Text, image and video moderation service Arbitrum picks up $500K from Ask.fm founders

Arbitrum, a text, image and video moderation service founded by German Gedgauds, who previously headed up Ask.fm’s moderation team and product, has raised $500,000 in funding. Backing the Riga, Latvia-based startup is Balaclava Lab, the investment vehicle of Ask.fm founders Ilja Terebin, Mark Terebin and Oskar Liepins.

That Arbitrum has ties to Ask.fm’s chequered history will raise a few eyebrows given the social Q&A site notoriously ran into user-generated content problems, leading to accusations from parents and the media that the service was a haven for bullies. After IAC acquired Ask.fm, Gedgauds says he was tasked with building moderation functionality that could scale.

“Moderation was indeed a disaster after Ask.fm went viral and traffic was growing extremely fast. At that point all the effort was focused on scaling technically to be able to support the growth, and moderation process was somewhat neglected – which lead to issues you are well aware of,” he says.

“In 2014, the Q&A network was acquired by IAC, [who were] determined to solve these problems. As promised, the company put a lot of effort into creating an internal solution, as no satisfactory solution was available on the market. Shortly after the new solution was implemented and proved to be a success – since then no bad cases have been reported. I was a Project Manager of the Ask.fm moderation team at the time and I know the problems and solutions inside-out”.

 That, evidently, was the catalyst for Gedgauds and a number of Ask.fm developers to leave the company and start a new venture. He said it took almost a year to develop the software that powers Arbitrum and that the Beta version was launched this February.

The target market is dating apps, marketplaces, and social networks. “All these products have tons of constantly added user generated content, which should be moderated, in order to provide an excellent user experience to its customers,” he says.

To that end, Arbitrum provides text, image and video moderation, and combines human resources, automation and machine learning so that it can scale. In addition, the startup offers an API for easy integration and real-time reporting with key metrics, allowing customers to follow the moderation process day by day.

Last week for youth groups to apply to come to Disrupt NY

Applications are open for student groups to attend Disrupt New York at Pier 36 in Manhattan on Tuesday, May 16th or Wednesday, May 17th. This is your last week to apply as applications close on Monday, April 17th, 2017.

The program is part of Include, TechCrunch’s diversity and inclusion program aimed at facilitating opportunities for underrepresented groups in tech to gain better access to the startup scene. For the past several Disrupts, TC has worked informally and formally with BUILD.org, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), the Academy for Software Engineering, NYC Foundation for Computer Science Education, the Young Women’s Leadership Schools of the Bronx & Astoria, Red Hook Initiative, Mission Bit,  the Urban Assembly Maker Academy and The Girls Network to bring small groups of students on-site.

Y Combinator CEO Sam Altman with students from Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) at Disrupt SF 2015

As part of the program, youth will have an opportunity to tour the Startup Alley with a member of TechCrunch’s editorial staff, listen to discussions taking place on the main stage and have a one-on-one Q&A session with a speaker.

To be eligible, youth must be of middle or high school age, be within a reasonable commuting distance of New York and have an adult supervisor able to attend with them. Preference will be given to teachers or organizations working with demographics underrepresented in tech. Traditional classes, alternative education, mentorship programs, nonprofit programs, etc. are all welcome to participate.

 Applications close on April 17, 2017. Groups will be notified of their participation status by April 21, 2017. Email include@techcrunch.com with any questions.

The Secret of Shopping for Industrial Parts Has Been Revealed

Did you ever feel like you were on the outside of a major secret? If you have never learned how to shop smart instead of hard, the answer is certainly yes. This applies even to items that you need for your business rather than your personal life. If you are the owner or manager of a medical or industrial workplace, you have a lot of responsibility on your plate. You might think yourself above having to worry about mundane issues like shopping. As it turns out, you would be incorrect.

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Shopping for Your Industrial Parts Doesn’t Need to Be a Headache

Shopping for industrial parts, such as Parker fittings, doesn’t need to be a time and energy consuming nightmare. There is a place you can go to find all of the items you need, for a price that won’t break your budget. The object here is to learn how to do a bit of price comparison shopping so that you can limit your shopping time to the smallest window possible. This is easy to accomplish when you know what you want and how you need to go about getting it.

There’s No Need to Spend More Than an Hour per Week on Shopping

What would you say if you were told that there really is no need to spend more than an hour or so per week on shopping? It’s true that you need to do a bit of research in order to make sure that the industrial parts you ordered are a good value. You will need to learn a few price comparison skills in order to keep your inventory full and your budget in the black. But these are skills that you can learn in a very short space of time.

