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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

iPhone XR goes on sale around the world with a pop of color video – CNET

Crowds were down this year, but Apple is still hoping for a steady stream of orders for its colorful (and lower-priced) iPhone XR.
Source: CNET

iPhone XR goes on sale around the world, but fans stay home – CNET

The iPhone XR might have been dubbed the best value iPhone in years, but shoppers weren’t giving it the usual show of love.
Source: CNET

Toyota is considering resurrecting the MR2, report says – Roadshow

With Toyota’s newly reinvigorated interest in speed, resurrecting the midengined missile of the ’80s and ’90s seems likelier than ever.
Source: CNET

Mazda adds 156,000 more cars to Takata airbag recall – Roadshow

Passenger-side airbag inflators can explode, sending shrapnel into the car.
Source: CNET

Google financial results mixed, but Wall Street disappointed – CNET

Alphabet’s quarterly revenue misses expectations and its growth rate slows even as profit soars.
Source: CNET

Quizlet hits 50M monthly users

Most students in the U.S. have used or at least heard of Quizlet, the website for creating digital flashcards.

The company leverages machine learning to predict in which areas its users need the most help and provides 300 million user-generated study decks, maps, charts and other tools for learning.

Roughly eight months after closing a $20 million financing, Quizlet chief executive officer Matthew Glotzbach has disclosed some notable feats for the emerging edtech: it’s reached 50 million monthly active users, up from 30 million one year ago, and though it’s not profitable yet, its revenue is growing 100 percent YoY.

As a result of its recent growth, the company is opening its first office outside of Silicon Valley, in Denver.

“We by no means feel like our work is done; 50 million is a very small fraction of the 1.4 billion students on the planet,” Glotzbach told TechCrunch. “Our focus is growing the platform. If we continue to be successful in that mission, we will be the largest study and learning brand.”

The company has been around for a while. Founded in 2005 by then 15-year-old Andrew Sutherland, Quizlet was fully bootstrapped until 2015.

Its growth really began when Glotzbach, a seasoned executive most recently at YouTube, took the reigns in 2016. The $20 million round earlier this year, its largest yet, has allowed the company to blossom, too. Led by Icon Ventures, with participation from Union Square Ventures, Costanoa Ventures and others, it brought Quizlet’s total raised to just over $30 million.

Part of its growth, according to Glotzbach, has to do with its recent focus on its international users. The site has always been accessible around the world, but not until late 2016 did Quizlet begin offering the tool in other languages. Today, it’s available in more than 15 languages, a number the company is actively working to expand.

Newly added capabilities have also contributed to recent spikes in MAUs. Students can now access diagram-based content, which is helpful for STEM subjects, an area the company has historically been less helpful with.

Quizlet operates a freemium model but has three subscription products for power users. At $12 per year, Quizlet Go has no ads and provides an offline studying option on mobile. Quizlet Plus, at $20 per year, also provides an ad-free study experience, as well as image uploading and voice recording capabilities. Finally, Quizlet for Teachers offers educators a $35 per year option that lets them create their own decks for students and access to additional data, analytics and reporting.


Source: TechCrunch

Snapchat's users keep slipping away – CNET

Snapchat reported third-quarter earnings Thursday and said it’s user base continues to shrink, raising concerns about its future.
Source: CNET

Two hackers behind 2016 Uber data breach have been indicted for another hack

Two hackers who stole millions of users’ data from ride-hailing firm Uber have been indicted on separate hacking charges related to a data breach at online learning portal Lynda, two people familiar with the case have told TechCrunch.

Vasile Mereacre, a Canadian citizen living in Toronto, and Brandon Glover, a Florida resident, were indicted earlier this month in Florida on federal hacking and extortion charges for stealing data on 55,000 Lynda users’ accounts.

According to the recently unsealed indictment, the FBI was considering extraditing Mereacre from Canada, but federal agents later learned that he was planning to fly to Miami on October 16. Mereacre was arrested by FBI agents once he landed, and made his initial appearance in court — at which the indictment was unsealed.

The indictment accuses the two alleged hackers of obtaining tens of thousands of Lynda user accounts from a company-owned Amazon web server. Prosecutors accused the two of “exerting control over the accounts as a means to obtain money from LinkedIn.” Using a burner Protonmail email account, the two emailed LinkedIn and HackerOne, a bug bounty program used by Lynda, to disclose the breach.

“I was able to access backups upon backups,” one of the defendants wrote in their email. They also claimed to have usernames, passwords, payment data and backend code.

