T-Mobile CFO says spectrum acquisitions worth ‘a few billion dollars’ are coming

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Last year, T-Mobile made news when it dropped $ 8 billion on 600MHz spectrum in an FCC auction. Now one T-Mo executive says that the carrier will likely spend a few billion more for additional spectrum in the near future. Speaking at an investor event this week, T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter said that T-Mo will likely receive a “massive explosion in cash” over the next 7 to 8 years due to the tax reform legislation that … [read full article]

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Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

‘A Normal Lost Phone’ arrives on Nintendo Switch March 1st

A Normal Lost Phone is the kind of indie game that seizes a tricky niche (mobile gaming) and leans into the form factor for a unique experience — a Gone Home or Life Is Strange that takes place entirely within a mock phone interface. The game will l…
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Elon Musk Calls Out LIDAR Tech as “A Crutch” in Autonomous Vehicles

Vision of the Future

Elon Musk recently reiterated his stance that Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology is not a critical component of autonomous driving systems. On Wednesday, the Tesla CEO described it as a “crutch” during an earnings call on February 7, 2018.

LIDAR calculates how far away a given object is by measuring how long it takes for a pulse of infrared laser light to reach a car and bounce back. Some of Tesla’s biggest rivals rely on it — Waymo is currently in a legal battle with Uber, asserting that the ride-hailing service stole its LIDAR designs  — but Musk has been outspoken in his criticism.

Instead of LIDAR, Tesla’s self-driving system is based on cameras. The cost of cameras continues to go down, even as pixel resolution improves. This could mean that Tesla’s automated vehicles would be more cost-effective, making the technology more accessible to a broader socioeconomic user base in years to come.

“Once you solve cameras for vision, autonomy is solved; if you don’t solve vision, it’s not solved,” Musk said during a TED Talk in April 2017, as per a report from Electrek. “You can absolutely be superhuman with just cameras.”

Unfortunately, Tesla’s split with camera supplier Mobileye in 2016 threw something of a wrench into the works. After a fatal accident involving Tesla advanced driver assistance technology, or Autopilot, the supplier dissolved its partnership with Musk’s company.

While Tesla has since developed its own replacement for Mobileye’s computer vision technology — aptly named Autopilot 2.0 — experts say it’s missing key pieces of functionality, like being able to read speed limit signs and recognize different kinds of vehicles. These features were included in the original Autopilot, which likely required Mobileye’s computer vision technology to operate.

There have been doubts as to whether Musk will be able to upgrade Tesla vehicles that are currently on the road with enhanced self-driving capabilities. Thousands of owners have already paid for “Enhanced Autopilot” — which doesn’t quite exist yet — but competitors have called out Musk for overselling what Tesla’s hardware and software can accomplish. Musk is also quick to disparage his company’s rivals in the autonomous vehicle industry, but the Tesla CEO could soon find his company falling out of public favor if it can’t deliver on its promises.

The post Elon Musk Calls Out LIDAR Tech as “A Crutch” in Autonomous Vehicles appeared first on Futurism.

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Major Throwback: When MuscleNerd Interviewed Saurik, And When Jailbreaks For New iOS Updates Took “A Few Days”

Here’s a major throwback when MuscleNerd of iPhone Dev-Team interviewed saurik about Cydia, jailbreaking and more.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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Netflix’s ‘A Series Of Unfortunate Events’ returns March 30th

Fans of Netflix's take on Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, rejoice: The show's second season will be available on March 30th. The streaming service dropped a trailer teasing the next batch of episodes fronted by Neil Patrick Harris' m…
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Google Docs went down for ‘a significant’ number of users for over an hour

Google Docs went down for a little over an hour today for what Google says was a “significant subset of users.” For a product with a user base that reaches into the hundreds of millions at a minimum, that’s certain to mean a huge number of people who experienced a disruption.

Oddly, the outage was limited only to Google Docs — other portions of Drive and G Suite were still working for everyone. And for the people who were still able to access Docs, there didn’t seem to be any problems at all.

Those in the unfortunate affected group were essentially locked out of their documents from shortly before 4PM ET to shortly after 5PM ET. Google’s services remain up nearly all of the time, so even the slightest outage is a surprise. It also…

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Here’s Why Apple Didn’t Get an ‘A’ in Latest Greenpeace Rating

Apple is well-known as one of the most environmentally friendly tech companies in the world. So why did it only get a B- rating from Greenpeace in a recent evaluation?

