Discus Systems PLC - IT Support Company in Birmingham West midlands
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 7th Jun 2017

Travel chaos at HeathrowImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

As British Airways (BA) finally starts to recover from a disastrous IT failure, an inquest is under way into what went wrong and why it has taken so long to fix it.

I've been contacted by someone who spent 30 years in corporate IT with some interesting theories.

The man - who doesn't want to be named - says airlines probably invest more in IT than any other organisations apart from banks, so this kind of thing just should not happen.

But he has three questions.

Why did a power failure have such an impact?

BA blames a power cut but in the words of my expert, it shouldn't have caused "even a flicker of the lights" in the data-centre. The UPS - the uninterruptible power supply - should have kicked in immediately.

The only issue should have been making sure the back-up generator was kept fed with fuel.

Why was it so difficult to recover?

Even if the power could not be restored, the airline's Disaster Recovery Plan should have whirred into action. But that will have depended in part on veteran staff with knowledge of the complex patchwork of systems built up over the years. Many of those people may have left when much of the IT operation was outsourced to India.

And there may have been a situation where one team was frantically trying to restore the original system while elsewhere another team was attempting to fire up the back-up - with managers unsure which of the two workstreams to prioritise.

Flights cancelled at HeathrowImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Was data corrupted?

One theory of my IT veteran is that when the power came back on, the systems were unusable because the data was unsynchronised. In other words the airline was suddenly faced with a mass of conflicting records of passengers, aircraft and baggage movements - all the complex logistics of modern air travel.

He says: "This would have meant that BA would need to restore to a known synchronised back-up point (potentially days old), which brings in the previous argument about the hands-on skills required to achieve this."

In summary, complex IT systems do fail from time to time, but smart organisations have the people and processes in place to recover quickly.

BA has said little so far about what went wrong. However, it will now be under pressure from investors, staff and passengers to provide some answers.

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 6th Jun 2017

Trump tech meetingGetty/ Drew Angerer

Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google want the world to know that "We Are Still In" when it comes to the Paris climate agreement.

And they're not alone. On Monday, hundreds of companies, including others like Microsoft, eBay, and Uber, — alongside a group of mayors and colleges — joined together as part of the "We Are Still In" campaign to reiterate their commitment to the principles of the climate agreement. 

"In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities and businesses representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions," the campaign said in its press release.

The move comes days after President Donald Trump announced on June 1 that the United States is pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, which was signed by 195 nations in December 2015.

 The Paris agreement was intended to slow climate change by setting limits on carbon emissions and has been widely embraced by the business community. 

The tech industry in particular has supported the Paris Agreement, and many of the big tech companies are currently transitioning their giant, energy-guzzling data centers to using completely renewable energy.

The "We Are Still In" campaign launched with an open letter to to the world, acknowledging that the businesses and communities that signed will continue to work towards climate change. 

"It is imperative that the world know that in the U.S., the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities, investors and businesses," the campaign wrote. "Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2°C and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health."

Here's a full list of all the companies that signed: 

