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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Confirmado: técnicamente es posible conducir un coche bocabajo

El problema había sido ampliamente estudiado pero nadie había encontrado solución hasta ahora. El equipo ha demostrado su novedoso enfoque con un coche de juguete y debería ser relativamente sencillo adaptarlo a una escala real. Lo único que falta es un patrocinador con dinero suficiente 
Source: MIT

Los más poderosos del mundo intentan crear reglas comunes para la IA

El último Foro Económico Mundial se está centrando en crear un Consejo de Inteligencia Artificial capaz de desarrollar un terreno legal común para todos los países. ¿Serán capaces de hacerlo teniendo en cuenta el potencial geopolítico de la tecnología y la diversidad de culturas? 
Source: MIT

RTX ray tracing is coming to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but will it impress?

Today, Activision announced it would be bringing real-time ray tracing to its revised version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, scheduled for release October 25, 2019. Can this implementation finally prove Nvidia’s investment in ray tracing?

The post RTX ray tracing is coming to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but will it impress? appeared first on Digital Trends.

Source: Digital trends

This longtime cannabis investor has funded Pax and Juul, among others; here’s her approach

If you’re a cannabis investor or a founder working on a cannabis-related startup, you’ve probably heard of Poseidon Asset Management.

The San Francisco-based investment firm is one of very few that is focused narrowly on the industry, which remains fairly insular for now. Poseidon has also been at it longer than most outfits, having begun making bets on cannabis-related companies six years ago. More, Poseidon has managed to stuff checks into some of the fastest growing companies in the sector, including the cannabis vaporizer company Pax Labs and the e-cigarette company Juul, whose founders created the Pax vaporizer before peeling off to win over smokers. Indeed, because Poseidon has largely invested the money of high-net worth individuals and family offices, it hasn’t been constrained by the same vice clauses — or restrictions by backers like pension funds and other institutions —  that can often hamper where venture capitalists invest.

Poseidon is notable for yet another reason, too. It was founded by siblings Emily and Morgan Paxhia, whose parents both died of different cancers at the ages of 46 and 52, respectively. In fact, despite — or because of — being a young teenager at the time, Emily Paxhia says she can still very much remember the hospice nurse who recommended to her father that he smoke pot to ease his pain. Little did Paxhia know then that the cannabis — then a surprising and exotic concept — would later inform the career she now enjoys.

We talked about it earlier this week, as well as how Paxhia and her brother decided back in 2013 that cannabis was going to be the next big thing. If you’re curious about their path, and where they’re shopping now, read on.

TC: You grew up in Buffalo and you say your parents were entrepreneurial.

EP: Our dad restored homes in an economically depressed part of Buffalo, and our mom worked for a real estate agency. When began running his books, voila, we had a family business.

TC: Then he became sick when you and your siblings were young. How did that impact you?

EP: He was a dyed-in-the-wool hippy. We had Woodstock tickets in our home. He never really accepted the status quo, which I think informs the way we view the world. But yes, he became aggressively sick with cancer in 1994 and passed away in 1996, and it was this non-virtuous cycle, where they would put him on this or that medication and each had its own terrible side effects. Finally, a hospice nurse who came to our home said, ‘John, maybe you some smoke some pot.’ She told us it would help with his appetite and reduce his anxiety and help him sleep. It was this palliative care thing that had been stigmatized but she believed was useful. I don’t know if he tried it or not, but then he passed away, and five years later, our mother, who was very healthy and ran and took care of herself, also died of cancer.

I’ve often looked back and thought that if my parents had [used cannabis at the end of their lives], they would not have suffered so greatly.

TC: How did you get from Buffalo to starting a fund in San Francisco, seemingly out of the blue?

EP: After college, I was spending time in New York and in San Francisco, working in market research, including on behalf of Amex and Viacom and Comedy Central — all companies competing in markets that were very saturated. It was hard to find white space. When I moved to California [full time], I started to see people lining up outside the doors of dispensaries and I thought, ‘Here are people who ordinarily wouldn’t break a law, but they’re doing something that’s federally illegal because they want cannabis. Brick-and-mortar is dying elsewhere and it’s thriving here. This is what product-market fit looks like.’

