LTFRB: Don’t pick a fight with errant taxi drivers

Jason Tulio, writing for Top Gear Ph;

The LTFRB chief also cited his own recent experience taking four taxis in Metro Manila. While three of them charged him the right amount, one attempted to overcharge him twice, but relented when Delgra insisted on sticking to the meter. He says that the LTFRB will impose stricter penalties on abusive taxi and PUV drivers, along with other initiatives in place to help solve the problem. Your complaints, Delgra says, aren’t falling on deaf ears.

Just “stricter penalties” and “other initiatives”? No suspension of franchise, no Php 5 million fines even after experiencing the problem personally?

If LTFRB slap a Php 1 million fines to the taxi operator, I bet these kind of behavior from taxi drivers will surely disappear, at least from the time being.

Appier

Appier is a technology company which aims to provide artificial intelligence (AI) platforms to help enterprises solve their most challenging business problems.

Appier was established in 2012 by a passionate team of computer scientists and engineers with expertise in AI, data analysis and distributed systems. Appier serves around 1,000 global brands and agencies from offices in 14 markets across Asia, including Taipei, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Osaka, Sydney, Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, Hong Kong, Mumbai, New Delhi, Jakarta, Seoul, and Bangkok.

Appier Announces Series C Investment Round with SoftBank Group, LINE Corporation, NAVER Corporation, EDBI and AMTD Group

Press release from Appier regarding the $33 million Series C investment from SoftBank Group, LINE Corporation, NAVER Corporation, EDBI and AMTD Group.

Appier Announces Series C Investment Round with SoftBank Group, LINE Corporation, NAVER Corporation, EDBI and AMTD Group

New Investments will Spur Appier’s Artificial Intelligence Innovations for Enterprises

TAIPEI, TAIWAN – Media OutReach – August 30, 2017 – Appier, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) company, announced that it has secured Series C investment of USD$33 million from SoftBank Group Corp., LINE Corporation, NAVER Corporation, Singapore-based EDBI and Hong Kong-based AMTD Group. This brings the total amount of investment in the company to over USD$82 million.

Chih-Han Yu, CEO and co-founder, Appier

Appier believes AI can help enterprises deal with today’s rapidly changing business environment, helping them process enormous amounts of data to identify patterns and make intelligent decisions. The additional funds will enable Appier to expand its portfolio of AI solutions and build more functionality for enterprises who want to take advantage of recent advances in AI technology.

The new investment will also enable Appier to continue to hire global talent as it extends its engineering and artificial intelligence research capabilities beyond Taiwan, to markets such as Singapore. The company also plans to expand its presence in the many markets in which it currently operates.

“Appier believes artificial intelligence can solve many challenges faced by today’s enterprise. Our platforms have helped our customers succeed in digital advertising and marketing, and we are now looking to bring AI to other parts of the enterprise. We are looking forward to partnering with our Series C investors as we embark on our next stage of growth,” said Chih-Han Yu, CEO and co-founder of Appier.

Appier’s first product, the CrossX Programmatic Platform, brought AI into digital marketing. Its second, Aixon, is a data intelligence platform that allows business users at a variety of enterprises to discover new customers, enrich their understanding of their customer base, and make predictions using AI. The company has doubled revenues over the three quarters since it closed Series B2 in November 2016.

“AI, combined with Big Data, IoT and other disruptive technologies, is going to create an impact on the world that will be bigger than the Industrial Revolution. We are already starting to see AI generate benefits in many parts of our lives and believe it also has a great role to play within the enterprise. Appier’s approach to AI for the enterprise is unique and we look forward to partnering with them as they build exciting new AI solutions for business,” said Ren Tanaka, Corporate Officer and Deputy Head of Business Unit at SoftBank Group Corp.

“Taiwan is one of the key markets for LINE, and our investment in Appier marks our commitment to invest in this market and support local startups to expand globally. We are excited to partner with Appier to explore more AI and advertising technology opportunities in our key markets,” said In Joon Hwang, CFO of LINE Corporation

“Appier has enabled a growing number of brands to develop consumer-adaptive marketing solutions for the digitally savvy Asian market. We look forward to working with Appier as they apply their AI technology to other exciting areas such as predictive analytics for real-time business decision-making. Appier’s development activities also synergizes well with Singapore’s AI.SG initiative to power, build and augment the local AI capabilities and ecosystem,” said Ms Chu Swee Yeok, CEO and President of EDBI.

