Hackers Steal 45M Records From Online Forum Operator

Hackers Steal 45M Records From Online Forum Operator

Image courtesy of (Stuart Miles) / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of (Stuart Miles) / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A hacker has pilfered tens of millions of records from a Toronto, Ont. based online forum operator.

VerticalScope, a Canadian company that operates hundreds of websites and online forums, was breached earlier this year, although the hack just came to light this week.

According to LeakedSource, hackers accessed 45 million records from 1,100 websites and forums from VerticalScope in February.

“Some of the larger domains include Techsupportforum.com MobileCampsites.com Pbnation.com and Motorcycle.com,” reads a LeakedSource blog post.“Each record may contain an email address, a username, an IP address, one password and in some cases a second password.”

LeakedSource said the size of the breach is a good indicator that VerticalScope stored all of its data on either the same or interconnected servers because “there is no other way to explain a theft on such a large scale.”

VerticalScope vice-president Jerry Orban confirmed the hack in a statement to Motherboard“We believe that any potential breach is limited to usernames, user IDs, e-mail addresses, and encrypted passwords of our users.”

The passwords used by a majority of the users were insufficient, LeakedSource added.

“Passwords were stored in various encryption methods but less than 10 percent of the domains which account for a very small amount of leaked records used difficult to break encryption (less than a couple million),” LeakedSource said.“Most of the records (over 40 million) were just MD5 with salting and this is insufficient.”

Here’s a look at the top 10 passwords used by VerticalScope customers:

Rank Password Frequency
1 123456 150,852
2 18atcskd2w 91,103
3 password 83,862
4 3rjs1la7qe 74,806
5 indya123 62,453
6 q0tsrbv488 62,308
7 india123 62,296
8 110110jp 57,746
9 sojdlg123aljg 52,406
10 thegreat123 49,068

Those whose information was accessed during the hack can remove their data from LeakedSource’s database via this link. All users are advised to change their passwords as a precaution.

Facebook is reinventing Messenger

Facebook Messenger

Facebook is reinventing Messenger to give you the convenience of an inbox.

Facebook Messenger inboxThe updated interface makes it easier for you to send messages by keeping a list of recent conversations at the top of your screen. Underneath will be categories showing favorite contacts, friends’ birthdays and an ‘Active Now’ category, which contains messages you have yet to respond to.

“Now, you’ll see your conversations and ways to connect right where you need them most. You’ll still see the first few most recent messages at the top of your screen, followed by a new Favorites section, which highlights people you message most frequently, so you can quickly pick up your last conversation,” Facebook said in a press release.

“We hope to show you other things happening on Messenger that you might be interested in, too. For example, with the Active Now section, you can see that a good friend or colleague is available in the moment. Maybe that will prompt you to say hi!”

To access a new section, simply press the ‘Home’ button in the upper left corner of your screen.

Facebook did not indicate to whom the updates would be available, or when they would be rolling out, so it is likely all iOS and Android users will be able to access the changes immediately.

Global Bonds Enter The Twilight Zone?

Global Bonds Enter The Twilight Zone?

Posted: 16 Jun 2016 08:32 PM PDT

Chikako Mogi of Bloomberg reports, Japan Bond Yields Tumble to New Lows as Yen Soars on Brexit, Fed:

Japan’s government bonds surged, driving down yields from five to 40 years to record lows as the yen surged after the central bank kept policy unchanged, while the Federal Reserve cited Brexit risk as a reason for standing pat.

Government debt worldwide has rallied to its best start to any year in two decades as Brexit concerns intensify pessimism that the global economy will struggle to regain momentum. Germany’s 10-year sovereign yield fell below zero this week for the first time.  The U.K.’s June 23 referendum on whether to leave the European Union was factored into the Fed’s decision to leave rates steady, Chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday in Washington. The Fed also eased back on interest-rate increase expectations.
Yields on all benchmark sovereign securities in the world’s second-largest bond market fell to records Wednesday, extending a rally fueled by global haven flows and the Bank of Japan’s January decision to introduce negative interest rates on top of purchases of about 80 trillion yen ($771 billion) a year of government debt. The BOJ left policy unchanged at the end of a two-day meeting Thursday as most economists had predicted.

