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Young entrepreneurs, Josh Ball and Josh Brooks-Duncan, have designed their growing fruit and vegetable box delivery business around solving Australia’s multi-million-dollar food waste problem.

About 2.4 billion kilograms of food is wasted in Australia every year. It’s something that got friends, Josh Ball and Josh Brooks-Duncan, contemplating during the pandemic. As a result, the pair have created a business that not only assists in fixing the national food waste problem, but improves the supply chain sustainability and food affordability.

Up to 30% of fruit and vegetables grown in Australia is wasted every year because it doesn’t meet the high aesthetic standards of the supermarkets. It’s a huge problem, not only for farmers and the environment, but for and consumers, who ultimately pay the price for food wastage.

Ball and Brooks-Duncan – who had full time careers in data and tech and logistics and supply chain management respectively prior to starting their business, Farmer’s Pick – are self-confessed “city guys”. They had no experience in agriculture – just a curiosity about why produce with minor flaws is discarded so readily when it is still edible.

“Our closest link to vegetables was being vegetarian,” Ball jokes. “We both had no farming background, so it was a pretty steep learning curve.”

In 2023, Ball and Brooks-Duncan began approaching farmers to see if they would be interested in selling them their “imperfect” fruit and vegetables. They then created the subscription business, to sell fresh, seasonal produce boxes at about 30% less than supermarket prices.

But convincing farmers to invest their time and effort in a new concept that didn’t have a huge amount of scale was challenging, Ball and Brooks-Duncan say. Once some larger farming organisations joined and gave them “some validation in the market”, it was an easier business proposition to pitch.

“During some of our first conversations we pretty much had blank stares. They’d motion over to a pile of carrots ditched in a pile in a field and say, ‘you want that?’,” Ball says. “I’d say, ‘well I don’t want that exact pile, but I’ll take some of them next time.’”

The pair worked tirelessly in their spare time, while holding-down fulltime jobs, for about 12 months. It involved waking up in the very early hours of the morning, travelling and liasing with farmers, returning to Melbourne and then packing the boxes –  all before starting their jobs at 9am.

After having a small amount of media exposure, the pair quit their jobs to focus on the business. They say at that point, they realised that if they didn’t give Farmer’s Pick their undivided attention, they would “always regret it”.

“The additional gaps were met my Josh and myself, and it nearly broke us.”

Farmer’s Pick co-founder Josh Ball on the pressure of rapid growth

“After that, we grew about 1200% in six months. We went from working about 18-20 hours a week, in between our corporate jobs, to about six days a week, 20 hours a day” Ball says. “The additional gaps were met my Josh and myself, and it nearly broke us.”

The beauty of the company’s subscription model is that orders can be viewed at least a week ahead, allowing head office to work with farmers to see what is available and seasonal. This cuts down supply chain “touch points” and reducing environmental impact, Brooks-Duncan says.

Part of the challenge is educating customers about eating seasonally and the environmental benefits of doing so, he says.

“It’s about eating things seasonally and understanding that that’s when things taste the best. Eating a tomato in the middle of winter isn’t how things are meant to be.”

Farmer’s Pick has more than 15,000 customers throughout NSW and Victoria, and currently works with around 70 farms. Expanding nationally is a goal for the company in the next couple of years. The company, which had a crowd-funding capital raising of close to 900,000 last year, expects to increase revenue by about 300% in 2023.

“It [food wastage] is a national problem, so we fully understand that we need to have a national business to make a lasting impact,” Brooks-Duncan says.

So far, the company saves about 30-35 tonne a week in food waste. Last year alone it saved around 735,00 kilograms of produce and it plans to increase that amount in 2023.

“It’s food that would otherwise be left to rot,” Brooks-Duncan says.

“I think the fact that we’re growing validates that people can see a tangible benefit in trying to solve this [food wastage] problem.”

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These Young Cities Are Solving Age

HUMANITY HAS BEEN kicking around for a long time, so it’s hard to find cities that are distinctly “new.” But the rare newcomers, together with reinventions of aging metropolises, are tackling age-old problems in novel ways. We suggest the rest of the world take notes.

From Rome’s vast Trajan’s Forum to Angkor Wat’s stone temples, cities have been magnets for trade, art, and culture since ancient times. Urban living as we know it first emerged around 3500 B.C.E. along the Nile Valley and Sumerian coast. Unlike the semipermanent villages that came before them, these social and political hubs were built around sophisticated systems of agriculture and transportation. Today, around 56 percent of the world’s population is urban, and by 2050 that number could jump to around 70 percent, by some estimates.

While metropolises continue to serve as centers for economic growth, they’re also facing unprecedented challenges: affordable housing crises, unemployment, healthcare shortages, food and water scarcity, and social inequity. They’re also on the front lines of climate change. With 90 percent of all urban areas located on coasts, they’re vulnerable to rising seas, in addition to heavy rainfall and extreme heat.

But with these obstacles come opportunities to reimagine our densest spaces. In the past two decades alone, more than 150 new cities have sprung up from scratch in more than 40 countries, and centuries-old settlements have begun to replace their crumbling infrastructures and establish radical new ways of living. Here are seven centers of innovation tackling the most daunting issues of our time—from climate change and overcrowding to biodiversity loss and poverty—that can serve as blueprints for communities around the globe.

Medellín, Colombia. Photo: Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images

The Aerial City

In the 1980s and ’90s, Medellín became infamous as the center of Colombia’s drug trade. At the same time, growing political violence in rural areas meant hundreds of thousands of people fled to urban centers in search of safety and economic opportunity. Informal settlements cropped up along the slopes of the Aburrá Valley, where low-income housing crowded on the fringes of the city at an average of around 160 dwellings per acre (about as dense as downtown Chicago or Portland). Public transit couldn’t navigate the steep terrain, narrow streets, and numerous streams. The city’s most disenfranchised faced hours-long commutes to jobs and basic services, and became increasingly isolated—geographically, socially, and economically. Years of research suggest areas of concentrated poverty experience higher crime rates, poor health outcomes, and low school attendance—but more robust public transit can help create more equitable cities. In 2004, Metro de Medellín introduced a creative, low-cost solution: the first aerial cable car system fully integrated into public transport. Average trip times dropped from 120 minutes to 65. Some planners think it could be a useful model for other cities—from Seattle to Mumbai—where low-wage workers are pushed to the periphery. Medellín’s success has inspired similar projects throughout Latin America, including in Caracas, Mexico City, and La Paz.

Tempe, Arizona. Photo: Optico Design Inc.

The Carless City

The desert city of Phoenix is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States, having added more than 750,000 residents in just the past decade. It’s also known for being one of the worst culprits when it comes to urban sprawl, meaning residents rely heavily on cars. Just outside Arizona’s unsustainable capital, a new apartment development called Culdesac Tempe has set out to be the first automobile-free community created from scratch in the US. Conveniently located along the light-rail line to downtown Phoenix, this neighborhood sits on a 17-acre lot and will feature a restaurant, a coffee shop, an urban market, e-bikes, scooter shares, and 761 apartments. The first residents—who are strictly forbidden to bring in cars or park in surrounding neighborhoods—are expected to arrive in 2023. While Culdesac Tempe’s no-car rules may seem extreme, it’s the kind of radical action cities are embracing to cut down on parked cars, combat greenhouse gas emissions, and boost health among city dwellers. In fact, the “15-minute city”—a bold urban planning concept based on the idea that everyone should be able to access all their basic needs with a short walk or bike ride—is gaining traction around the world. Paris, for example, has added bike routes and created mini green spaces to increase connectivity and reestablish social connections.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Photo: Margriet Faber/AP

The Floating City

Amsterdam was originally founded as a small fishing village in the 13th century, but today it’s home to around a million people who live 6.5 feet below sea level. To accommodate the still-expanding population, the locals have had to get creative: They’re making more land. In 1996, the construction of IJburg, an archipelago made up of 10 artificial islands, began. The Dutch used a technique called the “pancake method” to form a solid, compacted base. Builders create mesh screens in the size and shape of the future island and secure them underwater without harming wildlife. Then they spray the screens with a layer of sand, which slips through the porous mesh and eventually settles and becomes compacted on the lake bed. Another coating is then sprayed on top, and then another—like pancakes in a stack. When the sand rises around six feet above the water, an island is born. Thus far, four of the seven islands are complete, with networks of buildings, businesses, and walking and biking bridges, all within a 15-minute tram ride of Amsterdam’s Central Station. The idea is to moor floating homes to the new land so they can rise with the sea. IJburg is intended to house up to 45,000 people in 18,000 homes, and it could serve as a model of resilience for the 570-plus other cities that are currently at risk from sea-level rise and storm surges by 2050.

Kiberia, Kenya. Photo: Herrera Inc.