Deleting my Facebook page

If you’re one of the few readers who “Liked” the blogs Facebook page, then you will have one more fb page that you need to worry about, since I’m deleting its Facebook page with URL facebook.com/kabayantechdotcom/, this is actually the second Facebook of KabayanTech, since the first one was merged with NewsHero.Net, which is now Extra.ph.

The reason why I’m deleting this is because I do not see any benefit in maintaining a Facebook page for KabayanTech. The number of person reached by the post on the FB Page does not necessarily mean that the person actually visits the blog itself. Plus, its one more FB page that I don’t need to worry about and maintain.

Of course the blog still have accounts to other social media sites; Twitter, Google+ and Tumblr. You can also subscribe to good-ole RSS feed via email or your preferred reader. If you’re a user to any of these social media site, I hope you follow, like and subscribe to us in order to receive regular updates and articles.

Cheers!

A new YouTube look that works for you

Youtube;

Over the last few months we’ve started releasing updates and will continue to throughout the rest of the year. When all is said and done, we’ll bring a new level of functionality and a more consistent look across our desktop and mobile experiences. Let’s start with the YouTube mobile app, which is getting a bunch of new features:

  • Clean new design: We’ve made the header white to let content take the lead and moved the navigation tabs to the bottom of the app so they’re closer to your thumbs. We also added new Library and Account tabs that give you easy access to what you’re looking for.
  • Videos that move with you: One of the things we’re working on is bringing gestures to YouTube. Earlier this year, we introduced a gesture that allows you to double tap on the left or right side of a video to fast forward or rewind 10 seconds. Give it a try! We already see billions of double taps per day. And I wanted to give you a sneak peek at another gesture I am really excited about. In the coming months, we’ll experiment with a feature that lets you jump between videos with a simple swipe of your hand: just swipe left to watch a previous video or swipe right to watch the next one.
  • Watch at your own pace: Users love that they are able to speed up and slow down the playback of a video on desktop, and we’re excited to bring this feature to the mobile app today, so you can enjoy videos at whatever speed you prefer.
  • Adapt to any video, beautifully: We’ve also been experimenting with new ways to display all videos in the best possible way. Soon, the YouTube player will seamlessly change shape to match the video format you’re watching, such as vertical, square or horizontal. That means you’ll always get the best viewing experience automatically – including vertical videos with no black bars on the sides!
  • Browse and discover while you watch: We recently added a feature that lets you view a row of suggested videos while you’re watching in full screen. We’re also working on transforming the area below the player so you can browse videos in totally new ways.

New look, new services and new logo;

I still prefer the original logo but with all new things that Youtube have, the new logo presents the company perfectly.

Grab and Toyota Launch Data Collaboration Initiative for Connected Car Services

Grab;

Grab, the leading on-demand transportation and mobile payments platform in Southeast Asia, today announced the launch of a new data-focused pilot programme with Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota Financial Services Corporation, and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co., Ltd. The project aims to use data analysis to enable Grab to offer its driver partners across the region improved access to connected car services that will improve their experience on the Grab platform.

As part of the initiative, Grab will share data on driving patterns from 100 Toyota cars in Grab’s fleet, captured by Toyota’s data-transmission driving recorder, TransLog. Toyota’s team will then analyse the data set and, based on this analysis, offer recommendations on how other connected car services on the Toyota Mobility Service Platform (MSPF) – such as user-based insurance, financing program, and predictive maintenance – could enhance the Grab experience for drivers on the Grab platform.

Grab Announces Strategic Investment from Toyota Tsusho

Grab;

Grab Inc. (“Grab”), the leading on-demand transportation and mobile payments platform in Southeast Asia, today announced that Toyota Tsusho Corporation (“Toyota Tsusho”), the sole general trading company of Toyota Group, has invested in Grab. Toyota Tsusho made this investment through its Next Technology Fund, and is the latest participant in Grab’s current financing round, led by SoftBank and Didi Chuxing.

A big win for Grab!

LTFRB do not have any legal basis for those fines against Uber and Grab

Written by Atty. Peter Michael Dizon;

The only legal bases for LTRFB penalties will show you a range between P5,000.00 for the first offense, P10,000.00 for a second offense, and P15,000.00 for a third offense. There are also other penalties in the amounts of P50,000.00, P75,000.00, P100,000.00, and P200,000.00 for various offenses.

The link was originally shared by James Deakin, if you’re following the Uber-LTFRB drama, this is a very good read.

