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Showing posts from February, 2014

Tesla Motors' announces battery factory

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Image via CrunchBase A shortage of battery cells has hamstrung Tesla Motors' sales aspirations. Now, months after an initial hint from CEO Elon Musk, Tesla confirmed that plans to build a massive battery gigafactory are underway. 
In a letter to shareholders, Tesla wrote: Very shortly, we will be ready to share more information about the Tesla giga factory. This will allow us to achieve a major reduction in the cost of our battery packs and accelerate the pace of battery innovation. Working in partnership with our suppliers, we plan to integrate precursor material, cell, module and pack production into one facility. With this facility, we feel highly confident of being able to create a compelling and affordable electric car in approximately three years. This will also allow us to address the solar power industry's need for a massive volume of stationary battery packs.  Talk of a giga factory came up late last year during Tesla's third-quarter earnings call. At the time, Mu…

proposed world's-largest optical telescope, designed in Canada

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Mauna Kea Peak (Photo credit: Mozul) The proposed world's-largest optical telescope, designed in Canada, is one step closer to construction after the University of Hawaii approved a plan to lease land at the summit of the island's Mauna Kea volcano.
The university's Board of Regents voted Thursday 15 to 1 to approve subleasing the land atop the dormant volcano for the Canadian-designed Thirty Meter Telescope, also called TMT. The university leases summit land, which hosts about a dozen telescopes in total, from the state.
The only opposing vote came from the board's student representative, Jeffrey Acido.
Officials hope to begin construction of the $1.3-billion telescope later this year and start operations in 2021.
Observing other solar systems
The telescope would be used to observe planets that orbit stars outside our own galaxy and would enable astronomers to watch new planets and stars being formed. It should help scientists see some 13 billion light years away…

Google Inc is exploring a major expansion of its super-fast "Fiber" TV

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Google 貼牌冰箱(Google Refrigerator) (Photo credit: Aray Chen)Google Inc is exploring a major expansion of its super-fast "Fiber" TV and Internet service, which could extend the nascent network to 34 more U.S. cities and pose a competitive threat to home broadband providers.
Google executives told reporters on Wednesday the search company has reached out in recent weeks to cities from nine metropolitan areas around the country, including San Jose, Atlanta and Nashville, to discuss the feasibility of building out Fiber, which Google says delivers the Internet at speeds up to 100 times faster than average networks.
As Google delivers more music, videos and other content to mobile devices, it is increasing investment in ensuring it gets the bandwidth it needs. Web-access projects like Fiber could also help grow revenues beyond its maturing search business, and give it more insight into consumers' online habits -- which, in turn, is crucial to making ads more effective.
Google ha…

Priceline.com, the online travel agency posted higher profits

Priceline.com, the online travel agency known for its name-your-own-price auctions, posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, boosting shares in extended trading.
Darren Huston, the former chief of Booking.com who became chief executive officer and president of Priceline.com in January, said bookings for hotel stays, airline tickets and rental cars picked up at the end of the quarter for the start of 2014. He added that advertising for Booking.com was paying off in the United States.
"There was broad-based strength throughout the world but the U.S. in particular was a very healthy market," Huston said in an interview.
He said the Priceline brand performed well, aided by airline ticket sales and rental car reservations.
Priceline, which owns Kayak.com and Agoda.com, is boosting its presence in fast-growing markets such as Asia. The acquisition of Kayak, which compiles airline and hotel prices from other travel websites, gave Priceline more exposure.
"Pr…
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Time Inc, the publisher of Sports Illustrated and People, is launching an online streaming-video sports network in partnership with several major U.S. sports leagues, the company announced on Thursday.
Called 120 Sports for its 120-second original sports features, the network will partner with Major League Baseball (MLB) and the national Hockey League (NHL). It will also include sports content from the National Basketball Association (NBA), NASCAR and college sports.
The network will launch later this spring, and viewers can watch it on smartphones, tablets and the Web, according to the press release. Sports Illustrated will play a significant role in 120 Sports including leading ad sales and marketing.
The move comes as Time prepares to separate from its parent, Time Warner, the owner of HBO, Warner Brothers and several cable networks including CNN. When Time spins off later this year it will be mainly a print and digital company.
The magazine industry has been hit with declining ad …

Phone checking for internet websites

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eComTechnology is a registered ISO/MSP for BMO Harris Bank, N.A., Chicago, IL…

2014 points towards an accelerated pace as technology mergers and acquisitions

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With a strong finish in technology deal activity in 2013, the outlook for 2014 points towards an accelerated pace as technology mergers and acquisitions (M&A) continues to play a critical role for companies across industries to innovate and drive growth, according to analyst firm PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) US Technology Deals Insights 2013 Year in Review and 2014 Outlook report.

