Cisco to acquire silicon photonics chip maker Luxtera for $660 million

As networks get put under increasing pressure from ever-growing amounts of data, network equipment manufacturers are facing huge challenges to increase data transmissions speeds over further distances. As a premiere networking equipment company, Cisco wants to be prepared to meet that demand. Today, it opened up its checkbook and announced its intent to acquire Luxtera […]

As networks get put under increasing pressure from ever-growing amounts of data, network equipment manufacturers are facing huge challenges to increase data transmissions speeds over further distances. As a premiere networking equipment company, Cisco wants to be prepared to meet that demand. Today, it opened up its checkbook and announced its intent to acquire Luxtera for $660 million.

Luxtera, which was founded in 2001 and raised over $130 million, will give Cisco a photonic solution for that data networking problem. Rob Salvagno, head of Cisco’s M&A and venture investment team sees a company that can help modernize Cisco’s networking equipment.

“That’s why today we announced our intent to acquire Luxtera, Inc., a privately-held semiconductor company that uses silicon photonics technology to build integrated optics capabilities for webscale and enterprise data centers, service provider market segments, and other customers. Luxtera’s technology, design and manufacturing innovation significantly improves performance and scale while lowering costs,” he wrote in a blog post announcing the acquisition.

Photonics uses light to move large amounts of data at higher speeds over increased distances via fiber optic cable. Cisco sees this as a way to future-proof customer networking requirements, while keeping them on Cisco equipment. “The combination of Cisco’s and Luxtera’s capabilities in 100GbE/400GbE optics, silicon and process technology will enable customers to build future-proof networks optimized for performance, reliability and cost,” Salvagno wrote.

While Cisco has been acquiring its share of high-profile software properties in recent years including AppDyanmics for $3.7 billion in 2017 and Jasper Technologies for $1.4 billion in 2016, it also acquired Israeli chip designer Leaba Semiconductor for $320 million in 2016 for its advanced chip making capability.

Today’s announcement would seem to build on that earlier purchase as Cisco tries to modernize its hardware offerings to meet increasingly stringent demands inside large-scale data centers.

The acquisition is subject to the typical regulatory scrutiny, but Cisco expects it to close in its fiscal year 2019 Q3. It reported its Q1 2019 earnings in November.

Twitter warned of phone country code leak two years ago — but did nothing, security researcher says

A security researcher found a bug in Twitter’s support form two years ago that exposed the country codes of phone numbers attached to user’s accounts. At the time, his bug report was closed as it did “not appear to present a significant security risk.” Twitter now says that the bug may have been abused by […]

A security researcher found a bug in Twitter’s support form two years ago that exposed the country codes of phone numbers attached to user’s accounts. At the time, his bug report was closed as it did “not appear to present a significant security risk.”

Twitter now says that the bug may have been abused by nation state actors.

“We have become aware of an issue related to one of our support forms, which is used by account holders to contact Twitter about issues with their account,” said Twitter in its disclosure. “This could be used to discover the country code of people’s phone numbers if they had one associated with their Twitter account, as well as whether or not their account had been locked by Twitter.”

Peerzada Fawaz Ahmad Qureshi reported the bug through HackerOne, which hosts Twitter’s bug reporting program, in the hope of a fix and a bounty payout, but the report was marked as “informative” and no action was taken.

Qureshi shared his bug report with TechCrunch after learning of Monday’s disclosure, in which he described how it was “possible to map out whether a mobile number is attached to a Twitter account including the country where the mobile number is registered by identifying the country code.”

The bug report detailed how anyone could obtain the country code of a phone number from anyone’s account by running through the site’s password reset process. By selecting “I don’t have access” to an email address associated with an account, the form would change and would allow a user to enter a phone number instead. But, when that page loaded, it would automatically select the account holder’s country code by default.

Although only the country code was leaked, some say it would be enough to identify which country an account holder lives — which could be dangerous in regions where freedom of speech and expression is restricted.

But after the bug was triaged, it was determined that “while this may or may not be ideal behavior, we don’t consider the disclosure of a user’s country code to be sensitive information at this time.”

Little did the company know that the bug could have been later exploited by running a “large number of inquiries” in one go, as Twitter said in its Monday disclosure.

