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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

WWDC 2018: Apple Just Made Safari the Good Privacy Browser

The next version of Safari takes on ad-trackers more aggressively than ever.
Source: Wired

Egnyte releases one-step GDPR compliance solution

Egnyte has always had the goal of protecting data and files wherever they live, whether on-premises or in the cloud. Today, the company announced a new feature to help customers comply with GDPR privacy regulations that went into effect in Europe last week in a straight-forward fashion.

You can start by simply telling Egnyte that you want to turn on “Identify sensitive content.” You then select which sets of rules you want to check for compliance including GDPR. Once you do this, the system goes and scans all of your repositories to find content deemed sensitive under GDPR rules (or whichever other rules you have selected).

Photo: Egnyte

It then gives you a list of files and marks them with a risk factor from 1-9 with one being the lowest level of risk and 9 being the highest. You can configure the program to expose whichever files you wish based on your own level of compliance tolerance. So for instance, you could ask to see any files with a risk level of seven or higher.

“In essence, it’s a data security and governance solution for unstructured data, and we are approaching that at the repository levels. The goal is to provide visibility, control and protection of that information in any in any unstructured repository,” Jeff Sizemore, VP of governance for Egnyte Protect told TechCrunch.

Photo: Egnyte

Sizemore says that Egnyte weighs the sensitivity of the data against the danger it could be exposed and leave a customer in violation of GDPR rules. “We look at things like public links into groups, which is basically just governance of the data, making sure nothing is wide open from a file share perspective. We also look at how the information is being shared,” Sizemore said. A social security number being shared internally is a lot less risky than a thousand social security numbers being shared in a public link.

The service covers 28 nations and 24 languages and it’s pre-configured to understand what data is considered sensitive by country and language. “We already have all the mapping and all the languages sitting underneath these policies. We are literally going into the data and actually scanning through and looking for GDPR-relevant data that’s in the scope of Article 40.”

The new service is generally available on Tuesday morning. The company will be makign an announcement at the InfoSecurity Conference in London. It has had the service in Beta prior to this.

Source: TechCrunch

WWDC 2018: Everything Apple Announced at the June 4 WWDC Keynote

Apple’s yearly developer keynote was all about software.
Source: Wired

MacOS Mojave brings Dark Mode, stacking, and a redesigned App Store to Macs

MacOS Mojave was announced as the next release of the Mac operating system at WWDC today, and Apple revealed that along with a new Dark Mode, iOS apps will soon be able to run on your favorite Mac hardware along with security enhancements.

The post MacOS Mojave brings Dark Mode, stacking, and a redesigned App Store to Macs appeared first on Digital Trends.

Source: Digital trends

14 big announcements from Apple’s annual developer conference WWDC 2018

Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC, started this afternoon down in San Jose — kicking off with a keynote as it does every year where it announced a bunch of updates to all of its major operating systems. We’ve wrapped up all the big announcements from its keynote below, and there will be plenty more information to come in over the next few days.

Apple introduces iOS 12

What Apple announced: Its next generation iPhone operating system. iOS 12 comes with a variety of new features, many of which we’ll dig into below, but it includes things like group FaceTime, new Animoji, some quality of live improvements to Siri, improvements in performance (especially for older devices) and updates to its push into augmented reality.

Why it matters: WWDC has always been the place where it’ll show off a slew of new features, which while very consumer-y in feel is typically pointed at developers to show all the tools they’ll soon get their hands on and all the reasons Apple will keep users on iPhones. The company is introducing its own file format for augmented reality, clearly signaling to developers that they should be flocking to iOS 12 if they want to go where the users are in the future.

Apple delivers big updates to its augmented reality platform

What Apple announced: Apple said it is rolling out ARKit 2.0, the next generation of its development software for augmented reality experiences on the iPhone. The new version showed improved face tracking, more realistic rendering, 3D object detection, persistent experiences and shared experiences (as well as a neat party trick when it comes to measurement). There’s also a multiplayer component the company will roll out with its new development tools.

