from Pradodesign Netflix Just Canceled ‘Jessica Jones’ and ‘The Punisher’ The final two shows of the streaming service’s Marvel partnership got the axe. https://ift.tt/2BGGW3m http://bit.ly/1P9I4xH
from Pradodesign Dozens of Expressive Puppets Encourage Kindness and Acceptance in a Series of Sing-A-Long Short Films
Irish director and animator Johnny Kelly (previously) is known for his puppet-based films, most notably his 2011 piece for Chipotle titled Back to the Start. His most recent project, Right on Tracks, is a series of short sing-a-long videos for Cheerios. Kelly worked with the art collective Nous Vous and Andy Gent, who was also the lead of the puppets department for Isle of Dogs.
The catchy anthems have an inclusive message that focuses on building confidence in yourself while practicing kindness to all. Walter Martin of The Walkmen created songs such as Just Be You which teaches acceptance of your own quirks and unique traits, and It’s All Family which showcases a look at familial structures in a much broader light than we typically see on TV.
“We wanted to show diversity,” Kelly told It’s Nice That. “Nous Vous’ characters are so otherworldly and abstract that they could be anyone and everyone. It was important that people empathize with them too. With such simple designs, you can read a little more into their expressions, project your own loneliness onto a lonely character, or warmth onto a happy character.”
The cast of puppets are large, small, and every size in-between, with characteristics that range from colorful tufts of hair to necks that extend out like tree branches. You can take a behind-the-scenes peek at how Kelly created the four-part series in the video below, and view more of his short films on his website and Vimeo. (via The Kid Should See This, It’s Nice That)
from Pradodesign Lenovo leads $10M investment in 6-legged robot maker Vincross
Vincross, the company behind the six-legged robot Hexa, said on Tuesday that it’s picked up $10 million in a Series A+ funding round led by Lenovo Capital, the startup fund managed by Lenovo Group. Returning investor GGV Capital and newcomer Seekdource Capital also participated. The company declined to disclose its latest valuation but said the proceeds will go towards research and development as well as new product lines.
Neuroscience and artificial intelligence researcher Tianqi Sun started Vincross in Beijing back in 2016 when he raised $220,000 for Hexa on Kickstarter. At the time the insectile, programmable robot had separated itself from the horde of humanoids on the market by billing itself as the first robot that can climb stairs, making it suitable for firefighting and other rescue tasks.
Meanwhile, Lenovo’s interest in the startup underscores the personal computer giant’s intent to catch the impending robotics wave, which has been evident since it shelled out $500 million in 2016 for a new investment vehicle to back artificial intelligence, robot and cloud computing startups as the PC market dwindled. Some notable AI companies from its 100-plus portfolio are face recognition company Face++, chipmaker Cambricon and electric automaker Nio.
Beta testers have used the Mind Kit to build a salt-passing robot. Photo: Vincross
“Lenovo lead this round as they had an aligned vision with us on how the future of consumer electronics products that will be in everyone’s home will be robotics, similar to how this has been the case for laptops and computers, which Lenovo is also known for,” founder and chief executive Sun told TechCrunch.
Vincross also announced Tuesday a new developer kit called Mind to serve customers at all levels of building capacities. The firm says early testers have used it to build devices from a voice-controlled gadget that passes you salt and pepper at the dining table, to an all-terrain, legged robot that looks just like Hexa. Amateurs and professional developers can order the suite for $99 on Kickstarter before it gets retailed at $150, a pricetag Sun believes is competitive for consumer-facing robotic development kits.
Vincross already runs an open platform for developers to toy with new hacks for Hexa, upon which they can sell those skills through the company’s online marketplace. The firm has sold about 2,000 devices till this day to researchers, educators, young developers and more in 20 countries, with most of its sales coming from China and the U.S., where Vincross has set up overseas operations.
Within the space of robots for kids, Vincross faces competition from Shenzhen-based Makeblock, which raised $30 million in 2017 to build its development kit targeted at young programmers.
“The types of consumers [Mind Kit is] targeting should be in the process of learning basic programming skills but interested in robotics development, and so we anticipate interest from high school students or older, all the way up to robotics makers,” suggested Sun.
from Pradodesign SoundCloud adds a music distribution service to its premium subscriptions
Last year, Spotify took a stake in music distribution service DistroKid. Apple acquired Platoon. And today, SoundCloud announced it’s adding its own music distribution tools to its premium accounts aimed at artists, SoundCloud Pro and SoundCloud Pro Unlimited. With SoundCloud Premier distribution, artists can upload their tracks to all major music services, including Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Tencent, YouTube Music and even Instagram, directly from SoundCloud.
