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Any Tech news » Tech News http://anytechnews.com Wed, 23 Aug 2017 01:43:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.9 DOJ backs down from request for IP addresses that visited Trump protest website http://anytechnews.com/doj-backs-down-from-request-for-ip-addresses-that-visited-trump-protest-website/ http://anytechnews.com/doj-backs-down-from-request-for-ip-addresses-that-visited-trump-protest-website/#comments Tue, 22 Aug 2017 23:53:33 +0000 http://anytechnews.com/doj-backs-down-from-request-for-ip-addresses-that-visited-trump-protest-website/


The Department of Justice has dropped its request for the IP addresses of visitors to an anti-Trump inauguration protest website. The news is a win for DreamHost, which went public with the situation last week, riling privacy advocates who decried the DOJ request for IP addresses that had visited disruptj20.org as dangerously broad.

In its reply to the court, the Justice Department modified its request to leave out information that it claims it didn’t know DreamHost had to begin with, namely the 1.3 million IP addresses in question. The DOJ asked the court to exclude any text and photographs from unpublished blog posts it hosted:

“What the government did not know… was the extent of visitor data maintained by DreamHost that extends beyond the government’s singular focus in this case of investigating the planning, organization, and participation in the January 20, 2017 riot. The government has no interest in records relating to the 1.3 million IP addresses that are mentioned in DreamHosts’s numerous press releases and Opposition brief. The government’s investigation is focused on the violence discussed in the Affidavit.”

The letter states that the government intended to exclude and seal evidence beyond the scope of its warrant and that DreamHost refused to engage in a dialogue around the issue after claiming that the warrant was “improper.” The Justice Department maintains that the warrant is lawful. “Contrary to DreamHost’s claims, the Warrant was not intended to be used, and will not be used, to “identify the political dissidents of the current administration,” the letter to the court asserts.

For its part, DreamHost will continue on as planned. In a blog post titled “Narrowing the Scope,” DreamHost cheered its privacy win while preparing to argue “the remaining First and Fourth Amendment issues raised by this warrant” in its court date set for this week.

Featured Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images



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Blue Apron hit with class action lawsuit from shareholders http://anytechnews.com/blue-apron-hit-with-class-action-lawsuit-from-shareholders/ http://anytechnews.com/blue-apron-hit-with-class-action-lawsuit-from-shareholders/#comments Mon, 21 Aug 2017 23:52:39 +0000 http://anytechnews.com/blue-apron-hit-with-class-action-lawsuit-from-shareholders/


Blue Apron just can’t catch a break. The cooking kit company has seen its share price nearly cut in half since its late June IPO and now it could be in legal trouble, too.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of shareholders by law firm, Bragar Eagel & Squire. They are alleging that Blue Apron failed to adequately disclose material information.

The information in question relates to Blue Apron’s challenges with customer retention, delayed orders and reduced ad spend. Here’s how it’s summarized in the release about the suit: “1) Blue Apron had decided to significantly reduce spending on advertising in Q2 2017, hurting sales and profit margins in future quarters; (2) Blue Apron was experiencing difficulty with customer retention due to orders not arriving on time or with all expected ingredients; and (3) the Company was experiencing delayed orders in Q2 2017 related to its new factory in Linden, New Jersey.”

Apart from the outlined issues that have put pressure on Blue Apron’s stock, a lot of the blame for the depressed share price has been placed on Amazon, which agreed to purchase Whole Foods just weeks before Blue Apron’s debut. Following the announced deal, there were many media reports about the threat of Amazon potentially getting into Blue Apron’s cooking kit delivery business. IPO investors were at least made aware of this particular concern ahead of time.

It’s not uncommon for struggling companies to face shareholder lawsuits. In fact, there’s a name for them: stock-drop challenges. Facebook also faced legal challenges following its unsuccessful 2012 IPO. (Since then, the stock has gone up tremendously). More recently, a shareholder sued Snap for allegedly misrepresenting how many people use its Snapchat app. The lawsuit, filed in L.A., blames these alleged misrepresentations for a drop in Snap’s shares, with the plaintiff seeking unspecified damages and a class-action designation.

As soon as the stock goes down like that, the lawyers come out,” said Kathleen Smith, a principal at Renaissance Capital who manages IPO ETFs.

Smith calls the issue a “distraction,” but notes that these lawsuits usually get settled. Among the reasons: in order to win, a plaintiff’s lawyers have to prove that the company made false statements, and that those false statements were material and that the plaintiff relied on them, which isn’t easy to do.

Blue Apron, of course, can’t address this issue publicly yet. “We don’t comment on pending litigation,” said a company spokesperson.

