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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Nvidia prices Jeston Xavier AI platform developer kit at $1,299

Today at Computex in Taipei, Nvidia CEO and founder Jensen Huang announced the availability of a drastically upgraded version of Issac. Nvidia calls the next-gen robotics system the next step in autonomous machines as it reportedly brings AI capabilities to a new set of industries.

The company has been talking about this platform some time, touting its capabilities and use cases. A Jetson Xavier SoC provides the processing with more than 9 billion transistors, it delivers over 30 TOPS (trillion operations per second). Inside the Xavier is a Volta Tensor Core GPU, an eight-core ARM64 CPU, dual NVDLA deep learning accelerators, an image processor, a vision processor and a video processor.

The platform developer kit will be available in August for $1,299 and includes the Isaac robotics software.

“AI is the most powerful technology force of our time,” said Huang in a released statement. “Its first phase will enable new levels of software automation that boost productivity in many industries. Next, AI, in combination with sensors and actuators, will be the brain of a new generation of autonomous machines. Someday, there will be billions of intelligent machines in manufacturing, home delivery, warehouse logistics and much more.”

The Isaac Robotics Software includes the Isaac SDK, a collection of APIs and tools to develop robotic algorithm software, the Isaac IMX, Nvidia-developed robotics software, and the Isaac Sim, a virtual simulation software to train autonomous machines.

The availability of the developer kit should mark a turning point of robotics development. It provides serious processing power and capabilities in a ready-made package.

Source: TechCrunch

Facebook says it “disagrees” with the New York Times’ criticisms of its device-integrated APIs

Facebook has responded to a New York Times story that raises privacy concerns about the company’s device-integrated APIs, saying that it “disagree[s] with the issues they’ve raised about these APIs.”

Headined “Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends,” the New York Times article criticizes the privacy protections of device-integrated APIs, which were launched by Facebook a decade ago. Before app stores became common, the APIs enabled Facebook to strike data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers, including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung, that allowed them to offer Facebook features, such as messaging, address books and the like button, to their users.

But they may have given access to more data than assumed, says the article. New York Times reporters Gabriel J.X. Dance, Nicholas Confessore and Michael LaForgia write that “the partnerships, whose scope has not been previously reported, raise concerns about the company’s privacy protections,” as well as its compliance with a consent decree it struck with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011. The FTC is currently investigating Facebook’s privacy practices in light of the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal.

“Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders,” the New York Times story says. “Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing, The New York Times found.”

Facebook said in April it would begin winding down access to its device-integrated APIs, but the New York Times says that many of those partnerships are still in effect.

Facebook is already under intense scrutiny by lawmakers and regulators, including the FTC, because of the Cambridge Analytica revelation, which raised serious concerns about the public APIs used by third-party developers and the company’s data-sharing policies.

“In the furor that followed, Facebook’s leaders said that the kind of access exploited by Cambridge in 2014 was cut off by the next year, when Facebook prohibited developers from collecting information from users’ friends,” the New York Times says. “But the company officials did not disclose that Facebook had exempted the makers of cellphones, tablets and other hardware from such restrictions.”

Facebook told the New York Times that data sharing through device-integrated APIs adhered to its privacy policies and the 2011 FTC agreement. The company also told the newspapers that it knew of no cases where a partner had misused data. Facebook acknowledged that some partners did store users’ data, including data from their Facebook friends, on their own servers, but said that those practices abided by strict agreements.

In a post on Facebook’s blog, vice president of product partnerships Ime Archibong reiterates the company’s stance that the device-integrated APIs were controlled tightly.

“Partners could not integrate the user’s Facebook features with their devices without the user’s permission. And our partnership and engineering teams approved the Facebook experiences these companies built,” he continued. “Contrary to claims by the New York Times, friends’ information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends. We are not aware of any abuse by these companies.”

But the New York Times report claims that Facebook’s partners were able to retrieve user data on relationship status, religion, political leanings and upcoming events, and were also able to get data about their users’ Facebook friends, even if they did not have permission.

“Tests by The Times showed that the partners requested and received data in the same way other third parties did,” it says. “Facebook’s view that the device makers are not outsiders lets the partners go even further, The Times found: They can obtain data about a user’s Facebook friends, even those who have denied Facebook permission to share information with any third parties.”

Source: TechCrunch

Announcing the TechCrunch Ethereum Meetup alongside our blockchain event in Zug

There are already many, many reasons to attend TechCrunch’s first blockchain event this coming July 6 in Zug, Switzerland. You’ll hear from industry leaders including Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin, Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan and Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, but here’s a further sweetener: we will have a follow-on event the very next day.

