Author: Matt Burns

This could be the Google Home Mini

TECHCRUNCH There have been rumors for weeks about Google nearing the release of a smaller version of the Google Home. DroidLife just posted what it claims is the upcoming Google Home Mini. If true, the design speaks the same language of the Google Home. The little puck uses the same cloth covering found on larger version. Gone are the multi-colored lights, replaced by four soft-white lights on top of the device. And just like the Google Home, Google Assistant is built-in, ready to do its owner’s bidding. DroidLife says it will cost $49 when released, putting it at the...

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Watch industrial robots play traditional instruments

TECHCRUNCH Robots are stealing jobs, the narrative says and according to this video, robots are stealing the arts too. The video shows several industrial robotic arms playing the piano, guitar, drums and a keyboard. Through some stellar music production, it sounds amazing too. [embedded content] Nigel Stanford is the artist behind the project and also posted a video that shows some behind-the-scenes clips — basically a jam session before the main show. [embedded content] Earlier this year TechCrunch hosted a one-day event around robotics and while it touched on countless parts of robotics industry, we didn’t talk about how...

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Vitalik Buterin explains Ethereum in his own words at Disrupt SF

TECHCRUNCH Today at Disrupt SF 2017 Vitalik Buterin sat down with AngelList founder Naval Ravikant to talk Ethereum. Because, well, Vitalik created Ethereum. Up front, Ravikant asked him to explain Ethereum and this is what he said. “You basically need to have some system that keeps track of how much money you have at any given time, how much money you have the right to spend,” Buterin said. “You can very easily do it with centralized servers, but if you want to do it in a decentralized manner, it’s actually a very hard problem.” https://twitter.com/TechCrunch/status/909851547973992449/video/1...

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A Google security chief considers the NSA a state-sponsored threat

TECHCRUNCH Today at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 Google’s Manager of Information Security Heather Adkins sat down for a fireside chat. Among the varying topics discussed, she spoke about what’s like to have the NSA tap the company’s lines and how she views state sponsored threats. Moderator and TechCrunch Senior Editor Frederic Lardinois asked Adkins if she thinks of the NSA as a state-sponsored threat in the same way as China and Russia. She confirmed, yes, she considers the US’ National Security Agency in that way. Does she worry about the NSA? Yes, she does and it’s good to worry...

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South Park trolled Amazon Echo owners in the best way possible

TECHCRUNCH This is one of the minor dangers of owning an Amazon Echo. Most anyone can activate the device by just saying the wake word including Cartman. And in the season opener of South Park, that’s exactly what happened. Watch. If someone watched that episode of South Park in the same room as an Echo, their Amazon shopping list was filled with random, gross items. This example shows the potential danger of having a voice activated shopping assistant. It’s easy to imagine a potential rogue advertisement, online or elsewhere, that could, in theory, say the right words to order...

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Tesla files patent for mobile battery swapping rig

TECHCRUNCH Tesla is still exploring options to make swapping vehicle battery packs easier and faster. This patent filed in May reveals one option that would allow technicians to change out packs in less than 15 minutes. This isn’t the first of such ideas. Back in 2014 Tesla briefly played with an automated system that swapped Model S battery packs in less than 90 seconds. That idea seemed to be shelved as the Supercharger network started rolling out. The system described in this patent could be installed in a service station or integrated into a mobile rig. A Model S...

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I don’t want the new iPhone X and I can’t be alone – TechCrunch

GOOGLE NEWS Apple announced the latest iPhone yesterday. It’s thinner, faster and has a better screen than the previous model. But of course it does. That’s how these things go. But the phone also lacks things I consider part of my daily life. I’m lost. This iPhone is not for me. Without these two features, I’ll stick with the boring and passé iPhone 8. The iPhone X follows a troubling trend. Apple is seemingly in a habit of reducing core features rather than advancing them. Maybe I’m an old man yelling at clouds for moving too fast. I have...

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