Friday, September 30, 2011

Facebook faces regulatory scrutiny in Ireland,

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBaseFacebook faces regulatory scrutiny in Ireland,
site of its European headquarters, over its handling of personal
information, the Financial Times reported on Friday.
The newspaper said the Irish data protection commissioner is to conduct a privacy audit
of Facebook's activities outside the United
States and Canada
after complaints by European and
U.S. privacy campaigning
groups to the Irish commissioner and the U.S.

Federal Trade Commission
.
The groups raised concerns over Facebook's "frictionless sharing" of reading,

listening and viewing activity as well as the use of cookies to track users'

browsing.
The FT reported that Gary
Davis
, Irish deputy data protection commissioner,
said his office would conduct a detailed audit of the group's activities
outside the United States and Canada next month.
"This audit will examine the subject matter of the complaint but also will be

more extensive and will seek to examine Facebook's compliance more generally

with Irish data protection law."
Facebook's European headquarters are in Dublin, which makes its operations

outside the United States and Canada subject to Irish and European data

protection legislation.
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

governments pushing internet tax

With holiday shopping season near and billions of dollars in sales tax at stake, financially strapped state and local governments are pushing to collect more tax on online purchases, but real progress will require action in Washington where political gridlock prevails.

Recent efforts by California made headlines nationwide when Amazon.com, one of the world's largest online retailers, agreed to begin collecting taxes on sales in that state as early as next September.

The state, which faced a $25 billion budget deficit at the beginning of the year, is estimated to be losing $1.7 billion annually in uncollected online sales taxes. (Link to 2009 University of Tennessee study, here)

Sales over the web are the fastest growing area of retailing and states are anxious to up their share. Deloitte LLP projects that this holiday season, retail sales overall will grow up 3 percent, but 14 percent online. Goldman Sachs has estimated that online shopping will jump from less than 10 percent of retail sales to over 17 percent by 2020.

Under a Supreme Court decision now almost 20 years old, any national framework for collecting tax on remote sales would have to come from Congress.

Until that happens, states can only seek sales taxes from companies with a physical operation in their state, leaving many sales to fall through the cracks. Amazon has facilities in California and other states which have pushed the online retailer to collect taxes on sales shipped to their residents.

"We need help at the national level," says Mick Cornett, mayor of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He has lobbied extensively for federal action. "There's a limit to what we can do."
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

374 freshwater species that could warrant protection

Sandhill CraneImage via WikipediaThe Florida sandhill crane, the Alabama map turtle and the streamside
salamander are among 374 freshwater species that could warrant protection under
the Endangered Species Act, the government said on Monday.
The Fish and Wildlife Service said it will do an in-depth review to determine
if these plants and animals should be listed as threatened or endangered under
the Act.
The 374 species in 12 southeastern states that are up for this review are
among 404 that environmental groups had petitioned to protect.
The review includes 89 species of crayfish and other crustaceans; 81 plants;
78 mollusks; 51 butterflies, moths, caddisflies and other insects; 43 fish; 13
amphibians; 12 reptiles, four mammals and three birds.
The Florida sandhill crane may be one of the most eye-catching creatures on
the list, with its long legs and long neck, it looks like a heron but has a bald
patch of red skin on the top of its head.
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Monday, September 26, 2011

emerging mobile malware

Image representing McAfee as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseA recent study conducted by security software provider McAfee found that that amount of malicious software,
also known as malware, targetingAndroid had jumped
76 percent
since the previous quarter, a remarkable rise in just three
months. At the same time, Android had surpassed Symbian as the most attacked mobile
platform
.
"We believe the emerging mobile malware is just the beginning of the threats," said Lianna Caetano, director of mobility product marketing for
McAfee.
It used to be the biggest concern was losing your phone and having someone
access your personal data. But malware has since surpassed it as the more
worrisome issue, Caetano said. The apps can come disguised as a game or news
program and work in the background of your phone.
One example of malware called "spyeye" actually collects text
messages
that are sent by banks to verify a person's identity. By
intercepting the messages, the program can obtain a person's user name,
password, and the verifying code from the text message. Another, called
"GoldDream.A," logs incoming SMS messages and outgoing
calls and sends them to an outside server. The first major Trojan
was identified as DrdDream, which steals information, but was removed from the
Android Marketplace.
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wave Systems has acquired Israeli company Safend

