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16
Apr

Uber is kicking restaurants off its UberRush service


When Uber launched UberRush in 2015, the company promised to deliver just about anything in minutes to clients in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. In addition to connecting regular users with couriers for small errands, the logistics platform also became the backend for a number of restaurants and retailers delivering everything from dry cleaning to flowers. According to a new report from Quartz, however, Uber is now scaling back UberRush and consolidating its portfolio of services as the company continues to bleed cash despite its rapid growth.

While UberRush isn’t shutting down completely, the company is trying to migrate its restaurant clients to over to its separate, food-focused UberEats platform. As two former employees told Quartz, food deliveries made up the majority of orders on Rush, but running multiple services with the same pool of drivers and couriers was occasionally cannibalizing Uber’s main business. “We got into a situation where dinner rush would mean a lot of people were taking food deliveries, but then they weren’t driving for UberX, so it was causing surge pricing,” one former employee explained. “We were attacking our own business.”

According to Uber, restaurant clients will be kicked off of Rush starting May 8th, but the service will still be available to other merchants like grocery stores and florists. Besides eating into its ride-hailing business, the company may have other reasons for moving restaurants over to UberEats. Because Uber handles the ordering in its own app for UberEats it can count the total cost of the food plus delivery fees as revenue, which could make its bottom line look a little less anemic.

Source: Quartz

16
Apr

AI can predict heart attacks more accurately than doctors


An estimated 20 million people die each year due to cardiovascular disease. Luckily, a team of researchers from the University of Nottingham in the UK have developed a machine-learning algorithm that can predict your likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke as well as any doctor.

The American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) has developed a series of guidelines for estimating a patient’s cardiovascular risk which is based on eight factors including age, cholesterol level and blood pressure. On average, this system correctly guesses a person’s risk at a rate of 72.8 percent.

That’s pretty accurate but Stephen Weng and his team set about to make it better. They built four computer learning algorithms, then fed them data from 378,256 patients in the United Kingdom. The systems first used around 295,000 records to generate their internal predictive models. Then they used the remaining records to test and refine them. The algorithms results significantly outperformed the AAA/AHA guidelines, ranging from 74.5 to 76.4 percent accuracy. The neural network algorithm tested highest, beating the existing guidelines by 7.6 percent while raising 1.6 percent fewer false alarms.

Out of the 83,000 patient set of test records, this system could have saved 355 extra lives. Interestingly, the AI systems identified a number of risk factors and predictors not covered in the existing guidelines, like severe mental illness and the consumption of oral corticosteroids. “There’s a lot of interaction in biological systems,” Weng told Science. “That’s the reality of the human body. What computer science allows us to do is to explore those associations.”

Source: Science

16
Apr

Watch the ESA trace 2 million stars’ journey across the skies


Carl Sagan showed how some constellations would change over time as stars move through the universe in his TV series Cosmos. Now the European Space Agency has done something similar, but in a much bigger scale: it has released a video showing 2 million stars’ journey across the skies from today until 5 million years into the future. The ESA used data provided by the the Gaia satellite and its one-billion-pixel camera, as well as data from the Hipparcos satellite that measured the positions of celestial objects back in the 1990s.

If you’ll recall, Gaia’s ground team released a 3D map composed of 1.1 billion stars last year. Of those 1.1 billion, only 2 million came with info on their movements and distances from each other. This video uses those 2 million stars, along with 24,320 bright stars mapped by the Hipparcos satellite.

When you watch the video below, try to see if you can trace the movements of the Orion constellation, the Pleiades and the Alpha Persei marked in the image above. Don’t forget to check the time stamp, as well: each frame is equivalent to 750 years, with the whole video showing 5 million years’ worth of stellar movement. Take note that the stars up front will appear to move faster than those in the back, but that’s only because they’re nearer to our planet.

Despite the overwhelming number of dots in the video, they make up but a tiny part of Gaia’s data. In April 2018, the Gaia team will release the positions, distances and motions of all 1.1 billion stars the satellite mapped. The agency says that data will help scientists figure out how the galaxy formed and more accurately predict stars’ locations in the future.

Source: ESA

16
Apr

The HTC One X10 has arrived in Russia, and will sell for $355


Why it matters to you

Midrange handsets are all the rage in global markets, and Russia is getting the latest iteration in the form of the HTC One X10.

