Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gas prices going up


Crude oil prices are surging again as commodities traders respond to the continued tension between Iran, Israel and the United States. According to NBC Nightly News, the fear of any kind of military action in the Middle East drives up the price of fuel despite no real shortage of supply. Just recently, the price of gasoline rose three-and-a-half percent and is up 42 cents from one year ago.

As winter subsides into spring, consumers should gear up for another pricey summer with gas prices expected to peak just in time for weekend getaways. But before you cancel your vacation plans, consider these tips for saving on fuel.

1. Use your smartphone.
Look up gas prices in your area and pinpoint the least expensive options on your route by using GasBuddy.com. The site also offers a mobile app that uses GPS to provide current gasoline prices per gallon based on your location. Another option is the CheapGas app which guides you to the least expensive gas station in your proximity, an invaluable resource when driving in unfamiliar areas.

2. Travel with cash.
Many gas stations advertise the price per gallon to cash-paying customers and those who use credit cards are charged an additional 10-cents per gallon. Pay with cash when you can to save.

3. Stock up on discount gift cards.
You can purchase gift cards at less than face value from sites like GiftCardGranny.com including gas gift cards for popular brands like Chevron, Shell and Exxon. For example, the site is currently selling a Hess gift card for 8-percent off. These cards go fast, so set up an alert to receive an e-mail when new gas cards become available.

4. Fuel up at the warehouse.
Membership-based stores like Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's Wholesale Club have discounted gas. In some cases, you can use affiliated credit cards to get a double-dip discount: Pay less at the pump and get a cash back bonus. For instance, the Costco-branded TrueEarnings American Express card lets customers earn three percent cash back on up to $3,000 in gas per year.

5. Find a gas reward credit card.
If you are going to swipe your credit card at the pump, look for one that offers a high reward like Chase Freedom Visa, which offers 5 percent back on gasoline purchases. For other options, check out PTMoney's "The Best Gas Rewards Credit Cards of 2012."

6. Go for grocery and gas discount programs.
Many supermarket chains have partnered with name-brand gas stations to offer reward programs. Ralph customers can get 10-cent per gallon savings at Shell stations in Southern California after redeeming 100 grocery points at the pump. Other grocery chains like PriceChopper, Kroger and ShopandStop offer similar programs. Speak with a store manager to find out which local gas stations will honor the reward program, as some franchise-operated stations may not participate in the programs.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Prince of Wales' private estate and financier Jacob Rothschild are among a group

The Prince of Wales' private estate and financier Jacob Rothschild are among a group of investors who plan to invest more than 65 million pounds ($103 million) in a clean technology start-up focused on producing energy from organic waste matter.
The new company, Tamar Energy, will develop a network of over 40 anaerobic digestion plants to generate 100 megawatt of green electricity over the next five years, the consortium said on Wednesday.
The investor group is led by Rothschild's London-listed RIT Capital Partners and Fajr Capital, along with the Duchy of Cornwall, Lord Rothschild's Family Interests, and supermarket group J Sainsbury, among others.
Anaerobic Digestion is the conversion of organic waste material into biogas by bacteria. The methane-rich biogas can then be used either in a local generating plant to produce electricity, or cleaned and injected into the gas grid.
According to a report published last September by green energy consultancies, there are already 214 anaerobic digestion facilities in Britain, with a total installed generating capacity of 170 MW.
"This investment shows there are great business opportunities in this technology, creating heat and power to run homes and businesses and reducing the amount of organic waste that would otherwise lie rotting in landfill," Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said.

Monday, February 27, 2012

working transistor from a single phosphorus atom

This in an incredible nanoengineering breakthrough, Australian and American physicists created a working transistor from a single phosphorus atom. The development could one day lead to quantum computers, which would be substantially smaller and faster than those of today.
The achievement is noteworthy for another reason: It challenges Moore’s law, which states that the number of transistors that can be placed on an integrated circuit will double roughly every two years. (More on that in a second.)
The physicists accomplished this feat by embedding the atom into a bed of silicon covered with a layer of hydrogen atoms. The New York Times reports, “Phosphine gas was then used to deposit a phosphorus atom at a precise location, which was then encased in further layers of silicon atoms.”
The achievement, conducted by scientists at the University of New South Wales and at Purdue University, were published in Nature Nanotechnology.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Student jailed for Facebook hack

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Image via CrunchBase

A British student, who hacked into Facebook's internal network risking "disastrous" consequences for the website, was jailed for eight months on Friday in what prosecutors described as the most serious case of its kind they had seen.
Glenn Mangham, 26, a software development student, admitted infiltrating Facebook from his bedroom at his parents' house in York in northern England last year, sparking fears at the U.S. company that it was dealing with major industrial espionage.
"This was the most extensive and flagrant incidence of social media hacking to be brought before British courts," said Alison Saunders, London's Chief Prosecutor. "Fortunately, this did not involve any personal user data being compromised."
Facebook first became aware of a security breach in its internal network in April and called in the FBI. The U.S. agents established the source of the hacking was based in Britain and British police raided Mangham's home in June.
Mangham said he had previously helped search engine Yahoo Inc improve its security and wanted to do the same for Facebook. However, prosecutors rejected his explanation.
"He said he wanted a mini project and chose Facebook because of its high-profile internet presence," prosecutor Sandip Patel told London's Southwark Crown Court.
"The prosecution does not accept that the defendant's actions were anything other than malicious."
The court was told Facebook spent $200,000 in dealing with his actions, the Press Association reported.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Great Barrier Reef

Australia will carry out a comprehensive assessment of development pressure on the Great Barrier Reef to help preserve the world's largest coral reef system, ministers said Saturday.
The assessment will take into account how development along Australia's northeast coast is affecting the reef, Environment Minister Tony Burke said in a joint statement with the Queensland state government.

In 2010, part of the reef was damaged when a Chinese-owned coal ship, the Shen Neng 1, ran aground on it.

The assessment would be the largest of its type ever conducted in Australia and would examine planning applications for rapidly developing Queensland, they said.

The state is an important exporter of commodities as well as a major tourist destination. The reef is one of its main tourist attractions and is visible from space.

"Rather than always dealing with one application at a time this allows an assessment of the region as a whole," Burke said in the statement. "That gives us an opportunity to take into account the cumulative impacts and any indirect impacts such as increased shipping movement."

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman Russell Reichelt said it was a chance to take a long-term view of how best to manage the reef.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Royal Dutch Shell in Artic

Royal Dutch Shell's bid to drill in the Arctic this summer took another step forward on Friday when the U.S. Interior Department approved its oil spill response plan for the Chukchi Sea.
Shell's response plan would allow the company to rapidly contain a massive spill in the challenging Arctic environment, the department said.
"After an exhaustive review, we have confidence that Shell's plan includes the necessary equipment and personnel pre-staging, training, logistics and communications to act quickly and mount an effective response should a spill occur," said James Watson, head of the department's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
The department said Shell's plan would include a fleet of specially designed ships surrounding the drilling site with equipment able to recover about 80,000 barrels of oil per day in the event of a blowout.
MAJOR MILESTONE
Shell welcomed the acceptance of the response plan. The company has been working to get its Arctic exploration program back on track after repeated regulatory delays.
"Approval of our Chukchi Sea Oil Spill Response Plan is another major milestone on the path to drilling in the Alaska offshore this summer," Pete Slaiby, Alaska exploration manager for Shell, said in a statement.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Apple TV

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
Apple CEO Tim Cook offered some hints about the direction of Apple TV, as part of his much-circulated Feb. 14 keynote at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco.

After cautioning that he “wouldn’t want to go into detail about future stuff,” Cook conceded that “we need something that could go more main market for it to be a serious category.” In the past, he’s referred to Apple TV, whose latest iteration is a palm-sized device that facilitates streaming content to the user’s television set, as a “hobby.”

Indeed, Apple apparently regards the initiative in its current form as something less than its other devices. “The reason we call it a hobby is that we don’t want to send a message to you or our shareholders that we think that the market for it is the size of our other businesses,” he said, according to an edited transcript published by Fortune. “We don’t want to send the signal that we think the leg of that stool is of equal length” as that of the Mac, iPad, and iPod businesses.

