Tuesday, July 31, 2012

future of education online

The opening slate to "The Future Of..."
The opening slate to "The Future Of..." (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With more than a trillion dollars in outstanding student debt in the U.S. and ever-increasing tuition costs some feel it’s time for higher education to make significant changes. Apart from the financial burdens, there is pressure for academe to embrace the new domain of online learning, which is rapidly gaining ground.
Jeffrey Selingo is the vice president and editorial director at the Chronicle for Higher Education, and is currently working on a book about the future of higher education in the U.S. He feels that academic institutions failed to foresee the economic and technological disruption that swept nearly every other industry between 1999 and 2009. And now schools forced to face the outcome: Financially-needy students who learn in entirely new ways because of technology and the adoption of mobile devices.
Will universities and colleges want to meet the challenge and embrace an overhaul of a very conservative system? SmartPlanet spoke with Selingo about what happened in the last decade, what may be required in the coming decades. Specifically we discussed the new business of online academic structures that signal one possible future for schools.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Methanol mandate


At least one of four states hoping to ease requirements on adding grain-based ethanol to gasoline is expected to petition the federal government as soon as Monday, as the worst drought in 50 years threatens higher corn prices and lowers margins for livestock producers.
Governors from states that may petition the Environmental Protection Agency to waive the mandate known as the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, include Republicans Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Dave Heineman of Nebraska, Rick Perry of Texas, and Democrat Mike Beebe of Arkansas, an ethanol industry source said.
Matt DeCample, a spokesman for Beebe, said the governor is "working on getting the word out to the EPA and others" that the mandate is hurting ranchers and poultry farmers with extra costs, but he has not yet signed on to a specific campaign to petition the agency.
The other governors were immediately available for comment.
Meat groups including the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the National Chicken Council and The National Turkey Federation complain the RFS threatens their profits by boosting prices for livestock feed, one of their top expenses.
The groups have said they want governors from both major political parties to push the EPA for a waiver, to strengthen their case.

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

alternative payment processing for internet transactions


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Saturday, July 28, 2012

500 U.S. priests have been convicted for child abuse


Monsignor William Lynn, the most senior U.S. Catholic clergyman convicted in the church’s decades-long sex abuse scandal, was sentenced on Tuesday to three to six years in jail for covering up child sex abuse by priests in Philadelphia.
The sentence handed down by Judge M. Teresa Sarmina was less than the maximum penalty of seven years in prison for Lynn's conviction on a single count of child endangerment.

Sarmina said the sentence was meant to punish Lynn for protecting "monsters in clerical garb who molested children … to destroy the souls of children, to whom you turned a hard heart."
She added: "You knew full well what was right, Monsignor Lynn, but you chose wrong."
Monsignor William Lynn is shown walking to the courthouse as the jury deliberates on his sexual abusetrial in Philadelphia on June 20.

As the former secretary for the clergy for the Philadelphia Archdiocese, Lynn, 61, was essentially personnel director for 800 priests from 1992 to 2004. He was convicted last month of covering up the allegations by transferring predatory priests to unsuspecting parishes.
Lynn was acquitted of conspiracy and a second endangerment count. The jury deadlocked on a 1996 abuse charge against a co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan, and prosecutors said Monday that they would retry him.
"I believe that what Lynn did was done by just about every diocese," Terence McKiernan, president of BishopAccountability.org, which tracks priest-abuse cases, told NBCPhiladelphia.com. "In most cases, I think the vicar general was well informed, and also the bishop."
More than 500 U.S. priests have now been convicted of abuse, according to his organization. But Lynn's three-month trial, he said, shows "just how hard it is to demonstrate collusion."
Bishop Robert Finn and the Kansas City diocese face a misdemeanor charge of failing to report suspected child sexual abuse. Both Finn and the diocese have pleaded not guilty, and are set to go on trial next month.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

