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Instagram confirms that a bug is causing follower counts to change

Instagram confirmed today that an issue has been causing some accounts’ follower numbers to change. Users began noticing the bug about 10 hours ago and the drastic drop in followers caused some to wonder if Instagram was culling inactive and fake accounts, as part of its fight against spam.
We’re aware of an issue that is causing a change in account follower numbers for some people right now. We’re working to resolve this as quickly as possible.
— Instagram (@instagram) February 13, 2019
“We’re aware of an issue that is causing a change in account follower numbers for some people right now. We’re working to resolve this as quickly as possible,” the company said on Twitter.
why did I just lose over half a million followers @instagram wyd sis
— James Charles (@jamescharles) February 13, 2019
so I just lost like 4K on Instagram and it unfollowed like 100 people within a matter of minutes? what’s going on
like I’m not mad about my follower count cause I’d rather have less spam foll..

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Former Snap employees are launching Forge Platform for Ethereum devs

Chris Lorenz, Geoffrey Anderson and James Borow may have spent their days over the past few years working at Snap, but on nights and weekends Anderson and Lorenz were laboring on a different project — improving Ethereum development tools.
Now the three men are finally ready to take the covers off the labor of love they’ve been working on and launch Forge Platform, a new toolkit for distributed applications.
Both Lorenz and Anderson were heavily involved in monetization at Snap, but over the past eight months the two had dabbled in building distributed apps — and realized that the toolkits that existed for Ethereum just weren’t on par with what’s available for traditional programming.
“I’ve been interested in Ethereum for about two years now and it was about six months ago that I started to really dig in,” says Lorenz. “We saw the opportunity to prop the ecosystem up and give better tools to developers and basically provide them with what they’re used to in analogous platforms.”
U..

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Apple’s iOS update makes it easier to get to your subscriptions

Apple has made a small but important change to iOS that will allow users an easier way to manage their app subscriptions. In the latest release of the mobile operating system (iOS 12.1.4 and 12.2 beta), the company has relocated the “Manage Subscriptions” setting so it’s only one click away when you tap on your profile in the App Store, instead of being buried more deeply within the settings.
This may seem like a minor change, but it was a much-needed one.
As more mobile apps have adopted subscriptions as a means of generating revenue, it’s become critical to ensure consumers know how to turn off their subscriptions. And, based on a reading of many angry App Store app reviews, many people don’t know how to do this. Most assume they should reach out to the developer to have their subscription disabled — after all, it’s the developer who’s charging them.
It’s not really the customer’s fault for being unaware of how the process works, as Apple had made getting to the subscription manag..

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J&J spends $3.4 billion in cash for Auris Health’s lung cancer diagnostics and surgical robots

Johnson & Johnson’s robotic surgery and medical device division, Ethicon, is dropping $3.4 billion in cash to pick up Auris Health, a developer of robotic diagnostics and surgical devices initially focused on detecting and treating lung cancer.
The healthcare giant said an additional $2.35 billion in payouts may be possible if Auris hits certain milestones.
Auris’ acquisition is likely a windfall for investors, including Lux Capital and Coatue Management, which both invested as part of a whopping $280 million round the company closed two years ago.
Auris Surgical Robotics, cofounded by superstar Fred Moll, has quietly closed on a ton of money
Founded by serial entrepreneur Fred Moll — whose previous companies included the 22-year-old, publicly traded Intuitive Surgical, a robotic surgical systems manufacturer now worth around $61.4 billion, and Hansen Medical, a company that developed tools to manipulate catheters — Auris recently received approval from the Food and Drug Administra..

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Block Kit helps deliver more visually appealing content in Slack

Slack has become a critical communications tool for many organizations. One of the things that has driven its rapid success has been the ability to connect to external enterprise apps inside of Slack, giving employees what is essentially a centralized work hub. This ability has led to some unintended consequences around formatting issues, which Slack addressed today with two new tools, Block Kit and Block Kit Builder.
Block Kit lets developers present dense content in a much more visually appealing way, while Block Kit Builder is a prototyping tool for building more attractive apps inside Slack. The idea is to provide a way to deliver content inside of Slack without having to do workarounds to make the content look good.
Before and after applying Block Kit. Screen: Slack
Bear Douglas, who is Slack’s director of developer of relations, says developers have been quite creative up until now when it comes to formatting, but the company has been working to simplify it. Today’s announceme..

