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Twitch today is announcing an update to its Community Guidelines that aim to clarify how the company will enforce its existing anti-harassment and hateful content policies, while also ramping up the attention paid to those channels that breach its sexual content guidelines.


In the case of the hateful content and anti-harassment guidelines, Twitch says that any hateful conduct will result in an immediate indefinite suspension.


“Hate simply has no place in the Twitch community,” the company said in an announcement.


It’s also expanding its enforcement of hateful conduct and harassment to include those actions that take place off-site. That is, if a Twitch user turns to other services to harass another Twitch user, Twitch will now consider their actions in breach of Twitch’s policies, too.


However, the company itself will not be scanning all of the web and social media to look for such activity – instead, victims of the harassment can send documentation to Twitch directly and ask for a review.


The company tells us these documented examples can come from “any source,” but Twitch will need to be able to personally verify them before taking action.


That seems to imply that Twitch would consider hateful or harassing tweets in violation of the policy, but may not take into account someone who harassed another via text message, as that’s not independently verifiable. (And because those screenshots could be faked).


In addition, Twitch is updating its moderation framework to help better enforce its policies. It will now pay close attention to the “context and intent” of the words used, not just the words themselves or the actions that took place, it says.


The company may even crack down on inappropriate jokes between friends that could be considered harassment when viewed by others; it reminds streamers that they’re still “broadcasting on service that reaches a wide audience” and should act appropriately.


Twitch today has grown to over 2 million streamers, 27,000 of whom are Partners generating revenue from their videos. Another 150,000 are mid-tier streamers called Affiliates, who can also take advantage of Twitch’s money-making tools.


With its growing base of content creators, Twitch is likely trying to keep its service from running into the same problems that have recently plagued YouTube. On Google’s video site, several top creators have found themselves in hot water over their content and comments they’ve made.


For example, YouTube had to drop top creator Logan Paul from its Google Preferred ad program, after he recorded video footage of a suicide victim. Its most popular broadcaster PewDiePie has repeatedly made racist comments. Kids’ video creatorswere banned for child endangerment and exploitation.


Twitch likely wants to avoid similar headlines, especially since many of its creators now do more than live stream games – they post non-game content on creative channels and record vlogs.


The company is also getting tougher on policing channels for sexual content. The general guideline is that all profile and channel imagery, streams and attire should be appropriate for a public street, mall or restaurant.


“Twitch is an open global community with users of many ages and cultures. Because of this, it’s
important that your content is not sexual in nature,” Twitch’s announcement states.


While the company has had a long-standing policy regarding sexual content, it will now review a streamer’s conduct in its entirely to determine if it’s intended to be sexually suggestive. That means moderators will look at things like the stream’s title, camera angles used, emotes, panels, the gamer’s attire, overlays, and chat moderation.


Twitch says the policy changes came at the request of the community itself, as people weren’t sure where Twitch was drawing the line, or, in some cases, felt the policies weren’t strong enough.


“Twitch has always had a robust set of anti-harassment policies in place,” a Twitch spokesperson told TechCrunch. “The new changes we are making to our policies provide even more clarity on what is and isn’t allowed and enable our moderators to use additional factors in determining if guidelines have been broken,” they said.


In reality, Twitch has had a number of issues with harassment on its site. For example, a Canadian man was charged with unleashing a spambot on the site that filled it with abusive messages, including racist, homophobic, and sexually harassing comments. Many Twitch streamers also re-stream others’ livestreams and comment on them in a harassing manner. An IRL Twitch streamer was harassed and doxed for days on Facebook.


In a high-profile example last year, a woman wrote about a Twitch streamer live broadcasting their sexual harassment towards her. And lets not forget that members of the gamer community were responsible for one of the worst examples of online harassment across social media, by way of Gamergate.


Twitch didn’t say if increased the size of its moderation team to coincide with these updates, but it offers community members a variety of content moderation tools, including the ability to assign moderators to police their chat, and a “Report” button for channels that alerts Twitch’s 24/7 human moderation team.


