All posts in “Software”

MateLabs mixes machine learning with IFTTT


If you’ve ever wanted to train a machine learning model and integrate it with IFTTT, you now can with a new offering from MateLabs. MateVerse, a platform where novices can spin out machine learning models, now works with IFTTT so that you can automatically set up models to run based on conditional statements.

If you’re not familiar with IFTTT, it’s an automation tool for creating your own if/then statements without any programming knowledge. The service makes it possible to say, receive a notification if the temperature outside rises above 50 degrees or post pictures directly to Twitter.

MateLabs’ integration works much the same way, but with machine learning. As of now, the company is offering computer vision and natural language processing tools that can respond to Twitter, Slack, Google Drive, Facebook and more. Hypothetically, you could set up a process to analyze a Twitter mention to determine why the mention occurred.

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Of course you can build your own models — if you would like you can upload your own data on the MateVerse platform and train your own models for specific use cases. All of this is useful for those who might be unfamiliar with complex machine learning frameworks, but that doesn’t mean more advanced developers couldn’t also benefit from the streamlined experience.

As this technology matures it will be cool to see what hackers are able to do with it. I can imagine that one could build some weird IFTTT integrations with hardware — i.e. a camera that can turn on specific lights depending on whether you or your cat walks into a room.

Featured Image: Bryce Durbin

Codota raises $2M from Khosla as autocomplete for developers


In recent years, GitHub has fundamentally changed developer workflows. By centralizing code on an easily accessible platform, the company was able to rapidly change the way people code. Following in these footsteps, Israeli startup Codota wants to further optimize workflows for the often neglected developer community — this time with machine intelligence. The company is announcing a $2 million seed round from Khosla Ventures for its autocomplete tool that helps engineers push better code in less time.

Codota interfaces with integrated development environments like Eclipse, expanding on intelligent code completion. Instead of just offering up brief suggestions of intended code, Codota can recommend larger chunks.

Co-founders Dror Weiss and Eran Yahav took advantage of open source code on the internet from GitHub and StackOverflow to build Codota. All of this public code was fed into machine learning models to enable them to recognize higher-level meaning across blocks of code.

The Codota team at its Tel Aviv headquarters

Programing languages share a lot of structural similarities with their distant spoken cousins. Words can be arranged in infinitely many ways to express a single thought or sentiment. Likewise, the same command can be represented in code in a number of ways. This is why it’s so critical that Codota understands the macro picture of what code is doing.

Of course natural language and code are not completely analogous. The team explained in an interview that in natural language processing, meaning is determined by looking at nearby words. Programs are more structured and meaning isn’t always strongly correlated with locality. So instead of just training on text, Codota also focused on the behaviors of a program.

Aside from improving speed and accuracy, Codota can help with discovery and education. Because Codota has been trained on millions of API implementations, it can help offer up best practices to developers. When open side-by-side with an IDE, the tool can highlight irregularities and demonstrate better ways to write code, lessons often pulled straight from the original creators of libraries.

The startup makes its money by allowing enterprises to keep their internal code private while benefitting from Codota’s insights. Right now the tool is limited to Java, but in the future additional languages will be added.

Featured Image: maciek905/Getty Images

VirZoom’s mobile sensor uses Gear VR to turn normal bikes into VR workout machines

The original idea behind the VirZoom was brilliant: a stationary bike that lets you exercise while cycling through various virtual reality environments. 

The problem is that the number of people with the high-end VR headsets needed to use the VirZoom bike is still fairly small compared to the smartphone market. 

The solution? Bring the VR biking system to mobile. 

The new version of the VirZoom system pairs a removable sensor that can be attached to the peddle crank arm of any traditional stationary bike, and uses a Samsung Gear VR headset and a free mobile version of the VirZoom app to allow users to peddle their way through different VR environments. Like the high-end version, the VirZoom app gamifies biking, encouraging you to bike toward various targets and achievements. 

The small, lightweight VZ Sensor contains an accelerometer that allows it to track the user’s peddling motions, while the new Samsung Gear VR handheld controller can be used with the VirZoom app to aim and shoot at targets in the app while riding. When you want to turn the bike in a certain direction, you simply lean your head (while wearing the Gear VR) in the desired direction. 

