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Original author: 
Amid Amidi

The Annecy International Animated Film Festival, which concluded on June 15th, awarded its Cristal prize for feature to the Brazilian film, Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury. The festival’s Cristal for short film went to the NFB short Subconscious Password, a CG/pixilation effort by Oscar-winner Chris Landreth (Ryan).

The complete list of winners is below:


The Cristal for best feature
Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury
Directed by Luiz Bolognesi (Brazil)

The Cristal for best short
Subconscious Password
Directed by Chris Landreth (Canada)


The Cristal for best TV production
Room on the Broom
Directed by Jan Lachauer and Max Lang (Great Britain)


The Cristal for best commissioned film
Dumb Ways to Die
Directed by Julian Frost (Australia)

Feature Films: Special Distinction
My Mommy Is in America and She Met Buffalo Bill
Directed by Marc Boréal and Thibaut Chatel (France/Luxembourg)

Feature Films: Audience Award
O Apóstolo
Directed by Fernando Cortizo Rodriguez (Spain)

Short Films: Special Jury Award
The Wound
Directed by Anna Budanova (Russia)

Short Films: Distinction for a first film
Trespass
Directed by Paul Wenninger (Austria)

Short Films: Jean-Luc Xiberras Award for a first film
Norman
Directed by Robbe Vervaeke (Belgium)

Short Films: Special Distinction
The Triangle Affair
Directed by Andres Tenusaar (Estonia)

Short Films: Sacem Award for original music
Lonely Bones
Directed by Rosto (The Netherlands)

Short Films: Junior Jury Award
Feral
Directed by Daniel Sousa (USA)

Short Films: Audience Award
Lettres de femmes
Directed by Augusto Zanovello (France)

TV: Special Award for a TV series
Tom & The Queen Bee
Directed by Andreas Hykade (Germany)

TV: Award for best TV special
Poppety in the Fall
Directed by Pierre-Luc Granjon and Antoine Lanciaux (France)

Commissioned films: Special Jury Award
Benjamin Scheuer: “The Lion”
Directed by Peter Baynton (Great Britain)

Graduation Films: Award for best graduation film
Ab ovo
Directed by Anita Kwiatkowska-Naqvi (Poland)

Graduation Films: Special Jury Award
I Am Tom Moody
Directed by Ainslie Henderson (Great Britain)

Graduation Films: Special Distinction
Pandas
Directed by Matus Vizar (Slovakia)

Graduation Films: Junior Jury Award
Rabbit and Deer
Directed by Peter Vacz (Hungary)

Unicef Award
Because I’m a Girl
Directed by Raj Yagnik, Mary Matheson, and Hamilton Shona (Great Britain)

Fipresci Award
Gloria Victoria
Directed by Theodore Ushev (Canada)

Fipresci Special Distinction
Feral
Directed by Daniel Sousa (USA)

“CANAL+ creative aid” Award for a short film
Autour du lac
Directed by Carl Roosens and Noémie Marsily (Belgium)

Festivals Connexion Award – Région Rhône-Alpes with Lumières Numériques
Feral
Directed by Daniel Sousa (USA)

The Funniest Film according to the Annecy Public
KJFG No 5
Directed by Alexey Alekseev (Hungary)

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Original author: 
Adrianne Jeffries

Atm_robbers_large

Defendants Elvis Rafael Rodriguez and Emir Yasser Yeje posing with approximately $40,000 with cash. Source: US Attorney, Eastern District of New York

If you’d been waiting for the ATM inside the deli at East 59th and Third in Manhattan on Tuesday, February 19th around 9:24PM, you would have been annoyed. A young man in a black beanie and puffy black jacket made seven withdrawals in a row, stuffing around $5,620 into his blue backpack. The man wasted no time. He exited the deli and headed up five blocks to repeat the process at four more ATMs, finishing his route at a Chase bank at 69th and Third at 9:55PM, where he made four withdrawals totaling $4,000.

While the man in the black beanie was beelining along the Upper East Side, seven...

Continue reading…

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Original author: 
(author unknown)

Simple and efficient, rail travel nonetheless inspires a sense of romance. By train, subway, and a seemingly endless variety of trams, trolleys, and coal shaft cars, we've moved on rails for hundreds of years. Industry too relies on the billions of tons of freight moved annually by rolling stock. Gathered here are images of rails in our lives, the third post in an occasional series on transport, following Automobiles and Pedal power. -- Lane Turner (47 photos total)
An employee adjusts a CRH380B high-speed Harmony bullet train as it stops for an examination during a test run at a bullet train exam and repair center in Shenyang, China on October 23, 2012. (Stringer/Reuters)     

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You’ve presented the new website and everyone loves it. The design is crisp, the code is bug-free, and you’re ready to release. Then someone asks, “Does it work in Japanese?”

