Yelp’s original plan for getting recommendations was insane

See the original posting on The Verge

On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, our friends at Eater have published a long history of how Yelp turned into the recommendation behemoth it is today. It’s all worth a read, but the best part is the description from the I, Cringely blog of the way Yelp’s first iteration helped you find the best places and services:

Here’s how Yelp! works. Go to the web site (it’s in this week’s links, but I’ll just bet you can guess the URL without even looking) and sign up for the service. Tell it what you are looking for (a plumber), put the need in some context (for my broken Jacuzzi bathtub) and give it a location (Charleston, SC). Then Yelp! expects you to tell it the e-mail addresses of a couple people whom you would contact with the…

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Google Compute Engine Adds New Zones In US And Asia

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Google Data Center Google today announced that it has launched two new Compute Engine zones: one in the U.S. (us-central1-f) and one in Asia (asia-east1-c). Google says this will make it easier for developers to run systems like MongoDB and others that use a quorum-based architecture for high availability by working across multiple data centers. The new zone will run servers based on Intel’s Ivy… Read More

Apple’s iPhone Event Said To Be Happening Sept. 9

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Apple Moscone Apple is said to be preparing for a September 9 iPhone event this year, at which we’ll likely see the next generation iPhone devices, according to Re/Code’s John Paczkowski. The date would be in keeping with past iPhone launches, and early reports suggest we’ll see the company reveal larger-screened iPhone devices on that day. Typically, Apple holds its event and and then… Read More

New JavaScript library adds facial detection, 3D projection to Web apps

See the original posting on JavaWorld

The open source Tracking.js JavaScript library is bringing computer vision and augmented reality to Web development.

Tracking.js can work in mobile Web or desktop applications or be paired with Node.js on the server, says developer Eduardo Lundgren. It brings computer vision algorithms and techniques into the browser, and it enables functions like facial detection, camera-based tracking, and projecting of 3D models.

“When you want to do these kinds of interactions, it was very hard to do with the technologies that were available before in C or C++,” says Lundgren, a software engineer at Liferay, which produces the Liferay Portal platform. To this end, Traking.js provides a Web component so developers can access components from HTML tags, without having to know JavaScript.

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The summer’s most stylish game is made of infographics

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Video game levels are dangerous: Mario has to deal with lava-spewing pits, while Solid Snake slips through heavily guarded enemy buildings in Metal Gear Solid. Metrico for the PS Vita, on the other hand, puts you in a world made of something much more mundane: infographics. The game asks you to navigate puzzles made of bar graphs and pie charts. It’s not the most obvious inspiration for a game, but it works. “It is all about communication in composition,” Geert Nellen, one-third of Dutch game studio Digital Dreams, says of infographic design, “which makes it perfect for games.” And despite its seemingly strange concept, Metrico is an impossibly stylish and uniquely challenging experience.

Metrico looks and controls like a traditional…

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Today, a billionaire paid $100 million for a Get Out of Jail Free card

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Bernie Ecclestone is an exceptionally wealthy man who until recently will have been familiar to Formula 1 racing fans and quite unimportant to the rest of the world. Only what he did today should make him a figure of global notoriety: Ecclestone paid $100 million to have a German court dismiss corruption charges raised against him that could have resulted in a 10-year prison sentence. No wonder he’s laughing.

The prosecutors in the case decided to accept Ecclestone’s settlement offer on account of his advanced age and the anticipated difficulty of obtaining a conviction. This is in spite of the fact that Ecclestone admits to having paid millions of dollars to a German banker that has already been successfully prosecuted and is currently…

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Gmail now recognizes email addresses with accented or non-Latin characters

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Gmail says it wants to make email more global, and today it’s taking a first step: Gmail now recognizes email addresses containing accented or non-Latin characters. You can’t create accounts with those same characters yet — Google says it’s working to get there — but Gmail users can now send to and receive emails from these addresses without issue. Google’s approach, which will also be implemented in Google Calendar soon, is based on an email standard created by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in 2012.

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The Dark Age Of Enterprise Software Is Ending

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shutterstock_143625448 Enterprise software has been a critical tool to help companies organize data and automate painfully manual processes. And unfortunately little else. To call enterprise software “dumb” might be slightly unfair, but as “smart” devices begin to proliferate it’s time we all accept that today’s software that we use to run our businesses is painfully ill-equipped… Read More

Sliced Investing Launches To Bring Hedge Fund Access To The Common Investor

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Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 8.45.56 AM Sliced Investing today launched a tool to connect accredited investors who previously couldn’t meet the required minimum investment, to hedge funds. You won’t be able to use Sliced to drop $1,000 into a hedge fund, but its service should allow qualified investors to deploy low five-figure sums into hedge funds that previously had mid-range six-figure minimums. Sliced intends… Read More

The US Army wants to replace gross rations with 3D-printed food

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The US Army could one day have its own very own version of the Star Trek replicator. Researchers at the Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center in Massachusetts are currently investigating ways that 3D printers could be used to create meals and rations for soldiers. “It could reduce costs because it could eventually be used to print food on demand,” food technologist Mary Scerra tells Army Technology Magazine. “For example, you would like a sandwich, where I would like ravioli. You would print what you want and eliminate wasted food.”

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Here’s what a 3D-printed saxophone sounds like

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Can you make a 3D-printed saxophone that’s a fraction as heavy as a “normal” one but sounds, to the untrained ear, virtually the same? Yes. I mean, you probably couldn’t, but luthier Olaf Diegel has done exactly that. Diegel took a break from making high-end 3D-printed guitars and tried his hand at the complex key structure of an alto saxophone, producing a prototype that’s made almost entirely of printed plastic. It requires a bigger, better printer than most consumers will ever own, and Diegel’s still working on integrating 3D-printed springs instead of metal ones. As he admits, there are already plastic injection-molded saxophones. But that doesn’t make this anything less than an impressive feat, and it opens up a world of new design…

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Nymi’s Beta SDK And Device Emulator Go Live In Advance Of Consumer Launch

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BannerNymulatornotext The days of the password are numbered – increasing security risks and requirements mean that old-fashioned alphanumeric passwords are just plain impractical long-term, and already startups like Bionym are looking to create their replacement. The company’s Nymi heartrate authentication wristband is set to ship soon, but for now, developers can get started building software for it… Read More

There’s a pill that prevents HIV — why are only gay men talking about it?

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A few months ago, the CDC recommended Truvada, the HIV prevention pill, to anyone at risk of infection. The Verge and other media outlets — including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Slate — covered the news in a big way, because it meant that government officials were not only urging doctors to prescribe the drug to queer men or individuals whose partners have HIV, but to anyone at risk — including sex workers, heterosexuals, and transfolk. Yet many reporters, myself included, failed to discuss how revolutionary this drug is for one particular, and substantial, segment of the US population: women.

Uncomfortable because of “the imbalance of power between men and women”

“The idea of women protecting themselves from HIV…

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The Hug, A Water Bottle Sensor And App, Helps You Stay Hydrated

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The Hug_office Everyone knows they should be drinking more water to stay healthy and hydrated, but actually remembering to do so can be a challenge. In fact, 43% of Americans drink four cups or fewer per day, according a 2012 study from the Center for Disease Control. That’s where The Hug, now on Kickstarter, comes in. The Hug solution includes a sensor band that wraps around just about any water bottle… Read More

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