Author: Greg Kumparak

This fake package covers porch thieves in glitter and fart spray

TECHCRUNCH Having a package stolen off your front porch sucks. No matter what’s inside the box, it just feels… violating. Someone came into your space and took your stuff just because they could probably get away with it. And even if you go to the cops with license plates and high res face photos, they’ll often respond with a big, apathetic shrug (particularly around Christmas when package thefts skyrocket.) After having one of his own packages nabbed, Engineer/YouTuber Mark Rober decided to take things into his own hands. He built a box that… well, it’ll make any would-be thieves...

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Amazon Echo speakers now play friendly with Apple Music

TECHCRUNCH Amazon recently said Apple Music would find its way onto Amazon Echo devices sometime soon — and sure enough, it appears to be rolling out now. To make Alexa work with Apple’s streaming service, you should just have to jump into the newly updated iOS/Android Alexa app and link up your account. You can find the option under Settings > Music. Once done, commands like “Alexa, play music by Halsey on Apple Music” should work. Or, if you don’t want to have to say the “… on Apple Music” bit every time, you can just set Apple Music as the default service. If you don’t have a specific artist in mind, you an also request playlists or genres. One catch: as 9to5mac points out, it appears this currently only works with Amazon Echo speakers, and not yet with third party speakers (like the Sonos ONE or Polk’s Audio Command sounder) that happen to have Alexa-support built in. Not a fan of Apple’s offering? Alexa also works with Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, Deezer, and Amazon’s own Music service. Using Google devices, rather than Amazon’s? Alas, still no word on if/when proper Apple Music support might come to Google...

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Pokémon GO trainer battles are now live (for some players)

TECHCRUNCH Last week we did a deep dive on how Pokémon GO’s new (and long overdue) player-versus-player battle system would work. The only thing we didn’t know at the time was when, exactly, it would actually start rolling out. The answer: tonight. Just a few days ago, Niantic started shipping an update to the app that contained everything required for PvP, but they’d yet to actually flip the switch to turn it on. According to a tweet that just went live from the Pokémon GO account, it seems said switches have just been flipped: One catch (but one noted...

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Future Family secures a $100M credit line to help more families with fertility care

TECHCRUNCH West Owens, Future Family CFO, and Claire Tomkins, CEO Future Family is a startup (and a Disrupt Startup Battlefield alum!) that helps families more easily afford fertility services like IVF and egg freezing. They work with fertility clinics to get the often unpredictable costs set in stone, then cover said costs and convert them into a more approachable monthly payment plan. But covering those costs up front isn’t cheap, which lead to long waitlists for those looking to Future Family for help. With that in mind, the company has locked in a $100 million credit line to help them power through their waitlist and immediately offer their services to more people. The capital is coming from Atalaya, a capital management firm that specializes in funding specialty finance companies like Future Family (or Point, a startup that provides capital to homebuyers in exchange for equity in the home, which Atalaya invested $150M into earlier this year.) So what does this mean? Most immediately, it means that Future Family will be able to clear up its wait lists before moving on to offering same-day approval/financing to new customers. Claire Tomkins founded Future Family after seeing for herself just how complicated and expensive the fertility care process could be. After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the fertility care involved with having her first child, she set out to make...

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Gift Guide: the 16 best board games for holiday family fun

TECHCRUNCH Ah, holiday board gaming. A roaring fire. A glass of nog. And a raging debate over whether the blue guy was next to the red square or vice versa. Buying a gift for a board game fan? Just need something new to bring along to the get together? In this roundup we highlight some of what we’ve been playing lately – from the easy to the immensely complex – and give you and your family fodder for your next bout of holiday fun. Some new, some old, all great. Machi Koro This super-cute card game involves building a...

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You can now once again flip the camera during FaceTime calls with just one tap

TECHCRUNCH With the release of iOS 12, Apple hid the button that lets you jump from front camera to rear camera (or vice versa) during a FaceTime call. Previously a one-click thing, it was suddenly shoved away into a menu as if it wasn’t something you might use a half-dozen times per call. Don’t like the change? Good news! Apple is undoing it. As of iOS 12.1.1, released today, the camera swap button is returning to the main call screen. Basically every FaceTime call I’ve had since this change was made has started with someone asking “Wait, how do...

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Pokémon GO is finally getting player-versus-player battles. Here’s how they’ll work

TECHCRUNCH Two and a half years after launch, Pokémon GO is at last getting player-versus-player battling. If you’ve already had your fun with GO and moved on, that headline is probably all you need to know — it’s either enough to re-spark your interest, or not. But if you’re still polishing up that Pokédex, hatchin’ eggs, and raiding every weekend, you’re probably itching for a few more details. Good news! I got to run through a few battles late last week, and I noted damned near everything that was mentioned. Here’s what I learned: Each player brings three Pokémon into a battle (rather than 6, as with the main series). The first trainer to knock out all three of their opponent’s Pokémon wins. Niantic says that 6-on-6 just took too long for a game meant to be played, as the name implies, on the go. If you’re not already friends with a potential opponent, you’ll need to scan a QR code from the other player’s screen to initiate a battle. If you’re ultra friends or best friends, you can battle remotely Don’t have anyone to battle with? You can also face off against the leaders of the three teams: Blanche (Mystic), Candela (Valor), and Spark (Instinct). The best part of that: training against the gym leaders will earn you points toward the long-frozen Ace Trainer medal (which has been...

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Niantic confirms that Pokémon GO is getting PvP battles “soon”

TECHCRUNCH Two and a half years after the launch of Pokémon GO, it’s still missing one major staple of the main series games: player versus player battling. That’s about to change. In a series of teaser tweets this morning, the company confirmed that the battle system is on the way, noting only that it’s “coming soon”. Battling is the feature perhaps most demanded by the player base — particularly after the other oh-so-demanded feature, trading, was finally added around six months ago. While players have long been able to battle Pokémon stored in gyms, or work together to take...

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