Tag: Giving

TinyML is giving hardware new life

May 30, 2020 No Comments

Aluminum and iconography are no longer enough for a product to get noticed in the marketplace. Today, great products need to be useful and deliver an almost magical experience, something that becomes an extension of life. Tiny Machine Learning (TinyML) is the latest embedded software technology that moves hardware into that almost magical realm, where machines can automatically learn and grow through use, like a primitive human brain.

Until now building machine learning (ML) algorithms for hardware meant complex mathematical modes based on sample data, known as “training data,” in order to make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed to do so. And if this sounds complex and expensive to build, it is. On top of that, traditionally ML-related tasks were translated to the cloud, creating latency, consuming scarce power and putting machines at the mercy of connection speeds. Combined, these constraints made computing at the edge slower, more expensive and less predictable.

But thanks to recent advances, companies are turning to TinyML as the latest trend in building product intelligence. Arduino, the company best known for open-source hardware is making TinyML available for millions of developers. Together with Edge Impulse, they are turning the ubiquitous Arduino board into a powerful embedded ML platform, like the Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense and other 32-bit boards. With this partnership you can run powerful learning models based on artificial neural networks (ANN) reaching and sampling tiny sensors along with low-powered microcontrollers.

Over the past year great strides were made in making deep learning models smaller, faster and runnable on embedded hardware through projects like TensorFlow Lite for Microcontrollers, uTensor and Arm’s CMSIS-NN. But building a quality dataset, extracting the right features, training and deploying these models is still complicated. TinyML was the missing link between edge hardware and device intelligence now coming to fruition.

Tiny devices with not-so-tiny brains

Gadgets – TechCrunch

(Formerly Augean) Burro is giving a helping hand to field workers

May 16, 2020 No Comments

Rather than focusing on robots that will replace human workers outright, the company has created a semi-autonomous robotic cart that saves pickers a long trip.

Enterprise – TechCrunch

The Bizarre Aye-Aye Isn’t Giving Us the Finger After All

October 21, 2019 No Comments

The primate uses its long middle finger to fish for grubs. But scientists just discovered its “pseudothumb,” meaning it’s got six digits, not five.
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Mid-range flagships like the Honor 20 Pro are giving premium phones a run for their money

May 22, 2019 No Comments

Phone sales have been trending downward for some time now. There are a number of reasons for this — many of which you can read about in this piece I published last week. The creeping cost of premium handsets is pretty high on that list, with flagships now routinely topping $ 1,000 from many of the big names.

The big smartphone makers have begun to react to this, with budget flagship alternatives like the iPhone XR, Galaxy S10e and Pixel 3a. A new crop of mid-range flagships, however, are giving them a run for their money and serving as an important reminder that a quality handset doesn’t need to be priced in the four digits.

The Honor 20 Pro fits nicely in the latter camp, joining the likes of the recently announced OnePlus 7 Pro and Asus ZenFone 6 in demonstrating that premium specs can still be had for what was once considered a reasonable flagship price.

Of course, before we get into specifics of pricing with the newly announced handset, it bears mentioning whether Honor, a brand owned by Huawei, will actually ever make it to the States. That’s all pretty complicated — like Donald Trump in a trade war with with China complicated. The pricing on the London-launched Pro version is €599, putting it at around $ 670.

The phone’s got Huawei’s latest and greatest Kirin 980 processor, coupled with a 6.26-inch display with hole-punch cutout and a quartet of rear-facing cameras. Those include a wide angle with 117-degree shots, 48-megapixel main, telephoto and a macro, which is an interesting addition to the standard array. The Pro’s out at some point in the June or July time frame.

Huawei bans aside, it will be interesting to see how this new crop of more affordable premium devices impacts the rest of the big names up top.