Shopping on the Web Saves You Time, Energy, and Money

The reason for this assertion is as clear as it is simple: If you know how to shop on the web, you don’t need to go anywhere else. There’s no need to leave the safety and comfort of your office to go on a shopping trip. You can easily purchase hundreds of dollars’ worth of industrial supplies over the web. The key is to recognize the best value when you see it and then jump on it. Modern internet shopping skills are the key to a prosperous future in business.

Getting Questions Answered

If you have questions about areas of your life ranging from romance to your career, then you might want to seek the assistance of a psychic. This is someone who can read cards or use other tools to give you a general idea as to what you might be able to expect in your life in the near future. However, that doesn’t mean that the psychic can determine every small detail. It’s more of a way to give you an indication as to the path your life might be headed, giving you an opportunity to somehow work on a few things that might need to be improved. You can contact a psychic by phone, which is often the best way to speak with someone if you only have a few questions or concerns.

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When you call the psychic, your mind should be clear of any kind of intoxicating substances. These might include alcohol or prescriptions that you have been taking. In order for the psychic to get the best reading, you need to have a clean slate. This will also help you to be more receptive of the information that you receive. Try to be as relaxed as possible. If you’re mind has several thoughts running through it, then it can hamper the ability that the psychic has to perform the reading, and it can also affect how much you remember of the encounter.

Avoid making any deals or special requests with the psychic. There might be things that you want to see happen, but bribing or trying to get the psychic to read something that you want isn’t getting the true meaning of the reading. Don’t feed the psychic information. This means that you don’t want to give out too much personal information. It’s a way that you can tell if the psychic is being sincere or simply wanting money from you. If the psychic knows details of your life that you don’t reveal, then you can begin asking a few questions that are related to those events, but be mindful of the information you receive as you want the psychic to give more details to you than you do to the psychic.

Google expands its African initiatives

Alphabet is committing to training another 1 million students under its Digital Skills for Africa program in the next 12 months, the company said at events in Lagos, Nairobi, and Johannesburg.

The commitment follows the company’s 1 million mark milestone reached today and follows the opening of Google’s Launchpad Accelerator for African startups earlier this month — tracking a growing presence by the global internet services firm on the continent.

Debuted in April 2016 with a goal of training 1 million within a year, Digital Skills for Africa offers online and face to face instruction to individuals and small businesses through 14 partners across 27 African countries. Anyone can register for free and set an individualized plan across three primary categories: business development, career advancement, or basic internet use. Users can choose from 89 courses across 23 topic areas and earn badges and certificates for successful completion.

“Across Africa…one of the things that hold people back from taking advantage of the web is a lack of understanding on how to use digital tools,” said Bunmi Banjo, Google’s Growth Engine and Brand Lead for Sub-Saharan Africa. “We are providing training to young people and business owners to succeed however, they define success for themselves―finding a job, growing a business, starting on email,” she told TechCrunch.

To meet the goal of another million trained, Google will add countries and regions to Digital Skills for Africa in 2017. It will include more offline versions of online training materials for low net access areas. Google will also offer instruction in new languages, such as Swahili, IsiZulu, and Hausa. Digital Skills for Africa will also increase its partner network for in-person instruction. Current partners include organizations like the eMobilus technical institute in Kenya and vocational training company Centrum Learning in Nigeria.

 As for Google’s overall Africa presence, it now has country heads in core economy nations such as South Africa (Luke Mckend), Nigeria (Juliet Ehimuan), and Kenya (Charles Murito). The Launchpad Accelerator―which offers 6 months of equity free Google startup support with two weeks in Silicon Valley―is now accepting Africa applications.

Google provides financial and capacity support to five African tech hubs in Kenya (iHub), South Africa, Ghana, and Uganda, and Nigeria (CCHub). The company has also begun programs and partnerships to overcome Africa’s internet access and connectivity challenges. Despite progress on mobile phone ownership and ICT infrastructure over the last decade, the continent remains one of the world’s most digitally disconnected. Though some countries, such as Kenya and South Africa, have attained high usage, Africa’s internet penetration lingers at less than one- third of the continent’s estimated 1.2 billion people.

In 2016, Google entered a licensing pact with South African startup Onyx, which plans to manufacture Android smartphones on the continent. In several African countries, the company also offers its “Add to Offline” option for YouTube video playback with little to no connectivity.

Though Google could not provide overall traffic data, African search activity has increased significantly in recent years, a spokesperson confirmed. Statistics are available for popular search terms across Africa’s largest economies, providing insight on the interest palette of the continent’s growing online community.

In 2016, Nigeria’s top Google person search was for Donald Trump. South Africa’s most searched term was Pokémon Go. Kenyans were most keen on football, googling “Euro 2016” more than any other topic last year.

With Alexa integration and mapping, iRobot aims to make Roomba the center of the smart home

iRobot CEO Colin Angle has been repeating for some time now that the next step in the evolution of the company’s hit Roomba vacuum is becoming a connective tissue for the smart home. This morning’s announcement from the company takes it a couple of steps closer to that dream, introducing Alexa voice integration and advances to the robotic vacuum’s mapping system that lay the groundwork for future smart home upgrades.

“Roombas are already becoming one of the commonly found connected devices in the home,” Angle tells TechCrunch. “The popularity of the Roomba has made it a very powerful ambassador for connected devices, but its ability to organize physical information in the home is making it a central player in allowing homes to be more intelligent. You need to be aware of where things are in order to have a home do the right thing without programming it.”

The company isn’t leaning too heavily on the Alexa integration at this stage, since it’s still a bit of a ways off, arriving at some point in Q2. But it will certainly be a handy feature for those with both an Echo and 900 connected series Roomba already in their home. We caught a demo of the functionality on a recent trip to the company’s Bedford, Massachusetts headquarters, and the whole setup was as user-friendly as one would hope, asking Alexa to tell Roomba to start cleaning and return to the docking station.


The more immediately available Clean Map function, on the other hand, leverages the 900’s navigational functionality to essentially make dirt maps of a user’s home. The information takes a bit of the guesswork out of using a Roomba, showing the owner where the vacuum has cleaned and where it spent most of its time — a sort of heat map of a home’s dirtiest spots.

 What’s perhaps most compelling here, however, is the groundwork that the company is laying out with these upgrades. iRobot’s push into strictly consumer devices has dovetailed nicely into the rise of the smart home, and the company is hoping that its widely deployed robot can serve as sort of a connective tissue, leveraging its Wi-Fi connectivity and advanced computer mapping capabilities to devise a better way to lay out the home.

“The challenge right now with smart home and connected devices is that they’re too hard to use,” explains Angle. “There’s wonderful voice interfaces like the ones from Amazon and Google that allow you to talk to your home and have your home understand the words that you say. But if the house doesn’t know where the kitchen is, what’s the use in saying, ‘turn on the lights in the kitchen?’ You can program your light to be the kitchen light, but your average consumer doesn’t want to program. Typically there’s a really poor track record of wanting to program these things.”

Roomba’s daily mapping functionality could potentially serve as a sort of mobile hub to help connected home software understand what is located where and build actions based around that knowledge. Angle again, “The most important concept that I believe the home needs to understand is what is a room and what’s in that room? It doesn’t matter whether it’s high or low in that room. I want to very clearly say these lights, this television, this radio, these speakers, are in this room. If you think about how we live our lives, we move into a room and we want that room to be able to do something. When we leave the room, we’re happy if the room shuts down.”

It all seems a ways off, of course. Angle told us that he anticipates the true smart home connectivity play to arrive in “single-digit years.” But it is, at the very least, an interesting next step for a company that has spent much of the past decade and a half tweaking and perfecting its robot vacuum iteration by iteration.

Professional Singers Can Popularize Their Voice Through The Exemplary Software

Stage singers, professional singers and others those who are planning to popularize their voice within the close-knit group or social groups or throughout the world can start downloading the software that is showcased on this website and record their voice using Mac. The people those who use this exotic Movavi screen capture can instantly record their songs and listen to crystal clear sounds and voice emanating from it. Some of the interesting things a customer can do with this product are capture video from the computer screen, grab sound from multiple sources, save recordings without quality loss, export videos in any popular format.

Individuals will be able to understand its importance and unique features only when they download this supreme software from this site. The interesting point is the visitors can download this software for free and listen to their favorite songs.  The music lovers have to download the software and follow the instructions that are provided on this site. Once they successfully save the file then the customers can record and listen to their voices immediately. Customers will get fantastic info about this product when they explore the link www.movavi.com/support/how-to/Mac/capture-system-sounds-on-Mac.html

Go global with the help of the supreme software

Millions of individuals have started liking western and other forms of music and are willing to popularize their voice. These types of people can download this trendy software and record their voice hassle free. As this product come with best standard and cutting edge technology the recorded voices will be extremely audible and carry more clarity. Users can capture internal system sounds, online streaming audio, internet audio players, skype calls and radio voices. If the visitor has a question in his mind – how to record audio on Mac? They will get instant answers when they explore this site thoroughly

Guys those who use iphones, tablets and macbook will have lots of fun and entertainment when they start using this wonderful software which is ingrained with sophisticated recording features.  Visitors those who have any questions about this product can get them clarified immediately through the support center. Public can decide to install this super software after exploring the videos that are showcased on this site.

