Friday, April 28, 2017

Cloudera IPO: CLDR opening price on first trading day (CNBC)

Irrational exuberance, "Hadoop ecosystem" edition; CLDR closed at $18.10

"Cloudera shares bounced about 25 percent in their public debut on Friday.

The stock started trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday under the ticker "CLDR." Shares rose to $18 a share as the stock opened around 10.:45 a.m. ET, and last traded around $18.85 by mid-day.

The company priced its IPO at $15 a share, above the expected range of $12 to $14 a share. But it's significantly less than the $30.92 a share that Intel paid for the stock in 2014, according to regulatory documents."
Cloudera IPO: CLDR opening price on first trading day

Apple Halts License Payments to Qualcomm in `All-Out War' - Bloomberg

Partner different

"Apple told Qualcomm it will stop paying licensing revenue to contract manufacturers of the iPhone, the mechanism by which it’s paid the chipmaker since the best-selling smartphone debuted in 2007, the San Diego, California-based company said in a statement. Qualcomm removed any assumption it will get those fees from its forecast for the current period. Apple doesn’t have a direct license with Qualcomm, unlike other phone makers.

“We’ve been trying to reach a licensing agreement with Qualcomm for more than five years but they have refused to negotiate fair terms,” Apple said in a statement. “Without an agreed-upon rate to determine how much is owed, we have suspended payments until the correct amount can be determined by the court.  As we’ve said before, Qualcomm’s demands are unreasonable and they have been charging higher rates based on our innovation, not their own.”"
Apple Halts License Payments to Qualcomm in `All-Out War' - Bloomberg

U.S. software company Cloudera beats expectations in IPO: source | Reuters

A big reality check day ahead for the Hadoop ecosystem

"U.S. software company Cloudera Inc (CLDR.N) raised $225 million in an initial public offering on Thursday, a source familiar with the situation said, giving the company a market valuation of about $1.9 billion, a steep fall from the $4.1 billion it was once valued at in the private market.

Investors including chip company Intel Corp (INTC.O) piled into Cloudera several years ago when a flood of money into private technology companies pushed valuations skyward.

Cloudera said it priced its shares at $15, above its indicated range of $12 to $14, but still a far cry from the $30.92 a share that Intel paid in 2014.

Cloudera will begin trading tomorrow [Friday] on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "CLDR.""
U.S. software company Cloudera beats expectations in IPO: source | Reuters

Uber’s ‘fingerprinting’ of iPhones after users delete app has sparked an FTC complaint - The Washington Post

I can't remember the last time I saw a positive Uber headline... Also see What will it take for Uber to change? (Recode)
"A New York Times report this week revealed that Uber’s app could give iPhones a unique “fingerprint” so that the company could identify devices even if its app was deleted or the phone was erased entirely. The company intended to stymie account fraud in places like China, where some drivers would create multiple accounts to request and accept fake rides, according to the report.

But the practice of tagging iPhones violates Apple’s rules for app makers, and Uber attempted to prevent engineers there from detecting the code by putting Apple’s Cupertino headquarters inside a “geo-fence,” meaning its software would appear differently when viewed in that location. When Apple discovered the deception, Apple chief executive Tim Cook personally told Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to knock it off or Uber’s app would be pulled from its store, the Times reported.

“The fact that they apparently geo-fenced the Apple headquarters so the engineers there couldn’t figure out what was happening exacerbates the situation and implies they knew what they were doing and they were being deceptive about it,” Simpson said."
Uber’s ‘fingerprinting’ of iPhones after users delete app has sparked an FTC complaint - The Washington Post

Cloud Produces Sunny Earnings at Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet - The New York Times

On a related note, from a Charles Fitzgerald tweet: "Q1 Cloud Company CAPEX: Amazon $4.94B; Google $2.51B; Microsoft $2.1B"

"The worry, however, is that this cannot last forever, not with Microsoft and Google making big investments in their own cloud businesses while trying to undercut Amazon with lower prices.

That has not happened — at least not yet. While A.W.S. revenue grew at a slower pace than in the past, it still rose a healthy 43 percent to $3.66 billion. The company’s shares rose 1 percent in after-hours trading.

