Amazon to ship electronics in Brazil from third-party sellers

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc began offering electronics from third-party sellers to Brazilian shoppers on Wednesday, expanding beyond books in the fiercely competitive e-commerce market in Latin America’s largest economy.

The long-awaited move will offer televisions, cell phones and laptops from hundreds of independent sellers on Amazon’s website in Brazil without involving the company in the tricky logistics that have hurt many online retailers in the country.

Alex Szapiro, Amazon’s country manager in Brazil, declined to say if there were plans for the company to stock its own electronics inventory or open a fulfillment center to ship third-party goods more efficiently, as it did simultaneously with the launch of independent sellers in Mexico two years ago.

“Each country has a different playbook,” said Szapiro in an interview with Reuters at Amazon headquarters in Sao Paulo. He helped launch the company’s Brazil business with e-books in 2012 after running operations for Apple Inc in the country for five years.

Shares of local e-commerce rivals MercadoLibre Inc, Magazine Luiza SA and B2W Cia Digital have fallen 14 percent, 17 percent and 20 percent, respectively, in the past week on concerns of heightened competition from Amazon.

Keeping pace with the local e-commerce market, Amazon will parcel purchases into as many as 10 monthly installments without interest, a practice the company started in Brazil for Kindle e-reader sales in 2014, then extended to Mexico and other markets.

Sellers will be paid up-front, minus a 10 percent commission to Amazon and fees of 19 reais ($ 6) per month or 2 reais per item. Szapiro called the 10 percent commission a “promotional” rate without saying when or how much it would eventually rise.

($ 1 = 3.16 reais)

Reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

Tech

Here's Why Anyone Will Be Able to Develop a Computer Program 5 Years from Now

These days, while our grandparents struggle endearingly to send a text message or compose an email, we struggle to remember that the use of computers and smartphones wasn’t always intuitive.

Though we understand on an intellectual level that such objects are foreign to them, it’s hard to internalize; after all, most of us caught on to laptops and smartphones as soon as they became the standard.

But a few decades from now, will we be those clueless grandparents? Just as it’s become so natural and intuitive to use computer software, will our children and our children’s children think it’s equally as natural and intuitive to build it?

Back in high school and college, most of us tended to distance ourselves from the field of coding, assuming that it required too much specialized knowledge to tackle on even an elementary level. But that’s no longer the case today. Coding could easily become mainstream in the next few years, and we’ll probably all need to jump onboard regardless of our levels of experience.

Coding is more accessible than ever

Although self-taught coding isn’t new, it’s become easier and more realistic for the everyday person. Decades ago, teaching yourself coding was tedious and required an enormous amount of effort. You had to sort through physical textbooks and copy problem sets by hand, without many resources or available mentors to help you if you got stuck.

Nowadays, it’s different. First, there are more online coding courses available than anyone could count. Since each has a different approach, it’s easy to find ones that are suited for particular learning styles. The ever-popular Khan Academy offers coding courses with periodic mini-quizzes that students can use to test themselves and stay on track. Another program, Skillcrush, offers one-on-one office hours with the professor, as well as a 10-day coding bootcamp for those short on time.

Many of these courses are also specialized for individual skill levels and needs. While there are always those that cater to advanced coders, more and more are serving beginning coders, including older folks and kids.

Second, there are plenty of online resources to facilitate the coding process and supplement these courses. With the explosion of social media and the popularity of online forums, it’s easier than ever to connect with other coders and potential mentors for help. There are even sites that are intended specifically for this. HackHands, for example, makes programming experts available for live online chats 24/7.

Third, the coding process itself is also easier. No longer is it necessary to create simple units of code from scratch. Instead, existing bits of commonly used code components are accessible through open-source platforms like Bit. This means that rather than create each individual piece of code by hand, developers of all levels can put together lego-like building blocks of code, share their code with others, and use it across different projects.

These tools can serve as the infrastructure for building new applications with a simple composition of existing components. Since code is easier than ever to learn and requires less and less specialized knowledge to build, anyone will be able to create their own computer programs in the next few years.

Coding as a practical skill

The significance of all this is not just that programming will be more convenient for developers or even aspiring coding hobbyists. Even more importantly, the availability, accessibility, and increasing popularity of programming means that coding soon will become a mainstream practical skill–one that doesn’t require a university education to acquire.

This is about employability as much as it is about convenience. In the United States, university tuition is notoriously expensive. These days, the cost of private university courses, room, and board can amount to $ 60,000 per year. At the same time, American jobs are increasingly outsourced to countries with cheap labor. The result is that many Americans lack the basic practical skills so important to the American workforce. Instead, they invest in a strictly academic education which, though valuable, is notoriously expensive.