It’s still not known exactly how the form was abused to allow the mass scraping of account-specific country codes. When reached, a Twitter spokesperson said that the bug was caused by an API that only supported the webform, and was not a developer API — but declined to comment further when pressed on specifics of Qureshi’s report. Qureshi said it was possible that the webform’s API wasn’t rate limited — allowing someone “to enumerate users who had a mobile number linked” to their account, he said — but could not confirm as he did not test the limits of the API.

When checked on Tuesday, the webform no longer displays a user’s country code by default — effectively nixing the bug.

Twitter said that it discovered the bug on November 15 — a little over a month ago — and was fixed a day later, and suggested — without providing evidence — that the data may have been scraped from IP addresses associated with China and Saudi Arabia. But the company didn’t say how many users were affected by the bug, but said it was “sorry this happened.”

Twitter’s latest apology comes months after it revealed it may have exposed some user direct messages to third-parties, amid a wave of security issues to plague Silicon Valley tech giants this year.


Got a tip? You can send tips securely over Signal and WhatsApp to +1 646-755–8849. You can also send PGP email with the fingerprint: 4D0E 92F2 E36A EC51 DAAE 5D97 CB8C 15FA EB6C EEA5.

Let’s Talk iOS 270: Speaking for the masses

Cody just can’t help worry about iPhone sales numbers, while Sebastien tries to reassure him that everything might be just fine. Time will tell about that one… By the way, is Sebastien an Apple hater? Probably not, but you be the judge. Also a discussion about ignorant reports claiming the end of jailbreaking.

Cody just can’t help worry about iPhone sales numbers, while Sebastien tries to reassure him that everything might be just fine. Time will tell about that one… By the way, is Sebastien an Apple hater? Probably not, but you be the judge. Also a discussion about ignorant reports claiming the end of jailbreaking.... Read the rest of this post here


"Let’s Talk iOS 270: Speaking for the masses" is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

LSPullToDismiss clears all pending notifications from the Lock screen with a pull gesture

Interested in a new way of clearing all notifications from your Lock screen in one fell swoop? Check out a free jailbreak tweak called LSPullToDismiss.

If you’re more popular than the average individual, then you probably get barraged with iMessages and other notifications as you sleep and throughout the day. iOS automatically stacks these missed notifications on your Lock screen to be reviewed later, and you can clear them individually or all in one fell swoop with a 3D Touch gesture.

Apple’s 3D Touch implementation in this regard is neat, but it’s not perfect, and it’s very much a two-step process. A free jailbreak tweak called LSPullToDismiss by iOS developer SparkDev reduces the number of steps required to clear all Lock screen notifications at one time, and it feels more natural than a 3D Touch gesture would.... Read the rest of this post here


"LSPullToDismiss clears all pending notifications from the Lock screen with a pull gesture" is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Seismic scores $100 million Series E investment on $1 billion valuation

Seismic has been helping companies create and manage their sales and marketing collateral since 2010. Today the company announced a $100 million Series E investment on a $1 billion valuation. The round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and T Rowe Price. Existing investors General Atlantic, JMI Equity and Jackson Square Ventures also participated in […]

Seismic has been helping companies create and manage their sales and marketing collateral since 2010. Today the company announced a $100 million Series E investment on a $1 billion valuation.

The round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and T Rowe Price. Existing investors General Atlantic, JMI Equity and Jackson Square Ventures also participated in the round. The company has now raised $179 million since inception.

What is attracting this level of investment is Seismic’s sales enablement tools, a kind of content management for sales and marketing. “What we’re trying to do with our technology is to help marketers who are striving to create the right content to help the sellers, and help sellers navigate all of the content out there and put together the right pieces and the right materials that are going to help them move the sales cycle along,” Seismic CEO and co-founder Doug Winter explained.

The inclusion of an investor like T Rowe Price often is a signal of IPO ambitions, and Winter acknowledged the connection, while pointing out that T Rowe Price is also a customer. “We do have a goal to be public-ready as a company that we are aiming for. We are the leader of the space, and we do feel like striving to be a public company and to be the first one in our space to go public. It’s a goal we are going to push for,” Winter told TechCrunch.

But he says taking this investment is more about taking advantage of market opportunity. The money gives Seismic the ability to expand to meet growing sales. Today, the company has more than 600 customers averaging more than $200,000 in spending, according to Winter.

