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The Almighty Buck

Millennials Are Obsessed With Side Hustles Because 'They're All' They've Got (qz.com) 346

Quartz ran an article over the weekend which captures a growing trend among millennials: to have a side job -- or as many of them call it, the "side-hustle." One of the reasons that people need this other gig is obviously money, but there are other factors at play as well. From the article: The side hustle offers something worth much more than money: A hedge against feeling stuck and dull and cheated by life. This psychological benefit is the real reason for the Millennial obsession, I'd argue, and why you might want to consider finding your own side hustle, no matter how old you are. Now one might say that this "side-hustle" is not a new phenomenon at all. People have since forever have had multiple jobs to make the ends meet. But the author argues that in the post 2008-crisis, we have witnessed a whole generation where one gig would simply not cut it all for many. The article adds: Previous generations have also coped with such semi-tragedy; probably every human ever has been a sort of actor-waiter at some point. In any case, those of us who are employed generally understand ourselves to be lucky. Working as a benefits administrator, an ad-sales rep or even a Facebook engineer might not be the dream job. But your side hustle can keep you from feeling pigeonholed. It's the distraction from your disappointment, a bridge between crass realities and your compelling inner life. In the best-case scenario, your side hustle can be like a lottery ticket, offering the possibility -- however remote -- that you just might hit the jackpot and discover that holy grail of gigs. The one that perfectly blends money and love. The one that's coming along any day now.
Businesses

MasterCard Is Buying the Core of the British Payments Infrastructure (fortune.com) 27

Mastercard has agreed to purchase a controlling stake in VocalLink, the payments processor that handles most payroll and household bill processing in the UK. The American payment giant will be paying up to $1.14 billion. Fortune reports: According to MasterCard MA, the deal would create "the first true combination of the traditional person-to-merchant cards business with a clearing business." That is, of course, presuming it clears regulatory scrutiny. VocaLink runs Link, the network that provides interoperability between British ATMs, as well as BACS, the clearing house for payments between bank accounts, and Faster Payments, the inter-bank transfer system for Internet and telephone-based payments.FastCompany explains what this could mean for MasterCard users.
Privacy

'The Hillary Leaks' - Wikileaks Releases 19,252 Previously Unseen DNC Emails (zerohedge.com) 460

Reader schwit1 writes: The state department's release of Hillary emails may be over, but that of Wikileaks is just starting. Moments ago, Julian Assange's whistleblower organization released over 19,000 emails and more than 8,000 attachments from the Democratic National Committee. This is part one of their new Hillary Leaks series, Wikileaks said in press release.:"Today, Friday 22 July 2016 at 10:30am EDT, WikiLeaks releases 19,252 emails and 8,034 attachments from the top of the US Democratic National Committee -- part one of our new Hillary Leaks series. The leaks come from the accounts of seven key figures in the DNC: Communications Director Luis Miranda (10770 emails), National Finance Director Jordon Kaplan (3797 emails), Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer (3095 emails), Finance Director of Data & Strategic Initiatives Daniel Parrish (1472 emails), Finance Director Allen Zachary (1611 emails), Senior Advisor Andrew Wright (938 emails) and Northern California Finance Director Robert (Erik) Stowe (751 emails). The emails cover the period from January last year until 25 May this year."
The emails released Friday cover a period from January 2015 to May 2016. They purportedly come from the accounts of seven key DNC staffers: Andrew Wright, Jordon Kaplan, Scott Comer, Luis Miranda, Robert Stowe, Daniel Parrish and Allen Zachary.

A quick scan of the emails focus on Bernie Sanders and dealing with the fallout of many Democrats opposing Hillary Clinton and calling the system "rigged." Many of the emails exchanged between top DNC officials are simply the text of news articles concerning how establishment democrats can "deal" with the insurgent left-winger.
Update: 07/22 17:41 GMT by M :Guccifer 2.0 has claimed responsibility for the leak.
Movies

'The Wolf of Wall Street' Movie Was Financed With Stolen Money, Says DOJ (nydailynews.com) 160