“There’s always this moment when people think, ‘Is the magic going to run out?’” said James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research. “It just hasn’t panned out.”"
Cloud Produces Sunny Earnings at Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet - The New York Times

Artificial Intelligence: Chess match of the century : Nature : Nature Research

Excerpt from a book review by Demis Hassabis

"In Deep Thinking, Kasparov also delves into the renaissance of machine learning, an AI subdomain focusing on general-purpose algorithms that learn from data. He highlights the radical differences between Deep Blue and AlphaGo, a learning algorithm created by my company DeepMind to play the massively complex game of Go. Last year, AlphaGo defeated Lee Sedol, widely hailed as the greatest player of the past decade. Whereas Deep Blue followed instructions carefully honed by a crack team of engineers and chess professionals, AlphaGo played against itself repeatedly, learning from its mistakes and developing novel strategies. Several of its moves against Lee had never been seen in human games — most notably move 37 in game 2, which upended centuries of traditional Go wisdom by playing on the fifth line early in the game.

Most excitingly, because its learning algorithms can be generalized, AlphaGo holds promise far beyond the game for which it was created. Kasparov relishes this potential, discussing applications from machine translation to automated medical diagnoses. AI will not replace humans, he argues, but will enlighten and enrich us, much as chess engines did 20 years ago. His position is especially notable coming from someone who would have every reason to be bitter about AI's advances."
Artificial Intelligence: Chess match of the century : Nature : Nature Research

Facebook admits: governments exploited us to spread propaganda | Technology | The Guardian

Also see The most important part of Facebook's disinformation strategy is what it leaves out (The Verge)

"In a white paper authored by the company’s security team and published on Thursday, the company detailed well-funded and subtle techniques used by nations and other organizations to spread misleading information and falsehoods for geopolitical goals. These efforts go well beyond “fake news”, the company said, and include content seeding, targeted data collection and fake accounts that are used to amplify one particular view, sow distrust in political institutions and spread confusion.

“We have had to expand our security focus from traditional abusive behavior, such as account hacking, malware, spam and financial scams, to include more subtle and insidious forms of misuse, including attempts to manipulate civic discourse and deceive people,” said the company."
Facebook admits: governments exploited us to spread propaganda | Technology | The Guardian

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Facebook Launches "Moon Shot" Effort to Decode Speech Direct from the Brain - Scientific American

Final paragraphs

"Chevillet’s team hopes to have a good idea of the technology needed to create their new optical prosthetic within two years, although it is unclear when they might build a working prototype. To meet these ambitious goals Building 8 has, over the past six months, recruited at least 60 scientists and engineers from the University of California, San Francisco; U.C. Berkeley; Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory; Johns Hopkins Medicine; and Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis who specialize in machine-learning methods for decoding speech and language, optical neuroimaging systems and advanced neural prosthetics, Dugan says.
Regardless of whether Building 8 succeeds in delivering its BCI prosthetic, Facebook’s investment in the project is a big win for science, says Adam Gazzaley, founder and executive director of U.C. San Francisco’s Neuroscape translational neuroscience center. “We have increasing struggles to squeeze money out of the National Institutes of Health, especially to do high-risk, high-reward projects like what Facebook is describing,” says Gazzaley, who is not involved in the Building 8 research. “It’s a great sign and should be encouraged and applauded if large companies in the consumer space are taking such serious efforts to be innovative in neuroscience.”"
Facebook Launches "Moon Shot" Effort to Decode Speech Direct from the Brain - Scientific American

With new funding & a growing userbase, Quora makes its pitch to advertisers (Marketing Land)

Check the full post for a snapshot of Quora's ad platform

"Quora, the Q&A platform that’s been around since 2009, has quietly grown into a business now valued at nearly $1.8 billion. In the past week, the company announced an injection of $85 million in funding and said monthly active users grew from 100 million to 195 million in the past year. It’s also prepped to put a lot more investment into its fledgling ad business that’s still in beta.

As far as scale and reach go, the major ad-supported platforms — Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn — are significantly bigger than Quora is now. But its slow and steady, under-the-radar approach may be starting to pay off. Quora says it has seen growing advertiser interest despite almost no marketing for the ads beta that launched in April 2016.

People go to Quora to ask questions, or to search questions others have already asked, and get answers from subject-matter experts. Businesses have been engaging organically on Quora for years, answering questions related to their products, services and areas of expertise. The company also has relationships with some 30 publishers to syndicate answers beyond the platform that can give participants more reach. The range of topics addressed on Quora runs the gamut and can deliver very niche, targeted audiences of users in research mode."
With new funding & a growing userbase, Quora makes its pitch to advertisers

Google Classroom outside the classroom (Google Keyword Blog)

PLATO c2017?

