Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘2019’ Category

Droid Hole

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Breathe easy, it’s Friday.

The U.S. Job numbers are out and the country added 136K jobs last month, and the jobless rate fell to 3.5%…despite evidence of a broader economic slowdown.

The Dow is on the rise as it attempts to recover from the turbulence earlier in the week.

Speaking of turbulence, the WSJ just reported that Disney is banning advertising from Netflix across its entertainment TV networks. The streaming wars are going full bore.

And the cyberwars continue. Ars Technica is reporting a 0-day vulnerability that gives attackers full control of Android phones. Lots of ‘em, including Pixel 4 models.

A member of Google’s Android team indicated the vulnerability would be patched in the October Android security update.

Funding rounds: Scooter firm Bird raised a $275M Series D led by CDPQ and Sequoia. That makes for a $2.5B valuation. I look forward to dodging more Birds while biking around LadyBird Lake here in Austin.

And Indian hyperlocal delivery startup Dunzo raised $45M from Google, Lightbox Ventures, and others, a Series D, valuing the company at $200M.
Dunzo delivers across several categories, including groceries, dinner, and even medicines, and will pick up and deliver anything within a city (within reason).

Flashbacks to NYC’s Kozmo, circa 1999!

Written by turbotodd

October 4, 2019 at 10:41 am

Posted in 2019, cybersecurity, netflix, scooters

Tagged with ,

Hiding in Plain Sight

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Happy Thursday. 

The U.S. Markets are only down about 3% for the week…then again, it’s only October 3.

Friendly reminder: It was October 19, 1987 that saw the biggest one-day percentage loss in history: 22.6%. If we panic hard and enough, we can try and break the record!

A quick Hong Kong update…after dampening the CCP’s 70th anniversary on Tuesday with more protests, HK protesters are losing a tech edge in their ability to elude authorities.

Fast Company is reporting that Apple has removed an app from its app store called “HKmap Live,” which allowed anyone using it to track both protesters and police movements around HK. The app was removed on Tuesday, the same day as the Chinese celebration, and the makers of the app suggest that Apple’s decision was “more a bureaucratic f up than censorship.”

Whatever the case, the web-based version of the HKmap is still live….For now.

Today’s tech funding brief: Unqork, a platform for developing enterprise app without code, has raised an $80M Series B led by CapitalG. 

The company is focused on “no-code” solutions for enterprise insurance and financial services (Think drag and drop development.)

Hello world.

Written by turbotodd

October 3, 2019 at 9:56 am

Surface Disruption

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It’s gonna be a very busy day…in the markets, and in tech.

On the markets front, I would urge you to stop looking at the ticker tape — it’s October, it happens.

On the tech front, Microsoft is making some new announcements in its Surface line, with expectations there will be a new Surface Pro 7, an AMD-powered Surface Laptop 3, and an ARM-powered Surface Pro with all day battery life. You know, so you can watch that ticker tape drive deeper into the bear-filled ditch!

Microsoft is also expected to announce a kind of “Windows Lite,” which is slated to be ready for dual-screen and foldable devices.

Here’s a thought: Can I get one of those foldable devices and use Windows Lite to only see the part of the ticker that has positive news?!

Out west, TechCrunch Disrupt 2019 kicks into high gear at Moscone North in SF later this a.m.

Disrupt positions itself as “the original startup conference,” but with so many unicorns being scared off by their investor expectation’s long shadows — and the ticker headed south — ’twill be very interesting to see what memes and headlines emerge.

Expect a whole lot of AI, blockchain, and pivots! (Hint: If there in person, keep an eye out for the IBM Developer presence and learn more about the Code and Response initiative!)

Written by turbotodd

October 2, 2019 at 10:02 am

Bunker Mentality

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Here’s one you don’t see everyday.

The AP is reporting that on Friday German investigators shut down a data center installed in a former NATO bunker. The center hosted dark web-ish sites that dealt in drugs and other illegal activities.

Apparently a 59-year-old Dutchman acquired the former military bunker in 2013 and turned it into a heavily secured data processing center “in order to make it available to clients….exclusively for illegal purposes.”

