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SXSW is in full swing in Austin, Texas and music fans from around the world are at the show and needing a way to get around. That means that cabs and public transport in Austin are very busy. Austin PD recently tweeted a warning to visitors at SXSW telling them to only use approved transport providers.
The core of the post is that most Uber services aren't approved and therefore SXSW attendees shouldn't use Uber even though there may be some drivers signed up in the Austin area. The Austin PD was later specifically asked if Uber rides were permitted, and responded, "No, they are not."
Uber has been on hand at SXSW the last few years and has skirted rules in Austin that prevent its service from operating normally. One way it has skirted the rules is by offering free rides. Austin PD says that any for hire service driver must have an operators permit, commercial insurance, and a chauffer's permit.
If you surf the web and read news on just about any topic, you are apt to run across little disclaimers saying that an image came from Getty Images or Shutterstock. Images from both these places cost money to license and use for commercial activities.
Not too long ago, Getty Images announced that it was allowing non-commercial use of some of its images at no charge. The catch to the free use of these images was that you can't use them for commercial purposes and Getty gets to serve ads over the top of the images.
The announcement from Getty sent stocks tumbling a bit for Shutterstock. Shutterstock CEO Jon Oringer has come out and said that the free Getty Images aren't a concern for him. He says that his firm gets 99.9% of its business from the commercial sector and that it will keep working that sector.
The Japanese government want to tax purchases made with bitcoins, following the public demise of bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper. Japan's national tax agency and finance ministry are researching methods to try and tax residents in Japan using bitcoin to make sell and make purchases.
Trying to find the appropriate manner to battle bitcoin has been difficult for governments - and trying to ban the cryptocurrency wouldn't be successful - and since it's not an official currency, many banks and insurers aren't yet interested in trying to protect it.
"However, many countries including Japan do not have concrete frameworks to levy taxes (on bitcoin transactions),"the Japanese newspaper reported.
Cryptocurrency bitcoin has had a bumpy road over the past few months, with major security issues while more consumers become familiar with the digital currency. Bitcoin should help disrupt global payment systems, driving efficiency of the current payment and commerce ecosystem, according to a blog published by Forrester Research.
The bitcoin currency remains a complex and risky investment proposition for consumers, though an increasing number of retailers now accept payment for the digital currency.
"Here's the bottom line: Bitcoin is deeply flawed as an alternative currency or payment method for mainstream consumers," Forrester said in a blog post. "It will, however, be a catalyst for a more efficient global payments system because it demonstrates one way to tackle the many embedded inefficiencies."
Ad Age has sources that have whispered to them that Instagram has reportedly inked an advertising deal with ad agency Omnicom to the tune of around $100 million.
Considering Instagram was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion, Facebook should soon be making the money it spent on Instagram back quickly. The deal will see Instagram users across the world see ads pushed to their Instagram feeds sometime in the near future.
Apple has reportedly ordered some 90 million iPhone 6 smartphones from Foxconn Electronics, with those 90 million handsets orders for just 2014 alone. It looks like Apple is quite confident its next smartphone will be a smash hit, ordering that massive quantity of devices.
Taiwan-based Commercial Times newspaper has said that its sources of Citigroup Global Markets analysts have said that Foxconn is expected to receive the massive orders from Apple for the new iPhones this year. The market observers believe that iPhone shipments should increase 23% in 2014, compared to the 13% growth seen last year.
90 million iPhoness sounds like a lot, but considering Apple sold around 85 million iPhones in the second half of last year, this shouldn't be that hard of a task for the company.
We have been following the Google Barge for a while now. The barge was first spied sitting at its dock at Treasure Island in San Francisco. Google was forced to move the barge not long ago because it didn't have the proper permits needed for construction.
We learned last week that the barge would be moving from San Francisco to Stockton, California. The trek took the barge about 80 miles. Google's barge is now docked at a pier on Rough and Ready island in Stockton, California. Sources say that Google is paying around $10,000 to $12,000 per month for its pier.
Google has reportedly agreed to pay the port docking fees for a minimum of three months. The lease could be shorter or longer depending on construction needs according to Stockton port director Richard Aschieris.
If you are ever in the mood for beer, whatever game happens to be on, and hot wings, Buffalo Wild Wings is a good place to find. You can even watch the UFC fights there on a fight weekend. If you have ever been in one of these places when it is busy, you know it can be hard to get your server to come to the table when you want them.
Buffalo Wild Wings has announced that it is now using tablets at all tables in 150 company owned stores around the US. The tablets will be rolling out to another 500 stores by the end of 2014 and then by next year all stores will have the tablets.
These tablets will serve many uses. Patrons to the eatery will be able to play games on the tablet including multi-player games. The tablets are called Beond and in addition to playing games, you will be able to make food and drink orders from the tablets.
Jack Tretton, the current President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) is stepping down from his position on April 1, 2014. Replacing him will be the current Sony Network Entertainment International (SNEI) VP and COO, Shawn Layden.
Tretton has been with the company for quite a long time - 19 years - and has said that it has been the most rewarding experience of his career. Tretton added that he'll miss the talented team he has been working with all this time, and the passion of Sony's fans. It's not all sad news, as he is excited about what comes next in his career.
Since SCEA's opening in 1995, Tretton has been with the company, serving as a founding member of the executive team. He was involved with every launch of the PlayStation platform in the US, a big task on its own. Sony said in a statement that it didn't renew its contract with Tretton as a mutual decision between the two. No exact reason was given for his departure from the position.
It should place at least a small cloud of doubt over Sony, as it is seeing great early success with its PlayStation 4.
This morning office supply retail giant, Staples, announced that it plans to close 225 of its retail locations by the end of 2015. Staples says that amidst poor fourth quarter results deriving from what it calls "soft" consumer demand for electronics, the company has no choice but to close up many of its stores to starve off mounting losses. Staples operates 1500 stores in the US, which equates to it closing nearly 1/4 of its in-store retail business.
"With nearly half our sales generated online today, we're meeting the changing needs of business customers and taking aggressive action to reduce costs and improve efficiency," Staples CEO Ron Sargent said. The closings are expected to save the company nearly $500 million by the end of 2015. Staples will focus more of its resources into generating online sales, but with the PC market dwindling and more consumers turning to Amazon, Newegg and Tigerdirect for their electronics these days, this could just be the beginning of more hard times for Staples.