Daily Archives: December 26, 2014

Oil prices rise following attacks on Libyan oil terminals

Singapore, Dec 26: Oil prices rose in Asia today as dealers reacted to a surprise Islamist attack on Libya’s main oil terminals that left 22 soldiers dead. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for February delivery rose 28 cents to USD 56.12 in mid-morning trade, while Brent for February gained 13 cents to USD 60.37.

Trading volumes in Asia were thinner than usual with major regional financial markets including Hong Kong and Australia closed today. US and European stock markets will also be shut for the Boxing Day holiday.

The attack in Libya’s oil-rich region yesterday, saw militiamen belonging to the Fajr Libya, or Libya Dawn, target Al-Sidra port by firing rockets from speedboats, setting an oil tank on fire, security forces said. Soldiers damaged three of the vessels before clashes in which the militants were eventually repelled. Witnesses said the attack was launched overnight, and reported seeing smoke from the burning oil tank.

Military and medical sources said 18 soldiers and a Fajr Libya fighter were killed yesterday in fighting in Sirte, and another four soldiers slain in Al-Sidra. Al-Sidra is located in the country’s “oil crescent” region that has been the scene of recent fighting between government forces and Fajr Libya. Since fresh clashes between government forces and the jihadists erupted on December 13, Libya’s oil production has dropped to nearly 350,000 barrels per day compared with 800,000 previously, according to industry experts. Production in Libya, a member of the OPEC oil-producing cartel, has only just started to rise following a prolonged disruption due to civil unrest.


Play Station, Xbox under ‘hacker attack’

Washington, 26 December: The online gaming networks for Sony’s Play Station and Microsoft’s Xbox consoles ~ hot gifts this Christmas ~ have gone dark in what hackers said was a coordinated attack.

The outage started on Christmas Day and went into Friday, Play Station and Xbox said on their Twitter feeds, adding that they were working to restore service.

A new Twitter user going by the name “Lizard Squad” took credit for the disruption, claiming it had the “nation on strings.”

The name is the same used by a group of hackers that has targeted Sony in the past, though it was not possible to verify the Twitter account’s authenticity. The account did not return request for comment and only became active Wednesday.

Sony this month was hit by a sophisticated hacking attack that stole massive amounts of data from its servers. The US has blamed North Korea for the attack, with the hermit state seen as furious at the release of a Sony movie comedy, “The Interview”, which parodies leader Kim Jong-Un.

After initially cancelling the 25 December release of “The Interview”, Sony backtracked and brought it out in a few US theaters and made it available online ~ including through the Xbox console and, soon, the PlayStation.
Sony’s @Play Station Twitter account said today: “We’re aware that some users are having issues logging into PSN – engineers are investigating.”

An online support page ~ https://support.us.playstation.com/ ~ showed that the Play Station network status remained offline early today, a day after the difficulties began.

Meanwhile, Microsoft on a site for its Xbox customers pleaded with its customers to be patient.

“We’re aware of this issue, and we’re working to find a fix ASAP! We appreciate your patience in the meantime, and we encourage you to retry signing in when you get a chance. We’ll update you as soon as we know more,” the message said.

Xbox said on Twitter it could not estimate when service would return, while users vented their frustration with the outage online.

“After this christmas, #lizardsquad id forever on the naughty list,” one frustrated gamer fumed on Twitter.

A major cyber attack on PlayStation in 2011 saw personal details from 77 million customers stolen, preventing customers from playing online and forcing Sony to disable the network for more than three weeks.


Your Biggest Social Media Fans Might Not Be Your Best Customers

If you think your careful attention to social media analytics, monitoring, and customer relations means you know your customers better than ever before, think again. Rather than enlightening you about your customers, all that social media data may actually be misleading you-because it’s only showing you a narrow and atypical slice of your social media audience and your customer base.

That’s the key insight in a new report my coauthor Vision Critical President Andrew Reid and I released last week, What Social Media Analytics Can’t Tell You About Your Customers. The report provides long-overdue context about who you are actually hearing from when you tune in to your social media audience. Our big finding was that even if your social media audience is largely made up of people who are also your customers (which in itself can be hard to ascertain), those customers who you actually hear from on social media are not representative of your customers as a whole.

In fact, almost 90% of what you hear on social media comes from fewer than 30% of social media users. That 30%-the people we call enthusiasts-are the vocal social media users who post 5 times a week or more. And they’re fundamentally different from the quieter social media users who make up the vast majority of your social media audience (and potentially your customers): the dabblers, who post two to four times per week, and the near-silent lurkers, who post once a week or less. But don’t mistake quiet for irrelevant: even though they are barely posting, the vast majority of lurkers and dabblers peruse Facebook at least once a day.

Understanding the differences between these three kinds of social media users is crucial not only to your social media strategy, but to the way you approach customer intelligence. Whether you’re trying to understand how to serve, market to, or engage your customers, you need to understand the expectations and attitudes of all of your customers.

We were able to uncover the blind spots of social media analytics by working with three global brands to combine detailed feedback from their customers with Facebook profile data from those same people. This effort revealed a massive asymmetry between the fans and customers who get heard through social media dashboards and analytics, and the reality of who’s on Facebook. Even more important, it allowed us to develop the first data-driven picture of how vocal and quiet social media users differ from one another, in ways that matter to your business.

Enthusiasts are the people that social media analytics do a good job of capturing-because they (OK, I’ll admit it: we) are actively participating on social media sites. Those enthusiasts tend to be eager shoppers. They’re more likely to be looking for that next great buy, and to make that purchase in a big box store. They are also avid users of their mobile devices – they’re more likely to whip out their mobile phones to comparison shop while they’re inside a store. They’re also selective about the types of TV programs they regularly view, and are likely to consult friends and family in their purchase decisions, and more likely to share their own opinions in turn. These are the people that you will most likely see represented in your social media intelligence.

But’s what’s missing is the data on your dabbler and lurker fans and customers – that’s much less likely to show up in your analytics. Lurkers tend to be more reluctant shoppers, and social media is less likely to have spurred them to make a purchase. And unlike enthusiasts, you’re unlikely to find them shopping at a big box store. They’re less interested in their mobile devices than in their TVs; they watch more types of TV programming, and follow fewer topics on Facebook (though, interestingly, they’re just as likely to play online games). They’re less inclined to turn to friends and family for shopping advice offline, and less interested in sharing their own views with online friends.

Dabblers fall squarely between these two extremes. But like lurkers, they’re often missed by social media analytics: because they post so much less than enthusiasts, they account for only 10% of what you hear on Facebook, even though they make up almost 20% of the Facebook audience.

These differences mean that you can’t use enthusiasts as a proxy for your customers as a whole. Particularly when the signals you pick up on social come from customers who disagree, you need to find ways to contextualize what you’re hearing on social with every other source of customer insight you can get your hands on: transactional data, customer feedback, click tracking, and so on. Not to mention actual conversations with as wide a range of customers as you can possibly engage.

It’s only when businesses combine all of these sources of insight that they really will know their customers better than ever. Social media analytics may remind companies why it’s crucial to understand their customers-but the differences between enthusiasts, dabblers, and lurkers means that social media can’t deliver that understanding.


‘So many tears this Christmas’, says Pope Francis


Pope Francis called for an end to “brutal” religious persecution, killings and hostage-taking in the Middle East and Nigeria as well as violence against children in his annual Christmas “urbi et orbi” message.

Denouncing conflicts in Ukraine, Libya and elsewhere, and noting last week’s deadly attack against school-children in Pakistan, the pontiff also lamented the thousands of victims of the Ebola apidemic in West Africa.

“Truly there are so many tears this Christmas,” he said.
Delivering his second Christmas blessing, the popular Argentine pontiff, visibly moved and departing from his text, said vast numbers of children “are victims of violence, made objects of trade and trafficking”.

He asked Jesus to “give comfort to the families of the children killed in Pakistan,” referring to the 149 people, including 133 schoool-children, killed in Peshawar by the Taliban.

Speaking to a large crowd massed outside Saint Peter’s Basilica, the pope urged Ukrainians to “overcome tensions, conquer hatred and violence and set out on a new journey of fraternity and reconciliation”.

He turned too to the violence wrought by Islamic State fundamentalists this year in Syria and Iraq.

“I ask him, the Saviour of the world, to look upon our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria, who for too long now have suffered the effects of ongoing conflict, and who, together with those belonging to other ethnic and religious groups, are suffering a brutal persecution.”

There were “too many displaced persons, exiles and refugees, adults and elderly, from this region and the whole world,” he said.

He called for peace in “the whole Middle East” and continued efforts towards “dialogue” between Israelis and Palestinians.

The pope too urged peace in Nigeria “where more blood is being shed”, as well as in Libya, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Reublic of the Congo.
He noted the victims of Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and in Guinea and thanked those were “courageously” assisting the sick.


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