Rogers Launches “Suretap” NFC Payment

Press Release

Rogers customers can change the way they pay with the launch of the suretap(TM) wallet

Canada NewsWire TORONTO, April 11, 2014 Customers can now leave their cash at home and use their smartphones to make everyday purchases

TORONTO, April 11, 2014 /CNW/ – Canadians are about to think differently about cash, cards and their bulky wallets. Today, Rogers is launching the suretap wallet, a new application that lets customers use their smartphones to make payments at tens of thousands of retailers across the country. With the suretap wallet, customers can safely store eligible payment cards on their smartphone and make purchases by simply holding it up to contactless payment terminals, just like they do today with plastic credit and debit cards.

“Our customers are inseparable from their smartphones, and we know they are ready and want to use them to make payments. With the suretap wallet, their smartphones and wallets will now be one and the same,” said Jeppe Dorff, Vice-President, Transaction Services, Rogers Communications. “Now thousands of our customers across the country can make simple, secure and fast payments using their smartphones instead of fumbling through their wallets to find their payment cards.”

Starting today, customers can add multiple cards to their suretap wallet including a Rogers Prepaid MasterCard that can be topped up with funds for mobile payments. Also available for purchase are gift cards from leading Canadian food and beverage merchants and retailers including Swiss Chalet, Milestones Grill and Bar, Montana’s Cookhouse, Harvey’s, Kelsey’s, Indigo, Earls Restaurants, Ardene, and Spafinder Wellness 365. In the future, the suretap wallet application will offer more retailer gift cards, as well as store loyalty cards, coupons and ID cards.

Within the suretap wallet application, customers can add funds to their prepaid card, check account balances, view transaction history and use location-based features to find retailers nearby that accept contactless payments. The application is available for download on select Android and BlackBerry 10 smartphones that include near-field-communications capabilities.

Customers can have the peace of mind that their payment information and passcodes are securely stored on the suretap wallet’s SIM card. The wallet is backed by technology that lets customers make payments anywhere in the world that contactless payments are accepted. For merchants and retailers, accepting mobile payments with the suretap wallet means no additional or new fees.

To learn more about the suretap application including suretap-ready devices and the features and functionality of the wallet, visit http://www.rogers.com/suretap.

T-Mobile Ends Overages on all Consumer Plans

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Press release:

T-Mobile Abolishes Consumer Overages, Challenges Other Wireless Providers to Follow Suit

Legere Starts Petition for Consumers to Call on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to End Overages

BELLEVUE, Wash. – April 14, 2014 – T-Mobile US, Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) today shifted the national conversation on wireless to a new level, unveiling its latest Un-carrier move – a campaign to eliminate overage penalties, one of the most reviled wireless industry practices. While abolishing overages for all customers on T-Mobile consumer plans, its CEO has also laid down a challenge to the nation’s largest carriers, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, to do the same.

More than 20 million Americans were hit with punitive overage charges in 2013. And these penalties from the three largest U.S. carriers take more than an incredible $1 billion out of consumers’ pockets every year.

“Today I’m laying down a challenge to AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to join T-Mobile in ending these outrageous overage penalties for all consumers – because it’s the right thing to do,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “Overage fees are flat out wrong. Agree with me? Join me in putting this challenge to all the major national carriers by signing my petition on Change.org. Right here. Take one minute to be a part of this consumer movement.”

Last year, T-Mobile banished annual service contracts and began phasing out overage charges with the launch of Simple Choice. T-Mobile’s stance against annual service contracts is now well known by consumers, and today it’s taking on the even more unpopular and unjustified practice of slamming consumers with surprise bills in the form of overages charges.

“Charging overage fees is a greedy, predatory practice that needs to go,” continued Legere. “Starting in May for bills arriving in June – regardless of whether you’re on Simple Choice, Simple Starter or an older plan, we’re abolishing overages for good. Period.”

Traditional carriers’ entry-level plans lure customers in with a low monthly fee for a fixed amount of domestic minutes, texts or data. Once consumers go over those limits – even by a little – they’re hit with much higher rates, often dramatically higher. These plans are purpose-built to drive customers over that invisible line into massive overage charges. The result has been a culture of fear, worry and surprise every time the wireless bill arrives. For example, an individual on AT&Ts entry-level plan, advertised at $45 per month, will pay $125 if he uses just the average amount of data for a U.S. smartphone user (1.5 GB per person).

