Uber, Ola Striking Drivers in Bengaluru Asked to Move Labour Court by Government

Karnataka government on Thursday asked the striking drivers attached to cab aggregators Uber and Ola to approach the Labour Court, as their strike with charter of demands entered the second day.

Uber, Ola Striking Drivers in Bengaluru Asked to Move Labour Court by Government

“It doesn’t come under our purview…government doesn’t have anything to do with the contract signed between the Ola, Uber, cab drivers and owners,” Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy told reporters in Bengaluru.

He said “As they approached us I had asked the Commissioner (Transport) to conduct meetings. Five meetings were held, Ola and Uber did not agree…so our Commissioner has advised them (drivers) to approach the Labour Court.”

Over one lakh drivers attached to two cab aggregators began an indefinite strike in Bengaluru yesterday, demanding better incentives and stopping attachment of new cabs which they said affects their bookings.

ALSO SEEUber, Ola Drivers’ Strike in Delhi Called Off After ‘Some’ Demands Are Met
Hitting back at Reddy, Uber, TaxiForSure and Ola (UTO) Drivers and Owners Association President Tanveer Pasha said “If the Minister is not aware of his responsibility and that of the departments that come under him, he should resign.”

Stating that 95 percent of the the vehicles have stopped operating, he said just about five percent were not taking part in the strike and are continuing to operate, without proper information.

Incidents of striking drivers obstructing other drivers from operating and thereby causing inconvenience to passengers have also been reported from different parts of the city.

Uber in a statement said “We’re sorry that our service has been disrupted in Bangalore. We’re aware of isolated reports of threats and intimidation from a small group of people. We again call on the authorities to put an end to this illegal behaviour”.

“We are committed to ensuring that drivers who wish to work are able to do so, and riders can get from A to B conveniently, reliably and safely,” it said.

Xiaomi Mi Selfie Stick Tripod With Bluetooth Remote Launched for Hands-Free Photography

Xiaomi’s product category is vast and ever growing. The company has introduced smart products in categories like LED lights, pressure cookers, and even water purifiers. The Chinese conglomerate even indulged in its own selfie stick launched last year. Ahead of MWC, Xiaomi has now launched its successor of sorts, which does much more than taking selfies. The Xiaomi Mi Selfie Stick Tripod essentially converts into a tripod when the need arises.

Xiaomi Mi Selfie Stick Tripod With Bluetooth Remote Launched for Hands-Free Photography

This 2-in-1 device, unveiled on Weibo, eliminates the need to carry a separate tripod for shooting purposes, and even allows users to take selfies from afar. It has detachable Bluetooth remote control that can be used if you want to click selfies from a distance. The Xiaomi Mi Selfie Stick Tripod has been launched in white and black colour variants, and folds into a compact stick for portability. Plus, it weighs just 155 grams.

The Mi Selfie Stick Tripod with its Bluetooth remote works with all devices running on Android 4.3 or later and iOS 5.0 or later. The mount can rotate 360 degrees, and hold phones with width 56mm to 89mm (sufficient for all large phones out there). The tripod is made of aluminium alloy, and the company claims it’s sturdy for outdoor use.

It sports an ‘anti-skid’ design so it doesn’t slip easily, but because it’s so lightweight, we don’t expect the tripod to do steady shooting in windy or rocky areas. The Mi Selfie Stick Tripod is essentially useful for indoor usage, particularly for hands-free video chatting and other basic shooting purposes.

In any case, the Xiaomi Selfie Stick Tripod has just launched in China for now, and is available on Mi.com for CNY 89 (roughly Rs. 900).

Crownit expands its services to 6 new cities

Crownit, the leading merchant discovery and privileges platform application, has announced the expansion of its services to six more cities, namely Jaipur, Pune, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Chandigarh. The app is now live in all the new cities and users there can avail vouchers, discounts, and cashback options on restaurants, purchase of groceries, fuel, and utilities. .

Looking at the positive response from users in Delhi NCR, Mumbai, and Bangalore, the company has decided to expand the app’s reach to 6 more cities in the beginning of 2017. The app currently has 10 lakhs+ users and with the expansion it will connect more users from different parts of the country. Crownit has emerged as a very useful app for the new-age customers who hunt for attractive deals on shopping, dining, and many other services. It also offers cashback on bill payments, recharges and hotel booking.

