Servers Seized at Ukrainian Firm Where ‘Petya’ Attack Began, Charges Being Considered


On Monday, reports emerged that the head of the Ukrainian Cyber Police is seeking criminal charges against the Ukrainian tax software company that was the first victim of the crippling NotPetya malware attack. Now, it has come to light that the firm’s servers have been seized by authorities.

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On Saturday, Kevin Scheid, a Department of Defense veteran, was placed in charge of NATO’s cyber…

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Last week, a vicious piece of malware began spreading around the globe that was initially believed to be ransomware but is now understood to be a wiper. Researchers traced the origin of what’s come to be known as NotPetya back to a software firm called MeDoc. Ukraine’s most popular tax preparation software, MeDoc is one of only two programs that are officially authorized by the Ukraine government. While no one has accused the firm of intentionally spreading the worm, it’s believed that it was first pushed out through a software update to the tax software. Because it’s tax season in Ukraine, this was a very effective strategy for the hackers who are responsible.

On Tuesday, authorities raided MeDoc and seized its servers as part of an ongoing investigation into the attack. Police believe that the operation was planned months in advance, and security firm ESET has determined that a backdoor was written into WeDoc’s updates. ESET researcher Anton Cherepanov says it’s likely that the hackers who are responsible had access to WeDoc’s source code. That report traces the first injection of a backdoor vulnerability to April 14th.

Col. Serhiy Demydiuk, the head of Ukraine’s national Cyberpolice unit, has not accused anyone at MeDoc of being involved with the attack. He has said that the company was warned multiple times about potential security vulnerabilities in its systems. “They knew about it,” Demydiuk told the Associated Press. “They were told many times by various anti-virus firms… For this neglect, the people in this case will face criminal responsibility.”

The family that founded MeDoc has denied any wrongdoing. “We studied and analyzed our product for signs of hacking – it is not infected with a virus and everything is fine, it is safe,” Olesya Linnik, one of the developers of the software tells the Associated Press. “The update package, which was sent out long before the virus was spread, we checked it 100 times and everything is fine.”

Independent security analyst Jonathan Nichols confirmed on Monday that he’d found several publicly known vulnerabilities in MeDoc’s update servers. He did not test the vulnerabilities out of fear of committing a crime. He does conclude that the attack could have potentially been executed by an individual or a group that isn’t particularly skilled. That’s an important point because NATO has gone on record saying that its research points toward a state actor being responsible. And Ukrainian intelligence has accused Russian security services of masterminding the operation. The Kremlin has denied the charges.

Meanwhile, corporate victims have begun to recover from the attack and NATO has brought in new equipment to help Ukraine defend against future cyber attacks. Eighty percent of companies in Ukraine use the MeDoc software and the country’s parliament is working to extend tax deadlines in order to account for the messy disruption.

[Reuters, Associated Press, Weapons Grade Shenanigans]

from Gizmodo

Meeting the Russians Who Hope to Strike It Rich on ICOs


These Are the Russians That Hope to Strike it Rich on ICOs

“7… 00… 9… 0…  183.” I type in the secret code as printed on the flyer that I found at the Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference in Saint Petersburg the day prior. But to no avail. The steel gate to the inner-city courtyard won’t open, and the buttons I’m pressing seem like some kind of doorbell system rather than a lock anyway.

As I’m about to give it a second try — against my better judgement — two more guys show up. They want to enter too and apparently actually know how to do it. Pressing the right buttons, one of them unlocks the gate and lets me in as well. “Are you going to the Crypto Friends ICO Meetup?” I ask. The guys nod.

I try some small talk as we move our way into the courtyard.

“So, what brings you guys here. Are you investing in ICOs?”

One of them answers. His Russian accent is thick, but his English is good. He says he actually works at a company that helps businesses set up ICOs. His job is to get the message out about a new ICO, as far and wide as possible via forums, chat groups, news sites, whatever it takes. PR, basically.

“The return on investment in these ICOs is insane,” he enthuses. “Put in $10,000, and you can end up a millionaire.”

