15 Things to Look Forward to in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Once the Windows 10 Anniversary Update hits, Microsoft Edge may actually be able to play in the same sandbox as other modern web browsers…

On August 2, Windows 10 will receive its first major update: the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, so-called because it drops right around the operating system’s one-year anniversary.

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The Anniversary Update will be free for all Windows 10 users (Windows 7 and 8/8.1 users have until July 29 to upgrade to Windows 10 for free) and will include everything from visual tweaks and security improvements to brand-new features such as Windows Ink. Here are some of the changes — big and small — that you can look forward to…

Read More from on the Windows 10 Anniversary Update from CNET >

 

 
Source: CNET

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When Donald Trump Had a Choice, He Chose Nonunion Labor for His Construction Projects

Donald Trump has admitted before that when he has a choice between union and nonunion labor for his construction projects, Trump chooses nonunion labor. Just how often was that? A new report from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) reveals some figures about his dealings with IBEW contractors.

From the IBEW investigation:

A review of Trump’s projects reveals that he hires union when project labor agreements or dominant market share forces him to. But more than 60% of his projects developed outside New York City and Atlantic City – which includes most of his recent projects – were built nonunion. When you exclude developments with project labor agreements, that number jumps to nearly 80% built nonunion.

Except for his own house.

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Trump has developed or licensed his name to eight projects in Florida, for example. The only one using IBEW workers is his palatial home and private club in Palm Beach. “For everything he sold to other people, he went nonunion. But for his house, he went with us,” said IBEW Local 728 Business Manager Dan Svetlick. Svetlick says it’s something he’s seen with other billionaires like Trump. When it comes to their own homes or the homes of their family members, “They want that to last,” he said.

Here are 10 other key facts from the IBEW report:

1. According to analysis of lawsuits filed against him and his companies, when union contractors were hired, Trump developed a reputation for stiffing some, delaying payment to others and shorting workers on overtime and even minimum wage.

2. USA Today found 60 lawsuits against Trump for not paying his bills on time, including by a dishwasher in Florida, a New Jersey glass company, a carpet supplier, plumber, painters, 48 waiters, dozens of bartenders and a real estate broker.

3. Trump has been cited for 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

4. Trump-associated properties and companies have filed for bankruptcy often: Trump Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza and Trump Marina (1993), Trump World’s Fair and Casino (1999), Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts (2004) and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009). In each of the bankruptcies, unpaid contractors were sent to the back of the line for repayment and often received only pennies on the dollar for what they were owed.

5. Lawyers who represented Trump in lawsuits for non-payment sued Trump for not paying them.

6. Since 1980, more than 200 mechanic’s liens have been filed against Trump properties for nonpayment.

7. According to former Trump Plaza President Jack O’Connell, Trump would negotiate the best price he could, but when it came time to pay the bills, Trump would say: “I’m going to pay you, but I’m going to pay you 75% of what we agreed to.” It was known as the “Trump discount,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

8. Trump continues to stonewall unionized casino and culinary employees looking for their first contract at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas.

9. Most of Trump’s recent projects have been in anti-union and “right to work” states. Where the law is different, his choices are different: “For every union-built development outside of New York and Atlantic City, Trump built nearly two nonunion, and if there is no PLA, Trump has hired union workers once for every four projects that go nonunion.”

10. Trump Tower, where he announced his presidential campaign, was built on a site cleared by undocumented immigrant laborers from Poland. A lawsuit was filed against Trump that dragged on for nearly two decades—he didn’t reach a settlement with the working people who did the job until 19 years later. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York wrote: “No records were kept, no Social Security or other taxes were withheld, and they were not paid in accordance with wage laws. They were told they would be paid $4.00 or in some cases $5.00 an hour for working 12-hour shifts seven days a week. In fact, they were paid irregularly and incompletely, sometimes with [the subcontractor’s] personal checks, which were returned by the bank for insufficient funds.” Employees complained to the press of working in “choking clouds of asbestos dust without protective equipment.” The District Court concluded that Trump “knew the Polish workers were working ‘off the books,’ that they were doing demolition work, that they were nonunion, that they were paid substandard wages with no overtime pay and that they were paid irregularly if at all.”

Tell Congress to Stop Sneak Attacks on Working People

Funding the government is one of the basic requirements of Congress. But as we too often see, the process consistently takes far longer than originally scheduled. The threat of shutting down the government and halting vital public services can spark a near panic.