Why it matters: Tim Cook has alluded to the importance of augmented reality for the iPhone multiple times over the years. While it was a sort of promise of the future for a while, the release of Pokémon Go and the phenomenon that followed demonstrated the potential of augmented reality to capture the hearts and minds of potential users. That was just one use case of what could be a massive potential app ecosystem, and Apple wants to get ahead of that with robust development kits that will keep users on iPhones with better augmented reality experiences.

With iOS 12, Apple focuses on performance

What Apple announced: Apple loves to talk about how its new OS generations, including iOS 11, have the highest adoption rate among smartphones — as well as show off a graphic that shows how bad Google is at that with Android. But it spent a lot of time today talking about how efficient its next OS, iOS 12, will be on older phones like the iPhone 6.

Why it matters: Apple can’t leave its older users in the dust. While it’s better that they upgrade to newer phones, some users are sitting on older devices like an iPhone 6S, and rolling out new operating systems with more robust and complex features might put a strain on those older devices. Apple got in trouble for not notifying users that it was slowing phones with older batteries down, and if it wants to keep people in the ecosystem — and eventually upgrade — it still has to keep those users with older phones excited about the Apple ecosystem amid a ton of competition.

Apple’s Memoji brings an animated you to your iPhone

What Apple announced: If you’ve ever used Bitmoji, you know exactly what to expect here. Apple is giving users a way to create a customized avatar for themselves that will behave exactly like an Animoji, its animated emoji that moves around as you move your head. Plus you can stick out your tongue and your Animoji will do the same, for some reason.

Why it matters: Snap spent more than $60 million on the makers of Bitmoji. Clearly this is a feature that users want, and it’s starting to show up in a lot of different ways as an attempt to differentiate a communications platform. Apple obviously needs iMessage to succeed because it continues to create iOS lock-in, and having these kinds of customized avatars can make the experience more robust.

Apple is adding group FaceTime video calls to iOS 12

What Apple announced: Apple is adding group FaceTime video calls to iOS 12, where you can chat with up to 32 people.

Why it matters: Apple is adding group FaceTime video calls to iOS 12, where you can chat with up to 32 people! This is an interesting and obvious move for Apple to port over the capabilities of Houseparty, an app that tapped a weird zeitgeist around multi-user video streaming. Managing that many streams is difficult and compute intensive, so it makes sense that Apple could absorb the shock of the challenges and bake that right into iOS.

Apple introduces watchOS 5

What Apple announced: Apple showed a bunch of new features that will show up in the next generation of the operating system for the Apple Watch. That includes new features like new workout types like yoga and hiking, challenges for friends, and automatic workout detection. There’s also Siri shortcuts and the walkie talkie, which we’ll get to below.

Why it matters: The most significant of these announcements focused in the health realm, which is where Apple is increasingly positioning itself with the Apple Watch. Originally seen as a sort of do-it-all accessory, it turns out the whole wearable category doesn’t really click for that, but it makes a lot of sense as a fitness tracker and a way to monitor health. It’s still an important part of Apple’s ecosystem, and creating better experiences around workouts can help the company position the Watch as the best fitness tracker on the market.

Apple unveils new screen time controls for children and a new set of ‘digital wellness’ features for better managing screen time

What Apple announced: Apple is adding some options in iOS to track usage of certain apps, as well as add time limits to flag users when they’re approaching the self-imposed boundaries within iOS. The updates also include more robust do-not-disturb modes. All this also extends to parental controls for children.

Why it matters: Apple is announcing this just after Google unveiled a slew of updates to its new Android operating system that were also focused on digital wellness. It’s become an increasing focus for the creators of the operating systems to try to discourage users from just tapping around and wasting time on some apps — and hopefully promote better behavior, which would make the whole experience nicer (and, of course, get them to buy new phones). The parental controls part is also significant given that investors questioned Apple when it came to screen time for children.

Apple gives users control of Siri with new Shortcuts tool

What Apple announced: Apple is giving its users the ability to create custom commands with Siri. The whole process involves chaining together a bunch of activities and queries within Siri that users can piece together to respond to a single voice command like “I’m headed to the gym.”