I strongly encourage you to read the article, since it tackles the legal matters of Uber’s suspension and fines.

Kata.ai, the startup formerly known as YesBoss, raises US$3.5M in Series A funding round

Anisa Menur A. Maulani, writing for e27;

Indonesian artificial intelligence (AI) startup Kata.ai today announced that it has raised a US$3.5 million in Series A funding round led by Taiwan-based Trans-Pacific Technology Fund (TPTF).

MDI Ventures, Access Ventures, and Convergence Ventures also participated in the deal.

In addition to them, VPG Asia, Red Sails Investment, and angel investor Eddy Chan also took part in the round.

Uber reportedly picks Expedia CEO as its new CEO

Anisa Menur A. Maulani, writing for e27;

Ride-hailing giant Uber has appointed Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi as the company’s new CEO, according to a Reuters report.

Newly appointed Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, on his first day, will have a lot on its plate. Fixing first the sexism culture in the company and second the problem in the Philippines, hopefully!

Kill animals and destroy property before hurting humans, Germany tells future self-driving cars

Gareth Corfield, reporting for The Register;

Among the proposed rules are:

  • The protection of human life always has top priority. If a situation on the road goes south, and it looks as though an accident is going to happen, the vehicle must save humans from death or injury even if it means wrecking property or mowing down other creatures.
  • If an accident is unavoidable, the self-driving ride must not make any choices over who to save – it can’t wipe out an elderly person to save a kid, for instance. No decisions should be made on age, sex, race, disabilities, and so on; all human lives matter.
  • A surveillance system should be in place – such as a black box – that records the steps leading to an accident so that it’s obvious who was driving at the time and who is therefore at fault: the human behind the wheel, or the computer. The identity of the driver should also be documented. It should be entirely possible to proportion blame accurately, essentially.
  • Drivers should have full control over what personal information is collected from their vehicles. This would basically to stop tech giants taking location data on the down-low to custom advertising, for example.

Not the best title for the article but the propose rules are reasonable enough, specially the part where the car needs to have a surveillance system. This will definitely help the car manufacturer for any lawsuit that they may face.

Grab will pour $100m into Myanmar as it faces off with Uber

Judith Balea, writing for Tech in Asia;

Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing app, has committed to invest US$100 million over the next three years in Myanmar, where Uber also debuted earlier this year.

The company will use the money to extend its services to more cities in the country, which has seen exploding mobile phone adoption. It will also roll out other products such as its digital payment feature GrabPay, and increase its local headcount to 200, it said in a statement. The company is exploring offering its corporate ‘Grab for Work’ solution after seeing healthy demand.

When the LTFRB Chairman Sees 10 Taxis Turn Down Passengers

Carlo Ople, writing for Unbox Ph;

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chair Atty. Martin Delgra III guested on Daniel Razon’s morning show to talk about the on-going Uber-LTFRB drama-rama saga. He was shown a social experiment video where a reporter tried to book a Taxi without having to give additional money on top of the meter fare. All 10 tries were a failure with the cabs either asking for more money or downright refusing the passenger.

His response to the “social experiment”? Chairman Delgra said that passengers should assert their rights. If the drivers refuse, then people should file a complaint at the LTFRB and show up during the hearing so that the drivers can be properly penalized. Suffice to say that’s a lot of inconvenience on the side of the passenger especially since they’re the aggravated party.

So when was the last time LTFRB penalize a taxi operator for Php 5 million?

This is the kind of mindset that makes people think that LTFRB is protecting taxi operators and only after the money of Uber, Grab and other TNVS, which are considered well funded “multi-billlion” companies.

Sterling Paper buys Openovate, Galleon.ph

Carl Lamiel, writing for Yugatech;

Sterling has bought a total of 85% combined stake from the companies according to Openovate’s former CEO and now Chief Technology officer Christan Blanquera.

Sterling known for its papers and school supplies, and to keep with times the company ventured into other industries such as retail and leasing, BPO, and agriculture. This acquisition of Openovate could be one of the many that the company have in the pipeline.

Notable products/project of Openovate are;

  • Galleon – ecommerce site for products not available in the Philippines
  • Iris Text – a mobile app that can turn your phone into a customer support Tool.
  • Salaaap – a buy and sell site with a price comparison and product search community.
  • Aces Call Center Jobs – Job board for call centers.

Samsung Verdict Sends a Tough New Message to South Korea Inc.

