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July 2017

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Lyft Market Share Growing Faster Than Uber

Controversy After a series of unfortunate incidents for Uber, its main rival Lyft is surging in the market. Bloomberg has reported that company’s gross booking grew 25% to more than $1 billion in the second quarter from more than $800 million in the previous period. That is a faster rate than Uber, which told investors that it expected its growth projections to be in the mid-teens for the same period. Uber has been dogged by controversy for a number of months. Earlier this year, Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, was caught on film beating one his own drivers. The public criticised the attitude of Kalanick towards his own drivers.  It was also discovered that Uber, for over two years, was shortchanging their own drivers, with losses to drivers amounting to tens of millions of dollars. Emil Michael, SVP of Business at Uber, and possibly the second most important figure in the…

Microsoft Paint: Gone But Not Forgotten

The End Of Paint The end is nigh for possibly one of the most used computer programs. Since the first personal computers arrived into homes of ordinary people, Microsoft Paint was an instant hit. It was first released with the very first version of Windows 1.0 in 1985. Microsoft has announced that their next update of Windows 10, called the Autumn Creators Update, will witness the end of Paint. Along with Outlook Express, Reader app and Reading list, the graphic software has met its end. It proved a popular piece of software due to its ease of use. Similar to a doodle notepad, users could draw and invent shapes and colours. In the era of dialup internet, when homes would have to wait for an open line to access the web, Paint was a distraction. Waiting for an image to load could seem a lifetime, Paint was there to keep…

Amazon Treasure Truck On US Tour

Amazon Treasure Amazon’s Treasure Truck is a truck loaded with daily deals and trendy products, and now it’s finally expanding to other US cities. The truck has been limited to Seattle, Amazon hometown since it was first launched 2016, a year after it was announced. The Treasure Truck initially appeared to be some sort of one-off marketing experiment. However, its recently granted patent and forthcoming nationwide launch now seem to indicate broader plans for Amazon’s attempt at crossing online and real-world shopping. US Tour So far, Amazon won’t give any further details on which cities the truck will hit next. This is most likely to keep up a sense of mystery. A tweet from the Treasure Truck suggests that the next city could be Ashburn, Virginia. From what we understand the plan is to send a fleet of trucks to more than a couple dozen cities across the U.S. It…

Machine Learning Research Released By Apple

Apple has launched a journal, documenting its innovations in machine learning. Launched this week, the online blog will demonstrate how Apple engineers are using machine learning technologies to build innovative products. Machine learning technology uses algorithms to program software so that it can learn from large sets of data and improve its output. Apple offers machine learning technology to app producers via Core ML. Apple uses this feature in a range of its existing products such as Siri, Camera and QuickType. Supported features for app designers include face tracking, face detection, landmarks, text detection, rectangle detection, barcode detection, object tracking, and image registration. Machine Learning Developments Critics have claimed that Apple has fallen behind in its development of machine learning technology. Google, the major Silicon Valley rival of the tech giant, has created a subsidiary, DeepMind. They have become the world leaders in machine learning technology features deep learning and…

Knightscope K5 Drowns In Washington DC

You’ve heard of the Monday blues? This robot in Washington DC certainly was not looking forward to the start of a new week. Pictures surfaced on Twitter of a Knightscope K5 lying in a pond in the American capital. Knightscope K5 was the robot in question, trained to monitor offices and public buildings. This is not the first controversy that this robot has found itself in. Last year, the Knightscope K5 assaulted a toddler by running over the child’s foot and bruising their leg. In the same shopping centre in California, a man was arrested for an alleged altercation with a K5 robot. Therefore, the recent news of a K5 robot drowning itself in Washington DC will add further to the controversy surrounding these drones. The armless design of the robot makes it difficult to stand up once they have fallen over. It might be time for the producers to…

Mobile App Approved As Contraception Method

There may be a new alternative to hormonal contraception. A new app has been granted medical approval to be used as a contraceptive in the European Union in a breakthrough that could spell the end for hormonal and intrusive birth control measures. Natural Cycles is a fertility tracking app that tells users whether they’re fertile or not by monitoring their temperature. Used by 150,000 around the world, it has received approval from Tuv Sud, a certification body, to be marketed as a medical device for contraception. The app works by monitoring a woman’s daily temperature and where she is in her menstrual cycle to determine how ‘at-risk’ of pregnancy she is at any given time, reports NPR. It is the first time that such technology has been classified as being effective in preventing pregnancy. Similar to the natural planning or “rhythm” method, the app tells users how fertile they are…

Is Facebook Stopping Marriage Infidelity?

Facebook is making it harder for men to cheat on their wives, Mark Zuckerberg has said. The founder of the social network says people are using it to find out more about their partners, and uncover any secrets they may be hiding. The billionaire is currently on a tour of the US which many people believe is motivated by his presidential ambitions. He visited Williston, North Dakota, this week, and took to Facebook to explain how fracking and social media have shaped the dating scene there. According to Mr Zuckerberg, the invention of new fracking techniques led to thousands of workers – “mostly men” – from around the country moving to Williston and tripling the size of the town. “When oil prices dropped, some of this industry left and so did many people. This has led to some unique community dynamics,” he said. “First, the ratio of men to women…

Fender Launches New Guitar Learning App

About nine out of 10 first-time guitar buyers will give up on the instrument, according to Fender. To convert new players into lifelong customers, the 71-year-old company is heading online and taking advantage of the 1.5 billion smartphones that were sold last year. “It’s inescapable,” said Ethan Kaplan, general manager of Fender Digital in Los Angeles. “What is commanding attention is a tap and a click away. People don’t sit through long stuff anymore.” The guitar maker debuted Fender Play, a new guitar lessons web platform and iOS app aimed at getting beginners hooked with visual, bite-sized tutorials. Fender Play is a video-centric learning platform that eschews traditional theory-based lessons in favour of instructor-guided videos. When a user signs up, they will answer a variety of questions about the musical styles and instruments they prefer, which will then generate a customised curriculum. Fender Play’s song-based method of learning will teach…

Japanese Men Are Marrying Anime Characters

Virtual Reality weddings have become increasingly popular as technology has evolved, couples capture their most special day in 360-degree videos to relive them at a later stage. While one can do with or without virtual reality at a wedding, some modern day marriages would not have been possible without the technology, at least not for this Japanese man who married his favourite Anime character, one he could only kiss and exchange rings within VR. In 2017 you no longer have to be human to get married because the future is now and it’s a little creepy. A romance and dating simulator, Niitzuma LovelyxCation is a game developed by Japanese studio Hibiki Works and lets players court any one of its three anime characters. Players can eventually marry these characters in real life wedding ceremonies held in actual chapels. The first of these virtual reality weddings took place in Tokyo where…