Friday, December 30, 2016

Time To Address the Coaching Issue

Jonathan McKee won Olympic medals at the 1984 and 2000 Games, and after witnessing the 2016 Olympics, he reports in Sailing World magazine that it’s time to address the coaching issue….
I had the honor of coaching our American Nacra 17 team of Bora Gulari and Louisa Chafee at the Rio Olympics. It was a great experience on many levels, but I came away feeling that the coaching aspect of the Olympics is too dominant. Today, at a typical Olympic-class event, you’ll find that each sailor competing has his or her own coach boat, typically a 16-foot RIB with a 60 hp engine.
I’m not against coaching per se, especially if it helps the sailors improve, but I’m not convinced that hands-on coaching at major events such as the Olympics is necessary or warranted. It’s gotten to the point where having so many support boats on the water detracts from the sailors’ experience.
Once upon a time, sailors had to get to and from the racecourse themselves and be self-sufficient once on the water. They had to carry their own food and water, have reasonable spares and clothing, and figure out their own tactics and strategy for each race. In other words, sailing should require and reward self-sufficiency, and today some of that is lost.
What are the alternatives to a coach boat for every sailor? I have a few ideas. Water, food and extra gear, for example, could be off-loaded to a neutral boat stationed on the racecourse. Race-committee boats could provide tows to the course if needed. Having fewer motorboats on the course would reduce wakes, distractions, and pollution.
Why not put all the coaches on one boat, as was done in some past Olympics? It works in ­college racing. A coach’s barge could be comfortable and well equipped but slightly removed from the racing area. Small communication devices, such as phones or two-way radios, could easily allow the sailors and coaches to communicate from the barge between races — or even from shore.
While it’s true that coach boats can serve as safety and support boats during training and regattas, this shouldn’t be the primary reason for their presence. The event organizers should have direct oversight of the safety fleet so they can manage it effectively.
I would support banning coach boats for all but training regattas. Certainly there is a place for coaching during training or practice regattas, to speed up learning, but when it comes to big events, let’s give the water back to the athletes and send a message that sailing is an athlete-driven sport, not a coach-driven sport.
Note: To read other reports by Jonathan McKee in Sailing World…click here.
Editor’s note: Malcolm Page, a double Olympic medalist for Australia, and the newly appointed Chief of Olympic Sailing for USA, shared a similar viewpoint in this report. It is notable to have people like McKee and Page see the escalation of this issue needing to be addressed, particularly since the coaching industry will continue to grow and may push boundaries that can impact the cost and approach to compete.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Russia Cashes in on Oil Upswing

In a surprise development, Russia’s President Putin announced on state television that Swiss commodity trader Glencore Plc and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund will be purchasing a 19.5% stake in Russia’s state oil company, Rosneft PJSC (MCX:ROSN), in a deal worth $11 billion. The Russian government, which owns approximately 70% of Rosneft, has been looking to reduce its stake in the company for most of the year to raise funds for its budget. (For More See: Russia Looking to Sell Stake in Rosneft)
Russia delayed the privatization of Rosneft in August 2016 because of the decline in oil prices during the summer. In October, however, Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukaev said the privatization of a stake in oil major Rosneft would take place between November and December 2016. Analysts at the time estimated a 19.5% stake could fetch as much as $11.7 billion at current market valuations.

Russia’s Budget Growing

Russia’s finances are improving with the recent uptick in oil prices following OPEC’s decision to cut back oil production. According to VTB Capital, Russia’s budget is based on the assumption of oil at $40 per barrel, so prices at $55 per barrel could add about $15 billion to the state’s finances. Another Russian bank, Uralsib, said if oil prices are 15-25% higher than budgeted in 2017, the budget deficit will be reduced to 1.8% of GDP, compared to nearly 4% in 2016, as reported by Vedomosti.

Sanctions, What Sanctions?

The Rosneft sale comes at a time when both the U.S. and EU are maintaining economic and trade sanctions against some Russian companies and banks that have been in place since September 2014 in retaliation for Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine. Some economic sanctions are specifically intended to prevent Russia’s oil companies from raising financing needed to develop the country’s oil and gas sector. Technically there are no sanctions against the Russian government, but today’s deal leaves room for ambiguity depending on how the proceeds are used. Rosneft’s CEO Igor Sechin confirmed that “one of the largest European banks” will provide financing without specifying which one, according to Bloomberg. (See also: How Effective Are Russian Sanctions?)

The Bottom Line

Russia’s economy seems to be recovering with improving oil prices. The government did a good job of shoring up the country’s finances in the lean times and the central bank has effectively managed both interest rates and the country’s currency. The stake sale in one of the country’s flagship oil producer is also good public relations and shows that foreigners are still interested in investing in the country despite the challenges international sanctions present.
 
Disclaimer: Gary Ashton is an oil and gas financial consultant who writes for Investopedia. The observations he makes are his own and are not intended as investment advice.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

26 Goldman Sachs Alumni

"The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs," Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi wrote in July 2009, "is that it's everywhere." Whether that makes the bank a "vampire squid," in Taibbi's now-famous phrasing, is debatable, but Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s (GS) ubiquity is hard to deny.
The selection of Steve Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary, which he confirmed on November 30, makes the second-generation Goldman partner (his father Robert Mnuchin was also a partner) the second of the firm's alums to secure a position in Donald Trump's incoming administration: the President-elect's campaign strategist, Breitbart executive chair and one-time Goldman investment banker Steve Bannon will serve as chief strategist and senior counselor in the incoming administration (counselor to the president was a cabinet-level position until 1993). (See also, Goldman Sachs Nears All-Time High on Treasury News.)
Mnuchin may not be the last Goldman alum to join the Trump team, either. Politico reported Wednesday afternoon that Goldman's current president, Gary Cohn, may head the Office of Management and Budget.
To get a sense of just how deep Goldman's alumni network runs in global politics and policymaking – to say nothing of business – it's easiest to start in Washington, today, then work back – and out.

