Net Neutrality Threatened by Trump Administration

Tom Wheeler, the former chair of the FCC, used his final speech before stepping down to warn businesses and consumers that their choice of cloud services and business applications could be severely limited if the incoming administration strikes down the 2015 open internet order that he and his group put in place. This order positioned the FCC’s net neutrality regulation that prevents Internet Service Providers from slowing or blocking traffic on their networks. This gives all traffic equal opportunity and speed and prevents network favoritism.

Wheeler also showed concern for the Internet of Things, an area of economic growth that is quickly becoming top of mind to many businesses and policy makers in Washington.

“[T]he growth of the internet of things is another area that depends on the open connectivity of those things,” Wheeler said. “If ISPs can decide arbitrarily which IoT device can be connected, or favor their own IoT activity over their competitors, the bright future of IoT dims.” Wheeler continued, “As everything goes into the cloud, the ability to access the cloud free of gatekeepers is essential. If ISPs get to choose which applications and clouds work better than others in terms of access, speed and latency, they will control the cloud future,”.

Wheeler’s position may not be a surprise now but given his past as a lobbyist for the cable and wireless sector his support of net neutrality may come as a shock.

Bill Wilson, a consultant for Broadband Landing, said, “Wheeler may be underplaying the seriousness of the situation. Net Neutrality is the biggest deal that no one really understands. If consumers and small businesses actually realized what the internet would look like after it was bought and sold by large corporations that was be worried. This would be all that was being talked about.”

Wheeler has the same question many businesses do, namely will Trump dismantle a policy that is clearly working? With republicans openly opposed to net neutrality things do seem dire for the policy.

Wheeler’s speech not only acts as a warning to the incoming administration but also clearly attempts to widen the scope of the net neutrality debate as a whole. Consumer impact of the open internet order is almost always the lead in any discussion of net neutrality but here Wheeler’s focus was on the danger to businesses and their increasing use of cloud computing. Interruption or the slowing of these services is a bit more destructive than a video playing slow. Businesses might be required to completely change back office management systems. A company like could have their customer base divided between users that have an ISP that allows their traffic and ISP’s that won’t. Situations of this type could be repeated across many business services. If AT&T buys a firm that provides CMS to sales and marketing groups, it is not unthinkable that they would show preference to this firm over others.

Wheeler specifically calls out Verizon and AT&T for the “zero rating” programs that give some companies free access by not charging customers for the data they use. While this isn’t the feared “Fast Lane” net neutrality has been trying to avoid, it may actually be worse.

Wheeler finished his speech with, “It now falls to a new set of regulators, to a new FCC and to those who advocate before it and the Congress to determine the road that they want to take from here,” Wheeler said. “We are at a fork in that road. One path leads forward and the other leads back to relitigating solutions that are demonstrably working.”

While the fork in the road analogy fits, it’s actually a bit more drastic than Wheeler makes it seem. One road leads forward and the other leads back a decade and then off a cliff into a hole filled with alligators.

How To Spend Less Money On Your New Car

Shopping for new cars in Ft. Walton Beach, FL, and surrounding areas can be fun and exhausting at the same time. You may really enjoy the new car smell and finally having a reliable vehicle to go to work with, but maybe you don’t relish the process of purchasing a new car. Additionally, you probably have to limit how much money you can spend on buying a car, but how can you do that and still buy the one you want?

Make Your Monthly Payment Affordable

Most people get an auto loan to purchase a new car. And while the total purchase price of the car matters to some extent, the amount of your monthly payment has to be affordable for you. Your payment amount is going to depend on the following three factors:
• Total loan amount
• Interest rate
• Term of the loan

In order to lower your monthly payment, you need to reduce the total loan amount or the interest rate. Alternatively, you can extend the terms of the loan—e.g., from 36 months to 48 months. Generally, new cars get better interest rates than used cars to begin with, but you can always shop around to find an even better deal. It’s also easier to extend the terms of the loan with a new car, sometimes up to 72 months or more.

Consider Extras: Need or Want?

