Did FOUR people board missing Malaysia flight using stolen passports? Interpol probes criminal gang behind thefts as part of plane debris is found
Interpol said no country bothered to check its lost and stolen database that held information about two the passports used to board missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH307.
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Destiny of Spirits, the creature-catching game from the fine folks at Q? Entertainment, is finally set to launch on the PlayStation Vita, hitting Sony’s handheld console on March 25.
Francis, a.k.a. boogie2988, has decided to merge something you probably love (Titanfall) with something you probably hate (Miley Cyrus). The result will haunt you for days.
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If you’re hoping that HBO will suddenly decide to let non-cable subscribers sign up for HBO Go, then don’t hold your breath. There’s more chance of Sean Bean returning for season four of Game of Thrones.
The current model of requiring HBO to be bundled with a cable provider is going great guns with two million new households added in 2014 and GoT surpassing The Sopranos as its most watched show ever.
However, that doesn’t mean the company isn’t making contingency plans in the ever-shifting TV industry. HBO claims it will be ready when the time comes to cut the cable and allow online, a la carte subscriptions.
CEO Richard Plepler told Variety: “We will not be caught without the ability to pivot should we decide that pivoting is the right thing to do. It’s a sin to leave money on the table.”
Good to Go
Plepler said HBO is already working more flexibility into deals with distributors to ensure it has ability to switch things up when the time is right.
Part of HBO’s softening stance on IPTV is the success of its HBO Go application, which features a massive library of content and the ability for subscribers to catch up on shows just one hour after they air.
Fans of shows like Game of Thrones, Girls, Boardwalk Empire and, more recently, True Detective have called for the network to offer access to non-cable subscribers, but HBO continues to resist the calls.
If it were to jump over to a more internet-centric distribution model, than it could spark a sea change where viewers could pick and choose their favourite channels and have them streamed directly to the television.
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AUSTIN, TEX. — The South By Southwest Interactive conference in Austin is nothing short of a chaotic jumble of brands and marketers screaming for attention. You can’t walk two feet without being offered a free poncho, smartphone charger, or a quick snooze in a nap pod.
One of the biggest marketing presences here is Subway, which is promoting its new pizza-food called the Flatizza. It looks like a cracker with some pizza toppings melted on top of it. We didn’t get to try it yet, but we’ve heard from taste testers that it’s not that great.
Subway set up a big booth at the convention center in downtown Austin, right outside the hall where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange spoke via Skype on Saturday. In it, Subway employees strapped brain monitors onto convention-goers and asked them to “think” about the Flatizza. The person who thought the hardest won some swag.
In theory though, the brain monitors can’t tell specifically what you’re thinking about, according to one of the Subway marketing guys at the booth. Contestants didn’t really need to have a Flatizza on their minds to win. They could’ve thought about “True Detective” theories or their significant others or anything else that got their brain juices flowing.
Anyway, the crowds at the convention center ate it up. Here’s what it looked like:
Welcome to the Flatizza booth.
Contestants had to strap on these brainwave monitors.
Then they had to calibrate the devices by thinking about the Subway Flatizza.
Game time! The woman on the right seemed to be giving off more Flatizza vibes than her opponent.
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Anight vision video recording app for Android calledCmara Visin Nocturna has been secretly signing people up for a paid messaging service according to Fast Company.
Antivirus software company Avast announced it discover the flaw when the firm noticed the app was asking permission for unusual tasks such as sending and receiving messages along with accessing certain accounts.
The app would access someone’s phone number through a messaging service like WhatsApp and then send that information to a server signing that person up for this unnamed messaging service.
At first, people would be automatically charged€2 ($2.80) but some users noticed they were being charged up to€36 ($50) a month.
Avast’s Chief Technical Officer Ondřej Vlček explained to Fast Company how the fees could escalate that high:
“The following month the same process starts again and the user can be charged the same amount again.”
