Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘2019’ Category

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 , ,

More News from Facebook

leave a comment »

Are you still getting a lot of your news from Facebook?

If so, you’ll be glad to hear Facebook is offering news outlets millions of dollars for the rights to put their content in a new news section that Facebook hopes to launch later this year.

According to a report from the WSJ, Facebook reps have told news execs they would be willing to pay as much as $3M a year to license headlines and previews of articles from news outlets.

Turbo to Facebook: I’ll do it for $1.5M!

Outlets FB pitched to: ABC News, Dow Jones, WAPO, and Bloomberg.

It’s unclear if this is a move intended to assuage all those publishers that have watched their digital revenues get sucked up into the FB vortex, or an honest-to-goodness attempt to compete with burgeoning aggregators like Apple News (and their paid version, Apple News +).

In any event, the WSJ seems to conclude that the publishers are (rightfully) skeptical — they’ve been burned by FB’s fake news models in the past (see Facebook for Instant Articles).

Written by turbotodd

August 9, 2019 at 4:15 pm

Posted in 2019, facebook, news

Tagged with , ,

The Harmony Hedge

leave a comment »

I wrote on Monday about the possible fork in the smartphone road between China and the rest of the world.

Today, at the Huawei Developer Conference in Dongguan, China, the company’s CEO, Richard Yu, made it official by unveiling “HarmonyOS.”

Though the OS is currently focused largely on IoT products (wearables, smart speakers, etc.), Yu explained that if and when Huawei can no longer access Google’s Android ecosystem, Huawei could deploy HarmonyOS at any time.

But the plan is to stay with Android. Until it can’t or won’t. 

HarmonyOS (formerly “HongMengOS”) is open source and microkernel-based, and Yu suggested onstage in Dongguan that Android wasn’t as efficient due to its redundant codes and general fragmentation issues.

Developers will be able to port their Android apps over to HarmonyOS using Huawei’s ARK compiler.

This is a serious chicken and egg proposition. Yu hasn’t given a full throated endorsement of HarmonyOS, avoided mentioning smartphones in the introduction, and clearly would prefer to avoid jumping off the Android ship.

But either because of market or political pressures, he has been pushed (quickly) by the powers that be to oversee a major OS hedge.

Statista’s latest estimate of the number of Chinese smartphone users exceeds 1B+, and last year China accounted for nearly half of app downloads.

I suspect Huawei (not to mention Google) clearly wants to hedge on this hedge.

Written by turbotodd

August 9, 2019 at 9:57 am

Samsung Hearts Microsoft

leave a comment »

Big announcements yesterday from Samsung re: their Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Book S devices.

They also announced an extension of their partnership with Microsoft, looking to more tightly integrate MS Outlook, OneDrive, and its Your Phone app.

CEO Satya Nadella even made an appearance on the Samsung stage.

What caught my attention was that the Galaxy Book S was developed in partnership with both Microsoft and Qualcomm, and will include LTE connectivity between phones and PCs using Microsoft’s Your Phone technology.

This will allow Galaxy Note 10 users to tie together their phones with Windows 10 PCs, and to use Your Phone apps on their computers.

ZDNet reports that later this month that Galaxy Note 10 users will be able to mirror their phone screens on their PCs and use their PC keyboards, mouse and touch screens to interact directly with their phone apps.

This is the type of PC/smartphone convergence that I believe is long overdue. Why not be able to carry our smartphones with us, no matter the brand, and “plug-carry-and-play” no matter where we are, and have at our fingertips the apps and services we need and use the most.

Maybe it’s an idea whose time has finally come.

Written by turbotodd

August 8, 2019 at 9:52 am

Disney’s Latest Ride

leave a comment »

I remember the first time I ever rode that scary haunted house ride at Disneyworld, the ones where the ghosts sit in the chair besides you. I must’ve been six, and I’m still in therapy.

Well, M-I-C-K-E-Y and all the other loving rodents are soon to laugh all the way to the bank. Again.

Disney CEO Bob Iger announced on the company’s 3Q earnings call that when its Disney+ streaming service launches on November 12th, its customers will be able to get a bundle of streaming joy costing $12.99/month.

That will include the brand new Disney+ at $6.99, Hulu at $5.99 (with an ad-supported plan), and ESPN+ ($4.99) — all for the introductory price of $12.99 — well within striking distance of Netlfix et al (depending on your Netflix flavor).

