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Showing posts from April, 2012

Cloud opens up for your data

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Google’s new file syncing service, Google Drive, was launched last week, and it immediately stirred up discussions around existing cloud storage services. In simple words, cloud storage refers to the ability to upload and access your files or data on any device connected to the internet. The jury is still out on whether you should discard those flash drives and sign up for cloud storage services, since Indian users are still in the early stages of getting the most out of their internet devices. If you haven’t yet signed on to any cloud service, begin with evaluating how each service integrates with your device, or requirements.
Not all users and businesses will be comfortable using an online backup service provided by a search and advertising company. Users or businesses that have data or files already on Google Docs, Google Drive does make the sense. For others, there is the Dropbox. Microsoft Office users will find it easy to migrate their data to Microsoft SkyDrive, …

Telenor sets stage for likely India pull-out

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Norwegian telecom major Telenor today wrote off its remaining fixed and intangible assets in India worth 3.9 billion Norwegian krone (Rs 3,583 crore). And, the company said it was likely to quit the country if the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) recommendations of a steep base price for re-auction of 2G band spectrum were accepted by the government.
With this, Telenor, which holds 67 per cent stake in Unitech Wireless, has written down investments to the tune of 8.1 billion NOK (Rs 7,403 crore) in two tranches in its Indian mobile arm. following the Supreme Court's order cancelling 122 of the 2G licences in February this year. Earlier, it had written down 4.2 billion NOK.
Blaming its decision on the uncertainty clouding the sector after the cancellation of licences by the SC and subsequent re-auction recommendations of Trai, it said, in a statement: “As a precautionary measure, Telenor ASA has decided to write down the remaining fixed and intangible as…

Facebook To Release Tool To 'Save Lives'

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will make an appearance on network television Tuesday to flog a new tool his company is introducing that it says "has the power to save lives."





At the moment, what the tool will be is still a mystery, but Zuckerberg's schedule is not. He'll appear in a "Good Morning America" segment aired from Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, where he'll be interviewed by Robin Roberts.
Later in the day, the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, will appear on ABC's evening news program to be interviewed by Diane Sawyer about the new life-saving initiative by the social network.
Portions of the interviews will also be featured Tuesday on “Nightline" and ABC News and Yahoo’s “Newsmakers" series as well as ABCNews.com, ABC News Radio and ABC NewsOne, ABC said.
Topic of New Tool? The new tool could be something along the lines of some Facebook offerings introduced in recent months that could be said to &qu…

Puppet Masters of the Internet

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Nearly everyone on the Internet knows about Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos. Savvy geeks might even recognize Internet pioneers like Vint Cerf and Marc Andreessen.
But among the most powerful people on the Net are individuals whose names are unknown to the teeming masses on the InterWebs.




 Some of them control vital pieces of Internet infrastructure. Others decide which companies get funded, which websites get the lion's share of the traffic, or whether sites will live to see another day.
Who really rules the Net? Read on. Just don't get on the bad side of any of these ten power gurus.
Matt CuttsMatt CuttsOfficial title: Principal engineer at Google
Secret identity: Search ninja
As head of Google's Search Quality (anti-Web-spam) team, Cutts is the guy who decides whether your website gets chucked down into the basement of Google page rankings for being too "spammy." Over the past two years, Google has changed its search algori…

Microsoft's Office Live Small Business Closing Today

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Microsoft is sticking to its plan to shut down its Office Live Small Business (OLSB) suite of cloud-based services on Monday, even though it seems many customers are either unaware of the deadline or are having difficulties migrating.
Similar Articles: Many Office Live Small Business Users Fret Over Office 365 Transition New Service Connects BlackBerry to Office 365 Office 365: A Hands-on Look at Microsoft's Cloud Services Lync Is the Unsung Hero of Microsoft Office 365 Office 365 vs. Google Docs Showdown: Feature by Feature Microsoft Office 365 vs. Google Apps: In Pictures Many OLSB customers are still posting questions and reporting problems related to the migration in discussion forums, social media sites and blogs, as the clock ticks.
It's unclear how many OLSB customers remain oblivious to the suite's impending shutdown. OLSB is used primarily for email communications and website hosting.