At Home

The Treasury
Mnuchin will be the third Treasury Secretary to emerge from Goldman in as many decades (Henry Fowler, who ran the department from 1965 to 1968, doesn't count, because he joined Goldman after leaving his government role). Hank Paulson, who headed the department from 2006 to 2009, became a partner at Goldman in 1982. Robert Rubin, Treasury Secretary from 1995 to 1999, was the bank's co-chairman from 1990 to 1992. He helped to arrange the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which had separated commercial and investment banking.
Between serving as Treasury Secretary (a position he left in 2001) and director of the National Economic Council (beginning in 2009), Larry Summers increased his net worth by somewhere between $7 million and $31 million. He owes $2.7 million of that good fortune to speaking fees earned from, among other institutions, Goldman Sachs. (See also, Goldman Sachs to Gain in Trump Era.)
When Goldman was receiving bailout money in the aftermath of the financial crisis, Summers was not the only one in the Obama administration to have cashed checks from Goldman. Neel Kashkari, currently president of the Minneapolis Fed, left the bank with Paulson and stared at the Treasury the same day as his recent colleague; he served as assistant secretary of the Treasury for financial stability from October 2008 to May 2009, administering the $10 billion TARP paid to his former employer.
To round out the Treasury picture (very nearly, see Gary Gensler below), former Goldman vice-president and managing director Mark Patterson was the Treasury Secretary's chief of staff from 2009 to 2015.
The Fed
William Dudley, president of the New York Fed and vice-chair of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) since 2009, hails from Goldman Sachs, where he worked as chief economist for the decade to 2007. In 2017 he will be joined on the FOMC by Kashkari and Dallas Fed president Robert Kaplan, who worked as head of Asia-Pacific investment banking, head of corporate finance and global co-head of investment banking over the course of his 23-year career at Goldman. Together the three will constitute a quarter of the FOMC's twelve votes, assuming the two currently vacant seats are filled; if they remain empty, Goldman alums will account for 30% of the votes on the Fed's rate-setting committee.
Stephen Friedman, who chaired the New York Federal Reserve Board from January 2008 to May 2009, joined Goldman in 1966 and alternated between chairman and co-chairman of the board from 1990 to 1994. He divested from Goldman in 2002 in order to serve as an economic advisor in the George W. Bush administration, but rejoined the board in 2004. He kept his seat when he took on his role at the New York Fed, later explaining that his goal had been "to provide continuity during a time of financial market instability."
When Goldman converted from an investment bank to a bank holding company in 2008 – putting it under the New York Fed's regulatory purview – Friedman was required to sell his shares in order to avoid a conflict of interest. Instead he applied for a waiver from the Fed and, while he was waiting on a decision, bought 37,000 (extremely cheap, given the circumstances) shares in Goldman. The Fed granted the waiver, and he bought an additional 15,300 shares.
Friedman left the New York Fed in May 2009, citing the "distraction" of a "mis-characterized" conflict of interest. He was already several million dollars richer due to his well-timed investment in Goldman Sachs stock. Before departing, he oversaw the hiring of a new president: his old colleague William Dudley.
Friedman's son David Benioff, apparently no stranger to intrigue, is a co-creator of the HBO series "Game of Thrones." Friedman made a brief appearance on the show, the New York Times reported in 2014 – as a peasant. (See also, The 2016 Goldman Sachs Back-to-School Reading List.)
Congress
Jim Himes, a Democrat representing Connecticut's 4th district, is the only currently-serving member of Congress to have worked for Goldman Sachs. He joined in 1995 and rose to the rank of vice-president during his 12-year stint at the bank. He was elected to the House in 2008.
Jon Corzine headed Goldman Sachs as chairman and CEO from 1994 to 1999, when he was pushed out by future Treasury secretary Hank Paulson. He consoled himself by winning a Senate seat representing New Jersey, which he held from 2001 until becoming state governor in 2006. After losing his bid for a second gubernatorial term, to Chris Christie in 2009, Corzine became chairman of MF Global Inc., which filed for Chapter 11 in October 2011 after losing $1.6 billion in clients' money (Bradley Abelow, a former Goldman executive who worked as Corzine's chief of staff from 2007 to 2008, was the firm's COO). The New York Fed, headed by Corzine's old colleague William Dudley, cut ties with the firm; the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, headed by another old colleague, Gary Gensler (see below), charged Corzine with unlawful use of customer funds in 2013.
Rahm Emanuel, who has held a litany of positions from congressman representing Illinois' 5th district to White House chief of staff to mayor of Chicago, collected checks from Goldman while he was running Bill Clinton's campaign finance operation, according to the right-wing Washington Examiner.
Miscellaneous Washington
Joshua Bolten left his position as executive director for legal and government affairs at Goldman Sachs' London office in 1999 to work as the Bush campaign's policy director. He worked as the White House's deputy chief of staff from 2001 to 2003, then headed the Office of Management and Budget (where Cohn may soon take over) from 2003 to 2006, when he took over as chief of staff for the duration of Bush's second term.
Gary Gensler was a star banker at Goldman, becoming one of the youngest partners in the bank's history at age 30. He worked in mergers and acquisitions, then currency trading. When he left the firm to become assistant secretary of the Treasury for financial markets, he was co-head of finance. He took on his Treasury role in 1997, on the cusp of the Asian financial crisis, and became under secretary of the Treasury for domestic finance in 1999. At the time he was a fierce proponent of deregulation.
When Clinton left office he helped Maryland Senator Paul Sarbanes draft the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act. He took over the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in 2009. Despite attracting initial suspicion from many on the left – including Senator Bernie Sanders – for his Wall Street background and one-time enthusiasm for deregulation, he was by all accounts a doggedly determined regulator. He pursued a crackdown on opaque markets for swaps and other derivatives. He pursued aggressive fines for LIBOR rigging. He obsessed over the text of Dodd-Frank, passed in 2010. He charged his old co-worker Jon Corzine with misusing customer funds in June 2013; a few months later he stepped down, his term having officially expired in 2012.
Rueben Jeffery III, a former Goldman partner, served as under secretary of state for economic, business and agricultural affairs from 2007 to 2009. Evan McMullin briefly worked for Goldman Sachs' investment banking division before working as a senior adviser on national security issues for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, a position he held from 2013 to August 2016, when he announced his independent candidacy for president.