Facebook tests an enhanced local search and discovery feature offering business suggestions

Facebook is testing an enhanced local search feature that could see the social network creeping in on Google Maps, Foursquare and Yelp territory, TechCrunch learned and Facebook confirmed. Facebook users are now able to surface recommendations of nearby places – like “dinner nearby” or “bars nearby,” for example  – by entering a query in Facebook’s search box on the web or mobile. This returns a box in Facebook’s search results that include a list of relevant businesses, along with their ratings on Facebook, a map, as well as which friends of yours have visited or like the places in question.

A spokesperson for Facebook confirmed the feature saying, “We’re testing a new way to discover where to go and what to do around you.”

The company declined to share other information about the addition, including how long the test has been in progress. It’s possible some users have had this option for a much longer time, but others are only now gaining access or don’t have it at all, as is standard with Facebook’s tests.

The feature itself isn’t immediately obvious because the place suggestions aren’t always the first search result. On the web, the map and list of recommendations often show up as you scroll a bit further down, below the results for posts from Groups, links, posts from friends, and Facebook Pages.

But on mobile, the results are much closer to the top, if not the first item. (It varied depending on the query, in tests.)


The suggestions themselves are in a small box in the search results that includes a pink pin drop icon next to the heading, like “Shopping & Retail Nearby” or “Pizza Places Nearby” or whatever else you may have searched. Facebook is also prompting these searches via auto-complete suggestions from the search box.

It’s unclear how Facebook determines which results to show you in the small box, as it’s seemingly not number of reviews, rating, or proximity to your current location that determines which places are shown first. Nor is it social data  – for instance, a place visited by over a dozen friends was returned below one visited by just a few.

Beneath these initial suggestions, you can click “See all” to be taken to a fuller list.

In addition to standard information like the business’s name, address, phone number, and photos, Facebook displays how many people have rated the business, its star rating, pricing (as measured by one to four dollar signs), whether it’s open now, plus the above-mentioned social data about your friends’ visits and likes.

Facebook is also using technology to parse users’ reviews in order to highlight what the business in question is known for, or what people talk about in their reviews.

For example, a bakery’s review might say that “people talk about friendly service, vegan donuts and iced latte.” (Nope, Facebook’s tech doesn’t have a grip on proper grammar just yet.)

Plus, the business listings may have a call-to-action, as they do on their Page – like “Sign Up,” “Shop Now” or “Call Now,” for example.

On the web version of the feature, you can filter the search results by price, places that are currently open, or other social metrics, like “visited by friends” or “good for groups.” Restaurants can also be narrowed down by cuisine (pizza, sushi, Chinese, etc.). And you can “Like” the business on both web and mobile.

Facebook is clearly taking advantage of its wealth of data on businesses and social metrics to build out this feature – an inevitable next step for the business, given the obvious opportunity for search ads.

This is hardly the first time that Facebook has dabbled with serving up local business info, however.

Way back in 2012, Facebook launched Nearby, following its acquisition of Foursquare competitor Gowalla. That feature did much of the same thing, and still exists in its present form from the “More” menu on mobile. The integration of “Nearby” suggestions in the search results seems more like an iteration on this earlier feature. But it adds functionality – like the calls-to-action and the algorithmically-parsed customer reviews – which makes it a bit more functional.

What’s interesting is that, despite everything Facebook knows about its users, the suggestions were not ranked as well as they could be. For instance, just because a lot of my fellow parents have hosted kids’ birthdays at Chuck E. Cheese, that doesn’t warrant the restaurant from getting top billing in a list of suggested pizza places. It also pushed a lacrosse uniform shop and the teen-focused Hot Topic to the top of its suggestions for “Women’s Clothing Stores Nearby.” Uh, no.

Either Facebook isn’t fully tapping into its data to make these suggestions, or its data alone is falling short. If the latter, it could use another infusion – like the data from Foursquare.

