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  BGR Show All 
College student rescued after using ‘Hey Siri’ to call 911 from a sinking car
Hey Siri

An 18-year old college in Iowa student managed to use the "Hey Siri" feature Apple introduced in iOS 9 to call for help after his vehicle plunged into the Winnebago River.

In a story that was first brought to light by KIMT3 News, Gael Salcedo was driving to class when, in an instant, he hit an ice patch that sent his jeep careening into a river. Thinking fast, Salcedo immediately rolled down his windows, which is important to note given that it becomes nearly impossible to exit a sinking vehicle once the pressure of the surrounding water reaches a certain level.

Continue reading...

BGR Top Deals:

  1. Today’s best deals: $30 off Nintendo Switch, crazy $9 Echo Dot deal, Ring Doorbell 2 bundle, $15 Wi-Fi extender, more
  2. Amazon will pay you $30 to buy a Nintendo Switch. Seriously.

Trending Right Now:

  1. Waze just launched an awesome new feature that Google Maps should totally steal
  2. Final ‘The Witcher’ trailer shows us exactly why everyone’s calling it Netflix’s ‘Game of Thrones’
  3. Microsoft has a silly answer for a serious Xbox Scarlett problem

College student rescued after using ‘Hey Siri’ to call 911 from a sinking car originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 12 Dec 2019 at 15:33:45 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


OMG… you can replace Alexa’s voice with Samuel L. Jackson’s for $1
Samuel L Jackson Alexa Voice

You guys. YOU GUYS. We cover a lot of great deals here at BGR Deals, but this might be the greatest thing we've ever come across. For $0.99, you can replace Alexa's voice on all of your Echo speakers and other Alexa-enabled devices with Samuel L. Jackson. How amazing is that?! The $0.99 price is a limited-time offer only, and Sam will jump up to $5 after that. If you have any Alexa devices at all, your life just changed forever.

Samuel L. Jackson - celebrity voice for Alexa: $0.99

Here's more from the product page:

He’s in the cloud baby! Hollywood legend Samuel L. Jackson is here to add some fun to your Alexa experience. Just ask and Sam will give you the weather, play your favorite music, tell jokes, and more.

To get started, just say, “Alexa, introduce me to Samuel L. Jackson.” Then, choose whether you’d like Sam to use explicit language or not. If you change your mind later, simply go to the settings menu of the Alexa app to toggle between clean and explicit content.

After purchasing, try saying:

“Alexa, ask Samuel L. Jackson where he is from.”
“Alexa, ask Sam to wake me up at 7am.”
“Alexa, ask Sam Jackson to sing happy birthday.”

Although he can do a lot, Sam won’t be able to help with Shopping, lists, reminders or Skills.

Ask away
Samuel L. Jackson can help you set a timer, serenade you with a song, tell you a funny joke, and more. Get to know him a little better by asking about his interests and career.

Keep it clean, or don’t
After purchasing the feature, you choose whether you’d like Sam to use explicit language or not. If you ever change your mind, you can toggle between clean and explicit content in the settings menu of the Alexa App.

Get started
1. Say "Alexa, introduce me to Samuel L. Jackson."
2. Confirm your purchase with Alexa.
3. Enable or disable explicit content.
4. Ask Samuel L. Jackson for music, weather and more.

Samuel L. Jackson - celebrity voice for Alexa: $0.99

BGR Top Deals:

  1. Today’s best deals: $30 off Nintendo Switch, crazy $9 Echo Dot deal, Ring Doorbell 2 bundle, $15 Wi-Fi extender, more
  2. Amazon will pay you $30 to buy a Nintendo Switch. Seriously.

Trending Right Now:

  1. Waze just launched an awesome new feature that Google Maps should totally steal
  2. Final ‘The Witcher’ trailer shows us exactly why everyone’s calling it Netflix’s ‘Game of Thrones’
  3. Microsoft has a silly answer for a serious Xbox Scarlett problem

OMG… you can replace Alexa’s voice with Samuel L. Jackson’s for $1 originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 12 Dec 2019 at 15:10:13 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


iPhone shipments took a big hit in one of Apple’s most important markets
iPhone shipments

Here's the thing about how important of a market China is to Apple when it comes to iPhone sales. According to data prepared by Bloomberg, 55% of Apple's revenue this year has been attributable to the iPhone. Interestingly, over the same period, almost 20% of the company's revenue has been derived from the greater China region alone -- and so when an analyst tells his clients that iPhone shipments are dropping precipitously in the region, needless to say, it generates headlines.

That's what happened today, in fact, with a report from Credit Suisse analyst Matthew Cabral explaining that iPhone shipments in China fell a little more than 35% year-over-year last month, a "sustained softness" that Credit Suisse has decided is an "incremental concern." Indeed, per Bloomberg News, the November drop "marks the second straight double-digit decline" of iPhone shipments in the massive Chinese market.

Continue reading...

BGR Top Deals:

  1. Today’s best deals: $30 off Nintendo Switch, crazy $9 Echo Dot deal, Ring Doorbell 2 bundle, $15 Wi-Fi extender, more
  2. Amazon will pay you $30 to buy a Nintendo Switch. Seriously.

Trending Right Now:

  1. Waze just launched an awesome new feature that Google Maps should totally steal
  2. Final ‘The Witcher’ trailer shows us exactly why everyone’s calling it Netflix’s ‘Game of Thrones’
  3. Microsoft has a silly answer for a serious Xbox Scarlett problem

iPhone shipments took a big hit in one of Apple’s most important markets originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 12 Dec 2019 at 14:47:31 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Save $90 on Rosetta Stone lifetime access and get a free Fire 7 Tablet, today only
Rosetta Stone Price

If you or someone on your Christmas list plans to learn any one of the four languages covered in today's killer Rosetta Stone sale on Amazon, you definitely have to get this deal while you can. Pick up a $227 Rosetta Stone Bonus Pack Bundle with Fire 7 Tablet before they end of the day and you'll only pay $149.99, an all-time low. That includes lifetime online access plus the app, a grammar guide, and a dictionary book! The deal applies to this bundle for Spanish, Italian, French, and German, which just so happen to be among the most popular languages people want to learn.