The two lead me around a corner to an inconspicuous door with another lock. Here they type in the code on the flyer: 70090183. The door opens, and we step into a small, somber hallway. A doorman sort of guy is sitting in an even smaller room to the left of us. He doesn’t look up. An elevator waits on the opposite side of the hall. We get in, and one of my companions presses the button with a five on it. It takes us to the top floor.

“Have you heard of EOS?” the other guy now asks me. I have but don’t know much about it. I tell him I know that the founder is supposed to be controversial; but I don’t know the details.

“I think it could be the next big thing,” he tells me. I nod, noncommittally. I don’t usually put money in these things.

On the top floor is another hallway. I notice that the green rubber floor is covered with arrow-shaped stickers. “Crypto friends meetup,” they read. Seems like we made it to the right place indeed. The stickers bring us to the next door. One of the guys knocks, the door opens.

A bit to my surprise, we now step into a luxurious restaurant. The light-filled rooms with big windows are decorated with antique furniture, and large framed paintings hang on the walls. The restaurant itself is relatively empty, but people have gathered in a bar area in the corner.


The Deal With ICOs

In case you are that one person who hasn’t heard of the phenomenon yet: ICOs — short for Initial Coin Offerings — have been the crypto-rage for most of 2017. They are essentially tradable digital tokens, sold as some type of company stock, but issued on a blockchain. And without most of the legal guarantees that actual company stock provides — assuming these coins can even be considered company stock at all. Maybe they’re more like gift vouchers… or something. Often, no one really knows.

Either way, companies have been issuing these ICOs to raise funds for their venture. Lots of funds. ICOs have become somewhat notorious for selling tens of millions of dollars worth of tokens within minutes, earning startups — often with little more than a whitepaper to show for themselves — valuations more appropriate for C-series funding rounds.

The phenomenon has been catching on in Russia as much as anywhere else. Some of the most successful ICO projects are being developed by Russians — although they are often officially based abroad to avoid legal trouble. MobileGo is one of them, the mobile gaming platform that raised over $50 million. Another is Waves, itself a platform for ICO tokens, which raised over $16 million. It’s Waves, founded by Moscow-based Sasha Ivanov, that is sponsoring today’s event.

Crypto Friends

Mild electronic music fills the bar area, and small groups of people — perhaps two dozen in total — stand scattered throughout, chatting. Most have a drink in their hands: beer, wine and, in particular, cocktails.

I take a seat at one of the two tables that seems reserved for the event. One other fellow is sitting at the table. He’s wearing a hoodie and shorts, even though the Saint Petersburg summer is not all that warm. He has his laptop open, his eyes focused on the screen. He looks up after a couple of minutes, so I once again try to make some small talk. He tells me he works in fintech. “Real fintech,” he emphasizes. He develops trading apps for investing.

“What we’re seeing here is a mania,” he says when I ask him about ICOs. “There is no underlying value in any of these projects. They better resemble multi-level marketing schemes than proper investments.”

He’s clearly not a fan. So I ask him why he showed up at all.

“Maybe in five months or so, it could develop into something useful,” he says. “The concept has potential, but it needs to grow into something more serious. It could potentially be an interesting mix between crowdfunding and Initial Public Offerings. Eventually.”

Another guy joins the table but doesn’t sit down. He seems to be in his thirties, casually dressed as most people are: a landscape architect, he tells me when I ask him. “I invest but only a little. To make some money on the side,” he says. “Mostly in mobile platforms or apps.” His English is a bit shaky. As a friend of his shows up, he bids me goodbye.

I watch the two of them walk away, and it’s only now that I realize that in the back of the bar area, hidden behind curtains next to the bar itself, is another doorway.

The Actual Crypto Friends

Probably at least a hundred people sit around on sofas throughout this next large, round room, filled with the fruity smoke odor of water pipes. The glass ceiling is covered with cloth to keep some of the light out, and Russian finger food is laid out on coffee tables. The walls around us are covered with paintings, books and even some handcrafted art.

Apparently the bar was just for drinks. This is where the actual meetup is. I take a seat on one of the sofas.