"Technology makes learning possible anytime, anywhere. Learners aren’t always sitting in a classroom, and educators aren’t always lecturing at a chalkboard. That’s why last month we made Google Classroom available to users without G Suite for Education accounts. Now, using a personal Google account, teachers and learners in many different settings can teach or attend classes, manage assignments, and instantly collaborate.

Starting today, users can do more than join classes—they can create them, too. Over the past few weeks, teachers and students have been piloting this new feature, and they’ve already created some great new classes for adult education, hobbies, and after school programs. Below we’ll share some of these classes with you."
Google Classroom outside the classroom

How Evil Is Silicon Valley? - WSJ

A related Charles Fitzgerald tweet: "Facebook takes early lead over Google as model for The Circle. Sure lots of PR people tracking this very closely..." Also see Silicon Valley is a creepy place full of megalomaniacs, according to ‘The Circle’, arriving in theaters April 28 (VentureBeat)
"Our creepy times now have their own creepy movie.

I normally review tech products, most of which make our lives better. But “The Circle” film that debuts this week—about a privacy-flouting version of Google, Apple, and Facebook wrapped into one—makes you want to move to the woods. Is surveillance a worthwhile trade-off for any digital service? And is Silicon Valley prepared for the evils its technologies unleash?

In the film, a CEO played by Tom Hanks holds a Steve Jobs-style product launch that fills the globe with tiny constantly broadcasting webcams. His Orwellian mission statement: “If it happens, we’ll know.”"
How Evil Is Silicon Valley? - WSJ

Amazon's new $200 Alexa device will give you advice on your outfits - Recode

Check this Amazon page for more details and Amazon’s camera-equipped Echo Look raises new questions about smart home privacy (TechCrunch) for some important privacy considerations
"On Wednesday, Amazon introduced its latest Alexa-powered device, a gadget with a built-in camera that is being marketed as a way to photograph, organize and get recommendations on outfits. Of course, Amazon will then try to sell you clothing, too.

The new version of the popular Echo — this one is being dubbed the Echo Look — responds to commands like “Alexa, take a photo” or “Alexa, take a video.” It costs $200, or $20 more than the original Echo device, and does all the same things the cheaper one does, with new additions.

People can view the photos Alexa snaps in an accompanying app and track what they’ve worn on which day. Photos and videos can also easily be shared to social networks, which may be attractive to Instagram power users, for examples."
Amazon's new $200 Alexa device will give you advice on your outfits - Recode

Why Instagram Is Becoming Facebook’s Next Facebook - The New York Times

Final paragraphs from an extensive Instagram profile

"“I don’t know much about the history of cars, but let’s say the Model T was the first car,” he said. “So what do you think the first car company other than Ford was thinking? Are we copying Ford, or is this a new mode of transportation that everyone is going to have different takes on?”

This can sound a little too defensive, but it’s not exactly wrong. If you compare how Stories works on Instagram with how it works on Snapchat, they are indeed similar. But the context of the two apps — the fact that Instagram tends to foster larger, more public networks in which people maintain a more polished profile, while Snapchat encourages a smaller, more intimate network — does change the nature of the format. Stories on Instagram feels different from Stories on Snapchat because there are different people on both networks using it for different purposes.

And for me, the Instagram version often offers a superior experience for one obvious reason: I know more people there, and you most likely do, too."
Why Instagram Is Becoming Facebook’s Next Facebook - The New York Times

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Jack Dorsey on Donald Trump – Backchannel

Excerpt from a wide-ranging interview

"Now that he has won, there’s a question of whether Twitter should hold a president accountable to the same standards as other users. At Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg reportedly told employees he was not going to censor a nominee’s—and then a president’s—posts. Did you have to make a decision on that?
I think it’s really important that we maintain open channels to our leaders, whether we like what they’re saying or not, because I don’t know of another way to hold them accountable. Any time we have any leader tweet, including Trump, there’s a very interesting and thriving conversation. A mixture of fact checking, disagreement, agreement, and some random things.
We hold all accounts to the same standards on our policy, and we want to make sure that independent of who you are or where you’re coming from, you understand the guidelines, what our policies are, and what that means. We now have 11 years of a corpus of opinions, statements, emotions, facts, falsehoods—everything you can imagine. It’s all archived in the Library of Congress, as well, in real time. It’s really interesting right now that people are taking the present day and going back to previous statements. So the public nature of the platform, and the fact that tweets stick around, is becoming critical to accountability."
Jack Dorsey on Donald Trump – Backchannel

