Mark Raby

Tesla working on music streaming service: report

Tesla, Inc. is reportedly in talks with music labels to come out with its own music streaming service that would supposedly compete with an already saturated market, and presumably focused only on the experience of listening to music in your car.

This comes from a report from Recode, which has quoted a Tesla spokesperson on record as saying, "We believe it’s important to have an exceptional in-car experience so our customers can listen to the music they want from whatever source they choose."

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will reportedly be revealed in August

Samsung logo building

The Galaxy Note brand is alive and well, as Samsung will be officially unveiling the new, hopefully non-exploding addition to the premium large-size smartphone line near the end of August.

That report comes from Reuters, which cited "a person familiar with the matter," as saying the official reveal will happen at a typical New York City Samsung event later this summer.

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Uber is rolling out the ability to tip drivers, other features

In what is one of the most fundamental changes ever made to Uber's business model, the ride sharing app has begun to roll out an update that will allow users to tip drivers, reversing a policy it had in place from day one as potentially the biggest differentiating factor between it and standard taxicab services.

Indeed, Uber's dominance in the on-demand transportation space was built almost entirely because of its cost effectiveness, with fares often less than half of what you might pay for a traditional taxi. Intentionally precluding the ability to tip your driver was an essential part of that value promise.

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Adobe Advertising Cloud TV to deliver highly targeted TV ads

Since the dawn of time, watching TV has always been an exercise in patience and frustration. Just as you're beginning to enjoy the unfolding storyline in your favorite shows or movies, they are interrupted by a series of commercials that you most likely are not going to find useful or interesting.

That has been starting to change over the past few years as the entire advertising landscape has undergone massive paradigm shifts, but there's still a lot of work to be done in the prehistoric landscape that is traditional TV ad buying. Enter Adobe.

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Amazon to buy Whole Foods as its grocery store revolution continues

Amazon's increasingly overt and aggressive push into the grocery retail market has officially gone into full-blown, alarm-blaring fever-pitch mode today as its plans to acquire the brick-and-mortar chain Whole Foods was publicly announced.

Under the terms of the tentative deal, Amazon will pay $42 per share of Whole Foods stock for a total purchase price of $13.7 billion. At the end of trading yesterday, Whole Foods was going for around $33 per share, making Amazon's offer represent a reasonable 27 percent premium.

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Microsoft boasts artificial intelligence that can 'beat' Ms. Pac-Man

Move over, Billy Mitchell. There's a new 1980s arcade video game master, and his name is...well, he doesn't have a name. And it's also not a "he" -- it's Microsoft's latest demonstration of artificial intelligence.

The team at Maluuba, a Canadian artificial intelligence firm acquired by Microsoft earlier this year, has managed to program a system that can play the Atari 2600 version of Ms. Pac-Man indefinitely without ever being hit by a ghost, allowing it to rack up a score of 999,990 before being reset to zero.

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Nintendo very briefly confirms new Pokémon game on Switch

Likely to emerge as the biggest story out of today's latest round of news at the 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Nintendo has announced that it is working on a new Pokémon title for its Switch console.

In the very brief announcement, the title was described as a new entry to the "core RPG" series of Pokémon games. Presumably that means it will be the launching pad for a new generation of Pokémon creatures, and if so, it would be the first time that has happened on a home console.

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Minecraft is going cross-platform! For real! Kind of...

At its annual laser-laden, pyrotechnics-padded, 110-minute trailer fest, also known as the Xbox E3 2017 briefing, Microsoft showcased dozens of titles that will be coming to the Xbox One (and Xbox One S/Xbox One X) over the next several months. But developer Mojang also made some news during the event. It announced that its incredibly popular game Minecraft will be playable online across multiple devices and multiple platforms.

You may have heard terms like "cross-platform" in various descriptions and releases of Mincecraft titles, but until now that term has confusingly and incompletely been used for very specific platform integrations. For example, those playing the Windows 10 edition of the game can play alongside those who are playing on an iPad or Android tablet. However, Xbox One players -- for now -- can only interact with Xbox One players.

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Verizon is taking an ax to the Yahoo and AOL workforce

In case you haven't been following the news about 23-year-old Internet company acquisitions, Verizon announced 11 months ago that it had entered into an agreement to buy Yahoo for $4.83 billion. That deal, with some modifications, was officially approved and finalized yesterday, and it is expected to be completely closed on June 13.

When that happens, the telecommunications giant plans to combine those newly acquired assets with AOL, which it also owns, into a new media conglomerate. And of course, when you hear the word "combine," the next word you'll hear is "layoffs."

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Microsoft trademarks 'Direct Reality', but no one knows what it means

With the annual video game mega-trade show, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), just days away, everyone is going crazy over any little new morsel of information relating to the Xbox, PS4, or Nintendo Switch.

It doesn't get any littler than an unexplained trademark filing, but the timing is right for Microsoft's new "Direct Reality" trademark to have something to do with what the company plans to reveal next week.

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Samsung patent sparks smart speaker rumors

Samsung logo building

Continuing what has already been a newsworthy week for the world of smart speakers, rumors are beginning to circulate that Samsung plans to get in the game with its own news-reading, weather-watching, talking tabletop device.

It seems a logical progression for the smart device giant, after it launched its own voice assistant platform, Bixby, with the Galaxy S8 line of smartphones. That would presumably be the same platform that Samsung would use in a proprietary smart speaker.

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Google confirms Home devices are facing widespread breakdown

What happens when a digital assistant decides it no longer wants to help you? In what is either a case of a sentient digital uprising, or just a software bug that Google is scrambling to fix, owners of a Google Home smart speaker may be waking up today to realize their daily dose of traffic conditions and weather updates are not being delivered to them on a cloud-based silver platter as usual.

First brought to attention by a user on the official Google Home Help Forum a few days ago, many users are discovering that every single "OK, Google" request they make to the digital speaker is being met with an automated error message.

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MLB strikes deal with Intel for live VR broadcasts

Take me out to the ballgame, but keep me away from traffic and overcrowded stadium annoyances. With a new partnership between Major League Baseball and Intel, you'll be able to experience what it's like to be sitting up close to the action (or if you prefer, back in the bleachers), no matter where you are.

The partnership involves Intel's True VR app, which is available for the Samsung Gear VR platform, which will broadcast one live MLB game every week for the entirety of the regular 2017 season: beginning next Tuesday, June 6.

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Xbox Game Pass opens up to everyone

Microsoft has officially launched its Xbox Game Pass service, allowing gamers to play Xbox 360 and Xbox One games in a streaming capacity, for all Xbox One users.

The service, which debuted to monthly-fee-paying Xbox Live Gold members last week, has more than 100 available titles (consisting of both Xbox One and Xbox 360 games). As soon as you subscribe, you're instantly able to play any and every title in that list. As long as you keep your subscription, you can keep playing. Microsoft says it will continue to update and add new titles to the burgeoning collection on a monthly basis.

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Minecraft 'Discovery' update hits Windows 10/Pocket editions, has llamas

Minecraft developer Mojang has just announced the release of the latest update to its block-stacking, world-building smash hit video game. The "Discovery" update brings the Pocket Edition and Windows 10 editions of the game from version 1.0.9 to 1.1.0.

First announced in March, the update includes a new world, called Woodland Mansions, to explore. It also adds a smattering of new achievements, and ultra exciting glazed terracotta blocks (to say nothing of the concrete and concrete powder). And that's just the beginning.

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