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Tag Archives: datemodified

Casio adds modern tech to the classic G-Shock watch

Casio released the first G-Shock watch in 1983. The original set the bar for tough watches with incredible shock resistance to protect the quartz module. It’s a classic and still available for purchase in several forms in 2018. Recently, Casio released an all-metal version of the watch that features the iconic design but with modern technology like Bluetooth connectivity. This isn’t a smartwatch, but simply a watch that’s a bit smarter than most. The Bluetooth function is simple and worth a look. It gives owners an easy way to access settings. Instead of navigating through the menus on the watch, owners can use a smartphone app to sync the watch to the phone’s time, adjust settings and set alarms and reminders. It takes just one button press on the watch and for the owner to launch the app. The watch does not have to be connected through the phone’s Bluetooth menu; the app takes care of it all. I found the experience a refreshing update. I don’t need a smartwatch all the time but there are advantages to connecting a watch to a phone. If this is a glimpse at the future of timekeeping, I’m all in. I enjoy a complicated complication as much as the next guy, but sometimes it’s overwhelming to set the primary timezone let alone the alarm. I don’t mind when an app can do it for me

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Vinli launches mobility data platform, signs partnership with ALD Automotive

Connected car startup Vinli aims to connect vehicles to the cloud and is today announcing a change in its business model as it partners with the largest fleet operator in Europe, ALD Automotive. Vinli launched in 2014 as a direct consumer company that allowed owners to add cloud services to automobiles. It was a clever concept, and when it launched four years ago, it was ahead of the curve. The company went on to raise to $6.5M through four rounds of funding, slowly evolving the product to meet the changing needs of the market. Today, the company is announcing a change in focus and will no longer sell products directly to consumers. The company founder and CEO Mark Haidar tells TechCrunch this is in response to the product’s evolution, which can now offer enterprises a platform for them to launch their own mobility applications directly to their users. Vinli is discontinuing the production of its hardware and will work with partners to offer the same services to consumers. To go along with this new business strategy, Vinli is launching a data platform that Haidar tells me can ingest data from any source and correlate it with machine learning and AI, allowing customers to develop predictive services for their products. Called Era, Vinli believes this will enable its customers to mine trends from data without the need of data scientists. Vinli signed a deal with ALD Automotive to add its connected services to its fleets of 1.6 million vehicles. In a press release, ALD Automotive says Vinli will enrich ALD’s “overall service offering and develop new value-added solutions to improve both driver experience and optimize overall Total Cost of Ownership for efficient fleet management.” “We believe that the automotive industry is evolving to become a service-based and subscription-driven industry,” said Mark Haidar, CEO of Vinli. “Connected cars and data are at the epicenter of this change. Collecting, analyzing, and discovering trends from ALD’s fleets will not only be transformative to the driver but to the industry as a whole” Terms of the partnership were not released. Connecting vehicles to the cloud has significant implications as car makers, insurers and consumers alike can gain deep insights into the habits of the driver and mechanics of the car throughout its life. Vinli seems well positioned to offer a platform to provide this data and today’s moves should help the company into the future

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Adobe XD now lets you prototype voice apps 

Adobe XD , the company’s platform for designing and prototyping user interfaces and experiences, is adding support for a different kind of application to its lineup: voice apps. Those could be applications that are purely voice-based — maybe for Alexa or Google Home — or mobile apps that also take voice input. The voice experience is powered by Sayspring, which Adobe acquired earlier this year . As Sayspring’s founder and former CEO Mark Webster told me, the team has been working on integrating these features into XD since he joined the company. To support designers who are building these apps, XD now includes voice triggers and speech playback. That user experience is tightly integrated with the rest of XD and in a demo I saw ahead of today’s reveal, building voice apps didn’t look all that different from prototyping any other kind of app in XD. To make the user experience realistic, XD can now trigger speech playback when it hears a specific word or phrase. This isn’t a fully featured natural language understanding system, of course, since the idea here is only to mock-up what the user experience would look like. “Voice is weird,” Webster told me. “It’s both a platform like Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant, but also a form of interaction … Our starting point has been to treat it as a form of interaction — and how do we give designers access to the medium of voice and speech in order to create all kinds of experiences. A huge use case for that would be designing for platforms like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana.” And these days, with the advent of smart displays from Google and its partners, as well as the Amazon Echo Show, these platforms are also becoming increasingly visual. As Webster noted, the combination of screen design and voice is being more and more important now and so adding voice technology into XD seemed like a no-brainer. Adobe’s product management lead for XD Andrew Shorten stressed that before acquiring Sayspring and integrating it into XD, its users had a hard time building voice experiences

