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Groups: Come Clean About Bundlers

Daniel and Noah, Not Alex

By Liza Porteus Viana (Political Machine)

By Caleb Howe (Political Machine)

Submitted at 6/25/2008 11:20:00 AM

Filed under: Democrats, Republicans, Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 President Eight campaign watchdog groups today called on John McCain and Barack Obama to disclose more information on big-time fundraisers who "bundle" campaign contributions for the candidates. They also want the goods on small donors, particularly because Obama has chosen to opt out of roughly $84 million in public money and is banking on his vast small donor pool that has helped his campaign make fundraising history. McCain's is still raising private money until the GOP's nominating convention, the point at which he is expected to opt into the public finance system. Bundlers play a key role in fundraising, because they are able to raise - and donate - amounts of money well over what they're legally allowed to contribute on their own. The Campaign Finance Institute, Center for Responsive Politics, Common Cause, Democracy 21, League of Women Voters of the United States, Public Citizen, Sunlight Foundation and U.S. PIRG, all sent letters to the candidates. There's currently no requirement that campaigns divulge specifics about their bundlers, who are, more often than not, corporate executives, lobbyists, hedge fund managers or just plain rich people. There's always speculation as to how much these

bundlers "own" the candidates. The letters state: "While the public benefits from knowing bundlers' names and where they roughly fit into the hierarchy of a campaign's financial supporters, it would be far more meaningful for the public to know a single dollar figure that represents precisely and cumulatively how much money the campaign attributes to each individual who has bundled contributions of at least $50,000. The total credited to an individual bundler by the campaign should include the total amount the bundler has raised for your official campaign committee since its launch plus the total raised for any joint

fundraising committee that benefits your campaign. We also ask you to instruct the Democratic National Committee to keep track of its bundlers and disclose the same information." The Washington Post in April highlighted 79 Obama bundlers - 5 of them billionaires - who tapped their personal networks to raise at least $200,000 each. They helped recruit more than 27,000 donors to write checks for $2,300, the maximum allowed under the law. Those bundlers come from Hollywood, trial law firms and Wall Street, but also include new -to-the-donating-scene young hedge fund executives, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Chicago-based developers and members of the black business elite. The New York Times that month reported that McCain had then raised a minimum of $15.55 million from his bundlers; at least $8.25 million had come from 33 who raised more than $250,000 and $7.3 million from those who raised over $100,000. The reform groups are asking both candidates, beginning with their FEC reports due July 20, to disclose the exact dollar amount that each bundler has raised so far for both the campaign and for any other political committee or group that benefits the campaign. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Submitted at 6/24/2008 4:12:00 PM

Filed under: Barack Obama, Ads, 2008 President, 2008 Senate No, this is not a

good sign for the GOP. Hat tip to Marc Ambinder. I guess McCain is not playing that well in Oregon. Oh and note Gordon's lack of party identification.

Filed under: Ads, John McCain, Iraq, 2008 President Last week, MoveOn debuted a general election ad titled "Not Alex," in which a young liberal mother is tearfully terrified her toddler might one day be conscripted into the Hundred Years War by the stillsurviving head of John McCain, Dictator for Life of the post Obamalyptic nightmare of the future. OK, that might be a slight exaggeration. Suffice it to say, the worried mom seems a little confused about a number of facts. Hot Air's Allahpundit said it best: "... mom here hasn't yet grasped that (a) President McCain won't be setting Iraq policy for the next 18 years, let alone the next hundred, (b) MoveOn's candidate of choice has himself been dropping some dark hints lately about"tactical readjustments," and (c) whether McCain and the military can have her son is, um, up to her son, not her. The left (or at least the segment that MoveOn represents) still hasn't quite accepted the idea of a volunteer military." Dave wonders why MoveOn would use the Politics of Fear[TM] that Senator Obama and many other Democrats purport to despise. Well today, Confederate Yankee writes about a response ad now online from the family of Eric Egland. Read on ... At Hot Air, Ed Morissey points out that

"Ania grew up in Poland under Communist rule and understands the stakes involved in fighting tyranny and oppression." He adds that the "snarky messaging" of Moveon's ad "pales in comparison to the honesty and warmth of Ania Egland." Confederate Yankee wonders about the values on display by the far left. So do I. It is hard to imagine an ad 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago, in which the central theme was "you'll never get my children, America." Ania Egland will be proud if her children choose to enlist. I would be too. It is not telling merely that MoveOn chose to use fear-mongering in favor of their candidate. It is telling that they think it will have an impact; That they consider the philosophy that says "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country" to be completely dead. Alex's mom says, "ask not what my family can do for our country, because the answer is no." That is the message MoveOn chose for their first ad of the general election. Ania Egland has a different message. One that sounds to me like "God Bless America!" Thomas Jefferson has a message, too. For Alex's mom: "My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy! - Thomas Jefferson Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Gmail Labs Hits Google Apps Accounts [Gmail]

GOP Senator Highlights Obama Work By Dave (Political Machine)

Submitted at 6/25/2008 5:41:00 AM

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By Adam Pash (Lifehacker) Submitted at 6/25/2008 3:59:00 AM

If you've waited patiently for new experimental Gmail features in your

Google Apps account since they were announced for Gmail, your wait is over. Just click Settings -> Labs to get started. Thanks David!


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Nader: Barack Obama 'Talks White' By Tommy Christopher (Political Machine) Submitted at 6/25/2008 8:52:00 AM

Filed under: Democrats, Barack Obama, Featured Stories, 2008 President, Ralph Nader There's a new candidate for president chanting "Den-ver! Den-ver!" Independent presidential candidate and, some say, Al Gore spoiler Ralph Nader has a bone to pick with the DNC's heir apparent, Barack Obama, and plans to take them to task at August's Democratic National Convention. Fro m The Rocky Mountain News:"He wants to show that he is not a threatening . . . another politically threatening African-American politician," Nader said. "He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically he's coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it's corporate or whether it's simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up." Earlier in the interview, he asks why Obama isn't pressing certain issues, saying, "Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn't want to appear like Jesse Jackson? The interviewer asked him to clarify that he was saying that Obama does try to "talk white," and Nader's reply was, "Of course." The interweb is abuzz with headlines of the "gaffe" (is this really going to hurt Nader's chances?), so I thought I would give the Nader campaign a call and see what they had to say for themselves. A lot, it turns out. First, let me say that there was a lot of context in the rest of that interview that makes it clear Nader is referring to Obama's platform and rhetoric, rather than mannerisms of his speech. That doesn't make it OK, and it doesn't even mean that Nader didn't mean both, but it is a relevant fact. Nader said he is not impressed with Obama and that he does not see him campaigning often enough in low-income, predominantly minority communities where there is a "shocking" amount of

economic exploitation. Nader seems to be leveling a criticism at Obama that some in the black community have, as well. Setting aside his clumsy phrasing, does he have a point? A lot of bad things have happened in the name of "political reality" during this campaign, so I hate to even invoke the phrase, but a reasonable degree of it is a good thing. Nader seems to think that Barack Obama should voluntarily expend resources to get votes that he already has, at the expense of those he doesn't. The dynamics of this campaign have thrust working class white people into the middle of this year's electoral tug-o-war, and so Obama has campaigned in as broad a way as possible. He also seems to be inviting Obama to be pigeonholed as "the black candidate,"

rather than one who will govern and work for all Americans. This is the box that many feel former President Clinton was trying to put him in with his comparison of Obama to Jesse Jackson in South Carolina. The suggestion, too, that Obama wants to appeal to "white guilt" by not going around shouting "black is beautiful" and "black is powerful" is off the mark, too, and offensive. Obama hasn't shrunk from his black identity, but his campaign is predicated on inclusion, just as his party is. The idea of "white guilt" also suggests that Obama's support derives, not from merit, but from a group's desire for absolution, while seemingly absolving white politicians, like John McCain, from caring at all about black issues. It also reduces the complexities of race relations, and those who would work to improve

them, into a dismissive catchphrase. I called the Nader campaign, and spoke with their Media Director, Chris Driscoll. Here are abridged portions of that exchange: Tommy Christopher: Did you want to clarify the "talking white" statement? Chris Driscoll:Obama has taken hundreds of millions of dollars from agents of corporations, and he has in turn represented corporate politics that we feel are the problem. TC: But he said Obama "talks white." I'm white, I don't own any corporations, like 98% of white people. Do you think Ralph would say it differently if he had the chance? CD: I don't think he would say it differently. He said what he meant. Who's pulling Obama's strings? Who's paying the

Make Documents Compatible with Office 2004 for Mac [Mac OS X]


By Gina Trapani (Lifehacker)


Submitted at 6/25/2008 3:56:00 AM

Microsoft releases the Open XML File Format Converter for Mac 1.0, a free download which lets you open Microsoft

Office 2007 and Mac Office 2008 documents in Office 2004 for Mac. [ via]

Submitted at 6/25/2008 3:56:00 AM

piper, and what tune are they demanding? TC: This quote has amplified your criticism of Obama. Are you equally critical of John McCain? CD: We are openly critical of both parties. We don't think Americans should have to choose between the lesser of two evils. McCain has been a maverick in the past, on issues like campaign finance reform, but as he got closer to his party's nomination, he sure changed his tune. TC: So, which of them is less worst? CD: It's hard to figure who's the lesser of two evils, you have to go issue by issue. (We talked about three major issues at length. On health care, he called it a "push," on the war in Iraq, Obama was "slightly better," and on the economy, another tie.) TC: So, you don't see John McCain as having a responsibility to address issues like inner-city poverty? CD: There is an expectation among the American people that the Democrats are more sensitive to the issues of poverty and working-class people. TC: Finally, would Ralph accept some kind of cabinet position in an Obama administration? CD: Who knows? We'd have to see what conditions were like. Right now, we're focused n running for President, not a cabinet position. And Obama has not offered. I've stuck up for Ralph before, but the attitude that there is not much difference between Barack Obama and John McCain is the thing that the word "strident" was made for. And, despite attempts to soften the impact of these quotes, it looks to me like Nader is equating Obama with some kind of political Stepin Fetchit, or an Uncle Tom. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

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Fanning the Flames of Faith By Justin Paulette (Political Machine) Submitted at 6/25/2008 5:32:00 AM

Filed under: Barack Obama, Religion Barack Obama has been overtly religious during the primary season, speaking openly of his Christian faith and the strong influence which it exerts over his actions. In small part, such professions were coerced via persistent e-mail traffic contending that Obama was a Muslim penpal of Bin-Ladin. Yet the unforced tenor and persistent legacy of Obama's religious statements defy a mere reactionary explanation, seeming rather to reflect a sincere conviction. It is this sincerity of belief which caused Obama such vulnerability in the Rev. Wright scandal. If Obama struck the public as disinterested in religious affairs, his happenstance attendance in a rather politically-incorrect black church might have been generally overlooked. It is exactly his admission to being influenced by religious doctrines which roused suspicion and offense. Keeping the religious fires burning, James Dobson of Focus on the Family has launched a timely attack on Obama's theological musings. As mentioned previously on this site, Dobson rails against Obama's scriptural interpretations as conveniently-compatible with his liberal

political agenda (as well as Obama's corollary, if not contrary, assertion that authoritative interpretations are impossible), and takes exception with Obama's call for religious voters to couch their arguments in "universal" language. While Dobson has been criticized by both academicians and ministers, he also speaks for a sizable evangelical block. Dobson believes either that Obama's reconciliation of liberalism and Christianity is insincere

and politically motivated or that Obama's theological meanderings have simply strayed well beyond the permissible path. Dobson is likely attempting to balance the scales following his recent disavowal of McCain. Lest any believe that distance from McCain indicated proximity to Obama, Dobson has now firmly pronounced the anathema of Obama. Dobson is a man without a country in the present election - and he'd rather fast than

settle for second best. Yet, of course, political calculations aside, Dobson's remarks merit contemplation. Obama's religious judgment has already been called into question by his association with Rev. Wright. Might his partisan interpretation of religion for political support not also warrant inspection? If religious dimensions inspire and influence the presidential candidate, why should public expressions of religion be first translated into a universal tongue? Why is secularism the universal default to which all must conform? While church doctrine might be a matter best left well outside the political arena, the effect of theological conclusions upon the political process are fair game particularly when such sentiments are put forward by a candidate as crucial factors in his life and judgment. Recent sweeps of America imply that we are a tolerant and somewhat non-dogmatic people. However, if Obama hopes to bridge the gap between liberal Democrats and religious voters (as seems to be his aim), he must be prepared to deflect the theological backlash he will provoke with his sermon at the podium. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments


Selling Stuff On The Internet? Why, That Infringes On A Patent! By Michael Masnick (Techdirt) Submitted at 6/25/2008 6:31:00 AM

Erich Spangenberg was mentioned here earlier this week for having to pay $4 million for shuffling some patents around to shell companies and suing a company he had already agreed not to sue over those patents. Of course, that's not slowing him down apparently. Not only has he asked for a new trial on that ruling, he's continuing to file new patent lawsuits -with the latest one apparently being for a patent on selling stuff on the internet. Yes, the patent may say it's about selling vehicles, but of the 47 new companies being sued over this patent, it looks like they're all selling other stuff, not cars. Basically, it looks like he's trying to sue every internet retailer there is -- because, of course, none of them ever would have come up with the concept of selling stuff online if this patent didn't exist. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Iraq Gives a Boost to McCain's Chances By Mark Impomeni (Political Machine) Submitted at 6/25/2008 2:30:00 AM

Filed under: John McCain, Featured Stories, Iraq, 2008 President Issue polls indicate that the electorate generally prefers Sen. Obama to Sen. John McCain on most issues from the economy to taxes to energy policy. But one issue that the Democratic nominee and most election observers surely counted on Obama's side is not going his way. On which candidate would do a better job handling the war in Iraq, McCain leads Obama by 39-33 percent in a new AP-Yahoo News poll. Worse for Obama, however, the poll indicates that voters' preference for

McCain on the issue stems from their view that he is the more experienced candidate, showing that the key McCain campaign narrative appears to be gaining traction. One registered Democrat told AP that McCain's military experience was an overall positive for him. "He's more experienced militarily. And I don't know if I agree with stay-the-course [Iraq policy], but I think the good probably outweighs the bad with him, experiencewise." Indeed, it may by McCain's position on Iraq that is keeping the election close at this early stage. More than 20% of respondents who oppose the war in Iraq nevertheless plan to vote for McCain. That sentiment was best expressed by another

registered Democrat, who told AP that McCain would do better on Iraq because of his military experience. "I do believe that

he will do better in Iraq," she said. "Because he's served in the military and he has said we can't just pull out. ... I think we're just kind of stuck with it now and we have to finish." The McCain campaign hopes that voters who value his experience on Iraq will give him a second look on other issues as well. On energy policy, for example, large majorities of the American people agree with McCain's call for increased domestic and offshore oil exploration. The AP poll indicates that it may not be a forlorn hope. The Obama campaign has labored hard to cast McCain as the heir to George W. Bush, linking the two in almost every press release and campaign statement. But that sentiment is not gaining hold on the Iraq

issue, which despite falling behind the related issues of economy and gas prices, still ranks as an "extremely important" issue to 44% of respondents in a recent Gallup poll. Obama has based the rationale for his candidacy on his judgment in initially opposing to the Iraq war, before he was a U.S. Senator. But, as the situation Iraq continues to improve, thanks in large measure to the troop surge, which McCain claims as his original idea and which Obama opposed, voters may become more comfortable with McCain's judgment on other issues. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments


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Feingold, Dodd to Fight FISA By Jay Allbritton (Political Machine) Submitted at 6/24/2008 1:25:00 PM

Filed under: Bush Administration, Senate, Breaking News, Chris Dodd After Democratic Senators Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold issued a strongly worded statement opposing the FISA bill that passed the House of Representatives yesterday, rumors of a filibuster quickly began to circulate. But nowhere in the actual statement did it say that Dodd and Feingold would filibuster the legislation. On Amy Goodman's TV/radio program Democracy Now, Goodman pushed for a clarification from Feingold: GOODMAN: Senator Feingold, will you filibuster this bill? FEINGOLD: We are going to resist this bill. We are going to make sure that the procedural votes are gone through. In other words, a filibuster is requiring sixty votes to proceed to the bill, sixty votes to get cloture on the legislation. We will alsoSenator Dodd and I and others will be taking some time to talk about this on the floor. We're not just going to let it be rubberstamped. GOODMAN: Would you filibuster, though? FEINGOLD: That's what I just described. Dodd and Feingold have their legislative bag of tricks out and they are going to make passage of the so-called FISA compromise as painful as possible. At the end of the 2007 Congressional session, Dodd ran out the clock on an earlier version of FISA that included telecom immunity.Oddly, Feingold indicated only yesterday that he would not filibuster the arrangement between Democratic leaders in Congress and the Bush Administration despite the fact that it included immunity. Feingold and Dodd intend to introduce an amendment stripping immunity from the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will co-

sponsor that amendment. Today Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi expressed support for a filibuster, saying, "It would be healthy and wholesome." Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama supports stripping telecom immunity. Liberal bloggers have launched a campaign to pressure Democrats, especially Obama, to reject all aspects of the FISA legislation, which they view as an affront to the fourth amendment. MoveOn.Org called on Obama to uphold a pledge he made to filibuster any version of FISA that includes telecom immunity. Obama's campaign has not indicated if Obama would join a filibuster by Dodd and Feingold. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Another One Bites the Dust James Dobson on Barack Obama

By Liza Porteus Viana (Political Machine) Submitted at 6/25/2008 2:20:00 AM

Filed under: Republicans, 2008 House Another Republican has been ousted from Capitol Hill - although it doesn't appear this one got spanked for the same (antiBush, anti-Iraq war) reasons other GOP lawmakers around the country have this year. He's the t hird House incumbent to lose a primary this year. U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon, a conservative lawmaker from Utah, lost his bid for a seventh term yesterday in primary because, essentially, he doesn't appear to be conservative enough for the state's 3rd District. He was beaten by newbie politico Jason Chaffetz, a former Brigham Young University football player who served as chief of staff for popular Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman. Cannon received 40% of the vote, while his opponent won 60%. "We rocked the vote here in Utah and we rocked the Republican Party," Chaffetz told about 175 supporters gathered to celebrate the victory, according to the Salt Lake Tribune."I think we've been given a mandate to return the Republican Party to its core conservative principles." Even though Cannon is considered a strong conservative, Chaffetz blasted him on spending, energy, and immigration, in particular. AP notes that in 2003, Cannon sponsored a bill that would have allowed states to charge in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants, and that instead of favoring tossing all illegal workers out of the country, he supported a guest-worker program. Chaffetz said he wants the U.S. to deport all illegal immigrants and stop granting automatic citizenship to children born here if their parents aren't legal residents. The Tribune says Cannon's next job will be to

By Dave (Political Machine) Submitted at 6/24/2008 4:22:00 PM

help other Republicans get elected around the country elected. Cannon said neither the war or Bush's dismal ratings had anything to do with his loss; blame low voter turnout. The Deseret News notes that this is only the second time in 30 years that Utah Republicans have dumped an incumbent GOP congressman. "Bush has the highest rating in Utah, and that says the people support him and the war," Cannon said. "Their frustration is directed elsewhere." A BYU poll found that about 80% of voters in the district thought the country was on the wrong track, indicating a clear appetite for change. Sound familiar? Chaffetz will face Democrat Bennion Spencer in November. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: Barack Obama, Religion, 2008 President James Dobson delivers a rant about Barack Obama's version of Christianity. Evangelical christianity (the religious right, if you will) has no central leadership, but James Dobson is probably the most respected person among those with influence among that group. His purpose here is to point out that, while Obama is nominally a Christian, he is not any kind of Christian that evangelicals are used to voting for. Votes on abortion, gay rights and Obama's position (consistent with liberal Christianity) that the Jesus is only one path among many to get to heaven are highlighted. This of course is diametrically opposed to mainstream evangelical Christianity, so Dobson has his dander up pointing that out. Impact on the race is likely minimal. No real surprises here.. My guess is that, at best, this will help McCain stem the bleeding of independent evangelical christians, who are concerned about social welfare, the environment, etc. from floating over to the Obama camp. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Yeah, Your IT Guy Is Probably Reading Your Email By Michael Masnick (Techdirt) Submitted at 6/24/2008 5:24:03 PM

You probably suspected it, but there's a decent chance that someone in your IT department may be snooping on at least

someone in your company -- and they don't seem to mind admitting it. It's not overwhelming, but about one in three IT folks admits to snooping using admin passwords to access information they're not supposed to look at. Given that there

are probably plenty who won't admit it, there's a pretty good chance that the actual percentages are higher. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

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Detainee's Enemy Combatant Status Overturned

Oracle (ORCL) reports strong results

By Mark Impomeni (Political Machine)

