Excise Tax On Tobacco Products Taken Off The Table

first_imgBusiness owners on the Kenai Peninsula spoke out against the ordinance during the meeting last night. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly unanimously voted down a proposal for a borough-wide excise tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products during their assembly meeting last night. Currently the state has an excise tax, or ‘sin’ tax, that are flat per-unit taxes that must be paid directly to the state government by the merchant before the goods can be sold. The proposal was for an excise tax of $0.05 on each cigarette brought into the borough beginning on January 1, 2019. Also, an excise tax of 10 percent of the wholesale price levied on other tobacco products effective January 1, 2019. Assemblywoman Kelly Cooper: “The people in the room told us what we need to hear. When we’ve tried to look at taxes, we at this table say we don’t want to target a small group, but the people in the room are small businesses and they are saying quit targeting small groups.”  Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce: “We may not need this, and yet, we are getting ready to pass a tax policy on individuals that we may not need. I appreciate the desire to balance budgets, and pay for costs going forward, but I’ll also have you know that we are going to continue making cuts and look for savings along the way.” Even though excise taxes are collected from businesses, virtually all merchants pass on the excise tax to the customer through higher prices for the taxed goods. The state collects an average of $474 in yearly excise taxes per capita, higher than 54% of the other 50 states.last_img read more

Xminis Xtlas Plus earphones Great tripledriver sound low price

first_img 0 Preview • X-mini’s Evolve Bluetooth headphone doubles as a wireless speaker (hands-on) Headphones X-mini Evolve Share your voice 45 Photoscenter_img Best wireless Bluetooth headphones for iPhone XS, XS Max and XR Post a comment Tags The X-mini Xtlas Plus earphones offer great sound without costing too much. Aloysius Low/CNET X-mini is best known for its capsule speakers, but the Singaporean company took a new approach last year with new wireless and wired earphones. I’ve previously tried out the Evolve speaker headphones and liked them, but I wasn’t too sure how the company would fare outside of its comfort zone. Tuning a pair of tiny earphones is a lot different from engineering small speakers for loud sound, after all. But it appears the company’s bet for its Xtlas Plus line paid off. Weighing just 0.6 ounces (17 grams), the Xtlas Plus uses a triple-driver setup with two balanced armature drivers alongside a dynamic one. Pairing a dynamic driver with the armature driver gives it more oomph in the bass department — in theory, at least. And the Xtlas Plus sort of succeeds on that front. Braided cables help you avoid tangles. Aloysius Low/CNET X-mini’s sound tends to focus on the clarity of the trebles, and its earphones pretty much stick to the same formula. The company’s speakers usually try not to overdo the bass, and the Xtlas Plus is the same. There are times where you just want a strong bass, especially for electronic tracks, and the Xtlas Plus feels a tad too tame there. That said, put on tracks with strong vocals and the earphones really shine. The sound is clear and crisp, and you can hear plenty of detail. If you like listening to classical tracks, you’ll love how much clarity the Xtlas Plus delivers for each individual instrument. It’s also Hi-Res Audio certified.At S$130 in Singapore (about $95, £75 or AU$135 converted), the X-mini Xtlas Plus earphones are pretty good value for what they offer. There’s also a carrying pouch bundled and three pairs of ear tips for the right fit. last_img read more

Enter for your chance to win a Fluance audio system

first_img 6 Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. One lucky person will receive this turntable, these speakers and a bonus Bluetooth speaker. CNET It’s giveaway time! And once again the fabulous Fluance folks are offering Cheapskate readers a shot at some fantastic audio gear. Welcome to the Fluance Sound Sweeps! Here’s what the grand prize winner will bring home: A limited-edition RT81 record player (white)A pair of limited-edition Ai40 powered bookshelf speakers (white)An Fi20 Bluetooth speaker (bamboo)Total value of that package: a cool $500. And two runners-up will each receive a Fluance Fi20 speaker (one in walnut, one in black ash) worth $150. The turntable and speakers, by the way, are indeed limited-edition items, announced just yesterday to help celebrate Fluance’s 20th anniversary. Only a small quantity will be produced, so this is your chance to own a little bit of Fluance history. What’s more, with promo code CNET10FLU, anyone can get $10 off any order of $100 or more between now and Aug. 27.Ready to enter? You’ve got until Sept. 6 to get it done. Hit up the form below for all the details, including the rules and requirements.If you have trouble seeing the form please check this link.Good luck!Update, 11:46 a.m. PT: Corrected promo code discount to $10 off. (It incorrectly said 10% earlier. We apologize for the mistake.)CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. Share your voice CNET Giveaway The Cheapskatecenter_img Comments Tags Audiolast_img read more

Sonakshi Sinha arrested Here is a crazy reason revealed by Dabangg actress

first_imgSonakshi SinhaCollage of her Instagram photosA day after the video of her arrest created ripples, Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha has revealed that she was arrested because it is a crime to look that good. It is a promo of new makeup collection Pose.A couple of videos featuring Sonakshi Sinha getting arrested went viral on the social media on Tuesday. Many of her fans were shocked and saddened to see the Dabangg actress in handcuffs. Many reports emerged in various media houses, but nobody mentioned the reason for her arrest, which led to confusion. Some speculated that it must be in connection with a complaint filed by and event organiser.But later, Sonakshi Sinha cleared the air through her Instagram story and revealed that she has become the face of MyGlamm’s new collection of makeup Pose and those leaked videos were that part of its promotion. The actress also wrote, “Hey guys, I know there are some concerning videos doing the rounds. It is me, but then that’s not the entire truth. I will share everything in detail with you all soon…”Today, we know for sure that she got arrested for ‘looking too good’ as another video is doing the rounds where she is sitting in handcuffs in an investigation cell and she’s trying to clarify that she has not done anything wrong. This was all a part of the promotional campaign by MyGlamm, and this was their way to announce Sonakshi’s association with the brand, as she has become the new face for POSE.Sonakshi Sinha posted, “YEAH… I got arrested!!! WHY, you ask? – BECAUSE ITS A CRIME TO LOOK THIS GOOD!!!! SO excited to announce that I’m the face for POSE by @myglamm , their new collection of camera-ready HD makeup. It makes you look so good, you can POSE whenever, wherever! #MyGlamm #POSE #POSEMakeup #POSEHDMakeup #HDMakeup #Makeup #CameraReady #InstaMakeup #CrueltyFreeMakeup #VeganBeauty #AsliSonaArrested #WhereIsSonakshiSinha.”On the work front, Sonakshi Sinha released Khandaani Shafakhana on August 2, but the movie failed badly at the box office. Her next release will be Mission Mangal, which is slated to hit screens on August 15. Besides she has another two films like Dabangg 3 and Bhuj: The Pride of India, which is slated for next year.last_img read more

Over 600000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh UN

first_imgRohingya refugee. Photo: Syful-IslamMore than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since violence erupted in northern Rakhine in August, a UN report said Sunday.The grim new landmark comes as authorities in Bangladesh were bracing for another possible surge in Rohingya arrivals, with thousands from the Muslim minority believed to be stranded along the border waiting to cross.Rohingya refugees have headed for Bangladesh in huge numbers after militant attacks on Myanmar security forces in Rakhine state sparked a major army crackdown on the community likened to ethnic cleansing by the UN.Now the UN-led Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), which is directing the humanitarian effort, has said an estimated 603,000 refugees from Rakhine have crossed the border into Bangladesh since August 25.”Cross border movement of over 14,000 newly arrived refugees has been verified in the past week,” the ISCG report said.Bangladesh border guards are also concerned the relaxation later Sunday of a temporary ban on fishing in the Bay of Bengal could see a surge in people-smuggling along the coast as unscrupulous captains return to the seas.Rohingya refugees already in Bangladesh have received videos from families across the border showing thousands of displaced Muslims massing near crossing points, waiting for an opportunity to cross.”We have seen some videos sent by people across the border. There are many gathered there. The number could be big,” Border Guard Bangladesh commander Lieutenant Colonel S.M. Ariful Islam told AFP, without giving an estimate.Around 10,000 refugees were left stranded in no man’s land near Anjumanpara village for three days last week after being prevented from crossing into Bangladesh. They were finally permitted by authorities to enter Thursday.The influx has slowed since then, with charities and officials reporting about 200 people crossing the Naf river dividing the two countries.”(But) those that came told us thousands were still stranded on the other side of Naf,” Jashim Uddin, a volunteer for the International Organisation for Migration, told AFP.Another border guard told AFP an estimated 10-15,000 refugees were heading to Anjumanpara but had been pushed back.”We heard from their relatives that the Myanmar army has stopped them from heading to the border,” said a Border Guard spokesman, Iqbal Ahmed.Refugees arriving Sunday described violence in their villages in Rakhine and food shortages that had forced countless people to flee.”We hardly had any food for the last 10-15 days. They torched our home. We did not have any choice but to leave,” Yasmin, who goes by one name, told AFP at the coastal village of Shah Porir Dwip.Authorities meanwhile are on high alert for fishermen seeking to ferry refugees to Bangladesh via the open sea as the temporary fishing ban expires later Sunday.”It is risky, but you can make a lot of money ferrying Rohingya to Bangladesh,” said local fisherman Shawkat Hossain.last_img read more

People pay homage to Holey Artisan victims

first_imgPeople offer flowers to pay their respect to the victims of Holey Artisan Bakery on Sunday in capital`s Gulshan-2. Photo: Abdus SalamPeople from all walks of life on Sunday paid their respect to those who lost their lives in the Holey Artisan Cafe terror attack on 1 July, 2016, says UNB. Representatives from various political parties, foreign and diplomatic missions, police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) paid their respect to the attack victims in the morning.Japan ambassador in Dhaka Hiroyasu Izumi, Italian ambassador in Dhaka Mario Palma, representative from Australia embassy, Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia, RAB director general Benazir Ahmed paid their homage to the victims of the terror attack.Besides, a delegation of Awami League led by its general secretary Obaidul Quader paid their homage to the victims around 10:25am.Employees of foriegn embassies also pay respect to the victims of Holey Artisan Bakery on Sunday in capital`s Gulshan-2. Photo: Abdus SalamMeanwhile, a delegation of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by its vice-chairman Ruhul Alam Chowdhury paid their respects to the victims around 1:30pm.Twenty-two people-nine Italians, seven Japanese, one Indian, one Bangladesh-born American and two Bangladeshis-were killed in the terror attack on the upscale restaurant on 1 July, 2016.A case was filed with Gulshan police station in connection with the terror attack. Later, the case was shifted to the Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.last_img

