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Black Friday Bargains Aren’t As Good As December 1st Sales

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Black Friday Toy Bargains
Source: Shop Advisor

Listen, you’re not the only one who has waited in a line for Black Friday waiting to get that super hot deal for that one item you’ve been dreaming for. I’ve done it for an LED Samsung 55″ TV, appliances, Xbox 360’s and all kinds of other products. Apparently I was led to believe that the absolute best deals you can get are on announced doorbuster days at places like Best Buy, Kohls or Sears Black Friday sales. Well, the secret is out and data and statistics actually show Black Friday bargains are not the best deals you can get.

We found a company called Shop Advisor that helps people shop. Their short sales pitch is they are, “a deferred shopping platform that connects consumers’ initial interest in a product with their eventual purchase.” They have apps on iPhone, Android and more to help you monitor inventory of products you’re in love with and it also keeps watch of the prices and alerts you when big sales on products show up.

According to their data analysis if you’re trying to buy toys and products before Christmas at a great price the best day to shop is December 1st. The specific data shows that 12.6% of all products had a price drop of at least 30% from their original price on December 1st in 2011. Shop Adviser’s specific factoid on this mystery sale date is, “After Thanksgiving, December 1st is the best sale day. The best chance of getting a toy under its original holiday season price was the first day in December, when 58% of all toys were on sale, and only 230% were above their original price.”

Black Friday Bargains Myth
Source: Shop Advisor

In addition to that days from December 11th – 25th had a high volume of 30% off deals as well. Looking at the chart they provide it looks like Black Friday of 2011 was sitting around 8% of all products had price drops of at least 30%. That means this year for Black Friday 2012 bargains you’re going to find the same kind of situation. We’ve provided a view of this highly detailed chart so you can scope out the best days to buy your heavily discounted toys, appliances and products. The specific statement from Shop Advisor’s PDF pricing sheet says about this period, “Risk-tolerant bargain hunters should wait until the final 14 days before Christmas. If you are willing to wait, or procrastinate, you can count on steep discount in the two weeks before December 25. Last year, every day, starting December 11, at least one in ten toys was available for 30% or more under their original holiday prices. But, delaying can also burn you: almost as many toys saw increases of 30% or more.”

Another myth that I’ve always heard about getting heavily discounted prices on products was to rush out the day after Christmas to get those bargains from retailers that need to sell products they have in stock from their Holiday stock. Well, it seems that the big price plunge that happens to products on shelves that go on clearance or heavy discounts actually happens on December 29th. Obviously at this point stores realize those Tickle Me Elmo’s that are still on the shelves need to be moved out the door to put the stores books in the black.

Our final warning to you if you’re planning on making it out to stores because you saw the Wal-Mart Black Friday Ad, Target Black Friday commercial or know that you want that awesome LED TV from Best Buy’s Black Friday sale is that if you were Santa, you’d be in big trouble. Shop Advisor put it really well when they analyzed 252 toys that Santa could have bought. Their statement about Santa’s predicament was as follows, “Black Friday was among the worst sale days of the 2011 shopping season. In the 54 days from November 1st through December 24th, the day with the fewest products on sale was Black Friday, November 25th, 2011. If Santa had purchased all 252 for his bag on Black Friday, he would have saved $515 compared to the original holiday season prices; but there were 8 other days when he could have saved more than $1,000.” Take it from Santa, Black Friday sales are not all that they are cracked up to be. Good luck this year and may you find the best bargains on store shelves.

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“To the people who pitched tents earlier this week on sidewalks in front of Best Buy stores everywhere: You represent what’s wrong with America.

Thanksgiving was once the perfect holiday. Delectable food. No gift-giving or receiving. Football and old movies on TV. Nothing much to do except enjoy friends and family and reflect on life’s blessings.

Thanks for ruining this blissful day, Best Buy Campers.

How many dinners will be cut short or canceled because employees and herds of shoppers are summoned to the big boxes this evening? Best Buy will open at midnight. Target is opening its doors at 9 p.m. Not to be outdone, Walmart and Sears are opening at 8 p.m.”*

Steve Oh (COO of The Young Turks) and Jimmy Dore (The Jimmy Dore Show) discuss Black Friday and the tradition it has become. Is it a disgusting show of consumerism? Is it good for the economy? Have you been to a Black Friday sale? John Iadarola (TYT University) and Kim Horcher (Geek Speak) chime in on personal experiences.

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Business

Facebook Affirms Decision To Block Marijuana Advertising

No more marijuana ads on Facebook? Facebook in its weekly policy meeting have affirmed previous decision to block contents that attempts to sell and advertise marijuana. Click To Tweet

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Facebook in its weekly policy meeting have affirmed previous decision to block contents that attempts to sell and advertise marijuana.

As Facebook gains a footing in the advertising industry along with Google, the California-based tech corp has finally decided that they will be implementing a universal ban on advertisements that attempt to sell marijuana.

Following an arduous rally of pros and cons and board room deliberations on the matter, the company has finally come up with continuing to block marijuana-related content and advertising on its platform, a decision made Tuesday says.

Roughly 60 policy makers and executive of the company convened at Ireland, Washington D.C., Kenya, Los Angeles and Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park at the company’s weekly product policy meeting, arguing the merits of the policy and the counter policy on whether they should allow direct cannabis sales throughout its platform. At the end of the meeting, the body has agreed that they will keep their anti-cannabis policy in place but also noted that the company would be implementing several changes on the social networking site’s current cannabis content rules.

Selling marijuana is already legal in some states and Canada, and currently, Facebook bans cannabis related content, especially those that attempt to sell, trade, or barter the drug. At present, Facebook, however, allows the advertising of cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis plants. Other allowable contents are posts, pages and non-advertising content touting the sale of cannabis seeds and items such as bongs, rolling papers, vaporizers and accessories that are often found at legal smoke shops.

Facebook rolled out an updated version of their policies on community contents that govern tobacco, drugs, and other regulated products such as guns and CBD. Accessory ad regulations became tighter too.

However, Facebook’s decision to uphold its previous rules and strengthen them dismayed the cannabis industry citing that the universal ban can hamper companies’ ability to reach an audience that is available on the social media platform.

“What is the dream that has been killed?” Rebecca Brown, founder of Crowns Agency, which specializes in cannabis marketing and brand consulting, said over the phone Tuesday. “Everyone needs to build a brand and not just micro brands, but household, name brands. Facebook has reached and scale that competes with traditional broadcast. The bitter pill of this decision was that Facebook could have become an opportunity that could have solved very significant impediments to [cannabis companies] becoming a Coke, a Starbucks, a Walmart,” Brown said.

Journalists from the MarketWatch, who was also present in the meeting said that “Facebook studied three potential changes to its cannabis sales policy, according to presentation slides. One would have allowed users to sell pot directly to one another and buy from recreational and medical pot shops in legal jurisdictions. A second option looked at only buying from brick-and-mortar shops where pot is legal, and a third narrowed sales further still to only those stores involved with medical cannabis.”

Noting the complexity of cannabis legislation from around the globe and the diversity of policies targeted at irresponsible marijuana users, the team highlights that cannabis regulation in each country varies, and it is impossible for them to roll out. “The company also said that, partially because of regulatory uncertainty, it would be “operationally difficult” to implement policies — for example, determining who is a legitimate operator and who is not, across hundreds of jurisdictions.”

As part of the plan, Facebook said it was going to spend more time training content moderators about its cannabis-related policies. “For companies that are focused on creating a brand like we are, that is only accessible to those over the age of 18; Facebook is one of the best ways in the world to only target the audience we want to speak to,” Jake Heimark, chief executive of edibles-maker Plus Products Inc. PLPRF, -1.12% said it.

“It’s a real loss for the whole industry,” he said. “That’s the worst thing about this — Facebook could be a partner. But it’s a global company, and they’re put in a difficult spot.”

“We’re dealing with a regulator that’s trying to fix that plane while they’re flying it,” Michael Elkin, vice president of partnerships and sales at High 12 Brands, said late Tuesday over the phone. “Health Canada has not come out with a specific regulation — we’re still waiting for proper direction. Nothing [would have] changed.”

