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‘Find It On eBay’ searches with pictures instead of words

Finding stuff you actually want to buy on eBay is getting a whole lot easier thanks to the online shopping site’s new Image Search function. Instead of trying every possible search term combination to come up with the exact thing you want, you can now simply upload a photo (Image Search) or click “Find It On eBay” when browsing another website, and the eBay app will surface relevant listings. Find It On eBay is now live on Android, while Image Search is live on both Android and iOS.

The feature uses a deep learning model called a convolutional neural network, which sorts through eBay’s billion+ listings to find items based on visual similarity. And as shoppers continue to search with pictures, it gets smarter, improving the results it returns, meaning you’ll no longer have to ask strangers where they got their shoes from — you can just snap a covert picture instead.


Twitter blocks ads from two Russia-backed media agencies

Twitter has announced that it will no longer allow two prominent state-owned Russian media organizations from advertising on its platform. The company revealed on its Public Policy blog that it has decided to “off-board” advertising from any account related to either Russia Today / RT or Sputnik. The decision is effective immediately, and is based on a belief that both enterprises interfered with the 2016 US elections.

“This decision was based on the retrospective work we’ve been doing around the 2016 US election,” wrote an as-yet unnamed Twitter representative. In addition, the company cited evidence provided by a Director of National Intelligence report on election hacking, dated January 6th, 2017. As a consequence, RT and Sputnik may no longer purchase advertising on the site, although their accounts will not be suspended.

RT and Sputnik are both news organizations that are funded by Russia’s government, both of which being decried as propaganda outfits. In the US, RT employees have to register as “foreign agents,” and in the UK, the channel has been reprimanded for misleading its viewers. Sputnik, meanwhile, is described by The New York Times as RT’s “more outspoken, flashy younger sibling,” modeled in the spirit of BuzzFeed.

Twitter has pledged to take the $1.9 million in cash it believes that it has earned from those accounts since 2011, and donate it to charity. Specifically, Twitter will hand the money to “support external research into the use of Twitter in civic engagement and elections,” that will focus on preventing future election hacking. The company will provide more details on which organization will receive the money in the future, but declined to add more at this time.

This comes on the heels of another announcement, where Twitter revealed that it will identify all politically-motivated advertising and disclose who purchased it. Although it does raise questions as to why it’s taken until now for Twitter to act on the issue. Earlier this month, it was revealed that Twitter took a whole year to take down a fake, Russian-created Twitter profile purporting to represent Tennessee’s Republican Party.

Source: Twitter


Netflix will stream a ‘Stranger Things’ aftershow for die-hard fans

It’s safe to say that the second season of Netflix’s Stranger Things is pretty eagerly anticipated, and now the streaming company is capitalizing on its popularity. Beyond Stranger Things is a new aftershow for the series hosted by Jim Rash. All seven episodes of the series will premiere tomorrow, October 27th, along with the second season of Stranger Things. You can see a trailer for the aftershow below.

It’s certainly not the first popular series to come paired with an aftershow special; The Walking Dead and Star Trek: Discovery both have them. But the fact that Stranger Things episodes release all at once, rather than week-by-week, makes this an interesting choice. It certainly has the star power to attract viewers, citing interviews with the creators, producers and cast of the show. But will people switch over to watch Beyond Stranger Things between binging episodes? I guess we’ll find out.

Source: YouTube


Boeing builds towards its first space taxi test

When NASA first named Boeing and SpaceX as recipients of the Commercial Crew Program, they originally aimed to end the agency’s dependence on Russia by 2017. But developing space technologies is hard, and both companies had to push their first crewed test flights to late 2018 — some reports even say they’ll be delayed until 2019. While it’s still unclear when we’ll see the first space taxi blast off, Boeing has at least begun putting together the Atlas V rocket that will ferry the CST-100 Starliner taxi to orbit for the very first time.

United Launch Alliance, Boeing’s joint company with Lockheed Martin, has started building the rocket in its facility in Decatur, Alabama. It will be used for the space taxi’s first unmanned test meant to to prove the integrated system’s design. It’s extremely important to pass that test since it’s part of NASA’s certification process — the agency needs to be sure Boeing’s technology works before it puts astronauts in the Starliner.

While Boeing is busy working on Atlas V and the Starliner, SpaceX is also working on its own system. It showed off its Dragon 2 crew vehicle a couple of years ago, with its snazzy interior and large windows to give passengers a spectacular view of outer space. It’s still also refining its Falcon Heavy rocket that will take the capsule to space, though we might see it blast off as soon as this November.

Source: NASA


Sky Store lets you scrap the DVD for a cheaper digital download

When the Sky Store’s “Buy & Keep” option first launched in 2014, it offered the best of both worlds: A digital copy of a film (and later, TV box sets) to download and watch immediately, followed by a physical DVD copy to add to your collection when it eventually turned up in the post. Times have changed since then, though, and these days physical disc sales are dwindling as streaming and downloads become ever more popular. Embracing this shift, Sky is changing how Buy & Keep works this week, allowing you to sack off the DVD or Blu-ray copy for a cheaper, digital-only purchase.

As always, the store is open to everyone, Sky customer or not. It’s available on Sky boxes, Now TV pucks, desktops and pretty much every other device with an app store. You can still rent the latest movies for a limited time, or buy a permanent copy when that option presents itself. Now, though, you can purchase an HD, digital download for the cheaper price of £10 and up, and scrap the physical disc delivery altogether. If continuing to build a library of little boxes is more your style, however, you can still grab a digital copy and a DVD from £14, or upgrade that disc to a Blu-ray from £17.