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NY Daily News: Federal officials charged a $3.5 billion Malaysian money-laundering scheme helped finance the Leonardo DiCaprio movie "Wolf of Wall Street" -- the Hollywood tale that parallels the corruption charges. U.S. officials seek to recover $1.3 billion of the missing funds, including profits from the Martin Scorsese-directed movie that earned five Oscar nominations. The conspirators used some of their illicit cash to fund Scorsese's tale of "a corrupt stockbroker who tried to hide his own illicit profits in a perceived foreign safe haven," said U.S. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell. DiCaprio famously played the lead role of convicted fraudster Jordan Belfort, who was ordered to repay $110 million to 1,500 victims of his scam. The identified conspirators included movie producer Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, the prime minister's stepson, and businessman Low Taek John, a friend of Najib's family. A third scammer identified only as "Malaysian Official 1" was widely believed to be Najib. Court papers indicated that $681 million from a 2013 bond sale went directly into the official's private account. The nation's attorney-general, Mohamed Apandi, came to Najib's defense Thursday, expressing his "strong concerns at the insinuations and allegations" brought against the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Apandi's office, after investigating the $681 million bank deposit, announced in January that the funds were a donation from the Saudi royal family. The prime minister wound up returning most of the cash. Federal officials, in their California court filing, indicated they were hoping to seize proceeds from the 2013 movie, along with luxury properties in New York and California, artwork by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet, and a $35 million private jet. Investigations of 1MDB are already underway in Switzerland and Singapore, with officials in the latter announcing Thursday that they had seized assets worth $176 million. This is shaping up to be the largest U.S. Justice Department asset recovery action in history.
DRM

EFF Is Suing the US Government To Invalidate the DMCA's DRM Provisions (boingboing.net) 93

Cory Doctorow, writes for BoingBoing: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has just filed a lawsuit that challenges the Constitutionality of Section 1201 of the DMCA, the "Digital Rights Management" provision of the law, a notoriously overbroad law that bans activities that bypass or weaken copyright access-control systems, including reconfiguring software-enabled devices (making sure your IoT light-socket will accept third-party lightbulbs; tapping into diagnostic info in your car or tractor to allow an independent party to repair it) and reporting security vulnerabilities in these devices. EFF is representing two clients in its lawsuit: Andrew "bunnie" Huang, a legendary hardware hacker whose NeTV product lets users put overlays on DRM-restricted digital video signals; and Matthew Green, a heavyweight security researcher at Johns Hopkins who has an NSF grant to investigate medical record systems and whose research plans encompass the security of industrial firewalls and finance-industry "black boxes" used to manage the cryptographic security of billions of financial transactions every day. Both clients reflect the deep constitutional flaws in the DMCA, and both have standing to sue the US government to challenge DMCA 1201 because of its serious criminal provisions (5 years in prison and a $500K fine for a first offense).Doctorow has explained aspects of this for The Guardian today. You should also check Huang's blog post on this.
Security

DARPA Will Stage an AI Fight in Las Vegas For DEF CON (yahoo.com) 89

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: "A bunch of computers will try to hack each other in Vegas for a $2 million prize," reports Tech Insider calling it a "historic battle" that will coincide with "two of the biggest hacking conferences, Blackhat USA and DEFCON". DARPA will supply seven teams with a supercomputer. Their challenge? Create an autonomous A.I. system that can "hunt for security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to attack a computer, create a fix that patches that vulnerability and distribute that patch -- all without any human interference."

"The idea here is to start a technology revolution," said Mike Walker, DARPA's manager for the Cyber Grand Challenge contest. Yahoo Tech notes that it takes an average of 312 days before security vulnerabilities are discovered -- and 24 days to patch it. "if all goes well, the CGC could mean a future where you don't have to worry about viruses or hackers attacking your computer, smartphone or your other connected devices. At a national level, this technology could help prevent large-scale attacks against things like power plants, water supplies and air-traffic infrastructure.

It's being billed as "the world's first all-machine hacking tournament," with a prize of $2 million for the winner, while the second and third place tem will win $1 million and $750,000.
Bug

Programming Bug Costs Citigroup $7M After Legit Transactions Mistaken For Test Data For 15 Years (theregister.co.uk) 135

An anonymous reader shares a report on The Register:A programming blunder in its reporting software has led to Citigroup being fined $7m. According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), that error [PDF] resulted in the financial regulator being sent incomplete "blue sheet" information for a remarkable 15 years -- from May 1999 to April 2014. The mistake was discovered by Citigroup itself when it was asked to send a large but precise chunk of trading data to the SEC in April 2014 and asked its technical support team to help identify which internal ID numbers they should run a request on. That team quickly noticed that some branches' trades were not being included in the automated system and alerted those above them. Four days later a patch was in place, but it wasn't until eight months later that the company received a formal report noting that the error had affected SEC reports going back more than a decade. The next month, January 2015, Citigroup fessed up to the SEC.The glitch resided in new alphanumeric branch codes that the bank had introduced in the mid-1990s. The program code filtered out any transactions that were given three-digit branch codes from 089 to 100 and used those prefixes for testing purposes. The report adds, "But in 1998, the company started using alphanumeric branch codes as it expanded its business. Among them were the codes 10B, 10C and so on, which the system treated as being within the excluded range, and so their transactions were removed from any reports sent to the SEC."
Businesses

