Technology

Technology

Apple Watch Series 4 is the most accessible watch yet

Steven Aquino Contributor Steven Aquino is a freelance tech writer and iOS accessibility expert. More posts by this contributor The accessibility of the iPhone XS Max At Apple’s WWDC 2018, accessibility pervades all  Every time I ponder the impact Apple Watch has had on my life, my mind always goes to Matthew Panzarino’s piece published prior to the device’s launch in 2015. In it, Panzarino writes about how using Apple Watch saves time; as a “satellite” to your iPhone, the Watch can discreetly deliver messages without you having to disengage from moments to attend to your phone. In the three years I’ve worn an Apple Watch, I’ve found this to be true. Like anyone nowadays, my iPhone is the foremost computing device in my life, but the addition of the Watch has somewhat deadened the reflex t...

Apply for free tickets to Startup Battlefield Latin America 2018

We’re just a few short weeks away from the inaugural Startup Battlefield Latin America 2018 that takes place November 8 at the Tomie Ohtake Institute in São Paulo, Brazil. That’s when up to 15 of Latin America’s exceptional early-stage startup founders will launch their companies to the world as they compete for cash, glory and investor love. It promises to be a fierce competition, and we want you to come revel in the excitement, the knowledge-sharing, the networking and the opportunities. Best of all, spectator tickets are free — simply apply right here. We’ll select people in the Latin American startup scene on a first-come-first-served basis. We’ll notify all ticket winners via email. Here’s how the Startup Battlefield format works. During three preliminary rounds, up to five startups p...

Early-bird pricing to Disrupt Berlin 2018 flies away in four days

Die uhr tickt, menschen — the clock is ticking, people. Early-bird pricing on passes to Disrupt Berlin 2018 migrates to parts unknown in just four days. If you want to join us at the Arena Berlin on 29-30 November — and save up to €500 in the process — you need to buy your pass before the 24 October deadline. Thousands of people across Europe and beyond — founders, investors, marketers, technologists, coders, hackers — arrive ready to dive deep into the subject they love most: tech startups. Disrupt Berlin is always an exciting adventure, and we’re pumped about this year’s lineup of speakers and events. Here’s just a quick sample of the speakers who will grace the Main Stage to share their stories and perspectives: Lucas di Grassi, former F1 driver and current CEO of Roborace, will discuss...

Gearing up to step into virtual reality

Makula Dunbar Contributor More posts by this contributor 5 apps and services for productivity and wellness The best gear for starting a small business Editor’s note: This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and TechCrunch may earn affiliate commissions. For the past two years, we’ve been closely following the advances of new VR experiences. Much of this gear is still in development, but if you’re eager to dive in and get a sense of what’s available right now, we’ve put together our current recommendations for mobile, PC, console and budget VR headsets. The Oculus Go is light enough to wear comfortably, but it’s still a bit front-heavy. (Photo: Signe Brewster)                           Standal...

In State Tectonics, an explosive ending for the future of democracy

An omnipotent data infrastructure and knowledge-sharing tech organization has spread across the planet. Global conspiracies to disseminate propaganda and rig elections are ever present. Algorithms determine what people see as objective truth, and terrorist organizations gird to bring down the monopoly on information. Malka Older faces a problem few speculative science fiction authors face in their lifetimes: having their work become a blueprint for reality. The author, who began formulating her Centenal Cycle series just a few years ago, now finds that her plots have leapt off the page and have become the daily fodder for cable news programs and Congressional investigations. Her universe is set decades into the future, but history is accelerating, and decades into the future can now mean 2...

Khashoggi’s fate shows the flip side of the surveillance state

It’s been over five years since NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden lifted the lid on government mass surveillance programs, revealing, in unprecedented detail, quite how deep the rabbit hole goes thanks to the spread of commercial software and connectivity enabling a bottomless intelligence-gathering philosophy of ‘bag it all’. Yet technology’s onward march has hardly broken its stride. Government spying practices are perhaps more scrutinized, as a result of awkward questions about out-of-date legal oversight regimes. Though whether the resulting legislative updates, putting an official stamp of approval on bulk and/or warrantless collection as a state spying tool, have put Snowden’s ethical concerns to bed seems doubtful — albeit, it depends on who you ask. The UK’s post-Snowden Investigato...

