Is Tesla’s Model X sun visor design genius, or overkill?

This post is by Stephen Edelstein, Green Car Reports from VentureBeat

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tesla model x

“I’m not sure anyone should have made this car,” Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said at a press conference just before the debut of the Model X crossover last month.

That somewhat unusual remark referred to the features and complexity of the new electric crossover utility vehicle.

Musk said Tesla could have taken a more conservative approach and simply modified the Model S.

Instead, the company added complex features that it admits may have been unnecessary from a strict sales perspective, though they may surprise and delight shoppers and potential buyers.

One thing’s for sure: For a battery-electric vehicle with very few moving parts in its powertrain, the Model X is indeed a complex vehicle.

Consider its sun visors.

While most designers probably don’t lose sleep over sun visors, those at Tesla took things to the extreme, according to Teslarati (via Autoblog).

The Model X’s panoramic glass roof meets

2016 Tesla Model X launch in Fremont, California
2016 Tesla Model X launch in Fremont, California

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Instagram launches a Twitter Moments-like video channel

This post is by Ken Yeung from VentureBeat

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Instagram video channel

Instagram has launched a new video channel that will feature curated photos and videos from users around specific events. Available through the photo sharing app’s Explore tab, the feature looks eerily similar to Twitter’s Moment offering, or even Snapchat. Naturally the first album, if you will, is dedicated to Halloween.

First reported by Wired, this feature opened up today for users in the United States. When viewed, it will showcase the “best videos” that users have posted on the service. It’s said that an editorial team at Instagram will play a part in choosing what’s featured. You can cycle through different video clips (they auto-play) and if you’re interested in the creator of that piece of content, you can tap on their username and go directly to their profile or to that post.

Of course if you like a video, just double tap the photo to “heart” it.

Instagram's video channelInstagram's video channel

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Stitch Is A Social Network For Seniors

This post is by Fitz Tepper from TechCrunch

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slack_for_ios_upload-13-820x400 The winner of a recent TC Radio Pitch-Off contest, Stitch is a social network designed for those over 50 years old. Headquartered in Australia, the site is designed to help members find friends, romantic companionship, or just new activities to try. Marcie Rogo, cofounder of Stitch, explained that “many older adults have lots of things they want to do, but nobody to do them with.… Read More

Hackey could make controlling your smart home as simple as turning a key

This post is by The Bridge from VentureBeat

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Cerevo hackey

(By Masaru Ikeda, The Bridge) – Tokyo-based Cerevo, the Japanese startup behind a variety of smart consumer electronics devices, unveiled a smart key switch called Hackey on Wednesday. The product is available for 9,980 yen (about $82) on their website. In conjunction with the announcement, the company just started a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogowhere backers can pre-order it for $59 plus shipping charge.

Hackey is a Wi-Fi-connected, palm-sized “key” switch. It is compatible with IFTTT and allows users to control various internet services via API by turning the key. Some examples of possible use cases include:

The Path To Expertise

This post is by Mark Engelberg from TechCrunch

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expert There’s a popular meme that it takes ten years of effortful study to become an expert at something. Studies show that in reality, the number of years varies a bit from subject to subject and from one individual to the next, but one thing is clear – expertise takes time.
Therein lies the problem. Read More

Furnageddon: Why furniture is on the cusp of big disruption

This post is by Ezra Galston, Chicago Ventures from VentureBeat

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As digital commerce has evolved over the past decade to penetrate nearly every element of our lives, one category has largely been left in the dust: furniture. But in the past 12 months disruption has accelerated exponentially – with the industry suddenly under a broad-based assault from all key angles: manufacturing, delivery, assembly, and discovery.

A few months back, I noted that furniture was one of the remaining massive categories still struggling with finding a mass-market consumer fit online. In it, I cited a conversation I’d had with a well known venture capitalist:

Similarly, [the investor] noted at the time, furniture – sofas, mattresses, tables, etc – were one of those categories that hadn’t been cracked by e-commerce. The unit economics made delivery expensive. And, like shoes, consumers wanted to try them on. Is it comfortable? Do the colors match up with your room palette? What if, he proposed

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Vodafone says hackers broke into nearly 2,000 customer accounts this week

This post is by Reuters from VentureBeat

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Pigeons fly past Vodafone branding outside a retail store in London November 12, 2013.

(Reuters) – Vodafone U.K. said on Saturday hackers had accessed the accounts of 1,827 of its customers this week, the second cyber attack on a British telecoms company this month.

The attackers had potentially gained access to the victims’ bank sort codes and the last four numbers of their bank accounts, along with their names and mobile telephone numbers, a Vodafone spokesman said.

“This incident was driven by criminals using email addresses and passwords acquired from an unknown source external to Vodafone,” he added in a statement.

