An original Apple I built into a briefcase just sold for nearly $500k


Most people wouldn’t think too much of a computer crammed into a briefcase — but if it’s one of the few remaining examples of the first computer ever built by Apple? That’s a whole different story.

An original Apple I from 1976 — as hand-built by Steve Wozniak — just sold for £371,260 (or roughly $471,000) in a Christie’s Auction. It comes set inside a leather briefcase, complete with a built-in keyboard.

So, why the briefcase? Because the Apple I didn’t come with a case of its own. $666 got you a board ready to hook right up to a TV and keyboard, but figuring out an enclosure was up to the buyer. At some point along the road, someone thought to mount this board in a briefcase. Hey, it’s portable!

It’s estimated that around 200 Apple I computers were made, the majority of which are believed to have been destroyed. The enthusiast-run Apple-1 Registry knows of 68-or-so still in existence, of which the one being auctioned is listed as number 10.

As detailed by the Registry, this specific Apple I was owned by Rick Conte, who bought it to learn how to program BASIC. He donated it to the Maine Personal Computer Museum in 2009, after which it was sold to a series of private owners.

Also included in the auction were a ton of great extras and pieces of history — the original manuals, a handful of magazines with articles about the Apple I, an assortment of compatible hardware like the SWTPC PR-40 dot matrix printer, rare photocopies of some of the original Apple founding paperwork, and more.

Source: Tech Crunch

Apple starts collecting data for Apple Maps in Canada

Apple has issued a short statement on its website and in various newspapers announcing Apple Maps plans in Canada. The company plans to drive around the country with cars equipped with a ton of sensors in order to improve Apple Maps in Canada.

Apple doesn’t say when it plans to finish scanning Canadian roads and processing data. If you live in Canada, it could take a few months before you notice any change.

Last year, Apple announced that it was in the process of rebuilding Apple Maps from the ground up. And you can already see some improvements in parts of the U.S. with more detailed maps, better representations of pedestrian and green areas, more accurate building shapes, etc.

The company isn’t just doing the bare minimum as its cars are equipped with a GPS rig, four LiDAR arrays and eight cameras shooting high-resolution images.

For now, Apple says it’s all about improving data quality. But the company could also leverage this data to launch new features, such as a Google Street View competitor, cycling directions and maybe turn-by-turn directions using augmented reality.

It’s hard to work on a new version of Apple Maps without telling the world about it — there are actual cars on the road. Now let’s see if the company plans to say a bit more about new features at its WWDC keynote next week.

Source: Tech Crunch

Reminiz automatically indexes and tags videos in real time

Meet French startup Reminiz, a computer vision company that can index any type of video — it’s a sort of Googlebot, but for video content. Reminiz can add tags of people, logos or emotions on live streams and on-demand videos.

“The web is designed so that you can search for text — not video. We are making it possible to search within videos,” co-founder and CEO Jack Habra told me.

There are a few different use cases for Reminiz. First, the company works with broadcasters and telecom companies. For instance, Reminiz has a partnership with Orange so that you can learn more about who’s on the screen right now. It could potentially be leveraged for recommendations or contextual ads for external content.

Reminiz streams live channels on its servers directly, scans images and adds tags. Users then download metadata from the servers.

Second, you can use Reminiz to promote your brand on relevant videos. For instance, Hyundai sponsors Lyon’s soccer team. It wants to distribute Hyundai ads before soccer footage with the team playing. But YouTube keywords aren’t that good when it comes to targeting such a specific audience — a video might talk about the soccer team without showing any actual footage.

Brands can then whitelist videos to distribute ads on those videos in particular. You get charged based on minutes of video footage processed by Reminiz.

The company competes with AWS Rekognition and other generic video analysis APIs from cloud providers. What makes Reminiz stand out is that the company builds its own database of faces, people, brands and tags. It’s also probably easier to implement Reminiz compared to a more generic solution.

“With GDPR, everybody is contacting us to focus more on contextual data instead of personal data,” Habra said.

Source: Tech Crunch

Ulysses adds split view on the iPad and support for Ghost blogs

Writing app Ulysses has been updated with a few nifty feature additions. On the iPad, you can now split the editor into two side-by-side editors — this feature alone opens up a lot of possibilities. Ulysses also now supports the option to publish your writing directly to a Ghost blog.

Ulysses is currently available on macOS, the iPad and the iPhone. It’s a Markdown editor with a library of texts that automatically stays in sync across your devices. You can export one or multiple texts in many different formats, including Markdown, HTML, rich text, PDF, ePub, DOCX and a blog.

In addition to Medium and WordPress, Ulysses now supports blogs built using Ghost, an open source CMS platform. If your website is built on Ghost, this should be a nice addition.

But I’m more excited about the ability to open two editors at the same time on the iPad. While the iPad is a great device if you’re looking for a focused writing environment, iOS still thinks “one app = one document”. Sure, you can open two Safari tabs side by side, but most apps only let you open one document at a time.

Ulysses now lets you open two documents at once. You can drag a document from the sidebar and drop it on the right side of the screen to split the screen into two panels. This way, if you’re translating a document, if you need to look at some references, you can scroll through a second document while you write in the main document.

But Ulysses doesn’t stop there. You can also open a second editor from the editor settings to look at different parts of the same document. And if you long press on the export button, you can also open a live preview of the document you’re currently working on.

For instance, you can see what your text will look like before you publish on your blog — headers, images, links and footnotes included. If you edit your text, Ulysses automatically refreshes the preview after a second.

Opening and closing documents is a fluid experience and this split view feature is well implemented. There have been rumors that Apple has been working on improvements at the iOS level to let you open multiple documents using the same app. Today’s Ulysses update is a good example of such a feature and how it would make the iPad even better.

Source: Tech Crunch

India’s FreshToHome raises $11 million to expand its fish, meat, and vegetable e-commerce platform

Shan Kadavil, who spent early days of his career managing tech support firm Support and then heading India operations of gaming firm Zynga, says he had a calling of sorts when his son was born. Kadavil realized that much of the meat that sells in India is not exactly healthy. The perishables are loaded with chemicals to superficially extend their life by six months, if not more. He wanted to do something better.

Fast forward four years, Kadavil said today that FreshToHome, his new e-commerce startup that delivers “100 percent” pure and fresh fish, chicken, and other kinds of meat, has raised $11 million in Series A funding. The startup has raised $13 million to date.

The round was led by CE Ventures, with participation from Das Capital, Kortschak Investments, TTCER Partners, Al-Nasser Holdings, M&S Partners and other Asia and Valley based Investors. Some of the backers of FreshToHome include Rajan Anandan, the former head of Google Southeast Asia, David Krane, CEO of GV, and Mark Pincus, chairman of Zynga.

FreshToHome has already courted 400,000 customers across four cities — Bengaluru, NCR (Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad, Ghaziabad & Greater Noida), Chennai and Kerala (Kochi, Trivandrum, Calicut & Trichur) — in India. On the backend, the startup does business with 1,500 fishermen across 125 coasts.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Kadavil said the startup is trying to “Uber-ize farmers and fishmen in India. We are giving them an app — around which we have a US patent — for commodity exchange. What farmers and fishermen do is they bid with us (as mandated by local laws) electronically using the app.” By dealing directly with the source, the startup is eliminating as many as half a dozen middlemen to cut costs.

The startup has built its own supply chain network. “We have got a 1,000 people, 100 trucks, and 40 collection points.” The startup, which also uses trains and planes to move inventory, has become one of the biggest clients of airlines Indigo and SpiceJet, he added. Kadavil claimed that FreshToHome is also the largest e-commerce platform for meat with $1.73 million in GMV sales each month.

If this all sounds well strategized, it is because of the people who are running the show. Kadavil founded the FreshToHome with Mathew Joseph, a veteran in the industry who has dealt with fish export for more than 30 years. Joseph started India’s first e-commerce venture in fish and meat called SeaToHome in 2012.

FreshToHome has also emerged as a micro-VC to farmers where it is doing cooperative farming. In such model, FreshToHome guides farmers to use the latest technologies to produce certain kind of fish. As of today, the startup is seeing 60,000 kg (132,227 pound) of production in cooperative farming through its marketplace and over 400,000 kg (881,849 pound) of total products sold per month.

FreshToHome will use the fresh capital to expand its supply chain network, connect with as many as 8,500 new farmers, and start delivering vegetables. It already delivers vegetables in Bengaluru. Kadavil said the startup will also expand to two more cities — Mumbai and Pune.

FreshToHome will compete with a handful of startups, including Licious, which has raised more than $35 million to date, ZappFresh, and BigBasket, which just earlier this month raised $150 million. The cold-chain market of India is estimated to grow to $37 billion in next five years.

In a prepared statement, Tushar Singhvi, Director of CE Ventures said, “The Meat and Seafood segment in India is pegged to be a 50 billion dollar market, but we have to keep in mind that it’s a highly fragmented industry. is not only trying to streamline the industry, they’re also using technology to revolutionize the way the industry functions by disintermediating the supply chain, eliminating the middleman and working directly with the fishermen and farmers in a market place model, to make fresh and chemical free food accessible to the masses at large.”

Source: Tech Crunch

National security journalism just became a national security threat

Six years ago, British intelligence officers walked into the offices of The Guardian newspaper in London and demanded its staff destroy computers they believed stored highly classified documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In the basement of the newspaper’s offices, editors used angle-grinders and drills to destroy the computers in an effort to render its data unusable after “weeks of tense negotiations” between the newspaper and the British government, which faced pressure from U.S. authorities to return the leaked top secret documents. The U.S. and Britain are close intelligence sharing partners. Despite the fact that there were several copies of the NSA documents — including in the U.S — the newspaper faced a threat of punitive legal action or prosecution if they declined.

“The only way of protecting the Guardian’s team was for the paper to destroy its own computers,” said Luke Harding, a Guardian journalist.

In the years of citing this case in why press freedoms are so important, the Americans always respond: “Wait, that happened?”

The Guardian’s situation would never happen in the U.S. It’s not uncommon for national security reporters to obtain classified information or rely on government employees providing secret information, particularly to uncover abuses of power or the law. As the only named profession in the U.S. constitution, the U.S. press is a shining example of holding the powers to account no matter what.

But the most recent charges laid against Julian Assange has put those press freedoms under threat.

Julian Assange, widely regarded as a liar, a proponent of misinformation, and loathed by many for generally being a shitbag, has been defended by some of his biggest critics since the latest round of charges were announced against him.

Assange last week became the first person to be charged for publishing classified information under the Espionage Act, a law that predates the Great Depression by an entire decade, and used to prosecute foreign spies and government whistleblowers.

“This is exactly what national security reporters and their news publications often ask government officials or contractors to do,” said Jack Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law School and former government lawyer, in a post on Lawfare.

In fact, that’s exactly what I’ve done. In 2017, following the fifth security lapse at NSA in as many years, I obtained and published classified documents relating to the government’s Ragtime program and the Red Disk intelligence sharing platform. While it’s not unheard of for reporters to face government investigations for doing their jobs, not a single journalist has been charged for obtaining or publishing classified information in the past hundred years since the Espionage Act became law.

It’s no surprise that the indictment has rattled news organizations and reporters, who have published classified information like off-grid torture sites and global government surveillance provided by anonymous sources and whistleblowers, for fear they may also suffer a similar prosecution.

Washington Post editor Marty Baron said in a statement: “Dating as far back as the Pentagon Papers case and beyond, journalists have been receiving and reporting on information that the government deemed classified. Wrongdoing and abuse of power were exposed. With the new indictment of Julian Assange, the government is advancing a legal argument that places such important work in jeopardy and undermines the very purpose of the First Amendment.”

Assange, through WikiLeaks, published numerous troves of highly classified diplomatic cables and military videos showing the killing of civilians including a Reuters camera crew, provided by former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who was herself charged under the act and imprisoned before her sentence was later commuted. The government’s latest indictment accused Assange of publishing “unredacted names of human sources,” which “risked serious harm to United States national security.”

Some of Assange’s most vocal critics have said the U.S. is prosecuting Assange for “the last good thing he did”. Since his publications, Assange has sullied his own name and reputation, not least by working with Russia to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign by releasing embarrassing stolen emails.

The Justice Department said Assange is “no journalist.” But the First Amendment, which protects freedom of speech and press freedoms, doesn’t distinguish between whether someone is a journalist or not.

“The First Amendment gives journalists no special rights,” says national security lawyer Elizabeth Goitein. in a Washington Post op-ed. “In prohibiting abridgments of ‘the freedom of speech, or of the press,’ it gives equal protection to those who speak, those who write, those who report, and those who publish.”

In other words, it doesn’t matter whether Assange is a journalist or not.