Filed under: After the bell, Earnings reports, Microsoft (MSFT), International Business Machines (IBM), Oracle Corp (ORCL) Yup, that pretty much sums up Oracle Corp.(NASDAQ: ORCL)'s recently delivered quarterly results. Strong. So strong, one could forget there is a slowdown in economic activity. So strong, no one remembers now Oracle's previous quarter scare (that the weak economy indeed would affect it and tech stocks). So strong, it has surpassed International Business Machines(NYSE: IBM) to become the second-largest software company in sales. It is no wonder then that the stock climbed 1.86% in after-hours trading to $22.97. It closed at $22.55. By the numbers, Oracle's profit jumped 27% to $2.04 billion, or 39 cents a share, but excluding acquisition costs and some other expenses, profit rose to 47 cents a share. Revenue rose 24% to $7.28 billion. Oracle beat analysts' estimates on both counts. And this is just the tip of the iceberg; the results showed strength and improvement in many areas: • New software sales in the U.S. grew 22% and overall sales in the Americas, where the U.S. dominates, grew 18% after declining last quarter. Doesn't look like companies are cutting too much spending on software, does it? Keep in mind, growth

Submitted at 6/24/2008 4:14:00 PM

Filed under: Bush Administration, Breaking News, Terror, Supreme Court In a first of its kind ruling, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned the detention of a Guantanamo Bay detainee, ordering the government to give him a new hearing or release him. The detainee, Huzaifa Parhat, a Chinese Uighur captured in Afghanistan, has been held at Guantanamo for more than six years on suspicion of joining a Chinese Muslim group and attending an al-Qaeda training camp. The court's ruling was handed down last Friday. Parhat petitioned the D.C. Circuit court under the protocol established by the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional last week. Under the act, the D.C. Circuit is the court designated by Congress to review so-called combatant status review tribunals. In its ruling, the Supreme Court said that Congress had improperly suspended the writ of habeas corpus in the case of the detainees, granting them access for the first time to U.S. civilian courts. But Parhat's case seems to confirm that the process set up by Congress in the act can indeed work; and that the Supreme Court's decision to essentially shut down the review process was premature. David Remes, a lawyer representing

several Guantanamo Bay detainees, said that the decision would be significant in the cases of other detainees pending before various federal courts. "[The decision] makes clear that the government can be required to transfer or release an individual if it is determined that the individual has been improperly classified as an enemy combatant." This is what Congress intended in setting up the review system. But the decision may also, ironically, be the last of its kind, as no one is really sure what form the new court review process mandated by the Court will take. The Supreme Court, in attempting to extend more legal rights to Guantanamo Bay detainees, may have actually brought a system capable of impartially weighing the evidence against them to a screeching halt. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

By Melly Alazraki (BloggingStocks)


Recent market turmoil makes Citigroup break its promise By Eliza Popescu (BloggingStocks) Submitted at 6/25/2008 9:30:00 AM

Submitted at 6/25/2008 11:16:00 AM

in the region was indeed slower. • The segment that competes with SAP jumped 36% - a good example of Oracle's ability to bounce back. • Sales of new software licenses climbed 27% - it's amazing how Oracle managed to turn the trend on this number that concerned investors so much in the previous quarter. If that's not a good sign for future sales, what is? And if that doesn't give confidence in management and strategy, what does? • Operating margin for the quarter was 48% - better than Microsoft(NASDAQ: MSFT)'s, and that says it all. The company, known for its acquisition strategy, closed its $8.5 billion purchase of BEA Systems Inc. in April. The acquisitions didn't just allow Oracle to grow to its second place, but gave it a diversity of products that helps it with sales and crossover sales. One caveat: This quarter has always been known to be Oracle's best one. Still, the numbers don't lie, and this is one company that has been more than consistent. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Consumer experience, Competitive strategy, Marketing and advertising, Citigroup Inc. (C) The recent challenging market conditions created much not only on traders and companies, but also cause some big names to break promises they had made to consumers. Eric Dash of The New York Times tells of one such promise that may now be repealed. Last year, Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) promoted the "deal is a deal" slogan, promising to millions of people that the company would no longer lift reserve interest rates on cards at any time, for any reason. However, as Dash explains, times have changed and in the current weak environment the bank is reconsidering its decision because of financial troubles. A year ago, the company said it would no longer use the "universal default" practice where a card issuers can raise the holder's rate when that person is late paying any bill. What the bank still held was the right to raise rates every two years, when people renew their cards. At the time, it looked like Citigroup's decision was efficient as rivals such as Chase Card Services followed the company by announcing it would abandon the "universal default." Continue reading Recent market turmoil makes Citigroup break its promise Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Research in Motion (RIMM) gets crushed By Jonathan Berr (BloggingStocks) Submitted at 6/25/2008 10:26:00 AM

Filed under: After the bell, Earnings reports, Apple Inc (AAPL), Research in Motion (RIMM) Shares of Research in Motion Ltd.(NASDAQ: RIMM) are getting pummeled in after-hours trading after the maker of the no-longer edgy BlackBerry r eported disappointing results and gave lackluster guidance.

Net income at the Ontario-based company in the fiscal first quarter rose to $482.5 million,or 84 cents per share, versus $223.2 million, or 32 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue soared 107% to $2.24 billion as the company shipped about 5.4 million devices. Though these results were impressive, they were not good enough for Wall Street. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News were expecting RIM to report earnings of

85 cents on revenue of $2.27 billion. Moreover, the company forecast second quarter profit of between 84 and 89 cents per share, missing the Bloomberg estimate of 92 cents. The revenue forecast of $2.55 billion to $2.66 billion, however, is slightly better than the $2.44 billion analysts had expected. The problem that RIM has is that it's not Apple Inc.(NASDAQ: AAPL), which is now trying to lure more corporate

customers with the latest version of the iPhone. In baseball terms, RIMM is like the New York Mets, a once mighty team that has fallen on hard times. Apple, on the other hand, is the high-tech world's equivalent of the Boston Red Sox, a once lowly team that now dominates the league. Picture that the RIM team and the Apple team are playing each other in a real baseball game. RIM is trailing Apple in the bottom of the ninth, the bases are loaded

with two outs. RIM management is trying to convince investors that it can hit a home run in this situation, while Wall Street is sure the company will strike out. RIMM shares are down over 8.5% in after-hours trading to about $130. It closed at $142.336. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments


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Big company, small town: More Wednesday earnings: Cracker Barrel Old Country Nike, CKE, Red Hat, General Store, Lebanon, Tennessee Mills, Bed Bath & Beyond By Trey Thoelcke (BloggingStocks)

By Trey Thoelcke (BloggingStocks)

Submitted at 6/25/2008 11:40:00 AM

Submitted at 6/25/2008 10:10:00 AM

Filed under: Products and services, Consumer experience, Competitive strategy, Entrepreneurs This post is part of our Big Company, Small Town series, featuring large companies and the small towns in which they are headquartered. As with many interstate travelers, the Cracker Barrel is a regular meal stop during my family vacations. Partaking of some comfort food, perusing the country store for toys and foodstuffs we recall from our childhoods, and resting for a spell in the rocking chairs can be just the thing after long hours on the road. But also like many travelers, I'm sure, I had no idea that the Cracker Barrel came from the small town of Lebanon (pronounced LEB-nun by many natives), Tennessee, the county seat of Wilson County, east of Nashville. A local spring was the chosen site for the town, and a nearby grove of red cedars inspired the town's biblical name. The town was incorporated in 1819, and Cumberland University opened its doors there in 1842. The town square -- which today features antique and gift shops that bring tourists from far and wide -- was the site of a Civil War battle in 1862. Some 130 confederate soldiers are buried at Lebanon's historic Cedar Grove Cemetery. The town expanded once the Tennessee and Pacific Railroad came to town after the Civil War, followed by the Lebanon

Filed under: Earnings reports, Bed Bath and Beyond (BBBY), General Mills (GIS), NIKE, Inc'B' (NKE), Red Hat Inc (RHT), CKE Restaurants (CKR) Here's a quick recap of some additional earnings reports on Wednesday. Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike Inc.(NYSE: NKE) said strong growth overseas helped boost its fourth-quarter profit by 12% to $490.5 million, or 98 cents per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected the company to earn 96 cents per share for the quarter. Shares fell more than 5% in after-hours trading to $62.15. CKE Restaurants Inc.(NYSE: CKR) said its first-quarter profit climbed 8% to $16.6 million, or 31 cents per share, helped by a small increase in same-store sales at Carl's Jr. restaurants. Revenue fell 3% to $466.2 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected profit of 27 cents per share on revenue of $465.5 million. Shares Woolen Mills and the Gulf Red Cedar Company in 1908. General George Patton's tanks passed through the town on their way to Europe, and after World War II, the town expanded again, with the opening of Tennessee's first industrial park, which is the site of Cracker Barrel's corporate headquarters. Continue reading Big company, small town: Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Lebanon, Tennessee Permalink| Email this| Comments

fell 5 cents to $12.25 in after-hours trading. Red Hat Inc.(NYSE: RHT) said its fiscal first-quarter profit rose 6.6% to $17.3 million, or 8 cents per share. Adjusted earnings were 18 cents per share. Revenue rose 32% to $156.6 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial on average predicted a profit of 18 cents per share on revenue of $153 million. Shares fell 19 cents in after-hours trading to $22.11. General Mills Inc.(NYSE: GIS) said its fourth-quarter profit dropped 17% to $185.2 million, or 53 cents per share. Adjusted earnings were 73 cents per share, which met Wall Street expectations. Sales increased 13% to $3.47 billion beating expectations. The company reaffirmed its guidance for the full year. Shares fell almost 2% to $61.19. Continue reading More Wednesday earnings: Nike, CKE, Red Hat, General Mills, Bed Bath & Beyond Permalink| Email this| Comments

KDE Window-Sizer Moves and Resizes Windows with Ease [Featured Windows Download] By Adam Pash (Lifehacker) Submitted at 6/25/2008 8:00:00 AM

Windows only: Free, open-source application KDE Window-Sizer resizes and moves windows when you click anywhere inside the window while holding the Alt key. To move a window, then, hold Alt and left-click and drag anywhere in the window to move it—this behavior mimics the move behavior available in the KDE Linux desktop environment. Likewise, to resize a window from anywhere, just hold Alt and then right-click and drag anywhere in the window. Additionally, the application will snap any window to the edge of your monitor by Alt-right-clicking or Alt-resizing the window, which really helps maximize screen real estate. It may sound confusing at first, but give it a try and you'll quickly appreciate the new functionality, or check out the video demonstration of the similar, previously mentioned WinMover. KDE WindowSizer is free, Windows only. Thanks Paul! KDE Window-Sizer

Google (GOOG) releases Ad Planner: Helps advertisers target the best sites By Brian White (BloggingStocks) Submitted at 6/25/2008 10:55:00 AM

Filed under: Products and services, Launches, Google (GOOG), Marketing and advertising Google, Inc.(NASDAQ: GOOG) continues to make transparency about all people and businesses its top priority. In releasing Trends for Websites this week, the world's largest search information company made it impossible for websites to hide their numbers from all eyes, including consumers and advertisers. Are you a media buyer who wants to know the reach of a prospective website before you even contact them to negotiate? Visit

Google's Trend for Websites site and find out instantly. Google then one-upped itself by announcing the Ad Planner product for advertisers. This new product will allow media buyers and advertisers to get an immense amount of help on the best web properties in which to spend ad money. In other words, Google is making life easier for its advertisers to find the largest-impact website in which to advertise -- without trial and error. Of course, the new Ad Planner service is free. Google's unabated quest to become the world's largest advertising company continues to move forward. Although these

two products may not get much attention from the media after this week, these are huge impacts in terms of the business model that keeps Google's entire money chest afloat: advertising revenue. When Google said that "we want to help you figure out where your target audience is" in announcing Ad Manager, it wasn't kidding. The more it makes its ad customers successful, the more business it will bring in. Everyone's happy, and Google remains solidly on top of the new media advertising world. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

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ILFC may order 300 Boeing, Crude Control The FOMC decision: No easy solution to the inflation Airbus planes for aircraft leasing business -employment problem

By Todd Harrison (BloggingStocks) Submitted at 6/25/2008 10:00:00 AM

By Douglas S. Roberts (BloggingStocks) Submitted at 6/25/2008 10:25:00 AM

Filed under: After the bell, Market matters, Economic data, Oil, Federal Reserve, Recession The Federal Open Market Committee issued its decision on interest rates Wednesday. It kept rates unchanged as expected but increased the hawkishness of the accompanying statement. It maintained its credentials on combating inflation but was careful not to cause any trauma to the financial markets that would require reversing this position. If this were to occur, the Fed would lose credibility. The Fed wants to maintain its credentials on inflation control. This is necessary for it to protect the dollar from an uncontrolled spiral downward and an increase in core inflation. However, there is very little that

the Fed can do to limit total inflation in the short term. The current inflation is really being primarily driven by the rise in oil prices. This is being caused primarily by the increase in demand in emerging markets, such as China and India. Fed policy has little effect on this. Oil prices rose throughout the last Fed tightening cycle despite the rise in the yield on shortterm Treasury Bills. Oil actually began its rise as the Fed began to increase interest rates in 2004. Prices doubled as the Fed substantially tightened monetary policy. Europe also has some of the same inflation issues that we face despite the refusal of the European Central Bank (ECB) to lower rates. Continue reading The FOMC decision: No easy solution to the inflationemployment problem Permalink| Email this| Comments

By Joseph Lazzaro (BloggingStocks) Submitted at 6/25/2008 10:40:00 AM

Filed under: Boeing Co (BA), Oil It's a macroeconomic headwind that could produce a jetliner order headwind. International Lease Finance Corp. said it may order 300 jetliners from Boeing and Airbus to meet lease demand from airlines that can no longer afford to buy their own planes, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday. International Lease said it may purchase 150 single-aisle aircraft from each aerospace company. The orders would be worth about $22 billion at current plane prices, exclusive of discounts. Boeing(NYSE: BA) shares fell $4.83 to $69.99 on the news, while Airbus's parent EADS' shares rose 39 euro cents to €12.95

in afternoon trading in Paris. High oil prices take a toll Stock analyst C. Leonard Bauer told BloggingStocks Wednesday the era's record-high jet fuel prices are beginning to take a toll on airline business models. "If high prices, basically oil above $120 a barrel, persist, you will see order cancellations, and more postponements, in the U.S. and abroad," Bauer said. "Some airline business models just won't work with oil at $120-$125 or higher, so you will begin to see order delays and cancellations." Bauer added that he does not have ratings on, nor own shares in any airline or airline manufacturer. Continue reading ILFC may order 300 Boeing, Airbus planes for aircraft leasing business Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Start drilling offshore: ATW, DO, ESV, HERO, NE, PDE, RDC, RIG By Sheldon Liber (BloggingStocks) Submitted at 6/25/2008 9:50:00 AM

Filed under: Rants and raves, Competitive strategy, Market matters, Politics, Presidential elections, Oil It's time to start drilling for oil and natural gas offshore on the east and west coasts. We are wasting our time and our money, and risking our future by not doing so. The energy needs of the United States have made oil our number one import and the biggest factor in our imbalance of trade. It is not just that oil holds us hostage to the rest of the world. This imbalance of

trade means we cannot support ourselves and must borrow from others to get by, and I, for one, have a very hard time with that notion. I prefer independence -- remember

that? I think it was an important concept in our founding, way back when. The imbalance in trade is a mortgage against the future of our children and it is getting worse year after year. The money often goes to foreign governments whose interests are not aligned with ours and they hold us politically and economically captive. Nothing is more shameful than President Bush pleading with Saudi Monarchs to pump more oil. Continue reading Start drilling offshore: ATW, DO, ESV, HERO, NE, PDE, RDC, RIG Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Commodities, Oil Minyanville's top dog, Todd Harrison, dares to ask in public what Wall Street types quietly consider in private. For more insight and ideas, visit A few Random Thoughts on the action in crude: • A finski (a $5 bill) ain't what it used to be - a 10% move at the beginning of last year. Now it's barely 4%. • While I've been bearish on crude through the lens of deflation -- and I continue to believe all roads lead there -"pure trading eyes" sees the sideways action for the last month. • United States Oil Fund(AMEX: USO) $104-$113 are the parameters to watch (filling of the gaps versus upside breakout). You can drive a truck through that, I know, but I don't make the rules, I just try to play by them. • Hands over eyes, sideways movement under resistance is a bearish churn. The same movement above support is a bullish base. • My current position? Flatter than a sat on hat. And I like it that way... For now. R.P. Position in USO Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Amazon Gets Some New Threads, Acquires By Jason Kincaid (TechCrunch) Submitted at 6/25/2008 3:45:52 PM

Internet-giant Amazon has acquired, an online fabric store that calls itself “The Place To Go When You Sew”. According to the press release, the deal will allow to expand its selection of sewing materials while giving Amazon a better catalog of hobby and craft materials. The cost of the deal was not disclosed. was launched in 1999, and joins a growing list of Amazon acquisitions that includes dpreview, a camera review site acquired in 2007, and

Audible, which was acquired earlier this year. Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.


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Ratings Revamp ( News and Markets) Submitted at 6/25/2008 11:00:00 AM

There are many faces in the gallery of subprime culprits: aggressive mortgage brokers and investment banks pushing mortgage-backed securities out the door among them. Some have pointed fingers at the creditrating agencies like Moody's, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's. Their AAA ratings for securities that eventually went bust, along with their reluctance to downgrade until it was too late, provided a false sense of security to investors, and helped create the bubble that burst last summer. Today, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed regulations that could vastly diminish the role of creditrating agencies in financial markets in the long run. The proposals follow measures outlined earlier this month that are aimed at addressing issues of conflicts of interest, transparency, and disclosure at the rating agencies. The latest proposals would water down and rewrite regulations that require some fund managers and banks to consider the assessment of the rating agencies when buying short-term debt and other financial instruments, allowing them to rely instead on other measures for due diligence. "Over the last three decades, we have embedded [the use] of credit ratings into our rule books," said Paul Atkins, an S.E.C. commissioner. "Recent events have awakened us to the unintended consequences of our behaviors. "Credit ratings have become a crutch," he said. "Credit ratings are opinions. They are no substitute for investors making

informed decisions." The S.E.C. chairman, Christopher Cox, noted that "events of recent months have had a profound effect on our economy and our markets, and they have galvanized regulators and policymakers... to reexamine every aspect of the regulatory framework governing credit-rating agencies." He acknowledged the criticism by some that the "official recognition of creditrating agencies... may have played a role in encouraging over-reliance on ratings." "It should go without saying that it should be neither the purpose nor the effect of any S.E.C. rule to discourage investors from paying close attention to what credit ratings actually mean," he said. At the meeting, S.E.C. staffers said they had identified some 44 rules and forms referencing credit-rating agencies, and recommended eliminating any mention of them in 11, changing the wording—in many cases to allow investors to seek alternative means of achieving due diligence requirements—in 26, rules and leaving the language unchanged in just six. Among the most significant proposed changes is a measure that would allow U.S. money-market funds to buy shortterm debt without considering the ratings, instead requiring a money-market fund's board of directors to determine that each security "presents minimal credit risks," and is "sufficiently liquid to meet reasonably foreseeable redemptions." No more than 10 percent of investments could be held in illiquid securities. Other regulations would allow investment advisers in certain cases that are currently required to rely on ratings

before greenlighting some transactions, to make their own assessments of whether a security meets specific credit and liquidity requirements. The largest significance, however, may be symbolic, some experts say. Jerome Fons, a former managing director of Moody's Investor Services and principal at the investment consultancy Fons Risk Solutions of New York, had been harshly critical of earlier proposals of the S.E.C. to address problems with the credit-rating agencies. Just last week, he said he was "not convinced there is any real desire to drastically reform or remake the industry." Today, however, "I'm almost eating my words," he said. "If they go through with these proposals, it's the right direction. I think this will improve the competitive landscape. And if somebody with a better mousetrap comes along, the market will be the decider." But other longtime observers were less impressed. Joshua Rosner, managing director of Graham Fisher & Co., a financial research consultant, said many of the proposed changes discussed so far are largely cosmetic and will do little to restore confidence in the agencies needed to end the credit crunch. "It will take every country's bank supervisors, every state's insurance commissioners, and every country's pension supervisors working to achieve a global reduction in the use of ratings," he said. "It's an admirable goal, but I don't think it can be achieved in the short term." What's really needed is legislation that would change the way the rating agencies

operate, he says. When the rating agencies find a structure finance model is not working, for instance, they change the model, but do not go back and re-rate securities graded under the old models. "At this point there is no indication in the U.S. is understanding the issue deeply enough, or looking for much more than" a cosmetic solution, he says. Many investors, he says, will continue to rely on the rating agencies, because "you have time constraints whether to participate or not in a deal, investors don't have time to look for reams of data," he said. Fons also played down the immediate impact on the business of the agencies. "Their businesses are already hurting," he said. "They're not likely to lobby too hard against these proposals. Right now they need to improve their image and improve investor confidence and lobbying against reform is not the way to do it. If rating agencies can regain investor confidence they will want to use them voluntarily." Ed Sweeney, a spokesman for S&P, said, "S&P supports the S.E.C.'s efforts to bring greater transparency, stability and confidence to the capital markets, and we look forward to reviewing the proposed rules and providing our comments to the S.E.C. during the commentary period." Related Links Rating Agencies: To Regulate or Not? Bond Insurer Break-Up Would You Buy a Bridge From Warren Buffett?