220Image via WikipediaWave Systems has acquired Israeli company Safend for approximately
$12.8
million to expand its portfolio of security and encryption
products.
The Cupertino Calif-based paid $1.1 million in cash and 5.2
million shares of
Wave Systems common stock, valued at $2.214 per share to
close the deal, Wave
Systems said Sept 22.
The addition of Safend's portfolio of encryption technologies to Wave
Systems
will create strong cross-selling opportunities in industries such as
healthcare,
financial services and government where data protection is a high
priority,
Brian Berger, executive vice-president of marketing and sales at
Wave Systems,
told eWEEK. Safend offers endpoint data loss prevention, such as port and device
control,
encryption for removable devices, content inspection and discovery.
The companies are already operating as one company, Berger said, adding,
It's
"business as usual" for all the teams, except the sales and support
teams now
have a bigger list of products to work with.
Safend's data leak prevention and encryption software "complements"
Wave
Systems' data encryption and device authentication products, Berger
said. The
acquisition gives Wave Systems new products in removable media encryption, data
leak prevention, endpoint
monitoring, malware protection and mobile security.
Safend "increases the depth and breadth" of the Wave portfolio, Berger
said.
With Safend's Encryptor product, Wave can offer full-disk encryption
software to
customers that do not have self-encrypting
drives or still require support for
legacy platforms.
The combined companies will be able to "support customers beyond the PC" as
the
market shifts towards hardware-based security, he added. Wave Systems will
be
able to deliver a holistic trusted computing management platform
that
combines software
security
with Trusted Computing technologies to provide
customers with
hardware-based security. Enterprises are increasingly looking at
the Trusted Computing
platform
to meet their security needs, according to
Berger.
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Yahoo Inc has received inquiries from multiple parties

Image representing Yahoo! as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseYahoo Inc has received inquiries from multiple parties about "potential options," but the struggling Web company
expects to take months to decide its future, the company's co-founders an
chairman said in a letter to employees on Friday.
"Our advisers are working with us to develop ideas that we will pursue
proactively," read the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.
Yahoo retained Allen & Co to help it conduct a "strategic review" after it fired Chief
Executive Carol Bartz earlier this month.
"They are fielding inquiries from multiple parties that have already
expressed interest in a number of potential options," read the letter on Friday,
signed by Chairman Roy Bostock and co-founders Jerry Yang and David Filo.
Private equity firm Silver Lake Partners is among the
parties that have been in touch with Allen & Co, according to a source
familiar with the matter.
Yahoo's board has started a search for a permanent CEO, the letter said, but
provided no details on the progress of the search, or whether the company has
hired an executive recruiting firm to oversee the search.
At an all-hands meeting the day after Bartz was fired,
Yang said the company was not for sale, according to another source familiar
with the matter. Although Friday's note did not explicitly mention a sale of the
company, it said the company was exploring various options to "structure the
best approach for the company."
"While we will move with a sense of urgency, this process will take time,"
the letter said. "Months, not weeks."
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Friday, September 23, 2011

