Month: May 2017

NBN Co hopes to reduce network congestion with new lower supplier costs

If you’re one of the thousands of Australian NBN customers who’ve suffered from slower-than-expected internet speeds, help might finally be on the way.

Back in February, NBN Co announced a new discount scheme for its capacity-based Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC) charges, but it’s only today that those reductions actually go into effect.

CVC pricing has to do with how the national broadband service sells wholesale access to retail service providers (RSPs), like your ISP. Historically, these charges have been high: $20 per Mbps per month when the service began, then was brought down to $17.50 in November 2014. Last year, the price fell to $15.25.

Starting today, the discounts will increase based on how many end-users the RSP has connected. In theory, that means ISPs are incentivised to add more overall bandwidth as their customer base grows.

For the end user

NBN Co’s latest weekly update boasted that the broadband service was now available to over 5 million premises, but less than half of those have signed up for the service. NBN Co is hoping this new discount scheme should also help boost those numbers.

The lower supplier cost should especially benefit major resellers like Telstra, Optus and TPG, as they can buy more CVC and provide high-speed internet to more customers, thus reducing the congestion that’s been plaguing some parts of the network, particularly during peak times.

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/nbn-co-hopes-to-reduce-network-congestion-with-new-lower-supplier-costs

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After investing in Twitter, Steve Ballmer gave up investing (TWTR)

steve ballmer

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, California — When Steve Ballmer retired from the CEO job at Microsoft in 2014, he set his sights on becoming a tech investor and soon made a big bet on Twitter, acquiring a 4% stake.

That bet has not turned out very well so far, and now the former Microsoft head honcho admits he’s lost his taste for investing. 

At the Code Conference taking place near Los Angeles this week, Ballmer discussed his short-lived stint as a tech investor and his decision to move on to other pursuits.

“I’m out of that phase, for those of you who might be looking for money. I’m not in that phase at all anymore,” he said. “I’m out of that investment thing.”

He’s focused on owning his NBA basketball team, the LA Clippers; running his philanthropic organization with his wife, The Ballmer Group; and playing golf, he told Business Insider on the sidelines of the conference.

Back around the time he bought stock in Twitter it was trading at well above $25 per share. The stock is currently well below $20, as the internet company’s stagnant user growth and internal turmoil have tarnished its image on Wall Street.

Ballmer didn’t blame Twitter’s poor stock performance for souring him on investing, but he laughed about it, saying it was part of a “magical decision” he made at that time to try out a new career.

While he wouldn’t say if he’s sold off much of his Twitter stake, Ballmer confirmed that he still has a sizeable stake.

A believer and a critic

These days, Ballmer doesn’t even tune into the quarterly conference calls, though he says he still believes in the company, its role in sharing information real-time and its ability to let people talk directly to each other.

“I still have a lot of money into the concept that says there is an opportunity to make it into a real business,” he said, although he also added he doesn’t see “exactly” how the company would immediately do that.

Jack DorseyBallmer continues to be vocal in his criticism of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who is doing double duty as CEO of online payment company Square.

“Being a CEO is a hard job, right? I can speak to that. Being a CEO of two things, I can’t even imagine,” he said. “You can’t do that if you are really going to do the right thing for your shareholders.”

Interestingly, Ballmer acknowledged that he’s never really gotten into tweeting much himself, feeling like his tweets were sort of boring or repetitive. 

“I just felt like, how many times could I tweet, ‘Ho! Great game today!'” he laughed. “I don’t want to be that guy. I want to have something interesting to say.”

SEE ALSO: Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer wants his wealth to help families here at home in the US

SEE ALSO: New York Times editor: There are 2 reasons the Trump administration has so many leaks

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NOW WATCH: Trump accidentally tweeted ‘covfefe’ — and Twitter immediately turned it into a huge meme

Box CEO Aaron Levie is taking a page from Jeff Bezos’ playbook as he primes the company for the next year (BOX, AMZN)

Aaron Levie

As Box CEO Aaron Levie prepares his company for the future, he’s taking inspiration from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. 

