Posts by codesmith

SFOX Raises 22.7 million, Bolsters Bitcoin Exchange

August 16, 2018 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “SFOX Raises 22.7 million, Bolsters Bitcoin Exchange”

The world’s first ever Bitcoin exchange was established in 2009, ushering the age of digital exchange. Since those nascent years, trading platforms have cropped up to facilitate the extremely volatile currency. In market speak, volatility equals profitability. And wherever there’s money to be made you can bet everything you have that high network individuals will be there. The problem with bitcoin is that the market is too volatile, even for spend-happy institutional investors.

That’s where SFOX comes in to save the day. The company has just raised $22.7 million in a Series A funding. The round was led by Tribe Capital and Social Capital, with participation from Y Combinator, Khosla Ventures, DHVC, Blockchain Capital, Upside Partnership, SV Angel, DCG, Mark Britto, and Airbnb Co-Founder Nathan Blecharczyk.

SFOX proposes that they shield traders by providing a path to liquidity through OTC desks and market makers. In short, SFOX makes sure that exchanges are backed by cold hard cash. The company also uses proprietary algorithms titled after zoo animals(a gorilla and a polar bear, if you’re curious) that prevent the market from imploding after a large trade.

“Liquidity represents one of the most significant barriers to institutional cryptocurrency adoption,” said Co-Founder and Partner at Tribe Capital, Arjun Sethi. “What has always excited us about SFOX and differentiates them from other players is that they provide access to a global integrated order book, sourced from exchanges, OTC desks, and market makers. This means institutions can trade from a single account and have the ability to buy and sell high volumes without impacting prices. This is exactly what institutional investors looking to embrace cryptocurrencies need today and in the future, as the ecosystem becomes more fragmented.”

To date, SFOX has overseen $9 billion USD in transactions. With the new infusion of cash, it plans to become the go-to platform for all crypto asset management needs. According to their press release, here’s how they plan to spend the $22.7 million.

– Adding additional cryptocurrency pairs and liquidity providers

– Adding trading support in new geographical regions

– Hiring across all departments

“We’ve seen high interest from our clients in expanding their exposure to crypto assets,” said Akbar Thobhani, co-founder of SFOX and CEO at Star Appz Inc. “Institutions need a full service asset management platform that meets the unique needs of cryptocurrency. This is not being fulfilled by traditional tools and current platforms. We’re in a great position to provide these rails. This investment will allow us to pursue this evolution.”

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Bitmain pumps 3 million dollars into tribeOS

August 10, 2018 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Bitmain pumps 3 million dollars into tribeOS”

Bitmain, the largest privately owned bitcoin mining company, has invested $3 million in tribeOS. The seed round gives much needed funding to a company that has been operating under an invisibility cloak for the last five years.

On the surface, tribeOs is just another ad tech platform. Dig a bit deeper and you’ll discover that the system is built atop Bitcoin Cash(BCH) public blockchain combined with a peer-to-peer network.

Matt Gallant, CEO of tribeOS, was pretty jazzed about the investment, saying, “When industry leaders like Bitmain invest in a blockchain-based advertising platform like tribeOS, it signals a paradigm shift, not only in ad tech, but for the entire online advertising industry.”

What’s tribeOS?

“tribeOS is an open, intelligent, and fully automated digital advertising marketplace launching in 2019 that will disrupt the fraud-infected, confusing and archaic advertising industry by replacing existing cost-per-action and pay-per-click ad tech tools with a permissionless, fully transparent, and blockchain backed solution.”

According to Juniper Research, advertisers will lose $19 billion dollars in ad fraud. Of course, for us average internet surfers, there aren’t many tears pooling on our keyboards. Still, kudos to tribeOS for using decentralized systems to untangle the monolithic advertising establishment.

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Dota 2 Pros Annihilated by AI

August 6, 2018 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Dota 2 Pros Annihilated by AI”

Remember Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo, and how it utterly dominated Lee Sedol, the South Korean professional Go player?