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

AVG Anti Virus and Business editions for 2012

Security software specialist AVG Technologies announced AVG Business Edition 2012, a security software solution for small to medium-size businesses that the company claims is faster, lighter and easier to use than its predecessor. In conjunction with the launch of the platform, the company also announced the SMB Market Landscape Report, a white paper with SMB market-related findings as of mid-2011. The platform is designed to help minimize threats via antivirus and Internet security across multiple touch points, from email and the Web to emerging threats such as information theft, social engineering and the risks involved with using social media as a marketing tool. "AVG Business Edition 2012 aims to be the simplest, most tailored security option for SMBs available," said Robert Gorby, global head of business marketing at AVG. "For businesses looking for protection without impeding performance, AVG is the most compelling solution on the market. That said, customers can essentially set and forget—with peace of mind that we will take care of the rest while they interact in the connected world." In addition to security technology, AVG's Small Business Resource Centre plays a role in helping customers stay up to speed on the latest security trends. Plus, since security needs are rarely the same for every organization, AVG helps SMBs select the protection that is right for their business via an online security audit tool. After a short questionnaire about their business, customers receive a detailed report containing hints and tips to better protect their data. In the SMB Market Landscape Report, AVG found small businesses have a more conservative attitude toward IT spending as a response to financial uncertainty and are embracing technologies to increase levels of mobility, though few are aware of the potential dangers associated with bringing data to more devices.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

61 percent of small business owners aren't optimistic

Despite the recent economic turbulence and a survey that shows 61 percent of small business owners aren't optimistic about the economic outlook, new data shows a 27 percent increase in new business activity in the second quarter of 2011 versus the same quarter last year. The findings are part of the first Manta SMB Wellness Index, a quarterly index on the state of small business released by Manta, an online community dedicated to small business. The index shows business activity is surging in many parts of the country. California tops the list as the state with the most activity in the second quarter of this year, and Maine saw the biggest growth year-over-year. The survey found businesses focused on extending the life of existing products are on the rise and repair businesses have seen an increase year-over-year. In addition, there's momentum in the e-commerce/IT outsourcing category, and the electronics industry has also seen a lift in activity compared to Q2 2010. "Despite the challenging economic conditions, small business owners are charging ahead; in fact, our survey found 37 percent of small business owners expect their profits will increase this year," said Pamela Springer, president and CEO of Manta. "As a company focused on helping the small business community, Manta sees the entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive and well." California, Florida and Texas had the biggest boost in businesses activity in Q2, while Maine, Colorado and Arizona saw the most gains year-over-year. Bangor, Maine, and Portland, Maine, were the cities with the biggest increase in activity compared to Q2 2010. Oregon, Utah and New Hampshire had the sharpest declines in activity year over year, while Portland, Oregon, and Houston were the cities with the lowest growth in business activity compared to Q2 2010. As the small business community begins to expand again, Manta's survey found that more than one third of small business owners (38 percent) want politicians to focus on unemployment and job creation as key initiatives. However, in a separate survey, an overwhelming majority of small business owners polled (68 percent) say President Obama's recent jobs proposal doesn't impact their plans to add employees -- and they still don't intend to hire. The survey found two-thirds of those polled (63 percent) felt the Obama administration has hurt small business, but when asked which political party best supports them, 35 percent say "none of them." Although small business owners favor conservative parties two-to-one, 23 percent believe the Republican party best supports them and 17 percent feel the Tea Party has their back. Twenty-one percent feel the Democratic party is the political party they feel best supports small business.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Google Inc has enlisted Visa Inc in its effort to push mobile payments

Google Inc has enlisted Visa Inc in its effort to push mobile payments, striking an agreement to allow Visa account-holders to pay for store purchases with their smartphones. Visa comes onboard a "Google Wallet" project already supported by Citigroup, MasterCard, Sprint Nextel Corp and First Data. In May, the group announced a trial of a system that lets shoppers store money on phones and pay at checkout. Rival Isis, a venture between Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc and T-Mobile USA, has already signed partnerships with all the major card networks, including MasterCard and Visa. But while Sprint announced the launch of the Google Wallet service on Monday, Isis has said its rival service will not launch until early next year. Google's system competes with plans by other top U.S. banks and mobile phone companies and employs near-field communication (NFC) technology, used widely in Asia.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Netflix Inc is separating its movie streaming business from its DVD-by-mail service

