Day: October 12, 2020

12
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Open Invention Network open-source, non-aggression patents now covers Android and exFAT.

For years, the Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression ever, has protected Linux from patent attacks and patent trolls. Now, on October 13, 2020, it expanded its scope from core Linux programs and adjacent open-source code by expanding its Linux System Definition. In particular, that means patents relating to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) 10 and the Extended File Allocation Table exFAT file system are now protected.

That’s important because for those of you with long memories Microsoft used to make billions from Android and exFAT-related patent licenses.  Those days are long over, and this buries them for good.

First, Microsoft joined the OIN in 2018. Then, as Erich Andersen, then Microsoft’s corporate vice president and chief intellectual property (IP) counsel said at the time meant “We’re licensing all patents we own that read on the ‘Linux system.'”  This includes patents pertaining to the File Allocation Table (FAT), Extended FAT (ExFAT), and Virtual (VFAT). 

Then, in 2019, Microsoft went one step further. It announced it was  “supporting the addition of Microsoft’s exFAT technology to the Linux kernel.” Developers immediately started adding exFAT to Linux. In May 2020, exFAT was added to the mainline kernel in Linux 5.7. 

This is important because ExFAT is based on FAT, one of the first floppy disk file systems. Over time, FAT became Microsoft’s filesystem of choice for MS-DOS and Windows. It would become the default file system for many applications. But, with a hard limit of 4GB file systems, it’s days were numbered.

Microsoft extended FAT to larger and flash memory storage devices such as USB drives and SD cards in 2006 with exFAT. Both FAT and exFAT are used in hundreds of millions of devices including all Android phones. Indeed, exFAT is the official file system for the SD Card

12
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Why are VCs launching SPACs? Amish Jani of FirstMark shares his firm’s rationale

It’s happening slowly but surely. With every passing week, more venture firms are beginning to announce SPACs. The veritable blitz of SPACs formed by investor Chamath Palihapitiya notwithstanding, we’ve now seen a SPAC (or plans for a SPAC) revealed by Ribbit Capital, Lux Capital, the travel-focused venture firm Thayer Ventures, Tusk Ventures’s founder Bradley Tusk, the SoftBank Vision Fund, and FirstMark Capital, among others. Indeed, while many firms say they’re still in the information-gathering phase of what could become a sweeping new trend, others are diving in headfirst.

To better understand what’s happening out there, we talked on Friday with Amish Jani, the cofounder of FirstMark Capital in New York and the president of a new $360 million tech-focused blank-check company organized by Jani and his partner, Rick Heitzmann. We wanted to know why a venture firm that has historically focused on early-stage, privately held companies would be interested in public market investing, how Jani and Heitzmann will manage the regulatory requirements, and whether the firm may encounter conflicts of interest, among other things.

If you’re curious about starting a SPAC or investing in one or just want to understand how they relate to venture firms, we hope it’s useful reading. Our chat has been edited for length and clarity.

TC: Why SPACs right now? Is it fair to say it’s a shortcut to a hot public market, in a time when no one quite knows when the markets could shift?

AJ: There are a couple of different threads that are coming together. I think the first one is the the possibility that [SPACs] work and really well. [Our portfolio company] DraftKings [reverse-merged into a SPAC] and did a [private investment in public equity deal]; it was a fairly complicated transaction and they used this to go public, and the

12
Oct
2020
Posted in software

Riversand Partners with Digital Data Consultancy to Offer Cloud-native Data Management Software in the UK

Riversand, a leading cloud-native SaaS Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM) solution provider, announced today its partnership with Digital Data Consultancy Limited (DDC), a provider of digital consulting services in the UK operating across retail and consumer goods, banking and finance, healthcare and manufacturing.

The partnership enables Digital Data Consultancy to offer consulting and system integration services with Riversand’s transformational MDM technology platform. Riversand’s customers will benefit from an integrated consulting and implementation experience.

“Collaborating with Riversand offers forward-thinking companies an infinitely scalable cloud-native, muliti-domain platform for their product and master data needs,” said Saikat Ghosh, principal consultant at Digital Data Consultancy. “By combining Riversand’s ability to leverage data and provide better experiences with DDC’s implementation and operational depth, customers will get measurable value in their MDM and PIM investments.”