The Communal City

Located on the outskirts of Nairobi along the Ngong River, the informal settlement of Kibera is home to about a quarter of a million people living on less than 1 square mile. A typical dwelling is about 12 feet by 12 feet and houses eight or more. Poor drainage, sanitation, and housing infrastructure combined with increasing rainfall mean the largely makeshift structures are especially vulnerable to severe flooding. So in 2006, the nonprofit Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) established the Kibera Public Space Project, a network of community-run gathering spots that build flood resilience while creating room for recreation and small businesses. One site serves as a gathering area, school, and place of worship, while its rooftop is used for rainwater harvesting, a technique used to collect and store droplets. When the precious stuff hits the roof, instead of letting it pour freely onto the ground, where it would contribute to flooding, a system of gutters and downspouts channels the liquid into storage tanks, where it can then be used to irrigate a connected greenhouse. KDI has also designed zones that focus on the needs of women and children—like community laundry facilities that sit next to play areas—so women can balance household work and childcare. To date, more than 5,000 residents have been involved in KDI design projects, including the installation of 2,755 feet of new drainage infrastructure, the planting of vegetation to help absorb precipitation, and the construction of these 11 climate-resilient public spaces. These efforts have directly reduced the flood risk for an estimated 8,000 households.

Putrajaya, Malaysia. Photo: Tourism Malaysia

The Garden City

In the 1980s and ’90s, the Malaysian government sought to consolidate its offices and alleviate traffic in the increasingly congested capital. Putrajaya is the country’s urban solution to both overpopulation and pollution. In addition to new infrastructure, it built something more innovative: artificial wetlands. Construction began in 1997 and took 17.5 months to complete. Because wetlands double as natural water-filtration systems, they were created in the valley of the Chua and Bisa rivers, which had been polluted by oil palm and rubber plantations. Builders dug a network of 24 wetland cells, or earthen depressions, and divided them with low dams to create steplike levels. (This design allows water to flow through the cells and empty into Putrajaya Lake.) Each cell was then filled with topsoil, planted, and fully inundated; along with other open spaces like parks and botanical gardens, they now make up more than one-third of the urban area. The wetlands also host more than 25 species of plants and provide habitat for fish and waterbirds. And the government isn’t stopping there. By 2025, Putrajaya aims to become a “green city,” and it has already increased bike paths and walkways and planted hundreds of thousands of trees to sequester carbon.

Curridabat, Costa Rica. Photo: Municipalidad de Curridabat

The Biodiverse City

Costa Rica covers about 0.03 percent of Earth’s surface but is home to about 6 percent of the world’s biodiversity, and it is a leader in conservation. But San José and the surrounding metropolitan areas aren’t immune to the ways modern urbanization impedes those efforts. Just outside the capital, though, Curridabat is doing things differently. Known as Ciudad Dulce (or Sweet City), the district is promoting the idea that healthy urban development should accommodate nature, not the other way around. To put this idea into practice, Curridabat launched reforestation projects, converted natural ravines into public parks, and created tree-covered walking and biking paths. These so-called biocorridors provide habitats for animals, plants, insects, and birds, all while controlling air pollution, keeping the area cooler, and offering shade to residents on hot days. In February 2023, on the second anniversary of Costa Rica’s commitment to a national plan to reach zero net emissions by 2050, the government announced a new conservation category to protect at-risk ecosystems in cities across the country: Urban Natural Parks. La Colina de Curridabat Ecological Park is among the first to be granted the designation. Cities around the world should pay attention: Urban parks and green spaces have been shown to promote better mental health, boost social cohesion, encourage physical activity, reduce noise and air pollution, and protect from extreme heat.

Zhenjiang, China. Photo: Konkuey Design Initiative

The Sponge City

Between 1950 and 2023, flooding in China killed an estimated 280,000-plus people and damaged nearly 15 billion acres of land. The nation isn’t alone. According to climate change projections, extreme precipitation and flooding are going to increase worldwide, and cities are especially vulnerable. That’s because vegetation, soil, and trees—which naturally absorb and store groundwater—are scarce compared to highways and buildings. Nestled on the banks of the Yangtze River in eastern China, Zhenjiang is just one of the country’s zones at high risk for inundation. In response to this growing threat, it was one of 16 pilot locations for the “sponge city” project in 2023. The goal is to transform at least 20 percent of the land into permeable surfaces—including parks, rain gardens, green roofs, and pervious pavement—so that neighborhoods can absorb heavy rains. Since the effort launched, Zhenjiang has implemented a rain garden, expanded green spaces, and built storage systems to purify and reuse a deluge. Some 658 Chinese locales have also enacted government-mandated sponge city designs, adapted to their unique geographical needs. Meanwhile, other areas at risk of urban flooding across the globe are deploying their own greening projects to help absorb heavy precipitation, from Philadelphia’s Green Acres program to Cairo’s rooftop garden initiative.

