Pinterest is turning more of its window shoppers into buyers with newest features
Visual search engine Pinterest is rolling out new features this morning that will make it easier for people to purchase the products on its platform.
The $12 billion company, which has 250 million monthly active users, has rebuilt the infrastructure behind its product pins with a goal of making the mobile app and website more “shoppable,” per Pinterest’s head of shopping product Tim Weingarten.
The company says since it began testing the new features in the previous quarter, clicks on products to retail sites increased by 40 percent. That’s a big win for Pinterest, whose business model relies greatly on advertising revenue.
The three new features include up-to-date pricing and stock information on all product pins with links that take pinners to the retailer’s website. Plus, a new “Products like this” category under each fashion and home decor pin, which includes stylistically similar products that Pinterest thinks that user will like. It’s also added a new shopping shortcut within the app that connects users to similar products to a given pin. That new feature is accessible when users hold down on any home or style pin and click on the price tag logo (second image below).[gallery ids="1733233,1733234,1733235"]
“When you see something on Pinterest you’d like to own you should be able to buy it, or something just like it, that matches your unique style. That’s our vision for shopping with Pinterest,” Weingarten wrote in a blog post announcing the features. “Pinterest is like your personal stylist. We can give you recommendations for products to buy based on your unique taste and what’s trending, and show you a range of visual ideas.”
Pinterest has been trying to convert its users to buyers for a long time. Last year, the company launched Pinterest Lens, which lets users take a photo of something in their existing wardrobe or a cool pair of shoes they saw someone wearing on the subway, for example, upload it into the app and instantly view that product or similar ones.
The company has no choice but to beef up its ecommerce features, not only because it’s expected to make the transition into the public markets sometime in 2019 but because even larger players in the space, namely Facebook and Instagram, have begun integrating features that make it easier for their users to discover and consider purchases.
According to a CNBC report, Pinterest is expected to double its ad revenue to $1 billion this year. To date, it’s secured more than $1 billion in venture capital funding, most recently raising $150 million at a $12.3 billion valuation.
via TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com
October 16, 2018 at 11:02AM
With $300M in new funding, Devoted Health launches its Medicare Advantage plan in Florida
Devoted Health, a Waltham, Mass.-based insurance startup, has raised a $300 million Series B and began enrolling members in eight Florida counties to its Medicare Advantage plan.
The company, which helps Medicare beneficiaries access care through its network of physicians and tech-enabled healthcare platform, has raised the funds from lead investor Andreessen Horowitz, Premji Invest and Uprising.
The company declined to disclose its valuation.
Devoted’s founders are brothers Todd and Ed Park — the company’s executive chairman and chief executive officer, respectively. Todd co-founded a pair of now publicly-traded companies, Athenahealth, a provider of electronic health record systems, and health benefits platform Castlight Health. He also served as the U.S. chief technology officer during the Obama Administration. Ed, for his part, was the chief operating officer of Athenahealth until 2016 and a member of Castlight’s board of directors for several years.
Venrock partners Bryan Roberts — Devoted’s founding investor — and Bob Kucker — its chief medical officer — are also part of the company’s founding team.
The Park brothers have tapped Jeremy Delinsky, the former CTO at Wayfair and Athenahealth, as COO; DJ Patil, a former data scientist at the White House, as its head of technology; and Adam Thackery, the former CFO of Universal American, as its chief financial officer.
Its board includes former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. As part of the latest round, A16z’s Vijay Pande will join its board, too.
The company says it’s committed to treating its customers as if they were members of its employees’ own families. For Patil, the startup’s head of tech, that’s made the entire process of building Devoted a very emotional one.
“I’ve cried a lot at this company,” Patil told TechCrunch. “You meet these seniors and they’ve done everything right. They’ve worked so incredibly hard their entire lives. They’ve given it their all for the American dream. They’ve paid into this model of healthcare and they deserve better.”
Devoted, which previously raised $69 million across two financing rounds in 2017 from Oak HC/FT, Venrock, F-Prime Capital Partners, Maverick Ventures and Obvious Ventures, has begun enrolling seniors located in Broward, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk and Seminole counties to its Medicare Advantage plan. It will begin providing care Jan. 1, 2019.
Its long-term goal is to offer insurance plans to seniors nationwide.
“We are responsible for these people’s healthcare so we need to get it right,” Patil said.
via TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com
October 16, 2018 at 11:02AM
Tuesday's Best Deals: Tires, Halloween Candy, Headphone Hook, and More
If you need a lot of extra space to store photos, videos, or console games, this 3TB Toshiba portable drive has never been cheaper than $75. It doesn’t require an extra power cord; just plug it into a USB port, and you’re ready to go.