If you are one of the unfortunate people who downloaded it, Avast’s software can quickly detect the program and remove it.
California-based Taulia’s cloud-based solution helps organisations by automating and maximizing supplier discounts.
According to the company, it gives suppliers the ability to get paid faster in exchange for early payment discounts, which can increase “productivity, lower costs and simplify outdated business practices”.
We speak to Taulia’s co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Maex Ament, on the company’s solution, ‘Dynamic Discounting’ and its plans for 2014.
TechRadar Pro: How was the company founded?
Maex Ament: Taulia’s beginnings lie in a challenge that was present in nearly every Accounts Payable department in the world – the approval, processing and payment of an invoice. We saw a unique opportunity to fix what we believed to be an inefficiency in the global financial supply chain.
Huge corporations had unprecedented cash on hand, on which they were earning less than a 1% return, whilst their suppliers (the world’s small businesses) were cash-poor and in need of financing.
In today’s economy, this practice threatens the financial health of small businesses, who are forced to obtain high interest loans or resort to credit card borrowing in order to survive. So with that – namely the notion that the supply chain was broken, and there was opportunity for more efficient, effective, and all around better business processes – Taulia was founded.
We knew that if payments between the world’s biggest buyers and their suppliers were to be handled more quickly, the result would not only be a mutually beneficial outcome, but would also help the worldwide economy.
With our dynamic discounting product, we give large organisations the ability to pay approved invoices early in exchange for a discount. It’s a true win-win – suppliers gain faster, easier and less expensive access to cash, while buyers save millions and improve the financial health of their supply chain.
TRP: What is Dynamic Discounting?
MA: Dynamic Discounting is actually quite simple. It gives suppliers of all sizes the opportunity to be paid as early as they want and in return, they provide a discount for the faster payment.
Taulia’s software helps to automate this entire process – making it as easy as possible for buyers to offer early payments and suppliers to choose to accept these offers.
Through our supplier portal, suppliers are able to submit electronic invoices, which are then transmitted to the buyer’s ERP system and approved for payment. Suppliers are then able to request an early payment, choosing the day in which they want to be paid.
So if they could use some extra cash for a large production order, or they want to pay out bonuses but won’t have the liquidity at the time, they can plan ahead, and request to be paid early on certain invoices.
The buyer can set the early payment rate in their ERP system, so say they want to offer early payments at 8% APR (much lower than loan or credit card rates), the supplier sees a sliding scale of the associated daily discount should they choose to take the payment early. The earlier the payment, the bigger the discount.
Our primary focus has always been to transform this process into a mutually beneficial situation for both buyers and suppliers. Not only does dynamic discounting strengthen the buying organisation’s cash positions, but it also injects capital into the supply chain and boosts the economy.
When large buying organisations implement Taulia, they receive a comprehensive end-to-end payables solution for themselves, as well as their entire supply chain. Taulia’s SaaS solution connects seamlessly with any organisation’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to bring their data to the cloud and make all relevant information available to their supply chain.
Taulia’s complete offering, Taulia Business Exchange, includes a supplier portal, electronic invoicing, supplier information management and supplier financing that can be installed and running in less than 3 months.
Suppliers utilise these tools completely free of charge (unlike other portal and invoicing products on the market) and benefit from being able to submit electronic invoices, view invoice status, view payment history and request early payments.
Buying organizations benefit from reduced supplier inquiry calls, streamlined processes, operational efficiencies and the ability to add millions to their bottom line through dynamic discounting.
TRP: Can you tell us about your customers?
MA: Our customer base is wide and varied, encompassing many of the top Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies in the world, including Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, Hallmark, TELUS, PG&E and Pfizer. Due to our solution’s ability to seamlessly integrate into any ERP system, we are able to offer our products and services to any large enterprise within any industry.
TRP: What are Taulia’s plans for 2014?