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Business

Boeing’s Aftermath After Deadly Plane Crashes

Boeing is facing multiple lawsuits following two deadly plane crashes amidst talk on changes with faulty 737 MAX planes. Click To Tweet

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Boeing 737 MAX. Photo From: Boeing.com

Last October, 189 people died on a Lion Air plane crash over the Java Sea, minutes into the flight. Last March, another 157 people killed on an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash while on its way to Nairobi, Kenya. The link between the two plane crashes? Both used Boeing’s new 737 Max 8 planes.

Boeing is ready to take the next step as they move forward from the tragedy that caused the lives of 346 individuals following the malfunctions of their new 737 Max 8 planes. However, the rest of the world share the same sentiments.

People who have lost their loved ones to the deadly plane incidents – airline companies, and the government are all coming after the airplane manufacturer demanding answers, compensation, and even justice for the toll it has caused unto the lives of the people who were left behind.

Boeing’s in a tight spot as their problems are accumulating more profusely during a sensitive time when they just presented the changes that they have started implementing to the FAA in accordance to the identified issues that may have led to the October and March crashes.

Tomorrow the Federal Aviation Authority is set to present updates regarding changes in Boeing’s safety and technical features on their 737 Max 8 plane crafts during an aviation summit in Texas that will involve 57 agencies from 33 countries, including China, France, Germany and the UK, as well as the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

However, their consistent public neglect of the issue cannot just be forgotten as they still have to publicly address the issues revolving around the cause of the unfortunate incidents. Moreover, Boeing must be held accountable for the lives lost and lives affected by the accidents.

A French woman, May 20, filed a U.S. lawsuit against Boeing for the loss of his husband in the Ethiopian Airlines crash along with a dozen or more family members who also lost their loved ones in the crash and about another dozen more from the Lion Air crash.

Nadege Dubois-Seex, the French woman who lost her husband, Jonathan Seex, a Swedish and Kenyan citizen and chief executive of the Tamarind Group of Companies, filed in a U.S. District Court in Chicago and is demanding for compensation from Boeing amounting to $276 million.

“The life of my husband was taken knowingly, and even willingly,” Dubois-Seex said in a press conference. “Boeing acted with cynicism. My husband was the collateral damage of a system, of a business strategy.”

A new system called MCAS was installed in Boeing’s 737 Max as part of the new fuel-efficient plane craft. Reportedly, this was supposed to rival the fuel-efficient plane that Airbus was planning to release.

The complaint alleges Boeing for failing to inform pilots properly about MCAS, which automatically lowered the plane’s nose in order to decrease stalling. However, it caused the plane to dip and ultimately crash because the pilots were unaware of how to handle the situation.

“We have learned that Boeing relied on a single sensor that had been previously flagged in over 200 incident reports submitted to the FAA,” U.S. attorney Nomaan Husain said during a press conference in Paris.

Explaining how he arrived at that sum, Husain added: “In 2018, Boeing grossed $101 billion. When you take that figure and divide it by 365, you arrive at the figure of $276 million.”

“Is one day’s worth of gross receipts by Boeing severe enough to deter future behavior? Or is it one week’s worth of wages, or one month, or one year? That’s going to be for the jury to decide.”

Boeing 737 Max
Photo From: Boeing.com

On the other hand, airline companies from all over the world have also demanded compensation from Boeing after regulators ordered all the 737 Max planes grounded after the second crash.

Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Ryanair and Flydubai have requested compensation but the most notable is the major airline companies from China: Air China, China Southern, and China Eastern.

China has the most number of 737 Max planes in the world. Moreover, in lieu of the circumstance, they were the first to ground the planes as a precaution to passenger safety and welfare.

“China has grounded 96 aircraft, which is about 4 percent of its airplanes. The grounding causes huge losses for Chinese airlines,” China aviation expert Li Xiaojin told Reuters.

Daily losses are likely to be at least 100,000 yuan ($14,469.90) per aircraft for each airline, Li estimated.

“The potential costs are huge too. Slower growth in passenger volume across China’s major airports for March and April was largely due to the grounding of 737 MAX jets, according to my calculations,” Li said.