There’s no stage. Instead, a guy with a neat, buttoned-up shirt is standing in the middle of the room with a microphone. He’s giving what seems to be an elevator pitch. Within five minutes, the next speaker is up. And the next one some ten minutes after that.

The unofficial MC of the night has a spot on a comfortable chair in the middle of the room. Three others are sitting close him: a sort of literal inner circle. They lead the charge in asking questions after each talk. I don’t understand any of it; it’s all in Russian, of course.

During the smoke break — we’re back in the courtyard — I walk up to the MC, and ask him if he’s the organizer. He quickly turns me over to Daria, a dark-haired girl in her twenties. I had noticed her pacing around the meetup area during the talks. I learn that she has put together today’s event.

“The speakers today cover just about anything there is to know about ICOs,” she explains, when I ask her what the purpose of the meetup is. “The potential, the risks, the legal aspect of it.”

“So why are people here?” I try. “What do you think, if you’re being honest? Is it just to make a quick buck?”

“It differs,” she says. “The crowd is diverse. We’ve got programmers, professional investors, hobbyists and more.”

Though, she clearly agrees that at least some people are here just to make some easy money.

“Sure, some projects are more valid than others. And yes, there’s lots of hype. But it’s a bit like the early days of Kickstarter. Over time the hype will calm down, and this method of fundraising will prove valuable.”


As the smoke break ends, Daria and the others head back to the big round room. I decide to stick to the bar area this time. At least in there I can chat a bit.

Having bought a beer for some $7— surprisingly expensive by Russian standards — I’m killing some time on my phone when a blond man joins me at the bar. His name is Anton. He has a British accent, picked up from his studies in the U.K., he says.

“I see this as Russia’s chance to take on a leadership role in the technology sector. We’ve been trailing the U.S. and Europe too much,” he tells me, after I ask him my by-now standard question: Why are you here?

Anton is very clearly speaking from a place of passion. He stands close to me, speaking a bit too loudly. He believes in what he says.

“But we’re not just here to make money, man,” he emphasizes after I tell him I work for Bitcoin Magazine. “I don’t want you to see it like that. Blockchains are about much more than that. We’re here to transform society. And that’s important to remember.”

Anton tells me about the potential of blockchains. The typical buzzwords. Transparent. Immutable. Censorship resistant.

I feel almost nostalgic, listening to the way Anton explains himself. I remember a similar vibe from back in 2013, when I visited my first Bitcoin meetups. The air was filled with excitement. Andreas Antonopoulos’ talks were going viral for the first time. Bitcoin was gonna change the world in every imaginable way.

“Blockchain technology has the potential to make an end to corruption,” Anton says. “It can make votes impossible to forge, for example.” He says he believes the Russian political system has been rigged for decades. “Now, we can have provably fair elections.”

It makes me slightly uneasy to watch Anton’s enthusiasm, with the ICO bubble that I’ve witnessed being built up.

The Bubble… and the Potential

And it is a bubble. The valuation of many of these projects is far beyond reason, and the evidence that many of the investors have no idea what they’re putting money into is abundant. And that’s without even getting into some of the outright fraudulent claims.

In addition to that, the legal status of this whole concept is unclear. There are good arguments to be made that ICOs are really just unlicensed securities, specifically designed to skirt existing regulation. As such, regulators are bound to step in at some point — else they may as well close shop and find new careers. And when they do step in, it could mean that the ICO party is over very quickly.

At the same time, some of the genuine enthusiasm I encounter in Saint Petersburg makes me wonder if I’ve just grown cynical over the past couple of years. The cryptocurrency and blockchain space has been exhausted by scams, failures and toxicity. It’s had a bit of a disheartening effect on many, including myself.

But perhaps there’s more to this phenomenon than just scams. Who knows? Maybe the ICO strategy can break down barriers, allowing the common man to access investment markets more easily. Perhaps projects can better raise funds without caring about international borders, restrictions and regulations.

Indeed, perhaps ICOs could at one point be a fruitful “mixture between Kickstarter and IPOs.” If nothing else, the phenomenal valuations suggest that there may be untapped liquidity markets.