You break out in a cold sweat: you have no idea. The website works in English, and you figured other languages would come later. Now you have to rework the whole app to support other languages. Your release date slips, and you spend the next two months fixing bugs, only to find that you’ve missed half of them.

Localization makes your application ready to work in any language — and it’s much easier if you do it from the beginning. Just follow these 12 simple rules and you’ll be ready to run anywhere in the world.

1. “Resource” All Of Your Strings

The first step of localization is to get user-visible strings out of your code and into resource files. Those strings include titles, product names, error messages, strings in images and any other text the user might see.

Most resource files work by giving each string a name and allowing you to specify different translation values for that string. Many languages use properties files like this:

name = Username

Or they use .pot files like this:

msgid "Username"
msgstr "Nom d'utilisateur"

Or they use XLIFF files like this:

<trans-unit id="1">
 <source xml:lang="en">Username</source>
 <target xml:lang="fr">Nom d'utilisateur</target>
</trans-unit>

The resource files are then loaded by a library that uses a combination of the language and country, known as the locale, to identify the right string.

Once you’ve placed your strings in external resource files, you can send the files to translators and get back translated files for each locale that your application supports.

2. Never Concatenate Strings

Appending one string to another almost always results in a localization bug. It’s easy to see this with modifiers such as color.

Suppose your stationery store has items such as pencils, pens and sheets of paper. Shoppers will choose what they want and then select a color. In the shopping cart you would show them items such as a red pencil or a blue pen with a function like this:

function getDescription() {
    var color = getColor();
    var item = getItem();

    return color + " " + item;
}

This code works well in English, in which the color comes first, but it breaks in French, in which “red pencil” translates as “crayon rouge” and “blue pen” is “stylo – encre bleue.” French speakers (but not only them) put modifiers after the words they modify. The getDescription function would never be able to support languages like this with simple string concatenation.

The solution is to specify parametrized strings that change the order of the item and color for each language. Define a resourced string that looks like this:

itemDescription = {0} {1}

It might not look like much, but this string makes the translation possible. We can use it in a new getDescription function, like this:

function getDescription() {
    var color = getColor();
    var item = getItem();

    return getLocalizedString('itemDescription', color, item);
}

Now, your translators can easily switch the order, like this:

itemDescription = {1} {0}

The getLocalizedString function here takes the name of a resource string (itemDescription) and some additional parameters (color and item) to substitute for placeholders in the resource string. Most programming languages provide a function similar to getLocalizedString. (The one notable exception is JavaScript, but we’ll talk more about that later.)

This method also works for strings with text in them, like:

invalidUser = The username {0} is already taken. Please choose another one.

3. Put All Of Your Punctuation In The Resourced String

Tacking on punctuation later is often tempting, so that you can reuse the same string, say, in a label where it needs a colon and in a tooltip where it doesn’t. But this is another example of bad string concatenation.

Here, we’re adding a simple log-in form using PHP in a WordPress environment:

<form>
<p>Username: <input type="text" name="username"></p>
<p>Password: <input type="text" name="password"></p>
</form>

We want the form to work in other languages, so let’s add the strings for localization. WordPress makes this easy with the __ function (i.e. underscore underscore):

<form>
<p><?php echo(__('Username', 'my-plugin') ?>: <input type="text" name="username"></p>
<p><?php echo(__('Password', 'my-plugin') ?>: <input type="text" name="password"></p>
</form>

Spot the bug? This is another case of string concatenation. The colon after the labels isn’t localized. This will look wrong in languages such as French and Russian, which always put spaces around colons. Punctuation is part of the string and belongs in the resource file.

<form>
<p><?php echo(__('Username:', 'my-plugin') ?> <input type="text" name="username"></p>
<p><?php echo(__('Password:', 'my-plugin') ?> <input type="text" name="password"></p>
</form>

Now the form can use Username: in English and Nom d'utilisateur : in French.

4. “First” Names Sometimes Aren’t

My name is Zack Grossbart. Zack is my given (or first) name, and Grossbart is my last (or family) name. Everyone in my family is named Grossbart, but I’m the only Zack.

In English-speaking countries, the first name is the given name and the last name is the family name. Most Asian countries go the other way, and some cultures have only one name.

