Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Trade NEWS

circulo flecha oscura
Because of the delay to re authorize EXIMBANK, "GE will be exporting more from UK. 
OUR POLITICIANS ARE EXPORTING JOBS! Contact your congress person and give your opinion regarding this matter. 

The agreement announced last Thursday, September 24th, with the UK export credit agency will give GE access to export financing for up to $12 billion. The agreement will initially support confirmed and potential orders from Brazil, Ghana, India, Mozambique, and other international markets in the solar, power generation and oil and gas related export opportunities.

In exchange, GE will create up to 1,000 new energy sector jobs in the UK as it wins new international orders. This jobs should it be U.S.

The decision followed the shutdown of the US Export-Import Bank, which forced the US giant to seek financing in other countries. In addition to UKEF, GE is looking to move 500 more jobs to France and other European countries after reaching deals with French export credit agency and other unspecified government-sponsored export credit agencies.

The memorandum, signed at Downing Street, residence of the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, sets out a range of ways in which the signatories aim to cooperate. Under the MoU: 

• UKEF confirms appetite and capacity to consider providing financing support for more than GBP 7.7 billion (USD 11.7 billion) worth of projects under consideration, plus a new “top-up” support facility of up to GBP 500 million (USD 760 million), subject to individual project approval and due diligent; 
• UKEF confirms that GE has been approved to be a member of the UKEF Direct Lending Facility Partnership Panel, whose members arrange UK government loans to overseas buyers of UK exports. 
• GE pledges ongoing support for its UK supply chain; 
• GE undertakes to promote UKEF’s exporter support schemes to its UK supply base. 
UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, is confident that the agreement will make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance or grow a business, and that it will provide more jobs and security for the people.

GLOBAL TRADE AND FINANCING AND GLOBAL TRADE INSURANCE, is an approved agent of Export Credit Agencies from other countries besides Eximbank of USA. If you need Credit Insurance of Trade Finance, please contact me. Finance available for small and large transactions. Terms can be short, medium and long term. Export and Import solutions in the world..

Contact Information
5201 Blue Lagoon Drive , 8th Floor
Miami, Florida 33126 USA

Luis G. Castillo
Phone: +1-305-992-7283
 Skype: globaltradeandfinancing

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Samsung Pay launched in US: Accepted at more locations than Apple Pay and Android Pay


Samsung Pay not only supports the NFC payment method found in iOS and Android devices, but also supports MST. This means you can use it just about anywhere you swipe a card in the US.

The promise of mobile payments has been held back by carriers, retail outlets, and technology. Thanks to Samsung's adoption of MST and NFC, you can now pay with your phone almost anywhere you can swipe or tap your credit card.

I've been paying for products using Samsung Pay on my Galaxy Note 5 for a month thanks to early access to the beta program. Yesterday, an update appeared on my Note 5 as Samsung rolled out full support for Samsung Pay.

Samsung Pay is now available for anyone in the US with a Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy S6 Edge, or Galaxy S6. Your phone has to be running on Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, or US Cellular. Verizon still doesn't accept Samsung Pay.

While I can use my Bank of America credit card, USAA Federal Savings Bank's debit card is not yet supported. MasterCard and Visa are supported, along with Bank of America, Citi, and US Bank. Given that USAA was one of the first to offer mobile payment support, I imagine we will see this bank and many others added soon.

In addition to the convenience of paying for goods with your phone, Samsung also has a Samsung Pay promotion where you can choose to receive a free wallet flip cover or wireless charging pad (not the fast charge one) after you setup a qualifying card.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015


The key cloud trends for the next few years

The trends over the last several years have been around the adoption of cloud, the boom in building new cloud services, such as high-performance storage, supercomputers on demand, and new ways of storing and processing data. But for the next few years, we’ll move in new directions, and you’ll likely hear the details at Re:Invent.

[ From Amazon to Azure, InfoWorld puts IaaS clouds to the test to find out which is best for you. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing newsletter. ]
But why wait until then? Here's what I believe are the key trends for the next few years that AWS Re:Invent will provide more detail on.

The first new direction you can expect is the focus on management of cloud services. As enterprises adapt cloud services, they quickly find that the number and types of services grow out of their control.

You'll see a push to creating abstraction, brokering, and monitoring technology. Chances are that you’ll have two or three of these products in your cloud stack next year.

Second, there'll be more emphasis on the security thing. So far, cloud-based systems have been relatively safe. Ironically, this is partly due to healthy paranoia from IT organizations concerned about security in general and about the security of what they don't control in particular. Cloud providers always seemed to put extra focus on security.

However, there is still much to do. Chances are you’ll see more security offerings announced or released at Re:Invent. These will mostly focus on proactive monitoring to spot patterns of attacks, as well as on preemptive responses. There will also be more focus on identity-based security, which is becoming the standard in the cloud, as well as on advanced encryption.

Whether you go to AWS Re:Invent or not, look for such ideas and products there to keep on the right track.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Windows 10 privacy debacle: Five big issues to consider

User privacy has been at the forefront of the conversation around Windows 10 since the launch of the new platform. Here are five specific issues that were highlighted by the debacle.

While awareness of user privacy has been rising throughout 2015, one of the biggest issues that has inflamed the conversation has been the release of Windows 10.

The latest version of Microsoft's flagship OS was released as a free download for existing users in July and it defaulted to sharing personal user information with the company. An option to disable the features in question was provided, but even if they were disabled, Windows 10 still seemed to be sending information back to Microsoft.

"Privacy continues to be a hot topic for consumers and it frustrates them to no end when they hear when companies use and expose private information about them without their knowledge," said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at Intel.

The Windows 10 privacy controversy brought about plenty of backlash from the tech community but, more than that, it heightened the conversation around expectations of privacy in technology in general. Here are five big takeaways:

1. Personalization vs. privacy

Over the past few years, we have seen a gradual shift in Microsoft's business model from traditional software to cloud service. However, said SANS Institute fellow Jason Fossen, properly implementing cloud services for individual users requires personal data.

"Microsoft executives didn't give away free Windows 10 upgrades out of the kindness of their hearts, they need to jump start the Windows Store and Microsoft cloud ecosystem," said Jason Fossen, fellow at the SANS Institute.

What Microsoft is doing with Windows 10 is nothing new. Tech giants like Google, Apple, and Amazon are all collecting and using personal data to customize and improve the product experience for individual users. The major struggle that has been brought to light is the exchange of personal data for convenience and ease of use. The big question becomes: Do we want better privacy or a better product?

"If we want a better product, it may make sense to allow for some communication to be sent back to Microsoft. It's no different than we do in Apple with things like Siri. If you don't use Siri, it doesn't get any better," said John Pironti, president of IP Architects.

There's no definitive answer here, as the individual user will have to choose the level of trade-off that he or she is most comfortable with.

2. Opt-out vs. opt-in

Another issue brought up by Windows 10 was the amount of control users want to exercise over their personal data. With major hacks and breaches hitting the news regularly, many users desire clarity regarding how their data is transmitted, secured, and used.

"Given the sensitivity of privacy that's arisen over the last couple years, I think it's fair to say that individuals want the choice to decide how their systems interact with the world," Pironti said.

Users who downloaded Windows 10 were given the opportunity to opt-out of the default setting for information sharing. This means they were given the chance to disable the features that sent personal data back to Microsoft either at the time of install (if they went with a custom install) or after the fact.

Users in countries like the US have come to accept opt-out as the de facto model for new software and services. However, places such as the UK and EU, Pironti said, have an opt-in model where the default is to send no personal information, but users can click a button, or check box, to allow their information to be used.

