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Accoona, the web & news search engine which also offers an e-commerce service, has filed for an $80.5 million IPO on the heels of its success in e-commerce in North America and its relationship with the China Daily.

Accoona stocks will be traded under the Nasdaq symbol ACNA and although the company has experienced losses over the past two quarters, its revenue is growing each quarter, from $23 million in Q1 06 to $37.5 million in Q1 07.

Accoona’s search engine is powered by a proprietary AI technology, Accoona Artificial Intelligence, but according to its SEC filing, the majority of its business is produced by its ExchancePlace lead generation site.

Here is their business overview from the SEC Filing, an interesting read.

As part of our long-term strategy, we plan to develop and market multiple online-based services for Chinese business professionals in China. In order to capitalize on the opportunities that exist in China, in April 2004 we entered into an agreement that provides for a strategic relationship between us and China Daily Information Company, or CDIC, a subsidiary of China Daily, the largest English language newspaper in China. CDIC owns and operates chúng tôi which is generally recognized as the largest English language website in China. CDIC owns 6.9% of our outstanding stock (before giving effect to this offering) and a senior executive of CDIC is a member of our board of directors.

We were founded in February 2004 and commenced commercial operations in December 2004 by launching our North American search site, chúng tôi and Chinese search site, chúng tôi Since that time, we have significantly expanded and developed our activities, including by:

Acquiring our initial e-commerce operations in May 2005 and additional e-commerce operations in April 2006;

Launching our European search site, chúng tôi in June 2006;

Updating the functionality of our North American search site, chúng tôi in June and December 2006; and

Introducing our online-based lead generation business, branded as ExchangePlace, in North America in June 2006.

Time Magazine named chúng tôi one of the “50 Coolest Websites” in 2006.

Key Features Innovative Lead Generation Product.

Key features of ExchangePlace are:

Search engine.

Our search sites now operate in North America, China and Europe and employ our artificial intelligence search technology and patented navigation tools to search our news and business information databases and for general web searches. Our search sites offer innovative features aimed at improving the relevance of search results and at enhancing the overall user experience. The strength of our search engine is primarily attributable to the sophistication of our search technology and our special features, which include:

Artificial intelligence driven search engine — Our search engine uses proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms to deliver search results by, in effect, analyzing search terms by meaning, and not solely by matching keywords. We believe this technology helps us improve the relevance of our search results.

Language sensitive search — Our European search site, chúng tôi analyses data to determine which search interface language and which data set to present to its users. The search engine recognizes the language of the user’s browser and also recognizes the language of the query and the language of the documents in the various indices. chúng tôi uses a rule set combining this information to determine the language preference of the user. chúng tôi then presents search results customized to the language preference, and the navigators are also translated into that language. For example, in the business search, data in the index includes standard industrial classification, or SIC, codes assigned to each business. When chúng tôi presents this to the user, these business types are translated into the user’s language of preference.

One of the top consumer electronics e-commerce retailers in North America with potential for revenue enhancement and operational efficiencies. Through acquisitions, we have built an e-commerce business that is one of the top 10 consumer-direct electronics retailers in North America by online revenue and one of the top 55 consumer electronics retailers overall. We believe that there is potential to develop cross selling and direct marketing efforts, as well as a flexible customer service model, to enhance revenues. For example, through training and improved website design, we intend to expand our consultative selling process, allowing us to cross-sell and up-sell to more customers. In addition, we believe we can derive efficiencies from the integration of the logistics infrastructure and management functions across the acquired businesses and from the relocation of our e-commerce businesses, completed in the fourth quarter of 2006, to a new and improved facility.

We have a strategic relationship with CDIC, which is owned by China Daily, a company owned by the Chinese government. A senior executive of CDIC is a member of our board of directors and we are the search partner for CDIC’s chúng tôi site, which is generally recognized as the largest English language website in China.

Our Chinese language website, chúng tôi offers the same search capabilities to Chinese users as our North American search site. We have what we believe is one of the largest free business directories available online with over 42 million unique entries, which include more than 11 million Chinese business records, 13 million North American business records and 18 million European business records. This business directory can be searched for detailed China specific and international business information and we believe is attractive to Chinese business users.

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How To Batch Change File Extensions For Windows Files

Recently, I came across a problem where I had to change the file extension on a bunch of Windows files from no extension to .JPG. Someone sent me a large number of files, but for some strange reason, they had no file extension, even though they were images! Once I added the .JPG extension to the end of the file, I was able to open the images.