Purchasing a new car is sometimes more about the extra features it offers than the vehicle itself. For example, if you drive to different clients every day, then you probably really need an onboard GPS. On the other hand, if you only commute to work and back, then a navigation system is hardly necessary.

You might be surprised to learn that the cost of these extras can add up quickly. If the purchase price is too high, then you might talk to the seller about finding a vehicle with fewer features. You may also want to choose a different model.

In many cases, the upgrades include things that you don’t necessarily even care about. But if you want something like leather seats, then you’ll probably have to spend a little bit more money on your new car.

Buy at the Right Time

Technically, you can buy a new car at any time of the year, but the summer is usually the busy season for car dealerships. This is also when they’ll have more specials and rebates going on. But if you want to save money, then you should walk into a car dealership at the end of the month. All car dealers have monthly quotas to meet, and that’s why you might be offered a better deal at the end of the month than at the beginning.

When you’re buying a new car, you can also take advantage of the fall season when dealerships tend to get in the next year’s models. At this time, you can get a great deal on either the current year’s model (because they want to get rid of their inventory) or preorder the next year’s model for a great price.

Shop Around

To some extent, you can save money by shopping around. Different sellers will offer different deals at any given time. This means one dealership might be cheaper today, but a dealership next door could offer a better deal tomorrow.

If you’re not a in a hurry, then you can definitely lower your purchase price by shopping around for new cars in Ft. Walton Beach, FL, and surrounding areas. Once you know what the car you want generally sells for, you’ll be able to recognize when a good deal is being offered to you and take advantage of it.

How To Touch Up Paint Scratches On Your Car

Having a scratched up car can make it look older than it really is. However, with just a few supplies from Gofer Auto, Inc. and a little skill, your car can look new and shiny once again. As you may suppose, touching up a paint job on a car isn’t like whitewashing a fence. The types of materials, paints, and techniques you use are completely different. Here’s a quick course on how to touch up paint on your vehicle.

Buy the Paint
You can find touch-up paint easily online, but don’t pick the color by guessing. Because of the variety of shades that look very similar before they’re on your vehicle, it’s easy to get it a shade or two wrong. Look at the bulkhead or firewall of your vehicle to find the paint number. The paint number indicates the color of the car’s paint. Also, buy primer unless the paint indicates not to.

Prepare the Area
First, look to see that the area has no rust. Rust will continue to spread even after paint has been applied, so you’ll want to remove even small spots of rust before painting. Next, lightly sand the scratched spot so that the primer will adhere correctly. Wash the area and allow it to dry completely. Next, apply primer. This will protect against rust and fills any small holes and gaps. Keep primer off the original paint. If the scratch is small, apply primer with a small matchstick or Q-tip. If you get primer on the original paint, wipe it off immediately.

Apply the Paint
Mix up the paint that you purchased from Gofer Auto Inc. If the area is very small, you can use a small tool to apply the paint. You don’t want to cover more area than you have to because the paint may not match exactly unless your vehicle is fairly new. Give the paint several days to dry.

I Can See Clearly Now: Cleaning Your Auto Glass

The glass on your vehicle, like your windows and windshield, is very important to keep clean. If it is dingy or has streaks, it will be difficult to see clearly and may even be impossible to see the road in front of you when the sun is at its peak or during a snowstorm. Here are some handy tips for maintaining your auto glass in Centennial, CO, to make sure it is always clean and clear and that you can always see the road easily.

Wash the Glass Last

No matter the weather, you should plan to have your car detailed by a professional or detail it yourself regularly. Whether you have a professional do it or you decide to do it yourself, make sure that you are cleaning the glass last. The reason why glass needs to be the last thing you pay attention to is that you will probably drip on your windows or windshield while you are working on cleaning the rest of the car, and you want your auto glass to be cleaned last so you can avoid re-contamination from the other processes. When you are washing your car and your auto glass, roll down the windows halfway so that you can clean the top edges of the glass.

Keep It Out of the Sun

It seems that everyone is out washing their cars in the middle of the day during the summer as a way to beat the heat. However, when washing your car, it is actually best to wash it in the shade or under cover in a garage or self-wash facility, so that the sun does not evaporate the water and glass cleaner you are using too quickly and leave residue on your auto glass. This will also save you a lot of time because you will not have to wash your glass multiple times to remove streaks and residue that formed when the sun dried up the glass cleaner.

