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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

A spider's erection, and other cool things trapped in amber – CNET

The translucent substance literally offers a window for seeing back millions of years. Here, a few of the most amazing sights the fossilized resin has sealed in time.
Source: CNET

Apple's iWork update now lets you record, edit and play audio – CNET

The office suite gets a whole bunch of new features.
Source: CNET

Huawei’s Windows 10 streaming service for Android likely not happening in U.S.

Huawei introduced a new cloud service that streams Windows 10 to specific Android smartphones. Called Huawei Cloud PC, this service requires a special Cloud PC app served up through the Huawei App Store for Android.

The post Huawei’s Windows 10 streaming service for Android likely not happening in U.S. appeared first on Digital Trends.

Source: Digital trends

3,000 journalists covering Kim-Trump this week is WTF is wrong with media

Media businesses are in the dumper. Every week, we hear of new layoffs, budget cuts, diminished editorial quality, and more, way more. And yet, somehow, miraculously, more than 3,000 journalists managed to find the funds to travel to Singapore to cover the Kim-Trump Summit Extraordinaire this week.

How many journalists got to see the summit activity? From Politico: “Most notably, the number of American journalists allowed to witness the meeting between Trump and Kim was limited to seven — a smaller group than would usually be present for such a summit, and one that excluded representatives from the major wire services” (emphasis added).

It’s a huge news story, a major historical moment in the relations between the DPRK and the United States, and one that portends massive changes in that relationship going forward. The event should be fervently covered by the global press. Yet, 3,000 seems a stupendous number of people to cover an event so scripted and managed. Journalists watched from a warehouse and even got so bored, they started interviewing each other rather than, I don’t know, a source.

I notice this same dynamic watching the keynote videos of any of the top tech companies — there are hundreds if not thousands of journalists covering these events from the audience. Exactly how you build a unique story sitting there, beats me.

In media, one of the most critical qualities of a great story is salience — how important a story is to a particular audience. Tech readers want to know everything happening at an Apple keynote, just as much as the whole world is curious about what shakes down in Singapore. It makes sense to have a density of journalists to cover these events.

The problem in my mind is the sheer duplication of work, when the increasingly precious time of journalists could be spent on finding more differentiated or unique stories that are under-reported. In Singapore, how many English-language journalists needed to be there? How many Chinese-speaking or Korean-speaking journalists? I’m not suggesting the answer in aggregate is one each, but certainly the number should be fractions of 3,000.

Journalists taking pictures of a TV screen of Kim and Trump. How is this journalism?

I have given a lot of thought to subscription models in media the past few weeks, arguing that consumers are increasingly facing a “subscription hell” and fighting against the notion that paying for content should only be the preserve of the top 1%.

Yet, if we want readers to pay for our content, it has to be a differentiated product. This makes complete sense to every participant in industries like music, or movies, or books. Musicians may cover other artists, but they almost invariably try to perform original music on their own. Ultimately, without your own sound, you have no voice and no fanbase.

Nonetheless, I feel journalists and particularly editors have to be reminded of this on a regular basis. Journalists still cling to the generalist model of our forebears, rather than becoming specialists on a beat where they can offer deeper insights and original reporting. Everyone can’t cover everything.

That’s one reason why people like Ben Thompson at Stratechery and Bill Bishop at Sinocism have grown to be so popular — they do one thing well, and don’t try to offer a bundle of content in the same old way. Instead, they have staked their brands and reputations on their deep focus. Readers can then add and subtract these subscriptions as their interests shift.

The biggest block to improving this duplication is the lack of cooperation among media companies. Syndication of content happens occasionally, such as a recent deal between Politico and the South China Morning Post to provide more China-focused coverage to the U.S.-dominated readership of Politico . Those deals though tend to take months to hash out, and are often not ephemeral enough to match the news cycle.

Imagine instead a world where specialists are covering focused beats. Kim-Trump could have been covered by people who specialize in Singaporean foreign affairs (as hosts, they had the most knowledge of what was going on), as well as North Korea watchers and U.S.-Asia foreign policy junkies. Clearinghouses for syndication (blockchain or no blockchain) could have ensured that the content from these specialists was distributed to all who had an interest in adding coverage. No generalists need apply.

This isn’t an efficiency argument for further newsroom cutbacks, but rather an argument to use the talent and time of existing journalists to trailblaze unique paths and coverage. Until the media learns that not everyone can become a North Korea or Google expert overnight, we are going to continue to see warehouses and ballrooms filled to the brim with preening writers and camera teams, while the stories that most need telling remain overlooked.

Source: TechCrunch

Reflections on E3 2018

After taking a year off, I returned to E3 this week. It’s always a fun show, in spite of the fact that the show floor has come to rival Comic-Con in terms of the mass of people the show’s organizers are able to cram into the aisles of the convention center floor.

We’ve been filing stories all week, but here is a very much incomplete collection of my thoughts on this year’s show.

Zombies are still very much a thing

I’d have thought we’d have hit peak zombie years ago, but here we are, zombies everywhere. That includes the LA Convention Center lobby, which was swarming with actors decked out as the undead. There’s something fundamentally disturbing about watching gamers get pictures taken with fake, bloody corpses. Or maybe it’s just the perfect allegory for our time.

Nintendo’s back

A slight adjustment in approach certainly played a role, as the company has embraced mobile gaming. But the key to Nintendo’s return was a refocus on what it does best: offering an innovative experience with familiar IP. Oh, and the GameCube controller Smash Bros. compatibility was a brilliant bit of fan service, even by Nintendo’s standards.

Quantity versus quality?

Microsoft’s event was a sort of video game blitzkrieg. The company showed off 50 titles, a list that included 15 exclusives. Sony, on the other hand, stuck to a handful, but presented them in much greater depth. Ultimately, I have to say I preferred the latter. Real game play footage feels like an extremely finite resource at these events.

Ultra violence in ultra high-def

Certainly not a new trend in gaming, but there’s something about watching someone bite off someone else’s face on the big screen that’s extra upsetting. Sony’s press conference was a strange sort of poetry, with some of the week’s most stunning imagery knee-deep in blood and gore.

Reedus ’n fetus

We saw more footage and somehow we understand the game less?


Indiecade is always a favorite destination at E3. It’s a nice respite from the big three’s packed booths. Interestingly, there were a lot more desktop games than I remember. You know, the real kind with physical pieces and no screens.

Death of a Tomb Raider

I played Shadow of the Tomb Raider on a PC in NVIDIA’s meeting space. It’s good, but I’m not good at it. I killed poor Lara A LOT. I can deal with that sort of thing when my character is in full Master Chief regalia or whatever, but those close-up shots of her face when I drowned her for the fifth time kind of bummed me out. Can video games help foster empathy or are we all just destined to desensitize ourselves because we have tombs to raid, damn it?

I saw the light

NVIDIA also promised me that its ray-tracing tech would be the most impressive demo I saw at E3 that day. I think they were probably right, so take that, Sonic Racing. The tech, which was first demoed at GDC, “brings real-time, cinematic-quality rendering to content creators and game developers.”

VR’s still waiting in the wings

At E3 two years ago, gaming felt like an industry on the cusp of a VR breakthrough. In 2018, however, it doesn’t feel any closer. There were a handful of compelling new VR experiences at the event, but it felt like many of the peripheral and other experiences were sitting on the fringes of the event — both literally and metaphorically — waiting for a crack at the big show.

Remote Control

Sony’s Control trailer was the highest ratio of excitement to actual information I experienced. Maybe it’s Inception the video game or the second coming of Quantum Break. I dunno, looks fun.

AR’s a thing, but not, like, an E3 thing

We saw a few interesting examples of this, including the weirdly wonderful TendAR, which requires you to make a bunch of faces so a fake fish doesn’t die. It’s kind of like version of Seaman that feeds on your own psychic energy. At the end of the day, though, E3 isn’t a mobile show.


Having said that, there are some interesting examples of cross-platform potential popping up here and there. The $50 Poké Ball Plus for the Switch is a good example I’m surprised hasn’t been talked about more. Along with controlling the new Switch titles, it can be used to capture Pokémon via Pokémon GO. There’s some good brand synergy right there. And then, of course, there’s Fortnite, which is also on the Switch. The game’s battle royale mode is a great example of how cross-platform play can lead to massive success. Though by all accounts, Sony doesn’t really want to play ball.


Oh, Epic Games has more money than God now.

Moebius strip

Video games are art. You knew that already, blah, blah, blah. But Sable looks like a freaking Moebius comic come to life. I worry that it will be about as playable as Dragon’s Lair, but even that trailer is a remarkable thing.

Source: TechCrunch

Samsung announces a push for renewable energy

Samsung has announced that it will use 100 percent renewable energy for all its factories and offices in the U.S., Europe and China. This is the first time Samsung has announced a public commitment for renewable energy.

Greenpeace and environmental activists have been calling out Samsung for months as many tech companies have already started switching to renewable energy.

Samsung is starting by the parts of its organization that it can control more easily — its own buildings, factories and offices. According to Greenpeace’s press release, 17 of its 38 buildings are based in the U.S., Europe and China.

“Samsung Electronics is the first electronics manufacturing company in Asia to set a renewable energy target. This commitment could have an enormous impact in reducing the company’s massive global manufacturing footprint, and shows how critical industry participation is in reducing emissions and accelerating the transition to renewable energy. More companies should follow suit and set renewable energy targets, and governments should promote policies that enable companies to procure renewable energy easily,” Greenpeace campaigner Insung Lee said in the press release.

It won’t happen overnight. But these buildings will run on renewable energy by 2020. Samsung says that it could increase its use of renewable energy in other countries. In addition to that, Samsung is going to install solar panels in Gyeonggi province in South Korea.

Like many tech companies, Samsung also works with thousands of suppliers. So it’s not enough to use renewable energy for your own facilities. Samsung is starting small on this front and partnering with the Carbon Disclosure Project Supply Chain Program.

First, the company wants to identify the energy needs of its top 100 suppliers and help them move to renewable energy. This is a multi-year project, and it’s going to be important to regularly track Samsung’s progress on this front.

But it’s also good to see one of the biggest consumer electronics company in the world making strong commitments.

Source: TechCrunch

SwiftKey integration on latest Insider build makes it easier to type on glass

Microsoft is testing SwiftKey keyboard integration in the latest Insider Preview before making it available for all Windows 10 users. Windows Insiders can download build 17692 to begin swiping in Windows 10’s on-screen keyboard.

The post SwiftKey integration on latest Insider build makes it easier to type on glass appeared first on Digital Trends.

Source: Digital trends

Get your ticket to the TechCrunch Summer Party at August Capital

We’re sentimental softies when it comes to tradition, and one of our favorites is the TechCrunch Summer Party at August Capital. This marks the thirteenth year of this Silicon Valley soiree, and we’d love to see you there. Tickets are released in batches, and the first round is available now on a first-come, first-served basis. They always sell out quickly, so buy your ticket today.

The Summer Party is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy an evening of cocktails and conversation — and to celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship with your peers on the patio and grounds of August Capital in Menlo Park. Of course, every TechCrunch party holds the potential for networking magic. You never know when you might meet the perfect future investor, acquirer, partner or co-founder.

One legendary example: Our founder, Michael Arrington, used to hold these TechCrunch parties in his Atherton backyard, and it’s where Box founders Aaron Levie and Dylan Smith met one of their first investors, DFJ. Who knows? Come to the party and you just might start your own legend.

Here are the pertinent Summer Party details:

  • July 27, 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • August Capital in Menlo Park
  • Ticket price: $95

Are you an early-stage startup?
Get a Summer Party demo table and showcase your early-stage startup at this legendary event. Each demo table comes with four (4) attendee tickets. Learn more about demo tables here.

Come for the food, come for the drink, come for the magic. Or hey, come for the door prizes, including TechCrunch swag, Amazon Echos and tickets to Disrupt San Francisco 2018.

The first batch of TechCrunch Summer Party at August Capital tickets are available now, and you can buy yours today. We hope to see you there!

Source: TechCrunch

SEC says Ether isn’t a security, but tokens based on Ether can be

“In cases where there is no… central enterprise being invested in or where the digital asset is sold only to be used to purchase a good or service available through the network on which it was created,” that digital asset is “out of the purview of U.S. securities laws”, according to William Hinman, the director of the division of corporation finance at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

This (edited) statement from Hinman at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit: Crypto will likely be seen as the starting gun on a crypto free-for-all in the United States.

Hinman’s comments were certainly a positive signal to the market. They sent the price of Ether spiking from $469 to $516 over the course of the past hour.

While the markets may view this as an unadulterated victory for cryptocurrencies of all stripes, the Securities and Exchange Commission simply looks to be expanding on the fairly nuanced position it’s established with coin offerings and token sales.

Earlier this month SEC Chair Jay Clayton made a similar statement about Bitcoin and its place in the regulatory firmament.

For the SEC, while cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether are not securities, token offerings for stakes in companies that are built off of those blockchains can be, depending on the extent to which third parties are involved in the creation or exchange of value around the assets. 

The key for the SEC is whether the token in question is being used simply for the exchange of a good or service through a distributed ledger platform, or whether the value of the cryptocurrency is dependent on the actions of a third party for it to rise in value.

“Promoters, in order to raise money to develop networks on which digital assets will operate, often sell the tokens or coins rather than sell shares, issue notes or obtain bank financing. But, in many cases, the economic substance is the same as a conventional securities offering. Funds are raised with the expectation that the promoters will build their system and investors can earn a return on the instrument — usually by selling their tokens in the secondary market once the promoters create something of value with the proceeds and the value of the digital enterprise increases,” Hinman said.

This was at the core of a 1946 case which was decided by the Supreme Court and set a standard for the SEC’s authority to oversee certain types of securities issues. That case, SEC v. Howey involved the sale of interests in orange groves to guests of a hotel. The guests could have cultivated their plots of land but instead relied on a service managed by the hotel to create value from the oranges (this is a very rough paraphrase of the facts of the case).

