Bloglikes - Tech en-US Tue, 28 Jan 2020 12:43:28 +0000 Sat, 06 Apr 2013 00:00:00 +0000 FeedWriter Apple HomePod comes to China at $400 amid iPhone sales woes Apple is finally launching HomePod in China, but the timing is tricky as the premium device will have to wrestle with local competitors and a slowing economy. The firm said over the weekend that its smart speaker will be available in Mainland China and Hong Kong starting January 18, adding to a list of countries where it has entered including US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico and Spain.

The Amazon Echo competitor, which launched in mid-2017, is already available to Chinese buyers through third-party channels like “daigou”, or shopping agents who bring overseas products into China. What separates the new model is that it supports Mandarin, the official language on Mainland China and Cantonese, which is spoken in Hong Kong and China’s most populated province Guangdong. Previously, Chinese-speaking users would have to converse with HomePod in English.

A main selling point of HomePod is its focus on music, so the China version comes with Airplay support of a range of local music streaming apps like Tencent’s QQ Music for Mainland users and JOOX which is more popular in Hong Kong.

In its home market, HomePod remains an underdog with 5 percent market share while Amazon Echo and Google Home command 66 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

The question is how many Chinese shoppers are willing to shell out 2799 yuan, or $414, for the Siri-controlled speaker. A host of much cheaper options from local giants are available, such as Alibaba’s Tmall Genie, Xiaomi’s Mi AI and several models from Baidu.

Analysts have cited relatively high price — on top of a softening economy — as a major culprit for iPhones’ low sales in China, which have prompted Apple to lower its quarterly revenue forecast for the first time in over a decade and Chinese retailers to slash iPhone prices. It remains to see how Chinese shoppers react to HomePod, which is already about 17 percent higher than its normal $349 price in the US.

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 23:49:25 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Iphone Apple Google Amazon Asia Hong Kong Hardware China Siri Tech Spain Artificial Intelligence Alibaba Xiaomi Tencent Baidu Amazon Echo Apple Inc Guangdong Mainland China Smart Speaker Google Home HomePod US UK Australia Canada France Germany Mexico Tmall Genie Xiaomi
New trailer reveals when Game of Thrones will return Winter is coming this spring.

HBO is finally revealing when season 8 of Game of Thrones will begin. On Sunday, HBO released a new teaser for Games of Thrones that announced the first episode will air April 14. The season 8 teaser, called Crypts of Winterfell, was released on YouTube and played before the third season premiere of True Detective.

The teaser depicts Jon Snow, Sansa and Arya Stark walking through a crypt that includes three statutes bearing their likeness. TechCrunch won’t spoil what comes next. Watch below.

Fans of Games of Thrones have been waiting more than a year for the HBO series based on George R. R. Martin novels to return. Last January, HBO broke it to dedicated fans that Game of Thrones wouldn’t be returning until 2019.

The season seven finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” aired on August 27, 2017.

HBO didn’t provide any other details about season 8, including if episodes would be longer than 60 minutes. HBO has previously said the final season would have six episodes.

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 23:39:47 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs TC Hbo Television Fiction Tech Game Of Thrones True Detective Arya Stark George R R Martin Wolf Winterfell
Cadillac’s first electric vehicle will be a crossover Cadillac revealed Sunday what will likely be the first electric vehicle in the luxury brand’s portfolio. And surprise, it’s a crossover.

The images of the full-size crossover SUV, which was unveiled during a debut party for the 2020 Cadillac XT6 in Detroit, kicks off a transformation of GM’s luxury brand. On Friday, GM announced plans to turn Cadillac into its lead electric vehicle brand in a bid to compete against Tesla as well as a host of other automakers bringing EVs onto the market.

Not much is known about this crossover yet. Cadillac said the name of the electric crossover and additional details about the vehicle will be revealed closer to launch.

This vehicle will not be based on the electric architecture found on GM’s Chevrolet models, the Volt or the Bolt EV. GM is starting with a clean slate and developing a new battery electric architecture, which Cadillac will be the first to use.

The most advanced components within the platform are the drive units and battery cells, which will be used throughout GM vehicle lineups in different countries, according to the automaker. The EVs can be configured in front-, rear- or all-wheel drive, and the output of their battery systems will be adjustable based on vehicle and customer needs, GM said.

The battery system also will be adjustable, based on vehicle and customer requirements.

This appears to be the beginning of an  aggressive product acceleration for Cadillac. Fresh off of the XT6 crossover reveal, Cadillac also hinted at both a future Escalade and an upcoming performance sedan. Cadillac said it plans to introduce new models at the rate of roughly one every six months through 2021.

