Sunday, August 31, 2014

Time Warner Cable Inc will pay $1.1 million to resolve a Federal Communications Commission investigation

Time Warner Cable Inc will pay $1.1 million to resolve a Federal Communications Commission investigation that last year found the cable and Internet provider did not properly report multiple network outages, the regulators said this week.
"TWC (Time Warner Cable) failed to file a substantial number of reports with respect to a series of reportable wireline and Voice over Internet Protocol network outages," the FCC said in a report revealing the settlement released on Monday. "TWC admits that its failure to timely file the required network outage reports violated the Commission's rules."
The FCC requires providers of fixed Internet connection or voice-over-Internet-Protocol calling to promptly report some network outages that last 30 minutes or longer, for instance those that potentially affect emergency response 911 facilities or those that impact enough consumers to collectively result in at least 900,000 minutes of disrupted Internet or phone use.
After the prompt initial notification of the outage, the providers then have to follow up in some cases with an initial report but always with a final report within 30 days of discovering the outage.
Prompt access to information about how national telecom networks are working is critical to prevent or prepare for disruptions that could pose threats to homeland security, public safety or the U.S. economic stability, the FCC says.
The agency's staff in September 2013 warned Time Warner Cable that it failed to file the final report on one outage, though it had filed a timely initial notification.
Investigating further, the FCC found that the company "had failed to file a substantial number of Initial Reports and/or Final Reports with respect to a series of reportable wireline and VoIP network outages for which TWC had timely filed the required Notifications," the regulators said in this week's order.
Time Warner Cable submitted all missing reports by November 8, 2013, the FCC said.
After Time Warner Cable admitted that it violated the requirements for network reporting, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau and the company agreed to settle with the monetary civil penalty and a three-year compliance plan to properly report all network outages in the future, the FCC said.

Health Canada pulling last of citronella-based bug sprays

Health Canada pulling last of citronella-based bug sprays

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fraudsters are targeting JPMorgan Chase & Co customers

JPMorgan Chase Tower (Dallas)
JPMorgan Chase Tower (Dallas) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fraudsters are targeting JPMorgan Chase & Co customers in an email "phishing" campaign that is unusual because it attempts to collect credentials for that bank and also infect PCs with a virus that steals passwords from other institutions.
The campaign, dubbed "Smash and Grab," was launched on Tuesday with a widely distributed email that urged recipients to click to view a secure message from JPMorgan, according to security researchers with corporate email provider Proofpoint Inc.
JPMorgan, the No. 1 U.S. bank by assets, confirmed that spammers had launched a phishing campaign targeting its customers.
"It looks like they sent it out to lots of people in hopes that some of them might be JPMorgan Chase customers,” said bank spokeswoman Trish Wexler.
She said the bank believes most of the spam was stopped by filters at large Internet providers, adding that the email looked realistic because the attackers apparently used a screen grab from an authentic email sent by the bank.
Users who click on a malicious link are asked to enter credentials for accessing accounts with JPMorgan. Even if they did not comply, the site attempts to automatically install the Dyre banking Trojan on their PCs, according to Proofpoint.
Dyre is a recently discovered piece of malware that seeks credentials from customers of Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc and the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, according to email security firm Phishme.

Proofpoint Vice President of Threat Research Mike Horn said it is unusual for spammers to infect PCs with malware while trying to persuade users to provide banking credentials because that increases the odds of detection.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Why science literacy matters: Bob McDonald

Why science literacy matters: Bob McDonald

CME Group delayed the start of trade on its electronic platform

CME Group delayed the start of trade on its electronic platform by four hours on Monday due to technical problems, the latest glitch to hit the world's largest futures market operator.
But traders in Asia said the delay would have only a limited impact, with volumes likely thin on Monday morning in the absence of major market-moving news over the weekend.
The start of trade in all contracts on the Globex Markets platform, apart from Bursa Malaysia derivatives, was halted because of an unspecified technical glitch, the top U.S. exchange operator said on its website.
Trade eventually began at 2200 EST, but a spokesman for CME in Singapore declined further comment.
Among contracts traded on CME include the benchmarks for U.S. crude and agricultural markets such as wheat, corn and soybeans. U.S. gold and silver futures are also traded on the system.
The delay marks another headache for CME, which shut electronic trade for leading agricultural contracts on April 8 in the worst-ever trading outage for those markets.
CME Executive Chairman Terrence Duffy has said that outage was triggered when sophisticated technology tripped over a trading halt in a single market.
CME, which owns the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade and the New York Mercantile Exchange, said in July that it would slash costs by reducing hiring and employee travel amid weak trading volumes that led to a 15 percent drop in second-quarter net profit.

