Odds and Ends 

Apple would like to remind the FCC that it cant activate imaginary FM radios that iPhones dont have

Apple responded today to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who issued a statement that “urged” Apple to activate the FM chips that he claimed are in iPhones in the name of public safety. The recent hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria were the hook for the reasoning. The only problem? Apple hasn’t even included FM radio chips in iPhones since the iPhone 6s. That’s right, Pai called on Apple to activate radios that don’t even exist. As John Gruber astutely points out, the statement has the stink of trying to shift blame…

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Headlines 

‘It’s able to create knowledge itself’: Google unveils AI that learns on its own

In a major breakthrough for artificial intelligence, AlphaGo Zero took just three days to master the ancient Chinese board game of Go … with no human help Googles artificial intelligence group, DeepMind, has unveiled the latest incarnation of its Go-playing program, AlphaGo an AI so powerful that it derived thousands of years of human knowledge of the game before inventing better moves of its own, all in the space of three days. Named AlphaGo Zero, the AI program has been hailed as a major advance because it mastered the ancient…

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Headlines 

‘Height of hypocrisy’: Clinton calls out Trump team over private email reports

Donald Trumps daughter and son-in-law among six administration figures who reportedly used private email accounts for White House business At least six senior Trump administration figures are reported to have used private email accounts for official White House business, prompting Hillary Clinton to describe criticism of her own private server use as the height of hypocrisy. Donald Trumps son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, admitted through his lawyer on Sunday that he had used private emails in the administrations early days. According to a regular and heavy criticism of Clinton…

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Odds and Ends 

The Minifree Libreboot T400 is free as in freedom

The Libreboot T400 doesnt look like much. Its basically a refurbished Lenovo Thinkpad with the traditional Lenovo/IBM pointer nubbin and a small touchpad. Its a plain black laptop, as familiar as any luggable assigned to a cubicle warrior on the road. But, under the hood, you have a machine that fights for freedom. The T400 runs Libreboot, a free and open BIOS and the Trisquel GNU/Linux OS. Both of these tools should render the Libreboot T400 as secure from tampering as can be. Your Libreboot T400 obeys you, and nobody…

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Odds and Ends 

Iflix raises $133M for its Netflix-style service for emerging markets

Iflix, an Asia-based startup providing Netflix-like streaming services in emerging markets, has landed $133 million in fresh funding to accelerate its business. The investment was led by U.S. media conglomerate Hearst, which counts BuzzFeed, Vice and Roku among its investment portfolio. The group was joined by anothernew backerEDBI the corporate investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board alongside undisclosed clients of Singapore-based DBS bank. Existing investors joining includedEvolution Media, UK broadcaster Sky, Malaysias Catcha Group, Liberty Global, Jungle Ventures and PLDT. Iflix was started in May 2015, initially in…

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Odds and Ends 

Your Tweets can help predict crime

University of Virginia Assistant Professor Matthew Gerber has discovered a correlation between Tweets and crime. No, folks arent Tweeting that theyre going to knock over a liquor store. Instead, by looking at the GPS coordinates attached to Tweets as well as assessing a heat map of popular locations, police can predict where crime is most likely to happen. My initial hypothesis was that there would be no correlation between Twitter use and crime. After all, people dont share with the world that they intend to or have just committed a…

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Odds and Ends 

Apple removes VPN apps from the App Store in China

The Chinese governments crackdown on the internet continues with the news that Apple has removed all major VPN apps, which help internet users overcome the countrys censorship system, from the App Store in China. The move was first noted by ExpressVPN, a provider based outside of China,which said in a blog post all major VPN apps including its own had been purged from Apples China-based store. The company shared a note from Apple (below) explaining that its app was removed because it includes content that is illegal in China. The…

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Odds and Ends 

Wit.ai is shutting down Bot Engine as Facebook rolls NLP into its updated Messenger Platform

Wit.ai announced this morning in a blog post that it would be sunsetting its Bot Engine. The Facebook-owned company builds developer tools for natural language processing to help engineers build speech and text chatbots faster and with less technical experience. Bot Engine launched as a beta in April of 2016. The tool let developers train their own bots using sample conversations sharing similar structure. These examples could stand infor real conversations and be updated with authentic conversation logs to fine-tune. The goal was to allow for the training of a…

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CMU researchers create a huge dome that can read body language

The Panoptic Studio is a new body scanner created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University that will be used to understand body language in real situations. The scanner, which looks like something Doc Brown would stick Marty in to prevent him from committing fratricide, creates hundreds of videos of participants inside the massive dome interacting, talking, and arguing. The team has even released code to help programmers understand body positions in real time. The dome contains 480 VGA cameras and 31 HD cameras as well as 10 Kinect sensors. It…

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Gaming firm Razer seeks to raise over $600M in Hong Kong IPO

Gaming firm Razer has filed to go public through an IPO in Hong Kong as it looks to raise more than $600 million to go after growth opportunities. The U.S.-based company, which traces its origins back to Singapore, filed initial paperwork on Friday. Certain details such as how much Razer is looking to raise, its valuation and the timing of the IPO are not disclosed in the 345-page filing, but a source close to the company confirms its likely to be upwards of $600 million (earlier in the year, it…

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The engineer behind the Not Hotdog app from Silicon Valley put a lot of thought into AI

It would have been easy for a show like HBOs Silicon Valley to show off a machine learning app that classifies hotdogs with some clever post processing drop in some fake static screenshots and call it a day. If the team wanted to create a real app for branding purposes they could have strung together a few APIs in hackathon fashion and moved on to the next silly gag. But to their credit, Tim Anglade, the engineer behind the viral spoof app Not Hotdog,probably put more thought thought into his…

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Codota raises $2M from Khosla as autocomplete for developers

In recent years, GitHub has fundamentally changed developer workflows. By centralizing code on an easily accessible platform, the company was able to rapidly change the way people code. Following in these footsteps, Israeli startup Codota wants to further optimize workflows for the often neglected developer community this time with machine intelligence. The company is announcing a $2 million seed round from Khosla Ventures for its autocomplete tool that helps engineers push better code in less time. Codota interfaces withintegrated development environments likeEclipse, expanding on intelligent code completion. Instead of just…

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NYUs Sarah Kaufman talks about the shape of cities to come

On this weeks episode of Technotopia we talk to Sarah Kaufman, the Assistant Director at the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management. Kaufman is working to create new transit opportunities for New Yorkers and the world and expects the future to be quite interesting. Her prediction? As we move towards self-driving cars we will see more options for paratransit the services available for folks who cant use public transit. These new services will get us all from point A to point B safely and quickly and, thanks to increases…

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MakeLoveNotPorns Cindy Gallop talks about the future of love

On this weeks Technotopia I interviewed Cindy Gallop, the outspoken TED speaker and found of MakeLoveNotPorn. Cindy worked tirelessly to bring SexTech and FemTech out of the shadows and shes bringing all her attention to bear on the creation of technology that will bring us closer together and make us happier something few founders think about. Gallop believes that the toys we see that are supposed to represent the cutting edge in SexTech are just the beginning. She is also working hard to educate the world about the difference between…

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