Alibaba Continues its Offline Retail Push by Investing in Hypermarket Operator

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Alibaba is continuing its expansion into offline retail after the Chinese e-commerce giant bought up more than one-third of one of Chinese most prolific operators of hypermarket stores. The firm announced today it has spent HK$22.4 billion (around US$2.88 billion) to acquire of 36.16 percent in Sun Art Retail Group, a Hong Kong-listed business that operates 446 hypermarkets across 224 cities in mainland China. The deal makes Alibaba the second largest shareholder in the business, which has a market cap of over US$10 billion. Ruentex, the shareholder that sold to Alibaba, will retain a 4.67…

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Managing software complexity through intent-based programming

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Software is losing its magic. We simply demand too much from the current approaches. As a result, software developers are losing the battle with complexity, often without realizing it. More often than not, little failures pile on top of other little failures, and life for the consumer, as well as the business, becomes more frustrating rather than easier. For example, Apple’s products have become buggy, travel is still a nightmare and call center experiences make us doubt both artificial and human intelligence. To bring the magic back into software, developers…

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DMM acquires Japanese pawn shop app Cash for $62.2M

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DMM, one of Japan’s largest Internet and e-commerce conglomerates, announced today that it will pay 7 billion yen (about $62.2 million) for pawn shop app Cash. Launched this summer, Cash’s software automatically appraises an item’s value based on user photos and offers a cash advance with it as collateral. Cash was developed by Bank, a startup launched by serial entrepreneur Yusuke Mitsuomoto earlier this year. Mitsuomoto’s previous startup, an e-commerce platform called Stores.jp, sold to Zozotown, one of Japan’s largest online clothing retailers, for an undisclosed sum in 2013. Bank…

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Toshiba stock drops on $5 billion share sale plan

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Toshiba’s stock plummeted Monday, after the company announced plans to raise $ 5 billion to avoid being booted off the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Shares in the Japanese firm fell more than 6% in Tokyo, before paring some of those losses to close down 5.8%. The drop comes a day after the troubled conglomerate announced it would sell new shares worth 600 billion yen ($5.4 billion). Toshiba (TOSBF) will issue about 2.3 billion new shares priced at 262.8 yen ($2.35) per share, it said Sunday — about 10% cheaper than Friday’s…

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Apple Watch Can Detect Hypertension and Sleep Apnea According to Study

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A new study out from health startup Cardiogram and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) suggests wearables like the Apple Watch, Fitbit and others are able to accurately detect common but serious conditions like hypertension and sleep apnea. Cardiogram and UCSF previously demonstrated the ability for the Apple Watch to detect abnormal heart rhythm with a 97 percent accuracy. This new study shows the Watch can detect sleep apnea with a 90 percent accuracy and hypertension with an 82 percent accuracy. Sleep apnea affects an estimated 22 million adults…

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LightStep emerges from stealth with a tool for application performance monitoring

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LightStep, a company which has developed a new tool for application performance management, has emerged from stealth with a $29 million dollar war chest. The company, founded by ex-Google engineer Ben Sigelman, has developed a group of software tools to track the how well applications are working across enterprises. At Google, Sigelman was responsible for the creation and operation of Dapper, a distributed monitoring system that could analyze 2 billion transactions per second, according to a LightStep statement. Sigelman also was one of the developer behind the OpenTracing standard, part…

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Saving the Rainforest with Old Cell Phones

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Rainforests have some of the most complicated soundscapes on the planet. In this dense noise of insects, primates, birds, and everything else that moves in the forest, how can you detect the sounds of illegal logging? The old cell phone you have sitting in your desk drawer may have the answer. How do you go about saving the rainforest with old cell phones? After a visit to the rainforests of Borneo, physicist and engineer Topher White was struck by the sounds of the forest. In particular, he noises he couldn’t…

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Eco-friendly bitcoin competitor Chia, Invented

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A bitcoin transaction wastes as much electricity as it takes to power an American home for a week, and legendary coder Bram Cohen wants to fix that. Considering he invented the ubiquitous peer-to-peer file transfer protocol BitTorrent, you should take him seriously. Cohen has just started a new company called Chia Network that will launch a cryptocurrency based on proofs of time and storage rather than bitcoin’s electricity-burning proofs of work. Essentially, Chia will harness cheap and abundant unused storage space on hard drives to verify its blockchain. “The idea…

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Uber confirms SoftBank has agreed to invest billions

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The long-anticipated SoftBank Group investment into Uber has been agreed upon, confirms a spokesperson. “We’ve entered into an agreement with a consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer on a potential investment. We believe this agreement is a strong vote of confidence in Uber’s long-term potential. Upon closing, it will help fuel our investments in technology and our continued expansion at home and abroad, while strengthening our corporate governance.” Uber has not yet elaborated on plans, but we’ve been told that it includes a $1 billion investment in the company at the…

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Self-driving shuttle bus in crash on first day

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A self-driving shuttle bus in Las Vegas was involved in a crash on its first day of service. The vehicle – carrying “several” passengers – was hit by a lorry driving at slow speed. Nobody was injured in the incident which city officials say was the fault of the human driver of the lorry. The man was subsequently given a ticket by police. The shuttle is the first of its kind to be used on public roads in the US. The collision comes a day after Waymo – owned by…

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