Netflix Inc is separating its movie streaming business from its DVD-by-mail service, which it is renaming Qwikster, Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings said in a company blog post. The announcement comes after Netflix had to cut subscriber forecasts after it increased the monthly subscription for a joint streaming and DVD rental service by as much as 60 percent. The uproar among customers and bloggers has pushed shares of the company down nearly 50 percent since it announced the price increase on July 12. "I messed up," Hastings wrote in a blog post. "I owe everyone an explanation." The streaming business will retain the Netflix brand. Shares of Netflix were up 1.2 percent at $157 in trading before the market opened. Hastings said streaming and DVD by mail were beginning to operate independently, with very different cost structures. They also offer different benefits that needed to be marketed differently, he added. There will be no pricing changes, Hastings said, and subscribers to both services will have two entries on their credit card statements, one for Qwikster and one for Netflix.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Siemens is exiting nuclear power

Siemens is exiting nuclear power in response to the German government's decision to quit the energy source, leading it to scrap a venture with Russia's Rosatom, its chief executive said. "The (nuclear) chapter is closed for us," Peter Loescher told German weekly magazine Der Spiegel in an interview published on Sunday. Its decision comes after more than two years of turmoil around the engineering conglomerate's nuclear business. In early 2009, it sought a divorce from its nuclear joint venture with Areva to tie up with Rosatom. The decision cost it 648 million euros ($893 million) when an arbitration court found it violated its shareholder pact with Areva by tying up with Rosatom. The break-up with Rosatom will not have any financial impact on Siemens, a spokesman for the company said on Sunday. A spokesman for Rosatom could not be reached in Moscow.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Google paid out over $14,000 to finders of Chrome 14 flaws.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Sept. 15 updated its stable channel to version 14, which offers improvements for gaming, Mac OS X "Lion," and squashes 32 bugs in the code for which the company paid $14,337. Developers may now add fancy audio effects such as room simulation and spatialization, thanks to the Web Audio API. Chrome for Mac will employ Lion's overlay scroll bars,and support for Lion's full-screen mode. Also, Chrome 14 supports Native Client, an open-source project that allows C and C++ native code to run inside the browser. Developers can take the C or C++ libraries and use them to build their Web applications. Meanwhile, Google paid out over $14,000 to finders of Chrome 14 flaws. These range from $500 for a high-risk garbage-collection error in PDF to $2,337 for a high-risk flaw that enables unintended access to built-in objects in the V8 JavaScript engine, which helps soup up JavaScript processing in the browser. Google also paid $2,000 for a high-risk cross-origin bypass in V8. There were several $1,000 payouts for use-after-free exploits, which perpetrators can use to inject attack code. These flaws were found in unload event handling, document loader, ruby/table-style handing and focus controller. Native Client support in Chrome might be the biggest news in this build for many developers because it provides a great deal of convenience in allowing Web applications to run at near native application speeds.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The arrest of a rogue stock trader at UBS

The arrest of a rogue stock trader at UBS, one of the world’s largest and most recognized banks, should serve as a wake-up call to all enterprises that many security threats actually come from inside their organization rather than from outside, according to several security experts. London police arrested a rogue trader with the Swiss bank Sept. 15. In a terse four-line statement, UBS said the trader is suspected of causing an estimated $2 billion loss due to unauthorized trades. While UBS has not named the trader, the Financial Times identified him as Kweku Adoboli, a director in European equity trading for the Zurich-based bank. "The matter is still being investigated, but UBS's current estimate of the loss on the trades is in the range of USD 2 billion," UBS said in the statement. No client positions appear to have been affected. The bank was working to "get to the bottom of the matter as quickly as possible, and would spare no effort to establish exactly what has happened," UBS CEO Oswald Grübel wrote in an internal memo to staff, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. The UBS incident echoes what cyber-security experts have been saying for a while now: insiders are among the biggest threats facing organizations.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Worldwide shipments of tablets totaled 13.6 million units

