How Mastercard and OpenText are set to transform business payments

OpenText has announced a major new partnership with Mastercard which it hopes should take much of the pain out of business payments across the entire supply chain.

The software giant will work with the global payments firm across a number of new products and platforms to allow companies of all sizes to ensure their transactions stay safe and protected.

“We think this is an incredible partnership to bring new payment, new cash management, a new source of financing,” OpenText CEO Chris Barrenechea said at the company’s recent Enterprise World event in Toronto.

Track

The partnership is at the heart of Mastercard Track, a new unified payment platform that will allow businesses more clarity into their partners, customers and clients. 

Building a directory of 200 million companies across the world, Track allows businesses to search for their next big partnership. It will also serve as a single, secure and reliable place to manage bank accounts, view anticipated payments, and keep tabs on managing credit risks and even potentially negative media coverage that could affect payments.

The service will initially be available across OpenText’s automotive identity network, made up of around 200,000 automotive parts suppliers across the world, meaning that customers will be able to compile, pay and track invoices quicker than ever before, simplifying what is often an incredibly complex supply chain.

The partnership should also help to reduce the risk of transactions that go over the network, allowing for suspect payments or demands to be flagged by OpenText’s digital authentication and authorisation services.

(Image credit: shutterstock)

Mastercard’s acquisition of Vocalink a few years across signalled its intent towards the B2B space, and the company says the OpenText partnership is the next step along in this journey.

“Over the last few years, we recognised that a lot of the things that are needed in the consumer space, such as reconciliation and identity, payment, facility, financing, etc, also exist in the B2B space,” Carlos Menendez, Mastercard president of enterprise partnerships told TechRadar Pro at Enterprise World.

“What we want to bring is the is the payments is facilitation and reconciliation, the directory of who you’re dealing with, and join these two.”

“When we entered into the B2B space… we naturally started with payments, but as we got into it, and we got deeper and deeper, we realised there are so many other unmet needs, and B2B is still very fragmented,” Claire Thompson, executive vice president of enterprise partnerships at Mastercard added.

“There’s a lack of interoperability and there’s a patchwork of processes, making it so far from the consumer experience that we all enjoy today.”

“We quickly realised there’s there’s a lack of trust in the B2B space, because of this inefficiency, by then really understanding who you’re trading with, who your trading partners are, and being able to trust them.”

“We saw a really natural opportunity and a great strategic fit to work with OpenText on this.” 

The new platform is set to launch worldwide in January 2020.

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Trump ‘agrees’ to quick action on US Huawei licensing decisions

US President Donald Trump has made promises to several major tech firms that the government will make a rapid decision on applications for licenses to deal with Huawei.

Huawei has been frozen out of the US device and telecoms equipment markets for several years, and earlier this year was effectively blacklisted by Washington on national security grounds.

The ruling limited Huawei’s access to components and meant its handsets would no longer receive updates for the Android operating system from Google or access to its popular applications.

US Huawei

Although Huawei is building its own operating system and produces its own components (it already makes its own Kirin processors), the absence of key services like Google Maps and the Google Play Store is a huge blow in terms of the appeal of its devices in Western markets. Meanwhile, the production of components such as modems is an expensive, laborious task.

American technology firms have been lobbying the US government to reconsider its approach, with several set to lose significant revenue streams if they can’t supply Huawei.

The pressure appears to have paid off, with the US confirming some vendors will be able to do business with Huawei – so long as there’s no national security risk. It’s unclear which product categories are deemed to be safe, and it’s worth pointing out that the ruling is still effective, meaning it could be enforced once again if trade talks stall.

The White House has confirmed the chief executives of Broadcom, Cisco, Google, Intel, Micron, Qualcomm and Western Digital all attended a meeting with Trump, requesting expediated decisions.

“The CEOs expressed strong support of the President’s policies, including national security restrictions on United States telecom equipment purchases and sales to Huawei,” a White House spokesperson is quoted as saying. “They requested timely licensing decisions from the Department of Commerce, and the President agreed.”

Huawei has persistently denied any accusations of wrongdoing, while the US has never produced any evidence to support its claims that the company’s networking equipment represents a threat to national security.

Via Reuters

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The ultra-sensitive sensors on the 2019 Jeep Cherokee work like a charm

I knew something was up when my leaf blower triggered an alarm on a 2019 Jeep Cherokee. I was driving the rugged four-wheel-drive crossover into my garage, and passed a hair too close to the battery-powered lawn implement.

If you’ve ever driven a brand new car that doesn’t have a scratch on it, especially one with a base price of $25,740 (about £20,600, AU$36,500), you know it’s a bit scary to brush up against another car, a bike, or even a leaf blower.

The sensors are all around the vehicle (you can see them on the bumpers, for example) and are definitely not new. I recall testing cars seven or eight years ago with similar sensors that can monitor the proximity of other objects, including people and garage items. What I don’t recall is this level of sensitivity, which is adjustable on most vehicles including the Cherokee. No car has ever warned me about being too close to a leaf blower.

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2019 Jeep Cherokee

(Image credit: Josiah Bondy)

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2019 Jeep Cherokee

(Image credit: Josiah Bondy)

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2019 Jeep Cherokee

(Image credit: Josiah Bondy)

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2019 Jeep Cherokee

(Image credit: Josiah Bondy)

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2019 Jeep Cherokee

(Image credit: Josiah Bondy)

In another garage incident, I pulled in too close to a kid’s bike. The sensors warn you with chimes but also show a large image of the car in the instrument cluster above the steering wheel and bright yellow warning lights. They get your attention. I stopped, jumped out, moved the bike just in case, and pulled in. I won’t say it’s actual artificial intelligence – it’s just a sensor that sends out a signal and can tell when something is too close.

The reason this is more important than ever, though, is that the sensor tech in cars is now much more affordable. I imagine every production car will provide proximity sensors like the ones in the Cherokee soon. I know the LIDAR sensors used for self-driving cars from a company called Luminar cost around $500 (about £400/AU$700), which is far cheaper than anything we’ve seen before.

A sense of the future

There’s something to be said for public perception about automated tech in cars as well. I now expect a car to have proximity sensors, blind spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise, but most drivers these days are still adjusting to back-up cameras.

Most American drivers do not drive a different test car each week like me (sarcasm alert) or even buy a new car once every few years. Cars last much longer, and drivers are not purchasing as many new cars.

Sensors like the ones in the Cherokee will help. In everyday driving situations – at the mall, to church, with kids in the back – I now expect to hear the chimes and see the alerts in every car and I’m surprised when a vehicle doesn’t warn me.

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2019 Jeep Cherokee

(Image credit: Josiah Bondy)

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2019 Jeep Cherokee

(Image credit: Josiah Bondy)

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2019 Jeep Cherokee

(Image credit: Josiah Bondy)

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2019 Jeep Cherokee

(Image credit: Josiah Bondy)

In the future, sensors will become more common not just on the cars we drive but on everything else. The garage will communicate with the car as well, and the bikes and leaf blowers might even be connected to a sensor network someday so that we always know about any impediment or obstruction (or, I should say – the gadgets will know).

That’s when AI will come in handy, not just warning us in the moment about problems but warning us far ahead of time. “John, there’s a bike blocking the garage stall” is a message I’d like to receive, and maybe not even in the car but on my phone before I ever drive anywhere. Apply this sensor tech and network concept to autonomous cars, with an AI that knows which routes to take, any accidents on the road and other delays.

Then go much further and provide richer information – such as real-time and incredibly accurate traffic maps. I’m picturing an AI-controlled sensor net that makes driving much smoother and faster.

Whether that means a Terminator-like overlord is a question for another day…

On The Road is TechRadar’s regular look at the futuristic tech in today’s hottest cars. John Brandon, a journalist who’s been writing about cars for 12 years, puts a new car and its cutting-edge tech through the paces every week. One goal: To find out which new technologies will lead us to fully self-driving cars.

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Are Microsoft’s disappointing gaming earnings tied to Fortnite slump?

Microsoft’s recent fiscal results were healthy, but there was one blot on the landscape, and that came in the form of below-par gaming revenue – takings which have allegedly been dragged down by Fortnite’s slumping earnings.

