New Era of Troubles or Prosperity

New Era of Troubles or Prosperity

Whenever world leaders speak, who will not take heed? Yes, during the much- touted world energy Summit, the top six dealers in the industry spoke up. They assured us that by the turn of the year the overall cost of oil would stabilize and everyone would cheer up. Indeed, the leaders assured the world that the era of oil accidents and spillage is now truly over. Things would soon be great, the gurus authoritatively announced.

At the summit, some of the keynote speakers were brokers and leaders who are highly respected within and without the oil industry. These leaders did not mince words. They clearly indicated that the oil business and industry had gradually fallen back into a safe zone, which is marked by greater equalization. This news of stability in the oil sector was greeted with jubilation everywhere.

Further, the leaders indicated at the summit that higher interest rates were now less anticipated. They said that the world supply of oil would soon exceed the expectations in the following few months. Interestingly, most of the dealers who attended the summit seemed to agree with the overall position of the world business and industry leaders.

At the same time, experts in this matter noted that the only way for the oil business to stabilize well was to ensure the rebalancing of the essential elements of oil business was properly done. The world oil supply and demand levels would need to be properly equalized for everything to turn out well. Unless this was done, the leaders predicted that stakeholders should expect lots of instability going forward. They noted that the pattern of good tidings was, however, beginning to be clear.

The business participants, to illustrate their point, noted that the Brent raw petroleum, which is the benchmark universally, had already hit a high by producing oil worth $43.58 a barrel. It is interesting that the organizations that participated in this summit collectively exchange a daily supply of oil to care for the needs of approximately 1/5th of the world’s population. The gurus were confident that the two-year value breakdown was already well set on its way.

When contacted, some leading dealers expressed a guarded optimism about the evolving fate of the world oil industry. They said that unless something happened fast, the bad fortunes of the past years would soon be back. By the time the third quarter ended, they said, the world oil supply and demand would reach the much-sought-after intersection.

Who can blame these leaders for not being completely optimistic about the world’s economic fortunes and the oil economy in general? Notably, past optimism with regards to these matters were not vindicated in the final analysis. It would take quite a few days, months or years for the world fortunes to change drastically, against all expectations. Yes, the vagaries of the economic weather can never be overstated.

In this forum, the Mercuria CEO estimated that the average costs stood at under $30 per barrel as the year started. He said that this had boosted the world oil health, leading to greater venture reductions. The CEO explained that the fact that oil prices had already fallen to about $28 barrel was an indicator of better days ahead. He said that this was, indeed, a good sign for the fortunes of crude oil because the future costs typically fell faster than the present costs.

At the summit, the head of the Glencore Oil expressed a point of alert to all stakeholders. He said that the world supply and demand factors were expected to change in the next half of the trading calendar. Regardless, the refined stockpile of items were noted to have generously expanded ever since the costs started tumbling downwards, falling from the initial price $100 per barrel earlier in the year.

The CEO explained that it was necessary for things to improve within the industry. For this to happen, however, he reminded the stakeholders that an expansive stockpile of the commodity would have to be worked through but the signs did not seem to be good. A major battle lay ahead.

The world’s leading autonomous dealer told participants at the summit that the business sector was fast moving towards a superior level of parity. Further, he said, the world’s top makers of the product would probably discover the consent to halt the yield in the following few weeks of the summit.

Steps to Deal with Cyber Threats

Steps to Deal with Cyber Threats

Today, we are blessed with plenty of new technological advancements that were a pipedream just a few decades back. But, as you may guess, new technology inevitably comes with risks and curses. Just look at the recent high-profile ransomware attacks by REvil group hitting one million systems resulting in the largest-ever ransom demand of $70 million. In fact, we need to understand the risks that come with the blessings of modern technology. Get ready, it will not take long before you start dealing with big challenges that come with the advent of new technological advances.

For instance, you must be aware of the frightening term ‘malware.' However, are you also familiar with the term ‘ransomware'? Well, this is a kind of malicious software that is used to encrypt data on a computer or smartphone.

What next? What if those who designed this technology suddenly demanded a ransom before you could regain access to your computer, smartphone, tablet or other device? Isn't such a prospect frightening? Well, you are not just reading some entertaining fiction here. No. This has already happened.

In 2015, a report by the Intel security showed that the incidences and rate of installations of ransomware were taking alarming dimensions. The rates had frighteningly increased by a whopping 26% in just 12 months leading to the release of that report.

How much does this smart racket rake in for the clever culprits? The FBI reported that the criminal gangs that initiate ransomware attacks were raking in a whopping $150 million every year from their dirty game. The FBI said that there were at least six million known attempts to install such malware on several computer systems spread across the world.

The report by the FBI did not, however, give an estimate on the overall value of the damage suffered by victims. Notably, most attacks by the ransomware racket involve not only a ransom demand but also real threats of damage or data leaks if the victims failed to pay up. What kind of threats were spewed out in the attempt to extort money from innocent victims in the cyber space?

