AIM will shut down after 20 years

Jacob Kastrenakes, writing for the Verge;

It’s a sad moment: AIM, AOL’s long-running instant messenger service that was core to many people’s first social experiences on the internet, will shut down once and for all on December 15th. AOL announced the shutdown today, acknowledging that people now communicate in new ways online, so AIM is no longer needed.

AIM was my first ever messenger, I still have and using my AIM/AOL screen name up to this day.

Google Pixelbook and Pixelbook Pen

Google Pixelbook Specs;

  • 12.3-inch Quad HD LCD touchscreen display with Pixebook Pen support, 2400×1600 @235 ppi, 400 nits, 72% NTSC color
  • 7th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 or i7
  • Chrome OS
  • Dual speakers and 4 mics
  • 8GB/ 16GB RAM
  • 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB (NVME support) Solid State Drive (SSD)
  • Aluminum unibody
  • Glass detail with Corning® Gorilla® Glass
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2×2 (MIMO), dual-band (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz), Bluetooth 4.2
  • Full size backlit keyboard with 19 mm pitch and a dedicated Google Assistant key
  • Edge-to-edge etched glass trackpad
  • 720p @ 60FPS front facing camera
  • TPM Chip for on-device security
  • Sensor: 3-axis Gyroscope/Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Ambient Light, Hall Effect
  • Two (2) USB-Cs, 4K display output, 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • Dimensions: 290.4 mm x 220.8 mm x 10.3 mm
  • Weight:1.1 kg
  • 41 Whr battery
  • Color: Silver

The Pixelbook is now available for pre-order and will be available in 3 configurations;

  • Intel® Core™ i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD for $999.
  • Intel® Core™ i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD for $1,199.
  • Intel® Core™ i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD for $1449.
  • Pixelbook Pen: $99

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL Now Official

Google Pixel 2 Specs;

  • 5.0 in full HD AMOLED (1920 x 1080) at 441ppi
  • 2.5D Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5
  • Full 24-bits depth or 16.77 million colors
  • Rear Camera: 12.2 MP, f/1.8 aperture, 1.4μm, Autofocus with laser + dual pixel phase detection, OIS
  • Front Camera: 8 MP fixed focus, f/2.4 aperture, 1.4μm
  • 2.35Ghz + 1.9Ghz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835, 64Bit Octa-Core
  • Adreno 540
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 64 GB / 128 GB Internal Storage
  • Wi-Fi 2.4G + 5GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO1
  • Stereo front-firing speakers, Bluetooth 5.0 + LE, Wireless HD audio with LDAC
  • NFC, eSIM
  • GPS, GLONASS
  • GSM/EDGE, UMTS/HSPA+/HSDPA, CDMA EVDO Rev A, LTE 4G
  • Sensors: Active Edge, Proximity / Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer / Gyrometer, Magnetometer, Back-mounted fingerprint sensor, Barometer, Hall effect sensor, Android Sensor Hub, Advanced x-axis haptics for sharper/defined response
  • USB-C 3.1 Gen 1, Single Nano SIM
  • Aluminum unibody with hybrid coating
  • IP67 water and dust resistant1
  • Dimension: 145.7 mm x 69.7 mm x 7.8 mm
  • Weight: 143 g
  • Colors: Just Black, Clearly White, Kinda Blue
  • 2700 mAh battery

Google Pixel 2 XL Specs;

  • 6.0 QHD+ pOLED display, (2880 x 1440) pOLED at 538ppi
  • 3D Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5
  • Full 24-bits depth or 16.77 million colors
  • Rear Camera: 12.2 MP, f/1.8 aperture, 1.4μm, Autofocus with laser + dual pixel phase detection, OIS
  • Front Camera: 8 MP fixed focus, f/2.4 aperture, 1.4μm
  • 2.35Ghz + 1.9Ghz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835, 64Bit Octa-Core
  • Adreno 540
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 64 GB / 128 GB Internal Storage
  • Wi-Fi 2.4G + 5GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO1
  • Stereo front-firing speakers, Bluetooth 5.0 + LE, Wireless HD audio with LDAC
  • NFC, eSIM
  • GPS, GLONASS
  • GSM/EDGE, UMTS/HSPA+/HSDPA, CDMA EVDO Rev A, LTE 4G
  • Sensors: Active Edge, Proximity / Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer / Gyrometer, Magnetometer, Back-mounted fingerprint sensor, Barometer, Hall effect sensor, Android Sensor Hub, Advanced x-axis haptics for sharper/defined response
  • USB-C 3.1 Gen 1, Single Nano SIM
  • Aluminum unibody with hybrid coating
  • IP67 water and dust resistant1
  • Dimension: 157.9 mm x 76.7 mm x 7.9 mm
  • Weight: 175 g
  • Colors: Just Black, Clearly White
  • 3520 mAh battery