The environmental advocacy organization published its Guide to Greener Electronics on Monday, a resource that allows consumers some insight into the environmental practices of 17 tech companies. Greenpeace evaluated the firms for various criteria such as energy use and resource consumption. And Apple, for all of its eco-friendly initiatives, was awarded a B- by the NGO.

To be fair, the only company ranked higher than Apple is a little-known — and by comparison, tiny — manufacturer called Fairphone, a “social enterprise” company that specifically develops ethical devices with minimal environmental impact.

Apple was the only firm that was graded a B-, Fairphone got a B. For comparison, Google was awarded a C-, Apple competitor Samsung got a D-, and Amazon got a straight F.

The Good

Greenpeace lauded Apple for its commitment to using renewable energy, its efforts in reducing supply chain carbon emissions, and its transparency about the chemicals and materials that it uses in its products. The organization also commended Cupertino for its plans to shift its supply chain to renewable energy. According to Greenpeace, Apple is the only company to have set such a goal.

Apple also boasts using renewable energy at its own facilities (like its data centers, or its new Apple Park HQ) and is actively working toward a closed-loop supply chain. While the company’s overall grade was a B-, Apple received an A- for its environmental initiatives, a B for chemicals use, and a C for resource use.

The Bad

On that last note, Greenpeace largely attributed the poorer grade to a lack of third-party repairability for its devices and its use of proprietary components. Greenpeace also hit Apple for its efforts to limit access to repair resources and its active lobbying against “right to repair” legislation. A previous Greenpeace campaign targeted Apple, alleging that the company’s hard-to-repair devices shortens device lifespan and leads to more waste.

Despite its B- grade, Greenpeace has been ranked Apple as the most environmentally friendly tech company in the world for three consecutive years.

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CEO: Ethereum Could Challenge Credit Card Companies In “A Couple of Years”

Taking on Financial Institutions

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is optimistic about the future of his blockchain platform, sharing his predictions during a talk with AngelList founder Naval Ravikant at TechCrunch’s Disrupt SF 2017 event on September 18.

Despite the growing popularity of Ethereum and other technologies like it, a large majority of people still don’t know what blockchain is or what it does. However, once the technology does reach the mainstream, Buterin believes it will be able to take business away from major credit card companies. He sees this shift potentially taking place in the next “couple of years.”

Before Ethereum can compete with the likes of Visa and MasterCard, though, the platform will need to speed up. “Bitcoin is processing a bit less than 3 transactions per second,” Buterin explained to Ravikant. “Ethereum is doing five a second. Uber gives 12 rides a second. It will take a couple of years for the blockchain to replace Visa.”

According to Business Insider, the co-founder said he expects to see low-security financial prototypes revealed within the next year, which may signal the beginning of Ethereum’s ability to disrupt mainstream finance. That said, a few more years will be needed before their effectiveness can be proven.

From Finance to Cloud Computing

Buterin’s thoughts on the capabilities of blockchain extend beyond finance and into the world of cloud computing. While he believes Ethereum has a solid chance at changing the financial world, Buterin is less optimistic about its effect on cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Those services are often used by private companies to host proprietary content (think Netflix’s data), and convincing them of the security of Ethereum’s decentralized network could be difficult. “In general, there’s always going to be this large set of applications where decentralized approaches don’t work that well,” Buterin said.

Expect Ethereum to continue to be embraced by other corporations, however. In the last two months alone, a Russian airline used Ethereum to issue tickets, and Microsoft released their own Ethereum-based protocol. The platform may not impact every aspect of society, but it’s certainly checking quite a few off the list.

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.

The post CEO: Ethereum Could Challenge Credit Card Companies In “A Couple of Years” appeared first on Futurism.

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Let’s Have a Heart to Heart: Are Blockchain Tokens Really Nothing More Than “A Scheme?”

Opportunity or Trap?

For seemingly every expert making bold claims that cryptocurrencies are the future of finance and are capable of “freeing humanity from tyranny,” there’s another expert decrying the rise of bitcoin and the like as nothing more than an unstable “bubble” built on hype and bound to pop.

Perhaps the strongest criticism levied at crypto companies, however, is that they’re massive scams — that they don’t deliver anything of material value and are intentionally designed to make money for those at the top by taking advantage of those at the bottom.

Case in point: “In my view, digital currencies are nothing but an unfounded fad (or perhaps even a pyramid scheme), based on a willingness to ascribe value to something that has little or none beyond what people will pay for it,” Howard Marks, Co-Chairman of Oaktree Capital Group.