Featured Image: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images



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Yesterday’s “plastics” are today’s crypto tokens http://anytechnews.com/yesterdays-plastics-are-todays-crypto-tokens/ http://anytechnews.com/yesterdays-plastics-are-todays-crypto-tokens/#comments Sun, 20 Aug 2017 23:51:37 +0000 http://anytechnews.com/yesterdays-plastics-are-todays-crypto-tokens/


If the Braddocks were throwing a pool party today, their son Ben wouldn’t be contemplating a career in plastics; he’d know the future is in crypto tokens.

 

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.

Ben: Yes, sir.

Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?

Ben: Yes, I am.

Mr. McGuire: Plastics.

Ben: Exactly how do you mean?

Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?

Ben: Yes I will.

Mr. McGuire: Enough said. That’s a deal.

Fifty years or so ago, plastics were on the road to becoming as ubiquitous as cryptocurrency will be 20 years from now.

The financial goals we have today are nearly identical to those a half century ago: a well-paying job, safe and successful investments, college for our kids, a comfortable standard of living and enough resources to see us through retirement.

However, we’re not doing a very good job of it. Nearly 7 in 10 Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.

The way we attain these assets, and the numbers of us who are able to attain them, however, will look very different in the future, thanks to tokenization.

Our ability to profit from our investments relies on two things: having the resources needed to purchase the asset and then having a way to sell it — a concept known as liquidity.

Tokenizing real-world assets will allow buyers to access assets never before within their reach, and sellers to move assets that were previously difficult to unload. The secret lies in the possibility of fractionalization.

From real estate to gold bullion, diamond mines to carbon offsets, the smallest investors to the largest corporations will be able to procure fractions of tokenized assets. Investors could buy a portion of a shopping mall or invention patent, trade the token for a different investment, or sell their share.

Imagine unlocking cash from the equity in your home without having to borrow or pay interest. Tokenize your home and sell fractions to the public. Buy the tokens back, or pay the investors their value at the time the property is sold.

Tokenization will change how we think about — and extract liquidity from — our everyday, under-utilized assets too.

In the future, you’ll be able to tokenize the value of unused bedrooms and backyards in your home. You’ll be able to tokenize use of your vehicle for Uber driving while you’re away on travel. You’ll even be able to tokenize access to your phone so marketers have to pay you tokens in order to gain access to your attention. Yes, this will happen.

As the sharing and access economies take off, the need for tokenization will only increase as transactions get smaller, the blockchain expands to more people (less than 0.3% of the world’s population own crypto tokens today), and our concept of assets stretches further to the edges — through tokens.

The concept of tokens is nothing new. Remember the arcade game called Skee-ball? You’d roll a ball into one of a number of holes, each worth a certain number of points. At the end of the game, you were awarded tickets, which could be turned in for a prize. The more tickets you collected, the better the prize. Casino patrons bet with chips, which they trade for cash if they have any left at the end of the night.

Simply put, a token is a surrogate equivalent to something of value, like a poker chip or a dollar bill.

In the world of cryptocurrency, a token is a digital representation of an asset along with the rules for how that token can be used. The tokens are expressed using public and private keys — or long string of numbers and letters representing addresses (an example Bitcoin public key looks like this: 1PCwyKvjRMMBR7vkX86LtkdnGon1kzeQVr). When someone sends you crypto tokens over a public blockchain, they are actually sending you an encrypted version of their public key. To receive their tokens, your private key unlocks and reads their public key which includes the data of how many tokens they sent to your wallet

The rule is to never share your private key with outsiders. Also, to store it in a secure online wallet in a place like Coinbase or other secure online cryptocurrency platform. If someone else owns your private key, they can potentially take ownership, or steal, your crypto tokens. Some holders of crypto tokens store their private keys behind a vault or a safe written out on paper, engraved into metal coins, or stored on hard drives — a concept called cold storage.

Finally, for a new crypto token to be created, they are secured, validated, mined, and/or minted on top of public blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum using highly complex algorithms. Proof of Stake is the major consensus algorithm being used today and its miners are consuming the same amount of electricity as a small country. To get an idea of how large these mining operations are, see this.

Here’s an example cryptocurrency technology stack. Between the token layer and the app layer, there could be a protocol-powered wallet API allowing cryptocurrency to natively be distributed inside of apps

Originally, crypto tokens were created for Bitcoin, a Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. Bitcoin has the ability to record every transaction on all users’ records simultaneously because its database isn’t stored in a single location. Instead, the database is stored on the computers of the miners who are validating the transactions that make up the Bitcoin blockchain. This concept is called decentralization.

Bitcoin’s transaction records are 100 percent public, easy to verify, and nearly impossible to — once validated by the Bitcoin Proof of Work consensus algorithm — attack or corrupt. This concept is called Byzantine Fault Tolerant.