Pixel 2 will retail at $649 while the Pixel 2 XL will be priced at $849. Both phones are now available for preorder in Australia, Canada, Germany, India, and U.K, and the US. Then later this year in Italy, Singapore, and Spain later this year.

India’s Ola Raises $2 Billion From SoftBank, Tencent

Saritha Rai, writing for Bloomberg;

Ola scored $2 billion in new funding from a group of investors including SoftBank Group Corp. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., a person familiar with the matter said, helping bankroll Uber Technologies Inc.’s fiercest rival in India.

Other backers in the ride-hailing startup’s latest financing round included a venture capital fund jointly run by Indian industrialist Ratan Tata and the University of California’s investment arm, as well as several U.S. institutional investors, people familiar with the deal said, asking not to be identified talking about a private deal. The company’s valuation after the financing wasn’t immediately clear.

Money fund their way against Uber!

Dropbox redesigns itself as a hipster file sharing service

Natt Garun, writing for The Verge;

Dropbox announced a redesign today that introduces a whole lot more color into its former white-and-blue aesthetic. The new look also includes a flatter box logo that makes it look less like an actual box and more like planes of surface (or an… even more abstract box, for the non-artistic types.)

I’m not a big Dropbox user, since I just install its desktop app, set it up to sync a particular folder and that’s it.

It sounds like Dropbox will not only offer file-sharing but will soon roll-out features that users can use to collaboration, communication and more, I guess we’ll know in time.

iSelect takes control of iMoney, one of Southeast Asia’s top financial comparison sites

Judith Balea, writing for Tech in Asia;

ustralian Securities Exchange-listed iSelect has boosted its stake in Malaysia-based financial comparison service iMoney, giving it majority ownership of the company.

In a disclosure to the ASX, the company said it hiked its iMoney stake to 51.5 percent from 23.8 percent by buying US$4.15 million worth of shares from other shareholders. The purchase price equates to a value of “5.9 times iMoney’s FY17 revenue,” it said.

Singapore Airlines and Grab agree on extensive partnership

Grab;

Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Grab today announced a partnership to provide customers with more seamless travel experiences. SIA and Grab will integrate their mobile apps to offer enhanced convenience to customers when travelling to the airport in six countries across Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. This marks the coming together of the world’s most awarded airline and Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing and payments platform.

PLDT to provide Wi-Fi to over 2,300 buses by end-2017

Chrisee Dela Paz, reporting for Rappler;

MANILA, Philippines – More than 2,300 public transport buses in the country are getting some technological upgrades: Wi-Fi connectivity, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, and vehicle trackers.

PLDT Incorporated said in a statement on Sunday, October 1, that its corporate business unit PLDT Enterprise has partnered with the Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines (PBOAP) to provide these upgrades to the group’s members.

The article did not mention if the wifi access will be free to commuters.

And;

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade last month signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a P1.5-billion loan facility for PUV cooperatives with Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) Chairman Alberto Romulo to jumpstart the PUV modernization program.

Since DBP will provide the P1.5-billion loan facility for PUV cooperatives for the installations of these technological upgrades, commuters will most likely shoulder bulk of the loan.

Facebook’s Messenger Lite for Android launches in US, UK, and other countries

Chris Welch, writing for The Verge;

Facebook Messenger Lite, the excellent, cruft-free of Facebook’s chat app that focuses on the essentials, is expanding to the US, UK, Canada, and Ireland. The Android-only app was originally launched so that users could access Messenger in areas with sluggish mobile connectivity.