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Numan is a startup which aims to tackle your tackle problem: erectile dysfunction

A long-time London-based entrepreneur re-surfaces today with the launch of Numan, a new kind of subscription business, with a rather unusual approach to a very old problem.
Sokratis Papafloratos (pictured) is one of the more “serial of serial” European entrepreneurs. He was one of the first investors in Calm.com, the mindfulness sleep and meditation site and app which recently attained Unicorn status. He also founded TrustedPlaces, the U.K.’s earliest and oldest local reviews site, which was Acquired by Yell Group Plc; family-photo-sharing platform, Togethera (which shuttered) and Secret Escapes, one of the U.K.’s first members-only travel companies.
Papafloratos is now turning his attention to a tricky subject for men: erectile dysfunction (ED).
The startup is backed by, it says, a group of top-tier investors, led by Vostok New Ventures (who led the round for Voi and are significant investors in Babylon Health). “Health” is where we get some more clues.
If you are familiar with bu..

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DOJ charges former US Air Force officer with spying for Iran

Prosecutors have brought charges against a former Air Force officer for allegedly spying for Iran, the Justice Department confirmed Wednesday.
Monica Witt, a former Air Force counter-intelligence officer, is accused of defecting to Iran in 2013, after leaving the military in 2008 after more than a decade’s service and later working as a defense contractor.
Prosecutors said the officer, who according to the unsealed indictment had the highest level of top-secret clearance, disclosed the details of a highly classified intelligence-gathering program that involved an intelligence operation against “a specific target.” Witt is also accused of disclosing the true identity of a U.S. intelligence officer to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which conducts the country’s cyber-operation, after she stopped working for the U.S. government.
Witt, a former Texas resident, first traveled to Iran in 2012 to attend a conference, which is where prosecutors allege she was recruited.
FBI executive assi..

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Sling TV closes year with 2.4 million subscribers, but growth slowed significantly

Sling TV’s growth has slowed dramatically as the competitive landscape for live TV streaming services has heated up. Despite this, the Dish -owned streaming service remains ahead of rivals in terms of subscriber count — largely due to it being first to market with streaming TV. Dish said today it closed out the year with 2.417 million Sling TV subscribers. That puts it ahead of AT&T’s DirecTV Now, which ended 2018 with 1.6 million subscribers.
It’s also more than newcomers like YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV. The latter topped 1 million subscribers this past fall. YouTube TV doesn’t report its numbers, but had an estimated 800,000 subscribers as of last July. It’s likely neck-and-neck with Hulu Live TV at this point.
Dish reported its Sling TV numbers as a part of its Q4 2018 earnings, which also indicated that Sling TV is nowhere near making up for the subscriber loss from Dish’s satellite TV service. The company lost 1.125 million satellite TV subscribers during its fiscal 2018, ..

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Audio tech supplier to Rolls Royce and Xiaomi secures another $13.2M in funding

As autonomous driving eventually transforms cars from transportation devices to mobile theaters or conference rooms we will need better audio inside them. And we’ve already seen that VCs like Andreessen Horowitz say “audio is the future.”
So it’s interesting that Swedish sound pioneer Dirac has completed a new $13.2 million round of financing led by current investors. Previous investors included Swedish Angel network Club Network Investments, Erik Ejerhed and Staffan Persson.
Dirac makes sophisticated audio technology for customers including BMW, OnePlus, Rolls Royce, Volvo and Xiaomi .
Its platform is used by those firms for everything from capture to playback — regardless of device size or form factor.
“As consumer devices decrease in size and expand in complexity, digital signal processing is the key to unlocking their full audio potential and creating premium sound experiences,” says Dirac CEO Mathias Johansson. “With this new funding, we can take our approach to digitizing sou..

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Xnor’s saltine-sized, solar-powered AI hardware redefines the edge

“If AI is so easy, why isn’t there any in this room?” asks Ali Farhadi, founder and CEO of Xnor, gesturing around the conference room overlooking Lake Union in Seattle. And it’s true — despite a handful of displays, phones and other gadgets, the only things really capable of doing any kind of AI-type work are the phones each of us have set on the table. Yet we are always hearing about how AI is so accessible now, so flexible, so ubiquitous.
And in many cases, even those devices that can aren’t employing machine learning techniques themselves, but rather sending data off to the cloud where it can be done more efficiently. Because the processes that make up “AI” are often resource-intensive, sucking up CPU time and battery power.
That’s the problem Xnor aimed to solve, or at least mitigate, when it spun off from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in 2017. Its breakthrough was to make the execution of deep learning models on edge devices so efficient that a $5 Raspberry Pi ..