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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Cut your monthly iCloud cost and get lifetime storage via this cheap alternative



TL;DR: Get an unlimited subscription to ThunderDrive cloud storage with this sale: A 500 GB plan is just $29 while a 2 TB plan is $59.


Entrusting your files to a server located in some ominous unknown location might seem counterintuitive, but it’s actually the safest way to protect your data. 

Think about it: choosing to store your files on a computer, hard drive, or phone will only make them more susceptible to accidental loss. All it takes is one clumsy moment, theft, or a software update gone wrong.

And while subscribing to name a brand cloud service like iCloud or Dropbox may seem like the easy route, you’ll only end up overpaying for measly storage that won’t even fit your cat video collection.  Read more…

More about Storage, Cloud, Apps And Software, Icloud, and Mashable Shopping

This juicer has 4 stars on Amazon and is on sale in our shop



TL;DR: Grab the efficient Easehold dual speed 600W juicer for $47.99. Typically $62.99, you save 23% with this deal.


Amazon Prime Day(s) came and went, and yet, you still find yourself juicer-less and purging money on your daily $10 green monster or *insert clever juice name here*. 

Don’t worry. There’s hope for you yet, and you won’t even have to wait for Black Friday to justify adding a juicer to your kitchen.

SEE ALSO: Best juicers 2019

Rated four stars on Amazon, the Easehold Dual Speed 600W Juicer extracts juice faster than other options on the market. It features BPA-free, food-grade stainless steel blades, and a special three-inch inlet to yield more juice while using less fruit. Read more…

More about Juicer, Mashable Shopping, Juice Cleanse, Tech, and Food

Bernie Sanders reacts to bizarre fan merchandise featuring his face



There are a lot of creative Bernie Sanders fans out there.

Some of them are so dedicated to the Democratic candidate’s cause that they’ve even made some wonderfully odd merchandise featuring his face.

In the Jimmy Kimmel Live clip above, the host presents Sanders with some of the more obscure items he’s inspired — from a “St. Bernie” candle to a cap honouring the podium bird, and t-shirt that shows multiple Bernie Sanders’ reaching for the moon.

Sanders’ reaction? A little chuckle.

“You’re getting cheated out of a lot of money there,” jokes Kimmel, after the show-and-tell is over. “You know Trump wouldn’t let that happen, he’d get a cut of all that.” Read more…

More about Etsy, Bernie Sanders, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Entertainment, and Web Culture

Trevor Noah jokes that we'll be paying off student debt in heaven. He's not wrong.



For those of us with student loan debt, it often feels like you’ll never be rid of the burden of repayments.

Trevor Noah tackled America’s $1.5 trillion student debt crisis and the fact that student loans have no statute of limitations — they can quite literally follow you until you die. 

“We hope that’s where it stops,” he said. “It was suck if you were still paying off your loans in heaven.”

“Jesus and Martin Luther King Jr. are like, ‘hey we’re gonna go ride unicorns, you wanna come?’ and you’re like ‘uh I can’t. I gotta work a shift at Blockbuster.'”

Blockbusters are in heaven now, apparently, right next to your debt. Read more…

More about Student Loans, The Daily Show, Trevor Noah, Culture, and Talk Show

SoftBank announces AI-focused second $108 billion Vision Fund with LPs including Microsoft, Apple and Foxconn



SoftBank Group announced today that it will launch its second Vision Fund with participation from Apple, Foxconn, Microsoft and other tech companies and investors. Called the Vision Fund 2, the fund will focus on AI-based technology. SoftBank said the fund’s capital has reached about $108 billion, based on memoranda of understandings. SoftBank Group’s own investment in the fund will be $38 billion.

It is worth noting that the second Vision Fund’s list of expected limited partners does not currently include any participants from the Saudi Arabia government (the first Vision Fund’s close ties to people, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who have been implicated in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has understandably been a major source of concern for investors, companies and human rights observers).

But SoftBank Group also said is still in discussions with other participants and that the total amount of the fund is expected to increase. The full list of participants who have signed MOUs so far are: “Apple, Foxconn Technology Group, Microsoft Corporation, Mizuho Bank, Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, MUFG Bank, Ltd., The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Limited, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited, SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., Daiwa Securities Group Inc., National Investment Corporation of National Bank of Kazakhstan, Standard Chartered Bank, and major participants from Taiwan.”

