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Casio adds modern tech to the classic G-Shock watch

Casio released the first G-Shock watch in 1983. The original set the bar for tough watches with incredible shock resistance to protect the quartz module. It’s a classic and still available for purchase in several forms in 2018. Recently, Casio released an all-metal version of the watch that features the iconic design but with modern technology like Bluetooth connectivity. This isn’t a smartwatch, but simply a watch that’s a bit smarter than most. The Bluetooth function is simple and worth a look. It gives owners an easy way to access settings. Instead of navigating through the menus on the watch, owners can use a smartphone app to sync the watch to the phone’s time, adjust settings and set alarms and reminders. It takes just one button press on the watch and for the owner to launch the app. The watch does not have to be connected through the phone’s Bluetooth menu; the app takes care of it all. I found the experience a refreshing update. I don’t need a smartwatch all the time but there are advantages to connecting a watch to a phone. If this is a glimpse at the future of timekeeping, I’m all in. I enjoy a complicated complication as much as the next guy, but sometimes it’s overwhelming to set the primary timezone let alone the alarm. I don’t mind when an app can do it for me

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Adobe is bringing Photoshop CC to the iPad 

It’s no secret that Adobe is currently in the process of modernizing its Creative Cloud apps and bringing them to every major platform. Today, the company is using its Max conference in Los Angeles today to officially announce Photoshop CC for the iPad . Sadly, you won’t be able to try it today, but come 2019, you’ll be able to retouch all of your images right on the iPad. And while it won’t feature ever feature of the desktop from the get-go, the company promises that it’ll add them over time. As with all of Adobe’s releases, Photoshop for iPad will play nicely with all other versions of Photoshop and sync all the changes you make to PSD files across devices. Unsurprisingly, the user experience has been rethought from the ground up and redesigned for touch. It’ll feature most of the standard Photoshop image editing tools and the layers panel. Of course, it’ll also support your digital stylus. Adobe says the iPad version shares the same code base as Photoshop for the desktop, “so there’s no compromises on power and performance or editing results.” For now, though, that’s pretty much all we know about Photoshop CC on the iPad. For more, we’ll have to wait until 2019. In a way though, that’s probably all you need to know. Adobe has long said that it wants to enable its users to do their work wherever they are. Early on, that meant lots of smaller specialized apps that synced with the larger Creative Cloud ecosystem, but now it looks as if the company is moving toward bringing full versions of its larger monoliths like Photoshop to mobile, too.

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Adobe is bringing Photoshop CC to the iPad 

It’s no secret that Adobe is currently in the process of modernizing its Creative Cloud apps and bringing them to every major platform. Today, the company is using its Max conference in Los Angeles today to officially announce Photoshop CC for the iPad . Sadly, you won’t be able to try it today, but come 2019, you’ll be able to retouch all of your images right on the iPad. And while it won’t feature ever feature of the desktop from the get-go, the company promises that it’ll add them over time. As with all of Adobe’s releases, Photoshop for iPad will play nicely with all other versions of Photoshop and sync all the changes you make to PSD files across devices. Unsurprisingly, the user experience has been rethought from the ground up and redesigned for touch. It’ll feature most of the standard Photoshop image editing tools and the layers panel. Of course, it’ll also support your digital stylus. Adobe says the iPad version shares the same code base as Photoshop for the desktop, “so there’s no compromises on power and performance or editing results.” For now, though, that’s pretty much all we know about Photoshop CC on the iPad. For more, we’ll have to wait until 2019. In a way though, that’s probably all you need to know. Adobe has long said that it wants to enable its users to do their work wherever they are. Early on, that meant lots of smaller specialized apps that synced with the larger Creative Cloud ecosystem, but now it looks as if the company is moving toward bringing full versions of its larger monoliths like Photoshop to mobile, too.

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Did you score tickets to Startup Battlefield Africa 2018?

In just about two months, the TechCrunch crew will head to Lagos, Nigeria to host the day-long, action-packed Startup Battlefield Africa 2018 . Come join us and watch the founders of Africa’s best early-stage tech startups compete for the glory, cash and investor love that only Startup Battlefield provides. We have a limited number of spectator tickets available for the December 11 event, so don’t waste time — buy your ticket here today. We’re not kidding when we call this an action-packed day. While the Battlefield pitch competition is the crown jewel, we’re also creating a slate of outstanding speakers who will hold forth on vital topics affecting the region. Topics like venture capital investing, something that Kola Aina , CEO and founder of Lagos-based Ventures Platform, will be on hand to discuss. And if blockchain is your bag, you won’t want to miss hearing IIyinoluwa Aboyeji ’s take on that subject. He’s the founder and CEO of Flutterwave, a Lagos-based payment solution startup designed to transfer funds between Africa and abroad. If you haven’t heard, we recently announced that Omobola Johnson , a senior partner at TLcom Capital, and Lexi Novitske , the principal investment officer for Singularity Investments, will take part in a panel discussion. Keep an eye on TechCrunch, because we’ll be announcing even more speakers in the coming weeks. Okay, let’s talk about the main event. Startup Battlefield consists of three preliminary rounds with up to five startups in each round. Each startup team gets six minutes to pitch and present a live demo to a panel of judges consisting of top tech founders and VCs. Those judges then have six minutes to question each team thoroughly. No more than five teams move to the finals for another round of pitches and more probing inquisition.

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Distributed kitchen service Pilotworks is shutting down

Pilotworks , the distributed kitchen service which raised $13 million in venture funding from investors including Campbell’s Soup Co.’s investment arm, is shutting down. The company issued a brief statement on its website yesterday with the news It is with a heavy heart that after failing to raise the necessary capital to continue operations, Pilotworks will cease operations on October 13th, 2018. We realize the shock of this news and the disruption it causes for the independent food community we were so honored to serve. This is a sad outcome for Pilotworks, the makers in our kitchens, and independent food in general. We wish there was another option to continue operating. Sadly, there was not. The work the independent food community is doing is amazing and inspiring. We know it will live on and we are deeply sorry it will not be with Pilotworks. Questions can directed to  questions@pilotworks.com  and we will make every attempt to answer them the best we can. Regretfully, Pilotworks Even as Pilotworks closes its doors. Other startups are ramping up distributed kitchens to appeal to established chains and new food concepts. The next big restaurant chain may not own any kitchens It seems that by focusing on new food entrepreneurs rather than reaching out to established chains, Pilotworks wasn’t able to reach the scale that its investors had hoped for.

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NASA plans ‘on schedule’ Soyuz launch despite failure of Russian rocket

The high-profile failure of a normally reliable Soyuz rocket during a crewed mission to the International Space Station earlier this week spooked the space community in more ways than one, but NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said he expects to launch a new crew in December via Soyuz anyway. Speaking to reporters at the US embassy in Moscow (as reported by the AFP ), Bridenstine observed that “not every mission that fails ends up so successful.” and indeed the malfunctioning rocket very fortunately did not cause any loss of life, as the escape system built into the launch hardware functioned as designed. Astronauts land safely after Soyuz launch fails at 20 miles up Astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin landed safely some 250 miles away from the launch site after the capsule detached about 90 seconds into launch and deployed its parachute. Although it’s too early for investigators to tell what went wrong, Bridenstine is apparently confident enough in the Soyuz system and the team at Roscosmos that he indicated a new crewed capsule could go up before the end of the year. “I fully anticipate that we will fly again on a Soyuz rocket and I have no reason to believe at this point that it will not be on schedule,” he said. That mission would be in December, meaning the current 3-person crew aboard the ISS wouldn’t have to extend their stay (as some thought they might), nor would the ISS have to fly empty for any period of time. The latter possibility made many uneasy, as the ISS is designed to be able to fly solo for a while, but it would be risky to have no one there in case of problems, and many experiments could also fail. The Soyuz launch system is the only one currently available to send humans to space. SpaceX and Boeing are working hard on changing that but their solutions are a long way from ready. If some serious flaw were to be found in the Soyuz system it would essentially maroon humanity on the Earth until a solution is found. Fortunately Soyuz has proven itself many times over and it’s more likely that it will fly again soon. Bridenstine’s confidence doesn’t launch a rocket on its own of course — the investigation of the rocket failure continues and the two space agencies will have to negotiate how to put a new crew in the station ahead of the original schedule

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Snapchat now has cat lenses. (Yes, for your cat.)

It’s 8:00 PM on Friday night and you’re home alone and already drunk. Oh, is that just me? Well no matter. Snapchat has made lenses for your cat now. Yes, that’s right. Your cat! This is what the internet is made for, friends. Not all that fake news and trolling. Not having to read tweets where people use words like “woke” unironically. Cat lenses!  So technically, I guess, Snapchat added the ability to recognize things in your photos last November , like food, sports, and even pets, then suggest appropriate filters – like a sticker that says “IT’S A PAWTY” above a photo of a dog. But now you can put a set of matching glasses on yourself and your cat. Or give you and your cat rainbow unicorn horns. Or give Mr

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FCC resorts to the usual malarkey defending itself against Mozilla lawsuit

Mozilla filed a lawsuit in August alleging the FCC had unlawfully overturned 2015’s net neutrality rules, by among other things “fundamentally mischaracterizing how internet access works.” The FCC has filed its official response, and as you might expect it has doubled down on those fundamental mischaracterizations. The Mozilla suit, which you can read here or embedded at the bottom of this post, was sort of a cluster bomb of allegations striking at the FCC order on technical, legal, and procedural grounds. They aren’t new, revelatory arguments — they’re what net neutrality advocates have been saying for years. There are at least a dozen separate allegations, but most fall under two general categories. That the FCC wrongly classifies broadband as an “information service” rather than a “telecommunications service.” There’s a long story behind this that I documented in the Commission Impossible series. The logic on which this determination is based has been refuted by practically every technical authority and really is just plain wrong . This pulls the rug out from numerous justifications for undoing the previous rules and instating new ones. That by failing to consider consumer complaints or perform adequate studies on the state of the industry, federal protections, and effects of the rules, the FCC’s order is “arbitrary and capricious” and thus cannot be considered to have been lawfully enacted. The FCC’s responses to these allegations are likewise unsurprising. The bulk of big rulemaking documents like Restoring Internet Freedom isn’t composed of the actual rules but in the justification of those rules. So the FCC took preventative measures in its proposal identifying potential objections (like Mozilla’s) and dismissing them by various means. These are the arguments against net neutrality and why they’re wrong That their counter-arguments on the broadband classification are nothing new is in itself a little surprising, though. These very same arguments were rejected by a panel of judges in the DC circuit back in 2015

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At 10 trillion frames per second, this camera captures light in slow motion

Light is the fastest thing in the universe, so trying to catch it on the move is necessarily something of a challenge. We’ve had some success, but a new rig built by Caltech scientists pulls down a mind-boggling 10 trillion frames per second , meaning it can capture light as it travels along — and they have plans to make it a hundred times faster. Understanding how light moves is fundamental to many fields, so it isn’t just idle curiosity driving the efforts of Jinyang Liang and his colleagues — not that there’d be anything wrong with that either. But there are potential applications in physics, engineering, and medicine that depend heavily on the behavior of light at scales so small, and so short, that they are at the very limit of what can be measured. You may have heard about billion- and trillion-FPS cameras in the past, but those were likely “streak cameras” that do a bit of cheating to achieve those numbers. A light pulse as captured by the T-CUP system. If a pulse of light can be replicated perfectly, then you could send one every millisecond but offset the camera’s capture time by an even smaller fraction, like a handful of femtoseconds (a billion times shorter). You’d capture one pulse when it was here, the next one when it was a little further, the next one when it was even further, and so on. The end result is a movie that’s indistinguishable in many ways from if you’d captured that first pulse at high speed. This is highly effective — but you can’t always count on being able to produce a pulse of light a million times the exact same way. Perhaps you need to see what happens when it passes through a carefully engineered laser-etched lens that will be altered by the first pulse that strikes it.

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Facebook bans hundreds of clickbait farms for ‘coordinated inauthentic behavior’

Facebook has announced a relatively small but significant purge of bad actors from the platform: 810 pages and accounts that have “consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior.” It may not seem like a lot, but it sounds like the company is erring on the side of disclosure even if the news isn’t particularly hard-hitting. These were not, as far as Facebook could tell, part of an organized nation-state effort or political interference campaign, like the Iranian and Russian groups previously highlighted in these ban alert posts. These are pages that use networks of fake accounts and pages to drive traffic to clickbait articles strictly for the purpose of ad revenue. Facebook and Twitter remove hundreds of accounts linked to Iranian and Russian political meddling 810 can’t be much more than a drop out of the bucket of fake accounts on Facebook — of which there are millions — but the company’s focus right now isn’t individual bad actors but coordinated ones. A few hundred accounts working together to do a bit of ad fraud produces a sort of digital footprint that might look similar to a a few hundred accounts working together to push a political narrative or sow discontent.  And one can turn into the other quite easily. There are patterns of logins, likes, visits, account creation, and so on that Facebook has been working hard to identify — recently, at least. Although they’ve designed their net to catch the nation-state actors and large-scale operations that have previously been uncovered, small fry like these spammers are getting tangled up as well. Not a bad thing. “Given the activity we’ve seen — and its timing ahead of the US midterm elections — we wanted to give some details about the types of behavior that led to this action,” the company wrote on its blog. No doubt they also want to give the impression that there is indeed a cop on the beat. Expect more announcements like this through the midterms as Facebook strives to make it clear that it is working round the clock to keep you, its valuable product users, safe .

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Half of all devices now run iOS 12

Half of all devices are now running the latest version of the iOS mobile operating system, iOS 12, according to figures shared by Apple. On devices introduced in the last four years, that number is as high as 53 percent. And iOS 12 adoption is taking place more quickly than the last release did, Apple also notes. As we previously reported , it took until November 6, 2017 for iOS 11 reach 52 percent of all current iPhones and iPads. iOS 12 achieved that milestone in mid-October. Apple’s new figures, available here on its Apple Developer website , also confirm a third-party report released last week, which claimed to show a similar trend. According to Mixpanel’s findings , then roughly 47.6 percent of all iOS devices were running iOS 12, while 45.6 percent were running iOS 11. The remaining devices were running an older version, it had said. Apple’s data backs this up, too, showing iOS 12 at 53 percent on all devices introduced since September 2014, followed by iOS 11 at 40 percent, then the remaining 7 percent running an earlier version of iOS. In terms of all iOS devices, Apple’s figures are: iOS 12 at 50 percent, iOS 11 at 39 percent, with 11 percent running an earlier iOS version. The adoption rates related to the new version of Android look far different, by comparison . The latest release, Android Oreo (8.0 and 8.1), runs on just 19.2 percent of devices. Nougat, Marshmallow, Lollipop, and KitKat still have large install bases as well, at 20.3 percent, 21.6 percent, 18.3 percent, and 7.8 percent, respectively.

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Astronauts land safely after Soyuz launch fails at 20 miles up

A fault in a Soyuz rocket booster has resulted in an aborted crew mission to the International Space Station, but fortunately no loss of life. The astronauts in the capsule, Nick Hague (U.S.) and Alexey Ovchinin (Russia) successfully detached upon recognizing the fault and made a safe, if bumpy, landing nearly 250 miles east of the launch site in Kazakhstan. This high-profile failure could bolster demand for U.S.-built crewed spacecraft. The launch proceeded normally for the first minute and a half, but at that point, when the first and second stages were meant to detach, there was an unspecified fault, possibly a failure of the first stage and its fuel tanks to detach. The astronauts recognized this issue and immediately initiated the emergency escape system. Hague and Ovchinin in the capsule before the fault occurred. The Soyuz capsule detached from the rocket and began a “ballistic descent” (read: falling), arrested by a parachute before landing approximately 34 minutes after the fault. Right now that’s about as much detail on the actual event as has been released by Roscosmos and NASA. Press conferences have been mainly about being thankful that the crew is okay, assuring people that they’ll get to the bottom of this and kicking the can down the road on everything else. Although it will likely take weeks before we know exactly what happened, the repercussions for this failure are immediate. The crew on the ISS will not be reinforced, and as there are only 3 up there right now with a single Soyuz capsule with which to return to Earth, there’s a chance they’ll have to leave the ISS empty for a short time. The current crew was scheduled to return in December, but NASA has said that the Soyuz is safe to take until January 4, so there’s a bit of leeway.

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Facebook mistakenly deleted some people’s Live videos

This time instead of exposing users’ data, a Facebook bug erased it. A previously undisclosed Facebook glitch caused it to delete some users’ Live videos if they tried to post them to their Story and the News Feed after finishing their broadcast. Facebook wouldn’t say how many users or livestreams were impacted, but told the bug was intermittent and affected a minority of all Live videos. It’s since patched the bug and restored some of the videos, but is notifying some users with an apology that their Live videos have been deleted permanently. The bug raises the question of whether Facebook is a reliable place to share and store our memories and important moments. In March, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told congress regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal that “We have a responsibility to protect your data – and if we can’t, then we don’t deserve to serve you.” Between that misappropriation of user biographical data, the recent breach that let hackers steal the access tokens that would let them take over 50 million Facebook accounts, wrongful changes to users’ default sharing privacy settings , and now this, some users may conclude Facebook in fact no longer deserves to serve them. Facebook user  Tommy Gabriel Sparandera provided TechCrunch with this screenshot showing the apology note from Facebook on his profile. It reads “Information About Your Live Videos: Due to a technical issue, one or more of your live videos may have been deleted from your timeline and couldn’t be restored. We understand how important your live videos can be and apologize that this happened.” When TechCrunch asked Facebook about the issue, it confirmed the problem and provided this statement: ““We recently discovered a technical issue that removed live videos from some people’s Facebook Timelines. We have resolved this issue and restored many of these videos to people’s Timelines. People whose videos we were unable to restore will get a notification on Facebook.

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CommonSense Robotics’ first automated fulfillment center is now live

Israeli startup CommonSense Robotics is launching its first automated micro-fulfillment center in Tel Aviv. It’s a tiny 6,000 square feet warehouse that is packed from ground to ceiling with products. Robots do the heavy lifting when it comes to getting items ready to dispatch. TechCrunch shot a video of CommonSense Robotics’ test fulfillment center. Today’s new warehouse is much bigger than that, but still much smaller than an Amazon warehouse. The company’s first client is Superpharm, Isarel’s largest drug store chain. The startup wants to convince grocery retailers in urban areas that they can deliver orders in less than an hour. Currently, grocery retailers either leverage their stores (which is a waste of time) or have a giant warehouse outside of the big city. With CommonSense Robotics, you could imagine a city with multiple micro-fulfillment centers so that you’re never too far. When you order something, robots instantly navigate around the warehouse and the shelves to pick up your stuff. A central server coordinates all the robots in real time to optimize the routes. This way, humans can stay at a scanning station and put together an order without having to move. CommonSense Robotics remains in charge of the fulfillment centers. E-commerce retailers pay the startup to create and manage those fulfillment centers.

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Microsoft acquires Lobe, a drag-and-drop AI tool

Microsoft today announced that is has acquired Lobe , a startup that lets you build machine learning models with the help of a simple drag-and-drop interface. Microsoft plans to use Lobe, which only launched into beta earlier this year, to build upon its own efforts to make building AI models easier, though, for the time being, Lobe will operate as before. “As part of Microsoft, Lobe will be able to leverage world-class AI research, global infrastructure, and decades of experience building developer tools,” the team writes . “We plan to continue developing Lobe as a standalone service, supporting open source standards and multiple platforms.” Lobe was co-founded by Mike Matas , who previously worked on the iPhone and iPad, as well as Facebook’s Paper and Instant Articles products. The other co-founders are Adam Menges and Markus Beissinger. In addition to Lobe, Microsoft also recently bought Bonsai.ai , a deep reinforcement learning platform, and Semantic Machines , a conversational AI platform. Last year, it acquired Disrupt Battlefield participant Maluuba . It’s no secret that machine learning talent is hard to come by, so it’s no surprise that all of the major tech firms are acquiring as much talent and technology as they can. “In many ways though, we’re only just beginning to tap into the full potential AI can provide,” Microsoft’s EVP and CTO Kevin Scott writes in today’s announcement. “This in large part is because AI development and building deep learning models are slow and complex processes even for experienced data scientists and developers. To date, many people have been at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing AI, and we’re committed to changing that.” It’s worth noting that Lobe’s approach complements Microsoft’s existing Azure ML Studio platform , which also offers a drag-and-drop interface for building machine learning models, though with a more utilitarian design than the slick interface that the Lobe team built. Both Lobe and Azure ML Studio aim to make machine learning easy to use for anybody, without having to know the ins and outs of TensorFlow, Keras or PyTorch. Those approaches always come with some limitations, but just like low-code tools, they do serve a purpose and work well enough for many use cases.

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