Zuckerberg’s Fortune Falls $4.9 Billion on Data Exploitation

Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune dropped $4.9 billion Monday as investors weighed reports that a political advertising firm retained information on millions of Facebook Inc. users without their consent.

Facebook said Friday that Cambridge Analytica, the advertising-data firm that helped Donald Trump win the U.S. presidency, received user data through an app developer on its social network, violating its policies. The company harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without permission, the New York Times reported.

It was a punishing day for other tech billionaires. Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos lost $2.1 billion and the fortunes of Alphabet Inc. founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin each declined $1.5 billion.

Facebook shares fell 6.8 percent to $172.56, cutting Zuckerberg’s fortune to $70.4 billion and dropping him one place to fifth on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He’s behindBezosBill GatesWarren Buffett and Amancio Ortega.

Self-Driving Uber car knocks down pedestrian in Arizona

TEMPE, Ariz. – Tempe, Arizona police are investigating a deadly crash involving a self-driving Uber vehicle early Monday morning. The Uber vehicle was reportedly headed northbound when a woman walking outside of the crosswalk was struck.

The woman, identified as 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, was taken to the hospital where she died from her injuries.
Tempe Police says the vehicle was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash and a vehicle operator was also behind the wheel. No passengers were in the vehicle at the time.
An Uber spokesperson said they are aware of the incident and are cooperating with authorities.
They released the following statement: “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident.”
Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi also acknowledged the incident on Twitter:

Uber has paused self-driving operations in Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto, which is a standard move, the company says.

The investigation is still active.

Uber began testing self-driving cars in Tempe in February 2017. The fleet of self-driving Volvos arrived in Arizona after they were banned from California roads over safety concerns. Gov. Doug Ducey touted Arizona as a testing ground, saying at the time in a written statement, “Arizona welcomes Uber self-driving cars with open arms and wide open roads.”

One of the self-driving cars was involved in a crash a month later, after a car failed to yield to the Uber vehicle and hit it, authorities said. The self-driving SUV rolled onto its side as a result crash.

There were no serious injuries were reported in that crash.

Tech hath no fury like a multi-billion dollar social media giant scorned.

In the latest turn of the developing scandal around how Facebook’s  user data wound up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica — for use in the in development in psychographic profiles that may or may not have played a part in the election victory of Donald Trump — the company has taken the unusual step of suspending the account of the whistleblower who helped expose the issues.

Suspended by @facebook. For blowing the whistle. On something they have known privately for 2 years.

In a fantastic profile in The Guardian, Wylie revealed himself to be the architect of the technology that Cambridge Analytica used to develop targeted advertising strategies that arguably helped sway the U.S. presidential election.

A self-described gay, Canadian vegan, Wylie eventually became — as he told The Guardian — the developer of “Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare mindfuck tool.”

The goal, as The Guardian reported, was to combine social media’s reach with big data analytical tools to create psychographic profiles that could then be manipulated in what Bannon and Cambridge Analytica  investor Robert Mercer allegedly referred to as a military-style psychological operations campaign — targeting U.S. voters.

In a series of Tweets late Saturday, Wylie’s former employer, Cambridge Analytica, took issue with Wylie’s characterization of events (and much of the reporting around the stories from The Times and The Guardian). 

Meanwhile, Cadwalldr noted on Twitter earlier today she’d received a phone call from the aggrieved whistleblower.

Plaintive phone call from Chris: he’s also banned from WhatsApp.
And – outraged voice! – Instagram.
“But how am I going to curate my online identity?” he says.
The Millennials’ first great whistleblower? And @facebook hitting him where it hurts https://twitter.com/chrisinsilico/status/975335430043389952 

Not cool, Facebook. Not cool at all.

Source: TechCrunch

IBM releases data science and machine learning platform Cloud Private for Data

IBM is embracing artificial intelligence with the launch of IBM Cloud Private for Data. The platform consists of integrated data science, data engineering and app building services. According to IBM, it is designed to help organizations accelerate their AI journeys and increase productivity.


