Anthem’s campaign takes the fight to the villainous ‘Dominion’

You can’t let the Anthem fall into the wrong hands.

Anthem is an upcoming shared world third-person shooter from BioWare. BioWare is the studio behind famous franchises like Dragon Age and Mass Effect. Anthem is expected to launch on February 22, 2019, but that hasn’t stopped the developer from releasing new details about the project.

Microsoft wins $1.76 billion Department of Defense contract

The five-year contract includes Microsoft Enterprise Services for the Department of Defense, Coast Guard, and the intelligence community.

While CES 2019 was at the top of every techie’s mind last week, Microsoft also managed to score a big payday from the U.S. government.

Upgrade your internet with $60 off TP-Link's Archer C5400 tri-band router

Get online and stay there.

The TP-Link Archer C5400 wireless tri-band router is down to $179.99 on Newegg with code EMCTUUC45. The same router sells for $240 without the code and is currently that price at other retailers like Amazon and Best Buy. We have seen this router go on sale but never lower than $190 before.

The Archer C5400 is a very powerful device that will let you enjoy 4K video and play online games with no interruptions on its ultra-fast Wi-Fi. It uses three wireless bands, NitroQAM technology, and MU-MIMO tech to keep your signal flowing as fast as possible with up to 1000 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 2167 Mbps on two 5 GHz bands. MU-MIMO is the tech designed for homes with a dozen different mobile devices all trying to connect to the same wireless network. It helps keep them all running as smooth as possible, and the powerful 1.4 GHz dual-core processor with three co-processors helps with that, too.

New Galactic Civilizations III DLC to add more 4X strategy content

Take to the stars to uncover new mysteries.

Stardock announced the next expansion pack for the company’s popular space strategy 4X PC game, Galactic Civilizations III called Retribution. In this latest DLC, your civilization has uncovered powerful artifacts, perfected the construction of hypergates, and managed to stumble upon two new major civilizations. raises $33M for its home improvement platform is basically a general contractor for the age of Uber and Prime Now. While the company started out as a marketplace for hiring home improvement professionals, it has now morphed into a general contractor and serves Denver, Phoenix San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle. Today, announced that it has raised a $33 million Series B round led by WestRiver Group, Goldman Sach and Redfin. Previous investors DFJ, Madrona Venture Group, Maveron and Two Sigma Ventures also participated.
WestRiver founder Erik Anderson, Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman and former Microsoft exec Charlotte Guyman are joining the board.
“Many of Redfin’s customers struggle to get professional renovation services, so we know firsthand that’s market opportunity is massive,” writes Redfin’s Kelman. “ and Redfin share a commitment to combining technology and local, direct services to best take care of customers.”

The company tells me that the round caps off a successful 2018, where saw its job bookings grow by 275 percent over 2017, a number that was also driven by its expansion beyond the Seattle market (as well as the good economic climate that surely helped in driving homeowners to tackle more home improvement projects). The company now has 125 employees.
With this funding round, has now raised a total of $60 million. It’ll use the funding to enter more markets, with Portland, Oregon being next on the list, and expand its team as it goes along.
It’s no secret that the home improvement market could use a bit of a jolt. The market is extremely local and fragmented — and finding the right contractor for any major project is a long and difficult process, where the outcome is never quite guaranteed. The process has enough vagueries that many people never get around to actually commissioning their projects. wants to change that with a focus on transparency and technology. That’s a startup that’s harder to scale than the marketplace the company started out with, but it also gives the company a chance to establish itself as one of the few well-known brands in this space. raises $33M for its home improvement platform

Hany Farid and Peter Barrett will be speaking at TC Sessions: Robotics + AI April 18 at UC Berkeley

We’re very excited to announce our first guests for this year’s TC Sessions: Robotics. TechCrunch is returning to the U.C. Berkeley campus again this April for another full-day session delving into all aspects of robotics. As we mark our third year, we’ve decided to add programming devoted to artificial intelligence, because you can’t really do robotics without AI.
We’ve got a ton of speakers, panels and demos to announce in the coming months, but we’re excited to start with a pair who encompass two distinct parts of the industry.

Hany Farid is Dartmouth’s Albert Bradley 1915 Third Century Professor of Computer Science, with a focus on human perception, image analysis and digital forensics. A recipient of the National Academy of Inventors, Alfred P. Sloan and John Simon Guggenheim fellowships, Farid is set to join the U.C. Berkeley faculty in July of this year.

Peter Barrett is the CTO of Playground Global, an investment firm that has backed a number of robotics startups, including Agility, Canvas, Common Sense, Skydio and Righthand Robotics. Prior to co-founding Playground, Barrett founded Rocket Science Games and served as the CTO of CloudCar and Microsoft TV.
TC Sessions: Robotics + AI is being held April 18 at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall.
Early Bird tickets are on sale now for $249 and students get a big discount with tickets running at just $45.

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Hany Farid and Peter Barrett will be speaking at TC Sessions: Robotics + AI April 18 at UC Berkeley

Microsoft pledges $500M to create affordable housing around Seattle

At a time when tech companies are being blamed for creating housing shortages in cities across the country, Microsoft told the Seattle Times it will make a $500 million pledge, its largest ever, to create affordable housing around Seattle. The company is currently in the middle of a multi-billion dollar expansion of its Redmond, Washington campus.
Microsoft’s pledge comes half a year after Seattle City Council failed to pass a “head tax” that would have required companies making more than $200 million a year to pay $275 per employee in taxes. The money would have been used to address housing issues and homelessness, but council members blamed the repeal of the new tax ordinance on Amazon, which said it would stop construction on a new building if it passed. Amazon is based in Seattle, but also planning new headquarters in Arlington, Virginia and Long Island City, New York.
In an interview with the Seattle Times, Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith said the housing pledge grew out of conversations the company began having with Challenge Seattle, an alliance formed by 18 businesses to address civic issues in the area, last summer. Most of the funds will be used to increase housing for low- to middle-income workers across the Puget Sound region.
“At some level we as a region are going to need to either say there are certain areas where we’re comfortable having more people live, or we just want to permanently force the people who are going to teach our kids in schools, and put out the fires in our houses, and keep us alive in the hospital, to spend four hours every day getting to and from work,” Smith told the newspaper. “That is not, in our view, the best outcome for the community.”
Smith added that he hopes the pledge will help create “tens of thousands of units.” In addition to being the largest pledge ever made by Microsoft, which holds $135 billion in cash reserves and short-term investments, the company says it is one of the largest housing contributions ever by a private corporation.
The money will be used in three ways: $225 million will be loaned at below-market interest rates to developers building units for households making between $62,000 to $124,000 a year; $250 million will be used for market-rate loans to support the construction of affordable housing for people making up to 60 percent of the local median income, or about $48,150 for a two-person household; and the rest of the money, $25 million, will be donated to services for low-income and homeless people. Loans will be made over a period of three years and any profit will be put back in the fund.
Microsoft’s affordable housing initiative is partially modeled after Housing Trust Silicon Valley, which provides loans for affordable housing and services for the homeless in the Bay Area.

Microsoft pledges $500M to create affordable housing around Seattle

Plantronics' RIG Flex LX Gaming Headset for Xbox One is down to $15 today

This gaming headset features 40mm drivers and a noise-cancelling microphone.

Today only, Newegg is offering the RIG Flex LX Xbox One Stereo Gaming Headset for only $14.99. That brings them $40 below their average price at Amazon. Select Newegg accounts can even use promo code BTETUUB99 to save an additional $3, though this code isn’t working for everyone. In any case, you’re snagging a great deal here whether the code works or not. Shipping is free.

Absolver for Xbox One lets you master the power of the martial arts

Absolver blends For Honor-style perspective with unique mechanics inspired by the martial arts.

It’s rare to find a three-dimensional fighting game where weapons aren’t a core part of the experience. This has always bummed me out because unarmed martial arts combat is every bit as interesting and fun to watch as swordplay. Absolver, a new fighting game experience on Xbox One, scratches that itch. And while the game’s lackluster campaign experience and the small shared multiplayer world are disappointing, Absolver nevertheless stands out as one of the most unique and fun fighting games of this generation.