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5G Network Is Not Just The Next Revolution For Your Mobile

5G Network Is Not Just The Next Revolution For Your Mobile

5G Network Is Not Just The Next Revolution For Your Mobile

Development of a 5G network will give us the ability to communicate faster
It will provide us the control of large numbers of devices at the same time
5G network can support large networks of low-power scanners able to send and receive data and it is a good opportunity for investors

For starters, don’t equate 5G with smartphones. 5G is much more than only higher-quality streaming and faster downloads on your mobiles. To quote Robert J. Topol, Intel’s general manager of 5G development: “5G will be the post-smartphone era” pointing that mobiles will be the first place for launching due to their strong presence in our lives. 

And prevalent understanding of 5G has to be changed since the possibilities are enormous. Much bigger than we can imagine right now. For example, 5G lower latencies and jitter produces almost lack of any lag. 

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But, let’s say a few words about the 5G data network.

5G could easily open the potential of many other advanced technologies.
Due to the ability to share information in real-time, 5G will let a surgeon in London operate on a patient in Peru using wireless robotics with almost zero lag.

Moreover, some technologies and apps unimaginable until now may soon be our reality.

Speaking about mobiles, who was able to predict 25 years ago that we will have Bluetooth handsets or wi-fi coverage with the gigabit-speed internet? Okay, you are the smartest one! Thank you.

And what about  AR glasses and VR headsets?

Tech companies are convinced that these devices will finally replace our smartphones. With 5G, that could really occur with no doubts.

5G’s extreme speed and functionality could lead to a new age of technological and entrepreneurial development. Forbes wrote that self-driving cars “won’t work until we have 5G”.
And do you know what is an extremely important part of this?
Experts are expecting that 22 million jobs could be created for improving existing infrastructure to the 5G standard.

5Gs speed is up to 20 gigabits per second. That is more than 20 times faster than 4G’s limit.5G networks can support global connectivity for almost any industry.

5G could make driverless cars effective and practical. We will have cars with 5G connections in a few years, directly interacting with other cars, traffic lights and we will know where open parking places or traffic congestions are.

5G networks can support global connectivity for almost any industry.

Can you imagine the future schools when implementing 5G? Can you recognize all the possibilities for the rising quality of learning? There will be no need to rely on textbooks. Instead, the kids will have real life in the classroom, virtual and augmented reality experience.
Of course, this isn’t going to happen overnight. But you can be sure that the main changes will happen in the next several years.
The 5G network is created to provide a signal for a far larger number of devices, at the same time, than a conventional cellular network can. 5G network can provide control of various devices, whether it’s a communicator or a refrigerator. 

Moreover, it is created for managing and controlling the tools and machines needed in businesses. For example, agriculture equipment, ATMs, or some other device like a sensor for compost. In essence, they are low-power scanners that are able to operate on the same battery for almost 10 years and to send and receive data.

And, sorry but you can’t just pick up 5G with your current smartphone. 5G technology needs a special set of antennas to communicate in specific radio-signal bands. You will need to buy a new one.

5G is here. More and more countries come online and more 5G devices are available, and not just in the luxury high-end segments. Find one for you.

We’ll start to recognize the full potential of 5G very soon. And forget about the fear-mongering of alleged health hazards due to high-frequency radio waves. The Wi-Fi uses 5GHz band, and is perfectly safe, so why wouldn’t 5G also be safe while operating on similar frequencies. And it is a good investment too.

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The Boys Are Not All Right

3 min read

The Silicon Valley Mentality of Boys

History of the Silicon Valley goes as far back to ancient 1951 when the dean of the School of Engineering at Stanford, Frederick Terman, has spearheaded the creation of the Stanford Industrial Park. Place where Stanford University was leasing the office space to nascent high-tech companies. Hewlett-Packard, General Electric, Eastman Kodak, and Lockheed were some of the very first tenants.

It was also a place where the silicon transistor was born, integrated circuits, MOSFET, the concept of the Intergalactic Computer Network, video games, and many other things without which we couldn’t imagine the modern life. Once it was a hotbed of innovation, the forefront of technological progress, today it is a shadow of its former self. 

Silicon Valley today is more of a state of mind

Though the southern part of the San Francisco Bay still exists, and towns like Palo Alto, Cupertino, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and others of the Santa Clara County; Silicon Valley today is more of a state of mind than a physical place.

Back in the day, it was inhabited by people who had extraordinary talent and knowledge of everything techy and sciency, the geeks. Today, by know-it-all Bros who will from time to time get some very bright ideas. 