Learn Spanish: Rosetta Stone Bonus Pack Bundle (Lifetime Online Access + Grammar Guide and Dict…: $149.99

Here are the key details from the product page:

  • Everything you need to learn Spanish in one box!
  • Rosetta Stone lifetime subscription- access our award-winning program from the cloud. It syncs across desktop, mobile, and tablet for convenient learning
  • 7" IPS display; 16 or 32 GB of internal storage (add up to 512 GB with microSD)
  • Faster 1.3 GHz quad-core processor

Learn Spanish: Rosetta Stone Bonus Pack Bundle (Lifetime Online Access + Grammar Guide and Dict…: $149.99

BGR Top Deals:

  1. Today’s best deals: $30 off Nintendo Switch, crazy $9 Echo Dot deal, Ring Doorbell 2 bundle, $15 Wi-Fi extender, more
  2. Amazon will pay you $30 to buy a Nintendo Switch. Seriously.

Trending Right Now:

  1. Waze just launched an awesome new feature that Google Maps should totally steal
  2. Final ‘The Witcher’ trailer shows us exactly why everyone’s calling it Netflix’s ‘Game of Thrones’
  3. Microsoft has a silly answer for a serious Xbox Scarlett problem

Save $90 on Rosetta Stone lifetime access and get a free Fire 7 Tablet, today only originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 12 Dec 2019 at 14:24:57 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


NASA just found a whole bunch of water ice hiding on Mars
water on mars

When NASA eventually sends humans to Mars — a mission that might not take place for another decade or more — there's a good chance they'll be targeting a region of the planet where water ice is readily available. With that in mind, it makes sense for NASA to figure out what locations on the Red Planet have the most ice.

Now, a new research effort using a pair of high-tech NASA machines has revealed a wealth of water ice hiding just below the surface across a fairly large swath of the planet. The ice is so close to the surface that the researchers say it could be easily accessed with simple tools.

Continue reading...

BGR Top Deals:

  1. Amazon will pay you $30 to buy a Nintendo Switch. Seriously.
  2. Today’s best deals: $30 off Nintendo Switch, crazy $9 Echo Dot deal, Ring Doorbell 2 bundle, $15 Wi-Fi extender, more

Trending Right Now:

  1. Waze just launched an awesome new feature that Google Maps should totally steal
  2. Microsoft has a silly answer for a serious Xbox Scarlett problem
  3. Samsung basically just confirmed the design of its next-gen Galaxy S11

NASA just found a whole bunch of water ice hiding on Mars originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 12 Dec 2019 at 14:01:11 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Get a new Instant Pot? This best-selling cookbook with 500 recipes is only $3.99
Instant Pot Recipes

As is the case each and every year during Black Friday and Cyber Week, Instant Pots were among the best-selling products out there. Did you get one for yourself this year? If so, or if you already have an Instant Pot and you're looking for new recipes, we've got a killer deal you definitely need to check out. Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Cookbook: 500 Everyday Recipes for Beginners and Advanced Users is the best-selling Instant Pot cookbook on Amazon, and the Kindle version is on sale right now for just $3.99! That's the lowest price ever, and remember, you don't need a Kindle to get it since there are Kindle apps out there for pretty much everything with a screen!

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Cookbook: 500 Everyday Recipes for Beginners and Advanced Users. Tr…: $3.99

Here's more from the product page:

Enjoy these 500 Recipes for Any Budget.
Recipes are listed step by step in a clear and understandable manner.
With this cookbook, you will cook better, tastier and faster meals for yourself and your family.

In this cookbook, you will discover…

    • Amazing meals the whole family will love.
    • Recipes for vegetarians anyone will enjoy.
    • Most recipes made for anyone with a busy lifestyle.
    • Detailed ingredient lists and precise cooking times so each dish turns out perfect.
    • Easy-to-follow instructions on making each dish in an Instant Pot.
    • Helpful tips and tricks on how to make each meal one your whole family will request time and time again.
    • Plus much more helpful information.

Eating is meant to be a shared experience and is a great time for family members to catch up with each other's day. A good meal gets them to the dinner table every time.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Cookbook: 500 Everyday Recipes for Beginners and Advanced Users. Tr…: $3.99

BGR Top Deals:

  1. Amazon will pay you $30 to buy a Nintendo Switch. Seriously.
  2. The Cocaine Santa sweater people lost their minds over is now an Amazon best-seller

Trending Right Now:

  1. Waze just launched an awesome new feature that Google Maps should totally steal
  2. Microsoft has a silly answer for a serious Xbox Scarlett problem
  3. Samsung basically just confirmed the design of its next-gen Galaxy S11

Get a new Instant Pot? This best-selling cookbook with 500 recipes is only $3.99 originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 12 Dec 2019 at 13:38:23 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


New leak might finally reveal exactly when the X-Men will finally arrive in the MCU
MCU Phase 4

We might have to wait a long time until Marvel makes another movie as epic as Avengers: Endgame, but the studio is already rebuilding the MCU to accommodate new heroes, new villains, and awesome crossovers. It all starts with next year’s Black Widow, which marks the official beginning of MCU Phase 4. We’ve already heard a bunch of exciting things about the next Marvel movies, which should deliver a few interesting stories even though there won’t be any Avengers or Guardians in them. Two upcoming MCU titles are of particular interest already, as they’re shaping up to be the biggest non-Avengers films since Captain America: Civil War when it comes to the number of high-profile heroes that will be featured in the same movie.

One of them is next year’s Eternals, which is supposed to introduce a brand new team of superheroes and potential Avengers team members. The other one premiers in 2021, and it’s a sequel that’s supposed to introduce the next big Marvel narrative. Interestingly enough, it might also introduce the one Marvel hero we’ve been dying to see in the MCU. What’s even better is that we may be looking at the most amazing cameo ever, from an actor who’s already made a name for himself playing the character.