This story originally ran in the Fall 2023 Youth issue of PopSci. Read more PopSci+ stories.

Sco Bags $100 Million But Who Benefits?

The Linux Kernel is one of the most fascinating bits of software out there, partially owing to the vast number of contributors who are responsible for creating it. The Kernel has spread into many areas of our lives; it is used extensively in embedded devices (where its presence goes largely unnoticed) and it is ubiquitous in servers. Its growing success in servers comes at the expense of other established software companies.

With the growth of Linux comes great fear among its rivals. Contributors and proponents of Linux are motivated by the fact that Linux is Free software. Ownership is such that the user truly owns the software, rather than essentially ‘renting’ it by paying a license for use. This makes Linux a very disruptive technology.

SCO Makes an Appearance

The development methodology of Linux, its cost, and that question of ownership can also be used as an argument against it, especially by fierce opponents whose territory is being encroached upon by this mighty kernel. This has truly been the case ever since SCO chose to take a litigious route to combating Linux.

SCO asserted that Linux developers had stolen SCO’s code. For several years a legal battle persisted which ended up with SCO filing for bankruptcy. After over four years, SCO is still unable to prove its claims, which it was never willing to back in an upfront fashion.

In many ways, SCO’s courtroom stalling contributed to greater fear, uncertainty and doubt. It had some companies hesitant about deployment of Linux in their environment. That, however, did not work in SCO’s favor. There is this unfortunate dilemma to face when a company launches a legal assault against its own customers. Many businesses used SCO and Linux at the same time, which led to backlash. SCO learned this the hard way. It blamed not only Linux but also a newly earned public image problem for its demise September 2007. Its presently departing CEO admitted this in an interview.

To many observers, SCO’s battle against Linux seemed like a bad idea right from the very start, much like the recent investment of $100 million in SCO. This later turned out to be a takeover and we will get to that at the end of the article. It is widely agreed that SCO lost its focus on development due to litigation, which led to decrease in staff and talent. Alienation can be costly and quality of products is harmed accordingly.

The only return on a new investment in SCO might therefore be legal compensation, but launching a case based on poor or imaginary evidence is unlikely to bear fruit. Moreover, after so many years of so little progress, the greatest of hopes is that this trial can carry on, yet the outcome seems rather predictable. To SCO, the desired outcome is probably unreachable, but this could be a question of duration, not vocation.

SCO’s Past Funding

Several years back it was found that one of the several strategies for combating Linux was to concentrate on its perceived weaknesses. Examples of this were found in Microsoft’s so-called Halloween Documents, including copyrights and software patents. These documents were intended to discuss ways of defeating the growing threat of Linux — a threat so great that it has been listed among the No. 1 risks in Microsoft’s SEC filings for almost a decade.

SCO was a struggling software company even before resorting to lawsuits. The unfortunate reality can still be seen in the SCO UNIX Follies videos, which are available for viewing on YouTube. As the lawsuits went on for years, the high cost of lawyers took its toll and the company required considerable investments from the outside. Shareholders went elsewhere, indicating they had too little faith in the company’s future.

Among the payments that SCO received were Sun’s and Microsoft’s payments — for what was thought to be a right to use UNIX. Only later it turned out that the owner of UNIX is actually Novell, so SCO now has a debt. Nevertheless, therein you have a situation in which three companies that compete against Linux shared wealth in one way or another and this enabled the lawsuits to linger on and hurt the uptake of Linux.

There were other curious funds that SCO received throughout its lifetime, even when its main role was that of a plaintiff in court. These include court declarationan investment from BayStar, a venture capital firm. In a court declaration it emerged that Richard Emerson, a Microsoft employee, was involved in BayStar’s investment in SCO. A BayStar representative later added: “Yes, Microsoft did introduce BayStar to SCO.”

SCO Once Again to Attack Linux

The legal proceedings never ended and they are bound to resume in April. Nevertheless, until last week SCO was seen as a company that would be decommissioned by the end of the year. But then something happened.

Last week, a press release surfaced which surprised many pundits and analysts who had been covering this saga. It seemed to suggest that SCO would continue its legal battle against Linux, having received a very large cash infusion. The odds of seeing returns on these investments seem mere. That sentiment of misunderstanding is echoed almost everywhere you turn.

SCO maintains its image problem and it also carries that aforementioned heavy debt. It owes money to several parties including Novell and it could face followup lawsuits (comeback claiming damages) from victims of its own lawsuits, assuming money remains in its coffers. Why would anyone invest in SCO? More importantly, why now? That remains the key question in many people’s minds.

