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Taking the pain out of accounting and payroll for small businesses, ScaleFactor raises $10 million

July 24, 2018 Alex 0

ScaleFactor, the Techstars alumnus that’s selling accounting and payroll management software as a service, has raised $10 million in a new round of funding as it looks to scale up its sales and marketing efforts.

Founded by longtime accountant, Kurt Rathmann, the Austin-based company has created a software service that collects and analyzes data from point of sale systems, bank accounts, credit cards and billing systems, to automate recordkeeping and payroll functions.

Rathmann, a former KPMG employee, started ScaleFactor after seeing the lack of innovation in the backoffice functions that are really the engine of any small business.

“Around the tech stack, accounting and financials were lacking the most,” Rathmann says. So he left his job at KPMG and started ScaleFactor Consulting out of his garage in Austin in 2014.

After a few years of basically going door-to-door (a throwback to Rathmann’s first company as an 18-year-old selling outdoor lighting in suburban Dallas) to find out ..

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Android apps are heading to a whiter future with rounder rectangles

July 24, 2018 Alex 0

A Google design sizzle reel, prepared to tease the upcoming Material Design update across all of Android, has surfaced to give us an early peek at how Google is planning to refresh the look of its own Android apps. Created by Adam Grabowski and Nicolo Bianchino, designers who’ve collaborated with Google in the past, the video shows off some conceptual images for the future of the Google Photos, Google Maps, and Gmail apps, among others. Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo has done a great job of breaking down the changes and setting the prospective new look against the existing one. As he notes, there are numerous placeholder items in the designs, suggesting they’re far from final — though the video has been pulled in the wake of it becoming…

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This Amazon Echo mod lets Alexa understand sign language

July 24, 2018 Alex 0

It seems like voice interfaces are going to be a big part of the future of computing; popping up in phones, smart speakers, and even household appliances. But how useful is this technology for people who don’t communicate using speech? Are we creating a system that locks out certain users?

These were the questions that inspired software developer Abhishek Singh to create a mod that lets Amazon’s Alexa assistant understand some simple sign language commands. In a video, Singh demonstrates how the system works. An Amazon Echo is connected to a laptop, with a webcam (and some back-end machine learning software) decoding Singh’s gestures in text and speech.

“Seamless design needs to be inclusive in nature.”
Speaking to The Verge, Singh…

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What YouTube could teach Facebook about conspiracies

July 24, 2018 Alex 0

Months before critics revisited Facebook’s embrace of Holocaust deniers and other conspiracy peddlers, YouTube faced similar pressures. In February, a Wall Street Journal investigation found that Google’s video-sharing site routinely pushed users to misinformation or hyper-partisan content through its automated recommendations. In a widely follow-up in the New York Times, Zeynep Tufekci called Google’s video-sharing site “the great radicalizer.”

Like Facebook, Google is loath to declare any topic off-limits to its user base. And so at South By Southwest, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki unveiled a potential solution: “information cues,” a companion product for conspiracy videos that offers users additional, non-crazy viewpoints about subjects…

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Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox will focus on ‘XCloud’ game streaming

July 24, 2018 Alex 0

Microsoft is currently developing its next-generation Xbox, with recent reports suggesting the console will launch in 2020. While the hardware will undoubtedly surpass the capabilities of the current Xbox One X console, Microsoft is also focusing on game streaming for the future of Xbox titles. Thurrott.com reports that Microsoft is also working on a second Xbox console that will be limited to streaming games.

The streaming-only console will reportedly include a low amount of local compute for handling tasks like controller input, image processing, and collision detection. These tasks are essential to reducing latency in game streaming, and Microsoft is said to be planning to slice up processing between the game running locally and in…

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Xiaomi announces Mi A2 phones running Android One

July 24, 2018 Alex 0

Xiaomi has announced the Mi A2 and Mi A2 Lite, two new phones running Android One. Google’s stripped-down operating system was originally intended for low-end devices, but the Mi A2 phones are firmly mid-range and should provide a solid stock Android 8.1 experience.

Just as last year’s Mi A1 was based on the China-only Mi 5X, the Mi A2 has basically identical hardware to the Mi 6X. Both phones are 7.3mm thick and share a 6-inch 18:9 1080p LCD, a Snapdragon 660 processor, a 12- and 20-megapixel dual camera setup, a 20-megapixel selfie camera with a flash, USB C, and a 3,000mAh battery. The Mi A2 is available with up to 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM.

The Mi A2 Lite is a smaller and cheaper variant with a notched 5.84-inch 19:9 1080p LCD,…

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