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Apple hid a secret message in its latest YouTube video

By Greg Kumparak

Shortly after Apple’s iPhone 11 event yesterday, the company posted a drastically condensed “supercut” of everything they announced. Taking the two hour event and boiling it down to a little over two minutes, they still manage to cover just about everything — from new iPads, to new Watches, to new iPhones. And they tucked a little Easter egg in there, while they were at it!

Here’s the video:

First spotted by Gcarsk on the r/apple subreddit, it’s very much a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kinda thing. Hell, you might miss it even if you don’t blink, as it’s only on screen for a few tenths of a second. I had to rapid-fire hammer the space bar to pause the video long enough to grab the screenshot below. The frames flash on screen riiiight after the narrator says “the best-selling PC” at around the 1:23 mark.

The frames jab at the classic Blue Screen of Death that you might see when something goes real wrong on a Windows computer, announcing that “Error 09102019” (a nod to the event’s September 10th, 2019 date) has occurred:

apple message

See all the numbers at the bottom? If you recognize that as binary, you probably see where this is going. A hidden message within the hidden message!

Pop those into a binary-to-ascii converter, and a new bit of text is revealed. Don’t feel like typing out all those ones and zeroes? Here’s the full text of the message:

Error 09102019

This is just a thought. But it might be nice to have some sort of easter egg message in here for the hard core Apple fans that will stop the video.

01010011 01101111 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110100 01101111 01101111 01101011 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101001 01101101 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110100 01110010 01100001 01101110 01110011 01101100 01100001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00111111 00100000

01010111 01100101 00100000 01101100 01101111 01110110 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00101110″

And — spoiler alert — the translated/decrypted text:

“So you took the time to translate this? We love you.”

What is Andela, the Africa tech talent accelerator?

By Jake Bright

As someone who covers Africa’s tech scene, I’m frequently asked about Andela . That’s not surprising, given the venture gets more global press (arguably) than any startup in Africa.

I’ve found many Silicon Valley investors have heard of Andela but aren’t exactly sure what it does.

In a bite, Andela is Series D stage startup―backed by $180 million in VC―that trains and connects African software developers to global companies for a fee.

The revenue-focused venture is often misread as a charity. In 2017, Andela CEO Jeremy Johnson described the organization as “a mission-driven for-profit company” ― a model for the concept “that you can actually build businesses that create real impact.”

I asked Johnson recently to clarify the objective behind Andela’s drive. “It’s the exact same mission as when we started, based around our founding principle… that brilliance and talent are distributed equally around the world, but opportunity is not,” he said.

“We’re about breaking down the walls that prevent brilliance and opportunity from connecting to each other.”

A major barrier for Africa’s software engineers, according to Johnson, is simply the fact that the continent has been totally off the network that companies look to for developer talent.

Tesla starts rolling out Chess to ‘Tesla Arcade’ in-car gaming app

By Darrell Etherington

Tesla is making a new game available to its vehicle owners, with a roll-out starting today. The company started pushing out a new ‘Arcade’ app for its in-car infotainment system back in June at the annual E3 gaming conference, and now it’s adding the most thrilling game around to the mix: Chess.

This isn’t the first time games have been on Tesla’s infotainment screens; its had them available as ‘Easter eggs,’ or hidden software features. Tesla began demoing Arcade in its showrooms back in June, too, so that visitors to their showrooms could come in and give it a try through June 30.

Tesla’s teaser for the release of the Chess game includes a western-themed Tesla driver playing in a field, which is an interesting narrative choice. The promo also notably has the person using this while parked, which is the only way you can actually play the games for obvious reasons.

When your car can do zero-to-sixty faster than you can make your next move, we call that a checkmate.

Chess begins rolling out to the Tesla Arcade globally today 🤠♟pic.twitter.com/cNRf3kAtAA

— Tesla (@Tesla) July 26, 2019

In addition to the update going out broadly, Tesla also announced that ‘Beach Buggy Racing’, a kart racing game you can control with the Tesla’s steering wheel, gets an update which will let you use two game controllers as once to do local multiplayer with a passenger. Again, not while driving.