At 9,000 mAh, this Anker jump starter is smaller than most of the competition, but can still provide up to 15 jumps on a full charge while taking up less room in your glove box, assuming your engine is 2.8L or smaller. Nobody thinks they need one of these...until their car is dead in their driveway, and they’re late to an appointment. So buy it now, and thank us later.
Just use promo code KINJAJS2 at checkout to save whopping $24.
Elevation Lab’s Anchor has long been one of our favorite headphone storage solutions, and our readers have bought thousands of them. And now, the company is raising the bar with the brand new Anchor Pro, and our readers can get it for $13 at launch with promo code ANCHORPRO.
The concept is the same--it’s still a hook that hangs under your desk to hold your headphones—but every aspect has been improved. The hook is larger, to accommodate big over-ear headphones and gaming headsets, it includes a built-in Velcro cable tie to keep your cords under control, and optional screws afford you added security, if the included 3M adhesive isn’t sufficient. It’s only a few bucks more than the original, so I see no reason not to get the Pro.
Update: Back in stock. This won’t last long!
While it doesn’t support Alexa or AirPlay 2 like the newer Sonos One, the original Sonos Play:1 is still a terrific sounding speaker that can sync up with other Sonos products for multi-room audio. Normally $149, Sonos just put a batch of certified refurbs on sale for $119, matching the best price we’ve ever seen.
Every refurbished Sonos includes the standard one-year Sonos warranty and access to their support, so there’s really no downside in going this route, if you can find refurbs in stock. Every other time Sonos has offered this deal, it’s sold out quickly.
Wondering if all those USB chargers you’ve collected actually put out as much power as they claim? This $7 dongle sits between your charger and a phone or tablet, and displays easy-to-read voltage and amperage figures so you can see how much power is really flowing through. Just be sure to use promo code HI5QMGI9 at checkout to save.
Samsung’s U3-rated microSD cards are some of the fastest and most popular options out there—I have the 128GB model in my own Nintendo Switch—and all four sizes are down to new all-time low prices today on Amazon. If you need extra space for your action cam, smartphone, tablet, Switch, or anything else, these are extremely good deals.
Update: We got a new promo code, if you were having trouble yesterday. Use code KINJA87D at checkout to save.
You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to enjoy the benefits of noise canceling headphones: These TaoTronics noise canceling over-ears are down to just $40 today with promo code KINJA87D.
I’ve actually tried these, and while the ANC isn’t as impressive as what you’d get from Sony or Bose, it definitely works, especially against consistent noises like fans or airplane engines. They’re also extremely comfortable, and fold up for easy storage. $40 is a steal, is what I’m saying.
It’s 2018, and your lighter doesn’t need fuel anymore; it just has to charge over USB. This discounted arc lighter isn’t really pocket-friendly, but its long, flexible neck makes it ideal for lighting candles, camp fires and other awkwardly-placed flammable things. Just charge the built-in battery, and you’ll be good to go for up to 1,000 uses before you have to plug it in again.
Get it for $10 today with promo code NZMJUEAM, which is the best price we’ve ever seen on one of these.
Once you have a wirelessly-charging phone, you know that you can never have enough charging pads lying around your house. This one’s only $8 today, one of the best prices we’ve seen from a pad from a major manufacturer, and a 5% coupon will save you a little extra.
Anker’s premium nylon-wrapped Lighnting cables feel ridiculously nice in the hand, are way more durable than Apple’s first party cable, and come with a lifetime warranty, so what’s not to love? Just use promo code KINJA555 on any color or either size to save.
Don’t need the fancy nylon exterior or lifetime warranty? This standard Anker cable is also down to $5 with promo code KINJA722.
VPNs have been in the news, and whether you want to get around video geoblocks, circumvent proxy filters, or just keep prying eyes out of your browsing data while using sketchy public Wi-Fi, reader-favorite Private Internet Access has a deal to fit your needs.
Private Internet Access doesn’t do much in the way of discounting, but they offer exclusive pricing and packages just for our readers that you won’t find anywhere else. Here are your options, and what you’d pay if you bought the same plan elsewhere:
These deals are only for our readers, but we aren’t sure how long they’ll be available, so go ahead and sign up while you can.
If you missed out on Amazon’s last big candy sale—or if you already ate all of the candy you bought--here’s a second chance to buy some treats, no tricks required. Assorted chocolates, fruity candies, and even things like trail mix and gum are included in the sale, but just remember, these prices go back up at the end of the day.
If your tires are about due for a replacement, Discount Tire Direct’s eBay storefront is offering a $100 discount when you spend $400 on tires and wheels (with promo code PTIRES18) , for a limited time. This isn’t a rebate like most of their deals - you’ll actually save that money at checkout, immediately.
