Category Archives: Current Shows

BusinessWise March 19: Price of Oil Down Slightly

The price of oil was down slightly Wednesday as energy markets waited for the latest figures on U.S. crude and fuel stockpiles.

Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery was down 20 cents at $99.50 a barrel in overnight electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.62 to $99.70 on Tuesday after strong U.S. factory data and an apparent easing in tensions over Ukraine.

Thursday is the last day of trading for the April contract.

Investors are awaiting fresh information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products, which give a weekly indication about the strength of demand in the world’s biggest economy.

Statistics for the week ended March 14 are expected to show a rise of 2.6 million barrels in crude oil stocks and a decline of 1.6 million barrels in gasoline stocks, according to a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, fell 2 cents to $106.77 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 0.5 cent to $2.89 a gallon.

— Heating oil gained 0.4 cent to $2.901 a gallon.

— Natural gas shed 0.7 cent to $4.449 per 1,000 cubic feet.

 

 

Business Report for March 18, 2014

The price of oil edged up today as strong U.S. factory output boosted the outlook for the world’s biggest economy.

Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery was up 15 cents to $98.23 a barrel in overnight electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 81 cents to $98.08 on Monday. Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, gained 46 cents to $106.70 on the ICE exchange in London.

Data from the US Federal Reserve showed that U.S. factory output in February rose at its fastest clip in six months after disruptions from severe winter weather.

Oil prices were also impacted by the narrow scope of U.S and European Union sanctions against Russia for its intervention in Crimea.

The initial penalties, freezing the assets of Russian and Ukrainian officials linked to the unrest in Crimea or who support the region’s vote to secede from Ukraine, were accompanied by the warnings from President Barack Obama that more will follow if Russia does not stop interfering in Ukraine.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline inched up 0.8 cent to $2.881 a gallon.

— Heating oil gained 1.2 cents to $2.891 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 3.1 cents to $4.505 per 1,000 cubic feet.

 

 

Computer Insider March 18, 2014: Hackers Capitalize on Missing Boeing 777

The ongoing saga of the missing Malaysian Flight MH370 is proving to be quite the boom to the hacker community as those who strive to pollute the computers of the innocent have started building malware into various messages that claim to be offering videos, information and other tidbits of information on  the still missing Boeing 777 and its hundreds of passengers.

The big message here is don’t click on any link that says it has shocking video of plane.

Videos with titles like “Malaysian Airlines missing flight MH370 found in Sea — 50 people alive saved” have spread through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Malware intelligence reports that that links being spread through Twitter originally appeared on Facebook.

The blog Hoax-Slayer.com warned of a fake news link claiming that the Malaysian plane has been found in the Bermuda Triangle. The photos used to promote the video are from an April 2013 Lion Air plane crash near Bali.

Facebook users lured by shocking videos typically find that they must complete a survey before continuing. Christensen says the links are designed to look like a Facebook survey, requesting permission to gain access to your profile.

Giving permission to your profile could give hackers personal information, like phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Scam artists seek a payday from affiliate marketing schemes that pay money when a user participates in a survey.

 

Computer Insider March 17, 2014: Want to buy a Boeing 777?

One thing you can always count on in this technology based era, is that some nut ball is going to step forward and try and turn a buck out of anything, and so it is today as someone has taken the bold step of posting an ad on Craigslist for an airplane, and not just any airplane, but the still missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370, a Boeing 777 airliner which has been missing for some time now.

The ad, which was posted on the Vietnam Craigslist for $15 million, says that the plane is for sale “as is, where is”, apparently is low on fuel, but does include all the snacks and nibbles still on board. There are a few anomalies with the ad: First of all, it posts a second price in the local currency of 1.5 million Dong, which converts to about $70, so either there’s not much call for a personal 777 in rural Vietnam, or the poster didn’t do too well at math.

The really sad part about this that there is probably somebody somewhere who is seriously considering buying the plane, although there is no contact information listed, so actually making a deal could prove to be somewhat awkward.