The service, which is now launching into beta, is available at no extra cost to existing premium account holders.
The company notes this is the first distribution tool built directly into a streaming platform, but that’s not likely to remain the case for long. When Spotify invested in DistroKid in October 2018, it said that it would soon roll out a tool that would allow musicians to upload their tracks to the service through the Spotify for Artists platform. And Apple’s acquisition of Platoon seems to indicate the company wants to go in a similar direction in terms of offering more tools and services to artists.
However, SoundCloud touts the benefits of its own Premier distribution service as a means of centralizing artist payouts, from all music services – itself included. Via SoundCloud Premier, artists can monetize their music through a revenue-sharing program. With the distribution service, artists can now publish their tracks more broadly – and SoundCloud says it doesn’t take a cut of the payouts from the other services.
In addition, the company highlights the tool’s feature set, noting how it allows artists to make changes and correct mistakes on the fly, rather than having to go through customer service as on some other distribution services. It even offers to help artists currently using alternatives like DistroKid or TuneCore to switch over, so they don’t lose their stats.
The ew distribution tool is rolling out to eligible Pro ($6/mo) and Pro Unlimited ($12/mo) subscribers who are 18 years of age or older, creators of original music, have zero copyright strikes, and at least 1,000 monetizable track plays, the company says.
Creators will be notified by email and in-product notifications when the tool becomes available to them.
SoundCloud had once aimed to compete on the same playing field as streaming music giants like Apple Music and Spotify, but may be waking up to the fact that it can offer more value by investing in tools that artists need.
It wouldn’t be the first company to make this sort of shift either. In the video space, Vimeo once aimed to compete with YouTube, before changing its focus entirely to become a hub for tools for video creators. That pivot has paid off for Vimeo – this month, parent company IAC noted Vimeo saw a 28 percent increase in revenue during the past quarter.
SoundCloud, however, has progressed slowly, including on monetization and other changes – allowing competitors to catch up or surpass its own offerings. That could be the case with music distribution, too, as Spotify’s soon-to-launch tools could outdo SoundCloud’s in the near future.
from Pradodesign Palo Alto Networks to acquire Demisto for $560M
Palo Alto Networks announced today that it intends to acquire security startup, Demisto, for $560 million.
The company sees a tool that can help enhance the Palo Alto security portfolio by adding a higher level of automation. “The addition of Demisto’s orchestration and automation technologies will accelerate Palo Alto Networks Application Framework strategy and serve as a critical step forward in the company’s aim to deliver immediate threat prevention and response for security teams,” the company explained in a statement.
Palo Alto also hopes that Demisto’s automated solutions will help accelerate its AI and machine learning capabilities to bring intelligent automation across the platform. The company brings more than technology, of course. It also brings its 150 customers to Palo Alto, a quarter of which are in the Fortune 500.
Prior to being acquired, Demisto had raised $69 million from Accel, Greylock, Stewart McClure and others. We covered the company’s $6 million Series A, and what the investors saw was a platform that enabled security professionals with a range of backgrounds and skill levels to communicate with one another, while automating security tasks across a variety of security tools.
Here’s how Demisto CEO Slavik Markovich described his company in that funding article:
“If you look at the security space, each company has its own API and UI to run their [product]. What customers don’t have is a cross-product workflow,” Demisto CEO and co-founder Slavik Markovich told TechCrunch. That’s what Demisto is attempting to solve with this product.
With an acquisition price of $560 million after raising $69 million, it would appear that Demisto has given its investors a healthy return, although rumors prior to the sale had the price pegged higher. Its customers will have to wait and see what impact becoming part of a much larger organization will have on Demisto’s products and services. The larger company offers much greater resources, but also brings a level of uncertainty, as in any acquisition scenario.
The acquisition is expected to close in the company’s third quarter, which should be some time in the next few months. As always, the acquisition is subject to regulatory approval.
Demisto emerges from stealth with $6M Series A and smart bot to help automate security ops
from Pradodesign Morpheus Hotel | Zaha Hadid Architects
Morpheus Hotel designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, Asia’s most popular entertainment destination, Macau welcomed more than 32 million tourists in 2017, with visitor numbers increasing every year. Located in Cotai, Macau, City of Dreams is a leading integrated resort including a casino, two theatres, shopping district, 20 restaurants and four hotels.
