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8 Apps That Let You Get Paid the Same Day

No one enjoys being strapped for cash. If your income needs an instant boost, there are ways to earn money and get paid instantly. While not all these options pay well, they will all get some cash in your pocket when you need it most. These are all things you can do in your spare […] The post 8 Apps That Let You Get Paid the Same Day appeared first on The Work at Home Wife.

Virtual reality makes food taste better

In another example of VR bleeding into real life, Cornell University food scientists found that cheese eaten in pleasant VR surroundings tasted better than the same cheese eaten in a drab sensory booth. About 50 panelists who used virtual reality headsets as they ate were given three identical samples of blue cheese. The study participants were virtually placed in a standard sensory booth, a pleasant park bench and the Cornell cow barn to see custom-recorded 360-degree videos. The panelists were unaware that the cheese samples were identical, and rated the pungency of the blue cheese significantly higher in the cow barn setting than in the sensory booth or the virtual park bench. That’s right: cheese tastes better on a virtual farm versus inside a blank, empty cyberia. “When we eat, we perceive not only just the taste and aroma of foods, we get sensory input from our surroundings – our eyes, ears, even our memories about surroundings,” said researcher Robin Dando. To be clear, this research wasn’t designed to confirm whether VR could make food taste better but whether or not VR could be used as a sort of taste testbed, allowing manufacturers to let people try foods in different places without, say, putting them on an airplane or inside a real cow barn. Because food tastes differently in different surroundings, the ability to simulate those surroundings in VR is very useful. “This research validates that virtual reality can be used, as it provides an immersive environment for testing,” said Dando. “Visually, virtual reality imparts qualities of the environment itself to the food being consumed – making this kind of testing cost-efficient.”

Embracing multimodality, Uber pioneers ride recommendations

For the first time, Uber will make contextual, personalized suggestions about the best way to get from point A to point B. The startup offers more than just cars now, and it’s starting to understand the trade-offs between price, speed, convenience and comfort amidst its multi-modal fleet. Most noticeably, you’ll soon see JUMP bikes get premier billing right alongside Uber’s other vehicles. Going a short distance and there’s a charged up bike nearby? Uber will suggest you pedal. Might need extra room for luggage on your way to the airport? UberXL and SUV will appear. Always take cheap Pools? It won’t show you a pricier Black car. Uber is finally getting smart. It has to if it’s going to make sense of its growing patchwork of ride types without overwhelming passengers with too many options. Uber’s algorithm can help them choose. “We think there’s a lot to be gained by being a one-stop shop to get somewhere,” says Uber director of product Nundu Janakiram. Uber now dynamically recommends different ride types In particular, Uber could block disruption by scooter-specific startups like Spin, Bird or Skip. If those apps have no vehicles nearby or you’re going too far, they’ve got nothing to offer. But Uber can provide a competitively priced Express Pool when there’s no open-air ride available, while convincing its existing UberX riders to try a bike or scooter for quick trips when congestion is thick, thanks to its new in-house traffic estimates. Uber Director of Product Nundu Janakiram Previously, you’d get a static set of three ride options from the price class you booked from last, regardless of your destination. Meanwhile, bikes and scooters were buried in Uber’s hamburger menu sidebar or an awkward toggle at the top of the screen. The company hasn’t done a good job of communicating the definition of Select (nicer normal-sized cars) or Express Pool (walk and wait for a discount) either. Now Uber’s homescreen can cherry pick the most relevant ride suggestions from across all price classes and vehicle types based on your trip length, destination type and personal ride history. Along with…

Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global is teaming up with Zenefits

