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    Thursday, December 30, 2010

    TIME Mobile: Pictures of the Year 2010 http://bit.ly/eTKOK0

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    Friday, December 17, 2010

    Thomson Reuters News Pro story - Larry King ends CNN stint with nostalgia and family

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    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Larry King, the gruff CNN personality whose nonconfrontational interviews were a hit with newsmakers and viewers for 25 years, signed off at the cable news channel on Thursday with a series of reminiscences from big names, old pals and family members.

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    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Reuter site - Analysis: Gorilla Glass could become Corning's King Kong

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    Analysis: Gorilla Glass could become Corning's King Kong

    Wed, Dec 15 18:28 PM EST

    By Liana B. Baker

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Corning Inc has developed a clean, razor thin glass that is sturdy enough to withstand everyday scratches -- a dazzling breakthrough that has done little for its bottom line.

    But Corning's efforts could soon start paying off thanks to the explosive demand for touchscreen devices such as Motorola Inc's Droid phones and Samsung Electronic Co Ltd's Galaxy Tab that need tough, scratch-resistant glass.

    Corning, known as Corning Glass Works until 1989, could use a hit. The company's shares are down more than 3 percent this year and analysts worry about the future of its biggest business: liquid crystal display, a thin, electronic display used in computer monitors and in other panels.

    The problem is LCD is also widely used in flat screen TVs -- and consumers have shown little appetite lately for TV sets with all the latest bells and whistles.

    Enter Gorilla Glass, which scientists starting developing in 2006 after drawing on breakthroughs from a 1960 project called "Project Muscle." Corning is betting Gorilla Glass can diversify its business -- giving it a hedge against a fading LCD market -- and make the company a supplier for a new range of consumer devices.

    "Corning need a new growth driver and I think Gorilla will be that growth driver," said UBS analyst Nikos Theodosopoulos.

    Corning, which produced the windows for some of the earliest spacecraft and invented Pyrex glass during the course of its 159 years of existence, has launched a new ad campaign for the glass, touted it on conference calls and made clear it expects the business to ramp up quickly.

    It says sales of the glass could double next year to $800 million.

    One analyst, Yair Reiner of Oppenheimer & Co, estimates Gorilla Glass will make up 13 percent of Corning's $7.5 billion sales next year and between 5 percent and 7 percent of its profit.

    Jim Steiner, head of Corning's specialty materials division, said a major reason for the growth projections is the expanding smartphone and tablet markets.

    It is widely believed that Gorilla Glass is a component in Apple Inc's iPhones and iPads, even though neither company would confirm it. And Corning is betting that demand for its glass will get a bump as other companies such as Acer Inc and Dell Inc release rival tablets.

    "We believe a high percent (of tablets) will have cover glass," Steiner said.

    But Gorilla Glass' future still depends on TVs because they require more glass than pocket devices. Steiner said TVs covered by Gorilla Glass will appear next year.

    Wall Street is waiting to see whether TV manufacturers include the glass in designs to give the sets greater durability and a sleeker look. That would represent a potentially huge market for the new material, even if TV sales dwindle, since Gorilla Glass is starting from zero market share. Ten years ago, Corning's LCD business was about the same size as Gorilla Glass, with most of its profit coming from components for the telecommunications industry.

    "Gorilla is just like LCD when it started out as 5 percent of sales and then ramped and became a massive product," said Theodosopoulos.

    And while investors still expect Corning shares to be closely tied to the fortunes of the LCD business, that could be changing soon, says Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs Portfolio Management, which has funds that hold Corning shares.

    "For Corning, the growth story is three to five years and I've got confidence in Gorilla Glass," Anderson says.

    (Reporting by Liana B. Baker; editing by Paul Thomasch and Andre Grenon)

    Thomson Reuters News Pro story - Management Tip of the Day: Ways to manage your online image

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    BOSTON (Reuters) - Your name is out there on the Internet, whether you like it or not, so you might as well take control of your online identity, says Harvard Business Review.

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    TIME Mobile: Facebook CEO and Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg. Dig in http://bit.ly/gwWLKm

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    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Reuter site - Assange back in jail as Sweden appeals bail

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    Assange back in jail as Sweden appeals bail

    Tue, Dec 14 14:51 PM EST

    By Peter Griffiths

    LONDON (Reuters) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a target of U.S. ire for releasing secret cables, returned to a London jail on Tuesday pending an appeal over a decision to free him on 200,000 pound ($317,400) bail for alleged sex crimes.

    British judge Howard Riddle had initially granted Assange bail but prosecutors, representing Swedish authorities,

    challenged the decision before the 39-year-old Australian had left the court in central London.

    "An appeal will be held within the next 48 hours and you will remain in custody," the judge told Assange, who nodded and said, "I understand," before being led from the dock by security guards.

    Assange, who has spent a week in solitary confinement in London's Wandsworth prison, is fighting attempts to extradite him to Sweden for questioning over allegations of sexual misconduct made by two female WikiLeaks volunteers, accusations he denies. An extradition hearing is set for January 11.

    Mark Stephens, a lawyer for Assange, accused Swedish authorities of persecuting him. "This is really turning into a show trial," he told reporters.

    He called Assange "an innocent man sitting in Dickensian conditions, Victorian conditions in Wandsworth jail."

    Assange and his lawyers have voiced fear that U.S. prosecutors may be preparing to indict him for espionage over WikiLeaks' publication of the U.S. diplomatic documents.

    Assange has long been a thorn in the side of Washington. U.S. anger reached new heights after WikiLeaks began publishing part of a trove of 250,000 secret cables.

    CASH SOUGHT

    Judge Riddle had earlier ruled that, pending the extradition hearing, Assange could be freed under strict conditions including electronic tagging and a curfew. He would have had to report to police daily and post a 200,000 pound bond.

    Stephens said that raising the cash could further delay Assange's release despite backing from figures including U.S. filmmaker Michael Moore, Australian journalist John Pilger, and Jemima Khan, former wife of Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan.

    "There is a problem because he's been granted bail on condition that 200,000 pounds cash is paid into this court here and that's an awful lot of money," he said.

    "It's a pity that he can't use Mastercard or Visa in order to assist him to arrange that," Stephens added in a swipe at two credit card companies targeted by activists for blocking donations to WikiLeaks.

    Riddle denied Assange bail a week ago on grounds he might abscond but said he had changed his mind because Assange had provided a British address and because discrepancies over his passport and right to stay in Britain had now been resolved.

    Assange is alleged to have sexually molested one woman in Sweden by ignoring her request to use a condom when having sex with her. Another woman alleged Assange had sex with her without a condom while she was asleep.

    Defense lawyer Geoffrey Robertson said the rape allegation against Assange came under the least serious of three categories outlined in Swedish law.

    "In this country the word rape rings all sorts of alarm bells. When we look at the Swedish system...it is very, very different. We doubt this category would be rape under English law," he told the court.

    Prosecution lawyer Gemma Lindfield, acting for the Swedish authorities, contested this and said nothing had changed.

    "He remains a significant flight risk and no conditions that court can impose could prevent his flight," she told the court.

    IMPASSIVE ASSANGE

    Assange, wearing a navy suit and open-necked white shirt, spoke only to confirm his name, age and address.

    He sat impassively behind tall panels of thickened glass during the initial hearing, which lasted a little over an hour.

    One of the main conditions of his bail is that he lives at Ellingham Hall, a country mansion in the county of Suffolk in eastern England that is the home of a former army officer and Assange supporter, Vaughan Smith.

    Two of Assange's backers took the witness stand to offer 20,000 pounds each to act as a surety.

    Smith called him as a "very honorable person, hugely courageous, self-deprecatory and warm."

    However, he clearly divides opinions.

    An ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Tuesday showed that 59 percent of Americans believed the United States should try to arrest Assange and charge him with a crime related to the disclosure of the cables.