Source: Sky


Google expands its Science Journal app into a digital notebook

Google launched Science Journal for Android last year as an easy way to measure light, sounds, motion and more. While it already sounded like a great tool, it’s now more useful than before: Google has turned it into a full-fledged digital notebook students can use to take notes for their scientific experiments. Each entry now begins as a blank page. Students can add in measurements taken by the app, along with their thoughts and observations, as well any photo they’ve taken. And since Science Journal is now also available on iOS, almost every student with a smartphone can use it.

In addition to altering the app’s nature, Google has also added three new sensors. So long as a phone has the appropriate hardware, students can use the app as a linear accelerometer, a magnetometer and a compass. They can even take a snapshot of their data while the tools are doing their job. To help teachers and students get started, the big G has uploaded new experiments they can do with the help of Science Journal. They can use it however they want, though, even if it’s to record the sound intensity of their neighbor’s Friday night parties so they can show it to the landlord.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: Google


Seven Samsung C-Lab projects graduate to full startup status

Samsung’s C-Lab (Creative Lab) program is basically its in-house program to foster new business ideas and opportunities. Today, the company announced that seven C-Lab projects have graduated and are being spun off into separate startups on October 31. According to Samsung, the company “selected the seven new startups for investment based on their business potential and contribution to innovation.”

The projects include: Hyperity, which uses VR and AR to control smartphones remotely through virtual screens, and Linkface, which allows for direct control of VR content through eye and face muscle movement. PIXELRO allows people suffering from the age-related eye condition presbyopia to use a smartphone-based fix instead of glasses. BlueFeel is aimed at people who want or need to breathe purified air, but prefer to avoid the restrictive nature of dust masks.

Defind, meanwhile, allows users to take a 3D scan of their foot and be matched to shoes that will fit them perfectly. Soft Launch is comparable to Yelp, but it makes it a point to fight fake reviews. Finally 1Drop provides a low-cost method to measure glucose using a smartphone’s camera and LED.

All of the people in charge of these projects go through rigorous training before their endeavors are spun off into startups. Samsung provides support to foster these new businesses; C-Lab has given Samsung wonderful growth opportunities in the past, so it will be interesting to see where these different companies go.

Source: Samsung


Instagram’s new feature adds dramatic zoom-ins to your Stories

Instagram’s Boomerang has a new alternative that you might want to try if you’ve been overusing the video loop format recently. The photo-sharing app has launched a new camera format for Stories called Superzoom, which you can use to create zoom-ins with dramatic sound effects. It will make it a cinch to record quick reaction videos or to add a dramatic flair to just about anything you think of. To use it, simply start a new Story, choose the Superzoom mode, press record once for three-second videos or don’t let go of the button to create longer ones.

Sometimes, however, you need a bit more than a close-up of your nostrils to scare people. To help you create spooky posts for Halloween, Instagram has also introduced stickers and five new face filters for the occasion. You can choose between looking like a zombie or a vampire or like you’re in foggy Silent Hill. The Night View and the flashlight modes, on the other hand, can make you look like you’re in a Blair Witch Project remake. All these features are now available worldwide, so you can go crazy with those close-ups anytime.


Rotten Tomatoes’ Facebook show gives you weekly movie advice

We’ve covered Facebook’s venture into video, as well as the company’s desire to acquire exclusive content that will attract more people to its platform. Today, Variety reports movie review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes will host a weekly show called See It/Skip It starting November 1. New episodes will air every Thursday.

Jacqueline Coley, a film critic for Black Girl Nerds, and Segun Oduolowu, an entertainment commentator, will co-host the show. It will focus on a discussion of news and opinions on films and shows that are making headlines. The duo will also ask Facebook viewers for thoughts on what they’re enjoying (and what they aren’t). Jeff Voris, vice president of Rotten Tomatoes, said to Variety that the site’s goal with the show is “engaging our social audience in a friendly debate.”

It’s a deal that makes sense for both Facebook and Rotten Tomatoes, which is majority owned by Fandango (which is in turn a property of NBCUniversal). Facebook has the opportunity to bring the site’s devoted fans to its new “Watch” tab, and it gives Rotten Tomatoes the chance to build on its properties and expand outside its website.

Source: Variety


Apple’s New Century City Store in Los Angeles Opens on iPhone X Launch Day

Apple today announced its all-new retail store at Westfield Century City in Los Angeles, California opens Friday, November 3 at 8:00 a.m. local time.

The grand opening date coincides with iPhone X launch day. Apple said the device will be available for walk-in customers to purchase on a first come, first served basis, although in-store quantities are likely to be extremely limited.

Apple’s plans to open a more spacious store at Century City were first revealed by MacRumors last month, as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to modernize its chain of nearly 500 retail stores around the world.

Apple’s new Century City store
Apple will be in a prime location at the center of the shopping mall, which has undergone a $1 billion expansion and modernization. The new store will be opposite an upcoming Rolex watch store, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Apple’s current store at Century City opened in June 2005 and will permanently close after November 2. The new, larger store will provide the space needed to accommodate increased customer traffic and Today at Apple sessions.

Apple’s new Century City store
The new store should also be based on Apple’s latest retail design, including large glass doors, sequoia wood tables and shelves, a large video screen for Today at Apple sessions, and light boxes spanning the length of the ceiling.

All new Apple retail stores opened since September 2015 have been based on the updated design, including Apple’s flagship Union Square location in San Francisco. Apple has also renovated over 40 existing stores with the newer look.

(Thanks, Storeteller!)

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