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 22:52:29 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Electric Vehicle Cars Tech Tesla Automotive Transport Gm Detroit Cadillac General-motors Chevrolet Bolt Escalade Bolt EV GM
GNOME Internet Radio Locator 1.6.0 Released

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 22:33:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Tech Belgium Guatemala Fedora Canada Mexico Internet Radio Locator Norway Sweden Denmark England Scotland France
Apple losing India badly: iPhone shipments shrunk by 50% Apple has shipped almost 50% lesser iPhones in India in 2018 as compared to 2017.

The post appeared first on NextBigWhat..

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 22:19:33 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Apple Business India Tech
Honeymoon Q and A with real brides Honeymoon Q and A with real brides

Tasmania – Image via In a Faraway Land

There’s a lot to consider when planning a honeymoon: where to go, how long for and how far in advance should you book? Unfortunately, Google and all the wedding apps in the world couldn’t give us real world advice or answer any of our questions. So, we’ve done this for you! Meet our recent newlyweds, Jess, Nikaela and Mim who have shared some tips with us on all things honeymoon.

Continue reading Honeymoon Q and A with real brides

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 22:00:02 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Google Wedding Tasmania MIM Honeymoons Real Honeymoons Honeymoon Planning Faraway Land There Jess Nikaela
Outrank The Business Next Door: The 3 Best Local SEO Tips To Implement In Your Strategy In 2019 by Robert Clough

SEO is a complex beast.

For something just three letters long, it seems there's a never-ending list of things to do to manage your ranking. And we get that.

That's what our whole blog is about - helping you figure out what to put on that list. So when it comes to establishing your best local SEO, get a quick start with our guide below.

bestlocal.jpg 1. Worship Google My Business

What's one thing that all-powerful people love (or search engines in this example)? Themselves.

But Google doesn't want you to light a candle in its honor. It wants you to use its products that it made available to you. And when you do it will reward you with more favorable SEO treatment.

We're not guaranteeing that filling out your Google My Business profile 101% will bring you up 5 spots. But it could be the difference between spot 2 and 3.

Make sure you have everything listed on that profile from photos of your business to the right hours.

Google is picky because they want users to get the right information. That can mean making sure everything is perfect, down to the details.

Let's say your business is located on 123 Blue Boulevard. If you abbreviate boulevard BLVD on your contact page - do so on your My Business page.

Little discrepancies like that matter, especially in areas where you have a lot of competition.

2. Get On Some Lists

Let's say your business is a large marketing firm. You want to make sure you're on some sites that list marketing firms in each area.

The goal would be to have a potential client put in their (your) area code and have your business name come up. For SEO purposes, these are called citations and just like the papers you wrote in college, the more citations, the better.

You can change around your bio or description wording a little bit on each site, but keep things mostly the same. Especially the little details like we talked about above.

The more Google sees you putting the same information out there, the more it will assume it can trust it. Talk to someone who offers SEO services for more in-depth information.

3. Chase Reviews

You know what can cost you nothing but gain you everything? A few great online reviews. Any business can get them, no matter if you're B2B or B2C. Even B2G companies can ask contractors for reviews.

You don't want to bribe your clients into giving you a review, but you can offer small incentives. Ten percent off your next service when you show your review next time you come in.

Encouragement is one thing. But you don't want customers to think they have to give you a good review if they weren't originally going to. That's a fast way to lose your business credibility.

Your Best Local SEO

There's not a lot you can do if your competitor can outspend your marketing 10:1, except capitalize on the free SEO tools. You never know what their theory is. Maybe they're just spending the money and not putting in the grunt work.

Do the grunt work (or have it done for you) if you want the best local SEO for your company.

Need some clarification on the jargon we used in this post? Check out our Search Engine Guide Glossary here

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 21:50:08 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Google Small Business Seo Local Search Local Search Marketing Robert Clough SEO
200 Million Chinese Resumes Leak In Huge Database Breach

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 21:02:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs China Tech Hacken Bob Diachenko Diachenko
The Worst Pain in the World, Bendable Phones, and Joshua Tree: Best Gizmodo Stories of the Week

Ten hut, Gizmodo readers! Do you have a New Year’s Resolution you should be working on? Do not answer that rhetorical question, because yours are the feeble dreams of weaklings and mine is to whip this sorry, good-for-nothing blog audience squad into shape!