Solving Accuracy Vs. Cost Using Probabilities (With Case Study)

As a manager, you face cost vs. quality / accuracy trade-offs on a regular basis. This can be in the form of any of these questions:

Should we invest more time and resources to gather incremental data and take more informed decision?

What is the value gained by asking the analyst in your team to spend one more day on data cleansing?

What is the incremental gain by trying out some more hypothesis and gain slightly higher lift curve in your predictive models?

What is the value of extra time / resources spent on gathering additional information?

If you are a decision making authority, these dilemma arise quite often. Sadly, not many people have a framework to answer these questions. They end up taking these decision based on their gut or change their stand multiple times in the process.

[stextbox id=”section”] Framework: [/stextbox]

The framework for these situations is fairly simple. As a stand alone decision, you invest resources until the value created by these investments is higher than the cost incurred.

On the other hand, If there are multiple opportunities with limited resources, you invest in the projects, which give you the highest ROI.

[stextbox id=”section”] Case study – Background : [/stextbox]

You are the general manager of FUORD, an automobile company in India. FUORD has recently launched a model in India and China called Bistra. The engine of this model has been outsourced to two companies, namely X and Y (referred as vendor after this). Both X and Y make an identical design of the engines. However, 10 out of every 100 engines from Vendor X are faulty in working whereas 1 out of 100 engines of Y is faulty in working. India and China import exact the same number of engines. FUORD has a policy of not revealing the vendor name while sending the engines to any country. Hence, in any month India has an equal probability of receiving either engines manufactured by X or by Y.

[stextbox id=”section”] Faulty engine found :: [/stextbox]

After 10 months of launch of Bistra, you found one of the engines is of wrong design. A fault in design is against the code of conduct of FUORD and the contract with this supplier needs to be terminated immediately. But the fix is that neither you nor anyone in the firm is sure whether this engine was supplied by X or Y. Here are various costs involved in the process:

Test for working of each engine costs the company $40 k   .

Cost of a decision of terminating a wrong vendor contract is $1 MM.

Should you test an engine for its working, if it is faulty or not before terminating the supply from a vendor?

Note: Fault in design and fault in working of the engine are two independent events.

[stextbox id=”section”]The play of probabilities: [/stextbox]

What is the probability that the lot in India in the 10th month of the launch came from X? Obviously 0.5, as there are only two options of choosing a vendors and both equally likely. Can you take a decision to terminate any of the two vendors based on your intuition? Probably not. What do you do in such situations? Collect more information.

But is the collection of information worth the cost which you will incur to test an engine. Let’s try to find out the expected costs involved.

[stextbox id=”grey”]

[stextbox id=”grey”]

Event X : The lot in the 10th month is from X

Event Y : The lot in the 10th month is from Y

Event F: The chosen engine is faulty

Event P: The chosen engine is perfect

P(X) = P(Y) = 0.5

P(F/X ) = Probability of the engine being faulty given that the lot is from X = 0.1 (Given)

P(F/Y ) = Probability of the engine being faulty given that the lot is from Y = 0.01 (Given)


We already know that

[stextbox id=”grey”]

[stextbox id=”grey”]

P(F) = Probability of the engine being faulty

= P(F∩X) + P(F∩Y)

= P(F/X)*F(X) + P(F/Y)*P(Y)

= 0.5*(0.1 + 0.01) = 0.055

P(X/F) = Probability of lot being from X given that the first random engine chosen is faulty

= P(X∩F) /P(F)

= 0.5*0.1/0.055 = 0.909

P(P) = Probability of the engine being perfect  = P(P∩X) + P(P∩Y)

= P(P/X)*P(X) + P(P/Y)*P(Y)

= 0.5*(0.9 + 0.99) = 0.945

P(X/P) = Probability of lot being from X given that the first random engine chosen is perfect

= P(X∩P) /P(P)

= 0.5*0.9/0.945 = 0.47

P(Y/P) = 0.53

[/stextbox] K : Event of choosing the correct vendor after the first engine assessment.

[stextbox id=”grey”]

[stextbox id=”grey”]

P(K) = P(K∩F) + P(K∩P)

= P(F) * P(K/F) + P(P)*P(K/P)

= 0.055*0.909 + 0.945*0.53

= 0.05 +  0.5 = 0.55

Now let’s make some cost estimations.