If Box is going to stay relevant for years or decades to come, it can’t take anything for granted, Levie told Business Insider on Wednesday in an interview following his company’s latest quarterly report. It has to try to capitalize on what it sees as its big opportunities, even if that means making investments in things that aren’t obvious and won’t pay off immediately.

In saying that, Levie was consciously channeling Bezos, who’s famously tried to instill in his company that it’s “always Day 1,” and there is room to experiment and make big bets.

“That’s exactly our mentality,” Levie says. “We’re starting over right now.” 

Box has a good base to build on. The cloud content management service (don’t call it a file storage app), reported better-than-expected quarterly results on Wednesday afternoon. Its loss narrowed from the year-ago period and, for only its second time, it posted positive free cash flow for a quarter. The company also upped its guidance for the rest of its 2018 fiscal year

All that led Box shares to jump about 4% after the closing bell.

With the company now about two and a half years out from its IPO, Levie is focused on his company’s future. 

The whole notion of “work” is slated for massive upheaval over the next decade, as automation, artificial intelligence, and the slow demise of the PC change the way that offices operate, Levie says. With its focus on intelligently organizing files and making them accessible from any device, Box can benefit from that transformation, he says.

“The first core principle is that we have to grow fast enough to capture this opportunity,” says Levie. “We want to power how the world works together.”

The future

Levie says that Box is making two big bets for the future.

First, it’s upping its investment in the Box Platform, which lets developers build Box’s storage and file organization into their own apps. By providing developers with a system that lets them store and retrieve files across devices, Box stands to benefit no matter what the next generation of computing looks like, Levie says.

Box IPO

Second, Box is trying to expand internationally as it looks to grow its base of customers.

Customers who are using Box today are better-positioned to take advantage of the wild, AI-powered, cross-device world of tomorrow, thanks to the company’s investments, Levie says.

“We need to build a platform that works with that next decade of work,” he says. 

The challenge Box faces is to balance those next-generation aspirations with the kinds of things that shareholders want to see, Levie says. Box is already taking steps in that direction too. Not only did its overall loss narrow in its most recent quarter, its sales and marketing spend, long a point of contention, was down as well.

While trying to keep a Bezos-like mindset, Levie says that he also wants to be responsible as Box moves forward.

“We want growth, but we want healthy growth,” says Levie.

SEE ALSO: Box boosted its number of customers and topped revenue targets —and the stock is popping

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NOW WATCH: This lunch box for adults could change the way you eat

Production on Apple Siri Speaker has started, report says

Amazon Echo and Google Home likely won't make it to Christmas without a little extra competition, as it appears Apple's smart speaker debut has been put into motion.

A Siri-powered speaker from the iPhone maker has reportedly entered production, with an announcement to follow as soon as next week during Apple's WWDC 2017 event, sources familiar with the project tell Bloomberg.

Though the unveiling of Apple's rumored Siri Speaker could come as soon as June 5, the report says it's not expected to ship out until later this year.

This isn't the first time we've heard tell that a Siri Speaker would show at WWDC. KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted earlier this month that Apple will reveal its smart speaker at the conference, alongside a new iPad.

Several other reports and rumors also placed their chips on a Siri Speaker reveal at WWDC, and we can't blame them — Amazon Echo and Google Home have found an audience, leaving Apple and its suite of products like Apple Music, Apple Homekit, AirPlay, and almost entirely unattended by the smart speaker market.

As for when we'll get the official word on the Siri Speaker, we only have to wait until this coming Monday, where we also plan to learn more about what Apple has in store for other products like the iPad Pro, iPhone SE 2, the MacBook, and possibly even iOS 11.   

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/production-on-apple-siri-speaker-has-started-report-says

Uber said it lost $700 million in Q1 and it’s looking for a public company CFO as its head of finance leaves

Uber’s head of finance is leaving the company, putting the ride-hailing startup in the tricky position of trying to recruit two high-level executives as it grapples with multiple scandals and bleeds hundreds of millions of dollars in red ink every quarter.

Uber lost $708 million, excluding stock compensation expenses, in the first three months of the year, an Uber spokesperson told Business Insider. Uber’s head of finance, Gautam Gupta, is leaving Uber to join an unspecified startup, Uber said. 

Uber said it is launching a search for a CFO with public company experience — a move that could kick off Uber’s march to go public. 