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Adobe is bringing Photoshop CC to the iPad 

It’s no secret that Adobe is currently in the process of modernizing its Creative Cloud apps and bringing them to every major platform. Today, the company is using its Max conference in Los Angeles today to officially announce Photoshop CC for the iPad . Sadly, you won’t be able to try it today, but come 2019, you’ll be able to retouch all of your images right on the iPad. And while it won’t feature ever feature of the desktop from the get-go, the company promises that it’ll add them over time. As with all of Adobe’s releases, Photoshop for iPad will play nicely with all other versions of Photoshop and sync all the changes you make to PSD files across devices. Unsurprisingly, the user experience has been rethought from the ground up and redesigned for touch. It’ll feature most of the standard Photoshop image editing tools and the layers panel. Of course, it’ll also support your digital stylus. Adobe says the iPad version shares the same code base as Photoshop for the desktop, “so there’s no compromises on power and performance or editing results.” For now, though, that’s pretty much all we know about Photoshop CC on the iPad. For more, we’ll have to wait until 2019. In a way though, that’s probably all you need to know. Adobe has long said that it wants to enable its users to do their work wherever they are. Early on, that meant lots of smaller specialized apps that synced with the larger Creative Cloud ecosystem, but now it looks as if the company is moving toward bringing full versions of its larger monoliths like Photoshop to mobile, too.

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It’s official: London-based Stride.VC raises £50M seed fund

Stride.VC , the new VC fund from Fred Destin, formerly a partner at Accel, and Harry Stebbings, producer of the “The Twenty Minute VC” podcast and ex-Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Atomico, is being officially unveiled today, confirming most of the details of my earlier report . The fund has closed at just over its £50 million target and will be used to do seed investments exclusively in U.K. startups (at least for now). The team has been bolstered, too, with Arj Soysa, ex-Atomico and most recently head of finance for LGT Impact, joining as operating partner. The firm also disclosed its first investment earlier this month, backing healthcare messaging app Forward Health . In a call with Destin last week and followed up over subsequent emails with the pair, I got further details on Stride.VC’s LPs and how Destin and Stebbings plan to approach seed investing. Kicking off, I asked if perhaps there was already enough money in the U.K. (and elsewhere in Europe) chasing seed-stage startups. “We don’t think there is too much seed money at work in Europe,” says Destin. “We think tech startups are impacting more and more industries and sectors so the importance and impact of great founders is growing.

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At what point do we admit that geoengineering is an option?

In 1883, Krakatoa erupted , spewing volcanic ash and gas into the stratosphere, making clouds more reflective and cooling the entire planet by roughly 1° C that year. In 2018, the UN reported that human activity has already raised Earth’s temperature by 1°, and if we don’t do something drastic soon, the results will be catastrophic. The optimal solution is staring us in the face, of course; reduce carbon emissions. Unfortunately this optimal solution is politically untenable and extremely expensive. A decade ago McKinsey estimated it would cost $1 trillion just to halve the growth of carbon emissions … in India alone. That’s still less than the cost of doing nothing — estimated at $20 trillion by Nature , which doesn’t include its toll on human lives — but it’s a cost which seems to make the necessary political decisions impossible. The analysts … concluded that it was just human nature and you couldn’t fix it, and so they went for a quick cheap technical fix Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash There is another option. The root problem we face is not carbon concentrations but atmospheric temperature. There are other negative side effects of carbon emissions, like ocean acidification, but the temperature is the big one. We already know how to cool the planet without reducing carbon. The solution is so simple it’s almost laughable: just make our clouds a little more reflective , so they reflect more of the sun’s light, and thus reduce our heat. Volcanoes like Krakatoa do it all the time : When Mount Tambora erupted in Indonesia in 1815 and spewed sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, farmers in New England recorded a summer so chilly that their fields frosted over in July.

