Thursday, May 12, 2016

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Opera adds power-saving mode to its browser

May 12, 7:01AM

opera-new-logo-brand-identity-portal-to-web Opera is on a roll lately. Over the last few weeks, the company added a built-in ad blocker and VPN service to its desktop browser, for example. Today, the company is launching a new early release developer version for its Windows and OS X users that includes a power-saving mode. Opera argues that this new mode will ensure that laptop batteries will last significantly longer than without it.… Read More

Beyond Siri: The AI revolution coming from the web

May 12, 3:00AM

shutterstock_228897490 From HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey to Samantha in Spike Jonze’s Her, for decades we have been obsessed with the idea that artificial intelligence powered-computers will one day be able to interact with people, follow spoken instructions and make decisions independently, like a human would. But while each new generation brings its lot of interesting new features or use cases, they are… Read More

A look at the machine that turns dough pods into tortillas

May 12, 2:20AM

tortilla maker It’s actually very tasty. Really. I certainly had my doubts, eating a tortilla that came out of a pod, but 90 or so seconds after Flatev co-founder and CEO put the little Keurig-esque plastic saucer in the machine, a pipping hot and legitimately delicious corn tortilla popped down into the warming shelf. I can’t say there’s really a place in my life (or my tiny New York… Read More

The race to the moon is underway as Astrobotic raises $2.5 million

May 12, 1:04AM

Astrobotic's Griffin Lander / Image courtesy of Astrobotic Astrobotic Technology, the company that plans to deliver payloads to the moon, has completed a $2.5 million seed round led by Space Angels Network. The company was originally spun out of Carnegie Mellon University in 2007 to compete for the Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP). As of today, they’ve secured 10 deals from governments, companies, universities, non-profits and individuals for their… Read More

The Blockchain is the new Google

May 12, 12:30AM

51tpZCzlYRL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_ The following is an excerpt from The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology by William Mougayar. In it, Mougayar waxes ecstatic about the future of distributed databases. At its core, the blockchain is a technology that permanently records transactions in a way that cannot be later erased but can only be sequentially updated, in essence keeping… Read More

Treating the healthcare issue with tech

May 12, 12:00AM

shutterstock_53958034 The healthcare industry, with its maddening inefficiencies and an economic model that incentivizes disease care over health care, desperately needs a Silicon Valley-style overhaul. Why is the nation’s $3 trillion creaky, monstrous and convoluted healthcare sector seemingly impervious to technological change? Read More

Google is reportedly announcing a standalone Android VR headset next week

May 11, 9:52PM

google_pipe_2 Google is moving beyond Cardboard. The company will reportedly be announcing a standalone Android VR headset at next week’s Google I/O event. Entrepreneur and former tech journalist Peter Rojas has tweeted that Google will launch an untethered Android VR headset next week according to his multiple sources. Android VR will definitely be announced next week, and from what… Read More

And the winner of TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2016 is… Beam

May 11, 9:30PM

tcdisrupt_NY16-5816 The competition has been incredibly fierce, but we now have a winner. At the very beginning, there were 22 startups. We hand-picked all these great companies from the wild world of startup land so that they could compete in our highly competitive startup competition — the Startup Battlefield. They all presented in front of multiple groups of tech leaders serving as judges. The startups… Read More

Jeremy Hitchcock steps down as CEO of Dyn

May 11, 9:27PM

Jeremy Hitchcock Just a day after announcing a $50 million round of funding, Internet performance management company Dyn is revealing there’s been a change in leadership — co-founder Jeremy Hitchcock is stepping down as CEO. “I’ve done a nice and effective job of getting the company from A to B, but now I’m thinking about helping the company get from B to C,” Hitchcock told me. Read More

Activists at Disrupt protest Airbnb over listings in Israeli settlements

May 11, 8:57PM

tcdisrupt_NY16-5276 Airbnb is under fire for allowing hosts on its platform to list homes in Israel’s occupied territories. And today the issue became the subject of a protest at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York, after one of its board members took the stage for an interview. Sequoia’s Alfred Lin was interrupted by a protester brandishing a banner with the words… Read More

