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Motorola on Thursday pulled the cover back on the successor to last year’s well-received Moto Z Play smartphone and a handful of new Moto Mods – modular accessories that expand the functionality of the smartphone they’ re attached to. The Moto Z2 Play is a mid-ranger with a 5.5-inch, 1080p AMOLED display that’s powered by Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 626 processor clocked at 2.2GHz and up to 4GB of RAM. Other goodies include as much as 64GB of local storage (expandable via microSD card slot), a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with f/1.7 aperture lens and a 3,000mAh battery. It’ ll ship running Android 7.1.1 Nougat in your choice of gray, blue or gold colors. Look for it to arrive as a Verizon exclusive later this summer starting at $499.
Motorola’s new modular accessories, meanwhile, include the Moto GamePad, the JBL SoundBoost 2, the Moto TurboPower Pack and the Moto Style Shell with Wireless Charging. The Moto GamePad transforms your smartphone into a handheld console complete with dual thumbsticks, D-pad and four action buttons.
There’s also a built-in 1,035mAh battery for added longevity because as we all know, gaming can quickly zap your phone’s battery. The second-generation SoundBoost 2 features dual 27mm speakers (3W each for a total of 6W of power) with a frequency response range of 200Hz – 20 kHz, a water-repellent coating, a built-in 1,000mAh battery that offers 10 hours of play time and a more premium design with fabric and improved contours for a better feel in your hand. Motorola’s new TurboPower Pack is a 3,490mAh add-on battery pack that takes the shape of a phone back. It’s USB Type-C compatible and can be recharged to 50 percent capacity in just 20 minutes. The Style Shell, on the other hand, is billed as a quick way to add some flare to your phone but it’s not just about style as it also enables wireless charging capabilities. The new Moto Mods will be available this summer.
Expect to pay $79.99 for the GamePad, SoundBoost 2 or TurboPower Pack and $39.99 for the Style Shell. 2017-06-01 21:15 1.1 (3.12/4). Seagate today announced a new storage solution intended for use with Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscription service. The Seagate Game Drive for Xbox Game Pass Special Edition (yeah, that’s a mouthful) is an external hard drive offered in 2GB and 4GB capacities that connects via USB – no separate power cable needed – and is compatible with both the Xbox One and Xbox 360.
Your console should automatically detect the drive when first plugged in and walk you through the initial setup process. As an added bonus, Seagate is bundling a free one-month subscription to Xbox Game Pass with the 2TB version and a two-month membership with the 4GB variant. Microsoft launched its Xbox Game Pass service exclusively for Xbox Gold members last week. Viewed by many as the Netflix for games, the service offers unlimited access to more than 100 Xbox One and backward compatible Xbox 360 games for $9.99 per month. Unlike other services that work via streaming, Xbox Game Pass titles you want to play are downloaded directly to your console’s hard drive, hence the potential need for added storage.
On Thursday, Microsoft opened the subscription service up to all users. The Seagate Game Drive for Xbox Game Pass Special Edition will be available later this month.
It’ ll carry an MSRP of $89.99 for the 2TB version and $129.99 for the larger 4GB model. 2017-06-01 22:15 1.0 (3.07/4). Hey, big spenders: Apple today revealed how much developers have earned through the App Store, and from this figure we can glean just how much users have shelled out on apps over the years. Apple announced developers have earned over $70 billion since the App Store went live in 2008. Taking the tech giant's 70/30 revenue split into account, that means customers have spent over $100 billion in App Store purchases. The iPhone maker does lower its take to 85/15 for developers who offer in-app subscriptions and maintain subscribers for more than year, but Apple enacted that policy just last year. Apple's timing is certainly on point as its big WWDC 2017 conference – an annual event aimed at developers – starts next week.
It's here we expect to learn about iOS 11, a new Siri Speaker, possibly the iPad Pro 2 and new MacBooks. Of course, convincing developers to continue putting their apps on the App Store will be a major part of the show's program. It likely won't be a hard sell. Apple didn't stop with an earnings number boast as it also revealed App Store downloads grew by over 70% in the past 12 months, and active paid subscriptions are up 58% since the same time last year. Smash hits like Super Mario Run and Pokemon Go along with unique apps of every type undoubtedly contributed to what Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Philip Schiller described as record-number downloads. According to Apple, Gaming and Entertainment apps lead the pack when it comes to earnings, while Lifestyle and Health as well as Fitness apps have seen over 70% growth in the past year. And as Apple puts a greater emphasis on its devices' cameras, such as the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, it was also sure to point out apps in the Photo and Video category has skyrocketed to nearly 90% growth.
But while Apple's figures are impressive, it's also important to look at how they compare to other app marketplaces. Google also has a 70/30 revenue split with Play Store developers, and we've asked the company for figures on how much developers have earned since the Play Store launched. We'll update this story if we hear back. Via Engadget 2017-06-01 21:55 2.4 (2.08/4). Last year, Microsoft released an open source project called 'Cognitive Toolkit.' This toolkit was designed with a focus on deep learning and artificial intelligence.
Today, after a fairly long beta period, Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit is finally updated to version 2.0. Not only does this production release have new features, but bug fixes too. Unfortunately, the release isn't entirely backwards compatible due to deprecated and renamed aspects of the toolkit. 'New with the full release today is support for Keras, a user-friendly open-source neural network library that is popular with developers working on deep learning applications.
Code written for Keras, explained Basoglu, can now take advantage of the performance and speed available from the Cognitive Toolkit without requiring any code change. Toolkit support for Keras is currently in public preview, ' says John Roach, Digital Transformation Strategist, Microsoft.
Roach further says, 'In addition to Keras support, other new features being released today include the addition of Java language bindings for model evaluation and new tools that compress trained models to run in real time even on resource-constrained devices including smartphones for applications such as image recognition.' If you have a need for Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit 2.0, you can check out the code on GitHub here. Before you do anything, however, it would be wise to read the full release notes here. Developers using the 1.0 release should pay particular attention, since, as previously mentioned, 2.0 can break certain things due to changes.
Photo Credit: ESB Professional / Shutterstock 2017-06-01 18:30 1.2 (2.07/4). Starting June 5, students can use Apple's educational coding app Swift Playgrounds to program robots, drones and musical instruments, Apple announced Thursday. Apple is partnering with device makers to connect the Swift app to Bluetooth-enabled robots, enabling kids to program devices like Lego Mindstorms Education EV3, the Sphero SPRK+ (a popular robotic ball that rolls, turns, accelerates and changes colors) and Parrot drones. About a year after Swift Playgrounds was launched, there are now more than 1 million kids and adults using the iPad app, Apple noted. 'Now they can instantly see the code they create and directly control their favorite robots, drones and instruments through Swift Playgrounds, ' Craig Federighi, Apple SVP of software engineering, said in a statement. 'It's an incredibly exciting and powerful way to learn.'
Apple has taken other steps recently to further its educational initiatives. In April, the Cupertino company announced it's launching a range of educational sessions at 495 stores covering coding, media, and art and design to help people get more from their Apple hardware.
2017-06-01 21:19 1.0 (2.05/4). Adobe today is launching a new mobile app that makes it easier to convert paper documents and other things into digital, editable PDF files. While there’s no shortage of scan-to-PDF apps on the App Store, many are not free, have a dated design, or simply convert an image to PDF format, but don’ t allow for edits. Adobe Scan, meanwhile, uses optical character recognition (OCR) to convert the printed text to digital text that can then be searched, selected, copied or annotated in Acrobat Reader DC or Acrobat DC. In addition, Adobe says the free app doesn’ t limit you on the number of pages you can scan nor does it downgrade the quality.
Of course, another advantage – or disadvantage, depending on your viewpoint – to using Adobe’s app over scanners from, say, Microsoft (Office Lens), Google (Google Drive), or a popular third-party app, like Scanner Pro, is that it’s designed to work with Adobe’s Document Cloud. For Adobe’s customers this is a plus, though others may prefer the flexibility of more agnostic solutions that let you pick and choose your preferred upload destinations. The documents you scan in on mobile will be automatically uploaded to your Adobe Document Cloud account, where you can store them online, share with others.
But if you’ re an Acrobat DC subscriber ($12.99/mo Standard, $14.99/mo Pro), you’ ll also be able to fully edit and organize documents, collect signatures, and more. Adobe Scan doesn’ t just work with standard paper files, it’s worth noting. The company says you can also scan things like shopping receipts, business cards, a slide shown during a meeting, and even whiteboards.
The new app is powered by Adobe Sensei, the company’s A. And machine learning-based platform. Sensai is used for things like boundary detection, auto-crop and capture, perspective correction, and auto-clean to remove shadows, for example. It also works with the new mobile functionality in Adobe Sign, for automatically signing and sending documents from any device, says Adobe. The new app is available today for both iOS and Android devices. 2017-06-01 17:46 1.6 (2.05/4).
Facebook isn’ t the only major technology company to borrow application design cues from the competition. On Thursday, Microsoft unveiled a completely redesigned version of Skype that looks and feels a lot like another popular messaging app: Snapchat. Microsoft is pitching the next generation of Skype as your “everyday place” for personal connections and fittingly, it puts chatting front and center. Skype’s new “Highlights” feature lets users create a highlight reel of their day using photos and videos, much like the “Stories” feature found on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Friends and family can react directly to the Highlight either with emoticons or by firing up a conversation.
The new “Find” section, meanwhile, makes it easy to both search through a conversation and infuse a chat with useful information. For example, one can search for tickets to an upcoming sporting event then pull seating and pricing data directly into the conversation, hunt for – and share – new recipes using the BigOven add-on or plan a weekend getaway using the Expedia bot. Customization options like the ability to select your favorite color as the app’s theme allow users to make the app uniquely their own. The new Skype begins rolling out worldwide today. Microsoft notes that it’ ll be released gradually over the coming weeks for Android before debuting on iOS. Versions for Windows and Mac, unfortunately, won’ t arrive for another few months, we're told. 2017-06-01 16:50 1.5 (2.05/4).
It’s that time of year again when Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Mary Meeker releases her annual internet trends report. The 355-page presentation contains a lot of information, and here are some of the highlights.
Meeker’s report shows the average age of US gamers is 35, and that the number of gamers across the world continues to rise, up from 100 million in 1995 to 2.6 billion today. Asia remains the most lucrative market, responsible for $47 billion of the $100 billion estimated gaming revenue last year. It also notes that many younger people now prefer eSports over traditional sports. The stagnating smartphone market is another of the report’s highlights.
Shipments grew just 3 percent YoY in 2016, compared to 10 percent the year before. But growth in Internet population, which has been stuck at around 10 percent for the last five years, remains solid. Growth in online ads, however, is on the up; it rose 22 percent to $73 billion last year, up from 15 percent in 2015. Most of this growth is coming from mobile ads, which is pushing up the figure despite a decline in desktop advertising.
When it comes to market capitalization, Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook continue to lead the pack, but several Chinese firms are making headway. Tencent and Alibaba hold the next two positions on the list, while five more firms from the Asian nation – including Baidu – are also present. Immigration – a hot topic in Silicon Valley since Trump’s ban – is referenced in the report.
Examining the 25 most highly valued public tech companies, Meeker found 15 of them were founded by first- or second-generation Americans. In the world of healthcare, around 25 percent of Americans now own a wearable, a 12 percent increase from 2016.
Many people are downloading health apps and are willing to share health data, with 60 percent of people saying they were willing to share their health information with Google in 2016. All the available data is possibly helping accelerate clinic trials and has now helped medical knowledge double every 3.5 years.
Digital video and music consumption continues to rise. While traditional industries keep declining, Netflix, which now boasts 95 million subscribers, is behind 30 percent of all home entertainment revenue, while Spotify takes 20 percent of the music industry revenue. You can check out the full report below. 2017-06-01 14:30 0.7 (1.08/4). Many were convinced that Apple would launch new iPads in March 2017 - and it did. However, the new 9.7in iPad is really just a tweak of the iPad Air 2 and we're still waiting for the second-generation iPad Pro.
Things are slightly confusing because there are rumours of a new 10.5in iPad Pro, and no-one's quite sure whether this is the follow up to the 12.9in model or a third 'Pro' tablet. Digitimes recently reported that Apple was stepping up production of the new model though, so we expect it to emerge at WWDC in June. Whatever the case, all the new models are certain to be among the best new tablets coming this year. Here's a summary of what to expect from the iPad Pro 2: The original iPad Pro, reviewed, launched in September 2015 and the 9.7in arrived in March 2016.
We suspected an iPad Pro 2 reveal (and maybe a new iPad mini or an iPad Air 3) in September 2016, but it didn't happen. Now, the latest rumour via 9to5Mac, shows a photo of a stock system at an Apple retailer which includes cases for a 10.5in iPad. These are 'New Due June 2017' which could mean they will go on sale at the same time as the new iPad. The listing doesn't specify 'Pro' though, whereas the 9.7in and 12.9in case listings do include this word. Since the 12.9in cases were new in February, this says nothing about the launch of a second-gen 12.9in iPad Pro. Additionally, Apple has registered new iPad model numbers ahead of WWDC, hinting that a June arrival could be on the cards. According to Consomac, Apple has registered four model numbers that correspond with iOS devices with the Eurasian Economic Commission.
If the image above isn't a hoax, or simply a guess by Urban Armor Gear (the case manufacturer) then it could be mere weeks until the new 10.5in iPad is announced. But is this the iPad Pro 2?
Many people seem to confuse the two, but we see the iPad Pro 2 as the successor to the original 12.9in iPad Pro. And the rumours all say there will be three new iPads in 2017. Why the delay in their launch, though? Apple used an existing processor or the new 9.7in iPad, or at least one that didn't require significant changes in manufacturing. In order to produce a chip with significantly faster performance without high power consumption for the iPad Pro 2 (and, presumably the 10.5in iPad Pro), Apple is having to move to a 10nm process. This isn't easy, and it seems that it hasn't been possible to manufacture the vast quantities Apple needs to launch new iPads, meaning a delay until later in the year.
The current A9X chip - which is used by both iPad Pro models - is based on the 16nm FinFET process. This is the same used by the latest generation of graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD. Developers have discovered a new feature in Xcode, which is the software they use to produce iOSapps. It's a new frame counter which now goes up to 120 rather than 60 frames per second. The iPad Pro 12.9 and 9.7 have 60Hz screens, which means they can display at most 60 frames per second.
The thinking is that the increased frame counter means that the second-gen iPad Pro will have a 120Hz screen so it can deliver a smoother experience when using the Apple Pencil and also when playing games. This bolsters earlier rumours which claimed that the iPad Pro 2 ' will include faster display technology that allows for smoother zooming, panning and scrolling'. A patent for a new Smart Keyboard shows new features such as search and share buttons - via Patently Apple. A new concept video shows what the iPad Pro 2 might look like, including features from the iPhone 7 Plus such as the dual-camera.
Another rumour about the Pad Pro 2 says Apple is working on adding better support into iOS for the Apple Pencil, the optional stylus which works with only select apps on the iPad Pro models. Apple might add the enhanced support when it launches the new iPads in 2017 as an update to iOS 10. However, it may wait and introduce them in iOS 11. The improvements are unclear, but it could be possible to use the Pencil to annotate in many more stock apps including Mail, Messages, Safari and others.
The Pencil itself should also receive an update, according to rumours on (not always credible) Weibo, and the Apple Pencil 2 is expected to attach to the iPad's body using magnets and feature a pocket clip. Mac Observer points out that Apple does not currently hold a patent for a magnetic attachment to the iPad, however. When it launched, the original iPad Pro didn't come in a 256GB storage capacity but Apple added it to the line-up at the same time as the introduction of the iPad Pro 9.7. We expect the iPad Pro 2 to come in the same storage options which are currently available. The iPad Pro 2 is sure to come in Rose Gold which is now available in most of Apple's other products including the iPhone and MacBook. It's fairly easy to predict that Apple will at least match the 9.7in model when it upgrades the 12.9in version.
That means adding the True Tone display which automatically adjusts the white balance for a more realistic experience, the 12Mp iSight camera with Live Photos and 4K video recording and the 5Mp front FaceTime HD camera with a Retina Flash. Naturally, everyone will expect to see new features, and these could include a MacBook-style Touch Bar. We expect that Apple will keep prices the same as for the current iPad Pro 12.9: If you're after Wi-Fi + Cellular prices, the current prices are as follows: It would be nice, though, if the base model came with 64GB rather than 32GB. This is all speculation on our part, but as rumours emerge we'll add them here. We are perhaps a little too far away from the launch for anything juicy so check back soon.
There have been very few leaks. AppleInsider posted an image which supposedly shows a prototype of the iPad Pro 2. In the image, the Settings app is open and reveals the model number of the device - ' MH1C2CD/F '. This doesn't match any existing models of iPad and, although it follows Apple's numbering covention, it is fairly easy to spoof this information. It's also interesting to note that both iPads apparently have only 12GB of storage - this could be due to the prototype status, as Apple may not want to use 128GB of storage for a prototype. Either way, these iPads are definitely not existing iPad Pro units. However with that being said, it's not confirmation that these are photos of prototype second-generation iPad Pros, as the images could still have been doctored.
Unfortunately, there are no images of the sides or rear of the device so there's no hint at what hardware the iPad Pro 2 could feature, but we imagine leaks will become more common as time goes on and we'll be updating this article regularly. 2017-06-01 17:22 1.3 (1.05/4). Capcom: Infinite is the latest in the long-running line of 2D fighters featuring characters from Marvel’s comics and Capcom’s games Here’s everything you need to know about the game, including its release date, platform, gameplay, and all the confirmed characters so far. The game was first announced in December 2016 at Sony’s PlayStation Experience event, and will pit Marvel superheroes like Iron Man and Captain America up against some of Capcom’s finest from game series including Street Fighter and Mega Man. Capcom: Infinite is the first new title in the series since Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 came out in 2011.
Capcom has confirmed that the game will arrive in the UK and US on 19 September 2017 The game will be playable on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, so there are no surprises there. If you're in the UK then, well, you can't. Amazon has store listings for the title, but no pre-order option, and none of the other major game retailers have begun taking orders either. There's better news if you're in the US. You can pre-order the base game from Amazon or GameStop for around $60, or you can splash out for the giant $199.99 Collector's Edition. That includes a Deluxe Edition of the game, four exclusive character skins, a decorative case containing replicas of the six Infinity Stones, and diorama statues of Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Mega Man, and Chun-Li. Watch the first gameplay trailer for the game right here: In terms of the basics, it’s definitely a continuation of the series, with tag team battles between characters from the two companies’ rosters, allowing both single and multiplayer combat.
Unlike the last few games in the series, which featured teams of three, this time characters will pair up for 2v2 combat as part of a move to improve accessibility. There’ ll also be online multiplayer, with both ranked and casual matches, global leaderboards, and a spectator mode. Like most fighting games, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite will include single player Arcade, Training, and Mission modes, but will also follow more modern trends by including a Story Mode that “will put players at the center of both universes as they battle for supremacy against powerful forces and a new villain.” That villain is 'Ultron Sigma', a fusion of Marvel baddie Ultron and Mega Man X boss Sigma. He'll be threatening the world one way or another, and it'll be up to the shared universe's heroes to get in his way. As for the actual combat, there’s one major shift from previous games in the series: the Infinity Stones.
These will be familiar to anyone who’s been watching Marvel’s recent films, and in the comics lore are powerful gems that unleash special abilities and grant infinite power to anyone who can assemble all six in the Infinity Gauntlet. In the game, they’ ll take the form of power-ups that give “a unique advantage to the player” related to the six different Stones: power, space, time, reality, soul, and mind. The gameplay trailer above hints at how these power-ups might work, showing off ‘power’ (which boosts strength) and ‘time’ (which improves maneuverability). Capcom has confirmed that players will get to select an Infinity Stone before each fight, granting them one ability that can be used at any time, and a second, stronger power that’s still in development. Early trailers confirmed six characters in the game for sure: three from each roster. On the Marvel side, we can expect to play as big hitters Iron Man and Captain America along with Captain Marvel (who’s set to star in her own film in 2019). From Capcom, we’ ve seen Mega Man X, Ryu from Street Fighter, and Morrigan from the Darkstalkers games.
A later trailer confirmed more, including Ultron, Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, and Rocket Raccoon from Marvel, plus Chun-Li, Strider Hiryu, and Chris Redfield on the Capcom side. We've got a good idea about the full roster now though, thanks to a leak from a fairly reliable NeoGAF poster. They published what they claimed is almost the entire character list, bar one. There are 14 characters for the Marvel side and 13 from Capcom - hence the one we're left to discover. Capcom: Arthur Chris Chun-Li Dante Firebrand Jedah Monster Hunter Morrigan Nemesis Ryu Spencer Strider Hiryu Mega Man X Marvel: Ant-Man Captain America Captain Marvel Doctor Strange Gamora Hawkeye Hulk Iron Man Nova Rocket/Groot Spider-Man Thanos Thor Ultron 2017-06-01 17:27 1.3 (1.05/4). After some pretty revealing leaks last month, Lenovo has finally launched the Moto Z2 Play. The handset is a mid-range device that follows in the spirit of last year's Moto Z Play but also offers some very interesting changes.
First and foremost, the new Z2 Play retains a similar design to the original but removes some of the bulk, making it thinner and lighter. In addition to the thinner profile, the handset makes better use of the fingerprint reader by allowing it to detect gestures, making way for left and right swipes, taps, and long presses that can perform various actions. Perhaps the most interesting change of the Z2 Play is that because of its svelte design, it does not have as large of a battery as its predecessor. The original Z Play came with a 3510mAh battery, while the newer Z2 Play comes with a 3000mAh battery. While this is a substantial decrease, initial reviews are stating that the battery life is still good, albeit just not as good as last year's model. Those that love the idea of having access to modular accessories will enjoy the fact that the Z2 Play will accept Moto Mods, making way for a flurry of different accessories like a projector, battery pack and Hasselblad's True Zoom - just to name a few.
Full specifications of the Moto Z2 Play: The device is available today in Brazil for R$1,999, and it will roll out globally this month. For those in the United States, the Moto Z2 Play will be exclusive to Verizon starting in July, but will eventually make its way to the Motorola website as an unlocked variant sometime during the summer for $499 USD. Source: Motorola 2017-06-01 16:20 1.4 (1.05/4). DevOps teams today are constantly challenged with ways to manage a growing Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure. To tackle some of the shortcomings of CLI options and best practices, awless is releasing its own open-source CLI alternative to the AWS management console.
“DevOps often wonder about the best ways to manage quick-growing AWS infrastructures, ” according to Henri Binsztok, chief innovation officer at WALLIX Group, a privileged access management solution that maintains awless. “They question whether they should use the graphical user interface (GUI, a.k.a. The AWS console) or the command line interface (CLI, starting with AWS’s own aws-cli)? Or maybe a mix of both?” The other option that awless presents is the awless CLI: a fast and easy-to-use command line interface to manage AWS. Without leaving the terminal, developers can run frequent actions by using simple commands, and get readable output that humans and machines know how to parse, according to awless’ site. According to Binsztok, awless’ CLI is not just a front-end to aws-cli. It’s a new CLI implemented in Go using the official AWS Go SDK, licensed under the Apache License.
As of now, it supports IAM, EC2, S3, Route53, RDS, SQS, SNS, Cloudfront, Cloudwatch, CloudFormation, and Lambda. Awless expects more services to be added in the future. Since awless.io is open sourced, developers and teams can find it on GitHub. The awless team provides pre-built binaries and Homebrew packages for macOS (brew tap wallix/awless; brew install awless). Developers can build this themselves, as long as they have Go installed on their system. 2017-06-01 15:36 1.8 (1.03/4).
Coming out of beta, Plex's DVR feature is now rolling out to all Plex Pass subscribers. On top of this, the platform is also gaining Plex Live TV -- a way to stream OTA broadcasts from your TV tuner to the Plex app. To start with, Live TV is coming to the Android TV and iOS apps, but it will also make its way to Plex's other offerings meaning subscribers will be able to watch live TV from just about anywhere. On top of this major announcement, Plex has also unveiled -- in a blog post entitled '#$%@ it! We'll do it live!' -- a number of key improvements to its DVR feature.
The rollout of live TV support means that, as the company points out, there's no need to wait for a DVR recording to finish before you can watch your favorite show. But for those times when you are relying on the DVR functionality of Plex, it is now possible to browse the program guide, manage recordings, and more directly from the Android TV and iOS apps. The DVR scheduler has been improved so it deals with overlapping recordings more intelligently, and it's possible to watch and record at the same time. An expansion of tuner support means that more hardware can now be used with Plex, and the company points out that many USB tuners now work with NVIDIA SHIELD. Find out more -- and view the full list of supported tuners -- over on the Plex blog. 2017-06-01 14:44 1.5 (1.03/4). Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s massive new aircraft, the Stratolaunch, is complete and has rolled out of its hanger for first time.
The Stratolaunch has been six years in the making; Allen developed it to launch rockets inexpensively into low earth orbit for commercial, governmental, and philanthropic organizations to gather data and research. The company today announced that it moved the aircraft out of its hanger to conduct fueling tests.
It added that this step marks the completion of the initial aircraft construction phase, and the beginning of the ground and flight testing phase. To prepare for the rollout, Stratolaunch has spent the last several weeks removing the three-story scaffolding and surrounding construction infrastructure. That in and of itself was a massive undertaking, because the 500,000-pound aircraft is the world’s largest plane by wingspan. It measures 385 feet — longer than a football field. It’s also 50 feet tall and 238 feet long from nose to tail.
The plane is built around a pair of retired 747s, and employs their engines, avionics, landing gear, and flight deck to cut down on costs and speed up the development cycle. The company reiterated its plans to first use it to launch a single Orbital ATK Pegasus XL vehicle, with the capability to launch up to three Pegasus vehicles in a single sortie mission. It added that it’s begun preparations for delivering the launch vehicle to its Mojave facilities. “Over the coming weeks and months, we’ ll be actively conducting ground and flightline testing at the Mojave Air and Space Port, ” the company said in a statement.
The craft is capable of carrying up to 550,000 pounds of weight at takeoff. It requires an insane 12,000-foot runway, which is over two miles and considerably longer than a passenger jet’s requirements. That’s going to limit where and when the Stratolaunch can take off and land. Ultimately, the goal of the Stratolaunch is to dramatically increase the number and reduce the cost of launches for small to midrange payloads. It will compete with existing rocket companies for the same contracts, and is expected to begin commercial operation in 2019.
Watch video of the rollout below: 2017-06-01 14:01 1.6 (1.03/4). Media streaming app Plex has been around (and great) since before set-top streaming boxes were even properly a thing, but on Thursday it added Live TV integration and DVR capabilities, which make it even more useful. Nvidia is doing everything it can to make its Shield streaming Android TV box the best Plex partner around, too, and a new version of the Shield software adds support not only for Live TV and DVR, but also for writing to network attached storage and for both recording and watching recorded and Live TV right from the same place. The Shield was “born to run Plex, ” according to a quite from Plex cited by Nvidia in a release announcing the news, and it’s definitely true that the Android TV interface and Shield’s support for acting not only as a client, but also as Media Server for your stored content is a step above competing apps on devices like Apple TV and Roku. With the Live TV upgrade, if you have a USB tuner like the WinTV USB tuner form Hauppauge, you can now grab over-the-air TV signals and record up to two shows at once directly to your Shield, a NAS or any hardwired hard drives and USB sticks, with the only limits on storage being the constraints of your available storage space. Those stored shows can then be served up to your other devices with Plex client apps, including iOS and Android smartphones, and any PC with a web browser. There are other solutions out there for live TV on settop devices, too, but this sounds like one of the best and easiest to set up and use, and Shield is hoping to entice more new device owners to give it a shot with a free six month Plex Pass subscription included with new Shield TV device purchases.
Plex Pass, the paid subscription plan for Plex, is required to use the new DVR and over-the-air TV features. Plus, with Shield you also get Android TV in the mix, along with 4K output for available content. Both Plex and Shield are things I honestly like and use all the time, so it’s great to see them working together on something like this.
If you want an all-in-one settop box solution for a post-cable household, the Shield really is the best option out there right now and this only makes that more true. 2017-06-01 13:00 1.7 (1.02/4). After the 4K and HDR-capable BRIO webcam, MK850 Performance Wireless combo, and the rugged set of iPad accessories, Logitech has now launched a pair of mice aimed at both the performance- requiring and mobility-conscious consumer.
In a press release, the Swiss company revealed its latest peripherals, the MX Anywhere 2S, and the MX Master 2S. While the former is geared more towards mobility and is a tad smaller, the latter features a more comfortable design, due to its thumb rest.
Moreover, both mice have improved Darkfield High Precision tracking which 'boosts the mice cursor speed, accuracy and increases the resolution to 4,000 DPI'. Both products have rechargeable batteries, can track on any surface - including glass - and can last you 'up to 70 days on a full charge', of course depending on your usage patterns. There are however similarities between the two, the most notable of which is support for the newly launched Logitech Flow. Flow - which is available to download for free as part of the Logitech Options software - allows users to utilize a single MX series mouse to control up to three PCs. This allows you to essentially 'copy and paste content, images and documents between the three computers', all without the need for separate devices or other third-party software solutions.
Keep in mind that beyond the MX Anywhere 2S and MX Master 2S, Flow is also compatible with the M585 Multi-Device and the M590 Multi-Device Silent. The MX Anywhere 2S retails for $79.99, while its bigger sibling, the MX Master 2S can be had for $99.99. Both mice are expected to be available to buy on Logitech's site as well as at select retailers this month. 2017-06-01 21:16 0.6 (1.02/4). Elon Musk is making good on his promise to leave President Trump’s White House advisory councils, he said today on Twitter.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO promised Wednesday he would step down from his official advisory roles with the administration should Trump go through with his plan to leave the Paris Climate Accord. Trump announced the U. Would be removing itself form the agreement on Thursday.
Musk cited climate change and the downsides of leaving the Paris agreement both for the world and for the U. As his reasoning. The prolific tech entrepreneur said previously that he has attempted to convince the President to support of the Paris agreement, through his council involvement and through White House connections. Prior to this decision, Musk served on Trump’s economic advisory board, as well as his manufacturing jobs initiative council. He’s received criticism from supporters for his close relationship with the administration in the past, particularly in the face of Trump’s executive order on immigration from Muslim-majority countries, and subsequent doubling down on that position by the White House.
Musk held fast even following Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s departure from Trump’s economic advisory council, when Kalanick left following the issuance of the immigration order. Musk noted then that he believed “engaging on critical issues [would] on balance serve the greater good” as his reasoning for sticking with the council at the time. 2017-06-01 20:07 1.2 (1.02/4). The battle for the title of the most powerful PC processor in the world has just become even bloodier.
Intel has announced its first 18-core processor at Computex in Taipei, officially named i9-7980XE The 7980XE, which will cost from $1,999, represents the very top of Intel's high-end offerings, marking the eighth generation of its Core processor chips. This is a processor built for the most demanding of desktop users, with Intel saying that many different industries will find things to love about the new chip, particularly those carrying out CPU heavy tasks such as video editing or coding. Besides this model, Intel has also announced 10,12,14 and 16-core i9 processors, all in the 3.3Ghz range in standard and 4.5GHz range in Turbo Boost 3.0 operation modes. Slightly less demanding users will be able to find comfort in 4-core i5 processors, as well as 4-core, 6-core and 8-core i7 models from Intel’s new X series of processors.
All of these are expected to hit the shelves in the next half of this year. Published under license from ITProPortal.com, a Future plc Publication. All rights reserved. 2017-06-01 20:03 0.9 (1.02/4). Google Sheets is getting smarter today. After adding the machine learning-powered “ Explore ” feature last year, which lets you ask natural language questions about your data, it’s now expanding this feature to also automatically build charts for you. This means you can now simply ask Sheets to give you a “bar chart for fidget spinner sales” and it will automatically build one for you.
All of this is backed by the same natural language understanding tech that already powered the “Explore” feature. It’s worth noting that the previous version of “Explore” could already build graphs for you, but those focused on your complete data set. It didn’ t allow you to get graphs that answered specific questions. With this new version, Google also is making it easier to keep in sync data from Sheets that you use in Docs or Slides. You could already update charts you copy into Docs and Slides with just a click, but now you also can do the same with tables.
Other new features include an improved printing experience for when you really need to see your numbers on a piece of paper — and when that paper needs to have exactly the right margins and alignment; a new chart-editing experience; a number of new statistical functions like CHISQ. RT, which returns the inverse of the right-tailed probability of the chi-squared distribution (I have no idea what that means); and support for new keyboard shortcuts. 2017-06-01 17:00 1.5 (1.02/4). Practical Linux Security Cookbook, from Packt Publishing, will teach you how to secure your Linux machines and keep them secured with the help of exciting recipes. Whether you are new to Linux administration or an experienced user, this ebook will provide you with all the skills you need to make systems more secure. What You Will Learn: SEE ALSO: Get 'Lean Websites' ebook ($30 value) FREE for a limited time Practical Linux Security Cookbook usually retails for $22, but BetaNews readers can get it entirely free for a limited time.
All you have to do to get your copy for free is go here, enter the required details, and click the Download Now button. The offer expires on June 14, so act fast. 2017-06-01 16:19 0.3 (1.02/4). 'Life is busy and filled with too many options, ' Microsoft's Skype team said today.
'Staying connected, with all this noise, can sometimes be challenging.' Microsoft's solution to overcome this noise is to cram more features, more bots, more colors, more emoticons - arguably, more noise - into the app, as it launches 'the next generation' of Skype. The company insists that this major overhaul for its communications app will 'make experiencing life together, every day, simpler'. Microsoft said that Skype has been 'rebuilt from the ground up', with an improved interface in which 'chatting is front and center'. 'We’ ve made group chats more lively, expressive, and—most importantly—personalized, so you can chat the way you want, ' it said. Users will be able to personalize Skype with new color options, and 'by simply tapping on the reaction icon next to any message or video call, you can now easily express how you feel at any time.' But Microsoft seems to believe that boring old conversations simply aren't enough to hold the attentions of the modern user, and that belief has clearly been influenced by rival apps.
'With the new Skype, ' Microsoft said, 'it’s even easier to turn talk into action with group conversations, add-ins, and bots.' Elaborating further on the endless new capabilities and complexities that it's added to Skype, while claiming that it's made everything simpler, it added: More add-ins and bots 'will continue to be added, making your Skype experience even more rich and robust, ' apparently. And since everyone's most treasured moments in their lifetimes are those they spend engaging with brands, Microsoft added: 'With the ability to connect to your favorite businesses and brands from within the app, the simplest conversations can pave the way to lasting memories.' Microsoft is trying to turn Skype into a more social platform, by introducing its version of Snapchat Stories, which it calls 'Skype Highlights'.
Just like the Snapchat version, Skype's implementation offers users a way to easily capture and share pictures and videos for a limited time, posting them to a timeline on which friends and family can see them, and react with emoji. Even the most basic experience of calling 'just got a lot more fun', Microsoft said, with the ability to 'share photos, messages, emoticons and stickers in real-time.' This is the latest in a long line of overhauls and user experience changes to Skype over the years. Less than two months ago, Microsoft finally 'completed' its new UWP app for Windows 10, after nine months in preview - and now, the company has once again announced a fresh overhaul with a new design and another wave of added features.
Windows users won't get the new app immediately. The new version of Skype is launching first on Android, 'releasing gradually over the coming weeks', and will eventually be followed by its availability on iPhone. Microsoft said 'versions for Windows and Mac will be released over the next few months.' You can find out more about the new Skype on Microsoft's launch site, or by watching the video below: 2017-06-01 15:42 0.0 (1.02/4). New research shows that more than a third of all public web pages of FTSE 30 companies capturing personally identifiable information (PII) are in danger of violating the GDPR regulations by doing so insecurely. The FTSE 30 is made up of the 30 most influential companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. The study by RiskIQ looking at the sites of these organizations finds that more controls on outward facing web assets are needed.
The study found 13,194 pages on sites owned by these companies that collect PII, an average of 440 pages per organization. Of these, 34 percent of pages that collect PII are doing so insecurely, 29 percent are not using encryption, 3.5 percent are using very old, vulnerable encryption algorithms, and 1.5 percent have expired certificates. Insecure collection of PII is of course not just a GDPR compliance violation. The loss of personal data, profit, and reputation resulting from the use of insecure forms is a legitimate concern for consumers, as well as shareholders.
In addition to personal claim liability, GDPR's Article 83 provides guidance on fines for faults. These start at the greater of €10m or two percent of global annual turnover for the preceding financial year. This applies to all companies actively engaging with European citizens, regardless of whether they have a physical presence in Europe. 'Thorough knowledge of an organization's web presence is crucial to steering clear of potential GDPR repercussions, ' says Colin Verrall, vice president of RiskIQ EMEA.
'Our customers are using RiskIQ Digital Footprint to capture their full digital footprint and actively identify potential areas of non-compliance, including insecure data collection pages and forms.' You can find out more about insecure forms and the risks they pose on the RiskIQ blog. Image credit: agencyby / depositphotos.com 2017-06-01 14:33 1.6 (1.02/4). Data analytics has helped transform how companies do business in the 21st century. 48 percent of companies had invested in Big Data analytics in 2016. The rationale for doing so is clear. When you save and analyze so much of your own data, you can comb that data to find actionable intelligence to improve your company’s decision making.
In certain cases, that data analysis can help you to forecast the future. However, recording and storing large volumes of data is only the first step to this process. If you don’ t have the proper analytical software to analyze that data, you are only wasting resources. With so many choices, it may not be quite clear to many business owners what kind of analytical software they should invest in. Here are some tips that can help make that choice clearer. While generic Big Data analytical platforms are available for businesses to use, you may have a more specific focus or niche you wish to address. For example, if you want to analyze your data for the purposes of improving your marketing campaigns, what you want to go for is marketing analytics software.
If that is the case, great choices include programs like Campaign Monitor, Pardot, and Marketo. Alternatively, you may be interested in a customer relationship management system.
CRM software is a very powerful analytics tool that can do many things including help you focus specifically on customer interactions throughout the lifecycle that consumers have with your company. A CRM software suite is an excellent choice if you want to have a more comprehensive focus on customer interactions specifically.
These days, CRM software is also becoming increasingly mobile. 65 percent of companies now use mobile CRM. There isn’ t only one kind of data analytics. You need to determine the kind of analysis you want to perform on the data in question. That should help determine the kind of analytical platforms you invest in. In general, there are four different kinds of data analytics you should be aware of.