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Reuter site - WikiLeaks rival Openleaks "coming soon": website

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    WikiLeaks rival Openleaks "coming soon": website

    Mon, Dec 13 08:48 AM EST

    LONDON (Reuters) - The former deputy to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is vowing to launch a rival site soon that he says will be more transparent than the original.

    Dubbed "Openleaks" (http://www.openleaks.org) and run by Assange's former number two at WikiLeaks Daniel Domscheit-Berg, the site has no content on it at the moment apart from a logo and the message "Coming soon!"

    In an interview with the OWNI technology website, Domscheit-Berg declined to go into the details of his dispute with Wikileaks but suggested it had strayed from its mission.

    "In these last months, the organization has not been open any more, it lost its open-source promise," he said, adding that Openleaks plans to provide the means for leaked information to be published, without itself being a publisher.

    U.S. and other authorities have cracked down on WikiLeaks and Assange since the site started publishing thousands of confidential U.S. diplomatic cables that have embarrassed the United States and other parties around the world.

    Assange, a 39-year-old Australian who founded WikiLeaks in 2006, is in policy custody in Britain after a European arrest warrant was issued by Sweden, which wants to question him about allegations of sexual crimes. He denies the allegations.

    Domscheit-Berg, who was previously involved with German hacker group the Chaos Computer Club, said Openleaks would begin trials in early 2011 and turn to bigger media later. It currently has 10 members.

    "We are already drowning in applications," he said.

    (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; editing by Noah Barkin)

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    AP Mobile News story - Former WikiLeaks worker: rival site under way

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    Reuter site - WikiLeaks supporters' group abandons cyber attacks

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    WikiLeaks supporters' group abandons cyber attacks

    Sat, Dec 11 08:42 AM EST

    By Georgina Prodhan

    LONDON (Reuters) - A loose grouping of cyber activists supporting WikiLeaks has abandoned its strategy of online attacks on organizations seen as hostile to the site in favor of spreading the leaked documents far and wide online.

    Internet activists operating under the name "Anonymous" temporarily brought down this week the websites of credit card giants MasterCard and Visa -- both of which had stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks.

    The United States, enraged and embarrassed by WikiLeaks' publication of thousands of confidential U.S. diplomatic cables, has leant on organizations from Amazon to online payments service PayPal -- which have now withdrawn services to WikiLeaks.

    In an overnight blog post, Anonymous announced a change of strategy, saying it now aimed to publish parts of the confidential U.S. diplomatic cables as widely as possible and in ways that made them as hard as possible to trace.

    The cyber activists briefly brought down PayPal's official blog by bombarding it with requests this week but failed to harm retail and Web-hosting giant Amazon, which withdrew its services to WikiLeaks more than a week ago.

    "We have, at best, given them a black eye. The game has changed. When the game changes, so too must our strategies," said the blog post announcing "Operation: Leakspin."

    The activists are now encouraging supporters to search through leaked cables on the WikiLeaks site and publish summaries of ones that have been least exposed, labeling them so they are hard to find by any authority seeking to quash them.

    "Use misleading tags, everything from "Tea Party" to "Bieber." Post snippets of the leaks everywhere," the blog said, referring to the U.S. grassroots conservative movement and the 16-year-old Canadian pop phenomenon Justin Bieber.

    Similar strategies have been used in the past on YouTube and the now defunct Napster by users seeking to share video and music while dodging copyright crackdowns.

    The activists had previously been using denial of service attacks, in which they bombarded the Web servers of the perceived enemies of WikiLeaks with requests that crashed the sites, in an operation named "Operation Payback."

    (editing by David Stamp)

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Reuter site - From Wikileaks to #ukuncut, Twitter gets political

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    From Wikileaks to #ukuncut, Twitter gets political

    Wed, Dec 08 11:05 AM EST

    By Peter Apps, Political Risk Correspondent

    LONDON (Reuters) - From keeping the WikiLeaks site alive to helping British anti-austerity protesters outmaneuver riot police, Twitter is entering the Western political mainstream as a powerful tool for dissent.

    The website where anyone can post 140-character messages with links to multimedia content was praised by the United States last year when Iranian protesters used it to organize and spread news after a disputed presidential election, until Tehran blocked the site as part of a wider clampdown.

    Now, as campaigns around both WikiLeaks and British student protests demonstrate, it is showing its effectiveness in new ways as a thorn in the side of established bodies and authority.

    Twitter has been at the heart of WikiLeaks' fight to survive. It pointed followers toward "mirror sites" in Europe after Wikileaks.com was taken down as part of a wider campaign against it following the leaking of U.S. diplomatic cables.

    As cyberattackers shut down the MasterCard corporate website on Wednesday in apparent retaliation for its blocking of payments to WikiLeaks, Twitter was the vehicle for a group styling itself Anonymous to claim responsibility.

    In recent weeks, British students protesting against government plans for a near-trebling of university tuition fees have mobilized the power of the new medium in a battle of wits with police that has also erupted into physical skirmishes.

    POLICE CHASE

    Last week, police in body armor and fluorescent jackets found themselves literally sprinting to catch up with student demonstrators. Students who had found themselves hemmed in by riot police the previous week used Twitter and smartphones to tip each other off about the location of police lines, and dodged them by breaking into small groups.

    "The thing about Twitter is the speed with which it allows information to be disseminated," said Carina O'Reilly, European security analyst at IHS Jane's. "So many of that generation are plugged into it almost continuously. It allows action without centralized leadership. It's one of the reasons the police have been so far behind the curve in the protests so far."

    Undergraduate Jessica Riches, 20, primary operator of The twitter feed @UCLoccupation -- representing student protesters occupying a key part of University College London -- said it proved an "incredible" way to gain publicity and raise funds.

    "To start with, we weren't sending that many tweets and I didn't think many people would be watching," Riches -- who normally runs a campus fashion blog at in her spare time -- told Reuters.

    "But then we saw how many people were retweeting and it really took off from there. It's been incredible. Without Twitter, I don't think we would have been successful."

    INFLUENTIAL AUDIENCE

    The tactic helped inspire a string of other university occupations and grabbed the attention of politicians and broadcasters -- both increasingly using social media sites to monitor public opinion, particularly among the young.

    Politicians who have made Twitter a key part of their communications strategy can find their walls peppered with requests for support or solidarity -- or simply with abuse.

    New British campaign #ukuncut -- which has grown out of the student protests but has broader aims of pushing back austerity measures in general -- is using Twitter to organize "flash mobs" at businesses it accuses of tax avoidance. It intends to keep expanding, regardless of what happens over tuition fees.

    "The student protests and WikiLeaks are in some ways two sides of the same thing -- the way the Internet is changing the world," said David Lea, Western Europe analyst at Control Risks.

    "It's not that the technology is new this year -- it isn't. It's that enough people are using it for it to make a difference and that politicians are taking it seriously."

    Most analysts believe the student protest will not be enough to stop tuition fee reform passing into law in a vote in parliament on Thursday. But the campaign has won some concessions and piled pressure on the government's junior coalition partner the Liberal Democrats -- once popular with students, now hated by many for going back on a pledge not to raise fees.

    Many now expect Twitter to be at the heart of wider anti-austerity campaigns in Britain next year as proposed spending cuts gather pace. Disability activists are already using it to trade complaints and protest plans ahead of expected benefit cuts.

    "If we lose the vote on Thursday, I think some people will drift away," said Riches. "But I think some will get involved in wider protests. The market is there -- politically engaged young people who want to act but also a much wider range of older people, mothers, trade unionists."

    (Additional reporting by Georgina Prodhan, editing by Mark Trevelyan)

    Thomson Reuters News Pro story - WikiLeaks supporters attack MasterCard site: sources

    LONDON (Reuters) - Hackers have crashed the website of credit card firm MasterCard in apparent retaliation for its blocking of donations to the Wikileaks website, the BBC and other media reported on Wednesday.

