TBD Boss Buzzing You After Hours? NYC Wants You To Say Buzz Off

Technology that once promised freedom from the confines of an office has, for many workers, become a ball and chain, blurring the lines between work hours and, well, any other hours. A New York City Council member wants to put a stop to that.

The proposal would bar employers from requiring employees to respond to non-emergency emails, texts and other digital communications outside regular work hours. It would also outlaw retaliating against workers who choose to unplug.

The recently introduced legislation is only in the beginning stages, with initial committee hearings expected sometime in June, and doubters wonder how it could work, especially in always-buzzing New York City.

But bill sponsor Rafael Espinal, a Democrat who represents parts of Brooklyn, said the legislation is needed because the city that never sleeps isn't supposed to be the city that never stops working.

"Work has spilled into our personal lives," he said. "We're always connected to our phones or to a computer once we leave the office."

It's important, he said, for people to be "able to draw a clear line between the workplace and their personal lives, to give them time to connect with their family, friends, reduce their stress levels and be able to go back to work and perform at their optimal level."

The legislation would cover private companies with more than 10 employees. There would be exemptions for certain types of jobs that require people to be on call. Barring emergencies, bosses wouldn't be able to demand that workers check work emails or messages in off hours.

Companies that violated the rule would face fines of at least $250 per incident.

Espinal said he was inspired by a French law that took effect this year that gave employees the right to ignore off-hour communications.

Employers who wanted to return a communication could do so.

"If you love your...

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Volkswagen Contemplates Changing CEO in Reshuffle

Volkswagen said Tuesday it was considering replacing CEO Matthias Mueller as part of a management shake-up, and German news media reported Mueller?EU?s job would go to core Volkswagen brand head Herbert Diess.

The company said it was contemplating a management reshuffle and reassigning responsibilities among executives that "could include a change in the position of the chairman of the board of management," the German term for CEO.

Volkswagen said in a short statement that board of directors Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch was in discussions with top managers about their duties and that the result was ?EU?currently open.?EU?

The statement said Mueller "showed his willingness to contribute" to the changes, but stopped short of saying whether Mueller was leaving his current job.

Volkswagen is controlled by the Piech and Porsche families, which have 52 percent of voting rights. The German state of Lower Saxony has 20 percent and Qatar Holding 17 percent.

Germany?EU?s dpa news agency, Handelsblatt business publication and national daily newspaper Bild reported that Mueller would be replaced by Diess, a former BMW executive who joined Volkswagen in 2015.

Mueller, 64, was head of Volkswagen?EU?s richly profitable Porsche division when he unexpectedly was handed the CEO job in September 2015. Predecessor Martin Winterkorn fell victim to the company?EU?s scandal over cars rigged to cheat on diesel emissions tests.

As CEO, Mueller led Volkswagen through the aftermath of the scandal, which included billions in fines and penalties and U.S. criminal charges against several executives, to record sales and strong profits.

He apologized for the scandal and launched what was described as an effort to make the company?EU?s management more open to discussion and less top-down, factors that may have abetted the emissions cheating. But he also faced skepticism about whether he was a credible change agent since he started working for Volkswagen in 1978.

After-tax profit rose to 11.6...

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Zuma Satellite Disaster Blamed on Northrop Grunman Errors

The loss of the secretive Zuma satellite -- which was launched by SpaceX in January -- was reportedly due to a problem with a part modified by Northrop Grumman Corp. that attaches the payload to the rocket.

Two separate teams of government and industry investigators have "tentatively concluded" that the piece of hardware, known as a payload adapter, failed to properly operate in space due to "engineering and testing errors by Northrop Grumman," according to a report late Sunday by the Wall Street Journal.

Citing a "person familiar with the process," the Journal reported that the payload adapter was bought from a subcontractor but "significantly modified" and tested three times by Northrop Grumman, which also built the Zuma satellite for the U.S. government.

When the part reached orbit, it didn't detach the satellite from the Falcon 9 rocket, as expected. Instead, the satellite fell back into the atmosphere with the rocket's returning second stage; it eventually broke free, but had "dropped to an altitude that was too low for a rescue," according to the Journal.

Northrop Grumman and SpaceX did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Little was known about the Zuma mission, the purpose of the satellite or even the aftermath of the launch. SpaceX launched the classified satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, but as with all national security launches, the Hawthorne space company -- which is led by Elon Musk and whose full name is Space Exploration Technologies Inc. -- ended its live stream shortly after the first and second stages of the rocket separated.

However, the company had said during the livestream that it had gotten confirmation that the fairing -- the clamshell-like covering that protects payloads at the tip of the rocket -- had deployed.

The next day, reports trickled in that the satellite, code-named Zuma, may have...

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HP Announces Chromebook x2, First-Ever Chrome OS Detachable

While the first Chromebook tablet, announced by Acer just last month, is aimed squarely at the education market, HP's new Chrome OS detachable has a wider audience in its sights. In fact, early previews of the Chromebook x2 indicate it could pose a threat to Apple's iPad Pro.

