Johnathan Owen

Johnathan Owen

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Following 21
China
Honestbee created a buzz when it launched its first brick-and-mortar store in Singapore, which is touted to have a couple of world firsts – the first checkout system that requires almost no intervention from the shopper, and the first grocery collection system that relies entirely on robots.See: Behind Honestbee’s big offline move and rapid expansion to 1,000 employeesThese features, along with many others, make it the “smartest” supermarket in Southeast Asia – though the verdict is still pending on its actual benefits to shoppers.See: Behind Honestbee’s big offline move and rapid expansion to 1,000 employees(All photos and videos by Tech in Asia.)This helps keep out shoplifters, too.
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One benefit of that is the availability of data and services almost everywhere.One disadvantage is that it can take little to bring connected devices down.That was the hard truth that PlayStation 4 owners learned over the weekend when a simple message sent through Sony’s PlayStation Network or PSN would cause the console to crash repeatedly.That exploit has reportedly now been fixed but, for some PS4 owners, the damage has already been done.A few days ago, users have reported receiving a PSN message that put the PS4 into a repeated crashing state.It was so bad that users’ only recourse was to actually factory reset their console, losing whatever data or changes they may have made.
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Millions Spent on Public Blockchains Have Yielded Few Practical Uses, Chinese Scholar Says – Yicai GlobalWhat happened: A Chinese academic has said that there are too many public blockchains in China with few useful practical applications after venture capitalists poured money into the development of the technology.Liu Xiaolei, dean of the finance department at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management, believes public chains can be equated to the internet in the 90s.Why it’s important: China is pushing for widespread use of blockchain technology including private blockchains owned by specific companies.The drive comes not only from the private sector but also from the government.The country’s “fapiaos”—tax invoices that are used by employees for reimbursement from their employers—have been added to the blockchain to mitigate fraud.
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The characters in HBO's Game of Thrones are all fighting for power in a fictional land, but series creator George R.R.Martin sees some parallels to real-world politics as well."I think even during the campaign I said that Trump reminded me most of Joffrey," Martin told the Times in an interview for T, the newspaper's style magazine.The interview will be published in print Oct. 21, and is online now.And yet, Trump doesn't seem to know what that means.King Joffrey Baratheon, played by Jack Gleeson, was the oldest son of Cersei Lannister and her twin brother Jaime, though he thought his father was the late king Robert Baratheon.
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There’s a four-year-old bug in the Secure Shell implementation known as libssh that makes it trivial for just about anyone to gain unfettered administrative control of a vulnerable server.While the authentication-bypass flaw represents a major security hole that should be patched immediately, it wasn’t immediately clear what sites or devices were vulnerable since neither the widely used OpenSSH nor Github’s implementation of libssh was affected.macOS bug lets you log in as admin with no password requiredThe vulnerability, which was introduced in libssh version 0.6 released in 2014 makes it possible to log in by presenting a server with a SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_SUCCESS message rather than the SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_REQUEST message the server was expecting, according to an advisory published Tuesday.Exploits are the hacking equivalent of a Jedi mind trick, in which an adversary uses the Force to influence or confuse weaker-minded opponents.The last time the world saw an authentication-bypass bug with such serious consequences and requiring so little effort was 11 months ago, when Apple’s macOS let people log in as admin without entering a password.
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A group of marketers has filed a complaint against Facebook alleging the company knew about discrepancies in its video metrics for more than a year before reporting them to advertisers.The new filing, based off of 80,000 pages of internal documents, claims that in September 2016 Facebook only had two engineers dedicated to fixing measurement errors.A group of small advertisers is suing Facebook and claims the social network knew about measurement miscalculations for a year before they were reported.The group dubs itself LLE One and includes Las Vegas-based social media firm Crowd Siren and Social Media Models as well as defunct startup Quirky.The group filed a lawsuit in California’s federal courts in 2016 and added a complaint Tuesday claiming that internal records suggest "Facebook’s action rises to the level of fraud."The plaintiff's case is based off roughly 80,000 pages of internal records from Facebook.
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Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla have announced a unified plan to deprecate the use of TLS 1.0 and 1.1 early in 2020.TLS (Transport Layer Security) is used to secure connections on the Web.TLS is essential to the Web, providing the ability to form connections that are confidential, authenticated, and tamper-proof.This has made it a big focus of security research, and over the years, a number of bugs that had significant security implications have been found in the protocol.Revisions have been published to address these flaws.The original TLS 1.0, heavily based on Netscape's SSL 3.0, was first published in January 1999.