The company acquired the Savo Group in May to help expand its market position. Seismic is based in San Diego with offices in Boston and Chicago (from the acquisition). It also opened offices in the UK and Australia earlier this year and plans further international with the new investment.  The company currently has more than 600 employees including 185 engineers and project managers, and plans to keep hiring as it puts this money to work.

Where you should buy your new Nikon D3400?

Best answer: Purely for its large selection of bundles and occasional sales, Amazon is the place to buy your new Nikon D3400 DSLR. It’s also the place to purchase its successor, the D3500.

Amazon: Nikon D3400 ($399+)
Amazon: Nikon D3500 ($399+)
Large selection … always

Buying a camera is often a confusing process thanks to the ever-changing availability of starter packs, hard kits, and bag bundles. And this says nothing about the many different camera lenses available for the device. Because of this, Amazon is the best choice to purchase the Nikon D3400 and any of its accessories. At the minimum, it’s the place to go to at least see the type of different packages that are currently available for the well-received camera and then see if there’s a lower price elsewhere online or in real life.

Why the D3400?

The Nikon D3400, which launched in 2016, has been marketed as an entry-level DSLR camera for beginners and experienced DSLR hobbyists alike. It offers Nikon SnapBridge support…

Best answer: Purely for its large selection of bundles and occasional sales, Amazon is the place to buy your new Nikon D3400 DSLR. It's also the place to purchase its successor, the D3500.

Large selection ... always

Buying a camera is often a confusing process thanks to the ever-changing availability of starter packs, hard kits, and bag bundles. And this says nothing about the many different camera lenses available for the device. Because of this, Amazon is the best choice to purchase the Nikon D3400 and any of its accessories. At the minimum, it's the place to go to at least see the type of different packages that are currently available for the well-received camera and then see if there's a lower price elsewhere online or in real life.

Why the D3400?

The Nikon D3400, which launched in 2016, has been marketed as an entry-level DSLR camera for beginners and experienced DSLR hobbyists alike. It offers Nikon SnapBridge support via Bluetooth Low Energy for easy sharing and maximum ISO of 25600. The camera's compact and comfortable design makes it a great choice for capturing travel and special events, plus everyday moments. Add different lenses and lights as your needs change.

Familiar price

The D3400 is around $400, which is what Nikon usually charges for its entry-level DSLR. This is the price point, for example, Nikon selected for the D3300 and newer D3500.

What about the D3500?

The Nikon D3500, which launched in 2018, is essentially the same as the older model, except for some noticeable design changes. The newer model, for example, is slightly smaller than its predecessor. It's also 45g lighter. The location of certain buttons on the newer device was also changed. The D3500 is also noted for having a battery rating of 1500 shots, which is 350 more than the D3400.

You can't go wrong with either choice, although it should be noted you'll probably find the D3400 on sale much more often than the newer model.

Great choice

Nikon D3400

$399+ at Amazon

Entry-level bliss

The D3400 by Nikon is a terrific choice for anyone looking for an entry-level DSLR camera. For the most likely deals and bundles, make your purchase on the Amazon website.

Also consider

Nikon D5400

$399+ at Amazon

Updated model

If you're the type of person that needs the latest technology, there's nothing wrong with selecting the Nikon D3500. A little bit smaller than the old model, the D3500 also has a significant presence on Amazon. Shop accordingly.

Feed the whole family with the $90 Instant Pot Duo Plus pressure cooker

Make the most of this all-time low price while you can!

Today only, the Instant Pot Duo Plus 8-quart 9-in-1 programmable pressure cooker is down to $89.95 on Amazon. That’s $70 off its regular price and the first time we’ve ever seen it drop below $90. We saw a few Instant Pot deals on Black Friday, including the regular Duo 6-quart down as low as $50, but this model adds several functions that one doesn’t have and is large enough to feed more than six people.

The Duo Plus is meant to take the place of up to nine different kitchen appliances: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, egg cooker, sauté, steamer, warmer, and sterilizer. It’s large enough to feed the whole family (and a few guests, too), which makes it great for family gatherings and office potlucks. It has more than a dozen preset programs, easy-to-use controls, and it’s highly energy efficient. It will keep food warm when finished cooking and comes with temperature settings for uses like the sl…

Make the most of this all-time low price while you can!