Records Tumbling

Japan’s 10-year yield fell to a record minus 0.21 percent, while the 20-year bond yield dropped to an all-time low of 0.095 percent. Yields on 30-year bonds declined to a record 0.15 percent and five-year yield declined to a record minus 0.305 percent. The 40-year yield hit an unprecedented 0.2 percent Thursday.

“The BOJ for many was expected to keep its easing options and not do anything today” ahead of the U.K. referendum and also to monitor effects of the negative rate policy, said Yasunari Ueno, the chief market economist at Mizuho Securities Co. in Tokyo. “The yen kept rising after the BOJ’s outcome. The yen rising past 105 has had a great impact. Japanese yields are under more pressure to fall from falling U.S. yields and the yen’s appreciation.”

Global government debt had gained 5.5 percent this year as of Wednesday, the most for any comparable period since 1995, according to Bank of America Corp. indexes. Japan’s sovereign bonds generated returns of 6.6 percent, the data show.

The yen rose to 103.61 per dollar, the strongest since August 2014.

“JGB yields are at levels where they should be peaking out, but given that the U.K. is the underlying driver, Japanese yields are unlikely to reverse course and rise just yet,” said Katsutoshi Inadome, senior bond strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. in Tokyo.

Earlier this week, we saw German 10-year sovereign bond yields turn negative for first time. Everyone is saying nothing fundamental is going on and it’s all due to the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit vote next week.

The Bank of England is now warning that Brexit poses global financial risk. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said next week’s referendum in the UK on whether to remain in the European Union was a factor in the US central bank’s decision to hold interest rates steady at its meeting Wednesday in Washington. But the Fed also cited labor market concerns in its decision to push back back its plans to raise its benchmark short-term interest rate.

So what is going on? Are global bonds entering the Twilight Zone? Is this the new negative normal and are ultra low yields here to stay? Are central banks losing control, repeating the same mistakes and losing the titanic battle over deflation? Will the deflation tsunami strike us in the years ahead and will bonds be the ultimate diversifier? Or is deflation dead as central banks resurrect global inflation and the Treasury rally will turn into a rout? Will the yen’s surge trigger a crisis, especially another Asian financial crisis?  Is a bearish George Soros right or are stocks going to melt up in a deflationary world?

Before you answer these questions, answer this: Have you subscribed or donated to the Pension Pulse blog at the right-hand side and if not, why not???

Readers of my blog know I’m obsessed over one thing and one thing only: deflation vs inflation. Everything else is inconsequential to me. You need to understand the big picture before you take any risk in these crazy markets.

And global bond markets are telling me very clearly that central banks are losing the battle over deflation. Have a look at the yield on the 10-year Treasury note this morning (click on image):
The yield touched a low of 1.52% this morning before moving back up. If this downtrend continues, the yield on the 10-year will slice below the 1.44% reached back on July 16, 2012.

But let’s say Brexit doesn’t happen next week and the next US jobs report shoots the lights out, exceeding all expectations. Then you will have a huge snap back in global bond yields and I can see the yield on the 10-year heading back up to 2%.

Right now, you’ve got all these CTAs and large hedge funds leveraging their long bond trades up the wazoo, exacerbating the downtrend in global bond yields.

Remember what I keep telling you, nothing goes up or down in a straight line. Sure, we can have Brexit next week, the yen can continue surging, hedge funds will continue unwinding the yen carry trade and risk assets around the world will get clobbered and yields will sink to new lows, even if they are in negative territory.

But I’m not convinced Brexit is a done deal. The Brits aren’t stupid and when it comes down to it, they will vote with their wallets, just like Quebecers voted with their wallets in past referendums. At the end of the day, everyone thinks about their economic well-being. Period. I couldn’t care less about polls when it comes down to voting day, I think Brits will stay the course.

However, Brexit is just one hurdle for the global economy. There are plenty of others and unless policymakers figure out a way to stimulate and sustain aggregate demand, deflation will rule the day and global bond yields will stay ultra low for a very long time.