As developers create new decentralized blockchain protocols, the options for tokenizing assets become limitless, as does the opportunity to decentralize wealth itself.

It’s why I think Bitcoin’s decentralized consensus Proof of Work algorithm is the most important invention of the 21st century to-date.

Leading thinkers like Naval Ravikant of Angellist think similarly:

Tokens will make it possible for people of all economic levels to buy into investments that so far have been out of their reach. Selling their interests in these investments will be as easy as making a couple of keystrokes.

Tokens will drastically expand and remix our definition of asset investing, today and in years to come.

That’s not to say all this tokenization and buying and selling will magically start happening. Challenges including integrating with established banking systems; government regulation; and public trust and confidence issues do exist.

Mr. Braddock was right about plastics. In the 60s it was a “huh” but now it’s almost impossible to find something that doesn’t contain plastic or isn’t wrapped in it.

For graduates looking to find their footing and establish themselves like young Ben Braddock. today’s plastics are crypto tokens.



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Former GE CEO Jeff Immelt close to becoming Uber’s CEO http://anytechnews.com/former-ge-ceo-jeff-immelt-close-to-becoming-ubers-ceo/ http://anytechnews.com/former-ge-ceo-jeff-immelt-close-to-becoming-ubers-ceo/#comments Sat, 19 Aug 2017 23:50:54 +0000 http://anytechnews.com/former-ge-ceo-jeff-immelt-close-to-becoming-ubers-ceo/


The long and dramatic process for naming a new Uber CEO may be coming closer to an end.

First reported by Kara Swisher, our sources are also telling us that former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt is still being seriously considered and the board vote is expected to happen soon. The talks were first reported several weeks ago.

Co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick was asked to resign in June, following the completion of an investigation into the company’s culture. A lawsuit with Waymo and accusations of a sexist company culture are partly what led to his departure.

But Kalanick still remains on the board and has the power to appoint two more board seats, which has become the subject of a lawsuit with early investor, Benchmark Capital. Benchmark wants Kalanick off the board because it believes that he didn’t disclose material information about the legal and ethical problems at the company. In response, Kalanick ally and investor Shervin Pishevar suggested that Benchmark’s Matt Cohler should be taken off the board. Kalanick has weighed in, saying that Benchmark took advantage of him when they persuaded him to step down from Uber, while he was mourning his mother’s recent death. 

The stakes are especially high because Uber’s $68.5 billion valuation is just paper money until there is an exit, likely via IPO or acquisition. Kalanick has reportedly been telling people that he wants to return to the CEO.

Uber investors have mixed feelings about Immelt. One investor who asked to be anonymous felt that Immelt had the right disposition to bring the company back in the right direction. Another expressed concern about Immelt’s lack of industry expertise and seemed to feel that he’s not someone the company would have wanted, had it not been in this difficult situation.

But while Immelt is said to be the frontrunner, this is not a done deal. With all the board drama, it may be hard to finalize things.

Swisher reported that the board vote is expected to happen within two weeks. We’re hearing it might be sooner.

Featured Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images



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This 3D-printed robotic arm is built for sign language http://anytechnews.com/this-3d-printed-robotic-arm-is-built-for-sign-language/ http://anytechnews.com/this-3d-printed-robotic-arm-is-built-for-sign-language/#comments Fri, 18 Aug 2017 23:49:35 +0000 http://anytechnews.com/this-3d-printed-robotic-arm-is-built-for-sign-language/


While we usually see robotics applied to industrial or research applications, there are plenty of ways they could help in everyday life as well: an autonomous guide for blind people, for instance, or a kitchen bot that helps disabled folks cook. Or — and this one is real — a robot arm that can perform rudimentary sign language.

It’s part of a masters thesis from grad students at the University of Antwerp who wanted to address the needs of the deaf and hearing impaired. In classrooms, courts, and at home these people often need interpreters — who aren’t always available.

Their solution is “Antwerp’s Sign Language Actuating Node,” or ASLAN. It’s a robotic hand and forearm that can perform sign language letters and numbers. It was designed from scratch and built from 25 3D-printed parts, with 16 servos controlled by an Arduino board. It’s taught gestures using a special glove, and the team is looking into recognizing them through a webcam as well.

Right now, it’s just the one hand — so obviously two-hand gestures and the cues from facial expressions that enrich sign language aren’t possible yet. But a second coordinating hand and an emotive robotic face are the next two projects the team aims to tackle.

The idea is not to replace interpreters, whose nuance can hardly be replicated, but to make sure that there is always an option for anyone worldwide who requires sign language service. It could also be used to help teach sign language — a robot doesn’t get tired of repeating a gesture for you to learn.