Sun, 13 Jan 2019 20:05:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Food Gadgets Comics Astronomy TV Science Technology Privacy Syfy Ces Glass Surveillance Physics Birds International Space Station Ocean US military Nvidia Vr Amd Iss Black Holes Gpu Government Shutdown Vive Bendable Marvel Cinematic Universe T Mobile Carol Danvers Joshua Tree Joshua Tree National Park National Geospatial Intelligence Agency M Night Shyamalan Set Visit Captain Marvel Food Allergies Sex Tech Flexible Displays Weird Science Digital Mapping MaxMind Where Hands Touch Find My Phone Deadly Class Best Of Gizmodo Seabirds CES 2019 Dmca Takedown Vive Pro Eye Ocean Currents
In price and value, Chinese phone makers outpace Apple in much of the world
China’s biggest smartphone brands are increasingly winning fans in Europe, India and Southeast Asia, where consumers find that the phones can do just about everything an iPhone can do at a fraction of the cost.]]>
Sun, 13 Jan 2019 20:00:20 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Apple Business Technology News China Southeast Asia Europe India Nation & World
5 reasons you wouldn’t want to be in Tim Cook’s shoes right now
Apple's chief executive is hitting what could be the toughest time of his tenure in the corner office.]]>
Sun, 13 Jan 2019 20:00:08 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Apple Business Technology News Tim Cook
A first look at Twitter’s new beta app and its bid to remain ‘valuable and relevant’ Twitter has made a name for itself, at its most basic level, as a platform that gives everyone who uses it a voice. But as it has grown, that unique selling point has set Twitter up for as many challenges — harassment, confusing way to manage conversations — as it has opportunities — the best place to see in real time how the public reacts to something, be it a TV show, a political uprising, or a hurricane.

Now, to fix some of the challenges, the company is going to eat its own dogfood (birdfood?) when it comes to having a voice.

In the coming weeks, it’s going to launch a new beta program, where a select group of users will get access to features, by way of a standalone app, to use and talk about new features with others. Twitter, in turn, will use data that it picks up from that usage and chatter to decide how and if to turn those tests into full-blown product features for the rest of its user base.

We sat down with Sara Haider, Twitter’s director of product management, to take a closer look at the new app and what features Twitter will be testing in it (and what it won’t), now and in the future.

The company today already runs an Experiments Program for testing, as well as other tests, for example to curb abusive behavior, to figure out how to help the service run more smoothly. This new beta program will operate differently.

While there will only be around a couple thousand participants, those accepted will not be under NDA (unlike the Experiments Program). That means they can publicly discuss and tweet about the new features, allowing the wider Twitter community to comment and ask questions.

And unlike traditional betas, where users test nearly completed features before a public launch, the feedback from the beta could radically change the direction of what’s being built. Or, in some cases, what’s not.

“Unlike  a traditional beta that is   the last step before launch , we’re bringing people in super early,” Haider said.

The first version of the beta will focus on a new design for the way conversation threads work on Twitter. This includes a different color scheme, and visual cues to highlight important replies.

“It’s kind of a new take on our thinking about product development,” explains Haider. “One of the reasons why this is so critical for this particular feature is because we know we’re making changes that are pretty significant.”

She says changes of this scale shouldn’t just be dropped on users one day.

“We need you to be part of this process, so that we know we’re building the right experience,” Haider says.

Once accepted into the beta program, users will download a separate beta app – something that Twitter isn’t sure will always be the case. It’s unclear if that process will create too much friction, the company says, so it will see how testers respond.

Here are some of the more interesting features we talked and saw getting tested in the beta we were shown:

Color-coded replies

During the first beta, participants will try out new conversation features which offer color-coded replies to differentiate between responses from the original poster of the tweet, those from people you follow, and those from people you don’t follow.

In a development build of the beta app, Haider showed us what this looked like, with the caveat that the color scheme being used has been intentionally made to be overly saturated – it will be dialed down when the features launch to testers.

When you click into a conversation thread, the beta app will also offer visual cues to help you better find the parts of the thread that are of interest to you.

One way it’s doing so is by highlighting the replies in a thread that were written by people you follow on Twitter. Another change is that the person who posted the original tweet will also have their own replies in the thread highlighted.

In the build Haider showed us, replies from people she followed were shown in green, those from non-followers were blue, and her own replies were blue.

Algorithmically sorted responses

One of the big themes in Twitter’s user experience for power and more casual users is that they come up with workarounds for certain features that Twitter does not offer.

Take reading through long threads that may have some interesting detail that you would like to come back to later, or that branches off at some point that you’d like to follow after reading through everything else. Haider says she marks replies she’s seen with a heart to keep her place. Other people use Twitter’s “Tweets & Replies” section to find out when the original poster had replied within the thread, since it’s hard to find those replies when just scrolling down.

Now, the same kind of algorithmic sorting that Twitter has applied to your main timeline might start to make its way to your replies. These may also now be shown in a ranked order, so the important ones — like those from your Twitter friends — are moved to the top.

A later test may involve a version of Twitter’s Highlights, summaries of what it deems important, coming to longer threads, Haider said.

The time-based view is not going to completely leave, however. “The buzz, that feeling and that vibe [of live activity] that is something that we never want to lose,” CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey said last week on stage at CES. “Not everyone will be in the moment at the exact same time, but when you are, it’s an electrifying feeling…. Anything we can do to make a feeling of something much larger than yourself [we should].”