Now that it’s particularly vital for Americans to develop practical skills and now that university education is more expensive than most can afford, widespread knowledge of coding as a basic practical skill is both beneficial and feasible. The gig economy has made modern jobs more fluid and flexible than they were a few decades ago; career shifts and alternative forms of education are not only easier to pursue, but they’re also more culturally acceptable than they once were.

This isn’t to say that self-taught coding should replace traditional forms of higher education. Rather, it’s to say that it could be a viable option for people who can’t afford the high cost of a formal university education, who don’t have access to institutions of higher education at all, or who simply want to eliminate the pressure of having to pursue a degree in a technical field.

Learning to code, after all, is just as inexpensive as it is accessible, and it’s becoming increasingly standard to pursue on the side. In just a few years, building a computer program will be as normal as using one.

Tech

Former Equifax chief will face questions from U.S. Congress over hack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers are due to question the former head of Equifax Inc (EFX.N) at a Tuesday hearing that could shed light on how hackers accessed the personal data of more than 140 million consumers.

Richard Smith retired last week but the 57-year-old executive will answer for the breach that the credit bureau acknowledged in early September.

Late Monday, Equifax said an independent review had boosted the number of potentially affected U.S. consumers by 2.5 million to 145.5 million.

In March, the U.S. Homeland Security Department alerted Equifax to an online gap in security but the company did nothing, said Smith.

“The vulnerability remained in an Equifax web application much longer than it should have,” Smith said in remarks prepared for delivery on Tuesday. “I am here today to apologize to the American people myself.”

Smith will face the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday but there will be three more such hearings this week.

Equifax keeps a trove of consumer data for banks and other creditors who want to know whether a customer is likely to default.

The cyber-hack has been a calamity for Equifax which has lost roughly a quarter of its stock market value and seen several top executives step down alongside Smith.

Smith’s replacement, Paulino do Rego Barros Jr., has also apologized for the hack and said the company will help customers freeze their credit records and monitor any misuse.

There has been a public outcry about the breech but no more than 3.0 percent of consumers have frozen their credit reports, according to research firm Gartner, Inc.

Smith said hackers tapped sensitive information between mid-May and late-July.

Security personnel noticed suspicious activity on July 29 and disabled web application a day later, ending the hacking, Smith said. He said he was alerted the following day, but was not aware of the scope of the stolen data.

On Aug. 2, the company alerted the FBI and retained a law firm and consulting firm to provide advice. Smith notified the board’s lead director on Aug. 22.

Patrick Rucker contributed from Washington; editing by Clive McKeef.

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Tech

The cloud switch is on: From migration to management

At this week’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, I saw a shift in vendor focus. Last year, the big focus was migration. Whether the product was Office 365, Azure, or Dynamics, the framing was how to migrate, so many vendors offered migration tools. This year, despite a continued strong presence of migration offerings, the buzz had shifted to cloud management, typically via managed services offerings.

Rocco Seyboth, vice president of product and marketing for BitTitan (a company traditionally focused on migration), said vendors seek to shift from offering a one-time set of project services to offering recurring managed services. Being able to offer a combination of services after migration is essential for businesses to remain relevant — and keep making money.

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Cloud Computing

Five Important Lessons From A Trip To The Apple Store

Cloud Computing

Circle Makes China Play: Raises $60 Million From Baidu, IDG Capital, Breyer; Forms Circle China

The service is laying the groundwork to enable global renminbi payments, a process that the CEO admits could take years, but targets what is projected to soon become the world’s dominant economy.


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Stunning onboard view follows SpaceX’s rocket from space to ocean landing

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Last time Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket stuck its ocean landing, he released a jaw-dropping video. This time, Musk has outdone himself. The latest onboard view from the Falcon 9 booster will zip you from space to the ocean landing and blow your mind. 

The brief video speeds up the rocket’s trip and ends with its graceful landing on a drone ship in Cape Canaveral, Florida, following the launch of the SpaceX Thaicom 8 communications satellite headed for orbit. 

In addition to showing up on YouTube, the video has also been shared by Musk on social media, with s Read more…

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Get the Most From Your Hybrid Cloud

Get the Most From Your Hybrid Cloud

Gartner predicted 75 percent of large enterprises would have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2015.

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White House reportedly won’t back encryption bill arising from iPhone case

The Apple Store in San Francisco.

(Reuters) – The White House is declining to offer public support for draft legislation that would empower judges to require technology companies such as Apple Inc to help law enforcement crack encrypted data, sources familiar with the discussions said.

The decision all but assures that the years-long political impasse over encryption will continue even in the wake of the high-profile effort by the Department of Justice to force Apple to break into an iPhone used by a gunman in last December’s shootings in San Bernardino, California.

President Obama suggested in remarks last month that he had come around to the view that law enforcement agencies needed to have a way to gain access to encrypted information on smartphones.

But the administration remains deeply divided on the issue, the sources said.

