Tech Giant Cisco Purchases AppDynamics Ahead of IPO

Before AppDynamics could enter the IPO market, it was acquired by tech giant Cisco, upsetting the plans of many that were waiting for the company to hit the market. AppDynamics is a smart business that gives companies the ability to monitor the performance of their applications, a vital tool in the digital age.


Cisco acquired the company for 3.7 billion dollars, a huge purchase in today’s market when new and better is always a day away. The acquisition comes as a huge surprise because Cisco just made another large purchase in the tech industry. What is surprising is that all of the new purchases that are being made are rapidly changing Cisco’s portfolio and traditional business.


Tech insiders see all the purchases as being linked to the hardware networking that Cisco is best known for. You can no longer just create a product, but need to understand how it works and functions within the industry that it has been created for. This is where acquisitions like AppDynamics make sense because it brings the two worlds of a single product together.


Insiders suggest that AppDynamics was already open to an acquisition, and even setting itself up for a purchase when it began announcing its move to the IPO market. Doing this is a great way to establish a market value for a company or brand and potential companies are more likely to approach the negotiating table.


With AppDynamics in its portfolio, Cisco is better able to provide its customer base with even more services to realize business growth. Apps are necessary to every brand, especially tech brands, because mobile device and tech users expect to connect with companies through customized means as soon as they start interacting with a brand.


There is plenty of competition for app monitoring services, but with this new acquisition by Cisco, AppDynamics has placed itself in an even better position in the market than it already was and now has the attention of a huge client base.


Five States to Legalize Electronic Devices Repair

Legislators in five states have indicated their interest to introduce a law that would enable the right to repair electronic which will make manufacturers sell the parts of their products to the independent electronic repair experts shops if the law is passed it will also make their diagnostic and service manual accessible to the public. Another purpose of the bill is to control the authorized repair shop that is also used by the manufacturers to establish an after-market monopoly. For instance, Apple has never given any licenses to the independent companies to repair iPhones though several companies did repair its products on regular basis.



These independent repair shops do so under the radar of the law. They go for the product that is the counterfeit from the Chinese market or finding parts from the recycled devices. Previously the Homeland Security department raided the premises without their knowledge of the sold counterfeit parts. Considering that many parts of the commodity have been communized this is a confusing distinction. Though the main concern is as a result of the iPhone there other electronic gadgets that have been targeted by the new legislation such as the servers, cameras the Internet of Things devices as well as other devices that make use of the software, they have all had their issues with the right to repair. This has been made possible by the companies making their products parts difficult to buy as well as imposing the artificial software lockdown on the diagnostic system of the devices.



The states that begun this process are Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Kansas, and Minnesota. One of the reasons for passing the bill is the fact that few licensed channel results to overpriced repair prices and a large number of overturn of the electronic items. Another reason that validates this bill is a large number of the electronic waste that is brought about by the lack of the capability by the owners of the devices to afford the repair the broken parts of the electronics.



This bill not only affect the independent repair firms; the repair parts and diagnostic manual will also be accessible to the consumers thus making it easier to repair their own electronic devices. The bill is being sponsored by the a small lobby group made up repair companies.




New Way For iOS App Developers to Respond to Their Users

When the iOS 10.3 is finally released it will become with the capability for the developers to respond to the customer feedback. This was announced in the release notes came out with the firmware’s beta build. Apple anticipates that their new improvement for the feedback infrastructure is in high demand and it is what the developer community has been looking for. Android platform has had this feature for quite some time now.



This new feature on the Apple iOS is a new way for the platform to monitor the App Store reviews and rating. It can also be viewed as an as the expansion of the iOS developer community that includes those who have been dissatisfied with the way that the stores handle the instances such as how the Dev Dash app got so disorganized as a result of the discrepancies of the customer rating.



The ability for the developer to respond to the rating and reviews of the customer is important since they can explain the issues or clarify what led to the customer’s dissatisfaction not for those customers who are being responded to but for the customer who might have experienced the same problem. This is particularly important for instances where the customer may have misunderstood some of the app’s features or they may be reporting a bug that has already been fixed by the current version.