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    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    'On to Nexus One.' AP Mobile News story - Google mobile head says Nexus One too ambitious

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    Reuter site - Backpackers trek the globe with tech toys

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    Backpackers trek the globe with tech toys

    Tue, Dec 07 10:42 AM EST

    By Natalie Armstrong

    GOREME, Turkey, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Backpackers are traveling the world with high-tech toys and are often searching as much for free Wi-Fi as for historical sites.

    And they are in touch with family and friends thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Skype and instant messaging.

    "It's for family and friends who first of all want to know that I'm safe, or know what I'm doing, where I'm going and what I'm seeing," said Dave Arnold, who set off for a year after taking a buyout from a Canadian telecoms company.

    "In the past, you'd get a postcard or a letter in the mail every month if you were traveling around the world for a year. It definitely gives family peace of mind," the 35-year-old from Toronto added.

    Arnold, who is carrying about $9,000 worth of technology, including a netbook, an unlocked Android mobile phone, an iPod touch, two USB drives and a SLR camera with three lenses, said the gear helps him update his blog, Twitter and Facebook, and to call home and book hostels using apps on his iPod.

    Since he began traveling in July, he's used free Wi-Fi in hostels, on buses and in McDonald's and Starbucks. In Amman, Jordan, four of five travelers in his hostel lounge were on their own personal netbooks.

    "Within the last three years, the landscape of backpacking has changed dramatically just from the evolution of technology," said Arnold, whose iPod contains 100 downloaded guide books, 10 books and his entire music collection.

    "There are Lonely Planet guides that you can download and pay for as opposed to lugging around a book for every country that you've been to. As I travel, I can download them as I go," said Arnold, who has 20 DVD movies for buses and flights.

    Many backpackers are not leaving home without gadgets to book accommodation, do banking and to meet up with other travelers they've met in different cities and countries.

    "Pretty much every hostel has free Wi-Fi," said Zac Grimes, 21, of Melbourne, Australia. "There's only one computer per hostel because most people have smart phones or laptops."

    For Michael Slaven, a 27-year-old Australian engineer working in London, traveling with gadgets is convenient, efficient and stress-free, and it doesn't remind him of work.

    "I prefer using my computer. It's set up the way I like it," said Slaven. "I don't have to deal with international keyboards and I don't have to queue for hostel computers."

    On his iPod touch he can download e-mails containing directions for accommodation.

    "I've never had trouble finding Wi-Fi or power," Slaven said, adding he's not worried about losing the valuables because he is extremely careful.

    For many travelers, apps have replaced guidebooks.

    Sul-hee Kim, a 25-year-old chemical engineer from Seoul, bought an iPhone 4G just before her trip to Turkey. She used GoogleMaps and apps to find free Wi-Fi, book hostels, check the weather in Istanbul and video chat back home.

    "I can contact my boyfriend for free. I can send my travel pictures and my feelings. All is free," she said.

    Her friend Sumin Kim, a 29-year-old illustrator from Ilsan, South Korea, teases her for being too plugged in.

    Sumin Kim said she doesn't like technology imposing on her traveling experience.

    "I want to forget my work and my people in Korea."

    Bringing a computer on a six-month break away from his work as an engineer was the last thing on Jason Helgren's mind.

    "Then I realized I was going to have to occasionally do banking while I was away and I wasn't comfortable using a public computer for that," said Helgren, 31, of St. Paul, Minnesota, who is traveling with his wife.

    With his own laptop he saves money and time.

    "We have a blog, a lot of the work to maintain that blog can be accomplished offline," Helgren said. "Organizing pictures would be almost impossible, especially when you literally take thousands of pictures a month."

    (Editing by Patricia Reaney)

    Reuter site - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in Britain

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    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in Britain

    Tue, Dec 07 05:46 AM EST

    LONDON (Reuters) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested by British police on a European warrant issued by Sweden over allegations of sex crimes including rape, London's Metropolitan Police said Tuesday.

    Swedish prosecutors issued the arrest order for the 39-year-old Australian who is wanted in Sweden on suspicion of committing sexual crimes, which he denies.

    Police said Assange, at the center of a row over the release of secret U.S. diplomatic cables, had been arrested at about 9.30 a.m. (0930 GMT) Tuesday by appointment at a London police station under a European Arrest Warrant.

    "He is accused by the Swedish authorities of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape, all alleged to have been committed in August 2010," London police said in a statement.

    He is due to appear before City of Westminster Magistrates Court in London later Tuesday.

    (Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Keith Weir)

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    Monday, December 6, 2010

    AP Mobile News story - Assange may surrender to British police

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    Reuter site - Taylor says U.S. headed for recession

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    Taylor says U.S. headed for recession

    Mon, Dec 06 14:32 PM EST

    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. economy is headed for a new recession, said John Taylor, chairman and chief investment officer of FX Concepts, which should likely benefit the dollar and weigh on commodity prices.

    "It's a new recession. We're already growing, but the numbers show that the U.S. government is still the primary creator of this growth," Taylor said on Monday at the Reuters Investment Outlook Summit.

    Taylor runs the world's largest currency hedge fund with assets under management of around $8.5 billion.

    "I would argue that by the middle of next year, we will be in a recession and our fiscal hands will be tied," he said.

    Taylor has maintained in previous interviews that the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing program, designed as a way to help jump-start the economy, won't necessarily prevent a recession.

    Banks in a recession tend to demand the repayment of loans, and if the debt is denominated in the U.S. currency -- and in most cases they are -- then investors are squeezed as they scramble to find dollars to repay the debt. That should be dollar-positive, Taylor said.

    This was what happened in late 2008 when panic in the markets -- precipitated by the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers -- drove the safe-haven dollar higher against most major currencies.

    "It's kind of perverse. When the U.S. economy is doing badly, the dollar goes up and when the economy is doing well, the dollar goes down."

    Taylor's remarks dovetailed with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's comments on Sunday on the CBS program "60 Minutes". Bernanke said the Fed could end up buying more than the $600 billion in U.S. government bonds it has committed if the economy fails to respond or unemployment stays high.

    The U.S. economy grew at a modest 2.5 percent annual rate in the third quarter. Stronger growth is needed to create large numbers of new jobs and make a dent in unemployment, currently at 9.8 percent.

    EURO COULD FALL APART

    For now, all eyes are on the euro zone, which is facing a debt crisis. Theoretically, at some point the euro could fall apart, Taylor said,

    "What Europe has done is not enough. They have to have eurobonds," said Taylor. "You can't lend money to Ireland or Greece. You're just piling on more debt to them, and it's getting harder and harder to repay."

    Taylor said Portugal could be the next country to seek a bailout after Ireland, with Spain after that. This will push the euro to parity versus the dollar by next year, he forecast. In early New York trading, the euro was down 1 percent at $1.3277.

    In October, he told Reuters in an interview that the euro would most likely peak between $1.43-$1.45 in November and was most negative on the euro versus the dollar at a time when almost everybody was selling the greenback because of the quantitative easing factor.

    On November 4, the euro hit a high of $1.4283 on electronic trading platform EBS and was downhill from there.

    Taylor recommended selling the euro against the Swiss franc, a currency whose economy has fared better than most European countries.

    The FX Concepts chief was also bearish on commodities, predicting that this asset class will slow down next year as the U.S. economy goes into recession. That should be negative for commodity-linked currencies such as the Australian and Canadian dollars.

    He said the Australian dollar, which has been the best performing currency so far among currencies from the Group of 10 rich nations, with gains of about 10 percent on the year, could slide 15-20 percent.

    FX Concepts employs several investing strategies. Its global currency program, which invests in both developed and major emerging market currencies, dipped 4.26 percent in November, but its annual return for 2010 is estimated at 12.03 percent.

    (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Andrew Hay)

    Reuter site - Obama announces tax deal with Republicans

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    Obama announces tax deal with Republicans

    Mon, Dec 06 22:01 PM EST

    By Matt Spetalnick and Patricia Zengerle

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Monday unveiled a compromise deal to extend all Bush-era tax cuts for two years, giving ground to emboldened Republicans who won big in last month's congressional elections.