Continue reading...

BGR Top Deals:

  1. Amazon will pay you $30 to buy a Nintendo Switch. Seriously.
  2. Hurry: AirPods Pro and AirPods 2 are somehow discounted again on Amazon

Trending Right Now:

  1. Waze just launched an awesome new feature that Google Maps should totally steal
  2. Samsung basically just confirmed the design of its next-gen Galaxy S11
  3. Microsoft has a silly answer for a serious Xbox Scarlett problem

New leak might finally reveal exactly when the X-Men will finally arrive in the MCU originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 12 Dec 2019 at 13:15:14 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Sylvania soft white LED light bulbs are somehow under $1 each in this Amazon sale
LED Light Bulbs Amazon

Remember back when LED light bulbs used to cost an arm and a leg? That's definitely not the case anymore, especially if you hurry and take advantage of this Amazon sale. Sylvania General Lighting 8.5W Soft White A19 LED Light Bulbs are the most popular bulbs on Amazon, and they're on sale right now for less than $1 each if you pick up a 24-pack. Bottom line: These things last about 20 years so you might never have to buy light bulbs again!

SYLVANIA General Lighting 74765 A19 Efficient 8.5W Soft White 2700K 60W Equivalent A29 LED Ligh…: $22.78 ($0.95 each)

Here's some additional info from the product page:

  • These LED lamps make an energy efficient replacement and substitute for standard 60 watt incandescent lamps; At 8.5 watts, each bulb emits the bright light output of 800 lumens
  • These bulbs are a great energy saving replacement for old incandescent bulbs because each lamp has a total lifespan of up to 11, 000 hours; You won't need to constantly change your lightbulbs anymore
  • These LED lightbulbs require less energy and can save money on your energy bill; Each soft white light bulb works as a great replacement for old 60 Watt incandescent bulbs
  • These LED light bulbs have a Color temperature of 2700 kelvin, which produces a soft white Color; This bulb is perfect for your nightstand, living room, or dining room
  • This bulb is not dimmable; Operating Temperature (°C): 20 to 40

SYLVANIA General Lighting 74765 A19 Efficient 8.5W Soft White 2700K 60W Equivalent A29 LED Ligh…: $22.78 ($0.95 each)

BGR Top Deals:

  1. Amazon will pay you $30 to buy a Nintendo Switch. Seriously.
  2. The Cocaine Santa sweater people lost their minds over is now an Amazon best-seller

Trending Right Now:

  1. Waze just launched an awesome new feature that Google Maps should totally steal
  2. Samsung basically just confirmed the design of its next-gen Galaxy S11
  3. Microsoft has a silly answer for a serious Xbox Scarlett problem

Sylvania soft white LED light bulbs are somehow under $1 each in this Amazon sale originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 12 Dec 2019 at 12:52:08 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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  TechNewsWorld Show All 
Google's Chrome 79 Puts Heavy Emphasis on Security
Google has released an update to its Chrome browser with a slew of new features that are heavy on security. The new version offers improved password protection over earlier versions, real-time phishing protection, and predictive phishing tools. Fifty-one security fixes is high compared with past Chrome releases, and it shows that Google recognizes the issues and has taken steps to fix them, noted James McQuiggan, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4. Chrome 79 will roll out for Windows, Mac and Linux over the next few weeks.

Facebook Won't Let US, UK, Australia Get Toe in Backdoor
Facebook has rejected a request from the U.S., the UK and Australia for a "backdoor" in its encrypted messenger apps to help law enforcement agencies combat crime and terrorism. "Cybersecurity experts have repeatedly proven that when you weaken any part of an encrypted system, you weaken it for everyone, everywhere," WhatsApp head Will Cathcart and Facebook Messenger head Stan Chudnovsky wrote in a letter to officials. "The 'backdoor' access you are demanding for law enforcement would be a gift to criminals, hackers and repressive regimes..."

Should Discord Be in Your Incident Response Toolbox?
Cybersecurity incident response teams have choices when it comes to communication tools: Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom and numerous others. Some require a subscription or commercial license -- others are free. Some are niche tools specifically designed for incident response. Some are generic business communication tools that IR teams have adapted for use during a cybersecurity incident. Professionals working in incident response know that sometimes, in a live event situation, normative communication channels unexpectedly may be unavailable.

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The Ever-Changing Face of E-Commerce: 1995-2020
E-commerce doesn't look the same today as it did in 1995. A company called "eBay" burst onto the scene that year, and Jeff Bezos shipped Amazon's first book order. That unleashed a flood of online shopping, and businesses and consumers never looked back. In the past two and a half decades, e-commerce revolutionized industries such as retail and supply chain. Americans spent $154.5 billion online in the third quarter of 2019, according to a U.S. Census estimate. E-commerce has gone from being a fledgling newcomer to an 800-pound gorilla.

6 Customer Service Trends to Watch in 2020
The era of messaging and automation is upon us! The fundamentals of delivering a good customer service experience in 2020 will be much the same as in 2019: Customers will expect convenient in-channel resolutions that take little effort on their behalf. However, with the rise of friction-free, asynchronous and personalized private messaging channels for customer service, brands' contact centers must adapt accordingly. Customers' service expectations undoubtedly have matured. Swift response times and a friendly tone of voice are not enough.

Apple Feature Forces Change in Online Ad Industry
Apple's Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature has made it difficult for online advertisers to use cookies to target Safari users based on their browsing habits. Third-party cookies "serve as the foundation for almost all advertising use cases," noted Jordan Mitchell, head of consumer privacy, identity and data at the IAB Tech Lab. The blocking "negatively affects the ability for brands to target audiences, and therefore the revenue earned by website properties," he said. Blocking tracking cookies has sent ad prices on Safari falling.