Image: VIRZOOM 

I had a chance to test the system out last week, and it not only works, it was far more fun (thanks to the immersive VR landscapes) than a normal session of spinning. 

But the biggest reason the VZ Sensor and VirZoom mobile app has me excited is related to price. With the original system, you first needed to buy a PlayStation VR headset (and console), an Oculus Rift, or an HTC Vive headset, and the VR-ready computer required to use the latter two headsets. Depending on configurations, some of those options could cost you up to $1,500. 

But the $99 VZ Sensor, when paired with the Gear VR and controller at $130, and a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+, makes peddling in VR immediately affordable. And because the sensor is easily removable using a slip-on strap, you don’t even need to buy a regular stationary bike — yep, you can take the VZ Sensor to the gym and attach it to any stationary bike you want. 

The VZ Sensor

The VZ Sensor

Image: virzoom 

Sweating into your pricey Oculus or Vive VR headset may be okay when it comes to light gaming, but when it comes to serious spinning, it’s a bit more comforting know that if you drench your wearable VR headset in sweat and something goes wrong, using the VZ Sensor and Gear VR, you haven’t suddenly ruined an $800 VR headset.

The only downside off all this is that, as of today, it’s only available for pre-order and won’t actually start shipping until October. Still, as a tool for turning your spinning workout into a distracting trip through effort-rewarding games in virtual landscapes as you burn off calories, this is a mobile device worth waiting for. 

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Apple Music just announced a new feature to share your music preferences with friends

Apple debuted a brand new feature for its music service Apple Music at WWDC on Monday, even as rumors swirled that Apple Music’s high profile marketing chief, Bozoma Saint John, may be leaving soon.

The new feature is called Friends Are Listening To, which, as the name suggests, allows you to discover what music your friends on Apple Music are listening to. The feature can be adjusted to be public or private, so no worries if your music tastes lean toward the corny or embarrassing — you can control how you share your tunes.

In addition to the new feature, Apple also announced a big milestone for the music service: Apple Music now has 27 million subscribers.

And finally, Apple announced MusicKit, which will give Apple Music access to third party developers who want to integrate apps into Apple Music. One of the examples Apple listed was the ability to automatically add songs from your Shazam app to your Apple Music list. 

The absence of Saint John, who presented Apple Music at last year’s WWDC, is prominent considering the fact that Apple not only gave her the stage, but Saint John was also featured in a major Apple Music commercial. But despite the unexpected change in leadership, it appears that Apple Music is pushing forward in terms of competing in the new landscape of streaming music services. 

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Vyte makes it easy to invyte people to your calyndyr


Planning a meeting with me used to take hours. First you must bathe yourself in the ritual Spring of Understanding and then, once completely clean, you must enter the room of Writing Down The Appointment. Once that was complete, I required all those requesting a meeting to complete the three trials including the Making of the Hoagie and the Understanding (And Explaining) Of Django Programming. Ultimately few passed my tests.

Now, however, I just use Vyte. Vyte lets folks visit your private page – like mine – and select a date to meet. You can approve it, set a location, and even decline it. It’s much like competing services like Calendly but I particularly like the ease of use and design.

Founded by French techies Martin Saint-Macary and Philippe Hong the company is self-funded and just starting out. They have 200 paid companies and 6,000 monthly active users.

“I met Philippe at a startup competition a few years ago,” said Saint-Macary. “After enjoying working together on some side projects, we co-founded Vyte together. We started tackling the group scheduling issue, and later realised that oddly enough, scheduling 1-on-1s was a much bigger pain at work, so we refocused on that.”

The system syncs with your Google Calendar and the mobile app acts as its own calendar app, allowing you to replace your default one.

Sadly Vyte does not allow me to force those who wish an audience with me to complete the arduous task of Putting The Fitted Sheet Down The Right Way The First Time it does make it easier for me to pass the buck and say “Hey, click on this and pick a time and I’ll tell you ‘No.’” Thus, as they say, the great world spins.