This prompts the question of whether we want to be an opt-in society or an opt-out society. Also, though, do we appreciate the implications of what these mean, Pironti asked? Defaulting to sharing may be perceived as a violation of privacy, while defaulting to opt-in means you may not be able to take advantage of certain key features.

3. False options
Despite the hype that emerged over this situation, collecting personal data is a common practice. And, with some companies, the option to opt-out isn't even on the table.

For example, Pironti said, Google admits to caching every search request since day one and they have a massive amount of metadata around those requests. They've never lied about that, but they also never presented a distinct option to opt-out if you want to use their services.

Microsoft, on the other hand, did present a way to opt-out, but it didn't work the way it was expected to work.

"I think the big difference you're running into when we look at Microsoft is that you were given the option to disable and that option is false," Pironti said.

In the grand scheme of things, the bigger issue is that users believed they had an out when, in fact, they didn't. Microsoft and other tech companies need to be more transparent about the limitations of their policies.

"Transparency along with simple-to-understand privacy language and ability to easily set and control one's privacy settings should be top of mind for all companies today," Davis said.

4. Privacy is subjective
The answer to the question of how much privacy we should expect will be different depending on who you ask. Most people have at least one conspiracy theorist in their friend group or family who may desire more privacy than the average user.

These differences also extend out along demographic lines as well. Pironti said that many Millennial users feel as if they don't have privacy any more and they are more willing to give up privacy for more features. While older users still tend to be less trusting and more wary.

Personal information is collected and used for a variety of reasons, but it is usually something benign like advertising or personalizing an application, Fossen said. Bear in mind, though, once your information has been commoditized in a way you don't like, there is almost no way to reverse it.

"If you trust Microsoft to protect your interests, and you trust the technical skill of Microsoft's engineers to protect your information, then sign up for everything without reservation," Fossen said.

5. Companies vs. users
The impact of the controversy surrounding Windows 10 didn't actually deal a major blow to Microsoft. The initial install rate was very high, and the stories that broke about the privacy issues in the OS didn't appear to slow it much.

When asked if he thought users had lost trust in Microsoft, Pironti said he didn't think they had. As public as the issues were, if everyone was truly worried, he said, there would be a higher rate of uninstalls of the OS.

Fixing the problem requires effort from both tech companies and their users. Microsoft and other tech giants need to be more forthcoming about their treatment of personal information and they must spell it out clearly in official documentation. Things like Google's privacy dashboard are a good start.

Users must push back on features they are not comfortable with. Facebook, for example, has changed its privacy guidelines many times. Sometimes, the user base has pushed back against these changes and Facebook has had to back off on certain updates.

So far, Pironti said, what we've seen is just an initial reaction to change. The tech market will continue to shift and users will grow alongside it in their reactions and responses.

"Like everything else, we'll adapt and we'll have to decide what are our reasonable expectations and what are the limits we're willing to accept and not accept," Pironti said. "And, I think that we'll learn together with Microsoft and they will adjust their approach the same."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015

World Bank Economist Proves Pythagorean Theorem (2,600 Years Late) (BusinessWeek)

Kaushik Basu
Kaushik Basu
Kaushik Basu finds a new way to prove something every geometry student already knows

News flash: World Bank economist Kaushik Basu has proved that when it comes to right triangles, a² + b² = c². This merits the briefest of footnotes in the annals of mathematics, because the Greek mathematician Pythagoras proved the same theorem around 500 B.C. Every kid in geometry class learns that the sum of the squares of the lengths of the sides of a right triangle equals the square of the length of the hypotenuse. This is no Fermat's Last Theorem.

It's kind of impressive nonetheless. Basu now belongs to an august tradition of people who have found new ways of proving something we have known for 2,600 years. Amazingly, a U.S. president was one of the provers. James Garfield completed his proof of the Pythagorean theorem in 1876, four years before being elected president. (This Khan Academy video gives the presidential derivation.) 

Basu, a Cornell University economist, demonstrated his proof in a paper entitled "A New and Very Long Proof of the Pythagoras Theorem By Way of a Proposition on Isosceles Triangles." 

