News

Uncharted 4, Bloodborne and more now available for under $20

If you’ve held off on buying some of the best PS4 games, Sony is ready to reward your patience. Earlier today, the makers of the PS4 and PS4 Pro announced the PlayStation Hits Collection that will contain the system’s top-selling games at a new price point of $19.99. 

Games listed as part of the PlayStation Hits Collection include Battlefield 4, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Street Fighter V, Bloodborne, DOOM, Yakuza 0, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Ratchet & Clank Remastered. 

On top of those marquee titles, you can also expect to see LittleBigPlanet 3, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Infamous: Second Son, Driveclub, The Last of Us Remastered, Project Cars and Yakuza Kiwami as part of the Collection as well.

The program will kick off on June 28 here in the US and around the same time in Canada – although a post on Sony’s PlayStation Blog mentions that there might be some variation between the US and Canadian PlayStation Hits titles.

The current library of games sits at 15 titles and Sony says it will be adding more titles to the PlayStation Hits Collection over time. The program follows a similar outline to the Greatest Hits Collections we’ve seen on the PS3, PS2 and even original PS One consoles.

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/uncharted-4-bloodborne-and-more-now-available-for-under-dollar20

Advertisements

Astronaut Mark Kelly says Trump’s order to create a Space Force ‘is a dumb idea’

mark kelly nasa astronaut jet pilot nasa jsc2010e119542_orig

  • President Donald Trump on Monday asked the military to create a sixth division called the Space Force.
  • Mark Kelly, a retired NASA astronaut, took to Twitter to say this is “a dumb idea.”
  • The US Air Force already has a Space Command and a space force.

President Donald Trump told space industry notables that he’s directing the Department of Defense (DoD) to create a Space Force: a sixth branch of the military that sounds straight of a sci-fi movie.

“We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force — separate but equal,” Trump said during an address to the National Space Council meeting on Monday. “It is going to be something. So important.”

Trump has spoken publicly about creating a Space Force four times since becoming president. The idea is also part of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which became law in December 2017. The law defines the space force as “a separate military department responsible for the national security space activities,” and it asks the DoD to submit a final plan for the Space Force’s structure and functions by December 31, 2018.

But retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly — a former Navy pilot, combat veteran, four-time space-flyer, and the identical twin brother of fellow former astronaut Scott Kelly — doesn’t support it, and some members of Congress are also voicing their distaste for the idea.

“This is a dumb idea. The Air Force does this already. That is their job,” Mark Kelly tweeted on Monday after reading a story on Military.com. “What’s next, we move submarines to the 7th branch and call it the ‘under-the-sea force?'”

Why the US already has a ‘Space Force’

air force space command augmented reality dod 100322 F 0000D 001.JPG

In his tweet, Kelly was referring to the Air Force Space Command, although the group has had different names over the years.

Space Command is headquartered in Colorado, and its responsibilities include supporting military use of satellites, rocket launches, and cyberwarfare operations. The group also helps track the countless pieces of space junk and debris around Earth, which pose a persistent threat to anything in orbit.

Space Command is managed by US Strategic Command, one of 10 groups that direct major pieces of the Defense Department. USSTRATCOM’s responsibilities include oversight of the country’s nuclear strike capabilities, which involves space because long-range nuclear-tipped missiles fly through space.

In July 2016, Space Command announced the creation of a Space Mission Force, which military leadership said is akin to an expeditionary force.

china fengyun fy 1c satellite killer space debris celestrak

This force was created in part to quickly respond to any outer-space attacks from adversaries. The main countries of concern are Russia, which continues to publicize new weaponry, and China, which destroyed one of its own satellites in a 2007 test with a “kill vehicle” — essentially a big bullet launched by a missile.

“Despite world interest in avoiding militarization of space, potential adversaries have identified the use of space as an advantage for US military forces, and are actively fielding systems to deny our use of space in a conflict,” General John E. Hyten, who is now the commander of USSTRATCOM, wrote in a white paper about the decision when he was commander of Space Command.

The Trump administration apparently wants to split off these space-related capabilities from the Air Force and form a new division entirely.

The rationale for doing so has not been thoroughly explained yet, however. In addition to Kelly, members of Congress and the military are questioning and even refuting the idea.

“The president told a US general to create a new Space Force as 6th branch of military today, which generals tell me they don’t want,” Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) tweeted on Monday. “Thankfully the president can’t do it without Congress because now is NOT the time to rip the Air Force apart. Too many important missions at stake.”

