Tech in Asia

AI creates fake Obama

Steven Millward, reporting for Tech in Asia;

Researchers made the AI-powered mimicry tech for well-meaning reasons, but this could have nefarious uses in creating fake news.

This is interesting, creepy and disturbing in so many levels. Just think of all the (legal, political, religious, etc.) implications that this software/AI can cause.

Yugatech

DICT to launch eBPLS for automated Business & Licensing Permits

Yugatech;

The Department of Communication and Technology is set to launch the eBPLS software this July 18, 2017. This will coincide with the eBPLS Summit to be held that day and spearheaded by DICT Sec. Salalima.

The eBPLS (Electronic Business Permit and Licensing System) aims to streamline the process of getting licenses and business permits in cities and municipalities.

Blog post

Huawei releases KFC branded smartphone in China

The Verge;

Huawei and KFC will only release 5,000 of these devices and they’ll be available for 1,099 yuan ($162 USD). Raise your hand if this is already added to your bucket list.

e27

Amidst complaints of selling fake goods and scam, Philippine daily deals site CashCashPinoy shuts down

Sainul Abudheen K, reporting for e27.

Amidst growing complaints of selling fake goods, non-delivery of products and allegations of scams, Philippines’ second largest daily deals site CashCashPinoy has wound up operations.

It’s always sad to see a good brand to not reach their full potential because of bad management.

Rappler

LTFRB fines Grab, Uber P5M each for permit violations

Rambo Talabong, reporting for Rappler;

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) imposed a fine of P5 million each on Uber and Grab on Tuesday, July 11, for letting some of their drivers operate without permits.

Not a good news for Grab and Uber drivers.

The LTFRB says the ride-hailing companies should have been closed down because of the violations, but the public interest ‘overrides’ this penalty.

How convenient for taxi operators!

Unless taxi change their attitude and stop being selective, Grab and Uber users will just continue to increase. When getting a taxi, I received at least 3 taxi refusal. Their reason(s) too traffic, too far and asking for a bigger flag-down rate.

Yugatech

Government Now Hiring Cyber Security Experts

Vaughn Chua, writing for Yugatech;

In a Facebook post of the the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC), the agency is currently looking for cyber-security experts.

You can find the CICC job posting from their FB page.

The Verge

Ubuntu is now available for download on the Windows Store

Chaim Gartenberg, writing for The Verge;

Microsoft announced at its Build 2017 developer conference earlier this year that Ubuntu would be heading to the Windows Store, and now the popular Linux distro is available to download.

It’s intriguing that Microsoft allows Linux to be downloaded from the Windows Store. This will surely make it easier for users to download, install and setup Linux on their PC.

TechCrunch

Stripe adds support for Alipay and WeChat Pay, China’s top digital payment services

Jon Russell, reporting for TechCrunch;

U.S. firm Stripe said today that it has agreed to global deals with Alipay and WeChat Pay, two digital services that dominate consumer spending in China. Alipay, which is managed by Alibaba affiliate firm Ant Financial, counts over 500 million users, while WeChat Pay — the digital payment feature within China’s top chat app WeChat — claims more than 600 million users.

You can read the full text of Stripe’s announcement from the company’s blog section.

Blog post, Startups

Batibot iOS app by Orangefix

Batibot is an educational game for Pilipino kids inside and outside the Philippines. It will help them learn tagalog while having fun.

This is one app that we all should encourage our children to use.

You can download the app here, it supports any iPhone, iPad and iPod touch running iOS 9.0 or later.

Yugatech

Tesla to build the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery for South Australia

Joey Maceda, writing for Yugatech;

After a bidding war with 91 other international bidders, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is promising to supply South Australia with a 100-megawatt battery before summer. It will be providing improved energy stability for SA, as well as act as a back-up in emergency situations. South Australia has been battling power problems since a statewide blackout in September of 2016.

Twitter

Elon Musk unveils the first production unit of Tesla Model 3

In a series of tweets, Tesla CEO unveil the first production unit of Tesla Model 3, the most affordable Tesla in the market. The base model of Tesla’s Model 3 will have a starting price tag of US$35,000.

