Dropbox acquires reading platform Reading for an estimated $8 Million

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Readmill has been acquired by Dropbox and is now in the process of closing its reading platform. In a blog post, the Berlin-based startup said it was joining Dropbox to work on “new ways to read together”, suggesting that its original vision would still be the focus of its work.

Readmill as we know it is closing though. Users can no longer create a new account and the Readmill apps will no longer be available from July 1, 2014. The company said it had “failed” to create a sustainable solution for reading and apologized for being unable to solve the many challenges surrounding ebooks.

With Readmill, book-worms could consume their favorite ebooks and then share extracts with friends and followers. Highlights could be shared to external social networks too, but much of its appeal was arguably in its own homegrown community. “We considered every option before making the difficult decision to end the product that brought us together,” it said.

TechCrunch first reported the ‘acqui-hire’ deal yesterday. It was reportedly valued at around $8 million, although that is yet to be confirmed.

“At every turn, your feedback shaped Readmill’s development, and your passion signaled a new chapter for reading,” the startup added on its blog. “Together we wrote in the margins of ebooks and discussed our favorite passages from across the world. Thank you for helping to bring this reality into view.”

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Nordion was acquired by SteriGenics International for $800M

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Nordion was acquired by SteriGenics International for $800M

More here

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Brooklyn-based global marketplace for chefs Kitchensurfing has raised a $15 million Series B round

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Brooklyn-based global marketplace for chefs Kitchensurfing has raised a $15 million Series B round led by Tiger Global Management with participation from previous investors Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital.

Kitchensurfing provides a platform for chefs, both professional and amateur, to connect with each other and offer their services for in-home meals.

Launched quietly in New York last year, Kitchensurfing will use the new funds to grow its team and expand to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Berlin.

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Palo Alto-based data intelligence company ClearStory Data has raised $21 million in a Series B round

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Palo Alto-based data intelligence company ClearStory Data has raised $21 million in a Series B round led byDAG Ventures with participation from Andreessen HorowitzGoogle VenturesKhosla Ventures, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

ClearStory’s platform analyzes data from a number of both public and private sources to uncover trends, patters, and new business opportunities.

Founded in 2011, ClearStory has raised $30 million to date and will use the latest investment to push its new self-service product for simple data analysis.

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Palo Alto-based Hadoop vendor Cloudera has closed a $900 million financing round

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Palo Alto-based Hadoop vendor Cloudera has closed a $900 million financing round after announcing today a $740 equity investment from Intel that gives Intel an 18% stake in the company.

The round includes the $160 million from T. Rowe Price and Google Ventures announced earlier in March and brings Cloudera’s current valuation to about $4.1 billion.

Founded in 2008, Cloudera has raised over $1 billion in funding to date and plans to go public later this year.

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Amazing British Sniper shot takes out six terrorist fighters and saves many other lives, with a single bullet…

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A British sniper killed six Taliban – a would-be suicide bomber and five others – in Afghanistan with one bullet, the Ministry of Defence has said.

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The 20-year-old marksman, a lance corporal in the Coldstream Guards, hit the trigger switch of the device from about 900 metres away, causing the bomb to explode.

The blast killed the would-be bomber and five men around him, an MoD spokesman said. The incident in December in Kakaran, southern Afghanistan, has been disclosed as Britain prepares to leave the country by the end of the year.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Slack, commanding officer of 9/12 Royal Lancers, told the Daily Telegraph the unnamed shooter also prevented another major attack as a second suicide vest packed with explosives was found nearby. “The guy was wearing a vest. He was identified by the sniper moving down a tree line and coming up over a ditch,” Slack said.

“He had a shawl on. It rose up and the sniper saw he had a machine gun.

“They were in contact and he was moving to a firing position. The sniper engaged him and the guy exploded. There was a pause on the radio and the sniper said ‘I think I’ve just shot a suicide bomber.’ The rest of them were killed in the blast.”

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Japan lab falsified research into Stem Cells they say

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TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese government-funded laboratory said Tuesday it found that data in a widely heralded stem-cell research paper was falsified, holding the lead researcher responsible for the fabrication.

The research results from the Riken Center for Development Biology in Kobe, western Japan, were seen as a possible groundbreaking method for growing tissue to treat illnesses such as diabetes and Parkinson’s disease using a simple lab procedure.

Scientists at the institute said significant discrepancies in research published in January in scientific journal Nature stemmed from falsified data. They said researcher Haruko Obokata, the lead author of the paper in Nature, had manipulated or falsified images of DNA fragments used in the research.

“The manipulation was used to improve the appearance of the results,” said Shunsuke Ishii, the head of the committee set up to investigate allegations the research was fraudulent.

The scientists said three other co-authors of the papers had not falsified the data but were still “gravely responsible” for failing to fully verify the research findings. The discrepancies in the data showed up as anomalous lines in an image of DNA fragments.

Researchers in Boston and Japan conducted the experiments in using a simple procedure to turn ordinary cells from mice into stem cells by exposing cells from spleens of newborn mice to a more acidic environment than they are used to.

The researchers said cells from other tissue of newborn mice appeared to go through the same change, which could be triggered by exposing cells to any of a variety of stressful situations.

Scientists hope to harness stem cells to replace defective tissue in a wide variety of diseases. Making stem cells from a patient would eliminate the risk of transplant rejection.

The panel would not comment on whether the modified cells, dubbed STAP cells, exist. STAP is short for stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency cells.

“That was not my mission,” Ishii said.

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Finally Germany returns artwork looted by Nazis to Poland, and still has much to return!

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Germany should not even have the choice in my opinion, it’s Unbelievable to me they can wrangle political deals with loot they stole through their rape, murder and plundering of Europe and its innocent civilians….

Give EVERYTHING BACK GERMANY, the gall indeed….

An 18th-century painting stolen by the Nazis for Adolf Hitler’s private collection has been returned to Poland. Berlin hopes the move will assist talks over the recovery of historical documents it wants back from Warsaw.
Gemälde (Ausschnitt) Palasttreppe Francesco Guardi

The painting “Palace Stairs” (pictured above) by Italian artist Francesco Guardi was removed from the National Museum in Warsaw in 1939 shortly after Germany invaded Poland. The small image features several noblemen conversing at the bottom of the stairs of Venice’s Doge Palace.

The artwork was only formally recognized as belonging to Poland in the late 1990s – prior to that the piece was housed at the University of Heidelberg and then the State Gallery of Baden-Wurttemberg.

Returning the work of art to Poland was prevented by political differences between the two countries over the handling of art lost during World War Two.

“This painting has been on a long odyssey,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said at a ceremony Monday in the German capital where he handed the piece over to his Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski.

“(It represents) the difficult history that connects our two countries,” he added.

Steinmeier said Monday’s ceremony “should also be a signal to restart the stalled German-Polish dialogue on cultural artifacts.”

Germany is seeking the return of more than 300,000 drawings, manuscripts and books – known as the Berlinka collection – from Warsaw. Handwritten musical scores by Mozart, Beethoven and Bach are included in the collection now held by the Jagiellonian University in Krakow.

Poland is also seeking the return of thousands of looted artifacts taken from state museums and private collections during the Second World War, however it is believed many items were destroyed by the Nazis.

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The FBI is investigating high-speed Wall Street traders for possible insider dealing

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Two weeks ago, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman expressed concerns about the anti-competitive practices of high-speed stock market trading firms, saying that such companies had “valuable advantages” that gave them a “leg up on the rest of the market.” Now The Wall Street Journal reports that the FBI is in the midst of an investigation into whether such high-speed trading firms have access to information that isn’t available to other traders.

An FBI spokesperson said the bureau launched its investigation — known as the High-Speed Trading Initiative — a year ago. The investigation is looking for violations of insider trading laws in a variety of trading activities, including whether high-speed traders have access to unfair advantages such as ultra-fast data-feeds, and if they are manipulating the market with floods of purchase and sales orders. The initiative is still in its early stages, but reportedly has a large number of agents involved. “There is a big concern that high frequency traders are getting material nonpublic information ahead of others and trading on it,” an FBI spokesperson said. “There are many people in government who are very focused on this and who are concerned about it and who think it breaks the law.”

“The FBI launched its investigation into high-speed trading a year ago”

High-speed traders differ from more traditional market traders by relying on computers to perform incredibly quick purchases and sales of stocks and shares. The length of time it takes data to travel between its source and destination is of vital importance to practitioners of high-speed trading — so much so that companies such as Tradeworx can charge a yearly $250,000 subscription fee to use its network of microwave towers to shave six milliseconds from the data transmission time over regular fiber-optic cable.

Attorney General Schneiderman is also currently probing such high-speed trading firms. The Wall Street Journal says the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission too are investigating whether high-speed traders have links with major data exchanges, and are able to get preferential treatment to the detriment of other investors. The FBI is working with both bodies on its investigation, and is seeking leads from other whistleblowing Wall Street workers who may have been involved in illegal trading.

    Source The Wall Street Journal

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Singapore’s OCBC offers to buy Wing Hang Bank for $4.95 billion

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore’s Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd has made an offer to buy Wing Hang Bank for HK$38.428 billion ($4.95 billion) after reaching a deal with major shareholders including the founding family of the Hong Kong-based lender.

The deal was the outcome of months of negotiations, with the deadline for an agreement extended twice. The acquisition, OCBC’s biggest, would give Singapore’s second-largest bank a much sought-after gateway to the Greater China region, where it earned 6 percent of its pre-tax earnings in 2013.

The purchase would also help OCBC narrow the gap with domestic rival DBS Group Holdings , which operates Hong Kong’s fifth-biggest bank.

Shares of OCBC rose 0.63 percent in early Singapore trading on Tuesday, following the announcement of the deal. Wing Hang Bank was up 0.16 percent in Hong Kong.

The offer came after OCBC reached a deal with members of Wing Hang’s founding Fung family, their affiliates and related family trusts, as well as BNY International Financing Corp, to buy a nearly 45 percent stake in the bank.

The Singapore lender has also reached separate deals with other shareholders that would increase its stake to 50.66 percent.

OCBC is offering HK$125 a share to buy all the stock of Wing Hang, according to a joint announcement on Tuesday. The $4.95 billion offer is lower than expectations, with sources previously estimating the deal could be worth $5.3 billion.

Wing Hang and OCBC had been locked in exclusive negotiations since December after several players, including Singapore’s United Overseas Bank , walked away from the deal on price concerns, sources had told Reuters earlier.

“It is slightly lower than my original expectation of at least HK$130, but I suppose it’s fair from OCBC’s standpoint because they don’t need revenue or cost synergy for the deal,” said Steven Chan, an analyst at Maybank Kim Eng who covers Hong Kong and Chinese banks.

“The return on investment should be roughly equal to the cost of funding if they are going to finance the deal half by debt and half by equity.”

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The offer price translates to a book value of 1.77 times for Wing Hang, according to an OCBC statement.

A Barclays note said that after adjustment of a 2013 final dividend payment totaling HK$498 million and premises revaluation reserve of HK$2.1 billion, the price-to-book would be 2.02 times.

Yue Xiu Group, the trading arm of China’s Guangzhou city government, paid a multiple of 2.08 times to buy Hong Kong’s Chong Hing Bank last year.

OCBC has received in-principle approval for the purchase from Hong Kong and Singapore regulators, with formal approval needed by June 30 for the deal to go through. The acquisition is not subject to the approval of its shareholders.

OCBC has received in-principle approval for the purchase from Hong Kong regulators, with formal approval needed by June 30 for the deal to go through. The deal has the approval of Singapore regulators.

The acquisition is not subject to the approval of its shareholders.

OCBC is being advised by Bank of America Corp , and Wing Hang by Goldman Sachs Group , Nomura Holdings and KPMG.

($1 = 7.7571 Hong Kong Dollars)

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Square Market now accepts Bitcoins, risking the ire of the ever watchful and over powerful IRS

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Square Market’s one of the latest e-retailers to realize that Bitcoins might not be too cryptic to be used as a legit payment option, after all. The e-commerce website now accepts payments made using the cryptocurrency, as Square Market Lead Ajit Varma announced in a blog post where he also explained the technical details behind the process. He said buyers will be given a QR code and the info they need to buy anything from massages to biking gear with their virtual wallets. Square, in partnership with Bitcoin processor Coinbase, will then forward the payment to merchants in US dollars — minus the website’s standard processing fee, that is.

A spokesperson told Recode that Square Market will take a 2.75 percent cut from each sale, even though Bitcoin processors typically charge 1 percent per transaction. Still, that’s not such a bad deal for sellers who get charged the same percentage for credit card payments anyway. And that’s certainly great news for folks with Bitcoins to spare… so long as they’re cool with recording every purchase for the ever watchful IRS.

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Noah: Shattering Convention – Hollywood seems surprised that this generation hungers for Christian Ethics and Morality

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It amazes me that Hollywood continues to pump out nothing but sex and violence to our children and then when a movie based on God’s punishment of a generation that was, for all intents and purposes, as bad (from a morality perspective) as this current generation, makes a big splash (pun intended), ultimately taking over the number one box office hit position, they seem shocked and surprised….

Just because you (Hollywood) try to force feed our children the suggestion that violence, drugs, sex and amoral behavior as part of the fundamentally destructive “it’s all good” mentality, is all good, doesn’t mean this country which was and continues to be, built on Christian principles of helping others, treat others as you want to be treated, God, community, compassion for those less fortunate, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom from tyranny and an overall giving nature (Americans still give more to the rest of the world far more than any other country, and by orders of magnitude so large it’s not even worth mentioning).

All things that many of us remember growing up with being taught on television shows such as Captain Kangaroo, Father knows best, Dick Van Dyke, Lucille Ball and all the rest of which each had moral story to teach.

It’s unfortunate that you have slowly but inexorably made a concerted effort to fundamentally corrupt an entire generation of children (I can think of no other motivation other than greed but even this shows that to be a lie since you would make a lot more money going back to family entertainment as shown by this movie and others such as the “Passion of the Christ” all of which have made more money than 90% of the crap you pump out) and slowly morphed television and movie industry into a sesspool of absolute garbage.

Wake up and start producing more of what your audience actually WANT instead of pushing out WHAT YOU WANT THE AUDIENCE TO SEE, stop your blatant attempt to “socialize” this generation and to “numb” them to violence, sex, crime, drugs, murder, rape, drinking and everything BAD that people are capable of and perhaps it’s not too late to save the children you’ve damaged with your trash…

“Noah” the movie gives me some small hope, your reaction to its success does not.

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The previous week’s speculation that the film “Noah” will take over “Divergent’s” top spot in the box office had been true. Despite the series of controversies, the Darren Aronofsky film was able to weather the storm and proved that a top quality film can beat even some nation’s banning.

The epic biblical film grossed $1.6 million in its first day of release in the U.S. “Noah” has been a subject of more predictions with critics and audiences keeping their watch whether the film could reach the expected $35 million mark in its first week in the U.S. theatres. “Noah” did not disappoint though, as of this writing, the film already raked a whopping amount $44 million in the box office.

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With “Noah’s” success, a new prediction rose to life, although this may not be impossible to happen considering the trend of the type of movies shown by Hollywood starting this 2014. “Noah” came out this week following other faith-based movies “God’s Not Dead” and “Son of God.” Two other films “Heaven Is for Real” starred by Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly, and “Exodus: Gods and Kings” with Christian Bale to play the role of the prophet Moses are also listed in 2014 cinemas.

“I think these biblical-themed movies are like the next frontier in Hollywood. Hollywood hadn’t cracked the code on a biblical movie that would have mainstream appeal. Now, I think they’ve figured it out,” said Rentrak senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian in a BBC report.

“Noah” is a force to reckon in cinemas, and it is not far that the film could “immensely” exceed the $125 million Paramount Pictures investment. The movie already premiered in Mexico, Germany, Spain, South Korea, U.S., and Australia among others. More European countries, on the other hand, will have the first week of April to watch “Noah.”

The box office success of “Noah” became the lead star Russel Crowe’s success as well. The actor who previously landed supporting roles in his recent film bounced back as Hollywood’s top leading men earning positive critiques with his moving performance on the film.

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Andrew Pulver, a film editor for The Guardian UK, in his article, wrote “Russell Crowe is just about the only actor who could have pulled off the mixture of muttering, furrowed-brow intensity and slice-and-dice that the role calls for.”

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April Fools Joke… Or is it? Google Style…

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The Google+ team has come up with an April fool’s joke of their own involving the auto awesome feature on Google+ and none other than David Hasselhoff, Michelle Obama, U2 & more… .

  

“Today we’re announcing Auto Awesome Photobombs. What’s more fun than Benedict Cumberbatch photobombing U2 at The Oscars Or Michelle Obama at The White House. A good photobomb can turn an ordinary photo into something special and put a smile on your face. Now with Auto Awesome, celebrities can make a spontaneous appearance in your pictures!”

You can upload your own images and yet we still have not figured out if this is real or a joke….. Is Hasselhoff  actually going to pop up on some pictures you upload or not?

Try it here and see!

Source: Google+

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Both Samsung and HTC Unveil New Glove Wearable Technology

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The smartwatch is making a bigger splash in the mobile tech world this year, but what is next when it comes to wearable technology? How about…a glove? Why not? Remember the Nintendo Power Glove? That little piece of 90′s technology was fantastic, so let’s see OEMs take it to that level. HTC has announced the HTC Gluuv, while Samsung announces the Samsung Fingers. Anyone blown away? Of course you’re not. Happy April Fools Day.

Kind of funny how both of these OEMs decided to play the same joke on everyone, yet HTC went all out with an entire landing page full of spiffy looking images. Samsung has numerous drawn pictures that show how the Samsung Fingers work, and boy does it have a lot of uses. I wouldn’t be surprised if these pieces of technology were considered once, so if you want to check and see what these gloves can do, check out the photos on the post or hit the link for the HTC Gluuv landing page. Let us know what you think.

Take a look at them both:
Samsung Tomorrow
HTC Gluuv

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Jury finds Avaya manipulated market for its own software patches

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Can a provider of telecom equipment control third parties’ access to its intellectual property to such an extent that it directly manipulates the repair market for that equipment, perhaps to the point of monopoly? This has been one of the key issues in an eight-year battle between equipment maker Avaya and a repair service provider now called Continuant.

A federal district court jury in Camden, New Jersey, awarded Continuant $20 million in part of a lawsuit brought on by Avaya to stop Continuant from repairing its equipment without authorization. That jury found that Avaya tied the issuance of patches to its equipment’s software to post-warranty maintenance contracts, which excluded repair services from acquiring those patches elsewhere.

