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September 22 2017


Seven lessons for VR journalists, from the people who should know

As soon as virtual reality headsets became accessible, newspapers and broadcasters dived eagerly into it, determined not to be left behind as they were with digital. Three years on and they have produced some of the best work in the new medium. But as VR struggles to generate popular interest, the question remains: is it worth the effort?
A new report by BBC Research and Development editor Zillah Watson for The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism provides some initial answers. Based on interviews with more than 20 VR practitioners in the USA and Europe, including the New York Times, USA Today, Die Welt, ARTE, the Guardian and Sky, the report shows an industry moving tentatively forward – but experiencing doubts about the long-term benefits. The report, which is released this week, has lessons not only for journalists but also anyone interested in VR. Here are seven things I learned:The New York Times wins praise for its “pioneering work,” as do The Guardian and public broadcaster ARTE, which created the multi-award-winning Notes on Blindness.

One reason for this

the enthusiasm among journalists for VR. Part of this is simple curiosity – but there’s also a difference between VR and other technologies. As Paul Cheung, former director of interactives and digital news production at Associated Press told Watson: “For automation and AI [journalists] just think the robot is going to replace them. Whereas 360 is about creative energy – we’ll be able to cover stories that we probably found quite dull, differently.” 
But lots of bad work too, which is a problem
If content is, as the cliché goes, king, then in VR the royal line is much diluted. Many of Watson’s interviewees worried that bad content – in particular the reams of cheap 360 video dumped onto YouTube – would put people off VR.

As Max Boenke, Head of Video at Berliner Morgenpost put it: “I’m afraid that more and more people in news organisations use 360 for stories that are not interesting. Bad content will keep people away from watching it.”
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How to buy a laptop – finding the perfect machine for you

When it comes to buying a laptop, there are plenty of ways to proceed. You can read TechRadar's ultimate list of best laptops and choose which one you want to buy. Or you could look out for cheap laptop deals (although you probably have to move quickly on these).

Alternatively, for those who want to do the legwork and require a more bespoke solution for their needs, we've put together a list of 10 easy steps to follow in order to identify the perfect laptop for you, and the best way to buy it.

Note that this guide is crafted for a UK audience (although a lot of the advice is still valid for other territories) and deals mostly with new rather than refurbished laptops.

Moreover, this article will appeal mostly to consumer buyers rather than small and medium-sized businesses or enterprises whose needs and requirements will differ from the aforementioned group.

If you have additional questions or want some clarification about how to choose a laptop, feel free to ask these in the comments at the end of this article. So, without further ado, let's look at the considerations you need to be mulling over.


Buying a VPN? Here are 7 things to look for

Choosing a VPN is like shopping for any other service: you’ve got to weigh up the features on offer – and the ones you’re likely to use – against the price of the subscription.While on the face of it this is no different from pricing and selecting any other subscription product, what makes things more challenging in terms of VPNs is the number of differentiating features – and the fact that novices may not even be aware of what to look for in terms of features. Also, it doesn’t help that many VPN websites run with very flashy designs, but are often short on the details of the spec and service. By spelling everything out in simple terms, this article will point you in the right direction in terms of getting the best VPN for your needs at an affordable price.

1. Number of servers

Remember that a VPN works by creating an encrypted data tunnel between the user and the provider’s server. While we think about the VPN as having ‘a server’, the reality is that any VPN will need to have many servers to handle all of this traffic, and to allow many users to connect.

Better VPN services will state how many servers they have. For example, NordVPN says that it has just over 1,000 servers. A larger number of servers means that the user should get more bandwidth and therefore faster speeds when connected to the VPN.

2. Location of servers

You’ve more than likely heard the phrase ‘location, location, location’ when it comes to real estate, which hammers home the importance of the area in which you buy a house. Well, the location of your VPN server is equally important when it comes to your internet connection.

On the one hand, having a VPN server located nearby can be advantageous for a no-lag, responsive connection, which is very useful when partaking of activities such as online gaming.

Alternatively, a VPN server in another country can be an asset to overcome geo-blocking restrictions, as the user appears to be in the same country as the server and can thus access otherwise blocked content. This is how some users access the US version of Netflix from the UK, for example.

