New Amazon Echo Discounted $20 Right Now – Deal Alert

See the original posting on JavaWorld

Amazon has a discount of $20 active right now on their all new Echo smart speaker, which features a new speaker, new design, and is available in a range of styles including fabrics and wood veneers. Echo connects to Alexa to play music, make calls, set alarms and timers, ask questions, control smart home devices, and more —
instantly. Echo averages 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon from over 2,200 reviewers, and with the current discount you can grab it for yourself (or someone else) now for just $79.99. See the discounted Echo deal now on Amazon.

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Google Assistant is coming to older Android phones and tablets

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 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

Patreon decides not to change fee structure: “We messed up”

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Following a backlash against planned fee increases, Patreon is backing down. For now, everything will stay the way it is.

We’ve heard you loud and clear. We’re not going to rollout the changes to our payments system that we announced last week. We still have to fix the problems that those changes addressed, but we’re going to fix them in a different way, and we’re going to work with you to come up with the specifics, as we should have done the first time around. Many of you lost patrons, and you lost income. No apology will make up for that, but nevertheless, I’m sorry. It is our core belief that you should own the relationships with your fans. These are your businesses, and they are your fans.

I’ve spent hours and hours on the phone with creators, and so has the Patreon team. Your feedback has been crystal clear:

The new payments system disproportionately impacted $1 – $2 patrons. We have to build a better system for them.

Aggregation is highly-valued, and we underestimated that.

Fundamentally, creators should own the business decisions with their fans, not Patreon. We overstepped our bounds and injected ourselves into that relationship, against our core belief as a business.

Twitch will start streaming US minor league basketball games

See the original posting on The Verge

For the first time, Twitch is going to start livestreaming the games of an official sports league. The NBA G League, the NBA’s official minor league, will stream up to six of its games each week, and will have a few interactive features on its Twitch channel, which goes live on Friday.

Viewers will be able to click on a team name or logo to check on stats, and receive loyalty points for engaging with the stream. Points can be used to unlock achievements, climb leaderboards, and earn prizes. Twitch hasn’t given much detail yet on what kinds of prizes. The channel will be co-streamed by more than a dozen Twitch celebrities, including GoldGlove, and some basketball fans.

Both Twitch and NBA G League heads say that the move will make minor…

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MGMT’s new video makes the AI art of style transfer look cool again

See the original posting on The Verge

It’s a testament to the speed with which culture moved in 2017 that “style transfer” already feels a little passé. This technique started life in the AI community as a way of applying the textures and tones from image onto another, but it soon made its way into apps like Prisma then big platforms like Facebook as a tool for sprucing up snaps and selfies. Now, MGMT have used it in the music video for their latest single, When You Die, and to the credit of the video’s creators, made style transfer look fresh once more.

The video stars actor Alex Karpovsky (of Girls fame) as a magician who seems to be trapped in some sort of Groundhog Day-style loop and floating through the astral plane. Whatever’s going on, it all fits very neatly with…

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

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 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

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 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

The Tiniest Of 555 Pianos

See the original posting on Hackaday

The 555 timer is one of that special club of integrated circuits that has achieved silicon immortality. Despite its advanced age and having had its functionality replicated and superceded in almost every way, it remains in production and is still extremely popular because it’s simply so useful. If you are of A Certain Age a 555 might well have been the first integrated circuit you touched, and in turn there is a very good chance that your project with it would have been a simple electric organ.

If you’d like to relive that project, perhaps [Alexander Ryzhkov] has the …read more

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

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 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

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 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

Amazon adds support for Spotify with multiroom audio on Echo devices

See the original posting on The Verge

Amazon announced today that it’s adding support for Spotify and SiriusXM to the multiroom audio feature on Echo devices, letting users synchronize music across multiple rooms. Amazon launched the multiroom audio feature earlier this year, supporting Amazon Music Unlimited, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and Pandora. But now, as Amazon promised back in August, Spotify (and SiriusXM, if that was a deal-breaker for you) will work with multiroom playback, too.

For now, Spotify is only available with multiroom audio on the Echo in the US, UK, Germany, Canada, and Ireland, while SiriusXM is only in the US. But if you’re looking to use Echos to build out your own ad-hoc Sonos-style system, the addition of Spotify support should go a long way toward…

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Meet the guy who gets beat up in all of Marvel’s Netflix superhero shows

See the original posting on The Verge

Turk Barrett is having a bad day. Despite having no notable powers of his own, he seems to tangle with New York City’s vigilante heroes like Daredevil or Luke Cage on a regular basis. In Netflix’s latest Marvel show, The Punisher, Turk finds himself with a gun to his head as he tries to reason with the city’s most volatile antihero. “I’ve done nothing to you,” he says. “I’m just a guy trying to make a living.” Frank Castle’s mercy arrives in the form of a swift pistol whip to the back of Turk’s head. He’s out cold.

In the comics, Turk Barrett is a small-time criminal operating out of Hell’s Kitchen, which usually puts him at odds with the local neighborhood vigilante, Daredevil. The on-screen version of Turk, played by actor Rob Morgan,…

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AI and augmented reality could make fixing your router a little more bearable

See the original posting on The Verge

When something goes wrong with the appliances in your home, what do you do to fix them? Probably, you Google the problem. Then you dig out a manual or look one up online. If none of that helps, you might call the company who made the thing, and then spend an age on the phone trying to explain what’s gone wrong.

But what if you didn’t have to explain — what if you could just show someone the problem, and have it explained to you? That’s the proposition from Israeli company TechSee, which is building a customer support platform using two of 2017’s most overused buzzwords: augmented reality and artificial intelligence. But, unlike a lot of firms getting on the AR/AI bandwagon, TechSee’s proposal might actually be useful.

It works like…

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The latest trailer for Alex Garland’s Annihilation shows off a strange new world

See the original posting on The Verge

In September, Paramount released the first trailer for Ex Machina director Alex Garland’s next science fiction thriller Annihilation, showing off an expedition entering a bizarre world. Today, the studio released a new trailer that shows off the utter strangeness of Area X.

Based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation is about a journey into a surreal universe. The new trailer gives us a deeper look into the film’s surreal world.

It opens with a scientist (Benedict Wong) questioning Natalie Portman’s character, the Biologist, who asks her to start from the beginning. We then see the Biologist and her husband (Oscar Isaac) before he sets off for his own mission into the zone. He comes back ill, and in order to find out what…

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

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 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

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 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

See the original posting on TechCrunch

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

CrossOver 17 lets you run Windows on your Mac or Linux system

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Boot Camp is an excellent way for fans of Mac hardware to run Windows for work, games, or legacy software, but rebooting to switch operating systems is a hassle if you’re just looking to launch one or two apps. Fortunately, CrossOver 17 lets you install and run Windows software inside MacOS. Right now, this indispensable emulation layer can be had for $19 when you order it from the Boing Boing Store.

CrossOver 17 removes the need for a full OS installation or virtual machine, and it treats Windows apps like anything else on your Mac. Everything runs at native speeds, and you can even launch programs from the dock. And because you never need to leave the confines of MacOS, you don’t have to worry about malware from questionable app downloads.

Grab a copy of CrossOver 17 here for $19.

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