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Quibi’s tech lives up to the hype. The shows? That’s up to you.

Quibi's tech lives up to the hype. The shows? That's up to you.

If you have an unquenchable thirst for streamed content and a few bucks to spare each month, Quibi would like a moment of your time.

An actual moment, in this case. The short-form video app is launching Monday in the U.S. and Canada after months of attention-grabbing headlines involving its star-studded original shows. Don’t get it twisted, though — this isn’t just a Netflix competitor. The Quibi app is mobile-only, so you won’t be watching any of these shows on your TV.

If you think that seems like unfortunate timing given everything happening in the world right now, you could be right. A mobile-only streaming service may not be able to fully shine during a lockdown when hardly anyone one is particularly, well, mobile. The good news is Quibi does everything it sets out to do. Read more…

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Zoom improves security with automatic password protection and waiting rooms

Zoom improves security with automatic password protection and waiting rooms

After facing heavy criticism for the way it handles privacy and security, the video conferencing service Zoom is making a few very necessary updates. 

Beginning April 5, all meetings going forward will have automatically enabled password protection and waiting rooms. The password protection makes it so you need a password to enter a meeting even if you already have the meeting ID, although those who enter a meeting via a link will not need to enter the password. The waiting room allows the hosts to selectively admit people who are waiting to enter a meeting, so if they see a name they don’t recognize, they can choose not to let them have access. Read more…

More about Privacy, Zoom, Passwords, Tech, and Cybersecurity

Apple TV+ joins Netflix in reducing European streaming quality

Apple TV+ joins Netflix in reducing European streaming quality

Europeans quarantined at home will be riding out the coronavirus pandemic in low-res.

Apple TV+ has joined the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming giants this week in downgrading streaming video quality across the continent in an apparent effort to reduce strain on the internet. 

We reached out to Apple, which confirmed the move, in an attempt to determine when the decision was made, how long it will last, which specific countries or regions are affected, and how degraded the streaming quality is. The company did not respond to any of our specific questions. 

9to5Mac reported that European customers are seeing resolutions “as low as 670 pixels tall” — a far cry from the service’s oft-touted 4K. Mashable is unable to independently confirm 9to5Mac’s reporting, however, there are Twitter accounts echoing the low-resolution claims.  Read more…

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It’s not just you: A Facebook glitch marked authentic coronavirus news as spam

It’s not just you: A Facebook glitch marked authentic coronavirus news as spam

Social platforms and big tech companies have stepped up amid the coronavirus pandemic, moving aggressively to try and combat misinformation and put expert, reliable sources front and center for users. And people have been using Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and various other platforms to share community information, offer help, and shame their peers and parents into social distancing.

But over the past day or so, there was an unexplained spike in removals and flagging of posts relating to the coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19. Users on Facebook and Twitter reported that innocuous, informative, or authentic news posts about the outbreak were being flagged as spam or removed. Read more…

More about Facebook, Misinformation, Coronavirus, Tech, and Health

Apple punishes facial recognition company Clearview AI for ignoring developer rules

Apple punishes facial recognition company Clearview AI for ignoring developer rules

Clearview AI’s week keeps getting worse. 

Apple has suspended the controversial facial recognition company’s iOS developer account following a report from Buzzfeed News that Clearview AI was in violation of Apple’s Enterprise Developer Program rules.

As a result, Apple has disabled Clearview AI’s iOS app, giving the company 14 days to respond to Apple’s claim. 

Specifically, Apple’s rules state that companies “may not use, distribute or otherwise make Your Internal Use Applications available to any third parties in any way.” 

Buzzfeed’s report found that Clearview AI was doing exactly that by “encouraging” its clients to download the iOS app in violation of that rule.  Read more…

More about Apple, Ios, Facial Recognition, Clearview Ai, and Tech

The best headphones for Samsung loyalists in the UK

The best headphones for Samsung loyalists in the UK

Your Samsung smartphone might offer plenty of great features, but the headphones that came with it probably aren’t that great. You are better off upgrading and buying separate earphones or headphones that offer a far superior listening experience.

Before you jump in and invest in a fancy new set, it’s worth having a think about how you intend on using your headphones. Are you planning on commuting with them regularly? Do you travel frequently? Do you love using Samsung’s voice assistant? It’s important to pick a pair that works for you.

Are Beats headphones compatible with Samsung?

Apple bought headphone manufacturer Beats back in 2014 so it you might think that you can’t use Beats headphones with your Samsung smartphone. This is not the case. You can definitely still use your Beats headphones with a Samsung smartphone, although you’ll miss out on things like Quick Glance to see your battery life.   Read more…

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IMAGE: Samsung



BEST FOR SIMPLICITY

Samsung Galaxy Buds

Great all-around headphones, especially if you don’t want to spend a while tweaking.

  • Colours: Black, White, and Yellow
  • Battery life: 6 hours (doubled when using carrying case)


£139 from Samsung

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IMAGE: Amazon



BEST FOR TRAVEL

Sony WH-1000XM3

These super smart noise-cancelling headphones can detect ambient noise around you and adjust as needed.

  • Colours: Black and Silver
  • Battery life: 30 hours (with active noise-cancellation on)


£330 from Amazon

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IMAGE: Amazon



BEST FOR SOUND QUALITY

Bose QuietComfort 35

Besides offering a balanced audio experience, these have three levels of noise cancellation so you can block out the world.

