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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Your Instagram #Dogs and #Cats Are Training Facebook's AI

Paying humans to label images can get expensive. So Facebook turned to 3.5 billion Instagram photos.
Source: Wired

MoviePass brings back ‘unlimited’ movie subscription plan

It’s hard to keep track with what MoviePass is doing these days, but here’s trying. Today, MoviePass has brought back its nearly all-you-can-watch monthly movie subscription, Variety reports. With its original plan, subscribers can watch up to one movie a day, every day.

This comes after MoviePass removed this subscription last month in favor for a promotional $29.95 three-month plan that only let people see four movies a month. At the time, however, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said the move didn’t mean the unlimited plan would never come back.

“We’re continually testing various promotions with different partners, and the current iHeartRadio deal is consistent with that approach,” a MoviePass spokesperson said at the time. “This does not mean that our unlimited subscription will not be offered in the future.”

MoviePass currently offers two plans — the $9.95 a month “unlimited” one, and a $7.95 a month plan that lets you see just three movies per month and includes a three-month trial to iHeartRadio’s all-access plan.

But there’s another service on the market that’s caught my eye as of late. It’s called Sinemia, which costs $15.99 a month for three movies per month. Yes, it’s more expensive than MoviePass but the key differentiator is the fact that you can buy movie tickets online, ahead of time. With MoviePass, you have to physically go to the theater to purchase your tickets.

I’ve reached out to MoviePass and will update this story if I hear back.


Source: TechCrunch

Sad news, vinyl lovers: Shure exits phono cartridge business – CNET

Shure has been making cartridges for turntables since 1937, but no more. Its mic and headphone businesses will remain.
Source: CNET

Lyft pledges $1.5M to give free rides to low-income people – CNET

The ride-hailing company further casts itself as a good guy by expanding the Relief Rides program beyond natural disaster and crisis situations.
Source: CNET

Massage-on-demand company, Soothe, raises $31 million

The massage-on-demand service Soothe seems to be rubbing investors the right way with the close of a new $31 million round of funding.

The Series C round from late stage and growth capital investment firm, The Riverside Company, caps a busy first quarter for the massage service. It also relocated from Los Angeles to Las Vegas; named a new chief executive; and announced new geographies where its massage booking platform is now available. 

As part of the new round, chief executive and founder Merlin Kauffman is stepping down from the role and assuming the mantle of executive chairman. Current chief financial officer, Simon Heyrick, is stepping into the chief executive role.

The former CFO of MarketShare, Heyrick has helped the company expand to over 11,000 massage therapists in its network.

The company said the new round would help keep massage therapists in its network with pricing that can be up to three times more than those therapists would make in their local markets.

Beyond the new financing and a new boss, Soothe is also heading to new markets, launching services in Manchester, UK; Australia’s Gold Coast, PIttsburgh, and Hartford, Conn. (some of those places are not like the others).

Soothe isn’t the only player in the massage marketplace. New York-based Zeel also has an offering for folks who want to book massages on the fly. Zeel claims a geographic reach of 85 U.S. cities while Soothe claims roughly 60 cities worldwide.


Source: TechCrunch

MoviePass $10 Unlimited plan returns from limbo – CNET

The movie-a-day subscription pass to coax people back into the theater has returned after a brief hiatus in limbo.
Source: CNET

Lego Duplo Stories are getting an Alexa skill – CNET

Lego Duplo is adding a new level of interactivity to its stories by hooking the digital voice assistant into playtime.
Source: CNET

7 proven ways to get better sleep – CNET

Not getting enough sleep? Staying up too late? Try these smart home tips to help you sleep better.
Source: CNET

SALT Lending offers liquidity for cryptocurrency holders

SALT Lending has issued $40 million in asset-backed loans that are aimed at investors in cryptocurrencies to give them a bit of liquidity without the need to sell off assets. 

The company rolled out its first loans late in 2017 after two years spent developing the technology to make the loans work. SALT Lending relies on a multi-signature wallet that allows counter-parties in a transaction to both access the account — and a software service that marks to market the value of the cryptocurrencies held as assets.

Founded by Blake Cohen, a former real estate executive for his family’s own business, SALT Lending is Cohen’s first foray into cryptocurrency entrepreneurship.

Cohen says the idea for the service was a no-brainer. “Cryptocurrencies and blockchain assets make the ideal collateral,” says Cohen. In typical asset-backed lending the assets need to be located, seized and liquidated for lenders to be made whole. With cryptocurrencies all of those problems go away, says Cohen.

Most of the capital that SALT is lending has come from the company’s own assets — and through SALT Blockchain Asset Management, which is a fund with several individual limited partners.

Currently the company is servicing individual borrowers, but Cohen foresees a time when exchanges, miners, and large tokenized startups can gain additional liquidity through the collateralized loans.

“The current market cap [for cryptocurrencies] is $400 billion and that is totally unleveraged. That is a gigantic inefficiency in the market,” Cohen says.

The company currently offers 36 month loans and (depending on the loan to value ratio) the company will loan up to 60% of the value of the cryptocurrency collateral, says Cohen. Interest rates on the loans range from 12% to 22%, Cohn says. SALT Lending is only lending against Ethereum and Bitcoin for the moment.

“Basically the money that we put in is as a proof of concept to entice the institutional capital providers to get involved with this,” Cohen says. “This point is to one, demonstrate that there’s a market for this, and two, that you can do this and make risk palatable to the lender.”


Source: TechCrunch

Google will start investing in early-stage startups that use the Assistant

Google is betting big on the Assistant ecosystem and it’s now putting its money where its mouth is. As the company announced today, it’s launching a new program that will provide investment capital and other resources to early-stage startups that build applications in the Google Assistant ecosystem.

Typically, companies announce these kind of program to kickstart an ecosystem around a new product. While developers have already launched plenty of services for the Google Assistant, the company says that it is launching this new program to “promote more of this creativity.”

Google VP for search and the Google Assistant Nick Fox echoed this. “With the Google Assistant, we’re focused on fostering an open ecosystem for developers, device makers, and content partners to build new experiences,” he told me. “We’re already seeing a lot of creativity from developers with the Google Assistant, and to help promote this, we’re opening a new investment program for early-stage startups.”

Investments are one part of this program, but Google will also work with these startups directly to provide them mentorship and advice from engineers, product managers and design experts. The startups in the program will also get early access to new features and tools, as well as access to the Google Cloud Platform and promotional support. That sounds a bit like an accelerator program, though that’s not quite what Google is calling it.

Fox tells me that Google won’t put a cap on the investments. “We’ll invest as much as we see fit, and are focused on helping startups succeed in this emerging space,” he said. “And we’re not just offering investment capital. We’re eager to partner with these startups and leverage our company’s strengths to help these products come to market poised for success.”

The first startups in this program include GoMoment, a concierge service for hotels and Edwin, a personal English tutor, as well as the developer tools BotSociety and Pulse Labs.

These startups are good representatives of what Google is after. Fox tells me that Google is looking for startups that are “pursuing an interesting space for Assistants, such as vertical industries like travel or gaming.” In addition, Google is also looking to deepen some of its partnerships, but for the most part, it’s simply looking for startups that are pushing technologies like the Assistant forward.


Source: TechCrunch

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