Archive for May, 2013

HP to Introduce Another Tablet Laptop Hybrid, Using Windows

Friday, May 31st, 2013

HP tablet laptop hybrid Split X2

“Hybrids” is a hot category in 2013. Hybrids are tablets that double as laptops or desktops. They are still portable like a tablet, but larger than traditional tablets and come with keyboards.  Hewlett-Packard is introducing its third tablet laptop hybrid.

HP plans release in August of a 13.3-inch tablet laptop hybrid based on Windows — called the Split x2.

At about 9 x 13 inches, the device offers a 13.3 inch display screen.   Obviously, it is going to be heavier than smaller tablets. With the keyboard it weighs under 4.85 pounds, but weighs “only” 2.3 pounds as a tablet. Still, that’s light enough to carry around with one hand.

Like many newer tablets, it comes with two cameras: an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1080 pixel front-facing camera.

You can connect with WiFi. Bluetooth, MicroSD reader, USB and audio jacks make for this device ‘s diversity and usefulness.

The Split x2 is an upgrade to the ENVY x2, HP’s first Windows tablet laptop hybrid introduced last year, reports NDTV Gadgets. The Split x2 replaces the Atom processor of the ENVY x2 with a choice of a 3rd Generation Intel Core i3 or i5 processor. The screen is larger, too, with 1366 x 768 resolution.   The additional functionality also costs more. Cost of the new tablet laptop hybrid is $799.99 MSRP compared with $649.99 for the ENVY x2.

Tablet Laptop Hybrid – Business Appeal?

This hybrid tablet — HP calls them a “2-in-1″ — comes out of the HP Consumer products group, but we’ve noticed that hybrids tend to get a second look from business users. Professionals want the mobility and fun of a tablet but really need a keyboard to make the device functional for work purposes. Also, Windows 8 systems hold special appeal for business users who may need to work on PowerPoint, Excel or Word files. That can be difficult if not impossible on a traditional touch tablet using a non-Windows operating system.

“What we’ve done this time is take that whole x2 approach and adapted it to something that gives you even more performance and more capability,” said David Conrad, Director of Product Management at Hewlett-Packard in a video about the new device.

“But then we’ve also added one more thing, which is storage,” he said.

The earlier ENVY x2 offered 128 GB of solid state drive storage in the tablet. The Split x2 includes that memory plus an additional 500 GB of hard drive storage in the keyboard dock, said Conrad.

HP also recently introduced a 10.1″ Android hybrid, the SlateBook x2, priced to rival the iPad. Other brands have introduced tablet and laptop/desktop combinations to the market, too.

After some struggles in recent years, HP, one of the largest computer companies, has experienced a bit of a turnaround with sales higher than expected in the second quarter of 2013.

Image: HP

The post HP to Introduce Another Tablet Laptop Hybrid, Using Windows appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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Iron ore suffers sharp fall on China fear

Friday, May 31st, 2013

After hitting a peak of $158.90 a tonne in February, the price of benchmark Australian iron ore has tumbled 30 per cent, according to The Steel Index, a price reporting agency

Bulgaria’s FinMin: Salaries May Grow as of 2014

Friday, May 31st, 2013

An increase in the salaries is possible from 2014 on, according to Petar Chobanov, Bulgaria’s newly sworn-in Finance Minister.

“Bulgaria needs measures to uplift the economy, create jobs, revive small and medium-sized enterprises. We have made concrete promises which we will fulfill. It is merely a question of time, that is, when we shall have enough money to do that. Incomes depend on the state of the economy,” Chobanov stated in a Friday interview for the Bulgarian National Television.

“Financial stability is not enough, we must think about growth too. The idea behind the policies we shall be implementing is to target growth,” he added.

Bulgaria’s new Finance Minister claimed that the budget hole indicated that the administrations of the Finance Ministry and the National Revenue Agency (NRA) had not done their job properly.

