Back up a minute: Private equity outfit coughs $5bn for Veeam

Found on The Register on Thursday, 09 January 2020
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Insight Partners – the same private equity house that pumped half a billion dollars into data protection powerhouse Veeam Software earlier this year – is acquiring the firm for an estimated $5bn.

Veeam has boasted of achieving a $1bn annual run rate – referring to a controversial accounting tool that extrapolates current results into future periods, for example by multiplying a quarter's results by 4 – and has in excess of 350,000 customers worldwide.

Inspect the prices to go up.

Amazon's Biggest Threat Isn't a Huge Competitor but a Collective

Found on The Motley Fool on Wednesday, 08 January 2020
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Rather than one single powerhouse, the threat to Amazon comes in the form of hundreds of smaller e-commerce venues that can each take a tiny, collective stab at online shopping's 800-pound gorilla.

As Loren Padelford, general manager of Shopify Plus, put it: "Consumers are coming back to [retailers] and saying, 'We want to shop directly from the makers.' These acquisition channels and marketplaces aren't all what they were cracked up to be, and they aren't giving you the customer experience and relationships you want."

Finally consumers begin to realize that Amazon is not the silver bullet. It has its own huge share of scandals, from working conditions to being wasteful. Not to mention that Amazon is not really the friend of its sellers. Plus, often you get a better price if you buy directly from the maker.

Facebook to ban 'deepfakes'

Found on BBC News on Tuesday, 07 January 2020
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Facebook said it would remove videos if it realised they had been edited in ways that weren't obvious to an average person, or if they misled a viewer into thinking that a person in a video said words they did not actually say.

"There are people who engage in media manipulation in order to mislead," wrote Monika Bickert, vice president of global policy management at Facebook in the blog.

So Facebook will delete all the videos and images where people used various software tools to make themselves look better in order to mislead viewers into thinking that they are beautiful? That actually sounds good.

Amazon sees Alexa devices more than double in just one year

Found on CNet News on Monday, 06 January 2020
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The e-commerce titan announced Monday that there are now "hundreds of millions of Alexa-enabled devices" in customers' hands worldwide, a massive increase from the 100 million it announced last January.

One issue that may stifle Alexa's popularity is privacy. Amazon and other major voice developers faced mounting criticism last year for failing to let their users know they use human reviewers to listen to a small number of user recordings.

Ring, Amazon's video doorbell company, has also faced criticism for security lapses and its partnerships with local police departments.

Alexa can never be so good that should be considered to buy such a spying device.

Biden Suggests Coal Miners Learn to Code To Be Prepared for 'Jobs of the Future'

Found on Newsweek on Sunday, 05 January 2020
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The former vice president told an audience in Derry, New Hampshire, that coal miners could easily transition into programming jobs. "Anybody who can go down 300 to 3,000 feet in a mine, sure in hell can learn to program as well, but we don't think of it that way," he said.

"My liberal friends were saying, 'You can't expect them to be able to do that,'" Biden told his New Hampshire audience. "Gimme a break! Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program for God's sake."

This statement is so idiotic you're almost at a loss of words. With the same reasoning, they could learn to be doctors too; but would Biden allow one of them to do an operation on him? Probably not. He clearly has no idea what he is talking about and does not even in the slightest grasps the processes behind it. However, he could set an example and learn to program and deliver his amazing software to prove it is really all that simple. Or, more likely, he just fails to understand that data mining is not similar to coal mining.

Oracle copied Amazon’s API—was that copyright infringement?

Found on Ars Technica on Sunday, 05 January 2020
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Oracle has accused Google of infringing copyright law by copying the API of the Java programming language.

Oracle’s argument is that this “reimplementation” of the Java API is on par with writing an unauthorized “Harry Potter” novel and thus an infringement of Oracle’s copyrights in the command names and structures of the Java API.

Among the companies offering a copy of Amazon's S3 API is Oracle itself. In order to be compatible with S3, Oracle’s “Amazon S3 Compatibility API” copies numerous elements of Amazon’s API, down to the x-amz tags.

Leave it to Oracle to whine about abuse while doing the same to others.

Climate change: Last decade UK's 'second hottest in 100 years'

Found on BBC News on Friday, 03 January 2020
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Four new UK records were set last year alone, including the highest winter and summer temperatures ever recorded.

It said 2019 was provisionally the 11th warmest year on record, with a mean temperature of 9.42C, putting it just outside the top 10 - all of which have all occurred since 2002.

A government spokesman said climate change was a "national priority" and it was committed to increasing the momentum around environmental action.

As long as it's jus talk nothing will get better; and the vast majority of people will not change their own lifestyle but rely on others to fix it. So they can still receive daily parcels from online shopping with multiple delivery attempts because they are out, driving a few hundred meters to buy freshly imported oversea foods.

Disney+ Remove Multiple Titles Including Home Alone 1 & 2 In The United States

Found on What's on Disney Plus on Thursday, 02 January 2020
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It’s common for streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix to remove content at the end of the month, however Disney has said on many occasions that titles won’t be rotating on and off. But this doesn’t look to be the case.

Eventually existing streaming deals will expire and Disney+ won’t have this problem, but right now, Disney need to be much more transparent with what is planned to be removed and when.

The entertainment industry lied. Big surprise.

Chinese start-up Mobike loses more than 200,000 bikes

Found on BBC News on Wednesday, 01 January 2020
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In 2018, it pulled out of Manchester after a series of incidents.

In China, thousands of shared bikes have ended up in huge scrapheaps, leading to questions about whether there is demand for them.

Mobike also pulled out of Newcastle and Gateshead, after some bikes were dumped in the River Tyne.

Investors have backed dockless bike companies with hundreds of millions of pounds, but the business model for them has repeatedly been called into question.

Here the theory of easy and healthy transport meets realism. It would not be surprising if this business model even creates more CO2 than having people continue to use their current method of transport.

Unintended Perk of the Online Mattress Boom: Never-Ending Free Trials

Found on Slashdot on Tuesday, 31 December 2019
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"You could literally do this and never pay for a mattress," he realized. Online mattress sales are booming in the U.S.

To entice shoppers who would otherwise prefer to test the firmness of the mattress in the showroom, many of these online upstarts offer free home trials that can run for as long as a year. The customer typically pays for the mattress up front and gets a full refund if the mattress is returned before the cutoff.

This is the same year where everybody talks about protecting the environment, reducing waste and emissions. Then you have leeches like those people who just abuse the system to save money and create piles of trash, torpedoing he efforts of all others.