Category Archives: Tech News

Flight Centre Buys 25% Share in The Upside Travel Company

Photo courtesy of
Quintin Soloviev

Flight Centre, the world’s largest travel agency and ASX-listed company, purchased 25% of The Upside Travel Company. The company did not disclose how much they paid, but Flight Centre is now the largest single shareholder of Upside.


Flight Centre anticipates that Upside’s unique tech platform will add value to its Corporate Traveler brand. They look forward to using Upside to target customers in North, Central and South America immediately, and move on to customers in the UK at a somewhat later date.


“Upside … has the potential to disrupt traditional offerings in the [small and medium-sized enterprise] sector in the future,” said Graham Turner, Flight Centre managing director.


Dean Smith, Flight Center’s president, said the company would gain an edge over its competitors from Upside’s “cutting edge artificial intelligence” technology.


“Its use of machine-learning models to dynamically price business travel packages in real-time to save clients’ money while increasing traveler options is just one example of Upside’s best in class technology,” he said.


Flight Centre’s stock gained two percent after the announcement, trading at $44.07 in the afternoon.

Huawei Introduces 5G Folding Phone

Huawei Technology in Shenzhen, China

Called the Mate X, Huawei unveiled its latest addition to the innovative cell-phone market place, further challenging market leaders Samsung of Korea and Apple of the USA. China’s powerhouse tech company introduced its phone immediately before the beginning of the four-day Mobile World Conference 2019, in Barcelona.


The phone is compatible with superfast, next-generation 5G networks, expected to replace older and slower networks over the next few years. The phone also folds in half, an innovation that the industry is hoping will get phones out of the current creativity slump. Others believe the market for folding phones is limited, at least in the near future.
The Mate X is Huawei’s solution to the problem of bigger screens and longer battery life. Richard Yu, head of the company’s consumer business group asked at a fancy media launch party,


“How can we bring bigger innovation to this smartphone industry?”


The phone won’t be available for purchase for another few months and will cost about 2,299 Euros ($2600.) Samsung’s Galaxy Fold sells for almost $2000.


Users of the Mate X can still view it even when its closed, as the phone’s screen wraps around the outside. The Galaxy Fold’s screen closes shut and cannot be viewed unless its open. When open the Mate X is 8 inches on the diagonal, about the same size as a smaller tablet.


Huawei developers took three years just on the phone’s hinge, which does not leave a space when the phone is closed.


“No matter how innovative and technology-advanced the new device is, it will take a lot more time for a critical mass of consumers to experience the benefits of foldable phones and 5G technology,” one analyst said. Huawei still “has to find its own brand voice to differentiate from Samsung and Apple and stop acting as a technology challenger,” he added.

IBM Grabs Open-Source Red Hat for $34 Billion

The eight-striped wordmark of IBM, the letters “IBM” in City Medium typeface. Introduced in 1967. Trademarked by International Business Machines Corporation.

Declared the third largest tech merger in history, and the largest for a software company, IBM and Red Hat have come to a deal in which IBM will purchase Red Hat for $34 billion. IBM says the merger will improve their cloud-based products.

The deal involves IBM getting all the issued and outstanding common stocks of Red Hat for $190 each share in cash. That surpasses by $70 the price of the stock just three days prior, $116.68 a share.

“The acquisition of Red Hat is a game-changer. It changes everything about the cloud market,” said IBM’s chairman, president and CEO, Ginni Rometty.

“IBM will become the world’s number one hybrid cloud provider, offering companies the only open cloud solution that will unlock the full value of the cloud for their businesses.”

Most companies can’t progress due to the limits presented by closed platforms that prevent them from making the transformation to cloud computing. Red Hat solves the problem for IBM due to its open platform configuration.

IBM earned it reputation as a computer hardware company, but it has recently made cloud computing a priority for its growth strategy, like Amazon and Microsoft. The company has been changing their focus to include more analytics, mobile and security.

Red Hat will continue to run its business independently as a separate unit of IBM. Red Hat president and CEO Jim Whitehurst and the management team already in place will continue as is, joining IBM’s senior management team, with Rometty leading the team.

“Today is a banner day for open source,” said Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s vice president and president of products and technologies. “The largest software transaction in history and it’s an open source company. Let that sink in for a minute. We just made history.”

Red Hat was founded in 1993, launching its famous version of Linux OS one year after. It became a pioneer of the open source movement that grew to counter closed source companies like Microsoft which based their strategy on keeping their source codes secret.

The company is based in Raleigh, North Carolina with a presence in 35 countries with about 12,000 employees. It is one of the most well-known open-source firms with customers paying for custom-made software solutions. In fiscal year 2018 the company saw a net profit of $259 million on a turnover of $2.9 billion, which was an increase of 21 percent over 2017.

Dr. Alan Mendelsohn: Pioneer of Cataract Surgery in South Florida

Cross-sectional view in grayscale of right human eye.

In 1987 Dr. Alan Mendelsohn was a newly minted graduate of the fellowship training program at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami. That year he opened his ophthalmology practice in Hollywood and was excited to be a part of what was then a new breed of ophthalmologists who pioneered the practice of out-patient cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery is an out-patient procedure today, but until this moment in history eye doctors admitted their patients into the hospital for three days: the night before the surgery, the day of the surgery, and then one extra night after the surgery. There are several advantages to reducing the length of hospital stays, including: reducing the extra bother and expense; and more importantly, lowering the risk of contracting hospital induced infections. Out of hospital cataract surgery was an attractive alternative right from the beginning.

Dr. Alan Mendelsohn was at the cusp of this new model for cataract surgery. For the next ten years this was standard practice. Then, in the mid to late 1990s another revolution transformed the field of ophthalmology: “No Stitch” cataract surgery. Phaco surgery, short for Phacoemulcification, allowed eye doctors like Alan Mendelsohn to remove cataracts in a far quicker and safer way, resulting in better eyesight overall. In addition, the risks of edema, infections and inflammations were drastically reduced.

Today Dr. Mendelsohn’s practice is experiencing a third revolution: Laser-assisted cataract surgery. This type of surgery not only eliminates the cataract, but also can correct for low or moderate levels of astigmatism. This problem can be either improved or completely eliminated in many cases, resulting in a visual acuity improvement unprecedented from this type of surgery in the past.

Bitcoin’s Value Doubled in August

Bitcoin reached its highest price in its short history when it doubled in value in just one month.

During the month of August Bitcoin went from a price of $2788 on August 1st, 2017 to $4564 on August 31st, and it wasn’t finished heading for the stars quite yet. On September 2 bitcoin reached a high of $4780, before it started to crash, losing about 15% in just a bit over a week. As of September 11th, one bitcoin costs $4106.

Overall this year bitcoin has grown by 358%, starting slowly in January, but then really taking off in March this year, when it began climbing from just under $1000 on March 24th, and just kept going.

Listen to one commentator’s analysis of this investing phenomenon. Is it a bubble, or isn’t it?