  • 2 Point Perspective: Architecture
  • 2050 Partners, Inc.
  • 22 Designs
  • 23andMe
  • 3rd Rock Data, Inc.
  • 475 High Performance Building Supply
  • 7th Generation Labs
  • Adidas
  • Admix, Inc.
  • Adobe
  • Adrian Dominican Sisters, Portfolio Advisory Board
  • Adventive
  • AdventureCORPS, Inc.
  • Aegis Renewable Energy
  • Aggie Writing Services
  • Alameda Natural Grocery
  • Aleva Stores
  • Allianz SE
  • Alnical LLC
  • AlphaGlider LLC
  • Alpine Enterprises Inc.
  • Alter Eco
  • Alter Eco Foods
  • Amalgamated Bank
  • Amavida Coffee and Trading Company
  • Amazon
  • Ambata Capital, LLC
  • Ambatalia
  • Ameresco, Inc.
  • American Outdoor Products, Inc.
  • American Reading Company
  • Amicus Green Building Center, LLC
  • Amper Music
  • Amy's Kitchen
  • Angstrom Science Inc.
  • Annie's, Inc.
  • AnthemWild
  • Anthesis Group
  • Anthropocene Institute
  • Antonelli's Cheese LLC
  • Aphra Communications
  • Appalachian Ski Mtn. Inc.
  • Appalachian Tails
  • Apple
  • Applied Sustainability Group
  • AppNexus
  • Apricus Solar Hot Water
  • Arapahoe Basin
  • Arctic Solar Ventures Corporation
  • Arjuna Capital
  • Arkadium
  • Arkin Tilt Architects
  • Armstrong Design Office
  • Artemis Water Strategy
  • As You Sow
  • Aspen Brewing Company
  • Aspen Skiing Company
  • Assistant Solar LLC
  • At the Epicenter
  • Athens Impact Socially Responsible Investments
  • Aunt Bertha
  • Autodesk
  • Avalon Enterprises Inc
  • Aveda
  • Avery Dennison
  • AVG
  • AW Bernard, Inc.
  • Azzad Asset Management
  • B Lab
  • B.E.S.T.
  • Badger
  • Bamboo Living
  • BamCore LLC
  • Bard Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers LLC.
  • Bario Neal Jewelry
  • Barrett International Technology Incorporated
  • Beautycounter
  • Beechleaf Design
  • BELKIS Consulting, LLC
  • Bella Luna Toys
  • Ben & Jerry's
  • Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
  • Bergsund DeLaney Architecture
  • Beyond Broth
  • Big Kid Science
  • Big Path Capital
  • Big Sky Resort
  • Biohabitats, Inc
  • Biomimicry 3.8
  • Biositu, LLC
  • Bisbee Food Co-op
  • Bloomberg LP
  • Blue Apron
  • Blue Brook Architecture, Inc.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
  • Blue Gothic Design Studios, LLC
  • Blue Moon Wellness
  • Blue Mountain Solar, Inc.
  • Blue Star Integrative Studio
  • BlueKitty, Inc.
  • Bluestone Life Insurance Company
  • Blumenthal Consulting
  • Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area
  • Bonnaire Enterprises LLC
  • Bora Architects
  • Boreal Mountain Resort
  • Boston Common Asset Management, LLC
  • Boston Trust/Walden Asset Management
  • Boulder Associates
  • Box Latch Products made by Eco Latch Systems, LLC
  • Boyne Resorts
  • Brannan Management Company
  • Breaking Ground Contracting
  • Brew Media Relations
  • Brewery Vivant
  • Bridges Produce
  • Brighton Resort
  • Brink Communications
  • Briotech, Inc
  • BROAD Group
  • Brooks Sports
  • Bruss Project Management
  • Buglet Solar Electric Installation
  • Bullitt Foundation
  • Bunk House at ZION
  • Burton Snowboards
  • Business Consulting of NH, LLC
  • Business Culture Consultants
  • Business Wisdom
  • C+C
  • CA Technologies
  • Cahail Construction
  • Califia Farms
  • California Ski Industry Association
  • California State Controller
  • CalPERS
  • CalSTRS
  • Calvert Research and Management
  • Cambridge Energy Advisors
  • Cambridge Naturals
  • Campbell Soup Company
  • Campman
  • Cantabrigian Mechanics
  • Capricorn Investment Group
  • Carbon Credit Capital
  • Carol Cone ON PURPOSE
  • Carolina Biodiesel, LLC
  • Catbird
  • Catholic Health Initiatives
  • Cause Strategy Partners, LLC
  • CDI Meters, Inc.
  • Ceconi Consulting
  • Center for Purposeful Leadership
  • CenterPoint Financial, Inc.
  • CF Services Group, Inc.
  • CFO on Speed Dial
  • ChangeWorks of the Heartland
  • Chosen Futures
  • Christopher Intellectual Property Law, PLLC
  • Christopher Reynolds Foundations
  • Chuckanut Builders
  • Ciao Thyme
  • Circle Furniture
  • City Compost
  • Clarifai
  • Classique Floors + Tile
  • Clean Edge, Inc.
  • Clean Yield Asset Management
  • CleanCapital
  • CleanChoice Energy, Inc.
  • ClearBridge Investments
  • Clif Bar & Co.
  • Clif Family Winery
  • Climate Coach International
  • Climate Social, LLC
  • Cloudability
  • Codecademy
  • Coerver Analytics, LLC
  • Coherence Collaborative
  • Collective Resource, Inc.
  • Columbia Green Technologies
  • Columbia Sportswear Company
  • Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
  • Common
  • Confections With Convictions, LLC
  • Confluence Sustainability
  • Congregation of St. Joseph
  • Connective Impact
  • Conscious Business Institute
  • CONTEMPL8 T-SHIRTS LLC
  • Convex Technologies, Inc.
  • Cool Energy, Inc.
  • Copper Mountain Ski Resort
  • Coppertoppe Inn & Retreat Center
  • Coradine Aviation Systems
  • Cornerstone Capital Group
  • Cornucopia Group
  • Corporate Sustainability Advisors LLC
  • Cotopaxi
  • COULSON
  • Council Fire
  • CRAFT
  • Craft, Main & Co.
  • Creative Action Network
  • Creative Creek, LLC
  • Cricket Design Works
  • Crosby Hop Farm, LLC
  • CrowdBureau, LLC
  • Crystal Mountain Resort
  • CTA Architects Engineers
  • Culinary Culture Connections, LLC
  • Curren Media Group
  • Current-C Energy Systems, Inc.
  • Dana Lund Landscaping
  • Dang Foods
  • Danone
  • DanoneWave
  • Dansko Inc
  • Daughters of Charity, Province of St. Louise
  • Debra's Natural Gourmet
  • Decheng Capital
  • Decoding Sustainability
  • Deer Valley Resort
  • Dehn Bloom Design
  • Desmos Inc
  • Detour, The Adventure Travel Marketplace
  • Dignity Health
  • Digs
  • Distance Learning Consulting
  • Dobson Pipe Organ Builders
  • Domini Impact Investments LLC
  • Dominican Sisters of Hope
  • Dominican Sisters of Sparkill
  • DoneGood
  • Dopper
  • Dr. Brite
  • Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps
  • e-DonorCare Technologies, Inc
  • Eagle Creek
  • Earth Equals, Inc.
  • Earth Equity Advisors
  • Earth Friendly Products
  • EarthKind Energy
  • Earthly Ideas LLC
  • Earthy, LLC
  • Eastern Bank
  • eBay
  • Echo Credits
  • Eclipse Services, A Division of Quadrivium, Inc.
  • Eco-Products
  • Ecobutterfly Organics
  • EcoConsulting
  • Ecodeo
  • EcoPlum
  • Ecosystems Group, Inc.
  • EDF Group
  • Edison International
  • Eighty2degrees Design Studio
  • EILEEN FISHER
  • Elk Packaging
  • Emerger Strategies
  • Emmy's Organics, Inc.
  • Encourage Capital
  • Endosys
  • Endurance Capital Partners, LLC
  • Energineers
  • Energy Studio, Inc.
  • EnergyWorks
  • enso collaborative
  • Enviro-Stewards Inc.
  • Environment & Enterprise Strategies
  • Envizi
  • Epic Capital Wealth Management
  • Equilibrium Services Group, Inc.
  • Espresso Parts
  • Ethical Bean Coffee
  • Ethos Capital Realty Partners
  • Etsy, Inc.
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Evelina Eco Events
  • Everence and the Praxis Mutual Funds
  • Evergreen Consulting & Training
  • Evergreen Sustainability, LLC
  • Evian
  • Evolution Marketing
  • Ewers Architecture
  • Facebook
  • Fattail Financial Advisory Group Inc
  • Felican Sisters of North America
  • Fetzer Vineyards
  • Fiberactive Oranics, LLC
  • Fieldlens
  • Filtrine Manufacturing Company
  • Fireclay Tile
  • Firefly Chocolate
  • First Affirmative Financial Network
  • Fission Strategy
  • Flink Energy Consulting
  • Florida Eco Products
  • Footprint Power LLC
  • Formata
  • Foursquare
  • Framework LLC
  • Franciscan Sisters of Allegany NY
  • Fred Thomas Resort Inc.
  • Friends Fiduciary Corporation
  • Full Picture
  • FullCycle Energy LP
  • Fully
  • FUTUREMADE
  • Gale River Motel, LLC
  • Gap Inc.
  • Gara Landscapes, LLC
  • Gaumenkitzel Restaurant
  • GCI General Contractors
  • General Assembly
  • Generate Capital, Inc.
  • Gladstone Group
  • Global Organics
  • Globelé Energy
  • GOOD COMPANY
  • Good Start Packaging
  • GoodLight Natural Candles
  • Goodmeetsworld
  • Google Inc.
  • goTenna
  • Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc.
  • GPM Global
  • Gracefully Global Group LLC
  • Great Green Content
  • Green America's Green Business Network
  • Green Century Capital Management
  • Green Dinosaur, Inc.
  • Green Girl Land Development Solutions LLC
  • Green Hammer
  • Green Heron Tools, LLC
  • Green Ideals Group
  • Green Retirement, Inc.
  • Greenbank Associates
  • greenblendz, inc
  • Greentown Labs
  • Greenvest
  • Griesinger Films
  • Group Nine Media
  • GruenerVentures
  • Halperin Creative, LLC
  • Hammerschlag & Co. LLC
  • Hand in Hand Soap
  • Handy
  • Hangar
  • Hannon Armstrong
  • Happy Family Brands
  • Hazelrigs Architecture & Design, pllc
  • HeartPath Acupuncture, LLC
  • Helicon Works
  • Heritage Solutions
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • HJKessler Associates
  • Holiday Valley Resort
  • Home Efficiency Resources
  • Homefree, LLC
  • Horse & Dragon Brewing Company
  • House Kombucha
  • HSL Development
  • Humanity, Inc/SoulBrandingSM? Institute
  • Hungryroot
  • HydroCycle Engineering
  • HydroQuest
  • ICCR (Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility)
  • IceStone LLC
  • ICO Consulting
  • Ideal Energy Inc
  • Ideal Energy Inc.
  • IKEA NA Services LLC
  • Image 4
  • Impact Infrastructure, Inc.
  • Impax Asset Management
  • Incandescent
  • Independence Solar
  • Independent Power Systems
  • Indigo Natural Marketing & Sales
  • Indow
  • Infer Energy
  • Infinera
  • Infinitum Humanitarian Systems
  • Information Technology Industry Council
  • Ingersoll Rand
  • inNative
  • ?Innovative Power Systems, Inc.
  • Inntopia
  • Inquiry Institute International
  • Insight Network LLC
  • InStep Consulting LLC
  • Integral Group
  • Integrated Power Contracting LLC
  • Intel Corporation
  • Interface
  • Intersection
  • Intex Solutions, Inc.
  • Invenergy
  • Investment Insights, Inc
  • IRN-The Reuse Network
  • Iroquois Valley Farms
  • ISOS Group
  • iSpring
  • J. Glynn & Company
  • J&B Importers, Inc.
  • Jahmu PBC
  • Janarus - The Good Janitors
  • JanSport
  • JLens Investor Network
  • JLL
  • Joe's Tree Service, LLC
  • Johnson Controls
  • Jonathan Rose Companies
  • Joule Energy
  • JSA Financial Group
  • JTN Energy
  • Just Business
  • JUST Water
  • Kahl Consultants
  • Kargo
  • Keap Candles
  • KEEN, Inc
  • Keene Advisors
  • Kennard Wealth Management Group
  • KERBspace
  • Kickstarter, PBC
  • Kikim Media
  • Killington Pico Ski Resort
  • Kimberton Whole Foods
  • Kinetic North Consulting LLC
  • Kirksey Architecture
  • KL Felicitas Foundation
  • Kleynimals
  • Knotel
  • Koppett.
  • Kuity, Corp.
  • Lamey-Wellehan
  • Last Bottle Clothing
  • Law Office of Nancy D. Israel
  • Law++
  • Leadership Momentum
  • LEEDerGroup.com
  • Levi Strauss & Co.
  • Lex Machina
  • Lex Ultima Consulting, LLC
  • Liftopia
  • LighTec, Inc.
  • Livingston Energy Innovations
  • LivSolar Eco Energy
  • Liz Muller & Partners
  • LMK Brands
  • Longhorn Solar
  • Loom Decor
  • Loon Mountain
  • Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge
  • Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)
  • Lotus Foods, Inc.
  • Lyft
  • M&E Engineers, Inc.
  • Mack Weldon
  • Macroclimate LLC
  • Macson Investments
  • Manaaki
  • Management Resources
  • Mangrove Web Development
  • Manhattan Holistic Chamber of Commerce
  • ManpowerGroup
  • Marqeta, Inc.
  • Mars, Incorporated
  • Marshall Street Management
  • Maryknoll Sisters
  • Massanutten Resort
  • Matter Unlimited
  • McKnight Foundation
  • McPherson Strategies, LLC
  • Meetup
  • Merck Family Fund
  • Mercury Press International
  • Mercy Health
  • Mercy Investment Services
  • Metro Paws LLC
  • Metropolitan Group
  • Metrus Energy, Inc.
  • MH Immigration Consulting
  • Michael W. Grainey Consulting, LLC
  • Microsoft
  • Midland Machinery Co., Inc
  • Midland Machinery Co., Inc.
  • Mightybytes
  • Millennium Microgrid
  • Miller/Howard Investments, Inc.
  • Millyard Communications
  • Mirova
  • Missy J's Snacks + Treats
  • MMercer Consulting
  • Modavanti
  • Monadnock Food Co-op
  • MongoDB
  • Moontrail
  • Moore Capital Management
  • MooreBetterFood
  • Motivate
  • Mountain Gear
  • Mountain High Resort
  • Mountain Rider's Alliance
  • MovingWorlds
  • Mt Bachelor LLC
  • Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort
  • mvWiFi, llc
  • My Trail Company
  • MyFlightbook
  • Namu Baru Inc.
  • NASW, SC Chapter
  • Nathan Cummings Foundation
  • National Car Charging LLC
  • National Co+op Grocers
  • National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association
  • Natixis Asset Management
  • Natural Habitats USA
  • Natural Investments
  • Nau International
  • NeedsList, PBC
  • Neighborhood Sun
  • NEMO Equipment
  • Nestlé U.S.
  • NetRaising
  • Nettleton Strategies
  • New Belgium Brewing
  • New York City Office of the Comptroller
  • NewsCred
  • Next 15
  • Nia Impact Advisors, LLC
  • NIKE
  • No Typical Moments
  • Normandeau Associates, Inc
  • North Berkeley Investment Partners
  • North Coast Organics
  • Northeast Solar
  • NorthStar Asset Management, Inc.
  • Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment
  • Noyes Law Corporation
  • Nth Power
  • Numa Marketing
  • Nurx
  • Nutiva
  • NYS Office of the State Comptroller
  • Oasis Montana Inc.
  • Oberon Fuels, Inc.
  • Objective Consulting, Inc.
  • Ocean View Enterprises
  • Octagon Builders
  • Office Nomads
  • OgreOgress productions
  • OhmConnect
  • Oliver Russell
  • Omnidian
  • One Architecture
  • One Village Coffee
  • OnwardClick, Inc.
  • Optoro
  • Oregon State Treasury
  • ORGANIC INDIA
  • organicARCHITECT
  • OSC2
  • Outdoor Industry Association
  • Outerknown
  • Outpost Natural Foods
  • Owens Business & Consulting, LLC
  • P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle And You, Inc.
  • Paladino and Company
  • paleBLUEdot LLC
  • Paradigm General Contractors/ Construction Managers
  • Parasolka
  • Parnassus Investments
  • Patagonia
  • Pax World Funds
  • Peace Coffee
  • Pearson
  • Pegasus Capital Advisors, L.P.
  • Peninsula Clean Energy
  • PeopleDoc
  • PeopleSense Consulting
  • Perkins+Will
  • Permaculture Gardens
  • Pete and Gerry's Organics, LLC
  • Peter L. VIlla Fine Art
  • PG&E Corporation
  • Pinwheel
  • PIPs Rewards
  • Pisticci Restaurant
  • Placetailor Inc.
  • PlanGreen
  • PlayingFire
  • PLC Repair
  • Plum Organics
  • POWDR
  • Prairie Ventures, LLC
  • Prana Business LLC
  • PRB Connect
  • Preserve
  • Priority Veterinary Management Consultants
  • Progressive Asset Management
  • Progressive Investment Management
  • PromptWorks, LLC
  • ProofPilot
  • Prophecy Impact Investments, LLC
