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R2D2 on God, 42, the Universe and everything else

  
  

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Brandon WebbEconomies are incentive driven, and the current incentives in America are driving more and more business owners to cut American workers in favor of cheaper hires in Asia, eastern Europe, and elsewhere.

I know this because I’m one of them: I own media business that’s content driven, and most of our tech operations are offshore. 

This trend will continue until leaders and policy makers in US government adopt practical tax and employment laws that bring back strong incentives to hire Americans.

After serving as a US Navy SEAL, I started a business. In four years it failed incredibly, but I learned a lot about business, raising equity, and choosing partners.

Growing up in a family full of entrepreneurs — my own grandmother owned a collection agency named after yours truly — I was hungry for another go. Going through SEAL training taught me that it’s OK to fall down three times, as long as you get up four. This is a good philosophy for most things in life. 

Shortly after losing with my first venture, I started to write. Then I started blogging, learning digital media along the way. Then I… Continue reading

How the W3C is trying to standardize payments on the internet
News and announcements of disruptive payment services of all kinds, from Apple Pay and Samsung Pay to rapidly expanding Transferwise, are widely discussed, and no-one doubts that online payments are changing our everyday lives and spending habits significantly.
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new macbook

Apple Macs may not be as safe as we all thought.

Two researchers have created a worm that could enable a firmware attack to spread undetected on MacBooks without requiring them to be networked, according to a report from Wired.

The worm, which the researchers call Thunderstrike 2, is extremely difficult to detect because it never touches system files or the operating system. This also means that it can’t be detected by security software scanning for malicious code.

It is spread either by phishing email or by using a device that connects to your computer, like an Ethernet adapter. That means someone sends you a phony email that encourages you to click a link. That link installs the worm on your Mac. The worm then writes its malicious malware on the computer’s "bootflash firmware," giving it complete access to the computer. It can then target other devices plugged into your computer, like a USB stick, infecting the firmware of that device so that the worm continues to spread with each computer it is plugged into. 

In January, Trammell Hudson, a security engineer at Two Sigma Investments, revealed the Thunderstrike virus, which also targets MacBook firmware and can’t be detected. But unlike Thunderstrike 2, the original Thunderstrike virus could only be spread via physical access through the peripherals.

In total, the researchers said they discovered five vulnerabilities in Apple’s firmware. These vulnerabilities enabled the researchers to design the dangerous worm. Apple has fixed one of them and partially patched another, but three security holes are untouched, the researchers told Wired.

Tech Insider reached out to Apple for comment and will update the story as soon as we get a response.

Hudson and Xeno Kovah, owner of the firmware security consultancy LegbaCore, are both responsible for designing the worm and will reveal more details about their research this week at BlackHat. 

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NOW WATCH: Here’s the most annoying feature about the new MacBook — and the added cost to make it work right

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work meeting

There is a terrifying premise underlying "The First 90 Days," a guide for executives in new leadership roles: Get things wrong, and it could derail your entire career.

How? Not taking the time to learn about a new company’s culture can lead to bad decisions that will cost you credibility with employees. It’s just a downhill spiral from there as they resist your decisions and one bad move leads to the next…

The book, which carries the subtitle "Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter," promises to help you avoid such a disaster. In the 12 years since it was first published, it’s proven remarkably popular.

Written by Michael Watkins, a Harvard University professor turned consultant, it has sold 1.2 million copies, according to its publisher, and has been translated into at least 27 languages. Its lessons are the basis for Watkins’ company, Genesis Advisers.

The strategies are pretty straightforward. Focus on learning, repress the urge to do something just to prove yourself, and make a point of adapting to the culture of a new organization — not just the technical aspects of a new job.

Sure,… Continue reading