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  BGR Show All 
Apparently we’re all supposed to be nice to wasps now
wasps vs bees

Bees and wasps are two very different creatures. Bees are friendly little fellas that give us honey and might maybe leave a welt on your arm if you happen to cross into their personal space. Wasps, on the other hand, are nasty, aggressive fight-starters who come flying out of your Pepsi can to sting you right in the eyeball, and then laugh about it.

That's the public perception that scientists are now trying to change.

As BBC News reports, researchers are noticing a dramatic shift in the way bees are perceived when compared to wasps, but they're warning that both types of insects are vitally important to the environment, even if one of them seems to be more rude than the other.

Continue reading...

BGR Top Deals:

  1. I can’t even use my AirPods anymore without this $12 accessory
  2. Today’s best deals: $20 Bluetooth headphones, $40 4K Fire TV, $40 off Kindle Paperwhite, air fryer, more

Trending Right Now:

  1. Samsung accidentally leaked four different versions of the Galaxy S10
  2. iOS 12 is so good on older iPhones that people are rethinking their iPhone XS upgrades
  3. Apple Watch Series 4 review roundup: There’s no other smartwatch like it

Apparently we’re all supposed to be nice to wasps now originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 19 Sep 2018 at 18:42:29 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Scientists are trying to figure out why sharks keep gathering in the middle of nowhere every single year
white shark cafe

Being some of the most dangerous creatures in Earth's oceans, sharks have been the subject of extensive study for many, many years. Scientists know a lot about their diet, behavior, and even what causes the sharks to sometimes mistakenly attack humans. Despite all this, one big question remains: Why do so many sharks travel to the exact same spot in the middle of nowhere, year after year?

The location, nicknamed the White Shark Cafe, is located roughly halfway between Baja California and Hawaii, and every winter it becomes a hot spot for several species of shark, including great whites, blues, and makos. But figuring out exactly what they're doing there has taken years of research, and it's not done yet.

Continue reading...

BGR Top Deals:

  1. I can’t even use my AirPods anymore without this $12 accessory
  2. Today’s best deals: $20 Bluetooth headphones, $40 4K Fire TV, $40 off Kindle Paperwhite, air fryer, more

Trending Right Now:

  1. Samsung accidentally leaked four different versions of the Galaxy S10
  2. iOS 12 is so good on older iPhones that people are rethinking their iPhone XS upgrades
  3. Apple Watch Series 4 review roundup: There’s no other smartwatch like it

Scientists are trying to figure out why sharks keep gathering in the middle of nowhere every single year originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 19 Sep 2018 at 18:23:44 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Leaked OnePlus 6T image suggests one of the rumors floating around was wrong
OnePlus 6T Release Date

We learned quite a few details about the OnePlus 6T over the past few days, including the fact that the phone will sport an in-display fingerprint sensor, that it’ll lack a headphone jack, and that it’ll be available from T-Mobile, the first carrier in the US to ever partner with the Chinese smartphone maker. A new leak now tells us that the phone won’t have three cameras on the back, which is something that had previously been rumored on several occasions.

Continue reading...

BGR Top Deals:

  1. I can’t even use my AirPods anymore without this $12 accessory
  2. Today’s best deals: $20 Bluetooth headphones, $40 4K Fire TV, $40 off Kindle Paperwhite, air fryer, more

Trending Right Now:

  1. Samsung accidentally leaked four different versions of the Galaxy S10
  2. iOS 12 is so good on older iPhones that people are rethinking their iPhone XS upgrades
  3. Apple Watch Series 4 review roundup: There’s no other smartwatch like it

Leaked OnePlus 6T image suggests one of the rumors floating around was wrong originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 19 Sep 2018 at 17:59:37 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


‘PUBG’ might finally be coming to PS4
PUBG PS4 release date

Microsoft shelled out last year to ensure PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) would be an Xbox One console exclusive for a limited amount of time, but it looks like that window may soon be closing. On Wednesday, Eurogamer spotted what appears to be an official rating for a PS4 version of PUBG on the Korean Game Rating Board, possibly spoiling an upcoming announcement that the game will be migrating from the Xbox One.

While PUBG has been an Xbox One console exclusive for over a year now, it was part of the Game Preview program for unfinished games until it launched at the beginning of September. Sony doesn't have an early access program, so if it does arrive on other consoles soon, PS4 owners will presumably get the full game up front.

Continue reading...

BGR Top Deals:

  1. I can’t even use my AirPods anymore without this $12 accessory
  2. Today’s best deals: $20 Bluetooth headphones, $40 4K Fire TV, $40 off Kindle Paperwhite, air fryer, more

Trending Right Now:

  1. Samsung accidentally leaked four different versions of the Galaxy S10
  2. iOS 12 is so good on older iPhones that people are rethinking their iPhone XS upgrades
  3. Apple Watch Series 4 review roundup: There’s no other smartwatch like it

‘PUBG’ might finally be coming to PS4 originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 19 Sep 2018 at 17:34:26 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Report: Your cellphone is going to get tons more spam calls next year
Spam calls

If you've ever answered a call to your cellphone that had an unfamiliar number but a local area code, making you wonder well maybe I ought to see who this is only to find out it's a spam call, we have some bad news. That's going to happen a lot more next year.

A new report is out predicting that almost half of all U.S. mobile traffic in 2019 will be attributable to scam calls. The forecast comes from Arkansas-based First Orion, a company that offers caller ID and call blocking technology and thinks such calls will hit 45 percent of all cellphone calls next year. That's up from just 3.7 percent last year, which ballooned to almost 30 percent this year.

Continue reading...

BGR Top Deals:

  1. Today’s best deals: $20 Bluetooth headphones, $40 4K Fire TV, $40 off Kindle Paperwhite, air fryer, more
  2. I can’t even use my AirPods anymore without this $12 accessory

Trending Right Now:

  1. Samsung accidentally leaked four different versions of the Galaxy S10
  2. iOS 12 is so good on older iPhones that people are rethinking their iPhone XS upgrades
  3. Apple Watch Series 4 review roundup: There’s no other smartwatch like it

Report: Your cellphone is going to get tons more spam calls next year originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 19 Sep 2018 at 17:11:08 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


New tests prove that updating to iOS 12 really does speed up your old iPhone or iPad
iOS 12 speed upgrade

Much like the iPhone XS, Apple's latest iOS update is more concerned with performance improvements than it is with new features or functionality. If you visit Apple's landing page for iOS 12, you'll see that performance is the first thing that the company highlights: 70% faster swipe to Camera, 50% faster keyboard display, and 2x faster app launch under heavy workload, to name a few. But are the upgrades enough to actually make a difference?

Ars Technica attempted to answer this question by installing iOS 12 on three old devices: an iPhone 5S, an iPhone 6 Plus, and an iPad mini 2. Once they were all updated, Ars Technica measured app launch times on the devices and stacked them up against launch times on at least one older version of iOS.

Continue reading...

BGR Top Deals:

  1. Today’s best deals: $20 Bluetooth headphones, $40 4K Fire TV, $40 off Kindle Paperwhite, air fryer, more
  2. I can’t even use my AirPods anymore without this $12 accessory

Trending Right Now:

  1. Samsung accidentally leaked four different versions of the Galaxy S10
  2. iOS 12 is so good on older iPhones that people are rethinking their iPhone XS upgrades
  3. AT&T is already dreaming up ways to milk 5G for every possible cent

New tests prove that updating to iOS 12 really does speed up your old iPhone or iPad originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 19 Sep 2018 at 16:49:30 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Nintendo Switch Online now available in the 6.0 update – here are the patch notes
Nintendo Switch Online

Following several months of delays, the Nintendo Switch Online service finally launched on Monday night, bringing with it cloud saves, classic NES games, and paid online play. We've already covered the service in great detail in our extensive FAQ, but in addition to Nintendo Switch Online, the company also rolled out system update version 6.0.0, which includes a variety of features, fixes and improvements beyond the online service.