TC: At what point did you decide to partner with your brother and why?

EP: He worked for UBS during the downturn [of 2008] and then he landed in Rhode Island, working for a private registered investment advisor. And I called him, and I said, “Dude. I think the ‘thing’ of our generation is cannabis.” I actually remember where I was standing in San Francisco. We’d always though we’d be in business together, and he took me 100 percent seriously, and then we couldn’t turn it off. From that point on, we were figuring out how do we participate in this.

It was Morgan who identified that a fund made the most sense, that the industry was happening and it was very underserved from a tech and investor perspective. He knew the industry was going to need funding and that investors would need an actively managed strategy.

TC: How did you get started?

EP: It was hard. It was very hard to find attorneys to work with us, but we did. The same was true of auditors and back office administration. Everything that’s normally a check-the-box type of process was hard.

TC: What about investors? How did you begin lining these up with out a track record?

EP:  I had that qualitative consulting experience, working with brands and helping them scale; Morgan had traditional investment experience. But there were no data sets at the time. All we could do was be ‘in market’ all the time. We traveled to be with companies. We traveled to different geographies because each has such complicated regulatory nuances to it.

Raising money was really difficult. We got laughed at quite a bit. It’s funny, many of our earliest investors were lawyers because I think they understood the real, versus the perceived, risk involved in what we were doing.

TC: Eventually, you began to assemble this evergreen-type fund and you began investing while fundraising. Where you shopping at at the outset?

EP: We focused initially on the tech aspect of the industry. To us, that was where we saw the biggest gap and the biggest opportunity to potentially scale quickly. Also, those companies tended to be started by tech founders who were [secondarily] interested in cannabis.

TC: How were you drumming up deal flow?

EP:  It was going into stores, seeing what they were using in terms of tech, talking with retail associates about what people were buying, going to industry events and to cannabis job fairs to see was hiring, then starting to build relationships with those companies. We knew as entrepreneurs ourselves that being as founder friendly as possible would be the key to our deal flow. And we start having founders bringing us other founders. We’ve now led 20 rounds at this point, and our best deal flow has come from the founders themselves.

But it’s also been a matter of getting out there and walking up to people and saying, “Have you thought about raising capital? If so, let’s keep talking.”

TC: Do you feel like you now recognize founders who you shouldn’t back?

EP: What 100 percent does not work in this industry is hubris. In other areas of business, a certain level of confidence bodes well for founders. But this is not a move-fast-and-break-things industry. There are so many regulatory challenges that you really need to know the lay of the land. I’ve seen people come in and bounce right out again because of their attitude.

Founders also need to understand the extra costs in time and money that come with running these business and to model accordingly; otherwise, projections are off and valuations are off and you’re facing a potentially down round later in time.

TC: You were able to return money to investors in January, after Juul distributed a special dividend. Is that your biggest exit to date?

EP: That was a big one, but we’ve had other big exits out of [an earlier] pair of funds through [several investments in Canadian companies], including [medical marijuana company] Aphria [which went public last October] and Canopy Growth [which went public in 2014, is Canada’s second-largest grower, and is currently valued at roughly $15 billion]. Canada is a very different market. You can order cannabis from the government and it will arrive in the postal mail. It’s very top-down unlike in the U.S., where the market is very bottom-up and state by state.

There’s a lot of investment going on [across U.S. and Canada]. It’s very permeable at this point. I was in Toronto last week, and licensed producers there want to invest more in California. We’re meanwhile looking at Latin America and Europe–

TC: That’s interesting. Where in Latin America and why?

EP: The cost to produce cannabis in Colombia is extremely low. Cannabis grows on a 12-hour cycle very well and the equator runs through the country’s southern sector [making its warm climate conducive to the plant’s growth]. Local companies can export the products at a lower cost than in Canada and Europe. [Operators there] also have distribution relationships with European markets [that are buying medical marijuana].