Why it matters: Siri is widely considered to be a much weaker service compared to Alexa or Google Assistant, and it certainly seems like something Apple is not ignoring. The company argues it works to protect privacy, but that comes at a cost, and Apple has to find a way to ensure that its voice assistant is competitive with other products out there.

The next version of macOS is macOS Mojave

What Apple announced: The company’s next version of its Mac operating system. Mojave, its latest update, brings in a ton of incremental updates for the service that include a “dark mode” that dims most of the elements on the screen. There are also a bunch of new tools to help users stay a little more organized, such as a new way of viewing files in Finder and stacking documents intelligently.

Why it matters: While the Mac operates a smaller niche inside Apple’s larger business — which, to be clear, is driven by phones — it has to keep those Mac users happy. They can be among Apple’s most avid fans, and the Mac serves as another piece of Apple’s overall ecosystem that sits alongside the phone and tablet. If Apple wants to pitch additional devices like the Watch or the HomePod, it has to convince users to stay within the Apple ecosystem. That means ensuring its laptop is up to date with new features every year.

Apple Watch gets Walkie-Talkie mode

What Apple announced: You can talk into your watch like a walkie talkie.

Why it matters: You can talk into your watch like a walkie talkie. Some people at TechCrunch care about that a lot for some reason. It’s another thing Apple Watch users have to play with that might get them to buy more watches. Or not.

Apple aims to simplify the Mac App Store with a redesign
What apple announced: Apple’s Mac App Store, it’s other App Store for its line of laptops and computers, is getting a complete overhaul. Everything is divvied up into tabs and more intelligent grouping, and Apple is making it easier for developers to prompt users to rate their apps.

Why it matters: Apple launched the Mac App Store years ago, but it hasn’t seen any major updates since Apple began making some significant changes to the Apple App Store. The company has taken more of an editorial bent for the App Store, looking to surface up the best apps in an era where the App Store is getting increasingly crowded. So it makes sense that the company would port over those learnings to the Mac App Store.

App Store hits 20M registered developers and $100B in revenues, 500M visitors per week

What Apple announced: The numbers above.

Why it matters: Apple loves to tout these numbers every year, but it’s also an important barometer for the success of the Apple App ecosystem. It’s kind of like looking at a stock chart — you might hear a company is doing well when you’re deciding whether or not to invest in something, but it’s good to have that nice round public-facing number.

Apple TV gets Dolby Atmos and streamlined sign-ons for channels and services
What Apple announced: The company is making it easier to sign on and also introducing Dolby Atmos audio, two quality-of-life improvements for Apple TV owners. The latter of which is a nice way to keep the experience clean, but the former makes the Apple TV the only streaming device to be both Dolby Atmos and Vision certified.

Why it matters: Apple insists that the TV is not a hobby, so it keeps bringing these updates to its living room device. While it really hasn’t gotten there yet, owning the living room is a tantalizing piece of the home puzzle that would help Apple not only sell more devices, but keep people locked into its ecosystem. That’ll be especially true as more and more internet-connected devices end up in the home, all of which needing some kind of hub — which could be the Apple TV.

Apple says CarPlay will now support third party navigation and mapping apps

What Apple announced: CarPlay, the company’s car-focused operating system, will support third-party apps like Google Maps and Waze.

Why it’s important: This is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a nice quality of life improvement that might make users a little more interested in using CarPlay. Apple doesn’t have a true car play yet, so to speak, but this is one way to start getting users accustomed to iOS in the car.

Source: TechCrunch

Apple’s Create ML is a nice feature with an unclear purpose

Apple announced a new feature for developers today called Create ML. Since machine learning is a commonly used tool in the developer kit these days, it makes sense that Apple would want to improve the process. But what it has here, essentially local training, doesn’t seem particularly useful.

The most important step in the creation of an machine learning model, like one that detects faces or turns speech into text, is the “training.” That’s when the computer is chugging through reams of data like photos or audio and establishing correlations between the input (a voice) and the desired output (distinct words).

This part of the process is extremely CPU-intensive, though. It generally requires orders of magnitude more computing power (and often storage) than you have sitting on your desk. Think of it like the difference between rendering a 3D game like Overwatch and rendering a Pixar film. You could do it on your laptop, but it would take hours or days for your measly four-core Intel processor and onboard GPU to handle.

That’s why training is usually done “in the cloud,” which is to say, on other people’s computers set up specifically for the task, equipped with banks of GPUs and special AI-inclined hardware.

Create ML is all about doing it on your own PC, though: as briefly shown on stage, you drag your data onto the interface, tweak some stuff, and you can have a model ready to go in as little as 20 minutes if you’re on a maxed-out iMac Pro. It also compresses the model so you can more easily include it in apps (a feature already included in Apple ML tools, if I remember correctly). This is mainly possible because it’s applying Apple’s own vision and language models, not building new ones from scratch.

I’m trying to figure out who this is for. It’s almost like they introduced iPhoto for ML training, but since it’s targeted at professional developers, they all already have the equivalent of Photoshop. Cloud-based tools are standard and relatively mature, and like other virtualized processing services they’re quite cheap as well. Not as cheap as free, naturally, but they’re also almost certainly better.

The quality of a model depends in great part on the nature, arrangement, and precision of the “layers” of the training network, and how long it’s been given to cook. Given an hour of real time, a model trained on a MacBook Pro will have, let’s just make up a number, 10 teraflop-hours of training done. If you send that data to the cloud, you could choose to either have those 10 teraflop-hours split between 10 computers and have the same results in 6 minutes, or after an hour it could have 100 teraflop-hours of training, almost certainly resulting in a better model.

That kind of flexibility is one of the core conveniences of computing as a service, and why so much of the world runs on cloud platforms like AWS and Azure, and soon dedicated AI processing services like Lobe.

My colleagues suggested that people who are dealing with sensitive data in their models, for example medical history or x-rays, wouldn’t want to put that data in the cloud. But I don’t think that single developers with little or no access to cloud training services are the kind that are likely, or even allowed, to have access to privileged data like that. If you have a hard drive loaded with the PET scans of 500,000 people, that seems like a catastrophic failure waiting to happen. So access control is the name of the game, and private data is stored centrally.

Research organizations, hospitals, and universities have partnerships with cloud services and perhaps even their own dedicated computing clusters for things like this. After all they also need to collaborate, be audited, and so on. Their requirements are also almost certainly different and more demanding than Apple’s off the shelf stuff.

I guess I sound like I’m ragging for no reason on a tool that some will find useful. But the way Apple framed it made it sound like anyone can just switch over from a major training service to their own laptop easily and get the same results. That’s just not true. Even for prototyping and rapid turnaround work it doesn’t seem likely that a locally trained model will often be an option. Perhaps as the platform diversifies developers will find ways to make it useful, but for now it feels like a feature without a purpose.

Source: TechCrunch

Microsoft’s GitHub Deal Is Its Latest Shift From Windows

The deal is the latest in a series of moves by Microsoft to move away from its Windows-first heritage and embrace open-source software.
Source: Wired

Stride.VC, a new seed fund founded by Fred Destin and Harry Stebbings, sees first £40M closing

We already knew that veteran venture capitalist Fred Destin had teamed up with podcaster-turned-VC Harry Stebbings to raise a fund of their own, but now more details have emerged, including that the new VC firm has reportedly achieved its first closing.

According to my sources, Stride.VC — as the VC is to be called — has already closed £40 million, with a final target of £50 million or more. I’m told that LPs include a number of notable U.K. founders, although I’ve yet to peg who, along with the usual mix of institutional VC investors and family offices.

One name that has surfaced, however (via a Companies House regulatory filing) is Delin Capital, the investment vehicle of Russian-born entrepreneur Igor Linshits. He previously backed Mail.ru alongside Yuri Milner of DST fame, amongst many other investments spanning petrochemical, commodities trading, and tech. According to Wikipedia, he immigrated to the U.K. in 2009, where he became a British citizen and founded Delin Capital.

