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President Trump accuses Amazon of scamming the USPS

March 31, 2018 Alex 0

This morning, Trump once again tweeted about online retailer Amazon.com, alleging that it is scamming the United States Postal Service and that the agency should raise its shipping rates. He also says that The Washington Post — owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos — should register as a lobbyist.

Earlier this week, Axios reported that President Donald Trump wanted to take on Amazon. The President followed up with a tweet on March 29th, saying that Amazon was taking advantage of the USPS, paying little in state and local taxes, and putting retailers out of business.

The New York Times outlined earlier this week that Amazon has collected sales taxes since April 2017. The retailer reported $957 million in income taxes last year. The Times also…

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Knitting machines power up with computer-generated patterns for 3D shapes

March 31, 2018 Alex 0

At last, a use for that industrial knitting machine you bought at a yard sale! Carnegie Mellon researchers have created a method that generates knitting patterns for arbitrary 3D shapes, opening the possibility of “on-demand knitting.” Think 3D printing, but softer.

The idea is actually quite compelling for those of us who are picky about their knitwear. How often have we picked up a knit cap, glove, or scarf only to find it too long, too short, too tight, too loose, etc?

If you fed your sartorial requirements (a 3D mesh) into this system from James McCann and students at CMU’s Textiles Lab, it could quickly spit out a pattern that a knitting machine could follow easily yet is perfectly suited for your purposes.

This has to be done carefully — the machines aren’t the same as human knitters, obviously, and a poorly configured pattern might lead to yarn breaking or jamming the machine. But it’s a lot better than having to build that pattern purl by purl.

With a little more work, “Kni..

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How an extra lens can transform your iPhone’s photos

March 31, 2018 Alex 0

A few years ago, the hit Sundance film Tangerine was shot entirely on an iPhone 5S to surprisingly good results. And last year, Steven Soderbergh did the same the same thing while making Unsane, with his only camera being an iPhone 7 Plus.

While a lot more than camera gear goes into making those movies look the way they do, the fact that professional filmmakers are using cameras that many of us keep in our pockets is a pretty encouraging sign when it comes to what we should be able to produce.

I wanted to test out just what you can do to improve your phone’s photo- and video-taking abilities, so I tried out a few different things: some add-on lenses, a microphone, and a stabilizer. You can see the results in the video above.

One thing I…

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Who gains from Facebook’s missteps?

March 31, 2018 Alex 0

When Facebook loses, who wins?

That’s a question for startups that may be worth contemplating following Facebook’s recent stock price haircut. The company’s valuation has fallen by around $60 billion since the Cambridge Analytica scandal surfaced earlier this month and the #DeleteFacebook campaign gained momentum.

That’s a steep drop, equal to about 12 percent of the company’s market valuation, and it’s a decline Facebook appears to be suffering alone. As its shares fell over the past couple of weeks, stocks of other large-cap tech and online media companies have been much flatter.

So where did the money go? It’s probably a matter of perspective. For a Facebook shareholder, that valuation is simply gone. And until executives’ apologies resonate and users’ desire to click and scroll overcomes their privacy fears, that’s how it is.

An alternate view is that the valuation didn’t exactly disappear. Investors may still believe the broad social media space is just as valuable as it was a..

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The best, worst, and weirdest cars at the 2018 New York Auto Show

March 31, 2018 Alex 0

The New York International Auto Show opens to the public this weekend, and upon entering the Javits Center attendees will be bombarded with new cars, SUVs, trucks and even a handful of supercars that will most likely be out their price range. Here’s our primer for anyone who wants to cut through the noise and see the stuff that really matters.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Most Futurama-ready car: Genesis Essentia
Anyone who grew up on dog-eared copies of Popular Science probably assumed we’d be riding around in self-driving cars while viewing the passing scenery through glass or plastic bubble roofs. The self-driving car part is playing out right now, but the glass or plastic bubble part seems to…

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Trump attacks Amazon, again, over U.S. postal rates

March 31, 2018 Alex 0

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump launched his second attack in a week on Amazon.com Inc on Saturday, accusing the world's biggest online retailer of getting unfairly cheap rates from the U.S. Postal Service and not paying enough tax.

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Tapster’s robots are built to poke touchscreens

March 31, 2018 Alex 0

The CEO and COO are at their desks when I knock on the door, intently assembling robots to fulfill the company’s latest order. Tapster is about as lean as startups get. Founded three years ago (on Star Wars Day), the company’s two-person staff is half the size it was at its height, but a third employee moved on, and the fourth was more of an intern, really.

It’s a humble operation headquartered in nondescript strip of stores in Oakpark, a quiet suburban village just outside of Chicago. Inside, a row of desktop 3D printers churn away on the products. Pieces of future robots are strewn about the desks, pulled from nearby shelves stocked with bins full of parts.

To their right, crumbling wooden prototypes stand as a kind of museum to the humble company’s even humbler origins. An accidental startup of sorts, Tapster formed was while Jason Huggins was working as CTO of his previous company, Sauce Labs — a Selenium testing startup.

Burned out from software, the story goes, he enrolled in..

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Google needs your help finding Waldo

March 31, 2018 Alex 0

At some point in the not-so-distant past, April Fools was about pranks and hoaxes, but given that we apparently have enough of those on the web, the day has somehow morphed into a celebration of random jokey things. This year’s Google Maps gag is no exception.

Starting today, when you open Google Maps on your phone or desktop, you’ll see Waldo in his trademark red and white sweater, waving at you you from the side of your screen. That’s because Waldo is sharing his location with you for the next few days and he really wants to be found (or not… I’m never quite sure about what Waldo’s real motivations are…). You can also ask the Google Assistant “Hey Google. Where’s Waldo?”

Then, when you click on Waldo in the map, you get to see a standard “Where is Waldo” image and your job is to find him, as well as Woof, Wenda, Wizard Whitebeard and Odlaw.

Now if Google had wanted to make this a real April Fools joke, it would’ve announced this and then never released it or just shown you a stand..

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Red Hat looks beyond Linux

March 31, 2018 Alex 0

The Red Hat Linux distribution is turning 25 years old this week. What started as one of the earliest Linux distributions is now the most successful open-source company, and its success was a catalyst for others to follow its model. Today’s open-source world is very different from those heady days in the mid-1990s when Linux looked to be challenging Microsoft’s dominance on the desktop, but Red Hat is still going strong.

To put all of this into perspective, I sat down with the company’s current CEO (and former Delta Air Lines COO) Jim Whitehurst to talk about the past, present and future of the company, and open-source software in general. Whitehurst took the Red Hat CEO position 10 years ago, so while he wasn’t there in the earliest days, he definitely witnessed the evolution of open source in the enterprise, which is now more widespread than every.

“Ten years ago, open source at the time was really focused on offering viable alternatives to traditional software,” he told me. “We we..

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Google Maps is adding a Where’s Waldo? mini-game for the next week

March 31, 2018 Alex 0

Starting today and continuing on for the next week, Google is bringing Where’s Waldo? to Google Maps. On Android, iOS, and the desktop, you’ll see Waldo pop up in his signature red and white stripes and give you a friendly wave. From there, just tap or click on him and you’ll see the option to play a game that’s straight out of the classic children’s puzzle books. This is one of Google’s annual April Fools’ Day jokes, but the Maps integration is actually happening.

Aside from Waldo himself, you’ll also be on the lookout for his friends Wenda, Woof, Wizard Whitebeard, and also the villainous Odlaw. (If you’re like me, those faces probably won’t be quite as familiar to you when you start playing.)

Once you find Waldo,…

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