Chobanov added that the issue of a senior-level reshuffle at the Customs Agency and the NRA was still on the table.

As regards allegations about a restart of the abandoned Belene Nuclear Power Plant project, Chobanov said that the situation had to be carefully analyzed in economic terms, adding that there was no government decision on the relaunch of the N-plant project on June 5.

“We have to be careful about creating expectations about such a restart. We need to see the calculations first. I cannot share the enthusiasm about restarting the construction of the Belene NPP,” Chobanov stated.

The center-right government of former PM Boyko Borisov scrapped the project for the construction of Belene back in March 2012. The move led Russia’s Rosatom to file a suit with an international arbitration court in Paris.

After it was first started in the 1980s, the construction of Bulgaria’s second nuclear power plant at Belene on the Danube was stopped in the early 1990s over lack of money and environmental protests.

The Belene NPP has been de facto frozen since the fall of 2009 when the previously selected strategic investor, the German company RWE, which was supposed to provide EUR 2 B in exchange for a 49% stake, pulled out.

Borisov and his Cabinet resigned in February amidst mass protest rallies against unbearable utility bills and wide-spread poverty.

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Bulgarian Foreign Minister Demands Good-Neighbor Agreement from Macedonian Counterpart

Friday, May 31st, 2013

The new Foreign Minister, Kristian VIgenin, reiterated Bulgaria’s wish to sign a good-neighbor agreement with Macedonia at a meeting with his Macedonian counterpart, Nikola Poposki, in Ohrid.

Meanwhile, Macedonia has been sending mixed signals about the proposal, mediapool.bg reports, citing an earlier statement of Poposki that he saw no sense in the signing of such an agreement.

Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry has not yet reported Poposki’s stance on the issue during his first meeting with Vigenin in his capacity as Foreign Minister.

During the meeting, Vigenin expressed Bulgaria’s readiness to fast-track negotiations on an expert level in order to achieve positive results as soon as possible.

“Maintaining good neighborly relations is an important criterion on the path towards EU integration, but at the same time the Republic of Macedonia has to resolve the issues, set by the European Commission,” Kristian Vigenin said.

The two Foreign Ministers also discussed  possibilities for enhancing cooperation on all levels, including high-level political dialogue, according to the press office of the Foreign Ministry.

Vigenin took part in the meeting of foreign ministers of countries participating in the South-East European Cooperation Process, SEECP, in Ohrid.

“We need more Europe. The difficulties the European Union is facing at the moment should not slow down the expansion dynamics. On the contrary, encouraging the European integration of the Western Balkans needs to become part of the solution of the crisis,” Vigenin explained.

To illustrate his point with positive examples, he cited Croatia, scheduled to become a full- fledged EU member on July 1, and the normalization agreement between Serbia and Kosovo from April 19.

“We firmly support the ambitions of all countries in the region for EU accession, as long as they are based on consistent and irreversible progress in the sphere of economic and political reforms and the fulfillment of the necessary requirements,” Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister emphasized.

He added that Bulgaria was aware of its responsibility as an EU Member State for supporting the just aspirations of the Western Balkan countries for membership in the European and Euro-Atlantic structures.

“Bulgaria is ready to share its experience for the sake of the modernization of the region and for boosting its stability and prosperity,” Vigenin stated.

The Foreign Ministers adopted a joint declaration upholding their commitment for deepening regional cooperation in South-Eastern Europe and voiced their firm conviction that EU continued to be extremely important for the Western Balkan countries and the region as a whole. They also issued a joint statement on reducing the poverty risk and the adaptation to climate changes.

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Bumi reveals missing payments top $201m

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Indonesian coal miner reveals missing payments tops $201m as it reports an annual loss of $2.4bn and aims to have trading in its shares resumed

Bulgaria’s Energy Minister: No Restart of Belene NPP on June 5

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Bulgaria’s new Minister of Economy and Energy, Dragomir Stoynev, has rejected claims that the government is planning to restart the Belene NPP on June 5, adding that no political decision on the step has been taken.

