T.K.

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Amazon’s new ‘Alexa Blueprints’ let anyone create custom Alexa skills and responses

Amazon this morning is introducing “Alexa Blueprints,” a new way for any Alexa owner to create their own customized Alexa skills or responses, without needing to know how to code. The idea is to allow Alexa owners to create their own voice apps, like a trivia game or bedtime stories, or teach Alexa …

Smart Homes

Manhattan rents tumble by the most in nearly 7 years even after landlords offer a ton of freebies

Manhattan landlords seem to be running out of tricks.<p>They're aggressively offering a month of free rent and other concessions to get new tenants. And yet, in March, Manhattan's median rent including such discounts fell 3.2% year-over-year, making for the biggest drop in 6 1/2 years, according to a …

Real Estate

Uber gets into the bike-sharing game with its latest acquisition

Uber has acquired Jump, a bike-sharing startup that offers dockless electric bicycles for hire on demand across San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but TechCrunch’s source says it cost Uber some $200 million.<p>The acquisition follows the ride-hailing company’s …

San Francisco

How a kid from San Francisco ended up starting a school in India

My start up failed and I had no money to pay rent. Three weeks later, having sold almost everything I owned, I boarded a plane to Bangkok with a one …

Silicon Valley

BMW's car subscription pilot program starts at $2,000 per month

The rumors of BMW's American branch joining the car subscription craze were true. The automaker has launched a pilot Access by BMW program in Nashville, giving you a more flexible alternative to ownership that lets you switch cars as often as you like (through a mobile app, of course) without …

Plug-in Hybrid EVs

The U.S., China And Others Race To Develop 5G Mobile Networks

• <i>5G communications networks will enhance the performance of the internet of things, autonomous vehicles and other technological advancements in the 2020s.</i>• <i><br>Having lagged behind its rivals in developing 5G’s predecessors, China will exert greater effort to set the parameters for the development of the</i> …

Internet of Things

Grid System Behind Logo Design

If you love of using a grid systems for every logo design you create, including marks and icons, Kareem Magdi got you covered. He shared a set of …

Graphic Design

Oppo Digital is ending its audio and Blu-ray player business

The 14-year-old company says it will gradually stop manufacturing new products. Existing products will still be supported.<p>Oppo Digital, maker of high-end audio products and disc players, is saying farewell.<p>The 14-year-old company announced Monday that it will gradually stop manufacturing new …

Audiophile

How Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook targeting model really worked – according to the person who built it

The researcher whose work is at the center of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data analysis and political advertising uproar has revealed that his method worked much like the one Netflix uses to recommend movies.<p>In an email to me, Cambridge University scholar Aleksandr Kogan explained how his …

Machine Learning

Instagram is the latest to drop its Apple Watch app

The trend of companies pulling their Apple Watch apps isn't quite done yet. Instagram has quitely removed its Apple Watch app as of the latest iOS app update, leaving you without a way to check your photo feed on your wrist. The company didn't have much choice in the matter -- Apple stopped …

Smartwatches

What really happens when you log into websites using your Facebook details - and why you should always think twice

Children of the 80’s rejoice - there’s a new Terminator film on the horizon!<p>Even more fabulously everyone’s favourite icon Linda Hamilton is back too …

Artificial Intelligence

Moment lenses — the DSLR killer?

I travel with a Canon DSLR and two primes, a 35mm f1.4 and an 85mm f1.2 (endearingly nicknamed, “the fat kid”). Switching lenses is cumbersome and not ideal in certain environments, like a Saigon street market, densely crowded with vendors, tourists and thieves.<p>After lugging this camera kit through …

Mobile Photography

UberRUSH is shutting down

Uber is closing the doors on its on-demand package delivery service for merchants, RUSH, in New York City, San Francisco and Chicago, TechCrunch has learned. In an email to users, Uber said it plans to close RUSH operations June 30, 2018.<p>“At Uber, we believe in making big bold bets, and while …

San Francisco

73 Percent of Millennials are Willing to Spend More Money on This 1 Type of Product

It's not even close to avocado toast.<p>In 2015, Nielsen polled 30,000 consumers in 60 countries around the world. They wanted to know more about what influences how people feel about brands, and how those feelings impact buying behavior.<p>One overwhelming conclusion of the report? That across the …

Human Rights

VR exhibit allows the blind to 'see' art thanks to special gloves

Forget massive headsets. An art exhibit in Prague is helping blind and visually impaired users to touch artwork in virtual reality thanks to special gloves.<p>The Touching Masterpieces exhibit offers visitors a series of 3D models of famous statues to “view” via haptic feedback in the gloves. The …

