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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

¿Sabe cómo declarar sus ganancias en criptomonedas a Hacienda?

¿Cuál es el método oficial para calcular su valor? ¿En qué momento es necesario pagar por los rendimientos del capital obtenidos? Si no lo sabe, no se preocupe, no es el único. En EE. UU., 21 congresistas han firmado una carta para que su organismo tributario aclare las cosas
Source: MIT

Tesla plans to launch a robotaxi network in 2020

Tesla expects to launch the first robotaxis as part of broader vision for an autonomous ride-sharing network in 2020, CEO Elon Musk said during the company’s Autonomy Day.

“I feel very confident predicting that there will be autonomous robotaxis from Tesla next year — not in all jurisdictions because we won’t have regulatory approval everywhere” Musk said without detailing what regulations he was referring to. He added that he is confident the company will have regulatory approval somewhere next year.

Tesla will enable owners to add their properly equipped vehicles to its own ride-sharing app, which will have a similar business model to Uber or Airbnb . Tesla will take 25 percent to 30 percent of the revenue from those rides, Musk said. In places where there aren’t enough people to share their cars, Tesla would provide a dedicated fleet of robotaxis.

Musk has talked about the Tesla Network and ambitions to allow owners to place their vehicles on the ride-hailing app since 2016.

All new Tesla vehicles are now produced with its custom full self-driving computer chip, a detail that Musk revealed during the event Monday. That chip fulfills the hardware requirements for full self-driving, according to Musk, who boasted that it was the best in the world. (Tesla vehicles are equipped with a suite of sensors such as forward-facing radar and cameras. It does not have lidar, or light detection and ranging radar, a sensor that most AV developers say is critical, but that Musk argues is a fool’s errand and “doomed.”)

The remaining step is the software, which Musk says will be “feature complete” and at a reliability level that we would consider that no one needs to pay attention, by the middle of next year.

“From our standpoint, if you fast forward a year, maybe a year and three months, but next year for sure, we’ll have over a million robotaxis on the road,” Musk said. “The fleet wakes up with an over the air update; that’s all it takes.”

Musk also noted at numerous times that the full self-driving and the robotaxi fleet will require regulatory approval. However, he didn’t explain what kinds of regulatory approval is needed. The federal government does not have any laws regulating autonomous vehicles. There are only voluntary guidelines. And if the vehicles are not altered in any way on the hardware side — such as removing the steering wheel or pedals, for instance — it’s unclear how the federal government could limit Tesla.

Musk could be referring to local and state laws that regulate ride-hailing networks. Again, it’s unclear and we’ll update the story if Tesla provides new information.

Recharging the Tesla robotaxis is one of few challenges that the company will face as it prepares to deploy.

Musk noted that he sees a future where the robotaxis would return home and automatically park and recharge. While he stopped short of confirming a production version of the snake charger Tesla unveiled in 2015, it was clear that Tesla sees a similar version coming to market alongside the robotaxi network.

Source: TechCrunch

Tesla vaunts creation of ‘the best chip in the world’ for self-driving

At its “Autonomy Day” today, Tesla detailed the new custom chip that will be running the self-driving software in its vehicles. Elon Musk rather peremptorily called it “the best chip in the world…objectively.” That might be a stretch, but it certainly should get the job done.

Called for now the “full self-driving computer,” or FSD Computer, it is a high-performance, special-purpose chip built (by Samsung, in Texas) solely with autonomy and safety in mind. Whether and how it actually outperforms its competitors is not a simple question and we will have to wait for more data and closer analysis to say more.

Former Apple chip engineer Pete Bannon went over the FSDC’s specs, and while the numbers may be important to software engineers working with the platform, what’s more important at a higher level is meeting various requirements specific to self-driving tasks.

Perhaps the most obvious feature catering to AVs is redundancy. The FSDC consists of two duplicate systems right next to each other on one board. This is a significant choice, though hardly unprecedented, simply because splitting the system in two naturally divides its power as well, so if performance were the only metric (if this was a server, for instance) you’d never do it.

Here, however, redundancy means that should an error or damage creep in somehow or another, it will be isolated to one of the two systems and reconciliation software will detect and flag it. Meanwhile the other chip, on its own power and storage systems, should be unaffected. And if something happens that breaks both at the same time, the system architecture is the least of your worries.

Redundancy is a natural choice for AV systems, but it’s made more palatable by the extreme levels of acceleration and specialization that are possible nowadays for neural network-based computing. A regular general-purpose CPU like you have in your laptop will get schooled by a GPU when it comes to graphics-related calculations, and similarly a special compute unit for neural networks will beat even a GPU. As Bannon notes, the vast majority of calculations are a specific math operation and catering to that yields enormous performance benefits.

