Archive for the ‘Business’ Category
An Essex firm is offering a ‘professional mourner’ service for UK funerals.
According to the Daily Mail, Rent a Mourner will provide fake mourners, known as moirologists, in order to increase numbers at services.
The individuals in question are trained actors who specialise in public mourning and are briefed about the deceased before attending the funeral.
The service costs £45 for a two-hour service, and mourners will weep and talk to friends and family members.
Ian Robertson, founder of Rent a Mourner, explained: “We were actually inspired by the market growth in China. The Middle Eastern way is to provide wailers – crying women – as opposed to the quiet, dignified methods we use.”
He added: “It’s growing in the UK – our bookings are up 50% year on year.”
What if you could digitally interact with everything?
The future of augmented reality — think cerebral implants and digital contact lenses — was imagined last year in a short film by graduate students Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo.
We highly recommend watching the eight-minute film, “Sight” — and also checking out our annotated walk-through.
Sight is an awesome product, but it’s also disturbing in its creation of a world with no off switch, where privacy can be hacked like never before.
With technology like Google Glass set to debut this year and other wearable gadgets on the way, Sight isn’t so implausible.
Companies with female board members are more likely to make decisions that benefit everyone from investors to staff and not just themselves and other directors, the study added.
Business school researchers said the findings show that having women in the boardroom is not just good for equality but good for business too.
The study for the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics surveyed 600 board directors about their approach to decision making and other corporate issues.
It found that when there were conflicting interests, women board members tended to make fairer decisions than men.
Female directors were more likely to consider how the decision would affect others, whether it is employees, investors or stakeholders for instance.
Consumer Alert: Lab tests show gooey mold in ‘Vitamin Water’ – San Diego, California News Station – KFMB Channel 8 – cbs8.com
A News 8 consumer alert on contaminated Vitamin Water is expanding across the country. More people are coming forward to complain about a gooey substance inside their energy drink.
“There was this blob of stuff in my mouth and it was all over my mouth and my tongue and I had to peel it off,” said Los Angeles resident Saundra Santamarina. “I panicked and I looked at the bottle and there was this blob floating around in it.”
“It’s like something I’ve never seen before and the taste of it was just terrible. And it made me sick,” Joel Kaufman of Pittsburgh reported to News 8 this week.
“I didn’t know if it was some sort of mold that could be harmful or if it was anything animal related. I had no idea,” said Brett, a Navy man from San Diego, who did not want his last named used for this report.
Fingerprints Instead Of Credit Cards? YC-Backed PayTango Aims To Make Payments Work Through Biometrics | TechCrunch
As a mechanism for payment, the credit card remains just as hardy as ever. It has so far defied the threat of mobile phones, and less plausibly, QR codes, among many other forms of payment.
One YC-backed startup is betting that fingerprints and other forms of biometric identification may be the payment method of the future though. Called PayTango, they’re partnering with local universities to offer a quick and easy way for students to use their fingerprints to pay instead of credit cards.
The four-person team is basically almost fresh out of Carnegie Mellon University. The co-founders, Brian Groudan, Kelly Lau-Kee, Umang Patel and Christian Reyes, graduating later this summer and have experience in human-computer interaction and information systems.
They built an initial prototype with a fingerprint scanner and credit card reader with off-the-shelf parts for between $1,500 and $1,700. They’re bringing the costs down after iterating on it for 10 weeks and they have a working version of it at three locations on the Carnegie Mellon campus.
“The very earliest product was just basic,” said CEO Umang Patel. “But it was a great product to get out there and users responded to it very early on.”
The on-boarding process for users is really easy. They touch the fingerpad with their index and middle fingers and if they’re not in the system already, PayTango automatically detects that. It will ask them to swipe a card to associate with their fingerprints and then enter in their cell phone number. That sign-up process made it fast enough for 100 students to sign-up within four hours on campus.
BlackBerry delivered one of the world’s most mysterious press releases a short time ago when it revealed that it had sold a cool 1 million BB10 devices to an unnamed partner, but now it looks like some sleuthing has turned up the real client. AllThingsD and Detwiler Fenton both report that the likely source of the order was Brightstar, an international distribution company that counts Verizon, along with carriers around the world as its partners.
Brightstar is an established BlackBerry customer, and distributes handsets from the Waterloo manufacturer in some of its strongest markets, including in countries like Malaysia where BlackBerry retains very high popularity. Brightstar’s order (if indeed this is the client in question) would indeed be the largest ever single order of BlackBerry devices, but it’s also potentially a way for companies like Verizon to make a sizable bet on the company’s brand new OS and hardware, without taking on all the risk for such an order itself.
Detwiler Fenton says that the move indicates “Verizon doesn’t believe this well be a strong seller since it normally tries to allocate hot product on its own,” and that using Brightstar means it will spread out some of the responsibility and potential reward that comes with placing inventory in big-box retail locations like Best Buy, in exchange for the security of not being left solely on the hook should things go south. The U.S. launch of BlackBerry 10 happened last Friday, and while not all the cards are on the table, there’s still some early reason to believe things didn’t go amazingly well.
HTC Will Start Being More Vocal About Its Brilliance, Confirms Camera Supply Is Behind HTC One Delay | TechCrunch
HTC has revealed that it will finally drop the frankly stupid “Quietly Brilliant” tagline it has been using for the past few years, the WSJ reports, with company marketing chief Benjamin Ho saying they “haven’t been loud enough” with marketing to date. The first fruits of that change in strategy are already apparent, with HTC handing out snacks at the Galaxy S4 launch event in NYC, and the use of the hashtag #theNextBigFlop to directly take down the S4 on Twitter.
Ho also explained in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that supply shortage, specifically involving camera components (which are unique to the HTC One and use a new “Ultrapixel” layered sensor technology), is what’s behind the continued delay in launching the HTC One in the U.S. That’s acting as a choke point preventing the speedy ramp up of production, Ho told the WSJ.
While HTC is being more vocal in terms of both being aggressive with the competition and its products, and with informing the public about the real reason behind its slow global rollout of the flagship HTC One device, it has a lot of ground to make up. Q4 sales were down 41 percent year over year, and recently, HTC CEO Peter Chou said recently he’ll resign if the One fails to succeed with consumers.
The Taiwanese company will also be dumping funds into marketing, meaning that this change from the “Quiet” company of old isn’t just about optics. Ho said in the WSJ interview that it will be increasing its digital marketing spend by 250 percent this year compared with last, and that print and traditional media ads will get a 100 percent budget bump in 2013.
Pamela Colloff, executive editor and staff writer at Texas Monthly, interviewed by Max Linsky.
“There are many, many people who write and they have tragic stories, but they’re not necessarily compelling magazine articles. Figuring out what is a compelling magazine article and what isn’t is one of the more painful things about this. You can’t look into every case. But your job is to be a storyteller.”
via Longform Podcast.
Even at the ridiculously low pay rates at Foxconn, it was just a matter of time when the commodity of human labor would be too complicated to exploit. Foxconn reportedly has started deploying 10,000 robots which replace somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 workers. Within 3 years, Foxconn wants to install about 1 million robots – called Foxbots – and replace up to 1 million workers.
These robots do not immediately make financial sense as they apparently cost somewhere between $20,000 and $25,000 each and represent about three times the annual salary of an average worker at Foxconn – and this cost does not include running costs such as maintenance and power supply. But then we remember that salaries are likely to go up over time and Foxconn has had experience with complaints about labor conditions. These robots may be initially expensive, but they certainly will not ask for pay increases and not complain about the environment they work in and the number of hours they are online.