Abroad

Central Banks
ECB head Mario Draghi worked for Goldman Sachs International as vice-chairman and managing director from 2002 to 2005. During his tenure there, the bank negotiated a deal with Greece's finance ministry involving a derivative transaction known as a cross-currency swap, which transferred €1 billion to the government to improve the appearance of its balance sheet. Petros Christodoulou, a former Goldman employee at the National Bank of Greece, served as an intermediary between Goldman and the Greek central bank to help negotiate the deal.
In the words of Risk, which first reported the story in 2003, the swap was "a completely legitimate transaction under Eurostat rules," but was also "bound to create discomfort among those who like accounts to reflect economic reality." Greek debt has since become a recurring headache that has threatened to drag the country out of the eurozone and perhaps end the single currency.
Draghi claimed to know nothing about the deal, which he said predated his time at Goldman. He served as governor of the Bank of Italy from 2005 to 2011. During his last two years in that role, he also chaired the Financial Stability Board. In 2011 he began his current job as president of the European Central Bank.
Draghi's successor as the chair of the Financial Stability Board was Mark Carney, at that time governor of the Bank of Canada, who had done a 13-year stint at Goldman. Carney left Canada in 2013 to head the Bank of England, where he is currently governor. Michael Cohrs, who started his career at Goldman Sachs in 1981, joined Carney on the Bank of England's board (or "court") of directors from 2011 to 2015; Ben Broadbent, who was Goldman's senior European economist from 2000 to 2011, continues to serve on the central bank's board.
Governments
Malcolm Turnbull, a former partner of Goldman Sachs, became the prime minister of Australia in September 2015. (See also, The Evolution of Goldman Sachs.)
According to the Telegraph, Romano Prodi, prime minister of Italy from 1996 to 1998 and 2006 to 2008, accepted consulting fees from Goldman Sachs through a company he jointly owned with his wife from 1990 to 1993. Documents suggested that Prodi, while serving as president of the government Institute for Industrial Reconstruction (IRI), helped Goldman to broker the discounted sale of a state company to Unilever through a shell-company intermediary; he denied the claim. An Italian prosecutor said in 1996 – when Prodi was prime minister – that there was sufficient evidence to press charges, but she told the Telegraph that her superiors retaliated against her and "she was exiled to Sardinia." Prodi was also implicated in an investigation related to mid-1990s Siemens-Italtel merger; in a note to Siemens, Goldman asked to be hired to assist in the deal and named Prodi as "our senior adviser in Italy." Goldman got the job.
While at the IRI, Prodi's assistant was Massimo Tononi, a five-year Goldman veteran. When Prodi's term at the IRI was up, Tononi returned to Goldman's London office and became a partner and managing director. After 11 more years at the bank, Tononi returned to work for Prodi in 2006 as Treasury undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. He had given €100,000 to his old boss' election campaign.
Olusegun Olutoyin Aganga was managing director of Goldman Sachs International's hedge funds division in London before serving as Nigeria's minister of finance from 2010 to 2011. From 2011 to 2015 he served as minister of industry, trade and investment.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Amazon’s new grocery store

Amazon’s new grocery store is missing one of the most important things about its business

Amazon
By now, you've probably seen the new video for Amazon Go, the e-commerce store's first physical grocery store that comes with no cashiers or check out lines.
But if you've followed Amazon closely, you've probably noticed the store is missing one of the most important parts about Amazon's retail strategy: Prime benefits.
Prime, Amazon's annual membership program, gives access to free two-day shipping and a bunch of other services, such as Prime Video and Music. Amazon has increased the number of Prime perks lately in hopes of attracting more members, as it became clear that Prime members tend to spend more on Amazon than non-Prime members.
Oddly, Amazon is not giving any privilege to its Prime members in the new grocery stores, which is easily one of the biggest retail initiatives the company has taken in years. The Amazon bookstore, which launched last year, for example, offers discount prices only to Prime members.

Internal debate

When Business Insider first reported in October that Amazon sees potential for up to 2,000 grocery stores in the US, Prime was mentioned as one of the key discussion points internally. Amazon management wrestled with the question of making the grocery stores Prime-exclusive or open to the general public because of the different cost benefits, according to documents we've seen. The WSJ previously reported that the new grocery stores would be Prime-only.
Cowen & Co.'s analyst John Blackledge suggested Amazon might add those benefits in the future, and is simply trying to first gain mindshare in the grocery space for now. There's certainly precedence: Amazon bookstores introduced the Prime-only discounts almost a year after opening.
"Amazon’s doing a lot of things to increase conversion of Prime members, so this might be a way to first expand their customer base and then over time, convert non-Prime members to Prime members," Blackledge told Business Insider.
That means Amazon may see its brick-and-mortar grocery stores as a means to expand its share of the massive $800 billion grocery market, instead of a channel to attract more Amazon Prime members. According to Blackledge, Walmart (in combination with Sam's Club) is the leader with a 21% share in the grocery market, while Amazon is outside of the top 20 with just 0.8% share, as of last year, and is expected to be 7th largest by 2021.
Screen Shot 2016 12 05 at 4.35.58 PMCowen & Co.
Perhaps what's more striking is that Amazon is indeed doubling down on its brick-and-mortar strategy. From bookstores last year to pop-up stores this year, and now a grocery store, Amazon has been aggressively expanding its presence in the physical space.
That's in stark contrast to what Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said about retail stores just 9 years ago. In a shareholder letter published in 2007, Bezos wrote that he gets asked a lot about opening physical stores but it's an idea he's resisted.
"The potential size of a network of physical stores is exciting. However: we don’t know how to do it with low capital and high returns; physical-world retailing is a cagey and ancient business that’s already well served; and we don’t have any ideas for how to build a physical world store experience that’s meaningfully differentiated for customers," Bezos wrote at the time.
After nearly a decade, Amazon seems to have cracked the code on how to answer all those questions.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Students 'Easily Duped'


Students 'Easily Duped' by Misleading, Fake Info Online

The Best Laptops for College Students
Recently, PCMag's Evan Dashevsky argued that "If you fall for nonsense articles in your Facebook feed, don't blame Facebook. It's your fault for not checking sources." He might want to notify the nation's students, who are apparently easily duped by slick content dressed up as news, a new Stanford report finds.
"Many people assume that because young people are fluent in social media they are equally perceptive about what they find there," Professor Sam Wineburg, lead author of the report and founder of the Stanford History Education Group, said in a statement. "Our work shows the opposite to be true."
Between January 2015 and June 2016—before the issue of fake news started making headlines—Wineburg and his team collected data from 7,804 students in middle and high school, as well as college, who were asked to evaluate tweets, media site home pages, blog posts, and more to determine if they were legit.
It seems that while your 12-year-old niece is capable of firing off dozens of Snaps a minute, she and her digital native brethren are "easily duped" when it comes to sponsored content and have difficulty sniffing out potential conflicts of interest, the Stanford report says.
Middle school students, for example, were asked to look at the homepage of Slate.com and identify content as news or ads. "The students were able to identify a traditional ad—one with a coupon code—from a news story pretty easily. But of the 203 students surveyed, more than 80 percent believed a native ad, identified with the words 'sponsored content,' was a real news story," the report finds.
High school students, meanwhile, were asked to look at social media posts from the actual Fox News and a fake Fox News account. Only a quarter recognized that a blue checkmark signified they were looking at the real Fox News. "And over 30 percent of students argued that the fake account was more trustworthy because of some key graphic elements that it included," the report says.
High school students (in AP history, no less) were also asked to look at MinimumWage.com, which calls itself a project of the Employment Policies Institute. Only 9 percent did a little digging to discover that the site was the work of a DC lobbying firm and not an objective source of information about the topic.
College students didn't fare much better; 93 percent fell for the MinimumWage.com test.