Pay Special Attention to Your Windshield

When you are in a hurry but still need a good job done on your car wash, make sure that you still spend enough time washing your windshield, even if you have to skimp on some of the other areas of your car. It is most important that you have a clean windshield because you will depend on this piece of auto glass the most as you are driving. Use a microfiber towel and a specialized auto glass cleaner to clean your auto glass, taking care to read the ingredients on any product you use. You should never use ammonia-based cleaners on your auto glass, as ammonia erodes your window tint and can reduce the integrity of the rubber seals around your windows as well. Plan some extra time to make sure your windshield is cleaned properly. You may have to use more than one cleaner to get stubborn streaks off your windshield, particularly if you have not cleaned it in a while.

Do Not Forget to Dry

One of the steps that is essential in the car washing process is drying the car and the auto glass after you are done. If you leave your car to air dry, you are more likely to have unsightly spots and residue stay on after the fact. Dry it off with a dry microfiber towel to ensure that water from the top of the car does not roll down and leave streaks on your windows. After drying your car and your auto glass, be sure to apply a wax sealant so that your car and your auto glass in Centennial, CO, stays cleaner longer.

Beware of Professional Sports Teams’ Party Buses

Win or lose, professional athletes need to blow off steam. Whether they’ve played in the Stanley Cup finals, the World Series, the Super Bowl, PGA tours or NBA finals, there’s no shortage of professional athletes looking for women to indulge them on party buses after the game. And we don’t mean in long term monogamous relationships. These professional athletes may be rich and famous, but it doesn’t mean they’ll carry a healthy stash of condoms. They may be carrying something else.

We’re not saying all professional athletes drive around cities across America in party buses, preying on attractive women. But some do and it’s up to you to protect your sexual health. Of course getting drunk is a prerequisite for boarding many of these party buses. How else would any sane woman be lured into doing so? So the first and easiest way to protect your sexual health is to avoid excessive drinking so you can think clearly and make better decisions – like avoiding the party bus altogether. Carrying condoms in your purse is a good defense for those occasions when you decide that having sex with a professional athlete, whose sexual history includes hundreds of women from cities across America, is a good idea. Incidentally, this is not a good idea. This professional athlete couldn’t possibly know the sexual histories of all those women. So you are sleeping with them too, exposed to any STD he may have contracted from any one of them. But he said he was STD free. If only you could trust him. The trouble is many STDs are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t show any signs or symptoms. So your dreamy professional athlete could have an STD and not even know it. This is why STDs are spread so easily.

When you don’t think you have an STD, you don’t treat it. This can have damaging and sometimes deadly consequences. If left untreated, STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause infertility, HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) can cause anal and cervical cancers and advanced syphilis can cause damage to the brain, heart and other organs. Contracting genital herpes is a life sentence. The infected person will have the virus for the rest of their lives, unable to predict when they’ll have another outbreak and unable to guarantee their partners won’t get infected. Today contracting HIV/AIDs is still fatal.

Sadly, many single women and professional athletes across America are reluctant to get anonymous STD testing because they don’t have a primary physician, they are afraid of an embarrassing doctor’s office visit, they don’t have health insurance or they don’t want STD test results submitted to their health insurance company, especially if infidelity is involved. With anonymous STD testing, STD tests are conducted in a lab so you can avoid an embarrassing doctor’s office visit. By paying for anonymous STD testing with a pre-paid credit card your test results aren’t submitted to your health insurance company. With anonymous STD testing your test results are only shared with you.

If you’ve partied with professional athletes in a party bus and had unprotected sex, anonymous STD testing is the only way you can know your STD status so you can get the treatment you need and further prevent the spread of STDs. Don’t wait. Get tested.

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A Night Out With a Party Bus Rental

Looking for an unforgettable night for you and your friends? Go out for a night on the town and rent a party bus. Avoid driving while drinking with a better alternative that will give everyone you know a night to remember. With your destination in mind, get ready for the ride of you and your friends lives. Party bus rentals are a better choice than limos and a lot more fun.