Pair that with high speed RAM and storage and you have very little in the way of bottlenecks as far as running the most complex parts of the self-driving systems. The resulting performance is impressive, enough to make a proud Musk chime in during the presentation:

“How could it be that Tesla, who has never designed a chip before, would design the best chip in the world? But that is objectively what has occurred. Not best by a small margin, best by a big margin.”

Let’s take this with a grain of salt, as surely engineers from Nvidia, Mobileye, and other self-driving concerns would take issue with the statement on some grounds or another. And even if it is the best chip in the world, there will be a better one in a few months — and regardless, hardware is only as good as the software that runs on it. (Fortunately Tesla has some amazing talent on that side as well.)

(One quick note for a piece of terminology you might not be familiar with: OPs. This is short for operations for second, and it’s measured in the billions and trillions these days. FLOPs is another common term, which means floating-point operations per second; these pertain to higher-precision math often used by supercomputers for scientific calculations. One isn’t better or worse than the other, and they shouldn’t be compared directly or considered exchangeable.)

Update: Right on cue, Nvidia objected to Tesla’s comparison in a statement, calling it “inaccurate.” The Xavier chip Tesla compared its hardware favorably to is a more lightweight chip for autopilot-type features, not full self driving. The 320-TOP Drive AGX Pegasus would have been a better comparison, the company said — though admittedly the Pegasus pulls about four times as much power. So per-watt Tesla comes out ahead by the stats we’ve seen. (Chris here called it during the webcast.)

High-performance computing tasks tend to drain the battery, like doing transcoding or HD video editing on your laptop and it bites the dust after 45 minutes. If your car did that you’d be mad, and rightly so. Fortunately a side effect of acceleration tends to be efficiency.

The whole FSDC runs on about 100 watts (or 50 per compute unit), which is pretty low — it’s not cell phone chip low, but it’s well below what a desktop or high performance laptop would pull, less even than many single GPUs. Some AV-oriented chips draw more, some draw less, but Tesla’s claim is that they’re getting more power per watt than the competition. Again, these claims are difficult to vet immediately considering the closed nature of AV hardware development, but it’s clear that Tesla is at least competitive and may very well beat its competitors on some important metrics.

Two more AV-specific features found on the chip, though not in duplicate (the compute pathways converge at some point), are some CPU lockstep work and a security layer. Lockstep means that it is being very carefully enforced that the timing on these chips is the same, ensuring that they are processing the exact same data at the same time. It would be disastrous if they got out of sync either with each other or with other systems. Everything in AVs depends on very precise timing while minimizing delay, so robust lockstep measures are put in place to keep that straight.

The security section of the chip vets commands and data cryptographically to watch for, essentially, hacking attempts. Like all AV systems, this is a finely-oiled machine and interference must not be allowed for any reason — lives are on the line. So the security piece watches the input and output data carefully to watch for anything suspicious like spoofed visual data (to trick the car into thinking there’s a pedestrian, for instance) to tweaked output data (say to prevent it from taking proper precautions if it does detect a pedestrian).

The most impressive part of all might be that this whole custom chip is backwards-compatible with existing Teslas, able to be dropped right in, and it won’t even cost that much. Exactly how much the system itself costs Tesla, and how much you’ll be charged as a customer — well, that will probably vary. But despite being the “best chip in the world,” this one is relatively affordable.

Part of that might be from going with a 14nm fabrication process rather than the sub-10nm process others have chosen (and to which Tesla may eventually have to migrate). For power savings the smaller the better and as we’ve established, efficiency is the name of the game here.

We’ll know more once there’s a bit more objective — truly objective, apologies to Musk — testing on this chip and its competition. For now just know that Tesla isn’t slacking and the FSD Computer should be more than enough to keep your Model 3 on the road.

Source: TechCrunch

China’s fast-growing Starbucks competitor Luckin Coffee just filed to go public on the Nasdaq

China’s Luckin Coffee has registered plans with the SEC to go public on the Nasdaq, setting a placeholder amount of $100 million, shows its filing.

The development comes less than a week after the 18-month-old company announced $150 million in Series B “plus” funding led by the private equity firm Blackrock, which pumped $125 million into the company in a deal that values Luckin at $2.9 billion.

As TechCrunch reported last Wednesday, Blackrock also owns a nearly 7 percent stake in Starbucks, the nearly 50-year-old American coffee company that has taken over the world and now finds itself in a knock-down-drag-out battle with the Beijing-based upstart.