There are many other reasons why you may need to rename file extensions, so I’ll show you how you can change them one at a time if you have a small number of files or batch rename file extensions if you have lots of files.

Table of Contents

If you have a file with no extension, Windows will probably assign a generic icon to it. When you try to open it, the Open With dialog will pop up where you’ll get a list of programs to choose from.

Obviously, since there is no file extension for the file, Windows is not able to determine which program should open it. If you want to change the file extension for the file, you first need to be able to see file extensions in Windows. You can do this by going to My Computer and then going to Tools and  Folder Options.

Go to the View tab and scroll down till you see the option “Hide extensions for known file types“. Go ahead and uncheck it.

Move to the end of the name and type in .XXX or whatever the type is for the file you want it to be, i.e. .TXT for text files, .XLS for Excel files, etc. Obviously, the file has to have originally been from that program that you are changing the file extension too. In my case, the text file was from Excel, so I added that extension back.

How to Batch Rename File Extensions

So how do you rename multiple file extensions at once? If you have a directory full of files that need to be changed from .PNG to .JPG, it’s going to take forever to do this using the method above. Luckily, there are a couple of different ways we can change the file extension for multiple files at once.

Command Line

For those of you who are familiar with the command line, there is a very easy command you can use to perform very simple file renaming tasks. There are two commands that you can use at the command prompt: ren and rename. Both of them do the exact same thing, so it’s just a preference as to which one you use.

If you have a folder with a bunch of JPGs inside and you want to change the file extension to PNG, for example, you would type in the following command:

ren *.jpg *.png

As you can see above, the command changed all the files in that directory with a JPG file extension to ones with a PNG file extension. You can get more information on how to use the ren command from Microsoft’s website.

Bulk Rename Utility

I mentioned this tool even though it’s overkill for our purpose because it’s a really great utility and one that some might be interested in learning if they want to rename thousands of photos with names likes DSC00x, IMG00x, etc.

Advanced Renamer

Now go ahead and type in the new extension you would like into the box at the top and then change the Apply to box at the bottom to Extension instead of Name.

Again, I’m giving the simplest example with these programs, but you can create far more complex renaming schemes if you like. If you really don’t care about all the extra functionality, then check out the last program that does nothing but change the file extension.

Bulk Extension Changer

If you want simple, Bulk Extension Changer is the program for you. All you have to do is three things: first, pick the folder where the files are located, then set the current and replacement extension and then just press the Go button.

The only option is if you want to include sub-directories or not. In the 2nd step, you can add multiple replacement rules in case your folder has files of many different types and you want to check several at once.

Recover Damaged Excel Files With Recovery Toolbox For Excel

This is a sponsored article and was made possible by Recovery Toolbox. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.

The good news is when Excel detects a corrupted workbook, it automatically switches to file recovery mode in an attempt to repair the file. And even if it doesn’t, you can still initiate the recovery process manually. However, if the degree of damages was extreme, the built-in Excel repair tool might not be able to repair the file.

In such cases, the only way to repair and recover data from such damaged Excel files would be to use a third-party repair tool. We had the opportunity to test Recovery Toolbox for Excel to see whether it can recover data from damaged Excel files.

What Is Recovery Toolbox for Excel?

Recovery Toolbox for Excel is a software utility that helps repair and restore damaged and corrupt Excel files. This tool helps minimize your hassles when dealing with corrupt Excel files.

Program Features

Here’s a list of the salient features that make Recovery Toolbox for Excel stand out from the competition.

Recovers all types of Excel files: .xls, .xlt, .xlsx, .xlsm, .xltx, .xltm, and .xlam extension

Repairs and recovers .xls files of Microsoft Office 98, 2000, 2003, and XP

Recovers .xlsx files of Microsoft Office 2007, 2010, 2013, 2024

Repairs all types of formulas, including functions and name references

Recovers worksheets, fonts, table styles, and workbook cells data

Restores cells and border colors

Repairs and restores cell formatting values (number format, font, text orientation, fill pattern and more)

Directly exports recovered data to a new Excel document

Recovery Toolbox for Excel works with all versions of Windows – Windows 98//XP/Vista/7/8/10 or Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2024 and above.

How It Works

To determine how effective Recovery Toolbox for Excel is at recovering data, we’re going to test it on a severely damaged .xls Excel file. To get started, we’re going to first download and install the software, then try to recover data from the damaged Excel document.

Download and Installation

Recovering Data from a Corrupted Excel Workbook

If Excel can’t open a damaged file, it will display a pop-up error message that either the file is corrupted or not from a trusted source. This is the error message I got from the damaged file I was trying to open with Excel.

The following steps how how to use Recovery Toolbox for Excel to try to repair and recover the lost data.

The program will automatically start the recovery process. It will then display a preview of all the recovered items.

That’s a preview of the contents of the corrupt file that Excel couldn’t read. You can see the formatting was  applied and how the file will look once the recovery process is complete.

The software will display the recovery results, and you’ll even be able to see the number of items repaired, cells processed, and the time taken to complete the recovery.

After file repair is complete, you will be able to open the recovered file with Excel. Here’s how the new (recovered) file looks when opened with Excel.

As you can see, the software was able to recover the formulas in that Excel file.

Pricing

The company offers three pricing plans:

Personal License – This license is for personal use only and costs $27 for a lifetime license.

Business License – This plan is for corporations or for legal use in an enterprise. A business license costs $45.

Site License – You can buy a Site License for $60. This license allows you to use the software on several computers – up to 100 electronic devices. The devices can be in one building or distributed between several buildings.

There is also a free (trial) version, but it only gives you a preview of the recovered data. That means you’ll not be able to export the data to a new Excel workbook or save it to an XLSX file. To unlock all the features, you’ll need a license.

Pros and Cons

Here are the pros and cons we found with the software.

Pros

Easy to use with a clean user interface

Comprehensive – repairs and restores formulas, table styles, fonts, text orientation, number formats, and more

Very fast

Competitively priced

Cons

Does not recover inserted pictures

Cannot recover data from password protected files

Final Thoughts

Combining a sophisticated recovery algorithm with a simple and easy to use interface, Recovery Toolbox for Excel offers great value when you need to recover damaged Excel files. Having used this software, I’d recommend it to anyone looking for an excellent Excel repair and recovery tool.

Alternatively, you can use their Online Excel Repair Service if you want to repair a damaged Excel file without having to download and install additional software.

Kenneth Kimari

Kenn is a tech enthusiast by passion, Windows blogger by choice, and a massive coffee imbiber. He likes watching sci-fi movies in his free time and tearing gadgets apart so he can fix them.

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WordPress Backup Plugin Vulnerability Impacted 3+ Million Installations

Security researcher at Automattic discovered a vulnerability affecting popular WordPress backup plugin, UpdraftPlus. The vulnerability allowed hackers to download user names and hashed passwords. Automattic calls it a “severe vulnerability.”

UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin

UpdraftPlus is a popular WordPress backup plugin that’s actively installed in over 3 million websites.

The plugin allows WordPress administrators to backup their WordPress installations, including the entire database which contains user credentials,  passwords and other sensitive information.

Publishers rely on UpdraftPlus to adhere to the highest standards of security in their plugin because of how sensitive the data is that’s backed up with the plugin.

UpdraftPlus Vulnerability

The vulnerability was discovered by an audit conducted by a security researcher at Automattic’s Jetpack.

They discovered two previously unknown vulnerabilities.

The first was related to how UpdraftPlus security tokens called, nonces, could be leaked. This allowed an attacker to obtain the backup, including the nonce.

According to WordPress, nonces are not supposed to be the main line of defense against hackers. It explicitly states that functions should be protected by properly validating who has the proper credentials (by using the function called current_user_can()).

WordPress explains:

“Nonces should never be relied on for authentication, authorization, or access control. Protect your functions using current_user_can(), and always assume nonces can be compromised.”

The second vulnerability was tied to an improper validation of a registered users role, precisely what WordPress warns that developers should take steps to lock down plugins.

The improper user role validation allowed someone with the data from the previous vulnerability to download any of the backups, which of course contains sensitive information.

Jetpack describes it:

“Unfortunately, the UpdraftPlus_Admin::maybe_download_backup_from_email method, which is hooked to admin_init didn’t directly validate users’ roles either.

While it did apply some checks indirectly, such as checking the $pagenow global variable, past research has shown that this variable can contain arbitrary user input.

Bad actors could use this endpoint to download file & database backups based on the information they leaked from the aforementioned heartbeat bug.”

WordPress Forced Updates of UpdraftPlus

The vulnerability was so severe, WordPress took the extraordinary step of forcing automatic updates on all installations that hadn’t yet updated UpdraftPlus to the latest version.

But publishers are recommended to take it for granted that their installation was updated.

Affected Versions of UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus free versions before 1.22.3 and UpdraftPlus premium versions before 2.22.3 are vulnerable to the attack.

