Citrix Considers New Sale Process Under Goldman Sachs Supervision

citrix systems headquarters

Citrix Systems is considering a new sale process at the advice of Goldman Sachs.

Citrix Systems Inc. has been specializing for 28 years in cloud computing technologies as well as server, networking, and SaaS. However, continuous financial evolution impelled the company to seek a new sale process. Goldman Sachs plays an important role here, by advising the tech organization on best suitors for their cloud services.

The tech company based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is working with employees at Goldman Sachs  Group Inc. to organize an effective yet discreet sale process. The consulting firm is looking to propose the deal to potential buyers which can also include private equity firms. The sources of this thread have been contacted by publication Bloomberg. However, they refused to have their identities disclosed as this is a private matter.

Potential Suitors Have to Deal with High Valuation

Nonetheless, this is going to be a difficult task even for Goldman Sachs. The finalists of the sales process would most probably have to split the bid between them given the large market valuation of Citrix Systems. The buyout firms are usually unwilling to team up with others, which will lead to a complicated transaction. The same sources pointed out to an increased market value of the tech company over the years. This evolution might make it difficult for buyers to offer a premium deal for Citrix.

On Monday, the shares have already increased by 6.8% to $84.93. Thus, the total value of the company rose to $13.3 billion. Moreover, during the last 12 months, the stock was boosted by around 30%. This result comes in contradiction with the claims of the management, according to which they are more after a conservative prospect for the upcoming four quarters. Neither Goldman Sachs nor Citrix Systems wanted to comment the news.

Overview of Recent History Prior to the Sale Process

In 2015, Citrix Systems included Jesse Cohn, a partner of Elliott Management, an activist hedge fund company, to its board. At the same time, the tech organization named Robert Calderoni as the executive chairman. As a result of these changes, the company underwent a series of reviews as far as strategic and operational points are concerned.

It was only last July when Citrix Systems announced the evolution of its GoTo business thanks to a merger with LogMec Inc. The deal was worth $1.8 billion which led to a collaboration with its main rivals in online meeting organization.

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Science Discovered the Secrets behind Memory Athletes

brain switch illustration

Memory athletes have their brains not so different from normal people’s brains.

Training memory is not so different from training your body. While avid gym goers can reach a point where they can dead lift 500 pounds, so memory athletes can remember 500 digits in five minutes. At least this is what a new study suggests namely that anybody can train their minds to break unthinkable limits. This superpower is just a matter of learning.

Whenever most people hear that a champion managed to memorize 164 names of as many people in just 16 minutes, they would attribute this success to an innate ability. However, science begs to differ. According to a new study, anybody who practices memorizing exercises on a daily basis can recreate such an impressive performance (at least during their best days).

On Thursday, Neuron published a new research paper that proved that anybody could become memory athletes. In the process of turning into one, people can also experience brain changes at large scale. The first part of the study wanted to discover brain differences between memory athletes and normal people. They paired each champion with a participant of the same gender, age, and IQ. They performed anatomical scans and fMRIs both during rest and memory effort.

The conclusion was that both parties had similar brain regions. On the other hand, what differed was the brain connectivity during passive and active states, which where much stronger in champions. Thus, researchers concluded that there was no special hardware that made people champions. The second part of the study involved 51 participants. None of them participated in memory training before. They were divided into the main experimental group and two control groups.

The experimental group trained their memories for half an hour a day for six weeks. They learned how to link new information to familiar places. The active control group performed memory tasks for six weeks. However, these exercises do not affect long-term memory. The passive control group received no treatment.

The results showed that the two control groups experienced no improvements. However, the experimental group recorded remarkable performance. While the structure of their brains remained intact, scientists noticed more powerful connection patterns to the resemblance of memory athletes. This change was persistent both when subjects were passive and when they performed memory exercises. This experiment showed that learning is similar to training our bodies. Memory exercises order the brain to adapt to difficult tasks.

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Meteorologists Announce Severe Weather for Alabama on Wednesday

severe weather

Weather experts issued a warning for severe weather for Wednesday, March 1st. Hail will most likely mark the first day of spring for Alabama residents, forecasters predict.

Weather experts are growing ever more confident that Alabama residents will be forced to remain indoors on the first day of spring. However, the warnings don’t stop there. Meteorologists also announced the weather is going to take a turn for the worst on Monday and Tuesday, as well. Nevertheless, forecasters say March 1st has the highest probabilities of severe weather.

Severe Weather Setting In

On Wednesday, weather experts predict a cold front moving into the state with storms breaking out ahead and along of it. This got most forecasters worried, as they could reach severe limits. Experts with the National Weather Service say that all forms of severe weather are possible, including hail, as the main concern, damaging gusts of wind, and even small tornadoes. Hence, NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center experts placed the state of Alabama under severe weather risk on Wednesday.

Most affected will be central and northern Alabama with numerous storms, high in intensity. At the same time, however, some central regions in the state will be spared the severe storms but will see, nonetheless, powerful gusts of wind and only minor storms scattered around. Ultimately, the rest of Alabama will see only low-intensity storms here and there.

Regions Affected

The weather is already taking a turn for the worst, say National Weather Service experts, as a few strong to severe storms are expected to hit Alabama on Monday, February 27th. Hence, forecasters are keeping a close eye on gusts of wind exceeding 60 mph and the potential for hail associated with strong storms that could make an appearance in the evening. Meteorologists say that if any strong storms should form, they will do so mainly west of a line from Mobile to Evergreen to Camden. The storms predicted for Wednesday, however, will hit along the U.S. Highway 84 and move north.

The weather services warn Alabama residents about severe storms and say that a brief tornado can also make an appearance this week. Birmingham’s National Weather Service experts say the window for severe weather on March 1st appears to be between noon and 10 p.m. Meteorologists added regions along and north of a line from Mount Chaha to Calera to Cuba will most likely be subjected to severe storms. After the weather settles, experts believe the rest of the week will be drier and more seasonable.

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CDC Researchers’ Work Halted Over Equipment Concern Regarding Air Hoses

air hoses

Multiple reports reveal CDC researchers have been struggling with the faulty air hoses for four years before officials considered replacing them.

Work at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s highest-security labs suddenly came to a halt because of growing concerns regarding the safety equipment researchers use when dealing with deadly viruses. More specifically, several issues have been reported about the air hoses that connect to the full-body suits that keep the scientists safe from exposure to life-threatening compounds.

Air Hoses Issue

Almost 100 scientists used the air hoses inside the agency’s BSL-4 (biosafety level) laboratories in Atlanta since they opened almost a decade ago, in 2008. However, they may have never been designed to be used for delivering breathable air, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials on Friday, February 17th.

The agency further said that investigators learned about the issue on Monday, as they were proceeding to order replacement units for the first time since the inauguration of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory building, worth $214 million. However, the agency’s associate director for laboratory science and safety, Steve Monroe, says the action was being taken out of an abundance of caution and there was no need to suspect the air hoses contained any traces of toxic materials. Nevertheless, researchers at CDC will inspect the air coming out of them to be sure it meets the federal standards for breathable air. Steve Monroe expects the results to fly in next week.

Researchers’ Past Experiences with the Faulty Air Hoses

According to a lab report of nearly four years ago, an air hose disconnected without warning from a researcher’s full-body suit as he was working with hazardous substances. More worrying is the fact that the scientist in question emphasized his experience by saying it happened more than once. The report was one of many that described the same issue with the air hoses.

Another scientist described how his air hose disconnected from his suit. Fortunately, his colleague rushed to his aid and held the air hose in place as best as he could. The same day, the agency issued a warning to 40 lab workers reminding them to make sure their protective full-body suits are in working order and to be most watchful of their air hoses’ connection to the suit.

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Investigators Reveal 2,000 Massachusetts Residents Died from Opioid Overdoses Last Year

opioid opverdoses kill 2,000

If it wasn’t for the state’s involvement with the addiction crisis, health experts believe opioid overdoses would have claimed even more lives.

According to the latest findings, no less than 2,000 addicts died from opioid overdoses in 2016 alone in Massachusetts, in spite of multiple campaigns to halt drug use, painkiller abuse, and widespread awareness of the devastating effects brought on by the state’s addiction crisis.

In the report released by the state Department of Health on Friday, February 17th, coroners confirmed drug-related deaths in 1,465 of the total cases and suspected 514 more died of health complications associated with drug abuse. The report further states that opioid overdoses killed five times more Massachusetts residents than car crashes.

Main Culprits

Health experts say that the main culprit behind the string of deaths associated with drug abuse is a substance called fentanyl, which could be observed in an increasing number of cases even as heroin-related deaths steadily declined. Researchers say that synthetic fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than heroin.

Authorities investigating illegal opioid distribution and manufacturing within the state’s borders say dealers oftentimes mix this powerful substance with other opioids for a more potent effect. Moreover, fentanyl can also be marketed as an alternative of heroin or mixed with it.

Authorities’ Opinion on the Current Situation

While the public may be shocked about the latest findings, the news comes as little of a surprise for state’s public health commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel who says the results are not unexpected. However, she says she remains positive the situation will take a turn for the better in the future, thanks to the state’s programs and restrictions aimed at the problem, especially measures that combat excessive opioid prescribing, campaigns against stigma, and 500 treatment beds. Nevertheless, she is conscious of the fact completely eradicating the problem will take even more effort and more time.

At the same time, there are others that believe the surge in opioid-related deaths does not necessarily point to an increased number of people on drugs, but rather to the addicts’ inability to comprehend the negative effects of fentanyl. Hence, in spite of the state officials’ restrictions and safety measures, the deadly substance gained a lot of popularity on the black market recently and is outrunning the state’s efforts, says Boston Medical center’s addiction specialist, Dr. Alexander Walley. Even so, if the state would never have gotten involved with the issue, the situation would have been even worse, said Dr. Walley.

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Latest Rumors Regarding the iPhone 8’s OLED Display

oled display

Analysts believe iPhone 8 featuring an OLED display will be the highlight of Apple’s 2017 smartphone generation. Other than that, only minor improvements.

Apple’s purported iPhone 8 has long been rumored to feature a large OLED display. However, several aspects remain unclear, such as the positioning of the home button, will there even be a home button any longer to start with, the positioning of the fingerprint sensor, bezels, and whatnot. Word on the street is the upcoming iPhone8 will indeed feature a 5.8-inch OLED display with a usable screen space of 5.15 inches, according to Ming-Chi Kuo, KGI Securities analyst.

Home Button Positioning

As rumors have it, the large display will take up the entire front panel of the unit, practically eliminating all bezels. If this turns out to be true, Apple will most likely eliminate the home button altogether along with the Touch ID fingerprint recognition tech used in iPhones.

iPhone 8 Size

As far as size is concerned, Ming-chi Kuo believes the latest Apple creation will be similar in dimensions with its predecessor, the iPhone7, coming in at 4.7 inches, allowing users to perform one-handed operations. This size is possible because there will be no extra space outside of the 5.8-inch display.

Furthermore, rumors say it is possible Apple will also offer standard 5.5-inch and 4.7-inch LCD units. However, at this point, it is still too early to speculate on what features will these variants adopt. Nevertheless, Kuo mentioned in his previous research notes the handsets will probably come with wireless charging and glass bodies. As far as other features are concerned, Kuo did not go into any more detail. Ultimately, he did underline the OLED display will be the only bright spot of the 2017 generation, which leaves room to interpretation suggesting the other two variants will benefit from only minor improvements.

Battery Life

With the home button supposedly gone, Apple will most likely embed other biometric technologies in the iPhone 8. Some believe these could refer to facial or iris recognition. Improvements will also be made in the battery life department, Kuo saying that the upcoming unit will most likely feature a new logic board designed to support bigger batteries, similar to those of the 5.5-inch iPhone 7s’.

iPhone 8 Price

With battery improvements, radical changes, and potentially new biometric technologies, Kuo believes the iPhone 8 will go for more than $1,000. Last week, Fast Company said the same thing. However, the high price will hardly be a stumbling block for those looking for an innovative user experience that Apple promises with its latest handset, Kuo believes.

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Verizon And T-Mobile Are Standing On An Equal Foot

verizon store

According to the latest OpenSignal report, Verizon and T-Mobile are quite equal.

According to the latest OpenSignal report, Verizon stopped being the mobile network’s top leader. Why? Because T-Mobile is now reportedly standing on an equal foot with it.

