cars can now take on human players in a game of chess, thanks to a . Its programmers likely didn’t imagine they were designing a chess program to take on the best players in the world, however: U.S. No. 1 ranked chess player Fabiano Caruana (also currently ranked No. 2 in the world) played a Tesla Model 3 in a recent match… but Deep Blue versus Kasparov, this was not. Caruana bests the vehicle in just under five minutes of playing time, and he’s not particularly stressing the time, plus he’s offering a running commentary. The car makes some questionable moves, but to be fair, it’s not a super computer with deep artificial intelligence, and Caruana is one of the world’s best. He also gives it credit at the end, calling the game “challenging” and you can hear it’s probably more than he was expecting from a car’s infotainment system. The car would probably beat me, but I’m unranked and haven’t played a game of chess in probably 15 years, so there’s that.
cars can now take on human players in a game of chess, thanks to a . Its programmers likely didn’t imagine they were designing a chess program to take on the best players in the world, however: U.S. no. 1 ranked chess player Fabiano Caruana (also currently ranked no. 2 in the world) played a Tesla Model 3 in a recent match… but Deep Blue vs. Kasparov, this was not. Caruana bests the vehicle in just under five minutes of playing time, and he’s not particularly stressing the time, plus he’s offering a running commentary. The car makes some questionable moves, but to be fair, it’s not a super computer with deep artificial intelligence, and Caruana is one of the world’s best. He also gives it credit at the end, calling the game “challenging” and you can hear it’s probably more than he was expecting from a car’s infotainment system. The car would probably beat me, but I’m unranked and haven’t played a game of chess in probably 15 years so there’s that.
I didn’t know that Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton was against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday until the game was practically over. But the fact that I caught the excitement of the rare baseball feat in real time, and how I shared it with friends, is another fun example of what it’s like to be a sports fan in 2018. The game from Toronto’s Rogers Centre started at 1 p.m. PT, and rather than lie on my couch at home or sit in a bar to watch a regular season game, I worked through most of it. On the way home, after 6 p.m. PT, I received an alert on my phone from ESPN, that Paxton hadn’t allowed a hit through eight innings. The alert came in at 6:17 p.m, and looking back at my history, it seems I missed one at 6:05 p.m. that said he’d made it through seven innings. Now, I don’t get a lot of alerts on my phone related to sports. I don’t need to be constantly updated on everything that’s happening across a host of leagues. I don’t subscribe to a Major League Baseball package that lets me watch every game on my phone when I should be paying attention to my wife. I just like “breaking news” style updates on teams that I care about. This qualified as something I wanted to see happen live. Alerts on Kurt Schlosser’s iPhone on Tuesday from ESPN about Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton. (GeekWire screen grab) So, Rather than get dinner started for my kids, I told them “there’s a good baseball thing happening that I have to see,” and I headed for the basement TV room. Here’s where I try to justify paying a painfully expensive Xfinity bill every month — $150 of which is just for cable TV. I’ve avoided cutting the cord because in moments like these I like the reliability of knowing just where to go on TV to watch history play out. It didn’t have to be a silly “sportsball” thing, it could have been something of actual import — name your breaking news flavor. Being in the news business all these years has fed that appetite — I think kids call it FOMO. So I picked up the fancy Xfinity remote control that lets me speak to it to change channels and I said “Root Sports,” knowing just where the Mariners game would be broadcast. I didn’t turn to Twitter or Facebook for running commentary from feeds I follow; I didn’t launch the ESPN app to watch animated baseballs sail across the screen in a gamecast version of the events. I texted a few friends. “Mariners game! Now!” because my kids weren’t providing the level of shared excitement that I needed with three outs to go. As Paxton took the mound in the bottom of the ninth inning, and recorded the first and then second outs, I stood up and pointed my phone at the TV. With two strikes on Blue Jays batter Josh Donaldson, I hit record for a video. With a 50-inch TV on the wall, I watched the sixth no-hitter in Mariners history through a 5 1/2-inch iPhone screen. .’s last three pitches:98 mph100 mph99 mph THAT’S how you finish a no-no. — MLB (@MLB) As third baseman Kyle Seager recorded the final out and Paxton was mobbed by his teammates on the pitcher’s mound, I ended the video at 44 seconds. I sat back down on my couch, briefly explained what a no-hitter was to my kids, turned off the TV and uploaded my video to my private Instagram. “Niiiiiiice,” I wrote, next to punching fist and Canadian flag emojis. Back upstairs in the kitchen, prepping for taco Tuesday — as was the plan before a push alert delayed things — I checked my phone here and there to make sure people were enjoying the video clip I sort of ripped off from Root Sports, Major League Baseball and the Mariners — if you can steal something you paid $150 to see. Official videos and images from the team began to fill my Twitter feed. Friends answered texts. Social media endorphins subsided. Game over. A post shared by (@mariners) on May 8, 2018 at 8:41pm PDT
