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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Diver in Thai cave rescue considers legal action after Elon Musk 'pedo' tweet – CNET

Tweet comes after diver accuses billionaire of engaging in a “PR stunt.”
Source: CNET

Best Amazon Prime Day 2018 audio deals: All Echo speakers on sale now, Bose discounts soon – CNET

Prime Day kicks off with awesome deals on Sennheiser wireless headphones, Bose headphones and speakers. And every Echo speaker is on sale, too.
Source: CNET

Australia discovers a new venomous snake, but it's in danger – CNET

Scientists hope this bandy-bandy snake won’t be lost to hisstory.
Source: CNET

Klang gets $8.95M for an MMO sim sitting atop Improbable’s dev platform

Berlin-based games studio Klang, which is building a massive multiplayer online simulation called Seed utilizing Improbable’s virtual world builder platform, has just bagged $8.95M in Series A funding to support development of the forthcoming title.

The funding is led by veteran European VC firm Northzone. It follows a seed raise for Seed, finalized in March 2018, and led by Makers Fund, with participation by firstminute capital, Neoteny, Mosaic Ventures, and Novator — bringing the total funding raised for the project to $13.95M.

The studio was founded in 2013, and originally based in Reykjavík, Iceland, before relocating to Berlin. Klang’s original backers include Greylock Partners, Joi Ito, and David Helgason, as well as original investors London Venture Partners.

The latest tranche of funding will be used to expand its dev team and for continued production on Seed which is in pre-alpha at this stage — with no release date announced yet.

Nor is there a confirmed pricing model. We understand the team is looking at a variety of ideas at this stage, such as tying the pricing to the costs of simulating the entities.

They have released the below teaser showing the pre-alpha build of the game — which is described as a persistent simulation where players are tasked with colonizing an alien planet, managing multiple characters in real-time and interacting with characters managed by other human players they encounter in the game space.

The persistent element refers to the game engine maintaining character activity after the player has logged off — supporting an unbroken simulation.

Klang touts its founders’ three decades of combined experience working on MMOs EVE Online and Dust 514, and now being rolled into designing and developing the large, player-driven world they’re building with Seed.

Meanwhile London-based Improbable bagged a whopping $502M for its virtual world builder SpatialOS just over a year ago. The dev platform lets developers design and build massively detailed environments — to offer what it bills as a new form of simulation on a massive scale — doing this by utilizing distributed cloud computing infrastructure and machine learning technology to run a swarm of hundreds of game engines so it can support a more expansive virtual world vs software running off of a single engine or server.

Northzone partner Paul Murphy, who is leading the investment in Klang, told us: “It is unusual to raise for a specific title, and we are for all intents and purposes investing in Klang as a studio. We are very excited about the team and the creative potential of the studio. But our investment thesis is based on looking for something that really stands out and is wildly ambitious over and above everything else that’s out there. That is how we feel about the potential of Seed as a simulation.”


Source: TechCrunch

Best Prime Day 2018 Deals: Echo, Kindle, Fire, Cloud Cam

Fire HD Tablets, Fire TVs, Kindles, Cloud Cams, Echo speakers, and more are as cheap as they’ll get for Prime Day.
Source: Wired

Star Wars News: Look Out for Billy Dee Williams in 'Star Wars: Episode IX'

The actor has reportedly signed on to join J.J. Abrams’ next ‘Star Wars’ movie.
Source: Wired

How Is a Runner Like a Bouncing Ball?

You can make a physics model that teaches you tons about running.
Source: Wired

Roku TV Wireless Speakers: Price, Specs, and Release Date

Roku’s new $199 wireless speakers are matched with an optional wireless button you place in another room and use as a voice remote.
Source: Wired

PayPal leads $50M round for cross-border payment specialist PPRO

As payments companies continue to look to the long tail of global markets to expand their businesses, a startup that helps them do business in disparate economies is getting a strategic investment from one of payment world leaders. PayPal is leading a $50 million investment into PPRO, a London-based business that is focused on cross-border payments for merchants, specifically by offering the merchants a seamless way of accepting payments from customers using whatever the most popular payment form happens to be in a particular country. To date, the PPRO platform covers some 140 payment methods, and the plan will be to add more countries, and more payments, into the mix.

