Business TECH_Technology

NTSB to investigate another Tesla crash

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has begun an investigation into a Tesla crash that killed two teenagers and injured another, according to the Green Car Report. The 2014 Tesla Model S, was reported to have run off the road, hitting a concrete wall, and catching on fire. It killed the two teenagers inside the car while injecting the third from the vehicle. The accident happened in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The driver of the vehicle, Barrett Riley, and passenger Edgar Monserratt were both killed in the incident. According to police reports, speed may have been a factor in the accident, and there is no reason to believe the AutoPilot was the cause. The police did say; they are investigating the Tesla’s battery pack to understand what caused the car to burst into flames so quickly.

The Tesla vehicles incorporate a cylindrical lithium-cobalt aluminum battery. The battery is mounted on the car’s floor extending the width of the vehicle. This is a similar arrangement that is used in most electric cars. Lithium-ion batteries are known to be highly flammable, which has caused automakers to build a barrier around them for protection as well as using a cooling system to keep temperature sustainable.

Tesla’s batteries pass all federal safety and crash test standards in the U.S. and other markets.


Oreo introduces three new cookie flavors as part of #MyOreoCreation contest

Oreo has launched three new limited-edition cookie flavors based on feedback from its customers, according to a report by Fortune. The new flavors include cherry cola, kettle corn, and pina colada. All three cookie flavors are currently available in stores now.

Oreo is asking its fans to vote for their favorite of the three cookie flavors. The winner of the cookie battle will net the inventor of the flavor a cool $500,000. Voting continues until June 30.

The introduction of the three Oreo flavors was part of the company’s #MyOreoCreation Contest. Other flavors suggested but rejected by the company included avocado, carrot cake, coffee, pineapple upside-down cake, and salted caramel. The flavors were tried but failed miserably and never made their way to market.

This is not Oreo’s first foray into introducing outlandish flavors to its cookie line. The company has also sold Peeps and Swedish Fish flavor profiles of the famous Oreo cookie. In addition, in December, Oreo introduced a Fruity Pebbles flavored cookie as a mystery cookie that kept customers guessing for two months on what the actual taste was. The company finally confirmed the flavor with an announcement but only after significant hype was built by the unknown flavor.


Budweiser launches new Freedom Reserve Red Lager for a limited time

Budweiser has announced a new beer that was inspired by a handwritten recipe from George Washington, according to a report by Fox News. The Freedom Reserve Red Lager expands the company’s Reserve Collection which also includes the patriotic America beer.

The recipe for the Freedom Reserve Red Lager was written by Washington in 1757 in his own personal military journal. The recipe, titled “To Make Small Beer,” provides detail instructions on how to brew and batch the lager.

Budweiser will brew the limited-edition beer with the assistance of its veteran employees. The employees will include their signature on the vintage bottles and pint cans the lager will be sold in. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the beer will go towards Folds of Honor – a nonprofit dedicated to providing military families educational scholarships. Budweiser has raised a total of $14 million for Folds of Honor to date.

Details and flavor profile of the Freedom Reserve include a full-bodied taste that is brewed by using toasted barley grains. The beer finishes with a hint of molasses. It also has a touch of hops and a caramel malt flavor.

Budweiser will offer the lager starting in May through Sept. 30 or until limited supplies of the beer run out.


Gibson files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Gibson Brands Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to a report by the Los Angles Times. The company has filed for debt relief with a turnaround plan that is designed to provide its lenders equity ownership in the company.

Through a restructuring support agreement with Gibson’s senior secured noteholders, bank loans will be repaid while also initiating a change of control. The petition filed placed Gibson’s debt up to $500 million. Lenders of the company will allow for an operating loan up to $135 million to continue operations of the company going forward.

With the change in control, noteholders will be given equity in the company replacing several key stockholders including Chief Executive Henry Juszkiewicz. Senior noteholders include Silver Point Capital, Melody Capital Partners LP, and KKR Credit Advisors.
With the restructuring of the company, Gibson will be allowed to shutter its consumer-electronics division. Gibson has placed blame on the division for its financial shortcomings.

Juszkiewicz will continue with the company as it moves through the bankruptcy process to allow for a smooth transition. A one-year consulting deal and compensation package have been marked for Juszkiewicz with Gibson’s court bankruptcy filing.