Expected value of cost if engine assessment is not done= A = $1MM * 0.5 = $500 k

Expected value of cost if the engine assessment is done = B = $40 k + 0.45 *$1MM = $490k


[stextbox id=”section”]  End Notes :  [/stextbox]

In this part of the case study, we took a very simple case with a single step of processing. Say, you completed the first test and found the engine to be perfect. Now you wish to check if the second test is cost effective or not. Make cases and find the expected cost of test and cost saved by the test. Make the comparison and write in the box below your recommendation to do the second test or not?

Did you find the article useful? Share with us how you would have approached making strategies mentioned in the article. Do let us know your thoughts about this article in the box below.

If you like what you just read & want to continue your analytics learning, subscribe to our emails, follow us on twitter or like our facebook page.


WordPress Template Plugin Vulnerability Hits +1 Million Sites

Starter Templates — Elementor, Gutenberg & Beaver Builder Templates plugin by the publishers of the Astra WordPress theme contains a vulnerability affecting over a million websites. The exploit allows an attacker to upload malicious scripts, stage a total site takeover and attack visitors to the vulnerable website.

Starter Templates — Elementor, Gutenberg & Beaver Builder Templates

The Starter Templates plugin is published by Brainstorm Force, the makers of the wildly popular Astra WordPress theme. The plugin allows users to use over 280 WordPress templates that help speed up website development.

The templates are made to be compatible with Elementor, Gutenberg, Brizy and Beaver Builder, as well as with the Astra theme.

The plugin is installed in over one million websites.

Stored Cross Site Scripting (XSS) Vulnerability

The Starter Templates plugin by Brainstorm Force was discovered by security researchers at Wordfence to contain a type of vulnerability that allows an attacker to upload a malicious script that is in turn stored on the website itself.

A Stored XSS vulnerability is particularly troublesome because the uploaded script is stored on the server of the attacked site itself.

The non-profit Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) describes the seriousness of this kind of XSS vulnerability on their website:

The victim then retrieves the malicious script from the server when it requests the stored information.”

Website Takeover and Attacks on Site Visitors

The vulnerability could lead to a total site takeover as well as use the vulnerable website to launch attacks on all site visitors.

According to the report by Wordfence:

“An attacker could craft and host a block containing malicious JavaScript on a server they controlled, and then use it to overwrite any post or page…

Any post or page that had been built with Elementor, including published pages, could be overwritten by the imported block, and the malicious JavaScript in the imported block would then be executed in the browser of any visitors to that page.

This could be used to redirect site visitors to malicious websites, or hijack an administrator’s session in order to create a new malicious administrator or add a backdoor to the site, leading to site takeover.”

Starter Templates Plugin Fixed

The publishers of the Starter Templates plugin were notified by Wordfence of the vulnerability and they promptly patched the plugin in version 2.7.1.

The public changelog for the Starter Templates plugin accurately records the patch:

– Security Improvement: Updated right file upload permission before importing images.

An honest changelog like the one published by Brainstorm Force is a sign of a quality publisher and it’s great to see them being open about closing security issues.

Wordfence Advises that Publishers Update Their Plugin

Wordfence recommends that all publishers using this plugin update to the very latest version of the plugin is 2.7.5 because this newest version also contains important bug fixes.

Citation Read the Wordfence Report On The Starter Template Vulnerability

Over 1 Million Sites Impacted by Vulnerability in Starter Templates Plugin

Verizon Sells Two Million Iphones In The September Quarter

Carrier Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of U.S. telecommunications firm Verizon Communications and UK multinational mobile network operator Vodafone, today announced financial results for the September quarter. Big Red sold two million iPhone units which represents a 300,000 units decline compared to the June quarter. Verizon was also behind rival AT&T which yesterday reported activating 2.7 million iPhones in the quarter out of a total of 4.8 million total devices.

In a separate statement, rival AT&T said it activated a million units of the new iPhone 4S on its network as of Tuesday, while Verizon made no mention of iPhone 4S in its quarterly filing. iPhone 4S went on sale in the United States, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Canada and Japan on Friday, October 14. The phone will roll out to 22 new countries later this month, with regional online Apple Stores in those countries accepting reservations beginning today.

Verizon’s full press release is right after the break.

Verizon Generates Strong Wireless Results, Increased Cash Flow, and FiOS and Strategic Services Growth in 3Q



· 49 cents in diluted earnings per share (EPS), compared with 23 cents per share in 3Q 2010.

· 56 cents per share in adjusted EPS (non-GAAP), which excludes 7 cents per share in non-operational items, compared with 55 cents in adjusted EPS in 3Q 2010.


· $15.0 billion in service revenues in 3Q 2011, up 6.1 percent year over year; data revenues of $6.1 billion, up 20.5 percent, representing 40.6 percent of service revenues; total revenues of $17.7 billion, up 9.1 percent.