Choe Sang-Hun, Jeyup S. Kwaak and Paul Mozur, reproting for New York Times;

On Friday, the country’s courts sent a different message.

Lee Jae-yong, the third-generation heir to the Samsung empire, was sentenced to five years in prison over a bribery scandal that has already contributed to the downfall of the country’s former president and shaken the country’s political and economic foundations.

It was the most remarkable sentence yet for a South Korean business titan, and a sign that the country is no longer willing to offer its business leaders political impunity in exchange for untrammeled economic growth.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Now Official

Extra;

Here are the specs of the Samsung Galaxy Note8;

  • 6.3-inch SuperAMOLED display, squared-corner, resolution 1440 x 2960 in 18.5:9 aspect ratio, @521ppi
  • Processor: Exynos 8895 Soc, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Android 7.1.1
  • Internal storage: 64GB with a microSD expansion slot up to 256 GB
  • USB-C port
  • Camera Rear: Dual Camera
    • Wide-angle: 12MP AF Dual Pixel(F1.7), OIS
    • Telephoto: 12MP AF(F2.4), OIS
  • Front: 8MP AF(F1.7)
  • NFC, MST
  • LTE Cat. 16
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), VHT80 MU-MIMO, 1024QAM
  • Bluetooth® v 5.0 (LE up to 2Mbps), ANT+, USB Type-C, NFC, Location
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Heart Rate Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor, Iris Sensor, Pressure Sensor
  • IP68 Dust and Water Resistance
  • S-Pen
  • Bixby Virtual assistant
  • Dimension: 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm
  • Weight: 195g
  • Battery: fast-charging 3300mAh battery, supports wired and wireless charging
  • Color: Midnight Black and Maple Gold, Orchid Grey, Deep Sea Blue

The Note 8 will be available in three colors; Midnight Black and Maple Gold, Orchid Grey, Deep Sea Blue. The phone will be available in stores beginning September 15, 2017, and Samsung is already accepting pre-orders today, August 24, 2017. An unlocked Galaxy Note8 will be available for $929.

Nikon officially announce the D850

Nikon D850 will be available in September 2017, with a retail price of USD3,299.95 or around Php168,370

Nikon;

Primary Features

1.An effective pixel count of 45.7 megapixels and a new backside illumination Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor

The D850 is Nikon’s first digital SLR camera to be equipped with a backside illumination CMOS sensor. Together with the camera’s low-noise performance, this enables it to achieve a maximum standard sensitivity of ISO 25600 (with expansion up to Hi 2, ISO 102400 equivalent) despite its high pixel count, with incident light more effectively guided to the photodiodes. The same minimum standard sensitivity of ISO 64 (with expansion to Lo 1, ISO 32 equivalent) supported by the D810 is also offered by the D850, achieving an incredibly broad range of sensitivities. In addition, no optical low-pass filter means that the D850 is able to make the most of high-resolution NIKKOR lenses to produce extremely sharp and clear images. Images captured with the D850 can be enlarged up to A2 size* for printing, and even used for 8K digital signage displays.
*At 300 dpi.
2.High-speed continuous shooting at approximately 7 fps/9 fps captures motion

The D850 is equipped with a backside illumination CMOS sensor capable of high-speed readout of high-volume data, the EXPEED 5 image-processing engine that processes an incredibly large amount of information at high speed, and newly designed shutter and mirror mechanisms. These three features work together to enable high-speed continuous shooting at up to approximately 7 fps*1 with just the camera, and up to approximately 9 fps*1,*2 when the MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack is used. What’s more, up to approximately 51 14-bit or 170 12-bit (image size L) RAW images with lossless compression can be captured in a single burst of continuous shooting*3. Further, adoption of the same high-performance 153-point AF system used by the D5 ensures certain capture of intended subjects including those that are moving, in a wide variety of scenes, effectively expanding the practical range of this high-pixel-count camera.
*1With continuous-servo AF, manual or shutter-priority auto exposure, a shutter speed of 1/250 s or faster, and other settings at default values. *2When an EN-EL18b/EN-EL18a Rechargeable Li-ion Battery (available separately) is used. Optional BL-5 Battery Chamber Cover is required for use of the EN-EL18b/EN-EL18a. *3When a Sony QD-G64E XQD memory card and EN-EL15a/EN-EL15 are used with shooting at ISO 100.
3.Silent photography eliminates the sound of shutter release and mechanical vibrations with capture of 45-MP images