If you believe the rumors, though, Apple is prepping a device that could elevate its television aspirations to a whole new level: an actual television set, possibly for release in late 2012.
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Monday, February 20, 2012

Groupon Now

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Groupon Inc Chief Executive Andrew Mason said on Thursday that the company's location-based service Groupon NOW will likely not be a material contributor to results in the next one or two quarters.
Groupon NOW is a relatively new service that differs from Groupon's main daily deal business. Groupon subscribers can check on nearby deals that are happening in the next one or two hours, based on their location.

Mason said customers of the company's daily deals are using Groupon NOW too. However, the CEO stressed that the new service will likely take time to grow.
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

virtual terminal for credit card processing

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

NASA shutting down mainframe

Ever on the cutting edge amongst government agencies, NASA announced it has shut down its last mainframe to complete its move to smaller, distributed systems running Linux and other systems.

In a Feb. 11 blog post, NASA CIO Linda Cureton wrote that NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center powered down an IBM Z9 mainframe the agency acquired in 2004. However, as the agency began to modernize it moved off the mainframe environment and soon came down to one.

In response to questions about why NASA decided to get rid of the final piece of IBM big iron, Cureton said:

“We only kept the mainframe around to support applications that we knew would soon be retired. In that case, it was more cost-effective to keep the as-is architecture in place rather than migrate to a server environment. When we were in the position to retire the applications, retiring the mainframe made sense.

“There had been no new application development on the mainframe here for a while. Our larger business applications run on SAP in a non-mainframe environment. The retirement also realized cost savings in software licenses.”
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Friday, February 17, 2012

Enbridge pays First Nations for pipeline study

Flag of Kitimat
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An aboriginal organization leading the fight to prevent oil tankers on the British Columbia coast once took money from Enbridge Inc., the company hoping to build the pipeline from Alberta to the West Coast port of Kitimat.

Coastal First Nations executive director Art Sterritt said Monday his organization received $100,000 from Enbridge, but that didn't translate into support for the company's proposed $5.5-billion pipeline project.

Sterritt estimates Enbridge has provided up to $1 million to B.C. First Nations to study the pipeline. Most First Nations contacted by The Canadian Press would only say they accepted money from the company, but wouldn't confirm amounts.

The Burns Lake Indian Band confirmed that a previous chief and council accepted $60,000 from Enbridge to study the pipeline, which stretches 1,177-kilometres from Bruderheim, Alta., to Kitimat, B.C.

Coastal First Nations, an alliance of 10 First Nations from the north and central coasts and Haida Gwaii, received the $100,000 from Enbridge about five years ago to conduct studies, but now has a policy against accepting Enbridge dollars, said Sterritt.
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

EU to vote on Tar Sands

English: Photograph of the Athabasca Tar Sands...
Image via Wikipedia
European Union officials are expected to vote on February 23 on a draft law that would label fuel produced from tar sands as more polluting than that from other forms of oil, according to a draft agenda seen by Reuters.
The proposal from the EU's executive to include tar sands in a ranking designed to enable fuel suppliers to identify the most carbon-intensive options has stirred up intense lobbying by Canada.

Home to the world's third-largest oil reserves, almost all of which are in the form of tar sands, also referred to as oil sands, Canada has argued the EU is unfairly discriminating against it.

Previous EU meetings have repeatedly failed to get as far as a vote, but the agenda for a fifth meeting of the fuel quality committee later this month schedules a vote on an amendment to the Fuel Quality Directive proposed by the European Commission.

EU sources close to the talks said a stalemate is likely, with no majority either way.

That would mean the debate is transferred from the level of EU technical experts to open discussion among EU ministers, and the Commission could decide to amend its proposal.
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Iran blocks email

Most computer users in Iran were blocked from accessing email, social networking and other services in recent days, U.S.-based Internet experts said on Monday, raising fears the government is extending the reach of its surveillance on ordinary citizens.
Internet service providers presumed to be acting at the Iranian government's behest began blocking the most common form of secure connections on Friday, according to the outside experts and Iranian bloggers. Traffic rebounded to normal levels on Monday.