Removing hearts + other engagement icons

Another experiment Twitter is looking at is what it should do with its engagement buttons to streamline the look of replies for users. The build that we saw did not have any hearts to favorite/like Tweets, nor any icons for retweets or replies, when the Tweets came in the form of replies to another Tweet.

The icons and features didn’t completely disappear, but they would only appear when you tapped on a specific post. The basic idea seems to be: engagement for those who want it, a more simplified view for those who do not.

The heart icon has been a subject of speculation for some time now. Last year, the company told us that it was considering removing it, as part of an overall effort to improve the quality of conversation. This could be an example of how Twitter might implement just that.

Twitter may also test other things like icebreakers (pinned tweets designed to start conversations), and a status update field (i.e. your availability, location, or what you are doing, as on IM).

The status test, in fact, points to a bigger shift we may see in how Twitter as a whole is used, especially by those who come to the platform around a specific event.

One of the biggest laments has been that on-boarding on the app — the experience for those who are coming to Twitter for the first time — continues to be confusing. Twitter admits as much itself, and so — as with its recent deal with the NBA to provide a unique Twitter experience around a specific game — it will be making more tweaks and tests to figure out how to move Twitter on from being fundamentally focused around the people you follow.

“We have some work to do to make it easier to discover,” Dorsey said, adding that right now the platform is “more about people than interests.”

While all products need to evolve over time, Twitter in particular seems a bit obsessed with continually changing the basic mechanics of how its app operates.

It seems that there are at least a couple of reasons for that. One is that, although the service continues to see some growth in its daily active users, its monthly active users globally have been either flat, in decline, or growing by a mere two percent in the last four quarters (and in decline in the last three of the four quarters in the key market of the US).

That underscores how the company still has some work to do to keep people engaged.

The other is that change and responsiveness seem to be the essence of how Twitter wants to position itself these days. Last week, Dorsey noted that Twitter itself didn’t invent most of the ways that the platform gets used today. (The “RT” (retweet), which is now a button in the app; the hashtag;  ; expanded tweets, and even the now-ubiquitous @mention are all examples of features that weren’t created originally by Twitter, but added in based around how the app was used.)

“We want to continue our power of observation and learning… what people want Twitter to be and how to use it,” Dorsey said. “It allows us to be valuable and relevant.”

While these continual changes can sometimes make things more confusing, the beta program could potentially head off any design mistakes, uncover issues Twitter itself may have missed, and help Twitter harness that sort of viral development in a more focused way.

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 19:01:48 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Social TC Apps Twitter US Tech Nba Jack Dorsey Dorsey Haider NDA Sara Haider CES 2019
150 Courses Starting at Stanford Continuing Studies Next Week: Explore the Catalogue of Campus and Online Courses

Quick fyi: I spend my days at Stanford Continuing Studies, where we've developed a rich lineup of online courses for lifelong learners, many of which will get started next week. The courses aren't free. But they're first rate, giving adult students--no matter where they live--the chance to work with dedicated teachers and students.

The catalogue includes a large number of online Creative Writing courses,  covering the Novel , the Memoir, Creative Nonfiction, Travel Writing, Poetry and more. For the professional, the program offers  online business courses  in subjects like Fundamentals of Project ManagementValue Investing: An IntroductionHow to Build Successful Startups: Learn Lessons Straight from Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs and Leadership by Design: Using Design Thinking to Transform Companies and Careers.  And there's a growing number of online  Liberal Arts courses too. Take for example  The Geology and Wines of California and FranceDrawing Inspiration: Developing a Creative Practice, and The Daily Photograph: Developing Your Creative Intuition.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, check out the larger catalogue. Stanford Continuing Studies  has 150 courses getting started this Winter quarter (next week), many taking place in Stanford's classrooms. The two flagship courses of the quarter include: Pivotal Moments That Shaped the Modern World and The Ethics of Technological Disruption: A Conversation with Silicon Valley Leaders and Beyond.

