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TechCrunch

M1 Finance closes $45M Series C mere months after it raised its $33M Series B – TechCrunch

The Chicago-based fintech has seen its AUM pass $2B after reaching $1.45B this summer Just months after it announced a $33 million Series B, Chicago-based M1 Finance today disclosed a $45 Series C. The new financing event was led by Left Lane Capital, the same investor that led M1’s Series B. Bear in mind that so-called inside rounds are now a bullish sign in 2020, as opposed to in prior VC eras when they were viewed more cooly. Other M1 investors include Jump Capital, Clocktower Technology Ventures and Chicago Ventures, though only the first two appear to have taken part in this round. Per M1, the Series C comes just 120 days after it raised a Series B. A good question is why M1 has raised more capital, and why Left Lane Capital wanted to lead two rounds for the consumer-focused fintech provider. Going back to our prior coverage, we can figure it out. In February, we reported that M1 Finance had reached the $1 billion assets under management mark, or AUM. The startup combines three different traditional fintech services into one (roboadvising, neobanking and lending), allowing it to price the package aggressively. The model appears to be working. When M1 raised its Series B a few months later in June, it had reached the $1.45 billion AUM, or about 45% growth in just over a quarter. That’s very good. Today, the company announced that it has surpassed the $2 billion AUM mark, up more than 38% in the last four…Continue readingM1 Finance closes $45M Series C mere months after it raised its $33M Series B – TechCrunch

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Tech Radar

The new Arlo Ultra 2 security camera can record 4K footage for six months straight

Arlo is introducing two brand-new smart security cameras to its lineup today – the new Arlo Pro 4 and Arlo Ultra 2 which offer either a 2K or 4K resolution, respectively, with a six-month battery life for both. The big change this time around is that the Pro 4 will be a standalone camera – i.e. you won’t need an Arlo hub in order to use it – while the Ultra 2 now offers improved range, making it a great pick for large properties. Unfortunately, it sounds like the latter still needs a hub to use. Both cameras are wire-free and are powered by a rechargeable battery, and they work with most major smart home platforms including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT.  A standalone Arlo Pro 4 will cost $199.99 while the Arlo Ultra 2 will be available in one-, two-, and four-camera kits with the hub starting at $299.99. Arlo Pro vs Arlo Ultra: what’s the difference?  Mostly, it all comes down to resolution. The Pro series has always been the more affordable of the two, and therefore makes some compromises in resolution and field-of-view, but otherwise shares most of the same features.  Namely, those features include Arlo’s neat Color Night Mode feature that uses a proprietary algorithm to recreate color details in clothing to help identify possible intruders, and it’s got a high level of weather-resistance to boot.  We’re big fans of both the Arlo Pro 3 and Arlo Ultra, so we have high hopes for their…Continue readingThe new Arlo Ultra 2 security camera can record 4K footage for six months straight

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Tech Radar

Amazon Kindle Unlimited is free for 3 months ahead of Prime Day deals

If you’ve been holding off on an Amazon Kindle Unlimited free trial until Amazon Prime Day deals launch, you’re in luck. Ahead of the big event, you’ll find a fantastic three month trial offer available for Prime members, well ahead of Amazon Prime Day itself. That means you can pore through every Kindle Unlimited book you can fix your eyes on for absolutely nothing.  That’s an excellent offer, and well timed for anyone looking to relax with a good book as the weather starts to turn. We’ve seen Kindle Unlimited free trials like this only a handful of times before, most notably in the holiday shopping season last year, so it’s not everyday you get an opportunity like this. You don’t need a Kindle to use the service, either, with the iOS and Android app fully capable of the Amazon e-reading experience. Not only that, but Prime members in the US can also pick up two free Kindle books on top. Not all Kindle titles are included in the Unlimited library, so being able to choose some titles from the First Reads program is a definite bonus. You’ll find more information on both these offers just below, and there’s plenty of Kindle Unlimited free trial information right here on TechRadar as well.  Amazon Prime: 30 day free trial at AmazonYou’ll need Amazon Prime to take advantage of the upcoming Prime Day sales, so grab this 30 day free trial to make sure you can participate in the savings without having…Continue readingAmazon Kindle Unlimited is free for 3 months ahead of Prime Day deals