All day and session orders, including so-called good-through-date orders with an Aug. 24 trade date would be canceled, CME said on Monday.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Windows phone and the U.S. Government

Microsoft's love-hate relationship with the U.S. government is turning a bit more amicable, at least when it comes to Windows Phone.
The U.S. governent is a big technology buyer. The 2014 federal IT budget weighs in at over $81 billion. For fiscal 2015, federal IT spending will to dip somewhat to $79 billion, according to the White House's budget (PDF).
Microsoft is hoping that Windows Phone 8.1's built-in capabilities will help the Redmond, Wash.-based software company's newest mobile operating system catch the eye of the U.S. government and its security-minded agencies, which are under pressure to adopt mobile-enabled work styles. Stymieing those efforts are concerns that smartphones are the IT equivalent of leaky faucets.
Rick Engle, Microsoft's principal Windows technology specialist, combats the notion that increased mobility means increased risk in a blog post detailing the measures his company has taken to help Windows Phone 8.1 safeguard data. Having collaborated with "Microsoft field personnel and customers in many verticals," the company baked enterprise-grade security into the OS, he said.
"The result is a security-enhanced OS and an architecture designed to help prevent malware attacks—and even prevent rooting and jail breaking," stated Engle.
Included with Windows Phone 8.1 smartphones is native virtual private networking (VPN) support. "Connections can be provisioned by an MDM [mobile device management] and provide Single-Sign-On (SSO) security-hardened access through certificate authentication, and also reconnect automatically, providing a flexible and reliable connection," informed Engle.
Other features include a built-in MDM client that hooks into an organization's MDM platform of choice. "Device enrollment has been dramatically simplified," reported Engle, "lowering support costs and helping ease enrollment in both a Bring Your Own Device and a Corporate Liable scenario."
Granular MDM policies enable "full control of onboard hardware capabilities such as camera, Bluetooth, GPS, and NFC," he added. The Assigned Access option provides a "tightly controlled, curated experience" while app whitelisting and blacklisting controls keep unapproved apps at bay. S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) support simplifies email encryption.
Windows Phone 8.1 is also a solution for weak or pilfered passwords. "One of the biggest breakthroughs is support for two-factor authentication," said Engle. "Certified devices include a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), an encrypted hardware container [that] can be used to store and help protect certificates, including PIN-protected certificates stored within a Virtual Smartcard container." - See more at: http://www.eweek.com/mobile/microsoft-hardens-windows-phone-for-government-duty.html#sthash.ba3OuKFn.dpuf

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

world's first OLED TV with 4K resolution

LG 77-Inch Curved OLED 4K TV
Ahead of next week's IFA trade show in Berlin, LG today announced pre-sales of what it calls the world's first OLED TV with 4K resolution.
Available in 65- and 77-inch screen sizes, the TV sets promise the very best in display technology, boasting a 3,840-by-2,160 curved screen projecting Ultra HD quality.
"LG 4K OLED TV is the pinnacle of technological achievement and a new paradigm that will change the dynamics of the next generation TV market," LG CEO Hyun-hwoi Ha said in a statement. "As the next evolutionary step in display technology, OLED will play a major role in reshaping our industry."
Aside from its brighter colors, deeper blacks, and more natural hues, the TVs also come with LG's multi-channel Ultra Surround sound system for a heightened sense of immersion.
The sets will run WebOS, the platform LG acquired from HP last year. It comes with a leaf-shaped stand, but can be wall-mounted.
"OLED TVs are expected to overtake LCD in sales within a few years and no company is better prepared for this than LG," Ha boasted, adding that OLED's benefits "are obvious."
With no deterioration in picture quality or issues like image blurring, distortion, or color leakage, curved OLED TVs are superior to their LCD counterparts, the company president said.
LG initially unveiled its 77-inch 4K OLED TV during last year's IFA (pictured), alongside a 55-inch curved OLED TV, and showed it off again at CES.
While there is no official word on how much the sets will cost, the Associated Press reported that the smaller TV will set you back 12 million won ($11,765).
But Ha promised that the 4K OLED TV represents "superb value" in terms of color reproduction, contrast ratio, detail, and viewing angles. "I feel confident when I say that 4K OLED is a bona fide game changer," Ha said.
LG is taking pre-orders this week for the 65- and 77-inch 4K OLED TVs, but only in Korea. Availability in North America and Europe will follow shortly.

