Business

Business
7:43 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Oil and Gas Companies Are Now Poaching Employees From Each Other

Oil rigs and tankers off the coast of Galveston
Credit https://flic.kr/p/xzPDU

The global boom in energy production driven by fracking and horizontal drilling is leading to a shortage of skilled workers. A new report by the human resources firm Mercer says two-thirds of oil and gas companies are now poaching employees from their competitors.

"The industry seems inclined when an individual is trained and developed by a competitor to, especially in the first five years of employment, go after that key talent, as opposed to training and developing their own,"  says Philip Tenenbaum, a senior partner at Mercer. 

He says in some cases, the practice has become quite overt.  

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Target Credit Breach
7:41 am
Mon May 5, 2014

In Wake Of Massive Data Breach, Target CEO Steps Down

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 10:16 am

In the wake of a massive data breach that exposed the personal information of about 70 million customers last year, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel is stepping down, the retailer's board announced in a statement Monday.

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Business
7:21 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Study: Amazon's Sales Tax Sends Shoppers Elsewhere

https://flic.kr/p/h6y7Fr

Requiring Amazon to charge state sales tax has sent many consumers looking for other tax-free options, according to a new study for the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In 2012, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs reached an agreement with Amazon to collect sales tax on items sold to Texans. Because Amazon has a "physical presence" in Texas - its distribution center in Irving - Combs said Amazon should have been collecting state sales tax on online sales. She agreed to drop her demands for $269 million in taxes if Amazon promised to create 2,500 jobs and spend $200 million in capital investments.

But after Amazon started charging sales tax in Texas, its sales in this state dropped by 11 percent, according to researchers.

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Business
3:28 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Fast-Food CEOs Earn Supersize Salaries; Workers Earn Small Potatoes

According to a new report, YUM! (owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut) compensated its CEO $22 million in 2013.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 8:09 am

At a time when fast-food workers make an average of about $9 an hour, what are the chief executives bringing home?

According to a new report, YUM! (owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut) compensated its CEO $22 million in 2013.

Chipotle's CEO took home $13.8 million in total compensation. And McDonald's CEO compensation totaled $7.7 million. (Compensation includes salary, bonus and the value of exercised options.)

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Short Term Rentals
4:08 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Airbnb To Start Charging Hotel Taxes In A Handful Of Cities

Airbnb, the online home-rental service, says it will start collecting hotel taxes in a few American cities.
Chris Weeks Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 6:13 pm

When Regitze Visby, a tourist visiting San Francisco from Denmark, searched for accommodations for her trip and saw she could stay at one of the famed "painted ladies" on Alamo Square through Airbnb, she took it.

At $135 a night, "it was a good deal," she says.

But does she know if she's paying a transient occupancy tax or a hotel tax? "I have no idea," she says.

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Business
8:26 am
Thu April 17, 2014

To Increase Productivity, UPS Monitors Drivers' Every Move

Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:11 pm

The American workforce might want to pay attention to all those brown trucks full of cardboard boxes. UPS is using technology in ways that may soon be common throughout the economy.

On the surface, UPS trucks look the same as they did more than 20 years ago, when Bill Earle started driving for the company in rural Pennsylvania.

But underneath the surface, Earle says, the job has changed a lot. The thing you sign your name on when the UPS guy gives you a package used to be a piece of paper. Now it's a computer that tells Earle everything he needs to know.

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Toy Joy Closing
4:39 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Why Some Stores Fail and Others Thrive in Austin's Second Street District

Austin's Second Street District, seen in 2010. The nascent neighborhood has seen lots of tenant turnover since it launched.
Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Update: Toy Joy was bought Monday by Fred Schmidt, owner of Wild About Music on E. Sixth Street. Schmidt told Time Warner Cable News he plans to keep the store downtown. "We're going to continue with this business as it has been — only make it more successful than it has [been] in recent years,” Schmidt said. “We're very committed to Toy Joy, its concept, its premise and what it has been in Austin for several decades now."

Original story (March 31): Toy Joy will be auctioned off today. The iconic Austin store closed its doors on March 16, after struggling for the last few years.