The draft legislation from Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, the Republican chair and top Democrat respectively of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is expected to be introduced as soon as this week.

The bill gives federal judges broad authority to order tech companies to help the government but does not spell out what companies might have to do or the circumstances under which they could be ordered to help, according to sources familiar with the text. It also does not create specific penalties for noncompliance.

Although the White House has reviewed the text and offered feedback, it is expected to provide minimal public input, if any, the sources said.

Its stance is partly a reflection of a political calculus that any encryption bill would be controversial and is unlikely to go far in a gridlocked Congress during an election year, sources said.

A White House spokesman declined to comment on the pending legislation, but referred to White House press secretary Josh Earnest’s statements on encryption legislation. Last month Earnest said the administration is “skeptical” of lawmakers’ ability to resolve the encryption debate given their difficulty in tackling “simple things.”

Tech companies and civil liberties advocates have opposed encryption legislation, arguing that mandating law enforcement access to tech products will undermine security for everyone. Several lawmakers, including U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, a Democrat, have vowed to oppose any attempt to limit encryption protections in U.S. technology products.

Even some intelligence officials worry that enabling law enforcement agencies to override encryption will create more problems than it solves by opening the door to hackers and foreign intelligence services. Some also say it is unnecessary because the government has other means of getting the information it needs.

The Justice Department dropped its legal action against Apple last week, saying it had found a way to hack into the phone.

Apple vs FBIThe White House last year backed away from pursuing legislation that would require U.S.technology firms to provide a “back door” to access encrypted data. The backpedaling resembled a retreat by President Bill Clinton’s administration in the 1990s on efforts to require a special computer chip in phones to give the U.S. government a way to monitor encrypted conversations.

But the desire for encryption legislation among some intelligence and law enforcement officials has never gone away, and it gained new life after the Islamist militant-inspired attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.

Obama, speaking at the South by Southwest entertainment festival in Austin, Texas, last month, warned against “fetishizing our phones” and said that doing nothing to address law enforcement’s encryption challenges “can’t be the right answer.”

Obama, however, also cautioned against Congress taking any action that would be “sloppy and rushed.”

Apple and others have called on Congress to help find a solution to the problem of criminals and terrorists using encryption to avoid surveillance. A separate proposal to form a national encryption commission to further study the issue is also not expected to be enacted this year.

Meanwhile, tech companies are stepping up their efforts to implement encryption and other security measures. The Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp announced this week that it had implemented complete encryption of its service – and now cannot get access to customer messages even if was ordered to by a court.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball and Dustin Volz; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Grant McCool)

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10 big announcements from Google’s Cloud Conference

In San Francisco this week at Pier 48, overlooking the Giants’ AT&T Ballpark, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) executives are holding a user conference to introduce products and services they hope will help make the case for choosing Google in the cloud.

Sam Charrington, a cloud and big data analyst and advisor, summed up Google executives’ pitch best this week on Twitter: “GCP exec team’s operating thesis: ‘Cloud’s not done. The industry’s just beginning the journey.”

+MORE AT NETWORK WORLD: Is Google pushing the cloud envelope too far? +

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How Salesforce helped Encyclopaedia Britannica shift from leather-bound books to digital …

Scott graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in English Literature and a diploma in Magazine Journalism. He has a keen interest in disruptive …

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How SMBs Get Double Duty from Salesforce’s Desk.com

How SMBs Get Double Duty from Salesforce's Desk.com

Salesforce’s Desk.com has always been unapologetically designed with small companies’ needs in mind.  The default assumption about these companies is that they run their CRM operations using some combination of email and spreadsheet. Ditto their finance ops, their procurement ops and so on.  What San Francisco-based Salesforce did when it

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Cloud Computing

Uber just announced one-way trips from California to Tijuana

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 3.31.35 PM
Today, Uber announced that it will start offering rides that span international borders, at least for California residents hoping to make it into Mexico for spring break. Uber is already available in San Diego and Tijuana, but international restrictions have so far kept drivers from crossing the border with passengers, a move that saw many riders dropped off at the border and hailing a cab — or another Uber — once they walked across. Now, riders and drivers equipped with the necessary documentation — a US passport — can make the trip into Mexico before the driver is met with the…

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Health Tech Startup CliniCloud Secures $5M Seed Funding From Tencent

Going to the doctor and waiting for a short check-up can be frustrating and expensive. For common conditions like asthma or a cold, a stethoscope and thermometer are usually first used to make a diagnosis. But what if you could do it yourself from home?

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Health Tech Startup CliniCloud Secures $5M Seed Funding From Tencent

Going to the doctor and waiting for a short check-up can be frustrating and expensive. For common conditions like asthma or a cold, a stethoscope and thermometer are usually first used to make a diagnosis. But what if you could do it yourself from home?