Informed by the fluid forms within China’s rich traditions of jade carving, the Morpheus’ design combines dramatic public spaces and generous guest rooms with innovative engineering and formal cohesion.
Conceived as a vertical extrusion of its rectangular footprint, a series of voids is carved through its center to create an urban window connecting the hotel’s interior communal spaces with the city and generating the sculptural forms that define the hotel’s public spaces.Linked at ground level with the surrounding three-storey podium of the City of Dreams resort, the Morpheus houses 770 guest rooms, suites and sky villas, and includes civic spaces, meeting and event facilities, gaming rooms, lobby atrium, restaurants, spa and rooftop pool, as well as extensive back-of-house areas and ancillary facilities.
The design resolves the hotel’s many complex programmes within a single cohesive envelope. Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) was commissioned to build the hotel in 2012. At that time, foundations were already in place of a condominium tower that did not progress.
ZHA designed the Morpheus as a simple extrusion of the existing abandoned foundations; using this rectangular footprint to define a 40-story building of two internal vertical circulation cores connected at podium and roof levels where the many guest amenities were required.This extrusion generated a monolithic block making best use its development envelope that is restricted to a 160m height by local planning codes. This block was then ‘carved’ with voids.
The underlying diagram of the hotel’s design is a pair of towers connected at ground and roof levels. The central atrium in-between these towers runs the height of the hotel and is traversed by external voids that connect the north and south facades. These voids create the urban window that links the hotel’s interior communal spaces with the city.
Three horizontal vortices generate the voids through the building and define the hotel’s dramatic internal public spaces; creating unique corner suites with spectacular views of both the atrium and the city. This arrangement maximizes the number of hotel rooms with external views and guarantees an equal room distribution on either side of the building.
In-between the free-form voids that traverse the atrium, a series of bridges create unique spaces for the hotel’s restaurants, bars and guest lounges by renowned chefs including Alain Ducasse and Pierre Hermé.The atrium’s twelve glass elevators provide guests with remarkable views of the hotel’s interior and exterior as they travel between the voids of the building.
As one of the world’s leading hotels, the Morpheus’ interior spaces necessitated a high degree of adaptability to accommodate the many varying requirements of its guest amenities. The building’s exoskeleton optimizes the interiors by creating spaces that are uninterrupted by supporting walls or columns.
The world’s first free-form high-rise exoskeleton, its rich pattern of structural members at lower levels progresses upwards to a less dense grid of lighter members at its summit.
Morpheus draws on a ZHA’s 40 years of research into the integration of interior and exterior, civic and private, solid and void, Cartesian and Einsteinian. Space is woven within a structure to tie disparate programmes together and constantly make connections.Viviana Muscettola, ZHA’s project director explains, “Morpheus combines its optimal arrangement with structural integrity and sculptural form. The design is intriguing as it makes no reference to traditional architectural typologies.
“Macau’s buildings have previously referenced architecture styles from around the world. Morpheus has evolved from its unique environment and site conditions as a new architecture expressly of this city.
“The expertise of all members of the Morpheus team has created new possibilities for architecture,” continued Muscettola. “The comprehensive parametric model combined all of the hotel’s aesthetic, structural and fabrication requirements and will radically change how our built environment is planned and constructed.”
Lawrence Ho, chairman, and CEO of Melco Resorts said, “From the very beginning, we shared ZHA’s vision and determination to push boundaries. Morpheus offers a journey of the imagination. From the curved exterior to the dramatic interior spaces, it pleases the eye and excites the senses: a contemporary masterpiece to be enjoyed by many generations to come.”Project Info:
Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Location: Cotai, Macao
Design: Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher
Client: Melco Resorts & Entertainment
Area: 147860.0 m2
Project Year: 2018
Photographs: Ivan Dupont, Virgile Simon Bertrand
Project Name: Morpheus Hotel
The post Morpheus Hotel | Zaha Hadid Architects appeared first on Arch2O.com.
from Pradodesign Medal.tv’s clipping service allows gamers to share the moments of their digital lives
As online gaming becomes the new social forum for living out virtual lives, a new startup called Medal.tv has raised $3.5 million for its in-game clipping service to capture and share the Kodak moments and digital memories that are increasingly happening in places like Fortnite or Apex Legends.
Digital worlds like Fortnite are now far more than just a massively multiplayer gaming space. They’re places where communities form, where social conversations happen, and where, increasingly, people are spending the bulk of their time online. They even host concerts — like the one from EDM artist, Marshmello, which drew (according to the DJ himself) roughly 10 million players onto the platform.