The round also includes participation from new investor Citi Ventures and previous investor HPE Growth Capital PPRO is not disclosing its valuation but Simon Black, its CEO, said that it’s definitely up on its previous funding and described it as a “minority investment” in the company. Interestingly, PPRO has raised only around $10.6 million since its founding in 2006; it is already profitable; it has around 200 employees; and it competes with the likes of Adyen, which recently went public at a valuation of over $8 billion — to give you an idea of the opportunity and value of the company.

The challenge that PPRO — pronounced “pea-pro” — is addressing is an interesting and complicated one. While the growth in e-commerce has been a global phenomenon, like a plant, it has grown differently and adapted to each market depending on local conditions. In the case of payments, that has meant a disparate range of payment methods that are standard in some countries, but not others.

While credit cards or debit cards, for example, are very standard in the US and UK, in Japan, a lot of people pay for items purchased online by cash on delivery, or at convenience stores. In the Netherlands, there is a system called iDEAL that routes payments directly through your bank account. And so on.

For a merchant that is based in one country but interested in selling to people in another, this can pose a problem, if it doesn’t accept whatever the local payment method happens to be.

That’s where a company like PPRO comes in. It essentially creates an interface for the merchant to be able to select acceptance using a variety of methods, with the idea being that PPRO will provide access to whatever happens to be the most common methods in a particular geography. It’s a kind of service that would be too timely, and not the core competency, for a merchant to resolve by itself, and if anything continues to become more complex as e-commerce continues to become more ubiquitous.

“There has been a real change in the last three to five years,” Black said of the rise in transactions, which have been fuelled by smartphones and a much bigger population of people doing more of their buying and transacting through them. “Alternative payments are here to say, and the growth seems to be going a lot faster.” In fact, PPRO estimates that these days, credit cards account for less than 20 percent of all online transactions globally.

PayPal has an obvious agenda in hoping that its platform becomes to default for any transaction, and that is a big part of its strategic interest in PPRO, to provide PayPal as an option in the mix of payment acceptance methods wherever its 20 million+ merchants happen to be doing business. The other is to make sure that within PayPal itself, that users can integrate whatever their preferred payment method is into their PayPal wallets. (So in the UK I can link up my debit card, but in the Netherlands a resident there can link up its iDEAL account to top up their PayPal wallet.)

“A merchant’s choice of payments partner is increasingly being driven by the ever-expanding range of locally relevant payment methods available,” said Arnold Goldberg, vice president of merchant product and technology, PayPal, in a statement. “PayPal is pleased to support PPRO as the company continues to grow.”

The two have already kicked off a commercial deal to integrate a “wide range of payment options for our merchants,” he added, as part of the new PayPal Checkout with Smart Payment Button, which also integrates Braintree. “This is yet another way we are positioning ourselves to be the one-stop solution for global digital commerce.”

The other side of PPRO’s business is in issuing physical or virtual Visa and Mastercard prepaid cards to consumers under the VIABUY brand as well as a white-label offering. It’s this part that might have particularly interested Citi, which has a giant credit card business — although it’s one that PayPal can also potentially tap down the line as it expands in more markets outside of its home base in the US and stronghold in Europe.

“Technology is revolutionizing how consumers and businesses make and accept payments, and PPRO is on the leading edge of meeting those needs,” said Luis Valdich, Managing Director, Citi Ventures. “Citi Ventures is delighted to invest in PPRO, which enables businesses to collect funds from alternative payments schemes globally and more and more consumers to join the digital economy.”


Source: TechCrunch

This drive-thru supermarket is crazy video – CNET

A Turkish architecture firm has released its concept for a drive-thru supermarket.
Source: CNET

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