Volvo acquires valet based tech company Luxe

Whilst many auto manufacturers are jumping on the autonomous driving bandwagon, Volvo themselves are taking it one step further by acquiring Luxe, a US based premium valet, and concierge service. The app allows people to call a valet to park, wash and service their cars.
Why would Volvo want to acquire such a company? For one thing, they are going to take everything, lock, stock, and barrel. That means all of its technologies and the developers, data scientists and engineers. The team would join Volvo’s digital team in Silicon Valley.
The Silicon Valley office provides an additional centre of gravity for Volvo Cars’ efforts in building digital products and services for its global business across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. For example, it was deeply involved in the development of a pilot program for on-demand refuelling for Volvo owners in San Francisco. To take it further, imagine if all you need to do is drive up to your destination and your car can find its own parking.
Atif Rafiq, Senior Vice President Group IT & Chief Digital Officer
“Our vision is a future in which technology simplifies life so you never have to stop at a petrol station, go to a car wash or even take your car in for service ever again. The acquisition of Luxe is a step towards realising that ambition. I look forward to working closely with the highly talented team at Luxe who created its advanced technology from the ground up,” said Atif Rafiq, Chief Digital Officer at Volvo Cars.
The acquisition of the Luxe platform is expected to considerably accelerate Volvo Cars’ ability to offer digital customer experiences such as pick-up and drop-off services, adding a new level of convenience for Volvo owners. More specifically, the technology behind Luxe provides the company with advanced algorithms in the areas of routing, logistics planning and arrival time prediction.
“As more and more of our cars are connected, the availability of digital services becomes a critical part of the process of selecting a new car. Simplification of experience and placing control directly into the hands of the consumer is what today’s technologies enable, and what defines our vision in the digital space,” said Mr Rafiq.
Silicon Valley-based Luxe has operated previously in a select number of major US cities, including San Francisco, New York and Chicago. The service allowed drivers to drop off their car at any point in the city, where a professional valet took care of finding a secure parking spot, as well as fuelling and cleaning the car if the customer desired.
[Source: Volvo]
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Uber is being investigated by the FBI

In a report by the New York Times, the FBI and the US Attorney’s office is looking into a claim in which Uber was using a software to gain an unlawful advantage over their competitors. They are looking to see if Uber used any tactics or software to interfere with Lyft, their competitor in the ride-sharing space.
What they are looking for in particular is a program called “Hell” internally where people who know of the matter divulged the information on the condition of anonymity to the authorities. It was said that Uber had used this program to gain the advantage over Lyft in places where both of them operate. This comes as not surprising as another area where the US Justice Department is also investigating claims of another software/program called “Greyball” in which Uber used to detect and avoid local enforcement agents.
The New York Times reported that they reached out to a spokesperson from Uber and that the firm is cooperating with the investigations. Uber appointed a new CEO just last month and this is another issue he has to resolve on top of the other mess created by former CEO, Travis Kalanick. Kalanick has been known to have a less than desirable approach when it comes to laws and regulations as Uber has been skirting them and operating in a lot of grey areas.
This comes as another test for Dara Khosrowshahi as he tackles on Uber’s legal headaches in this first 100 days as CEO.
[Source: New York Times]
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MCMC Unblocks Steam After Offending Game Geoblocked

Steam has been unblocked by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission. This comes after Valve placed a geoblock on the controversial Fight of Gods, which the government claims would have threatened the racial harmony in the country.
The MCMC had originally given Valve 24 hours to block downloads of the offending game, and it would have appeared that the game distributor failed to meet the deadline. Which is what caused the original MCMC block.

steam had disabled the download of the game in Malaysia in accordance with our warning & request last night.Will uplift the blocking today.
— Salleh Said Keruak (@sallehsaid) September 8, 2017

Valve responded rapidly to the new situation by placing the geoblock within a matter of hours, which is why the Steam DNS block was removed this morning.
The DNS block didn’t do much damage to Steam itself, as it mainly prevented Malaysians from accessing the Steam Store. Game libraries and online play was not affected by the action.
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MCMC Blocks Entire Steam Store Following God Fighting Game Controversy [Updated With MCMC Statement]

