Statsbot helps businesses pull their data into Slack


Statsbot is giving companies a new way to look at their data — in their chatrooms on Slack.

Co-founder and CEO Artyom Keydunov said that the product was inspired by his previous work leading a remote engineering team, when he realized that it would be “a good idea to bring data from Google Analytics or Mixpanel to the place where all collaboration happens — to Slack.” (Statsbot also pulls in data from Salesforce.)

The company participated in 500 Startups and the Betaworks Botcamp last year, and it says it has already been installed by 20,000 businesses. It also recently raised a $1.6 million seed round led by Eniac Ventures, with participation from Betaworks, Innovation Endeavors and Slack Fund.

Keydunov said one of the most popular uses of Statsbot is in meetings, where it can be “really nice and really essential and really vital to have this data with you.” If, say, you start discussing trends in user signups, you can use Statsbot to pull up the data immediately so that you can verify and support your argument.

You can also use Statsbot to receive notifications. For example, you could tell it to monitor user signups, then it will notify you when there’s a spike or drop off.

Looking ahead, Keydunov said his team is working to make Statsbot notifications smarter and more actionable — instead of telling you that a marketing campaign is losing money, it could also allow you to halt or reschedule that campaign directly from Slack. He also said Statsbot should become smarter about understanding company data, so that it can explain “why something goes wrong or why a trend line in your sales change — what are the drivers of the trend line?”

“What we want to do here is to create the Statsbot … that works across different sources, merging different sources and giving you much more valuable insights on the intersection,” he said.

4 solutions to the iPhone 7’s dongle crisis

If you’ve got an iPhone 7, you’re probably pretty pleased with yourself. What you’re probably less pleased about is the removal of the 3.5mm headphone port. 

While Apple has bundled a Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter with the iPhone 7 (and sells a replacement for $9) this official doodad hogs the single port. 

We’ve found four innovative products that let you charge your iPhone 7 and listen to music at the same time. Imagine that. Have a look through our options to find a solution that suits you… 

Perfect for anyone with Lightning Audio headphones, Belkin’s Lightning Audio + Charge RockStar lets iPhone 7 and 7 Plus owners listen to music, watch video discreetly or make phone calls through Lightning Audio headphones while you charge. 

It features two Lightning ports, supports up to 24-bit 48kHz lossless output and boasts the “Made for iPhone” mark. 

Fuze is a case-based option for anyone who doesn’t like the idea of dangling a dongle. Next to the access for the Lightning port, the case restores the phone’s 3.5mm audio jack.

Made of durable TPU and ABS plastics, you also get protection for your handset. The case is slimline, adding 5mm of thickness and 28 grams of weight. 

The real selling point is that the case also offers a built-in battery, which promises to double your iPhone 7’s daily lifespan. 

Griffin has come up with another, entirely different solution — convert your existing headphones into ones that work wirelessly. 

Ideal for anyone that’s splashed out on expensive headphones and still wants to be able to use them with their iPhone 7, the iTrip Clip connects them wirelessly to your iPhone using Bluetooth 4.1. You simply plug your headphones into the iTrip Clip, pair the gizmo with your handset and clip it onto your clothing or bag. Once paired, the device will reconnect automatically in future. 

You can use the iTrip Clip to play, pause, skip tracks, adjust the volume, activate Siri and make phone calls.

A dongle option shipping in March via Indiegogo, the Auxillite is a small device that will plug into your iPhone 7’s Lightning port, then offer, on either side of the cylinder, a Lightning port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There’s also a model for Android phones.

Once plugged in, you’ll be able to charge your handset while listening to music and other audio.

Bulgarian cat walks again with the help of bionic legs

Pooh, a one-year-old cat from Bulgaria was found without his hind legs. But a local animal shelter raised funds to have him fitted with prosthetics legs

The Bulgarian vet who performed Pooh’s surgery also fitted three more cats. The procedure was first performed in the U.K. but this is the first in Europe.

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When the trolls come at you over birth control coverage, here’s what to say

If you’re a woman who, on the internet, has tried to defend widely accessible and affordable birth control, you probably know all the counterarguments by heart: “Why should my tax dollars make it easy for you to have sex?” “I don’t want to pay for what you do in the bedroom”. “Don’t have sex if you can’t afford to get pregnant”

Such comments conveniently gloss over the complexities of real life. But it’s also easy to trot out similarly simplistic responses when arguing for birth control. Women and their allies are tired of having to defend something that seems basic, but the important thing to remember is that you’re not trying to convince the troll. Instead you want to sway the social media audience watching your exchange. You’re playing to the crowd. 

“Most of these claims or moral arguments don’t take women’s interests very seriously.”