"I treat this as my hobby. I do it for fun," Basu said in an interview. Has he told World Bank President Jim Kim about his achievement? Not yet. "I'll have to send him a note assuring him that this was weekend work," Basu laughs. 

In deriving the proof Basu discovered some new things about the properties of isosceles triangles — ones with at least two sides of equal length. Right triangles are ones with one square (90-degree) angle. The length of the proof is special, too, he wrote in his paper:

"How then can one justify presenting a new and longer proof of Pythagoras’ theorem? The only way to answer this is to invoke another Greek, Constantine Cavafy and his classic poem, Ithaca, which describes the long journey to Odysseus’ home island. When you reach the island, the poet warns the reader, you are likely to be disappointed, for it will have little new to offer. But do not be disappointed, Cavafy tells the reader, for Ithaca’s charm is the journey itself."

Monday, September 14, 2015

Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe reach $415m lawsuit settlement

The class-action lawsuit filed between four of Silicon Valley's biggest names, and current and former employees has been put to bed, after a US District Judge gave approval for the technology giants to reach a $415 million settlement.

On Wednesday, US District Judge, Lucy Koh approved a settlement between Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe, and over 64,000 current and former staff of the tech giants.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the four-year class-action case is over, with Koh agreeing for the four conglomerates pay $415 million to settle the case.

In 2011, Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe were accused of conspiring in a secret anti-poaching "gentlemen's agreement", whereby the four companies -- and others -- secretly agreed not to steal each others' staff.

The alleged illegal head-hunting pacts, apparently put in place by top executives at the companies, agreed hiring employees collectively rather than bargaining with individuals would not only eliminate competition for staff, but result in financial gains for each firm.

In August, the four companies attempted to settle the class-action lawsuit, but Koh rejected their $325 million offer, ruling it was "too low".

Koh allegedly rejected the offered settlement amount on the basis that it was comparatively lower to the $20 million settlement she previously presided over involving Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar.

At the time, Koh believed a fairer figure would have been $380 million, noting the "compelling evidence" against the companies. That evidence included an email exchange between late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt, who was at the time both on Apple's board and Google's CEO. Schmidt confirmed in an email that Google had a "policy of no recruiting from Apple".

Koh also presided over the lengthy court battle between Samsung and Apple.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The 10 U.S. Colleges With the Biggest Application Drops (BusinessWeek)

More than 20 million students are expected to return to college quads this fall, a 24 percent increase from 2000. Still, the enrollment surge doesn't mean that all colleges have gotten more popular. Some expensive private colleges have experienced significant drops in the number of high school seniors applying, according to a recent report. Elite Boston College has suffered the biggest plunge. 

Applications to the school in the 2013-2014 academic year (the most recent for which there's data) fell 28 percent from the year before, the biggest drop of any school ranked by education research website SmartClass in a recent report. SmartClass used Department of Education data to rank application levels at the top 200 "Smart Rated" colleges—a measure that combines financial affordability, career readiness, admissions selectivity, and expert opinion and academic excellence at colleges. 

Most of the schools with the greatest applications decreases are small, private liberal arts colleges. These elite schools have experienced low applicant pools since 2008, in part because of rising student debt, lower job prospects, and competition from online programs. Spooked by high tuition, many students have been been opting to learn skills seen as more practical than literature or art history, such as coding.

Boston College says its dwindling application numbers don't mean it's less desirable. Instead, they say, they've made it harder for students to apply on a whim. At the school, which is ranked in the top 35 schools in the country by U.S. News and World Report, application numbers declined when the admissions committee added an essay to its required application materials, dissuading seniors who aren't serious about the school, says Jack Dunn, a spokesperson for the school.

"After 20 straight years of increased applications to BC, we made a strategic decision to add a supplemental essay requirement ... with the expectation that it would result in a more targeted applicant pool." He added that applicant numbers are less important than who applies. "The issue is fit."

