tech in the spotlight
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 21, 2013 05:40 PM
Cell phone batteries always seemingly go dead at the most inopportune times, but no matter what brand you’ve got in your pocket, that may change soon enough thanks to the work of one 18-year-old whiz kid.
In fact, millions of whiz kids from around the globe showed up with similar innovations to Intel's Young Scientist Awards. Whether it was earth-friendly biofuel, a possible vaccination for colon cancer, the “effect of essential oils on viral load” in honeybees, a test strip to determine if fruit had been naturally or artificially ripened, a better gunlock, or a remedy to fight cystic fibrosis, these kids weren’t fooling around. They were out to change the world.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 21, 2013 04:46 PM
In what was quite an eventful day for the aging internet company, Yahoo announced significant changes to Flickr at a media event in New York City on Monday—a perfectly timed distraction from concerns buzzing over its same-day Tumblr acquisition.
As announced at the press conference and on its blog, Flickr is back after a rough ride with a new design, photo-centric layout and one full terabyte of storage—way more than most users could ever use. “Given the odd nature of most photo sharing services, you are either limited to a few dozen gigabytes or, in the case of Instagram and other mobile services, an unstated upper limit that is not part of the marketing collateral. While I don’t doubt that Google or Facebook could make the terabyte claim in the near future, being first to market with this particular feature is an important milestone," TechCrunch notes.
Acquired by Yahoo in 2005, the service has since spoiled under Yahoo's rule, however CEO Marissa Mayer said she received an abundance of requests to improve the serice when she took the helm last year. “Flickr was once awesome, and it languished... now we want it to be awesome again," Mayer said in a press announcement. The service reaches 89 million people who have contributed over 8 billion photos, and with the new improvements, the service is bound to attract many more.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 21, 2013 03:52 PM
Apple CEO Tim Cook was in Washington, D.C. Tuesday to go before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation, which is accusing the huge corporation of avoiding paying US taxes.
Sure, Apple paid about $6 billion in taxes to the US government last year and, according to iMore.com, “already pays $1 out of every 40 tax dollars the U.S. collects,” but according to the committee, Apple has been stashing billions in offshore accounts in Ireland, where the company had reportedly negotiated a tax rate below 2 percent. One of the Irish subsidiaries is known as Apple Operations International, which has no employees but posted $30 billion in income from 2009 to 2012, the Committee reports.
"We are proud to be an American company, and we are equally proud of our contributions to the U.S. economy," Cook told the panel. While the company was lauded for its technilogical and economic contributions to the US, Sen. Carl Levin told the panel that "Apple executives want the public to focus on the U.S. taxes the company has paid, but the real issue is the billions in taxes it has not paid, thanks to offshore tax strategies whose purpose is tax avoidance, pure and simple," the L.A. Times reports.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 21, 2013 02:46 PM
It turns out the smartphone heir apparent is Samsung, as the global leading smartphone maker received quite the blessing from Consumer Reports:
“The Samsung Galaxy S 4, one of the most advanced Android smart phones ever, is our new top-rated smart phone. The S4 delivered top-notch performance in the most critical areas of our tests, including the camera. It dethrones the LG Optimus G, which occupied the top spot in our Ratings for several months.”
The Optimus G is now ranked No. 2, followed by the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Apple iPhone 5. The ranking is yet another blow to Apple's diminishing confidence and a boost to Samsung, as the two smartphone providers have been at each other's throats for a while. Samsung's latest ad was only the most recent in a long line of mud-slinging spots targeting the once dominant company.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 21, 2013 01:49 PM
After nearly a quarter century under American and then Indian ownership, the Jaguar brand is making a concerted effort to reassert its fundamental Britishness. Jaguar is going from dealer to dealer in the United States discussing new corporate-identity standards meant to wear the English origins and sensibilities—and production—of the cars on their hoods, as it were.
At least in part, the branding moves are meant to contrast Jaguar from its German rivals as Jaguar scraps anew for share in the crowded part of the luxury market around $70,000, with its new F-Type sports car.
The new standards—including a canopy for the service drive, a "heritage wall" and a performance center for the latest models—will "bring out the Britishness and aspects of our heritage," Andy Goss, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover North America, told Automotive News Europe. "We want to convey the message that we are not a Teutonic brand. We will appeal more to the senses. The biggest difference is a lot more color." Cranberry will accent the traditional British racing green in the new standards.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 21, 2013 12:54 PM
Fortunately, the issues brought to light by the recent horrors in Bangladesh are not disappearing from the headlines. Unfortunately, those who are culpable are not acting swiftly enough.
What little consensus has emerged from the rubble of a collapsed eight-story factory, which claimed over 1,120 lives, underscores the fact that public-private collaboration is vital to enact the sweeping reforms required for real change rather than corporate social responsibility campaigns. Major retailers including Walmart, Gap, JCPenney and Sears have yet to sign the proposed fire and safety agreements, while Walmart, like the wolf guarding the hen house, said it will monitor its 300-plus Bangladeshi suppliers itself. However, H&M, along with 30 other international retailers committed to the $3 billion fund to improve the safety of garment factories in Bangladesh.Continue reading...
brands during wartime
Posted by Abe Sauer on May 21, 2013 11:43 AM
Avoiding nuclear armageddon is great but avoiding nuclear armageddon with an icy cold Coca-Cola is better. As the saying goes, "Things go better with Coke."
The latest entry into the historical record of branding campaigns is Coca-Cola's new endeavor "to break down barriers and create a simple moment of connection between two nations—India and Pakistan."
On the sincere surface, it's a genuinely heartfelt message that creates an emotional bond with the brand. A more cynical reading is that it's a genuinely heartfelt message that creates an emotional bond with the brand in two markets in which Coca-Cola's market percentage lags.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 21, 2013 10:37 AM
The splashy debut of the new 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class in an Airbus factory in Hamburg, Germany, last week promises to shake up the global battle among the three German luxury brands for worldwide dominance.
From the choice of seven different interior-light colors to radar and night-vision systems that practically allow the sedan to drive itself, the new S-Class gives Mercedes-Benz reason to believe that it can compete more effectively in the US market and worldwide with arch rivals BMW and Audi.
For its part, Audi is emphasizing more of a shift to high-performance models to help fuel its continued rise in the US market and elsewhere, while BMW is counting on the US debut of three new models this fall to help the brand keep its American premium-luxury crown for the third straight year even though Mercedes-Benz leads the segment in US sales so far this year.Continue reading...