This includes prescriptive, predictive, diagnostic and descriptive. Determine the Features You Need Not every data analytical software suite is equal in terms of features either. First, determine what features you want. Second, do a comparison between different software products to find the program that best meets your needs. Different features could include things like data mining tools, visual dashboards, reporting tools and online analytical processing. Make sure you know what you need.
If you want your analysis to be tied strongly to location, it may be useful to choose a program with geographic mapping tools to help display the data. Today, it’s not a stretch to say data is king in the business world more than ever before. It has been estimated that 44 trillion gigabytes of data will exist by 2020.
Thanks to the powerful analytical software now available, companies are able to transform a resource, data, into a strong competitive advantage that often went unutilized before. Investigate different analytical software packages you could use within your company. 2017-06-01 14:01 1.7 (1.02/4). OnePlus has released a new preview build of OxygenOS, the customized version of Android that runs on its handsets.
The new Open Beta is now available for the OnePlus 3 and 3T, and brings a wide range of new features and enhancements. Among the changes is a new version of OnePlus' Ambient Display feature, which is designed 'to help stop accidental wakes while pulling the phone out of your pocket'. OnePlus says that 'activation of the screen now requires a 'double tap' action.'
A new Lift Up Display feature has also been added, which 'turns on the screen to peek at notifications when the device is lifted.' Along with improvements to the user interface in various pre-installed apps, the company has also introduced an 'all new OnePlus Font', which is available in English, Chinese and Japanese. Here's the full list of improvements and changes in OxygenOS Open Beta 17/8: Details on how to download and install the new beta can be found here on the OnePlus site. Bear in mind that if you join the Open Beta program, you'll receive beta updates over-the-air, but if you want to switch to stable official releases later, you'll have to wipe your phone first. Source: OnePlus via The Android Soul 2017-06-01 13:46 0.5 (1.02/4). The rigorous new Chinese cybersecurity laws which we wrote about last November took effect today.
They’ re designed to give China’s central government more direct control over the operations of internet-based companies operating in the country. As we wrote last November: The official word from Beijing’s state news agency, Xinhua, is that the law is an attempt to battle increasing threats from cyber-terrorism and hacking. But it will also have a chilling effect on foreign businesses looking to grab a foothold in the world’s most populous country. Foreign companies have argued for more clarity and more time to implement the controls that the government want put in place, but so far China’s internet regulator, The Cyberspace Administration of China, has only relented on pushing back the date for laws relating to the cross-border flow of information.
According to a report in The New York Times, those rules won’ t be implemented until 2018. China does have legitimate security concerns. Thanks to lax intellectual property laws and rampant software piracy, the country was especially vulnerable to the WannaCry attacks from earlier in the month. The South China Morning Post reported that over 30,000 institutions, including some major universities, had systems that were infected with the malware.
But critics of the legislation say that it does far more than secure the internet, it wraps China’s already firmly held Internet even more tightly in the government’s embrace. As we wrote back in November: 2017-06-01 13:19 1.8 (1.02/4). A new study analyzing the way users interact with their 'smart speakers' shows that the most used feature of devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home isn't to stream music or even to get the latest weather. The most commonly used feature of smart speakers is asking 'general questions, ' proving that getting answers to life's daily queries and curiosities from a cloud-based computer voice is becoming an increasingly standard practice in today's society. To be specific, among people in the US who owned a smart speaker in the first quarter of 2017,60 percent of them said they use the device to ask general questions.
57 percent said they use it to get weather updates, and 54 percent use it for streaming music. That may come as a surprise to some of the less-forward-thinking analyses when Amazon first introduced the smart speaker market back in 2014, who criticized the Echo as nothing more than an overpriced music player and questioned, on an existential level, the desire of people to have a voice-activated smart home assistant.
The middle of the chart is less interesting, with things like timers and reminders being expectedly somewhat-used features. What's more interesting are the impressive numbers of users who are getting the most out of their smart speakers, and actively engaging with the newest features. A significant 27 percent of users are controlling home automation devices with their voice, which is a decent milestone considering the Amazon Echo, which defined this market, did not even have this kind of capability when it was released. That, along with most of the other emerging features, have been added with firmware updates, and have become standard with new smart speaker models. And although Amazon would surely like more than 11 percent of users to be ordering stuff on Amazon.com through their Amazon speakers, this is again a function that some scoffed at when it was first suggested. And the fact that getting pizzas and other food delivered from Alexa is a common enough practice to be included in these data points, is a testament to how far the home assistant concept has come.
Admittedly, the population of people who have an Echo, Echo Dot, Google Home, LG SmartThinQ Hub, or similar device, is going to be comprised largely of bleeding-edge early adopters, but that audience is beginning to expand into the mainstream (hence being parodied recently on SNL). The statistics above are based on a comScore survey of US households with a smart speaker in Q1 2017. 2017-06-01 11:37 0.8 (1.02/4).
Underground marketplace owner Ross Ulbricht has lost a court appeal to have a new trial and now will likely spend the rest of his days behind bars. Ulbricht, also known under the moniker Dread Pirate Roberts, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in after being convicted of seven counts including drug trafficking, narcotics conspiracy, money laundering, and engaging in a criminal enterprise as the owner of the Silk Road marketplace. The creator of Silk Road operated the website from 2011 to 2013 and was used by those seeking the sale or purchase of everything from stolen data to drugs, weapons, and hacking tools.
Accessible through the Dark Web, the US government estimates that between these dates, underground trades conducted through Silk Road generated roughly $183 million in Bitcoin, of which the owner received a commission on sales. In a 2009 email, Ulbricht said Silk Road originally grew from the idea of creating an 'an online storefront that couldn't be traced back to [him]. Where [his] customers could buy [his] products' and pay for them 'anonymously and securely.' In October 2013, US law enforcement set up a sting operation using an operative from the inside and arrested Ulbricht in a public library. The 33-year-old's laptop was seized alongside USB drives containing copies of Silk Road documents, his private PGP key was discovered, and the police also seized roughly $18 million in Bitcoin from a wallet on Ulbricht's laptop.
These funds were traced back to Silk Road servers located in Iceland. Ulbricht was charged and sentenced in 2015 and filed his appeal in the same year, requesting for a new trial which would potentially result in a life sentence being set aside. According to court documents, Ulbricht asked for a new trial on the basis that the district court made a mistake by rejecting his defenses' motion to suppress evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the court also made a series of errors which meant he did not receive a fair trial, and a sentence of life for his crimes is 'substantively unreasonable.' In addition, Ulbricht claimed that the investigation was corrupt from the start, referring to former Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges and former Drug Enforcement Administration agent Carl Force, both of whom were involved and stole seized bitcoin. The agents were sentenced to 71 months and 78 months in prison respectively, but according to Circuit Judge Gerard Lynch, their conduct did not impact the conclusion of the case. 'Without question, the shocking personal corruption of these two government agents disgraced the agencies for which they worked and embarrassed the many honorable men and women working in those agencies to investigate serious criminal wrongdoing, ' Lynch said. 'At the same time, the venality of individual agents does not necessarily affect the reliability of the government's evidence in a particular case or become relevant to the adjudication of every case in which the agents participated.'
The Second US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, New York, has decided to uphold the original sentence, potentially as a warning to others that are considering setting up the same kind of criminal enterprise. Dread Pirate Roberts may not have been your traditional, stereotypical drug cartel overlord, but the severity of the sentence and utter refusal to consider lessening the jail term highlights how seriously prosecutors took Silk Road. As the potential future of underground dealings and more difficult to track due to the Tor network and virtual currency, shutting down the popular trading post was a priority -- as was making sure potential future operators understand the consequences of being caught, 2017-06-01 10:24 1.2 (1.02/4).
The Raven Z sets a new bar for mini-PCs by squeezing a discrete GPU into its very tiny box. After years of just being compact and cute, maybe these small-box wonders will be able to play with the big rigs. Shown at Computex in Taipei, the Raven Z is based on Asrock's MicroSTX form factor. There's just one catch: It's a prototpye, and the MXM board that holds the GTX 1070 GPU inside the Raven Z is no off-the-shelf retail part. It's actually not available anywhere yet.
We hope AMD and Nvidia are listening, because we'd love to try a real one of these someday. 2017-06-01 10:00 1.3 (1.00/4). As ZDNet's Charles McLellan points out in his introduction to this special report, the tech world today is dominated by mobile, social networks, cloud, analytics and the Internet of Things.
Companies are rushing to introduce new products using these technologies into the market, sometimes to the detriment of security considerations. This ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature looks at how business are keeping up with the developing risks. ZDNet and TechRepublic members can download all the articles in this package in one PDF (free registration required).
This collection of articles includes valuable advice for business leaders about how to keep their company's data secure. TechRepublic's Conner Forrest offers 10 best practices for securing IoT and Alison DeNisco warns readers about five common pitfalls of mobile and IoT management, and how to avoid them. Writer Mary Shacklett has advice for CIOs about how to utilize AI and machine learning to increase IoT security. ZDNet's sister site, Tech Pro Research, surveyed IT professionals about the state of cybersecurity in the workplace, and despite the threats presented by mobile and IoT, most gave positive responses.
The majority of respondents said their company's cybersecurity readiness was average or above, and most said it had improved in the past year. Also in this special feature, Dan Patterson took a deep dive into cyberweapons, from a hacked emergency siren in Dallas, to the WannaCry ransomware attack, to how a US cyberattack may have sabotaged a missile launch in North Korea. To read all these articles, download the ebook here: Cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world. 2017-06-01 18:55 1.0 (1.00/4). Now more than ever, our security is being threatened by malware. Ransomware and botnets are big business these days, and targeted attacks have become commonplace. Even the most careful among us can fall victim to the increasingly advanced techniques that governments and criminal organizations use to extort and harass high-ranking officials, competing companies, and the general public.
In response, anti-malware apps are broadening in scope. No solution will ever be able to thwart every possible threat, but we’ ve come a long way from the simplicity of just maintaining a virus signature database.
Heuristics have improved immensely, the most vulnerable avenues of attack are being reinforced, and fast-paced updates minimize damage — there’s a lot going on. Now, all you need to do is pick which app is right for your needs. And to help you decide, we’ ve assembled six of the best anti-malware solutions on the market. Our friends over at PCMag have tested each of these products for you in-depth. If you have as many devices as we do, you definitely exceed the number of seats available from a typical anti-malware service. Thankfully, McAfee allows for an unlimited number of Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices to be covered on a single license. And with Real Protect (the latest anti-virus engine from McAfee) in action, all of your apps are monitored closely.
If something sketchy is detected, it reverts any changes — offering protection from zero-day exploits. • Read the full PCMag review • Buy now for as low as $54.99 Bloat and resource hogging are common complaints against anti-malware apps, and that’s been a fair criticism for many years. To combat that stereotype, Webroot has delivered an app that’s tiny, fast, and extremely capable of detecting and removing malware. Scans take just a few minutes, the app is lightweight, and handily obliterates malware in PCMag’s tests. • Read the full PCMag review • Buy now for as low as $29.99 Ransomware has become a particularly worrisome issue – most recently because of the NSA-derived Wannacry attack.
Not only does Bitdefender Antivirus Plus provide broad protection against typical malware like trojans and spyware, but it also delivers an extra layer of protection from attempts to hijack specific folders. Lock your documents folder down with Bitdefender, and ransomware won’ t be able to target it. • Read the full PCMag review • Buy now for as low as $39.99 If you’ re looking for a thorough scrubbing of your system, this is a great option. A first-time full scan can end up taking over an hour to complete with Norton, but it leaves no stone unturned. In fact, it ended up scanning hundreds of thousands of files when PCMag was putting it through its paces. And if you’ re ever worried that a normal scan missed something, the included Power Eraser tool can hunt down pesky malware hiding in the weeds, and annihilate it.
• Read the full PCMag review • Buy now for as low as $19.99 When it comes to standard malware removal and detection, Kaspersky consistently scores well from independent labs. Even better, it earns top marks in PCMag’s anti-phishing tests. When devious schemes like the recent Gmail attacks hit, Kaspersky can offer solid protection against these damaging campaigns. It’s never going to be able to catch everything though, so you’ ll still need to remain vigilant when clicking email links.
• Read the full PCMag review • Buy now for as low as $59.99 While results vary from independent labs, Trend Micro Antivirus Plus Security actually fared pretty well with PCMag’s tests — particularly in the anti-phishing department. And since it includes a browser plugin that scans links, and visually warns you about potential threats before you click, it’s a solid way to stay out of trouble. Add in ransomware protection, a spam filter, and a “firewall booster” to thwart botnets, and there’s a lot to like with Trend Micro. • Read the full PCMag review • Buy now for as low as $39.95 Now read: Best Tools for Spyware Removal and Protection 2017-06-01 17:40 1.3 (0.04/4).
Earlier this week, Microsoft released the first preview build of the next feature update for the Xbox One family of consoles to the Alpha ring of the Insider Program. Today, build will be rolling out to the Preview Beta ring, as the company promised on Tuesday.
The feature update will be version 1706, which indicates that it will be finalized this month. Microsoft also seems to be sticking to a schedule of monthly updates, as it's released one every month since the Creators Update (1703) was released in March.
Here's what's new in build: This is what got fixed: And finally, there are a couple of known issues; luckily, there's a workaround: Microsoft noted that not all features that are planned for 1706 are included in the preview build. Presumably, the company will be adding some of the features that didn't make it into 1705.
If you're on the Preview Beta ring, you'll see today's update at 6: 00pm PT, or 9: 00pm if you're on the east coast. If you're still on Preview Rings 3 or 4, you'll probably see this update within a week or two, but until then, you can enjoy Custom Gamerpics, which were released to those rings yesterday. 2017-06-01 19:30 1.1 (0.04/4). Techniques such as pair programming and peer code reviews, among others, can improve the quality of software, but defects will always slip through the cracks. The aim of QA is to help your development team move faster while delivering accurate, actionable test results, and ultimately ship a higher quality product more quickly. This is a guide to what should be important in a QA process and what shouldn’ t.
Make your tests as composable as possible by working out commonalities in your suite. Most of the time, the common parts will be built upon to allow you to get in to the right state for your application.
Avoid copy-pasting test steps; aim for a modular system. This applies for both automated and manual test suites. If using automation, make sure to have a common library of states you can reuse to get in to the correct state.
If using manual testing, you will need to find a test-case management system that supports composable tests. If starting from scratch with a new process, start with small manageable chunks.
Build your test suite in the following order for greatest effect: Good processes don’ t test everything, they take a balanced approach. This is often counterintuitive. It is very common to want to test every test as well as every combination of browsers. Sometimes even every variant of a page.
This isn’ t practical for long or necessary once you have a large application. If you do not have a fixed list of devices you support, you may use common tooling such as Google Analytics to aid you. From this, you should end up with a list of the most used devices or browsers by your customers. Focus on the top 95% of these, or 99% if you have a higher budget. Having an official policy on which browsers you support can also help you here. Make sure you revisit this at least once per quarter, as the needed coverage may change.
Tip: Weigh the priority of your bugs by browser popularity. Bugs for more popular devices should be fixed first. Which areas of your product should you test?
The two major ways of focusing on this are by looking at usage data or bugs. Using tooling such as Amplitude, Mixpanel or similar, work out which areas of your product are most active. These are often managed by a product team, who tracks feature usage. By looking at the most common paths, you may focus your testing efforts there first. If your tooling supports it, look at common flows through your application. Tip: It’s uncommon, but good practice, to run these tools in QA as well.
You can use this to check that things are actually covering what’s expected. Developers often use error reporting software. This is a great source to use to focus testing efforts inside QA.
Tracking defects by area of the product, developer, team and source of spec is a good start. This will often lead to patterns emerging. Any patterns found can guide process improvements and retrospectives with developers. If you don’ t measure results, you won’ t be able to show improvement. Measure the fruits of your work and the current state of things. QAs’ main aim is to help the organization ship a higher-quality product.
Primary measurements for QA: Firstly, the number of bugs reported by or that affect customers. This is the most direct and easiest to manage.
Log any reported issue by date, and if you can by product area, developer and team. Every week you should summarize this and look for patterns and report back to the team at the root. You should be tracking the time-to-fix – how long does it take from something breaking to become fixed. Measuring this answers how a development team is able to use the output from QA to triage and fix a bugs. The simplest way to measure this is the time between a failed build and the next passing build.
Be-careful to remove flakey-tests from this metric. If you wish to go further, split the tracking out by source of the issue.
Examples are: external (i.e. Customer), internal (i.e. Missed by QA), automatic (e.g. Error reporting), or test-case failures. Secondary measurements for QA: The number of tests added to your suite, versus the number of regressions that failed in your suite.
Especially when using automation, you should track tests that pass and fail intermittently. This is an indicator of one or more of poor test quality, poor choice of system or poor execution. Execution problems can be the result of human QA tester or test environment failures. Minoring when this happens will expose patterns, allowing you to fix the root cause. Avoid being only reactive here. NPS is a great end-measurement for your entire product, but it’s a trailing indicator.
Also, it conflated many things, such as product improvements and CSM effectiveness. Still – improvements here can be used as indicators of product quality. Test coverage, whilst prevalent, is dangerous if misused or misunderstood. It is not a measure of the quality of the tests or the thoroughness of those tests. It should only be used to work out those areas that are completely un-tested. Note: There are no good leading indicators for production quality – only trailing indicators.
Traditionally QA gets involved later in the software development life-cycle. The earlier you can move it, the easier most issues are to fix.
Slower feedback cycles create distance from the problem. Developers become forgetful and shift to other tasks, losing context, plus code can change from under them. Testing earlier surfaces errors quicker, tightening the feedback loop between QA and development. Shortening the entire development cycle brings other benefits too. A major one is reducing the risk of shipping the wrong thing, as you get feedback from users quicker. Some reasons to avoid shorter release cycles include: Some common ways of moving QA earlier in the release cycle are: Pull request based development combined with automatic environment creation.
Every pull request automatically has it’s own environment setup. This can be home-rolled, or provided by an external service. This allows human powered QA, or automated integration tests, access to changes earlier in the SDLC. Setting this up can be a pain, as following good dev/ops practices are a prerequisite. Example SaaS services for this: Generally, non developer-based human-powered QA isn’ t practical before pushing to a pull-request. This is due to speed and cost of the resources needed; developers are fast and expensive, and manual QA can be slow. Automation helps solve this.
If used correctly as it may be executed on a developer’s machine. This allows developers to get feedback as early as possible in the SDLC, whilst coding. They still have context around the errors as they occur, which makes fixing them faster.
While this isn’ t usually done by QA, unit testing is a great way to improve your products quality. Although this takes effort, as soon as you have more than one developer or a non-trivial product, it will start paying dividends. Unit testing enables fast feedback, along super-specific error reporting. Having good tests enables your developers to be more brutal with code changes yet still be confident in the results. To get greatest leverage from your unit tests, run them in the following order: Great QA processes are always tracked in a version control system, such as Git, Mercurial, or Subversion. While version control use is de facto standard within dev teams, and more recently operations, it’s much less common within QA teams.
This shouldn’ t be the case. Version control brings advantages to manual or automated tests. Keep you tests close to or in your developer workflow, along with the products code. This forces shipping the code and tests together, which results in: Good QA process is always part of a wider CI process. This is not primarily for speed, but for consistency.