  • Prosperity Candle
  • Providence St. Joseph Health
  • PSCCU
  • Public - Supply
  • Puget Sound Solar
  • Pulp Pantry
  • Pure Strategies
  • Putnam-Pritchard Interiors/NUBU Design
  • Quad Analytix
  • Quality Choices, Inc.
  • Quantum Financial Planning LLC
  • Quarterdeck LLC
  • Queen & Associates
  • Queridomundo Creative
  • Quizlet, Inc.
  • Quri
  • Rancho Gallina Eco-Retreat
  • Ravenswood Natural Health
  • RC Flying Cameras, LLC
  • RDF LLC
  • Re-nourish, LTD.
  • REBBL
  • Red Key Solutions
  • Reddick Investment Properties
  • Region VI Coalition for Responsible Investment
  • ReGrained
  • REI Co-op
  • Resource Fiber LLC
  • Resources In Action
  • REV Sustainability
  • Reykjavik Geothermal
  • Reynders, McVeigh Capital Management
  • Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner
  • Ribose Inc.
  • Rio Grande Renewables, LLC
  • RiskSOURCE Clark Theders
  • Rivanna Natural Designs, Inc.
  • Rivermoor Energy
  • rksDesign
  • Rods and Cones
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd
  • Royal DSM
  • RRS
  • Rune's Furniture
  • s2 Sustainability Consultants
  • SABArchitects
  • Safari Energy
  • Salesforce
  • Sarah Severn Consulting
  • Saris
  • Savenia LLC
  • Schweitzer Mountain Resort
  • Scott Echols Group, LLC
  • Sealed Air Corporation
  • Seattle City Light
  • Seed CX
  • SEED Systems, Inc.
  • Seniorlink Inc
  • Seventh Generation
  • SexyGenius PBC
  • SFMG
  • SharePower Responsible Investing, Inc
  • Shartsis Friese LLP
  • Sheng AI International llc
  • Shift Advantage
  • Shifting Patterns Consulting
  • Shutterstock, Inc.
  • Sierra Leadership
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
  • SigFig
  • Silicon Ranch Corporation
  • Silicon Valley Leadership Group
  • Simple Energy
  • Sisters of Bon Secours, USA
  • Sisters of Charity, BVM
  • Sisters of Charity, Halifax
  • Sisters of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine
  • Sisters of Saint Joseph
  • Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, NY
  • Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
  • Sisters of St. Joseph
  • Sisters of the Humility of Mary
  • Sisters of the Presentation of the BVM, Aberdeen SD
  • Skanska USA Inc.
  • Ski Butlers
  • Skyline Bear Valley Resorts
  • SMASHsolar
  • Snowshoe Mountain, Inc.
  • Social(k) Inc.
  • Socially Responsible Investment Coalition
  • Society of St Ursula
  • Soda Springs Ski Resort
  • Sojourn Partners
  • Sol Coast Consulting & Design, LLC
  • SolarReserve
  • Solberg MFG
  • SolEd Benefit Corp
  • Sonen Capital
  • Sons and Daughters Farm
  • Sourcepoint Technologies
  • South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce
  • South Salem Cycleworks
  • Spector and Associates
  • SPEEDILICIOUS
  • Splice
  • Spotify USA Inc.
  • Square Organics
  • Squarespace, Inc.
  • Squaw Valley Ski Holdings
  • Stakeholders Capital
  • Starbucks Coffee Company
  • Starting Line Physical Therapy
  • STAY VOCAL
  • Sterner Insurance
  • Steve Harvey Law LLC
  • Stevens Pass Mountain Resort
  • STOKE Certified
  • StoneWork Capital
  • Stonyfield
  • Strategic Rise Partners
  • Stratus Clean
  • Strugatz Ventures Inc.
  • Sugarbush Resort
  • SunCommon
  • Sunlight Electric, LLC
  • Sunsprout Farms of Central Ohio LLC
  • Surface LLC
  • SustainAbility
  • Sustainability and Impact Investing Group of Rockefeller & Co.
  • Sustainability Dashboard Tools
  • Sustainability Solutions LLC
  • Sustainable Action Consulting PBC
  • Sustainable Business Consulting
  • Sustainable Choices, LLC
  • Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC
  • Sustainable Food Lab
  • Sustainable Food News
  • Sustainable Furnishings Council
  • Sustainable Health Solutions Inc.
  • Sustainable Investment Group (SIG)
  • Sustainable Source Studios
  • Sustainabody
  • Sustrana
  • SVT Group
  • Sycamore Properties
  • Synapse International
  • T1C MOMANT
  • Taos Ski Valley, Inc.
  • Target
  • Teague Hopkins Group
  • Teak Media + Communication
  • Tech Networks of Boston
  • Tech:NYC
  • Telluride Ski & Golf
  • Ten Over Studio Inc
  • Terra Alpha Investments, LLC
  • Terrapin Bright Green
  • TerraVerde Capital Management LLC
  • Tesla
  • Teton Gravity Research
  • Tevlin Strategic Communication
  • Text100
  • Thanksgiving Coffee Company
  • The Added Edge
  • The Alchemist Brewery
  • The Ansar Law Firm
  • The Blueshirt Group
  • The Builders Fund
  • The Carry-On Collective
  • The Estée Lauder Companies
  • The Green Engineer, Inc.
  • The Hartford
  • The Hvizda Team LLC/ Keller Williams Realty Metro
  • The John Merck Fund
  • The Leland Group
  • The Lion Company, Inc.
  • The North Face
  • The Pension Boards - UCC, Inc.
  • The Philosopher's Stoneground Regenerative Nut Butters
  • The Plantsman
  • The Rose Family Foundation
  • The Ruskin Group
  • The Scott Petinga Group
  • The Shift Network
  • The Stella Group, Ltd.
  • The Sustainability Guys
  • The Traveler Site
  • The Wei
  • The YES Bar Company
  • Thinkshift Communications
  • thinkstep Inc.
  • Third Partners, LLC
  • This Is Folly Design
  • Thornton Tomasetti
  • Thought Leader Public Relations
  • Three Corners Capital
  • Thrive Impact Sourcing and Ingage Partners
  • Tierra Vista Tours & Consulting
  • Tiffany & Co.
  • Timberland
  • Time Crunch Health & Fitness
  • Time4Good
  • Ting
  • Toad&Co
  • TopHatch, Inc.
  • Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc.
  • TPSS Co-op
  • Trade It, Inc.
  • Traditional Medicinals
  • Transformative Wealth Management, LLC
  • TransPower
  • TravGanic
  • Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment
  • Trillium Asset Management
  • Trinity Health
  • Triple Mountain
  • TripZero
  • Triskele Collaborative
  • Tuckerman & Co.
  • Tumblr, Inc.
  • Twilio
  • Uber Technologies, Inc.
  • UltraCell Insulation, LLC
  • UncommonGoods
  • Under Armour
  • UNFI United Natural Foods Inc.
  • Unilever
  • Unitarian Universalist Association
  • United Church Funds
  • Unity Digital Agency
  • Urban Moonshine
  • Urban Offsets
  • Vail Resorts
  • Velasquez Family Coffee
  • Verdical Group
  • Veris Wealth Partners
  • Veritas Technologies LLC
  • Vermont Ski Areas Association
  • Vermont Smoke & Cure
  • Vert Asset Management
  • Veteran Compost
  • VF Corporation
  • Via
  • VIANOVA
  • Vigilent
  • Vilicus Farms
  • Village Capital
  • Vincent P. Calvano, LLC
  • Vinyasun
  • Virgin Management
  • Visceral
  • VisionPoint Consulting, Inc.
  • Vivid Story
  • Volvo Group North America
  • Wagner Custom Skis
  • Warby Parker
  • WashPark Capital
  • Waste Farmers
  • Watershed West, LLC
  • WaterSmart Software PBC
  • WayUp
  • WeNeedaVacation.com
  • Whale's Tale
  • Wholesum Harvest
  • Wild Joe*s Coffee Spot
  • Win Before Trial
  • Windham Mountain Resort
  • Winkler Development Corporation
  • Wired Flare
  • WNWN International, Inc.
  • Wolf, DiMatteo + Associates
  • Woodward Tahoe
  • WorkSquare
  • World Centric
  • Worthen Industries
  • Wrangler
  • Wrigley Investments LLC
  • www.cohassetinsurance.com
  • Wynkoop Properties, LLC
  • Xanterra Parks & Resorts
  • Xylem Inc.
  • Yahoo! Inc
  • YellowDog Printing & Graphics
  • YIKES, Inc.
  • Yodsampa Consulting
  • Yogauonline
  • York Machine Works
  • Z I A [zero impact architecture]
  • Zaurie Zimmerman Associates, Inc.
  • Zimmer Environmental Improvement
  • Zmartar, LLC
  • Zocdoc
  • Zola