Indeed, as applications fell, the school's yield—the number of admitted students who enroll—rose 3 percent, suggesting that the school is getting better at accepting prospective students who view it as their top choice. 

The 10 colleges and universities with the largest drops in applications are below. Find the full list of 21 colleges in the SmartClass report here:

1. Boston College, Mass.
Applications down by: 27.96 percent

2. United States Air Force Academy, Colo.
-21.51 percent

3. Millsaps College, Miss.
-15.7 percent

4. Wofford College, S.C.
-14.98 percent

5. Rhodes College, Tenn.
-14.09 percent

6. Grinnell College, Iowa
-12.63 percent

7. University of San Diego, Calif.
-11.37 percent

8. Messiah College, Pa.
-10.05 percent

9. Whitman College, Wash.
-9.39 percent

10. Brigham Young University-Provo, Utah
-9.03 percent

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Samsung Loses $44 Billion of Value in Worst Streak Since 1983 (BusinessWeek)

Tepid demand for Samsung Electronics Co.’s newest Galaxy smartphones triggered a fifth straight monthly decline for the electronics maker, wiping out about $44 billion in market value since April.

Shares of the world’s biggest smartphone vendor slumped 8.1 percent this month, extending their longest losing streak since December 1983. Samsung dropped almost $12 billion of value in August alone as the South Korean company surrendered market share to Apple Inc. and Chinese competitors.

Samsung’s decision to steal a march on Apple and advance the release of new Galaxy smartphones failed to dispel pessimism about its second-half earnings. Apple is expected to take the wraps off a new iPhone on Sept. 9 and release it in time for the crucial end-of-year holiday shopping season.

“We all know its smartphone business isn’t doing well,” said Lee Seung Woo, an analyst at IBK Securities Co. in Seoul. “I can’t really figure out when the stock will stop declining. The fundamentals look problematic.”

The stock has been the biggest drag on the 758-member Kospi index in the past six months, leading the benchmark 2.2 percent lower in the period. It ended Friday at 1,089,000 won.

The drop in market capitalization is almost equivalent to the value of General Motors Co.

Misreading Market

Samsung profit has fallen five straight quarters, and third-quarter net income is estimated at 5.33 trillion won ($4.5 billion), down from 5.63 trillion won in the three months ended June, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Samsung’s global smartphone market share fell more than 3 percentage points in the second quarter, and it no longer is the top seller in China, the world’s biggest mobile-phone market.

It is being undercut at the high end by Apple’s bigger iPhones and at the mid-range and low end of the market by devices from Xiaomi Corp., Lenovo Group Ltd. and Huawei Technologies Co.

Samsung misread demand for the S6 models released in April, failing to produce enough three-sided screens for the Edge while the regular version struggled against the iPhone.
One of its latest models, the Galaxy Note 5, was criticized by reviewers and customers this month as the company acknowledged that the device can break if the stylus is inserted backward into the storage slot.

“Foreign selling of shares is adding pressure on the stock, which now seems attractive value-wise,” said Greg Roh, an anlayst at HMC Investment Securities Co. in Seoul. “The smartphone business isn’t going to worsen further from here, but any rebound seems highly unlikely.”

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

IT unions: The wrong approach to achieving a noble goal (TechRepublic)

TechRepublic readers suggest that forming a union is the only way to prevent poor working conditions for IT pros. Patrick Gray presents his case against unionized IT.

In response to my last column about The New York Times article on Amazon being "a bruising workplace," several TechRepublic readers suggested in the comments that the only way to prevent these types of working conditions is for IT pros to form unions. I don't agree.

Unions may seem like an appropriate response. On the surface, some IT workers experience a modern-day equivalent of the conditions that drove mass unionization during the industrial revolution: long hours, wages that pit worker against worker, and a management structure that seemingly holds profit well above individual employee well-being. While the intent of unionization is likely noble, it is the wrong path for IT workers.