Some of the tires also include manufacturer mail-in rebates that stack with the $100 discount, so you stand to save a lot of money here if you play your cards right. Just add $400 in eligible items to your cart, and use promo code PTIRES18 at checkout to get the deal.
My first piece of advice to new dog owners: Buy a soft crate. They can collapse to hide in the back of a closet when not in use, and you can put them in the backseat of your car without the risk of damaging your seats like a metal crate might.
This highly rated model from Noz2Noz is down to an all-time low $42 right now, and is suitable for pets up to 30 pounds.
Update: This deal is back in stock, if you missed it last month.
If someone in your household eats all the tasty marshmallow bits out of the Lucky Charms box, leaving you with nothing but replacement-level cereal, your dreams have come true.
Amazon is selling this 3 pound bag of dehydrated marshmallows for just $19, within a few cents of an all-time low. Reviewers note they taste pretty much the same as the ones that come in the Lucky Charms box, and you can shovel these in by the fistful without that pesky cereal taking up space in your stomach.
The first time we posted a deal on wool dryer balls, you guys bought thousands of them. Today’s deal is from a different brand, but $7 for a half-dozen (with code 699yazer) is a fantastic deal.
If your tool cabinet is looking a little deficient, Amazon will sell you a complete Black & Decker starter set for $57, today only in the Gold Box.
That gets you a 20V cordless drill, drill bits, a hammer, screwdrivers, a tool bag, and more. Even if you don’t need it yourself, this would be a great holiday gift for someone, say, moving into their first home or apartment.
This set typically sells for $70-$80, and today’s price is the best Amazon’s ever listed. Just remember that like all Gold Box deals, it’s only available today, or until sold out.
Victorinox’s Fibrox 8” chef’s knife is one of your favorite chef’s knives period, and by far the best value in the industry. It’s also the knife I’ve used almost every day for over six years. Amazon has it for $30 right now, which is an absolute steal for the quality you’re getting.
Packing cubes can make organizing clothes and toiletries for your next trip a little less hellish, and this highly-rated set of four from AmazonBasics is only $16 today, or about $4-$6 less than usual. I have a set of these, and absolutely love them.
Anova’s older sous-vide cookers go on sale with some regularity, but until today, we hadn’t seen a deal on the company’s newer, significantly smaller Nano circulator.
At 750W, it’s nearly as powerful as the old models, and still includes Bluetooth (but sadly not Wi-Fi), but it’ll take up a lot less space in your kitchen cabinets.In fact, this one can fit inside most drawers. Get it for $79 on Amazon right now, down from the usual $99.
Lifehacker has a great explainer on sous vide cooking for you to check out, but the basic idea is that you seal the food in a bags, and then cook it in precisely heated water over a longer period of time. It sounds weird, kind of like food hot tub, but the result is food that’s cooked to the exact right temperature all the way through.
As far as trail snacks go, Clif Bars are some of the tastiest and most filling out there, and you can save 15% on your favorite flavor today on Amazon. Just note that you’ll have to use Subscribe & Save to take advantage of the coupon (you can cancel after your first shipment), and that you won’t see the discount until checkout.
Pro tip: go for the ones with nut butter filling.
You’ve heard of Automatic’s smart driving assistant, but if $130 is too rich for your blood, this OBD2 dongle costs over 90% less (with code P6QZFB2Z), connects to any iPhone or Android device over Wi-Fi, and can fulfill many of the same functions using various third party apps.
The most obvious use case here is understanding and clearing check engine codes, but these things give you access to pretty much all of the sensor data in your vehicle, at a much more granular level than you’d get from all of the symbols in your instrument cluster.
If you’re missing a bunch of drill bits, or the ones you do have are starting to strip, you can pick up 34 new ones from Bosch today for just $7, complete with a rugged storage case. Just note that it’s an add-on item, so you’ll need to buy it as part of a larger order.
If your car doesn’t have Bluetooth built in, it’s easy to add wireless streaming and hands-free calls with a pair of deals from Anker this week.
If you have an AUX jack, you can grab this tiny Bluetooth receiver for just $11 with promo code B2EVERDL. It includes a built-in mic for calls, and a button to answer them or hang them up.
If your car’s so old that it lacks even an AUX input, this Bluetooth FM transmitter is the way to go. It takes your Bluetooth audio, and rebroadcasts it to the FM radio station of your choice. Sound quality takes a bit of a hit, but it’s a truly wireless solution, and it doubles as a dual-port car charger as well. Get it for $13 with code ROAVFFF2. It also has an AUX output, if you simply prefer this design to the other model.
