Category Archives: Cloud Computing

Uber knowingly rented cars that were at risk of catching fire to its drivers in Singapore, a report says

honda vezel

Honda recalled its Vezel SUV last year because it could catch fire — but Uber continued to lease the cars to drivers in Singapore.

The news comes from a Wall Street Journal report that says internal emails show Uber managers in Singapore were aware of the April 2016 recall but continued to rent the cars to drivers without fixing the defect. It’s unclear whether Uber executives in San Francisco or then-CEO Travis Kalanick knew of the recall.

“As soon as we learned of a Honda Vezel from the Lion City Rental fleet catching fire, we took swift action to fix the problem, in close coordination with Singapore’s Land Transport Authority as well as technical experts,” an Uber spokesperson said. “But we acknowledge we could have done more—and we have done so.”

Uber has since introduced a recall protocol for the company and hired three in-house experts to ensure the ride-hailing company is “fully responsive” to safety recalls, the spokesperson said. Uber has promptly responded to six vehicle recalls since the beginning of 2017.

The spokesperson declined to comment on whether Uber management in Singapore was aware of the recall and continued to lease the vehicles.

An Uber driver’s Vezel did catch fire on the job after the ride-hailing giant ignored the recall, according to the report. The incident prompted managers in Singapore to add new safety measures and address the issue after the fact.  

Uber bought the cars from a dozen auto importers and not directly from Honda, the report noted. Uber is now only purchasing vehicles from authorized dealers who honor recalls contractually, the spokesperson said.

The fire is one of many crises that unfolded while Kalanick held the to job at Uber. 

Uber has been under the spotlight since Susan Fowler, a former Uber engineer, published a blog post in February where she alleged that she had experienced gender discrimination at the company and was propositioned for sex by a male manager. Other, subsequent reports described a litany problems plaguing Uber’s work culture.

Five of Uber’s major investors demanded Kalanick resign in June following the string of scandals. Kalanick’s resignation was the culmination of a four-month investigation that resulted in 20 firings and 215 complaints about Uber’s work environment.

Kalanick has reportedly been angling to return to Uber, but general counsel Salle Yoo told employees the ride-hailing giant is still looking outward, BuzzFeed News reported. A decision on Uber’s next CEO is expected in September.

Read the full WSJ report here.

SEE ALSO: Uber is reportedly trying to quell rumors that Travis Kalanick will return as CEO

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NOW WATCH: Travis Kalanick’s resignation as CEO of Uber comes after a firestorm of scandals

Microsoft Office 2010
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Java and C hit all-time lows in Tiobe language popularity index

Java and C continue to lead the Tiobe index of programming language popularity, but both dropped to all-time lows in the just-published August release of the index.

The longtime leaders have had to share the programming landscape with a growing number of language options attracting developers, which has caused their slippage in the index. Java’s rating this month was 12.961 percent, a drop of more than six percentage points since August 2016, while C’s rating was 6.477 percent, a year-over-year drop of nearly five points. Java’s rating last month was 13.774 percent while C was rated at 7.321 percent.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Microsoft Office 2010
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This Week on Windows: Remix 3D, Minecraft and more

We hope you enjoyed today’s episode of This Week on Windows! Head over here to catch up on our latest programs and deals for back to school, read our Windows 10 Tip on how to use Surface Dial with Paint 3D – or, keep reading for what’s new in the Windows Store.

In case you missed it:

https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/08/03/see-3d-creations-take-life-newest-update-remix-3d/#V23S9bxlu4mwRPtw.97

Here’s what’s new in the Windows Store this week:

The Better Together Beta for Minecraft is here!

The Better Together Beta for Minecraft is here!

If you’re on a Windows 10 PC, your world expands to being able to play with friends across devices. The Better Together Update we announced at E3 2017 is designed to unify the console, mobile and Windows 10 PC versions of the game under one single Minecraft edition, which will include infinite worlds, the community Marketplace and community servers (which are coming to the beta later on!). It’ll introduce cross-platform support, allowing console, Windows 10 PC and mobile Minecrafters to play together for the first time! Who can participate? Players on Windows 10 PC, Android and soon Xbox One are welcome to jump into cross-platform play with other beta testers across all three devices. For the full announcement, head over to Minecraft.net!

Build the Car of Your Dreams in the Forza Motorsport 7 Garage

Forza

Welcome to week three of the Forza Motorsport 7 Garage, our weekly look at the 700+ cars coming to the game at launch. This week, in addition to announcing a massive collection of Japanese vehicles – 77 in total – we’re also turning the spotlight on the body customization options available to players in Forza Motorsport 7. For the first time in the Forza Motorsport series, we’re bringing wide-body kits to a number of cars in Forza Motorsport 7. In addition, numerous body-kit options from Forza Horizon 3 will also be available in Forza Motorsport 7, including Upgrade Heroes like the Nissan S14 and the 240SX SE announced today. Wheel options will be abundant in Forza Motorsport 7. In addition to bringing over a number of the new-entry wheels from Forza Horizon 3, we’re adding a selection of new race-inspired. Read more over at Xbox Wire!