One Of Houstons Traffic Hotspots Is Getting A Big Makeover

first_img– / 14Construction will begin in February on a $259 million project to redesign the congested interchange where I-69/US 59 meets the 610 West Loop. Texas Department of Transportation currently ranks it as one of the state’s biggest traffic choke points.Dignitaries were on hand Monday for a groundbreaking ceremony on the Southwest Freeway HOV lane. Mayor Sylvester Turner was there along with Congressman John Culberson and members of the Texas Transportation Commission.As for what the project entails, one-lane connector ramps will be upgraded to two lanes. TxDOT District Engineer Quincy Allen said the big thing they hope to eliminate is sudden lane changes.“Somebody has to stop and weave, or needs to weave, usually their first reaction is to take their foot off the accelerator and slow down,” said Allen. “When we rebuild these ramps we’re going to improve the operational efficiency of them. How much time you have to make a decision when you change lanes.”Other improvements include shoulders for the 610 West Loop bridge. Also detention ponds will be added to help keep water off the mainlanes. TxDOT said vertical clearances will also be increased.The work is scheduled to take between five and six years but TxDOT hopes to finish sooner. Allen said lanes of traffic will be kept open through the construction zone while that work is underway. He added crews will work on a seven-day-a-week schedule, and if they have to close the mainlanes at any point they’ll do it at night or during the weekend.  Listen X .@TxDOT District Engineer Quincy Allen: US 59/610 most clogged interchange in Texas @HPMNews887 #hounews pic.twitter.com/7rodYz1hX3— Gail Delaughter (@Gail_HPM) November 20, 2017 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share 00:00 /00:59 Mayor @SylvesterTurner speaks at groundbreaking for US 59/610 interchange, says project includes stormwater detention, crucial for hurricane evac @HPMNews887 pic.twitter.com/F7bnCr5gNy— Gail Delaughter (@Gail_HPM) November 20, 2017 Pack your patience! US 59/610 @TxDOT project estimated to take six years @HPMNews887 pic.twitter.com/b2dbS0l6KB— Gail Delaughter (@Gail_HPM) November 20, 2017 Getting ready for the @TxDOTHoustonPIO groundbreaking for new US 59/610 interchange @HPMNews887 #hounews pic.twitter.com/XGL7DvmBcT— Gail Delaughter (@Gail_HPM) November 20, 2017last_img read more

What You Need To Know About The New Documents On The 2016

first_imgTimothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty ImagesNew records released by the Senate Judiciary Committee offer the most detail yet about a June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower between top Trump campaign aides and a delegation of Russians after an offer of help in the contest against Hillary Clinton.The Senate Judiciary Committee unleashed a new tranche of records on Wednesday that offered the most detail yet about one of the most important subplots in the Russia imbroglio.The more than 2,500 pages in the trove add the most context yet about the meeting that took place on June 9, 2016, in Trump Tower between top Trump campaign aides and a delegation of Russians after an offer of help in the contest against Hillary Clinton.The document dump also helps put the meeting into the broader context about what is known about the Russian attack on the 2016 election and the ongoing investigation about whether any Americans were involved with it — and what still isn’t known.Here’s a look at three big reasons the Judiciary Committee release was important.1. The Russians apparently tried hard to collude with the Americans. But there’s no airtight case that the Americans reciprocated.By the time Donald Trump Jr. received emails that described an offer of help from Moscow in June, Russians had been drilling pilot wells into the Trump campaign for months.The Russian government had a long-standing relationship with Trump’s top national security aide, retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn. Russian agents had made overtures to foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos in London in March 2016, according to court documents. Another Russian reached out via the National Rifle Association in May, according to one congressional report.In fact, the overture that Trump Jr. received in June 2016 wasn’t even the only such outreach of that month. Another request for a meeting came into the campaign via another avenue about the same time that Trump Jr. received his now well-known email on June 3. The message described, via intermediaries, an offer of help for the Trump campaign from Russia’s top federal prosecutor, Yuri Chaika.After all the earlier Russian attempts to get through, here was finally one known to have worked: “If it’s what you say, I love it, especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. wrote to the intermediary who pitched him the meeting. He told Senate investigators that what he “loved” was the prospect of getting damaging information about Clinton.Trump Jr. invited his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to host attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, real estate dealer Irakly Kaveladze and others.But Veselnitskaya didn’t bring high-powered “dirt” on Clinton that Trump Jr. had been promised, according to the accounts of people in the Judiciary Committee material. Instead, the tip she offered was about investors Dirk and Robert Ziff, who she alleged might have funneled money improperly out of Russia via Cyprus to the Democratic National Committee.That nugget didn’t impress Trump Jr. and the other Americans, according to their accounts, and evidently they did not express any desire to do the additional investigating that Veselnitskaya said would be necessary to substantiate and use it as a political weapon against Democrats.So although Trump Jr. did get something from his Russian guests, it was not the dirt on Clinton he was first promised, and not dirt sufficient for him to have made any kind of reciprocal commitment to Veselnitskaya or the others — at least according to his own testimony.Trump Jr. and Kushner say that ultimately, the meeting was of no consequence. Trump Jr. later released, on his own, the emails that set the process into motion that culminated in the meeting.For at least one other person inside this orbit, however, that move raised eyebrows. The Judiciary Committee released an email to Kaveladze from a redacted sender that referenced Trump Jr’s 2017 decision to unveil those messages: “Why did he release this email admitting to collusion?”2. It still isn’t clear what happened after the Trump Tower meeting.So one of the Russian pilot wells finally struck oil. The Russian government gets a meeting and conducts one, albeit — according to the Senate Judiciary Committee material — not along the lines of the initial premise as represented to Trump Jr.Why, though? And what happened next?It has become clear the Russian government was working to disrupt the election and that it was doing so to Trump’s benefit. But what role did the Kremlin envision Trump and his campaign playing in that scheme? Was the goal to enlist them in a cooperative effort and — assuming the accounts are accurate — did Veselnitskaya just botch the job?Or was the Russian goal of sowing chaos and mistrust within the United States more important to Moscow at that time than the goal of electing Trump? That’s what former CIA officer Daniel Hoffman has suggested: that this was about poisoning the well for everyone and planting a trap that was meant to be discovered.The meeting, in this view, was meant only to ensnare and embarrass the Trump camp in the way it has, according to Hoffman’s thesis, and thus befuddle Americans as to what went on behind the scenes in the presidential election.Why, then, would the Russians then arrange for WikiLeaks to begin releasing stolen emails that embarrassed the leadership of the Democratic National Committee the following month?Why wage such aggressive social media agitation against Clinton and in support of Trump? And why release emails later on to embarrass Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, hours after the appearance of the infamous Access Hollywood recording?There isn’t enough public evidence now to make the full story make sense. If people in Trump world used the June meeting in Trump Tower as the baseline to establish clandestine ties with the Russians, that would be significant — but there is so far no public evidence they did.Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP/Getty ImagesDonald Trump Jr. arrives at Trump Tower in New York for meetings with then-President-elect Donald Trump on Nov. 17, 2016.President Trump, Trump Jr. and everyone else in the campaign denies there was any such conspiracy with the active measures the Russian government continued waging against the election. The House intelligence committee’s Republican majority has cleared Trump’s campaign of any wrongdoing.There were, however, continued contacts between people in Trump world and Russian officials. Manafort’s long-standing relationships with powerful Ukrainians, and through them powerful Russians, eventually were his undoing as campaign chairman.Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions met with Russia’s then-ambassador to the United States. A junior foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, traveled to Moscow twice as the year wore on. And Kushner and Flynn met or communicated with Russian officials after Election Day as well.The Senate Judiciary Committee material released on Wednesday increases the amount of noise about the story but does not help with distinguishing a new signal in the midst of it.3. How much did Donald Trump Sr. know about all this?President Trump has said different things at different times about what he accepts about Russia’s attack on the 2016 election — his latest position is that it took place but he will defend future elections strongly. Trump has been largely consistent, though, that he did not know in real time in June 2016 that his oldest son, son-in-law and campaign chairman hosted a foreign delegation bearing an offer of help from overseas.Trump Jr. stuck to that in the interview he gave to the Senate Judiciary Committee.Records show that Trump Jr. made a series of phone calls at the time he was setting up the meeting in Trump Tower. Two of them were to a blocked number. Trump Jr. was asked whether those calls were to his father. He said he couldn’t remember. Other witnesses have told the congressional committees that Trump uses a blocked number.If law enforcement investigators could substantiate that Trump Jr.’s calls did go to Trump Sr. during this period, that might undercut the president’s denials that he was aware of the Russian outreach.When asked about the process by which he and the White House crafted the initial statement about the meeting — a statement that did not accurately represent what the principals knew about it — Trump Jr. also told the committee he didn’t deal with his father. Instead, he said, he talked with then-White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, and he wasn’t aware of what she might have discussed with the president.In fact, Trump Jr. said, Hicks asked him whether he wanted to speak to the president and, in Trump Jr.’s telling, he said no: “I chose not to because I didn’t want to bring him into something that he had nothing to do with.”Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. 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Robert E Lee Statue Vandalized on Richmonds Monument Ave

first_imgRICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on Richmond’s famed Monument Avenue has been vandalized.Red paint was splattered on the statue’s base. The letters BLM, an apparent reference to the Black Lives Matter movement, was also sprayed on the base.Investigators look at the vandalism on the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018 in Richmond, Va. The letters BLM, an apparent reference to the Black Lives Matter movement, was also sprayed on the base. (Dean Hoffmeyer /Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)Virginia Capitol Police, which is responsible for policing the monuments, told news outlets the vandalism occurred late Friday or early Saturday between patrols.The vandalism occurs a week ahead of the one-year anniversary of the deadly White nationalist rally in Charlottesville that was organized in part as a protest to plans to remove a Lee Statue there.A Richmond commission that reviewed the city’s row of Confederate statues on Monument Avenue recommended earlier this year removing a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis but keeping others in place.last_img read more

EBay to power new data center with fuel cells

first_imgBloom’s Energy Server (Phys.org) — Proving that it’s serious about becoming greener, EBay has announced that a new data center being built in Utah will run entirely on fuel cells, a move that other giants in the technology sector have been hesitant to take. Currently, those companies using fuel cells to power their data centers use them as a supplemental source of power, clearly worried about relying on a still new and in some ways unproven technology. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further The new data center is to be built in South Jordan, Utah as an addition to an already existing data center. The existing center will continue to draw power from the grid, while the new one will be powered exclusively by fuel cells, but will be hooked to the grid as a backup measure. EBay also has another data center in South Jordan that processes PayPal transactions, though there are no plans currently in place to make any modifications to its power source structure. As fuel cell technology has matured, it’s undergone a name change; it used to be called hydrogen fuel cell technology, but because other sources of fuel can now be uses as well, the name has become more generic. Still, the fuel cells for the South Jordan center will be of the hydrogen variety, though EBay has said that it will pay a premium for the creation of an equal amount of biogas in other places to offset the hydrogen used to power its plant. In addition to helping to save the environment, the center is expected to save on electricity costs as the price of hydrogen has dropped dramatically over the past several years.With fuel cells, the gas is not burned to produce heat to boil water to turn turbines to create electricity, as occurs with other processes. Instead, a chemical reaction occurs at high temperatures and the electricity produced is used to continuously recharge large batteries, which in turn are used to power the plant; this means carbon dioxide and water and very little else is released into the environment, making the process much cleaner than with fossil fuel burning plants. And because the electricity is made onsite, none is lost in transit and the need for bulky and expensive backup generators is eliminated.To generate the huge amount of power required by the data center, Bloom Energy, maker of the cells will string together enough of them to generate the six million watts the company believes it will need. Each fuel cell is capable of producing about 1.75 million kilowatt hours a year. Construction of the new plant is expected to commence almost immediately with completion likely by the middle of next year.center_img © 2012 Phys.Org Citation: EBay to power new data center with fuel cells (2012, June 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-06-ebay-power-center-fuel-cells.html Apple plans nation’s biggest private fuel cell energy project in NClast_img read more