Twitter reports first ever revenue decline but beats low bar it set for Q1 earnings thanks to user growth | VentureBeat | Social | by Chris O'Brien

Also see Twitter shares spike 10% after it delivers a much-needed earnings beat (TechCrunch) and Twitter’s total revenue shrinks for the first time as ad revenue decline steepens (Marketing Land)

"Struggling Twitter today reported revenues of $548 million in the first quarter of 2017, a drop of 8 percent from the same period a year ago, marking the first such decline for the platform.

Still, that tops the $512.1 million consensus analyst estimate. The company also reported that Monthly Active Users increased 9 million quarter-over-quarter, reaching 328 million. That’s an increase of 6 percent, a slightly better clip than the 4 percent growth the company reported last quarter."
Twitter reports first ever revenue decline but beats low bar it set for Q1 earnings thanks to user growth | VentureBeat | Social | by Chris O'Brien

Windows 10 Mobile Creators Update review: The future is increasingly uncertain | PCWorld

Final paragraphs from a review subtitled "With so few features, for so few phones, one wonders what the point is."

"In other ecosystems, flagship phones like Samsung’s new Galaxy S8+ sail confidently into stores, riding Android’s overwhelming dominance. Only a catastrophe could doom the Galaxy S8’s success. But even if every review praised Windows 10 Mobile to the skies—and they won’t—its odds of success would be long.

It’s possible that Windows Mobile is indeed dead, but that Microsoft plans to replace it with a true “common core” of Windows running across all devices. Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella recently reiterated his vision that Windows isn’t just an OS of a single device, but a “fabric of devices” surrounding you. That sounds revolutionary, but it’s also a phrase he used several years ago, in 2014.

With a market share down in the low single digits, and with a reduced stock of devices to run on, Windows Mobile is the proverbial Schrodinger’s cat: either alive or dead, and no one seems to know for sure. Unfortunately, the anemic Windows 10 Mobile Creators Update doesn’t convince me that Microsoft believes in its future."
Windows 10 Mobile Creators Update review: The future is increasingly uncertain | PCWorld

The inventor of Siri says one day AI will be used to upload and access our memories - Recode

Think different, c2017

"Gruber said he thinks that using artificial intelligence to catalog our experiences and to enhance our memory isn’t just a wild idea — it’s inevitable.

And the whole reason Gruber says it’s possible: Data about the media that we consume and the people we talk to is available because we use the internet and our smartphones to mediate our lives.

Privacy is no small consideration here. “We get to chose what is and is not recalled and retained,” said Gruber. “It’s absolutely essential that this be kept very secure.”

Though the idea of digitally storing our memories certainly raises a host of unsettling possibilities, Gruber says that AI memory enhancement could be a life-changing technology for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia."
The inventor of Siri says one day AI will be used to upload and access our memories - Recode

With Secret Airship, Sergey Brin Also Wants to Fly - Bloomberg

Also see Uber wants to demonstrate its network of flying cars in Dubai and Texas by 2020 (Recode); on a related note, Box CEO Aaron Levie tweeted "That awkward moment when your tech company doesn't have an autonomous aircraft strategy yet."
"Larry Page has his flying cars. Sergey Brin shall have an airship.

Brin, the Google co-founder, has secretly been building a massive airship inside of Hangar 2 at the NASA Ames Research Center, according to four people with knowledge of the project. It's unclear whether the craft, which looks like a zeppelin, is a hobby or something Brin hopes to turn into a business. "Sorry, I don't have anything to say about this topic right now," Brin wrote in an email.

