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Soraa’s new light bulbs skip the smart home and focus on the science of the color spectrum

January 31, 2018 Alex 0

Everyone’s trying to build a better light bulb. These days, that means things like adjustable colors and smart home connectivity. Bay Area startup Soraa is skipping all the noise for the moment, instead making color its primary focus. For five years, the company’s been producing products for places like art galleries and hotels, where color balance is a big part of the experience. Read More

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Pandora is laying off about 5 percent of workforce

January 31, 2018 Alex 0

Streaming music service Pandora is laying off about five percent of its employee base and taking “other cost-saving measures” in an attempt to save about $45 million annually. According to Pandora’s 8-K filing, employees were notified today of the plan and the company expects the staff reduction to be complete by the end of Q1 2018. This is all part of an… Read More

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The latest Android One phone looks like an updated iPhone 5C

January 31, 2018 Alex 0

Remember the iPhone 5C? Apple’s foray into making a plastic-cased, brightly colored line of theoretically cheaper iPhones may not have lasted long (largely due to people preferring the nicer aluminum models and the fact that they weren’t actually all that cheap), but Sharp’s new Android One S3 phone looks like it’s picking up the style of Apple’s short-lived experiment, with a few improvements, via GSMArena.

The Android One S3 costs 32,400 yen (roughly $300), putting it far more in line with mid-range and budget phones than the 5C ever was. The phone is also larger, with a 5-inch IGZO LCD display at 1080p resolution. The rest of the specs are uninspiring, at best — a Snapdragon 430 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage,…

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California court swipes left on Tinder charging more for users over 30

January 31, 2018 Alex 0

A California appellate court has ruled that Tinder’s variable pricing for Tinder Plus, which charges more for users over 30, is discriminatory as it makes an “arbitrary, class-based generalization” about users’ incomes, as reported by Quartz.

The case against Tinder was brought forth by Allen Candelore, who argued that the company’s age-based pricing is a violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act and the Unfair Competition Law. Tinder Plus charges $9.99 per month for users under 30, and $19.99 per month for users over 30, defending the model by saying that those who are younger have less disposable incomes.

While a lower trial court initially agreed with Tinder, the appeals court has reversed the decision, saying that no matter…

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Gfycat starts removing fake AI porn GIFs from its platform

January 31, 2018 Alex 0

Popular GIF hosting and creation site Gfycat has come out against the rising new trend of artificial intelligence-generated fake pornography. Colloquially known as “deepfakes,” after the Reddit user who popularized the technique back in December, these short-form videos typically feature porn stars with the faces of celebrities, with the face swapping achieved by feeding a neural network with thousands of photos and videos and then training the network using popular, open source machine learning techniques.

News of Gfycat’s stance on deepfakes was first reported by Motherboard, which also first reported on the existence of deepfakes, as well as the subreddit dedicated to the practice and its growing popularity.

“Our terms of service…

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Microsoft’s cloud bet continues to pay off in latest earnings

January 31, 2018 Alex 0

Microsoft posted its second quarter of its 2018 financial results today, reporting revenue of $28.9 billion and net income of $7.5 billion. Revenue has jumped 12 percent year-over-year during the holiday quarter, and the trend of Microsoft’s success with the cloud has continued. This time around, Azure revenue has increased by a massive 98 percent.

Surface revenue is up just 1 percent, probably due to the only new Surface device in the quarter being the Surface Book 2 that launched in mid November. Microsoft refreshed its Surface Pro and introduced a new Surface Laptop earlier in 2017, but it’s still surprising to see these haven’t produced big gains to Surface revenue over the crucial holiday period.

Windows OEM revenue is up 4 percent…

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Facebook usage falls in the US as it begins to tinker with the News Feed

January 31, 2018 Alex 0

After a few months of tweaking the News Feed in order to make it more personal and harder for fake stories to spread, Facebook says that overall usage has dropped by “roughly 50 million hours every day.”

That’s a huge and potentially scary number for Facebook — its goal, after all, is to get people to use more Facebook and see more Facebook ads — but company CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been warning this moment would come, and he’s argued that in the long run, it’ll be beneficial. The company released the stat today while reporting earnings for its fourth quarter of 2017.

Declined usage seems to be showing elsewhere, too. Though Facebook saw a 14 percent year-over-year increase in daily and monthly active users, it actually dropped from 185…

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Grapevines can survive with little water, but wine glasses could still go dry during droughts

January 31, 2018 Alex 0

Grapevines are drought resistant enough that California’s wineries may be able to dial back the irrigation and keep their plants alive, new research says. That’s good news as the state heads into what looks to be another dry year. There is a catch, however: while the study suggests vines might survive a thirsty spell with minimal watering, it doesn’t say if they’ll still make enough grapes to keep wine glasses full.

Researchers investigated how different varieties of grapes reacted to drought conditions: they spun the stems in a centrifuge and left the vines without water to find out when they start dying of dehydration. All of the varieties tested, including cabernet sauvignon and merlot, were found to be more or less equally resistant…

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Waymo and GM still lead the pack in California’s new self-driving report cards

January 31, 2018 Alex 0

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles released its annual autonomous vehicle disengagement report today. In the report, all companies that are actively testing self-driving cars on public roads in the Golden State disclose the number of miles driven and the frequency in which human drivers were forced to take control of their driverless vehicles. The biggest takeaway is that this is still Waymo (née Google) and GM’s party, and everyone else is playing catch-up.

this is still Waymo and GM’s party
Waymo says it drove a total of 352,545 miles autonomously in California for the 12-month period that ended November 2017. That’s a steep drop from the number of miles driven in 2016 — 635,868 miles — which highlights the fact that Waymo has…

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Half the Picture proves that #MeToo alone won’t solve sexism in entertainment

January 31, 2018 Alex 0

Welcome to Cheat Sheet, our brief breakdown-style reviews of festival films, VR previews, and other special event releases. This review comes from the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

In spite of all the focus on gender inequity in the film and TV industry over the past few years, the discrepancies are still dire. The visibility of the #MeToo movement and the sexual-abuse scandals that have rocked Hollywood may give the impression that women are making gains in the industry, but statistics still show them sliding backward in terms of representation: recent numbers show that half the students at the major film schools are women, but 91 percent of studio movies are still directed by men. And every study on the subject suggests widespread…

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