Update: TRTL has added a new, cheaper award tier. “The Roamer” includes the pillow and a water-resistant carrying bag for £35.
TRTL took a stale concept, the travel pillow, and completely reinvented it with the original TRTL, a unique neck wrap with interior ribs on one side to support the weight of your head. Thousands of our readers bought the thing, and now, the company’s back with a new and improved version.
The TRTL Pillow Plus is clearly a sibling of the original TRTL, just a stronger, smarter, better looking, and more successful sibling. Everything about it has been improved - the fabric is softer and more breathable, additional padding makes the structured ribs more comfortable, and dual velcro clasps make it less likely to slip off while you’re asleep.
But the biggest change is a brand new, and completely unique, adjustable height mechanism. Seriously, I’ve never seen anything even close to this in a travel pillow. Just twist the knobs on the side to increase or decrease the height of the ribs to find your ideal fit. That makes it great for sharing with a partner of a different height, or you can adjust on the fly if you want to switch between tilting your head to the side or letting it fall forward. I’m completely comfortable calling it the best travel pillow I’ve ever used, and it’s not particularly close.
The TRTL Pillow Plus just launched on Kickstarter, with early bird pricing available, as well as bundles with extra TRTL-branded travel accessories. The first batch should ship out before the end of the year, but most of you are probably looking at early 2019.
Firstleaf is an online wine club that learns your preferences, offers tons of options, and most importantly, saves you money compared to buying from the store. It’s a solid deal any time, but it’s even better for our readers today.
Every new Firstleaf member gets an introductory delivery with three bottles of wine for just $15, plus $5 shipping. Considering that you aren’t locked in and can cancel any time, that’s a bargain. But it gets even better for our readers, as promo code Kinja will waive the $5 shipping charge, for a limited time. That’s three bottles of wine (all of mine had MSRPs over $20) for just $5 each shipped, with no commitment.
You can read more about the service in my review, but if you choose to remain a member (I did), every box thereafter includes six bottles for $80, plus $10 shipping.
It’s not like having a belt that doesn’t fit right is a huge issue; it’s definitely a personal problem. But it is really, really annoying. Ratchet belts are the answer to that small, but not insignificant problem, and MassDrop has a bunch from SlideBelts discounted to just $30 each, for a limited time. Made from vegan leather, you can choose from 10 different colors and buckle finishes at checkout.
If you’re scrambling to get your fall and winter wardrobe ready, Marmot’s sale section is taking up to 50% off “past season” styles. That doesn’t necessarily mean summer though; a bunch of coats, jackets, and pants are included as well, so bundle up and start browsing.
Need Supply Co. is going to supply you with the things you need (plus some stuff you just want) for 20% off during its rare Friends & Family sale. Men’s clothes, women’s clothes, and a great selection of household goods are included; just use promo code 20FORYOU at checkout to get the deal.
This $15 portable Thermacell mosquito repeller might allow you enjoy the outdoors again.
Place this down next to you when you’re outside, or throw in your hiking backpack and this cordless, odor-free device claims to ward off flying insects (most notably, mosquitoes) as far as 15 feet away for up to 12 hours.
After those 12 hours, you can replace the repellent mats and repellant-dispersing butane cartridge.
Most reviewers say it works pretty well, especially on days with little-to-no wind. $15 is the best price Amazon’s ever listed; I just wish it had come at the beginning of summer, rather than the beginning of fall.
The Hero’s Edition of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild—Creating a Champion looks like it’ll be the ultimate holiday gift this year for the Zelda fan with everything, and preorders just got marked down to $60, from the usual $100. And if you order now and it gets any cheaper prior to release, you’ll automatically be charged the lowest listed price.
If you have an Akira fan on your holiday shopping list, you won’t find a better gift than this stunning 35th anniversary hardcover comic box set. The 2,500+ pages are the most faithful recreations of the originals that you can buy:
Amazon’s $121 price is really good, but there are currently some third party sellers offering it for as low as $113 as well.
The Hike, the latest novel from Deadspin’s own Drew Magary, is one of the best, and weirdest, books I’ve read in years, and you can download the Kindle version for $2 today. The ending...it’s so good!
The last time we saw it on sale (over a year and a half ago!) I bothered Drew on Slack to see if he had anything to add:
The Mega Man X Legacy Collection features all eight Mega Man X games, and guess what: they hold up! Released for $40 on PS4, Xbox One, and Switch back in July, you can now pick it up for $30, on the platform of your choice.
We’re not even finished with the preseason yet, but NBA 2K19 is already on sale for $40 on PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. The microtransactions are icky, I know, but there are plenty of game modes that don’t use them, and the actual act of simulating a basketball game is still incredibly well done, even if the extraneous features are not.
Arcade1Up’s 3/4 sized arcade cabinets look stunning, include multiple games, and are a steal at $300, especially since they were supposed to cost $400, according to the original announcement. They’ve been mostly out of stock at Walmart for the last few months, but three of the five are available once again, so if you’ve got the space and the love for old arcade games, you’ll have one of these in your home this week.
Note: The Rampage/Gauntlet/Joust/Defender and Galaga/Galaxian cabinets are sold out, but the other three are available, and officially release today.
Persona 5 [PS4] | $30 | Amazon
Like RPGs? Own a PS4? Buy Persona 5 for $30, an all-time low. Check out Kotaku’s video overview above for an idea of what to expect. Spoiler alert: It’s pretty.
LEGO’s 1969 piece Saturn V Apollo kit is usually out of stock at major retailers, but Amazon actually has it on sale for $105 right now, or $15 off its MSRP right now. That’s a great price for a kit that size, let alone such a coveted one. The set lets you build and simulate an entire Apollo mission, from launch, to orbit, to moon landing, to splashdown, and the included minifigs have as much personality as Neil Armstrong.
Red Dead Redemption 2 pulls into station in just a few weeks, and you can take in all the natural splendor by playing it on a PS4 Pro . This console bundle doesn’t have a unique design like the recent Spider-Man console did, which may be a good or bad thing, depending on your preferences. But what it does have is the game, essentially for free with the purchase of the $399 console.
via Gizmodo https://gizmodo.com
October 16, 2018 at 10:57AM
Nearly Every Real FCC Public Comment Supported Net Neutrality, Stanford Study Says
Out of every original comment sent to the Federal Communications Commission about its Net Neutrality repeal proceedings, nearly all were against killing the regulations, according to a new Stanford University study. The study found that 99.7 percent of non-duplicated comments were against a repeal.
The FCC requested public comments before the commission ultimately voted in December to kill net neutrality protections. But the forum was flooded with fake comments, many of which were submitted under false identities using emails belonging to journalists, lawmakers, and dead people.
So Stanford researcher Ryan Singel set out to determine the viewpoints of the real comments. For his study, titled “Filtering Out the Bots: What Americans Actually Told the FCC about Net Neutrality Repeal,” Singel combed through the more than 22 million comments that were submitted to the FCC. He used a machine learning program to weed out the millions of comments that were fakes and duplicates—as the duplicated messages were almost certainly part of a form letter campaign.
After he filtered out those submissions, he was left with about 800,000 unique comments. Out of all those comments only 0.3 percent supported the repeal of net neutrality.
Singel found that not only were the unique comments overwhelmingly supportive of net neutrality—the statements “showed a nuanced understanding” of net neutrality policy, meaning “commenters grasp the issue.” He also found that many comments came from rural areas and Republican districts.
In a blog post about the study, Single wrote: “With the fog of fraud and spam lifted from the comment corpus, lawmakers and their staff, journalists, interested citizens and policymakers can use these reports to better understand what Americans actually said about the repeal of net neutrality protections and why 800,000 Americans went further than just signing a petition for a redress of grievances by actually putting their concerns in their own words.”
“Telecom lobbyists, FCC bureaucrats, and corrupt members of Congress have done everything in their power to downplay the massive grassroots opposition to last year’s net neutrality repeal,” Evan Greer, deputy director of digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future, said in a statement. “But when you sift through all the noise, fake comments, bots, and BS you always find the truth: no one wants their cable company to charge more fees and control what they see and do on the Internet.”
The report also points out that many comments came from districts that had “toss-up races,” suggesting public opinions on net neutrality could have a major influence the midterm elections.
via Gizmodo https://gizmodo.com
October 16, 2018 at 10:45AM
Facebook is building a camera TV set-top box codenamed Ripley
A mysterious product called “Ripley” appeared hidden besides Facebook’s new Portal smart displays in Facebook for Android’s code. Dug up by frequent TechCrunch tipster Jane Manchun Wong a week ago, Ripley’s name squared with Facebook’s VP of Portal Rafa Camargo telling us that “we’re already investing in expanding the product line with more products we want to launch next year.”
That Facebook device will be a camera-equipped device that connects to televisions to allow video chat and media content viewing, according to Cheddar’s Alex Heath.
Facebook’s Portal’s devices sit on a desk or countertop and cost $199 for a smaller screen and $349 for a bigger one. But with Ripley, Facebook could sell a much cheaper screen-less add-on for the televisions people already have.
The Ripley name could change before the eventual launch next year that Cheddar says is coming in Spring 2019. It might become something more evocative of the device’s purpose. But regardless of the name, it’s sure to encounter heavy skepticism due to Facebook’s history of privacy and security troubles. Many users don’t trust Facebook enough to put one of its cameras and microphones in its house.