For example to make a steel one person cigar-shaped submarine for rescuing people trapped in an underwater cave. And to pretend that it can swing around the bend in a submerged tunnel, where a U shaped bend is roughly twice the circumference of the submarine. And when subjected to the public criticism of such an “ingenious” piece of engineering, the Silicon Valley mentality demands that one hurls the most abhorrent insults at one’s critics. After all the Bro knows it all, he’s a software engineer.

We come to Elon Musk

And yes, Elon Musk is a prime example of everything that is wrong about the Silicon Valley mentality. That, born in the primordial soup of buzzwords and overhyped software applications, arrogant attitude that any problem in the world could be solved by a software engineer.

But reality has a nasty habit of rearing its ugly face. Especially when software engineers try to solve hardware problems. 

For example Tesla Model 3’s rear wheel arches.

The Silicon Valley Mentality of Boys

According to Sandy Munro of Munro and Associates, a manufacturing analyst company with analyzing more than 400 models of various manufacturers under their belt, they are made out of 9 separate parts which are welded, glued or riveted to each other. Other car manufacturers make this body part out of a single piece of sheet metal.

Also, Model 3 features some of the body sub-assemblies which are made out of parts joined together in several ways, welding, glueing, riveting or bolting. Sometimes using all four of them. Something which is utterly foreign to other car manufacturers, who prefer to use one joining technique throughout the sub-assemblies as such a solution keeps manufacturing costs as low as possible. Overall, Mr. Munro has suggested 227 practices which are standard for car manufacturing, and which would lower production costs of Model 3 by at least $2,000. “This body is their single biggest problem. It’s killing them.” Those are the words of manufacturing analyst, Sandy Munro.

But, why is it so? 

By all appearances because Tesla has a corporate mentality characteristic for Silicon Valley. From what an observer can deduce, they prefer to hire software engineers over car engineers. While in the past five years many big engineering names from the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes, BMW, Peugeot… were poached by their competitors, none of them was snatched by Tesla.

By all appearances, Tesla is throwing software engineers at car manufacturing problems. And those boys lack the old school knowledge of car engineering and production. But they have a quite ample attitude. For example, about their Autopilot system. On the official webpage, it is described quite dubiously capable, even though featuring a warning that the Autopilot features “do not make the vehicle autonomous”.

Fake it till you make it

The system is touted as having 40x computing power of the previous system, features the Autosteer+, it is twice this and thrice that, and all “new Tesla cars have the hardware needed in the future for full self-driving in almost all circumstances”. And that is the lingo of Silicon Valley mentality, overstate everything no matter what, and curb the confusing and often misleading language just enough to satisfy the regulators. Convince the potential customers that your widget is the life-changing experience, without which their lives have no meaning.

The Silicon Valley Mentality of Boys.

Disruptiveness, insurgent, start-up, “fake it till you make” it are the epitomes of it. It’s a place where everyone can be miserable. Where working “9 to 5” means from 9 am to 5 am. Place where every CEO is the man who will fundamentally change our world and way of life with his “disruptive app”.

LUPA Stocks - Four Stocks Funded by Venture Capital

LUPA Stocks – Four Stocks Funded by Venture Capital

4 min read

LUPA Stocks - Four Stocks Funded by Venture Capital

LUPA stocks are Lyft, Uber, Pinterest, and Airbnb stocks. This makes LUPA nickname. The other nickname for these stocks is PAUL stocks. Some of them are already publicly traded but some are waiting to be in the coming future, for example, Airbnb. The common thing for all of them is that they all are companies funded by venture capital and private capital. They have become well-established brands and widely recognized businesses. The other common thing is that all of them enjoy users’ support, but profits have been mysteriously absent. 

LYFT

Lyft went public in March this year. In August its shares dropped 30% compared to their $72 initial IPO price. But there’s good news too, as not everything is bad for Lyft.

Several days ago, actually one week ago, Guggenheim Capital declared it’s improving Lyft’s shares advisory from neutral to buy. At the same time, they announced a targeted price is at $60 which is a 19% increase. 

The main reason behind is calming down of the price war with Uber.

LUPA Stocks

 

Uber is expanding its business to several new fields like food delivery in the domestic market, but more importantly, Uber is expanding its operations internationally. So, the price war with Lyft now seems pretty much tricky. Uber is making loses in these parallel business and has to cover them somehow. The price war with Lyft is exhausting and without the expected result. Moreover, Uber has to earn money in the domestic market to cover losses caused by international competition and the intention to expand the business. It likely went about it too early. 

The consequence is that Uber has to raise its prices for ride-sharing if they want more cash. That is an opportunity for Lyft to do the same.

Lyft is still an unprofitable company. Its share price is five times its annual sales. But Guggenheim claims that it is the question of the day when Lyft will start to earn profits from its business. Lyft is targeting a valuation of $21-23 billion. Fidelity Capital Markets holds about 7% of the Lyft’s non-public shares.

Uber Is part of LUPA stocks

Uber is Lyft’s main rival in the ride-sharing industry. The last decade was pretty eventful for them. This ride-sharing app is funded by venture capital. Their first appearance on the market was under the name UberCab in 2009. They expanded their business internationally and now they have food delivery, trucking, and scooter rental included domestically. Uber is one of the biggest tech IPOs and became publicly traded since May 2019.

The early investors made millions, maybe even billions of dollars since the company came into the stock exchange. Anyway, their investment is increased in value.

This somewhat controversial company has many challenges. Uber market cap on August 30, 2019, was $55.69B. 

Honestly Uber, which is not posting profits, is an overvalued company.

LUPA Stocks

 

In Jun this year, Uber predicts that the value of its initial public offering will be from $44 to $50 per share. That would mean a valuation of up to $91 billion. But it is lower than $100 billion what was prior expected. Still, Uber is one of the highest offerings in history.

Uber has another problem. Their attitude toward drivers was the subject of many scatting news reports and even strikes.

Drivers have complained about their pay. The criticism of unfair labor practices has caused a public resentment toward the company. 

Shares of Uber were at $33.96 in mid-August, which was the lowest since the stock’s appearance in May. And Uber shares continued to slip and the shares dropped below $36. 

Pinterest is one of LUPA stocks

Pinterest, another one among LUPA stocks, is a popular photo-sharing social-media online platform.

The company claims that it has 250 million active users every month. The company started to be publicly traded in April this year and its stock price registered more than 28% rise on its first day of trading. The company’s stock started trading at $23.75, above the initial offering price of $19 and finished the day at $24.40 in April this year.

 

It will anyway be tough for this social media company to be able to be a real rival of Twitter or Facebook. However, Pinterest management has reaffirmed a much less competitive path to growth than its rivals. 

Their market cap is $18.68 billion and stocks are traded at $34.42 in August this year.

Airbnb is LUPA stock

The company was launched in 2008 and probably surpassed the founders’ expectations.

This popular short-term apartment rental platform has upset the whole travel industry. For example, the best example of how huge it can be is the case of New York. This city has limited Airbnb’s ability to operate. The powerful lobbying forces from the hotel industry caused that.  

This service has long been in the spotlight for an IPO. Now it looks the Airbnb is reading for its market debut. The company declared they made “substantially more” than $1 billion in revenue in the 3rd quarter of 2018. Some experts claim that the company’s profitability makes it a top candidate for the direct listing.

It looks that the Airbnb can be the next big play. And their IPO may happen in 2020.

Bottom line

These four companies are among the most important ‘unicorns’. All of these LUPA stocks are startup companies valued at more than $1 billion. LUPA stocks are interesting to investors who are currently willing to reward tech businesses that lose money. They already did so with Amazon or Netflix in their beginnings. LUPA has been able to develop their businesses with the support of venture capital and private investments. But the public markets are not so welcoming to them at the moment. The stock prices show that. Still, they are worth investing. Maybe now more than ever as their current low prices suggest large raises in the future. And the future currently belongs to the tech companies.

The Most Valuable AI Startups In Europe

2 min read

AI startups in Europe

The field of AI and MA is one of the most interesting businesses for European venture capital. From the beginning of this year, there were 323 VC contracts in Europe in these businesses. That brought almost $2.1 billion in total.

Much more than the last year.

The reason behind is that there are so many fields to apply AI technology.

This variety is seen in the top five most important European AI startups. Let’s take a look at them.

Graphcore (Valuation: $1.7 billion) 

This is one of the most valued AI startups in Europe. As a difference from the other companies, Graphcore is essentially involved in the hardware behind AI tech. This England-based unicorn develops a new-generation computer processor to hasten machine intelligence learning. Graphcore carries the highest valuation of AI startups in Europe. It reached $200 million Series D co-led by Atomico and Sofina.

Darktrace (Valuation: $1.65 billion) 

Based in the UK this cybersecurity startup utilizes AI and machine learning to examine and recognize security vulnerabilities and malicious traffic. Darktrace reached its current valuation when it raised a $50 million Series E led by Vitruvian Partners last September KKR and TenEleven Ventures also funded this startup

Meero (Valuation: $1 billion)

The France-based developer of an on-demand photography platform is one of two French startups on the list. It uses AI to quickly process digital images for customers in over 100 countries. Meero funded $230 million in a Series C co-led by Eurazeo and Prime Ventures. 

Iov42 (Valuation: €520 million)

This startup rides AI and Blockchain. Iov42 develops an AI-powered blockchain-operating platform that gives service to cryptocurrencies. Its latest investment was a €20 million Series C3. 

ContentSquare (Valuation: €276.8 million)

ContentSquare develops a platform that assists businesses to understand how and why clients are associating with their app, mobile and web sites. This Paris-based company applies a mixture of behavioral data, AI and big data to give automatic recommendations, measure content performance and understand visitor intentions. In January, the company raised a €52.55 million Series C led by Eurazeo. Highland Europe and Canaan Partners also funded it.

Bottom line

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an important sector for Europe and it can be a hack for economic growth. For some people, it still represents destructive robot troops that will wipe out humans.

As you can see it is worth business.

Technology, throughout history, has demonstrated to increase the productivity of countries creating new jobs. But instead, this technology is connected to the deadly robot troops.

We need a new tech generation. Yes, it is very expensive and not truly strong enough to make a notable impact on economies. But it absolutely will be

 

A.I. chip Ascend 910 - The New Huawei's Product

A.I. chip Ascend 910 – The New Huawei’s Product

2 min read

A.I. chip Ascend 910 - The New Huawei's Product

 

Despite the pressure from the U.S. government and a blacklist known as the Entity List, Huawei proofs ability to develop new technology. 

Huawei declared the market availability of an artificial intelligence chip Friday named A.I. chip Ascend 910. By putting it against Qualcomm and Nvidia, it shows resistance to U.S. pressure. 

This AI chip, named the Ascend 910, appeared in October last year. The usage of it is intended for data centers. Companies applying AI apps need tremendous volumes of data to raise smart algorithms. The whole process can last for weeks. Huawei declares that its chip can treat more data for a shorter time than its rivals and is able to end the whole process in a few minutes.

“We have been making steady progress since we announced our AI strategy in October last year,” Eric Xu, one of Huawei’s chairmen, stated in a press release. “Everything is moving forward according to plan, from R&D (research and development) to product launch. We promised a full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio. And today we delivered.”

Huawei is on a blacklist in the U.S. that limits American firms from doing business with this Chinese firm. But Huawei is connected with a lot of U.S. providers for key technology.

A.I. chip Ascend 910 despite the pressure

Taking the blacklist in view, Huawei has adjusted its works on homegrown technology. It recently released an operating system named HongmengOS, or on English HarmonyOS.

Huawei already gives cloud services. By selling the hardware with software altogether, Huawei is expecting to stimulate more expansion to its company. It is currently suffering a slowdown in its core networking program and hopes the new project could neutralize that slack.

China company will be represented with two AI chips in the market. The chip Ascend 910 and the other chip, already launched, called the Ascend 310l. Huawei is hoping that their products could play the main role against opponents such as Intel, Samsung, Qualcomm, Nvidia.

At the beginning of this month, Huawei has launched its own and new operating system called the HongmengOS (HarmonyOS).

The advantage of this operating system is that it can be used on smartphones, smart speakers and even sensors. It’s part of Huawei’s performance in the so-called Internet of Things, meaning devices connected to the internet.

HarmonyOS will first be practiced on televisions, which is Huawei’s plan. Later, this OS will be utilized in other devices, such as wearables and car head units.

At first, OS will originally launch in China but Huawei has the plan to expand it globally, said the CEO of Huawei’s tech consumer division, Richard Yu.

5G Opportunity For The Investing Big Time

4 min read

5G Opportunity For The Investing Big Time

 

It looks 5G is an investment opportunity that arrives very rare. So, it is a great opportunity for all who know how to recognize it. 

The biggest investors are already taking their place there. They are putting hundreds of billions of dollars in cell tower companies. 

For example, Bill Gates and George Soros. They both bought big positions in one cell tower company last year. Their example is followed by Paul Tudor Jones, Jim Simons, and D.E. Shaw. All of them rose their holdings on G5 stocks. Position Number 1 belongs to Warren Buffet, Carl Ichan, Paul Singer. They have been invested earlier.

The overall 5G industry is estimated at almost $12 trillion. 

And this is just beginning.

Masayoshi Son, the Korean-Japanese investor, believes that 5G is a bigger opportunity than Alibaba. For those who don’t know, he invested $20 million buying a 30% stake in Alibaba while it was just a small Chinese company. Today his investment is worth $108.7 billion. Would you like to calculate how many it is multiplied? To add more pain in your life, over 5,000 times. That’s how much his investment has grown over 28 years. 

And that investor said the 5G is a much bigger investment and it is “just the beginning” as he stated.

Masa Son holds 5G is crucial for technologies like robotics and AI. 

He’s already put $100 billion and he intends to invest $100 billion more every two years. Masa Son is investing his billions in 5G and the internet 3.0. 

How can you position your portfolio for this 5G volcanic growth?

You can invest in companies. 