“The worst thing about these overage fees is that they’re often inflicted on those who can least afford them,” added Legere. “As an advocate for consumers, we’re putting a stop to that. I personally won’t be satisfied until we obliterate this shameful practice from the entire wireless industry.”

To give a voice to U.S. wireless consumers, Legere has started an online petition at Change.org/AbolishOverages calling on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to end overages. You are invited to sign the petition and add your voice to the growing movement to rid the wireless industry of domestic overages once and for all.

For more information, visit the T-Mobile Newsroom, download T-Mobile b-roll or read John Legere’s blog about today’s announcement.

Overage estimates from third party bill screening report surveying over 20,000 wireless customers multiplied by major U.S. carriers’ reported postpaid subscribers. No overages for U.S. domestic calls, texts, and data usage only. Visit a T-Mobile store for details. As always, we encourage customers to review their plans and features, and talk with our retail associates to make sure their current wireless service gives them everything they need.

Yonkers Science Barge

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If you have been to the Yonkers water front, across from some of the new high rise condos/apartments on Alexander Street, you will have seen the Yonkers Science Barge. It is anchored across from  the Palisades in NJ on the Hudson River.  It offers spectacular views and is worth a visit to check out what floats and grows on it. The official opening day  for 2014 is April 12, when Mayor Mike Spano will open the barge to the public.  Take a look at some photos from/of  and on the Science Barge:

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“The Science Barge is an itinerant floating science museum now docked in Yonkers, New York, USA. It also functions as a working urban farm, operated by the sustainable development organization Groundwork Hudson Valley.  The barge was designed by visionary environmental engineer Ted Caplow of the New York Sun Works Center for Sustainable Engineering.[1] The Science Barge grows crops using a hydroponic greenhouse powered by solar panelswind turbines, and biofuels. The crops in the greenhouse are irrigated by captured rainwater and desalinated river water. Food is grown without carbon emissions, no agricultural waste is discharged into the watershed and no pesticides are used.” *

“The Science Barge is a prototype sustainable urban farm operated as an environmental education center. The Science Barge greenhouse, floating on the Hudson River, grows an abundance of fresh produce including tomatoes, melons, greens, and lettuce with zero net carbon emissions, zero pesticides, and zero runoff. All of the energy needed to power the Barge is generated by solar panels, wind turbines, and biofuels while the hydroponic greenhouse is irrigated solely by collected  rainwater and purified river water, thus operating completely “off the grid.” It is the only fully functioning demonstration of renewable  energy supporting sustainable food production in New York. It is now docked in downtown Yonkers just north of the Yonkers Pier.” **

The director of the science barge is Robert M. Walters.

 

 

 

References: * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_Barge

** http://www.groundworkhv.org/programs/science-barge/

 

Tom Andres The Telescopic Photographer Connected To Me

By Fernando Commodari, Ph.D.

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Today (April 11, 2014 EST), in Tibbetts Brook Park, I met Tom who works part time at the NY Botanical gardens. Read on to see how the story changes when taking the time to talk with a “stranger”. He spends a good deal of his time photographing “anything that moves, and some things that don’t.”  The non-moving objects are things like flowers. He enjoys photographing the birds with his 300 * 2 fixed 600 mm Nikon DSLR shown above.

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Tom also, recently got a phantom 2 vision drone. He uses it to take aerial photos and is just experimenting with it. The drone has a wide-angle lens that can see 140 Degrees and records 14 Megapixel at F2.8.

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Now, the story changes. I met Tom in the park. I was intrigued by his serious stance behind his monopod, and I hesitantly approached him, almost passing on the opportunity. In the course of our conversation he told me he was from Baltimore. I told him that I lived just outside of Charm city in the mid 1990s while working at the Nathan Shock Laboratory (Gerontology Research Center http://www.grc.nia.nih.gov ) of the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As it turns out, Tom’s late father, Dr. Reubin Andres, was the director for the first part of my visiting fellowship. I remember fondly, working at the cutting edge, in developing NMR micro imaging as a tool for studying small animals noninvasively. Dr. Andres was a jovial man who looked like Santa Claus, with a reddish grey beard. I met, and keep in touch with people from all over the world. As fate would have it, Tom and I were destined to meet today. Today, I made a new friend already connected to my past. Here are some of Tom’s photos:

From Tibbetts Brook Park, Yonkers, NY:

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His drone shot of Bartow-Pell Mansion (http://www.bartowpellmansionmuseum.org):

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If anyone would like to have an aerial photograph of their property or whatever he can do it for around $100 and may be reached at:  Tom@Andres.com

Here is a link to Dr. Reubin Andres’ obituary:

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/10/01/health/reubin-andres-an-advocate-of-weight-gain-dies-at-89.html

I’m glad that I worked through my hesitation to talk to a “stranger” who, as fate would have it, was connected to me in ways I could not have imagined.

Sandy the Japanese Shiba Inu

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Sandy #japanese #shiba inu #TibbettsBrookPark. @akcdoglovers. What is your dog’s breed? What do you like about its “personality”?

Sandy with master Jed:

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Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)
The Shiba Inu (柴犬 ?) is the smallest of the six original and distinct spitz breeds of dog from Japan.

A small, agile dog that copes very well with mountainous terrain, the Shiba Inu was originally bred for hunting.[1][2] It is similar but smaller than the Akita. It is one of the few ancient dog breeds still in existence in the world today.[3]

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiba_Inu

Letter From BlackBerry CEO to T-Mobile Customers

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Dear BlackBerry customer:

As a valued customer, I wanted to make you aware of recent changes in our relationship with T-Mobile US, Inc. and how those changes affect you and your service. Today, after careful deliberation, we announced that BlackBerry is not renewing T-Mobile US’s license to sell BlackBerry products when the license expires on April 25 of this year. We did not make this decision lightly, and we are acting to protect the best interests of our customers.

Please be assured that as a current T-Mobile US customer, your BlackBerry smartphones will continue to work after April 25, and you should see no interruption to your service. BlackBerry will work closely with T-Mobile to provide the best possible customer service to any customer remaining on the T-Mobile US network or to any customer purchasing devices from T-Mobile’s existing inventory.

BlackBerry is working closely with other carriers to provide you with alternatives should you decide to remain with BlackBerry for your long-term device and service needs. We encourage you to visit these carriers for current offers on the latest BlackBerry devices.

Also, for a limited time, you can enjoy $100 off a BlackBerry smartphone at shopblackberry.com when entering promotion code BLACKBERRY1.*

We are deeply grateful to you as a loyal BlackBerry customer, and will do everything in our power to ensure a smooth transition should you choose another carrier.
Learn more
Sincerely,

John Chen
CEO and Executive Chairman
BlackBerry

*Offer expires May 31, 2014. Valid in U.S. only. Coupon only valid towards the purchase of a BlackBerry Q5, Q10 or Z10 smartphone. Quantities are limited. Limit one coupon per customer and two smartphones per customer. Offer subject to change without notice. No cash value, void where prohibited or restricted by law.

This commercial message was sent by or on behalf of BlackBerry Limited (“BlackBerry”).

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BlackBerry Q4 and End of Year Results For Fiscal 2014

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Press Release

BlackBerry Reports Fourth Quarter and Year-End Results for Fiscal 2014

BlackBerry Reports Fiscal Fourth Quarter Adjusted Loss Per Share of $0.08 vs. $0.67 in Previous Quarter

WATERLOO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – March 28, 2014) – BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ:BBRY)(TSX:BB), a global leader in mobile communications, today reported financial results for the three months and fiscal year ended March 1, 2014 (all figures in U.S. dollars and U.S. GAAP, except where otherwise indicated).

Q4 Highlights:

Cash and investments balance of $2.7B at the end of the fiscal fourth quarter
Adjusted Q4 gross margin of 43%, up from 34% in the prior quarter
Channel inventory down 30% from the prior quarter
Reduced adjusted operating expenses by approximately 51% from Q1FY14
Revenue for the fourth quarter of approximately $976 million
Q4 Results

Revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 was approximately $976 million, down $217 million or 18% from approximately $1.2 billion in the previous quarter and down 64% from $2.7 billion in the same quarter of fiscal 2013. The revenue breakdown for the quarter was approximately 37% for hardware, 56% for services and 7% for software and other revenue. During the fourth quarter, the Company recognized hardware revenue on approximately 1.3 million BlackBerry smartphones compared to approximately 1.9 million BlackBerry smartphones in the previous quarter. During the fourth quarter, approximately 3.4 million BlackBerry smartphones were sold through to end customers, which included shipments made and recognized prior to the fourth quarter and which reduced the Company’s inventory in channel. Of the BlackBerry smartphones sold through to end customers in the fourth quarter, approximately 2.3 million were BlackBerry 7 devices.