General Michael Hayden on the state of surveillance in America, presidential candidates and more

May 11, 8:01PM

General Michael Hayden General Michael Hayden is no stranger to government — or to your data. As the former director of the NSA and the CIA, he oversaw controversial surveillance programs and had authority over some of the government’s most closely kept secrets. Since he retired from his post at the CIA in 2009, Hayden has worked with a security consulting firm run by former secretary of the Department… Read More

Review: The North Face's Access Pack is a backpack design that fizzles

May 11, 7:25PM

L1130813 It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes backpack designs get creative. Typically, backpacks are boring, with little variation in their shape, their materials…even their colors. Read More

Sunrise will sunset on August 31st 🌅

May 11, 7:21PM

Sunrise We all saw it coming, but it’s still hard to swallow. Well-designed calendar app and service Sunrise will be removed from the stores in the next few days. The servers will be shutting down on August 31st. Read More

Justin Kan accepts Y Combinator Fellowship pitches over Snapchat

May 11, 7:01PM

ycf-snapchat One of the latest Snapchat trends (at least in our little tech bubble) is venture capitalists using the social media platform as a way to dish out advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. People like Mark Suster, Gary Vaynerchuk and Justin Kan preach on topics ranging from how to ask for an email intro to the importance of physical activity for startup founders. But here’s the thing —… Read More

GeoOrbital's wheel turns almost any bike into an electric bike

May 11, 6:17PM

GeoOrbital_with_Dakota_Decker_3 TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2016’s “wildcard” participant GeoOrbital has a different take on the electric bike. Instead of putting a motor on the bike, they put it in the wheel. This crazy idea was actually prompted by something founder Michael Burtov saw in the movie “Tron.” He thought there was a lot of wasted space inside the motorcycles because of their hollow wheels. Read More

Carmelo Anthony looks to be a VC MVP with Melo7 Tech Partners

May 11, 6:08PM

Stuart Goldfarb and Carmelo Anthony (Melo7 Tech Partners) Carmelo Anthony, already a superstar forward for the New York Knicks, is looking ahead to his next act as a venture capital mogul. Coupling his longtime interest in technology with a desire to promote entrepreneurship, Anthony and his partner Stuart Goldfarb (also a pretty big deal) formed Melo7 Tech Partners to build a lasting legacy beyond the basketball court. Read More

Agrilyst raises $1M seed round for its indoor agriculture analytics service

May 11, 6:08PM

Agrilyst Agrilyst, the winner of our Disrupt SF 2015 Battlefield competition, today announced it has raised a $1 million seed round for its indoor agriculture analytics service. The round was led by Brooklyn Bridge Ventures with participation from Metamorphic Ventures and a number of angel investors and seed funds, including the co-founders of QuickFire, another Battlefield company that was later… Read More

Kik already has over 6,000 bots reaching 300 million registered users

May 11, 6:07PM

Ted Livingston of Kik Messenger and WhatsApp may be the 800-pound gorillas in the chat space thanks to Facebook’s significant reach, but Waterloo-based Kik is rapidly building a young, dedicated audience of users that are already showing interest in bots. Read More

Facebook will turn panoramas into "360 Photos" for feed and Gear VR's 1M users

May 11, 5:30PM

Facebook-360-Photos Those panoramas trapped on your phone will finally get a better viewing experience, both on News Feed and the Oculus-powered Samsung Gear VR. Facebook is also releasing Gear VR usage stats for the first time, saying Gear VR has 1 million monthly users, and those who use it spend 25 minutes per day on the device. That could encourage developers to build for the platform. Facebook’s… Read More

Bolt Threads raises $50 million to brew spider silk, inks deal with Patagonia

May 11, 5:05PM

Dan Widmaier (Bolt Threads) If the idea of wearing spider silk intrigues, the idea of managing a farm full of spiders isn’t all that appealing. A startup called Bolt Threads has developed a means of brewing spider silk and other insect fibers, and spinning then into yarn, making them accessible to makers of apparel, upholstery and more. Read More

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