Related Content:

Free: A Crash Course in Design Thinking from Stanford’s Design School

Stanford University Launches Free Course on Developing Apps with iOS 10

How Walking Fosters Creativity: Stanford Researchers Confirm What Philosophers and Writers Have Always Known

Take a Free Course on Digital Photography from Stanford Prof Marc Levoy

How to Start a Start-Up: A Free Course from Y Combinator Taught at Stanford

130,000 Photographs by Andy Warhol Are Now Available Online, Courtesy of Stanford University

150 Courses Starting at Stanford Continuing Studies Next Week: Explore the Catalogue of Campus and Online Courses is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 18:28:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Google California College France Stanford Andy Warhol San Francisco Bay Area Facebook Twitter Modern World Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs Stanford Continuing Studies Marc Levoy Memoir Creative Nonfiction Travel Writing Poetry Silicon Valley Leaders Stanford University 150 Courses Starting
Arborists Are Bringing the 'Dinosaur of Trees' Back To Life

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 18:23:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Australia California Oregon Tech San Francisco California Presidio David Milarch Milarch Sequoia National Park From Canada England Wales France New Zealand
Apple's AirPower Wireless Charging Mat Is In Production

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 16:21:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Apple Tech ChargerLAB Luxshare Precision
Reports: Police Defuse Gas Station Standoff by Having Robot Deliver Vape Pen to Suspect

A six-hour standoff between police and a 40-year-old man who allegedly splashed gasoline on the floor of a Novato, California, convenience store “while threatening to burn it down” and later fled to a nearby Safeway ended when police defused the situation with a robot carrying a vape pen, the Sacramento Bee reported…


Sun, 13 Jan 2019 15:45:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Science Technology Crime Police Law Enforcement Robots Vaping Safeway Sacramento Bee Novato California Vapes Vape Pen Beginning To Suspect 2019 Wont Be Normal Either
Chinese teen who sold kidney for iPhone now bedridden for life [Author:]

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 15:30:04 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Apple Business Wang Shangkun
Retro Futuristic Home Phone Beautiful phone concept inspired by the look of classic rotary dial telephones. Dreyfuss retro futuristic phone concept designed by Uji Terkuma features touchscreen interface that looks like iconic telephone dials and buttons. Also check out: Rotary Phone Sheep]]> Sun, 13 Jan 2019 15:24:22 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Design Tech Dreyfuss Uji Terkuma Apple AirPods may be used to spy on conversations, but please don’t Apple added Live Listen to the AirPods through the iOS 12 update last September, to help users with minor hearing issues. However, a viral tweet is suggesting that the feature may be used to eavesdrop on the conversations of other people.

The post Apple AirPods may be used to spy on conversations, but please don’t appeared first on Digital Trends.

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 15:23:39 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Apple Mobile News Trends Spying AirPods
Aaron Swartz's Federal Judge Gives Anonymous Hacker 10 Years In Prison For DDoS Attacks On Children's Hospitals

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 15:20:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Tech Aaron Swartz Cuba Martin Gottesfeld Gottesfeld Justina Pelletier Danngggg Castro Gottesfeld Boston Children s Hospital Harvard
This Week In Music Commentary 6a00d83451b36c69e201bb09aae429970d-100wi This week in music commentary, Lady Gaga pulls her R. Kelly collabs from digital shelves, we look at whether robots will ever top the charts, plus how music and video could pull Apple's chestnuts out of the fire.

[Author: Owen Davie]

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 14:42:44 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Apple Music Lady Gaga Music Business Owen Davie Kelly Mark Mulligan Lady Gaga Pulls R Kelly
What we learned this week Sun, 13 Jan 2019 14:22:14 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Scotland Future Miscellaneous US Eu Katherine Trebeck Google: Mobile Usability is Not Related to Mobile-First Indexing by @MattGSouthern Google's John Mueller clarified that content may be still moved to mobile-first indexing despite not passing the mobile usability test.

The post Google: Mobile Usability is Not Related to Mobile-First Indexing by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 14:19:49 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Google News Seo John Mueller
Google Demanded T-Mobile, Sprint To Not Sell Google Fi Customers' Location Data (slashdot) [Author: msmash]

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 14:19:28 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Google News United States Sprint Motherboard AT T T Mobile Msmash Google Demanded T Mobile Sprint Google Fi Customers Location Data
Samsung to launch India-first smartphones to counter Chinese rivals Sun, 13 Jan 2019 13:35:56 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Money India Samsung businessNews Xiaomi Airlander 10, Butt-Shaped Airship Prototype and World's Longest Aircraft, to Be Retired

Hybrid Air Vehicles, the company behind the Airlander 10 airship (the world’s longest aircraft and also known as the “flying bum” for its resemblance to a butt), said on Sunday that its current prototype will not be rebuilt but that it plans to build a new generation of airships, the Guardian reported.


Sun, 13 Jan 2019 13:35:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Science Technology US military Aircraft Airlander Airlander 10 Blimps Hybrid Air Vehicles Flying Bum Airships
Pedestrians, E-Scooters Are Clashing In the Struggle For Sidewalk Space

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 13:18:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs California Tech San Diego Ada
Testing times for second wave scooter startups Investors are still pouring millions into scooter startups, albeit sometimes at flat valuations. At the same time a little cash is flowing the other way, in cases where cities have realized the importance of prioritizing the needs of the local environment and its citizens, over and above the ambitions of VCs for a swift and lucrative exit.

