Category Archives: Office Web Apps

New project taps Node.js for microservices API gateway

Looking to take some complexity out of microservices deployments, LunchBadger has built an open source API gateway to secure microservices and expose them via APIs. Built on the Express web application framework for Node.js, the Express Gateway routes requests to services using Node.js and Express middleware. 

Express Gateway offers centralized configuration, API consumer and credentials management, and a plug-in framework. An API gateway is the heart of microservices, LunchBadger CEO Al Tsang said. “It’s a key piece of infrastructure that you must have,” enabling microservices to work with infrastructure such as Kubernetes container orchestration, Tsang said. LunchBadger offers an API and microservices platform. Joyent also is sponsoring the gateway.

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Microsoft Office 2010
Fatal error: Call to a member function xpath() on a non-object in /home1/mylifeco/public_html/ on line 129

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Apple paid Nokia $2 billion as part of a patent lawsuit settlement

 After a quick fight, Apple and Nokia settled a patent lawsuit back in May. But the two companies didn’t comment on the value of this settlement. While terms of the deal are still undisclosed, Nokiamob first spotted that Nokia announced that it has received a $2 billion upfront cash payment from Apple (€1.7 billion). This seems like quite a lot of money, but Nokia won’t get $2… Read More
Microsoft Office 2010
Fatal error: Call to a member function xpath() on a non-object in /home1/mylifeco/public_html/ on line 129

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Wattpad takes ‘chat fiction’ beyond text with launch of Tap Originals

 Chat fiction apps are among some of the most popular in the App Store, thanks to their highly engaged, largely teenage to young adult fan base who enjoy reading thrilling stories told in the form of text messages. Today, one competitor in this space, Wattpad, is rolling out an upgrade to its chat stories to differentiate its app from others, and further addict its readers. The company is… Read More
Microsoft Office 2010
Fatal error: Call to a member function xpath() on a non-object in /home1/mylifeco/public_html/ on line 129

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The rise and fall of Apple’s iPod, in one chart (AAPL)

The iPod is on its death bed. Apple said on Thursday that it was discontinuing the iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano, leaving the iOS-equipped iPod Touch as the only model left in Apple’s venerable line of portable music players.

Though the move may be sad for the nostalgic among us, it’s completely unsurprising from a business perspective. As this chart from Statista shows, the iPod has gone from Apple’s primary cash cow to something it stopped bothering to count as a separate sales category by 2015.

The second Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone as, in part, “a widescreen iPod with touch controls,” the writing was on the wall. The rise of streaming services, Apple Music included, has only cemented the iPod’s obsolescence. And it’s hard to say Apple subsuming its most popular product wasn’t a wise move: The iPhone has made it the world’s most valuable company, and there’ve been more iPhone sales in the past two years than iPod sales in history.

In the end, Apple saw greener pastures. It can look back at its old standby with fondness, but now it’s simply time to move on.


SEE ALSO: Facebook totally dominates the list of most popular social media apps

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4 negotiating tricks to win a highly-competitive deal, according to Steve Ballmer — who beat out Oprah and Larry Ellison to buy the LA Clippers

Success How I Did It podcastSteve BallmerFormer Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer always wanted to own a sports team. Ultimately, he bought the LA Clippers for $2 billion, out-bidding numerous other groups that wanted the NBA team, including Oprah and Oracle’s Larry Ellison.

Ballmer revealed the negotiating tricks he used to beat out everyone else in Business Insider’s podcast, “Success! How I Did It,” They can be applied to most major deals, whether you’re bidding on a house, or a sports team.

1. Do your research and learn the landscape.

One of the first things Ballmer did when he retired from Microsoft in 2014 was meet with the commissioners of the NBA and NFL. At first, no teams seemed to be on the market.

“It turned out the most difficult thing was actually figuring out how to get involved in the process,” Ballmer said. “I had looked at the Milwaukee Bucks; they didn’t want to sell to me. I had asked the commissioner who I should get to know. There was nothing that seemed like it was going to sell.”