There’s a brief transition time before the changes go into effect on Monday, February 19 at 9 AM PT. This will allow streamers to come into compliance by removing clips and their on-demand videos that violate the guidelines. Twitch is also reaching out directly to those streamers whose current and past content has been an issue.


The changes are a part of what may be a larger overhaul of Twitch’s policies.


The company says it will also improve its automated chat moderation system AutoMod in the coming months, and revisit its enforcement policies for both partners and non-partners, its appeals process, IRL guidelines, and preventing user-to-user harassment.

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There’s been a lot of hand-wringing about the future of blockchain lately.


With cryptocurrency prices reaching all-time highs and total market capitalization topping $800 billion recently, everyone wants to know if we’re witnessing the second coming of the internet or the craziest bubble of all time. If you ask me, it’s a bit of both.


Today, we have blockchain projects raising hundreds of millions of dollars with little more than a whitepaper — no product, no traction, just an idea and some technical specifications. You don’t need to be in venture capital to understand this level of speculation is unsustainable. At the same time, however, we saw much the same in the early stages of the internet, and look where we are today.


I think the cryptocurrency insanity we’re seeing right now is overshadowing a lot of the potential of the underlying architecture and technology. Market speculation aside, when I look at blockchain today, I see a very exciting technology that stands to dramatically reshape our increasingly digital world.


But that doesn’t mean it will happen overnight. When CryptoKitties, a seemingly useless game for breeding, buying and selling virtual cats, can bring the world’s most promising blockchain network to a standstill, it’s clear we still have a long way to go before this technology is ready for major, real world applications.


To get there, creative and enterprising developers must overcome three major limitations that exist at the very core of blockchain: brutal latency, high compute costs and limited storage. Until then, the hundreds of billions in investment dollars flowing into cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and others will remain little more than speculative bets. What’s more, if blockchain technology doesn’t soon catch up with investor exuberance, a major market correction is all too likely.


Brutally low latency

One of blockchain’s greatest innovations is the way it decentralizes trust by taking a consensus-based approach to verifying transactions of every kind. While this creates massive value, it also comes at a massive cost: latency — and lots of it.


That’s because when transactions are posted to the blockchain, all nodes on the network are involved in verifying and recording them. It’s a slow and redundant process that demands a great deal of processing power. It also runs counter to everything we have come to expect from software systems and the general internet. While the entire infrastructure of the internet is bending toward real time, blockchain is inherently slow.


You don’t need to be in venture capital to understand this level of speculation is unsustainable.


If blockchain is ever going to achieve widespread adoption, it needs to get a lot faster. Redundancy might be a key feature, but low latency will always be considered a bug now that we’ve all been conditioned to expect real-time interactions with technology.


High cost to compute

It’s a great irony that right at the very moment everyone is talking about unlocking parallelization and writing multi-threaded and hyper-efficient code, we suddenly have to figure out how to write efficient single-threaded code again.


This goes back to the distributed nature of blockchain’s architecture and the consensus mechanisms that verify activity on the blockchain. In this environment, the infinite parallel execution that comes from every node on the network computing every transaction means that compute costs are extremely high. In other words, there is very little excess compute power available to the network, making it an exceptionally scarce (and therefore expensive) resource.


It’s a fascinating challenge. Programmers today are used to having access to cheap and virtually unlimited processing power. Not so with blockchain.


Today, we’re seeing all this effort to relearn how to write extremely efficient software. But efficient code will only get us so far. For blockchain to gain widespread adoption, processing power will need to get much cheaper.


Adding more computers does not solve the problem; quite the opposite. The more computers on the network, the more nodes required to sync with the latest transaction history.


Highly limited storage

Similar to the way processing power on blockchain is limited and expensive, the same goes for storage.


