All posts on August, 2017


Email to Essential smartphone users causes alarm

The term “improperly configured” is a real plague on the IT landscape.

It can refer to a firewall protecting an enterprise; it can create problems on a web server. For one newly minted smartphone company, it can also look pretty embarrassing.

Essential phone recently sent an email to customers asking for proof of identity. This request was a little odd in the first place — who does that anymore? The email basically asked customers to send a picture of a photo identification or passport by email. From a security standpoint, that’s a bit like asking people to text your credit card number to a hacker.

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Jenkins Blue Ocean UI to provide code quality insights

Blue Ocean, the new user interface for the popular Jenkins continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform, will begin incorporating insights into code quality trends and static analyses, under an improvement plan detailed this week by the project’s creator.

The goal is to improve the developer’s visibility into the health of software projects, Blue Ocean creator James Dumay, director of project management at Jenkins technology vendor CloudBees, said. Plans also call for expanding the capabilities of Blue Ocean’s visual pipeline editor to better match what is available in Jenkins’ declarative pipelines for software delivery. The development team intends to outfit Blue Ocean with these capabilities in the next six to 12 months.

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Trends

Consumers’ Embrace of Mobile Apps Is Limited to a Choice Few

Mobile app use has become a powerful habit among U.S. consumers, based on new research findings. An increasing number of users have been spending their time consuming video, music and social media on smartphones and other mobile devices, but many are reluctant to try new apps. A large percentage of mobile app users’ time is spent on apps like Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter or Instagram.

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ApprovedBusinessBusiness and finance

Cargill, an intensely private firm, sheds light on the food chain

ANGLERS love a record catch. Fish farmers, too. So when a salmon bred and raised near this village at the head of a Norwegian fjord was pulled out of captivity earlier this year weighing a sumo-sized 17kg, it was cause for jubilation. “It was fantastic,” says Einar Wathne, head of aquaculture at Cargill, the world’s biggest food-trading firm. Not only was it produced in 15 months, one-fifth faster than usual, it also looked and tasted good. Mr Wathne’s Norwegian colleagues celebrated by eating it sashimi-style shortly after its slaughter.

Cargill is a company usually associated with big boots rather than waders. America’s largest private company has built a reputation after 152 years of existence as middleman to the world, connecting farmers with buyers of human and animal food everywhere. Through a trading network that spans 70 countries (and that includes scores of ports, terminals, grain and meat-processing plants and cargo ships), it supplies information and finance to…Continue reading

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ApprovedBusiness and financeFINANCEFinance and economics

Of Indian banknotes cancelled last year, 99% are accounted for

ON NOVEMBER 8th 2016, Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, stunned its 1.3bn people by announcing that most banknotes would soon become worthless. Indians then queued for weeks on end to exchange or deposit their banned money at banks. The comfort for the poor was that the greedy, tax-dodging rich would suffer more, as they struggled to launder their suitcases full of cash by year-end.

Not so. A report from the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on August 30th suggests that of the 15.4trn rupees ($241bn) withdrawn—roughly 86% of all banknotes by value—15.3trn rupees, or 99% of them, have been accounted for. Either the “black money” never existed or, more likely, the hoarders found a way of making it legitimate.

Defenders of the scheme say it is merely one plank of a wider fight against informal economic activity and corruption. Banks have enjoyed an influx of cash. Digital payments are up (from a low base), as issuance of replacement notes has not caught…Continue reading

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ApprovedBusinessBusiness and finance

Naspers comes under fire for free-riding on Tencent

SOUTH AFRICA’S stockmarket has Naspers largely to thank for its recent record highs. Shares in the media and internet group have soared by 45% this year; even before then it was Africa’s most valuable firm. So recent unrest among shareholders in Naspers might seem unwarranted. But in the days before its annual general meeting in Cape Town on August 25th, noisy debate erupted, chiefly about executive pay. Many investors reckon that Bob van Dijk, its boss, is being rewarded for success that he did little to create.

The source of good fortune for Naspers lies about 7,000 miles (11,265km) away. In 2001 Koos Bekker, Mr van Dijk’s predecessor, made a brilliant investment of $32m in a little-known Chinese technology firm called Tencent. Today its 33% stake is worth $130bn, as measured by Tencent’s value on the Hong Kong stock exchange; that dwarfs the $100bn valuation of Naspers itself on the Johannesburg stock exchange. Shares in the latter rise and fall on news from Hong Kong. In its…Continue reading

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ApprovedBusinessBusiness and finance

Pricey housing markets mean co-living buildings are on the rise

 

MONDAY is “Game of Thrones” night at The Collective’s Old Oak building. Millennials congregate in TV rooms around the 11-storey, 550-person block. Some gather at the cinema, lounging on bean bags decorated with old graphics from Life magazine. Nothing gets residents out of their rooms like the hit TV show. This is not a student dorm, however. It is home.

