Tencent Tokyo Pax Labs Cbd McDonald Donald Glover Adam Fisher Brian Heater Bharat Vasan Guava Island Daily Crunch Galaxy Fold
Samsung Galaxy Fold: Broken screens delay launch https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-48013395 Mon, 22 Apr 2019 13:30:43 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Amazon is Now Making Its Delivery Drivers Take Selfies http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/UzK0pPlk2kg/amazon-is-now-making-its-delivery-drivers-take-selfies

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 13:25:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Amazon Tech Amazon Flex
Samsung confirms Galaxy Fold delay, shares ‘initial findings’ on faulty units http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/mdXPiP2MPBQ/ Samsung has just confirmed that it will delay the release of the Galaxy Fold. Confirming this morning’s report, the company sent TechCrunch a statement noting that the foldable will not make its previously announced Friday ship date.

Once again, no details on availability are forthcoming — which is honestly probably for the best, as the company assesses the situation. The news follows reports of malfunctioning displays from multiple reviewers. They were in the minority — ours is still working just fine — but three or four in such a small sample size is enough to raise concern.

The company says it will “announce the release date in the coming weeks.”

Samsung reportedly pushes back Galaxy Fold release

The statement is understandably still a bit defensive, but this time out, Samsung actually has “initial findings” to share from those faulty units. According to the company,

Initial findings from the inspection of reported issues on the display showed that they could be associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge. There was also an instance where substances found inside the device affected the display performance.

It’s bad news for the device that’s being positioned as the future of both Samsung and the mobile space in general, but the company’s been through worse PR and come out largely unscathed. The Galaxy Note 7 ultimately did little to damage Samsung’s bottomline, thanks to a booming component business. And that product was already shipping — resulting in two separate recalls.

At least here the company was able to delay the device before it started shipping. It’s hard to say precisely how widespread these issues are — and preproduction units are notorious for having issues. But the statement does appear to a cautious admission that there’s more going on here than just reviewers accidentally peeling back the protective layer.

We’ve been skeptical of Samsung’s ability to launch the device since its announcement earlier this year. The company has been teasing flexible display technology since CES 2011, but a lack of devices at the Fold’s announcement and at Samsung’s Mobile World Congress the following week left us wondering if it would be able to deliver on a very aggressive April 26 release date. Looks like we just got the answer.

Here’s the full statement,

We recently unveiled a completely new mobile category: a smartphone using multiple new technologies and materials to create a display that is flexible enough to fold. We are encouraged by the excitement around the Galaxy Fold.

While many reviewers shared with us the vast potential they see, some also showed us how the device needs further improvements that could ensure the best possible user experience.

To fully evaluate this feedback and run further internal tests, we have decided to delay the release of the Galaxy Fold. We plan to announce the release date in the coming weeks.

Initial findings from the inspection of reported issues on the display showed that they could be associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge. There was also an instance where substances found inside the device affected the display performance.

We will take measures to strengthen the display protection. We will also enhance the guidance on care and use of the display including the protective layer so that our customers get the most out of their Galaxy Fold.

We value the trust our customers place in us and they are always our top priority. Samsung is committed to working closely with customers and partners to move the industry forward. We want to thank them for their patience and understanding.

 

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 13:14:38 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Mobile Hardware Samsung Tech Galaxy Fold Samsung Galaxy Fold
JCPenney explains why it dropped Apple Pay http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/YtReRfIoPvs/ JCPenney quietly ditched Apple Pay this month. The decision was announced in response to a customer complaint on Twitter, but without any context or further explanation at the time. JCPenney had first rolled out Apple Pay into testing in 2015, then expanded to all its U.S. stores the following year, and later to its mobile app.

The retailer now claims the move was necessitated by the April 13, 2019 deadline in the U.S. for supporting EMV contactless chip functionality.

As of this date, all terminals at U.S. merchants locations that accept contactless payments must actively support EMV contactless chip functionality, and the legacy MSD (magnetic stripe data) contactless technology must be retired.

JCPenney was not ready to comply, it seems, so it switched off all contactless payment options as a result. However, it hasn’t ruled out re-enabling them later on, it seems.

JCPenney made the decision to remove Apple Pay for our stores, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. We will definitely forward your feedback regarding this for review.

— Ask JCPenney (@askjcp) April 20, 2019

In a statement provided to TechCrunch, JCPenney explained its decision:

A third-party credit card brand made the requirement for all merchants to actively support EMV contactless functionality effective April 13, retiring the legacy MSD contactless technology in place. Given the resources and lead time associated with meeting the new mandate, JCPenney chose to suspend all contactless payment options until a later date. Customers still have the ability to complete their transactions manually by inserting or swiping their physical credit cards at our point-of-sale terminals in stores, an option employed by the vast majority of JCPenney shoppers.

It’s worth noting, too, that JCPenney is hinting here at low Apple Pay adoption among its customer base — as the “vast majority” of shoppers pay using a physical card.

That means the retailer’s decision to re-enable Apple Pay at a later date may still be in question — especially as this change allows JCPenney to fully take back ownership of customer purchase data.

Customer data is an important part of JCPenney’s plan to get the business back on its feet. Under new CEO Jill Soltau, who took the job last October, the retailer has been closing underperforming stores, hiring new execs to focus on merchandise selection and eliminating its low-margin items, noted Bloomberg following the company’s most recent earnings. It’s also reducing inventory and adjusting its buying process to ensure it doesn’t end up with excess inventory going forward.

And, as Soltau explained to investors in February, the retailer is rethinking its pricing and promotions strategies, too.

“I think that’s one of the key initiatives that we’ll be working on here in the coming months because we’re not being as strategic in how we speak to the customer and engage with the customer through our pricing and promotion,” she said. “And I would frankly say it might be a little bit confusing, and you might not know exactly when you can get the best value at JCPenney,” the CEO added.

Customer purchase data allows a retailer to better target its customers with relevant promotions, as stores are able to collect the customer’s name and card number at point of sale, which they can then combine with other demographic data like the customer’s address, phone and email.

Apple Pay, meanwhile, prevents this level of access — something that customers like, but retailers traditionally have not. In fact, the lack of access to customer data was one reason retailers were hesitant to warm up to Apple Pay in the first place, and spent years developing their rival solution, CurrentC, which ultimately failed.

Today, many major retailers incentivize customers to use their own payments solution instead of Apple Pay — as with Walmart Pay, Sam’s Club’s Scan-and-Go, or like Target does with its store card, which can be combined with Cartwheel discounts in a single barcode scanned at point-of-sale.

Apple Pay is also a more secure method of payment, which today’s consumers prefer — particularly in the case of retailers who have suffered major data breaches, like JCPenney has in the past. Plus, Apple Pay allows shoppers to carry only their phone — not a wallet stuffed with physical cards.

The removal of Apple Pay from JCPenney stores was first reported by MacRumors, following the retailer’s tweet. 9to5Mac also noted Apple Pay was pulled from the JCPenney app.

JCPenney has more than 800 stores in 49 states.

Despite being dropped by JCPenney, Apple Pay remains a top mobile payment solution. In January, it was accepted by 74 of the top 100 U.S. merchants, and 65 percent of all retail locations across the country.

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 13:09:06 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Apple Tech Walmart Bloomberg EMV Sam Jcpenney Jill Soltau Soltau TechCrunch JCPenney JCPenney Apple
WiFi Finder, a Popular Hotspot Finder App, Exposed 2 Million Wi-Fi Network Passwords http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/xbRB9atryow/wifi-finder-a-popular-hotspot-finder-app-exposed-2-million-wi-fi-network-passwords

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 12:45:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs China Tech Wi Fi networks GDI Foundation
Facebook makes its first browser API contribution http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/AuJkPa95nGg/ Facebook today announced that it has made its first major API contribution to Google’s Chrome browser. Together with Google, Facebook’s team created an API proposal to contribute code to the browser, which is a first for the company. The code, like so much of Facebook’s work on web tools and standards, focuses on making the user experience a bit smoother and faster. In this case, that means shortening the time between a click or keystroke and the browser reacting to that.