Below, Richard Kelly, head of global strategy at TD Securities, says bond yields are falling due to fears about the EU referendum in the UK. No doubt, fears of Brexit are exacerbating these moves, but that might not be the only thing worrying the bond market.

According to Dennis Davitt, partner at Harvest Volatility Management and a noted options market veteran, US bond yields could soon go negative. Listen to his comments below, I agree with him.

Welcome to the Twilight Zone and get used to it.

Much Ado About Soros?

Much Ado About Soros?

Much Ado About Soros?

Posted: 10 Jun 2016 10:56 AM PDT

Gregory Zuckerman of the Wall Street Journal reports, A Bearish George Soros Is Trading Again:

After a long hiatus, George Soros has returned to trading, lured by opportunities to profit from what he sees as coming economic troubles.

Worried about the outlook for the global economy and concerned that large market shifts may be at hand, the billionaire hedge-fund founder and philanthropist recently directed a series of big, bearish investments, according to people close to the matter.

Soros Fund Management LLC, which manages $30 billion for Mr. Soros and his family, sold stocks and bought gold and shares of gold miners, anticipating weakness in various markets. Investors often view gold as a haven during times of turmoil.

The moves are a significant shift for Mr. Soros, who earned fame with a bet against the British pound in 1992, a trade that led to $1 billion of profits. In recent years, the 85-year-old billionaire has focused on public policy and philanthropy. He is also a large contributor to the super PAC backing presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and has donated to other groups supporting Democrats.

Mr. Soros has always closely monitored his firm’s investments. In the past, some senior executives bristled at how he sometimes inserted himself into the firm’s operations, usually after the fund suffered losses, according to people familiar with the matter. But in recent years, he hasn’t done much investing of his own. That changed earlier this year when Mr. Soros began spending more time in the office directing trades. He has also been in more frequent contact with the executives, the people said.

In some ways, Mr. Soros is stepping into a void at his firm. Last year, Scott Bessent, who served as Soros’s top investor and has a background in macro investing, or anticipating macroeconomic moves around the globe, left the firm to start his own hedge fund. Soros has invested $2 billion with Mr. Bessent’s firm, Key Square Group.

Later in 2015, Mr. Soros tapped Ted Burdick as his chief investment officer. Mr. Burdick has a background in distressed debt, arbitrage and other types of trading, rather than macro investing, Mr. Soros’s lifelong specialty. That is why Mr. Soros felt comfortable stepping back in, the people said.

Mr. Soros’s recent hands-on approach reflects a gloomier outlook than many others on Wall Street. His worldview darkened over the past six months as economic and political issues in China, Europe and elsewhere have become more intractable, in his view. While the U.S. stock market has inched back toward record levels after troubles early this year and Chinese markets have stabilized, Mr. Soros remains skeptical of the Chinese economy, which is slowing.

The fallout from any unwinding of Chinese investments likely will have global implications, Mr. Soros said in an email.

“China continues to suffer from capital flight and has been depleting its foreign currency reserves while other Asian countries have been accumulating foreign currency,” Mr. Soros said. “China is facing internal conflict within its political leadership, and over the coming year this will complicate its ability to deal with financial issues.”

Mr. Soros worries that new troubles will arise in China partly because he said the nation doesn’t seem willing to embrace a transparent political system that he contends is necessary to enact lasting economic overhauls. Beijing has embarked on overhauls in the past year but has backtracked on some efforts amid turbulent markets.

Some investors are beginning to anticipate rising inflation amid recent wage gains in the U.S., but Mr. Soros said he is more concerned that continued weakness in China will exert deflationary pressure—a damaging spiral of falling wages and prices—on the U.S. and global economies.

Mr. Soros also argues that there remains a good chance the European Union will collapse under the weight of the migration crisis, continuing challenges in Greece and a potential exit by the United Kingdom from the EU.

“If Britain leaves, it could unleash a general exodus, and the disintegration of the European Union will become practically unavoidable,” he said. Still, Mr. Soros said recent strength in the British pound is a sign that a vote to exit the EU is less likely.

