Category Archives: Cloud Computing

The Warriors' Draymond Green Just Taught a Wonderful Lesson in Reacting to Criticism (Yes, That Draymond Green)

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

If you’re not a Golden State Warriors fan, you likely don’t warm to Draymond Green.

The power forward might seem to you like an arrogant, big-mouthed bully who, just as many bullies do, whines when he doesn’t get his way.

As far as former NBA whining bully Charles Barkley is concerned, well, he offered that Green annoys him so much he’d like to punch him.

The actual quote was: “I want to punch his ass in the face.”

Which conjures too many awkward images for my taste.

I fancy, though, that Barkley’s fist-swing is about as good as his golf swing — uglier and more ineffective than espadrilles in a rainstorm.

However, the former so-called Round Mound of Rebound was suddenly confronted with Green face-to-face after Game 6 of the NBA Western Conference Finals on Saturday night.

Would he take a swing? Or would he merely choose to insult the Warriors star a little more, in that adorable joking-not-joking manner?

And how might Green react?

Well, Barkley cowered somewhat. It was left to fellow TNT panelist Kenny Smith to point out that Barkley, in his dim, distant playing days, wasn’t dissimilar in style to Green.

Barkley claimed this was all “making a mountain out of a molehill.”

The only criticism he could articulate was that Green never admitted to committing a foul. 

And then, perhaps, well, there’s all the physicality — some borderline, some even worse — that Green brings to his game.

For his part, Green could have reacted to Barkley in so many different ways. 

He could have offered a politician’s bluster. He could have offered some bland statement that avoided the question. He could even have snarled.

Instead.

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Instead, he just admitted that he knew precisely why some people don’t view him with kindness.

He said that he didn’t think anyone in the NBA thought they ever committed a foul.

But.

“I can get bad with that at times,” he said. “My mom always reminds me of it, my grandmother will say it, my uncle was really hard on me about it. So, I could understand that.”

Criticism is hard to take. The problem is that, occasionally — very occasionally — it’s true.

If you recognize that a criticism is true, there’s something glorious in admitting it.

It’s not easy.

Your ego is vast and vulnerable. Admitting fault feels like losing — or, even worse, exposing an ugly truth about yourself.

Oddly, though, you might find that people respect you more for showing that you at least know how you’re perceived by others.

I confess that, even though I’m a Warriors fan, I’m occasionally exasperated by Green’s highly sensitive reactions to alleged injustice.

Yet seeing him react with poise and honesty was a refreshing reminder that we’re all desperately imperfect.

Privately, we beat ourselves up over these imperfections.

To admit to them in public is the first step to a sane redemption.

Tencent chairman pledges to advance China chip industry after ZTE 'wake-up' call: reports

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Tencent Holdings chairman pledged to advance China’s semiconductor industry, saying the blow to ZTE Corp from Washington’s ban on U.S. firms supplying telecommunications company was a “wake-up” call, local media reported.

FILE PHOTO: Tencent Holdings Ltd Chairman and CEO Pony Ma attends a news conference announcing the company’s annual results in Hong Kong, China March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

China’s No.2 telecom equipment maker ZTE was banned in April from buying U.S. technology components for seven years for breaking an agreement reached after it violated U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea. American firms are estimated to provide 25-30 percent of the components used in ZTE’s equipment.

While the U.S. administration said on Friday it had reached a deal to put ZTE back in business after the company pays a $1.3 billion fine and makes management changes, the plan has run into resistance in Congress, indicating ZTE was still far from out of the woods. Also, ZTE is yet to confirm the deal.

FILE PHOTO: A sign of Tencent is seen during the third annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen town of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

“The recent ZTE incident made everyone more clearly realize that however advanced one may be in mobile payment, without the mobile, the chips and the operating system, you still cannot compete,” Chinese media reports cited Tecent’s Pony Ma as saying at a forum in Shenzhen on Saturday.

FILE PHOTO: A sign of ZTE Corp is pictured at its service centre in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

Tencent, which alternates with Alibaba Group to be Asia’s most-valuable listed company, is the largest social media and gaming company in China and operates the popular WeChat app.

Ma said “even though the ZTE situation was in the process of being resolved, we must not lose vigilance at this time and should pay more attention to fundamental scientific research”.

Tencent is looking into ways it could help advance China’s domestic chip industry, which could include leveraging its huge data demand to urge domestic chip suppliers to come up with better solutions, or using its WeChat platform to support application developments based on Chinese chips, Ma said.

“It would probably be better if we could get in to support semiconductor R&D, but that is perhaps admittedly not our strong suit and may need the help of others in the supply chain.”

China has been looking to accelerate plans to develop its semiconductor market to reduce its heavy reliance on imports and has invited overseas investors to invest in the country’s top state-backed chip fund.

Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Himani Sarkar

Customers angry after National Australia Bank hit by technology outage

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – National Australia Bank on Saturday suffered what it described as a “nationwide outage” to some of its technology systems, leaving customers unable to access banking services or withdraw money.

FILE PHOTO: A National Australia Bank (NAB) logo is pictured on an automated teller machine (ATM) in central Sydney September 12, 2014. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

Customers took to social media to vent their frustrations, with some saying they were left unable to pay for groceries or refuel their cars.

“Loyal member for 15 years and you leave me standing at the supermarket altar with a trolley full of shopping,” said one Twitter user.

The bank tweeted just after midday (0200 GMT) on Saturday that some services were coming back online.

“We’re sorry and it’s not good enough … but we’ll get it fixed as soon as possible,” Chief Customer Officer Business and Private Banking Anthony Healy said in a video posted on Twitter.

NAB is one of Australia’s four largest retail banks with a customer base of 9 million, according to its website.

The outage follows growing customer discontent with the so-called “Big Four” banks, which have suffered numerous embarrassing disclosures at an inquiry into financial sector misconduct.

A spokesman from the bank told Reuters by telephone that it was a national outage, without elaborating on its cause.

The Bank of New Zealand [BNZL.UL], a NAB subsidiary, also experienced outages on Saturday across New Zealand, but the spokesman was unable to confirm a connection between the two incidents.

Reporting by Will Ziebell in MELBOURNE; Editing by Joseph Radford

Report: Document Shows Apple Knew iPhone 6 Was More Likely to Bend

Apple knew ahead of time that its iPhone 6 was “more likely to bend” than other iPhones, according to tech news site Motherboard.

A lawsuit filed in 2016 claims Apple knew about defects with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, including so-called “touch disease” — or problems with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus touchscreen responsiveness, which can happen if the phone is bent.

While documents submitted by Apple in this case are under seal, U.S. District Court judge Lucy Koh made some information public in a procedural ruling on the case on May 7. In it, she said that “Apple’s internal testing ‘determined that the iPhone 6 was 3.3 times more likely to bend than the iPhone 5s (the model immediately prior to the subject iPhones) and that the iPhone 6 Plus was 7.2 times more likely to bend than the iPhone 5s.”

She continued: “Underscoring the point, one of the major concerns Apple identified prior to launching the iPhones was that they were ‘likely to bend more easily when compared to previous generations’ something that Apple described as ‘expected behavior.’”

Koh also wrote that Apple began adding reinforcement to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in May 2016 that caused malfunctions. (Koh also presides over a long-running patent infringement case between Apple v. Samsung).

After the premiere of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014, some customers complained about the phones bending, leading media outlets to give the problem the nickname “bendgate.” Following those reports, Apple released a statement that minimized the problem:

“Our iPhones are designed, engineered and manufactured to be both beautiful and sturdy. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus feature a precision engineered unibody enclosure constructed from machining a custom grade of 6000 series anodized aluminum, which is tempered for extra strength. They also feature stainless steel and titanium inserts to reinforce high stress locations and use the strongest glass in the smartphone industry. We chose these high-quality materials and construction very carefully for their strength and durability. We also perform rigorous tests throughout the entire development cycle including 3-point bending, pressure point cycling, sit, torsion, and user studies. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus meet or exceed all of our high quality standards to endure everyday, real life use.

“With normal use a bend in iPhone is extremely rare and through our first six days of sale, a total of nine customers have contacted Apple with a bent iPhone 6 Plus. As with any Apple product, if you have questions please contact Apple.”

Apple, according to Motherboard, has argued that bending cannot cause “touch disease” “unless the phones had already been repeatedly dropped on a hard surface.”

Fortune contacted Apple for more information about Motherboard’s report and will update as necessary.

Apple Wins $539 Million in Damages Over Samsung Patent Retrial

Samsung must pay a total of $539 million to Apple for copying patented iPhone features, a jury decided Thursday.

The verdict brings the years-long legal battle between the companies one step closer to ending. The rivals have been in court since 2011, when Apple sued Samsung, claiming the company had replicated its products.

Samsung was found liable in the initial verdict in 2012, but the companies disagreed over how much should be paid. Samsung eventually agreed to pay Apple $399 million, according to Bloomberg, but the Supreme Court ordered a lower court to re-examine that amount.

In the latest retrial, the jury had been deliberating since last week. If the current decision is upheld, Samsung will need to make an additional $140 million payment to Apple to complete the $539 million.

Apple said Thursday it was glad the members of the jury “agree that Samsung should pay for copying our products,” according to Reuters.

Samsung did not say whether it would appeal the verdict.

“Today’s decision flies in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in favor of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages,” Samsung said in a statement, according to Reuters. “We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers.”