That matters because informed public debate of birth control is critical right now. The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, requires insurers to provide federally-approved methods of contraception without a copay. Republicans, who plan to repeal Obamacare but haven’t introduced a replacement yet, have indicated their bill won’t have the same requirement. Millions of women could lose access to affordable contraception as a result.

Public polling shows that a majority of Americans support full birth control coverage, but Republicans aren’t in that camp, and trolling comments on social media can amplify a much different narrative. Some critics will never be convinced, but if you choose to take on their talking points for all to see, here are six things to keep in mind: 

1. It’s not “free” birth control. 

First, the government doesn’t send bureaucrats out to roam the streets with bags of free pills and IUDs, tossing them to the nearest random woman. Instead, insurance companies and clinics work with doctors and pharmacies to provide them to patients at no additional cost. 

People who receive copay-free contraception typically put their own money into the health care system by paying taxes and private-market premiums. Last year, people with employer-sponsored health insurance paid on average $5,277 toward their family coverage. Low-income Medicaid recipients may also pay premiums for their insurance. 

While eliminating the birth control copay saved women a lot of money, they continue to finance their own health care while also subsidizing services for fellow Americans. 

2. Birth control is for planning pregnancy. 

People who oppose copay-free contraception often associate it with promiscuity or irresponsible sexual behavior. The simple truth is that birth control helps women prevent and plan pregnancy. (It can also alleviate symptoms of medical conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.) That’s pretty thoughtful decision-making, and yet, critics get stuck on sex, a nearly universal expression of human desire and intimacy.

Arguing about why people are having sex, or under what circumstances, is ultimately a distraction from legitimate practical concerns about not getting pregnant. Demanding that people wait to have sex until they’re ready to conceive just isn’t realistic, says Lawrence Nelson, an associate professor of philosophy at Santa Clara University. That logic would make even the most committed married couples chaste. 

“Most of these claims or moral arguments don’t take women’s interests very seriously,” Nelson says. 

3. Preventing unplanned pregnancy is good for women, families and taxpayers. 

Under Obamacare, birth control is considered preventive health care, just like vaccinations, routine checkups and breast pumps for new mothers. That may seem odd but making it easy for women to prevent a medical condition — pregnancy in this case — saves the government and taxpayers a lot of money. 

In 2010, the federal government spent $21 billion on births, abortions and miscarriages related to pregnancies that weren’t planned. Studies suggest that unintended pregnancy leads to worse economic, health and academic outcomes among children. When women avoid getting pregnant at the wrong time, research indicates they’re able to get more education and increase their earnings. 

Adam Thomas, an associate teaching professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, says that increased spending on family-planning services like expanded access to contraception is a wise investment. His research shows that for every dollar the government spends, it saves nearly $6. Another study indicated that savings could be as high as $7.

“Unintended pregnancy is a major public health problem,” says Thomas. “Expanding access can address that problem.” 

4. Birth control can be too expensive with a copay. 

Some people love to insist that every woman can afford contraceptive copays if she tries hard enough. But before Obamacare birth control frequently cost women hundreds of dollars a year, depending on the method. 

The most effective forms, like the IUD and hormonal implants, had an upfront cost of several hundred dollars. As a result, some low-income women, constantly making hard choices about which basic need to prioritize on a limited budget, used less effective but relatively cheap contraception (i.e. condoms).    

“We already know who’s going to suffer the most if and when they roll this back.”

Understanding that dynamic is key to tackling the problem of unplanned pregnancy, but there’s almost no point in arguing further with someone who refuses to believe birth control with a copay is out of reach for many women. If they’re not willing to believe and trust women’s personal experiences, they won’t defer to you. And if that person starts mocking a hypothetical woman’s grocery store purchases or cell phone bill, for example, in order to attack her reproductive health choices, the conversation has lost its perspective — and arguably its sense of decency.   

“We already know who’s going to suffer the most if and when they roll this back,” says Alexis Cole, policy manager for the reproductive justice organization Urge. “It’s those that had the hardest time affording birth control before — young people, immigrants, women of color and low-income families.” 

5. Yes, some sexually active women don’t use birth control. Talk about why.

One stereotype tends to throw the birth control debate into chaos, and it’s the notion that many women gleefully have sex without protection, consequences be damned. The opposition to affordable birth control is then built around the idea that women can’t be trusted with their own sexuality, so why give them a means to prevent pregnancy. In other words, they just shouldn’t have sex. 

While it is true that some sexually active women don’t use contraception, they make up less than one-fifth of women at risk for unintended pregnancies. That’s a small group, but instead of pretending they don’t exist, people who support birth control access should talk about the bigger picture. 