SoftBank’s intention to launch Vision Fund 2 was first reported earlier this week by the Wall Street Journal. The new fund is expected to decrease SoftBank’s reliance on Saudi Arabian investment and also potentially change the relationship between startups, corporate giants like Microsoft and investors.

Source

Unity, now valued at $6B, raising up to $525M



Unity’s private valuation is climbing but it’s growing unclear whether the company’s leadership is planning to take the 15-year-old gaming powerhouse public anytime soon.

The company announced today that is has received signed agreements from D1 Capital Partners, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Light Street Capital, Sequoia Capital, and Silver Lake Partners to fund a $525 million tender offer that will allow Unity’s common shareholders — the majority of which are early or current employees — to sell their shares in the company.

The tender offer gives employees “the opportunity for some liquidity,” Unity CFO Kim Jabal says. The total amount raised will depend on the enthusiasm of common shareholders to sell their stakes in Unity.

This event could potentially signify that the company is pushing back its timeline for an IPO, keeping employees that have been sitting on equity for several years happy as Unity labors on in private markets. It’s worth noting that the company has raised hundreds of million previously with the same intent of buying back employee shares.

It was reported earlier this year that Unity was targeting an IPO in the first half of 2020.

The company also confirmed that it wrapped up a $150M Series E funding round in May that doubled the company’s valuation to $6 billion. The announcement confirms the valuation we reported on in May though at a higher amount of capital raised.

SF-based Unity has more than 2,000 employees. The company builds developer tools which are used game studios to create video games across a number of platforms. The company claims that half of all games are created using the company’s game engine.

Source

Senate Intelligence Committee releases first volume of its investigation into Russian election hacking



The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today released the first volume of its bipartisan investigation into Russia’s attempts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. elections.

Helmed by Select Committee Chairman Richard Burr, the Republican from North Carolina, and Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner, who serves as Vice Chairman, the committee’s report Russian Efforts Against Election Infrastructure,” details the unclassified summary findings on election security. 

Through two and a half years the committee has held 15 open hearings, interviewed over 200 witnesses, and reviewed nearly 400,000 documents, according to a statement and will be publishing other volumes from its investigation over the next year. 

“In 2016, the U.S. was unprepared at all levels of government for a concerted attack from a determined foreign adversary on our election infrastructure. Since then, we have learned much more about the nature of Russia’s cyber activities and better understand the real and urgent threat they pose,” Committee Chairman Burr said in a statement. “The Department of Homeland Security and state and local elections officials have dramatically changed how they approach election security, working together to bridge gaps in information sharing and shore up vulnerabilities.”

Both Sen. Burr and Sen. Warner said that additional steps still needed to be taken.

“[There’s] still much more we can and must do to protect our elections. I hope the bipartisan findings and recommendations outlined in this report will underscore to the White House and all of our colleagues, regardless of political party, that this threat remains urgent, and we have a responsibility to defend our democracy against it.”

Among the Committee’s findings were that Russian hackers exploited the seams between federal and state authorities. State election officials, the report found were not sufficiently warned or prepared to handle an attack from a state actor.

The warnings that were provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security weren’t detailed enough nor did they contain enough relevant information that would have encouraged the states to take threats more seriously, the report indicated.

 More work still needs to be done, according to the Committee. DHS needs to coordinate its efforts with state officials much more closely. But states need to do more as well to ensure that new voting machines have a voter-verified paper trail. 

So does Congress. The committee report underscores that Congress need to evaluate the results of the $380 million in state security grants which were issued under the Help America Vote Act and ensure that additional funding is available to address any security gaps in voting systems and technologies around the U.S.

Finally, the U.S. needs to create more appropriate deterrence mechanisms to enable the country to respond effectively to cyber attacks on elections.

The Committee’s support for greater spending on election security and refining electoral policy to ensure safe and secure access to the ballot, comes as Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has blocked two election security measures that were attempting to come before the Senate floor for a vote.

New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, tried to get consent to pass a House bill that requires the use of paper ballots and included new funding for the Election Assistance Commission.