3. Data caps

Internet usage is all based on the transmitting and receiving of data. While many ISPs still have unlimited data plans, it is not so simple when looking at a VPN service. Some VPN plans offer a free tier and a paid tier. Of those that offer a free plan, the major restriction is that it offers a limited amount of data for the month, in the hope that the user will try the service out, use up the data in less than a month, and therefore decide to make the move to become a paid subscriber.

One VPN, Windscribe, takes this approach with its free tier, but offers a generous 10GB of data for each month – far more than some rivals which might only give you 1GB (or even less).

September 18 2017


Windows 10 news - Microsoft launch new product with hidden security feature

MICROSOFT has quietly unveiled a new, sleek Windows 10 input device which has a hidden security feature. Microsoft unveiled their successor to the Surface Keyboard, the Modern Keyboard, which looks virtually identical to its predecessor.However, tucked away between the alt and ctrl keys is a hidden fingerprint scanner. It is designed to blend into the keyboard so it appears like any other key to the undiscerning eye.Describing the feature, Microsoft said: “Our vision was to blend the Fingerprint reader into a keyboard, so it would appear to be any other key.

“We iterated relentlessly to improve each layer, making sure they came together to create a flawless typing experience that felt like any other key.” The fingerprint scanner lets users log into Windows 10 or websites using Windows Hello. The Modern Keyboard will work with Windows 10, MacOS and the latest Android versions. The Microsoft product comes in a silver and grey finish, and can work as a wired keyboard, or wireless via Bluetooth 4.0.Microsoft said the Modern Keyboard will work particularly well with Windows 10 Surface Studio, Pro and Laptop devices. It will also work with computers using Windows 8 and above as well as the Windows 10 Phone. In the States it has been priced at $129.99 (£101.58).

Microsoft also unveiled the Modern Mouse, which features near invisible buttons and a metal scroll wheel.It uses Bluetooth 4.0 and Microsoft promised the mouse boasts "exceptional precision.” It requires a pair of AAA batteries, while the Modern Keyboard is powered off of a rechargeable battery. No specific release date has been given, but both devices are “coming soon”. The Surface Keyboard, which was only recently debuted, is currently available and costs £89.99 from the Microsoft Store. In other Windows news, we recently revealed how - despite the free upgrade offer ending last year - you might still be able to upgrade Windows 10 free.

Why the UK should care about James Comey's Trump testimony

During his time as acting director of the FBI under the Trump administration, James Comey took notes. Meticulously recorded and including shocking claims, these memos were cross-examined at a Congressional hearing in Washington DC. Comey's testimony to Congress is the first time he has spoken publicly about his investigation into possible connections between the Trump administration and the Russian government. Before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey went on to say that while he believes no votes were altered in the US Presidential election, he has "no doubt" that Russia meddled in the electoral process. Furthermore, he has raised questions about Donald Trump's role in obstructing the investigation, referencing one instance when he claims Trump told him: "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty." When asked why Comey created records of his conversations with Trump, he stated that: "I knew there would come a day that I might need a record, not just to defend myself, but to defend the FBI." He makes a point that he never felt the need to document meetings between President George W. Bush or Barack Obama.

His reasoning for recording his conversations with Trump is sobering: "I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting."Last month, Robert S. Mueller III was appointed as the Special Counsel to examine the possibility of Trump's collusion with Russia in the 2016 election. He has since requested interviews with high-ranking former intelligence officials, who it has been suggested were asked by Trump to convince Comey to drop his investigation into the election. According to the New York Times, Mueller's actions hint at an investigation into Donald Trump's obstruction of justice. In response to Mueller's requests, Christopher Ruddy, a long-time friend of Trump's, claimed in an interview on Monday that Trump was considering firing Mueller, as he had done with Comey, but that sources inside the White House have advised him "not to do it".
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Queen's speech shows the government is pushing through with plans to control the web

As prime minister Theresa May is facing calls to resign, her attempts to create a government are moving ahead. May's plans for the next two years of parliament have been laid out today in the Queen's speech.The Queen announced May's legislation proposals during an appearance in the House of Lords as she sat alongside Prince Charles. Yet, a number of key Conservative Party manifesto pledges and plans – surrounding a so-called dementia tax and a state visit of Donald Trump – were missed out. A government breakdown of the points are here and a list of talking points has also been published. These are the main, science, technology, and business proposals announced on behalf of the Prime Minister. The majority of these are extensions on proposals put forward in the Conservative manifesto. 