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International growth, primarily in China, fuels the VC market today

The venture capital business model has gone global. VC is still an exclusive club of financiers, but now with worldwide scope and scale. According to Crunchbase projections Crunchbase News reported in Q3 2018, worldwide VC deal and dollar volume each  set new all-time records . In the U.S. and Canada, deal volume declined slightly from Q2 highs but  growing deal sizes pushed total dollar volume to new heights . Much of this global growth comes from markets outside the U.S. and Canada. A  recent collaborative study  between Startup Revolution and the Center for American Entrepreneurship indicates that Beijing, China was the city that contributed most to global growth in venture capital investment growth. Here’s the geographic breakdown of projected deal volume over time. Note a somewhat choppy growth pattern in U.S. and Canadian deal volume, and compare that to a more consistent growth pattern in international deal volume.

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SF judge denies Lime’s request to block electric scooter deployment

A judge today denied Lime’s request for a temporary restraining order that would block Skip and Scoot from deploying their electric scooters in San Francisco on Monday. This means San Franciscans will be able to use electric scooter services again first thing next week. Following the SFMTA’s decision to grant Skip and Scoot electric scooter permits,  Lime sent an appeal requesting  the agency reevaluate its application. At the time, the SFMTA said it was “confident” it picked the right companies. Just yesterday, Lime said it believed “that it has no choice but to seek emergency relief in the court” and take legal action. “We’re pleased the court denied Lime’s request for a temporary restraining order,” John Cote, communications director for City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement to TechCrunch. “The bottom line is the judge said he would not stop the permits from being issued on Monday. The SFMTA’s permit program has been both fair and transparent. Lime just didn’t like the outcome. The reality is that Lime’s application fell notably short of its competitors. That’s why it didn’t get a permit. San Franciscans deserve scooter services that are safe, equitable and accountable, which is exactly what this pilot program was designed to do.” While Lime didn’t quite get what it wanted, Lime says it still sees this as a victory. In a statement to TechCrunch, Lime Head of Communications Jack S. Song said: The Honorable Harold E

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FCC resorts to the usual malarkey defending itself against Mozilla lawsuit

Mozilla filed a lawsuit in August alleging the FCC had unlawfully overturned 2015’s net neutrality rules, by among other things “fundamentally mischaracterizing how internet access works.” The FCC has filed its official response, and as you might expect it has doubled down on those fundamental mischaracterizations. The Mozilla suit, which you can read here or embedded at the bottom of this post, was sort of a cluster bomb of allegations striking at the FCC order on technical, legal, and procedural grounds. They aren’t new, revelatory arguments — they’re what net neutrality advocates have been saying for years. There are at least a dozen separate allegations, but most fall under two general categories. That the FCC wrongly classifies broadband as an “information service” rather than a “telecommunications service.” There’s a long story behind this that I documented in the Commission Impossible series. The logic on which this determination is based has been refuted by practically every technical authority and really is just plain wrong . This pulls the rug out from numerous justifications for undoing the previous rules and instating new ones. That by failing to consider consumer complaints or perform adequate studies on the state of the industry, federal protections, and effects of the rules, the FCC’s order is “arbitrary and capricious” and thus cannot be considered to have been lawfully enacted. The FCC’s responses to these allegations are likewise unsurprising. The bulk of big rulemaking documents like Restoring Internet Freedom isn’t composed of the actual rules but in the justification of those rules. So the FCC took preventative measures in its proposal identifying potential objections (like Mozilla’s) and dismissing them by various means. These are the arguments against net neutrality and why they’re wrong That their counter-arguments on the broadband classification are nothing new is in itself a little surprising, though. These very same arguments were rejected by a panel of judges in the DC circuit back in 2015