It’s difficult to argue that a manufacturer does not have the right to designate and authorize exclusive, warrantied repair facilities. Avaya is the license holder for telephony equipment software including patents dating back to the days of Western Electric, patents passed down to successor company Lucent Technologies, and then transferred to Avaya after Lucent’s merger with Alcatel. Needless to say, Avaya owns a chunk of one of the most prized intellectual property portfolios in history, and some of that portfolio pertains to the software that supports its platforms.

As Avaya explained in its original 2006 complaint, it provides diagnostic and repair software to its authorized repair facilities, and to its customers, through a direct channel into a private network–specifically, not over the Internet. Continuant’s predecessor company, called TLI, was one of those facilities. It had logged into the private network to receive software patches. Avaya alleged that, after it discontinued authorization for TLI, it continued to log into that private network, download patches, and then distribute them to its own customers.

With its countersuit since that time, Continuant has been fighting a somewhat public battle against Avaya, casting itself in the David role against Goliath, and garnering the support of the Association of Service and Computer Dealers International. That campaign prompted Avaya to post public warnings about so-called “unauthorized maintenance providers (UMP)” (.pdf). One of those warnings reads, in part, “Avaya maintenance agreements ensure your enterprise will always have access to the latest software patches, and you’ll avoid software audits of your Avaya infrastructure.”

There’s an obvious carrot and stick present in that statement, and it may very well have sullied what would otherwise have been a clear victory for Avaya.

The jury’s verdicts, delivered Thursday, were actually mostly in Avaya’s favor, and reading the list from the beginning might make one think Avaya had reason to celebrate. Did Avaya monopolize the post-warranty PBX maintenance market? The jury said no. Is there a competitive market–absent the presence of a monopoly player–in patches for Avaya PBXes? No, said the jury.

Did Avaya conspire to retrain trade in post-warranty PBX maintenance? No. Did Avaya monopolize the maintenance market for Avaya-brand PDS dialers? Again, no. Did it attempt to monopolize that market? No.

Could there be a competitive market for patches for PDS dialers? Here, the jury said yes. Did Avaya tie the availability of those patches to purchases of post-warranty maintenance contracts? Yes, said the jury. And that’s where Continuant suffered, by the jury’s estimate, $20 million in damages.

In the face of a contrasting verdict for PBX patches, it’s difficult to say a precedent could be set here. Conceivably, it could be taken to mean that a manufacturer’s responsibility to distribute software patches for its own equipment extends beyond its rights to intellectual property, in certain cases. Such a discussion would probably be heard during an appeal. For its part, Avaya had yet to release a statement by press time.

For more:
– read The News Tribune article
– download the Avaya intellectual property doc (.pdf)

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Aereo’s final Supreme Court plea: Cloud computing could be ruined

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On first reading, it sounds like a stretch. For many legal scholars, it continues sounding like a stretch after the twelfth reading. But given the historically unique confluence of circumstances leading up to next month’s round of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of ABC v. Aereo, it’s impossible to rule it out entirely: Aereo’s argument is that, if the distribution of programming from its cloud-based servers to its subscribers’ devices counts as a “performance”–and thus a potential copyright violation–then any distribution of media from a cloud server to those same devices should also count as “performances.”

Aereo is the innovative service, backed by former TV network chief Barry Diller, that uses arrays of patented micro-antennas to capture over-the-air TV signals, and then delivers those signals through cloud servers to Internet-based clients. It’s a subscription service that can deliver (almost) live television to viewers in locales where VHF antennas and coaxial cables can’t reach. But it’s undeniably redistributing network programming–something which networks’ parent companies usually charge for. Aereo doesn’t pay redistribution fees, arguing that it’s merely acting as an antenna-for-hire.

But what does Aereo have to do with the cloud? Like many other services, Aereo uses public clouds to store programs it records from its antennas. In a conspicuous effort to comply with certain laws, even if it flies in the face of others, Aereo literally provides each customer with her own tiny, little, private antenna and her own cloud storage for both live and DVR recording. It’s unlike any other service in the world with respect to its antennas, but it’s like every other cloud service in that it’s all delivered personally.

And that matters, because the “Transmit Clause” of U.S. copyright law that broadcasters claim Aereo violates, defines a transmission program as something designed for delivery “to the public.” Citing from Aereo’s final petition to the Supreme Court before it hears oral arguments next month:

“Petitioners’ [the broadcasters’] argument that the relevant “performance” for purposes of the Transmit Clause is the original broadcast, rather than the consumer’s performance from her personal copy, would pervasively threaten the use of cloud technologies to store and access copyrighted content. On petitioners’ view, whenever two users of a cloud-based “virtual locker” service–such as Google Drive–separately play a song stored on the provider’s servers, the provider is publicly performing by transmitting the same “underlying” performance to multiple members of the public…Were petitioners’ argument accepted, it would gravely threaten cloud computing. Petitioners, however, hardly acknowledge, much less address, this concern.”

Supporting Aereo’s position is not only the Appeals Court’s existing decision in its favor–which broadcasters are appealing–but the landmark 2008 Second Court of Appeals decision in Cartoon Network v. Cablevision, which the Supreme Court let stand. That decision overturned a lower court, determining that when what we would today call a “cloud-based service” makes a very temporary copy of a program in the act of delivering it to a single customer, that service is not violating copyright.

That decision permanently affirmed the legality of remote DVRs, and enabled an industry where cloud servers could deliver programming to Internet customers like software.

Because of the tenuous state of legal precedent on the subject of transmission over the Internet, whatever the Supreme Court decides will change the state of affairs for both cloud computing and broadcasting–the status quo will not survive. If the High Court affirms the decision in favor of Aereo, precedent could be set for Google, Amazon and any other cloud service to deliver any media, including published books, for individual customers without triggering the Transmit Clause, and without violating copyright. Fair use could expand dramatically. The rights of services such as Google Books to republish existing material under copyright could be sustained.

And in a threat reiterated by CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves earlier this month, CBS may lead broadcast networks in a mass exodus from the public airwaves.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of broadcasters–whose case is supported by the Government–then rights holders may be given new incentives to pursue infringement cases against cloud service providers and ISPs that may play a role, willingly or not, in the transmission of performances to any system. That system, in such a ruling, would count as “the public.”  Remote DVR services provided by non-cable services such as Dish Network, may once again be rendered illegal. Performance royalty rates for Internet radio services such as Pandora, Spotify and Last.fm could be renegotiated (again), with the intent of raising them (again). The economic viability of any broadband service whose media could be construed as a “performance,” could be put under the microscope.

For more:
– see the Transmit Clause on copyright.gov
– see the Betanews story on the 2008 Second Court of Appeals decision
– read the story on CBS Corp. CEO’s comments
– read the 24/7 Wall St. article on the Obama Administration’s opinion on the matter
– read The New York Times article

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
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New IoT industry group dreams of IP addresses for thermostats, pills, plywood

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The typical sci-fi rhetoric surrounding the notion of the Internet of Things features home appliances, vehicles and power tools being endowed with more microprocessors and Wi-Fi. If devices had more intelligent purposes, the rhetoric goes, they might have more important things to say to you than “On/Off,” and those things might be useful if kept secure in a database somewhere. (It’s the last part which is perhaps the most fantastic and least probable.)

But more serious thinkers are pondering the possibilities of endowing trillions of everyday things with simple sensors and logic circuits, not to give any one of these things intelligence but rather to enable a kind of collective artificial intelligence to be derived from the accumulation of them, like with ants or bacteria or members of Congress.

Thursday, five very well-known U.S. industrial giants that have done business together before without the aid of AI–AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM and Intel–announced their formation of an Industrial Internet Consortium(IIC). Rather than investing $2 billion in an overblown facemask and declaring it the future, the companies will spark discussions about the potential benefits to be gained by endowing everyday things with logic.

It’s not a bad discussion to be having, and it may help us filter out those things that would be better off without logic. But one clear permutation comes to mind, and will certainly be on the discussion table: Manufacturing facilities could be more highly automated if individual parts and components, along with the tools that assemble them, were in communication with one another in real-time. Imagine if the parts of a roof, for instance, could tell you whether they’re being buffeted by the wind.

“New steering instruments will interlink millions of things to ensure that everything runs as planned across the entire value chain,” reads the new Consortium’s marketing site.  “Changes in one part of the chain, automatically trigger adjustments on the factory floor.”

The enabling of a smart grid is also on the table, and here will certainly be one of the more controversial aspects of the discussion: Smart thermostats may actually become “demand response providers” in an IoT model, giving power customers options to shift demand or even, as an executive with one of the smaller electricity providers once suggested in 2013, to choose between power providers in a democratized delivery model.

Consider it a potential hard-wiring of the value chain at the most granular level imaginable. Such resolution into the status of everyday things undoubtedly leads to the types of “what-if” conjectures destined to be kept under glass by collectors of old Popular Science magazines. You might think such conjectures a bit hard to swallow, but that’s only if someone leaves off the enteric coating.

“Sensor-embedded medicine such as pills are being introduced to time-stamp and report the effects of medicine, smart sutures that detect infection, etc.,” reads another portion of the site.

If you’re wondering what good actually comes from these industry consortiums, let’s take a look at recent history for a moment. When a new industry reaches the embryonic stages of its development, the first order of business is for the many players in that industry’s predecessors to form battle lines. New industries can easily give rise to new leading players, each of which is capable of capturing the momentum and running with it. With the trench patterns drawn in advance and with major corporations manning those trenches with defenses such as intellectual property protections, it’s a little more difficult for new entrants to cross these minefields.

Cloud computing was an embryonic industry itself just five years ago, and it was at that time that IBM led a movement toward the founding of something called the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum, whose initial members also included Cisco and Intel… and most notably excluded Microsoft. The stated goal of this forum included something similar to the stated goal of this new IoT consortium: to guarantee interoperability and guard against the formation of proprietary, single-vendor platforms.

Another of that Forum’s early members was the Object Management Group, which during the ’90s led the movement toward CORBA–a method for inter-application communication that competed head-on against the OLE/COM standard that Microsoft developed for Windows. It’s worth noting that OMG announced Thursday (it’s hard to type that acronym today without LOL just a little) that it has been named the manager of the new IIC.

It’s also worth noting that, now that the cloud computing industry is in full swing and no longer a mesh of pipe dreams, every effort to reach the old CCIF Web site is met with a 404.

For more:
– see The Guardian Oculus Rift article
– see the Tom’s IT Pro article
– read the Betanews article
– read the Manufacturing Business Technology story

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
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Most amazing war-related technology of 2014

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Tech & War

Technology will keep transforming war, because it’s always been doing that. In many cases, these “advances” will make war even worse. In other cases, it will save lives. Here’s an update  on war-related technologies in the works in 2014, thanks to the ever-flowing spigot of Department of Defense (DoD) spending and the ubergeeks at outfits like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshow/146492/most-amazing-war-related-technology-of-2014.html

China’s unsupported XP machines hold the potential to become a massive botnet army

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Unsupported Windows XP machines in China could pose a threat to the Internet in general if bot-herders round up significant numbers of them to use as launch pads for malicious exploits, according to a top white-hat hacker.

James Forshaw, a vulnerability researcher for Context Information Security, says the vast number of XP computers in China represents the potential staging ground for attacks if they become compromised.

“If we’re talking tens of millions of machines that’s a significant pool to do DoS or other malicious attacks,” says Forshaw, who is a $100,000 winner of Microsoft’s BlueHat bounty prize for finding and reporting vulnerabilities in its Internet Explorer browser. “It might be in everyone’s best interest to get China or other countries to help them to migrate.”

StatCounter, which tracks operating system use by country, says that in January Windows XP represented 50.46%  of the operating systems in use in China. That’s down from 63% the year before, but still very significant. With China’s population upward of 1.3 billion, that represents a lot of machines, Forshaw says.

The cost of migration is cited as the main reason so many Chinese haven’t upgraded their operating systems despite Microsoft’s alerts that support for XP ends April 8, and perhaps financial incentives from Microsoft would help, he says. For example in the U.S., Microsoft is offering discounts on certain Windows 8 computers if customers trade in XP machines. “It’s a question of if they believe it’s in their best interest to help,” he says.

The danger these XP machines in China represent already exists, says Cesar Cerrudo, CTO at IOActive Labs. “It seems most [XP users in China] never applied security patches,” he says. That may be because many were pirated copies of the operating system and so couldn’t be updated because they had no documentation. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says 90% of Microsoft software used in China, including Windows XP was pirated. That means the bulk of XP computers in China have never been updated and so are ripe for exploitation, he says.

Forshaw agrees. “If the will was there it was already possible anyway,” he says.

How vulnerable they actually are depends on the overall risk footprint for the system – the hardware, operating system, applications and security, says Paul Royal, a research scientist and associate director of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center. Since the Web is a major way malware makes its way onto computers, the browser used and its security can make a difference, he says, and short-term those that run on XP will still be supported, he says, such as Mozilla’s Firefox and Google Chrome.

Attackers seeking an information bonanza by infiltrating newly unsupported XP may be disappointed, he says. He thinks most of government and large corporations have already transitioned to newer operating systems in order to maintain security or they have additional protections in place. “Mature nation-states are not stupid,” he says

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Sprint partnership suddenly makes rural LTE a real market

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A new alliance between Sprint and a telecom cooperative called the NetAmerica Alliance sheds light on one of this country’s most persistent communications problems–one which a cursory read of the news itself could easily avoid mentioning.

When the U.S. Dept. of Commerce last measured, only 15 percent of the nation’s rural points-of-presence had access to wireless download speeds of 10 Mbps or greater. That measurement took place in June 2011 for a report published in 2013 (.pdf), though there’s good reason to believe things haven’t improved all that much since then.

Videoconferencing applications require at least 10 Mbps, often as much as 50 Mbps of bandwidth. What class of users would require this much bandwidth for this purpose in rural areas? Agriculture, roadway construction, mining and oil drilling. Wireline connections to the nation’s rural regions are aging and unreliable.

Extending wireless broadband service to the nation’s rural customers has typically required small carriers, with exclusive customers in these districts, to pool together to purchase resalable bandwidth from a major carrier. Since 2010, Verizon has sought to be that carrier, by offering leases for its 700 MHz upper block spectrum (part of the grand prize of the FCC 700 MHz auction) to rural communities, through what that carrier calls the “LTE in Rural America Program.”

Competing with that program is the NetAmerica Alliance, which was founded with the idea of rural carriers pooling together their purchasing power and reselling similarly branded access packages to rural customers. For instance, Alliance members have been offering 4G LTE service to their customers under the collective brand “Bonfire.

“Recognizing the opportunity driven by consumer demand for anywhere, always-on broadband communication, many CSPs strategically acquired spectrum and evaluated deploying 4G LTE to serve that demand,” reads an introduction on NetAmerica’s Web site. “The question they faced was how to do that effectively and profitably in today’s challenging environment. The answer: by not going it alone.”

Meanwhile, Sprint had been building on a plan to compete in rural broadband, with a joint program involving its Clearwire division (now known as Clear) and Dish Network–which just last year was Sprint’s likely merger partner. Now that Softbank acquired Sprint instead, Dish is making moves on its own, using its own chunk of 700 MHz spectrum to offer rural LTE broadband using its own outdoor antennas.

So Thursday’s announcement that Sprint is teaming up with NetAmerica, for what’s being called the Small Market Alliance for Rural Transformation (SMART), could actually create the competitive broadband market that legislators have sworn for years already existed. In his statement, NetAmerica CEO Roger Hutton claimed that previously, a duopoly had existed in rural markets–a duopoly between Verizon and AT&T, with which his Alliance’s members could not compete.

In a keynote speech Thursday at the Global Expo of the Competitive Carriers Association (which will also be participating in the partnership), Softbank chairman Masayoshi Son (who is also now Chairman of Sprint) told attendees the only way for rural carriers to compete against this duopoly effectively is not just by banding together, but offering a single competitive service with the most modern devices. Pointing out that Sprint’s competitive footprint against that of CCA members doesn’t overlap all that much, Son said that Sprint is offering its footprint and portfolio services to rural competitors as “weapons” (his word, which he repeated) against “the duopolists.”

But their duopoly may be weakening anyway. As The Motley Fool first reported Tuesday, AT&T and Verizon actually gave back federal funds that were part of the FCC’s Connect America Fund–established to help expand broadband service to rural areas. AT&T has also reportedly retained lobbyists, apparently with the aim of convincing lawmakers to cancel their obligations, under the National Broadband Plan, to establish rural service.

If AT&T and Verizon are truly walking away from this, Sprint appears willing to welcome rural customers with open arms… and a Tier 1 backbone to boot.

For more:
– see the NetAmerica Alliance site
– download the NTIA doc (.pdf)
– read the ExtremeTech article
– read The Motley Fool article
– see the NetAmerica press release

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
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Andreessen & Horowitz Podcast: China, Technology and the future….

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Check out the Podcast on China, Technology and the future HERE!

Grab the SoundCloud Android App HERE! And listen to great music and news & podcasts on your mobile device today

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Andreessen & Horowitz Podcast: Oculus and the Mind-Blowing Reality of Virtual…..

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Check out the Podcast here on SoundCloud!

Grab the SoundCloud Android App HERE! And listen to great music and news & podcasts on your mobile device

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
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Has the Black Jacketed Boot of the Obama Administration on the Neck of Bitcoin just made it impossible for Bitcoin to become a viable Virtual Currency?

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As I have stated many times already, the WHY is simple, the people who have taken over this once great country, own the current monetary system and would rather kill off everyone of us, than allow it to be changed. (See my article on the ten financial executives recently found dead, around the globe, of “suspicious” circumstances)

The How has been a bit more difficult. I believe they instigated the Mt. GOX failure as well as more nefarious incidents to attempt to stop Bitcoin from taking hold and when those attempts all failed (See my article on the new replacement for Mt GOX) and when you have people like Marc Andreessen and many other high profile businessmen and women all “buying in” to Bitcoin, they realized they would need to take another approach and after hauling CEO’ of multiple Bitcoin companies to Jail on false and completely idiotic charges (charged with money laundering because some stranger “might” use your services to launder money??? Why is every Bank CEO not in prison then?), and nothing worked they decided to use the Black Booted IRS instead to put the boot on the neck of Bitcoin…

On Tuesday, the Internal Revenue Service ruled that it would tax Bitcoin as a property, not a currency.

Some see the move as helping to bring the medium into the mainstream. Now that bitcoins can be taxed, they’re reportable, and the legal ramifications of buying and selling a coin are clear.

The IRS’s decision, though, may end one of the great dreams of Bitcoin. The U.S. government will now subject owners of individual bitcoins to capital gains taxes: What they gain on buying or selling a bitcoin, they must pay taxes on.

That’s a big deal, perhaps bigger than it seems, because—as a new blog post by Georgetown Law professor Adam J. Levitin explains—it means Bitcoin can no longer function as a digital currency.

To tax Bitcoin as property, he says, destroys its fungibility: One Bitcoin can no longer be exchanged for another.