In its fourth quarter (financial year 2019) results, Microsoft revealed that gaming revenue was down 10% year-on-year – crucially missing its own expectations – with gaming hardware down 48%, and gaming software and services (subscriptions) having dropped by 3% compared to the same quarter last year.

The latter is the point we’re most interested in here, and as The Motley Fool highlighted, Daniel Ahmad, a senior analyst at Niko Partners, reckons that a key third-party game which contributed to these lower sales was Fortnite. (Microsoft mentioned a detrimental third-party title, but without clarifying what it was).

So, assuming this is a correct assertion, how bad have things got for Epic’s battle royale juggernaut of late?

Levels of in-game spending in Fortnite have dropped considerably in recent times, and while the game still took $203 million (around £160 million, AU$290 million) in May, according to SuperData, that represented a 38% drop year-on-year. Revenue fell even more sharply back in January 2019 to the tune of 48% month-on-month.

Of course, the game is available across a raft of mobile and console platforms, but its player spend will clearly have an effect on Microsoft in terms of the Xbox version, where Epic has to give Microsoft a cut of its earnings (on the PC and Windows, Epic distributes Fortnite through its own store, of course).

How big an effect isn’t clear, because we simply don’t know the percentages and figures behind-the-scenes, but if Ahmad is right in his assertion, it would certainly make sense that a massive game such as Fortnite could pull gaming earnings down when having a bad time of it.

What does this mean for Microsoft? Well, there’s obviously not a great deal the company can do about it, other than hoping Epic can manage to stem any cashflow issues and reignite interest in its battle royale.

However, Microsoft certainly isn’t down about the future of gaming and the money it can make in this arena. In its financial results, the company did note that the drop in games software and service revenue was partially offset by increases in Xbox Live takings and Xbox Game Pass, the latter of which recently became available to PC gamers.

Cloudy future

CEO Satya Nadella sees these ‘fast-growing’ subscription services as the key to Microsoft’s future success, along with Project xCloud, Microsoft’s game streaming service that allows you to play anywhere on any device (and will hit its public testing phase later this year).

Nadella observed: “We are in gaming because of what we believe are going to be the secular changes in the gaming addressable market for us. We’ve always had a gaming position with console as well as the PC, but going forward, we think that any endpoint can, in fact, be a great endpoint for high-end games, which is where our structural position is.

“And we now have a business model with Game Pass as well as all the supporting mechanisms for Game Pass like game streaming. We have a social network in Xbox Live that is the best in the business. So, I feel that we are well positioned to what is going to be a much larger market than what was traditionally gaming, in spite of all the success we’ve had over the years in gaming.”

The nearer future, however, won’t be quite so rosy, what with Microsoft coming to the end of this Xbox generation, with the obvious implications therein for folks waiting for the new machines.

Talking about the current quarter, Microsoft CFO Amy Hood commented: “And in Gaming, we expect revenue to decline year-over-year at a similar rate to Q4 as we move through the end of this console generation and a challenging Xbox software and services comparable from a third party title in the prior year.”

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How to turn a spare hard drive into an external USB 3.0 drive

If you’ve upgraded your laptop or PC with an SSD, you’re probably wondering what to do with the old hard drive. For little money, you can install it in an external enclosure and use it as an external USB drive. Here’s how.

Can an internal drive be used externally?

Yes. Hard drive caddies – or enclosures – are effectively SATA-to-USB converters and allow you to turn an internal SATA hard drive into an external one that you can use for storing or backing up files, or to keep a library of videos that you could leave attached to your TV.

A quick word of warning, though. If your hard drive is old, it’s unwise to use it for backing up important files as hard drives have a limited life span. You’ll be doing well if your hard drive is still going after five years, but it is a high risk to entrust photos and any other files you can’t replace to an old drive. It’s best to buy a new one, or buy a portable USB drive which is less hassle, or ensure you make several backups on different drives – and the cloud – for better protection.

Assuming your drive isn’t ancient and is working well, you’ll need to buy the appropriate external enclosure. There are two main types: 3.5in and 2.5in.

3.5in hard drives are mainly used in desktop PCs, while 2.5in disks are used in laptops. Laptop hard drives vary in thickness (either 7mm or 9.5mm), so make sure your chosen caddy has enough height inside to accommodate your disk.