But soon, the LA Clippers became an option after tapes of then-owner Donald Sterling making racist comments became public. Ballmer was ready to pounce.

2. Find a mutual connection to introduce you to the seller

Ballmer had never met the Sterlings, but it dawned on him that he knew Disney CEO Michael Eisner, and the Eisners had a Clippers box right next to the Sterlings. He asked for an introduction, and was quickly given Shelly Sterling’s contact information. 

“[Eisner] called me on a Saturday morning, 7 o’clock,” Ballmer said. “He says, ‘Call Shelly Sterling right now at this number, she’ll be available.'”

3. Make the seller get to know you so the deal feels more personal

Ballmer spent a day with Shelly Sterling and came prepared with a bank statement to prove he could afford the team. At first, she had no idea who Ballmer was. By the end, she liked him better than any of the other bidders, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time of the Clippers sale.

Ballmer met with Shelly Sterling’s lawyer that same evening to make sure he was prepared to bid a proper amount.

4. Make your bid as hassle-free as possible, and don’t try to nickel and dime 

Ballmer says the fact that he was a sole bidder for the team rather part of a group (like in Oprah’s case) proved to be an advantage. Given the “legal wrangling” the Sterlings had to endure regarding the scandal, Sterling’s lawyers thought Ballmer would be more likely to stick through the process as a stand-alone.

Additionally, Ballmer was upfront about how much he was willing to pay. He didn’t want to drastically overpay, but he didn’t want to nickel and dime the Sterlings either.

I had told them, ‘This is what I’d like to pay, this is the maximum I’d pay and, oh by the way, you have to understand, I don’t want to look stupid in front of my wife for being a guy who dramatically overpays,'” Ballmer said. “But I laid it out there, I wasn’t trying to be some tough, get the last 3%, 5% out of the deal, I just wanted to own the team.

Below, check out the full episode with Ballmer explaining how he is enjoying his retirement, or keep scrolling for a transcript detailing his realized goal of buying a sports team.

Subscribe to “Success! How I Did It” on Acast or iTunes. Check out previous episodes with:

Here’s the part of the interview where he describes how he was able to buy the LA Clippers: 

Shontell: It sounds like the life that all of us hope to eventually have. One of those steps that I wanted to talk about more in depth is the Clippers. It was not easy for you to own the team and, like you said, you met with the commissioners and they were like, “Eh, there’s not much available.” Then all of a sudden, this Donald Sterling scandal happens where there was this tape of him coming out saying these racist things and he got eventually pushed out and there was this opportunity to buy the Clippers but you were not the only bidder. Oprah was interested and Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle was interested. What did you do to eventually be able to own the team? What were your negotiating tricks? I hear you buttered up Mrs. Sterling quite well. How did that work?

Ballmer: Well, it turned out the most difficult thing was actually figuring out how to get involved in the process. I didn’t know Shelly Sterling, nobody was quite sure who was selling the business. I was talking to the commissioner, but things were very vague because, while they had banned Donald, Shelly and Donald hadn’t stepped up to agree to sell the business and then she eventually gets involved. There was no obvious banker to talk to, but I knew Michael Eisner from Disney for a number of years and a lightbulb went off.

The Eisners have had season tickets to Clipper games for years, right next to the Sterlings. So Michael Eisner made an introduction for me to Shelly Sterling. He called me on a Saturday morning, 7 o’clock. He says, “Call Shelly Sterling right now at this number, she’ll be available for your call.” She said, “Well, what’s your number?” Then she said, “Ah, it’s OK, why don’t you come see me?” So I went down, had a meeting with Shelly. I actually brought my brokerage statement, I never ended up showing her but a friend of mine had said, in some businesses, they want to see whether you can really afford the asset. I got through that without actually showing her the brokerage statement.

And then I met with her lawyer again later that evening and the process was really to try to ensure that I bid an appropriate amount of money. What I learned later, the fact that I was a sole bidder was of importance because her lawyers knew she was going to go through a set of legal wrangling with her husband over this, and they wanted a buyer who they could count on to stay with them through the process and they were worried about groups of buyers being tougher to do that with.