Studies suggest that disadvantaged women, in particular, are ambivalent about unwed motherhood. The possibility of an accidental pregnancy doesn’t constrain their risky behavior because they don’t feel like they have much to lose, says Thomas.  

Ensuring they have access to sex education and affordable birth control is important, but it might actually be more effective to improve their economic prospects. To hold those women up as a rationale for denying everyone affordable birth control fundamentally misunderstands their predicament. 

6. Beware the slippery slope of refusing to “pay” for someone else’s medical intervention. 

If someone refuses to subsidize no-copay birth control on principle, do others then have the right to withhold their taxpayer dollars from financing medical interventions they find objectionable? The natural birthing mom might insist that her premium doesn’t go toward medically unnecessary cesarean sections. Or Scientologists could demand their money never pay for psychiatric services because it violates their belief system. 

Nelson says people can’t plead a special exemption for their objections to birth control. Everyone who pays into the private or public health care system might have very specific wishes for how that money is spent, but that’s not the bargain we’ve made to ensure people are healthy and have access to preventive care and essential medical treatment. 

“To say this is different strikes me as not taking women’s lives as they’re really lived seriously, and what it means to a woman to get pregnant when she doesn’t want to get pregnant,” says Nelson. 

What it comes down to, he adds, is making birth control accessible and affordable so women are tied to the future they create for themselves, not their fertility. 

“For women to really be able to live in the world as equals to men,” Nelson says, “they need control over their sexual reproductive lives.” 

Project Rome SDK is the latest step toward Android-Windows 10 integration

Why it matters to you

Microsoft is one step closer to making your Android smartphone play nice with your Windows 10 PC.

It’s been a few years since Microsoft first made it clear that the old “Windows-only” days were behind it. Microsoft continues to push Windows 10, but it’s also putting serious resources behind supporting the competing iOS and Android platforms.

At its Build 2016 event, Microsoft announced Project Rome, yet another of its many cross-platform efforts. Project Rome is intended to connect Android devices to Windows 10 machines, and Microsoft has announced that the Android version of the Project Rome software development kit (SDK) is now available for Java and Microsoft’s own cross-platform development tool Xamarin.

More: Cortana for Android syncs notifications, lets you leave your phone in your pocket

Project Rome will let developers who are making apps for both Android and the Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform (UWP) enable the app to communicate across platforms. For example, a music app could discover other devices on the same network that have the app installed. The app could then be launched on those other discovered devices, and then allow the Android device to remote control the app on Windows 10.

All of the required functionality to accomplish kind of cross-platform interaction isn’t yet available, but Microsoft plans to include it soon in a future release of the Android SDK. For now, developers can access Java and Xamarin examples at GitHub, with examples of UWP apps available as well. The Windows 10 components needed to support Project Rome capabilities were released in 2017 with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

There’s already a significant amount of interaction between Microsoft’s apps and Windows 10 platform and other devices, including iOS and Android. You can already use Cortana on both competing platforms, as well as sync your notifications between Android and Windows 10. Soon, Android apps and Windows 10 UWP apps will communicate and interact as well, meaning that it’ll be even less of a compromise to run a Windows 10 PC alongside and Android smartphone.

Magic Leap photo leak claims to show first look at mixed reality device

The multibillion-dollar-valued vaporware (so far) known as Magic Leap has been wrestling with a PR nightmare over the past few months. That nightmare may be about to get a lot more vivid thanks to a leaked photo.

On Friday evening, a photo emerged in a report from Business Insider that shows what the publication claims is at least one iteration of the Magic Leap prototype, being worn by an unnamed user.

Although the front-facing portion of the device isn’t shown, we are able to see shoulder straps, a head harness, and a backpack filled with electronics. The person in the photo also appears to be holding a controller of some sort. 

In general, the contraption looks extremely early in its development. However, there’s no way of knowing if this purported photo leak isn’t just a photo representing something the company had in existence a couple of years ago, or if it represents the latest phase of development for the device. According to the report, the photo itself was taken in January, but that doesn’t mean the device shown (described as an “early prototype”) looks anything like the latest version of the company’s latest prototype.

An image of what Business Insider claims is a Magic Leap prototype photo leak.

An image of what Business Insider claims is a Magic Leap prototype photo leak.

Image: screenshot of business insider website 

If it turns out that this is a photograph of an old device, this might just be a bit of clever marketing spin by Magic Leap to greatly lower expectations before unveiling a polished product in the coming months. 

That’s the best case scenario. 

The worst case scenario is that this does represent the latest version of the company’s prototype meant for consumers, in which case there’s very little chance we will see a Magic Leap device available to consumers any time in 2017. 

