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TechBullets - Page 2 of 520 - The must-read tech news, in bite-sized bullets.

Spectrum Internet Down Again After Series Of Outages Linked To California Wildfires

Spectrum internet down again after series of outages linked to California wildfiresAndrew Griffin / The Independent - 1 year ago
  • Spectrum's internet has stopped working again, after a series of outages blamed on the ongoing California wildfires.
  • The company has suffered repeated outages in the wake of the deadly fires, which it said had caused problems across Southern California.
  • The latest problems have come from across the country: users from as far afield as Kentucky and Ohio have reported issues to Spectrum's Twitter account.
  • Designed by Pierpaolo Lazzarini from Italian company Jet Capsule.

Alibaba’s Inexpensive Smart Display Tech Makes Shopping Easier For The Visually Impaired

Alibaba’s inexpensive smart display tech makes shopping easier for the visually impaired Ivan Mehta / The Next Web - 1 year ago

Some MacBook Pro SSDs Could Fail — Apple Launches Free Service Program

Mark Wycislik-Wilson / BetaNews - 1 year ago
  • Apple has discovered a problem with a "limited number" of SSDs used in non-Touch Bar 13-inch MacBook Pro that could lead to drive failure and data loss.
  • Apple has launched a service program that will enable those with affected drives -- 128GB and 256GB models -- to have the issue addressed free of charge.
  • Apple does not say that the problematic drives will be replaced, just that they will be "serviced".
  • The problem only affects specific MacBook Pro models, so you'll need to check to see whether you qualify.

Black Friday 2018 Won’t Come Close To China’s Record Breaking Singles Day Sale

Black Friday 2018 won’t come close to China’s record breaking Singles Day saleZoey Chong / CNET - 1 year ago
  • John Williams may be leaving Star Wars after the next installment, but before that he's brought us another gift."Across the Stars" is the love theme from Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones, and Williams has written a new arrangement of it for Grammy-award winning violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, according to the John Williams Fan Network.
  • Alibaba's Singles Day sales is much much bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
  • Black Friday -- and Cyber Monday -- is a great invention because we get to go crazy buying stuff at lower prices.
  • The event grew 27 percent year-on-year, which means it has slowed -- it was 39 percent last year -- but it nevertheless continues to be a giant affair for the international shopping scene.

Apple Was The Top-selling Mobile Phone Brand

Apple was the top-selling mobile phone brand CNBC - 1 year ago
  • The figures provided by the Chinese firm did not provide details on what kind of iPhones were purchased.
  • Apple has seen a recovery in the China market in recent quarters after suffering hard times in the world's second-largest economy.
  • "It's a positive sign for Apple, because normally Xiaomi or Huawei has been the top brand.
  • "Since iPhone XS and iPhone XR were already so expensive, so they were looking for the right deal to purchase," he added.

Alibaba’s Singles Day Sales Dwarf Amazon’s Biggest Day

Alibaba’s Singles Day sales dwarf Amazon’s biggest dayJon Porter / The Verge - 1 year ago
  • Alibaba’s 10th annual Singles Day sale, which took place yesterday on 11/11, racked up $30.8 billion in sales and set a new record for the platform, reports CNBC.
  • The figure dwarfs the revenue taken during similar major shopping days of US retailers.
  • Although it’s useful to compare the two, Alibaba is less of a traditional retailer than Amazon.
  • Disputes over the validity of GMV matter because of the challenges facing Chinese retailers.

Clearbanc Raises $70M To Loan Startups Ad Money For A Rev Share

Clearbanc raises $70M to loan startups ad money for a rev shareJosh Constine / TechCrunch - 1 year ago
  • Selling equity to buy Facebook and Google ads is a bad deal for startups.
  • “As a business successfully scales, we continue to provide them ongoing capital” co-founder and CEO Andrew D’Souza tells me.
  • After largely flying under the radar since being found in 2015, now Clearbanc has some big funding news of its own.
  • Clearbanc emerged from an angel investing alliance between two serial entrepreneurs.

FCC Tells Phone Carriers To Have A System Ready To Combat Robocalls By 2019

FCC tells phone carriers to have a system ready to combat robocalls by 2019Jacob Siegal / BGR - 1 year ago
  • Robocalls have become so frequent and unavoidable in recent months that US Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai this week sent a letter to thirteen major phone carrier CEOs ordering them to have a system in place to handle the issue that affects millions of Americans daily by 2019 at the latest.
  • According to Reuters, Pai asked for companies to start using a “call authentication system” to stop the usage of spoofed numbers back in May, and six months later, he wants to know how those efforts have been proceeding.
  • In his letters, Pai specifically cites Sprint, CenturyLink, Charter and others, as companies he is concerned do “not yet have concrete plans to implement a robust call authentication framework.“ That call framework “digitally validates the handoff of phone calls passing through the complex web of networks, allowing the phone company of the consumer receiving the call to verify that a call is from the person supposedly making it.”
  • YouMail, a company which blocks and tracks robocalls, estimates that 5.1 billion unwanted calls were received in October, up from 3.4 billion in April.