So I know there were at least three other bidders, two others who got bids in. There was a local Angeleno, there was a group that did include David Geffen and Oprah, and at least rumored, there was a group from the Mideast. I knew what my walkaway price was. I had actually told her lawyer, I wasn’t a great negotiator. I had told them, “This is what I’d like to pay, this is the maximum I’d pay and, oh by the way, you have to understand, I don’t want to look stupid in front of my wife for being a guy who dramatically overpays.” But I, I laid it out there, I wasn’t trying to be some tough, get the last 3%, 5% out of the deal, I just wanted to own the team.

Shontell: Of course.

Ballmer: And that was my negotiating approach. And then I had to hold on for the ride as the Sterlings went through their legal wrangling about whether Donald was competent to participate in the management of their trust.

Shontell: I remember that. And also, at the time, it sounded like you structured it like a venture-capital deal where you had a valuation on the team, and what you were willing to pay. No one had bought a team for $2 billion within the NBA before, but now it seems like you set the bar and other teams would be that valuable at this point.

Ballmer: Yeah, I think the thing people miss is in a business sense you’d say, it’s not sort of a fluid market. Assets are limited, figuring out what the price is in that kind of calcified market is hard to do, and particularly in LA. LA and New York are different places. No matter what else is going on, buying land is more expensive in LA, and buying basketball teams is more expensive in LA. The baseball team the Dodgers had sold for about $2.1 billion, but they also had a lot of parking and they owned their stadium, so what was the right price for the basketball team? I knew exactly what the right price was: whatever the other bidders were willing to pay, plus some percentage.

SEE ALSO: Clippers owner and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reveals how he became the world’s happiest retired billionaire

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A neuroscientist who studies decision-making reveals the most important choice you can make

friends party celebrate

According to Moran Cerf, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University who has been studying decision-making for over a decade, the surest way to maximize happiness has nothing to do with experiences, material goods, or personal philosophy.

It’s all about who you decide to spend time with. But “it’s not just advice to choose your friends carefully,” Cerf told Business Insider.

There are two premises that lead Cerf to believe personal company is the most important factor for long-term satisfaction.

The first is that decision-making is tiring. A great deal of research has found that humans have a limited amount of mental energy to devote to making choices. Picking our clothes, where to eat, what to eat when we get there, what music to listen to, whether it should actually be a podcast, and what to do in our free time all demand our brains to exert that energy on a daily basis.

(Cerf has actually made it a personal policy to always pick the second menu item on the list of specials when he’s out to eat, for just that reason.)

The second premise is that humans falsely believe they are in full control of their happiness by making those choices. So long as we make the right choices, the thinking goes, we’ll put ourselves on a path toward life satisfaction.

Cerf rejects that idea. The truth is, decision-making is fraught with biases that cloud our judgment. People misremember bad experiences as good, and vice versa; they let their emotions turn a rational choice into an irrational one; and they use social cues, even subconsciously, to make choices they’d otherwise avoid.

But as Cerf tells his students, that last factor can be harnessed for good.

His neuroscience research has found that when two people are in each other’s company, their brain waves will begin to look nearly identical. One study of moviegoers, for instance, found the most engaging trailers all produced similar patterns in people’s brains.

“The more we study engagement, we see time and again that just being next to certain people actually aligns your brain with them,” based on their mannerisms, the smell of the room, the noise level, and many other factors, Cerf said. “This means the people you hang out with actually have an impact on your engagement with reality beyond what you can explain. And one of the effects is you become alike.”

It’s apparent in people’s behavior, too. Buzzkills bring people’s moods down; fast-talkers cause the pace of conversation to pick up; comedians get people feeling light, or funny.