Anyway, got to run now, I just have to reply to a message I received from an ex Crimean official who wants me to hole 2-hundred million dollars for him as soon as I pay the wire setup costs to $30,000.

 

 

Business Report March 17, 2014

Oil prices were slightly lower Monday after Crimea’s vote to split from Ukraine and join Russia.

Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery was down 9 cents to $98.80 a barrel in overnight electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 69 cents to close at $98.89 on Friday.

Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, was down 21 cents to $108 on the ICE exchange in London.

Residents in Crimea voted Sunday overwhelmingly in favor of the split in a referendum that the United States, European Union and others say violates the Ukrainian constitution and international law.

The U.S. and its allies in Europe are expected to announce sanctions against Russia, including visa bans and potential asset freezes, on Monday. Russia is a major oil and gas producer.

The tensions that are helping boost prices are being countered in recent weeks by worries about slowing demand from China, one of the world’s top energy consumers.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 0.5 cent to $2.945 a gallon.

— Heating oil dropped 1.1 cent to $2.918 a gallon.

— Natural gas added 8.6 cents to $4.515 per 1,000 cubic feet.

 

Computer Insider March 14/14: New App Targets Israeli Business

It this day and age of an app for everything, you have to really wonder where some people are coming from.

A fringe group, known as the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, also known as BDS, is coming out with a “boycott Israel” smartphone app.

This is the same group that went after actress Scarlett Johansson for being a spokesperson for the Israeli company SodaStream, and is now expanding it’s horizons.

The BDS app is reportedly designed to let people carry out boycotts against Israel, and is just entering the beta testing phase.

It will ship with a barcode scanner, allowing users to scan products with their smartphones to see if the manufacturer has ties to Israel. The idea is to give potential boycotters all of the information they need on specific companies before buying a product. The data about the companies has been compiled by BDS, whose mission is to further Palestine rights.

The group recently made news when it pressured Johansson to step down from her post as Oxfam global ambassador after she became SodaStream’s official spokesperson. SodaStream was targeted by pro-Palestinian activists for opening a factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank

While several prominent people and organizations — such as Stephen Hawking and the American Studies Association — have recently spoke in favor of Israel boycotts, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the boycotts anti-Semitic.

I personally have an issue with any organization steps forward with anything that promotes hatred and un rest, but I have to admit that I find the app concept quite titillating because it offers ordinary people chance to voice their opinion on a variety of topics. Just think of how popular it would be if you could protest political issues like legalizing marijuana, the price of gas, where Mayor Rod Ford picks up his party supplies, and have the app co-ordinate the key players on the topic and send each of them a personal comment note.

Who knows, maybe if we had a tool like this in the 70’s, we could have convinced Trick Dick to get out of Nam that much sooner.

Computer Insider: Too Much Disk Space?

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I thought with spring just around the corner, this would be the ideal time to sit back and do a little bit of basic computer maintenance. One of the major down strokes we have with all of cheap hard disk space we have available to us, is that we never really have to worry about being too careful about what were storing because, for the sake of just running down the local store and spending about $100, you can pick up a terabyte or two of additional storage and suddenly you have huge amounts of onboard space available. The sad tale of my story is that I went to install a new application on my computer, and found out that I had no more space available on my boot drive. I never really worried about how much space I had on the drive, because I never store any data on my primary drive, and always store it on secondary or external drives. The reason I do this is because of anything should happen to my boot drive all of my data will be safe and secure. At any rate, what I found in checking my drive was that I had installed multiple versions of various audio and video editing packages and never bothered to delete them. After about five hours of diligent, uninstalling, I found myself back in business with about half my drive available for whatever apps I wanted to install.

Rob Ford Apps for Apple & Android

I suppose that in today’s world of instant technology it would only make sense that developers would come to market with a number of apps designed to capitalize on the sad plight of Toronto partial mayor Rob Ford. So toady we check out the apps.

The first one we found is called “Stay Mayor!”.

The object is to help Rob Ford raise funds to buy the alleged crack video by running across a football field, dodging reporters with microphones outstretched and narrowly missing cameras, as Toronto’s city hall silhouettes in the background.