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Worsening this problem are “riders,” which are controversial, last-second provisions added to spending bills. Riders are provisions that would normally not pass on their own through the regular legislative process. The people who slip them into bills try to take advantage of the chaos of trying to pass a budget at the last minute.

Budget “riders” would help corporations, not working men and women.

In recent budget cycles, the Republican-controlled House and Senate have catered to big corporations by attempting to use riders to push through changes that would harm working families. The rider process allows them to avoid the public scrutiny that would ordinarily accompany these types of anti-worker policies.

These riders would do things like:

  • prevent the National Labor Relations Board from enforcing their own rules for free and fair union elections;
  • prohibit the enforcement of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order, which would make contractors with serious records of civil rights, labor rights, safety or other violations comply with the law before being awarded a federal contract;
  • take away the DOL’s ability to make sure contractors pay the established minimum wage to certain seasonal recreation services employees;
  • stop the Department of Health and Human Services from instituting new prevention programs established by the Affordable Care Act – and eliminate the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Fair union elections, safe workplaces, minimum wage enforcement and protecting the Affordable Care Act—these are issues that affect working people directly. And underhanded attempts to take away these things using riders cannot be tolerated.

The battle over the fiscal year 2017 budget is now fully underway in Congress, and we’re seeing these same tactics again.  Let Congress know that we are watching them, and that you want a clean budget – one WITHOUT riders that would harm working people.

Sign the Petition: Tell Congress to Pass a CLEAN Budget

Behind Closed Doors: What Is A Perfect Portfolio?

BY DONALD CONRAD
Fiduciary

What is the best selection of investments?

Research consistently has found: the best way to maximize returns across every level of risk is to combine asset classes rather than individual securities.

I use Modern Portfolio Theory to identify the ideal investment mix for each client. It is important to stress that every asset class has a known history of performance, and each one has a future which cannot be known. Every investment involves risk, which is another term for uncertainty. This is where things get tricky, because there is no risk in the past, no uncertainty about how things turned out. Then how are we creating the optimal mix? Diversification is the answer, investing in a variety of assets.

conrad-capital-investments-sidebarPredicting the long-term performance of just one asset class is harder than predicting the performance of a group of them. Even when most sectors of the market are moving up or down, there’s usually some outlier that’s bucking the trend. Because there’s no way to know in advance what that outlier will be, the best strategy is to own them all and weight them accordingly based on your specific risk tolerance and macroeconomic variables. What we need is long-term past performance data identifying the asset classes with favorable performance and acceptable levels of risk. 11 asset classes were identified based on decades of data and legions of academic researchers. I teach as many people as possible how to put those asset classes together into effective combinations of different investments.

From time to time I slightly overweight towards an attractive asset class when doing so will allow the portfolio to achieve good returns and helps to reach the client’s long-term goals. In the last few months I had several reasons to continue to slowly and carefully invest into the energy sector because fossil fuel related investments have a great chance to outperform their sector, industry or even the market as a whole, and they are at a great discount. I conducted an analysis and created an ENERGY BASKET containing an ideal mixture of US and international energy related equities, currency, and ETFs.

PRINT THIS ARTICLE: Behind Closed Doors: What Is A Perfect Portfolio?

Looking for more information on how to build the perfect portfolio?  Donald Conrad invites you to contact him with your questions or comments at dconrad@conradcapital.com or by calling 631-439-7878.

A Message from Donald Conrad

conrad-capital-donald-conradI am Donald Conrad, President and CEO of Conrad Capital Management. CCM is based in the heart of Long Island, Islandia (New York), right between the Hamptons and Manhattan. I have offered investment counseling, retirement plan advice to families and businesses across the country since 1998. I began my career in the financial services industry in 1982. Throughout my 34 year professional career I have helped labor union workers throughout NY State. My clients have included indispensable, experienced workers with specialized knowledge from all walks of life, ranging from firefighters to nurses to police officers and air pilots. I have seen firsthand the benefits that unions bring to their members and I worked hard to provide highly customized face-to-face fiduciary investment advice for affordable fees to active and retired workers.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I hold Series 7, 24, 63 and 65 licenses, as well as Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) Certification. I am an independent investment advisor; – registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as such subject to the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, and have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of my clients. In this role I have worked with complex portfolios and served the many unique needs that often require special management strategies. Previously, I served as Senior VP – at PaineWebber (1993 – 1997), Sr. Vice President at Shearson Lehman Hutton (1987 – 1993) and Sr. VP at E. F. Hutton & Co. (1982 – 1987).