This update is going to benefit the users as well. This would translate to the fact that the users are no longer going to need to email the developers for an issue that require a quick update, for instance, paid items not showing up in the app. Apple revealed that the new feedback will be implemented for the Mac App Store probably in the anticipated release of the 10.13 upgrade that is expected released in June. The current MacOS update is 10.12.3 that released this month.



In addition, the iOS trial version is releasing with a relating feature that goes a long way to enhance user experience. A developer has the ability to do this with the current system. The can request the user to rate the app however upon the user accepting to rate the app they will be directed to the App Store to rate the app. iOS will do away with this process enabling them to do all this without leaving the app.




Robots taking form in 2017

2017 could be a year that takes leaps forward in the robot world. Whether its social robots, humanoid type of robots, or monolithic robots, the trend of having assistance and gaining information through a robotic form is appealing to many. Interactions that are happening between humans and their robot counterparts are contributing to the growth of artificial intelligence in the ever-elusive market for humanoids. The different models on the market range from Amazons “Alexa,” which takes a cylindrical form built into a speaker and to Hanson Robotics’ “Sophia” that looks like a mannequin from a JC Penny store.


The shape of these new robots is an interesting topic that many manufactures are taking to heart. Do people want a robot that has elbows, ears, and eyebrows? Or are potential robots better off without human characteristics? Branch Creative, an industrial design and branding company, is working to design the perfect template for a robot. Co-founder Nick Cronan states, “Just by moving things a few millimeters, it went from looking like a dumb robot to a curious robot to a mean robot. It became a discussion of, how do we make something that’s always looking optimistic and open to listen to you?” In the months to come, the robot will evolve to what is most popular in the market. Will people prefer a robot that looks like an animal, or a human? Should the robot move? Maybe people will be happy with a robot that is simply informative and easy to access. Or perhaps people want a robot that thinks, has emotions, and can help you unpack your groceries.


Shyam Sundar, director of Media Effects Research Lab at Penn State, says that for the advocates of a Sci-Fi like robot such as C-3P0 that there is potentially a lot of troubleshooting. Sundar says that when a robot has to many human like features, than people have an unrealistic idea of what the robot is programmed to perform. 2017 will feature a new wave of robots that will sure to be a new trend by the years end. If robots can progress how cell phones have in the last 10 years, we will be sure to see some major advances.




The Downfall of Fake News

Google is the biggest in the game when it comes to the internet, and that makes it the go to source to display advertisements on. Ever since the presidential debates and people complaining about fake news on Facebook, Google is now focusing on all of the bots and spam that display on its ad network and have already taken down more than 1.7 billion ads that violate policies in 2016, 5 million coming from payday loan scams alone. This is more than double of what they took down in 2015.


They’ve shifted from focusing on specific topics to creating bots that detect clickbait. Clickbaiting as Google describes are ads that are presented as shocking fake news just to get someone to click on their link. They usually consists of counterfeit products, loans, and more.


This is only the beginning though, as they’ve only caught around 1,200 accounts that have been displaying fake ads. Ever since word got out, more and more people are spreading fake news and it’s gaining popularity. Not only that, Google announced that people have been finding ways to trick their systems so that they can’t be detected. They’ve stated that it’s crucial to keep battling the scammers to have an open web for everyone.


Not only that, they’ve teamed up with Netflix and Ting to fight for net neutrality. For fifteen years now, state laws just let internet service providers like Comcast and Bright House write all of their internet laws for them. This let’s them make unfair laws that actually leech how much internet you’re getting and makes it so that users lose their privacy.


The unjust laws are a big part of the reason why people are allowed to place fake ads on some networks. With the combined power of Ting and Netflix, Google is hoping to persuade internet services providers to change their laws so that it’s more fair for citizens and the rest of the world.


Tesla Committed To Bring Fully Self-Driving Capability to Its Vehicle In The Near Future

Tesla world leading manufacturer of electric cars has always released groundbreaking technologies in the past. One of the most prominent technologies is the Tesla’s software timeline is autonomous driving. In the technology, there is enhanced autopilot that gives unique features and the full self-driving capability that regardless of its name it will not have a self-driving capability for a while, however, it could be beneficial to the royal Tesla drivers very soon.



In the past, Tesla had stated that it would be introducing the enhanced autopilot in December 2016 that was late because Tesla begun introducing is just recently, followed by updates every few months or weeks in the anticipation of the fully self-driving capability in the end of 2017.



This feature would be accessible to certain Tesla owners in the relation to the validation and regulatory permissions in various jurisdictions. For instance, the Michigan passed a law that would make it possible for the self-driving vehicles to be permitted in the public after passing the test.



Currently, Tesla sells the Enhanced Autopilot as well as Full Self-Driving ability. The Full Self-Driving will only be useful at least towards the end of 2017, a potential Tesla driver can save few dollars while buying the car this is because Tesla charges premium for activating this feature after delivery, apart from this there are other added advantages of but this feature, prior to Tesla is fully capable of delivering self-driving system.



The Tesla vehicles have 8 cameras, 1 radar, and 360-degress ultrasonic hardware suites, during the Enhanced Autopilot only have the cameras are enabled while the customers get the rest once they buy the Full Self-Driving functionality. Tesla believes that their Full Self-Driving that utilizes all the eight camera of the car is twice as good as the day to day average driver. Thus drivers should be a position to experience the difference between the technologies prior to Tesla introducing the level five autopilot in a vehicle.



Though there no available fully autonomous vehicle among the Tesla fleet. Tesla has begun introducing the initial stage of the Enhance Autopilot that is not as similar to the first generation of the autonomous system. However, the company makes continuous improvements with the help of the information that is sourced from the owners who has chosen the Full Self-Driving functionality above of the Enhanced Autopilot, these drivers will begin experiencing some improvement thus making full use of the hardware.

The Positive Impact of Solar Energy

The energy sector has no doubt been a point of contention in the USA in the past few years. The industry is divided into different areas with the most common ones been solar, coal, gas, and oil energy. However, with all of these options to choose from, the solar energy has no doubt been on the forefront in providing energy and power in various industries and homesteads in the country.

Solar energy has employed more people in the USA as compared to gas, oil, and coal combined. According to a report released by the US Department of Energy (DOE), a large chunk of employees in the energy sector are employed by the solar energy The electric power generation, on the other hand, comes in second while the wind energy comes in third. Coal which used to be the main contender in power generation and employment has declined drastically in the past 10 years.

Based on the report, in the year 2015-2016, solar energy employed a record 374,000 people which loosely translates to 43% of the total workforce in the energy sector. On the other hand, the traditional energy produced by fossils had a combined employment percentage of only 22% as compared to the past few years where the fossil industry was the leader in providing energy and employment. This clearly shows that solar energy has been the power of choice in many households and industries at large.

According to the report, a total of 6.4 million Americans are currently employed in the energy sector. This is an increase of more than 300,000 jobs as previously recorded and reported in the year 2015. Apart from this, a total of 80,000 people were employed in the solar energy sector in the year 2016 alone.

Though the energy industry has been promising in the USA, it remains to be seen what will come out of it when you consider the fact that President Trump made it clear that he does not support renewable energy resources. This eventually became official after the President hinted about the removal of the Climate Protection Plan which was signed into action by the former President Barrack Obama. With the current change in administration, it remains to be seen what will become of the solar energy in the coming years.


Tesla Moving Rapidly Towards Full Self-Driving

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has stated that in three to six months the first “Full Self-Driving Capability” features will be offered. Achieving truly full self-driving capabilities will take significantly longer, but this will be an important step.


In October 2014, Tesla first started producing cars with the hardware capable for what it calls “Autopilot.” With an over the-air-software update, one year later, Tesla Autopilot was enabled. Among other things, Autopilot completely controls the steering, acceleration and braking when driving on the highway. After an investigation, the United States Department of Transportation recently found that Tesla vehicles with Autopilot installed are 40% less likely to crash than those without Autopilot installed.