From the Messenger Lite apps’s description page;

Installs quickly. It’s less than 10MB to install, saving storage space on your phone.
Saves data. It loads fast, runs efficiently and uses less mobile data.
Works everywhere. Reach people when you’re in an area with a slow or unstable internet connection.
Runs on most phones. You can use it on Android phones version 2.3 (Gingerbread) or higher.

Looks like Facebook is following Twitter’s playbook when it comes to service emerging markets.

You can download the Messenger Lite app here.

Leaked Images of Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

From the one and only Evan Blass;

Looks like the Galaxy S8 Plus sans curve screen and a bit narrower and taller.

Google is expected to provide more details on their new Pixel phones tomorrow, 4th of October.

Microsoft to bring Spotify to Groove Music Pass customers

Microsoft;

We will continue to invest in and update the Groove Music app on all Windows devices to support playback and management of owned music, but after December 31, 2017, the Groove Music app will no longer offer the option to stream, purchase, and download music.

And;

An update to the Groove Music app including the ability to move music to Spotify, will be available for Windows Insiders beginning this week. The Groove Music app update for Windows 10 and Xbox One devices will roll out broadly the week of October 9, 2017 and will enable Groove Music Pass customers to move existing music collections and playlists to Spotify. Groove Music Pass content will be available to move to Spotify until at least January 31, 2018.

Makes sense for Microsoft, since developing its own streaming service is much harder and complicated than a music store. There are lots of things that they need to consider, plus the fact that Spotify and other music streaming service already have their own userbase and considerable marketshare.

If ever Microsoft plans to dip its toes in the music streaming space again, an outright acquisition will be the best way for them to go but for now, partnership with the leading music streaming service is the next best thing.

VCs-backed Indian foodtech startup Yumist shuts down as it failed to raise follow-on funding

Sainul Abudheen K, writing for e27;

Yumist, a VCs-backed foodtech startup that offered home-style meals to Indian customers, has wounded up operations, as it failed to raise follow-on funding and also due to “a bunch of internal and external factors”.

The development indicates that the turbulent period, which saw many leading startups including foodpanda and TinyOwl either scale down or shut down business in 2015-16, is not over yet.

It’s sad to see a startup to shutdown, they have a great concept but the execution is a bit clunky and just like what they said on their blog post, they were not able to recover fast enough.

Here’s the full text of their farewell blogpost;

It’s been a fabulous journey, but…

When we gave birth to Yumist in 2014, we had a singular vision in mind – to make honest, homely food available conveniently at affordable prices. We wanted to build the go-to food brand for the daily meals market in India, a fragmented market serviced largely by unorganised players offering sub-standard food.

From the very beginning, we knew that our biggest challenge will be finding a business model that’s profitably scalable. We tried multiple iterations across our supply chain to achieve this. There was a time in early 2015 when our bikers had hot meals with them basis a demand prediction algorithm and orders were delivered within 15 mins. We delivered one such order in 2 mins and the customer’s expression was priceless, but our P&L had a different sort of expression.

The one thing going in our favour was we learnt and recovered from our mistakes quickly. By March 2017, we had hit the sweet spot. We were making Rs 65 in margins per order at an average order value of Rs 190 (an avg order for us would serve 2 people), our delivery outlets were breaking even at just 70 orders a day, we were acquiring new customers at Rs 180 and recovering back this money within 45 days. Owing to our product quality and customer experience, we enjoyed good word of mouth (with 50% of our new customers coming through referrals), 70% of our monthly orders were from repeat customers and from March until September we tripled our revenues and gross margins. With these trends, Yumist would have become a profitable company by June 2018.

Yet, we are shutting shop today. We failed to raise the kind of capital that this business required while staying true to the customer problem. In hindsight, there’s a bunch of internal and external factors that led us to this dead end.

From launching in a second city prematurely, or committing to a high growth, high burn model just because prospective investors wanted to see that back in 2015, or taking a tad bit too long to find the right business model, we made our mistakes. We learnt from these mistakes and recovered fast, but maybe not too fast.