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 6th Jun 2017

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks on stage during the Facebook F8 conference in San Francisco, California April 12, 2016.Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.REUTERS/Stephen Lam

 

There's currently a scam going round that tries to trick its victims into paying for a fake "subscription" to the service.

 

People on Twitter have reported being targeted are being sent text messages informing them that their subscription has expired, and asks them to pay to reactivate it — but it's a trick.

(We heard about it via The Mirror.)

The text shows up in the target's phone as coming from "WhatsApp," though it's sent via text rather than the WhatsApp app or through any official settings page.

"Your subscription has expired. To verify your account and purchase a lifetime subscription for just 0.99 GBP simply tap on this link," the text reads, followed by a link to a website.

Users who click through are presumably instructed to enter their card details — after which the scammer will have access to their accounts. And they likely to be trying to steal a lot more than the 99p they're asking for.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

 Follow

Mr Pothole @mrpotholeuk

@WhatsApp Are starting to charge for your app now? Got text saying about 0.99p subscription see screen shot. Has anybody else had this?

6:15 PM - 2 May 2017

Twitter Ads info and privacy

 Follow

Kate Davies @katedavies914

Anyone else received a text from  saying you're subscription has expired ..but you can buy life long for £1 ?

9:35 PM - 22 May 2017

Twitter Ads info and privacy

 Follow

Kieran Stevenson @kiejamste

I've just had a text from "Whatsapp" saying my subscription has expired and I need to click a link to renew it. Scam, right?

12:48 PM - 30 May 2017

Twitter Ads info and privacy

The site linked to in one screengrab shared on Twitter, called WhatsApp News Hub, has since been suspended. But it'd be trivial for the attacker(s) to just register a new domain and continue the scam.

The whole thing has a slight whiff of believability about it, because WhatsApp really did once charge users for a subscription to its messaging service. But that was discontinued in 2016 after Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion (£14.7 billion) two years before, and the app is now totally free to use.

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 5th Jun 2017

TIPS & ADVICE

To Prevent Ransomwarefrom Infecting Your Electronic Devices

Ransomware is a type of malware that locks your computer and mobile devices or encrypts your electronic files, demanding a ransom payment 
through certain online payment methods (and by an established deadline) in order to regain control of your data.
It can be downloaded through fake application updates or by visiting compromised websites. It can also be delivered as email attachments in 
spam or dropped/downloaded via other malware (i.e. a Trojan).
It is a scam designed to generate huge profits for organised criminal groups. To prevent and minimise the effects of Ransomware, Europol’s 
European Cybercrime Centre advises you to take the following measures:


DON’TS BROWSE AND DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE ONLY FROM TRUSTED WEBSITES.

Use official sources and reliable websites to
keep your software patched with the latest 
security releases. Always use the official 
version of software. 


REPORT IT.

If you are a victim of Ransomware, report it
immediately to your local police and the payment 
processor involved. The more information you 
give to the authorities, the more effectively they 
can disrupt the criminal infrastructure. 


CLICK ON ATTACHMENTS, BANNERS AND LINKS WITHOUT KNOWING THEIR TRUE ORIGIN.

What looks like a harmless advertisement or 
image can actually redirect you to the website 
from where the malicious software is 
downloaded. The same can happen when 
opening attachments in emails received from 
unknown sources. 


TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED.

If a website warns you about obsolete 
software, drivers or codecs (programs 
that encode and decode your data) 
installed on your computer, do not fully 
trust it. It is really easy for criminals to 
fake company and software logos.
A quick web search can tell you if your 
software is really out of date.
Created by Europol


INSTALL OR RUN NON-TRUSTED OR UNKNOWN SOFTWARE.

Do not install programs or applications on your 
computer if you do not know where they come 
from. Some pieces of malware install 
background programs that try to steal personal 
data – for more information on this, see our 
information sheet on Identity Theft.

TIPS & ADVICE DOS
DO NOT PAY OUT ANY MONEY.
Paying does not guarantee that your 
problem will be solved and that you 
will be able to access your files again.
In addition, you will be supporting the 
cybercriminals’ business and the 
financing of their illegal activities. 


UPDATE YOUR SOFTWARE REGULARLY.

Many malware infections are the result of 
criminals exploiting bugs in software (web 
browsers, operating systems, common tools, 
etc.). Keeping these up to date can help to 
keep your devices and files safe.

USE ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE.

Install and keep anti-virus (AV) and firewall software 
updated on your devices. AV can help keep your 
computer free of the most common malware. Always 
check downloaded files with AV software. You can 
easily find many free options on the market.

INSTALL MOBILE APPS FROM UNKNOWN PROVIDERS/SOURCES.

Always download from official and 
trusted resources only. In the settings of 
your Android device, always keep the 
option “Unknown sources” disabled and 
the “Verify Apps” option checked. 

REGULARLY BACK UP THE DATA STORED ON YOUR COMPUTER.

