CES 2014 introduces Car’s powered by hydrogen gas or the sun

While driveless cars is a major theme in the international CES 2014, Cars that use hydrogen gas are making big moves in the near future:

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Toyota said Monday that it expects to sell more hydrogen-powered electric cars in the U.S. than previously planned.

The car, which Toyota calls FCV for now, uses hydrogen as fuel for a battery and emits only water vapor as exhaust. Toyota said the car will go on sale in the U.S. in 2015. Rival automakers Hyundai and Honda have also said they’d start selling cars with that technology in the U.S. that year.

At the International CES, the technology industry’s annual gadget show in Las Vegas, the Japanese automaker said it will focus on selling cars in California at first.

Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., said the U.S. branch of Toyota had recently increased its request for vehicles to sell in the U.S. market. He said that a 95 percent cut in production costs from the initial prototype would help Toyota make fuel cell cars that are “a reasonable price for a lot of people.”

Toyota Motor Corp. has promised to sell its fuel cell cars for $50,000 to $100,000, aiming for the lower end of the range.

Toyota said the car will have a range of 300 miles, can accelerate from standstill to 60 miles per hour in 10 seconds, and can refuel its hydrogen tank in three to five minutes.

Working with researchers at the University of California, Irvine, Toyota said the first 10,000 vehicles can be supported with only 68 refueling stations from San Francisco to San Diego. It noted that California has approved $200 million to build about 20 fueling stations by 2015, 40 by 2016 and 100 by 2024.

What is 4K? What is it’s purpose for Netflix?

Netflix’s show House of Cards will be the first to stream in 4k. But wait what is 4k exactly?

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4K, or UltraHD, is the latest generation of TV screen technology, replacing 1080p. Before 4K, the highest resolution signal available for movies and such was 1080i/p, which amounts to 1,920 x 1,080 pixels on that gargantuan TV screen you stare at so often. 4K’s resolution is about 4,000 pixels wide and about 2,000 pixels high, good for about four times the resolution of 1080p.

Hack of the week

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Its been a drastic year for hacking, but this is by far one of the worst data preach in a decade:

Target’s disclosure that credit card thieves hacked a database of 70 million customers is a wake-up call. “It’s like an arms race for consumers’ information at this point,” said Susan Grant, an advocate for the Consumer Federation of America. It’s become standard for many retailers to ask for personal details at checkout. Then there’s online shopping, in which you have to turn over certain info. Among other things, stores want the information so they can shower you with catalogs and emails.

So my suggestion is to think twice before using any card whose magnetic stripe is not encrypted. Which includes Visa, Mastercard, Discover and other card companies:

The problem is that you are trusting the stores to safeguard it. Criminals who steal your credit or debit card information can do more damage if they have your contact information. It’s easier for them to commit fraud or even trick you into revealing more via fake emails, letters and phone calls.

Your information is “toxic” if it gets in the wrong hands, said Rob Shavell, CEO of Abine, a company whose software enhances privacy while shopping. “The more of it they store, the more it becomes a danger to the consumer and the business.”

The idea behind Abine shows just how far wholesale data collection has gone. The service lets you create a shopping avatar — with its own new phone number, address and credit card — to create more distance between you and the retailer

Today’s data breach doesn’t necessarily mean that thieves can gain access to customers’ bank or credit card accounts. But it does put them at greater risk for identity theft. There is also a risk that thieves can use the information to try to create new accounts in a customer’s name.

Top five well known businesses that will struggle in 2014

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A new year usually signals a new start. But 2014 may be the end of well known businesses.

Here are the list f five household names that won’t last this year:

1.) Mitsubishi Motor 

Japanese company just sold 50,000 cars in 2013 in the first ten months in 2013, which was the lowest ever since 2011 when the y sold 80,000. With these stats I think they would have a hard time to compete against other brands.

2.) Barnes & Nobles:

This year holidays sales put another nail in the coffin for the book seller tablets.

This year’s holiday sales tallies haven’t brought any cheer to this story. The company says that Nook sales plummeted by 60 percent for the 2013 holiday season compared to the previous year. In addition, Barnes & Noble claimed that its share of the e-book market has declined to 20 percent.