Sameer Grover, Founder & CEO, Crownit, expressing his enthusiasm commented, “Indians are highly deal-conscious and seek the best value out of any purchases they make. Hence, there is a growing demand for services like Crownit that offer more value for every transaction, which is why we are gradually expanding our services to more cities to reach more users across the country. We are happy to announce our first round of expansion in Jaipur, Pune, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Chandigarh, and our goal is to reach a total of 25 cities by 2018.”

It looks like a good move from the company to allow more and more users to avail deals across India. Even the offline retailers will have their chance to join hands with Crownit and add another dimension to their businesses.

Microsoft is taking Windows 10 testing in a whole new direction

Microsoft is getting serious about testing Windows 10 in a business environment, with the announcement of a new initiative: Windows Insider Program for Business.

Known as WIP4Biz for short, the project was revealed at the Ignite Australia conference, with Bill Karagounis – Director of Program Management OS Fundamentals and Insider Program/Technologies at Microsoft – saying that the broad aim was to make Insider builds a better fit and easier to deploy in corporate environments.

Microsoft believes that IT professionals are a large and critical group when it comes to testing new features for Windows 10, and providing subsequent feedback about the requirements of businesses.

As Neowin reports, the software giant outlined its key goals for the program, which include providing a ‘scalable’ feedback mechanism for testers at all levels, along with the ability to test new commercial features, and “migrate business workflows to pre-release software where appropriate”.

A Reddit-style system of ‘upvoting’ will be put in place so commercial users can highlight the most important issues to be fixed or worked on from their point of view.

  • The Surface Studio could be Microsoft’s crown jewel in terms of hardware

Success stories

The other main point is to push the benefits of new Windows features and make them clear to businesses, sharing success stories and the like.

You can also expect dedicated WIP4Biz blogs and forums, surveys seeking the opinions of IT pros on Windows 10, and plenty of help documentation for when it comes to deploying preview builds of the operating system.

As to when the WIP4Biz program will kick-off, Microsoft says the idea is to gradually roll it out over the coming months, so it shouldn’t be long before we get the first taste of how all this will work.

The company is clearly keen to push businesses to adopt Windows 10, as only last month, a new offer was introduced to allow those who have a Windows subscription with the Cloud Solution Provider scheme to upgrade their Windows 7/8.1 machines to Windows 10 for free.

Build A Better Bottom Line With These Business Optimization Strategies

Generally, one of the business owner’s primary goals is to determine how she or he can optimize conversion rates. If you’ve been thinking critically about how to build a better bottom line for your organization, now is the time to get the process underway. Below you will find three business optimization strategies that can help your company generate more revenue:

Image result for Build A Better Bottom Line With These Business Optimization Strategies

  1. Focus On Staff Development.

One great way to begin building a better bottom line is by focusing on staff development. This strategy is important for many reasons. First, employees who see that the business owner is willing to place primacy on their personal and professional growth are more likely to be loyal to the organization. When this happens, you can count on staff members being more productive while also improving your employee retention rates. Another benefit of staff development is that it can increase confidence when employees are interfacing with prospective customers. When this happens, you’ll likely see an increase in sales.

There are many ways you can get the staff development process underway. One of them is by attaining business consulting services. Companies such as KEYGroup Consulting are pleased to offer diverse resources and tools to facilitate this outcome, one of which is the 360 degree employee survey.

  1. Utilize Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software.

In addition to optimizing the personal and professional growth of your employees, make sure you focus on utilizing CRM software. This software is great because it helps you optimize the lead generation process. Another benefit of CRM software is that it enables you to track your current clientele’s purchasing behavior. Once you do this, you’ll be able to market goods and/or services to your client base more effectively. Some features to look for in your CRM software include;

  • Integrated analytics
  • Stronger multichannel support
  • Master data management
  • Follow-up tracking
  • Campaign management
  • Remote access

Once you use this type of software consistently, you can almost count on a substantive surge in sales.

  1. Enhance Your Digital Presence.

One final strategy you should implement to build a better bottom line is enhancing your digital presence. This technique will optimize your marketing endeavors by ensuring that you can interface with prospective customers that you haven’t reached through traditional forms of advertising such as brochures, signage, and radio ads.