If you are a respectable business owner, for instance, the racketeers would threaten that if you failed to pay the money demanded within a certain time frame, they would viciously send adult messages to all your customers, thus ruining your business. Alternatively, they would send graphic pornographic material to all your friends, relatives and acquaintances. Lately, the criminals are seemingly able to do this using innocent Microsoft word documents.

Why is this crime steadily growing? This practice is escalating because the software used by the gangs can be obtained easily online. Moreover, it is cheap. Further, the practice has been boosted by the entry of bitcoin payment into the fray. Why? You can pay the criminals while they remain incognito. This is because bitcoin payments are essentially so; the one receiving the money remains anonymous and virtually untraceable. This situation has helped not only the malware peddlers but also several other forms of cybercrime.

Who are generally targeted? Well, the so-called ‘soft targets'. These are typically small network or individual computers with relatively low levels of protection. In simple terms, these are vulnerable targets. Often, these kind of businesses don't even have protection in form of a firewall. But there is some good news in relation to this. You can easily get an effective protection for your computer to deal with such potential or real threats. What can you do about this immediately?

Simple. Carry out a backup of your whole computer system at least once every three months. As a suggestion, you can do this every month for a business computer. You can do this every three months if you are dealing with a personal computer. In case a ransomware attack occurs suddenly, it will become easy to deal with it. All you have to do is restore your computer immediately by means of such a backup. Doing this, you will defeat the ransom schemes instantly. At this point, the threats are rendered impotent. You, however, need to take further steps and do more to enjoy complete protection.

Make sure you report such subtle or direct attacks to the authorities. Unless they get informed of what goes on, they will have little chance to either catch the criminals or develop systems and issue advisories on how the criminals work.

Make sure to use a reputable software for antivirus besides installing a firewall. You can easily defeat incoming malware and ransomware just by putting in place these two systems. You may also purchase cyber insurance for business to deal with these kinds of cybercrime.

New Ways to Detect the Genesis of Seizures

New Ways to Detect the Genesis of Seizures

You probably know about epilepsy and the devastation associated with it. May be you are even a victim. There is, however, some good news hovering around the corners. Researchers are currently working on new efforts to predict the cause of these seizures. Moreover, new technology is progressively being developed on ways to predict the seizures. The team is led by some leading researchers from a top tech company.

The researchers are working closely together with neurologists and experts from leading centers. These experts aim to come up with a unique computer system that works more like an artificial brain. The computer will, however, be programmed to carry out are a real human brain analysis.

The new software application is intended to make an interpretation of the human brain waves using a neural network. In this process, the proprietary computer hardware will analyze the brain waves of a patient. It is thought that this will become possible when the brain waves are channeled into the neural network. Of course, such efforts require much coordination to become a success.

The technology utilized in these endeavors is an experimental chip that was developed by IBM. It is called the TrueNorth. The device is designed with the kind of architecture that mirrors the human brain. For this reason, it is able to accomplish an efficient neural network.

The researchers work by connecting the computer chip to an external computer. This, in turn, connects to a wearable device that works together with a brain implant. The implant further sends an EEG-type of information to the computer or the wearable device. Finally, the computer will use this data in predicting exactly when an epileptic seizure is expected to happen.

Notably, the researchers want the new system to be available soon on a wearable device. This would help them carry out efficient analysis in real time. Further, they said that they only way for this technology to have a significant impact beyond existing on paper is to have the device working efficiently to help users.

It is expected that the new device will have the capacity to detect oncoming seizure. This will alert the patient and the doctors by means of a connecting smart phone. Moreover, the researchers expect to use the data obtained from these earlier studies on special implants. They hope to understand more about the underlying mechanisms of the brain activity in the course of a seizure.

It is the hope of researchers that this newly gathered information will help them refine the device to the extent that it can be used to stop the seizures altogether, well before they occur. The lead researcher, Stefan Harrer added that the device is expected to work in place of a malfunctioning brain. In effect, the computer would be compensating for the deficiencies of the brain. This is what will, ultimately, enable the device to stop the seizure.

Regardless, the researchers have encountered plenty of challenges on the road to making these new discoveries. For instance, from the onset, it has been a problem for the scientists to extract meaningful information from the noise generated by a patient’s brain. To do this, they have to find a means to detect a specific pattern of seizure for individual patients. Well, this has so far eluded them. They, however, say that they are inching closer to this every day.

For many people, the whole thing sounds much like a scene out of a science fiction movie. In reality, it seems that this is far beyond a mere unreality.

To illustrate, for a long time neurologists working from the University of Melbourne have been conducting studies involving less complex readings obtained from EEG implants attached to selected epilepsy patients. These studies have gone on for more than three years. Indeed, Harrer merely joined up with the team to make a success of their efforts.

Ultimately, the long term goal of these endeavors is that one day they will be able to connect an artificial network of neural to a live human body. Of course, this might happen many years in future. The researchers, however, believe that, not only will this become a reality, it must happen.