The commodity problem
Perhaps one of the greatest detriments to adopting a union model for IT shops is that unions generally assume a commoditized workforce, with little differentiation between people performing a particular job. Many of the jobs that are traditionally represented by unions fit this description.

For example, bolting a door to a vehicle frame in an auto plant where automated tools set the correct torque and take much of the skill out of the task can be learned in a day or two, effectively allowing anyone to perform the job. Thus, unions establish pay grades based on how long one has worked for the employer, or how much specialized training or education one has taken. For instance, Mary has worked at the company for 10 years, so she will likely get more pay than Bob since he's only been there for five years.

The main problem with the collective bargaining model employed by unions is that it's impossible to take individual performance into account when attempting to set collective compensation practices. Setting pay based on "time served" and education attained rarely maps to job performance, and tends to favor the median and low performance worker. Why excel when individual performance does nothing to advance one's personal circumstance?

Can the game be rigged?
Another sentiment expressed in arguing for IT workers' unions is that IT employment is rigged in favor of the employer. If an IT pro does not wish to work weekends or respond to midnight emails, they would quickly be displaced by another person willing to make those sacrifices. In a high-performance environment, this is certainly true.

Like many in the industry, my hours extend beyond 9-5, and I'm well aware that there are people in and outside the US who would have my job in a second. However, I've long ensured I'm aware of market rates for someone in my position, and that I negotiate appropriately for the effort I'm willing to commit to an employer, and ultimately am comfortable with the contract between my employer and myself. There have certainly been times when that compensation was not monetary, and I've spent months or years in lower-paying roles to gather knowledge, capabilities, and connections that I could later use to my benefit. If there's a game to be rigged, it can be played by both employer and employee, and if the latter fails to represent his or her interests, they can certainly be exploited with or without a union.

Furthermore, a transition toward unionization could alter that "game" to the point that hiring certain classes or geographies of workers is untenable. Auto manufacturing is an obvious parallel, where highly-compensated unionized workers caused a shift in auto manufacturing away from the Detroit area, both to lower-cost countries and to non-union US states. It's significantly easier to send IT work (which requires no shipping or retooling) to other countries, as some IT workers have experienced.

Jobs for everyone
While IT jobs have evolved rapidly, they have also grown in scope. Gone are the days when you could spend a career knowing a single technology or a programming language; now, technologists are just as relevant in Marketing as they are in a traditional IT shop. This has created a huge demand for technical skill, and a corresponding diversity in the types of jobs available to technologists.

Amazon, for instance, represents the equivalent of the NFL of the technology industry, requiring hard work and long hours for the top performers, while also providing the highest pay and the opportunity to work with the best technology. Roles with less rigorous demands abound as well. Just as hundreds of hours of training and hard work to compete at the highest levels of sport would alienate many of us, so too might the demands of a company like Amazon.

Take control of your IT career
This may sound like a "let the markets decide" argument against unionization, but rather than the markets, it's up to the individual IT worker to ensure his or her interests are well represented and accounted for. Neither an uncaring marketplace nor a collective-oriented union can fully represent one's individual, rational self-interest. While there may be a line of people waiting to take my position, I maintain control over my skills and qualifications, and I will happily say "no" to an unreasonable demand as long as my skills and capabilities are appropriate for my job, and my performance is more attractive than that of the nearest competitor.

Rather than looking to outsource negotiations with our employers to a union, or blaming faceless forces from markets to managers, take control of your skills and capabilities, and realize that you have every right to negotiate with, and ultimately "fire" your employer, just as he or she has the same rights over the relationship. There may be down times when you accept a lower-paying position to develop skills or weather an economic storm, but there will also be high times, when savvy employees migrate up the compensation ladder internally or through lateral moves.

Some have lamented the disappearance of "employment for life" at a single employer, but this street goes both ways. For IT workers especially, there's almost limitless possibility for someone who represents him or her self and takes control of their career.