Many are familiar with Arianna Huffington’s personal journey from media mogul to outspoken sleep advocate. In April 2007 she collapsed, broke her cheekbone and woke up in a pool of blood, a well-publicized accident she attributes to sleep deprivation and exhaustion. In the years that followed, she shifted her focus to wellness, authoring two books on the topic: Thrive and The Sleep Revolution, and later founded a corporate services and media company called Thrive Global. Thrive, which bills itself as a “behavior change” startup, helps businesses help their employees develop healthy relationships with technology and manage stress and burnout — issues with which Huffington is personally familiar. The company has raised nearly $43 million in venture capital funding to date, at a $121.5 million valuation as of May. Today, Thrive is announcing a new partnership with Zenefits, the provider of software that helps small- and medium-sized business (SMBs) manage human resources, though is still often known for a series of regulatory and compliance issues that led to the exit of its founding chief executive, Parker Conrad. The partnership will make available to employees of the 11,000 businesses that use Zenefits human resources software Thrive content, tips and tools within the Zenefits platform, and managers will be able to use the Thrive app to track and measure employee well-being. “People are sleep deprived; people are eating the wrong food,” Huffington told TechCrunch. “It’s very basic things we can change through behavior that affect the bottom line of a company.” “When you give employees science-based micro steps — that’s how change happens,” she added. “You need little nudges to help you change your behavior.” Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global raises $30M so you can work less and sleep more Thrive educational content focuses on sleep, humans’ relationship with technology, goal setting and other issues that pertain to physical and mental health. Huffington and Jay Fulcher, Zenefits CEO, told TechCrunch this arrangement was a year in the making. Zenefits tapped Fulcher, the former CEO of Ooyala and Agile Software, as CEO last year. He was the third CEO in the span of 12 months after Conrad was ousted and…

AllTrails gets $75M to keep hikers happy

The app for hiking enthusiasts just secured a big round of capital that will help it map more trails worldwide. AllTrails has raised $75 million, led by Spectrum Equity, which has taken a majority stake in the company in the process. Founded in 2010, AllTrails raised a small amount of capital years ago from investors, including 2020 Ventures and 500 Startups. It was also part of AngelPad’s inaugural accelerator class. This is its first sizeable round of equity financing. AllTrails provides what it calls an “outdoors platform” that includes crowdsourced reviews of trails from its community of 9 million avid hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners in more than 100 countries. It also provides detailed trail maps and other content tailor-made for outdoorsy folk. The company says its app has been downloaded more than 12 million times. Gear for making outdoor fitness more enjoyable AllTrails was founded by Russell Cook, who recently left to launch another fitness tech startup called FitOn. The company is now led by Jade Van Doren, who joined as CEO in September 2015. “I grew up camping in the Sierras with my grandfather and backpacking up there,” Van Doren told TechCrunch. “I looked around the space and it felt like there was a lot of room to build something meaningful that would help people find places to get outdoors and feel safe once they are out there.” “I got really excited about doing that and we’ve made a lot of progress toward those goals,” he added. “I enjoy waking up in the morning and knowing what we are building is helping people live healthier and more active lifestyles.” Cook said the business is cash flow positive and wasn’t seeking a venture capital infusion when Spectrum approached. He says their expertise in the consumer space — the firm also has investments in Ancestry, WeddingWire and several others — will be a big value-add for AllTrails. In addition to expanding overseas, the company will use the capital to hire aggressively. As part of the deal, Spectrum’s Ben Spero and Matt Neidlinger will join AllTrails’ board of directors.

Zyl is now a nostalgia-powered photo app

AI-powered photo management app Zyl is going back to the drawing board with a streamlined, more efficient redesign. The app is now focused on one thing only — resurfacing your old memories. Taking photos on a smartphone is now a daily habit. But what about looking back at photos you took one year, three years or even eight years ago? It can pile up quite quickly. Zyl thinks there’s emotional value in those long-forgotten photos. Before this update, Zyl helped you delete duplicates, create smart photo albums based on multiple criteria and collaborate on photo albums. In other words, it was a utility app. But when the company started talking with some of their users, they realized that one feature stood out and had more value than the rest. Applying those AI-powered models to your photo library is a great way to find interesting photos. But nobody was really looking at them. When you open the app, you get a view of your camera roll with your last photos at the bottom. There’s also a big green button at the bottom. When you tap on it, Zyl creates a satisfying animation and unveils an important photo. If you took multiple photos to capture this moment, the app stitches together those photos and create a GIF. You can then share this Zyl with a friend or family member. But the true magic happens if you try to get another Zyl. You have to wait 24 hours to unlock another photo. The next day, the app sends you a notification when your photo is ready. You can always open the app again and look at your past Zyls in a new tab with your most important photos. Unlike Timehop or Facebook’s “On This Day” feature, Zyl doesn’t look at your social media posts and focuses on your camera roll. Zyl isn’t limited to anniversaries either. Just like before, Zyl respects your privacy and leaves your photos alone. They’re never sent to the company’s server — Zyl uses the same photo database as the native one on your iPhone or Android phone so…

With TodayTix Presents, TodayTix is starting to produce its own live shows

Mobile ticketing app TodayTix is getting into the show production business with the launch of a new program called TodayTix Presents. While TodayTix is sometimes described as the mobile version of the TKTS booth where you can pick up last-minute tickets to Broadway shows, CEO Brian Fenty said that he sees the service’s real competitors as “anything you can do with your night, outside of work — that’s Netflix and ‘Orange is the New Black,’ that’s post-season baseball, that’s a pitcher of margarita.” At the same time, Fenty said after driving a total of $250 million in sales and to 4.6 million customers, the company has built a rich trove of data about people’s cultural interests. So with that in mind, it made sense for TodayTix to follow Netflix’s footsteps with “the same ethos that they had, to develop and to nurture programming and content that’s intimately connected to what users and what customers want to see.” This doesn’t mean TodayTix is going to be producing spectacular Broadway productions. Instead, Fenty pointed to the TodayTix Live concert in Brooklyn last month as the first of these shows. That concert, which celebrated TodayTix’s five-year anniversary and was hosted by Darren Criss, featured (mostly) Broadway stars like Matthew Morrison and Ariana Debose, who (mostly) performed pop standards. Fenty said future TodayTix Live events won’t follow the exact same format, but the idea is to continue featuring popular artists in intimate settings — he compared it to “MTV Unplugged.” In fact, he suggested that with 300 attendees, last month’s concert was about as big as these shows will get. And because these are small, one-off events, Fenty said they’re not competitive with the big shows that TodayTix works with. “[Our partners] are doing longform, high-budget, highly developed shows that take years to develop and are fully baked,” he said. “Really what TodayTix Presents is supposed to be is a work-in-progress, an intimate way to see an artist.” TodayTix already has plans for another New York City event in November, and then two in December. Fenty said “the cadence should roughly be a few events per…

YC-grad Papa raises $2.4M for its ‘grandkids-on-demand’ service

One of the latest additions to the on-demand economy is Papa, a mobile app that connects college students with adults over 60 in need of support and companionship. The recent graduate of Y Combinator’s accelerator program has raised a $2.4 million round of funding to expand its service throughout Florida and to five additional states next year, beginning with Pennsylvania. Initialized Capital led the round, with participation from Sound Ventures. Headquartered in Miami, the startup was founded last year by chief executive officer Andrew Parker. The idea came to him while he was juggling a full-time job at a startup and caring for his grandfather, who had early onset dementia. “I’ve always been a connector of humans,” Parker, the former vice president of health systems at telehealth company MDLIVE, told TechCrunch. “I’ve always naturally felt comfortable with all walks of life and all age groups and have just felt human connection is really critical.” Seniors can request a “Papa Pal” using the company’s mobile app, desktop site or by phone. The pals can pick them up and take them out for an activity or have them over to play a game, complete household chores, teach them how to use social media and other technology or simply to chat. A senior is matched with a student, who must complete a “rigorous” background check, in as little as 30 seconds. Parker says there are 600 students working with Papa an average of 25 hours per month. “We’ve been fortunate that this is something the students really want to be part of,” he said. “They aren’t doing this for a couple extra dollars. They are doing this to help the community.” The service costs seniors $20 per hour, $12 of which is paid to the students and $8 is returned to Papa. It’s not a subscription-based service, but seniors can pay for a premium option that lets them choose between three Papa Pals instead of being randomly paired with one of the several hundred options. The students do not provide any personal care, like bathing or grooming. And they are not a pick-up and drop-off service,…