Mobile – TechCrunch

PPC Hero Summit is giving away Free Hero Conf Tickets [+More info on sessions]

February 21, 2019 No Comments

The PPC Hero Summit will be giving away tickets to Hero Conf Philadelphia! In order to win, you have to be in attendance. Learn more details about the giveaways and the topics you’ll see covered at the event.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero

Retail startup Bulletin is giving brands new tools to manage their in-store presence

July 10, 2018 No Comments

If you visited a Bulletin store, or bought products off its website, COO Ali Kriegsman said you might “pigeonhole” the company as a “feminist apparel brand” — a place to buy T-shirts and accessories with fun, provocative political slogans.

And yes, that is part of what draws consumers. But Kriegsman and her co-founder Alana Branston have also laid out their broader vision for a more flexible, WeWork-style approach to brick-and-mortar retail, one where brands essentially rent out shelf space in Bulletin stores.

So brands that may have only sold online can experiment with physical sales, while shoppers can purchase from a curated, constantly refreshed selection of brands and products.

“We’re building this more feminine retail company, but we are also part real estate company, and now, we are also part technology company,” Kriegsman said.

Bulletin Omni

The “now” that she’s referring to is the launch of Bulletin Omni, a software platform that allows brands to apply to sell with Bulletin, manage their inventory and track their sales.

Bulletin has actually been working on something like this since I first talked to the team last year, but according to Maggie Braine, the company’s director of product and brand experience, Omni only just reached the point where the company is ready to roll it out to all of the 150 brands it works with. She said that without it, the company has mostly relied on “emails, phone calls, and a very, very large Google Doc” to manage the process.

Braine gave me a quick walk-through of Omni, showing me how a brand could, with just a few clicks, add a new product to its offerings in a given store, confirm once that product has actually arrived and then see how each product is selling in each store.

That’s “unheard of” in traditional retail, she said, where “there’s very little transparency” once goods are purchased by retailers. With Omni, Braine said the goal is to give brands the same kinds of data around physical purchases that they have access to when they promote and sell their products through online channels.

She also said the team plans to introduce ways for in-store staff to offer feedback to the brands — like whether a product isn’t selling because it’s too expensive.

Bulletin Omni

Kriegsman said that if the software does well enough, she could imagine Bulletin becoming “a retail software destination,” where other companies buy the software to manage non-Bulletin stores.

Either way, she predicted that Omni will allow Bulletin itself to expand more quickly. The company currently has three New York City stores — one in SoHo, one in Williamsburg and a recently opened location near Union Square — with plans to open in additional cities later this year.

Startups – TechCrunch

Social media is giving us trypophobia

January 28, 2018 No Comments

 We aren’t so much seeing through a lens darkly when we log onto Facebook or peer at personalized search results on Google, we’re being individually strapped into a custom-moulded headset that’s continuously screening a bespoke movie — in the dark, in a single-seater theatre, without any windows or doors… Read More
Social – TechCrunch

Google Giving Less Weight to Reviews of Places You Stop Visiting?

December 19, 2017 No Comments


I don’t consider myself paranoid, but after reading a lot of Google patents, I’ve been thinking of my phone as my Android tracking device. It’s looking like Google thinks of phones similarly; paying a lot of attention to things such as a person’s location history. After reading a recent patent, I’m fine with Google continuing to look at my location history, and reviews that I might write, even though there may not be any financial benefit to me. When I write a review of a business at Google, it’s normally because I’ve either really liked that place or disliked it, and wanted to share my thoughts about it with others.

A Google patent application filed and published by the search engine, but not yet granted is about reviews of businesses.

It tells us about how reviews can benefit businesses:

Furthermore, once a review platform has accumulated a significant number of reviews it can be a useful resource for users to identify new entities or locales to visit or experience. For example, a user can visit the review platform to search for a restaurant at which to eat, a store at which to shop, or a place to have drinks with friends. The review platform can provide search results based on location, quality according to the reviews, pricing, and/or keywords included in textual reviews.