“I’m confident that as we get closer to the Brexit vote, the ‘remain’ camp is getting stronger,” Mr. Soros said. “Markets are not always right, but in this case I agree with them.”

Other big investors also have become concerned about markets. Last month, billionaire trader Stanley Druckenmiller warned that “the bull market is exhausting itself” and hedge-fund manager Leon Cooperman said “the bubble is in fixed income,” though he was sanguine on stocks.

Mr. Soros’s bearish investments have had mixed success. His firm bought over 19 million shares of Barrick Gold Corp. in the first quarter, according to securities filings, making it the firm’s largest stockholding at the end of the quarter. That position has gained more than $90 million since the end of the first quarter. Soros Fund Management also bought a million shares of miner Silver Wheaton Corp. in the first quarter, a position that has increased 28% so far in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, gold has climbed 19% this year.

But Mr. Soros also adopted bearish derivative positions that serve as wagers against U.S. stocks. It isn’t clear when those positions were placed and at what levels during the first quarter, but the S&P 500 index has climbed 3% since the beginning of the second period, suggesting Mr. Soros could be facing losses on some of those moves.

Overall, the Soros fund is up a bit this year, in line with most macro hedge funds, according to people close to the matter. The investments by the firm were previously disclosed in filings, but it wasn’t clear how involved Mr. Soros was in the decisions spurring the moves.

The last time Mr. Soros became closely involved in his firm’s trading: 2007, when he became worried about housing and placed bearish wagers over two years that netted more than $1 billion of gains.

When George Soros talks or trades, markets listen. Earlier this week I questioned whether US stocks are going to melt up in a deflationary world and followed up with a comment questioning the end of the US dollar bull run. In between, Soros came out with a dire warning and all of a sudden, people are scared again and running for the hills.

Nobody has more clout than Soros when it comes to market prognostications. Not Bill Gross, not Jeffrey Gundlach, not Carl Icahn, not Ray Dalio, not even Stan Druckenmiller, his protege. When Soros comes out to trade and warns of market dislocations, he sends a real jolt in these markets.

It reminds me of what Michael Hudson said in a recent interview on financial diversion:

What all the billionaires and the heavy investors do is simply try to preserve their wealth. They’re not trying to make money, they’re not trying to speculate. If you’re an investor, you’re not going to outsmart Wall Street billionaires, because the markets are basically fixed. It’s the George Soros principle. If you have so much money, billions of dollars, you can break the Bank of England. You don’t follow the market, you don’t anticipate it, you actually make the market and push it up, like the Plunge Protection Team is doing with the stock market these days. You have to be able to control the prices. Insiders make money, but small investors are not going to make money.

Now, everyone is wondering is George Soros right or wrong on China and did we really escape the Great Crash of 2016 that seemed to be upon us earlier this year?

I agree with Soros, China makes me very nervous and so does the Eurozone, and my biggest fear remains global deflation which I warned about earlier this year in my outlook 2016. I don’t buy for a second that deflation is dead and I’m also worried about the surging yen and another Asian financial crisis. For me, these markets feel more like 1997 than 2007.

Still, nothing goes down in a straight line and Soros did come out earlier this year to warn of another 2008 crisis which didn’t happen and stocks kept surging higher. So maybe he’s trying to influence markets one way to make money off his trading positions.

In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he and his protege, Stan Druckenmiller, unloaded their gold miners (GDX) on Friday morning when shares popped at the open (and then dropped, click on image):
If I was advising Soros or Druckenmiller I would tell them to dump gold miners (GDX) and short oil (USO), energy (XLE), metals and mining (XME), industrials (XLI), emerging markets (EEM), financials (XLF) and stick to good old US bonds (TLT), the ultimate diversifier in a deflationary world. I would also advise them to short the Canadian dollar which has gained 9 per cent in 2016, making it the second-best performing Group-of-10 currency.

In case you haven’t noticed US long bonds (TLT) have rallied sharply lately sending the yield on the 10-year US Treasury note to a yearly low of 1.64%. At this rate, it’s going to sink lower than it did in July 16, 2012 when the yield touched 1.44% (click on image):
The rally in bonds is unbelievable but remember, when investors are scared they run to the safety of US bonds and they want to hold US dollars, another reason why I scoff at the suggestion that the endgame for the dollar bull run is near. This is pure rubbish!

