This Startup Has Created A Giant Social Network For People Who Love Wine

wine tasting room in Bordeaux France

Vivino is a London-based startup that is opening up the world of fine wine for everyone through a clever app.

If you see a wine that interests you, you take a photo of the label. That takes you to a page on the app for the wine, and you can see reviews and rankings on your phone.

Vivino isn’t a small, niche community. It told us that on an average Saturday, 400,000 wines are scanned using the app. And in total, almost 100 million bottles of wine have been scanned. Vivino also has over 7 million users using the network to scan and rate wine.

Vivino

Lots of apps have tried to help people with ranking and collections, but what’s interesting about Vivino is that it’s built up a large amount of data through its app. That’s important when it comes to recommendations, which can turn apps into something that’s genuinely useful (as well as providing a revenue opportunity). 

Another useful part of allowing users to rate wines is that Vivino can use that data. Yesterday it published a collection of rankings made using ratings input using the app.

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Drunk birds slur when they sing, too

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While liquid courage might embolden a singer to take to the karaoke stage, the results of belting out a favorite tune after one-too-many cocktails can take an embarrassing turn. But humans aren’t the only ones whose vocal stylings suffer when intoxicated. Birds don’t sing so well when they’re drunk, either

After sipping some spiked juice, zebra finches began to slur their songs, according to a study released last week by Oregon Health and Science University

Why get birds drunk in the first place? Researchers study bird songs to help understand human speech patterns. Just as humans develop speech from listening to others talk, finches develop song in a similar fashion. Anyone who has struggled through the sloppy and incoherent chatter of a tipsy pal knows that alcohol changes how people talk. By testing out booze on birds, scientists can gain insight into the impact of alcohol on the brain mechanism that affects the ability to speak in humans Read more…

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Stop making selfish New Year’s resolutions

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Your New Year’s resolutions are going to fail, and it’s because you’re only thinking of yourself.

At the end of every December, many of us come up with egocentric goals for the new year — losing weight, eating healthier and saving money are always among the most popular. They’re worthy resolutions, sure, but only 8% of us actually keep them, so you start the year off feeling like a failure.

Don’t get me wrong, bettering yourself should be something you keep in mind often, but don’t stamp it with “RESOLUTION” at the beginning of the year. Adding that extra pressure is a recipe for serious disappointment — even the American Psychological Association warns us not to view the start of a new year as a “catalyst of sweeping character changes.” Read more…

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The weed entrepreneurs who are creating a new brand of startup farming

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Miles and Connor Deife’s grandfather warned them if they ever smoked weed they’d lose their inheritance and never work the family farm again.

Now in their early twenties, not only are they smoking it, they’re running a large-scale grow – on their grandfather’s old land.

Head east from Seattle, Washington, on Interstate 90 – away from the urban skylines and the Puget Sound – until the jagged Cascade Mountains disappear in the rearview. Near Moses Lake, blue and white signs declare the lay of the land: wheat, onions, corn. Plot after plot of farmland, waves of shining honey brown.

Keep going. Twenty miles off the interstate past the tiny town of Marlin is Washington’s “Kush Valley,” home of the state’s newest cash crop, since the state legalized recreational marijuana use in 2012 Read more…

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More Evidence That Google’s Massive New Android Update Is Coming To The Galaxy S5 Soon

Samsung Galaxy S5 settings menu

We’ve been hearing for the past several weeks that Samsung is preparing to roll out the Android 5.0 Lollipop update to its devices.

Now, one Redditor, who claims to be a Samsung employee, says the update will come to Samsung’s most popular phones in January. 

The author behind the Reddit post says Samsung sent out an email to retail stores selling its phones about what to expect as the new year begins.

In the reportedly leaked email, Samsung writes that it will have to start preparing its devices for Google’s Android 5.0 Lollipop update next month. 

The Reddit post and Samsung’s email don’t include any specific dates, but the Galaxy S5 will be Samsung’s first priority. After the S5, the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge are likely to be updated to Lollipop. Then, Samsung will probably turn its attention to the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4 before getting the update ready for its tablets.

It’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t an official statement from Samsung, and there’s no telling whether or not the information is legitimate.

But, if true, it would line up with other rumors we’ve heard recently. Samsung has already pushed the Lollipop update out to Galaxy S5 units in Spain and Poland, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the update spread to other regions within the next month. 

Since November, blog SamMobile has been posting videos and screenshots that reportedly show Samsung devices running Lollipop. The biggest visual differences appear to be within the stock apps like the calculator and dialer apps.

When Google unveiled Lollipop, it called it one of its biggest Android updates yet. The latest version of the software includes a new visual theme called Material Design, which adds a bolder, flatter, and more colorful overall look to Android. There are also a ton of smaller features baked into the operating system that make it smoother and more secure. 

SEE ALSO: GOOGLE EXEC: Here’s Why Android Just Went Through Its Biggest Change Yet

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Hackers claiming credit for PlayStation outage will let anyone use their DDoS tool

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Lizard Squad, the group who claimed credit for taking down Sony’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live systems on Christmas, plans to turns its misdeeds into profits

The group released a commercial variant of its DDoS (distributed denial of service) tool, which they say lets anyone take down networks — at a price. It was this tool that Lizard Squad says was responsible for the outages on PlayStation and Xbox Live.

A DDoS attack sends a huge amount of requests to a network server, rendering it unusable or slowing it down considerably Read more…

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Airbnb to use scanning technology to make listing photos prettier

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Think of it as Tinder for lodging.

Noting that photos of homes’ interiors have a large influence on bookings, Airbnb plans to implement an automated system next year that will reportedly scan photos to determine how attractive they are to potential guests. “We are trying to promote listings with more attractive images,” Maxim Charkov, the search lead at Airbnb, told Bloomberg

At some point, Airbnb may also provide a “digital interior designer” that will help hosts “enhance listings and spruce up homes to increase bookings,” Charkov said. “Maybe you should improve your images; maybe you should provide these amenities that are popular. We want to bring the insights back to the host.” Read more…

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