Augmented Reality

Neighbor, a p2p self-storage marketplace, bags $2.5M seed

Neighbor is another startup with designs on your spare space. Not for letting to guests to bed down in, like Airbnb, but for self-storage. The 2017 founded, Salt Lake City based startup is announcing $2.5 million in seed funding today, raised from Peak Ventures and Pelion Ventures.<p>The core business …

Salt Lake City

Google begins to roll out mobile-first indexing

Google announced this morning its “mobile-first” indexing of the web is now starting to roll out, after a year and a half of testing and experimentation. Back in 2016, Google first detailed its plan to change the way its search index operates, explaining how its algorithms would eventually be …

SEO

Apple’s original shows may launch next March, report says

Apple’s upcoming slate of original TV shows may finally see the light of day as early as next March, according to a report from The New York Times on Sunday. Citing producers and entertainment exec sources, the article says Apple has been taking advantage of its significant cash stores to fund its …

Battlestar Galactica

Walmart reveals why it has robots roaming the aisles in 50 of its stores

Walmart's new robot fleet is having an impact on stores.<p>The retailer has expanded its initial test of its shelf-scanning robots to 50 stores across four states, including Arkansas and California. They're shaped like six-foot-tall roving towers on wheels and are equipped with cameras that can spot …

Robotics

Tesla says it’s being underpaid because its batteries are too fast

It looks like Tesla's batteries are too fast for their own good. As the <i>Sydney Morning Herald</i> reports, the company claims it's not being properly paid for the electricity its South Australia battery farm is generating for the country's power grid. And Tesla says its because its batteries supply …

Tesla

Demand for American Sperm Is Skyrocketing in Brazil

SÃO PAULO—With “jewel-tone eyes,” blond hair and a “smattering of light freckles,” Othello looks nothing like most Brazilians, the majority of whom are black or mixed-race. Yet the “Caucasian” American cashier, described in those terms by the Seattle Sperm Bank and known as Donor 9601, is one of …

São Paulo

PornHub greets bloggers after YouTube gun ban introduced

<b>YouTube has banned videos that show people how to manufacture or modify guns and their accessories.</b><p>It had already banned videos linked to the sale of guns and accessories.<p>Many firearms enthusiasts noticed that some of their videos had been removed from the video-sharing website and some had their …

Internet

Slack's new policy lets bosses read employees' DMs without consent

If your company uses Slack for group communication, you might want to watch what you say in Direct Messages with your colleagues: the app now lets administrators export all the data shared through it, including those private conversations – without notifying you.<p>That’s thanks to an updated privacy …

Apps

How the AI cloud could produce the richest companies ever - MIT Technology Review

For years, Swami Sivasubramanian’s wife has wanted to get a look at the bears that come out of the woods on summer nights to plunder the trash cans …

Machine Learning

Stephen Hawking submitted a final scientific paper 2 weeks before he died — and it could lead to the discovery of a parallel universe

Stephen Hawking submitted his final scientific paper just a week and a half before he died, and it lays the theoretical groundwork for discovering a parallel universe.<p>Hawking, who died Wednesday at 76, was coauthor to a mathematical paper that seeks proof of the "multiverse" theory, which posits …

Physics

Robots break new ground in construction industry

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — As a teenager working for his dad's construction business, Noah Ready-Campbell dreamed that robots could take over the dirty, tedious parts of his job, such as digging and leveling soil for building projects.<p>Now the former Google engineer is turning that dream into a reality …

Construction Industry

Facebook Opened Its Instant Games Platform to All Developers

Facebook is now allowing all developers to create games for Instant Games, its HTML5 cross-platform gaming service, which allows users to play games …

Advertising Industry

IBM has created a computer smaller than a grain of salt

If there's one downside to powerful computers, it's that they're too damn big.<p>Luckily, that's about to change. At least, if IBM has anything to say …

Leaked documents reveal how Amazon’s TV shows make them tons of cash

Amazon has been mum about how it makes many of its (sometimes questionable) entertainment programming decisions. Now, based on leaked internal …

Microsoft announces breakthrough in Chinese-to-English machine translation

A team of Microsoft researchers announced on Wednesday they’ve created the first machine translation system that’s capable of translating news articles from Chinese to English with the same accuracy as a person. The company says it’s tested the system repeatedly on a sample of around 2,000 …

Machine Learning