Also, every company has a context in which it operates – the economic climate, investor sentiment, the sector one operates in. Essentially, there are external factors which one can’t really control. 2016 onwards, food tech (in the manner the term is loosely used) had amassed a notoriety with investors and media and became almost a dirty word. We failed in all our attempts to fundraise since then, as investors wanted to wait it out.

At this juncture, some questions haunt us. Had we built Yumist in a different time, would the outcome be different? Would we then have raised enough capital allowing us to build this same business profitably across the Country? Maybe yes, maybe no. We will never know.

What we do know is this. Cloud Kitchens are here to stay. It’s probably the case that the first one through the door gets shot. The problem we were trying to solve is a big one and we are certain someone will pick up from where we left. Our wishes and support are with them.

In hindsight, we have no complaints and, in fact, are proud entrepreneurs today. Building Yumist gave us the opportunity to work with great minds, work at the cutting edge of food science and technology in all its facets, and create frameworks and supply chains we believe will become industry standards in the near future. The thrill and meaningfulness of the journey supersede any destination we might have hoped to reach.

PS. If you have a Wallet balance with us, you will receive an email shortly with the refund process. You can reach us at support@yumist.com anytime.

Apple open-sourced the kernel of iOS and macOS for ARM processors

Romain Dillet, writing for TechCrunch;

Apple has always shared the kernel of macOS after each major release. This kernel also runs on iOS devices as both macOS and iOS are built on the same foundation. This year, Apple also shared the most recent version of the kernel on GitHub. And you can also find ARM versions of the kernel for the first time.

The source article contain the history of the foundation of macOS, iOS, watchOS and Apple TV. But that’s interesting with this article is that last week, Nikkei Asian Review published an article that gives a hint that Apple may soon switch from Intel to its own chips.

Two industry sources say that Apple is trying to cut its dependence on Intel when it comes to notebook chips and instead build those using ARM architecture, referring to the SoftBank-controlled British chip designer.

Apple is definitely looking into using their own custom chip on all of their products and would be foolish not to, but the problem is that it would take at least 2 to 3 years before they can develop a version of macOS that runs on ARM chips and will have very little effect on the macOS ecosystem.

If they switch from Intel to ARM, they need to change the architecture of their OS and in turn the developers of existing and even new mac apps needs to be re-written for the new architecture and that’s what Apple is trying to avoid or at least minimize.

GoPro HERO6 Black and Fusion are Here!

GoPro;

Powered by GoPro’s custom-designed GP1 processor, HERO6 achieves an entirely new level of performance including stunning 4K60 and 1080p240 video and the most advanced video stabilization ever achieved in a GoPro. GoPro also launched Fusion, its bar-setting waterproof, mountable 5.2K spherical camera. Additionally, GoPro introduced new mounts and accessories plus a new Follow mode for its Karma drone.

GoPro HERO6 Black Specs;

  • Powered by GoPro’s Custom-Designed GP1 Processor
  • 4K60 and 1080p240 Video
  • QuikStories Enabled, GoPro App Compatible
  • Most Advanced Stabilization of any HERO camera
  • All-New Touch Zoom
  • 3x Faster Offload Speeds via 5GHz Wi-Fi
  • Waterproof to 33 Feet (10m)
  • Compatible with Karma and Existing GoPro Mounts
  • Improved Dynamic Range and Low-Light Performance
  • RAW and HDR Photo Modes
  • Voice Control in 10 Languages
  • GPS, Accelerometer and Gyroscope
  • WiFi + Bluetooth
  • Price: $499.99 or around Php25,000

GoPro Fusion Specs;

  • 5.2K30 and 3K60 Spherical Video
  • 18MP Spherical Photo
  • GoPro App Compatible
  • OverCapture Allows for Traditional Video Creation from 360 Footage
  • Advanced Stabilization
  • 360 Audio
  • Waterproof to 16ft (5m)
  • Time Lapse Video + Photo, Night Lapse and Burst Modes
  • Works with Most GoPro Mounts
  • Includes Fusion Grip Mount
  • Voice Control in 10 Languages
  • GPS, Accelerometer, Gyroscope and Compass
  • WiFi + Bluetooth
  • WiFi + Bluetooth

GoPro Fusion is now availabel for preorder on GoPro.com for USA, Canada, United Kingdom and the European Union, shipping in November.