MA: A big part of our product focus in 2013 was to expand our capabilities to become available to any buying organisation, regardless of their ERP system. With that accomplished, we are now shifting that same focus towards the supplier side of the payables process – Accounts Receivable, enabling the Taulia platform to seamlessly integrate into every supplier’s AR billing system.
Another priority for the upcoming year is to introduce additional ways to use our product through mobile devices.
Our solutions already operate on all mobile browsers, but we plan on expanding mobile capabilities with apps that allow suppliers to take advantage of all of our portal features on the go – snapping a picture of an invoice and submitting it to their buyer, sending message inquiries on invoices, accepting an early payment discount on the go, etc.
We see this greatly increasing activity levels of some of the smaller suppliers who are often on the go, without access to a desktop computer.
Also, there are big things in store for our supplier financing functionality, in addition to dynamic discounting, we’ll be announcing a game changing product launch over the next few months. Stay tuned!
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If it seems like carrier data plans change every few months, that’s because they do.As customers rely more and more on wireless data, carriers appear to be getting competitive with their data plans. Some are good deals. Others are not.
This week, T-Mobile raised the price of its unlimited plan, but offered some new benefits to others. AT&T lowered the price of its 2 GB data plan.
Here’s what’s changing.
$50 per month gets you 1 GB of high speed data plus unlimited calls and texting. The plan used to give you 500 MB of data. So this could be a good deal for light data users. $60 now gets you 3 GB of data. It used to be 2.5 GB. That’s also a better deal.
But the highest tier, the one that offers unlimited calls, texts, and high-speed data, is now more expensive. It costs $80 per month instead of $70. However, you do get 5 GB of tethering, meaning you can use your phone as a WiFi hotspot to access the Internet on your computer or other device. The top plan used to only give you 2.5 GB of tethering.
If you’re already a T-Mobile customer, those new data tiers will kick in automatically. However, if you have the highest tier, you won’t see a price increase. So don’t worry. T-Mobile will “grandfather” you into the plan you originally signed up for.
AT&T dropped the price of its 2 GB data plan. It now costs $65 per month, which is $15 cheaper than it was before. You get 2 GB of data per month, plus unlimited calls and texts. It costs another $25 per month if you want to share that 2 GB data bucket with another smartphone on your plan.
So which is the better deal? As we’ve said before, there is no right answer to that question. Smartphone plans are complicated. The best carrier for you is the one that can provide you the best coverage in your town plus give you the amount of data you use at the most reasonable price. Unfortunately, that means you have to do a lot of research.
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Blizzard has released a new trailer for World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor entitled “Wish You Were Here.” The trailer highlights the level 90 character boost included with the expansion pack.
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Cable channel Cartoon Network will be launching a brand new app later this year that will let users play games and watch 15 second TV shows reports The New York Times.
The free app will be called Cartoon Network Anything.
It won’t be tied to a specific cable provider compared to most streaming apps which require users to prove they an authentic cable subscription.
Although Cartoon Network haslaunched plenty of apps in the past, Waldron explains that the company wanted to “boil down Cartoon Network to its essence, to the smallest device.”
Theapp will constantly update with new 15 second original content which will include a mix of videos, games, and potentially new cartoons.
More viewers are flocking towards mobile devices to watch videos and Waldron explained that the app is called a ‘micro-network’. It would be an attempt to create a product that would embrace the medium instead of just making an extension of the network to keep subscribers.
No official release date has been announced but you can read the rest of the story here.
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Ideas for new wearable technologies, from a device that uses heart rhythm to verify a person’s identity to a stylish handbag that can charge a phone, were part of a pitch competition on Saturday at tSouth by Southwest Interactive festival.
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In 2012, a Chicago man named John Campbell created a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a book he wrote and illustrated called “Sad Pictures for Children.”
He hoped to raise $8,000, but quickly raised $51,615.
In a strange turn of events, Campbell took to Kickstarter andtold his fans“It’s Over” and published a video of himself burning 127 copies of his book in a dumpster behind his apartment, “Sad Pictures for Children” because, he says, he ran out of money to ship the books (via DNAinfo).