Led by Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad and machines based on Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system, the tablet market took off in the second quarter. , soaring 89 percent in Q2, according to IDC. The popular iPad 2 accounted for 9.3 million units shipped, comprising 68 percent of the global market. Android tablets, including those based on the Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" build and the tablet-tailored "Honeycomb" OS, totaled 26.8 percent, down from 34 percent from Q1. Who or what is responsible for that slide? Research in Motion's (NYSE:RIM) Blackberry PlayBook gobbled the chunk of share from Android. IDC said the PlayBook, which reportedly sold over 500,000 units soon after launch in April, nabbed 5 percent of the tablet market. "Apple's strength and RIM's entrance meant bad news for Android-based media tablets," IDC said. Also, IDC expects HP will sell a million TouchPads by year's end, thanks to its bargain-basement discount to $100 for the end-of-life slate. HP decided it didn't want to compete with the iPad, Android and other players who have head starts. The vendor's fire sale will help its webOS claim 4.7 percent market share in Q3 before the platform share vanishes completely in 2012.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Microsoft fixed 15 vulnerabilities

Microsoft fixed 15 vulnerabilities across five security bulletins as part of its September Patch Tuesday release. After accidentally publicizing the patch details a few days early last week, Microsoft officially released the security bulletins and the accompanying patches on Sept. 13. As was disclosed in the earlier pre-notification announcement, none of the patches in this month's update are considered "critical." "Though there are no critical updates this month, these vulnerabilities can pave the way for cyber-criminals to execute more severe attacks, such as remote-code execution or remote-information disclosure," Dave Marcus, director of security research and communications at McAfee Labs, told eWEEK. The bulletin that fixed an arbitrary code execution vulnerability in Excel (MS11-072) was rated as high priority by security researchers. The issue exists in all versions of Excel, including 2010. Attackers could create malicious Excel files to take control of the system just by tricking an unsuspecting user into opening it, according to Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of Qualys. In light of ongoing spear-phishing and targeted attacks that have used malicious Excel documents and links, the bulletin was "the most relevant and important," Kurt Baumgartner, a senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, wrote on the Securelist blog. The patch fixing the code-execution vulnerability in Microsoft Office versions 2003, 2007 and 2010 (MS11-073), including Microsoft Word, should also be prioritized, according to Kandek. Like the Excel vulnerability, attackers could use a malicious Word file, a common attack vector, to execute code on victims' machines, Kandek wrote on the Laws of Vulnerabilities blog. Microsoft continued fixing the DLL preloading issue that was identified last year in each of its products. In this update, the issue was fixed in deskpen.dll component (MS11-071). The DLL preloading bug affected all versions of Windows, according to Microsoft's security advisory.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thousands of so-called “deadbeat” parents are jailed each year

It may not be a crime to be poor, but it can land you behind bars if you also are behind on your child-support payments. Thousands of so-called “deadbeat” parents are jailed each year in the U.S. after failing to pay court-ordered child support — the vast majority of them for withholding or hiding money out of spite or a feeling that they’ve been unfairly gouged by the courts. But in what might seem like an un-American plot twist from a Charles Dickens’ novel, advocates for the poor say, some parents are wrongly being locked away without any regard for their ability to pay — sometimes without the benefit of legal representation. Randy Miller, a 39-year-old Iraqi war vet, found himself in that situation in November, when a judge in Floyd County, Ga., sent him to jail for violating a court order to pay child support. He said he was stunned when the judge rebuffed his argument that he had made regular payments for more than a decade before losing his job in July 2009 and had recently resumed working. “I felt that with my payment history and that I had just started working, maybe I would be able to convince the judge to give me another month and a half to start making the payments again,” he told msnbc.com. “… But that didn’t sit too well with him because he went ahead and decided to lock me up.” Miller, who spent three months in jail before being released, is one of six plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit filed in March that seeks to force the state of Georgia to provide lawyers for poor non-custodial parents facing the loss of their freedom for failing to pay child support.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New York