  • Colours: Black, Silver, and Rose Gold
  • Battery life: Up to 20 hours wireless and 40 hours wired


£260 from Amazon

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IMAGE: Amazon



BEST FOR VOICE SUPPORT

Beats Solo3

You’ll get a bit of everything: fast battery charging, a stylish look, and useful features.

  • Colours: Black, Red, Club Navy, Club Red, Club White, Club Yellow, Rose Gold, Satin Gold, and Satin Silver
  • Battery life: 40 hours


£179.95 from Amazon

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IMAGE: Amazon



BEST FOR OLDER SAMSUNG SMARTPHONES

1MORE Triple Driver

If you’re into wires, you won’t find better sound quality for this price.

  • Colours: Silver and Gold
  • Battery life: N/A


£67.99 from Amazon

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IMAGE: Amazon



BEST FOR RUNNING

Creative Outlier Gold

Great for active people thanks to sweatproofing capabilities and an impressive 14-hour battery life.

  • Colours: Gold
  • Battery life: 14 hours


£94.99 from Amazon

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IMAGE: Amazon



BEST FOR WORKOUTS

Samsung Flex

Thanks to a magnetic design, these earphones easily snap and fold together to store well.

  • Colours: Black
  • Battery life: 8 hours


£62 from Amazon

Lyft to charge San Francisco e-bikers more for decadent dockless parking

Lyft to charge San Francisco e-bikers more for decadent dockless parking

San Francisco e-bike riders’ penchant for locking their Bay Wheels wherever they damn well please is about to cost them some serious dough. 

A host of pricing changes are coming to the Lyft-operated platform as of March 2. Perhaps the most notable of which includes a brand new $2 locking fee for riders who choose to ignore available dock spaces in favor of using built-in cables to lock the e-bikes to racks or street signs. In other words, use a docking station or pay up. 

Pretty simple, right? It will be cheaper for riders to leave e-bikes at stations as opposed to scattered about, thus helping to ensure bikes are easier to find, maintain, and charge. But wait, we’re not done yet.  Read more…

More about Lyft, E Bikes, Bike Share, Tech, and Transportation

Jack Dorsey tweeted a real bummer of a WikiHow on Valentine’s Day

Jack Dorsey tweeted a real bummer of a WikiHow on Valentine's Day

It’s Valentine’s Day and Jack Dorsey is tweeting about wine. 

Or, more precisely, he tweeted a screenshot of a WikiHow article telling people how to properly hold a wine glass. Whatever you do, insists the article with an accompanying picture of a solitary hand holding a glass of wine, “Never hold the bowl.” It’s real depressing shit. 

The Twitter CEO shared the image late Friday afternoon after, we’re assuming, his date told him to stop being such a pretentious jerk and just enjoy the nice bottle of Priorat for crying out loud. 

More about Twitter, Jack Dorsey, Wine, Tech, and Big Tech Companies

Motorola puts out a foldable Razr test video in response to durability concerns

Motorola puts out a foldable Razr test video in response to durability concerns

After Motorola’s reborn Razr seemed to fail a recent durability test, the company fired back with a response and a test of its own.

The Razr broke after only 27,000 folds from FoldBot, a tool developed to literally fold and unfold devices to test its durability. CNET planned to put the device through 100,000 folds, a goal well below the Samsung Galaxy’s record of 120,000 folds. The site tested it during what was supposed to be a 12-hour livestream, but it was cut short when the Razr’s hinge got stuck and the FoldBot was unable to continue … folding. 

Motorola responded with a statement and the below video, which shows its own folding machine fully opening and closing the phone. The FoldBot only partially closes the phone before opening it again.  Read more…

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Co-Star accuses Google of ‘anti-astrology prejudice’ after Play Store pulls horoscope app

Co-Star accuses Google of 'anti-astrology prejudice' after Play Store pulls horoscope app

Co-Star, the “hyper-personalized” AI astrology app notorious (and beloved) for its ego-bruising push notifications, has gone supernova on Google over its sudden removal from the Play Store.

Just two weeks after the app became available to Android users, it reportedly disappeared from the Play Store on Wednesday evening. A few hours later, the app’s official Instagram account posted a furious note on Stories (and reposted on Twitter) in its trademark monochrome, with the header “Don’t Be Evil: Google hates astrology”.

pic.twitter.com/SrCSANxU6S

— Co – Star (@costarastrology) February 6, 2020 Read more…

More about Android, Co Star, Tech, Big Tech Companies, and Web Culture

Facebook will remove some coronavirus conspiracy theories

Facebook will remove some coronavirus conspiracy theories

Facebook is cracking down on coronavirus rumors and conspiracy theories.

The company said that its fact checkers will debunk false claims about the coronavirus, and that it will remove some posts pushing conspiracy theories about it.

“We will also start to remove content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities that could cause harm to people who believe them,” the company wrote in a statement

“We are doing this as an extension of our existing policies to remove content that could cause physical harm.” Read more…

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Uber, Lyft are officially up and running in British Columbia

Uber, Lyft are officially up and running in British Columbia

People in Vancouver, British Columbia no longer have to feel left out when it comes to ride-sharing. Anyone going out this weekend can finally snag an Uber or Lyft home in the wee hours of the night.