No, Huawei is not a choice. You cannot trade Huawei because it is fully owned by company employees. The consequence is the company is not traded on the public market. So, you can’t invest in it. But keep an eye on this global second-largest smartphone producer. 

Qualcomm

But you can trade, for example, Qualcomm. Its CEO Steve Mollenkopf described 5G as a technological revolution that will have a great influence on our lives. He said this wireless network “will have an impact similar to the introduction of electricity.”

Yes, you can invest in Qualcomm.

As we already wrote, high-tech stocks are always a good choice. 

Qualcomm Inc. shares dropped a bit on Thursday in premarket trading.

 

 5G Opportunity For The Investing Big Time

 

Qualcomm develops wireless communication technologies, software, and chipsets for wireless network equipment and mobile devices. Its development strategy covers 4G, 5G and Wi-Fi technology. The company is very engaged in the development of 5G. 

Qualcomm market cap – $80.6 billion.

Ericsson

Also, you can invest in Swedish Ericsson. It is on the head of 5G hardware development. It participates in tests and research with mobile operators all over the world.

 

 

With Ericsson’s 5G radio prototype you have access to 5G wireless network.  It is included in real-world tests in the United States, South Korea, Japan, and its homeland. The prototypes combine a bunch of high-tech, like a new antenna and receiver, to provide 5G to existence. Ericsson pays attention to the development of 5G technology also sings continuous improvements in its 4G LTE equipment business.

Ericsson market cap – $26 billion.

Nokia

Nokia is a good choice too. 

 

5G Opportunity For The Investing Big Time

 

It is a Finnish telecommunications equipment and data networking company. It has begun high-level trial on new 5G access outputs.

It is valuable for global mobile operators. At the beginning of 2016, Nokia obtained a 91.8% control stake in Alcatel, a French telecom equipment company which has own high-level 5G development program. This acquisition may have a great influence on Nokia’s 5G development plans.

Market cap – $32.8 billion.

The bottom line

Cash in on the biggest investment chance since the electricity arrived. Wireless infrastructure stocks can make you rich as Midas. Just take advantage of 5G opportunity and invest in companies that are involved in developing or infrastructure. 

The early investors already did. Don’t waste your time.

Israeli UBQ Is Going To Save The Planet

Israeli UBQ Is Going To Save The Planet

3 min read

Israeli UBQ Is Going To Save The Planet

 

You have already been reading about socially responsible investing. Traders-paradise, also, wrote about it, you can find it if you join our Investing course

Socially responsible investing, you can find under the names: social investment, also as sustainable, socially conscious, “green” or ethical investing.

It is an investment strategy which tries to view both financial return and social or environmental good. That means to produce a positive change in both fields.

Socially responsible investors have different aims for their investments. But one thing is crucial, they always examine moral, human, environmental and governance standards as well as a financial return.

They are focused on companies which manage a business that have a socially positive impact.

They may venture investments, that will provide important social or environmental goods. To this corpus goes community development loan funds or portfolios with cleantech.

We found some interesting story in Jerusalem Post. It is all about socially responsible investing. 

Despite growing attempts to recycle rejected household goods, the final place where it ends is a non-regulated garbage dump. That may cause vast ecological problems. The methane and other very dangerous gases are delivered to the atmosphere. Yes, everyone is considered about it but there are not many companies that really take care of it.

One of them is Israeli UBQ. 

It is based in Kibbutz Tze’elim and founded last year. This company found the solution on how to convert the household garbage into “the thermoplastic material that can be used for commercial and industrial products instead of petroleum-based plastics.”, published in the Jerusalem Post. This fresh company already earned notable attention almost all over the world. 

“We have created a new natural resource from the household waste that ends up in landfills, avoiding its decomposition into harmful gases, while replacing scarce and expensive plastic materials made from oil,” UBQ co-founder and chief executive Jack (Tato) Bigio told The Jerusalem Post. “That’s a blessing to the industry. Many companies in the last 10 to 20 years have emerged with solutions that turn out to flop in one way or another. Never again,” he added.

What UBQ Materials exactly is doing?

Israeli UBQ Is Going To Save The Planet

 

“What UBQ is doing is taking all these valuable materials that are thrown away and bringing them back to life in an up-cycling way,” said Bigio. “We’re replacing a very expensive and scarce resource, and all of a sudden coming much closer to a truly circular economy. The value proposition is incredible.”

And here is the proportion: creating one ton of UBQ is equal to the melting of 35 sqm. of Arctic iceberg, or the seizure of almost 550 trees over 10 years old. For every ton of UBQ Material used, up to 15tons of CO2eq is saved.

Can you imagine?

UBQ’s international advisory board

The company’s scientific advisory board consists of Nobel Prize winner Prof. Roger Kornberg, nano-tech specialist Prof. Oded Shoseyov, patent practitioner Dr. Ilan Cohen, sustainability pioneer John Elkington, and here is also a former EU commissioner for climate action Connie Hedegaard.

