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Airbnb rentals can play havoc with your mortgage

Renting out your home on a service like Airbnb is supposed to be good for your bottom line, but it’s now clear that it can create some headaches if you’re a homeowner. The Wall Street Journal is warning that banks may turn down your attempt to refinance your mortgage if they learn that you’ve rented your home on Airbnb. Simply speaking, banks tend to see homes as either personal residences or investments and don’t like the risk associated with the latter. While some banks may allow a gray area between the two, others won’t be so kind — Bank of America, for example, won’t give you a home equity line of credit if there’s a “material amount” of commerce in your home.

Airbnb tells the newspaper that rejections are “incredibly rare,” although it doesn’t have statistics. It’s believable, though. Only some hosts rent their homes frequently enough that it could make up a large chunk of their income, and a mere fraction of those people would both want to refinance their mortgages and run into trouble doing it. Still, this is a useful heads-up: you may have to either live with your existing mortgage terms or deal with the higher interest rates that come with treating your home as an investment.

Via: Consumerist

Source: Wall Street Journal


Monster’s lawsuit against Beats gets thrown out

Many would tell you that Monster’s lawsuit against Beats and HTC faced long odds from the get-go… and sure enough, it’s falling flat. A Los Angeles court has summarily dismissed the case, which accused Beats of making sketchy deals in order to both end its alliance with Monster (in the wake of HTC’s investment in Beats) and stiff Monster founder Noel Lee on share value ahead of Apple’s Beats acquisition. The judge doesn’t beat around the bush in explaining why. He says that the agreement between Monster and Beats explicitly allowed Beats to sever ties without requiring Monster’s permission or ideal conditions.

The court is rubbing salt in the wound, too. The previously scheduled trial will still go ahead in early September, but it’s now limited to Beats’ bid to recoup legal costs. In a sense, Monster’s sue-happy nature is coming back to haunt the company. It’s learning the hard way that it has to live with the consequences of its business decisions, no matter how unfortunate they may be.

Via: Business Insider

Source: Associated Press


CBS All Access commercial-free option costs $4 more a month

CBS announced that its All Access streaming service was making the leap to Xbox One last week and now the network has another subscription option. If you like to watch the likes of Madam Secretary, Blue Bloods and more without the interruptions of commercials, you can pay more to get rid of them. CBS now offers a $10 monthly subscription that will allow you to stream all of that on-demand content commercial-free. That’s $4 a month more than the regular option that has been available since late 2014.

While paying monthly for a single over-the-air network’s shows may not be too enticing, there are a couple of originals that may get you to bite. The upcoming Star Trek: Discovery series will only be available on All Access alongside an unnamed The Good Wife spinoff. However, both of those shows won’t debut until next year. In addition to Xbox One, the CBS streaming service is available through Android, iOS and Windows apps or in your living room via Roku, Apple TV, Xbox 360, Chromecast, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV and the Fire TV Stick.

Source: CBS All Access


ASUS’ ZenWatch 3 brings fast charging to your wrist

If there was ever any doubt about Asus’ commitment to Android Wear, squash it now. Earlier today the company peeled the shrink wrap off its third ZenWatch (that’s the ZenWatch 3, if you weren’t sure), and it’s the maturest timepiece from the company yet. The first thing you’ll notice is that ASUS has dropped the squircle design that the first two watches have, opting for the ever-popular round display. It’s not just about cosmetic appeal (though there is plenty of that going on). The ZenWatch 3 has solid fitness credentials — claiming some of the highest accuracy on the market — and there are some important power saving features which aim to solve one of the biggest anxieties faced by smartwatch owners — battery drain.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but ASUS thinks customizing your smartwatch is the key to your heart. To wriggle its way into your affection/wardrobe, the ZenWatch 3 will be available in three familiar colors: rose gold, gunmetal and silver. So, it’s fair to say the company is hoping to mop up a few iPhone users, along with the Android faithful.

Whichever color you go for, it’ll come with a rose gold bezel which, in marketing speak, is inspired by the annular solar eclipse. I’m not sure that’s what I first thought of, but it looks pretty enough. All three hues look nice enough, and the round display is definitely going to win favor with those less fond of the original blocky design of previous ASUS smartwatches. That display has a 400 by 400 resolution, about 287ppi if you’re keeping count, and at first glance, it’s going to be nice, bright and vivid. You’ll also get a choice of leather or rubber straps. I tried the rubber one on, and it didn’t feel all that great, but durable and no sign of itchiness. The rubber will be the better choice for sporty types no doubt.

