Odds and Ends 

In venture capital, its still the age of the unicorn

Howie Xu At the time, the piece defined a new breed of startup — the $1 billion privately held company. When Lee did her first count, there were 39 “unicorns”; an improbable, but not impossible number.. Today, the once-scarce unicorn has become a global herd with 376 companies on the roster and counting. But the proliferation of unicorns begs raises certain questions. Is this new breed of unicorn artificially created? Could these magical companies see their valuations slip and fall out of the herd? Does this indicate an irrational exuberance…

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Odds and Ends 

The SaaS VC gap: China & other markets trail the US

Jason Rowley As of mid-October (when we pulled the data for the above chart), Chinese companies accounted for about 39.3 percent of venture funding raised in 2018. Compare that to 38.4 percent for U.S.-based companies, overall. In this respect, the venture markets in the U.S. and China are running neck-and-neck.

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Odds and Ends 

Apple is rebuilding Maps from the ground up

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the launch of Apple Maps went poorly. After a rough first impression, an apology from the CEO, several years of patching holes with data partnerships and some glimmers of light with long-awaited transit directions and improvements in business, parking and place data, Apple Maps is still not where it needs to be to be considered a world-class service. Maps needs fixing. Apple, it turns out, is aware of this, so it’s re-building the maps part of Maps. It’s doing this by using first-party data…

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Headlines 

iOS 11.3 update breaks iPhone 8 devices with third party-repaired screens

Software update disables touchscreen on 700-plus smartphones that have not had their screens repaired by Apple Apples latest iOS 11.3 software update is causing iPhone 8 devices with third-party repaired screens to stop working. Users who have had a screen repair performed by a third party, rather than with Apple, on their iPhone 8 smartphones found that the iOS 11.3 update stopped the touchscreen from working, turn off the slowing down of smartphones related to the battery the storm caused by the so called Error 53, which rendered iPhones useless…

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Headlines 

China Now Has the Most Valuable AI Startup in the World

SenseTime Group Ltd. has raised $600 million from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and other investors at a valuation of more than $3 billion, becoming the world’s most valuable artificial intelligence startup. The company, which specializes in systems that analyze faces and images on an enormous scale, said it closed a Series C round in recent months in which Singaporean state investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte and retailer Suning.com Co. also participated. SenseTime didn’t outline individual investments, but Alibaba was the leader in AI by 2030. And it’s a contributor to…

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Headlines 

Why Americas Two Top Fighter Jets Cant Talk to Each Other

ended the program. And that’s where the problem begins. Had the Air Force gotten all the F-22s it wanted—more than double the 183 or so it has—integration of its systems with another fleet of “fifth generation” fighters wouldn’t have been as critical. The F-22’s Intra-Flight Data Link (IFDL) is much older than the system used on the newer F-35. While the F-22’s IFDL protocol can receive data from the F-35 and other allied aircraft, such as the F-16 and Eurofighter Typhoon, it can’t transmit the vast array of situational data it…

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Headlines 

The Russian Robot Thats Hiring Humans

Robot Vera, artificial intelligence software designed for recruiting, to help its 300-odd clients—including PepsiCo, Ikea, and L’Oréal—fill vacant jobs. (Yes, with humans.) The Benefit Vera speeds the vetting of high-turnover service and blue-collar positions (clerks, waiters, construction workers), cutting the time and cost of recruitment by as much as a third, according to its creators. The software can interview hundreds of applicants simultaneously via video or voice calls, narrowing the field to the most suitable 10 percent of candidates. Innovators Vladimir Sveshnikov (28) and Alexander Uraksin (30), co-founders of Stafory,…

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Odds and Ends 

Telegram plans multi-billion dollar ICO for chat cryptocurrency

Encrypted messaging startup Telegram plans to launch its own blockchain platform and native cryptocurrency, powering payments on its chat app and beyond. According to multiple sources which have spoken to TechCrunch, the “Telegram Open Network” (TON) will be a new, ‘third generation’ blockchain with superior capabilities, after Bitcoin and, later, Ethereum paved the way. The launch will be funded with an enormous Initial Coin Offering, with forthcoming private pre-sales ranging into the hundreds of millions, potentially making it one of the largest ICOs to date. Demand is driven by the…

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Headlines 

Ubers Secret Tool for Keeping the Cops in the Dark

In May 2015 about 10 investigators for the Quebec tax authority burst into flouting local labor laws and taxi rules has made it a favorite target for law enforcement agencies around the world. That’s where this remote system, called Ripley, comes in. From spring 2015 until late 2016, Uber routinely used Ripley to thwart police raids in foreign countries, say three people with knowledge of the system. Allusions to its nature can be found in a smattering of court filings, but its details, scope, and origin haven’t been previously reported.…

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Odds and Ends 

PuTTY Begone! Microsoft will ship an OpenSSH client

The first thing I download on a new Windows machine – after Chrome, of course – is PuTTY. This tried-and-true OpenSSH client has served millions of devs quite well for the past twenty years and I’m sure it will still remain a favorite but Microsoft has added its own ssh client to Windows, a move that points to more openness on the part of Redmond. The folks at ServeTheHome have found a way to install the software now on your own machine. It’s still in beta but ssh this one…

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Niantics follow-up to Pokmon Go will be a Harry Potter AR game launching in 2018

Niantic Labs had tremendous success with Pokémon Go, which paired their expertise in building location-based augmented reality mobile experiences with a top-flight IP with a ravenous fan base. So, it stands to reason that we should expect a similar fan response to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, an AR title set to launch in 2018, co-developed by Warner Bros. Interactive and its new sub brand Portkey Games. Niantic building a Harry Potter game similar to Pokémon Go was rumoured last year, when the company noted that it had acquired the rights…

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Headlines 

Apple Is Ramping Up Work on AR Headset to Succeed iPhone

With the headset at least two years away, Apple wants to make it easier for developers to bring new AR features to the iPhone. To that end, the company plans to release a new version of ARKit software tools as soon as 2018. They could help developers create software that remembers accurately where a digital object was placed in a virtual space, using a technology called persistent tracking; you look away, and the object is still there. The tools will also make it easier to create AR games for multiple…

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Headlines 

Razer CEO to Become a Billionaire With Li Ka-shing Backing

After raising funds from Asia’s biggest investors, including Hong Kong tycoon Razer Inc. is turning to the market for an initial public offering that will make its co-founder Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Razer’s plan to list shares comes amid robust growth in the global gaming market, which is expected to reach $160 billion by 2021, a 52 percent jump from last year, according to data from Euromonitor. The company said in its

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Odds and Ends 

Your Tweets can help predict crime

University of Virginia Assistant Professor Matthew Gerber has discovered a correlation between Tweets and crime. No, folks arent Tweeting that theyre going to knock over a liquor store. Instead, by looking at the GPS coordinates attached to Tweets as well as assessing a heat map of popular locations, police can predict where crime is most likely to happen. My initial hypothesis was that there would be no correlation between Twitter use and crime. After all, people dont share with the world that they intend to or have just committed a…

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Odds and Ends 

Wit.ai is shutting down Bot Engine as Facebook rolls NLP into its updated Messenger Platform

Wit.ai announced this morning in a blog post that it would be sunsetting its Bot Engine. The Facebook-owned company builds developer tools for natural language processing to help engineers build speech and text chatbots faster and with less technical experience. Bot Engine launched as a beta in April of 2016. The tool let developers train their own bots using sample conversations sharing similar structure. These examples could stand infor real conversations and be updated with authentic conversation logs to fine-tune. The goal was to allow for the training of a…

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