MasterCard Announces Plans for Contactless Credit Card

Just one day after announcing their support for Apple Pay, MasterCard has revealed their next move towards revolutionizing the payment industry: a contactless credit card. The card will use biometric data stored on the card itself to allow users to make purchases by holding their thumb on the thumbprint scanner while holding the card in front of the payment device. Analyst Gianfrancesco Genoso says this will allow users to quickly and securely make purchases without the need to slide their card or enter a pin.

MasterCard is partnering with startup company Zwipe to develop the card. Expected to be released in 2015, the card appears alongside a slew of recent products that push the payment processing industry towards a contactless future.

Following in the footsteps of Google Wallet and Apple Pay, the new card will allow users to utilize contactless pay without needing to preload the card number onto their phone. Contactless payments have major implications for the future of credit card fraud, identity theft, and cyber security.

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Mark Zuckerberg Putting Riches to Good Use

It can be easy for the average person to envy celebrities who make so much money that they throw it away on thousand dollar shirts and the like. However, when rich people such as Mark Zuckerberg use their money to make a difference in the world, their richness is more easily digested by the common folks.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, want to stop the spread of Ebola. Even with some people claiming the Ebola scare is a hoax or that we in America don’t need to worry, Zuckerberg and Chan feel it is a big enough problem to donate $25 million to the cause. Yes, that figure is correct. The couple has donated $25 million to the CDC to fight Ebola, just after making a generous donation to Keith Mann’s animal charity.

So far, there have been over 4,000 deaths attributed to the Ebola virus and over 8,000 infected. While there has only been one death in America so far, many Americans fear this is only the beginning. Only time will tell us if our fears are unfounded. A table showing the number of diagnosed cases and deaths can be seen here.

We offer a thumbs up to this generous couple for using their wealth to help those less fortunate. If all celebrities would take this as an example, the world would certainly be a better place.

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Sharp’s New, Well-Priced LCDs Can Take Almost Any Shape

Sharp, known for producing LCDs at affordable prices, has announced they have made a breakthrough on LCD displays. Their new displays can be cut in almost any shape. This has numerous applications, such as wide range camera views or safety systems.

Traditionally LCD displays are limited to rectangular shapes. These are the types of displays you see inside TV’s or smartphones. In LCD displays, each pixel is controlled by a chip. In traditional style displays these chips are located on the edge of the display.
With Sharp’s new displays the chips controlling the pixels can be nestled in between the pixels. This allows the displays to be cut in almost any shape. Unfortunately they still bear the limitation of requiring a straight edge along one side of the display. The rest can be cut in any shape, for example a curved edge.
We recently watched this Vine on Jared Haftel’s Sharp LCD through a Chromecast stream and it looked incredible.

Sharp claims that these new displays are ready for mass production, they are just waiting for orders to come in. Early concepts demonstrate the ability to advance the technology in cars. However concepts can take several years to materialize, so they most likely won’t be seen in next year’s models. Sharp says the new displays will cost more than traditional LCD displays, but did not give specifics.

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SodaStream Shares Fall Some More

For all you investors out there reading our stories, here’s a potential value play to keep an eye on. SodaStream may have come out of the starting gate strong, but as their time on the market grows longer, their profits and customer base are dwindling. The company announced their financial figures this morning and the news wasn’t promising, citing a lack of new customers on top of a decreased customer base.

Despite a reputation for being decidedly environmentally friendly, the nation’s gradual shift away from sugar loaded drinks may be to blame for the falling numbers. The company has recognized this and is trying to focus their attention on healthier alternatives. After the CEO’s announcement, the company’s share are rapidly falling today. The anticipated revenue for this year is supposed to hover around $125 million dollars; last year’s profits totaled more than $154 million. Since the announcement, the company’s shares have fallen 20%, down 45% from the beginning of the year.

SodaStream’s biggest competition comes from the nation’s biggest soda company, Coca Cola. Coca Cola has announced a collaboration with the K-Cup manufacturer to create a system where customers can make their own Coca Cola at home. Even with this future Coke/K-Cup combination, soda sales have been in steady decline for at least the past decade. The move for healthier drinks doesn’t seem to be allowing for much room in profit increase. Coca Cola only increased their profits two percent with their popular “Share a Coke” campaign.

SodaStream’s advertising consists mostly of word of mouth and existing customers, both of which don’t seem to be the trick. CEO Daniel Birnbaum says, “We have not succeeded in attracting new consumers to our home carbonation system at the rate we believe should be achieved. The third quarter results are a clear indication that we must alter our course and improve our execution across the board.”

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Detroit Turns To Extreme Bargains To Sell Homes

Detroit is in a state of crisis. But in an effort to get somebody to move to the city, they’ve taken extreme action by offering houses for remarkably low prices.