Bethesda also revealed at E3 that mobile game Fallout Shelter being played on the in-car display, and Musk has discussed opening up the platform more broadly to developers, so we’ll see if that’s the next step after this rollout of the Arcade app to users.

PayU, Naspers’ global fintech firm, enters Southeast Asia with acquisition of Red Dot Payment

By Jon Russell

PayU, the Naspers-owned fintech firm that specializes in emerging markets, is broadening its global reach into Southeast Asia after it announced a deal to buy a majority stake in Singapore-based Red Dot Payment.

Naspers is best known for its payments and fintech business in markets like India, Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe, but now it will enter Southeast Asia, a market with more than 600 million consumers and rapidly rising internet access.

PayU plans to tap that potential through Red Dot, an eight-year-old startup founded by finance veterans that offers services that include a payment gateway, e-commerce storefronts and online invoicing across Southeast Asia. PayU said it has acquired “a majority stake” in the business. It did not specify the exact size but it did disclose that the deal values Red Dot at $65 million.

It isn’t clear exactly how much Red Dot had raised from investors overall — its Series B was $5.2 million but the value of prior rounds were not disclosed — but its backers include Japan’s GMO, Wavemaker, Skype co-founder Toivo Annus and MDI Ventures. The company said “the majority” of its investors exited through this transaction, but some stakeholders — including CEO Randy Tan — are keeping shares with a view to a later buyout in full.

That’s important for PayU, according to CEO Laurent le Moal, who stressed that the company believes in retaining teams and empowering them through acquisitions, rather than simply buying an asset.

“We have to strike the balance between a solid majority [acquisition] and an opportunity” for founders, he told TechCrunch in an interview.

PayU plans to put “real investment” into the startup, whilst also integrating its services into its “Hub” of services and tech, a stack that is shared with its mesh of global business and was built from its acquisition of Israel’s Zooz. PayU’s India business alone is estimated to be worth $2.5 billion, but its overall business is hard to value, but more details will emerge of its global business as Naspers lists select entities through an IPO in Europe.

Back to the deal, Tan called it “a marriage made in heaven,” and he also revealed that Red Dot had turned down recent investment and acquisition offers from three other suitors.

“They [PayU] operate globally and have over 300,000 merchants, including Facebook, Google and the kind of clients we aspire to win,” he said.

So why Southeast Asia, and why now?

“We want to build the number one payments company for high-growth markets,” le Moal said. “If you look at what the top 10 economies will be in 2030, half are in Southeast Asia and the rest are growth markets we are already in.”

“We are number one in India, in the biggest markets in Africa, the fastest-growing part of Europe and Latin America, but we have no presence in Southeast Asia,” he continued. “It’s fundamental… you want to go where the consumer growth is.”

That’s supported by a report from Google and Temasek that was issued last year and forecasts that the region’s online spending will more than triple by 2025 to reach $240 billion annually.

The initial focus post-deal is to supercharge the Red Dot business through shared tech, networks and expertise, but, further down the line, le Moal has a vision of going deeper into fintech and financial services to offer products such as consumer credit, as it has done in India.

Such a product launch isn’t likely to happen for another 12 months at least, the PayU CEO said. Before then, there will be a focus on growing Red Dot’s cross-border trade business and developing synergy with its business in other markets, especially India.

Laurent Le Moal 2017

PayU CEO Laurent le Moal said the company is looking to dominate high-growth markets in Southeast Asia following its acquisition of Red Dot Payment

Le Moal hinted also that PayU has ambitions to be in Japan and Korea, although he conceded that the exact strategy — which could include organic growth — is still to be defined. We can certainly expect to see an uptick from the company in Southeast Asia and the wider Asian continent.

“There will be an acceleration of investment and M&A,” le Moal said. “It’s just the beginning for us as PayU and Naspers in the region.”

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