We can finally put all those rumors to rest — the HTC One X10 is no longer just the stuff of speculation. It’s here. Well, it’s there, really, in Russia. On Friday, the successor to the Taiwanese company’s popular One X9 midrange handset went live in Russia, and many of the specs we previously reported have been proven true. That said, it may be awhile still before we can get our hands on one in the U.S.

HTC’s official announcement took the form of a new page on its Russian website. The HTC X10 measures 152.9 x 75.6 x 8.23​​mm and weighs in at 175 grams, featuring a 5.5-inch 1080p display in a metal body. But the most impressive feature is of course its 4,000mAh battery, which is said to be able to last up to two days. It looks an awful lot like the “One M” series, or like the OnePlus 3. That said, there’s a fingerprint scanner on the back, but none to speak of on the front.

The new handset draws its power from a MediaTek Helio P10 processor, with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, and MicroSD. Also featured in the phone is dual SIM support, and both slots are 4G LTE compatible.

As for your camera, there’s nothing too outlandish to report. There’s a 16-megapixel sensor on the back with a f/2.0 lens, and on the flip side, an 8-megapixel f/2.2 camera for all your selfie action.

“The HTC One X10 is pre-installed with the Boost + system,” the company said. “The Optimization mode dynamically manages all the resources of the smartphone and increases its performance in accordance with current needs and tasks.”

HTC continued, “When you start the game, Boost + automatically optimizes its resolution, which avoids unnecessary energy consumption and further prolongs the running time.” It’s unclear, however, which version of Android the phone is running.

The HTC One X10 will be available for purchase in Russia sometime later in April in two color options — black and silver — and will set customers back 19,990 rubles, or $355.

16
Apr

US Navy bans e-cigarettes on every ship in the fleet


Last year, the FDA finally started regulating e-cigarettes and swiftly ruled to keep them out of checked baggage on flights. Incidental reports that some had caught on fire led regulators to restrict them to carry-ons lest they ignite in midair. It seems the US Navy won’t even take that chance, as the branch just banned e-cigarettes across the entire fleet.

MT @USFleetForces: #USNavy suspends Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems to protect Sailors, ships, & equipment – https://t.co/weefHTR2gh pic.twitter.com/QJbAT7zBMy

— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) April 14, 2017

The devices’ lithium-ion batteries exploded in 15 incidents between October 2015 and June 2016 that were reported in a Navy memorandum; In two of those, the power sources detonated while the e-cigarettes were in sailors’ mouths. Some occurred on vessels, two required shipboard firefighting equipment to extinguish and one forced a naval aircraft to abandon its flight and return for landing after the device in question started filling the cabin with smoke.

Sailors ashore will still be able to use their e-cigarettes while on the Navy’s land-based facilities within designated smoking areas. But while shipped out, everyone aboard — including civilians or visitors — must abide by the ban. The prohibition goes into effect 30 days after the new policy is released on May 14th, so vape ’em if you got ’em.

Via: Navy Times

Source: US Navy

16
Apr

Can Samsung’s DeX Station succeed where others have failed?


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Will Samsung’s market dominance make DeX a thing people actually use?

Samsung is one of those companies that likes to try things. Because it will put things out there and keep working on them we have technology like AMOLED screens that don’t suck and devices that have ginormous displays. Heck, Samsung even brought back the stylus and made it sexy. Even when its ideas get universally panned (T-Mobile actually dropped the original Note just before its release date because it thought nobody wanted that thing), Samsung keeps making adjustments and improvements until it is satisfied. Then the good stuff is kept and the bad stuff goes away.

Samsung has a knack for turning an oddball idea into something great.

Samsungs also not afraid to build on ideas from others and it has both successes (Gear VR is a response to Cardboard and the Oculus Rift) and failures (S-Voice) to show for it. It’s at it again with the coming DeX Station and the question is whether it will be another Gear VR or an S-Voice.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the DeX Station is a dock for your Galaxy S8 that connects to a monitor and peripherals like a mouse and keyboard to build a desktop computer that’s not labeled as a desktop or a computer. We’re still unsure how or if it will handle regular Android apps that you’ve installed to your phone, but specially built apps from Samsung as well as Microsoft and Adobe are designed to use the bigger screen while it’s plugged in. If you’ve been an Android junkie for a while you’re probably thinking that sounds like something Motorola tried a few years back. And you would be right.

samsung-dex-cropped-3926.jpg?itok=AK-LRk I don’t see Facebook or WhatsApp here.