Full data backups will save you a lot of time and 
money when restoring your computer. Even if 
you are affected by Ransomware, you will still 
be able to access your personal files (pictures, 
contact lists, etc.) from another computer. There 
are a number of high quality data backup 
solutions available on the internet for free. 

CONSULT YOUR ANTI-VIRUS PROVIDER ON

HOW TO UNLOCK AND REMOVE THE 
INFECTION FROM THE DEVICE.

There are numerous official websites and blogs 
with instructions on how to safely remove this 
type of malware from your electronic devices. 
Always consult www.nomoreransom.orgto check 
whether you have been infected with one of the 
Ransomware variants for which there are 
decryption tools available free of charge.

Source: webroot.com
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 24th May 2017

OLED smartphone display can be stretched, bent, rolled and even dented - but won't break

Samsung shows off its stretchable, bendible new OLED screens

Samsung is set to unveil a new kind of flexible OLED display for smartphones and tablets that can be stretched, bent, rolled and even dented up to 12mm - but won't break. 

The display will be shown off at the Society for Information Display (SID) show in Los Angeles, California this week. Other developments that Samsung will be showing off include a glasses-free 3D OLED and an LCD display with 2,250ppi.

That's according to the Korea Herald, which reports that the soon-to-be-announced 9.1in stretchable OLED can be bent, rolled and deformed, and even dented "like a balloon" up to 12mm deep. 

 

"While current flexible OLED is able to be transformed in only one side, this stretchable OLED can be transformed - whether curved, bended or rolled - in both sides, above and below," a Samsung Display spokesperson said, adding that it can be used for applications such as wearables, automotive displays and Internet of Things devices.

A 5.0in glasses-free 3D unit will be shown as well. Due to the high contrast and refresh rate of OLED technology, this should have some real advantages over LCD for showing 3D content.

Lastly will be a 1.96in 4k (3,840 x 2,160) LCD display (2,250ppi), which is designed for VR, AR and holograms. Such a high pixel density should avoid the ‘screen-door' effect (visible pixels) that plagues today's virtual reality (VR) headsets.

To date the only headset we've tried that exhibits no screen door was a prototype at CES 2016 from Royole Corporation, which was actually a ‘mobile theatre', not VR. Ironically, perhaps, it used a Samsung OLED.  

There is no release date for any of the products that Samsung is due to show at SID, which is really a show for demonstrating design concepts rather than finished products.

However, reports claimed in January that the long-rumoured ‘Galaxy X' (aka Project Valley) foldable smartphone/tablet will be launched in the third quarter this year, quite possibly at the IFA trade show in Berlin this September.

Source: v3.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 24th May 2017

 

Girls using phones close upImage copyrightTHINKSTOCK

Learning to survive in a world dominated by the internet should be as important for children as reading and writing, says a House of Lords report.

Lessons about online responsibilities, risks and acceptable behaviour should be mandatory in all UK schools, the Lords Communications Committee argues.

The internet is "hugely beneficial" but children need awareness of its hazards, said committee chairman Lord Best.

Industry leaders said education was key to keeping children safe online.

The Lords report builds on findings by the Children's Commissioner for Englandin January that the internet is not designed for children, despite them being the biggest users by age group.

"Children inhabit a world in which every aspect of their lives is mediated through technology: from health to education, from socialising to entertainment.

"Yet the recognition that children have different needs to those of adults has not yet been fully accepted in the online world," say the Lords.

Fake news

Lord Best added: "There is a lot of material which makes the internet harmful but it can also be hugely beneficial - a way for children to interact and find out about the world."

However, they need to cope with online pornography, internet grooming, sexting and body image issues, he said, as well as building resilience to the addictive properties of internet games which are "designed and developed to keep users online, missing out on sleep as they stay in their bedrooms glued to the screen".

Children also need to be aware of the dangers of fake news and covert advertising online, he added.

The report argues that "digital literacy should be the fourth pillar of a child's education alongside reading, writing and mathematics and be resourced and taught accordingly".

It should form the core of a new curriculum for personal social health and economic education, it adds.

It backs the government's move to make sex and relationships education statutory in England but says PSHE should also be mandatory in all schools, with the subject included in inspections.

Child on bed using phone and laptopImage copyrightTHINKSTOCK

Image captionToo many teens miss out on sleep as they stay online 'glued to the screen' said Lord Best

The report notes "a worrying rise in unhappy and anxious children emerging alongside the upward trend of childhood internet use" and calls for more robust research into a "possible causal relationship" alongside immediate action to prevent children being affected.

Overall, the report says the internet should "do more to promote children's best interests" but found self-regulation by industry was "failing" and that commercial interests "very often" took priority.

Meanwhile, it adds, government responsibility is "fragmented" with little co-ordinated policy and joined-up action.

Other recommendations include:

  • Content control filters and privacy settings to be "on" by default for all customers
  • All online businesses to respond quickly to requests by children to remove content
  • A children's digital champion to be appointed to argue for their rights at the highest levels of government
  • An industry summit, chaired by the prime minister, on redesigning the internet to serve children better

"This issue is of such critical importance for our children that the government, civil society and all those in the internet value chain must work together to improve the opportunities and support where the end user is a child," the Lords conclude.

Jonathan Baggaley, chief executive of the PSHE Association, called the report "spot on" in its recognition that making the subject statutory would give it space on the timetable to teach "the knowledge and skills to manage the challenges of life online".

But the Internet Services Providers' Association rejected calls for stronger regulation, while backing the report's call for better education.

James Blessing, who chairs the ISPA, said the UK was regarded as a world leader in keeping children safe online "through a self-regulatory approach".

"We believe the most effective response is a joint approach based on education, raising awareness and technical tools," he said.

A government spokesman said ministers wanted to make the UK the safest place in the world for young people to go online and would "carefully consider the recommendations included in the Lords Communications Committee Report".

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 24th May 2017

It’s no secret that the internet has changed everything, from shopping to friendship to entertainment to music. Theinternet is also revolutionizing the process of learning a new language. It’s opening many options that never existedtwenty years ago.

This isn’t to say that it’s less challenging to understand and speak a foreign language, but the process has changeddramatically.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said:

"Back, you know, a few generations ago, people didn’t have a way to share information and express theiropinions efficiently to a lot of people. But now they do. Right now, with social networks and other toolson the Internet, all of these 500 million people have a way to say what they’re thinking and have theirvoice be heard."

This explosion of communication has changed things for language learners in massive, unexpected ways.

How? Here are 8 distinct ways the internet has changed learning a language.

#1 – Digitalization Of Everything

shutterstock 573371146

The internet has caused everything to be digitized. This includes almost every facet of the language learningprocess. Rather than schlep around dictionaries and learning guides and books on tape, everything fits in the palm ofthe hand.

The smartphone allows a language learner to carry all their resources with them wherever they go, making itinfinitely more convenient to study a language.

Smartphones also allow us to expose ourselves to other languages more regularly. Zack Simon writes about how heuses his smartphone to completely immerse himself in a new language:

The very first thing I always do when trying to learn a language is change my phone — along with myemail accounts, social media accounts, search browsers, etc — into that language. Do notunderestimate the power of passive learning. Before you even crack open a phrasebook, you’ll knowwords like “send,” “delete,” “edit,” “message,” “cancel,” and all sorts of other vocabulary just from usingyour phone on a daily basis.

#2 – Increase Of English As Second Language

The internet is rapidly turning English into a second language for many people. Linguists are estimating that within10 years, English will be the primary language spoken on the internet.

There are several reasons for this.

  • For international business transactions, English is the default language of the internet.
  • English language entertainment is widely available on the internet.
  • Facebook brings together people of different languages, who use English to communicate.

Currently, those who speak English as a second language already outnumber native speakers. We should expect thisdiscrepancy to continue to grow.

#3 – Multiple Learning Methods

shutterstock 572093050

Traditionally, learning a language has been limited to reading and audio. You read language books and listened tonative speakers on CD or tape. Unless you actually went to the country where the language was spoken, you didn’thave many other options.

The internet has created a huge variety of new learning methods. Learners can video chat with native speakers forfree. Dictionaries come with audio integrated to ensure proper pronunciation. Netflix viewers can easily add subtitlesto their favorite films.

As noted above, phones can be set to display only foreign languages. With Google Translate, learners can comparethe same texts side by side in their native language and the language they’re learning.

Simply put, it’s easier for language learners to totally immerse themselves in a new dialect. They can surroundthemselves with text, audio, and even video. It won’t be long before they will be able to visit foreign countriesthrough virtual reality.

While the internet can’t teach someone a foreign language, it can certainly bring the language to them in ways neverbefore possible.

#4 – Increase Of Natural Bilingualism

Digital Trends recently pointed out an interesting development in the way languages are learned: text messaging isincreasing “natural bilingualism” in young people.

This requires a bit of explanation. Text messaging is creating new ways of constructing sentences and even newwords.

For example, the sentence, “I had a great time. Thanks for your present. See you tomorrow,” can be texted as, “I hada gr8 time, thanks for prsnt, see u tomorrow.”

Initially, this can seem like a bad thing. Isn’t this just the dumbing down of language? Linguists say this is a new kindof bilingualism. And people are naturally translating their texting language into their original forms.

John Whorter says:

What we’re seeing is a whole new way of writing that young people are developing, which they’re usingalongside their ordinary writing skills, and that means that they’re able to do two things. Increasingevidence is that being bilingual is cognitively beneficial. That’s also true of being bidialectal, that’scertainly true of being bidialectal in terms of your writing. Texting is actually evidence of a balancing actthat young people are using today, not consciously of course, but it’s an expansion of their linguisticrepertoire.

This expanded linguistic repertoire also suggests that young people will have an easier time learning foreignlanguages.

#5 – Automatic Correction

shutterstock 124701292

Automatic correction is dramatically speeding up the learning process. When writing, auto-correct featuresimmediately correct both spelling and usage of foreign words. Style checkers can help achieve fluency far faster aswell.

Finally, and perhaps most excitingly, pronunciation checkers can listen to you say a word and then show you howclose you are to native speakers. For example, SpeechAce listens to a person speak a word, then compares that word, syllable by syllable, to the proper pronunciation. It then provides feedback.

SpeechAce Speech Recognition For Language Learners 2017 04 24 09 32 57

Prior to the internet, all correction had to be done manually. When doing a workbook,  you had to flip to the back tosee the correct answer, then try to determine exactly what you did wrong. The only way to evaluate pronunciationwas to listen to a word and then say it repeatedly.

These challenges have been virtually eliminated thanks to the digital revolution.

#6 – Increased Personalization

In the past, those who wanted to learn a language were limited to using one or two key programs. It was both costlyand time consuming to find the program that best fit your learning style and preferences. Plus, the number ofresources available was significantly more limited.

Now, a language learner can endlessly customize the learning process. If they prefer videos, they can study viaYouTube or online courses. If they prefer audio, they can use story lessons, podcasts, audiobooks, and languagecourses. If they want to practice their speaking they can do so on Skype.

Studying flash cards repeatedly can be incredibly boring and can quickly cause people to burn out. Personalizationhelps keep things fresh.

#7 – More Social Interaction

shutterstock 428125384

One of the primary reasons so many people fizzle out on learning a new language is that it can be a lonely pursuit.You spend hours by yourself, memorizing flash cards or studying textbooks. All the alone time can be both boringand discouraging.

The internet has massively increased the social component of learning a new language. Some online programs allowfriends to compete against each other, much like Fitbit allows friends to compare steps.

Forums and video chats allow people to get answers and encouragement in real time.

Social media is now integrated into almost every learning experience. Companies like Duolingo use Facebook right intheir app so you can get encouragement from friends.

Learners who take advantage of social tools can learn in ways they can’t when they’re alone.

Learning a language is no longer the task of soloists. Those who long for personal interaction can easily integrateothers into their studies.

#8 – Gaming To Learn

Traditionally, video games have been viewed as an enemy of education. After all, if a person is mindlessly playing agame then they’re not actively using their brain.

In recent years, however, video games are playing an increasingly important role in learning languages, particularlyfor young people.

First, standard video games are now available in almost every language. If you want to play Grand Theft Auto inFrench, you can. This allows people to do something that entertains them and simultaneously immerses them in asecond language.

Second, video game lovers can now watch their favorite gamers play on services like Twitch and YouTube. This is arevolutionary development. People can enjoy their favorite entertainment in a completely new language. This putspeople on the fast track to learning a language, keeping them engaged for far longer.

Finally, there are video games being developed specifically for the purpose of teaching languages, such as “MyChinese Coach” for the Nintendo DS.

Conclusion

The internet has revolutionized the world, including the process of learning a language. The internet makes it moreconvenient to learn a language, more entertaining, more social, and just plain faster.

Nothing can replace the hard work involved in learning a new language, but the internet can certainly make theprocess more fun.

Source: deepenglish.com
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 22nd May 2017

Facebook logoImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionThe guidelines Facebook uses to decide what users see are 'confusing' say staff

How Facebook censors what its users see has been revealed by internal documents, the Guardian newspaper says.

It said the manuals revealed the criteria used to judge if posts were too violent, sexual, racist, hateful or supported terrorism.

The Guardian said Facebook's moderators were "overwhelmed" and had only seconds to decide if posts should stay.

The leak comes soon after British MPs said social media giants were "failing" to tackle toxic content.

Careful policing

The newspaper said it had managed to get hold of more than 100 manuals used internally at Facebook to educate moderators about what could, and could not, be posted on the site.

The social network has acknowledged that the documents seen by the newspaper were similar to what it used internally.

The manuals cover a vast array of sensitive subjects, including hate speech, revenge porn, self-harm, suicide, cannibalism and threats of violence.