Less than 24 hours after both ride-share companies were given the green light to operate in Vancouver, their respective apps officially went live, Global News reports.

Heads up #Vancouver, we’ve officially landed! 🚗

Now 2 am you, and 8 am you, and 5pm you can grab a Lyft to your favourite bar, grandma’s house, a museum, the market, Rogers Arena, a bridge, the Seawall, a park… you know, wherever. It’s all in the apppic.twitter.com/h35oop7lfu

— Lyft (@lyft) January 24, 2020 Read more…

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Vine cofounder finally releases his next viral video app: Byte

Vine cofounder finally releases his next viral video app: Byte

If you’re still mourning the loss of Vine, you now have a new video app to fill the void and, no, I’m not talking about TikTok.

That’s because Vine cofounder Dom Hofmann is finally launching byte, the video app that’s meant to be a successor to the video app that was mercilessly killed by Twitter in 2016. Hofmann has been teasing the app, which he has described as a “follow-up” to Vine, since 2017, though the self-funded project has run into delays.

“Today we’re bringing back 6-second looping videos and a new community for people who love them,” the company wrote on Twitter. “It’s called byte and it’s both familiar and new. We hope it’ll resonate with people who feel something’s been missing.” Read more…

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Talk to the hand? Amazon reportedly wants you to pay with it.

Talk to the hand? Amazon reportedly wants you to pay with it.

Apple and Google make it easy to leave your wallet be when it’s time to pay at the register, but now there are murmurs about factoring out your smartphone as well.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon shops and other merchants could offer a hand-based payment system. Your credit card or account info would be linked to your palms, so when checking out you’d just put out your hand. Scan it and you’re set.

The terminals could be used at any store, not just Amazon-owned ones. Early talks with financial institutions suggest the powers-that-be are mulling connecting customer payment info to the hand-readers. Read more…

More about Amazon, Payments, Biometric, Tech, and Big Tech Companies

Google will ‘phase out’ cookies in Chrome — just not anytime soon

Google will 'phase out' cookies in Chrome — just not anytime soon

Google says it will “phase out” one of the main tools that allows companies to track you across the web.

The company plans to eliminate support for third-party cookies in Chrome over the next two years. Google’s announcement, which comes well after Chrome’s main competitors have made similar updates, could be a major win for privacy advocates who have long decried the use of cookies for enabling companies to surreptitiously track users’ browsing habits. 

But, as we’ve previously noted, Google’s attempts to limit cookies could also give the company a major leg up on advertising competitors, as it would reduce third-parties’ ability to keep tabs on users. Read more…

More about Tech, Google, Privacy, Chrome, and Tech

Have a Tesla over-the-air update disaster? Try these reboots.

Have a Tesla over-the-air update disaster? Try these reboots.

Christmas came early for Tesla owners with a “holiday” update that added new features and tools to the software system controlling the electric vehicles. 

But with new features like more voice commands, TRAX music-making, Twitch video streaming, Camp Mode, and new games like Stardew Valley and backgammon comes the inevitable errant Tesla whose computer just won’t update.  

Tesla with its screen-based driving system is known for its quick and painless over-the-air updates. It’s similar to downloading and installing a new operating system on a smartphone. While connected to your WiFi, the car downloads and updates to a new version in about 30 minutes, bringing a slew of new features and changes to the driving experience. But sometimes things get sticky.  Read more…

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Tesla code points to Ludicrous Mode, better battery in Model 3

Tesla code points to Ludicrous Mode, better battery in Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 might be getting a couple of improvements according to some lines of code found by notoriously eagle-eyed Twitter user Green.

In looking at Tesla’s software, Green found a couple of notable changes coming to the Model 3, including an inclusion of the company’s Ludicrous Mode and an option for a 100kWh battery, which is a nice upgrade from the car’s current 75kWh battery.

Of course, it’s important to note that Tesla is no stranger to changing plans for its vehicles and that sometimes even the things it promises don’t quite line up to reality (*cough* cybertruck windows).

Along with these finds, Green pointed out some other changes in the software that could point toward new options for Model 3 buyers. There could be new tire pressure sensors, new rim options, new options for glass roofs, and improved airflow. Read more…

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This new EV has a ‘California mode,’ and it’s as chill as it sounds

This new EV has a 'California mode,' and it's as chill as it sounds

The rest of the country is going to snicker, but Fisker’s upcoming all-electric SUV, called Ocean, unveiled a feature this week to honor the car’s West Coast roots and SoCal vibes. 

With one button Ocean drivers can open nine windows and openings throughout the car including a back hatch and sun roof. Let the ocean air flow in and breathe in and out. If that isn’t California dreaming we don’t know what is. The feature is called, of course, California mode. Iconic car designer Henrik Fisker is based in the Los Angeles area.

Reservations-holders for the Fisker Ocean are privy to an exclusive video demonstrating how it works, but it’s only on the Fisker app. We were told we could see the video next week after future-owners got a chance first. Reservations require a $250 deposit. The eco-friendly vehicle built with recycled materials and solar panels on the roof is supposed to start production in 2021 and arrive by 2022.  Read more…

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Hackers are getting really good at hacking Ring cameras and the results are terrifying

Hackers are getting really good at hacking Ring cameras and the results are terrifying

In case you needed another reminder of the potentially terrifying downside of having a Wi-Fi-connected security camera in your home, consider this: it’s surprisingly easy for hackers to gain access to them.

Hackers have created software that essentially streamlines the process, and are selling and sharing it on internet forums, Motherboard reported. The exploit is possible not because of any one vulnerability in Ring’s software, but rather how it takes advantage of insecure passwords in order to get into the accounts in question. 

This is much more than a theoretical vulnerability. There have been reports all around the country of people encountering strangers on the other end of their in-home security camera.  Read more…

More about Tech, Amazon, Cybersecurity, Ring, and Tech

Hackers are getting really good at hacking Ring cameras and the results are terrifying

Hackers are getting really good at hacking Ring cameras and the results are terrifying

In case you needed another reminder of the potentially terrifying downside of having a Wi-Fi-connected security camera in your home, consider this: it’s surprisingly easy for hackers to gain access to them.

Hackers have created software that essentially streamlines the process, and are selling and sharing it on internet forums, Motherboard reported. The exploit is possible not because of any one vulnerability in Ring’s software, but rather how it takes advantage of insecure passwords in order to get into the accounts in question. 

This is much more than a theoretical vulnerability. There have been reports all around the country of people encountering strangers on the other end of their in-home security camera.  Read more…

More about Tech, Amazon, Cybersecurity, Ring, and Tech

Why use words when you can just DM friends colorful rectangles?

Why use words when you can just DM friends colorful rectangles?

Words, man. Amirite? They’re so limiting — with their defined meanings and their need for correct spelling. And don’t even get me started on grammar.

If you, too, are sick of words, ooh buddy do we have an app for you. Meet Color Chat: an app which lets you DM with your friends by sending colored rectangles of various sizes and hues back and forth. 

It might not be super efficient at getting a message across, but it’s perhaps more fun — and definitely prettier — than just shooting the regular shit.

The future of social is:
– the color chat app where you can chat with colored rectangles only. no text no emoji no video. just colored rectangles pic.twitter.com/KSzyZaOEzd

— freia lobo (@freialobo) December 13, 2019 Read more…

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People don’t like working at Facebook as much as they used to

People don't like working at Facebook as much as they used to

Facebook’s status as one of the most desirable employers is waning. That’s according to Glassdoor’s latest rankings of the best companies to work for, based on anonymous employee reviews.

Glassdoor released its annual “Best Places to Work” list for 2020, which compiles employees’ anonymous ratings and reviews on Glassdoor, though the actual rankings are determined by the company’s “proprietary awards algorithm.” 

This year, Facebook’s position on the list of the top 100 organizations dropped to No. 23, down from No. 7 in 2019 and No. 1 in 2018. That’s a new low for the company, which has consistently ranked near the top of Glassdoor’s list. The first year the social network made the cut, in 2011, it nabbed the top spot. Since then, Facebook has ranked in the top ten every year, except for 2015, when it hit No. 13.  Read more…

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People don’t like working at Facebook as much as they used to

People don't like working at Facebook as much as they used to

Facebook’s status as one of the most desirable employers is waning. That’s according to Glassdoor’s latest rankings of the best companies to work for, based on anonymous employee reviews.

Glassdoor released its annual “Best Places to Work” list for 2020, which compiles employees’ anonymous ratings and reviews on Glassdoor, though the actual rankings are determined by the company’s “proprietary awards algorithm.” 

This year, Facebook’s position on the list of the top 100 organizations dropped to No. 23, down from No. 7 in 2019 and No. 1 in 2018. That’s a new low for the company, which has consistently ranked near the top of Glassdoor’s list. The first year the social network made the cut, in 2011, it nabbed the top spot. Since then, Facebook has ranked in the top ten every year, except for 2015, when it hit No. 13.  Read more…

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Take a look at the first all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E. (It’s an SUV.)

Last week Ford thought it played it coy only revealing the name of its first all-electric vehicle (the Ford Mustang Mach-E), but after some simple poking around the Ford website, images, video, specs, and prices of the upcoming vehicles were leaked ahead of Sunday’s big reveal in Los Angeles. 

But the leaks, still posted on a Mach-E online forum, were accurate: Ford’s first EV does indeed look like a puffed up, oddly compact SUV version of its Mustang muscle car glory of the 1960s. The car is no longer two-door, but it’s still got the pony emblazoned on the front. Its Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition is the most reminiscent of the sporty Mustang of the past, with its zero-to-60 mph in mid-3 seconds and 459 horsepower abilities. Read more…

More about Idris Elba, Ford, Electric Vehicles, Tech, and Transportation

The new Microsoft Edge browser logo sure does look familiar

To be fair, you shouldn’t eat the logo either. 

Microsoft’s Edge browser is freshening things up with a new look, and it’s a swirling blue-and-green design that to many calls to mind another thing that’s gone out of style: Tide pods.

Discovered by The Verge, Tom Warren writes that the “Edge icon was revealed in an elaborate Easter Egg hunt where Microsoft employees posted cryptic clues to a series of puzzles and  images.”