So, who is right? Is crypto a legitimate new type of finance system or a modern take on snake oil, one peddled by supposed tech revolutionaries instead of seedy profiteers? In order to answer this question, it is important to first understand how token launches (sometimes called “ICOs” or “Initial Coin Offerings”) work in relation to IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) — to understand how crypto startups are funded in comparison to other companies.

Understanding the Terms

When a private company decides it wants to start raising funds from the public, it has what’s known as an initial public offering (IPO). For a certain fee, interested investors can purchase shares in the company. Those shares make these investors, by law, part owners in the company and entitled to dividends if the company makes a profit.

The IPO process is typically facilitated by a team of experts — lawyers, accountants, underwriters, etc. — and it is overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a non-partisan agency of the federal government with two primary objectives:

  • Ensure that the companies raising fund are telling potential investors the truth about their business, including any potential risks to investing
  • Ensure that the people facilitating the process, such as stockbrokers and exchanges, put investors’ interests first and treat them fairly and honestly

To meet these objectives, the SEC will require that a company register before their IPO, submit their financial statements to be audited, and meet a number of other requirements. In theory, the SEC acts as an unbiased third-party in the IPO process, ensuring that everything is aboveboard.

One very important point to note is that basically all brokerage firms require investors to meet some qualifications before they can participate in an IPO. Generally, you have to have a certain amount of money or a set number of transactions, which means that a vast majority of society is not able to participate.

This is the big difference between an IPO and the launch of a new blockchain token — token launches put the power, and the responsibility, in your hands.

Instead of venture funding, many blockchain startups have a token launch or an ICO. It is important to note that many individuals operating in the blockchain space, and other experts, prefer the term “token launch” instead of “ICO.” This is because some blockchain tokens/transactions do not qualify as “investment contracts,” meaning that they are not considered securities, and so the term ICO (given its similarity to IPO) may be confusing.

A Securities Law Framework for Blockchain Tokens” sums the problem with the term ICO, noting that tokens have many different applications and utilities:

There are many different types of blockchain tokens, each with varying characteristics and uses. Some blockchain tokens, like Bitcoin, function as a digital currency. Others can represent a right to tangible assets like gold or real estate. Blockchain tokens can also be used in new protocols and networks to create distributed applications…some tokens, depending on their features, may be subject to U.S. federal or state securities laws.

But, and this is the notable thing, not all tokens will have these features and be subject to security laws. With this in mind, for the purposes of clarity, we will be referring to the launch of a new blockchain token as “token launches.”

As Balaji Srinivasan, board partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, explained in an essay on Medium, the fundraising process that drives some token launches is a bit “like a Kickstarter on steroids.”

To raise funds through a token launch, a company will sell a certain percentage of the total amount of their crypto upfront. Purchasers of these crypto coins are not legally part owners in the company, and they don’t earn dividends if the company prospers. The success of their investment is based on the market value of the coin. In other words, as long as they can sell their cryptocurrency for a value higher than what they paid for it, they can make a profit.

Unlike the IPO process, token launches are unregulated. Companies aren’t required to adhere to a path set forth by the SEC or any other government agency, which means there is no third party ensuring that either side is telling the truth or meeting any certain requirements.

Token launches do tend to follow a certain format, however, and it starts with the company’s founders writing a white paper providing details on their startup. This paper can be any length or format, but it will usually include the company’s strategy and goals, as well as their plans for funding (the amount of money they hope to raise, the per-token cost, the duration of their token launch, etc.). Ideally, these white papers should provide a comprehensive business plan for interested parties.

If the company does not meet their minimum funding goals, the money is returned to the would-be supporters and the token launch is considered unsuccessful.

Risks vs. Rewards

According to one crypto investment expert (who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity), the token launch process can benefit both investors and innovators looking to get their projects off the ground.

“Token launches allow the broadest amount of participation we have seen yet,” they explained. “They’re a pure way to go from a creator of an idea directly to investors without a large number of middlemen. They allow investors to get in at an earlier level than an IPO. They allow anyone anywhere in the word to easily participate with very low minimum investments.”

In this respect, token launches are all about total participation and democratizing power. Instead of just a few wealthy participants, anyone can participate in a token launch or even host their own token launch, allowing individuals in impoverished areas (or who are faced with other economic or social barriers) to participate in the global economy.

“Crypto is complicated, exciting, and the future.”

Unfortunately, token launches also carry with them several inherent risks due to their unregulated nature.