What we learned from that experience is that, after absorbing a data set of 100,000 Go games, AI can turn around and teach us a few tricks, even if the game has been in existence for a few millennia.

A team consisting of 3 former Dota pros, a current pro, and a commentator found this out the hard way. The unlikely alliance of seasoned vets and young bloods duked it out with a team of bots powered by OpenAI. Unlike Google’s DeepMind, OpenAI is a non profit AI research company founded by none other than Elon Musk.

The development team’s hard work paid off in the wake of the 2-1 victory over their human compatriots.

Before the face off, the OpenAI team lifted some restrictions to allow their neural network to munch on more data. Here’s a snippet from the statement they released before the match,

“We’ve removed the most significant restrictions on OpenAI Five’s gameplay — namely, wards, Roshan, and mirror match of fixed heroes, and will soon benchmark our progress by playing 99.95th-percentile Dota players. The OpenAI Five Benchmark match will be held 12:30pm Pacific Time on August 5th in San Francisco. The human team will include Blitz, Cap, Fogged, and Merlini, some of whom are former professionals. The games will be streamed on our Twitch channel and casted by popular casters Purge and ODPixel.”

What this statement means in English is that they’re facing less amateurish teams in the hopes of teaching their AI to go up against the superstars of Dota 2. Last year, the restrictions were needed for their fledgling AI to remain competitive against 5v5 amateur teams, though their AI held its own against top Dota pros in the 1v1 setting.

With this victory behind them, OpenAI’s developers will look to make a splash in Valve’s international tournament where the best Dota players in the world await the rise of bots.

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HTC Partners with McLaren to Debut the World’s First VR Motorsport eSports Competition in China

August 3, 2018 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “HTC Partners with McLaren to Debut the World’s First VR Motorsport eSports Competition in China”

HTC Corporation may have taken a hit in recent years when it comes to smartphones, but the Taiwanese consumer company is still kicking in the virtual reality sphere. Its ecosystem of Vive products has garnered rave reviews over the years and has openly supported developers.

So it’s no surprise that HTC partnered with Formula 1 team McLaren to kickoff the first ever VR motorsports eSports competition. The competition will take place at Chinajoy 2018, the largest digital entertainment expo in China. The venue allows Alvin Wang Graylin, President of HTC, to tout some of Vive’s latest features.

According to HTC’s press release, Alvin Wang Graylin, China President, HTC, said,

“VR/AR(XR) technologies will fundamentally change the game, not only in the entertainment industry but across all facets of life, while the Vive Focus system update released today massively increases the amount of content accessible for the device elevating its value for users to a new level. Already, the dramatic impact of XR on the gaming industry is transformational, which is clearly demonstrated by the new class of immersive content we are showing at ChinaJoy! As a category, eSports is being redefined by immersive technologies, and this cooperation between HTC Vive and McLaren to hold the world’s first official VR motorsport eSport event this week is bringing the worlds of virtual and physical sports closer together than ever.”

He also posted a tweet of some new features, chief among them being Vive Focus.

While articles in the blogosphere are foretelling the end of HTC, VR technology will be the life raft this company so desperately needs. A good showing at this year’s Chinajoy is one way to show to hundreds of millions of gamers that HTC is here to stay.

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Girl Scouts Battle Diversity by offering STEM-related badges

July 17, 2018 Posted by Recruiting 0 thoughts on “Girl Scouts Battle Diversity by offering STEM-related badges”

Just last year, I attended a coding boot-camp for nine months. It was a regimented program that involved getting up at 6 AM, commuting for two hours, and then arriving at 48 Wall Street so that I and other wide-eyed students could code from 9AM till 8PM.

