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Nvidia RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti review: great 4K gaming, excellent cooling, ray tracing tech has potential, but expensive and there are few games…

Devindra Hardawar / Engadget : Nvidia RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti review: great 4K gaming, excellent cooling, ray tracing tech has potential, but expensive and there are few games optimized for it   —  NVIDIA's new RTX graphics cards are for the gamer that wants it all.  I'm talking about 4K gaming beyond 60 frames per second, with the graphics settings dialed to the max.

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Marvel superheroes like Loki and Scarlet Witch may get their own streaming shows

It looks like we’re getting more details about the superhero side of Disney’s planned ( and apparently still-unnamed ) streaming service, thanks to a story in Variety . We already knew that the Disney service would include original Marvel and Star Wars shows. On the Star Wars side, there’s a revival of “The Clone Wars” and a live action series produced by Jon Favreau , for which Disney might pay $100 million for the first 10 episodes . Now Variety is reporting that Disney has plans for limited series that will star Marvel superheroes like Loki and Scarlet Witch (yes, they’re actually reformed supervillains, but let’s not get technical here). Basically, these are characters who are popular but maybe not popular enough to carry a big-budget film on their own. That also means you shouldn’t expect an Iron Man or Captain America series. Disney and Marvel haven’t confirmed any of these plans, but this does sound like a plausible approach. Apparently, the goal is to create limit series of six to eight episodes. And The shows be much more closely linked to the Marvel Cinematic Universe than previous Marvel TV. The characters will be played by the same actors who portrayed them on the big screen, and where previously, and the shows will be produced by the previously movie-focused Marvel Studios . ( Disney separated Kevin Feige’s Studios unit from Marvel Entertainment in 2015. )

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EU antitrust regulator eyeing Amazon’s use of merchant data

The European Union’s competition commission is looking into how Amazon uses data from retailers selling via its ecommerce marketplace, Reuters reports. Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager revealed the action today during a press conference. “We are gathering information on the issue and we have sent quite a number of questionnaires to market participants in order to understand this issue in full,” she said. It’s not a formal antitrust probe at this stage, with Vestager also telling reporters: “These are very early days and we haven’t formally opened a case. We are trying to make sure that we get the full picture.” The Commission appears to be trying to determine whether or not third-party merchants selling on Amazon’s platform are being placed at a disadvantage vs the products Amazon also sells, thereby competing directly with some of its marketplace participants. Companies found to be in breach of EU antitrust rules can be fined up to 10 per cent of their global annual turnover. We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment. In recent years the ecommerce giant has greatly expanded the own-brand products it sells via its marketplace, such as via its Amazon Elements line, which includes vitamin supplements and baby wipes, and AmazonBasics — which covers a wide array of ‘everyday’ items including batteries and even towels. The company does not always brand its own-brand products with the Amazon label, also operating a raft of additional own brands — including for kids clothes, women’s fashion, sportswear, home furnishings and most recently diapers , to name a few. So it is not always immediately transparent to shoppers on its marketplace when they are buying something produced by Amazon itself. Meanwhile, tech giants’ grip on big data has been flagged as a potential antitrust concern by Vestager for several years now. In a speech at the DLD conference back in  2016  she said: “If a company’s use of data is so bad for competition that it outweighs the benefits, we may have to step in to restore a level playing field,” adding then that she was continuing to “look carefully at this issue”. It’s not clear how the Amazon probe will pan out but it signifies a stepping up of the Commission’s action in this area. The EU also issued Google with a recordbreaking $5BN fine this summer, for abusing the dominance of its Android mobile operating system.

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Wove raises $9M to help companies form strategic marketing partnerships

After rebranding earlier this year and scrapping pretty much their whole mobile ads business, Wove , formerly known as TapFwd , has a fresh plan to disrupt the marketing industry. Co-founders Eddie Siegel and Alex Wasserman have built what they call a brand collaboration network, a new way for companies to form marketing partnerships with similar brands. They say sourcing and closing a deal with another company on Wove is as easy as sending a Facebook friend request. “Marketers don’t want to sell data with each other and they don’t want to share data with each other,” Siegel told TechCrunch. “They want to grow their core business and leverage their data assets without having to share it with another company, and they need a third party network to form these partnerships.” With the launch of their latest product comes new money: Wove has raised $9 million in a round led by August Capital, with participation from new investors Origin Ventures, Walmart’s SVP of U.S. e-commerce Anthony Soohoo, Canaan Partners general partner Deepak Kamra and existing investors Partech Partners, Angel Pad and Tekton Ventures. Partech previously led TapFwd’s $3 million seed round. To develop a marketing partnership with Wove, a company has to sign up and pay an annual fee. Once you have an account, Wove will make recommendations of companies — other Wove users — to work with based on their market and/or customer demographic. When a pair of companies express mutual interest, Wove handles the execution and measures the effectiveness of the partnership with its suite of digital tools built into the platform. Here’s an example of a hypothetical partnership born out of Wove: A dog-walking startup like Wag logs onto Wove and is matched with Ollie, a dog food startup. The pair agree to set up a short-term promotion, providing discounts to Ollie customers if they set up a Wag account and vice versa. Wove then negotiates the terms of the partnership, develops the promotional materials and ultimately determines how well that partnership bolstered the businesses.  The idea for this marketing matchmaking service came, Siegel says, from TapFwd’s customers