CCM is dual-registered, and has three divisions:

• Registered Investment Adviser
• Broker Dealer Association1
• Alternative Investment Vehicle/Hedge Fund of Funds – CCM Partners, LP

I lead a great team of professionals keeping client centric solutions in focus. Investors continue to demand an increasingly high level of expertise, integrity and objectivity. We work hard, walk our walk every day and strive to be the best that we can. The team at CCM is comprised of educated, multilingual, and multinational professionals who are experienced in the areas in which they operate.

The main reason that I became a wealth manager was to help people deal with their money. Working with my clients to get them on the right track to meet their goals is a very rewarding part of my job and it is something that I really enjoy doing. Preparing for a financially secure retirement has become significantly harder in the 21st century. There is something unique about making meaningful and positive differences in the lives of many working professionals helping their transition into retirement.

PRINT DONALD CONRAD’S BIO

 

conrad-capital-investments-LOGO

Conrad Capital Management
1377 Motor Parkway, Suite 406 Islandia, New York 11749
dconrad@conradcapital.com  www.conradcapital.com
Phone: (631)-439-7878 Fax: (631)-439-7879


1 Securities are offered through Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments, member FINRA/SIPC. Headquartered at 18 Corporate Woods Blvd., Albany NY 12211. Purshe Kapalan Sterling Investments and Conrad Capital Management are not affiliated companies.  

Pokemon GO and the Privacy Debate: Why Convenience Will Trump Privacy Every Time

Okay, we need to talk about Pokemon GO.

What is more interesting than the highly addictive launched on this week game – is the Pokemon GO privacy element, the casual ambivalence and/or lack of awareness displayed by users towards the data collection capabilities of the app, and what that means for the wider debate around privacy and the use of our personal information.

But first, just a quick glance at the stats surrounding use of this app only which is why it’s worthy of some attention:

Gotta’ Catch ‘em All

If you don’t already know from the millions of tweets, posts and updates flooding your social streams, Pokemon GO is massive.

How massive? ONLY SIX DAYS OLD POKEMON GO IS ABOUT TO SURPASS THE AMOUNT OF TWITTER USERS and amount of time spent using the iOS and Android game – AGAIN IN ONLY SIX DAYS – is nearly twice that of Instagram.

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Pretty crazy, right?

On top of this, Pokemon Go has already surpassed 7.5 million downloads on iOS and Android in the US alone, and is generating more than $1.6 million in daily revenue.

Given the numbers, there’s good reason you’re seeing mentions of the game everywhere – and why you’re also seeing people wandering around the streets, almost zombie-like, scanning the world through their phone screens.

The short explanation of Pokemon GO is this – using your phones GPS co-ordinates, players are shown real world locations where Pokemon (cartoon characters with unique abilities) are located. You then follow the map to the designated locations and use your phone to look around for them. Pokemon are obviously not visible in the real world, but they’re shown on your phone screen. Once you find a Pokemon, you can use a Pokeball to catch it.

There’s more to it than that – there are meet-ups and other locations where you can obtain more Pokeballs and battle, but this is the basic gist. The new app is seen as a breakthrough for augmented reality, where computer generated content is layered over real-world locations.

But while it’s proven hugely addictive, and many have praised the app for helping bring people together based on fun and mutual interest (particularly given recent world events), Pokemon GO does raise some significant privacy and data-tracking concerns.

Collecting Data

As noted Pokemon GO uses your phone’s GPS co-ordinates and is built on Google Maps. The company that created the game is called Niantic which is lead by John Hanke, who was also one of the founders of Keyhole, the 3D mapping company that Google purchased to power Google Maps back in 2004. As such, Niantic is well-aligned to the inner workings of Google Maps – in fact, Niantic itself operated under Google, then Alphabet, till August last year, when it became an independent company, and Alphabet remains a key Niantic investor.

Because of these connections, Pokemon GO operates on a slightly higher level that your regular map-based game, and can provide more accuracy as to where players are and what they’re doing.

Now, that, in itself, has already lead to some issues – police in Missouri, for example, reported that they recently arrested four men who were using in-game locations to target people searching for Pokemon.

In this sense, the game does lead to an increased level of exposure, and potential vulnerability for users.

For their part, the Pokemon GO developers say they’ve chosen real world locations that are “pedestrian safe” in order to ensure players don’t stumble into trouble, but given the capacity for others to track the locations and lay in wait for unsuspecting victims, there are some issues to be aware of.