How to Turn First-Time Holiday Shoppers Into Repeat Buyers
More shoppers. Increased sales. Larger orders. This year's five-day stretch between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday left echoing "cha-chings" ringing through the retail atmosphere. A record 190 million Americans shopped during Thanksgiving weekend, and they're not done yet. This will be the first year that every day in November and December will surpass $1 billion in online sales, Adobe Digital Insights predicted. This isn't your mother's booming holiday economy, however. The majority of those 190 million U.S. consumers did their shopping online.

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PHOTOS: Fluorescent turtle embryo wins forty-fifth annual Nikon Small World Competition

PHOTOS: Fluorescent turtle embryo wins forty-fifth annual Nikon Small World CompetitionThe winners of the 45th annual competition showcase a spectacular blend of science and artistry under the microscope.



7 tax scams to watch out for this year

7 tax scams to watch out for this yearIn case wringing your hands over the tax man weren’t enough, criminals are out there trying to swipe your hard-earned cash and personal information from right under your nose.



Avowed Apple Fan Jeb Bush Realizes His Apple Watch Can Take Phone Calls

Avowed Apple Fan Jeb Bush Realizes His Apple Watch Can Take Phone CallsJeb Bush's love of Apple products has been widely documented, and the Republican presidential candidate continues to wear his Apple Watch on the campaign trail. Yesterday, in a meeting with The Des Moines Register editorial board documented by USA Today, Bush stumbled upon a feature he didn’t realize his smartwatch was capable of: taking phone calls. Somehow Bush managed to take a call without picking up his iPhone, and the sound of a person’s voice saying hello breaks through the meeting noise, to which Bush responds, “My watch can’t be talking.”



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  News Show All 
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  Latest news Show All 
Firefox now lets you send tabs from your phone or PC to your VR headset
Now that Firefox Accounts can be used with Firefox Reality, the web browser for VR, users can more easily access 3D web content in their VR headsets.
Google Assistant's Interpreter mode knows 44 languages
The real-time translation feature, now rolling out across Android and iOS phones, can also suggest "smart replies" to speed up conversations.
BenQ EH600 projector hands-on: All you need for your home or office
The BenQ EH600 projector is an impressive business projector that would not be out of place in your home theater.
New 'prescriptive' low-code segment emerging
How low-code vendors will continue to innovate and raise software delivery speed
Atlassian launches a new way to build and run apps with Forge
A development platform touted as a new way to build and run apps in the Atlassian cloud
Russian police raid NGINX Moscow office
Russian search engine Rambler.ru claims full ownership of NGINX code.
Fortinet acquires security automation provider CyberSponse
CyberSponse is known for its Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) platform.
Attackers now use process hollowing to hide cryptocurrency miners on your PC
The malware’s dropper is a skeleton that avoids detection as a malicious file.
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Most Cadillacs will be electric by 2030, says GM
If you're waiting for big companies to reduce their carbon emissions, you can forget about 2020. Apparently, 2030 is when we'll start to see changes. That's the year Amazon wants to make half its shipments carbon-neutral and Microsoft promises a 75 p...

Apple News partners on a presidential debate for the first time in February
Apple isn't just offering in-depth election news -- for 2020, it'll have a degree of participation in the process. Apple News will partner on its first political debate on February 7th, when it cooperates with ABC and WMUR-TV for the eighth Democrati...

Hulu rewards binge watchers with ad-free episodes
Hulu knows many of its viewers watch show episodes back-to-back, and it's determined to bank on that with its advertising. As AdWeek hinted back in the spring, Hulu is rolling out an ad system designed for binge watchers. The approach uses machine...

Twitter is bringing back candidate labels for the 2020 US elections
Ahead of the US elections next year, Twitter says it's bringing back election labels, a feature the company introduced during the 2018 midterms to help increase the visibility of political tweets.

Facebook pledges $130 million for its content oversight board
Over the past year, Facebook has been working to put together a content oversight board. We've heard Mark Zuckerberg's vision, and Facebook shared a charter outlining its rules. Now, Facebook is committing $130 million to the effort.

We need more tech satire like HBO's 'Silicon Valley'
When Silicon Valley premiered in 2014, it came out swinging as the Office Space of our time: a hilarious and sometimes all-too-real reflection of a tech industry high on its own supply. Over the past five years, the show, created by Mike Judge (Offic...

Square Enix unexpectedly releases ‘The Last Remnant’ on mobile
If the news that Square Enix is delaying Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition has bummed you out, the company may have something to make up for it. Without any leadup or prior announcement, the Japanese publisher has released The Last...

What to buy the PC gamer on your list
After months of thinking, curating, photographing, more thinking, we've come up with a holiday gift guide that covers all the bases (and budgets), from laptops and mobile devices, to toys, to the smart home, to book and media recommendations (only on...

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  WSJ.com: WSJD Show All 
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  CNET News Show All 
Best gifts for 12-year-old boys in 2019: 10-, 11- and 12-year-old gifts for Christmas - CNET
Whether he's a son, a brother, a cousin or a friend, finding a gift for the tweenager in your life can be difficult, but with our list of best gifts for 12-year-old boys you're sure to find something perfect.
FCC favors new C-V2X mobile network tech so cars can talk to each other - CNET
The agency's proposal would open up some airwaves for everybody's use, too. Carmakers don't like that.
Watch The Ocean Cleanup show off its horrifying plastic trash haul - CNET
There's a lot of junk in the Pacific Ocean, and an organization dedicated to cleaning it up tells us what it plans to do with all that garbage.
Hello, Big Snow: What it's like to ski North America's first indoor slope - CNET
Big Snow has opened in the American Dream mall in New Jersey. Come take a run with us in this high-tech ski dome, one of 33 in the world.
Best Amazon holiday deals for 2019: What's on sale right now, including Echo speakers, Eero Wi-Fi, Ring alarms and more - CNET
The sales keep coming. Amazon has slashed prices on many devices for the holidays, including an $80 Echo Show 8, an Eero three-pack for $190 and more.
Best last-minute gifts for 2019: Gift cards, Netflix, Disney Plus and more - CNET
Gift cards and online services that are easy to give and exciting to receive.
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  SlashdotShow All 
FTC May Try To Delay Facebook's Plan To Integrate its Apps
Facebook's stock took a dive on Thursday following a report that federal regulators may seek to prevent the company from more tightly integrating its social media products. From a report: The Federal Trade Commission is said to be