We knew about some of these additions ahead of the system update, but there are a few surprises as well, such as the new user icons and the ability to upload up to four screenshots to a social media platform at once. Other than the online service, this isn't the most significant update to date, but it's more than we expected.

Continue reading...

BGR Top Deals:

  1. Today’s best deals: $20 Bluetooth headphones, $40 4K Fire TV, $40 off Kindle Paperwhite, air fryer, more
  2. I can’t even use my AirPods anymore without this $12 accessory

Trending Right Now:

  1. Samsung accidentally leaked four different versions of the Galaxy S10
  2. iOS 12 is so good on older iPhones that people are rethinking their iPhone XS upgrades
  3. AT&T is already dreaming up ways to milk 5G for every possible cent

Nintendo Switch Online now available in the 6.0 update – here are the patch notes originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 19 Sep 2018 at 16:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Toshiba’s 4K TVs with built-in Fire TV are on sale again, with prices starting at just $299.99
Best 55-inch 4K TV

People pretty much lost their minds when Toshiba and Amazon launched special versions of the LF621U19 4K TV earlier this year. This is an outstanding television with a great design and a beautiful screen, and it has Fire TV built right in! It's perfect for cord cutters of course, but also for anyone who wants the best media streaming experience without having to buy a separate box. But the real kicker was the pricing, with a 50-inch version available for just $400 and a 55-inch model that costs $500. If you thought those prices were good, prepare to be blown away because Amazon is running a huge sale right now. the 55-inch Toshiba 4K Fire TV is on sale for $429.99 right now, the 50-inch model is only $349.99, and the 43-inch TV is on sale for just $299.99!

Toshiba 55LF621U19 55-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV with HDR - Fire TV Edition: $429.99

Toshiba 50LF621U19 50-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV with HDR - Fire TV Edition: $349.99

Toshiba 43LF621U19 43-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV with HDR - Fire TV Edition: $299.99

Here are the bullet points from the product page:

  • Toshiba 4K UHD Smart TV – Fire TV Edition delivers true-to-life 4K Ultra HD picture quality with over 8 million pixels for stunning clarity, deep contrast, and vivid colors.
  • With the Fire TV experience built-in, enjoy tens of thousands of channels, apps, and Alexa skills, including Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and more.
  • Fire TV Edition seamlessly integrates live over-the-air TV and streaming channels on a unified home screen (HD antenna required).
  • Easily control your TV with the included Voice Remote with Alexa—plus, launch apps, search for TV shows, play music, switch inputs, control smart home devices, and more, using just your voice.
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): TV without stand: 49.1” x 28.7” x 3.7”, TV with stand: 49.1” x 30.2” x 12”. Multiple device input/output options: 3 HDMI including 1 with ARC, USB, composite input, digital output (optical), antenna/cable output, audio output, Ethernet.

BGR Top Deals:

  1. Today’s best deals: $20 Bluetooth headphones, $40 4K Fire TV, $40 off Kindle Paperwhite, air fryer, more
  2. I can’t even use my AirPods anymore without this $12 accessory

Trending Right Now:

  1. Samsung accidentally leaked four different versions of the Galaxy S10
  2. iOS 12 is so good on older iPhones that people are rethinking their iPhone XS upgrades
  3. Apple Watch Series 4 review roundup: There’s no other smartwatch like it

Toshiba’s 4K TVs with built-in Fire TV are on sale again, with prices starting at just $299.99 originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 19 Sep 2018 at 16:07:25 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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  TechNewsWorld Show All 
Amazon Has Big Plans for Alexa in Homes, Cars
Amazon will unveil eight new Alexa-powered devices for the car and home before the end of the year, according to a report. They include a microwave oven, an amplifier, a receiver, a subwoofer and an in-car gadget. Amazon is expected to reveal some of the devices at an event later this month. All the devices will connect easily to Alexa, and some will have the voice assistant built in. The products mark Amazon's first move into the home appliances market, an area where competitors have already staked out their turf.

The Future of Open Source
Linux and the open source business model are far different today than many of the early developers might have hoped. Neither can claim a rags-to-riches story. Rather, their growth cycles have been a series of hit-or-miss milestones. The Linux desktop has yet to find a home on the majority of consumer and enterprise computers. However, Linux-powered technology has long ruled the Internet and conquered the cloud and Internet of Things deployments. Both Linux and free open source licensing have dominated in other ways.

Apple Watch Goes All-In With Health and Fitness Focus
Apple aimed to stretch its lead in the smartwatch market when it introduced its Apple Watch Series 4 last week. The redesigned and re-engineered line features a bigger display, thinner and smaller case, an interface with richer detail, and some innovative health applications enabled by new sensor, accelerometer and gyroscope hardware. "Between watchOS 5 and what they revealed to us last week, there's a lot of cool things to like about this," said Ramon T. Llamas, senior research analyst at IDC.

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ACLU Sues Facebook for Facilitating Gender-Biased Job Recruitment
The ACLU and others have filed charges of unlawful gender-based discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Facebook and 10 employers accused of targeting job ads at males only. The ACLU, Outten & Golden, a Washington, D.C. law firm, and the Communications Workers of America brought the action on behalf of three female workers, the hundreds of thousands of female workers represented by the CWA, and a class of millions of female workers allegedly denied job opportunities due to their gender.

Utopia or Disaster? AI's Transformation of Sales
If there's one thing that can be said with certainty about artificial intelligence in the field of sales, it's this: It's coming. Solutions for sales leaders, account executives and business development reps tout various AI-enabled features and the benefits they offer to sales. Writers breathlessly forecast the loss of millions of jobs due to AI, including the decimation of most professions, sales included. Beyond the hype, what is true? What are the real positive and negative implications of AI on the sales profession?

Despite Emmys, Road Ahead Is Bumpy for Streaming Services
Netflix had a very good showing on Monday, winning 23 Emmy Awards and tying longtime Emmy-winning powerhouse HBO. Netflix, an over-the-top streaming service, claimed 112 nominations this year, four more than its premium pay-TV channel rival HBO, which had dominated the Emmys for nearly two decades. Although the Emmy wins were good news for Netflix, other recent news has been far less rosy. The largest U.S. telecom companies have been slowing mobile Internet traffic to and from Netflix and other services, including YouTube.

Blockchain (Re)Emerges
More often than you might think, disruptive innovations travel in pairs -- at least until they are separated by the markets, which decide one is useful and the other no so much. Sometimes they're symbiotic. Both may be useful or even necessary -- like hardware and software -- but that's not always the case. Consider the strange pairing of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. The latter, using the former, tried to insinuate itself into society and the economy as the next big thing in, well, currency.

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Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant duke it out at CES 2018

Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant duke it out at CES 2018CES 2018 had more than its fair share of wacky items and compelling gadgets, but one of the biggest trends to emerge, once again, from the popular tech expo was voice-enabled devices. And, of course, it was all about Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.



The weirdest tech of CES 2018

The weirdest tech of CES 2018Here are seven items at CES 2018, some of which address legitimate use cases and some of which may be closer to mad-scientist territory.



Sennheiser co-CEO: Why we're betting on AR and VR with 3-D audio

Sennheiser co-CEO: Why we're betting on AR and VR with 3-D audioAt CES 2018, Sennheiser announced two new products that focus on recording or playing back 3-D audio.