Digital charter
A new Digital Charter will be created by the government. May says this will have two objectives: to make it easier to run online companies and make the UK "the safest place in the world to be online". The Charter will be "underpinned" by regulations. There are no details on what these will be but May has already started working with other countries to develop fines for tech companies that don't remove terror content from their networks.

September 12 2017


Microsoft’s smart new tricks for Office 365 include collaboration in Excel

Microsoft has announced a fresh batch of new features which have arrived for Office 365, including the debut of co-authoring in Excel.
Yes, co-authoring is now live in the spreadsheet program, meaning you can collaborate with other folks in Excel files which are stored in OneDrive (and OneDrive for Business) or SharePoint Online. Furthermore, Microsoft has added auto-save functionality for Word, Excel or PowerPoint files being worked on and stored in these cloud services, so every change will automatically be saved without the user having to worry about manually doing so. This is also live right now.
Yammering away

Microsoft also did some work on Yammer, overhauling the iPad app with a fresh design and universal search functionality. Office 365 usage reports now have a Yammer activity report, as well.Microsoft Teams got some attention in terms of its usage in schools, with the introduction of the ability for both teachers and students to obtain a full view of their OneNote Class Notebook inside Teams.IT admins have been given the ability to set permissions when it comes to third-party apps in Teams, and also the power to disable (or enable) private chats. And when it comes to class assignments, it’s now possible for teachers to add web links to reference materials, which will obviously come in pretty handy.

All of the aforementioned features are now available, and the final piece of the Office 365 puzzle is rich profiles, which are currently rolling out to Outlook for Windows. The new profiles automatically surface the most relevant contact information and related conversations and files.It might interest you to learn that Microsoft also recently bolstered the collaboration chops of the preview version of Office, adding in-line chat functionality to Word, Excel and PowerPoint.


Take part in the first online AI study of human intelligence

Put your intelligence to the ultimate test and see how you fare compared with other people.In around half an hour, the artificial intelligence developed by a team at Imperial College London – nicknamed Cognitron - will put you through a series of a dozen customised tests and, after you have supplied a few details, tell you how well you did.The online study uses web-based AI developed by neuroscientists Romy Lorenz, Rob Leech, Pete Hellyer and Adam Hampshire at Imperial’s Computational, Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Laboratory, ‘C3NL’. The AI will harvest information from thousands of people and dozens of tests, enabling it to explore hundreds of different measures of cognitive ability.

The subject of intelligence remains contentious, not least because there is still no agreement on precisely what the word means. Tthe AI will tinker with the tests to find out if intelligence can be divided into different types of cognitive ability like verbal reasoning and focused attention, or if such cognitive skills are all interdependent. Ultimately, Cognitron aims to understand if AI is the key to understanding human intelligence.The more people who take part in the AI experiment, the richer the insights into human intelligence that should emerge. Cognitron should be able work out the major components of human intelligence by harnessing the ability to learn in an iterative manner. According to Adam Hampshire, if the test reaches more than 20,000 participants, ‘the AI can learn and map out the structure of human intelligence in greater detail than any previous study.’

September 06 2017


Hyperloop One hits 309km/h in latest test

"When you hear the sound of the Hyperloop One, you hear the sound of the future," said Shervin Pishevar, executive chairman and Co-founder of Hyperloop One.

And that sound is Woosh. Hyperloop One has started to show off the types of speeds promised by the magnetic levitating train technology, entering its second phase of testing in the Nevada desert with the pod hurtling through the near-vacuum test tunnel at speeds of 309km/h.
The Hyperloop One XP-1 pod accelerated for 300m before coming to a gradual stop, the company said, in a tube depressurised to the equivalent of air at 200,000 feet above sea level. The trial put to the test the motor, controls, guidance system, suspension and more.

In the first phase of the trials in May 2016, Hyperloop One travelled at 69mph for 315 feet after 30m of acceleration, using 891 horsepower. In this second test, the pod went 2.7 times faster, travelled 1,433 feet, accelerated for 300m and had horsepower of 3,151.Josh Giegel, President of Engineering and Co-founder of Hyperloop One, said in a statement: "Phase 2 was far more difficult as we built upon everything we learned from our initial test and accomplished faster speeds at a farther distance. We’re now one step closer to deploying Hyperloop around the world.”