It’s recommended that publishers check to see that they are using the very latest version of UpdraftPlus.

Citations Read the Jetpack Announcement

Severe Vulnerability Fixed In UpdraftPlus 1.22.3

Read the UpdraftPlus Announcement

UpdraftPlus security release – 1.22.3 / 2.22.3 – please upgrade

Read the U.S. Government Documentation on the Vulnerability

CVE-2024-0633 Detail

Feld Family Foundation Pledges $10 Million To Bu

Feld Family Foundation Pledges $10 Million to BU Three endowed professorships included in major new gift

The Feld family: Kenneth (SMG’70), with (from left), Nicole, Bonnie (CAS’73), Alana (COM’02), and Juliette.

The Feld Family Foundation has pledged $10 million to enhance faculty development and other University projects, Boston University President Robert A. Brown announced today.

The Feld Family Foundation is a private philanthropic organization administered by the Feld family, Kenneth Feld (SMG’70), Bonnie Feld (CAS’73), and their daughters Nicole, Alana (COM’02), and Juliette. The foundation is dedicated to supporting higher education, the performing arts, and conservation of the endangered Asian elephant.

Prior foundation support established the Feld Family Career Center at the School of Management and the Feld Family Skating Center at Agganis Arena. This new pledge is a key facet of BU’s multiyear development plan led by Brown and the Board of Trustees.

“The Feld family’s generous gift points directly to the heart of the University’s strategic plan to strengthen the quality of the faculty,” says Brown. “Furthermore, the family’s philanthropic initiative provides a shining example for alumni and friends of the University to emulate. We truly appreciate their benevolence and leadership.”

Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, a BU trustee, and chair of the Trustees’ Development & Alumni Committee, designated $7.5 million through the foundation to establish three endowed professorships, one in each school attended by a Feld family member: the Feld Family Professorship of Marketing in the School of Management; the Feld Family Professorship of Teaching Excellence in the College of Arts & Sciences; and the Feld Family Professorship of New Media in the College of Communication.

The balance of the donation, $2.5 million, will be allocated by mutual agreement.

“Our goal at the Feld Family Foundation is to support higher education, particularly as it relates to those educators setting the pace and challenging the minds of tomorrow’s leaders,” says Kenneth Feld. “We are an alumni family, and we have all benefited from our experiences with BU and are very pleased with the direction Dr. Brown is taking the University. Through the Feld Family Foundation, we are in a position to give back to BU so others can experience the same opportunities.”

Feld Entertainment is the world’s leading producer and presenter of live family entertainment. A privately owned and operated family company, it is the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Feld Motor Sports, Disney On Ice, and Disney Live! With more than 5,000 performances annually and tours in more than 65 countries on 6 continents, the company’s shows are seen by more than 30 million people each year.

“The magnanimous pledge by Kenneth and the Feld Family Foundation is truly commendable for its focus on fortifying our teaching resource,” says Robert A. Knox (CAS’74, GSM’75), chair of the Board of Trustees. “Their support ensures that our commitment to excellence will be achieved.”

Alan M. Leventhal (Hon.’09), a trustee and former trustee chair, who oversaw creation of the current 10-year, $1.8 billion strategic plan, adds, “The Feld Family Foundation’s gift is magnificent and particularly important to Boston University. Not only has Ken’s leadership role as a trustee been critical, but as an alumni family, he and Bonnie have set a new standard of generosity. They and their daughters have made family philanthropy a top priority. Their example will continue to inspire alumni giving for years to come.”

Explore Related Topics:

French Ai Startup Raises €105 Million In A Month

In a significant boost to France’s plans of positioning itself as a major global tech hub, Mistral AI, a French technology French AI Startup Raises €105 Million in a Month ($113.4 million) after its establishment. This remarkable fund-raising achievement not only highlights the rapid growth of the artificial intelligence (AI) sector but also demonstrates Europe’s determination to create formidable rivals to Silicon Valley giants like Microsoft-backed OpenAI and Google’s DeepMind.

Mistral AI, a cutting-edge French technology and artificial intelligence company, has emerged as a dynamic player in the rapidly evolving AI landscape. Its recent funding success serves as a testament to the company’s vision, innovation, and potential for disrupting the industry.

The successful fundraising by Mistral AI underscores the exponential growth of the artificial intelligence sector. Europe, in particular, has been keen to establish itself as a formidable contender to Silicon Valley giants such as Microsoft-backed OpenAI and Google’s DeepMind. The infusion of capital into Mistral AI serves as a testament to Europe’s determination to foster innovation and cultivate homegrown AI companies that can compete at a global level.