If things aren’ t automated, they’ ll be missed. Each release, whatever method you use – manual or automated – should be automatically run and reported on. For human based systems, this can prove to be slow – unless it can scale to your needs. Internal teams cannot do this, so your org must accept this speed or find alternatives. Modern QA processes must integrate with your development tooling.
They must support: These three allow easy as well as deep integration into your process. 2017-06-01 16:59 1.2 (0.01/4). Workday delivered better-than-expected first-quarter financial results Thursday after the bell. The software-as-a-service provider reported a net loss of $64 million, or 31 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $80.6 million, or 41 cents per share, a year earlier. Non-GAAP earnings were 29 cents per share on revenue of $479.9 million, up 39 percent annually.
Subscription revenue was $399.7 million, an increase of 42.7 percent from the same period last year. Wall Street was expecting Q1 earnings of 16 cents per share on revenue of $467.33 million.
'Workday delivered a strong first quarter and achieved our highest net new ACV growth in nearly three years, ' said Workday CEO Aneel Bhusri. 'As we look to the rest of fiscal 2018 and beyond, we believe our relentless focus on innovation and customer satisfaction will continue to be the differentiators that drive further momentum for our growing family of applications.' Details were not yet available on the company's outlook for the current quarter or fiscal year. However, Workday says it expects subscription revenue of $1.705 to $1.720 billion for fiscal 2018 and Q2 subscription revenue between $420 and $423 million. 2017-06-01 20:52 0.0 (0.01/4).
By Lewis Painter 34 mins ago See full specs £649, Price TBC Price comparision from, and manufacturers MWC 2017 saw the introduction of many 2017 flagship smartphones from manufacturers including Sony. While you might still be pining after the Xperia Z6, you might want to let that go and get to know the new Xperia XZ Premium. Here’s our Sony Xperia XZ Premium review. See also: Best phone 2017. With less than a year between the launch of the standard Xperia XZ and XZ Premium, there is some debate as to whether it’s a second-generation smartphone or whether it’s just a slightly higher specced version, like the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Whether you want to call it the second-generation model or not is up to you, but the XZ Premium is the firm’s new flagship smartphone for 2017.
The Sony Xperia XZ Premium is available to pre-order from Carphone Warehouse at £649 SIM-free, or on contracts starting at £39 per month, and should be available in the UK by 2 June 2017. This puts the Xperia XZ Premium in line with other 2017 flagship smartphones including the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the LG G6. Read next: iPhone 7 Plus vs Sony Xperia XZ Premium Like the Xperia Z5 range, the XZ Premium is a bigger version of the XZ with improved specs, which we come to in more detail below. Like other Sony smartphones, the XZ Premium boasts a similar ‘Loop Surface’ design which aims to mimic a seamless tube of glass. It’s not quite as seamless as Sony would have you believe – there’s still a small seam between the display and the body, and between the sides and top of the device – but it’s not big enough to be noticeable most of the time. The main thing is the very rounded sides that feel comfortable in the palm of our hand, an important factor when discussing a 5.5in smartphone.
We’ re also big fans of the beveled metal top and bottom, which further adds to the premium look of the smartphone. As if it makes any difference, the phone is a tiny 0.2mm thinner at 7.9mm but is a fair amount heavier at 195g when compared to the standard XZ - this is mainly due to a larger screen and bigger battery, which might be a trade-off you’ re fine with. The XZ Premium is also IP68 rated like many previous Sony phones, a necessary step to compete with rival water resistant smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7. Speaking of the iPhone 7, we can confirm that the XZ Premium does include a 3.5mm headphone jack. Sony has decided, quite literally to mirror, the style of the Z5 Premium. Both colour options, Deepsea Black and Luminous Chrome, are highly reflective and can get grubby quite quickly.
We think the mirror finish looks absolutely stunning and it helps the smartphone stand out from a sea of metallic smartphones, but only when it’s completely smudge free (and unless you carry a microfiber cloth with you, that won’ t be often!). For those that aren’ t a fan of Deepsea Black or Luminous Chrome, Sony has also announced a pink version of the premium smartphone. Beside the dedicated Camera button on the side of the XZ Premium is the power button. It’s slightly dented in compared to the rest of the edge of the smartphone, making it easy to locate by touch, and hides a secret: a fingerprint scanner. That’s right, you’ ll unlock your smartphone at the same time as you turn on the display. It’s quick and accurate, although the setup of the fingerprint scanner was a little bit fiddley for our liking.
So, now we know that the Sony Xperia XZ Premium is a gorgeous high-end smartphone, what does it offer under the hood? Let’s start with the display. One of the main features the XZ Premium borrows from the Z5 Premium is the large 5.5in screen with a 4K resolution.
That means the device is bigger than the standard XZ, but is a worthy trade in our opinion. The 4K display is gorgeous: it’s bright, vibrant (thanks to Sony’s triluminos technology) and has an eye-melting pixel density of 807ppi, providing incredible detail unmatched by most other high-end smartphones – and that’s not all either. The Sony Xperia XZ Premium supports 4K HDR like many modern TVs and lends technology from Sony’s own Bravia range.
Sony says HDR provides better colour, contrast and detail, something that we can vouch for after spending time with the smartphone. However, there’s a catch: you can only take advantage of HDR with selected titles on Amazon Prime Video like The Grand Tour and The Man in the High Castle. If anything, we found the Xperia XZ Premium’s display to be a little too over the top at times due to the intense colours displayed, although that’s more of a personal issue and Sony does provide different display options for those that prefer something a little more subtle.
Despite rumours of Qualcomm’s latest chip being reserved for the Samsung Galaxy S8, Sony has put it inside the Xperia XZ Premium alongside 4GB of RAM and an Adreno 540 GPU. The Snapdragon 835 uses a 10nm process and offers better performance and battery life when compared to the previous generation – and it provides a noticeable difference. The XZ Premium is extremely responsive in use; there’s no lag when opening and switching between apps, playing power-hungry games and accessing the camera. In fact, even when we tried our best to make the smartphone lag, it wasn’ t possible.
There’s also noticeable improvements to battery life, as the XZ Premium lasted all day with standard use during our testing, including tasks like talking on the phone, texting, browsing social media, playing games and taking photos. The built-in battery estimates suggest the non-removable 3230mAh battery should last around 2-3 days on a single charge, and while that wasn’ t the case, it can quite easily break the 24-hour barrier. Our only complaint is that there’s no quick charging technology, so it can take a while to charge – especially from empty. It’s good to see 64GB of storage as standard on the XZ Premium, and Sony continues to offer a Micro-SD card slot so you can add up to 256GB of additional storage.
Plenty of specs from its predecessor remain including the fingerprint scanner built into the home button on the side of the smartphone, USB-C (now v3.1), NFC and Bluetooth 4.2. According to our Geekbench 4 benchmark results, performance is very much the same as that of the Galaxy S8, which isn't entirely surprising as they both use the same chipset. In fact, the Xperia scored a little higher in both the multi-core component (6475 vs 6106) and in the single-core test (1923 vs 1915), although the difference in performance is so small that it wouldn’ t be noticeable for most. Generally speaking, the Xperia XZ is one of the most powerful smartphones on the market at the moment – at least according to benchmarks. Along with Geekbench 4, we also ran a series of GFXBench tests to test the graphical power of the smartphone.
Rather impressively, it seems the Xperia XZ Premium is also marginally better in this department than the Galaxy S8. It scored higher not only in Car Chase (25fps vs 21fps) but Manhattan 3.1 too (42fps vs 40fps), and matched the 60fps of T-Rex.
Last but not least, we ran JetStream, a benchmark that tests the speed of the smartphone’s built-in browser. In the case of the Sony Xperia XZ, that’s Google Chrome.
It’s the camera that Sony is really pushing here, aside from the gorgeous 4K HDR screen. The resolution has dropped to 19Mp, but the firm has some interesting innovations here in what it calls the ‘Motion Eye’ camera that generally produces incredibly detailed images and videos, although it does have its strengths and weaknesses. You might be surprised that even though the resolution has dropped, pixels are 19 percent larger compared to the standard XZ.
This means that low-light photography on the XZ Premium is improved compared to the standard model, although we found that images taken in dark environments (like at sunset) looked noisy in places. The overall image quality isn’ t bad, but it struggles to capture the finer details in low light.
Where the Xperia XZ Premium’s camera does perform is with regards to its dynamic range. As you can see from the below photo, the XZ Premium can easily pick up details in the shadows of the bag, as well as the areas lit by bright sunlight, without being over- or under-exposed. It’s a similar story with macro photography – the XZ Premium can produce great macro shots with perfect focus thanks to predictive phase detection and laser autofocus. Take a look at the below image of a daisy chain; the flowers are sharp and detailed, and you can even make out the pink specs on some of the petals. The hardware-enabled bokeh effect provides clean lines that help define fore- and background. Another handy feature of the XZ Premium is predictive capture. Essentially, the smartphone can detect motion and takes up to four photos before you’ ve even hit the shutter button – perfect for group shots and photos taken of fast-moving objects.
It doesn’ t always get triggered, but we’ ve found it to be extremely helpful when it does. Simply tap and hold the display to swipe between the different shots, choose your favourite and discard the rest to save precious storage. Oh, and the XZ Premium also features a dedicated camera button that performs in a similar way to that of a digital camera. This means that you can half-press the button to focus before taking the photo, providing a more natural and comfortable photo-taking experience than most other 2017 flagships. Of course, the flagship feature of the XZ Premium’s camera is its’ slow-mo capabilities. The XZ Premium is the world’s first phone to offer super slow motion video at a whopping 960fps.
Although the effect is pretty spectacular, it’s not like with the iPhone 7 where you record the whole video at a high frame rate and select the period of slow-mo afterwards. That is an option, but the slo-mo video will be capped at 120fps, half of what is possible on the iPhone 7. In fact, the XZ Premium can only record at 960fps for around a second and has to be triggered by an on-screen, so timing it right is extremely difficult and we failed to get it ‘right’ on more than one occasion. As you can see from the below video sample, there’s a noticeable change in the quality of the video when shooting in slow-mo, as videos are noisy even when shot in perfect lighting conditions. It’s technically impressive and we’ re sure that some people will get full use out of it, but we think it’s a bit of a gimmick. Aside from the ability to shoot in slow-mo, the Xperia XZ Premium offers the ability to shoot in 1080p at either 30- or 60fps. While that’s a rather standard offering from a high-end smartphone in 2017, it’s interesting to note that even though the Xperia XZ Premium is one of a small number of phones to offer a 4K HDR display, there’s no way to record video at 4K.
We’ re a tad confused about this omission to say the least. The front camera remains at 13Mp with an f/2 aperture and 22mm wide-angle lens for great selfie shots and video calls. Images taken are crisp, clear and surprisingly detailed for a front-facing camera. There’s not much in the way of distortion around the edges of the camera either, a concern when opting for a wide-angle lens. Like many other Android smartphones, it also has a built-in beauty filter that helps improve the look of your face by removing blemishes, wrinkles and other imperfections.
The Sony Xperia XZ Premium ships with Android 7.1.1 Nougat, although it’s not a vanilla implementation – it features Sony’s own UI, something featured on a fraction of Android smartphones compared to those that launched a few years ago. However, unlike many of the other Android UIs, we’ re a fan of the tweaks and features that Sony has brought to the OS. First up is Lifelog – it’s an app that can measure almost everything about your day-to-day life, from how long you spend walking and travelling to how long you spend using WhatsApp or Snapchat every day.
It may have limited use for some, but it’s an easy way to get an overview of your habits and could help you cut down on unhelpful hobbies (like gaming) and concentrate more on exercising. There’s also the addition of PS4 Remote Play, an app exclusive to Sony smartphones. With the PS4 Remote Play app, users can game on their PS4s from anywhere with a decent internet connection. You can connect a DualShock 4 controller to the smartphone using Bluetooth, or you can use the optional on-screen controls (although it’s not recommended for hardcore gaming sessions!).
There are a range of other, smaller changes to Android that die-hard users will pick up on, while some are immediately noticeable. The app launcher scrolls horizontally instead of vertically, which admittedly did take some getting used to. The Sony Xperia XZ Premium is a stunning smartphone, both in terms of design and performance. The mirror-like look isn’ t for everyone due to the appearance of smudges, but it helps provide an elegant, high-end look. The 4K HDR display is one-of-a-kind, bright and vibrant, and shows off snaps taken by the impressive Motion Eye camera perfectly. The camera itself can handle almost anything you can throw at it, although performance does slip in low-lit conditions and the super slow-mo video mode takes some practice. If you’ re looking for a gorgeous high-end smartphone with a huge focus on display and cameras with above average battery life, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium is a solid option.
Price comparision from, and manufacturers Hands-on: Asus ROG Zephyrus review Design sharing tool Wake launches free version for small design studios, freelancers & startups Complete guide to Apple Park 2017-06-01 16:57 1.1 (0.01/4). Just as we reach June, Microsoft has made available the first round of free games for Xbox Live Gold members. As announced last week, SpeedRunners for Xbox One, and Assassin's Creed III for Xbox 360 are now available for free. The latter is also accessible on Xbox One consoles through Backward Compatibility.
The new lineup's store links and descriptions are as follows: SpeedRunners (Xbox One, June 1 - 30) Assassin's Creed III (Xbox 360, June 1 - 15) Also, for those who missed it, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is available to claim until June 15 for Xbox One. Keep in mind that only claimed Xbox 360 games will remain playable if the Gold subscription is interrupted, unlike claimed Xbox One games, which are only available with an active subscription. Source: Xbox Wire 2017-06-01 08:12 0.5. After cloud application provider Workday reported a strong quarter with several major clients like Nasdaq expanding services, CEO Aneel Bhusri gave a simple reason why companies are choosing his software platform over larger rivals like SAP and Oracle. 'It all comes back to having a great product and taking care of customers, ' Bhusri told 'Mad Money' host Jim Cramer on Thursday. 'Where I think we've really carved out our success has been at the high end of the enterprise, these very large companies where we're really the only proven solution in the marketplace.'
A recent Goldman Sachs survey of CIOs showed that IT professionals are turning to Workday at the expense of Oracle and SAP. Bhusri said that with a customer satisfaction rate of roughly 97 percent, it is not hard to see how that factors in to the financial and human capital management company's gain in market share.
'That really matters in today's world. It's not just about selling the cloud, it's about delivering the cloud for these companies, ' he told Cramer. With subscription revenues up over 42 percent year over year and total revenues up 38 percent, Workday is certainly cementing its space in the cloud. The company proudly enlisted major retailers Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Target as clients this year, making a strong foray into serving some of the sector's strongest names.
Workday is also developing machine learning software that can help predict scenarios as varied as whether those clients will pay Workday on time or if an employee is thinking about resigning. 'This is that huge move towards machine learning, which I believe is not going to replace jobs, it's just going to make people more effective, ' Bhusri said. 'We're able to look at a massive amount of data and based on things like their current salary, how long has it been since they were recently promoted, how competitive is that job outside the company, we can make a prediction whether that person is likely to leave in the next 12 months. And that's very useful to an HR organization or to a CEO who's trying to maintain their top talent and keep their top talent at the company.' Despite Workday's first-quarter operating losses of $60.2 million, Bhusri said the statistic that most of the industry looks at, the non-GAAP operating margin, was strong, spiking 12.7 percent. 'That's significantly ahead of where we even thought we would come out, ' the CEO admitted.
'And I'm not sure that's going to be repeatable forever, or at least in the foreseeable future, [but] I think it just demonstrates the scalability and positive nature of our business model.' And as major clients like 21st Century Fox sign on to receive more of Workday's services, its standing in the cloud space is only becoming more prominent.
'We're beginning to get those proof points, along with the Netflixes of the world and the Aons of the world, that large companies are beginning to move their financial systems to the cloud. So it's a very exciting time for us, ' the CEO said. Questions for Cramer? Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC Want to take a deep dive into Cramer's world? Mad Money Twitter - Jim Cramer Twitter - Facebook - Instagram - Vine Questions, comments, suggestions for the 'Mad Money' website? Madcap@cnbc.com 2017-06-01 22:23 0.6. Although Qualcomm is fairly well known for its processors, the firm has also made strides by bringing innovations to charging as well.
If you have owned a device with a Qualcomm processor, chances are, you've encountered Quick Charging, which at times can be a life saver. If unfamiliar, Quick Charge allows a device to charge much quicker than usual, replenishing a fully depleted battery to around 50% in no time. With each new iterations of Quick Charge, the time has gotten even shorter, with Quick Charge 4.0 going from zero to 50% in 15 minutes.
Now, Qualcomm has announced Quick Charge 4.0+, which offers all the benefits of 4.0 but with some added improvements, which can be seen below. Qualcomm's Quick Charge 4.0+ will be rolling out to more devices over the year, but it is now currently available on the newly launched Nubia Z17.
Source: Qualcomm via Android Police 2017-06-01 22:20 1.1. Nubia has launched an impressive handset that offers top-end specifications for around $600 USD. The Z17 is the latest in its lineup and offers a simple design and array of features that should satisfy most. While Nubia might not be as well known of a brand as Samsung, the firm has been churning out smartphones for quite some time and is actually part of ZTE. In its latest effort, it appears to have pulled out most stops in an effort to offer the best bang for the buck.
Full specifications of Nubia Z17: Although the Z17 can be purchased in a few different configurations when it launches, what stands out most from the list above is undoubtedly the 8GB RAM. While 6GB is already considered quite a bit, the 8GB configuration makes this Android handset fairly unique. When purchasing the 8GB model, users will also have 128GB storage. Since the handset does not offer microSD storage expansion, it will be important to choose the proper configuration for your needs. Unfortunately, this handset will only be available in Asia, where it will officially go on sale starting on June 6.
The 6GB model will start at around $410 USD, while the 8GB variant will be available for $587. Source: GizmoChina 2017-06-01 22:06 1.7. What do popular dating apps and brick-and-mortar storefronts have in common? Until now, nothing. But that’s about to change, as Bumble, the popular female-led dating app, is opening a pop-up location in New York City. Bumble is calling the space the Hive, and it will be a month-long installment designed to be a space for dates, Bumble fans and really anyone — to just hang out and soak in the Bumble brand. The space is really decked out in Bumble’s unique flavor — click through the album below to see the space.
A physical location is the first step in the dating startup’s attempt to formalize the community that has naturally formed around the Bumble brand. While some dating apps are still considered taboo, Whitney Wolfe, founder and CEO of Bumble, explained that Bumble’s brand now extends beyond just dating, and is something people are proud to associate themselves with — even if they aren’ t necessarily using Bumble for dating. This focus on community also meshes with the startup’s plans to eventually expand on BumbleBIZZ, which is Bumble’s attempt to help users with professional and social networking, and retain users who may not necessarily be looking to date. While the space will be open during the week for couples to meet up (or friends to just stop in and check it out), there will also be a series of events focused on relationships, female entrepreneurship and more. For example, Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe will host a panel with the founders of theSkimm, Drybar will be hosting style sessions and Forbes will be hosting a Mentor & Mingle session. The space will also have a coffee (and real) bar, as well as Bumble merchandise for sale (where all proceeds go to charity).
Bumble said the current plans are to keep it open for a month, but isn’ t ruling out the opportunity for an extension, or potential expansions into other cities. The Hive will be located in Soho at 158 Mercer Street, and will be open Thursday – Friday 8am-2pm and 4pm-10pm, Saturdays from 10am-2pm and 4pm-10pm, and all day Sunday from 10am-8pm.