We’re excited to announce that we’ll hold an Ethereum Meetup on July 7, the day after the ‘TC Sessions: Blockchain’ event. TechCrunch is producing this event with support from the Ethereum Foundation and other members of the Ethereum community.

To recap: the TC Sessions: Blockchain event takes place July 6 in Zug, the Swiss Canton know as ‘Crypto Valley,’ and it’ll be followed by the Ethereum Meetup produced by TechCrunch on July 7th from 1-6pm at the Casino, the same venue as the blockchain event the day before.

A follow-on meetup is a first for our single-day ‘TC Sessions’ events, which TechCrunch produces to cover important emerging topics like robotics, AR/VR and tech diversity. The second-day event in Zug reflects the strong demand we’ve seen from readers who are keen to further explore and understand the blockchain space.

This meetup will feature core developers and leaders from the Ethereum ecosystem, including Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum Foundation developer Karl Floersch, and others. It will cover a range of topics on the technical side, including presentations and discussions around issues of scaling, protocol improvements, and improvements to consensus among other topics.

We’ll have full details on the agenda very soon so stay patient.

Attendees of the TC Sessions: Blockchain event who wish to attend the Ethereum Meetup will need to purchase a separate pass. Tickets are available now for the meetup and can be purchased here — they are priced at 50 CHF plus VAT, that’s around $53 at current rates. We can’t wait to see you there.

There are a limited number of sponsorship opportunities open for the Ethereum Meetup produced by TechCrunch. If you are interested in sponsoring the event, please fill out this form.

Source: TechCrunch

'Westworld' Recap, Season 2 Episode 7: Decoding Da Vinci

On ‘Westworld,’ Robert Ford is a modern-day da Vinci, taking his inventions to their natural—possibly dangerous—conclusions.
Source: Wired

WWDC 2018: How to Watch Apple's Keynote on Monday, June 4

On Monday, Apple will lift the lid on its Worldwide Developers Conference. Here’s how to tune in.
Source: Wired

Apple’s AR bet still has a lot to prove

As Apple gears up for its developer keynote conference tomorrow, one of its bigger announcements is likely to be new changes coming to its augmented reality platform. Since announcing ARKit last year, the tech giant has hardly been sheepish about its belief in AR’s potential.

  • “I think AR is big and profound,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told CNBC.
  • “I don’t think there is any sector or industry that will be untouched by AR,” he told Vogue.
  • “I think AR is that big, it’s huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives,” he told The Independent.

Behind a lot of that talk is belief in the tech’s utility down the road, but until Apple is ready to experimenting with AR tech in core iOS features, all of the chatter around AR having plenty of utility today feels a bit half-hearted. I’ll be very interested to see if the company announces any AR integrations in iOS 12 tomorrow that add new utility or if Animojis are still about as far as they’re willing to go.

While nearly every major tech company spent 2017 opining about the potential of AR, there still doesn’t seem to be much that consumers can show for it. Google made a few interesting announcements surrounding the technology at its I/O conference last month, most fascinating was an AR walking mode being tested for Google Maps. Apple Maps is in desperate need of an upgrade and it makes sense for that to be the starting point for where its integrations begin.

AR is definitely one of Apple’s longer term investments, but it’s also one that may not see much payoff in the short term.

While Apple has been content to let many of their long-term bets iterate through awkward phases underground in the R&D labs, ARKit has been thrust onto hundreds of millions of devices while still in that odd, what-are-we-supposed-to-do-with-this stage. AR is more broadly one of those unique scenarios where everyone can imagine a potential end-case, it’s how it gets there that’s the head-scratcher and Apple seems to need developers to take on the risk of experimenting.

At Apple’s developer conference keynote tomorrow, the company seems poised to showcase new developments for its ARKit augmented reality platform. Chief on the list of expected upgrades (via Reuters) is a system of sharing coordinated point clouds between phones so that multiple users can run AR apps in a shared experience, aka AR multiplayer.

Where Apple will definitely highlight ARKit’s potential is in the gaming sector. Gaming has always been more-engaging with multi-player, but how that really looks with augmented reality is anyone’s guess. It’s been two years since Pokémon GO was released and for all of the attention that title received, it isn’t entirely clear how AR capabilities contributed to its success.

Games that integrate a multiplayer ARKit are going to have to make a lot of discoveries on their own. Playing games with friends in AR will gain a hyper-local edge but will lose much of the freedom offered by online gameplay in terms of connecting gamers seamlessly. There are countless other UX questions that will also still need to be experimented with.

Augmented reality is a truly exciting technology and Apple’s efforts to lead the pack in building developer support has built up a lot of initial enthusiasm from that crowd, but to keep that excitement Apple’s going to need to start proving out some of those use cases for users on their own and put its big bet deeper into users’ daily digital lives.