There's still plenty of progress that needs to made, however. This test's "historic record" puts it on par with fast trains on the continent — Italy's Frecciarossa 1000 trains top 360km/h — though Hyperloop One eventually promises top speeds of 1,200km/h.

August 24 2017


Do not look directly at the sun without eclipse glasses

Don’t forget that you have to wear special glasses to watch the solar eclipse.

While people are travelling hundreds of miles to be in the eclipse's path of totality, you can still see a partial eclipse – where the moon only covers part of the sun – in someplace like New York or Washington, DC. Norton Contact Number Nasa’s official safety guidelines say that “homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun”. Here is where you can get the proper eyewear: 7-Eleven, Best Buy, Bi-Mart, Casey’s General Store, Hobby Town, Kirkland's, Kroger, London Drugs, Love’s Travel Stops, Lowe’s, Maverik, McDonald’s, Pilot/Flying J, Toys “R” Us, Walmart You should call ahead to see if these stores still have ISO-compliant safe eclipse glasses in-stock.

How the glasses work: Solar eclipse glasses are usually about 100,000 times darker than sunglasses and are made of black polymer that blocks out all UV rays and nearly all visible light, according to the OC Register. But no matter what recommended technique you use to watch the eclipse, Nasa says, do not stare continuously at the sun. Take breaks.

The do-it-yourself method: If you're having no luck finding glasses to wear, you can watch the eclipse via pinhole projection by creating something that allows sunlight to pass through a small opening. An easy example of this is using a hole-punch to make a hole in an index card. Do not look at the sun through the hole. Instead, project the sun onto a surface – such as a wall, sidewalk or cardboard.

You can also make waffle fingers. Do this by looking away from the sun and crosshatching your fingers, so they make little holes and can project the sun’s rays onto the side of a building or sidewalk

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August 22 2017


Judge who offered to pay court fine for teenager who stabbed her paedophile abuser found guilty of misconduct

A judge who offered to pay a court fine for a teenager who stabbed her paedophile abuser has been found guilty of misconduct. Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC made the offer after hearing the Bradford girl’s case.The teenager, then aged 14, had stabbed her abuser six years after he walked free from court, despite assaulting her when she was eight years old.The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged with attempted murder, but prosecutors eventually accepted a lighter charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent. Judge Hall sentenced the teenager to a two-year youth rehabilitation order and told her not to pay the mandatory victim surcharge, adding: “If anyone tries to force you, I will pay it myself.” The decision prompted an investigation by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office, which found his comments amounted to misconduct He was given “formal advice” – the lowest sanction possible, The Times reports.

The teenage girl had told the court she had felt let down by the justice system, after she gave evidence at her abuser’s trial in 2009.The man, who was 56 at the time of the knife attack, had been found guilty of abuse, but was only sentenced to a community order, with a supervision requirement.

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August 14 2017


Facebook expands its video offering in a bid to complete with TV

Facebook has made its biggest move to date to compete in the television market by expanding its video offerings with programming ranging from professional women's basketball to a safari show and a parenting program.The redesigned product, called "Watch," will be available initially to a limited group in the US on Facebook's mobile app, website and television apps, the company said. The world's largest social network added a video tab last year, and it has been dropping hints for months that it wanted to become a source of original and well-produced videos, rather than just shows made by users. Reuters reported in May that Facebook had signed deals with millennial-focused news and entertainment creators Vox Media, BuzzFeed, ATTN, Group Nine Media and others to produce shows, both scripted and unscripted. "We've learned that people like the serendipity of discovering videos in News Feed, but they also want a dedicated place they can go to watch videos," Daniel Danker, Facebook's product director, said in a statement on Wednesday.Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post that Watch would allow users to "chat and connect with people during an episode, and join groups with people who like the same shows afterwards to build community." Facebook said the shows would include videos of the Women's National Basketball Association, a parenting show from Time Inc and a safari show from National Geographic. Facebook is already broadcasting some Major League Baseball games and that would continue, the company said.

ATTN said on Wednesday it had two original series coming to Facebook Watch: a health program with actress Jessica Alba and a relationship advice show. Eventually, the platform would be open to any show creator as a place to distribute video, Facebook said.

The company, based in Menlo Park, California, faces a crowded market with not only traditional television networks but newer producers such as Netflix and YouTube as well as Twitter and Snap.

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August 10 2017


What to know about Guam, the US territory targeted by North Korea

North Korea's state-run media reported the country is "carefully examining" plans to attack the U.S. territory of Guam on Wednesday. The plans include using medium- to long-range ballistic missiles.

