Monday, 18 April 2011

Visa Offers New 'Combi-Card' to Dubai

Dubai riders will soon get to use a new type of Visa card known as 'Combi-card' for paying fares on buses, trains and water taxis. People just need to swipe the 'Combi-Card' in stores or touch against sensors fitted on buses or trains and to parking meters to enjoy their rides. This is the first time such a 'Combi-card' is to be made available in the Middle East.

Elizabeth Buse, the group executive for Visa in the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Central Europe believes, "We see transit as a huge opportunity. Consumers make transit transactions so frequently; it keeps Visa top of mind and top of wallet. It will increase our transactions, not just in the transit arena but in general, as this becomes people's primary payment device".

The new type of Visa card will be available in the coming months to those who qualify for credit cards through Emirates NBD. The Combi-card is a part of Visa's broader strategy to capitalise on different growth markets in the UAE and in the Middle East.

Apple to Sell Square Payment Readers

Jack Dorsey owned Square credit card readers are available at Apple online stores and in-store retail locations. The Square credit card reader accepts credit cards on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch with no contract, monthly fees or merchant account required.

As TechCrunch reports, "Apple will start selling Square credit card readers across all of its U.S. retail stores starting this week". The news comes as a great boost to Square founders, with the card reader already handling over $1 million in payments per day.

According to TechCrunch, Apple has teamed up with Square in offering training sessions at Apple stores, where users will get to learn how to use the card reader.

USA Announced National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace

In a press conference, The United States Department of Commerce unveiled its National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace or NSTIC. Through the strategy, both the US government and the private sectors will work towards increasing online security and strengthening the online confidence of consumers.

At the conference, various statistics were presented to justify partnership of the public and private sectors in terms of online security. On an average, $10 trillion is spend in online business per year, which includes paying bills, purchasing music and movies and ordering various goods from online shops.

Statistics showed usernames and passwords have failed to protect customer's online identity, leading to at least 8 million US adults fall victims to cyber fraud.

Some nations across the world are trying to solve the problem of online identity and security by implementing a national ID card. However, the Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said, United States government will not implement such a card scheme since it would be in conflict with civil liberties and privacy of citizens.

SCM Microsystems to Deliver 10,000 German eHealth Terminals

SCM Microsystems today announced that it has received its first orders for 10,000 eHealth terminals to support the re-launch of the electronic health card program in Germany. SCM has begun shipping both its eHealth200 desktop and eHealth500 mobile health card terminals for the program, which involves the deployment of more than 80 million electronic health insurance cards to German citizens.

The German eHealth card program began in 2009, and after being suspended in 2010, was re-launched in April 2011. SCM's eHealth readers are certified by the German healthcare oversight organisation (gematik) and the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) as meeting the strict security and performance requirements of the eHealth program.

"From the beginning, SCM has worked closely with the German security and healthcare industries to develop eHealth terminals that address the needs of doctors, patients and all others affected by the rollout of the electronic health card in Germany," said Dr. Manfred Mueller, chief executive officer of SCM Microsystems. "Now that the eHealth program is finally underway, we are ready to deliver products with state-of-the-art, certified technology."

NXP Offers New ARM Cortex-M0 based MCUs

NXP Semiconductors N.V. has introduced a new 32KB Flash ARM Cortex-M0 based LPC11U00 microcontroller. The new USB 2.0 controller supports smart card interface and is designed for consumer electronics and mobile devices. The device features 4 system timers with PWM functionality, 8 channel 10-bit ADC and up to 40 GPIOs.

Geoff Lees, vice president and general manager, microcontroller product line, NXP Semiconductors said: "The LPC11U00 series provides a compelling replacement for 8- and 16-bit USB microcontrollers, delivering robust USB performance at a sub-dollar price point. The highly flexible USB architecture we're introducing in the LPC11U00 is quite simply a better approach to USB".

The new LPC11U00 microcontroller provides up to 10 configurable physical endpoints with flexible user-defined buffer architecture management, a faster post-processing of USB data, and a robust asynchronous USB operation. CPU gets direct access to USB packets since the endpoint buffers do not reside within the USB domain but in system SRAM space. The device is especially useful for protocol converters such as UART-to-USB and SPI-to-USB bridges where data needs to be quickly transferred between serial interfaces.

Facebook Giving User Data to Advertisers: A Report

Popular social networking site Facebook is selling off its users' profile, status updates, messages and other relevant personal information to advertisers in a bid to help the advertisers find lucrative clients. According to some analysts, the unique strategy taken up by Facebook could open up a vulnerable market to advertisers henceforth unexploited.

For instance, when a user is changing its relationship status from single to engaged, then a host of ads from local wedding planners and caterers keeps on coming as and when the person log-in his/her profile. Similarly, middle-aged men who list motorcycling as one of their hobbies could receive pitches from Victory Motorcycles.

However, privacy watchdogs believe the personal data of users are meant to be shared among friends only, and Facebook should not track the details down and give it to the advertisers for grabbing market share and ripping benefits.

Facebook's first experiment (in 2007) with paid ads was a flop. David Fischer, Facebook's vice president of advertising and global operations, said: "Facebook delivers ads that are relevant to users' lives".

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