The people familiar with the project said Brin has long been fascinated by airships. His interest in the crafts started when Brin would visit Ames, which is located next to Google parent Alphabet Inc.'s headquarters in Mountain View, California. In the 1930s, Ames was home to the USS Macon, a huge airship built by the U.S. Navy. About three years ago, Brin decided to build one of his own after ogling old photos of the Macon."
With Secret Airship, Sergey Brin Also Wants to Fly - Bloomberg

Virtual Reality Hits the Gym - Bloomberg

For a review of a (currently) less-VR but similarly expensive exercise option, see My Two-Month Ride with Peloton, the Cultish, Internet-Connected Fitness Bike (The Verge)

"The fitness industry has been trying for decades to make exercise less boring -- from TVs embedded in treadmills to apps nudging users to stay on schedule -- but technology has yet to find a cure for the monotony of working out. Scholl is part of nascent community that believes the addictive pull of video games combined with the immersive power of VR will do the trick.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based VirZOOM Inc. transforms bike machines into VR controllers that let gamers fly horses and drive Formula 1 cars. A Helsinki augmented reality startup overlays digital images onto rock-climbing walls, letting climbers play games or battle each other while ascending. More low-key solutions include home workouts built around VR archery, shooting and boxing games which enthusiasts say help people build upper-body strength and lose weight."
Virtual Reality Hits the Gym - Bloomberg

Our latest quality improvements for Search (Google Keyword blog)

Check the full post for an overview of new tactics; also see Google Rewrites Its Powerful Search Rankings to Bury Fake News (Bloomberg)
"Today, in a world where tens of thousands of pages are coming online every minute of every day, there are new ways that people try to game the system. The most high profile of these issues is the phenomenon of “fake news,” where content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information. While this problem is different from issues in the past, our goal remains the same—to provide people with access to relevant information from the most reliable sources available. And while we may not always get it right, we’re making good progress in tackling the problem. But in order to have long-term and impactful changes, more structural changes in Search are needed.

With that longer-term effort in mind, today we’re taking the next step toward continuing to surface more high-quality content from the web. This includes improvements in Search ranking, easier ways for people to provide direct feedback, and greater transparency around how Search works."
Our latest quality improvements for Search

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Microsoft starts integrating Dynamics 365 with LinkedIn | ZDNet

Also see LinkedIn hits 500M member milestone for its social network for the working world (TechCrunch)
"On April 24, Microsoft officials said the company will be ready to integrate Dynamics 365 for Sales with LinkedIn's Sales Navigator as of July 2017. This integration will help users who have both Dynamics 365 Sales and LinkedIn to get contextual recommendations and provide tailored content, as well as provide account and lead updates.  
Microsoft is making a promotional bundle available that includes Dynamics 365 for Sales, Enterprise Edition, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator Team for $135 per user per month.
Microsoft also announced today a new human resource app called Dynamics 365 for Talent. This app will integrate with LinkedIn Recruiter and provide a consolidated HR profile, spanning Office 365, Dynamics 365, and LinkedIn profiles. The coming app will be available starting in July, officials said."
Microsoft starts integrating Dynamics 365 with LinkedIn | ZDNet

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launches Wikitribune, a large-scale attempt to combat fake news » Nieman Journalism Lab

Check the full article and the Wikitribune site for more details
"So what would happen if you combined professional journalism with fact checking by the people? On Monday evening, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launched Wikitribune, an independent site (not affiliated with Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation) “that brings journalists and a community 
of volunteers together” in a combination that Wales hopes will combat fake news online — initially in English, then in other languages.

The site is launching with a crowdfunding campaign to fund the first Wikitribune journalists (the default amount is $10 a month, but users can donate any amount they wish) “with the first issue of Wikitribune following shortly.” The Wikitribune page said that the goal is to hire 10 journalists."
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launches Wikitribune, a large-scale attempt to combat fake news » Nieman Journalism Lab

Can Facebook Fix Its Own Worst Bug? - The New York Times

Excerpt from an extensive Facebook reality check; tangentially, see A scholar asks, ‘Can democracy survive the Internet?’ (Washington Post)
"This is not an especially controversial idea; Zuckerberg is arguing for a kind of digital-era version of the global institution-building that the Western world engaged in after World War II. But because he is a chief executive and not an elected president, there is something frightening about his project. He is positioning Facebook — and, considering that he commands absolute voting control of the company, he is positioning himself — as a critical enabler of the next generation of human society. A minor problem with his mission is that it drips with megalomania, albeit of a particularly sincere sort. With his wife, Priscilla Chan, Zuckerberg has pledged to give away nearly all of his wealth to a variety of charitable causes, including a long-term medical-research project to cure all disease. His desire to take on global social problems through digital connectivity, and specifically through Facebook, feels like part of the same impulse.