San Francisco Just Passed A First-of-its Kind Tax On Big Businesses — Like Square And Stripe — To Help The Homeless

San Francisco just passed a first-of-its kind tax on big businesses — like Square and Stripe — to help the homelessShirin Ghaffary / ReCode - 1 year ago
  • San Francisco voters passed a measure that has divided the tech community and sparked a national debate about the industry’s responsibility to fix the city’s homelessness crisis.
  • Proposition C will raise the city’s gross receipts tax by an average of .5 percent on annual gross receipts over $50 million that companies like Square, Lyft and Salesforce generate.
  • The thousands of people living on San Francisco’s streets serve as a daily reminder of economic inequality in a city that has one of the highest concentrations of billionaires in the nation.
  • The decision to increase funding for the city’s most needy is a victory for the local nonprofits behind the measure and their tech fairy godfather, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff — who, together with his company, has poured more than $7 million into the campaign within the month leading up to the election.

Facebook Connects Russia To 100+ Accounts It Removed Ahead Of Mid-terms

Facebook connects Russia to 100+ accounts it removed ahead of mid-termsJosh Constine / TechCrunch - 1 year ago
  • The 115 accounts Facebook took down yesterday for inauthentic behavior ahead of the mid-term elections may indeed have been linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency, according to a new statement from the company.
  • Facebook’s head of cyber security policy Nathaniel Gleicher issued this statement to TechCrunch:
  • “Last night, following a tip off from law enforcement, we blocked over 100 Facebook and Instagram accounts due to concerns that they were linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) and engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior, which is banned from our services.
  • Yesterday, Facebook had published that it would provide an update on whether the removed accounts were connected to Russia, as some were in Russian languages:

Overwolf Raises $16 Million For Game Services In Round Led By Intel Capital

Overwolf raises $16 million for game services in round led by Intel CapitalDean Takahashi / VentureBeat - 1 year ago

In Electric Vehicle Push, Hyundai Doubles Down On Asian Ride-hailing Startup Grab

In electric vehicle push, Hyundai doubles down on Asian ride-hailing startup GrabDuncan Riley / SiliconANGLE - 1 year ago
  • The South Korean carmaker last invested in Grab in January as part of a deal that saw both companies agreeing to explore ways to develop and provide innovative services to Southeast Asian customers, including a new mobility service platform that will use Hyundai’s eco-friendly models such as the IONIQ Electric.
  • Hyundai’s stake in Grab is smaller than that of Japanese carmaker Toyota Motor Co., which invested $1 billion into the company in June.
  • “Not only Hyundai, but all global auto manufacturers have realized that generating revenue solely from selling vehicles is not a sustainable, viable option,” Hyundai Chief Innovation Officer Chi Young-cho is reported to have said at a media event. “It is better to disrupt than being disrupted,” he added.
  • Hyundai isn’t well-represented in Southeast Asia and it has been previously speculated that part of its interest in Grab may be related to its intention to build a car plant in the region, possibly in Indonesia or Vietnam.

Facebook Admits It Failed When It Came To Stopping Violence In Myanmar

Facebook admits it failed when it came to stopping violence in Myanmar MIT Technology Review - 1 year ago
  • An independent assessment commissioned by Facebook found that the company needs to be doing more to prevent the incitement of violence in the country.
  • Some background: The social network became the primary means of online communication in Myanmar around 2013.
  • The news: Facebook released a report Monday by the nonprofit Business for Social Responsibility on the role it has played in inciting hatred in Myanmar.
  •      —better enforce its community standards in Myanmar     —engage with local organizations     —share data on what has happened to evaluate human rights violations     —develop AI that can improve responsiveness     —start planning now for issues that could lead to further violence in the country down the road

Microsoft’s Cortana Boss Javier Soltero Says He’ll Quit Later This Year

Microsoft’s Cortana boss Javier Soltero says he’ll quit later this yearMike Wheatley / SiliconANGLE - 1 year ago
  • The departure of Soltero (pictured) is just the latest in what seems to be an ongoing shakeup within Microsoft’s leadership team, following the exit of 20-year veteran Terry Myerson late last month. Soltero hadn’t been at Microsoft quite so long, having joined the company back in 2014 after the software giant acquired a mobile email startup called Acompli Inc.
  • Following that deal, Soltero took over the reigns at Microsoft’s Outlook Mobile team, helping design the Outlook mobile app.
  • The company now seems to be focusing on making Cortana more of a productivity tool for Windows users, specializing in tasks such as integrating email and calendar apps with different Microsoft services.