On the blockchain, storage comes in blocks, and there’s only so much data that can fit into any given block. What’s more, the number of blocks that can be created is limited. Both of these are a consequence of every block needing to be verified and synced across every node on the network. As noted earlier, this places major limitations on processing speed and power.


It also raises important questions about how to monetize storage. With cloud platforms, you pay a monthly or annual fee for up to an infinite amount of storage. It’s all yours — as long as you keep paying. When the subscription expires, you can renew or lose access to your files (i.e. the files are deleted).


With blockchain, this model breaks down completely. Blockchain databases store the data indefinitely; it begs the question: How can you possibly go about pricing it? The data storage costs must be paid up front and they must cover not just that month but all months and years to come.

What’s the time value of data? It’s yet another open question in desperate need of a creative solution.

Пятница, 09 февраля 2018 00:33

Qualcomm rejects Broadcom’s $121 billion bid

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The largest tech acquisition offer in history wasn’t enough.


Qualcomm’s board of directors issued a statement on Thursday saying that they are turning down Broadcom’s $121 billion bid to buy the competing chipmaker.


According to the release, Qualcomm “unanimously rejected” an “unsolicited proposal” to buy all of its shares at $82 each, of which $60 would be cash and $22 stock. Broadcom made the revised offer on Monday, up from the previously proposed deal price of $70 per share.


Qualcomm says that it is still undervalued at $121 billion. The board wrote a letter to Broadcom, stating it is worth more, specifically because “your proposal ascribes no value to our accretive NXP acquisition, no value for the expected resolution of our current licensing disputes and no value for the significant opportunity in 5G.  Your proposal is inferior relative to our prospects as an independent company and is significantly below both trading and transaction multiples in our sector.”


In other words, Qualcomm thinks that it can eventually be worth more on the stock market than $121 billion.Boards of public companies have a fiduciary duty to consider shareholders, so Qualcomm needed to justify why it was turning this down.


This is partly because it doesn’t think Broadcom is appreciating the value gathered from Qualcomm’s recent acquisition of NXP Semiconductor.  It also believes that Broadcom is underestimating Qualcomm’s ability to excel at making 5G wireless technology, which it hopes will be instrumental to IoT, short for “internet of things.” This could help connect internet in cars, homes and wearable devices.


It presently has a market cap of $92 billion, despite months of deal talks. This implies that the stock market doesn’t think it will end up selling for its desired price in the near future.


Qualcomm shareholders will be voting on March 6th whether to replace its board with Broadcom’s nominees.


Even if Qualcomm were to approve the deal, it’s also not clear if it will actually go through. Regulators may decide that it would have too much power over the smartphone chip market.


Qualcomm already works on both Apple and Samsung phones. It also works with a handful of Chinese competitors. This was the basis for a recent lawsuit.


Qualcomm’s shares recently fell on reports that Apple could start working with Intel instead. Intel’s stock has not traded up this week, however. The EU recently fined Qualcomm $1.2 billion, due to an exclusivity deal with Apple that it felt was unfair.

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Объединённая компания Rambler Group объявила о назначении топ-менеджеров. Об этом говорится на сайте холдинга Rambler&Co.


Rambler Group появилась в конце 2017 года в результате объединения киносети «Синема Парк» и «Формула кино», холдинга Rambler&Co и издательства «Азбука-Аттикус».


Главой новой компании станет гендиректор киносети Роман Линин, заместителем гендиректора по коммерции — бывший первый замгендиректора Rambler&Co Максим Тадевосян. На пост операционного директора назначен Дмитрий Сергеев, ранее работавший в должности исполнительного директора по развитию Rambler&Co.


Руководителем направления стратегии и инвестиций назначен Рафаэль Абрамян, бывший исполнительный директор Rambler&Co, финансовым директором станет бывшая руководительница финансовой службы киносети Галина Пятахина.


«Синема Парк», «Формула кино» и Rambler&Co принадлежат Александру Мамуту на 100%, в «Азбуке-Аттикус» бизнесмен контролирует 51%. В Rambler&Co входят издания Lenta.ru, Gazeta.ru, Afisha.ru, Championat.com, сервис «Рамблер.Касса» и другие активы.