Most notably, Antjuan Wyatt picked up a 3 bedroom 1,500 house for $1,000 at an auction. Of course the house will end up costing more than $30,000 because of the repairs that will be required. But still, that’s a massive bargain for a home of that size, and in that type of condition.

But it also outlines the problem Detroit is currently having. The city had a population of around 1.8 million during their peak in the 50s. But since then the numbers have dwindled, with recent census results showing the city only has 700,000 remaining, with the numbers dwindling by the day.

I don’t know that extreme bargains are going to be the key to rejuvenating Detroit, but this certainly is an interesting tactic. Speaking to real estate expert Marnie Bennett, the situation is definitely dire, but getting new and interested homeowners into the area can be a great way to improve things dramatically.

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Will Netflix Be The End Of Movie Theaters?

For the first time, a major motion picture – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend – is set to release simultaneously in IMAX theaters and Netflix’s streaming service, excluding traditional and major theater chains such as Regal, Cinemark, and AMC Theaters.

Movies have simultaneously been released online and in theaters before, but this is a move normally reserved for smaller and independent films. In contrast, the Crouching Tiger movie is a highly anticipated sequel to the widely popular 2000 Ang Lee film which received critical acclaim and won an Academy Award.

This partnership between The Weinstein Company (distributors of the film), Netflix, and IMAX is causing quite a stir. The major theater chains are refusing to screen the Crouching Tiger film in response to essentially being the last pick on the playground. Tom Rothman’s TriStar and Sony are also said to be making their own plans.

While the movie theaters are attempting to stand their ground and claim their importance in the movie industry, this move might spell their demise. As people are increasingly relying on streaming services to watch movies, movie theater attendance has been dwindling.

This move may just be the first in a battle between the movie theater giants and streaming services, and audiences will have to stay tuned to see how it ends.

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Marriott Gets $600,000 Fine Over Hotel Wifi

Sheesh. Marriott International has been fined $600,000 by the FCC for jamming Wifi hotspots within Marriott-owned conference centers. The center that the complaint to the FCC arose from was an Opryland hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.

Frequent travelers will use Wifi hotspots to save money while away from home. Hotels can frequently charge over priced fees for mediocre Wifi connections. This can be avoided by paying $50 a month to a wireless carrier for a device that shares its internet connection with other devices. And more recently, carriers like FreedomPop even offer free data access.

At the Nashville hotel, Marriott had been blocking external internet access within its ballroom conference centers. Then it charged exhibitors and organizers up to $1000 for internet access points, who had to pay it with no other choice.

Marriott has the technology for the interest of network security and maintaining their own network. It is meant to be used to monitor for networks that interfere with their own, but isn’t intended to automatically block those networks. Marriott has agreed to pay the fine and has instructed its hotels to no longer use the technology to jam wifi hotspots.

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Full Lineup For Android Humble Bundle 2014 Announced

The Humble Indie Bundle is always a great way to support smaller development teams, while discovering some great games on the cheap. This year is no different, as the pay what you want game sale is providing you with a chance to play some of the best Android games of the last few years.

For paying anything below minimum, you gain access to 4 games. Including: Bridge Constructor Playground, Thomas Was Alone, as well as Cubemen 1 and 2. However, if you pay more than the minimum, you’ll also gain access to Small World 2, the first three games in the Blackwell series, as well as Quest of Dragons, Don’t Move and SpaceChem.

So really, there’s no reason not to spend a bit of money, support some indie devs, and get a great deal on some amazing games yourself. I wasn’t too sure about this one, but I know Brad Reifler has played most of the games on the list. When I was talking to him earlier, he said that for the price, this is a must have bargain.

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Some Great Discounts For New College Students

Considering the cost of education has only grown exponentially over the last few years, finding deals while you’re at school is essential. You’re not earning a whole lot of money yet, and you’re having to spend a ton for education, and a place to live.

So check out a few of these deals that can help you save money.

Including deals from Apple and Microsoft that help you save money on computers, laptops, tablets. Not to mention essential software like operating systems, and programs that will be a necessary part of your education throughout the school year.

But there are also some good ideas for deals on entertainment too. Going to the movies, eating out at restaurants, there are tons of great places that provide discounts to students.

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Halloween Deals For Families On A Budget

Halloween is one of the most fun holidays right? But it’s also one of the most expensive. Forcing you to shell out on costumes that you’re only going to wear once, and all of the accessories that come alongside. For some families, this is going to be a several hundred dollar experience.

But what are you supposed to do if you just don’t have that much money to shell out? How are you supposed to get the joy out of the Halloween season without spending a lot of money? Finding the right online bargains.

There are a ton of great websites that are offering some incredible deals. You can find a collection of them here.

But some of the standouts include Halloween Express, which is offering 15% off all orders, and an extra 20% off if you sign up for their email mailing list.

Spirit Halloween provides you with free shipping on orders of $25 or more. Plus Costume Craze has a deal going on for 25% off and more on select costumes.

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