According to the report, cumulative technology deal value for 2013 closed at $99.8 billion, a decrease of three percent from 2012, with a blossoming initial public offering (IPO) market and growing valuations impacting mid-market deal volumes, while overall value for the year was upheld by deals larger than $500 million.

The report found total deal volume declined 18 percent ending the year at 204 closed transactions in 2013 compared to 249 deals closed in 2012. The increase in billion dollar deals resulted in average deal size increasing from $415 million in 2012 to $489 million in 2013, according to P…
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Atos - Patrick Adiba - Bring your own device (Photo credit: Atos International) A majority of businesses (53 percent) unprepared to deal with hacked or stolen bring your own device (BYOD) devices, even though half indicated company-owned tablets, notebooks and smartphones may have been hacked in last 12 months, according to a report from ITIC and KnowBe4.

The survey results indicate that 65 percent of businesses now allow end users to BYOD and use them as corporate desktop or mobile devices to access organizational data including email, applications and sensitive data.

BYOD usage can be used to help businesses reduce expenditures and lower the administrative burdens of IT departments as end users manage, maintain and in many cases pay for their own devices.

However, the rise in BYOD, mobility and remote and telecommuting users potentially increases the risk of security breaches.

Nine Steps to Smart Security for Small Businesses Download Now 1…

Google set for stock split

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Google 貼牌冰箱(Google Refrigerator) (Photo credit: Aray Chen) Zero to $400 billion, good for the second-biggest market capitalization in America, took a bit more than 15 years of existence and less than a decade as a public company. Not too shabby, Google (GOOG).
The new king of all media just supplanted Exxon Mobil (XOM), an ancient conglomerate with multiples of its revenue, earnings, and assets, for the No. 2 slot; Apple (AAPL) remains on top. In addition to search and YouTube, Google does smart glasses, mysterious barges, renewable energy, and a pre-World War II blimp hangar.
The Mountain View (Calif.) company totes at least $59 billion in cash and has had a hand in 127 deals totaling a little less than $18 billion in the past three years, according to Bloomberg data. In the past two months alone, Google has taken out digital-thermostat maker Nest Labs for $3.2 billion and robotics shop Boston Dynamics. Last year, Google’s venture arm led a $360 million investment in Uber, the car-bo…

Small businesses in New York worried about 2014

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English: Southern Manhattan from Staten Island ferry (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Small businesses in New York City expect to see revenue growth in 2014, but hiring optimism is lagging with 61 percent of those surveyed planning to maintain staffing levels next year, according to TD Bank’s inaugural New York City Small Business Pulse Check.

The regionally focused survey, which included small businesses of $5 million or less in revenue and 100 employees or less, included questions on the challenges and opportunities facing small businesses in the five boroughs.

More than one-half (56 percent) of the small business owners report that their businesses have been negatively impacted by the U.S. economy with respondents correlating the economic situation with declining sales and limited consumer spending.

In Queens, 62 percent of small business owners reported a negative impact, compared with 53 percent in Manhattan, 57 percent in Staten Island, 56 percent in the Bronx and 54 percent in Brookly…

Sprint announced the results of its fiscal 2013 fourth quarter

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Sprint Nextel logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Sprint announced the results of its fiscal 2013 fourth quarter Feb. 11, making clear that while its Network Vision build-out still has a ways to go, some of the changes it's making are working.

Sprint finished 2013 with its highest number of platform subscribers ever, 53.9 million, after adding 58,000 postpaid (contract), 322,000 prepaid, and 302,000 wholesale and affiliate subscribers.

But it posted an operating loss of $576 million for the quarter—a 22 percent improvement over the same quarter a year ago—and an annual operating loss of $1.9 billion, up from last year's $1.8 billion loss.

Sprint also posted its highest-ever annual wireless service revenue, of $7.2 billion, and its best-ever annual revenue per postpaid customer, of $64.07. (By contrast, Verizon Wireless posted fourth-quarter 2013 service revenue of $17.7 billion and—because it now measures average revenue per shared account [ARPA] instead of by user—a retail postpai…

The T-Mobile brand is here to stay

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When talk of a possible T-Mobile-Sprint merger first arose, it struck many as little more than that—talk. Sprint was "studying regulatory concerns" and contemplating a bid during the first half of 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 13.

