How You Swipe and Hold Your Phone May Be a Critical Clue to Stop Fraudsters

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People are creatures of habit. This applies to daily routines, but also to small details like how they use their phones.

The angle they usually hold their phones as well as how they use the screen to scroll and swipe is often predictable enough to create individual profiles of users’ behavior. And in this data-driven age, it’s no surprise that companies are doing just that by compiling dozens of signals related to consumers’ phone habits in order to create so-called behavioral biometrics that prevent fraud.

The latest example came on Monday when a company called BioCatch announced that it has partnered with Samsung SDS to integrate behavioral biometrics to detect fraud on popular mobile apps.

Frances Zelazny, the vice president of BioCatch, said her company doesn’t only look at swiping or scrolling patterns to verify that someone logging in to, say, a banking app is who they are supposed to be. She says the company also relies on “subconscious decisions” such as the way someone toggles between menu options. BioCatch even introduces “invisible tests”–briefly freezing a phone screen, for instance, to see how someone reacts–as part of its project to map phone users’ behavior.

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Part of what makes this all work is the power of smartphones to act as data-collection devices. For instance, technology like the gyroscope (a component found in every phone) can measure the angle users hold their phones. This in turn provides an additional data point that firms like BioCatch can add to hundreds of other attributes that, when taken together, make up a distinct behavioral profile.

On a practical level, these profiles deter fraud because a crook trying to impersonate a real user will display aberrant behavior–say by swiping in an unfamiliar pattern or by tilting the phone in an unusual way. When such red flags are detected, says Zelazny, the app will respond by implementing additional security measures.

According to BioCatch and Samsung SDS, the combination of behavioral biometrics and other new forms of phone-based ID verification (such as fingerprint and, in Apple’s new iPhone X, facial recognition) will eventually replace the password as a form of security.

The introduction of behavioral biometrics is also part of a larger initiative backed by the FIDO Alliance–a group of companies that include Samsung, Google and RSA, which are working to create strong authentication protocols across different devices.

BioCatch did not state exactly when its behavioral biometrics tools will deployed in the apps consumers use every day. Here are a few additional details from the company’s press release:

BioCatch’s unique technology will be integrated into and complement Nexsign, Samsung SDS’s FIDO-certified, enterprise-grade biometric authentication software. The integration will fill the major security loopholes exposed when seamless interfaces of today’s most popular mobile applications don’t require a user to login multiple times to validate their identity.

BioCatch will use risk-based authentication to continuously monitor Samsung SDS’ users by mapping their behavioral patterns after log-in, to better distinguish between an authorized user, and that of an unauthorized user or an automated BOT or malware.

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IT, OT, IoT: Does Hitachi Have a Dictionary for This Alphabet Soup?

Drawing on a long history in the industrial space and as an IT supplier, Hitachi has mapped out its own strategy for the industrial IoT.
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Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal optimistic about Twitter investment: CNBC

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns investment firm Kingdom Holding, said in an interview with CNBC on Monday that he was optimistic about his investment in Twitter.

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabian Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal arrives at the Elysee palace in Paris, France, to attend a meeting with French President, September 8 , 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

“It’s not going to be easy because they face some difficulties, but our entry point was very reasonable, so right now it’s holding on a breakeven point,” he said.

Reporting by Katie Paul; Editing by David Goodman

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Consumer goods firms harness online data to tap Southeast Asia e-commerce boom

SINGAPORE/BANGKOK (Reuters) – When diaper maker DSG International (Thailand) wants to know what its customers are thinking, it often turns to Lazada, an e-commerce firm majority-owned by Alibaba Group Holding (BABA.N).

FILE PHOTO: The Singapore Lazada website is seen in this illustration photo June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration/File Photo

“From (their) data, we know mothers sometimes browse at night, so we can offer flash sales when we know customers are browsing,” says Ambrose Chan, the Thai company’s CEO.

Southeast Asia is the world’s fastest-growing internet market, home to 600 million consumers from Vietnam to Indonesia via Singapore, many of them tech- and social media-savvy. They are rapidly spending more time and money online. A Nielsen study in 2015 estimated Southeast Asia’s middle-class will hit 400 million by 2020, doubling from 2012.

Gross merchandise value of ecommerce in Southeast Asia will balloon to $ 65.5 billion by 2021, from $ 14.3 billion last year, predicts consultancy Frost & Sullivan.

Research firm Euromonitor forecasts internet retailing in Indonesia, for example, will more than double to $ 6.2 billion by 2021, and Thailand will increase 85 percent to $ 2.8 billion.

(For a graphic on Southeast Asia internet sales click reut.rs/2l3qULe)

Consumer goods firms, such as Unilever (UNc.AS) and Japanese cosmetics firm Shiseido (4911.T), say the e-commerce boom allows them to push deeper into markets that can otherwise be difficult to understand and tough to penetrate due to poor retail networks and infrastructure.

“Data from Lazada has been used to position certain products where consumer preferences are different. For example, Thai customers like to buy diapers in special cartons, while Malaysians prefer multiple packs,” says Chan.

To reach more customers and get a better handle on their online behavior, consumer goods companies are forging partnerships with e-commerce firms like Lazada and fashion website Zalora.

POWERFUL, INSIGHTFUL

A customer who clicked on a 50 milliliter product may instead buy a smaller 30 ml product, said Pranay Mehra, vice president, digital and e-commerce at Shiseido Asia Pacific, noting that data and online selling experience can help firms bundle offers, decide on packaging and distribution, and influence where to set up a physical presence.

“This data is very powerful and very insightful, if used properly,” Mehra added.

Unilever, whose products range from Hellmann’s mayonnaise to Dove soap, said it is seeing more demand from rural consumers in developing markets like Indonesia and Vietnam.

RedMart’s President Vikram Rupani poses at their fulfillment centre in Singapore September 22, 2017. Picture taken September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su

“With all our e-commerce partners, we’re using data to help us find innovative solutions to unlock key barriers of high cost delivery and poor credit card penetration in remote areas,” said Anusha Babbar, e-commerce director at Unilever Southeast Asia and Australasia.

The conglomerate, which works with the likes of Singapore online grocer RedMart, Indonesia’s Blibli and Vietnam’s Tiki, said it introduced its St Ives skincare brand on Lazada after seeing a trend towards natural products and shopper search data.

DATA AND LOGISTICS

“Traditional retailers will struggle to see customer behavior,” said Lazada Thailand’s CEO, Alessandro Piscini. “We can tell if a customer is pregnant from their search behavior.”

Slideshow (10 Images)

Lazada, he said, plans to use data science to help its merchants customize offers for specific customer groups based on age, gender and other preferences.

Zalora, which sells clothing and accessories online in markets including Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, said it was working on ad-hoc projects with some brands to help them understand their customers based on data.

Lazada and Zalora are among the few e-commerce platforms that operate in multiple Southeast Asian countries. But the region is becoming a new battleground as Amazon (AMZN.O) and JD.com (JD.O) make beachheads in Singapore and Thailand.

Lazada Thailand will focus on partnering with fast-moving consumer goods companies to maintain its lead, Piscini said, and is expanding its logistics footprint across a region that has poor roads, clogged cities and thousands of often remote islands.

To be sure, online still contributes a tiny portion to consumer goods companies’ sales, but some local firms are going beyond partnerships and investing in their own e-commerce capabilities.

