Mezco Toyz 1/12 Margot Robbi as Suicide Squad Harley Quinn One:12 Collective Action Figure

What do you get when a secret government agency forms a super team comprised completely of bad guys?

“Worst. Heroes. Ever!”

Straight from the DC Comic’s blockbuster movie Suicide Squad comes Harley Quinn, the deranged and extremely dangerous poster girl formally known as Dr. Harleen Quinzel; now villainess girlfriend to the psychotic Joker.

Debuting our premiere female body, the One:12 Collective captures every aspect of Margot Robbi’s celebrated portrayal of the dangerously unpredictable Harley Quinn, crafted with detailing and outfitting never seen before at this scale.

Mezco Toyz: Suicide Squad Harley Quinn One:12 Collective Action Figure features: Three (3) newly developed, detailed head portraits featuring Margot Robbi’s likeness including: standard portrait, Laughing portrait, Bubble gum popping portrait | Approximately 16cm tall One:12 Collective body with over 30 points of articulation | Hand-painted, authentic detailing | Five (5) interchangeable hands including: One (1) pair of posing hands (L & R), One (1) pair of baseball bat holding hands (L & R), One (1) gun holding hand (R)

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Costume: Choker collar,Four (4) spiked bracelets, Satin “Property Of Joker” jacket, “Daddy’s Little Monster” t-shirt, Red and blue hot pants, Harness / underarm holster, Fully loaded studded belt, Haute couture boots

Accessories: baseball bat, revolver (fits in shoulder holster), One:12 Collective display base with logo, One:12 Collective adjustable display post

Each figure is packaged in a deluxe, collector friendly box designed with collectors in mind; there are no twist ties, for easy in-and-out of package display.

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App Discovery with Google Play, Part 3: Machine Learning to Fight Spam and Abuse at Scale

Posted by Hsu-Chieh Lee, Xing Chen, Software Engineers, and Qian An, Analyst

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series on app discovery, we discussed using machine learning to gain a deeper understanding of the topics associated with an app, and a deep learning framework to provide personalized recommendations. In this post, we discuss a machine learning approach to fight spam and abuse on apps section of the Google Play Store, making it a safe and trusted app platform for more than a billion Android users.

With apps becoming an increasingly important part of people’s professional and personal lives, we realize that it is critical to make sure that 1) the apps found on Google Play are safe, and 2) the information presented to you about the apps is both authentic and unbiased. With more than 1 million apps in our catalog, and a significant number of new apps introduced everyday, we needed to develop scalable methods to identify bad actors accurately and swiftly. To tackle this problem, we take a two-pronged approach, both employing various machine learning techniques to help fight against spam and abuse at scale.

Identifying and blocking ‘bad’ apps from entering Google Play platform

As mentioned in Google Play Developer Policy, we don’t allow listing of malicious, offensive, or illegal apps. Despite such policy, there are always a small number of bad actors who attempt to publish apps that prey on users. Finding the apps that violate our policy among the vast app catalog is not a trivial problem, especially when there are tens of thousands of apps being submitted each day. This is why we embraced machine learning techniques in assessing policy violations and potential risks an app may pose to its potential users.

We use various techniques such as text analysis with word embedding with large probabilistic networks, image understanding with Google Brain, and static and dynamic analysis of the APK binary. These individual techniques are aimed to detect specific violations (e.g., restricted content, privacy and security, intellectual property, user deception), in a more systematic and reliable way compared to manual reviews. Apps that are flagged by our algorithms either gets sent back to the developers for addressing the detected issues, or are ‘quarantined’ until we can verify its safety and/or clears it of potential violations. Because of this app review process combining analyses by human experts and algorithms, developers can take necessary actions (e.g., iterate or publish) within a few hours of app submission.

Visualization of word embedding of samples of offensive content policy violating apps (red dots) and policy compliant apps (green dots), visualized with t-SNE (t-Distributed Stochastic Neighbor Embedding).

Preventing manipulation of app ratings and rankings

While an app may itself be legitimate, some bad actors may attempt to create fake engagements in order to manipulate an app’s ratings and rankings. In order to provide our users with an accurate reflection of the app’s perceived quality, we work to nullify these attempts. However, as we place countermeasures against these efforts, the actors behind the manipulation attempts change and adapt their behaviors to bypass our countermeasures thereby presenting us with an adversarial problem.

As such, instead of using a conventional supervised learning approach (as we did in the ‘Part 1’ or ‘Part 2’ of this series, which are more ‘stationary’ problems), we needed to develop a repeatable process that allowed us the same (if not more) agility that bad actors have. We achieved this by using a hybrid strategy that utilizes unsupervised learning techniques to generate training data which in turn feeds into a model built on traditional supervised learning techniques.

Utilizing data on interactions, transactions, and behaviors occurring on the Google Play platform, we apply anomaly detection techniques to identify apps that are targeted by fake engagements. For example, a suspected app may have all its engagement originating from a single data center, whereas an app with organic engagement will have its engagement originating from a healthy distribution of sources.

We then use these apps to isolate actors who collude or orchestrate to manipulate ratings and rankings, who in turn are used as training data to build a model that identifies similar actors. This model, built using supervised learning techniques, is then used to expand coverage and nullify fake engagements across Google Play Apps platform.

A visualization of how a model trained on known bad actors (red) expands coverage to detect similar bad actors (orange) while ignoring organic users (blue).

We strive to make Google Play the best platform for both developers and users, by enabling fast publication while not compromising user safety. The machine learning capabilities mentioned above helped us achieve both, and we’ll continue to innovate on these techniques to ensure we keep our users safe from spam and abuse.

This work was done in close collaboration with Yang Zhang, Zhikun Wang, Gengxin Miao, Liam MacDermed, Dev Manuel, Daniel Peddity, Yi Li, Kazushi Nagayama, Sid Chahar, and Xinyu Cheng.

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January 2017 Haul #3: Pew Pew Gun 1/6th scale Robotic Nude & Scarlet Witch (combat version)

Not a bad start to the new year :) especially when one can have so many wonderful figures all in one month – check out my earlier hauls for January 2017 posted on my toy blog HERE and HERE. And before February even comes, I’ve got two more to add to the collection – Pew Pew Gun 1/6th scale Pinyike Robotic Nude Body Combat Type (White) and AC Play 1/6th scale Scarlet Witch (combat version) 12-inch collectible figure.

The Pew Pew Gun 1/6th scale Pinyike Robotic Nude Body Combat Type (White) stands at 12.4 inches (31.5 cm) tall and features over 36 points of articulation (not including articulated fingers). It also has a light-up LED function head (Requires AG1 X 3 Button Cell Batteries for light-up LED function, batteries not included), helmet / mask with full face visor, robot hands with articulated fingers x2, interchangeable hands x4, energy capsule and figure stand.

AC Play 1/6th scale Scarlet Witch (combat version) 12-inch collectible figure is Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch as seen at the ending of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, where she is wearing her new outfit as part of the new Avengers team led by Captain America and Black Widow. This was also Hot Toys exclusive MOVIE PROMO EDITION item only available in selected markets – see the preview pics HERE.

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I am happy to have gotten this Scarlet Witch figure at the price it was offered at as I wasn’t willing to fork out more for it because I didn’t see the value in it. I am glad that independent companies are producing these figures at a much better price point as it allows me to get what I previously could not because I was unwilling to pay the exclusive price, something that companies come up with to extract more money from consumers by making less in quantity and then demanding more in price. Thank you AC PLay for being bold and working your magic. Another figure which I also recently acquired at a much better price point was the custom-made 1/6th scale Bane costume set which IMHO is as good as Hot Toys’ version. You can check out the review posted HERE.

Action figure reviews to follow soon. Stay connected :)

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Shows, Rankings, Boards, and More

After starting the new year with lists, trends, and reviews, I had a bunch of other items piling up.  So time to do some catching up with a handful of different industry related takes.

–  The National AIA show is changing its name. It will now be known as the AIA Conference on Architecture and it’s a part of a bigger rebrand.  So the questions are- will it actually make the show better for the exhibitors and will it help the AIA recover from the continuing angst from its membership over the infamous press release after the US Presidential election?  My initial answers are no and no.  This show will always be about the architects getting their educational credit and between lack of time and desire a legitimate visit to the floor is just not in their plans.  Plus as long as AIA has a floor with companies desperate to get a visit from a real live breathing architect they’ll never be meaningful change in the schedules to even give folks a better chance..  And as for the “revolt” it surely seems to be real as there’s still a massive dialogue featuring people that are talking about not renewing their membership and using this issue to point to other deficiencies inside the organization.  So we’ll see if in April at Orlando (a traditionally awful trade show town anyway) if anything really has changed other than the name. 

–  Thanks to the folks at Azon who tweeted out a link to the Top 10 countries (Not including the US) for LEED usage.  It was a stunner for me to see the #1 on the list wasn’t my awesome friends in Canada… but China.  Yes China is now at the top thanks to obviously some massive projects as they had 1600 fewer buildings but still produced more square meters of LEED than Canada.  The whole list is HERE and don’t worry my friends in the North- you are always #1 on my lists….
–  GlassBuild America formally announced it’s dates for the 2017 event in Atlanta.  Be there September 12-14!  As always I believe it will be a fantastic show (I’m obviously biased, I work it, I love it), but I was very pumped to see that the GANA Fall Conference will be held during/at the show as well.  That is HUGE.  As an industry guy, the tough thing is the expense of travel to all of the events I want/need to attend.  I know I am not alone.  By simple collaboration this sort of move helps so many be more efficient and more active in our industry.  Great move and adds another angle to an already exciting process!
–  I saw that the NFRC released their new board member list and laughed a bit thinking back to the days when my life was consumed with trying to affect change by getting fresh blood in those spots.  My candidate Cliff Monroe would’ve been the best board member ever- that’s for sure.  Anyway the next laugh I had was a ton of the “new” board looks exactly like the boards and power players from 2006 etc. Baker, Bipin, Hayden, Charlie etc…  it’s unreal.  My only hopes there are with Paul Bush and Kerry Haglund.  Excellent people who I know will at least listen to other views.  Though hopefully me mentioning them as “good” won’t get them blackballed.

–  There’s been a lot of chatter in the construction world on usage of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) in the building and design process.  Also in the sales funnel too.  I did a lot of research in to AR and I really like the potential from a sales and marketing standpoint.  Pricing is still high and you have to have a solid sales staff but my goodness it could be a game changer if used effectively.
–  Last this week… the Super Bowl is now lined up- my condolences to my pal Mike Synon of HHH who is also an owner of the Green Bay Packers.  Tough one.  This should be a very good game.   As always I am really looking forward to the commercials to see what 5 million dollars for a 30 second ad gets you these days in the way of creativity and memorable moments.  I’ll give you my favorites on next weeks post.  Also next week… preview of BEC, a great video from Guardian, potential good news for fellow road warriors and more!


New evidence in the DB Cooper case?  This one always fascinated me…
Another remnant from my childhood- the Ringling Brothers Circus is going away.
This one baffles me. You make boots- you would think you’d look at the footprint it made before producing.  These guys didn’t.

This basketball flop is beyond anything I’ve seen in a while… wow…

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