Alibaba will soon begin selling cars using these gigantic vending machines

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 Alibaba last week announced a deal to help Ford sell electric vehicles in China but, aside from the big names involved, the most intriguing part was a proposed vending machine for sales. Now the firm has spilled details of what exactly that will look like. The ‘Car Vending Machines’ are futuristic buildings that look like a gigantic version of something you’d find in Toys… Read More

China’s CCTV surveillance network took just 7 minutes to capture BBC reporter

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 It took Chinese authorities just seven minutes to locate and apprehend BBC reporter John Sudworth using its powerful network of CCTV camera and facial recognition technology. This wasn’t a case of a member of the media being forcibly removed from the country. The chase was a stunt set up to illustrate just how powerful and effective the Chinese government’s surveillance system… Read More

The price is right! Pace raises £2.5M to automate hotel room pricing based on demand

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 Pace, a London startup that has developed tech that uses machine learning to let hotels set room prices dynamically based on demand, has raised £2.5 million in seed funding. The financing round is led by InterGlobe, with participation from Seedcamp, Speedinvest, and Amadeus Capital Partners. The company says it will use the new capital to invest in its tech and marketing teams. Read More

Redbox unveils its service for digital movie purchases and rentals

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Redbox Kiosk Redbox, the company behind the ubiquitous supermarket kiosks for renting DVDs, is moving into the world of digital streaming.
Technically, Redbox On Demand is still in beta, but this marks the broader launch of the streaming service that Redbox was testing last year. It’s available on the web, Android, iOS, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and LG and Samsung smart TVs.
To be clear, this… Read More

PuTTY Begone! Microsoft will ship an OpenSSH client

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 The first thing I download on a new Windows machine – after Chrome, of course – is PuTTY. This tried-and-true OpenSSH client has served millions of devs quite well for the past twenty years and I’m sure it will still remain a favorite but Microsoft has added its own ssh client to Windows, a move that points to more openness on the part of Redmond. The folks at ServeTheHome… Read More

Half of Amazon app users have been switched to a new, swipe-based 1-Click checkout

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 Has Amazon’s ‘one-click’ checkout on mobile looked a little different to you lately? A number of users of Amazon’s mobile applications have recently reported seeing a new checkout option that replaces the click – well, on mobile, the tap – with a swipe instead. As it turns out, the option is part of a fairly large-scale test Amazon has underway. Currently… Read More

Gfycat wants to fix your low-fidelity GIFs with machine learning

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 We all love to share GIFs — and there are plenty of ways to do that, through online portals or keyboards — but often times because there is so much content, you’ll end up surfacing up a lower-fidelity GIF. There can be plenty of copies of the same video clips as a GIF, or maybe it’s just difficult to capture and upload, but Gfycat hopes that it can be solved at a… Read More

Google Assistant is coming to older Android phones and tablets

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 The Google Assistant has long been available on most modern phones and tablets. But given the fragmentation of the Android ecosystem, many older devices will never get the newer versions of Android that feature built-in support for the Assistant. Google is now bringing support for its voice-activated helper to phones running Android 5.0 and tablets running Android 6.0 and 7.0. Read More

Lily raises $2M from NEA and others for a personal stylist service that considers feelings, not just fit

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 One of the reasons recently IPO’d Stitch Fix became so popular among female shoppers is because of how it pairs the convenience of home try-on for clothing and accessories with a personal styling service that adapts to your tastes over time. But often, personal stylists bring their own subjective takes on fashion to their customers. A new startup called Lily aims to offer a more… Read More

Fanchest raises $4M in seed funding to become the best gift for sports fans

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 Here’s a great present for a sports fan this holiday season: Fanchest is a Brooklyn-based startup that curates and sends team-themed gift boxes as gift. The boxes start at $59 and include about $80 worth of apparel and gear from whatever pro or college team you choose. Today the startup has announced $4M in seed funding with a diverse group of investors like New Orleans Saints… Read More

Click-to-WhatsApp messaging buttons are now rolling out in Facebook ads

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 WhatsApp has always said that it has no plans to put ads into its own app, but this is not stopping Facebook, which now owns WhatsApp, from figuring out other ways of monetizing the hugely popular messaging service, which has around 1 billion daily users. Today, Facebook is launching a new ad unit that will let businesses create a link between the two platforms: advertisers can now include… Read More

Mario Bear has come to save 2017

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 It’s been a long year – it feels like it actually spanned about 50, in fact. But now, at the end, some relief: Mario Bear. Yes, it’s just a bear from Build-A-Bear Workshop. And a ‘brand collaboration,’ that horrific thing that usually just means some executives get a larger Christmas bonus and more people are convinced to part with their hard-earned money on… Read More

This app will help you figure out if you can fit that Costco-sized paper towel box in your apartment

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 You’re probably going to get a better deal when you buy consumer products — like paper towels — wholesale, but at the same time you’re also buying a very, very large package of said consumer products. So, they might not always fit in your apartment. Wholesale goods are the primary play for a startup called Boxed, a retailer looking to play the sort of… Read More

Scientists make kale plants glow in the dark with firefly enzymes

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 A team of MIT research have engineered plants that glow in the dark, using luciferase, the enzyme that lights up firefly butts. The answer to the question of why, precisely, anyone would want to do such a thing is clearly, “because science is cool.”
The longer and slightly more boring answer, however, has to do with energy savings. Thus far, the scientists have only been able to… Read More

NASA to screen ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ on the International Space Station

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rey last jedi Being an astronaut living and working aboard the International Space Station shouldn’t mean that you have to miss out on much-anticipated movie releases like Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In fact, it should probably mean the opposite, which is why it’s great news that NASA will work with Disney to arrange a screening for ISS crew of the new movie, which is arriving in theatres in the U.S. Read More

Amazon Echo’s multi-room music streaming feature now supports Spotify and SiriusXM

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 Just in time for all of those ridiculous holiday playlists, Amazon’s added two key players to the Echo’s multi-room streaming feature. Spotify and SiriusXM now join the ranks of TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Pandora and, naturally, Amazon’s own Music Unlimited service. The feature, which hit the smart speakers over the summer, makes it possible to stream songs to multiple Echos on… Read More

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