The threat is unsurprising for the more than 160,000 people who live on the small island, roughly the size of Chicago, in the western Pacific Ocean. Guam is the largest and most southern island in the Mariana island chain. Part of Micronesia, Guam lies about 3,800 miles west of Honolulu, Hawaii. Dededo is the most populous village on the island. Dell Contact Number The indigenous people are referred to as Chamorros and are considered U.S. citizens by birth. However, residents of the colony do not pay U.S. income taxes or vote for president. In addition to having their own popularly elected governor and a small legislature, Guam sends a non-voting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. In the 1980s, the residents of Guam wanted to become a commonwealth on par with Puerto Rico, but their efforts failed.

The island was claimed by the Spanish in 1565 and became a U.S. territory in 1898, after the Spanish-American war. Japanese forces briefly occupied the island from 1941 to 1944, but the United States recovered it in 1944. In 1950, the island became Dell Helpline an unincorporated territory of the United States.

Guam is home to several bases for U.S. armed forces, including the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. A defense system is already in place, -- the U.S. Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD -- which protects the island by shooting down ballistic missiles. It is the closest U.S. territory to North Korea.

August 09 2017


Why is Google spending record sums on lobbying Washington?

Figures released last week show that Google spent a record amount of almost $6m lobbying in Washington DC in the past three months, putting the Silicon Valley behemoth on track to be the top corporate lobbying spender in the US. Last year it ranked No 2, behind Comcast. Given the increased antitrust scrutiny that is coming from the Democrats’ new “Better Deal” policy platform, Donald Trump’s random tweets attacking Google’s fellow tech giant Amazon for its connection to the Washington Post, and his adviser Steve Bannon’s recent comments that Google and Facebook should be regulated as utilities, it is likely Google will only increase its lobbying expenditure in the next few months. The largest monopoly in America, Google controls five of the top six billion-user, universal web platforms – search, video, mobile, maps and browser – and leads in 13 of the top 14 commercial web functions, according to Scott Cleland at Precursor Consulting.As the controversial Trump-supporting PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel points out, companies like Google don’t like to advertise this fact. They “lie to protect themselves”, Thiel says. “They know that bragging about their great monopoly invites being audited, scrutinized and attacked. Since they very much want their monopoly profits to continue unmolested, they tend to do whatever they can to conceal their monopoly – usually by exaggerating the power of their (nonexistent) competition.”

For years, banks, oil companies and defense contractors dominated the Washington lobbying business. Because controlling government regulation and government contracts was key to their business success, shareholders saw the expenditure Norton Customer Service UK of millions a year on lobbyists and political contributions as an unavoidable cost of doing business.When the federal government began pursuing Microsoft for antitrust violations in 1992, the Seattle software giant was caught off guard. It had almost no presence in Washington and spent almost no money on lobbyists.

That soon changed. For its part, Google, as it began to assert its domination of the search advertising business, started to take steps to ensure it had a strong presence in Washington. In 2002, Google spent less than $50,000 on lobbyists; 10 years later it was spending more than $18m a year.

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August 08 2017


WannaCry hero heads into Tuesday hearing as the security community crowdfunds his defense

Over the weekend, the security community raised legal funds for Marcus Hutchins, the researcher famed for stopping the spread of the malware known as WannaCry. Hutchins, also known as MalwareTech, was arrested by the FBI last week for his alleged role in disseminating Kronos, a banking trojan that first wrought havoc in 2014. With a hearing set for Tuesday in Wisconsin, Hutchins’ many supporters have rallied to donate toward covering his legal costs. The fund was set up by Symantec Cybersecurity Czar Tarah Wheeler and the tech law firm of Tor Ekeland. “While we as a community do not know all the details about the charges against [Marcus Hutchins] (since few details have been published at this time), we acknowledge that all people have a right to legal defense and counsel in the United States when accused of a crime,” Wheeler wrote in a message that accompanies the donation page.

TechCrunch has reached out to GoFundMe for comment on its refusal to host Hutchins’ defense fund.

Hutchins faces an array of charges that include creating the Kronos code — sure to be legally murky territory — and offering it for sale on AlphaBay, the illicit online market shut down in a major bust last month. The young researcher pled not guilty to the charges in a Las Vegas court on Friday and is set to appear tomorrow in Wisconsin, the state where the charges were filed.