He then wrote a 4,500 word rant to accompany the video, a diatribe that some found concerning. Campbell has posted to Kickstarter about his battle with depression in the past.
You can read the full rant here, but here’s an excerpt:
I am making the loudest sound I know how to make. I know that some people will be personally offended that I am doing this, but I am doing this in large part because our culture has developed in such a way that some of the intelligent, empathetic people who follow me will believe they feel more psychological pain because of books being burnt, their money and my attitude about them than because of the destruction of the natural world, the continuation of classist, racist, abusive patterns of behavior and representation, etc.
I will not be responsible for the manufacture of any more unnecessary physical objects. The natural world is being destroyed by unnecessary production.
You wouldn’t be reading this now if I hadn’t supported and participated in these values.
Campbell says he burned the books in response to more than 100 emails he received from backers wanting the books they had helped fund in early 2012.
The video is about 3 minutes of burning books, which you can spot within the flames:
Comments on the Kickstarter page range from frustration and confusion…
To understanding and compassion:
Regardless, Campbell writes,
I shipped about 75% of kickstarter rewards to backers. I will not be shipping any more. I will not be issuing any refunds. For every message I receive about this book through e-mail, social media or any other means, I will burn another book.
Buy your own ghost village for £50,000: Thousands of abandoned Spanish hamlets for sale at less than the price of a London garage
Abandoned by families who fled to look for work in the cities during the recession, these Spanish villages are being sold to foreign investors for as little as 50,000.
Even thoughPinterest is the fastest growing content sharing platform, some people still assume that it’s only women using the service, and that they’re just focusing on cupcake pictures and wedding planning.
Not even close to true.
Though Pinterest still has more women using it then men, more and more guys are turning to the social network to keep track of their lives in creative ways.
Pinterest wouldn’t give us a number for the amount of dudes using the service, but said the the topics seeing explosive growth right now are the gender-neutral ones, like food, articles, and travel, and subcategories like CrossFit.
Of course, we’re not trying to say that the following are examples of things that only guys would pin. Lots of women are pinning about the exact same topics – but you already knew they were on Pinterest.
Pinterest user Nick Cobler keeps track of his favorite angling spots (and, naturally, all his catches).
The Grill Masters board by Matt Adkins is jam-packed with quirky ideas and products.
There are a lot of boards on Pinterest centered around the idea of creating the perfect “man cave.” This particular dream comes from user Erik Hansen.
Microsoft’s former CEO Steve Ballmer is known as one of the most flamboyant personalities in the tech industry.
He jumps around, screams and gestures whenever he’s on stage.
But he wasn’t always that way.
As a kid and young adult, he was painfully shy, he said speaking at Oxford University’s School of Business, his first public appearance since he left Microsoft a month ago.
I talk things through with people. I try to get them sold. I am a salesman by nature. I want you to actually agree with me. Don’t just come on the voyage with me … believe! No, You don’t believe? I’ve got to keep trying to get you to believe! …
I’m an involving, passionate, energetic leader. …
The truth of this is none of this was necessarily natural for me.
I was quite shy as a kid, painfully shy as a kid. Even when I got to college, I was pretty darn shy.
But he forced himself to change. It happened when he became the team manager for the Harvard football team. The manager is the person who organizes the team, gets the buses, makes sure the footballs arrive.
It wasn’t the glamor job. But you had to get up in front of the team every day and tell the team what to do. Football players are not nice to managers, typically.
I had to get myself pumped and charged up. And I got good at getting up in front of audiences and giving direction. Since Microsoft I’ve had practice.
That’s certainly true. After his years at Microsoft, he doesn’t seem shy at all anymore.
He’s the guy who famously opened a Microsoft conference like this:
Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, 23, walked out of his family’s 1million home in Maida Vale, west London, last year to join militant groups.
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