Sony exec admits that PSP developer community should be revitalized By Darren Murph (Engadget) Submitted at 6/25/2008 9:52:00 AM

Filed under: Gaming, Handhelds If you just can't get enough of what Sony Europe execs are saying, here's another mouthful just days after hearing from David Reeves. This time we've got SCEE's VP of publisher and developer relations Zeno Colaço shouting out on the state of PSP, and overall, his comments weren't that surprising. Most notably, he mentioned that the developer community needed to be "revitalized" so that it would get behind the PSP in a big way. When asked about the current dearth of games for the handheld, he commented that such a scenario happens "when you rely on a business model that relies on 25% games from Sony and 75% from other publishers." He continued by stating that Sony "probably suffered" from being unable to completely recover when thirdparty developers refocused efforts away from the PlayStation Portable. Hungry for more? You know where to head for the full interview. [Via GamesIndustry] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Polling Startup SodaHead Raises $8.4 Million By Erick Schonfeld (TechCrunch) Submitted at 6/25/2008 11:10:24 AM

Polls are popular on the Web because they are interactive without requiring too much effort. They are also a good way to collect a lot of data from users across the Web. SodaHead, a startup founded by former MySpace executives Jason Feffer and Michael Glazer, announced an $8.4 million series B investment today. The round was led by Mission Ventures and

Mohr Davidow. (The company previously raised $4.25 million from Mohr Davidow, Ron Conway, and Tech Coast Angels in January, 2007). Since the site launched last September, it has attracted 600,000 registered members who have submitted three million answers. SodaHead competes with PollDaddy, SurveyMonkey, and Vizu, although it is targeted more at the MySpace crowd. And you can add songs, videos,and images to the polls. Think Yahoo Answers meets

PollDaddy. The company says it is really going after Yahoo Answers. Says Glazer; We are a community site, around any topic people are taking about. With Yahoo

Answers, what they missed is the community aspect. Although any question a user makes can be spread virally as a widget, 90 percent of SodaHead’s traffic still goes through its site. Traffic has been ramping up nicely to 1.2 million U.S. visitors a month, according to comScore (Yahoo Answers, which seems to be doing fine just the way it is, has 33.6 million and growing). The site is only running Google AdSense ads right now, but since SodaHead is

building up a database of the preferences of members based on what kinds of questions they answer in different categories, and even their specific answers, Glazer is confident SodaHead will be able to do better ad targeting overtime. Another revenue source is helping brands engage with consumers through their own polls. Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

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Plod to Judgment ( News and Markets) Submitted at 6/25/2008 12:30:00 PM

It meets secretly and doesn't even publicly disclose its schedule. It won't officially comment on whom it's investigating. But like it or not, the Senate Ethics Committee is back in the public spotlight as it begins to investigate the special-loansfor-Senators scandal revealed on earlier this month. After reported that the troubled mortgage lender Countrywide Financial appeared to have set aside some of its own criteria in making loans to a pair of prominent Democratic senators, attention quickly turned to the Senate Ethics Panel. Four days after named the senators — Kent Conrad of North Dakota, who chairs the Budget Committee, and Chris Dodd, of Connecticut, who chairs the Banking Committee — a private group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a formal complaint and called for an investigation. Such a move almost always triggers a preliminary investigation, and the ethics committee chairwoman, Barbara Boxer of California, told The Washington Post that one is underway. "A complaint has been filed and we are, as we always do, looking at that," she said. While the committee won't officially say whom it is investigating, both Dodd and Conrad have vowed to cooperate fully. Conrad's office told today that it had yet to hear from the committee but reiterated that it will cooperate fully.

Dodd's office declined to comment. Other fallout from the scandal continues. Earlier this week, Boxer and John Cornyn of Texas, the ranking Republican on the ethics panel, proposed requiring members of Congress to include mortgage information on their public financial disclosure statements. They wanted it included as an amendment to the $300 billion housing bailout bill that is wending its way through Congress. Cornyn and Boxer have said that all six members of the ethics panel back the amendment; not surprisingly, both Dodd and Conrad support the idea, too. But Cornyn's office said that Dodd and the other manager of the housing bill, Richard Shelby of Alabama, the banking committee's ranking Republican, have refused to allow the amendment to be added because they say it's not germane to the bill. Whether the amendment will come to a vote this week remains in some doubt. In the House, a group of 28 Republicans asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week to look into the issue, but she dismissed the problem as a Senate matter. Wednesday, another group of House Republicans wrote to Representative Barney Frank, the chairman of the Financial Services Committee, to investigate and subpoena records from Countrywide—which is run by Angelo Mozilo and is being taken over by Bank of America—to find out if more members got a special deal. That leaves the investigation in the hands of Boxer and Cornyn, a political odd couple. Boxer is a California liberal whose

daughter was once married to Hillary Clinton's brother. (The two are now divorced.) Cornyn is a white-haired, conservative former Texas Judge who is one of George W. Bush's closest allies in the Senate. While Cornyn and Boxer have publicly advocated their amendment to provide full disclosure on mortgages, neither is discussing the Dodd-Conrad case per se, as is customary. Others members of the committee are Ken Salazar of Colorado and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, both Democrats and former state attorneys general; as well as two Republicans, Pat Roberts of Kansas and Johnny Isakson of Georgia. The ethics panel has a range of tools at its disposal as it moves forward. It could investigate the matter and issue a letter dismissing the case. It could reprimand a senator or encourage the entire Senate to take up censure or dismissal. Such moves are quite rare, however. The committee unanimously recommended the expulsion of Senator Robert Packwood of Oregon amid an investigation of sexual misconduct in 1995 after determining that he'd edited some documents and diaries sought by the panel and had refused to give over others. Packwood resigned before he could be ejected from the Senate. In 2002, the panel "severely admonished" New Jersey Democrat Robert Torricelli for receiving illegal gifts from a campaign contributor. Torricelli who was seeking reelection that year dropped out of the race. If history is any guide, the ethics process could take several months to complete an

investigation. The committee took 10 months to resolve a complaint about Louisiana Republican David Vitter, after he was linked to a prostitution ring. In that case, the committee concluded that the alleged transgression had occurred before Vitter had arrived in the Senate and thus was out of its jurisdiction. While the panel moved more quickly on the matter of Sen. Larry Craig and his arrest in an airport men's room, this is likely to be a slow probe, experts said. First, the ethics panel must determine if the special mortgages that Dodd and Conrad received constitute a "gift" as narrowly defined by Senate ethics rules. If it is proven that a V.I.P. mortgage meets the Senate's definition of a gift, then there's the matter of determining whether the two veteran Democrats knew or should have known that they were receiving such a benefit. Also on Countrywide's V.I.P. Club An exclusive look at the Countrywide Financial loan scandal. Angelo's Friends A rogue's gallery of Countrywide "V.I.P." loan recipients. Capitol Pains A day-by-day rundown of the unfolding Countrywide scandal. Capital Index Political positioning from Wall Street to Pennsylvania Avenue. Related Links Countrywide VIPs: In the Senate and Beyond Was B of A Blindsided by Countrywide Lawsuits? Countrywide Gets a New Home

A-DATA unveils speedy Turbo Series 350X CompactFlash cards By Darren Murph (Engadget) Submitted at 6/25/2008 8:35:00 AM

Filed under: Storage A-DATA's latest CompactFlash cards were designed to be looked at longingly by even the most demanding photographer, and while the average joe probably won't have the kit to appreciate just how speedy these things are, we'll do our best to explain. The Turbo Series CF 350X memory card features a read speed of 52MB/sec and a write speed of 47MB/sec, whereas Delkin's "world's fastest" model packs a sustained read / write rate of 45MB/sec. Regrettably, A-DATA isn't handing out pricing details just yet, but we do know they'll soon be available in 8GB and 16GB editions. [Via Electronista] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Is McCain Really Saying eBay Will Save The Economy? By Michael Masnick (Techdirt) Submitted at 6/25/2008 2:26:00 AM

First off, before we get into the details here, I'll state upfront that I have not yet decided who to support in this year's Presidential election. I'm neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I've seen plans from both sides that I find problematic. Still, it bugs me when I see plans from either side mischaracterized, and I believe that's the case with this somewhat mocking criticism of McCain's "jobs plan" as being

"the eBay model"(sent in by reader Rose M. Welch). At issue, is the fact that McCain has repeatedly referred to the 1.3 million people around the globe who "make a living off EBay." As the article notes, the figure is clearly exaggerated. However, many of the other criticisms of what McCain says seems misguided. It seems like a stretch for anyone to think that McCain is suggesting that people will find jobs selling on eBay. Rather, he's using the example of eBay to note that innovation leads to new ways for

people to make money -- using the rise of the ecosystem around eBay as an example- not as the definitive method for creating jobs. And, on that, he's correct. Continued innovation does tend to lead to job growth. The second part of the criticism that seems incredibly unfounded, is the assertion by a few economists that eBay is just a business model for moving junk around, and that it doesn't add anything to the GDP. This is simply incorrect, and it's really strange that prominent economists would make such an assertion. eBay is

about making an efficient market. Plenty of people use it to sell new products, rather than just "junk." And, many of the people who use eBay to "make a living" do so by adding value to products which they then resell. That does add to GDP. eBay is about a lot more than just moving around junk. In fact, a rather large percentage of our GDP is based on taking already built goods, adding value to them and reselling them. To pretend this doesn't happen on eBay is simply incorrect. Now, before anyone thinks that this

means I support McCain's economic positions, I don't. I think his continued disdain for basic economics, and his seeming assumption that economics can be handled by someone else is problematic. And, of course, his proposed gas tax holiday is just downright nutty. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story


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Jetting Toward a Greener Future

Angelo's Ashes

( News and Markets)

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Submitted at 6/25/2008 12:00:00 PM

One of the biggest names in aviation has developed a jet engine that is more efficient, less polluting and cheaper to use than almost everything else in the sky, and it could revolutionize an industry facing skyrocketing fuel prices and mounting pressure to clean up its act. Pratt & Whitney has spent the better part of two decades developing the geared turbofan engine that burns 12 to 15 percent less fuel than other jet engines and cuts carbon dioxide emissions by 1,500 tons per plane per year. It's being called one of the most exciting developments commercial aviation has seen in years, and it was a hot topic at the Eco-Aviation Conference, where the aviation industry spent two days charting the course to a greener future. "It's technology like that geared turbofan that's going to drive fuel efficiency forward for this industry in the short and medium term," says Earnest Arvi of the Arvi Group. "Alternative fuels show great potential, but they're decades away." Pratt & Whitney was just one of the heavy hitters at the conference, an unprecedented gathering that underscored the severity of the issues the industry faces. With airline passenger growth rates and aircraft emissions expected to double by 2020 and 2030, respectively, the pressure is on to address those problems quickly. The conference saw a lot of talk -- and a little green-washing -- about developing alternative fuels to replace jet fuel, easing airport pollution, and building greener aircraft to replace the industry's aging fleet. Nearly 1,000 planes flown by domestic carriers will be more than a quarter of a century old by 2015, and Boeing officials have said that more than 10,400 new planes will be needed in the coming decades and making them as green as possible will go a long way toward reducing commercial aviation's carbon footprint. That's why Pratt & Whitney has so much to brag about with its geared turbofan,

which significantly advances jet-engine technology. Current jet engines have fans that suck air into the combustion chamber, where it is compressed, mixed with fuel, and ignited. Then it's blown through a turbine, generating thrust. It works, but it's inefficient because the fan is connected to the engine and turns at the same speed as the turbine. Fans work best at low speed, while turbines work best at high speed. Pratt & Whitney solved that problem with a gearbox that lets the fan and turbine spin independently. The fan is larger and it spins at one-third the speed of the turbine, creating a quieter, more powerful engine the company says requires less fuel, emits less C02 and costs 30 percent less to maintain. Pratt & Whitney has been torture -testing the engines, and its engineers have simulated more than 40,000 takeoffs and landings. The company's VP of Technology and Environment, Alan Epstein, says the engine will not only cut CO2 emissions, but will also reduce nitrogen-oxide emissions, noise and -- ultimately -ownership costs. "For the next generation of single-aisle aircraft, there's no question that engine performance will be key," he says. "Both economically and environmentally, this engine will deliver significant benefits." The industry seems to agree and is lining up behind the engine, which Pratt & Whitney expects to have in regular service by 2013. It's already slated for jets currently being developed by Mitsubishi and Bombardier. Pratt & Whitney isn't the only firm developing greener aircraft. Airbus is dabbling in alternative fuels and researching ways of recycling more than 6,000 planes slated for retirement during the next 20 years. Boeing is dabbling with hydrogen fuel cells and investing in algal fuels while pushing lighter planes like its 787 Dreamliner. Boeing says composite materials make up nearly 50 percent of the plane, which can carry as many as 330 people, making it far lighter than other planes its size. It is 20 percent more fuel-

efficient and produces 20 percent fewer emissions than similarly sized aircraft, company officials say. Boeing is betting composite construction will bring huge improvements in fuel economy and emissions to commercial aviation. Further gains could come from improving the nation's outdated air traffic control system, something nearly everyone at the conference said must happen. The current system is based on radar technology that dates to World War II, and plans to replace it with a satellite system known as NextGen are at a standstill while FAA reauthorization is stalled in Congress. But the industry has several other ideas, from allowing flights through military airspace to widespread adoption of a quieter, more efficient landing technique called continuous descent approach. Industry experts say adopting such steps could significantly reduce fuel consumptions and delays. The International Air Traffic Association says cutting just one minute from every commercial flight would save more than 1.9 million tons of fuel and 6.3 million tons of CO2 annually. The air travel industry has taken a lot of heat for being slow to address its environmental impact, and some say parts of the eco-conference were just slick PR. But even some critics say the fact the industry is discussing environmental stewardship shows it's finally getting serious about the issue -- if only because doing so is in its best interest. "Climate change could mean fewer coastal vacation destinations, inaccessible airports and a general economic malaise that cuts travel spending," says Liz Barratt-Brown of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Looked at in that context, you could argue that the aviation sector has the most to lose from global warming." Related Links Boeing and Airbus Go Head to Head Airbus Gets a Lift Reverse Course

Submitted at 6/25/2008 5:00:00 AM

Countrywide Financial is becoming more of an embarrassment for Bank of America just days before it completes a takeover of the mortgage lender. At the same time, the Senate is pushing ahead with sweeping legislation on housing while facing questions about why some of its members received belowmarket-rate mortgages from Countrywide. As first reported by Daniel Golden on, the primary author of the Senate bill, Christopher Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, as well as Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota, refinanced properties through Countrywide's V.I.P. program in 2003 and 2004. Also on Portfolio The VIP Club's guide to the loan scandal. With Friends Like These Who's who in the scandal. The Senate vote on the bill may come as soon as today. Also today, Countrywide shareholders will vote on the all-stock acquisition, initially valued at $4 billion, but now significantly less than $3 billion, thanks to a decline in shares of Bank of America. The deal could close as soon as July 1. Hanging over both events is the growing questions and investigations into how Countrywide does business. Today, the attorney general of Illinois plans to sue Countrywide and its chief executive, Angelo Mozilo, contending that the company engaged in deceptive trade practices in lending. The complaint, reports Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times, accuses Countrywide of "relaxing underwriting standards, structuring loans with risky features, and misleading consumers with hidden fees and fake marketing claims, like its heavily advertised 'no closing costs loan.'" "People were put into loans they did not understand, could not afford, and could not get out of," the Illinois attorney general, Lisa Madigan, told the Times, "This mounting disaster has had an impact on

individual homeowners statewide and is having an impact on the global economy. It is all from the greed of people like Angelo Mozilo." The attorney general is seeking that any mortgages that used deceptive practices be rescinded or modified in some way. Tanta on the Calculated Risk blog is very skeptical of the attorney general's claims, noting that Countrywide's allegedly deceitful practices were common in the business. Tanta says: "Nobody has to like any of these business practices. But they have been hiding in plain sight for a long, long time. This ginned-up outraged innocence—all directed at Countrywide, as if everyone else in the industry had never heard of any of this—is truly getting on my nerves." Still, the Illinois investigation is just one of a number into the company's practices and into stock sales by Mozilo. The potential liability for Bank of America—in terms of both public image and legal costs—appears to be huge. Congress is also grappling with the fallout over Countrywide as it tries to push through an overhaul to ease the nation's worst housing slump since the Depression. The core of the Senate bill is a plan that would allow thousands of troubled borrowers to refinance to more affordable fixed-rate loans through the Federal Housing Administration. Seeking to address the questions being raised by the disclosure of the Countrywide V.I.P. loans, an amendment to that bill would require lawmakers to disclose the lender and terms of the mortgages on their residences in an annual financial statement, reports Lori Montgomery of the Washington Post., which has asked all 100 senators to disclose where they got their mortgages and whether there were any special terms, says that only 15 members have failed to respond. Related Links Credit C.E.O. Comp Under Fire, IV Was B of A Blindsided by Countrywide Lawsuits? Countrywide Gets a New Home

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A New Frontier for Mobile Phones

Airlines' Fallout Effect

( News and Markets)

( News and Markets)

Submitted at 6/25/2008 11:00:00 AM

The mobile software age is here. Symbian co-founder Nokia announced Monday night that it is buying the 52 percent of the software maker that it doesn’t already own and releasing its mobile operating system under an open source license. With that move, Symbian joins two other major platforms -- the Google-backed Android operating system and Apple's OS X iPhone -- that give programmers tools for creating and deploying software for smartphones. The Symbian OS dominates the world market, with about 60 percent of the installed base among smartphones. According to Nokia, more than 200 million phones currently in use worldwide are running Symbian software. But Symbian trails in the United States, where Research in Motion, Palm, Windows Mobile -- and now the iPhone -- are the major players. Nokia uses Symbian software across its range of mobile devices, primarily with the extremely popular S60 interface. Other handset companies also use some variety of the Symbian operating system, including Sony Ericsson, Motorola and NTT DoCoMo. "Nokia could, if they found inside the corporation the resolve to do so, come out with the definitive open platform," said Bruce Perens, an open source advocate and CEO of Kiloboot. "They would have a platform of the type we haven't seen since the original Palm. When that was dominant, there were 16,000 applications available to install. The question is, can they find the corporate resolve?" The prospect of thousands of mobile apps -- instead of the few dozen typically available through most wireless carriers -is something new in the wireless world. And the 6 million iPhones sold to date show that mobile users like having open, unfettered access to web applications and online content.

In short, what matters to handsets now is not so much features, graphics chips and innovative interfaces -- though those do help. What's critical is an easy-to-use development platform that enables programmers to create a wide range of software quickly and easily, so that they can give consumers the content and the software they demand. Android (whose first handsets are expected later this year) is clearly aimed at that goal. And while it's not open source, Apple has built a complete developer ecosystem around the iPhone, including everything from development tools to a store (which will open next month) for selling finished applications. That's a significant shift from just a year ago, when programming tools for handsets were specialized and difficult to use, and carriers and handset manufacturers alike kept a tight rein on mobile application deployment. To support the new open source project, Nokia is establishing the Symbian Foundation, a collective of hardware and software companies that have pledged to donate code and resources to Symbian's development. Phone makers Motorola and Sony Ericsson are on board, contributing software from their UIQ project, a touchscreen interface for Symbian. Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has pledged support and is contributing its Symbian interface, MOAP(S). Other supporters include AT&T, Samsung and Texas Instruments. "Establishing the foundation is one of the biggest contributions to an open community ever made," said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO of Nokia, somewhat hyperbolically. But it is true that Nokia has, at one stroke, created an enormous open-source ecosystem, thanks to the huge number of Symbian phones already in use. Nokia's move is a defensive one, of course. The Symbian Foundation plan is strikingly similar to Google's plan with the Open Handset Alliance, a collective of industry players who have come together

to build and nurture the Android open source mobile operating system. On the carrier side, Google has NTT DoCoMo, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile on board. On the hardware side, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung have signed on to support Android. Nokia says it is even taking a Googlelike approach to rolling out the open source code. It will release components of its code under an open source license at first, with the full OS to follow "over the next two years." Right now, Nokia says, it intends to release Symbian under the Eclipse Public License (EPL) 1.0. But not everyone is convinced that open source operating systems are the way to go. "With the success of Apple's and RIM's models, we would have thought traditional handset vendors would develop and maintain similar proprietary OS models," said Tavis McCourt, a Morgan Keegan analyst. "We view this move as a longterm positive for the smartphone vendors that own their own OS (RIM, Apple and, soon, Palm)." And it's still too soon to tell which mobile platform will win out. Symbian has the advantage of a large installed base; Android will benefit from the pure innovation seen when developers take a "sky's the limit" approach to building a new OS. And Apple provides a complete, turnkey approach to software sales via its iTunes App Store, which may appeal to consumers. One thing's for sure: The floodgates are opening, and the coming year will see an explosion of mobile software for a wide range of smartphones. Additional reporting by Betsy Schiffman. Related Links What's Good for Apple is Better for Everyone Else How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong Apple Goes on the Attack

Submitted at 6/24/2008 10:30:00 AM

When an airline sneezes, does the entire travel business catch a cold? Maybe. Experts say that as airlines raise fares and cut routes, they'll squeeze other businesses who depend on a constant flow of passengers to keep the money rolling in. Tourism is one industry that's bound to be impacted. Fewer flights and higher prices will cause some travelers to forgo the big summer trip and do something closer to home (though if gas prices don't come down they might just sit home in their air conditioning). The chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Association says the airlines' moves are putting thousands of regional jobs and billions of dollars of investment at risk. Caribbean markets are especially susceptible to the cuts, he says, because struggling American Airlines handles a majority of traffic into the region. American recently announced that it's cutting its daily flights at its San Juan hub from 93 to 51 and will no longer serve Santo Domingo, Antigua, St Maarten, Aruba, or Samana from San Juan. And that in turn messes things up for the cruise lines. Ten ships use San Juan as their home port, and if getting to the island becomes too much of a hassle, vacationers may blow off the cruise altogether. Vegas might also take a huge hit. Wachovia Bank thinks the airlines will reduce service into Vegas by 12 percent, resulting in 2.4 million fewer visits each year. This in a year when over 11,000 new


hotel rooms will open on the strip. There are a whole slew of other industries that depend on the airlines to keep the money flowing. Airports are watching the amount of money they collect in landing fees shrink. Rental car companies, nervous about fewer travelers flowing through airports, are opening new location in the burbs. Hotels located around airports are concerned that as passengers trade in flights for road trips, they'll choose to stay at properties further out of town. Web-based travel agencies like Orbitz are anticipating that as number of airlines shrinks through mergers, passengers will feel less need to comparison shop online. Long suffering airline employees are facing another round of pink slips, but they're not the only ones. Employees at the companies contracted by the airlines are also likely to get the axe. And with what's left of airlines' domestic food service gone or likely to go, the kitchens that provide inflight catering are likely to make cuts as well. Of course, not everyone loses. Airport shops and restaurants may see fewer passengers wandering the concourse, but the ones who are there might be more likely to pay $19 for a plate of Buffalo Wings and $4 for a bottle of water before boarding their bare-bones flight. Related Links Steer Clear Tips for a Sky-High Spring More Cuts "Inevitable," BA Chief Says

Put about:config in Your Firefox Sidebar [Firefox] By Adam Pash (Lifehacker) Submitted at 6/25/2008 4:00:00 AM

Reader Oshayr has been making all kinds

of about:config tweaks to Firefox after reading our power user's guide to Firefox 3 and top Firefox config tweaks, but he's discovered that all that tweaking is a lot

easier with the about:config window in your sidebar. So Oshayr created a new bookmark from the about:config page and ticked the box next to Load this bookmark

in the sidebar. Now, when reading through a post dedicated to about:config tweaks, Oshayr selects and drags tweaks to the filter box. Simple, yes, but way more

useful copying, pasting, and switching between tabs or windows when you're tweaking Firefox.


