Val Strefeler

Val Strefeler

Followers 10
Following 18
US
There comes a time in every hyped-up business trend’s life cycle when the noise becomes so intense it’s comical.Cryptocurrency, bitcoin, and most important, the blockchain technology that underlies them, have reached that moment.Executives in just about any industry imaginable—music, advertising, medicine, pizza delivery—are now eager to discuss how they can capitalize on “the blockchain.” (Note to execs: There are many blockchains, not just “the one.”)To these evangelists, anything can and should go on “the blockchain.” Never mind what that actually means, or whether the relevant industry has any use for a distributed ledger.And so, I jokingly suggested on Twitter that someone make a browser plug-in that adds “on the blockchain” to the end of every sentence.Friday morning, David Tran, co-founder and CTO of PR-software startup Upbeat, did just that.
US
Accompanied by a flash and a sound like thunder, the space rock entered Earth’s atmosphere northwest of Detroit on Tuesday night.Based on information from NASA, researchers are now looking for rare pieces of meteorite in the area of Hamburg Township in the southeastern part of the state.Congratulations to Robert Ward and Larry Atkins on the first two reported finds,” the American Meteor Society tweeted Thursday.The Detroit Free Press reports that Ward found three meteorites in less than four hours on a frozen lake at Hamburg Township.'POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS ASTEROID' BIGGER THAN EARTH'S TALLEST BUILDING WILL ZOOM PAST US NEXT MONTHNASA reports that the meteoroid entered Earth’s atmosphere above the southeastern part of Michigan, just to the northwest of Detroit.
US
The company announced today that it will be the exclusive destination for multiple leagues from esports federation ESL.Look out, top-down cooking videos and insane Russian dashcam clips: you may soon be competing with 360 no-scope headshots for users’ “meaningful interactions.”Starting January 23, ESL One, which features tournaments for both Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournaments, as well as ESL’s dedicated CS:GO Pro League, will broadcast through Facebook Watch, the social network’s streaming-video component.The Overwatch League—Blizzard’s ambitious challenge to conventional sports leagues—will exclusively host its broadcasts on Twitch for the league's first two years.“It’s a tremendous streaming platform, but it’s obviously a social and engagement platform.” Using Facebook’s targeting capabilities, ESL will be able to extract highlights from the broadcasts and cross-post them on the pages of individual teams.The two companies have already tested out the dynamic.
China
In December last year, Xiaomi released three budget-friendly smartphones in the Red+mi series – Xiaomi Redmi 5, Redmi 5 Plus and Redmi 5A.While the Xiaomi Redmi 5A is currently available for global use, Mi fans are still waiting for the Redmi 5 to go global.Popular leaker on Twitter @Rquandt revealed in a Tweet yesterday that the Xiaomi Redmi 5 will be released globally in the second half of February and it will come with LTE Band 20.However, he did not give the actual date of release or the countries which will first receive this device.As a reminder, the Xiaomi Redmi 5 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor.It has 2GB/3GB of RAM options and 16GB/32GB of internal storage variants.
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US
It's ginormous, it's a technological marvel and it delivers a supremely quiet and smooth ride, but the future of the Airbus A380 is in doubt just 12 years after the double-decker first took to the skies.On Monday, Airbus chief salesman John Leahy said the company would shut production of the aircraft if Emirates, the largest operator of the A380, won't commit to ordering more planes beyond the 41 aircraft it still has on order.To make the program viable, Leahy said Airbus would need to produce six A380s a year for a minimum of eight to 10 years and that Emirates is the only airline that could help it reach that goal.Over the last decade, Emirates has kept the A380 program aloft almost singlehandedly.It uses its 101 A380s to fly passengers to Dubai and then to some other destination offering up the plane's posh amenities like premium class suites and onboard showers.With room for around 544 seats, the A380 is popular with passengers, but for most airlines it's more airplane than they need (the price for each A380 starts at $437 million).
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US
Morgan Stanley is very bullish on Apple because of positive signs for iPhone sales in China.However, a report from the country Wednesday points to a discounted iPhone X as a sign of sluggish smartphone demand.Apple's iPhone X is a hit in China, Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a note distributed to clients on Wednesday.In China, Apple is able to get Android users to switch to iPhones, and is able to retain its current users when they upgrade, analyst Katy Huberty wrote, citing Morgan Stanley's proprietary AlphaWise data."We believe strength of iPhone X and discounted older model iPhones in China are most misunderstood by investors and help explain our out of consensus bullish view," the analysts wrote."Data through the 4 week period ending December 17th shows that Apple continues to gain share of the active base of smartphones in China (counter to the consensus view that Apple is losing share), capturing 21.3% market share, 250 basis points higher than their closest competitor," Huberty wrote.