The first trial for this new system will launch with Chrome 74.

Typically, a browser’s JavaScript engine handles how code is executed and when it will halt for a moment to see if there are any pending input events that it needs to react to. Because even modern JavaScript engines that run on multi-core machines are still essentially single-threaded, the engine can only really do one thing at a time, so the trick is to figure out how to best combine code execution with checking for input events.

“Like many other sites, we deal with this issue by breaking the JavaScript up into smaller blocks. While the page is loading, we run a bit of JavaScript, and then we yield and pass control back to the browser,” the Facebook team explains in today’s announcement. “The browser can then check its input event queue and see whether there is anything it needs to tell the page about. Then the browser can go back to running the JavaScript blocks as they get added.”

Every time the browser goes through that cycle, though, and checks for new events, processes them, a bit of extra time passes. You do this too many times, and loading the page slows down. But if you only check for inputs at slower intervals, the user experience degrades as the browser takes longer to react.

To fix this, Facebook’s engineers created the isInputPending API, which eliminates this tradeoff. The API, which Facebook also brought to the W3C Web Performance Working Group, allows developers to check whether there are any inputs pending while their code is executing.

With this, the code simply checks if there’s something to react to, without having to fully yield control back to the browser and then passing it back to the JavaScript engine.

For now this is just a trial — and since developers have to integrate this into their code, it’s not something that will automatically speed up your browser once Chrome 74 launches. If the trial is successful, though, chances are developers will make use of it (and Facebook surely will do so itself) and that other browser vendors will integrate into through own engines, too.

“The process of bringing isInputPending to Chrome represents a new method of developing web standards at Facebook,” the team says. “We hope to continue driving new APIs and to ramp up our contributions to open source web browsers. Down the road, we could potentially build this API directly into React’s concurrent mode so developers would get the API benefits out of the box. In addition, isInputPending is now part of a larger effort to build scheduling primitives into the web.”

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 12:39:06 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Chrome Google TC Facebook Developer W3c Tech Web Browsers Javascript Software Programming Languages Google-chrome Chromium React Web Technology Google Facebook Web Standards
Nokia 9 Buggy Update Lets Anyone Bypass Fingerprint Scanner With a Pack of Gum http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/T1GWtGv7trQ/nokia-9-buggy-update-lets-anyone-bypass-fingerprint-scanner-with-a-pack-of-gum

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 12:03:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Nokia Tech
Down To Shop is a tongue-in-cheek mobile shopping network http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/QCrnzJt9Cuk/ Cyrus Summerlin and Max Hellerstin, who previously created the Push for Pizza app (which allowed users to order a pizza with the push of a button), are officially launching their new startup today, Down to Shop.

The app bills itself as both a modern reinvention of QVC and “the funnest way to shop.” It allows users to watch funny videos featuring products that can be purchased directly from the app.

In an email, Hellerstein said the pair created Down to Shop out of dissatisfaction with existing advertising and e-commerce. Summerlin described it as “a hypermedia commerce platform.”

“We’ve created a self aware, fun and entertaining, interactive environment that gets customers to engage with brands like never before — because they want to,” Summerlin said. “What a concept!”

To do this, Down to Shop says it has recruited a creative team of Upright Citizens Brigade alums and Instagram influencers like Wahlid Mohammad to star in its shows, which are written, filmed and edited in the startup’s Los Angeles studios. The content is built around four-week seasons, with daily episodes across five shows each season.

Down to Shop

You can actually download the iOS app now, then swipe through different videos and games. Judging from the videos available at launch, the app is holding true to its promise of “content first, advertising second,” with laidback, tongue-in-cheek shows that also happen to feature promoted products.

By playing games and watching videos, you also earn Clout, the in-app currency that be used to make purchases. As for the products available to purchase, the company says it’s already working with more than 60 brands, including Sustain Condoms, Dirty Lemon (water) and Pretty Litter (cat litter).

Down to Shop’s investors include Greycroft, Lerer Hippeau and Firstmark. The startup isn’t disclosing the size of its funding, but according a regulatory filing, it raised $5.9 million last fall.

Push For Pizza Is Yo For Food Delivery

 

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 12:00:13 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Startups Mobile Ecommerce Apps Media Instagram Advertising Tech Los Angeles Tech Shop Firstmark Qvc Summerlin Hellerstein Upright Citizens Brigade Cyrus Summerlin Greycroft Lerer Hippeau Max Hellerstin Wahlid Mohammad
Now ‘AI’ takes on writing death metal, country music hits, more http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/createdigitalmusic/~3/4Kb_3sqbHvw/ Machine learning is synthesizing death metal. It might make your death metal radio DJ nervous – but it could also mean music software works with timbre and time in new ways. That news – plus some comical abuse of neural networks for writing genre-specific lyrics in genres like country – next.

Okay, first, whether this makes you urgently want to hear machine learning death metal or it drives you into a rage, either way you’ll want the death metal stream. And yes, it’s a totally live stream – you know, generative style. Tune in, bot out:

Okay, first it’s important to say, the whole point of this is, you need data sets to train on. That is, machines aren’t composing music, so much as creatively regurgitating existing samples based on fairly clever predictive mathematical models. In the case of the death metal example, this is SampleRNN – a recurrent neural network that uses sample material, repurposed from its original intended application working with speak. (Check the original project, though it’s been forked for the results here.)

This is a big, big point, actually – if this sounds a lot like existing music, it’s partly because it is actually sampling that content. The particular death metal example is nice in that the creators have published an academic article. But they’re open about saying they actually intend “overfitting” – that is, little bits of samples are actually playing back. Machines aren’t learning to generate this content from scratch; they’re actually piecing together those samples in interesting ways.

That’s relevant on two levels. One, because once you understand that’s what’s happening, you’ll recognize that machines aren’t magically replacing humans. (This works well for death metal partly because to non connoisseurs of the genre, the way angry guitar riffs and undecipherable shouting are plugged together already sounds quite random.)

But two, the fact that sample content is being re-stitched in time like this means this could suggest a very different kind of future sampler. Instead of playing the same 3-second audio on repeat or loop, for instance, you might pour hours or days of singing bowls into your sampler and then adjust dials that recreated those sounds in more organic ways. It might make for new instruments and production software.

Here’s what the creators say:

Thus, we want the out-put to overfit short timescale patterns (timbres, instruments, singers, percussion) and underfit long timescale patterns(rhythms, riffs, sections, transitions, compositions) so that it sounds like a recording of the original musicians playing new musical compositions in their style.

Sure enough, you can go check their code:

https://github.com/ZVK/sampleRNNICLR2017

Or read the full article:

Generating Albums with SampleRNN to Imitate Metal, Rock, and Punk Bands

The reason I’m belaboring this is simple. Big corporations like Spotify might use this sort of research to develop, well, crappy mediocre channels of background music that make vaguely coherent workout soundtracks or faux Brian Eno or something that sounded like Erik Satie got caught in an opium den and re-composed his piano repertoire in a half daze. And that would, well, sort of suck.

Alternatively, though, you could make something like a sampler or DAW more human and less conventionally predictable. You know, instead of applying a sample slice to a pad and then having the same snippet repeat every eighth note. (Guilty as charged, your honor.)

It should also be understood that, perversely, this may all be raising the value of music rather than lowering it. Given the amount of recorded music currently available, and given that it can already often be licensed or played for mere cents, the machine learning re-generation of these same genres actually requires more machine computation and more human intervention – because of the amount of human work required to even select datasets and set parameters and choose results.

DADABOTS, for their part, have made an entire channel of this stuff. The funny thing is, even when they’re training on The Beatles, what you get sounds like … well, some of the sort of experimental sound you might expect on your low-power college radio station. You know, in a good way – weird, digital drones, of exactly the sort we enjoy. I think there’s a layperson impression that these processes will magically improve. That may misunderstand the nature of the mathematics involved – on the contrary, it may be that these sorts of predictive models always produce these sorts of aesthetic results. (The same team use Markov Chains to generate track names for their Bandcamp label. Markov Chains work as well as they did a century ago; they didn’t just start working better.)