“Whether they are aware of it or not, every company is on a journey to AI as the ultimate driver of business transformation,” said Rob Thomas, general manager of IBM Analytics. “But for them to get there, they need to put in place an information architecture for collecting, managing and analyzing their data. With today’s announcements, we are planning to bring the AI destination closer and give access to powerful machine learning and data science technologies that can turn data into game-changing insight.”

The platform is powered by an in-memory database that is capable of ingesting and analyzing one million events per second, according to their internal testing. In addition, it is deployed on Kubernetes, allowing for a fully integrated development and data science environment, IBM explained. The company hopes it will provide organizations with access to data insights that were previously unobtainable, and allow users to exploit event-driven applications to gather and analyze data from IoT sensors, online commerce, mobile devices, and more.

READ ASLO: IBM releases WebSphere Liberty code to open source


Cloud Private for Data includes capabilities from IBM’s Data Science Experience, Information Analyzer, Information Governance Catalogue, Data Stage, Db2, and Db2 Warehouse. These capabilities will allow customers to gain insights from data stored in protected environments and make data-driven decisions. According to the company, the solution is meant to provide a data infrastructure layer for AI behind firewalls.

Going forward, IBM plans to have Cloud Private for Data run on all cloud and be available in industry-specific solutions for areas such as financial services, healthcare, and manufacturing.

As part of the launch, the company also announced the Data Science Elite Team, a no-charge consultancy team that will advise clients on machine learning adoption and assist them with their AI roadmaps.

Google open sources spatial audio SDK for realistic VR and AR experiences

Google is looking to improve virtual reality experiences with new experiments and SDKs. The company announced that it is open sourcing Resonance Audio, its spatial audio SDK released last year. Google is also providing new insights into its experiments with light fields, which are a set of algorithms for advanced capture, stitching, and rendering.

“To accelerate adoption of immersive audio technology and strengthen the developer community around it, we’re opening Resonance Audio to a community-driven development model. By creating an open source spatial audio project optimized for mobile and desktop computing, any platform or software development tool provider can easily integrate with Resonance Audio. More cross-platform and tooling support means more distribution opportunities for content creators, without the worry of investing in costly porting projects,” Eric Mauskopf, project manager for Google wrote in a post.

According to the company, spatial audio is necessary to providing a sense of presence within virtual reality and augmented reality worlds.

The open source project will include a reference implementation of YouTube’s Ambisonic-based spatial audio decoder, which is compatible with the Ambisonic format used across the industry. It will also feature encoding, sound field manipulation and decoding techniques, and head related transfer functions to achieve rich spatial audio. Additionally, Google will open its library of optimized DSP classes and functions.

In addition, it is being open sourced as a standalone library and associated engine plugins, VST plugin tutorial and examples.

Since its November launch, Google says Resonance Audio has been used in many applications such as Pixar’s Coco VR for Gear VR and Disney’s Star Wars Jedi Challenges app for Android and iOS.

Other ways Google has been trying to create a sense of presence in VR is through experiments with Light Fields. According to the company, light fields create a sense of presence by creating motion parallax and realistic textures and lighting.

“With light fields, nearby objects seem near to you—as you move your head, they appear to shift a lot. Far-away objects shift less and light reflects off objects differently, so you get a strong cue that you’re in a 3D space. And when viewed through a VR headset that supports positional tracking, light fields can enable some truly amazing VR experiences based on footage captured in the real world,” the team wrote in a post.

As part of its experiment, Google is releasing an app on Steam VR called “Welcome to Light Fields” to show the potential of this technology.


Microsoft releases its Azure Service Fabric to open source

Microsoft’s Service Fabric Team announced the open-source release of Azure Service Fabric under the MIT license yesterday. The team behind the distributed systems platform, designed to easily package, deploy and manage scalable and reliable microservices and containers, will be transitioning to a completely open development process on GitHub over the coming months.

While the Service Fabric repo available on the project’s GitHub contains build and test tools for Linux, allowing users to clone and build Service Fabric on Linux systems, run basic tests, open issues and submit pull requests, the team says it is “working hard” on migrating the Windows build environment to GitHub with a complete continuous integration environment.