Under U.S. law, all — regardless of whether a person is a reporter or not — are protected by the same freedoms. With a successful prosecution of Assange, there’s nothing stopping the U.S. government from laying charges against any other American — journalist or otherwise — for receiving and publishing classified information.

“This is not about Julian Assange,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, a prominent lawmaker and member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “This is about the use of the Espionage Act to charge a recipient and publisher of classified information.”

“Assange’s case could set a dangerous precedent with regard to the kinds of activities that the First Amendment does not protect — a precedent that could chill even the most careful, skilled professional journalists from pursuing stories involving national security secrets,” said Steve Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, in an op-ed.

The Washington Post reported Friday that the Obama administration considered bringing charges against Assange years ago but was concerned that the charges would prosecute conduct “too similar” to that of reporters at established news organizations.

But now that the Trump administration has brought charges against Assange, journalists once branded by the president the “enemy of the people” could soon be treated as enemies of the state.

Source: Tech Crunch

These ‘microbe-grown’ headphones could be the future of sustainable electronics

The culture of planned obsolescence in electronics produces a huge amount of toxic waste unlikely to go anywhere but a landfill for the next millennium or so. Nature produces some of the strongest and most versatile substances we’ve ever encountered, so why not use them instead? That’s what Finnish design house Aivan has attempted with this concept pair of headphones made from fungus, bioplastics, and other natural materials.

The idea was to replace everything they could with naturally-derived materials, of which there’s a great variety — but some can be a bit difficult to get your hands on.

As Dezeen reports, the Korvaa headset, everything you see here is natural in origin, although that doesn’t mean they just picked it up in the forest.

The main structure of the headphones is 3D-printed, using a bioplastic created as a byproduct of yeast processing lactic acid. The polylactic acid polymer is strong but flexible enough to be used as the crown and cup shell.

The padded earpieces are made from a protein known as hydrophobin that, like artificial foam, is made up of many tiny bubbles — but these are produced by a fungus and reinforced with plant cellulose. They’re covered with mycelium, another fungus-derived material that’s leathery and flexible.

And on top of those would be a mesh created by spinning out synthetic spider silk — something Bolt Threads is trying to do at scale for ordinary garments.

To be clear, these headphones don’t work — they’re just a prototype or concept product right now. But the point wasn’t to create a fully functioning replacement for your existing headphones. Rather the idea is to show that those headphones don’t need to be made, as they are now, entirely of non-biodegradable materials.

“This was certainly only a surface scratch into where biology-engineered materials are going, and what we can do with them in the future,” one of the group’s designers, Thomas Tallqvist, told Dezeen.

The headphones will be on display at a couple design shows in Finland — here’s hoping someone from Audio Technica or Sennheiser drops by and gets inspired.

Source: Tech Crunch

Traffic on Memorial Day: Here’s what 37.6 million road trippers can expect

How, and if, people travel on Memorial Day weekend can provide a fleeting glimpse at the state of the U.S. economy, or at least provide insight into consumer confidence. The upshot this year: a near record-setting travel despite a rising national gas price.

Nearly 43 million Americans were expected to travel in cars, trains and planes over the long weekend — 1.5 million more than the previous year, according to AAA and Inrix, a global transportation company that aggregates and analyzes traffic data collected from vehicles and highway infrastructure.

That’s the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes dating back to 2000, trailing only the bar set in 2005. Orlando, Florida is predicted to be the top travel destination this Memorial Day weekend, followed by New York, Las Vegas, Honolulu and Disneyland’s home Anaheim, California.

“Americans are eagerly anticipating the start of summer, and higher gas prices won’t keep them home this Memorial Day weekend,” Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel said in a statement. “Consumer spending remains strong, helped by solid job and income growth. Families continue to prioritize spending their disposable incomes on travel, and near-record numbers of them are looking forward to doing just that for Memorial Day.”

The majority of those, about 37.6 million, will be traveling by car, translating into travel delays on major roads that could be more than three times longer than normal during evening commutes, according to Inrix.

Inrix and AAA predicted drivers would experience the greatest amount of traffic congestion on Thursday and Friday. But even though those soul-crushing traffic jams are now in the rearview mirror, it’s not all clear roads ahead. People do have to get back home, after all.

Major U.S. cities such as Boston and Washington D.C. are expected to experience triple the travel times on Monday compared to a normal trip.