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Deception tech helps to thwart hackers' attacks

The camouflage techniques of one unit active in North Africa, which on one occasion consulted a stage magician about the way he fooled audiences, proved decisive in several key battles. And the biggest deception of all was Operation Fortitude which fooled the Nazis about where the D-Day landings would actually take place.The same principles of deception and misdirection, albeit on a much smaller scale, are now starting to be used by some organisations to thwart malicious hackers keen to establish a bridgehead on internal networks. "It's a classic idea of warfare to prevent the adversary from having a real understanding of your reality," said Ori Bach from deception technology firm Trapx. "It's just like the Allies in WWII. They made fake tanks, fake air bases, fake everything."

And just like those ersatz weapons of war, the fakes implanted on a network look just like the real thing.

A honey pot is a computer that resembles a typical corporate server to the automated tools that many hackers use to scour the net for targets. Many large security firms set up lots of individual honey pots, he said, to gather intelligence about those tools and the malware being used to subvert them.

But, said Mr Stewart, the problem with honey pots is that they are passive and only involve a few separate servers. By contrast, deception technology is generally used on quite a grand scale so any attacker that turns up has little clue about what is real and what is fake.Typically, said Mr Stewart, the spoofed network will be made to look more attractive to hackers by seeding the real network with "breadcrumbs" of information that lead to the fake network.

These tantalising chunks of data hint at all kinds of goodies that hackers are keen to steal, such as payment data, customer details, login credentials or intellectual property. But, instead of leading attackers to data they can sell, it leads them down a deep confusing hole that gets them no closer to that elusive, valuable data they crave.

He added that as soon as they start following the crumbs and interacting with that fake network, everything they do is recorded. That intelligence can be hugely useful, said Mr Stewart, because it involves what attackers do after their automated tools have got them a toehold on a network.

"The initial intrusion was probably done with something that was just spammed out," he said and, as such, would be spotted and logged by many different defence systems.

"What's much more interesting is the second stage persistence tools."

Organisations rarely get a look at these, he said, because once an attacker has compromised a network they usually take steps to erase any evidence of what they did, where they went and what software helped them do that.

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August 03 2017


Tesla posts steep loss but beats expectations

Tesla posted another big loss for the second quarter as it stepped up spending for the launch of its first mass-market long-range electric car.But as massive as the loss of $336 million, or $2.04 a share, reported Wednesday might appear, it came in lower than analysts had expected. S&P Global Market Intelligence said analysts had projected the loss would come in at $437 million, or $2.38 a share. The loss was up 1.8% from $330 million in the same quarter a year ago.Investors are encouraged that Tesla appears to be on track to eventually cash in on its $35,000 Model 3 electric car, which joins two luxury models costing at least twice as much. Despite the high rate of spending, investors drove Tesla shares up 7.6% in after-hours trading to $356.52. The company recorded revenue of $2.8 billion, also outpacing S&P projections of $2.5 billion. "I really think this is probably the best I’ve ever felt about the company," CEO Elon Musk said on a conference call, calling it "an incredible milestone" and saying he was thrilled with early positive reviews and orders for the Model 3.Musk and Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja warned in a letter to investors that Model 3 production "will be tiny" in the third quarter, underscoring the gradual start in manufacturing capacity for the mass-market vehicle.But the company said it's receiving 1,800 net new reservations per day for the car. Musk said the company had accumulated 455,000 net reservations over the last year and a half, below the 500,000 he had estimated off-hand during a media event Friday. The company handed the first 30 units of the Model 3 to employee buyers at Friday's gathering. After Tesla acknowledged poor production quality on early versions of the ultra-luxury Model X crossover, investors are watching closely to see how quickly the company can begin making the Model 3 at scale.

Tesla expects to make 1,500 Model 3 units in total during the third quarter and end the year at a pace of 5,000 per week. Production will reach 10,000 per week by the end of 2018, Musk said. "People should have absolutely zero concern about" that objective, Musk said. Still, the car won't be available to non-employee buyers who ordered it in early 2016 until the last three months of this year. And anyone who places a refundable deposit for the Model 3 today won't get it for 12 to 18 months, the company has said. "We wish we could do all of this faster and get everyone’s Model 3 to them right away," Musk and Ahuja said in their letter, but they emphasized the need for quality as the company's Fremont, Calif. factory slowly gears up.