“In Russia we have the developers, we have good ideas, and we have the talent,” as one of the meetup attendees tried to explain. “It’s money, funding that’s hard to come by. ICOs are a chance to realize that part of the puzzle.”

Note: Some names have been changed to protect privacy and anonymity.

The post Meeting the Russians Who Hope to Strike It Rich on ICOs appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

from Bitcoin Magazine

Check out this detailed workflow comparison of Digitakt, Octatrack


One’s more compact and cheaper, one has deeper sampling capabilities and a longer history. Which Elektron drum machine is the one to buy?

We now know the flagship Octrack’s follow-up, the just-announced Octatrack MKII, shares the software and workflow with the original model. So it’s really a question of whether you want Octatrack or Digitakt. (And the Digitakt, in turn, will have to compete with the option of finding a used price on a first-gen Octatrack, too.)

Cuckoo continues to be our go-to YouTube source for insight into drum machines, and this time he goes feature by feature over the course of an hour, in depth.

There’s tons of great stuff in the video. But if you want to skip to the end, Cuckoo goes into some lovely detail about how he works with both machines.

Bottom line: Octatrack is definitely the deeper box. You can pre-load more materials, and it combines the functions of other gear.

But Digitakt, which Elektron are billing more as a sequence generator rather than an all-in-one performance machine, has its own unique character. Those limitations add a certain personality. And it might be the better option if you intend to work with other gear. (Plus, you know, all other things being equal, there’s that price.)

Still want more? In the Octatrack corner, here’s some insight into why you’d use that box for performance:

— and Elektron’s official workflow video:

For Digitakt, here’s a great jam combining that gear with Roland’s lovely TB-03 (oh, acid, how I’m addicted to thee):

— and Red Means Recording have been making a diary of Digitakt impressions:

Which way are you leaning? Or which box are you using now? Let us know in comments.

The post Check out this detailed workflow comparison of Digitakt, Octatrack appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

from Create Digital Music

13 things you can do in your 30s to live without regrets


skydiving risk danger adrenaline

The internet may be made up of millions of anonymous strangers, but those strangers can still share some pretty great life advice.

One of the most common questions to come up on Reddit’s AskReddit threads is young people asking how to live without regret.

Thousands of people have weighed in over the last several years, offering advice to people of all ages.

Here are some of the shiniest pearls of wisdom from people over 40 to people still in their 30s.

SEE ALSO: Redditors give 20-somethings advice on how to enter your 30s without regrets

"Big goals are just checkpoints and have far less punch in hindsight."

"Big goals are just checkpoints and have far less punch in hindsight. The day-to-day moments of sitting around with friends, cuddling on the couch, laughing together at a funny joke, those moments burn in memory and hold all of the real importance. Attaining or not attaining goals seems to have nothing to do with happiness. Looking back, some of my biggest failures that seemed so catastrophic at the time, feel meaningless. They are just part of my story. The people I’ve lost, I miss every day. It’s only about the people." — clickclickfizzle

"Multitasking is an oxymoron."

"I regret … living in a shallow blur, by doing too many things adequately vs. a few meaningful things really, really well.

"Multitasking is an oxymoron, and your inbox will always be full — that is its job. But being excellent in a few cherished things (playing piano, skiing, photography, whatever) gives a lasting reward." — mustlovecash

"Stay fit and healthy guys. It’s a long way back once you lose it!"

"I got married in my late 20s and really settled into a sedentary lifestyle right through my 30s. Stacked on too much weight and the lack of exercise and terrible diet now sees me having some fairly significant health issues before I even hit 45.

"Stay fit and healthy guys. It’s a long way back once you lose it!" — Ozguy23

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

from SAI

This BMW gives autonomous driving the finger!



Like designer David Olivares puts it, the iM2 will make sure there still are some skid marks in the upcoming era of autonomous cars! Designed for M enthusiasts who’ve been squeezing in their thrills before they can no longer drive a petrol car, the iM2 sacrifices luxury and range (something most electric cars are hyper-focused on) for sheer acceleration. No word on specs except that there is NO autonomous driving option!