Twitter Has a New Plan to Keep Imposters from Sowing Confusion During the Midterm Elections

Twitter plans to add new labels to the accounts of political candidates in the upcoming 2018 midterm election in an effort to thwart fraudsters from creating fake accounts and sowing confusion.

Candidate profiles will be emblazoned with small graphic of a government building that is intended to identify their accounts as legitimate, the company said on Wednesday.

The labels, which will debut May 30, will show information like what state the candidates are running in as well as their electoral district numbers. The labels will appear on the top of a candidate’s Twitter profile, as well as on the top of tweets or retweets that they post.

The goal is to hamstring Internet trolls or foreign governments from spreading disinformation on Twitter like they are suspected of doing during the 2016 presidential campaign. Both Twitter and Facebook came under fire by U.S. lawmakers for failing to stop Russian entities from spreading propaganda on their services during the run up to the vote.

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Twitter said it enlisted the civic non-profit Ballotopedia to help verify the Twitter (twtr) accounts of political candidates running for office.

“When people are looking for news and information, they turn to Twitter to find out what’s happening in the world right now,” Twitter’s senior public policy manager Bridget Coyne said in a statement. “We understand the significance of this responsibility and our teams are building new ways for people who use Twitter to identify original sources and authentic information.”

Although Twitter already verifies prominent accounts by giving them a blue check mark, the election labels appear to be a way For Twitter to more specifically identify politicians from celebrities or high-profile CEOs.

Amazon Web Services to invest in Chile for the long-term: executive

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Amazon Web Services is looking to invest in Chile for the long-term as part of a larger Latin American expansion plan, a senior executive said on Wednesday after meeting with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.

FILE PICTURE – The logo of the web service Amazon is pictured in this June 8, 2017 illustration photo. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/Illustration/File Photo

Teresa Carlson, AWS vice president, worldwide public sector, had sought the meeting with Pinera, a conservative billionaire and businessman, as Amazon.com Inc wants to expand its cloud computing footprint.

“You’re going to see us here for the long-term,” Carlson told reporters. “We think Chile is super important to Latin America and the rest of the world.”

Amazon has said it is keen to build more data centers in the region to handle data and computing for large enterprises, including governments, in the cloud.

Both Chile and Argentina – two of the largest economies in South America – have been courting investment from the cloud computing and e-commerce company.

Chile is interested in inviting companies such as Amazon and is “doing everything possible” to encourage them, said Economy Minister Jose Valente, who also attended Wednesday’s meeting.

Carlson declined to say whether both Chile and Argentina were still in the running for an Amazon data center. No announcement was imminent, she said.

Policies mattered most to Amazon, Carlson said when asked what criteria the company was considering.

“We look for telecommunication industries that are progressive,” she said. We look for a government that really is thinking forward on the digitization of their economy in terms of education and creating new jobs.”

Pinera has said he hopes to convert Chile into a digital and information services platform for South America. The sector has received $18 billion in investment in the past decade, according to Telecommunications Ministry data.

Amazon’s cloud-computing business is the largest in the world and accounts for a majority of its operating profit. Adding more data centers close to clients reduces latency and helps Amazon handle an influx of customers moving operations to the cloud.

Reporting by Dave Sherwood and Felipe Iturrieta; Editing by Grant McCool

Facebook and Qualcomm Team Up to Bring Fast Internet to Cities in 2019

Qualcomm is joining Facebook in its effort to bring low-cost, fast Wi-Fi to cities by 2019.

Facebook’s Wi-Fi plan, announced in 2016, would use antennas on light poles and other city structures to bring Wi-Fi to the area. The technology is also supposed to be able to divert online traffic around around tall buildings and heavy congestion on the Wi-Fi network, making it ideal for urban environments. Terragraph is meant to bring faster Internet speeds and at a lower cost than fiber technology.

Now Qualcomm’s chips will be integrated with Facebook’s so-called Terragraph technology, allowing manufacturers to build routers capable of sending data at 60GHz speeds.

“With Terragraph, our goal is to enable people living in urban areas to access high-quality connectivity that can help create new opportunities and strengthen communities,” Yael Maguire, Facebook’s vice president of connectivity, said in a statement.

Facebook and Qualcomm expect trials of the new Wi-Fi service to begin in mid-2019.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Sails Through E.U. Parliament Grilling

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg managed to dodge tough questioning by European Union parliamentary members on Tuesday during a hearing about the company’s data collection practices.

The parliamentary members asked thorough, multi-part questions about Facebook’s policies and global operations. But because their questions were grouped together at the beginning of the roughly hour-and-a-half long session, Zuckerberg was able to mostly ignore them when it was finally his turn to speak.

Instead, he reiterated the company’s recent talking points around its efforts to clean up its service like hiring more monitors and combating fake news.