While several services exist to provide clips of live streams from gamers who broadcast on platforms like Twitch, Medal.tv bills itself as the first to offer clipping services for the private games that more casual gamers play among friends and far flung strangers around the world.
“Essentially the next generation is spending the same time inside games that we used to playing sports outside and things like that,” says Medal.tv’s co-founder and chief executive, Pim DeWitte. “It’s not possible to tell how far it will go. People will capture as many if not more moments for the reason that it’s simpler.”
The company marks a return to the world of gaming for DeWitte, a serial entrepreneur who first started coding when he was 13 years old.
Hailing from a small town in the Netherlands called Nijmegen, DeWitte first reaped the rewards of startup success with a gaming company called SoulSplit. Built on the back of his popular YouTube channel the SoulSplit game was launched with DeWitte’s childhood friend, Iggy Harmsen, and a fellow online gamer, Josh Lipson who came on board as SoulSplit’s chief technology officer.
At its height, Soulsplit was bringing in $1 million in revenue and employed roughly 30 people, according to interviews with DeWitte.
The company shut down in 2015 and the co-founders split up to pursue other projects. For DeWitte that meant a stint working with Doctors Without Borders on an app called MapSwipe that would use satellite imagery to better locate people in the event of a humanitarian crisis. He also helped the non-profit develop a tablet that could be used by doctors deployed to treat Ebola outbreaks.
Then in 2017, as social gaming was becoming more popular on games like Fortnite, DeWitte and his co-founders returned to the industry to launch Medal.tv.
It initially started as a marketing tool to get people interested in playing the games that DeWitte and his co-founders were hoping to develop. But as the clipping service took off, DeWitte and co. realized that they potentially had a more interesting social service on their hands.
“We were going to build a mobile app and were going to load a bunch of videos of people playing games and then we’re going to load videos of our games,” DeWitte says.
The service allows users to capture the last 15 seconds of gameplay using different recording mechanisms based on game type. Medal.tv captures gameplay on a device and users can opt-in to record sound as well.
“It is programmed so that it only records the game,” DeWitte says. “There is no inbound connection. It only calls for the API [and] all of the things that would be somewhat dangerous from a privacy perspective are all opt-in.”
There are roughly 30,000 users on the platform every week and around 15,000 daily active users, according to DeWitte. Launched last May, the company has been growing between 5% and 10% weekly, according to DeWitte. Typically, users are sharing clips through Discord, WhatsApp and Instagram direct messages, DeWitte said.
In addition to the consumer-facing clipping service, Medal also offers a data collection service that aggregates information about the clips that are shared by Medal’s users so game developers and streamers can get a sense of how clips are being shared across what platform.
“We look at clips as a form of communication and in most activity that we see, that’s how it’s being used,” says DeWitte.
But that information is also valuable to esports organizations to determine where they need to allocate new resources.
“Medal.tv Metrics is spectacular,” said Peter Levin, Chairman of the Immortals esports organization, in a statement. “With it, any gaming organization gains clear, actionable insights into the organic reach of their content, and can build a roadmap to increase it in a measurable way.”
The activity that Medal was seeing was impressive enough to attract the attention of investors led by Backed VC and Initial Capital. Ridge Ventures, Makers Fund, and Social Starts, all participated in the company’s $3.5 million round as well, with Alex Brunicki, a founding partner at Backed, and Matteo Vallone, principal at Initial, joining the company’s board.
“Emerging generations are experiencing moments inside games the same way we used to with sports and festivals growing up. Digital and physical identity are merging and the technology for gamers hasn’t evolved to support that.” said Alex Brunicki, partner at Backed.vc, in a statement.
Medal’s platform works with games like Apex Legends, Fortnite, Roblox, Minecraft and Oldschool Runescape (where DeWitte first cut his teeth in gaming).
“Friends are the main driver of game discovery, and game developers benefit from shareable games as a result. Medal.tv is trying to enable that without the complexity of streaming” said Vallone, who previously headed up games for Google Play Europe, and now sits on the Medal board.
from Pradodesign Samsung’s ad for the Galaxy S10 leaks
If you think you knew everything there’s to know about the Samsung Galaxy S10, the company’s Norwegian ad has now leaked on YouTube. It matches up with devices that have already leaked over the past couple of months. But there are some additional features that haven’t been discussed yet.
