Category Archives: Tech News

SoundCloud is stopping people archiving content on its platform

Alex Ljung SoundCloud

SoundCloud is stopping a team of people from downloading and archiving content hosted on its platform, according to Motherboard.

Organisations and individuals have started various archiving projects in the last two weeks amid growing concern that SoundCloud could be about to shut down. SoundCloud cut 40% of staff on July 5 and TechCrunch reported that it could run out of money within 50 days.

Last week, a group that refers to itself as The Archive Project announced that they intended to archive 900 terabytes of SoundCloud, or 123.6 million tracks.

The Archive Project backs up at-risk services with the help of volunteers running its virtual archiving appliance, ArchiveTeam Warrior. Volunteers give up some bandwidth and disk space to help scrape those sites. Other defunct sites preserved by the project include GeoCities, TwitPic, and Google Video.

However, Jason Scott, a member of the Archive Team tweeted on Thursday that SoundCloud had requested that they halt their project.

“Due to a request by Soundcloud, archiving and storage of Soundcloud is ending immediately,” the tweet read.

A SoundCloud spokesperson reportedly provided Motherboard with the following statement:

“SoundCloud is dedicated to protecting the rights and content of the creators who share their work on SoundCloud. We requested the Archive Team halt their efforts as any action to take content from SoundCloud violates our Terms of Use and infringes on our users’ rights.

“Most importantly, everyone’s music and audio is safe on SoundCloud. SoundCloud is not going away—not in 50 days, not in 80 days or anytime in the foreseeable future.”

It’s likely that SoundCloud will also be looking to clamp down on other individuals and groups attempting to archive content on its platform.

Last week, a Reddit user claimed he’s “downloaded the bulk of SoundCloud’s public archive, and that it’s “only” 900 terabytes.

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NOW WATCH: Hackers and governments can see you through your phone’s camera — here’s how to protect yourself

Microsoft Office 2010
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Windows Template Studio 1.2 released!

We’re extremely excited to announce the Windows Template Studio 1.2. What makes this release even more special is we’ve been accepted into the .NET Foundation! We are thrilled to be accepted in.

In this release, our major new feature is adding content into an existing application with Right-click add. We’ve grown up past only File->New 🙂

What’s new:

Full list of adjustments in the 1.2 release, head over to WTS’s Github.

Improvements to the Wizard:

  • Add new content to existing WTS generated projects in your solution window via right-click

    • We will be working toward seeing how we can enable this for non-WTS generated projects
  • Adjusted ordering of templates based on popularity and logical groupings
  • Under the hood, we’ve done a lot of work toward localization and started some accessibility improvements
  • Simplified descriptions
  • Logo adjustment to help at smaller icon sizes

Feature updates:

  • First-time load prompt
  • What’s New prompt

Template improvements:

Process improvements:

  • Added in pull request template
  • Added in Issue template


How to get the update:

There are two paths to update to the newest build:

  • Already installed: Visual Studio should auto update the extension. To force an update, Go to Tools->Extensions and Updates. Then go to Update expander on the left and you should see Windows Template Studio in there and click “Update”
  • Not installed: Head to https://aka.ms/wtsinstall, click “download” and double click the VSIX installer.

What else is cooking for next versions?

We love all the community support and participation. In addition, here are just a few of the things we are currently building out that will in future builds:

  • Fluent design in the templates
  • Project Rome features as options for your project
  • Ink templates
  • Improved Right-click->add support for existing projects
  • Localization in the wizard
  • Full accessibility supported in both wizard and in the templates
  • Visual Basic support

With partnership with the community, we’ve will continue cranking out and iterating new features and functionality.  We’re always looking for additional people to help out and if you’re interested, please head to our GitHub at https://aka.ms/wts. If you have an idea or feature request, please make the request!

.NET Foundation:

We are happy to say that we’ve been accepted into the .NET Foundation. Such great open source projects like .NET Core, Roslyn and UWP Community Toolkit are just a few of the projects there, and now Windows Template Studio will be there as well!

Microsoft Office 2010
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Here are the best Pokémon for defeating powerful Legendaries in 'Pokémon Go'

Legendary Lugia Pokemon Go

Legendary Pokémon are finally coming to “Pokémon Go”, more than one year after the game’s release.

Legendaries such as Mewtwo are extremely rare and powerful Pokémon from the original game series. And until now, they’ve been completely absent from “Pokémon Go,” even as the game has added more features and creatures from the second generation of Pokémon.

