The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

'Smart agriculture' changing lives of China's farmers

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-12-25

A rice field in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, Dec. 21. (File photo/Xinhua)

The internet is changing China's agriculture sector through the use of sensors, the Internet of Things, cloud computing and big data, which are helping create semi-industrialized production methods, Guangzhou's 21st Century Business Review reports.

"The use of big data and the maturing of the Internet of Things will compensate the shortcomings of traditional agriculture, making the industry more scientific," said Fang Fahe, chief technology officer at Beijing-based iSoftStone.

The company has begun building its model for smart agriculture, setting up sensors with cameras in farms in northern China's Hebei province to collect data about crops, temperatures, precipitation and humidity. The data, along with that recorded by farmers through mobile devices given by the company are then uploaded to the cloud and analyzed to help better manage the farms, according to the magazine.

The process also allows regulators to easily trace sources of food when there are safety concerns and allows better management of production, inventory and logistics, the magazine added.

"We now offer clients comprehensive solutions. The environment was quite restricting in the past because of lagging development, but the conditions have matured," Fang said.

Fang also told the magazine that growing demand for equipment used for the Internet of Things has pushed the development of new technology and microelectronics.

Market researcher Gartner has forecast that the new equipment to be deployed for the Internet of Things will grow by 30 percent from 3.8 billion to 4.9 billion next year, and to 25 billion in 2020.

The use of the internet will lead the industry's efforts to push production by order, since the use of technology can help reduce water needs in agricultural production and keep farmers in touch with market demand, Fang said.

Several e-commerce companies including market leader Alibaba have expanded into agriculture, which Fang described as a positive development for a sector that relies on the use of big data, since Alibaba itself is competing with the edge of being the owner of a sizeable amount of data.

Apple reseller in China allegedly flees abroad with US$16m

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-12-25

An Apple store in Nanjing. (File photo/CNS)

The head of an authorized Apple product distributor at the Zhongguancun electronic shopping mall in Beijing has allegedly fled to France with 100 million yuan (US$16 million) in borrowed funds, several other Apple authorized distributors in the mall told the Chinese-language Economic Information Daily.

Dong Wei, owner of Beijing Guangda Century Science and Technology, which resells Apple products in Beijing, is reportedly on the run with money borrowed from several state-owned banks, a financial guarantee company and pre-paid fees from more than a dozen of lower-level Apple-authorized distributors in Zhongguancun and Henan and Hebei provinces as well.

Dong's company was a major Apple distributor in Beijing and supplied its latest products to more than a dozen smaller distributors in Beijing and in Hebei.

Smaller distributors need to pay large down payments-sometimes totaling millions of yuan-to bigger distributors to obtain the newest products, such as the iPhone 6 series, the report said.

Some smaller distributors had already placed iPhone orders with Guangda Century and had paid about 60 million yuan (US$9.7 million) in prepaid fees to obtain the newest products, another distributor said. In response, Apple said in a statement to the newspaper that Dong is not on its list of authorized distributors and that it is unknown whether Dong had authorized lower-level distributors for the resale of Apple products.

The incident has something to do with Apple's business model, an industry expert said. With its technology and branding advantage, a pyramid styled distribution structure has been formed by the company. Upper-level distributors have an absolute advantage in price bargaining and taking delivery for products over lower-level distributors, allowing them to get pre-paid fees instead of following the "cash on delivery" system, the industry expert added.

State-owned banks are also happy to lend lots of money to the large distributor, even though they do not receive any tangible form of guarantee, the report said, citing the expert.

Banks also believe they are sure to get their money back, along with a good profit, because Apple products sell well, the report said.

The case was reported to the police in Beijing's Haidian district, a distributor stated.

The police confirmed they are investigating the case and trying to locate Dong, according to the report.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

North Korea’s Internet Collapses After Sony Hack

Jakarta Globe – AFP, Dec 23, 2014

Workers remove a poster-banner for "The Interview" from a billboard in Hollywood,
 California, December 18, 2014 a day after Sony announced was cancelling the movie's
 Christmas release due to a terrorist threat. Sony defended itself Thursday against a
 flood of criticism for canceling the movie which angered North Korea and triggered a
massive cyber-attack, as the crisis took a wider diplomatic turn. (AFP Photo/
Robyn Beck)

Washington. North Korea’s Internet has gone dark amid rumors of US retaliation over its alleged hacking of a Hollywood studio, just as the pariah state came under attack at the UN over its rights record.

