Turbotodd

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

Author Archive

Texas Two Step

leave a comment »

CNBC is reporting that Twitter and Facebook have suspended numerous accounts they say are tied to a Chinese disinformation campaign against pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Twitter indicated it had suspended 936 accounts likely related to the activity, and that the information was designed to sow political discord in Hong Kong. Facebook removed seven pages, three groups and five accounts, one of which had 15,500 followers.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, the computer systems of 23 small Texas towns have been seized and held for ransom in a widespread, coordinated cyberattack, according to a report from The New York Times.

Texas’ Department of Information Resources was “racing to bring systems back online” after the attack, and it was unclear who was responsible but that the state had described the attacker as “one single threat actor.”

Last year, there were 54 publicly reported attacks on city, county/state governments, court systems, emergency services, and school districts in Texas. So far this year there have been 61 (excluding these most recent attacks).

Now comes that lingering question: Pay the ransom and get your systems back, or lose a lot of data, time, and resources and possibly rebuild from scratch?!

You can learn more about IBM Security solutions here.

Written by turbotodd

August 20, 2019 at 9:41 am

Posted in 2019, cybersecurity, twitter

Tagged with , , ,

Brave New World

leave a comment »

Happy Monday. Bloomberg is reporting that Apple CEO Tim Cook made a “very compelling argument’
that Apple might lose its edge to Samsung because due to tariffs on Chinese goods. 

China’s apparently moving on, with The Verge reporting that Chinese smartphone makers Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo are collaborating on an AirDrop-style wireless file transfer protocol that will work between their devices with speeds of up to 20 MB/s. If you will, the Great Wireless Wall of China.

Also news on the crytocurrency front: Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has launched a crypto exchange for trading in bitcoin, ether, and bitcoin cash. And, Accenture is reporting that global fintech investments have dropped as Chinese fundraising has fallen sharply.

The U.S. remains the world’s biggest fintech market with $12.7B in first-half fundraising — such investments in China were at $820M, a huge fall from the $17.7B raised a year earlier.

Why the big drop? Increased U.S. scrutiny of foreign investments in the U.S., restrictions on Chinese firms’ access to U.S. tech, Huawei’s blacklisting, fears of a global recession and declining business capx investment (among others).

It’s a brave (and never boring) new world.

Written by turbotodd

August 19, 2019 at 10:34 am

Posted in apple, china, fintech, 2019

Tagged with , , ,

Growing Wearables

leave a comment »

The wearables market is growing in North America, with Apple Watches continuing to lead the pack in shipments.

According to a report in VentureBeat, research firm Canalys cites in a new report that the market is now segmenting into two sweet spots, $200 to $299, and $400 to $499.

These two together now represent 60% of all shipments, and Apple also sent over 60% of its 4.7M global Apple Watch shipments to North America (a 32% quarter-over-quarter growth).

The $500+ market seems to have contracted significantly, and the $700+ market saw very few shipments.

Notably, Apple’s Airpods and Watches did not get a break in President Trump’s latest tariff reprieve for China (while laptops and cellphones did).

Be smart about what you ask Santa for for Christmas this year!

Written by turbotodd

August 16, 2019 at 9:50 am

WeIPO

leave a comment »

WeWork is finally gonna go public. The company filed today to raise $1B, and reported a $904M net loss on around $1.5B in 1H19. You people gotta start showing up to the WeWorks offices so the WeWorkers can WeWin.

The company has raised over $8B in venture capital since its 2010 founding, so it’s payback time!

For you sports fans out there, you might want to take a second look at Twitter. The company is now testing on Android a way for users to follow interests, as opposed to just other users.

This one is so long overdue it makes my head hurt. However, before you go off RTing, know that the topics will be curated by Twitter and the individual curated Tweets identified by the Russians…err, I mean, by the algos versus editors.

