Go-Jek extends ride-hailing service to the rest of Singapore


This post is by Catherine Shu from TechCrunch


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After a limited rollout, Go-Jek said today that it will extend its ride-hailing service to all of Singapore tomorrow while continuing its beta phase. The Indonesian-based company began offering rides in Singapore at the end of November, but only for passengers riding to and from certain areas. It introduced dynamic pricing there, which increases prices during peak times, a few days ago.

“We continue to welcome feedback from driver-partners and riders during this enhanced beta phase, as we work to fine-tune the app and create the best experience for our users,” the company said in a statement.

After Uber exited from Southeast Asia earlier this year by selling its local business to Grab, Go-Jek became Grab’s main rival. Uber still maintains a presence in the region, however, thanks to its 27.5 percent stake in Grab.

There is currently a waiting list for Go-Jek in Singapore, with customers

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FCC will suspend most operations on Thursday if the shutdown continues


This post is by Catherine Shu from TechCrunch


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The Federal Communications Commission said on Monday that it will need to suspend most of its operations by the middle of Thursday if the partial government shutdown continues.

The FCC will continue “work required for the protection of life and property,” as well as work related to spectrum auctions, since those are funded by the money raised by auctioning off spectrum licenses. The Office of the Inspector General, responsible for conducting internal reviews, audits, and investigations of FCC programs and operations, will also remain open until further notice.

In a document outlining what needs to happen for an “orderly shutdown,” the FCC said suspended activities will include: “Consumer complaint and inquiry phone lines cannot be answered; consumer protection and local competition enforcement must cease; licensing services, including broadcast, wireless, and wireline, must cease; management of radio spectrum and the creation of new opportunities for competitive technologies and services for the

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In 2018 the ticketing industry finally killed the ‘sold out’ show


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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Among the many myths that were laid low in 2018, perhaps none was as welcome to throngs of live event fans as the fantasy of the sold-out show. Indeed, as the ticket market has moved to adopt new technology the new-found transparency has had one prime victim: The Sellout.

The highest-profile debunking of the sellout in sports for 2018 came from Washington, DC.

Originally reported by the Washington Post, the Washington Redskins officially ended their decade-long season-ticket waitlist this June. Once claimed to be 200,000 fans

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This clever AI hid data from its creators to cheat at its appointed task


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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Depending on how paranoid you are, this research from Stanford and Google will be either terrifying or fascinating. A machine learning agent intended to transform aerial images into street maps and back was found to be cheating by hiding information it would need later in “a nearly imperceptible, high-frequency signal.” Clever girl!

This occurrence reveals a problem with computers that has existed since they were invented: they do exactly what you tell them to do.

The intention of the researchers was, as you might guess, to accelerate and improve the process of turning satellite imagery into Google’s famously accurate maps. To that end the team was working with what’s called a CycleGAN — a neural network that learns to transform images of type X and Y into one another, as efficiently yet accurately as possible, through a great deal of experimentation.

In some early results, the agent was doing

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Epic Games surprises players on New Year’s Eve


This post is by Jordan Crook from TechCrunch


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Happy New Year!

The folks over at Epic Games have a special treat in store for players hopping on Fortnite today. In celebration of New Year’s Eve all around the world, Fortnite is having an in-game live event where a massive, dropping disco ball descends on the map each hour, on the hour.

The virtual ball drop has the same affect on players as a boogie bomb, meaning that everyone playing Fortnite is collectively dancing each time the minutes on your clock read :00.

Obviously, the clock has already struck midnight and 2019 has officially begun in many parts of the world, but the in-game ball drop threw some players off guard.

Nick Chester, Epic’s

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Echo Wall Clock review


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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This was the year Amazon went all-in on the Alexa. September saw the announcement of a new Echo Dot, Show and Plus, a subwoofer, an audio input device, an auto dongle and an amplifier. That would have been plenty, but the company also started dipping its toes into the other side of things.

2018 also found Amazon experimenting in the connected device category — namely a microwave and wall clock (oh, and a singing fish, too). It’s a strange move on the face of it. After all, there are countless companies currently vying for a small slice of that mindshare.

But Amazon’s got a few key things going for it. For one, the company stands to gain from building products that exist solely to complement its Echo devices. For another, it’s able to sell products at — or close to — cost.

The Echo Wall Clock benefits quite a

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Scarlett Johansson slams deepfakes, says she can’t stop the internet from pasting her face on porn


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Scarlett Johansson, the highest-paid actress in Hollywood, knows a thing or two about unwanted nudes making their way onto the internet. In 2012, a hacker was sentenced to 10 years in prison after leaking nude photos of her and other celebrities, setting an example to warn future thieves.

But there may be nobody to arrest, nobody even to sue, when it comes to deepfakes: AI-generated videos that seamlessly stitch Johansson and other celebs’ faces onto the bodies of porn stars having sex.

Now, Johansson has spoken out against deepfakes in an interview with The Washington Post, They’ve published her comments verbatim, so I’d suggest clicking to read the whole thing — you can practically hear her throw up her arms in exasperation.

E…

<a href="https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/31/18163351/scarlett-johansson-slams-deepfakes-internet-lost-cause">Continue reading&hellip;</a>

Tesla is keeping 44 U.S. stores open until midnight in year-end Model 3 sales push


This post is by Kirsten Korosec from TechCrunch


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Some Tesla employees will ring in the New Year on a sales floor this year as the automaker tries to liquidate its inventory of Model 3 sedans — and even its more expensive Model S and Model X vehicles — before the federal tax credit for EVs is cut in half.

In a list of updated hours, 44 of the stores, including locations in California, Minnesota, Nevada, New York and Ohio, are open until midnight Monday. Tesla has more than 100 stores and galleries in the United States. Calls made to several of these stores indicate these locations have a mix of Model 3 sedans available for pickup today. Sales associates didn’t provide specific numbers.

After midnight Monday, the $7,500 federal electric vehicle tax credit will drop to $3,750 for anyone buying a Tesla vehicle.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been using Twitter to warn of the expiring tax credit for months

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Noa’s new Alexa skill has human narrators read news from NYT, FT, Economist & others


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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News junkies who want something more in-depth than Alexa’s Flash Briefing now have a new option for listening to the day’s news – as well as features and other reporting – right from their smart speaker. A company called Noa has just launched an Alexa skill that uses human narrators to read you the news from top publishers like The New York Times, Financial Times, The Economist, and others. With the skill, you can catch up on the stories you missed while you’re doing other things – like cooking, cleaning, commuting or exercising, for example.

The skill is aimed at those who already enjoy listening to longer-form audio, like podcasts or talk radio, on their Amazon Echo or other Alexa-powered device.

The use case here is also similar to that of “read it later” apps like Pocket or Instapaper, both of which have added an audio playback option for listening

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In season 3, Netflix’s Series of Unfortunate Events has a beautiful conclusion


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<img alt="" src="https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/683LkcXnDYSQxW3lfImUzybYKfY=/632x0:3485x1902/1310x873/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/62760706/306_01_R.0.jpg" />

Given the simple structure of A Series of Unfortunate Events’ plots, it must have been tempting for Netflix to try to extend the series as long as it could. Sure, author Daniel Handler only penned 13 books in the Unfortunate Events series, but the setup of his plot could inspire any number of additional schemes where the scheming Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris) dons some ridiculous costume to try to steal the inheritance of the Baudelaire orphans. But series developers Mark Hudis and Barry Sonnenfeld took a disciplined approach to their adaptation, hewing closely to the novels’ plots, spirit, and timeline. The show’s third and final season, which premieres on January 1st, 2019, is a masterclass in how to build a faithful adaptation, and…

<a href="https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/31/18163269/series-unfortunate-events-review-netflix-season-3-lemony-snicket-daniel-handler-neil-patrick-harris">Continue reading&hellip;</a>

Netflix stops paying the ‘Apple tax’ on its $853M in annual iOS revenue


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Earlier this year, Netflix was seen testing a bypass of iTunes billing across dozens of markets worldwide. As 2018 draws to a close, Netflix – the App Store’s top grossing app – has ditched the ability for new users to sign up and subscribe to the streaming service within its iOS app across all global markets. The change means Apple will miss out on hundreds of millions in App Store revenue per year – money it would have otherwise received by way of its standard cut of in-app transactions.

According to new data compiled by Sensor Tower, Netflix grossed $853 million in 2018 on the iOS App Store. Based on that figure, Apple’s take would have been around $256 million, the firm said.

To date, the Netflix iOS app has generated over $1.5 billion through its in-app subscriptions, with Apple’s cut coming in around $450 million-plus, Sensor Tower estimated.

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Polite Fortnite Society


This post is by Jordan Crook from TechCrunch


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My parents are approaching 60. When they were young, they hung out at diners, or drove around in their cars. My generation hung out in the parking lot after school, or at the mall. My colleague John Biggs often talks of hanging out with his nerd buddies in his basement, playing games and making crank calls.

Today, young people are hanging out on a virtual island plagued by an ever-closing fatal storm. It’s called Fortnite .

The thread above describes exactly what I’m talking about. Yes, people most certainly log on and play the game. Some play it very seriously. But many, especially young folks, hop on to Fortnite

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What to expect from CES 2019


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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The timing is… less than ideal. Just as the industry is recovering from a holiday-induced hangover, we’re thrust into the country’s largest consumer electronics show. The timing, of course, is not coincidental. The show is intended to offer a preview for the tech year to come.

Many companies thrive on CES’s pace. It’s a five-day deluge of tech news, and, for many, it’s the largest platform they’ll get all year. The show is fairly unique in its ability to juggle announcements from all sizes of companies, from Samsung to startup, all vying for a little mindshare.

In recent years, its focus has shifted. Many larger companies have opted to make announcements on their own stages — and their own terms. CES, meanwhile, has changed accordingly, offering smaller companies a platform through showcases like Eureka Park, while making automotive and transportation a more essential plank of the show.

We’re about a

5g illustration taken during the inauguration of the Media group Altice' s Campus in Paris on October 9, 2018.

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Black Mirror Season 5 now coming in 2019, with more optimistic stories


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<img alt="" src="https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/tCeE2USQddleHP8Iq1RL8tIUtZE=/0x0:6720x4480/1310x873/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/62760416/BlackMirror_S4_MetalHead_00317_V1.0.jpg" />

Are you enjoying Bandersnatch, the first choose-your-own-adventure interactive episode of the oft-delightfully dystopian Black Mirror? Good, because it may be the only new episode you’ll be seeing for a while. Executive producer and co-creator Annabel Jones has confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Bandersnatch took such an “enormous” amount of effort that it wound up pushing back Black Mirror’s fifth season.

Black Mirror Season 5 is now due in 2019, a Netflix spokesperson tells The Verge, without elaborating.

It’s not clear how long a wait we’re looking at. An entire year might make sense: The New York Times reports that showrunners spent a full year on the Bandersnatch episode alone, and the past few Black Mirror projects have each…

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Gillmor Gang: Next


This post is by Steve Gillmor from TechCrunch


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The Gillmor Gang — Keith Teare, Esteban Kolsky, Frank Radice, Michael Markman, and Steve Gillmor . Recorded live Saturday December 22, 2018. 2019 — the year to come in review. Tech, Trump, Connected TV: products, services, and streams that could make a difference.

Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor

@kteare, @ekolsky, @fradice, @mickeleh, @stevegillmor

Liner Notes

Live chat stream

The Gillmor Gang on Facebook

The Verge 2018 tech report card: Streaming music


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<img alt="" src="https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/vbuhOxDMpCQsTVMiAG09smiaiOc=/0x0:2040x1360/1310x873/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/62755961/acastro_181016_1777_music_0001.0.jpg" />

Although music streaming has been an integral part of daily life for what seems like ages, both the music industry and tech companies have consistently and frustratingly been behind the curve. So in many ways, 2018 felt like the first year that both sectors embraced innovation in the world of music streaming in ways that will meaningfully affect its future. There were substantial developments on the consumer side, but this year was more impactful for artists, many of whom rely on streaming platforms as their bread and butter.

Some shifts can be attributed to the platforms themselves, as services like SoundCloud and Spotify waded into new territories like self-monetization. But the biggest change came from advocacy within the music…

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The New Horizons probe buzzes the most distant object ever encountered first thing tomorrow


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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Four billion miles from Earth, the New Horizons probe that recently sent such lovely pictures of Pluto is drawing near to the most distant object mankind has ever come close to: Ultima Thule, a mysterious rock deep in the Kuiper belt. The historic rendezvous takes place early tomorrow morning.

This is an encounter nearly 30 years in the making, if you count back to the mission’s beginnings in 1989, but it’s also been some 13 years since launch — the timing and nature of which was calculated to give the probe this opportunity after it had completed its primary mission.

New Horizons arrived at Pluto in the summer of 2015, and in its fleeting passage took thousands of photos and readings that scientists are still poring over. It taught us many things about the distant dwarf planet, but by the time it took its extraordinary parting shots of Pluto’s atmosphere,

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