The final clue led to the new Microsoft Edge logo. This was a really fun hunt, and only made possible by everyone working together over on Discord, Reddit, and Twitter. Thanks for all the fun! https://t.co/lPB6fJOPqa pic.twitter.com/hDmOcQu22a

— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) November 2, 2019 Read more…

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Tesla owners immediately tested the new Smart Summon in parking lots

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Tesla released its latest software update, V10, on Thursday, and amongst the new games, streaming services (Spotify at last!), and Joe Mode, came an autonomous driving update.

Customers who have a Full Self-Driving capable car or Enhanced Autopilot package already had a Summon feature through the Tesla mobile app. Now they have Smart Summon. And everyone is trying it out. 

Smart Summon goes beyond its predecessor’s simple ability to remotely move the car forward and backward while outside the vehicle. Now you can set the car to navigate a parking lot and come to you — but only if the car is within your line of sight.  Read more…

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One day left to get featured at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin’s Startup Battlefield

Founders. The clock is ticking. Applications for Startup Battlefield at Disrupt Berlin 2019 are closing in just about 24 hours.

On December 11-12, TechCrunch will feature the top early-stage startups from around the world in the most renowned on-stage pitch competition in the world – Startup Battlefield. Companies are battling for $50,000 in equity-free prize money, the infamous Disrupt Cup and the attention of press and investors from around the world.

You’ll join the leave of highly successful Startup Battlefield Alumni, including N26, JukeDeck, Dropbox, GetAround, Mint.com, and more. All together, the 857 companies that have launched with Startup Battlefield have raised over $8.9 billion in funding, with 113 successful exits (IPOs and acquisitions).

It’s simply. Startups from any part of the world and any industry can apply. Companies must be early stage, pre-major publicity and have a minimally viable product to demo live on stage. TechCrunch editors review the applications and select the top 3-5% of companies that apply – more competitive than college!

After being selected, founders will go through a mini-accelerator with the Startup Battlefield team, where we will train you on your pitch, go-to-market strategy, on stage talent and set you up for the biggest, most public launch on the largest tech stage in the world. Teams pitch for 6 minutes including a live demo, followed by a 6 min Q&A with our esteemed judges – VCs, angels and heads of major companies.

If you make it to the final round, you simply pitch on stage again with the same pitch in front of a brand new set of judges. These judges debate and decide the final winner of the competition and the startup that gets to bring home $50,000 and the Disrupt Cup.

Participating in Startup Battlefield gets you a whole suite of perks. We’re talking free exhibition space in Startup Alley for both days of Disrupt, invitations to private events, backstage access, CrunchMatch — our free business-matching platform — free subscriptions to Extra Crunch and a ticket to all future TechCrunch events. That’s some major value right there.

There’s nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Stop procrastinating apply to Startup Battlefield today. We want to see you in Berlin!

Viewers still using TiVo will soon see ads before their recordings

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The digital TV recording company TiVo is back in the spotlight with some upcoming changes and new products. 

TiVo had its heyday back in the early 2000s before DVR and streaming were everywhere, but it still has a few million subscribers. Those viewers will soon be subjected to ads playing before their TV recordings. 

It’s a bit ironic for the company that gained popularity for letting you scrub through ads during TV shows and programs. On its website, TiVo still lists this as a benefit: “[We] give you the power to skip ads.”

According to an industry news outlet, the ads will go out to all users with the latest software version known as TiVo Experience 4, but will be skippable. That’s a relief. But users aren’t too happy. On a TiVo online forum one user wrote, “If they start doing this to me I’m out. No way they’re forcing me to watch ads on a device I paid almost $1,000 for with lifetime service.” Read more…

More about Tivo, Dvr, Tech, Consumer Tech, and Streaming Services

YouTube walks back changes to verification policy after outcry

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YouTube’s CEO is once again apologizing to the service’s top users following a massive backlash over changes to its verification policy.

One day after announcing that it was ditching the checkmarks and notifying many users that they were no longer eligible for verification, the company is walking back those changes.

“We completely missed the mark,” the company said in an updated blog post published Friday. 

“Channels that already have the verification badge will now keep it and don’t have to appeal. Just like in the past, all channels that have over 100,000 subscribers will still be eligible to apply. We’ll reopen the application process by the end of October.” Read more…

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Inside the new Apple Fifth Avenue: It’s more than just a redesign

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To most everybody, Apple’s iconic Fifth Avenue store is just a store — a physical retail space to sell shiny new iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and more.

Its grand reopening on Sept. 20 — timed with the launch of the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro — at 8 a.m. ET is nothing to get excited about.

It’s a store, not a revolutionary new Apple product that changes the world. It exists to take your dollars in exchange for products.

But Apple Fifth Avenue is more than just a store to me. 

The massive aluminum-covered lair became a haven for creativity, due in part to the many people who listened to music on iPods, edited video with iMovie on an iMac, or made music in GarageBand with no intention of buying anything.  Read more…

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MoviePass is dead (for real this time)

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MoviePass, the once uber-popular movie subscription service, is shutting down. For real.

In a press release published on Friday and first noticed by CNBC, Helios and Matheson Analytics — MoviePass’ parent company — announced the shutdown of the service. Subscriptions will cease to work on Saturday.