To speed up manufacturing, the company said it "significantly" reduced complexity on the Model 3, which is available in only 100 different configurations, compared to more than 1,500 for the Model S sedan. "We aspire to learn from the mistakes of the past and I think we largely have," Musk said.

In the second quarter, Tesla delivered 22,026 vehicles, up nearly 53% from a year earlier despite a shortfall in certain battery packs during the period. The company projected growth in sales in the second half of the year. Musk also said the company would triple the number of charging stations meant for intercity travel, called "superchargers," by the end of 2018 and claimed the company's sales per square foot in its stores are the highest in the retail industry.

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Black holes lurking at the centre of galaxies could kill stars

The Universe looks very different today compared to how it looked 12 billion years ago. Galaxies once ‘hotspots’ where billions of stars were created are now cosmic graveyards, and exactly what killed these stars has been a mystery until now. Research published today says these galaxies stopped making stars because of black holes lurking at their centres.Astronomers at the University of Iowa studied a few of these galaxies that are still star-making factories, known as dusty starburst galaxies, and found quasars at the centre of four of them.Quasars are extremely bright sources of radio waves, which are powered by disks of matter rotating around supermassive black holes.Stars survive by burning hydrogen gas as fuel, and when this runs out they start to die. The team’s paper argues these quasars are the reason these dusty starburst galaxies became extinct, by ejecting gas far away from the galaxies and starving the stars of their fuel. “The surprising part of the finding is that, although the new ALMA observations located these quasars right at the centres of dusty starburst galaxies, these quasars look the same as other quasars living in normal galaxies,” Hai Fu, assistant professor at the University of Iowa and the paper's first author, told WIRED.Quasars should not be detectable in dusty starburst galaxies because the light would be absorbed, or blocked, by the dust and gas churned up by the process of star formation.

Fu added: “The starburst galaxies hosting these quasars look the same as other starbursts that don't appear to host quasars.” This means, Fu says, there may be a quasar at the centre of every dusty starburst galaxy, it just cannot be seen. In these particular galaxies where they have been spotted, the researchers think the quasars are peeking out from deep holes, a vacuum free of debris that allows light to escape its cloudy surroundings.

"It's a rare case of geometry lining up," says Jacob Isbell, the paper's second author. "And that hole happens to be aligned with our line of sight."

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August 01 2017


How the first global university venture fund hopes to change the world

The world's first global university venture fund was founded in 2015 to connect major investors, startups and academics to develop commercially viable technology that addresses challenges around climate change, health, sustainability, education, or security.These areas often overlap, as is the case with growing urbanisation, which the United Nations estimates could result in a worldwide slum population of 3 billion people by the year 2050. Sustainable growth in cities links to many other challenges, so solutions will be sought that bring them all together. Future Planet Capital's recent investment in PragmatIC is an example of this convergence. The Cambridge-based company produces tiny, sticky microchips that can make anything a smart object. It can be used to document the entire food sourcing chain in the developing world, where 30-40 percent of agricultural produce is wasted before it gets to market. This increases sustainability, but can also impact health, security and climate change by ensuring food safety, ethical labour practices and production efficiency. The company began life as a Manchester University spin-out and later relocated to Cambridge Science Park. It's attracted customers including consumer goods giant Unilever, and investment from Fortune 500 packaging company Avery Dennison and Japanese telecoms corporation SoftBank, which acquired chip designer ARM Holdings for more than US$32 billion in 2016."We think that's got a revolutionary impact," says Future Planet Capital founder Douglas Hansen-Luke. "You've got one of the world's biggest chip designers as an investor, you've got one of the world's biggest packaging [companies] as a customer and you've got the brains of Cambridge University and Manchester to combine. Then it's putting itself in the right place." Future Planet Capital introduced them to a major facilities management company in Britain, who are looking to expand their tech platform and start connecting products to the people in their network. They can act as an early customer and provide them with pilots and resources to develop their product. Other companies in their portfolio include clinical genome diagnoses Congenica, and Alphabet Energy, a Berkeley University spin-out technology that converts waste heat into electricity. Congenica has attracted interest from Beijing Genomics, China's largest DNA tester. Alphabet Energy has had conversations with General Motors as its technology can be attached to a car exhaust to reduce fuel consumption by 5 to 10 percent.