It’s hard to blame Blackstone — which has itself raised $126 billion(!) over the last 12 months — for hedging its bets. While Starbucks now enjoys a market cap of nearly $94 billion, and its stock has more than doubled over the last five years to a current $76 per share, Luckin has been growing like gangbusters, fueled by the more than $550 million it has raised to date, including a $200 million Series A round that it closed last July, and a $200 million Series B round that it announced in December.

Indeed, while Starbucks has opened up 3,600 stores across 150 cities in China since first emerging on the scene 20 years ago, Luckin has already opened up 2,000 outlets, including prep kitchens, pick-up stations, and, across 22 cities. More amazing, or crazy, depending on your view, Luckin plans to more than double that number by the end of this year. Starbucks has meanwhile announced plans to double the number of stores it has in China over the next five years.

In addition to Blackrock, others of Luckin’s backers include Joy Capital, GIC, Legend Capital, Dazheng Capital, and Centurium Capital.

Source: TechCrunch

Tesla’s full self-driving computer is now in all new cars and a next-gen chip is already ‘halfway done’

The Tesla computer, a new custom chip designed to enable full self-driving capabilities, is now in all new Model 3, X and S vehicles, CEO Elon Musk said during the company’s Autonomy Day.

Tesla switched over from Nvidia’s Drive platform to its own custom chip for the Model S and X about a month ago and for the Model 3 about 10 days ago, Musk said.

“All cars being produced all have the hardware necessary — computer and otherwise — for full self-driving,” Musk said. “All you need to do is improve the software.”

Work is also already underway on a next-generation chip, Musk added. The design of this current chip was completed “maybe one and half, two years ago.” Tesla is now about halfway through the design of the next-generation chip.

Musk wanted to focus the talk on the current chip, but he later added that the next-generation one would be “three times better” than the current system and was about two years away.

The software caveat about full self-driving is an important one. Tesla vehicles are not considered fully autonomous, or Level 4, a designation by SAE that means the car can handle all aspects of driving in certain conditions without human intervention.

Instead, Tesla vehicles are “Level 2,” a more advanced driver assistance system than most other vehicles on the road today. Musk has promised that the advanced driver assistance capabilities on Tesla vehicles will continue to improve until eventually reaching that full automation high-water mark.

Tesla offers two different advanced driver assistance packages to customers: Autopilot and Full Self-Driving. Autopilot is ADAS that offers a combination of adaptive cruise control and lane steering and is now a standard feature on new cars. The price of vehicles has been adjusted higher to reflect the addition of Autopilot as a standard feature.

Full Self-Driving, or FSD, costs an additional $5,000. (And, to be clear, vehicles are not full self-driving driving.) FSD includes Summon as well as Navigate on Autopilot, an active guidance system that navigates a car from a highway on-ramp to off-ramp, including interchanges and making lane changes. Once drivers enter a destination into the navigation system, they can enable “Navigate on Autopilot” for that trip.

Source: TechCrunch

“Anyone relying on LIDAR is doomed,” Elon Musk says

Today at Tesla’s first Autonomy Day event, Elon Musk took questions from the press but didn’t have time for questions about Lidar. Historically, he’s been vocal about the technology, and this time he put it as clear as he could. 

“LIDAR is a fool’s errand,” Elon Musk said. “Anyone relying on LIDAR is doomed. Doomed! [They are] expensive sensors that are unnecessary. It’s like having a whole bunch of expensive appendices. Like, one appendix is bad, well now you have a whole bunch of them, it’s ridiculous, you’ll see.”

The topic was brought up by a question about if Tesla’s just-revealed self-driving hardware could handle input from LIDAR. Tesla’s vehicle’s currently uses several sources of data to acquire autonomous driving: radar, GPS, maps, ultrasonic sensors and more. But not LIDAR like some of Tesla’s chief competitors. Elon Musk previously explained that he views LIDAR as a crutch for self-driving vehicles. For Tesla, cameras are the keys to the future and its CEO sees a future when cameras will enable Tesla to see through the most adverse weather situations.

Andrej Karparthy, Senior Director of AI, took the stage and explained that the world is built for visual recognition. LIDAR systems, he said, have a hard time deciphering between a plastic bag and a rubber tire. Large scale neural network training and visual recognition are necessary for Level 4 and Level 5 autonomy, he said.

“In that sense, LIDAR is really a shortcut,” Karparthy said. “It sidesteps the fundamental problems, the important problem of visual recognition, that is necessary for autonomy. It gives a false sense of progress, and is ultimately a crutch. It does give, like, really fast demos!”