Monday, August 25, 2014

FCC to accept comments through to Sept. 15

Logo of the United States Federal Communicatio...
Logo of the United States Federal Communications Commission, used on their website and some publications since the early 2000s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Friday said it would accept public comments on its proposed new "net neutrality" rules through Sept. 15, giving Americans extra time to weigh in on how they think Internet traffic should be regulated.
The FCC has received more than 1 million comments already on new rules for how Internet services providers should be allowed to manage web traffic on their networks.
The FCC had set a deadline of July 15 for the initial comments and then September 10 for replies to those initial comments. However, the surge in submissions overwhelmed the FCC's website and the agency had delayed the first deadline by three business days.

"To ensure that members of the public have as much time as was initially anticipated to reply to initial comments in these proceedings, the Bureau today is extending the reply comment deadline by three business days," the FCC said on Friday, delaying the final deadline for comments to September 15.

Glen Villa: Site and Insight: North Hatley in Bloom

Glen Villa: Site and Insight: North Hatley in Bloom: This week I was a judge in the North Hatley in Bloom contest. Organized by the town council, the contest is designed to encourage residents ...

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management LP filed its second lawsuit

Freddie Mac
Freddie Mac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management LP filed its second lawsuit in two days against the U.S. government over bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, court documents show.
In Friday's complaint with the U.S. District Court, Pershing Square alleged that the Department of the Treasury illegally seized tens of billions of dollars in Fannie and Freddie profits.
Pershing Square, the largest shareholder of both the mortgage companies, said in the complaint that it was told the Fannie and Freddie stockholders no longer have fundamental shareholders rights.
Fannie's and Freddie's conservator, Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), denied "written demands by Pershing Square to the companies' boards of directors for a books and records inspection", according to the complaint.
In the second lawsuit, Pershing suggests the mortgage companies' dividends being paid to the Treasury should be shared among other common shareholders.
Three retirees who own Fannie Mae stock have joined as plaintiffs of the lawsuit.
In a complaint filed on Thursday with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., Pershing accused the government of violating the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by taking private property for public use without just compensation.
Though the lawsuits raise different legal theories and are in different courts, they are both designed to enable Ackman to recoup sums for the depressed value of his Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shares.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

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From "U.S. Migration to EMV Gathers Momentum" Finextra (08/13/14)
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Friday, August 22, 2014

internet acting slower these days

When the number of destinations on the internet surpasses 512,000, users will experience overall internet slowness if they rely on an internet service provider that uses older, affected routers. Shutterstock
Internet outages and slowdowns spiked earlier this week, and more are likely on the way in coming weeks, as the internet grows too big for some network hardware to handle.
According to Vancouver-based internet monitoring firm BGPMon, this past Tuesday, outages were "well above the daily average" and the number of affected systems and addresses was "the highest we've seen in the last 12 months."
The issue arose when the number of routes on the internet temporarily jumped beyond 512,000 or 512K – the maximum that some older networking gear can handle by default.
The cause was a bug at U.S. internet service provider Verizon that dumped 15,000 new internet destinations onto the network for about 10 minutes, said Andree Toonk, founder and lead developer for BGPMon.
"We basically got a small taste of what is possibly about to happen," added Toonk, whose company monitors internet routing for outages and security incidents. "Hopefully this is a wakeup call."
Network analysts such as Toonk estimate the number of routes in the internet — currently hovering around 500,000 — will permanently surpass 512,000 within a month.
"The real test… will start later this week, and will be felt nearly everywhere by the end of next week," estimated Jim Cowie, chief technology officer and co-founder of network performance management firm Renesys, in a blog post Tuesday.
The hardware causing the problem is older routers made by San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco and still used by many smaller networks and regional internet providers, Toonk said.
Nuisance, not threat
According to Cowie, most larger internet service providers "and certainly all of the routers that operate the core infrastructure of the internet" use newer hardware that is unaffected.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Battling the board of directors