The cutoff apparently affected all encrypted international websites outside of Iran that depend on the Secure Sockets Layer protocol, which display addresses beginning with https, according to Earl Zmijewski of Renesys, a U.S. company that tracks Internet traffic worldwide.

Google, which uses SSL for its Gmail service, reported that traffic from Iran to its email system fell precipitously.

Gmail use, which typically drops by about 80 percent at night, dropped by roughly 95 percent Friday and remained that low during daylight hours through the weekend before recovering Monday, according to Google's publicly posted access statistics.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

high school may have cancer cure

High school senior Angela Zhang, of Cupertino, Calif., has done research that could someday lead to a cure for cancer. Her work earned her $100,000 in a national Siemens science competition.
Zhang told ABC News, “I created a nanoparticle that’s kind of like the Swiss Army knife of cancer treatment in that it can detect cancer cells, eradicate the cancer cells and then monitor the treatment response.”
This is her proposed treatment: She mixes cancer medicine in a polymer that attaches to nanoparticles, which are then used to attach to cancer cells. Those nanoparticles can be detected on an MRI so doctors can see exactly where the tumors are.
She then thought that targeting the tumors with an infrared light would melt the polymers, release the medicine and kill the cancer cells — all while leaving the healthy cells intact. E voila! It almost completely eradicated the tumors in mice.
It remains to be seen whether the method works in humans, and that process will take years, but the technique is original and promising on several levels.
As Tejal Desai, a bioengineer at the University of California, San Francisco, and a Siemens competition judge told MSNBC. “She showed great creativity and initiative in designing a nanoparticle system that can be triggered to release drugs at the site of the tumor while also allowing for noninvasive imaging.”

Monday, February 13, 2012

Oracle buys Taleo

Image representing Oracle Corporation as depic...
Image via CrunchBase
Oracle's Feb. 9 acquisition of enterprise talent management provider Taleo Corp. for $1.9 billion is a clear indicator of the all-purpose IT giant's commitment to becoming a major-league player in the enterprise cloud services business.

For $46 per share, Oracle is now the proud owner of the world's second-busiest software as a service (SaaS) solution provider. Only Salesforce.com records and stores more daily transactions than Taleo, which has a bit more than 5,000 customers and focuses on small and midsized businesses and large enterprises.

Salesforce recently topped the 100,000-customer level—with about 30 million users—and has done as many as 120 million transactions in a day.

Dublin, Calif.-based Taleo is fast becoming the human resources department's best friend. Its cloud serves more than 20 million users and processes as many as 68 million transactions a day. The company's customer base is growing by 37 percent annually for packaged services that range from performance management and learning management to compensation and succession planning.
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Sunday, February 12, 2012

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bostock and three other directors will step down

Image representing Yahoo! as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase
Yahoo Inc Chairman Roy Bostock and three other directors will step down as the struggling company ploughs ahead with an internal overhaul, including discussions on dealing with its stakes in China's Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan.
The corporation - once a Web powerhouse but now agonizing over a range of options to revive flagging growth - on Tuesday said it appointed former Rovi Corp CEO and International Business Machines Corp veteran Alfred Amoroso and ex-eBay COO Maynard Webb as independent directors.
Yahoo's board has come under fire from investors impatient with the company's persistent inability to effect a turnaround, and frustrated with the apparent indecisiveness of stakeholders over how to handle its investments in Alibaba and other prized Asian assets.
"We have engaged with potential investors and reviewed proposals concerning an equity investment in the company, although at this time there have not been any proposals which have been deemed by the committee to be attractive to our shareholders," Bostock said in a letter to shareholders released on Tuesday.
"We are also in active discussions with our partners in Asia regarding the possibility of restructuring our holdings in Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan. The complexity and unique nature of these transactions is significant," the letter said.
Bostock, who joined Yahoo's board in 2003, was a lightning rod for Yahoo shareholders upset about the company's fall from grace and the string of struggles that defined the company during his tenure. Shareholders blamed Bostock, along with Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, for turning down a rich acquisition offer by Microsoft Corpin 2008 near the height of Yahoo's valuation.
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Friday, February 10, 2012

