Yotpo, Wakby, and Poslavu: Match these insane startup names to their actual business

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When you’ve been covering startups as long as I have, you get used to being pitched by companies with bizarre, unpronounceable names. No contraction is too challenging if it means you can nab a five letter domain name. No pun is too terrible. Collected here is some of my all-time favorites. Correctly identify what each startup does and you’ll win the undying respect and admiration of The Verge staff. Miss a few and hey, no worries, you can always PushforPizza.

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Comcast aims to hook college students on cable with TV over Wi-Fi

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Comcast today formally announced a new service that will let college students at seven universities stream live TV and video on-demand programming across their personal laptops, smartphones, and tablets while connected to campus Wi-Fi. Dubbed Xfinity On Campus, the service is included as part of each student’s room and board fees — which means it’s also only available to those residing in on-campus housing.

The whole effort is squarely aimed at millennials who are spending more and more time watching their favorite shows and movies away from a TV set. Comcast wants to get these younger college viewers — many of whom are perfectly content living in a world of Netflix, Hulu Plus, and shared HBO Go logins — hooked on cable in hopes that…

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N3twork surfs the web for you to serve up a personalized stream of videos on your iPhone

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Silicon Valley plays host to two very different opinions about how we should find great videos online.

One angle is that your friends are posting all the best videos online, and you need only check Facebook to find something to watch. The other angle posits that algorithms are the key — formulas that comb the web automatically to find videos you might like based on other videos you’ve already liked (think Netflix). The best solution is probably some combination of the two approaches, but with each week that goes by comes a new app to solve “the internet’s video discovery problem” in one way or the other. Evidently, the jury is still out on which way is best.

N3twork is the latest, an iPhone app created by Neil Young, one of the most…

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Poll
Does "the video discovery problem" actually exist?



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People are building increasingly huge hard drives inside of ‘Minecraft’

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The fad of building anything and everything in MInecraft may be far from its peak today, but that seems to mean that the people still building are the most dedicated — and they’re creating some of the most impressive stuff yet. That continues this week with the construction of a hard drive inside of Minecraft that’s said to be capable of storing 1KB of data. While that figure may sound low, the fact that it exists inside of a digital environment makes it an impressive creation. The 1KB drive gained attention earlier this week on Reddit, and according to Wired, it was built by Cody Littley, a PhD student at University of Texas at Austin.

Though this is far from the first Minecraft hard drive, it appears to be among the biggest made to…

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Microsoft set to unveil Windows 9 on September 30th

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Microsoft is planning to unveil its Windows 8 successor next month at a special press event. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the software maker is tentatively planning its press event for September 30th to detail upcoming changes to Windows as part of a release codenamed “Threshold.” This date may change, but the Threshold version of Windows is currently in development and Microsoft plans to release a preview version of what will likely be named Windows 9 to developers on September 30th or shortly afterwards. The date follows recent reports from ZDNet that suggested Microsoft is planning to release a preview version of Windows 9 in late September or early October.

A very early Windows 9 version for developers

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Kurt Sutter on ending ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and the ‘necessary evil’ of social media

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‘Sons of Anarchy’ creator Kurt Sutter on set (Credit: Prashant Gupta, © 2014 FX Networks)

My fiancée and I have binge-watched a lot of TV over the course of our relationship. But we’ve rarely become as addicted to any show as we have Sons of Anarchy, the darkly hilarious, unflinchingly brutal, relentlessly entertaining series about an outlaw motorcycle club, now entering its seventh and final season (the final season premiere is Tuesday, September 9th at 10 PM EST on FX).

We’re hardly alone. S…

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I am not emotionally prepared for Twitter to suck

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To this point in my five-year career as a tweeter, I have authored 4,626 answers to Twitter’s original question of “What are you doing?” That’s merely a tenth of the number of tweets my esteemed colleague Chris Ziegler has produced, but each one of those little missives is dear and important to me. Taking the Shakespearean approach to wit, I actually work to refine and make my tweets more concise. There’s real investment in my presence on Twitter that goes beyond the basic self-promotion and instant gratification of fishing for retweets.

