Saturday, December 07, 2013

Touchless Tech: When Sci-Fi Becomes Reality

Source: hyena reality at
Two of the tech industry's big dogs are on the cutting edge and have developed amazing new devices that push the boundaries of what's currently possible. Google (GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT) have successfully created "touchless tech" -- devices that allow users to interact with each other, their computers, other wireless devices, and the Internet -- all without lifting a finger.

Monday, November 25, 2013

IBM: Dark Horse of the Tech Sector

If asked to name some of the biggest, most powerful, and influential tech companies, most people would likely respond with a handful of names like Apple, Google, and Microsoft, maybe even Samsung. This is because ads for these companies’ products are constantly thrown in front of consumers. 

What's interesting is that one of the oldest and most steadfast tech companies has drifted out of sight for today's common consumer. However, since 1924, International Business Machines (IBM) has been an iconic innovator in the tech sector, and has recently taken steps that could rocket the company back to the forefront, bringing with it a host of opportunities for significant growth and profit. Its partnership with NVIDIA (NVDA) will allow IBM to accomplish those goals.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The PC May Be Dying, But Microsoft Isn't

It's no secret that the traditional desktop PC is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Society continues to evolve into a non-stop, fast-paced existence and more consumers opt for lightweight mobile computing devices. Microsoft (MSFT), the former king of the computer industry, struggled for a while to cope with this reality and has recently taken steps to boost revenue and breathe life back into the company.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Use Facebook to Watch YouTube Videos on Roku

Like countless other Roku owners, the lack of a native YouTube channel is irritating, to say the least. Don't worry, I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon and whine about how frustrating it is, or rant about why I think things should be different. Instead, I'm going to tell you how you can use Facebook to watch YouTube videos on your Roku.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

I Didn't Know Bill Gates Was Psychic

It's been a long time since I actually found myself laughing out loud while reading the news, but that's exactly what happened (more than once) when I stumbled across an article in The Guardian yesterday.

The article was entitled "Bill Gates Predicts iPad And Android Users Will Switch To PC Tablets" and went on to describe how Gates believes that the future of mobile computing will be shaped by Microsoft Corporation (MSFT). According to the article, Gates predicts that future mobile electronic device sales will predominantly consist of PC-tablet hybrids, namely his company's Surface and Surface Pro.

In the midst of a few more chuckles, some eye rolling, and never-ending head shaking, I managed to finish the article. Does Gates really believe that his company's Windows 8 tablets will suddenly take off in popularity and surpass the public's current preference for Androids and iPads? Gates described Windows 8 as "revolutionary" because it's Microsoft's attempt at furthering the evolution of computing by combining the more desirable features of tablets and smartphones with those of the traditional PC.

While that surely sounds like an intelligent concept, however vague it might be, the fact still stands that from a sales perspective, Windows-powered phones and tablets just aren't as popular or versatile as Google's Android devices or Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iDevices.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Can the Apple iWatch Revolutionize the Wearable Device Trend?

Apparent leaked reports of research teams at Apple Inc. (AAPL) working in secret to develop a new “smart” wristwatch have been circulating for months. While the idea of a discrete, multi-functional wearable device has been around for decades, and a few companies have recently announced successful projects, the trend never really took off.

Considering that Apple is probably the leader in digital innovations, it’s not hard to believe the rumors that it is aggressively working on an “iWatch” product. I can’t think of another company more likely to release such a device. If the rumors are true, it would appear that Apple is near the final stage of development and could release the iWatch sometime this year.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why the SEC's Aggressive FCPA Actions Are Useless

Elisse Walter, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, made the opening remarks at the Foreign Bribery and Corruption Training Conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday. The overall tone of the comments was optimistic about the agency’s capabilities, yet clearly suggestive of an intention to increase efforts to seek out and vehemently prosecute corporations who violate the FCPA.

Merriam-Webster defines bribery as “[the] crime of giving a benefit (e.g., money) in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust (e.g., an official or witness).”

One of the more extreme examples of flagrant violations of the FCPA involved Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) and the construction of a store in Teotihuacán, Mexico. It was ultimately discovered that the company took advantage of the depressed economic conditions in the region and bribed local officials to ignore protests by citizens, allowed construction to begin without necessary permits and surveys, and downplayed the potentially negative environmental impact of construction.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

McGraw-Hill Is Still a Good Buy Despite S&P Lawsuit

Despite the recent lawsuit filed by the Justice Department against McGraw-Hill Financial Inc (MHFI) and Standard & Poor’s, which alleges the company knowingly issued inflated positive ratings to mortgage securities and lenders from September 2004 to October 2007, it’s unlikely that the outcome of the suit will negatively impact the long-term stability of the company or the ratings industry as a whole.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Why the DOJ's Lawsuit Against S&P Will Do More Harm Than Good

On the heels of Monday’s announcement by the Justice Department that civil fraud charges have been filed against Standard & Poor’s and McGraw-Hill Financial Inc (MHFI) for accusations of intentionally misrepresenting the credit ratings of mortgage securities and the banks that issued them during the three years before the housing bubble burst, the DOJ is also reportedly considering an identical suit against Moody’s Corporation (MCO).

The lawsuit against S&P is unprecedented, as there has never before been a suit of this type against a ratings provider. Perhaps that’s also one of the reasons that so many state prosecutors are jumping in on the suit, not to mention the possibility of separate actions from the SEC.

Is the Life Insurance Industry Dying?

Moody’s recently downgraded MetLife Inc’s (MET) long-term outlook from stable to negative. Combined with the announcement last September that the life insurance industry as a whole could be in danger, how long it will be before industry giants like MetLife end up going the way of the Dodo?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Don’t Get Too Excited About Apple’s iTV

For the past few months, rumors about the pending release of Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTV have spread like wildfire. It’s been predicted that the iTV will be unveiled toward the end of this year and could serve to further solidify Apple’s stronghold on the digital media industry.

However, projected sales figures and estimated profits are unlikely to be as high or as impressive as analysts have reported.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Expect Higher Prices at the Grocery Store

After yesterday’s announcement by the Agriculture Department that 14 states in the southern U.S. have been declared a disaster area due to extended drought conditions, consumers should expect higher prices at the grocery store. The affected area, which includes 351 counties in the Wheat Belt, is responsible for providing more than 1/3 of the wheat crop in the United States. Industry experts predict at least 1/4 of the wheat crop will be useless and abandoned.

The drought, perhaps the worst on record in over 50 years, has led to sky high crop insurance claims already approaching $11 billion, with the final total expected to reach near $25 billion.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

How to Calculate the Taxes Paid on a Complete Early Withdrawal on an Annuity

Gambone articles calculate taxes annuity withdrawal early
Source: StockMonkeys via Flickr
Figuring out how much extra you'll owe in taxes after closing your annuity is about as much fun as cleaning out your basement. But to prevent any surprises or problems with Uncle Sam, you should familiarize yourself with the basics of how annuities are taxed and what you can expect when cancelling a contract.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Annuities Vs. Mutual Funds for Retirement Investments

Annuities and mutual funds are common investment choices for retirement money, and many consumers view them as nearly identical. But the two are extremely different. Neither annuities nor mutual funds is appropriate for every investor, and careful consideration must be taken before contributing retirement money to one of these types of accounts.