Microsoft still plans to start dismantling OLSB after midnight U…

Symantec: Flashback Malware Netted Upwards of $10,000 a Day

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Symantec said on Tuesday the Flashback malware that attacked Apple Mac computers could have netted its authors up to US$10,000 a day.
Similar Articles: Apple Hits Flashback Trojan With Second Java Update Flashback Malware Still Affects 140,000 Macs Apple Developing Flashback Malware Removal Tool Flashback Malware Continues to Plague Macs Flashback Malware Removal Cleverly Reduces Risks for Macs 'Flashback' Mac Malware: One More Reason to Switch to Linux The company reverse engineered one version of the malware, called "Flashback.K," which it said deprives Google of advertising revenue. Flashback is believed to be the largest-ever malware campaign that has targeted Apple's operating system so far.




"Flashback specifically targets search queries made on Google and, depending on the search query, may redirect users to another page of the attacker's choosing, where they receive revenue from the click," according to a Symantec blog post.

Skype Investigates Tool That Reveals Users' IP Addresses

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Skype said Tuesday it is investigating a new tool that collects a person's last known IP address, a potential privacy-compromising issue.




Instructions posted on Pastebin on Thursday showed how a person's IP address could be shown without adding the targeted user as a contact by looking at the person's general information and log files.
Skype, which is owned by Microsoft, said in an e-mail statement that "this is an ongoing, industry-wide issue faced by all peer-to-peer software companies. We are committed to the safety and security of our customers and we are taking measures to help protect them."
In October, Skype acknowledged a research paper that showed how a Skype user's IP address can be determined without that user knowing. It also demonstrated that more than half the time the IP address could be accurately linked to sharing content using the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol.
An IP address is an important piece of inf…

Microsoft and Barnes & Noble Create E-Book Partnership

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Microsoft and Barnes & Noble announced Monday that the companies are joining forces to bolster the Nook's competitive edge against Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iBooks platforms. One of the first benefits of the new agreement will be a Metro-style Nook e-reader app for Windows 8 that will be available to users in the U.S. and internationally.
Amazon already offers a version of its Kindle reader app for Windows 8. The new e-book duo also plans to create Nook-based textbooks to compete with a similar platform from Apple announced in January as part of iBooks 2.




As part of the new partnership, Microsoft will invest $300 million in a new, and as yet unnamed, B&N subsidiary, which will give the software giant a 17.6 percent equity stake in the new company. The two companies also said they have settled their ongoing patent litigation, which includes an agreement where Microsoft will get royalties from Nook e-readers and tablets. It's not clear if the agre…

Obama’s Vow to Tax Rich Alarms Some Business-Friendly Democrats

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Four years ago, the country was falling to pieces and Democrats were, electorally speaking, thrilled about it. For many, winning was as easy as not being associated with a deeply unpopular president, George W. Bush, and his party.
Today, the economy has only marginally improved, and now it’s the Democrats who will be held culpable. If voters base their decision on the proverbial question -- “Am I better off than I was four years ago?” -- President Barack Obama might not win another term.




The central question for his campaign, and his party, is what should they talk about instead? In recent weeks, they seem to have settled on an answer: Taxing the rich, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its April 30 issue.
Though Senate Republicans blocked Democrats’ efforts to pass the Buffett Rule, which would have required the highest earners to pay a minimum tax rate of 30 percent, Democratic leaders haven’t let the subject drop. The president continues to argue for tax increases on the wealth…

6 Tips on Stopping Mobile Spam

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Some 4.5 billion spam text messages were sent in the U.S. last year. The surge is costing carriers money and frustrating users, who must pay for the messages and deal with the influx of potentially fraudulent texts.



To reduce the number of SMS spam you receive, here are six easy steps:
Report spam texts to your carrier by forwarding them to “7726.” AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA support this service.Register your mobile number with the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov. Phones registered with the list should become off limits to marketers within a month of your registration. After that time, you can file complaints against abusers on the same site.Reply to unwanted messages with “STOP” in the body of the response to prevent future messages from that short code.Adjust settings on your carrier’s website to block specific numbers from which you receive spam.Consider using special apps to cope with spam. “M…

Aussie Dollar Slides on RBA Rate Cut; Japan Shares Drop

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Australia’s dollar weakened, bond yields fell to record lows and domestic shares rallied after the central bank cut interest rates by more than forecast. Japan’s stocks slid the most in two weeks as companies predicted profits that will trail analyst estimates.
The so-called Aussie depreciated 1 percent to $1.0329 as of 2:14 p.m. in Tokyo. The nation’s S&P/ASX 200 Index jumped 1 percent and 10-year note yields declined as much as 14 basis points to 3.53 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) slumped 1.7 percent, while Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures climbed 0.1 percent. Copper retreated 0.3 percent.




The Reserve Bank of Australia lowered its key rate to 3.75 percent from 4.25 percent, the biggest reduction in three years, as data today showed the nation’s home prices declined in the first quarter and a manufacturing gauge slid to a seven-month low in April. For the first time since the start of 2008, bonds were the only global investments to provide positive retu…

Benchmark Capital Scores With Instagram, Demandforce and IPOs

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The hits keep coming for Benchmark Capital.
Following Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram earlier this month, the venture firm scored again today after Intuit agreed to buy e-mail marketer Demandforce for $423.5 million. Benchmark, the Silicon Valley firm that gained fame from its early investment in EBay, was the biggest institutional investor in Instagram and Demandforce.




It’s not just acquisitions. Benchmark owns a $56 million stake in software maker Proofpoint, which sold shares to the public last week, marking the firm’s fifth IPO in the past 13 months. Adding in the others — Yelp, Servicesource, Zillow and Zipcar — Benchmark owns about $500 million of stock in newly-public companies.
Like any venture firm, Benchmark has had its share of duds. It famously invested in Friendster, the social-networking site that beat Facebook to the market only to get trounced by the now $100 billion juggernaut. The firm also bought a stake in solar panel maker Nanosolar, which i…

Amazon Was More Investor than Retailer in the First Quarter

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Amazon.com is the world’s largest online retailer, but its outside investments contributed more money to the company’s bottom line in the first quarter than its e-commerce operations.





In the three months ended March 31, Amazon made more than half its $130 million in net income from something called equity-method investments, which give the company “the ability to exercise significant influence, but not control, over an investee,” according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
That may mean the company’s investing savvy is improving — the $89 million Amazon attributed to equity-method stakes is the most it’s reaped in at least three years. Quarterly results from those investments have ranged from a loss of $17 million to a gain of $18 million since the beginning of 2009, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
The company only discloses one investment included in that group — its 29 percent stake in LivingSocial.com, the second-largest daily deal site. LivingSo…

U.S. small business hiring takes step back in April

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U.S. small business hiring slowed considerably in the April and employees saw a reduction in their hours, an independent survey showed on Monday, adding to signs of weakening in labor market conditions.




Businesses added 40,000 new jobs, a step back from the 75,000 positions created in March, according to Intuit, a payrolls processing firm. The average workweek for small business employees dipped 0.14 percent.
The pull back in hiring by small businesses is the latest indication that job growth is losing some momentum. Nonfarm employment increased 120,000 in March, the least amount in five months, with the jobless rate dropping to 8.2 percent -- largely as some unemployed people gave up the search for work.
The weak payrolls number last month was largely seen as payback after an abnormally warm winter. Payroll growth had averaged 246,000 a month between December and February.
The government's closely monitored employment report due on Friday is expected to show that pay…

Exclusive: CME readies round-the-clock grains trade: sources

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CME Group Inc will extend trading hours for its hallmark grain contracts, two sources close to the matter said on Monday, as the Chicago exchange moves to defend its turf against rival ICE's bid for nearly round-the-clock transactions.
The board of the CME, which has a stranglehold on grains trading through the Chicago Board of Trade, the world's largest grain exchange that it acquired in 2007, has agreed to extend trading hours, but has not decided on how many hours to add to its trading day or when to implement them, the sources said.
Chicago traders had earlier cited widespread talk that the CME was planning to extend the trading day to 22 hours, matching the trading period unveiled several weeks ago by the Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange as it announced plans to launch look-alike grains contracts.





Currently CME grains trade a 13-hour stretch overnight and nearly four hours during the day.
The shift to a nearly continuous cycle would be the latest step-cha…

Shareholder sues Google to block stock split

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Google Inc and its board were sued on Monday by a shareholder who wants to block the company's stock split plan because it entrenches the Web search company's co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, according to court documents.
Google announced the surprise stock split plan earlier this month, in which shareholders would get one new share of non-voting "Class C" stock for each existing "Class A" share.



As a result, Google will be able to issue new shares for acquisitions and employee compensation without diluting the 56.3 percent voting stake enjoyed by Page and Brin or diminishing their "iron-clad grip" on Google, according to the complaint.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The purported class action lawsuit by the Brockton Retirement Board accused the co-founders and Google's board of breaching their fiduciary duty to the company's shareholders.
Page and Brin "wish to retain this power, while …

Microsoft buys Nook stake, Barnes & Noble shares soar

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Microsoft Corp is jumping into the fast-growing e-books market by investing $605 million over five years in Barnes & Noble Inc's Nook e-reader and college business, as it looks to unlock Amazon.com and Apple Inc's grip on the exploding tablet computer market.
The move comes just six months before the world's largest software maker is due to launch its new touch-enabled Windows 8 operating system, and the inclusion of a Nook app on Windows tablets should allow them to compete with Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle Fire.
It also gives Microsoft a direct interest in electronic publishing just as the market for downloadable college textbooks starts to take off and the publishing industry undergoes a radical shift toward electronic distribution.




"It's a good strategic deal," said Sid Parakh, an analyst at fund firm McAdams Wright Ragen. "It gets Microsoft in the game for e-readers, and gives them access to a market that has been growing…

Fed officials, hawk and dove, agree: no more easing

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Two top Federal Reserve officials - one with a dovish, employment-focused bent, and the other a self-avowed inflation hawk - on Monday both said they see no need for the central bank to ease monetary policy any further.
But the comments, from San Francisco Fed President John Williams and Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, do not mean they believe the central bank should quickly move to raise rates, which it has kept near zero for more than three years.




The economy grew at a 2.2 percent pace last quarter, down from its 3 percent growth rate in the final three months of the year. Recent economic data, including a gauge of business activity in the Midwest, signal growth may slow further this quarter.
"I don't think we are ready to exit yet," Fisher, an inflation hawk, told Reuters at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles.
Fisher said he would oppose the extension of Operation Twist, the Fed bond-buying program that is set to end in June, but sto…

China PMI helps Aussie shares amid US, Europe worries

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Asian shares inched up on Tuesday as Chinese factory data lent support to Australian stocks, but concerns about the U.S. economy and the euro zone capped prices.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 0.2 percent, after posting just a 0.4 percent gain in April.
Japan's Nikkei stock average .N225 extended losses from Friday to fall 1.1 percent as a stronger yen hurt exporters. The market was closed on Monday for a public holiday. .T
Australian shares .AXJO extended gains to a rise on the day of 0.5 percent after data showing China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to a 13-month high of 53.3 in April. The market had been up 0.2 percent before the data was released.




The PMI indicated a further expansion in the vast factory sector, which could mean more demand for Australian resources, but the index also came in below expectations of 53.6.
Beyond Australian shares, there was no specific market reaction. Most mar…

Exclusive: Bo's wife dressed as Chinese army general after Heywood death: source

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A woman at the centre of China's biggest political scandal in two decades, wife of deposed political leader Bo Xilai, had once dressed as a military commander last year in a bizarre episode that shines new light on the collapse of Bo's inner circle.
Bo, ambitious former leader of China's biggest municipality Chongqing, was sacked in March after police began investigating his wife, Gu Kailai, on suspicion of murdering a former family friend, British businessman Neil Heywood, in a row over money.




News of Bo's removal and the murder allegation against his wife, who is a lawyer and businesswoman, emerged only a month ago, but new details uncovered by Reuters show the house of Bo was already in chaotic decline at the time of Heywood's death.
The new details, provided by sources with knowledge of the police case against Gu, include that she is alleged to have poisoned Heywood after the Briton demanded a 10 percent cut for his role in organizing a large, illi…

Fed officials, hawk and dove, agree: no more easing

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Two top Federal Reserve officials - one with a dovish, employment-focused bent, and the other a self-avowed inflation hawk - on Monday both said they see no need for the central bank to ease monetary policy any further.
But the comments, from San Francisco Fed President John Williams and Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, do not mean they believe the central bank should quickly move to raise rates, which it has kept near zero for more than three years.




The economy grew at a 2.2 percent pace last quarter, down from its 3 percent growth rate in the final three months of the year. Recent economic data, including a gauge of business activity in the Midwest, signal growth may slow further this quarter.
"I don't think we are ready to exit yet," Fisher, an inflation hawk, told Reuters at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles.
Fisher said he would oppose the extension of Operation Twist, the Fed bond-buying program that is set to end in June, but sto…

China manufacturing activity expands for fifth month

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China's manufacturing activity has expanded for the fifth month in a row, easing concerns about a sharp slowdown in the world's second-largest economy. The official Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) rose to 53.3 in April from 53.1 in March, the statistics bureau said.
China relies heavily on its manufacturing and export sector for growth.
There have been fears that a slowdown in key markets such as the US and Europe might hurt China's economy.



The PMI is a key indicator of manufacturing activity and a reading above 50 shows expansion.
"The message is that Chinese manufacturing is growing, not as fast as in years past but faster than in the fourth quarter last year and enough to achieve the government's growth target for the year," said Dariusz Kowalczyk of Credit Agricole CIB.
'Signs of life' “Start Quote China has, thus far, avoided the much-feared hard landing. Expect no …