It was not clear who or what had shut down Pyongyang’s web connections, but cyber experts said the eccentric dictatorship’s already limited connections had gone completely offline.

And, in an unconnected development that nevertheless piled further pressure on Kim Jong-Un’s hermit regime, UN members debated North Korea’s brutal treatment of his huge prison population.

”North Korea is completely off the Internet,” Earl Zmijewski, vice president of data analytics at respected cyber security firm Dyn Research, told AFP on Monday.

Pyongyang’s disappearance from the web came after US President Barack Obama vowed to retaliate for what the FBI said was North Korea’s cyber assault on Hollywood studio Sony Pictures.

US officials refused to confirm or deny that Washington was behind the North’s Internet outage.

But they called for compensation for Sony which — following threats against movie-goers — pulled the Christmas Day debut of comedy “The Interview,” which lampoons North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

”If they want to help here they could admit their culpability and compensate Sony for the damages that they caused,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.

Dyn Research said earlier Monday that Internet connectivity between North Korea and the outside world, never good at the best of times, had begun to show signs of instability over the weekend.

”This is different from short duration outages we have seen in the past,” said Zmijewski in an email to AFP.

But he stressed it was impossible to say what had caused the outage. “They could have elected to simply pull the plug or they could have suffered from some sort of failure or attack,” he said.

”I wouldn’t be surprised if they are absorbing some sort of attack presently,” Doug Madory, the director of Internet analysis at Dyn, had earlier told the North Korea Tech website.

North Korea’s communist authorities have denied being behind the Sony hacking that also led to the release of a slew of embarrassing company emails.

Instead, Pyongyang has called for a joint investigation, and vowed reprisals if the US brings in new sanctions, including putting the country back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The diplomatic row comes as China failed on Monday to block the first-ever UN Security Council meeting on North Korea’s dismal rights record after a strong majority of members voted in favor of it.

US ambassador Samantha Power — backed by envoys from Britain, Australia and France — said North Korean citizens experience a “living nightmare” or political repression.

And she recalled testimony from a starving prison camp survivor who picked kernels of corn from cattle dung to eat and of a former guard who said prison wardens routinely raped prisoners.

Power dismissed Pyongyang’s offer of a joint investigation into the hack was “absurd” urging the council to take action against North Korean leaders.

No decision was taken on Monday on the call to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, but human rights advocates urged the body to keep the issue alive.

North Korea, one of the most repressive nations on the planet, has limited access to the worldwide web, with just four networks on the global Internet, compared to 150,000 in the United States.

All of North Korea’s routing is done through China Netcom, which is now part of China Unicom, Zmijewski said.

Washington has urged Beijing — Pyongyang’s closest ally — to help rein in the North’s cyber hacking activities, with US Secretary of State John Kerry speaking with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi over the weekend to discuss the problem.

”As North Korea’s sole Internet provider, it would be easy for China Unicom to disable North Korea’s access,” Zmijewski added.

”We have checked from hosts inside of China Unicom’s network and can confirm that North Korea is not visible from within China either.”

Pyongyang’s main Internet presence is through its Uriminzokkiri website, which has Twitter and Flickr feeds and is best known for posting propaganda videos excoriating South Korea and the United States.

Agence France-Presse

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Obama on Sony pulling The Interview: 'They made a mistake', Oliver Laughland and Dominic Rushe in New York, Friday 19 December 2014

Obama at the White House said he was sympathetic to Sony’s plight but
said: ‘I wish they had spoken to me first.’ Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sony “made a mistake” by axing the controversial comedy depicting the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, President Obama said Friday.

Speaking after the FBI pinned the blame on North Korea for a massive hack of Sony Pictures aimed at stopping the film’s release, Obama said: “We cannot have a society where some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States. Because if somebody’s going to intimidate them for releasing a satirical movie, imagine what’s going to happen when there’s a documentary they don’t like.

“Even worse, if producers and distributors start engaging in self-censorship because they don’t want to offend the sensibilities of somebody who, frankly, probably needs their sensibilities offended.

“That’s not who we are. That’s not who Americans are.”

Obama said he was sympathetic to Sony’s plight but added: “I wish they had spoken to me first.”

The president’s comments mark the latest twist in the already extraordinary scandal, which has seen the most high-profile corporate hack in history result in the publication of salacious Hollywood gossip and the cancellation of The Interview, a multimillion-dollar comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogen that was set for release on Christmas Day.

The FBI has been investigating suspected links with North Korea’s notorious hacking unit Bureau 121 since early December, and on Friday, investigators said a technical analysis of the malignant software, known as malware, used in the attack had been linked to other malware “that the FBI knows North Korean actors previously developed”.

The FBI also said that the infrastructure used in the Sony attack was similar to other malicious cyber activity aimed at the US that had previously been linked directly to North Korea.

“We are deeply concerned about the destructive nature of this attack on a private sector entity and the ordinary citizens who worked there. Further, North Korea’s attack on SPE [Sony Pictures Entertainment] reaffirms that cyber threats pose one of the gravest national security dangers to the United States,” the FBI said in a statement.

The White House had already labelled the attack as a “serious national security matter” and said it would respond proportionally. The president would not, however, be drawn on what the response would be: “We will respond, we will respond proportionally, and in a place and time that we choose. It’s not something that I will announce here today at this press conference,” he said.

Critics of the Obama administration drew on the investigation’s findings to criticise the president’s track record on cybersecurity.

Senator John McCain, the incoming chairman of the Senate armed services committee, which is responsible for the funding and oversight of the department of defense, described the hack as an “act of war” and pledged to strengthen oversight of the administration’s cybersecurity program when the new Congress convenes in the new year.

Sony has been left reeling from the November attack, after thousands of confidential documents, including employee social security numbers, personal emails, unreleased films, and executive pay were published online.

The hacking group Guardians of Peace (GOP) that claimed responsibility for the attack had demanded Sony pull release of The Interview, which depicted the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

On Wednesday, Sony cancelled the film’s release after threats invoking 9/11 were made against cinemagoers, andafter major US theater groups cancelled screenings.

That decision has drawn the ire of many high-profile names in Hollywood, who have also criticised the press for publishing details from the hacked documents.

George Clooney called on Hollywood to get The Interview released in any format possible. “We cannot be told we can’t see something by Kim Jong-un, of all fucking people ... we have allowed North Korea to dictate content, and that is just insane,” he said in an interview with Deadline.

GOP reportedly sent Sony executives a message on Thursday evening, calling the studio’s Wednesday decision to cancel the release of the controversial film The Interview “very wise”.

The statement was written in broken English and leaked to CNN. It continued: “Now we want you never let the movie released, distributed or leaked in any form of, for instance, DVD or piracy.

“And we want everything related to the movie, including its trailers, as well as its full version down from any website hosting them immediately.”

Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Guardian.

Reuters had quoted anonymous federal law enforcement officials saying the hack may have been a collaboration between North Korean and Chinese hackers or that servers in China could have been used to disguise the origins of the attack. But Obama appeared to rule out Chinese involvement in the hack.

“We have no indication that North Korea was acting in conjunction with another country,” he said.

Related Articles:

North Korea: A case for the International Criminal Court?

Xi calls for "no more stirs" on Korean Peninsula

A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - (Text version)

“….. Here is the prediction: China will turn North Korea loose soon. The alliance will dissolve, or become stale. There will be political upheaval in China. Not a coup and not a revolution. Within the inner circles of that which you call Chinese politics, there will be a re-evaluation of goals and monetary policy. Eventually, you will see a break with North Korea, allowing still another dictator to fall and unification to occur with the south. ….”

"Recalibration of Knowledge" – Jan 14, 2012 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Channelling, God-Creator, Benevolent Design, New Energy, Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) SoulsReincarnation, Gaia, Old Energies (Africa, Terrorists, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela ... ), Weather, Rejuvenation, Akash, Nicolas Tesla / Einstein, Cold Fusion, Magnetics, Lemuria, Atomic Structure (Electrons, Particles, Polarity, Self Balancing, Magnetism), Entanglement, "Life is necessary for a Universe to exist and not the other way around", DNA, Humans (Baby getting ready, First Breath, Stem Cells, Embryonic Stem Cells, Rejuvenation), Global Unity, ... etc.) (Text Version)  

“…  I want you to watch some countries. I don't have a clock [this statement is Kryon telling us that there is no time frame on his side of the veil, only potentials]. I'll just tell you, it's imminent [in Spirit's timing, this could mean as soon as a decade]. I want you to watch some countries carefully for changes. You're going to be seeing changes that are obvious, and some that are not obvious [covert or assumptive]. But the obvious ones you will see sooner than not - Cuba, Korea [North]Iran, of course, and Venezuela. I want you to watch what happens when they start to realize that they don't have any more allies on Earth! Even their brothers who used to support them in their hatred of some are saying, "Well, perhaps not anymore. It doesn't seem to be supporting us anymore." Watch the synchronicities that are occurring. The leaders who have either died or are going to in the next year or so will take with them the old ways. Watch what happens to those who take their place, and remember these meetings where I described these potentials to you. …”

Friday, December 12, 2014

Spanish law forcing out Google News 'short-sighted and dumb'

With Google News set to leave Spain due to a new law that favors the newspaper industry lobby, DW examines the impact of the new legislation in Spain and Europe.

Deutsche Welle, 11 Dec 2014

Aggregator Google News will stop displaying content on December 16 in Spain due to new legislation, the Internet giant has announced. The Spanish law taking effect in January requires news aggregators to pay publishers for displaying content even if they want to offer it for free. In addition, the law requires Google News and similar services to pay a fee to the association of Spanish newspapers (AEDE) for displaying content. A failure to pay the fee could result in a fine of up to 600,000 euros ($746,000).

Small publishers to lose big

Efforts by the association of Spanish newspapers to get Google News and other aggregators to pay for displaying the content of its members is likely to backfire at its members.

"It was short-sighted and relatively dumb because they don't see Google as a partner in the advertising and distribution of the content, but as a competitor," says Philipp Otto, editor in chief of online magazine

The new law will lead to massive losses in traffic, especially for smaller publishers, Otto explains.

While major publishing houses can offset loss of traffic by shifting the location of where content is published, smaller businesses are unlikely to move such operations abroad. And their work won't be taken seriously online if it cannot be found easily, Otto says.

"That will bring with it many problems and will cost jobs at publishing houses," he adds.
 Spanish papers on abdication of their king.

The major Spanish publications can publish articles in other countries so that
they are included on aggregator sites

German publishers couldn't beat Google

In Germany, an attempt to get Google to pay for content already backfired. The country's 2013 Leistungsschutzrecht (ancillary copyright law) allows publishers to charge news aggregators for displaying their content. However, Google News was able to circumvent the law because it isn't as restrictive as the Spanish equivalent. The search engine can ask publishers to opt-in (to offer content for free) or out of Google News.

Publishers that chose to opt-out soon discovered how much they rely on Google. In November, Germany's largest publisher Axel Springer had to stop blocking Google News from displaying snippets of its content because it experienced a significant decline in traffic.

So Google and the publishing industry have to work together because they profit from each other, says Philipp Otto,'s editor in chief. Publishers get to advertise their content for free while Google profits by being able to publish snippets of the content.

"There's no problem. You don't have to make regulations. It's a free market, and both parties have to work together for that to work," Otto says.

Earlier this year, an open letter to Google by Axel Springer CEO Mathias
Döpfner caused a stir in media industry

An unhealthy relationship?

But the dependence of many news sites on Google and Facebook for traffic is viewed as a problem by many. Frédéric Filloux, head of digital news at French business daily Les Echos, recently criticized the Internet giant's influence in an article, "How Facebook and Google now dominate Media Distribution." The relationship between the Internet giant and the publishers is unequal because their algorithms for displaying content aren't transparent, he writes.

But for Otto, the major problem lies with the publishing industry. Several players don't understand how the Internet works, he says. "Publishers can come together to promote their content, either by producing their own things where there are links for users to come, or they can work with other players."

Otto believes new ideas, innovation and collaboration by players in the newspaper industry could help reduce their dependence on Google. But there has to be a change in the mindset of publishers.

"[Facebook, Google, Twitter and co] are their best friends because they are getting a great service," Otto says. "That's why they should get rid of their fear."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

China produces first 3D printer for use in outer space

Want ChinaTimes, Xinhua 2014-12-10

Wang Lianfeng operates China's first space-based 3D printer at
Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, Dec. 7. (Photo/Xinhua)

Scientists have produced a 3D printing machine, the first of its kind in China, which astronauts will be able to use while on space missions, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC) on Monday.

The machine is capable of printing optical lens brackets used in spaceborne equipment, complicated components used in nuclear power testing equipment, impellers used in aircraft research and special-shaped gears used in automobile engines, said Wang Lianfeng, a senior engineer with CASTC Shanghai's research arm.

The machine, which uses both long-wave fiber and short-wave carbon dioxide lasers, can produce items smaller than 250 millimeters.

The machine, which looks like a gray cabinet, can fashion items out of stainless steel, titanium alloy and nickel-based superalloy.

"The products made will have to be tested thoroughly, due to the strict quality requirements of aerospace products," said Wang, adding that the prospect for 3D printing is promising.

Additive manufacturing, which 3D printing is also known as, is the processes in which three-dimensional objects are made through the layering of material. It is advancing rapidly and is increasingly used for industrial purposes.

Friday, December 5, 2014

‘Gangnam Style’ Gallops Beyond YouTube Counter at More Than 2.15 Billion Views

Jakarta Globe – AFP, Dec 04, 2014

(JG Screen Grab of YouTube)

New York. Just how big a hit was “Gangnam Style”? So mammoth that the Internet literally wasn’t ready to handle it.

YouTube said that the 2012 song by South Korea’s Psy — accompanied by a horse-riding-like dance that became a global sensation — this week reached the maximum number of views that its counter had imagined to be conceivable.

The video-sharing site shows that the official version of the video has had more than 2.15 billion views — the equivalent of one-third of the world’s population, although of course many people watched more than once.

The problem: YouTube designed its counter with what is known in computer science as a 32-bit integer, meaning that the maximum number of countable views was 2,147,483,647.

“We never thought a video would be watched in numbers greater than a 32-bit integer,” YouTube, which is owned by search engine giant Google, said in a posting on Google+.

YouTube engineers anticipated the problem and upgraded to a 64-bit integer. That means that “Gangnam Style” or future mega-hit videos can now go beyond nine sextillion views — a feat that, at least according to conventional wisdom, would be impossible to break.

Agence France-Presse
Related Articles:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Google Targets 10,000 NYC Households for High Speed Internet

WNYC News, Ilya Marritz, December 02, 2014

Wireless hotspot packs cost only about $30 each, but monthly service charges
 make broadband un-affordable for many New Yorkers (The New York Public
Library/The New York Public Library)

Google is pledging $1 million to help the city's public library systems supply thousands of New Yorkers in all five boroughs with high speed internet connections.

Tony Marx, President of the New York Public Library, says any low income New Yorkers who are using library programs, like after school or English as a second language, are eligible to receive free wi-fi devices.

“You can come in to your branch where you're doing those programs. We'll give you a small box that you plug into an electric outlet which creates a hotspot that provides wi-fi at home,” Marx said.

The project began earlier this year with a $500,000 grant from the Knight Foundation targeting just 100 households and is believed to be one of the first of its kind.

Google’s pledge includes money to pay for data connections for 10,000 homes via the Sprint network, and 500 chromebook laptops to be distributed to young people.

When he took office almost one year ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to make broadband universal and affordable.

But a home internet connection can cost around $50, and that puts high speed out of reach for an estimated 2.9 million New Yorkers.

Maya Wiley, counsel to the mayor, expects the program to have a big impact.

“Because for those 10,000 households — which remember, will include in some instances three generations of people — it's extremely important that they will be able to get this free service,” Wiley said.

Wiley said she and Marx traveled recently to Washington to discuss the program with White House officials and with the Federal Communications Commission. If the pilot is successful, Wiley believes it could become a model for the nation.

Alibaba has woken the wrath of US retail industry

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-12-03

The Alibaba logo. (Photo/Xinhua)

As the long fingers of Alibaba, China's leading e-commerce firm, reach into the US market, domestic retailers are urgently calling for the plugging of the online taxation loophole as the best defense for their threatened survival, reports Shanghai-based outlet the Paper.

Now that Alibaba has made its US market intentions clear, it has replaced Amazon as the foremost enemy of other major US retailers, said the report.

Over the last weekend, the Alliance for Main Street Fairness aired a TV and radio ad urging Congress to remove taxation privileges for Alibaba and other online e-commerce heavyweights. Some of the biggest — Target, Best Buy and Home Depot — and thousands of smaller retailers have put their weight behind the statement.

US retailers watched as the outperforming internet beast lumbered into the New York Stock Exchange in September for the world's largest IPO, the stock price of which has since doubled. Its sales figures are formidable, overshadowing Amazon and eBay combined. Sooner or later, Alibaba will take advantage of the taxation loophole to boost its edge in the US market, noted an official with the Alliance for Main Street Fairness.

Alibaba refuted the accusations in the ad, saying that the company has always paid taxes according to the regulations of host nations, including the US, according to the Financial Times.

US retailers and industry analysts believe that, backed by the strong financial clout in the wake of its record IPO and its feverish growth worldwide, Alibaba is gearing up to launch tailor-made services to US consumers.

libaba claims that its focus is still on the Chinese market for the time being, as increased wealth and the popularity of the internet for shopping among people in China will assure continued robust growth in the domestic market.

Although AliExpress, the arm for Alibaba's international retail business, can sell merchandise to US consumers, Taobao, its flagship e-commerce website, has yet to offer English-language services. In June, Alibaba bought into 11 Main, a US B2C platform similar to Tmall.

Related Article:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Carry contact-free payment cards in metal case to stop theft, says expert, December 1, 2014

Contactless card payments provide a good way of paying for goods but the cards themselves are far from secure, the deputy director of the Dutch payment association says in Monday’s AD.

The cards are only safe from being emptied by thieves if carried in a metal case or wrapped in aluminium foil, Gijs Boudewijn, of Betaalvereniging Nederland, told the paper.

Criminals can easily transfer the balance from cards using special apparatus by standing next to someone with a contactless card or walking past a payment terminal, he told the paper.

The same applies to mobile phones which are equipped to make contact-free payments, he said.

Some 25% of the 24 million bank cards in circulation in the Netherlands are equipped with the technology for contactless payments. The system allows two consecutive payments of up to €25 to be made, without the use of a pin number. 

Boudewijn, who carries his own cards in a metal case, said tests have shown this form of theft is possible but that his organisation is unaware of it actually happening in real life.

Telkom Supports Jokowi’s “E-Blusukan” with Migrant Workers in 8 Countries

Jakarta Globe, Press Release, Dec 01, 2014

President Joko Widodo leads the “E-Blusukan” with Indonesian Migrant
Workers (TKI) that are stationed in 8 differents parts of the world.

Last week, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and a number of his ministers held an “E-Blusukan” (teleconference) with Indonesian Migrant Workers (TKI) representatives in 8 different countries. This unique teleconference was held at Situation Room UKP4 Bina Graha on Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara, Central Jakarta. The 8 countries that were inspected by Indonesia’s first in command were South Korea, Hong Kong, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

As a state-owned enterprise in the field of telecommunications, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia TBK (Telkom) provided the facilities needed for this first ever video conference. The representatives of the Indonesian Migrant Workers were connected with President Jokowi using an application called UMeetMe. Through this application the president was able to discuss many matters with the representatives, without any connection delay.

“Telkom is once again proud to be able to successfully contribute in the execution of Jokowi’s “E-Blusukan” through the UMeetMe application,” said Telkom’s Director of Enterprise & Business Services, Muhammad Awaluddin.

Awaluddin added, through the equally spread infrastructure, even to the most remote areas of the nation, Telkom is determined to always be a forerunner in supporting the governments programs in utilizing Information Technology and Communication in Indonesia.

By using 9 big screens which showed instantaneous live feeds, Jokowi and his team of Social Media Volunteers took turns interacting and communicating with each of the representatives from eight different parts of the world.

“I have heard about the many problems faced by the many Indonesian migrant workers abroad, but I would like to see for myself what exactly must migrant workers face,” said Jokowi.

The Indonesian Migrant Workers in turn expressed their problems to  the president, and one demanded revoke the use of Migrant Worker Cards (KTKLN), which according to him was just a method of discriminating Indonesian Migrant Workers.

The video conference was highly appreciated by Sonny Subrata, the coordinator for the Social Media Volunteer Team. “A big thanks to Telkom for providing the video conference facilities.”

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Online sales spike on a less chaotic Black Friday

Yahoo – AFP, 29 Nov 2014

Black Friday shoppers leave the Target store in Fairfax, Virginia, on
November 28, 2014 (AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards)

Washington (AFP) - The top US shopping "holiday" saw a surge this year in online sales with smaller crowds in stores -- but Black Friday still brought some of its trademark shopping mall pandemonium.

Businesses usually offer deep discounts starting early Friday morning, prompting massive crowds that have led to numerous injuries and a number of deaths in years past.

This year, businesses continued a trend in starting shopping deals earlier and extending them longer, leading to smaller crowds.

Protesters march outside Macy's store
 during the Black Friday protest on
 November 28, 2014 in New York
(AFP Photo/Kena Betancur)
But many major retailers, including discount megastore Walmart, also emphasized online shopping as a way to get consumers purchasing faster.

There were smaller lines and fewer packs of frenzied shoppers at malls around the country Thursday night and Friday, US media reported.

Still, several people were injured and three were arrested after a shopping fight early Friday morning at a department store in southern California, reports said.

And what appeared to be a murder suicide took place Friday night at a Nordstrom department store in Chicago. Police deemed it "domestic-related," according to the Chicago Tribune.

This year the shopping day was also caught up in a furor over the decision not to indict the police officer who killed an unarmed black teenager in Missouri. The shooting has put American race-relations under scrutiny and prompted demonstrations over how police, especially white officers, interact with African Americans.

Black public figures called for Black Friday boycotts, and in Ferguson, Missouri, where the killing took place, protests briefly shut down a local mall.

In the west coast city of Seattle, protesters chained a mall's doors closed, and in California's San Francisco, hundreds rallied and a police officer was injured by a bottle thrown at a police car, local media reported Friday.

Meanwhile, the FBI recorded 144,000 background checks for Black Friday gun sales, CNN reported. Black Friday is one of the busiest days for gun sales in the US, the FBI said.

Online sales on the rise

Early reports showed up to a 22 percent increase in Black Friday online shopping compared to last year, as well as an increasing number of people shopping online on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving online sales were up by 20 percent, according to a report from commercial analyst ChannelAdvisor Corp.

For the first time the majority of online sales came from mobile devices, a report by IBM said.

The largest day of online sales typically comes on the Monday following Black Friday, when stores offer a number of online-only discounts.

Retailers have been buoyed by predictions that a drop in gas prices and higher consumer confidence could lead to higher sales overall this year.

The start of the US holiday shopping season has slowly been been broken up into a number of shopping days including "Gray Thursday," "Black Friday," Small Business Saturday," and "Cyber Monday" to prompt sales ahead of Christmas.

US president Barack Obama made a surprise visit Saturday morning to a landmark Washington bookstore to support small businesses.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ING to cut 3,000 jobs by integrating IT systems, November 25, 2014

Financial services group ING is to reduce its workforce by nearly 3,000 over the next three years as it streamlines its online services.

The bank said it is scrapping the jobs at its retail banking headquarters, in its administrative department, call centres and in IT. The cuts are due to the integration of the different IT systems which are currently used for its mobile app, website, call centre and branches. The changes should lead to annual savings of €270m from 2018, the bank said.

Unions shocked

ING has cut thousands of jobs in the past few years and currently has a workforce of some 53,000 worldwide, of whom 16,000 are in the Netherlands.

Banking unions told news agency ANP they were shocked by the job losses, which are larger than had been expected.

In a statement, ING said it is making the changes ‘in order to improve the customer experience and enhance operational excellence’.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Taiwan and China race for 3D printing tech edge

Want China Times, Hsu Chang-ping and Staff Reporter 2014-11-24

A 3D printing machine. (Photo/Yen Chien-long)

Taiwan's government has to put more effort into developing polymers and metallic materials to provide for 3D printing, which has become increasingly popular in Taiwan and China, reports our Chinese-language sister paper Want Daily.

China's government is reportedly providing all sorts of resources into the development of 3D printing, including capital and land. A spokesman for Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) said China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Singapore have all fallen slightly behind in this new technology, but are making efforts to upgrade.

In the future, Taiwan's government will gradually build up its niche market in 3D printing in the industries involving cultural creativity, biomedicine, electronics, toys and molds.

China has already invested US$240 million in the industrial parks of Zhuhai, Qingdao, Wuhan and Chengdu to develop the industry, according to the ITRI.

WestingCut Industrial Technology, in the province of Anhui, has been collaborating with the Chinese government in developing 3D printing technology. It has invested NT$7.5 billion (US$242.32 million) to establish the Xery 3D Printing Science & Technology based in Haozhou. The factory will produce 50,000 3D printers for household use, 20,000 printers for business use, and 5,000 printers for industrial use a year, as well as 500,000 tonnes of material used for 3D printing.

WestingCut chairman Yu Jinhu said that the US and Taiwan are aggressively developing 3D printing technologies, and that the cost for the printing equipment will be lower in the future, making the prices of printed products more affordable. By then 3D printing will become more popular and trigger another revolution.

ITRI said that Taiwan's Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Economic Affairs wish to develop 3D metal printing instead of plastic. The technology will be first applied in the production of car parts.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Facebook 'newspaper' spells trouble for media

Yahoo – AFP, Rob Lever, Sun, Nov 23, 2014

Facebook can tailor its feed to the interests of the individual, delivering a
mix of world news, community events and updates about friends or family

Facebook's move to fulfill its ambition to be the personal "newspaper" for its billion-plus members is likely to mean more woes for the ailing news media.

The huge social network has become a key source of news for many users, as part of a dramatic shift in how people get information in the digital age.

Company founder Mark Zuckerberg told a forum in early November that his goal is to make Facebook's news feed "the perfect personalized newspaper for every person in the world."

Zuckerberg said that while a newspaper provides the same information to every reader, Facebook can tailor its feed to the interests of the individual, delivering a mix of world news, community events and updates about friends or family.

"It's a different approach to newspapering," said Ken Paulson, a former editor of USA Today who is now dean of communications at Middle Tennessee State University.

"It's neither good nor bad, but it's something a traditional newspaper can't do."

With Facebook, editorial decisions about what members see are made not by a journalist, but an algorithm that determines which items are likely to be of greatest interest to each person.

This may concern the traditional journalism community, but even some media experts acknowledge that Facebook appears to be able to deliver more of what people want to see, in an efficient way.

"It's intimate, it's relevant, it's extraordinarily timely and it's about you. That's more than any newspaper can do," said Alan Mutter, a former Chicago daily newspaper editor who is now a consultant for digital media ventures.

Mutter said that as newspapers cling to their "ancient" business model, organizations like Facebook are making the news more personal.

And he said the trend will continue as younger readers shun print in favor of digital and mobile platforms.

Algorithm as editor?

Nikki Usher, a George Washington University journalism professor specializing in new media, said Facebook configures its news feed using an algorithm taking into account tens of thousands of factors.

"Facebook has all the data to tell you what all of your friends are reading, so you have a better chance of seeing things that you are interested in," she said.

"The reason Facebook has so many engineers and data scientists is to continually make the algorithm better. The algorithm gets stronger as more people use it."

Facebook is a source of news for at least 30 percent of Americans, and a major driver of traffic to news websites, according to a Pew Research Center study.

This gives the social network enormous power over the news media, which is increasingly dependent on traffic from Facebook and other social platforms.

Even though Facebook is known for its computer coding, it still must make editorial decisions, Usher points out.

"What's scary is how reactive a position it puts news organizations, which are trying to guess Facebook's next move," she said. "That's a lot of power to put in a single organization."

Facebook, Google and other tech firms jealously guard their algorithmic formulas. But observers note that a single tweak of that formula can have important consequences for news organizations.

"News organizations are trying to build their strategy around trying to guess the algorithm, and ultimately that's a losing strategy," Usher said.

Getting 'soul'

But with traditional news media hurting, it remains unclear how the industry can support the kind of journalism needed to keep people informed as it has in the past.

Mutter said what people read may change -- it may be sponsored or subsidized in a way that may or may not be transparent.

"It won't necessarily be real journalism, but it will be content," he said.

Paulson said that while Facebook can deliver much of the information from newspapers, "it would be hard pressed to capture the soul" of traditional print news.

"Freedom of the press was established to keep an eye on people in power and inform the community," he added. "There's a tremendous public spirit component that you can't address with an algorithm."

Paulson said that while Facebook is a useful platform for sharing, it will not underwrite the kind of investigative journalism upon which newspapers often pride themselves. With journalism retrenching, that weakens the entire democratic process.

"We get the kind of news we deserve and are willing to pay for," Paulson added.