No need for a designated driver. When you and your friends will be drinking adult beverages, there is no safer way to get around. Bar hopping may be a fun time but it is also dangerous. Bus transportation will make the experience better and a lot less stressful. When you have somewhere specific to be there’s no safer and more enjoyable way to get you and your loved ones there on time. Party buses are suitable for any occasion: bar hopping, parties with family, weddings, bachelor and bachelorette parties, going out with co-workers, graduations.

If you’re working a lot and feel like everyday is a repeat, you need to mix it up a little. Book a road trip with a group of friends on a bus party rental. Arrive in style at a destination of your choice. With the ability to go where you want with who you want and do what you want, work won’t be on your mind. By doing this, you will feel completely re-energized. Your next day of work will be with a new perspective and the energy to give it your all.

Depending on what company you go with, party buses have a lot more onboard while you’re traveling. Some come with an on bus bar and air conditioning. Depending on how much money you want to spend, many companies offer a dance floor and live DJ on board the bus.

Travel safely and in style with a party bus rental. Wherever you’re going, getting a party bus will be a decision that you and your friends will remember for a lifetime. Nobody will ever miss a party that you’re involved in again. For a little extra money then limos, you can make it that much more memorable. Party buses are available in any state and anywhere in North America.

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Fighting the insider threat

In the past, security efforts were largely focused on preventing cyber criminals from gaining access to the company network. Today, although this threat continues to be a real danger, there has been a growing focus on the threats posed by insiders. Company employees that have access to critical information and either maliciously or carelessly leak that data.
Businesses rely more and more on automated systems, and small USB drives, and these have paved the way for malicious insiders to inflict huge damage, and exfiltrate company data without anyone being the wiser.

It can happen to anyone

Moreover, insider attacks can be at least as devastating as external threats, and they can happen to anyone. These threats usually fall into one of the three categories: sabotage, theft of intellectual property or other sensitive data, and fraud.

These threats are particularly prevalent during tough economic times, during which organisations are forced to make cutbacks and retrench staff. This leads to a rise in the number of people who would consider stealing valuable data, and therefore a rise in malicious insider activity.

So what should IT be doing to prevent this sort of threat? The first step is knowing what your businesses’ most valuable data is, the data that would damage the company the most should it be stolen – think along the lines of the recipe for KFC’s eleven herbs and spices – and make sure security is focussed on that data.

Also, learn from any past attacks, as these will have shown where you are vulnerable, and what you were doing wrong. Understanding the weak points in your organisation will help the technical team put controls in place to watch for similar attacks in the future.

It is also important to understand who has access to your sensitive information. Remember, this list will include third-party business partners as well as internal employees. Make sure that only trusted parties have access, and that no-one has access to anything they don’t strictly need to do their jobs. Always enforce the principle of least privilege.

Eyes open

Next, keep an eye out for any anomalous or suspicious behaviour. The signs are numerous, and will include working unusual hours for no reason, unnecessarily copying data they don’t need, disregarding company policies about installing unauthorised software or applications, and trying to access restricted areas on the company network.

Be particularly vigilant when it comes to staff who have resigned or are about to be terminated. Research suggests there is a window during which most insider attacks take place, and that is within 30 days of handing in a resignation, on either side.

Another way to stop the insider threat is to have data leakage prevention (DLP) and other technologies that focus on preventing the leakage, accidental or deliberate of company data. An example of this would be centralised logging tools that are designed to look for any signs that data is being exfiltrated, or emails sent outside the organisation that are of an abnormal file size.

Perhaps the most vital measure businesses can introduce is to have a programme in place to deal with the threat. Get senior managers involved, put best-practices and plans in place to deal with and mitigate these threats. Technology on its own cannot hope to block all these attacks. A combination of proper policies and procedures with awareness and having an action plan already in place, allows companies to quickly prevent or these attacks.

