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Technology/Cyberbullying

A New Look At Cyberbullying

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Cyberbullying has recently been a concern for many people. However, a lot of the blame seems to be getting thrown on Twitter. While a lot of cyberbullying does go on with Twitter, it is unfair to blame the micro-blogging social media platform for this phenomenon. The fact of the matter is that bullies are bullies no matter what the platform is. Without internet and cyberbullying, there was bullying in person. There was also bullying over the phone. One thing that can be said about anything is that if there is a will, there is a way. Cyberbullying was in effect long before social media platforms became the norm.

 

For one thing, there were forums. Forums had a lot of flame wars. But when it comes to social media, there are efforts being made to get rid of cyberbullying. However, it should not be expected of Twitter and Facebook to abolish that. It is addressing some of the issues in ways that could reduce it. Among the ways they are considering is getting rid of faceless communication. However, even that could backfire because bullies are going to bully no matter what. One thing that could be said about the ability to hide behind anonymity can make bullies a little more bold.

 

While the problem is happening with Twitter, the steps taken to solve it should be intended for all platforms of online interaction. This way, people could be even safer. After all, social media does want to make sure that people are communicating and interacting in a safe environment. For one thing, this could attract more users to the communities. Social media is meant to connect people with each other and help them find ways to solve problems together as an online community. There is hope that the professionals will come up with ways to take care of the cyberbullying phenomenon. One thing that is needed is for there to be a more active enforcement of rules.

 

Technology/Tech Companies/Business Tech News

iPhone 7 Not As Popular As iPhone 6

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The iPhone, which was one of the earliest smartphones that have brought smartphones into the public has been coming up with regular advancements. However, the latest version, which is the iPhone 7 has not been as popular as the iPhone 6 or the iPhone 6s. This is to be expected with products that are often innovative. There will be some products that may perform at a lower rate than the previous item. However, this is nothing to worry about. There have been a few effects to the plan of companies when it comes to the iPhone 7, though.

 

Because of the low sales of the new model, a lot of stores are ordering fewer of the models. One must wonder what it is that made the new phone perform poorly compared to the previous phone. For one thing, there are cases when a certain model has some great features. Then at some point, they release the new model with new features. Often times, those features are not as great as the older version. Also, some of the great features of the older version have been taken away from the newer version. As a result, the newer version is going to be lacking when it comes to sales.

 

Another factor that could influence the sales of the iPhone is the types of smartphones that are out beside the iPhone. For one thing, there are a lot of other phones that are dominating the market. Among the phones that are available in the industry are phones by HTC, LG, and Samsung. They offer some great phones that offer features that compete with the iPhone. Their cameras are also every bit as clear and vivid in the images that they take. Another factor is in the prices that people pay for their phones. The iPhone is often more expensive than the other smartphones. However, there are already plans for the iPhone 8. Apple is likely to putt out all the stop for their next phone.

 

Technology/Tech Companies/Xiaomi

Xiaomi Departs from International Tech Events

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The Mobile World Congress where the mobiles tech giants meet has always been used by the smartphones manufacturers to announce their latest technologies. However, this year Samsung and it china’s Xiaomi will not show up in this particular event. This is the largest event in the telecom industry.

 

 

The move was anticipated because initially it has been assumed that Xiaomi would attend. The event which is held in Barcelona is one of the largest events for the global mobile industry, an event that encounters more than 100, 000 attendees, it has gained the reputation where tech industry show off their state of the art mobile development in mobile.

 

 

During the event last year Xiomi introduced its Mi5, it is an introductory smartphone, and this was done through the live streamed event. The mobile manufacturer firm got a lot of attention in the West when Hugo Barra who was the firm’s head of international participated in a live interview on stage, proving more information of the then under-the-radar company and its business.

 

 

After 3 years and a half service at the firm Barra revealed that he would be leaving the company and head to Facebook where he would become the leader of the VR efforts, this could be one of the reasons explaining the why the firm will not be attending. However, there is another explanation that the tech firm does not have any new devices to announce this year. This means that the speculation about the launching of the new Mi6 is unfounded.