Gotham, the Big Apple, the City that Never Sleeps: New York City is the emblem of America, to many, especially as we remember the tragedy of September 11th, 2001. Over the past three centuries, New York has grown to greatly overshadow its namesake, the city of York in northern England. Before New York was New York, it was a small island called Manna-hata by the local Native American tribe. In the early 1600s, the Dutch West India Company sent Henry Hudson on an expedition to explore the island and the river for a possible trading post. The island had an ideal geographic position for trading with furs with the Native Americans. To establish the Dutch footprint in the New World, they planted a trading post on the southern tip of the island and called it New Amsterdam, after their capital city. New Amsterdam officially became a city in 1625, a year still noted on the flag of New York City. The settlement at New Amsterdam reached from the southern tip of Manhattan to what today is Wall Street. Beyond the northern border of Wall Street, Manhattan was full of farms and orchards. The trading post thrived and grew until the English decided they wanted a piece of the pie. In 1664, James II of England, the Duke of York, sent four war ships to New Amsterdam to fight for rights to the island. Remarkably, the Dutch did not resist. Rather than fight a losing battle against a superior military, the governor of New Amsterdam (Peter Stuyvesant) and prominent citizens of the colony surrendered without bloodshed. The Duke renamed the island for his home city of York, and the rest is history. The last sign of Dutch rule in Manhattan remains on the flag of New York City, which still reflects the three stripes of the Dutch flag and the original founding year of the city.

Sprint may offer unlimited data on iPhone 5

Sprint will offer the iPhone with unlimited data service plans, according to Bloomberg. That could give the carrier a competitive edge over AT&T and Verizon, both of which already offer the iPhone. "The advantage of unlimited is it's cheaper for big users," Bank of Montreal analyst Peter Rhamey told the news agency, which cited unnamed "people familiar with the matter" for its original information. Neither Apple nor Sprint has confirmed that the latter will carry the iPhone, despite the steady drumbeat of rumor building for the past month or so. Apple is widely expected to release the next-generation iPhone, which the press has dubbed "iPhone 5," sometime in either September or October. The Bloomberg report suggests mid-October as the timeframe. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has estimated that giving Sprint the iPhone would boost the device's overall sales by 6 million units. A Sprint iPhone would also leave T-Mobile as the only U.S. carrier without an Apple phone in its device portfolio, although the latter's parent company, Deutsche Telekom, has offered the iPhone for years in Germany (and is allowing customers to preorder the iPhone 5, although without any mention of a release date or device specs). Rumors suggest the iPhone 5 will include a larger screen and faster processor, along with an 8-megapixel camera and possibly a redesigned body. Some analysts have theorized that Apple also intends to release a line of low-cost iPhones, with an eye toward combating the number of inexpensive Google Android smartphones on the market. Apple also faces significant competition from Android devices on the high end of the market, a situation that's triggered a series of lawsuits against rival manufacturers. Samsung and Apple are locked in courtroom battles around the world, for example, with each side claiming patent violations by the other; for its part, Apple accuses Samsung of outright copying its designs.

Friday, September 09, 2011

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Disasters costing billions

The logo of the United States National Weather...Image via WikipediaBlizzards. Tornadoes. Floods. Record heat and drought, followed by wildfires.
The first eight months of 2011 have brought strange and destructive weather to the United States.

From the blizzard that dumped almost two feet of snow on Chicago, to killer tornadoes and heat waves in the south, to record flooding, to wildfires that have burned more than 1,000 homes in Texas in the last few days, Mother Nature has been in a vile and costly mood.

Climate experts point to global warming, meteorologists cite the influence of La Nina or natural variability, and, in the case of tornadoes hitting populated areas, many simply call the death and destruction bad luck.

But given the variety and violence of both short-term weather events and longer-term effects like a Southwestern drought that has lasted years, more scientists say climate itself seems to be shifting and weather extremes will become more common.

"A warmer atmosphere has more energy to power storms. We've loaded the dice," said Jeff Masters, co-founder and director of meteorology for Weather Underground, Inc. speaking on Wednesday at a news conference on climate. "Years like 2011 may become the new normal in the United States in coming decades."