In a world where deflation is wreaking havoc everywhere outside the US, it’s impossible for the dollar to keep weakening relative to the yen or euro without something blowing up in Asia or even in Europe. My fear is more in Asia but Europe is very fragile and things are far from perfect there.

By the way, Soros is right, China continues to suffer from capital flight and has been depleting its foreign currency reserves but this can go on for a lot longer than he imagines.

Still, what I find fascinating is all these Chinese leaving China where pollution, water problems and political instability are fueling rising uncertainty and the Chinese government has yet to slap much stricter capital controls. When that happens it’s going to decimate the residential real estate markets of Vancouver, Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle (read this comment for more background).

One final note, we might be back in summer doldrums where Risk-Off markets dominate trading. I noticed that biotech shares (IBB and XBI) got whacked hard following Hillary Clinton’s nomination for the Democratic party.

People read way too much nonsense in these political events. Trust me, whether it’s Hillary or the Donald, nothing is going to change in terms of drug pricing in the United States.

If you don’t believe me, then listen to Stelios Papadopoulos, Biogen chairman below where he discusses this and Valeant’s prospects. This is one smart and successful Greek American and I would listen to him over any rhetoric coming from presidential candidates.

Also, WSJ’s Geoffrey Rogow discusses with Tanya Rivero on why a bearish George Soros is returning to trading. Maybe he’s just bored and came back to show all the hedge fund chumps out there how real money is made.

Lastly, CNBC’s Dominic Chu reports on bearish comments by George Soros and Carl Icahn and discusses Soros’s gold positions. Like I said, Soros probably dumped his gold miners today so don’t read too much into this.

Don’t worry about George Soros or Carl Icahn. It could be a long, hot summer and while I don’t see any melt up in stocks, some sectors offer great opportunities here but you need to tread carefully and stomach insane volatility. If you’re scared, stick to US bonds and sleep well at night.

Enjoy your weekend, I’ll be back on Tuesday. As always, please remember to show your support via the PayPal options under my picture on right-hand side. Thank you for your support and hope you enjoy my comments.

 

 

Stock Charts Lie, and So Do Your Statements

Stock Charts Lie, and So Do Your Statements

By Michael Gayed |

“A harmful truth is better than a useful lie.” – Thomas Mann

Pop Quiz: If you pull up a chart of a stock and that chart shows price going nowhere for three years, is the performance of that stock flat? What if a stock chart is trending down – does that means the performance of that stock is negative?

One of the most pervasive myths in the investment business that seemingly everyone falls for is equating price with performance. Often times some trader will proclaim with conviction that “price is truth” and that all one needs to do is pull up a chart of an investment to determine just how well, or poorly, an investment has been. (Related reading: Why Do Companies Care About Their Stock Prices?)

Yet, nearly anyone who looks at charts is wrong in their conclusions about performance. Why? Because nearly all charts are ex-dividend and distribution. Dividends and distributions result in price dropping by the amount of that dividend or distribution as those payments are made to underlying shareholders. Often times those dividends and distributions are reinvested automatically back into a stock or mutual fund, as shares are bought in the amount of that cash payment, increasing the total position size (with a lower market price) such that the total position value is unaffected.

Put simply, charts lie because the vast majority are NOT total return, and that matters a heck of a lot. The return of an investment comes from price + dividends/distributions and the subsequent compounding that results. I cannot stress that enough. A stock can be going sideways or look like it has gone down for a few years, but when including dividends and distributions, that investment might have actually made you money. The same incorrect view of an investment’s performance applies to most broker statements. When analyzing a position’s actual gains or losses, most brokerage statements calculate that gain or loss based on the cost basis and statement date price of that particular investment. What is not shown is the investment’s true gain or loss when incorporating dividends.
And don’t underestimate the importance of that. Total return is everything. While the media quotes the performance and level of the S&P 500 Index, the index you hear in the media is not total return. As a matter of fact, nearly all headline market averages referenced are price-only, and not total return. Why does that matter? Because the level of the S&P 500 today isn’t the true performance that comes from investing in stocks. The total return of the S&P 500 including dividends since inception looks remarkably different.

