John Borthwick, Naveen Selvadurai, and Heather Hartnett to school us on startup studios at TC Disrupt NY

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borthwick-selvadurai-hartnett Some of the most influential and successful companies in the game have come out of startup studios. Just look at Giphy, Reserve, and Operator. But what makes a startup studio successful? At Disrupt NY in May, we aim to find out. Betaworks’ John Borthwick, Expa’s Naveen Selvadurai, and Human Ventures’ Heather Hartnett will be joining us for a panel called “How A… Read More

Mayfield has raised $525 million across two new funds

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Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 6.37.34 AM Mayfield, the 46-year-old Sand Hill Road firm, has raised $525 million across two new funds, including a $400 million early-stage firm and a $125 million fund that will be used to support those of its portfolio companies that gain traction and need later-stage funding. Mayfield has raised 14 early-stage funds previously. It closed its last fund with $365 million in 2012 and used that capital… Read More

Samsung’s Bedtime VR Stories is an ambitious app for remote parenting

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Fans of virtual reality say the technology is going to connect people like never before, and Samsung obviously believes in this vision. The tech company has unveiled a new prototype app, Bedtime VR Stories, designed to let parents telling their children bedtime stories over virtual reality.

The app is still a prototype at this point, but Samsung says it’s currently being tested with select families in the UK. Both parent and child wear VR headsets (decorated, in the child’s case, with one of three character masks), and enter the same virtual world. The parent then narrates the story, titled Most Wonderful Place to Be, which sees them traveling between three “magical places” while sitting on their bed.

The graphics are basic, but the…

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TiVo agrees to $1.1 billion acquisition by Rovi

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Digital entertainment company and patent hog Rovi has agreed to buy DVR-maker TiVo in a $1.1 billion deal. The acquisition was rumored yesterday and confirmed this morning by Rovi, which says it will adopt the “iconic TiVo brand” as the name for the new company. The deal will mostly be paid for in stock, with $277 million in cash making up the final price. Following the usual regulatory approvals, the acquisition is scheduled to go through in the third quarter this year.

As DealBook reported yesterday, it seems that the acquisition is mostly about patents. Neither TiVo nor Rovi make most of their money from actual products, instead, they rely on their intellectual property. For example, TiVo’s Time Warp patent, which allows users to…

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IBM raises its game in blockchain with secure cloud services and Docker integration

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LA DEFENSE, FRANCE:  The French headquarters of IBM in La Defense on the outskirts of Paris are seen, 23 May 2005. The group said it would eliminate 10,000-13,000 jobs worldwide, with most of the cuts to come in Britain, France, Germany and Italy. Europe accounts for about one-third of IBM's global work force of around 300,000.   AFP PHOTO JOEL ROBINE  (Photo credit should read JOEL ROBINE/AFP/Getty Images) Bitcoin may still be the most famous application of blockchain technology, but the distributed, encrypted database architecture is now being applied to a range of other services, from different kinds of (non Bitcoin) financial transactions to anything else that requires secure tracking. And today, IBM laid out its claim for some of that new business: the IT giant announced a new set of… Read More

Fairphone’s Google-free open source OS is now available to download

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Phone manufacturer Fairphone is all about making smartphones that are as accessible and ethical as possible. This includes trying to find conflict-free minerals for use in their phones’ construction, but also the software that lives on these devices. Yesterday, the company released its own open source Fairphone OS — an Android-based operating system that doesn’t include Google services. This means users will have to find their own apps for email, maps, and a browser, but in exchange they get more control over their software.

Read more: Fairphone 2 review

This certainly won’t be something than many users will want. For most of us on Android, Google’s services are just too integral to give up, and the benefits of an open source mobile OS…

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Google will livestream the Republican convention, despite anti-Trump protests

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Google will be the official livestream provider at the Republican National Convention, the company confirmed to Politico this week. The search giant will also provide virtual reality tools and real-time data on election trends during the GOP convention, though rights groups have called on the company to withdraw from the event due to the “hateful rhetoric” of frontrunner Donald Trump.

Activists have organized protests and petitions urging Google, Microsoft, and other companies to not sponsor the convention, which will be held this July in Cleveland. Coca-Cola has already said it will give less to the GOP convention than it did in 2012, and other companies are reportedly reconsidering their sponsorship, as well. In campaign speeches and…

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Microsoft has created its own IFTTT tool called Flow

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If This Then That (IFTTT) is an incredibly popular tool that enables features for web services like Twitter to generate an email through automation and lots more. Microsoft appears to be working on a similar tool for businesses to create automated workflows. Twitter user h0x0d discovered Microsoft Flow, a preview service that connects a number of cloud services together.

Microsoft’s Flow is designed to connect services like Twitter, Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Office 365. Microsoft lists a number of example “flows” (recipes), including the ability to generate SMS alerts from emails, pull tweets into Excel, or get Slack notifications when a file is uploaded to a Dropbox folder. You can even create flows to copy files from OneDrive…

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Epic Foundation’s new app helps donors understand where their money is going

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Epic Foundation app Epic Foundation is a nonprofit aiming to improve charitable giving — an approach that encompasses the way people select, monitor and “experience” their donations. Founded by serial entrepreneur Alexandre Mars (among other roles, he was CEO at Phonevalley, a mobile marketing agency acquired by Publicis Groupe, where Mars became head of mobile), Epic is trying to bring a more… Read More

Microsoft Limits Cortana Search Box In Windows 10 To Bing and Edge Only

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Microsoft has announced a big change for how the Cortana search box in Windows 10 will work going forward: all searches will be powered by Bing and all links will open with the Edge browser. This is a server-side change going into effect today. Once it takes effect on your Windows 10 computer, Cortana will no longer be able to serve up results from third-party search providers, like Google or Yahoo, nor take you to a third-party browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Ryan Gavin, Microsoft’s general manager of search and Cortana, said in a Windows blog post announcing the change, “Unfortunately, as Windows 10 has grown in adoption and usage, we have seen some software programs circumvent the design of Windows 10 and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana. The result is a compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable. The continuity of these types of task completion scenarios is disrupted if Cortana can’t depend on Bing as the search provider and Microsoft Edge as the browser. The only way we can confidently deliver this personalized, end-to-end search experience is through the integration of Cortana, Microsoft Edge and Bing — all designed to do more for you.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Video consumption on Snapchat more than doubled in under a year

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snapchat-repeat-bg Snapchat may have started out as the ephemeral messaging and photo-sharing app, but a majority of users now consume video there too, according to a report from Bloomberg today. Daily video views on Snapchat have spiked to 10 billion, the report said. That’s up from 8 billion video views on Snapchat in February this year, 6 billion daily video views in November 2015, and 4 billion in… Read More

Windows 10 will no longer let you Google search from Cortana

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Microsoft is closing off one of the easiest ways to Google search in Windows 10. The company has announced in a blog post that starting today, it will block the ability to perform third-party searches through the Cortana digital assistant, as part of an effort to maintain an “integrated search experience.” The move comes in response to a number of recent workarounds, which used browser extensions or even registry edits to establish Google as the default engine for Cortana searches instead of Bing.

The company is particularly concerned about logging search results across different parts of Windows, as certain Cortana queries can now trigger corresponding features in Edge or Bing. As the company explained in a blog post, “the only way we…

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The Peanuts are coming back to TV next month

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Charlie Brown and his friends will make their way back to American TV sets next month. Variety reports that Peanuts will make its debut on Boomerang, the Cartoon Network offshoot that specializes in kids’ programming, on May 9th.

This series of animated vignettes were produced by French studio Normaal Animation, and originally aired overseas in 2014. The timing seems right for the series to reach American audiences, though. Blue Sky’s recent The Peanuts Movie was well-received among critics, and managed to rake in $246 million at the global box office. Unlike its CG cousin, however, these cartoons have a watercolor style meant to please old and new fans. Peanuts will air on Boomerang on May 9th at 10:30am. Episodes will also be…

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Apple Music now plays music videos on Android

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A new version of the Apple Music app for Android was released today, and Android users who haven’t already pledged their allegiance to Google Play or Spotify might find the Apple Music update intriguing.

The new version of the app gives Android users access to music videos inside of Apple Music, which were previously exclusive to iOS users. And Android users can now sign up for a family plan, which means six members of the household can access Apple Music for $14.99 a month rather than $9.99 per month per user.

Android users can now sign up for an Apple Music family plan

Apple Music for Android was last updated in February of this year. That update let users save downloaded content to an SD card in the phone.

This new update for…

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Do you want these patent-pending hexagons to control your home?

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Any company can make a connected thermostat, but only Johnson Controls made a connected thermostat with hexagons on it. The York Touchscreen Thermostat, which was announced today, is a Wi-Fi thermostat with one really standout feature: a “patent-pending hexagon interface.”

Let me describe this patent-pending interface to you: it looks like a beehive, or a Catan board, or some weird space strategy game that’s beyond your understand, except it’s just used to control the temperature in your home. No bartering for sheep. No sending mining fleets out to Gamma 047 on a promethium run. All you do is tap a hexagon and raise or lower the temperature in your wonderful home. Simple.


Imagine this York Touchscreen…

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