Speaking Friday at a sitting of the public council at the Ministry of Economy and Energy, Stoynev noted that the technical and economic analysis of the project had to be updated, taking into account electricity consumption forecasts for the next few years.

The Pik news agency reported Thursday that the Bulgarian Socialist Party was planning to announce a restart of the Belene NPP project on June 5, adding that the annual conference of the Bulgarian Atomic Forum (BULATOM) was scheduled to start on the same day at the Golden Sands resort, taking into account that the chair of the forum, Bogomil Manchev, was a consultant on the scrapped N-plant project.

Citing sources close to Manchev, the news agency claimed that during the conference there would be an announcement of renewal of investment interest by US Quantum Group, behind which billionaires from Asia stood.

In an interview for Nova TV earlier on Friday, Sergey Stanishev, leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), stated that a decision on the Belene NPP project required an analysis which would indicate the pros and cons and the presence of investor interest.

The center-right government of former PM Boyko Borisov scrapped the project for the construction of Belene back in March 2012. The move led Russia’s Rosatom to file a suit with an international arbitration court in Paris.

After it was first started in the 1980s, the construction of Bulgaria’s second nuclear power plant at Belene on the Danube was stopped in the early 1990s over lack of money and environmental protests.

The Belene NPP has been de facto frozen since the fall of 2009 when the previously selected strategic investor, the German company RWE, which was supposed to provide EUR 2 B in exchange for a 49% stake, pulled out.

Borisov and his Cabinet resigned in February amidst mass protest rallies against unbearable utility bills and wide-spread poverty.

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US Holocaust Museum Softens Stance on Bulgarian Street Naming

Friday, May 31st, 2013

The Washington DC City Council has held a hearing with expert testimony on the issue with the request to name an intersection in the US capital after Bulgarian Member of the Parliament Dimitar Peshev, who is credited with helping save the country’s Jews during World War II.

The information was reported Friday by the Bulgarian 24 Chassa (24 Hours) daily.

The issue with the street naming was raised in December by the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington DC in a letter to the City Council requesting it, in which the diplomatic mission presented in a very positive light the Bulgarians’ attitude towards fellow Jewish citizens during WW II.

Last month, the issue stirred significant polemics as the Holocaust Memorial Museum in the US capital sent the Embassy a letter accusing Bulgaria of inaccurate accounts for its history during the Holocaust. It noted that the Bulgarian Embassy request was concealing the truth that Bulgaria was an ally of Germany during WW II and that 11 343 Jews were deported from Macedonia and Northern Greece, then under the administrative control of Bulgaria.

These territories were occupied at the time by German and Bulgarian armies with Germany having the supreme authority and Bulgaria having no sovereignty.

In a separate letter to the DC City Council, the Holocaust Museum underscored the complexity of Bulgaria’s WW II history.

Bulgarian Ambassador, Elena Poptodorova, was quoted in saying at the time she felt deeply offended by the response.

However, the museum historian, who has spoken at Tuesday’s hearing, has taken a softer stance in informing their experts were not disputing the merits of Peshev and his contributions, but just wanted fair representation of historical facts.

The Washington DC City Council Chairman has noted that at the beginning there have been opinions against the naming, but it was obvious that right now the opposition has subsided.

The Council is to make a decision through two votes and the procedure must conclude by mid-July.

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Mari Smith on How Small Businesses Can Use the 80/20 Rule in Facebook

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Did you know that your Facebook updates are never going to be seen by 100% of your fans in your newsfeed? Instead, only 2% to 48% will see them.  Yet, Mari Smith, who has been called the Queen of Facebook, still says Facebook has value for small businesses. She offers several highly specific tips in this interview about Facebook for small businesses.

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facebook for small businesses

Small Business Trends:  Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got to be what a lot of people call the ‘Queen of Facebook?’