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Health Tech Startup CliniCloud Secures $5M Seed Funding From Tencent

Going to the doctor and waiting for a short check-up can be frustrating and expensive. For common conditions like asthma or a cold, a stethoscope and thermometer are usually first used to make a diagnosis. But what if you could do it yourself from home?


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Apple drops iCloud prices, matches rival storage services from Google and Microsoft

For the second year in a row, Apple reduced prices for its expanded iCloud storage plans, putting costs in line with rivals like Google, Microsoft and Dropbox.

Apple announced changes to iCloud extra storage pricing earlier this month at the event where it unveiled new iPhones, the larger iPad Pro and a revamped Apple TV.

Although the Cupertino, Calif., company did not boost the amount of free storage space — as Computerworld speculated it might — and instead continued to provide just 5GB of iCloud space gratis, it bumped up the $ 0.99 per month plan from 20GB to 50GB, lowered the price of the 200GB plan by 25 percent to $ 2.99 monthly, and halved the 1TB plan’s price to $ 9.99.

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‘Minecraft: Story Mode’ Is Building A Plot From Scratch

Telltale’s Job J. Stauffer speaks with Forbes contributor Todd Kenreck on the challenges of bringing story to the Minecraft universe and adding crafting to a Telltale-style game.


Cloud Computing

A Surprisingly Practical Guide to Cannibalism From Eli Roth

A Surprisingly Practical Guide to Cannibalism From Eli Roth

We would never implement Eli Roth’s ideas about cannibalism, but…

The post A Surprisingly Practical Guide to Cannibalism From Eli Roth appeared first on WIRED.



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Fair Parade Treats from NBU Will benefit The United Way

The posts on this comments board are strictly the opinions of the individual poster and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the owner of this website, the webhosting service, New Braunfels Communications, Inc., d/b/a KGNB-AM and KNBT-FM radio, …


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Bring your company’s ‘dark data’ to light with this free new tool from Tamr

All the analytics tools in the world won’t do a company much good if it doesn’t know what data it has to analyze. Tamr offers a free, downloadable tool designed to help tackle that “dark data” problem.

Dark data generally refers to all the information an organization collects, processes and stores but doesn’t use for analytics or other purposes. It’s often unstructured or qualitative data that’s harder to keep track of than numerical data is, and by research firm IDC’s reckoning, it can account for as much as 90 percent of an organization’s information assets.

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Bring your company’s ‘dark data’ to light with this free new tool from Tamr

All the analytics tools in the world won’t do a company much good if it doesn’t know what data it has to analyze. Tamr offers a free, downloadable tool designed to help tackle that “dark data” problem.

Dark data generally refers to all the information an organization collects, processes and stores but doesn’t use for analytics or other purposes. It’s often unstructured or qualitative data that’s harder to keep track of than numerical data is, and by research firm IDC’s reckoning, it can account for as much as 90 percent of an organization’s information assets.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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Five ‘Must-Do’s’ For Your Company’s Future Success From VMware CEO, Pat Gelsinger

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger offers five imperatives for digital businesses competing in the mobile-cloud era.


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5 Things You Must Do To Keep Some Dirtbag From Renting Out Your Crib While You’re Away on Vacay

While “John and Ed” were at Burning Man earlier this month, their paid house sitter (from TrustedHousesitters.com no less) listed their San Francisco pad on Airbnb. , this naturally prompts the question: what can I, as a person who leaves my home from time to time, do to prevent something similar, or worse, from happening to me? Here’s the answer.


Cloud Computing

Sharks Can Sense Electricity, and That Might Save Them from Extinction

Anyone who has ever gone fishing knows that you don’t always catch what you’re trying to catch. In industrial fishing, that problem is called “bycatch,” and it can have grave consequences.

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Be Your Own NSA: How To Keep Some Dirtbag From Renting Out Your Crib While You’re Away on Vacay

While “John and Ed” were at Burning Man earlier this month, their paid house sitter (from TrustedHousesitters.com no less) listed their San Francisco pad on Airbnb. , this naturally prompts the question: what can I, as a person who leaves my home from time to time, do to prevent something similar, or worse, from happening to me? Here’s the answer.


Cloud Computing

GIGAS Hosting Receives Favourable Report From MAB – A Cloud Computing Service Provider …

The Coordination and Admissions Committee of the Mercado Alternativo Bursátil (MAB) has submitted to the Board of Directors a favourable report on …


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Citrix Systems Receives $77.74 Consensus Price Target from Analysts (NASDAQ:CTXS)

The cloud computing company reported $ 1.00 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $ 0.82 by $ 0.18. The business …

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Mt. Gox CEO Embezzled User Funds From Bankrupt Bitcoin Exchange, Officials Charge

Mark Karpelès—former CEO of the now-kaput Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox—faces embezzlement charges for allegedly stealing millions of dollars from his clients.


Cloud Computing