“MoviePass notified its subscribers that it would be interrupting the MoviePass service for all its subscribers effective September 14, 2019, because its efforts to recapitalize MoviePass have not been successful to date,” says the statement. “The Company is unable to predict if or when the MoviePass service will continue.” Read more…

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How Facebook will pick the news you see in its app

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Facebook is really hoping it will all go better this time around. 

The company that keeps insisting it’s not in the media business intends to launch a news tab in the coming months, and appears keen on staving off another Trending topics-style fiasco. Part of this effort, it would seem, involves establishing editorial guidelines — enforced by actual humans — for the articles populating its upcoming section. 

In other words, employees of Mark “I consider us to be a technology company” Zuckerberg’s Facebook will be to some extent curating what news people read on the site. And, with the depressing fact that, as of last year, approximately 43 percent of Americans get their news on Facebook, we’re talking about a lot of people.  Read more…

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Russia accuses Google, Facebook of election interference

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A new country says Google and Facebook may have interfered in its elections — just maybe not the one you’d expect.

Officials in Russia have said that Google and Facebook published election-related ads in violation of the country’s laws, Reuters reported

Yes, you read that correctly: Russia is accusing the two tech giants of election interference. 

At issue are laws that prohibit political ads “during elections on Sunday and on the preceding day,” according to Reuters. Russia’s Roskomnadzor, the government body that oversees the country’s media laws, has said Facebook and Google both ran ads during Sunday elections.  Read more…

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New Alexa smart speaker skill plays music for your dog

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“Who let the dogs out? Woof! Woof!”

That’s one of the songs (along with any other remixes of the Baha Men’s 2000 hit) we’d include on the new Alexa smart speaker skill for your dog. Puppy Jams! is an iHeartRadio music skill that plays songs for your dog even if you’re not around.

Monday is International Dog Day. Let your dog rock out in honor of the very official holiday by turning on the Alexa skill.

For any Amazon device connected to the digital assistant Alexa, you can say, “Alexa, open Puppy Jams!” Then you tell the AI how your dog is feeling: stressed, lonely, or happy. Based on the mood you indicated, the device will select an iHeartRadio playlist made for canines.  Read more…

More about Music, Dogs, Amazon Alexa, Playlist, and Tech

Pastors are getting in on Ring’s ever-growing surveillance state

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God is always watching — and soon, thanks to Amazon, a bunch of church pastors may join in on the fun. 

According to the Baltimore Sun, the Seattle tech giant has partnered with a host of religious leaders to equip Baltimore residents with Ring surveillance cameras. Amazon reportedly helped the group of pastors secure $15,000 to acquire the Amazon-owned cameras that have gained notoriety as a privacy-violating, police-fueled creep show.  

Notably, these cameras will not be deployed at physical places of worship — often a sad necessity in an age of rising anti-semitism and white nationalist violence — but rather employed to bust people in the community.  Read more…

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6 of the best light masks for acne, according to reviews

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According to the American Academy of Dermatology, adult acne is on the rise, affecting up to 15 percent of women. (As if adulting wasn’t already stressful enough!) 

Though topical creams may get the job done for some, there’s a new kind of acne treatment that’s becoming increasingly popular: acne light therapy. Basically, this high-tech solution aims to kill the bacteria that causes acne and prolongs the vicious breakout cycle. It also targets age spots, acne scars, discoloration, and other blemishes. Light treatments work by shining different types of LED light (either red or blue light) onto your skin at a close distance. The red light treatment takes aim at inflammation while the blue light treatment targets the acne-causing bacteria at the source. Read more…

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IMAGE: Amazon



BEST FOR MORE THAN JUST ACNE

Lacomri 7 Color LED Light Therapy Acne Mask

Designed to treat acne, reduce wrinkles, remove rashes, and more, this is one of the more comprehensive light therapy masks out there.

  • Power: Standard wall plug-in


$124 from Amazon

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IMAGE: Amazon



BEST LIGHTWEIGHT MASK

Hangsun Light Therapy Acne Treatment LED Mask

It can be reused for over a month before it needs a new charge and reviewers found it to be surprisingly comfortable.

  • Power: USB or portable battery power bank


$33.99 from Amazon

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IMAGE: Amazon



BEST FOR ACNE SCARS

NEWKEY LED Face Light Therapy Mask

A professional-style treatment that targets multiple issues, including those dreaded acne scars.

  • Power: USB charging


$118.89 from Amazon

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IMAGE: Amazon



BEST FOR SEVERE ADULT ACNE

IlluMask

Also targets wrinkles and other aging properties in addition to acne.

  • Power: Requires 4 AA batteries


$23 from Amazon

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IMAGE: Amazon



BEST FOR NECK BREAKOUTS

Project E Beauty LED Photon Therapy Treatment Mask

A cordless design means you won’t be tethered to one spot during your treatments.

  • Power: Wireless, uses 110V-220V to charge


$199.99 from Amazon

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IMAGE: Amazon



BEST FOR CUSTOMIZATION

Dermashine Pro 7 Color LED Face Mask

Since it comes with a wide range of treatment options, you can really get your money’s worth.

  • Power: USB charging


$149.99 from Amazon

Don’t make calls with Siri or Google or you could get scammed

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If you’ve ever used Siri or Google to call a business, you could be in danger of falling victim to a new scam. 

Phone calls made with voice assistants could open people up to scammers, who have found a clever new way to exploit our growing dependence on Siri and Google. That’s according to the Better Business Bureau, which issued a warning about the scheme.

Here’s how it goes down, according to the BBB: you need to call a business, like an airline, but you don’t know what number to call. So you do what many of us do and ask Google or Siri to “call [business name]” for you you. 

But instead of calling your bank or your airline, the assistant calls a scammer impersonating someone from the company, who will try to trick you into sending them money. Read more…

More about Tech, Siri, Google Assistant, Tech, and Consumer Tech

Despite embracing the government, DEF CON maintains its mischievous hacker roots

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Raucous applause filled the the large convention room inside Las Vegas’s Paris casino: the government had arrived.

Seated behind a table at the annual DEF CON conference in Las Vegas was Congressman Ted Lieu, and, joined by Rep. James Langevin of Rhode Island, he had come to ask a large crowd of hackers and security professionals for help. The once famously Fed-averse crowd was loving it

But don’t get it twisted — DEF CON hadn’t gone soft. The mischievous and lawless side of this assemblage of the hacker community was out in full effect – assuming, that is, you knew where to look.  Read more…

Inviting the Man to your party

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He tried to prank the DMV. Then his vanity license plate backfired big time.

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Everyone hates parking tickets. Not everyone, however, is an information security researcher with a mischievous side and a freshly minted vanity license plate reading “NULL.”

That would be Droogie (his handle, if that’s not obvious), a presenter at this year’s DEF CON hacking conference in Las Vegas and man with a very specific problem: He’s on the receiving end of thousands of dollars worth of tickets that aren’t his. But don’t tell that to the DMV.

It wasn’t, of course, supposed to end up this way. In fact, exactly the opposite. Droogie registered a vanity California license plate consisting solely of the word “NULL” — which in programming is a term for a value of zero — for fun. And, he admitted to laughs, on the off chance it would confuse automatic license plate readers and the DMV’s ticketing system.  Read more…

More about Hackers, Def Con, Dmv, Tech, and Cybersecurity

Teenager finds educational software exposed millions of student records

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Teenager Bill Demirkapi had been ghosted. Hard. “It didn’t feel good,” he explained to the large crowd gathered to hear him speak. “It hurt my feelings.” 

But Demirkapi, despite his status as a recent high-school graduate, wasn’t lamenting the traditional spurned-love problems typical of his cohort. Far from it. Instead, he was speaking at the famous DEF CON hacker conference in Las Vegas, and the ghoster-in-question was educational software maker Blackboard. 

Demirkapi had reported numerous vulnerabilities in Blackboard’s software to the company; after initially being in communication with him, the company stopped responding to his emails. But Demirkapi, who found he could access a host of student data — including family military status, weighted GPAs, and special education status — through vulnerabilities in Blackboard’s system, was undeterred.  Read more…

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Turns out your office printer is a huge cybersecurity risk

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Consider the office printer.

Massive, hulking things — the devices looming in the corner of workplaces around the world have come to represent untold hours of frustration in the form of printer jams and toner problems. According to security researchers set to present their findings this Saturday at the DEF CON hacking convention in Las Vegas, they also happen to be a cybersecurity nightmare. 

Daniel Romero Pérez and Mario Rivas Vivar, researchers at NCC Group, announced the discovery of major vulnerabilities on Thursday in name-brand printers made by the likes of Xerox, HP, Lexmark, Kyocera, Brother, and Ricoh. NCC Group shared some of the researchers’ findings with Mashable ahead of the aforementioned Aug. 10 talk, and they’re enough to elicit serious double take.   Read more…

More about Hackers, Printers, Def Con, Tech, and Cybersecurity

Turns out your office printer is a huge cybersecurity risk

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Consider the office printer.

Massive, hulking things — the devices looming in the corner of workplaces around the world have come to represent untold hours of frustration in the form of printer jams and toner problems. According to security researchers set to present their findings this Saturday at the DEF CON hacking convention in Las Vegas, they also happen to be a cybersecurity nightmare. 

Daniel Romero Pérez and Mario Rivas Vivar, researchers at NCC Group, announced the discovery of major vulnerabilities on Thursday in name-brand printers made by the likes of Xerox, HP, Lexmark, Kyocera, Brother, and Ricoh. NCC Group shared some of the researchers’ findings with Mashable ahead of the aforementioned Aug. 10 talk, and they’re enough to elicit serious double take.   Read more…

More about Hackers, Printers, Def Con, Tech, and Cybersecurity

Cloudflare announces termination of 8chan’s service

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Cloudflare has announced that it will terminate its protection of 8chan after the forum site was linked to another mass shooting over the weekend, tying the site’s “lawlessness” directly to “multiple tragic deaths.”

Pressure had mounted on the company to cease its service to 8chan, arguing that it enabled the spread of violent white supremacist rhetoric and the celebration of perpetrators of massacres. Manifestos or open letters by shooters including those responsible for the Christchurch, Poway, and El Paso shootings, all of which occurred in 2019, have been hosted on the mostly-unmoderated forums. Read more…

More about White Supremacy, 8chan, Cloudflare, Tech, and Cybersecurity

100 million Americans’ data accessed in massive Capitol One hack

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Well, this is not good. 