Scooter startups affected by such regulatory bumps in the road are, unsurprisingly, rather less keen to shout about this sort of policy friction and the negative cash and ride flow it generates.

In one recent incident in Spain, in the Catalan capital of Barcelona, El Pais reported that the town hall fined a local scooter startup, called Reby, for contravening urban mobility rules.

The startup is so new it doesn’t even have scooters available for public hire yet. But it’s already had some of its ‘test’ rides removed by police and been fined for breaking scooter sharing rules.

If it was hoping to copy-paste from an  Uber 1.0 playbook, things aren’t looking good for Reby. (Indeed, that’s a very tatty manual in most places these days.)

Spain’s capital city Madrid also forced a temporary suspension on scooter sharing startups recently, as we reported last month, after changes to mobility laws that tighten the screw on scooter sharing — requiring already operational startups to tweak how their rides operate in order to come into compliance.

While Madrid authorities haven’t banned scooter sharing entirely, they have imposed more limits on where and how they can be used, thereby injecting fresh friction into the business model.

But compared to Barcelona that’s actually a free ride. Things aren’t so much bumpy as roadblocked entirely for scooter sharing in the latter city where regulations adopted by Barcelona town hall in 2017 essentially ban the on-demand scooter model, at least as startups prefer to operate it.

These rules require companies that wanting to offer scooters for hire must provide a guide with the ride (one guide per maximum two people), as well as a helmet. They must also verify that the person to whom the vehicle is hired has the ability to ride it properly.

Rides might scale if you’re able to litter enough cheap and easy scooters all over the urban place but a (human) guide per two rides definitely does not.

Yet, as we’ve written before, there’s no shortage of patinetes electronics weaving around Barcelona’s often narrow and crowded streets. Most of these are locally owned though. And the town hall appears to prefer it that way. After all, people who own high tech scooters aren’t usually in a rush to ditch them in stupid places.

In its 2017 by-law regulating various personal mobility vehicles (PMVs) — including, but not limited to, two-wheeled electric scooters — the city council said it wanted to foster safer and sustainable usage of scooters and other PMVs, pointing to “the growing presence of this new mobility which is taking up more and more road space”.

“Barcelona City Council is committed to a sustainable city mobility model which gives priority to journeys on foot, by bicycle or on public transport,” it added, setting out what it dubbed a “pioneering regulation” that forbids e-scooter use on pavements; imposes various speed restrictions; and gives priority to pedestrians at all times.

Scooters can also only be parked in authorized parking places, with the council emphasizing: “It is forbidden to tie them to trees, traffic lights, benches or other items of urban furniture when this could affect their use or intended purpose; in front of loading or unloading zones, or in places reserved for other users, such as persons with reduced mobility; in service areas or where parking is prohibited, such as emergency exits, hospitals, clinics or health centres, Bicing [the local city bike hire scheme] zones and on pavements where this might block the path of pedestrians.”

There’s more though: The regulation also targets scooter sharing startups seeking to exploit PMVs as a commercial opportunity — with “special conditions for economic activities”.

These include the aforementioned guide, helmet and minimum skill level rule. There’s also a registration scheme for PMVs being used for economic activity which allows city police to scan a QR code that must be displayed on the ride to check it conforms to the regulation’s technical requirements. How’s that for a smart use of tech?

“There may be specific restrictions in specific areas and districts where there is a lot of pressure from these kinds of vehicles or they pose a specific problem,” the council also warns, giving itself further leeway to control PMVs and ensure they don’t become a concentrated nuisance.

Despite what are clear, strict and freshly imposed controls on scooter sharing, that hasn’t stopped a couple of smaller European startups from trying their luck at getting rentable rubber on Catalan carrers anywayperhaps encouraged by demonstrable local appetite to scoot (that and the lack of any big Birds).

The opportunity probably looks tantalizing; a dense urban environment that’s also a tourist hotspot with clement weather, lots of two-wheel-loving locals and a small but vibrant tech scene.

In Reby’s case, the very early stage Catalan startup, whose co-founders’ LinkedIn profiles suggests the business was founded last July, has a website and not much else at this point, aside from its ambitions to follow in the wheeltracks of Bird, Lime et al.

Nonetheless it has racked up fines worth €5,300 (just over $6,000), according to town hall sources, after being deemed to have breached the city’s PMV rules.

Reby had put out up to a hundred scooters in Barcelona for ten days, according to El Pais, padlocking them to bike anchors (with a digital password for unchaining delivered via app) — presumably in the hopes of locating a grey area in the regulation and unlocking the  pile em’ high, rent em’ cheap dockless on-demand scooter model that’s disrupted cities elsewhere.