Monday, November 28, 2016

4K TV Now?

Should I Buy a 4K TV Now?
High definition has meant 1080p (1,920 by 1,080) resolution for years now, and it's ready for an upgrade. That's where ultra high-definition, or UHD, television comes in. You might have heard it called 4K. It's technically UHD according to the now-Consumer Technology Association, but the two terms have become interchangeable. And now those terms finally matter a lot to your television buying decisions, since 4K is finally a mature, accessible technology.
What Is 4K?
A UHD or 4K display is one with at least 8 million active pixels. For televisions, that resolution has standardized to 3,840 by 2,160. Digital cinema 4K (the resolution in 4K movie theaters) is slightly higher at 4,096 by 2,160. However you define it, it's four times the number of pixels on a 1080p display, and over 23 times the resolution of standard definition television.
For starters, 4K is obviously much sharper than 1080p. In the space that a 1080p TV holds a pixel, a 4K TV of the same size can hold four. That makes for a significant jump in clarity, assuming you have native 4K source material to watch in that resolution.
Because the resolution is much higher, it requires more bandwidth to transmit. The HDMI 2.0 standard was developed to support 4K, and allows 2160p video to be displayed at 60 frames per second. Older HDMI standards could work with a 4K source to some extent, but not reliably or at that framerate. You can also stream 4K video over the Internet, which similarly requires a very fast connection; Netflix recommends a steady 25Mbps downstream speed to watch 4K content over its service.
If you don't have a 4K source video, a 4K TV can still make your movies and shows look better. All 4K televisions use some kind of upconverter to display 1080p and lower resolution video. These upconverters do more than just break each pixel into four identical pixels; they employ edge smoothing and noise reduction algorithms to produce, ideally, a sharper picture. When it works well, you get video that looks natural on a 4K screen (though it doesn't add any actual new details, just sharper lines and more even color and light). When it doesn't, the picture can look a bit blotchy, like a painting.
HDMI 4K Comparison Ultra HD
While some regular viewers struggle to see the difference between 1080p and 720p in smaller television sizes, it's much more obvious on 50-inch and larger TVs. 4K is another significant jump in terms of clarity and detail, especially as people are becoming more and more used to the incredibly tiny pixels displayed by today's Retina-style HD screens on mobile gadgets. This is a major factor for large TVs as well, since 55 inches has become a low boundary for just how big a big screen can get.
What About HDR?
High dynamic range (HDR) is a video format available on some high-end new TVs. HDR content has the same resolution as regular 4K video, but each pixel can be assigned a much wider and more granular range of color and light. This lets HDR video appear significantly more detailed, accurate, and lifelike than standard dynamic range video. However, you need an HDR-compatible display, and the content needs to be encoded in an HDR format like HDR10 or Dolby Vision. If you don't have an HDR television, don't worry; all physical media and streaming services that offer HDR content can display SDR versions of the same material on screens that don't support the format.
What 4K TVs Are Out There Now?
4K TVs have been hitting the market for a few years now, and have finally become both affordable and functional. 4K no longer has the pricing premium of early adoption, and you can get a good-performing 4K television for about the same price as a mid-to-high-end 1080p TV last year.
Vizio's Du$899.99 at Amazon and LG's UH8500$1,697.00 at Amazon series both stand out with surprisingly good picture quality for reasonable prices, and if you want to save even more (and are willing to compromise on picture quality), TCL's UP130$499.99 at Amazon series of 4K Roku TVs are even less expensive. You can still go all-out if you want a flagship TV and are willing to spend big bucks; LG's OLED65B6P$2,797.00 at Amazon and OLED65G6P$5,997.00 at Amazon 4K OLED televisions are, quite simply, the most impressive displays we've ever tested, but they're also much pricier than similar sized LCD TVs.
The availability of such a broad range of 4K TVs indicates that the market has matured past the point of early adopters and technophiles, to suit a wide range of buyers looking for the best new tech.
What 4K Content You Can Watch?
Thanks to Amazon and Netflix, there's a surprising amount of 4K content you can watch if you have a fast-enough Internet connection. 4K has gone past the eye candy landscapes and tech demo phase that early HD content went through, and now you can find plenty of television and movies in the format, like Breaking Bad, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. Both services are steadily adding more 4K content, and if that isn't enough, YouTube supports 4K video for anyone from studios to GoPro users. Many of our favorite media streamers have options for ultra high-definition content as well.
Besides streaming, you can actually buy 4K movies on physical media now. Ultra HD Blu-ray discs have begun trickling into stores, and major studio releases are increasingly coming out on this new format. It is a very new format, though, so you'll need a new player. Ultra HD Blu-ray players are still very rare and pretty expensive; the Samsung UBD-K8500$199.99 at Walmart.com we reviewed costs a few times as much as a regular Blu-ray player, while the Microsoft Xbox One S$394.99 at Amazon offers both disc playback and all the features and games you get from a full, modern video game console. If you prefer to wait for the players to become more affordable but would like to build your 4K media library now, many Ultra HD Blu-ray releases are Ultra HD + Blu-ray combo packs, which include both the Ultra HD and standard Blu-ray discs (and often Ultraviolet codes for a digital copy).
Bottom Line: Do You Need 4K?
You probably don't need 4K quite yet, but this might be the year to get one anyway. At least, if you're looking to replace your television because it's outdated or broken rather than simply not new enough, it's a good time to look for a 4K model. The tech has become standardized enough that you can be reasonably sure a 4K television you purchase now will be ready for the future (just make sure it has HDMI 2.0 ports), and it's affordable enough to be compared directly with 1080p televisions in price.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Google Touts Encryption