Delin’s core businesses are DCAM, one of Europe’s leading e-commerce logistics real estate players, and Delin Ventures, which supports emerging venture fund managers and makes direct investments in early-stage companies.

People with knowledge of Stride.VC’s strategy and investment remit say the new firm is targeting seed stage startups with a strong focus on the U.K., where both Destin and Stebbings are based. It will remain “sector agnostic,” however, and is looking to partner with “contrarian entrepreneurs” who are attempting to reshape various industries.

Destin has always maintained that at the earliest of stages it is less about a company’s strategy — which at seed is based on limited data and clearly subject to change — and more about a team’s conviction and determination. It is perhaps why a number of VCs and founders I talk to have always thought he was an odd fit at Accel in London, where he was most recently a Partner. Accel typically doesn’t invest in seed and is known to be extremely data-driven.

However, although it wouldn’t normally come as a surprise to see a VC with Destin’s experience and track record raise a fund of his own — having previously backed successful companies such as Zoopla, Secret Escapes, Carwow, Deliveroo, DailyMotion, Integral Ad Science, and Pillpack — it was reported by Bloomberg last July that Stride.VC’s fund-raising efforts were facing additional scrutiny after an accusation of inappropriate behaviour by Destin towards a female founder at a conference in 2013.

In a subsequent report in Business Insider, Destin issued a statement saying that he had “on occasion acted without awareness at parties and been flirty” and that if he had “offended anyone or made anyone feel uncomfortable in any way, I am truly sorry”. He also told BI that he had never used his position as a VC inappropriately.

Meanwhile, although only 21 years old, Stebbings has already packed a lot in for such a short career. He is best known as the founder and host of the popular “The Twenty Minute VC” podcast, which he still publishes. He was also most recently an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Atomico, the VC firm founded by Skype’s Niklas Zennström, and has no doubt built up an impressive network in the U.K. and across the pond.

As I previously reported, the two met when Destin was interviewed by Stebbings on one of the earlier episodes of “The Twenty Minute VC” and after the show had finished being recorded, the two continued to chat. This led to Destin agreeing to be Stebbings’ VC mentor. They have since become close friends, including getting to know each other and their respective families outside of work, and this eventually resulted in the idea of doing a fund together.

Lastly, Stride.VC may have already written its first cheque, backing a yet-to-launch London fintech startup. Who that is, I haven’t been able to confirm, although if my information is correct it broadly plays in the home financing space.

Source: TechCrunch

Xiaomi CDRs, SoftBank’s successors, and China’s Samsung investigation

The weekend provided no rest to news-wary reporters, with major announcements coming from Xiaomi, SoftBank, and the Chinese government the past few days that will continue to change the global tech landscape.

Xiaomi Chinese Depository Receipts

One of the most important yet underreported stories of 2018 has been the development of Chinese Depository Receipts (known as CDRs). I wrote a comprehensive primer on the investment mechanism a few weeks ago, but the summary is that CDRs will give mainland Chinese investors access to overseas-listed stocks that setup the right custodian accounts. Due to domestic capital controls and relatively weak stock exchange rules in China, many Chinese tech giants are listed on overseas stock exchanges in New York and Hong Kong.

Beijing-based Xiaomi, which produces a line of phones and offers mobile software services, is launching one of most anticipated IPOs of the year, with a valuation expected to top tens of billions of dollars. In its official filing, the company targeted a fundraise of $10 billion. While Xiaomi is a sterling example of the potential success of Chinese entrepreneurs, local retail buyers would likely have had no access to buy the stock, which will be listed in Hong Kong.

Fiona Liu and Julie Zhu at Reuters are now reporting that Xiaomi could be one of the first companies to take advantage of the new CDR mechanism, potentially reserving 30% of its new issue for CDR buyers. That would be about $3 billion if the assumptions of the fundraise play out.

If the CDR mechanism works as expected, Chinese companies and potentially many others could suddenly tap a vast new pool of capital, either in the IPO process or more generally. That could push valuations for many of these issues higher than they might otherwise go, since Chinese mainland investors have limited ability to invest in overseas stocks due to capital controls. A valuation that might cause a New York-based money manager to flee might be more than palatable to a Chinese investor.