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Tech Radar

Charge your Nintendo Switch every six months or you might damage it – here’s why

When was the last time you charged your Nintendo Switch? If it’s been longer than a few months, you might want to give it some juice as soon as possible. Nintendo of Japan’s customer service Twitter account has urged owners of its hybrid console to “please charge [your battery] every six months.” This is to prevent the battery from becoming “unchargeable if it has not been charged or used for too long”, and will hopefully prevent issues such as battery swell and other issues that can arise after a prolonged lack of use. This problem isn’t solely isolated to the Nintendo Switch, of course. Any device that has a built-in or rechargeable battery can degrade if it hasn’t been used for a prolonged period of time. We saw a similar issue occur with Sony PSP models that were left unused for many months (if not years). There’s no need to panic if you use your Switch regularly or always leave it in the dock, then. However, Nintendo Switch Lite owners who may have stashed the handheld-only model away somewhere should take note to not neglect their device for too long. Game on If you haven’t dusted off your Switch for a while, there are plenty of good reasons to turn it on. Animal Crossing: New Horizons Halloween event is well underway, and Super Mario 3D All-Stars lets you play Super Mario Galaxy anytime, anywhere. Nintendo recently announced Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, too, a hack ‘n slash prequel to The…Continue readingCharge your Nintendo Switch every six months or you might damage it – here’s why

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The Next Web

Remember FarmVille? It’s officially shutting down in 3 months

FarmVille, one of the first of Facebook‘s staple games, is shutting down after 11 years. While FarmVille was a contentious part of Facebook, it was nevertheless one of the platform’s earliest gaming successes. So this is the end of an era — whether a good or bad one is entirely dependent upon whether you played FarmVille back in the day. The game is being put out to pasture (lol) because Facebook is ending its support of Flash-based games at the end of the year. According to creator Zynga, in-game purchases will be available until November 17, and it’s planning some in-game events “designed to make your remaining time with FarmVille even more enjoyable” which… wow, that sounds unexpectedly melancholic. There was a time FarmVille was a staple of life on Facebook. Either you played it or you knew someone who did. The game would flood your news feed with FarmVille happenings, whether you wanted it to or not. FarmVille‘s popularity really cannot be overstated. At its peak, it accounted for as much as 10 percent of Facebook‘s revenue, with player counts surpassing 80 million a few months after its launch. It’s nowhere near as popular as it once was, having been supplanted years ago as the byword for “that one game your parents or kid cousins can’t stop playing” by the likes of Candy Crush or Fortnite respectively. It was a game designed to get you hooked, and Zynga built a behemoth on ensnaring a new demographic of gamers who didn’t fully understand how addictive these types of games could be.…Continue readingRemember FarmVille? It’s officially shutting down in 3 months

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Mashable

‘Contagion’ hits different 6 months into the pandemic

In retrospect, I should have realized Contagion would not be an easy watch in the middle of a pandemic. But I’d noticed the calendar creeping on up six months since “it all” began — since the day Tom Hanks announced he’d caught the virus, the NBA suspended its season, and a whole lot of Americans realized the disease had really and truly come for us. I wanted to do something to mark half a year spent hiding in my apartment, scrubbing my hands, and fearing the outside world, and with nothing else to do, I looked to the movie so many others had turned to at the start of the pandemic. I’d seen Contagion before, back when it first came out in 2011. It was a fun thought experiment at the time, a thrillingly plausible what-if about a scenario I knew was technically possible, but still couldn’t quite bring myself to believe might actually come to pass. Now that it had, I thought it’d be interesting to revisit it. I figured I’d nod along at what it got right and roll my eyes at what it got wrong, and maybe even come away with a nugget or two of wisdom, and I did What I wasn’t prepared for was the emotional bruising. For the most part, I’ve been lucky these past several months: Unlike so many others, I hadn’t lost my job or my home, seen loved ones fall ill, or become sick myself. All I’d really had to contend…Continue reading‘Contagion’ hits different 6 months into the pandemic