    After meeting Democratic leaders at the White House, Obama announced a "framework" agreement with Republicans that would renew tax cuts not just for the middle class -- as he and fellow Democrats had sought -- but also for wealthier Americans, as Republicans wanted.

    The tentative plan is expected to draw resistance from some liberal Democrats, who have expressed disappointment that the president was bending to Republican demands while not gaining enough in return. Obama might need Republican help to pass the package if enough of his fellow Democrats revolt.

    The tentative tax-cut deal, which is expected to extend breaks on dividends and capital gains as well, also calls for a 2 percent employee payroll tax cut and a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits, which could placate some Democrats.

    But Obama acceded to Republican demands on the federal estate tax, by agreeing to a maximum 35 percent tax with a $5 million individual exemption level, which he admitted was more generous than he felt was "wise or warranted."

    "We cannot play politics at a time when the American people are looking for us to solve problems," Obama told reporters. "I am confident ultimately that Congress is going to do the right thing."

    Obama said he had made some concessions because of the urgent need to reach a deal before Congress adjourns this month to avoid allowing the middle class to face higher taxes when all of the Bush-era cuts expire on December 31.

    "I have no doubt that everyone will find something in this compromise that they don't like," Obama said. " In fact, there are things in here that I don't like -- namely the extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and the wealthiest estates. But these tax cuts will expire in two years."

    Extending all the tax cuts for two years would cost $501 billion, according to the congressional budget office, at a time when Obama is under pressure to cut the $1.3 trillion budget deficit. The CBO said renewing the rates will boost the economy in the short term but be harmful in the long term.

    "FISCALLY IRRESPONSIBLE"

    Obama's concessions reflected a new political reality. Republicans gained the upper hand in the tax fight after scoring big gains in the November 2 congressional elections, which were seen as a verdict on Obama's handling of a stumbling economy and persistently high unemployment.

    Obama's tax proposal was still likely to meet some resistance from Democrats in Congress but analysts believe it faces a good chance of ultimately being approved before the end of the legislative session.

    Most Democrats have made clear they prefer to extend the lower tax rates for individual income up to $200,000 only, while Republicans have pushed for also keeping tax cuts for people who earn far higher incomes.

    Representative Peter Welch, a Vermont Democrat, called Obama's proposal "fiscally irresponsible" and "grossly unfair."

    "We support extending tax cuts in full to 98 percent of American taxpayers, as the president initially proposed. He should not back down. Nor should we," Welch said in a letter to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

    Defending Obama's approach, administration officials stressed that the extension would be nearing expiration again when he is seeking re-election in 2012. They believe he will then be in a stronger position to make the case to voters for blocking further tax cuts for richer Americans.

    Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said Reid would discuss Obama's plan with the Democratic caucus on Tuesday.

    Republicans reacted positively. A spokesman for House Republican leader John Boehner, who will take over as speaker in January, called Obama's announcement "encouraging." Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, welcomed what he called the president's "openness to preventing tax hikes."

    Some liberal supporters have accused Obama of being too willing to compromise in the tax battle. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote that Obama should simply let taxes rise for all Americans rather than agreeing to allowing tax cuts to continue for the wealthy.

    Obama insisted that unemployment insurance be extended for those out of work as part of any tax deal. Unemployment payments, which had already been extended by Congress for to up to 99 weeks from a traditional 26 weeks, expire this month for two million Americans whose benefits have now run out.

    The deal outlined by Obama includes a two-year extension of a package of tax breaks for individuals and business.

    There was no immediate word on whether "Build America Bonds" -- taxable debt included in last year's stimulus plan and due to expire at the end of December -- would be included in a final tax-cut deal. An administration official said the details were still being worked out.

    (Additional reporting by Kim Dixon and Steve Holland. Editing by Alistair Bell and Christopher Wilson)

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    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    AP Mobile News story - Google vows quicker, tougher copyright enforcement

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    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    Reuter site - RIM shares jump on positive view of new OS

    This article was sent to you from bombastic4000@yahoo.com, who uses Reuters Mobile Site to get news and information on the go. To access Reuters on your mobile phone, go to:
    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSTRE6AT3LI20101130

    RIM shares jump on positive view of new OS

    Tue, Nov 30 11:52 AM EST

    TORONTO (Reuters) - Shares in Research In Motion jumped more than 5 percent on Tuesday morning after an analyst praised its new QNX operating system as flexible, portable and likely to be integrated into its smartphones faster than expected.

    A Chinese consumer service and the global popularity of its BlackBerry Messenger texting service are boosting RIM's international growth and should carry the Canadian company until it launches new QNX-based products, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said in a research report.

    The stock was up 5.4 percent at $62.16 on the Nasdaq and jumped 6.4 percent to C$63.82 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

    The QNX operating system will make its first appearance in the PlayBook tablet due out early in 2011 and Misek, who upgraded RIM to "buy" from "hold" and raised his price target to $80 from $55, said QNX could be tested on handsets in the first quarter.

    The operating system can be modified to fit low-end phones and ramp up for more powerful versions and tablets, he said.

    It can easily port applications from Google's Android system, potentially giving RIM access to more than 160,000 apps. RIM's own App World contains around 10,000 apps while Apple's App Store has some 300,000.

    BlackBerry smartphones have been pressured in their core business and professional market as banks and other corporate customers test whether to allow employees to use Apple's iPhone or Android-based devices to receive work email.

    But Misek said RIM retained a strong reputation for its security and will likely only lose 300,000 enterprise subscribers in 2011.

    Misek also said telecom companies would increasingly favor RIM's bandwidth efficiency as data-heavy use burdens networks.

    ($1=$1.03 Canadian)

    (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; editing by Rob Wilson)

    Sunday, November 28, 2010

    Reuter site - Smartphones, Twitter top Japan hit product survey

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    Smartphones, Twitter top Japan hit product survey

    Fri, Nov 26 03:23 AM EST

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Smartphones and Twitter were the hottest products in Japan in 2010 and travel and leisure were back on the menu, an ad agency survey showed, as penny-pinching consumers rediscovered their fun side.

    Flat-screen TVs equipped for digital broadcasting placed fourth in Dentsu's annual "Hit Product Recognition Survey" and energy-saving appliances ranked eighth.

    Overseas flights from Tokyo's Haneda airport, which resumed full-fledged international services for the first time in 32 years and grabbed headlines with a glitzy new terminal, placed sixth, the survey showed.

    The 2010 soccer World Cup, in which Japan's "Samurai Blue" surprised by advancing beyond the group stages, placed ninth.

    Japanese consumers have in recent years been forgoing the latest designer brands and cool gadgets in favor of bargain shopping as the economy continues to lag, but the latest crop of tech products has been generating considerable buzz.

    Tablet information devices, such as Apple's iPad, came in at 19th, the survey showed, but rose to No.10 in a separate question that predicted hit products and services next year.

    And don't forget the 3D boom: 3D movies, TVs and other 3D products placed 15th this year, and are expected to jump to No.6 next year, the survey showed.

    On the other hand, the inexpensive retail merchandise that dominated last year's survey vanished from the top 10.

    Low-priced domestic-brand fashions, such as those found at casual-clothing retailer Uniqlo, slipped to No. 13 from third place last year, and were absent from the top 20 list of next year's predictions.

    Here are the top 10 items in Dentsu's 2010 Hit Products survey, conducted over the Internet earlier this month with responses from 1,000 people:

    1. Smartphones

    2. Twitter

    3. Munchable chili oil

    4. Digital broadcasting-equipped widescreen flat-panel TVs

    5. Ryoma Sakamoto (a popular historical figure on whom a hit Samurai drama series was based)

    6. International flight services at Haneda Airport

    7. Tokyo Sky Tree (new broadcasting tower to be completed in 2012)

    8. Energy-saving appliances eligible for a rebate scheme

    9. 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa

    10. LED light bulbs

    (Reporting by Chris Gallagher, editing by Elaine Lies)

    Reuter site - Acer aims to top global PC market in 2011: report

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    Acer aims to top global PC market in 2011: report

    Sun, Nov 28 13:57 PM EST

    ZURICH (Reuters) - Acer, now the world's second-largest PC vendor, hopes to clinch the top spot from rival HP next year, the Taiwanese company's chief executive told a Swiss newspaper on Sunday.

