Day: June 5, 2019

June 5, 2019 Off

Apple’s global accessibility head on the company’s new features for iOS 13 and macOS Catalina

By Jill T Frey

From dark mode in iOS 13 to a redesigned user interface in tvOS to the dismantling of iTunes to the coming of iPadOS, Apple made a slew of announcements at its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on Monday in San Jose. And accessibility was there in full force.

Accessibility, as it always does, plays a significant role in not only the conference itself — the sessions, labs and get-togethers all are mainstays of the week — but also in the software Apple shows off. Of particular interest this year is Apple’s Voice Control feature, available for macOS Catalina and iOS 13 devices, which allows users to control their Macs and iPhones … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

YouTube will let bigot monetize if he removes link to homophobic merch

By Jill T Frey

YouTube has made the weakest, least courageous response to mass backlash regarding its ruling yesterday that right-wing personality Steven Crowder’s racist and homophobic attacks on Vox video producer Carlos Maza didn’t violate its policies. Now YouTube says it’s demonetized Crowder’s channel because his “pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community” …but it will restore Crowder’s ability to earn a cut of YouTube ad revenue as long as he removes the link in his videos/channel to his offensive merchandise shop and fixes “all of the issues” with his channel. Specifically, Crowder’s shop sells [Warning: disturbing language not condoned by TechCrunch] “Socialism is for f*gs” t-shirts, baby onesies and beer-pong cups.

[Update: In the wake of this article and YouTube’s focus on his homophobic slur shirts, Crowder has removed the hateful merchandise from his store.]

The unwillingness to remove Crowder from YouTube counters the frequent calls by conservative politicians … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

Google offers new treasure trove of air quality data to researchers

By Jill T Frey

Google has employed its network of street-view vehicles to also measure street-level air quality in recent years, through an initiative it calls “Project Air View.” Today, it’s making available to scientists and researcher organizations more of the resulting data from that ongoing initiative. The company is releasing an updated version of its air quality data set that includes information collected with partner Aclima’s environmental sensors gathered between 2017 and 2018.

The combined data cache includes info from the SF Bay and San Joaquin Valley area, originally starting in 2016, along with the additional two years’ worth of data for those areas as well as for other parts of California, and other major cities, including Houston, Salt Lake City, Copenhagen, London and Amsterdam.

All told, Google’s mapping data set for air quality now includes info covering more than 140,000 miles and 7,000 hours of combined driving time spanning 2016 through 2018. … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

Amazon says it has deployed more than 200,000 robotic drives globally

By Jill T Frey

Amazon is serious about robotics. For most other companies, the technology may still feel like some distant novelty, but the e-commerce giant has already begun to deploy robotics systems en masse. Robotics VP Brad Porter noted onstage today at the re:MARS conference in Las Vegas that the company has deployed 200,000 robotics drives globally.

Earlier this year, it noted that it had more than 100,000 robotics systems deployed across roughly 25 fulfillment centers here in the States, a number that includes both its own homegrown systems and third-parties. We captured both on a recent trip to the company’s massive Staten Island fulfillment center, though Amazon’s own Kiva-based systems clearly form the heart of the operation.

This morning, Amazon announced a pair of new robots, Xanthus and Pegasus. It noted at the event that it already has 800 of the latter, a warehouse package-delivery robot, deployed in U.S. fulfillment centers.… Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

Peloton IPO, VC alternatives, privacy at Apple, and cybersecurity returns

By Jill T Frey

ICYMI: As Peloton files for IPO, can its live fitness gamification model extend to other verticals?

Peloton confidentially filed for its IPO today, and the juggernaut fitness company is positioned to be one of the most interesting consumer debuts in the upcoming IPO season now that Uber has cleared the hurdle.

Extra Crunch’s media columnist Eric Peckham interviewed Zwift CEO Eric Min last month about the live video model that Peloton pioneered, and explored whether ‘Peloton for X’ is the next wave of consumers startups. If you missed it, be sure to read it now.

Which type of funding is actually best for your business?

Fundraising is hard. We explored how to generate FOMO among VCs in Eric’s column last week, but this week, we wanted to explore the routes to funding a startup, and whether venture capital is even the right option.