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Slick ( News and Markets) Submitted at 6/25/2008 12:30:00 PM

Justice David Souter wrote the Supreme Court opinion that cut the punitive damages in the Exxon Valdez spill to $500 million from $2.5 billion, and it is a surprisingly good read. Supreme Court opinions often tend toward abstractions, but Souter begins by reminding us of the harrowing facts of March 24, 1989, when a 900-foot supertanker used by Exxon to carry crude oil from the end of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline to the lower 48 states grounded on Bligh Reef, spilling millions of gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound: "Its captain was one Joseph Hazelwood, who had completed a 28-day alcohol treatment program while employed by Exxon, as his superiors knew, but dropped out of a prescribed follow-up program and stopped going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings." Souter continues, reviewing the evidence presented at the trial: "Witnesses testified that before the Valdez left port on the night of the disaster, Hazelwood downed at least five double vodkas in the waterfront bars, an intake of about 15 ounces of 80-proof alcohol..." Yet the most important language in the decision may be found in a single footnote. Andrew Frey, one of the nation's top Supreme Court advocates, who filed a brief in the case on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute, points to footnote 28 as a sign that the court will apply a one-toone ratio when it comes to punitive damages in virtually all cases. Footnote 28 cites a 2002 Supreme Court decision involving State Farm—a case argued and won by Frey himself, and the last major previous pronouncement from the court on punitive damages. State Farm said that a one-to-one ratio is appropriate

2 Percent Persists in "all but the most exceptional cases," Souter observed. So if Exxon Valdez is not exceptional, then what is? In the footnote, Souter notes that the recovery of $500 million by the Exxon Valdez class member was "substantial. In this case, then, the constitutional outer limit may well by 1:1." Frey contends: "What they have done here is they have tried to adopt a general rule of thumb." Indeed, Souter's opinion gives a lengthy treatise on the history of punitive damages, a much broader examination of the subject than the maritime law question presented in the case. He notes that the modern doctrine of punitive damages dates back to at least 1763, and continues from there, in a history that also contrasts American law to practice in Canada and Australia. Souter notes: "American punitive damages have been the target of audible criticism in recent decades," and observes: "The real problem, it seems, is the stark unpredictability of punitive awards." And so now, it seems, Corporate America has a number it can rely on: It is one-to-one. J.B. Howard, the deputy attorney general of the state of Maryland, who wrote a brief on behalf of 34 states, is not happy about that. "We think the court failed to appreciate the egregiousness of Exxon's conduct," he said. For Howard, and for many people watching the case, the justices failed to make a ruling on the main point in the case. They split four-to-four on whether, under maritime law, the agent of a captain at sea could be held accountable for his actions, if the agent did not countenance those actions. At issue was an 1818 ruling in a case called the Amiable Nancy, which involved a ship captain who took to pirating while

out at sea. Justice Samuel Alito, who owns a large stake in ExxonMobil stock, did not participate in the case. (He sold part of those holdings earlier this month, according to financial disclosures.) The even split means that a previous decision from a federal appeals court found that Exxon should be liable for Hazelwood's conduct, even though it did not officially send him out to sea while drunk. "It's unfortunate," says John Kimball, a New York partner at Blank Rome and specialist in maritime law who teaches admiralty law at New York University School of Law. "Here we have a decision that is in many ways a disappointment. The lower courts are now going to have to grapple with that." Still, Howard, of the Maryland attorney general's office, is happy that the Ninth Circuit ruling stands: The states filed their amicus out of the very real fear that a ruling for Exxon, which was pressing for a ruling under the Amiable Nancy that no punitives should lie for Hazelwood's actions, would put shoreline states at a very real risk going forward. And the court had some good news for environmentalists: It rejected Exxon's claim that the Clean Water Act "preempted" any claim for punitive damages under what is known as common law (meaning judge-made law). The case is a win for Walter Dellinger of O'Melveny & Myers and a loss for Jeffrey Fisher, a professor at Stanford Law School who also argued Kennedy v. Louisiana, the child-rape case decided by the Court today. Related Links War of Attrition Exxon's Hoard Oil Strikes Out

( News and Markets) Submitted at 6/25/2008 11:00:00 AM

When we look back on the 2008 economy, will it be the year of two halves: first half recession, second half inflation? Based on the language in the Federal Reserve's statement today announcing that it will leave short-term interest rates unadjusted at 2 percent, it's certainly a possibility. But for now, anyway, the risk of inflation does not seem to be so great that it's putting pressure on Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke to raise rates soon, in spite of the speculation building that he will. "The committee expects inflation to moderate later this year and next year," the Fed statement said. "However, in light of the continued increases in the prices of energy and some other commodities and the elevated state of some indicators of inflation expectations, uncertainty about the inflation outlook remains high." "The Committee will continue to monitor economic and financial developments and will act as needed to promote sustainable economic growth and price stability." Many economists believe the Fed could raise rates by the end of the year as it shifts its policymaking from recession suppression to inflation deflation. The rapid rise in energy costs and food prices is cause for worry that the core

inflation figure could exceed the Federal Reserve's so-called "comfort zone" of 1 percent to 2 percent. Although the core number excludes oil and food, pricing pressures from those sectors could likely spill over to the rest of the economy. A hike in interest rates later this year would suggest that the Fed is confident that the worst of the financial crisis is over and that the economy has skirted a prolonged period of recession. Earlier this month, Bernanke said "the risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so." But there is still evidence that this economic downturn is far from over. There appears to be no sign that the housing market is anywhere near the bottom, and the credit market remains tight as the world's biggest banks continue to work through their bloated balance sheets. The Fed acknowledged these concerns again in its statement today. Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, told Bloomberg today that he believes the economy will likely remain in a period of stagflation for quite a while. Stagflation occurs when the economy contracts at the same time inflation rises. Related Links Bernanke: "Powerful and Inventive" The Great Depression Debate Bernanke: Hey, It's Not So Bad

TripSay Rolls Out Improvements, Expands Private Beta By Jason Kincaid (TechCrunch) Submitted at 6/25/2008 1:56:26 PM

TripSay, the site that uses social recommendations to guide users through the plethora of travel information on the web, has introduced a number of new

features that it hopes will improve the site’s accuracy and encourage collaboration. The site now features leaderboards that should encourage users to become “experts” in their region, which will be essential if it hopes to generate worthwhile

content. Users now also can create groups,

where they’ll be able share information and travel plans with trusted friends. In conjunction with these new features, TripSay is expanding its private beta; TechCrunch readers can grab one of 500 invites by emailing TripSay competes with countless other

travel sites, but tries to differentiate itself by offering fewer, but more targeted, recommendations. Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

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Interactive's Coming Out Party

Barclays' Boost, Finally

( News and Markets)

( News and Markets)

Submitted at 6/25/2008 2:00:00 AM

Consider this: A viral online video phenomenon won a Grand Prix at the Cannes International Advertising Festival that was usually reserved for only the best in traditional TV advertising. A cyber campaign about a supposedly dying medium—yes, ironically, television—won another Grand Prix. And a groundbreaking Japanese online effort for a clothing retailer won the most coveted creative prize of all, the Titanium Grand Prix, and had everyone gushing about the unlimited future of interactive branding. Whatever you call it—online, interactive, viral, 360, or cyber—a new advertising paradigm has finally come of age after years of empty hype and broken promises. "TV used to be the sun and all other mediums were merely satellites around it," said David Lubars, chief creative officer at BBDO New York, which was named the Agency of the Year. But this year's festival represented the first true global validation of the power of interactive work, he added. "TV is still the only place where you can get 70 million eyeballs on an ad," Lubars said, "but now, if your message is engaging enough, you can get people to voluntarily spend 10, 20, 30 minutes, totally engaged with a brand." Take the Titanium Grand Prix, which went to the 4-year-old production boutique Projector Tokyo for the breadth, depth, and refreshing level of consumer engagement of its work for the Uniqlo clothing retailer. Projector's creative director, Koichiro Tanaka, said the challenge was to create a relevant, portable experience. The result combines user-generated media and the Uniqlo website with a nonstop fusion of

dance, sound, and viral video. It's available via product catalogs, screensavers, ringtone downloads, and customizable Tshirts. There isn't a single 30-second TV spot to be found. (The fun starts here.) Other notable interactive Grand Prix winners include 42 Entertainment's "Year Zero" viral campaign for Trent Reznor and a new Nine Inch Nails album, as well as T.A.G. and McCann Worldgroup's imaginative "Believe" campaign for Halo 3. But the Uniqlo work was seen as a seminal, barrier-breaking moment. While the Nine Inch Nails and Xbox work benefited from an already rabid audience eager to glean clues about a favorite artist or game, Uniqlo managed to be compelling and immersive in the relatively unsexy business of clothing retailing. With retailers, expectations are low and websites often offer little more than online catalogs. Entertainment and social-responsibility advertisers have had interactive hits, but Uniqlo is among the first to show that an interactive effort can be breathtakingly creative, engaging, viral—and, most importantly, still increase sales. "The industry is always talking about viral," said Titanium jury panelist JeanRemy von Matt, founder and member of the board. "The Uniqlo work is viralbranded utility. It's so simple, smart, and beautiful. All over the world people have it on their desktops, giving them a brand presence in countries where their products don't even exist." Mark Tutssel, chief creative officer of Leo Burnett Worldwide and jury judge of the Titanium and Integrated Lions, said that more than the film award, the Titanium Grand Prix has become the most prestigious honor in the industry. "It's a glimpse into the future of what we

do," Tutssel said. It is, he added, "the most prestigious [award] and the new standard for what everyone should work for." The Cadbury Gorilla The compelling nature of interactivity was also apparent in the august Film Lion Grand Prix for the best TV ad. Fallon London won for its " Gorilla" short, which it created for Cadbury Dairy Milk, a British chocolate bar. Originally intended for the British market only, the film, which features a gorilla playing a drum solo while listening to the Phil Collins song In the Air Tonight, spread virally on the internet. Even better, it generated thousands of consumerproduced remixes. Total views on viralvideo platforms by fully engaged audience members: close to 10 million. The fact that the Film Lion went to a viral-video hit that became interactive, and that many awarded campaigns crossed or defied categorization, says much about the transitional state of the industry and gives Cannes Festival leaders something to ponder for next year's awards. But, because Cannes is one of the few for -profit advertising-awards shows and the cost of entering work is more than $1,000 (there were 28,000 entries this year), don't expect fewer categories or awards at the 2009 festival. Just more award-winning work that transcends traditional labels. More coverage of the Cannes International Advertising Festival and advertising in general can be found here on Related Links On Cannes: Cyber, Print, and Design Grand Prix Coming Soon to an Ad Near You: More Ads On Cannes: Young Ad Rebels on the Fringe

Submitted at 6/25/2008 7:00:00 AM

Executives of Barclays would like to assure everyone that everything is just fine at Britain's fourth-largest bank. The trouble is, investors these days need a bit more evidence than a promise. Barclays announced this morning that it will raise $8.9 billion from a group of international investors. It will use the funds to shore up its reserves and invest in expanding its business. The investors include Qatar Investment Authority, Singapore's Temasek Holdings, China Development Bank, Tokyo's Sumitomo Bank, and Challenger, which is the investment firm for Qatar's royal family. Existing Barclays shareholders are also invited to participate in the stock offering. As Jesse Eisinger noted in the current issue of Condé Nast Portfolio, big cash calls such as this one shouldn't necessarily please existing shareholders. After all, issuing more stock as Barclays is doing will dilute the value of existing shares. Analysts expect this $9 billion offering will diminish their earnings-per-share forecasts by as much as 24 percent. Moreover, as Paul Murphy notes on the Financial Times' Alphaville blog, plenty of questions went unanswered on the conference call with Barclays executives this morning.


For starters, Barclays has not been as forthcoming as its U.K. or U.S. counterparts with details about how it's valuing its balance-sheet assets. The bank has had far fewer write-downs than other major banks, and skeptics wonder if there will be more bad news to come. If Barclays used the same valuation marks that its competitor Royal Bank of Scotland uses, Murphy notes, some analysts believe the bank would need to raise nearly twice what it announced this morning. Moreover, it continues to use its year-end 2007 ratios to defend its capital strength, even though it has admitted that conditions deteriorated this year. Over at BreakingViews, Jeffrey Goldfarb notes that Barclays' "bravado" seems misplaced: "[I]t is seeking higher ground by claiming there is no reason to show its hand to rivals—or to investors. Barclays' top brass thinks they should be showing faith. They haven't, as shares have fallen 40 percent so far this year." Despite the skepticism, however, Barclays' shareholders did get a bit of relief with today's news, as its stock rose more than 6 percent. Still, it's a long way back up from a 40 percent fall. Related Links Barclays' Plan B: No Better Than Plan A Barclays: We're Okay. Really. Whew! Only $2.7 Billion

Some Teachers Embracing Wikipedia, While Others Blame It By Michael Masnick (Techdirt) Submitted at 6/25/2008 7:52:00 AM

We've seen this before, of course. There are teachers and professors out there who blame Wikipedia for mistakes students make, and even those who demand that the entire Wikipedia be blocked in schools.

However, there are those who are a lot more reasonable about it, recognizing that Wikipedia is just one source among many, and there's value in embracing Wikipedia: teaching kids what it is and how to use it reliably. That seems likely to be a lot more effective and useful for training kids how to critically judge the reliability of

information out in the real world. Blocking, banning or blaming Wikipedia seems only designed to put one's head in the sand and pretend it doesn't exist. That's not preparing anyone for the real world. Techdirt reader cram writes in to point out two contrasting articles that show this dichotomy of thought in action. First is a

report out of Scotland last week blaming Wikipedia for kids getting failing grades. This, of course, seems ridiculous. What it really means is that teachers have failed to actually teach kids how to use Wikipedia properly. It's not the fault of Wikipedia -which is merely an information source. It's a failure of teachers to teach kids how to

properly use it. That's why it's nice to see the corresponding article, where students in Australia are now going to have a course available on how to use Wikipedia. That seems a lot smarter than just blaming Wikipedia. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story



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Yahoo Issues Letter Defending Google Deal: No Free Milk For Microsoft By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch) Submitted at 6/25/2008 2:24:54 PM

In a letter to shareholders that reminds me of the saying “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,” Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock and CEO Jerry Yang explain why it chose a search deal with Google over Microsoft. For the record, we agree - given a choice between the Google and Microsoft search deals, Google’s was better, even with the steep fees if Yahoo chooses to sell itself to a competitor later. But the Microsoft deal would permanently hobble Yahoo, the cash flow upside wasn’t sweet enough. But here’s what’s really going on: Yahoo doesn’t really want the Google deal, either, as evidenced by their effort to sell to Microsoft just before signing the deal two weeks ago. The deal was designed to get the stock market to chill out ( it did the opposite), and to spur Microsoft back to the table to talk full buyout again. There’s more going on here as well - this letter sends a new message to the market (as does the fact that Yahoo has not announced the reorganization yet). More on that in post coming up. But for now, a clear message is being sent to Microsoft: If they want Yahoo’s search milk, they’re going to have to buy the cow. Dear Fellow Stockholders: We are writing to update you on the latest developments here at Yahoo!, including our recently announced commercial agreement with Google and the outcome of our discussions with Microsoft regarding a potential transaction. On June 12, we announced a nonexclusive agreement with Google that we expect will generate approximately $250 to $450 million in incremental operating cash flow for Yahoo! in the first twelve months following implementation. This cash flow will enhance our profitability as well as help support achievement of our key strategic objectives. Combined with continuing advances in our own search capability, the agreement is an important step in our efforts to capitalize on the highgrowth online advertising opportunities where we are best positioned to compete

successfully and create more value. Let us explain why we find this new agreement so exciting. The Yahoo!-Google Agreement is Financially Attractive and Strikes the Right Strategic Balance. Under the agreement with Google, Yahoo! will continue to provide algorithmic and sponsored search results, but now will also have the ability to run sponsored search ads supplied by Google alongside Yahoo!’s search results. Advertisers will pay Google directly for each click on Google paid search results appearing on Yahoo!. Google will then pay us a fee (in industry jargon, traffic acquisition cost) based on revenue realized from click-throughs on ads supplied to Yahoo! by Google. This carefully structured agreement strikes the right strategic balance, enhancing our financial results while advancing our strategic objectives of being the “starting point” for the most users on the Internet and offering such compelling value that advertisers will see us as the “must buy” in online advertising. One of our key strategies for achieving these objectives is to capitalize on the increasing convergence of search and display advertising, where we are especially well positioned to compete and succeed. We have already accelerated our efforts to strengthen our presence in display through a variety of initiatives and acquisitions in recent months. Our new commercial agreement with Google enhances our ability to pursue this strategy. Another key strategy is to open our platform to other developers to optimize monetization for our advertisers and publishers and provide the best experience for our users. We see this agreement as a natural extension of the efforts we have already made toward an open marketplace. The Google agreement is non-exclusive and provides strategic and operational flexibility for Yahoo!. It allows Yahoo! to use Google’s services in those areas where Google monetizes our inventory more effectively but also permits us to continue to use our own search technology in areas where we believe we are most competitive.