Check out the event page here for more details. 2017-06-01 22:05 0.1. If there is a business area that is deeply affected by digital transformation it is customer service, which is rapidly becoming re-branded as customer experience (CX). According to a Walker study, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020. Those organizations that are able to deliver a seamless, effortless experience will improve customer loyalty and see their sales soar.
This objective is often a challenge for legacy technology infrastructures and many are turning to cloud contact center platforms. However, change on this scale brings risk, and there are some key mistakes that you should try and avoid if possible.
Fast evolving customer behavior presents a challenge to most organizations as they work towards business transformation. It is not a secret that poor customer experience leads to lost revenue. New ways of interacting and socializing, such as on social media platforms, have transformed the way people communicate with each other. What was once exclusive personal communication has now spilled into customer-to-brand communication. In fact, 88 percent of customer experience professionals believe that, within a few years, digital contacts will overtake voice as the consumers’ preferred communications channel with brands.
The challenge is that businesses are not catching up fast enough. Only 45 percent of customer experience professionals say agents can see all previous customer contacts across all channels in a single desktop. In the same way that social media and 'on-the-go' technology such as smartphones have changed consumer behaviors and expectations, cloud technology has transformed entire industries by effectively removing the need for on-site systems. Contact centers are no exception.
The State of Customer Experience 2017, a recent study by West’s Unified Communications Services revealed that dissatisfaction with legacy systems is a key driver for migrating to the cloud. The need to un-silo channels and improve information flows are also important if businesses are to meet new customer demands. By migrating a contact center to the cloud, firms can bring together a whole host of new contact channels, empower agents with the information they need to resolve customer enquiries effortlessly, and ensure customers get the experience they demand and deserve. However, many organisations are still not utilising the technology to its full potential. When it comes to something as mission critical as your customers’ experience, a ‘one size fits all’ approach can lead to disappointment and even disaster. There are certain mistakes that can hinder cloud-migration and deployment projects, and these could be avoided. In the same way that every business is different and has its own goals and needs to meet, not all cloud systems are the same, and not all cloud providers offer the same service.
In this article, we will reveal how to avoid common mistakes when deploying and using cloud contact center technology. Understand your customers’ communications preferences Digital interactions are going to replace the majority of voice communication in the contact center. It is just a question of when, rather than if. Make sure you know how your customers would prefer to interact with you.
Web self-service is something most consumers welcome for simple enquiries and straightforward transactions. Similarly, SMS messages can be a useful way of keeping your customers informed, and saving your contact center agents for more complex enquiries. Communication preferences are not always demographic and not necessarily predictable. In fact, most customers no longer fit neatly into traditional age or gender demographic groups. It is key that customer profiling becomes intuitive and dynamic in order to be able to understand your customer’s preferences and anticipate customer’s future needs.
Making every customer feel they are valued as an individual, and that the attention they get from brands is personalized, is the differentiator between retaining or losing customers. To achieve this, it is vital to have the right technology infrastructure in place for delivering seamless customer experiences across multiple channels. Assess the technology platform prior to purchase The financial benefits of cloud technology are one of the primary drivers for companies to engage with a cloud contact center provider.
While it may seem that all vendors offer similar services, the reality is very different. To realize the full benefits of the cloud, you should be buying into a future-proof platform that is designed for multi-channel contact and integrates easily with your other systems including your CRM system. Before investing in a solution, it is important to do your research -- find out what your business requirements are and investigate whether the providers you are evaluating are able to meet all those needs.
And of course, always ensure that the company that will be providing you with essential technology has a good track record. The cloud provider must be willing to engage with your organization and demonstrably have confidence in what they are delivering, ideally with a proof of concept. Sometimes this isn’ t possible, in this case it is worth spending time ensuring the vendor fully understands your business needs before starting the implementation process. It is recommended that the provider has a blueprint of every single element, and that it is shared with all teams involved to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Make sure you fully engage with all stakeholders Moving from on-premises to the cloud is not a simple case of 'switching on' the new platform.
For successful deployment, it is necessary to evaluate what business processes are associated with customer interaction and experience, including digital channels. From the vendor’s perspective, it’s about engaging with as many business departments and stakeholders as possible, and using this information to adapt the solution so it can meet the business requirements.
Ideally, the contact center will become the strategic hub for all customer contact, so it is likely that your sales and marketing department will want to be involved with the deployment. And whether you’ re offering health services, financial services or a retail operation it is likely that specific departments will need to contact customers at some point in the customer lifecycle. All stakeholder groups should be involved from the starting point, including the evaluation phase. It is absolutely necessary that each department has a chance to share what their specific requirements are to ensure that all business needs and goals are met by the new solution. Failing to engage users and supervisors from the outset can lead to problems further down the line.
One of the most common mistakes we have come across is leaving some, if not most, Contact Center user groups out of the earlier stages of the process, which can result in the supplier having to re-engage, re-educate and re-train each stakeholder group separately, which can severely delay the implementation process. Be clear about the difference between opex and capex business models Cloud technology has also made it possible for businesses to move away from the traditional capex models into a more cost-effective opex one. By taking the systems to the cloud, contact center equipment purchases – including major hardware purchases, which are not tax deductible -- are no longer needed. The opex model allows companies to pay for the technology via operational expenses, which can be a very attractive model for many organizations. However, it is still important to make sure that all the functionalities you need are included within your cloud contact centre, and that you are completely comfortable with the terms of your service contract. Make sure your cloud platform is future-proof The role of the contact center has changed dramatically in the past decade, and it will continue to do so at an even more accelerated pace. In order to keep up with customer demands and industry requirements, it is essential that every business takes time to think about what future-proofing their contact center really looks like.
Will you have to pay for new features and functionality, or is it included within your contract? How much does your provider invest in R&D? Is their technology architecture set up for easy integration with your current and future systems?
By keeping these questions in mind, and going through a tick-box process before selecting your vendor, you’ ll ensure your contact center is in the best position to respond to changing customer behaviors -- both now and in the future. Enda Kenneally, VP of Sales and Business Development, West.
Published under license from ITProPortal.com, a Future plc Publication. All rights reserved. Image Credit: Chaiyapop Bhumiwat / Shutterstock 2017-06-01 22:03 1.8. I recently had a meeting with a well-known Israeli startup investor. The talk somehow pivoted from my seed-seeking startup into talking about the macro view of venture capital and how it doesn’ t actually make sense.
“Ninety-five percent of VCs aren’ t profitable, ” he said. It took me a while to understand what this really means. I’ ll clarify: Ninety-five percent of VCs aren’ t actually returning enough money to justify the risk, fees and illiquidity their investors (LPs) are taking on by investing in their funds. A VC fund needs a 3x return to achieve a “venture rate of return” and be considered a good investment ($100 million fund =>3x =>$300 million return). The graph below shows what percentage of VC firms accomplish this. As we can see, only the small green slice is bringing it home. The other 95 percent are juggling somewhere between breaking even and downright losing money (remember to adjust for inflation).
The graph was hard for me to take in at first. But once you run the numbers, it all makes sense. I’ ll attempt to reconstruct the arguments leading to this hard-to-grasp realization of an industry so often idealized from the outside. Let’s have some fun.
Before starting, let’s define what success and failure actually mean and list our assumptions: Success = 12 percent return per year Venture capitals get their money from limited partners, who are usually traditional investors such as banks, institutions, pension funds, etc. In their eyes, throwing $50 million into a startup fund is “risky” business compared to their other options, such as the stock market/real estate, which are lower cost, liquid and could “safely” return 7-8 percent per year. For them, 12 percent return on their money per year is good. Anything below that? Not worth the high risk they’ re taking. That brings us to A 10-year fund needs to return 3x the fund size We agreed VCs need to earn 12 percent return a year, right?
Most funds, while only actively investing 3-5 years, are bound to 10 years. Many newer studies are showing that 12-14 year funds are more accurate for today, but let’s stick with 10 just to give the VCs a fighting chance. That annual 12 percent rapidly grows, showing the power of compounded interest. Let’s see the math: Don’ t forget Pareto: 80 percent of returns come from 20 percent of startups Facts of life are that startups are hard. Breaking even is hard. Profits are hard.
Keeping profits growing year over year (YoY) is even harder. Out of 10 companies, only two will really explode and IPO/M&A, giving our dear VCs some of their money back. The rest, as we’ ll see, will fizzle out and die — or have a small liquidation event, which is pretty much the same. So we have 10 startups and a fund that needs to return 3x within 10 years.
Let’s assume it’s a $100 million fund, with $10 million invested in each company over the course of its life and a desired return of $300 million. To be fair, let’s also assume the VC jumped in on the A round, followed up on B and has 25 percent ownership at the end, with non-participating liquidation preferences. Let’s look at a few different outcomes of our 10 startups after 10 years. They all do “average” and exit at $50 million Green marks the exit size; purple the payout amount of the VC with his 25 percent. Ten companies, they all exit at $50 million. The VC would return $12.5 million on each. Outcome: 10 * $12.5 million = $125 million.
We needed $300 million, right? Let’s give them better odds. Half do average like before, and half do better Five sold at $50 million, so $12.5 million return on each. The other five did much better and pulled off $100 million exits. The founders are overnight millionaires and their picture is in the paper. Return: (5 * $12.5 million) + (5 * $25 million) = $187.5 million return.
Still not quite at $300 million. Majority do “average; ” we’ ll throw in an overachiever So here let’s take our previous example, but make one of them a star. The 10th company, instead of selling for $100 million as before, now does $500 million. So our original five still sell at $50 million, four sell at $100 million and our new one at $500 million.
Total returns for our VC: (5 * $12.5 million) + (4 * $25 million) + (1 * $125 million) = $287.5 million. We’ re almost there! Just a bit more. I think you see where this is going we need one big fat unicorn exit! We would need one large exit to see good profits.
Something like this would work: nine startups sell for $50 million each and one goes for $1 billion: (9 * $12.5 million) + (1 * $250 million) = $362.5 million. We finally made it!
Everyone is happy. But is the last scenario actually feasible? Can you realistically expect all 10 companies to exit?
Indeed, a 100% success rate sounds too good to be true. The more realistic scenario is that out of those 10, five will be complete losers, three will sell for small-medium amounts (which we just saw barely move the needle) but one or two will be big unicorn hugging exits ($1 billion-plus) The realistic case Five startups fail and do $0, three exit at $25 million, one exits at $200 million and our superstar does $1 billion. Let’s see the return on that one: Return: (5 * $0) + (3 * $6 million) + (1 * $50 million) + (1 * $250 million) = $318 million We’ ve finally made it.
Phew that was hard. Here we see some good returns, but is it actually realistic to think that the average fund can find this golden unicorn ticket? Probably not.
The apparent truth is that most VCs aren’ t doing as well as our “realistic case.” Only the good ones. Only the top 5 percent (not the top quartile!). And if the fund size is bigger, like the $1 billion funds we see being raised, then the math only gets harder, and the likelihood of a 3x+ return gets even lower. How are the rest of the 95 percent of VCs making ends meet? Not on their investing prowess, but rather on the fees that their investors pay. Most VCs are well (and primarily) compensated from the 2 percent annual fees on committed capital that they charge their investors ($100 million fund =>$2 million/per year fees). Even when they don’ t generate great returns — and most don’ t — their personal compensation is guaranteed from the fee stream.
If that’s not enough, remember this: If one of their startups does see a liquidation event, they get 20 percent of the profits as a bonus. They’ re sharing the upside, without any risk if things go south. As an entrepreneur, I wish I had that downside protection! It’s still hard for me to accept the fact that the only realistic way for a fund to get acceptable returns is to try to find only the companies that could be the next Ubers, Facebooks and Airbnbs.
Under these rules, it doesn’ t make sense for VCs to invest in anyone that can’ t get to unicorn stage. There’s just no place for “average” companies looking to be worth and sell less than $500 million.
At least not with VCs. The way the numbers are worked out, it doesn’ t look promising for any startup founder with less than shooting-to-the-moon goals. Even less so as a VC who’s fighting to keep his head above water and secure a follow-up fund. And don’ t get me started on the LPs, who are the real losers here.
They are the ones paying the fees, taking on the risk and then realizing disappointing returns at the end of the 10-year fund (which actually takes 15 years to liquidate). But does it have to be like this?
One place we can try to play around is our assumptions tab. Assumptions can and should be challenged: To summarize, venture capital is a tough business. LPs struggle to get paid in excess returns for the risk, fees and illiquidity they take on for investing in venture capital. Entrepreneurs struggle to scale and grow their companies and position for great exits.
It’s not natural for a founder at stage one to know how he’ ll grow from zero to billion. So many things will change along the journey. VCs struggle to generate the returns they promise, and only a very few manage to deliver. But VCs enjoy the only downside protection in the business — they can rely on fees to pay themselves when their investments are mediocre. The long feedback cycle means that VCs can raise a few funds — and lock in a few fee streams — before their less than stellar returns catch up with them. LPs and entrepreneurs don’ t have that safety net.
We live and die on our investment returns. We are the real risk takers in this business, not VCs. Food for thought. Sources: Thanks to Gil Ben-Artzy for the insightful meeting/feedback that got me rolling with this article.
Thanks to Diane Mulcahy, director of Private Equity at the Kauffman Foundation, for proofreading and feedback. Thanks to Liat Aaronson and Dr. Ayal Shenhav for the countless hours of VC lessons at the Zell Entrepreneurship Program that covered all the basics of this world.
Finally, thanks to Jonathan Shieber of TechCrunch for helping facilitate this article. 2017-06-01 22:00 1.0. Voice controlled technology like Amazon Echo, Siri, or hands free features in Google Maps are thing we’ re starting to take for granted. But as Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends Report noted, voice controls are changing computer-human interfaces, and industries, broadly.
Speech recognition or voice controls are being added to medical devices and business applications, even vehicles and industrial robotics. But there’s a problem– voice systems have been built for standard speech today.
That leaves out millions of people who live with speech impairments, or who just have a strong accent. Now, a Tel Aviv-based startup called Voiceitt has raised $2 million in seed funding to translate speech that’s not easily intelligible into clear words. The startup, which was co-founded by CEO Danny Weissberg and CTO Stas Tiomkin, is a graduate of the DreamIt Health accelerator.
Investors in Voiceitt’s seed round included: Amit Technion, Dreamit Ventures, Quake Capital, Buffalo Angels and 1,000 Angels and other angels. Here’s how Voiceitt works: users fire up the company’s app, and it asks them to compose then read short, useful sentences out loud like “I’ m thirsty, ” or “Turn off the lights.” The software records and begins to learn the speaker’s particular pronunciation. A caregiver can type phrases into the app if the user is not able to do so independently.
After a brief training period, the Voiceitt app can turn the user’s statements into normalized speech, which it outputs in the form of audio or text messages, instantly. Voice-controlled apps and devices can easily understand the newly generated audio or written messages. But Voiceitt can also be used to help people with speech impediments communicate face to face with other people. Dreamit’s Karen Griffith Gryga said investors view Voiceitt as a technology that’s starting with “the thing edge of the wedge, ” in the market for assistive tech. But it could be expanded to help people with strong accents use whatever voice-enabled technology Seattle or Silicon Valley comes up with next.
Weissberg explained that he came up with the idea for Voiceitt after his grandmother suffered from speech impairments following a stroke. The CEO said, “I realized how we take for granted the way we communicate by speaking. Losing this is really terrible, one of the hardest aspects of stroke recovery. So I didn’ t say, right away, let’s start a company.
But I began to talk with speech therapists and occupational therapists, and to learn everything I can about the problem and whether there was a market in need, there.” An early version of Voiceitt will be available next year, but the app is in beta tests now. The company’s pilot customers are hospitals and schools, and people there who have speech differences because of a health condition, like those with cerebral palsy, down syndrome, parkinsons, or who are recovering from a traumatic brain injury or stroke. Long-term, Weissberg said, “This could really be an accessibility extension to speech recognition for anyone, Google, Amazon, Apple, IBM or Microsoft.
We’ d love to function like a major OEM and work with all the major platforms. 2017-06-01 21:47 0.3.
Not too long ago, Dona Sarkar teased the first new Windows 10 Fast ring builds in over two weeks, which would be 16203 for PCs and 15220 for Mobile. But that news was quickly overshadowed when phones on the Fast ring began receiving build.rs_iot.1. The really interesting thing here is that this is the first 16xxx build for phones.
Previously, a new 'feature2' branch had been created for Mobile devices, which hasn't yet shown any new features. It's been assumed that feature2 is a Windows Phone 7.8-style update that will mark the end of life for most existing devices. But 16212 is from an entirely different branch. While it seems clear that this build wasn't released on purpose (after all, a feature2 build was teased), it should give us some insight into what's being developed on the Mobile side of the Redstone 3 Development Branch. If you're on the Fast ring and you want this build, you should probably install it now, because it seems likely that Microsoft will be pulling this build at any moment. Note that if you do choose to install it, you're doing so at your own risk.
We don't exactly know what happens after updating to 16212, and Microsoft hasn't said anything yet. Update: According to @tfwboredom, the new build is not just rolling out to the Fast ring, but also Slow and Release Preview. Update: This build is also rolling out to phones on the Production ring.
Also, it's strongly recommended that no one install this build, no matter which ring you're in. Many users are finding that their devices are in a boot loop. Apparently, 16212 rolled out to some desktop PCs as well. If you're among that group, it's recommended that you don't install that either. 2017-06-01 21:44 1.8.
Google has announced that the company is ending support for Portable Native Client (PNaCl) in favor of WebAssembly. In the first quarter of 2018, PNaCl support will end everywhere except for inside Chrome Apps and Extensions. PNaCl is a portable sandboxing technology, and in 2013, Google introduced a PNaCl sandbox that developers could use to build portable apps without plugins. According to Google, the sandbox didn’ t work seamlessly across all browsers, but did work well for Chrome. WebAssembly (wasm) is a new portable format used for compilation to the web. Earlier this year, wasm reached cross-browser consensus and has full support in Chrome and Firefox.
Google has created a set of recommendations to help developers migrate their applications. 2017-06-01 21:22 1.8. Back in January we heard about Draper’s efforts to outfit a living dragonfly with a sort of solar-powered mind control backpack.
This project, known as DragonflEye, is cruising right along, and the R&D firm just released a video of the modified insect taking flight. The idea is to control a living insect’s flight remotely, but without clumsily activating its wings artificially (the subtlety of those movements are beyond us) or merely giving the insect the idea of going in a certain direction (it can learn to ignore these notions).
To do so, the Draper team relied on what’s called optogenetics, infusing certain parts of the insect’s anatomy with light-sensitive materials that both produce and respond to light in a certain wavelength (more details in my original article). It’s not a simple undertaking, as the project’s senior researcher, Joe Register, explained in an email to TechCrunch. “Last year we focused on developing core enabling technologies like the backpack, optrode, and synthetic biology toolkit for the dragonfly, ” Register said. “Now that we are in our second year, we have equipped dragonflies with our first-generation backpacks in a motion capture room that can monitor their precise flight movements as data is captured from navigation system. This has allowed us to develop precise onboard tracking algorithms for autonomous navigation.” In other words, they’ ve gone from making DragonflEye possible to making it practical.