Ripley is said to run on the same Portal operating system that builds off the same Android open source framework. That means it might carry a similar slate of features. Those include Portal’s auto-zooming camera that can follow users to keep them in frame, video chat through Messenger, a smart photo frame for while it’s not in use, Facebook Watch videos, Alexa voice control, and a third-party app platform including video content from outside developers.
While users might occasionally watch recipe or news videos on Portal, entertainment could be core to Ripley. The device would allow Facebook to compete with Roku, Amazon, Apple, and other set-top boxes. The device could also eventually be a natural home for Facebook’s video ads, even though it’s not putting them on Portal right now.
Along with smart speakers, whoever creates what plugs into our TVs will control a fundamental wing of future home computing. Facebook won’t surrender this market, despite its disadvantage due to its many scandals.
via TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com
October 16, 2018 at 10:38AM
Monsters you get in ‘Pokémon: Let’s Go’ can be transferred to the next main RPG
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! are designed to be accessible by players who might be unfamiliar with the other main role-playing games in the series, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a shot. This is especially true now that we know you’ll be able to transfer your monsters from the game into the next traditional Pokémon game on Switch.
The news was shared during an interview that game director Junichi Masuda gave to GameSpot, during which he added that the development team wants to ensure that players can keep using the Pokémon they’ve captured in the past.
Pokémon aren’t entirely transferable from game to game at the moment, particularly with the recent spinoff titles like Pokémon Go. You cannot add any Pokémon to your roster in that game, as you’re supposed to capture them through physical activity, but you will be able to transfer them from that game into Pokémon: Let’s Go on Switch, as long as they’re Kanto-region monsters. Alolan forms of those Pokémon introduced in Sun and Moon will also be playable in the game, and we expect to see a few surprises, as well.
Pokémon: Let’s Go ditches battling against wild Pokémon, instead using a capturing system similar to Pokémon Go, but making use of the motion controller on the Nintendo Switch. Battling against trainers remains similar to the main role-playing games, however, and you can even bring a friend along in your game to assist you with capturing and battling other Pokémon.
In addition to Pokémon: Let’s Go, Nintendo is also bringing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to the Switch this holiday season. The game includes every character even featured in a Super Smash Bros. game to date, which means we’ll be getting plenty of Pokémon. Previous monsters included Mewtwo, Pikachu, Charizard, Squirtle, and Lucario, among many others.
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! both release exclusively for Nintendo Switch on November 16. A bundle containing one version of the game as well as the optional Poké Ball Plus accessory is available, and the accessory also features functionality with Pokémon Go.
via Digital Trends https://ift.tt/2p4eJdC
October 16, 2018 at 10:30AM
Elon Musk’s settlement with the SEC approved by judge, sending shares higher
The saga between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which began with a now infamous “funding secured” tweet about taking the electric automaker private, is officially resolved.
A federal judge has approved Musk’s settlement with the SEC over securities fraud allegations. Bloomberg was the first to report the judge’s approval.
Tesla shares jumped more than 4 percent on the news.
The SEC alleged in a complaint filed in September that Musk lied when he tweeted on August 7 that he had “funding secured” for a private takeover of the company at $420 per share. Federal securities regulators reportedly served Tesla with a subpoena just a week after the tweet. The SEC filed a complaint alleging securities fraud six weeks later.
The complaint was filed after Musk and Tesla’s board abruptly walked away from an agreement with the SEC. The board not only pulled out of the agreement, it issued a bold statement of support for Musk after the charges were filed. The NYT reported that Musk had given an ultimatum to the board and threatened to resign if the board pushed him to settle.
A settlement was eventually reached anyway, albeit with stiffer penalties than the original agreement. However, this problematic chapter in Tesla’s history wasn’t over despite the two parties reaching a settlement.
An order by U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan asked the SEC and Tesla to submit a joint letter explaining why the court should approve the consent judgment. The joint letter was filed October 11. Nathan determined the consent judgment was “fair and reasonable,” and approved it Tuesday.
Musk agreed, in the settlement reached on September 29, to step down as chairman of Tesla and pay a $20 million fine.
Musk is supposed to resign from his role as chairman of the Tesla board within 45 days of the agreement. He cannot seek reelection or accept an appointment as chairman for three years. An independent chairman will be appointed, under the settlement agreement.
Tesla agreed to pay a separate $20 million penalty, according to the SEC. The SEC said the charge and fine against Tesla is for failing to require disclosure controls and procedures relating to Musk’s tweets.
via TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com
October 16, 2018 at 10:25AM
Substack celebrates its first birthday with 25K paying newsletter subscribers
It’s been a year since the launch of Substack, a platform that allows newsletter writers to build a subscription business. Today, on its first birthday, the startup has a simple message: Yes, people really are willing to pay for newsletters.