Source: TechCrunch

13 best downloadable keyboards for Android – CNET

There is no shortage of options when it comes to replacement keyboards on Android. Here are some of the best to choose from.
Source: CNET

Monetizing computing resources on the blockchain

A while back, a blockchain startup approached me with their pitch, a decentralized social media application in which users can earn money by simply doing what they already do on other platforms, such posting updates, photos and videos.

I would have been intrigued had they sent me the message a couple of years ago. But not so much after observing the space for more several years.

Several blockchain applications profess to enable users to monetize various resources, whether it’s their unused storage and CPU power, or the tons of data they generate every day.

Regardless of whether they will succeed to deliver on their promises or not, these projects highlight one of the problems that haunts the centralized internet. Users are seldom rewarded for the great value they bring to platforms such as Facebook, Google and Amazon .

Blockchain applications suggest that decentralized alternatives to current services will give users the chance to collect their fair share of the revenue they generate with their participation in online ecosystems. It’s an enticing proposition since it doesn’t require users to do much more than what they’re already doing: send emails, browse websites, watch ads, keep the computer on…

But what exactly do you earn from monetizing your resources on the internet, and how accessible and reliable are your earning? Here’s what you need to know.

What can you sell?

A handful of blockchain platforms enable you to rent your unused storage, idle CPU cycles, and internet bandwidth with those who are in need. The premise is simple: You list your resources along with your payment terms on the application and get paid in the proprietary crypto-token of the application when others use them. Purchases are arranged, performed and paid peer-to-peer through smart contracts, bits of code that run on blockchain without the need for a centralized application server.

Examples include Golem and iExec, two decentralized marketplaces for computing power. Users can earn the platforms’ proprietary cryptocurrencies, GNT and RLC tokens respectively, by renting their CPU cycles to developers and users who want to run applications on the network. Golem and iExec aim to replace centralized cloud providers such as Amazon and Google, in which the service provider sets the rates and rakes in all the profits.

Storj and Filecoin are two distributed storage networks where users can earn cryptotokens for sharing their free hard drive space with the network. Both platforms are designed to provide infrastructure for various applications such as web hosting and streaming services. Gladius, a decentralized content delivery network (CDN) and DDoS mitigation solution, enables users to monetize their internet bandwidth to serve content from websites and services running on the network.

These applications provide a good opportunity to turn the hours that your computer sits idly in the home or office into a side income.

Other blockchain platforms enable you to monetize your data. An example is Datum, a decentralized marketplace for user data. Datum enables users to earn DAT tokens by choosing to share it with other organizations. Other players in the domain include Streamr, a real-time data-sharing platform geared toward the Internet of Things (IoT). With Streamr, users can earn DATAcoin tokens by sharing the data their connected devices generate with other devices that need it to carry out their functions and companies that use them for analytics and research.

Data is a huge market that is currently dominated by a few big players such as Google and Facebook. These companies hoard user data in their walled-garden silos and use them to make huge profits. Blockchain platforms give users the choice and power to claim their share of that market by giving them back the ownership of their data.

Matchpool is a decentralized social network that enables users to monetize their groups and online communities. Matchpool provides the decentralized equivalent of Facebook groups and provides tools for administrators to earn GUP tokens by setting fees on membership and access to content. And there’s Brave, the blockchain-based browser developed by the former CEO of Mozilla. Brave removes ads from websites and instead gives users the choice to earn Basic Attention Tokens (BAT) by opting to view ads.

How much do you earn?

It’s difficult to measure earnings on blockchain applications because most of them either haven’t launched yet or are in their early stages. Few of the companies I reached out to could provide stable numbers or average figures.

Also, the value of the resource you share on these platforms is often subject to supply-and-demand dynamics. For instance, iExec leaves it to the users to determine the price of their computational resources and doesn’t take any cut from their earnings. If there’s a large demand for decentralized CPU power, you’ll earn more from participating in the network.

Storj, the decentralized storage network, had the most accurate information to share. The platform provides a formula to calculate the monthly earnings of “farmers,” the users who share their free storage space with the network. Storj charges $0.015 per gigabyte of data stored and $0.05 per gigabyte downloaded, 60 percent of which goes to the farmers.

Several factors affect the final earnings, including whether the farmer nodes store primary or mirror copies of data, how long they participate in the network, and how well they perform in terms of up-time, bandwidth and response times. “If someone stored 1TB of data for the entire month, and that entire TB of data was downloaded once that month, they could potentially make $39,” said Philip Hutchins, CTO at Storj Labs. But the current average monthly payment for a Storj farmer node is around $2, according to the network data the company shared.

Storj has also launched partnerships with FileZilla, Microsoft and other companies to build decentralized apps on top of its network, which could increase demand for Storj space.