    "If the mobile world continues to grow, we will necessarily replace HP as the world's biggest computer-maker," CEO Gianfranco Lanci told the SonntagsZeitung in an interview.

    He also said the group would sell more than a million telephones this year.

    Acer entered the smartphone industry last year, aiming to reach 6 percent to 7 percent of the market in three to five years.

    Its success has so far been very limited, but handset vendors are closely watching the PC vendors move into their marketplace.

    (Reporting by Catherine Bosley; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

    His name is 'Boone' - Ky. 'King of Pot' on lam 2 years after giant raid

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    The Blaque Wriders. AP Mobile News story - US: WikiLeaks release endangers 'countless' lives

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    Due date for the sticky green. TIME Mobile: How Marijuana Got Mainstreamed http://bit.ly/hPKHrb

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    Saturday, November 27, 2010

    theblackrider wants you to see this article from HowStuffWorks.com

    From: theblackrider

    Hello.
    I found this on HowStuffWorks.com and thought you might find it of interest.

    It's called: How Laughter Works
    Here's the link: http://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/human-nature/other-emotions/laughter.htm


    If the link above doesn't work, then copy and paste this URL into your web browser:
    http://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/human-nature/other-emotions/laughter.htm


    See How Laughter Works and many other cool topics at http://www.howstuffworks.com


    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Here are some additional comments from theblackrider:

    Laugh, andwe laugh together. Cry, and we cry alone.

    Friday, November 26, 2010

    The Black Rider Strikes Again part Three: THE CHIEF!

                                              THE INQUISITOR PART THE:  THE CHIEF!


         It was a hot August afternoon.  The temperature was well in the high 90 degrees.  The officers in the precinct were busy filing papers and going through case files.  The chief however sat alone in his office starring at a spinning ceiling fan that just seemed to make his office more hot.  The AC was broke.  the repairman wasn't coming to fix it for another forty eight hours.  The chiefs dress shirt was soaked in sweat painting islands of liquid upon his chest.  The chief was lounging in his leather office chair, feet plopped up on the desk, drinking from a glass of ice water with cubes of ice in it.  His eyes were affixed on an old framed photograph of him from twenty five years ago that was standing on his desk, a photograph of him when he was himself a cadet in the force academy.  He was the same height and weight now that he was back then.  Two hundred and forty five pounds heavy, and seventy seven inches tall.  The chief was not a man that tolerated change much.  The only difference between him now and then is the speed of his gate, and the lines on his hands and his face.  And his teeth were a bit more white in that photograph.  Otherwise, he was the same man.  All of his contemporaries had put on weight, lost weight, lost hair, or lost life altogether.  The chief was the same man.  Just a little older looking, and a little slower.  The heat was beginning to get to the chiefs head.  He fell into a deep summer sleep right there.  His mind drifted back to his days in the academy.  He began to dream and remember at the same time in a hot and humid summer haze...
        (..."Jump!" yelled the drill sergeant.  All the cadets jumped in unison.  The sergeant looked at the boots of every cadet.  He was looking for the cadet that leapt  the furthest from the field.  One cadet, a monster of a man child that simply went by the name Chief, despite his rank in the forces, had the greatest leap among all the other privates.  The sergeant walked right up to Chief's face.  "Well well, you must think you;re special or something eh?  All these guys here are struggling to get twenty four  inches of the ground from standing still, and here you are leaping an effortless forty inches of the ground.  Are you on steroids or something private?"  The sergeant asked.  "Sir, no sir!" Chief replied.
         "My God, look at ya.  You're taller than everyone here, stronger, you are the heaviest private in my barracks, and from what I'm hearing, because I do hear what goes on in here, you are the fastest and strongest too.  All of these boys fear you like you are God among us.  I ask the boys to jump and you fucking fly!"
         Chief looked down on the Sergeant.  His face betrayed no emotion.  The Sergeant was a small man.  all of Sixty Eight inches tall and one hundred and ninety pounds of solid muscle.
        "Well I tell you what..." the Sergeant was now speaking to all the fifty other officers in the field.  "...as long as I'm in charge of this group, I'm God.  What's your name boy, Chief?  They call you Chief right?  Well Chief come forward." 
         Chief walked forward with no protest.  
         "I challenge you boys to cut this false god 'Chief' down to size.  Any cadet that can come forward and go toe to toe with big Chief here, and defeat him in a fair bare fisted fight, I will award you if you are successful in victory against this freak of nature, three square meals a day from my own personal chef.  No canteen bullshit food for the winner for an entire week.  And I'll allow you to share it with your pals too."
         Chief was perplexed.  His face nor his eyes showed his thoughts but his gut was in knots.  Why was his sergeant turning his own cadets against each other.  And why was he singled out for his God gifted attributes.  Chief had no ambition to supplant the Sergeants authority, nor did he imply that he had any such ideas.
        All the cadets were in a mild shock as well.  They were being put on the spot.  They were all tired of eating the canteen filth sloppy joes and corn dogs.  They had heard that the Sergeant and his ranks were feasting on five star four course meals three times a day.  Asparagus and steak and eggs for breakfast with sausage and sauerkraut.  Baked Zitis with six cheeses and black peppers and red wine for lunch.  Roast deer, ham and ham hock  soup for dinners.  The cadets would almost kill each other to sample this feasting for a week.  Now they had the chance.
        Chief moved his mouth as if to speak, "Hold your excitement Chief, there is something in this for you as well, should you be victorious, I will not only have you and your pals feast for a week, I will make you my assistant, you will learn the ways of our force firsthand.  No private has ever been that close to our sacred secrets at that level before.  Now, what do you want to say?" 
         The truth is the Sergeant had answered Chief's question before he even asked it.  The Chief was now excited as he longed to learn the inner workings and secrets of his force.  
         A skinny and hungry looking private stepped forward to take the Sergeants challenge.  "I will fight him Sarge" said the lad.  "You!" the sergeant replied.  The lad that came to the challenge was pale looking, feeble in appearance.  "Yes sir.  I haven't had a square meal in years.  I'm not afraid of anyone."
         "Well it's on then.  Should you fail at this private, and I think you will from looking at your appearance, there will be no medical, you will go on with your affairs on your own dime.  Should you win by some miracle, I will make sure you get the best medical care however.  Do you still want to do this?  There are other privates that are more suited for this particular challenge than you."
         "Fight or die." The lad replied.
         "Is there anyone else among you sack of scrotums that want to take on this challenge other than this filthbucket up here?"
        The groups was silent.  They all knew what Chief was capable of.  They knew that Chief would show now mercy with a chance at learning classified secrets firsthand on the table.  

        "Well that's it then.  Chief, fuck this bitch up."  The sergeant said, as if to prematurely concede defeat.
         Chief walked up to the lad's face.  Chief was Nine inches taller and sixty pounds heavier than his challenger.  His challenger looked up to him square in the eye.  There was no fear in his eyes....)


    To be continued.... 