Manual control of a tiny, fast-moving bug is impractical, so setting waypoints or areas of activity seems the more logical course. In the video above, you don’ t see the fly doing much but get a second or two of airtime. Don’ t worry, that’s on purpose — this generation of the hardware is pretty basic. “Steering the DragonflEye was not the goal of this video, but we plan to do it soon, ” wrote Register. “We will apply optical stimulation from the backpack to trigger flight behaviors which will allow us to develop autonomous flight control.” Expect a lighter, more effective mind control backpack to emerge from Draper’s labs soon.
2017-06-01 21:19 0.3. Regardless of where you live, everyone is on the same Earth -- we all must share the same giant sphere. Imagine if you had a roommate that smoked cigarettes in the house. Even if you choose not to smoke, you will still be impacted by the secondhand smoke in the home.
In other words, the actions of some will cause an effect on all. The same goes for pollution.
Even if some countries band together to reduce carbon, if other countries turn up their collective noses at going green, the work to lower pollution could be for naught. It is essential that the world's powers work together in this regard. Today, Donald Trump made headlines by announcing his intention to have the USA exit the Paris Agreement. This is a non-binding pact between several countries that aimed to collectively reduce carbon and hopefully stop climate change. Whether or not the president was right or wrong to do this is debatable, but luckily, he did leave the door open to rejoining a renegotiated agreement. Still, many people -- and companies -- are very unhappy with Trump's decision to exit.
Case in point, today, Microsoft issues a statement condemning the president's move. Brad Smith, Microsoft's President and Chief Legal Officer issues the following statement on LinkedIn. While Microsoft is unhappy with Trump's decision, it does not stop the company from setting its own goals for carbon reduction. Quite frankly, the same can be said for any company -- if they believe that stopping climate change is important, they should continue with their green efforts. In my recent trip to the Microsoft campus in Seattle, I saw firsthand that it was truly interested in going green. For instance, the company is growing its own plants hydroponically on premises to feed its employees.
What do you think of President Trump's decision? Tell me in the comments.
Photo credit: Minerva Studio / Shutterstock 2017-06-01 21:09 1.4. Blue Apron, which delivers ingredients to cook meals in your home and was among the companies whispered to go public this year, has now filed to go public. Amidst an array of enterprise companies that have jumped on the IPO bandwagon following Snap’s successful IPO (aside from its more recent whiff of an earnings report), Blue Apron appears to be the next major consumer IPO. That’s important because it continues the tone that both enterprise and consumer companies see an opportunity to go public, which may signal additional activity as we go further into the year.
There’s one unique twist to this consumer IPO, however: it was actually profitable in the first quarter last year. Blue Apron said it brought in $3 million in a profit in the first quarter last year, though it swung to a wildly larger loss in the first quarter this year. While younger companies are expected to burn a ton of money (especially Snap, the largest consumer IPO in many years), Blue Apron appears to have been able to control its costs for at least a hot second before going into growth mode. The company is showing a rather incredible amount of growth. Blue Apron said it generated nearly $800 million in revenue in 2016, up from $341 million in 2015. For the first quarter this year, Blue Apron said it generated $245 million in revenue, up from $172 million in the first quarter last year. Despite all this, Blue Apron said it lost $55 million in 2016, though it said it lost $52 million in the first quarter this year.
Getting into the unit economics, Blue Apron said it had 4.3 million orders in the first quarter this year, up from 3.7 million orders in the fourth quarter of 2016. That number of orders seems to be steadily increasing, with the company logging 2.9 million orders in the first quarter of 2016. Its average revenue per customer in the first quarter this year was $236, down from $265 in the first quarter last year.
The company said the average order value in the first quarter this year was $57.23, which was a decline from the first quarter last year when it said the average order was $59.28. That might not come as a huge surprise as the company looks to continue to grow its customer base, which means it has to appeal to consumers that might be more price sensitive — even if it’s bringing them in at a trickle.
It also has to improve its logistics and operations, which can drive the cost of those orders down. As a food-driven business, however, Blue Apron faces some interesting challenges that it’s laid out in its risk factors. Here’s one of the ones that stands out: food safety and food-borne illnesses. “Unexpected side effects, illness, injury or death related to allergens, food-borne illnesses or other food safety incidents (including food tampering or contamination) caused by products we sell, or involving suppliers that supply us with ingredients and other products, could result in the discontinuance of sales of these products or our relationships with such suppliers, or otherwise result in increased operating costs or harm to our reputation, ” The company said in its filing. “Shipment of adulterated products, even if inadvertent, can result in criminal or civil liability.” Blue Apron also says that variability in food costs — and generally changes in the macroeconomic environment and consumer spending — can also have a big impact on its business. That’s not too surprising as Blue Apron, which is often seen as a tech company, has to deal with a complex chain of logistics and moving parts that sources supplies from many different locations and businesses. Really, this whole section on risk factors for the IPO — laid out for potential investors and often quite boilerplate — has a lot of details that you won’ t often find in the typical consumer IPO.
Here are a few of the other interesting risk factors: Unsurprisingly, Blue Apron looks to target a younger audience. Users between the ages of 25 and 44 years old make up more than half of the company’s business, which might not seem too surprising for observers of the meal kit market (and, in general, on-demand food industry). The company says it’s delivered 159 millions nationwide.
The IPO also looks like another big win for Bessemer Venture Partners, which owns nearly 24% of the company. First Round capital also owns around 10% of the company. Blue Apron has raised nearly $200 million in financing, with its most recent cash influx coming in 2015. As time goes on, we’ ll get a better sense of how much money Blue Apron will be raising — and also how valuable the company thinks it is as it gets closer to pricing its IPO. Now that it’s filed, we should expect Blue Apron to make its debut in the coming months, which will give us a sniff test on the whole meal kit market (and potentially on-demand meals as a whole). 2017-06-01 21:07 2.0.
In the “Scaling” Agile: Part 1, I wrote about cross-functional collaborative teams. The cross-functional collaborative feature team is the basis for “scaling” Agile. In “Scaling” Agile, Part 2, I wrote about programs. I realized I needed another part before my original Part 3. This new Part 3 is about creating Agile product development capabilities. In Agile and Lean Program Management, I wrote about continuous planning (I should have called it “continual” but I didn’ t. In the second edition I can do that).
Here’s a problem I see a lot in organizations who want to “scale” Agile. They plan and replan less often than they should (I am working on a product owner book to help with that problem. It’s next in the queue). This lack of replanning is a legacy from the more traditional yearly planning.
When organizations planned the project portfolio on a yearly basis, people didn’ t perceive a need to plan the products more often. However, with Agile approaches, it’s possible and helpful to plan the project portfolio on a quarterly basis, if not more often. And, in order to replan more often, the teams need to deliver finished features more often.
In Manage Your Project Portfolio, I recommend people start with quarterly planning and move to more frequent planning as the teams get better at delivering value in the form of completed features. It’s the same idea for product management and product ownership. Product management and product ownership are two different albeit related activities. Product management manages the product over its lifetime. Product managers meet with customers (so should real UX people so they can create and run experiments, but that’s a different post).
Product owners are part of an Agile team and work with that team on a continuous basis. The continuous basis part is part of what the PO needs to do: create and refine (small) stories, accept stories, and replan the roadmap and the next backlog.
I wrote about rolling wave replanning in Consider Rolling Wave Roadmap and Backlog Planning. Agile approaches allow us to replan. This is particularly helpful when we want to replan the project portfolio and product roadmaps. Agile approaches allow us to release value on a regular basis, at least as often as every month in my world. Hopefully, every week or two. If you use continuous delivery, you can release value multiple times a day.
The more often you release, the more often the people with strategy responsibilities can manage the project portfolio. Have we done enough for this project for now? If so, feed the team another product. In my world, there are often too many products for the number of teams.
We flow work through a team, so the team can move to another product. The more often the product value team can replan in rolling waves and help the team (s) to deliver value, the more often the managers can change the project portfolio, and the mix of projects the organization can deliver increases. Agile product development capabilities require: That’s what I mean about Agile product development capabilities.
If the product development organization can become good at delivering value, the product value team people can replan what they have in the roadmap and backlog. The project portfolio people can replan the project portfolio. The product development effort, writ large, becomes Agile. If you have questions, please ask in the comments.
I’ m just starting to explain this in writing. I’ m sure I am not as clear as I want to be. 2017-06-01 21:05 1.1.
In recent years, the DevOps movement has gained a significant amount of steam. Historically, organizations approached software creation and maintenance in the same way that they might with physical, mechanical process such as manufacturing.
This meant carving the work into discrete components and then asking people to specialize in those components. If you picture a factory floor, it becomes easy to picture. One person screws two components together over and over, while another person operates a drill press over and over. When you specialize this way, the entire process gains in efficiency. At least, so it goes with mechanical processes.
With knowledge work, we haven’ t realized the same kind of benefit. In retrospect, this makes sense. It makes sense because, unlike mechanical work, knowledge work involves little true repeatability. It continually presents us with problems that differ at least somewhat. As we’ ve come to recognize that fact, we’ ve begun to blend concerns together. Scrum teams blur the lines among QA, developers, and business analysts. DevOps does the same with initial development and production operation of software.
If you can, I wholeheartedly encourage you to embrace DevOps and to blend these concerns. Your entire work product will improve. Unfortunately, not every shop can do this — at least not immediately. Progress goes slowly in these places because of regulatory and compliance concerns or perhaps because change can come slowly in the enterprise.
But that shouldn’ t stop you from making strides. Even if development and operations remain separate, they can at least communicate and help each other. Today, I’ d like to talk about how developers can write code that makes life easier for ops folks. When you have a piece of software in front of users, you want it to perform well. If you have a website or offer a SaaS product, you want snappy page loads and quick request servicing. Perhaps you have a mobile app or a desktop product. In that case, you want responsiveness and no instances where the app “hangs.” If you have responsibility for monitoring and responding to user issues, you can, in a sense, live with sluggishness.
“While we realize page load is a bit slow, our engineers know about the problem and have a fix in the works.” Not ideal, but workable. Now imagine how they respond to an app randomly slowing to a crawl every now and then or to a site intermittently returning some 500 error after running out of memory. For operations folks, explanations and troubleshooting both become difficult. So help them out. Keep an eye out for deadlock and race conditions and user performance profilers to help you detect memory leaks and other such insidious issues. For folks in operations, log files can represent a lifeline.
Amid a sea of questionable user claims and anecdotal evidence, logs provide a welcome source of objectivity. The log file does not lie. Therefore, the more logging you do, the better.
It gives them more to work with and they will thank you for it. Put some good thought into how you log in your application. The ops people will thank you for it.
Speaking of log files, you can demonstrate empathy for ops team members with mindfulness for how they work. Operations people need ways to structure their workflows, which means notifications of key events and escalation processes. While they can accomplish some of this with purely external concerns, such as website monitoring, you can aid them in this cause. The log files offer an important means for doing this. If you do everything mentioned in the last section, you have a good start, but you can and should go further. Ask the operations folks about their workflows and what they need to know. Incorporate their responses into outputs that come from your program.
This might mean adding specific log entries that they can key off of. It might also come in the form of error codes returned from utilities, HTTP response codes, exception messages, events, and anything else you can think of. Make sure they have easy ways to inspect and respond to the running code. Earlier, I mentioned using tools to keep code performance predictable.
You want crisp and predictable performance. In a similar vein, you want to make sure your code cleans up after itself. If you write code that leaves a file handle open or that opens database connections without closing them, you hand operations a ticking time bomb. They’ ll start the thing and then, at some point, hours, days, or even weeks later, it will blow up. Because effect comes so much later than cause, troubleshooting code like this creates serious headaches.
Obviously, good software practice dictates that you clean up after yourself. But the operations folks have more than professional pride at stake here. As the last consideration, I’ ll offer a slightly more philosophical suggestion. You want to write code with a high degree of cohesion and a low degree of bad coupling. As a software developer, this has the nice effect of making your code easier to maintain. But for operations folks, it impacts their life in a slightly different way.
Non-cohesive, inappropriate code tends to exhibit weird runtime behaviors. To provide an easier to visualize example, consider the metaphor of taking your car in to have the brakes fixed. Imagine if, when you left, the brakes worked, but the headlights wouldn’ t turn on. Now imagine that the shop fixes the headlights, but now the stereo won’ t play AM radio stations.
After a few incidents like this, you’ d probably stop visiting this particular shop. Highly coupled, non-cohesive code causes your application to behave this way. Fixing one bug causes something to break in an unrelated module. It begins to feel like trying to clean your floor by pushing dirty mop water around.
Now, frustrating as it may seem for you to chase these things down, imagine being on the front lines. Imagine having to explain to users why changing the font of the login button somehow broke checking their funds balance. Don’ t subject the operations people to this kind of nonsense. Earlier in the post, I mentioned having empathy for the operations workers. Everything I’ ve said here really falls under that heading, at the broadest level.
You’ d have a hard time going wrong by developing and exhibiting empathy for your coworkers. But, as the DevOps movement shows us, operations and development have a uniquely intertwined and interdependent relationship. You all have responsibility for the successful creation, deployment, and operation of the software. Do your part to make their lives easier, and they’ ll do their part not to wake you up at 3 AM on a Sunday. 2017-06-01 21:01 1.0.
When Samsung initially unveiled its Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ handsets, they were offered in three colors: Midnight Black, Arctic Silver, and Orchid Gray. The handset has seen a lot of success in a short time, selling over five million units. It now appears that there may be another color on the horizon in the form of rose gold. The render comes from Weibo by way of SamMobile, and shows off a sleek new color rendition. While the colorway does look similar in nature to last year's S7 edge color offering, the image looks a bit suspicious. Naturally, with an image like this, one has to be a bit cautious in assuming that this is real and that it could just be an artist's interpretation of the handset. In the past, Samsung has been known to offer many different colors and variations of its popular handsets.
So while the rose gold color above might not ever come to market, you can probably be certain that something new will come about sooner or later. Source: SamMobile Image via Samsung 2017-06-01 21:00 1.1. Yext’s first earnings report as a publicly traded company seems to be a boringly pleasant one — but that’s a good thing for a company that needs to show strong performance out of the gate. These early reports can be critical for setting the stage and expectations for a company going forward. Snap, for example, whiffed on its first earnings and promptly saw its stock tank, and Twilio’s last report did not fare that well either. While Snap opened the floodgates for IPOs this year, an enterprise company like Yext had to show the kind of predictable growth and performance that might be expected from similar companies like Box (which also had a boringly pleasant earnings report this quarter). Now on to the boring bits, which sent the stock up 1 percent in extended trading: Yext said it generated $37.1 million in revenue, up 37 percent from the same quarter last year.
It also reported a loss of 13 cents per share. Wall Street expected a loss of 15 cents per share on revenue of $35.4 million. For a young company, it may seem like a nominal amount of revenue, but it has to show it can continue to grow a business built on the backs of a user behavior that companies have to chase — getting the information they need from a variety of different sources on the internet.
The company’s software helps companies make sure their basic information — like addresses — are the same and accurate across the variety of apps and sites that people use every day. If you’ re looking for a location of a restaurant, you probably aren’ t going to the company’s website. Instead, users are likely searching on Google Maps or other apps, which gives these companies an incentive to pay for Yext to make sure all that works smoothly. Yext took clear advantage of the IPO window being open, with the stock popping nearly 21 percent on its first day of trading.
After pricing the IPO at $11, Yext is now hovering at around $14.75 per share — putting its market capitalization over $1.2 billion. Yext was one of a large batch of companies that went public earlier this year, starting with Snap, and nearly all of them have at least appeared to have successful openings. 2017-06-01 20:59 0.2. (Adds details, background) June 1 (Reuters) - Virtualization software maker VMware Inc reported a fall in quarterly profit margins on Thursday, hurt by a sharp rise in R&D and marketing costs.
Shares of Palo Alto, California-based VMware which have risen about 58 percent in the last 12 months dipped 4 percent to $93.48 in trading after the bell. VMware posted adjusted operating margin of 28.5 percent in the first quarter ended May 5, compared to operating margins of over 30 percent in the past three quarters. Research and development costs jumped 18.2 percent to $421 million in the quarter, while sales and marketing expenses rose 3.7 percent to $586 million. The result overshadowed a better-than-expected first-quarter profit and revenue, fueled by strong demand for VMware's virtualization software used by companies to boost cloud computing efficiency.
Services revenue rose 10.7 percent to $1.13 billion in the quarter, but was slightly below the revenue posted in the quarter ended Dec. VMware has benefited from strong demand from businesses for its virtualization software that allows one computer or server to perform the work of multiple machines by emulating them, which boosts efficiency and helps cut costs. VMware's net income rose to $232 million, or 56 cents per share in the first quarter, from $161 million, or 38 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, the company earned 99 cents per share. VMware, which is majority-owned by Dell Technologies Inc, said revenue climbed 9.3 percent to $1.74 billion. Analysts had expected a profit of 95 cents per share and revenue of $1.71 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. (Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar) 2017-06-01 20:44 0.4.
A Target employee may have leaked that Sony is preparing to release a gold-colored PlayStation 4 Slim. Someone claiming to work for the retailer apparently snapped a photo of a boxed Gold PS4 Slim and said that they are going on sale next week for $249. The alleged employee posted the picture to Reddit under the handle Marmaro8, but the image has since been removed from Imgur. While the removal does not confirm that Sony is indeed releasing a gold PS4, it does indicate that the poster may have been told to remove it by someone of authority. According to Geeksation, there have already been as many as four separate reports of gold PlayStations being spotted in stores.
Another Redditor, Christopher_Maxim, claimed to have almost bought one of the goldenrod units at Walmart that was accidentally put on shelves early. 'This Walmart put them out early. Register locked up when I tried to buy one, and the staff realized their mistake. I snagged a pic before they brought them out back.' The $249 tag is distinctly seen in his picture, which corroborates Marmaro8’s claim of the sales price. Back in 2015, Sony ran a promotion with Taco Bell where it gave away a gold limited edition PlayStation 4 every 10 minutes to any one who bought a Taco Bell Big Box. The company ended up giving away 6,000 of the shiny gold consoles, which also included a matching gold controller, a copy of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and a one-year subscription to PlayStation Plus.
While Sony has not announced a gold edition PlayStation 4, by all accounts, there is substantial evidence to suggest that one is coming. Furthermore, if the claims are valid, the golden consoles with go on sale next week on June 9. However, it is unknown whether the system will be available worldwide as the units have only been spotted in the U. 2017-06-01 20:30 0.2. Joining an overwhelming chorus that includes most Americans, several major businesses in the US, and much of the global community, several investors have come out swinging against President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. “I have always believed that, while we can disagree on the scientific premise behind climate change, we should all agree that advanced energy technologies represent one of the biggest economic opportunities, ” said General Catalyst managing director, Heman Taneja. “To give that up is a threat to American prosperity Our American companies will be at a huge competitive disadvantage globally if they don’ t have a market to rely on in their backyard.” That sentiment from Taneja, whose firm manages over $3 billion, was echoed by other investors across Silicon Valley.
“Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord is just the latest in an unrelenting series of disastrous policies. Though at this point, the entrepreneurs who I know have shaken off the sense of despair that hung on them in the first months after the election, and are in final-level-boss fight mode, ” said Steve Vassallo, a general partner with Foundation Capital (an investment firm with $2.4 billion under management). “Withdrawing the U. From the Paris agreement is only going to galvanize cleantech entrepreneurs to work three times as hard to address the dangers of climate change and this presidency.” A survey from last November by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs indicated that 71% of Americans supported the treaty, which created targets for curbing carbon emissions in an effort to reduce their effect on the world’s climate.