“We’ve been developing Service Fabric internally for Windows for close to a decade, and most of that time it was a Microsoft-internal platform, which means we have close to a decade’s worth of internal Microsoft tools to migrate and processes to refine before we can put something usable out on GitHub,” the team wrote in a development blog. “When we started working on Linux support a couple years ago, we were a public product and already planning to go open source, so we made sure to use common, publicly available tools as much as possible.”

Microsoft releases Azure Bot Service and Cognitive Services Language Understanding


The team began the transition in March of last year with the open-sourcing of elements of Service Fabric, including Reliable Services, Reliable Actors and the ASP.NET Core integration libraries, and have been moving other “small parts” of Service Fabric to GitHub, such as Explorer and the CLI over the course of the past year.

“We’ve heard from many of you about the importance of being able to participate in the development and direction of the platform that you depend on to run your mission-critical applications,” the team wrote. “We stay active on GitHub and Stack Overflow for that reason, and open sourcing the platform is the natural evolution to make that collaboration even better. That’s why we’re committed to making Service Fabric a successful open source project by moving our entire development and planning process onto GitHub, where we can openly collaborate with the community to make Service Fabric better for everyone.”


CloudBees invests in Kubernetes technology for enterprise DevOps

CloudBees has announced it is investing in Kubernetes technology across all areas of its business. The company is providing full support for Kubernetes in CloudBees Jenkins Enterprise, has acquired key Kubernetes talent, and has joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

“Kubernetes is all about simplifying how software is built, deployed and managed. Companies also want to deploy in a cloud-agnostic way, and with every major cloud platform now supporting Kubernetes, you can pick up and run on any cloud provider you choose,” said James Strachan, senior architect at CloudBees. “The goal is to improve the developer experience and build software faster, more flexibly and more securely.”

As part of the company’s investment, it is welcoming a team of experienced Kubernetes talent and will work to develop a next-generation continuous delivery platform that will enable DevOps teams to deliver Kubernetes-native applications.

By integrating Kubernetes in CloudBees Jenkins Enterprise, organizations can now leverage investments in all environments for running DevOps workloads. This allows any developer to adopt Kubernetes and realize its benefits, according to CloudBees.

CloudBees also joined the CNCF, which is a home for collaboration on technologies such as Kubernetes.

“As enterprises evolve applications and IT environments to the cloud, CloudBees will be there to embrace them with a cloud native continuous delivery platform, built on Kubernetes,” said Sacha Labourey, CEO and co-founder of CloudBees. “We are fully committed to Kubernetes on multiple levels: engineering, product, strategic partnerships. Kubernetes permeates our company DNA. Our flagship CloudBees Jenkins Enterprise will now allow enterprises to evolve their software development and delivery seamlessly across on-premise infrastructure, private and public clouds. As the industry embraces Kubernetes, CloudBees is the only continuous delivery solution that works across all computing environments.”

All you need to know about MWC 2018

We’ve seen another announcement-packed Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona this week, with new phones launched by Samsung, Sony, LG, Nokia, Asus, and others. So what can this glut of new devices tell us about where smartphones are heading in 2018, and what we’ll see for the rest of the year?

Despite all the phones unveiled in Spain, there are plenty more to come: We’ll very likely see new flagships from Google, Apple, LG, OnePlus, Huawei, and HTC over the next 10 months, and Samsung will be back with a successor to the Galaxy Note 8. The year is just getting started.

Modern-day phone processors come with AI optimizations built inBezels are disappearing even on budget phonesMost of Nokia's new phones run stock AndroidSamsung is keeping faith with the fingerprint sensor

AI is everywhere

It’s no surprise that one of the biggest trends of 2017 rolls right into 2018 – phone makers now want to pack as much artificial intelligence into their handsets as possible, even if they have to stretch the definition of the term “AI” to do it.

The latest chips from Qualcomm, Samsung, and Huawei, among others, are built with AI computation in mind, specifically optimized to better handle the machine learning that powers a lot of the artificial intelligence processing required on modern devices.

Modern-day phone processors come with AI optimizations built in

AI can seem like quite an abstract concept, but the end result is phones that are better able to think for themselves and learn over time, without offloading the intense calculations that are required off to the cloud – being able to recognize what you’re taking a photo of, and adjusting the camera settings accordingly, is a good example of an AI-enabled feature.

