This app lets you donate wish list items to homeless people you pass every day

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Marcellus has lived on the streets of Philadelphia for more than four years, and he wants you to know that being homeless isn’t easy.

“It’s, like, waking up hungry. Going to sleep hungry,” he says in a new video, as he fiddles with a small piece of blue plastic in his hands. “But this right here — this got me some food. This got me clothes. This got me a shower and all that.”

It’s not just any piece of plastic. Marcellus is holding a Bluetooth-connected beacon — a small component of an app called StreetChange that could transform how passersby help curb homelessness in their cities.

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Gmail is unexpectedly signing people out of their accounts, Google swears it’s all G


Earlier on Wednesday, numerous users reported in panic experiencing a string of issues with their Google accounts. While some complained about being unable to connect to their Google Wifi and OnHub routers, a slew of concerned users claimed Gmail has been unexpectedly signing them out of their accounts. While the issue is purportedly affecting a large chunk of users, it appears it poses no immediate threat to your online security. Google has since confirmed the problem with a statement on its dedicated Support Page, but assures the issues are not related to any hacking attempts. Here’s the entire message: We’ve…

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Inside UPI: How India is bringing mobile banking to 1.3 billion people

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India is embarking on an ambitious project that hopes to bring banking to every smartphone user in the country. 

For decades, the country of more than 1.3 billion people has struggled to bring hundreds of millions of its citizens to a bank. The penetration of bank accounts, and by extension, debit cards and credit cards remain low in the country. But its new audacious payments system could bring banking and financial services to its entire population

India has launched a new payments system called Unified Payment Interface, or UPI, which is designed to make person-to-person and e-commerce transactions swifter and easier. Doing transactions, the government says, will be as easier and as faster as sending a text message. Read more…

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Facebook testing ‘Discover’ for Groups to help you find other weird people to talk to


Facebook Groups aren’t often talked about, but they’re a great resource for finding a community around specific topics. Whether it’s parenting, photography, food or sports, there are groups for nearly every topic — even a few that shouldn’t exist at all. Facebook is now testing a dedicated ‘Discover’ feature to help you find these groups. The feature pulls from your geographic area, your interest and those of your friends in order to suggest new Groups you may be interested in. The feature isn’t available for everyone, but as one of the lucky few, I can confirm that it’s remarkably intuitive and the…

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Here’s the one VR concept that the smartest people at Oculus admit they’re nowhere near figuring out

Yes, there is something that Abrash doesn't know how to do.

We finally have a workable virtual-reality platform, but plenty of obstacles are between us and a Star Trek-style holodeck.

If you reach out to touch a table, you’ll feel the molecules of that piece of furniture push against your hand. Do the same thing in virtual reality, and you’ll feel nothing. This is a problem — and it’s one of the few that Oculus VR says it has no idea how to solve.

The company held a keynote address as part of its annual Oculus Connect developers conference today, and it put on something of a parade of its top talent. Business-development leader Anna Sweet, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, and even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg all took the stage. But one of the more interesting points came when Oculus chef scientist Michael Abrash gave an in-depth speech about everything the company needs to do to go from where VR is today to where it should get to in the future.

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Abrash talked about improving the visuals with a wider field of view. He talked about providing 3D audio. He even speculated about creating a chemical-based way to deliver various smells to Rift users.

For every problem, he posed a solution that is either possible today or one that the company sees a way to work to in the future. Well, he did that for every problem except one.

Abrash pointed out that no one is even working on a technology that will make it feel like your hand is touching a table where no table exists.

This is something I asked Palmer Luckey about in a conversation we had a few months ago. He told me — and Abrash’s talk today reiterates this point — that the company wants to solve every aspect of VR. He essentially wants Oculus working on a way to fool every one of your senses. When I asked him about touching an object and feeling like it exists, that led us to the aforementioned Star Trek holodecks. That sci-fi technology manifests protons that it can give mass to. When I posed that idea to Luckey as a joke, I was surprised that he had already considered the idea.

“Photons are a dead-end,” said Luckey then.

So while Oculus doesn’t know what will work to make objects feel real in VR, it has already scratched one idea off the list.

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