5 Ways to Grow in Any Economy

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. How Success Happens Even in tough economic times, small businesses need to find new ideas, develop original products, and engineer fresh market approaches. These are the pillars of good business, and each is made from a mixture of creativity and expertise. While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s entirely possible to implement strategies that drive not only employee engagement, but also innovation and, ultimately, sales–all without enormous investment in systems or people.What can your company do to remain fresh, vibrant and alive–all without breaking the bank? Here are five ways:1. De-emphasize office spaceThe traditional office space, where cubicles, the hum of overhead lights, and group politics preside, is not usually the most conducive environment for harnessing the most creative ideas. Giving employees the opportunity to perform some or all of their work outside the office can break this routine and cultivate an innovative workforce.Often simply changing the physical working location to the café or tea house on the corner can produce a stream of new and valuable ideas. And many of these “third places” provide complimentary wireless internet access, have space for convening, and sell enough coffee to keep everyone alert. Writers and musicians know about the creative effects of a cafe’s stimulating and relaxing atmosphere–why not CEOs?2. Virtualize your workforceIn addition to being ineffective at times, the office space may be an unnecessary expense. The cost of maintaining an office space is usually the single largest line item when it comes to business overhead. Many small businesses have eliminated the expense by ceasing to rent office space and setting up virtually. Transforming your business into a virtual operation creates the new opportunity to hire and retain talented people from outside of your geographic area and frees up funds to be invested elsewhere.Keep in mind, though, that while there are many benefits to virtualizing a company, the reduction in face time also necessitates a change in management style. Much greater focus is needed on project expectations and deadlines, as well as clear and consistent communication.3. Leverage collaboration applicationsAt the beginning and end of the day, your business is about people–the clients you serve and the staff that you employ. Connecting these people in the right way is essential to creating and running a great company, and collaboration applications are excellent tools with which to accomplish this goal.Collaboration applications create new avenues of communication that effectively improve team cohesion and break down the invisible barriers within a company. Intelligent implementation can turn a stagnant, sluggish company into one composed of engaged employees, who contribute more of their “discretionary time” toward the success of the company.One excellent collaboration application is GoogleDocs, which creates an online conference table where ideas can be put forward, discussed and implemented. Every document created within the application is saved, so it can be opened and edited wherever there is an internet connection. Novice computer users will find GoogleDocs easy to learn and intuitive to operate. Likewise, instant messaging programs such as Skype or MSN Messenger enable fast communication through chat groups formed around departments or projects.CPS Creative, a website design company, is a great model for its implementation of collaboration software. The company, which is almost entirely virtual, requires all employees to use the same instant messaging program and be online at designated times. All of the employees assigned to a specific project join the same chat group. Also, at the beginning and end of each work day, all employees check in with their colleagues in order to let them know they have arrived and left.4. Invest in the skills of current employeesOn a regular basis, companies face a host of small but necessary tasks that must be accomplished, like creating a Flash graphic for the website, writing a marketing brochure, or drafting a press release. Yet smaller companies cannot afford a dedicated IT department, marketing staff or public affairs coordinator, despite the fact that many of these tasks, like maintaining a functioning and well-designed website, are essential to attracting new business and transitioning from a struggling start-up to a vibrant and growing company.Hiring new employees with the necessary skills is not the only solution; invest in the skill development of your current workforce. Your staff most likely either has the requisite capabilities to accomplish these projects or can quickly acquire them. The additional skills will undoubtedly be very marketable, which satisfies your employees while providing for the needs of the company.One resource to help accomplish this is the website Lynda.com, which provides online training in professional-grade applications like Adobe Dreamweaver and Illustrator–the required tools to build quality websites and produce stunning marketing materials.5. Build cross-functional teamsFinally, one of the greatest methods for producing innovation in a company is to solicit contributions from the entire workforce. Taking your employees, who are the most knowledgeable experts on the company, and gathering them around a conference table will help your company develop innovative solutions with little investment.CPS Creative once encouraged a non-technical member of their staff to try his hand at Flash design, something that he had never done before. After seeing his immediate aptitude for it, the company merged the product developed by the original Flash expert with the staff member’s design, creating a better product in the end.Regardless of the condition of the economy, companies should always looking toward expansion. Growing while revenue is stagnant is a difficult, but not impossible, task. Consider these five ideas: shifting the workplace away from the office, virtualizing the workforce, using collaboration applications, investing in new skills acquisition, and tapping into the talents of existing employees. All of these strategies are inexpensive and cultivate the essential ingredients of successful small (and someday large) businesses everywhere–workforce engagement, innovation and, ultimately, sales.Jennifer Brown is a well-regarded speaker and consultant on the future of the workplace, workforce diversity, and the development of new leadership competencies for a new global environment. Brown and her team have coached hundreds of executives and managers worldwide on critical issues of flexible team strategies, harnessing the energy of the workforce, and creative ways to empower current and future leaders. Listen Now 6 min read Hear from Polar Explorers, ultra marathoners, authors, artists and a range of other unique personalities to better understand the traits that make excellence possible. December 23, 2009last_img read more

Electronic Arts EA announces Project Atlas a futuristic cloudbased AI powered game

first_imgElectronic Arts (EA) announced Project Atlas, a new AI-powered, cloud computing based game development platform, earlier this week. Project Atlas comes with high-quality LIDAR Data, improved scalability, cloud-based engine, and enhanced security among others. Information regarding when the general availability of Project Atlas hasn’t been disclosed yet. “We’re calling this Project Atlas and we believe in it so much that we have over 1,000 EA employees working on building it every day, and dozens of studios around the world contributing their innovations, driving priorities, and already using many of the components” mentioned Ken Moss, Chief Technology Officer at Electronic Arts. Let’s discuss the features of Project Atlas. High-quality LIDAR Data Project Atlas will be using high-quality LIDAR data about real mountain ranges. This data will then be further passed through a deep neural network which has been trained to create terrain-building algorithms. With the help of this AI-assisted terrain generation, designers will be able to generate not just a single mountain, but a series of mountains along with the surrounding environment to bring the realism of the real world. “This is just one example of dozens or even hundreds where we can apply advanced technology to help game teams of all sizes scale to build bigger and more fun games,” says Moss. Improved Scalability Earlier, all simulation or rendering of in-game actions used to be limited to either the processing performance of the player’s console or to a single server that would interact with your system. But, now, with the help of the cloud, players will have the ability to tap into a network of many servers, that are dedicated to computing complex tasks. This will deliver hyper-realistic destruction within new HD games, that would be highly indistinguishable from real life. ”We’re working to deploy that level of gaming immersion on every device”, says Moss. Moreover, the integration of distributed networks at the rendering level means infinite scalability from the cloud. So, whether you’re on a team of 500 or just 5, you’ll now be able to scale games and create immersive experiences, in unprecedented ways. Cloud-based engine and Moddable asset database Now with Project Atlas, you can turn your own vision into reality, and share the creation with your friends as well as the whole world. You can also market your ideas and visions to the community. Keeping this in mind, Project Atlas team is planning on having a cloud-enabled engine that’ll be able to seamlessly integrates different services. Along with a moddable asset database, there’ll also be a common marketplace so that users can for share and rate other players’ creations. “Players and developers want to create. We want to help them. By blurring the line between content producers and players, this will truly democratize the game experience” adds Moss. Enhanced Security Project Atlas comes with a unified platform, where game makers have the ability to seamlessly deploy security measures such as SSL certificates, configuration, appropriate encryption of data, and zero-downtime patches for every feature from a single secure source. This will allow them to focus more on creating games and less on taking the required security measures. “We’re solving for some of the manually intensive demands by bringing together AI capabilities in an engine and cloud-enabled services at scale. With an integrated platform that delivers consistency and seamless delivery from the game, game makers will free up time, brainspace, and energy for the creative pursuit”, says Moss. For more information, check out the official Project Atlas blog. Read Next Xenko 3.0 game engine is here, now free and open-source Meet yuzu – an experimental emulator for the Nintendo Switch AI for Unity game developers: How to emulate real-world senses in your NPC agent behaviorlast_img read more

Tropical Storm Pilar skirts Mexicos western shore

first_img MEXICO CITY — Tropical Storm Pilar is moving northward in the Pacific just off Mexico’s western shore, raking coastal areas with rain and high winds after passing close to the resort city of Puerto Vallarta.Pilar had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) Monday morning and its centre was about 70 miles (115 kilometres) south of Mazatlan. It was moving north-northwest at about 9 mph (15 kph).The storm was projected to stay close to land over the next few days while dropping rain on Nayarit and Sinaloa states while beginning to weaken. Tropical storm force winds extended out as far as 60 miles (95 kilometres).The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Pilar could to drop 3 to 7 inches (7.5 to 17.5 centimetres) of rain on coastal areas.In the Atlantic, two hurricanes were far off the U.S. East Coast and didn’t pose any major threat to land, though Hurricane Maria was expected to whip up heavy surf and swells for the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckMaria, which battered Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane last week, was down to a Category 1 storm early Monday and its maximum sustained winds had weakened to 80 mph (130 kph). It was moving north near 7 mph (11 kph).Its centre was about 350 miles (560 kilometres) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.Farther out at sea, Hurricane Lee had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (150 kph). It was about 910 miles (1,460 kilometres) east of Bermuda and was stationary. It was projected to move in a rough circle over the coming days. Share Monday, September 25, 2017 Source: The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Mexico, Travel Alert Tropical Storm Pilar skirts Mexico’s western shorelast_img read more

Organisational regulatory and business challenges

first_imgOrganisational, regulatory and business challenges are a greater impediment to the development of multiscreen OTT services than technology hurdles, IBC attendees at a seminar on Multi-Network Solutions in the Real World heard yesterday.The event was organised by content security specialist Verimatrix and featured its technology partners Divitel and RGB Networks as well as a representative of Philippines-based broadcaster ABS-CBN International. Verimatrix has used IBC to unveil a commercial-grade MPEG-DASH solution while the company and Divitel also announced that they had paired up to extend the reach of Dutch cable operator Ziggo’s TV app for Apple and Android devices.Sherry Ann Supelana, head of global engineering and technical services at Philippines broadcaster ABS-CBN International said that the main problem with developing a unified infrastructure for OTT delivery was the broadcaster’s legacy organisational structure, which was oriented towards analogue delivery of services. It was not practical to tear up existing workflows and reorganise departments to create a unified organisational structure to deliver new services, she said.Divitel CEO Dirk Jaeger told attendees that OTT would not change the paradigm of service provision. Consumers will still require Quality of Service and service providers need to accommodate local network characteristics and local rights and regulatory requirements, he said.Jaeger said that service providers had become multi-service operators, and more recently had tried to integrate their offerings into single full-service systems. He pointed to the example of UPC’s Horizon TV product, launched on Friday. Jaeger said that provision of services on a global basis still required localisation because of content rights issues and because of the varying legal and regulatory framework at national or sub-national level.Yuval Fisher, chief technology officer of RGB Networks, said that there were multiple challenges to delivering OTT services. Securing content rights was increasingly difficult as content rights holders were realising that OTT content has a value, he said.Fisher said that operators needed to choose a transcoding solution that could address multipe networks and devices from a single architecture. It was also necessary to choose a single DRM or CA system for video services to hybrid and OTT networks, he said. However, said Fisher, this was more difficult than was generally realised.Tom Munro, CEO of Verimatrix, told attendees that piracy presented an ongoing threat and that the development of high bandwidth networks and OTT video presented new challenges. While in the past terminal devices were replicated and the solution for service providers was to install smartcards and replace them when they were cracked, now piracy was increasingly based on the passing of control words over the internet. Broadband pipes were now big enough for content to be easily redistributed once it was decrypted, said Munro. Devices are only as secure as the silicon within them, he said. The more that can be done to secure the silicon core, the less operators needed to be reliant on secondary mechanisms including smartcards, he said.People increasingly expect to view content outside the home and operators were looking to cater to this while retaining content in a secure environment, said Munro. He cited a Farncombe study that showed control word sharing was likely to decline relatively as a source of content theft while internet redistribution of broadcast and downloaded content was likely to increase as a proportion.last_img read more

A UN committee has told the UK government to make

first_imgA UN committee has told the UK government to make more than 80 improvements to the ways its laws and policies affect disabled people’s human rights.In its “concluding observations” on the progress the UK has made in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the committee raised concerns and made recommendations on all but three of the 33 treaty articles it could have breached.It was, said the committee, the highest number of recommendations it has ever produced for a country undergoing the review process.The section highlighting the committee’s “principal areas of concern and recommendations” was more than 6,500 words long, compared with a “positive aspects” section of less than 120 words which mostly related to actions carried out by the Welsh and Scottish governments.Among its recommendations, the committee – made up of 18 disabled human rights experts from across Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, Australasia and the Middle East – called on the UK government to incorporate the convention into UK law, and to carry out a “comprehensive crosscutting review” of its laws and policies, to address what it described as the “uneven” implementation of the convention and “discriminatory” laws, regulations, and practices.The committee also said the UK government should recognise disabled people’s right to live independently, and called for a “comprehensive plan” – addressing education, childcare, transport, housing, employment and social security – that should be aimed at removing disabled people from institutions and instead developing homes for them in community-based independent living schemes.Stig Langvad (pictured), the CRPD member who led the UK examination, highlighted independent living as one of the areas the committee was most concerned about.He said: “Persons with disabilities are in our view not able to choose where to live, with whom to live and how to live… [they] are still facing the risk of institutionalisation and not being able to live within the community.”He said the UK was “going backwards” on independent living, with reduced funding meaning “the right to choose where to live, with whom to live and how to live through independent living schemes where you have personal budgets are limited or even more limited than previously”.He said this meant that disabled people were “still being faced with living in either families or institutions” against their will.The committee also called for government action – in close consultation with disabled people’s organisations – to prevent any “negative consequences” caused by Brexit, and for it to implement the remaining sections of the Equality Act 2010.There were several recommendations around the rights of disabled children, including a call for action to address the higher level of poverty experienced by their families, and for stronger measures to prevent bullying, hate speech and hate crime experienced by disabled children.The committee was highly critical of the UK government’s approach to inclusive education, and the “persistence of a dual education system” that segregates increasing numbers of disabled children in special schools.It called instead for a “coherent strategy” on “increasing and improving inclusive education”, which would include raising awareness of – and support for – inclusive education among parents of disabled children.Langvad said the committee was “very concerned” that the UK government was maintaining a reservation [an opt-out] on part of the convention’s article 24, on inclusive education, which “means that the UK is not fully living up to its international commitment to allow all the right to inclusive education”.On the criminal justice system, the committee called for action to address the “low awareness” about disability rights among judges, prosecutors, police officers and prison staff, to provide free or affordable legal aid for disabled people “in all areas of law”, and to remove employment tribunal fees.It also raised concerns about the way that disability hate crime is dealt with by the criminal justice system, and called for a comprehensive legal definition of disability hate crime and “appropriate prosecutions and convictions”.Several recommendations related to the rights of people detained under the Mental Health Act, with the committee raising concerns about the “continued use of physical, mechanical and chemical restraint”, including the use of Tasers in prisons, the youth justice system, and healthcare and education settings.The committee also said it was “deeply concerned” that such practices disproportionately affect black and minority ethnic disabled people.And it called for a “targeted measurable and financed plan of action” aimed at eliminating the “uneven access to health” for disabled people across the UK, and for the government to address reports of healthcare professionals failing to attempt resuscitation of people with learning difficulties and mental health conditions.In the wake of the report, Debbie Abrahams, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, wrote to David Gauke, the work and pensions secretary, to ask the government to respond to the report in the House of Commons.She said it was “of vital importance” that MPs had a chance to debate the report.She added: “I hope that a debate would allow the government to set out how they plan to address these failures, which affect millions of disabled people across the country, many of whom are now living in poverty, and to uphold disabled people’s rights in the future.”a DWP spokeswoman said, before Abrahams’ intervention: “These concluding observations are the latest part of a standard review process that all member states that ratify the convention go through.“We are considering the full report in the context of cross-government work on disability issues, and will provide further information to ministers in DWP in due course.”She added: “We’re disappointed that this report fails to recognise all the progress we’ve made to empower disabled people in all aspects of their lives, and our ongoing commitment to furthering the rights of disabled people.“Almost 600,000 disabled people have moved into work over the last four years and we spend over £50 billion a year to support disabled people and those with health conditions – more than ever before, and the second highest in the G7*.“The UK is a recognised world leader in disability rights and equality, which is why we supported the development of the UN convention.“The UK has some of the strongest equalities legislation in the world, including the Equality Act 2010, and we will continue to make sure that these rights are protected.“This government believes that a disability or health condition should not dictate the path a person is able to take in life – or in the workplace.“This forms the foundation of our reforms to help disabled people realise their potential in the labour market and wider society.”*The other G7 countries are the USA, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Canadalast_img read more

