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You don’t expect to hear shocking news coming out of the annual Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. Sure, the biggest names in technology put in regular appearances at the conference—the CEOs of Apple and Yahoo among them, this year—but no one ever says anything close to controversial. You don’t want to rile the investors, after all.
Microsoft CFO Peter Klein didn’t get the memo.
Amid talk about the company’s plans to transition Windows’ desktop success to tablets and smartphones, he was asked what the company’s “Plan B” is if the gambit failed. It’s a perfectly reasonable query when you consider the difficulties Microsoft has encountered with both Windows 8 and the mobile arena thus far. Klein’s response gave me pause.
“It’s less ‘Plan B’ than how you execute on the current plan,” Reuters reports him as saying. “We aim to evolve this generation of Windows to make sure we have the right set of experiences at the right price points for all customers.”
Wait, what? No Plan B? I’m a reporter, not a corporate executive, but “no Plan B” doesn’t exactly seem like a sound business strategy to me. So I decided to check in with a few experts for a reality check. Their replies were illuminating in more ways than one.Calling shenanigans on “no Plan B”
After Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8 is already a semi-Plan B (or C?) for Microsoft.
“They undoubtedly have a Plan B,” says Patrick Moorhead, the principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. Prior to his current role, Moorhead spent more than two decades in various strategy and product management roles within the industry, including an 11 year stint as the VP of Strategy at AMD. “All large companies do, or their strategy team should be shot. It’s typically around acquisitions and pivots… basically, saying ‘OK, I missed out on this, but what is the next big wave that I can get ahead of and own?’”
Rita McGrath, professor of business strategy at Columbia Business School, agrees that Microsoft has a Plan B pivot or two hidden up its sleeve—though the company may not realize it.
“Even if Microsoft doesn’t consciously know there’s a Plan B, they’re such a resource rich and diverse company—and decision-making is pushed down to such a low level there—that if things really go wrong for them, and they go rooting around in the closet, they’re bound to find a Plan B, something waiting in the wings,” she says. “My guess is that there’s stuff going on in the company that would be a de facto Plan B, even if it’s not part of the strategy plan.”
“If what’s meant by ‘There’s no Plan B’—meaning, are you going to scrap this and adopt a completely new model and adopt something else in this section of your enterprise?—then, no, I don’t think they’re going to. And I don’t think the [current Windows] model is wrong,” she says.Why a Plan B is needed
The Surface Pro tablet is the paragon of Microsoft’s device-spanning focus.
“I think the model makes sense,” Matwyshyn says. “To create a contiguous user experience across all devices—that’s the future. The user on the go wants to grab email on whatever device is convenient, or log in to various apps regardless of the physical situation.”
“I do think it’s very high risk,” McGrath says. “If you look at the psychology of adoption, a large part of Microsoft’s stickiness with its customers has been, ‘OK, maybe we’re not raving fans, and there’s things we don’t like about this software, and it’s buggy and whatnot, but I just spent 18 months learning to use it and I don’t want to switch to something else with a heavy duty learning curve.’
One UI to rule them all: High risk, potentially high reward.
Along those lines, Microsoft’s cross-platform vision has hit some major bumps early on. Windows Phone 8 still holds less market share than BlackBerry, an operating system that many analysts have on a death watch. Comments from analysts, retailers, and manufacturers alike suggest that Windows 8 PCs aren’t selling very well, either, and the NPD research group said that Windows tablets accounted for less than 1 percent of all Windows 8 device sales after their first month on the market.
Several manufacturers have already put plans for Windows RT tablets on hold. The ‘No Plan B’ declaration was almost certainly targeted at Microsoft’s partners, to allay fears concerning the sea changes inherent in the new all-encompassing Windows vision.
“The primary reason Klein would say that is to provide confidence to everybody involved in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 that they will keep their commitment to the platforms,” says Moorhead. In essence: The road may be bumpy, but Microsoft won’t pull the rug out from underneath the feet of its manufacturing partners.Playing the long game
It remains to be seen whether the great cross-platform Windows experiment pays off more for Microsoft, or for Apple and Android. We won’t know where the chips will fall for a long time. We do know, however, that Qualcomm is “near-term cautious” yet “long-term bullish” about Windows 8 and Windows RT, echoing the Microsoft line.
“Windows 8 represents really a generational shift of hardware—a generational shift of the operating system and apps, all together, all at once,” Windows honcho Tami Reller said at the Credit Suisse Technology Conference back in November. “It was built for the future, not just any one single selling season.”
That being said, if Microsoft’s new-look Windows stumbles down the stretch and the company truly doesn’t have a Plan B in place, well, let’s just say history hasn’t been kind to similar high-stakes gambles.
“Remember Palm?” Columbia’s McGrath asked me with a laugh. “They went for a ‘No Plan B,’ and maybe it really would have been better to have one.”
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What is a Working Capital?
Working capital is the fuel for running businesses the companies. It may be stated that maintaining an adjusted amount of working capital is the first and foremost aim of business organizations. While having too much working capital is bad, an inadequate amount of working capital can create problems in running the businesses smoothly as well.
While having too much working capital is bad, having too low working capital is also a sign of weakness of a business firm. In order to keep the business running on a smooth path, the firm must maintain a healthy amount of working capital.Risks of Having Inadequate Working Capital
Some of the risks of having inadequate working capital are as listed below.
Stagnation of growth
An inadequate amount of working capital stagnates the growth prospects of an organization. As the company cannot invest in profitable ventures with an adequate amount of working capital, its prosperity, and growth if affected. Firms that have inadequate working capital find it difficult to undertake profitable projects which affect their revenues and profitability directly. That is why having enough working capital to meet the needs of the business is necessary.
Difficulty in Meeting Targets
Firms with inadequate working capital find it difficult to meet business targets due to a lack of funds. Firms that have inadequate working capital may have to face a shortage of funds when they actually need it. Therefore, they may miss the targets of growth in business. Maintaining a solid amount of working capital is, therefore, necessary to meet business targets.
Businesses may fail to meet the day-to-day needs for tuning the businesses when they have an inadequate amount of working capital. This may lead to operating inefficiency. When there is no fund to meet the general expenses of a firm, the firm may find it tough to meet the expenses that are needed for smooth operations.
This may derail the firm from the path of smooth business as they may have to resort to loans from time to time. An extreme lack of working capital may even halt the business operation leading to losses and bankruptcy at the extreme.
Deterioration of Profitability
In the case of a lack of working capital, fixed assets of a firm may not be properly utilized. This may result in a lack of profitability. To stay competitive and profit from its operations, a firm must use its fixed assets.
However, if there is a shortage of working capital, the firms may not be efficient in utilizing the fixed assets. This hampers the quality of operations, leading to losses and hampering the overall profitability of an organization.
Missing Attractive Opportunities
Having low working capital renders a firm miss profitable opportunities, such as credit opportunities. As the firm struggles to meet its targets, it cannot look for attractive options and had to focus on increasing the working capital funds.
Therefore, having low working capital can strike the business where it can benefit from opportunities that may be profitable for them.
Loss of Reputation
A firm lacking in working capital cannot maintain a good financial reputation as it cannot manage its business as the lenders want. Therefore, it may have to face tougher credit restrictions. Loss of reputation also lands it in trouble while raising funds for operation. So, it falls into a vicious cycle where it is in trouble from all angles.Conclusion
For a business firm, it is ideal to have a proper amount of working capital all the time. It is the duty of management to judge the right amount of working capital for running the organization and keep the adequate amount of working capital available for the firm to stay competitive in the business operations.
SAN FRANCISCO. When it comes to the cloud, transparency and control are the keys to security. That’s the message coming from Scott Charney, Corporate Vice-President of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing, during a keynote at the RSA security conference here.
“As people move to the cloud, how much transparency do they get into what is going on?” Charney remarked during his keynote.Cloud Storage and Backup Benefits
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Charney said that in 2004 Microsoft started to implement its security software development lifecycle. The basic ideas was to have security in design, security by default and security in deployment. Charney said that Microsoft changed the way it updated systems and went to a regular patching cycle that aimed to help improve things.
One of the things that has changed since 2004 is that cyber attacks have become increasingly destructive. Charney said that in the past when data was stolen it didn’t always have an immediate impact.