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To comply with an antitrust decision by the European Union, Google no longer requires Android phone makers to give Google apps preferential treatment.Following a crackdown by regulators in Europe, Google said Tuesday ina blog post that it will no longer require EU-based mobile-device makers that use Android to accept a bundle of the company's apps.The downside for device manufacturers is that Google for the first time will now charge for many of its most popular apps.Google said that it plans to introduce a new "paid licensing agreement" for smartphones and tablets that use its software and are shipped to the European market.The blog post did not specify which Google software it would sell when the licensing program takes effect on October 29.The move marks a major change for Google, which has built a $780 billion company almost entirely by giving its products away for free and selling advertising.
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IBM CEO Ginni RomettyNeilson Barnard/GettyWall Street was not happy with IBM on Tuesday after the tech company reported third quarter revenue that fell short of expectations.IBM's revenues for the quarter were down 2% from the same quarter last year.Analysts were expecting $19.1 billion but the company brought in just $18.8 billion.Revenues for the quarter (GAAP) were $18.8 billion, down 2% from the same time last year.This is compared to analyst expectations of $19.1 billion.
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Airtable is raising $100 million in a new funding round, Business Insider has learned.The latest funding round will value the spreadsheet app company at around $1 billion.Airtable, a startup whose cloud-based spreadsheet app has skyrocketed in popularity over the past year, is closing in on a hefty new round of funding that sources say will make the company the newest entrant into Silicon Valley's unicorn club.Sources say that the six-year-old software company will be valued at around $1 billion.Benchmark, which missed out on Airtable's previous round of funding just six months ago, is among the investors putting a combined $100 million of capital into the startup.It's unclear whether or not existing investors like Caffeinated Capital, CRV, Slow Ventures, and Freestyle Ventures will participate in the new round.
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Mercedes-Benz has discovered a power-steering problem with its highly touted Sprinter vans.This has impacted Amazon, which recently became Daimler AG's biggest Sprinter buyer with an order of 20,000 Prime-branded Sprinter vans for its last-mile delivery program.Amazon had previously ordered 5,000 vans.One Amazon delivery service provider discovered the power-steering problem in about a quarter of its Mercedes-Benz vans, according to an employee of the courier company who asked to remain anonymous.Mercedes-Benz has identified a power-steering problem plaguing its highly touted Sprinter vans.This has impacted Amazon, which recently became Daimler AG's biggest buyer of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans with an order of 20,000 vehicles — up from a previous order of 5,000 vans — for its growing last-mile delivery program.
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Reed Hastings, CEO of NetflixErnesto S. Ruscio/Getty Images for NetflixWall Street is expecting big things from Netflix on Tuesday afternoon when it reports its third-quarter results.Analysts are expecting to see sharp rises in both revenue and earnings at the streaming media giant.With the company's shares largely trading sideways in recent months, investors may have more muted expectations.Here's what the Street is expecting from the company's quarterly report:In the same quarter last year, Netflix pulled in $2.98 billion in sales.
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Future smartphones might be slightly faster, might have slightly longer battery life, or maybe they'll have slightly improved cameras.Design-wise, the Pixel 3 is just about the same song-and-dance as the Pixel 2, and the Pixel 1 before it — with a few notable exceptions.The most immediately obvious design change is the coating on the back, which has a softer feel this year.I don't know any other way to describe it other than silky, and sort of pleasing.This year's model has a shiny finish along the outer edges, and it comes in slightly different colors: all black, white with an aqua power button, and a pale pink that Google is calling, for whatever reason, "Not Pink" (for what it's worth, Not Pink is easily the best color and the one I would choose).The overall size of the Pixel 3 isn't much different from the Pixel 2, and for that, I am grateful — it's the perfect size for my hand.
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The Breakthrough Prize, annual science awards sponsored by some of Silicon Valley's most recognizable names, will honor the late Stephen Hawking at its award ceremony next month.On Tuesday, the Breakthrough Prize said Pierce Brosnan will host the 7th annual ceremony, which will be held on Nov. 4.The gathering will include a tribute to Hawking, who died in March.The Breakthrough Prize awarded a Special Fundamental Physics Prize to Hawking in 2013 for his discovery that black holes emit radiation and his contributions to the understanding of quantum gravity.This year, seven prizes -- each worth $3 million -- will be awarded to outstanding scientists in life sciences, fundamental physics and mathematics.The prizes are sponsored by Sergey Brin, Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, Ma Huateng, Yuri and Julia Milner, and Anne Wojcicki.