Aesthetically, the iM2 explores a sharper silhouette as a new design direction. The straight lines, especially in the snub-nose grill section, are a bit Lexus-y but nonetheless an interesting direction for mixing up BMW’s traditionally round double-kidney nose.

Designer: David Olivares














from Yanko Design

12 Realistic Ways to Make Your First $1 Million


At first glance, building a net worth of $1 million might seem unattainable, but it’s more realistic than you think. In fact, you don’t even need a winning lottery ticket or a trust fund to join this exclusive club.

Your annual income certainly plays a role, but the way you allocate your funds actually matters more than your salary. When properly planned, a solid work ethic, responsible spending habits and savvy investing can grow your fortune to $1 million — and far beyond.

Related: The Best Career Advice From Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Other Billionaire College Dropouts

Achieving this goal will require you to make some sacrifices, but the feeling of financial security is priceless. If you’re serious about becoming a millionaire, it’s time to start making some major moves. Craft a solid game plan by incorporating some — or all — of these 12 tips into your lifestyle and get on your way to making your first $1 million.

(By Barbara Friedberg)

(Laura Woods contributed to the reporting for this article.)

A profit margin isn’t strictly reserved for businesses; it also applies to you. “By increasing the gap between what you earn and what you spend, you end up with a profit in exactly the same way a business earns a profit,” said J.D. Roth of personal finance blog Money Boss. “This profit can then be used to pursue your long-term financial goals.”

To specifically reach a million bucks, you’ll need to boost your savings rate substantially more than the normal five percent to 15 percent, said Roth. He suggested saving half of your income, and noted that you’ll have to make hard choices of deferring present spending in exchange for future financial success. For two-income families, he suggested choosing to live on one income, and saving and investing the other salary.

“Start with $10 million” is actually a joke, and it reflects how our brains tend to trick us into doing the wrong thing when investing. The best way to circumvent our “inferior mental angels” is to learn about investing, create a plan and stick with it.

Our psychology often works against us, said Kirk Chisholm, principal at Innovative Advisory Group. It’s not difficult to make a million with investing — if you start young enough and avoid psychological pitfalls, such as following the crowd.

Avoid trading in and out of your investments. Create a sound investing plan, invest through thick and thin and over time you can become a millionaire. Those who buy and sell more frequently tend to underperform compared to those who buy and hold, according to Vanguard Research.

Passion alone won’t make your first million. There’s no substitute for luck and flexibility. “Find something you are truly passionate about, become the authority and make a business out of it,” said Joseph Carbone, wealth advisor at Focus Planning Group. “Not only will you be happy, but you probably will be very successful.”

Related: How Richard Branson Built His $5 Billion Fortune

The Chipotle story illustrates this. After finishing culinary school in 1993, Chipotle founder Steve Ells was excited about starting a fine-dining restaurant. Lacking funds for the upscale place, he took a small loan from his father and opened his first Chipotle, to raise money for his exclusive restaurant. After selling 1,000 burritos in the first month, his passion for cooking veered from a high-end restaurant into a successful path to wealth, with the popular Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant chain.

Furthermore, expect to fail along the way. Don’t be surprised if there are some bumps along the way before hitting that million-dollar idea.

Getting rich can be a matter of mathematics. It’s well documented that investing in the stock market over many years, reinvesting your dividends and letting that money grow and compound can make you a millionaire. But it’s also a matter of knowing how much to invest, in what types of mutual funds and for how long.

You can find out how much you need to invest, for how long and at what return with a simple calculator. Todd Tresidder, former hedge fund manager and owner of wealth-building website Financial Mentor, developed a calculator to help with this. For example, you can calculate that if you invest $500 per month in a diversified stock market index fund — such as the Fidelity Total Market Index Fund — and earn an average 7 percent return 00 assuming a 2 percent inflation rate — you will be a millionaire in 36 years.

If Henry starts at age 25, by age 61, he’ll be a millionaire. If he starts later, he’ll need to save and invest more. If Henry chooses lower-return investments, such as money market funds or certificates of deposit (CD), he’ll have to save thousands of dollars more to compensate for those investments’ lower annual rates of return.

