The FTC is investigating Venmo over ‘deceptive or unfair practices’

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Venmo, the hugely popular peer-to-peer payments service owned by PayPal, is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. Its parent company acknowledged the situation today in an SEC filing. “On March 28th, 2016, we received a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) from the Federal Trade Commission as part of its investigation to determine whether we, through our Venmo service, have been or are engaged in deceptive or unfair practices in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act,” the filing reads.

“The CID requests the production of documents and answers to written questions related to our Venmo service. We are cooperating with the FTC in connection with the CID.” PayPal warns that depending on where the FTC goes with the…

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Microsoft restricts Cortana on Windows 10 to Bing and Edge

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Microsoft-Cortana-Build-2014-000 Cortana is Microsoft’s version of Google Now and Apple’s Siri digital assistant. It’s built right into Windows 10 and, while I’ve generally not found it all that useful, it’s a core component of Microsoft’s attempt at making its operating system smarter. Starting today, whenever you use Cortana to do a search on Windows 10 that would typically take you to… Read More

Google Photos now lets you customize its auto-generated movies

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Google Photos for Android got a nice update today, picking up a new search bar, and the ability to rename and delete device folders, as well as improved management over photos on SD cards. But the biggest improvement to what is probably the best photo management app around today is that the app will now allow you to customize those automatically generated videos it creates with your own photos, music, or video clips.

This gives the user a bit more control over those generated videos, which were usually pretty spot on even before the update. But more options for the user are always better. If you haven’t gotten aboard the Google Photos train yet, you should. The updated app is available in the Google Play Store now.

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On-demand private chef startup Kitchit shuts down

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kitchit Kitchit, the startup that brought chefs into your home to cook for you, is shutting down because “investment runways are finite, and unfortunately ours reached its end at a moment of substantial upheaval in the food-tech world,” Kitchit founders Brendan Marshall and Ian Ferguson wrote on the company’s site. Marshall and Ferguson detail the entire story of the company… Read More

Google’s OnHub is the first Wi-Fi router to support IFTTT

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Google’s “smart” OnHub wireless router now supports IFTTT, the web service that automates actions between apps. IFTTT can be triggered when devices connect and disconnect from OnHub — and, in the spirit of IFTTT, what you do based on that information is up to you. OnHub’s smart features let users manage and prioritize Wi-Fi to connected devices through an app, and they can now connect to the 300-plus programs and apps supported by IFTTT.  OnHub makes a few suggestions in a blog post, which gives a good idea of the sorts of things this new feature will allow. Here are some examples:

  • Build a recipe that turns your Philips Hue wirelessly connected lightbulbs off when your phone disconnects from your OnHub network after leaving your…

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Amazon’s earnings soar as its hardware takes the spotlight

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With memories of the abysmal Fire Phone fading fast, Amazon is becoming one of the most exciting device makers in the tech industry. Sales of its Echo speaker, featuring the Alexa voice assistant, and the company’s Fire TV stick have consistently led Amazon.com’s electronics category for months. With the addition of its $50 Kindle tablets and new, albeit pricey Kindle Oasis e-reader, Amazon is further cementing its position as a top-tier gadget maker. Now, the efforts are translating into profit.

Amazon posted fiscal first-quarter earnings today, reporting net revenue of $29.1 billion — a growth of 28 percent compared with the same period last year. It also posted net income of $513 million, or $1.07 a share, its biggest quarterly…

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Pandora up 6% on strong earnings but Rdio and Ticketfly buys don’t pay much yet

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Pandora On Demand Pandora continues to struggle as Internet radio becomes just a feature baked into competitors like Spotify and Apple Music, but at least it had strong Q1 2016 earnings today. Pandora pulled in $297.3 million revenue and had $-0.20 Non-GAAP EPS, compared to estimates of $-0.32 Non-GAAP EPS. [Correction: $-0.51 EPS is GAAP, meaning results were a beat, not mixed.]
That revenue came from ads… Read More

Etsy’s latest diversity report recognizes gender as a spectrum, not a binary

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A mural is displayed at Etsy Inc. headquarters in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., on Monday, May 4, 2015. Etsy Inc., a marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, raised $267 million in its initial public offering. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images Peer-to-peer marketplace Etsy has released its first diversity report since going public last April, showing that people who identify as women make up 50% of the leadership and management roles at the company. In 2014, women held just 37% of leadership roles at the company. What’s also notable about this report is that it represents gender in a non-binary way. As of December 2015 at… Read More

Gametime now lets users “snap and sell” printed tickets

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GameTime snap and sell Mobile ticket sellers Gametime added a new feature to their app this week that could draw more supply of concert and sports tickets to their marketplace. Designed to make it easier for users to sell old-school printed tickets via mobile, the “snap and sell” feature in Gametime feels something like check scanning in mobile banking apps. A user who clicks the “sell”… Read More

LinkedIn up 5% after beating earnings expectations

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shutterstock_170100236 LinkedIn surprised Wall Street on Thursday, with better-than-expected first quarter results. Shares jumped about 5% in after-hours trading. The company reported adjusted earnings per share of 74 cents, significantly higher than the expected 60 cents. Revenue for the quarter was $861 million, above the anticipated $828 million and a 35% year-over-year increase. This was a much needed boost… Read More