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More than 60 Chinese employees of electric car maker Faraday Future say they have not received salaries this month and they are blaming their new boss Evergrande.Faraday Future (FF) staff in China had expected their salaries from August 20th to September 21st to be paid out on October 15th.According to an FF employee quoted by Tencent News, on the evening of the 15th, some workers inquired about their salaries in an online chat group of 500 Chinese FF workers.Half an hour later the company employee group was disbanded.Following the move, 60 FF employees formed their own group to discuss a collective application for labor arbitration.Evergrande has responded that it has not stopped salary payments, saying that the 60 employees had not signed a revised labor contract with Evergrande Faraday and that the salary payment date had changed.
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Google CEO says China search engine would serve 99 percent of queries, takes a swipe at Baidu – SCMPWhat happened: Google CEO Sundar Pichai publicly addressed the company’s plan to re-enter China with search and news products for the first time.Speaking at Wired’s 25th-anniversary summit in San Francisco, Pichai said that the company would be able to service 99 percent of all queries.He said China is an important market for the search giant given its size and took a swipe at Baidu by saying Google could compete with local players.Why it’s important: Project Dragonfly, the codename for the proposed filtered version of Google’s search engine specifically engineered for use in China, has caused protests both inside and outside the company.Google tried to suppress an internal memo written by an employee that detailed how some aspects of the service would work.
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Tired of seeing heaps of rental bikes piling up on the sidewalk and blocking traffic, the Chinese city of Foshan wants to punish inconsiderate bike riders through the local social credit system.Users of ofo, Mobike, and other bike rental platforms that park their bicycles disorderly will be blacklisted with offenders registered at the city’s public credit information management system, according to the guidelines draft published by the Foshan local government on October 15.The blacklist will be provided to the local authorities by the bike rental companies themselves in order to “promote the construction of a personal credit system,” Southern Metropolis Daily reports.The city now hosts 400,000 shared bicycles on its roads and like many Chinese cities, it has been struggling with the influx of bikes and poor parking manners since the rise of the bike rental trend.Mobike introduced an internal credit score in February which charges renters who misuse their bikes up to RMB 100 for 30 minutes of cycling.However, bike rental platforms seem reluctant to punish users over parking violations as they still compete for market share.
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Tenants one of China’s largest online renting platforms, Tencent-backed Ziroom, have found that their daily life was being monitored by unknown law-breakers.A couple who had rented a room in Beijing for nearly half a year had stumbled upon a camera hidden inside a bedside socket.The couple discovered a strange hole in the socket in September and notified the police which dismantled the socket and found a hidden camera, according to a Legal Evening News report.The camera was equipped with a 16 GB memory card which could record without interruption.Yesterday (October 15), Ziroom issued a statement that it has set up a working group to cooperate with the police.The company noted there are strict checks and system controls for all newly renovated apartments.
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Google’s internal tests developing a censored search engine in China have been very promising, CEO Sundar Pichai said on stage on Monday as part of the WIRED 25 Summit.“It turns out we'll be able to serve well over 99 percent of the queries,” that users request.What’s more, “There are many, many areas where we would provide information better than what's available,” such as searching for cancer treatments, Pichai said."Today people either get fake cancer treatments or they actually get useful information.”While onstage at the event, Pichai did not back away from Google’s controversial decision to build a censored search engine in China.In fact, he doubled down on the search engine, codenamed Project Dragonfly, saying the potential to expose the world to more information is guiding Google’s push into China.
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Making courageous moves amid a lot of uncertainty has colored the life of Christene Barberich, the global editor in chief and co-founder of Refinery29, the lifestyle-focused media company.Take, for example, an essay she wrote in 2015 about her five miscarriages.“It was incredibly terrifying, but also liberating,” Barberich recalled.“I wrote it for myself at first, and then I showed it to one of my co-editors, and said, ‘Is this crazy?But in fact, serving as City’s executive editor “was one of the most extraordinary creative experiences I’ve ever had.”Barberich—who has held posts at now-defunct Gourmet magazine, The Daily and The New Yorker—took another leap when she helped found Refinery29 in 2005.
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