The company has yet to comment on the leaked photo, and it should be emphasized once again that there is no confirmation that this is, in fact, a device created by Magic Leap — so far, we only have the claims made by Business Insider. When contacted by Business Insider, the company declined to comment, and I’ve also requested confirmation (or denial) of the photo’s authenticity from my Magic Leap contact — as of this writing, I have yet to hear back. 

Nevertheless, given the company’s strong response to The Information‘s report a few months ago, which didn’t speak well of the company’s augmented reality technology, we may hear something soon. 

Tim Cook thinks augmented reality is a ‘big idea like the smartphone’

It’s no secret Apple CEO Tim Cook is bullish on augmented reality. He has shared his belief that AR, and not VR, has the potential to change the world.

In a new interview with The Independent, Cook reiterated his optimism on augmented reality’s future, even going as far to say it’s a “big idea like the smartphone.”

“The smartphone is for everyone, we don’t have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic, or country or vertical market: it’s for everyone,” Cook said. “I think AR is that big, it’s huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives. And be entertaining.”

Cook said he thinks of AR as a “core technology” and not a single product — which, depending on how you want to interpret it, could mean the company’s not looking to launch a pair of AR smart glasses, contrary to a claim from AR/VR evangelist Robert Scoble.

“AR allows individuals to be present in the world but hopefully allows an improvement on what’s happening presently.”

As a “core technology” Apple could implement AR more broadly across its products rather than tie it down to a single device.

But despite his excitement for it, Cook thinks existing AR technology isn’t ready yet, saying “there are things to discover before that technology is good enough for the mainstream.”

Cook also dissed VR again. “I’m excited about augmented reality because unlike virtual reality which closes the world out, AR allows individuals to be present in the world but hopefully allows an improvement on what’s happening presently.”

“Most people don’t want to lock themselves out from the world for a long period of time and today you can’t do that because you get sick from it. With AR you can, not be engrossed in something, but have it be a part of your world, of your conversation. That has resonance.” Ouch. I guess Mark Zuckerberg won’t be inviting Cook to try out the latest Oculus Rift VR tech anytime soon.

Leaked photos show just how sexy Samsung’s Galaxy S8 could look

Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S8 is shaping up to be one helluva flagship Android smartphone. 

Though we already got a glimpse of what the S8 will supposedly look like last month, newly leaked photos give us a closer look at the front glass panels — and depending on your taste, it’s either going to be the hottest phone ever created or the ugliest.

According Twitter user Benjamin Geskin (via BGR), the images below, posted to China’s Weibo, are the front panels of the S8:

The leaked images align with previous leaks and rumors that claim the S8 will lose the home button below the display to make way for curved, much larger pressure-sensitive screens (similar to the kind on the iPhone 6S and 7) in two sizes. 

The smaller S8 will reportedly have a 5.8-inch screen and the larger “S8 Plus” a 6.2-inch display — both would be larger than the existing S7 and S7 Edge, which have 5.1- and 5.5-inch screens, respectively. Heck, both S8 models would have larger screens than the short-lived Note7.

One thing that might upset fans is the the top bezel, which — slim as it looks — is filled with cutouts for the earpiece, front-facing camera and presumably an iris scanner. Maybe one day, all of those components will be integrated into the display, but not this year.

Bigger curved screens won’t be the S8’s only drool-worthy feature.

Bigger curved screens won’t be the S8’s only drool-worthy feature. In addition to being powered by the newest and fastest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, the S8 will also reportedly come with its own AI assistant called “Bixby“. 

It was originally believed that Bixby would be powered by Viv, the AI assistant developed by Siri’s creators. However, a new report from The Wall Street Journal suggests Bixby might merely be an evolution of S Voice, Samsung’s voice assistant that never quite matched Siri. 

Regardless of what the underlying technology is, Bixby is expected to be an integral part of the S8 with reports claiming the phone will have a dedicated button located on one side to activate it. Bixby will also reportedly integrate with the camera and use optical character recognition (OCR) to scan text into digital format, and be able to control all of the S8’s native apps.

The WSJ also corroborates reports that Samsung will not remove the headphone jack on the S8. As for battery life, The Investor claims Samsung will play it safe with batteries similar in capacity the S7 and S7 Edge, which is probably the best route to go since the company definitely doesn’t want a repeat of the Note7.

While the S8 is not expected to launch until April, we should get our first official sneak peek of the S8 with a one-minute video teaser at Mobile World Congress later this month, according to The Korea Herald.

This email newsletter is required reading for the resistance in Trump’s America

The newsletter has tens of thousands of subscribers already.
The newsletter has tens of thousands of subscribers already.

