Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘2019

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

Pricing the Fold

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Happy Monday. For those of who you have been waiting on pricing for the Samsung Galaxy Fold, your wait is over.

9to5 Google is reporting that Samsung will offer the new fold in two variants, one through AT&T/Best Buy and an unlocked version through Best Buy stores and its retail site. Drum roll, please: $1,980.

Just as a point of a comparison, one can buy a new MacBook Pro for as little as $1,299. And it folds up as well!

To get in some exercise for all that folding, you might want invest in a Peloton, which only costs around $400 more than the Fold and which will take you absolutely nowhere fast. Peloton is expected to raise $1.2B in its IPO this week.

And on the topic of raising capital, Crunchbase is reporting that the number of $5M+ seed rounds in the U.S. Has risen from 45 in 2014 to 180 in 2018, but that we may be seeing a cooling trend, with only 110 rounds in 2019 YTD.

Whatever the number, Binance.US this morning launched a digital assets marketplace. The company is the world’s top crypto exchange by trading volume, and will initially list bitcoin, BNB, ethereum, and Ripple’s XRP, among others.

Buy some bitcoin, hope the price goes way back up, buy a Fold with no guilt whatsoever!

Written by turbotodd

September 23, 2019 at 10:57 am

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

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