We’re using a 9.5mm drive here and an Inateck USB 3 enclosure, which you can buy for £11.99 from Amazon and will accept both 9.5mm and 7mm drives, including SSDs as well as traditional hard drives. If you’re in the US, it’s even cheaper at just $7.99 from Amazon. There’s also a USB-C version if you’d prefer to use the latest USB standard.

USB-C ports are slowly becoming the standard and you’ll find these on the latest laptops and PCs.

Aukey sells a USB-C enclosure that you can buy for £12.99 from Amazon UK and $13.99 from Amazon US.

Aukey USB-C external enclosure

Theoretically the USB-C connection on this caddy can operate at up to 5Gb/s or 625MB/s, but it will be limited by the hard drive you put inside it.

Most hard drives use a SATA connector (you can see this in the photo below), but so make sure you buy an enclosure which is compatible with your drive. 

How to install a hard drive into an external enclosure

1. If you haven’t already done so, remove any brackets and screws from the hard drive.

How to use a spare internal hard drive as an external hard drive

2. Open up the caddy: the Inateck FE2005 we’re using is a tool-less model, so it’s a simple case of unlocking it with the switch, sliding open the end and inserting in the hard drive. Be careful to slide the hard disk in the right way up – look inside to see the orientation of the SATA port.

How to use a spare internal hard drive as an external hard drive

How to use a spare internal hard drive as an external hard drive

3. Use the included USB cable to attach the enclosure to your PC or laptop.

4. Depending on what’s on the disk, it may show up in Windows File Explorer and be ready to use. Because our disk was from a Windows laptop, it was formatted as NTFS and was assigned a drive letter automatically.

You can treat it like any hard drive, copying files to it, or formatting it. If you plan only to use it with Windows, you can leave it formatted as NTFS, but it’s best to use exFAT if you want to connect it to other devices such as set-top boxes for video playback.

What you might not want is for the drive to show up as two disks, as ours did due to a 100MB system partition from the old Windows installation.

We’ll deal with this in the next step, which also applies if your disk doesn’t appear when you connect it.

How to use a spare internal hard drive as an external hard drive

5. If it doesn’t show up in Windows Explorer, search the Start menu for Disk Management and then look for a disk with unallocated space, or a disk without a drive letter assigned. You can then right-click on it and format it.

How to use a spare internal hard drive as an external hard drive

If, like us, you need to remove an unwanted ‘System Reserved’ partition, just right-click on it and choose Delete Volume. It will then be unallocated space, and since it’s only 100MB, we will just leave it unused.

How to use a spare internal hard drive as an external hard drive

 


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Etisalat second-quarter profit remains steady at AED 2.2b

The UAE-based telecom operator Etisalat’s net profit remained steady at AED 2.2b in the second quarter of this year compared to a year ago despite tough market conditions.

Etisalat operates in 15 markets across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The operator’s revenue fell 1.53 per cent in the second quarter to AED 12.9b compared to AED 13.1b a year ago but has announced a distribution of an interim dividend of 40 fils per share for the first half of the year.

“Etisalat Group’s solid financial performance in the first half is a result of our sincere efforts in building and investing in future networks while focusing on enabling innovation, and accelerating digital transformation across our operations,” Saleh Abdullah Al Abdooli, Etisalat’s group chief executive, said in regulatory filing with the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

(Image credit: Future)

UAE subscriber base reaches 12.4m

The operator’s consolidated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), a measure of a company’s operating performance, increased by 2% to AED 13.3b while earnings per share (EPS) increased by 3% to AED 0.51 in the first half.

In the UAE, the subscriber base reached 12.4m in the first half while aggregate subscriber base reached 143m compared to 144m a year ago, witnessing a fall of 0.7%.

However, Etisalat is investing more than AED 4b in rolling out 5G network base stations this year in a bid to stay ahead of its Middle East peers.

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Stage 16 Tour de France live stream: how to watch online from anywhere

That’s it…no more rest days. Now it’s daily 2019 Tour de France action for the riders and spectators alike as the former push themselves to the limits to try and take the overall title. To see the sights and the cycling from just about anywhere on Earth, be sure to follow our Tour de France live stream guide for Stage 16.

