Thursday, April 6, 2017

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Swiss system ups security and reliability of finger-based biometrics

Apr 05, 11:19PM

 Biometrics may not be the perfect solution for security, but they can be useful — as long as they’re robust and well thought out. TouchID is all well and good, but you wouldn’t secure a nuclear site with it. Well, movies aside, you probably should secure a nuclear site with a fingerprint regardless. But this new system from Swiss researchers is a step in the right direction. Read More

Triptease, a London startup that helps hotels increase direct sales, closes $9M Series B

Apr 05, 11:01PM

 London-based Triptease, a startup that offers a SaaS to help hotels increase direct sales and therefore keep more revenue, has closed a $9 million Series B. The new round was led by BGF Ventures, with participation from existing investors Notion Capital and Episode 1 Ventures. Read More

Google invests in new subsea cable that connects Singapore to Australia

Apr 05, 11:00PM

 Google today announced that it will invest in a new subsea cable that will connect Singapore to Perth and Sydney in Australia (with a branch to Jakarta, Indonesia). The so-called Indigo cable will be almost 5,600 miles long and will be built by a consortium that also includes AARNet, Indosat Ooredoo, Singtel, SubPartners and Telsta. Read More

Utah becomes the first Power Five school to give scholarships to video gamers

Apr 05, 10:58PM

 Kids everywhere are thanking the University of Utah for giving purpose to their video gaming addictions. The school is now offering scholarships to compete in its esports program, as reported by Bloomberg. The school is the first school to do so from any of the Power Five athletics conferences (Pac-12, Big 10, Big East, SEC, ACC). The esports program will be sponsored by the… Read More

SpaceX spent 'less than half' the cost of a new first stage on Falcon 9 relaunch

Apr 05, 10:33PM

 Just how much is SpaceX actually saving with its reused Falcon 9 rockets? You might expect it to not be much, given that the SES-10 launch is the first time they’ve reused a rocket thus far. But SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said the cost of refurbishing the Falcon 9 rocket was “substantially less than half” what it would have cost to build a new one. Read More

Unpaywall scours the web for free versions of scientific papers

Apr 05, 9:06PM

 The science publishing world is a complex one, but the pendulum is currently swinging away from the paywalled mega-journals of the last decade to a more open model — but it can still be hard to find a full copy of an article you need on short notice. Unpaywall is a browser plug-in that identifies the paper you’re looking for, then checks whether it’s available for free… Read More

You can now draw with a thicker brush in Snapchat

Apr 05, 8:50PM

 Yesterday Snapchat tweaked their drawing tool so you can draw thicker lines on your snapsterpieces. To change your brush size all you have to do is select a color to draw with, then use two fingers to “pinch” in or out to make the brush size bigger or smaller. Read More

Udacity spin-out Voyage aims to build a full self-driving taxi business

Apr 05, 7:10PM

 Udacity’s self-driving car program has been focused on training engineers and helping progress the field with open source contributions, but now Udacity Vice President Oliver Cameron is striking out with a new company called Voyage, which was born out of Udacity’s autonomous efforts. Voyage wants to put self-driving cars on the road as part of a fleet of taxis, created using… Read More

GM's Maven car sharing service launches in Baltimore

Apr 05, 6:52PM

 GM’s car sharing brand has expanded to another U.S. city – Baltimore, Maryland. The new city will offer 20 pick-up points and 40 vehicles across the downtown area, with rental rates starting around $8 per hour, including gas, and without requiring any regular membership fees. The Maven fleet includes Chevy Cruze and Cruze Hatchback, as well as Malibu, Tahoe and the GMC Acadia, all… Read More

Microsoft launches 'Who's In,' a social event planning app for iMessage

Apr 05, 6:36PM

 Microsoft’s name isn’t exactly synonymous with social networking, though that hasn’t stopped the company from finding angles into this space – generally, with more of a focus on the business side of socializing, as with its LinkedIn and Yammer acquisitions. It’s own efforts in social, meanwhile, have failed, as with last month’s shuttering of its social… Read More

ffVC and NYU are mixing researchers with investors in the name of machine intelligence

Apr 05, 6:34PM

 The timing was perfect. Just as startups were settling into NYU and ffVC’s new brains-meet-money accelerator, “AI Nexus Lab,” Uber acquired Geometric Intelligence. In a stroke of luck, the startup that would become Uber’s AI lab happened to have been raised by NYU Tandon’s Data Future Labs. Uber’s interest in Geometric helped solidify New… Read More

Canonical ends development of its phone to focus on cloud and IoT

Apr 05, 6:32PM

 Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution, long had aspirations to become a player in the mobile phone and tablet world, too. You can’t easily buy an Ubuntu-powered phone today (at least not in the U.S.), but over the years, a few have come and gone. As Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth announced today, however, the company will end its investment in the phone… Read More

Uber finds one allegedly stolen Waymo file – on an employee's personal device

Apr 05, 6:12PM

 Uber admitted today that it had found one of the documents Waymo alleges was stolen by a former employee — who left its self-driving car effort to join Uber’s — on the employee’s personal computer. Read More

Sharethebus becomes and raises $5M for event shuttle management

Apr 05, 6:00PM

 It’s actually a pretty great URL: It’s also a much better brand identity than Sharethebus, which is the old name of the company that just raised a $5 million Series A round from Jackson Square Ventures and BMW’s i Ventures investment arm. is the destination you’d expect to head to for what the company does, which is organize charter bus trips for… Read More

Google says its custom machine learning chips are often 15-30x faster than GPUs and CPUs

Apr 05, 5:48PM

 It’s no secret that Google has developed its own custom chips to accelerate its machine learning algorithms. The company first revealed those chips, called Tensor Processing Units (TPUs), at its I/O developer conference back in May 2016, but it never went into all that many details about them, except for saying that they were optimized around the company’s own TensorFlow… Read More

Watch SpaceX's reused Falcon 9 rocket nail the landing a second time

Apr 05, 5:17PM

 SpaceX has posted a video of the Falcon 9 rocket it used first last year during the CRS-8 mission, and then again just last week during the SES-10 mission. The reuse of the rocket was historic in itself, but the kicker was the successful recovery of the rocket, as documented below. During the actual launch, SpaceX tried to provide live footage of the rocket landing, but the camera on the… Read More

YouTube's live TV streaming service goes live in five US cities for $35 per month

Apr 05, 5:00PM

 YouTube TV takes a bunch of the more popular U.S. cable channels — ABC, Fox, CBS, NBC, CW, Disney, SyFy, ESPN and 40+ more — and crams them into one app. It’ll cost $35 a month, and you’ll be able to stream to six devices simultaneously with each plan, starting with today’s launch in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. Read More

Monzo, a UK digital-only challenger bank, granted full banking license

Apr 05, 4:59PM

 Monzo, one of a number of so-called “challenger” banks in the U.K. aiming to re-invent the current account, has had the “restrictions” on its banking license lifted and says it will begin rolling out full current accounts to its pre-paid card and beta app users. Read More

E-sports coaching app gets $6 million, because that's the world we live in now

Apr 05, 4:58PM

 Dojo Madness, a Berlin-based startup that sells analytics and coaching tools to casual and professional online gamers, has raised $6 million in a new round of financing. Read More

The company behind Adblock Plus is acquiring micropayment service Flattr

Apr 05, 4:30PM

 Eyeo, the parent company behind AdBlock Plus, announced this morning that it has acquired Flattr. The two companies were already working together on a project initially called Flattr Plus, where users can allocate a monthly payment to online publishers. The money is then distributed based on users’ engagement with different sites and articles. This sounded pretty similar to what Flattr… Read More

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