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    Real Talk/Reel Talk. when The Money Goes. Fabolous feat. jay-z



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    A great. Photo Essay. TIME Mobile: Ground Zero - Out of the Ashes

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    Taking it to the limit. TIME Mobile: Clean Energy, and Healthy Too: People-Powered Gyms

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    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Let's Keep this our little secret. TIME Mobile: Tech Buyers' Guide 2010 http://bit.ly/hCuGhU

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    The Black Rider Strikes Again

                                                            THE INQUISITOR part 2

         The chief sat down behind his desk playing with steel marbles in his hand as he looked at one of The Black Rider's letters.  A haphazard hand written leaflet that appeared to be of little consequence, but it's contents were grave.  It was the composition of words that the chief did not want his citizens reading.  Words like these were as poison in his eyes.  Seeds of malicious and rebellious thought that would derail the din of discipline that the chief had spend decades to culture.
         He looked out through the glass window in his office door, to make sure no one was looking at him and knew what he had in his hands.
         The leaflet was folded in two, made of newsprint paper, it's letters were written in blue ink.
         The chief put his feet on his desk, his freshly spit polished black brooks brothers shoes made a thud as his wooden shoe heels landed on the surface of the table, he placed one wrinkled and weathered hand on his furrowed brow, unfolded the leaflet with his other hand, and began to read its forbidden contents...


    "fly like a flying fly
    to have pain is to have pathos
    to have emotions is to have ethos
    pain and emotion breed and carnal convulsions create the eruptions of Eros
    cry baby cry
    the hands will heal you
    face upon the breast of your mother
    no claws shall steal you
    hunt hungry hunt
    feed the desire of pleasure
    kill vagabond kill
    'tis your nature and your will
    be fearless and unabashed
    your sorrow is a seed
    the heavier the load, the more portent there is of a bountiful harvest
    do not despise your afflictions
    embrace your uniqueness
    live your life as your recognize your death
    trade will for ill
    let not nil be the fruits of your daily expiration
    glean and plant again
    eat and kill again
    love and laugh again
    be carefree and careful, delightful and deliberate, celebrated and celibate,
    smile with a cunning disposition,
    see with the eyes as weapons.


    THE BLACK RIDER."


        The chiefs heart was heavy.  His head felt as if it weighed a thousand pounds.  As he folded the illicit leaflet, a headache of immense proportions became born in his brain.  He quickly arose from his leisurely pose and jumped up to an erect posture.  He put his hands on his head to try and relieve himself of the pain of his oncoming headache.  The leaflet became crumpled in his now sweating palms, the office was at a moderate temperature but to the chief it suddenly began to fell like a humid summer afternoon inside.  He crouched with his hands on his head and began to shriek.  He let a loud whelp escape from his guts.
         His officers heard the commotion going on inside the office.  One of them, a young cadet fresh out of the academy made eye contact with the chief through the office window.  The chief knew from the look in the cadets eyes and expression on his face that the cadet knew what the chief was doing in the limited privacy of his office.
         The leaflet was now crumpled to a paper ball within his hands, the sweat from his palms beginning to dissolve the paper.  He threw the paper ball at the glass window.  It fell to the floor with an unimpressive plop.
         "What the fuck are you looking at?" the chief yelled to the young cadet.  He rushed to the office door, opened it up, and marched right into the cadets face.  The chief towered over the cadet.  He was four inches taller than the young and impressionable lad.  The cadet was looking at the crumpled piece of paper laying on the floor.  He knew the words on the crushed leaflet was forbidden prose, corrupt compositions as the chief would refer to them.  The ramblings of a dangerous madman that was regarded as a destructive virus that infects the unprepared mind.  However the cadet, deep inside just wanted to run over and grab a quick read.  In his mind, the cadet thought, one read cannot hurt.  Not at all.
         "You think you can handle that filth?" The chief asked the cadet pointing at the crumpled paper mash at the office door.  "Well, do you?"
        The cadet quickly shifted his gaze to the chief.  The chief was so close to the cadet, he could feel his breath on his face as he inhaled and exhaled.  The chief smelled like smelling salts.  The cadet's heart rate increased as he looked into the chiefs stewing eyes, his hands began to shake.
        "Give me a fucking answer you sack of shit!" The chief demanded.
         In his heart, the cadet knew that he could handle the words of The Black Rider, he knew that he was capable of processing what his entire company, family, and town, and jurisdiction claimed were poisoned decrees of a heretic turned lyrical.  Nonetheless, the cadet looked the chief in the eyes and replied "No sir, I do not believe that any of us are."
         "Good answer."  The chief retorted.  "None of you are." He turned his gaze to the company of officers now looking at the confrontation.  Where the chief stood now became a stage.  "Don't worry about me reading the letters of the libidinous lecher.  I know what he is doing, I know what his agenda is.  People should be not allowed to read and think the thoughts that he is out there proclaiming.  We've got Hundreds of his letters in here, safe from the preening eyes of those we are sworn to protect, and must protect them from this, but there are thousands of letters on the streets.  Thousands.  If you had any idea of what I just read, all of your heads will turn to mush.  So stick to the plan at hand.  Get me the head of The Black Rider.  I want him alive to answer to his rebellion.  Is that understood?"

       "Yes sir."  The officers replied in union.  "Yes.  Sir."  (to be continued)



























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    I've gotta get me one of these!: Barnes & Noble's Nook Color E-Reader Challenges the Kindle http://bit.ly/gf9rN4

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    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    The Black Rider Strikes Again




                                                                   THE INQUISITOR

         "The Black Rider has returned.  he was quited for a long time.  Years.  He has returned.  Pasting his fumes upon the walls of the town.  His lyrics are putrid.  He must be stopped.  His lyrics must be kept secret for he knows too much.  He see the world for what it is, for what it really is, a banal sap of effluvium, pulled taught to be consumed by a vacuum.  He will cause Anarchy.  He will cause the breakdown of our mental construct, our establishments.  People will revolt, they will rise up against us, we will lose all power.  Do whatever it takes, stop The Black Rider.  Stop him now!"

         The words came from the lips of the chief like fire and lava erupting from a volcano.  The chief's eyes were filled with hate, his heart was filled with vile.  He hated The Black Rider for everything he stood for.  People were ....(to be con'd).

















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    North Korea shell South Korea. (Credit reuters)

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    South Korea Shelled by North Korea

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    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Interesting article on TIME Mobile: Why a Furniture Start-Up Turned to Crowdsourcing

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    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    Interesting article on TIME Mobile: Excerpt from Jay-Z's New Book 'Decoded': Cristal's Diss of Hip-Hop

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    AP Mobile News story - Cable company Cox launches cell service

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    AP Mobile News story - Salesforce shares soaring on cloud computing craze

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    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Thomson Reuters News Pro story - Amazon.com launches movie studio

    Got Skills? Amazon dot com is interested

    Thomson Reuters News Pro user keithnation@att.blackberry.net wanted you to see this:

    "Amazon.com launches movie studio"

    LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Amazon is muscling into the movie business - and the 15-year-old Seattle-based Web behemoth wants everyone to come along.

    Internet News

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    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

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    Sunday, November 14, 2010

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    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The technology industry's latest rivalry takes centerstage next week when Internet powers Google Inc and Facebook lay out their competing visions to create a new generation of Web services at a high-profile conference in San Francisco.

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    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The technology industry's latest rivalry takes centerstage next week when Internet powers Google Inc and Facebook lay out their competing visions to create a new generation of Web services at a high-profile conference in San Francisco.

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    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Reuter site - New hologram technology brings 3-D to life

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    New hologram technology brings 3-D to life

    Wed, Nov 03 17:09 PM EDT

    By Julie Steenhuysen

    CHICAGO (Reuters) - Executives may not be able to beam a full three-dimensional image of themselves across the world just yet but researchers are a step closer to 3-D real-time images, an advance in holographic technology that could make video conferencing far more lifelike.

    Nasser Peyghambarian of the University of Arizona and colleagues said on Wednesday their new holographic technology can project a near 360-degree image to another location that updates every two seconds.

    The earliest use of the technology could be in movies, given the popularity of 3-D films such as "Avatar."

    "We foresee many applications, including for example, car or airplane manufacturing. They can look at the hologram and design the system they have in real-time and look at the model and make changes on it as they go," Peyghambarian told the briefing.

    Known as three-dimensional telepresence, the technology addresses shortcomings of current holograms, which give the illusion of 3-D but leave out the rear view, said Peyghambarian, whose study appears in the journal Nature.