Honda wants to prove robots can help you, not kill you

Honda wants to prove robots can help you, not kill youHonda wants to change your perception of robots. And it's hoping to do so with four new concept robots.



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  News Show All 
The Volkswagen Arteon proves that high-tech doesn’t have to be showy

The Volkswagen Arteon is packed with technology, but it never gets in the way

19 Sep 2018
Sponsored

The best free coding courses and bootcamps for women in London

Celebrate National Coding Week with our roundup of the best coding courses for women in London

19 Sep 2018

Women learning computer skills down by a third

The number of women in digital skills-related roles is in decline, Makers Academy wants to reverse that

18 Sep 2018

Robots set to create over 100 million jobs by 2022

Robots will create more jobs than they steal, assure experts

18 Sep 2018

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Sony Is Getting in on the Retro Gaming Craze With the PlayStation Classic - Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur

Sony Is Getting in on the Retro Gaming Craze With the PlayStation Classic
Entrepreneur
Retro gaming is red hot. When Nintendo lauched the NES Classic at the end of 2016, it immediately became that holiday season's must-have gift. Units of the $60 device sold out from stores and online merchants almost immediately, and unscrupulous ...
Sony Announces PlayStation Classic Mini Console December Release DateInternational Business Times
PlayStation Classic Announced and DatedIGN
Everything you need to know about the new 'PlayStation Classic'SB Nation
Investorplace.com -PlayStation.Blog -ABC6OnYourSide.com
all 1,062 news articles »

Amazon Considers Opening 3000 Amazon Go Convenience Stores - Investor's Business Daily

Investor's Business Daily

Amazon Considers Opening 3000 Amazon Go Convenience Stores
Investor's Business Daily
Amazon (AMZN) is said to be planning the development of 3,000 Amazon Go stores by 2021, a report said Wednesday. X. Error loading player: No playable sources found. Bloomberg reported the company is considering plans to have about 10 locations ...

and more »

iOS 12.1 beta suggests a new iPad is coming this fall - Ars Technica

Ars Technica

iOS 12.1 beta suggests a new iPad is coming this fall
Ars Technica
While exploring the Setup app in iOS 12, 9to5Mac discovered an identifier referring to an iPad labeled "iPad2018Fall". The identifier also added to a bevy of evidence and reports suggesting a new iPad Pro model is imminent.
?PDF edit app Flexcil eyes cross-device expansion into iPhone and AndroidZDNet
Why iOS 12 May Be More SecureTom's Hardware
12 cool new iOS 12 features that let you do with your iPhone what you couldn'tPhone Arena
Tech Times -Gizmodo -TidBITS -Laptop Mag
all 406 news articles »

iPhone XS and XS Max review: Apple's latest are the best yet. But do you need them? - CNNMoney

CNNMoney

iPhone XS and XS Max review: Apple's latest are the best yet. But do you need them?
CNNMoney
The company's 2018 lineup, specifically the iPhone XS and XS Max, delivers on that promise: They're the smartest, fastest, best iPhones we've seen to date. But at this point, buying an updated iPhone is like getting a new Ferrari -- you'll find a ...
Apple's iPhone XS and XS Max Are Good Enough to Win Over Owners of Older iPhonesTheStreet.com
iPhone XS vs. iPhone X : A Look at the Camera Hardware ChangesPetaPixel (blog)
Apple iPhone XS and XS Max review: smoothed outThe Verge
HuffPost Canada -Digital Trends -9to5Mac -Engadget
all 869 news articles »

iOS 12.1 beta hints at new iPad Pro - TechCrunch

TechCrunch

iOS 12.1 beta hints at new iPad Pro
TechCrunch
iOS 12 is still brand new, but Apple is already testing iOS 12.1 with a developer beta version. Steve Troughton-Smith and Guilherme Rambo found references to a brand new iPad that would support Face ID. First, there are changes to Face ID. You can find ...
iOS Update Turns Your Phone Into a Virtual Tape MeasureGearJunkie
iOS 12.1 Beta Confirms iPad Pro Fall Launch, Landscape Face IDHot Hardware
iOS 12.1 beta includes support for Face ID in landscape mode, likely for iPad ProsAppleInsider

all 110 news articles »

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  Latest news Show All 
EmTech MIT: How AI and biomedical innovations are transforming health care
Emerald's little wireless box that can monitor movement and physiological signs wirelessly even through walls was just one of several medical innovations at this year's conference.
Red Hat reports mixed second quarter results
The company missed revenue estimates and its guidance fell below Wall Street targets.
Zaif cryptocurrency exchange loses $60 million in recent hack
The Osaka-based cryptocurrency exchange discovered hack two days ago, and is working to secure funds to reimburse affected users.
Google Home Mini was the most popular smart speaker in Q2
Apple's HomePod didn't break into the top five, but it was the Q2 market leader in terms of revenue.
Zero Trust technology works; excuses don't
Security implementation has never been a technology problem -- it's a management, leadership, and ownership issue.
As Apple Watch matures, time is running out for Wear OS
The circumstances that made Android a success in smartphones have not supported it in smartwatches.
Salesforce intros Einstein Voice, an AI voice assistant for enterprises
With Einstein Voice, users will be able to verbally talk to the Salesforce platform to perform a range of administrative tasks, such as note dictation and data entry.
Access to over 3,000 backdoored sites sold on Russian hacking forum
Researchers blow the lid on MagBO, a marketplace for selling access to hacked sites
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Amazon Echo Sub and Smart Plug leak ahead of event
You might just be looking at some of the Alexa-powered devices due to show at Amazon's rumored hardware event this month. Pocket-lint has spotted listings (since pulled) for the Echo Sub wireless subwoofer (above) and Smart Plug (below), both of whi...

Mars trips may involve less radiation exposure than previously thought
There's no question that the first human mission to Mars will be extremely dangerous. Some studies have suggested that the radiation levels would exceed the maximum career dose for a given astronaut, greatly increasing the risk of cancer and other i...

California may ban terrible default passwords on connected devices
California looks set to enact a law that aims to protect connected devices against hackers. The state senate has sent Governor Jerry Brown draft legislation that could beef up security across the vast ocean of smart gadgets.

Destiny 2: Forsaken's Gambit mode is open to everyone this weekend
With the base Destiny 2 free for PS Plus members through the month of September, Bungie is determined to sell newcomers on Forsaken -- and that means giving players a taste of what they're missing. The developer is making Forsaken's Gambit multiplay...

Amazon could open 3,000 cashierless Go stores by 2021
Amazon now has four of its Go stores up and running -- three in Seattle and one in Chicago -- with at least one on the way in New York. And while we've heard that there are plans for San Francisco as well, that apparently is just the beginning, becau...

Samsung’s $1,800 Odyssey Z gaming laptop is on sale in the US
Samsung's Notebook Odyssey Z gaming laptop is now available in the US. The laptop, which features a slim design, a keyboard pushed to the lower portion of the tray and a right-side touchpad, comes in just one configuration that includes a 15.6-inch d...

Teenage Engineering's OP-Z synth finally goes on sale in October
We got our first look at Teenage Engineering's next synthexxxxr in early 2017, and now the company is gearing up to finally ship the portable instrument/control center. The OP-Z is set to go on sale next month, but the company didn't include pricing...

Facebook’s 'War Room' is its latest effort to protect elections
Facebook has more than 300 people working on protecting elections from misinformation aimed at influencing voters. But starting next week, the company will have one more weapon in its arsenal -- a War Room. The New York Times reports that Facebook is...

