One of the first devices that improved the daily routine of commerce was the cash register, which enforced business rules about when cash drawers could be opened and allowed the shop owner to know how much money should be lying in the drawer at the day's end. This relatively simple device also improved the accuracy and the speed of the check-out procedure while reducing the risk of theft by employees. Today, merchants, banks, and consumers face much larger risks. The explosion of the Internet has permitted even small merchants to sell goods and services to a worldwide market, yet it has also exposed them to the depredations of a large pool of attackers whose motives range from greed to boredom. If the attacks come from other countries it may not be practical to seek legal recourse. Moreover, as the value of on-line information increases, so does the temptation to engage in insider theft: system administrators, for example, may discover that they can transfer US $10 million to offshore … [Read more...] about Locking the E-Safe
E 40 go hard or go home
When was the last time you saw a movie in a theater? Three months ago? A year? Longer than that? That’s the problem. The movie industry is among the world’s most important businesses. The Motion Picture Association of America says that films produced in the United States alone pulled in US $34.7 billion in worldwide box-office revenues in 2012. And yet the industry is beset by a dismaying trend: More and more, people are watching movies on their laptops, tablets, and smartphones. In wealthy countries, middle-class homes are now typically outfitted with huge flat-panel TVs and powerful surround-sound audio systems. The upshot is that for many people, particularly middle-aged ones, a trip to a movie theater is becoming a rare event, if not an increasingly distant memory. The motion-picture industry is fighting back, though—with technology. There’s a huge push today to develop sophisticated systems that will ensure that the theater experience remains far … [Read more...] about Lasers: Coming to a Theater Near You
The sun is poking through mist on a humid Wednesday morning in early April as we drive west through the city of Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan. The place doesn’t look too bad, considering that just a couple of days ago rioters demolished stores and homes here after word got out that a minister in Florida had burned a Koran. In Kandahar alone 16 people were killed and 128 wounded. Our destination is the only electrical substation within city limits, a creaky relic from the 1970s outfitted with Bulgarian switchgear and other electrical esoterica, including a 25-megavolt- ampere transformer that’s so old it has to be hosed down on hot days to keep it from overheating. I’m traveling with Chief Warrant Officer 5 Thomas Black, the deputy commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers task force headquartered at Kandahar Airfield, the huge coalition air base to the southeast. He wants to make some voltage measurements at the plant. I’m tagging along because I am … [Read more...] about Re-engineering Afghanistan
“I use vocal harmony in places where I may have used saxophone harmony, and a lot of that is because of the rawness of the material.” Emerging from the long shadow cast by a famous relative who was also a beloved performer can be a pretty tall order for any young, up-and-coming artist to handle. And yet Jake Clemons, nephew of the late Clarence “Big Man” Clemons — the legendary E Street Band saxophonist and longtime onstage foil for Bruce Springsteen who passed away in 2011 — has handled his entry into the spotlight with nothing less than style and grace. Upon joining the band in 2012, he put his own stamp on revered classics like Jungleland and Born to Run, making himself at home in his uncle’s giant E Street shoes – both sax men shared size-16 boots.Jake also had the wherewithal to stick to his creative guns and nurture his own identity as an artist with his first full solo album, Fear & Love, out today in various formats via BMG. … [Read more...] about Jake Clemons Blows Past E Street Band Expectations to Share His Own Very Personal Solo Story
In days of old, before consumers were able do all their holiday shopping without leaving their homes, before the days of television commercials, and yea, even before the heyday of the venerable department store, there was the Fuller Brush man. And the Hoover Vacuum Cleaner man. And, of course, the milkman.Consider the fictional Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman." Roaming door-to-door salespeople like Willy grew to become American cultural archetypes, exemplars of the struggles of the common man to improve his lot and provide for his family through the art of the sale. For better and for worse, they epitomized the American obsession with commerce, material wealth and well-being.Well, those days are indeed long gone, though reminders still exist. This third installment of a five-part series on do-it-yourself e-commerce examines how, and why, a growing number of entrepreneurs -- as well as established brick-and-mortar retailers -- are following in the footsteps of the … [Read more...] about Do It Yourself E-Commerce, Part 3: Taking Care of Business