Regardless of the path you choose to get rich, it will take time. Investing in the stock market takes years for your money to grow and compound. Starting a business and nursing it to success doesn’t happen overnight. When it comes to the math of compounding returns, the greatest financial growth occurs in the later years.

“Making your first million will often take longer than making your second,” said Daniel Zajac, certified financial planner and partner at Simone Zajac Wealth Management Group, and founder of the blog Finance and Flips Flops. “Whether it’s through building a business, or years and years of saving, the first million is often the hardest. Stay committed, stay patient and keep your eyes focused on the goal.”

Don’t let the initial slow growth through compounding or the pitfalls of starting your own business thwart your long-term wealth aspirations. Fear and impatience can be your worst enemies when trying to make $1 million.

Investing in real estate has long been a path to wealth. However, it’s much easier to initially invest in real estate in lower-cost-of-living areas. If you live in San Francisco or New York City, you might want to invest in an up-and-coming area.

Paula Pant, owner of personal finance blog Afford Anything and resident of Atlanta, Ga., is building wealth with a real estate portfolio. Save enough to make a down payment on a rental property with a strong positive cash flow, she said. This means that after you pay the bills, there’s money left over to go into your bank account.

Over time, as you pay off the mortgage, you’ll ultimately own the property outright. Pant suggested starting with one property and repeating until you reach $1 million.

Discard the myth that millionaires all spend with abandon and live high on the hog. In the book, Millionaire Next Door, award-winning authors Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko studied how individuals became rich, and their findings were surprising.

“Many people who live in expensive homes and drive luxury cars do not actually have much wealth,” they wrote. “Then, we discovered something even odder: Many people who have a great deal of wealth do not even live in upscale neighborhoods.”

Related: 11 Mistakes Standing Between You and Your First Million

The authors found that high salaries don’t necessarily translate into high net worth. In fact, Stanley and Danko found that those who accumulated the most wealth would be considered frugal themselves, and married to conservative spenders as well. The gap between income and spending is an asset for those learning how to get rich. Think about it realistically: You can’t build wealth if you spend all that you earn — or worse yet, spend more than you earn.

The government gives you a wealth-building gift: the 401k account. Here’s how you can use it to make your first $1 million:

  • Enroll in your employer’s program and invest the maximum amount allowable by law — that’s $18,000 in 2016, and an additional $6,000 catch-up contribution for those over age 50.
  • You gain an immediate reduction in your taxable income for any contribution into the 401k. So if your income is $60,000, and you contribute $18,000, you’re only taxed on $42,000.
  • As long as the money remains in the account, it grows and compounds tax-free.

In practical terms, if you contribute $18,000 annually to your 401k, and earn 7 percent by investing in an average stock mutual fund, you will be a millionaire in 23 years. Invest less or earn a lower return, and it will take longer to make your first million.

“You don’t need to be the next Richard Branson to make your first million,” said Grant Bledsoe, founder of Three Oaks Capital Management and blogger at Above the Canopy. “Just take what the IRS gives you.”

It might sound obvious, but if you want to make your first million, choose a side gig to earn more cash. If you’re making just enough to pay for rent, food and utilities, it’s unlikely that you’ll get rich. You don’t need to be brilliant to become a millionaire, but you do need to be disciplined, hard-working and creative.

Wealthy entrepreneur and businessman Mark Cuban started creating income streams at age 12. He sold packages of trash bags so he could afford to buy the shoes he wanted, according to Biography. In high school, he peddled stamps and coins for extra cash.

He took college psychology classes in his junior year of high school, then skipped his senior year to begin college full time. This illustrates the wealth-building hustler attitude. He gave up free time and leisure to pursue his dreams. The same holds true for many millionaires.

