Author: Greg Kumparak

YouTube’s live TV streaming service goes live in five US cities for $35 per month

Back in February YouTube announced YouTube TV, a $35 TV streaming service it hopes might kill your cable box. At the time, they didn’t say exactly when it’d launch — just that it’d be “soon”. “Soon”, it seems, means today. YouTube is rolling out the service in five major US cities this morning. YouTube TV takes a bunch of the more popular US cable channels — ABC, Fox, CBS, NBC, CW, Disney, SyFy, ESPN, and 40+ more — and crams them into one app. It’ll cost $35 a month, and you’ll be able to stream to six devices simultaneously...

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Snapchat wins April Fools’ with its jab at Instagram

We’ve got a whole roundup of 2017’s tech April Fools’ pranks, but this one from Snapchat deserves a little highlight all its own. Back in August of last year, Instagram copied Snapchat’s Stories feature. There’s no arguing it. Instagram’s CEO even says Snapchat deserves credit for “this format”. They didn’t even bother changing the name — Instagram’s version of Snapchat Stories is just called “Instagram Stories”. So for April Fools’ day, Snapchat ripped them off in return — albeit in a less obvious way. They’ve turned Instagram’s interface into a Snapchat filter for the day and just swapped out...

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April Fools’ 2017: Here’s the best and worst of this year’s pranks (so far)

April Fools’ Day falls on a Saturday this year. Seemingly worried that the Internet goes away on weekends, a bunch of companies rolled out their April Fools’ jokes a few days early. Some of them are really, really good. Some of them… are not. Here’s our round-up of the ones worth a laugh, chuckle, or, at the very least, a mildly-amused puff of air through your nose. We’ll update this gallery throughout the weekend, as more are bound to roll out on… you know, actual April Fools’...

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Twitter’s live streaming app Periscope gets an analytics dashboard

Trying to figure out this whole live video broadcasting thing? Good news! Periscope, the Twitter-owned live broadcasting app, picked up a new trick this morning: a shiny new analytics dashboard. It’s not the most groundbreaking thing in the world, but it makes sense. Making successful live video on the Internet — particularly one that doesn’t involve video games or naked people — is hard. It’s the reason why company after company in this space has failed: most people just aren’t that interesting all the time. Perhaps a bit of data on what works and what doesn’t is the key...

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Someone recreated The Office’s Dunder Mifflin in explorable 3D and I love it

The Office is one of two shows that we have on near-constant rotation in our house — at this point, our Netflix subscription is more of a subscription to The Office that happens to come with some other stuff. It won’t sound too weird, then, when I say that trying to mentally recreate the layout of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch is something I’ve found myself doing more than once. You too? Good news! Now someone has done in it fully explorable, browser-friendly 3D. You can check it out here. Built as a demo of Archilogic’s web-based architecture viewing platform,...

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Niles is a Slack bot that learns your teams questions and answers them so you don’t have to

Most chat bots are dumb. No one wants to message a soulless stack of if-then statements just to order a pizza when a half-decent app or website interface can do the same job in half the time. Chat assistants are a different matter. Rather than actively bugging you for information in a back-and-forth no one enjoys having, chat assistants lurk in the background of the conversations you’re already having and glean little details that might help later. It’s the approach Google is taking with their aptly named Assistant. Niles, a company in Y Combinator’s Winter 2017 batch, wants to be your company’s chat assistant — an alternative to that internal wiki that every company has and no one uses. It sits in Slack and tries to learn the answers to the questions that your team is tired of hearing for the billionth time. The basic premise: Any user in a slack room can @ Niles a question. If Niles knows the answer, it’ll cough up the answer. If not, it’ll ask for help from the rest of the team. If someone gives Niles an answer, it’ll remember it for next time. Over time, the team says, Niles will learn to parse common questions without being directly asked. If an answer to a question is no longer correct, the user can flag it — Niles will then flag the question...

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This guy built a physical Starbucks button that orders his favorite drink in one press

[embedded content] I never really used to drink Starbucks. “It’s too expensive!” I’d say while angrily waggling my aeropress in the air. “It’s all sugar! Not worth it!” Then they came out with their damned mobile ordering app and suddenly I’m throwing fistfuls of cash at them. It’s just. too. convenient. Hacker Ryan Pickren took the idea one step further: he built a physical button that orders his favorite drink with one press as he’s heading out the door. The button itself is an Amazon IoT button — the generic, hacker-friendly version of the branded Dash buttons they pre-configure to sell you things like laundry detergent and cat food. When he taps his button, it fires off a Python script that sends the same signal the Starbucks app would it pushes an order out. On Starbucks’ side, it just looks like any old order that would’ve come through via the app. Getting all of that to work, though, is where things got fun. I’d recommend checking out Ryan’s full breakdown here. From ripping out cryptographic keys to batting away security measures like SSL certificate pinning, it’s a great look into how quickly an undocumented API can be torn apart and frankensteined into something totally new. (Dear Starbucks: Please don’t make this a real thing. Sincerely, my...

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