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has taken the unprecedented move of denying access to the entire Steam store, following the discovery of a controversial fighting game involving religious deities.
It appears that the MCMC has deployed a DNS block to the store.steampowered.com domain, affecting all Malaysians using the TM DNS. Some users trying to access the store on Digi and Maxis have also reported being denied access.
This block may have been the result of a game available on Steam’s Early Access platform called Fight of Gods. It features religious deities such as Odin, Amaterasu, Moses, and Guan Gong in an arcade-style fighting game, but it was the recent additions of characters such as Jesus and Gautama Buddha that raised the eyebrows of the authorities. Fan requests for the Prophet Muhammad to be added in added fuel to the fire.
Earlier today, it was reported that the MCMC has contacted Valve and requested that Fight of Gods be geoblocked for Malaysians within the next 24 hours, or risk further action being taken. This DNS block appears to be that action, although it must be said that it’s a rather crude one, as it denies Malaysians from buying any game on the platform.
That said, you still can play games on Steam; only the store has been blocked.
Nevertheless, the DNS block can be circumvented by switching to Google DNS. On Windows, this is fairly easily done. Follow our step-by-step guide here.
Update: The Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak has said that the action against Steam was done to protect Malaysians and to prevent untoward incidents. According to the Malay Mail, this latest action was taken because Steam had failed to comply with the 24 hour ultimatum delivered by the ministry yesterday.
“(To ensure) solidarity, harmony and wellbeing of the multi-racial and multi-religious people in the country are the main objectives of the government.
“The government will not compromise with any action that can jeopardise these objectives,” said Salleh.
Update 2: It would appear that Steam has noticed what’s going on and has geoblocked Fight of Gods. It no longer appears on the Steam store when accessed from Malaysia.
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This Is How To Switch To Google DNS On Windows

Google provides an alternative Domain Name Service (DNS) that routes all traffic through its own servers. For the most part, this is used to conceal web traffic from potential internet blocks. Something particularly important if you’re traveling to a country that blocks certain websites for whatever reason. Here’s how to switch to the very important Google DNS.
Step 1

To start with, locate your WiFi icon in the system tray. This should be easy enough since you usually already use it to connect to new networks. In this case, right-click on the icon and select Open Network And Sharing Center.
Step 2

Your current WiFi network should be highlighted in blue. Just click on it to bring up the WiFi status menu.
Step 3

Click on the Properties option. Make sure it’s the one with the blue and yellow icon. Note that this may require administrator access, so make sure that you’re the administrator of the computer. Or at least have access to the admin account.
Step 4

Among the checkboxes should be something named “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)”. Select it and then click on the box marked properties.
Step 5

Check the box marked “use the following DNS server addresses”. In the preferred box, type 8.8.8.8; while the alternate box should be filled with 8.8.4.4. Click OK to go back to the previous menu.
Step 6

Look for the option named “Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6)” and open the properties menu like you did with in step 4. Repeat step 5, except that the boxes should now be filled with 2001:4860:4860::8888 and 2001:4860:4860::8844. Click OK to return to the previous menu.
*Note that there is a double colon (:) before the last four digits.
Step 7
Click OK on the current menu to save the changes. Restart your browser and all your internet is now routed through the Google DNS service. Use your newfound freedom carefully.
Mac and other platforms
Google provides its DNS service for all platforms, and not just Windows. There are detailed instructions available from Google for those using Mac, Linux, Debian, or mobile operating systems.
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MCMC Blocks Entire Steam Store Following God Fighting Game Controversy

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has taken the unprecedented move of denying access to the entire Steam store, following the discovery of a controversial fighting game involving religious deities.
It appears that the MCMC has deployed a DNS block to the store.steampowered.com domain, affecting all Malaysians using the TM DNS. Some users trying to access the store on Digi and Maxis have also reported being denied access.
This block may have been the result of a game available on Steam’s Early Access platform called Fight of Gods. It features religious deities such as Odin, Amaterasu, Moses, and Guan Gong in an arcade-style fighting game, but it was the recent additions of characters such as Jesus and Gautama Buddha that raised the eyebrows of the authorities. Fan requests for the Prophet Muhammad to be added in added fuel to the fire.
Earlier today, it was reported that the MCMC has contacted Valve and requested that Fight of Gods be geoblocked for Malaysians within the next 24 hours, or risk further action being taken. This DNS block appears to be that action, although it must be said that it’s a rather crude one, as it denies Malaysians from buying any game on the platform.
That said, you still can play games on Steam; only the store has been blocked.

Developing…
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Meizu Pro 7 & Pro 7 Plus Arriving in Malaysia Soon

Unveiled back in July this year, the Meizu Pro 7 and Pro 7 Plus will very likely make its way into Malaysia soon. Packed with a unique secondary AMOLED display on the back, the Pro 7 devices boasts some respectable hardware as well.
Just recently, Meizu Malaysia started teasing the arrival of the Pro 7 devices in Malaysia on its Facebook page. Although the post didn’t specifically mention the Pro 7, the teaser image is clearly showcasing the unique rear display of the device.

As far as specifications go, let’s start with the bigger device of the two: the Pro 7 Plus. It comes with a 5.7-inch 1440p Super AMOLED display, a MediaTek Helio X30 processor paired with 6GB of RAM, 64 or 128GB of storage, a 3,500mAh battery, as well as an all-metal body.
The slightly lower-end Pro 7, on the other hand, comes with a 5.2-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display, a Helio P25 or X30 processor paired with 4GB of RAM, up to 128GB of internal storage, and a 3,000mAh battery.