The boot-camp, with it’s ergonomic chairs and standing desks, looked like the stereotypical startup. It even had wall art. Up till this point, I wasn’t really schooled in the diversity issues associated with tech startups, though I was faintly aware of the statistics. At the start, my cohort was diverse across ages, gender, and race.Gender-wise, the ratio of men to women was nearly 1:1.

As time went on, the number of women in my cohort dwindled. This was a result of the assessment tests that had to be taken every three months. There were two major tests before the final project. If you passed, you got to move on to the next leg of the journey. If you failed, you were left behind. Another failure resulted in extermination. By the time I entered the finals, there were six others with me.

We were all guys.

It didn’t take long for us to call ourselves the Seven Samurai after watching Kurosawa’s legendary film together over the period of several lunch breaks. Kevin, the artist of the group, eventually drew a mural of anthropomorphic otters wielding katanas on a whiteboard. Looking back on my time there, I never truly paused to consider how much of a statistic we were. The lack of females aside, I was the only African American in the group. There were three Asians and three whites. My cohort was a snapshot of Silicon Valley.

The question of how to solve diversity in tech is often propagated to the lack of programs in the educational field. Though this sentiment may appear like a deflection of responsibility on the part of tech companies, there is a point in creating programs that teach engineering skills to minorities and women at a young age. Research conducted by Sapna Cheryan, Lily Jiang and Sianna Ziegler reveals that masculine stereotypes associated with engineering deters young girls from partaking in optional engineering courses or programs.

One solution may be to repackage these courses in a way that encourages inclusivity. The Girl Scouts are taking on this challenge by including 30 new STEM-related badges.

Here are some of the many Stem-related badges.

[metaslider id=681]
You can search a full list of badges here

Girls from the age of five to eighteen will be able to earn badges in robotics, cybersecurity, computer science, mechanical engineering, and many other fields.

A few badges won’t solve the problem of diversity. But it is a small step, and every step counts.

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Why Whiteboarding Needs A Makeover

July 13, 2018 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Why Whiteboarding Needs A Makeover”

Everywhere you look, the pen and the paper is being replaced by the stylus and the touch screen. In the early 2000s, the first few smart-boards rolled out into classrooms, abrogating chalks and markers and erasers and grime-stained boards. Now fast forward to the iPad and surface pro era. Touch interfaces have now found homes on monitors.

So the big question is, why do tech companies still pull out the good ol’ dry erase board during technical interviews? Do the technical interviewers inwardly cackle with glee when they see their candidates’ eyes widen at all the battle scars on their boards? Most likely not. Is the white-boarding phenomenon a time-worn tradition that needs to be kicked into the 21st century? Yes.

The problem with the dreaded whiteboard is that it is completely antithetical to a programmer’s normal work environment.Gone are the hotkeys. Gone is that nice editor that makes code reading a somewhat pleasing experience. In place of all the convenience a computer provides is a marker and your insecurities. Of course, with constant practice, white-boarding may just become a mild annoyance rather than a massive migraine. But if tech companies continue to demand white boarding and recruits continue to despise it, there has to be a happy medium.

That’s where the smart-board comes in, whether it’s a touch monitor or the interactive whiteboards found in many high schools. There are many white-boarding software out there. Microsoft recently just released one of their own. The technical interviewer simply needs to have the software up and running before the interview begins. Why does this bridge the divide?

1) Inclusivity:: The interactive whiteboard caters to different styles. Some people may be visual learners and may find it hard to read their own code. A lit, pure white background will make it easier for the candidate to read his or her own code.

2) Flexibility: Would it hurt to have documentation available? A programmer who is willing to refactor his code by looking up some useful methods is someone you’d want to have on the team. In one go, you can check the knows how to read docs and actually refactors code boxes.

3) Interactivity: There is no question that we’ve been spoiled by touch technology. When you’re left with a pen and a board with no fluid dimensions, you’d feel like you just time traveled. Now you actually have to worry about make sure you can contain your code. With a smart-board, all the candidate needs to do is scroll to create more blank space.