Inside the Podcast that Hacks Ring Camera Owners Live on Air
In the NulledCast podcast hackers livestream the harassment of Ring camera owners after accessing their devices. Hundreds of people can listen. From a report: A blaring siren suddenly rips through the Ring camera, startling the Fl

Google Adds Spam Detection and Verified Business SMS To Messages
Businesses often send one-time passwords, account alerts and appointment confirmations via text. But if you've ever received one of those, you know they tend to come from a random number, and bad actors can take advantage of that

Rude Paper Reviews Are Pervasive and Sometimes Harmful, Study Finds
sciencehabit writes: There's a running joke in academia about Reviewer 2. That's the reviewer that doesn't bother to read the manuscript a journal has sent out for evaluation for possible publication, offers condescending or outri

'Link in Bio' is a Slow Knife
Anil Dash: We don't even notice it anymore -- "link in bio." It's a pithy phrase, usually found on Instagram, which directs an audience to be aware that a pertinent web link can be found on that user's profile. Its presence is so

Russian Police Raid NGINX Moscow Office
Russian police have raided today the Moscow offices of NGINX, Inc., a subsidiary of F5 Networks and the company behind the internet's most popular web server technology. From a report: Equipment was seized and employees were detai

AI R&D is Booming, But General Intelligence is Still Out of Reach
The AI world is booming in a range of metrics covering research, education, and technical achievements, according to AI Index report -- an annual rundown of machine learning data points now in its third year. From a news writeup,

Getting Drivers for Old Hardware Is Harder Than Ever
At least one major provider of hardware-level BIOS drivers is actively deleting old stuff it no longer supports, while old FTP sites where vintage drivers are often found are soon going to be harder to reach. Ernie Smith, writing


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Facebook delays naming oversight board members until 2020
Facebook will not announce the first members of its independent oversight board this year as it originally expected, the company said on Thursday.
Size, colour and smell: Livestreaming rings up big sales in China
Zhang Dayi tugs at the sleeve of her grey sweater and rubs the material as 2.3 million viewers watch her every move.
Apple supplier Japan Display to receive $830 million from asset manager Ichigo
Apple supplier Japan Display Inc said on Thursday it plans to receive up to 90 billion yen ($830 million) in financial support from Ichigo Asset Management, giving effective control to the Japanese asset manager.
Samsung to invest an extra $8 billion in China chip plant - media
Samsung Electronics will increase investment at its chip factory in China by $8 billion to boost production of NAND flash memory chips, Chinese media reported on Tuesday.
Researchers criticize AI software that predicts emotions
A prominent group of researchers alarmed by the harmful social effects of artificial intelligence called Thursday for a ban on automated analysis of facial expressions in hiring and other major decisions.
Nokia, Daimler, others agreed to mediation to resolve licensing dispute
Nokia, German carmaker Daimler and several car parts suppliers have agreed to independent mediation to resolve their technology licensing dispute, the Finnish telecoms equipment maker said on Thursday.
Japan tax revision targets corporate cashpile to spur spending, 5G investment
Japan unveiled tax measures on Thursday aimed at encouraging companies to spend their cash piles on start-ups and other investments and stimulating a slowing economy, while also helping firms to compete with China's advance in 5G
Australia tells Facebook and Google to commit to competition rules, or else
Australia said on Thursday technology giants such as Facebook Inc and Google will have to agree to new rules to ensure they do not abuse their market power and damage competition, or the government will impose new controls on th
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Privacy at risk

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Family says Ring camera in 8-year-old daughter's room accessed by hacker

A family in Mississippi says a hacker gained access to a Ring camera installed in their 8-year-old daughter's room and used it to talk to her.

      

Facebook disinformation in the 2020 presidential election: What you can do to stop its spread

Fake Trump post? Liberal hoax?Facebook disinformation in the 2020 presidential election will be a major problem. What you can do to stop its spread.

      

Private helicopter rides, strip clubs: 8 crazy things you put on your expense report

People get creative when filing expense reports. But asking an employer to reimburse you for strip clubs or cufflinks may be pushing it too far.

      

Hey, Google, be my Spanish translator

New feature announced in January, but finally available for phones. Get a two-way conversation, and have the other person's voice recognized as well.

      

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  TechCrunch Show All 
Pandora launches interactive voice ads

Pandora has begun to test a new type of advertising format that allows listeners to respond to the ad by speaking aloud. In the new ads, listeners are prompted to say “yes” after the ad asks a question and a tone plays. The ads will then offer more information about the product or brand in question.

Debut advertisers testing the new format include Doritos, Ashley HomeStores, Unilever, Wendy’s, Turner Broadcasting, Comcast, and Nestle.

The ads begin by explaining what they are and how they’ll work. They then play a short and simple message followed by a question that listeners are supposed to respond to.

For example, the Wendy’s ad asks listeners if they’re hungry, and if they say “yes” the ad continues by offering a recommendation about what to eat. The DiGiorno’s pizza ad asks listeners to say “yes” to hear the punchline of a pizza-themed joke. The Ashely HomeStores ad engages listeners by offering tips on getting a better night’s sleep. And so on.

The new format capitalizes on Pandora’s underlying voice technology which also powers the app’s smart voice assistant, Voice Mode, launched earlier this year. While Voice Mode lets Pandora users control their music hands-free, the voice ads aim to get users to engage with the advertiser’s content hands-free, as opposed to tapping the on the screen or visiting a link to get more information.

The company believes these types of ads will be more meaningful as they force listeners to pay attention. For the brand advertisers, voice ads offer a way to more directly measure how many people an ad reached — something that’s not possible with traditional audio ads, which by their nature aren’t clickable.

