Tag Archives: Mobile Trends

10 things in tech you need to know today (FB, SNAP, AMZN, IBM)

Samsung Lee Jae-Yong

Good morning! Here is the tech news you need to know this Monday.

1. A prosecutor accused Samsung chief Jay Y. Lee of conspiring to hide millions of dollars in bribes made to South Korea’s impeached president. Lee denies any wrongdoing.

2. Stock in Snapchat parent company Snap is up more than 50% since its Thursday IPO. It now has a market cap of more than $30 billion (£24 billion).

3. App-only startup bank Monzo went down on Sunday. The problems, Monzo said, were affecting card payments, top ups, and sending money.

4. Uber employees are losing faith and exploring an exit, the Financial Times reports. Recruiters in the San Francisco Bay Area claim to have seen an uptick in job applications from Uber employees.

5. Facebook has started rolling out its much-anticipated solution to fake news. Some articles are now being tagged as “disputed” by third-party fact-checking organisations.

6. A single typo from an Amazon Web Services employee brought swaths of the internet to its knees. They ended up removing far more servers than they intended to.

7. IBM said it is commercialising its quantum computing technology. It will be rolled out some time this year.

8. Baidu CEO Robin Li wants help from the Chinese government on developing robot cars and a local SpaceX, Bloomberg reports. He called on Beijing to take the lead in getting Chinese enterprises to collaborate on research.

9. Skype cofounder Niklas Zennström said he expects the next $10 billion (£8 billion) and $100 billion (£81 billion) tech companies of the world to have “sustainability” at their core. He wants to back as many of them as possible with his $1 billion (£800 million) plus venture capital fund, Atomico.

10. Airbnb cofounder Nathan Blecharczyk told an audience of entrepreneurs in Berlin that his company plans to launch its “Experiences” feature in their city this May. The service is already available in 13 other cities.

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NOW WATCH: Meet the forgotten co-founder of Apple who once owned 10% of the company

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Trump has caused a growing number of liberals to start prepping for an apocalypse

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The afternoon after Trump won the presidential election, Colin Waugh, a 31-year-old resident of Independence, Missouri, logged into Facebook. He then created a group called the Liberal Prepper and invited 38 of his friends.

The goal of the Facebook group, Waugh wrote, is to “combine minds and hearts, with an emphasis on preparedness, in a time where a progressive way of life has never been more at risk of becoming taboo or altogether ostracized.”

Three weeks later, The Liberal Prepper climbed to 1,000 members. As of now, it has amassed nearly 2,000.

The group is for liberals who, following Trump’s election, started prepping for a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or other unforeseen catastrophe.

“There was less of a threat of a nuclear holocaust brought out by Obama,” Waugh tells Business Insider. “There’s a leap into fear now that Trump is in power.”

In October 2016, Waugh and his wife started stockpiling protein bars, rice, peanut butter, first-aid supplies, batteries, toilet paper, cat food, trash bags, medical handbooks, and as many canned goods as they could fit in the pantry of their one-bedroom apartment.

The Liberal Prepper

The Liberal Prepper page is active, with members posting and commenting multiple times per day. There are photos of vegetables stored in mason jars; tutorials for homemade gardens, canoes, and bunkers; information about medical kits; a few liberal memes; numerous news articles; and links to off-grid gadgets like pedal-powered laundry machines.

The Liberal Prepper

A member named Seth posted that he has canned over a gallon of carrots and has bought ten 3.5-gallon water storage containers, while another woman posted that she will use $500 worth of her tax return to buy gear.

One man, named Mannie, posted a photo of his new kerosene heater, and asked others what they thought of the brand. A few members liked a recent photo of a liberal prepper’s sink, full of mangoes she plans to store.

Stacy, an Idaho-based woman who serves as a co-administrator of The Liberal Prepper group, became interested in prepping in the months leading up to Election Day. As a single mom of a kindergartner, she says she now worries about her son’s education (especially with Betsy DeVos as education secretary) and the possibility of him learning hate rhetoric from some of Trump’s followers.

“I don’t know if there are going to be changes to the curriculum, school funding, like if they’re not going to be able to hire quality people to teach our kids or if they would teach them propaganda,” Stacy, who who declined to give her last name, tells BI.

She has bought just a handful of supplies so far: seeds, canned goods, rice, pre-made to-go bags, a tent, and extra water.

“After I was added to the [Liberal Prepper] group, I saw it started blowing up,” Stacey says, “It’s amazing to see how it has blossomed. It makes me feel like I’ve got people to turn to, if anything should happen.”

