BlackBerry announces $200 smartphone, but emphasises security

BlackBerry announces $200 smartphone, but emphasises security

BlackBerry chief executive brings the company back to its business roots, focusing on secure messaging and a new phone that features the ‘classic’ trademark trackpad and keyboard

BlackBerry is working with Chinese manufacturing company Foxconn to produce a new, cheaper smartphone that will sell for under $200, it was announced on Tuesday. The chief executive John Chen told the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that the Z3 will launch in Indonesia in April, and that it was built in just three months instead of the usual 12. Chen said the handset would eventually be released in other markets with an LTE version sometime before I die. The handset is entirely touchscreen, but Chen also announced a second new classic phone, the Q20, that will be released before the end of the year — which will feature BlackBerry’s trademark mechanical keyboard and also revives its trackpad. It will resemble older BlackBerry models, but will use the new BB10 software.

Almost everyone I’ve met, in government, enterprise, loves the keyboard, but it turns out what they love just as much is the little belt above the keyboard that held the trackpad and buttons, which is why they didn’t like the Q10. So we decided to listen to customers, and give them what they want. Foxconn owner Terry Gou said: We have 100% confidence in BB and we are fully supporting them. We will make this work.

Secure messaging future

Chen went on to announce that the company will promote its expertise in secure messaging with a new service called BBM Protected. Chen, who took charge of the company in November, vowed to take the company back into the black by the end of the fiscal year and into profitability next year. He said his path to turning the business around was centred on secure communications and productivity for the regulated industries, including banking, government, healthcare and other data-secure business. We are still committed to the device business, but one of our turnaround strategies is to focus on enterprise, the regulated industry and our server business, said Chen at a session with the press at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

BBM Protected

Chen explained that BlackBerry’s profitable server business, the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), will be the focus for the company in the immediate future, with a new version BES 12 due to be released by the end of the year that will bring cross platform compatibility with Windows Phone, as well as Android and iPhone.
BlackBerry will leverage its popular cross-platform messaging service, BBM, which currently has 85 million monthly active users (WhatsApp has 465 million monthly active users). Its new BBM Protected service will offer enterprise customers secure, encrypted end-to-end messaging as well as allow companies to keep a record of conversations for compliance regulations. It will be the first of a suite of enterprise BBM applications and services.

Spread ourselves a little too thin

Chen admitted that the company’s consumer focus damaged BlackBerry’s standings in the enterprise space, which it was historically strong. There’s a certain truth to the fact that we focused on the consumer, spreading ourselves a little too thin, before I came on board. I have now rectified that, Chen said. Clarifying his position on apps, Chen said that security was of paramount importance and that the level of certification required for entry into the BlackBerry World app store was going to be very high ensuring security on the platform, we feel that’s a value add.
Chen also explained that the company was also working on high-end devices, which is something business users demand accord to BlackBerry, but that he could not talk about them at this stage.

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Matt Cutts: Write Clear, Understandable Content

Matt Cutts: Write Clear, Understandable Content

As webmasters, it’s constantly drilled into us that quality content is key as part of an SEO strategy. But when it comes to more technical content, how should you handle it?
Should your content be geared toward a higher, more specialized reading level, or should it be written in such a way that novices on the topic can understand?
Many webmasters are hyper analyzing their content lately to ensure that however they present the content and readiness is going to rank the best in Google. But how can you find this balance between super technical writing and writing aimed at the general public who might be interested in the topic but don’t have knowledge behind it to understand the more complex discussion or vocabulary?
Cutts began by sharing what is likely a familiar scenario for many. You end up at Wikipedia trying to find background information on a topic, but it’s either way too technical or simply not understandable.
So you see this sort of revival of people who are interested in things like ‘explain it to me like I’m a 5-year-old’, Cutts said. You don’t have to dumb it down that much. but if you’re erring on the side of clarity, and on the side of something that’s going to be understandable, you’ll be in much better shape because regular people can get it, and then … feel free to include the scientific terms or the industry jargon, the lingo, or whatever it is.
It seems Cutts believes you should strive to strike the right balance between technical writing while still ensuring that the average person can understand it.
You need to find some way to pull people in, to get them interested, to get them enticed to try to pick up whatever concept it is you want to explain, Cutts said. So I would argue, first and foremost, you need to explain it well, and then if you can manage to do that while talking about the science or being scientific, that’s great. Cutts said that how you explain a topic often matters almost as much as what you’re actually saying.
If you’re saying something important but you can’t get it across, then sometimes you never get across in the first place, and it ends up falling on deaf ears, he said.
What about if your target audience is a group of people that are industry professionals or have the same sites reference you? You don’t necessarily want to alienate that audience because you dumb it down too much for the general public. But on the other hand, you want your content to be approachable by the masses, because that opens you to a much wider audience than the smaller group of technical people you might currently target.
Sometimes it’s about finding a balance or writing for two different audiences with different content for each. If you’re only talking to industry professionals, exterminators were talking about the scientific names of bugs, and your audience is only exterminator experts, then that would make sense, Cutts said. But in general I will try to make something is natural sounding as possible.
He also suggested a tried-and-true techniques that many people have used for years: reading your content aloud. Often you can pick up the little mistakes or the awkward sounding parts, such as excessive use of keywords, when you read it out loud. When I’m writing a blog post, I’ll sometimes read it out loud to try to catch what the snags are, and where things are going to be unclear, Cutts said. Anything you do like that you’ll end up with more polished writing, and that’s more likely to stand the test of time.
Bottom line, don’t focus on being so technical that you’re excluding a lot of the audience that might want to learn more about your topic, but just can’t understand it because you’re not explaining it well.

Nasa’s planet-hunting telescope finds 715 new planets outside solar system

Nasa's planet-hunting telescope finds 715 new planets outside solar system

Nasa’s exoplanet exploration program scientist called the announcement a major step toward finding Earth 2.0

The Earth’s galaxy is looking far more crowded and hospitable after Nasa confirmed the discovery of 715 new planets outside the solar system. Scientists using the planet-hunting Kepler telescope pushed the number of planets discovered in the galaxy to about 1,700. Twenty years ago, astronomers had not found any planets circling stars other than the ones revolving around the sun. We almost doubled just today the number of planets known to humanity, Nasa planetary scientist Jack Lissauer said in a Wednesday teleconference, calling it the big mother lode. Astronomers used a new confirmation technique to come up with the largest single announcement of a batch of exoplanets – what planets outside our solar system are called. While the announcements were about big numbers, they also were about implications for life behind those big numbers.

All the new planets are in systems like ours where multiple planets circle a star. The 715 planets came from looking at just 305 stars. They were nearly all in size closer to Earth than gigantic Jupiter. And four of those new exoplanets orbit their stars in habitable zones where it is not too hot or not too cold for liquid water which is crucial for life to exist. Douglas Hudgins, Nasa’s exoplanet exploration program scientist, called the announcement a major step toward Kepler’s ultimate goal: finding Earth 2.0. It’s a big step in not just finding other Earths, but “the possibility of life elsewhere,” said Lisa Kaltenegger, a Harvard and Max Planck Institute astronomer who wasn’t part of the discovery team.

The four new habitable zone planets are all at least twice as big as Earth so that makes them more likely to be gas planets instead of rocky ones like Earth – and less likely to harbor life. So far Kepler has found nine exoplanets in the habitable zone, Nasa said. Astronomers expect to find more when they look at all four years of data collected by the now-crippled Kepler; so far they have looked at two years. Planets in the habitable zone are likely to be farther out from their stars because it is hot close in. And planets farther out take more time orbiting, so Kepler has to wait longer to see it again.

Another of Kepler’s latest discoveries indicates that small planets are extremely common in our galaxy, said MIT astronomer Sara Seagar, who wasn’t part of the discovery team. Nature wants to make small planets. And, in general, smaller planets are more likely to be able to harbor life than big ones, Ms Kaltenegger said.

UK GDP growth confirmed at 0.7% as business investment rises

UK GDP growth confirmed at 0.7% as business investment rises

Increased business investment helped to lift growth in the final three months of 2013, official figures have shown.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed that the economy grew by 0.7% in the quarter, unchanged from its previous estimate. However, its estimate for growth in 2013 as a whole was cut to 1.8% from the initial reading of 1.9%. The ONS said business investment in the fourth quarter rose 2.4% from the previous three-month period. Business investment was also up 8.5% from a year earlier. Other factors helping growth in the final quarter of 2013 included a 0.4% rise in household spending and a similar contribution from net trade, as the balance between imports and exports improved. Recent business surveys have suggested that the recent upturn in the UK economy has continued into 2014.

‘More to do’

David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said the latest ONS figures were positive news and would underpin business confidence. But he added it was now important to improve the quality of Britain’s recovery. While it is encouraging that consumer spending is growing, we need to rely more on investment and net exports. These figures show a small move in the right direction, but there is still more to do. Neil Prothero, deputy chief economist at manufacturers’ organisation EEF, said the key question for 2014 was whether companies were feeling confident to translate investment intentions to concrete action. Next month’s Budget must send out a powerful signal that government will continue to act on delivering a competitive business environment that will give the private sector confidence to invest, he added.

‘Painful period’

The recent recovery in the economy has raised the question of when the Bank of England will raise rates from their current historic low of 0.5%. Recent comments from Bank of England policymakers have indicated that rates will rise in the first half of 2015. David Miles, member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), told the BBC on Wednesday that interest rates would not rise in the next few months, adding the MPC was “not in a hurry” put rates up. He said: It may be that sometime next year might be the right time [to raise interest rates]. It is difficult to predict in advance. The rise would be very gradual, when it did occur, he said. After the recent experience of falling real wages, Mr Miles said that as the economy continued to recover, wages would rise faster than inflation. It has been an extraordinary period, an extremely painful period, which has lasted five years, with people’s incomes falling, he said.

Get the Amazing Manual Link Wheel Service from Rankwinz!

Get the Amazing Manual Link Wheel Service from Rankwinz!

The Link Pyramid strategy is one of the most popular and known link development strategies. The link development method is part of the search engine optimization of a website, more exactly, part of the Off-Site optimization. Search engine optimization is an online marketing technique to promote and rank your website higher. The off-page direction of it is based on link development techniques, social media marketing and others. Basically, it is about every step outside the website.
How the Link Pyramid strategy works?
This strategy is a level based one. There are three layers of the pyramid. At the top of the pyramid is placed the website which needs to be promoted. It is also known as money site.
The first level consists of several (not a lot) of websites where is anchored a link to the money site. These websites usually have a pretty high PR. This is the main reason here need to be employed only a couple of websites instead of numerous of them. Most often, at the second level of the pyramid are used and done high PR blogs, such as WordPress, Jcow, Elgg and others.
The second level consists of more links than the second one. The links here are pointing to the websites from the second level and not directly to the money site. This is why the PR of the websites used here doesn’t need to be as high as in the case of the previous layer. All the links created here are meant to strengthen the work done in the second step. Most often here are used the social directories in order to build links.
The third level is about fortifying the third one. A lot more links are built here. These ones are created, pointing to all the links from the third level. Since this is the last step, it consists of numerous websites with an average PR. The fourth layer is about quantity, unlike the second level, which is all about quality. The links done here are designed to strengthen the links from the third level. Usually, at this layer, are employed and used various blog comments for posting links. All the links from the second and third step are meant for the search engines bots in order to push the money site.
What results can be seen?
Since this is a pyramid scheme, the money site is always protected. Therefore, the Link Pyramid strategy can bring only good results when done properly. The level strategy such as this one is among the most suitable SEO strategies, especially because it cannot harm the money site; only get it in higher rankings and winning more visibility for it. The Link Pyramid method is definitely one of the most safe and lucrative link development strategies.

Mark Zuckerberg would have paid more than $19bn for WhatsApp

Mark Zuckerberg would have paid more than $19bn for WhatsApp

Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that he probably would have paid more than the $19bn Facebook bought WhatsApp for arguing that its user base alone was worth the figure.
Speaking at MWC 2014 the CEO of Facebook praised WhatsApp for its accomplishments saying, “In reality, there are very few services that reach one billion people. It could be the one service that reaches one billion and doesn’t become valuable. If we can do a good job at helping WhatsApp to grow, then I think it’s quite a good bet.”

Zuckerberg was speaking at the conference on behalf of his Facebook-led initiative Internet.org which is working to make the internet more available to the two thirds of the population that don’t have it.

It appears as though WhatsApp is going to play a key role in this as Zuckerberg spoke at length about using services like Facebook and WhatsApp as doorways to the internet, giving people cheap low-data foundations such as Facebook Messenger and then bringing them in once the infrastructure is in place.

Of course it wouldn’t have been a tech conference if someone hadn’t mentioned Snapchat with one journalist asking if Zuckerberg would now consider paying even more for the service.

Facebook will leave your privacy settings intact after you die

Facebook will leave your privacy settings intact after you die

Facebook users whose friends and family have died leaving profiles on the site will be able to request “Look Back” videos for their loved ones.
The site has also changed its policies regarding memorial accounts to allow users to retain in death the privacy settings they selected in life.
“This will allow people to see memorialized profiles in a manner consistent with the deceased person’s expectations of privacy,” said Facebook’s Chris Price and Alex DiSclafani in a blog post. “We are respecting the choices a person made in life while giving their extended community of family and friends ongoing visibility to the same content they could always see.”
Both changes affect memorial pages, profiles of users who have died and whose family members have requested the page be left open in memory of the deceased. The tradition began as an ad-hoc practice, but in 2009 the company made the practice official, in part to prevent users being asked to “get in touch” with dead friends.
Until now, memorial pages have automatically been set at the “friends-only” privacy setting, allowing only those who were friends with the page’s subject in life to see their account after death.
Facebook will also let users who have suffered the loss of a loved one request to view that person’s own “look back” video, the short round-up of past activity on the site that Facebook produced for its tenth anniversary. As Price and DiSclafani explain, the impetus was a user request:
“For one man in Missouri, the Look Back video he was most desperate to watch was one that had not yet been made. John Berlin reached out to ask if it was possible for Facebook to create a video for his son, Jesse, who passed away in 2012. We had not initially made the videos for memorialized accounts, but John’s request touched the hearts of everyone who heard it, including ours.”