Mercedes home batteries are a potential rival for Tesla’s Powerwall

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Mercedes energy storage unit The batteries developed for the high demands of all-electric Mercedes-Benz cars are finding a new application as in-home energy storage units. Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s a lot like the Tesla Powerwall. Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler AG announced that the storage units are being manufactured by its subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE (Daimler has a real love of all caps). The batteries… Read More

Almost Two-Thirds of Software Companies Contributing To Open Source, Says Survey

See the original posting on Slashdot

Reader alphadogg writes: Open source’s march toward preeminence in business software continued over the past year, according to a survey released by open source management provider Black Duck Software and venture capital firm North Bridge. Roughly two-thirds of respondents to the survey — which was administered online and drew 1,300 respondents — said that their companies encouraged developers to contribute to open-source projects, and a similar proportion said that they were actively engaged in doing so already. That’s a 5% increase from the previous year’s survey.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Samsung’s Vulkan experiment could add 40 minutes to your phone’s battery life

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Samsung already gives developers the option to create with the Vulkan API on Galaxy S7s, but now, the company has demonstrated how big of a difference the low-level graphics API could make. Samsung said at its annual Samsung Developer Conference yesterday that it rebuilt its home launcher using Vulkan, and internal tests show that using the API could reduce battery consumption by up to 6 percent when users are scrolling through pages or opening their app tray. This could lead to up to 40 extra minutes of battery life on a 3600 mA/h battery, or just enough time for me to send out some “phone dying; bye forever” texts.

Google is also testing Vulkan on its Android N developer preview, which it thinks will lead to “significant” performance…

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Confess all your sins to this robot, if you want

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Have you ever wanted to confess your crimes, bear your soul, and spill your secrets? Have you ever thought, “No, better to not. Better to suffer in silence than take the wild gamble of confiding in another fallible human being?”

If so, lonely heart, there is a robot out there for you!

New York-based production company Third Party Films will be traveling around NYC in the coming weeks with a “pop-up confessional booth.” Volunteers can confess their sins to a robot that will “listen” to their stories and ask follow-up questions. The whole thing is supposedly being filmed for the pilot of an upcoming HBO documentary series about artificial intelligence.

The booth’s creators describe its interior design as “stern, yet comfy,” and “there…

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Technics’ SL-1200G turntable promises ‘the smoothest possible’ way to spin vinyl

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Technics is bringing back the SL-1200 turntable — still legendary among DJs — for its 50th anniversary. We knew the turntable would come out in both limited-edition and wide-release formats, and now Technics is announcing specs for the latter.

The good news is, Technics’ wide-release model, called the SL-1200G, is virtually identical to the limited-edition model on paper. For whatever reason, the SL-1200G is about 3mm taller than the limited-edition model, but that appears to be about it. No matter which version of the turntable you buy, you’re getting a serious machine aimed at true audiophiles.

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Watch the trailer for Southside With You, a movie about the Obamas’ first date

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Southside With You, a movie about the early days of Michelle and Barack Obama’s relationship, premiered at Sundance earlier this year to widely positive reviews. Now, anyone who didn’t get the chance to attend the exclusive film festival can get their first look the Richard Tanne-directed movie, with the release of its first trailer.

The film chronicles what is apparently Michelle and Barack’s first date in Chicago. Parker Sawyers plays the future POTUS and Tika Sumpter plays a young Michelle Robinson. John Legend serves as an executive producer.

Southside With You hits theaters on August 19th.

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Google places Rick Osterloh in charge of new, unified hardware division

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nexus-5x-nexus-6p-2 The former CEO of Motorola, Rick Osterloh, is coming to lead Google’s new hardware division, per our confirmation with a Google spokesperson and re/code’s report. It’s the first time Google has unified all of its product lines under one roof, with one leader to boot. Osterloh’s new responsibilities will include oversight of the Nexus program, Chromecast, the Pixel… Read More

Google CEO Predicts AI-Fueled Future

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai says the next big evolution for technology is AI. “Looking to the future, the next big step will be for the very concept of the ‘device’ to fade away,” Pichai wrote in Google’s annual founders’ letter. USA Today writes: His vision: Over time, computers, whatever shape they take, a mobile device in your hand or a mini computer on your wrist, “will be an intelligent assistant helping you through your day.” This marks the first time anyone other than founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have penned the annual letter outlining Google’s mission. “For us, technology is not about the devices or the products we build. Those aren’t the end-goals,” Pichai wrote in the letter posted Thursday. “Technology is a democratizing force, empowering people through information. Google is an information company. It was when it was founded, and it is today.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Almost Two-Third of Software Companies Contributing To Open Source, Says Survey

See the original posting on Slashdot

Reader alphadogg writes: Open source’s march toward preeminence in business software continued over the past year, according to a survey released by open source management provider Black Duck Software and venture capital firm North Bridge. Roughly two-thirds of respondents to the survey — which was administered online and drew 1,300 respondents — said that their companies encouraged developers to contribute to open-source projects, and a similar proportion said that they were actively engaged in doing so already. That’s a 5% increase from the previous year’s survey.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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