Those platforms included “Cannabis Road” (self-explanatory) and the “Wall Street Market “ (where one could procure hacking and financial theft tools), among others. No word yet on whether the bunker came with any launch codes.

Some venture capital funding rounds of note on this celebrated 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China: Rapyd, a London-based “fintech-as-a-service” startup has raised a total of $160M. But there’s loads of competition in the digital payment space (Adyen, PayPal, Stripe, WorldPay, among others).

Another fintech startup, LA-based “Dave,” which launched with money management tools to save consumers from overdraft fees, raised $50M from Norwest, bringing its valuation to $1B. Dave has 4M users and apparently a waiting list of 800K, but apparently no last name.

Written by turbotodd

October 1, 2019 at 9:46 am

Posted in venture capital, 2019

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What’s in a Domain Name Server?

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Happy Monday.

The news you need to know about this fine Monday morning (that doesn’t involve impeachment inquiries): Google and Mozilla are looking to encrypt the Internet domain name system (better known as DNS), which could keep bad actors from snooping on websites and spoofing.

But which could also keep ISPs from gathering user data because the browser session data would become opaque to them.

As a report in The Wall Street Journal observed, Google indicated it is making this move to improve users’ security and privacy and will leave consumers more in charge of who shares their Internet data.

Though ISPs are logically concerned by the move, so are the Three Letter Agencies, for which the move could make it more difficult to monitor Internet traffic.

And with Google operating its own DNS service, the story cites that some “are concerned that the DNS upgrade could ultimately concentrate too much off the Internet’s traffic in the hands of Google.”

Engadget is reporting separately that this move is “raising hackles among American officials” and that the U.S. Department of Justice has received complaints and the House Judiciary Committee is investigating.

Turns out the answer to the question “What’s in a name?” is, quite a bit.

Written by turbotodd

September 30, 2019 at 9:45 am

Out of AC/DC

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Happy Friday. Well, save for the cop in Fremont, CA last Friday night who had to halt a high-speed pursuit ‘cause his Tesla Model S patrol car ran out of battery. Doh!

Some security/privacy exploits on a Friday PM worthy of note.

First, the new Checkm8 jailbreak that apparently impacts all iOS devices running on A5 to A11 chipsets (Spoiler: That’s a lot of chips, ranging from the iPhone models ranging from the 4S to the 8 to the X…so, 100s of millions of devices).

The jailbreak exploits vulnerabilities in Apple’s Bootrom that grants phone owners full control over their device, according to a report from ZDNet. Be careful out there, boys and girls.

They’re also reporting some new malware called “Nodersok” that installs Node.js to turn systems into proxies so they can perform click fraud. That’s one way to drive up CPMs!

And, DoorDash has confirmed a data breach on May 4 that affected 4.9M customers, workers, and merchants…included last four digits of payment cards, driver’s license info, etc etc ad nauseum ad infinitum.

Yes, ladies and germs, you can’t even get a meal delivered anymore without getting hacked. Lost your appetite yet?

Bon Appétit!

Written by turbotodd

September 27, 2019 at 4:59 pm

Amazon Eyes

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“Hey Alexa, squinch my eyes!”

That’s what I’d probably be saying to my new Amazon Echo Frames eyeglasses, which doesn’t include a display or camera, but does include directional microphones you can use to talk back to, as well as receive notifications, create reminders, play music, and the like.

In other words, Alexa in your glasses or, dare I write it down, “smart glasses.”

There’s so many directions I could go with this, but I think I’ll just turn off my Echo Frame microphone and go to the optometrist, just to be safe.

Maybe I’ll call myself an Uber to get a ride there. 

The Verge is reporting that Uber has overhauled its app to become “the OS for everyday life.” The changes include merging its ride-hailing and food delivery apps, adding a bunch new safety features, and getting involved in virtual restaurants.

Let’s just hope I don’t leave my glasses in my Uber on the ride over to the virtual restaurant!

Written by turbotodd

September 26, 2019 at 3:49 pm

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