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Chrome 70 brings picture-in-picture support to Windows and Mac

October 19, 2018 Alex 0

Its been available in Android since 2017’s Oreo, but now, picture-in-picture mode is coming to Windows, Mac, and Linux with Chrome 70. Android Police reports that it’s now enabled by default. The functionality will need to be enabled on a per-website basis by web developers, after which you’ll be able to overlay an online video onto your desktop where it can be kept in sight, regardless of which website or program you’re using.

If you want to see how the functionality works, you can head over to YouTube, where you can right-click any video twice and click “Picture in Picture” from the context menu. Once you enable picture-in-picture mode, the tab that the video is playing from will display a small icon, similar to how Chrome will show a…

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YouTube tweaks its video embeds to include an easy channel subscribe button

October 19, 2018 Alex 0

YouTube introduced a subtle design change to its embed feature that will allow viewers to subscribe to a creator’s channel more easily than before.

The new embed function allows users to hover over the top-left corner of a video and instantly subscribe to a channel without having to leave the page, asreported by 9to5Google. Increasing subscriber counts remains a primary goal within the YouTube community — just look at PewDiePie and T-Series’ ongoing feud.

It’s a small change, but it effectively seems geared toward benefiting creators’ overall channels instead of just their views.

The new embed function isn’t without its problems, however, as some creators have already pointed out on Twitter. The new embed design, which also…

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The 7 great features that will hopefully return to the MacBook Pro

October 19, 2018 Alex 0

I miss the old MacBook Pro. Remember when the MacBook Pro had a good keyboard? Or an SD Card slot? Or an escape key? I miss the time when the MacBook Pro was 2mm thicker than the current version but had a full-size USB port.

Remember the wonder of MagSafe? Or the glory that was using a MacBook Pro outside because of the matte screen?

Remember when the power adapter for Apple’s laptops had little fold-out tabs to hold the cord? There was also a time that a random brush of the keyboard wouldn’t trigger Siri.

There was a time when Apple made great laptops and there is now.

Yesterday Apple announced an upcoming event where the company will likely release new laptops and iPads. These are some of the features TechCrunch writers hope return to Apple’s notebook computers.

Escape Key
The Touch Bar is clever. I like it most of the time. But I like the escape key more. Right now, on Macs equipped with the TouchBar, the escape key is a temporary button on the TouchBar. It’s positioned off-cen..

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TrackR is rebranding to Adero as it looks beyond small devices to track lost items

October 19, 2018 Alex 0

When TrackR raised $50 million from investors that included Amazon a year ago, the Santa Baraba startup made a big splash in the growing market for small connected dongles that you could attach to “dumb” objects like keys to keep tabs on their location. But times for the company have been challenging since then. It’s weathered layoffs; a succession of natural disasters; and its co-founders stepping away from exec roles as CEO and president. Those events took their toll: we discovered that TrackR quietly closed an additional, small amount of funding earlier this year — but on a valuation of $40 million, a 73 percent drop compared to less than a year before.

Now it looks like the startup is about to enter another new phase. TrackR is launching a new brand, Adero, and sources say it is widening its focus to other uses for its tracking technology, taking TrackR beyond the circular Bluetooth fobs that form the core of its service today.

TechCrunch first learned of the brand change from an..

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Vector speeds toward orbital launch capability with $70M in new funding

October 19, 2018 Alex 0

The market for small satellites in low Earth orbit is expanding faster than the gas in a thruster nozzle, and Vector aims to be the go-to launch platform for companies looking to put a bird in the air on short notice. The company just raised a $70 million B round and aims to take its first payload into space early next year.

Smaller launch systems are already helping bring down the cost of going to orbit, but there’s still a huge amount of room to improve. Satellites and experiments are still waiting for years, or at least more than a few months, for their chance to get to LEO. Vector is hoping to be the company they come to when they want to launch on the scale of weeks.

Vector Space Systems aims to launch satellites by the hundreds

Of course, that kind of quick turnaround isn’t easy. You have to build hundreds of rockets to be prepared for demand, but that’s exactly Vector’s plan. Naturally this requires a considerable amount of capital.

After doing a lot of groundwork with Defen..

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Twilio shops, Uber and Lyft IPO scuttlebutt, and Instacart raises $600M

October 19, 2018 Alex 0

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This week we had the Three Excellent Friends (Connie Loizos, Danny Chrichton, and Alex Wilhelm) on hand to kick things about with Scale Venture Partner’s own Rory O’Driscoll.

As I’ve written the last few weeks, what a pile of news we’ve had recently. And like the last few episodes, we had to pick and choose what to drill into. This week: Twilio-Sendgrid, Palantir, Uber, Lyft, and Tencent Music IPOs, Instacart, and Saudi Arabia.

In order, I think? First, we tackled the week’s biggest venture-themed M&A: Twilio buying SendGrid. Keep in mind that they are both recent IPOs; Twilio went out in 2016, and SendGrid in 2017.

The $2 billion-ish all-stock transaction is effectively Twilio using its rich market cap (rich in terms of its revenue and profit multiples) to snag an obvious (though intelligent) extension of API-powered communications toolset.

Next up we ..

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Virtual reality makes food taste better

October 19, 2018 Alex 0

In another example of VR bleeding into real life, Cornell University food scientists found that cheese eaten in pleasant VR surroundings tasted better than the same cheese eaten in a drab sensory booth.

About 50 panelists who used virtual reality headsets as they ate were given three identical samples of blue cheese. The study participants were virtually placed in a standard sensory booth, a pleasant park bench and the Cornell cow barn to see custom-recorded 360-degree videos.

The panelists were unaware that the cheese samples were identical, and rated the pungency of the blue cheese significantly higher in the cow barn setting than in the sensory booth or the virtual park bench.

That’s right: cheese tastes better on a virtual farm versus inside a blank, empty cyberia.

“When we eat, we perceive not only just the taste and aroma of foods, we get sensory input from our surroundings – our eyes, ears, even our memories about surroundings,” said researcher Robin Dando.

To be clear, thi..

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Apple Watch embraces USB-C with new charging cable

October 19, 2018 Alex 0

Continuing its move towards embracing USB Type-C, Apple has released a charging cable for the Apple Watch that uses the new connectivity standard, via Apple Insider. Using the new charger means you’ll be able to charge Apple’s wearable by plugging it into a modern MacBook, or any other laptop that’s made the switch to the more slimline port.

The new charger costs $29 / €35 / £29 with a cable that’s 0.3-m long. There’s no mention of a longer 1-m or 2-m variant being available like you can get with the USB Type-A charger. Charging time and power delivery are unlikely to be affected given that the induction charger appears unchanged.

The release comes just over a week before Apple is expected to release a new iPad Pro on October 30th…

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