Users are forced to dodge crack pipes and collect buckets of deep-fried foods in order to get their hands on footballs to heave at the mobs of media personnel trying to get in the mayor’s way.

The goal: To “stay mayor.”

If you should lose the game by stepping on too many crack pipes or bumping into too many cameras, then a message appears that reads, “Bunch of maggots” – a term the mayor used to describe the media on his weekly radio show, which he later apologized for.

User comments at Google Play seem to back Ford saying things like this is just another attack on a wonderful mayor.

A second new game is called “Rob Ford Mash” Players have an opportunity to vent their anger on him by in this Toronto rendition of Whack-A-Mole, complete with custom sounds!

On oldie moldy from last year is called “Is Ford Still Mayor”. This handy app will allow you to quickly check Rob’s mayoral status, along with the date of the next mayoral election.

This app requires a network connection to check for Rob’s mayoral status. It does not collect or transfer any user information.

In all fairness, there is a forth app focusing on Rob Ford. It’s one that he spearheaded last year so that individuals could report unsightly graffiti directly to city hall, part of Ford’s Clean up Toronto campaign.  User comments for this app tend to be more personal attacks against Ford, highlighting the verbosity of Ford’s opponents in the GTA.

After looking at these games, collectively, you would have to ask yourself why anybody would want to go into Canadian politics.

Remembering Remembrance Day 2013

I have to admit that I was once again deeply moved and very impressed by this year’s Remembrance Day services. Every Fall I worry that we are not doing enough to say “thank you” to all those who stepped up to defend our freedom, and every year I’m more impressed than the last at how we, as a nation remember the countless thousands who served.

My big surprise this year came when I saw a TV commercial from ancestry.ca, who were offering free access to Canadian military records on Remembrance Day. Normally, Ancesrty.ca is a pricy service that lets you search for information on your family history, so getting a chance at a free search seemed like a nice way to see what information was available on both of my grandfathers, one who served with the Canadian army and the other with the British army.

After entering the search criteria, I quickly found myself reading the induction documents from the Canadian army. A few clicks later and I was reading the notes that were filed detailing his decorations and medals.

The search for information on my father’s father was somewhat successful, but between restrictions from Ancestry.ca and what would appear to be poor record keeping by the British Army, the documentation available was more limited.

Now that I was on a roll, my wife suggested that we look up he uncle who was killed in France in 1944. A complete bomb out at Ancestry.ca. My guess is that they don’t have access to World War II records, so there was no information available. So we expanded our search to the Book of Remembrance which lists every Canadian killed in action. Again we entered the search criteria, knowing his name and year of death, we quickly found ourselves on page 460 of the Book. I’ve visited the Book of Remembrance before, but this time I discovered that there is more information if you scroll down beyond the fancy script, listing everybody on the page with a link for more information.

This page was a little sad because there was really no information about the person. It listed his rank, the date he was killed, plot information, a map of the cemetery and a link to his marker, but nothing about the man, who he was, his family other than his parents name and city of residence, but nothing else.

As it turns out, my wife is the custodian of her family’s memorabilia, so we dug out her records, found some pictures of Uncle Lloyd, scanned them into the computer and uploaded them to the people who manage the Book of Remembrance. Our hope is that next year, when family and the curious visit the Book, they will see Uncle Lloyd in a picture with his mother, and remember that all the names listed have parents, families and friends who were devastated when they heard of his or her death. In fact, when you think about it, with disk space being so inexpensive and technology so robust, that it would be a great idea for all of us to go through our family records and make sure that everybody who died in the service of this country be remembered as a person, with pictures and anything else that puts a human face to their memorial.

My Remembrance Day this year finished on a high mark when I got to my email to send the information I had found to other family members, and found two messages. One from my second cousin with a picture of my Uncle Rod with a plane he flew and one from my son with a picture of his Grandfather taken as he prepared to go to England in 1944.

Maybe we are maturing as a country, as Canadians from sea to shining sea do seem to have carried the torch a little further this year.