Space warfare is banned by the United Nations Outer Space Treaty of 1967. Weapons experts fear that militarizing space could stoke a costly new arms race.

A war in space might also lead to something called a Kessler event. In this scenario, uncontrolled space debris could collide and create even more uncontrolled space debris, ultimately shutting off human access to space for decades, if not centuries.

Ben Brimelow contributed reporting to this story.

SEE ALSO: A space junk disaster is a real possibility, and surprisingly little is stopping a major loss of human access to space

DON’T MISS: Astronaut Scott Kelly: ‘I think that China will overtake the US in the space business — if we allow them to’

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The US Air Force’s top secret space plane lands after 2 years in orbit — and no one knows why

Amazon Alexa for Hospitality packs voice commands for your vacation

Amazon created Alexa to be your personal assistant, but now it will serve some vacation-goers as their personal hotel concierge. 

In hotels featuring the new Alexa for Hospitality service, guests will find an Amazon Echo, Dot or Plus in their rooms, connected to devices like the lights, blinds, climate control, TV and stereo via voice commands. 

Beyond your standard smart home (or smart room) commands, the Echoes will feature travel-related Alexa Skills. Guests can use Alexa to check out, ask for more towels, inquire about local attractions, order wine, turn on white noise or a TED talk, or request any number of other amenities. 

Credit: Amazon

While the feature is not currently available, Amazon says it will eventually allow guests to temporarily connect their Amazon accounts to the hotel speaker, so they can access personal content like audiobooks on the go. 

Once guests check out, Amazon says the speaker will “automatically disconnect their Amazon account from the in-room device”. 

Alexa for Hospitality’s pilot program launched with Marriott Hotels as a partner; Marriott also owns Westin Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, Aloft Hotels, and Autograph Collection Hotels, so you may also find Echoes there. 

Other hotels have to request an invite from Amazon to join the program. One Las Vegas hotel installed 4,748 Echoes in its rooms back in 2016, but this may not have been officially sanctioned by Amazon. 

“Alexa for Hospitality makes your hotel stay a little more like being at home and gives hospitality providers new ways to create memorable stays for their guests,” Amazon VP Daniel Rausch said in a statement. 

Jennifer Hsieh, VP of Customer Experience Innovation at Marriott International, added that, “We will be evaluating guest feedback and adoption to inform how we expand the skills, features, and functionality offered through Alexa in our hotels.” 

Amazon will reportedly help partnered hotels create their own custom skills, tailored to a hotel experience. 

Luxurious or intrusive?

Hotel Wi-Fi is notoriously unreliable and vulnerable to hacking. Using Alexa voice commands for your internet needs instead of connecting your personal devices could help keep your data safe from prying eyes and malware

Still, even assuming Alexa doesn’t start cackling in the middle of the night, some guests may not want something that’s always listening in their private room. 

Amazon promises in a customer FAQ that hotel properties “can’t listen to what you said to Alexa or what she said back,” and says that stored recordings of customers’ questions will be deleted daily. 

However, the company also says, “Using Alexa is optional. If you do not want to use Alexa, you can push the microphone on/off button built on top of the device.” That seems to imply that these devices will be on by default when customers check in, which might anger some guests. 

We’ll have to wait see if this catches on, or proves to be a fad. 

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/amazon-alexa-for-hospitality-packs-voice-commands-for-your-vacation

Ex-Facebook exec Chamath Palihapitiya’s VC firm just lost 3 partners in 2 weeks, and it signals more changes to come

chamath

  • Social Capital is bleeding top investment partners.
  • The venture firm, run by legendary investor Chamath Palihapitiya, has lost three partners  — Tony Bates, Marc Mezvinsky, and Arjun Sethi — in two weeks.
  • Palihapitiya says the firm will shift focus away from new growth opportunities and instead be “doubling down on proven winners.”

 

Another two partners have left Social Capital in a series of departures from the Silicon Valley venture firm.

On Monday, the firm’s cofounder Chamath Palihapitiya announced that growth equity chief Tony Bates, who is the ex-president of GoPro, and vice chairman Marc Mezvinsky, a former hedge fund manager who happens to be Chelsea Clinton’s husband, will be leaving Social Capital amid an organizational shakeup. Axios first reported the news.

Bates and Mezvinsky are the second and third partners to defect from the venture firm in two weeks. Social Capital announced the departure of Arjun Sethi just last week.

It’s not immediately clear under what conditions the partners left. But the young firm with $2.5 billion under management says it will shift focus away from new growth opportunities and instead “down on proven winners from our venture funds.”

Social Capital has been bleeding top partners for a year now. Cofounder Mamoon Hamid left suddenly last August to join Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The firm’s third cofounder Ted Maidenberg appears to be tapping out, as well. He remains at Social Capital as a board partner but did not invest in the latest fund, Bloomberg reported.

In a Medium post titled, “Appetite for Change,” Palihapitiya, the firm’s CEO and formerly an early Facebook executive, describes lessons learned tech investing.

Palihapitiya brought on Bates and Mezvinsky, in part, to help raise and lead a large growth fund that would invest both in existing and promising new Social Capital portfolio companies. The firm also explored starting a “credit fund,” which invests in relatively risky corporate bonds to help generate higher returns to use for investing. And it has been a big proponent of blank-check, special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs. It raised $600 million in a 2017 IPO for a SPAC firm named Hedosophia with the intent of using that cash to buy well-performing private tech companies. 

“Friends and mentors told me blindly scaling our asset base would distract me. Focus on technology, they said, and stick to what makes you unique vs [sic] what makes you the same,” Palihapitiya said. “I initially thought they were wrong.”

The legendary investor, who made early bets on companies such as Box, Slack, and SurveyMonkey, has changed his mind — or his “appetite.”

“I have realized that excellence doesn’t necessarily come from the novelty of a constant stream of new things, but rather focus and refined repetition of the things that are at the very core of our organization,” Palihapitiya said.

Social Capital is already experimenting with a new tool that uses an algorithm to invest in startups. Companies apply through a glorified Google Form and let the AI decide whether or not they’re worth backing. It’s called CaaS (capital as a service), and the firm plans to use it to make 1,000 investments in 2018 and 10,000 next year.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

Here’s the Medium post in full:

Since our founding, we’ve never stopped searching for better and better ways to help entrepreneurs win. To do this, we’ve consistently challenged ourselves to explore what the future might look like. By definition, the future may be radically different from the present way of doing things in Silicon Valley. In my post from a week ago, I talked about the product bets we’ve placed that have started to deliver powerful results that we’re now doubling down on — including tools like CaaS to help us find great companies as well as software and services like 8-ball to make them even better.

In parallel to investing in product and engineering talent to build out the Social Capital Platform, I also kicked off a process to test if a traditional approach to scaling our asset base should be part of this solution. It seemed like a reasonable path in the era of Softbank’s Vision Fund and Sequoia’s rumored mega-fund. To execute this, I brought on two leaders: Marc Mezvinsky as Vice Chairman to lead our capital formation efforts, and Tony Bates as CEO of Social Capital Growth. We also explored what a Credit fund that could provide an entrepreneur with less dilutive forms of capital would look like.

We felt emboldened to try all of this because of our track record in venture capital. Our venture capital funds are at the top of their class and there is little doubt that some of the startups we have backed will redefine this current generation of tech companies. If there was any time to pursue these new strategies, it was, in my opinion, now.

Friends and mentors told me blindly scaling our asset base would distract me. Focus on technology, they said, and stick to what makes you unique vs what makes you the same.

I initially thought they were wrong. And so we embarked on trying to do both: build great products and scale assets across multiple new funds, all at the same time. It’s this last factor that is hard. Ironically, we tell our entrepreneurs all the time to do one thing really well, but found ourselves not following our own advice.

As I internalized this and we got closer to closing some of these new strategies, my gut was telling me to go back to our core. It took some time, but we decided not to pursue the Credit effort, and also to refine our Growth strategy to largely focus on later stage investments in some of our best portfolio companies rather than generically compete in increasingly excessive growth-stage auctions.

Refining our Growth strategy to what will be our second Opportunities fund means there is little point in having a separate Growth leadership team, because doubling down on proven winners from our venture funds is best carried out by our venture partners, since they know these remarkable companies and their founders better than anyone. As such, with this shift, the scope and roles for Marc and Tony became very limited compared to what they and I had originally thought, and we collectively came to the conclusion that it makes sense for them to transition to new challenges and opportunities outside of Social Capital, although we’re exploring ways they can still be involved in our future success as Board Partners or advisers.