That’s a pertinent point, too, as ASUS made the bold claim that the ZenWatch 3 has “market leading” fitness tracking abilities, including sport-specific activities. So, if running’s not your thing, but you bang out 100 situps every morning, the ZenWatch 3 will log that for you (if you’re not bragging about it already). We’ll have to wait and see how well that actually works when we review it. Which should give us a little time to dust off the ab cruncher.

While I can tell you how smart it looked (fairly smart), and how comfortable it was (go for the leather strap), we weren’t able to try out the app that lets you customize the watch faces, or take it for a run, or jump in the shower (it’s waterproof) or give it a good old battery run down test. But, it what ASUS claims is true, that last point should be worth waiting for.

The ZenWatch 3 sports the latest Snapdragon 2100 Wear processor, which promises a 25 percent efficiency boost. There’s fast charging, ASUS’s calling it “HyperCharge” and it’s no joke. The claim is that 15 minutes of charge will give you 60 percent battery… or about enough for a whole day. Not bad. If that’s true, then you won’t need to rely on overnight charges. If you do, the magnetic cable will make that less painful, and there’s even a (slightly goofy) battery pack accessory that will give you an on-the-go 40 percent top up. We’re not sure how practical that is, but full marks for effort.

Over all, the ZenWatch 3 seems to be a worthy successor to the previous, generally well received Android Wear watch family from ASUS. If this has piqued your interest, you’ll be able to pick one up for 229 euros (expect a similar dollar price, or £200) when it becomes available this fall.


Tile’s New Slim Lost-and-Found Tracker is as Thin as Two Credit Cards

Tile has introduced a slimmer version of its popular lost-and-found tracker that is as thin as two credit cards.

Tile Slim can be attached to MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, passports, and other important items, or placed inside items like wallets and purses, to help you locate them in the event they are lost. Unlike the original Tile, which remains available for $25, the Tile Slim does not have a circular cutout to attach it to a keychain.

By tapping a button in the companion iOS app, the Tile Slim will deliver an audible chime to help you locate an item by sound when it’s within a range of up to approximately 100 feet but out of sight. Or, if you lost the iPhone itself, simply tap the button on the Time Slim and the iPhone will start chiming, even in silent mode.

If you still cannot find your Tile-affixed item, you can use the Tile app to check its last known location on a map. If your Tiled wallet comes within range of any other Tile, for example, its location will automatically be updated within the iPhone app.

The tracker uses Bluetooth LE and has a built-in unremovable battery that is rated to last one year, at which point customers can participate in the reTile program to purchase a new Tile Slim for a discounted price of $21, or a four-pack for $84.

Tile Slim is available now for $30, or a four-pack can be purchased for $100. Tile ships to the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and most countries in the European Union, excluding Cyprus, Croatia, and Malta.
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Bang & Olufsen Debuts Premium Wireless Speakers With AirPlay Support

Bang & Olufsen recently unveiled a pair of new wireless speakers, the BeoSound 1 and BeoSound 2, which provide 360-degree sound displacement in cone-shaped aluminum exteriors with the added bonus of support for AirPlay (via Engadget). The speakers are priced at a premium for their sound quality and top-shelf construction, with the BeoSound 1 running for 1,295 euros (about $1,450) while the BeoSound 2 costs 1,695 euros (just under $2,000).

The difference between the two speakers lies in their size, with the BeoSound 1 acting as a more portable alternative with a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 16 hours. The higher-quality BeoSound 2 requires an AC power outlet for all of its functions. Both include 360-degree sound projection to ensure high quality music playback wherever the speakers are located, but the BeoSound 2 also packs in a “sonic power” feature that produces “goosebump-inducing” sound.

Besides AirPlay, for streaming music each speaker supports Bluetooth, Google Cast, and DLNA, as well as the ability to connect multiple Bang & Olufsen speakers into a multi-room, synchronous listening experience. Hidden on the aluminum body are a set of touch controls that let users access music playback options without needing to open a smartphone.

Combined with each speaker’s integrated cloud connection to services including Spotify, Deezer, QPlay, and TuneIn, the company says smartphone battery life will be preserved, and any calls, texts, and games can continue without interrupting the music. The connected BeoMusic app supports music control and the ability to setup the speaker’s multi-room listening feature. While each speaker includes AirPlay integration for hassle-free playback from an Apple device, Bang & Olufsen’s app itself lacks Apple Music integration, but an Apple Watch extension to the app is also available.