The year has been expensive, in terms of crops, property and lives lost. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has kept track of the cost of weather disasters since 1980, and 2011 has seen 10 separate natural disasters with economic losses of $1 billion or more, according to Chris Vaccaro, spokesman for the National Weather Service.
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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Twitter back on Bing?

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseTwitter and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT)
search engine found a way to do what Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Twitter could not,
agreeing to renew their deal to integrate tweets in Bing's search engine.
A Twitter spokesperson couched the news via
a faux tweet exchange between Twitter and Bing on Storify,
which included this line: "Search w/o Twitter = old news. You & @MSN are
amazing at using Tweets to make search better & help people stay in the
know." The companies also pledged to "do bigger and better things."
The Twitter spokesperson later confirmed
the deal, whose duration has not been revealed, for eWEEK Sept. 6 but did not
disclose terms of the deal. Microsoft also confirmed the deal but declined to
divulge its terms.
At the Web 2.0 Summit in October 2009, Bing and Twitter two years ago unveiled a deal
in which the young search engine agreed to index Twitter's tweets in its search
engine results pages.
The move gave Twitter prominent placement
on its own page in one of the leading search engines, while Bing got to enjoy
traffic spikes from people searching for hot, breaking news and trends.
The Twitter firehose is now integrated in
Bing's Social search Website, which includes status updates
from Facebook.
Twitter enjoyed a similar arrangement with Google -- also
announced at that Web 2.0 Summit -- until July, when they're deal expired and
the companies could not agree on new terms. Google had created its own real-time
search index with Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Quora and other sources.
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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Vancouver ranking

THE new liveability ranking published earlier this week by the Economist Intelligence Unit—and reported by Gulliver here—has attracted a lot of comment. Much of it came from Vancouverites convinced their city had lost its top ranking because of congestion on not-so-near Vancouver Island caused by the closure of the Malahat highway. This was the impression mistakenly given by the report accompanying the ranking. So I thought it would be worth passing on the report author's own explanation for the reference to the highway, and its relation to the situation in Vancouver itself.
The idea is that we are reporting general raised congestion levels in and around Vancouver and the fact that the Malahat highway was closed is a reflection of this trend. It's probably a bad example given the geographical distance from downtown Vancouver—but it was the strongest example we had of road closures in the region. A Vancouver specific example might be the effects of the upgrade of highway 1 in Vancouver but because this was just an upgrade and not a closure I used Malahat as the main example.
Much of the feedback I've received is that congestion levels have risen in Vancouver but that Malahat is not a suitable example for Vancouver citizens to understand. But if this is the case then the change in score is still justified because people are reporting higher congestion.
Does that make you any happier?
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Monday, September 05, 2011

Bring Your Own Device

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
Officials at Unisys officials started to sense the change about three years ago. It began as employees wanted to
pare down the multiple mobile
devices
—from pagers to business handsets to
laptops—that they carried around with them for their jobs.
That desire morphed a couple of years ago—first with the rapid ascension of
smartphones, particularly the launch of Apple’s iPhone, and then the
release of Apple’s iPad—into wanting to
bring their personal devices into work, getting onto the corporate
network
and gaining access to the company’s business data and applications.
“What we really found was that our employees wanted to use different products
[than] what we were buying [them],” said Patricia Titus, chief
information security officer
at Unisys. “It was a huge paradigm shift. …
They wanted to buy the devices they were most comfortable with.”
That shift—commonly referred to as BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device—is
hitting businesses worldwide. Gone are the days when companies could push out a
laptop and BlackBerry to employees to use
for work. With the widespread adoption of myriad consumer mobile
devices—including all flavors of smartphones and tablets—combining with the
entrance into the workforce of people accustomed to using them, companies are
being forced to figure out ways to accommodate them.
Businesses can save money by letting employees buy their own devices, but
those personal products are putting a strain on businesses as they look for
efficient ways to let employees, contractors, freelancers and guests gain access
to the corporate network while protecting the business’ data and applications.
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Sunday, September 04, 2011

Quebec has become the preferred place for some of the biggest names in video games