There are some differences. The Galaxy S8 is far more capable than the Motorola Atrix or Droid Bionic was. This means companies can write software that does a lot more. We’ve heard VMWare has something planned for DeX as does Citrix. In 2017 and beyond, supporting software and apps is a requirement for success. Being good is no longer enough; just ask Microsoft. Out of the box, I expect Samsung to offer more software for DeX than Motorola did. The real problem is supporting apps from other companies, including your must-haves.

It takes more than good apps, though. If that were the only ingredient we would all be using Ubuntu phones and carrying monitors around. Apt-get all the things. I think the biggest hurdle is hardware.

A DeX station is portable but the things you need to actually use it aren’t going to fit into your carry-on.

DeX is a mixed bag in this respect. The Station itself looks great: USB 3.0, HDMI, cooling fans and an active charger while the phone is docked covers everything and then some. But it stops there. Without a display and input devices plugged in, DeX is just a changer with a noisy fan. That means it’s something you can only use where you have an extra monitor, mouse, and keyboard laying around or you need to find a way to squeeze them all into your carry-on. Samsung isn’t saying it, but this basically means that DeX is designed to be a desktop computer, one that’s about the same price as a desktop computer with better hardware, more storage and Windows 10.

The portability issue is easily fixed, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Samsung clamshell that your S8 can slip into over the holidays if the DeX Station sells well. But as it stands, there is zero reason for an early adopter to buy a DeX dock outside of the novelty factor. A mini PC will run better, do more, and use the programs you want for the same price. It can even charge your phone through the USB port while you’re using it. If early adopters (who tend to be tech savvy and know things like a mini-wintel PC or Chromebox exist) aren’t interested, Samsung might have a problem.

There is no reason for an early adopter to choose a DeX station over existing products that do everything better.

All in one operating systems are coming. Microsoft, Apple, and Google are working on software built for every screen so it’s logical for Samsung to try and get in front of it. DeX will survive in some form because it has to. Samsung isn’t saying a lot about DeX outside of showcasing its own apps (a logical choice for a product launch) so maybe there is more than we know right now. Or maybe this DeX is the OG Note version that evolves into that thing everyone loves. We have to wait and see, but that won’t stop us from talking about it.

As for myself, I’m itching to give it a try and test its limits. And I can’t wait to see the next version and the ones after that. Use the comments to share what you think and ways you might use a DeX Station today or in the future.

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16
Apr

Apple will replace your busted iPad 4 with the iPad Air 2


If you bought Apple’s first iPad with the now-ubiquitous Lightning connector (released way back in late 2012) and need to get it repaired, you might end up with a pleasant upgrade. According to a memo obtained by 9to5Mac, Apple has basically run out of that old iPad and is now replacing it with the iPad Air 2, which was released in October of 2014. Apple recently discontinued that device as well, but it was manufactured for a good two and a half years, so the company should have plenty of stock left to offer customers for a while.

Apple has told its employees to inform customers of the iPad Air 2’s various colors (it was the first iPad available in gold) and capacity options. If you had a 16GB or 64GB iPad that you’re getting replaced, you might end up with a storage bump, as well — the iPad Air 2 that Apple is offering as replacements comes in 32GB and 128GB capacities.

If you happen to have one of these older iPads that needs a repair and still has Applecare, you may get a nice upgrade — but if you’re paying for that replacement, you might just be better off picking up one of the new iPads Apple released last month.

Source: 9to5Mac

16
Apr

Italian court halts Uber injunction as Taiwan lifts ban


Uber doesn’t have to pack its bags and leave Italy just yet. Another court in Rome has decided to suspend a lower court’s rule banning the ride-hailing service from operating in the country completely. The judge has allowed it to continue its operations in Italy, at least until it’s done appealing its total ban. An Uber spokesperson told Engadget that “drivers and riders… can now continue using the Uber app until the court’s appeal ruling.” Uber promises to “continue fighting this judgement in the hope that Italians will be able to enjoy the benefits of modern technology that provides reliable transportation at the push of a button.”