Google Touts Encryption Support On New Pixel Android Phones

The default encryption on the new devices ensures strong data protection, company says.
Google's recently released Android Nougat-powered Pixel smartphones offer a whole new level of data protection because of their built in encryption capabilities, the company said this week.In a blog post Google senior software engineers Paul Crowley and Paul Lawrence said the new data security capabilities made Pixel and Pixel XL better, faster and stronger than the company's previous smartphone models.As one example, the two engineers pointed to the new file based encryption (FBE) support available on Pixel phones. Unlike full-disk encryption, FBE enables different files to be encrypted with different keys so each file can be opened independently of the others. File level encryption also enables data to be separated into a device-encrypted group and a credential-encrypted group, Crowley and Lawrence said.In addition, FBE enables a so-called Direct Boot capability in Android 7.0 Nougat that allows an encrypted phone to boot directly to the lock-screen, according to a Google description of the technology.
"For users, this means that applications like alarm clocks, accessibility settings, and phone calls are available immediately after boot," the two engineers said. In contrast, with full disk encryption the user would need to first authenticate to the device before any data and anything but the most basic functions can be accessed.
Also new with Android 7.0 and Pixel is a feature called TrustZone for encrypting and storing all disk encryption keys. TrustZone enforces two key security functions on Pixel phones.One of them is a feature that prevents disk encryption keys from being decrypted if there is any sign of the operating system being compromised or modified.The other is a feature designed to discourage brute force password guessing attacks by lengthening waiting periods between wrong password guesses. The manner in which TrustZone enforces the waiting period ensures that it will take more than four years for an attacker to try all possible combinations, the Google engineers said. This ensures better security especially for those with a short or easily guessed password, PIN or pattern.Google has also implemented the encryption on Pixel devices in such a manner as to take advantage of what Crowley and Lawrence described as an inline hardware encryption engine. The feature gives Pixel phones the ability to write encrypted data at line speed, they said.Google's move to release details on the encryption support in Pixel comes just days after a white hat hacking team at Chinese security firm Qihoo 360demonstrated a proof of concept exploit in which they were able to break into a Pixel phone in less than 60 seconds.For the demonstration, the hackers exploited a zero-day flaw to gain access to a Pixel device and execute code on it remotely. The hackers demonstrated the exploit at a hacking event at the POC2016 security conference organized by Power of Community a Korean group.The Qihoo 360 team provided details of the exploit to Google, which rewarded them with a $120,000 bounty for finding and reporting it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

data highways app helps BC drivers

New open data highways app helps BC drivers plan their commute

 
 
Victoria-based mobile app developers AirSenze Solutions, also known as FreshWorks Studio, has unveiled its free BCHighways app, built to provide motorists real-time access to provincial roadway information and maps, including road closures, planned work and extreme weather conditions, to help them plan their commute.
The BCHighways app is available for Apple and Android mobile devices, and AirSenze plans to add notifications.
“We made a commitment in our #BCTECH Strategy to make it easier for B.C. tech companies to do business with government and our partnership with AirSenze is an example of that,” said Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, Amrik Virk. “Government’s BC Developers’ Exchange has shared government data with a private company and now they’ve developed an easy to use app that will help motorists get where they need to go and avoid traffic hang-ups along the way.”
AirSenze Solutions was founded in 2014 by University of Victoria graduates Samarth Mod and Rohit Boolchandani.
The app was built using DriveBC’s Open511 road event data, made available through the BC Developers’ Exchange, and also integrates DriveBC’s Twitter feed, while featuring estimated border crossing wait times, and traffic camera images.
“After getting stuck for two hours driving to Banff because of an accident, we saw the perfect opportunity to develop a native app using DriveBC’s open511 data,” said AirSenze CEO and co-founder Samarth Mod. “We think it’s super cool that B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has provided the open data to BC Developers’ Exchange and giving companies like ours the data we need to develop easy to use apps that benefit the lives of millions of people. And as a startup, we also wanted to show our expertise to the government to gain trust and credibility. Hence, it results in a win-win situation for everyone.”
In creating the BC Developers’ Exchange, the aim of which is to promote commercialization and innovation between British Columbia’s tech and public sectors by making government digital resources easily accessible, the government has spoken directly through a series of face-to-face meetings in Vancouver, Victoria and the Interior, with over 400 local app developers.
“By making DriveBC’s Open511 data available to the public, we’re helping make driving on B.C. highways even safer for British Columbians and apps like these share our valuable road information system making it more available to more people,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Todd Stone. “The more people who ‘know before they go’ — whether they check the DriveBC website, mobile site, phone system or partner apps — the easier it is to make better travel decisions.”
Though the app is designed to help drivers, the BC government is also quick to point out that it frowns upon motorists using a mobile device while driving, advising people that “BCHighways is not intended to be used while driving; anyone wanting to use it, or any other app on the go, must find a safe place to stop their vehicle first.”

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Apple back taxes

Ireland really doesn't want Apple to pay it €13 billion in back taxes

Tim CookAP
The European Commission ordered Apple to pay the Irish government €13 billion (£11.5 billion) in back taxes in August.
But there's one small problem. The Irish government does not want the money.
Irish finance minister Michael Noonan submitted an appeal to the European courts on Wednesday in a bid to block the decision, The Register reports.
"The government fundamentally disagrees with the European Commission’s analysis," Noonan reportedly said during a speech he gave to the EU's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Tuesday. "The decision left the government no choice but to take an appeal to the European Courts and this will be submitted tomorrow."
Apple employs more than 5,000 people in Ireland and the Irish government is keen to keep the Californian tech giant on side.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, ruled in August that Apple had received €13 billion in "illegal state aid" from the Irish government. At the time, she said: "Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies — this is illegal under EU state aid rules.
"The commission's investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years. In fact, this selective treatment allowed Apple to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 1% on its European profits in 2003 down to 0.005 per cent in 2014."
The European Commission started to look into Apple's Irish tax rate in 2014, so the decision was the culmination of a three-year investigation.
An Apple representative said at the time: "The European Commission has launched an effort to rewrite Apple's history in Europe, ignore Ireland's tax laws, and upend the international tax system in the process. The commission's case is not about how much Apple pays in taxes — it's about which government collects the money. It will have a profound and harmful effect on investment and job creation in Europe.
"Apple follows the law and pays all of the taxes we owe wherever we operate. We will appeal, and we are confident the decision will be overturned."