Yet Zuckerberg is often blasé about the messiness of the transition between the world we’re in and the one he wants to create through software. Building new “social infrastructure” usually involves tearing older infrastructure down. If you manage the demolition poorly, you might undermine what comes next. In the case of the shattering media landscape, Zuckerberg seems finally to have at least noticed this problem and may yet come up with fixes for it. But in the meantime, Facebook rushes headlong into murky new areas, uncovering new dystopian possibilities at every turn."
Can Facebook Fix Its Own Worst Bug? - The New York Times

Oracle Plans Internal 'Startup' to Outpace Rivals' Innovation - Bloomberg

Because, as Charles Fitzgerald tweeted, "Nothing says cutting edge technology like "Solution". Or putting the "startup inside" the bigco in the sales org..."

"Oracle Corp. is forming a unit it's calling a startup within its U.S. operations to work on new technologies that may include virtual reality and artificial intelligence, trying to attract talent and outpace the innovation of rivals.

The company's effort will include new centers in Reston, Virginia, and Denver for "cutting-edge" products, according to job postings on its website. Oracle is seeking to fill at least 50 positions, which were posted earlier this month for the Solution Engineering Centers. The company, founded 40 years ago, said it's a rare opportunity to get in on the "ground floor of building a truly transformational organization" inside its North American operations, according to job postings."
Oracle Plans Internal 'Startup' to Outpace Rivals' Innovation - Bloomberg

Video Games Help Model Brain’s Neurons - The New York Times

Play different

"But while those games are entertainment designed to grab players by their adrenal glands, Dr. Popović’s latest creation asks players to trace lines over fuzzy images with a computer mouse. It has a slow pace with dreamy music that sounds like the ambient soundtrack inside a New Age bookstore.

The point? To advance neuroscience.

Since November, thousands of people have played the game, “Mozak,” which uses common tricks of the medium — points, leveling up and leader boards that publicly rank the performance of players — to crowdsource the creation of three-dimensional models of neurons."
Video Games Help Model Brain’s Neurons - The New York Times

Service Faces Backlash Over a Widespread Practice: Selling User Data - The New York Times

Disconcerting data dealings

"What Unroll.me does is far from an anomaly — it is part of an expansive and largely unregulated world of selling personal data collected by online consumer services. As long as a service like Unroll.me has a privacy policy, adheres to it and does not sell personally identifiable information, like someone’s name, it is fairly free to package and sell the data it collects.

Yet privacy advocates said the modern technology of data analytics allowed such fine-grained measurement of a person’s online behavior that the concept of personally identifiable information was all but obsolete.

“Many of the services or apps we use for ‘free’ are monetizing data about us,” said Lee Tien, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization focused on digital rights."
Service Faces Backlash Over a Widespread Practice: Selling User Data - The New York Times

Marissa Mayer Will Make $186 Million on Yahoo’s Sale to Verizon - The New York Times

It would be interesting to see how many investment losses and write-downs Yahoo has taken over the last five years; e.g., see How Yahoo derailed Tumblr (Mashable)

"The filing also disclosed that Yahoo invested in Snap, one of Silicon Valley’s hottest companies, buying 2.3 million shares in a March 2015 fund-raising round that priced the shares at $10.86. After a stock split that doubled the number of shares Yahoo owned, Snap went public in March. Snap shares are now trading at $21.20, valuing Yahoo’s stake at $98 million.

Yahoo also owns stakes in Hortonworks, an enterprise software company; Paperless, a digital event invitation service; and SeatGeek, a ticket reselling service. The company valued Excalibur, its portfolio of patents that are up for sale, at $740 million."
Marissa Mayer Will Make $186 Million on Yahoo’s Sale to Verizon - The New York Times

Monday, April 24, 2017

Amazon blazes a trail to the next frontier in AI: the cloud - SiliconANGLE

From an interview with Swami Sivasubramanian, vice president of Amazon AI at Amazon Web Services

"Q: Broadly speaking, what are you trying to accomplish here?

A: Our goal is to basically democratize artificial intelligence, to make AI accessible to every developer. To a large extent, even today to build artificial intelligence, it requires in many cases a Ph.D. in machine learning to do a really good job.

