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Kickstarter expands to creators in Poland, Greece, and Slovenia

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Kickstarter is letting more creators around the world use its platform. The company said today it’s now launching in Poland, Greece, and Slovenia, making Kickstarter available in 25 countries. The company says more than 250,000 people from these countries have backed projects since Kickstarter launched, suggesting local projects could appeal to an already established backer base. Additionally, creators from Poland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland can now choose to fund their projects in their local currency or in euros.

Since the pandemic took hold in the US, the Brooklyn, New York-based company laid off 40 percent of its workforce. Live projects on the platform, at least in April, had dropped 35 percent. At the time, the company said it saw “no clear signs of rebound.”

At the same time, it tried to encourage creators to keep posting projects during the pandemic by launching a program that solicits small-scale projects creators can work on from home. It also started moderating COVID-19 projects to weed out any that pushed misinformation or phony solutions, while still promoting other projects that use the pandemic for good, like social distancing achievement stickers.

Launching in more countries might not fully reverse the decline in projects, but it at least gives Kickstarter a larger reach and more potential for creators to join the platform, which it needs.

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How to Create Custom Emoji Mashups on Android

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There are so many emojis at your fingertips nowadays, they’ve practically become their own language. Even still, sometimes you’ll find that there isn’t one that quite fits what you’re trying to say. The solution? Mash up two to create your own.

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All you need to do is get your hands on the Gboard keyboard Android, which allows you to mix two different emojis to create new ones via its “Emoji Kitchen” feature. (iOS users will have to use a website to create their mashups.)

Illustration for article titled How to Create Custom Emoji Mashups on Android

Screenshot: Brendan Hesse

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The Emoji Kitchen launched back in Februrary, but now that it’s been out for a while, we checked back in to see what sorts of mad scientist-like creations you can cook up.

For example, you can add a head-exploding effect to the yawning emoji to add even more emphasis when your friend shares a secret, or you can get extra creepy Halloween vibes by mashing a skull together with the jack-o-lantern face.

However, know that your powers of combination aren’t limitless. The Emoji Kitchen only supports certain emojis, and most of them just add faces to inanimate objects or change an emoji’s expression. You also can’t directly edit the final product—Gboard does the editing and gives you a selection of mashups to choose from.

Every face emoji seem to work, plus a handful or often-used inanimate objects like hearts, but you’ll see a ghostly “Nothing to see here” animation if you can’t combine your selected emoji with another.

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How to create new emoji in Gboard’s “Emoji Kitchen”

Even if you can’t use certain emojis or directly edit the end results yourself, the hybrid emoji stickers Gboard spits out are pretty good, and it’s a neat way to personalize your messages without using an extra app or third-party website.

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  1. Open an app with text input, and then open Gboard’s emoji section. (Note: Gboard needs to be your default keyboard app).
  2. Tap on an emoji. Make sure you test out a few of the emojis to see which ones are supported. If you do not see any combination suggestions, that means the app you’re using doesn’t support the Emoji Kitchen feature.
  3. If the emoji can be customized or combined with another, Gboard will offer up some suggestions in a menu above the keyboard. This might take a moment to show up.
  4. Slide through the suggested combos and select the new emoji to insert it into your message.

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Update 10/22/20: We originally published this story in February of 2020. We have updated it in October 2020 with new examples (and a little help for iOS users who are missing out on all the fun).

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Give Your Car a Spark of Life With an Anker Roav Jump Starter

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Anker Roav Jump Starter | $66 | Amazon

Because of a price drop, you can get your hands on an Anker Roav Jump Starter for a low $66. It’s 12V and can recharge gas engines up to 6.0L and diesel engines up to 4.0L. What are you waiting for? It’ll get you out of a pinch, and when you don’t need to get your car running, you can use it as a charger for your phones and chargers. Grab it before it’s gone.

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Tesla’s ‘Full Self-Driving’ beta is here, and it looks scary as hell

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This week, Tesla began pushing its “Full Self-Driving” (FSD) update to a select group of customers, and the first reactions are now beginning to roll in. The software, which enables drivers to use many of Autopilot’s advanced driver-assist features on local, non-highway streets, is still in beta. As such, it requires constant monitoring while in operation. Or as Tesla warns in its introductory language, “it may do the wrong thing at the worse time.”

Frankly, this looks terrifying — not because it seems erratic or malfunctioning, but because of the way it will inevitably be misused.

Early reactions to the software update range from “that was a little scary” to full-throated enthusiasm for CEO Elon Musk’s willingness to let his customers beta-test features that aren’t ready for wide release. This willingness has helped Tesla maintain its market leader position at the forefront of electric and autonomous vehicle technology, but it also presents a huge risk to the company, especially if those early tests go wrong.

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A Tesla owner who goes by the handle “Tesla Raj” posted a 10-minute video on Thursday that purports to show his experience with FSD. He says he used the feature while driving down “a residential street… with no lane markers” — a function that Tesla’s Autopilot previously was unable to do.

Right off the bat, there are stark differences in how FSD is presented to the driver. The visuals displayed on the instrument cluster look more like training footage from an autonomous vehicle, with transparent orange boxes outlining parked cars and other vehicles on the road and icons that represent road signs. The car’s path is depicted as blue dots stretching out in front of the vehicle. And various messages pop up that tell the driver what the car is going to do, such as “stopping for traffic control in 75 ft.”

The car also made several left- and right-hand turns on its own, which Raj described as “kind of scary, because we’re not used to that.” He also said the turns were “human like” in so far as the vehicle inched out into the opposite lane of traffic to assert itself before making the turn.

Another Tesla owner who lives in Sacramento, California, and tweets under the handle @brandonee916 posted a series of short videos that claim to show a Tesla vehicle using FSD to navigate a host of tricky driving scenarios, including intersections and a roundabout. These videos were first reported by Electrek.

The vehicles in both Tesla Raj and @brandonee916’s tests are driving at moderate speeds, between 25 and 35 mph, which has been very challenging for Tesla. Musk said Tesla Autopilot can handle high-speed driving with its Navigate on Autopilot feature and low speeds with its Smart Summon parking feature. (How well Smart Summon works is up for debate, given the number of Tesla owners reporting bugs in the system.) The company has yet to allow its customers hands-off driving on highways, like Cadillac with its Autopilot competitor Super Cruise. But these medium speeds, where the vehicle is more likely to encounter traffic signals, intersections, and other complexities, is where Tesla has encountered a lot of difficulties.

For now, FSD is only available to Tesla owners in the company’s early access beta-testing program, but Musk has said he expects a “wide release” before the end of 2020. The risk, obviously, is that Tesla’s customers will ignore the company’s warnings and misuse FSD to record themselves performing dangerous stunts — much like they have done for years and continue to do on a regular basis. This type of rule-breaking is to be expected, especially in a society where clout-chasing has become a way of life for many people.

Tesla has said Autopilot should only be used by attentive drivers with both hands on the wheel. But the feature is designed to assist a driver, and it’s not foolproof: there have been several high-profile incidents in which some drivers have engaged Autopilot, crashed, and died.

“Public road testing is a serious responsibility and using untrained consumers to validate beta-level software on public roads is dangerous and inconsistent with existing guidance and industry norms,” said Ed Niedermeyer, communications director for Partners for Automated Vehicle Education, a group that includes nonprofits and AV operators like Waymo, Argo, Cruise, and Zoox. “Moreover, it is extremely important to clarify the line between driver assistance and autonomy. Systems requiring human driver oversight are not self-driving and should not be called self-driving.”

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