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Fitbit launches a new premium fitness coaching service called Fitbit Care, available via a new Fitbit Plus app, that also lets users connect with…

Ashley Carman / The Verge : Fitbit launches a new premium fitness coaching service called Fitbit Care, available via a new Fitbit Plus app, that also lets users connect with their doctors   —  Today, Fitbit announced a new service called Fitbit Care that'll coach users on staying well, whether that means sticking to their fitness plans or managing diseases.

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Ghostery revamps its privacy-focused mobile browsers

Ghostery is launching new versions of its browsers for iOS and Android. In fact, Director of Product Jeremy Tillman said this is the first big update to Ghostery’s mobile browsers in several years. It’s not that mobile wasn’t a priority for the team before this, but Tillman said, “In our previous company, we didn’t have a ton of resources — we always had to choose which thing to work on.” Apparently that changed last year with Ghostery’s acquisition by German browser company Cliqz . The first big launch after the acquisition was Ghostery 8 , the latest version of the team’s privacy-focused extension for desktop browsers. Next up: Bringing those features over to mobile. Tillman said the goal was to create “a browser that can go toe-to-toe with Chrome” while also incorporating Ghostery’s privacy protection capabilities. Those capabilities include the ability to block different kinds of ad tracking by category (tracking for advertising, adult advertising and site analytics are turned on by default). There’s also a built-in ad blocker, and Ghost Search, a privacy-focused search engine based on Cliqz technology that does not store any personally identifiable information. (If you’re not satisfied with the Ghost Search results, you can also see results from other search engines.) The presentation is different from a standard search engine, with three “dynamic result cards” that surface content as soon as you start entering search terms. And there’s Ghostery Tab, a home screen that highlights your favorite or most visited sites, as well as the latest news stories. The Android version includes additional features, including AI-powered anti-tracking and “smart blocking” that’s supposed to improve page performance. Tillman described the result as “a cleaner, faster, safer mobile browsing experience.” He also said that moving forward, Ghostery will be working to provide “an ecosystem of products” that “protect our users wherever they’re interacting with the Internet.” The launch comes as the big Internet platforms face growing scrutiny over how they handle user data. Tillman argued that by simply giving consumers a more privacy-friendly alternative, “We’re sort of collectively negotiating a better Internet for them” — and he’s hoping Ghostery can be more involved as publishers try to find alternatives to advertising.

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iOS 12.1 beta hints at new iPad Pro

iOS 12 is still brand new , but Apple is already testing iOS 12.1 with a developer beta version. Steve Troughton-Smith and Guilherme Rambo found references to a brand new iPad that would support Face ID. First, there are changes to Face ID. You can find references to landscape orientation in the iOS 12.1 beta. Face ID on the iPhone is limited to portrait orientation. Chances are you didn’t even notice this limitation because there’s only one orientation for the lock screen and home screen. But the iPad is a different story as people tend to use it in landscape. And even when you hold it in landscape, some people will have the home button on the left while others will have the home button on the right. In other words, in order to bring Face ID to the iPad, it needs to support multiple orientations. This beta indicates that iOS 12.1 could be the version of iOS that ships with the next iPad. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a new device codename in the setup reference files. This device is called iPad2018Fall, which clearly means that a new iPad is right around the corner. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously indicated that the iPad Pro could switch from Lightning to USB-C

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Fresh out of Y Combinator, Leena AI scores $2M seed round

Leena AI , a recent  Y Combinator graduate focusing on HR chatbots to help employees answer questions like how much vacation time they have left, announced a $2 million seed round today from a variety of investors including Elad Gil and Snapdeal co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal. Company co-founder and CEO Adit Jain says the seed money is about scaling the company and gaining customers. They hope to have 50 enterprise customers within the next 12-18 months. They currently have 16. We wrote about the company in June when it was part of the Y Combinator Summer 2018 class. At the time Jain explained that they began in 2015 in India as a company called Chatteron. The original idea was to help others build chatbots, but like many startups, they realized there was a need not being addressed, in this case around HR, and they started Leena AI last year to focus specifically on that. As they delved deeper into the HR problem, they found most employees had trouble getting answers to basic questions like how much vacation time they had or how to get a new baby on their health insurance. This forced a call to a help desk when the information was available online, but not always easy to find. Jain pointed out that most HR policies are defined in policy documents, but employees don’t always know where they are. They felt a chatbot would be a good way to solve this problem and save a lot of time searching or calling for answers that should be easily found

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