Vans walks home with major SIMA 2015 awards

The Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) Image Awards show Thursday, 12 February 2015, was one of the most exciting in years with several awards streaks broken, different brands winning in major categories and a touching tribute to the industry’s longest-serving retailers.
Vans walks home with major SIMA 2015 awardsSome big winners included Volcom, which ended a major Image Award dry spell with two victories in important award categories: Boardshort of the Year and Women’s Apparel Brand of the Year.

Both boardshorts and women’s are major focuses of Volcom, and their concentration in those areas appears to be paying off. Though Volcom usually receives multiple nominations each year, it had not won an Image Award since 2007.

Vans also had a huge night, winning Footwear Product of the Year for its Surf Siders, making it the fourth consecutive year Vans has taken this category. In somewhat of an upset, the company also won Men’s Apparel Brand of Year, signalling the brand’s clothing is gaining acceptance and share in the core market. Patagonia also won two awards with only a single product, the Yulex Nexkin Wetsuit, in the categories of Wetsuit of the Year and Environmental Product of the Year.

Beach Riot scored a major coup by winning Women’s Swim Brand of the Year, unseating reigning champion L*Space, which won the award seven years in a row. Beach Riot becomes the only brand besides L*Space to win the award since SIMA introduced the swim category.

One brand that kept its winning streak alive is Channel Islands, which won again for Surfboard of the Year. That is the seventh straight win for Channel Islands, which always brings a large crew down on a party bus from Santa Barbara for the awards.

Roark Revival scored another big win by taking home the coveted Men’s Marketing Campaign of the Year award for the second consecutive year. Roark beat out other, more established brands with bigger budgets with its creative “Rocketship to Reykjavik” campaign. Rip Curl, nominated for six awards, won the first award of the night for its “My Bikini” Women’s Marketing Campaign. Rip Curl swim and women’s apparel have been gaining traction at retail.

Socks juggernaut Stance won for Accessory Product of the Year for its socks, the second year in a row it has taken home the award in this category. FCS also has a streak going, and won for the second year in a row in the Hardgoods Accessory Product of the Year category. This year the brand won for its FCSII Essential Series Fin Collection.

Lastly, Vissla, nominated for five awards, won the much-watched Breakout Brand of the Year award, for its noteworthy market debut last year.

SIMA added a new feature to the awards this year by honouring 20 retailers that have been in business for at least 50 years with the Surf Shop Golden Wave Award. Established in 2003, the SIMA Image Awards is the only awards program that gives SIMA members and surf specialty retailers the opportunity to recognise fellow surf industry companies for their outstanding contributions to the surf industry.

Clicks Group: Fresh scent of cash

Summing up the key to Clicks’ resilience, the health and personal care group’s CE, David Kneale, says: “In good and bad times, people always want to look and feel good.”
David Kneale.
Photographer: Trevor Samson
Image source:
David Kneale.
Photographer: Trevor Samson
Image source: Financial Mail
Clicks’ cash-only drugstore model has proved itself to be more than just resilient. It has enabled the group to produce the retail sector’s highest return on equity – 53,7% in its year to August – and cash flow beyond its expansion funding needs.

Reflecting its cash generation power, Clicks has returned R3,3bn to shareholders over the past five years by way of dividends and share buy-backs. Put in perspective, this exceeded by far Clicks’ shareholders’ funds of R2bn at the end of its latest reporting period.

Clicks’ consistent growth, high return on equity and cash flow have earned it a super rating. And investors are still paying up.

After the release of its annual results to August – which saw headline EPS rise by 14% and its final dividend by 23,7% – investors scrambled to buy, boosting the share price by 10% to a new high and its p:e to 27.

Investors clearly liked what they saw, not least the core Clicks chain’s ability to sustain market share gains across all its key product categories: prescription pharmaceuticals, skin care, hair care, health care and baby products.

The Clicks chain is fighting for market-share gains through price promotions (accounting for almost a third of its sales). Countering this pressure on margins are rising sales of private label products and exclusive brands.

“They made up 25,7% of our front shop sales,” says Kneale. It is a level to which most SA non-fashion retailers can only aspire.