US
The latest entry in Huawei’s ongoing struggles to come to the U.S. proved to be one of the more unexpected and engaging CES storylines last week.But there are still plenty of layers of this onion left to peel back.This morning, Reuters is confirming speculation that AT’s last-minute decision to pull out of a deal with the Chinese phone maker comes as U.S. lawmakers applied pressure on the carrier.According to the outlet’s sources, AT’s hand was forced when members of Congress lobbied against its plan to offer Huawei handsets through its carrier subsidy program.Lawmakers are reportedly going even further, pushing the country’s second largest carrier to cut more ties with the company.On the docket are a plan to hash out 5G network standards and a deal with Cricket, a prepaid wireless provider that was absorbed into AT back in 2013.
US
Twitter is now finished with a several week process updating rules to curb abuse on the platform — but now the platform is refuting several undercover videos by Project Veritas trying to point fingers at the network.On January 16, Twitter shared a statement on the latest video that suggests Twitter engineers access private direct messages, calling the project “deceptive.”The video in question appears to be an undercover project where Project Veritas members recorded Twitter engineers — without their knowledge — while in a bar.In the video, the Twitter employees mention a machine learning system that goes through both Tweets and direct messages, while according to the video, some staff members go through the messages flagged by the machines.The video was the third recent dig from the organization directed at Twitter, and the platform called the videos “deceptive” and “selectively edited to fit a pre-determined narrative.” In a statement on the direct message video, Twitter said, “We do not proactively review DMs.A limited number of employees have access to such information, for legitimate work purposes, and we enforce strict access protocols for those employees.”
UK
Company’s today have learned from the showmanship of the late Steve Jobs in ending a presentation with a punch.That has become true even for car shows.At the Detroit Auto Show, also known by its longer name, the North American International Auto Show, Ford already had a few cars to reveal.It may, however, just saved the best for last.No actual car was shown, of course, but Ford did show off a video revealing the upcoming Mustang Shelby GT500, poised to breach the 200 mph barrier next year.Ford describes the new GT500 as the “pinnacle of Mustang performance”.
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UK
After a long day at work it can be difficult to find cooking inspiration, instead opting for another bowl of cereal or a takeaway, which isn’t the best start for a healthy new year.But now Whirlpool have designed an app that could do all the hard work for you, taking care of everything from recipe suggestions to turning on the oven when you forget.Yummly 2.0 (the second iteration of the app) was shown at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, and has come on leaps and bounds since the first version.The app, which works on both iOS and Android, has lots of different features to help you around the kitchen, but our favourite has to be the ingredient recognition tool.Using machine learning tech, the app has been fed a database of food images, meaning when you point it at the contents of your fridge (half an onion and a bottle of ketchup) it knows what you’ve got to work with.It then files through a catalogue of two million recipes - taking into account your dietary requirements, allergies, tastes and flavour preferences that you have already told it - and giving you a dinner to cook.
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UK
A newly published study details a small dinosaur about the size of a turkey that was discovered in Australia.Named Diluvicursor pickeringi, the dinosaur was small, herbivorous, and bipedal with a very long tail.Researchers found a partial skeleton — just that long tail and some foot bones — belonging to the dinosaur fossilized in rock dating back 113 million years.The newly discovered dinosaur is an ornithopod, one that researchers say had lived in a rift valley that at one time existed between Antarctica and Australia.Rock remnants from that valley are found in southern Australia around Victoria, where they make sea cliffs and rocky platforms, according to Phys.org.The dinosaur’s tail is described as having been “extraordinarily long.” Though detailed recently in the journal PeerJ, the fossil discovery itself is not new; it was made back in 2005.
UK
While CES was ongoing half a world away, over at Korea LG revealed its plans to bring its existing LG Pay system to the US by the middle of 2018 but with a confusing name change.If and when it does, it will be directly competing with Samsung Pay in features.Samsung Pay has one advantage over its biggest competitors, Apple Pay and Google Pay, formerly Android Pay/Google Wallet.In addition to the regular NFC method, it uses Magnetic Secure Transmission or MST, a technology it acquired from LoopPay.That makes it compatible with traditional swipe-based point-of-sale terminals, making it available on more stores and outlets than any.LG Pay uses the same technology.
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UK
What side of the argument are you on?Governments want backdoor access to encrypted platforms like WhatsApp, providers insist that this capability will cause other problems.Facebook has made a new tool available via GitHub that allows users to apply encryption to their social media group chats.Named the Asynchronous Ratcheting Tree, the open source tool is designed to enhance the security of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and the Signal App among others.In the event of a security breach, the tool would work to re-establish security, instead of simply leaving the entry point open for a hacker to return to in future.Behind the tool is the Facebook Software Engineer, Johnathan Millican, who worked with computer science students from Oxford University including Cas Cremers and Katriel Cohn-Gordon.
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US
(Reuters) — Some of Intel’s data center customers, whose thousands of computers run cloud networks, are exploring using microchips from the market leader’s rivals to build new infrastructure after the discovery of security flaws affecting most chips.Intel chips back 98 percent of data center operations, according to industry consultancy IDC.Security researchers last week disclosed flaws, dubbed Meltdown and Spectre, that could allow hackers to steal passwords or encryption keys on most types of computers, phones and cloud-based servers.Microsoft said on Tuesday the patches necessary to secure the threats could have a significant performance impact on servers.Intel will help customers find the best approach in terms of security, performance and compatibility, it said in a statement on Tuesday.“For many customers, the performance element is foremost, and we are sharply focused on doing all we can to ensure that we meet their expectations.”
US
Polk Audio has announced a voice-controlled sound bar with Alexa built-in.Polk envisions the Command Bar to be at the heart of the smart home theatre that provides “rich audio” for movies and music.Polk Audio’s parent company is DEI Holdings (its sound division is known as Sound United), which also owns audio brands Definitive Technology and Marantz.Polk has previously introduced sound bars that work with Google Home while supporting 5.1 surround sound.This new Command Bar features integrated far-field microphones on top that can control volume, mute, bass, sound modes, and source selection with voice commands through Polk’s Connect Skill.There’s an HDMI port that’s designed to fit Amazon Fire TV and other HDMI streaming devices with wide form factors.
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UK
After all, is the idea of being pals with a mechanoid any weirder than Captain Kirk’s intergalactic romantic life?Could we one day be going for a drink with our robotic pals?The first challenge when it comes to forming friendships is talking and exhibiting intelligent behaviour.Since then, there is still yet to be a definitive example of an AI passing the test - though there have been numerous claims.Futurist Ray Kurzweil, who is currently working for Google on a number of technologies linked to AI, such as natural language programming, reckons computers might finally match up to humans in 2029.When we think of friendship we think of people hanging out together, going for drinks and long walks on the beach.
US
This is a $200 laptop.And take our word for it -- this computer's lowly Intel Celeron processor couldn't possibly play most modern video games.There's no discrete graphics chip, and barely enough storage (generally 32GB) to install a single title.What you just witnessed was the magic of playing a game through the internet.Today at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, Nvidia launched its GeForce Now game streaming service in beta for Windows PCs in North America and Europe, following a beta for Macs last year.(It'll become a paid service eventually, but for now it's free on an invite-only basis.)
UK
Silvercar made its name by offering a single, luxury car in a sea of frustrating rental companies, and now it’s adding a second model to its line-up.The app-controlled rental firm was acquired by Audi last year, so it should come as no surprise that joining the existing A4 on Silvercar’s books is the Audi Q5.Silvercar has been fielding requests for an SUV alongside the A4 sedan for some time now, and the company promised that there’d be good news on that front sometime in 2018.Now, it seems, we didn’t have to wait long.Initially the Q5 will be available in nine Silvercar locations, with more rolling out through July of this year.Silvercar currently operates in eighteen locations across the US, though it plans to add five new airport locations over the next six months.
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US
Last year, though, the real-world consequences of unregulated internet platforms became undeniable, from facilitating Russian interference in the presidential election to aiding foreign despots by spreading fake news to building surveillance infrastructure that monitors our daily activities to hijacking our minds with invisible persuasion techniques, to automating racist advertising and displaying content that exploits children.By contrast, the US’s focus on consumer welfare has made it harder for antitrust enforcers at the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice to pursue claims against tech giants.If watchdogs are concerned that tech companies are “occupying spaces that are hard to attack,” then expanding the type of deals that get reviewed is the obvious place to start, Shapiro told WIRED.Our life would be made easier if there are Amazon groceries,” Khanna says, but there should be other considerations beyond convenience.When it comes to tbh, analyst Ben Thompson says antitrust officials fail to appreciate the powerful network effects of allowing social networks to merge, pointing out that when Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, the FTC saw Instagram as a photo app with no revenue stream.Anant Raut, a former FTC lawyer, says reforming merger analysis should also involve paying attention to red flags that may not necessarily violate antitrust law, but nonetheless indicate anticompetitive behavior.
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US
None of the people walking around San Diego’s East Village neighborhood one recent afternoon were looking up at the streetlights (except me).And if they had, they likely wouldn’t have noticed that some of these lights were a little thicker around the middle than others, or that some lanterns topping old-style lampposts had a clear glass panel here and there.But unbeknownst to the people below, those streetlights were looking—and listening—all around them, while also monitoring temperature, humidity, and other characteristics of the air.The network’s first job will be pointing out vacant parking spots to drivers and, potentially, alerting traffic enforcement officers to illegally parked cars.Also, he says, the streetlights could easily be hooked into the city’s existing ShotSpotter network, which automatically locates the source of gunfire, increasing ShotSpotter coverage from just 10 square kilometers (about 4 square miles) to a much broader area.And they’ll be able to monitor intersections and note when traffic backs up—information that might one day be used to adjust traffic signals.
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