Mari Smith: Throughout my entire career, I’ve had a deep passion for people and technology. Since 1999, I’ve been deeply immersed in the world of eCommerce, Internet marketing. I was an online marketing consultant for a long number of years. Then, in 2007, Facebook just fell into my lap. I was chosen to be on the data team of an app. It was really a defining moment in my life. I just fell in love with Facebook. Within weeks I became an evangelist.

Small Business Trends:  When did you know Facebook was going to be important for small businesses?  

Mari Smith: From a small business marketing standpoint, to me, it’s all about relationships. One of my blogs is called The New Relationship Marketing. Relationship marketing is about fostering those relationships which you can start through social media, through Facebook, through Twitter, and then ultimately – you might meet people in person.

It’s really a matter of strategically thinking through what content you are posting through your personal profile and your public fan page in a manner that people are – top of mind. They may think, ‘Gosh, I really need to go and buy a new dress or a wedding cake or whatever different people do.’  You are top of their mind because they have built this relationship with you and you’re in their news feed, sharing valuable content and sparking interest with little personal goodies.

Small Business Trends: Can you rate, on a scale of one to ten, how successful small businesses have been when it comes to leveraging the power of Facebook to help grow their business?

Mari Smith: I would say the vast majority of small businesses are probably somewhere around a three or a four on that scale, unfortunately. I think the main reason is that Facebook is in a ‘pay to play’ mode. They have to make money; that’s just the way it is. It’s just the algorithm that’s at play. You might buy ads in order to build a fan base, which is a terrific use of your advertising dollars, but then people are like, ‘Well, we’re only going to display and post to a percentage of fans.’ Your posts are never going to be seen by 100% of your fans in your newsfeed. It could be anywhere from 2% to 48%. I think at one time years ago, it was at 16%.

One thing to keep in mind as a small business owner is that just because you have 1,000 fans, all 1,000 of those people are not seeing your posts. It could be a fraction of those. You have promoted posts and there are sponsored posts. There are just a lot of complex features in there that you can buy. But unless you know what you’re doing, you might be wasting your money. You might not be getting a good ROI – return on investment.

I think where people struggle is that there’s these complex features and there’s a lot of change. Facebook is always changing their features. If we can back up a second and take complexity out of the picture and look at the fundamentals of small business success, you see that a lot of it comes with not really knowing, ‘Why am I on Facebook in the first place?’  What am I trying to do here? Am I trying to just generate fans and get better sentiment for my brand or actually sell product or improve customer service or just get visibility?’

I would recommend that most small businesses approach Facebook marketing from the standpoint of generating email leads and gently guiding people to cross into your funnel, your e-mail list, your blog, your website and looking into your offers.

Small Business Trends:  What percentage of small businesses are actually able to do direct commerce on Facebook? Is that even in the equation for most businesses?

Mari Smith: It is. In fact, there’s a whole factor of online commerce, called Facebook Commerce. There are new sites and there are services and platforms that are popping up all the time. I just came across a new one recently called Bionic and they have an app that you can add an IQ Offer. You can put up an offer that’s maybe 50% off for the next 24 hours. Then you can drive people there through an ad, for example. People can click on that and purchase right away through PayPal. So, for the small business owner, that’s a way to instantly monetize an offer.

Facebook actually has an offers feature. You click the button and you claim it. Just because somebody’s claimed it doesn’t mean that money has actually passed hands, not yet.

Commerce is still in its infancy. I think we’ve got another couple of years yet where people are really starting to feel more comfortable getting their credit card out. With PayPal, there’s a trust already existing there, which is great. Someone getting their credit card out and saying, ‘I feel happy to buy this right off of Facebook’ is in it’s early days yet.

Small Business Trends: Do you feel that small businesses are leveraging Facebook with the right expectations?

Mari Smith: A lot of people that I talk to, a lot of small business owners, come to Facebook as the Holy Grail. They think that they’ve got over a billion members and there are stories of people making millions of dollars through Facebook marketing. Many of them are spending money to make that money with ads, which is quite frankly the most incredible targeted demographics that your money can buy; far better than any other advertising product and I don’t have any agenda saying that. It’s just a fact.