We want to enable building new kinds of intelligent applications that can actually do things that humans have been able to do, like being able to see or hear or speak or understand. And we enable businesses and enterprises to make intelligent decisions on top of the data that they have stored in AWS."
Amazon blazes a trail to the next frontier in AI: the cloud - SiliconANGLE

Google Cloud Boss Diane Greene Wants To Be Ahead Of Amazon By 2022 (Forbes)

Earlier in the post: ""I think we have a pretty good shot at being #1 in five years""
"Asked for some examples of where Google was pushing its offerings in artificial intelligence and machine learning, Greene invoked several of the company's acquisitions: DeepMind, acquired in January 2014, and Kaggle, acquired just last month in March 2017. The data science competitions hosted on Kaggle are hoped to give Google an edge, according to Greene, while DeepMind has advanced Google's capabilities in using neural networks to answer questions too abstract or complex for a simple query or regression analysis.

For examples of some of Google's latest work with customers in artificial intelligence, Greene noted projects in insurance, satellite imagery and malware detection. With insurance, the Google executive pointed to AXA, a customer that has been using Google's TensorFlow tools to better predict "large-loss" major traffic accidents. With satellite imaging, she pointed to one of the company's high profile customer wins from October 2016, Airbus, which is using the tools to automatically spot and correct flaws in the images. And in malware detection, she name-dropped SparkCognition, named an AI partner to the company in March 2017 and which offers such detection for Android."
Google Cloud Boss Diane Greene Wants To Be Ahead Of Amazon By 2022

Yahoo's Failure Is a Scary Hint at What's to Come - The Atlantic

From a timely digital advertising reality check

"Print newspapers will continue to fold, but Yahoo’s demise is a signal that web-native companies are next. If you run a business that relies on digital-advertising revenue for an outsized portion of your funding, you need to find new streams of revenue. Now. It may already be too late.

Unless you’re Facebook or Google, that is. Facebook and Google are practically drowning in ad revenue—together they command a huge portion of global digital-ad dollars—and that’s the root of the problem for every other business trying to clamor for a piece of it. The precise estimates vary. One often-repeated stat, based on last year’s financials, is that Facebook and Google account for 85-percent of every new dollar spent on digital advertising."
Yahoo's Failure Is a Scary Hint at What's to Come - The Atlantic

Tensor Processing Unit – Perspectives

Excerpt from a James Hamilton review

"I just read about another excellent example higher-level application acceleration. In fact this best example I’ve seen publicly disclosed so far. The paper “In-Datacenter Performance Analysis of a Tensor Processor Unit” will be presented at the upcoming 44th International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA) to be held in Toronto Canada June 26, 2017.
In my opinion, this is excellent work, a well-written paper, and a balanced analysis of what they produced and started to deploy back in 2015. It’s the normal practice in our industry to only show that which has already been replaced or is about to be replaced but that’s just the reality of commercial innovation and I do the same thing myself.
What I found most striking is the elegant simplicity of what has been done. It wins over general purpose Intel processors and Nvidia GPGPUs of the same generation by the greater than 10x we would expect and yet, they have kept the part simple and shown good taste in what to include and what not to. The paper uses power/performance as a proxy for the price/performance they know they should be using but since this is commercial innovation, pricing needs to remains confidential."
Tensor Processing Unit – Perspectives

The Electric Car Revolution Tesla Began Faces Its Biggest Test - Bloomberg

Also see Musk Nearing $1.4 Billion Windfall as Tesla Achieves Milestones (Bloomberg)

"When the U.S. incentives begin to expire next year, don’t expect a Georgia-sized collapse in the market. The period of greatest peril is ending for EVs, and the time of greatest promise is beginning. All the top carmakers are investing billions of dollars to electrify their drivetrains, and the smart ones will compete aggressively on pricing in the short-term in order to establish market share for the long haul. Incentives are important, but they won’t define the market for much longer."
The Electric Car Revolution Tesla Began Faces Its Biggest Test - Bloomberg

No Longer a Dream: Silicon Valley Takes On the Flying Car - The New York Times

Final paragraphs

"“How is this going to work? I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but we can’t even take our cellphones on airplanes today because of fears about battery fires,” said Missy Cummings, the director of the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory at Duke University, who is researching personal air transport for NASA.

And don’t forget that flying cars will not be able to pull to the side of the road in an emergency, said John Leonard, a mechanical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

“Silicon Valley is full of very smart people, but they don’t always get the laws of physics,” he said. “Gravity is a formidable adversary.”"
No Longer a Dream: Silicon Valley Takes On the Flying Car - The New York Times