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VentureBeat

Xanadu launches quantum cloud platform, plans to double qubits every 6 months

Quantum computing startup Xanadu today launched its quantum cloud platform. Developers can now access Xanadu’s gate-based photonic quantum processors with 8-qubit or 12-qubit chips — 24-qubit chips will be available “in the next month or so,” Xanadu founder and CEO Christian Weedbrook told VentureBeat. The startup expects to “roughly double” the number of qubits available in its cloud every six months. The hope is Xanadu Quantum Cloud will let developers, businesses, and researchers build novel solutions to problems in finance, quantum chemistry, machine learning, and graph analytics. Quantum computing leverages qubits (unlike bits that can only be in a state of 0 or 1, qubits can also be in a superposition of the two) to perform computations that would be much more difficult for a classical computer. Based in Toronto, Canada, Xanadu has been developing quantum computers based on photonics since its founding in September 2016. The choice of technology means Xanadu’s quantum processors operate at room temperature (many other examples of quantum computing tech have to be cooled to very low temperatures) and can be integrated into existing fiber optic-based telecommunication infrastructure. Xanadu is best known for the development of PennyLane, an open source software library for quantum machine learning, quantum computing, and quantum chemistry. The company also develops Strawberry Fields, its cross-platform Python library for simulating and executing programs on quantum photonic hardware. Both open source tools are available on GitHub and have a growing community fostering tutorials and educational materials for anyone interested in developing and experimenting…Continue readingXanadu launches quantum cloud platform, plans to double qubits every 6 months

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VentureBeat

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer quits after less than 3 months

(Reuters) – TikTok Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mayer has left the company, less than three months after he joined the hit short video app, and U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas will replace him on an interim basis, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters. The development comes days after TikTok sued the Trump administration over an executive order banning transactions in the United States with the popular short-form video-sharing app. Mayer was Walt Disney’s top streaming executive before he joined TikTok on June 1. He was also appointed as chief operating officer of TikTok’s Chinese parent, ByteDance at the time. “In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for,” Mayer said in the letter. “Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company.” TikTok, in an emailed statement, confirmed the departure and said that the political dynamics of the last few months had “significantly changed” the scope of Mayer’s role. ByteDance’s founder and CEO Zhang Yiming said in a separate letter that the company was “moving quickly to find resolutions to the issues that we face globally, particularly in the U.S. and India.” He said Mayer had joined the firm just as it was “entering arguably our…Continue readingTikTok CEO Kevin Mayer quits after less than 3 months

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Engadget

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer quits just three months after taking the job

When Kevin Mayer left Disney’s direct to consumer operations and took over as CEO of TikTok in May, he probably didn’t foresee the company becoming such a popular target of politicians, specifically the president. Now, just three months later, and in the middle of a government-forced sale-or-shut down process, the Financial Times reports Mayer told TikTok employees in a letter that he’s stepping down. In the interim, current TikTok general manager Vanessa Pappas will lead the company. In a statement, a TikTok spokesperson said to Engadget, “We appreciate that the political dynamics of the last few months have significantly changed what the scope of Kevin’s role would be going forward, and fully respect his decision. We thank him for his time at the company and wish him well.” Source linkContinue readingTikTok CEO Kevin Mayer quits just three months after taking the job

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The Verge

TikTok collected MAC addresses for 15 months on its Android app

TikTok’s Android app collected users’ MAC addresses for 18 months in violation of the platform rules, as discovered by a Wall Street Journal investigation on Tuesday. The addresses would have served as a unique identifier for each user’s device, making them valuable for both advertising and potentially more invasive forms of tracking. By 2015, both iOS’s App Store and the Google Play Store had banned the collection of MAC addresses as a matter of policy, but TikTok was still able to obtain the identifier through a loophole. A study cited by the Journal found that nearly 350 apps on the Google Play Store had taken advantage of a similar loophole, generally for ad-targeting purposes. TikTok discontinued the practice in November of last year, a shift in policy the Journal attributes to mounting political pressure from Washington. The revelation comes at a delicate time for TikTok, which is facing difficult questions from the White House over its Chinese parent company’s level of access to US user data. Last week, the White House issued an executive order to cut off all US transactions with the company, beginning September 20th, if it is not able to complete a sale of its US operations by that time. The company is currently in talks with Microsoft, but it is unclear how far the deal will proceed. The Journal findings cut against the best argument in TikTok’s defense, that the system doesn’t collect any more data than a standard mobile app. While most often used for…Continue readingTikTok collected MAC addresses for 15 months on its Android app