Founded in 1894, Gibson has sold more than 170,000 guitars a year in 80 countries around the world.

Business NONE

Are Ford and GM about to blast off?

The U.S. economy continues to accelerate, and it means the big Detroit automakers may finally be able to really see some growth.

With May sales data about to be released, investors are waiting anxiously to see if automakers will meet expectations to achieve near record revenues totals, which would allow the automaking industry to overcome product recalls and poor growth and blast off, according to a Business Standard report.

Financial experts estimate that a total of 1.6 million new cars and trucks were sold in May, which would be a seasonally-adjusted rate of 17.4 million vehicles — that would be one of the best months ever.

May sales revenues could be close to $40 billion, the most since August 2014 which had $40.3 billion in sales.

April sales were weak, but May is expected to be a big rebound month, and lower gas prices could cause consumers to flock to higher-profit sport utility vehicles and trucks. There’s also more demand for new vehicles, as consumers look to shed their aging cars that they’ve had to keep a hold on during the financial crisis and open up their pocketbooks for a gleaming new set of wheels. The average car is about a decade old, according to the report.

The fact that there was a full week after Memorial Day that fell in the month of May will also help sales figures.

Meanwhile, auto loan credit is continuing to expand, a positive growth indicator for the industry.

Business Movies Music NONE TECH_Technology

Are Airpods a ‘runaway success’?

According to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, AirPods have been a great success so far. They have been a big hit to the point Apple cannot keep up with the orders, and they(Apple), are running at full capacity to make the AirPods as fast as they can to meet increased demand.

That could be true by all indications on the ground as Apple is running on a six-week delay in shipping, and that was just one week after the launch. That delay has continued to date, and even in-house product pickups for AirPods have been pushed to mid- February when they will be available again.

But that does not necessarily mean they have been a success. The ability of how many units Apple is manufacturing the AirPod is what counts and at what rate. If the rate is slow, delays will be encountered even for a demand of a few units.

Apart from Apple, no independent source has any figures that show AirPod is a great success and efforts to request for exact numbers from Apple have been futile. Apple could also not provide information whether, in their next earnings release, Airpod figures would feature.

This is usually intentional, though, and it can be used to mask failures without necessarily going public. Particularly when new technology, which is a usually a first is concerned. That is how Apple has been working lately. If the figures are made public, it is because Apple has done well. If they do not avail the numbers, your guess is as good as mine over what might have transpired.

Business Media Mobile NONE TECH_Technology

Apple’s CEO Cook Given pay cut as sales slump

Apple has just experienced its first sales drop in 15 years after the sales of iPhone took a downward trend. This, in turn, has led to the company’s CEO Tim Cook being handed a 15 percent pay cut.

The Company said that the sales of iPhones had gone down and revenues had dropped, citing that as the reason the company was forced to cut Cooks pay along with all its top executives. But looking at the figures, Cook will not have a reason to complain as he has still done extremely well.

The compensation package went from $10.3 million for the past year to $8.7 million for the fiscal year that ended in September.

According to the latest figures from the company, sales decreased by 8 percent to $216 billion, while the operating profit decreased by 16 percent to $60 Billion. The iPhone was responsible for the decline in all their products.

It was also the first time since 2001 that annual revenue dropped since Steve Jobs launched the musical player iPod. This then produced the iPhone and iPad. The iPhone changed the way we look at phones, and despite its high price and competition from other brands, it became a very sort of status symbol, defying all the odds.

Apple had anticipated a sales drop, but not a steep one like the one that occurred. There is still hope that sales could have rebounded over the holiday season, but we will find that out when the quarterly results, that include the festive season will be released in towards the end of this month.

Business NONE TECH_Technology

Apple stocks drop on Sept. 25 setting off declines in the stock market

Stock analysts and investors were not alarmed last week, after it was reported by Wall Street that Apple and other technology stocks declined in value on Sept. 25.

According to Sept. 27 news reports by the New York Times and BetaWired, declines in all three stock indexes on Sept. 25 were part of a chain reaction caused by Apple’s announcement late in the afternoon on Sept. 24 that it had withdrawn a software update that prevented users from making phone calls. Others complained that they bent their new iPhones by sitting on them. Apple stock fell $3.88 to close at $97.87 in heavy trading.