Logo of Activision Blizzard.Image via Wikipedia
Outside, the sun is shining, but it is dark in the production room where more than 150 Ubisoft artists, animators and engineers are racing to finish the latest edition of "Assassin's Creed," one of this holiday's hotly anticipated games.
They are working not from Ubisoft's headquarters in Paris or California, but in Montreal, Quebec. And they aren't alone. Quebec has become the preferred place for some of the biggest names in video games to set up shop.
According to the economic development agency Invest Quebec, 86 companies and 8,236 jobs have migrated to Quebec as a result of a government program under which 37.5 percent of a video game company's payroll is subsidized by the majority French-speaking province in the form of a refundable tax credit.
Put another way, for every dollar a video game company spends on paying its development staff, it receives 37.5 cents from the Quebec government.
The incentives, which include extra credits for companies that make French versions of their games, have enticed heavyweights such as Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard to open major operations in Quebec.
"There's a buzz right now, just like how Hollywood was the place to make movies in the 1920s," said Charles Jolicoeur, a coordinator at Invest Quebec.
Last year, Quebec spent $100 million on the program, up from $83 million in 2009 and significantly more than some U.S. states with similar programs such as Texas and Louisiana.
The province first set aside money for video games in 1996 after starting a program to jumpstart the film industry a year earlier. According to Jolicoeur, the aim was to move Quebec from a manufacturing economy to a "new economy" by creating artistic jobs for young people.
Fifteen years later, the bet appears to have paid off.

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Saturday, September 03, 2011

Oprah Winfrey will be doing her first-ever live chat with social media website Facebook

Winfrey on the first national broadcast of The...Image via Wikipedia
Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey will be doing her first-ever live chat with social media website Facebook on Thursday, Sept 8.
Facebook users can tune into the hour-long live video chat on the site at 1:30 pm EDT, and can leave questions for Winfrey on the page wall created for the event.
The 57 year-old Winfrey has embraced social media. She has almost 6.3 million fans on Facebook and more than 7.2 million followers on Twitter.
Winfrey hosted the final season of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in May this year. She continues to host aprime-time show on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) television channel, which launched at the beginning of this year.

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Friday, September 02, 2011

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Thursday, September 01, 2011

Google Aug. 31 launched full offline support for Gmail,

Image representing Google Calendar as depicted...Image via CrunchBase
Google Aug. 31 launched full offline support for Gmail, with the same feature planned for Calendar and Docs, using the HTML5 technology the company has used to replace its Google Gears tool.
To the delight of Google Apps users, Google first launched offline access for Gmail and Calendar in 2009 and Docs in 2010, allowing users with the Gears plug-in to access their content offline while traveling on a plane or some other instance where noWeb connection was possible.
What's changed for Google? Google has since become convinced that HTML5 is the way to go. Accordingly, the company squashed its Google Gears offline access software to use the industry standard.
One of the reasons for this is that Gears was limited as a technology. Also, Google is relying on Chromebooks, which only run Web applications, as a vehicle to get more users accessing Web app versions of Gmail, Docs, Calendar and, hopefully, many more applications.
Google Product Manager Benoît de Boursetty explained it best:
"The great thing about Web apps is that you can access all of your information on the go, and we've introduced ways to use Google Apps on a variety of devices like mobile phones and tablets. But it's inevitable that you'll occasionally find yourself in situations when you don't have an Internet connection, like planes, trains and carpools. When we announced Chromebooks at Google I/O 2011, we talked about bringing offline access to our Web apps, and now we're taking our first steps in that direction."
That starts with Gmail, which is available offline via this Chrome Web Store app. Users will continue using Gmail offline by clicking the Gmail Offline icon on Chrome's "new tab" page, according to de Boursetty.
Users of the offline Gmail Chrome app will then be able to read, respond to, organize and archive email without a Web connection. Eventually, Google will allow users to customize how much email they want synced between offline and online access.

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Ontario won't stop double-ending

Ontario moves to tighten rules around real estate agents 'double-ending,' but won't ban the practice If legislation is pa...