Pandora announced its plans to test interactive voice ads back in April of this year, initially with San Francisco-based adtech company, Instreamatic. At the time, it said it would launch the new format into beta testing by Q4, as it now has.

The ad format arrives at a time when consumers have become more comfortable talking to digital voice assistants, like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. There’s also an increased expectation that services we interact with will support voice commands — like when we’re speaking to Fire TV or Apple TV to find something to watch or asking Pandora or Spotify to play our favorite music.

But consumers’ appetite for interactive voice advertisements is still largely untested. Even Amazon limited voice ads on its Alexa platform for fear of alienating users who would find them disruptive to the core experience.

In Pandora’s case, however, users don’t have to play along. The company says if the user doesn’t respond within a couple of seconds or if they say no, the music resumes playback.

Pandora says the ads will begin running for a small subset of listeners using its app starting today.

 


DataRobot is acquiring Paxata to add data prep to machine learning platform

DataRobot, a company best known for creating automated machine learning models known as AutoML, announced today that it intends to acquire Paxata, a data prep platform startup. The companies did not reveal the purchase price.

Paxata raised a total of $90 million before today’s acquisition, according to the company.

Up until now, DataRobot has concentrated mostly on the machine learning and data science aspect of the workflow — building and testing the model, then putting it into production. The data prep was left to other vendors like Paxata, but DataRobot, which raised $206 million in September, saw an opportunity to fill in a gap in their platform with Paxata.

“We’ve identified, because we’ve been focused on machine learning for so long, a number of key data prep capabilities that are required for machine learning to be successful. And so we see an opportunity to really build out a unique and compelling data prep for machine learning offering that’s powered by the Paxata product, but takes the knowledge and understanding and the integration with the machine learning platform from DataRobot,” Phil Gurbacki, SVP of product development and customer experience at DataRobot, told TechCrunch.

Prakash Nanduri, CEO and co-founder at Paxata, says the two companies were a great fit and it made a lot of sense to come together. “DataRobot has got a significant number of customers, and every one of their customers have a data and information management problem. For us, the deal allows us to rapidly increase the number of customers that are able to go from data to value. By coming together, the value to the customer is increased at an exponential level,” he explained.

DataRobot is based in Boston, while Paxata is in Redwood City, Calif. The plan moving forward is to make Paxata a west coast office, and all of the company’s almost 100 employees will become part of DataRobot when the deal closes.

While the two companies are working together to integrate Paxata more fully into the DataRobot platform, the companies also plan to let Paxata continue to exist as a standalone product.

DataRobot has raised more than $431 million, according to PitchBook data. It raised $206 million of that in its last round. At the time, the company indicated it would be looking for acquisition opportunities when it made sense.

This match-up seems particularly good, given how well the two companies’ capabilities complement one another, and how much customer overlap they have. The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.


Join TechCrunch for our 3rd Annual Winter Party

After last year’s stellar turn out of almost 1,000 Silicon Valley shakers and movers, TechCrunch is returning with the 3rd Annual Winter Party at Galvanize in San Francisco on February 7.

The party will feature tasty beers, wine and canapés, party games and activities, plenty of photo ops (and our infamous karaoke), giveaways and some fun surprises. As you network your way across the sea of attendees, you’ll also get to check-out a handful of promising early-stage startups just waiting for their big break.

The shindig will be held in the multi-level facility at Galvanize in San Francisco on Friday, February 7. While the venue is large, it won’t be able to hold all of Silicon Valley, so tickets are very limited and will be released on a rolling basis for $85 each. If you’re a startup and want to demo your product at this event, demo tables are available for purchase at $1,500 each. Demo tickets are limited too, so get yours before we sell out!

More about the Winter Party:

When? Friday, February 7, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Where? Galvanize, 44 Tehama St., San Francisco, CA 94105

How? Get tickets here for just $85 each. There are only a limited number of tickets for this event. Tickets will be released in batches, so if you don’t see any availability, stay tuned to TechCrunch for our next release, as they sell out quickly. TechCrunch parties have a history of being the place you want to meet your future investor, acquirer or co-founder. And to top it all off, we’re going to give away some really great door prizes, like TC swag and tickets to Disrupt SF, our flagship event coming in September 2020.

Hope to see you all there!

Our sponsors help make TechCrunch events happen. If you are interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact our sponsorship team by filling out this form.


Google makes moving data to its cloud easier

Google Cloud today announced Transfer Service, a new service for enterprises that want to move their data from on-premise systems to the cloud. This new managed service is meant for large-scale transfers on the scale of billions of files and petabytes of data. It complements similar services from Google that allow you to ship data to its data centers via a hardware appliance and FedEx or to automate data transfers from SaaS applications to Google’s BigQuery service.

Transfer Service handles all of the hard work of validating your data’s integrity as it moves to the cloud. The agent automatically handles failures and uses as much available bandwidth as it can to reduce transfer times.

To do this, all you have to do is install an agent on your on-premises servers, select the directories you want to copy and let the service do its job. You can then monitor and manage your transfer jobs from the Google Cloud console.

The obvious use case for this is archiving and disaster recovery. But Google is also targeting companies that are looking to lift and shift workloads (and their attached data), as well as analytics and machine learning use cases.

As with most of Google Cloud’s recent product launches, the focus here is squarely on enterprise customers. Google wants to make it easier for them to move their workloads to its cloud, and for most workloads, that also involves moving lots of data as well.


The last decade in real estate, and a peek into the next one

As we barrel towards the start of a new decade, it’s amazing to think about the ongoing transformation within real estate.

In the U.S., housing’s contribution to our GDP is ~15-18% spread across residential transactions, construction and housing services (i.e. rent, utilities, insurance, etc.) For the average homeowner, their primary residence is the biggest component of their net worth. And for employers, affordable housing programs can increase employee retention, productivity and success on the job. Apple, Google and Facebook have all launched different programs focused on addressing the high cost of living, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area.          