Don’t Delay: Start Building A Better Bottom Line Today!

If you want to earn a better bottom line, know that doing so is entirely possible. Three strategies you can use to make it happen include focusing on staff development, utilizing customer relationship management (CRM) software, and enhancing your digital presence.

Business Optimization In 2017: What Your Company Needs To Be Doing

If business optimization in 2017 is one of your company’s goals, it’s time to think about what you can do to move beyond your current realm of efficacy and into a deeper dimension of success. Below you will find three things that your company needs to be doing in order to become increasingly profitable and powerful:

Image result for Business Optimization In 2017: What Your Company Needs To Be Doing

  1. Buy Business Products Via Internet.

One strategy you can implement to optimize your business in 2017 is buying commercial products via internet. This process is relatively easy and will save you the hassle that results from spending time driving into a physical store, walking around to find what you want, dealing with pushy sales representatives, etc.

If you’re not familiar with the online shopping process, don’t worry. It’s quite simple. Your first step is entering a specific, descriptive keyword. An example would include “Find Parker Hydraulics Retailer.” Next, you’ll click your enter key and be redirected to the search engine results pages (SERPs). While on this page, you’ll see a long list of hyperlinks. You can click one of the links to be redirected to the website of a company that sells the product you’re looking for. In the event that your organization makes use of electrical equipment, you can obtain products from companies like MROStop.

  1. Purchase Time Tracking Software.

In addition to purchasing business products via internet, make sure that you order time tracking software. This software is important because it will help you organize key processes such as time sheet completion. Many business owners report that this software has empowered them to make the work day more productive. Some of the features you should look for in time tracking software include:

  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Employee Database
  • Billable & Non-Billable Hours
  • Mobile Time Tracking
  • Expense Tracking
  • Multiple Billing Rates
  • Online Time Tracking
  • Vacation / Leave Tracking
  • Overtime Calculation
  • Time per Project Reporting
  • Offline Time Tracking
  1. Focus On Employee Growth.

One final technique you should emphasize for the purpose of moving your organization forward is the implementation of employee development techniques. Helping your employees grow will increase their loyalty to your organization, thereby improving your retention rates. Facilitating the personal and professional development of your employees will also increase their self-esteem, and this factor can help them sell products with greater confidence. There are numerous ways for you to optimize the employee growth process, and one of them is by providing your staff members with the opportunity to enroll in online educational courses.

Don’t Delay: Start Optimizing Your Business Today!

If you’re ready to optimize the business growth process in 2017, you can get the expansion process underway immediately. Use one, two, or all three of the techniques listed above to start the optimization project right now!

PS3, PS Vita, Sony Bravia, and Samsung TVs to Lose PlayStation Now Support

PlayStation Now, Sony’s attempt at being Netflix for games will be discontinuing support for a host of devices. These include the company’s own PS3 and PS Vita consoles, as well as Samsung TVs.

PS3, PS Vita, Sony Bravia, and Samsung TVs to Lose PlayStation Now Support

“After thoughtful consideration, we decided to shift our focus and resources to PS4 and Windows PC to further develop and improve the user experience on these two devices. This move puts us in the best position to grow the service even further,” wrote PlayStation Now’s Senior Marketing Manager Brian Dunn on the official PlayStation blog.

On August 15, 2017 PlayStation Now will stop working on the following devices:

• PlayStation 3
• PlayStation Vita and PlayStation TV
• All 2013, 2014, 2015 Sony Bravia TV models
• All Sony Blu-ray player models
• All Samsung TV models

Last year, Sony revealed that PlayStation Now would be making it to Windows PC, announcing a Dual Shock 4 wireless adapter to be used on it as well.

While Sony has not announced plans to launch the service in markets like India, it has been rumoured that the company had been making enquiries into the feasibility of such an endeavour in the past. Needless to say, until the Internet infrastructure truly catches up, it’s a far cry from reality.

This move could also possibly mean that the long speculated demise of the PS3 and PS Vita could soon come true. With the PS Vita being hard to find in a lot of markets, India included and sales of the PS3 tapering off, we won’t be surprised to see an official announcement from Sony sooner rather than later.

Cognitive Computing Is India’s Future, Says IBM President

Global tech giant IBM on Thursday said working on cognitive computing that helps in decision making is the future for India, which is already a leader in information technology.