The next major improvement came again one year later in October 2016 with the announcement that all new cars would be equipped with Autopilot 2.0 hardware. Autopilot 2.0 hardware differs from 1.0 hardware in that it contains 40 times more computational power, eight cameras instead of one, better radar and better ultrasonic sensors. As a result, Tesla claims that the new hardware will be capable of full-self driving, provided that the vehicle’s software is fully sufficient.


With the new hardware, Tesla began offering two different levels of software. The first is “Enhanced Autopilot,” which will improve substantially upon current Autopilot, but only make use of four of the cameras. This option is offered for $5000. To enable all eight cameras “Full Self-Driving Capability” must be purchased for an additional $3000. This is required for a Tesla to eventually be capable of driving anywhere without any human intervention.


Unfortunately, Tesla vehicles with Autopilot 2.0 hardware still do not yet have quite as many Autopilot capabilities as vehicles with Autopilot 1.0 hardware. Autopilot software relies heavily on deep learning techniques which require considerable amounts of data. As Tesla receives more and more data from its fleet of Autopilot 2.0 hardware containing vehicles, the Autopilot software is automatically improved. Tesla has stated that Autopilot 2.0 containing vehicles will soon have all features that Autopilot 1.0 vehicles currently have. Then in just three to six months features beyond what Tesla even considers “Enhanced Autopilot” will start to be enabled. By the end of 2017 Tesla plans to drive from Los Angeles to New York with no driver intervention.


Travel Startup Lola Raises $15m in Latest VC Round

Lola, a unique “human-powered” travel app start up, has already raised $15 million in its most recent round of funding. The company was founded in 2015 by former Kayak CTO Paul English. Lola has raised $34 million in all, and English is planning on combining extra-mile human service with AI recommendations to create a one-of-a-kind experience.

The app has a simple but powerful premise. Lola matches users with human travel agents who help customers with all of their needs, from plane tickets to rental cars. English is betting that Lola will be a high-tech way to bring personal service back to the travel booking process while retaining the convenience and cost-effectiveness of shopping online. The on-demand and real-time service would be especially useful to travelers facing emergency situations and short time-frames, but English and its co-founders are banking that this concept will have large-scale appeal. For now, Lola is only available for IOS and in the United States, but hopes to eventually expand.

Lola stands for “Longitude and Latitude,” and the startup hopes that it can re-awaken the public’s excitement for travel with its innovative but traditional concept. The company will be launching a “smarter” version of Lola which learns a users preferences over time in order to provide more accurate recommendations. Lola also hopes that its special business model will help it win a chunk of the B2B travel agent market.

Boston-based Lola recently acquired an Expedia-backed hotel meta-platform called Room77, also based in Boston. English serves as CEO of the startup, while co-founder Bill O’Donnell, formerly Kayak’s Chief Architect, serves as CTO.

Verizon, and the Downfall of Data

Verizon has decided to change their data policy. Before, the company’s grandfathered users were able to keep their unlimited data plan. According to different sources, employees of Verizon has been making posts on Reddit that imply users need to use less of their data or they might lose any connections they have. Back in 2011, Verizon took away unlimited data plans. Since 2011, Verizon has been trying to persuade their users to switching over to metered plans. The company has been trying to get rid of these users in a variety of different ways. Verizon has blocked certain services to the users as well as raising the rates for the unlimited data plan.

There was a statement made by a Verizon official that because there is a shared resource it is important to make sure that everyone on a plan has a good mobile experience. In order to do this, it is imperative that any customer with an unlimited plan needs to move to a Verizon Plan. This must be done by February 16th, 2017. This was stated by Kelly Crummey who is a spokesperson for Verizon.

Because of the resistance from customers, Verizon has been trying to convince customers that they do not want unlimited data plans. Verizon has been trying to tell customers about the benefits and why these plans would be the most efficient for them. Verizon Chief Financial, Officer Fran Shammo, also made a statement that people do not need unlimited plans. He made this statement during an investor conference in September. He also added that it is impossible for companies to make money in a world where unlimited data is a norm.