Men's Wearhouse Inc (MW.N) and Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N), a series of boardroom battles across North America underscore how difficult it can be for companies to part ways with their founders.
In each of these cases, the boards decided it was time for the founders to step down from their roles either as chief executive or chairman, but faced stiff resistance from the founders, some of whom used their substantial equity stakes to fight back.
Corporate governance experts expect more such corporate dramas as shareholders are increasingly holding boards accountable for succession planning, investment returns and overall fiduciary duties. As a result, boards are asserting their authority more frequently, which can put them on collision courses with CEOs, including founders.
"Today's boards are increasingly feeling pressure to anticipate the CEO leadership needed to drive future success. This is especially true when the CEO is the founder of the company," said Jane Stevenson, head of the global CEO succession practice at Korn Ferry International.
"In these situations the board can feel significant conflict between appropriate homage to the past and the leadership needed to drive success in the future."
As many as 42 Fortune 500 companies have founders in CEO positions, according to data compiled by recruitment firm Heidrick & Struggles for Reuters. These founder-CEOs have an average tenure of 22.5 years, compared with around six years for non-founder CEOs.
"Founders are often the ones that have the 'special sauce' that makes a company's offering and culture work, so they might be given additional latitude ... as their vision drove value creation in the first place," said Heidrick & Struggles' Vice Chairman John Wood.
American Apparel, under Charney's leadership, was known for its racy advertising and "Made in the USA" sweatshop-free model. However, the company has posted losses in almost every quarter in the last four years and came under fire in 2010 for lax financial controls.
In June, the board fired Charney for allegedly misusing corporate funds and helping to spread nude photos of a former employee on the Internet, a source previously told Reuters. The photos were allegedly posted on a blog by another American Apparel employee who was impersonating the former employee.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cisco to cut another 6000 jobs

Cisco Systems Inc
 
(CSCO.O) forecast tepid current-quarter results and said it plans to cut another 6,000 jobs, as the network equipment maker works through a transition toward a new cycle of high-end switches and routers.
The latest round of layoffs is at least the third workforce reduction in about as many years for a company once synonymous with the Internet boom, but which has lately struggled to sustain growth.
The company announced in August 2013 that it would cut 4,000 jobs. And in 2011, it said it planned to reduce its workforce by more than 11,000.
Shares in the company slipped 0.95 percent to $24.96 in extended trading, from a $25.20 close on the Nasdaq.
“The market doesn’t wait for anyone. We are going to lead it, period," Chief Executive Officer John Chambers told analysts on a conference call. "The ability to do that requires some tough decisions. We will manage our costs aggressively and drive efficiencies.”
Chambers partly blamed the cuts on the uncertainty in global demand. In emerging markets, where the company faces sluggish sales and increased competition, Cisco saw continued challenges. China product orders fell 23 percent, and Brazil had 13 percent declines.
"Unfortunately, as we look out, we don’t see emerging markets growth returning for several quarters and believe it could get worse," said Chambers.
Total product orders rose 1 percent, with 2 percent growth in both the Americas and Europe, the Middle East and Africa, offset by a 7 percent decline in Asia and Pacific.
"The mixed quarter has become the norm for Cisco," said Zeus Kerravalla at ZK research. "As the market transitions, your staff has to transition. I see a lot of what they are doing as a reallocation and I think it is the right thing for the company."
Cisco's high-end routers and switches declined 7 percent and 4 percent year-over-year, respectively, as customers were slow to order a new series of products. Its data center revenues rose 30 percent, and security sector revenues rose 29 percent.
Security revenue was boosted by the acquisition of SourceFire, a cyber security firm Cisco acquired in October 2013.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Lawsuit against Bell over expiry of prepaid plans gets green light

Lawsuit against Bell over expiry of prepaid plans gets green light

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Best Friends launched

Seriously, the new kid on the mobile gaming block, has wasted no time making a play for the in-crowd. The startup today launched its Best Fiends website, providing a first look at an animated game heading to your smartphone or tablet in October.
"Discover the world of Minutia and its population of cute, courageous and fiendish inhabitants," the site said. "Collect them all and level them up to discover their special powers."
The first in a series, Best Fiends tells the story of these unlikely heroes' epic journey, and their battle against the greedy Slugs of Mount Boom.
Fiends—"mythical, mischievous little creatures inhabiting the world of Minutia"—grow up with each subsequent level, transforming, say, from a one-eyed critter to a 12-eyed beast.
Players will encounter individuals from the lands of Green Glades, Strawberry Patch, Mellow Flowers, Glowshroom Garden, and Dewdrop District, each with their own unique characteristics.
Take Gene the showbiz centipede, for example, or the glamorous Jojo the butterfly; even nervous housefly Brittle, who is afraid of being splattered at any moment.
And they're all under attack by the Slugs: Once tucked away in the caverns of Mount Boom, the selfish creatures have been infused with super-slug powers by a fallen meteor.

