Friday, August 29, 2014

Why science literacy matters: Bob McDonald

Why science literacy matters: Bob McDonald

CME Group delayed the start of trade on its electronic platform

CME Group delayed the start of trade on its electronic platform by four hours on Monday due to technical problems, the latest glitch to hit the world's largest futures market operator.
But traders in Asia said the delay would have only a limited impact, with volumes likely thin on Monday morning in the absence of major market-moving news over the weekend.
The start of trade in all contracts on the Globex Markets platform, apart from Bursa Malaysia derivatives, was halted because of an unspecified technical glitch, the top U.S. exchange operator said on its website.
Trade eventually began at 2200 EST, but a spokesman for CME in Singapore declined further comment.
Among contracts traded on CME include the benchmarks for U.S. crude and agricultural markets such as wheat, corn and soybeans. U.S. gold and silver futures are also traded on the system.
The delay marks another headache for CME, which shut electronic trade for leading agricultural contracts on April 8 in the worst-ever trading outage for those markets.
CME Executive Chairman Terrence Duffy has said that outage was triggered when sophisticated technology tripped over a trading halt in a single market.
CME, which owns the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade and the New York Mercantile Exchange, said in July that it would slash costs by reducing hiring and employee travel amid weak trading volumes that led to a 15 percent drop in second-quarter net profit.

All day and session orders, including so-called good-through-date orders with an Aug. 24 trade date would be canceled, CME said on Monday.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Windows phone and the U.S. Government

Microsoft's love-hate relationship with the U.S. government is turning a bit more amicable, at least when it comes to Windows Phone.
The U.S. governent is a big technology buyer. The 2014 federal IT budget weighs in at over $81 billion. For fiscal 2015, federal IT spending will to dip somewhat to $79 billion, according to the White House's budget (PDF).
Microsoft is hoping that Windows Phone 8.1's built-in capabilities will help the Redmond, Wash.-based software company's newest mobile operating system catch the eye of the U.S. government and its security-minded agencies, which are under pressure to adopt mobile-enabled work styles. Stymieing those efforts are concerns that smartphones are the IT equivalent of leaky faucets.
Rick Engle, Microsoft's principal Windows technology specialist, combats the notion that increased mobility means increased risk in a blog post detailing the measures his company has taken to help Windows Phone 8.1 safeguard data. Having collaborated with "Microsoft field personnel and customers in many verticals," the company baked enterprise-grade security into the OS, he said.
"The result is a security-enhanced OS and an architecture designed to help prevent malware attacks—and even prevent rooting and jail breaking," stated Engle.
Included with Windows Phone 8.1 smartphones is native virtual private networking (VPN) support. "Connections can be provisioned by an MDM [mobile device management] and provide Single-Sign-On (SSO) security-hardened access through certificate authentication, and also reconnect automatically, providing a flexible and reliable connection," informed Engle.
Other features include a built-in MDM client that hooks into an organization's MDM platform of choice. "Device enrollment has been dramatically simplified," reported Engle, "lowering support costs and helping ease enrollment in both a Bring Your Own Device and a Corporate Liable scenario."
Granular MDM policies enable "full control of onboard hardware capabilities such as camera, Bluetooth, GPS, and NFC," he added. The Assigned Access option provides a "tightly controlled, curated experience" while app whitelisting and blacklisting controls keep unapproved apps at bay. S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) support simplifies email encryption.
Windows Phone 8.1 is also a solution for weak or pilfered passwords. "One of the biggest breakthroughs is support for two-factor authentication," said Engle. "Certified devices include a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), an encrypted hardware container [that] can be used to store and help protect certificates, including PIN-protected certificates stored within a Virtual Smartcard container." - See more at:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

world's first OLED TV with 4K resolution

LG 77-Inch Curved OLED 4K TV
Ahead of next week's IFA trade show in Berlin, LG today announced pre-sales of what it calls the world's first OLED TV with 4K resolution.
Available in 65- and 77-inch screen sizes, the TV sets promise the very best in display technology, boasting a 3,840-by-2,160 curved screen projecting Ultra HD quality.
"LG 4K OLED TV is the pinnacle of technological achievement and a new paradigm that will change the dynamics of the next generation TV market," LG CEO Hyun-hwoi Ha said in a statement. "As the next evolutionary step in display technology, OLED will play a major role in reshaping our industry."
Aside from its brighter colors, deeper blacks, and more natural hues, the TVs also come with LG's multi-channel Ultra Surround sound system for a heightened sense of immersion.
The sets will run WebOS, the platform LG acquired from HP last year. It comes with a leaf-shaped stand, but can be wall-mounted.
"OLED TVs are expected to overtake LCD in sales within a few years and no company is better prepared for this than LG," Ha boasted, adding that OLED's benefits "are obvious."
With no deterioration in picture quality or issues like image blurring, distortion, or color leakage, curved OLED TVs are superior to their LCD counterparts, the company president said.
LG initially unveiled its 77-inch 4K OLED TV during last year's IFA (pictured), alongside a 55-inch curved OLED TV, and showed it off again at CES.
While there is no official word on how much the sets will cost, the Associated Press reported that the smaller TV will set you back 12 million won ($11,765).
But Ha promised that the 4K OLED TV represents "superb value" in terms of color reproduction, contrast ratio, detail, and viewing angles. "I feel confident when I say that 4K OLED is a bona fide game changer," Ha said.
LG is taking pre-orders this week for the 65- and 77-inch 4K OLED TVs, but only in Korea. Availability in North America and Europe will follow shortly.

Monday, August 25, 2014

FCC to accept comments through to Sept. 15

Logo of the United States Federal Communicatio...
Logo of the United States Federal Communications Commission, used on their website and some publications since the early 2000s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Friday said it would accept public comments on its proposed new "net neutrality" rules through Sept. 15, giving Americans extra time to weigh in on how they think Internet traffic should be regulated.
The FCC has received more than 1 million comments already on new rules for how Internet services providers should be allowed to manage web traffic on their networks.
The FCC had set a deadline of July 15 for the initial comments and then September 10 for replies to those initial comments. However, the surge in submissions overwhelmed the FCC's website and the agency had delayed the first deadline by three business days.

"To ensure that members of the public have as much time as was initially anticipated to reply to initial comments in these proceedings, the Bureau today is extending the reply comment deadline by three business days," the FCC said on Friday, delaying the final deadline for comments to September 15.

Glen Villa: Site and Insight: North Hatley in Bloom

Glen Villa: Site and Insight: North Hatley in Bloom: This week I was a judge in the North Hatley in Bloom contest. Organized by the town council, the contest is designed to encourage residents ...

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management LP filed its second lawsuit

Freddie Mac
Freddie Mac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management LP filed its second lawsuit in two days against the U.S. government over bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, court documents show.
In Friday's complaint with the U.S. District Court, Pershing Square alleged that the Department of the Treasury illegally seized tens of billions of dollars in Fannie and Freddie profits.
Pershing Square, the largest shareholder of both the mortgage companies, said in the complaint that it was told the Fannie and Freddie stockholders no longer have fundamental shareholders rights.
Fannie's and Freddie's conservator, Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), denied "written demands by Pershing Square to the companies' boards of directors for a books and records inspection", according to the complaint.
In the second lawsuit, Pershing suggests the mortgage companies' dividends being paid to the Treasury should be shared among other common shareholders.
Three retirees who own Fannie Mae stock have joined as plaintiffs of the lawsuit.
In a complaint filed on Thursday with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., Pershing accused the government of violating the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by taking private property for public use without just compensation.
Though the lawsuits raise different legal theories and are in different courts, they are both designed to enable Ackman to recoup sums for the depressed value of his Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shares.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

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575 Million U.S. Payment Cards to Feature EMV by 2015
More than 575 million U.S. payment cards will offer EMV chip security by the end of 2015, according to the Payments Security Task Force (PST) established by Visa and MasterCard. "The move toward enhanced security for cardholders and merchants is real and tangible," says MasterCard's Chris McWilton. "We're gaining alignment around the most significant challenges where the industry needs to have a common foundation." The initial hesitation of many financial institutions to move to EMV, borne out of various unresolved issues related to the technology, appears to have given way largely because of the 2013 Target retail breach. Recent research from Pulse estimated 86 percent of U.S. institutions plan to start issuing EMV-based chip cards within the next two years. Nine PST members have projected that 50 percent of their cards will be EMV-enabled by the end of next year.
From "U.S. Migration to EMV Gathers Momentum" Finextra (08/13/14)
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Friday, August 22, 2014

internet acting slower these days

When the number of destinations on the internet surpasses 512,000, users will experience overall internet slowness if they rely on an internet service provider that uses older, affected routers. Shutterstock
Internet outages and slowdowns spiked earlier this week, and more are likely on the way in coming weeks, as the internet grows too big for some network hardware to handle.
According to Vancouver-based internet monitoring firm BGPMon, this past Tuesday, outages were "well above the daily average" and the number of affected systems and addresses was "the highest we've seen in the last 12 months."
The issue arose when the number of routes on the internet temporarily jumped beyond 512,000 or 512K – the maximum that some older networking gear can handle by default.
The cause was a bug at U.S. internet service provider Verizon that dumped 15,000 new internet destinations onto the network for about 10 minutes, said Andree Toonk, founder and lead developer for BGPMon.
"We basically got a small taste of what is possibly about to happen," added Toonk, whose company monitors internet routing for outages and security incidents. "Hopefully this is a wakeup call."
Network analysts such as Toonk estimate the number of routes in the internet — currently hovering around 500,000 — will permanently surpass 512,000 within a month.
"The real test… will start later this week, and will be felt nearly everywhere by the end of next week," estimated Jim Cowie, chief technology officer and co-founder of network performance management firm Renesys, in a blog post Tuesday.
The hardware causing the problem is older routers made by San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco and still used by many smaller networks and regional internet providers, Toonk said.
Nuisance, not threat
According to Cowie, most larger internet service providers "and certainly all of the routers that operate the core infrastructure of the internet" use newer hardware that is unaffected.