But surface problems like these aside, there’s actually another, more significant privacy concern with Pokemon GO that many users are not aware of:

In order to play the game, you need to give it access to your Google account – which is fine, many pages use social logins and similar these days, no problem, right? What many people aren’t aware of, however, is that by signing in via Google, you’re also giving Niantic access to all your Google account information.

As per BuzzFeed:

“Like most apps that work with the GPS in your smartphone, Pokémon GO can tell a lot of things about you based on your movement as you play: where you go, when you went there, how you got there, how long you stayed, and who else was there. And, like many developers who build those apps, Niantic keeps that information. According to the Pokémon GO privacy policy, Niantic may collect — among other things — your email address, IP address, the web page you were using before logging into Pokémon Go, your username, and your location. And if you use your Google account for sign-in and use an iOS device, unless you specifically revoke it, Niantic has access to your entire Google account. That means Niantic has read and write access to your email, Google Drive docs, and more.”

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Pretty concerning – that level of data access is normally reserved for Google apps themselves.

Of course, there’s nothing to suggest Niantic’s planning on doing anything untoward with that data access – some commentators have suggested this was probably built-in by default without thinking of the possible ramifications. But even if Niantic itself has no plans to do anything with all that info, you can bet the company’s now become a key target for hackers. If they could get access to Niantic’s servers, they’d be able to get a heap of information from the millions of Pokemon GO users who’ve signed up.

And while you can, of course, revoke Pokemon GO’s access to your data, most  won’t bother.

Why? Mostly because in order to block the app’s full access you’ll need to start the game all over again, losing your progress, which will be too much to bear for dedicated Pokemon users.

And that, in itself, actually highlights the true state of our wider approach to online privacy and data access.

Privacy vs Convenience

Overall, our attitudes towards online data access – whether we like it or not, whether we feel comfortable about it or not – really comes down to a question of convenience, of what we’re getting in return.

In a study conducted by The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania last year, researchers found that 43% of respondents were willing to accept a supermarket discount offer even if they knew that as a result the supermarket would analyze their purchase history and make assumptions about them. At the same time, only 21% of respondents – less than half that first group – indicated that they’d be willing to accept that same discount if they knew that the supermarket might use their their data to determine how much money they make. And only 19% would accept with the understanding that the company may use their data to determine their ethnic background.

All of these are ways in which that data is being broken down already – yet when people don’t know this, when they’re unaware of the depths to which that data can be segmented and you, personally, can be categorized, they’re far more willing to accept data tracking when it delivers them a benefit.

This is the same principle behind Facebook’s data access – while people know that Facebook can learn pretty much everything about them based on their on platform activity, then use that information to sell to marketers trying to reach you with ads, they generally accept this trade-off. Because what’s the alternative – stop using Facebook?

Because the benefit outweighs the concern, people click “I Accept” on the terms and conditions and move on.

And this happens all the time – how many times have you actually taken a moment to read through the specifics of what access you’re granting to a company via their documentation?

This leaves us significantly more vulnerable, while also fueling the new age of data-driven marketing. As has been famously quoted many times, 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years, a huge amount of personal insights and specifics for any interested party who can benefit to trawl through and categorize you with, based on the most intricate and specific parameters.

Is it good that anyone, if they knew how, could get to know you based on your online presence alone? That they could use your emotional weak spots to target you, to hit with messages that’ll make you more inclined to spend money with them, to donate to their cause?

That political candidates can use such insights to sway your opinion to their side or the debate?

Whether you like it or not, this is happening, because we readily provide access to such insights via apps like Pokemon GO, largely without even realizing it.

But even when we do know it, even when there’s a heap of coverage and reporting on such data access, most still go along with it. Because it’s easier. Because it gives us access to something we want.

This is why the debate over privacy and data access is doomed to fail. Because despite the many warnings and data breaches and threats, people want to use these apps and features. If Facebook came out tomorrow and said they’d been recording and cataloging all your real-life conversations via the microphone on your smart device, do you think people would stop using Facebook?

Despite the headlines, the debate comes down to convenience versus privacy.

And in the modern world where everything’s available within the tap of a mobile screen, convenience is going to win every time.


Experience Pokemon GO in their Official ‘Get Up and Go!’ User Video

Note: After multiple reports on this issue; Niantichas said they are working to update the permissions issue. Time will tell.