Reuters

Facebook hits 2 billion-user mark, doubling in size since 2012

David Ingram, writing for Reuters;

Facebook Inc (FB.O) said on Tuesday that 2 billion people are regularly using its flagship service, marching past another milestone in its growth from a college curiosity in the United States to the world’s largest social media network.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg disclosed the number to his followers in a Facebook post. “It’s an honor to be on this journey with you,” he wrote. (bit.ly/2sefWFL)

Incredible achievement by Facebook, specially if take in consideration how fast they reach that second billionth user.

The Verge

Mark Zuckerberg just unveiled Facebook’s new mission statement

Nick Statt, writing for The Verge:

When asked about his life’s work, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has traditionally fallen back on a somewhat nebulous answer: making “the world more open and connected.” It was an almost quaint euphemism for the company’s more capitalistic goals of vacuuming up the attention of billions of humans and selling boatloads of advertising. Yet even for Zuckerberg, who does earnestly believe in Facebook’s power to continue transforming the world and improving our lives, that mission statement no longer cuts it.

On my newsfeeds, all I get are news links (mostly fake news) and not updates from my friends. Facebook needs to rethink how they will serve the almost 2 billion users on the service. I mostly used the service for Messenger and to in managing Facebook pages.

Here’s a screenshot of Facebook’s About Page;

Instagram

You can now replay of your Live video to Instagram Stories

Starting today, we’re introducing the option to share a replay of your live video to Instagram Stories. Now, more of your friends and followers can catch up on what they missed. When your broadcast has ended, you’ll be able to tap “Share” at the bottom of the screen to add your replay to Instagram Stories for 24 hours. You can also tap the toggle and choose “Discard,” and your live video will disappear from the app as usual. When someone you follow shares a replay, you’ll see a play button under their profile photo in the stories bar. Tap it to watch the video and see comments and likes from the original broadcast. Since introducing live video in November, millions of people have used it to connect with friends and followers in an authentic way. Now, you can share these experiences with even more people. To learn more about today’s updates, check out help.instagram.com. These updates are available as part of Instagram version 10.26 for iOS in the Apple App Store and for Android in Google Play.

A post shared by Instagram (@instagram) on

You can also read IG’s full announcement here.

Bloomberg

Bloomberg Presents The Players Technology Summit hosted by Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry

Bloomberg;

Golden State Warriors’ Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry announced today the launch of the inaugural The Players Technology Summit, presented by Bloomberg. The Players Technology Summit will bring together top leaders in the technology, venture capital and sports communities to exchange ideas and share expertise in an educational and empowering forum. It will be held August 14-16, 2017, in San Francisco, CA.

Interesting concept, a step further than what LaVar Ball is doing for his son.

BPI

BPI’s official statement regarding the double-posted transaction from April 27 and May 2

BPI ADVISORY (updated);

Further to our announcement this morning, we have identified an internal system error that caused some transactions occurring between April 27 and May 2 to be double-posted as of June 6.

We have identified the root cause of this error, and are temporarily suspending access to electronic channels to speed up rectification. All BPI branches will open on time this morning, and will continue to service your needs.

We anticipate full resolution of this error within today. We wish to reassure our clients that this matter will be resolved expediently, and that none of them will lose money from this incident.

April 27 and May 2 is a long time for a system error to go unnoticed.

The announcement was posted on BPI’s official Facebook page.

Apple

iOS 11 brings powerful new features to iPhone and iPad this fall

Apple;

Apple today previewed iOS 11, a major update to the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, bringing new experiences and hundreds of features to iPhone and iPad this fall. iOS 11 is the biggest software release ever for iPad, with powerful multitasking features, the Files app and more ways to use Apple Pencil. Augmented reality is coming to hundreds of millions of iOS devices with a new platform for developers to build apps that let users place virtual content on top of real-world scenes. CoreML gives developers on-device machine learning capabilities so they can easily make apps that will predict, learn and become more intelligent. Additional features include the ability to pay friends using Apple Pay, Do Not Disturb while driving to help users stay more focused on the road, even more intelligence and a new voice for Siri and new professional capabilities to Photos and Camera. iOS 11 is available as a developer preview today and will be a free software update for iPhone and iPad this fall.

James Deakin

You Can Now Book an Uber Once You Land in Cebu

James Deakin;

Uber extends its reach as it recently partnered with GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation in a bid to provide safe and reliable transportation for visitors of the Queen City of the South.