Seagate Fires 6,500, Or 14% of Workforce, Stock Soars (zerohedge.com) 224

turkeydance quotes a report from Zero Hedge: [Seagate] announced today an additional restructuring plan for continued consolidation of its global footprint across Asia, EMEA and the Americas. The plan includes reducing the Company's global headcount by approximately 6,500 employees, or 14% of its global headcount by the end of fiscal year 2017. The total pretax charges for the plan will be approximately $164 million in fiscal year 2017. The restructuring activities and global footprint consolidation underway should enable the Company to be operating within its targeted Non-GAAP product gross margin range of 27-32% by the December 2016 quarter. "Computer-memory specialist Seagate announced that its Q4 revenue would be $2.65 billion, beating expectations of $2.34 billion, and up from the $2.3 billion guidance given previously," reports Zero Hedge. "The company also reported gross margin of 25% and non-GAAP gross margin of approximately 25.8% for the fiscal fourth quarter 2016, up from the previous 23% forecast. Good news, and the stock is up 12% after hours as a result."
Microsoft

Microsoft's Nadella Reshapes Top Management as Turner Leaves (bloomberg.com) 35

Dina Bass, reporting for Bloomberg: Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella announced a broad reorganization of the company's senior executive ranks as long-time Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner prepares to leave for another job. Instead of naming a new COO, Nadella appointed two executives to divvy up the sales responsibilities and report to him. Jean-Philippe Courtois will be in charge of global sales, marketing and operations spanning Microsoft's 13 business areas, Nadella said in a note to employees Thursday. Judson Althoff will lead the worldwide commercial business, including government and small and medium-sized businesses. Other executives already reporting to Nadella will take on parts of Turner's job, with Chris Capossela leading worldwide marketing, Kurt DelBene leading IT and Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood taking over the sales and marketing team's finance group, which had been separate.
Privacy

UK Police Accessed Civilian Data For Fun and Profit, Says Report (vice.com) 71

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Motherboard: A report from activist group Big Brother Watch surfaced that says more than 800 U.K. police staff inappropriately accessed personal information between June 2011 and December 2015. Motherboard reports: "The report says some police staff used their access to a growing trove of police data, which includes personal information on civilians, for entertainment and personal and financial gain. In several notable incidents, one Metropolitan Police officer found the name of a victim so funny that he attempted to take a photo of the driving license and send it to his friend over Snapchat. A Greater Manchester Police officer tipped someone off that they would be arrested, and one from North Yorkshire Police conducted a check on a vehicle on his phone whilst off-duty. The report also includes incidents of staff distributing other types of police data. Someone from South Wales Police was dismissed after photographing and distributing restricted documents "for personal gain," the report said. Not only was some information not needed for official police work, according to the report, but was shared with third parties outside the police, including some organized crime groups, 877 times. In total, 2,315 incidents of inappropriate access or distribution of data were reported. The majority of incidents, 1,283, ended up with no disciplinary action taking place, while 297 ended in a resignation or dismissal, 258 resulted in a written or verbal warning, and 70 led to a criminal conviction or caution."
The Almighty Buck

New Cars Are Too Expensive For The Typical Family, Says Study (gulfnews.com) 622

An anonymous reader quotes a report from GulfNews: A new analysis from Bankrate.com found that a median-income household in the U.S. could not afford the average price of a new vehicle in any of the 50 largest cities in the country, though cars are more affordable in some cities than others. The average price of a new car or light truck in 2016 is about $34,000, according to Kelley Blue Book. That's in part because new cars are loaded with helpful but expensive safety features like collision-avoidance systems. Bankrate calculated an "affordable" purchase price for major cities, using median incomes from U.S. census data, and factoring in costs for sales taxes and insurance. In San Jose, California -- the heart of Silicon Valley -- the median income is about $84,000, and an "affordable" new car purchase price is about $33,000 -- close to, but still below, the average new car price. In lower-income cities, however, affordable purchase prices for a typical family are far below the average cost of a new car. In Hartford, Connecticut, where the median income is about $29,000, an affordable purchase price is about $8,000 -- about a quarter of the average new-car price. Experian Automotive said the number of new cars bought with financing rose to more than 86 percent (Source: may be paywalled) in the first quarter of this year. The average loan amount topped $30,000, with the average term for a new-car loan in the 68-month range -- some stretch as long as seven years.
Google