Mistral AI’s success echoes Europe’s ambition to compete with the dominant tech giants of Silicon Valley. By raising significant funds, the company not only reinforces the potential of the AI sector but also inspires other European startups and entrepreneurs to push boundaries and pursue ambitious goals.

Also read: How to Set Up Janitor AI Chatbot: A Comprehensive Guide

The impressive fundraising effort of Mistral AI was led by international venture capital fund Lightspeed Venture Partners. Their recognition of Mistral AI’s potential and their investment signify the confidence in the company’s vision and capabilities. Lightspeed Venture Partners’ involvement further solidifies Mistral AI’s position as a prominent player in the AI landscape.

Businessmen Xavier Niel and Rodolphe Saade, along with JCDecaux Holding, Italy’s Exor Ventures, and Belgian firm Sofina, played a crucial role in supporting Mistral AI’s fundraising. Notably, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt also holds a stake in the company. The backing of these influential individuals and organizations further validates Mistral AI’s potential and underscores the significance of its mission in the AI space.

Also read: Can Janitor AI See Your Chats?

While traditionally lagging behind tech powerhouses like New York, California, and London, Paris is determined to transform itself into a thriving technology hub. The successful fundraising by Mistral AI has garnered praise from French government minister Jean-Noel Barrot, who sees it as a stepping stone for Paris to enhance its global reputation as a technological center. Mistral AI’s achievement contributes to the ongoing efforts to position Paris as a formidable contender in the tech industry.

“Bravo to the start-up Mistral AI which has raised 105 million euros just a month after its creation: a record!” wrote Barrot on Twitter. This accolade from a government minister highlights the significance of Mistral AI’s achievement and its positive impact on Paris’s aspirations. The city’s ambitions to become a global tech center receive a considerable boost through the success of Mistral AI, solidifying its reputation as an innovative and progressive destination for technology companies.

Also read: Is Chatbot Plus Worth the Money?

Mistral AI’s recent fund-raising milestone holds immense significance for the AI sector and underscores its rapid growth and potential.

As Mistral AI continues to thrive and expand its operations, it will contribute significantly to the growth of the AI sector, fostering economic development and job creation. The influx of capital into Mistral AI and similar companies bolsters the overall ecosystem, attracting talent and investments while bolstering Europe’s position in the global tech landscape.

A: Mistral AI’s ability to secure €105 million in funding within a month can be attributed to its innovative AI solutions, strong leadership, and the attractiveness of the French tech ecosystem. The company’s vision, coupled with the growing demand for AI technologies, has garnered significant investor interest and support.

A: Mistral AI’s successful fund-raising sends a positive signal to the global tech community, positioning France as a major player in the AI landscape. It boosts France’s credibility as a tech hub, attracting more investments, fostering innovation, and paving the way for future growth and collaboration.

A: Mistral AI’s impressive fund-raising achievement reflects the burgeoning AI sector in Europe. It demonstrates the continent’s ambition to compete with Silicon Valley giants and establishes Europe as a fertile ground for AI innovation, attracting investors, entrepreneurs, and talent from around the world.

A: Mistral AI’s AI solutions have vast applications across multiple sectors. They can revolutionize healthcare by enabling more accurate diagnoses and personalized treatments. In finance, Mistral AI’s technologies can enhance fraud detection and streamline financial operations. Additionally, the manufacturing and transportation sectors can benefit from improved efficiency and optimized processes.

A: Mistral AI’s success in raising €105 million facilitates job creation and economic growth in several ways. The company’s expansion requires a skilled workforce, leading to employment opportunities in AI-related fields. Moreover, as Mistral AI and similar companies flourish, they contribute to the overall growth of the tech sector, attracting investments and fostering economic development.

A: Mistral AI’s fund-raising success serves as a significant milestone for the future of AI. It demonstrates the growing recognition of AI’s transformative potential and highlights the importance of continued investment in cutting-edge technologies. Mistral AI’s achievements inspire other AI startups, spurring innovation and driving the evolution of the AI sector.

Mistral AI’s impressive fund-raising accomplishment of €105 million just a month after its inception showcases the company’s potential and contributes to France’s ambition of establishing itself as a prominent global tech hub. This achievement not only signifies the rapid growth of the AI sector but also demonstrates Europe’s determination to compete with Silicon Valley giants. As Mistral AI continues to innovate and evolve, it is poised to revolutionize industries, drive economic growth, and shape the future of artificial intelligence.

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