 

 

The way that Xiaomi is retreating is not unique to this event. Xiaomi has done this again especially for the events that are held in the west. Recently it launched a smart TV and discussed the strategy at CES in Las Vegas early this month, according to TechCrunch the firm is not interested in attending neither organize an event that outside China.

 

 

The firm’s competitors that include Huawei and Oppo rose to displace Xiaomi off as the number one seller of the smartphone in China. In the foreign market, it is not certain how its internationalization project that was headed by Barra is performing. Its second largest market after China is India with a revenue of $1 billion last year however the firm has not said anything on the other markets.

Technology/Tech/Android Device/Tech Companies/Android Wear 2.0

Android 2.0 is the Second Swing at Bat for a Wearable OS

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Android Wear 2.0 is coming soon. Early February 2017 is the slated release for the wearable smartwatch. And a lot of people will be watching. The Apple Watch was a complete and total fiasco. Riddled with bugs, the Apple Watch proved to be one of the company’s biggest failures in history. Android Wear 2.0 is intended to wipe away all memories of any disastrous smartwatch memories. In the place of those awful memories will be a newer, better wearable operating system.

 

There is one thing Apple has going for it with the release of this new product. People love to purchase gadgets. Even when the gadget gets weak reviews, there are still going to be millions of people interested in buying up the product. Anything with the Apple or Android brand is going to draw attention. Granted, the Apple Watch eventually died because sales could not be sustained. The smartwatch also could not expand beyond the base of gadget loyalists.

 

Android 2.0 hopes to sustain sales by improving on the poor marks the Apple Watch received. Improvements on an intriguing technological device could do a lot to bring back all those old customers the company lost with the Apple Watch. Hopefully, a large block of customers weren’t turned off so much they won’t give a wearable OS product the cold shoulder once it hits stores.

 

As long as the new Android 2.0 product delivers something consumers really want, then the product is going to be a success. This is, of course, provided the quality is there. Many wanted the unique benefits of owning a smartwatch, but a smartwatch that fails to work is not exactly something that delivers many benefits.

 

Apple has surely learned from previous folly. The new release is sure to be something interesting. Apple is hoping customers are willing to give it a try.

 

Technology/Tech Companies/Amazon

Tech Giant Amazon Fined $1 Million

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Amazon may be the biggest e-retailer in the world, but that didn’t keep Canada from fining the company  $1 million.  The Competition Bureau has been investigating Amazon Canada for two years. It’s concluded that Amazon’s site engaged in misleading advertising tactics that deceived consumers.

 

Shoppers know they can get good deals on Amazon. From diapers to Cyber Monday sales, the company is known as a great place to shop for discounted products. However, the discounts may not be as deep as they seem. Amazon displays a suggested retail price at the top of each product page. The suggested price is almost always discounted down. This leads shopper to believe they’re saving big bucks.

 

The Canadian Competition Bureau isn’t on board with this scheme. It turns out that shoppers rarely, if ever, pay the listed retail price. That means Amazon Canada isn’t offering a true discount. However, the company itself may not have been behind the deception. The Bureau found that Amazon Canada “relied on its suppliers… without verifying” the information received.

 

Amazon engaged in similar practices in the United States until late 2016. The industry giant was not forced to do so and was not under investigation by the American federal government. They may have been worried about a future episode, or they may have been shifting their pricing and marketing strategies to change their relationship with customers.

 

In addition to the $1 million fine, Amazon Canada will pay for the cost of the two-year investigation. That will set the retailer back another $100,000. Amazon has not commented on the ruling or announced plans to appeal the decision.

Technology/Tech/Tech Companies/Yahoo

Yahoo Stock Slumps After Hacking Comes to Light

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Yahoo this week announced a hack of their email accounts by an unknown source which resulted in over a billion email accounts being exposed. This hack comes after and in addition to a previously announced e-mail hack which resulted in five hundred million email accounts being exposed. Now, some market observers are predicting that this latest hack will have a billion dollar impact on Yahoo.

 

The stock market has already reacted dropping $1.4 billion on the news of the hack in which the accounts were exposed. Today alone Yahoo’s stock dropped 6% making it the largest looser in the stock market today.