Now that Legendaries will officially start making their first appearances through collaborative Raid Battles, it’s time to prepare your best Pokémon for battle.

Knowing exactly which Pokémon and moves are best effective against specific Legendaries will be instrumental in taking down the ultra-powerful creatures.

We’ve examined data from The Silph Road and PokeBattler to find the top six fighters for each Legendary:

SEE ALSO: Here is every single Pokémon currently in Pokémon Go

Tyranitar is simply the best all-around attacker for taking down most Legendaries.

No other Pokémon comes close to matching the type and move combination effectiveness of this giant. The only two Legendaries that Tyranitar isn’t super effective against are the beasts Raikou and Suicune.

Best moves: Bite/Stone Edge or Bite/Crunch

You’ll also need assistance from Golem.

Golem is particularly effective against the Legendary birds and the beasts Raikou and Entei.

Best move: Rock Throw/Stone Edge

Now on to Legendaries, starting with Articuno.

  1. Omastar with Rock Throw/Rock Slide
  2. Tyranitar with Bite/Stone Edge
  3. Golem with Rock Throw/Stone Edge
  4. Flareon with Fire Spin/Flamethrower
  5. Arcanine with Fire Fang/Flamethrower
  6. Scizor with Bullet Punch/Iron Head

 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Why one Uber driver loves picking up puking passengers

Uber driver Curtis Preston

Uber driver Curtis Preston learned his lesson about inebriated passengers the hard way. The first time someone got sick in his car he wasn’t prepared, and the mess took him off the road and cost him $140 to get his car cleaned. Uber reimbursed him $150, but he lost a night of work. 

After that first experience, he armored his car against anything a passenger with one too many drinks in them could throw at it.

And he had an important realization: The compensation fee Uber gives drivers whose vehicles get sullied by the boozy or the bilious is designed to cover the cost of getting the car cleaned professionally; if he just did the work himself  he’d be able to keep those cleaning fees and make a little extra money. 

Preston now patrols the streets of San Diego in his grey Toyota Prius, equipped with medical gloves, cleaning solution, a portable wet vacuum cleaner, and most importantly, Febreze. Rather than steering clear of the inebriated, he cheerfully welcomes them aboard with the zeal of a Ferris wheel operator.

It’s not that he seeks out drunk passengers, he insists. Rather, it’s the surge pricing typically in effect during bar closing time that brings him out at that time. But he acknowledges that the customers at that hour tend to be the ones with weak stomachs.

“If you’re drunk enough to need a barf bag, you’re too drunk to use it,” he tells Business Insider, recounting one recent horror story involving a woozy passenger and an ill-fated Taco Bell meal.

Pit stops and photographs

Uber used to charge passengers a flat $250 vomit fee, but recently modified its service charge process. Now, the penalties for purging range between $25 and $150. If a passenger makes a noticeable mess, the driver must take multiple photos and email them to Uber, where the company’s experts carefully evaluate the damage. Uber then compensates the driver for whatever they estimate a professional clean up would cost. 

Curtis PrestonHowever, Uber doesn’t take into account the time that drivers have to spend off the road dealing with the mess — a costly pit stop during peak surge pricing hours. Preston estimates that getting taken off the road for even a half hour during surge hours can easily cost him $50 in lost fares. 

With his new self-cleaning system, and the proficiency he’s developed, Preston says his downtime is minimal. If someone does let their stomach loose in his car today he still has to take time off the road, but if he can quickly find a gas station to park at, he can be back driving within 10 minutes.

He sends in pictures of any mess that requires him to take his supplies out of the trunk. In a blog post, he details the fees he’s been given in return: $50 for melted chocolate on his seats, $80 for spilled dip, and $30 for the girl who ate two Taco Bell meals in under two miles. 

His $40 investment in cleaning supplies was well worth it. Curtis the driver says he made $1500 in cleaning fees last year by having Curtis the cleaner do the work instead of paying for a professional service. 

“Whether you’re going for the fees or not, it’s not a way to make extra money,” he cautions any drivers interested in catering to a similar demographic. But for drivers who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves, it’s an ideal system. 