Technology has allowed for some real progress 

Technology has accelerated the rate of progress within the real estate vertical. There are now more than a dozen real estate tech companies valued at an aggregate ~$75 billion (depending on where The We Company lands in the coming months). This batch includes three publicly-traded companies (Zillow, Real Page and Redfin), two others primed to go public in the next year (Airbnb and Procore) and one other that recently put its IPO plans on hold (Lemonade).

us vcv backed real estate tech

New entrants have succeeded by bringing a fresh take to the category and/or creating entirely new categories. Airbnb, WeWork, Knotel and Sonder have all used the “monetize underutilized assets” playbook — applied in either residential or commercial settings. Compass and Redfin are re-imagining what it means to be a modern, tech-enabled brokerage firm. Realpage and Procore are bringing application software solutions to property management and construction. Lemonade and LendingHome are more traditional fintech companies applied to the real estate transaction ecosystem.

Significant opportunities remain

Over the coming decade, we at Oak HC/FT expect more innovation to come within real estate as we anticipate a continued influx of talent into the sector. And we think the total market cap of real estate tech companies could more than double to $200 billion in aggregate value by 2030. Here are some of the innovations and companies we are watching in 2020 and beyond:

  • More value for buyers and sellers: Zillow brought much needed transparency into what was “on the market” (i.e. the top of the funnel). But the home transaction process is still convoluted and prohibitively expensive. In recent years, there has been a wave of new entrants focused on improving the transaction process in different ways, each with a slightly different approach. The iBuyers, like Opendoor and Offerpad, allow for sellers to sell instantly. Flyhomes allows buyers to put down cash offers. ZeroDown and Divvy lower the barrier to entry to buying a home. And Homie brings assembly-line specialization and vertical integration to drive down agent commissions. In the coming years there will be multiple wins here, with each appealing to different segments of this massive market.    
  • Better tools for ecosystem players: Agents and other providers are itching for better software tools to do their jobs. Side provides agents with all the tools they need (across marketing, vendor management, legal, insurance and transaction coordination) to run their own business — rather than relying on the incumbent brokerages with their hefty fees. Qualia, Spruce and Modus provide next generation title and escrow services. Great Jones, TenantCloud, Avail and Mynd help landlords better manage their properties. 
  • Increased access to data: The availability of data for decision making, especially on the commercial side, is still very much underdeveloped. Crexi has brought a Zillow-like experience to listing commercial properties. Reonomy has made nice progress using machine learning to surface key financial and asset-level data on commercial properties. We expect these and other new entrants to win big by bringing more transparency to commercial real estate.
  • Greater flexibility in how we work and live: As the demands of modern life have changed, so too have the ways in which consumers desire to work and live. The Wing and HubHaus provide communities that appeal to more targeted groups. Feather allows its customers to rent furniture wherever they live or work. And prefab housing companies, including Dvele, enable consumers to design their home before moving in.

But core challenges need to be addressed


Is Facebook dead to Gen Z?

The writing is on the wall for Facebook — the platform is losing market share, fast, among young users.

Edison Research’s Infinite Dial study from early 2019 showed that 62% of U.S. 12–34 year-olds are Facebook users, down from 67% in 2018 and 79% in 2017. This decrease is particularly notable as 35–54 and 55+ age group usage has been constant or even increased.

There are many theories behind Facebook’s fall from grace among millennials and Gen Zers — an influx of older users that change the dynamics of the platform, competition from more mobile and visual-friendly platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, and the company’s privacy scandals are just a few.

We surveyed 115 of our Accelerated campus ambassadors to learn more about how they’re using Facebook today. It’s worth noting that this group skews older Gen Z (ages 18–24); we suspect you’d get different results if you surveyed younger teens.

Overall penetration is still high, as 99% of our respondents have Facebook accounts. And most aren’t abandoning the platform entirely — 59% are on Facebook every day, and another 32% are on weekly. Daily Facebook usage is much lower than Instagram, however, which 82% of our respondents use daily and 7% use weekly.

Data from our scouts also confirms that the shift in usage in the last few years is particularly dramatic among younger users. 66% report using Facebook less frequently over the past two years, compared to 11% who use it more frequently (23% say their usage hasn’t changed).

What’s most interesting is what college students are using Facebook for. When we were in high school and college in the early/mid 2010s, our friends used Facebook to post (broadcast) content via their status, photos, and posts on friends’ Walls. Today, very few students use Facebook to “broadcast” content. Only 5% of our respondents say they regularly upload photos to Facebook, 4% post on friends’ Walls, and 3.5% post content to the Newsfeed (statuses). What are they doing instead?


Kepler to launch two batches of nanosatellites aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9

Small-satellite startup Kepler Communications is teaming up with SpaceX to make good on its deployment goals for its first nanosatellite constellation. SpaceX will carry two separate batches of nanosatellites from Kepler aboard its Falcon 9 launch vehicles.

Kepler Communications, a Toronto-based space startup, will be building out a low-power, direct IoT connectivity satellite-based network, as well as a more high-capacity network powered with the same satellites to provide high-speed data transfer capabilities.

In total, Kepler will launch 400 kg (around 880 lbs) of payload with SpaceX, making use of the rideshare program that the Elon Musk-run company announced earlier this year. This launch will put the Kepler spacecraft into Sun-synchronous orbit, which means that they will pass over specific points on Earth at the same time each day as judged by the Sun’s position.

All told, Kepler will aim to put a total of 140 satellites in orbit across three phases of launch spanning 2020 to 2023. The goal is to operate the constellation as a relay system to help transfer data to other satellite constellations in orbit.


Hulu launches its viewer-friendly ‘binge watch ads’

Hulu today is launching a new kind of ad experience that allows brands to specifically target binge-watchers — that is, viewers who are watching multiple episodes of a favorite program over a long stretch of time. These “binge watch ads” utilize machine learning techniques to predict when a viewer has begun to binge watch a show, then serves up contextually relevant ads that acknowledge a binge is underway. This culminates when the viewer reaches the third episode, at which point they’re informed the next episode is ad-free or presents a personalized offer from the brand partner.

