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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Get in a Avro Vulcan bomber at the North East Land Sea and Air Museum – CNET

Climb inside the Cold War-era Vulcan bomber and check out dozens of other vehicles at this museum.
Source: CNET

Elon Musk’s Apology, Tesla’s Quarter, Waymo’s Transit Partner, and More Car News This Week

Plus: Autopilot advances, and Sacramento goes for self-driving cars.
Source: Wired

Best Point and Shoot Cameras (2018): Canon, Sony, Olympus

Ditch the DSLR and say “sayonara, smartphone” with these awesome compact cameras.
Source: Wired

Paul Manafort's Fashion Choices Top This Week's Internet News Roundup

Last week, President Trump’s former campaign chairman went to court—and the internet put his clothes on trial.
Source: Wired

Venezuela claims drones loaded with explosives used in failed attack on president

Is the dystopian future of shoestrong budget weaponized drone attacks here already? The BBC and AP are reporting claims by the Venezuela government of an assassination attempt on its president using a couple of drones carrying explosives.

President Nicolás Maduro was giving a speech at a military event in Caracas which was being screened live on television when the incident occurred.

Footage of the speech on the BBC website shows the president, flanked by military generals and with his wife also standing alongside, being interrupted mid-flow by what appears to be a blast from above them.

The people in the shot react by looking startled and looking up. The audio to the video cuts out before the blast can be heard.

Footage of the incident from a different camera angle showing a panorama view of a military parade at a standstill during the speech, does include the sound of a blast. Afterwards people can be seen pushing into and then running into the frame. The soldiers break rank in panic and the sound of screams can be heard.

Venezuela authorities have reported that seven soldiers were injured in the incident and several people were later arrested. Communications minister, Jorge Rodriguez, said two drones loaded with explosives went off near the president’s stand.

In a national address later, Maduro said: “A flying object exploded near me, a big explosion. Seconds later there was a second explosion.”

However there has been no independent verification that explosive-carrying drones were the cause of the blast. And a report by AP cites firefighters at the scene of the blast disputing the government’s version of events.

It reports that three local authorities said there had been a gas tank explosion inside an apartment near the speech and where smoke could be seen streaming out of a window. But AP adds that they provided no further details on how they had reached that conclusion.

There has also been an unverified claim of responsibility for an attack using drones.

The BBC and AP report that a little known group called Soldiers in T-shirts has claimed on social media that it planned to fly two drones loaded with explosives at the president but that government soldiers shot them down before they reached their target.

Both news organizations say the group did not respond to attempts to contact it.

Venezuela’s president has blamed Colombia for the attack — an accusation that has been refuted by the neighboring state as “baseless”.


Source: TechCrunch

Wonga investors inject £10M so cash-strapped payday lender can fund claims

If you were at Disrupt London four years ago you may remember more than a little awkwardness during an investor panel when two VCs that had invested in European payday loans firm Wonga declined to comment on what had gone wrong at their portfolio company in the wake of a £220M write down.

Yesterday Sky News reported that those same two, Accel Partners and Balderton Capital, are among a group of Wonga investors that have agreed to inject a further £10M (~$13M) into the business to help fund compensation claims related to its past censured practices.

We’ve reached out to Accel and Balderton for comment.

Prior to the latest emergency funding, Wonga had raised a total of around £145.5M, according to Crunchbase. Its 2011 Series C round was backed by investors including Accel, Oak Investment, Meritech Capital, 83North; while a 2009 Series B included Accel, Balderton, Dawn Capital, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and 83North. It was founded in the UK in 2006.

By 2014 rising concern about the rates of interest being charged to vulnerable customers on short term loan products led to a regulatory intervention to clean up the sector, and Wonga agreed to write off the loans of 330,000 customers.

It also agreed to waive the interest and fees for a further 45,000 after admitting its automated checks had failed to adequately assess affordability. The algorithmic technology it had touted as its core IP had been lending money to people who did not have the income to pay it back.

The company was also censured by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for sending fake lawyers’ letters to customers in arrears — and had to pay out a further £2.6M in compensation for that.

Four years later Wonga is still paying the bill for its past conduct — in the form of increasing numbers of individual compensation claims.

In a statement issued to Sky News, a Wonga Group spokesman said there has been a “marked increase” in compensation claims for legacy loans driven by claims management companies.

“Wonga continues to make progress against the transformation plan set out for the business. In recent months, however, the short-term credit industry has seen a marked increase in claims related to legacy loans, driven principally by claims management company activity,” the spokesman said.

“In line with this changing market environment, Wonga has seen a significant increase in claims related to loans taken out before the current management team joined the business in 2014. As a result, the team has raised £10M of new capital from existing shareholders, who remain fully supportive of management’s plans for the business.‎”

According to Sky News, Wonga was on the brink of insolvency when its investors agreed to inject more capital into the business, with CEO Tara Kneafsey‎ warning its institutional shareholders in late May the company risked becoming insolvent without a capital injection.

Following the shredding of its original business model — with the FCA’s cap of 0.8 per cent per day for all high-cost short-term credit loans applying from January 2015 — Wonga has been loss making for the past several years, reporting a £65M loss for 2016 and just over £80M for 2015.

And Sky reports that its latest emergency fundraising took place at valuation of just $30M (£23M) for the business.

This represents a swingeing haircut for a company that, in 2012, had believed it was on a three-year growth path to a £15BN valuation, i.e. off the back of short term loan products that charged annual interests rates as high as 5,853% that were sold to hundreds of thousands of people who couldn’t afford to pay them back.

Wonga’s website now lists as “representative” an APR of 1,460% in an online FAQ — and further claims: “We’ve introduced lots of changes at Wonga to make sure we offer better, fairer loans to customers. We take a responsible approach and lend only to those we believe can reasonably afford to repay.”

As part of this process of ‘transformation’ — i.e. from algorithmic loan sharking to regulatory compliant short term lending — one recent focus for Wonga’s executive team to try to drum up ethical business has been on offering more flexible loan products.

Sky says Wonga’s board has previously expressed confidence it can build a sustainable business, and notes the company had been targeting a return to profitability last year but has yet to report its results for 2017.

According to its sources, Wonga’s cashflow situation has become so tight its board is evaluating the sale of some of its assets in addition to raising more debt.

Already last year wonga sold off its German payments business, BillPay, to Klarna — raising around £60M.


Source: TechCrunch

Sorry, but your iPhone or Android phone is going to get even more expensive – CNET

You thought a $1,000 iPhone was bad? It may be just the beginning.
Source: CNET

Brabham's track-only BT62 will make its US debut in Monterey – Roadshow

The car will be on display all over the peninsula during car week and will serve as a rolling tribute to Dan Gurney.
Source: CNET

Digital Storm Equinox (2018) review: Lots of gaming power in a slimmed down design – CNET

This understated 15-incher gets you high-performance graphics and the personal touch of a boutique PC maker for less than $2,000.
Source: CNET

How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi

Connecting to a public Wi-Fi network can put you at risk. Here’s how to minimize the damage.
Source: Wired

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