Squarespace Financial Outlook Fiscal Year 2021

Squarespace Financial Outlook Fiscal Year 2021

Squarespace, Inc. (the "Company"), the all-in-one website building and ecommerce platform that enables millions to build a brand and transact with their customers in an impactful and beautiful online presence, today issued guidance for its second quarter ending June 30, 2021 and for the full year ending December 31, 2021.

Financial Outlook - For the second quarter of fiscal year 2021, the Company currently expects: Revenue of $186 million to $189 million, representing year-over-year growth of 24% to 26%. Non-GAAP unlevered free cash flow (uFCF) of $10 million to $13 million. This is the result of: Cash flow from operating activities of $10.6 million to $14.0 million (which includes approximately $32 million of one-time expenses related to the Company's direct listing) minus. Capital expenditures, expected in the range of $2.6 million to $3.2 million; plus. Cash paid for interest expense net of associated tax benefit, expected in the range of $2.0 million to $2.2 million.

For the full fiscal year 2021, the Company currently expects:

Revenue of $764 million to $776 million, representing year-over-year growth of 23% to 25%. Non-GAAP unlevered free cash flow (uFCF) of $100 million to $115 million. This is the result of: Cash flow from operating activities of $111.0 million to $128.8 million (which includes approximately $35 million of one-time expenses related to the Company's direct listing) minus. Capital expenditures, expected in the range of $19.4 million to $23.7 million; plus. Cash paid for interest expense net of associated tax benefit, expected in the range of $8.4 million to $9.9 million.

"After a strong first quarter 2021, we expect to see continued momentum in the business in the second quarter and for the remainder of the year. We believe that a beautiful and impactful online presence, and supporting entrepreneurs and creators with the ability to transact online, will help drive more unique subscriptions to our platform throughout 2021. Further, we believe the recent additions of new products will allow us to develop deeper relationships with our customers as they find more value in our all-in-one solution. Finally, we are excited about our recent acquisition of Tock, which provides us with the ability to better address the large hospitality opportunity by enabling restaurants to adapt and grow with new ways of transacting directly with their customers," said Marcela Martin, CFO of Squarespace.

Squarespace's revenue in Q1 grew 31% versus the prior year. Squarespace derives revenue from monthly and annual subscriptions and non-subscription services. Subscription revenue accounted for 94% of its total revenue in the three months ended March 31, 2021. Revenue is further categorized as either Presence or Commerce depending on the nature of the service provided to the customer. Presence revenue primarily consists of fixed-fee subscriptions to the Company's plans that offer core platform functionalities. Additionally, presence revenue consists of fixed-fee subscriptions to third-party software solutions, fixed-fee subscriptions to social media stories, and domain managed services. Presence revenue of approximately $133 million grew approximately 20% in three months ended March 31, 2021 versus the prior year. Commerce revenue primarily consists of fixed-fee subscriptions to the Company's commerce plans, non-subscription revenue derived from revenue share arrangements with commerce partners, and transaction fees earned on sales made through customers' sites. Commerce revenue of approximately $47 million grew approximately 78% in the three months ended March 31, 2021 versus the prior year.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the Company's future operating results and financial position, including for its second fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2021 and its fiscal year ended December 31, 2021. The words "believe," "may," "will," "estimate," "potential," "continue," "anticipate," "intend," "expect," "could," "would," "project," "plan," "target," and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on management's expectations, assumptions, and projections based on information available at the time the statements were made. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties, and assumptions, including risks and uncertainties related to: the Company's ability to attract and retain customers and expand their use of its platform; the Company's ability to improve and enhance the functionality, performance, reliability, design, security and scalability of its solutions; the Company's ability to compete successfully against current and future competitors; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company; the Company's ability to protect or promote its brand; the Company's ability to generate new customers through its marketing and selling activities; the Company's ability to hire, integrate and retain its personnel; the reliability, security and performance of the Company's software; the Company's ability to adapt to changes to technologies used in its platform or new versions or upgrades of operating systems and internet browsers; the Company's compliance with privacy and data protection laws and regulations as well as contractual privacy and data protection obligations; and risks associated with international sales and the use of the Company's platform in various countries. It is not possible for the Company's management to predict all risks, nor can it assess the impact of all factors on its business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements the Company may make. In light of these risks, uncertainties, and assumptions, the Company's actual results could differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements. Further information on risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from forecasted results are included in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") including its Form S-1/A filed on May 3, 2021 with the SEC. Except as required by law, the Company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons if actual results differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements.

About Squarespace

Squarespace is a leading all-in-one website building and ecommerce platform that enables millions to build a brand and transact with their customers in an impactful and beautiful online presence. Our suite of products enables anyone at any stage of their journey to manage their projects and businesses through websites, domains, ecommerce, marketing tools, and scheduling, along with tools for managing a social media presence with Unfold and hospitality business management via Tock. Squarespace democratizes access to best-in-class design, helping our customers in approximately 180 countries maintain consistent branding across all digital touchpoints to stand out online. Our team of more than 1,200 is headquartered in downtown New York City, with offices in Dublin, Ireland, Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles, California.