In 2013, the owners thought a new location in a hip part of town would help, so they moved from Guadalupe Street – close to the Drag – and into downtown’s Second Street District. But Toy Joy didn’t make it.

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Women & Personal Finance
4:38 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Lending Circles Help Latinas Pay Bills And Invest

Alicia Villanueva gives change to a customer at Off the Grid, a weekly street-food market in San Francisco.
Sarah Peet Sarah Peet Photography

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 7:50 am

As part of its Changing Lives of Women series, Morning Edition is exploring women and their relationship with money: saving, purchasing and investing for themselves and their families.

Cuban-American Barb Mayo describes a tanda like this: "It's like a no-interest loan with your friends." Mayo had never heard of tandas growing up, and it wasn't until she started working in sales for a cable company in Southern California that she was introduced to the concept.

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Technology
5:30 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

With Google's Robot-Buying Binge, A Hat Tip To The Future

A BigDog robot at Boston Dynamics in 2010. The BigDog is being developed to help soldiers carry heavy equipment in the field. It can follow a human being, walking across wet/sandy/rocky terrain, just like a dog would.
Suzanne Kreiter Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 7:56 pm

In less than a year, Google has bought more than a half-dozen robotics companies, setting the industry abuzz. But when I ask Google what it's up to with all these robots, the company won't say a thing.

"They are very careful — they haven't disclosed what they are doing," says Richard Mahoney, the director of the robotics program at SRI International, a nonprofit technology accelerator in Menlo Park, Calif. Mahoney also served on the board of Redwood Robotics, one of the companies Google bought.

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Technology
2:59 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Computers That Know What You Need, Before You Ask

Expect Labs' MindMeld app uses predictive computing to push information to us, instead of us having to ask.
Courtesy of Expect Labs

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 11:14 am

We're already giving voice instructions to virtual personal assistants, like Apple's Siri. But artificial intelligence is getting even smarter. The next wave of behavior-changing computing is a technology called anticipatory computing — systems that learn to predict what you need, even before you ask.

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SXSW 2014
3:07 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Cities And Countries Pitch Themselves At SXSW

Cities and countries are pitching themselves at SXSW as places for tourism and economic development. (Michael Samm)

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 2:16 pm

South by Southwest continues today in Austin, Tex., following yesterday’s tragic hit and run that left two people dead and 23 injured — and left many wondering if the festival that draws tens of thousands of visitors from around the world has become too big and unruly.

As the festival continues to expand, cities and countries have been sending representatives to tout their homegrown musical artists — and do a little self-promotion — with the goal of attracting new business.

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SXSW 2014
2:05 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

SXSW Puts Spotlight On Latinos In Tech

The first ever Latinos in Tech event, which took place on March 6, 2014, was founded by the Kapor Center and Esquivel McCarson Consulting. (Kety Esquivel/Esquivel McCarson Consulting)

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 1:56 pm

The interactive section of South by Southwest (SXSW) wraps up today, and for the first time it included three days of panels and discussions specifically focused on the integration of Latinos in tech.

The sessions were designed to make Latinos feel more comfortable in a field where they are underrepresented.

We hear a report from Veronica Zaragovia of KUT that for some Latinos, the results were less than satisfying.

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SXSW 2014
4:14 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

SXSW: Software, Apps Still Rule But A Hardware Resurgence Is On

A set of littleBits comes with more than 40 different types of electronic pieces that connect with magnets.
NPR

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 6:59 pm

The task of building your very own toy, or robot, or radio can seem daunting for someone without much background in engineering. But a set of color-coded electronic bits that can be magnetically snapped together called littleBits is aiming to make creating your own electronics easy for everyone. It's like Legos, if only Legos could be connected into circuits that light up, move or make music.

"Circuits in seconds," promises the outside of the box.

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Bitcoin
9:53 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox Goes Dark After Theft Report

Kolin Burges, a self-styled cryptocurrency trader and former software engineer, was among a small number of protesters outside the Tokyo offices of bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox on Tuesday.
Toru Hanai Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 3:10 pm

"The website of major bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was offline Tuesday amid reports it suffered a debilitating theft, a new setback for efforts to gain legitimacy for the virtual currency," The Associated Press reports.