And how this innovative technology is connected to investment?

“One of the first rules of sustainability is being cash-flow positive,” said UBQ chief sustainability officer Christopher Sveen. “If you want to change markets, you need to have an economic incentive. People will be incentivized by environmental propositions, but financial competitive nature accelerates the adoption cycles. We’re less expensive than plastics that come from oil.”

The first investors in UBQ are Sabra Dipping Co. founder Yehuda Pearl and Ajover Group CEO Albert Douer. Douer already owns 16 plastic factories in eight countries.

Why sustainable investments is so important?

The importance of sustainable investments is growing. The proponents of a sustainable investment strategy claim that they generate outperformance.

One thing is sure, the returns generated by socially responsible investing are bigger.

Socially responsible companies treat their employees in a good manner, produce healthy products.

In this type of business, investing is not just about getting a profit. It’s about raising of responsibility and sustainability.

Traders-Paradise found on their website: “UBQ envisions a world where finite resources are infinitely reused. In this way, we aim to help rescue the planet.”

The bottom line

Socially responsible investing enables you to invest your money in the right place. 

Invest in companies that are not going to destroy the environment. By investing in socially responsible businesses you’re keeping your plate clean and safe. Your food, your lives, your children’s lives depend on that. 

Moreover, you will earn more. Recently, some academic research revealed a strong connection between ESG and financial performance. Just because a company is building a more positive impact, that does not mean they are producing a less return.  Research has suggested that socially responsible focused companies are more sustainable in the long-term.

The statistic shows that 89% of investors in socially responsible companies claim these are meeting their return expectations. 

If you want to become a socially responsible investor, you should do that with a robo advisor. There are other ways, of course, but this is the easiest one.

Some of the most popular robo advisors have socially responsible investing tracks, focused on ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance). With as little as $50 investment you can start with a robo advisor focused completely on SRI.

Invisible E-Mail Tool Tracks You

Pixel trackers: Invisible e-mail tool tracks you

3 min read

Superhuman uses invisible pixel trackers

Is it sure that an app named Superhuman allows me to spy on people using their email?

Yes, it is true. If you have this app, meaning you pay that $30 per month, your new app automatically tracked every single recipient to whom you send an email. Moreover, you can see the recipient’s location. Superhuman uses invisible pixel trackers, revealed Mike Davidson, former VP of design at Twitter, on his blog. 

You’ve been spied too if your sender uses the same app.

What Superhuman was doing with email trackers is despite your intention. It did it thanks to tracking pixel.

What are the Pixel trackers?

Superhuman uses invisible pixel trackers

Let’s explain! Every image across the internet is stored on the server. While you browse, your computer automatically downloads them. Well, some artist found that automatically downloads can let the same servers to track you and follow you all over the web. Whatever you do, your downloads, your browsings. And emails are not excluded. These trackers provide your sender to see when you open the received message by stealing in an image. 

It’s so simple when you open a received email you practically open the image and download it. At the same moment, the server knows what are you doing and provide that information to the sender. You cannot lie you didn’t have time to open their messages. They know you did. That is exactly what tracking pixels do to you.

That is one problem. The other is how to spot them.

Tracking pixels could be found under the names: a web-beacon, web bug, tracking bug, tag, web tag, page tag, tracking pixel, pixel tag, said Wikipedia.

You will probably never see the tracking pixel with your eyes because they can really be an only 1 x 1-pixel image.

Usually, it is hidden someplace in an email or webpage. Moreover, they are transparent, so we can say they are totally invisible. And where to look for them? They can be anywhere from the sender’s name to the font they use.

Anything that delivers a request to a faraway server can be recognized as a tracking tool.

Are there additional sorts of pixels tracking us?

Maybe your phone via Google Pixel?

This was years old, we said that. So why to be upset about this old technology now?

Somewhat because a lot of people don’t understand that tracking pixels breathe. It’s okay, there is nothing wrong with that.

But when Twitter VP wrote a blog post he spotted that Superhuman was giving users information about people’s locations. And this tool did it just by transferring them an email by default.

So, what’s wrong to know if people have viewed your emails? You send them with such purpose, right?

All messaging apps have read receipts and they are helpful.

Messenger has something similar to tracking pixels. This means you and the recipient can certainly see whether your messages are being read or ignored. That’s okay, too.

But using Superhuman, we are allowing a complete stranger to have the ability to send us an email and force us to reveal our location every time we open that email. Moreover, without our permission and knowing. This sounds reasonably bad.

How do pixel trackers operate? How they can recognize our location?