Smartphone sales surpassed those of PCs

Smartphone sales surpassed those of PCs for the first time ever, during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to research firm Canalys. What's more, smartphones also outsold PCs—even with the inclusion of tablets, such as the Apple iPad, into the mix.
In all, vendors shipped 158.5 million smartphones during the quarter, up 57 percent from 101.2 million units during the same quarter a year ago, compared with 120.2 million PCs. Smartphones led for the full year 2011, as well, on shipments of 487.7 million units to 414.6 million PCs. Of those PC units, 63.2 million were tablets.
"Smartphone shipments overtaking those of client PCs should be seen as a significant milestone," Canalys analyst Chris Jones said in a statement. "In the space of a few years, smartphones have grown from being a niche product segment at the high-end of the mobile phone market to becoming a truly mass-market proposition."
Helping "tremendously," he added, are smartphones at the lower end of the price range and consumers' growing appetites for Web browsing, content consumption, apps and mobile services.
That said, the firm expects smartphone sales to slow some in 2012, as vendors "exercise greater cost control and discipline, and put more focus on profitability," added Jones. "Notably, even vendors who have focused on conquering the low-end of the market with aggressive pricing, such as Huawei, ZTE and LG, are now placing greater attention on the higher tiers. Flagship models aimed at raising selling prices and improving margins will feature more heavily this year."
As IHS iSuppli reported earlier this year, Apple was the top smartphone seller during the fourth quarter, moving 37 million iPhones, as well as 15.4 million iPads and 5.2 million Macs.
"It also smashed the record for the most smartphones shipped globally by any single vendor in one quarter," wrote Canalys, "beating Nokia’s previous record of 28.3 million shipped in Q4 2010."

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Consumer Preview of Windows 8

Microsoft is prepping to release its Consumer Preview of Windows 8 (also known as the beta) sometime in the next few weeks. And although many details of the upcoming operating system have already been revealed, a few new leaks suggest that the company has some radical new alterations in store for users.
Chief among these, possibly, is the loss of the Start button that long occupied the left-bottom corner of the Windows desktop. According to The Verge, which cited anonymous sources “close to Microsoft’s Windows 8 development,” the Start button that first appeared in Windows 95 is gone, having been replaced by a “hot corner” and a “thumbnail-like user interface” that offers previews of “where you will navigate to after clicking on the new visual element.”
Either touch or mouse input will activate this new interface. In contrast to past versions of the operating system, Windows 8 will feature a start-screen of large, colorful tiles linked to applications—the better to touch, in the case of tablets. Users will also have the option of flipping to a more traditional desktop interface.
Through its official channels, Microsoft also provided some additional details about Windows 8. According to the company’s Building Windows 8 blog, the beta will feature the ability to “easily pin your favorite folders to Start,” a minimized user-interface ribbon, and added hotkey information to the tooltips of relevant buttons.
Microsoft is actively tweaking Windows 8 in response to user feedback from the Developer Preview and its blog postings. It has also adjusted the copy operation to pause in the event of system hibernation or sleep, and included a new option to the conflict-resolution dialog over two files with the same name.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

