Posts

Showing posts from March, 2014

Long term unemployed

Image
The millions of Americans suffering through long stretches of unemployment could be left behind as the economy strengthens, a study by an influential former White House economist found.
Alan Krueger, a respected labor market economist who led President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, said those unemployed long term tended to put less effort into their job hunts than others and were often viewed by employers as undesirable.
The sobering analysis published on Thursday by the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington, projected that people out of work for more than six months will increasingly give up their job search in the coming years.
Their plight could be one of the deepest scars left by the 2007-09 U.S. recession.
While the unemployment rate has fallen quickly over the past year, most of the workers getting jobs have experienced only brief stretches of unemployment.
It has yet to be seen whether the long-term unemployed will eventually get jobs as the econo…

consumer protections for air traveller

Image
English: S7 Airlines Boeing 767-300. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Last fall, Industry Minister James Moore said the federal government was looking to strengthen consumer protections for air travellers. But Ottawa has still not introduced any new measures, leaving passengers to navigate complaints individually.
As a result, Canadians are still waiting for a comprehensive air passenger bill of rights like the European Union has, which would mean higher standards for all airlines and better enforcement.
But passengers do have some rights when air travel goes wrong. Here's what you need to know before you book your next flight.
1. Problem with your luggage? You can be compensated
Don't lose your mind over lost luggage. If your bag gets lost, damaged or delayed, airlines are required to compensate you for reasonable costs until they can get your bag to you.
So, if you're on your way to a business meeting, and the airline loses your suit, you should be able to buy a new one an…

Payment processing services for high risk merchants

Image
eComTechnology Payments combines industry veterans to provide clients with a full menu of payment processing services, ranging from credit card and check, to mobile to market readiness campaigns and more.
With over 10 years in the electronic payments and banking, eComTechnology and their associates, offer innovative and creative solutions to accelerate client success. Customized to fit companies of all sizes and all budgets, eComTechnology combines out-of-the box ideas with years of practical business experience.
Says Richardson, CEO: “eComTechnology and I created our firm with the philosophy of working with our clients to co-create cross-functional business solutions that would be customized to fit the individual needs of each organization. The payments industry is such a highly-technical one, with unique needs that other types of businesses don’t have. We have found that the traditional consulting model simply doesn’t apply to companies in our space.”
Jonathan, Managing Director, ad…

developer community have lost confidence in CEO Tim Cook

Image
English: The logo for Apple Computer, now Apple Inc.. The design of the logo started in 1977 designed by Rob Janoff with the rainbow color theme used until 1999 when Apple stopped using the rainbow color theme and used a few different color themes for the same design. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Apple's shareholders, employees and developer community have lost confidence in CEO Tim Cook, analyst Trip Chowdhry, with investment firm Global Equities Research, told investors in a March 8 report.

Better suited for the job, the firm said, may be a team of Jon Rubenstein—the so-called "father of the iPod," who left Apple for Palm, where as CEO he led the development of webOS and the Palm Pre series of smartphones—and former Apple CFO Fred Anderson, who left in 2004 and was succeeded by Peter Oppenheimer.

Oppenheimer last week announced plans to retire in September and will be replaced by Luca Maestri, Apple's vice president of Finance. Rubenstein left Hewlett-Packard (which p…

bill introduced to ban live performances and captive breeding

Image
Type C killer whales in the Ross Sea. The eye patch slants forward. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) A California lawmaker introduced a bill on Friday to ban live performances and captive breeding of killer whales in the state, a measure that would force the SeaWorld San Diego marine theme park to end is popular "Shamu" shows.
The measure was introduced by state Assemblyman Richard Bloom, who told a news conference his interest in the issue was sparked by last year's documentary "Blackfish," dealing with the treatment of killer whales at SeaWorld parks.
The film, which SeaWorld has criticized as a misleading, inaccurate piece of animal rights propaganda, explores circumstances leading to the 2010 death of a top SeaWorld trainer, Dawn Brancheau, who was pulled underwater and drowned by an orca she had worked and performed with in Florida.
Trainers have not been allowed back into the water with killer whales during performances at SeaWorld parks since Brancheau's de…

Federal Communications Commission announces new task force

Image
Logo of the United States Federal Communications Commission, used on their website and some publications since the early 2000s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has announced the formation of a new commission task force, Connect2HealthFCC, that will bring together the expertise of the FCC on the intersection of broadband, advanced technology and health.