“Destructive attacks like Sony are now happening and changing the conversation,” Charney said.
Charney noted that destructive attacks stop users from doing their daily business and he said that recent destructive cyber-attacks have changed the conversation in executive boardrooms.
Looking at the cloud, Charney said that there is a different type of risk with the cloud.
“As a cloud builder you love your customers, but some of your customers may be up to no good,” Charney said. “Organized crime and other bad actors can subscribe to a cloud service, so how do you protect the fabric from malicious VMs.”
Charney noted that it’s a complex challenge where organizations want to use cloud, but still be protected from the cloud since the good guys and bad guys all share the same cloud. Fundamentally, Charney said that the challenge is about risk mitigation, not risk elimination.
From a product perspective, Charney noted that Windows 10 will have the Windows Hello and Passport capabilities, which bring new biometric authentication capabilities to the desktop and secure user credentials. Microsoft is also introducing Device Guard, which is a technology to make sure only trusted apps run on a system.
“None of this is a panacea, we just want to narrow the attack surface, so you can be more intelligent about what you look for,” Charney said.
Specifically in the cloud, Microsoft Azure Key Vault will provide a cloud hosted hardware security module, and the customer lockbox for Office 365 provides enhanced customer approvals to protect user credentials. Additionally Microsoft is implementing best policies for Just in Time Administration so authorized individuals only get administrative access in a time-bounded way when needed, and will only get the access they need.
Charney said that destructive attacks have woken the market up.
“The cloud is the key, but there must be technically enforced trust boundaries with appropriate customer control and transparency,” Charney said.
Microsoft’s Scott Charney (Photo credit: Sean Michael Kerner)
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Datamation and chúng tôi Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist
Graphic courtesy of Shutterstock.
The Dell Vostro 460 is a speedy business desktop equipped with Intel’s recently launched Sandy Bridge processor. It starts at $529 (as of March 10, 2011), but our review configuration–which came with a 21.5-inch widescreen monitor–is priced at $1393 ($1163 sans monitor). The system we reviewed packs a decent feature set, including an Intel Core i7-2600 processor, 4GB of RAM (upgradable to 16GB), and Windows 7 Professional 64-bit.
The rear of the machine offers an additional five USB ports (four USB and one USB 3.0), an eSATA port, an S/PDIF-out, gigabit ethernet, 7.1 surround sound, a VGA connector, and an HDMI connector. That’s right: This desktop has no discrete graphics card, and Dell is relying on the Sandy Bridge processor’s improved integrated graphics to hold the fort.
The keyboard and mouse are simple and match the chassis; both peripherals are, unfortunately, wired (USB). The flat keyboard features matte-black keys that offer good feedback. Since the keys are smooth, typing quickly is a little difficult if you’re unaccustomed to the shape; the keys are widely spaced, however, making typing errors a little less likely. The two-button mouse is smooth, rounded, and comfortable to use, though it did feel somewhat small to me (and I have small hands).
Our test model came with a 21.5-inch widescreen monitor. As displays go it’s fairly matte, with a 1920-by-1080-pixel resolution and good contrast. Its off-axis angles are not very good for a matte screen, but at least it doesn’t throw reflections back at you. The display is a little too wide for my taste (note that this monitor is nearly twice as long as it is high), but that’s a matter of personal preference. The monitor has a black, squared-off bezel with sharp corners, and lacks a Webcam. Five small buttons–a power button plus four context-sensitive soft keys to adjust the monitor’s settings–sit along the lower-right side.
As for performance, the Vostro 460 does well for its category. It earned a WorldBench 6 score of 156, which puts it just above our second-best performer, the Maingear F131 (with a mark of 152). It’s still pretty far behind our top performer in the mainstream-PC category, the MicroFlex 25B, which received a WorldBench 6 score of 188.
Although the Vostro 460’s Intel i7-2600 CPU does its job in terms of general performance, graphics performance is another story. The Vostro 460 doesn’t come with a discrete graphics card, relying instead on the Core i7-2600’s integrated graphics. In our Unreal Tournament 3 graphics performance tests, the Vostro 460 managed to eke out only an unplayable 14.8 frames per second at a resolution of 2560 by 1600 pixels with high quality settings. It wasn’t until we scaled the resolution down to 1024 by 768 that we got a reasonably playable frame rate of 37 fps (on high quality settings).