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Twitter отчитался о первом в истории компании прибыльном квартале. Об этом пишет Recode.

В четвёртом квартале 2017 года выручка компании составила $732 млн, что на 2% больше, чем годом ранее, прибыль — $91 млн. При этом месячная аудитория сервиса не изменилось — Twitter по-прежнему пользуются около 330 млн человек в месяц.

Ежедневная пользовательская база выросла на 12%, при этом в Twitter не уточнили конкретное число пользователей.


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Китайские полицейские начали использовать солнцезащитные очки с функцией распознавания лиц для поимки преступников. Об этом пишет The Wall Street Journal.


«Умные» очки получили полицейские города Чжэнчжоу провинции Хэнань. С их помощью сотрудникам железнодорожной полиции удалось арестовать семерых преступников, связанных с крупными уголовными делами, и 26 правонарушителей, которые путешествовали под чужими именами.


Представители правозащитной организации Amnesty International в Китае рассказали WSJ, что власти могут использовать технологии не только для поимки преступников, но и для слежки за всеми гражданами, включая этнические меньшинства и политических диссидентов.


Очки разработала технологическая компания LLVision. Устройства работают при помощи маленьких носимых видеокамер с функцией распознавания лиц, которые продаёт LLVision.


В отличие от других аналогичных устройств, «полицейские» очки подключаются не к облаку с базой данных лиц, а устройству, которое находится в руках у сотрудников.


По данным LLVision, в результате тестов устройству удавалось идентифицировать лицо человека при помощи базы данных из 10 тысяч лиц за 100 миллисекунд.

В компании уточнили, что проверяют покупателей своих устройств и не продают их обычным потребителям. Стоимость очков с видеокамерой составляет 399 юаней (около $636).

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Самое крупное вознаграждение — $112,5 тысячи — получил специалист, обнаруживший эксплойт в смартфоне Pixel.


В 2017 году Google в рамках программы bug bounty выплатила $2,9 млн 274 различным исследователям в области безопасности за обнаруженные уязвимости. Об этом говорится в официальном блоге компании.


Основную часть этой суммы — $1,1 млн — получили исследователи, обнаружившие уязвимости в Google и Android. Также Google выделила $125 тысяч 50 исследователям по всему миру в рамках своей программы грантов на изучение уязвимостей. Ещё $50 тысяч компания выделила тем, кто улучшает безопасность программного обеспечения с открытым кодом. Оставшуюся сумму получили исследователи, которые нашли недостатки в системе Chrome.


Самое крупное вознаграждение — $112 500 — получил исследователь Гуан Гун (Guang Gong), который в августе 2017 года обнаружил цепочку эксплойтов в смартфонах Pixel.


Пользователь под псевдонимом gzobqq получил $100 тысяч. Он нашёл ошибки, позволяющие удалённо выполнить код в режиме гостя в операционной системе Chrome. Специалисту по кибербезопасности Алексу Бирсану Google выплатила $15 600 — он нашёл ошибку в баг-трекере, через который сотрудники компании отслеживают все сообщения о неисправностях и уязвимостях.


С момента запуска программы bug bounty в ноябре 2010 года Google выплатила пользователям и специалистам почти $12 млн.

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«Яндекс» покажет прямые трансляции соревнований Олимпийских игр в южнокорейском Пхёнчхане. «Яндекс» подписал договор с владельцем прав на трансляцию Олимпиады в России — «Телеспортом» Петра Макаренко.


Посмотреть расписание, результаты соревнований и трансляции можно будет на главной странице «Яндекса», в мобильном приложении и на странице результатов поиска. Пользователи смогут посмотреть игры как в прямом эфире, так и в записи, отметил представитель «Яндекса».