This is not a mistake. Charts that look at price alone are massively wrong, and should not be used to assess any investment, whether it’s a stock, bond, mutual fund, or Exchange Traded Fund. All four of our award winning papers purposely use total return data (click here to download) precisely for this reason. So do yourself a favor and don’t make the mistake everyone else makes. Price is not performance. Total return is. Too bad almost no charts or statements show that.

People Spending Less Time on Social Media

People Spending Less Time on Social Media Apps: Study

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 12.52.49 PM

Engagement is waning for the world’s top four social media apps, according to a newly-released study using SimilarWeb data.

When comparing app data from the first quarters of 2015 and 2016, researchers found Android users across the globe are not spending as much time on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter as they did last year.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 12.53.39 PM“In very few cases, such as Facebook’s usage in Spain did time spent within an app rise,” SimilarWeb marketing analyst Pavel Tuchinsky said in a blog post. “In some cases, the drop was minimal, with Snapchat usage in Brazil dropping from 11.23 minutes to 11.10 minutes. However, in other cases, the drop was more substantial, such as time spent on Twitter in France. Over Q1 2015, the average in France was 19.80 minutes and in Q1 2016, that number dropped to 13.12, a drop of 34 percent.”

Installs have also dipped since March 2015. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter installs were down an average of nine percent. The most prominent drop in installs was with Snapchat users in South Africa, with a 56 percent dip from March 2015 to March 2016.

The highest increase on installs was also for Snapchat, but in Brazil. Installs on Snapchat rose 22 percent from March 2015 to March 2016. Snapchat installs also increased in India, Germany and Spain. India showed the most growth at 18 percent.

Instagram enjoyed an increase in installs in France, Germany and the U.S. Instagram’s biggest loss was in India where the app plummeted 13 percent from being installed on 32 percent of Android devices to 19 percent.

Breaking the trend were Facebook’s Messenger app, which increased two percent March to March, while WhatsApp installations were up five percent to appear on 20 percent of Android devices as of March 2016.

COUNTDOWN TO A CASHLESS SOCIETY

COUNTDOWN TO A CASHLESS SOCIETY

It seems like every day there’s a new technology that promises to eliminate cash for good. Venmo makes it a snap to split the check at a restaurant. In the UK, you can use the Pennies app to donate your change to charity. In 2012 (when the Federal Reserve conducted its last payments study), 42% of the average American consumer’s transactions were made using a debit or credit card, while 40% of transactions were made with cash. It was the first time in history that card transactions outnumbered cash by volume – in terms of value, cards have been leading the pack for a while. In 2013, MasterCard Advisors estimated that 45% of US consumer transactions were made with non-cash methods (encompassing credit and debit cards, checks, wire transfers, and direct bank debits). So what does this mean for cash?

Any way you slice it, 40% is still a hefty chunk of our spending — two out of every five U.S. consumer transactions are made with cash. Globally, cash transactions make up about 85% of total consumer spending, although the advent of mobile payment apps like M-Pesa (and other apps which don’t need to be connected to a bank account) are making fast inroads. The U.S. is doing better than average, but we’re not even in the top five. Singapore, where 61% of consumer transactions are conducted using non-cash methods, is currently the world’s most cashless economy. Next on the list is the Netherlands (60%), France and Sweden (59%), Canada (57%), Belgium (56%), the UK (52%), and then it’s the United States in eighth place (at 45% as estimated by MasterCard). The good news is that we’re on the tipping point of going cashless — we have the right combination of widespread access to financial services, a growing cultural preference for non-cash payments, near-ubiquitous merchant acceptance and healthy competition for new ways to pay, and a solid infrastructure for electronic payments.