Only a handful of those affected in the Thursday morning attack had seen any attempts to use their data for fraudulent activity on their Vodafone accounts.

“No credit or debit card numbers or details were obtained. However, this information does leave these 1,827 customers open to fraud and might also leave them open to phishing attempts,” the spokesman said.

The company was

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Smart ways brands can newsjack the election season

This post is by Michael Horn, Resonate from VentureBeat

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A still from Boston Market's chicken vs. turkey "Bowl Poll Campaign" video ad, run during the 2012 election season.

Earlier this week in Boulder, Colo., 11 Republican presidential hopefuls took their third shot on CNBC’s national stage of 13 million viewers to expand their support base with new campaign messages and tactics.

As we head deeper into election season, brand advertisers also have a high-stakes, high-reward opportunity to set themselves apart from their competitors by delivering relevant, timely messages to a captivated political audience. As we saw from the last presidential election season, brands such as JetBlue, Pizza Hut and PBS jumped in with clever and entertaining campaigns that leveraged current events and effectively connected with consumers … but not without risk.

JetBlue's 2012 "Election Protection" campaign.

Above: JetBlue’s 2012 “Election Protection” campaign offered customers the chance to leave the country if their candidate lost the election.

With political ad spend projected to reach $11.4 billion this season, brands will have to work hard to rise

7-Eleven's election cups from 2012.

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Deep learning startup Ersatz Labs suspends development of its cloud service

This post is by Jordan Novet from VentureBeat

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The Ersatz Labs cloud service.

Ersatz Labs, a startup specializing in a trendy type of artificial intelligence called deep learning, has suspended development of its cloud service and application programming interface (API).

The startup has dropped its headcount from around 13 to five, with three working part-time, in recent months. Earlier this month it began focusing exclusively on consulting, which is what cofounder and chief executive Dave Sullivan was doing before he started Ersatz Labs in 2013.

Other startups, like Clarifai and Metamind, offer cloud services for deep learning. The CEOs of both of those startups have PhDs and are widely recognized for their work in academic circles; both have succeeded in landing institutional venture capital backing for their startups. Ersatz by contrast, does not have PhDs onboard; Sullivan is effectively self-taught, and he suspects that could be one reason Ersatz wasn’t able to raise funding. Hence the scaling back.

“We just don’t

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How To Extract More Than Capital From Your VCs

This post is by Chase Garbarino from TechCrunch

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espresso The relationship between VCs and their portfolio companies has changed significantly over the past five or so years. In many ways it is still the same, in that VCs provide capital, then take a significant equity stake and often a board seat. However, as the funding process has become more transparent and new capital sources have emerged, startups are looking for more value from their… Read More

AppDynamics, A “Unicorn,” Raises Fresh $83.4 Million, And It’s Targeting More

This post is by Connie Loizos from TechCrunch

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appdynamics Looks like investors approve of former Adobe digital chief David Wadhwani. Just weeks after it was announced that Wadhwani has joined seven-year-old, San Francisco-based AppDynamics as its new CEO, an SEC filing shows the company has raised a fresh $83.4 million in funding as part of a round that’s targeting up to $150 million. AppDynamics makes software to monitor the performance… Read More

Checking In On Windows 10

This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch

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A Windows 10 sign on Microsoft's campus. Mired as we are in earnings season, I was slightly remiss this week in keeping tabs on Windows 10, Microsoft’s new operating system. A few things happened that are worth our time, and, as it’s the weekend, we have the minutes. First up, Microsoft detailed how it will continue to encourage — force? — users up from Windows 7 and 8 to Windows 10. Here’s the… Read More

Service robots finally start to catch on

This post is by Mo Marshall from VentureBeat

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Fellows Robots' in-store OSHBot shows a customer where to find the product she's looking for.

This is an exciting time for those of us in robotics. We are finally starting to see sales in the service robot category after years of predictions. Silicon Valley companies such as Fellow Robots, whose OSHBot assists Orchard Supply Hardware shoppers, and Savioke, whose Relay robot makes deliveries to hotel guests, are leading the way into the emerging personal and service robotics industry.

And there are plenty more. Fetch Robotics, for example, builds robots that pack boxes for e-commerce deliveries. Bossa Nova Robotics is building a new service robot. Adept produces an all purpose mobile base that can autonomously navigate around. SRI International, Eksobionics, and Pneubotics are all working on assistive technology suits to make workers stronger, or help people with disability or injury. Catalia Health and RobotsLab are incorporating AI into social robots to help people manage their medication or even act as

Fetch's warehouse robot helps workers collect and carry products for packaging
EksoBionics' exoskeleton robot can help in the rehabilitation of injured military personnel.

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