"Let's pop this trial balloon quickly, please," Public Knowledge Senior Staff Attorney John Bergmayer blogged the same day, as Twitter erupted with Tweets of exasperation and verbal eye rolls from a community that had not yet forgotten, among other lessons, the nine-month drama of AT&T's attempt to merge with T-Mobile in 2011.

"Anyone who thinks three carriers is competitive PLEASE TALK TO A CANADIAN," Tweeted PC Magazine editor Sascha Seegan.

But the talk has continued and intensified, putting the companies' stock prices on a rising and falling wave and encouraging more voices to speak up against the deal, or rather, the potential for one.

Securing End-User Mobile Devices in…

Possibly lower e-book prices

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Canada's business competition watchdog said on Friday it has reached an agreement with four major e-book publishers that it expects will lower e-book prices in the country.
The Competition Bureau said the publishers have agreed to remove or amend clauses in their distribution agreements with individual e-book retailers that had the effect of restricting retail price competition.
The four publishers that have agreed to the deal include Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group Inc; News Corp's HarperCollins Publishers LLC; CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster Inc, and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH's Macmillan.
The regulatory agency noted that similar settlements between publishers and regulators in the United States in the last two years have resulted in greater discounting of best-selling e-books there.
Last year, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that Apple Inc had conspired with five major publishers to raise e-book prices. The ruling was a victory for the U.S. D…

Russian authorities have issued warnings against using Bitcoin

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The bitcoin logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Russian authorities have issued warnings against using Bitcoin, saying the virtual currency could be used for money laundering or financing terrorism and that treating it as a parallel currency is illegal.
"Systems for anonymous payments and cyber currencies that have gained considerable circulation - including the most well-known, Bitcoin - are money substitutes and cannot be used by individuals or legal entities," the Russian Prosecutor General's Office said on February6.
It added that Russian law stipulates that the rouble is the sole official currency and that introducing any other monetary units or substitutes was illegal.
Russia's central bank also said on January 27 that Bitcoin trade was highly speculative and that the unit carried a big risk of losing value.
"Citizens and legal entities risk being drawn - even unintentionally - into illegal activity, including laundering of money obtained through crime, as well…

U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

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Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Finance MinisterJim Flaherty and National Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay have signed the agreement to implement the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
Introduced in the U.S. in 2010, the law is meant to track down U.S. tax cheats living abroad. But it has also caught up an unknown number of people who didn’t realize the U.S. is one of only two countries in the world that require their citizens to file taxes no matter where they are living.
Catches 'accidental Americans'
It has also caught “accidental Americans,” people who didn’t realize becoming a citizen of another country doesn’t supersede their U.S. citizenship, or that the U.S. automatically confers citizenship on anyone with at least one U.S. parent.
It is estimated one million U.S. citizens live in Canada. The rules affect each of them, their children and anyone with whom they may hold a joint account or co-own a business or property.
Canad…

U.S. manufacturing activity slowed sharply in January

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U.S. manufacturing activity slowed sharply in January on the back of the biggest drop in new orders in 33 years while construction spending barely rose in December, pointing to some loss of steam in the economy.
Economists largely blamed frigid temperatures for the chill in economic activity and said they expected a rebound in the months ahead. However, they also cautioned that the economy was receiving some payback after a strong performance in the second half of 2013.
"The disappointing data provide further confirmation of a dramatic slowing in economic growth momentum," said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New York.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity fell to 51.3 last month, its lowest level since May 2013, from 56.5 in December.
Bad weather also appeared to hurt U.S. auto sales in January, with Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co and Japan'sToyota Motor Sales USA reported a slide in sales for…

Ben Bernanke at the Brookings Institution

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Official portrait of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Ben Bernanke arrived for his first day on the job at the Brookings Institution on Monday morning, just three days after completing an eight-year tenure as chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Bernanke, whose stint atop the U.S. central bank was marked by financial crisis and policy experimentation in the face of the Great Recession, joins the centrist policy think tank in Washington as a distinguished fellow in residence, Brookings said on Monday.
There had been some speculation that the former Princeton professor would land at Brookings, where he is expected to write a book, though the quick jump from one job to another may come as a surprise. Brookings prides itself as nonpartisan and having members from both sides of the U.S. political spectrum, though some see it as somewhat left of center.
"Brookings scholars have a well established reputation for contributing innovative ideas and trenchant…