bleak picture of the security issues

Recent reports painted a bleak picture of the security issues plaguing industrial control systems, but the situation is exacerbated by the fact that administrators are naïve about the dangers, researcher said.
Researchers presented some alarming findings about the state of security for supervisory control and data acquisition systems at the Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit on Feb. 3. SCADA systems are used across varied industries such as oil, water systems, electric grids, controlling building systems, and the basic security model underlying these systems is completely inadequate, they said.
Two researchers decided to try to find 100 bugs in 100 days in industrial control system software, Terry McCorkle, an industry researcher, told attendees at the conference. As they began their research, it quickly became evident the team had underestimated the severity of the problem.
"Ultimately, what we found is the state of ICS security is kind of laughable," McCorkle said.
The bugs were "straight out of the 90s," and for the most part, were "blatantly obvious" flaws, according to McCarkle. McCorkle and his partner in the project, Billy Rios, used fuzzing techniques and found over 1000 bugs in ICS software. McCorkle said a lot of the people he spoke with in the industry had never thought to try fuzzing to look for vulnerabilities in ICS software.
File format issues were the most prevalent, followed by ActiveX, according to McCorkle. They found several SQL vulnerabilities but no SQL injection flaws, and lots of buffer overflow issues. There were examples of how ICS software were executing VBScript to open command shells and other applications, as well as Websites having direct access to the Windows registry. They reported 1035 bugs that cause systems to crash and 95 that were easily exploitable, to vendors, McCorkle said. The exploitable bugs included issues that could be exploited by cross-site scripting. The 1035 bugs would have required someone to spend some time to find a way to exploit the vulnerability, but McCorkle was confident some could be exploited.
Although McCorkle and his team had reported those vulnerabilities to the vendors, the problem remained of how the systems would get patched. If the vendor decided to patch the issue, which is not always a given, there was still the question of how to notify administrators and how to actually distribute and install the patches, McCorkle said.
Many of the systems that are now Internet accessible were not originally designed to be connected, and some have embedded Web services and mobile interfaces that make it even easier to connect remotely. Many SCADA systems are available online with weak passwords such as '100,' according to McCorkle.
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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Merchant account guidelines

Credit card
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Avoiding Credit Card Processing scams and protect your business
Credit card processing scams are unfortunately one of the fastest growing cyber crimes occurring today. These scams occur when businesses sign up with a new merchant account processing company only to discover that the credit card information being sent to the new company is getting stolen or misused, and/or they are being overcharged on transaction fees. Fortunately, there are ways that business owners can protect their business in 2012 from these scams.
A business owner should start by reading one of the many
credit card processing companies guideline websites. Since this is a relatively new field, credit card processing companies review websites rely largely on customer reviews of merchant account processors. Companies that are actually scams are usually identified within weeks on these websites.
There are several steps that a business can take, however, if they are considering doing business with a new merchant account processor. To start, only process a few credit cards in the first several weeks of doing business with a new company. Preferably, these should be cards owned by the business owner and/or his or her close friends and family members. If a company will steal credit card information, they will most likely do so immediately, and the business owner and his or her friends will immediately be notified of suspicious activity on their credit card. While canceling the credit cards will be a hassle, at least the business will not have alienated their customers to try out a new credit card processing service.
Next, run several different types of transactions on a card and carefully review the statement of fees that is generated from each transaction. Make sure that these fees line up with the amount stated by the processor when the business first signed up for services. Most of the scams that occur in this industry actually take the form of overcharging customers for transactions and/or charging customers for transactions that did not take place.
By carefully reviewing the statement that the credit card processing company sends to your business, it is possible to check that the amount that your business is being charged matches the amount that the credit card processor’s agreement states that you are supposed to be charged.
In addition to checking the fees charged for regular transactions, also look at the fees that are charged for transactions such as returns and chargebacks. Very few businesses keep accurate records of the number of credit card chargebacks that occur as the result of customers returning merchandise or taking care of mischarges, since these transactions rarely affect the bookkeeping of a business. Each one of these transactions, however, is subject to fees from the merchant account processor.
Because the fees from these transactions can be high and few businesses track these types of transactions, a common scam is to fabricate returns and chargebacks and charge businesses for them. These scams can be perpetrated by merchant account processors for months or years before the merchant account processor is caught.
Finally, be careful with how your business stores its customers’ credit card data. Typically, every transaction that occurs will generate a record that can include the client’s credit card number. Of course, by recording this data, a business has to be careful with how it disposes of it. Identity theft is a growing crime, but few people realize that the majority of data stolen is not done online, but rather from dumpsters.
To protect your business and your customers, make sure to shred any printed reports and receipts that have been already been logged before throwing them out. Losing your customer’s data can make your business instantly lose the trust that you have worked for years to create with your clients.