 

SEE ALSO: Uber employees are conflicted over Travis Kalanick’s resignation — over 1,000 have petitioned for his return

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NOW WATCH: Uber wants to carry you around in a flying car — here’s what it could look like

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Facebook is exploring creating a mysterious 'modular' hardware device (FB)

Project Ara

Facebook appears to be taking a page out of Google’s playbook for its forthcoming push into consumer hardware.

A patent application published by the company on Thursday details a “modular electromechanical device” that can incorporate a speaker, microphone, touch display, GPS, and even function as a phone.

Modular consumer hardware allows users to swap different components onto a device, much in the way lego pieces can be snapped together or separated. 

The notion of a plug-and-play smartphone has long entranced and challenged tech companies. Google spent several years developing its ambitious Project Ara modular phone, only to abruptly shutter it last year.

Coincidentally, many key members of Google’s Project Ara team now work at Facebook’s Building 8 group, the team responsible for the new patent application.

Building 8 is Facebook’s consumer hardware lab that’s also working on futuristic projects like the ability to type with your mind and understand language through your skin. The four employees named on the patent all previously worked for Nascent Objects, a startup Facebook bought last year that used 3D printing to quickly prototype modular gadgets.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the technology was acquired through Nascent Objects but declined to comment further.

Millions of connected devices

It’s unclear what exact device the modular system will be used for, although people familiar with the matter have told Business Insider that Building 8 is heavily focused on developing cutting-edge camera and machine learning technology. A Facebook spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The modular device could function as a phone or Amazon Alexa-like music speaker, according to the patent, which also notes that “millions of devices” connected to a server could be loaded with different software based on components that are swapped out. Building 8’s head of new product introduction, Bernard Richardson, previously worked in a similar role at Amazon on the Alexa speaker, according to his LinkedIn.

Here’s a sketch of the mysterious product concept included in Facebook’s patent application:

Screen Shot 2017 07 20 at 4.06.47 PM

Facebook tried to make a phone with HTC in 2013, but the project was a complete flop. Building 8’s roster of talent includes former employees from Apple, Google, and Motorola with experience developing and shipping millions of phones and tablets. The division is also assembling a retail and e-commerce team to sell the gadgets that get created by the team.

Whatever Facebook ends up shipping under its Building 8 umbrella, the company thinks that a modular system is more beneficial for consumers than the way gadgets like the iPhone are manufactured and sold today.

“Typically, the hardware components included in the consumer electronics that are considered ‘outdated’ are still useable,” Thursday’s patent, which was originally filed in January 2016, reads. “However, the hardware components can no longer be re-used since consumer electronics are designed as closed systems. From a consumer prospective, the life cycle of conventional consumer electronics is expensive and wasteful.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Not a random idea factory’: Why Facebook says its brain sensors are closer than you think

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NOW WATCH: A director at Facebook who’s interviewed hundreds of people reveals the best types of questions to ask in a job interview

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Microsoft is super close to the $20 billion cloud milestone it set for itself in 2015 (MSFT)

SatyaNadella2016

Way back in 2015, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called his shot: Microsoft would generate $20 billion in annual cloud revenue by the end of its 2018 fiscal year, or die trying. At the time, it was at about $6.3 billion.

Well, Microsoft just reported earnings for the last quarter of its 2017 fiscal year, and its cloud computing services for businesses are currently sitting at an $18.9 billion annual run rate. Assuming Microsoft continues that pace, it would already be 94.5% of the way to its goal, with a full year to go before its self-imposed deadline.

Microsoft defines “annual run rate” as a measure of how much revenue a business would generate over the next year if it continued at the pace it was on in the last month of the most recent quarter. 

The software giant’s cloud business is anchored by the public cloud platform Microsoft Azure and the Office 365 productivity suite. Both business are growing like crazy. Azure revenue jumped 97% last quarter, compared with the same period in 2016. And Office 365 for businesses grew 43% over the same period. 

Indeed, Office 365 had a notable achievement in the quarter. For the first time, Microsoft’s revenue from selling subscriptions to the cloud version of its productivity suite was higher than the revenue it brought in from selling licenses to the traditional version of Office.

Overall, Microsoft’s cloud for businesses grew 56% from the year-ago period. That’s pretty fast when you’re talking about a business that’s already bringing in billions of dollars in revenue. 

And yet, Amazon Web Services, the retail giant’s cloud computing arm, is still the one to beat in this market. AWS is on a $12 billion annualized run rate. That’s obviously less than Microsoft’s pace, but it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. Amazon Web Services competes directly with just Azure. By contrast, Microsoft counts subscriptions to Office 365 and other software in its cloud revenue.