Finance services giant Capital One announced Monday that there had been a major cybersecurity incident directly affecting 100 million Americans and six million Canadians. Specifically, a host of their customers’ private financial data had been accessed by a hacker. 

According to a statement issued by the company, two separates breaches occurred — once on March 22 and another on March 23 — and were discovered on July 19. 

Bloomberg reports that a Seattle woman has been arrested and accused of hacking Capital One’s server at an unnamed cloud-computing company.

Notably, it seems that although the customer data in question was encrypted, the hacker was able to decrypt it.  Read more…

More about Capital One, Data Breach, Tech, and Cybersecurity

Apple’s three 2020 iPhones will all reportedly be 5G-ready

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Get your salt shakers ready; it’s time to talk about future Apple products.

Sagacious Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is expecting three new iPhones in 2020, and he’s saying they’ll all be wired for 5G support. The detail comes from an investor note obtained by MacRumors so it’s not exactly straight from Apple, but Kuo is a highly regarded analyst.

He had previously said back in June that two of the three expected iPhone models would be 5G-ready, so this is really more of an update to that earlier note. There’s a few reasons key reasons for the update.

The first is tied to a bit of fresh Apple news: the iPhone maker only recently acquired Intel’s modem business, which Mashable’s Karissa Bell already identified as a major boost for cellular Apple devices.  Read more…

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Samsung says an improved Galaxy Fold will launch in September

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Samsung’s foldable phone is back on.

An improved version of the Galaxy Fold will be ready to launch in “select markets” beginning in September, Samsung announced. The company said it has made a number of improvements to the design of the foldable phone, including “additional reinforcements.”

Samsung launched the Galaxy Fold with great fanfare in February, promising the foldable phone would usher in a new era of smartphone design. But when the company handed out devices to journalists in April, many early reviewers quickly reported serious issues. Samsung then put the phone on hold, and rumors of design flaws and planned fixes have trickled in since.  Read more…

More about Tech, Mobile, Samsung, Galaxy Fold, and Tech

Fake Amazon reviews surge around Prime Day

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As products jockey for your attention on Prime Day, some of them will be playing dirty.

Fake reviews on Amazon tend to surge around Prime Day, according to an analysis by the free review integrity analytics service Fakespot. This year’s Prime Day is right around the corner, spanning two days, July 15 and 16.

Fake reviews are always out in force in the world of e-commerce, not just on Amazon. But on Prime Day, when shoppers flock to the retailer, there’s an even larger push by companies seeking to feature their products to deploy fake reviews that boost ratings and visibility. 

“Companies publish fake reviews ahead of Prime Day because it helps move their products up the product ranking page,” a Fakespot representative said. “If anyone is searching for alternatives to Prime Day deals, they will see their products.” Read more…

More about Amazon, Reviews, Prime Day, Prime Day 2019, and Tech

Lyft self-driving cars offer tactile maps, diagrams for blind riders

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Aptiv’s self-driving cars on the Lyft ride-hailing network drove down the Las Vegas strip with blind and low-vision passengers along for the ride. 

For many of the riders, this was their first time in a self-driving vehicle of any sort. After three hours and about 50 demo rides in conjunction with the National Federation of the Blind’s annual convention in Las Vegas, it was also a way to demonstrate how the blind and low-vision community can use robo-taxi services.

Each ride included a paper tactile graphic with braille describing what makes the car autonomous (LiDAR, radar, cameras, and other sensors) and how the self-driving tech works along with a tactile map of the route to the Vegas sign. The paper map and diagram were made with the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired nonprofit organization. Read more…

More about Lyft, Self Driving Cars, Blind Community, Aptiv, and Tech

Hey drivers, use this to discover how much Uber and Lyft take from you

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Uber and Lyft keep changing how their drivers get paid. Along with all the confusion, some drivers are feeling short-changed. Now a new online tool is available that collects driver receipts and crunches the numbers to find out how much the ride-hailing apps are taking from drivers.

Transportation media outlet Jalopnik is investigating what it believes are unfair pricing structures, with Uber and Lyft taking as much as half of fares in some situations. Starting this week, the site is trying to collect as much driver trip payment data as possible. 

Uber’s average earnings — the amount it takes after driver earnings are deducted from what a rider pays — is 22 percent of a ride, globally. Lyft calls this a “platform fee.” On its website it describes it as “the difference between what the passenger paid and your driver earnings, tips, tolls, and other charges (like airport fees and taxes).” In Lyft’s IPO filing, Lyft revenue from all bookings (including e-scooters and bike rentals) was 26.8 percent. Read more…

More about Uber, Lyft, Ride Hailing Apps, Drivers, and Tech

Samsung sets a date for its big Galaxy Note 10 reveal

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We still aren’t entirely sure what’s going on with the Galaxy Fold, but we now know when Samsung will show off its next big flagship phone.

The company sent out invitations for its next Unpacked event, set for Aug. 7, when Samsung is expected to reveal the Galaxy Note 10. The event will kick off at 4 p.m ET at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and will also be streamed on Samsung’s website.

The invitation itself features a stylus — an obvious reference to the Note’s S Pen —and what appears to be a camera lens. It’s less clear what the camera is supposed to hint at, but leaks and rumors suggest the Note 10 will have no shortage of cameras. Read more…

More about Tech, Samsung, Smartphones, Galaxy Note 10, and Tech