GAAP loss from continuing operations for the fourth quarter was $423 million, or $0.80 per share diluted. The loss includes a non-cash charge associated with the change in the fair value of the Debentures of approximately $382 million (the “Q4 Fiscal 2014 Debentures Fair Value Adjustment”), a pre-tax recovery of previously recorded inventory charges of approximately $149 million (the “Q4 Fiscal 2014 Inventory Recovery”) and pre-tax restructuring charges of approximately $148 million related to the Cost Optimization and Resource Efficiency (“CORE”) program. This compares with a GAAP loss from continuing operations of $4.4 billion, or $8.37 per share diluted in the prior quarter, and GAAP income from continuing operations of $94 million, or $0.18 per share diluted, in the same quarter last year.

Adjusted loss from continuing operations for the fourth quarter was $42 million, or $0.08 per share diluted. Adjusted loss from continuing operations and adjusted diluted loss per share exclude the impact of the non-cash Q4 Fiscal 2014 Debentures Fair Value Adjustment of approximately $382 million ($382 million after tax), the Q4 Fiscal 2014 Inventory Recovery of approximately $149 million ($106 million after tax), and pre-tax restructuring charges of approximately $148 million ($105 million after tax) related to the CORE program incurred in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014. These impacts on GAAP loss from continuing operations and diluted loss per share from continuing operations are summarized in the table below.

The total of cash, cash equivalents, short-term and long-term investments was approximately $2.7 billion as of March 1, 2014, compared to $3.2 billion at the end of the previous quarter. Cash flow used in operations in the fourth quarter was approximately $553 million. Cash flows provided by financing activities in the fourth quarter were approximately $251 million, which includes the additional issuance of $250 million of convertible debentures. Cash flows used in investing activities included intangible asset additions of approximately $243 million. Purchase obligations and other commitments amounted to approximately $1.9 billion as at March 1, 2014, with purchase orders with contract manufacturers representing approximately $586 million of the total.

“I am very pleased with our progress and execution in fiscal Q4 against the strategy we laid out three months ago. We have significantly streamlined operations, allowing us to reach our expense reduction target one quarter ahead of schedule,” said John Chen, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BlackBerry. “BlackBerry is on sounder financial footing today with a path to returning to growth and profitability.”

Outlook

The Company anticipates maintaining its strong cash position and continuing to look for opportunities to streamline operations. The Company is targeting break even cash flow results by the end of fiscal 2015.

Reconciliation of GAAP gross margin, gross margin percentage, loss from continuing operations before income taxes, loss from continuing operations and diluted loss per share from continuing operations to adjusted gross margin, adjusted gross margin percentage, adjusted loss from continuing operations before income taxes, adjusted loss from continuing operations and adjusted diluted loss per share from continuing operations:

(United States dollars, in millions except per share data)

Note: Adjusted gross margin, adjusted gross margin percentage, adjusted loss from continuing operations before tax, adjusted loss from continuing operations and adjusted diluted loss per share from continuing operations do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by GAAP and thus are not comparable to similarly titled measures presented by other issuers. The Company believes that the presentation of these non-GAAP measures enables the Company and its shareholders to better assess the Company’s operating results relative to its operating results in prior periods and improves the comparability of the information presented. Investors should consider these non-GAAP measures in the context of the Company’s GAAP results.

During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, the Company reported GAAP gross margin of $553 million or 57% of revenue. Excluding the impact of the CORE charges included in cost of sales and the Q4 Fiscal 2014 Inventory Recovery, the adjusted gross margin was $421 million, or 43%.
As part of the Company’s ongoing effort to streamline its operations and increase efficiency, the Company commenced the CORE program in March 2012. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, the Company incurred charges related to the CORE program of approximately $148 million pre-tax, or $105 million after tax. Substantially all of the pre-tax charges are related to one-time employee termination benefits, facilities and manufacturing costs. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, charges of approximately $17 million were included in cost of sales, charges of approximately $21 million were included in research and development and charges of approximately $110 million were included in selling, marketing, and administration expenses.
During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, the Company recorded a non-cash charge associated with the change in the fair value of the Debentures of approximately $382 million. This adjustment was presented on a separate line in the Statements of Operations.
During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, the Company recorded a recovery of previous charges against inventory and supply commitments of approximately $149 million, or $106 million after tax, to reflect increased sell through rates, relative to the estimates and assumptions previously considered, resulting from discounted pricing and revised orders on hand for devices and components of BlackBerry 10 products.
Fiscal 2014 Results