The D850 is equipped with a silent photography feature with which the image sensor performs operations normally performed by the mechanical shutter’s front and rear curtains with live view photography, enabling silent capture of full-frame images. The sound of shutter release and mechanical vibrations are completely eliminated, making this an effective choice in situations when the sound of shutter release is distracting or impolite, as at a museum or wedding, or when mechanical vibrations are a concern, such as when photographing starscapes or heavenly bodies.
Note:In M (manual) or A (aperture-priority auto) exposure mode. In P (programmed-auto) or S (shutter-priority auto) exposure mode, the sound of aperture operation can be heard.
4.Nikon’s first digital SLR camera to support full-frame 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) movie recording

The D850 supports full-frame, 4K UHD (3840 x 2160)/30p recording, allowing users to record movies that make the most of wide-angle lenses’ broad angles of view, as well as the superior resolution at the edges of the frame exhibited by NIKKOR lenses. In addition, 4x and 5x slow-motion movies* can be recorded in Full-HD format (100- or 120-fps readout is recorded at 24p, 25p, or 30p). This enables dramatic expression of a moment’s movement in slow motion. Further, the addition of a dedicated movie shooting menu, the ability to choose the format in which movies are recorded from MOV and MP4, and the ability to apply detailed settings for highlight display make the D850 a much more convenient way to record movies for multimedia users.
*Image quality is fixed at normal and image area is fixed at DX regardless of settings.
5.8K time-lapse video creation that makes the most of interval timer photography

The interval timer shooting function has been significantly enhanced with the D850. The interval timer shooting function is not only capable of recording still images (8256 x 5504) that can be used to create time-lapse movies with a frame size that exceeds that of the 8K format*1, but it also offers a silent photography option that can be enabled to capture a large volume of images without concern for the mechanical shutter wear. When silent interval timer photography and exposure smoothing options are enabled, not only are the variations in exposure between individual shots effectively suppressed, but the camera is also able to meter exposure with significantly less light than the -3 EV*2 that is minimally required. This makes it possible for photographers to use A (aperture-priority auto) exposure mode in situations where it is impossible to use manual exposure to capture a series of images, all of which exhibit optimal exposure, of the sky’s transition from sunset to starry night sky or from starry night sky to sunrise, for example. The D850 also meets the requirements of professional time-lapse movie creation, offering fast, in-camera batch processing of a huge number of RAW images.
*1Requires third-party software for creation. *2ISO 100, f/1.4 lens, 20°C/68°F, using matrix or center-weighted metering.
6.Other Features
Equipped with a 180K-pixel RGB sensor that greatly increases the precision and accuracy of automatically controlled functions, such as autofocus (AF), auto exposure (AE), and auto white balance (AWB)
Auto Picture Control, with which the camera automatically fine-tunes images in accordance with the scene
The new natural light auto white balance option that achieves more accurate color reproduction for a variety of scenes captured under natural lighting
RAW image size can be selected from large, medium*1, and small*1 depending upon how images will be used
A magnification of approximately 0.75x that enables a broad view has been achieved for the optical viewfinder
The convenient 8-cm/3.2-in., approximately 2359k-dot, tilting TFT touch-sensitive LCD monitor
A power-saving design that enables capture of approximately 1,840 shots or approximately 70 minutes of movie recording*2 on a single charge*3
A focus shift function that makes it easy to acquire the materials (shots) needed for the technique known as focus stacking*4, used to increase depth of field
A negative digitizer that makes it easy to convert color or black-and-white film negatives to digital data (JPEG)*5
Support for radio-controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting, which increases the flexibility of multi-flash photography
*1Recorded in 12-bit, lossless compressed format. *2With testing in accordance with CIPA standards. Maximum length is 29 min. 59 s. with a single recording. *3When an EN-EL15a/EN-EL15 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery is used. *4Focus stacking requires third-party editing software. *5The ES-2 Film Digitizing Adapter (available separately) is required.

Samsung Bixby now available in the Philippines

Carl Lamiel, writing for Yugatech;

Samsung‘s own virtual assistant called Bixby and its voice capabilities are now available in more countries worldwide, including the Philippines.

The Korean tech giant has just rolled out its proprietary virtual assistant onto 200 more countries, including the UK and Australia. Before the worldwide rollout, Bixby is only available in two countries — the US and in their home turf of South Korea.

It’ll be interesting how many people will be talking to their Samsung smartphones calling it Bixby!