The cellist Yo-Yo Ma is a member of the Ma family. In Chinese, he writes his family name first: Ma Yo-Yo (馬友友).

This gets tricky because many people change their names when moving from Asian countries to English-speaking ones. They often switch the order to fit local customs, so you can’t make any assumptions.

You must provide a way to customize the presentation of names; you can’t assume that the first name always comes first or that the last name always comes last.

WordPress handles this pretty well by asking you how you want your name to show up:

Name formatting in WordPress

It would be even better if WordPress supported a middle name and a way to specify the format per locale so that you could make your name one way in English and another in Chinese, but nothing’s perfect.

5. Never Hard-Code Date, Time Or Currency Formats

The whole world is inconsistent about date and time formats. Some people put the month first (6/21/2012), others the day first (21/6/2012). Some use 24-hour (14:00) time, and some use 12 (2:00 PM). Taiwan uses specially translated strings instead of AM and PM, and those come first (上午 2:00).

Your best bet is to store all dates and times in a standard format such as ISO time or epoch time, and to use a library like Date.js or Moment.js to format them for the given locale. These libraries can also handle converting the time to the current zone, so you can store all dates and times in a common format on the server (such as UTC) and convert them to the right time zone in the browser.

Dates and times are also tricky when displaying calendars and date pickers. Estonia starts the week on Saturday, the US starts on Sunday, the UK on Monday and the Maldives on Friday. The jQuery UI date picker includes over 50 localized files to support different calendar formats around the world.

The same is true of currencies and other number formats. Some countries use commas to separate numbers, and others use periods. Always use a library with localized files for each of the locales that you need to support.

StackOverflow covers this topic well when discussing daylight savings time and time zone best practices.

6. Use UTF-8 Almost All Of The Time

The history of computer character encodings is a long one, but the most important thing to remember is that UTF-8 is the right choice 99% of the time. The only time not to use UTF-8 is when you’re working primarily with Asian languages and absolutely need the efficiency of UTF-16.

This comes up a lot with Web applications. If the browser and the server don’t use the same character encoding, then the characters will get corrupted and your application will fill up with little squares and question marks.

Many programming languages store files using the system’s default encoding, but it won’t matter that your server is English when all of your users are browsing in Chinese. UTF-8 fixes that by standardizing the encodings across the browser and the server.

Invoke UTF-8 at the top of all of your HTML pages:

<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">

And specify UTF-8 in the HTTP Content-Type header, like this:

Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8

The JSON specification requires that all JSON documents use Unicode with a default of UTF-8, so make sure to use UTF-8 whenever you’re reading or writing data.

7. Give Strings Room To Grow And Shrink

Strings change size in translation.

Repeat password example

“Repeat password” is over 50% wider in German than in English; if there isn’t enough space, then your strings will overlap other controls. WordPress solves this problem by leaving extra space after each label for the string to grow.

Label spacing in the WordPress admin

This works well for languages whose strings are roughly of the same length, but for languages with long words, such as German and Finnish, the controls will overlap if you don’t leave enough space. You could add more space, but that would put the labels and controls pretty far apart from each other in compact languages such as Chinese, thus making them hard to use.

Label spacing in the WordPress admin in Chinese

Many designers of forms give their labels room to grow and shrink by aligning them to the right or by placing them above the controls.

Label above controls in the WordPress admin

Putting labels above the controls works well for a short form, but it makes a form with a lot of fields very tall.

There’s no perfect answer for how to make your application work in all languages; many form designers mix and match these approaches. Short labels like “User name” and “Role” won’t change much in translation and need just a little extra space. Longer paragraphs will change substantially and need room to grow wider, taller or sometimes both.

Label next to and above controls in the WordPress admin

Here, WordPress gives a little extra space for the “Biographical Info” label, but it puts the longer description below the field so that it can grow in translation.

8. Always Use A Full Locale

The full locale includes the language and country code, and it supports alternate spellings, date formats and other differences between two countries with a shared language.

Always use a full locale instead of just a language when translating, so that you know whether you’re doing someone a favor or a favour, and that they know whether to take the elevator or the lift, and that they know whether £100.00 is expensive.

9. Never Trust The Browser To Know The Right Locale

Localization is much more difficult with browsers and JavaScript because they give a different locale depending on who’s asking.

JavaScript has a property to tell you the current language, named navigator.userLanguage. All browsers support it, but it’s generally useless.

If I install Firefox in English, then my navigator.userLanguage value would say English. I can then go into my preferences and change my preferred languages. Firefox lets me select multiple languages, so I could specify my order of preference as English from the US, then any other English, then Japanese.