Several EU politicians brought up previous questions Zuckerberg ducked during two U.S. congressional hearings in April in Washington D.C. Similar to the EU parliamentary hearing, the U.S. congressional hearings were intended to look into Facebook’s response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which involved an academic obtaining and selling Facebook user data to a political consulting firm, and the company’s repeated privacy blunders that forced its executives to repeatedly apologize and pledge to do better.

Manfred Weber, the leader of the European People’s party in the European Parliament, kicked off questioning during the hearing on Tuesday by first commending Zuckerberg for apologizing for the company’s lapses and voluntarily appearing for the heading. The German politician then asked Zuckerberg a series of questions that included the following:

Can Facebook guarantee that another Cambridge Analytica scandal will not occur within the next year?

Did Zuckerberg personally make the decision against notifying its users when the company learned of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a question Weber noted, was similar to one U.S. Senator Kamala Harris asked during the recent U.S. Congressional hearing?

Would Facebook be open to a discussion about whether it should open its secretive algorithms to the public to ensure transparency?

Zuckerberg did not respond to these questions when it came time for his answers, but he pledged that Facebook (fb) would follow up later in writing.

British politician Syed Kamall, the co-chair of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, asked Zuckerberg about “the public outcry over shadow profiles,” a reference to Facebook’s practice of collecting data about non-Facebook users. He wanted Zuckerberg to expand on comments he had made during the previous U.S. congressional hearings during which he said that Facebook collects non-user data for security purposes. He asked Zuckerberg whether the only way for users to avoid having their data collected by Facebook would be to stay off the Internet entirely.

Another parliamentary member asked Zuckerberg whether he could guarantee that Facebook doesn’t use that non-user data for other services like targeted ads.

Zuckerberg avoided answering any questions related to shadow profiles until the very end of the hearing, when parliamentary members appeared upset and began shouting over each other in frustration.

“On the security side, we think it’s important to keep it to protect people in our community,” Zuckerberg said, a vague answer that implied that Facebook would continue to collect data about non-Facebook users. The executive then quickly shifted gears and said, “Were there any other themes that we wanted to get through?”

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After the hearing, several parliamentary members tweeted their frustration with Zuckerberg:

Zuckerberg largely reiterated what Facebook has already said publicly about its efforts to fix its service following the latest data privacy uproar.

And in the end, investors seemed pleased with his performance, as Facebook shares were relatively flat at end-of-day trading, slightly in-line with the overall market for tech stocks.

Daniel Ives, an analyst with GBH Insights, seemed positive about Facebook in a research note after the EU hearing. He said that the company’s stock continues to rebound after several months of investor concern that its latest scandals would impact the company’s bottom line.

“The Street has stepped away from the edge of the cliff over the last month on Facebook as the combination of stronger than expected March results, an impressive performance by Zuckerberg in DC, and the fears of regulation starting to fade in the background have been catalysts for a major rebound in shares,” Ives wrote. “While we expect more back and forth between the EU and Facebook over the coming weeks, we view today as another step forward for Zuckerberg post Cambridge.”

Tesla shares hit by Consumer Reports criticism

(Reuters) – U.S. consumer bible Consumer Reports stopped short of recommending Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) Model 3 electric car on Monday, criticizing it for its braking and taking the shine off a day of gains for shares in billionaire Elon Musk’s venture.

The Tesla Model 3 is displayed during a media preview of the Auto China 2018 motor show in Beijing, China April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Musk had driven shares in the electric carmaker higher with a weekend twitter discussion which argued the company should focus more initially on delivering higher-priced fully-loaded editions of the Model 3 sedan.

That car is seen as crucial to Tesla’s profitability at a time when it is battling reports of crashes involving its vehicles, a shortage of cash and production problems.

Consumer Reports, however, declined to recommend the Model 3 and criticized it for having overly-long stopping distances and difficult-to-use controls.

Tesla shares were last up 2.5 percent at $283.90, having risen more than 4 percent after investors were encouraged by Musk’s $78,000 price tag for the fully-loaded version of the sedan.

Consumer Reports, whose scorecard is influential among consumers and industry executives, said even though its tests found plenty to like about the Model 3, it had “big flaws”.

Tesla’s stopping distance of 152 feet when braking at 60 mph was far worse than any contemporary car tested by the magazine and about seven feet longer than the stopping distance of a Ford (F.N) F-150 full-sized pickup.

Responding, a Tesla spokesperson said: “Tesla’s own testing has found braking distances with an average of 133 feet when conducting the 60-0 mph stops using the 18” Michelin all season tire and as low as 126 feet with all tires currently available.

“Unlike other vehicles, Tesla is uniquely positioned to address more corner cases over time through over-the-air software updates, and it continually does so to improve factors such as stopping distance.”

Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma and Sonam Rai in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham