Amazon launches a certification program for Alexa skill developers

Developers building voice-enabled applications for Amazon Echo and other Alexa-powered devices will now have a new way to validate their abilities, with Amazon’s launch of a new AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder – Specialty certification. This is the first time Amazon has offered a certification program for Alexa developers, the company says. Certification programs are […]

Get ready for a new era of personalized entertainment

Jarno M. Koponen Contributor Jarno M. Koponen is working on intelligent systems and human-centered personalization. He currently is product lead at Yle, one of the leading media houses in the Nordics. More posts by this contributor A new hope: AI for news media AI on your lock screen New machine learning technologies, user interfaces and […]

African e-commerce startup Jumia’s shares open at $14.50 in NYSE IPO

Pan-African e-commerce company Jumia listed on the New York Stock Exchange today, with shares beginning trading at $14.50 under ticker symbol JMIA. This comes four weeks after CEO Sacha Poignonnec confirmed the IPO to TechCrunch and Jumia filed SEC documents. With the public offering, Jumia becomes the first startup from Africa to list on a major global […]

WTF is Baillie Gifford?

The SoftBank Vision Fund has been screaming from the venture headlines the last few months, driven by eye-popping rounds (and valuations!) into some of the most notable startups around the world. Yet, SoftBank isn’t the only player rapidly buying up the cap tables of top startups. Indeed, another firm, more than a century old, has […]

Baillie Gifford’s Charles Plowden on 110 years of investing

“It is our contention that the investment industry may be experiencing a peak of its own, in this case the point of the maximum rate at which it extracts value from its clients’ assets. Let’s call it Peak Gravy.” That’s a recent quote from Tom Coutts, who is one of a few dozen partners at […]

Online used car startup Shift adds another $40M, snags COO in road to IPO

Online used car startup Shift Technologies has tacked on another $40 million in equity funding, hired a new COO with Amazon and Enjoy roots and scaled up its engineering staff — all in the past several months — as the company aims to double its revenue this year. The recent activity, along with what executives […]

Review: The $199 Echo Link turns the fidelity up to 11

The Echo Link takes streaming music and makes it sound better. Just wirelessly connect it to an Echo device and plug it into a set of nice speakers. It’s the missing link. The Link bridges the gap between streaming music and a nice audio system. Instead of settling for the analog connection of an Echo […]

Review: The $299 Echo Link Amp adds Alexa to any speaker

The Echo Link Amp is designed to give Echo owners options. Instead of settling for the sound from a couple of Echo speakers, this amp lets owners use a set of nice bookshelf speakers. Best yet, this replaces a large receiver generally needed to power speakers. At $299, the Echo Link Amp lives in a […]

Amazon’s entry-level 2019 Kindle is let down by a sub-par display

Amazon’s Kindle is of course the brand most think of when they consider buying an e-reader, but competition does exist, and the truth is it makes the company’s newest entry-level device look like a poor bargain. The price may be low, but this budget reader just doesn’t meet the bar. The most basic current device […]

Human rights activist Amira Yahyaoui is battling the US college financial aid system

Tunisian human rights activist Amira Yahyaoui couldn’t go to college. Not because she couldn’t afford it; where she comes from, college is virtually free. She lost the opportunity to pursue higher education, to finish high school, even, when she was exiled from Tunisia at age 17, under the repressive regime of the country’s former President, […]