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ExtraBITS for 15 August 2016

In ExtraBITS this week, Tim Cook gives an unusually personal interview to the Washington Post, CVS launches its own mobile payment system, and Microsoft’s Project Murphy creates face mashups you describe.

It’s Lonely at the Top of Apple -- Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down with Jena McGregor of the Washington Post to commemorate his fifth anniversary as Apple’s head honcho. The usually private Cook opened up in this wide-ranging interview, discussing his mistakes, who he asks for advice, and what he think Steve Jobs would be up to today. Cook mentioned that the job could be lonely, but he was quick to add, “I’m not looking for any sympathy. CEOs don’t need any sympathy.”

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CVS Launches Apple Pay Competitor -- Pharmacy chain CVS, a member of the Merchant Customer Exchange consortium behind the failed CurrentC Apple Pay competitor, has launched its own mobile payment platform. CVS Pay is part of the CVS Pharmacy app for iOS that combines access to your debit or credit card, ExtraCare rewards card, and a Health Savings or Flexible Spending account. Like CurrentC and Walmart Pay, CVS Pay uses barcodes to transmit information. Interestingly, since CVS manages Target’s pharmacies, when Target implements Apple Pay support later this year, you won’t be able to use Apple Pay at their pharmacies.

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Project Murphy Photoshops Faces on Command -- Microsoft has created a new experimental chatbot, called Project Murphy, that you converse with via Facebook Messenger, Skype, or Telegram. The image-morphing technology underlying Project Murphy is impressive, but the results can be wonderfully silly since the bot merges the faces in two images to create hypotheticals of personal scenes you describe. For instance, try “What if Oprah were Miss Piggy,” “What if Tim Cook were Superman,” or “What if Steve Jobs were very old?” You can even upload your photo to use in “What if” questions for 10 minutes. Project Murphy is a lot of fun, especially if (like us) you’re not good at image manipulation apps like Photoshop.

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