Early-stage SaaS VC slip snaps recovery as public software stocks soar

A few months ago, Crunchbase News reported that a longstanding period of SaaS investment stagnation had come to an end. However, the investment boom times didn’t necessarily carry over to the seed and early-stage end of the subscription software businesses. The chart below displays deal and dollar volume of seed and early-stage venture investments1 made into companies from around the world in Crunchbase’s SaaS category. Note that it is subject to historically documented reporting delays, which are most pronounced in seed and early-stage deals. As can be plainly seen that Q3 2018 took quite a turn in terms of investment into SaaS. And it’s a bit bewildering as to why. Overall, the venture market in Q3 hit record heights, and nearly every stage of investment saw more dollars and more rounds....

China is funding the future of American biotech

Silicon Valley is in the midst of a health craze, and it is being driven by “Eastern” medicine. It’s been a record year for US medical investing, but investors in Beijing and Shanghai are now increasingly leading the largest deals for US life science and biotech companies. In fact, Chinese venture firms have invested more this year into life science and biotech in the US than they have back home, providing financing for over 300 US-based companies, per Pitchbook. That’s the story at Viela Bio, a Maryland-based company exploring treatments for inflammation and autoimmune diseases, which raised a $250 million Series A led by three Chinese firms. Chinese capital’s newfound appetite also flows into the mainland. Business is booming for Chinese medical startups, who are also seeing the stronges...

A Twitter employee groomed by the Saudi government prompted 2015 state-sponsored hacking warning

An explosive report in The New York Times this weekend sheds new light on the apparent targeting of Twitter accounts by “state-sponsored actors” three years ago. It comes in the wake of the confirmed death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Friday, two weeks after he disappeared in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi had long been a target of a Saudi troll army, according to the report, which employed hundreds of people to stifle the speech of government critics, like Khashoggi, who left the kingdom to live and work in the United States. But the troll farm is said to be one part of a wider scheme by the Saudi leadership to surveil critics and dissidents. According to the report, Western intelligence officials told Twitter that one of its employees, a Saudi national, wa...

Free societies face emerging, existential threats from technology

Bilal Zuberi Contributor Bilal Zuberi is a partner at Lux Capital, and is on the boards of Evolv Technology, CyPhy Technologies, and Nozomi Networks, among others. Silicon Valley is currently, and correctly, under fire for the failure of leading platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter to protect against the spread of disinformation, hate speech and efforts to disrupt our elections. I don’t know why these companies behaved as they did. But whatever the reason – naiveté, excessive focus on near-term profits, or simply a lack of proper attention on mind-numbingly complex problems – it’s clear they have to do a better job of making sure technology makes our world safer, freer and more stable rather than the opposite. But it’s not just these big companies that need to up their game. As v...

Hackers breach Healthcare.gov system, taking files on 75,000 people

A government system used by insurance agents and brokers to help customers sign up for healthcare plans was breached, allowing hackers to siphon off sensitive and personal data on 75,000 people. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services confirmed the breach in a late Friday announcement, but revealed few details about the contents of the files stolen. The hacked system was connected to the Healthcare.gov website, the front-facing portal for anyone signing up for an insurance plan under former President Obama’s healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act. Hackers targeted the behind-the-scenes system that insurance agents used to help customers directly enroll in new plans, and not the consumer Healthcare.gov site itself.  In order to sign up for healthcare plans, customers have to give ov...

Alumni Ventures Group is the most active venture fund you’ve never heard of

Alumni Ventures Group’s (AVG) limited partners aren’t endowment or pension funds. Its typical LP is a heart surgeon in Des Moines, Iowa. The firm has both an unorthodox model of fundraising and dealmaking. Across 25 micro funds, AVG is raising and investing upwards of $200 million per year for and in tech startups. Tucked away in Boston, far from the limelight of Silicon Valley, few seem to be paying attention to AVG. There are a few reasons why, and those seem to be working to the firm’s advantage. Today, AVG is announcing a close of roughly $30 million for three additional funds: Green D Ventures, Chestnut Street Ventures and Purple Arch Ventures, which represent capital committed by Dartmouth, the University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern alums, respectively. “People don’t really know...