From those two premises, Cerf’s conclusion is that if people want to maximize happiness and minimize stress, they should build a life that requires fewer decisions by surrounding themselves with people who embody the traits they prefer. Over time, they’ll naturally pick up those desirable attitudes and behaviors. At the same time, they can avoid the mentally taxing low-level decisions that sap the energy needed for higher-stakes decisions.

Following Cerf’s restaurant policy, he said he also likes to avoid picking the restaurant. Instead, he prefers to make one decision — who to eat with — and pick someone who he trusts. Chances are that person will pick a place Cerf enjoys, which means the second special option is also more likely to leave him feeling satisfied.

In other words, he avoids making two smaller decisions by making one larger one.

The same can apply for people who want to exercise more, watch less TV, take up a musical instrument, or become more sociable. In all cases, Cerf said, the most important decision is who you surround yourself with.

SEE ALSO: A neuroscientist explains why he always picks the 2nd menu item on a list of specials

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How to Restart your App Programmatically

For some apps (especially games) it is not uncommon for the app to get into a state where it needs to restart – perhaps after a license update, after installing downloadable content, its caches have become corrupt or unwieldy, or for any other reason where the app needs to refresh state from scratch. In earlier releases, your only option would have been to prompt the user to close and relaunch, or to call CoreApplication.Exit – and both options provide sub-optimal user experience.

We have therefore introduced a new API that enables an app to request immediate termination and restart, and to pass arbitrary arguments into the fresh instance. In this post, we’ll look at how this works and how you can build it into your app. This is available now in Insider builds from Build 16226 onwards, along with the corresponding SDK.

Here’s a sample app, called TestRestart. 

The app provides a ListView of cities on the left, the currently-selected city on the right and a TextBox for providing arguments to the app when it is restarted. When the user taps the Request Restart button, the app will terminate and restart itself, passing in the supplied arguments. The new API, RequestRestartAsync is exposed as a static method on the CoreApplication object. It takes a string parameter, which can be any string value you like – including input from the user or another external entity. If you do choose to accept input in this way, it is your responsibility to validate it correctly to make sure it conforms to whatever constraints you choose to impose. You should do this validation on input, before passing it to RequestRestartAsync. In this sample app, we’re expecting the user to type in the name of a city.

async private void DoRestartRequest()
    bool isValidPayload = false;
    string payload = restartArgs.Text;
    if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(payload))
        foreach (ImageViewModel imageItem in imageListView.Items)
            if (imageItem.Name == payload)
                isValidPayload = true;

    if (isValidPayload)
        AppRestartFailureReason result =
            await CoreApplication.RequestRestartAsync(payload);
        if (result == AppRestartFailureReason.NotInForeground ||
            result == AppRestartFailureReason.RestartPending ||
            result == AppRestartFailureReason.Other)
            Debug.WriteLine("RequestRestartAsync failed: {0}", result);

To mitigate privacy concerns, an app is only permitted to restart itself if it is in the foreground at the time it makes the request. When the app restarts, it restarts with normal UI – that is, as a normal foreground window. If we were to permit a background task or minimized app to restart, the result would be unexpected to the user. This is why the API is framed as a request. If the request is denied, the app would need to handle the failure – perhaps by waiting until it is in the foreground and trying again. If you were to request a restart and then through some twist of logic managed to request it again before the system started the operation, then you’d get the RestartPending result, although this is an edge case. You’re unlikely to ever get the Other result – unless something goes wrong in the platform.

Note that this is the only significant constraint, but you should use this API carefully. For example, you probably should not use it if your app was not originally launched by the user – for example, if it was launched as the result of a share or picker operation. Restarting in the middle of one of those contract operations would certainly confuse the user.

If the request is granted, the app is terminated and then restarted. There are many different ways to activate an app: in addition to a regular launch activation, apps can choose to support file activation, protocol activation, share or picker activation and so on. The list is documented here. For the restart case, the app will be activated as a regular launch – just as if the user had closed the app manually and tapped its tile to launch it again – but including the arbitrary arguments supplied earlier (if any).