In fact, the company says there are more than 25,000 paying subscribers for Substack-powered newsletters (up from 11,000 in July). And newsletters published on the platform reach a total of 150,000 paying active readers.
Co-founder and CEO Chris Best described the pitch as, “We’ll do everything for you except the hard part,” namely writing the newsletter. It offers way to publish newsletters, charge a subscription fee and then decide which content only goes to paying subscribers.
“It’s a really simple idea,” Best said — and in his view, that’s part of what makes it powerful.
At the same time, the startup has been adding more features like gift subscriptions, podcast support and subscriber-only comments, which have the bonus of reducing troll-ish commentary from random visitors.
“We can be like, ‘Comments are for people that are paying,'” Best said. “That actually fixes a lot of the problem.”
Substack launched with Sinocism, a China-focused newsletter written by MarketWatch co-founder Bill Bishop, and apparently the paid subscription sign-ups on Bishop’s first day added up to six figures in annual revenue. Since then, writers like Judd Legum (who quit his job as editor in chief of ThinkProgress to launch his newsletter Popular Information), Toast founders Nicole Cliffe and Daniel Mallory Ortberg and Slate political correspondent Jamelle Bouie have also used Substack to create paid newsletters (though again, it’s not all behind a paywall — the platform allows them to publish a mix of free and paid content).
“One of the things striking to us is the kinds of writers,” Best added. “It’s not a particular genre or type of writer, it’s not the subject matter that determines [success]. The kinds of writers who make it work are people who have a dedicated following, that have a particular point of view that makes them indispensable.”
Best also said this is “the kind of thing you want to do whole hog.” In other words, the successful writers are passionate about their subjects and committed to the newsletter format and subscription business model, rather than asking, “How can I diversify my revenue?”
At the same time, co-founder Hamish McKenzie (a journalist himself) noted that Substack isn’t just a platform for well-known writers to start charging their existence audience for their work. For example, there’s Petition, which was launched on Substack as an anonymously-written newsletter about corporate restructuring and bankruptcy.
The Substack team didn’t get specific about plans for the year two, but Best and McKenzie made it clear that they think this reflects a broader shift away from a news and commentary model driven by social distribution and monetized by ads.
“The core thing is really simple,” Best said. “The core thing is: Publish some stuff, get people to love it and then charge them for it.”
via TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com
October 16, 2018 at 10:16AM
The Guys Behind the Best NES and SNES Clones Have Built the Ultimate Sega Console
While companies like Nintendo and Sony are content to cram a smattering of back-catalog titles into a tiny box to cash in on gaming nostalgia, Analogue has instead focused on making it easy for devoted retro gamers to enjoy all of their favorite classic games by making them shine on modern TVs. To date, the company has focused on Nintendo, but its new Mega Sg is its first throwback console for Sega fans.
We’ve gone hands-on with Analogue’s previous console clones, including the luxurious, all-aluminum Analogue Nt that played NES games, and the Super Nt that breathed life back into your old 16-bit SNES cartridges. Neither were as cheap as Nintendo’s Classic Edition consoles, but each one delivered a fantastic, modernized gaming experience, and somehow made the pixelated games of our youth look absolutely beautiful in hi-def.
The biggest appeal of Analogue’s new Mega Sg is that Sega fans don’t have to shell out the same $640 ($190 for the Super Nt + $450 for the Nt mini) to scratch all of their nostalgic itches as Nintendo fans do. For $190, when the console starts shipping in April of next year, the Mega Sg will support for several classic consoles all-in-one, including the Sega Genesis (aka Mega Drive), the Sega Master System, the old Sega SG-1000, the handheld Game Gear, and games that were playable through the Sega CD (aka Mega-CD) accessory. The console, will play Genesis games natively, Master System games with an included adapter, and will rely on additional cartridge adapters for all other systems.
If you’re wondering why the Mega Sg costs so much more than other Sega all-in-one consoles you’ve seen online for less than $50 that actually include games, it’s because there are vast differences in what you’ll find inside each one. The cheaper solutions often rely on dubiously-sourced emulators—software that pretends to be the electronics and hardware you’d find in the original consoles. They’re often underpowered (to keep costs down) which results in a gaming experience that just doesn’t feel like you remember.
Glitchy software and diminished frame rates are issues you can probably learn to ignore, but emulated Sega games are notorious for their laughably bad audio, as this video demonstrates. Analogue founder Christopher Taber is even more blunt when it comes to the performance of existing Sega throwback consoles already on the market.