One thing that small business owners could do with Facebook is build up their email list. Put up your email list with 1,000 people, and they’re from other sources, not necessarily through Facebook. You can take that database and upload it to Facebook using what’s called the Power Editor. Upload their own data base and Facebook is going to go and search their site and match profiles with your database. Maybe only half of them will match and that’s okay.

Now you have this set of almost 500 people and you can find out lots more information. You can actually segment your database and get a ton of information as a result of matching them. You can place ads. You can advertise to people on your own database. It’s called Custom Audience. Then you can do something that’s called Look Alike Audience, which means that Facebook will then gather up an audience of people that you can advertise to that would have never known about you, are not on your list, are not your fan, but they look similar to your current database. That’s cool, right?

Small Business Trends:  If you were a small business going on Facebook to build a list, what kind of content may work best when you’re trying to do it from that perspective?

Mari Smith: I have this rule, basically 80/20. So, talk to the fans with no agenda value, the 80%. When I say no agenda value, that means OPC – other people’s content. You’re sharing a mix of your content, articles, resources, tools and then 20% of the time, you’re going to ask for the sale. You’re going to ask for the lead.

One of my favorite ways is through a webinar. I gather my fans and drag them over to an option page, where I capture the email address and that’s where I’m going to periodically do that, I don’t do that all the time. I do it maybe once a quarter. I’ll do an initiative, where I’m gathering up, where I’m doing an offer. So, that’s just something to keep in mind is that you don’t have to be asking for the sale all the time. But you have to have it strategically mapped out in your marketing calendar for the year, as to when you are going to do offers and promotions and do them in spurts.

That will add tons of value on a regular basis; ideally once a day. Even if it’s just one post a day or maybe two posts a day on Facebook; on your fan page. That would be plenty; that would be sufficient.

Small Business Trends: You mentioned something about a webinar?

Mari Smith: It’s coming up on Tuesday, June 4th. It’s called Seven Steps to Facebook Success. It’s 90 minutes, a live stream webinar. I’m going to be on camera and broadcasting from a studio in San Diego, live and interactive. We will record it in case folks can’t make it and they can just find links to that at MariSmith.com.




This interview on Facebook for small businesses is part of the One on One interview series with thought-provoking entrepreneurs, authors and experts in business today. This transcript has been edited for publication.  

The post Mari Smith on How Small Businesses Can Use the 80/20 Rule in Facebook appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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Evidence of Borisov’s Alleged Misuse of Bulgarian Govt Craft Turns Destroyed

Friday, May 31st, 2013

The written requests for flights of Bulgaria’s former Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, have been destroyed and are no longer available.

The information was reported Friday by bTV and is actually the response sent to the media by the Council of Ministries in a reply to an inquiry of their journalists.

The use of the government Airbus became grounds for a scandal last summer when it emerged that the PM ordered the plane’s pilots to fly to the Black Sea city of Varna two low-tier football teams close to him and his friend, controversial former Member of the Parliament from Borisov’s Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party GERB, Emil Dimitrov, after losing a bet in a card game.

The claims were never proven with documented evidence.

In August 2012, bTV reporter Konstantin Karadzhov asked to have access to the said requests, but got a silent refusal. He sent a second inquiry in November 2012, but once again the Head of the PR Office of the Council of Ministries, Nikolay Boev, failed to reply not only within the 14-day legal deadline, but he did not provide any answer.

Karadzhov appealed the refusal. In Court, the only explanation given by the government legal counsel was that the information had to be provided not by them, but by the aircraft’s crew. The Sofia Administrative Court rejected the explanation on grounds the Council of Ministries was the one to redirect the request to the so-called Government Flight Crew 28 and then notify the journalist, notwithstanding the fact records of flights are kept by the government as well.