LinkedIn updating pages


Just a little update on our report from last week about LinkedIn and what appeared to be new test pages for its website: the company today has confirmed the changes and says that it will be rolling them out to all its 160 million-plus users in the next couple of weeks.
The key, as we said last week, will be simplicity: a stronger link to the site’s newsfeed, LinkedIn Today, as well as an interface that will make it easier to add new people, and check on what others you already know are doing — essentially an attempt to make the site significantly more social, and with that social activity focused on what staying at LinkedIn rather than going elsewhere to continue your browsing.
Is this a move away from what LinkedIn has become for most people — a place you go when you’re looking for a new job or to hire someone for a new job? Possibly, but not too far from that. “This simpler and cleaner design makes it easier to navigate the page and quickly find the updates you’re looking for – whether that’s a news article your boss has recently shared or it’s to see who has just started a new job,” writes Caroline Gaffney, LinkedIn’s product manager in charge of the homepage, writes in a blog post on the changes.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lycamobile shaking up Canadian wirelsess

lycamobile
lycamobile (Photo credit: osde8info)

European telecommunications provider Lycamobile is planning to shake up Canada’s $18-billion wireless market with a new service aimed at immigrants and other ethnic consumers who regularly talk and text with family and friends living overseas.
Headquartered in London, Lycamobile sells low-cost international mobile calls. It has roughly 20 million customers in 16 countries, including Britain, France, Germany and Australia. The company was established in 2006 with an eye to serving expatriate communities – a multilingual niche market that numbers at least 250 million people around the world.
Immigrants are expected to comprise more than 22 per cent of Canada's population by 2017, with visible minorities, such as Chinese and South Asians, making up more than 50 per cent of the population in cities like Vancouver and Toronto by that year. As a result, companies ranging from banks to retailers are tailoring products and services to court ethnic consumers.
Lycamobile Group CEO Milind Kangle said there is pent-up demand for more affordable services that allow consumers to make high-quality and frequent international calls and texts from their mobile phones. Immigrants often keep in daily contact with loved ones around the world, he said, but resent the inconvenience of being tethered to their land lines and webcams, or having to fumble for international calling cards that sometimes provide spotty connections.
“This is a lifeline service. We believe that our customers should get the same quality connection as any other customer would get in any other part of the world,” Mr. Kangle said. “And we believe that the communication should be affordable – as in they should be able to make daily calls without having to feel the pinch in their wallet.”

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Plastic bottles converted to fuel


Plastic waste is a problem all over the world. And it is especially troubling in the Philippines where plastic waste piles up in Manila’s Payal landfill, unable to decompose. But one inventor thinks he might have found the answer to this chronic problem.
Jayme Navarro, founder of Poly-Green Technology and Resources is converting plastic waste into fuel through a process known as Pyrolysis.
ECO-Tech explains how it works:
“Pyrolysis is a fairly simple process, it starts by drying plastics to be processed. They are then shredded into smaller pieces, and heated in a thermal chamber. The melted plastic is continually heated until it boils and produce vapors. The vapor is passed into cooling pipes and distilled into a liquid, which is chemically identical to regular fuel.”
And one of the great benefits of converting plastic to fuel is that the fuel burns cleaner because of a low sulfur content. Navarro estimates that the fuel will be 10-20 percent cheaper because of the low production costs since the raw material is available in such large quantities.
The method has already been approved for industrial use and it is being tested for use in vehicles.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fairfax doubled its holdings in RIM

Image representing Research In Motion as depic...
Image via CrunchBase

Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. has roughly doubled its holdings in Research in Motion Ltd., bringing its stake up to nearly 10 per cent.
That makes the Toronto-based insurance and investment firm the single largest known shareholder of RIM stock, which is widely held.
Fairfax has ramped up its stake in the BlackBerry maker since Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa joined RIM’s board in January.
RIM’s stock has been on a long decline since early last year, when it traded at close to $70 per share. The stock closed Friday at $6.87 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, leaving the firm with a market value of just $3.6-billion. Several years ago the stock was worth nearly $150 per share.
Mr. Watsa, a contrarian investor by nature, said he thinks the market has got it wrong when it comes to RIM.
“This company has a tremendous brand name that is recognized worldwide,” Mr. Watsa said. “It has 78-million users, 56-million BlackBerry Messenger users, patents and a worldwide network.” He added that the firm has a very liquid balance sheet, with $2.2-billion in cash and no debt as of the end of the last quarter.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

social media and the Olympic Games

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

The International Olympic Committee will sail in to unchartered waters next week when the Games open in London, at the mercy of the millions of fans around the world on Facebook and Twitter who will give instant reaction to everything that unfolds.
The explosion of social networking offers huge opportunities to the IOC, but with much of its revenues dependent on the billion-dollar deals agreed with broadcasters, the body overseeing the Games will also have to protect those long-held rights.
Fans inside a stadium will be allowed to use their smartphones to film Usain Bolt on the track or Michael Phelps in the pool, but they will not be allowed to upload it to Facebook in a ruling that may surprise many tech-savvy fans who now upload clips on a regular basis.
Anthony Edgar, head of media operations for the IOC, freely admits that he does not know what to expect in London following the explosion of social media, with some 900 million people using Facebook in 2012 compared to the 100 million who used the site just four years ago at the time of the Beijing Games.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Facebook stock closes down for the week