Specifically, the task force will consider ways to accelerate the adoption of health care technologies by leveraging broadband and other next-generation communications services.

Wheeler announced Michele Ellison as chair of the task force, and his intent is to name her deputy general counsel.

To advance this broad initiative, Ellison will work hand in hand with the leadership of the commission, in particular with the FCC's director of Health Care Initiatives and the chiefs of the Wireline and Wireless bureaus and Office of Engineering and Technology.

"The Commission's…

McDonald's Corp reported a bigger-than-expected drop

Image
English: UK flagship McDonald's restaurant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) on Monday reported a bigger-than-expected drop in comparable global sales for February, hurt again by slow business in the United States.
The world's biggest restaurant chain by revenue said worldwide sales at restaurants open at least 13 months fell 0.3 percent last month. That was below analysts' average estimate for a fall of 0.1 percent, according to Consensus Metrix.
U.S. same-restaurant sales fell 1.4 percent, worse than the 0.6 percent decline that analysts had forecast.
McDonald's Chief Financial Officer Pete Bensen said in a press release that the unchanged global comparable sales so far this year "will pressure margins" in the first quarter.
McDonald's has reported nearly two years of turbulent sales at established U.S. restaurants amid sluggish economic growth, increased competition and internal missteps that have complicated its menus and slowed se…

A Delaware judge said Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) should be held liable

Image
English: The Montreal head office of the Royal Bank of Canada is the Place Ville-Marie's largest tenant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)A Delaware judge said Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) should be held liable to former shareholders of Rural/Metro Corp because it failed to disclose conflicts of interest that tainted the $438 million buyout of the ambulance operator.
Bankers at RBC Capital Markets were so eager to collect higher fees that they convinced Rural/Metro directors to sell the company in June 2011 to private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC at an unreasonably low $17.25 per share, wrote Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster of the Delaware Chancery Court.
Former Rural/Metro Corp shareholders are seeking about $172 million from Toronto-based RBC, representing the difference between the buyout price and what they believe the company was worth, according to published reports.
In a 91-page decision dated March 7, Laster, who presided over a four-day civil trial in the case last May, said RB…

Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort data collection

Image
English: Main Street at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA. The photo is taken presumably from the roof of the Walt Disney World Railroad, and the US Flag is in the foreground. In the background is the regal Cinderella Castle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Jason McInerney and his wife, Melissa, recently tapped their lunch orders onto a touchscreen at the entrance to the Be Our Guest restaurant at Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort and were told to take any open seat. Moments later a food server appeared at their table with their croque-monsieur and carved turkey sandwiches. Asks McInerney, a once-a-year visitor to Disney theme parks: “How did they know where we were sitting?”
The answer was on the electronic bands the couple wore on their wrists. That’s the magic of the MyMagic+, Walt Disney’s (DIS) $1 billion experiment in crowd control, data collection, and wearable technology that could change the way people play—and spend—at the Most Magical Pl…

Air Canada is considering new fees and fare increases

Image
Air Canada Boeing 747-133 C-FTOC at Zurich International Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Air Canada is considering new fees and fare increases to make up for a weaker Canadian dollar, Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu has told Bloomberg news service.
“There are going to be some revenue strategies and some cost strategies,” Rovinescu said, without giving specifics of what increases the airline might be planning.
The news comes as Air Canada and WestJet both reported its flights were not as full in February 2014 compared to a year ago.
Air Canada has increased its capacity, as measured by available seat miles, by 4.9 per cent compared with February 2012, but passenger traffic increased 3.8 per cent. That gave it a load factor of 79 per cent, down from 79.8 per cent a year ago.
WestJet's load factor fell to 84.6 per cent from 86.1 per cent in February 2013. WestJet  has increased capacity by 9.2 per cent, while traffic increased by 7.3 per cent.
The numbers are considered a positi…
Image
English: Deutsche Bank Twin Towers in Frankfurt, Germany Deutsch: Deutsche-Bank-Hochhäuser in Frankfurt am Main (Photo credit: Wikipedia) If you belong to an organization accused of gold market manipulation, it's probably not advantageous if your cohort goes by the nickname "the gold fix."
But that is the somewhat unfortunate moniker for the London Gold Market Fixing Ltd., a body of five banks -- Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS), Barclays (BCS), Deutsche Bank (DB), HSBC (HSBC), and Société Générale -- that meets twice daily to set the spot price for the world's most famous precious metal.
MORE: 4 reasons the gold market looks super shady right now
The group has come under scrutiny in recent months, with the latest blow being a federal lawsuit filed this week in New York, in which investor Kevin Maher is accusing the banks of manipulating the price of gold, causing him to lose money on his gold futures investments. The suit relies on the as-yet-unpublished work of Rosa Abrant…