This was one of the original intents behind the service. Bitcoin aimed to function as a kind of digital money, meaning it had to work as a unit of account, a medium of exchange, and a store of value. In reverse, that means:

As a store of value, Bitcoin’s price had to be predictably stable, such that you could neglect to spend a single bitcoin and know its value would not fluctuate wildly. In late 2013, many argued that Bitcoin’s quickly rising price kept it from functioning as a dependable store of value, but there were no technical or regulatory reasons it couldn’t function as such eventually.

As a medium of exchange, Bitcoin must be commonly desired. People must want to have Bitcoin; others must want to spend it. (Thus, it avoids the ‘coincidence of wants’ problem—in order to trade, both people don’t need to want something the other person has. Instead of trading rent for food, for example, you can rent living space from a landlord with money, and your landlord can use that money to buy food.)

Finally, as a unit of account, Bitcoin had to have a standard numerical value to be used to measure profits and settle debts. It had to be divisible (which it was, since smaller units of bitcoin could be traded); it had to be verifiable (which it was—this formed the basis of its cryptosecurity), and finally, it had to be fungible, meaning that every bitcoin was the same as every other bitcoin.

And that’s where it gets interesting.

Something like a $10 bill, for example, is fungible. The $10 bill you got from an ATM is the same as the $10 bill you got back as change at the ice cream parlor is the same as the $10 bill you (on a very lucky day) find on the street. It does not matter which $10 bill you spend.

So $10 bills, in other words, are interchangeable. This is why we don’t use horses, bananas, or hand-painted ceramic ashtrays as currency. (The hand-painted ceramic ashtray you got from an ATM is unlikely to be of the same quality as the one you found on the street. This is also why art doesn’t make a good currency.)

“So,” asks Levitin, “what does this have to do with Bitcoin?”

    The price at which a particular Bitcoin was acquired (and this is traceable) determines the capital gains on that particular Bitcoin when spent.  If I spend Bitcoin A, which I bought at $10, but is now worth $400, I’ve got a very different tax treatment than if I spend Bitcoin B, which I bought at $390. […] This means Bitcoins are not fungible, and that makes it unworkable as a currency.

And then:

    If I have to figure out which particular Bitcoin in my wallet I want to spend and what the tax treatment will be, Bitcoin just doesn’t work as a commercial medium of exchange.

It still works as a speculative medium, Levitin writes. But one bitcoin, per Levitin, no longer equals one bitcoin no longer equals one bitcoin. Every bitcoin you own is a little different.

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
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Breaking News: 200 Polish Leopard II A4/5 Tanks headed to the Ukrainian Border

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Breaking News, the 10th Polish Armoured Cav Brigade were seen heading towards the Ukraine Border from their base in Swietoszow Poland.

Kenya Sets Up The Largest Wind Power Generation Plant In Africa – |

http://www.innov8tiv.com/kenya-sets-largest-wind-power-generation-plant-africa/

Amazon denies developing TV and music-video streaming services

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Amazon (NYSE:AMZN) denied Thursday that it is considering a free streaming media service after reports surfaced it could be adding a new streaming service.

The denial follows a story by The Wall Street Journal Thursday that Amazon would launch a free, ad-supported streaming video service parallel to Amazon Prime, which allows paying members to view certain movies and TV shows without ads. The story said the free ad-supported service could let non-Prime members watch licensed programs, Amazon original video series and music videos.

“We have a video advertising business that currently offers programs like First Episodes free and ads associated with movie and game trailers,” said Sally Fouts, Amazon’s public relations manager, reports Variety. “We’re often experimenting with new things, but we have no plans to offer a free streaming media service.”

Amazon has invested heavily in making TV shows and movies available to Prime customers, but it’s still a small player compared to Netflix and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). The company is reportedly on the verge of announcing a new set-top box, which is suspected to be revealed at a news media event in New York on April 2 reports Re/code. 

This is the second time in recent months that rumors about an Amazon streaming service have surfaced. In January, Amazon denied reports that it would be debuting a new online pay-TV service after news broke that the company reportedly inked a deal with U.S. media companies to acquire rights for the service. The deal would have offered existing channels with live programming over the internet. However, Amazon refuted the reports the next day. 

For more:
-See this Variety article
-See this Re/code article
-See this Wall Street Journal article

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
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Walmart sues Visa for $5B in credit card swipe fees

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Walmart (NYSE: WMT) has filed a lawsuit against Visa for $5 billion, accusing the credit and debit card network of excessively high card swipe fees.

Walmart alleges that Visa conspired with banks to illegally inflate fees that retailers pay on card transactions, and that the fees cost U.S. retailers and shoppers more than $350 billion between 2004 and November 2012.

Walmart is seeking damages for what it claims are violations of federal antitrust laws and swipe fees that cost retailers and shoppers more than $350 billion over the nearly nine-year period in question.

“The anticompetitive conduct of Visa and the banks forced Wal-Mart to raise retail prices paid by its customers and/or reduce retail services provided to its customers as a means of offsetting some of the artificially inflated interchange fees,” Walmart said in court documents, reports Reuters.

The suit, filed Tuesday, comes several months after Walmart opted out of a settlement between 19 retailers and Visa and MasterCard. In December, a federal judge in New York approved a $5.7 billion class action settlement between the retailers and Visa and MasterCard despite the objections of thousands of merchants that complained it was inadequate.

Walmart, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Target (NYSE: TGT) were among those opting out of the monetary components of that suit in order to seek damages on their own.

Following December’s case, the National Retail Federation issued a statement noting its disappointment with the settlement, which it appealed in January with the support of several retail organizations.

“We are very disappointed that this deeply flawed settlement has been approved,” Mallory Duncan, general counsel at the National Retail Federation, said in a statement. “It is not supported by the retail industry and would do nothing to reduce swipe fees or keep them from rising in the future.”

For more:
-See this Reuters article

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Want a free year of Office 365? Bring your iPad to a Microsoft Store This Weekend

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If you’re enamored with Office for iPad but don’t want to fork over $70-plus per year for the necessary Office 365 subscription, you’ll want to make a beeline to your local Microsoft Store this weekend. Microsoft has launched a promo that will offer a free year of Office 365 to the first 50 people who bring an iPad to a given retail location from March 28th through March 30th. You’ll undoubtedly have to hustle if you want to take advantage of the deal, but the trek could be worthwhile if you like the idea of giving Office an extra-long trial run.

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
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The Toyota 6X6 Hilux… Sunday Drive to the North Pole Anyone?

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The Toyota Hilux is a capable machine that’s already reached the South Pole. But this is an even more capable Hilux that crossed Antarctica: the record-setting 6×6 Hilux.

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Best of all, it was driven by a 19-year-old doing scientific research about the South Pole. To recap: 6×6 Hilux for science. Outstanding.

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Mackenzie Slams The Galaxy S5, Calls It Cheap Plastic

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he HTC One M8 was launched not too long ago and we have to say that it is one of the more beautiful Android smartphones we’ve seen to date. The use of metal gives the phone a more premium look and feel to it, something which is pretty refreshing in a market where for the most part, phones are typically made from plastic.

In fact HTC’s CEO, Peter Chou, was reportedly pretty involved in the design process of the HTC One M8, constantly making changes and providing feedback to the team where they reportedly created 30-50 prototypes before landing on the final design. This is something HTC should be proud of and it looks like they have no qualms about rubbing it in the face of their competition, Samsung.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 was announced at MWC 2014 but unlike the HTC One M8, Samsung decided to opt for plastic again. The texture back was a nice touch (literally) as it was a change from the usual glossy plastic backs used by Samsung, but for the most part, the phone is still plastic.

In an interview with Business Insider, HTC’s Jason Mackenzie was quoted as saying, “If you want to buy a product built out of cheap plastic, there’s a solution for you,” when asked about Samsung’s flagship smartphone. He later adds, “[HTC is] a company that invests in our customers and delivers a beautifully designed product that you can feel proud of,” as if to allude that Samsung, or other Android OEMs for that matter, aren’t such a company. “Samsung is a company that’s focused on investing in advertising.”

The rivalry is to be expected and we guess we’ll just have to wait for the sales figures to come in to decide who is the clear winner. If 2013 is anything to go by, Samsung could possibly dominate with the Galaxy S5 like they did with the Galaxy S4.

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Caribbean Police hunt for woman after British man found dead on life raft

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Caribbean Police are searching for a woman after the body of a 53-year-old British man was found on a partially burned raft around 17 miles off south western Saint Vincent.

John Garner was found with injuries to his head and both legs after the coast guard answered reports of a burning yacht out at sea. Police have opened a murder investigation and said they are looking for a Heidi Hukkelaas, who they suspect was with Garner on the boat.

St Vincent police commissioner Michael Charles reportedly said: “We are treating the death as suspicious and are looking at all lines of inquiry.

“We suspect foul play and will investigate the matter fully. Miss Hukkelaas is a person of interest and as with every murder investigation we have to look at everyone and everything and will leave no stones unturned.”

Mr Garner was taken to Milton Cato Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to local media reports.

The Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force said that Mr Garner’s yacht Asante was registered in Gibraltar and debris and an oil spill were discovered out at sea, where police believe it sank.

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Palo Alto-based small business financing startup BlueVine has raised $4 million 

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Palo Alto-based small business financing startupBlueVine has raised $4 million in new funding led byLightspeed Venture PartnersGreylock ILCorrelation VenturesKreos Capital, and Kima Ventures. BlueVine helps small businesses manage and accelerate invoice payment to access funding more quickly and avoid taking loans. Founded in 2013, BlueVine has just launched its beta service, which it will offer to target audiences next month.

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San Francisco-based online investment platform CircleUp has raised $14 million

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San Francisco-based online investment platformCircleUp has raised $14 million in a Series B round led by Canaan Partners with participation from Google VenturesUnion Square VenturesMaveron, and Rose Park Advisors. CircleUp leverages the new crowdfunding rules that allow private companies to raise money from multiple investors on the internet, and has already seen over 60 startups raise money using its platform. Founded in 2011, CircleUp has raised $23 million to date and will use the new funds to improve its data and transparency tools for investors.

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Jimmy Wales “What we won’t do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of “true scientific discourse”. It isn’t.”

Sometimes there’s drama on Wikipedia. The latest commotion is over Wikipedia’s coverage of holistic healing: Members of the alternative medicine community don’t like how they’re being written about, so they created a petition, pledging not to donate to Wikipedia if something doesn’t change.

The Change.org petition, titled “Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia: Create and enforce new policies that allow for true scientific discourse about holistic approaches to healing,” lays out a case for using “fair-minded referees” on posts related to holistic healing. The group cites posts like the energy medicine Wikipedia page, and the emotional freedom techniques page, which notes prominently that “EFT is generally characterized as pseudoscience.”

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The petition says, “Wikipedia is widely used and trusted. Unfortunately, much of the information related to holistic approaches to healing is biased, misleading, out-of-date, or just plain wrong.” Wikipedia’s thought field therapy page, for example, states at the end of the introduction, “There is no scientific evidence that TFT is effective, and the American Psychological Association has stated that it ‘lacks a scientific basis.’”
The petition has reached 8,100 signatures, but Jimmy Wales says they can keep their money. He posted this response on the petition:

No, you have to be kidding me. Every single person who signed this petition needs to go back to check their premises and think harder about what it means to be honest, factual, truthful.
Wikipedia’s policies around this kind of thing are exactly spot-on and correct. If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals—that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately.

What we won’t do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of “true scientific discourse”. It isn’t.

Missing MH370 flight search area shifted on ‘new, credible lead’

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The search for wreckage of Flight MH370 was shifted Friday to an area 1,100 kilometres (685 miles) northeast of where planes had been looking after “a new, credible lead”, Australian authorities said.

“The new information is based on continuing analysis of radar data between the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca before radar contact was lost,” the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

“It indicated that the aircraft was travelling faster than previously estimated, resulting in increased fuel usage and reducing the possible distance the aircraft travelled south into the Indian Ocean.”

The updated advice was provided by the international investigation team in Malaysia with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) determining “that this is the most credible lead to where debris may be located”.

The new search area is approximately 319,000 square kilometres and around 1,850 kilometres west of Perth.

“ATSB advises the potential flight path may be the subject of further refinement as the international investigative team supporting the search continues their analysis,” AMSA said, adding that Australia was re-positioning its satellites to the new area.

It follows Thailand reporting Thursday a satellite sighting of hundreds of floating objects. Japan also announced a satellite analysis indicated around 10 square floating objects in a similar area.

They were the second pair of sightings in two days suggesting a possible debris field from the Boeing 777, which vanished on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.

Ten aircraft from six countries were involved in the search Friday with a further plane on standby.

Five Chinese ships and an Australian naval vessel were steaming to the new zone of interest, AMSA added.

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Android To Be More Stable Than iOS, Less App Crashes

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With the release of iOS 7.1, performance monitoring service, Crittercism, found that it was the most stable iOS build to date, with a crash rate of just under 1.6%. This is compared to previous iOS builds who have had a crash rate of over 2%. That’s pretty good, right? Sure, but now that Crittercism has released the numbers for Android, things certainly don’t look so good anymore.

According to the latest figures by Crittercism, they have found that Android in general has been more stable compared to iOS. According to their findings, app crashes on Android 2.3 Gingerbread was at 1.7%, a number which Apple has only recently managed to beat.

Other builds of Android, especially those of the 4.x variety, were found to have a crash rate of around 0.7%, a number which Apple is pretty far from at the moment. Those are some pretty interesting statistics and given that Crittercism monitors app usage on over a billion Android and iOS apps, it’s safe to say that their research has been pretty damn extensive.

Of course at the end of the day we guess it also depends on how the developer has written the app for the platform. For example apps not optimized for the latest operating system can crash due to incompatibility. Badly written code could also be a cause for app crashes, but for now, at least based on these numbers, Android appears to be the clear winner, at least in their fight against iOS.

What do you guys think? Do iOS users agree that their apps tend to crash more frequently than Android? Or are the numbers a little too low for the differences in percentage to be noticeable?

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Peter Cosgrove sworn in as governor general

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A 21-gun salute outside Parliament House has heralded the swearing-in of General Sir Peter Cosgrove as Australia’s 26th governor general.

Wearing civilian attire and displaying a host of military and civil medals, Cosgrove was sworn into the nation’s highest constitutional office by the high court chief justice, Robert French. Scores of politicians and dignitaries witnessed the ceremony inside the Senate chamber on Friday.

Earlier, Tony Abbott welcomed Cosgrove to Parliament House where he received a general salute from a military guard of honour. He was escorted to the Senate by the usher of the Black Rod and the serjeant-at-arms, passing by dozens of people gathered inside the main lobby.

The formal proclamation ceremony began with the reading of the Queen’s commission, the instrument by which a person is appointed governor general “during our pleasure”.

Cosgrove, as required, made an oath affirming to be faithful and bear true allegiance to Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors. He also swore to do right to all manner of Australians “without fear or favour, affection or ill will”.

He signed a proclamation of office, which was countersigned by the prime minister.

Cosgrove said he was both humbled and proud to take office, noting he was the 13th Australian to do so. He paid tribute to his predecessor, Dame Quentin Bryce, and her husband, Michael, saying they had given eminent service to the nation.

Australia prided itself on high levels of social inclusiveness, harmony and equity, he said. “Compared to most nations on earth that pride is not misplaced.”

Yet Australia remained a work in progress. “There is a role for the governor general … to reflect the community to itself without becoming partisan,” he said. “I will embrace those opportunities enthusiastically.”

Cosgrove and his wife, Lynne, were greeted by government ministers, the leader of the opposition, Bill Shorten, and the Greens leader, Christine Milne. The justices of the high court and the heads of diplomatic missions also were presented to the vice-regal couple.

A reception is being held in the Members’ Hall.

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Boston-based digital currency company Circle Internet Financial has raised a Series B round of $17 million 

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Boston-based digital currency company Circle Internet Financial has raised a Series B round of $17 million from new investor Oak Investment Partners along withBreyer CapitalAccel PartnersGeneral Catalyst PartnersPantera Capital, and the Bitcoin Opportunity Fund. Circle is creating tools to secure and simplify online transactions using digital currencies such as bitcoin. Founded last fall with $26 million in total funding, Circle plans to publicly launch its consumer product later this year.

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Seattle and Chennai, India-based product database Indix has raised $8.5 million

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Seattle and Chennai, India-based product databaseIndix has raised $8.5 million in a Series A-1 round led by Avalon Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners. Indix is building an index for over 1 billion consumer products to help consumer brands manage real-time commerce. Founded in 2012, Indix has raised nearly $15 million to date and will put the latest round into research and development efforts as well as expanding engineering teams.

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London-based football media platform FTBpro has raised $18 million 

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London-based football media platform FTBpro has raised $18 million in new funding from existing investors Battery VenturesGemini Israel Ventures,Dawn Capital, and an unnamed Asia-based media investor. FTBpro is a fan-generated media platform that features sports journalism and analysis in seven different languages. Founded in 2011, FTBpro currently sees over 100 million page views per month and will use the new cash to fund global expansion, specifically in Asia.

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San Jose-based security and malware protection company ThreatMetrix has raised $20 million

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San Jose-based security and malware protection company ThreatMetrix has raised $20 million in new funding led by Adams Street Partners with participation from all previous investors includingAugust CapitalTechnology Venture PartnersUS Venture Partners, and Tenaya Capital. ThreatMetrix provides fraud detection technology and secures enterprise apps for a variety of industries including financial services, e-commerce, and social networks. Founded in 2005, ThreatMetrix has raised over $56 million to date and will use the new funds to fuel international expansion and build out its mobile cybersecurity products.

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Mountain View-based healthcare data security startup TrueVault has raised $2.5 million

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Mountain View-based healthcare data security startup TrueVault has raised $2.5 million in seed funding from FundersClubAndreessen Horowitz,General CatalystMaverickKhosla Ventures, and more. A graduate of Y Combinator’s most recent class, TrueVault provides a secure API for healthcare apps to use when storing sensitive patient data. Founded in 2013, TrueVault currently has over 300 customers and will use the funding to further develop its platform.

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French cellular network operator Sigfox has raised €15 million 

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French cellular network operator Sigfox has raised €15 million in Series B funding fromIDInvestBPIFrance, and previous investors Elaia PartnersIntel Capital and Partech International. Sigfox is building a wireless cellular network using long-range, low-energy communication networks to connect the internet of things and make data sharing less expensive. Founded in 2009, Sigfox has raised over $30 million to date and will use the new investment to fund international expansion.