For a long time, both Twitter and I were content with our ongoing relationship: the network’s rising popularity made it more useful for me while the daily engagement of people like myself helped…

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This good-looking bracelet has a phone charger hidden inside

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Most wrist-bound devices are designed to take your hands and eyes off your phone, to allow you to use it less. But the QBracelet wants you to use it more — or at least longer. Inside the bracelet’s clasp, there’s either a Micro USB or Lightning connector, which Q Designs (the new company behind the bracelet) says will give you 60 percent more charge on your device. When you’re in a pinch, just take off your bracelet and plug it in. The $99 ($79 if you pre-order) metal band comes in brushed and matte black, polished and matte silver, and polished gold, and to most people it won’t look like much — at least not until you stick it into your cellphone.

Q Designs is but the latest company to try to find a little more utility in fashion. Its…

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From the electrophone to Beats: check out this interactive history of the headphone

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Did you know that the first headphone was invented back in the 1890s? Since then, headphones have evolved and developed into the personal audio devices we all use today. Headphone maker Ligo has put together an interactive guide to the 120-year history of the headphone, complete with period-correct background music for each decade. Plug in your own headphones and take trip through the history of tuning out everyone around you.

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Ads are coming to SoundCloud

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All good things must come to an end and SoundCloud’s ad-free existence is one of them. The popular music- and podcast-sharing platform is today launching an ad-supported On SoundCloud program to enable creators to monetize the audio they post to it. Starting out in the US and rolling out gradually from there, the new scheme will have users “see and hear” commercials alongside particular tracks. Ads will only be attached to a song if its author is a member of the new Premier tier of On SoundCloud artists and gives explicit consent for it. Though SoundCloud isn’t explicit about the numbers and is so far only accepting Premier members that have been directly invited, the ultimate vision is for a revenue-sharing model that helps to keep…

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Google Chrome arrives in Cuba

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Google Chrome is now available for download in Cuba, one of the world’s most isolated internet regimes. Google announced the move in a short Google+ post Wednesday, noting that American sanctions against Cuba and other countries have made it more difficult for the company to launch products abroad. Although Cuban internet users have been able to access Chrome through unofficial channels, they’ll now be able to download the web browser directly from google.com.cu.

This week’s announcement comes after Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and a delegation of web activists visited Cuba in June, pushing for a free and open internet. The government of Raúl Castro has inched toward greater web access in recent months, with new fiber-optic connections…

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Weird new Twitter feature lets you build an Acura right inside a tweet

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Twitter has been throwing caution to the wind lately, what with the addition of random tweets to users’ timelines“Buy Now” buttons, and a font tweak that set the typographical world ablaze. Now we’re seeing an interesting new use of Twitter cards in advertising: Acura has built a rudimentary configurator for its new TLX model right into a tweet, which lets you choose an engine, a drivetrain, and a color before offering the option of sending an image of the kitted-out vehicle to your followers.

Ironically, Acura isn’t really known for innovating on design — but it can apparently innovate on social media. The configurator even works on Twitter’s mobile apps (though not in embeds, it seems).

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This Japanese music video is quite strange

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This is a very weird music video. It starts out seeming like glitchcore, a bunch of 3D models rotating on what feels like a desktop. (Some of it seems to actually be photoshop?) From there, we pass lightly through a seapunk waterfall and into something genuinely unheard of, a kind of tunnel of pixely stock art, digital tatami floors and what appears to be a golden dolphin. The teens are calling it CADcore, a more aggressive variant of renderscape. Mostly, it’s bewildering.

My theory is that all this is actually taking place inside the iMac that we see being smashed on the side of the road. Everything else is a hallucination of the now-broken machine, a massive system failure seen from the inside. Eventually, all the objects the computer…

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Facebook will now pay you money to find bugs in the Oculus Rift

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Here’s a new way to support your expensive VR habit: hunt for flaws in the code for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, software development kit (SDK), and website.