On Sept. 25, the S&P 500 index lost 32.31 points, or 1.6 percent, to close at 1,965.99. The Dow Industrial Average slumped 264.26 points, or 1.5 percent, to close at 16,945.80. The Nasdaq composite index, which is dominated by technology companies, dropped 88.47 points, or 1.9 percent, to 4,466.75. It was the worst day for all three indexes since July 31.

Chief Investment Strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott told the New York Times that, “When you are at the peak, markets require more and more good news to keep on soaring high.” Peter Cadillo, the Chief Market Economist at Rockwell Global Financial said, “The economic numbers were negative but not alarming and do not affect the direction of the economy at the moment.”

Two economic reports released Sept. 25 were little help. Claims for unemployment benefits crept up last week. But the less volatile four-week average fell. A separate report said business orders for equipment plunged last month, mainly a result of falling orders for commercial aircraft.

According to BetaWired, trading this past week has turned increasingly turbulent, an abrupt break from a sleepy summer. On Monday, concerns about slowing growth in China and falling home sales knocked the market back, giving the S&P 500 its worst daily drop in more than a month.


Business NONE

Aetna to give away 50K Apple Watches to its employees

Aetna, a health insurer announced today that it would be offering almost 50, 000 apple watches at no cost to its employees who will participate in its wellness compensation program.

“The initiative aims at encouraging employees to live more healthy and productive lives by being able to keep in crucial check signs and keep track of their exercise progress,” said Aetna spokesperson Ethan Slavin. “It will also avail the Apple watch to some large employers and persons this fall.”

“Some select large companies are offering this program to their employees already,” he Added.

It has also been revealed that Aetna and Apple are embarking on some iOS-exclusive initiatives which are health-centered. These will be among the very first health applications designed for multiple devices.

“We are thrilled that Aetna will be helping their members and employees take greater control of their health using Apple Watch.” said Apple CEO Tim Cook In a statement. “Aetna’s new initiatives will be a powerful force towards creating better customer experiences in health care, and we look forward to working with Aetna to make them successful.”

Aetna has asserted that its sophisticated iOS-exclusive applications will be accessible early 2017 and will be centered on making health care observation simpler with its features.

In a statement made by Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini, he said that Aetna was very excited to be using iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad, making simple personalized and intuitive technology solutions that will change the health as well as well experience of their members significantly.

“This is only the beginning,” he said. “We are looking forward to using these tools to improve health outcomes and help more people achieve more healthy days.”

Business TECH_Technology

MoviePass acquires half-a-million new users in one month

MoviePass’ $10-per-month movie theater subscription service has acquired 500,000 more subscribers just one month after it reached 1.5 million users. It also seems the fact that MoviePass cut off members’ access to some popular AMC theaters had little—if any—effect. The advantages of MoviePass are hard to deny: for $10 a month (an ongoing promotion even cuts the price down to $7.95), customers can see one 2D film a day, every day, without paying extra.

In 2017, members bought $110 million worth of tickets and generated an additional $146 million in ticket sales by bringing non-members to showings. MoviePass chief Mitch Lowe said in a statement: “We’re giving people a reason to go back to the movie theaters, and they’re going in droves. With awards season here, we hope we can make Hollywood and exhibitors very happy by filling seats with eager audiences.”

However, according to Bloomberg news, some people question the viability of this subscription service. Every time a member watches a movie, the service pays for that subscriber’s ticket at full price. It loses money for members that watch two movies a month, and its accountants apparently already warned the company that its system might not be viable in the long run. AMC shares the same sentiment and once called the business model unsustainable. It’s like turning “lead into gold,” the theater chain said in a statement last year.

So, how does MoviePass plan to make money if subscribers aren’t bringing in the cash? It’s hoping to sell ads, merchandise and data on moviegoers’ habits, as well as to get a cut of theaters’ refreshment sales as they go up from all the viewers it brings to cinemas. The company is also hoping to convince theater chains to sell it tickets for its members at a discounted rate.

Whether the strategy will work remains to be seen, When MoviePass was dropped by several AMC locations, it said it would continue to strive for mutually-beneficial relationships with” them. AMC chief Adam Aron, who has has been a vocal critic of the service, already proclaimed that the chain has no intention of sharing its admissions or concessions revenues.