Today only, the Instant Pot Duo Plus 8-quart 9-in-1 programmable pressure cooker is down to $89.95 on Amazon. That's $70 off its regular price and the first time we've ever seen it drop below $90. We saw a few Instant Pot deals on Black Friday, including the regular Duo 6-quart down as low as $50, but this model adds several functions that one doesn't have and is large enough to feed more than six people.

The Duo Plus is meant to take the place of up to nine different kitchen appliances: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, egg cooker, sauté, steamer, warmer, and sterilizer. It's large enough to feed the whole family (and a few guests, too), which makes it great for family gatherings and office potlucks. It has more than a dozen preset programs, easy-to-use controls, and it's highly energy efficient. It will keep food warm when finished cooking and comes with temperature settings for uses like the slow cooker. If you're new to Instant Pot cooking, it's worth grabbing a cookbook for inspiration and recipe ideas.

Users give this Instant Pot 4.5 stars based on 3,870 reviews. This deal is good until the end of the day, so make sure you don't miss out.

See at Amazon

You Can Get +10% When Adding Funds To Your Apple ID Right Now, Here’s How

Apple appears to be getting the hang of this special offer idea after starting to promote the iPhone XR at lower prices as part of a trade-in scheme, and now it’s also offering a 10% bonus on funds when they are added directly to an Apple ID. [ Continu…

Apple appears to be getting the hang of this special offer idea after starting to promote the iPhone XR at lower prices as part of a trade-in scheme, and now it’s also offering a 10% bonus on funds when they are added directly to an Apple ID.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Ada nets $19 million Series A to grow its customer service chatbot

Ada is on a mission to build chatbots powered by artificial intelligence. The company today is announcing a $19 million Series A that will go far in helping it reach that goal. The company sees the capital fueling international expansion and launching products into new verticals as well as doubling down on employees. Chatbots were […]

Ada is on a mission to build chatbots powered by artificial intelligence. The company today is announcing a $19 million Series A that will go far in helping it reach that goal. The company sees the capital fueling international expansion and launching products into new verticals as well as doubling down on employees.

Chatbots were a buzzword several years back. After the initial buildup and bust, the remaining players in the space are building upon the expectations set early on. Users of chatbots expect services to take actions on their behalf and perform routine functions quickly and efficiently. Likewise, companies are seeking solutions that exceed customer expectations, while offering features that allow the company to scale and expand.

“While many enterprises are choosing to invest in AI and automation,” the company tells TechCrunch, “the recurring investment of time and resources to implement, manage and improve highly technical solutions is diminishing the ROI. In turn, businesses are seeking inclusive and accessible platforms that empower non-technical support teams to build, manage and track the automated customer experience. Even among our own clients, we’ve seen the formation of some of the world’s first automated automation customer experience service (ACX) departments–made up of customer service professionals, not programmers–dedicated to building an automated, AI-powered customer experience. Ada’s automation is changing how people are working and the role of customer service by creating completely new departments, titles, and roles.”

Ada sees the Series A capital to expand the features built-into its products, allowing for a deeper level of personalization and customization — items that will go far with its clients. Launched in 2016 the Toronto-based startup expects to double its staff in the coming months. Right now the company has 70 employees and hopes to be at 140 sometime in 2019.

“2018 was an exciting time for the customer service industry,” Ada said. “Reservations about chatbots and virtual assistants are dissipating, as consumers continue to realize the tremendous benefits of instant, automated, self-service support. Their rising expectations have resulted in an industry-wide shift, with businesses changing from an ‘agent-first’ to an ‘automation-first’ customer strategy.”

The Series A was round was led by FirstMark Capital with participation from Leaders Fund and Burst Capital, as well as returning investors Bessemer, Version One, and computer scientist, Barney Pell.

“Ada’s accessible and scalable platform lets non-technical customer service teams build and manage AI-powered chatbots to automate interactions. Ada has delivered transformational, measurable results to some of the world’s most innovative brands, helping them shift from a reactive, expensive support strategy to a proactive model that reduces customer effort,” said Matt Turck, Managing Director of FirstMark Capital, in a released statement “Ada has played an important role in driving automated customer experience, and we’re confident in the team and the platform to surpass their rapid projected growth.”

The company is based in Toronto. When asked why Toronto, the company points to several data points such as the city’s designation of the fastest growing tech market in North America and the recent announcements of significant new office complexes from Microsoft and Google .