It is tough to part ways with great colleagues like Marc and Tony. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with them, and know they’ll go on to do great things — they are A+ and I’m sure we will work together again in the future.

For the foreseeable future, we will stick to what we are truly passionate about: high-touch venture investments and building out our Platform that provides these entrepreneurs with tools and software to build better companies.

The good news is that what we are passionate about is also what we are best at. Our data-driven tools and platform technologies are gaining increasing traction, with CaaS especially promising. Our way of looking at businesses is quickly become industry standard. It’s time to double down on all of these things. Said differently, I have realized that excellence doesn’t necessarily come from the novelty of a constant stream of new things, but rather focus and refined repetition of the things that are at the very core of our organization.

One of our core values at Social Capital is having an “appetite for change”. We are continually challenging ourselves to make difficult decisions in ambiguity, and to have the courage to change our minds and course correct, with the knowledge that the path to achieving our mission is non-linear. Oftentimes we get these decisions right. But sometimes we get them wrong. And in these moments, it is really important to shine a light on them so we can learn for the future. I am grateful to the Social Capital team and our LPs for navigating this shift with their customary support, focus and determination.

I also want to personally thank Marc and Tony for their contributions. And I hope you continue to follow our journey in complementing the traditional high touch venture investing model (which we remain committed to and passionate about) with increasing levels of automated tools and software to empower entrepreneurs to achieve their goals.

Onwards.

SEE ALSO: The ‘Godfather of Silicon Valley’ who put early money in Facebook, Twitter, and Airbnb says he’s done giving startups piles of cash

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How a $9 billion startup deceived Silicon Valley

The CMO of HP Inc is calling time on the traditional ad agency model: ‘The disruption is real’ (HPQ)

Antonio Lucio

  • Consulting firms like Accenture, Deloitte, and IBM are out in force at Cannes.
  • These companies are offering brands capabilities that traditional ad agencies lack, said HP marketing chief Antonio Lucio.
  • Lucio said that when it comes to getting great ads produced, “it is so friggin’ easy to get it from anywhere.”

There has been much consternation in the ad business about the threat of consulting firms like Accenture, Deloitte, and IBM encroaching on agencies. And these companies are hardly being shy about their ambitions, as each has a noticeable presence on the French Riviera at the Cannes advertising festival.

The consulting threat is significant, according to Antonio Lucio, global chief marketing & communications officer at HP Inc. And traditional ad agencies should be worried.

“The disruption is real,” he told Business Insider.

Over a lunch at the Martinez Hotel in Cannes, Lucio said as a marketer he now has five priorities when it comes to choosing partners. They need to bring data expertise to the table, and they need strong analytical capabilities. They also need to be able to produce meaningful content.

In addition, partners need to legitimate programmatic ad buying capabilities. And they need to be able to track how advertising impacts business (i.e. ‘attribution.’)

For consulting firms, four out of the five skills “are right in their wheelhouse,” he said.

unnamed 7

Of course, consulting firms have been making inroads into the ad industry for several years. They bring a reputation for having a results-driven business approach, technological expertise and often direct connections with their clients’ CEOs.

Meanwhile, ad agencies are seen as increasingly vulnerable as some marketers move programmatic ad buying and even creative in-house, or turning to publishers like BuzzFeed to produce content on their behalf.

If traditional agencies can hold onto anything, it’s creative – i.e. the making of ads, said Lucio. That means increasingly, marketers won’t need full service agencies that handle every aspects of their ad campaign executions. He sees brands working with consultants or doing a lot more of this work themselves.

And when it comes to getting ads made, brands can increasingly shop around without making a big agency commitment. “It is so friggin’ easy to get it from anywhere,” he said.  “This reality will fundamentally disrupt the agency of record as we know it.”

unnamed 8

Anatoly Roytman is one of those disruptors. He serves as managing director of Accenture Interactive’s‎ Europe, Africa and Latin America operations. His team was comprised of 10 people just eight years ago. Last year Accenture Interactive pulled in $6.5 billion. It has acquired 22 companies over that time.

“It was actually our clients who led us [to advertising],” he added. “We were fast followers.”

He said traditional ad companies are suffering because they for too long focused solely on making ads, and less about  how products actually work in the real world.

Consulting firms are focused on managing customers’ experiences, he says.”This is what makes or breaks a brand right now,” he told Business Insider. “It’s not enough to attract people, you need to retain them. And you need to provide them services.”