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San Francisco-based food delivery service Sprig has raised $10 million

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San Francisco-based food delivery service Sprighas raised $10 million in Series A funding led byGreylock Partners with participation from Battery Ventures and Accel Partners. Sprig offers consumers a choice of three different locally sourced and inexpensive meals to be delivered within 20 minutes. Founded in 2013, Sprig is currently only available in San Francisco but will use the new funding to expand the service into new markets.

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Economics 101: How The Cloud Is Changing More Than Just Technology

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By Sarah Kuranda

While everyone seems to be talking about the cloud and its effects on technology, there isn’t much being said about the macroeconomic effect on the economy as a whole, said John Parkinson, affiliate partner, Waterstone Management Group, and former CTO at many major technology and consulting companies.

The cloud is rapidly not only changing the conversation, but also the entire landscape of the industry, Parkinson said.

First, the amount of technology in companies is dwindling, Parkinson said. For every server in the cloud that provides application compute on a Software-as-a-Service basis, companies can eliminate approximately four servers. Between two and 10 terabytes of storage can be taken out of an SMB installation for every terabyte of storage in the cloud that is intelligently organized. And for every high-capacity switch port in the cloud, two to five can be taken out of an on-premise organization.

[Related: Service Charge: How Recurring Revenue Models Are Changing The Channel Financing Game]

Those statistics are significant to the technology marketplace, especially for hardware sales, Parkinson said.

“That was kind of the super-bad news,” Parkinson said.

“You have by en masse moving to the cloud reduced the size of the technology equipment market globally between half and three-quarters,” he continued. “You have to throw some growth in to counterbalance that.” However, that’s also an opportunity for those able to help out with the organization of all of that data, Parkinson said.

Following the drop in amount of physical technology, Parkinson said that the cloud also has made it easier for tech companies to get by with a lower head count. The amount of people that it takes to support the given state of technology and users is less as cloud-based systems and services make the model more effective.

In fact, Parkinson estimated that cloud would ultimately “collapse” the IT head count by approximately 60 percent. It would be inefficient on a company-by-company basis to have employees sitting around, waiting for a problem, he said. By using shared services organizations, such as solution providers, companies can maximize their efficiency and focus on adding more sales or services staff.

“You could see a significant restructuring of the industry around these macroeconomic shifts if they get it,” Parkinson said.

In particular, Parkinson said that the role of the CIO is in danger of being eliminated with the move to the cloud. The technology decision power within organizations will shift away from the CIO to the CMO or CFO. Those positions always had some level of control, Parkinson said, but now they will have more as there is mounting evidence that the cloud is cheaper and just as good a method. CIOs themselves are having a hard time adjusting to the change, Parkinson said, because it affects their jobs, and that makes them reluctant to adopt the cloud.

To address the macroeconomic shift, solution providers need to take a good, hard look at how the client business makes money, and how they can grow that through technology. Parkinson said that technology can support growth, reduce operating costs and provide all sorts of benefits to the end users.

“I see this as being a very interesting time in that regard. It’s one of those big shifts that’s going on around everybody, and a lot of the people are pretending it isn’t happening,” Parkinson said.

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Cloud Vendors Pushing Everyone towards the Cloud…causing huge shortage of Cloud Knowledge

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By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer

One Cloud Consultant recently told me he received 30 to 40 New opportunities in his email daily, stating he could not keep up with the demand. “I recently had a fortune 500 company who had been hounding me for over a year to help them with their cloud buildout, finally realize it’s a sellers market, now they’re offering over $150 hour which is a bit closer to reality… ” he said, on condition of anonymity.

The truth is, most companies feel pressured to jump on the” Cloud bandwagon or be left behind” causing many to blunder and end up throwing their entire infrastructure on a public hosted platform that was not made for that type of service, Amazon has a terrible 96 percent Uptime average, is that really what you want to have your business tied to? The problem is 96 percent of businesses have no clue about how to utilize the cloud properly and cannot afford to hire someone at $150 hour to assist them with a sensible plan.

The fact is, all this marketing hype has hurt the industry, it’s backfired. Amazon has been pushing for three years now and created a monster that not even they can handle with their bloated four year old Infrastructure…. Face it folks, they have pushed so hard and fast that the pressure to jump on has created a market which has far outpaced any chance, of experience with the technology, catching up anytime soon.

During the past thirty plus years, IT organizations were composed of professionals who were siloed in their knowledge, skills, expertise and experience in applications, systems, networks, telecom, security, operations practices, etc.   It was very rare that you could find, let alone hire, people that were capable of working in more than one technology discipline.

As telecom and data technologies converged through the development of VoIP solutions, these two technology areas were ‘smashed’ together, and many of us learned that the structure and approach to designing routing tables in routers was the same as routing tables for voice calls in PBXs.  What a surprise that was!

Then came network based applications such as email.  Then came unified messaging where you could take voice mails from the phone system and send them to people via email, albeit in two different in boxes.

Technologies continued to evolve with the industry developing solutions that could bring technologies together, but somehow the industry kept forgetting about the human capital.  How were technology professionals supposed to learn and keep up with these changes and learn the vocabulary, programs and systems differences?  (this challenge applied to professionals on both the vendor and client side by the way).

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Microsoft expanding CloudOS Network beyond tier 1 partners in Brazil

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Brazil – Microsoft partnered with some 30 global service providers in its Cloud OS Network initiative last December, expanding the range of data center tools available for their corporate customers. Microsoft is now bringing more localized partners into the network.

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New Cloud Technology based Healthware Startup looks to “Change Peoples Lives, for the Better. One subscriber at a time”

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FitBit & 4D Healthware, Changing Peoples life for the better?
4D Healthware 4dhealthware.com is a startup that is using FitBit products, including their scale, in their initial Prototype to help people with medical issues (everything from obesity to cancer, to medical trials at some of the major hospitals around the US) and with major success.

Star Cunningham Founder & CEO and the idea behind 4D Healthware says that her company “… takes FitBit and all medical devices to the next level”….

Their Web based SaaS product (you can sign up early for their production roll-out this summer, right on the website http://4dhealthware.com and take advantage of their 30 day free trial for individual accounts) actually makes it much easier for people to track their activity, take their medication on time, and assists their subscribers with making real world decisions in real-time which improve the quality of life and increase the health of their subscribers.

“Medical Device Technology is going to make a big difference in this generation”

It’s an amazing product which I was fortunate enough to get a early look at which utilizes Artificial-intelligence, Machine Learning, Big-Data Analytics and Cloud Technology to really provide an experience like no other system today.

“We have been in talks with Bill Clinton, Esther Dyson, Joel Dudley, Robert Wyllie and a lot of other big names in both the medical and business communities and my greatest hope is that Marc Andreessen (my absolute hero, being from the same small home town, in the technology sector) and his VC firm which also includes a great philanthropic spirit in Ben Horowitz, will fund my company, our new CTO worked with Marc at Netscape for almost five years in the early nineties…and we are now looking at going for our A Round over the next ninety days, now that we have a 400 patient proof of concept going with a major hospital and our product is in final stages of its prototype development”

From what we saw they will have no problem getting a big name Venture Capital firm like Andreessen & Horowitz or KPCB or any other big names on-board… They will most likely be fighting them off which, can be a good problem to have for a company with goals as large as 4D Healthware.

Affordable 
Their service starts at under $10

A money maker 
4DHealthware’s first two customers alone total more than 2 million subscribers. At $10 per month… Do the math

Only the beginning 
One of the recurring themes at 4D, is the fact that they are the first ever to do what they’re doing and the market their entering is barely even in its infancy, as their CTO Jarrett Ridlinghafer says “Taking medical-device Technology, mixing in Artificial-Intelligence, Big-data and a pinch of Machine Learning and what you get is an unbelievable result with almost Unlimited potential, it’s really quite impressive what Star Cunningham has done, and the potential is so exciting, it’s why I agreed to join the team.” Says the 25 year veteran of Technology who started his career at the same place Andreessen did, Netscape, where he helped save the company 20+M annually and invented the first “Bugs Bounty” program from scratch.

“People ask me what things are going to be like in 10 years time,” Jones said. “I tell them I don’t even know what it’s going to be like in two years. We’re at the start of a revolution.”

” I quit a great career at IBM where they flew me around the world to trouble shoot Strategic projects, it was exciting and fun, but after going through my own personal hell with the medical establishment,” Star Cunningham says of her vision as Founder & CEO “People think I’m crazy because I quit an unbelievable career and spent every dime of my own money on an “idea” and have never looked back. But isn’t that what America is all about? Isn’t this the beauty of the “free market” we have here, that people from other less fortunate countries and people like my ancestors, me being the third generation of freed slaves, have been dreaming about for generations? I decided I wanted to change the world for the better, and with 4D and here in the greatest country on earth, and a team of great people backing me, I am able to do that, one subscriber at a time… ”

Visit Star Cunningham’s LinkedIn.com page Here
4DHealthware.com

Cisco joins cloud computing race with $1 billion plan

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Cisco Systems Inc plans to offer cloud computing services, pledging to spend $1 billion over the next two years to enter a market currently led by the world’s biggest online retailer Amazon.com Inc.

Cisco said it will spend the amount to build data centers to help run the new service called Cisco Cloud Services.

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Cisco, which mainly deals in networking hardware, wants to take advantage of companies’ desire to rent computing services rather than buying and maintaining their own machines.

The company said it plans to deliver the service with and through partners including Australian telecom service provider Telstra, tech distributor Ingram Micro Inc, and Indian IT company Wipro Ltd.

“Customers, providers and channel partners … want to rapidly deploy valuable enterprise-class cloud experiences for key customers — all while mitigating the risk of capital investment,” Rob Lloyd, Cisco’s president of development and sales, said in a statement.

Cisco’s plans were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

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Enterprise hardware spending is dwindling across the globe as companies cope with shrinking budgets, slowing or uncertain economies and a fundamental migration to cloud computing, which reduces demand for equipment by outsourcing data management and computing needs.

Microsoft Corp last year said it was cutting prices for hosting and processing customers’ online data in an aggressive challenge to Amazon’s lead in the growing business of cloud computing. — Reuters

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Cloud-based archive tool to help catch child abusers

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By Mark Ward

Victims of child sexual abuse could soon be identified more quickly thanks to law enforcement agency work on a cloud-based archive of abuse material.

The database has been created to help investigators cope with the vast amount of images abusers typically amass.

It will help police forces quickly check images seized in raids and spot those showing children not seen before.

Forces in the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia are helping test the database.

Finding victims

Called Project Vic, work on the archive is being co-ordinated by the US Department of Homeland Security and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

James Cole, a national programme manager at Homeland Security, said the project grew out of the realisation that there was huge duplication of effort among those investigating abusers and the material they trade.

That problem was particularly acute in the US where there were tens of thousands of local police forces and jurisdiction on some crimes shared across local, state and federal agencies.

“We have issues with deconflicting investigations and also big issues with the amount of data that we are seizing,” Mr Cole told the BBC.

Across all the crime categories it investigates, Homeland Security seizes “petabytes” of data every year, he said, adding that it was a signature trait of abusers that they amassed large collections of images and videos.

The Project Vic approach uses technologies and software from companies such as Netclean, Hubstream and others to allow investigators to categorise known material. This allows them to concentrate on never-seen-before material and produce a unique summary or “hash” for each new item, said Mr Cole.

“The idea is to allow law enforcement to run data against hash sets that are immediately available through cloud services,” he said. “They can interrogate that data in real time and know a lot of things about it very quickly.”

Project Vic is also seeking to promote and get backing for a new standards-based image formatting system. This would generate hashes using an open protocol and should make it straightforward to exchange comprehensive sets of hashes domestically and internationally without having to touch or manipulate the data.

Abusers typically amass large collections of images and videos

Finding unique images more quickly would help police and other agencies focus on victims and material that had never been seen before, said Mr Cole.

“When material is produced you hope to trace it back to an offender and stop them producing or having further opportunities to exploit the child,” he said. “We are making great strides in how we do that.”

Rich Brown from the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, said Project Vic would help work being done globally to tackle abuse crimes.

“Project Vic represents the largest movement of its kind to change the way investigators approach this crime set,” said Mr Brown.

Among abusers, material had become a kind of currency, said Mr Cole.

“In well over 90% of our cases there’s no money changing hands,” he said. “It’s the material itself that is highly desirable for offenders. Money does not come into play.”

New material has the highest value among abusers and it was incredibly useful to spot it so investigators can focus their efforts on it and work towards freeing victims, he said.

“The way we identify and rescue these children is by putting all that related information together,” he said.

Unfortunately, he added, there were also cases in which investigators made little headway and just had to watch victims grow up among abusers.

“Sometimes,” he said, “the clues are just not there.”

Synapse Synergy Group, Inc.  has offered to donate time, the use of their development talent and other services to assist with what their Founder Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer has called “Putting a stop to the biggest crisis facing our children of any generation and the most heinous crimes committed by mankind”

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
CTO of the following –
4DHealthware.com
Synapse Synergy Group
EinDrive.com
HTML5Deck.com
PerfectCapacity.com
CSPComply.com
Chief Technology Analyst, Author & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC
Atheneum-Partners
Hadoop Magazine
BrainBench.com
Cloud Consulting International

Public Cloud is not about Infrastructure, it’s about Services…

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“The problem is too many companies believe the hype and toss their entire infrastructure into the public cloud, this is a guaranteed path to failure. It’s about Services, hybrid clouds are really where the growth, the large enterprise growth, will come but it’s just not there yet as far as security and compliance. Just look at the number of breaches over the past two years involving hundreds of millions of innocent people’s lives being affected, many of them ruined by stolen identities through credit card and social security number information being stolen and what you’ll find when you dig sleep enough, is that most had the public cloud involved in one way or another.”

says Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer Technology Analyst & CTO of Synapse Synergy Group and six other High-Tech Startups.

“It’s why I wrote in my SaaS predictions for 2014 for my Atheneum-Partners column, that you can expect a slow down, not an increase as many Analysts are predicting, in public cloud service adoption over the next two years, until enterprise executives see the hype and lies begin to go away, when the unending breaches cease to be a normal daily event in the news, until real honest and transparent security and compliance Solutions begin to take hold like our CSPComply & BYODcomply services which will be released later this summer, you should expect smart c-level executives to hold their data close to home, and that is just plain common sense in my book.”

The commoditisation of cloud services means resellers must look to specialise, according to Melbourne AWS provider base2services.

While there are plenty of opportunities to add value to Amazon Web Services, “generalists” are disappearing, base2services CEO Arthur Marinis said.

“We’ve learnt that one of the key things to do with Amazon is not to consider it a hosting provider. Once you do that, you fail. It’s not about infrastructure, it’s about services.”

The comments echo those by Bulletproof chief customer officer Mark Randall, who told CRN earlier this year that the AWS channel was seeing competencies develop around SharePoint and other areas.

Marinis agreed that there is a trend towards competencies. He said ecommerce was a particular focus for base2services.

“It’s all about performance. Key areas are the way they implement search, caching on Amazon and scaling very quickly to meet demands,” he said.

The Melbourne provider, which began operation in 2005, continues to win high-profile customers, in particular online classifieds. As well as Realestate.com.au, the company recently announced that Just Auto had moved its online classifieds over to AWS, including AutoTrader, Just Cars and Just Bikes.

Marinis said security and application monitoring two key gaps in AWS migrations where the Melbourne provider often finds opportunities to add services.

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
CTO of the following –
4DHealthware.com
Synapse Synergy Group
EinDrive.com
HTML5Deck.com
PerfectCapacity.com
CSPComply.com
Chief Technology Analyst, Author & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC
Atheneum-Partners
Hadoop Magazine
BrainBench.com
Cloud Consulting International

Michael Gindy quits IAG for cloud venture

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By Brett Winterford

Insurance Australia Group CTO Michael Gindy has resigned to take on a new role at Cisco Systems, where he will be charged with delivering an OpenStack-based cloud for Telstra.

Gindy wound back his work schedule at the insurer in February and later decided to leave permanently at the end of this month.

“It’s time to move on,” Gindy told iTnews. “I miss the tech, it’s where my heart is.

“I was missing the pace of vendor-land. There is an amount of change you can do at an organisation, then there is the change you can provide a whole industry.”

Gindy will be Cisco’s new cloud delivery executive for the region, which he confirmed would involve some work on the Telstra-Cisco venture announced earlier this week.

The former Westpac CTO has delivered similar projects for EDS and the Commonwealth Bank.

Telstra’s OpenStack-based cloud

On Tuesday, Telstra announced it would engage in a joint-development effort with Cisco for the deployment of an IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) cloud based on Cisco’s Evolved Services Platform (CESP).

CESP is based on OpenStack orchestration and the OpenDaylight standard for software-defined networking.

Telstra already offers enterprise customers a cloud computing service, developed in conjunction with VMware and Accenture, but it has struggled to compete with multinational cloud suppliers.

The telco has not clarified whether its CESP cloud – due to be live by late 2014 – will replace this stack or run concurrently with it.

IAG looks ahead

In a statement to staff, AIG group chief information officer Donna-Maree Vinci thanked Gindy for his “contribution, achievements, insight and technical vision” which had “served IAG well.”

Vinci confirmed she would recruit for a replacement, but no decision had been made as to whether to seek internal or external candidates.

Separately, former Westpac chief technology officer Jeff Jacobs has been contracted by IAG to assist Vinci with IT strategy and planning. The company said Jacobs’ appointment was not related to Gindy’s departure.

Jacobs departed Westpac in December 2013 as part of a major technology executive reshuffle that also saw CIO Clive Whincup defect to Woolworths, and has since been working as an independent consultant.

IAG’s Australian insurance operations include the NRMA, CGU Insurance and SGIO. It also offers insurance products in New Zealand and the wider Asia Pacific.

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

Inclusiveness at Mozilla | Brendan Eich

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Inclusiveness at Mozilla
By Brendan Eich

I am deeply honored and humbled by the CEO role. I’m also grateful for the messages of support. At the same time, I know there are concerns about my commitment to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla. I hope to lay those concerns to rest, first by making a set of commitments to you. More important, I want to lay them to rest by actions and results.

A number of Mozillians, including LGBT individuals and allies, have stepped forward to offer guidance and assistance in this. I cannot thank you enough, and I ask for your ongoing help to make Mozilla a place of equality and welcome for all. Here are my commitments, and here’s what you can expect:

    Active commitment to equality in everything we do, from employment to events to community-building.
    Working with LGBT communities and allies, to listen and learn what does and doesn’t make Mozilla supportive and welcoming.
    My ongoing commitment to our Community Participation Guidelines, our inclusive health benefits, our anti-discrimination policies, and the spirit that underlies all of these.
    My personal commitment to work on new initiatives to reach out to those who feel excluded or who have been marginalized in ways that makes their contributing to Mozilla and to open source difficult. More on this last item below.

I know some will be skeptical about this, and that words alone will not change anything. I can only ask for your support to have the time to “show, not tell”; and in the meantime express my sorrow at having caused pain.