Thailand’s top consumer goods manufacturer Saha Group (SPI.BK) (SPC.BK) has seen online sales of some of its brands rise tenfold since it began a partnership with Lazada in June, but online still represents just 1-2 percent of total sales.

Saha is using e-commerce data to customize offerings.

“We now make real-time offerings to customers. Before, promotions would be seasonal,” Chairman Boonsithi Chokwatana told Reuters.

The company, whose products include instant noodles, toothpaste and laundry detergent, is investing 2 billion baht ($ 60 million) in logistics to support its e-commerce ambitions, including a 21-storey warehouse and a big data team, he said.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in SINGAPORE and Chayut Setboonsarng in BANGKOJK; Editing by Ian Geoghegan

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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AT&T Earnings: Brace For Impact

After a good day in telecom marked by the solid results released by peer Verizon (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T) will be the next U.S. giant in the space to report on its own 3Q performance. Quite a bit of the surprise factor might be absent from the print, however, as AT&T’s management has issued a partial pre-announcement in the wake of the season’s natural disasters, softness in legacy video subscription (well covered by Stone Fox Capital) and fewer handset equipment upgrades.

(Photo Credit: Business Insider)

The Street is betting on revenues of $ 40.1 billion, suggesting a -2% YOY decline that will be caused, to a small extent, by the U.S. storms and the earthquake in Mexico. Likely driving a larger piece of the drag will be legacy video, expected to see a record high, and a worrisome decrease in the subscriber base of 390,000. The projected strong user metrics on the DirecTV Now side of the business will probably not be enough to counter the DirecTV and U-verse headwinds, considering the lower per user revenue generated by the online platform. EPS is estimated to come in at $ 0.75, no lower than the earnings expectations from before the pre-announcement.

On the wireless side, and if Verizon can be used as a leading indicator, I would not be surprised to see margins dip in the YOY comparison. The Big Four carriers in the U.S. have been fighting a fierce competitive war that saw all players introduce unlimited postpaid plans in 2017 (Business Insider covered the plan comparison across the industry very well). As I have argued recently, the likely impact of these initiatives will be lower pricing and network cost pressures to support the large data services. On a more positive note, AT&T shareholders are probably hopeful to see postpaid net adds maintain the momentum gained in 2Q17, as well as churn at or around 1% – which would be in line with management’s October statement that it “continues to see low postpaid phone churn levels.”

Considered by me to be one of AT&T’s less-talked-about jewels, Mexico mobility could have a tough 3Q17 in the wake of the natural catastrophe in the country. But regarding this piece of the business, I continue to hold a long-term view that the runway is set for AT&T to continue to generate solid growth in the region.

My thoughts on AT&T stock

The last few months have not been a walk in the park for the giant Dallas-based telecom company. With headwinds hitting from many directions (at times literally so, in the case of September’s hurricanes), the stock has suffered a rarely seen -10% decline in a short period of only two weeks and is now back to February 2016 levels.

Chart

T PE Ratio (Forward) data by YCharts

Company/Ticker Forward P/E LT EPS Growth Forward PEG
AT&T (T) 12.2x 3.8% 3.3x
Verizon (VZ) 13.2x 3.3% 4.0x

The silver lining, however, is that T hasn’t looked this inexpensive in a while – since January 2016 on a forward P/E basis, to be more precise. Assuming that its dividends will be safe (check out this great article on the subject) and, better yet, will continue to grow in a near-straight line like they have over the past 30 years, the company’s impressive 5.5% trailing yield makes an investment in the stock look more like a convertible bond play. In other words, investors that buy T today collect on the very rich quarterly payments with the option of benefiting from the eventual appreciation in the stock price over time.

Call me a biased shareholder, but despite the known challenges, I find an investment in T at the current depressed levels a rare opportunity ahead of what I believe will be positive long-term catalysts for the company.

Note from the author: If you have enjoyed this article and would like to receive real-time alerts on future ones, please follow D.M. Martins Research. To do so, scroll up to the top of this screen and click on the orange “Follow” button next to the header, making sure that the “Get email alerts” box remains checked. Thanks for reading.

Disclosure: I am/we are long T.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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7 Lessons I Learned When I Started Speaking Internationally

Getting up to speak in front of a live audience can be a nerve-wracking experience. Those nerves are heightened even more when the audience you’re speaking to is a global one.

Today there are almost 7.5 billion people in the world, according to the United States Census Bureau, and each of them has their own unique view of the world. Age, gender, language, culture, socioeconomic status and other factors all affect that view.

In his book, “Unlimited Power,” motivational speaker Tony Robbins wrote, “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”

When you’re speaking to a multicultural audience, you need to figure out how to connect despite your differences. Here are seven of my top tips for speaking to an international audience.

1. Speak clearly and articulately

If no one can understand what you’re saying, they won’t be able to take in the message of your speech. The average rate of speech for an English speaker from the United States is about 150 words per minute, according to the National Center for Voice and Speech. You need to make sure you speak slower than that for non-native English speakers.

Even if they know the language, they probably aren’t as familiar with it as a native speaker would be. That means if they miss a word, it will be difficult to fill in the blanks and gain the meaning of what you’re saying. To avoid this, make sure you speak clearly and enunciate each word.

2. Be aware of your body language

In the United States, leaders are often passionate, expressive and charismatic. But these characteristics aren’t respected in all cultures. To make the right impression, you need to be aware of your body language and how it is interpreted.

For example, in the U.S., eye contact is seen as showing confidence, while in other countries, it is taboo. Make sure you understand these nuances of culture by doing research on your audience before giving your speech.

As Dale Carnegie says in “The Quick & Easy Way to Effective Speaking,” “Only the prepared speaker deserves to be confident.”

3. Leave the jokes at home

While humor is a tool that is often used to better connect with an audience and put them at ease, it may have the opposite effect on an international audience. Humor is not universal and what one culture finds funny, another may not.

Worst-case scenario, your jokes could end up offending, while best case, they’d fall flat. To avoid both, simply skip the jokes completely. Instead, focus on being relevant and making sure your speech is about a topic your audience cares about.

Blogger Seth Godin writes on his blog, “The topic of the talk isn’t you, the topic of the talk is the audience, and specifically, how they can use your experience and knowledge to achieve their objectives.”

4. Stick to your own language

When you’re in a foreign country, it may be tempting to learn a few phrases in the native language and try to incorporate them into your speech. While using the word for “hello” may be all right, anything too complicated could have terrible results.

If you end up mispronouncing a word, one wrong syllable could make an enormous difference in meaning. You could end up offending your audience. Unless you are fluent in the native language, it’s best to stick to English.

5. Avoid slang, jargon and idioms

To ensure your speech is relevant for your audience, you want to make sure the words and phrases you’re using are easily understood. If you’re littering your speech with complicated jargon and obscure slang words, not only are you alienating your audience, but you’re also being unprofessional. Idioms and metaphors should also be omitted as they are not easily translated across cultures.

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and try to see your speech from their perspective. What parts may not be easily understood?

Henry Ford once told the National Association of Corporation Schools Bulletin, “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”

6. Research your audience

The first rule of any speech, no matter which country you’re speaking in, is to know the audience you’re speaking to. That means doing some research ahead of time to better understand the nuances of the culture.

You also need to find out what the audience’s pain points or needs are. Your speech should be as relevant and relatable as possible for the audience. A human attention span is only 8.25 seconds, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, so if you aren’t relevant, you won’t be able to capture their attention.

In an article for Ragan, digital marketing consultant Lee Odden said, “Always ask: What do my audience members care about? What are their pain points and goals? Sure, I have things I want to say, but ‘me, me, me’ is boring, boring, boring.”

7. Don’t overthink it

No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to please everyone. But as long as you do your research in advance and avoid the main pitfalls I’ve mentioned, you’ll be fine. Just be yourself and deliver your speech the way you know will work best.

In “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living,” Carnegie said, “Each time I spoke, I gained a little courage. It took a long while–but today I have more happiness than I ever dreamed possible. In rearing my own children, I have always taught them the lesson I had to learn from such bitter experience: No matter what happens, always be yourself!”

Have you spoken in front of a global audience before? What was the experience like and what did you learn from it? Share in the comments below:

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Startup CEO Arrested for Child Abuse, Assault, and Attempted Murder

News broke on Friday that Zain Jaffer, ex-CEO of mobile ads startup Vungle, was arrested for child abuse (including a charge of oral copulation of a person under 14), assault, and attempted murder. 

The company replaced Jaffer as CEO a day before the allegations were reported in the tech press. The San Mateo County Sheriff’s website indicates that an inmate named Jaffer is being held at the Maple Street Correctional Center in Redwood City, California. 

Jaffer was featured as part of Inc.’s 35 Under 35 Coolest Entrepreneurs package in 2014.

A Vungle spokesperson wasn’t immediately available. Earlier today, a company representative told VentureBeat: “While we do not have any information that is not in the public record at this point, these are extremely serious allegations, and we are shocked beyond words.” The charges are “obviously so serious that it led to the immediate removal of Mr. Jaffer from any operational responsibility at the company,” the rep told VentureBeat.

Jaffer’s next scheduled court date is Nov. 1, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s records.

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5 Fun Weekend Tech Deals For Gamers, Spotlight Enthusiasts

If time got away from you this week, these weekend tech deals can help you reclaim a little savings. With a little help from our pals at TechBargains, we have five fun tech items to liven up your home.

Mpow FM Projection Alarm Clock – $ 30

This alarm clock has the usual AM/FM features, but packs a few surprises, like a projector that paints a big digital display of the time right on the ceiling. It also has a built-in USB port to charge your phone and the display will dim if it’s too bright and blue for you. Amazon has the Mpow FM Projection Alarm Clock for $ 30 (Discount Code: HQKGWOGC, List Price: $ 40).

Dell XPS 8910 desktop PC – $ 620

If your desktop PC is getting sluggish we’ve got a solid upgrade. This Dell XPS Tower isn’t quite VR ready, but it should run many 3D games with ease for nearly $ 600 with a discount code. It has a 4GHz 6th Generation Intel Core i7, Windows 10 Pro, a 1TB hard drive, Nvidia’s 2GB GeForce GT 730 graphics card, and 16GB DDR4 RAM. Dell’s store has the Dell XPS 8910 Tower Chassis for $ 620 (Discount Code: XPS669, List Price: $ 900).

Holan 2-in-1 LED Solar Spotlights – $ 26

If your yard could use a few highlights in the dark, this pack of four solar-powered 200-lumen spotlights may do the trick. Because they’re weatherproof (IP65), they’re great for backyards, front yards, and can be wall mounted. They can charge up in about a day if there’s decent sunlight and hold a pretty good charge. You can learn more and buy them on Amazon. The 4-Pack of Holan Solar Spotlights are on sale for $ 25.79 (Discount Code: U3AUGD9J, List Price: $ 60).

Vizio E50-E1 50-Inch 4K TV – $ 470

Finding a decent 4K TV for under $ 500 is still a challenge, but you can’t go wrong with a Vizio, which often hits a perfect balance between great prices and excellent picture quality. On top of the sub-$ 500 price, Dell will give you a $ 100 gift card to its store, and you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding something else you like with the money. The Vizio E50-E1 50-Inch 4K TV is $ 470 (List Price: $ 500).

Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming Laptop (with Core i7) – $ 650

Gamers, this 15.6-inch laptop has a 6th Generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, 8GB RAM (you can spec up to 16GB), a 1TB hybrid hard drive, 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M, Windows 10 Home, and a 6-cell battery. It should work with a VR setup if you’ve got it, though it’s a little under Oculus’s recommended VR specs. But for 2D gaming, it should do you fine. You can buy the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop for $ 470 (Discount Code: 50OFF699, List Price: $ 900)

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we earn a small affiliate commission. Read more about how this works.

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Management Tools Bring Structure to Multi-Cloud Environments

New tools help enterprises organize and maximize their expanding multiple cloud infrastructure.
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Ride hailing firm Grab secures up to $700 million in debt facilities

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Grab, the main Southeast Asian rival of Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL], said on Friday it had secured debt facilities of up to $ 700 million to help it create the largest car rental program in southeast Asia.

FILE PHOTO: People wait for the start of Grab’s fifth anniversary news conference in Singapore June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

The company also said it had signed a partnership with Singaporean public transport operator SMRT, which will give it exclusive access to SMRT’s taxi and private car fleet management capabilities, along with its network of taxis and Strides private-hire cars.

It also said it would have the largest car rental fleet in Southeast Asia by the fourth quarter of 2018.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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'Anemic' iPhone 8 demand drags Apple shares lower

(Reuters) – Signs of poor demand for the iPhone 8 fueled more questions on Thursday over Apple Inc’s strategy of releasing two phones within months of each other in 2017, sending its shares almost 3 percent lower.

The chief executive of Canada’s largest mobile network Rogers Communication said appetite for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus had been “anemic”, adding to a series of hints that sales had been poor ahead of the iPhone X launch on Nov. 3.

A number of sector analysts played down the concerns, which have dogged Apple since it announced the plans a month ago, saying that overall phone production looks broadly in line with their earlier expectations.

Verizon’s chief financial officer Matt Ellis also admitted that the number of phone upgrades in the third quarter was lower than previous years while stressing he expected a surge as the iPhone X is released.

But the debate – and hints from some analysts and a Taiwan media report of a cut in iPhone 8 production – was enough to push Apple shares down 2.8 percent by lunchtime in New York.

“The Street is hyper-sensitive to any speed bumps around this next iPhone cycle and (that) speaks to the knee-jerk reaction we are seeing in shares,” said Daniel Ives, chief strategy officer at research house GBH Insights in New York.

“iPhone 8 demand has been naturally soft out of the gates with the main event being the iPhone X launch in early November. (But) this is the early innings of what we believe is the biggest iPhone product cycle with X leading the way.”

SUPPLY CHAIN

Apple no longer gives regular updates on sales numbers but indications from supply channels, phone operators and analysts who track the sector have fueled talk of poor sales for the latest update of the smartphone.

When Apple announced the plan to release both phones before the end of 2017, fans were disappointed mainly due to the delay in the launch of the iPhone X until November.

But there are also concerns that the more expensive phone – marking the iPhone’s 10th anniversary – may not get so many takers.

KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst John Vinh reported this week that a carrier store survey suggested the cheaper iPhone 7 was outselling its successor just a month after iPhone 8’s launch – boding ill for a brand that normally has fans queuing for the latest upgrade.