Gaming isn’t likely to be high on a small business’s list of priorities anyway, so feel free to ignore those results if you’re just looking for a number-cruncher. If you’d like to toss your own discrete graphics card into the Vostro 460, however, you can: Just unscrew the left side of the chassis, and you’re in. The interior of the Vostro 460 is a tad messy, but workable. Though wires are held together with twist ties and haphazardly scattered about, the case has enough room for upgrading. The chassis sports two 5.25-inch bays (one free), two 3.5-inch bays (one free), three PCIe x1 slots (two free), and one PCI slot. So although you won’t be able to transform this PC into a dual-graphics-card gaming rig, you have sufficient space to install an extra card, and perhaps another hard drive if you’re up for it.
Ketosis is a condition in which the ketone levels of the body rise. These ketones are derived from fats. The body uses the ketones as a source of energy in replacement to glucose. The condition of ketosis develops when a person is following a very low-carb diet. Some studies show that ketosis can improve blood sugar levels and keep the body away from disorders such as seizures. However, the keto diet is not suitable for everyone.
Doctors recommend ketosis for wight loss management, or for the treatment of chronic illnesses. The keto diet can produce side-effects because of the nutrient-deficiencies it puts the body into. In this tutorial, we will discuss the impact of keto diet on health conditions, called ketosis.What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. It occurs when the body does not have enough carbohydrates available to burn for energy release which results in the breakdown of stored fat into molecules called ketones. These ketones can be used as an alternative energy source.Symptoms of Ketosis
A lot of people who follow a ketogenic diet and want to track their progress can keep a check on the following symptoms −
Bad Breath − People following a ketogenic diet can notice bad breath as a key symptom. This condition occurs due to the accumulation of a ketone called acetone.
Nausea − People with a ketogenic diet plan may experience frequent nausea, stomach cramps, bloating, and discomfort. This is because the body is adjusting to the new way of processing fats for energy instead of carbohydrates.
Brain Fog − Individuals following ketogenic diet plans have reported instances of brain fog and confusion.
Weight Loss − One of the key reasons for starting a keto diet in the first place is to lose weight. In ketosis, the body loses weight considerably.
Increased Thirst and Dry Mouth − Another frequently reported symptom of following a ketogenic diet is increased thirst and mouth dryness. When the body is in the state of ketosis, it produces ketones, which can make the blood more acidic. The kidneys work to remove excess ketones from the blood, which can lead to an increase in urine production and dehydration. This, in turn, can cause increased thirst.
Constipation − As the body gets used to digesting more fats than carbs, people following a ketogenic diet may experience dehydration and constipation. Constipation is one of the major symptoms of ketosis.
Insomnia − People with a ketogenic diet plan have also reported sleeping disorders like insomnia.
It’s important to note that not everyone will experience all of these symptoms because these symptoms are based on the studies and data collected by researchers across the world.Benefits of Ketosis
Some research also suggests that a ketogenic diet may be beneficial for certain neurological conditions, such as epilepsy, and may have anti-inflammatory effects. However, it is important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and risks of following a ketogenic diet. Here is a list of benefits of ketosis.Improves Neurological Disorders
Ketosis can contribute towards the treatment of neurological disorders like epilepsy. Epilepsy is a condition in which the patient suffers recurring seizures. Although medication is available for the treatment of epilepsy, in case, there is medical management failure, a ketogenic diet can help manage the problem. According to multiple studies, individuals following a ketogenic diet had reported a significant dip in the frequency of seizure accidents.Weight Loss
Ketogenic diet has gained popularity because of its weight loss aspect. Many celebrities and icons have opted for the trend of following this diet and using it as a fitness tool. When the body is in ketosis, it begins to break down stored fat into molecules called ketones, which can be used as an energy source. The absence of carbohydrates in the diet can lead to decreased insulin levels and a decrease in water weight.