Cognitive Computing Is India’s Future, Says IBM President

“As a country, India has been digitising and digitising the world. The foundation is in place. Digital is the foundation. India’s next path is to now make the world cognitive. That would be the difference maker,” its chairwoman, president and chief executive Ginni Rometty said at the annual NILF in Mumbai.

This should involve building abilities on natural language processing, machine learning, deep learning, image and vision, she said.

“You are a country of developers, which is why I say cognitive is India’s future,” she said, adding that by 2020 the country will be home to the largest developer population in the world and 3 million programmers will be helping develop at least ten percent of the apps this year.

She asked for a wise use of technologies in such a way that the industry “guides” the technology safely and also made a pitch for transparency and openness.

The company’s artificial intelligence platform Watson will be touching the lives of 1 billion people across the world including 200 million people each in the fields of healthcare and education.

Giving out details of the efforts that have gone into building its healthcare platform, she said Watson can be very helpful in a country like India which has only 1 oncologist for 1,600 cancer patients.

Rometty said she has met PM Modi thrice till now and has come out feeling positive after each of those meetings and added that the potential held by the country is “unparalleled”.

“This is a moment historic change and you have to embrace it. Build a future around cognitive. I think no country has a more important role to play than India,” she said.

Uber Staff Still Stalking Customers, Claims Suit

The controversy over Uber staff using the company’s tech to track people’s movements was reignited this week when information in a pending lawsuit began circulating in the tech press.

Uber employees can pull customer data at will, alleged Ward Spangenberg, the company’s former forensic investigator, in a court declaration filed earlier this fall as part of his bid to prevent the firm from forcing his case into arbitration.

Uber staffers have been able to track high-profile politicians, celebrities and ex-significant others, Spangenberg said.

His original complaint, filed in the Superior Court of California in San Francisco, centers on his dismissal from the company.

Uber continues to allow broad access to users’ trip information, five security professionals formerly employed at the company told Reveal.

That has been going on, they said, in spite of Uber’s assertions two years ago that it had policies prohibiting such actions, following news that executives were taking advantage of its “God View” feature to track customers in real time without their permission.

 uber

Uber’s Side of the Story

“It’s absolutely untrue that ‘all’ or ‘nearly all’ employees have access to customer data, with or without approval,” maintained Uber spokesperson Sophie Schmidt.

“We have built entire systems to implement technical and administrative controls to limit access to customer data to employees who require it to perform their jobs,” she told TechNewsWorld. “This could include multiple steps of approval — by managers and the legal team — to ensure there is a legitimate business case for providing access.”

Access is granted “to specific types of data based on an employee’s role,” Schmidt asserted. All data access is logged and routinely audited, and all potential violators are “quickly and thoroughly investigated.”

Uber employees must acknowledge and agree to the company’s data access policy, CIO John Flynn emphasized in a memo sent earlier this week.

Violators have been terminated, he reminded them.

“We want our security and privacy practices and technology to be world-class, and we’re moving quickly toward that goal,” Flynn said. It’s “the responsibility of each and every one of us to protect” customer and driver data.

However, Uber’s defense in the Spangenberg case relies mainly on procedural issues.

“It’s not logical for any company to proclaim that they are secure because they sent an email telling employees what to do,” remarked John Gunn, VP of communications at Vasco Data Security.

“In the real IT world you don’t need these types of emails, because you’ve implemented limitations on access to sensitive data [that] you monitor and enforce,” he told TechNewsWorld.

The Need for Privacy

The latest revelation follows news that Uber has tracked customers even after they left its vehicles.

Uber “needs to come clean on whether [the privacy violations] occurred … and needs to have full disclosure of how it uses customer data,” said Michael Jude, a program manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

Frost’s research “indicates that people take personal security very seriously,” he told TechNewsWorld.

On the other hand, “consumers are becoming less concerned about exposing details about their personal information,” noted Michael Patterson, CEO ofPlixer.

“They don’t like the invasion, but they like the services and appear to be willing to compromise,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Still, high-profile Uber customers, including celebrities, could be at risk, suggested Csaba Krasznay, product manager at Balabit, pointing to Kim Kardashian’s robbery in Paris in October as an example.