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Inside Facebook’s Election ‘War Room’
Seven weeks before the midterm elections, the social network is setting up a central hub to root out disinformation and false news. We visited the operation.
Tech Fix: Apple Watch Series 4 Review: Faster, Bigger, With a Promise to Be Healthier
The faster speeds and larger screen sound boring on paper. But an electrical heart sensor gives a glimpse of the promise to come, our reviewer writes.
State of the Art: Why Jeff Bezos Should Push for Nobody to Get as Rich as Jeff Bezos
Here’s what the Amazon founder’s vast fortune tells us about the economic concentration of the tech industry — and how he might help unravel that for the world.
If You See Disinformation Ahead of the Midterms, We Want to Hear From You
Here’s how to send tips to Times reporters about disinformation online.
Tech We’re Using: Windows on How Cities Change Can Be All Too Captivating
Technology is crowding curbs with ride hailers and keeping homeowners fixated on housing values. Here are the tools that Emily Badger, a writer for The Upshot, uses to analyze the ripple effects.
Trilobites: Elephant Tusk DNA Helps Track Ivory Poachers
Researchers are examining the genetic data in seized elephant ivory to trace it back to the animals’ homelands and connect it to global trafficking crimes.
A Wedding Ring With a Dirty Little Secret
They’re not as shiny as diamonds, but smog free rings are considered sustainable and ethical — and they’re also much more affordable.
The Big Secret of Celebrity Wealth (Is That No One Knows Anything)
Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine and Chris Pratt are cumulatively worth $150 million, according to your Google results. Are they really?
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  WSJ.com: WSJD Show All 
Apple's New Strategy: Sell Pricier iPhones First
For the second straight year, Apple is starting to sell its new iPhone models at different times—but this time, the lag reflects a staggered production timeline set by the tech giant rather than manufacturing issues it experienced last year.

EU Starts Preliminary Probe of Amazon's Treatment of Merchants
European Union antitrust authorities have opened a preliminary investigation into Amazon.com’s treatment of other merchants that sell products using its platform, starting a new regulatory front against an American tech giant.

Bringing iPhone Assembly to U.S. Would Be a Hollow Victory for Trump
If Apple moved smartphone production to the U.S. to avoid the president’s tariffs, it could do more harm than good, Greg Ip writes.

Google, T-Mobile Tackle 911 Call Problem
Android phones will soon send Google Maps-like location data to emergency call centers.

The Cyberthreats That Most Worry Election Officials
How attacks could be attempted—and what officials are doing to make sure they don’t affect the midterms.

Facial Recognition Goes Mainstream
Restaurants, airlines and others want to use the technology in everyday commerce. If, that is, customers let them.

DOJ Opened Probe of Tesla After Musk's Going-Private Tweet
Tesla said it received a “voluntary request for documents” from the Justice Department, which came after CEO Elon Musk’s tweet about taking the electric-car maker private.

Amazon Forecast to Be No. 3 Digital Advertising Player in 2018
Th tech giant is expected to surpass Verizon’s Oath and Microsoft, according to new eMarketer estimates, according to research firm eMarketer.

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  CNET News Show All 
Amazon just accidentally revealed an Echo subwoofer and smart plug - CNET
Pocket-lint discovered these unannounced products on Amazon's UK website.
CNET Asks: Will one of Apple's new iPhones be your next smartphone? - CNET
Has Apple made enough improvements with the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR to earn your vote?
Amazon might open thousands of its grab-and-go stores over the next three years - CNET
The e-commerce giant is reportedly considering as many as 3,000 Amazon Go stores by 2021.
Black Panther's Ryan Coogler producing Space Jam sequel - CNET
He shoots, he scores! LeBron James has enlisted the Marvel director to work on the long-awaited comedy follow-up.
Ticketmaster partners with scalpers to rip you off, two undercover reporters say - CNET
The company is reportedly helping ticket resellers violate its own terms of use.
Japan's Hayabusa-2 is sending tiny rovers to hop around an asteroid - CNET
The JAXA spacecraft is dropping a few emissaries to the surface before moving in itself to swipe a piece of the space rock Ryugu.
The Fortnite cube finally does something, turns Loot Lake into bouncy lake - CNET
The giant purple cube has reached its final destination.
Newegg data breach exposed customer credit card info, says report - CNET
The popular online retailer is the latest victim of hacking group Magecart, a security firm says.
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  SlashdotShow All 
'WaitList.dat' Windows File May Be Secretly Hoarding Your Passwords, Emails
A file named WaitList.dat, found only on touchscreen-capable Windows PCs, may be collecting your sensitive data like passwords and emails. According to ZDNet, in order for the file to exist users have to enable "the handwriting re

'I'm Admin. You're Admin. Everyone is Admin.' Remote Access Bug Turns Western Digital My Cloud Into Everyone's Cloud
Researchers at infosec shop Securify revealed this week a vulnerability, designated CVE-2018-17153, which allows an unauthenticated attacker with network access to the device to bypass password checks and login with admin privileg

Despite Data Caps and Throttling, Industry Says Mobile Can Replace Home Internet
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: AT&T and Verizon are trying to convince the Federal Communications Commission that mobile broadband is good enough for Internet users who don't have access to fiber or cab

Alibaba's Jack Ma Backs Down From Promise To Trump To Bring 1 Million Jobs to the US
Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba, has abandoned a promise to create one million new jobs in the US, in a sign of the threat that rising trade tensions with China pose to some of US President Donald Trump's key economic goals. From a r

Times Newer Roman is a Font Designed To Make Your Essays Look Longer
Chaim Gartenberg, writing for The Verge: Times Newer Roman, a font from internet marketing firm MSCHF (which you may remember from the Tabagotchi Chrome extension). Times Newer Roman looks a lot like the go-to academic font, but e

Amazon is Reportedly Planning Up To 3,000 Cashierless Stores By 2021
Amazon is planning to open 3,000 of its cashierless stores by 2021, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, planning a major push into retail as it continues to scale its online platform. CNBC: The e-commerce giant currently has three locat

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Apple's New Strategy: Sell Pricier iPhones First
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EU Starts Preliminary Probe of Amazon's Treatment of Merchants
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Bringing iPhone Assembly to U.S. Would Be a Hollow Victory for Trump
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Google, T-Mobile Tackle 911 Call Problem
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DOJ Opened Probe of Tesla After Musk's Going-Private Tweet
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Amazon Forecast to Be No. 3 Digital Advertising Player in 2018
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18 new details about Elon Musk’s redesigned, moon-bound ‘Big F*ing Rocket’

Although the spotlight at this week’s SpaceX event was squarely on Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa — the first paying passenger for the company’s nascent space tourism business — Elon Musk also revealed a wealth of new details about the BFR and just how this enormous rocket and spacecraft will get to the moon and back.

In a lengthy (one might even say rambling, in the true Musk style) presentation, we were treated to cinematic and technical views of the planned rocket, which is already under construction and could take flight as early as a couple years from now — and Musk then candidly held forth on numerous topics in a lengthy Q&A period. As a result we learned quite a bit about this newly redesigned craft-in-progress.

Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Hope you like pictures of spaceships!

(Note: Quotes are transcribed directly from the video but may have been very slightly edited for clarity, such as the removal of “you know” and “like.”)

BFR is “ridiculously big”

Well, that’s not really news — it’s right there in the name. But now we know exactly how ridiculously big.

“The production design of BFR is different in some important ways from what I presented about a year ago,” Musk said, including its dimensions. The redesigned spacecraft (or BFS) will be 118 meters in length, or about 387 feet; just under half of that, 55 meters, will be the spacecraft itself. Inside you have about 1,100 cubic meters of payload space. That’s all around 15-20 percent larger than how it was last described. Its max payload is 100 metric tons to low Earth orbit.