Mexico is also expected to roll out its medical program in the fourth quarter of this year, which is exciting.

TC: Obviously these places have been home to drug cartels for years. Do you worry that these same organizations will take an interest in what’s being built legally in their backyards?

EP: We’ve gotten comfortable with both places. I think the cartels have begun to pivot to other places, like meth. I also don’t think it’s worth it to the cartels to get involved with legal government channels. And the groups that we focus on are themselves focused on medical cannabis and distribution to other medical touch points globally [and not the same places into which cartels are trying to move goods].

TC: I’ve read that Poseidon is trying to raise a new, $75 fund. How far along are you?

EP: We have capital commitments for half the fund and hope to close it this summer. We want to be able to deploy [more capital] before legalization is [more widespread] and we have to compete with bigger funds.

TC: What is your pacing like? Relatedly, how fast do you have to move on this investments, or do you have all the time in the world right now?

EP: We expect to invest this new fund in 15 companies over two years. We’ve funded five startups with it since November, but we were in diligence on one of those for months. I’d say the average deal takes 60 to 90 days to pull together right now. We start our own diligence before the company is considering a Series A, which is where we invest. We want to help structure the round, to lead it, to have a board seat — to demonstrate our value add.

TC: Are you seeing many, or any, particularly frothy deals?

EP: Valuations are not going crazy but the more popular a deal gets, the harder it becomes, as with any investment. We’re wrestling over a term sheet right now, because other groups got a look at it and want us to lead it, but we’re also getting negotiated against a little bit.

TC: Any parting words for investors who want to jump into the industry? Any advice?

EP: I’d say to go to events and walk the floor to see who and what stands out.

I went to MJBizCon [the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo] that happens annually every winter. The first few years that we went, there were a few hundred schlubby guys walking the floor. The year before last, there were 3,000 people in attendance, looking a lot less schlubby. Last year, I think there were 27,000 people, which I took as an indicator that there’s some interest in this space. [Laughs.]

Source: TechCrunch

Lack of leadership in open source results in source-available licenses

Amazon’s behavior toward open source combined with lack of leadership from industry associations such as the Open Source Initiative (OSI) will stifle open-source innovation and make commercial open source less viable.

The result will be more software becoming proprietary and closed-source to protect itself against AWS, widespread license proliferation (a dozen companies changed their licenses in 2018) and open-source licenses giving way to a new category of licenses, called source-available licenses.

Don’t get me wrong — there will still be open source, lots and lots of it. But authors of open-source infrastructure software will put their interesting features in their “enterprise” versions if we as an industry cannot solve the Amazon problem.

Unfortunately, the dark cloud on the horizon I wrote about back in November has drifted closer. Amazon has exhibited three particularly offensive and aggressive behaviors toward open source:

  • It takes open-source code produced by others, runs it as a commercial service and gives nothing back to the commercial entity that produces and maintains the open source, thereby intercepting the monetization of the open source.
  • It forks projects and forcibly wrestles control away from the commercial entity that produces and maintains the open-source projects, as it did in the case of Elasticsearch.
  • It hijacks open-source APIs and places them on top of its own proprietary solutions, thereby siphoning off customers from the open-source project to its own proprietary solution, as it did with the MongoDB APIs.

Amazon’s behavior toward open source is self-interested and rational. Amazon is playing by the rules of what software licenses allow. But these behaviors and their undesirable results could be curbed if industry associations created standard open-source licenses that allowed authors of open-source software to express a simple concept:

“I do not want my open-source code run as a commercial service.”

Leadership often comes from unexpected sources.

But the OSI, an organization that opines on the open-sourceness of licenses, is an ineffective wonk tank that refuses to acknowledge the problem and insists that unless Amazon has the “freedom” to take your code, run it as a commercial service and give nothing back to you, your code is not “open source.” The OSI believes it owns the definition of open source and refuses to update the definition of open source, which is short-sighted and dangerous.