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...
Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Français : Logo de Facebook Tiếng Việt: Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Facebook's stock has finished the week down more than 6 percent.
It closed on Friday at $28.76, down 6.4 percent from a week ago. Since it went public in mid-May, the stock has been down for six weeks and up for three weeks. It's now 24 percent below its initial public offering price of $38.
Facebook Inc. began trading publicly in mid-May following one of the most anticipated stock offerings in history. The IPO priced at the top of a projected range that Facebook had boosted just days earlier.
The stock has fallen since then and has gone as low as $25.52.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Internet Defense League


The Internet Defense League, a loose coalition of Internet sites that was firstannounced in May to help protect the Web against proposed laws and other actions members deem are aimed at hindering Internet freedom, is ready for its official launch.
The group—which includes advocacy groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), OpenCongress and Fight for the Future, content sites like Reddit, Cheezburger and WordPress, and open-source software maker Mozilla—is using the night of July 19 for its coming-out event to coincide with the release of the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises.
To announce its arrival, the IDL will shine its own “cat signal” at five launch events—in San Francisco, New York, Washington, London, and Ulan Bator, Mongolia.
The group is looking to organize the type of Internet-wide protests earlier this year that helped derail the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). To protest what they saw as flawed legislation that would hamper Internet freedom and stifle innovation, sites like Wikipedia, Reddit and others blacked out their pages for as long as 24 hours, and Google and Mozilla posted links to petitions that users could sign to be sent to Congress. For their part, privacy advocacy groups like the EFF offered users ways to show their feelings against the proposed measures.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Windows 8 coming October 26

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase

Toronto, Microsoft announced that Windows 8 would be released to manufacturers (RTM) during the first week in August and would be available on PCs at the end of October. Then on July 18 at Microsoft’s annual sales meeting, known as the Microsoft Global Exchange or MGX, Steven Sinofsky, president of Windows at Microsoft, announced that Windows 8 would be available on October 26.
In a brief post on The Windows Blog, Microsoft spokesman Brandon LeBlanc said, “…customers will be able to get Windows 8 – whether in upgrade fashionor on a new PC – starting on October 26th.”
Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that upgrades to Windows 8 from previous versions of the operating system will go for $39.99 via download and $69.99 if purchased in a store. The low-cost upgrade is positioned as a promotion available only from the time Windows 8 ships this fall until Jan. 31, 2013, Microsoft said. Users running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 will be able to download Windows 8 Pro in 131 markets.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Senators skeptical of HSBC pledges

HSBC logo on building. Taken by C Ford - march 04.
HSBC logo on building. Taken by C Ford - march 04. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Officials of HSBC Holdings Plc pledged to a U.S. Senate panel on Tuesday that the bank is changing the way it polices illicit funds, but senators were skeptical the bank could deliver on promises it had broken before.
HSBC's top compliance officer announced he was stepping down and that the bank will shut down businesses in secret havens such as the Cayman Islands, but those offers did not blunt the senators' allegations the bank sacrificed propriety for profits.
The hearing by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations came a day after the panel released a 400-plus-page report detailing how the British bank routinely acted as a financier to clients routing funds from the world's most dangerous corners, including MexicoIran and Syria.
While money laundering problems at HSBC have been flagged by regulators for nearly a decade, the criticism comes at a sensitive time for the banking industry.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Intel buying Whamcloud