The list of reasons for the Nook’s continued struggles are legion. It faces unyielding competition from Apple’s iPads as well as Amazon’s Kindles (not to mention Amazon’s abilityto sell its e-books generally for less than B&N on those Kindles). Throw in all of the other Android tablets and the ever-increasing range of Windows slates, and the Nook has a hard time standing out.

3.) Living Social:

Percent off sales company living social may say fair well after a plunge on retail sales and according to Washington Post, CEO Tim Oschaughnessy is stepping down.

“He was feeling that he had exhausted his well of capabilities to take this from a large company to a very large company, and had the personal sense to know when to ask to pass it on to new leadership,” said Tige Savage, a LivingSocial board member and investor with Revolution, a venture capital firm led in part by former AOL chairman Steve Case. O’Shaughnessy will continue to own a sizeable stake in LivingSocial.

4.) Olympic Cameras:

Olympic camera are doing well, but for this year they have to be great as they compete against tech company Samsung.

5.) WNBA:

Sorry ladies but this year if the organization doesn’t generate a fan base then they will suffer this year.

But most WNBA teams — even the Lynx — still have trouble attracting fans like Sylte. Ticket giveaways are common, and average league attendance this year was below 8,000. Still, there are a few positive signs. The WNBA is reporting its best TV ratings in six years, and it just signed a reported eight-figure sponsorship deal with Boost Mobile. The cellphone carrier’s logo appears on most WNBA uniforms — something rare outside NASCAR.

Lynx Chief Operating Officer Conrad Smith says this shows the league may be turning a corner. And while the team doesn’t make its finances public, he says the Lynx could turn a profit this year for the first time in nearly a decade.

“The first couple of years we were profitable, but then we got away from it,” Smith says. “But this year — and obviously the playoffs and how that all shakes out — we’ll know at the very end how we did, which is great news for the league and our ownership group.”

This is the year for all five well known companies to prove to everyone that they can still keep a prosper business going.

Why Neiman Marcus Customers Credit Card may have been hacked

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There’s a very good chance that a criminal operation has hacked just about every major retailer in the U.S., or at least has the capability of doing so:

Luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus said on Friday that hackers may have stolen customers’ credit and debit card information, the second cyber attack on a retailer in recent weeks.

The data breach comes after Target Corp on Friday said an investigation found a cyber attack compromised the information of at least 70 million customers, in the second-biggest retail cyber attack on record.

Neiman Marcus does not know the number of customers affected by the intrusion, company spokesperson Ginger Reeder said.

Neiman Marcus said its credit card processor alerted the retailer in December about potential unauthorized payment card activities and the U.S. Secret Service is investigating.

A third-party forensics firm confirmed the cyber-security intrusion on January 1, the company said.

Reeder declined to comment if the breach was related to the Target cyber attack.

This isn’t an amateur operation and it’s certainly not small. There are likely international ties to this, and finding and prosecuting the culprits won’t be easy. There’s no reason to believe any retailer is safe. The best bet is to leave your debit card at home and stick to credit cards. At least the banks eat the losses that way and inconvenience to the consumer is minimal.

Ten tips that will help you become a better entreprenuer

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A new year means a fresh start from previous financial disasters, new projects, and start ups. So it is your choice of knowledge to either improve on your mistake or continue to make your successful business global:

Here are the ten tips that will help you become a better entrepreneur:

1. Confront and work on your challenge areas. Knowing your strengths is easy. Facing and fixing your weaknesses can sometimes create inaction in all of us. But to grow, it is important to make this change.

There are a billion “I can’t” reasons and most are founded on nothing but fear — many times we are simply standing in our own way.

Related: New Year’s Resolutions from 10 Young Entrepreneurs

Use 2014 to pinpoint and build up the areas that are challenging you. Classes are great, but as entrepreneurs we need action now. Be proactive by turning to the internet. Look for information, articles, mentors and online tutorials for help.

2. Blend work-life and personal life. Professional life and personal life can be horrible counter weights to each other, creating an imbalance. Scrap the balancing act. Focus on what you’re passionate about and maintain your intention to have more of it in your life.