Mozilla is a movement composed of different people around the world, working productively together on a common mission. This is important to our ability to work and grow around the world.

Many Mozillians and others know me as a colleague or a friend. They know that I take people as they come and work with anyone willing to contribute. At the same time, I don’t ask for trust free of context, or without a solid structure to support accountability. No leader or person who has a privileged position should. I want to be held accountable for what I do as CEO. I fully expect you all to do so.

I am committed to ensuring that Mozilla is, and will remain, a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, or religion.

You will see exemplary behavior from me toward everyone in our community, no matter who they are; and the same toward all those whom we hope will join, and for those who use our products. Mozilla’s inclusive health benefits policies will not regress in any way. And I will not tolerate behavior among community members that violates our Community Participation Guidelines or (for employees) our inclusive and non-discriminatory employment policies.

You’ll also see more from Mozilla under my leadership in the way of efforts to include potential contributors, especially those who lack privilege. This entails several projects, starting with Project Ascend, which being developed by Lukas Blakk. I intend to demonstrate with meaningful action my commitment to a Mozilla that lives up to its ideals, including that of being an open and inclusive community.

/be

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer
CTO of the following –
4DHealthware.com
Synapse Synergy Group
EinDrive.com
HTML5Deck.com
PerfectCapacity.com
CSPComply.com
Chief Technology Analyst, Author & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC
Atheneum-Partners
Hadoop Magazine
BrainBench.com
Cloud Consulting International

Thuggery: Another raid on Article 19 Mexico Home of ARTICLE 19 Mexico Director raided by intruders · Article 19

http://www.article19.org/resources.php/resource/37490/en/mexico:-home-of-article-19-mexico-director-raided-by-intruders

South Korean officials have a plan to keep students off cell phones in the Netizen Report: 48-hour Internet blackout hits Gambia.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/03/26/netizen_report_48_hour_internet_blackout_hits_gambia.html

Secret Service scandal: Three agents sent home after night of drinking in the Netherlands.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/03/26/secret_service_scandal_three_agents_sent_home_after_night_of_drinking_in.html

This 3-D printed kayak, created by Jim Smith at Grass Roots Engineering, is actually seaworthy.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/03/26/_3d_printing_a_kayak_jim_smith_kayak_grassroots_engineering_3d_systems_siskiwit.html

Ever wonder what a spectacular sunset looks like in an alien planet planet… Look no further!

http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2014/03/26/video_solar_cauldron.html

Canada to suffer brunt of “double bomb” monster storm.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/03/26/canada_to_suffer_brunt_of_double_bomb_monster_storm.html

Marc Andreessen Calls Warren Buffett An Old White Man Crapping On Technology He Doesn’t Understand

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Recently, Warren Buffett called Bitcoin “a mirage” and warned investors to stay away.

Today, at the CoinSummit in San Francisco, executives at Andreessen Horowitz, which has invested millions in Bitcoin and plans to invest “hundreds of millions more,” responded.

First, Marc Andreessen reportedly said Buffett’s remarks were an example of “old white men crapping on new technology they don’t understand.”

Here’s how Andreessen characterized the comment this afternoon on Twitter:


 

Monte Malhotra @montemalhotra

.@pmarca Warren Buffett is just an old white man crapping on technology he doesn’t understand #bitcoin

Marc Andreessen         @pmarca

Follow

@montemalhotra Actual quote: “Track record of old white men who don’t understand tech crapping on tech they don’t understand still at 100%.”


Then, Balaji Srinivasan claimed Bitcoin had outperformed Berkshire Hathaway “by a lot.”

This is all per Marketwatch’s Saumya Vaishampayan live-blog of the event.

Bitcoin prices stand at $584.

Disclosure: Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, is an investor in Business Insider.


By: Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer
CTO of the following startups –
4DHealthware.com
Synapse Synergy Group
EinDrive.com
HTML5Deck.com
PerfectCapacity.com
CSPComply.com
Chief Technology Analyst, Author & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC
Atheneum-Partners
Hadoop Magazine
BrainBench.com
Cloud Consulting International


WARREN BUFFETT: ‘Stay Away From Bitcoin. It’s A Mirage’

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Warren Buffet told CNBC on Friday he would be “surprised a lot” if stock prices around the world fell 50 percent from their current levels in the near future.

He predicted there will be another financial crisis “someday” in the years ahead that will shock financial markets, but he doesn’t think it will happen anytime soon.

“Humans will behave in crazy ways, both on the upside and the downside in the next 50 years. It’s very unlikely they do it in the next few years because after something like 2008, once they get out of the emergency room, they’re a little more careful for awhile.”

During an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Buffett told 58-year-old host Joe Kernen that he will live to see the Dow at 100,000. “I won’t, but you will,” the 83-year-old Berkshire Hathaway chairman said.

Buffett pointed out that Berkshire stock has dropped 50 percent four times in its history, but always recovered.

After reading an preliminary version of former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s upcoming memoir, Buffett said he now thinks his characterization of the 2008 crisis as an “economic Pearl Harbor” looks understated.

But the U.S. did recover and he believes “this country will come through anything.”

Even if the U.S. hadn’t guaranteed money market funds, preventing a total shutdown of the economy, “the United States would still come back. We would come back if we had some massive attack from abroad. … The farms don’t go away, the productive capacity doesn’t go away, human ingenuity doesn’t go away, the desire of people to live better in the future and for their kids doesn’t go away.”

Buffett said he’s been bullish on the U.S. economy since the fall of 2008, but he doesn’t expect it to rapidly accelerate this year. Instead, he thinks it will continue its slow upward trajectory.

He said he’d advise people to “stay away” from bitcoin because the cryptocurrency is a “mirage” without any intrinsic value, although it’s an efficient way to transfer dollars.

Buffett also said Berkshire Hathaway has “almost” eliminated its catastrophe insurance in the U.S. because rates have dropped too much.

“The rates came down dramatically, and we do not regard the exposure as having come down dramatically,” Buffett said.

Berkshire is still writing policies in Asia.

Asked about the controversy over faulty ignition switches in General Motors cars, Buffett said CEO Mary Barra has a “new chance” because she just started in the post but the company needs to tell the truth and act quickly to fix any problems.

He said his advice is to “Get it right, get it fast, get it out, get it over, but get it right first.”

 


By: Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer
CTO of the following startups –
4DHealthware.com
Synapse Synergy Group
EinDrive.com
HTML5Deck.com
PerfectCapacity.com
CSPComply.com
Chief Technology Analyst, Author & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC
Atheneum-Partners
Hadoop Magazine
BrainBench.com
Cloud Consulting International


Wave Broadband, Astound to deploy co-branded TiVo products

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The 415,000 residential and business customers who receive their cable and Internet services from Wave Broadband and Astound in the Pacific Northwest will get access to co-branded versions of TiVo’s (Nasdaq: TIVO) whole home products and services as part of an overarching partnership between TiVo and Wave Division Holdings.

Products that include TiVo’s set-top boxes as well as its cloud-based service, whole home gateway DVR, TiVo Mini and TiVo Stream, will roll out by the middle of 2014, the two companies said in a press release. Additionally, TiVo will supply DTAs and a “multi-screen experience through TiVo, Web, iOS and Android mobile applications.”

Wave CEO Steve Weed predicted that the relationship “will bring a new standard of viewing experience to our key markets” in Washington, Oregon and California, including those in the San Francisco Bay area.

Weed added that merging Wave and TiVo into a co-branded service “will bring a new standard of viewing experience to our key markets while providing an optimized combination of all the great Wave and Astound content available now, plus access to new broadband content.”

For more:
– see this press release

 

 


By: Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer
CTO of the following startups –
4DHealthware.com
Synapse Synergy Group
EinDrive.com
HTML5Deck.com
PerfectCapacity.com
CSPComply.com
Chief Technology Analyst, Author & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC
Atheneum-Partners
Hadoop Magazine
BrainBench.com
Cloud Consulting International


Comcast-Apple rumor picked apart by skeptics

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Calling a rumored streaming deal between Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) “too good to be true,” tech publication GigaOM and others questioned the timing and details of the Wall Street Journal report that set the industry abuzz.

“(T)he real deal breaker here seems to be Comcast’s merger with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC),” GigaOM’s Janko Roettgers wrote. While other publications saw an Apple-Comcast deal as a way to pacify regulators reviewing the merger, Roettgers pointed out several reasons why that’s not the real issue.

In addition to having invested millions in building out its next-generation Xfinity service and related hardware, like the X1 set top box, “Comcast has long been the company most concerned about owning the relationship with the customer,” Roettgers wrote. Meaning that the cable giant wants to be the one that controls the vertical and the horizontal (if you’re into “Outer Limits” references, anyway). Comcast is already encouraging subscribers to access VOD services through its own apps on devices like Xbox and Roku, rather than standalone apps like HBO Go.

Engadget’s Richard Lawler called the rumor “interesting timing,” noting that the deal would supposedly enable the Apple TV device to stream linear content and DVR recordings over a managed connection to avoid traffic bottlenecks. Citing Apple’s historic lack of innovation or action in the TV space, Lawler expressed skepticism that the deal would go through. “The WSJ reported that Apple had shifted its focus to potentially working with cable providers back in 2012, and despite what’s happened in the industry since then, we’re still not holding our breath on this one.”

While there’s always a possibility the deal will happen, Business Insider‘s Jay Yarow saw it as a messy, potentially unprofitable move for Apple. Providing special treatment to Apple TV traffic would require Comcast to invest more in its own network to ensure a high-quality, reliable stream. Apple would likely want a cut of the cable operator’s subscriber revenue, Yarow said. “The whole thing sounds messy and complicated. It also seems like a relatively small business for Apple.”

There’s also a case for Apple doing something entirely different, but still content-related. The manufacturer recently recruited several cable industry veterans, including experienced content negotiators. Rumors are also swirling that it is considering offering an iTunes app for Android smartphones, as well as a new on-demand music streaming service to compete with Spotify and Beats Music.

For more:
WSJ has this story (sub. req.)


By: Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer
CTO of the following startups –
4DHealthware.com
Synapse Synergy Group
EinDrive.com
HTML5Deck.com
PerfectCapacity.com
CSPComply.com
Chief Technology Analyst, Author & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC
Atheneum-Partners
Hadoop Magazine
BrainBench.com
Cloud Consulting International


Netflix, Arris stocks rocked by Comcast-Apple rumors

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The suggestion that Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) might get together and create a streaming service has negatively impacted stocks of two bystanding companies–Arris (Nasdaq: ARRS) and Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX).

Arris, which supplies Comcast with its X1 set-top boxes, saw its stock decline 5.45 percent ($1.62) after news that Apple might be muscling in on its market–especially if Comcast gets its way and merges with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC).

Zacks Equity Research, taking note of the market movement, tried to put things in perspective by pointing out that Arris occupies a strong spot in the home gateway space with a product that lets cable operators deliver content to “any third party Internet-enable devices including iPhones and iPads.”

“Any agreement with Apple to deliver its TV streaming service will only expand the market size of Arris,” the researcher noted.

Netflix, which is already battling for prime space on Comcast’s broadband networks, also took an 8 percent stock hit as a result of the discussions. Rightly so, suggested Brian Solomon in a Forbes posting.

“While an Apple TV hookup on the nation’s largest cable provider (one that could get even bigger if its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable goes through) still looks a long way off, Silicon Valley’s biggest tech company poses a big threat to Netflix–especially if it can get cable providers on its side,” Solomon wrote.

Of course that Apple TV play is no given.

“There is a fundamental mystery in why an Apple smart TV doesn’t already exist,” wrote Seeking Alpha‘s Mark Hibben. “After all, most mainstream consumer electronics companies already produce smart TVs so it’s not a matter of technological feasibility.”

It is, he suggested, more a matter of margin–as in how much money such a device would make.

“Apple knows that there’s no money to be made in screens, per se,” he wrote.

Apple also doesn’t have a stranglehold on content, which would make any Apple TV play without a screen.

Hibben suggested that Apple TV can happen if the Silicon Valley company concentrates on pushing the boundaries of 4K television.

“The dearth of 4K content and the restriction of Internet-only delivery works in Apple’s favor,” he contended. “An Apple 4K television doesn’t have to be able to carry the universe of content available to cable subscribers … it just needs to have substantial 4K content on iTunes. Even with relatively slow Internet connections, the Apple 4K TV will be able to download content unattended and store it on its very large hard drive.”

That end product is a ways off, which leads to questions about why discussions about very early talks about an Apple-Comcast alliance would have any kinds of repercussions among providers with existing products.

For more:
Zacks News has this piece
Forbes has this story
Seeking Alpha has this analysis

 

 


By: Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer
CTO of the following startups –
4DHealthware.com
Synapse Synergy Group
EinDrive.com
HTML5Deck.com
PerfectCapacity.com
CSPComply.com
Chief Technology Analyst, Author & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC
Atheneum-Partners
Hadoop Magazine
BrainBench.com
Cloud Consulting International


Former A&P exec pleads guilty to $1.2M ticket-selling scheme

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A former executive at A&P admitted in federal court in Newark Tuesday that he fraudulently used company funds to buy over 7,000 tickets to Giants games, Lady Gaga concerts, “The Book of Mormon” musical and other high-demand events, then re-sold the tickets to pocket more than $1.2 million.

John Moritz, A&P’s former SVP of marketing, plead guilty to the scheme, which occurred between December 2010 and December 2011. The tickets Moritz purchased were supposed to be used to reward A&P employees for good work and “for other legitimate business purposes,” according to a statement by U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.

In order to conceal the scheme, Moritz, according to court documents, asked ticket vendors to hand-deliver tickets directly to his residence. He also told certain ticket vendors to only issue invoices in amounts less than $100,000 in order to stay within his authorized invoice approval level as designated by A&P, according to court documents.

During this same period, A&P was under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and seeking wage and benefits concessions from its employees. Moritz left A&P in 2012.

The wire fraud count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 9.

For more:
-See this Supermarket News article

 


By: Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer
CTO of the following startups –
4DHealthware.com
Synapse Synergy Group
EinDrive.com
HTML5Deck.com
PerfectCapacity.com
CSPComply.com
Chief Technology Analyst, Author & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC
Atheneum-Partners
Hadoop Magazine
BrainBench.com
Cloud Consulting International


JC Penney CEO Mike Ullman gets $1.5 million raise

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J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) CEO Mike Ullman has received a pay raise of $1.5 million, according to recent documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. With the pay increase, Ullman has the potential to earn up to $10 million in 2014.

Ullman’s new pay package includes a base salary of $1.5 million, $5 million in equity awards and an incentive award of up to 200 percent of his base salary, or $3 million. Ullman’s equity awards are split into an equal mix of performance-contingent stock options and performance-based restricted stock units.

In 2013, Ullman earned a base salary of $810,606 plus $1.58 million in other compensation, bringing his total earnings to $2.39 million for the year, according to documents filed with the SEC. He had no target incentive opportunities.

While Ullman’s bank account may be getting bigger, the J.C. Penney chief executive still faces a long road ahead in reviving the struggling retail chain. For the most recent quarter, J.C. Penney reported a revenue loss of $206 million and income of $35 million. For fiscal 2013, it lost $1.39 billion compared to the $985 million it lost the previous year. The results were actually a smaller-than-expected fourth-quarter loss. The chain predicted that sales will increase approximately 5 percent in 2014.

For more:
-See this New York Post article

 


By: Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer
CTO of the following startups –
4DHealthware.com
Synapse Synergy Group
EinDrive.com
HTML5Deck.com
PerfectCapacity.com
CSPComply.com
Chief Technology Analyst, Author & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC
Atheneum-Partners
Hadoop Magazine
BrainBench.com
Cloud Consulting International


Sally’s data breach possibly affected up to 280,000 customers

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Sally Beauty Supply (NYSE: SBH) earlier this month said that about 25,000 credit card numbers were stolen during a data breach, but new evidence shows the hack could have been much larger, reports KrebsOnSecurity. Information from 282,000 cards has been found to be potentially linked to the Sally Beauty breach.

Data from Krebs’ analysis shows that the Sally breach could have been 10 times larger than the company reported, affecting nearly all 2,600 Sally Beauty store locations. The findings are based on zip codes connected to stolen cards listed for sale on a cybercriminal shop, reports Krebs. Researchers studied the batch of 282,000 cards and found there are nearly the exact same number of U.S. ZIP codes represented in the batch as there are unique U.S. ZIP codes of Sally Beauty stores. In fact, researchers reportedly found a 99.99 percent overlap in the ZIP codes.

This point is key — especially considering that in the wake of the Target (NYSE:TGT) breach, which was also first reported by Krebs — the list of 1,800 specific ZIP codes listed in the cybercriminals’ shop was nearly identical to the list of ZIP codes where Target stores are located.

Sally Beauty said on March 17 that credit card data from up to 25,000 customer accounts was compromised in a systems breach discovered on March 5. At the time, security analysts suspected the attack could be the work of the same criminals who stole 40 million credit and debit cards from Target, reports KrebsOnSecurity.

“We have now discovered evidence that fewer than 25,000 records containing card-present (track two) payment card data have been illegally accessed on our systems and we believe it may have been removed,” Sally Beauty said in a statement.

The Denton, Texas-based seller of beauty supplies said it is investigating with a forensics firm and is working with the U.S. Secret Service.

This Sally breach followed wide-scale attacks on Target and Neiman Marcus that occurred during the critical holiday shopping season. Last month, Target reported a 46 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit, as costs related to the breach weighed on the retailer’s earnings. Target was hit with $61 million in quarterly expenses from the breach.

Most recently, U.K. grocer Morrisons came under attack when personal information from about 100,000 of its employees was leaked by an insider and posted on the internet. The information included names, addresses and bank account details of staffers from all levels of the organization.

For more:
-See this KrebsOnSecurity article

 

 


By: Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer
CTO of the following startups –
4DHealthware.com
Synapse Synergy Group
EinDrive.com
HTML5Deck.com
PerfectCapacity.com
CSPComply.com
Chief Technology Analyst, Author & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC
Atheneum-Partners
Hadoop Magazine
BrainBench.com
Cloud Consulting International


Understanding True Loyalty

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“Are retailers misreading frequency as loyalty?” In our new white paper, Understanding True Loyalty – Gaining Insight into Customer Loyalty Based on Whole-Wallet Spend, the answer is “yes.”

The only way retailers can understand actual customer loyalty is to have a Whole-Wallet view of customer spending. 

Through relationships with nearly 400 banks, Cardlytics has insight into the purchase data for ~70% of US households. These insights clearly outline the differences between those customers loyal to a brand and those loyal to a category. And that difference matters, when speaking to the customer.

Marketing to customers – based on true loyalty – requires more sophisticated measurement, better spend data, and the understanding that a frequent customer is not the same as a loyal customer.