“I mean, this is a ridiculously big rocket,” he added. The illustration on the wall, he pointed out, is life-size. As you can see it dwarfs the crowd and the other rockets.

What will fit in there? It depends on the mission, as you’ll see later.

No one knows what to call the fin-wing-things

Although Musk was clear on how the spacecraft worked, he was still a little foggy on nomenclature — not because he forgot, but because the parts don’t really correspond exactly with anything in flight right now. “There are two forward and two rear actuated wings, or fins,” he said. They don’t really fit the definition of either, he suggested — especially since they also act as legs.

The top fin “really is just a leg”

The fin on top of the craft gives it a very Space Shuttle-esque look, and it was natural that most would think that it’s a vertical stabilizer of some kind. But Musk shut that down quickly: “It doesn’t have any aerodynamic purpose — it really is just a leg.” He pointed out that during any atmospheric operations, the fin will be in the lee of the craft and won’t have any real effect.

“It looks the same as the other ones for purposes of symmetry,” he explained.

“If in doubt, go with Tintin”

It was pointed out when the new design was teased last week that it bore some resemblance to the ship Tintin (and Captain Haddock, and Professor Calculus, et al.) pilot to the moon in the classic comics. Turns out this isn’t a coincidence.

“The iteration before this decoupled the landing legs from the control surfaces — it basically had 6 legs. I actually didn’t like the aesthetics of that design,” Musk said. “I love the Tintin rocket design, so I kind of wanted to bias it toward that. So now we have the three large legs, with two of them actuating as body flaps or large moving wings.”

“I think this design is probably on par with the other one. It might be better. Yeah, if in doubt, go with Tintin,” he said.

BFR is “more like a skydiver than an aircraft”

An interplanetary spacecraft doesn’t have the same design restrictions as a passenger jet, so it may fly completely differently.

“You want four control surfaces to be able to control the vehicle through a wide range of atmospheric densities and velocities,” Musk explained, referring to the four fin-wing-flaps. “The way it behaves is a bit more like a skydiver than an aircraft. If you apply normal intuition it will not make sense.”

Actually if you imagine the plane as a person falling to earth, and that person controlling their orientation by moving their arms and legs — their built-in flaps — it does seem rather intuitive.

Reentry will “look really epic”

“Almost the entire time it is reentering, it’s just trying to brake, while distributing that force over the most area possible — it uses the entire body to brake,” Musk said. This is another point of similarity with the Space Shuttle, which used its heat-resistance bottom surface as a huge air brake.

“This will look really epic in person,” he enthused.

Of course, that only applies when there’s an atmosphere. “Obviously if you’re landing on the moon you don’t need any aerodynamic surfaces at all, because there’s no air.”

The seven-engine configuration leaves a huge safety margin

Astute observers like yours truly noticed that the number and arrangement of the craft’s Raptor engines had changed in the picture tweeted last week. Musk complimented the questioner (and by extension, me) for noting this and explained.

“In order to minimize the development risk and costs, we decided to harmonize the engine between the booster and the ship,” he said. In other words, it made more sense and cost less to put a similar type of Raptor engine on both the craft itself and the rocket that would take it to space. Previously the ship had been planned to have four large Raptor engines and two smaller sea-level engines for landing purposes. The trade-off, obviously, is that it will be a bit more costly to build the ship, but the benefits are manifold.

“Having the engines in that configuration, with seven engines, means it’s definitely capable of engine out at any time, including two engine out in almost all circumstances,” he said, referring to the possibility of an engine cutting out during flight. “In fact in some cases you could lose up to four engines and still be fine. It only needs three engines for landing.”

The booster, of course, will have considerably more thrusters — 31 to start, and as many as 42 down the road. (The number was not chosen arbitrarily, as you might guess.)

It has a deployable solar array

In the video explaining the mission, the BFS deploys a set of what appear to be solar panels from near the engines. How exactly this would work wasn’t explained at all — and in the images you can see there really isn’t a place for them to retract into. So this is likely only in the concept phase right now.

This isn’t exactly a surprise — solar is by far the most practical way to replenish small to medium amounts of electricity used for things like lights and life support, as demonstrated by most spacecraft and of course the International Space Station.

But until now we haven’t seen how those solar panels would be deployed. The fan structure at the rear would keep the panels out of view of passengers and pilots, and the single-stem design would allow them to be tilted and rotated to capture the maximum amount of sunlight.

The interior will depend on the mission

Although everyone is no doubt eager to see what the inside of the spaceship looks like, Musk cautioned that they are still at a concept stage there. He did say that they have learned a lot from the Crew Dragon capsule, however, and that will be plenty of shared parts and designs.

“Depending on the type of mission, you’d have a different configuration,” he explained. “If you were going to Mars that’s at least a three-month journey. You want to have a cabin, like a common area for recreation, some sort of meeting rooms… because you’ll be in this thing for months.”

Water and air in a months-long journey would have to be a closed-loop system, he noted, though he didn’t give any indication how that would work.

But it will include “the most fun you can possibly have in zero G”

“Now if you’re going, say, to the moon or around the moon, you have a several-day journey,” Musk continued. But then he mused on what the spare space would be used for. “What is the most fun you can have in zero G? That for sure is a key thing. Fun is underrated. Whatever is the most enjoyable thing you could possibly do — we’ll do that.”

Assuming the passengers have gotten over their space sickness, of course.

BFR will cost “roughly $5 billion” to develop

Musk was reticent to put any hard numbers out, given how early SpaceX is in development, but said: “If I were to guess it would be something like 5 billion dollars, which would be really quite a small amount for a project of this nature.”

He’s not wrong. Just for a sense of scale, the Space Shuttle program would probably have cost nearly $200 billion in today’s dollars. The F-35 program will end up costing something like $400 billion. These things aren’t directly comparable, of course, but they do give you a sense of how much money is involved in this type of thing.

Funding is still a semi-open question

Where exactly that money will come from isn’t totally clear, but Musk did point out that SpaceX does have reliable business coming from its International Space Station resupply missions and commercial launches. And next year, he pointed out, crewed launches could bring another source of income to the mix.

That’s in addition to Starlink, the satellite internet service in the offing. That’s still in tests, of course (and Tintin-related, as well).

Yusaku Maezawa’s ticket price is a “non-trivial” contribution

Although both men declined to elaborate on the actual price Maezawa paid, Musk did indicate it was considerable — and of course, he’s also essentially paying for the artists he plans to bring with him.

“He’s made a significant deposit on the price, which is a significant price and will actually have a material effect on paying for the cost of developing the BFR,” Musk said. “It’s a non-trivial amount.”

But it’s already under construction

“We’re already building it. We’ve built the first cylinder section,” Musk said, showing an image of that part, 9 meters in diameter. “We’ll build the domes and the engine section soon.”

Test flights could begin as early as next year

“We’ll start doing hopper flights next year,” Musk said. “Depending on how those go we’ll do high-altitude, high-velocity flights in 2020, then start doing tests of the booster. If things go well we could be doing the first orbital flights in about two to three years.”

This is the most optimistic scenario, he later clarified.

“We’re definitely not sure. But you have to set a date that’s kind of like the ‘things go right’ date.”

The circumlunar flight could “skim the surface” of the moon

The flight plan for the trip around the moon is relatively straightforward, as lunar missions go. Launch, orbit Earth, thrust to zoom off towards the moon, use moon’s gravity to boomerang back, and then land. But the exact path is to be determined, and Musk has ideas.