Visa and MasterCard team up to improve security

Image
MasterCard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Visa Inc and MasterCard Inc, the world's two largest payment networks, have formed a new cross-industry group to improve payment system security following a number of high-profile data breaches.
The new group, which will include banks, credit unions, retailers and industry trade groups, will initially focus on the adoption of the safer 'EMV' chip technology in the United States, MasterCard and Visa said on Friday.
EMV chip technology, already used in Europe and Asia, stores information on computer chips rather than on traditional magnetic strips. EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, the companies that launched the technology.
The move follows several data breaches at U.S. retailers, including one at Target Corp late last year involving the theft of about 40 million credit and debit card records.
"We remain insistent that U.S. retailers' customers be given the same protections as consumers in more than 80 countries who hav…

British telecoms group Vodafone (VOD.L) has reached a preliminary deal

Image
Vodafone Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia) British telecoms group Vodafone (VOD.L) has reached a preliminary deal to buy Spanish cable group Ono after raising its initial bid for the company, two people with knowledge of the discussions said on Friday.
The private equity-backed Ono, which sells fixed and mobile phone, TV and internet services, rebuffed an earlier bid from Vodafone in February and decided to go ahead with a planned initial public offering that would value the company at 7 billion euros ($9.6 billion), including debt.
Sources said Vodafone's bid would have to be substantially higher than that value to persuade Ono and its private equity shareholders to drop the listing.
"A meeting took place yesterday between the shareholders and (Vodafone Chief Executive) Vittorio Colao. The due diligence will start this weekend in order to make the offer binding," said one of the sources.
A second source said Ono's private equity shareholders told Vodafone at the meetin…

Roku Streaming Stick HDMI version

Image
Roku (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Image via CrunchBaseStreaming media platform Roku announced the Roku Streaming Stick HDMI version, a tiny Roku player that gives consumers a way to access a wide selection of streaming entertainment on TV.

Once plugged in, the Streaming Stick lets consumers start streaming from more than 1,200 channels (more than 750 channels in Canada, the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland) of movies, TV episodes, music, news, sports, kids' shows and free programming, and all in up to 1080p HD video.

Recently launched channels include Conde´ Nast Entertainment, Showtime Anytime, Watch ESPN, Watch Disney Channel and YouTube. The new stick has a suggested retail price of $49.99 in the United States and will ship to consumers and arrive in retail stores in April.

"The new Roku Streaming Stick gives consumers more choice for streaming entertainment to the TV than any other device," Jim Funk, senior vice president of product management at Roku, said in a statemen…

Wireless carriers hike prices across Canada

Tesla expanding in Europe

Image
English: Tesla Model S sedan (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Tesla has already made it possible for owners of its Model Selectric car to drive coast-to-coast in the United States via its free, fast Supercharger network without adding a drop of gasoline to the car. Now the company is adding "30 new service centers and stores across the continent," as well as Supercharger stations by the end of 2014.
Today at the Geneva Motor ShowTesla said, by the end of the year, owners of the Model S will be able to go "almost anywhere" in Europe using only Superchargers
With the largest battery option drivers can travel roughly 300 miles driving 55 miles per hour. So its not surprising that with fewer than 50 charging stations in Europe the company could cover much of the continent. Will drivers be able to take the most convenient route from point A to point B? Not always. But more options will likely come in time. 
In addition to its accolades in the United States, the Model S is al…

UN powers failing in Syria

Image
English: International Criminal Court (ICC) logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia) All sides in Syria's civil war are using shelling and siege tactics to punish civilians and big powers bear responsibility for allowing such war crimes to persist, U.N. human rights investigators said on Wednesday.
In their latest report documenting atrocities in Syria, they called again on the U.N. Security Council to refer grave violations of the rules of war to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for prosecution.
"The Security Council bears responsibility for allowing the warring parties to violate these rules with impunity," the report by the U.N. commission of inquiry on Syria said.
"Such inaction has provided the space for the proliferation of actors in the Syrian Arab Republic, each pursuing its own agenda and contributing to the radicalization and escalation of violence."
Divided world powers have supported both sides in Syria's three-year-old conflict and a diplomatic dea…