Best Fiends

"This is a game and a world that I have wanted to build for a long time," Seriously Chief Creative Officer Petri Järvilehto said in a statement. "We are thrilled to be revealing a first look at Best Fiends today and can't wait to share more ahead of our worldwide release in October."
A product of Seriously game studio, Best Fiends was developed under the guidance of co-founders Andrew Stalbow and Järvilehto, former executives from Angry Birds maker Rovio.
The free-to-play mobile puzzler is set for an October launch on iOS and Android.

Friday, August 15, 2014

China’s wealthy elite is fleeing the country for a better quality of life

Xi Jinping 习近平
Xi Jinping 习近平 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
China’s wealthy elite is fleeing the country for a better quality of life—better education, better air, and greater personal security. China’s Ministry of Public Security has just added a further potential reason: fleeing the police.
“The U.S. has become the top destination for Chinese [economic] fugitives,” Liao Jinrong, a ministry official told state-run China Daily on Monday. According to the English-language newspaper, “More than 150 economic fugitives from China, most of whom are corrupt officials or face allegations of corruption, remain at large in the United States.”
While this is a rather incredible admission, the intent of the article—no doubt placed by China’s propaganda authorities—seems to be to make the case for an extradition treaty between the U.S. and China. “We face practical difficulties in getting fugitives who fled to the US back to face trial due to the lack of an extradition treaty and the complex and lengthy legal procedures,” Liao told the paper.
According to the Hurun Research Institute, which specializes in reports on wealth and luxury in China, fully 64 percent of China’s high-net worth individuals—those with assets exceeding 10 million yuan ($1.6 million)—are contemplating emigration or are already in the process of emigrating. Their top desired destinations: the U.S., Europe, Canada, and Australia.
Hurun also polled wealthy Chinese emigrants about their reasons for leaving the mainland. The most frequent responses were education (21 percent), pollution (20 percent), food safety (19 percent), social welfare (15 percent), health care (11 percent), wealth security (8 percent), and childbirth/obtaining foreign citizenship for their children (4 percent). To be sure, if “fleeing President Xi Jinping’s corruption crackdown” had been offered as a multiple-choice answer, it’s unlikely that any “economic fugitives” would have answered forthrightly.
The Hurun emigration report drew upon survey responses from 141 Chinese high-net-worth individuals with an average age of 41. Forty-three percent said real estate was their preferred overseas investment vehicle. Nearly a quarter were interested in investing in real estate outside the specific country to which they intended to emigrate.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Microsoft opened Gamescom convention with a smorgasbord of gaming news, including new Xbox One console bundles and the launch of a white Xbox console and controller.
Led by the news that Rise of the Tomb Raider will launch exclusively on Xbox during the 2015 holiday season, the briefing also featured announcements about blockbusters Assassin's Creed Unity, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and FIFA 15, coming this winter.
Redmond's rundown included the unveiling of three new console bundles, most notably the Xbox One Special Edition Sunset Overdrive Bundle, complete with white console and wireless controller (pictured). It was previously available only to Microsoft employees, but news of its arrival for the general public leaked earlier this month. Microsoft today confirmed that it will indeed arrive on Oct. 28 with a digital copy of Sunset Overdrive and special Day One edition in-game items for $399.
Sure to be a popular seller, the Xbox One Limited Edition Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Bundle is slated for Nov. 3. For $499, gamers get a 1TB hard drive, custom console and controller, and limited-edition exoskeleton, as well as a digital copy of the Day Zero Edition title.
Microsoft also announced the European-exclusive FIFA 15 bundle—with an Xbox One console and controller, 14-day live trial, HDMI cable, chat headset, digital token for FIFA 15, and an Ultimate Team Legends Gold Pack—coming Sept. 25 for £349.99/€399.99. An Xbox 360 version of the soccer game will also reach Europe at the same time.
All three bundles are now open for pre-sales ahead of their launch dates.
"We're excited to offer fans more choice and value than ever before," Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, said in a statement. "These bundles offer a great opportunity to enjoy Xbox One alongside an incredible line-up of first and third party games, making Xbox the best place to play this holiday and beyond."
Redmond today also announced a handful of updates coming to the Xbox One, including new social features and more ways to access TV and entertainment throughout your home.
And, in response to customer feedback, the company is adding the ability to pre-order and pre-download games on Xbox One. Fans will, for example, be able to purchase and download Forza Horizon 2 and FIFA 15 ahead of their official release.
The Gamescom presentation covered much of the 2014 holiday season, which Microsoft Corporate Vice President Phil Harrison believes will help kick off 2015's lineup of new titles.

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