Original Content podcast: Dragons love symbolism, and other lessons from the ‘Game of Thrones’ finale

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This post and podcast include spoilers for “Game of Thrones.” Remember how it felt six weeks ago, right before “Game of Thrones” returned for its final season? The excitement? The anticipation? That was so, so long ago. Darrell Etherington, the original co-host of the Original Content podcast, joins us once again to wrap up our […]

How to set up Google Assistant on your Sonos speaker

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Google Assistant is now available on the Sonos One and Sonos Beam, meaning you’ve now got a second choice besides Alexa for handling your voice commands. If Assistant is already controlling your smart home gadgets — or if you merely think it’s better at responding to questions than Alexa — it’s probably worth switching over.

Even if you don’t own a Sonos speaker with a built-in mic like the One or Beam, you can still control the company’s other speakers if you have a Google Home speaker somewhere in the house. The setup process is very similar in both cases.

We’ll start off under the assumption that your Sonos speakers are already up and running.

Set up Google Assistant on the Sonos One or Sonos Beam

Each of Sonos’ smart speakers can…

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Deepfakes are getting easier than ever to make, new research paper shows

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To make a convincing deepfake — an AI-generated fake of a video or audio clip — you usually need a neural model that’s trained with a lot of reference material. Generally, the larger your dataset of photos, video, or sound, the more eerily accurate the result will be. But now, researchers at Samsung’s AI Center have devised a method to train a model to animate with an extremely limited dataset: just a single photo, and the results are surprisingly good.

The researchers are able to achieve this effect, (as spotted by Motherboard) by training its algorithm on “landmark” facial features (the general shape of the face, eyes, mouth shape, and more) scraped from a public repository of 7,000 images of celebrities gathered from YouTube.


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Automattic acquires subscription payment company Prospress

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Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, WooCommerce, Longreads, Simplenote and a bunch of other cool things, is acquiring a small startup called Prospress. Among other things, Prospress has developed WooCommerce Subscriptions, a recurring payment solution specifically designed for WooCommerce. Given that physical and digital subscriptions are taking over the e-commerce world, it makes sense that Automattic […]

Cruise says its AV successfully completed 1,400 unprotected left hand turns

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Unprotected left hand turns are tough for robots and humans alike. The compounding variables of crossing in front of oncoming traffic make it one of the toughest maneuverers in driving. It’s one of the toughest challenges for self-driving platforms — even more so as drivers often look for non-verbal cues from other drivers to when […]

Microsoft’s new language learning app uses your phone’s camera and computer vision to teach vocabulary

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Eight Microsoft interns have developed a new language learning tool that uses the smartphone camera to help adults improve their English literacy by learning the words for the things around them. The app, Read My World, lets you take a picture with your phone to learn from a library of over 1,500 words. The photo […]

The first teaser trailer for Star Trek: Picard is here

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Sir Patrick Stewart is back: CBS has just released the first teaser trailer for its upcoming series Star Trek: Picard, set to premiere later this year on the CBS All Access streaming service.

It’s a short teaser, but it sets the stage for the series, which appears to focus on an older Jean-Luc Picard. Based on the trailer, it seems that Picard has retired from serving as an admiral in Starfleet to run his family’s vineyards in France, before he’s presumably called back into action.

The series — unlike the rebooted J.J. Abrams films, which occur in a parallel timeline — is set in Star Trek’s main timeline, and will pick up with Picard years after his final canon appearance in 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis.

“Fifteen years ago,…

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Google now lets you order food without a delivery app

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Starting today, you can now order food directly from Google Search, Google Maps, or Google Assistant. The functionality works using partnerships with existing delivery companies like DoorDash, Postmates, and ChowNow, and means you can order from any of them without having to downloading an additional app, or even visiting their website.

In Google Search and Google Maps, the functionality works via a new “Order Online” button that will appear when you search for a supported restaurant. From here, you can pick between pickup and delivery, and select which service you want to order your food through. If the restaurant supports it, your ordering selections are all made entirely through Google’s interface and Google Pay.


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Disney’s Aladdin remake feels weirdly unfinished

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It’s understandable if it took people a while to come around to the idea of a live-action adaptation of Disney’s Aladdin directed by Guy Ritchie. The Howard Ashman and Alan Menken musical numbers in 1992’s Aladdin are iconic. They seem even more so after the death of the film’s original Genie, Robin Williams, who brought a memorable, highly personal performance style to “Prince Ali” and “Friend Like Me.” So the idea that Ritchie — who specializes in fast-paced crime dramedies, and has never directed a musical — was going to come in and grasp the nuances of staging songs in a way worthy of the original vision was questionable at best.

But when you strip all the music away, Aladdin is at its heart a film about two men, a heist, and a big…

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These are the best Memorial Day 2019 deals

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Memorial Day is May 27th, a day of remembrance in the US. Though, like most holidays on the calendar, it’s also a day when a load of retailers lower prices, making it a good opportunity to tick a few boxes off of your wishlist (or someone else’s). And, aside from Amazon Prime Day 2019, which is expected to happen in mid-July, this might be your best chance to save on some tech products until Labor Day or Black Friday comes around later in the year.

Most of these sales have different start and end times (and many deals haven’t started yet, so stay tuned). We’ll be updating this post with new deals as they begin, crossing out inactive deals along the way.

Laptops and tablets

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Apply to TC Hackathon at Disrupt SF 2019 before the spots disappear

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Calling all code whisperers, rock-star programmers and code poets. If you want to compete in the TechCrunch Hackathon at Disrupt San Francisco 2019 on October 2-4, do not wait. We’re limiting the hackathon to only 800 participants, and half of those spots are already gone, baby, gone. Don’t miss your chance for glory, cash and prizes. […]

Deploying an Angular App on a Google VM Using Bitbucket Pipelines

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Angular is one of the most widely used JavaScript frameworks. But though the builds are easy, developers face issues when configuring deployments and setting up CI/CD pipelines. This post outlines the steps required to deploy an Angular application to a Google VM using Bitbucket Pipelines.

What Are Pipelines?

Bitbucket Pipelines allow developers to configure continuous delivery (in the cloud) of source files to test/production servers. These pipelines are configured to connect to the production server using YAML scripts.

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