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The company says the design of the speaker allows for the bass to emerge from the bottom, while the opening at the top generates better acoustics. Aluminum was chosen as a material for the speakers’ construction due to its “acoustic properties,” as well, which are said to include: “material stiffness, avoidance of dissonance from joints and corners, and the elimination of distortion.”

The BeoSound 1 is available to purchase now, but the BeoSound 2 won’t ship until sometime in October. Although the company has a few cheaper alternatives for wireless music playback, many of their products are known for being high quality accessories at top-tier prices.

Tag: Bang & Olufsen
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Instagram Updates iOS App With Pinch-to-Zoom Ability on Photos

A small but noticeable update has hit Instagram today, with the company launching the ability to zoom in on photos within the iOS app. With pinch-to-zoom support, users can get better close-up views of Instagram posts within their feed, on other users’ profiles, and in the Explore tab.

Today we’re bringing ZOOM to Instagram on iOS! Pinch to zoom on photos & videos in feed, on profiles and on Explore

— Instagram (@instagram) August 31, 2016

Users will be able to zoom in on videos in each of these locations as well, but the update is only rolling out to iOS Instagram users right now, with no word yet regarding when it might debut on Android. You can download Instagram from the iOS App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tag: Instagram
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Apple Hiring for New Machine Learning Division Following Turi Acquisition

Following its recent acquisition of Turi, a Seattle-based machine learning and artificial intelligence startup, a pair of new job listings reveal that Apple has spun the company into its new machine learning division.

Apple is looking to hire data scientists and advanced app developers, based in Seattle, who together will help build proof-of-concept apps for multiple Apple products to deliver new and improved user experiences where possible.

Turi is the new machine learning division at Apple. We build tools that enable teams across Apple to develop machine learning solutions to power amazingly intelligent user experiences. We are looking for new energetic members to join our ML Applications team to collaborate with product teams on a variety of proof-of-concept projects.

Many of those improvements driven by machine learning were highlighted in a recent profile about Apple’s artificial intelligence efforts, including improved Siri accuracy, app suggestions, and several other examples:

You see it when the phone identifies a caller who isn’t in your contact list (but did email you recently). Or when you swipe on your screen to get a shortlist of the apps that you are most likely to open next. Or when you get a reminder of an appointment that you never got around to putting into your calendar. Or when a map location pops up for the hotel you’ve reserved, before you type it in. Or when the phone points you to where you parked your car, even though you never asked it to. These are all techniques either made possible or greatly enhanced by Apple’s adoption of deep learning and neural nets.

Apple is seeking data scientists with a minimum of 3 years experience with machine learning, with a focus on deep learning, natural language processing, image applications, recommenders, physical sensors, and signal processing.

Turi was designed to help developers build apps with artificial intelligence capabilities that automatically scale. It developed the Turi Machine Learning Platform, GraphLab Create, and Turi Predictive Services, used for functions like recommendations, fraud detection, sentiment analysis, and more.

Apple has expanded its presence in Seattle, so it is likely the new hires will accompany existing Turi employees that have remained in the area.

Tags: Apple job listings, Seattle, machine learning, Turi
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Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 12 With Bug Fixes and Feature Tweaks

Apple today released another update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser Apple first introduced in March of 2016. Apple designed the Safari Technology Preview to test features that may be introduced into future release versions of Safari.

Safari Technology Preview release 12 includes bug fixes and updates for JavaScript, Web APIs, Web Inspector, MathML, CSS, rendering, and accessibility. Several security fixes are also included.

As of release 8, Safari Technology Preview has supported Apple Pay in the web browser, a feature set to launch as part of macOS Sierra.

The Safari Technology Preview update is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store to anyone who has downloaded the browser. Versions are available for developers running both macOS Sierra and OS X El Capitan. Full release notes for the update are available on the Safari Technology Preview website.

Apple’s goal with Safari Technology Preview is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development process. Safari Technology Preview can be run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while designed for developers, it does not require a developer account to download.

Tag: Safari Technology Preview
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Instagram now lets you pinch to zoom – CNET

instagram-zoom.jpgEnlarge Image

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

We’ve all done it. Mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed, a photo stops you in your tracks with a small detail that you’d like to investigate more closely. Sadly, your pinch-to-zoom gesture has been met with static disappointment — until now.

Instagram today added the pinch-to-zoom gesture for both photos and videos. You can pinch to zoom when viewing your feed, any profile and the Explore tab.

Pinch-to-zoom is available now on iOS. According to Instagram, it will come to Android in the coming weeks.

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