Unlike many other retailers now growing trading space at the cost of sales of existing stores, Clicks has scope to expand store numbers into untapped locations. From its existing 486 Clicks store base, the retailer plans to add some 25 new stores annually.

“Our goal is to have 600 stores and a pharmacy in every store,” says Kneale.

It now has 361 pharmacies and will add as many as 35 in the new financial year.

It is a tall order in a market in which pharmacists are in short supply. Kneale believes Clicks has the solution. “We are building our graduate pharmacist pipeline through a bursary scheme and training pharmacy assistants at our academy,” he says. “We are starting to see the benefits of these initiatives.”

The group is not limited to Clicks stores to grow its retail footprint. In its armoury are three brands under exclusive franchise agreements with major international groups.

First aboard was Body Shop in 2001, a franchise that has grown to 50 stores and has a presence in 86 Clicks stores.

In 2013 Clicks filled a gap in its product lineup through a new franchise agreement with GNC, the largest health supplement group in the US. With four GNC stores already in place and a presence in 257 Clicks stores, Kneale says: “We are pleased with the rate of sales growth.”

In its latest move, Clicks opened the first Claire’s store in July. Focused on fashion jewellery and accessories for the younger generation, the franchise comes with the backing of US group Claire’s, which operates more than 3,000 corporate and franchise stores in 46 countries.

Also powering ahead is Clicks’ UPD pharmaceutical distribution business, which brings in annual revenue of R8,6bn. “In the past five years we grew revenue at 25%/year and doubled operating profit,” says Kneale.

Importantly, UPD’s third-party business is growing fast, rising 35% in the latest financial year to 51% of total revenue. “We are operating at 70% capacity utilisation,” says Kneale. “It leaves a lot of scope for further growth.”

Clicks is an impressive company and, from a business execution perspective, is low-risk. However, there is risk in its heady rating. One profit growth slip and its share price could face harsh punishment.

Party Bus Service For Your Special Event In Chicago

Party buses are fitted with all required equipment, to cater to each and every person’s needs during an outing. They come fitted with features like leather seating, bar, big screen TV, IPod plugs, CD and DVD players, dancing poles and stereo systems. These features will make every moment in the bus unpredictable and fun on your special occasion.

Chicago is one of the most vibrant and entertaining places in America. It offers endless activities for locals and tourists both during the day and night. In the evenings the bars and clubs are thronged by people looking to enjoy themselves. There are parties everywhere and everyone is having a good time. To make any occasion memorable with friends and loved ones, you need reliable transportation.

One great option is a party bus, which is designed to make every moment exotic and comfortable. When you think about fun or a party, these buses are designed for those very occasions. They are designed to accommodate about 18-40 passengers, meaning you do not have to worry about numbers. You can invite all you friends and still enjoy the night together.

Party buses have attractive equipment and luxury features for your comfort and entertainment. Features like a big screen TV, stereo systems, IPod plugs, leather seating, bar, CD and DVD players, and even dancing poles, are a few of these. To make the buses more entertaining, there are coolers filled with drinks, a dance floor and lasers.
In case you need more gear or features, you are free to inquire from party bus companies. With these buses, you can be a charming host for gatherings at various bars around town or clubs of your choice. The most exciting thing about party buses is you get to decide what will happen for the night to become memorable. There is total privacy and no gate-crashers!

Party bus companies do not discriminate on any occasion. You can hold bachelor parties, birthday parties, prom or friends’ party. Even corporate bodies can hire these buses for outdoor occasions. There are big buses to accommodate big groups and meet corporate level needs. Meaning, you can hire these buses even during the day and it doesn’t have to be a party or an entertainment event. Your choice of bus service provider will depend on your needs, but you must do enough research before you chose a travel company; the success of your event will depend on the bus company you choose.

In the specially tailored party buses you will be transported into a dream. Hiring one of these superb transportation options will leave you free to enjoy the spectacular views of the city and join the excited chatter of your friends, family or colleagues. It is a sure-shot recipe for making your party truly rock!

The author of this article is a repeat client of Emperor Limousine, the best limousine service and party bus service for weddings, parties, special occasions and other events. The writer has utilized Emperor Limousine buses for corporate events.