About one in ten Americans doesn’t carry any cash with them on a daily basis, according to a 2014 Bankrate survey. Four in ten carry less than $20 (you might find yourself in that camp). And the vast majority (eight in ten) carries less than $100 in cash on a daily basis. These findings support the idea that, when consumers do use cash, it’s primarily for small-dollar amounts. The average value of a U.S. consumer’s cash transaction is $21, and two-thirds of transactions worth less than $10 are made with cash. As it becomes more convenient to use new technologies like mobile wallets for these low-dollar transactions, we will likely see consumer behavior shift even further away from cash. The future is cashless — are you ready?

Real Estate, hotels, restaurants in your city guide

Books with Your Book Here

Interactive City Guides & eBooks – eComTech Publishing

Interactive eBooks let you use the internet’s full power by eliminating errors with keywords and typos. Google, Bing, SlideShare, YouTube or Pinterest; click on the button and your are there; just click the button.  Fully mobile – it works on any device with an eBook reader and that has access to the Internet anywhere. Don’t think about typing you are good to go with better results and fewer typos. Sit back in the coffee shop and search away on their WiFi! Our guides are organized into several targeted information Guides including:

Still not catching on as to what we are doing think of the whole Table of Contents our book as being searchable on the net!

We use epub, pdf and email formats to make everything searchable in our Guides.

Our interactive ebooks search the web and are organized into several targeted information Guides including:

 

  • Business
  • Travel & Hospitalitynewyork21
  • Health & Wellness
  • Technology
  • Gardens
  • School Yearbooks and the list goes on.

Interactive Search can also be used to create eBooks, PDF files, and emails.

Promotional and Marketing Materials!

Always current never out of date…..like our city guides!  Simply the best promo item going!

Interactive eBook & Guides

This is simple to use…load the file into your eReader and away you go!

Adobe, Foxit are just some of the readers used for these applications. PC or Mac, Android or OSi are all available and free at your App Store on located on the net. I have linked some free eReader URLs in the eReaders page.

We can do just about anything you would care to do and we can sell it for you too on our network of sites and of course we can put it on Amazon, eBay and all the rest for you too.

Interactive and searchable that is our objective in putting the web to work at getting more power and information into your ebook and don’t forget it is always current. Cut your printing costs and use the power of the internet for your pamphlets, brochures etc. and keep them up to date one time only!

We can do it effective and a lot cheaper per piece and you can buy what you need right on the internet….you don’t have to stock it pay heavy upfront fees.

Now on sale buy now at CanAmShop.com

Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, New York on sale now.

But Human Beings of Planet Earth

Men of Mars & Women of Venus: But Human Beings of Planet Earth
Joseph L. A.

Strategist

Men of Mars & Women of Venus: But Human Beings of Planet Earth

Regardless of communicating with a man, woman, or any intelligent self-learning computer, one ought to avoid paying attention to what is being said through words, as much as possible.

The reactions and gestures are the tells of anything in nature and universe that communicates.

The language, meaning what is communicated through use of words, is only important when it is the conduit to learning about someone’s or something’s reactions.

However, since men don’t emotionally communicate, and most of their communications are professional or about any subject other than their own emotions, for this reason, men are not confused by what the other men communicate with them.

For example: when a guy at the office asks me, “did you empty the waste basket?”, my answer is either yes or no. But when my girlfriend asks me, “did you throw out the garbage?”, what that really means is: do you love me?

In this example: my colleague is just asking me to report a fact about a task that needed to be done. However, my girlfriend although asking an identical question, what she truly is asking me is whether I have paid attention to her request, and respected her wishes by throwing out the garbage.

In conclusion, the key to communication is understanding the context, identifying the reactions, and respect for the other party.

© Copyright 2016 Joseph J. A.

Saudi Arabia aims to salvage white elephant financial district

Saudi Arabia aims to salvage white elephant financial district

A view shows the construction of the King Abdullah Financial District, north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia April 11, 2016.

The plan to build a financial district from scratch was viewed by Saudi Arabia’s neighbors as among the glossiest excesses of the kingdom’s oil boom profligacy: a white elephant in the making, unlikely to attract tenants and possibly never even to be completed.

The creators of the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) envisaged a kind of mini-Dubai, a haven for foreign financial services and investors as well as local banks and companies currently doing business from offices all over Riyadh.