In the camera department, both the Pro 7 and Pro 7 Plus come with two 12MP rear cameras: one is a monochrome shooter, while the other is equipped with an RGB sensor. It’s worth noting that this camera configuration is similar to the ones found on the Huawei P10 and Moto Z2 Force.
And of course, there’s the secondary 2-inch Super AMOLED display on the back of the Pro 7 devices. According to Meizu, the secondary display can be used as a screen for taking selfies with the phones’ rear cameras; it can also be configured to show the time, notifications, music, and even the weather.

At the time of writing, it still remains to be seen just when the Meizu Pro 7 devices will be available in Malaysia. Seeing how the company has already started teasing the devices, we imagine it won’t be too long now.
(Source: Facebook (Meizu Malaysia))
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Confirmed: Xiaomi to Launch Mi Note 3 and Mi Mix 2 on 11 September

It looks like a really busy week for Xiaomi. Fresh from the announcement of its first Android One smartphone, the Mi A1, the company will hold another event. This time, it will be in Beijing for the Mi Note 3 and the Mi Mix 2.
The predecessors for both smartphones were launched at the same time in late October last year, where the Mi Mix was a surprise announcement that was kept secret all the way till the launch event. One year on, it looks like Xiaomi is ready to reveal the next-generation “concept smartphone”.
Few details have emerged about the Mi Mix 2, but even less can be found on the Mi Note 3 beyond the one line in the MIUI forum moderator. The company has already begun releasing teasers for the Mi Mix 2, including showing off the phone (somewhat) in the videos below:

From these videos, at least two things can be confirmed. The first is that the Mi Mix 2 will have some form of facial recognition unlock, and perhaps the more exciting thing would be that the Mi Mix 2 would be less boxy than its predecessor. As we mentioned in our review, the original Mi Mix was an unashamedly large device despite the 91% screen to body ratio and 17:9 aspect ratio, making it pretty tedious to use.
This GIF, shared on the MIUI forums, also show curved display edges similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6 displays:

Beyond that, nothing else has been confirmed so far. But with just a few days to go before the launch, there isn’t much time to wait before all is revealed.
(Source: MIUI Forums (1), (2))
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Get ready to get taxed for Facebook and Google Ads

Heads up ecommerce entrepreneurs, digital agencies, social media marketers and anyone who spends on online advertising via Facebook, Google Ads or even on Amazon Web Services.
According to CK Wong, co-founder of ecommerce blog ecInsider.my, a recent amendment to the Malaysian Income Tax Act 1967 that came into effect on the 17th of January 2017 will require you to pay up Withholding Tax (WHT) on all your tax invoices even if it was not issued from a Malaysian entity.
Withholding tax (WHT) is not new, it has always been around and it is applied to a special category of services, which includes but is not limited to advertising, technical services, royalties and such.
Image credit : ecinsider.my
Prior to 17th January 2017, WHT only was applicable to local entities (onshore), so if you advertised on say TV3, and you received an invoice for RM100,000, you will pay TV3 RM90,000, and you will submit the balance RM10,000 to LHDN. Quite straightforward here.
What has changed after the amendment is that WHT now also applies to offshore Companies as well. So all payments for services rendered to the likes of Facebook, Google etc will now be also subject to WHT.
Now here is the catch 22 situation. While you could send TV3, a local entity RM90,000 for a RM100,000 invoice, neither Facebook (who will invoice you from Ireland) or Google (who will probably invoice you from Singapore) will accept your RM90,000. You will still have to pay Facebook and Google RM100,000. Does this mean you don’t have to pay WHT, tough luck, you will still be liable for WHT with the new amendments.
So, you now have to fork out RM10,000 from your own pocket to LHDN. Wrong again, you will have to fork out RM11,000 because your tax invoice has now gone up to RM110,000 due to WHT.
We are not going to get into the nitty gritty here because this is not really everyone’s cup of tea, but if you would like to get down to the details of the amendment head on over to the original posting at ecinsider.my
Source : ecinsider.my
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Sony Introduces The RX0 Action Cam With 1-Inch Sensor

Action cameras are nothing new to the market – but the Sony RX0 stands out among them. What makes it different from the others is the use of the same sensor as the one in the RX100 series.
While it looked reasonably rugged and tough, the Sony RX0 is not marketed as an action camera. Rather it is for professionals looking to record high-quality 4K video in challenging environments. The Exmore RS CMOS sensor captures video using the 15.3MP sensor. The lens on the RX0 is a Zeiss Tessar T* 24 mm equivalent F4 wide angle lens.
Images captured with the RX0 can be saved as RAW files or JPEG, at shutter speeds of up to 1/32,0000 seconds and up to 16fps. The camera can also record super-slow-motion video up to 1,000 fps at 1080p resolution. Not bad for a small camera that is both water and dustproof up to 10 metres.

Several RX0s can be chained together to capture photos, videos and slow-motion videos from various angles. Using Sony’s FA-WRC1M remote up to 15 cameras can be triggered at the same time and up to five cameras can be connected wirelessly via a Sony mobile app.
It will be available starting from October in Europe for 850 euro (about RM 4,298) with the price of the FA-WRC1M remote to be announced later.
(Source: DPReview )
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