Moreover, this also comes at a time when US-China relations are at a heated relationship with the on-going trade war and higher tariffs being placed against one another.

It is unclear that Boeing will have its 737 Max planes up in the air for the summer travel peak season but we’re guessing that it would be most unlikely.

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Cryptocurreny

Are Hackers Friends Of Crypto Industry Or Are They Enemies?

Hackers have been paid more than $30,000 for exposing and fixing security issues in crypto companies but at the same time, hackers are also the reason why some of them lose money. Click To Tweet

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Hackers have been paid more than $30,000 for exposing and fixing security issues in crypto companies but at the same time, hackers are also the reason why some of them lose money.
Hackers have been paid by crypto companies to fix bugs. Photo: Christoph Scholz | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

The unregulated universe of cryptocurrencies have found its unlikely allies among hackers in solving systemic problems and fixing bugs, a report reveals.

Crypto companies including crypto exchanges have paid a lump sum of at least $32,150 to different white-hat hackers by fixing the security flaws in popular crypto and blockchain platforms such as TRON, Brave, EOS, and Coinbase.

The data revealed that 15 blockchain and crypto-related firms had made hefty payments as rewards to security researchers between March 28 and May 16. The said rewards were made concerning 30 publicly-released bug reports during the entire duration.

Among all the companies who had the security threats, Omise, the software firm behind cryptocurrency OmiseGo, need the most fixes with six disclosed bugs and security issues. Blockchain-powered prediction market Augur disclosed three reports, as did Brave Software, makers of the Brave browser, which features its own native token.

Crypto and blockchain technology has since been criticized by different financial institutions for being volatile and vulnerable to technology and cyber crimes, making the technology not conducive to become a working technology. It only makes sense that in time when they need help the most, white-hat hackers and security researchers are there to help them – for a price.

According to the study, he payment varies depending on the severity of the bug. They adjust their HackerOne rewards depending on how easy or difficult it is for the white-hat hacker to reolve a security issue. For instance, majority of Omise’s disclosed security flaws were only worth around $100 each, there are other payments that amounted to a lot more, the study suggests.

Both Block.one, the company that owns the EOS “blockchain,” and budding network Aeternity paid one hacker with more than $10,000 for a single issue that the hacker paid. TRON also paid $3,100 to the researcher who realized the network was susceptible to being flooded with malicious smart contracts, something thatcould jeopardize the future of the company.

Most of cryptocurrency companies and blockchain firms, just like other tech-based companies, have set up a reward or bounty system that would pay anyone that can point out any form of security issue in their systems; a bigger reward is also provided to those who can fix them.

While hackers who decided to use their skills to improve the technology stratosphere are increasing in number steadily, they could at any time decide to use their skills to exploit the vulnerabilities they have discovered for bigger take home money.

Just like how last week, cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced that hackers had successfully stolen 7,000 BT (then $40 million, now $55 million) from its own wallets.

Similarly crypto exchange company Cryptopia announced last week that the company is going into liquidation following the attack that lost the company millions of dollars worth of crypto money in January.

According to a blockchain data analytics firm, their investigation allowed them to estimate the loss caused by the cyber attack to be as much as $16 million in ether and ERC-20 tokens. While the company has restarted their trading services in March, no one is still certain of the actual damages that the cyber attacked caused the company. Until now, the company is still recovering from the aftermath of the breach and still having banking issues.

According to the liquidation firm, Grant Thornton, since the damages caused by the hacking was too “severe” and has impacted the company massively in terms of trade, and amidst the effort of its management to regain composure by reducing costs and returning the business to profitability, they have decided that liquidation is the best option for the company and all stakeholders moving forward.

It is still unclear whether or not Cryptopia is running its own bounty program but coincidentally, Binance has a bounty reward of $100,000 for anyone who can solve the mystery of their stolen crypto money, but until now, the perpetrator is still at large and unidentified.

“At Binance, the security of our users is our number one priority. As such, we strive to provide the most secure platform possible. We will evaluate reported security issues based on the security impact to our users and the Binance ecosystem.”

In the end, the question still remains: Are hackers friends of the crypto industry or are they the enemy?

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