As companies transform their digital strategy to deliver a holistic customer experience, their foundation for success with a leading e-commerce solution includes having a robust system for master and product data.

“Digital Data Consultancy understands what customers can get from a multi-domain data strategy,” said Ben Rund, vice president of Business Development in Europe at Riversand. “With Riversand and DDC, customers can tap our joint expertise in delivering data strategy and better customer, partner, and supplier experiences – all to achieve their digital transformation goals.”

About Digital Data Consultancy

Digital Data is a one-stop consulting firm when it comes to strategic consulting of Data – be it Master Data, Big Data, Data Governance or Data Science. We help our clients to focus on their biggest technical asset – their Data. On a daily basis, we advise companies on how to actively manage their data, discover insights from the data and improve quality to make better decisions. We come with years of experience in implementing enterprise data transformation

12
Oct
2020
Posted in computer

Micro Bit mini-computer gets new update

The BBC Micro Bit mini-computer – used by millions of schoolchildren across the world – will receive its first major update since 2016.

The new model includes a speaker and microphone, as well as artificial intelligence and machine-learning capabilities.

Formerly a BBC-led project, it is now led by a foundation that aims to make coding accessible for children.

The device will be released next month with prices starting at £11.50.

“The purpose of the Micro Bit is to help children unlock their creative potential and learn how to shape the world around them,” Gareth Stockdale, chief executive of the Micro Bit Educational Foundation, said.

“Learning coding and computational thinking can enhance their life chances in the 21st Century.”

Global Impact

Since its launch, the Micro Bit has been designed for education, with an estimated 25 million children learning computer skills on the device in over 60 countries.

The previous model launched in the UK in 2016, with the BBC giving away a free Micro Bit to every year seven student.

It is now used in most secondary schools, as well as primary schools, universities and libraries.

“The Micro Bit has a low floor and high ceiling – you can make it as advanced as you wish but it can also be very basic,” said Keith Quille, a lecturer at the Technological University Dublin who runs free Micro Bit sessions for children and teachers.

“We teach it at primary schools and at university degree level – because you don’t need lots of other tools to make it work, it’s very easy to use.”

The foundation has also donated 5,000 devices to families in the UK, to help with home schooling during the coronavirus pandemic.

How it works

The Micro Bit is a palm-sized circuit board with an array of 25 lights

12
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Facebook updates hate speech policy to ban Holocaust denial

Oct. 12 (UPI) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Monday that the company will update its hate speech policy to ban Holocaust denial.

Zuckerberg made the announcement in a Facebook post.

“We’ve taken down posts that praise hate crimes or mass murder, including the Holocaust. But with rising anti-Semitism, we’re expanding our policy to prohibit any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust as well,” the post read. “If people search for the Holocaust on Facebook, we’ll start directing you to authoritative sources to get accurate information.”

The update reverses Facebook’s earlier policy on the issue.

In 2018, Zuckerberg said in a Recode Decode podcast interview that the social media company does not want to ban Holocaust denial posts because people should be able to make unintentional mistakes.

“I don’t think they’re intentionally getting it wrong,” Zuckerberg said on the podcast at the time.

Facebook Vice President of Content Policy Monika Bickert released a statement on the policy change.

“Today’s announcement marks another step in our effort to fight hate on our services,” Bickert said in the statement. “Our decision is supported by the well-documented rise in anti-Semitism globally and the alarming level of ignorance about the Holocaust, especially among young people. According to a recent survey of adults in the US aged 18-39, almost a quarter said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, that it had been exaggerated or they weren’t sure.”

Bickert added enforcement of the updated policy wouldn’t happen overnight since it takes time “to train our reviewers and systems on enforcement.”

Bickert also said that online attacks against many groups are increasing worldwide, according to organizations that study trends in hate speech, and that Facebook has taken several steps to remove such content.

Among those steps, Facebook has banned more than 250 white supremacist organizations