But, there are problems with reviews that this patent sets out to address and assist with:

However, one problem associated with review platforms is collecting a significant number of reviews. For example, a large majority of people do not take the time to visit the review platform and contribute a review for each point of interest they visit throughout a day.

Furthermore, even after a review is contributed by a user, the user’s opinion of the point of interest may change, rendering the contributed review outdated and inaccurate. For example, a restaurant for which the user previously provided a positive review may come under new ownership or experience a change in kitchen staff that causes the quality of the restaurant to decrease. As such, the user may cease visiting the restaurant or otherwise decrease a frequency of visits. However, the user may not take the time to return to the review platform and update their review.

The patent does have a solution to reviews that don’t get made or updated – if a person stops going to a place that they have reviewed in the past, the review that they submitted may be treated as a diminished review:

Thus, a location history associated with a user can provide one or more signals that indicate an implied review of points of interest. Therefore, systems and methods for using user location information to provide reviews are needed. In particular, systems and methods for providing a diminished review for a point of interest when a frequency of visits by one or more users to the point of interest decreases are desirable.

The pending patent application is at:

User Location History Implies Diminished Review
Inventors: Daniel Victor Klein and Dean Kenneth Jackson
US Patent Application 20170358015
Published: December 14, 2017
Filed: April 7, 2014


Systems and methods for providing reviews are provided. One example system includes one or more computing devices. The system includes one or more non-transitory computer-readable media storing instructions that, when executed by the one or more computing devices, cause the one or more computing devices to perform operations. The operations include identifying, based on a location history associated with a user, a first signal. The first signal comprises a frequency of visits by the user to a first point of interest over a first time period. The operations include identifying, based on the location history associated with the user, a change in the first signal after the first time period. The operations include providing a diminished review for the user with respect to the first point of interest when the identified change comprises a decrease in the frequency of visits by the user to the first point of interest.

Some highlights from the patent description:

1. Location updates can be received from more than one mobile devices associated with a user, to create a location history over time.

2. Points of interest can be tracked and cover a really wide range of place types; or a point of interest such as a shopping mall may be treated as a single point of interest.

3. A person may control what information is collected about their location, and may be given a chance to modify or update that information.

4. Not visiting a particular place may lead to an assumption that a “user’s opinion of the point of interest has diminished or otherwise changed.”

5. A Diminished review might be a negative review or a lowering of a review score.

6. A reviewer may also be asked to “confirm or edit/elaborate on the previously contributed review,” if they don’t return to a place they have reviewed in a while.

7. User Contributed Reviews could be said to have a decay period, in which, their influence on search or rating systems wanes.”

8. Other factors besides a change of opinion about a place may be considered, such as a change of residence or workplace to a new location, or an overall change in visitation patterns for all points of interest. These types of changes may not lead to a diminished review.

9. Aggregated frequencies of visits from many people may be considered, and if many still continue to visit a place, then a change by one people may not be used to reduce an overall score for a place. If visits by many people show a decrease than an assumption that something has changed with the point of interest could affect the overall score.

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Will Google Start Giving People Social Media Influencer Scores?

April 29, 2017 No Comments

Social Media Influencer Scores

A patent granted to Google this week tells us about social media influencer scores developed at Google that sound very much like the scores at Klout. In the references section of the patent, Klout is referred to a couple of times as well, with a link to the Wikipedia Page about Klout, and the Klout FAQ page. We aren’t given a name for these influencer scores in Google’s patent, but it does talk about topic-based influencer scores and advertisers.

Many patents are published that might give the inventors behind those patents a right to the technology described in them, but often the decision to move ahead with the processes described in those patents might be based upon business-based matters, such as whether or not there might be value is pursuing the patent. When I read this patent, I was reminded of an earlier patent from Google from a couple of years ago that described an advertising model that used social media influencers and their interests called Adheat. That patent was AdHeat Advertisement Model for Social Network. A whitepaper that gives us a little more indepth information about that process was AdHeat: An Influence-based Diffusion Model for Propagating Hints to Match Ads. One of the authors/inventors, Edward Chang left Google after the paper came out to join HTC as their Vice President of Research and Innovation.