Language preferences in Firefox

Specifying a set of locales makes it possible for servers to find the best match between the languages that I know they support. Firefox takes these locales and sends them to the server in an HTTP header, like this:

Accept   en-us,en;q=0.7,ja;q=0.3

Firefox even uses the quality factor (that q= part) to indicate how much I prefer one locale over another.

This means that the server might return content in English or Japanese or another language if it doesn’t support either. However, even after I’ve set my preferred language in Firefox, the value of my navigator.userLanguage property will still be English and only English. The other browsers don’t do much better. This means that I might end up with the server thinking I want Japanese and with the JavaScript thinking I want English.

JavaScript has never solved this problem, and it has not one standard localization library, but dozens of different standards. The best solution is to embed a JavaScript property or some other field in your page that indicates the locale when the server processes each request. Then you can use that locale when formatting any strings, dates or numbers from JavaScript.

10. Plan For Languages That Read Left To Right And Right To Left

Most languages are written on screen from left to right, but Arabic, Hebrew and plenty of others go from right to left. HTML provides a property for the html element named dir that indicates whether the page is ltr (left to right) or rtl (right to left).

<html dir="rtl">

There’s also a direction property in CSS:

input {
    direction: rtl;
}

Setting the direction property will make the page work for the standard HTML tags, but it can’t switch a CSS element with float: left to float: right or change an absolutely positioned layout. To make more complex layouts work, you will need a new style sheet.

An easy way to determine the direction of the current language is to include a direction string in the resourced strings.

direction = rtl

Then you can use that string to load a different style sheet based on the current locale.

11. Never Sort In The Browser

JavaScript provides a sort function that arranges lists of strings alphabetically. It works by comparing each character in each string to determine whether a is greater than b or y is less than z. That’s why it makes 40 come before 5.

The browser knows that y comes before z by using a large mapping table for each character. However, the browser includes the mapping tables only in the current locale. This means that if you have a list of Japanese names, the browser wouldn’t be able to sort them properly in an English locale; it would just sort them by Unicode value, which isn’t correct.

This problem is easy to see in languages such as Polish and Vietnamese, which frequently use diacritical marks. The browser can tell that a comes before b, but it doesn’t know whether comes before ã.

The only place to sort strings properly is on the server. Make sure that the server has all of the code mappings for the languages you support, and that you send lists to the browser presorted, and that you call the server whenever you want to change the sorting. Also, make sure that the server takes locale into account for sorting, including right-to-left locales.

12. Test Early And Often

Most teams don’t worry about localization until it’s too late. A big customer in Asia will complain that the website doesn’t work, and everyone will scramble to fix 100 little localization bugs that they had never thought of. Following the rules in this article will avoid many of those problems, but you will still need to test; and translations usually aren’t ready until the end of the project.

I used to translate my projects into Pig Latin, but that didn’t test Asian characters, and most browsers don’t support it. Now I create test translations with Xhosa (xh_ZA). All browsers support Xhosa, and Nelson Mandela speaks it natively, but I’ve never been asked to support it in a product.

I don’t speak Xhosa, so I create a new translation file and add xh to the beginning and end of every string. The xh makes it easy to see whether I’ve missed a string in the code. Throw in a few Japanese Kanji characters to test character encoding, and I have a messy string that tests for all of my translation issues.

Making the test translation file is easy. Just save a new properties file with xh_ZA in the file name and turn…

name = Username

… into:

name = xh吳清源Username吳清源xh

The resulting jumble will test that I’ve resourced every string, that I’m using the right locale, that my forms work with longer strings and that I’m using the right character set. Then I’ll just quickly scan the application for anything without the xh and fix the bugs before they become urgent issues.

Do the right thing for localization ahead of time, and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble in the long run.

(al) (km)

© Zack Grossbart for Smashing Magazine, 2012.

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GoGlobal is Morten Lund’s new venture. Earlier this month, Lund pitched GoGlobal live on stage at The London Web Summit. Despite a few people thinking it was a ruse, GoGlobal aims to be a platform to grow globally for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies. Lund says he wants to take three to four companies in to 40+ countries every quarter. Here is the problem I think he is looking to solve.

As soon as an Internet startup shows signs of success, somewhere in the universe its business model is replicated with razor-sharp execution tactics. If the startup is under the radar still, selling its products and services internationally is difficult without prior knowledge and business network.