The binge watch ad concept was first announced at Hulu’s annual NewFronts presentation in May, where it introduces to advertisers its new shows, features and ad formats. The company regularly experiments with new advertising formats designed to better cater to a streaming audience in a less obtrusive way. For example, Hulu already offers “pause ads,” which only appear when the viewer presses the pause button.

Hulu says it made sense to target binge watchers because binging is now such a common way for people to watch their favorite shows. Today, 75% of U.S. consumers say they binge watch, and on Hulu specifically, nearly 50% of ad-supported viewing hours are spent during binge watch sessions. Hulu defines a “binge” as a viewer watching three or more episodes of a series at a given time.

The debut advertisers to capitalize on the new binge watch ad format include Kellogg’s, Maker’s Mark and Georgia-Pacific, by way of Hulu’s exclusive launch agency partner, Publicis Media.

Kellogg’s will promote Cheez-It Snap’d snacks during their binge ads, while Georgia Pacific will tout its Sparkle paper towels. Marker’s Mark, of course, will promote its bourbon.

The brands say they were interested in the new format because it gives them a way to reach and reward the consumer during a marathon entertainment session, and because it’s a better fit with how today’s consumers watch TV. Thanks to the rise of ad-free subscription video services like Netflix, viewers are less receptive to disruptive advertising that interrupts their viewing. In fact, they can even sour on a brand when its ad plays repeatedly throughout the viewing session.

Offering brands the ability to sponsor an episode, ad-free, instead creates more positive sentiments among viewers.

Hulu’s focus on developing new ad formats that better fit how today’s consumers watch TV may give it an advantage over rivals. Its ad-supported product is now one of many options for streaming TV — and one that goes up against a number of free services, including The Roku Channel, Amazon’s IMDb TV, Sinclair’s Stirr, Viacom’ s Pluto TV, Tubi, YouTube, Vudu’s Movies on Us (Walmart), Plex and others.


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Facebook wants to use your Oculus data for ads because of course it does

Oculus this week revealed it’s rolling out a batch of new social features tied to Facebook. While the features themselves seem innocuous enough, they come with the caveat that you have to allow Facebook access to your Oculus data. Oculus‘s new features include chats with friends, Events and Groups that let you arrange multiplayer sessions with your friends, links you can share with your friends that let them join you exactly where you are in any given VR app — basically there’s lots of stuff involving friends. You can also livestream your gameplay directly to Facebook, or share photos or…

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EyeQue VisionCheck® helps you keep tabs on your eye health at home.

Helping us see the world and all its beauty, the human eye is nothing short of a biological marvel, but it's also incredibly delicate. So, you'd best take care of it if you want to keep seeing the world and all its splendor down the road. While nothing beats a routine trip to the ophthalmologist, there are steps you can take to keep tabs on your eye health right at home, like theEyeQue VisionCheck ® monitor.

The iPhone is now the internet’s preferred porn streaming device

The numbers don’t lie: Tons of people are ditching their desktops and laptops, and watching porn straight from their phones, or so suggest the figures from the internet‘s most visited adult entertainment platform, Pornhub. The site’s annual data review reveals that 76.6 percent of users consume smut via their phones. That’s a 5-percent increase compared to 2018’s 71.6 percent. The bigger news? The iPhone has finally become the world’s preferred porn streaming device, snatching the reins from Android. Yep, iOS accounted for 52.8 percent of all mobile traffic, leaving Android in second place with 46.6 percent. That’s what happens when Apple releases…

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Or just read more coverage about: iPhone

ING bank wants to give clients a compliant way to store cryptocurrency, report

Major Dutch bank ING is developing technology so that its clients can safely store digital assets like cryptocurrencies, Reuters reports citing sources familiar with the matter. The firm then told reporters it sees “increasing opportunities” surrounding digital assets, both asset-backed and native security tokens. ING noted a focus on providing a compliant way to access the sector. Reuters‘ sources said that the custody project is operating out of its Amsterdam offices, but that it’s still in its early stages. The bank reportedly also has several other blockchain initiatives. Keeping cryptocurrency safe has become a business in itself. Last year, prominent…

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Why designers need to look beyond 2 genders

Something I’ve been ruminating on for a long time is our lack of gender options when users register for products and services. I’m not the first one to notice this, but it’s still happening, and it’s more prevalent than we realize. While I personally identify as a cisgender female, I still care about this issue because it affects many good people, including the ones I care about. Max Masure wrote a great article on why cisgender people should be normalizing pronoun usage that I would recommend for other cisgender people to help educate themselves. In this article, they mention how cisgender people…

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A PMP certification can add 20% to your paycheck. For $79, this training can get you there.

PMP certified project managers make about 20 percent more annually than their uncertified colleagues. In a position that routinely pays in the six-figure range, that adds up quickly. So investing in the right PMP certification training is really a sound investment in yourself that can pay off with tangible results.

Video: What’s new with the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max?

Ahh, we’re still in that glorious, sweet honeymoon period with the new iPhones. It’s not been too long since they were released and, with Christmas just around the corner, you might be considering picking one up for yourself. Thing is, unless you spend a lot of time reading about Apple‘s devices (like sad, little loser me), it can be confusing to work out what separates them all. But don’t worry, we’ve got you. We’ve already put together videos on the differences between the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max, as well as what’s new with the iPhone…

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SEC: Crypto ‘entrepreneur’ illegally raised $42M, spent funds on dating and rent

Cryptocurrency ‘entrepreneurs’ beware: US regulators haven’t forgotten about your dodgy initial coin offering (ICO). The SEC has just charged the head of a crypto startup for allegedly cheating investors out millions of dollars by lying about non-existent partnerships. The SEC’s complaint claims that between August 2017 and April 2018, UnitedData founder Eran Eyal fraudulently sold unregistered securities via an ICO for “Shopin Tokens.” Capital raised by selling Shopin Tokens was supposed to be used to create shopper profiles that track purchase histories across online retailers, which were purportedly to be maintained by a blockchain. According to the SEC, Shopin never created…

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