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Minecraft's latest beta update introduces a character creator that allows players to change body types and wear accessories (Julia Lee/Polygon) September 20, 2019

Julia Lee / Polygon: Minecraft’s latest beta update introduces a character creator that allows players to change body types and wear accessories  —  You can be a mermaid  —  Minecraft’s latest update has added a character creator to the game.  After years of only using skins over the same model … Minecraft's latest beta update […]

Minecraft's latest beta update introduces a character creator that allows players to change body types and wear accessories (Julia Lee/Polygon)


Julia Lee / Polygon:

Minecraft’s latest beta update introduces a character creator that allows players to change body types and wear accessories  —  You can be a mermaid  —  Minecraft’s latest update has added a character creator to the game.  After years of only using skins over the same model …

Minecraft's latest beta update introduces a character creator that allows players to change body types and wear accessories (Julia Lee/Polygon)
Source: Tech Meme

Meccano Max Gets Hacked

There are plenty of “smart” toys out in the marketplace, some with more features than others. Nevertheless, most makers desire complete control over a platform, something that’s often lacking in any commercial offering. It was just this desire that motivated [MrDreamBot] to start hacking the Meccano Max.

Meccano Max is a small-statured companion robot, at about 30 centimeters high. Not content with the lack of an API, [MrDreamBot] decided to first experiment with creating an Arduino library to run Max’s hardware. With this completed, work then began on integrating a Hicat Livera devboard into the hardware. This is an embedded Linux system with Arduino compatibility, as well as the ability to stream video and connect over WiFi. Thus far, it’s possible to control Max through a browser, while viewing a live video feed from the ‘bot. It’s also possible to customize the expressions displayed on Max’s face.

Oftentimes, it pays to replace stock hardware rather than try and work with the limitations of the original setup, and this project is no exception. With that said, we’re still hoping someone out there will find a way to get Jibo back online. Look after your robot friends! Video after the break.

Meccano Max Gets Hacked
Source: HackADay

Lookiero, a Paris-based personal clothing and accessory shopping service, raises $19M, bringing its total raised to $23M (Mike Butcher/TechCrunch)


Mike Butcher / TechCrunch:

Lookiero, a Paris-based personal clothing and accessory shopping service, raises $19M, bringing its total raised to $23M  —  Lookiero, the online personal shopping service for clothes and accessories, has closed a $19 million funding round led by London-based VC MMC Ventures with support …

Lookiero, a Paris-based personal clothing and accessory shopping service, raises M, bringing its total raised to M (Mike Butcher/TechCrunch)
Source: Tech Meme

Drones could help during your next car breakdown – CNET

A towing company in Texas plans to use drones to assess situations before sending a truck. Drones could help during your next car breakdown – CNET
Source: CNet

Apple Arcade is everything I wanted for mobile gaming


Apple Arcade launched yesterday, alongside iOS 13, and while I’ve only used it for a short while, I think I can say this is the kind of mobile gaming I want, now and forever. For starters, this is a price I can actually stomach. I’m not a fan of subscription gaming, per se. But with a price as reasonable as Arcade’s ($4.99/month), and as many games as there are (i.e. more than I’ll be able to play in several months, if not a year), I don’t feel the pecuniary sting quite so keenly. Maybe it’s a byproduct of being an…

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Apple Arcade is everything I wanted for mobile gaming
Source: The Next Web

Congress Asks More than 80 Companies for Big Tech Complaints

House lawmakers asked the companies for information on how their businesses had been affected by Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. Congress Asks More than 80 Companies for Big Tech Complaints
Source: NY Times Tech

Roku study: 2M people in the US moved from traditional pay TV to streaming in 2019; up to 60M US households will exclusively use streaming in the next 5 years (Jason Schott/Fox Business)


Jason Schott / Fox Business:

Roku study: 2M people in the US moved from traditional pay TV to streaming in 2019; up to 60M US households will exclusively use streaming in the next 5 years  —  Television viewing has gradually expanded into streaming, and a new study from Roku makes a dramatic prediction about how people will consume video in the years to come.

Roku study: 2M people in the US moved from traditional pay TV to streaming in 2019; up to 60M US households will exclusively use streaming in the next 5 years (Jason Schott/Fox Business)
Source: Tech Meme

To fight ‘evil’ ICE, an engineer pulled his code off Github

Immigration Silicon Valley

Immigration Silicon Valley

When engineer Seth Vargo found that a company using his open-source code worked with US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, he pulled the code off Github. The company, enterprise software maker Chef, found that, without the code, its business ground to a halt.

Vargo had worked for the Seattle-based company, but he didn’t know about the contract with ICE until tech writer Shanley Kane tweeted about it on Monday. ICE, which was formed under the presidency of George W. Bush in 2003, has stirred protests as it ratcheted up deportation and family separation policies under President Donald Trump.