“We can protect ourselves by not letting Uber and other apps use our smartphone’s GPS data,” Krasznay told TechNewsWorld. “It only takes one click.”

Or consumers can decline to install the Uber app, use a VPN from their smartphone to a company in-house phone system to call Uber, or use a company credit card under someone else’s name, Plixer’s Patterson suggested.

Ultimately, responsibility for this problem rests on the CEO’s shoulders,” said Frost’s Jude, and the CEO “should take personal responsibility for fixing it.”

Is Peter Thiel the Most Powerful Person in Tech?

There are generally two paths for dealing with someone in power when disagreements arise. One is to confront, and the other is to understand and influence. What is interesting is the most common path taken is the former while the most successful is the latter. I think the reason is that the former path is both the natural path for disagreement and the most visible. Confrontation is always more newsworthy than influence.

When done right, exerting influence has the odd result of not conveying credit while actually making far more progress. This suggests that one of the ways to determine whether someone is doing something because they believe in the outcome vs. doing it for fame and status is whether they move to influence or to confront.

The vast majority of tech executives and politicians confronted Trump, which had little impact on him, while Peter Thiel moved to influence. As a result, he now may be the most powerful person in tech, even though that didn’t appear to be his goal.

I’ll share some thoughts about that this week and close with my last product of the week, which has to be Varonis. It is the one product that could have prevented virtually all of the high-profile breaches that crippled both Yahoo and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

 peter-thiel

Confrontation and Backstabbing

One of the most common ways decisions are made in the tech industry is that the most outspoken and disagreeable person at the table wins, and the person who is better founded but isn’t as focused on the status of winning often loses. I call this the “biggest assh*le at the table method,” but there is a more technical term for this: argumentative theory. I’ve reviewed a lot of failed companies, and at the heart of most failures seems to be this process.

There is a second process that is equally common, in tech firms in particular, and it has a common name that I’ll paraphrase because I can’t use the actual name in mixed company. It is “kiss you screw you.” This occurs after everyone at the table agrees, and then a bunch go out and do everything they can to cause the idea to fail in order to screw the poor person who is trying to execute.

If you’ve ever wondered why a lot of good ideas fail, it is largely because some group of folks inside companies secretly move to cause them to fail. Personally, I think people should be fired for doing that, but they often are rewarded instead, which suggests there are a lot of managers on the wrong side of this practice.

I personally think the Obama administration was defined by both practices. The Republicans largely practiced the “biggest assh*le at the table” method and were obstructionist, while the Democrats seemed to agree but acted against the president behind the scenes, which is why efforts like Obamacare were such a train wreck.

Collaboration and Influence

Compare the way much of the tech industry supported Clinton vs. how Peter Thiel supported Trump. Clinton got money and vocal support, and Thiel provided technical advice and focus. He advised and kept tightly to tech topics like cybersecurity, which are critical to the well being of the country. Clinton’s massive support from the industry largely consisted of money, because most thought she was an idiot. That was thanks largely to the email thing, but I’ve seen notes going back years, suggesting that was hardly a new perception.

The right path for Clinton’s supporters would have been to fix the “idiot” thing. Yet there is no evidence it was even attempted. Thiel, in contrast, worked to make Trump smarter, and the result was not only better execution in the final days of the campaign, but also last week’s tech meeting, which focused on making tech companies more profitable.

Contrast this with Eric Schmidt’s relationship with President Obama, which became an embarrassment for the president and didn’t seem to result in anything but an unusual protection against antitrust charges for Google. As a result, it’s arguable that tech actually appears weaker at the end of Obama’s term than it did at the beginning. If the current trend holds, that shouldn’t be the case with Trump, but that outcome will depend largely on Thiel’s relationship with Trump.

Thiel vs. Gawker

Peter Thiel spent $10M taking out Gawker, which scared a lot of folks because it silenced a voice in media. Personally, I thought Gawker was an abomination — largely because it focused on disclosing personal information about powerful people or celebrities, doing them harm for money.

Gawker had its roots in tech, and a tech service that monetizes hurting people tarnishes the entire industry and is counter to efforts that are working to eliminate bad behavior, like bullying, by making it appear like you can bully anyone. By the way, this doesn’t mean that I agree with some of the behavior that Gawker called out — I just don’t think it is in the tech industry’s best interest to validate the hostile use of personal information, given the critical need to protect everyone’s individual privacy.