We encourage you to download the white paper today to learn more about loyalty versus frequency.

Sincerely,

The Cardlytics Team

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

The IRS Just Made A Crucial Ruling About Bitcoin

Bitcoins-7

The IRS has ruled Bitcoin should be treated as property, not as currency, for tax purposes.

According to Bitcoin tax expert Tyson Cross, this will create a significant burden on Bitcoin users, as every transaction they ever make using the digital currency will have to be reported in some way.

That would not be the case if it had been ruled a digital currency.

“Users will have to track their transactions and determine the amount of their taxable gain each time,” he told BI in an email. “It’s quite a burden. The rules on taxing foreign currency provide an exception for ‘personal transactions’ for that very reason. It would be great to have that exception (or something similar) apply to bitcoins as well.”

But Cross adds the IRS’ guidance may not stand forever. The Treasury Department should now begin developing formal regulations tailored to digital currencies.

That typically begins with a request for public comments, which was included in the notice,” he said. “Tax professionals can then identify issues and advocate possible solutions.  So between now and the issuance of actual regulations (which takes years), there’s ample opportunity to shape the tax treatment.”

The agency says anyone who holds the currency will have to calculate its value from the date it was received to determine whether a gain or loss was realized, and report the result.   

If you’ve done any Bitcoin mining, the fair market value of the virtual currency as of the date of receipt is includible in gross income. 

If you pay anyone in Bitcoin, you must file a W-2.

The Wall Street Journal’s tax guru Laura Saunders has a great explainer on what this all means »

Here is the full text of the IRS’ detailed Q&A:

Q-1:  How is virtual currency treated for federal tax purposes?

A-1:  For federal tax purposes, virtual currency is treated as property.  General tax principles applicable to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual currency.

Q-2:  Is virtual currency treated as currency for purposes of determining whether a transaction results in foreign currency gain or loss under U.S. federal tax laws?

A-2:  No.  Under currently applicable law, virtual currency is not treated as currency that could generate foreign currency gain or loss for U.S. federal tax purposes.

Q-3:  Must a taxpayer who receives virtual currency as payment for goods or services include in computing gross income the fair market value of the virtual currency?

A-3:  Yes. A taxpayer who receives virtual currency as payment for goods or services must, in computing gross income, include the fair market value of the virtual currency, measured in U.S. dollars, as of the date that the virtual currency was received.  See Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income, for more information on miscellaneous income from exchanges involving property or services.

Q-4:  What is the basis of virtual currency received as payment for goods or services in Q&A-3?

A-4:  The basis of virtual currency that a taxpayer receives as payment for goods or services in Q&A-3 is the fair market value of the virtual currency in U.S. dollars as of the date of receipt.  See Publication 551, Basis of Assets, for more information on the computation of basis when property is received for goods or services.

Q-5:  How is the fair market value of virtual currency determined?

A-5:  For U.S. tax purposes, transactions using virtual currency must be reported in U.S. dollars.  Therefore, taxpayers will be required to determine the fair market value of virtual currency in U.S. dollars as of the date of payment or receipt.  If a virtual currency is listed on an exchange and the exchange rate is established by market supply and demand, the fair market value of the virtual currency is determined by converting the virtual currency into U.S. dollars (or into another real currency which in turn can be converted into U.S. dollars) at the exchange rate, in a reasonable manner that is consistently applied.

Q-6:  Does a taxpayer have gain or loss upon an exchange of virtual currency for other property?

A-6:  Yes.  If the fair market value of property received in exchange for virtual currency exceeds the taxpayer’s adjusted basis of the virtual currency, the taxpayer has taxable gain.  The taxpayer has a loss if the fair market value of the property received is less than the adjusted basis of the virtual currency.  See Publication 544, Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets, for information about the tax treatment of sales and exchanges, such as whether a loss is deductible.

Q-7:  What type of gain or loss does a taxpayer realize on the sale or exchange of virtual currency?

A-7:  The character of the gain or loss generally depends on whether the virtual currency is a capital asset in the hands of the taxpayer.  A taxpayer generally realizes capital gain or loss on the sale or exchange of virtual currency that is a capital asset in the hands of the taxpayer.  For example, stocks, bonds, and other investment property are generally capital assets.  A taxpayer generally realizes ordinary gain or loss on the sale or exchange of virtual currency that is not a capital asset in the hands of the taxpayer.  Inventory and other property held mainly for sale to customers in a trade or business are examples of property that is not a capital asset.  See Publication 544 for more information about capital assets and the character of gain or loss.

Q-8:  Does a taxpayer who “mines” virtual currency (for example, uses computer resources to validate Bitcoin transactions and maintain the public Bitcoin transaction ledger) realize gross income upon receipt of the virtual currency resulting from those activities?

A-8:  Yes, when a taxpayer successfully “mines” virtual currency, the fair market value of the virtual currency as of the date of receipt is includible in gross income.  See Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income, for more information on taxable income.

Q-9:  Is an individual who “mines” virtual currency as a trade or business subject to self-employment tax on the income derived from those activities?

A-9: If a taxpayer’s “mining” of virtual currency constitutes a trade or business, and the “mining” activity is not undertaken by the taxpayer as an employee, the net earnings from self-employment (generally, gross income derived from carrying on a trade or business less allowable deductions) resulting from those activities constitute self-employment income and are subject to the self-employment tax.  See Chapter 10 of Publication 334, Tax Guide for Small Business, for more information on self-employment tax and Publication 535, Business Expenses, for more information on determining whether expenses are from a business activity carried on to make a profit.

Q-10:  Does virtual currency received by an independent contractor for performing services constitute self‑employment income?

A-10:  Yes.  Generally, self‑employment income includes all gross income derived by an individual from any trade or business carried on by the individual as other than an employee.  Consequently, the fair market value of virtual currency received for services performed as an independent contractor, measured in U.S. dollars as of the date of receipt, constitutes self‑employment income and is subject to the self-employment tax.  See FS-2007-18, April 2007, Business or Hobby? Answer Has Implications for Deductions, for information on determining whether an activity is a business or a hobby.

Q-11:  Does virtual currency paid by an employer as remuneration for services constitute wages for employment tax purposes?

A-11:  Yes.  Generally, the medium in which remuneration for services is paid is immaterial to the determination of whether the remuneration constitutes wages for employment tax purposes.  Consequently, the fair market value of virtual currency paid as wages is subject to federal income tax withholding, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax, and Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) tax and must be reported on Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement.  See Publication 15 (Circular E), Employer’s Tax Guide, for information on the withholding, depositing, reporting, and paying of employment taxes.

Q-12:  Is a payment made using virtual currency subject to information reporting?

A-12:  A payment made using virtual currency is subject to information reporting to the same extent as any other payment made in property.  For example, a person who in the course of a trade or business makes a payment of fixed and determinable income using virtual currency with a value of $600 or more to a U.S. non-exempt recipient in a taxable year is required to report the payment to the IRS and to the payee.  Examples of payments of fixed and determinable income include rent, salaries, wages, premiums, annuities, and compensation.

Q-13:  Is a person who in the course of a trade or business makes a payment using virtual currency worth $600 or more to an independent contractor for performing services required to file an information return with the IRS?

A-13:  Generally, a person who in the course of a trade or business makes a payment of $600 or more in a taxable year to an independent contractor for the performance of services is required to report that payment to the IRS and to the payee on Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income.  Payments of virtual currency required to be reported on Form 1099-MISC should be reported using the fair market value of the virtual currency in U.S. dollars as of the date of payment.  The payment recipient may have income even if the recipient does not receive a Form 1099-MISC.  See the Instructions to Form 1099-MISC and the General Instructions for Certain Information Returns for more information.  For payments to non-U.S. persons, see Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities.

Q-14:  Are payments made using virtual currency subject to backup withholding?

A-14:  Payments made using virtual currency are subject to backup withholding to the same extent as other payments made in property.  Therefore, payors making reportable payments using virtual currency must solicit a taxpayer identification number (TIN) from the payee.  The payor must backup withhold from the payment if a TIN is not obtained prior to payment or if the payor receives notification from the IRS that backup withholding is required.  See Publication 1281, Backup Withholding for Missing and Incorrect Name/TINs, for more information.

Q-15:  Are there IRS information reporting requirements for a person who settles payments made in virtual currency on behalf of merchants that accept virtual currency from their customers?

A-15:  Yes, if certain requirements are met.  In general, a third party that contracts with a substantial number of unrelated merchants to settle payments between the merchants and their customers is a third party settlement organization (TPSO).  A TPSO is required to report payments made to a merchant on a Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions, if, for the calendar year, both (1) the number of transactions settled for the merchant exceeds 200, and (2) the gross amount of payments made to the merchant exceeds $20,000.  When completing Boxes 1, 3, and 5a-1 on the Form 1099-K, transactions where  the TPSO settles payments made with virtual currency are aggregated with transactions where the TPSO settles payments made with real currency to determine the total amounts to be reported in those boxes.  When determining whether the transactions are reportable, the value of the virtual currency is the fair market value of the virtual currency in U.S. dollars on the date of payment.

See The Third Party Information Reporting Center, http://www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/Third-Party-Reporting-Information-Center, for more information on reporting transactions on Form 1099-K.

Q-16:  Will taxpayers be subject to penalties for having treated a virtual currency transaction in a manner that is inconsistent with this notice prior to March 25, 2014?

A-16:  Taxpayers may be subject to penalties for failure to comply with tax laws.  For example, underpayments attributable to virtual currency transactions may be subject to penalties, such as accuracy-related penalties under section 6662.  In addition, failure to timely or correctly report virtual currency transactions when required to do so may be subject to information reporting penalties under section 6721 and 6722.  However, penalty relief may be available to taxpayers and persons required to file an information return who are able to establish that the underpayment or failure to properly file information returns is due to reasonable cause.

And here is an additional set of bulleted implications:

  • Wages paid to employees using virtual currency are taxable to the employee, must be reported by an employer on a Form W-2, and are subject to federal income tax withholding and payroll taxes.
  • Payments using virtual currency made to independent contractors and other service providers are taxable and self-employment tax rules generally apply.  Normally, payers must issue Form 1099.
  • The character of gain or loss from the sale or exchange of virtual currency depends on whether the virtual currency is a capital asset in the hands of the taxpayer.
  • A payment made using virtual currency is subject to information reporting to the same extent as any other payment made in property.

By: Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer
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Bitcoin Gains Ballast As Investors Continue To Pile In

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The demise of Mt.Gox has been met with the launch of Bitcoin’s Ft. Knox and the establishment of new proprietary exchanges from institutional investment trading platforms as investors attempt to right the ship of the stateless currency. Having large institutional investors like Fortress Investments and Benchmark certainly helps the beleaguered currency (or is it a commodity?) platform.Continue reading…

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

Noesis Raises $30 Million Finance Fund

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Taking a page from the SolarCity playbook, the hosted energy efficiency software and services company Noesis Energy has raised a new $30 million fund to help finance the energy efficiency projects of its customers. The projects Noesis will fund will range from $300,000 to $1 million. Continue reading…

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
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CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

This is your brain on knitting

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(CNN) — Her brother’s sudden death in 2004 hit Sarah Huerta hard.

In the years that followed, Huerta couldn’t leave the house without suffering a panic attack. She hated getting in cars since her brother’s body was found in one. She couldn’t seem to hold down a job. Every time she stepped outside she felt disaster closing in.

Her physician diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder and extreme anxiety.

Her husband gave her knitting needles.

Huerta was skeptical at first. Knitting seemed silly — and difficult for hands she could never seem to keep still. But as she learned to knit and purl, hours melted away. She realized she was no longer focusing on the future, imagining catastrophic things happening to her loved ones.

“That’s when I seriously started crafting,” Huerta said.

Crafting can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain, experts say. It may also ease stress, increase happiness and protect the brain from damage caused by aging.

Little research has been done specifically on crafting, but neuroscientists are beginning to see how studies on cognitive activities such as doing crossword puzzles might also apply to someone who does complex quilting patterns. Others are drawing connections between the mental health benefits of meditation and the zen reached while painting or sculpting.

“There’s promising evidence coming out to support what a lot of crafters have known anecdotally for quite some time,” says Catherine Carey Levisay, a clinical neuropsychologist and wife of Craftsy.com CEO John Levisay. “And that’s that creating — whether it be through art, music, cooking, quilting, sewing, drawing, photography (or) cake decorating — is beneficial to us in a number of important ways.”
Designer Mark Fast makes knitting ‘sexy’
When paintings come to life
Wings for the fallen: 9/11 in metal

Effects similar to meditation

Even today, years after Huerta first learned to knit, she finds she can lose herself for hours in a tricky pattern.

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi first described this phenomenon as flow: a few moments in time when you are so completely absorbed by an activity that nothing else seems to matter. Flow, Csikszentmihalyi says, is the secret to happiness — a statement he supports with decades of research.

“When we are involved in (creativity), we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life,” Csikszentmihalyi said during a TED talk in 2004. “You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger.”

Our nervous system is only capable of processing a certain amount of information at a time, he explains. That’s why you can’t listen and understand two people who are talking to you at once. So when someone starts creating, his existence outside that activity becomes “temporarily suspended.”

“He doesn’t have enough attention left over to monitor how his body feels, or his problems at home. He can’t feel if he’s hungry or tired. His body disappears.”

The effects of flow are similar to those of meditation, says occupational therapist Victoria Schindler. Science has shown meditation can, among other things, reduce stress and fight inflammation.

Our bodies are in a constant state of stress because our brain can’t tell the difference between an upcoming meeting with the boss and an upcoming bear attack, Schindler says. The repetitive motions of knitting, for example, activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which quiets that “fight or flight” response.

In a 2007 paper “The neurological basis of occupation,” Schindler and co-author Sharon Gutman argue that patients could learn to use activities such as drawing or painting to elicit flow, which would offer a nonpharmaceutical way to regulate strong emotions such as anger or prevent irrational thoughts.

“Flow could potentially help patients to dampen internal chaos,” they write.

A natural anti-depressant

The reward center in your brain releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine when you do something pleasurable. Scientists believe dopamine was originally designed to make us repeat activities that would help the species survive, such as eating and having sex. Over time, we’ve evolved so that the brain can also release dopamine while we’re staining glass or decorating a cake.

No more ‘buts’: Do what makes you happy

“Dopamine, in and of itself, is our natural anti-depressant,” Levisay says. “Any time we can find a nonmedicinal way to stimulate that reward center … the better off we’re going to be.”

There’s survey evidence to support crafting’s dopamine effect. In one study of more than 3,500 knitters, published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81% of respondents with depression reported feeling happy after knitting. More than half reported feeling “very happy.”

And crafting’s reward goes far beyond creation. Seeing the finished product adorning your walls — or receiving praise from a loved one — can offer repeated hits of that feel-good chemical.

Crafting also improves our self-efficacy, Levisay says, or how we feel about performing particular tasks. Psychologists believe a strong sense of self-efficacy is key to how we approach new challenges and overcome disappointments in life. So realizing you can, in fact, crochet a sweater for your nephew can help you tackle the next big paper your teacher assigns.

Creative activities may protect against aging

More than 35 million people worldwide live with dementia today. By 2050, that number is expected to more than triple, and experts are racing to find ways to protect the brain from this debilitating condition.

Neuroscientists used to believe that the brain was a static organ, says Levisay, and that once it was fully developed in your 20s, all you could do was lose power. But research has shown more recently that our brains are flexible and can adapt to their environment, even in old age — a concept called neuroplasticity.

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The evidence to support this concept is overwhelming. Studies have found intellectually stimulating activities, such as learning a new language, can help prevent cerebral atrophy and significantly delay dementia. And a recently published clinical trial shows cognitive training can improve reasoning skills and the brain’s processing speed for up to 10 years after said training has been completed.

“The natural next step is to study other activities — not just memory, cognitive tests,” Levisay says. “What about crafting activities? Something people do naturally because they’re enjoyable.”

Crafting is also unique, Levisay says, in its ability to involve many different areas of your brain. It can work your memory and attention span while involving your visuospatial processing, creative side and problem-solving abilities.

Scientists are beginning to study leisure activities’ impact on the brain. Playing games, reading books and crafting could reduce your chances of developing mild cognitive impairment by 30% to 50%, according to a 2011 study published in The Journal of Neuropsychiatry.

“The hypothesis is that the more stimulating your environment is … the more you’re increasing the complexity of the brain, the more you can afford to lose,” Levisay says. “You’re building a buffer.”

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

Walgreens to close 76 stores

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Walgreens (NYSE: WAG), the nation’s largest drugstore chain, will close 76 drugstores during the second half of fiscal 2014 in an effort to save $50 million annually. The company declined to specify which stores would close, saying that it would notify affected stores in the coming months.

“We won’t be confirming those locations until we’ve notified employees at the stores first,” said spokesman Michael Polzin.

In a conference call with analysts, CEO Greg Wasson said that most of the targeted locations exist near other Walgreens or have seen real estate values decline since they’ve opened. He also said that store employees will largely be reassigned.

Wasson said the closures affect less than 1 percent of Walgreens locations nationwide, and is part of an effort to “optimize our footprint and ensure our stores remain at the best corners of America.” Walgreens operates 8,210 drugstores nationwide, 138 more than a year ago.

Walgreens also said on Tuesday that second quarter net income fell slightly to $754 million, down from $756 million in the same period a year ago. The company cited slower generic drug introductions, comparisons with last year’s flu season and severe weather for the slide.

Walgreens’ sales, however, rose 5.1 percent to $19.6 billion, with sales in stores open at least a year up 4.3 percent. Despite a 1.4 percent dip in customer traffic, the average purchase size rose 3.4 percent.

For more:
-See this Walgreens earnings call transcript

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
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Luxottica Group partners with Google Glass for eyewear distribution

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The Luxottica Group, owner of the Sunglass Hut, Ray-Ban and Oakley sunglass brands and retail stores, has agreed to design and distribute a new kind of eyewear for Google Glass.

Luxottica has been working with Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) on the Glass project for the past year and the company said Ray-Ban and Oakley would be part of the collaboration but gave no further details.

“We believe that a strategic partnership with a leading player like Google is the ideal platform for developing a new way forward in our industry and answering the evolving needs of consumers on a global scale,” said Luxottica CEO Andrea Guerra to The Wall Street Journal.

Wearable computers such as Google Glass could be the next big market for consumer devices, and could mirror the way smartphones evolved from personal computers, according to analysts. The deal with Luxottica is important for Google because it gives the company big-name backing in the eyewear industry, an important factor if Google Glass products want to compete in the general consumer market. Google itself cited Luxottica’s experience selling eyewear to consumers as a key factor in its decision to partner with the company.

Luxottica has more than 5,000 retail stores in the U.S. The company also owns the Vogue-Eyewear, Persol, Oliver Peoples, Alain Mikli and Arnette eyewear labels.

This is the second major announcement for Google’s wearable tech products, following last week’s news that the internet giant has debuted its first wearable mobile device beyond Google Glass in the form of an Android watch, part of the new Android Wear product line.

For more:
-See this Wall Street Journal article
-See this Google blog post

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

Vancouver-based legal practice management software Clio has raised $18 million 

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Vancouver-based legal practice management software Clio has raised $18 million in Series C funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from Acton Capital PartnersPoint Nine Capital, and new investor Version One Ventures.

Clio’s web-based management system helps law firms get organized, save time, and run their offices online and via mobile apps.

Founded in 2007, Clio will use the new funds to double its headcount in the next year, continue international expansion, and invest aggressively in mobile.

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

Palo Alto-based big-data startup RelateIQ has raised a $40 million

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Palo Alto-based big-data startup RelateIQ has raised a $40 million Series C round led by Redpoint Ventureswith participation from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers,Felicis Ventures, and News Corp. RelateIQ helps businesses and employees track client relationships by analyzing multiple communication streams in real-time. Launched into public beta in 2013 and now valued at $245 million, RelateIQ will use put the latest funding toward hiring and build out its mobile software products.

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

Sunnyvale-based Hadoop vender Hortonworks has raised $100 million

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Sunnyvale-based Hadoop vender  Hortonworks has raised $100 million in a Series D funding led by BlackRock and Passport Capital with participation from existing investors DragoneerTenaya Capital,BenchmarkIndex Ventures, and Yahoo.

Hortonworks provides an open source data platform powered by Apache Hadoop for storing, managing, and analyzing big data.

Founded in 2011, Hortonworks has raised nearly $200 million to date and will put the new funds toward scaling engineering efforts and global operations.

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

10 low-code tools for building mobile apps fast

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No-code and low-code mobile programming tools give business users and developers a fast track to mobile app success
http://www.itworld.com/slideshow/145378/10-low-code-tools-building-mobile-apps-fast-410776?

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

FitBit & 4D Healthware, Changing Peoples lives for the better?

4dhealthware.com

FitBit & 4D Healthware, Changing Peoples life for the better?
4D Healthware 4dhealthware.com is a startup that is using FitBit products, including their scale, in their initial Prototype to help people with medical issues (everything from obesity to cancer, to medical trials at some of the major hospitals around the US) and with major success.

Star Cunningham Founder & CEO and the idea behind 4D Healthware says that her company “… takes FitBit and all medical devices to the next level”….

Their Web based SaaS product (you can sign up early for their production roll-out this summer, right on the website http://4dhealthware.com and take advantage of their 30 day free trial for individual accounts) actually makes it much easier for people to track their activity, take their medication on time, and assists their subscribers with making real world decisions in real-time which improve the quality of life and increase the health of their subscribers.

“Medical Device Technology is going to make a big difference in this generation”

It’s an amazing product which I was fortunate enough to get a early look at which utilizes Artificial-intelligence, Machine Learning, Big-Data Analytics and Cloud Technology to really provide an experience like no other system today.

“We have been in talks with Bill Clinton, Esther Dyson, Joel Dudley, Robert Wyllie and a lot of other big names in both the medical and business communities and my greatest hope is that Marc Andreessen (my absolute hero, being from the same small home town, in the technology sector) and his VC firm which also includes a great philanthropic spirit in Ben Horowitz, will fund my company, our new CTO worked with Marc at Netscape for almost five years in the early nineties…and we are now looking at going for our A Round over the next ninety days, now that we have a 400 patient proof of concept going with a major hospital and our product is in final stages of its prototype development”

From what we saw they will have no problem getting a big name Venture Capital firm like Andreessen & Horowitz or KPCB or any other big names on-board… They will most likely be fighting them off which, can be a good problem to have for a company with goals as large as 4D Healthware.

Affordable 
Right? Because money doesn’t grow on trees.

A money maker 
We know what consumers want, but what about retailers? Shops want big margins.

Only the beginning 
One of the recurring themes at the Wearable Technology Show is that wearable kit is still in its infancy.

“People ask me what things are going to be like in 10 years time,” Jones said. “I tell them I don’t even know what it’s going to be like in two years. We’re at the start of a revolution.”

” I quit a great career at IBM where they flew me around the world to trouble shoot Strategic projects, it was exciting and fun, but after going through my own personal hell with the medical establishment,” Star Cunningham says of her vision as Founder & CEO “People think I’m crazy because I quit an unbelievable career and spent every dime of my own money on an “idea” and have never looked back. But isn’t that what America is all about? Isn’t this the beauty of the “free market” we have here, that people from other less fortunate countries and people like my ancestors, me being the third generation of freed slaves, have been dreaming about for generations? I decided I wanted to change the world for the better, and with 4D and here in the greatest country on earth, and a team of great people backing me, I am able to do that, one subscriber at a time… ”

Visit Star Cunningham’s LinkedIn.com page Here
4DHealthware.com

Zuckerberg, Musk Invest in Artificial-Intelligence Company

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By Reed Albergotti
Elon Musk made the electric car cool. Mark Zuckerberg created FacebookFB +1.23%. Ashton Kutcher portrayed AppleAAPL +1.08% founder Steve Jobs in a movie. Now, the three are joining in a $40 million investment in Vicarious FPC, a secretive artificial-intelligence company.

The funding round, the second major infusion of capital for the company in two years, is the latest sign of life in artificial intelligence. Last month, GoogleGOOG +0.07% acquired another AI company called Deep Mind for $400 million.

Vicarious has an ambitious goal: Replicating the neocortex, the part of the brain that sees, controls the body, understands language and does math. Translate the neocortex into computer code and “you have a computer that thinks like a person,” says Vicarious co-founder Scott Phoenix. “Except it doesn’t have to eat or sleep.”

It may be decades before companies like Vicarious can create computers with human-like intelligence. But web outfits like Google, YahooYHOO -2.04%, Facebook and others have more immediate uses for artificial intelligence.

Facebook, for instance, wants to turn the massive amounts of information shared by its users into a database of wisdom. Ask Facebook a question, and, if all goes to plan, it will spit out an answer based on facts users have shared. Facebook is also using artificial intelligence for facial recognition to identify users in photos. Facebook recently hired a leader in artificial intelligence, Yann LeCun, to run a new lab.

A Facebook spokesman said Zuckerberg’s investment in Vicarious, which hasn’t been previously reported, is a personal one and does not reflect Facebook’s interest in using Vicarious software.

Musk did not respond to a request for comment. Kutcher declined to comment.

Phoenix, the co-founder, says Vicarious aims beyond image recognition. He said the next milestone will be creating a computer that can understand not just shapes and objects, but the textures associated with them. For example, a computer might understand “chair.” It might also comprehend “ice.” Vicarious wants to create a computer that will understand a request like “show me a chair made of ice.”

Phoenix hopes that, eventually, Vicarious’s computers will learn to how to cure diseases, create cheap, renewable energy, and perform the jobs that employ most human beings. “We tell investors that right now, human beings are doing a lot of things that computers should be able to do,” he says.

Vicarious, whose other co-founder was neuroscientist Dileep George, is a long way from accomplishing its goals. Phoenix says the company won’t make a profit anytime soon and it has said very little about how its technology works. It hasn’t even disclosed its exact address, for fear it might be the target of corporate espionage or hacking.

Vicarious’s backers include a venture fund run by PayPal founder and Facebook investor Peter Thiel, which was among those who invested $1.2 million in 2010. In 2012, a new group of investors, including Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, injected $15 million. Kutcher’s investment comes via his fund, “A-Grade Investments.”

The latest funding round was led by venture capital firm Formation 8. “Companies that pioneer a fundamental technological breakthrough often come to define entire industries,” said Formation 8 founder Joe Lonsdale, who also co-founded data-mining software maker Palantir Technologies. “I believe Vicarious has the potential to become one of these companies.”

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

Disney buys YouTube powerhouse Maker Studios for $500 million

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BY Timothy J. Seppala
Even with the Marvel and Star Wars properties under Disney’s roof, there’s apparently still plenty of room within the House of Mouse’s walls. The entertainment juggernaut has just bought YouTube hit-factory Maker Studios (the outfit responsible for Epic Rap Battles of History, The Getup and PewDiePie) for a cool $500 million according to Reuters. What’s more, the final bill of sale could go as high as $950 million should Maker hit an unannounced set of performance milestones after the acquisition. While that’s still an awful lot of dough, it’s only a fraction of what the company paid for the likes of Captain America and that galaxy far, far away. Exactly what Disney will do with Maker’s reported 5.5 billion monthly views and 55,000+ channels isn’t clear yet, but the purchase should give Mickey a solid foot in another streaming-video-giant’s door.

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
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Broadband company LightSquared has urged a judge not to re-open trial

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014 12:59 AM GMT

By Dena Aubin

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Broadband company LightSquared has urged a judge not to re-open a trial that ended last week over Dish Network Corp Chairman Charles Ergen’s purchase of LightSquared debt, saying it would delay resolution of LightSquared’s bankruptcy proceedings.

In a court filing on Friday, lawyers for LightSquared said the company should not have to bear the “tremendous cost” in money, time and distraction and have its efforts to emerge from bankruptcy imperiled.

LightSquared, which filed for bankruptcy in 2012, presented closing arguments last week in a trial over whether Ergen improperly acquired $1 billion of the company’s debt to take control of its wireless rights.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman has not yet issued a ruling in the trial, which ended on Monday.

At a hearing on Wednesday, Chapman said she had received a letter the night before that led her to question the integrity of the trial record and that a discussion was needed about reopening it.

The trial revolved around whether Ergen held up the closing of some of his debt purchases to conceal his identity in order to acquire a controlling stake of LightSquared’s debt.

During closing arguments, Ergen’s lawyer, Rachel Strickland, said it was Jefferies LLC, the broker on the transactions, that held up the trades by imposing a moratorium until documentation issues were sorted out.

In Friday’s filing, lawyers for LightSquared said that Ergen’s lawyers had forwarded to the court on March 18 email communications concerning the purported Jefferies moratorium.

Withholding the documents until then was “highly prejudicial” and seriously impaired LightSquared’s presentation of its case, the company’s lawyers said in Friday’s filing.

Re-opening the record to allow for additional discovery would only “serve to reward defendants for their misconduct” in not revealing the information before, LightSquared’s lawyers said.

Lawyers for Ergen could not immediately be reached for comment.

The allegations of delayed trades were crucial for LightSquared, which must convince a bankruptcy judge that Ergen acted surreptitiously and that his actions hurt the company.

LightSquared filed for bankruptcy after the Federal Communications Commission revoked its license to build a planned wireless network.

The case is In re: LightSquared Inc et al, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No 12-12080.

(Reporting By Dena Aubin; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
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Update Schedule For The HTC Sense 6 UI Gets Leaked

Update Schedule For The HTC Sense 6 UI Gets Leaked
http://www.androidheadlines.com/2014/03/update-schedule-htc-sense-6-ui-gets-leaked.html

iPhone 6 phablet delays, HTC One M8 leaks, iPhone 6 dummy & more…

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iPhone 6 phablet delays, HTC One M8 leaks, iPhone 6 dummy & more – Pocketnow Daily
http://pocketnow.com/2014/03/24/iphone-6-phablet-delays-pocketnow-daily

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
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Kids From Around The World Share Their Favorite Toys

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Kids From Around The World Share Their Favorite Toys
http://kotaku.com/kids-from-around-the-world-share-their-favorite-toys-1550787286

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

At the first Wearable Technology Show in London, Fitbit lays out its plans

4dhealthware.com

At the first Wearable Technology Show in London, Fitbit lays out its principles for the modern gadget in the online, mobile, wireless world and we discuss one of its new major partnership and humanitarian efforts….

Fitbit Flex

How do you make a successful gadget? In our online, mobile, cloud-connected world, it’s not enough to build a better mousetrap.

At the first Wearable Technology Show in London, Fitbit has laid out its principles, providing a handy guide to developing a smart gadget.

Fitbit has had a painful start to the year, having to recall up to a million Force fitness-tracking wristbands due to reports that they’ve irritated the skin of at least 10,000 wearers. It seems the company still has plenty to learn when it comes to design and testing, but as one of the leading wearable-tech pioneers, Fitbit’s obviously doing something right in terms of developing products that are suited to the principles of our increasingly connected world.

They are also apparently making efforts to adjust the recent bad publicity by showing their philanthropic side through their new partnership with the hugely successful startup 4D Healthware who, it appears is transforming the way Hospitals, Doctors and even Research trials for medical breakthroughs and testing are done by taking medical-device and fitness-device Technology like FitBit (which is what they are using with the first prototype service and a 400 patient proof of concept), to the next level. And they’re doing so apparently, in a big way, with all the major big name attraction they are generating and speaking with such notables as Bill Clinton, Esther Dyson and even the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who they were recently referred to and hope to start a fruitful discussion with, says one executive who asked to be kept confidential.

FitBit at the Show

Gareth Jones, Fitbit’s vice president for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, laid down the commandments of the modern gadget at the Wearable Technology Show on Tuesday, highlighting the importance of ecosystems, openness, and fitting seamlessly into a person’s life.

It’s got to be more than hardware 
Fitbit makes a number of different health-tracking devices, including the Ultra clip, theFlex wristband, and the Aria Wi-Fi scale. But FitBit partnerships make it more than just hardware: in the mobile, wireless, cloud-connected age, 4D Healthware and FitBit combine to create a complete ecosystem, consisting of apps, alerts, artificial intelligence, machine learning and online and cloud elements, all complementing the user experience to actually make sense of the data you collect by presenting it to you in ways never before experienced or considered. 4D Healthware’s product is so advanced (they’ve been developing it secretly for three years now) it can predict what you will do before you do it, they say it even gets more intelligent and intuitive and starts to provide a truly unique and personalized experience for every subscriber, the longer they continue to use the service. Now that is what we’re…. talking about!

Not only does the hardware track your fitness and exercise use, but with the 4D service the device becomes part of their unique  and truly cutting edge ecosystem, with a very affordable ongoing subscription. They even offer group/volume discounts and as low priced as it is ($9.99 per month with a current special 30 day free trial) its obvious they’re looking at a long term and large volume model over the higher priced services which frankly, charge up to ten times the price and still don’t come close to offering what 4D claims their product is capable of.

Anywhere and everywhere 
Fitbit and 4D Healthware are adamant that wearable devices must work on Android, iOS, Windows & Windows Mobile and even BlackBerry devices, basically on any platform — in stark contrast to Nike and many others such as Microsoft, who are taking to the road tied to a single platform. For example the Nike+ app only runs on Apple devices, in exchange for a closer relationship with Apple, etc.

You can still use Nike+ online if you have an Android phone in your pocket, but even four months down the line from the launch of the FuelBand SE, Nike recently confirmed that “we don’t presently have plans to release an Android version of the app.”

FitBit believes that together with Strategic partnerships with cutting-edge Technology Startups such as 4D Healthware that they truly can change the world and to that end we are working with some truly remarkable cutting-edge Technology Companies like 4D Healthware for example which is about to launch their product and service nationwide. We’re really excited about the future and how we can help better the lives of our customers around the world.

It sounds like a pretty big goal but one they seem to be working hard to accomplish quickly with partnerships with companies like 4D Healthware backing their play, it seems likely they are on the right track.

FitBit can sync directly with more than 30 other devices, and now with this new 4D partner they are able to offer their customers a way to also begin syncing with the cloud and a whole lot more besides.

There are other platforms that consumers are invested in — in this case, fitness apps such as Endomondo or RunKeeper. Once Fitbit or Nike or Apple have got you they want to keep you, but they also have to consider that people want choice and flexibility, which is where 4D really shines as their services will be available on every device on the market within 30 days of a new device being launched. They claim they already have the api’s of every device currently available in the world… Now that’s ambitious and very impressive!

Something people want — and enjoy 
According to Fitbit, we as consumers want a choice of what type of gadget we use, such as in Fitbit’s case the choice between clip-on trackers or wristbands or scales. And we want our gadgets to be easy to use, to fit in with our other tools and toys, and to give us seamless continuity with what we’ve done before so we can feel like we’re building on past efforts. With this new partnership they believe they have helped their customers do exactly that, as each 4D customer has a user dashboard which will integrate with any device and show all that data in a single comprehensive yet easy to understand format. Oh, and they say they’ve developed everything in HTML5 and Javascript along with CSS3 which in case you are wondering, is the new technology used to develop the cool new Google Plus interface and includes all the newest and coolest Web design elements. Oh and one other thing…..we also want the 4D service to not give us a rash, okay guys?

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC
Atheneum-Partners
Hadoop Magazine
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

Google Graveyard: What Google’s killed so far in 2014 

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Google beats spring cleaning rush, nixes apps and services Read More 

One little footnote from Netflix CEO sparks a peering debate

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I would like to say first off, I resent this authors assumption that just because he is ignorant about the underpining mechanisms which run the Internet, to assume the rest of us are just as ignorant, is a false assumption and in my opinion extremely prejudicial and judgemental of society as a whole.

That being stated, the rest of the article is “decent”… In a naive way 😉

-Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer

 

By Scott M. Fulton III

So little is generally understood about the foundational mechanisms of the Internet that, when one of its leading practitioners speaks the truth about it in public, it sounds like an alien language. Last Thursday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings masterfully dropped a slow-fuse bomb into the net neutrality discussion, which among too many “netizens” had been a debate over the rights of bits.

The bomb came in the form of a footnote–literally a double-asterisked, small print half-sentence at the bottom of a post to Hastings’ corporate blog. Taken out of context, it could be (and probably was, more than once) interpreted as a threat. In its entirety, the footnote read, “in other words, moving to peer-to-peer content delivery.”

In context, Hastings was referring to this: Last month, Comcast announced it had reached an undisclosed peering agreement with Netflix, the order of which Hastings describes not as a partnership but instead an “arbitrary tax.” Netflix commands a huge chunk of downstream Internet traffic, and emboldened by a federal judge’s decision halting the FCC from enforcing net neutrality regulations, Comcast charged Netflix a fee for direct interconnection with its Tier 2 network.

 

But as things stand today, Comcast does not pay consumer data storage services like Box, or cloud service providers like Amazon or Rackspace, for bits sent upstream.  And, as Hastings noted, ISPs have historically maintained no-fee peering arrangements between each other, under the theory that if they actually did charge for carrying each other’s traffic, those charges would all wash out anyway.

So theoretically, by that same logic, Hastings posits, if Netflix were to use a P2P transit method to deliver its service–doubling its traffic, but actually balancing its load on the network–its charges should also be a wash, as should any service that produces as much upstream traffic as downstream. Hastings goes on to write, “That’s because the ISP argument isn’t sensible. Big ISPs aren’t paying money to services like online backup that generate more upstream than downstream traffic. Data direction, in other words, has nothing to do with costs.”