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To fight ‘evil’ ICE, an engineer pulled his code off Github
Source: New feed

Drones might help you out the next time your car breaks down – CNET

A towing company in Texas plans to use drones to assess the situation before sending a truck. Drones might help you out the next time your car breaks down – CNET
Source: CNet

PayPal reinstates controversial policy of pocketing fees from refunds

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

PayPal is reinstating a controversial policy around its handling of fees in the event of a refund. Starting next month, PayPal will begin pocketing the initial 2.9 percent commission fee sellers forfeit during a transaction even when the seller is refunding a customer in full.

The company initially rolled out this policy back in April, but seller backlash over PayPal claiming the commission fee led it to reverse course. Now, PayPal says it’s updating its policy for good, citing its “cost structure” and claiming the approach to refunds is in line with industry practice. Sellers are again up in arms over the change, with some claiming that it is not in fact the case that the online payment processing industry handles refunds like this.

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PayPal reinstates controversial policy of pocketing fees from refunds
Source: New feed

All the best signs we saw at the Climate Strike in NYC – CNET

Across the globe today students led marches and rallies for action on the Climate Change crisis, agitating for radical change towards sustainability throughout society, from industry to government to farming practices to the military industrial complex. The march in NYC boasted upwards of 250,000 people, many of them children cutting school to participate, and culminated in a rally with musical performances and a speech from Greta Thunberg, the internationally famous child activist. Check out all the inspired home-made signs we saw today! All the best signs we saw at the Climate Strike in NYC – CNET
Source: CNet

Facebook suspends tens of thousands of apps following Cambridge Analytica scandal – CNET

The suspended apps were tied to 400 developers. Facebook suspends tens of thousands of apps following Cambridge Analytica scandal – CNET
Source: CNet

Inside Airbnb, Employees Eager for Big Payouts Pushed It to Go Public

Tension has grown among a 6,000-person work force as it waits to sell company shares, people with knowledge of the situation said. Inside Airbnb, Employees Eager for Big Payouts Pushed It to Go Public
Source: NY Times Tech

RGB Lamp With Micro:Bit Powered Gesture Control

The Micro:bit is a very neat piece of hardware that, frankly, we don’t see enough of. Which made us all the more interested when [Manoj Nathwani] wrote in to tell us about the gorgeous 3D printed RGB LED lamp he created that uses the BBC-endorsed microcontroller to perform basic gesture detection. Purists will likely point out that an Arduino Pro Mini is tagging along to handle interfacing with the LEDs, but it’s still a good example of how quick you can get a project up and running with MicroPython on the Micro:bit.

[Manoj] used eight NeoPixel Sticks, a NeoPixel Ring, and a few scraps of perfboard to construct a three dimensional “bulb” to fill the void inside the printed diffuser. They’re chained together so all the elements appear as a single addressable strip, which made the rest of the project a bit easier to implement. It might not be pretty, but it gets the job done and it’s not like you’ll ever see it again once installed in the lamp anyway.

The Micro:bit and Arduino co-pilot live in the base of the lamp, and the single USB cable to provide power (and the ability to update the device’s firmware) is run out the bottom to give the whole thing a clean and professional look. For those wondering why the Arduino has tagged along, [Manoj] says he couldn’t get the NeoPixel libraries to play nicely with the Micro:bit so he’s using the Arduino essentially as a mediator.

Right now the only gesture that’s detected on the Micro:bit is a simple shake, which tells the Arduino to toggle the light show on and off. But in the future, [Manoj] plans to implement more complex gestures which will trigger different animations. As he explains in the blog post, gesture recognition with the Micro:bit is incredibly simple, so it should be easy to come up with a bunch of unique ways to interface with the lamp.

Color changing LED lamps are a favorite project of hackers, and we’ve seen examples built with everything from glass and copper to laser-cut pieces of wood and veneer. While you might prefer to skip the gesture control for an ESP8266 and UDP, we think this project is another strong entry into this popular genre.

RGB Lamp With Micro:Bit Powered Gesture Control
Source: HackADay

YouTube CEO apologizes after verification uproar, softens policy changes – CNET

The Google-owned site said it’s tightening verification restrictions, and creators are furious. YouTube CEO apologizes after verification uproar, softens policy changes – CNET
Source: CNet

CHEAP: Get 30% off this souped-up Samsung Chromebook Plus V2


Google’s Chromebook laptops are no longer “cheap and cheerful” toys only good for light browsing. They can actually do serious stuff, like run Android applications, as well as run fully-fledged Linux distributions.  But to make the most of that, you need a reasonably powerful machine, like this Samsung Chromebook Plus V2. This meaty device packs a 12.2-inch touchscreen, 64GB of storage, 4GB RAM, and an Intel Core m3 processor. It’s also a 2-in-1 machine, allowing you to use it in both laptop and tablet mode. And its 13MP webcam will make you look crystal clear when you’re in an important…

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CHEAP: Get 30% off this souped-up Samsung Chromebook Plus V2
Source: The Next Web

YouTube reverses course, says channels with verification badges will keep them without appeal and channels that reach 100k subs can still apply for verification (Janko Roettgers/Variety)


Janko Roettgers / Variety:

YouTube reverses course, says channels with verification badges will keep them without appeal and channels that reach 100k subs can still apply for verification  —  A day after announcing significant changes to its verification program, YouTube announced Friday afternoon that it won’t be de-verifying existing creators after all.