Image representing Intel as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Intel is bulking up its supercomputing capabilities by buying Whamcloud, a startup that is a proponent of the open-source Lustre parallel distributed file system.
Intel bought the company to help in its push toward exascale computing, according to Brent Gorda, former president and CEO of Whamcloud and now general manager of Intel’s High Performance Data Division.
“The Whamcloud acquisition extends Intel’s software and service portfolio in the high-performance computing space in addition to reinforcing Intel’s position in the open-source community,” Gorda said in a July 13 blog post. “Working as one company, we are now in a stronger position to advance our mutual goals and continue providing vendor-neutral solutions, delivering greater value to our customers and moving the industry to exascale performance.”
Whamcloud was formed in 2010 by a group of Lustre engineers soon after Oracle bought Sun Microsystems. Sun had overseen Lustre development for several years, but after the acquisition, Oracle officials seemed to have little interest in pushing the open-source technology forward, though it still supports commercial deployments.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

7 billion settlement for Visa and Mastercard

Credit cards Français : Cartes de crédit Itali...
Credit cards Français : Cartes de crédit Italiano: Carte di credito Русский: Банковские карты Tiếng Việt: Thẻ tín dụng 中文: 信用卡 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Visa Inc, MasterCard Inc and banks that issue their credit cards have agreed to a $7.25 billion settlement with U.S. retailers in a lawsuit over the fixing of credit and debit card fees in what could be the largest antitrust settlement in U.S. history.
The settlement, if approved by a judge, would resolve dozens of lawsuits filed by retailers in 2005. The card companies and banks would also allow stores to start charging customers extra for using certain credit cards in an effort to steer them toward cheaper forms of payment.
The settlement papers were filed on Friday in Brooklyn federal court.
Swipe fees - charges to cover processing credit and debit payments - are set by the card companies and deducted from the transaction by the banks that issue the cards, essentially passing on the cost to merchants, the lawsuits said.
The proposed settlement involves a payment to a class of stores of $6 billion from Visa, MasterCard and more than a dozen of the country's largest banks who issue the companies' cards. The card companies have also agreed to reduce swipe fees by the equivalent of 10 basis points for eight months for a total consideration to stores valued at about $1.2 billion, according to lawyers for the plaintiffs.
The deal calls for merchants to be allowed to negotiate collectively over the swipe fees, also known as interchange fees.
Merchants would also be required to disclose information about card fees to customers, and credit card surcharges would be subject to a cap, according to the settlement papers. Surcharge rules would not affect the 10 states that currently prohibit that practice, which include California, New York and Texas.
An additional $525 million will be paid to stores suing individually, according to the documents.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Virtual terminals for check processing


Process your customer's checks on a virtual terminal right over the internet.
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Saturday, July 14, 2012

HSBC money laundering

JAKARTA/INDONESIA, 12JUN11 - Stuart T. Gullive...
JAKARTA/INDONESIA, 12JUN11 - Stuart T. Gulliver, Group Chief Executive, HSBC Holdings, United Kingdom; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum on East Asia, captured during Building around Bottlenecks: Upgrading Asia's Infrastructure at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 12, 2011. Copyright World Economic Forum(www.weforum.org)Photo by Sikarin Thanachaiary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


HSBC plans to "acknowledge and apologize" for failing to spot and deal with money laundering within the bank during a U.S. Senate panel hearing next week, according to an internal memo sent by its chief executive.
"It is right that we are held accountable and that we take responsibility for fixing what went wrong," Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver said in a note sent to staff and seen by Reuters.
The U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has been investigating HSBC for months as part of an effort by Congress to probe shadowy money flows. The title of the hearing is "Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History."
The Senate committee will release a list of people they plan to call up later this week.
HSBC spokesman Gareth Hewett declined to comment on the memo, but said the bank plans to "fully cooperate" with any investigations.
The appearance by Europe's biggest bank at the committee hearing comes about a week after Barclays former chief executive Bob Diamond appeared before a parliamentary inquiry in Britain for its role in fixing the rate at which banks lend to each other.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Universal Business Payment Solutions buying three payment processing companies


Universal Business Payment Solutions Acquisitions Corp. is buying three payment processing companies and will combine them into one business that will provide processing services for credit and debit cards, payroll and tax payments.
The company, formed specifically to acquire other businesses, said Tuesday that it is buying:
— Electronic Merchant Systems, of Cleveland, which processes credit and debit card sales.
— Jet Pay, of Carrollton, Texas, a credit and debit card processor.
— A D Computer Corp. and Payroll Tax Filing Services Inc., of Central Valley, Pa., which provides payroll processing and tax filing services.
UBPS, based in Chester County, Pa., is buying the companies in a transaction valued at about $179 million, including $104 million in cash, $38 million stock and the rest in future payments of cash and stock.
Universal Business Payment Solutions Acquisition Corporation is a blank check company formed for the
purpose of acquiring one or more operating businesses in the payments and payroll processing
industries