For 2014, look for quick and convenient ways to blend personal life and professional life into a healthier lifestyle that works better for you, the people you love and your job. Honestly, if you add value it doesn’t matter how the job gets done.

3. Let apps do the hard work. What’s taking up your time? There’s probably an app for it. Let it do the work. For instance, Cardmunch is awesome. It automatically converts business cards into contacts with a click of a button. Or 1Password stores all your logins and passwords in a safe, easy to access place. If you find a task taking up too much time, see if there is a tool that can make your life easier.

Related: 5 Habits of Productivity App Super Users

4. Give a little help. When someone hands me a business card I make a note of how I can help that person. I like to connect people and have always valued when it’s done for me, so I try to give back when relevant. It could be as easy as connecting them with a colleague or sending a book or digital article relevant to a conversation.

5. Play tag. Another business card tip? “Tag” business cards when you receive them. Immediately jot down tags, or notes, to help you remember what the business card doesn’t tell you, such as their interests, goals, alma mater or a mutual contact, among other details. Act fast, while the light bulbs are coming on in your head and be succinct.

6. Have the difficult conversations. A friend and advisor told me something a few years ago that has really stuck with me. He said, “The person who can’t have the difficult conversations won’t be around long.” What a profound, true statement that is — both personally and professionally.

Have the difficult conversations in 2014: at work and at home, with others and yourself. If you approach these conversations in the right way, you’re likely to learn and grow in the long run.

Related: Business Lessons That Can Help You Succeed at 2014 Resolutions

7. Make a game out of KPI (Key Performance Indicator). In everything you do this year, find the KPIs by looking for the things that signal success or failure.

Make a game out of KPI and have fun. For example, when we make a big announcement at my accounting app company Sage One, we try to beat the high score for opened emails, clicks and trials.

8. Have a two-minute rule for no-brainer tasks. Save your perfectionist and OCD tendencies for the important stuff. I like to blaze through the mindless tasks first thing in the morning when I am planning my day and setting daily goals. When things pop up and take two minutes or less, I like to figure them out immediately.

The time to kick the OCD into high gear and give proper attention is when focusing on higher priorities and early-stage ideas. Otherwise, they will die on the vine.

9. The visual bypass. What is the best way to receive buy-in on ideas to ensure they reach market? Who knows: I still haven’t figured it out yet.

But lately I’ve found I saved a lot of time by presenting my ideas visually. Aside from it saving time, telling your story, plan or strategy visually creates more groupthink within the team. How so? A visual of an idea with succinct requirements tends to be shared more across groups, thereby, increasing early-stage comprehension of a new idea or project. This is always a good signal that you’re on the right path, and it accelerates the validation from important stakeholders — a key requirement for any idea to gain early traction.

My go-to tool is Omnigraffle. It’s great for mapping the journey of our customer and finding areas where we can improve.

10. Take an improv class. I took a weekly improv class for six months. I can’t tell you how much this helped me professionally by allowing me to be myself more, took away my jitters and taught me the ever-important fearlessness to fail.

Facebook wants to compete against other mobile company’s after buying little eye labs

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Facebook believes buying little eye lab will give them an advantage against  Apple, Samsung and Google for mobile phones.

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Facebook has acquired year-old Indian start up Little Eye Labs to help concentrate on mobile development for the social media platform.

As part of the acquisition, Little Eye Labs will relocate to Menlo Park, California, the home of Facebook’s headquarters.

“From there, we’ll be able to leverage Facebook’s world-class infrastructure and help improve performance of their already awesome apps. For us, this is an opportunity to make an impact on the more than 1 billion people who use Facebook,” the start up wrote on its site.

The transaction also means that Little Eye Labs has stopped accepting any new signups to its service.

Its core business revolves around developing performance analysis and monitoring tools for Android developers. This includes tracking and monitoring how apps and processes consume handset resources such as power, memory, storage; the impact of processes and active hardware like GPS and Wi-Fi; and events and logs at the application and system level.

Although no new customers can sign up for these features, Little Eye Labs has promised a free version of its existing offering to its current customers, which will work up until June 30.

A source familiar with the deal told Tech Crunch that the acquisition was made in the range of $10 million to $15 million.