Wealth-building is as much a mindset as anything else, so it’s important to make sure you eliminate beliefs that will work against you. If you want to make your first $1 million:

  • Don’t think anyone owes you a living.
  • Don’t expect something for nothing.
  • Don’t take on any consumer debt. If you don’t have the cash to buy something, then you don’t need it.
  • Don’t get distracted. If getting rich is your goal, persist through obstacles.
  • Don’t avoid education. Learn the skills to excel in your chosen pursuits.
  • Don’t be afraid to take on an extra side hustle.
  • Don’t keep up with the Joneses. They’re neck-deep in debt.
  • Don’t forget others. Giving seems to beget reciprocity.

If you want to learn how to make your first $1 million, it’s preferable to start when you’re younger and be patient. It’s also crucial to have fun along the way — because, ideally, that’s the point.

If you have a lot of really great ideas, take your best one and monetize it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a product or service, as long as people are willing to pay up for the benefit it offers.

For example, Spanx founder Sara Blakely became the youngest female self-made billionaire in the U.S. by inventing flattering undergarments to wear under white pants. Her net worth is currently $1.04 billion, according to Forbes.

Beanie Babies’ creator Ty Warner amassed a fortune from his stuffed animal empire. He wisely created an expansive product line and sold it in limited quantities, which caused the items to surge in popularity. Forbes estimates the former Dakin Toy Company sales rep’s net worth at $2.7 billion.

Maybe your invention solves a problem experienced by many or entertains the masses. Either way, people are willing to spend money for something that adds value to their life.

You might think a relatively small inheritance — e.g., $25,000 to $75,000 — won’t go too far, but you can really cash in by allocating the funds wisely. Marc Johnston-Roche, co-founder of Annuities HQ, acknowledged the temptation to splurge with your newfound worth, but advised investing instead.

“Work with a financial planner to create an asset allocation strategy that’s suitable for your age group,” he said. “This strategy will vary based on how much risk you’re willing to take, and how much time you’re planning to invest these funds for. It’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach, so it’s important to get some professional guidance.”

To realize significant growth, Johnston-Roche recommended leaving the funds relatively untouched for the next five to 10 years.

“Additionally, by investing your money now and letting it grow, you’ll be able to take advantage of compound interest,” he said. “Compound interest can accrue significantly over time when you reinvest earned interest rather than paying it out.”

from – Startup Business News and Articles – Starting a Business

Here’s why breaking WhatsApp and iMessage encryption is such a dangerous idea


For most people, breaking WhatsApp’s and iMessage’s security to let the government stop terrorists sounds like a reasonable idea. 

In the past we had wiretaps, after all, so what’s wrong in updating them to the modern digital era? That’s the reasoning behind some of the surveillance measures included in the “Snoopers’ Charter” — a.k.a. the Investigatory Powers Act

Among other things, it forces tech companies to hand over your web history with a retention notice and remove encryption, upon request. 

However, in this video British YouTuber Tom Scott passionately explains why forcing services like WhatsApp to break their end-to-end encryption is actually a very dangerous idea.

“The devil is in the detail,” Scott says. 

“If we could replicate the way wiretaps used to work, limited in scope and time, requiring a warrant and some physical effort, not including the history of everything that’s someone ever said and not open to repressive governments elsewhere in the world, then sure I’d absolutely be in favour of it.”

“Building an encryption backdoor isn’t impossible, but building a reasonable one is,” he concludes. 

from Mashable!

This chart shows how you’ll probably die


July 4 is approaching, so here’s a small reminder: Be safe!

Your chance of dying from a fireworks accident are small but not impossible.

Drawing from data collected by The Economist from America’s National Safety Council and the National Academies, we made this graphic that puts a healthy perspective on the chances of dying from an asteroid compared to, say, walking.

The numbers might surprise you:

BI_Graphics_Causes of death in America_2017_02

READ MORE: NASA just released a jaw-dropping 360 degree photo that makes you feel like you’re on Mars

SEE ALSO: Awe-inspiring quotes from Carl Sagan reveal how we are fundamentally connected to the cosmos

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Scientists are bashing authorities’ claims that a meteorite killed a bus driver in India

from SAI

Elektron unveils Octatrack MKII and a new would-be laptop killer is born


Elektron’s Digitakt may be small, affordable, and friendly. But Elektron followers couldn’t help noticing some features missing from the flagship Octatrack. The more elaborate sample mangling and manipulation features, plus advanced routing architecture, not to mention the crossader and signature form factor were gone.