Still, Microsoft has dedicated itself to closing the gap. And while it remains to be seen if Microsoft’s core cloud business will overtake Amazon, it definitely looks like the battle won’t be quieting down anytime soon.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft reports a big beat on earnings, stock edges up

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NOW WATCH: How to make ‘cloud eggs’ — Instagram’s newest obsession

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Mobile savings and investment services Acorns is on track to do 1 billion trades in 2017

 Acorns is quickly turning into an oak tree in the financial services space. The company now boasts more than 2 million investment accounts (with 600,000 opened in 2017 alone) and is on track to do 1 billion trades in 2017 through the proprietary broker-dealer that it created. Read More

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Google Assistant is light-years ahead of Amazon's Alexa (GOOGL, AMZN)

Number of Alexa Skills Available

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Google Assistant is six times more likely to answer a user’s question than Amazon Alexa is, according to a study by 360i.

Each AI-infused assistant was asked 3,000 questions, of which Google Assistant answered 72%, and Alexa answered only 13%.

As the rapidly burgeoning voice assistant landscape evolves, the initial results suggest that Google could be well-positioned to overtake Amazon in the voice assistant market, despite Amazon’s early lead.

The ability to accurately understand and respond to users’ questions will be a key element to the usefulness and usage of a voice assistant. And the vast difference in performance by Google Assistant over Amazon could give it an edge as the voice-first ecosystem continues to expand. Here’s why:

  • The company has access to massive buckets of contextual search data. Google’s Knowledge Graph is a database that leverages its search results to surface links between objects and entities. For instance, a search about Star Trek doesn’t just give information about Star Trek, but also about the cast and other facts related to the show.  
  • The Google developer community is robust. Google has strong ties to the developer community through Android and its other offerings. These developers can rapidly build voice apps for Google, and they’re global, which could give Google a leg up if it begins expanding into more international markets.  
  • Google has made investments in AI companies that will drive the development of Google Assistant. The most visible and highest-impact effort Google has made in this space is its 2014 acquisition of DeepMind, a UK-based AI company that aims to create truly intelligent software. DeepMind announced in October 2016 that its AI was capable of teaching itself using information it had access to.

Still, Amazon has established a solid lead over competitors in the connected voice market. The company’s Echo installed-base, large volume of Alexa skills (voice apps), and multitude of partnerships with third-party connected devices, has helped it capture mindshare and carve out a solid segment of the voice assistant market. And Alexa has a ton of room for growth; just 5% of Amazon customers own an Echo, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. For context, 51% have a subscription to Prime, 34% own a Kindle Fire, and 6% own a Fire TV. 

Jessica Smith, research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on the voice assistant landscape that:

  • Identifies the major changes in technology and user behavior that have created the voice assistant market that exists today. 
  • Presents the major players in today’s market and discusses their major weaknesses and strengths. 
  • Explores the impact this nascent market poses to other key digital industries. 
  • Identifies the major hurdles that need to be overcome before intelligent voice assistants will see mass adoption. 

To get the full report, subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you’ll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. » Learn More Now

You can also purchase and download the full report from our research store.

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5 reasons Tesla's music-streaming service is the best idea Elon Musk has had this year (TSLA)

Tesla Model 3

Last month, Tesla revealed that it was working on a music-streaming service for its vehicles (and, presumably, other environments, such as smartphones).

Tesla has a lot going on now, from the initial rollout of the $35,000 Model 3 mass-market to CEO Elon Musk’s apparent plans to support a Hyperloop route between New York and Washington, DC. But the streaming service is particularly notable, mainly because it’s so plausible.

The service is unnamed, but we’re going to suggest “Tesla Tunes” over “Tesla Music.” Regardless of what it ends up being called — and whether Musk, evidently a fan of classic rap and hip-hop as well as certain Rolling Stones numbers, hosts his own show — it is one of the best ideas the company has had in a while.

The streaming-service concept follows on the heels of some questionable ideas, chief among them the 2016 acquisition of SolarCity, which loaded up Tesla’s balance sheet with debt and created a transportation-and-energy conglomerate that is now difficult to accurately value.