Apple

iMac Pro, the most powerful Mac ever, arrives this December

Apple;

Apple today gave a sneak peek of iMac Pro, an entirely new workstation-class product line designed for pro users with the most demanding workflows. The all-new iMac Pro, with its gorgeous 27-inch Retina 5K display, up to 18-core Xeon processors and up to 22 Teraflops of graphics computation, is the most powerful Mac ever made. Featuring a stunning new space gray enclosure, iMac Pro packs incredible performance for advanced graphics editing, virtual reality content creation and real-time 3D rendering. iMac Pro is scheduled to ship in December starting at $4,999 (US).

These are drool worthy specs and cringe inducing price!

Also, this is not the Mac Pro that Apple is developing.

Blog post

Far Cry 5 Official Trailer

Far Cry comes to America in the latest installment of the award-winning franchise.

Welcome to Hope County, Montana. When your arrival incites the cult to violently seize control of the region, you must rise up and spark the fires of resistance to liberate a besieged community.

Freely explore Hope County’s rivers, lands, and skies with the largest customizable weapon and vehicle roster ever in a Far Cry game. You are the hero of the story in a thrilling world that hits back with every punch, and where the places you discover and the locals you ally with will shape your story in ways you’ll never see coming.

Learn more at farcry.com . Available February 27, 2018.

Expect Ubisoft to provide more information about the game at E3 in Los Angeles next month — Ubisoft’s annual keynote takes place on June 12th.

Unbox

The Kodak Ektra Goes On Sale

Jamie Inocian, writing for Unbox Ph;

Late last year, we reported that the famous film company, Kodak, had been working on a smartphone with a primary focus on photography. The phone was called the Kodak Ektra and it boasts of a 21-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, equipped with phase detection autofocus, 6-axis optical image stabilization, and is capable of shooting videos in 4K. While the specs for its main shooter are impressive on paper, the camera samples that the company shared were equally amazing as well.

I didn’t know what Kodak is still in business.

Yugatech

Huawei outs selfie-centric nova 2 and nova 2 Plus

Carl Lamiel, writing for Yugatech;

Huawei Nova 2 specs:
5-inch Full HD LTPS IPS display @ 1920 x 1080
2.36GHz Octa-Core HiSilicon Kirin 659
Mali-T830 MP2
4GB RAM
64GB internal storage
expandable up to 256GB via microSD (uses SIM2)
Dual 12 + 8 MP f/1.8 rear cameras with LED Flash
20MP front camera
4G LTE
Dual SIM (hybrid), Dual Standby
24-bit audio
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.2
GPS, A-GPS
USB Type-C
Fingerprint Scanner
Huawei EMUI 5.1 (Android 7 Nougat)
Li-Po 2950 mAh battery (non-removable)
142.2 x 68.9 x 6.9 mm
143g

Huawei Nova 2 Plus specs:
5.5-inch Full HD LTPS IPS display @ 1920 x 1080
2.36GHz Octa-Core HiSilicon Kirin 659
Mali-T830 MP2
4GB RAM
128GB internal storage
expandable up to 256GB via microSD (uses SIM2)
Dual 12 + 8 MP f/1.8 rear cameras with LED Flash
20MP front camera
4G LTE
Dual SIM (hybrid), Dual Standby
24-bit audio
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.2
GPS, A-GPS
USB Type-C
Fingerprint Scanner
Huawei EMUI 5.1 (Android 7 Nougat)
Li-Po 3340 mAh battery (nova 2 Plus)
153.9 x 74.9 x 6.9 mm
169g

Both the Huawei nova 2 and nova 2 Plus will be available in China starting June 16th in five different colors — Aurora Blue, Grass Green, Streamer Gold, Obsidian Black, and Rose Gold — sporting CNY2,500 (roughly Php18,200 before taxes) and CNY2,900 (around Php21,100 before other fees) price tags, respectively.

Apple

Apple launches app development curriculum for high school and community college students Apple;

Apple;

Apple today launched a new app development curriculum designed for students who want to pursue careers in the fast-growing app economy. The curriculum is available as a free download today from Apple’s iBooks Store.

App Development with Swift is a full-year course designed by Apple engineers and educators to teach students elements of app design using Swift, one of the world’s most popular programming languages. Students will learn to code and design fully functional apps, gaining critical job skills in software development and information technology.

