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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

The Bizarre, Peaty Science of Arctic Wildfires

Peat is the organic material that gives Scotch its characteristic taste. But it’s also a potent fuel that’s powering unprecedented arctic wildfires.
Source: Wired

DJI Robomaster S1 Review: It Goes Pew Pew and Teaches Coding

DJI’s new wheeled drone doesn’t fly, but it does offer loads of educational fun with Scratch/Python programming, a turret, and innovative wheels.
Source: Wired

Samsung overhyped the Galaxy Fold, but it's our fault it was delayed – CNET

Commentary: Launching the Galaxy Fold before it was ready is a consequence of a Kickstarter culture and news cycles built around rumors.
Source: CNET

T-Mobile and Sprint merger gets the OK, Apple's 5G plans video – CNET

Today’s tech headlines include the DOJ giving the go ahead for telcos T-Mobile and Sprint to merge, Apple’s 2020 5G plans and the big winners in the Fortnite World Cup.
Source: CNET

Stop robocalls to your phone for good – CNET

Help is on the way to keep your phone from constantly ringing, but there are steps you can take right now.
Source: CNET

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate new fighter details are coming Tuesday – CNET

We’ll see how the Hero from Dragon Quest 11 plays, and find out when he’ll join the Nintendo Switch brawler’s roster.
Source: CNET

Takeaway and Just Eat to merge in $10B deal to take on Deliveroo and Uber Eats in Europe

The food delivery wars in Europe remain hotter than a vindaloo, and that’s leading to some major consolidation: today Just Eat and Takeaway.com, two of the bigger take-out and delivery businesses in the region, announced that they are in the “advanced stages” of a merger. The deal would help them combine forces and take on more scale to compete better with Uber Eats and Amazon-backed Deliveroo.

Both companies are currently publicly listed, Just Eat in London and Takeaway.com in Amsterdam, each with a market cap of around $5 billion.

The combined entity would have an estimated market value of more than €10 billion, or $10 billion — although the share prices are moving quickly right now — and the companies say it would make world’s largest online food delivery platforms, which processed 360 million orders worth €7.3 billion ($8 bilion) in 2018.

Under merger rules in the UK, there is a time limit on how long the two can sit on this deal. They now have until August 24 to get final approval from investors to get the deal squared away.

The companies say the two boards have already agreed on the specific terms, which are as follows:

— Jitse Groen, currently CEO of Takeaway.com, would become CEO of the merged company. Paul Harrison, currently CFO of Just Eat, would become the CFO. Brent Wissink, currently CFO of Takeaway.com, and Jörg Gerbig, currently COO of Takeaway.com, would become co-COOs of the Combined Group.

— The company combined would be headquartered in Amsterdam, but “with a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange” and a “significant part” of its operations in the United Kingdom, which is Just Eat’s home market.

— Just Eat shareholders would get 0.09744 Takeaway.com shares in exchange for each Just Eat share.

— Just Eat shareholders would own approximately 52.2% of the business; Takeaway.com shareholders would own approximately 47.8% (based on the fully diluted ordinary issued share capital of Takeaway.com but excluding dilution from any conversion of Takeaway.com’s convertible bonds, and the fully diluted share capital of Just Eat, in each case, as at the date of this announcement).

— These terms imply a value for Just Eat of 731 pence per share based on Takeaway.com’s closing share price on 26 July 2019 of €83.55, a premium of 15% to Just Eat’s closing share price on Friday.

— Mike Evans, who is the Chairman of Just Eat, would become the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Combined Group. Adriaan Nühn, currently Chairman of the Takeaway.com Supervisory Board, will assume the role of Vice-Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Combined Group.

Takeaway.com — which went public in 2016 — is no stranger to snapping up once-rivals in a bid to expand its business against increasing competition from Uber Eats and Deliveroo. Last year, it paid $1.1 billion to buy Delivery Hero’s German operations, as the latter (ironically based in Berlin) continued to turn its attention to operations in developing markets.

Economies of scale are a critical part of making the financials of delivery and other transportation and e-commerce services work better. You can develop more efficient routes and plot drivers more closely to pick-ups and drop-offs. In the case of food services, this is especially important considering the freshness of the passenger.

There are other areas where it also makes more sense, such as in terms of the investments that a delivery company will make in building better back-end systems to operate the services: having a wider network of restaurants and drivers tapping into those investments makes the payoff faster.

Indeed, the fact that the CEO of Just Eat would become the CFO underscores some of the clear financial reasons for the deal.

 


Source: TechCrunch

Minut raises $8M Series A for its camera-less home security device

Minut, a Swedish startup that has developed a camera-less home security device that it claims protects privacy better than competitors, has raised $8 million in Series A funding.

The round is led by KPN Ventures, with participation from international energy and services company Centrica. Existing backers Karma Ventures, SOSV, and Nordic Makers also followed on, bringing total funding for Minut to $10 million.

Founded in 2014 and headed up by CEO Nils Mattisson, who I’m told spent seven years in the Exploratory Design Group at Apple, Minut wants to make home security monitoring more affordable, but in a way that doesn’t compromise on privacy.

To square that circle, so to speak, the startup’s IoT device is camera-less (in the traditional sense), and instead relies on other sensors including infrared motion detection and a microphone. Crucially, the real-time data captured to determine if anything untoward is taking place in your home is processed on the device itself rather than being shared to the cloud.

“Feeling safe shouldn’t be a luxury, or come at the cost of privacy,” Mattisson says. “Until recently, the most affordable solution for home security and monitoring has been Wi-Fi connected cameras, but people don’t want or trust them in their homes”.

This realisation has seen privacy be the driver of Minut’s design decisions from “day one”, and is why the company was one of the first device makers to do machine learning “at the edge of the network”.

“This approach is technically much more challenging than recording sounds and sending them to a back-end for analysis like an Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, but it enables us to identify events, such as a window-break or the presence of people, without ever actually recording any sound,” explains Mattisson.

“Features are instead extracted from sensor data in real-time and analysed on the device. When the local neural network recognises that something can be an event, only the extracted fingerprint then gets sent to a global classifier that can do a deeper and more accurate assessment. It’s not possible to reconstruct the sound from the fingerprint”.

The upshot is that Minut can monitor a home while “respecting the integrity of the people who live there”. Mattisson says that developing this architecture was a significant undertaking, and that the company’s unique approach was granted a patent earlier this year”.

To date, Minut has sold more than 10,000 units in 60 countries. It employees around 30 people across its HQ in Malmö, Stockholm and a newly opened office in London. Meanwhile, today’s new capital will be used “accelerate growth across markets and to strengthen the product portfolio”.


Source: TechCrunch

Here's everything that 5G can do for you – CNET

It goes way beyond phones.
Source: CNET

GitHub confirms it has blocked developers in Iran, Syria and Crimea

The impact of U.S. trade restrictions is trickling down to the developer community. GitHub, the world’s largest host of source code, is preventing users in Iran, Syria, Crimea and potentially other sanctioned nations from accessing portions of the service, chief executive of the Microsoft-owned firm said.

Over the weekend, GitHub CEO Nat Friedman wrote on Twitter that like any other “company that does business in the US,” GitHub is required to comply with the U.S. export law. The confirmation comes months after work collaboration service Slack, too, enforced similar restrictions on its platform.

As part of the push, Friedman said GitHub has enforced new restrictions to prevent users in sanctioned countries from accessing private repositories and GitHub Marketplace, as well as maintaining private paid organization accounts.

A selection of GitHub services such as access to public repositories will remain available to everyone, the company said in a statement on its website. “This includes limited access to GitHub public repository services (such as access to GitHub Pages and public repositories used for open source projects), for personal communications only, and not for commercial purposes.�

For developers intending to store export-controlled data, GitHub points them to its enterprise server offering, a self-hosted virtual appliance that can be run within users’ own data center or virtual private cloud.

Several developers began to complain about their inability to access some of GitHub’s services last week. News outlet ZDNet reported about a Russian developer living in Crimea whose GitHub account had been restricted, for instance. Hamed Saeedi Fard, a developer who is based in Iran, wrote in a viral Medium post that his GitHub account was blocked without any prior notice or the option to back up his data.

Interestingly, the restrictions are imposed based on a user’s location — by tracking their IP address and payment history — instead of validating their nationality and ethnicity, GitHub said on its website, where it mentions that Cuba and North Korea are also facing the U.S. sanctions.

For those who are considering a workaround by using VPNs (virtual private networks), GitHub has ruled out that possibility: People in U.S.-sanctioned countries “are prohibited from using IP proxies, VPNs, or other methods to disguise their location when accessing GitHub.com services.” It remains to be seen how GitHub enforces the rule.

Banned users who believe their accounts have been wrongfully suspended can fill out an appeal form, where they are required to produce a copy of their government-issued photo ID to prove their current residency along with a selfie, signaling GitHub’s step towards imposing real-name identity check.


Source: TechCrunch

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