Smart-boards won’t solve all of the pain points experienced by developers, but they at least alleviate the anxiety some candidates face when approaching “The Whiteboard”.

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Rick and Morty Teach JavaScript Hoisting

June 28, 2018 Posted by Programming 0 thoughts on “Rick and Morty Teach JavaScript Hoisting”

This is a fan-fictional representation of Rick and Morty. This post is not sponsored by the show.
Written by Raji Ayinla

Morty: Here’s a question I’d like answered. Why does this work? What is this Jedi nonsense?


sayMyNameSayMyName('Morty'); // 'I said your name, Morty.'
function sayMyNameSayMyName(name){
return `I said your name,${name}.`;
}

Rick: Hoisting.

Morty: Yeah, yeah, but what is hoisting exactly?

Rick: I will attempt to utilize the gerund that labels this quirky phenomenon to help with the definition. Here goes. Declarations, whether they are a variable or function, are lifted up to the top of your program.

Morty: Okay, that’s digestible. Sort of. But wait…so you’re telling me that this can’t be hoisted with the Force?


sayMyNameSayMyName('Morty'); // TypeError: undefined is not a function
var sayMyNameSayMyName = function(name){
return `I said your name,${name}.`;
}

Rick: Well, you see, declarations get special treatment. Assignments are second class, so to speak. They don’t get the privilege of being hoisted.

Morty: But why?

Rick:It’s the execution context. That’s to blame.

Morty: Execution what?

Rick: Every line of code has a context. There are two key contexts to keep in mind. You have the global and the function context. It looks like this:


/*Global--woohooo I'm freee*/
two(); // 2
function two(){
/*Function
========
*/
return 2;
}

Morty: Wait. Context is the same as scope, right?

Rick: *Sigh*

You have much to learn young Jedi. No, scope refers to access. If a variable is declared in a global scope, it can be accessed by functions or blocks. Functions are unicorns because they create their own scope. But that differs from context.
You see, we can all say that we are from planet Earth. That is our global context. But we cannot all say that we are from Washington DC. That is the function context. In JavaScript, you can determine the current context with the this keyword.

Morty: So what does context have to do with hoisting?

Rick: Yes, so…

First, imagine that the interpreter is an alien who found your signal and is now looking for you. The alien would start on planet earth, our global context. There are seven continents on Earth. It might start in North America.

Morty: Why?

Rick: It loves North America’s bizarre geometry.

Anyway, it will then create a scope chain containing your possible country, then your state, then your city, then your street.

Now, let’s try to look within the mind of JavaScript’s interpreter. When the interpreter reads code, it automatically enters the global context.

The interpreter does something similar to the alien’s search tactics by first looking for a function invocation(the signal). It won’t execute it until it can create the context(find your info).

There are two stages the interpreter goes through to accomplish its mission: the creation stage and the execution stage.

1) Mind you, we’re entering the creation stage.

A function can have multiple functions within it, so the interpreter will initialize a scope chain(country,state,city,street).

It will create a variable object to hold all sorts of arguments, parameters, and function/variable declarations.

It then creates this to store the current context.

This is an oversimplification. We’ll simplify it further by only concerning ourselves with how the interpreter deals with function declarations versus variable declarations.

Function:

When the interpreter’s nose bumps against a function keyword, it looks for the name. It then stores a reference to that function name in variables object.

Variable:

When the interpreter’s nose bumps against a var, let, or any keyword associated with variables, it first stores the variable name in variable objects. Then it automatically initializes it with undefined.

Can you start to see how assigning a function to a variable and hoping it will be hoisted does not work? When we invoke myNameIs(name), the interpreter will find our function expression, but it will only read in the variable name and assign undefined to it.


sayMyNameSayMyName('Morty'); // 'I said your name, Morty.'
myNameIs('Morty'); // undefined
//
function sayMyNameSayMyName(name){
return `I said your name,${name}.`;
}

var myNameIs = function(name){
return `your name is,${name}.`;
}

You’ll understand this more in the next stage.