Nokia 3310 3G announced

Nokia 3310 3G Specs;

  • 2.4″ QVGA display
  • OS written in Java
  • 64 MB storage expandable up to 32GB via SD card
  • 3G Dual band 900/1800 MHz +3G Band 1 and 8
  • (Single-SIM) Quad band GSM 850/900/1800/1900 + 3G Band 1, 2, 5, 8
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • Micro-USB
  • 3.5 mm AV connector
  • FM radio, MP3 player
  • 2MP rear camera with LED flash
  • Dimension: 117 x 52.4 x 13.35mm
  • Weight: 84.9g (single SIM) / 88.2g (dual SIM)
  • 1200mAh battery
  • Colors Azure, Yellow, Warm Red, Charcoal
  • SRP: €69 or around Php 4,200.
  • Availability by the end of October 2017.

Source: Extra

House bills seek to remove libel in Cybercrime Law

Carl Lamiel, writing for Yugatech;

A technical working group (TWG) of the House Committee on Information and Communications Technology chaired by Rep. Victor Yap (3rd District, Tarlac) is now in the process of drafting the bill consolidating House Bills 2096, 6881, 3295 and 6342 authored by Representatives Antonio Tinio (Party-list, ACT Teachers), Yap, Evelina Escudero (1st District, Sorsogon) and Rodel Batocabe (Party-list, AKO Bicol), respectively, which all aim to repeal of Section Sec. 4(c)4 and amendment of Sections 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 15, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, and 28 of RA 10175 in their respective bills.

GrabCar and Uber will no longer accept bookings to deliver a package without the rider

Makes sense, if you factor in the safety of the driver and liability that will fall on the driver if the items that they’ll deliver are contraband.

However, this makes a great concept for a startup, an on-demand delivery no questions asks, a legal version of “Transporter”.

Amazon just launched 6 new gadgets and none was over $150

Matt Burns, writing for TechCrunch;

In the year of the $1000 iPhone Amazon just announced a scattering of new gadgets and none cost more than $150. Essentially, Amazon said “screws the margins” and are selling everything as cheap as possible. This race to the bottom is Amazon’s standard operating procedure. The company did it with Kindles e-readers and again with Kindle Fire tablets. The company releases a proof of concept and lets the market respond. If the response is favorable, Amazon releases the Kraken on the market.

This is where Amazon is killing the competition, they can actually sell their devices at a loss, since the company is not in the hardware business like Apple, Samsung, etc., their real business is to sell us things online, be it physical or digital goods.

If you look at all the devices that they announced today, most if not all makes it easy for us to shop online or should I say shop at Amazon.com, with just our voice or press of a button, you’ll be able to place your order, that’s their M.O., that’s how Amazon generate their revenue.

Creative Ventures launches US$50M fund to bring deep tech to Southeast Asia

Yon Heong Tung, writing for e27;

Silicon Valley-based VC Creative Ventures has announced the launch of its second fund — a US$50 million fund that will focus on deep tech companies in the US.

This will be my first time encountering the term “Deep Tech”.

According to Swati Chaturvedi;

We define deep technology as companies founded on a scientific discovery or meaningful engineering innovation. This is where you’re asking, “Aren’t all technology companies founded on these principles?” Partly yes, but mostly no. Most technology companies these days are built on business model innovation or offline to online business model transition using existing technology. Take Uber for example – Uber is built on the concept of a “sharing economy” – a business model innovation enabling individuals to share existing resources.

Deep technology companies on the other hand, are built on tangible scientific discoveries or engineering innovations. They are trying to solve big issues that really affect the world around them. For example, a new medical device or technique fighting cancer, data analytics to help farmers grow more food, or a clean energy solution trying to lessen the human impact on climate change. Continuing the Uber reference, deep-technology companies in the transportation business would include autonomous vehicles, flying cars or other similar transformative technologies.

Interesting!!