Why I’d love a Smart Battery Case for iPhone XS

A Smart Battery case for iPhone XS would take its already impressive battery life to the next level, while only adding extra bulk when and if you absolutely needed it. Gimme.

Through the miracles of hyper-efficient technology and hyper-aggressive power management, iPhone XS gets gets even better battery life than the iPhone X — by 30 minutes. iPhone XS Max, much better still. Yet I want more. I need more.

Everything from Instagram to Snapchat, Pokémon Go to ARKit apps — which light up the screen, the radios, and location services — gobble up power faster than ever before.

You can make iPhones thicker, but then they’re heavier and harder to hold up for long periods of time, all the time. And if you can’t use your iPhone for as long as you want, who cares how much battery life it has? Unless, of course, that extra thickness and weight can be put on and taken off only when and if you really need it.

That’s where a new Smart Battery Case comes in. I’ve …

A Smart Battery case for iPhone XS would take its already impressive battery life to the next level, while only adding extra bulk when and if you absolutely needed it. Gimme.

Through the miracles of hyper-efficient technology and hyper-aggressive power management, iPhone XS gets gets even better battery life than the iPhone X — by 30 minutes. iPhone XS Max, much better still. Yet I want more. I need more.

Everything from Instagram to Snapchat, Pokémon Go to ARKit apps — which light up the screen, the radios, and location services — gobble up power faster than ever before.

You can make iPhones thicker, but then they're heavier and harder to hold up for long periods of time, all the time. And if you can't use your iPhone for as long as you want, who cares how much battery life it has? Unless, of course, that extra thickness and weight can be put on and taken off only when and if you really need it.

That's where a new Smart Battery Case comes in. I've wanted one for a couple years already and now, increasingly, hints in code and inventories are showing we just might get it.

Best Battery Packs for iPhone XS

The really smart battery

The Smart Battery case is of my favorite Apple products of the last few years is. A lot of customers and even reviewers completely underestimated it at first. They couldn't see past the hump being hella ugly and the "milliamp cost" messing with their pricing preconceptions.

Previous battery cases were a mixed blessing. They often reduced radio reception, forcing the phone to amp up its radios just to maintain a signal, and burning power just as it was trying to recharge. The Smart Battery Case cut the sides away, leaving the hump, so as not to interfere, and then added a signal booster to improve reception and prevent the drain so the battery could focus on charging.

Likewise, many battery cases would put iOS into plugged-in mode where, with the expectation of unlimited power, it would turn on networking to download content updates, sync large amounts of data, stop worrying about race-to-sleep, and more. The Smart Battery Case would insist iOS stay in mobile mode so that none of those extra activities would fire, and none of their extra power demands would affect charging.

It all added up to Smart Battery case the best way to add extra power to your iPhone. The hump was form-over-function and "milliamp efficiency" the critical stat.

Whenever I went out with iPhone 6s or iPhone 7, I had the Smart Battery case with me. It got me through travel, where lousy airport reception and roaming would otherwise shred my battery life, and conferences and shows where there was often no time to plug in.

iPhone Xs battery life tips

The case for Xs

I've been using iPhone X and iPhone XS for over a year now and it's been a champ, even under the grueling load of reviewing and writing about its every new flaw and feature. It manages to last almost as long as my iPhone Plus of yore but fits in my hand and pocket like the regular sized iPhone. It's blissful.

Because it's only about the size of a regular iPhone, it's made me wonder what already iPhone Plus level battery life would be like... with a Smart Battery Case option to go with it?

I think it would be like iPhone XS Max, which is a tank.

And iPhone Xs Max with a smart battery case? Forget it. Tanker.

Inductive reasoning

The best question around a new Smart Battery Case is what it would be like in the age of inductive charging. Would it ignore it completely and function like the Smart Battery Case of yore? Would it embrace it and include the coils necessary to charge the case on an inductive pad, even at the expense of battery cell volume?

Apple might go for strict power efficiency here rather than charging convenience, because that's literally the smart approach, but it'll be interesting to see if and how it all plays out.

Rumors and hints notwithstanding, when it comes to anything power related, I've learned to only expect it when I see it.

Still, this is probably the Apple product I'd most love to show up in stockings this holiday season.

Originally published in November 2017, updated for iPhone XS in December 2018