Image: Machado Noa/REX/Shutterstock

After just three weeks with Donald Trump in office it’s hard to keep track of his tweets, appointments, executive orders and latest conflicts of interest

But a daily email newsletter has emerged to help keep everyone’s heads from spinning off trying to keep up. Most importantly it answers the perpetual question of “WTF just happened today?”

And it’s called just that: What the Fuck Just Happened Today.

What started as a blog post for Seattle-based product manager Matt Kiser to keep track of the latest antics of the Trump administration has turned into a daily newsletter with more than 43,000 subscribers.

Each issue is headlined with some word or phrase that summarizes the biggest political story of the day. On Wednesday the newsletter led with “Nevertheless, she persisted,” referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s reprimanding-turned-rallying cry. Kiser says the simple layout and easy-to-find information “helps squelch some of the outrage.”

“I had been struggling to keep up with the pace of news coming out,” Kiser said of his decision to create his small collection of daily political news stories. 

Kiser says he’s a bit overwhelmed that thousands of people are using his simple list of about 10 major news stories to stay informed about politics and the White House. He’s already at 2.5 million page views on the newsletter’s website for February.

The newsletter, which Kiser admits is not an original concept and is based on other successful newsletters like theSkimm, follows a pretty simple formula: What happened, what are the facts, who reported it and where can you get more information.

“It’s super difficult for anyone who is not a news junkie to feel informed or feel like the have any sense of what’s going on in the world,” he said.  

Selecting which stories and sources he includes on his list has become more of a challenge. Kiser said the newsletter “could be read as an antagonistic attack on Trump,” but he insisted he’s trying to take a “neutral-ish” position. 

To keep things balanced he’s trying to cite a “diversity of sources,” though he tends to lean on stories from the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Guardian and other so-called mainstream liberal media. But no matter the source, “I’m not trying to offer commentary or opinion or analysis.”

Kiser knows the newsletter resonates with some people who are frustrated by an administration with a tenuous relationship to truth and accuracy. He said the newsletter is straight and to the point, which is helpful for people “starting to pay attention for the first time to politics,” new to activism and joining up with the #Resist movement

An organized list of news is like a balm to people who might be feeling “perpetually outraged,” Kiser said. Instead of being angry, reading and understanding the day-to-day developments “starts to put things in perspective.”

He said that the newsletter “fits more naturally from the resistance group,” but “I think it would be super cool if the alt-right got excited about this.”

All it takes is a click of the subscribe button to join the revolution.

Start dating more efficiently with one of these 8 apps

Dating apps kind of suck — just ask anyone between the ages of 22 and 35. Despite this, they’ve become the normal way to meet people and ask them out. This puts you in a tough spot. Because everyone else is using dating apps, it’s tough to avoid using them, too. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle. To help you navigate all the choices out there, we’ve picked eight of the most prevalent dating apps — or those that bring something unique to the table — along with our expert opinions on their accessibility, foibles, pratfalls, best intended uses, and everything else in between.

And we tried them. Each and every one.

While we can’t promise you won’t encounter an unwanted pornographic pic or a complete loser, we can at least tell you what you might be in for with each of these apps. That said, bonne chance!ung

Tinder

Tinder

First off, Tinder the app requires you to have a Facebook account in order to enable it, and you have to be over 18. Once enabled, you can set up a concise profile that consists of a 500-character bio and up to six images (we suggest always including a photo). You can also link your Tinder account to your Instagram, and include info about your employer and school. Discovery settings allow other users to find you, if desired, and set a few preferences regarding who you see. Then the real fun begins.

Tinder shows you a photo, name, and age. You can tap on the photo to see additional information regarding the person and Facebook friends you share (if any). You can also choose to swipe right (to like them), left (to pass), or up if you want use one of your precious “super likes” to show them you really really like them. If you and someone have both swiped right on one another, a screen will appear showing that you’ve matched and inviting you to send them a message. But most of the time, the Tinder experience will consist of flicking through profiles like channels on the television.

Tinder actually has one of the best user interfaces of any dating app around. The photos are large, the app is — comparatively speaking — svelte, and setting up your profile is pretty painless. Overall, Tinder gets an A for its usability. Also, no one can message you unless you have also expressed an interest in them, which means you get no unsolicited messages. While there are a fair few people on Tinder who use it strictly to collect swipes, many people are actually inclined to meet up in real life, which is not always the case with dating apps. Tinder is possibly the most popular dating app, too, meaning the likelihood of matching with someone you’re interested in who doesn’t live super far away is greater than with apps that have fewer users.

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