Facebook moderators interviewed by the newspaper said the policies Facebook used to judge content were "inconsistent" and "peculiar".

The decision-making process for judging whether content about sexual topics should stay or go were among the most "confusing", they said.

The Open Rights Group, which campaigns on digital rights issues, said the report started to show how much influence Facebook could wield over its two billion users.

"Facebook's decisions about what is and isn't acceptable have huge implications for free speech," said an ORG statement. "These leaks show that making these decisions is complex and fraught with difficulty."

It added: "Facebook will probably never get it right but at the very least there should be more transparency about their processes."

Mark ZuckerbergImage copyrightAP

Image captionFacebook boss Mark Zuckerberg said it was working on better tools to spot toxic content

'Alarming' insight

In a statement, Monica Bickert, Facebook's head of global policy management, said: "We work hard to make Facebook as safe as possible, while enabling free speech.

"This requires a lot of thought into detailed and often difficult questions, and getting it right is something we take very seriously," she added.

As well as human moderators that look over possibly contentious posts, Facebook is also known to use AI-derived algorithms to review images and other information before they are posted. It also encourages users to report pages, profiles and content they feel is abusive.

In early May, the UK parliament's influential Home Affairs Select Committee strongly criticised Facebook and other social media companies as being "shamefully far" from tackling the spread of hate speech and other illegal and dangerous content.

The government should consider making sites pay to help police content, it said.

Soon after, Facebook revealed it had set out to hire more than 3,000 more people to review content.

British charity the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said the report into how Facebook worked was "alarming to say the least".

"It needs to do more than hire an extra 3,000 moderators," said a statement from the organisation.

"Facebook, and other social media companies, need to be independently regulated and fined when they fail to keep children safe."


Analysis: Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC Technology Correspondent

It has been clear for a while that dealing with controversial content is just about the most serious challenge that Facebook faces.

These leaked documents show how fine a line its moderators have to tread between keeping offensive and dangerous material off the site - and suppressing free speech.

A Facebook insider told me he thought the documents would show just how seriously and thoughtfully the company took these issues.

Why then does it not publish its training manual for moderators so that the world could see where it draws the line?

There are community guidelines available to read on Facebook but the company fears that if it gives away too much detail on its rules, that will act as a guide to those trying to game the system.

But what will strike many is that they have seen this kind of document before. Most big media organisations will have a set of editorial guidelines, coupled with a style guide, laying out just what should be published and how. Staff know that if they contravene those rules they are in trouble.

Of course, Facebook insists that it is a platform where people come to share content, rather than a media business.

That line is becoming ever harder to maintain, as governments wake up to the fact that the social media giant is more powerful than any newspaper or TV channel in shaping how the public sees the world.

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 22nd May 2017

Old operating systems crashed before WannaCry could spread through them

Windows XP was vulnerable to the WannaCry worm but couldn't spread the infection further

Windows XP was vulnerable to the WannaCry worm but couldn't spread the infection further

A security firm has found that the majority of those computers affected by the WannaCry ransomware last week were running older OSes, without installing important security patches.

In a survey for Reuters, BitSight found that 67 per cent of infected PCs it investigated were running Windows 7, despite the OS being installed on fewer than half of Windows PCs worldwide.

Paul Pratley, of UK consulting firm MWR InfoSecurity, told Reuters that WannaCry's ability to infect other computers on the same network without human intervention appeared to be tailored to Windows 7.

 

Other versions of Windows were not as vulnerable - although not always for the right reasons. Windows 10 represented 15 per cent of infections, while Windows 8, 8.1, Vista and XP made up the remainder. Windows XP, which is used across the NHS and other organisations, played a much smaller role in the spread of WannaCry than initially thought - because the system crashes before the virus can replicate. Individual computers were vulnerable to the worm component, said researchers at MWR and Kryptos, but could not spread the ransomware themselves.

More modern operating systems - those currently being supported by Microsoft - were able to download a critical security patch released on the 14th March, immunising their computers against WannaCry. However, many users failed to do so.

A security expert, who preferred not to be named, told Computing, "While we...would always recommend that patching be an integral part of your security, the reasons why IT departments occasionally fall short is because it is rarely a simple exercise... Most have heterogeneous IT environments with critical applications; they cannot roll out a patch until they have tested it to make sure that there are no unforeseen side effects."

Trevor Luker, Director of Security Operations and Threat Intelligence, at email security firm Mimecast, agreed:

"Disjointed and inefficient internal processes can mean that security patches are simply not given a high enough priority. Often because of 'shadow-IT' and weak asset management practices, organisations don't know that the patch is important to them because they don't actually know what is running on their network. 

"In addition, as a result of their automated vulnerability scanning, IT teams are regularly faced with lists of hundreds of discovered vulnerabilities at any time, with little sense of prioritisation.  

"Making the situation more complex, large enterprise systems may be sensitive to even small changes in installed software and therefore require extensive regression testing before being deployed. It's a risk, but the cost of downtime caused by a functional regression is often considered too high."

Closing the gates

Despite its relative ineffectiveness in spreading WannaCry, Windows XP was the subject of a free patch from Microsoft on the 12th May to protect the system. Free support for XP was ended in April 2014; the release of a non-paid patch shows how seriously WannaCry was being treated by the company.

Malwarebytes tracked the WannaCry infection across the globe as it happened - from the first reported case in Russia on Thursday evening, to an explosion of infections less than 12 hours later. The threat was not brought under control until 8pm on Friday, when the rate of spread began to slow.

Source: v3.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 22nd May 2017

IBM's new quantum processors are as much as twice as powerful as its previous developments, and accessible now

IBM's Quantum Dilution Refrigerator is essential to measuring processor signals

Signals are sent in and out of IBM's Quantum Dilution Refrigerator to measure operations on the quantum processor

IBM has progressed further along the path to quantum computing, having built and tested two new devices far in advance of its previous best 5-qubit processor.

First is a freely-accessible 16-qubit processor, which can be reached through the IBM Cloud; while the second, a prototype commercial 17-qubit processor, is ‘at least' twice as powerful as what is available to the public on the IBM Cloud today. This 17-qubit processor will form the core of the first IBM Q early-access systems.

IBM Q is the company's move to build commercially-available universal quantum computing systems, for business and science applications. Systems and services will be delivered via the IBM Cloud, which the public have been using to access IBM's quantum processors for more than a year; to date, they have run more than 300,000 quantum experiments using the platform.

Quantum computers can achieve much greater computational power than classical computers. Instead of bits made of ones and zeroes, qubits (quantum bits) can act as both a one and a zero at the same time (known as ‘superposition'). Another difference from classic computing is ‘entanglement', which can tell an observer how one qubit will act by observing another. Superposition and entanglement are responsible for much of the extra processing power that quantum computers can achieve.

Beta access to the 16-qubit processor is available through Github.

Source: v3.co.uk
 
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