There is a cost to this kind of traffic congestion. The U.S. Travel Association released a survey Wednesday that found that Americans avoided an estimated 47.5 million auto trips due to highway congestion in 2018. That cost the economy $30 billion in travel spending and 248,000 American jobs, according to the organization’s economists.

The survey also found that for each additional hour that traffic adds to a weekend car trip, travel demand drops by an average of about 18 percent.

Source: Tech Crunch

As the term ‘unicorn’ goes broke from overuse, what’s actually rare?

On Wednesday a few unicorns were born. You’ve already forgotten their names if you learned them at all (Tip: It was Marqeta and Ivalua.)

Don’t worry, I’m not cross with you. It’s merely that there are so many unicorns in the market today — they stampede by the hundred in 2019 — that they are impossible to keep tabs on.

In fact, so many firms now make the cut that we’ve gotten into the habit of torturing the word “unicorn” to mean more than what it was originally tasked to describe. As we wrote recently, there are undercorns now, and decacorns. Toss in minotaurs and horses and the inevitable centacorns and see, we’re all bored.

Paraphrasing Asimov, successive shocks lead to decreasing impact. So has the phrase unicorn lost all meaning. As I joked the other day, it now mostly means “middle-aged startup.” Even our redefinition of the word “startup” allowed for firms to be worth several billion and still claim the title, though that might have been an error.

In today’s world of super- and hypergiant rounds, it’s not impossible to put together a unicorn. And people sure are doing it.

So, now what

“Unicorn” is now only useful as a valuation-descriptor. It no longer implies something rare.

So, what we need is either a redefinition of a unicorn to make it rarer… or, we need an entirely new concept. Regardless of if we change up what “unicorn” itself means, or invent a new word, it has become clear what we need to add to the mix to really tease out the exceptional companies from the merely very good.


Zoom, before its IPO, was profitable and growing like hellTransferWise, we recently learned, is profitable and growing as well. Can you name another company worth $1 billion or more that is growing and profitable? I can’t. That means they are rare.

TechCrunch’s Kate Clark and I chatted about this on Equity, and this was our general point of agreement (her tweet here). Profit is what really makes you rare. Not just a high valuation. There’s enough money flying around to print the latter by the dozen. Earning the former? Now’s that’s legendary and hard to find.

Just like a unicorn.

Source: Tech Crunch

Fiat Chrysler-Renault tie up: What the maker of Jeep could gain

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Renault are reportedly in talks that could result in merging vast swaths of their businesses, a move that illustrates the growing desire among automakers to consolidate in an environment of increased regulatory pressure, sales declines and rising costs aimed at bringing next-generation technologies like self-driving cars to market.

Bloomberg, Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal have reported on talks of a tie up that could result in Fiat Chrysler eventually becoming part of the Renault-Nissan Motor alliance. For now, the deal doesn’t include Nissan, according to Bloomberg.

FCA declined to comment.

Fiat Chrysler is best known in U.S. for the company behind the Jeep and Ram trucks. Its business is far larger. Fiat, which has a market value of $20 billion, is also one of Italy’s oldest companies and owns brands like Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia, and Maserati .

Fiat acquired a stake in Chrysler in 2009. The FCA people know today — which employs nearly 200,000 people — was created when the companies merged in 2014.

It’s unclear what deal between FCA and Renault might entail. Some of those details might emerge as early as Monday when Renault’s board meets.

What’s the upshot for Fiat Chrysler? The automaker, which also owns automotive parts business Mopar, has an unbalanced business. Nearly one-third of its employees are in Europe. And yet, most of its profits are derived from the North America market. Such a tie-up could produce considerable cost savings in Europe.

Those cost savings will come in handy if there’s a downturn in sales — a reality that other automakers like GM and Ford are already preparing for. And it allows the company to potentially collaborate or share costs on the expensive endeavor of bringing new technologies to market such as electrification and autonomous vehicles.

FCA, which operates 46 research and development centers, has invested in advanced driver assistance systems like its highway assist feature offered in its Maserati brand. But it has also relied on partnerships such as the one with self-driving vehicle company Waymo .

Last year, the company announced an expanded partnership with Waymo that will add up to 62,000 more Chrysler  Pacifica minivans to Waymo’s self-driving car fleet. The two companies are also working on ways to license Waymo’s self-driving car technology in order to deploy the tech in cars for consumers.

Source: Tech Crunch