Roytman argued that the way traditional ad agencies are structured makes it difficult for them to connect creative work with tech and data. That structure leads to turf wars, he said.

“The agencies are led by big egos,” he said. “We need teamwork. This is the biggest difference between us and those guys,” he said. “Ego is not bad. But when ego is more important than outcome, those people are not good for us.”

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: ‘Openness actually draws people into the story’: Why The New York Times is now putting its journalists front and center

La segunda beta de iOS 12, watchOS 12, tvOS 12 y macOS Mojave ya disponible para desarrolladores

Mientras que ayer, los chicos de Apple lanzaron la tercera beta para desarrolladores de iOS 11.4.1, hoy en teoría tocaba la tercera beta para los usuarios de la beta pública, pero parece que los planes de Apple con la beta pública de las versiones que quedan de iOS 11 han sido descartados.

Desde los servidores de Apple han puesto a disposición de todos los desarrolladores, la segunda beta de iOS 12, watchOS 5, tvOS 12 y macOS Mojave. De momento, los usuarios que forman parte del programa de betas públicas van a tener que seguir esperando hasta, probablemente, finales de mes.

La segunda beta de iOS 12, no nos ofrece ningún detalle acerca de cuales pueden ser las novedades que llegan de la mano de esta segunda versión dirigida únicamente a desarrolladores. Llama especialmente la atención, la estabilidad que nos ofrece estas primeras versiones, ya que no han habido muchos casos de consumo excesivo de batería o reinicios continuados, algo habitual en las primeras versiones de cada nueva versión de iOS, de ahí que Apple no las ofrezca de forma pública hasta semanas después.

La segunda beta de las nuevas versiones de los sistemas operativos que lanzará Apple a mediados de septiembre, llega a los desarrolladores dos semanas después de haber sido lanzada la primera beta, momentos después de finalizar la conferencia inaugural de la WWDC 2018.

 

La entrada La segunda beta de iOS 12, watchOS 12, tvOS 12 y macOS Mojave ya disponible para desarrolladores se publicó primero en Actualidad iPhone.

Netflix surges above $400 for the first time after a slew of Wall Street bullishness (NFLX)

netflix ceo reed hastings

  • Netflix shares crossed $400 for the first time Tuesday following a slew of positive Wall Street commentary.
  • A consumer shift from traditional tv to digital, and Netflix’s international prospects are two main points of optimism.
  • Watch Netflix trade in real time here. 

Netflix shares crossed $400 for the first time on Tuesday, propelled by a slew of positive commentary from Wall Street. 

Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson highlighted data suggesting Netflix international subscriber growth could reach 48.7% year-over-year for the second-quarter, well above the Wall Street consensus of 40.9%.

“Our analysis of Netflix search trends (Google) points to a solid second-quarter (potential upside) for int’l subs, with domestic likely in-line,” Olson wrote in a note out to clients. “We believe investors are focused on international subscriber growth, given the importance of ongoing int’l trajectory for the Netflix story.”

Olson raised his price target from $367 to $420. 

Elsewhere, Guggenheim analyst Michael Morris explained that even though Netflix is currently less efficient at leveraging its content expense into revenue, that trend will reverse because consumers are shifting from traditional television outlets to digital and streaming ones. 

“Given that we see continued live audience declines and traditional bundle erosion, we see the taller bars for traditional channels owners as at risk over time as more consumers move to the more efficient (ad-free, stacked episode, vast content) experience provided by Netflix,” he wrote in a note to clients. 

Screen Shot 2018 06 19 at 2.24.29 PM

 

Finally, Monness Crespi Hardt & Co. analyst Brian White raised his price target to $460, making him the second most bullish Netflix analyst on Wall Street. “The combination of engaging new content, momentum in overseas markets and a business model that scales globally increasingly sets Netflix apart from its legacy competitors,” White wrote in a note out Tuesday, according to Bloomberg. His price target lags behind only Heath Terry of Goldman Sachs, who sees $490 a share. 

On Friday, Terry wrote that 2018 will be the peak negative free cash flow year for Netflix, with revenue growth beginning to outpace content spend growth next year.”  

Netflix is up 109% this year. 

Screen Shot 2018 06 19 at 2.02.20 PM

SEE ALSO: Trump could be in a world of new legal trouble after New York’s attorney general accused his charity of ‘willful and knowing’ crimes

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Sneaky ways Costco gets you to buy more