Tech Overtakes Finance Among Top Global Companies (cityam.com) 33

An anonymous reader writes:Technology has stolen a march on finance, with the success of companies such as Alphabet and Microsoft helping the innovative sector surpass the traditional world of financial services among the world's top 100 companies over the past year. Technology firms in the list notched up a combined value of $3bn compared to financial firms' $2.7bn and the $2.6bn value of consumer goods companies. Apple held its position at the top of the ranking, compiled by PwC, despite losing $121bn in market value over the past year to the end of March, and the overall value of the world's top 100 firms falling four per cent -- the most significant decrease since the financial crisis, with a cash value of $668bn. Alphabet closed the gap on Apple in second place, narrowing its market capitalisation from $350bn to just $86bn, while Microsoft rounded out the top three. Facebook was in sixth position while Amazon entered the top 10 for the first time. Tech firms have better weathered more choppy conditions in the global markets, particularly conditions in China and Europe's struggle with economic growth.
Stats

New York Falls and Seattle Rises on 'America's Top Tech Cities' List (geekwire.com) 100

CRBE has released their annual list of the top tech cities in the U.S., analyzing 13 metrics (including salaries and housing costs) to "gauge the competitive advantage of markets and their ability to attract, grow and retain tech-talent pools." An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes an article from Geekwire: Seattle is the third best tech market in North America, trailing only the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington D.C.... Seattle passed New York for third this year on the back of a growing, well-paid and well-educated class of tech employees and a strong roster of big companies...with New York and Austin rounding out the top five.

The report shows a big divide in Seattle between a prosperous tech community and everyone else. Tech workers in Seattle make $110,999 on average, and their wages have increased close to 20 percent since 2010... The 177,380 people who work in other professional fields like finance, sales and marketing make an average of $57,603 per year and their wages have only increased 6.3 percent since 2010. During that same time period, apartment rents increased 39 percent to an average of $1,619 a month.

San Francisco had the highest annual salary for tech workers -- $123,921 -- followed by Seattle, which also had the highest percentage of workers with at least a bachelor's degree -- 59%. And there's also an interesting second list of the top small tech markets, which is led by Columbus, Ohio followed by Charlotte, North Carolina, and Portland, Oregon.
Blackberry

BlackBerry Remains Committed To Smartphone Business, Despite $670M Net Loss In Last Three Months (baytoday.ca) 78

AchilleTalon writes: BlackBerry CEO John Chen refuses to give up on the company's hardware business despite lackluster sales of its first Android-powered smartphone, the Priv. The Canadian smartphone maker reported a $670 million net loss in the first quarter of its 2017 financial year, but said its recovery plan for the year remains on track. Chen, who has stated the company's No. 1 goal is to make its smartphone device business profitable this fiscal year, said he expects the company's new mobility solutions segment to break even or record a slight profit during the third quarter, which ends Nov. 30, 2016. During BlackBerry's first quarter -- second full quarter to include Priv sales -- the company sold roughly 500,000 devices at an average price of $290 each, he said, which is about 100,000 smartphones fewer than the previous quarter and about 200,000 fewer than two quarters earlier. Previously, the company said it needs to sell about three million phones at an average of $300 each to break even, though Chen indicated that may change as the software licensing business starts to contribute to revenue.
Microsoft

Microsoft Launches NFC Payments For Windows 10 Phones (nfcworld.com) 76

Microsoft has finally added support for NFC payments to its mobile operating system Windows 10 Mobile. The company this week introduced the feature in an update to Microsoft Wallet app. Users will now be able to make mobile payments with their MasterCard or Visa accounts. The feature is now available to eligible Windows 10 Mobile handset users who are part of Windows Insiders program. Other users will get it with Windows 10 Anniversary Update in a few months. From a blog post on NFC World: Supporting banks and credit unions include Bank of America, BECU, Chase, First Tech, Fifth Third Bank, People's United Bank, US Bank and Virginia Credit Union. The launch date for each bank will be "posted when available," according to Microsoft. "Microsoft Wallet is a cloud-based payment technology that will make mobile payments simple and more secure for Windows 10 Mobile devices, starting in the US with our Lumia 950, 950 XL and 650," the company says. "With Microsoft Wallet, you simply tap your phone on a contactless payment terminal and your default credit or debit card is charged.
Power