SpankChain spanked

SpankChain, a cryptocurrency aimed at decentralized sex cams, has announced that a hacker stole about $38,000 from their payment channel thanks to a broken smart contract. They wrote: At 6pm PST Saturday, an unknown attacker drained 165.38 ETH (~$38,000) from our payment channel smart contract which also resulted in $4,000 worth of BOOTY on the contract becoming immobilized. Of the stolen/immobilized ETH/BOOTY, 34.99 ETH (~$8,000) and 1271.88 BOOTY belongs to users (~$9,300 total), and the rest belonged to SpankChain. Our immediate priority has been to provide complete reimbursements to all users who lost funds. We are preparing an ETH airdrop to cover all $9,300 worth of ETH and BOOTY that belonged to users. Funds will be sent directly to users’ SpankPay accounts, and will be available as soon as we reboot Spank.Live. The hacker used a ‘reentrancy’ bug in which the user calls the same transfer multiple times, draining a little Ethereum each time. The bug is the same one that previously affected the DAO. The company pointed out that a security audit on their smart contract would have cost $50,000, a bit more than the amount lost. “As we move forward and grow, we will be stepping up our security practices, and making sure to get multiple internal audits for any smart contract code we publish, as well as at least one professional external audit,” they wrote. I’ve reached out to the company for clarification but in short it seems the spanker has become the spankee. UPDATE – According to the CEO the hacker returned the cash and offered to help Spankchain fix its smart contract. Who said the crypto world was full of crooks and liars! Ladies and gentlemen, I present the real winner of the @ETHSanFrancisco hackathon! https://t.co/kfA6NVV71J — Ameen Soleimani (@ameensol) October 11, 2018

Origin launches protocol for building cheaper decentralized Ubers & Airbnbs

The sharing economy ends up sharing a ton of labor’s earnings with middlemen like Uber and Airbnb, and $38 million-funded Origin wants the next great two-sided marketplace to be decentralized on the blockchain so drivers and riders or hosts and guests can connect directly and avoid paying steep fees that can range up to 20 percent or higher. So today Origin launches its decentralized marketplace protocol on the ethereum mainnet that replaces a central business that connects users and vendors with a smart contract. “Marketplaces don’t redistribute the profits they make to members. They accrue to founders and venture capitalists,” said Origin co-founder Matt Liu, who was the third product manager at YouTube. “Building these decentralized marketplaces, we want to make them peer-to-peer, not peer-to-corporate-monopoly-to-peer.” When people transact through Origin, it plans to issue them tokens that will let them participate in the governance of the protocol, and could incentivize them to get on these marketplaces early as well as convince others to use them. Origin’s in-house marketplace DApp Today’s mainnet beta sees Origin offering its own basic decentralized app that operates like a Craigslist on the blockchain. Users can create a profile, connect their ethereum wallet through services like MetaMask, browse product and service listings, message each other to arrange transactions through smart contracts with no extra fees, leave reviews and appeal disputes to Origin’s in-house arbitrators. Eventually, with the Origin protocol, developers will be able to quickly build their own sub-marketplaces for specific services like dog walking, house cleaning, ridesharing and more. These developers can opt to charge fees, though Origin hopes the cost-savings from its blockchain platform will let them undercut non-blockchain services. And vendors can offer a commission to any marketplace that gets their listing matched/sold. It might be years before the necessary infrastructure like login systems and simple wallets make it easy for developers and mainstream users to build and adopt DApps built on Origin. But it has plenty of runway thanks to $3 million in seed token sale funding from Pantera Capital, $6.6 million raised through a Coinlist token sale, plus $26.4 million in traditional…

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