Author: Devin Coldewey

Juicero may be the absurd avatar of Silicon Valley hubris, but boy is it well engineered

TECHCRUNCH The Juicero story is a funny one in some ways and a sad one in others, so let’s just assume they cancel each other out and admire the machine itself in a nice judgment-free moral vacuum. Or rather, let’s let someone qualified do it for us. Ben Einstein, general partner at Bolt, served up this excellent teardown of the Juicero on the company blog. If you were wondering how a juice press could possibly cost $400… well, this is how. Without getting into the nitty-gritty (Einstein does it far better than I would anyway) the gist is that...

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Creepy facial projections, 3D hair capture, digital creepers and more from Eurographics 2017

TECHCRUNCH The Eurographics conference is underway in Lyon and among the more technical offerings from computer graphics specialists are a few cool enough for just about anyone to appreciate. Unless you’re afraid of clowns. In that case, you probably shouldn’t scroll down. First is a system for simulating vines and creepers as they grow in complex interweaving patterns. The plants are a series of particles that interact with their immediate environment — angle, material, light exposure, other plants — and grow appropriately. The video shows the simulation without plant trappings, and it looks like intelligent sausage links. Coupled with...

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FCC Chairman will address the future of net neutrality on Wednesday

TECHCRUNCH So it begins: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai appears to be showing his cards regarding his promised rollback of net neutrality rules. He is slated to speak on “the future of internet regulation” on Wednesday, Reuters reported today. TechCrunch confirmed with the FCC that atalk is taking place, although the topic was not officially disclosed. Pai previously said at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that he considers the FCC’s approach to regulating the internet heavy-handed and old-fashioned. But unlike the Broadband Privacy Rule, which could be repealed under the Congressional Review Act, and the zero-rating inquiries, which were merely...

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‘Scanner Sombre’ arms you with lidar for a gorgeous, creepy explore-’em-up

TECHCRUNCH Something about the polychromatic pointillism of lidar imagery has always intrigued me, but as a writer I can’t say I have many opportunities to use the technology. That’s why I’m excited about a lovely looking new game from the creators of Prison Architect in which you are exploring a pitch-black cave with nothing but lidar. “Scanner Sombre” was announced today, and the general idea is that you find yourself in a cave in complete darkness, armed with just a lidar scanner and headset. By scanning your surroundings you can navigate and soon find that the cave is more...

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Ambient noise could be your next multi-factor authentication token

TECHCRUNCH We’re all pretty used to two-factor authentication now, and it isn’t much of an inconvenience to have to type in a four-digit code when you log in from a new location. But some Swiss security researchers came up with a smart way to authenticate without even that tiny amount of work: ambient noise. The idea behind multi-factor authentication is basically making sure that a login is by the actual user, not an impersonator or hacker. Sending a code to a second device owned by the user is one way to check, but it’s far from the only option....

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This phishing technique is more interesting than dangerous

TECHCRUNCH There’s no shortage of ways adversaries will employ to get you to click through to a malicious website, some technical, some psychological. This one is interesting because it leverages a useful feature of browsers that you might have never thought about. Not all websites have names that can be written in the alphabet we that primarily English-speaking countries are familiar with. Why shouldn’t Russian websites use Cyrillic characters, or Japanese ones use kanji? After all, Unicode, the standard for displaying text worldwide, supports all these languages. Unfortunately, it’s not standard to allow all those characters in URIs, and...

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FTC tells ‘influencers’ to quit trying to hide the fact that they’re shilling for brands

TECHCRUNCH The Federal Trade Commission has put dozens of so-called influencers on notice for failing to adequately document the fact that their Instagram and such like posts are in fact thinly veiled ads for which the posters are being generously compensated. The agency sent out over 90 letters to “celebrities, athletes, and other influencers” reminding them to “clearly and conspicuously disclose” that posts are sponsored, or that a company otherwise supports them. And no cute stuff either, the FTC says in the letters. For example, no putting your sponsor message below the “more” button, where no one will see...

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Scientists are racing nanocars on a solid gold track

TECHCRUNCH Scientists are set to engage in a frivolous race of single-molecule “nanocars” on, if you can believe it, a solid gold track. It’s the boldest show of academic elitism and greatest waste of taxpayer dollars since the duck penis thing. Oh wait, it’s actually the greatest thing of all time. The whole thing is a bit of a lark, thought up by chemists Christian Joachim and Gwénaël Rapenne as a way to drum up interest in the more prosaic aspects of nanotechnology, if you can really call them that. Each “car” is a single molecule of perhaps a...

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