Alien: Covenant

Alien

While on a colonizing mission in a distant corner of the galaxy, the ship Covenant stumbles upon a planet that appears to be an undiscovered paradise…but is actually home to something more terrifying than they ever could have imagined. Watch Alien: Covenant ($19.99 HD, $17.99 SD), now available in the Movies & TV section of the Windows Store two weeks before it comes to Blu-ray. For a limited time, win fun swag courtesy of #AlienCovenant! Learn more here.

New Minecraft Marketplace Content!

Minecraft marketplace

Today, we’re releasing even more new content created by our Marketplace partners Noxcrew, Eneija, Razzleberry Fox and Jigarbov: Infinity Dungeon EX map, Summer Festival Skin Pack, Survivors Skin Pack, Kings and Paupers Skin Pack, and the Sports Skin Pack! Anyone on Bedrock Engine platforms can download the new content for now (Windows 10 & mobile devices), but we’re bringing Xbox One and Nintendo Switch into the Bedrock ecosystem soon. To learn more, head over to Minecraft.net!

Have a great weekend!

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See your 3D creations take life with the newest update to Remix 3D

Last October, we announced our vision of bringing 3D to everyone, making it easy to create, remix and share in 3D. With the release of the Windows 10 Creators Update, we made this vision a reality with the release of Paint 3D and the Remix3D.com community. Today, we’re excited to announce new capabilities in Remix 3D – Parts and Remixes – an all new way to experience the relationship between 3D content and see how it can transform and take new life when shared with a creative community.

With the explosion of content surrounding us, the original attribution of a creation tends to get lost. The idea of remixing content into something new, and then seeing the “parts” of that new creation (with attribution to the original creators), lets everyone see and get inspired by each part, each remix, and each artist who contributed to a 3D creation.

Let’s dig into how these new features work:

In our weekly show, This Week on Windows, we talked with Scott Porter and Amy Henson from the Remix3D team about the new features. You can check it out below:

On any model page on Remix3D.com, you’ll now notice two new tabs: Parts and Remixes. Parts will display the individual parts that make up the model. An island with a tree and a pirate on it may have three parts: the island model, the tree model and the pirate model.

Parts

But what if someone remixes that island and adds a ship? That would appear under Remixes. The Remixes tab is a way to show how other creators are inspired and building off other amazing creations. If someone remixed a model you created, their new design would point back to your original model in the Remixes tab.

Parts

Whether you’re a professional 3D modeler or just a curious beginner, we invite you to join our community and upload, collaborate, and remix with us and inspire all new ways to create!  We’ve already been inspired by your creativity, we can’t wait to see what’s next!

Parts and Remixes will be available everywhere  Paint 3D and Remix 3D are available. If you’d like to learn more about how to get started with Paint 3D, visit this blog post.

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Investors are sinking hundreds of millions into a technology that could revolutionize the way we eat

plenty vertical farm

  • In the largest agriculture-tech funding round in history, vertical farming startup Plenty attracted $200 million
  • Plenty will use the investment to build more farms around the world
  • Some experts say the investment could make the indoor farming industry more viable as a whole

Plenty is no ordinary farm.

Instead of growing greens outdoors, the farm grows its food on glowing, LED-lit 20-foot-tall towers inside a former electronics distribution center in South San Francisco. The towers don’t require pesticides or even natural sunlight.

The technique is called indoor vertical farming, a type of agriculture in which food grows on trays or hanging modules in a climate-controlled, indoor facility. The process could one day upend the world of agriculture, because it means certain types of food could be produced yearround, anywhere, in a small space. Produce could be delivered to consumers within hours of harvest.

Plenty, founded in 2014, claims to grow up to 350 times more greens than conventional farms of similar size, while using much less water and land. The goal, Plenty CEO Matt Barnard told Business Insider, is to revolutionize the way the world grows food — and sell that food for lower prices than typical produce. 

A $200 million investment in the startup could help make that vision viable.

Announced July 19, the Series B funding round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund and included DCM Ventures as well as funds that invest on behalf of Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. With the new investment, Barnard said Plenty plans to build more farms around the world.

“By building out our global farm network, we’ll be able to deliver amazing produce to communities within hours of harvest,” Barnard said.

Some experts say the funding could help the indoor farming industry as a whole. Dickson Despommier, a professor of microbiology and public health at Columbia University, told BI the investment will make indoor agriculture even more commonplace, and encourage other VCs to fund vertical farm companies.

“I think that most cities now accept urban agriculture as normal, so the hurdles are mostly with marketing and the consumers who are unfamiliar with the kinds of produce that vertical farms can make available 24-7: leafy greens, root vegetables, berry fruits, and the like,” he said.

Kimbal Musk, cofounder of restaurant chain The Kitchen and vertical farm incubator Square Roots, predicts that more consumers will look for locally grown produce, which could also help the indoor farming industry.

“Locally grown indoor greens now taste really good. Because you can get to know your farmer, consumers can start to trust their food again. It’s an exciting time for real food,” he told BI.

Bowery   Farm 7Vertical farming has attracted increasing interest from venture capitalists in recent years. Founded in 2004, vertical farming company AeroFarms is growing dozens of varieties of greens in nine warehouses (the largest at 69,000 square feet) in New Jersey, and has raised $95.8 million to date. Another startup, called Boweryhas raised $20 million since its early 2017 launch.

Plenty has raised the most money by far.

Not every venture has proven successful, though. Alphabet tried to create an automated vertical farming system in its secretive “moonshot lab,” but axed the project in 2016 after the team couldn’t grow enough staple crops, like grains and rice, using the technique. VertiCrop, a vertical farm company founded in Vancouver in 201, declared bankruptcy after only three years.

Like Plenty, most vertical farming startups focus on growing greens, which can generate a higher yield at a lower operational cost than other types of produce. But even industrial-sized vertical farms, like those operated by AeroFarms and Bowery, sell their greens for about the same price as organic produce (sometimes even more).

Plenty is hoping to eventually offer its greens at a cost lower than greens grown on traditional, non-organic farms, Barnard said. One of the biggest struggles for the company is the energy usage cost from the LEDs, though the lighting technology has become more of a commodity in the past several years.

Barnard said he’s confident that the indoor farming industry will continue to expand.

“I cant predict what the venture industry will do, nor what the USDA will do given the current state of federal budgeting, but were confident that this will be a prominent form of agricultural practice for many crops much sooner than even we projected a few years ago,” he said.

SEE ALSO: A Google-backed warehouse farm just raised $20 million to build in cities across the US

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NOW WATCH: We tried Amazon’s $50 tablet — here’s what it’s like

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GoPro is climbing ahead of earnings (GPRO)

gopro

GoPro releases its second-quarter earnings after the bell on Thursday and its stock is rallying ahead of the release; up 2.12% at about $8.19 apiece.

Wall Street is expecting a loss of $0.40 per share on revenue of $269.167 million, according to data from Bloomberg.

2016 was the first year since 2011 that the company’s revenue failed to increase and the first time that GoPro lost money.

Analysts are mostly bearish on the stock. An overwhelming 92.9% of analysts either rate the company as either a hold or a sell, per Bloomberg.

 

The company has a history of beating Wall Street’s expectations. GoPro has beat earnings estimates in eight of the last 12 quarters, Bloomberg data shows.

GoPro has struggled this year with sahres down 6.28% while the tech-heavy Nasdaq is up 20.06%. 

Click here to watch GoPro’s stock price move in real time…

GoPro stock price

SEE ALSO: GoPro finally realizes that smartphones can do exactly what its cameras can

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NOW WATCH: Wells Fargo Funds equity chief: Tech stocks are ‘overvalued,’ but you should still buy them

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7 earthquakes struck Oklahoma in 28 hours for a disturbing reason

Oklahoma earthquake risk map

In less than 28 hours, Oklahoma has been pummeled by earthquakes.

The wave started on Tuesday night, when five quakes struck the central part of the state, and extended into the early hours of Thursday as two more hit, according to the United States Geological Survey.

All of the earthquakes were between magnitude two and five and no significant damage was reported. However, the shaking is part of a troubling recent phenomenon. The disposal of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking), appears to have spiked the likelihood of earthquakes in Oklahoma, potentially raising the state to the same earthquake threat level as California, according to a recent USGS forecast.

Until recently, earthquakes in Oklahoma were few and far between. In 2010, the state experienced just 41 tremors. By comparison, each year the southern California area alone has about 10,000 earthquakes

But “seismic activity has surged in [Oklahoma] in recent years,” reporter Joe Wertz of StateImpact Oklahoma told NPR on Thursday. In the last few years, Oklahoma has weathered hundreds of significant quakes each year, along with parts of several other Midwestern states.

“Scientists link the quake boom to the widespread oil industry practice of pumping waste fluid into underground disposal wells,” Wertz told NPR.

The rise in earthquakes, in other words, can be attributed to the injection of large quantities of wastewater into wells deep below the Earth’s surface. According to USGS, the majority of the underground wastewater comes from oil and gas operations — it is created when clean water mixes with dirt, metals, and other toxins below the Earth’s surface during extraction operations. 

The contaminated water becomes too dangerous to dump anywhere, since it could seep into regular groundwater, so companies shoot the wastewater deep into the earth, between layers of hard rock. That buried water can fracture and move previously stable rock, causing earthquakes under certain circumstances. 

Much (but not all) of that wastewater injection is associated with the fracking boom, which has led the practice to become more common in recent years, especially in Oklahoma. Although the state isn’t the only one experiencing a spike in wastewater injections, Oklahoma is full of eons-old fault lines that went quiet long ago. Wastewater operations seem to be shaking some of those faults loose, making the land especially vulnerable to earthquakes.

The 2017 USGS predictions for Oklahoma are actually less intense than they were in 2016, because earthquakes were somewhat less frequent there than expected last year. USGS scientists suggest that might be due to stricter regulations that have been put in place to control wastewater injection.

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt previously served as Oklahoma’s attorney general, and has come under fire from some in the state for failing to take action against wastewater injection and fracking.

Rafi Letzter contributed to an earlier version of this post.

SEE ALSO: This new map shows where human-caused earthquakes might strike the US

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NOW WATCH: This NASA map shows the drastic disappearance of Arctic ice

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PAYFAZZ wants to build a network of distributed bank agents in Indonesia

 Hendra Kwik is hoping to tap into the excitement of on-demand companies like Uber and distributed workforces — except instead of ridesharing, he’s hoping it will work for banking. That’s the theory behind PAYFAZZ, which coordinates with banks to create a distributed network of bank agents that can operate from wherever — even their own homes. Once that person is… Read More

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Facebook fights fake news with links to other angles

 Facebook will become the suggester of perspective to avoid being the “arbiter of truth”. It’s rolling out “Related Articles” that appear below news links to stories lots of people are posting about on Facebook, or that are suspected to be false news and have been externally fact checked by Facebook’s partners. Appearing before someone reads, Related… Read More

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A marijuana company has bought a California ghost town to turn it into a pot-tourism destination

nipton californiaIn 1905, the covered wagons and cattle ranchers came through Nipton, California, on the edge of the Mojave Desert. Then the California Gold Rush sent miners into the desert town.

And in 2017, the legal marijuana “green rush” arrived in Nipton.

American Green, a marijuana-focused technology company and consultancy, has purchased the small town for close to $5 million with plans to turn Nipton into a pot-tourism destination.

The company envisions Nipton (population: 6, according to the last count in 2016) as a ganja-paradise, where visitors might someday tour a marijuana farm, shop the dispensaries, take a dip in the natural spring baths, and enjoy a toke outside a pot-friendly bed-and-breafast.

Stephen Shearin, a consultant working with American Green on the Nipton development project, told Business Insider that the company aims to “create a community that is accepting and understanding” of the use of marijuana, which is an illegal substance under federal law.

“The [idea] here isn’t to create ‘Woodstock 2017,'” Shearin said. “It’s about creating an environment where people come to work and share in a community.”

nipton california

The town’s broker told Gizmodo earlier this year that the buyer would need to pay all cash. After four months of negotiations, American Green secured more than 120 acres, all properties, and a working solar farm that will eventually allow the company to operate 100% off-the-grid.

Shearin said the company is committed to keeping the existing small local businesses, which include a general store and a five-room hotel. American Green may also offer the opportunity for locals to work for the company.

Founded in 2009, American Green was virtually unknown until now. It’s a publicly traded technology company that, according to its website, is involved in marijuana-dispensing vending machines, a dispensary-locator app, and seed-to-sale tracking solutions.

marijuana extraction

The company also manufactures and sells an oil derived from hemp, a variety of cannabis that lacks the psychoactive effects of marijuana. American Green adds the oil to balms, mints, and capsules, which it says provides “long lasting relief.” One of the first products made in Nipton will be hemp water, made from infusing oil into water tapped from a local aquifer.

The medicinal value of hemp oil, however, is hotly contested. Huge amounts of hemp must be processed in order to draw a small amount of CBD, a chemical compound thought to be responsible for many of the drug’s therapeutic effects, according to some advocacy groups.

Construction on infrastructure begins immediately, but the process of setting up the first legal marijuana cultivation site in Nipton may be years out. The town is unincorporated, and Shearin said it will need to incorporate before it can apply for a grower’s license.

Still, Shearin has a name for the town’s future dispensary already picked out: The Apothecary. It will have an Old West theme.

SEE ALSO: Tour the obscure California city that’s suddenly the hottest housing market in America

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NOW WATCH: New startup app lets dispensaries legally deliver marijuana in 60 minutes or less

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