According to the magistrates, the requested information was not classified, thus it could not be deemed a threat to national security and public order and the refusal was a violation of the access to information right and legislation.

At the end of April, 2013, the magistrates ruled to revoke the silent refusal of the government to provide information on flights.

The response about the documents being destroyed has just been received by bTV. It has been prepared by the caretaker Cabinet, but it is signed by Boev, who, as of Wednesday, no longer works for the government.

The reply states that Borisov’s written requests for flights of Flight Crew 28 had only coordinating nature and a large portion of them did not correspond to the real assignments due to technical reasons or sudden change of schedule, thus there was no practice of archiving them and keeping them in the government’s Protocol unit and other offices.

However, legal experts are quoted in saying the above is either an admission of breaches of the law and even crime, or a lie, which is also a crime – providing an answer related to public access to information with false content.

According to the regulations of Flight Crew 28, the written requests must include data about the passengers and/or the cargo, the airports, the flight schedule, and the possible air escort. They should be publically available.

After the journalist won the case in Court, caretaker Prime Minister, Marin Raykov, asked for an extension for the response on grounds he needed more time to find out if his Cabinet should provide information on the routes of the country leader and if this information was of public interest.

Back in August, 2012, Borisov insisted he had not done anything wrong, and that the infamous flight has been requested and paid for by the Bulgarian Football Union.

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Restored ‘Vampire’ Face Seen in Bulgaria’s History Museum

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Residents and guests of the Bulgarian capital Sofia can see the reconstructed face of the “vampire from Sozopol” over the weekend and for few days next week in the National History Museum, NIM.

The news was reported by NIM’s Director, Bozhidar Dimitrov, cited by the Focus news agency.

Dimitrov says that after the Sofia exhibit, the vampire will be returned to the historical coastal town of Sozopol, where it was discovered one year ago, as it was eagerly expected there.

“He should stop resting in Sofia and should go to the Black Sea coast to make money,” he joked.

The skeleton is the one of a man with an iron stick in his chest. He was buried over 700 years ago and was stabbed multiple times in the chest and the stomach, as his contemporaries feared that he would rise from the dead as a vampire.

Prominent Bulgarian anthropologist Prof Yordan Yordanov has used the skull to reconstruct the man’s face.

According to Yordanov, he lacked a number of teeth due to the food he consumed, while the face’s traits were strikingly asymmetric.

Dimitrov says the above backs his theory the vampire’s name was Krivich (The Crooked) and he was a legendary pirate, manager of the Sozopol fortress or one of his heirs.

The Crooked, as his contemporaries called him, has been a crippled, but extremely intelligent man. He outshined everyone with his knowledge about the sea, the stars and herbs. Byzantine chronicles describe how he plundered a Venetian ship. It is possible that he was declared a master of the witchcraft because of these talents, which explains the metal stake through his heart.

Experts also believe that the man may have been an intellectual and perhaps a medic, as such individuals often raised suspicions in the Middle Ages. The grave was discovered near the apse of a church, which suggests that he was an aristocrat.

According to archaeologists, this is the first time a “vampire” burial has been discovered in Sozopol.

Over 100 buried people whose corpses were stabbed to prevent them from becoming vampires have been discovered across Bulgaria over the years, according to Dimitrov. More details on Dimitrov’s account READ HERE.

Bulgarian tour operators continue to report that the interest has been huge with foreign travel agencies advertising “vampire vacations” in Sozopol.

The “vampire” skeleton was included in the National Geographic ranking of the 10 most popular news pictures for 2012. According to the editors, it shows that the fear of vampires is much older than Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

The National Geographic TV channel aired a film about the “vampire,” featuring the historical town of Sozopol for the second time, after a documentary about the relics of St John the Baptist, also discovered there.

After the discovery, media in the US, Europe, and Asia all broke the news in the press and in online editions.

The story found its place in two articles of the most-read tabloid in the world – The Daily Mail, in the Washington Post, BBC, and a number of Russian media.

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