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At 10 trillion frames per second, this camera captures light in slow motion

Light is the fastest thing in the universe, so trying to catch it on the move is necessarily something of a challenge. We’ve had some success, but a new rig built by Caltech scientists pulls down a mind-boggling 10 trillion frames per second , meaning it can capture light as it travels along — and they have plans to make it a hundred times faster. Understanding how light moves is fundamental to many fields, so it isn’t just idle curiosity driving the efforts of Jinyang Liang and his colleagues — not that there’d be anything wrong with that either. But there are potential applications in physics, engineering, and medicine that depend heavily on the behavior of light at scales so small, and so short, that they are at the very limit of what can be measured. You may have heard about billion- and trillion-FPS cameras in the past, but those were likely “streak cameras” that do a bit of cheating to achieve those numbers. A light pulse as captured by the T-CUP system. If a pulse of light can be replicated perfectly, then you could send one every millisecond but offset the camera’s capture time by an even smaller fraction, like a handful of femtoseconds (a billion times shorter). You’d capture one pulse when it was here, the next one when it was a little further, the next one when it was even further, and so on. The end result is a movie that’s indistinguishable in many ways from if you’d captured that first pulse at high speed. This is highly effective — but you can’t always count on being able to produce a pulse of light a million times the exact same way. Perhaps you need to see what happens when it passes through a carefully engineered laser-etched lens that will be altered by the first pulse that strikes it. In cases like that, you need to capture that first pulse in real time — which means recording images not just with femtosecond precision, but only femtoseconds apart . Simple, right?

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Watch this quadrotor turn into a trirotor and keep flying

In a video that similar to those videos where humans push around ATLAS , researchers at Delft University of Technology have created a system that will let a quadrotor drone keep flying even if one of the propellers is broken. The video above – which is, arguably, pretty boring – shows the drone fighting against both structural damage and wind and most definitely winning. The fact that it is able to stay airborne under such wild conditions is the real draw here and it’s a fascinating experiment in robust robotics. In other words, this drone routed around damage that would destroy a normal quadcopter. According to IEEE the system works by adding a multiple subsystems to the drone in order to manage the position and altitude. The system uses the built-in gyro and accelerometer readings to keep itself in the air and lots of processing power to keep it moving forward even as it seems to careen into the wild blue yonder. Further, the system manages motor power to ensure that the propellers aren’t “saturated.” The researchers, Sihao Sun, Leon Sijbers, Xuerui Wang, and Coen de Visser, presented their paper in Spain last week at IROS 2018.

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Take ten seconds now to make sure you’re registered to vote

Fellow citizens! An important election is approaching, and you should vote in it. But are you registered? Are you sure ? Why don’t you take ten seconds now to check? Maybe you moved recently and the notices are going to your old place. Maybe your county had a records snafu. Maybe you’re one of thousands of voters being purged from the rolls in order to tip a close race. Who knows? It’s very simple to do this online. You don’t need any documents and you don’t need to send anything in or call anyone. The nonpartisan Vote.org will query your state’s registration database for you , or you can scroll down a bit at that page and go directly to the state site to do it yourself. If you’re not registered, don’t worry. Many states allow you to register right up until election day, and if you haven’t registered before or it’s been a while, all you really need is to be a citizen with a valid ID. Special welcome to all new citizens! Some states have already closed registration: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas. Some states have deadlines that have already passed for mail-in registration, in-person registration, and so on

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Here’s how to find out if your Facebook was hacked in the breach

