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    Wednesday, June 4, 2008

    Reuters - Ed McMahon fights foreclosure on Beverly Hills home

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    Ed McMahon fights foreclosure on Beverly Hills home

    Wednesday, Jun 04, 2008 5:37PM UTC

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Ed McMahon, the longtime sidekick to U.S. talk show host Johnny Carson, is fighting to save his multimillion dollar Beverly Hills home from foreclosure, McMahon's spokesman said on Wednesday.

    McMahon, 85, most famous for his "Heeeeeeeeere's Johnny" introduction to "The Tonight Show" for 30 years, is one of the most high-profile people to be caught up in the U.S. housing downturn and credit squeeze. Beyond his "Tonight Show" duties, McMahon also hosted popular U.S. TV talent show "Star Search."

    Spokesman Howard Bragman said the jovial TV personality was having "very fruitful discussions" with his mortgage lenders after a notice of default was filed in February.

    According to public records, McMahon was then about $644,000 in arrears on the mortgage for the six-bedroom, five-bathroom home in an exclusive area of Beverly Hills. The house has been on the market for about two years and the current asking price is $5.75 million.

    Bragman said McMahon fell and broke his neck about 18 months ago, preventing him from working. His health problems and the weak housing market forced him into foreclosure proceedings.

    McMahon and his wife Pamela "understand that they are in the same situation as hundreds of thousands of other hard-working Americans, and their hearts go out to them," Bragman said.

    According to the National Association of Realtors, 14.5 percent or one in seven homes for sale across the nation in April were the result of foreclosure.

    (Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by David Wiessler)

    USA TODAY - U.S., Japanese scientists win prize for nanotech

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    MADRID, Spain
    By Ciaran Giles, Associated Press

    Three Americans and two Japanese scientists hailed for developing materials to fight diseases and protect the environment were named winners Wednesday of the Prince of Asturias prize.

    The scientists won the 2008 technical and scientific research award for their work in the field of nanotechnology, the Prince of Asturias Foundation said.

    The five, who work separately, are physicist Sumio Iijima; engineers Shuji Nakamura and Robert Langer, and chemists George Whitesides and Tobin Marks.

    "These scientists have created new, revolutionary materials and transcendental techniques for fighting diseases, such as those related to the brain and cancer, and for producing artificial tissues and organs," the foundation said in a statement.

    "Their work also stands out for its contribution to the protection of the environment and energy-saving via the use of new sources of clean energy that may be produced at a low cost," the foundation said.

    Eight Prince of Asturias prizes are awarded each year in categories such as arts, scientific research, sports, letters and humanities.

    They will be awarded a $78,000 cash prize and a sculpture by the Spanish artist Joan Miro. The prizes are named for Prince Felipe, heir to the Spanish crown, and are presented each fall in Oviedo, capital of the northern region of Asturias.

    Iijima, who works at Meijo University, is credited with discovering carbon nanotubes, giving rise to a new generation of ultralight, ultrastrong materials used in the safe storage of hydrogen, one of the fuels of the future.

    Nakamura, now working at the University of California, Santa Barbara, invented LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes, a revolutionary source of energy-saving light.

    Langer is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he directs an internationally renowned biomedical research laboratory. He is considered the father of intelligent drug delivery in the body, greatly enhancing the treatment of different types of cancer.

    Whitesides teaches at Harvard University and has won numerous awards for his work in developed nanoscale materials.

    Marks works at Northwestern University and is considered a leader in the field of chemical catalysis, having developed numerous types of recyclable, environmentally friendly plastics.

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    Reuters - AMD launches much-awaited Puma notebook chip line

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    AMD launches much-awaited Puma notebook chip line

    Wednesday, Jun 04, 2008 6:33AM UTC

    By Duncan Martell

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Advanced Micro Devices Inc is rolling out a much-awaited line-up of chips for laptops, as Intel Corp's main rival seeks to regain a competitive footing against the world's biggest chip maker.

    AMD, which in April posted its sixth consecutive quarterly loss amid missteps and market-share losses to Intel, said the launch of the processors and related parts, code-named Puma, is its largest-ever launch for notebook personal computers.

    AMD counts more than 100 different notebook PCs designed to use versions of the Puma platform. "This is double the design wins over any previous mobile launches," Leslie Sobon, director of product marketing at AMD, said in a phone interview.

    PC makers using Puma chips include Acer Inc, Asus, Dell Inc, Fujitsu Siemens Computers BV and Hewlett-Packard Co, she said. Prices for the mobile PCs will be mid-range for laptops, from about $700 up to $2,000. Most will be available in time for the back-to-school shopping season, and some will be available this week.

    Growth in desktop PCs has been slowing for years, and the mobile segment is where the fastest growth is in the PC industry. Market research firm IDC predicts that consumers will buy more mobile PCs than desktop PCs by the end of this year.

    "It is a good platform and I think the design wins are a testament to that fact," IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell said. "Everybody wants a serious competitor to Intel, you can't ignore that. But people aren't going to randomly take an alternative if it's not any good."

    Sunnyvale, California-based AMD is offering three versions of the Puma platform -- a collection of the microprocessor, wireless chips to connect to WiFi, and related chips. Puma uses AMD's Turion X2 Ultra Dual-Core processor as its brain.

    At the cheaper end, AMD's new platform will use graphics technology integrated in the chipset, allowing video-gaming and also good enough to play back digital media seamlessly.

    A chipset is a collection of semiconductors and components surrounding the microprocessor, a computer's electronic brain.

    For those who want better graphics, AMD will sell another platform to PC makers for about $50 more. That will use both a graphics processing unit, from AMD's ATI graphics unit, as well as the integrated graphics functions of the chipset.

    Typically, Sobon said, when a PC has a discrete, or separate, graphics chip, the built-in integrated graphics functions of the chipset are disabled.

    At the pricier end, AMD will include a high-end discrete ATI graphics chip for more intense gaming as well as working with high-definition home movies and the like, Sobon said.

    "What we've heard clearly from our customers is that consumers have enough productivity power. They don't need to open Excel or Microsoft Word any faster," Sobon said. "What people need more performance on is ripping CDs, watching high-definition movies, editing and creating home movies."

    The initial focus of the launch is on consumers, but AMD will also target small and medium-size businesses, which is a high-volume market and profitable for big PC makers, AMD said.

    Puma's processing engine will not be the Barcelona core, which is in AMD's latest chip used to power servers, but had a small design flaw that delayed volume shipments. AMD has since fixed the problem and aims to ramp up production of Barcelona.

    "Barcelona is another bet they have," said Roger Kay, president of market researcher Endpoint Technologies Associates. "I had initially thought that Puma would not do that much for them simply because (Intel's mobile chip) Centrino has so much momentum."

    "But as it's unfolded it looks like Puma might be quite successful for AMD," Kay said. "In mainstream notebook computing, this is a very viable alternative to Intel."

    (Editing by Braden Reddall)

    Reuters - Rare Marley and Hendrix performances sold online

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    Rare Marley and Hendrix performances sold online

    Wednesday, Jun 04, 2008 1:51PM UTC

    By Ray Waddell

    NASHVILLE (Billboard) - Vintage concert performances by such acts as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix will soon join the nearly 500 recordings already available for download purchase at the music and memorabilia site Wolfgang's Vault.

    The additions were made possible through a deal between Universal Music Group (UMG) and Wolfgang's Vault founder Bill Sagan. The recordings include live performances by UMG artists culled from thousands of concerts produced by late promoter Bill Graham, along with gems from other catalogs and archives dating back decades.

    "This is a far-reaching agreement to make available what I would consider previously unreleased live performance recordings of Universal Music Group artists from the mid-'60s on through today," Sagan told "It covers hundreds of UMG performers and thousands of live performance concerts."

    Sagan launched the Web site in 2003 after acquiring Graham's cache of memorabilia and concert recordings for $5 million. The downloadable content deal is for 10 years, with a streaming deal stretching "into perpetuity," Sagan said.

    If the concert is longer than 30 minutes, a full download is priced at $9.98, with concerts of less than 30 minutes at $5.98. Some one- or two-song performances cost $3.98. The site will continue to offer free streaming.

    "Of the 1,434 concerts that are up on the site, 488 can be downloaded right now," said Sagan. "And some very major artists will be downloading within the next 30 to 60 days."

    Eventually the product will be offered as CDs and vinyl under Universal's direction. "There will be physical product," Sagan said.

    A quick run through the site shows vintage performances for sale by artists including the Alarm, Fleetwood Mac, the Kinks, Billy Joel, Iggy Pop, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Lou Reed, Mott the Hoople, Poco, Steve Miller, the Tubes, Uriah Heep, Warren Zevon and many others. (


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