For the Mega Sg, Analogue developer Kevin ‘Kevtris’ Horton spent over a year creating a custom field-programmable gate array (FPGA, for short) integrated circuit that works and behaves just like the hardware and processors that powered the original Sega consoles it supports. It’s the same approach the company has used for the Super Nt and its other console clones. Having not had a chance to try the Mega Sg yet, it remains to be seen if Analogue’s new FPGAs finally solve the Sega sound issues. But the company has an excellent track record so far, and is determined to create the end-all of retro Sega consoles so that Sonic finally looks fantastic as he races across your hi-def TV.
There’s another good reason to ditch your emulators and start digging out your old Genesis carts. The Mega Sg still works with your original, Doritos-stained wired Sega controllers, but Analogue has teamed up with 8BitDo to create a new controller called the M30 that has similar curves to the Genesis’ bundled controller, but without the hassle of cords. For $25 the M30 is rechargeable, and include a dedicated 2.4 gHz wireless adapter so you don’t have to deal with the connectivity hassles of Bluetooth.
Unlike Sega’s early consoles that embraced black to appear edgier than Nintendo’s colorful hardware, the Mega Sg will be available in four different color options, including a gleaming all-white box. And for those of you who long ago lost your Sega cartridge collections to over-zealous garage sale parents, or who’ve amassed a healthy collection of ROMs over the years (for all the games you’ve already purchased, of course!), Analogue has confirmed that the $190 Mega Sg will also be upgradeable, via unofficial third-party firmware, allowing you to load ROMs via the console’s SD card slot. For some, that could be reason alone to make the upgrade.
via Gizmodo https://gizmodo.com
October 16, 2018 at 10:03AM
Lyft's New Subscription Plan Seems Like a Legendary Ripoff
Lyft just announced the broad availability of its new All-Access Plan. This subscription-based service gets you 30 “FREE” Lyft rides (as long as those rides cost $15 or less) every 30 days for $300. After that, subscribers get a 5 percent discount on all rides. If the math that would make this a good deal seems a little suspect, that’s because it is.
For most people, the All-Access Plan would probably not make sense. You’d have to take 30 rides at $15 a ride within that 30 day window to get the maximum value out of the deal. That would mean you’re getting $450 of Lyft rides for $300. (Tip is not included.) To get any savings, on average, your rides would all have to cost more than $10, and you’d have to use all of them. As for any rides you don’t use, they do not carry over to the next month. If your average ride price falls below $10 in a given month, the All-Access Plan would likely amount to a net loss.
So this Lyft subscription thing seems like a bad deal. Lyft has been testing it in various markets for a while now, presumably to get the pricing structure down right, and it’s still not available for everyone. For the moment you have to get invited by Lyft, so it seems like the company is still targeting certain kinds of riders. The company says it’s going to be open to all “in the US by the end of the week.”
Lyft is marketing the service as a cheaper mode of transportation than owning or leasing a car. And while that might be true for a lot of people, especially when you take gas and parking into account, it’s not hard to see how Lyft’s All-Access pricing structure makes it very easy to spend even more money on Lyfts. After all, if you got rid of your car to take Lyfts everywhere, what other choice do you have?
There are a couple of groups that might like this new subscription service, regardless of whether it’s a good value. One group would be frequent Lyft users who get their rides paid for through work. A single $300 charge is easier to expense than 30 individual rides! There are also the convenience freaks, who don’t care if they use up all the rides or only a few because having it already paid for brings them peace of mind. These are the same types of folks who buy a monthly subway pass and then don’t take the train all that often. But if they need to, at least they have an operational Metrocard in their wallet. Having more money than sense must be fun.
Obviously, you don’t have to buy the All-Access Plan if you (correctly) realize it’s most likely going to be a crappy deal. The sad thing is that drivers don’t have a choice. They’ll still have to treat subscribers the same as regular riders and will get paid the same from All-Access riders as they would from regulars. As with any changes to a ridesharing business, though, it’s unclear how drivers’ pay might be affected in the long run. It does seem like riders with the All-Access Plan might forget to tip more often than others, since it’s not included in their “free” ride. With their monthly payouts already shrinking significantly according to research by the JPMorgan Chase Institute, it’s hard to see why drivers would be excited about this new initiative.
At least Lyft is probably going to make some money off of this. For every subscriber that signs up, doesn’t use their plan, and forgets to cancel, Lyft will rake in $300 for doing pretty much nothing. And maybe that’s the strategy. Just try to rake in as much of that free gig economy money before the industry gets too regulated. Time is running out.
via Gizmodo https://gizmodo.com
October 16, 2018 at 10:03AM