    "If you look at the 3-D object, we show it is very much like if you look around you. It's the closest to what you see compared to any other technology," Peyghambarian, who also holds a position at the National Science Foundation, said on a telephone briefing.

    Surgeons around the world also could participate in complex operations at the same time, he said.

    To create the hologram, cameras take color images at multiple angles and send them over an Ethernet line. In the lab model, images are projected onto a transparent plastic panel and refreshed every few seconds.

    Future displays will lie flat on a table and the system will create an optical illusion that the image is floating above the screen.

    The three-dimensional telepresence technology differs from 3-D technology in several ways.

    With 3-D, one perspective is projected to one eye and another perspective is projected to the other, which is why people wear special glasses. With the hologram, no special glasses are needed and the number of perspectives is only limited by the number of cameras used.

    In a videoconference, this means people sitting on one side of a table see the front of a person, people on the side would get a side view and people in the back would see their back.

    The technology builds on earlier work by the same group, which in 2008 reported a black and white 3-D image that could be updated every four minutes.

    The new system is more than 100 times faster.

    "This breakthrough opens new opportunities for optics as a means to transport images in real time," Lynn Preston, director of the National Science Foundation's Engineering Research Centers program, said in a statement.

    Peyghambarian said the team still needs to work out some issues, including improving the screen and reducing the system's power demands, which will take about two years.

    It will be far longer before the system can be used by ordinary consumers.

    "I don't think you can see these in our houses in less than seven to 10 years," he said.

    (Editing by Maggie Fox and Bill Trott)

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Reuter site - Search engine Blekko to rely on the human touch

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    Search engine Blekko to rely on the human touch

    Mon, Nov 01 00:34 AM EDT

    By Alexei Oreskovic

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A small Silicon Valley company with some big name backers will release a test version of a new search engine that the company says has a key ingredient that is missing from Google, the human touch.

    According to Blekko, the Web has increasingly become saturated with spam-like websites, specially designed to pop up in Google's search results but whose content is heavier on marketing pitches than substantive information.

    The remedy, Blekko Chief Executive Rich Skrenta told Reuters, is to narrow searches to groups of websites that people, not computers, have pre-approved as being the best sources of information for particular topics.

    The approach is decidedly old-school in an industry where computer algorithms developed by engineers at Google and Microsoft Corp have for years been considered the ideal way to find information in the sea of online data.

    Blekko has raised $24 million in funding as it has developed its product over the past three years, with angel investors including Marc Andreessen, the creator of the first Web browser, and Ron Conway, who has invested in tech companies including Twitter, Foursquare and even Google.

    Blekko joins a long list of search engines that have tried to improve upon Google's business, with a less-than-stellar track record. Cuil, a high-profile search engine launched by former Google employees in 2008, quietly shut down in September; Powerset, a search engine that let people ask questions in plain English, was acquired by Microsoft in 2008.

    Greg Sterling, an Internet consultant and a contributing editor for the online blog Search Engine Land, said he doesn't expect that Blekko will displace Google any time soon. But he said the company has developed a creative approach to search that might become popular as a secondary search engine for certain types of queries.

    In an emailed statement, Google said that it welcomes competition that helps users get useful information and gives people new choices. "Having great competitors is a huge benefit to us and everyone in the search space-it makes us all work harder, and at the end of the day everyone benefits from that," said Google.

    Blekko is launching with a special directory of websites that can provide spam-free results in seven general search categories: health, recipes, song lyrics, hotels, automobiles, colleges and personal finance.

    Blekko also allows users to create their own personal directories of websites for any topic, so that the search engine only looks for information from sources the user deems relevant or trustworthy.

    The focus on quality websites over quantity has appeal, said Sterling. "We don't care if there are 30 million results or 40 million results, it's really 'Give me the information I need in an efficient way so I don't have to go wading through all this nonsense'," he said.

    (Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; editing by Carol Bishopric)

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

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    Monday, October 18, 2010

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    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

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    Reuter site - Microsoft new phones win favorable reaction

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    Microsoft new phones win favorable reaction

    Tue, Oct 12 00:29 AM EDT

    By Bill Rigby and Sinead Carew

    SEATTLE/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp's last-ditch attempt to reclaim its prominence in the smartphone market won favorable early reviews on Monday, but it may come too late to claw back customers from Apple Inc and Google Inc.

    The world's largest software company, along with network carriers and handset makers, is planning to spend more than $100 million on marketing the phones, which analysts said could compete with Apple's iPhone, but that may be a struggle.

    "We are the first to admit that Microsoft is fighting for third place, not first or even second, at this point; but we believe this is a key step toward rebuilding confidence in their ability to innovate in mobile," Wells Fargo analyst Jason Maynard said in a research note.

    "This isn't going to move the market share needle in the short term."

    "They have phones with slide-out keyboards, larger screens, high definition outlets -- all features that the iPhone does not have," said Ross Rubin, a consumer electronics analyst at retail research firm NPD Group. "That should help Microsoft's competitive position. There will always be a segment of customers that seek out the newest devices."

    The line-up of nine new phones from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, LG Electronics Inc, HTC Corp and Dell Inc will start to appear in stores later this month in Europe, and in November in the United States on AT&T Inc's network.

    The handsets are much closer in look and feel to Apple's iPhone than earlier Windows phones, with colorful touch-screens and "live tiles" on the starting screen for quick access to email, the Web, music and exclusively, games on the Xbox system.

    "The user interface is quite innovative because it takes advantage of those precious few seconds when eyes hit the glass and actually gives you something useful," said Al Hilwa at research firm IDC. "It will probably be copied by other platforms over time."

    Microsoft said the launch will be backed by heavy television advertising in the run-up to the holiday shopping season, as it looks to vault itself back into the market.

    "This is Microsoft's last chance to be a major player in the smartphone market," said analyst Jack Gold of J.Gold Associates. "Microsoft will be required to undertake a massive consumer education campaign if it wants to stand a chance of differentiating itself from iPhone and Android, which have far greater market presence."

    British actor and writer Stephen Fry, an outspoken fan of Apple products, praised the phones on stage at a launch event in London.

    "When I got one of these (phones) my first feeling was it's fun to play with. I have felt enormous pleasure using this phone," said Fry, who was invited, but not paid, to speak at the event. "Yes, I love Apple, but I'm not a monotheist. I want biodiversity in this market and all of us that love it should welcome that too."

    LAST CHANCE

    The new phones represent Microsoft's last chance to catch up in the smartphone market with rivals who overtook it in the past few years.

    "I've been looking forward to this day for some time," said Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, showing off the nine phone models at a launch event in New York.

    Ballmer, who has admitted his company "missed a generation" with its recent unpopular phone offerings, said the new phones would eventually be available from 60 mobile operators in 30 countries.

    The first phone from AT&T, priced at $200, will be available on November 8, said Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. Some phones will be available October 21 in Europe.

    AT&T will give the phones ample room in its stores for promotion. "We're expecting these to be really big sellers," said Jeff Bradley, AT&T's senior vice president for Devices.

    "This is a marathon, not a sprint. They are not going to change their position today or in the next month," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at research firm Gartner. "But they've established themselves as a credible player."

    Microsoft did not give any sales forecasts for the new phones.

    NEW FEATURES

    The new phones, which are built on the Snapdragon processor made by Qualcomm Inc, represent Microsoft's best attempt yet to introduce live connections with its other products and the Web.

    Users will be able to play Xbox Live games on the phones, link to Windows Office, use the Bing search engine and download and play music through its Zune music software. TV episodes are also available for download via AT&T's U-verse service. Updates from Facebook will be incorporated into a user's contacts.

    Game maker Electronic Arts Inc said it will introduce a wave of games for the new phone software this holiday season. That should boost the phone's popularity among gamers, especially the 25 million subscribers to Microsoft's Xbox Live gaming network.