“I think it would be pretty exciting to like skim the surface,” he said, attempting to illustrate the orbit with gestures. “Go real close, then zoom out far, then come back around. In the diagram it looks kinda symmetric but I think you’d want to go real close.”

As the moon has no atmosphere, there’s no question of the craft getting slowed down or having its path altered by getting closer to it. The orbital dynamics would change, of course, but the moon’s trajectory is nothing if not well understood, so it’s just a question of how safe the mission planners want to play it, regardless of Musk’s fantasies.

“This is pretty off the cuff,” he admitted.

“This is a dangerous mission”

There will be plenty of tests before Maezawa and his artist friends take off.

“We’ll do many such test flights before putting any people on board. I’m not sure if we will actually test a flight around the moon or not, but probably we will try to do that without people before sending people.”

“That would be wise,” he concluded, seeming to make a decision then and there. But spaceflight is inherently risky, and he did not attempt to hide that fact.

“This is a dangerous mission,” he said. “We’ll leave a lot of extra room for extra food and oxygen, food and water, spare parts… you know, just in case.”

Maezawa, who was sitting next to him on stage, did not seem perturbed by this — he was certain to have assessed the risks before buying the ticket. In answer to a related question, he did indicate that astronaut-style training was in the plans, but the regimen was not yet planned.

It probably won’t even be called the BFR

There’s no getting around the fact that BFR stands for “Big Fucking Rocket,” or at least that’s what Musk and others have implied while coyly avoiding confirming. This juvenile naming scheme is in line with Tesla’s. Perhaps cognizant of posterity and the dignity of mankind’s expansion into space, Musk suggested this might not be permanent.

“We should probably think of a different name,” he admitted. This was kind of a code name and it kind of stuck.”

Again, if it officially just stood for “Big Falcon Rocket,” this probably wouldn’t be an issue. But regardless, Musk’s trademark geeky sense of humor remained.

“The only thing is, we’d like to name the first ship that goes to Mars after — Douglas Adams, my favorite spaceship — the Heart of Gold, from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

As far off as the moon mission is, the Mars mission is even further, and Musk changes his mind on nearly everything — but this is one thing I can sense he’s committed to.


Lyft now integrates public transit info in app

Lyft has officially entered the public transit space with the launch of Nearby Transit, a feature currently available just in Santa Monica, Calif. This comes just a couple of days after Lyft deployed electric scooters in the city.

Today, Lyft customers in Santa Monica will see the Nearby Transit option, which includes route information and schedules for the Big Blue Bus, LA Metro and Metrolink. The feature is in partnership with Trafi, a transit information platform.

“Building on the launch of Lyft Scooters in Santa Monica this week, it’s another step toward providing effective, equitable, and sustainable transportation to our communities, and towards creating a more seamless and connected transportation network,” the company posted on its blog.

Lyft has also brought on Lilly Shoup, formerly of Nelson\Nygaard Consulting, to serve as senior director of transportation policy. In that role, Shoup will oversee Lyft’s multi-modal transportation efforts as they pertain to equity, land use, autonomous vehicles and more.

Uber announced its public transit ambitions back in April, but has yet to integrate those offerings into the app. Whenever Uber integrates public transit, the company will take it a step further than Lyft by enabling people to purchase tickets, not just check routes.


Entrepreneurs: It’s time to put corporate VCs back on your short list

The startup media is awash with stories of corporate venture capital prioritizing their own interests over those of their portfolio. While acknowledging that some of these stories may have a basis in truth, it’s critical to recognize there is much more to the story.

It’s time the whole story is told.

The truth is that not all corporate venture capital firms are the same. And in fact, some have a strategic advantage because they have access to proprietary insights from dozens of markets and technologies that are simply unavailable to other venture capital firms. Further, corporate venture capital firms can create synergies between portfolio companies and their parent companies to help accelerate business, an opportunity unavailable to most venture capital firms.

Choosing between strategically focused and financially focused corporate venture capital

There are two types of corporate venture capital, and it’s essential to understand the difference between them. The first type, strategically focused corporate venture capital, provides significant benefits to all parties if done well. These firms can help accelerate portfolio companies with revenue, market/customer insights and technology/roadmap development.

The second type is financially focused corporate venture capital. These firms are run like typical venture firms and are primarily driven to maximize financial returns, and the firm’s partners are rewarded for making profitable investments. These firms make investment decisions just like every other non-corporate venture firm, based on team, market, competition, product, traction, capital efficiency, exit potential, etc.

Once an investment is made, financially focused corporate venture capital firms often take board seats and work to add value in all the same ways other venture firms do, with strategy, product, go-to-market, hiring, financials, etc. Because the financially focused corporate venture partners are financially aligned with their portfolio companies, they are just as motivated as any other venture firm.

Not all corporate venture capital firms are the same.

Now, the upshot. In many cases, a financially focused corporate venture capital firm can be a better partner for some companies. Not only does the firm provide all the typical value-add of a typical venture firm — smart partners, large networks, etc. — they also provide something that other firms can’t provide: proprietary insights.

Financially focused corporate venture firms have a close working relationship with their corporate parent, which allows them access to technology, industry operators and visionaries, giving them proprietary insights to which normal venture firms simply don’t have access. These proprietary insights give financially focused corporate venture capital partners the ability to see the market and technology landscape in a different, more informed, way.

The bottom line is that financially focused corporate venture capital firms have all the benefits of a typical venture firm plus exclusive proprietary insights — without the potential downside of strategically driven corporate venture capital firms.

The truth about corporate venture capital and competition with the parent company

One obvious objection to corporate venture capital is that these firms are unlikely to invest in companies that compete with its parent or may put it out of business. These cases are so rare that it is barely worth mentioning, but I will explore them here. Comcast and NBCUniversal are large companies doing business across a wide variety of sectors. It is unlikely that any one startup would put them out of business. In my 10 years in venture, I haven’t found one yet.

But what about startups that are competitive with Comcast or NBCUniversal? I have seen thousands of startups over the years and have only come across a handful that are competitive with Comcast or NBCUniversal. In those cases, even though I would not have ever communicated confidential information to my parent, I quickly passed so as not to give even the smallest impression of impropriety. In some cases, the competitive startup and our parent see a benefit to making the investment and learning from and partnering with each other, but this is done transparently.

By the way, most venture capital firms restrict themselves from investing in companies that are competitive with their portfolio. However, there are some venture capital firms that take a more “survival of the fittest” approach and encourage making many investments in a hot space without concern for competition.

Corporate venture capital at work in the real world

To illustrate the advantages of working with a financially focused corporate venture capital firm, let’s look at a real example — my investment in blockchain. Comcast is looking at using blockchain technology to allow users to create a unique digital identity and associate it with IoT devices in the home to control access to those devices. Given my affiliation and close working relationship with Comcast Corporation and NBCUniversal, I was afforded a front-row seat to the potential advantages and disadvantages of leveraging cutting-edge blockchain technology to solve real-world problems.

No other venture capital firm has this level of access to early use cases. Here’s what that looked like: I met with the team developing this technology before it was made public. I spoke with the engineers to understand how they were using blockchain, why they chose it and how it helped their efforts. I saw a demo and got to play with it. This hands-on experience was invaluable to blockchain executives — and it was only afforded to “members of the Comcast family.” Further, the insight also helped inform my investment thesis around blockchain, so I could better serve their business interests.

It comes down to real-world problems, being solved by real-world practitioners.

There are many applications of blockchain technology. Another group within Comcast is looking at how blockchain could be used in advertising. Beyond that, Comcast and NBCUniversal are looking at blockchain technology and how it relates to identity, rewards and loyalty, security and IoT, to name a few.