David Adams, founder of the Seattle-based startup SniffSpot, with his dog Soba, at a property in the city where they had access to a fenced-in yard. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) When David Adams moved back to Seattle, he settled in an apartment on the seventh floor of a building in the city’s Belltown neighborhood. On Tuesday, Adams and his dog Soba were enjoying a grassy backyard behind a stranger’s house in Ballard, thanks to the company Adams started six months ago. is a marketplace that connects dog owners, who are looking for a safe and convenient space for their pet to get some exercise, with property owners, who have room outside for pups to play — and the desire to make a little easy money on the side courtesy of the sharing economy. Originally from Ohio, Adams, 31, moved to Seattle in 2010 and spent just over three years at Microsoft. He moved to San Francisco to found his first company: , a marketplace that helps users find monthly furnished housing. That company raised more than $12 million in funding, and Adams still maintains a seat on the board and travels to San Francisco regularly. “The trend that I have is that when I start a company, I start it based on my own problem,” Adams said. He used to always live in furnished rentals, until his girlfriend expressed an interest in something different. “I adopted Soba a year and a half ago and I’ve been taking her around to dog parks. She’s super high energy. I just always have had bad experiences there.” David Adams lives in Belltown near downtown Seattle and uses SniffSpot properties to get his dog Soba the proper amount of exercise. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) Integrating pet services and technology is part of a growing trend that appeals to people in larger cities, especially in places like Seattle where so many Amazon employees and others take their dogs to work. Seattle-based has found huge success with its pet-sitting and dog-walking marketplace, and SniffSpot is clearly playing off that demand — with a twist of its own. “Thirty percent of dogs are owned by millennials, and millennials are moving into cities,” Adams said. “So you’re having an all new set of problems with dogs. That’s why you’ve seen Rover be so successful, you’ve seen Wag be so successful, because they’re new services that appeal to urban dog owners. It’s just getting started.” Seattle Parks and Recreation offers for dogs to run free. But after Soba was bit at a dog park and required a vet visit, Adams figured there had to be a better way to get his dog the fresh air and exercise she needed. “I think that dog parks are a really important public service. You’ve got to have them in the city,” Adams said. But SniffSpot caters to people and pets who are looking for a more controlled environment, often because the animal comes from a background that makes it more reactive around other dogs and people. SniffSpot works pretty much like Airbnb, the online hospitality business. Through its website, SniffSpot users can browse a variety of host properties — there are about 70 in the Seattle area right now and Adams is hoping for many more. Hosts provide information and pictures related to the property, including details about fencing. They can set restrictions on times, breeds and numbers of dogs allowed at any given time. It’s possible to reserve a space for solo dog time, or meet up with others. Users choose a date and time to reserve and pay through the site. Soba (and Brobee from “Yo Gabba Gabba”) got a workout on Tuesday in Ballard. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) In Ballard, I met Adams and Soba at a typical house in the neighborhood, advertised on SniffSpot as We let ourselves in through the side gate and found a sizable area in the back for Soba to explore. There were toys scattered about and a bowl full of water on the back deck. “Having off-leash exercise is really important for a dog’s health,” Adams said, as he talked about the full range of exercise that a dog requires, beyond walks on a leash, and how that benefits the animal not just physically, but mentally, too. It’s clear that the young entrepreneur is combining his marketplace and tech experience with a new passion for pets. “I’ll be the first to say I didn’t know anything about dogs when I adopted Soba,” Adams said. “And I’ve been learning a ton.” A totally bootstrapped endeavor, SniffSpot is pretty much a one-person operation right now. Adams has relied on contractors for a little bit of help, but he’s taken no outside funding and is doing no marketing right now. He believes the right way to start a company is to build a product that people want and need, and then the product will take off on its own. In the two full months since the website has been up and functional, SniffSpot has seen 60 percent growth month over month. An app will get built eventually, he said. Soba gets a drink of water on the back deck of a SniffSpot property after running around for 30 minutes. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) There’s no requirement to be a host on SniffSpot, so long as the property doesn’t contain any hazards and is owned by the person posting it. Hosts are vetted through name, email and address checks and generally there is an interview and even a site visit if needed. Hosts can set their own price, with $4 being the minimum per pet, per hour. SniffSpot takes 12 percent of the revenue. “We’ve got hosts on our platform making $60 a day,” Adams said. “You’re not investing in the space. You’re not working. It’s not like Uber where you’re going and driving for hours to make money. You just let someone come use your yard — maybe you’re at work or something else and you’re just making incremental income.” Users are expected to treat the space like it’s their own — clean up the dog poop and toys, be courteous to neighbors, etc. SniffSpot hasn’t officially launched outside of the Seattle area yet, even though some properties are listed around Washington and in other states. A couple listings on the site show the possibilities beyond a backyard romp. David Adam’s dog Soba, right, plays with Adams’ girlfriend’s dog, Toshii, in the Skykomish River at a SniffSpot called PaJo Ranch. (SniffSpot Photo) Just past Monroe, Wash., a includes a wooded area and access to the Skykomish River for $10 an hour. And south of Seattle in Cinebar, Wash., on a mountainside are available. For anyone who is apprehensive about hiking in open areas with their dog off leash, the bigger SniffSpot properties could provide a solution. Adams, who goes to SniffSpots pretty much every day, sometimes multiple times a day, said there are a million examples of people sharing things these days, but that SniffSpot doesn’t really compare. It’s not really invasive because no one enters your house, they’re in a controlled space, they stay for an hour and leave. Sitting behind someone’s house in Ballard, in rapidly growing and housing-crunched Seattle, he admitted how special a place it was. “If everyone had their own yard, there’d be much less demand for something like SniffSpot,” Adams said. “It’s amazing that these yards actually even exist still.”