While Chinese tech giants are likely to quickly offer CDR options to take advantage of their local brand power and increase upward pressure on their stock prices, the bigger question in my mind is how long it will take overseas companies to offer similar measures and get access to this capital market. While companies like Facebook and Google are blocked or mostly blocked from mainland China, other companies like Apple have strong brand presence in the country, and could theoretically offer a CDR as it strives for a $1 trillion valuation. There are huge legal and policy roadblocks to overcome of course, but such a debut would be a major milestone in China’s financial development.

SoftBank executive changes

Japan’s Softbank Group, which owns a set of major tech and finance companies, announced a new group of senior execs late on Friday that sets up something of a leadership contest to succeed the group’s founder, Masayoshi Son.

Several years ago, Son had indicated that Nikesh Arora, who had spent a decade at Google and eventually rose to be the company’s chief business officer, would succeed him. Arora became president and chief operating officer of SoftBank, but would last less than two years before heading out from the role. As a sort of coda to that chapter, we learned late last week that Arora has joined Palo Alto Networks as its CEO.

Now, SoftBank has announced that three people will take leadership roles in the company, and all three will join its board of directors. Rajeev Misra, who runs the $100 billion SoftBank Vision Fund, will become an executive vice president (EVP) while maintaining his duties to the fund.

Katsunori Sago, who until recently was the chief investment officer of Japan Post, Japan’s largest savings bank with a $1.9 trillion portfolio, will join SoftBank as an EVP and chief strategy officer. Sago had been rumored to be considering leaving Japan Post just a few weeks ago. Finally, former Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure was named an EVP and SoftBank’s new chief operating officer. Claure was elevated to executive chairman of Sprint last month, while stepping down as CEO.

Each of the three are positioned around the key tentpoles of SoftBank. SoftBank’s core business remains telecom, which Claure will presumably spend signifiant time on. The group’s financial interests, which includes a 100% stake in Fortress Investment Group, will likely get significant attention from Sago. And the SoftBank Vision Fund, which has received splashy headlines with its massive investments in global unicorn startups, is obviously a key future pillar of the company, giving Misra a powerful perch in the group.

Masayoshi Son is 60 years old today. While retirement seems to be the least likely course of action for the energetic entrepreneur, clearly he is starting to think through succession in a more robust way than he did before with Arora. That should make SoftBank investors far more content, and also provide a little bit of a competitive dynamic at the top of the organization to drive the group’s results in the years to come.

China initiates investigation into Samsung and other chip companies

The chip wars between China and the rest of the world continue to heat up. Now, it looks like Samsung, the world’s largest chipmaker, is in the crosshairs of Beijing according to a Wall Street Journal report by Yoko Kubota. In addition to Samsung, Micron and SK Hynix were also ensnared in the investigation.

China has made building a strong indigenous chip industry a core pillar of its economic development strategy. In addition to a comprehensive plan known as Made in China 2025, the country has also been attempting to put together the world’s largest semiconductor venture capital investment fund, which in aggregate could have tens of billions of dollars in capital at its disposal.

The investigations against the Samsung and the two chipmakers comes at the same time that China has also once again delayed the close of Qualcomm’s acquisition of NXP Semiconductors. Qualcomm has been waiting for months to get Beijing’s approval on that deal, which would provide the company a fresh source of revenue and a renewed product mix in strategic areas like automotive.

The use of economic investigations to help and hurt Chinese companies and their competitors is starting to become a mainstay. The United States used the negative conclusions of its investigation into Chinese telecommunications company ZTE in order to cut off its export licenses, practically killing the company. While the U.S. has now started to walk back that threat by floating the option of a large fine, it is clear that these sorts of tit-for-tat investigations are going to continue into the future.

Source: TechCrunch

The Race to Send Robots to Mine the Ocean Floor

As worldwide development rises for electric vehicle batteries and wind turbines, the demand for metals from the bottom of the sea has spiked.
Source: Wired