Via IP addresses, probably. That tracking pixel from a server registers your IP address, that is how the internet knows where your computer is situated materially and digitally. And it isn’t so complicated for someone to find your home address by using your IP. Creepy, indeed. 

There is a potential danger.

For example, if it is so easy to reveal are you at home or not, you might become a victim of thefts.  

Spamming and phishing can utilize the system to know which email subjects force you to click. Do you really want to let some random character on the internet tracking your moves by sending some emails?

There is no need for triangulation the data. Your browser cookies can apparently pass along your online profile. Sounds scary, really.

Superhuman isn’t the only company practicing pixel trackers.

Gmail users are pretty safe because Google reroutes everything through its own proxy servers.

Tracking pixels will still know when you’ve read an email, but they will not be able to see your location or your profile because they can’t see your IP or cookies. All they can see is Google’s IP. 

TP found some good instruction on how to protect your privacy. Yes, you can always use browser extensions like Ugly Email and PixelBlock. They will find pixel trackers before you open your email. Moreover, they will eliminate them completely.

But, also, you can use this instruction How to Stop Email Tracking.

Meanwhile, Superhuman has issued an excuse, states it will no more track location, and will turn read receipts off by default, active immediately.

Keep your eyes on them, anyway.


Slack Technologies Inc rose 48% on Thursday after its Wall Street debut

Slack Technologies Inc rose 48% on Thursday after its Wall Street debut

2 min read

Slack Technologies Inc rose 48% on Thursday after its Wall Street debut

This start-up company started in a direct listing rather than an initial public offering.

The company decided to appear on a direct listing on the stock market, refusing the use of conventional advisers to manage the price of new stocks.

That initiated the chance of wild swings in the price. The traders always try to estimate where the shares force settle.

This increase in the share price placed the value of the company at $25bn.

In an interview on CNBC, Slack chief executive officer Stewart Butterfield said:

“The big thing for us was in the traditional IPO, it’s the company that’s offering shares, you might raise, you know, a billion dollars or something like that. When you raise a billion dollars, you dilute existing shareholders, by issuing new shares. So, we are not doing that. We’re just opening it up for trading.”

This approach takes some risk

We must say that listing shares straight brings some risks. For example, Slack chose not to engage underwriters to hold shares that a company is incapable to sell through its IPO to guarantee a triumphant debut.

Shares of Slack began trading above the $26 reference price. The price was settled by the NYSE. As of 1:23 p.m. ET, the shares were higher by 60.15% and jumped to $41.62. Still, the stock reversed to close the session with up $12.62, or 48.54% to $38.62 a share.

Slack is not the first company that chose this method. It is the second big tech firm to go the shortest path. Spotify used this way to appear to the market last year.

Slack is the unicorn

Slack is one of the unicorns that surpassed market expectations on their first day of trading. Beyond Meat (NASDAQ: BYND), Chewy (NYSE: CHWY), CrowdStrike (NASDAQ: CRWD), Fiverr (NYSE: FVRR), Pinterest (NYSE: PINS), and software company Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ: ZM) also went public in past several weeks and had solid debuts.

Following the example of many tech companies, Slack debuted with a dual-class structure. Class B shares holding 10 votes per share to consolidate voting power among its top shareholders. According to Slack’s prospectus, Accel is the largest shareholder at 24%. The other is Andreessen Horowitz with a 13.3% stake and Social Capital at 10.2%. Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield holds an 8.6% stake and SoftBank holds 7.3%.

Slack has never made a profit.

Although revenue rose 80% to $400m in 2018, losses were $144m.

Slack announced a net loss of $138.9 million on the income of $400.55 million for the last year. From the beginning of this year, Slack told it had over 10 million daily active users and that number of paid clients increase 49% year over year. Slack also has large growth from its highest-paying customers. Their customers pay over $100,000. The number of customers in that class increased 93% last year in comparison with fiscal 2018, according to the prospectus.

Slack’s profile

Slack Technologies Inc is a business technology company. Its offer is Slack app that supports people, devices, and data to cooperate and run the businesses.

Slack is useful to overcome communication and coordination works in order to manage the company’s activity. It provides to diversified industries: Engineering, IT, Customer Support, Project Management, Sales, Marketing and Human Resources.

Slack started as an in-house tool for Butterfield’s company Tiny Speck through the development of Glitch, an expired online game.

risk disclosure

Facebook’s Libra - Is it Cryptocurrency at all?

Facebook’s Libra – Is it Cryptocurrency at all?

2 min read

Facebook’s Libra - Is it Cryptocurrency at all?

Facebook finally announced its cryptocurrency plans. “Project Libra,” a new variety of digital money created for Facebook’s apps and social network users. That means we would be able to make purchasing and send the currency Libra on Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. Also, MasterCard, Uber, and Spotify should give such a possibility.