Watts Bar Unit 2 Is The First New US Nuclear Reactor In Decades (washingtonpost.com) 117

tomhath writes from a report via The Washington Post: The Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) Watts Bar Unit 2 is the first nuclear reactor to come online since 1996, when the Watts Bar Unit 1 started operations. The new reactor is designed to add 1,150 megawatts of electricity generating capacity to southeastern Tennessee. By summer's end, authorities expect the new reactor at this complex along the Chickamauga Reservoir, a dammed section of the Tennessee River extending northward from Chattanooga, to steadily generate enough electricity to power 650,000 homes. But while nuclear reactors account for the lion's share of the carbon-free electricity generated in the United States, the industry faces this new set of circumstances in a state of near-crisis. A combination of very cheap natural gas and deregulated energy markets in some states has led to a growing number of plant closures in recent years. A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance says that renewable energy, including solar, wind and hydroelectric will overtake natural gas as an energy source by 2027.
Earth

Renewables Are Set To Overtake Gas and Coal By 2027 (computerworld.com) 263

Lucas123 writes: Renewable energy, including solar, wind and hydroelectric will overtake natural gas as an energy source by 2027. According to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, ten years later those same renewables will have surpassed the largest electricity-generating fossil fuel: coal. Solar and wind will account for almost 60% of the $11.4 trillion invested in energy over the next 25 years, according to Bloomberg's New Energy Outlook 2016 report. One conclusion that may surprise, Bloomberg noted, is that the forecast shows no golden age for natural gas, except in North America. As a global generation source, gas will be overtaken by renewables in 2027. The electric vehicle boom will increase electricity demand by 2,701TWh (terawatt hours), or 8% of global electricity demand in 2040. The rise of EVs will drive down the cost of lithium-ion batteries, making them increasingly attractive to be deployed alongside residential and commercial solar systems.
Security

DNC Hacker Releases Trump Opposition File (gawker.com) 421

An anonymous reader writes: Following the report that Russian hackers penetrated the DNC's database and stole research on Donald Trump, a 200+ page Democratic anti-Trump playbook compiled by the DNC has leaked online. In the book, Trump is called a "bad businessman" and "misogynist in chief." The document was created on December 19th, 2015, and was sent to Gawker by a hacker calling himself "Guccifer 2.0." (Guccifer is a popular Romanian hacker who hacked various American political figures, most notably Hillary Clinton and her private server.) The hacker said in an email to Gawker that the package contains a variety of donor registries and other strategy files, "just a few docs from many thousands I extracted when hacking into DNC's network," adding that he's in possession of "about 100GB of data including financial reports, donors' lists, election programs, action plans against Republicans, personal mails, etc." His motive is to be "a fighter against all those illuminati that captured our world." The "Donald Trump Report," as it's called, appears to be a summary of the Democratic Party's strategy for delegitimizing and undermining Trump's presidential aspirations. There's a section titled "Top Narratives" that describes a seven-pronged attack on Trump's character and record. The hack was first revealed Tuesday by the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, linking the hack to Russian intelligence. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange says later this year it will publish enough new information about Hillary Clinton to indict her.
Cloud

Oracle Whistleblower Suit Raises Questions Over Cloud Accounting (nbcnews.com) 63

Svetlana Blackburn, a former senior finance manager for Oracle claims that the company has fired her for not "inflating" revenues in its cloud services division. She alleges that her bosses had instructed her to add "millions of dollars of accruals" for expected business "with no concrete or foreseeable billing to support the numbers." Oracle eventually inflated the numbers without her assistance, anyway, she adds. From NBC News report: The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco by former Oracle senior finance manager Svetlana Blackburn, also revives longstanding questions about proper accounting when software and computer services are bought on a subscription basis rather than as a single package, analysts said. Those questions are becoming more urgent as companies including Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and SAP race to transform their businesses for an era in which customers no longer own and operate their own information technology systems and instead lease computing services and software from cloud vendors using vast data centers.A spokesperson for Oracle says that Blackburn's claims are wrong, adding, "We are confident that all our cloud accounting is proper and correct."
Businesses

Wal-Mart Says It Is 6-9 Months From Using Drones To Check Warehouse Inventory (yahoo.com) 106

Multinational retail corporation Wal-mart announced on Thursday that it is six to nine months from starting to use drones to check warehouse inventories in the United States. The drones, which are capable of operating on autopilot, fly through the aisles snapping 30 images a second, and deliver real-time data to employees about whether the correct product is shelved in the proper place. From a Reuters report: Finding ways to more efficiently warehouse, transport and deliver goods to customers has taken on new importance for Wal-Mart as it deals with wages costs while seeking to beat back price competition and boost online sales. Wal-Mart said the camera and technology on top of the drones have been custom-built for the retailer.

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