Digital assistants are another example, now better than ever at recognizing your voice and interpreting your commands without having to check back with base first. More of that computing can be done on-board the phones of 2018.

e’ve also seen some impressive augmented reality demos at MWC – another 2017 trend spilling over into 2018 – and you can expect AR to be key in the new handsets we’re going to be seeing from Google and Apple later in the year. Animated, life-like emojis seem to be the order of the day, but AR has plenty of potential beyond cartoon characters.

Meanwhile, older technologies refuse to die off, despite Apple’s best efforts. Samsung’s new flagship phones include both fingerprint sensors and 3.5-mm headphone jacks, so we won’t all be switching to face unlock just yet – the first handset with a fingerprint sensor under its display has already appeared, and if the tech becomes more widely adopted, it could once again become the default way of getting into your phone.

Mobile World Congress always sets down a marker for what we can expect from the phones of the rest of the year, and 2018 has been no different – we’re looking forward to what appears next.

iTunes Store will no longer be supported on Windows XP and Vista from 25th May

It was just a year ago when Microsoft announced the end of extended support for Windows Vista following Windows XP 4 years ago!

Today, Apple announced several security changes to the iTunes Store. Windows PCs running Windows XP and Windows Vista will no longer be able to use the iTunes Store. However, if you already have iTunes installed, you can continue using it without Apple’s support. But there’s a catch. You won’t be able to make new purchases or redownload previous purchases on that PC.

As of 25th May, you’ll require Windows 7 or later with the latest version of iTunes to make purchases from the iTunes Store and redownload previous purchases. The latest version of iTunes Store can be downloaded from Apple’s website.

This might be something to do with the announcement of iTunes for the Microsoft Store. Last year at Build, Microsoft announced that iTunes will be coming to the Microsoft Store by the end of 2017. But that never happened. However, the release might just be around the corner.

We have recently spotted an interesting clue about the Microsoft Store app in the new iTunes update. iTunes version 12.7.3 introduces a new library named “iTunesUWP.dll”. This mysterious file could be a software component that integrates with UWP. How well does Apple take advantages of Microsoft ecosystem? That’s yet to see. But there are possibilities where Apple could include a subscription-based billing for Apple Music, among many other things.

Once iTunes makes it to the Microsoft Store, Windows 10 S (or S-Mode) users will also be able to install the app. This would eventually benefit the enterprise as well as Microsoft’s new strategy to compete with Chrome OS.

This new component hints that the release might just be around the corner, but there might be further delays as neither Microsoft nor Apple has announced anything about the release yet.

Microsoft is working on the next version of Windows codenamed Redstone 4, arriving in April as Windows 10 Spring Creators Update.

We’ve known for a while that Windows 10 Redstone 4 update will kill off some settings in the Control Panel and move them to the Settings app. Starting with Windows 10 Redstone 4 release, Fonts section will be moved to Settings app from the classic Control Panel.

While the Store was originally the home of apps and games just like Google Play Store, the software giant recently published the fonts in the Microsoft Store for Windows 10 devices as part of its effort to make the store a marketplace for apps, games, hardware and font. It looks like Microsoft is preparing to make another important step in this regard.

Today, we have discovered that Microsoft is planning to sell premium fonts in the Windows 10 Store. Buxton Sketch, a new font, for $1.99 is now available from the Microsoft Store.

The company describes Buxton Sketch as a casual print style handwriting font, this font supports Latin, Cyrillic and Greek in Windows 10 operating system, along with support for 590 characters designed for Microsoft services.

Buxton Sketch font

Windows 10’s new Settings app comes with all options currently available in Control Panel, for example, it allows you to manage new fonts, uninstall and preview the fonts. Furthermore, the new Font Management can be also used for getting information for each font, like name and version.

In the Microsoft Store, the font is displayed like a regular Windows 10 UWP app, with screenshots, compatible devices list and description. It’s worth noting that the new Windows 10 Font is not available for Windows Phone, apparently because the platform has been discontinued.

The Font is only said to be working with PCs, HoloLens, and Surface Hub. You can learn more about the new paid Buxton Sketch font at the Microsoft Store page.