HP is touting the $599.99 Chromebook x2 (pictured above), set to hit the U.S. market in June, as a premium device that's built for both work and entertainment. The company said it's also designed for both flexibility and durability and includes an HP Active Pen and a magnetic hinge design that allows the device to be used effectively as either a laptop or a detachable tablet.

By comparison, Apple's 10.5-inch, iPad Pro starts at $649, not including the additional cost for the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard accessories.

Detachable tablets will be the bright spot in an otherwise stagnant or declining market for personal computing devices over the next five years, according to a recent forecast from the analyst firm IDC. The organization predicts that by 2022 detachable tablets will account for 9 percent of all personal computing devices shipped, compared to 5.2 percent in 2017.

Detachable, ChromeOS, and Android 'Trifecta'

Today's news from HP underscores the growing importance of the tablet and detachable market to equipment manufacturers, as well as the solid appeal of Chromebooks, particularly for use in schools. It also follows two major tablet announcements from Apple and Acer made on March 27, when Apple unveiled an updated $299 9.7-inch iPad for school buyers and Acer launched the $329 9.7-inch Chromebook Tab 10, the first-ever tablet to run Google's Chrome OS instead of the Android operating system.

In a statement, Kevin Frost, HP's vice president and general manager for consumer personal systems, described the Chromebook x2 as a "trifecta" that combines...

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Did Cambridge Analytica Grab Your Data? You’ll Know Soon

Anyone who's been wondering if their private Facebook data might have been swept up in the Cambridge Analytica scandal will soon get their first clues.

Starting Monday, all 2.2 billion Facebook users will receive a notice on their feeds, titled "Protecting Your Information," with a link to see what apps they use and what information they have shared with those apps. If they want, they can shut off apps individually or turn off third-party access to their apps completely.

In addition, the 87 million users who might have had their data shared with Cambridge Analytica will get a more detailed message informing them of this. Facebook says most of the affected users (more than 70 million) are in the U.S., though there are over a million each in the Philippines, Indonesia and the U.K.

Reeling from its worst privacy crisis in history -- allegations that this Trump-affiliated data mining firm may have used ill-gotten user data to try to influence elections -- Facebook is in full damage-control mode, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledging he's made a "huge mistake" in failing to take a broad enough view of what Facebook's responsibility is in the world. He's set to testify before Congress [this] week.

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie previously estimated that more than 50 million people were compromised by a personality quiz that collected data from users and their friends.

That Facebook app, called "This is Your Digital Life," was a personality quiz created in 2014 by an academic researcher named Aleksander Kogan, who paid about 270,000 people to take it. The app vacuumed up not just the data of the people who took it, but also -- thanks to Facebook's loose restrictions -- data from their friends, too, including details that they hadn't intended to share publicly.

Facebook later limited the data apps can access, but...

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Child Advocates to FTC: YouTube Illegally Tracks Data on Kids

Read carefully through the fine print of YouTube's terms of service and you might notice that you've affirmed you are old enough to watch it.

"If you are under 13 years of age, then please do not use the service," the terms say. "There are lots of other great web sites for you."

It's a warning that goes unheeded by millions of children around the world who visit YouTube to watch cartoons, nursery rhymes, science experiments or videos of toys being unboxed.

In a formal complaint being filed Monday, child advocates and consumer groups are asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and impose potentially billions of dollars of penalties on Google for allegedly violating children's online privacy and allowing ads to target them.

"Google profits handsomely from selling advertising to kid-directed programs that it packages," said Jeff Chester, director of the Center for Digital Democracy, one of the groups that drafted the complaint. "It makes deals with producers and distributors of kids' online programs worldwide. Google has built a global and very lucrative business based on kids' deep connections to YouTube."

YouTube's business model relies on tracking IP addresses, search history, device identifiers, location and other personal data about its users so that it can gauge their interests and tailor advertising to them. But that model isn't supposed to work for U.S. children, who are protected by the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. That's a 20-year-old law that prohibits internet companies from knowingly collecting personal data from kids under 13 without their parents' consent.

The coalition accuses YouTube of violating COPPA and deliberately profiting off luring children into what Chester calls an "ad-filled digital playground" where commercials for toys, theme parks or sneakers can surface alongside kid-oriented videos.

YouTube said in an emailed statement that it "will read the complaint thoroughly and evaluate if there are...

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Seeing Red: Apple Unveils iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus in Red

As expected, Apple has released the (PRODUCT)RED version of the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus got this special edition around this time last year as well. Except this time, the front of the iPhone is black instead of white. And it looks stunning.

The special edition iPhone will be available to order online tomorrow and in stores beginning Friday, April 13 with prices starting at $699 for the 64GB model. These prices are identical to other colors that the iPhone 8 is available in.

With a glass back, the red version of the iPhone [pictured above] is more reflective than last year's model but other than the color change, this is the same exact iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus that have been available for a few months. As with other Apple products, part of proceeds for all (PRODUCT)RED purchases go directly to Global Fund HIV/AIDS grants.

No RED for iPhone X

Rumors have been floating around that Apple may soon introduce the iPhone X with new color options. To see this opportunity now come and go with today's announcement is disappointing to holdouts, but there's a bit of consolatory news.

Apple is celebrating its new iPhones color with a Product Red leather folio for the iPhone X -- the only phone that won?EU?t be dipped in red. It will be available from April 10 and will set you back $99.

Sure, it's not the red iPhone X you might have been hoping for, but at least the leather folio is for a good cause.

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42Gears Unveils UEM Analytics Engine for Business Insights

42Gears Mobility Systems, a leading provider of Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solution announces the release of its new Analytics Engine. The Analytics Engine will enable data capture, storage and analysis for 42Gears customers to deliver smart business insights. With this, 42Gears adds the power of Analytics to its UEM platform.

The Analytical Engine is a part of 42Gears UEM to help companies make informed decisions regarding their IT asset management strategy. The engine uses big data technology and can perform Mobile Device, App Usage and IoT Data Analytics.

This latest addition is a step towards building 42Gears UEM into an intelligent platform. It will help gain actionable insights by analysing large amounts of data captured through enterprise endpoints. The analytics framework not only captures and stores data from 42Gears UEM apps such as SureLock, SureFox and Enterprise App Store but also allows third party enterprise apps to register their Time Series Data with 42Gears UEM. The tool will help businesses measure the effectiveness of their device and application deployments. For example, application usage analytics can tell which application was launched the most number of times, engaged maximum users, and had highest session times.

Prakash Gupta, Co-founder and CTO of 42Gears explains, "42Gears UEM Analytics Engine is a convergence of large amount of data collected periodically from multiple endpoints and apps managed by 42Gears UEM. Useful and actionable business insights can be drawn from the analysis of this data using our Analytics Engine."

42Gears believes that the offering will benefits its customers and will be a game changer in the Endpoint Management field.

Prakash adds, "Over the years, we have been approached multiple times by customers looking for analytics reports around various endpoint and application parameters to improve their business operations. 42Gears Analytics Engine will help...

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Congress Faces Facebook Dilemma: Tame It or Accept Apology?

Facebook isn't just a company. It's a behemoth, with 2.1 billion monthly users, $40 billion in revenue and more than 25,000 employees worldwide.

And that leaves Washington with a daunting task: How do you tame a corporate giant? Or do you even try?

"It's tricky and it's going to be hard, but there are ways it can be dealt with," says Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, a former tech executive who has led investigations into Russian interference on social media over the last year as the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee. "The idea that we're going to keep the wild, wild West -- I don't think it's sustainable."

The picture will begin to come into focus next week. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify April 10 and 11 before Senate and House committees as his company grapples with the privacy scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm linked to President Donald Trump.

Facebook's reckoning in Washington comes on multiple fronts. Russia's use of the platform to meddle in U.S. elections, a regulatory investigation that could result in fines of hundreds of millions of dollars against the company for privacy violations, and the Cambridge Analytica episode are all topmost concerns.

But in the capital's pro-business, anti-regulatory climate, it's questionable whether the Republican-led Congress or Trump regulators have the appetite to rein it in.

Facebook is spending millions on lobbying to try to ward off regulations, even seeking to narrow a Senate bill that lawmakers call "the lightest touch possible." It would require more transparency in online political ads, something Facebook says it is providing on its own.

But the stakes grew Wednesday when Facebook revealed that information belonging to as many as 87 million of its users may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, which gathered the data with the intent of swaying elections....

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Out of Flowers? Flour? Businesses Contend with Supply Woes

Supply shortages can be the bane of a small company's existence. Severe weather and disasters can cause shortages, as can a manufacturer shutting down or stopping production of ingredients, components or raw materials. And shortages can force owners to be creative in finding substitutes or workarounds to mitigate damage to revenue and customer relationships.

When heavy rain pelted Central America, Shane Pliska couldn't get shipments of taupe-colored roses he needed for clients' weddings.

"Of course, this was the season when everyone wanted champagne- and gold-themed weddings, and the champagne part was all taupe roses," says Pliska, owner of Planterra, a commercial florist and owner of a wedding venue where the decor is all about flowers and plants.

Pliska, whose company is located in West Bloomfield, Michigan, could have substituted other flowers but wanted to deliver customers' first choices. So he and his employees tinted white roses by hand.

Shortages can hit companies of any size. Hundreds of KFC stores in Britain had to close in February when they were unable to get shipments of chicken and other supplies. The problem started when KFC switched to a different delivery company that couldn't handle the volume of food the company needs at its 900 British outlets.

But small businesses can have an advantage over larger ones in a supply crisis, says Sunder Kekre, an operations management professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business. They don't have the bureaucracy of large companies, and that gives them more flexibility in coming up with a solution, he says.

Small companies are also better able to stay in touch and negotiate with customers.

"You might convince them, 'You don't need it now, why not get it in two weeks,'" Kekre says.

When Hurricane Irma forced Miami International Airport to shut down in September, flower shipments from South America -- which supplies the...

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