Grammarly now saves you from embarrassing mistakes in Google Docs, too

Grammarly now supports Google Docs. Over the course of the last few years, Grammarly has made a name for itself as one of the better grammar and spelling checkers on the market. As a Chrome extension, it neatly integrates with virtually every major online tool and social media site, but until now, Google Docs remained a blind spot.
Because of its real-time collaboration features, the Google Docs editor isn’t just a straight-up text field, after all, so the Grammarly team had to do a bit of extra work to make its service work there. Once you have installed the extension, though, it’ll now work just like in any other web app.
The feature has actually been available as a beta to paying premium users for a little while, but now everybody can give it a try.
It’s interesting to see Grammarly come to Google Docs now. In July, after all, Google announced that


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Plex Cloud will shut down November 30 due to technical challenges

Plex today announced it’s shutting down its troubled Plex Cloud service, via a forum post that hasn’t found its way over to the company’s official blog – likely a choice the company made in order to downplay the news, or avoid media scrutiny. Plex Cloud, launched in fall 2016, was meant to serve as a way for Plex customers to save their files to online storage services like OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive, instead of having to host their saved files locally on their own machines or network-attached storage devices.
But now that will no longer be an option, as the service will stop functioning on November 30, 2018, Plex says.
Plex Cloud had struggled from the beginning with technical issues.
Almost immediately, its debut launch partner, Amazon, stopped working with Plex Cloud. Users were complaining that Amazon Drive files couldn’t be accessed and wondered if Amazon was imposing upload limits. There were


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OpenStack’s latest release focuses on bare metal clouds and easier upgrades

The OpenStack Foundation today released the 18th version of its namesake open-source cloud infrastructure software. The project has had its ups and downs, but it remains the de facto standard for running and managing large private clouds.
What’s been interesting to watch over the years is how the project’s releases have mirrored what’s been happening in the wider world of enterprise software. The core features of the platform (compute, storage, networking) are very much in place at this point, allowing the project to look forward and to add new features that enterprises are now requesting.
The new release, dubbed Rocky, puts an emphasis on bare metal clouds, for example. While the majority of enterprises still run their workloads in virtual machines, a lot of them are now looking at containers as an alternative with less overhead and the promise of faster development cycles. Many of these enterprises want to run those containers on bare


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Mozilla publishes its Firefox user data

As an organization, Mozilla has always championed transparency, and today, it’s taking this one step further by pulling back the curtains on its internal data for how many people regularly use Firefox and how they use the browser.
The new Firefox Public Data Report will include information about yearly and monthly active users, how many hours per day those users spend with Firefox, how long it takes users to upgrade to the latest version, how many Firefox users install add-ons, which add-ons are the most popular and more. That data can be segmented by region and by the top 10 countries where Firefox is most popular.
The data that’s available in the report today goes back just over a year and Mozilla plans to update the site at least once per week. Mozilla stresses that this data doesn’t come from some kind of real-time monitoring system but that it’s aggregated and anonymized


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VMware pulls AWS’s Relational Database Service into the data center

Here’s some unusual news: AWS, Amazon’s cloud computing arm, today announced that it plans to bring its Relational Database Service (RDS) to VMware, no matter whether that’s VMware Cloud on AWS or a privately hosted VMware deployment in a corporate data center.
While some of AWS’s competitors have long focused on these kinds of hybrid cloud deployments, AWS never really put the same kind of emphasis on this. Clearly, though, that’s starting to change — maybe in part because Microsoft and others are doing quite well in this space.
“Managing the administrative and operational muck of databases is hard work, error-prone and resource intensive,” said AWS CEO Andy Jassy . “It’s why hundreds of thousands of customers trust Amazon RDS to manage their databases at scale. We’re excited to bring this same operationally battle-tested service to VMware customers’ on-premises and hybrid environments, which will not only make database management much easier for enterprises,


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Walmart and Kobo launch Walmart eBooks, an online e-book and audiobook store

In January, Walmart partnered with Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten on online grocery in Japan, as well as the sale of audiobooks, e-books, and e-readers in the U.S. Today, Walmart is capitalizing on that relationship with the launch of a full e-book and audiobook catalog on Walmart.com, alongside its assortment of physical books.
The new site, called Walmart eBooks, includes a library of over 6 million titles ranging from NYT best-sellers to indie titles and children’s books.
And similar to Amazon’s Audible, Walmart will also now offer a monthly audiobook subscription service.
However, Walmart is undercutting Amazon on pricing. While Audible subscriptions start at $14.95 per month for one audiobook, Walmart’s subscription is only $9.99 per month for the same.

In addition, Walmart aims to capitalize on its brick-and-mortar stores to help boost Walmart eBooks.
The company says it will sell nearly 40 titles in stores by way of digital books cards. These cards will be


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Voatz: a tale of a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad idea

Let’s get the fish in the barrel out of the way. Voatz are a tech startup whose bright idea was to disrupt democracy by having people vote on their phone, and store the votes on, you guessed it, a blockchain. Does this sound like a bad idea? Welp.
It turned out that they seemed awfully casual about basic principles of software security, such as not hard-coding your AWS credentials. It turned out that their blockchain was an eight-node Hyperledger install, i.e. one phenomenologically not especially distinguishable from databases secured by passwords. They have been widely and justly chastised for these things. But they aren’t what’s important.
To their credit, their system is opt-in, and apparently generates real-time voter-verified paper ballots, the single most important thing about any voting system. But still. We need to step back and ask a question here: why are we trying to vote via an app and collate


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Ibuki is the 10-year-old robot child that will haunt your dreams

Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro makes robots in Osaka. His latest robot, Ibuki, is one for the nightmare catalog: it’s a robotic 10-year-old boy that can move on little tank treads and has soft, rubbery face and hands.
The robot has complete vision routes that can scan for faces and it has a sort of half-track system for moving around. It has “involuntary” motions like blinking and little head bobs but is little more than a proof-of-concept right now, especially considering its weird robo-skull is transparent.
“An Intelligent Robot Infrastructure is an interaction-based infrastructure. By interacting with robots, people can establish nonverbal communications with the artificial systems. That is, the purpose of a robot is to exist as a partner and to have valuable interactions with people,” wrote Ishiguro. “Our objective is to develop technologies for the new generation information infrastructures based on Computer Vision, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.”
Ishiguro is a roboticist who plays


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Amazon Prime Video is coming to Comcast’s cable boxes

Comcast and Amazon today announced a new partnership that will see Amazon’s Prime Video service integrated into Comcast’s Xfinity TV set-top boxes. This is the first time that Prime Video content would be added to a cable operator’s platform in the U.S.. It’s also a particularly interesting choice on Comcast’s part,  given that Amazon is directly competing with pay TV providers through its Prime Video Channels a la carte TV subscriptions. And these will be available to Comcast’s customers via the Xfinity X1 set-top box as a result of this deal.
Today, Amazon offers over 160 premium Prime Video channels, including HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax and others that have been previously sold as add-ons to cable TV subscriptions. Being able to access to these channels over-the-top – without a traditional TV subscription – is one of several factors that have convinced some consumers to cut the cord with cable TV entirely.
In other


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