Rogers Communications chief Joe Natale said anticipation was high for the iPhone X but also noted that inventory would be limited and that – at Apple’s starting price of $ 999 – it was an expensive device.

U.S. wireless carrier AT&T also said last week its third-quarter postpaid handset upgrades were fewer by nearly 900,000 from a year ago.

“I think what you’re seeing there is a difference in timing of some of the new devices coming out versus what we’ve historically seen,” Verizon’s Ellis told an earnings call.

“Obviously Apple is part of that. We are splitting the new devices between the 8 … and the X. As we get into the holiday season, some of those new devices come out, we think we will see strong demand.”

Additional reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru, Alastair Sharp in Toronto; Editing by Patrick Graham and Arun Koyyur

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Taiwan chipmaker TSMC's third-quarter net profit falls 7.1 percent, beats estimates

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Apple Inc supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd on Thursday said net profit fell 7.1 percent in the three months through September, slightly better than analyst estimates.

The world’s largest contract chipmaker booked third-quarter profit of T$ 89.925 billion ($ 2.98 billion), from T$ 96.76 billion in the same period a year earlier. The result compared with the T$ 88.19 billion average of 21 analyst estimates, Thomson Reuters Eikon showed.

Revenue rose to $ 8.32 billion, up 1.5 percent from a year earlier. That was better than the $ 8.12 billion to $ 8.22 billion forecast TSMC issued in July.

Reporting by Jess Macy Yu; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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Twitter looks to toughen rules on online harassment, abuse

(Reuters) – Twitter Inc plans to toughen its rules on online sexual harassment and impose stronger penalties for misconduct, according to an email it sent to a group of safety advocates, academics and researchers that helps the social media service set its policies.

The new rules, which will likely be introduced in the next few weeks, are aimed at tackling one of Twitter’s biggest and long-lasting problems. They follow a series of tweets by Chief Executive Jack Dorsey on Friday announcing plans to act more aggressively to limit the number of bullies and harassers using Twitter.

The new guidelines include immediate and permanent suspensions of any account Twitter identifies as the original poster or source of non-consensual nudity. The site’s definition of non-consensual nudity will also be expanded to include what it called “upskirt imagery, creep shots and hidden camera content.”

The rules were set out in a letter, which was seen by Reuters, to Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council from Twitter’s head of safety policy.

The micro-blogging platform is also looking to allow bystanders to report unwanted sexual advances, which previously had to be reported by users directly involved in the situation.

It also promised to publish more details on a change in policy which would include hate symbols and imagery in its definition of sensitive media.

Dorsey’s pledge to revamp Twitter’s guidelines came after some users boycotted the service for suspending actress Rose McGowan, who spoke out against Harvey Weinstein, the producer who faces allegations that he sexually harassed or assaulted a number of women over three decades in the film business. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.

Twitter also faces scrutiny from lawmakers investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Last week, Twitter gave Senate investigators the profile names of 201 accounts it had determined were linked to an effort by Moscow to sow discord and divisiveness during and after the campaign, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference, previously called Twitter’s cooperation as “frankly inadequate.”

Reporting by Angela Moon in New York and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Dustin Volz in Washington DC; editing by Patrick Graham

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Sonos One Review: Amazon's Alexa Is Here, But It Still Has Some Growing Up to Do

I like my Echo. In my house, we use it to play radio stations, to get the weather, and to answer questions like “When was the Edo period?” One thing I don’t often use the Echo for is music. That’s because it sounds terrible. As good as Amazon’s Alexa voice service is, the Echo’s black tin can croaks out audio just a notch better than the 20-year-old Coby FM radio I keep in the garage. Amazon has taken steps to improve the Echo’s sound quality with a reboot last month, and companies like Lenovo have coaxed Alexa into nicer-sounding enclosures. But those speakers are still boring.

What I really want—what every audiophile I know wants—is an Alexa speaker that sounds as good as the best speakers in the house. In my house, those speakers are Sonos speakers. So join me while I raise a glass to the Sonos One, the company’s first music player with Alexa built natively into the corpus. This isn’t Alexa’s first sip of Sonos. Echo devices recently gained the ability to control Sonos hardware, but that requires adding an Alexa skill, which of course means there’s some loopy syntax you have to struggle with when all you really want to do is play some Chet Baker. Also, I know a few friends with an Echo Dot plugged into their Sonos Play:5, and while that gets things moving, it’s inelegant and you’re still using two devices.

This new $ 199 speaker takes the current Alexa-Sonos relationship and removes the complexity. You could think of it as an Echo with much improved sound. It does all of the Alexa things, but it’s foremost a Sonos speaker, so it does all the Sonos things too—it works as part of a multi-room system, it streams from scores of services, and it obeys the company’s controller apps. The One has some faults. Amazon world and Sonos world are two nuanced and complex domains, and any device that attempts to bridge the two is sure to stumble occasionally. But the key point remains: The One is a great-sounding Sonos speaker, and that’s reason enough to consider one. It also so happens that you can command it with your voice.

WIRED

If you’re already hip to the Sonos product line, you’ll notice the One looks almost exactly like a Play:1—on purpose, of course. But in order to incorporate voice services and the requisite six-microphone array, Sonos had to completely redesign the inside of the box. The resulting Sonos One, sonically, is perceptually the same as the Play:1. If you like the dynamics, volume, and clarity of the bookshelf-ready Play:1, this new Alexa-endowed version will please you as well. Speak as you would to your Echo (“Alexa, play KCRW.”) and that familiar robotic voice speaks back from within a Sonos shell.

By talking to the speaker, you can play or pause music, skip tracks, change the volume, or ask what’s playing. If you have multiple Sonos speakers, you can use Alexa to launch music in other rooms. “Alexa, play Chuck Berry in the bedroom.” I also succeeded in getting Alexa to group the One with another Sonos speaker that was already playing music by saying, “Play what’s playing in the kitchen.” That feature is undocumented, so I got a little jolt of surprise when it actually worked. Sonos told me later it’s an easter egg in the beta app I was using, but it’s nice to know more features are still in development. The One can do all the fun Alexa stuff too, of course. It can dim the lights or turn on your Dyson fan. You can ask it to start a dance party, play reggae, or play ’80s hits just like you can do with an Echo—except when you request it on the One, the music that comes out sounds much, much better.

TIRED

The setup process, which involves not only adding a new speaker to your Sonos network, but also adding Amazon Voice Service to your speaker, needs ironing out. There’s too much time spent switching between the Sonos app and the Alexa app during setup, and if you lose the thread, you have to start all over.

Once you get things humming, the limitations of the voice controls become clear pretty quickly. The Sonos One can do most everything Alexa can do, but it can’t do everything Sonos can do. So, when you ask it to play music, the Alexa living inside the One can only summon streams from the services Alexa supports. If you want to play something from your local MP3 library or one of the 80-odd services supported by Sonos (Apple Music, Google Play Music, Mixcloud, MLB.com), you have to pull out your phone and tap. Once the audio is playing, you can ask Alexa to pause it or turn it up. But unless it’s Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Sirius, or TuneIn, your phone is still required to get it playing in the first place. (Spotify is coming soon after launch, Sonos says.)

These shortcomings are things Sonos is racing to improve, of course. The bright and shiny end goal here is an easily installed speaker you can, if you want, control only by talking. But the One isn’t there yet. Each streaming service connected to your Sonos has to be understood and learned by Alexa in order for the voice assistant to be able to navigate it. That’s going to take time.

Again, this speaker sits squarely on a number of borders, and data and effort will get lost in the crossing as long as the various sides fail to understand each other perfectly. But until that work is done—by Amazon and by Sonos—you’ll need to assume an early-adopter mentality with regards to the One. You can take solace in knowing that bigger things are coming via software updates (like AirPlay support and Google Assistant, both coming in 2018). For now, however, you’ll just have to be satisfied with the simpler things.

Rating

8/10 – An excellent-sounding Alexa speaker that’s worth the $ 200, even if it has some growing up to do.

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15 Highest-Paying Tech Jobs for 2018

Besides your boss (of course), which of your peers in tech are in line for big bucks?
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Venmo Users: You’re About to Be Able to Use the App to Shop Online

Millennials who split the bill can split bills at many more sites.

PayPal announced a massive expansion for use of its Venmo payments app popular with millennials. The app grew as a quick way for customers to send each other money, but starting this week, Venmo users can also pay for e-commerce purchases with the app on millions of mobile retailing sites such as Lululemon and Foot Locker.

PayPal is leveraging its relationships to take payments with its main namesake service at about 2 million online retailers to expand the usefulness of Venmo, which it acquired in its $ 800 million purchase of startup Braintree in 2013. With the mobile checkout update, Venmo users can make a purchase on their phone at any retailer’s site that accepts PayPal, either with funds stashed in the app or split among other Venmo users.

“Now, Venmo’s ready for our favorite autumn to-do—holiday shopping. (Seriously, it’s never too early for presents. Or candy corn.),” Ashley Phillips, Venmo’s lead product manager for commerce, joked in a blog post announcing the new feature.

Analysts said the move should help expand Venmo’s market presence, which accounted for $ 8 billion worth of transactions in the second quarter, about double the amount from the prior year. Although Venmo doesn’t generate much actual revenue for PayPal yet, its transaction volume is growing considerably faster than the company’s overall volume, which increased 23% to $ 106 billion in the second quarter. The added usefulness also helps Venmo fend off new competitive threats, as Apple aapl is adding person-to-person payments to its mobile payments system.

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“Consumers simply want to move dollars from one place to another whether that means sending those dollars to a friend or a merchant,” said James Wester, a payments analyst at IDC. “So it’s smart for PayPal to make Venmo more useful by expanding the opportunities for consumers to use it to move their dollars.”

The expansion is reminiscent of how PayPal pypl successfully expanded when it was bought by eBay ebay , noted analyst Brendan Miller at Forrester Research. Users often had money sitting in their PayPal accounts after selling something on the site, so PayPal enabled them to spend the money more easily directly on the site as well, without needing to shift it to a bank account.

“It’s huge,” Miller said. “Money is sitting in all these Venmo accounts and now they can burn it off and it doesn’t have to get moved back to a savings account or a checking account.”

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Exclusive: This Startup Just Nabbed $5 Million to Solve a Thorny Software Problem

Deploying business software has gotten very complex.

Backplane, a startup that says it can help companies manage the complex software deployments of the cloud computing era, has emerged from stealth with $ 5 million in seed funding—and a service it says can ease the headaches of deploying new-age software.

Now that nearly every business, whether it’s a media company or an automaker, also builds its own software for its website or employee sites, the pain of building and running business software is ubiquitous.

San Francisco-based Backplane says its newly available Backplane Core service will help those companies manage how their data flows whether it ends up running on Amazon Web Services amzn or some other cloud data center, internal data centers, or all of the above.

Company founder Blake Mizerany was the first engineer hired at Heroku, a popular software development platform purchased by Salesforce crm for $ 212 million seven years ago and, more recently, CoreOS, so he knows a lot about how software is built.

Related: This Respected Tech Exec Is Leaving Salesforce for Amazon

With companies using software containers, mixing and matching various services, and putting their processes in various clouds, the problem is how to manage an efficient and secure data flow between on-premises data centers and various clouds.

That’s a lot of complexity. Companies now have to think about what’s running in various cloud data center regions and virtual public clouds (VPCs) within those configurations. (VPCs are computing resources in a shared public cloud and cordoned off for use by a single customer.)

“Customers would ask how we did this at Heroku, and my sad answer was that we had to build all our own load balancers and proxy servers and let them spread traffic across data centers to the cloud,” Mizerany tells Fortune. The truth is that most companies don’t want to have to worry about that stuff, so the new Backplane Core service, available as of now, will take that off their plate, he says.

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Byron Sebastian, Heroku’s former CEO and a former senior vice president at Salesforce, advises the company. The explosive changes in how software is built and deployed—much of it the work of companies like Heroku— has caused a bit of what he calls a “hangover.”

Related: Microsoft Expands its Azure Cloud Data Centers

“How do you manage all these different services? How do they find and secure one another? Right now, the answer to that is a lot of difficult manual labor,” Sebastian says. “Blake’s idea is to put more power into the hands of technologies and let them manage the network connectivity.”

The big promise of Backplane Core, he continues, is it will give customers one dashboard to manage that data flow, regardless of where it happens.

The seed round was led by Baseline Ventures with a contribution from Harrison Metal. Backplane and its nine employees will use the funding for further investment in sales, marketing, and product development.

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Bain Capital and Andreessen Horowitz Confirm Investment in New Cryptocurrency Basecoin

Basecoin will be created by three Princeton University computer science graduates.

Bain Capital Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz have participated in the pre-sale of a new cryptocurrency called basecoin, the companies have confirmed.

Basecoin will be created by three Princeton University computer science graduates, according to Intangible Labs chief executive officer and co-founder Nader Al-Naji on Friday.

Related: Bitcoin Is Now Bigger Than Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley

Intangible Labs is the creator of basecoin. It’s one of many blockchain start-ups creating and distributing tokens to investors to raise funds for their projects. Start-ups typically hold a token pre-sale to institutional investors before opening the token offering to the public.

Aside from Al-Naji, the other founders of Intangible Labs are Lawrence Diao and Josh Chen.

Bain Capital and Andreessen Horowitz confirmed their investment in basecoin in an email to Reuters late on Friday. Digital Currency Group also confirmed its participation in the basecoin presale.

Related: J.P. Morgan Is Launching a Payments Network Using Blockchain

The other investors who invested in basecoin were Pantera Capital, AngelList CEO Naval Ravikant, PolyChain Capital, 1confirmation, and MetaStable Capital, Al-Naji said.

Those investors were not immediately available to comment.

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Exclusive: T-Mobile, Sprint plan merger without selling assets

(Reuters) – T-Mobile U.S. Inc (TMUS.O) and Sprint Corp (S.N) plan to announce a merger agreement without any immediate asset sales, as they seek to preserve as much of their spectrum holdings and cost synergies as they can before regulators ask for concessions, according to people familiar with the matter.

While it is common for companies not to unveil divestitures during merger announcements, T-Mobile’s and Sprint’s approach shows that the companies plan to enter what could be challenging negotiations with U.S. antitrust and telecommunications regulators without having made prior concessions.

Reuters reported last week that some of the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust staff were skeptical about the deal, which would combine the third and fourth largest U.S. wireless carriers. However, regulators can only begin reviewing a corporate merger once it has been agreed to and announced.

T-Mobile and Sprint are preparing a negotiating strategy to tackle demands from regulators regarding asset sales, including the divestment of some of their spectrum licenses after their deal is announced, the sources said.

The companies’ announcement of a merger agreement, currently expected to come either in late October or early November, will focus on the potential benefits of the deal for U.S. consumers, including the advancement of next-generation 5G wireless technology, which requires considerable investment, the sources added.

The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. T-Mobile and Sprint declined to comment.

“It is better for Sprint and T-Mobile to listen and learn the concerns of regulators first, and see whether there is anything that can be done to address those concerns,” MoffettNathanson research analyst Craig Moffett said.

A combination of T-mobile and Sprint would create a business with more than 130 million U.S. subscribers, just behind Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) and AT&T Inc (T.N).

Companies often chose not to make any pre-emptive announcements on divestitures when they announce mergers. For example, when U.S. health insurers Anthem Inc (ANTM.N) and Aetna Inc (AET.N) separately announced deals two years ago to acquire peers Cigna Corp (CI.N) and Humana Inc (HUM.N), they did not reveal which assets they would be willing to divest. U.S. federal judges shot down both mergers on antitrust grounds earlier this year.

Some media and telecommunications deals in recent years have been announced with divestitures, such as U.S. cable operator Comcast Corp’s (CMCSA.O) proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable in 2014, which was later called off after regulatory pushback. When U.S. TV station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBGI.O) announced its acquisition of peer Tribune Media Co (TRCO.N) in May, it said it might sell certain stations to comply with regulators.

Companies often also choose to place caps in their merger agreements on the size of divestitures they would be willing to accept in their negotiations with regulators. T-Mobile and Sprint have not yet agreed to include such a cap in their merger agreement, though it is possible they will do so, one of the sources said.

SPECTRUM HOLDINGS

UBS research analyst John Hodulik said in a research note earlier this month that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission will likely force T-Mobile and Sprint to make some divestitures of spectrum, since the combined company would have the most airwaves in its sector with more than 300 MHz, putting it ahead of Verizon’s and AT&T’s holdings.

T-Mobile spent $ 8 billion in a government auction of airwaves earlier this year. Sprint stayed out of the auction, touting its holdings of high-band spectrum, which it says can move large volumes of information at high speeds.

Having access to a lot of spectrum is particularly important for the 5G wireless offerings that AT&T and Verizon hope to launch to better compete with high-speed Internet services from cable companies.

T-Mobile and Sprint believe that the U.S. antitrust enforcement environment has become more favorable since the companies abandoned their previous effort to combine in 2014 amid regulatory concerns, according to the sources.

The two companies have not yet introduced a breakup fee in their merger negotiations that would compensate one side if regulators reject the deal, though it is possible one will be agreed to by the time the deal is signed, the sources said.

Investors have been waiting for the deal to be announced since Reuters first reported last month that T-Mobile and Sprint were close to agreeing tentative merger terms.

Sprint shareholders are expected to receive little to no premium in the deal, meaning that Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T), which controls Sprint, and other Sprint shareholders will own around or more than 40 percent of the combined company. T-Mobile majority owner Deutsche Telekom AG (DTEGn.DE) and the rest of the T-Mobile shareholders will own the remainder.

It is still possible that the negotiations between T-Mobile and Sprint will conclude without a deal, the sources have cautioned.

Reporting by Liana B. Baker in San Francisco and Anjali Athavaley in New York; Additional reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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Social Media Is Fueling a Scary Trend for Teen Anxiety

Instagram, Twitter, and smartphones can amplify fears and block out reality.

Experts in teenage mental health say social media is a significant factor in a rising tide of anxiety among teenagers and adolescents.

Some victims are so seized with anxiety they can’t go to school or perform basic tasks – and untold thousands more could grow up unable to cope with the complexities and challenges of everyday life, according to a comprehensive new feature on teen anxiety from the New York Times.

There’s a wealth of hard evidence: Between 1985 and 2016, the number of UCLA freshmen reporting feeling “overwhelmed” surged from 18 percent to 41 percent. Nationally, rates of “overwhelming anxiety” among college students spiked from 50 percent in 2011 to 62 percent in 2016.

Social media is just one of many factors emerging in the latest trends, with others including perfectionism and over-commitment among privileged kids, and the often all-too-real threat of violence and instability for poor and working-class teens.

But technology may be turning some of those age-old problems into more powerful fuel for teen insecurity. Apps like Instagram let teens present the rosiest possible picture (literally) to their peers, while leaving out the inevitable low points of real life. In fact, Britain’s Royal Society for Public Health recently found that Instagram was the social media platform with the worst consequences for youth mental health. One teen patient, in intensive therapy for his anxiety disorder, told the Times that he “[would] constantly be judging my self-worth online” during high school.

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The design of apps themselves can also be detrimental, particularly for those at risk for anxiety. Many apps, gadgets, and media platforms are carefully designed to manipulate our brains by hijacking pleasure centers, which young people have less ability to resist. Some neurological research indicates such systems may have long-term impacts on developing young brains.

But the Times points out that smartphones can also be detrimental when they filter out stimuli – specifically, those of the real world. One anxiety expert warns against the “illusion of control” smartphones can provide to teenagers seeking to insulate themselves. While it may help them cope in the short term, it can keep them from developing the resilience and coping skills necessary to thrive.

The atrophy of those skills, reporter Benoit Denizet-Lewis found, has left a disturbing number of teens unable to stomach even the everyday anxieties involved in going to school. One of his subjects ultimately dropped out of high school to pursue a G.E.D.

At least some experts told the Times that the solution to anxiety is to stop treating adolescents like babies – to insist that they face challenges and handle everyday tasks themselves, rather than coddling them. That ethos has been formalized in what’s known as “exposure therapy” exercises that force anxious teens to push their boundaries, and which have proven effective.

But therapy can be costly, and few parents have access to residential treatment programs like the one at the heart of the Times story. But they may find that making positive change is relatively easy when it comes to the technology part of the equation. In a recent, broader study on teen mental health and technology, researcher Jean Twenge cited potentially large benefits from limiting screen time to less than two hours a day, and letting the rest of the world in.

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Today's Bull Market Will Not Die On Euphoria

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6 Rules You Must Know for Using SEO and SEM to Grow Your Business

If you’re managing a business, you know how important a web and mobile presence is. Whether you’re selling tacos, tiaras, or terabytes, customers need to be able to find you.

You’ve probably dipped your toe into the complex world of organic or “free” search, also known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and paid search, also known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM). But what do you really need to know about SEO and SEM?

I spoke with SEO/SEM expert Andrew Shelton, founder of the digital marketing agency Martec360, who gave me six rules that you need to pay attention to right now if you want to increase your sales through search:

1. Mobile is king

Need evidence of the importance of mobile? Some 96% of smartphone owners use their device to get things done. About 70% of smartphone owners use their phone to research a product before purchasing it in a store. Half of all web traffic comes from smartphones and tablets.

Furthermore, Google has begun to make its search index “mobile-first.” That means that Google will primarily index mobile content and use that to decide how to rank its results.

2. Paid search pays off on mobile

On mobile, paid search (SEM) is increasingly paying off. Shelton says he used to tell his clients to focus on free search (SEO) but with users putting mobile first, the continuum has changed.

“The greatest return on investment is email,” Shelton says, “because you have those customers in house. But paid search is next.” He estimates that paid search spending went up by factors of 25% to 50% in 2016.

3. Have a solid content strategy

The old adage is the new adage: “Content is king.” You need high-quality content for your website if it’s going to compete in the free search business. You can’t go about that blindly.

Consider what customer problem you’re solving. What customer questions can you be answering?

Do you have a mechanism for customers to ask questions? There could be a wealth of ideas for blog posts, FAQs, and buyers’ guides right there.

4. Social media is worth your return on investment

Social media can be vexing for many businesses. You definitely have to perform a cost-benefit analysis on it. Spending six hours a day sending out tweets that don’t lead to conversions is going to be a losing proposition.

Treat social media as “an engagement with an ongoing conversation with your customers,” Shelton recommends. “It’s not just for selling.”

In fact, if your social media channels are too hard-sell, they’ll be counter productive. You have to create value. Tools like Hootsuite, Falcon.IO, and Curalate can help.

5. Manage your online reputation

According to Shopper Approved, an app that helps its clients collect online ratings and reviews, 88% of all consumers read online reviews to determine whether a local business is a good business.

All of those reviews are part of the SEO equation. They can help you, or they can hurt you. But an app like Shopper Approved can help push more positive reviews where you need them.

6. Measure and monitor your progress

The only way you’re going see your business grow exponentially through SEO, SEM, and social media is to measure what you’re doing. You have to know where you’re starting, set some benchmarks, and monitor your progress.

Install Google Analytics. There is a plethora of other e-commerce tools you can use for analysis. Data is your friend. Get used to swimming in it.

And if you need help, find a consulting firm that understands your customer and your goals.

Just remember, effective search is process. You won’t get it right the first time. But you’ll get better at it with everything you learn.

About the author:

Kim Folsom is the Founder of LIFT Development Enterprises–a not-for-profit, community development organization with a mission to help underserved, underrepresented small-business owners – and Co-Founder and CEO of Founders First Capital Partners, LLC, a small business growth accelerator and revenue based venture fund. Learn more about Kim and her company’s mission to help grow and fund 1000 underserved and underrepresented small businesses by 2026 via their Founders Business Growth Bootcamp program at www.foundersfirstcapitalpartners.com.

 

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Azure Stack and Comparisons with Eucalyptus

Microsoft’s Azure Stack is another cloud provider move to validate the hybrid cloud.But will it succeed?
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Scientists Studied the Daily Lives of 1,000 CEOs. Here's What the Best Ones Did

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

I adore it when I read fine articles that tell me all great CEOs get up at 5 a.m., eat two boiled eggs, swim butterfly better than breast stroke and sleep only three hours a night.

You’d think, wouldn’t you, that at least some CEOs do things their own way because, somewhere deep inside, they’re still individuals.

Still, scientists need to find common traits upon which they can get grants and sell books. 

(Yes, of course I’m kidding. They need to make speeches too.)

I was moved, therefore, by a group of scientists from deeply venerable institutions such as Harvard Business School and one of my alma maters, the London School of Economics, opining on what makes a great CEO.

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, they explained that they examined the day-to-day lives of 1,000 CEOs, in order to understand whether boiled eggs really did have that much influence.

Yes, I made up that last part. 

I’m not, however, going to make up the conclusions from this study.

“Our evidence suggests that hands-on managerial CEOs are, on average, less effective than leaders who stay more high-level,” say the scientists.

I pause for your shock, your horror and your aghast grunts of glee.

It seems that the CEOs who didn’t meddle in every detail of every decision were, on the whole, a touch more successful that those who floated in the ether, said important things at the occasional company meeting and appeared a lot on CNBC.

I fear that there is no one formula. Any more than there is no one formula for losing in the MLB playoffs. Why, look at the Washington Nationals. They find different ways every time.

I worry, though, about this research.

You see, it “used machine learning to determine which differences in CEO behavior are most important.”

Ah. Oh. 

The algorithm was, apparently, agnostic. How odd. I generally find that algorithms tend to worship the God that created them.

Still, in the end the machines concluded that, in essence, some CEOs were down-in-the-dirt meddlers, while others enjoyed “relatively more interactions with C-suite executives, personal and virtual communications and planning, and meetings with a wide variety of internal functions and external stakeholders.”

The parts of the researchers’ conclusions I enjoyed most were their description of what CEOs did all day.

Many an employee would really like to know.

Well, CEOs spend 25 percent of their days alone. On the driving range, you might imagine. Or reading self-help books.

But here’s the part that made me reach hurriedly for a very fine glass of Cabernet Sauvignon: 10 percent of their days are spent on “personal matters.”

That’s not “personnel matters.” I can only guess it’s getting their hair coiffed and buying the odd yacht or two.

The researchers seem to lean the way of leaders — rather than managers — as the more successful CEOs. They do concede, however, that some businesses need a CEO who pokes their nose into everything. 

My own conclusion, then, is that the most successful CEOs are the ones who takes a look at a company and then realize the sort of CEO this company actually needs.

And then deliver on that insight.

I should add that, in my experience, some of the most successful CEOs have been the ones who knew how to negotiate themselves a vast payoff, just before the excreta sailed inexorably toward the fan.

But it all depends how you measure success. Naturally, these researchers tended to look at painful concepts such as productivity and profitability.

Leader CEOs seem to have engendered greater rises in productivity. 

Does that mean that people preferred to work for the leader type? I suspect so. They weren’t butting into their business so often, I imagine.

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Weekend Tech Deals To Brighten Your Day (Literally)

It may be Friday the 13th, but don’t let the sheer number of deals clogging the internet frighten you. The bright minds at ZDNet creeped and crawled through the discount web to help us bring you these shining tech sales. These three home tech deals are good through this weekend.

Three home tech deals for the weekend:

A gentler alarm clock: Nothing ruins a good night’s sleep faster than a loud, disorienting alarm clock in the morning. Yet, most of us still wake up to a blaring beep machine every day. But there is another way. This Philips alarm clock doesn’t scream at you; it gradually wakes you by mimicking a sunrise. The idea is to help you feel more alert throughout the day and fight off the blues (winter is coming, after all). You can buy the Philips alarm clock with Sunrise Simulation for $ 39.99 (list price: $ 49.99).

Secure your abode with Alexa: If you’re eyeing a way to keep an eye on your property, this five-camera Netgear security system should help. It’s compatible with Amazon Alexa, has night vision, and can send motion-activated notifications or emails straight to your phone. Or you can view a live feed, if you’re in the mood. It’s especially good for outdoors use, thanks to each camera’s wire-free, waterproof design. The system costs more than $ 100 per camera new, but this certified refurbished model is on sale for much less. You can buy the Netgear Arlo 5-camera Security System for $ 359.99 (list price: $ 549.99).

A 4K TV you can afford: Earlier this week, we found a fantastic deal on an LG OLED TV, but if it’s hard to swallow a $ 1,000+ investment in a TV, we found another LG deal that may suit your fancy. This 55-inch 4K LED TV also offers many of the perks of a high-end television, but the price is arresting, if you count the $ 150 Dell gift card, it’s less than $ 500. Buy the LG 55-inch LED TV with HDR for $ 602.98 with a $ 150 Dell gift card included (list price: $ 799.99)

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we earn a small affiliate commission. Read more about how this works.

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Airbnb Apartment Complex In Florida Is Designed For Homesharing. But That Means Sharing Profits, Too.

Airbnb may be best known for turning existing homes into occasional hotels, but now it’s going a step further with a partnership around new, branded apartments.

The partner is the Miami-based Newgard Development Group, with which Airbnb will be working on a 324-unit apartment complex in Kissimmee, Florida. It will bear the name, “Niido Powered by Airbnb.”

While Airbnb rentals often provide an annoyance for neighbors, the tenants in this building should have no reason to complain — their annual leases explicitly allow them to “homeshare” their apartments in whole or part for up to 180 days a year.

Each property will have a so-called “MasterHost” who, when asked through a special Airbnb-linked app, will help with things like check-in and cleaning. Rooms will have keyless doors and secure storage, to meet the needs of guests.

However, in exchange for this permissive and even helpful attitude toward short-term rentals, tenants participating in the scheme will share the proceeds with their landlord.

“The Niido model will provide additional income to landlords and tenants while enhancing the experience for Airbnb guests,” said Newgard chief executive Harvey Hernandez. “This venture represents the first co-branded, all-inclusive partnership with Airbnb.”

Hernandez told the Financial Times that the plan was to build 2,000 units over the next couple years.

While inching Airbnb closer towards being a hotel company of sorts, the move may also be intended to carry a subtle policy message. In Florida, as elsewhere, local politicians and regulators have cracked down on Airbnb and platforms like it, because of the nuisance for neighbors and the effect on housing availability.

A development such as “Niido Powered by Airbnb” not only provides new, purpose-built residences, but it also implies that anyone living there should know what to expect.

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Samsung Electronics on track for record third-quarter as chips soar

SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said on Friday its third-quarter operating profit likely nearly tripled from a year earlier to a new record, beating analyst estimates, as strong memory chip prices fattened margins.

The Apple Inc smartphone rival and global memory chip leader said third-quarter operating profit was likely 14.5 trillion won ($ 12.81 billion), compared with the 14.3 trillion won average of 20 analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Revenue likely rose 29.7 percent from a year earlier to 62 trillion won, versus the analysts’ average forecast of 62.1 trillion won.

Samsung shares were trading at a new record high of 2.74 million won as of Thursday, as investors bet on record earnings in 2017 driven by growing demand for memory chips with ever greater processing power.

Brisk sales of the latest Galaxy Note 8 smartphone, launched in mid-September, further helped lift its mobile profit as it recovered from last year’s costly withdrawal of the fire-prone Note 7, analysts said.

Samsung did not elaborate on its July-September performance and will disclose detailed results at the end of October. Analysts have tipped its chip division to propel the firm to record overall profit.

Strong global demand for DRAM chips will continue to outpace supply in 2018 as new plants from Samsung and No. 2 memory chip maker SK Hynix are not expected to operate until 2019, while demand for NAND flash chips exceeded supply for six straight quarters as of last month, DRAMeXchange, a division of data provider TrendForce, said.

Growing sales of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) smartphone screens for new Apple smartphones also have supported forecasts of a new earnings record in the fourth quarter.

Pre-orders for the Note 8 hit the highest-ever for the Note series, Samsung previously said.

Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Stephen Coates

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Syneto aims Hyperseries 2100 at hyper-converged for SMEs

Romanian startup Syneto has launched a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the Hyperseries 2100, which offers in-built disaster recovery and capacity for up to 15 VMware virtual machines (VMs).

Syneto is aiming the 2100 at the SME hyper-converged market with a product that costs around €5,000.

Two nodes of 1U each is the maximum configuration. The primary and secondary (disaster recovery) nodes use 8-core Intel central processing units (CPUs) with 4TB of raw disk capacity and 40GB of flash storage write acceleration cache.

Network connectivity is 1Gbps Ethernet with 10Gbps as an option.

VMware is the only available hypervisor (for now, see below) and the 2100 is slated to handle from four large VMs up to around 15 small ones.

Many hyper-converged systems scale way beyond two nodes, but Syneto took the decision to stick at two to suit the intended market, said marketing vice-president Dragos Chioran.

“It’s a maximum of two nodes because the companies we have targeted don’t need more,” he said. “Also, there is the technical consideration. Large distributed systems don’t work well on limited nodes, or you need many nodes to deliver performance.”

Chioran said Syneto is aiming to hit a spot between the low-end pricing of software-defined hyper-converged products such as Atlantis, Starwind and Datacore, and enterprise-targeted hardware from the likes of Nutanix and Simplivity.

Syneto – whose operating system is based on a version of Solaris – only offers VMware virtualisation at present, but plans to add “multiple hypervisors” such as Hyper-V and kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) by mid-2018, said Chioran.

A key selling point is built-in disaster recovery with instant recovery of files, applications and virtual machines, or 10-minute recovery of the entire disaster recovery node.

The Syneto Controller VM provides storage-level snapshots and asynchronous replication between nodes.

Earlier this year, Syneto launched its Hyperseries 3000 hyper-converged hardware, which is 2U and provides flash and hybrid flash capacity for up to around 100 virtual machines.

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Samsung scion's defense fights back as legal appeal begins

SEOUL (Reuters) – The heir to South Korea’s Samsung Group appeared in a packed court on Thursday for the first day of arguments in the appeal of his five-year jail term for corruption.

The 49-year-old Jay Y. Lee was convicted by a lower court in August of bribing former president Park Geun-hye to help strengthen his control of the crown jewel in the conglomerate, Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s biggest technology companies.

The appellate court hearing the appeal is likely to try to rule on the case by next February, legal experts said. Whichever side loses could take the case to the Supreme Court, the final court of appeal in South Korea.

Lee’s presence marked his first public appearance since the August ruling. He did not speak during the early proceedings other than giving his birth date and address.

The lower court in August had ruled that while Lee never asked for Park’s help directly, the fact that a 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates did help cement Lee’s control over Samsung Electronics “implied” he was asking for the president’s help to strengthen his control of the firm.

The defense strongly challenged the lower court’s logic that Lee’s actions “implied” solicitation for help from Park by providing financial support for the former president’s close friend and confidante Choi Soon-sil.

The prosecution, which has lodged a cross-appeal against the lower court ruling that found Lee innocent on some charges, said the court’s decision to not acknowledge explicit solicitation for Park’s help from Samsung despite the evidence found “did not make sense”.

DEFENSE FIGHTS BACK

The defense, which spent much of its time during the initial trial refuting the prosecution’s individual charges, is expected to focus on a few key arguments in the appeal – including whether there was in fact an “ordinary type of bribery” as defined under South Korean law, which says only civil servants come under the statute.

Park’s friend Choi was not a civil servant.

The lower court found that Samsung’s financial support of 7.2 billion won ($ 6.27 million) to sponsor the equestrian career of Choi’s daughter constituted an ordinary type of bribery, as “it can be considered the same as she (Park) herself receiving it.”

The defense is expected to strongly challenge this by saying that the prosecution, on whom the burden of proof lies, has not proved collusion between Park and Choi.

Reporting by Joyce Lee; Additional reporting by Heekyong Yang; Editing by Neil Fullick

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