When an unnamed LinkedIn executive emailed back inviting the alleged hackers to its HackerOne bug bounty program, they said to “keep in mind, we expect a big payment as this was hard work for us.”

The two were released on a bond, and on condition that they are not permitted to use the internet. The case is now being heard in a California court.

The accusations are nearly identical to the circumstances around Uber’s breach, just months earlier.

Uber disclosed the breach of 57 million worldwide users — including 4.1 million drivers — almost a year later. The company was accused of covering up the breach, after two former senior Uber executives — since fired — paid the two hackers $100,000 through its bug bounty to destroy the data that they obtained but without notifying customers or regulators.

Little was known about the hackers until Uber’s chief information security officer John Flynn told lawmakers at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing in February that the two hackers were from Florida and Canada.

Uber declined to comment.

The hackers gained access to an Amazon web server, owned by Uber, using credentials that were mistakenly left in a GitHub repository by an Uber engineer. According to an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, the hackers downloaded more than a dozen files — including a backup file — containing Uber customer data. It’s not known what was said in the disclosure to Uber, but the FTC claimed the hackers were “demanding” a six-figure payout.

The breach was one of several scandals to plague the ridesharing company and the eventual departure of founder Travis Kalanick from the company.

Since the breach, Uber agreed to 20 years of privacy audits in a settlement with the FTC. The company was later ordered to pay $148 million in its breach settlement.

A spokesperson for the Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Glover’s public defender Michael Ryan. Mereacre’s attorney, Christopher Lyons, declined to comment. HackerOne did not comment.

LinkedIn spokesperson Mary-Katharine Juric said: “We appreciate the ongoing work by the FBI to pursue those believed responsible for the 2016 breach of Lynda user information. We will continue to engage with law enforcement as this case develops.”

Parts of Glover’s docket appear to have been withheld. Mereacre will appear in court on November 8.


Source: TechCrunch

Google, Amazon lead a disappointing day in tech earnings – CNET

Snap took a beating too, while Twitter actually made lower user numbers seem like a good thing.
Source: CNET

Inspired by spiders and wasps, these tiny drones pull 40x their own weight

If we want drones to do our dirty work for us, they’re going to need to get pretty good at hauling stuff around. But due to the pesky yet unavoidable restraints of physics, it’s hard for them to muster the forces necessary to do so while airborne — so these drones brace themselves against the ground to get the requisite torque.

The drones, created by engineers at Stanford and Switzerland’s EPFL, were inspired by wasps and spiders that need to drag prey from place to place but can’t actually lift it, so they drag it instead. Grippy feet and strong threads or jaws let them pull objects many times their weight along the ground, just as you might slide a dresser along rather than pick it up and put it down again. So I guess it could have also just been inspired by that.

Whatever the inspiration, these “FlyCroTugs” (a combination of flying, micro and tug presumably) act like ordinary tiny drones while in the air, able to move freely about and land wherever they need to. But they’re equipped with three critical components: an anchor to attach to objects, a winch to pull on that anchor and sticky feet to provide sure grip while doing so.

“By combining the aerodynamic forces of our vehicle and the interactive forces generated by the attachment mechanisms, we were able to come up with something that is very mobile, very strong and very small,” said Stanford grad student Matthew Estrada, lead author of the paper published in Science Robotics.

The idea is that one or several of these ~100-gram drones could attach their anchors to something they need to move, be it a lever or a piece of trash. Then they take off and land nearby, spooling out thread as they do so. Once they’re back on terra firma they activate their winches, pulling the object along the ground — or up over obstacles that would have been impossible to navigate with tiny wheels or feet.

Using this technique — assuming they can get a solid grip on whatever surface they land on — the drones are capable of moving objects 40 times their weight — for a 100-gram drone like that shown, that would be about 4 kilograms, or nearly 9 pounds. Not quickly, but that may not always be a necessity. What if a handful of these things flew around the house when you were gone, picking up bits of trash or moving mail into piles? They would have hours to do it.

As you can see in the video below, they can even team up to do things like open doors.

“People tend to think of drones as machines that fly and observe the world,” said co-author of the paper, EPFL’s Dario Floreano, in a news release. “But flying insects do many other things, such as walking, climbing, grasping and building. Social insects can even work together and combine their strength. Through our research, we show that small drones are capable of anchoring themselves to surfaces around them and cooperating with fellow drones. This enables them to perform tasks typically assigned to humanoid robots or much larger machines.”

Unless you’re prepared to wait for humanoid robots to take on tasks like this (and it may be a decade or two), you may have to settle for drone swarms in the meantime.


Source: TechCrunch

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