Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for October 2019

The Politics of Advertising

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Good morning. And congrats to the Washington Nationals on the District’s first World Series victory in 95 years. What a series.

And on the subject of D.C., Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced yesterday that the company would stop accepting all political and issue ads on its platform globally starting November 22.

Dorsey stated in a Tweet that “we believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,” and that “this isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach.”

No word yet on whether or not Mark Zuckerberg provided a RT.

Apple earnings were out late yesterday, reporting Q4 revenue of $64B (up 2% YoY), with growth fueled by services, wearable and iPad.

Samsung, OTOH, saw its operating profit drop 56% to $6.6B on revenue of $53B, but still beat estimates.

Facebook’s Q3 saw revenue of $17.7B, up 29 YoY, and its daily active users rose 9% YoY. Political ads or not, Facebook is still printing lots of Benjamins.

Funding Rounds: U.K.. commission-free stock investing firm Freetrade raised $15M in a Series A…IoT back-end platform Particle raised a $40M Series C led by Qualcomm…Crunchbase raised a $30M Series C to help folks find “signals in the data” (meaning, they intend to become a dealmaker info resource).

Written by turbotodd

October 31, 2019 at 9:32 am

Streaming to the Max

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Details are emerging on HBO Max, HBO’s new live streaming service.

It’s $15/month (U.S.), which is what existing HBO costs…but AT&T is planning to bundle free subscriptions for some customers of its other services.

Compare that to Apple’s $5/month and Disney’s $7/month (Netflix comes in between $9 and $16/month, depending on what flavor you get).

On the subject of money, Sony announced a Q2 operating profit of $2.56B, jumping 16% on its 102.8M total unit sales of the PlayStation 4 (now larger than the original PlayStation).

Funding Rounds: Duality, which makes privacy-preserving data analysis tools w/ homomorphic encryption, raised $16M in a Series A led by Intel Capital. And Quill raised a $2M seed and $12.5M Series A for its messaging product and Slack competitor.

At today’s TensorFlow World conference in Santa Cruz, Google launched TensorFlow Enterprise, an “optimized” version of its open source machine learning framework for large businesses.

Tonight: It’s the Houston Astros vs. the Washington Nationals in a winner-take-all game 7. On the mound, Zack Greinke for Houston & Max Scherzer for Washington. It’s hard to believe it came down to a game 7, but that’s late October for ya!

Play ball!

Written by turbotodd

October 30, 2019 at 2:29 pm

Tiger’s Roar

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I’m back! I had to take a little time off to chase a little white ball and disconnect from these amped up Interwebs for a bit. 

So what caught my eye on the return trip to the office? First, Apple’s new fancy AirPods that have active noise cancellation and are water resistance, and cost $249.

You won’t catch me dissin’ AirPods, or their price. My NPS for these things would be off the charts, and I highly recommend them to anyone who asks. So, yeah, I’d give the Pro versions a spin if I lost one of my 1st gens (which was a fear that, knock on wood, has so far never come true).

Next: Microsoft winning the JEDI cloud contract with Uncle Sam. Be interesting to read former SecDef Jim Mattis’ book which claims that Trump directed him to “screw Amazon” out of winning the contract. No Amazon Drone deliveries at the White House anytime soon!

But Amazon IS upping their grocery game, making grocery deliveries free in ~2,000 cities for all Prime members and removing the $14.99/month Amazon Fresh fee.

And speaking of golf, Tiger Woods tied Sam Snead’s record with 82 PGA Tour victories, this at last week’s Zozo Championship in Japan. Congrats, can’t wait to see you win # 83!

Written by turbotodd

October 29, 2019 at 12:56 pm

A Wee Pin Drop

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Fascinating follow up by the WSJ on Daryl Morey’s Oct. 4 pro-HK Tweet: It indicates that around 50% of the Tweets at him came from accounts with 0-13 followers, and 4,855 of those users had never Tweeted previously. Where did all those new tweets come from??

Earnings season for the quarter is in full swing.

IBM had Q3 revenue of $18B, down 3.9% YOY, with Red Hat sales of $371M, and cloud revenue up 11%. Netflix, Q3 revenue of $5.25B, up 31% YOU with 158M paid subscriptions globally.