That’s not the only bit of good news the company has received among the many, many bad ones that have been pummeling it recently. It’s also returning to Taiwan after agreeing to continue its operations in the country through partnerships with car rental companies. The Taiwanese government suspended Uber for operating as an internet-based tech platform rather than a transportation company a few months ago. It slapped the service with hefty fines amounting to roughly $825,873 per infraction, forcing Uber to go on a two-month hiatus.

Since car rental companies in the country also offer drivers, the partnerships will allow Uber to operate as a licensed transportation provider — in fact, the service has already begun offering rides in Taipei. Those living outside the nation’s capital, however, will have to wait until it finds more partners.

Source: Reuters, Mashable, MarketWatch, Fortune

16
Apr

‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ playfully skewers ‘Stranger Things’


If you’ve been excited about the reboot of Mystery Science Theater 3000, you aren’t alone: To celebrate the new season’s debut yesterday, Netflix let the show’s wisecracking trio take aim at its own hit series from last year, Stranger Things. While the video is sadly only a few minutes, it packs in all the observational comedy you’ve missed from your favorite damned-to-watch critical crew of Joel, Crow and Tom Servo.

Slapping around an 80s-throwback show is a great fit for MST3K, which started in 1988 on Comedy Central. It was cancelled and brought back on the Sci-Fi Channel before getting the final axe in 1999. But a crowdsourced revival in 2015 brought the series back on pop culture’s radar at the perfect time for content-hungry streaming sources to plant some nostalgia in front of viewers.

Accordingly, Netflix snatched it up last July, and the new season, titled Mystery Science Theater: The Return, is live on Netflix. Just don’t expect more riffs on modern popular films or series: The revival has stuck to its roots to pillory bad, bad movies from the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Via: The Verge

Source: Netflix (YouTube)

16
Apr

Make friends with other women with ‘Hey! Vina,’ a Tinder for friendships


Why it matters to you

Swiping has been proven rather addicting, if not useful, for establishing interpersonal relationships. And now, it’s being applied to friendships.

If swiping for love has met with success (and indeed, no matter how infrequently, it most certainly has), it seems that applying the same practice to other sorts of relationships ought to result in happy endings, too. That is the hope behind new app Hey! Vina, described as “your favorite app for women’s friendship.”

When you swipe right in Hey! Vina, you won’t be in for a potential date — rather, you’ll have the opportunity to “meet new friends, join communities of people like you … and read awesome articles about living your best life.” So if you’re new in town, you may be able to say “hey” to a new friend circle with Hey! Vina.

While the app isn’t exactly new (it actually first came into existence last January), its global launch didn’t take place until September 2016. The premise is similar to that of most dating apps: you need a Facebook account in order to register, allowing you to check out potential “matches” (which is to say, gal pals) based on mutual friends or interests. From there, you’ll fill out a profile, and like any other matching app, the more information you provide, the better your chances of being paired with someone with whom you might actually be compatible.

Tell potential friends whether you’re introverted or extroverted, whether you’re a city slicker or would prefer to hike all day, and whether you want to end your day with a glass of red wine or a whiskey cocktail. Then there are some open ended questions like, “What’s your guilty pleasure?” or “Describe yourself in emojis.” Hey! Vina also provides various personality quizzes to go into even greater detail about your personality (but those are optional).

Perhaps the best part of Hey! Vina is that it is solely dedicated to forming friendships. At least, insofar as this is a female-only platform. “Part of that is so that it doesn’t turn into a dating app,” Olivia Poole, one of the founders of Hey! Vina, told Engadget. “When you put men and women onto a platform to meet, it can very easily and organically turn into a dating app, just based on human nature.” Poole noted that while men and women can certainly have platonic relationships, those relationships still develop differently than they do between two women.

And while you may think that you don’t need the help of an app to make friends, science suggests that may not be the case. “Part of the difficulty around making friends as adults is that you fall out of practice,” Miriam Kirmayer, a Ph.D. candidate at McGill University in Montreal who specializes in emerging adult friendships, told Engadget. “When we’re younger, there are playdates, and it’s easy to access a social network of people who are the same age as us or who might have similar interests. But once you leave school, and even through university to some extent, established friendship networks tend to be uprooted and disrupted. It’s hard to find people with whom you connect.”

But just maybe, Hey! Vina can help.

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