    Microsoft has a market share of only 5 percent in the global smartphone market, according to research firm Gartner, compared with 9 percent a year ago. Google's Android system has a 17 percent market share, jumping from only 2 percent a year ago.

    Gartner expects almost 270 million smartphones to be sold worldwide this year, up 56 percent from last year.

    In comparison, Gartner expects only a 19 percent increase in worldwide PC sales to 368 million units this year.

    Microsoft shares closed up 2 cents at $24.59 on Nasdaq. AT&T shares rose 10 cents to $28.32 on the New York Stock Exchange.

    (Reporting by Bill Rigby and Sinead Carew; Additional reporting by Paul Sandle in London; Editing by Andre Grenon, Maureen Bavdek and Richard Chang)

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Reuter site - Apple in talks on fee-based music service: report

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    Apple in talks on fee-based music service: report

    Fri, Oct 08 08:36 AM EDT

    (Reuters) - Apple is in talks with major record labels to provide a subscription-based music service, allowing unlimited access to songs for a monthly fee, the New York Post said, citing unnamed sources.

    A few weeks ago, Apple iTunes boss Eddy Cue discussed with music labels how they could implement this plan, the Post said.

    The service could have tiered pricing ranging from $10 to $15, depending on much music would be included and how long consumers would be able to access the content, one source told the Post.

    Apple could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours.

    (Reporting by Mansi Dutta in Bangalore; Editing by Erica Billingham)

    Reuter site - Apple in talks on fee-based music service: report

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    Apple in talks on fee-based music service: report

    Fri, Oct 08 08:36 AM EDT

    (Reuters) - Apple is in talks with major record labels to provide a subscription-based music service, allowing unlimited access to songs for a monthly fee, the New York Post said, citing unnamed sources.

    A few weeks ago, Apple iTunes boss Eddy Cue discussed with music labels how they could implement this plan, the Post said.

    The service could have tiered pricing ranging from $10 to $15, depending on much music would be included and how long consumers would be able to access the content, one source told the Post.

    Apple could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours.

    (Reporting by Mansi Dutta in Bangalore; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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    Reuter site - Google getting larger in Apple's rearview mirror

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    Google getting larger in Apple's rearview mirror

    Fri, Oct 08 17:11 PM EDT

    By Gabriel Madway

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - It seemed Android smartphones was all anyone at a telecoms industry pow-wow in California talked about this week.

    After years alone in the limelight, Apple Inc's iPhone now shares it with a slew of devices built on Google's operating system.

    At the CTIA wireless industry show in San Francisco, Android smartphones, such as Motorola's Droid, Samsung's Galaxy S and HTC's Evo, dominated displays and conversations.

    Sales of the iPhone are still growing at a healthy clip and its annual smartphone launches generate hype that rivals only dream of matching. In addition, Apple could get another boost if Verizon Wireless gets the iPhone on its network next year, as many expect.

    But Android is giving Apple a run for its money in the consumer market, according to research data. Android was the most popular platform among U.S. customers who bought smartphones in the past six months, despite the launch of the iPhone 4 in June, Nielsen reported.

    "Anybody who watches it with a keen eye would be crazy to assume that Android wouldn't gain more share than Apple over time," Pacific Crest Securities analyst Andy Hargreaves said.

    "They've got more devices, they're going to be on more networks across a wider spectrum of price points."

    Android has effectively expanded the smartphone market, which had been dominated by Apple in the consumer space and Research in Motion in the business world.

    ComScore said Android gained 6.6 percentage points of U.S. market share from May through August, while Apple remained essentially flat and Research in Motion -- which makes the BlackBerry -- shed 4.1 percentage points.

    ComScore put Apple's U.S. smartphone market share at 24.2 percent and Android's at 19.6 percent.

    FREE TO AIR

    Hargreaves said that because Android software is free for handset makers to license, it means Apple could have a tougher time generating higher margins on the iPhone than its rivals can on their smartphones.

    Analysts estimate Apple sold about 12 million iPhones in the September quarter, which would translate into roughly 60 percent growth from last year.

    That's despite reports of a faulty antenna on the device.

    But rivals are nipping at its heels. Motorola on Tuesday announced what it called the single largest launch of Android devices at any one time. It also unveiled the Droid Pro, as it aims to make inroads in the enterprise market.

    "The Motorola phones are pretty good. The HTC phones are pretty good," said Sterne, Agee & Leach analyst Vijay Rakesh.

    But Rakesh said much of Android's growth has come because of heavy promotion at Verizon Wireless, the biggest U.S. mobile provider, which is owned by Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc.

    Rakesh expects Android growth to slow next year if Verizon begins to offer the iPhone, as many analysts expect.

    "The only thing Verizon could push was Android. Next year, if Apple gets on Verizon, that should slow," he said.

    The developer community has also increased its support for Android. Apple launched the craze for mobile applications when it opened the App Store in 2008.

    Apple's store now boasts more than a quarter of a million apps for purchase. The Android Market is smaller, with more than 80,000 apps, but can still offer its growing user base access to many of the most popular mobile programs. (Editing by Edwin Chan, Gary Hill)

    Reuter site - Hulu prepares IPO amid battle with Netflix

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    Hulu prepares IPO amid battle with Netflix

    Fri, Oct 08 14:24 PM EDT

    By Clare Baldwin and Nadia Damouni

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Popular U.S. Web video service Hulu is prepared to raise as much as $300 million in an initial public offering likely to be led by Morgan Stanley, according to sources familiar with the matter.

    Hulu is ready to raise $200 million to $300 million in a deal valuing the company at about $2 billion, and could file a prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission before the end of the year, one source said.

    Tapping public markets is one of several options under consideration as Hulu, which offers shows such as "Glee" and "Modern Family" over the Web, girds for battle against fast-moving rival Netflix, and better financed big technology companies Google Inc and Amazon.com Inc.

    Other options include attracting other media companies to contribute new programing or raising more money from existing partners, another source said.

    A decision could come by November, the source said, adding that the offering is contingent on the renewal of rights to carry shows, some of which expire in a year.

    The online video service, backed by General Electric Co's NBC Universal, Walt Disney Co, News Corp and private equity firm Providence Equity Partners, was launched three years ago as an ambitious attempt to harness the explosive growth in online video viewing.

    The worldwide online video market is expected to hit $16.1 billion through paid and ad-supported services by 2012, according to ABI Research, which tracks media trends.

    Hulu is now the second-largest Web video service behind Google's YouTube in the United States.

    But with fresh assaults from Google, which secured content deals with Time Warner for its new Google TV service, and Amazon.com, which is considering a subscription video service of its own, Hulu has found itself racing to fill up its coffers to pay for more content.

    Apple Inc, which views the television business as a "hobby," considered launching a lower-cost subscription TV service, but faced resistance from program owners. It launched a $99 Apple TV device that lets customers rent videos instead.

    Hulu has operated a free service, but began testing a subscription video service that offers more shows for mobile devices, game consoles and TV sets in June.

    Hulu was not immediately available for comment.

    News Corp, Walt Disney, NBCU, Morgan Stanley and Providence declined to comment.

    IPO TIMING

    Filing by the end of the year gives Hulu the flexibility to push an IPO out in January or February if the new issue market improves, but also lays the groundwork for an offering in April or May, after first quarter results have given it more time to gauge its financial health and the market, people familiar with the plan said.

    Banks including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and JPMorgan in August pitched to lead the offering.

    It is unclear if any banks have officially been mandated, but several people said that Morgan Stanley, at least unofficially, has been given the nod for the lead slot.

    It has not yet been decided how many IPO shares will be new and how many will be sold by current stakeholders.

    The offering is too small to provide much liquidity to shareholders, one source said. Proceeds from the offering are expected to be used to bring new shows to the subscription service, a separate source added.

    (Reporting by Clare Baldwin, Nadia Damouni and Jennifer Saba. Additional reporting by Megan Davies, Paul Thomasch, Sue Zeidler and Yinka Adegoke. Editing by Kenneth Li)

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