YouTube reverses course, says channels with verification badges will keep them without appeal and channels that reach 100k subs can still apply for verification (Janko Roettgers/Variety)
Source: Tech Meme

YouTube backtracks on taking badges away from creators after outcry

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

YouTube is almost completely backtracking on the verification system changes it announced yesterday. All YouTubers who are currently verified will get to keep their verification status, and YouTubers who are not yet verified will still be able to apply for it once they hit 100,000 subscribers, as creators have in the past.

Only a single key change isn’t being reversed: YouTube will actually verify that channels are authentic, whereas in the past it seemingly has not thoroughly taken this very obvious step.

This is all quite different from the original plan. YouTube had indicated it was going to limit verification to only established brands and the biggest personalities — people who were at high risk of impersonation. It meant that the…

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YouTube backtracks on taking badges away from creators after outcry
Source: New feed

Twitter Suspends Account of Former Adviser to Saudi Crown Prince

The account was one of thousands with ties to governments in the Middle East that were taken down by the social media company. Twitter Suspends Account of Former Adviser to Saudi Crown Prince
Source: NY Times Tech

Images from New York City’s Global Climate Strike

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

“I’m here because I care, and I think we need to make radical changes”

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Images from New York City’s Global Climate Strike
Source: New feed

Apple's implementation of STIR/SHAKEN protocol in iOS 13 doesn't display "Caller Verified" notice on call screen, making it useless for identifying robocalls (Chaim Gartenberg/The Verge)


Chaim Gartenberg / The Verge:

Apple’s implementation of STIR/SHAKEN protocol in iOS 13 doesn’t display “Caller Verified” notice on call screen, making it useless for identifying robocalls  —  STIR/SHAKEN comes to iPhones, but not in a useful way  —  Robocalls are a scourge, but cellular networks …

Apple's implementation of STIR/SHAKEN protocol in iOS 13 doesn't display "Caller Verified" notice on call screen, making it useless for identifying robocalls (Chaim Gartenberg/The Verge)
Source: Tech Meme

That Leaked List of Samsung Devices Getting Android 10 Is Bogus

Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. A screenshot made the rounds earlier this week that allegedly listed all the Samsung devices that were going to receive Android 10. The list caused an understandable excitement for some Samsung owners, hopeful that the latest version of Android would hit device of…

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That Leaked List of Samsung Devices Getting Android 10 Is Bogus
Source: Life Hacker

Tech CEO tells employees he’s obligated to accept any government contract regardless of morality


“I do not believe that it is appropriate, practical, or within our mission to examine specific government projects with the purpose of selecting which U.S. agencies we should or should not do business.” Barry Crist, CEO of Chef, in an email to employees. “And to be clear: I also find policies such as separating families and detaining children wrong and contrary to the best interests of our country.” Also Barry Crist, in the same email. It isn’t everyday you’ll find an executive businessperson in a leadership position willing to admit to the general public that they believe it’s inappropriate to…

This story continues at The Next Web

Tech CEO tells employees he’s obligated to accept any government contract regardless of morality
Source: The Next Web

Uber sues New York City to overturn limits on drivers cruising without passengers

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Uber filed a lawsuit against New York City Friday in an effort to overturn rules limiting the amount of time ride-hail drivers can spend in busy parts of the city. It was the second time this year that Uber has sued New York City.

The suit comes a month after the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission approved an extension on its cap on the number of Uber and Lyft vehicles permitted to operate within the city. The moratorium on new vehicle licenses now extends until August 2020.

The commission also amended its rules aimed at limiting the amount of time drivers can cruise without passengers in Manhattan below 96th Street. Under the new rules, Uber and Lyft must reduce deadheading — or the amount of time drivers spend without passengers in…

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Uber sues New York City to overturn limits on drivers cruising without passengers
Source: New feed

How Can You Tell If an App Is Malware?

There are a lot of apps you can download on Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store. That’s obvious. What’s not so obvious is that even though both companies do a pretty good job of (mostly) catching bullshit apps, there are still plenty that sneak through because they just toe the line between scammy and barely…

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How Can You Tell If an App Is Malware?
Source: Life Hacker