· 2.4 percent growth in retail postpaid ARPU over 3Q 2010; retail postpaid data ARPU up 15.7 percent; retail service ARPU also up 2.4 percent.

· 29.0 percent operating income margin; record-high 47.8 percent Segment EBITDA margin on service revenues (non-GAAP), up 60 basis points year over year.


· 138,000 FiOS Internet and 131,000 FiOS TV net additions, with increased sales penetration for both products; 4.0 million customers now subscribe to FiOS TV.

· 8.8 percent year-over-year increase in consumer ARPU; FiOS consumer retail revenues represent nearly 60 percent of total consumer revenues.

· 15.6 percent increase in strategic services revenues, representing nearly 50 percent of global enterprise revenues.

NEW YORK – With another strong showing by Verizon Wireless, and continued growth in FiOS and strategic business services, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) today reported third-quarter 2011 financial and operational results that keep the company on track to achieve its full-year earnings and revenue guidance.

Verizon reported 49 cents in EPS in the quarter, compared with 23 cents per share in third-quarter 2010.

Adjusted third-quarter 2011 earnings (non-GAAP) of 56 cents per share exclude 7 cents per share for a non-operational charge relating to a remeasurement, based on an actuarial valuation of pension plans. No adjustments were made for the previously announced $250 million (5 cents per share) negative impact in the quarter due to storm-related repair costs and a two-week strike affecting the Wireline segment. Comparable adjusted third-quarter 2010 earnings were 55 cents per share, excluding the impact of non-operational charges, the largest of which was related to pension and benefits remeasurements.

Well-Positioned for 4Q and 2012

“Verizon emerges from the third quarter in a strong position to accelerate growth,” said Lowell McAdam, Verizon president and chief executive officer. “We faced significant challenges in recent months, yet delivered results that keep us on track to meet our 2011 earnings and revenue guidance, with great momentum expected entering 2012. We continue to grow revenues from strategic products and to increase free cash flow through improved operating performance and disciplined capital spending.”

McAdam added, “Verizon Wireless delivered impressive results across the board in the third quarter, and we are geared up for an even better fourth quarter, with new smartphones, tablets and data devices coming to market. In FiOS, we expect to capitalize on pent-up demand and deliver stronger growth in the fourth quarter. In enterprise, the integration of Terremark and recent acquisition of CloudSwitch have significantly improved our competitive positioning.”

Verizon has targeted 2011 adjusted EPS growth of 5 percent to 8 percent from an adjusted base of $2.08 in EPS in 2010, and 2011 revenue growth of 4 percent to 8 percent on a comparable basis with 2010.

Consolidated Revenue and Cash Flow Growth

In third-quarter 2011, Verizon’s total operating revenues were $27.9 billion on a consolidated basis, an increase of 5.4 percent compared with third-quarter 2010. Total operating expenses were $23.3 billion, an increase of 0.7 percent.

Consolidated EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the quarter totaled $8.8 billion, up 19.2 percent year over year.

Cash flow from operating activities totaled $21.5 billion in the first nine months of 2011, and capital expenditures totaled $12.5 billion — on track to meet the company’s full-year guidance of $16.5 billion. From the $9.0 billion in free cash flow (non-GAAP, cash flow from operations less capex) over the first nine months, Verizon has paid $4.1 billion in dividends to shareholders, and in September the Verizon Board of Directors approved a dividend increase for the fifth consecutive year.

Verizon Wireless Delivers Strong Results

In third-quarter 2011, Verizon Wireless again delivered strong growth in revenues, retail customers and other connections, driven by increased smartphone penetration and increased retail postpaid ARPU (average monthly service revenue per user).

Wireless Financial Highlights

· Service revenues in third-quarter 2011 totaled $15.0 billion, up 6.1 percent year over year. Data revenues were $6.1 billion, up more than $1.0 billion or 20.5 percent year over year, and represent 40.6 percent of all service revenues. Total revenues were $17.7 billion, up 9.1 percent year over year.

· Retail postpaid ARPU grew 2.4 percent over third-quarter 2010, to $54.89. Retail postpaid data ARPU increased to $22.22, up 15.7 percent year over year. Retail service ARPU also grew 2.4 percent, to $53.21.

· Wireless operating income margin was 29.0 percent. Verizon Wireless generated $7.2 billion of EBITDA in third-quarter 2011, an increase of 7.5 percent year over year. Segment EBITDA margin on service revenues (non-GAAP) was 47.8 percent, up 60 basis points over third-quarter 2010 and up 240 basis points over second-quarter 2011. This was the highest Segment EBITDA margin on service revenues Verizon Wireless has ever reported.