To illustrate: The Server Side Public License (SSPL) — the license proposal spearheaded by MongoDB — was patterned exactly after the Gnu General Public License (GPL) and the Affero General Public License (AGPL). SSPL is a perfectly serviceable open-source license, and like GPL and AGPL, rather than prohibit software from being run as a service, SSPL requires that you open-source all programs that you use to make the software available as a service.

A months-long comical debate ensued after SSPL was proposed as an open-source license candidate to OSI, after which OSI made its premeditated opinion official, that SSPL is not an open-source license, even though GPL and AGPL are open source. In its myopia, the OSI forgot to be consistent: If SSPL is not open source, then GPL and AGPL should not be either. MongoDB will continue to use SSPL anyway, but it just won’t be called “open source” because OSI says that it owns the definition of “open source” and it can’t be called that. Great.

Source-available licenses

Is it inevitable that the combination of Amazon’s behavior and this lack of industry leadership will stifle open-source innovation and make commercial open source less viable? Should we just live with either more software becoming proprietary and closed-source to protect itself against AWS, or with widespread license proliferation?

We’ve already seen plenty of license proliferation. MongoDB SSPL, Confluent Community License (CCL), Timescale License (TSL), Redis Source Available License (RSAL), Neo4J Commons Clause, Cockroach Community License (CCL), Dgraph (now using Cockroach Community License), Elastic License, Sourcegraph Fair SourceLicense, MariaDB Business Source License (BSL)… and many more.

The trend is toward “source-available” licensing rather than “open-source” licensing because source-available licenses, uncontaminated by the myopia of open source industry associations, do not require that Amazon have the “freedom” to take your code, run it as a commercial service and give nothing back to you.

To that end, a group of open-source lawyers led by Heather Meeker, a respected and undisputed leader on technology and open-source law who worked on both Commons Clause and SSPL, will soon open a suite of “source-available” licenses for community comment.

The suite of source-available licenses is expected to provide authors of open-source software with a number of methods to address the growing threat from cloud infrastructure providers. The suite will provide short plain-language source-available licenses; standardize patterns in recently adopted source-available licenses; and allow users and companies to mix and match limitations you want to impose (e.g. non-commercial use only, or value add only, or no SaaS use, or whatever else). I believe these frameworks will be a smart alternative to open source, as the OSI refuses to provide leadership in solving the Amazon problem.

AWS and anti-competitive behavior

More broadly, it is clear to most industry observers that AWS is using its market power to be anti-competitive. Unless something changes, calls for anti-trust action against both Amazon and AWS are inevitable, even if AWS is divested from Amazon. That issue is broader than just open source.

Amazon’s behavior toward open source is self-interested and rational.

Within open source, if Amazon isn’t breaking any laws today, then licenses to prevent or curb their behavior are critical. And lack of leadership from the open-source industry associations that squat on the term “open source” means that source-available licenses are the most viable solution to curb such behavior. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Leadership often comes from unexpected sources. There are promising signs that other cloud infrastructure providers are becoming true allies to the open-source community. Take Google, for example. The major announcements at Google Cloud Next in April 2019 were dramatic and encouraging. The company announced partnerships with Confluent, DataStax, Elastic, InfluxData, MongoDB, Neo4j and Redis Labs — companies most affected by Amazon’s behavior.

Google Cloud’s new CEO Thomas Kurian’s remarks echoed what I had been saying for the last year.

Frederic Lardinois of TechCrunch wrote:

Google is taking a very different approach to open source than some of its competitors, and especially AWS. … “The most important thing is that we believe that the platforms that win in the end are those that enable rather than destroy ecosystems. We really fundamentally believe that,” [Kurian] told me. “Any platform that wins in the end is always about fostering rather than shutting down an ecosystem. If you look at open-source companies, we think they work hard to build technology and enable developers to use it.”

It’s smart for Google to align with these commercial open-source players — AWS is beating Google in the cloud wars and giving best-of-breed commercial open-source products first-class status on Google’s cloud will help Google win more enterprise customers.

Perhaps more importantly, the stance and language on how ecosystems thrive is incredibly encouraging.

Disclosures: The author has invested in numerous open companies affected by the behavior of cloud infrastructure providers, indirectly owns shares of Amazon and, apart from any abuse of open source or anti-competitive behavior, is a big fan of Amazon.

Source: TechCrunch

Uber Eats, micromobility services are growing faster than Uber’s core ride-hailing business

Uber’s ride-hailing business is growing more slowly than its newer bets. In Uber’s Q1 2019 earnings, the company reported gross bookings growth of 230% for its other bets, while ridesharing grew just 22% compared to the same quarter last year.

Gross bookings are the revenue earned minus things like taxes, tolls, fees, wages paid to drivers, restaurants and so forth.

Other bets, with gross bookings of $132 million for Q1 2019, includes freight and new mobility, which entails bikes and scooters. Uber did not break out specifics for new mobility, but Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said on an investor conference call that gross bookings for new mobility “grew strong quarter over quarter.”

Meanwhile, Eats continues to be a revenue driver for Uber, with gross bookings growth of 108% to $3.07 billion.

Slowing growth of Uber’s core business is to be expected. At TC Disrupt last year, Khosrowshahi said ride-hailing will make up less than 50% of Uber’s business transactions.

Source: TechCrunch

Maine lawmakers pass bill to prevent ISPs from selling browsing data without consent

Good news!

Maine lawmakers have passed a bill that will prevent internet providers from selling consumers’ private internet data to advertisers.

The state’s senate unanimously passed the bill 35-0 on Thursday following an earlier vote by state representatives 96-45 in favor of the bill.

The bill, if signed into law by state governor Janet Mills, will force the national and smaller regional internet providers operating in the state to first obtain permission from residents before their data can be sold or passed on to advertisers or other third parties.

Maine has about 1.3 million residents.

The Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission voted in 2017 to allow internet providers to sell customers’ private and personal internet data and browsing histories — including which websites a user visits and for how long — to advertisers for the biggest buck. Congress later passed the measure into law.

At the time, the ACLU explained how this rule change affected ordinary Americans:

Your internet provider sees everything you do online. Even if the website you’re visiting is encrypted, your ISP can still see the website name, how frequently you visit the website, and how long you’re there for. And, because you are a paying customer, your ISP knows your social security number, full legal name, address, and bank account information. Linking all that information can reveal a lot about you – for example, if you are visiting a religious website or a support site for people with a particular illness.

In its latest remarks, the ACLU — which along with the Open Technology Institute and New America helped to draft the legislation — praised lawmakers for passing the bill, calling it the “strongest” internet privacy bill of any state.

“Today, the Maine legislature did what the U.S. Congress has thus far failed to do and voted to put consumer privacy before corporate profits,” said Oamshri Amarasingham, advocacy director at the ACLU of Maine, in  a statement.

“Nobody should have to choose between using the internet and protecting their own data,” she said.

Source: TechCrunch

What to expect from Apple’s WWDC 2019

Last year’s WWDC was a rare step away from hardware for the company, without a single device announcement. In fact, Apple’s gadget lines have largely been the subject of quiet releases over the past year. Ahead of the big Apple TV unveil, the company issued several press releases highlighting minor updates to flagship lines.

Just last week, it did the same for the MacBook, with a quiet announcement around the latest attempt to resolve longstanding issues with the malfunctioning keyboards. Next week’s developer show, on the other hand, is shaping up to be something altogether different. All signs point to a load of big announcements, including, potentially, some Pro hardware.

After a fairly slow I/O and Build, Apple could really make a splash here. The company’s not immune from larger industry trends, and is at a kind of crossroads at the moment. Its last financial call highlighted a shifting focus away from hardware, toward services and content. It makes sense — after all, smartphone sales have slowed across the board, just as the company started making massive investments in content through Apple TV+.