This new patent was originally filed on May 29, 2012. Edward Chang left Google for HTC in July, 2012. I don’t know if those events are related, but the idea of using social media influencers in advertising is an interesting one. The patent doesn’t pinpoint specific social media platforms that would be used the way that Klout does. Interestingly, Klout does use Google+ as one of the social media networks that they use to generate Klout Scores.

I like seeing what Google patents say about things on the Web. Their introduction to social media and to influencer scores was interesting:

Social media is pervasive in today’s society. Friends keep in contact throughout the day on social networks. Fans can follow their favorite celebrities and interact on blogs, micro-blogs, and the like. Such media are referred to as “social media,” which can be considered media primarily, but not exclusively, for social interaction, and which can use highly accessible and scalable communication techniques. Brands and products mentioned on such sites can reflect customers’ interests and feedback.

Some technologies have been developed to analyze social media. For example, some systems allow users to discover their “influence scores” on various social media. An influence score is a metric to measure a user’s impact in social media.

The patent tells us about the role of the process it defines:

…one aspect of the subject matter described in this specification can be embodied in methods that include the actions of identifying a user in a community; determining an influence score to be associated with the user in the community for a particular topic including determining a reach of one or more communications that relate to the particular topic that have been distributed from the user in the community; evaluating the reach as compared to one or more other users in the community for the particular topic; and storing the influence score in association with the user.

This new patent tells us about

  1. Identifying a user in a community;
  2. Determining an influence score to be associated with the user in the community for a particular topic,
  3. Determining a reach of communications that relate to the particular topic distributed from the user to other users in the community, and
  4. Evaluating that reach and comparing it to the reach of communications from other users in the community for the particular topic; and
  5. storing the influence score in association with the user.
  6. The patent also tells us that the following are advantages to be gained from the use of the process described in the patent:

    (1) The subject matter can be used to attribute viral growth to certain individuals or selected group.
    (2) Such attribution can be used for targeted advertising to the selected group or even to the individuals or other individuals that are influenced by the individual or group.

    The patent is:

    Determining influence in a social community
    Inventors: Emily K. Moxley, Vinod Anupam, Hobart Sze, Dani Suleman, Khanh B. Nguyen
    Assignee: Google Inc.
    US Patent 9,632,972
    Granted: April 25, 2017
    Filed: May 29, 2012


    Methods, systems, and apparatus, including computer programs encoded on a computer storage medium, for determining influence in a social community. In one aspect, a method includes identifying a user in a community; determining an influence score to be associated with the user in the community for a particular topic, including: determining a reach of one or more communications that relate to the particular topic that have been distributed from the user to other users in the community, and evaluating the reach as compared to the reach of one or more communications distributed from other users in the community for the particular topic; and storing the influence score in association with the user.

    The patent is worth reading in full, and it contains some interesting insights including some hints regarding whether Google might engage in this type of social media advertising (see the screenshot from the patent that starts this post, showing influencers and topic scores for them, which is described in a little more detail in the patent.

    I also liked this quote from the patent, and wanted to make sure that I shared it, because it raises a good point:

    Every community has individuals who influence that community. From a prominent economist’s advice on economics to a celebrity buying the latest designer bag, thousands of people pay attention to what influential individuals are doing within their field. However, less attention is paid when an influential individual opines on a topic outside their field. For example, the thousands of individuals that pay attention to the economists on economics would be unlikely to pay attention to the economist’s latest jacket purchase.

    These social media influencer scores do seem very similar to what Klout is doing. Would Google venture into such territory?

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Google Will Start Giving Quick Answers To Questions In Search Results by @mattsouthern

September 1, 2013 No Comments

Google is going to start providing a range of personalized “quick answers” in search results by bringing more of the capabilities of Google Now to all platforms.

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