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Microsoft’s Bing search engine likes Facebook

Facebook’s initial public offering will hand the social network billions of dollars to spend on future projects, and turn many of its employees into millionaires or billionaires.
It will also intensify competition with Google, which desperately wants to establish an outsized presence in the social-networking realm. Google+, the search-engine giant’s attempt to out-Facebook Facebook, reached 90 million user accounts by mid-January 2012—a fraction of Facebook’s 845 million users, true, but also a number likely to increase as Google continues to pour in time and resources.
Analysts and pundits have pointed to Google’s variety of services—and an increasing willingness to share individual user data across them—as a potential point in the company’s favor as it battles Facebook. But that advantage isn’t an asymmetrical one: Facebook can rely on its deepening relationship with Microsoft to provide some added heft outside its walled, everything-blue garden.
Microsoft’s Bing search engine likes Facebook. It likes Facebook so much, in fact, that the search engine bakes the social network’s “Like” button into its results. That’s the result of Microsoft’s decision to evolve the platform by, in the words of Bing director Stefan Seitz, “infusing the emotional into it.”
Nor does the collaboration end there. When Bing users search for a specific person, the search engine can present Facebook information on the results page. If they’re traveling to a new city, such as Paris, Bing can display which Facebook friends live there. Bing will also present companies’ and brands’ Facebook posting
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s, alerting users to deals.
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Monday, February 06, 2012

Alternative Payment Solutions

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Alternative Payment Solutions

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Evidence mounting of a school system in decline

Evidence mounting of a school system in decline

Mozilla has released Firefox 10.0

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In keeping with its rapid release cadence, Mozilla has released Firefox 10.0 for Windows, Mac and Linux. While the latest browser version features relatively few cosmetic changes, there are some under-the-hood additions that could prove vital for developers trying to create next-generation Web experiences.
In the desktop version of Firefox 10.0, Mozilla has hidden the forward button until the user navigates back. It has fixed some bugs, including one that sometimes crashed the browser when the user attempted to move bookmarks. But the bigger story here is the new built-in developer tools.
“With Page Inspector, developers can peek into a page’s structure and layout without having to leave Firefox,” read a Jan. 31 posting on The Mozilla Blog. In addition, a new tool called Style Inspector lets developers more easily edit Websites, and Scratchpad “now uses the Eclipse Orion code editor to provide syntax highlighting and other features that make it easier and simpler to write JavaScript.”
A new Full-Screen API lets developers build Web games and other multimedia experiences that utilize the entire PC screen. Mozilla has also introduced support for Anti-Aliasing for WebGL, a Web standard for displaying hardware-accelerated 3D graphics without third-party software, and CSS 3D Transforms, which transforms two-dimensional elements into 3D via HTML5.
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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Apple Inc has hired Dixons Chief Executive John Browett

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Apple Inc has hired Dixons Chief Executive John Browett, who revived the British electronics retailer by emphasizing customer service, to lead the iPadmaker's global retail expansion.
Apple chief Tim Cook, making his first high-profile hire since taking the helm of the world's largest technology company, lured the well-regarded industry executive to fill a critical post once held by Ron Johnson, another outsider who left Target Corp to join Apple in 2000.
Johnson resigned from Apple last November to join retailer J.C. Penney Co Inc as chief executive.
Browett, Dixons' CEO since 2007, was previously chief executive of Tesco Plc's successful online shopping site. He will oversee Apple's retail strategy and the expansion of its stores around the world, from the current total of around 300.
The executive, credited with freshening Dixons' image with innovative marketing -- including an advertising campaign featuring Darth Vader -- joins Apple as the Silicon Valley giant eyes markets abroad to sustain its growth.
"An outsider with international experience will help guide Apple's global expansion strategy," said RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky. "His experience includes localizing stores for multiple countries."
On Johnson's watch, Apple opened its first retail outlet -- in McLean, Virginia -- in May 2001. It now has a chain of more than 300 stores, which generated an average of $34.1 million each in fiscal 2010 and accounted for 15 percent of the company's net sales.
"(Browett)'s got big shoes to fill," said BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis. "Ron Johnson drove the Apple store as a customer experience with a positive halo effect for the business."
Wall Street views Apple's stores as an important advantage in competing with rivals Google Inc and Amazon.com Inc
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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...