Source link Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

What to expect from E3 2019

By Jill T Frey

E3 2019 is shaping up to be a bit of an in-between year. Nintendo Switch sales have finally started slowing, but the company’s a ways off from its next-generation console. Microsoft and Sony will be offering info on theirs soon, but we likely won’t be seeing much — especially from the latter, which has opted to sit out this show altogether.

Still, there will be plenty to see next week in Los Angeles. Here’s what we expect so far.

Microsoft: Google, of all companies, made the biggest splash at GDC back in March, announcing Stadia, its live-streaming gaming service. Look for Microsoft to hit back this week, with a lot more information surrounding its competitor, Project xCloud. We have even fewer details about Microsoft’s offering, though the company has compared it to music streaming services like Spotify.

We could get a glimpse of some next-generation hardware at the event, … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

Astronomers fret over ‘debilitating threat’ of thousands of satellites cluttering the sky

By Jill T Frey

The promise of today’s nascent communications satellite constellations is real: connecting everyone on the globe, no exceptions. But the dark side, or rather bright side, of these satellites threatens to pollute the sky with innumerable points of moving light. Astronomers warn that this may pose a “debilitating threat” if not addressed by regulators or industry.

The International Astronomical Union, a group of more than 10,000 astronomers and researchers all over the world, issued a statement this week politely but firmly pointing out the risks of this “new and largely unregulated frontier of space utilisation.”

The problem is that we have graduated from an era where we were launching a satellite every month or so to one where dozens might be launched every week. The competing communications constellations from Starlink, OneWeb, and others will number in the tens of thousands once deployed, outnumbering by far every other satellite in the sky.… Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

YouTube finds a stance on Nazi ideologues and Holocaust deniers

By Jill T Frey

As YouTube garners heat for failing to take action on purported hate speech, the company is trying to shift the narrative all while reminding the public that after 14 years it’s still writing the rough drafts of some of its core rules of engagement.

The company announced in a blog post today that it was expanding the scope of how it would tackle hate speech, now banning language “alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.”

This blanket ban will also sweep videos related to promoting Nazi ideology as well as content that denies that “well-documented violent events” like the Holocaust or Sandy Hook massacre occurred.

YouTube’s announcement follows a high-visibility show of its inaction after declaring that repeated incidents of harassment against a Vox writer by right-wing YouTuber … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

YouTube’s bully problems prove that community doesn’t scale

By Jill T Frey

Editor’s note: Drew is a geek who first worked at AOL when he was 16 years old and went on to become a senior writer at TechCrunch. He is now the VP of Communications for venture equity fund Scaleworks.

I have a confession to make. It’s something that I live with daily. It’s not that I’m not proud of it…it’s just that I’m never sure how people will see me after they know my “secret.”

Here goes nothing.

I.

Was.

A.

YouTuber.

Yes, there it is.

Whew, I feel so much better. Or do I? Actually, I don’t. Get ready for a whole lot of “In my day…” and “It wasn’t supposed to be like this,” because to quote Whoopie Goldberg in Ghost, “Molly, you in danger girl.

In the beginning

Just to set this up, I’m from Philly. Basically as far away from “Silicon Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

MIT’s robot boats can self-assemble to build bridges, stages or even markets

By Jill T Frey

MIT researchers have created a new autonomous robot boat prototype — which they have named “roboats” to my everlasting glee — that can target and combine with one another Voltron-style to create new structures. Said structures could be bigger boats, but MIT is thinking a bit more creatively — it envisions a fleet of these being able to join up to form on-demand urban infrastructure, including stages for concerts, walking bridges or even entire outdoor markets.

The roboats would of course be able to act as autonomous water taxis and ferries, which could be particularly useful in a setting like Amsterdam, which is why MIT teamed up with Amsterdam’s Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions on this. Equipped with sensors, sub-aquatic thrusters, GPS, cameras and tiny computer brains, the roboats can currently follow a pre-determined path, but testing on newer 3D-printed prototypes introduced a level of autonomy that can accomplish a … Read the rest