In a statement explaining his rejection of the Bill, McConnell told The Hill, “Clearly this request is not a serious effort to make a law. Clearly something so partisan that it only received one single solitary Republican vote in the House is not going to travel through the Senate by unanimous consent.”

McConnell also rejected a consent motion to pass legislation that would require that candidates, campaign officials, and family members to reach out to the FBI if they received offers of assistance from foreign governments.

Source

Dude drops his phone directly next to an alligator



A well meaning but butter-fingered tourist may have lost his phone, but an alligator somewhere in Louisiana is about to catch up on the tea. 

A video from ViralHog shows a group of people hunched over a boardwalk swamp in order to record a young gator lazing around the water. One of the young men precariously holds his phone above the gator in an effort to catch the perfect shot … only to slip and drop his phone directly into the gator-riddled water. 

“I was filming because it looked like the gator was about to move away,” the video’s description says. “You can tell that for a split second he thinks about trying to grab it but then decides [he] better not.” Read more…

More about Viral Videos, Alligator, Culture, and Web Culture

Africa’s ride-hail markets are hot spots for startups and VC



When it comes to VC, vehicles, and startups, Africa’s ride-hail markets are becoming a multi-wheeled and global affair.

The big players such as Uber and Bolt are competing in Kampala and Nairobi—where in addition to car-service—they offer rickshaw taxis. On-demand motorcycle startups are multiplying and piloting EVs with funds from international partners. And many ride-hail companies in Africa are adapting unique product solutions to local transit needs.

In this analysis, I take a look at the leading startups in the mobility space and how the future of transportation on the continent will increasingly come from new entrants.

Africa’s in the midst of digital innovation boom

Africa’s in the midst of digital innovation boom, the components of which are intersecting rapidly across its 54 countries and 1.2 billion people.

Smartphone penetration is improving and in 2017, the continent saw the largest global increase in internet users—20 percent.

By Partech data, the continent surpassed the $1 billion VC mark in 2018. And greater connectivity and venture funding are fueling thousands of startups in every imaginable sector, including digital-transit.

While reliable markets stats for the size and potential of Africa’s ride-hail markets are sparse, there are some indicators of the sector’s potential.

Car ownership and cars per capita in Africa is among the lowest in the world. Parallel to that, any eyes and ears survey of the continent’s big cities reveals that shared transport by buses, cars, or motorcycles is big business that’s already ingrained in consumer culture. Millions of people daily pay fares to pack onto East and West Africa’s Mutatu and Danfo minibuses and Okada and Boda Boda motorbike taxis.

As Africa continues to urbanize, converts to smartphones, and discretionary consumer spending continues to rise—it all adds up to suggest strong potential for conversion to on-demand mobility services.

Unsurprisingly, the most active markets for ride-hail startups and investment in Africa align with the continent’s top spots for VC and tech activity: primarily Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.

Source

Google Cloud’s run rate is now over $8B



It’s been a while since Google last shared any fundamental financial data about its cloud business. In today’s earnings call, though, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who recently installed former Oracle exec Thomas Kurian as the new head of Google Cloud, announced that this business unit now has an $8 billion annual revenue run rate. That’s up from the $4 billion the company reported in early 2018.

While Google often felt like an also-ran in the cloud wars, it’s clearly starting to make up some ground. “Other cloud providers would have you believe that no one is using Google, which is not true,” Kurian told me when I talked to him earlier this year. Now he can put some numbers behind this claim.

To put that into perspective, AWSs run rate topped $30 billion last quarter while Microsoft Azure is somewhere around $11 billion, though concrete numbers are hard to come by.

“Q2 was another strong quarter for Google Cloud, which reached an annual revenue run rate of over $8 billion and continues to grow at a significant pace,” Pichai said. “Customers are choosing Google Cloud for a variety of reasons: reliability and uptime are critical. Retailers like Lowes are leveraging the cloud as one of the important tools to transform their customer experience and supply chain.”

Pichai also noted that customers want the flexibility to move to the cloud in their own way, something that some of Google’s competitors — and especially Microsoft — focused on before Google got to this point. With Anthos and other initiatives, the company is now catching up, though.

Unsurprisingly, Pichai also stressed Google’s role in pushing AI forward at a time when enterprises are starting to look at how they can make use of this technology.

Source

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