Monday, October 31, 2016

Alphabet Halts Fiber High-Speed Internet Rollout

Alphabet Halts Fiber High-Speed Internet Rollout in Several Cities

Alphabet suspended operations where it had announced it would deploy Fiber services but had not yet started work, and plans to shift to new ways for delivering high-speed Internet services.
Google's parent company Alphabet has scaled back plans, temporarily at least, for its much-touted Fiber high-speed Internet service and will lay off about 9 percent of the employees engaged in the project.In addition, Craig Barratt, the Alphabet executive who headed Fiber operations, has resigned from his role amid a reassessment of the company's strategy for deploying high-speed Internet services to metro areas around the country.Effective immediately, Google suspended operations and offices where the company previously announced it would deploy Fiber services but had not yet begun work.The metro areas affected by the change are Dallas; Oklahoma City; Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe, Ariz.; Portland, Ore.; Los Angeles, San Jose, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Palo Alto, Calif.; and Jacksonville and Tampa, Fla.
Google will continue to deliver Fiber services or proceed with previously scheduled plans in cities where it has already launched or begun construction on Fiber. The cities and metro areas on this list include Atlanta; Austin and San Antonio, Texas; Kansas City; Nashville; Provo and Salt Lake City, Utah; and Huntsville, Ala.
Employees who are being laid off are mostly from Fiber operations in cities where the company has paused further construction.In a blog post, Barratt, whose formal title is senior vice president at Alphabet and CEO of Access, described the move as an effort by Alphabet to shift its focus to new technologies and deployment strategies for delivering high-speed Internet services."As for me personally, it's been quite a journey over the past few years, taking a broad-based set of projects and initiatives and growing a focused business that is on a strong trajectory," Barratt said in announcing his resignation.Barratt's note makes no mention of how Alphabet plans to take its vision for Fiber forward.However, earlier this year, the company acquired Webpass, a San Francisco-based firm that delivers high-speed Internet services to customers in multiple metro areas. Unlike other Internet service providers that rely on wired cables all the way for delivering service, Webpass' approach is to use wireless technology to beam Internet services to antennas on top of buildings from where it is delivered via cable to the end devices.The approach offers a cheaper alternative to laying down expensive fiber cables, and Google executives have said they plan to take advantage of Webpass' technology to deliver high-speed Internet, especially over the last mile.A Fiber official speaking on background said that the change in plans announced this week is consistent with earlier statements Alphabet has made about exploring ways to move faster and using a hybrid approach with wireless as an integral part Fiber."Fiber is not going anywhere. Think of wireless as just one wire, less," the official said. "You still need fiber backhaul to get the gigabit speeds over the air."Rumors about Google's scaling back its Fiber plans have been circulating for several weeks. In August, The Information reported that Alphabet CEO Larry Page wanted Barratt to cut Fiber staff by 50 percent and scale back operations because the service wasn't getting the number of subscribers the company had hoped for by this stage. In contrast to early expectations of around 5 million subscribers in five years, Google had only managed to get about 200,000 subscribers for the $70-per-month Internet service.Alphabet also has run into regulatory and legal problems getting telecom providers and other entities to agree to the use of existing utility poles and other infrastructure for stringing up its own fiber."From what I can see, I expect Alphabet's decision to scale back Google Fiber was based on economic factors," said Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT.Deploying fiber can be costly and the delays caused by rivals like AT&T protesting Google's use of their existing poles likely pushed out break-even dates for Fiber further beyond what Alphabet preferred, King said.The recent purchase of Webpass by Google Fiber also may have opened Alphabet's eyes to other options that are not only faster to deploy but involve fewer regulatory hurdles, King said."This decision doesn't really indicate new thinking at Alphabet," he said. "A few months back, the company stated that it would take an objective view of the progress made by "other bet" efforts, and reduce support for those that were failing to deliver hoped for benefits."What's happening to Google Fiber is a manifestation of that new thinking, King noted.

Monday, October 24, 2016

CEO's Death Stirs Debate


CEO's Death Stirs Debate as China’s Techies Face 9-to-9 Workday


BC-CHINATECH:     Bloomberg News    The premature death of the 44-year-old founder of a prominent mobile health app startup has spurred a bout of soul searching in the Chinese tech community, where working long hours in the hope of making a quick fortune has become a way of life.Zhang Rui, founder and chief executive officer of the startup Chunyu Doctor, died from a heart attack on Oct. 5. Heart attacks can have many causes and Chunyu spokesman Tan Wanneng said there’s no evidence that Zhang’s death was due to overwork. Yet as tech executives mourn his passing, that hasn’t stopped some from wondering about the deeply competitive nature of their industry and the potential health burdens they face."The stress and loneliness that startup founders feel can’t be comprehended by normal people," Leon Li, founder of Huobi, one of China’s largest bitcoin exchanges, wrote on his WeChat account in response to Zhang’s death. "Especially in the internet sector, where entry barriers are low and competition is fierce, it’s like stepping on thin ice."
Inspired by the rise of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which raised $25 billion in a 2014 initial public offering, China’s new generation of entrepreneurs have been engaged in a fierce battle for capital and talent. The country saw the startup of 1.2 new internet companies every day in the second quarter. While Silicon Valley is also renowned for its competitive culture and lengthy hours, China’s entrepreneurs face a unique set of challenges because the industry is more nascent, and regulations and funding are in constant flux.
“The China startup community is under a lot of pressure, if not as much but even more than in the Valley or in the states,” said Dave McClure, the founding partner of Mountain View, California-based venture firm 500 Startups. “Unfortunately, I think people don’t think about health issues that much.” McClure said that among the more than 3,000 founders that he has invested in globally, at least six have passed away, with even one committing suicide.
Fundraising
Zhang died at a critical juncture for Chunyu. In June, it completed a 1.2 billion yuan ($178 million) round of Series D fundraising at a valuation of about $1 billion and was planning to go public, according to Tan. Startups with a valuation exceeding that mark are known as "Unicorns."
For a few months when Chunyu was first founded the company sometimes required a so-called "996 schedule" -- Chinese slang for working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week -- Tan said, adding that the company is long past that stage. Zhang started out as a journalist at a Beijing newspaper, and worked as deputy editor-in-chief at NetEase, a Chinese internet portal. In 2011, he founded Chunyu, which allows patients to have online consultations with doctors, skipping the wait at overcrowded public hospitals.
Chinese executives have for years talked about the difficulties in balancing work and life. After fighting cancer, Kai-Fu Lee, a long-time tech executive, published a book last year saying that he saw the disease as a sign of protest from his body after decades of 15-hour workdays during a high-flying career.
Lee is currently running his own company called Sinovation Ventures that invests in startups and he previously held jobs at Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp., and served as Google Inc.’s Greater China vice president from 2005 to 2009. Jean Liu, president of taxi-hailing app Didi Chuxing, has encouraged her staff at Didi to exercise more and take care of their health.
People who work for more than 55 hours a week face an increased risk of stroke and coronary heart disease compared to those working the standard hours of 35 to 40 a week, according to a study based on data from more than 600,000 individuals, published last October in the medical journal The Lancet.
The unexpected death of a founder can also highlight the importance of succession plans, according to Paul Asel, Palo Alto, California-based managing partner at Nokia Growth Partners. Chunyu in an Oct. 6 statement said its businesses are operating as normal with Zhang’s duties taken up by co-founder Li Guanghui.
Startup executives face long hours, conflicts with partners and family, and worries about fundraising, Wang Lifen, founder of Youmi, a provider of training courses for entrepreneurs, said in an article mourning Zhang’s death in her Weibo microblog.
"This is a group of people who are surrounded by envious looks from outsiders, who appear at forums and under the spotlight bearing the fine title of entrepreneurs, but do not have a moment of peace in their hearts," said Wang.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

WinRAR compression

How to Pick the Right Compression Settings in WinRAR

Creating archives with WinRAR is easy, but the compression settings can be tricky, so check out our guide to learn more

 By Elena Opris  
Archiving utilities such as WinRAR, WinZip or 7Zip are useful for compressing large files into smaller ones to send as email attachments to someone who can extract them using a similar tool, or store on USB flash drives with a limited capacity to transfer to another computer, for example. There are endless advantages to such tools.
When it comes to creating archives, though, there are many properties that can be taken into account, such as file type, compression mode, file checksums, and backups. Most casual users opt for the default, "as is" configuration simply because it's faster and easier to understand.
However, learning about these parameters is essential for maximizing an archiver's efficiency and getting optimal results. It depends on what you're trying to compress, how much time you're willing to spend waiting for the task, and what amount of memory you're willing to spare when working with other applications at the same time.
Getting started with WinRAR
In the following guide, we're going to show you what type of compression to choose when putting together archives using WinRAR.
Get started by launching WinRar and clicking Add on the toolbar. This brings up the Archive name and parameters window, where you can click the Browse button to set the name and saving location of the new archive.
Archive format options
You can pick from three Archive format options: RARRAR5, and ZIP. If you want to send the resulted archive to someone else, you should take into account the archive extraction tool they might be using. ZIP is the safest option because it's more common than RAR and RAR5, thus supported by many extraction applications. RAR has additional customization settings as compared to ZIP (since it's WinRAR's proprietary format) while RAR5 is the newest file type of WinRAR, which brings a lot of improvements but isn't supported by versions older than WinRAR 5.0, so you must keep the compatibility factor in mind.
Compression methods
There are six Compression methods available: StoreFastestFastNormalGood, and Best.
Normal is set by default and can be considered the baseline. For example, if you opt for archiving files in Windows Explorer by opening the right-click menu and clicking Add to "Folder_name.rar", the normal compression mode is applied. It's a balance between speed and compression, suitable for day-to-day activities on the go, such as sending email attachments at work.
Store adds the files to the archive as fast as it can but doesn't compress them at all. It's practical for storing multiple files into a single one (a container) that can be transferred to an external device faster than copying multiple files at once. It's the ideal mode for batches of documents or pictures that take little disk space. Besides, it's not possible to reduce the size of JPG and PNG files since they are already compressed by design.
The Fastest compression method is a bit slower than Store because it applies some degree of compression, although it's poor. Fast is slower than Fastest but speedier than Normal, and it applies better compression than Fastest but weaker than Normal. These two can be used for frequent data backups.
The Good compression mode can be used for large files that take up a lot of space. It can create archives with a significantly smaller size, but it takes a while.
Best takes compression to the highest level, but it's very slow. It's ideal if you want to save space and if you have the possibility of leaving your computer unattended so that it can take care of the archiving job without being slowed down by the activity of other programs, due to the fact that it uses a lot of memory. To speed it up and prevent it from hanging, make sure to close any other running applications.
Dictionary size and Create solid archive
Aside from the compression method, the ZIP filetype doesn't have other options that can be configured to influence performance. However, you can maximize the Dictionary size for RAR5 if you want to compress large files to get minimum file size, especially if Create solid archive is enabled (more on this next). You should keep in mind that it's a very slow and memory-demanding process.
If you tick the Create solid archive box to activate it, WinRAR delivers better compression results if there are many similar files. On the other hand, any further modifications you make to the archive (e.g. removing files or adding new ones) will be slower, and the chances of successfully recovering data in case of archive damage are slimmed down. It can be used for storing backups of the operating system, for instance.
Play our video below to view the speed difference between transferring a 1GB folder from a local drive to a network location using the Windows built-in copy option and performing the same option after compressing the 1GB folder using Store. You can also download WinRAR to run various scenarios with different compression settings.

How to Pick the Right Compression Settings in WinRAR

Check out our video to view the speed difference between transferring a 1GB folder from a local drive to a network location using the Windows built-in copy option and performing the same option after compressing the 1GB folder using the Store compression method in WinRAR. Check out our guide to learn more about its compression methods: http://www.softpedia.com/blog/how-to-pick-the-right-compression-settings-in-winrar-504277.shtml