Elon Musk Found Out That 90 Million Isnt Too Much to Pay

first_img Apply Now » 3 min read Nina Zipkin While the payload of SpaceX’s inaugural test flight of the Falcon Heavy Rocket — Elon Musk’s red Tesla roadster carrying a dummy outfitted in a spacesuit — was initially headed for Mars’s orbit, the rocket’s third burn was so effective that the vehicle kept going to the asteroid belt in between the red planet and Jupiter.Third burn successful. Exceeded Mars orbit and kept going to the Asteroid Belt. pic.twitter.com/bKhRN73WHF— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 7, 2018It seems that even though the trajectory is not what was planned, the vehicle, which was outfitted with a special message for anyone who might come across it — “Made on Earth by humans” — the payload could end up paying off back on its home planet.Sandy Rubinstein, the CEO of DXagency, tells Entrepreneur that the idea to have a Tesla vehicle be the payload was a brilliant one. “The amount of web traffic [and] consumer excitement from the images of the vehicle ascending and the amount of earned media he garnered from news outlets all over the world will absolutely exceed the costs of the endeavor,” Rubinstein says. “The stock is up today and the forecast is tremendously positive. This stunt will continue to pay dividends to Tesla for years to come.”Deb Gabor, the CEO of SOL Marketing, says that while it is tough to calculate, the financial value of the stunt would likely be less than the $90 million Musk spent. But the move was incredibly valuable nonetheless from a brand awareness perspective.Related: Elon Musk and SpaceX Just Made History With Successful Falcon Heavy Launch”With this event, Musk harnessed an opportunity to express his two flagship brands’ beliefs and values through the clever narrative of ‘the car that went to space,’ capturing his audience’s imagination and indelibly imprinting on their hearts,” Gabor says. “Brand strategies like this highlight the magic of Tesla’s ‘no-marketing’ marketing strategy that’s propelled them to brand leadership without investing significant dollars in advertising.”While the reach for the stars was an inventive one from the perspective of trying to engender some goodwill, the company is still struggling. The question remains of how safe Tesla car factories are for employees and how effectively and fairly the company handles the aftermath of on-the-job injuries.And while Tesla’s stock was up by 3 percent on Wednesday morning ahead of the release of its 2017 fourth quarter earnings, the company is still dogged by not meeting its production goals for the Model 3, making only half the number of cars that it was expected to manufacture in December. The SpaceX launch of the Tesla payload was a success, but the car company still has struggles to work through. 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List –shares Entrepreneur Staff Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. February 7, 2018 Elon Musk The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Next Article Elon Musk Found Out That $90 Million Isn’t Too Much to Pay for Priceless Publicity Add to Queuelast_img read more

PayPal to Drop Purchase Protection for Crowdfunding Projects

first_img This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine Add to Queue Image credit: Jeff Chiu — AP PayPal Next Article 2 min read PayPal to Drop Purchase Protection for Crowdfunding Projects May 9, 2016 –shares David Z. Morris Effective June 25, PayPal will drop Purchase Protection coverage for backers of crowdfunded projects, the Verge reports. The move comes as awareness of the risks of crowdfunding grows, but while less protection may sound like a bad thing for platforms like Kickstarter, the change may actually help prevent a repeat of some recent frustrating episodes.Last year, Kickstarter funded a University of Pennsylvania study that found 9 percent of projects on the platform failed to deliver rewards. They also commissioned reporter Mark Harris to do a deep dive into one of the most high-profile failed projects, the Zano drone. More recently, the Coolest Cooler project ran out of cash before delivering its product to all backers.But while failed projects frustrate everyone, the Zano case shows how PayPal’s Purchase Protection actually added to the heartache. As Harris reported, Torquing Group, the creator of the Zano, did ship a few hundred of the drones before entering liquidation in failure. But they went to backers who pledged directly through Torquing’s website using PayPal, not to Kickstarter backers.The reason was PayPal’s policy of holding pre-order payments until a product is delivered, to back up its Purchase Protection service. That means that projects offering add-ons or preorders outside of Kickstarter found themselves financially pressured to send products to those customers first.That understandably enraged many who pledged through Kickstarter — which, importantly, does not allow PayPal payments, and expects backers to shoulder all the risk for failed projects.PayPal’s new policy might help avoid similar foulups in the future, by releasing funds to projects more quickly, and making it easier for projects to serve early Kickstarter backers first. If that leads to higher overall satisfaction for Kickstarter funders, it would be a boon to the crowdfunding model at a moment when it’s starting to show cracks.last_img read more

Apple Cracking Down on Abandoned Apps

first_img 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Apple September 2, 2016 Apple is looking to do a little cleaning of the App Store, mainly to remove abandoned apps, apps that use giant descriptions as their titles and those that haven’t been tweaked to work with modern Apple hardware. The company sent an email to its large developer community today to go over its new pruning procedure, which officially kicks off on Sept. 7.”Quality is extremely important to us. We know that many of you work hard to build innovative apps and update your apps on the App Store with new content and features. However, there are also apps on the App Store that no longer function as intended or follow current review guidelines, and others which have not been supported with compatibility updates for a long time. We are implementing an ongoing process of evaluating apps for these issues, notifying their developers and removing problematic and abandoned apps from the App Store,” reads Apple’s message. According to Apple, any app in any category could be affected if it runs afoul of the company’s current guidelines. If you’re an app developer and your app has been flagged, Apple will ask you to make changes if you want the app to stay on the App Store. There’s one special exception, though. If your app crashes when Apple’s testers try to use it, it’s going to be pulled from the App Store immediately.If you have significant changes to make in order to keep your app in compliance with Apple’s guidelines (and running successfully on its latest devices), you might be in for some trouble, however. App developers will have 30 days from the notification to bring their apps into compliance or else the offending app will be pulled from the App Store until these changes are made. That doesn’t delete the app from your developer account, however, and users will still be able to access it if they’ve already downloaded it to their devices.”They will experience no interruption to services and will still be able to buy in-app purchases. However, we recommend that you update your app as soon as possible to reinstate it on the App Store and ensure that it remains functional and engaging for new and existing customers,” Apple said.As for the names aspect, Apple is now enforcing a 50-character limit for all app titles. And developers only have themselves to blame for that — at least, the ones trying to game Apple’s search results by using unwieldy names for their apps.”Search is one of the most frequently used methods for customers to discover and download apps from the App Store. In hopes of influencing search results, some developers have used extremely long app names which include descriptions and terms not directly related to their app. These long names are not fully displayed on the App Store and provide no user value. App names you submit in iTunes Connect for new apps and updates will now be limited to no longer than 50 characters,” reads Apple’s announcement. Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand –shares Next Article Image credit: Shutterstock David Murphy Add to Queue Apple Cracking Down on Abandoned Apps Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. If your app doesn’t follow Apple’s current guidelines, crashes when it loads or has a stupid-long name, expect to receive a notification from Apple soon. Enroll Now for $5last_img read more