I’m kind of surprised more tech CEOs haven’t backed Thiel’s efforts, largely because having a “secret mistress” is an extremely common perk of the job. My guess is that most believe they are careful and that their clandestine relationships won’t be reported. Sadly, many aren’t as good at keeping this stuff secret as they think. Had Gawker not been killed, many of those delusional executives likely would have had some explaining to do to their wives, kids, employees, stockholders and boards. Such things rarely go well, so Thiel did them one hell of a favor that most may never appreciate fully.

Wrapping Up: Thiel vs. Whitman

Perhaps the biggest contrast was between Thiel and Whitman. Thiel focused on collaboration, while Whitman took the confrontational path to extremes, seemingly switching parties. Thiel will have a great deal of influence on the Trump administration, while Whitman will have zero influence on it and may find that HPE is blacklisted both by Trump’s companies and the federal government — or worse, be prioritized for contract audits.

One final thought: Because Thiel focused on talking about technology, he could have made the cut to influence Clinton. He didn’t make the conflict personal, and he clearly had a strong grasp of what needed to be done by either administration. Whitman could have influenced only Clinton, because her contribution was personal and political.

Even with Clinton, her influence likely would have been insignificant, perhaps limited to getting a largely ceremonial cabinet post. Here is the important part: Given that she is the CEO of HPE, neither outcome would have benefited HPE significantly, and the Trump outcome may have hurt it materially.

I think this showcases a best practice that the tech industry should adapt broadly: Collaboration and focusing on what the industry knows — tech — is a far better way both to influence an administration and to make a real difference.

I think it also showcases a far better personal practice as well, because constant confrontation, particularly when it is only to appear superior, or backstabbing for any reason is counterproductive to the overall effort and makes a firm less successful.

So, for those of you who have made being an assh*le or backstabbing a defining skill, if you care about making a difference, then you should change your behavior. For those of you who like being assh*les and backstabbing, be aware that the identification and elimination of folks like you has become a major feature of the coming artificial intelligence-based human resources systems, so eventually you’ll be fired. All I can say is, it will be about fricking time.

My last thought is this: Thiel suddenly has become the most powerful person in tech, not through the more typical process of backstabbing and self-aggrandizement, but because he focused like a laser on how to use tech to help the nation and Trump. I should point out something about Jobs, who clearly was the most powerful person in tech last decade. While certainly an assh*le interpersonally, he focused on making Apple great. He became famous not because he focused on gaining fame but largely because of Apple’s success. In both cases, it is that focus we should remember as a best practice.

Yahoo last week disclosed that it had experienced a breach that occurred prior to its previously disclosed mega breach and that it was much bigger, impacting 1 billion people — that is billion with a B. It means that the odds favor the fact that you have been compromised and harmed, and that it clearly wasn’t reported in a timely way so you could have protected yourself.

This is on top of indications that both the Democrats and Republicans were hacked, and that those hacks likely did have a material impact on the election, even if it was just the uneven release of compromising emails.

In virtually all cases, the hacks were not discovered until well after they had occurred, and many only when what was stolen was disclosed. Claims that emails were not hacked — like Clinton’s emails or the RNC’s emails — largely coincide with no tracking in place. That is like saying no trees fall in areas where there are no people to observe them falling. Just because you didn’t see something doesn’t mean it didn’t occur.

What makes products like Varonis different is that they monitor behavior and activity. If someone either inside the company or outside has gained access to something they either don’t have rights to or that they’ve never been interested in before, then Varonis sends an alert. These hacks can range from people pulling information to share illicitly to hacking individuals to get access in order to misuse it to download sensitive information.

What concerns me is that this class of solution seems to be avoided, because people would rather not know they have been hacked so they can claim they are secure. For some, that’s preferable to finding out they aren’t — and let’s be clear, no one is absolutely secure. Pretending otherwise is just stupid.

Some nimrod earlier this month boasted on Twitter of having my personal information, along with a password I was using back in 2013, suggesting I’m one of the folks who was hacked. Because Varonis could have prevented this, it is my product of the week, and it is a contender for my product of the year, which I’ll announce next week.