Условия сотрудничества с «Телеспортом» в компании не раскрывают. Макаренко сказал «Ведомостям», что партнёры поделят доходы от показа рекламы.


Рекламодатели могут приобрести в трансляциях рекламу по фиксированной цене, рассказали vc.ru в «Яндексе»: при размещении на миллион рублей цена составит 500 рублей за тысячу показов в формате мультиролл.


Другой интернет-холдинг Mail.Ru Group покажет Олимпиаду в своих социальных сетях — «ВКонтакте» и «Одноклассниках». Также прямые трансляции и результаты соревнований будут доступны в разделе «Спорт» на сайте Mail.ru.


В телеэфире показывать Олимпийские игры в Пхёнчхане будут «Первый канал», «Россия 1» (входит в ВГТРК) и «Матч ТВ» («Газпром-медиа»). Они купили у «Телеспорта» права на эфирную трансляцию.


«Первый канал» и ВГТРК также получили права на показ Олимпиады на своих сайтах. «Матч ТВ» покажет в онлайне только те виды соревнований, которые выйдут у него в телеэфире, рассказал Макаренко «Ведомостям».

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Большая часть денег уходит на производство проблемной Model 3.

Производитель электрокаров Tesla закончил 2017 год с выручкой $11,8 млрд против $7 млрд годом ранее. Чистый убыток составил $2,2 млрд против $773 млн в 2016 году, следует из отчётности компании.


Выручка за четвёртый квартал 2017 года выросла с $2,28 млрд до $3,3 млрд. Чистый убыток за октябрь-декабрь увеличился с $219,5 млн до $771 млн — это рекордный квартальный убыток.


В четвёртом квартале Tesla поставила клиентам 29 967 автомобилей, в том числе 28 425 машин Model S и Model X и 1542 новой Model 3, выпущенной в 2017 году. Аналитики ожидали, что поставки Model 3 составят 4100 автомобилей, пишет Reuters.


Всего за 2017 года Tesla поставила больше 102 тысяч машин при плане в 100 тысяч.


Компания ограничила производство Model S и Model X в четвёртом квартале до 22 137 автомобилей, объяснив это перераспределением производственных мощностей в пользу Model 3. Запасы готовых к продаже Model S и Model X сократились до рекордно низкого уровня за 18 месяцев, говорится в отчётности.


Tesla рассчитывает выйти на уровень производства 2500 машин Model 3 к концу первого квартала 2018 года, а к лету нарастить объёмы до 5000 автомобилей этой модели. Как только этот показатель будет достигнут, компания сможет начать получать устойчивую операционную прибыль, заявил глава Tesla Илон Маск во время звонка с аналитиками.


«Если мы можем отправить Roadster к поясу астероидов, мы, вероятно, сможем решить и проблемы с производством Model 3», — сказал Маск. Осенью 2017 года компания столкнулась со сложностями на производстве.


Финансовый директор Tesla Дипак Ахьюджа сообщил, что на производство Model 3 сейчас приходится больше 50% расходов компании.

Стоимость акций Tesla на бирже NASDAQ на закрытии торгов выросла на 3,3% и составила $345.

Четверг, 08 февраля 2018 00:13

17 of the coolest things your Google Home can do

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Since last October, many millions of people have purchased a Google Home device. 


Google sells three Home devices right now: The $50 Google Home Mini, the $130 Google Home, and the $400 Google Home Max, all of which have Google's artificially-intelligent Assistant built in. 


Last month, Google revealed that it had sold more than one Home smart speaker device every second since October. According to our own calculations, that means Google sold at least 6.8 million Home devices during the holiday season.


Now that millions of people own Google Home devices for the first time, it helps to know what you can actually do with them. Some features are obvious — like asking for the weather — but others aren't so obvious.


Here are 17 of the best Google Home features: 


1. Play white noise while you fall asleep.

I prefer rain sounds to standard white noise, so I usually say "Hey Google, play the sound of rain." The device obliges with a steady downpour. 

The sound usually lasts until I fall asleep, but if you want to be sure it turns off at a certain point, you can also set a sleep timer. 


2. Broadcast something to every Google Home device in your house.

If you have more than one Google Home device in your home, you can broadcast to every single one simultaneously, sort of like an intercom. 

If you say, "OK Google, broadcast that it's dinner time," each device will ring a dinner bell. You can also say, "OK Google, broadcast that it's time for school."


The broadcast feature even works when you're not in the house. Saying, "OK Google, broadcast I'm on my way home" will trigger the devices inside your house.


3. Control your smart home.

At this point, Google Assistant can control more than 1,000 smart-home products from more than 100 brands like LG, Whirlpool, GE, and Nest. You can ask your Google Home to dim the lights, change the temperature, turn on a kettle or microwave, or even start your Roomba. 

You can check out a full list of compatible products over on Google's blog.


4. Remind yourself to work out.

If you're someone who needs a nudge to get out and exercise, your Google Home can help with that. You can ask Google to remind you however often you like at a specific time each day. 


5. Make hands-free calls.

Google Home can handle hands-free calling to anyone in your Google Contacts. All you have to do is say, "Hey Google, call..." and it will dial on its own. 


Google Home can also recognize voices, so if you share the device with several people, it'll know who's asking it to place the call. If you ask it to "call mom," for example, it will know whose mom to call. 


6. Find your lost phone.

If you lose your phone around the house, Google Home can find it for you. By saying, "Hey Google, find my phone," it can ring your phone. This feature works for both Android phones and iPhones. 


7. Switch it to night mode.

The Google Home's night mode feature will dim the device's light and lower its volume so you don't wake up the rest of your household. You can either manually turn this feature on, or schedule it to trigger at the same time every day. 


8. Turn the TV on and off.

If you're also a Chromecast user (and have a compatible TV), you can use your Google Home to turn the TV on and off.

9. Ask it to tell you a story.

Google equipped Google Home devices with all sorts of features for families. Here are a few of the things you can ask it:

- "Hey Google, tell me a story."

- "Hey Google, let's play a game."

- "OK Google, play musical chairs."

- "OK Google, beatbox for me."

- "Hey Google, let's play space trivia."


10. It can speak in different languages.

Google Assistant is capable of speaking in various langauges in countries around the world. It'll speak Italian in Italy, Spanish in Mexico, French in Canada, Portuguese in Brazil, and more. You can check out the full list of available languages on Google's blog. 

11. Find plumbers, handymen, or local businesses to help around the house.

Saying, "OK Google, find me a plumber" will pull up relevant results in your area. Google saysall of its local-business recommendations have been screened by both Google and companies like HomeAdvisor and Porch. 


12. Set up daily routines that are triggered when you say, "Hey Google, good morning."

When you wake up in the morning, saying "Hey Google, good morning," will cause the device to read your schedule for the day, tell you the news, let you know what your commute will be like, and tell you the weather.

Similarly, saying "Hey Google, good night," will turn off your lights and turn the thermostat down. It'll also tell you if you have an event the next morning by reading your calendar. 


13. Listen to jokes.

Just say, "Hey Google, tell me a joke" and the Google Home will deliver. 


14. Ask it to remember things for you.

If you have a locker or a bike lock, your Google Home can remember it for you if you say, "Hey Google, remember my locker combo is..."


15. Get help in the kitchen.

Your Google Home can help you with baking and cooking. It can look up recipes and substitutions, and answer questions like, "How many tablespoons are in a cup?"


16. Wake up in the morning with your favorite music.

Your Google Home can work as a regular alarm clock, but it can also wake you up with music you like — just say, "Hey Google, set an alarm for 8 a.m. that plays...."


17. Get reminders to watch your favorite shows.

If you're worried you'll forget to watch that hot new show you like, you can have your Google Home remind you. Say, "Hey Google, remind me to watch 'Grown-ish' every Wednesday at 8 p.m."

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