I enjoy listening to The Beatles as though an alien civilization has had to digitally reconstruct their oeuvre from some fallout-shrouded, nuclear-singed remains of the number-one hits box set post apocalypse. (“Help! I need somebody! Help! The human race is dead!” You know, like that.)

Deep the Beatles! by DADABOTS

As it moves to black metal and death metal, their Bandcamp labels progresses in surreal coherence:

Megaturing by DADABOTS

This album gets especially interesting, as you get weird rhythmic patterns in the samples. And there’s nothing saying this couldn’t in turn inspire new human efforts. (I once met Stewart Copeland, who talked about how surreal it was hearing human drummers learn to play the rhythms, unplugged, that he could only achieve with The Police using delay pedals.)

I’m really digging this one:

Megaturing by DADABOTS

So, digital sample RNN processes mostly generate angry and angular experimental sounds – in a good way. That’s certainly true now, and could be true in the future.

What’s up in other genres?

SONGULARITY is making a pop album. They’re focusing on lyrics (and a very funny faux generated Coachella poster). In this case, though, the work is constrained to text – far easier to produce convincingly than sound. Even a Markov Chain can give you interesting or amusing results; with machine learning applied character-by-character to text, what you get is a hilarious sort of futuristic Mad Libs. (It’s also clear humans are cherry-picking the best results, so these are really humans working with the algorithms much as you might use chance operations in music or poetry.)

Whether this says anything about the future of machines, though, the dadaist results are actually funny parody.

And that gives us results like You Can’t Take My Door:

Barbed whiskey good and whiskey straight.

These projects work because lyrics are already slightly surreal and nonsensical. Machines chart directly into the uncanny valley instead of away from it, creating the element of surprise and exaggerated un-realness that is fundamental to why we laugh at a lot of humor in the first place.

This also produced this Morrissey “Bored With This Desire To Get Ripped” – thanks to the ingenious idea of training the dataset not just with Morrissey lyrics, but also Amazon customer reviews of the P90X home workout DVD system. (Like I said – human genius wins, every time.)

Or there’s Dylan mixed with negative Yelp reviews from Manhattan:

And maybe in this limited sense, the machines are telling us something about how we learn. Part of the poetic flow is about drawing on all our wetware neural connections between everything we’ve heard before – as in the half-awake state of creative vibrations. That is, we follow our own predictive logic without doing the usual censoring that keeps our language rational. Thinking this way, it’s not that we would use machine learning to replace the lyricist. Rather, just as with chance operations in the past, we can use this surreal nonsense to free ourselves from the constraints that normal behavior require.

We shouldn’t underestimate, though, human intervention in using these lyrics. The neural nets are good at stringing together short bits of words, but the normal act of composition – deciding the larger scale structure, choosing funnier bits over weaker ones, recognizing patterns – remain human.

Recurrent neural networks probably won’t be playing Coachella any time soon, but if you need a band name, they’re your go-to. More funny text mangling from the Botnik crew.

My guess is, once the hype dies down, these particular approaches will wind up joining the pantheon of drunken walks and Markov Chains and fractals and other psuedo-random or generative algorithmic techniques. I sincerely hope that we don’t wait for that to happen, but use the hype to seize the opportunity to better educate ourselves about the math underneath (or collaborate with mathematicians), and see these more hardware-intensive processes in the context of some of these older ideas.

If you want to know why there’s so much hype and popular interest, though, the human brain may itself hold the answer. We are all of us hard-wired to delight in patterns, which means arguably there’s nothing more human than being endlessly entertained by what these algorithms produce.

But you know, I’m a marathon runner in my sorry way.

The post Now ‘AI’ takes on writing death metal, country music hits, more appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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Mon, 22 Apr 2019 11:58:42 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs DIY + Unusual Music Stories Tech AI Algorithmic Analysis Bandcamp Bands Black Metal Code Death Metal Future Github Machine-learning Oddities Open-source Predictions Programming Punk Research Sampling Software