In other words, the Digitakt is cool, but it isn’t an Octatrack. Gee, it almost seems like they were differentiating the Digitakt from a forthcoming Octatrack MKII.

Well, here it is: it’s the Octatrack MKII.elektron-octatrack-mkii-web-top

Versus the cheaper Digitakt, you get deeper sampling capabilities (as on the original Octatrack). There’s instant stereo sampling with real-time pitch shift and time stretch.

There’s the assignable crossfader, which is essential to the Octatrack’s performance capabilities.

There’s deeper assignments: three LFOs per track, two effects slots.

That all makes for an extremely powerful machine, one that could reasonably replace a laptop in a live rig. The Digitakt could be fine for sequencing and rhythm making and controlling other gear, but the Octatrack is still the go-to choice if you want to “mangle” samples. Features:

8 stereo audio tracks
8 dedicated MIDI tracks
Instant stereo sampling
Real time sample time-stretch & pitch-shift
2 × insert FX per audio track
3 × LFO per track
Live friendly Elektron sequencer
Contactless performance Crossfader
Crisp 128 × 64 OLED screen
Hi-res encoders
Durable back-lit buttons
1 × ¼” headphones output
2 × ¼” impedance balanced main output
2 × ¼” impedance balanced cue output
4 × ¼” balanced external input
1 × USB 2.0 High Speed port
W340 × D185 × H63 mm (8.5 × 7.2 × 2.5″) including knobs and rubber feet
Weight approx. 2.3 kg (5 lbs)
Fully compatible with Octatrack MKI projects/data


And Octatrack MKI owners can upgrade easily, since you can import your old projects.

But then, that raises a question: is there enough here for MKI owners to upgrade?

Mostly what’s changed is in the display, case, and mechanicals:

There’s the new, nicer-looking OLED screen and back-lit buttons and high-resolution encoders from the Digitakt. (Elektron says the buttons hold up to 50 million presses … though to be fair, I don’t know any MKI owners who have encountered issues.)

There are more dedicated buttons. One of the issues with the original Octatrack was the amount of menu-diving – and a lot of users simply didn’t grok the shortcut keys on the first model.

There are balanced audio inputs. There’s a new “contactless, silky smooth” crossfader.

And… that’s it. Maybe. Elektron haven’t said more about what the details of the OS might provide over the original, so we’ll have to learn more there.

For now, it looks like there are some notable missing features: updates to MIDI assignment, effects, and most notably, Elektron’s Overbridge technology for connection to computers see no mention.

Confirmed: Elektron says the MKII uses the same software as the MKI. That explains the missing features. As posted to their Facebook page:
“MKII will use the same software as MKI, and we will of course continue to support it.”

That’s a good news/bad news situation. The bad news is, yeah, you don’t see Overbridge or any updates to the Octatrack’s capabilities.

But the good news is, this implies that not only is a future OS update possible, but it seems it’d target both the MKI and MKII. (What surprises me, then, is that they apparently didn’t upgrade the internals – and that could mean restrictions on what the box could do. Wait for an ARM-based MKIII, maybe? Hrm….)

On the other hand, if you’ve been waiting to go this direction, the new model offers a lot. (This feels a bit like Nintendo portable game units … yeah, you might be happy with the older model if you’ve got it already, but new customers are likely to gravitate to the new shiny.)

Availability: August, €1449/$1349. That’s steeper than the AKAI MPC Live, but Elektron’s build quality is exceptional, and they’ve sometimes proven to loyalists that less can be more as far as features. It’s also still cheaper than Pioneer’s standalone drum machine/sampler.

In review:

Bad news:
No software update (meaning no new control, effects features)
No Overbridge

Good news:
Fewer key combos and more hands-on
Better hardware and display
Balanced audio outs
It’s still an Octatrack
Doesn’t break compatibility with MKI

Looking to the future:
Maybe both MKI and MKII users will get some OS update down the line

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