Uber, Waymo, Cruise and several others use the technology in their self-driving technology stack. As proponents of the technology, they point to LIDAR’s ability to see through challenging weather and light conditions better than existing cameras. They’re expensive. And often hungry for power. That’s where Tesla’s solution around cameras comes in.

The company today detailed its current generation self-driving computer that works with all existing Tesla vehicles. Once the software is ready, it will enable all Teslas to drive autonomously with their existing sensor set — at least that’s what the company says — and that sensor set doesn’t include LIDAR. Instead, the sensors inside Tesla vehicles lean on a neural network that’s trained by data collected by all Tesla vehicles.

“Everyone’s training the network all the time,” Musk said. “Whether autopilot is on or off, the network is being trained. Every mile that’s driven for the car that’s hardware 2 or above is training the network.”

The resulting data is kind of scary, Musk mused later in the press conference. But presumably not as scary as relying on LIDAR.

Source: TechCrunch

Streaming TV service Philo gets a little more expensive

As the internet TV services have matured, their pricing has as well. The majority have raised their price points — some have even done so multiple times. Today, Philo is following suit…but only by a little. The streaming TV service has been one of the cheapest on the market, with an entry-level plan that began at only $16 per month for 45 channels. Now, it’s doing away with this super low-cost plan, and will only offer the existing $20 per month plan instead.

The $20 per month plan has offered 58 channels, as an upgrade from the basic plan with cable TV favorites. The upgrade adds on a few more networks, like MTV Live, BET Her, Nicktoons, Logo, Cooking Channel, Destination America, Discovery Family Channel, Discovery Life Channel, and others. These, arguably, aren’t all “must-haves” — and likely, few of its subscribers chose to the higher priced package.

The company declined to say how many customers it has, or the percentage of customers who had subscribed to its $16 and $20 plans.

With the price changes that go live on May 6, 2019, all new Philo customers will only have the option to sign up for the $20 per month page.

Existing subscribers will be grandfathered into the current pricing, however. They’ll also still be able to move back and forth between the two current plans, even after the May 6 deadline (so long as their subscription doesn’t lapse.)

Company CEO Andrew McCollum explained the move as needed to keep up with the times — and to address the rising operating costs Philo faces — in a statement posted to the company website.

“At Philo, we care deeply about creating the best TV experience possible at an affordable price. …Consolidating into a single $20 package was the best way for us to maintain the same offering we have today without raising prices for everyone, or having to cut back in places we strive to excel, like our customer support,” he said.

The 18-month old company is one of the few that hadn’t yet rolled out a price increase.

Hulu raised prices for its Live TV service in January, and YouTube TV just did so again just a couple of weeks ago. Sling TV, DirecTV Now, and PlayStation Vue have all seen price hikes, too. And in the subscription video on demand market, Netflix has been creeping ever higher, as well.

With new video services from Disney, Apple and WarnerMedia set to arrive this year, some consumers will be looking to shift funds around to afford their new subscriptions. Philo could benefit if subscribers drop higher-priced services in order to save money.

Despite the slight price bump, Philo still remains a low-cost option because it strategically opted to not stream sports. That allowed it to pass along the cost savings along to customers who could watch sports in other ways (or who didn’t care to watch sports at all.)

The company today caters to a younger demographic and has been developing a co-viewing, social feature to differentiate itself further. This feature is now in internal testing, the company said this month.

Source: TechCrunch

Apple Pay no longer accepted at JCPenney – CNET

This affects both the physical stores and the JCPenney app.
Source: CNET

Notre Dame Cathedral fire: What caused it and what happens next – CNET

Officials speculate that a possible electrical short-circuit is responsible for the fire, in tandem with the cathedral’s lack of fire-prevention safeguards.
Source: CNET

The new new web

Over the last five years, almost everything about web development has changed. Oh, the old tech still works, your WordPress and Ruby On Rails sites still function just fine — but they’re increasingly being supplanted by radical new approaches. The contents of your browser are being sliced, diced, rendered, and processed in wholly new ways nowadays, and the state of art is currently in serious flux. What follows is a brief tour of what I like to call the New New Web:

Table of Contents

  1. Single-Page Apps
  2. Headless CMSes
  3. Static Site Generators
  4. The JAMStack
  5. Hosting and Serverlessness
  6. Summary

1. Single-Page Apps

These have become so much the norm — our web projects at HappyFunCorp are almost always single-page apps nowadays — that it’s easy to forget how new and radical they were when they first emerged, in the days of jQuery running in pages dynamically built from templates on the server.

Source: TechCrunch