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Huawei’s wannabe AirPods look and feel good

March 28, 2018 Alex 0

I know I’m supposed to be outraged about tech companies blatantly copying each other’s designs, but I don’t have the naivety for it anymore. Huawei, the company that’s been shipping copycat Apple EarPods with its Android smartphones for years, has decided to also clone Apple’s wireless AirPods, and the product of that is called the Huawei FreeBuds. I got my hands on the FreeBuds at Huawei’s P20 launch event, and I found myself pleasantly surprised by their styling and comfort. Yes, Huawei is copying Apple; but I’m not a patent lawyer, I just want to see good tech proliferate, and the FreeBuds look promising.

If anything, I’m a little surprised that it took so long for another major company to copy Apple’s AirPod design. As I wrote in my…

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Palantir confirms a staff link with Cambridge Analytica

March 28, 2018 Alex 0

Turns out there is a link between Peter Thiel’s secretive big data analytics firm, Palantir, and Cambridge Analytica — the political consulting firm at the center of the current Facebook data misuse scandal.

Facebook responds to data misuse

Starting in 2013, the New York Times reports that a UK-based Palantir employee worked with Cambridge Analytica — going on to gain access to the dataset of 50M+ Facebook users the latter firm obtained in 2014 via a third party personality quiz app deployed on the social network giant’s platform.

In testimony to the UK parliament yesterday, CA whistleblower Chris Wylie told MPs that senior Palantir employees worked with the firm on the Facebook data to help it build models off of the dataset to use for political ad targeting purposes.

At the time Wylie worked for SCL Group, the UK defense contractor that went on to form CA with funding from US billionaire, Robert Mercer. CA was later engaged by the Trump campaign, for the 2016 presidential electio..

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Samsung’s Gear S2 smartwatch keeps getting better

March 28, 2018 Alex 0

Samsung has released a new software update for its Tizen-based Gear S2 smartwatch that offers new fitness features, new control options for the Gear VR and powerpoint presentations, and more detailed daily morning weather forecasts. The company says the updates will make the three-year-old smartwatch more convenient to use. The software update also features what Samsung describes as a cleaner user interface so content can be viewed more easily, though we always found the S2’s bezel-controller UI to be its best feature.

The update adds a new App Shortcuts widget to the Gear S2, which automatically places your recently used and favorite apps in one place. You can now swipe down from any screen to access a quick panel, which displays…

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Refugee charity turns to crypto with $1M donation from Ethereum’s founder and OmiseGo

March 28, 2018 Alex 0

The crypto industry is often criticized from the outline for creating wealth that exists only in digital form, is unstable and driven by greed. That’s why a new charity initiative from top figures inside the Ethereum community might make a few non-believers sit up for a moment.

GiveDirectly, a charity that provides no-strings-attached grants to the world’s “extreme poor,” has revealed it has received a $1 million donation from OmiseGo, a fintech startup that held a $25 million ICO last year to develop a decentralized payment network, and Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin.

The donation will go towards a GiveDirectly campaign in Uganda aimed at providing more than 12,000 refugee households with a grant to change their life by enabling business growth and other opportunities fueled by investment.

An initial pilot project reached 4,400 households (covering an estimated 21,500 individuals) with $650 which the recipient can choose to use in any way they wish. GiveDirectly said it is “looki..

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Playboy deletes its Facebook accounts

March 28, 2018 Alex 0

Playboy issued a press release late Tuesday night to announce its withdrawal from Facebook. It has deactivated the Playboy accounts that Playboy Enterprises manages directly affecting some 25 million fans, according to the company. Playboy becomes the latest company to join the call to #DeleteFacebook after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, punctuated on Friday by Elon Musk’s order to remove Tesla and SpaceX pages from Zuckerberg’s social media juggernaut.

”The recent news about Facebook’s alleged mismanagement of users’ data has solidified our decision to suspend our activity on the platform at this time,” reads the statement. “There are more than 25 million fans who engage with Playboy via our various Facebook pages, and we do not want…

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CardUp raises $1.7M to help small businesses get more out of their credit cards

March 28, 2018 Alex 0

CardUp founder and CEO Nicki Ramsay (front, second from right) with her team

CardUp, a Singapore-based startup that enables users to make large, recurring payments by credit card even to recipients that don’t accept cards, has raised $2.2 million SGD (about $1.7 million) led by Sequoia India and SeedPlus. This is CardUp’s first institutional investment round and will be used to expand its business serving small- to medium-sized enterprises.

Before launching CardUp in 2015, founder and chief executive officer Nicki Ramsay worked at American Express for seven years, where her last position before leaving was director of international business development in the Asia-Pacific region. Ramsay says she created CardUp to solve challenges for both credit card users and providers.

“In my years spent in the payments industry, we repeatedly set the same goal, which was to increase credit card usage, but a lot of initiatives actually just ended up shifting share from one card issuer to another,”..