But more than 10 years later — and a year after it was supposed to be finished — most of the 1.6-million-sq-metre district on the edge of Riyadh is still a construction site, and no businesses have moved in.

Reform-minded Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said last month he wants to salvage the $10 billion project. The Public Investment Fund, reimagined as the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, will be based there and sources have said it will also own the project.

According to the prince’s “Vision 2030”, KAFD will become a “special zone” with internationally competitive regulations, an easier visa regime and a direct connection to the airport, steps he hopes will “increase the chances of … success”.

Another change is to increase the amount of residential use from the 1.7 million sq meters now designated for office space. According to a 2015 report by real estate analyst Jones Lang LaSalle, rents are bottoming out in Riyadh’s current 2.5 million sq meters of office space but prices for residential units are rising.

Potential tenants and investors are both hopeful and skeptical about the plan.

“The potential is amazing. The inside is impressive. I’d like to live there,” said one Dubai-based expatriate who does business in Saudi and who has toured the site. “As an urban space it’s interesting, with its design and architecture.”

He questioned how successful the project could be in the current economic climate, however. The main contractor is Saudi Binladen Group, the biggest construction firm in the kingdom, which has been struggling since last year.

“It will not be finished. Decision-making is very slow (on the project, and) people don’t have cash,” he said. Like other business people interviewed for this story, he didn’t want to be named expressing an opinion about such an important royal initiative.

A senior Saudi former banker expressed similar concerns.

“If the plan does create a genuine free zone and makes things smoother for newcomers, it’ll be ‘bingo!'” he said, but added that a recovery in the oil-dependent economy was key.

Another senior Gulf banker said his firm had no plans to move into the complex despite its “impressive” looks, and expressed concern that banks might only be able to rent, rather than own, buildings there.

MORE RESIDENTIAL SPACE

Inside the district last week, swallows swooped between palm trees and sparrows pecked among decorative desert shrubs near the almost completed conference center. The parts that are finished include sections of its stone-paved “wadi” walkway and distinctive glass towers. From high in one tower, swimming pools and children’s playgrounds could be seen on other roofs.

Jacob Kurek, a partner at the firm responsible for the KAFD masterplan, Danish firm Henning Larsen, said the original plans were flexible enough to transform space earmarked for offices into residences or retail space. A direct link to the airport would be easy to install via Riyadh’s new metro, which will have a station at KAFD, he said.

Other changes, such as a different regulatory regime, visa exemptions and any blunting of Saudi Arabia’s strict social restrictions, would be more complicated, however.

At the moment, visas can take many days to arrange and require a complex process of invitation by a sponsor and plenty of supplementary documentation. Setting up a business means getting permissions from many government departments.

Mustafa Alani, a security expert with close ties to the Saudi Interior Ministry, said visa exemptions could work like the waiver program in the United States, or like residence permits issued by free zones in the United Arab Emirates.

“It’s not a visa, but it’s not a free walk-in either. There might be a geographical restriction,” he said, suggesting those who enter on the special visas might be forbidden to leave KAFD, or be limited to the Saudi capital.

According to rules dictated by Saudi Arabia’s powerful conservative clerics, women must wear an ankle-length cloak in public and are forbidden from driving. Men and women who are not related may not mingle unchaperoned. Cinemas, music concerts and dancing are banned and alcohol and pork are illegal. Businesses must shut for half an hour during each of five daily prayers.

Saudi Arabia has found ways to accommodate foreigners, however. Expatriate compounds, hidden behind high walls, protected by army gun emplacements, to which Saudi nationals are usually forbidden entry, allow foreigners to dress and behave much as they do in the West.

Such extreme segregation could not work for a project like KAFD, which is also marketed at Saudi businesses and residents.

But there are other examples of areas that Saudis can visit that enjoy a special status and do not require strict Islamic dress codes or forbid gender mixing, like Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter.

For one Western business executive now living in Dubai, the social restrictions, especially those on women, were among the most important factors in any decision to move to Saudi.

“To me, the visas are nice, but they’re not even on the list of the top ten things that need to change,” he said.