Microsoft made a selfie app for the iPhone

See the original posting on The Verge

Microsoft’s newest app for iOS isn’t a piece of productivity software. No, it’s a selfie app. Unambiguously called Microsoft Selfie, the product is designed to improve photo qualities like color balance, skin tone, and lighting for the most shareable shot possible. It’s a more subtle version of Lumia Selfie, Microsoft’s previous self-portrait app designed for Windows phones.

On a deeper level, Microsoft Selfie appears to be just one of the many ways the company is using machine learning in everyday situations, similar to the software Microsoft released back April that would guess your age based on a photo. Microsoft Selfie’s app description says it takes “age, gender, skin tone, lighting, and many other variables into account” to help…

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Twitter finally brings GIFs and other features to its Mac app

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Twitter’s Mac app is getting a big update today. The app is finally getting support for about a half-dozen features that have been available on Twitter’s website for months or longer, including the ability to view GIFs, play videos inline, mute specific users, use native quote tweets, privately message groups, and get personalized highlights. Yes, none of that was available before. The app is also getting a minor visual revamp, with images and quote tweets now displaying like they do on the web. There’s a new dark color theme for the app, too. Faves (RIP) have also been replaced with Likes.

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Apple’s “Start Something New” Campaign Kicks Off With Online Gallery, In-Store Artist Workshops

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apple-start-something Apple wants to show consumers how its devices – including Macs, as well as mobile devices like iPhones and iPads – can be used to create art. Specifically, its latest pushback at the dated concept that mobile devices aren’t tools for creation, the company is planning to host a series of workshops in Apple stores that will teach people how to shoot professional-quality… Read More

Facebook’s Plan to Monopolize The Internet In India Should Be Defeated

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6845526329_8cb657daa3_o Despite rebranding its free Internet.org ‘walled garden’ of apps plan in India under the new name of “Free Basics,” Facebook remains in direct violation of an open internet. Facebook’s first attempt with Indian carrier Airtel was rolled-back soon after its release in April thanks to huge public outrage on social media, ironically. Read More

Twitter’s Revamped Mac App Finally Arrives

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twittermac1 As promised earlier this fall at Twitter’s developer conference Flight, the company’s long-neglected Mac application has been updated today with a host of new features that put the app more on par with Twitter’s other applications for mobile and web. Specifically, the revamped Mac app now includes support for things like inline video playback, GIFs in the timeline,… Read More

Small wireless portable bluetooth speaker packs a punch

See the original posting on Boing Boing

bluetooth-speaker

A couple of weeks ago my teenage daughter took my beloved Grain bluetooth speaker into her room and I haven’t seen it since. I bought the AmazonBasics Ultra-Portable Micro Bluetooth Speaker ($20) as a low-cost replacement. I’ve been using it in the kitchen, mainly to listen to podcasts and am very happy with it. The sound is deeper and louder than my phone’s speaker, though not nearly as good as the Grain ($250). It’s about the size of a hockey puck, and plays 10 hours on a charge (a micro USB cable is supplied). It also comes with a soft pouch, which I promptly lost.

Volkswagen hints again at electric Microbus announcement at CES

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Next week’s CES is officially a full-on car show between the debut of the Chevy Bolt and Ford’s rumored tie-up with Google for autonomous driving, and Volkswagen is coming at the show with guns blazing, too: it has promised a new electric car concept, which Autocar says will be an long-range EV revival of the legendary Microbus. Now, we have a new teaser of the concept from VW.

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VR platformer Lucky’s Tale will ship free with the Oculus Rift next year

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With preorders for the Oculus Rift potentially only weeks — or theoretically even days — away, Oculus has announced a second game that will be bundled with its virtual reality headset. Lucky’s Tale (not to be confused with Rift inventor Palmer Luckey) is a third-person platformer that first appeared as a demo in 2014. Lucky’s Tale puts players in “dozens” of virtual locales with a cartoon fox, who they’ll control with the included Xbox One gamepad, since Oculus’ motion controllers aren’t coming out until later in the year. This diorama-esque style is being used in several Oculus launch titles, including survival horror game Edge of Nowhere, a less whimsical and more Lovecraftian third-person game.

We’ve previously heard that multiplayer…

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Hem.com Is On The Block, Swiss Furniture Maker Vitra Likely Buyer

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Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 15.34.17 It looks like another chapter is in the works for Hem, the home design startup headed by Jason Goldberg that first emerged as a pivot from the Fab.com design marketplace in 2014. We’ve heard from multiple sources that Hem.com has been trying to sell itself and that Vitra, a high-end furniture company based in Switzerland, is currently in the frame to buy it. From what we… Read More

Apple to pay €318 million to settle Italian tax fraud investigation

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Apple has agreed to pay €318 million ($348 million) to settle an investigation into suspected tax fraud by the company in Italy. According to a report from Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the iPhone maker was under investigation for allegedly failing to declare earnings in Italy between 2008 and 2013. La Repubblica claims that Apple’s Italian subsidiary, Apple Italia, should have paid approximately €880 million in corporation tax over that period but instead paid just €30 million.

The probe alleges that Apple avoids tax in Italy by booking its sales in the country through Ireland where its European operations are headquartered. Ireland has one of the lowest rates of corporation tax in the EU — just 12.5 percent compared to Italy’s 27.5…

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Amazon will make Chi-Raq free to Prime subscribers on February 4th

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Amazon Prime subscribers will be able to stream Chi-Raq starting February 4th, making it the first original movie on Amazon Video. Amazon announced from the start that it would be releasing films for home viewing at a much faster pace than normal studios, but it isn’t until now that we’ve known how quickly that would be. Chi-Raq entered theaters on December 4th, so its move to streaming comes a short two months later.

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Looking back at the highs and lows of CES 2015

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Every January, tech makers come to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to promise disruption and revolution. Before we embark on the 2016 edition of CES, which is less than a week away, we’re taking a look back to see how the last batch of hyped-up announcements has fared. How have the past 12 months gone for the innovations and products that grabbed the headlines of CES 2015?

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Uber Taps Vinli To Provide WiFi In Las Vegas Cars During CES 2016

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vinli Las Vegas just got a touch more bearable. Uber is using Vinli and T-Mobile to equip its Vegas cars with Wifi. Thanks to Vinli’s hardware, the cars will become mobile hotspots. This is a limited time offer — just for CES. Vinli is working to add Wifi into the ridesharing equation. This is a good first step. And a wise one at that. Vegas is packed with the consumer industry’s… Read More

Credit Karma Acquires Innovative Mobile Notifications Startup Snowball

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creditkarma-bar Credit and finance management platform Credit Karma, known best as the startup that offers free, no-strings-attached credit scores, has made its first acquisition. The company has acquired the makers of the mobile application Snowball, with plans to leverage the team’s expertise in mobile notifications. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and the Snowball app will be pulled from… Read More

Attending CES? TechCrunch Wants To See Your Company

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ces2 CES is a horrible, god-awful experience that will shave years off your life. The casinos, the food, the people, the germs. Horrible. All of it. But we love it! And we’re sending a huge contingent to the show again this year and want to see your gadgets, toys and products. TechCrunch cares much more for the hardware startups than the big CE players. We want to see the future FitBits and… Read More

Samsung takes the wraps off a trio of experimental gadgets

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At CES in January, Samsung will show off for the first time ever a trio of devices from its Creative Lab or C-Lab program — a startup incubator within the company dedicated to developing employees’ experimental product ideas. The devices include WELT (a “smart belt” that tracks users’ waist size and activity), TipTalk (a product that lets people listen to sound from smartwatches by simply “touching their finger to their ear”), and rink (a motion controller for virtual reality devices).

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Samsung is securing its smart TVs before they control your house

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Samsung has announced a new “three-layer security solution” named GAIA for its range of smart TVs, with the aim of securing information stored on the devices themselves (e.g. account passwords and credit card information) as well as data transmitted “between the TV and [Internet of Things] service servers.”

This last point is particularly important given the company’s recently-announced plans to turn its smart TVs into hubs for IoT devices around your home. Yesterday, Samsung said its range of premium SUHD TVs will work with any SmartThings compatible devices from 2016, meaning that in the future, your Samsung TV could control everything from security cameras to lighting and motion sensors. This makes securing the TV itself even more…

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