The most glaring change is that Samsung is opting for a pinhole cutout in the corner of the screen instead of an iPhone-style notch. The S10 will have a rounded hole while the S10+ will get an oblong hole punch with a couple of front-facing camera sensors.
As you can see in the ad, Samsung has integrated the fingerprint sensor in the display. It’s still unclear whether you’ll be able to touch any part of the screen, but the ad shows that you’ll be able to put your finger right above the USB-C connector to unlock your phone.
The photo gallery app will get a new tab for stories. It sounds like you’ll be able to create stories using the default camera app without having to use Instagram or Snapchat.
In addition to wireless charging, the S10 will be able to act as a wireless charger. For instance, you’ll be able to recharge the company’s AirPods-like earbuds using your phone.
Rumor has it that Samsung will also release a third device this year. In addition to the usual S10 (6.1-inch display), the S10+ (6.4-inch display), there could be a cheaper 5.8-inch phone. This variant could feature an LCD display, and two cameras on the back instead of three.
And yet, the ad only shows two phones. It’s unclear whether Samsung will run separate advertising campaigns or launch that cheaper phone at a later date.
from Pradodesign Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce sales up 43% in Q4, thanks to growing online grocery business
Walmart this morning posted strong holiday sales growth for its holiday quarter, with U.S. sales up 4.2 percent over the same time last year, and a 43 percent rise in Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce sales. The retailer topped analyst expectations, with $138.8 billion in revenue for the quarter, just ahead of the forecasted $138.76 billion; and earnings per share of $1.41, ahead of analysts’ estimates of $1.33.
Most notably, Walmart attributed the strong e-commerce growth to the expansion of its grocery pickup and delivery businesses, and a broader assortment on Walmart.com.
The company has been challenging Amazon, Instacart, Target’s Shipt, and others on grocery. It had toyed with the idea for years, before figuring out a model that made sense and didn’t lose money. With grocery pickup, Walmart offers an alternative to the higher cost of using grocery delivery services, while still allowing for convenience, as its customers can skip shopping the aisles and instead remain in their cars while groceries are loaded into the trunk.
More recently, the company began working with a network of partners to offer grocery delivery to customers’ homes. It has ended relationships with Uber, Lyft, and Deliv while adding new partners like Point Pickup, Skipcart, AxleHire and Roadie, and shifting business to partners like Postmates and DoorDash.
Today, Walmart’s grocery pickup service is available at more than 2,100 Walmart locations and delivery is offered at nearly 800. It expects to offer pickup at 3,100 locations and delivery at 1,600 locations by the end of fiscal year 2020, it says.
Meanwhile, Walmart has been working to expand its assortment online and offer more types of shopping experiences. For example, in fiscal year 2019, the retailer launched the high-end Lord & Taylor shop on the site; added 3D virtual shopping in its Home category; launched a sports fan-focused Fanatics shop; introduced a new Nursery destination on Walmart.com; began adding merchandise from its acquired brands to the main website; and launched Walmart eBooks in partnership with Kobo; among other things.
Walmart has also made shipping to your home more affordable. In 2017, Walmart introduced an alternative to Amazon’s pricier Prime membership with free, two-day shipping on orders of $35 or more. This past year, it expanded free, two-day shipping to its marketplace items by working with hundreds of its top sellers, and third-party fulfillment providers, like Deliverr.
The company last year also launched a new, more personalized website, which included a revamped Home section, as well as a cleaner, more modern design and sections that showcased items trending in the shoppers’ local area. The redesigned website made it easier to order groceries and reorder favorites, too.
In November, eMarketer noted Walmart had overtaken Apple to become the No. 3 online retailer in the U.S., with Walmart (including its Jet and Sam’s Club brands) poised to capture 4 percent of all online retail by year-end. Amazon, of course, remained No. 1, followed by eBay.
“Progress on initiatives to accelerate growth, along with a favorable economic environment, helped us deliver strong comp sales and gain market share,” said Walmart CEO Doug McMillion, in a statement. “We’re excited about the work we’re doing to reach customers in a more digitally-connected way. Our commitment to the customer is clear – we’ll be there when, where and how they want to shop and deliver new, convenient experiences that are uniquely Walmart.”
from Pradodesign Is That Dagobah? No, Just a Real-Life Magical Forest Neil Burnell’s photographs of Wistman’s Wood in Devon, England evoke comparisons to ‘Star Wars’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’. https://ift.tt/2DSfS1p http://bit.ly/1P9I4xH