Over the last few days major corporations from almost every industry have made a concerted effort to convince the President to remain in the treaty. Salesforce’s Mark Benioff even tweeted an (almost literal) midnight appeal to send a signal to President Trump.
Speaking yesterday from Recode’s conference in California, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (and President Trump’s former adversary for the presidency) said that a decision to leave the agreement would hurt US businesses. Not all investors took a position on the decision.
GV (the former Google Ventures) declined to comment on the President’s decision and the National Venture Capital Association said that the organization had no position on the President’s action. Apparently undeterred by the will of the majority of Americans or the wishes of big business (and his own Secretary of State), the President is announcing that he will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. “In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, ” the President said from a podium at the Rose Garden of the White House. The next step for the President and his cabinet is to “begin negotiations that will allow America to re-enter” the Paris Accords under terms that the President deems more fair to US interests.
Also as part of the withdrawal from the agreement, the President committed to withdraw from the $100 billion Green Climate Fund. The US has already provided $1 billion to the fund. “Exiting the Paris Agreements protects the United States from future intrusions on United States sovereignty, ” the President said. So what does all of this mean? Honestly, not much for businesses. It reinforces the President’s signals that he will privilege fossil fuels like coal and oil over renewable resources.
And despite those signals the move toward renewables will likely persist. As The Wall Street Journal notes: Indeed, while investors decried the decision, they admitted that their companies were already prepared for it. “Most of the folks working around energy and climate no longer seem to require policy support, ” said Shaun Abrahamson, a managing partner at Urban Us.
“But more than that there seem to be enough businesses and consumers who are committed to climate action. Many of them opposed Trump, so in some ways, supporting startups in these areas will be another form of resistance.” Ultimately the only consequence of the move is optical and political. Given the terms of the agreement, the US wouldn’ t actually withdraw from the Accord until November 2020 (indeed the first day the US would be free of the Accord would be one day after the Presidential election).
What the President has done is put a pin in an eventual talking point for the 2020 election and cede any US involvement in global negotiations on climate going forward. Already the European Union has responded by beginning to embrace China’s overtures toward global treaties and taking a leadership role. The President closed his speech with an appeal to his base.
“I was elected by voters of Pittsburgh, not Paris. I promised I would exit or renegotiate any deal which fails to serve US interests, ” the President said.
And the mayor of Pittsburgh has a response. 2017-06-01 20:29 0.0. FOSTER CITY, Calif.
(AP) _ Guidewire Software Inc. (GWRE) on Thursday reported a loss of $1.8 million in its fiscal third quarter. On a per-share basis, the Foster City, California-based company said it had a loss of 2 cents. Earnings, adjusted for stock option expense and amortization costs, were 16 cents per share. The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for a loss of 3 cents per share. The provider of software to the insurance industry posted revenue of $123.4 million in the period, also beating Street forecasts.
Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $104.5 million. For the current quarter ending in July, Guidewire Software expects its per-share earnings to range from 36 cents to 40 cents. The company said it expects revenue in the range of $165.8 million to $169.8 million for the fiscal fourth quarter. Analysts surveyed by Zacks had expected revenue of $181.8 million. Guidewire Software expects full-year earnings in the range of 82 cents to 86 cents per share, with revenue ranging from $499 million to $503 million. Guidewire Software shares have climbed 38 percent since the beginning of the year.
In the final minutes of trading on Thursday, shares hit $68.24, a rise of 13 percent in the last 12 months. This story was generated by Automated Insights (http: //automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on GWRE at https: //www.zacks.com/ap/GWRE Keywords: Guidewire Software, Earnings Report 2017-06-01 20:26 1.5. Foreigners applying for a visa to enter the US will now be asked to turn over their social media handles for the past five years, as well as biographical information -- including email addresses and phone numbers -- for the past 15 years.
A new questionnaire, to be filled out by visa applicants, is part of an effort by the Trump administration to make good on its vow to implement 'extreme vetting.' The questionnaire was approved last month by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), according to Reuters, which is 'required to confirm identity or conduct more rigorous national security vetting, ' according to a State Dept. The OMB said in a federal filing that it estimates 65,000 people will be affected by the social media screening process each year.
The agency added that consular officials visa applicants will have free rein to demand applicants to turn over their information who they believe may 'warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities.' Consular officers will not request user passwords, the filing said. Immigration experts and attorneys have slammed the move, suggesting that the consular's power to arbitrarily require some applicants to fill out the form without any apparent checks could lead to an abuse of power. Although the form says that providing the information is 'voluntary' and does not automatically bar the applicant receiving a US visa, the form does warn that failure to hand over the information may 'delay or prevent' the application. US border officials already ask for social media handles when passengers arrive at the border, a recent change that was criticized as 'highly invasive' by privacy and rights groups. The move comes as the Trump administration has pushed for greater scrutiny of visa applicants at US embassies abroad, where constitutional and legal protections against unreasonable searches and seizures typically don't apply. It's the latest policy in an array of measures aimed at curtailing immigration, including an executive order in late January that blocked migrants from seven majority Muslim nations, including Iraq and Syria -- an action that was quickly blocked by a federal judge.
The administration has also reportedly considered additional screening measures for overseas visitors applicants, including those in Europe, by forcing applicants to turn over their phones and their passwords. 2017-06-01 20:22 0.5. There is no such thing as too many rainbows. For LGBTQ Pride Month, Instagram is rolling out a special set of pride-flavored features, including a sticker set (Instagram has stickers now, you’ ve probably noticed) and a rainbow brush. The sticker set includes a swoopy-banged person holding a rainbow aloft, a cute trans flag/heart situation and a rainbow megaphone for when you need to metaphorically shout assorted gay things from within your Instagram story. Once you post a sticker to your story, it becomes clickable with a pop-up link to the #pride2017 Instagram hashtag and a little shoutout to the creator.
In this instance, all of the creators are LGBTQ artists, which thank goodness. The rainbow brush button now lives next to the regular drawing tools and, predictably, it creates rainbows. Did I mention you can never have too many rainbows? Instagram is also launching an international mural project where it will transform walls around the world into selfie-friendly rainbow art projects, starting with the Paul Smith wall in Los Angeles. This is the part for the necessary disclaimer about how topical product features don’ t always mean that a company (or its parent company) do the work to pursue the deeper parts of an LGBTQ-inclusive agenda, a message worth remembering as we sail swiftly into the ever-corporate seas of Pride Month. Still, rainbows are definitely better than no rainbows and visibility remains an important piece of the progress puzzle. 2017-06-01 20:08 1.3.
Microsoft's browsers last month continued their free fall, again shedding a significant amount of user share, an analytics company reported today. According to data from California-based Net Applications, the user share of Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge -- an estimate of the proportion of the world's personal computer owners who ran those browsers -- fell by nearly a full percentage point in May, ending at a combined 23.2%. May's decline was the largest since January, and could signal a resumption of the precipitous plunge IE and Edge experienced in 2016, when the browsers lost more than 22 percentage points, almost half their total share at the start of that year, and ceded the top spot to Google's Chrome. Microsoft's problem, as it has been since mid-2015, stemmed from two factors: A persistent decline in the demoted-to-legacy IE, which was expected after the launch of Windows 10, and the inability, to put it mildly, for Edge, 10's default browser, to make up the difference. The second was certainly not in Microsoft's projections. In the last 11 months, IE's share dropped by 41%, while Edge's increased by only 11%. On its own, IE has been under the 20% mark since January, and fell to a new low of 17.6% in May.
Meanwhile, Edge stayed flat for the fourth month in a row at 5.6%. All of those ingredients cooked up a debacle.
Projections of the IE + Edge combination hint at an even uglier future. IE and Edge could fall under 20% as soon as this month, and likely by no later than December, according to the 12- and three-month trends in the data.
Although Microsoft has aggressively touted Edge, the effort has not yet paid off. Last month, just 21% of all Windows 10 users ran Edge as their primary browser, down from 29% a year earlier.
Some analysts, however, expect Edge to turn toward a larger share of Windows 10 once enterprises seriously start migrating corporate PCs to the new OS, and, more importantly, when they divest themselves of the legacy web apps and intranet sites that require workers to run IE alongside a 'modern' browser, like Edge. May's biggest beneficiary was Chrome, which added four-tenths of a percentage point to its user share, reaching a record 59.4%. Computerworld 's forecast -- again using the trends in Net Applications' data -- puts Chrome over the 60% bar by August at the latest. Mozilla's Firefox, which in the first quarter of 2017 lost four-tenths of a percentage point, recouped half of that last month, climbing to 12%, its highest mark since December. Net Applications estimates user share by sniffing the browser agent strings of those who visit its clients' websites, then tallying the various browsers and operating systems. It also weights each country's data by the size of its online population to account for areas, such as China, where it lacks large numbers of analytics customers.
Microsoft last topped the browser chart in April 2016; since then, it's been one month of bad news after another as Chrome shoved aside IE and Edge, and kept shoving. 2017-06-01 20:05 1.5.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich was interviewed at Code Conference on Thursday, where he talked about his long-term vision for automobiles. He said his prediction that “the car of the future is going to look much more like a server” was a driving factor in their recent acquisition of Mobileye, the Israeli auto startup for which Intel paid more than $15 billion. Krzanich said that someday “if you get a ransomware or some kind of virus on one portion of the device, ” Intel will not only have backups, but they could “refresh your car on the fly.” While he acknowledged that there are some potential privacy concerns, Krzanich believes that connected cars will be “much safer.” “In order for those cars to drive, they do have to look, ” said Krzanich about self-driving cars. “There’s a lot of social good that can come out of this.” He hoped that automotive technology will someday help with situations like Amber Alerts, where they could locate the whereabouts of missing children.
“We’ re really trying to understand how data will be adjusted and how can you apply artificial intelligence, ” he said. Shortly after his presentation, Intel released its findings that autonomous driving will result in a $7 trillion boon to the economy by 2050. Their reasoning is that “autonomous driving and smart city technologies will enable the new passenger economy, gradually reconfiguring entire industries and inventing new ones thanks to the time and the cognitive surplus it will unlock.” These predictions were similar to Marc Andreessen’s, who proclaimed at Code Conference that self-driving cars would result in the creation of suburbs further away from cities, because the commutes will be more tolerable. Building these cities would create a lot of jobs, he surmised. 2017-06-01 19:56 0.1. Google still has plans to introduce built-in advertising filters for its Chrome web browser, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, but it’s going to be more of a quality assurance feature, akin to existing tools in Chrome that prevent pop-ups from spawning in excess, and that warn users when they might be exposed to content that could harm their devices. The report says that Google is also reaching out to publisher partners to provide clear guidelines about what these new quality filters will entail, and will also eventually offer a tool publishers can use themselves to flag ads that currently exist on their sites that will run afoul of the new blocker.
This is designed to give publishers at least half a year to prepare and prune their advertising prior to its debut in a consumer build of the browser, which is planned for sometime next year. These plans could still change, the WSJ report notes, but for now the standards for what kinds of ads Google will deem blockable by the filter include those categories covered under the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry organization (which includes Google among its membership) that released a list of offensive ads in March. Google’s tool is also said to block all ads on sites that cross a certain level of unacceptable advertising content, according to these standards. Meanwhile, the search giant is also said to be offering up a new tool referred to as “Funding Choices” which will allow publishers to display messages asking visitors to disable their own third-party ad blockers or pay up for a pass to go ad-free, should they opt to use it.
Google was said to be working on this feature back in April. The company’s decision to roll this into its own browser is likely motivated, at least in part, by a desire to put control over ad-blocking tech into its own hands, since much of that now resides by third parties, including some that collect fees from Google in exchange for whitelisting its own advertising content.
2017-06-01 19:53 1.1. Although projectors offer the benefit of creating an enormous picture, the downsides are that the image is not usually as bright as its TV counterparts, and the bulbs inside require a replacement every couple thousand hours. LG has now released its latest projector, powered by a laser that will yield up to 20,000 hours of life and produce an image with a brightness up to 2,000 lumens. The HF80JA is a smart home projector that comes in a compact size and offers a wealth of features. As mentioned previously, the unit doesn't use a traditional bulb, but instead relies on a laser that can generate up to 20,000 hours of output. The product runs webOS, which enables the device to run apps - giving it access to Netflix, Hulu Plus, and other streaming services. Although a 4K image would have been nice, the projector has a resolution of 1080p with a contrast ratio of 150,000: 1.
Lastly, the projector does offer a variety of ports like HDMI, USB, 3.5mm headphone jack, and even an Ethernet port. Those that want to keep things wireless will be happy to know that the unit does content syncing over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The HF80JA is now available from a wide variety of retailers including B&H Photo Video, Newegg, Fry's Electronics, and more. The projector will run you $1,499.99. Source: LG via The Verge 2017-06-01 19:46 1.0. XHamster, the extremely NSFW website that absolutely none of us have ever heard of, used, or visited, has partnered with a group of engineers to develop a motion sensor that would automatically minimize all of the windows on your desktop as soon as someone opens your door or walks into the room.
The proposed crowdfunded device, dubbed the “minimeyes”, would work in a fairly straightforward manner. You set it up near your wankworkstation, decide whether or not you also want it to automatically mute the audio when it minimizes all of the other windows on your desktop, and then arm the motion sensor. If the sensor picks up any movement, your porn sessions vanish, the audio turns off, and you can go about the business of pretending to have been totally engaged in work. At first, this might seem to be a stroke of genius. If you were a gamer in the 1980s, you may recall that many titles used what was then called a “Boss Key” — a keystroke used to immediately display a C: prompt or generic “business” screenshot displaying graphs or spreadsheets.
Minimeyes (I die inside every time I type that) is just a 21st century version of the same product, right? In fact, this is a spectacularly terrible idea, for reasons we’ ll discuss below. According to the campaign’s webpage, should be used when: you don’ t want your partner, your kids, your parents, your brother or sister, your teacher, your boss, your colleagues, your roommate or a perfect stranger to see or hear what you are doing on your computer or mobile device. Use it at home, in the office, in your favorite coffee place or in your dorm room. Simply aim the infrared lens in the direction you want to monitor for movement, press ‘arm’ in the minimeyes application and your privacy is protected.
(all emphasis original). Later, the campaign promises that one sensor can control multiple devices simultaneously for those moments when watching porn on just one piece of hardware isn’ t enough. Even more awkwardly, the team seems to think that porn-watching is some kind of communal group activity that the entire office engages in simultaneously.
“ [W] hen for example your boss comes in to check on his employees, all connected computers and mobile devices will react at the same time!” There are a few other flaws in this plan that I think are worth mentioning. First, there’s the fact that human beings have ears. A motion sensor that immediately minimizes all windows might keep your boss/partner/family from seeing whatever pornography you happen to be consuming, but there’s a certain suite of distinctive audio cues that accompany most forays into carnal knowledge. Even if you prefer photographs or simply remember to keep the audio turned off, there’s another problem. This isn’ t the late 1990s anymore.
Most businesses have some sort of network monitoring in place and they’ re probably going to notice when traffic to Fapulous.com (I have no idea what that domain is, so visit at your own risk) start spiking from your system. God help you if your boss / co-worker should actually approach you and want to see something in your own browser session.
Even right-clicking to open a new instance will flash the current windows already open, depending on which browsers you use. There are a great many ways this likely won’ t work, and a bare handful of ways in which it might. On the whole, it might be easier to just leave porn viewing out of the office. 2017-06-01 19:28 1.3.
The days of car thieves breaking the ignition cylinder with a screwdriver are long gone. In the computer age, even car theft has gone digital. Members of a motorcycle gang from Tijuana, Mexico have been arrested by the FBI after stealing more than 150 Jeep Wranglers by exploiting all those modern security measures that are supposed to make it harder to steal cars.
The perpetrators were part of Hooligans Motorcycle Gang sub-unit called Dirty 30. Since 2014, the gang would cross into southern California to scout the location of Jeep Wranglers. After snatching the vehicles, they were driven back over the border to be stripped for parts.
It was allegedly a remarkably well-organized scheme that resulted in the theft of vehicles worth more than $4.5 million. The gang was split up into crews, and each member of a crew had a specific role to play in the thefts. There was a leader, transporter, scout, and key cutter. Court documents allege that all the thefts were carried out in the same way.
First, a scout would find a Jeep Wrangler and surreptitiously obtain the vehicle identification number (VIN) from the dashboard or elsewhere on the body of the jeep. Next, the thief would use specially cut keys to steal the vehicle and hand it off to the transporter, whose job it was to get back across the border. You may be wondering how the thieves managed to get keys that worked with all those jeeps. The FBI claims the gang was able to gain access to a confidential database of replacement key codes for Jeep Wranglers, which is why they stole that model exclusively. Authorities claim the codes came from a Jeep dealer in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Using the VIN, the gang was able to find two codes in the database: one that allowed them to cut a physical key to start the car and the other was used to hack the car’s software. Jeep’s keys contain an authentication chip that has to be paired with the vehicle to start it. So, the replacement key would open the door, but not start the engine.
The alarm would go off at this point, but the thieves would open the hood and disable the horn first. That’s where the second database code comes in. After gaining access to the vehicle, the thief would connect a handheld diagnostic computer to the Jeep’s Onboard Diagnostics System (OBD) port. The second code allowed the thief to reprogram the vehicle to accept the new key, and it would start right up.
Police released the video above to show how the gang could steal a Jeep Wrangler in under two minutes. Jeep is reviewing its authentication code system, but authorities have also recommended it alter the hood mechanism so the horn can’ t be disabled.
2017-06-01 19:13 0.4. In today's Big Data world, applications generate huge amounts of electronic data — and these huge electronic data repositories contain valuable, precious pieces of information. It’s very difficult for a human analyst or domain expert to make an interesting discovery or find patterns that can help the decision-making process. We need to have automated processes to effectively utilize enormous, information-rich data for planning and investment decision-making.
Before data is processed, it is absolutely essential to collect the data, aggregate and transform the data, and eventually move the data to a repository on which different analytics and data mining tools can operate. One of the popular tools to carry out all these activities is Apache Flume. Such data is generally in the form of events or logs. Apache Flume has three main components: Flume is highly configurable and supports many sources, channels, serializers, and sinks.
It also supports data streaming. Flume's powerful feature is the interceptor, which supports the capability to modify/drop an event in-flight. One of the supported interceptors is regex_filter. Regex_filter interprets an event body as text and matches it against supplied regular expressions, and based on the matched pattern and expression, events are included or excluded. We are going to see regex_filter in detail. The following data is not allowed: This can be achieved by using regex_filter interceptor.
This interceptor will filter events on the basis of role, and only interested events are sent to the sink; meanwhile, other events are ignored. The HDFS sink allows data to be stored in HDFS in the format of text/sequence files. It can also store data in a compressed format.
First of all, you would require Hadoop to run the example as a sink in HDFS. If you don’ t have a Hadoop cluster, then change sink to log and then just set up Flume. Store regex_filter_flume_conf.conf in some directory and run the agent using the following command. Note that agent name is a1.
I have used Netcat as a source. Once the Flume agent starts, run the following command to send event to Flume. It’s almost done now; just provide the input text. The complete flume configuration — regex_filter_flume_conf.conf — is as follows: You can find the complete project here. 2017-06-01 19:12 0.7. Years ago I called for a black and white computer, and that strange desire still lives within me today. While no one has yet taken me up on this amazing idea, the monochrome devices that do exist have improved, yet are still frustratingly limited in their capabilities.