News of Gupta’s departure and Uber’s financial results were first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

Developing…

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NOW WATCH: I wear these computer glasses every day even though I have perfect vision — here’s why

Hillary Clinton made a stinging joke about Trump’s mysterious “covfefe” tweet

Hillary Clinton

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, California — Even Hillary Clinton had a zinger about “covfefe.” 

The apparent typo word, embedded in a middle-of-the night tweet by President Trump, was the joke of the day on Wednesday online and across the nation. No less so here at the Code Conference, an annual gathering of the tech industry elite. 

During her appearance at the conference, Clinton talked about Russia’s alleged attempts to influence last year’s election to Trump’s benefit. That’s when she got in her “covfefe” barb.

“I think it was a hidden message to the Russians,” she said.

The audience, largely made up of people who supported her in the election, laughed.

Trump got the ball rolling on “covfefe” last night when he wrote in a since-deleted tweet, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”. 

The tweet immediately went viral, and an internet meme was born. Trump himself even poked fun at his apparent typo, writing in a later tweet, “Who can figure out the true meaning of ‘covfefe’ ??? Enjoy!”

Despite the joke, Clinton was attempting to make some more serious points about the role of social media in the nation’s politics. Her loss to Trump was due in part social media platforms becoming “weaponized” and used by the Russians to spread misinformation about her, she said. 

She called on Facebook to “prevent fake news from creating a new reality.” She called out Twitter, too.

“Twitter has become victimized by deliberate efforts to shape our conversations, to shift it to conspiracies, lies, whatever,” she said. “It’s the same problem Facebook has.”

Clinton said she appreciates that these companies want their services to be open platforms with no censorship. And she said she sympathizes with the people at those companies who are trying to address these issues. But, at least for a while, as a test, she wants them to err on the side of removing reported trouble makers and suspicious news from their platforms.

“I would urge them to hurry up” and solve the problem, she said.

 

SEE ALSO: New York Times editor: There are 2 reasons the Trump administration has so many leaks

SEE ALSO: Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer wants his wealth to help families here at home in the US

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Chinese inventors show off the gladiator robot they want to use to challenge the US’ ‘Megabot’

Microsoft will now pay you to use Bing over Google

Microsoft Rewards launches in the UK today, allowing you to earn points for making purchases online and by simply just searching the web. The catch? You have to use Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

This isn’t new, as the loyalty program has been available in the US for a while, but now Microsoft is rolling it out to Britain in an attempt to court people away from market-leader Google (other search engines are available).

However, is the offer of 'free' Xbox Live membership, a Groove Music Pass or the chance to win an Xbox One S – if you use Bing an awful lot – really enough to tempt people to use the service?

We're not sure, but if you like the sound of it, here's what you need to know about Microsoft Rewards.

How to earn Microsoft Reward points

So how does the point system work? Allow Microsoft to explain: “The more searches you do through Bing, the more points you will earn. 

“On Bing, Level 1 members can earn points for up to 10 searches a day and Level 2 members can earn points for up to 50 searches a day (30 PC, 20 mobile). The search limit resets every day, so you can start earning again tomorrow.” 

One search on Bing equals three points. You can also earn points by purchasing products through the Windows, Xbox and Microsoft stores, and you’ll get one point for every £1 spent.

If you fancy earning extra points, there will be daily quizzes and challenges on the Microsoft Rewards dashboard – you'll need to sign up first though at Rewards.Microsoft.co.uk.

How to redeem Microsoft Reward points

It’s all very well earning a load of lovely points, but what are they good for? Well for 200 points you can enter sweepstakes to win items such as a Microsoft Surface Pro or Xbox One S. 

If you want to exchange your points for something tangible, an Xbox Live Gold Membership will set you back a whopping 6,000 points, while a 1 month Groove Music Pass is a staggering 9,500 – that’s a lot of searches. 

A 12 month Groove Music Pass meanwhile is 110,000 points (or 99,900 if you’re at Level 2). Points can also be used at the Microsoft Store on a range of products – but the tariffs are likely to be just as steep.

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/microsoft-will-now-literally-pay-you-to-use-bing-over-google