Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘2019’ Category

Yankee Clinch

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Happy Friday.

Apple iOS 13 is now available for download.  I’ve been using an earlier beta for a few weeks, and while some have said it was buggy, I’ve certainly been digging the dark mode.

Apple’s also including some new (but some may say, annoying) privacy friendly features, like periodic pop-ups to remind you how many times an app has tracked your location (that could get interesting). 

You can also now give an app location access just once, and Bluetooth access now requires consent.  This is starting to sound like verbiage from the Fair Credit Reporting Act (but kudos on the privacy-friendly moves).

On a related front, ZDNet is reporting that 47% of organizations now have cyber insurance (up from 34% in 2017). And 57% of large firms with revenues over $1B have it compared with 35% of those with under $100M. The more they stand to lose, the more insurance they have@

Okay, I can’t let Friday PM slide home without a shout-out to the New York Yankees for clinching the AL East for the first time since 2012. Both they and the Houston Astros have 100 win seasons to date (and it’s the second time in a year that that’s happened for the Yankees). 

Remember, every game is game 7!

Written by turbotodd

September 20, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Big Builds, Bigger Dogs

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Yesterday it was AI and agriculture, today it’s AI and construction. Built Robotics is a company looking to make construction equipment autonomous and has raised a $33M Series B round. Recognizing that the industry is facing a labor shortage, Built is building systems that would allow one equipment operator to oversee a fleet of vehicles working autonomously in parallel. 

But there’s plenty more VC money sloshing around where that came from…Wordpress parent Automattic raised $300M in a Series D round from Salesforce Ventures, valuing the company at $3B. Thirty-four percent of the world’s top 10 million websites now run on WordPress. No word yet if that means everyone at the company gets an “automattic” raise! 

There’s also more consolidation on the developer tooling front with GitHub’s acquisition of code analysis tool Semmle. Semmle streamlines security testing and offers developers a query languages to allow researchers to more easily test their code. No price on the deal, but Semmle was born from Oxford just last year and had raised a $21M Series B round led by Accel.

And app performance monitoring firm Datadog raised $648M in its U.S. IPO, valuing the company at $7.83B. Datadog had previously declined a buyout offer from Cisco.

Written by turbotodd

September 19, 2019 at 9:45 am

Quantum Leap

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IBM is ramping up its investments in quantum computing.

Today it announced the opening of the IBM Quantum Computation Center in New York state, one which expands the company’s fleet of quantum computing systems for commercial and research activity that exist beyond the confines of experimental lab environments.

To date, the global IBM Quantum user community has run more than 14 million experiments on IBM’s quantum computers through the cloud, and published more than 200 scientific papers. To meet growing demand for quantum hardware access, ten quantum computing systems are now online through IBM’s Quantum Computation Center, composed of five 20-qubit systems, one 14-qubit system, and four 5-qubit systems.

Within a month, IBM’s commercially available quantum fleet will grow to 14 systems, including a new 53-qubit quantum computer, the single largest universal quantum system made available for external access in the industry, to date.

Advances in quantum computing could open the door to future scientific discoveries such as new medicines and materials, vast improvements in the optimization of supply chains, and new ways to model financial data to make better investments.

You can learn more at http://www.ibm.com/ibmq

Written by turbotodd

September 18, 2019 at 2:07 pm

Posted in 2019, ibm, quantum computing

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FarmBots

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If you thought automation was limited to e-commerce warehouses and factory floors, think again. TechCrunch is reporting that a number of robotics and autonomy firms are looking next to agriculture.

From farm to C3P0 to table.

According to a report from TechCrunch, Ag robotics firm FarmWise just raised $14.5M to continue development of an autonomous weeding vehicle.

Though they are currently prototypes, the large machines scan the ground for invasive weeds among crops and carefully pluck them out. 

From the company’s press release on the fund raise: “FarmWise’s autonomous, AI-enabled robots are designed to solve farmers’ most pressing challenges by performing a variety of farming functions — starting with weeding, and providing personalized care to every plant they touch.”

The company suggests that machine learning models, computer vision and high-precision mechanical tools will allow sophisticated robots to cleanly pick weeds from fields, leaving crops with the best opportunity to thrive while eliminating harmful chemical inputs.

FarmWise is supported by a team of 25 farming and AI experts from MIT, Stanford, and Columbia. 

Written by turbotodd

September 18, 2019 at 10:05 am

Call for Code Finalists Announced

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Last year, IBM joined forces with David Clark Cause to initiate a multi-year global initiative to rally software developers around the world to build practical, effective cloud, AI and other solutions that could help humans in disaster response situations.

The response both years has been tremendous, and the 2018 winner, “Project OWL,” resulted in an IoT and software solution that helps keep first responders and victims connected in a natural disaster.

Earlier today, the top five finalists in the Call for Code 2019 Global Challenge were announced, all of who are currently being evaluated by a distinguished panel of judges. 

Those solutions, and the teams who built them, arrived at some ingenious means by which technology can support disaster preparedness, response, and recovery efforts in this year’s challenge.

You can read about each of the finalists here, and then take the opportunity to vote for this year’s “People’s Choice Winner.”

Written by turbotodd

September 17, 2019 at 2:03 pm

GitLab’s Infusion

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Big news on the developer tools front today.

Forbes is reporting DevOps player GitLab has raised $268M in a Series E round co-led by Iconiq Capital and Goldman Sachs at a $2.75B valuations. That more than doubles the valuation of its previous funding roundThe company is looking forward to a 2020 IPO, and interestingly has expanded in the direction of a no-office expansion (a sizable number of the company’s employees work remotely).

The company’s value prop is straightforward: GitLab helps companies build and release their own software faster, and in a more coordinated fashion (including bringing together groups as disparate as product, development, security, and operations). It offers two options: A free community edition, and a paid enterprise edition.

In a statement about the funding, GitLab indicated its plans were “to make all of our DevOps platform offerings, including monitoring, security, and planning, best in class so we can enable our enterprise customers to continue to bring products to market faster.”

The company claims that more than 100,000 organizations currently use GitLab, and the company’s annual recurring revenue growth rate is 143%, in a market that is expected to triple by 2023 (from $5.2 to $15B).

Gitty up!

Written by turbotodd

September 17, 2019 at 11:00 am

Are You A Libra?

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If you’ve been wondering what the price of Bitcoin was, today it’s hovering around $10,150.

If you’ve been wondering what’s going on with Facebook’s cryptocurrency, Libra, you need only look so far as Basel, Switzerland.

According to a report in the Financial Times, Libra representatives are meeting with officials from 26 central banks (including the US Fed and the Bank of England) there today to “answer some difficult questions” about Facebook’s plans for the cryptocurrency.

European Central Banker Benoît Coeuré is chairing the meeting, and has warned in advance that Libra has to clear a “very high” bar, with EU finance ministers having concerns that Libra (and other CCs) could destabilize finance and undercut the authority of government banks. 

Facebook, conversely, has presented Libra as a means of democratizing money, and potentially providing banking to many who don’t currently have access. And, creating a format that’s independent of any single country.  

Coeuré in CNBC: “As a new technology, stablecoins are largely untested, especially on the scale required to run a global payment system. They give rise to a number of serious risks related to public policy priorities. The bar for regulatory approval will be high.”

Written by turbotodd

September 16, 2019 at 10:08 am

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