Huawei, overall sales at $86B, up 25% YOY, smartphone shipments up 26% YOU (to 185M units through Sept of this year).

Some noteworthy funding…Invoca, AI-powered call tracking and conversational analytics firm, raised $56M bringing its total financing to $116M

Galileo Financial raised $77M Series A led by Accel and provides APIs for backend integration for fintech startups.

One from India, MyGate, a Bangalore startup with a security and community management app for gated communities: $56M Series B from Tencent, others.

Ex-Cisco-ites raised $145M for Pensando Systems, which builds custom hardware for processing data at the edge.

Oh, and one other wee bit of news: The U.S. FCC has approved the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint.

Did you hear the pin drop?

Written by turbotodd

October 17, 2019 at 9:52 am

Go Pixelbook

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I was too busy being busy to watch yesterday’s Google announcement, but here’s my short list of what I saw announced: Pixelbook Go Chromebook, Pixel 4/4XL smartphones (with gesture controls and “Face Unlock,” Nest Mini, Nest WiFi, and Pixel Buds. And a Pixel 4 Recorder app that can record and transcribe audio simultaneously (that one actually sounds handy).

The Pixelbook Go is probably the most alluring of the shiny new GOOG objects, and the $649 makes it Google’s most affordable Chromebook yet – although this version won’t flip into tablet mode (only major downside I read about).

I bought a Pixelbook and a year and a half later am still most pleased with the product. While it runs no Mac or Wintel programs, I’ve spent far less time updating or maintaining the Chromebook than any other computer I’ve owned, pretty. And while it doesn’t necessarily do everything I want it to, it does pretty much everything I need it to. 

Meanwhile, LinkedIn has thrown down the gauntlet against WeWork and its “Meetup” group. The company has launched a new “Events” feature, a free tool to plan, announce, and invite people to meetups. This just WeWork/Meetup has faced a backlash for announcing a $2/per-RSVP service charge.

Yeah, Meetup not WeWorking.

Written by turbotodd

October 16, 2019 at 9:54 am

Posted in 2019, chromebook, google

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Bot Smoke

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Happy Monday. Tech conferences and announcements worthy of note this week.

India Mobile Congress got started earlier today in New Delhi. The always-interesting Gartner IT Symposium|Expo starts this weekend.

And tomorrow Google’s hardward event is expected to see the announcement of the Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Pixelbook, and new Google Home speakers.

Rumor is the Pixel 4 will include its iteration of a Face ID tech for secure authentication, and support for gesture commands using radar-detection technology.

Story this AM about a congressional committee and the MA attorney general investigating whether millions of bot-generated social media messages about e-cigarettes misled consumers about safety and health issues.

Specifically, the committee is looking for evidence of deceptive or misleading use of social media for targeted marketing and advertising.

Nicotine marketers, you’ve come a long way, baby!

And, the winner of the 2019 Call for Code was announced at a gathering at the UN this weekend. The Barcelona-based Prometeo team built an AI-based platform to monitor and act on firefighter health and safety in real-time and over the long-term. Congrats!

Written by turbotodd

October 14, 2019 at 10:10 am

A Changing SAP

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Big news on the enterprise software front overnight. SAP announced that CEO Bill McDermott would be leaving the company after nearly a decade at the helm. McDermott has overseen SAP’s shift to the cloud, and the company’s stock was up 75% over the past five years.

Board members Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein were appointed co-CEOs.

For SAP clients out there, also know that IBM just rolled out a new open source SDK that lets users call Watson services directly from ABAP code in SAP systems. ABAP is the primary programming language supported on the SAP NetWeaver ABAP server platform.

On the frenzied AI dealmaking front, AI-powered checkout firm Standard Cognition has bought DeepMagic, which provides autonomous retail kiosks. This apparently to better compete with Amazon Go’s checkout experience.

DeepMagic allows customers to swipe a payment card when entering a smaller kiosk or store, pick up items that are detected by cameras and then walk out while having their card charged.

Sorry, no cash!

And for those of you who are using G Suite (especially those in newsrooms) who thought your documents were encrypted end-to-end, the Freedom of the Press Foundation says differently. 

Written by turbotodd

October 11, 2019 at 10:45 am

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