Certainly Netflix’ costs do appear to have something to do with data throughput. A check of the service’s live chart of throughput from major ISPs shows the overall speed decline–which had been noted in a Wall Street Journal article earlier this year–bounced right back up the other direction in February 2014, for Comcast as well as several other major ISPs.

In 2008, Cato Institute scholar Timothy Lee presented a respectable explanation of how settlement-free peering works (.pdf), in the course of an argument that extensive Internet regulation from the FCC or anyone else isn’t necessary. Lee reasoned that, because traffic from multiple sources tends to balance itself out through some unidentifiable phenomenon, the market is capable of righting itself. Lee wrote:

“If one network is significantly larger than the other, the smaller network will typically pay the larger network for connectivity, an arrangement known as ‘transit.’ If two networks are roughly equal, they will typically carry each other’s traffic without charge, an arrangement known as ‘settlement-free peering.’ Because these agreements are negotiated in the context of a competitive market, they tend to reflect the full cost to each network of carrying the other’s traffic.

The price that an Internet firm like Google pays for bandwidth includes the costs of securing ‘upstream’ connectivity to other networks. The costs of delivering traffic to a ‘last mile’ broadband provider like Comcast or Verizon is implicitly included in the price Google pays for connectivity… Network owners do not receive direct payments from all of the parties whose data they carry, but the network of consensual interconnection agreements that binds the Internet together ensures that each Internet user pays a fair share of the total costs of running the network.”

In November 2008, Steve Schultze, associate director of Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy, delivered a detailed counter-argument to Lee, suggesting that major carriers would not need to block certain services outright if they wanted to effectively divide the Internet into tiers. Wrote Schultze:

“Discrimination won’t look like that. It will come in the form of improving video services for providers who pay. It will come in the form of slightly lower quality Skyping which feels ever worse as compared to CarrierCrystalClearIP. It will come in the form of [Insert New Application] that I never find out about because it couldn’t function on the non-toll Internet and the innovators couldn’t pay up or were seen as competitors.”

Schultze’s warning appears to be precisely how this story is playing out. While one side portrays Netflix as the unfair bandwidth hog, the other plays Comcast as the carrier holding all the cards. But what’s clear is that, while these are two giants in their field, their inequality is preventing their impact on the overall network from washing out in the end.

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

Living Materials’ Could Lead To Better Solar Cells And Self-Healing Substances

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Researchers have discovered how to get bacteria to form biofilms that can combined with nonliving materials.

These “living materials” could allow scientists to reap the benefits of living cells and nonliving materials, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) news release reported.

Live cells are able to “respond to their environment, produce complex biological molecules, and span multiple length scales,” while nonliving materials can conduct electricity and generate light, the news release reported.

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

Carter says he thinks the leaks about the NSA abuses are “Good for America

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And I Agree, when we remove “freedom of speech” and when the government begins to believe it can hide whatever it wants from the citizens who pay their paychecks and for whom they work in the first place “government by the people and for the people…” (do I have that backwards?) then, despotism can take hold…

NEW YORK — Former president Jimmy Carter defended the disclosures by fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden on Monday, saying revelations that U.S. intelligence agencies were collecting meta-data of Americans’ phone calls and e-mails have been “probably constructive in the long run.”

Carter was interviewed on USA TODAY’s Capital Download about his new book, A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power, being published Tuesday. He discussed the need to change the way the U.S. military handles sexual abuse cases, his correspondence with Pope Francis, his grandson’s campaign for governor of Georgia — his former job — and whether Hillary Clinton would make a good president.

And he described how concern that his own e-mails are being monitored by intelligence agencies have prompted him to type or write letters when he has a personal message for a foreign leader, then to mail the letters. Even then, he suspects they might be scrutinized when they pass through U.S. embassies.

“I think it’s wrong,” he said of the NSA program. “I think it’s an intrusion on one of the basic human rights of Americans, is to have some degree of privacy if we don’t want other people to read what we communicate.”

Does he view Snowden, now granted asylum in Russia, as a hero or a traitor?

“There’s no doubt that he broke the law and that he would be susceptible, in my opinion, to prosecution if he came back here under the law,” he said. “But I think it’s good for Americans to know the kinds of things that have been revealed by him and others — and that is that since 9/11 we’ve gone too far in intrusion on the privacy that Americans ought to enjoy as a right of citizenship.”

Carter cautioned that he didn’t have information about whether some of the disclosures “may have hurt our security or individuals that work in security,” adding, “If I knew that, then I may feel differently.” And he said Snowden shouldn’t be immune from prosecution for his actions.

“I think it’s inevitable that he should be prosecuted and I think he would be prosecuted” if he returned to the United States, the former president said. “But I don’t think he ought to be executed as a traitor or any kind of extreme punishment like that.”

In his new book, published by Simon & Schuster,Carter details human rights abuses against women and girls around the world, often justified in the name of the Bible, the Koran and other religious texts. He called the issue “the most serious and unaddressed worldwide challenge,” in the developing world and the United States.

He expressed fears that the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of this year would reverse many of the gains made in the treatment of women and girls.

“I am concerned,” he said. “I think the long occupation of the United States in Afghanistan and the evolution of the right of some girls to go to school has maybe decreased the adverse consequences of Taliban domination. I don’t think it will come back as bad as it was in the past, but I think it still exists.”

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
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Former President Jimmy Carter said Sunday he believes the National Security Agency is monitoring his e-mails

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Former President Jimmy Carter said Sunday he believes the National Security Agency is monitoring his e-mails, so when he wants to communicate with a foreign leader, he sends an old-fashioned letter via snail mail. He told this to an NBC reporter.

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

California DMV reports possible breach of credit card data

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The California Department of Motor Vehicles is reporting a possible data security breach in its credit card processing services but said it had not yet found evidence that its computer system had been hacked.

In the latest of the string of data breaches that have accompanied the beginning of 2014, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has reportedly been the latest target of cyber-criminals. “The Department of Motor Vehicles has been alerted by law enforcement officials …”

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
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Synapse Synergy Group

Vicarious an Artificial intelligence company raised $40MM

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Computers are currently unable to understand the sensory experience of a human. Sense data is almost always noisy, blurry, occluded, and an ultimately incomplete 2D snapshot of a 3D world. For the past three decades, these uncertainties have foiled our best efforts to create automated systems for understanding the world as we experience it.

However, there is one type of system that handles these problems with ease. The best general purpose reasoning system evolved millions of years ago, and comes preinstalled in every human brain. With a little help from neuroscience and biology, we are pioneering new algorithms that enable computers to become intelligent.

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

San Francisco-based artificial intelligence companyVicarious has raised $40 

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San Francisco-based artificial intelligence companyVicarious has raised $40 million in new funding from investors including Formation 8Mark Zuckerberg,Vinod Khosla, and Peter Thiel. Vicarious has developed technology to solve Captcha queries and is now looking to apply this neural network technology to other areas like robotics, clean energy, and medicine. Founded in 2010, Vicarious has raised over $56 million and will put the new funds toward expanding its current team of 10.

 

Since the last email, CrunchBase captured more than 31 rounds and $382 million in fundings… and the data keeps rolling in.

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

Massachusetts-based data management startup Actifiohas raised $100 million

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Massachusetts-based data management startup Actifiohas raised $100 million led by Tiger Global with participation from previous investors Greylock IL,Advanced Technology VenturesAndreessen Horowitz, and Technology Crossover Ventures. Actifio has created a data storage platform that uses virtualization technology to help companies cut their storage costs by as much as 90%. Founded in 2009, Actifio is now valued at $1.1 billion and is preparing for an IPO in the next year.

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

Research confirms need for natural gas infrastructure expansion

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Umar I wonder how much they paid for this “research” when anyone who drives could have told them this…

The Pacific Northwest remains in a period of steady growth in demand for natural gas, according to a detailed 10-year overview of expected natural gas demand, supply availability, infrastructure development and prices in the Northwest conducted by the Northwest Gas Association (NWGA). The report projects a continuing trend of regional growth in natural gas demand at an annual growth rate of 1.5 percent — up from 1.2 percent last year.

“A number of indicators point toward the potential for significant expansion in the coming years, particularly for industrial uses, as a fuel for generating electricity and for export,” said Dan Kirschner, NWGA executive director.

The 2014 Gas Outlook continues to indicate a potential need for new or expanded natural gas delivery infrastructure by the end of the decade. While the current delivery system operates efficiently and reliably, “industrial and generation demand above the expected case will amplify and accelerate the need for incremental capacity,” according to the report.

“The Natural Gas Outlook serves as an important point of reference for energy stakeholders in the Pacific Northwest,” said Ed Brewer, NWGA board president and vice president and general manager of Williams Northwest Pipeline. “These stakeholders are navigating decisions concerning abundant North American natural gas supply options, existing and potential new markets and the infrastructure needed to bring the supply and demand together.”

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

 H2USA driving infrastructure for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles

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A consortium of energy companies, auto manufacturers, government laboratories, and other stakeholders is driving the acceleration of the rollout of an infrastructure for hydrogen-powered vehicles and related technologies. H2USA was launched last year by the Department of Energy (DOE) and other stakeholders to focus on furthering the infrastructure for hydrogen-powered vehicles, such as those powered by fuel cells.

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A bus in Australia powered by a fuel cell. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

So far more than two dozen entities have joined H2USA, including the American Gas Association and national laboratories such as the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Argonne and Sandia.

Fuel cells are becoming more common in a variety of applications, including as back-up energy sources in buildings and cell towers, as well as powering cars and trucks.

“Fuel cells powered by hydrogen offer an amazing opportunity to power vehicles with virtually no emissions besides water vapor,” said Jamie Holladay, PNNL’s sector manager for fuel cell technologies. “Our participation in H2USA enables us to help set the direction of the development of the infrastructure for the nation.”

Participants in H2USA are working together to create ways to deliver affordable hydrogen fuel safely, but the hydrogen infrastructure is in the very early stages. Several major automakers have plans to unveil fuel cell-powered vehicles for sale in the next few years. The consortium is helping to create the infrastructure necessary so that drivers of those cars can be confident of a fill-up nearby.

Recently, PNNL engineers developed an app, Hydrogen Tools, which incorporates a variety of resources and web-based content to help those involved in designing, approving or using hydrogen fuel cell systems and facilities. Several other PNNL projects are aimed at inventing new ways of safely storing hydrogen on board a vehicle or lowering the cost of carbon fiber tanks, and scientists have developed new catalysts for fuel cells and hydrogen production technologies.

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

Few U.S. utilities recognized as “World’s Most Ethical”

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Failure to establish the highest ethical business standards and practices throughout an organization can result in negative consequences to operations, investors, employees and more. The Ethisphere Institute, an independent researcher, has recognized several energy organizations for their ethical business standards and practices, including five U.S. energy and utility companies.

“In today’s complex global economy, it can be increasingly challenging for companies to meet performance expectations, while addressing the varying regulatory, compliance and sustainability needs across geographies and cultures,” said Tim Erblich, CEO of the Ethisphere Institute. “Global economic and social challenges from anti-corruption to security and privacy are accelerating the need for companies and organizations to embrace ethics and governance as critical business imperatives. This year’s honorees… understand that outstanding compliance programs, investment in a corporate culture of integrity, and sound business ethics have key roles in attracting and retaining talent, expanding business globally and driving financial performance.”

The World’s Most Ethical Company assessment is based on the Ethisphere Institute’s Ethics Quotient framework, which provides a means to assess an organization’s performance in an objective, consistent and standardized way. Rather than measuring all aspects of corporate governance, risk, sustainability, compliance and ethics, Ethisphere collects a comprehensive sampling of definitive date in core competencies. Scores are generated in five key categories: ethics and compliance program (25 percent), reputation, leadership and innovation (20 percent), governance (10 percent), corporate citizenship and responsibility (25 percent), and culture of ethics (20 percent).

Among the World’s Most Ethical Companies is NiSource Inc. — for the third consecutive year.

“The entire community of World’s Most Ethical Companies believe that customers, employees, investors and regulators place a high premium on trust and that ethics and good governance are key in earning it,” Erblich said. “NiSource joins an exclusive community committed to driving performance through leading business practices.”

NextEra Energy, Inc. has also been named — for the seventh time in the history of the awards — based on its corporate governance structure, as well as its compliance and ethics program oversight, written policies, training and communications, monitoring and auditing, and enforcement and response.

NextEra Energy has also recently been ranked as number one electric and gas utilities for the eighth consecutive year in Fortune magazine’s annual Most Admired Companies.

Other U.S. utilities recognized by Ethisphere include Sempra Energy and National Grid.

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

An excellent blog posting about Open Source & VC Funds entitled “Is npm worth $2.6MM?”

I have rarely read anything so well written, even in a novel. Mr Klabnik should be a professional Author, as well as whatever his current career path is…

http://words.steveklabnik.com/is-npm-worth-26mm

Video: Amazon Opens 3D Printed Product Marketplace – 3DPI.TV

http://3dprintingindustry.com/2014/03/21/3dpi-tv-amazon-opens-3d-printed-product-marketplace/?utm_source=3D+Printing+Industry+Update&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dad43a624c-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_term=0_695d5c73dc-dad43a624c-59064041

3D Printing Gives Smartphone Virtual Reality – 3D Printing Industry

http://3dprintingindustry.com/2014/03/21/3d-printing-smartphone-virtual-reality/?utm_source=3D+Printing+Industry+Update&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dad43a624c-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_term=0_695d5c73dc-dad43a624c-59064041

Osteofab 3DP to Give Freedom to Somali Woman – 3D Printing Industry

http://3dprintingindustry.com/2014/03/21/3d-printing-osteofab-face-reconstruction/?utm_source=3D+Printing+Industry+Update&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dad43a624c-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_term=0_695d5c73dc-dad43a624c-59064041

Picture Mosaics Utilizes LeoNovus Distributed Computing Cloud for High Performance 

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SUNNYVALE, Calif., March 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –LeoNovus Inc., (TSX: LTV.v) a leading Internet and distributed cloud provider with its geo-dispersed distributed Cloud, today announced that Picture Mosaics is a new customer for its wide-area data management services, using the LeoNovus geo-dispersed distributed cloud for high performance compute. Picture Mosaic produces large images from a variety of multimedia files that can range between many MBs to GBs and require on-demand networks when transferring files from site to site, as well as high-speed for meeting tight project deadlines.

Picture Mosaics, located in Blue Bell, PA, designs and markets state-of-the-art mosaic software and design techniques, pushing the mosaic concept further into every possible print and multimedia genre to include stunning HD mosaic animation and a new online interactive mosaic platform 5 with full HTML5 support.The creation of a photo mosaic is an art form, not just the product of a mathematical equation. Mosaic projects range from small-scale masterpieces, to eye-catching murals, tradeshow backdrops, striking inMotion video mosaic, or even an interactive on-line digital mosaic experience.

A photo mosaic has a resolution ranging from 90 mega pixels to 500 mega pixels, depending on the size of themosaic (keep in mind that the top digital cameras only have a resolution of about 18 to 24 mega pixels). After the picture is rendered, it will be printed at 2880 to 4800+ dpi (three to six times that of photo-quality).

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

Cloud Dynamics Selects Contrail to Orchestrate Its Cloud Data Center Solution

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Contrail will enable Cloud Dynamics to offer IaaS hosting services across multiple data centers by seamlessly automating and orchestrating
more….

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

Embossed Rolling Pins Let Bakers Sign Their Creations

Embossed Rolling Pins Let Bakers Sign Their Creations
http://gizmodo.com/embossed-rolling-pins-let-bakers-sign-their-creations-1548770380

Report: Apple Is Negotiating an On-Demand Music Service Like Spotify

Report: Apple Is Negotiating an On-Demand Music Service Like Spotify
http://gizmodo.com/report-apple-is-negotiating-an-on-demand-music-service-1549067213

Apple reportedly considering iTunes for Android app

Apple reportedly considering iTunes for Android app
http://www.phonedog.com/2014/03/21/apple-reportedly-considering-itunes-for-android-app/?utm_source=Rss&utm_medium=Latest&utm_campaign=BlinkFeed

Symantec fires its second CEO in less than two years, appoints interim replacement

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Symantec fired its second CEO in less than two years on Thursday, dismissing Steve Bennett and putting a board member in charge while the security vendor searches for a permanent replacement.

Bennett took the reins from former president and CEO Enrique Salem in July 2012 after Salem was dismissed amid weak financial results. Bennett has also resigned from Symantec’s board, according to a press release.

Symantec went through a major reorganization under Bennett, which the company said had “helped establish a solid foundation for Symantec’s future.” His termination was part of an ongoing process and not in response to any event or impropriety, according to Symantec. But the company said it needs a leader who can “drive the next stage of Symantec’s product innovation and growth.”

Board member Michael Brown will serve as interim president and CEO during an executive search that will begin immediately.

Also on Thursday, Symantec reiterated its guidance for the fourth quarter of its 2014 fiscal year, including slightly higher profit and fatter margins than a year earlier, on lower revenue.

Bennett had taken over with a promise to reorganize Symantec to better compete in the mobile arena and compete there as effectively as it had in PCs.

“The need for protecting and managing your information has never been stronger, and we must act aggressively to capture a growing share of this market,” Interim CEO Brown said in the release.

Symantec’s security business depends too much on endpoint software, such as PC antivirus tools, while competitors come out with more modern offerings, said Forrester Research security analyst Rick Holland. Fast-moving rivals include Palo Alto Networks, which makes next-generation firewalls, and FireEye, with advanced anti-malware software that doesn’t rely on traditional signatures, he said.

Endpoint products like Symantec’s aren’t going away, but many would-be buyers today pick alternatives such as Microsoft’s Forefront, which is included with other Microsoft licenses, he said.

“They need to have an innovative solution out to customers sooner than later,” Holland said. Bennett’s firing indicates that change wasn’t happening fast enough for the company’s board, he said.

Righting the ship may require taking the company private so it can make major acquisitions and investments in new technologies without having to meet Wall Street’s expectations at the same time, Holland said. “I think it’s really difficult to do a turnaround if you’re a public company,” he said.

The company might also split itself up, spinning off either its security or its backup and recovery business and focusing on just one of them, Holland said. Integrating an acquired company into the current sprawling organization would be a challenge, he said.

In after-hours trading late Thursday, Symantec’s shares (Nasdaq: SYMC) were down $1.26 at $19.65.

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC 
Atheneum-Partners 
Hadoop Magazine 
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group

The significance of Ukraine on the geopolitical chessboard

The significance of Ukraine on the geopolitical chessboard
http://gu.com/p/3nykg