2) The Execution Stage

In the execution stage, values are assigned to variables within the execution context.
The problem with calling myNameis() early is that the interpreter has assigned undefined tomyNameIs() in the creation stage. If you had invoked myNameIs() after the function expression, the interpreter would have had time to assign the value of myNameIs() within the global context during the execution stage.

Invoking sayMyNameSayMyName() works because a reference to the declared function is stored in the creation stage. When the code is executed, we’re able to run it without a problem.

Conclusion

Morty: So…hoisting is all about execution context?

Rick: Yep.

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5 Apps That Are Changing the World

June 25, 2018 Posted by Apps 0 thoughts on “5 Apps That Are Changing the World”

The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going. Epictetus’ words still ring true today. Since humanity began developing apps, the world has been turning like a revolving door. Apps have embedded themselves into our everyday lives. Need to make a restroom run? Well, there’s an app that will help you find the nearest John. Want to share that location? Unfortunately, there’s an app for that as well. On the bright side, some of these apps have actually changed the world.

Here are 5 apps that have revved up our big blue planet.

Uber

Many startups love to anoint themselves as “disruptors.” It’s the Valley’s darling phrase and thus shares a room with unicorn. However, not many disruptors can claim that they sparked a national protest against their product. Uber can. This ride-hailing company revolutionized travel, and angered a lot of taxi drivers in the process. The talk when traveling these days sounds something like, “Hey, what’s your rating? I’m trying to keep mine at four point two.”

Venmo

“Hey, Venmo me five bucks real quick for that sweater? ”

“Seriously? You still didn’t Venmo me back for last night.”

If your company becomes a verb, you’ve certainly impacted culture. Though Venmo has made it easier for Millenials to swap cash for booze and drugs, as many criticize, there is no denying that the app has modernized tab-splitting. Scrolling through a feed of money-sharing couples and groups socializes money exchange in a way that is only rivaled by WeChat’s money sharing feature.

Grubhub

Before 2013, if someone told you that they were going to make tons of money delivering food to strangers, you’d have thought they were crazy. After Grubhub’s successful IPO, food delivery services have been tripping over themselves to get fresh food to your door. Grubhub earns this spot above the long list of other services because it proved the concept of food delivery. Right now, they serve over 267, 000 daily diners.

Airbnb

Once upon a time, if you wanted to travel to Hawaii with a contingent of friends/coworkers/etc, your only option was to book a few rooms at a hotel and deal with the ups and downs of hotel service, not to mention the cost. Nowadays, thanks to Airbnb, travelers can upgrade their experience by “booking” a house instead for a sweet price. The whole shebang is a win, win for vacationers and renters. Not so much for the hotels.

Ushahidi

At the end of the day, technology should impact the world in a meaningful way. Ushahidi, which translates to “testimony” in Swahili, allowed Kenyans facing persecution after the 2008 election to report acts of violence in their region. Now, the app continues to serve those whose voices are drowned out by terror.

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5 Hottest China-based Ed Tech Companies

June 22, 2018 Posted by Startups 0 thoughts on “5 Hottest China-based Ed Tech Companies”

According to a recent TechCrunch article, Chinese companies are in hot pursuit for U.S. English teachers. All you need is a clean, spacious room and a web cam that’ll broadcast your lessons to millions of Chinese users. The gold rush towards the digitization of learning has already swept through the U.S. in the form of Udacity, Khan Academy, Coursera, and many more. However, in China, ed tech companies have become billion dollar unicorns in a couple of years. The unique offering in many of China’s ed tech startups is Massive Open Online Courses(MOOC). In other words, live streamed classes are no longer a thing of the future. They’re now.

Here are five rising ed tech startups that call China home.