In your App class, you should handle this by overriding the OnActivated method. Test the ActivationKind, and if it’s ActivationKind.Launch, then the incoming IActivatedEventArgs will be a LaunchActivatedEventArgs. From this, you can get hold of the incoming activation arguments. For a regular user-initiated launch, the Arguments will be empty, so if it’s not empty you could simply infer that this is a restart activation. You can also check the PreviousExecutionState, which for a restart operation will be set to Terminated.

Although the arguments might have originated from an untrusted source (eg, the user), you should have done the validation before requesting restart. If so, you can consider them trustworthy when you receive them in OnActivated.

protected override void OnActivated(IActivatedEventArgs args)
    switch (args.Kind)
        case ActivationKind.Launch:
            LaunchActivatedEventArgs launchArgs = args as LaunchActivatedEventArgs;
            string argString = launchArgs.Arguments;

            Frame rootFrame = Window.Current.Content as Frame;
            if (rootFrame == null)
                rootFrame = new Frame();
                Window.Current.Content = rootFrame;
            rootFrame.Navigate(typeof(MainPage), argString);

What you do with the incoming arguments is entirely up to you. In this app, we’re simply passing them on to the MainPage. In the MainPage in turn, we have an override of OnNavigatedTo which uses the string to select an item in the ListView:

protected override void OnNavigatedTo(NavigationEventArgs e)

    string payload = e.Parameter as string;
    if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(payload))
        foreach (ImageViewModel imageItem in imageListView.Items)
            if (imageItem.Name == payload)
                imageListView.SelectedItem = imageItem;

As you can see, the CoreApplication.RequestRestartAsync method is a simple API. You can use it to terminate your app immediately, and have it restart as if by user action, with the additional option of passing in arbitrary arguments on activation.

Sample Code here.

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The 17 best action movies you can stream on Netflix right now

Hellboy Sony

There’s never a bad time to sit back and watch a good action movie. 

The nonexistent (or besides-the-point) plot, the constant explosions, the muscular heroes doing what needs doing: What better way to take time out from the daily grind?

And with the release of the Charlize Theron’s “Atomic Blonde” this weekend, we’re really in the mood for more butt-kicking fun.

Thankfully, Netflix has a great collection of action movies right now, including the first “Star Wars” standalone movie, “Rogue One,” and the classic “Hellboy.”

Here are 17 action movies we highly recommend that you can stream on Netflix:

SEE ALSO: Al Gore explains our chances against climate change, and his fateful meeting with Donald Trump

“Armageddon” (1998)

Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck go to space to save the world from a hurtling asteroid. With “Bad Boys” and “The Rock” already under his belt, director Michael Bay became the top action director going into the 2000s with this film.

“Captain America: Civil War” (2016)

The blockbuster features one of the greatest comic-book battles (though everyone is pulling their punches) and a pretty intense fight at the end between Cap, Iron Man, and Bucky.  

“Doctor Strange” (2016)

If trippy mystical action is more your thing, this is the movie for you. The origin story of Dr. Stephen Strange has some unique action sequences, topped by some A+ CGI.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Apple is reportedly investing $2.7 billion in LG Display to build OLED panels for future iPhones (AAPL, LPL, GOOG, SSMOBIZ)

iPhone 8 Front

Apple is investing 3 trillion won ($2.7 billion, £2 billion) in LG Display to build the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays that will cover the front of future iPhones, according to a report from the Korea Economic Daily (which we saw via The Investor).

The Cupertino company is allegedly going to pay the large sum in advance to secure up to 45,000 units from the Korean display maker, which will begin production of the panels in 2019.

Apple is reportedly planning to launch a special, tenth anniversary edition iPhone later this year (in addition to the incremental “iPhone 7s” and “iPhone 7s Plus”), which will apparently be the company’s first device to use an OLED display.

Supplies of the so-called “iPhone 8” will allegedly be limited, as Apple doesn’t have access to a sufficient number of OLED displays to keep up with the usual iPhone demand. This is why the company already signed a deal with Samsung for next year, and is also looking into building a number of OLED screens by itself.