It comes down to real-world problems, being solved by real-world practitioners, who are experimenting with blockchain. These proprietary insights have been helping drive our investment strategy in blockchain technologies and token-based economies. We have already made a number of investments in the space and continue to believe there are investment opportunities at the protocol, platform, infrastructure and application levels.

Outside of blockchain, there are a number of examples within Comcast Ventures that also show advantages of leveraging resources at a corporate venture capital firm: EdgeConneX successfully pivoted its business model with the help of Comcast; Brightside was incubated and spun out, securing Comcast as its first customer; Zola developed partnership opportunities with NBCU; Comcast became one of DocuSign’s largest customers; and Icontrol was acquired by Comcast.

Setting the record straight

Financially focused corporate venture firms have super-talented partners in the firm who can help entrepreneurs build great companies. Just like other venture capital firms, we are financially incented to find the next billion-dollar company, and we invest in your strategy, not ours.

But unlike other venture capital firms, we have exclusive proprietary insights into dozens of markets and technologies. And, we also can create synergies between portfolio companies and Comcast and NBCUniversal to help accelerate growth if there is mutual interest and benefit. Finally, we are measured on financial returns, so we win only if you win!

Disclaimer: Gil Beyda is a partner at Comcast Ventures, a financially focused corporate venture capital firm which is the venture arm of Comcast and NBCUniversal.


Coinbase hires Fannie Mae exec Brian Brooks as chief legal officer

Coinbase has made yet another addition to its C-suite. The cryptocurrency trading platform has hired Brian Brooks, the former executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Fannie Mae, as its chief legal officer.

The hiring is part of the company’s effort to expand its legal, compliance and government affairs teams. Mike Lempres, who until now held the chief legal and risk officer title, will transition into the role of chief policy officer.

“From the time it was founded seven years ago, Coinbase has been a leading advocate for the adoption of cryptocurrency,” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said in a statement. “We’ve engaged proactively with regulators as we built products and services that allow people to buy, sell and use cryptocurrency all over the world. In recent years, the industry expanded faster than we could have imagined with an explosion in customer demand and entrepreneurial activity pushing the capabilities of the ecosystem forward. As this trend continues, it is more important than ever that we contribute to a public policy and regulatory environment that fosters innovation while protecting investors.”

Brooks joined Fannie Mae in 2014; before that, he was the vice chairman of OneWest Bank and a managing partner at the law firm O’Melveny & Myers.

The news comes one day after Coinbase announced the hiring of Michael Li as VP of data. Li had spent the last seven years at LinkedIn, most recently as its head of analytics and data science.

Here’s an updated round-up of Coinbase’s other notable 2018 hires:

  • Michael Li, VP of data (September). Li was previously the head of analytics and data science at LinkedIn.
  • Tim Wagner, VP of engineering (July). Wagner was previously a general manager at Amazon Web Services.
  • Jeff Horowitz, chief compliance officer (July). Horowitz was the former global head of compliance at Pershing.
  • Jennifer Jones, chief accounting officer (July). Jones joined from EY, where she was a senior manager.
  • Alesia Haas, chief financial officer (April). Haas joined from New York-based alternative asset management firm Oz Management.
  • Balaji Srinivasan, chief technology officer (April). Srinivasan joined through the company’s acquisition of Earn.com, where he was CEO.
  • Rachael Horwitz, VP of communications (April). Horwitz was formerly a partner at Spark Capital.
  • Tariq Meyers, global head of belonging and inclusion (April). Meyers was formerly the head of diversity and inclusion at Lyft.
  • Emilie Choi, VP of corporate and business development (March). Choi joined from LinkedIn, where she was head of corporate development.

Amazon launches Scout, a machine learning-powered visual shopping tool

Amazon is experimenting with a new tool called Scout designed to help shoppers better figure out what they want to buy in a more visual fashion, according to a report from CNBC, which first spotted Scout live on Amazon’s site. Using a combination of imagery, a thumbs up and down voting mechanism, and machine learning technology, Scout offers an almost Pinterest-like way of browsing Amazon products, then refining recommendations through user input.

Currently, the site lets you search for furniture, kitchen, dining products, home décor, patio items, lighting, and bedding, as well as women’s shoes. In time, Amazon will add more products like clothing and handbags, it said.

While Amazon.com today has just about any product you could want, finding items you like when you only have a vague idea of what you want can be more difficult. For example, if you’re looking for a dresser, or a new comforter, or deck chairs, you’re often stuck scrolling down through a long list of matching results that aren’t at all customized to your particular tastes.

For this reason, shoppers tend to find themselves heading to other more “inspirational” sites, like Pinterest or Houzz, for example.

Scout aims to help customers narrow down their choices more quickly.

Specifically, it focuses on solving two dilemmas, an Amazon spokesperson said: “I don’t know what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it” and “I know what I want, but I don’t know what it’s called.”

“This is a new way to shop, allowing customers to browse millions of items and quickly refine the selection based solely on visual attributes,” the spokesperson noted. “Amazon uses imagery from across its robust selection to extract thousands of visual attributes for showing customers a variety of items so they can select their preferences as they go. This innovative shopping experience is powered by machine learning. The result is a beautiful and inspirational image feed, which gives customers the ability to explore a wide range of products in a playful and personalized manner with just a few clicks,” they added.

This isn’t Amazon’s first go at trying to solve its discoverability problems or add elements of personalization to product hunting. The retailer had previously launched a site feature called “Interesting Finds,” which features a curated selection of products under dozens of top level categories like clothing, toys, gadgets, travel, workspace, smart home, pets, and more. As you “heart” (like) items in this visual storefront, Amazon then creates a personalized group of suggestions called “My Mix.”

But Interesting Finds today is more about serendipitous discovery – not a directed search where you want to refine the results to your personal tastes.

While Amazon hadn’t publicly announced Scout, some Amazon shoppers were happening upon it when browsing specific products. There, they’d see a link to “Scout Style Explorer” which would take them over to the new tool, CNBC said.

The site isn’t its own URL, but rather a subsection of Amazon.com, on amazon.com/scout.

The retailer says it’s live now on Amazon’s website and in Amazon App.


Fabricio Bloisi’s Movile is leading tech’s charge in Brazil and beyond and he’s coming to Startup Battlefield Latin America

In the 20 years since Movile launched its first technology services in 1998, the technology industry in Latin America has exploded.

Movile chief executive Fabricio Bloisi

Technology startups have gone from being an afterthought to being at the forefront of the economic changes sweeping through the region. And Movile’s digital marketplaces, delivery services and investment capital (powered by Naspers) have, in many ways, led the charge.

At our Latin America Startup Battlefield event, Movile chief executive officer Fabricio Bloisi will walk us through two decades of digital transformation and technology development in the region.

Earlier this year, Bloisi’s company landed a $124 million commitment led by Naspers to continue its efforts to build a pan-Latin American juggernaut providing a range of mobile marketplace services.

As we wrote earlier, Naspers’ investments in Movile (supplemented by co-investors like Innova, which participated in the most recent round) have been one of the driving forces sustaining the Brazilian startup community. In all, the South African technology media and investment conglomerate and its co-investors have invested $375 million into Movile over the course of several rounds that likely value the company at close to $1 billion.

Since Movile’s rise, players like Rappi, in delivery, Nubank, a Brazilian financial services startup, and 99 Taxi have become billion-dollar companies in their own right, but in many ways, Movile set the stage.

As more capital floods into the region (Yellow, the new venture from 99 Taxi’s co-founders, just raised $63 million), the future for Latin American startups looks bright.