Facebook had skipped over Foursquare years ago in favor of Gowalla. But today’s Foursquare is more powerful than the social check-in app of the past. Its database of locations is integrated into over 100,000 apps (including Snapchat), it offers businesses useful analytical data on foot traffic, it partnered with Nielsen to map digital ads in order to connect them to real-world traffic and sales, and it just rolled out a push notification-based recommendation engine to developers.

It’s not hard to imagine how well these features would fit into Facebook given how closely they’re aligned with Facebook’s own goals. But Foursquare’s trouble with finding an exit has always been about its price and valuation.

In the meantime, Facebook’s existing “Nearby” feature and this new local search addition pale compared with what Foursquare, Yelp or Google today offer consumers. It’s handy, I suppose, if you happen to be on Facebook, but it’s not worth launching Facebook for this alone when better options exist.

Nine manufacturers set for 2018 Formula E season

Formula E announced the nine manufacturers that will race electric cars in seasons five, six, and seven. You may think this is no big whoop, but it is. Here’s why the whoop is big: beginning in season five, each team will race one car per driver for the entire race — like every other racing series on the planet — rather than two.

Because battery technology lagged behind series founder Alejandro Agag’s ambition for all-electric racing, Formula E teams have fielded two drivers with two cars per driver, so four cars in the garage. In the middle of the race, usually after about an hour on the track, the driver would pull onto pit row and climb out of the first car and into an identical second car with a fresh battery. It’s kind of the equivalent of refueling.

The new single-car standard will cover seasons five, six, and seven, which begin in fall 2018. The nine manufacturers who have met this standard are:

  • ABT Formel E
  • BMW AG
  • DS Automobiles
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Mahindra Racing
  • NextEV NIO
  • Penske Autosport
  • Renault
  • Venturi Automobiles

There are teams currently racing that are not represented on this list, including Faraday Future Dragon Racing and Techeetah. But other manufacturers are furthering their commitment to electric open-wheel racing, like Renault, Venturi, NextEV, and Mahindra. Jaguar jumped into the series for 2016-2017, while MS Amlin Andretti, which is also racing this season, seems to be dropping out before the new standards come into play. Mercedes-Benz had been planning to join the fray in season five, but its name is not on this list published by FIA, the series’ governing body.

Also in 2018, there will be a new Formula E car on the track; Spark Racing Technology will produce identical bodies for each team to cover in stickers and shiny paint as they see fit. The new battery that makes single-car racing possible will be supplied to the teams by McLaren Applied Technologies. And the Roborace series should be up and running by that time too. These elements added together could mean we’ll see a complete reboot of Formula E for season five.

NASA’s interplanetary radar spots tiny derelict satellite in forgotten lunar orbit

Before anything else, no, it’s not an alien spacecraft. It’s one of India’s.

Still here? Good, because this is still super cool.

If you want to find the exact location of something orbiting the moon, just looking with an optical telescope is difficult, because the moon is so bright it overwhelms the view of any object passing in front of or nearby it. Radar doesn’t mind, of course, but at distances of hundreds of thousands of miles, it’s better at finding things like the moon itself, not car-sized objects in its orbit.

NASA uses giant radar dishes to detect things like asteroids millions of miles away, and it’s pretty easy to track satellites in Earth’s orbit, but there are awkward middle distances that aren’t so easy to monitor. Lunar orbit is one of them.

But because using terrestrial radar to find and track satellites, spacecraft and other objects that have gone dark (or are naturally so) would be handy, NASA researchers made it work anyway.

Using a pair of large antennas, one in inland California and another in West Virginia, the JPL team blasted microwaves at areas near the moon where they expected each of a pair of dead satellites would be. (Their missions have ended but they don’t disappear when that happens.)

Chandrayaan-1’s orbit profile. But after a few more trips around the moon, who knows where it might have gotten to?

“Finding LRO [the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter] was relatively easy, as we were working with the mission’s navigators and had precise orbit data where it was located,” principal investigator Marina Brozovic said in a JPL news release. “Finding India’s Chandrayaan-1 required a bit more detective work because the last contact with the spacecraft was in August of 2009.”

That meant they had to extrapolate its current position from its last known one — and a lot of things can change over 8 years of orbit. Micrometeorite impacts could send it one direction or another, or it might have been affected by one of the many mass concentrations, or mascons, that exert extra gravitational force. As it turns out, Chandrayaan-1 — which is only the size of a small car — was on orbit as expected, but on the exact opposite side of the moon they thought it would be.

Both craft were tracked from Earth over a period of months to produce updated orbital predictions — which can now be used should future missions wish to avoid or recover them. Pretty awesome, right?