But just for Disney+, the $6.99 is well under Netflix’s $12.99, which indicates that Iger, Mickey, Minnie, Cinderella and the rest are barnstorming Reid Hasting’s gates, trying to annex and build an 8th: Netflixland (get with me…Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, etc.)

Will enough kids (and their parents) go along for the ride?

Written by turbotodd

August 7, 2019 at 9:54 am

Posted in 2019, netflix

Tagged with , , ,

An Ounce of Cyber Prevention

leave a comment »

IBM’s X-Force IRIS incident response team has published new research based on recent cyberattacks they’ve been asked to assist on and are reporting that cyberattacks designed to cause damage have doubled in the past six months and that 50 percent of those organizations affected are in manufacturing.

Physical, meet digital.

Some of the malicious code — including Industroyer, NotPetya, Stuxnet, among others – aren’t just looking or stealing. These are search and destroy missions.

From the report:

In the past, destructive malware was primarily used by sophisticated nation-state actors, but new analysis from X-Force’s incident response data has found that these attacks are now becoming more popular among cybercriminal attackers, with ransomware attacks including wiper elements to increase the pressure on victims to pay the ransom. As a result of this expanding profile, X-Force IRIS noted a whopping 200 percent increase in the amount of destructive attacks that our team has helped companies respond to over the past six months (comparing IBM incident response activities in the first half of 2019 versus the second half of 2018).

Other key findings:

An analysis of real-world incident response data from X-Force IRIS paints a picture of the devastating effects of these attacks on companies. A few of the key findings include:

  • Massive destruction, massive costs: Destructive attacks are costing multinational companies $239 million on average. As a point of comparison, this is 61 times more costly than the average cost of a data breach ($3.92 million).
  • The long road to recovery: The debilitating nature of these attacks requires a lot of resources and time to respond and remediate, with companies on average requiring 512 hours from their incident response team. It’s also common for organizations to use multiple companies to handle the response and remediation, which would increase hours even further.
  • RIP laptops: A single destructive attack destroys 12,000 machines per company on average — creating quite a tab for new devices in order to get companies’ workforce back in action.

What You Can Do With An Ounce of Prevention

  • Test your response plan under pressure. Use of a well-tailored tabletop exercise and a cyber range can ensure that your organization is ready at both tactical and strategic levels for a destructive malware attack.
  • Use threat intelligence to understand the threat to your organization. Each threat actor has different motivations, capabilities and intentions, and threat intelligence can use this information to increase the efficacy of an organization’s response to an incident.
  • Engage in effective defense in depth. Incorporate multiple layers of security controls across the entire Cyberattack Preparation and Execution Framework.
  • Implement multifactor authentication (MFA) throughout the environment. The cost-benefit of MFA is tough to overstate, providing significant cybersecurity benefit in reducing the value of stolen or guessed passwords dramatically.
  • Have backups, test backups and offline backups. Organizations should store backups apart from their primary network and only allow read, not write, access to the backups.
  • Consider an action plan for a quick, temporary business functionality. Organizations that have been able to restore even some business operations following a destructive attack have fared better than their counterparts.
  • Create a baseline for internal network activity and monitor for changes that could indicate lateral movement

If you find yourself in a cyberemergency, you can reach IBM Security at 888-241-9812 in the US and Canada, or (001) 312-212-8034 outside the US.

Written by turbotodd

August 6, 2019 at 1:09 pm

The Apple Card

leave a comment »

Today we get to see the beginning of the rollout of Apple’s continued services expansion plan.

Introducing the Apple Card, a new credit card issued in partnership with Goldman Sachs, which goes into a “preview rollout” today and will be available to all iPhone users in the U.S. later in August.

Axios’ rundown on how it works: “At its base level, the Apple Card is an “iPhone-first” MasterCard that can be used anywhere Apple Pay or MasterCard is accepted.”

Though users can get a physical card, the Apple Card is “mobile-first” and customers use an iPhone to sign up for the card, view their transactions and pay their bills.

The physical card has a traditional credit card number on its chip and magnetic stripe, but that number isn’t visible on the card, and customers can provide a different one stored on their iPhone if they need a numeric number to give out.

Apple is saying the card will have no fees including no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and no late fees, and it doesn’t boost its interest rate if customers miss a payment.

Apple also indicated it would neither collect nor view anything about where you shopped, what you bought, or how much you paid.

We shall see if you can easily cancel those persnickety app subscriptions! 

Written by turbotodd

August 6, 2019 at 10:38 am

Posted in 2019, apple

Tagged with , , ,

%d bloggers like this: