Category: Uncategorized

Xerox splits into two

Ned's_executionIt is the end of an error after the formerly huge tech giant Xerox split itself into two. Again.

CEO Ursula Burns confirmed that the company had begun looking into its structure and portfolio since October 2015, to better reflect changes in the market.

Xerox will now be divided into a new business process outsourcing company, and a document technology firm. It is not clear if Burns will have a job in either company, now that the split is being implemented, leadership discussions will be held shortly, she said.

Xerox shares had fallen over 30 percent in the last year and the outfit had been shifting its focus towards software and services to cover its losses. The division is part of a cunning plan to allow Xerox more flexibility to respond to market trends.  The company wants to get into the healthcare services industry amongst other things.


Death cult forces brand name change


Yorkshire-based Isis-EX has decided that naming itself after the popular Ancient Egyptian Goddess Isis is proving a bit of a liability.

When the company set up shop, calling yourself Isis had associations with Egyptian wealth, luxury and knowledge.  Unfortunately these days it is more associated with a head lopping desert death-cult which rapes and enslaves women and shoots people who disagree with it.

According to The Scarborough News Isis-EX  is now Ex-Isis and rebranded its self as Smart-Ex.  After all no-one could ever call the Isis death cult smart.

“We don’t want our name to evoke unpleasant associations, as iSiS-Ex had begun to,” a company spokesman said. “That’s not nice for our customers and it isn’t nice for us.”

The company follows  ISIS Equity Partners which rebranded to Livingbridge.

No-one of course has wondered if the Goddess Isis herself might be miffed and is sending a plague of boils, scorpions, frogs or something toxic to Smart-Ex.  After all hacking off a major deity can be problematic to your margins.



India is selfie death hotspot

shark-photobombIndia is the most dangerous place in the world to take a selfie with more than half of the 27 selfie deaths across the world in 2015 happened in India.

The trend shows no signs of abating, with three selfie deaths across India in the first two weeks of 2016. Of course some of the cases read like Darwin Awards.  Indians died taking selfies in front of moving trains, one drowned after tipping a boat while posing, and another fell off cliff, and slipped into the water from a river bank.  It is not just Indians who die. Included in the stats were a Japanese tourist also died after falling down a staircase at the Taj Mahal – the monument, not the restaurant.

Indians can’t get enough of selfies. Even  Indian prime minister Narendra Modi who is known for clicking selfies with other world leaders and launched a government-backed ‘selfie with daughter’ campaign. There is a popular Hindi song (“Selfie le le re”) from last year’s highest-grossing Bollywood film Bajrangi Bhaijaan.

But last year, a fear of stampedes led to a selfie ban during the large religious congregation of Kumbh Mela. This week, Mumbai Police identified no selfie zones in the city after two people drowned in a selfie-related accident.

Robots to exterminate 5.1 million jobs

Daleks_appearenceThe rise of robots and artificial intelligence, will result in a net extermination of 5.1 million jobs over the next five years in 15 leading countries.

Beancounters working for Davos [shurely Davros.ed] told the World Economic Forum (WEF), that there will be 7.1 million jobs lost which would offset by a gain of 2 million new positions.

The 15 economies covered by the survey account for approximately 65 percent of the world’s total workforce.

To make matters worse, this will co-incide with an expected rise in global unemployment of 11 million by 2020.

Two-thirds of the projected losses are expected to fall in the office and administrative sectors as smart machines take over more routine tasks.

The WEF has made “the fourth industrial revolution” – a topic covering robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and biotechnology – the official theme of this year’s Davos meeting, which runs from Jan. 20 to 23.

The “Future of Jobs” report concluded that jobs would be displaced in every industry, although the impact would vary considerably, with the biggest negative losses likely to be in healthcare, reflecting the rise of telemedicine, followed by energy and financial services.

At the same time, however, there will be a growing demand for certain skilled workers, including data analysts and specialist sales representatives.

Women will be the biggest losers as their jobs are often concentrated in low-growth or declining areas such as sales, office and administrative roles, the report said.

While men will see approximately one job gained for every three lost over the next five years, women face more than five jobs lost for every one gained.


Samsung predicted to dive

490cf00acd2774547d0faebf23d2a84dThe cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street are predicting that Samsung will see profits drop in 2016, thanks to slowing demand for consumer electronics.

The world’s top maker of memory chips and smartphones is expected to guide on Friday its second straight quarter of annual profit growth for October-December. Analysts expect the South Korean firm’s overall 2015 earnings to have rebounded moderately from 2014, when profit fell for the first time in three years.

But slower growth in China and the persistent weakness of emerging market currencies are eroding demand for consumer electronics, undercutting prices of the memory chips and displays that Samsung leaned on to cope with its mobile profit decline, and clouding its earnings prospects.

A Thomson Reuters SmartEstimate derived from a survey of 30 analysts tips Samsung’s fourth-quarter profit to have risen 26 percent from a year earlier to $5.52 billion. Some brokers cut their forecasts citing weaker-than-anticipated components sales, pushing the stock to its lowest level in three months.

Samsung Chief Executive Kwon Oh-hyun warned the firm faced challenges from weak global growth and heightened uncertainties stemming from factors such as financial risks for emerging markets.

The downbeat remarks come amid growing concerns that Samsung and other tech industry firms such as Apple Inc will face earnings pressures in coming quarters as tepid demand undercut sales.



Dutch go against Cameron’s data policy

holland1The Dutch government has told David Cameron to stick his head in a pig over his insistance that the world would be a safer place with crippled encryption and back-doors in software.

The Dutch issued a strong statement against weakening encryption for the purposes of law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Cameron  wants to legally require companies to give them access to wide swaths of encrypted Internet traffic.

However the Dutch executive cabinet endorsed “the importance of strong encryption for Internet security to support the protection of privacy for citizens, companies, the government, and the entire Dutch economy,”

Ard van der Steur, the Dutch minister of security and justice, wrote in the statement. “Therefore, the government believes that it is currently not desirable to take legal measures against the development, availability and use of encryption within the Netherlands.”

Encryption scrambles data so that only those with the keys to unscramble it can access it. For example, Internet users use encryption whenever they access a website that has an HTTPS connection, which protects their Web traffic from interception, and Apple iOS devices and Google Android devices are encrypted by default when the user turns on the lock screen.

Last month, the Netherlands parliament committed €500,000 in funding to OpenSSL, a free set of encryption tools used widely and sponsored in part by the United States government.

“Confidence in secure communication and storage data is essential for the future growth potential of the Dutch economy, which is mainly in the digital economy,” Van der Steur wrote.

“Encryption supports respect for privacy and the secret communication of citizens by providing them a means to communicate protected data confidentially and with integrity. This is also important for the exercise of the freedom of expression. For example, it enables citizens, but also allows empowers important democratic functions like journalism by allowing confidential communication.”
Encryption is protected under privacy laws in Articles 10 and 13 in the Dutch constitution, Van der Steur argued, as well as Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Articles 7 and 8 in the European Union Charter.

Weakening encryption will also expose Internet traffic to eavesdropping by criminals, terrorists, and foreign intelligence services, Van der Steur said. That’s an argument supported by a wide variety of technologists warning against the weakening of encryption.

“The protection of these fundamental rights is applicable to the digital world,” he wrote.

If strong end-to-end encryption is banned in major Western nations, the Netherlands might be a place to pick up legal cryptography that stymie anti-encryption efforts.

Nigerian spammer made fortune in Texas

cowboy blogIn case you are wondering how anyone falls for Nigerian spammers, apparently the secret is to target people in Texas.

Police have finally arrested Amechi Colvis Amuegbunam, 28, of Lagos, Nigeria. He was arrested in Baltimore and the cops  charged him with scamming 17 companies out of more than $600,000. His secret was to hit North Texas businesses.

He remains in federal custody in Dallas. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

Instead of the usual “I am a lawyer acting for the estate of an African prince” Amuegbunam just spoofed email addresses which looked like they came from corporate executives. To make the emails look authentic he transposed a couple of letters.

Employees wired him money thinking it was an official letter.  The FBI issued an alert earlier this year about the new cyberattack it called the “Business Email Compromise”. The FBI said it is a “growing fraud that is more sophisticated than any similar scam the FBI has seen before”.

But really, it is still the basic premise and should never have happened.  The only thing different thing is that the scammers do their homework and have better mastery of English.

The Dallas investigation began in 2013 when two North Texas companies reported falling victim to the scheme, each losing about $100,000, according to an FBI complaint.

The FBI has identified five other conspirators who live in Nigeria who are subjects of the investigation.

The FBI said criminal groups usually target businesses that have foreign suppliers or regularly make wire transfer payments.


Pentagon furious with Raytheon’s GPS

babyThe Pentagon’s chief arms buyer is unhappy with Raytheon’s work on a ground control network for new global positioning system (GPS) satellites.

Defense Undersecretary Frank Kendall said the department would look to other options if Raytheon’s performance did not improve.

Kendall approved the revamped schedule after a December 4 review of the troubled programme which has doubled in cost to $3.6 billion.

Apparently the Pentagon looked hard at the project and the consensus was that it needed to continue” with Raytheon but with intense management.

Halting the programme and starting over would have added billions of dollars in costs and delayed completion by at least three years, Kendall said.

Kendall said he opted for the two-year delay instead of the 47-month delay initially proposed by the Air Force because Kennedy had assured him it was doable, and also because he did not want to “give the program that kind of latitude”.

Raytheon’s problems on the programme had gone on for years and the program “has not been executed very well,” he said.

Dell can buy back VMWare shares

Dell logoTinbox shifter Michael Dell said he could write a $3 billion cheque to buy back VMWare tracking stock to help finance its EMC acquisition.

This is important as it shows that Dell is working out ways to jack-up VMware’s value. The plans to issue a tracking stock have weighed on VMware’s common shares, which have lost a quarter of their value since the acquisition of EMC was announced in October.

Under the deal, EMC shareholders will receive 0.111 VMware tracking share for each EMC share, a move intended to give investors exposure to VMware, which is growing faster than EMC.

Dell said in a registration statement Monday that Dell “intends to consider opportunities to repurchase shares.”

Dell said it could support up to $3 billion in share repurchases and other types of payments and that the amount may increase over time, depending on its net income.

Dell said its goal will be to reduce its debt load in the first 18 to 24 months to achieve an investment-grade rating. Dell will have $49.5 billion in debt under current plans to finance the EMC deal.

Dell has reduced its debt by $4.5 billion, including $2.5 billion paid off by Dell itself. In addition, Denali Holdings, the holding company owned by private equity firm Silver Lake Partners and Michael Dell that controls Dell, paid off a $2 billion loan from Microsoft.

US Air Force wants insurance against Raytheon stuff-up

Consolidated B-24 Liberator  "468" B-24M-5-FO Liberator s/n 44-50468 740th Bomb Squadron, 455th Bomb Group, 15th Air Force. Crashed on take off from San Giovanni Field,Italy on April 12,1945 killing 6 of the crew.

Consolidated B-24 Liberator
B-24M-5-FO Liberator
s/n 44-50468
740th Bomb Squadron, 455th Bomb Group, 15th Air Force.
Crashed on take off from San Giovanni Field,Italy on April 12,1945 killing 6 of the crew.

The US Air Force is looking at “outside options” to battle against further project delays and cost over-runs on Raytheon troubled ground control system for next-generation GPS satellites

Reuters said that the Air Force would continue with the Raytheon project after a review resulted in a further two-year delay and potential cost increases.

Raytheon won a contract worth up to $1.5 billion in 2010 to develop the GPS Operational Control System, or OCX, to operate the next generation GPS 3 satellites being built by Lockheed Martin.

By December 2014, the programme’s projected cost had soared to $3.6 billion, including inflation, due to increased cyber security requirements and poor contractor performance.

The Air Force officials think now that the programme could require an additional 47-month delay that could send its total cost, including inflation, as high as $5.6 billion.

Some Air Force officials that the programme was now beyond the worst of its problem, but others are less certain calling the whole thing a big mess.

A new contractor would take too long, but the current plan leaves the Air Force with no way to test or use the full capabilities of its new GPS 3 satellites for years after they were launched.

Frank Kendall, and Raytheon Chief Executive Tom Kennedy apparently are trying to contingency plans to use older GPS ground control system could be used to operate the new GPS 3 satellites until the new system was done.

Meanwhile the Air Force is working on an alternative ground control system and explore options outside the OCX program, including adding military code functions to other systems, to hedge against further cost growth and delays.