Saturday, October 15, 2016

AMP Project to Enable Faster Mobile

AMP Project to Enable Faster Mobile Web Off to Good Start, Google Says

Sites that have enabled the protocol are seeing substantial gains, Google says on the first anniversary of the AMP launch.
Google this week said that substantial progress has been made with the open-source Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) initiative in the one year since it launched last October.The AMP project is a Google-led effort to enable a faster mobile web. Under the effort, the company is trying to get website owners to implement the AMP protocol for creating lightweight web pages for mobile devices.The project is part of a Digital News Initiative that Google launched last year for publishers in Europe but is now being applied on a broader scale.Publishers who were the first to get on AMP have seen substantial benefits from having fast-loading mobile content, David Besbris, Google's vice president of search and AMP, wrote on the company's Europe blog.
As one example, Besbris pointed to the Washington Post, which after implementing AMP has seen a 23 percent increase in mobile users who return within one week. The Post currently publishes more than 1,000 AMP-enabled articles each day, and nearly 55 percent of online traffic comes from mobile users. Since implementing AMP, page load times are 88 percent faster than they were with its previous mobile website, the Post claimed in a case study posted on the AMP project website. Average page load times are now just 400 milliseconds, the Post said.
The boost in page load times from AMP has benefited publishers in other ways as well, Besbris said. A study conducted by Plista, one of Europe's largest advertising platforms, showed that average click-through rate for publishers jumped a whopping 220 percent for sites that had implemented AMP, he said."To date the AMP project has been a story about momentum," Besbris said. In addition to more websites implementing the protocol, the pace of code releases for the open-source protocol has also kept growing, he said.In the one year since the AMP project launched, website owners around the world have created over 600 million AMP documents in 104 languages. In addition to publishers, other sites such as retail, travel and recipe websites have implementing the protocol, he said.For its part, Google has been trying to encourage adoption of AMP by highlighting pages that have been enabled for the protocol in mobile search, Besbris said. Now when users search for content using their smartphones or tablets, they will see an AMP icon to indicate pages that will load faster on their devices.For the moment at least, Google has said that AMP will not have a direct impact on how it ranks mobile search engine results. But going forward, the company has indicated that it will favor websites and web pages that have been optimized for the mobile web over sites that have not.In addition to highlighting search results, Google has also launched AMP-enabled stories in the "Top Stories" portion in Google Search on mobile.Google has cast AMP largely as an effort that will benefit internet users, publishers and website owners in general. But the company also has a lot to gain from enabling a faster web experience for mobile users.As a company that derives almost all of its revenues and profits from online advertising, Google stands to profit from having web pages—and the ads that go along with those pages—load faster on mobile devices. Google's own research shows that 53 percent of users will abandon a site or web page if it fails to load within 3 seconds.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Australia is one of world’s wealthiest countries

Sydney Opera House
Australia is one of world’s wealthiest countries and its economy has been doing exceptionally well for the past several decades. Managing to avoid the most recent recessions faced by America and the rest of the world, Australia’s economic performance remains strong according to the World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Index. The index ranks Australia especially well in the areas of education, financial market development, and labour market efficiency.

Ease of Doing Business

Ranked as one of the easiest countries in the world to do business in by The World Bank (13th out of 180+ economies), it takes just 3 simple procedures and less than 3 days to get a business started. Other startup advantages include having no requirement for minimum paid up share capital, reputable local and international banks, a safe currency (AUS$) that is set to inflate against the US$ in the coming year (according to the IMF). Additionally, Australia has one of the most diverse and skilled workforces in the world.
Austrade is the official government organization that looks after Australian Trade and Investment matters and they actively work to encourage foreign investment through a number of incentives. Just in the last month, Austrade have reported two big major investments into Australia. The first was from the Singapore based company, Louis Dreyfus Company Dairy Asia who entered into a joint venture with Australian Agribusiness Midfield Group to build a huge dairy manufacturing plant in Penola, South Austraila. The second was a Chinese dairy investor, who has just bought a majority stake in Burra Foods, an Australian Dairy Processing Company.
Despite having a top class educational system and world renowned universities, Australia is not ranked well in the area of innovation when compared to other developed economies.
The World Economic Forum’s 2015-2016 report recommends that Australia needs to diversify to retain and elevate its economy; “With global commodity prices set to remain low for the foreseeable future, along with the slowdown in China, the country must diversify further and move up the value chain.” The government are working to address this and have launched a National Innovation and Science Agenda. In Austrade’s words this new agenda is “a suite of initiatives to encourage Australians to take on new ideas, embrace risk, increase collaboration between industry and researchers, and develop and attract world-class talent for the jobs of the future.” Time will tell if this new initiative will help Australia achieve a better reputation for innovation. This of course also offers investors opportunities in the area of innovation and research and development that has government backing.
Since 2003, Healy Consultants PLC guides Clients to enter the Australian market by assisting with i) company registration ii) securing regulatory government licenses iii) providing company secretarial and office space services iv) employee visa application and v) opening of business bank accounts.

Monday, October 03, 2016

ACH Payment Processing

Check Processing – ACH Payments as a Service

You don't need a U.S. Checking account for this!

Increase your customer base by offering an alternative to credit card payments

Offering ACH (direct deposit) payments to your US customer base will greatly increase your online sales revenue.  US citizens made over 2.1 billion online ACH payments, accounting for an online payment industry worth almost US$1 trillion each year.
By offering ACH payments, your company gains an essential edge in the competitive online market and becomes accessible to millions of US citizens seeking alternative online payment options.
ACH payments are easy to make, secure, and ensure the validity of all transferred funds. With three to ten day settlement and full transaction tracking, diversifying your payments with ACH will expand your online market and provide additional revenue for your eCommerce business.

ACH Payment Processing Benefits

  • Diversify payment options to attract more customers
  • Offer payment alternatives to customers without credit cards
  • Real-time payment processing
  • Reduce risks associated with physical checks
  • Protect your credit rating
  • Reduce check-payment acceptance times
  • ACH processing reporting to identify payment errors sooner

How Do ACH Payment Processing Work?

  1. The customer makes a request to send money to a merchant and asks for authorization
  2. The merchant authorizes the request and provides written, digital or verbal authorization of the payment (including ‘terms and conditions’ for the customer to accept)
  3. The customer lodges their payment via the ACH (Automated Clearing House) network, which sends the money to the RDFI (Receiving Depository Financial Institution) for processing
  4. The merchant receives their funds and sends goods/service to the customer.
For more information about our merchant accounts and credit card payment processing services. Or fill out the enquiry form and a friendly customer service representative will contact you within 24-48 hours.

All-in-One Solution

Simply everything you need to take payments and sell online. Everything is included. No extra hosting accounts, payment processors, merchant accounts, web designers, programmers, order management software, or other typical headaches necessary!
You do not need a U.S. bank account!
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How FCC Plans to Reverse Title II Action in December

How FCC Plans to Reverse Title II Action in December By:  Wayne Rash  |  November 21,2017 The FCC plans regarding net neutrality, set ...