The group’s members are not the only ones who began prepping in response to Trump’s win. At least a few American prepping supply companies have seen spikes in sales since the election. The Idaho-based company My Patriot Supply tells BI that its sales during the week of the inauguration doubled from the same week in 2016. And Doomsday Prep, which has a storefront in Georgia, has experienced more than 15% year-over-year growth since Election Day, according to owner David Sanders.

Waugh says he does not consider himself (and the liberal prepping community at large) a part of the American Preppers Network (APN), the largest organization of its kind in the US. This is because he says the majority of APN’s members lean conservative (though the APN site states that it accepts people from all political affiliations). 

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Unlike conservative preppers, liberals tend to focus more on skills and supplies that will provide comfort (e.g. in the form of stoves and blankets) rather than protection (e.g. firearms), Waugh says. However, a handful of Liberal Prepper members have bought guns and ammunition since the election.

Though Waugh and his wife never considered buying a gun before the 2016 campaign cycle, they purchased a 12-gauge shotgun and a 9mm handgun by the end of the year.

“With liberal preppers, we’re thinking about things that transcend man-made cataclysm, every sort of disaster: tornado, natural volcano, earthquake, the power grid failing, or having dry storage goods on hand to prevent our family from starving,” Waugh says.

He is preparing for all the above, but his worst fears are a terrorist attack on American soil or a civil war incited by the white nationalist movement. He believes that the Trump administration’s plans — from repealing the Affordable Care Act to increasing America’s nuclear capability — have increased the likelihood of either or both of those things happening.

“If you were to ask us what cataclysm is most likely now, we’d say some Trump-related accident that causes the dishevelment of society,” he says.

This spring, Waugh plans to launch a Liberal Prepper website, which will feature a forum, marketplace, and news feed. So far, he has crowdfunded $1,530 (mostly from the Facebook group members) for it.

“My goal is to either prevent tyranny in America or be prepared for it if we can,” he says.

SEE ALSO: Inside the New York City prepper community that’s amassing supplies to prepare for the apocalypse

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NOW WATCH: Watch 6 hours of Winter Storm Niko in under one minute

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A tiny firm run by a couple of 30-somethings won a slice of Snap's IPO at the last minute (SNAP)

Even Spiegel and Bobby Murphy NYSESnap Inc. just raised a greater-than-expected $3.4 billion in the largest US tech initial public offering in over two years.

Given that the typical IPO raises less than $500 million, pulling off a sale of this size takes a lot of work. Naturally, Snap drafted some heavyweight banks with huge sales forces for the job.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs led the deal, along with a long list of banks including the likes of JPMorgan, Allen & Company, and UBS.

But the list also includes a less familiar name: Connaught (UK) Limited.

Connaught, a small London firm set up in 2014, wasn’t named in Snap’s first IPO filing in early February. But it did appear in Snap’s updated filing just a few days ago. It is listed as having sold 307,692 shares, worth about $5.2 million at the IPO price of $17.

There’s not a lot of information out there about Connaught. It has a basic website with a mailing address and an email address. It was incorporated December 29, 2014, and has three directors: Ian Osborne, Alex Usher-Smith, and Dr. Marcel Reichart.

Osborne and Usher-Smith, ages 33 and 35, specialize in advising tech, media, and internet companies. Osborne set up Osborne & Partners, an international strategic advisory firm that once hosted a Davos, Switzerland, party with tech billionaire Sean Parker and Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff. Usher-Smith is a former Lazard and Greenhill banker.

Reichart is the executive vice president of digital development and partnerships at the German media company Bertelsmann, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The role on the Snap IPO is a coup for the firm, which has fewer than 10 employees, according to its LinkedIn profile. Connaught is not a US registered broker-dealer, and so any shares it sold in the US had to pass through Global Alliance Securities.

Osborne and Usher-Smith did not return messages seeking comment in time for publication. Screen Shot 2017 03 03 at 1.23.35 PM

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NOW WATCH: JEFF SACHS: Here are the fiscal policies we need to implement so robots don’t take our jobs

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Evan Spiegel's friends might just have made a killing on Snap's IPO (SNAP)

Evan Spiegel Snapchat Snap Inc

Friends of Snap executives might already have booked a 60% profit on an investment in the company’s shares thanks to its decision to set aside some of the stock in its IPO for them. 

The company raised $3.4 billion in an initial public offering this week, and its shares have popped 60% from the IPO price. The “friends” are among a select group of investors for whom Snap reserved some stock in advance of the sale. 

The company said it was going to hold about 14 million shares, or about 7% of the stock, at the IPO price of $17 for “certain institutions as well as individuals who are friends of our executive officers, which may include existing investors or their affiliates,” according to the company’s S-1 filing dated March 1. 

The real gem for these folks is that, unlike Snap insiders and some other investors, the friends likely aren’t subject to a lockup that keeps them from selling the stock right away. Snap’s stock popped when it went public on Thursday morning. After opening at $24 per share the shares have continued to rise – and are now 60% higher than the IPO price. 

Of course, it’s not clear how many friends bought in, and in what size, and how their buys compare to those of “certain institutions” or existing investors that Snap might have sold the shares to instead. However, if this select group of investors opted to buy all 14 million of those shares at the $17 per share price, and then sold them on Friday at $27.20, they’d have made about $143 million as a group. 

It’s not unusual for companies to offer so-called friends and family deals, although they are less common than they once were

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Here’s the full language from the latest filing:

“At our request, the underwriters have reserved up to 14,000,000 shares of Class A common stock, or 7.0% of the shares offered by this prospectus, for sale at the initial public offering price to certain institutions as well as individuals who are friends of our executive officers, which may include existing investors or their affiliates. None of our employees or members of our board of directors will participate in this directed share program. Any reserved shares of our Class A common stock that are not so purchased will be offered by the underwriters to the general public on the same terms as the other shares of our Class A common stock offered by this prospectus. We have agreed to indemnify the underwriters against certain liabilities and expenses, including liabilities under the Securities Act, in connection with sales of the reserved shares. Participants in this directed share program will not be subject to the lock-up restriction with the underwriters with respect to any shares purchased through the directed share program. We expect some participants in this directed share program to enter into a separate lock-up agreement with us providing for a restricted period of one year following the date of this prospectus. We may, in our sole discretion, waive any of these lock-up agreements before the restricted period expires.”

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NOW WATCH: ‘Shark Tank’ star Daymond John: Making products in the US could cost consumers 25-30% more

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Trying out Prisma’s new photo filter store

Prisma store Photo filter app Prisma released an update this week giving users a new way to browse all the different styles available. And for select users, there’s also a way to create styles of their own. While it’s calling the new interface a “store,” the Prisma isn’t actually charge you for filters. Instead, it says the store is a new way to browse styles, particularly… Read More

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The Ford Focus RS is almost ridiculously fun to drive (F)

Ford Focus RS Test Car

Ah, the “hot hatch.”

It has a history that dates to the early 1970s, according to “Top Gear.” But for most auto enthusiasts, the original smoldering hatchback was the VW GTI. It showed up in the US during the Reagan administration and knocked everybody’s Chuck Taylors off, with a whopping 90 horsepower. 

The era of the hot hatch had begun. Dozens of these peppy little savages, in many cases raced in competition as rally cars, hit the scene.

Ford, with its European presence, was quick to join the crowd and by the 1990s, the automaker had created one of the best-known examples, a Group A rally racer that was homologated as the Escort RS Cosworth. It could do 0-60 mph in about 6 seconds, with its 2.0-liter turbo engine, and it topped out at 150 mph.

The spiritual descendant of that car is the all-new Focus RS, the return of a rallying hot-hatch design that was first used in the early 2000s. The Focus RS is a product of the newly created Ford Performance division, so it can get into a bit of rallycross racing. But it has also become a sold-out road car for the 2017 model year — and it’s easily among the best-received vehicles Ford has produced in the past ten years.

I got a crack at it at the Monticello Motor Club’s track in upstate New York — after being blasted around the curves by Ben Collins, a former Stig of “Top Gear” fame. I fell deeply and swiftly in love.

But that was taking the $36,000 bundle o’ fun around the track. How would the Focus RS do on the road, during a week of driving it in New York City and in the New Jersey suburbs?

Let’s find out: 

SEE ALSO: Ford has figured out an important difference between baby boomers and Gen Xers

The Focus RS and I first got acquainted at the Monticello Motor Club’s track

That’s Ben Collins, who was once The Stig on “Top Gear.” He ripped around the course like a real pro.

Then I turned some laps. I was wrung out with joy at the end of the day.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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There's a patch that could fix your peanut allergy problem

1601,1550 Viaskin applique

A treatment for one of the most common food allergies out there just got even more data that it’s working.

Roughly 1.5 million children in the US are allergic to peanuts, an allergy that can often be so severe that even the smallest amount of contact can set off an extreme reaction. 

To counter that, DBV Technologies is working on a patch that works to lessen that severity.

In new phase two data presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology conference on Sunday, the company showed that 83% of children ages 6 to 11 who took part in the trial could eat 1000 milligrams of peanuts without having an allergic reaction after wearing a patch for three years.