But the Ayuntamiento de Barcelona was unimpressed. Its new  by-law brought in a penalty system with fines of up to €100 for minor infringements, up to €200 for serious infringements and up to €500 for very serious infringements. (We understand Reby received 53 sanctions for minor infringements — costing €100 apiece).

Penalties are levied per infringement, so essentially per scooter deployed on the street. And while a few thousand euros might not sound that much of a big deal, the more scooters you scatter the higher the fine scales. And of course that’s not the kind of scaling these startups are scooting for.

We asked Reby for its version of events but it didn’t want to talk about it. A spokesman told us it’s still very early days for the business, adding: “We are a very small team and haven’t launched yet officially. We are doing some tests in Barcelona.”

A more established European scooter startup, Berlin-based Wind, has also clashed with city hall. El Pais reports it had around 100 scooters seized by police last August, also after abortively trying to put them on the streets for hire.

Town hall sources told us that, in Wind’s case, the company’s rides were removed immediately by police, not even lasting a day — so there wasn’t even the chance for a fine to be issued. (We contacted Wind for comment on the incident but it did not respond.)

The bottom line is legislative hurdles won’t simply vanish because startups wish it.

Where scooters are concerned city authorities aren’t dumb and can also move surprisingly fast. The dumping grounds some urban spaces have become after being flooded with unwanted dockless rides by overfunded startups chasing scale via max disruption (and minimum environmental sensitivity) certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed.

At the same time, keeping streets flowing, uncluttered and safe is the bread and butter business of city councils — naturally pushing PMVs up the regulatory agenda.

You also don’t have to look far for tragic stories vis-a-vis scooters. Last summer a 90-year-old pedestrian was killed in a suburb of Barcelona after she was hit by two men riding an electric scooter. In another incident in a nearby town a 40-year-old scooter rider also reportedly died after falling off her ride and being run over by a truck.

The risks of PMVs mingling with pedestrians and more powerful road vehicles are both clear and also not about to disappear. Not without radical action to expel most non-PMV vehicles from city centers to expand the safe (road) spaces where lower powered, lighter weight PMVs could operate. (And no major cities are proposing anything like that yet).

Add to that, in European cities like Barcelona, where there has already been major investment in public transport infrastructure, there’s a clear incentive to funnel residents along existing tracks, including by tightly controlling new and supplementary forms of micro-mobility.

If the Barcelona city council has one potential blind spot where urban mobility is concerned it’s air pollution. Like most dense urban centers the city often suffers terribly from this. And savvy scooter companies would do well to be pressing on that policy front.

But there’s little doubt that would-be fast-follower scooter clones have their work cut out to scale at all, let alone go the distance and get big enough to attract acquisitive attention from the category’s beefed up early movers.

Even then, for the Birds and Limes of the scooter world, multi-millions in funding may buy runway and the opportunity to scoot for international growth but policy roadblocks aren’t the kind of thing that money alone can shift.

Scooter startups need to sell cities on the potential civic benefits of their technology, by demonstrating how PMVs could replace dirtier alternatives that are already clogging roads and having a deleterious impact on urban air quality, as part of a modern and accessible mobility mix.

But that kind of lobbying, while undoubtedly benefiting from local connections, takes money and time. So there’s no shortage of challenge and complexity in the road ahead for scooter startups, even as — as we wrote last month — the investment opportunity is shrinking, with investors having now placed their big bets.

In some cities, scooter ownership also appears to be growing in popularity which will also eat into any sharing opportunities.

One regional investor from an early stage Madrid-based fund that we spoke to about scooters had no qualms at having passed over the space. “We’ve looked at various companies in the space and in Spain but we’re not very attracted by the market given our fund size, competition and regulation question marks,” KFund‘s Jamie Novoa told us.

So those entrepreneurs still dreaming of fast following the likes of Bird, Lime and Spin may find the race they were hoping to join is already over and park gates being padlocked shut.

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 13:00:54 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Startups TC Transportation Europe Berlin Collaborative Consumption Tech Spain Barcelona Sharing Economy Madrid GreenTech Town El Pais Reby Scooter Sharing Barcelona El Pais Barcelona City Council Micro-mobility Scooter Startups Bird Lime et al Nonetheless Ayuntamiento de Barcelona Jamie Novoa
Why Silicon Valley needs more visas Share on Twitter Henrique Dubugras is the founder Brex, the billion-dollar corporate credit provider for startups.

When I hear protesters shout, “Immigrants are welcome here!” at the San Francisco immigration office near my startup’s headquarters, I think about how simple a phrase that is for a topic that is so nuanced, especially for me as an immigrant entrepreneur.

Growing up in Brazil, I am less familiar with the nuances of the American debate on immigration legislation, but I know that immigrants here add a lot of jobs and stimulate the local economy. As an immigrant entrepreneur, I’ve tried to check all of those boxes, and really prove my value to this country.

