Category Archives: News and Views

Here’s when the next recession might start | Business Insider

I have previously shown that based on the past five business cycles, the next recession might not start until March 2019. I examined the Index of Coincident Economic Indicators (CEI) for some historical guidance on the longevity of economic expansions. Let’s update our analysis.

It has taken 68 months–from January 2008 through October 2013–for the CEI to fully recover from its severe decline during 2008 and early 2009. The previous five recovery periods averaged 26 months within a range of 19-33 months. The good news is that the average increase in the CEI following each of those recovery periods through the next peak was 18.6%, over an average period of 65 months within a range of 30-104 months. If we apply this average to the current cycle, then the CEI would peak in 45 more months, during March 2019, with a substantial gain from here.

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Autonomous trucks: Daimler seeks licence for road tests | BBC News

Car manufacturer Daimler is hoping to test self-driving trucks on German motorways this year, according to a company executive.

Speaking to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Wolfgang Bernhard said he was “positive” the firm would get certification within weeks.

Daimler has been road-testing its autonomous trucks in Nevada since May.

Although a computer controls the vehicles, a human driver is present at all times.

Daimler is currently seeking certification for a self-driving truck so it can be tested on public roads in Germany.

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Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It | WIRED

At that point, the interstate began to slope upward, so the Jeep lost more momentum and barely crept forward. Cars lined up behind my bumper before passing me, honking. I could see an 18-wheeler approaching in my rearview mirror. I hoped its driver saw me, too, and could tell I was paralyzed on the highway.

“You’re doomed!” Valasek shouted, but I couldn’t make out his heckling over the blast of the radio, now pumping Kanye West. The semi loomed in the mirror, bearing down on my immobilized Jeep.

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Google’s YouTube Signs Up Everyone But TV for New Paid Service | Bloomberg Business

downloadGoogle Inc.’s YouTube, which has signed up partners for a new paid video service, may find out by early next year whether its own Internet stars really are as valuable as those in Hollywood.

Partners accounting for more than 90 percent of YouTube viewing have signed on to the paid service, the company said in a statement. While the lineup incudes home-grown celebrities and music videos, YouTube so far doesn’t have TV networks such as Fox, NBC and CBS, according to people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified discussing the project.

TV staples like Fox’s “Futurama,” NBC’s “Parks & Recreation” and CBS’s “Under the Dome” are a featured part of competing products from Netflix Inc. and Inc. Without shows like those, YouTube’s commercial-free service will have to attract paying viewers with original series, music videos and thousands of its channels already available for free.

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Economic storms hit U.S. – 6 biggest threats to the stock market | CNNMoney

The American stock market is heating up again.

The Greek bailout and strong earnings from tech companies like Google (GOOG) and Netflix (NFLX, Tech30) have carried the Dow and S&P 500 near record highs. The Nasdaq is on track for a third-straight record close.

But that doesn’t mean the bull market in U.S. stocks is bulletproof. The biggest threat: a slowdown in the American economy.

Just look at how retail sales unexpectedly declined in June.

If people continue to hold back on spending, it will throw cold water on investors who are betting that economic growth will accelerate during the second half of 2015 following a weather-fueled contraction in the first quarter.

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Customer Service Tips | Business Tips

downloadI travel quite a bit, for both business and personal reasons, so I am exposed to many kinds of businesses across the U.S.  I frequent small businesses but use large companies, as well.

With rising prices of goods and services, I expect the level of customer service to be high, as well.  And it has become increasingly important to me.

In the past few weeks, I have experienced the worst customer service that I have in years— and it was from both small and large companies.

Do you have protocols for answering your phone, for greeting visitors, for trouble calls?  If you don’t, you should.   Some things don’t need to be left up in the air.

Whoever a potential customer interacts with first, establishes the impression of your company in that person’s mind.

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Flash. Must. Die. | WIRED

Adobe-Flash-Featured1-582x582ADOBE FLASH—THAT INSECURE, ubiquitous resource hog everyone hates to need—is under siege, again, and hopefully for the last time. The latest calls for its retirement come from some of the Internet’s most powerful players, but if the combined clattering of Facebook, Firefox, and a legion of unsatisfied users isn’t enough finally to put it in the ground, scroll down to see how to axe it from your devices yourself.

Why would you want to?

Because Flash is a closed, proprietary system on a web that deserves open standards. It’s a popular punching bag for hackers, which puts users at risk over and over again. And it’s a resource-heavy battery suck that at this point mostly finds its purchase in pop-up ads you didn’t want to see anyway.

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