Business and financeGulliver

Concerns over charges for checked bags in America miss the point

FEES for checked luggage are working exactly as intended. That is the main thrust of a new report from America’s Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the recent rise of charges for checking a bag onto a plane when flying. But not everyone is interpreting the study in such a positive light.

Critics are crying foul because these fees cost some passengers more money. Bill Nelson, a Democratic senator who requested the study and sits on the committee that oversees the airline industry, has described the charges as a “last-minute shakedown”. William McGee of Consumer Reports, a non-profit organisation that reviews products, told USA Today that “consumers should be able to shop for airline seats without being nickel-and-dimed.”

Media outlets are also making the same point. When the Associated Press Continue reading

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IDG Contributor Network: Why it’s so difficult for the public sector to stay current on Windows software

For the second time this year, a major public service in the UK, Greater Manchester Police (GMP), has come under public scrutiny for running out-of-date software – specifically, Windows XP. In fact, the BBC reported that as many as 1 in 5 GMP devices are still running XP – an extraordinarily high proportion. Earlier this year, of course, the same outdated OS made the UK’s National Health Service the first standout victim of the devastating WannaCry ransomware attack.

Over the past 20 years, I have worked with hundreds of public sector organizations in both the U.S. and the UK, helping them keep their Windows systems current. I’ve noticed several common challenges faced by the public sector when it comes to this increasingly difficult challenge. (Some are of these challenges are also prevalent in the private sector, but not to the same degree.) In the public sector, main challenges to staying current are typically application compatibility, budgets and skills.

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What’s new in Kotlin 1.2? Code reuse, for starters

Version 1.2 of the statically typed Kotlin language, will offer an experimental feature enabling reuse of code across platforms, as well as compatibility with the Java 9 module system. The beta of Kotlin 1.2 is now available for download.

Kotlin’s experimental multiplatform projects capability lets developers reuse code between supported target platforms: JVM and JavaScript initially, and later native. Code to be shared between platforms is placed in a common module; platform-dependent parts are put in platform-specific modules. During compilation, code is produced for both the common and platform-specific parts.

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16 time-saving Android shortcuts

When it comes to modern technology, every second counts.

It may sound silly, but it’s true: A second is the difference between an interaction on your phone feeling instantaneous and feeling just a touch too slow. And particularly with how frequently we tend to repeat common mobile tech tasks — switching apps, opening menus, firing up our cameras and so on — all of those seconds can add up fast.

The good news: Android has no shortage of hidden shortcuts that can help you save time and get stuff done more efficiently. All you have to do is learn how to use ’em.


1. Snap between apps

Cut out delays in toggling between apps by putting Android’s semi-secret fast-snap function to use. If your device runs Android 7.0 (Nougat) or higher, double-tap the Overview key — the square-shaped icon next to the Back and Home buttons — and you’ll find yourself flipping between your two most recently used apps faster than you can say “fresh Froyo.”

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