That’s 10-times the amount of peanut that the participants could handle when they first joined the trial. Though the phase two data looked at people between the ages of 6 and 55, the best responses came from children on the trial.

Allergies are your immune system’s response to a substance that may not be harmful to others. They’re the sixth leading cause of chronic disease in the US. According to the CDC, an estimated 4-6% of children in the US have food allergies, with peanuts being one of the worst offenders. 

In December 2015, DBV kicked off a phase 3 trial that looks at how the patch works in kids aged 4-11, which along with this data will set the company up for the FDA approval process.  

How the patch works

The immune-system-targeting drug is delivered through the skin through a process called “epicutaneous immunotherapy.”

Inside each patch is a sprayed-on sample of peanut protein. Once you put it on, the protein makes its way into your immune system through your skin. Since it’s delivered this way, the allergen never makes it to the blood stream, which would cause the allergic reaction you’re trying to avoid.

Based on the data from DBV’s phase two trial, those who used the patch for three years at the 250 microgram dose (the highest dose) had the best responses to the treatment.  

The patch treatment is a departure from the way allergies are typically treated. Typically, the only way to lessen an allergic reaction is through “desensitization,” a process in which you gradually introduce small amounts of the allergen into your body. In the case of peanut allergies, that means eating the peanut outright.

The problem with this method is that it can be risky, since it can cause an allergic reaction that spreads throughout the body through the blood stream. Other, more common methods, for treating allergies have been focused around treating the symptoms of the allergic reaction; i.e. using antihistamines like Benadryl or shots of epinephrine in extreme cases.

Beyond peanut allergies, DBV is developing patches to treat other food allergies such as milk and eggs — among the most common food allergies — and other non-food allergies that are connected to asthma. The company’s also exploring treatments for Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and type 1 diabetes that use the same immunotherapy technology.

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NOW WATCH: SpaceX just flew a rocket back to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station — and the footage is epic

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20 tips and tricks for conquering the fantastic and surprisingly challenging new 'Zelda' game

“Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is a rare treat that comes along every decade or so — a game that moves the entire medium forward.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

It’s receiving near-universal praise from critics — reviews aggregation site Metacritic lists the game with a 98/100 average score, based on 67 reviews. It’s being hailed as a “new classic,” and rightfully so: It’s a tremendously good game

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Beyond just being really good, “Breath of the Wild” is a truly difficult game. It’s also wide open — you can go virtually anywhere in the massive open-world of Hyrule. And that combination of difficulty and openness means that you’re likely to want some guidance as you venture into the wild. 

We’ve got just that guidance below, based on my own experience and that of many other reviewers across the world. Let’s begin.

SEE ALSO: The first major game on Nintendo’s new console is one of the best games I’ve played in years

REVIEW: Nintendo’s new game console is a fast, competent piece of hardware without enough software

WARNING: THERE ARE MINOR SPOILERS BELOW FOR “THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD!” IF YOU DON’T WANT ANYTHING SPOILED, TURN BACK NOW!

You’ve set up your Switch — or maybe you just bought this game for the Wii U. Now what?

There’s a lot to see in Hyrule, and you’re more or less unequipped to go anywhere. You’ve got no weapons, no shields, no armor, and no food to help you survive. Figuring that stuff out on your own is the easy part. It’s the little stuff that you’ll need help with.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Humans have so fundamentally altered Earth that we're responsible for 4% of its minerals

man sunset reflection river water lake nature mountains sky

If you’ve ever hiked in the woods or picnicked in a park, you’ve probably heard of the concept “leave no trace.” The 90s-era conservation ethics code encourages people to clean up after themselves after a stint in nature, being careful to leave no trace of their activity.

It’s nice idea for personal practice, but our record as a species will not be so easily expunged from planet Earth.

Human beings have so fundamentally altered the geology of the planet, in fact, that scientists named a brand-new geologic epoch after us: the Anthropocene.

Many scientists say the Anthropocene started on July 16, 1945, when humans detonated the first atomic bomb and left a powerful chemical marker in the geological record that’s detectable with radioactive isotopes. Other experts say the exact beginning may be a bit fuzzier.

Regardless of the precise date, one thing is certain: Our footprint on the planet — based at least partially on the materials we’ve created, moved around, or just left behind — will be visible for millions, or even billions, of years.

A new paper catalogs hundreds of these new materials for the first time, and estimates that humans are responsible for roughly 4% of all the minerals on Earth. Some formed along the slippery walls of mines, where cool, moist air reacted with sooty particles of iron ore; others were created in the depths of the ocean as ancient shipwrecks were eroded by the salty sea.