Take online music streaming industry for example, its pioneer Spotify launched in Germany this month. Eagerly awaited by the German public, whose current suppliers of streaming music services include Deezer, Rhapsody, Rdio and Simfy, Spotify is now present in only 13 countries. Its French competitor Deezer has gone to as many as 45 countries and expects to conquer the world outside of the US by the end of 2012, according to its CEO Axel Dauchez. Will Spotify ever catch up?

First movers have good reasons to worry about competition. Deezer may not be a copycat, it was founded only 16 months after Spotify, but its plans to grow are much more aggressive.

So I spoke to a number of industry players to understand what it takes to grow an Internet business internationally.

Product Localization

Dauchez says that customizing the service was key to entering new markets. For Deezer it meant adding local artists, negotiating licenses with the labels for each individual country, and segmenting music into relevant genres (adding French Chanson for the Russian audience and Schlager for the German).

For some companies product localization may not need to be so extensive: for example Instagr.am did not do anything beyond translating its app into eight languages. For-website translation tools from EasyLing or SmartLing could work well.

In mobile apps industry, app store optimization, including localization of the screenshots in the appstore promotional materials, can increase download rates of a mobile app by 30 percent according to the mobile expert Stefan Bielau.

Marketing

Distributing mobile apps internationally goes beyond Google Play and iTunes. Distimo lists 60 app stores, but some local ones would not be included. Publishing apps in those stores is still largely a manual task, according to Bielau.

For an online business operating in the B2C space a desirable marketing channel would be a global partnership with Facebook. Having accomplished that, Deezer enjoys a Facebook-driven user base growth of 20 percent per week.

Using other social networks such as Nasza klasa in Poland, Orkut, owned by Google and popular in Brazil and India, or Russian Facebook equivalent Vkontakte for marketing purposes also makes sense, as they are admittedly cheaper for user acquisition, although Facebook’s audience is larger.

Earning money from some of the social networks may be tricky. According to Danil Kozyatnikov of Questli from Novosibirsk, Russia, his social games company partnered with Russian social networks, but in some cases the company did not get paid.

Thankfully, for those with a sizable budget, B2C user acquisition can be done through advertisement. According to Siegfried Müller, the co-founder of a hugely successful Munich-based Travian Games (120 million registered users), advertisement networks are well established globally, and buying ads in different countries is an easy task. Travian is present in more than 50 countries.

Payment

All the “likes”, clicks and registrations are useless without adequate payment methods. PayPal and credit cards may not always be a payment method of choice outside of the developed countries. Even in Germany bank account transfers are still preferred over other payment tools, and the country has one of the lowest numbers of credit cards in the EU.

XS Software, a Bulgarian online games company that sells its games in 80 countries, uses over 100 payment providers. According to the company’s project manager Dimitar Yanchev, SMS payments are the third most popular payment method after PayPal and credit cards. This is especially true for those customers who have not yet reached the legal age to have a bank account or a credit card. Such payment methods can be quite expensive, as telcos take a significant cut as a commission. InSyria, for example, it can be as much as 80 percent of the total revenue.

Many countries have so-called e-wallets for those who are unwilling to use their bank account or credit cards for online payment. In Russia and some Eastern European countries it is QIWI, in the Middle East and North Africa there is CashU, BoaCompra in Brazil, DotPay in Poland and ePay in Bulgaria. The way most of these e-wallets work is by allowing the customers to deposit money into the online account through a payment terminal or a kiosk. But even in Russia, e-commerce leaders such as Ozon still receive over 80 percent of payments as cash on delivery, as its CEO Maelle Gavet shared at TechCrunch Moscow.

In Serbia, Internet businesses cannot implement payment methods because it is necessary to register a legal entity there. In Eastern Europe the same requirement applies in Bulgaria and Croatia. A group of Serbia’s leading e-commerce sites, which includes Limundo (Serbian eBay) and Kupindo (Serbian Amazon) is currently developing their own escrow-based payment system called Platindo which will eventually become an e-wallet.

There are of course payment aggregators such as Moneybookers, recently rebranded as Skrill, which offer integration of 100 payment methods in 200 countries, but they do not come cheap and according to Müller of Travian Games have a small market share in many countries.

Deezer’s international roll-out did not go beyond credit card and PayPal payments for now, but the company intends to improve on this and other localization efforts gradually by establishing offices in 15 key countries, and participating in local scenes: marketing at festivals, and engaging local artists. Currently its international team is 20-strong, but the company expects to grow its total staff from 120 to 300 by the end of this year. As for payments, bundling its music streaming service with telcos’ annual mobile phone contract is likely to boost their user retention and allow them to collect revenue from their telecom partners.

Online Piracy

Deezer’s product is a digital good, and online piracy is its main competitor. Russian Vkontakte, for example, is blacklisted in the USbecause its users are enabled to freely upload music files and listen to them through Vkontakte free of charge. There is even a tool called Meridian that offers the creation of playlists using music on Vkontakte, all perfectly illegal and completely free. Dauchez believes that offering its users a premium music streaming experience. The rest is down to finding the right price point to get them to pay for it.

Logistics

For online retailers of physical goods, further challenges abound. I spoke to Jonathan Teklu, the managing partner of Berlin-based incubator SpringStar, which backed KupiVIP, the Russian version of Ventee Privee. He told me that when its founder, Oskar Hartmann, launched KupiVIP in Russia, he had to buy a fleet of trucks to deliver goods to its customers.

Indeed, logistics is another significant operational challenge in many of the world’s markets, where consumers are likely to cancel a purchase if no suitable delivery method exists. To address the challenge, Russian iTech Capital has set up QIWI Post, a joint venture with Polish Integer (owner of InPost), which leverages the brand of QIWI e-wallet and its network of terminals. QIWI Post is a terminal where a courier deposits a shipment, and buyers pay for the goods at the terminal and open the box using a provided code. Similar solutions exist elsewhere: for example in Germany, Estonia, and recently – thanks to InPost – also in Ireland under the name of Parcel Motel.

Other Issues

Companies looking to establish presence in the large developing markets such as Brazil or India will need a local partner to set up a legal entity, according to Teklu.

Educating online users is also essential. The online room and sublet reservation company AirBnB partnered with SpringStar in October 2011 to boost its international expansion. In Israel and the Middle East it is currently facing a problem of a cash economy, where the apartment owners prefer to be paid in cash, rather through an online transaction, an essential element of the Airbnb user experience. Changing such an attitude requires time.

Another example of having to educate consumers is India, where Internet users still have trust issues with buying online from unknown brands. A ticket-selling website MakeMyTrip engaged local travel agencies to let them use its website to book trips, and by so doing, educate their customers that it is safe to do so, according to Teklu.

These are few examples of challenges that come with need to grow internationally. Going back to Lund, he plans to target SaaS companies supporting them with legal, accounting, affiliate marketing and payment services amongst others, all offered as one platform.

Interested in what others thought of the idea, I asked Tom Cupr, from the Czech Republic, who has grown his daily deals business, Slevomat Group, into a 60 million Euro company with a presence in 7 Eastern European countries in just over a year. He said what’s really important is execution, but then again, he thinks that GoGlobal could make international expansion a lot easier.

This post is written by our regular contributor Natasha Starkell, the CEO of GoalEurope, the outsourcing advisory firm and a publication about outsourcing, innovation and startups in Central and Eastern Europe. Twitter @NatashaStarkell. Gplus.to/natashastarkell.

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Europe has been battling a deep freeze that started in late January and has killed hundreds, snow that has trapped thousands in Balkan mountain villages and prompted worries of flooding as heavy snow melts. In Greece and Bulgaria, flooding on Monday and Tuesday left dozens of homes under water and at least eight dead. Serbian [...]

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For the first time ever, young athletes gathered Jan. 13-22 in Austria for the Winter Youth Olympic Games. The event began with traditional opening ceremonies for more than 1,000 competitors from more than 70 nations. Ranging in age from 14 to 18, they competed in the 15 core events held at the Olympic Games. Keep an eye out for the names you see here, as they may appear again in Sochi, Russia, during the XXII Winter Olympics in February 2014. -- Lloyd Young (29 photos total)
The flag bearer from Austria, Tamara Grascher enters the stadium during the opening ceremony of the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck Jan. 13, 2012. (Dominic Ebenbichler/Reuters)

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New submitter isoloisti writes "Hot on the heels of IBM's 'no more passwords' prediction, Wired has an article about provocative research saying that passwords are here to stay. Researchers from Microsoft and Carleton U. take a harsh view of research on authentication (PDF), saying, 'no progress has been made in the last twenty years.' They dismiss biometrics, PKI, OpenID, and single-signon: 'Not only have proposed alternatives failed, but we have learnt little from the failures.' Because the computer industry so thoroughly wrote off passwords about a decade ago, not enough serious research has gone into improving passwords and understanding how they get compromised in the real world. 'It is time to admit that passwords will be with us for some time, and moreover, that in many instances they are the best-fit among currently known solutions.'"



Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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