Revenue from continuing operations for the fiscal year ended March 1, 2014 was $6.8 billion, down 38% from $11.1 billion in fiscal 2013. The Company’s GAAP net loss from continuing operations for fiscal 2014 was $5.9 billion, or $11.18 per share diluted, compared with GAAP net loss from continuing operations of $628 million, or $1.20 per share diluted in fiscal 2013. Adjusted net loss from continuing operations for fiscal 2014 was $711 million, or $1.35 per share diluted. Adjusted net loss from continuing operations and adjusted diluted loss per share for fiscal 2014 exclude the pre-tax impacts of an LLA impairment charge of $2.7 billion ($2.5 billion after tax), the Q4 Fiscal 2014 Inventory Recovery of $1.6 billion ($1.3 billion after tax), the Z10 inventory charge of $934 million ($666 million after tax), the Q4 Fiscal 2014 Debentures Fair Value Adjustment of $382 million ($382 million after tax), charges of $512 million ($398 million after tax) related to the Company’s CORE program and strategic review process and the Q4 Fiscal 2014 Inventory Recovery of $149 million ($106 million after tax). These charges and their related impacts on GAAP net loss from continuing operations and diluted loss per share from continuing operations are summarized in the table below.

Reconciliation of GAAP gross margin, gross margin percentage, loss from continuing operations before income taxes, loss from continuing operations and diluted loss per share from continuing operations to adjusted gross margin, adjusted gross margin percentage, adjusted loss from continuing operations before income taxes, adjusted loss from continuing operations and adjusted diluted loss per share from continuing operations:

(United States dollars, in millions except per share data)

Note: Adjusted gross margin, adjusted gross margin percentage, adjusted loss from continuing operations before tax, adjusted loss from continuing operations and adjusted diluted loss per share from continuing operations do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by GAAP and thus are not comparable to similarly titled measures presented by other issuers. The Company believes that the presentation of these non-GAAP measures enables the Company and its shareholders to better assess the Company’s operating results relative to its operating results in prior periods and improves the comparability of the information presented. Investors should consider these non-GAAP measures in the context of the Company’s GAAP results.

As part of the Company’s ongoing effort to streamline its operations and increase efficiency, the Company commenced the CORE program in March 2012. Further, the Company announced the formation of a special committee to conduct an organizational strategic review on August 12, 2013. During fiscal 2014, the Company incurred approximately $512 million in total pre-tax charges related to the CORE program and strategic review process. Substantially all of the pre-tax charges are related to one-time employee termination benefits, facilities and manufacturing costs related to the CORE program and legal and financial advisory costs related to the strategic review process. During fiscal 2014, pre-tax charges of approximately $103 million were included in cost of sales, charges of approximately $76 million were included in research and development and charges of approximately $333 million were included in selling, marketing, and administration expenses.
During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, the Company recorded a non-cash charge associated with the change in the fair value of the Debentures of approximately $382 million. This adjustment was presented on a separate line in the Statements of Operations.
During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, the Company recorded a recovery of previous charges against inventory and supply commitments of approximately $149 million, or $106 million after tax, to reflect increased sell through rates, relative to the estimates and assumptions previously considered, resulting from discounted pricing and revised orders on hand for devices and components of BlackBerry 10 products.
During the third quarter of fiscal 2014 the Company performed a long-lived asset impairment test and based on the results of that test, the Company recorded a non-cash LLA Impairment Charge of approximately $2.7 billion pre-tax, or $2.5 billion after tax.
During the third quarter of fiscal 2014, the Company recorded a primarily non-cash, pre-tax charge against inventory and supply commitments of approximately $1.6 billion, or $1.3 billion after tax, which was primarily attributable to BlackBerry 10 devices.
During the second quarter of fiscal 2014, the Company recorded a primarily non-cash, pre-tax charge against inventory and supply commitments of approximately $934 million, or $666 million after tax, which was primarily attributable to BlackBerry Z10 devices.

Conference Call and Webcast

A conference call and live webcast will be held beginning at 8 am ET, which can be accessed by dialing 1-800-814-4859 or through your BlackBerry® 10 smartphone, personal computer or BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet at http://ca.blackberry.com/company/investors/events.html. A replay of the conference call will also be available at approximately 10 am by dialing (+1)416-640-1917 and entering pass code 4612572# or by clicking the link above on your BlackBerry® 10 smartphone, personal computer or BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet. This replay will be available until midnight ET April 11, 2014.