Here’s a breakdown of the brilliance of Tesla Tunes:

SEE ALSO: Uber and Tesla are showing ominous signs that the era of auto disruption may be about to come to an abrupt end

1. Subscription services are lucrative.

The classic problem of the auto industry is that you sell the car once and then have to wait at least a few years before the customer returns to buy again.

For decades, car companies have worked to sell owners various add-ons, such as extended-service warranties. Since the mid-1990s, General Motors has developed OnStar, a suite of connectivity features that predates the modern infotainment system and is GM’s main way to leverage its fleet-wide 4G LTE Wi-Fi offering.

Now, with touchscreens and computers in almost every new car, the logic of offering more services linked to data and entertainment is impossible to resist. For Tesla, the model here is obviously Apple, which created a device — the iPod — and then linked it to a music service, iTunes, in which it took a 30% cut on every song sold.

That was the prestreaming world. Tesla could simply partner with Spotify or Pandora or Tidal — or some combination of all of them — or make a deal with SiriusXM, a near-ubiquitous in-car satellite radio service. There’s ample precedent for this, with many vehicles’ infotainment systems offering streaming integration.

It’s worth noting that Apple and Google are also in on the act, with CarPlay and Android Auto allowing users to connect their smartphones to their vehicles and access streaming via that route.

But under all these scenarios, Tesla would be sharing. And maybe Musk doesn’t want to share. Or perhaps he doesn’t want to concede that Tesla, in many ways a software company, can’t develop its own proprietary service and keep the entire profit margin, which could be considerable even given the hefty costs of licensing a large library of music and audio entertainment.

2. A lot of music labels would want their content in Tesla vehicles.

Regardless of what you think about electric cars or Musk himself, there’s no denying that Tesla cars are cool.

They always have been, from the early days of the first high-performance Roadster, which demonstrated that EVs could be much more than glorified golf carts.

The 400,000 preorders on the forthcoming Model 3 prove that a lot of people want in on the Tesla experience and are willing to put down $1,000 apiece for the privilege of spending $35,000 to buy the entire car two years later.

Even before the Model 3, Teslas were the favored vehicles of the Silicon Valley elite. Tesla’s cars are rolling validation of the high-risk tech ideology and evidence that a new car company could be created in the US, a feat not achieved in decades before Musk and Tesla came along.

Music streaming is very techy and very Silicon Valley: Don’t own music, subscribe. Control the platform, get other people to produce the content, and then take a fat cut of the revenue because you own the largest distribution channel and can call your shots.

This could just be the beginning for Tesla’s subscription services. Music makes for an abundantly cool start, but hundreds of thousands of customers on the road — many with respectable net worths who won’t balk at a $25-a-month charge for something desirable – are likely to have other addressable wants and needs.

3. Music streaming would enable Tesla to own another marketable flow of data.

What you listen to is a flow of data points, and that flow can be organized, monitored, diced-and-sliced, and then sold to marketers. 

Tesla already keeps track of its vehicles, largely for safety reasons. But the expectation in the auto industry is that car-related data could be a huge future business with double-digit margins (building and selling vehicles yields at best 10% in good times for most carmakers) and low capital costs. 

Ancillary businesses are already part of Tesla’s program, so this wouldn’t be anything new. The carmaker racks up zero-emission credits, thanks to producing no vehicles that produce tailpipe pollutants, and Tesla can sell them. Musk, however, has often complained that his company doesn’t earn as much from these sales as it should.

A subscription music business could also provide Tesla with an advertising platform, keyed to tiered pricing. For example, a basic service might host ads, whereas a higher tier would eliminate them.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Apple snaps its 9-day winning streak (AAPL)

Apple fell for the first time in nine days on Thursday.

Apple shares rose 6% over the past nine trading days, but down 0.17% on Thursday.

Apple has been part of a larger tech rise in recent days. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 is up about 5.8% over Apple’s winning streak. The FANG stocks have been a big part of this rise. All of the stocks in the basket are up since July 6, the day before Apple’s winning streak began, according to data from Google.

Netflix leads that pack with an explosive 25.54% increase after the company crushed its earnings report. Here’s a look at the FANG stocks since the streak began:

Apple reports quarterly earnings August 1. Shares are up 29.73% so far in 2017.

Click here to get a live stock price for Apple…

Apple stock price

SEE ALSO: Here’s what Apple could be planning after the iPhone 8

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NOW WATCH: An economist explains what could happen if Trump pulls the US out of NAFTA

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