Of course, WWDC is, at its heart, a developer show. And while Monday’s kick-off keynote is very much for the public at large, the true nature of the show is highlighting what’s new with Apple’s various operating systems. Let’s start with the biggie.

iOS 13

The leaks have already started, and the big news so far is system-wide Dark Mode, following in the footsteps of MacOS. Easier on the eyes and battery, expect the update to take much the same form as it did on desktop, starting with Apple’s own apps, with more third-party partners arriving in the following months. Given how much more aggressive and engaged the iOS development community tends to be, however, I’d anticipate them falling in line a lot quicker this time out.

Bloomberg’s got a bunch of additional features for iOS 13, which has reportedly been operating under the codename “Yukon” (apparently Apple’s already at work on iOS 14, Azul, as well, which will have a 5G and AR focus).

Unsurprisingly, the Health app is getting a makeover. In fact, expect health to be a big focus for the company yet again at the event (see also: Apple Watch). Native support for Duet Display, like second screen iPad functionality, has been rumored to be in the works for a while. On a personal note, I can say it’s been a game changer for me, and native support will only make things better.

Mail, Maps and Home are said to be receiving updates as well. There will be bug fixes throughout, as well, said to make the system operate better on new and old systems alike. It’s a nice upgrade and, perhaps, tacit acknowledgment of the fact that consumers are simply holding onto their devices for longer these days.

MacOS 10.15Much like the smartphone, the PC is very much in a transitional space — though its identity crisis has been ongoing since it was completely overshadowed by the smartphone. For many Windows PC makers, that’s meant novel approaches like second screens, which were all the rage at Computex in Taipei this week.

For Apple, however, that means definitively reclaiming the throne of king of the creative professionals, after an influx of competition from the likes of Microsoft and Samsung. But to start things off, the company’s going to once again borrow liberally from iOS.

Last year the company showed off a trio of apps — News, Stocks and Voice Memos — as a preview of the upcoming ability to port iOS apps to the desktop. That attempt to foster Mac app development, codenamed Marzipan (Apple’s all in on the fun codenames this year) will take center stage. Other iOS cribbed features include Screen Time, iMessage effects and Siri shortcuts, along with updates to a handful of existing Mac apps.

Mac hardware

What’s really exciting here, however, is the long-awaited arrival of Mac Pro. I’m going to tell you to take this one with a grain of salt, just because, well, we’ve all been burned before. As previously noted, Apple hit pause on the category, which plans to completely revamp the high-end desktop. The iMac Pro has addressed the need for some, but for many pros with demanding workflows, there’s been a trash can-shaped hole in their heart.

Just about all signs appear to point to the the long-awaited refresh arriving next week. Ditto for a recently rumored 31.6-inch, 6K pro display, which would fit nicely alongside the Pro and the smoldering ashes of your checkbook.


Apple’s most recent event was all about Apple TV. The company had a LOT to show off on that front, and while the redesigned app has already arrived, expect the company to continue talking up Apple TV+, the forthcoming billion-dollar, cable-killing, premium-content offering from the company.

Last time Apple talked up the Apple Watch, it had some transit news to discuss. That goes live in New York tomorrow, by the way. This time out, expect a lot on the health front. That’s been the company’s focus for a while now, both as a way to distinguish the product from a flood of fellow wearables and to get it taken more seriously by the FDA and, by extension, healthcare providers. Menstrual tracking and a feature for keeping track of medications appear to be in the works.

So, too, are new Voice Memos, Calculator and Apple Books apps.

The party gets started Monday at 10AM PT / 1PM ET. We’ll be there with a live blog, breaking news and unicorn skull shards in tow.

Source: TechCrunch

If China Really Wants to Retaliate, It Will Target Apple

As the trade war heats up, Apple is an enticing target for Chinese reprisals. It derives a nearly 20% of its revenue from the country, and its supply chain is based there.
Source: Wired

Google Is Finally Making Chrome Extensions More Secure

Third-party developers don’t always build extensions with security best practices in mind. Now Google is taking steps to better protect user data.
Source: Wired