“With token launches, people are able to raise large amounts of money with very little evidence they can deliver,” the expert noted. This is mostly a matter of supply and demand. Crypto has the potential to deliver high returns, so investors are eager to jump into the market. Unfortunately, the supply of crypto projects isn’t yet enough to meet this demand, which leads to investors who are more willing to take greater risks on companies with less evidence they can deliver on their claims.

“Investors are also willing to accept a longer lag between when they give their money to a token launch and when [the company] builds a product — another example of moving further out the risk spectrum,” they continued. “This dynamic lends itself well to a Ponzi scheme, where a company does a token launch, promises a product in six months, builds nothing, and then uses the money raised to market and execute another token launch two months later.”

Investors in OneCoin know the dangers of investing in crypto startups all too well. Founded by Bulgarian national Rjua Ignatova, the company raised more than $ 350 million before Ignatova and nearly two dozen of OneCoin’s promoters were arrested for running a fraudulent business.

This, of course, is important to note: Just because token launches are not regulated does not mean that they are held to no standards and are free to do whatever they like. Those who act with malicious intent can still be held accountable, though this is admittedly a long and painstaking process.

After the arrest, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Tushar Doshi told The Indian Express, “It is clear that this is a Ponzi scheme,” but that fact obviously wasn’t clear to the thousands of investors who put money into the operation. How were they supposed to know where OneCoin landed on legitimate-to-scam spectrum of business models before putting money into it?

The Point: Don’t Invest Blindly

In the end, the expert consensus indicates that, although some cryptocurrencies and token launches are nothing more than schemes, there are a great many projects that are genuine and can (and have) delivered.

Indeed, some major financial institutions are already developing their own cryptocurrencies to ensure that they’re not left behind if the economy does undergo this major transition, and even JP Morgan is looking into ways to incorporate blockchain into their operations.

Furthermore, more than a billion people worldwide don’t have a way to identify themselves, and they can’t open bank accounts and participate in the traditional economy as a result. A cryptocurrency like bitcoin has no such barrier to entry.

With this in mind, according to experts, the best way for investors to ensure they don’t fall victim to the crypto scheme is to do their due diligence. This is the big difference between an IPO and the launch of a new blockchain token — token launches put the power, and the responsibility, in your hands.

So, how do you safeguard yourself?

“Investing in token launches is a really hard business,” the expert asserted. “I’d say the most important things are knowing the team and their business plan. If the team has a history of hopping from one project to the next, they’re probably going to hop on your project. If they can’t explain their business plan in a way that makes sense to you, they probably don’t understand well what they are doing.”

Following this advice could have prevented OneCoin’s many investors from falling victim to the scam, as it raised many red flags online long before arrests were made.

As The Cointelegraph pointed out, Ignatova’s qualification were inconsistent between her resume, personal websites, and OneCoin’s website, and several of the company’s directors had been linked to scam operations in the past. When combined with several other eyebrow-raising factors — the promise of huge returns, constantly moving goal posts, and a refusal to accept payment in crypto — the illegitimacy of the operation seems obvious in hindsight.

Of course, as previously mentioned and as evidenced by cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether, not every crypto will be a scam, and some can deliver remarkable returns. Over the course of eight years, bitcoin has increased in value from eight-hundredths of a cent to more than $ 4,000 per coin. Ether has seen its own value surge over the last year, and Ethereum is now the blockchain technology of choice for some of the world’s biggest tech and finance companies, including Microsoft, JP Morgan, and Intel.

No doubt anyone who bought in when either of those cryptos was in its infancy now thinks the gamble was worth it. As our expert explained, “Crypto is complicated, exciting, and the future,” so as long as investors understand that token launches, by their very nature, are riskier than traditional investments, investing in them can be a potentially rewarding — and highly profitable — experience.


This interview has been slightly edited for clarity and brevity. The term ICO has been changed to “token launch” throughout. 

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.

The post Let’s Have a Heart to Heart: Are Blockchain Tokens Really Nothing More Than “A Scheme?” appeared first on Futurism.

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Squarespace says it’s removing ‘a group of sites’ as internet cracks down on hate speech

Squarespace says it will begin dropping some websites from its service, apparently following in the footsteps of several tech companies that have distanced themselves from organizations that produce racist and white supremacist content.

“In light of recent events, we have made the decision to remove a group of sites from our platform,” a Squarespace spokesperson told The Verge. “We have given the site owners 48 hours’ notice.”

Squarespace refused to clarify which websites it had targeted, as well as when, exactly, it gave them the 48 hours’ notice. But the website-building service provides websites for groups including the National Policy Institute, a far-right “think…

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