Manila Bulletin

Downloading malicious subtitles can give hackers access to your devices

Manila Bulletin;

There is a high-risk of getting hacked by downloading malicious subtitles, according to the research team of Check Point, an IT security company, posted on their blog. These malicious subtitle files can get access to your computers via popular media players such as Kodi (XBMC), Popcorn-Time, Stream.io, and VLC.

Interaksyon

McDo, Krispy Kreme PH Android apps embedded with ‘spying tools’ – researchers

Jing Garcia, reporting for InterAksyon;

A research team in Germany discovered technology that can be used as a spying tool using apps emitting ultrasonic tones on mobile devices without the knowledge of the user.

In a paper titled “Privacy Threats through Ultrasonic Side Channels on Mobile Devices”, which was sponsored by the German government, researchers from the Technische Universitat Braunschweig have found 234 Android apps, including app versions distributed by McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme in the Philippines, were embedded with ‘spying tools’ that could violate an individual’s privacy.

The whole article explained how the spying is done. The study did not mention if iOS Apps are affected as well.

Blog post

Here’s the new Microsoft Surface Pro 5

Here’s the specs of the new Surface Pro 5;

  • 12.3” PixelSense™ Display, 2736 x 1824 resolution, @267 PPI with 10 point multi-touch
  • RAM: 4GB, 8GB or 16GB
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Processor: Intel Core m3/i5/i7
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 615/620/Iris Plus Graphics 640
  • Storage (SSD): 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB
  • 8 MP rear-facing autofocus camera with 1080p Full HD video
  • 5 MP front-facing camera with 1080p Skype HD video
  • Dual microphones
  • 1.6W Stereo speakers with Dolby® Audio™ Premium
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compatible
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • TPM chip for enterprise security, Enterprise-grade protection with Windows Hello face sign-in
  • Sensors: Ambient light, Accelerometer, Gyroscope
  • USB 3.0, microSDXC card reader, Surface Connect, 3.5mm Headphone jack, Mini DisplayPort, Cover port
  • Dimension: 292 mm x 201 mm x 8.5 mm
  • Weight: 768 g (m3), 770 g (i5) and 784 g (i7)
  • Battery life: Up to 13.5 hours of video playback

Available in 6 configuration, which is available for pre-order, with a starting price of $800 for the Intel m3 variants and will available globally on June 15, 2017.

Source: Extra.ph

Extra

Huawei announces 13-inch ultraportable Matebook X


Extra.ph;

  • 13 inch IPS (2160 x 1440 resolution) @350 nits, sRGB 100% colour gamut
  • Corning® Gorilla® glass
  • Processor: 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i5/i7
  • GPU: Intel® HD Graphics 620
  • Windows 10 64-bit Home
  • Storage: 256 GB/ 512 GB SSD
  • RAM: 4 GB/ 8 GB
  • Wifi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4/5 GHz 2×2 MIMO
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Sensor: Ambient light, fingerprint, accelerometer, Hall sensor
  • Battery: 5449 mAh@7.6 V Li-Ion
  • Dimension: 286mm x 12.5mm x 211mm
  • Weight: 1.05 kg
  • Color: Prestige Gold/Rose Gold/Space grey

Here’s the complete pricelist for each configuration;

  • Intel Core i5/ 8GB RAM/256GB SSD for Php78,500
  • Intel Core i5/ 8GB RAM/ 512GB SSD for Php89,500
  • Intel Core i7/ 8GB RAM/ 512GB SSD for Php95,000

“Can’t innovate anymore, my ass!”

e27

Blockchain-enabled mobile payments startup Coins.ph raises US$5M led by Naspers; claims 1M customers

Sainul Abudheen K, writing for e27;

Coins, a blockchain-enabled mobile payments platform with services in Thailand and the Philippines, today closed a US$5 million funding round led by global internet and entertainment conglomerate Naspers Group, through its VC investments arm Naspers Ventures.

Startups

Honesty Apps

Honesty Apps, a Do-it-yourself mobile application platform for both iOS and Android.

Startups

Bloom

Bloom modernizes remittance businesses by combining cutting-edge technology like the blockchain, instant payments, and messenger bots with traditional tools like SWIFT and SMS.