Samsung will take care of this year’s OLED displays, too, but it is allegedly opening an entirely new facility just to reorganise its supply chain based on Apple’s future requests. LG will join the Korean rival the following year, as Apple plans to replace its liquid crystal (LCD) display-equipped iPhones even on the “standard” models.

The report mentions that LG will need to build a new facility of its own, as Apple is not the only customer its display subsidiary has. Google turned to LG for the components in its new Pixel phones, and LG is expected to start the OLED panels’ production some time in 2018 after the Mountain View company invested £880 million earlier this year.

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Online advertising is one of Amazon's fastest growing businesses (AMZN)

jeff bezos amazon ceo happy laughing smiling

Google and Facebook should look over their shoulders.

Online advertising, which is one of Amazon’s fastest growing businesses right now, competes directly with them.

According to the company’s second quarter earnings, Amazon’s “other” sales category grew more than anything else. 

That category includes Amazon’s advertising business, as well as other items like cobranded credit cards.

It saw more growth in the quarter than Amazon’s massive money-spinner AWS, and more than actual retail sales.

The “other” category grew 51% year on year to $945 million (£723 million). Amazon’s advertising business is almost a unicorn by itself.

The only part of Amazon’s business which grew as quickly was “Retail subscription services,” or Prime, which also grew 51% to $2.1 billion (£1.6 billion).

And it looks like Amazon wants to fuel the growth in its ads business.

The company’s chief financial officer, Brian Olsavsky, said the growth rate for Amazon’s ad sales team was faster than the 42% average across the business. The only other area where the company is hiring as quickly is AWS, Amazon’s cloud business which powers most of the web.

This is what Olsavsky said according to a Seeking Alpha transcript (emphasis ours):

“We did see a big jump in head count in year-over-year. You’ll see it’s 42%, and in the past, I’d say most of that is driven by operations hiring. I’ve even said that headquarters or office hiring many times in the past was below the level of revenue growth. Right now, what we’re seeing is an accelerated growth rate in software engineers and also sales teams to support primarily AWS [Amazon Web Services] and advertising. So, yes, the growth rate of those two job categories actually exceeded the company growth rate. So we are adding – having success hiring a lot of people and pointing them at some very important programs and customer-facing efforts.”

Olsavsky also attributed Amazon’s larger-than-usual $4.1 billion (£3.13 billion) marketing expenditure for the quarter on new hires.

He said advertising growth had been “strong and fairly consistent” over the last three quarters.

According to eMarketer, Amazon will generate $1.81 billion (£1.38 billion) in online ad revenues.

Clearly that’s still a minnow compared to the digital advertising “duopoly” of Google and Facebook, which pretty much own online advertising between them. Google made $22.7 billion (£17.4 billion) from advertising in the second quarter, while Facebook made $9.2 billion (£7.2 billion).

And eMarketer predicted that Amazon will take less than 1% of the global ads market, while Google and Facebook account for almost half [OF] the market between them.

Still, one of the richest men in advertising is pretty worried about Amazon. Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of advertising holding company WPP, said on an earnings call in March that it wasn’t his newborn baby which kept him up at night.

The answer to the question, ‘What worries you when you go to bed at night and wake up in the morning?’ isn’t a 3-month-old child,” he said. “It’s Amazon— which is a child but not three months.”

What is Amazon’s advertising business?

You probably haven’t noticed that there are ads on Amazon, but they are there.

Consider that Amazon is the biggest shopping site in the world and therefore one of the biggest media properties in the world. How can a retailer persuade you to buy their wares, given you’re browsing through an infinite supermarket?

Amazon offers a long list of advertising products to do just that. Here are just a few:

Amazon advertising products

Amazon can show you everything from banner ads around its site to sponsored products to entire landing pages dedicated to a product or brand.

Here are some examples of sponsored products on Amazon:

Amazon sponsored products

And an example showing a small banner ad:

Amazon advert example

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