It’s against this backdrop that Bloisi will walk attendees at our inaugural Startup Battlefield Latin America event through the perils and promise of starting up a tech business in the region.

We’ll look forward to seeing you there. Pick up your free tickets here.


Password bypass flaw in Western Digital My Cloud drives puts data at risk

A security researcher has published details of a vulnerability in a popular cloud storage drive after the company failed to issue security patches for over a year.

Remco Vermeulen found a privilege escalation bug in Western Digital’s My Cloud devices, which he said allows an attacker to bypass the admin password on the drive, gaining “complete control” over the user’s data.

The exploit works because drive’s web-based dashboard doesn’t properly check a user’s credentials before giving a possible attacker access to tools that should require higher levels of access.

The bug was “easy” to exploit, Vermeulen told TechCrunch in an email, and was remotely exploitable if a My Cloud device allows remote access over the internet — which thousands of devices do. He posted a proof-of-concept video on Twitter.

Details of the bug were also independently found by another security team, which released its own exploit code.

Vermeulen reported the bug over a year ago, in April 2017, but said the company stopped responding. Normally, security researchers give 90 days for a company to respond, in line with industry-accepted responsible disclosure guidelines.

After he found that WD updated the My Cloud firmware in the meanwhile without fixing the vulnerability he found, he decided to post his findings.

A year later, WD still hasn’t released a patch.

The company confirmed that it knows of the vulnerability but did not say why it took more than a year to issue a fix. “We are in the process of finalizing a scheduled firmware update that will resolve the reported issue,” a spokesperson said, which will arrive “within a few weeks.”

WD said that several of its My Cloud products are vulnerable — including the EX2, EX4 and Mirror, but not My Cloud Home.

In the meantime, Vermeulen said that there’s no fix and that users have to “just disconnect” the drive altogether if they want to keep their data safe.


Fitbit targets employers and health plans with Care

When it launched the Versa back in March, Fitbit also announced plans to pivot. While the company will continue to operate in consumer hardware, it’s also shifting much of its focus toward healthcare. A month earlier, the company had acquired Twine, a platform that serves as part of the foundation of its new health coaching service, Care.

Announced today, the system uses the new Fitbit Plus, combined with the company’s off-the-shelf hardware to provide additional health insight, one-on-one health coaching and what the company calls “personalized digital interventions.”

The program is essentially looking to add a bit more a personalized, human touch to fitness tracking. It promises to step beyond algorithmic data by using custom social groups and human health coaches who communicate directly with users through the app or over the phone. The councilors are trained to help with everything from weight loss and smoking to serious conditions like diabetes and hypertension.

The new Fitbit Plus app is a big piece of that puzzle, offering those connections and integrating serious health tracking from third-party devices. That means users can add metrics like blood pressure and glucose levels.

This is one of the first key public facing steps for Fitbit’s shift into enterprise and healthcare. If it can get corporations and providers to take it more seriously as a medical device provider, the company can tap into a lucrative market beyond straight to consumer. Of course, Fitbit’s not alone in that push. Apple notably took another step in that direction with the addition of features like the ECG meter on the new Apple Watch.


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PlayStation One Classic won’t fix the biggest problem with retro consoles

Sony today announced it was releasing the PlayStation One Classic later this year — the sixty millionth retro console so far (I’m guesstimating). You’d think, now that we’re so deep into this trend, we’d see a little innovation, or at least something other than a tiny hunk of plastic with a couple of emulated games on it. But no, we’re not going to get much beside yet another NES Classic. The PS One Classic was first hinted at earlier this year when Sony Interactive President Takeshi Kodera let slip the company was having “discussions” about it. I didn’t expect to see…

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New physics AI could be the key to a quantum computing revolution

Quantum computing is one of the most exciting technologies there is, but its basis in quantum physics makes it a pain in the ass to understand and even harder to do anything with. A recent breakthrough in physics research, however, might change all of that and start a computing revolution. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. IBM’s Thomas J Watson (the person the Watson AI was named after) famously said “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers,” in 1943. That’s probably because, at the time, a computer filled up an entire room. But,…

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HQ Trivia’s next game is a Wheel of Fortune lookalike

If you’re reading this site, you’ve probably heard of HQ Trivia, the live mobile gameshow where you answer questions to win real money. The HQ team is now looking to branch out with its latest project: HQ Words. As first reported by Digiday, it’s basically an HQ-ified Wheel of Fortune. That means you get a blank grid of potential letters, along with a clue as to what lies hidden beneath. You’ll see a selection of letters to choose from and earn points for each correct guess. Three strikes and you’re out. If you’re wondering how HQ can survive giving out…

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PUBG rumored to drop on PS4 soon

The Korean game ratings board dropped a listing for a PS4 version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, indicating a long-awaited release is on the horizon — and not a moment too soon for the floundering battle royale game. The listing was spotted earlier today by Twitter user @Nibellion, and clearly shows “PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS PS4” along with a description of the violence inherent in the game. PUBG for PS4 has popped up on the Korean Ratings Board https://t.co/4D8eIRWO0l pic.twitter.com/s9HPiGVHvt — Nibel (@Nibellion) September 19, 2018 PUBG has been an Xbox console exclusive for quite some time, even being offered in a bundle with Microsoft’s Xbox One…

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Researchers paid people to talk to themselves so AI will sound less dumb

A team of researchers from the University of Edinburgh developed a novel method for teaching AI to respond to queries in a more conversational manner: They paid people to talk to themselves. It turns out that paying one person to pretend to be two people is a cost-effective way of training an AI to recognize natural human language. That may seem like a no-brainer, but the interesting part is that it also produces better results than current multi-speaker conversation datasets. Here’s an example from the self-dialogue database — despite the denotations this is a single study participant providing both sides…

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Beauty app teams up with Kik to bring cryptocurrency to 92 million women

AR-powered vanity platform Perfect365, which touts more than 100 million (mostly female) users, is the latest startup to embrace blockchain technology and tokenize its platform. Through a collaboration with Kin (a cryptocurrency developed by messaging giant Kik), the beauty app will soon reward users with cryptocurrency for their activity on Perfect365. To earn tokens, users will have to complete surveys and other tasks on Perfect365. With an audience made up of 92 percent women, Perfect365 claims the Kin integration aims to introduce cryptocurrency to a group which has mostly remained absent from the blockchain space. Indeed, recent survey by social…

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Europol: Criminals are still using Bitcoin, but ISIS loves ZCash

Europol has found that Bitcoin is still the chosen cryptocurrency of the internet underworld. The insight comes from Europol’s latest Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA) report. Among other things, the research claims cybercriminals still favor Bitcoin over other cryptocurrencies – despite its lack of anonymity features. Europol also notes Bitcoin’s share of the cryptocurrency market has dropped significantly, from over 80 percent to less than 35 percent (it’s worth pointing out Bitcoin currently accounts for 55 percent of the market, according to CoinMarketCap). “The abuse of cryptocurrencies by cybercriminals continues to play a pivotal role in the commission, perpetration…

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UK shipping giant floats blockchain as a solution to sink supply chain woes

The UK’s leading port operator is planning to explore blockchain as a possible tool to improve the performance of British shipyards. Associated British Ports (ABP) today announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding to work with blockchain logistics developers, Marine Transport International (MTI), Dry Bulk Magazine reports. ABP operates some 21 ports all over the UK, and is responsible for processing 25 percent of the nation’s seafaring freight. This partnership will see the two companies work together to examine how blockchain can be used to increase efficiency and throughput at ports across the UK. Of course, these “solutions” are…

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