That’s why the reMarkable tablet is such a pleasure to me. They went full e-paper. If you’ ve been following it since the announcement late last year, you’ ll know the reMarkable is a sort of Kindle on steroids, a digital notebook that’s made to imitate as closely as possible the experience of writing on paper — but with all the advantages of modern tech. Now, I didn’ t get a hands-on with a prototype the way several other outlets did (a hazard of working in the remote Pacific Northwest), so I’ ll be waiting for the final device before I render a final opinion on whether the reMarkable accomplishes what it sets out to do. But I want to put down for the record that I’ m rooting for them.
I talked with co-founders Magnus Wanberg and Mats Solberg, CEO and chief design officer, respectively. They seemed a lot like myself: nostalgic for the undeniable qualities of paper, excited about the prospects of e-paper devices and disappointed with existing options. “In our opinion as really hardcore paper people, none of them really work, ” Wanberg said. “It’s not the same experience, not for writing, not for reading, not for sketching.” Over the last couple of years they worked to augment the capabilities of e-paper displays, tweaking this and that, improving software and trying different interaction methods. All this, it must be said, while tablet and Kindle sales weren’ t making any headlines.
I admire the determination to move forward with a project even though it isn’ t part of some accelerating trend. The lower the latency between touch and response, the more natural writing would feel. Ultimately they were able to nearly halve the latency of the latest e-paper displays, down to about 55 milliseconds — the iPad’s pen latency, for the record, is 50 ms. That’s a major accomplishment, and one that impressed E Ink enough that the two companies began working together.
And the other aspects of the tablet — its Wacom-like passive pen with tilt and pressure support, its layer support for documents (critical), its thoughtful material choice — are also welcome. But the technical achievement is secondary, I think, to the vision of a useful product that doesn’ t fit within any existing popular buckets.
The reMarkable is built from the ground up to be black and white, to handle and share documents and sketches and to be a comfortable, paper-like environment lacking the cumbrousness of Windows or the constant pushes from Amazon to buy more everything. It’s made to do several specific things well, and within the limitations of a monochrome touch display. “We wanted the product to represent the sort of limitlessness of paper, ” said Solberg. “There’s no branding, no bells and whistles or LCDs.” It isn’ t a Kindle on steroids, and it isn’ t a hipster iPad.
It’s very much its own thing, and that’s not common with new devices. The specifics of the device, how it handles and whether it’s as useful as I think it will be — those can wait until this summer, when I should have a full review of final hardware before the reMarkable ships. For now, you can learn more at the reMarkable site or pre-order one for $479. 2017-06-01 19:05 1.3. Payments startup Stripe is always on the lookout for ways it can help its users make better use of its APIs, and occasionally builds new products to solve common problems they face. A good example of that is Sigma, a new data analytics tool the company is rolling out today.
Sigma is a fully customizable SQL tool that will be available as part of all Stripe accounts. The idea behind it is to eliminate the need for Stripe customers to build their own data analytics tooling. That would usually mean building a data pipeline and data warehouse where users would pull information from Stripe before analyzing it. Instead, Sigma makes data analytics available directly in the Stripe dashboard. Companies running Stripe will have access to real-time information with no setup work or ongoing maintenance necessary. It allows anyone in a business (with permission) to now be able to write simple queries that will give them deeper insights into their business. Queries can be written in SQL, and shared or saved by users, allowing them to track how different metrics change over time.
Sigma provides a series of templates that will allow businesses to easily figure out which customers might have unpaid invoices this month, what their recurring revenue is in a certain time period or what their average revenue per user might be. “ Because Sigma is a query editor, you can express any question or query or analysis of your business data, ” Stripe co-founder Patrick Collison told me in a phone interview this week. “It has immense flexibility built right into it. Rather than providing specific reports or pre-packaged data, we’ re creating maximally flexible tools.” Collison likened the development of Sigma to its launch of Radar, a fraud prevention machine learning tool that Stripe launched last fall. In both cases, Stripe is tackling a common problem many of its users face, while taking advantage of the resources and data it has internally.
“We’ re always looking at common challenges our users are facing, ” Collison said. “With Sigma, we heard from a lot of businesses that they had various analytics needs.
We wanted to eliminate as much duplicative work across the platform and give them a flexible query interface. We believe all of these different needs and different use cases can be solved across a common set of tools.” The company is launching Sigma today at Stripe Sessions, its first-ever conference for hundreds of Stripe users. Collison said it wasn’ t exactly Dreamforce, but Sessions would be an opportunity to get some of its large and diverse user base together and get feedback from them. “Stripe has always been very developer-driven and we’ ve done very little in terms of informing people what we’ re doing instead of just publishing things on our website, ” he said. “We’ re trying to evolve how we engage with our users and we hope this will be a valuable way for them to learn more about Stripe.” 2017-06-01 19:00 0.2. Samsung is having a pretty good first half of the year with the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ selling over five million units.
It was only a short while ago that the firm was dealing with a massive headache with i ts Galaxy Note7 bursting into flames across the world. While the firm originally stated that it would dispose of the defective handsets, it later announced that it would be offering them as refurbished units in certain parts of the world. While the model name of the handset has yet to be confirmed, it appears that there might be a price for the unit, if a Korean price comparison website is accurate. According to a listing on Danawan, the refurbished handset will be priced at $625. This is a couple hundred less than when it was originally released.
Although some might gravitate towards the refurbished model, one has to wonder who would be willing to spend that much on a handset that is almost a year old. Although Samsung is currently offering its Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ globally, those waiting for a follow-up to the Galaxy Note7 will be happy to know that the firm is working on one despite the stigma associated with the Note line. While details are extremely scarce at this point, we did catch a glimpse of the alleged front glass of the handset late last month.
From the looks of it, the Galaxy Note8 will borrow some design elements from the Galaxy S8, offering thinner bezels around the display, and doing away with a physical home button. Unfortunately, Samsung has not given a timeline for the device, but hopefully, the device will arrive sooner than later. Source: Danawan via DroidHolic 2017-06-01 19:00 0.2.
Facebook shareholders have once again rejected a proposal for Facebook to prepare a gender pay equity report to assess pay between men and women across race and ethnicity. A stockholder proposal called for Facebook to prepare a report by December 2017 around the company’s policies and goals to reduce the gender pay gap. Shareholders rejected a similar proposal last year.
Facebook, whose board of directors recommended a vote against the proposal, argued that it has already been reviewing compensation fairness to ensure pay equity for years. This past April, for example, Facebook VP of People Lori Goler highlighted Facebook’s internal processes to ensure there is equal pay at the company. “Given our ongoing compensation practices and diversity efforts, and that we have previously shared that we have pay parity, our board of directors believes that the preparation of the report contemplated by this proposal is unnecessary and not beneficial to our stockholder, ” Facebook wrote in its opposing statement. However, as noted on Facebook’s annual shareholder call today by Natasha Lamb, managing partner at Arjuna Capital, a 2014 Glassdoor study found that female software engineers at Facebook make $5,949 less than their male counterparts.
Lamb went on to say that Facebook is put at a competitive disadvantage by not showing leadership in this area, noting how tech companies like Intel and Apple have conducted in-depth reports to assess pay equity. The tech industry’s gender gap is close to the U. Average (5.4 percent), and falls in the middle among industries, according to a 2016 Glassdoor study. Meanwhile, Google is currently battling it out with the Department of Labor over allegations of pay disparities between men and women.
2017-06-01 18:35 2.1. Hangfire is one of the easiest ways to perform background processing in. NET Core Applications. In this application we are going to learn how we are can integrate Hangfire with ASP. NET Core applications.
Hangfire allows you to create background tasks in. NET applications. It’s extremely easy to integrate. It allows you to kick off method calls outside of the request processing pipeline in very easy but reliable ways. You can store those jobs in on-premise SQL Servers, SQL Azure, Redis, or MSMQ.
You can find more information about Hangfire here. Hangfire also maintains its documentation at this link.
To demonstrate how we can integrate with ASP. NET Core, I’ m going to create a new ASP. NET Core application in Visual Studio 2017, like the one below. Once we've clicked on it, it will ask for the Application task we are going to select.
Choose Web Applications, as shown below. As our application is not ready, we are going to install the Hangfire nuget package in the application. Now that we have added Hangfire to our ASP. NET Core application, we need to create a SQL Server database for our Hangfire application. Here I’ m going to use a SQL Server for Job Storage, but there are various Job Storage options available as mentioned above. Now we need to add the ConnectionString function to connect our application to our database on the backend. Let’s put it on appsetting.json like below.
Now, in the startup.cs file, to configure the services method we need to integrate Hangfire, like I've shown below. Here I’ ve added Hangfire to our application and also indicated that we are going to use a SQL Server for Job Storage and provided connection strings for the same. Now Hangfire integration is easy to use. When you run it, it will automatically create tables related to Hangfire configurations and storage as shown below. Now you can easily add background tasks in any place.
You can even add recurring jobs which will run at a specific time. You can see it’s very easy to use and you can integrate Hangfire very easily. Hope you like it. Stay tuned for more! 2017-06-01 18:31 1.7.
The need for processes, both in manufacturing and IT development, which enable the release of value-packed products to customers quickly, has never been greater than it is today. Customers are demanding and must have immediate solutions. Enterprises need to win by making customers happy, but they also need to be efficient. By using the principles of LEAN, an organization can meet all of these requirements. LEAN means creating more value for customers with less—less resources, less time, less cost.
Airside Drivers Licence Test. Customer value is always the number one priority for a LEAN process-driven business. A LEAN organization is continually striving to provide the perfect product to the customer through a perfect development process with zero waste. LEAN requires doing away with functional silos and creating cross-functional teams that: This is the roadmap for implementing LEAN into product development.
Getting information early, using thin vertical slices that give data, and looping feedback throughout the cycle contribute to the elimination of waste. Establishing an environment where risk-taking is embraced instead of feared is critical in the implementation of LEAN. This sounds great, but how does an organization get there? First, it begins with product management buying into the necessary culture of LEAN. Product management must take the lead in creating a climate of risk-taking in order to produce innovative and value-driven solutions. In the beginning, the task can seem overwhelming because changing a culture is a huge endeavor. However, it can be accomplished.
Here are 3 tips for developing LEAN product management. If at least one product manager buys into the benefits of implementing LEAN as the process for the organization’s product development cycle, you are on the way. One leader who has a vision for the business can make a difference. Managers need reasons to be on board with LEAN—such as being constant learners, being efficient, and being innovative through continuous feedback. It’s often helpful to get management off-site for 2-3 days in a setting without laptops and cell phones. Begin by educating them on the basic principles of cross-functional teams, value streams, and eliminating waste.
Set the context of an uncertain world where change occurs at a rapid pace. In order to deal with this environment that can seem chaotic, LEAN requires you to: LEAN allows the organization to respond, adapt, and be innovative. Leaders need examples of how LEAN has been implemented in organizations in order to begin to see how to do so in their world. This can be accomplished through case studies and hands-on exercises. Setting up real pilot programs with separate teams is a way to get hands-on with actual projects. Additionally, establishing communities of practice with speakers and LEAN practitioners stimulates new ideas and reinforces principles. Finding actual waste in the current process is a good way to both create buy-in and continue the momentum when change may seem too difficult or interest wanes.
Waste is one of the largest reasons for increased costs and lagging deployment. Putting steps in place that eliminate waste and, therefore, reduce costs ensures that products get to market faster. Process mapping is essential in determining points that are bottlenecks and delays. Bottlenecks can be at such points as waiting, transporting, and batching.
Creating a process map with micro steps from input to output shows the waste. Go to where the work is done and “walk the floor, ” identifying the cogs. Ask questions such as: These are steps in mapping the process as it is and as it should be: Getting this information requires a lot of observation. However, the information gleaned is invaluable in implementing LEAN; thereby, improving process eliminates waste, reduces costs, and deploys faster. Mapping the process finds areas where work can be done in smaller batches, thus getting data more quickly. This results in: Using these 3 tips, LEAN product management can begin to change the culture and environment in order for processes to improve.
It’s simple, though it may not be easy. Keep in mind that, most importantly, the benefits are not only tremendous but also necessary in competing in today’s fast-paced, demanding world. 2017-06-01 18:31 0.5. Since Apple introduced the first iPad back in 2010, the product line has become a household name. In fact, it's so common that other companies seem to want to use it, such as state-controlled North Korean company Myohyang IT.
The company just announced the Ryonghung iPad, a tablet that includes a 1GHz CPU, 512MB RAM, 8GB of internal storage (16GB of external storage), and an 8-inch display. Weighing in at 250g, it promises six hours of battery life. Of course, the specs are very low-end by today's standards, but it's currently unknown what kind of apps the device will actually be able to run in a region like North Korea, which has a total of 28 websites. There might be an app for the country's Manbang service that was launched last summer, lending new meaning to the phrase 'Manbang and chill'. Apple hasn't commented on Myohyang IT's use of one of its most popular trademarks, and while the company undoubtedly isn't pleased with it, it's unclear what kind of legal action it could take against a company that's controlled by the oppressive North Korean government. Source: NK News via Engadget 2017-06-01 18:24 1.4.
Ford’s mobility play isn’ t just about new modes of using cars – GoBike, its bike sharing program, is also part of that same vision. The GoBike program is set to launch in earnest across the San Francisco Bay Area by the end of June, the company announced today, and will be available to all residents using either physical Bay Area transit Clipper cards or the Ford GoBike app.
The launch is an expansion of the Bay Area Bike Share pilot program that’s currently available in a much more limited capacity, and will see the available pool of rental bikes increase 10x from 700 to 7,000 total available bicycles, to be rolled out between now and the end of next year across 546 stations spanning Oakland, San Jose, Berkeley and Emeryville. The existing pilot will end on June 11 and service will be suspended until the grand re-launch, but current members will automatically be extended to make up for the gap.
Those who aren’ t yet members but who are enticed by the idea will be able to get “Founding Memberships” ahead of the launch; this is capped to the first 1,000 members, but includes a $124 discount on a yearly membership, and a unique Ford GoBike-branded Clipper card which will doubtless become a top collectible in time. Ford’s partnering with Motivate on its bike share program, and the latter is the one with all the bike share expertise, since it’s a bike share service provider and operator which helps run NYC’s Citi Bike, D. C.’s Capital Bikeshare and more. Ford first revealed its intent to back the growth of the Bay Area bike sharing operation last September, when it also announced its acquisition of commute-sharing startup Chariot.
2017-06-01 18:24 3.9. E-books are a lot of things. Good for the environment.
Usually cheaper than printed books. One thing they’ re rarely accused of is being good-looking.
Ugly books is what 180g is declaring war on with a completely revamped, 2.0 version of Vellum. Oh, and in the process, they’ re adding support for making wood-pulp books, too. There’s no real shortage of software that can generate e-books. Hell, if you are a particular sucker for punishment, you could probably convince Microsoft Word to gargle out something that could be turned into a giant stack of faxes, bound together and generously be called a “book.” The problem with Word and most other e-book-creation software is that they are almost universally completely hopeless. Terrible user experience, and mediocre output at best.
The problem is, it’s for e-books, so nobody really cares. Except those of us who do, that is. Vellum’s previous version has been out for a few years, and there are plenty of e-books that have been created using the software already. The biggest change for today’s 2.0 launch is that the package now supports creating books for print, too, with an integration for on-demand printing services like IngramSpark and CreateSpace. Vellum 2.0 can create print-ready files for e-books, even if you’ re not a massive print nerd (like yours truly). Taking an e-book for an outing into meatspace includes knowing about margins, trim sizes, font sizes and page numbering, and creating front matter, headers and footers and page-numbered tables of contents. You also need to do typography geekery such as widow prevention (avoiding single sentences on a page) and spread balancing.
Sounds dirty, no? Either way, Vellum takes care of all of that, plus converting images to print-ready black and white. Best of all, you can proof it all using any PDF reader — such as the Preview app. The company’s pricing scheme is interesting, with two tiers available: a $200 tier for e-books only, or a $250 tier for both electron-powered books and books: Deforestation Edition. If you want to upgrade from one tier to another, you’ ll be charged $100, so it may be worth doing a bit of planning ahead. Once you have a license you can make as many books with as many pen names for as long as you like. Vellum is only available for Mac, with no plans in the pipeline for other platforms.
A bit of a setback if you’ re a Windows or Linux jockey, but for the Mac fans among us, you’ re golden. As you can tell, I’ m a wee bit excited about Vellum. Well, if you’ ve ever had the displeasure of putting an e-book together, you’ ll have experienced the excruciating pain of making sense of any of this — it’s a huge pain in the rectum, finally resolved by an elegant piece of software that takes most of the hassle out of the process.
2017-06-01 18:21 1.2. After two versions of Twitter Kit as an SDK within the Fabric platform, Twitter has launched Twitter Kit 3 as the first standalone version of Twitter Kit. Twitter Kit 3 is available through common standards (e.g. CocoaPods, jCenter, etc.). As to be expected with a new version, the latest Twitter Kit also includes new features. An improved authorization process and the ability to create Tweets inside an integrated app headline the new features.
The new authorization process allows users to choose from all accounts they have authorized within Twitter apps. Accordingly, iOS and Android users alike can authorize an app with a native experience. Once chosen, the native interface of the account is used to request permissions.
Authorizing users through an integrated app simplifies the ability to interact with Tweets in-app. The authorization enhancement works for login authorization, but also with a user's block preferences. A new composer within version 3 allows users to create Tweets inside a third party app. This functionality allows users to share links, images, and video through Twitter within the integrated app.
Check out all of the updates within the docs. Since Twitter Kit is now a standalone SDK, Twitter is migrating maintenance to the developers site. If you have used Twitter Kit within the Fabric environment, you will need to connect your keys within the appropriate Twitter account to maintain functionality within the new app. To assist this transition, Twitter has created an account connection tool. Twitter has also published FAQs for connecting an app to Twitter accounts. Join the discussion in the community forums.
2017-06-01 18:19 0.4. Monolith Productions announced Middle-earth: Shadow of War back in February, with an August 22 release date. However, a new announcement by the developer has revealed the launch has been pushed back by a couple of months to October 10,2017.
Although specifics were not covered in the announcement, the developer said that in order to achieve optimal quality standards, it has 'made the difficult decision to move [the] launch date to ensure that Middle-earth: Shadow of War will deliver on that promise.' 'We understand that it might be disappointing to have to wait a little longer for the release and are sorry for the delay, but we are working hard to make an amazing game, ' added the statement.
The developer does promise more details regarding the open world action game at E3, which will be held in just two weeks. The game is slated to arrive for Steam, Windows 10, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, as well as Microsoft's upcoming Project Scorpio console. The game will also be a part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program, giving players access to the game on every Microsoft gaming platform when purchasing on a single one, with no additional costs.
Source: WBGames Image: Shadow of War (Steam) 2017-06-01 18:04 1.3. Oracle announced plans to invest heavily in the Kubernetes ecosystem today at CoreOS Fest. As part of its investment, the company will dedicate engineering resources to the container orchestration project in order to improve critical enterprise requirements such as scale, security and operations. “Kubernetes is one of the premier orchestration platforms for deploying distributed systems, and given its maturity and direction we believe that Oracle is well positioned to provide significant contributions, ” T. Fontaine, wrote in a post. Fontaine also explained, the company’s Kubernetes investment will help Oracle improve its own cloud services.
In addition, the company will.
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