Bill Gates' US$135 million home outside Seattle is said to be networked to the nines, with Gates able to use his PC to control most of the houses' functions from afar.Gates' company, Microsoft, meanwhile, is just one of many promising to make homes "smarter" and more connected in the future.At January's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Gates unveiled the Windows Home Server as one step in what Gates acknowledges is a long-range effort to insert Microsoft into the nascent home networking arena.Gates may have the most expensive networked home but he's far from alone. Millions are choosing to build smart homes from scratch each year, while many others are adding networking features to their existing homes.For example, home-builder Lennar recently began offering a networked home option for buyers.From the living room, where the PC is capable of becoming an entertainment hub, to the basement, where a central computer can control heating and air conditioning; then, into the … [Read more...] about Ten Scary Things About Home Networks, Part 1
International e-commerce is poised for explosive growth in the months and years ahead. Demand for U.S. products overseas is booming due to vast selection, high-quality specialty goods and unbelievable values. The Internet is bringing all of this value, selection and convenience directly to consumers all over the world. In fact, worldwide Internet usage has already surpassed 1.5 billion and is rapidly approaching the two billion mark, according to Plunkett Research.In addition, Internet penetration rates are steadily increasing in Europe. These rates are at only 50 percent in Europe and 17 percent in Asia, compared with 73 percent in North America. In some markets, such as Japan, online sales are expected to increase by as much as 40 percent annually, according to Reuters. The growth in search and social networking is also booming and fueling the viral popularity of U.S. e-commerce brands.Bold and innovative e-commerce brands from the U.S. that capitalize on such growth will be known … [Read more...] about EXPERT ADVICE Navigating the Turbulent Waters of International E-Commerce
One morning, you receive an e-mail notification from your bank that states it needs to update your credit card data. A fill-in-the-blanks form is attached that asks for information like your address, phone number and password, so you complete it, and hit the Send button.A week later, you are at the hardware store and proceed to charge a few cans of paint. After the cashier unsuccessfully tries to place the charge on your card, you fumble for a few dollars to pay for the paint and rush home to call your bank, which tells you that your credit card has been overextended by a slew of purchases during the week.After hanging up the phone, you realize that you are the latest victim of phishing, a scam that is sweeping across the Internet.Phishing is the process whereby criminals design e-mail notes and Web sites that resemble those from legitimate sources, such as online merchants, Internet service providers or financial institutions. When unsuspecting individuals respond to the seemingly … [Read more...] about SPECIAL REPORT Phishing E-Mail Fraud Becoming Epidemic
You hear it all the time: "You can't make money off free software."Actually, companies are making quite a bit of money from free software. IBM and HP, for example, have reaped billions of dollars in revenue from Linux. True, they are doing so by bundling open source software with servers and support, but Linux is the glue that binds the entire package together.But what about pure-play Linux companies? Finding the right revenuemodel has been a challenge for Red Hat and SuSE, arguably the biggest players in the Linux market.Some people compare open source and free software to oxygen and water. These resources are all around us, and most of us are used to getting them for free. But there are still opportunities for people to make money by selling oxygen or water: Purify it, bottle it and deliver it, and it becomes a cash cow.Similarly, there are ways to make money by selling Linux. Mark de Visser, vice president of marketing at Red Hat, told the E-Commerce Times that his company is … [Read more...] about E-BUSINESS SPECIAL REPORT Who’s Making Money from Linux?
The old saying used to be, "If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all." Then the Internet came along, and the saying changed to, "If you can't say anything nice, then invent a fake user name and go to town."The Web has allowed us to get away with saying some pretty awful things to each other without having to say them to each others' faces -- or even put our own names on them. Anonymous attacks are incredibly easy. One way is to set up an anonymous blog on one of many free sites and just start spitting venom at anyone you want. Of course, doing so makes you a coward, but hey, who's gonna know?Well, we might soon all know who was using a Google Blogger account to repeatedly verbally bash New York model Liskula Cohen, calling her a "skank" and a "whore," among other things. Google has been ordered by a court to disclose the blogger's identity to Cohen.While providers of online services are often immune when someone posts potentially libelous things on their systems, … [Read more...] about THIS WEEK IN TECH A Last Call for Snarkers Anonymous?