Wireless Operational Highlights

· Verizon Wireless added 1.3 million total connections in third-quarter 2011, including 882,000 retail postpaid customers, and 367,000 wholesale and other connections. These additions exclude acquisitions and adjustments.

· At the end of the third quarter, the company had 107.7 million total connections, an increase of 6.5 percent year over year, consisting of 90.7 million retail customers and 17.0 million wholesale and other connections.

· At the end of the third quarter, smartphones accounted for 39 percent of the Verizon Wireless retail postpaid customer phone base, up from 36 percent at the end of second-quarter 2011.

· Retail postpaid churn was 0.94 percent in third-quarter 2011, an improvement of 13 basis points year over year. Total retail churn was 1.26 percent, an improvement of 17 basis points year over year.

· Verizon Wireless continued to roll out its 4G LTE mobile broadband network, the largest 4G LTE network in the United States, during the quarter. As of yesterday (Oct. 20), Verizon Wireless 4G LTE service was available in 165 markets covering a population of more than 186 million, across the country. With additional markets planned before year-end, the company’s 4G LTE network build-out is ahead of schedule and has already exceeded the company’s 2011 target of covering a population of 185 million.

· The company introduced five new 4G LTE devices: the DROID BIONIC by Motorola, Pantech Breakout, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, Compaq Mini CQ10-688nr netbook and HP Pavilion dm 1-3010nr notebook. On Oct. 14, the Apple iPhone 4S became available on the Verizon Wireless 3G network. On Oct. 18, the company announced that the DROID RAZR by Motorola, a 4G LTE device, will be available in November.

· Verizon Wireless opened its LTE Innovation Center in Waltham, Mass., in July and its Application Innovation Center in San Francisco in August.

· The company continued to invest in and enhance its 3G network, the nation’s largest and most reliable 3G network.

FiOS, Strategic Services Transform Wireline Revenue Mix

Wireline Financial Highlights

· Third-quarter 2011 operating revenues were $10.1 billion, a decline of 1.3 percent compared with third-quarter 2010. Consumer revenues grew 1.1 percent compared with third-quarter 2010.

· Consumer ARPU for wireline services was $94.20 in third-quarter 2011, up 8.8 percent compared with third-quarter 2010. ARPU for FiOS customers continues to be more than $146. Revenues for Verizon’s FiOS services to consumer retail customers generated nearly 60 percent of consumer wireline revenues in third-quarter 2011, compared with approximately 50 percent in third-quarter 2010.

· Global enterprise revenues totaled $3.9 billion in the quarter, up 2.1 percent compared with third-quarter 2010. Sales of strategic services — including Terremark cloud services, security and IT solutions, and strategic networking — increased 15.6 percent compared with third-quarter 2010 and now represent nearly 50 percent of global enterprise revenues. Terremark achieved record new sales bookings in third-quarter 2011. International revenue, which makes up approximately 15 percent of global enterprise, grew 9.8 percent year over year.

· Segment EBITDA (non-GAAP) was $2.2 billion in the quarter, including the $250 million impact from the storms and strike. This compares with $2.3 billion in third-quarter 2010. As a result, segment EBITDA margin (non-GAAP) was 21.4 percent in third-quarter 2011, compared with 22.7 percent in third-quarter 2010.

Wireline Operational Highlights

· Verizon added 138,000 net new FiOS Internet connections and 131,000 net new FiOS TV connections in third-quarter 2011. Verizon had a total of 4.6 million FiOS Internet and 4.0 million FiOS TV connections at the end of the quarter. With the clearing of FiOS installation backlogs caused by the storms and strike, Verizon expects to add at least 200,000 FiOS Internet and 200,000 FiOS TV customers in fourth-quarter 2011.

· FiOS penetration (subscribers as a percentage of potential subscribers) continued to increase. FiOS Internet penetration was 35 percent at the end of third-quarter 2011, compared with 31 percent at the end of third-quarter 2010. In the same periods, FiOS TV penetration was 31 percent, compared with 27 percent, respectively.

· Broadband connections totaled 8.6 million at the end of third-quarter 2011, a 2.8 percent year-over-year increase. FiOS Internet connections more than offset a decrease in DSL-based HSI connections, resulting in a net increase of 20,000 broadband connections from second-quarter 2011. Total voice connections, which measures FiOS Digital Voice connections in addition to traditional switched access lines, declined 7.6 percent to 24.5 million — the smallest year-over-year decline since fourth-quarter 2006.

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