Tour de France Stage 16 – where and when

Stage 16 of the 2019 Tour de France sees the riders travel from in a loop beginning and ending in Nimes. The official stage length is 177km.

It’s set to take place on Tuesday, July 23 with the first riders getting started at 1.20pm local time (so that’s 12.20pm BST, 7.20am ET, 4.20am PT).

With the Alpine stages a few days away still, the historic Roman city of Nimes plays host to a flat 177km loop for the pack to sprint around and see if they can take some points off the leaders.

Reigning champion Geraint Thomas remains in second place in the general classifications after a good few stages last week – it’s been a spirited defence of his title. He and Colombian Egan Bernal – also of Team Ineos – are now loitering well within range of the top spots, while French native Julian Alaphilippe still retains the yellow jersey…for now.

To make sure that you don’t miss a single minute of the action, keep reading our guide. We’ll tell you all the best (and FREE) ways to watch Stage 16 with Tour de France live stream options no matter where you are today.

Live stream Tour de France Stage 16 from outside your country

We have details of all the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand broadcasters further down this guide. Good news in the UK and Australia where it’s on free-to-air TV.

If you’re obsessed by watching Le Tour and refuse to miss a stage – even when you’re away on business or on holiday – then you’ll be disappointed to see your domestic coverage geo-blocked when you try to stream online from abroad. That’s where utilising a VPN (Virtual Private Network ) really helps. It let’s you virtually change the ISP of your laptop, tablet or mobile to one that’s back in your home country. Thus letting you watch as if you were back there.

They’re surprisingly easy to use and have the double benefit of giving you an extra layer of security as you surf the web. There are lots of options, and we’ve tested loads of them – our #1 pick is ExpressVPN due to its speed, security and sheer simplicity to use. We also love that it can be used on so many operating systems and devices (e.g. iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Fire TV Stick, Roku, games consoles, etc).

Sign up for ExpressVPN now and enjoy a 49% discount and 3 months FREE with an annual subscription. Or give it a try with its 30-day money back guarantee.

Or read more with our pick of the best VPN services out there today.

How to live stream Tour de France Stage 16 FREE in the UK

We’re delighted to say that ITV4 is showing all of the stages on Le Tour. You can watch via a TV, online or you can stream via mobile or tablet using the ITV Hub app.

Today’s coverage begins at 12pm BST with the stage itself kicking off shortly afterwards.

Want to watch this stage but out of the UK? You can use a VPN to relocate your ISP to a server in the UK and watch as if you were back at home.

How to watch Stage 16 of Le Tour in the US

NBC Sports is the official broadcaster for the Tour de France 2019 in the US. You’ll need to sign-up if you’re not already receiving this channel. 

For the most extensive coverage NBC has to offer, you can subscribe to NBC Sports Gold, which is offering a Cycling Pass for $54.99, delivering live, on-demand and commercial free coverage of the Tour. 

If you’re not interested in cable but still want to watch then there are plenty more TV streaming services available to watch on. Here’s a selection of the best, most of which also have a free trial:

– Discover our pick of all the US’s best sports streaming sites

(Image credit: Future)

Live stream Tour de France stage 16 in Australia for FREE

Getting a Tour de France live stream Down Under is absolutely free thanks to SBS and its apps.

Of course watching this stage as it happens depends on whether you’re prepared to stay awake for it – SBS coverage starts at 9.30pm AEST.

If you happen to be outside outside Australia as it happens but still want to catch that SBS broadcast, using a VPN will let you watch as if you were back at home.

Stream Tour de France 2019 Stage 16 live in Canada

Sportsnet – the specialist subscription sports station – will be showing this and every stage of Le Tour. If you don’t already have access, you can sign up to Sportsnet NOW for a live HD stream on your computer or mobile device. You can go for a 7-day pass for $9.99 or $19.99 for a month that will sort you for every single stage. For French-speaking coverage in Canada, viewers will need to tune into RDS Sports. 

However, if you want to watch while away from Canada, your best bet is to use a VPN and access the coverage.

How to watch Tour de France 2019 in New Zealand

Sky Sports will be showing this stage of the Tour de France – sorry, there’s no free ways to watch in New Zealand annoyingly. But that won’t bother you if you’re obsessed by Le Tour – and neither will the unsociable coverage times.

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