Verizon Telecommunications is considered the largest wireless communications service provider in the United States. The broadband telecommunications company has been holding the position since 2014.

T-Mobile US is another major telecommunications company. It is also one of the largest wireless network operators in the United States. And a recently released report shows that the two are closer than believed.

Earlier this week, OpenSignal released its annual report. This is the 2017 State of Mobile Networks report. Its purpose? To track and analyze the availability and speed of the mobile carrier services. The report solely targets the United States. And the results were reportedly quite clear.

Verizon and T-Mobile are standing on quite an equal footing.

This may come as a surprise to some. Previously, Verizon was the undisputable mobile network carrier. But now, the company either won or shared every national prize with T-Mobile. This is all according to the T-Mobile report.

OpenSource based its report on a crowdsourced monitoring. One which revealed the following. The two wireless carriers offer a similar network performance. They also provide almost the same speeds.

The reports also pointed out the following. 4G speeds are on the rise with many city limits being higher than the national average.

OpenSource’s report is based on about 4.6 billion datapoints. These were gathered through its official app. This latter is currently being used across the United States. It has about 170,000 users.

Its analysis also pointed out the 4G supremacy battle. T-Mobile was noted to be slowly but surely gaining ground. But Verizon is still reportedly offering the best solution. The company has the highest available 4G availability. And it has also been bringing network updates.

In terms of network speeds, the two providers are still tied up. This fact was also noted in the last OpenSource report. This latter was released in the summer of 2016. More exactly, in August.

Analysts also compared the two reports. Which allowed them to point out the following. Overall, all the major network providers have been bringing updates. Their list includes Verizon and T-Mobile. And also AT&T as well as Sprint.

Sprint also revealed some significant advances. Besides Verizon, it marked some of the biggest strides. The consensus holds that it is doing so in order to catch up with the other 3 carriers. Overall, the United States is on an upwards trend in terms of 4G availability.

More cities across the country have access to even faster 4G speeds.

The last report identified 18 cities with LTE speeds of around 20 Mbps or higher. This latest analysis noted that the city number increased to 25.

Just recently, Verizon also started upgrading its network. This will now benefit from LTE-Advanced technology. Which could account for the recent speed jumps registered across several cities.

For their part, T-Mobile and AT&T have also been bringing improvements. They have been changing the frequency bands. And started deploying LTE to the new ones.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Grounded for a Little Longer Because of Cracks

spacex falcon 9 rocket

Government Accountability Office’s report will be made public at some point during the upcoming weeks and will mark the first public disclosure of such magnitude in relation to the SpaceX Falcon 9 aircraft.

According to the Government Accountability Office reports, SpaceX Falcon 9 will not take to air anytime soon since the airship suffers from persistent cracking. A preliminary investigation that looked at rockets manufactured by both SpaceX, as well as its competitor, Boeing, revealed that airships funded by Elon Musk are not fitted for future manned missions.

Cracking Issues

The investigators say that the cracking issues stem from a pattern of various problems with the turbine blades that deliver fuel to the Falcon 9’s engines. Because these components have been found prone to cracking, the engineers are now forced to come up with an entirely new design of the rocket’s turbopumps since the one used up to this point is regarded as a major threat to the safety of both the craft, as well as its potential occupants.

Government Accountability Office’s report will be made public at some point during the upcoming weeks and will mark the first public disclosure of such magnitude in relation to the SpaceX Falcon 9 aircraft. In spite of the issues partially disclosed only recently, however, government officials say these problems have been known to occur in crafts launched as recently as September, last year.

Past Issues with SpaceX Falcon 9 Rockets

The report comes only as a continuation of a string of misfortune Elon Musk’s rockets experienced in the past months. Last year, in September, one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets exploded shortly after liftoff on the launchpad in Cape Canaveral, Florida, taking down with it the AMOS-6, Spacecom’s communication satellite. The AMOS-6 was meant to be launched into orbit in order to provide several parts of Africa with internet connectivity.

After the incident, most of the companies that were considering to launch with Elon Musk’s SpaceX backed off. Furthermore, future launches had been postponed because of the investigations underway at the time. Hence, SpaceX’s next launch was pushed to January 2017 from December 2016 and postponed yet again because of inclement weather.

Ultimately, GAO officials said that neither Boeing nor SpaceX will be able to meet their goals of launching manned missions in Earth’s orbit until 2018.

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Mumps Breakout Sweeping Through the U.S., Physicians Warn

mumps

While the number of patients with mumps increase, the doctors are considering the option of administering a third dose of the MMR vaccine.

Health experts are on high alert as the latest mumps reports point to an increase in the number of infected individuals. As of January 26th, a grand total of 290 people came down with the disease in five counties. Mumps is a highly contagious disease that spreads easily through infected saliva or close contact with another infected individual. However, the onset can be prevented by getting an MMR vaccine that protects the host against mumps, measles, and rubella.

Official Reports

In light of the recent reports, Washington State Department of Health officials urge the population to get the vaccine as soon as possible to prevent further spread. Health experts have issued guidelines to prevent the population from contracting the virus. Hence, they recommend individuals to avoid hugging, kissing, or any other kind of contact with an infected host.

Per latest findings, 160 cases have been reported in King County, Seattle included. Other confirmed cases of mumps include Spokane with 90 individuals exhibiting signs of the disease, 1 in Yakima County, 35 in Pierce County, and 3 in Snohomish County. Over the course of the past weeks, Iowa, New York, Arkansas, and Indiana also experienced an increase in the number of patients infected with mumps.

Past Reports

Even though the disease is now less common in the United States as it was in the past, the largest number of infected individuals in the last decade was recorded in 2016. Last year, a survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 5,311 individuals fell victim to the virus across 46 states and the District of Columbia. For comparison purposes, only 229 cases have been reported in 2012, while an increase of 1,300 could be observed in 2015.

Health experts recommend patients, especially children, to get a double dose of the MMR vaccine, deemed 88 percent effective, for a better immunization. However, in light of the recent events, doctors have been left wondering if a third dose could prove to be more efficient in fighting off the disease. Infected individuals normally exhibit symptoms which include appetite loss, fever, fatigue, headache, and swollen salivary glands up to 18 days after coming in contact with the virus. However, the symptoms can also appear even 25 days after contracting the disease.

Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox Engage in a Battle for Supremacy

google chrome

Even though Microsoft Edge is regarded as the safest browser, Google Chrome is breathing down its neck and Mozilla Firefox picked up the pace, as well.

With so many popular options to choose from and the constant threat cyber attacks pose to one’s personal safety, it might be difficult to decide on a web browser that could prevent users from falling victim to malware of phishing. At the moment, there are three top competitors on the market battling for the title of the safest web browser: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

Top Competitors

Even though all three are free to download, Microsoft Edge is exclusive for Windows 10. It may come as a shock for some, especially because of the jokes that have been circulating over the internet in the past years, but Microsoft Edge was dubbed the most secure web browser.

While Google Chrome has some aces up his sleeve, it still isn’t enough to go against Windows latest web browser. Ultimately, Mozilla Firefox was found to be the least effective against malware and phishing attacks.

Official Report

According to a recent survey conducted by NSS Labs, Microsoft Edge was able to block 99 percent of malware, while Chrome couldn’t handle more than 85.8 percent. Mozilla Firefox successfully managed to block only 78.3 percent of malware.

In order to determine which is the safest browser, NSS Labs tested them against 304 phishing pages and Socially Engineered Malware.

Features that Promote Safe Web Browsing

SmartScreen is among the most effective tools against phishing and malware. The feature was first integrated into Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7 and is otherwise known as a “phishing filter”. Upon accessing a web page that contains malware, SmartScreen steps in displaying a bright red page that informs the users about the dangers they expose themselves to if they continue navigating on said page.

Maybe a slightly less popular feature is the Microsoft Edge’s Sandbox. This security mechanism breaks up a browser’s components into separate tabs. As a result, should either plugins, tabs, or windows contain malware, sandboxing will prevent it from spreading to other areas of the computer. While Google Chrome also comes with this feature, Mozilla Firefox does not have it.

In conclusion, even though the NSS Labs’ report states that the Microsoft Edge is the safest web browser to use, Google Chrome is not so far behind itself and Mozilla Firefox is rapidly closing in, as well. With this being said, more features need to be implemented for either one in order to name a clear winner.

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