On Datum, the decentralized data market, users earn between $0.50 and $5 in DAT tokens for each promotional email they opt to open, according to Roger Haenni, the company’s CEO, though he did not share the details of how earnings are calculated. Currently the network supports monetizing email inboxes, but in the future, the company plans to provide users with the option to get paid for sharing various categories of data, such as the location data their phone collects, apps, services and websites they use, data that their smart gadgets collect and others.

That last bit sounds a bit invasive on user privacy. “This [data] is currently widely tracked by cookies from various ad networks,” explains Haenni. “However, the user is not asked to explicitly opt in to share this data nor does he get paid when this data is monetized.” Datum will give the chance to claim the money that’s already being made from their data.

The Datum network currently has 80,000 users, and since the launch of the Datum App in late December, users have collected 1.5 million DAT tokens, amounting to around $75,000.

Gladius, the decentralized CDN, doles out $0.03 in GLA tokens per gigabyte of bandwidth of data streamed through a node (however, the company’s website states that this is an estimate based on favorable market conditions). An internet connection with a 30 mbps upload speed shared with the network for eight hours a day could earn its owner around $49 per month.

What are the costs and risks?

In most cases, you’ve already paid for the resources you’ll be sharing on the blockchain, whether it’s your hard drive space, your CPU or your bandwidth (unless you’re on a metered connection, in which case sharing it would be unwise). However, you’ll have to factor in electricity costs of keeping your computer on, which varied depending on the region you live in.

Social and data-sharing platforms won’t have any extra costs, but you’ll be responsible for keeping the balance between sharing your data and preserving your privacy.

One of the real risks of earning cryptotokens is the constant price fluctuations. The value of what you earn today could double overnight—or drop by half in the same manner. This means you’ll have to choose between holding your tokens or cashing out. 

And there are always the risks of scams and failed projects that will absorb users’ funds and resources only to disappear and leave them out in the cold.

“Resource-sharing projects on top of the blockchain that allow users to control and profit from their own data will be the most profitable and successful projects in the future,” says Jared Tate, blockchain expert and the founder of DigiByte. However, Tate also notes that many of the current resource sharing platforms are PR projects that will never scale. 

“The majority of projects out there won’t be around in 5 years. Most of the projects don’t even have working software, just a white paper and some fancy graphics on a website,” Tate says. Some users evaluate projects by examining the market cap alone, which Tate believes is the absolute worst way to gauge a projects long term viability. “So many market caps are artificially inflated by developer pre-mines or deceptive coin counts,” he warns.


How do you deal with the liquidity problem?

 Another challenge users will have to overcome is what to do with the tokens they earn from monetizing their resources. For instance, if you earn Storj tokens from renting your free hard disk space, the only thing you can do with your earnings is, well, rent storage from other users, which doesn’t make sense since you already had an excess of it to begin with. 

Some platforms have multi-faceted economies that enable users to use their earned tokens for various purposes. For instance, in Flixxo, a decentralized streaming service, users can earn FLIXX tokens by sharing their free disk space and bandwidth to host content on the network. They can then use their earned tokens to consume videos published on the platform. But that is still a limited use case and might not be the problem they want to solve with their earnings.

Digital currencies and tokens have a liquidity problem. There are very few retailers and online services that accept Bitcoin as a method of payment, and even fewer that accept other cryptocurrencies. Users often must find some online exchange which matches buyers and sellers of various digital and fiat currencies. The process is slow and complicated and involves fees at different levels. 

An alternative is Bancor, a decentralized liquidity network built on top of the Ethereum blockchain. Supported by its own token, BNT, Bancor enables users to convert between tokens supported on its network without the need to find a buyer or seller. So, for instance, if you’ve earned an amount of RLC tokens from renting your idle CPU time on iExec, you can instantly trade it on Bancor for, say, MANA, the token that will let you purchase VR experiences on Decentraland. 

Bancor already lists several dozen tokens on its network and plans to add more in the future.

“The aim of this mathematic liquidity solution is to allow the long tail of tokens to emerge, by allowing any user generated currency to be viable on day one without needing to achieve massive trade volume in order to be listed and thus become liquid,” says Galia Benartzi, the co-founder of Bancor. “Great tokens will still rise, bad ones will fail, but all will have a chance to try.”

Source: TechCrunch

Asteroid on course for Earth spotted hours before impact with atmosphere – CNET

Space rock 2018 LA surprised astronomers shortly before slamming into our atmosphere and lighting up African skies.
Source: CNET

Binge Doctor Who on iPlayer ahead of Jodie Whittaker's debut – CNET

The entire run of the revived show is available to stream today. But where’s the classic show, Auntie Beeb?
Source: CNET