 

Yahoo, for some time now, has been considered to be negligent with their security measures protecting their user’s accounts. CEO Marissa Meyers who took over the company focused her attention on other areas of Yahoo’s business since she took over the company and there are reports that when this attack first came to light in 2013 the company brushed it under the rug and moved on with their business. This led to a greater and wider data breech than might have otherwise occurred.

 

Yahoo is a conglomerate of three separate businesses. One is a partial ownership interest in Alibaba, a Chinese retail company and another is a partial ownership interest in Yahoo Japan, two companies that have experienced a significant amount of success over the years. The remaining business includes Yahoo’s e-mail services and a host of other web sites and services that are currently in the process of being acquired by Verizon for $4.8 billion.

 

Verizon indicated after the earlier hacking account that full disclosure of the hack was not made public and the company was considering renegotiating the acquisition price. The news of this second, and larger hack, is further resulting in anticipation that the acquisition price will be renegotiated downward. Based on the decrease in the value of Yahoo stock many shareholders are betting that the decrease in the stock price will be $1 billion in value.

 

Verizon has not commented on the second disclosure of the hack other than indicating that they will continue to evaluate the investigation into the hack. One impact that can lead to Verizon walking away is the potential for significant litigation as a result of these two large hacking events.

 

Technology/Verizon/Galaxy Note 7

Verizon Agrees to Facilitate Galaxy Note 7 “Brick” Update

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The Galaxy Note 7 has proven to be a bit of an embarrassment for Samsung. Verizon was not too thrilled about being caught up in the controversy related to the smartphone. Avoiding controversy is not always easy when technological devices fail to operate in the expected manner. The fact that the Note 7 has been known to explode would make it the smartphone with the least-expected performance issues of any device on the market.

 

Amidst all the disastrous publicity, Samsung has decided to send an update on the Note 7 to turn the smartphone into, well, a not-so-smart brick. Verizon was not too thrilled about allowing the update before the end of the holiday season. The update would prevent the smartphone from being able to charge leading the device to be as useless as a brick.

 

Samsung wished to issue a disabling update on December 19th. Verizon wanted to put off the delay until around January 5. Verizon felt shutting off phone service during the time of the year when people travel in huge numbers wouldn’t be wise. Cooler heads eventually prevailed and Verizon is now willing to process the update quickly. Likely, common sense led management at Verizon to realize it would be even less wise to allow subscribers to continue to use a smartphone that might explode.

 

The Galaxy Note 7 is not exactly the safest phone on the market. The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) has opted to outright ban the Note 7 from flights. Yes, the bad publicity surrounding the Note 7 is causing all sorts of trouble for Samsung. After seeing all the frightening news about the Note 7, AT&T made the decision to very quickly to approve the disabling update. Verizon resisted.

 

Concerns over a Verizon subscriber suffering an injury due to an exploding device probably led to the decision to reverse course. Allowing the phone to remain operation would be a huge risk.

 

Verizon probably looked at the damage non-action would have created for its brand. Verizon ran the risk of appearing very irresponsible and uncaring, two traits that would not exactly help the company in a massively competitive mobile service marketplace. This is to say nothing of the liabilities Verizon could have been opened to if the smartphone caused an injury.

 

Technology/Tech/Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Solar Energy Becomes World’s Cheapest Ahead Of Coal Or Wind

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The final month of 2016 has seen the first signs that sustainable energy choices are fast becoming the cheapest available, according to The Independent. A large amount of data from the Bloomberg New Energy Finance group has shown that for developing economies, including some of the largest in the world the choice of solar energy over traditional fossil fuels is becoming an easy one to make; government agencies across Asia, South America, and parts of Africa are now looking to solar power as the cleanest and cheapest way of adding electricity to their power grids.

 

Over the course of the last five years the number of solar panels in operation and the cost of producing power using this option has dramatically been lowered in countries with and without subsidies. The European giant of Germany has been subsidizing solar panel installation for almost a decade, but in developing nations where subsidies are not available the use of solar energy is also on the rise. The South American country of Chile recently asked for bids to supply extra electricity for its national grid in a bid to keep up with demand and shocked the world of energy production when the cheapest tender was from a solar based company able to supply the required amount of energy for just over $29 per kilowatt hour.