17zuoye

17zuoye, founded by Liu Chang and Dun Xiao in 2007, is perhaps the most established education company in China. In total, it has raised 585 million in funding, with a bulk of that coming last month in a 250 million dollar series E.
The cash is well deserved. 17zuoye has garnered over 60 million users. They’ve also reached 120, 000 schools by providing supplementary textbooks, homework solutions, and live stream tutoring. Their offering is aimed at teachers, parents, and students. The company broke even on November 2017, according to Liu Chang, CEO of the Company.

VIPKid

VIPkid is the new kid on the ed tech block. Its founder, Cindy Mi, embodies the companies values. She taught herself English, spending her lunch money to learn the foreign tongue. She’s taught others English at just 15 years old. Now she’s become a role model for women in tech and anyone aspiring to fulfill their dreams. Social media and big dreams isn’t what a company runs on, however. Just this past year, the company received a $200 million cash infusion at a $1.5 billion dollar valuation. Now, Mi’s ed tech startup is warring with 51 talk in a battle that pits them against other competitors in this space.

Yuanfudao

Tencent, China’s largest social network, along with Warburg Pincus, an American private equity firm, both back Yuanfudao. That’s enough said. Last year, Tencent and Warburg Pincus invested $120 million dollars into Yuanfudao, valuing the company at $1 billion dollars. 160 million users are active on their mobile app and they earn steady revenue from about 1 million paying users. The company has already earned the title of being China’s first and largest unicorn. Wait, there’s more! According to iResearch, the company will be valued at a whopping $40 billion in 2019.

51 talk

This online education company was founded by Jia Huang and Ting Shu in 2011, a year before the U.S. MOOC boom began with edX, Udacity, and Coursera taking off all at once. 51 Talk has since become one of China’s leading education companies. On Aug. 28, 2017, the company announced that it signed an agreement with Highlights and Teacher Created Materials(TCM). The deal brought thousands of picture books to bolster its K-12 English language offering. Now they’re looking to recruit English teachers abroad to host English lessons, and, in doing so, revolutionizing China’s edtech market.

Alo7

Alo7 was founded by Pengkai Pai in 2004. Though the company has been around for a while, the recent explosion in the MOOC market may have been the reason for a recent round of funding to the tune of $37.5 million dollars in 2017. This Shanghai-based digital ELT product provider positions itself as more of a B2B company rather than a B2C company, offering consulting services to the thousands of training institutions in China. They also tout their proprietary curriculum as being a success amongst consumers.

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4 Quick HTML Rules You Should Know

June 1, 2018 Posted by Programming 0 thoughts on “4 Quick HTML Rules You Should Know”

When I heard about arguments erupting at the work place over proper line spacing(double space or tab?), I though it was hyperbole. Like, really? I mean, I get fighting over the superiority of one language over another, but line spacing?

Then I joined a team to build an app and a problem arose: we coded HTML differently from one another. Style guides I’d read in the past stressed the use of double space, but, apparently, another member of the team liked using tabs because, “Sublime allows you to minimize elements based on tab spacing,’ he claimed.

We ended up agreeing on tabs because I’m a team player.

Looking back on it, I should have referenced the style guides that insist on double spacing. Anyway, that’s why I’m going to go through a rundown of the major rules for HTML. I’m also going to go over CSS rules in a future article because HTML and CSS go together like [insert horrible parable(bread and jam’s my choice, if you wanted to know)].

Jokes aside, agreeing on a universal set of rules is crucial for scaling and maintaining large apps. Of course, a pre-processor like Pug is a good mediator. That’s if you’re using Node.js for your back end, of course. You also have Slim and HAML for Ruby.


Pug Life

Really, don’t read the rest of this article. Just use Pug.

But if you insist on writing markup, here are four guidelines.

1) Filenames

Filenames must be lower case.

Good: pugs.html
Bad: Pugs.html

If you need your filenames to be longer than one word, they should be separated by hyphens.

pugs-are-in-the-kitchen.html
(more…)

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