The Collective is a pioneer of a new property format known as “co-living”. Instead of self-contained flats, residents live in tiny rooms with 12 square metres of floor space. Most contain just a bed and a bathroom. During a two-night stay your correspondent could barely fit his shoulders into the shower cubicle.

It is outside these rooms that the building makes its pitch. It comes with a gym, spa, libraries, a good restaurant and a cinema. Residents get access to all of these amenities, as well as their room, for a rental payment of £800-£1,000 ($1,033-$1,292) a month. That includes all bills and high-speed Wi-Fi; they pay extra for meals in the restaurant. Residents have come up with their own services, too. The Collective houses a “library of things”, or a shared repository of useful objects—hammers, tape measures and even tents.

Rising rents have opened up a gap in the market. The ratio of average rents to incomes in London rose from a quarter…Continue reading

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ApprovedBusiness and financeFINANCEFinance and economics

Foreign jurisdictions try to lure legal business from London

National treasures

LOFTILY as they may disdain the profit motive, Britain’s judges are, on a national level, money-spinners. English law is often specified as the one under which commercial contracts are to be interpreted and enforced. And disputes often end up being heard in British courts. But, like any business, the law is competitive, and other jurisdictions want to snatch a share of this market. London is mounting its defences.

It has several hard-to-beat advantages: the use of English; a reputation for fairness; the centuries of precedent that lend predictability. Richard Caird, a partner at Dentons, a global law firm, notes that a foreign company can expect an impartial decision in an English court, even if it is pitted against a British firm. Over 70% of cases in the English commercial courts involve a foreign party. In 2015, Britain had a £3.4bn ($5.2bn) positive balance of payments on legal services.

One way for other financial centres,…Continue reading

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Audio/Video

Alexa Can Make Music Echo All Through the House

Alexa has a new musical talent, Amazon announced Tuesday. “Today, we’re making Alexa even smarter with an all-new feature that lets you play music synchronized on multiple Echo devices to provide room-filling music throughout your home,” said Amazon Alexa Vice President Toni Reid. Setting up the syncing is easy. Using the Alexa app, you give a group of devices a name, such as “first floor.”

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Users review the top cloud data integration tools

As the world of cloud computing becomes more globalized, IT professionals need multiple levels of security and transparency to manage cloud relationships. Using a cloud data integration solution, an enterprise can configure a number of disparate application programs sharing data in a diverse network, including cloud-based data repositories. This allows enterprise tech professionals to manage, monitor and cleanse data from various web-based and mobile applications more effectively.

IT Central Station users have identified agile data transformation, a clear, customizable dashboard and efficient data replication as valuable features when looking for a cloud data integration solution. According to their reviews, the IT Central Station community has ranked Informatica Cloud Data Integration, Dell Boomi AtomSphere,  IBM App Connect and SnapLogic as leading cloud data integration solutions in the market.

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What’s new in TypeScript 2.5

TypeScript 2.5, the upcoming upgrade to Microsoft’s popular typed superset of JavaScript, is now available as a release candidate. It includes an enhancement for try/catch statements for errors as well as compiler improvements.

The catch binding parameters capability in TypeScript 2.5 uses a late-stage ECMAScript feature to make catch binding optional in try/catch statements. Making catch binding optional “means we can just omit unusedError altogether,” said Daniel Rosenwasser, Microsoft’s program manager for TypeScript. The reason for that is there are times when developers expect something might fail by throwing an error, but the developer does not care what the error is.

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Deals

Apple, Accenture Team on iOS Enterprise Apps

Apple and Accenture on Tuesday announced a new partnership to develop iOS tools and services to help enterprises connect with their customers through iPads and iPhones. Accenture will create a dedicated iOS practice within Accenture Digital Studios, staffed by a range of visual and experience designers, programmers, data scientists and architects, as well as hardware and software designers.

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Customer Service

Rise in Mobile Commerce Fuels Demand for Omnichannel Service

Omnichannel support and communications are becoming essential for brands, as consumers’ increasing use of mobile devices to make purchases and access content fuels their demand to be able to connect with companies when and how they want. However, brands lack the necessary expertise and infrastructure, and are turning to mobile network operators, or MNOs, to acquire omnichannel capabilities.

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