“Just as in the Howey case, tokens and coins are often touted as assets that have a use in their own right, coupled with a promise that the assets will be cultivated in a way that will cause them to grow in value, to be sold later at a profit. And, as in Howey — where interests in the groves were sold to hotel guests, not farmers — tokens and coins typically are sold to a wide audience rather than to persons who are likely to use them on the network,” said Hinman.

Before a network is actually created and as the tokens are marketed to investors rather than users of the token, they’re going to look an awful lot like securities to the SEC.

“The token — or coin or whatever the digital information packet is called — all by itself is not a security, just as the orange groves in Howey were not. Central to determining whether a security is being sold is how it is being sold and the reasonable expectations of purchasers,” Hinman continued.

“The digital asset itself is simply code. But the way it is sold — as part of an investment; to non-users; by promoters to develop the enterprise — can be, and, in that context, most often is, a security — because it evidences an investment contract. And regulating these transactions as securities transactions makes sense.”

Ultimately if the coin offering is successful, and the operations of the network become wholly decentralized, then the SEC will cease to regulate the entity as a security, says Hinman.

“If the network on which the token or coin is to function is sufficiently decentralized — where purchasers would no longer reasonably expect a person or group to carry out essential managerial or entrepreneurial efforts —  the assets may not represent an investment contract. Moreover, when the efforts of the third party are no longer a key factor for determining the enterprise’s success, material information asymmetries recede. As a network becomes truly decentralized, the ability to identify an issuer or promoter to make the requisite disclosures becomes difficult, and less meaningful.”

For Hinman, Bitcoin and Ethereum have both hit that tipping point. Other coin offerings haven’t.

“Promoters and other market participants need to understand whether transactions in a particular digital asset involve the sale of a security. We are happy to help promoters and their counsel work through these issues. We stand prepared to provide more formal interpretive or no-action guidance about the proper characterization of a digital asset in a proposed use,” said Hinman.

Below are a list of queries that the SEC regulator enumerated to help determine whether an offering is a security or a utility token.

  1. Is there a person or group that has sponsored or promoted the creation and sale of the digital asset, the efforts of whom play a significant role in the development and maintenance of the asset and its potential increase in value?
  2. Has this person or group retained a stake or other interest in the digital asset such that it would be motivated to expend efforts to cause an increase in value in the digital asset? Would purchasers reasonably believe such efforts will be undertaken and may result in a return on their investment in the digital asset?
  3. Has the promoter raised an amount of funds in excess of what may be needed to establish a functional network, and, if so, has it indicated how those funds may be used to support the value of the tokens or to increase the value of the enterprise? Does the promoter continue to expend funds from proceeds or operations to enhance the functionality and/or value of the system within which the tokens operate?
  4. Are purchasers “investing,” that is seeking a return? In that regard, is the instrument marketed and sold to the general public instead of to potential users of the network for a price that reasonably correlates with the market value of the good or service in the network?
  5. Does application of the Securities Act protections make sense? Is there a person or entity others are relying on that plays a key role in the profit-making of the enterprise such that disclosure of their activities and plans would be important to investors? Do informational asymmetries exist between the promoters and potential purchasers/investors in the digital asset?
  6. Do persons or entities other than the promoter exercise governance rights or meaningful influence?

And here’s another set of questions that founders and potential coin offerings should consider?

  1. Is token creation commensurate with meeting the needs of users or, rather, with feeding speculation
  2. Are independent actors setting the price or is the promoter supporting the secondary market for the asset or otherwise influencing trading?
  3. Is it clear that the primary motivation for purchasing the digital asset is for personal use or consumption, as compared to investment? Have purchasers made representations as to their consumptive, as opposed to their investment, intent? Are the tokens available in increments that correlate with a consumptive versus investment intent?
  4. Are the tokens distributed in ways to meet users’ needs? For example, can the tokens be held or transferred only in amounts that correspond to a purchaser’s expected use? Are there built-in incentives that compel using the tokens promptly on the network, such as having the tokens degrade in value over time, or can the tokens be held for extended periods for investment?
  5. Is the asset marketed and distributed to potential users or the general public?
  6. Are the assets dispersed across a diverse user base or concentrated in the hands of a few that can exert influence over the application?
  7. Is the application fully functioning or in early stages of development?

Source: TechCrunch

Folding ‘Andromeda’ device could be Microsoft’s iPhone moment

Microsoft’s Andromeda device could be announced later this year. A patent filing made public today illustrates not only how it could look, but also how it could work — and how it could fit into your life.

The post Folding ‘Andromeda’ device could be Microsoft’s iPhone moment appeared first on Digital Trends.

Source: Digital trends