Also Tuesday, all the posts had been erased from the Mt. Gox Twitter account.

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Technology
3:12 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Cool Or Creepy? A Clip-On Camera Can Capture Every Moment

The Narrative clip is a lightweight wearable camera, capable of shooting 5-megapixel images. You clip it to your lapel and it shoots two photos a minute.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 10:45 am

With digital cameras and camera phones everywhere, there are few moments we don't document. But some designers still think we're missing the opportunity to capture some important, simple moments. The solution: the Narrative Clip, a wearable camera that automatically and silently snaps an image every 30 seconds.

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Technology
1:29 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

In Austin Fiber Wars, the Little Guy Beats Google & AT&T to the Punch

An Austin arms race is afoot to deliver high speed Internet to Austin.
flickr.com/rutlo

For KUT News and Reporting Texas

Another competitor is joining the fiber arms race in Austin.

San Marcos-based Grande Communications says it will begin rolling out its own super-fast Internet service – offering speeds up to 1 gigabits per second (Gbps) – in select Austin neighborhoods starting next week. The service, which Grande is calling “Power 1000,” would cost $65 per month, with no contract or activity monitoring.

As a comparison, Internet speeds of 1 Gbps allow a user to download a full-length film in about 10 seconds, compared to over two minutes with a 50 megabits per second (Mbps), which is generally the top-tier speed offered to consumers by most Internet service providers.

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Business
12:13 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Infographic: Texas Leads the U.S. in Technology Exports, Jobs

Apple recently announced plans to manufacture the new Mac Pro in Austin, which will bring about 800 new tech jobs.
youtube.com/apple

In a neverending battle of one-upmanship it seems — for now at least — Texas has the upper hand over the rest of the nation in the tech game.  

A report from the Tech America Foundation found that Texas surpassed long-time tech export leader California with a total $45.1 billion in tech exports, compared to California's $44.8 billion in exports in 2012. Texas and California also led the nation in tech jobs with 330,977 and 328,301 jobs — 22 percent and 21 percent of the 1.4 million tech jobs in the U.S.

To illustrate the data, we've created an infographic you can see below. 

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Business
7:05 am
Wed February 5, 2014

CVS To Stop Selling Tobacco Products

Soon to be gone: Marlboro cigarettes on display at a CVS store in Pittsburgh last July.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:43 am

Saying it is "the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," the CEO of CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that the company's 7,600 pharmacies will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products by Oct. 1.

Larry Merlo also said CVS will try to help those who want to quit smoking with a "robust national smoking cessation program" at its locations.

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Technology
10:08 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Facebook At 10: Amid Doubters, Company Eyes Next Growth Phase

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told James Bennet, editor in chief of The Atlantic, in September that he wasn't worried about whether Facebook is "cool." "We're almost 10 years old, and we're definitely not a niche thing at this point," Zuckerberg said.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:12 am

Ten years ago, when Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook at Harvard, Noah Buyon was only nine years old.

Facebook started out as a site exclusively for college students, so it took Buyon a few years to find out about it. But when his older brothers got accounts, he wanted one too.

"It became kind of the cool thing to have," Buyon says. "I couldn't hold out any more — and I got it, and I've been saddled with it ever since."

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Business
7:21 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Judge Strikes Down New Braunfels' 'Can Ban'

Tubers on the Comal River before a ban on disposible containers was enacted.
Robert Nagle http://flic.kr/p/98bL

The New Braunfels "can ban" is poised to disappear.

The rule prohibits disposable food and beverage containers from the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers inside New Braunfels city limits. It was approved in a city referendum in 2011 to combat litter. Tourism businesses and a Budweiser beer distributor sued.

District Judge Don Burgess, who was assigned the case as a visiting judge after local judges recused themselves, emailed lawyers for both sides Monday, saying he intends to rule in favor of the businesses. Lawyers now have to draft competing rulings, and Justice Burgess will sign one after making any changes.

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