Future Planet Capital is helping bring both to the Middle East, because the region is particularly impacted by both rare diseases and emissions reductions.

How Future Planet Capital works

Hansen-Luke has worked with large institutional investors for the last 20 years, most recently for Dutch asset management firm Robeco. He founded Future Planet Capital after analysing why institutional investors were consistently missing out on investing in lucrative startups.

“More than half the value on the American Stock Exchange over the last 20 years has come from tech companies or knowledge companies, but sovereigns have failed to really get in there early," says Hansen-Luke, who was a Conservative Party parliamentary candidate at the 2015 general election.

"We worked with them on designing the best way to invest in innovation."

The innovation fund does this by connecting sovereign funds such as the Oman Investment Fund and recently-launched British Innovation Fund with startups at leading universities, with whom it has developed investment partnerships. They include Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Tsinghua University in Beijing, the alma mater of the last two presidents of the People's Republic of China.The university system adds a support network to the ingenuity that strengthens the chances of successes.

"Universities are pretty much the source of inventiveness," Hansen-Luke explains. "Depending on which university it is, they can also be quite good at commercialising it. To us, it seems silly to take lots of risk on startups which don't have a university connection."

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Read more at: Storify

July 31 2017


Is the tech boom at an end? London VCs aren't worried

The tech startup bubble may be over — though mega-deals suggest there's life in VC funding yet.A report from KPMG has revealed the number of venture capital deals has continued its "gentle" slide, down seven per cent from the first quarter of this year to the second and down by a quarter from last year.Investment is up 55 per cent this quarter to $40 billion from $29.5 billion the previous quarter, but that's been boosted by a handful of "mega deals" over $500 million including a record $5.5 billion raised by Didi Chuxing. The quarter saw the largest number of unicorns created in two years, with 16 firms valued over $1 billion. But even with such cash splashing around, funding is still down 14 per cent versus the same quarter last year, sparking  Asus Customer Service Uk  suggestions the tech startup boom has busted. Don't panic, says Harry Briggs, partner at BGF Ventures. "First, it's worth stressing that according to these figures, Q2 2017 was the fourth biggest quarter for UK venture funding in the last decade," he told WIRED. "So rumours of decline are greatly exaggerated, and arguably there's been a massive 40 per cent rebound since Q4 of last year." Instead, it may be getting tougher for early-stage startups. "What does appear to be happening is a 'flight to later-stage' - the number of deals has roughly halved since 2014, whilst the amount of capital has remained about the same," Briggs said. There's still plenty of cash to go around, for those with proven ideas, at least.Why the flight to later-stage funding? Briggs suggests two explanations. "There is still a massive glut of capital managed from London — but unfortunately much of that capital is looking for high yield at low risk, which means piling into the companies that already seem like winners, in the B rounds, C rounds and later rounds," he said, which is why so much money is pouring into the likes of proven startups such as Deliveroo and Transferwise.Beyond that, the apparent slide in deals and funding is merely the cyclical nature of technology. At the beginning of a cycle, funders favour smaller, earlier-stage firms, and as a given technology matures and potential "winners" emerge, larger piles of cash collect around a few companies.

"Arguably we are now in the late stage of the cloud computing, mobile, [and] social cycles, which generated vast numbers of startups, because of the low barriers to entry — there will still be more winners, but the big battles have mostly been won by the likes of Tencent, Facebook, Didi, Uber, Spotify, Salesforce, etc." As new companies emerge with fresh technologies — Briggs names AI, blockchain and synthetic biology — the funding focus will again shift to early-stage startups.Rob Kniaz, ‎founding partner at Hoxton Ventures, argues there never really was a bubble, particularly in Europe. "I think the later stage pre-IPO valuations in the US were bubbly, but that's slowly deflating as the Blue Aprons and Snaps go public and valuations creep down to more sane levels," he said. "Europe hasn't really had that inflation ever so we don't see downwards trends anywhere like what you'd see in the US." The KPMG figures suggest the number of deals slid to a six-quarter low, down 40 per cent from its peak in 2015.

Kniaz was particularly positive about London, which saw the number of deals fall but posted record investment helped by Improbable's leap into unicorn status. He said the capital "remains resilient", while Laurence Garrett, partner at Highland Europe, says his firm still saw plenty of opportunity. "Total amount invested in the UK is holding steady year over year," he added.

Read more:- PC Repair Service

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