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Robinhood launches on App Store, brings zero-commission stock trading to the masses

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Robinhood App

For several years, my grandmother has encouraged me to get involved with the stock market. While she was successful at persuading my older brother into investing in penny stocks, I have never taken the initiative to learn how the stock market truly works. For that reason, I was excited when I heard about a brand new app called Robinhood, which provides zero-commission stock trading at your fingertips.

While online brokers are nothing new, with existing firms such as Interactive Brokers and E-Trade, Robinhood is a mobile-first service that doesn’t require a desktop. Whether you are a twenty-something college student that doesn’t fully understand how the stock market functions, an experienced Wall Street stock trader, or fall somewhere in between, the app makes stock trading easier for the masses.

Robinhood for iPhone has several features that makes the stock market more accessible from your pocket, including the ability to buy and sell U.S. listed stocks and exchange-traded funds with zero commission collected, place market orders and limit orders to get the best possible trade executions, support for margin trading, no account minimum and the ability to build a personalized stock watch list, track market data in real-time and access historical data and graphs for stocks.

Robinhood Black White

The app has an intuitive color scheme for automatically knowing if the stock market is closed or open, or whether you have made a profit or loss on a particular stock. Margin trading has a gold color scheme. Robinhood also plans to introduce a Today view widget in the future, allowing for users to oversee stocks from Notification Center on iOS 8 or later, although it provided no specific timeframe for that feature.

Robinhood is rolling out today on the App Store for iPhone and is currently limited to users aged 18 years or older in the United States. The company has an international expansion on its roadmap, although co-founder Baiju Bhatt tells me that a global launch could be at least one year out due to the complexity of opening a brokerage. Android and web versions of the service are listed as coming soon.

Robinhood Ordering

The app supports most U.S. banks, including Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Fidelity, Capital One 360, Charles Schwab and USAA. The sign-up process takes about four to five minutes, while getting account approval can take an additional one to three business days. Robinhood will begin inviting people from the early access wait list to create their accounts starting today.

You will need to provide Robinhood with your basic personal information, social security number and online banking login to create an account. Robinhood offers Touch ID support on iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, in addition to fully encrypting and securely storing sensitive information. Bank login information, passwords and any tokens are never stored or cached on Robinhood’s servers.

Robinhood is an attractive new solution for stock trading, especially for millennials that are just coming of financial age. With a mobile-first approach, simplistic yet intuitive user interface, zero commissions, no account balance minimum required and several other features, Robinhood has the potential to be a game changer in the online brokerage and stock trading landscape.

Filed under: Apps Tagged: app, App Store, iOS, iPhone, Robinhood, Stocks, Trading

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1286 days ago
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Commentary: Politics and Jobs

I enjoy economics, but I hate politics.

We all have different values and interests, so it is natural that we disagree on some public policy.   An open and honest debate would be healthy.  But politics is negative, destructive and dishonest.

Yesterday the Speaker warned the President not to "poison the well" of goodwill by taking action on immigration. In almost the next sentence, the Speaker poisoned the well by saying the House will vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act (a vote that will go nowhere).  No matter what someone thinks of both issues, the speaker's words were not helpful for constructive debate.

The Speaker isn't stupid. Being hypocritical is bad policy, but probably good politics - and that is sad.   A more positive approach would be to offer to work on areas of agreement for both immigration and healthcare (the areas of agreement would be small - but that approach would be positive).

And politics really bothers me when we discuss the economy.

If I wrote that Obama's 2nd term is on pace to be one of the best for private sector job creation in history - better than Reagan, and only trailing Clinton - that might surprise a few people. But it is accurate.

Here is a table for private sector jobs. The top two private sector terms were both under President Clinton.  Currently Obama's 2nd term is on pace for the third best term for these Presidents.

TermPrivate Sector
Jobs Added (000s)
Reagan 15,360
Reagan 29,357
GHW Bush1,510
Clinton 110,885
Clinton 210,070
GW Bush 1-841
GW Bush 2379
Obama 11,998
Obama 24,3711
121 months into 2nd term: 9,991 pace.

It is correct that the economy is larger now than in the '80s, but demographics are is less favorable now.  The recent job creation is happening with a decline in the prime working age population, whereas in the '80s the prime working age population was growing 3% per year!  This is unrelated to policy - this is just demographics.

Note: Some good news looking forward is the prime working age population is growing again.

Total employment did increase more in Reagan's 2nd term, but that was because of a huge surge in public employment. If the Speaker, yesterday, mentioned a push for 2nd term Reagan era public sector hiring, I missed it (sorry for sarcasm).

Here is a table for public sector jobs. Public sector jobs declined the most during Obama's first term, and increased the most during Reagan's 2nd term.  Note: From the WSJ: The Federal Government Now Employs the Fewest People Since 1966

TermPublic Sector
Jobs Added (000s)
Reagan 1-24
Reagan 21,438
GHW Bush1,127
Clinton 1692
Clinton 21,242
GW Bush 1900
GW Bush 2844
Obama 1-713
Obama 2481
121 months into 2nd term, 110 pace

Overall the economy and job growth is doing pretty well right now (especially considering demographics).  One key weakness is wage growth, and I expect wage growth to increase as the unemployment rate continues to decline. If we had seen better policy over the last several years - like more infrastructure investment - than we'd probably already be seeing wage growth. Failing to make these supply side investments during a period with low borrowing costs and high unemployment, was probably one of the key policy failures of the last four years.

Usually both parties support infrastructure investment, but apparently it is good politics for Congress to oppose even the best of policies when the opposing party holds the presidency.  And that is depressing.
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1319 days ago
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The size of astronomy stuff

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It can be difficult to understand how large (or small) astronomical objects are, so here are some handy comparisons to things on Earth. Here's the size of Mars compared to the United States & Canada:

Mars vs USA

And here's a neutron star nestled next to Liverpool on the northwest coast of England:

Neutron Star vs Liverpool

A neutron star also crams in over 1.5 times the mass of the Sun into a tiny ball maybe not much bigger than your daily commute to work, and the Sun is huge (see the size of the Sun later). So this thing is incredibly dense, so dense in fact that just a tea spoon of it would weigh over a billion tonnes, and if you could stand on its surface you'd feel the gravitational pull of 200 billion times that of our planet...not that you'd ever survive it of course.

(via @theclintmcleod)

Tags: astronomy   Mars   space
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1327 days ago
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40,000 year-old cave paintings found in Indonesia

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Sulawesi Cave Paintings

Paintings in a cave in Indonesia have been dated to 40,000 years ago, as old or older than any paintings found in Europe.

For decades, the only evidence of ancient cave art was in Spain and southern France. It led some to believe that the creative explosion that led to the art and science we know today began in Europe.

But the discovery of paintings of a similar age in Indonesia shatters this view, according to Prof Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London.

"It is a really important find; it enables us to get away from this Euro-centric view of a creative explosion that was special to Europe and did not develop in other parts of the world until much later," he said.

The discovery of 40,000-year-old cave paintings at opposite ends of the globe suggests that the ability to create representational art had its origins further back in time in Africa, before modern humans spread across the rest of the world.

"That's kind of my gut feeling," says Prof Stringer. "The basis for this art was there 60,000 years ago; it may even have been there in Africa before 60,000 years ago and it spread with modern humans".

Tags: Indonesia   archaeology   art
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1349 days ago
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1349 days ago
This stuff is so interesting to me.

Former Apple managers talk of the 24/7 work culture: “these people are nuts”

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With the extreme competition for senior jobs at Apple, it will come as no surprise that you’re expected to work hard and put in extra hours. But according to two former managers speaking in a Debug podcast, the demands are far greater than anyone realizes when they join, with immediate responses to emails expected even in the middle of the night.

Sunday is a work night for everybody at Apple because it’s the exec meeting the next day. So you had your phone out there, you were sitting in front of your computer, it didn’t matter if your favorite show was on [...] You were basically on until, like, 2 o’clock in the morning …

According to Don Melton – the engineer who started the Safari project at Apple – and Nitin Ganatra, former iOS Apps Director, the 24/7 culture began under Steve Jobs‘ leadership and continued when Tim Cook took over.

You get an email forwarded to you that’s not to you. It’s from Scott, but it’s a forward from Steve and it’s just coming at this crazy hour, right? You just know that there’s this firehose of emails that are just going out at 2:45 in the morning and there are VPs or executive VPs who are scrambling to get answers. And that was just week after week, month after month, over the years [...]

When you hear the so-called apocryphal stories about Tim Cook coming to work in the wee hours and staying late, it’s not just some PR person telling you stories to make you think that Apple executives work really hard like that. They really do that. I mean, these people are nuts. They’re just, they are there all the time.

Cook, like Jobs before him, is rumored to get by on just 3-4 hours sleep a night: “you would never know what time of the day or night you would get email from that man.” Even on vacation, said Ganatra, you checked your email at least four times a day, and felt like you were slacking if you took three or four hours to reply to an email from your boss.

The work, says Melton, was fun and fulfilling, and he got to work with a lot of brilliant people – just “workaholic, psychotic, brilliant people.”

There was occasional respite: apparently Scott Forstall loved watching The Sopranos, so you knew there was one hour on a Sunday night you could relax.

Apple employees may love working for the company(in corporate if not in retail), but the message seems to be that you have to know what you’re getting into – and it’s probably ever tougher and more intense than you imagined. When Tim Cook sends those memos thanking employees for their hard work, you can be pretty sure they earned it.

Via Business Insider

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, Apple corporate, Apple leadership, Apple managers, Debug, Don Melton, Nitin Ganatra, Tim Cook

For more information about AAPL Company , Apple, and Tim Cook continue reading at 9to5Mac.

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1356 days ago
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Some have pointed out that password fields are excluded from using an alternative keyboard. This tells me that even Apple is a bit concerned about the consequences of logging key strokes. I'm not sure about everyone else, but I generally use a password to protect all of the other things I write with my keyboard. If every other keystroke is logged and transmitted to a server, my password becomes far less relevant.
This is worrisome.∞ Read this on The Loop
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1369 days ago
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