Additionally, because the body is using fat for fuel, it may begin to break down fat stores, leading to weight loss. However, it’s important to note that weight loss on a ketogenic diet may not be as significant as weight loss on a calorie-restricted, low-fat diet. The weight loss on a ketogenic diet may be mostly due to water loss, which can be regained once an individual returns to a diet containing carbohydrates.Conclusion
Before we conclude, let us consider understanding the risks and other aspects that one may have to encounter while following a ketogenic diet. A ketogenic diet can undoubtedly produce outstanding results but the side effects of this dietary plan might make our dieting endeavour potentially risky. The short-term sideeffects are −
A ketogenic diet can be low in certain essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. It is important to ensure that these deficiencies are adequately addressed through nutrient-dense foods or supplements. Kidney stones are also one potential risk that can be caused due to ketosis. Those who have a history of kidney stones should consult a healthcare professional before starting a ketogenic diet.
Ketosis can also impact the liver. A high concentration of fat is never a piece of good news for the liver and it can cause serious damage and complications to the body.
In a recent podcast episode with Lex Fridman, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared his vision for integrating AI into Meta’s products, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and the Metaverse.
Zuckerberg, notably, envisions a future where AI isn’t a singular product but a practical tool integrated across the board.
The company’s LLaMA language model is one of the major AI technologies under development.
In addition to LLaMA, Meta plans to deploy various large language models (LLMs) fine-tuned to different needs and businesses.Zuckerberg’s Vision For AI
Zuckerberg’s concept of AI customization departs from the “one-size-fits-all” approach, favoring personalized AI experiences.
“We don’t think there will be the one true thing. We think there should be a lot of development,” Zuckerberg said during the podcast.
He emphasized the importance of community-oriented, democratic product development, setting the stage for an array of AI tools to enhance every product in Meta’s portfolio.Reimagining Advertising With AI
Zuckerberg envisions an AI that creates ad units based on simple user inputs.
Advertisers can state their offering, and the AI will craft an ad unit to connect them with the right audience.
Further, He explains how creators, who often struggle to negotiate with brands who want to collaborate, could benefit from AI assistance.
“Creators go into their DMs and see brands want to do something with them, and they don’t know how to negotiate or push back respectfully, so I think building a tool that can allow them to do that well is one simple thing that we’ve heard from a lot of people that they’d be interested in.”AI & The Metaverse
In terms of the Metaverse, Zuckerberg predicts that AI will play a role in simplifying complex tasks such as coding.
Users can describe the worlds they want to create, and the AI will generate the code for them.
“So natural language becomes the interface we use for all the ways we interact with the computer, with the digital,” Zuckerberg said, emphasizing AI’s transformative potential.Generative AI In Instagram
Particularly intriguing is Meta’s plan to introduce generative AI technologies into Instagram.
Meta is developing tools allowing users to modify their photos for sharing on Instagram using a text prompt.
Another project, yet to enter internal testing, would let users guide how they want to edit a photo they plan to post to Instagram using text prompts.
This move taps into the growing consumer interest in AI photo editors.A Socially Active AI
Zuckerberg’s vision for AI includes social companionship.
He believes AI assistants could become tools to enhance social connections and improve communication.
He pointed out many people could use more friends and better ways to express themselves.
“You can imagine AI assistants that just do a better job of reminding you when it’s your friend’s birthday and how you can celebrate them,” Zuckerberg said. “Having something more of a social assistant in that sense, that can update you on what’s going on in their life and how you can reach out to them effectively and be a better friend.”
Zuckerberg believes these AI assistants, serving as mentors, life coaches, and cheerleaders, can help break down barriers in communication.
He compared this to his newborn and five-year-old daughter, who cry due to difficulty expressing their ideas, noting that “All these different technologies that can help us navigate the social complexity and be able to better express what we’re feeling and thinking, I think that’s generally all good.”Availability
Meta’s initial consumer-facing tools are expected to launch this year.
Despite these developments, it’s worth noting that AI technology isn’t without controversy.
Zuckerberg, however, dismisses these fears, stating that while people using AI tools for harmful purposes is a legitimate concern, existential threats aren’t imminent.In Summary
Customizable LLMs, such as LLaMA, will underpin this vision, stepping away from a one-size-fits-all approach to AI.
These initial AI implementations are expected to debut this year.
Source: Lex Fridman
Featured image generated by the author using Midjourney.
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