The net result is that the agreement helps us accelerate one of our strategic aims–closing the monetization gap. At the same time, it allows Yahoo! to continue to compete aggressively in search and display advertising. Importantly, the agreement does not prevent Yahoo! from pursuing other alternatives that could increase stockholder value. Because the agreement can be terminated by either party upon a change in control, it would not preclude a transaction with Microsoft or any other potential acquiror in the future. The Yahoo!-Google Agreement Does More for Stockholder Value than Microsoft’s Search-Only Hybrid Proposal. We also want to update you on the conclusion to our discussions with Microsoft regarding a potential transaction. As we explained in our last letter, our board and management held numerous meetings and conversations with Microsoft about its proposal to acquire Yahoo!, both before and after Microsoft withdrew that proposal on May 3. On June 8, our Chairman, Roy Bostock, other independent board members, and members of Yahoo!’s management team again met in person with Microsoft representatives. At that meeting, Microsoft stated unequivocally that it has no interest in acquiring all of Yahoo!, even at the price range Microsoft had previously suggested. Microsoft did propose an alternative transaction. Rather than acquire our whole company as it had been proposing for months, Microsoft now proposed to acquire only our search business for $1 billion and a share of future search advertising revenue. This proposal also included an $8 billion investment in Yahoo! but required Yahoo! to commit to a 10-year exclusive arrangement that would have made us dependent on Microsoft for all of our search business. It would also have given Microsoft veto rights on certain future Yahoo! actions,

including a sale of Yahoo!. Our board of directors and management made a great effort–and conducted in depth negotiations–to elicit a feasible proposal from Microsoft that made strategic and financial sense for Yahoo!, but without success. While Microsoft’s search-only hybrid proposal may have been helpful to Microsoft, our board and management concluded it would have had a significant adverse impact on Yahoo! strategically, leaving the Company without the operational control of search assets and technology we view as critical to our objective of becoming a leader in the converging search and display advertising business. The board and its advisers also carefully studied the financial impact of Microsoft’s proposal and concluded that it would have provided no meaningful improvement to our operating cash flow. In short, this proposal would have generated substantially less value for Yahoo! stockholders than Microsoft has suggested. Based on all the key factors–strengthening our competitiveness, protecting our strategic position, generating attractive financial returns–the Google agreement is far better than Microsoft’s search-only hybrid proposal. That’s why we moved forward with it. Your Current Board of Directors Has the Knowledge, Experience and Commitment to Best Represent Your Interests and Maximize Stockholder Value. The events of recent weeks underscore the fact that your board of directors is far better qualified to represent your interests in the effort to maximize stockholder value than the slate put forward by Carl Icahn. Based on Mr. Icahn’s narrow agenda, it seems highly unlikely that either he or his slate would bring added value to Yahoo!. Consider the following: – Mr. Icahn put forward his slate so as to sell Yahoo! to Microsoft, even though he had no knowledge of the sustained efforts made by your current board and management to determine whether Microsoft was willing to engage in a transaction that would provide appropriate

value and certainty of achieving that value. On June 8, Microsoft once again made it perfectly clear that it is not currently interested in acquiring Yahoo!. — Mr. Icahn publicly opposed any alternative form of transaction with Microsoft. Your board and management, after thorough and deliberate negotiations and evaluation, separately concluded on its own that the alternative hybrid deal proposed by Microsoft was, indeed, not in the best interests of the Company or its stockholders. — Mr. Icahn urged, as an alternative to a Microsoft transaction, that Yahoo! find a way to partner with Google that would not preclude a transaction with Microsoft in the future. We have done exactly that through the commercial agreement with Google we announced on June 12. Simply put, you can choose to vote for a slate of nominees with no articulated plan for the future of Yahoo!–and who now have essentially no alternative agenda to offer you–or you can choose to vote for your existing board of directors which has the independence, experience, knowledge and commitment to navigate the Company through the rapidly-changing Internet environment, execute on our strategic objectives and deliver value for Yahoo! and its stockholders. It is time for Yahoo! to turn its undivided attention to implementing its key strategies, and we therefore urge you to reject Mr. Icahn’s slate and his ill-defined agenda. We strongly urge you to vote your WHITE Proxy Card today for your current board of directors. We look forward to sharing our progress with you as we move forward and we thank you for your support. Sincerely, Roy Bostock Jerry Yang Chairman of the Board Chief Executive Officer Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.


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Structural Change Is Always a Good Theme to Invest In By Erick Schonfeld (TechCrunch) Submitted at 6/25/2008 9:17:53 AM

What are venture capitalists looking for? If you are a startup entrepreneur looking for funding, it’s always a good idea to know what investment themes a VC is interested and tailor your pitch to those themes. Yesterday morning, I saw presentations from three venture firms— Union Square Ventures, DFJ Gotham Ventures, and First Round Capital—at an event hosted by the Media Kitchen. Each of the presenters outlined some of the themes their venture firms are trying to ride. They all boil down to structural change in one form or another. One common theme everyone seemed excited about is that, after years of hope and anticipation, the mobile Web finally seems within reach. The rise of the iPhone and the work on Android hold out the promise for a mobile Web that doesn’t suck,” as DFJ Gotham partner Thatcher Bell puts it. By that, he means a fully functioning mobile Web that is open to developers so that they can create the same types of experiences on cell phones that they are creating on PCs. Another common theme is the continued personalization of content, commerce, and advertising. And data-driven startups that make sense of the deluge of information and media now available to everyone are also likely to get a hearing from these VCs. Albert Wenger, a partner at Union Square Ventures, notes that we might be a little bit ahead of ourselves in the hype cycle (see slide above), but that the impact of some of the changes we are just now seeing now on the Web will eventually catch up to the hype. The structural changes and other shifts that Union Square likes to invest in include: The decline of the firm and the rise of one-to-one commerce Merging of cyberspace and real space Unified identity (across different sites and services) Generational shift Global growth of the Web Mobile Of course the Web is becoming more social, programmable, playful, and


If We Don't Have A Copyright Czar, People Will Die? By Michael Masnick (Techdirt) Submitted at 6/25/2008 1:11:00 AM

intelligent, but there are also bigger shifts occurring as the Web audience becomes more mobile and global. There is also a fundamental generational shift going on among Web users, which Wenger defines as: The difference between people who dated before they had their first computer and those who had their first computer before they started dating. The risks he worries about are: Scaling Net Neutrality Data Ownership Any Web startup that becomes popular fast has to deal with scaling issues that can derail it ( see Twitter, a Union Square investment). Wenger, though, thinks that these issues will go away as cloud computing matures. Net Neutrality issues could pose a risk if ISPs decide to start blocking or discriminating against certain types of data. And the whole question of

who owns the data that Web companies accumulate about users could result in some privacy backlash down the line. Startups should have answers to how they plan on handling these risks. Despite signs of a recent slowdown in Web advertising, the VCs are still bullish about the ability of online advertising to keep taking share from other media. And as digital media becomes more personalized, so too does the advertising. Bell from DFJ Gotham sees the evolution of the way advertising is delivered (see slide below) going from undifferentiated mass media to targeting by categories, behavior, context, and finally the social graph. Here are the themes he is looking at: Atomization of content The arrival of the mobile Web (finally) Hyper-targeting of advertising The coming of human-friendly interfaces Cloud computing

He thinks we still have along way to go in terms of making the Web easy to use. For instance, Bell compares Google’s current interface to the C: prompt days of the PC before Windows. Says Bell: This is a really good way for a search engine to get input from a human and for Google to make money. It is not the best way for a human to interact with a computer. He argues that more intuitive Web and search interfaces, like SearchMe, are needed. There may be an IPO drought going on right now (not a single venture-backed IPO has gone out so far in the second quarter, according to the National Venture Capital Association), but VCs are still looking for the next, next thing. Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

We've already questioned why the White House should play the role of copyright cop. Hell, even the White House has said that it doesn't want to appoint a copyright czar, but that hasn't stopped various legislative efforts to force a copyright czar on the White House -- and it appears that more efforts are on the way. Business Week is running a rather weak piece looking at the issue, that appears to accept as fact every talking point from those pushing for the establishment of a copyright czar. While the article briefly notes a few quotes from those who oppose it (buried at the end of the article), it does absolutely nothing to dispel the false or misleading reasoning by those in support of a copyright czar. It quotes the totally bogus numbers about "losses" to the economy, without noting that those numbers are very much disputed and inaccurate. However, the most troubling part is that the article plays into the worst and most inaccurate talking point of all that's used in favor of a copyright czar: that the public is put at risk without one. The article notes (as a way of brushing off the quotes from those worried about a copyright czar): Jeffrey Thurnau, counsel to auto parts maker Gates, showed senators counterfeit timing belts that he says could put drivers, passengers, and other motorists in danger. "We want better coordination between enforcement agencies," The subtext: we need a Copyright Czar or people will die. Except, that's simply not true at all. The issue described by Thurnau has nothing to do with copyright, and everything to do with consumer protections. You don't need copyright law to deal with timing belts that don't live up to code -- and pretending we do is simply a lie repeated by Business Week. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story


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You Thought You Hated Windows? Check Out What Bill Gates Had To Say By Michael Masnick (Techdirt) Submitted at 6/24/2008 11:33:00 PM

The State of Open Mobile OSes By John Biggs (TechCrunch) Submitted at 6/25/2008 6:02:27 AM

Open operating systems, for most folks, means that the operating system is essentially free. The average computer user knows that Linux is free, as in beer, while Windows costs money. The case is the same for mobile OSes although, until very recently, the idea of purposely using an open OS has been a fairly nebulous concept. To be clear open mobile OSes have been around for years, starting most prominently with the QTopia project that ran on ARM hardware found in many PDAs and phones. The Linux kernel plays well with almost any platform, making it ideal for small installations. With the announcement of an“open” version of Symbian coming soon, let’s take a look at what open means to the average consumer. Android- Google’s smartphone OS is probably about as open as you can get. It’s designed to run on almost any hardware and includes a fully open and free UI complete with source code. It costs nothing for carriers to use and if, if used in its official form, simply brings Google apps

and content to the fore at opportune times. To the average consumer Android should be able to add smartphone functionality to a number of odd devices, including phones that once depended on proprietary, noname operating systems like the Motorola RAZR. iPhone OSX- iPhone’s OSX uses a Mach kernel which, like Linux, is fairly open and well-documented. Unlike Linux, however, the price of the iPhone’s kernel is bundled into the cost of the actual phone and cannot be sold to third parties. The SDK or programming tools for the OS, however, are quite popular and are free. This ensures that programmers can harness the full power of the OS without having to dig too deeply into the core. As a whole, OS X is as close to being open as you can get without really being “open” and fully cross -platform. Windows Mobile– Windows Mobile is a closed operating system. The common user interface remains unchanged across devices, however, third-party applications can be developed by writing programs using software like Visual C++. Windows Mobile also makes use of the .NET Compact Framework, which is similar to the .NET Framework found on Windows-

based PCs. Symbian– Currently, the Symbian operating system is not classified as open source, although with Nokia’s recent announcement, it will soon be available under the royalty-free Eclipse Public License. As it stands now, though, handset manufacturers that make use of the Symbian operating system are only provided with certain parts of the source code. It is expected to be fully opened up within the next two years. Symbian is the most widely used mobile operating system in the world today. One interesting aside: there is an excellent chance that Symbian will not make it through its conversion to openness alive. The OS is old and crotchety, unable to handle data intensive applications with the same aplomb RIM or even the iPhone OS have. Once the platform is open, Nokia will most likely put it out to pasture, watch as the developers branch it off, and then build something entirely new. As popular as it is, I doubt many of us would miss Symbian’s various foibles and flaws. Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Fastest-ever Windows HPC cluster nets 68.5 teraflops By Darren Murph (Engadget) Submitted at 6/25/2008 8:14:00 AM

Filed under: Desktops In the grand scheme of supercomputers, a homegrown cluster constructed by Microsoft is just a boy among men. However, said rig has set at least one record by becoming the "fastest-ever Windows HPC cluster." At the International Supercomputing conference in Dresden, Germany, it was

announced that this beast ranked 23rd in the world "with a problem-solving performance of 68.5 teraflops." The

National Center for Supercomputing Applications utilized a beta version of Windows HPC Server 2008 to hit the aforesaid mark, and if you're curious as to what it took to get there, try 9,472 cores of processing power. There's more where this came from for the hardcore nerds in attendance right in the read link. [Via Slashdot] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

This one is getting passed around pretty quickly, but as he retires from Microsoft, we couldn't resist highlighting this fantastic internal email from Bill Gates complaining about the usability of some Windows features. It's old -- from 2003 -but it's difficult to read it and not identify with some of the complaints. It reads like thousands of angry ticked off blog posts from folks who run into ridiculous situations with Windows. The only difference, of course, is that this one comes from Bill Gates. Some excerpts (though, you should read the whole thing): So I went to Windows update. Windows Update decides I need to download a bunch of controls. (Not) just once but multiple times where I get to see weird dialog boxes. Doesn't Windows update know some key to talk to Windows? Then I did the scan. This took quite some time and I was told it was critical for me to download 17megs of stuff. This is after I was told we were doing delta patches to things but instead just to get 6 things that are labeled in the SCARIEST possible way I had to download 17meg. So I did the download. That part was fast. Then it wanted to do an install. This took 6 minutes and the machine was so slow I couldn't use it for anything else during this time. What the heck is going on during those 6 minutes? That is crazy. This is after the download was finished. Then it told me to reboot my machine. Why should I do that? I reboot every night -- why should I reboot at that time? So I did the reboot because it INSISTED

on it. Of course that meant completely getting rid of all my Outlook state. So I got back up and running and went to Windows Update again. I forgot why I was in Windows Update at all since all I wanted was to get Moviemaker. So I went back to and looked at the instructions. I have to click on a folder called WindowsXP. Why should I do that? Windows Update knows I am on Windows XP. .... At some point I get told I need to go get Windows Media Series 9 to download. So I decide I will go do that. This time I get dialogs saying things like "Open" or "Save". No guidance in the instructions which to do. I have no clue which to do. The download is fast and the install takes 7 minutes for this thing. So now I think I am going to have Moviemaker. I go to my add/remove programs place to make sure it is there. It is not there. What is there? The following garbage is there. Microsoft Autoupdate Exclusive test package, Microsoft Autoupdate Reboot test package, Microsoft Autoupdate testpackage1. Microsoft AUtoupdate testpackage2, Microsoft Autoupdate Test package3. Someone decided to trash the one part of Windows that was usable? The file system is no longer usable. The registry is not usable. This program listing was one sane place but now it is all crapped up. When asked about the email, Gates claims he sends similar notes nearly every day, as that's his job. If that were the case, though, wouldn't you have expected Windows to actually get better? Permalink| Comments| Email This Story


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Vint Cerf Wonders If We Need To Nationalize the Internet

RocketOn Layers A Virtual World Onto The Web

By Erick Schonfeld (TechCrunch)

By Mark Hendrickson (TechCrunch)

Submitted at 6/25/2008 3:55:06 PM

Should the Internet be owned and maintained by the government, just like the highways? Vint Cerf, the“father of the Internet” and Google’s Internet evangelist, made this radical suggestion while he was sitting next to me on a panel yesterday about national tech policy at the Personal Democracy Forum. Maybe he was inspired by the presence of one of the other panelists, Claudio Prado, from Brazil’s Ministry of Culture, who kept on talking about the importance of embracing Internet “peeracy.” (Although, I should note that Mr. Cerf frowned upon that ill-advised coinage). But I think (or hope, rather) that he was really trying to spark a debate about whether the Internet should be treated more like the public resource that it is. His comment was in the context of a bigger discussion about the threat to Net neutrality posed by the cable and phone companies, who are making moves to control the amount and types of bits that can go through their pipes. It was made almost in passing and the discussion quickly moved to other topics. Maybe I didn’t fully understand him (I wasn’t taking notes), and he certainly is

better versed in the issues at hand than everyone else who was in that auditorium combined. But nationalizing the Internet is bad idea. (I can’t believe I even have to say this). It would set a horrible precedent, would undermine confidence in the American economy, and would be difficult to pull off. I tried to press Mr. Cerf on how exactly such a scheme would work without making Internet service even less competitive than it is today. He offered that the government could put the actual running of the service out to competitive bidding. It’s still a bad

idea. The Internet is essentially a series of agreements between owners of different networks about how data gets passed from one to the other. It is not clear what property exactly would be nationalized. AT&T’s backbone fiber network, for instance, sometimes carries Internet traffic, and sometimes carries telephone voice traffic. So if the government were to confiscate all the data pipes, they would nationalize the phone industry as well. While nationalizing the Internet is the wrong solution, the problem it would address is very real. The ground rules for how the Internet is used need to be clarified. And that was the bigger point that Mr. Cerf was trying to make. But the government does not need to own the underlying assets that make up the Internet in order to set up ground rules that American companies need to abide by. That is what laws are for. I have some ideas on how the government can actually do something useful here. More on that in a future post. Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

Submitted at 6/25/2008 1:10:07 PM

Last February we hinted at South San Francisco startup Rocketon’s plan to release a virtual world that spanned the web. At the time, it appeared as though the company was pursuing an embeddable widget strategy. But instead of integrating virtual worlds into webpages, it has actually placed one on top of them so that avatars can roam the web just as you currently surf it. Comparisons can be drawn to both Weblin and PMOG. Whereas Weblin places a little avatar on the bottom of your browser that can be used to chat with other visitors to a webpage, PMOG turns web surfing into a game with mine laying and loot plundering. RocketOn was co-founded by two veterans from the gaming industry - Eric Hayashi and Steve Hoffman - so it comes as no surprise that its avatars participate in games with each other (as they do on virtual world sites like Club Penguin). However, like most other virtual worlds, Rocketon is also about chatting with friends and strangers, and dressing up your avatar in fun guises. The basic service is free but users can buy special virtual goods with real money or points that they’ve earned by performing certain tasks (or simply spending time using RocketOn). How does one layer a virtual world onto the web? RocketOn has achieved this in two ways: first with a browser plugin, and second with a Flash browser emulator.

Newcomers are expected to try out the virtual world by loading up a Flash app that can be used to browse the web with RocketOn superimposed. More committed users can download and install the plugin so that they can navigate the web as they normally would. In addition to earning revenue from the sale of virtual goods, RocketOn is working to sign sponsorship deals with brands on the web. Say you visit insecticide company Black Flag’s website. Were Black Flag to sponsor RocketOn, it could build out its own interactive objects (like a roach motel) and entice avatars to participate in its own branded games (like killing as many roaches as possible with a spray can). Likewise, Gap could roll out a virtual clothing store ontop of its website where avatars buy its clothes and wear them wherever they go on the net. RocketOn will remain in private beta for at least a few weeks longer, but we have 500 invitations to give our readers now. Get your account here while they last. value=" kCfc&ap=%2526fmt%3D18&autoplay=0" > height="385" quality="high"> Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Perhaps The Senate Won't Roll Over On Telecom Immunity By Michael Masnick (Techdirt) Submitted at 6/24/2008 9:42:00 PM

Maybe, just maybe, there are a few people in the Senate who actually won't just roll over and hand the President a " get out of jail free" card to give to telcos who carried out the almost certainly illegal "warrantless wiretapping" program. While

last week reports suggested that the new "compromise" bill (which basically does grant immunity, as well as expand the warrantless wiretapping program) would breeze through both the House and the Senate, there may actually be a few politicians with a backbone fighting to stop it. It did cruise through the House relatively easily, but now Senators Dodd

and Feingold have announced that they'll filibuster against immunity, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (who had earlier suggested he supported the faux "compromise") says he'll support the filibuster. What's not clear is whether or not there will really be enough support to get rid of telecom immunity. Early on it seemed like

there was plenty of support for the "compromise" from those who thought it was best to get past that and focus on "other battles" instead. Also, there's the issue of corruption campaign funding. Jim Harper points to an analysis of the correlation between telco immunity flipfloppers in the House and donations from telcos. Take a guess what the analysis

shows. Yup, those who switched positions received nearly twice as much in contributions from the big telcos. Funny how that works. And, of course, rest assured that the same telcos donate plenty to Senate campaigns as well. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story



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Multiply: The Social Network That Backs Up Your Media, Too

Mock Outrage Over An Ad You Paid For? Reverse Streisand Effect

By Jason Kincaid (TechCrunch)

By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)

Submitted at 6/25/2008 7:00:31 AM

Submitted at 6/24/2008 7:40:04 PM

Multiply, a media-heavy social network geared towards adults, has introduced a new backup system that will backup users’ videos and photos at full resolution. The premium service will cost users $20 per year for an unlimited amount of storage. As part of the new release, all users (even unpaid ones) will be given access to Multiply’s new media upload application that’s based on Adobe’s AIR platform (you’ll be able to use it on Windows, Mac, and Linux). The application will monitor designated folders on a user’s computer, and will automatically upload new photos and video in the background as soon as they’re added. These files will be housed in an online “Media Locker”, from which users will be able to share and manipulate their media without having to wait for it to upload. Paid users will get to keep this media online in its original format indefinitely, while free users will see their content expire after 30 days, unless they share it in

As the concept of The Streisand Effect has become more and more well known, the question I'm most frequently asked is whether or not a company stupidly demanding something be taken down is really being done by someone that understands the likely result and is just using the resulting "attention" to their advantage -- that is, are they pulling a "reverse Streisand Effect." It's often pretty difficult to sort out these cases from the real Streisand Effect, and when in doubt, it's often best to just assume the simplest explanation that the company really was acting stupidly. However, in this latest case, I'm really not sure -- and am starting to suspect a Reverse Streisand Effect by J.C. Penney to

an album on the social network. Given the amount of media that gets uploaded to social networks like Multiply, it’s not surprising that they’re trying to capitalize on it. But because it only backs up photos and video, it seems like a strange choice for a backup solution - users might be better off going with all-purpose backup services like Mozy or Apple’s Time Machine. Then again, if users are going to be uploading their media anyway, it’s infinitely better than nothing. Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

What Difference Does It Make If Product Placement Is Disclosed Or Not? By Michael Masnick (Techdirt) Submitted at 6/25/2008 5:08:00 AM

After a bunch of consumer groups started complaining, it appears that the FCC is going to start exploring whether or not TV shows need to be a lot more explicit in identifying product placement. This is, frankly, ridiculous. Is anyone actually being harmed by product placement? Plenty of people recognize that products in TV shows are placed there for a reason, and if they feel wrong or don't work with the content in the show, then the show

itself will suffer for it. However, if they make a show more realistic or it works fine, then what's the problem? Who, exactly, is being hurt? The problem is that people still think that content and advertising are different. They're not. All content is advertising in some manner or another. A TV show acts as advertising for the network it's on, for the actors in the show, for the producer of the show and as "endorsers" of the products in its ads. Does that all need to be disclosed as well? If people are upset that there's "too much" advertising, then there's

a simple solution: don't spend time with the shows that bombard you with too much advertising. However, if it fits in with the show, then it won't seem like too much, and there's no reason to complain. Either way, there's no reason for the FCC to get involved at all. However, since they are getting involved, will they "disclose" that this grandstanding acts as "advertising" for their own reputations? Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

promote a new viral video. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that J.C. Penney is pissed off at its ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi for "leaking" a "fake" ad that "appears to be endorsing teen sex." The ad involves a young boy and girl practicing getting dressed as quickly as possible before the boy goes over to the girl's house to hang out in the basement, while the girl's mother is upstairs. Supposedly J.C. Penney "instructed Saatchi to take any action it can to have the ad removed from the Internet." Uh huh. And now, suddenly, that ad is all over the internets. The whole thing smacks of mock outrage with a demand to takedown content knowing that it will only spread far and wide. So what do people think? Is this a Reverse Streisand Effect or is J.C. Penney just clueless? Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Doesn't The FBI Have More Important Things To Do Than Chase Down The Guy Who Leaked The New Guns N' Roses Album? By Michael Masnick (Techdirt) Submitted at 6/25/2008 3:44:00 AM