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

new Microsoft Surface tablet


Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer assured OEMs that they will certainly have an opportunity to successfully sell laptops and tablets running Windows 8 even as Microsoft introduces its own tablet, called Surface, with the new operating system.
“Surface is just [one] design point,” Ballmer said in remarks July 9 before an audience of about 16,000 Microsoft partners gathered in Toronto. “It will have a distinct place in a broad Windows ecosystem and the importance of thousands of partners that we have that design and produce Windows computers will not diminish.”
Microsoft’s decision to build its own tablet tightly integrated with Windows software has been seen as undercutting OEMs like Hewett-Packard, Dell, Acer and others, which have for years licensed software from Microsoft and built their own hardware. But Ballmer said he expects Microsoft and its OEM partners will offer “a spectrum of stunning Windows devices.”
At the World Partner Conference, Tami Reller, corporate vice president and chief financial officer of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft, showed off a number of coming devices that will run Windows 8 from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung. Reller also said that the release to manufacturers (RTM) of Windows 8 will come as soon as the first week in August and that general availability (GA) of the OS will occur by the end of October. The RTM is the date that manufacturers can start installing Windows 8 on devices, while the GA is when those devices can go on sale and when customers can upgrade existing hardware to Windows 8.
Windows 8 will come in two variations, one for devices built with an x86 processor architecture and another, called Windows RT, for ARM processor devices.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Would you rather have a hotel landline or a smart phone?

Visitors to the Opus hotel in Vancouver could be forgiven for puzzling at the iPhone docked in their hotel room, and wondering how to call customer service about it without a landline. The Opus hotel in Vancouver already offered guests an in-suite iPad, but now they're nixing their landlines in favour of iPhones. (opushotel.com/blog
But the in-suite hotel phones are, in fact, deliberately missing. The iPhone 4s are their replacements - ones that come with a lot more range.
The Yaletown hotel invites its guests to take the Apple smart phone out of its charging station and roam the city with the device - using it as a camera, a map, an internet connection and, indeed, as a telephone with a local number.
"Technology is a way of life these days, not just a perk, and that holds true even while traveling," notes the hotel on its blog.
"We thought the in-room Apple iPad needed some company."
Guests can also download free apps, visit the virtual concierge, and call the hotel from anywhere in the city.
The iPhones are preloaded with telephone numbers and apps that visitors may find useful, and are wiped clean of all personal data when each guest checks out.
A hotel staff member who answered the phone Monday said that the iPhone is included in the price of the room, but would not comment on what would happen if the phone was lost or damaged.
The fledgling service will replace all of the Vancouver hotel's landlines by the end of July. The Opus hotel in Montreal does not offer the same service.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Britian's economy on going green


The low-carbon products and services sector, often referred to as green business, could contribute 20 billion pounds ($31.16 billion) to Britain's economy by 2015, the country's leading business lobby said on Thursday.
"Get our energy and climate change policies right, and we can add 20 billion pounds extra to our economy and knock 0.8 billion pounds off the trade gap, all within the lifetime of this Parliament," said John Cridland, director general of the Confederation of British Energy (CBI).
But the CBI warned that if the government does not adopt the right policies the sector will not reach its full potential, putting 400 million pounds in net green sector exports at risk in 2014/15.
The CBI wants the government to meet its fourth carbon budget, which sets goals for Britain's carbon-cutting program, to ensure its current electricity market reform gives long-term investment signals. It also wants the government to reduce complexity in low-carbon regulation.
"The so-called 'choice' between going green or going for growth is a false one. We are increasingly hearing that politicians are for one or the other, when in reality, with the right policies in place, green business will be a major pillar of our future growth," Cridland said.
The CBI estimates that over a third of all UK growth in 2011/12 may have come from green business, a market which was globally worth 3.3 trillion pounds in 2010/11.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

credit card processing


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Asia, United States, Canada or based in Europe inquire or apply below today and in most cases you can be processing in less than 10 days through your own virtual terminal or gateway.

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