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Spotify Removes Hate Bands From Service

Spotify Hate Bands Spotify has removed several bands classified as “hate bands” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), according to a report from Billboard.  The streaming service made the decision to remove the content after Digital Music News shared a list of 37 white supremacist musicians available on the app. In 2014, the Southern Poverty Law Center published a report on racism and digital music titled ‘Music, Money, and Hate’. It concluded that there were at least 54 white supremacist bands selling music on iTunes that Apple was profiting from. Apple responded to the report by removing the bands. However, SPLC noted at the time that Spotify and Amazon were slow to do the same. Now, a Spotify spokesperson has confirmed to Billboard that several of the artists have pulled from streaming. Others are under review. “Spotify takes immediate action to remove any such material as soon as it…

Now There Are Audiobooks For Your Pets

Audiobook Prank In an April Fool’s Day prank this year Amazon introduced Petlexa, an animal-friendly version of its Alexa voice assistant. Nonetheless, now the spoof is becoming a reality with the launch of audiobooks for pets who may be home alone. Today, Audible announced a new brand of books with Cesar Millan. He is a longtime dog behaviourist and the Emmy-nominated host of the TV series ‘Dog Whisperer With Cesar Millan’. The series, Audible for Dogs, aims to help make dogs “calmer and happier”. Titles include “A Dog’s Purpose,” “Soldier Dogs” and “The Art of Racing in the Rain.” Academic Study According to Audible, the series was inspired by a 2015 academic study. It found dogs that listen to audiobooks were more likely to have lower stress when left alone than those that listened to music. As a result, Audible teamed up with Milan’s Dog Psychology Center to study 100…

FaceApp Removes Racist Filters

Racially Themed Filters The popular “FaceApp” has removed a series of racially-themed filters following a backlash against the app. Users branded the filters “problematic”, “gross” and even akin to “blackface”. The popular app uses Snapchat-style face filters to transform users’ faces into different looks. It can make your face look older or younger, for example, or make a woman’s face look like a man’s. But in its most recent update, the app also added a series of “ethnicity change filters” called “Black,” “Asian,” “Indian,” or “Caucasian. The new filters quickly attracted criticism on Twitter, where users branded them “problematic”, “racist”, “gross” and even akin to “blackface”. FaceApp Backdown FaceApp initially tried to defend the ethnicity filters from the barrage of controversy. The company released a statement in which they insisted that they had been “designed to be equal in all aspects”. By late afternoon Wednesday, the app had removed the fliters.…

Blue: The Dating App For Twitter Users

Finally, an app to weed out the weak on social media. A new app is looking to romantically match folks who are verified Twitter users. Blue, by Loveflutter, has launched a new version of their existing dating app. It only allows Twitter users with that little blue tick to search for love, and only amongst their fellow blue-tick holders. The original Loveflutter has been around for awhile. It creates matches based on shared interests (innovative!). Now it focuses on analysing tweets and Twitter activity to match people. And with that switch, so was born Blue. Verified Users For the verified users, the app is rolling out in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, London and Tokyo. However, it will only go live once it has 1,000 local members. So, maybe never. Of the just over 300 million users on Twitter, around 150,000 are verified, with about 25 percent of them…

Ikea To Sell Solar And Battery Packs

Ikea and Renewables Ikea, the Scandinavian home furnishing giant, is to venture into the area of renewable energy. In Britain, the company is to begin selling solar panels and home storage batteries. The products include panels that integrated with existing roofing solutions provided by Solarcentury, a UK solar power company, which includes a 25-year guarantee on the panels themselves, as well as s six-year warranty on installation and every aspect of the system hardware. A solar panel on the roof of your home extends a little beyond the usual Ikea affordable price range. The cost of such a unit starts at around $4,000. However, combined with home storage batteries, users could see savings in the long run. British electricity companies have recently announced that they are increasing their prices. British Gas confirmed that they will hike prices for electricity customers by 12.5%. With the rising cost of utility bills for…

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…