And know that during the time you were reading this post, Nvidia was out breaking more AI land speed records. Specifically, it broke the hour mark in training BERT, one of the world’s most advanced AI language models. Nvidia’s AI platform was able to train the model in just 53 minutes using one of its SuperPOD systems, which consists of 92 Nvidia DGX-2H systems running 1,472 V100 GPUs.

Who said talking to machines is a waste of time!?

Written by turbotodd

August 14, 2019 at 10:06 am

No Debate

leave a comment »

If you didn’t hear about IBM’s Project Debater earlier in the year when it debated a real live (and really smart) human, here’s your chance to learn more about what you missed out on the first time around.

Reader’s D: Project Debater uses machine learning and AI to form arguments and rebuttals in debates with humans. The technology was developed over a 6 1/2-year period, and drew on expertise in fields ranging from philosophy to NLP.

One of my favorite must read emails, “Morning Brew,” has a derivative called “Emerging Tech Brew,” and they just added some more color to the Project Debater palate:

“Six months ago, Debater squared off with a top-ranked human counterpart on the merits of preschool subsidies. Though the AI system lost, it strung together minutes-long speeches, crafted a rebuttal, delivered its points persuasively, and even cracked some jokes.”

What’s next:

“IBM’s not scheduling any rematches soon. Now, it’s “pursuing other directions to commercialize the technology and further the science,” [IBM Researcher Noam] Slonim said. That means converting the advanced research into language-comprehension tech for large companies.

There’s no debate in my mind whatsoever it’s a big step up in the field of AI.

Written by turbotodd

August 13, 2019 at 3:59 pm

On Automattic

leave a comment »

Happy Tuesday. While we let all those Jeffrey Epstein conspiracy theories just sit there and soak up the global contemplation, there are actual deals getting done in the world.

WordPress’ owner Automattic is said to be taking Tumblr off Verizon’s hands. Axios reports get deal costs less than $20M, perhaps even less than $10M. Which makes one laugh when one thinks about Yahoo having paid $1.1B for Tumblr in 2013, and then getting sucked into the Verizon vortex. Likely acqui-hire.

Meanwhile, back at the VC ranch, there’s lots of new deals getting done and rounds funded:

Pavilion Data Systems: Data center storage company raises $25M Series C, led by Taiwania Capital and RPS Ventures

Singularity 6: Stealth gaming startup said to be developing an AI-powered “virtual society” raises $16.5M Series A led by none other than Andreessen Horowitz.

Kasten: Offers a platform for policy-based backup, recovery, and migration for Kubernetes apps ($14M Series A led by Insight Partners)

Polarity: Uses AI to analyze text on employee screens to augment it with context overlays, raised $8.1M Series AA following 2017 $3.5M Series A

QFPay: Chinese digital payment firm and global partner of WeChat Pay and Alipay raised $20M (including from investors Sequoia Capital China)

Uniphore Software Systems: Uses AI in call centers for faster and more personalized customer support, $51M from March Capital Partners and Chiratae Ventures

Written by turbotodd

August 13, 2019 at 10:51 am

Posted in 2019, venture capital

Tagged with ,

Seed Capital

leave a comment »

Crunchbase is reporting that cannabis industy wholesale marketplace LeafLink has closed a $35 million Series B round of funding led by Thrive Capital.

It’s high times for VC in the cannibis arena, and this investment is the largest tech B round in the space, according to the company.

The company got $3M in seed funding in early 2017, and the company’s e-commerce marketplace connects more than 1,200 licensed cannabis brands to over 3,500 retailers and has facilitated more than $1B in annualized orders, according to Cruncbase’s reporting.

LeafLink charges a $299 minimum monthly subscription fee for its software, which is arguably cheaper and easier than rolling your own.

Of course, you’re on your own for Doritos and Ding Dongs for the munchies.

Written by turbotodd

August 12, 2019 at 9:59 am

Posted in 2019, cannabis, e-commerce

Tagged with , ,

%d bloggers like this: