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Tile lays off dozens after a disappointing holiday

Tile lays off dozens after a disappointing holiday Tile, one of the best known item-tracking gadgets out there, has laid off some 30 people and reportedly stopped the potential hires of another 10, TechCrunch has learned. This comes less than a year after the company raised a $25 million B round last May. The layoffs are reportedly due to disappointing sales over the holidays. When reached for comment, Tile offered the following statement: As part of our 2018 planning process, the Tile leadership team determined that a recalibration of our…

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FCC report keeps faster definition of broadband and separates mobile from fixed connections

FCC report keeps faster definition of broadband and separates mobile from fixed connections The FCC’s yearly report of broadband deployment keeps some crucial definitions in place that some feared would be changed or eliminated to ease the responsibilities of internet service providers. The threat of a lowered speed standard and the merging of mobile and fixed broadband services will not be carried out, it seems. Broadband will continue to be defined as a connection with speeds of 25 megabits down and 3 megabits up. Another proposed definition of 10 down…

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The BecDot is a toy that helps teach vision-impaired kids to read braille

The BecDot is a toy that helps teach vision-impaired kids to read braille Learning braille is a skill that, like most, is best learned at an early age by those who need it. But toddlers with vision impairment often have few or no options to do so, leaving them behind their peers academically and socially. The BecDot is a toy created by parents facing that challenge that teaches kids braille in a fun, simple way, and is both robust and affordable. Beth and Jake Lacourse’s daughter Rebecca (that’s her up…

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Watch a thought race across the surface of the brain

Watch a thought race across the surface of the brain Although neuroscientists have a general idea of what parts of the brain do what, catching them in the act is a difficult proposition. But UC Berkeley researchers have managed to do it, visualizing based on direct measurement the path of a single thought (or at least thread) through the brain. I should mention here that as someone who studied this stuff (a long time back, but still) and is extremely skeptical about the state of brain-computer interfaces, I’m usually the…

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Study shows software used to predict repeat offenders is no better at it than untrained humans

Study shows software used to predict repeat offenders is no better at it than untrained humans COMPAS, a piece of software commonly used in the justice system to predict which offenders will find themselves behind bars again, is no better than soliciting random people on Mechanical Turk to determine the same thing, a new study has found. Oh, and they’re both racially biased. Julia Dressel and Hany Farid of Dartmouth college looked into the system amid growing skepticism that automated systems like COMPAS (Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions)…

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The Ocean Solutions Accelerator will nurture companies looking to keep our planet blue

The Ocean Solutions Accelerator will nurture companies looking to keep our planet blue You can’t swing a cat in the Bay Area without hitting some startup accelerator or another, but it can be hard to find one with a mission. That’s the easy part with the Ocean Solutions Accelerator, a new program that aims to help advance startups in tech and conservation relating to… you guessed it, the big blue. They’re now accepting applications for their first wave of companies this summer. The accelerator is part of the nonprofit Sustainable…

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Cloudflare Access aims to replace corporate VPNs

Cloudflare Access aims to replace corporate VPNs If you’re part of a reasonably big company, chances are there are certain resources that are only available via the intranet, internal network, or whatever your company calls it. A common way to access these from outside company property is a VPN, but VPNs are rather a clumsy solution — one companies like Google and Amazon are leaving behind. Now (Battlefield alumni) Cloudflare wants you to do the same and use its new Access service instead. The basic idea of a VPN is…

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With all 49 Democrats on board, Senate leaders sound off on plan to restore net neutrality

With all 49 Democrats on board, Senate leaders sound off on plan to restore net neutrality Democrats in the Senate have achieved unanimous party support of the plan to undo the FCC’s recently passed order gutting net neutrality. All 49 Democratic Senators and one Republican are ready and willing to officially disapprove the Restoring Internet Freedom rule, requiring only one more vote to send this bill to… its inevitable death on the floor of the House or at best the desk of the President. But don’t worry, there’s more to…

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Hawaii’s emergency alert interface looks straight out of the ’90s

Hawaii’s emergency alert interface looks straight out of the ’90s No one who’s used a long-running government website expects such things to be fancy — just functional. But there’s a limit to what can be tolerated, and I believe we’ve reached it with Hawaii’s emergency alert system, which is so dated that it would be hilarious if it hadn’t just caused a statewide panic. Geocities ain’t got nothing on this. Honolulu Civil Beat managed to get a screenshot, via Hawaii’s Office of the Governor, of the system used to launch…

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The secret to avoiding CES cynicism is never really going

The secret to avoiding CES cynicism is never really going I’ve been going to CES for almost ten years now, and it amazes me that really, nothing has changed that whole time. The same people are saying the same things on the same stages, selling the same people the same junk with slightly higher price tags. But this year I had a great time and found some amazing companies — because I avoided at all costs actually stepping foot on the show floor. The math is simple: when a company…

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