 

The Bloomberg New Energy Finance group studied data from 58 developing economies and found China and Brazil, who both feature in the top five economies in the world, had made a large investment in solar energy at a lower rate than traditional fossil fuels producers; one of the shining lights of solar energy use has been the small island of Ta’u in American Samoa where solar panels now power homes and businesses once reliant on diesel.

 

To bring low carbon energy supplies to more countries around the world Chinese government agencies have been assisting smaller nations in installing new solar energy options. However, more established economies are seeing greater difficulties in breaking their reliance on fossil fuels as existing power stations are often cheaper to upgrade than the major investment needed to switch to low carbon energy options.

 

Technology/Tech

Secure Messaging Company Symphony Gets $1 Billion Dollar Valuation

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Symphony, a company founded in 2014 as an alternative to Bloomberg terminals for the finance industry is now valued at over $1 billion dollars. The company was recently valued at about $700 million dollars in March of 2015 when it received over $100 million dollars from investors. It latest round of investments should bring an additional $125 to $200 million dollars for growth and expansion to develop its secure communication platform.

 

So what is Symphony and why is it a big deal? This small startup has been nicknamed as the Bloomberg Killer. Bloomberg terminals are manufactured and licensed to financial professionals who use the terminals to communicate with other financial professionals, trade stocks and watch financial information such as live stock tickers. These terminals cost tens of thousands of dollars per terminal. If a company wants several of these terminals for communication and trading then it can get pricey. Bloomberg terminals are also known to contain more data than many people needed.

 

So that is where Symphony was born. It was created as a cheaper and watered down version of the Bloomberg terminal that would save financial companies and traders money. The company allows people in the financial industry to send communications to each other easily and quickly, but most importantly cheaply. The software of Symphony is free to use. Paid subscribers pay only $15 per user each month. As you can see Symphony’s secure messaging system is a hell of a lot cheaper than having to use Bloomberg’s terminals.

 

Symphony’s software is completely secure and compliant with all financial and cyber security regulations. It is also cloud based. Many professionals have remarked that the fact that is has allowed people from different banks and companies to communicate cheaply, effectively and securely without the Bloomberg terminal is an accomplishment in of itself. Before symphony, communicating with people from other firms was literally a pain in the neck.

 

With Symphony people from across different companies can now work together and stay in touch with one another. In the future Symphony is planning to take its secure communications technology to another industry. Currently it only serves the financial sector. The company also plans on adding applications to further help its financial client base. It recently added video and voice chat features to its platform. Expect Symphony to make a further dent in Bloomberg’s domination of the financial communication sector.

 

Technology/Tech/Tech Companies

Intelligent Machines are Pushing the Workforce Forward

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The idea of intelligent machines is nothing new. It’s essentially something that we’ve all heard about for years, but the term intelligent machines was rarely used publicly until recently. This is especially true for millennials who grew up watching films that depicted how robots would eventually take over the world. Fortunately, we’ve evolved past the idea of seeing robots as something to fear. More and more businesses are discovering the advantage of using intelligent machines to do more than just get the job done. As automated technology systems have become more advanced so have the machines we’ve created. This shift definitely is apparent in the renaming of robots to intelligent machines. Advancing technologies have been implemented that allows these machines to recognize their own mistakes and then the intelligent machine can correct their own error. Elon Musk has even recently said that he believes that intelligent machines will begin taking over many jobs in the future which will ultimately lead to a universal wage. The topic of universal income aside, his view on the topic of jobs becoming more automated is not as outlandish as it may sound to some. This is especially true for job roles that are mostly manual, but given how advanced intelligent machines have become, it’ll be no surprise to see intelligent machines take over roles that require a high skill set. In a recent article it is made clear that it won’t be much longer before we live in a world where intelligent machines replace a large portion of the workforce. Although it may seem like something that would put people out of work, that’s not exactly true. Implementing intelligent machines to do tasks in a more cost efficient manner can create more profitability in businesses which in turn can lead to new job creation. Intelligent machines are being developed to disrupt industries, which will without a doubt affect those in the workforce today, but in a positive way. In the same way that there have been roles and positions completely replaced with automated processes, this will happen again. New industries, new positions, and new skills were born out of the innovation that came before us, and it’s exciting to see the change unfold right before our eyes.