Facebook just announced it is incorporating Oculus, which it acquired in March for $2 billion, into its infamous bug bounty program.

Under the program, individual security researchers who report bugs to Facebook may be financially rewarded. The minimum reward is $500, and there is no cap on the maximum. Facebook paid out $1.5 million in bug bounties last year.

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Robots kidnap a human in the first trailer for dark sci-fi film ‘Automata’

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With just its first trailer, Automata easily takes a place beside Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar on the list of the best-looking sci-fi films coming this year. The film takes place in a dark future where robots are quickly gaining consciousness, and things go bad when a small number of them actually become sentient and kidnap a human. What really is sentience and humanity and true thought? Sure, these questions have all been explored before, but with its Blade Runner-esque vision and District 9-kind of grittiness, it looks like Automata will have an interesting take on it all. Plus, Javier Bardem plays a robot, which is pretty great. It’ll be released on October 10th.

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The awesome oldies mix from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is still the best-selling album in the country

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There are a lot of good things about Guardians of the Galaxy. Groot is one. The fact that Vin Diesel plays Groot is another. Chris Pratt is also awesome. But one of the very best things about the summer blockbuster is its soundtrack, the “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” that even factors into the plot of the movie. By some alchemical mix of the movie itself and the combined excellence of the Jackson 5, David Bowie, Redbone, and the Raspberries, this collection of music from the ’70s has now spent two consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard 200. It’s estimated to have sold 93,000 copies in the previous week (down from 109,000 the week previous), putting it firmly above the “Now 51” collection and the never-dying Frozen soundtrack. Take that,…

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Verizon can’t tell new HTC phones apart in its latest ad

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Can you spot the difference in the two phones pictured above? Yes, one is black and the other is white. They’re also running different operating systems. But in its latest ad, Verizon apparently thinks they’re both HTC’s One M8, which the carrier just got as an exclusive on the Windows Phone side. The phone on the right is actually an HTC One Remix, a smaller version of the HTC One M8 that Verizon started carrying last month. Verizon’s also positioning the One M8 Windows Phone version as “another Verizon exclusive,” despite the fact that AT&T says it’s getting it too.

Whoops.

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‘The Zero Theorem’ review: nothing for everyone

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Not long into The Zero Theorem, we see our bald hero, Qohen Lethe (Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained) step out of his dour church home and into the bright, garish street. He’s assaulted with a visual and auditory parade. There’s an advertisement that follows us down the street, like a pop-up ad that you can’t quite find the close button for. A sign for the Church of Batman the Redeemer passes in and out of view as citizens of this dilapidated future (or alternate present) city chatter in…

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SeaWorld trainers will not be able to swim with killer whales again

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SeaWorld has decided not to appeal several citations from OSHA that it received after the 2010 drowning of a trainer who was swimming with a killer whale. The Associated Press reports that, as a result, SeaWorld trainers will not be able to swim with killer whales during shows in the future, which could help to remove some criticism from the park. SeaWorld’s initial appeal of the citations was rejected back in April, and it’s been keeping trainers out of the water since before then because of OSHA.

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Professor Steve Ballmer: coming this fall to Stanford, this spring to USC

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Now that he has stepped away from Microsoft — first as CEO and then as board member — new Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer will be driving down the California highway, teaching business classes as he goes. First up is Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. According to Business Insider, he’ll be “working with faculty member Susan Athey for a strategic management course called ‘TRAMGT588: Leading organizations.'”

After Christmas break, Ballmer will pack up his 1970 Pontiac GTO, roll the windows down, blast the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack, and drive 250 miles down I-5 S to teach a yet-to-be-identified class at USC’s Marshall School of Business in Los Angeles this spring — just in time to catch the rest of the Clippers season.

R…

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