Are you one of the 30 million users hit by Facebook’s access token breach announced two weeks ago ? Here’s how to find out. Facebook breach saw 15M users’ names & contact info accessed, 14M’s bios too Visit this Facebook Help center link while logged in:  https://www.facebook.com/help/securitynotice?ref=sec . Scroll down to the section “Is my Facebook account impacted by this security issue?” Here you’ll see a Yes or No answer to whether your account was one of the 30 million users impacted. Those affected will also receive a warning like this atop their News Feed: If Yes, you’ll be in one of three categories: A. You’re in the 15 million users’ whose name plus email and/or phone number was accessed. B. You’re in the 14 million users’ who had that data plus account bio data accessed including “username, gender, locale/language, relationship status, religion, hometown, self-reported current city, birthdate, device types used to access Facebook, education, work, the last 10 places they checked into or were tagged in, website, people or Pages they follow, and the 15 most recent searches”. C. You’re in the 1 million users whose access token was stolen but your account was never actually accessed with it. Lucky you.   So what should you do if you were hacked? You don’t necessarily have to change your Facebook password or credit card info as there’s no evidence that data was accessed in the attack Watch out for spam or scam calls, emails, or messages as your contact info could have been sold to unscrupulous businesses Be on alert for phishing attempts that may try to email you and get you to sign in to one of your online accounts on a fake page that will steal your data.

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Facebook breach saw 15M users’ names & contact info stolen, 14M’s bios too

Facebook has now detailed what data was scraped and stolen in the breach it revealed two weeks ago . 30 million users, not 50 million as it initially estimated, had their access tokens stolen by hackers. Users can check Facebook’s Help Center to find out if their information was accessed, and Facebook will send customized alerts to those impacted detailing what was accessed from their account and what they can do to recover. It’s currently not clear if all the information accessed was necessarily scraped. Facebook’s VP of product managment Guy Rosen told reporters on a press call that “We are cooperating with the FBI on this matter” and that “the FBI have asked us not to discuss who may be behind this attack” as its own investigation is ongoing. Disclosing anything about perpetrator now could cause them to cover tracks. 15 million of the 30 million users had their name plus phone number and/or email accessed. 14 million had that info plus potentially more biographical info accessed, including “username, gender, locale/language, relationship status, religion, hometown, self-reported current city, birthdate, device types used to access Facebook, education, work, the last 10 places they checked into or were tagged in, website, people or Pages they follow, and the 15 most recent searches”. The remaining 1 million users’ information wasn’t accessed. Facebook’s other apps including Messenger, Messenger Kids, Instagram, WhatsApp, Workplace, and Pages, as well as its features for payments, third-party apps, advertisers, and developers were not accessed. Facebook says that law enforcement has asked it not to discuss evidence regarding who committed the attack as the FBI continues its investigation. Facebook says the breach started when hackers with some access tokens exploited a combination of three bugs related to its “View As” privacy feature for seeing your profile from the perspective of someone else. This let them gain access to those accounts’ friends leading them to steal access tokens 400,000 accounts, and used a different method to then grab tokens from 30 million of their friends. Unlike most breaches, this one appears to have turned out to be less severe then initially expected. Users seem to already be forgetting about the breach after a short hiccup where they had to log back in to Facebook.

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Want to reduce fraud? Make a better password, dummy!

Researchers at Indiana University have confirmed that stringent password policies – aside from being really annoying – actually work. The research , led by Ph.D. student Jacob Abbott, IU CIO Daniel Calarco, and professor L. Jean Camp. They published their findings in a paper entitled “Factors Influencing Password Reuse: A Case Study.” “Our paper shows that passphrase requirements such as a 15-character minimum length deter the vast majority of IU users (99.98 percent) from reusing passwords or passphrases on other sites,” said Abbott. “Other universities with fewer password requirements had reuse rates potentially as high as 40 percent.” To investigate the impact of policy on password reuse, the study analyzed password policies from 22 different U.S. universities, including their home institution, IU. Next, they extracted sets of emails and passwords from two large data sets that were published online and contained over 1.3 billion email addresses and password combinations. Based on email addresses belonging to a university’s domain, passwords were compiled and compared against a university’s official password policy. The findings were clear: Stringent password rules significantly lower a university’s risk of personal data breaches. In short, requiring longer passwords and creating a truly stringent password policy reduced fraud and password reuse by almost 99%. Further, the researchers found that preventing users from adding their name or username inside passwords its also pretty helpful

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