My tech startup Brex has achieved a lot in a short period of time, a feat which is underscored by receiving a $1 billion dollar valuation in just one year. But we didn’t achieve that high level of growth in spite of being founded by immigrants, but because of it. The key to our growth and to working towards building a global brand is our international talent pool, without it, we could never have gotten to where we are today.

So beyond Brex, what do the most successful Silicon Valley startups have in common? They’re also run by immigrants. In fact, not only are 57% of the Bay Area’s STEM tech workers immigrants, they also make up 25% of business founders in the US. You can trace the immigrant entrepreneurial streak in Silicon Valley from the founders of SUN Microsystems and Google to the Valley’s most notorious Twitter User, Tesla’s Elon Musk.

Immigrants not only built the first microchips in Silicon Valley, but they built these companies into the tech titans that they are known as today. After all, more than 50% of billion dollar startups are founded by immigrants, and many of those startups were founded by immigrants on H-1B visas.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/jvoves

While it might sound counterintuitive, immigrants create more jobs and make our economy stronger. Research from the National Foundation of American Policy (NFAP) has shown that immigrant-founded billion-dollar companies doubled their number of employees over the past two years. According to the research, “WeWork went from 1,200 to 6,000 employees between 2016 and 2018, Houzz increased from 800 to 1,800 employees the last two years, while Cloudflare went from 225 to 715 employees.”

We’ve seen the same growth at Brex. In just one year we hired 70 employees and invested over $6 million dollars in creating local jobs. Our startup is not alone, as Inc. recently reported, “50 immigrant-founded unicorn startups have a combined value of $248 billion, according to the report [by NFAP], and have created an average of 1,200 jobs each.”

One of the fundamental drivers of our success is our international workforce. Many of our key-hires are from all over Latin America, spanning from Uruguay to Mexico. In fact, 42% of our workforce is made up of immigrants and another 6% are made up of children of immigrants. Plenty of research shows that diverse teams are more productive and work together better, but that’s only part of the reason why you should bet on an international workforce. When you’re working with the best and brightest from every country, it inspires you to bring forth your most creative ideas, collaborate, and push yourself beyond your comfort zone. It motivates you to be your best.

With all of the positive contributions immigrants bring to this country, you’d think we’d have less restrictive immigration policies. However, that’s not the case. One of the biggest challenges that I face is hiring experienced, qualified engineers and designers to continue innovating in a fast-paced, competitive market.

This is a universal challenge in the tech industry. For the past 10 years, software engineers have been the #1 most difficult job to fill in the United States. Business owners are willing to pay 10-20 percent above the market rate for top talent and engineers. Yet, we’re still projected to have a shortage of two million engineering jobs in the US by 2022. How can you lead the charge of innovation if you don’t have the talent to do it?

What makes matters worse is that there are so few opportunities and types of visas for qualified immigrants. This is limiting job growth, knowledge-sharing, and technological breakthroughs in this country. And we risk losing top talent to other nations if we don’t loosen our restrictive visa laws.

H1-B visa applications fell this year, and at the same time, these visas have become harder to obtain and it has become more expensive to acquire international talent. This isn’t the time to abandon the international talent pool, but to invest in highly specialized workers that can give your startup a competitive advantage.

Already, there’s been a dramatic spike in engineering talent moving to Canada, with a 40% uptick in 2017. Toronto, Berlin, and Singapore are fastly becoming burgeoning tech hubs, and many fear (rightfully) that they will soon outpace the US in growth, talent, and developing the latest technologies.

This year, U.S. based tech companies generated $351 billion of revenue in 2018. The U.S. can’t afford to miss out on this huge revenue source. And, according to Harvard Business School Professor William R. Kerr and the author of The Gift of Global Talent: How Migration Shapes Business, Economy & Society, “Today’s knowledge economy dictates that your ability to attract, develop, and integrate smart minds governs how prosperous you will be.”

Immigrants have made Silicon Valley the powerhouse that it is today, and severely limiting highly-skilled immigration benefits no-one. Immigrants have helped the U.S. build one of the best tech hubs in the world— now is the time for startups to invest in international talent so that our technology, economy, and local communities can continue to thrive.

Sun, 13 Jan 2019 12:30:24 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Google Column Elon Musk California Entrepreneurship Mexico Berlin Singapore Immigration US Toronto San Francisco Entrepreneur Tech Tesla Canada United States Brazil Private Equity Silicon Valley Uruguay WeWork Cloudflare Latin America Houzz H-1b Visa Startup Company Sun Microsystems Bay Area Valley Inc Tech Startup Harvard Business School Toronto Berlin William R Kerr Brex Henrique Dubugras Twitter User Tesla National Foundation of American Policy NFAP NFAP
Elon Musk Offered Chinese Green Card

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