Some other merchants are involved too.

But, Libra isn’t as decentralized as a regular cryptocurrency. Hence we can talk about trust in new crypto. We all know that crypto is all about trust.

Satoshi Nakamoto wrote about the Bitcoin system. “The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that’s required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust.”

The basic sense of using crypto is that we don’t trust financial authority.

Libra is a totally Facebook project. Facebook experts created the blockchain and selected the associates that will handle it. Libra wallets will be installed in Facebook apps.

What does it mean?

The users must have trust in Facebook’s Libra.

 

After all, we experienced it? Don’t we? Facebook has a lot of problems with trust. But let’s stay with Libra.

Libra is announced as crypto, which should mean full decentralization. That is the power of cryptocurrencies. But Libra will be under Facebook’s control, under the control of one of the most powerful companies in the world. Can we still talk about the essence of crypto nature if Libra scores success in the future? From our point of view, it may be the end of one of the most important characteristics of cryptocurrencies – decentralization.

Further, this new crypto operates via licensed blockchain which will cause that the right to mine Libra will have only companies included in Libra Association. So, what we have there? Libra Association as a central bank? The developers tried to explain that as an intention to avoid Libra to use so much power needed for bitcoin mining. The nice intention, but at the same time, it will provide the Libra Association in controlling the currency’s stability supported by a reserve of bonds and liquid money.

Implementation of blockchain technology has sense. It will provide to clear transactions fast.

But, here is the point where the matter of trust in Facebook’s Libra arises.

If you don’t trust your local central banks, why should you trust Mastercard?

Libra will change its nature. It will not be permissioned forever, says separated document, where the further plans are revealed. Libra Association will be open to more members. After five years, Libra would switch to the permissionless mode. That would happen after some problems with scalability have been solved. Can you point any example that blockchain has ever gone from permissioned to permissionless? This explanation looks more like buying time to solve the problem in the hope that the future will bring the new solutions in technical improvements. That promise seems like a trick. Why?

When you start using the centrally managed blockchain you must face that users will not trust you.

This promise is actually selling the fog

Why? Unlike Bitcoin and other public blockchains, only foundation members will be permitted to run a node.

Facebook’s ambitious plan to bring cryptocurrency to the masses is recognized, and we don’t have a problem with that. But we have plenty of reasons to be skeptical. Why they are launching this crypto knowing that the problem of trust will arise? On what they are counting? Yes, they promise that the problem with centralized crypto will be solved later. So, if they are aware of it and know how to solve, why this rush? Guys, fix it, you already have a trustworthy model, just implement it.

Facebook did not present specifics regarding when and how users will get ahold of the currency. All we have is executives confirmation it will first be shared on Messenger and WhatsApp in 2020.

The company also said something about a new digital wallet called Calibra. The digital wallet will be managed by Facebook as a separate subsidiary. It will have the possibility for users to store and spend Libra.

Calibra won’t be accessible to the people for months

Moreover, this digital wallet will not show you the value in Libra currency, the value will be displayed in your local fiat. The design will be similar to Venmo.

According to David Marcus, who is on the head of Project Libra for Facebook, one of the main goals is to approach to 1.7 billion people globally who don’t have access to the banking system.

“It’s an anomaly that the Internet has no protocol for money,” Marcus said.

“You’ll see banks on this between now and next year, because if we bring on another billion people, they’ll need savings accounts, loans, and things banks are very good at,” Marcus says. Facebook also plans to reduce money transfer fees and transaction fees through Calibra.

The bottom line

As a conclusion, it is very questionable if the Libra is cryptocurrency at all. It will have a very strong connection with fiat. Moreover, it is backed by a reserve of low-risk assets to avoid volatility, as Facebook’s representatives explained. These “low-risk assets” are actually fiat: dollar, euro, Swiss coin.

The point is that we can transfer our dollars or whatever to Libra, but the amount will ever be shown in given fiat, never in Libra. So we couldn’t talk about true crypto. It is digital money only because it is not tangible.

And there is a wallet named Calibra where the Libra is supposed to be stored.

Behind this, according to some experts, this system could provide Facebook access to extremely large financial information. Having Facebook’s reputation on our mind, can we trust that such information will not be misused? With very strong reason we have some doubt.

On the other hand, we are dealing with the most powerful company in the world.

Is it worth to take part?

Libra can be useful for purchasing via FB apps and associates. We all can expect some discounts or something similar for users in order to promote the new digital money. And the other powerful participants are in play, as we mentioned above. So, for short term or periodical used, Libra is useful. As a long-term investment, we are not sure. But we are very sure that Facebook’s Libra is a manifestation of banks’ blemishes.

Images Credit: Libra Association official website


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