China Can Apparently Now Identify Citizens Based On The Way They Walk

China can apparently now identify citizens based on the way they walkJon Russell / TechCrunch - 1 year ago
  • China is home to the world’s largest network of CCTV cameras — over 170 million — and its police have adopted Google Glass-like ‘smart specs’ to seek out suspects in crowds, but now its surveillance efforts have hit a new level with technology that can apparently identify individuals based on their body shape and the way they walk.
  • The ‘gait recognition’ technology is already being used by police in Beijing and Shanghai where it can identify individuals even when their face is obscured or their back is turned, according to an AP report.
  • The technology is developed by Chinese AI startup Watrix, which recently picked up a $14.5 million funding round to further develop its systems.
  • The positive impact is in finding criminals but there’s a less savory edge. Besides law enforcement, media reports have shown that China has deployed surveillance technology for more sinister purposes that include controlling its people.

Bitcoin Wallet Blockchain To Give Away $125m Of Cryptocurrency To Encourage Mass Adoption

Bitcoin wallet Blockchain to give away $125m of cryptocurrency to encourage mass adoptionAnthony Cuthbertson / The Independent - 1 year ago
  • The world's most popular bitcoin wallet is giving away $125 million worth of the cryptocurrency Stellar as part of a major initiative to encourage its use as a mainstream form of payment.
  • Blockchain, which is named after the technology that powers bitcoin, will give $25 of Stellar lumens (XLM) to its 30 million users starting this week, making it the largest cryptocurrency giveaway in history.
  • The reason for giving away stellar rather than other popular cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or ethereum, Blockchain explained in a blog post, is because its network is well suited to large-scale usage.
  • 1/8 Satoshi Nakamoto creates the first bitcoin block in 2009

Predictably, Online Media Go Nuts Over ‘Oumuamua And Harvard Scientists

Predictably, online media go nuts over ‘Oumuamua and Harvard scientistsEric Berger / Ars Technica - 1 year ago
  • A few days ago, a pre-print of a research paper to be published in the Astrophysical Journal appeared online.
  • Scientists still aren't sure what the oddly cigar-shaped object is, and they were further intrigued when they observed it accelerating away from the Sun.
  • The new paper investigates the possibility of solar radiation pressure, or the momentum transfer of photons striking an object.

Precision Farming Startup Taranis Gets $20M Series B For Its Crop Monitoring Tech

Precision farming startup Taranis gets $20M Series B for its crop monitoring techCatherine Shu / TechCrunch - 1 year ago
  • Taranis, an ag-tech startup that uses aerial scouting and deep learning to identify potential crop issues, announced today that it has raised a $20 million Series B led by Viola Ventures.
  • Tel Aviv-based Taranis says its aerial imaging technology, carried on high-speed drones or manned aircraft, is currently used by farms in Argentina, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, and the United States.
  • Founded in 2015 by Ofir Schlam, Asaf Horvitz, Eli Bukchin, and Ayal Karmi to increase food production, Taranis’ software targets commodity crops like corn, cotton, wheat, soybean, sugarcane, and potatoes.
  • In a press statement, Viola Ventures partner Zvika Orron said “After analyzing the digital farming industry, we proudly chose Taranis to be our first investment in this space.

Esports One Partners With Riot Games Brazil For Real-time Stats And Insights

Esports One partners with Riot Games Brazil for real-time stats and insightsDean Takahashi / VentureBeat - 1 year ago
  • There are a number of ways to capture and analyze what happens in a League of Legends match: Manual human input, pulling data from the game publisher applications programming interface (API), and reading local game files from a player’s computer to name just a few.
  • “We’ve been working with Riot since before Esports One launched,” said Matthew Gunnin, CEO of Esports One, in an interview with GamesBeat.
  • Above: Esports One has a variety of ways to make esports more accessible.Image Credit: Esports One
  • Esports One, whose focus is on real-time analysis, took a more customizable route, utilizing proprietary computer vision technology and machine learning to capture and analyze what is happening in a professional esports match.

US Christmas Retail Sales To Surpass $1 Trillion This Year

US Christmas retail sales to surpass $1 trillion this year CNBC - 1 year ago
  • The report comes amid concerns over the future of brick-and-mortar retailers, with the likes of Sears and Toys 'R' Us facing bankruptcy — although the latter's lenders recently cancelled a bankruptcy auction and plans to revive the brand.
  • Not to mention the fact that several retailers are closing hundreds of stores across the country as the threat of increased competition from e-commerce firms like Amazon and eBay continues to put pressure on the industry.
  • The research said the sector would see a 4.4 percent gain year-on-year in in-store sales, rising to $878.38 billion, and that brick-and-mortar would be a "bright spot" for the retail industry as a whole for the 2018 Christmas holiday period.
  • "While e-commerce will continue to see strong double-digit gains, brick-and-mortar retail should be a particular bright spot this holiday season," Andrew Lipsman, principal analyst at eMarketer, said in a statement Tuesday.