“These minerals will mark our age as different from all that came before,” Edward Grew, a professor of earth and climate sciences at the University of Maine and a leading author on the new study, told Business Insider.

NASA images of Earth

Put another way, humans are responsible for creating the most new minerals on Earth since oxygen first appeared in the atmosphere more than 2.2 billion years ago. Although now considered an essential component of life, oxygen’s first appearance drastically altered the planet’s make-up, giving rise to as many as two-thirds of the more than 5,200 minerals that are officially recognized today.

“If The Great Oxidation … was a ‘punctuation event’ in Earth’s history, the rapid and extensive geological impact of the Anthropocene is an exclamation mark,” Robert Hazen, a mineralogist and astrobiologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Geophysical Laboratory, told Business Insider.

So where do these minerals come from and what do they look like?

SEE ALSO: The US will be totally unrecognizable by the end of this century

The new study catalogs 208 new minerals that were created either principally or exclusively as a result of human activities. The vast majority are the result of one activity: mining.

The dumping of ore, the build-up of water along mine tunnel walls, and fires inside mines can all contribute to this process. “When one looks at a mine, it’s really a disturbance of the Earth’s surface,” said Grew.

The glowing, sea-colored mineral simonkolleite shown below was found on an copper mining tool at the Rowley Mine in Maricopa County, Arizona. “You’re just stirring a pot in a way, exposing ores to a different environment and getting these new minerals to form,” Grew added.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Apple’s new BeatsX headphones are a better buy than AirPods — here’s why (AAPL)

beatsx review

Apple made it a point to push the world toward wireless audio with the iPhone 7, but it has yet to launch a pair of headphones with genuine mass appeal.

The Beats Solo 3 Wireless are perfectly solid, but cost a hefty $300.

The Powerbeats 3 Wireless are strictly aimed at the gym.

And the fully wireless AirPods, the “cultural phenomenon” Apple most wants you to buy, feel like a dry run for a still-distant future.

The BeatsX, the latest wireless earphones from Apple’s juggernaut subsidiary, aren’t a no-brainer either. But they do get closer to that status than the rest. For $150, they lap the AirPods in every area that counts, while using the same fancy wireless tech that’s become those earbuds’ biggest selling point. They also cost $10 less than AirPods.

Right now, all of this makes them the best buy among Apple-made headphones. Here’s a closer look.

SEE ALSO: These tiny earbuds are the wildest pair of headphones I’ve ever used — here’s what they can do

The BeatsX are a “neckband-style” pair of in-ear headphones. This kind of design has become increasingly fashionable among audio companies in recent years, but Beats’ take is thinner, lighter, and more flexible than most of its peers. They’re more than comfortable enough to leave wrapped around your neck all day.

I wouldn’t call the neckband shape normal at this point, but it’s more ubiquitous than the fully wireless design used by the AirPods and others.

You won’t get too many stares — especially since the earbuds themselves are nice and small. But even if you do, the neckband shape is more practical than it looks. You never have to deal with tangled cords, and you never have to go through the process of carefully pulling tiny earbuds out of a tiny case.

If you need to take a call, you have the earbuds right there. When you’re done, you just take them out. It helps that the back of earbuds magnetically stick together, which erases what little chance this design had of getting unruly. 

The trade-off with that light weight is that you have to deal with cheaper-feeling plastic and rubbery material. That’s easier to swallow here than with the $300 Solo 3 Wireless, but it keeps the BeatsX from feeling capital-N nice.

You’ll also hear a little bit of cable noise any time you rustle the cords reaching for the built-in remote or power button. That’s annoying.

On the plus side, they do have that remote, which makes it easy to adjust volume and change tracks. Beats says the whole thing water-resistant, too, so you can take them to the gym without too much worry. (Though they’re not outright sweatproof.)

And while the materials feel inexpensive, they don’t come off as flimsy or loosely put together. If my month of daily testing is any indication, they should prove durable. They’re bendable enough to fit into a small carrying case, too — though the one Beats puts in the box is a dust magnet.

One area where Beats nails it is noise isolation. Once you find the right fit, the BeatsX’s eartips create a tremendously tight seal. That means they let in very little outside noise when you have the music playing. If you don’t want or need to shell out for full-on noise-cancelling headphones, this is a fine alternative.

Beats puts four different-sized sets of tips in the box — plus a couple of “winged” tips that help keep the earbuds in place while running — so getting comfortable shouldn’t be hard. The rubbery material used on those tips is soft, so it isn’t a struggle to keep the earpieces in for hours at a time. Again, this is a more relaxed fit than it looks. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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