There's this whole "war on terror" thing going on out there, and you'd think that folks in the FBI would be pretty busy taking care of their role in that. But, apparently, some agents are busy trying to track down who leaked the latest Guns N' Roses album online. Why? Well, because our various Attorneys General continue to think that music piracy really is funding terrorism while also a threat to our economy. However, it's hard to believe that some random guy leaking an album is either going to have any impact on terrorism or on actual money made by Guns N' Roses. The album was going to get online eventually. The fact that it was leaked isn't going to change a thing about how much money the band makes. Yet, the FBI is apparently spending taxpayer money trying to track down the leaker. Furthermore, it's pretty obvious that the actual leaker was someone involved in the production of the album (who else would have a copy?). In fact, history has shown that insiders are responsible for plenty of entertainment industry leaks. If so, it would seem that this should be an internal issue, dealt with by the band, its record label and production staff, rather than involving the FBI, who if they must be policing infringement issues could at least go after ones that matter. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

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Wix Opens Its Flash Publishing 2003 Bill Gates email Platform In Public Beta reveals frustrations with By Jason Kincaid (TechCrunch)

Windows XP

Submitted at 6/25/2008 11:25:01 AM

Wix, the browser-based designer that lets users create Flash-based widgets and fullscale webpages, has launched in public beta. The site specializes in creating colorful Flash pages without requiring any coding, and seems to appeal most to “MySpacers” looking to add some flair to their sites (Wix does have some more professional templates for businesses). You can see our original review of the site here. One of the common concerns about Flash websites is that they don’t play nice with search engines, leading to lower page traffic. Wix says it can get around this by generating an XML map for each of their sites that is SEO friendly. Since the launch of its private beta, the company says that they’ve seen a surprisingly high number of

Pioneer reveals new Blu-ray players in Europe

By Donald Melanson (Engadget) Submitted at 6/25/2008 7:38:00 AM

users using the designer to create fullfledged sites rather than basic widgets, which makes this search optimization especially important. Wix sees general competition from a number of other browser-based website designers, which include Weebly and Synthasite, but is most similar to Sprout, another Flash-based widget designer. Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Filed under: Desktops, Laptops While Bill Gates' imminent retirement from Microsoft is understandably a cause for some quiet moments of reflection for some, it's also given folks an excuse to dig up some tidbits from Gates' tenure that have somehow gone unnoticed or unheralded in the past few years, one of the juiciest of which comes in the form of a 2003 email that Todd Bishop of the Seattle Post-Intelligence has thankfully given fresh light. In it, Gates rips into "how Windows Usability has been going backwards" as he details his long, arduous attempts to download Moviemaker and buy the then new Digital Plus pack. While there's far to many gems to include here, a few of Gates' stand-out observations include how "crazy" it is that it took six minutes to install "a bunch of controls" before he was able to install Moviemaker, and his disappointment that he had to reboot his machine even though he reboots it every night. Eventually, after (apparently) getting Moviemaker installed,

By Darren Murph (Engadget) Submitted at 6/25/2008 8:55:00 AM

Gates decided to go digging in the add/remove program options to ensure that it was installed, only to find it missing, which prompted him to declare that, "someone decided to trash the one part of Windows that was usable," adding that, "this program listing was one sane place but now it is all crapped up." Needless to say, we'd recommend hitting the read link below to check out the full must-read email. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Dell gets "official" with colorful Studio 15 and Studio 17 laptop lines By Darren Murph (Engadget) Submitted at 6/25/2008 9:14:00 AM

Filed under: Laptops Not like Dell's done an exceptional job keeping this one a secret, but yes, the Studio 15 and Studio 17 laptops do seem to be more than a figment of someone's imagination -- at least, according to a believable release posted up at BetaNews, which has since been pulled. Predictably, the former line features a 15-inch panel

while the latter steps up to 17-inches, and both crews will be offered in a smattering of hues including black, grey, blue, green, pink, orange, purple and red. Prices on these units are set to start at $799, while you'll find Intel's Core 2 Duo alongside up to 4GB of RAM, upwards of 320GB of HDD space, an 8-in-1 multicard reader, 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth, gigabit Ethernet, an optional Blu-ray drive and the usual assortment of ports. Folks looking to stay connected around the clock can opt

for a Sprint / Verizon WWAN card, and there's also an optional 9-cell battery if the

standard 6-cell just isn't longevous enough. Check out two more shots after the break, and the original page (in three parts) in the gallery below. [Via Electronista] Gallery: Dell gets "official" with colorful Studio 15 and Studio 17 laptop lines Continue reading Dell gets "official" with colorful Studio 15 and Studio 17 laptop lines Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: HDTV, Home Entertainment Remember how your curiosity level shot through the roof when Pioneer abruptly discontinued the BDP-LX70A Blu-ray player in the UK? We're willing to bet this is why. Announced over on Pioneer's European website, we're being treated to three fresh faces -- the Profile 2.0compliant BDP-LX91, Designer BDPLX08 and BDP-LX71 -- along with one familiar face (the BDP-51FD). All of the new units will feature 1080p24 support, HDMI 12-Bit Deep Color support, KURO LINK, DTS-HD Master Audio / Dolby True HD compatibility and professionalquality Wolfson Digital Audio Converters (DACs). As for pricing and availability other than Europe, your guess is as good as ours, but we are told to expect the BDPLX71 in September, the BDP-51FD / BDP -LX08 in October and the BDP-LX91 "later on in the winter." For more on Pioneer's European onslaught, head on over to Engadget HD. Gallery: Pioneer reveals new Blu-ray players in Europe Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments



Daily -Click and Print- Newspaper

HP's Puma-based Pavilion dv5z laptops now on sale By Darren Murph (Engadget) Submitted at 6/25/2008 11:12:00 AM

iPhone anti-interference shield puts iPhone 2.0 software securely erases user data an end to buzzing speakers is apparently similar to Leopard's Secure By Donald Melanson (Engadget) Submitted at 6/25/2008 10:24:00 AM

Filed under: Cellphones As anyone with an iPhone and some unshielded speakers is likely well aware, the two don't exactly get along all that well together when they're in close proximity, with the fight for your desk's air space often resulting in an annoying buzzing sound. Now, one enterprising individual has thankfully come up with a solution in the form of the iPhone anti-interference shield, which consists of nothing more

than a carefully cut Red Bull can and some always-handy double stick tape. The shield's creator does warn that there could possibly be some hinderance to your reception, however, although that apparently hasn't been noticalbe so far. Of course, the shield would no doubt be just as effective with another 2G GSM phone, and you can probably find a suitable substitute for the Red Bull can if its not to your taste either. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

By Nilay Patel (Engadget)

Submitted at 6/25/2008 9:36:00 AM

Filed under: Cellphones The fact that the iPhone doesn't securely erase user data when you select "Erase All Content and Settings" has prompted a lot of hand-wringing (and given rise to a lot of complicated manual workarounds) as people get ready to flip their old phones and upgrade to the iPhone 3G, but it looks like there's a simpler solution coming: AppleInsider says the iPhone 2.0 software now securely erases user data. The process

Erase Trash feature, and it'll unlink data and overwrite it with random bits, making your personal info impossible to recover. Of course, that'll take some extra time -you're looking at an extra hour of progress bars in your life. That's not so bad -- and if it keeps anyone from checking out our super-embarassing 80s pop playlists, we're all for it. [Thanks, Mark] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

WowWee RoboRemote slips out into availability, gets reviewed By Donald Melanson (Engadget) Submitted at 6/25/2008 8:57:00 AM

Filed under: Robots WowWee has been talking up its allcontrolling RoboRemote since CES at the beginning of this year, but it looks like it's only recently found its way into

availability, and it's now thankfully gotten reviewed as well. According to the folks at RoboCommunity, the remote fully delivers on its promise to control any IR-based WowWee robot, with the software (XP/Vista only, unfortunately) straightforward enough for most anyone to use, but apparently not so basic as to turn

ways to use this without the basic software anyway). Couple that with the $20 price tag, and they say that this is a "must-have gadget" for any WowWee robot owner. [Thanks, Matt] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments off more adventuresome robotics enthusiasts (who'll no doubt find some

Filed under: Laptops It's safe to say the flood gates are officially open, as just a fortnight after HP's Pavilion tx2500z tablet got upgraded with Puma-based innards, along comes the Pavilion dv5z series to join the fold. Available for ordering right now at HP's website, users can grab one of these lappies with an AMD Athlon / Turion X2 (Ultra) dual-core processor, a 15.4-inch panel, up to 4GB of DDR2 RAM, ATI's Radeon HD 3200 / HD 3450 graphics, integrated WiFi / Bluetooth, up to 320GB of hard drive space and your choice of a DVD burner or Blu-ray drive. For the full list of specifications and to get one of these headed your way, head southwest to the read link and be prepared to hand over a bare minimum of $699.99. [Via Laptoping, thanks Danijel] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Web 2.0 Tech Tips*

Daily -Click and Print- Newspaper


New Utterz Features to Take On Twitter? Couric Does YouTube By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!) Submitted at 6/25/2008 2:34:59 PM

Utterz emerged last year as a useful mobile blogging platform and has spent the past several months layering in tons of functionality for sending your blog content across the Web. With plugins for blogging platforms like Wordpress and integration with other established sites YouTube and Yahoo Groups, Utterz has always sought to make the publishing of your content as simple as possible. Now it appears that Utterz is focusing a bit on the social end of things with its latest round of updates. Most of these new features are based on popular requests from users, including the ability to send private and public Utterz messages directly to friends using the now familiar “@” symbol. There are also personal URLs, and peer-to-peer SMS notifications, meaning you can reply directly to other users. Sound familiar? It’s the bulk of the interactivity that goes on within Twitter. So does this mean that Utterz is taking on Twitter? Utterz has always been a mobileintegrated microblogging platform, so I

would say that in most regards, Utterz has always been in competition with Twitter. But just as Facebook status updates helped standardize microblogging for Twitter users, the Twitter interaction capabilities have become standard for many microblogging services. To summarize, it just works. And with all the auto-redistribution options that Utterz has, it also acts as a supplement to any other blogging presence you may have. Utterz ties in nicely with this, and has included a new search feature for finding friends on Pownce and Twitter within the Utterz network. My favorite new feature, however, is the organization option for your activity stream, which makes it far more searchable. This is one underlying issue I’ve had with Facebook and Twitter; the inability to easily dig through archives to find a link or a video someone has shared with you. Utterz is tackling this problem with new organization features that allows your microblogging activity to become more personally useful to you and others. Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins spoke with Utterz CEO Michael Bayer on Mashable

Conversations, and discussed quite extensively on this topic and others. The embed is available below, or you can download the MP3 file directly here. Get the Mashable Conversations podcast here. Add directly to iTunes here(or give us a rating). Add directly to your Zune here. --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Utterz AutoPosts from your Mobile to your Wordpress Blog Mobile Post to All Your Blogs with Utterz Connections Podcast: A Conversation with Utterz coFounder Simeon Margolis Utterz Is a Convenient Mobile Blogging Platform Utterz Uploads to YouTube, Yahoo Groups, and More Utterz Adds Audio/Video Direct Uploads for Podcasting MashMeet NYC 2: December 18th

By Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins (Mashable!) Submitted at 6/25/2008 2:10:38 PM

I came across an article from the LA Times regarding Katie Couric’s YouTube channel that was recycled today for the Chicago Tribune. NewTeeVee’s new blog The Station covered it a couple weeks ago originally, so I’m surprised it hasn’t garnered more attention or recieved very much traction in the blogosphere. If you have a few minutes, even if you aren’t a fan of Couric or CBS’s news coverage, it’s still worth checking out. Watching her interact with her friends on the channel is surprisingly reminiscent of a few times I’ve seen Robert Scoble on camera talking to someone about FriendFeed or Twitter. One video in particular where she’s chatting with Charlie Gibson in the hallway about YouTube gives a frank an unstaged peek at her truly geek-like excitement about the service, allowing her to connect to folks in a way that simply isn’t possible from behind the news desk.

Mashable Officially Goes Mobile with Viigo By Tamar Weinberg (Mashable!) Submitted at 6/25/2008 12:29:37 PM

Despite all of the hype surrounding the mobile-web, browsing from your smartphone still has its challenges… it’s difficult to navigate, it’s nearly impossible to ‘discover’ cool new content, and it’s costly (most of us still have expensive data plans). To make matters worse, the mobile browser demands prolonged waiting times and often returns pages or websites not formatted for the device. In our June 12th Mashable Rocks post, we blogged about Viigo- a mobile software company that has figured out how to overcome these hurdles, delivering an exceptionally fast (and data-light) mobile internet experience to your smartphone… and best of all, it’s FREE. Today we’re officially launching

Mashable’s mobile solution, powered by Viigo. It’s a Mashable-branded custom version of Viigo, pre-loaded with Mashable News, Marketplace, Invites, our Twitter feed, feeds from Adam Ostrow, Kristen Nicole, Sean P. Aune, Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins, and more! Head over to from your web browser for download instructions, or mobile browse to for an immediate OTA download. Viigo has an extensive list of cool social features: Share or send articles to friends through email, make posts directly to del.ici.ous, invite a friend, or have your device alert you anytime your ‘keywords’ are mentioned in a Mashable post. Viigo’s Channel Library showcases content from over 5,000 of the coolest and most popular websites, providing you with

‘one-click’ discoverability. You can add and remove any content you want (even content that’s not found in the Channel Library). Personalize your Viigo!

Oh – and one more compelling reason to check out Viigo… project Tango(Viigo’s new Beta) gives you real time access to sports scores, stock prices, flight tracking, and more! Coming to Mashable soon! --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Mashable Rocks with Viigo: Get Mashable Content on Your Smart Phone Mobile YouTube Now Includes Most YouTube Videos MySpace Mobile Officially Launches Google Search Now on Windows Mobiles, Too Yahoo Mobile Gets 9 More In Bed Google AdSense on Your Mobile Websites Google Developing Niche Search for Mobile Content

As was noted by researchers in New Zealand, her usage falls squarely into the cultural category, but with professional overtones. Dr. Burgess works with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, and was interviewed Australia’s Science Alert. (more...) --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: CBS YouTube Channel Launches, YouTubers Approve YouTube Announces CBS Channel CBS Gets Joost, Beboed, Netvibed CBS To Upgrade Video Player With Sharing Options Mobile YouTube Now Includes Most YouTube Videos YouTube Launching Chinese Version LG To Release YouTube Phone with Direct Upload

Surfkeys Navigates Web Sites from the Keyboard [Featured Firefox Extension] By Adam Pash (Lifehacker) Submitted at 6/25/2008 6:00:00 AM

Firefox only (Windows/Mac/Linux): Firefox extension Surfkeys scrolls web pages, switches tabs, and executes common browser actions from the comfort of your home row. Once installed, you can scroll web pages using the k (down) and i (up) keys, move to new result pages in Google with m and n, page up and down with p and the semi-colon, and tons more. Surfkeys takes some time getting used to, but if you have a real disdain for your mouse, it's a killer extension. Then again, if you prefer to stick with the Firefox defaults, check out our guide to Firefox without your mouse. Likewise, we wholeheartedly recommend switching to the experiemental Google search results via keyboard. Surfkeys is free, works wherever Firefox does. Surfkeys[Mozdev]


Web 2.0 TV*

Daily -Click and Print- Newspaper

American Airlines Starts Testing In-Flight Broadband

AOL Expands Services to Four New Latin American Markets

By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)

By Paul Glazowski (Mashable!)

Submitted at 6/25/2008 3:29:02 PM

American Airlines announced their intent to begin testing in-flight broadband late last year, along with most of the other major airlines that operate in the US. Today we learn from WebProNews that American Airlines is allowing passengers in on the testing phase, beginning with a flight between New York and Los Angeles. Testing may expand to flights between New York and San Francisco as well as flights between New York and Miami in the coming weeks. American Airlines has teamed up with Aircell to extend this feature to their passengers, leveraging Aircell’s Gogo service. Right now only Boeing 767-200 planes have the benefit of testing broadband connections, but this too may be extended to other planes. Passengers will be able to perform a limited number of functions using the broadband connection, but it’s likely to be enough for the majority of passengers. Video download, instant messaging, email and access to corporate networks will be allowed, and broadband usage will be regulated to a certain extent so that users downloading larger files will not ruin the connection speed for the rest of the passengers.

Considering there’s a cost for broadband use (as there’s a cost for everything on flights these days), I’d prefer to download the movies before I get on the plane, so I can watch them in-flight. For flights over 3 hours long, the fee will be $12.95, and shorter flights will run you $9.95. Is it worth it? Yes. For me, at least. It’s only a matter of time before airlines start finding ways in which to charge for even more peripherals, and set up a media portal full of branding and more pay-as-you-go features as a result of offering broadband on flights. Hopefully such a portal will come with some personalized custom options that extend the experience beyond the flight itself. --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Boing Boing up in the Sky, with Virgin American Airlines Sues Google for Selling AdWords Podcast: A Conversation with AirCell’s Tom Weigman Comcast Not Net Neutral Are Consumers Ready for WiFi on Airplanes? Amazon Sued by Humane Society for Cockfighting Magazines AirCell gets FAA Approval for In-Flight WiFi

Spoilers Anonymous

Submitted at 6/25/2008 1:07:47 PM

By Isabelle Carreau (TV Squad)

AOL, once a service exclusive to America, has over the years ventured well beyond the western edge of the North Atlantic. It’s well established on the European continent, as well as India and pockets elsewhere. Today the company, in association with HP, expanded its international relations some more, with official sites dedicated to the respective Latin American markets of Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela. No AOL Brazil, however. The company delivered the standard corporate explanation for its moves into those four countries. Executive vice president of AOL International, Maneesh Dhir, said, “The launch of AOL in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela underlines our commitment to the region and furthers the company’s global strategy.” Yet the scope of services being made available in those markets email, AIM, Truveo video search, news, blogs, and AOL Fotos service, to name several - tailored for local use, allow the company to serve content to visitors specific to their interests. Web users all over the region have for some time been able to employ services to filter content for a particular audience. And social networking websites are increasingly leveraged by consumers to pull personalized feeds of information

Submitted at 6/25/2008 10:25:00 AM

from the cloud. But given AOL’s almost customary position as a multi-faceted gateway, the establishment of these sites is something which may help it retain a larger user base than it would otherwise have if it were to have kept to a generic existence. Visually speaking, all four newly introduced websites are nearly identical in outline. But hosted material is unique. For the most part, anyhow. --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: YouTube Now on America Movil 3G Phones Yahoo Signs Partnership with America Movil Google Re-Refines AdSense Referral Program. Still A Mess. Xing Acquires Second Spanish Business Network Bill Gates Falls to #2 Spot on List of World’s Richest Sonico: The Largest Social Network In Latin America? A Look at Social Network Popularity Around the Globe

Filed under: Spoilers Anonymous, Reality-Free This is Spoilers Anonymous, a weekly column here at TV Squad where we'll supply you with the dirt on some of the more popular shows on the air. We'll never put spoilers up here on the main page in order to help the reformed stay unspoiled. If you have anything to add to the group, feel free to step up and let yourself be heard, either with our tips form or by emailing us at tvsquad at gmail dot com or call and leave a message at(775) 640-8479your anonymity is guaranteed, if you wish to remain as such. This week we have: 24, Bones, Heroes, Nip/Tuck, Prison Break, Smallville, Stargate: Atlantis and Supernatural.(SPOILERS FOLLOW!) Continue reading Spoilers Anonymous Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Facebook Playing Follow the Leader Again By Steven Hodson (Mashable!) Submitted at 6/25/2008 3:02:46 PM

I will admit right off the top that I am not a fan of Facebook, as I think there are a lot more questions about it than are being answered especially when it comes to privacy and how they use your data. Along with that, they seem to be playing more of a game of constant catch-up with other services that are out there. The biggest

competitor in my mind of course has to be that upstart of the social aggregating world — FriendFeed. Now as much of a non-fan of Facebook that I am, the opposite holds true for FriendFeed. For me FriendFeed has become one of my main news centers — plus I don’t have to put up with pokes and zombies. However, I logged in to Facebook today when I heard that they were adding a new feature that has been a

basic part of FriendFeed since day one. For FriendFeed users, the ability to comment on items has been its biggest drawing card community-wise, so it is easy to see why Facebook might have felt the pressure to add the same feature. So when you log into your Facebook page you will see the Add A Comment at the bottom of each item in your newsfeed When you click on the Add A Comment link you are then switched to that

member’s page where you can now enter in your comment (more...) --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Former Googlers Team Up to Launch FriendFeed FriendFeed Launches Search Facebook Becomes FriendFeed; Launches Commenting On Mini-Feed

Items FriendFeed Recommendations? Who Are You Likely to Like? FriendFeed Gets $5M, Launches to the Public FriendFeed Brings Twitter Back FriendFeed Launches Rooms. Moving Towards Semantic Web?

Web 2.0

Daily -Click and Print- Newspaper

Quickly Search and Browse TripSay Launches New Social Features for Private Top Sites with Fasteagle [The Startup Review] Beta [Invites] By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!) Submitted at 6/25/2008 1:54:12 PM

TripSay is a travel social network that’s currently in private beta and has been testing for nearly two years now. While TripSay isn’t a travel-planning site, it is a recommendation engine that operates on the basis that experience trumps all–TripSay offers a place to share experience tips and arm others with such knowledge as they prepare to embark on their own journeys. Today, TripSay extends its private beta to Mashable readers; just send an email to with the subject line Mashable to get your invite. There are also a few new features to go along with the extended private beta, including groups, an activity hub, and filtering for recommendations. The social activity that occurs around the act of sharing travel tips is quite useful in a recommendation environment, and the adoption of some familiar methods makes it easy to latch onto TripSay’s upgrades. The purpose of a Group is to let users converse with other like-minded users, and help each other in travels that are rather specific to a location, event, or a number of

other aspects of a trip. The activity hub keeps all the users within a particular network abreast of what’s going on, which makes it easier to receive alerts that are most relevant to you. As far as recommendations go, filtering is becoming more integral to this drilled down and often personalized search technique, and is one aspect of travelsharing networks that I’ve found in need of improvement across the board. For TripSay, filtering options are presented on the map based on your preferences, enabling users to get tips and location recommendations according to selected traveler networks. (more...) --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Web 2.0 Invites for November 11th, 2007 Web 2.0 Invites for November 14th, 2007 Web 2.0 Invites for May 29th, 2008 Web 2.0 Invites for January 2nd, 2008 Web 2.0 Invites for March 4th, 2008 Web 2.0 Invites for March 9th, 2008 Web 2.0 Invites for May 16th, 2008

By Paul Glazowski (Mashable!) Submitted at 6/25/2008 9:52:38 AM

Editor’s Note: If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion in “The Startup Review” series, please see the details here. STARTUP DETAILS: Company Name: Fasteagle 20-word Description: Web Interface allowing easy navigation across hundreds of the most popular and useful websites, along with a complete set of embedded search tools and content discovery options. CEO’s 100-word Pitch: Fasteagle is more than a website. It’s actually a wealth of quality sites under one roof (selected and categorized by our editorial team), based on their current popularity and relevancy for a typical Internet user. It makes a perfect startpage for people looking for a straightforward alternative to rss/feeds/gadgets aggregators or mashups. Instead, Fasteagle loads the original source content inside the main window of a slick interface, making it easy for the users to jump from site to site, switch categories or search for anything. We’re working also to offer personalization options and niche variations of Fasteagle, so in the short term you can expect locals and topic-specific

versions of Fasteagle. Mashable’s Take: Fasteagle is positioned as a sort of startpage that, instead of placing content in custom feeds and the like, displays site material - be it Google News, CNN, Digg, or a widget-centric platform like Netvibes - as it is intended to be viewed. But it seems more apt to describe it as a browser within a browser, so to speak. If you’re interested in consuming various popular websites quickly, and in their own unique frame, Fasteagle is in fact a very expedient way in which to do so. Ordinarily, the typical Web user might customize their favorite browser(s) with bookmarks and things to read news, use a mapping service, or watch video clips at a click of the cursor. That’s a widely accepted process of daily data consumption, yes? But if you’re curious to take it a slightly alternate way - perhaps do it old school and venture from website to website, one at a time, Fasteagle turns out to be a nice change from current options. (more...)

InGameNow is Twitter for Sports By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!) Submitted at 6/25/2008 1:33:36 PM

It’s been made abundantly clear that when Twitter is good, it’s really good. You can keep up with the news faster than broadcast newscasters can report it, and chime in with your own commentary too. In terms of updating and broadcasting information across a wide range of people, Twitter has proven to be quite useful (when it’s up and running, and not “stressed out” from too many tweets). A new sports community called InGameNow, from the creators of the

recently acquired beRecruited, adopts the Twitter method of disseminating usergenerated information on sports news reporting and commentary. In addition, these Twitter-like updates are filtered based on votes, so the best updates can bubble to the top. In true sports community nature, users on InGameNow earn points for site participation, and can work their way up the rankings in order to become trusted users. InGameNow is integrated with mobile phones, email, and IM clients like Gchat, so you can easily send and receive updates without having to go to the main website,

and still stay connected while on the go. There’s no SMS support yet, but it’s on the way. What I didn’t see is a way to redistribute InGameNow content to other places on the Web. When I asked InGameNow founder Ryan Spoon about this, he responded with the following: Great question and product idea - there isn’t [redistribution] at this moment but we are working on a couple distribution

models (that are on the current roadmap): - InGameNow widgets based on team, league and/or user - integrating direct posting into facebook and blogs Not distribution related - but we will shortly have integrated live scoring so that users can receive real-time scoring alerts and box scores… obviously in addition to user-generated results and analysis (which is what we are most excited about!). (more...)


Facebook Becomes FriendFeed; Launches Commenting On Mini-Feed Items By Adam Ostrow (Mashable!) Submitted at 6/25/2008 9:54:10 AM

This afternoon Facebook will introduce commenting on all mini-feed items. This means that you’ll be able to comment on status updates, new friendships, application updates, or other activities listed in your friend’s mini-feeds on their profiles. Each feed item will now include a comment bubble, which when clicked, will allow you to leave a comment. Up to 8 comments will be displayed for each item, with the ability to click to see more. Finally, if you really don’t want people commenting on your mini-feed items, you’ll be able to disable them from your privacy settings page. To my surprise, commenting has proved extremely popular on FriendFeed, and I suspect it will do the same on Facebook, especially for things like Status Updates where a conversation can develop around what you’re doing. In a sense, this pushes Status Updates much more in the direction of Twitter. With Facebook also now enabling you to pull in updates from third-party services like Google Reader and YouTube, it also makes it head-to-head competition for FriendFeed. For the moment, comments will not show up in the News Feed, so it’s not quite comparable to the “Everyone” or “Friends” tabs of FriendFeed … yet. --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Facebook Playing Follow the Leader Again Blogger Beta Gets OpenID Support Commentt Offers Basic Video Commenting Widget Create a Facebook Application for your Blog with Blogfuse Multiply Launches iPhone Edition Facebook Brings on New CFO: YouTube’s Gideon Yu Facebook JavaScript Now Live



Daily -Click and Print- Newspaper

By Jason Hughes (TV Squad)

What's On Tonight: Baby Borrowers, House Of Payne, George Carlin

Submitted at 6/25/2008 10:42:00 AM

By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)

Filed under: Other Sci-Fi/Supernatural Shows, Battlestar Galactica, Casting, Reality-Free Remember when FOX signed that holding deal for Battlestar Galactica's Tricia Helfer? Well, now they're using it. The former model, best known as every fanboy's synthetic fantasy via her portrayal of sympathetic Cylon "Number 6" on Sci Fi's reimagined Battlestar Galactica, Tricia Helfer has been cast in FOX's Inseperable. As it turns out she won't be playing a hot figment of anyone's imagination, though that would be a good use for the title. Instead, she's been cast as a psychiatrist who works for the police department. How that will relate to Lloyd Owen's split personality hero/villain lead hasn't been made clear, but I'm guessing she'll be his psychiatrist. Would she find it weird that all of her male patients would only want to talk about their sexual fantasies with her? "Here let me show you what I'm talking about, doctor. Why don't you get down on

Submitted at 6/25/2008 9:04:00 AM

Tricia Helfer is Inseperable from our televisions

your knees and face me ... What do you mean that wouldn't be professional? I want to know what these yearnings mean. And can you undo that top button." Continue reading Tricia Helfer is Inseperable from our televisions Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: Programming, What To Watch Tonight, Reality-Free • At 8, FOX has a new So You Think You Can Dance. • ABC has a new Wife Swap at 8, followed by new episodes of Supernanny and Primetime: Crime. • NBC has a new Deal Or No Deal at 8, then the series premiere of The Baby Borrowers and a new Celebrity Circus. • HBO2 has On Location: George Carlin at USC at 8, followed by George Carlin Again! • At 9, PBS has a new Nova scienceNOW. • History Channel has a new MonsterQuest at 9. • Hallmark has the movie Charlie & Me at 9. • At 9:30, HGTV has a new Design on a

Dime. • At 10, TBS has two new episodes of Tyler Perry's House of Payne. • Bravo has a new Shear Genius at 10. • Also at 10: MTV has a new episode of The Real World. • At 10:30, Comedy Central has a new Mind of Mencia. Check your local TV listings for more. Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Food Network cooks up six new summer shows By Allison Waldman (TV Squad) Submitted at 6/25/2008 9:23:00 AM

Filed under: Food/Home/DIY, Programming, Reality-Free Summer's here and that can mean only one thing -- food! Okay, maybe that's only what it means at the Food Network. The Food Network will kick off six new shows for the summer beginning right after the Fourth of July. Here's what's on tap: o. Grill It! with Bobby Flay- This is the latest from Iron Chef and master griller Bobby Flay. It's sort of a competition/fantasy show, but not a Throw

Down (that's another show). Bobby will introduce 13 viewers who've sent in their videos showing their grilling expertise and why they should be on air to grill alongside

BF. The show premieres on July 6 at 9 o'clock a.m. with a shrimp episode. o. How'd That Get On My Plate?- From the field to the plate, hostess Sunny Anderson -- who just started on FN in April with Cooking for Real-- shows how the things we eat make it to our tables. The first episode is July 6 at 11 p.m. The food in question will be strawberries. Continue reading Food Network cooks up six new summer shows Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Mad Men: Season One - DVD Review By Bob Sassone (TV Squad) Submitted at 6/25/2008 11:01:00 AM

Filed under: TV on DVD, OpEd, RealityFree, Mad Men What's there to say about Mad Men that hasn't already been said? The show is beyond brilliant is every

single way - acting, direction, writing, music, set design - and this DVD set contains all 13 episodes from the first season. So while it's tempting to go back and review the episodes themselves, I've already done that. So let's concentrate on the features and extras and commentaries

that's rather disappointing. Continue reading Mad Men: Season One - DVD Review Permalink| Email this| | Comments and all of the other goodies. It's mostly well put together set, but there is one thing

Talk Talk: Sigourney Weaver, Emmylou Harris, Evan Handler By Bob Sassone (TV Squad) Submitted at 6/25/2008 10:02:00 AM

Filed under: Late Night, TV Royalty, Programming, Celebrities, Talk Show, Reality-Free Here's who's on the late night shows tonight. • Charlie Rose: Emmylou Harris • The Daily Show: TBA • The Colbert Report: Paul Goldberger and Neil DeGrasse Tyson • The Late Show with David Letterman: Abigail Breslin, Barry Sonnenfeld, and Tift Merritt • Jay Leno: Dana Carvey, Spencer Breslin, and Priscilla Ahn (repeat) • Jimmy Kimmel Live: Mike Myers, Paul Pierce, and The All For Nots • Tavis Smiley: Evan Handler and Representative Joe Baca • Late Night with Conan O'Brien: John Krasinski, Bode Miller, and Cobra Starship (repeat) • The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Sigourney Weaver, Stanley Bing, and Three 6 Mafia • Last Call with Carson Daly: Lonny Ross and Flobots (repeat) Permalink| Email this| | Comments

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CBS wants more Million Dollar Password

Timothy Olyphant joins Damages

By Kristin Sample (TV Squad)

Filed under: Celebrities, Casting, Damages, Reality-Free It was announced today that former Deadwood star Timothy Olyphant has joined the season two cast of FX's Damages in a season long arc. This marks Olyphant's first credited TV cast role since the HBO drama went off the air over two years ago. Olyphant, who will star with returning cast Glenn Close, Rose Byrne, and Tate Donovan, marks the second addition to the FX drama in just over a week. William Hurt joined the show last Monday. Olyphant's character will become involved in the life of Ellen Parsons (Byrne) as she deals with her fiancĂŠ David's murder and the FBI case being mounted against her boss, Patty Hewes (Close). Hurt will play a new client of

Submitted at 6/25/2008 9:38:00 AM

Filed under: Industry, Game Show, Reality-Free CBS has ordered six more episodes of Million Dollar Password. This is probably because the show, hosted by Regis Philbin, has become extremely popular. Over four broadcasts, Million Dollar Password placed first in ratings in its time period. It also placed first among adults 18-49 and adults 25-54. The show is averaging 9.46 million viewers. Looks like CBS has the right idea with ordering up some more. A few weeks ago, Joel talked about the appeal of Password. Perhaps, it's the celebrities they secured to come play: Neil Patrick Harris, Rachel Ray, Betty White, Tony Hawk and Rosie O'Donnell. But I think it's the power of the Regis. Everything that man touches turns to gold.

Remember the craze that accompanied Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? I can't hear that theme music and envision the dramatic lights even now as I write this. Million Dollar Password airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBS. Are you hooked enough to watch six more episodes? Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Would you give up TV for gas?

Submitted at 6/25/2008 11:22:00 AM

Hewes. Season two of Damages went in to production in New York City yesterday and the show returns to FX in early 2009, likely after The Shield's seventh and final season has concluded. Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Nielsen ratings for the week ending June 22 By Bob Sassone (TV Squad) Filed under: Industry, Programming, Ratings, Reality-Free Here are the weekly TV ratings, by number of viewers. A little behind the scenes info about the making of this post. When I started to type the #16 entry, my eye drifted to the #17 entry and I actually started to type Are You

Submitted at 6/25/2008 8:37:00 AM

Filed under: Cable/Satellite, Reality-Free This just might be child abuse. OK, I'm kidding, but I know this would have freaked me out when I was a kid. A mom in Salt Lake City was spending so much money on cable television that she had to cancel it so she'd have money to commute to work. And what did her kids do? They protested, of course! The woman's two daughters, Pyper and Sadie (two very television character-ish names) got out protest signs and started walking up and down the streets to protest the high price of gas. And in a remarkable twist, the big oil companies saw the protest the girls created and have decided to lower gas prices all across America starting immediately. Well, no, but the girls did get in the paper! (By the way, I think the AP really

By Jonathan Toomey (TV Squad)

Submitted at 6/25/2008 11:40:00 AM

By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)


Smarter Than The Bachelorette? Which got me thinking that we could probably create other TV shows from this list, if the

networks are looking for new ideas. How about America's Got Bones? Two and Half 60 Million? CSI: So You Think You Can Dance? 1. NBA Finals- Game 6 (ABC) 2. America's Got Talent(NBC) Continue reading Nielsen ratings for the week ending June 22 Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Watch Out for the 'Pink Eye'! By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical) has to change the pic that accompanies the link above, unless the girls' protest went really far.) Continue reading Would you give up TV for gas? Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Submitted at 6/25/2008 10:35:00 AM

Filed under: Horror, Independent, Distribution, Cinematical Indie, Trailers and Clips If you were itching for some extremely bloody and gory footage today, you can get your fill after the jump, with the Pink Eye trailer. According to The Hollywood Reporter, this super-low-budget horror flick was picked up by Halo-8 Entertainment, and will get its limited release this summer, before hitting DVD shelves on September 30.

Personally, I was hoping for actual pink eye, since I appreciate the horror flicks that dip into the wacky -- maybe some exploding pustules or something. Instead,

this film, directed by James Tucker, focuses on an insane asylum where docs are performing illegal drug tests on the patients. This turns the poor folks into homicidal, hallucinating maniacs, and then one of the deformed bugger breaks out of the hospital and things don't go well. If this is your cup of bloody tea, you can get more info on the flick's MySpace page, and read a review at Bloody Disgusting. Continue reading Watch Out for the 'Pink Eye'! Permalink| Email this| Comments



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Box Office: Who Wants WALL-E? By Matt Bradshaw (Cinematical) Submitted at 6/25/2008 11:02:00 AM

Filed under: Action, Comedy, Box Office, Angelina Jolie, Comic/Superhero/Geek, Box Office Predictions Steve Carell scored big this week recreating the role of Agent Maxwell Smart in Get Smart, providing the best opening weekend ever for a film with Carell in the lead. The Incredible Hulk fell into second place for its second week but Hulk and Kung Fu Panda both outdid last week's other new release The Love Guru. Here are the totals: 1. Get Smart:$38.6 million 2. The Incredible Hulk:$22.1 million 3. Kung Fu Panda:$21.9 million 4. The Love Guru:$13.9 million 5. The Happening:$10.5 million Two wide releases this week, a heartwarming comedy for the whole family and a stylized action adventure shoot-em-up for the older crowd. WALL-E What's It All About: Disney/Pixar is back with the tale of a lovable sentient trash compactor. WALL-E has been alone on the abandoned Planet Earth for hundreds of years, but he discovers a new purpose when he meets a robot named EVE. Apparently WALL-E has stumbled upon the key to the planet's future, a solution which the human race eagerly awaits. Why It Might Do Well: The trailers look

'Transformers 2 Update: New Videos of Frenzy and ... is that Beetlejuice? By Erik Davis (Cinematical) Submitted at 6/25/2008 9:02:00 AM

promising and WALL-E is written and directed by Andrew Stanton, who served in the same capacity on Finding Nemo, Pixar's most financially successful film to date. Plus, our star has the cute going on. Why It Might Not Do Well: Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov described a condition called The Frankenstein Complex, which is a fear of robots -- but look at the little guy. Did I mention he's cute? This is easily next week's number one flick. Number of Theaters: 3,900 Prediction:$70 million Continue reading Box Office: Who Wants WALL-E? Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Action, Fandom, Comic/Superhero/Geek, Remakes and Sequels, Images, Trailers and Clips Right now, there are people spending every minute of every day stalking the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen production, searching for the next photo of a blurry Shia LaBeouf standing around or what have you. Every day, we here at Cinematical receive tons of Transformers nonsense -- but instead of throwing it at you left and right, we figured why not collect it and dish it all at one time? Anyway, Transformers Live has nabbed a photo of what appears to be Beetlejuice from The Howard Stern Show hanging in the background on set. No word if the little weird guy actually has a part in the film (or if Bay is keeping him around to torture for his own amusement), though I'm sure your anticipation meter just went up significantly. In addition to the Beetlejuice news, two videos have also surfaced online. One shows them shooting a scene with Frenzy on top of a car, clawing at the front window, with Sam (LaBeouf) and friends inside. The other shows folks like LaBeouf and Megan Fox stretching from afar. Hot! And it comes with this ridiculous song about stretching. Even hotter! (Both videos included after the jump ... but beware of

Pierce Brosnan and Nicolas Cage Sign for Polanski's 'The Ghost' By Jessica Barnes (Cinematical) Submitted at 6/25/2008 11:34:00 AM

total hotness!) Production on the sequel has officially moved to Princeton University, where Transformers Live also has photos and more videos of filming. Nothing too life-altering, but if you're itching to see and learn more about the film, I guess that's the place to start. Finally, IESB tells us actress-comedian Kym Whitley has nabbed a small role in the film. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen hits theaters on June 26, 2009. Continue reading'Transformers 2 Update: New Videos of Frenzy and ... is that Beetlejuice? Permalink| Email this| Comments

'Valkyrie' Update: No Cruise Photoshopping By Elisabeth Rappe (Cinematical) Submitted at 6/25/2008 7:02:00 AM

Filed under: Drama, Thrillers, United Artists, Celebrities and Controversy, Tom Cruise, Movie Marketing, Images, War Tom Cruise may be guilty of some odd public antics -- but he isn't guilty of photo fudging. Last week, we reported on Slate's little expose, where they examined a publicity photo released by United Artists. According to their graphic experts, the

photo of Claus von Stauffenberg had been altered to better resemble Tom Cruise. However, Yahoo! Movies now says Slate has been forced to retract the story. It turns out they were comparing the wrong photos -- they used one from the AP, as opposed to the Getty photograph United Artists used. Unfortunately, Slate didn't search all available archives for the photo before making their assertion. United Artists is understandably upset over the slanderous claim. "The picture

United Artists used of Colonel Stauffenberg can be found all over the Internet," said Valkyrie co-writer and producer Chris McQuarrie. He added that it would be much easier to "alter Tom Cruise" than to doctor "every available picture of Claus von Stauffenberg." Now, with all due respect, I politely disagree with McQuarrie that the photo used by United Artists is easy to find. When this story first broke, I did my own Google search out of curiosity. The most

readily available photo of von Stauffenberg is the one accompanying this post. It is also the first image Getty produces when you search their archives. The only site that produced the same photo was Spartacus Educational, and even then I wasn't sure, as the UA version seemed so much cleaner. Continue reading'Valkyrie' Update: No Cruise Photoshopping Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Drama, Casting, Mystery & Suspense It was just last year that Christopher brought us the news that Roman Polanski had selected Richard Harris' novel, The Ghost, as his next big film project. So even though it took some time to get name actors to sign on the dotted line, the wait is over now that MTV reports that Pierce Brosnan and Nicolas Cage will star in the political drama. Ghost is the story of a writer hired to complete an autobiography of a soon-to-be ex-Prime Minister (with Brosnan playing the PM, and Cage as the writer). Through the course of the interviews, the ghostwriter uncovers some troubling secrets from the Minister's past that put our writer friend in some high-stakes danger. Rumor has it the original idea for the book was loosely based on former PM Tony Blair, but I would assume that any similarities were kept well in the realm of fiction. Continue reading Pierce Brosnan and Nicolas Cage Sign for Polanski's 'The Ghost' Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

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Are We Ever Going to See Brangelina Options That 'American McGee's International Prom Article? Alice' Movie? By Christopher Campbell (Cinematical)

Submitted at 6/25/2008 8:33:00 AM

By Scott Weinberg (Cinematical) Submitted at 6/25/2008 9:33:00 AM

Filed under: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Thrillers, Comic/Superhero/Geek, Games and Game Movies Producer Scott Faye is keeping the faith - but fans of the Electronic Arts video game American McGee's Alice will have to wait an indeterminate amount of time to see a movie version. According to McGee's own blog(and thanks to Shock for the tip), Mr. Faye has announced that Universal has placed the project into turnaround -- which essentially means it's comatose until another backer snags the property. (IF another backer snags the property.) Here's what the producer had to say: " Jon and Erich Hoeber have written a very compelling feature film screenplay adaptation of the Alice game. Their screenplay will certainly serve as a jumping off point as we find a new studio home for the project. In terms of the realistic chances of seeing the Alice project being produced, all I can say is that I have invested (along with Julie Yorn and Karen Lauder, my producing partners on the project) a lot of time and effort in this project. We will get it made." Just not at Universal, unfortunately. Earlier reports indicated that actress Sarah Michelle Gellar and director Marcus Nispel were attached to the project, but as Inspector

Clouseau used to say "Notennymore." For those who are unfamiliar with American McGee's Alice(I really should play this game already), it's sort of a dark semi-sequel to Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland(or Alice in Wonderland, if you prefer). Filmmakers previously (and temporarily?) attached to the project include director Wes Craven, screenwriter John August, and actress Jean Marsh. (Thanks to Wiki for the reminders.) So to those who've played (and hopefully enjoyed) this video game, here's my question: Who should direct the thing? Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Drama, Paramount, RumorMonger, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt This past Sunday, The New York Times featured a popular City-section story about the first-ever prom held for students of Brooklyn's International High School. In case you don't like to read, you can simply watch the video accompaniment here. And if you don't like to read and you don't like documentary-style videos, and have a lot of patience, you can wait for the feature film, which will apparently be hitting theaters some time in the future. According to New York magazine's Vulture blog, a number of producers are interested in optioning the article, while Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have personally brought it to the attention of Paramount Pictures, where Pitt's Plan B Entertainment has a first-look deal. Supposedly an unnamed non-Paramount studio exec beat us all to the punch by joking that "maybe Maddox and the twins can star in it." Of course, he forgot about Pax and Zahara (and the twins aren't really international). Actually, the first joke I thought about was the running gag on TV's The Critic about the kid from Easter Island who attends the United Nations School. Then, the second joke I thought of was about

Brangelina's adopted children. Then I kept thinking of other things, such as how thanks to Prom Night people might assume this other prom-themed movie is also a horror flick. But that's not so much a joke as it is me trying to think on a studio exec's level (hey, we were synchronous with the Maddox bit) in order to contemplate what they'd call the thing. International Prom? A Prom for All Nations(ala the video's title)? Or will Hollywood appropriately go for one of those song-based titles? Been around the World, perhaps? Permalink| Email this| Comments


Placely Tracks All Your Frequent Flyer Programs in One Place [Travel] By Adam Pash (Lifehacker) Submitted at 6/25/2008 7:00:00 AM

Travel web site Placely tracks frequent flyer miles for several different airlines through one central hub. Currently Placely supports frequent flyer programs from most popular airlines, including American, Continental, Delta, Frontier, Jet Blue, Northwest, Southwest, and United, along with rewards programs from sites like Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity. In addition to frequent flyer aggregation, Placely is actually a travel planning web site and community. With air travel prices on a steady climb, it's a perfect time to take advantage of your frequent flyer miles, and Placely may be the perfect tool to help you keep track. While you're getting more from your miles, check out previously mentioned web site MileMaven. Placely[via Mashable]

'Wanted' Man Common Talks 'Justice League', 'Terminator 4'. ... By James Rocchi (Cinematical) Submitted at 6/25/2008 10:02:00 AM

Filed under: Action, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Casting, Deals, RumorMonger, Fandom, Comic/Superhero/Geek, Remakes and Sequels At the recent press day for the new rock-'em, sock-'em action film Wanted, actor and rapper Common met the press; of course, someone asked him about his

rumored involvement in the on-again, offagain Justice League movie, where he was rumored to be in contention for the role of Green Lantern, Jon Stewart. His answer was a nicely-tuned mix of diplomatic evasion and general enthusiasm, culminating in a non-statement of Nixonian proportions: "I really don't know what's going on with the Justice League movie; I can say if they do do a Justice

League movie, I would love to be a part of it, but I really can't speak on it, because I

don't know what's happening with it . ... I like the comic, though." Common also spoke briefly about another high-octane franchise flick he's currently shooting, Terminator: Salvation: "I'm in Terminator 4, and I'm very grateful to be part of that ... I'm playing the role of Barnes, a resistance soldier with John Connor, fighting the machines; I also have a new album coming out in August,

Invincible Summer. ..." So, in other words, not exactly a bevy of new information, but, nonetheless, confirmation that a) Justice League is still a no-go and b) Common's on our side in Terminator 4; for more on Wanted, look for our interview with Common tomorrow. ... Permalink| Email this| Comments


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Avoid Standalone Ads in Lifehacker's Feed [Announcements]

'My Name is Bruce' FINALLY Hitting Theaters ... and Getting a Sequel!

By Gina Trapani (Lifehacker) Submitted at 6/25/2008 3:55:02 AM

By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical) Submitted at 6/25/2008 7:32:00 AM

Filed under: Comedy, Horror, Fandom, Distribution The wonderful Bubba Ho-Tep took forever to get on screens, and Bruce Campbell's My Name is Bruce is no different. As that poster on the right teases, the film was supposed to come out ages ago, but it's been sitting in the "Will it ever be seen?!" ether for a long, long time. But there's good news, Campbell fans! ShockTillYouDrop reports the film will hit theaters this October -- according to Dark Horse Comics' Mike Richardson. He says: "Some people maybe thought the film fell out or that there was something wrong with it. ... We beefed it up so it could go into the theaters." That sounds perfect to me, what could make for a better Halloween than Bruce, Ash, and wonderfully funny horror? Oh, but that's not all! The dude also says there's another pic in the works called My

Name is STILL Bruce. That sounds awesome, but I'm going to try and not get excited about that since we haven't even seen the first. And who knows if it will ever get off the ground? It could fizzle like Bubba 2. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Should You Get Paid Overtime for Checking Work Email at Home? [Reader EXCLUSIVE: 'Death Defying Acts' Poll] By Gina Trapani (Lifehacker) Submitted at 6/25/2008 5:00:00 AM

ABC News writers recently demanded overtime pay for bringing work home with them—including attending to work-related email on their BlackBerries after hours. The spat between the Writer's Guild and ABC was settled (writers don't get paid for checking their email for a minute, but do for any major work commitments at

home), but it brings up an important question: Where's the overtime line when we're all connected to the office via emailenabled cell phones after hours? Tell us what you think. Should you get overtime for putting in BlackBerry time at home? ( polls) Workplaces to see more spats over afterhours work[Yahoo! News]

Poster Premiere! By Erik Davis (Cinematical) Submitted at 6/25/2008 8:02:00 AM

Filed under: Drama, Movie Marketing, Posters Cinematical has just received this exclusive poster for Death Defying Acts, starring Guy Pearce, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Saoirse Ronan and Timothy Spall. The film follows famed magician Harry Houdini (Pearce), who, while on a tour of Britain in 1926, enters into a passionate affair with a Scottish psychic (Zeta-Jones). Ah, but this psychic has plans of her own,

and, along with her daughter (Ronan), attempt to con the magician by using the one event that's plagued him for many years: the death of his mother. Back when Death Defying Acts premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, our own Scott Weinberg said it was "lovely to look at and packed with some solid doses of charm and wit ... this is full-bore Hollywood fantasy all the way." Death Defying Acts arrives in theaters in NY and LA on July 11. Permalink| Email this| Comments

This week Lifehacker's publisher, Gawker Media, began inserting advertisements into this site's RSS feeds—not just appending ads to existing posts, but inserting ads as their own, content-free items (see screenshot). If you don't want to see standalone ads in Lifehacker's RSS feeds, here's how to avoid them. Subscribe to one of the site's tag feeds or custom feeds, like our Top stories, all posts except Linux-only downloads(or all except Mac-only downloads, or all except Windows-only downloads), non-iPhone posts—any feed except the main, all content feed. The bonus? Our custom and tag feeds help you avoid the ads and topics you don't want to hear about. Here's more on how to get only the posts you want from Lifehacker's site feeds. So far our publisher has been pretty smart and respectful about how it advertises to you: we don't run pop-ups, flyovers, full page interstitials, or ads with sound turned on by default. But this editor thinks this new tack crosses a line. Help our publisher come to its senses. In the comments, tell us and the Powers That Be what you think about standalone ads in our RSS feeds. My apologies for the hassle, and thanks for reading Lifehacker while we figure out the best ways to bring you great content and keep the servers up and running. Update: The boss tells me that standalone ads will become a thing of the past. Thank all that is good and readerfriendly in the world. Carry on, friends.

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Top 10 Ways to Trick Yourself into Saving Money [Lifehacker Top 10] By Kevin Purdy (Lifehacker) Submitted at 6/25/2008 2:00:00 AM

Good money management is a mental exercise in self-regulation and focusing on the long-term goal, even when you're sure you just can't go on another day without buying that Kindle or MacBook. Even the most uber-organized and priority-minded people can stumble when it comes to money—how to save more of it, how to stop spending it, and how to keep doing both over and over again. While every person's financial needs are different, anyone can set up simple systems to help themselves stop buying what they don't need and almost automatically save money they'll need later. Let's take a look at 10 ways you can cut costs and do right by your money without much effort, after the jump. Photo by Darren Hester. 10. Save for big buys with "Reverse Credit." Similar to the classic "envelope" method, but designed for modern conveniences. Got your eye on a shiny new MacBook? Buy yourself Apple store gift cards as you manage to put aside money, ensuring you don't spend the money frivolously and that you've really got the money to spend. You'll want to make sure your cards don't expire before you hit the savings mark, but it's a pretty solid way to ensure you honestly earn your big purchases. But, as our commenters noted when we first posted this, a sub-account through your bank, or a rechargeable gift-style debit card, might be better options for earning interest or avoiding vendor lock-in. Photo by Tomeppy.( Original post). 9. Sleeve your credit card with what you really want. Personal finance blogger and crusader against needless debt Trent taped pictures of his son around his primary credit card to make him think before making a purchase, and it worked. Create your own sleeve out of two card-sized pictures, and modify the motivation—whether it's a positive (something you're saving for) or negative (reminder of the debt you're paying

off)—and you'll likely curb some autopilot spending. ( Original post). 8. Set up a waiting rule for flashy purchases. Nearly everyone knows what next-day regret feels like—at least when it comes to big purchases. To sift the real needs from the impulse buys, get into the habit of using a system like the Get Rich Slowly blog's 30-day rule, where you write down each thing you want to buy and you don't look at it again till 30 days later, or the$100 rule, in which you enforce a one day wait for every $100 you plan on spending on some non-essential gear (scaling that increment when necessary). You wouldn't use these for homes, cars, or appliances, but they'll prove that sometimes just living your life for awhile helps you remember how unnecessary most must-haves truly are to it (Original 30 -day and$100 posts). 7. Round up purchases, bank the change. Spare change jars have been a passive saving technique since change was first offered, but fewer and fewer transactions these days use real cash. If you're one of those responsible types who balances a checkbook, you can try writing every purchase to the next dollar to create an invisible buffer in your account. More likely, though, you do your banking online and can't trick yourself that easily—that's why programs like Bank of America's Keep the Change, which put your round-up differences into a money market account, are a sneaky way to siphon off savings. Got your own round-up saving method? Share it in the comments below (Original round up checking and Keep the Change posts). 6. Freeze your credit card for serious spending stoppage. If you had to wait for a block of ice to melt every time you wanted to treat yourself to the next season of your favorite show on DVD, would you reconsider watching it online, or just waiting for reruns? That's the idea. As our sibling site Consumerist points out, you'd ruin your credit card if you tried to defrost it in the microwave, so you really will have to

sit alone with your second-thoughts. Recommended for serious shopping addicts who still need a credit card around for vital purchases. 5. Always bank your savings and discounts. It feels like free money when you hit an unexpected sale, discover a little -known rebate, or simply use a valuable coupon. Why not turn that free money into even more free money? As the Digerati Life blog points out, it's money that's easy to set aside, since you didn't expect to have it, and it doesn't require any budget reviews. It also protects that little boost from disappearing into another full-price purchase while you're out shopping ( Original post). 4. Use a high-interest online account to motivate yourself. To paraphrase Gordon Gekko, greed, for lack of a better word, is a great motivator to get things done. If you're putting money away into a higher-interest, online-only savings account, find out where it tells you how much interest you've earned for the year and keep it in front of your eyes. Doing so is a great motivation to stash more cash in there—think of it as a kind of progress bar until your next financial Level Up. 3. Let Firefox find your deals for you. If you've got money to spend, you can stretch it pretty far by knowing (or just stumbling across) some great online deals. Like most savings tools, however, you have to go out of your way to take the time and remember to grab those deals. Luckily, the Firefox browser and a few extensions make it hard not to find coupons, rebates, and killer deals. RetailMeNot automatically pops in to let you know when a site you're at has freebies and discounts available, while PriceDrop adds buttons to's item pages to help you get notifications when prices go down. If you're more prone to random browsing for killer discounts, the Woot Watcher helps you get the jump on those ridiculous deals on random items at Woot!. Make it hard for yourself to pay full price, and bank the savings however

you choose. (Original posts: RetailMeNot, PriceDrop, Woot Watcher). 2. Defer dumb purchases with a "Crap I Just Don't Need" list. This isn't so much self-trickery as self-realization, but it's a great way to see how fleeting and utterly unnecessary most of our Must. Have. Now. urges are. Every time you feel the need to buy something that's not a real necessity, write it down on a list (pocket notebook, PDA, wiki, or wherever). Eventually, you'll start noticing how long the list is, and how well you've gotten along without any of it. Bonus: Making a pseudo-wish list of your consumerist desires can help you get them out of your system. This aversion therapy hack comes from Merlin Mann, who notes that it doesn't cost a thing to try out. Photo by.Gladius. 1. Set up an Automatic Savings Plan for set-it-and-forget-it saving. As shown above, you can play all kinds of mental games with yourself to keep your worst impulses away from your money, but the real meta-hack is to have the right amount of money earned moved auto-magically into a savings account, or a "buffer" account for unexpected costs, or investments—anywhere but your walkingaround stash. Gina's walked us through automating your finances in thorough fashion, and The Simple Dollar has also posted a front-to-back demonstration using ING Direct. If you're not using a bank that offers easy tools for automation, you might want to rethink where you keep your money. ( Original post.) Everyone's mind works a little differently, of course, so our crafty commenters will probably have a few mental overrides of their own to cut useless spending and shuttle away more savings. Let's hear about them—how do you keep your money away from your irresponsible alter-ego? What tech or realworld tools do you use to keep your money in its place? Let's hear about it all in the comments.

Nocino By Elise Submitted at 6/12/2008 10:56:38 PM

Recently I hosted several Sacramento area food bloggers over for a potluck. Late in the afternoon, after most of the guests had left and the die hards remained, I pulled out some nocino, a spicy, sweet, slightly bitter walnut liqueur that I made a couple years ago to share with the group. The recipe comes from our favorite Parisian man-about-town David Lebovitz, from his terrific book, Room For Dessert. David recommends using nocino to flavor custards, or to pour over vanilla ice cream. We had ours straight. To any other group of my friends, tasting homemade nocino would be a novelty at best. To this group, it was an inspiration. A few friends looked around the yard and noticed that our walnut trees had plenty of perfectly young green walnuts on them. A few minutes later, one group was off to the store to buy a gallon of vodka. The other group was on ladders picking the young walnuts within reach. In short order, our kitchen was filled with cooks, chopping walnuts, parsing out sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and other ingredients to different glass canning jars. A nocino party! One of the guests even noticed churro remnants on the kitchen ceiling (that's another story) and knocked them down. Continue reading "Nocino" ?



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Grilled Corn Salad By Elise Submitted at 6/25/2008 7:40:57 PM

Orange Poppy Seed Cookies By Garrett McCord Submitted at 6/17/2008 4:27:59 PM

Please welcome guest author Garrett McCord who brought these cookies over today. They lasted about a second and a half. ~Elise Generally, I stick to ice creams and sorbets come summer, it just gets too hot out to start cranking on the oven. Still, certain treats are worth the heat and when these orange poppy seed cookies bake it?s culinary aromatherapy. The bright orangey flavors with the

slightly citric and nutty, textural pop of poppy seeds make these cookies taste like bursts of sunshine itself. They?re easy to put together and during a season when lighter flavors just seem to pair so well with the warmer weather. The cookies are light and delicate yet pack in a lot of flavor, making them delectable for kids, yet still perfectly suited for bridal parties, baby showers, or other lighthearted events. Continue reading "Orange Poppy Seed Cookies" ?

Zucchini Muffins By Elise Submitted at 6/19/2008 11:42:42 PM

Now that we are living in the land of zucchini plenty (our zucchini plant is well along in its mission of total garden domination) we have ample opportunity to try out zucchini recipes. I've been experimenting with muffins and have settled on this one, a riff on our banana bread recipe. Much like the banana bread, these muffins are insanely good and insanely easy to make. No mixer, wooden

spoon only, and two bowls, though you could really even make the batter in one bowl. Very moist. Just sweet enough. I say that the nuts and raisins/dried cranberries are optional because today I watched my favorite 12-year old friend pick out all of them while still declaring how much she loved the muffins. If you like nuts and raisins (or dried cranberries) by all means keep them in. Continue reading "Zucchini Muffins" ?

There are, I think, three essential ingredients to this salad - corn, which you can grill or even prepare by toasting frozen kernels on the stovetop, onions, and cumin. The rest is a medley of whatever fresh vegetables you might have on hand. In this case I had zucchini and a serrano chile pepper from my garden, a big red bell pepper. I tossed in some cotija cheese for good measure. Although this is a grilled corn salad the other vegetables benefit from some searing heat as well. A simple seasoning of cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar or lime juice pulls everything together. I made this for my parents today and my father insisted that "this one needs to go on the site" while polishing it off. Enjoy. Continue reading "Grilled Corn Salad" ?

Quick and Easy Pan-Fried Flank Steak By Elise Submitted at 6/13/2008 6:52:01 PM

Flank steak is a lean, flavorful cut of meat that is probably best prepared marinated and cooked over a grill. But sometimes you just don't have time to marinate the meat or deal with the grill. My mother

raised 6 kids (all born within 8 years) on my dad's teacher's salary. (Her favorite TV show is John &amp Kate plus 8, wonder why?) Which means she is the master of efficiency in the kitchen. This is her favorite method of preparing flank steak. The trick is to put little knife pokes in the meat, breaking up some of the long muscle

issue as the meat is cooked rare, and whatever juices do come out get reduced in the pan and served over the meat. Continue reading "Quick and Easy PanFried Flank Steak" ? fibers. When I asked about the juices running out of the meat, it's not really an

Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips By Elise Submitted at 6/13/2008 4:52:32 PM

Every year about this time, I'm invited to pick Bing cherries at our next door neighbor Pat's yard. Pat picks all she can

freeze and eat for the year, and anything left is for friends or the birds. There is something truly glorious about standing in the shade of a cherry tree ripe with cherries, and picking them and eating them right there on the spot. As kids we would

have pit spitting contests to see how far we

could make them fly. Do kids even do this any more? They've already bred the seeds out of watermelons, I sure hope they don't breed the pits out of cherries. Call me old fashioned, but I don't mind working for my food, pits, seeds and all.

Continue reading "Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips" ?


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Mexican Green Bean Salad By Elise Submitted at 6/14/2008 7:43:14 AM

Braised BBQ Beef Sandwich By Elise

Chicken Salad with Tarragon By Elise Submitted at 6/22/2008 7:42:51 AM

From the recipe archive, a cool salad for hot days. Inspiration for good food can be found anywhere, even Starbucks, where I had a delicious chicken salad sandwich recently. The key ingredients other than chicken? Cranberries and tarragon. French tarragon is a distinctive herb, with a slight anise or

licorice aroma. We don't use it that often; I grew some last year and don't think we used it more than once or twice the whole season. But it does pair well with chicken. The dried cranberries add some sweetness to the chicken salad, and the lemon juice just enough acidity to brighten all the flavors. Continue reading "Chicken Salad with Tarragon" ?

Submitted at 6/16/2008 5:53:18 PM

My mother grew up in a house where there was constant entertaining. My nana was somewhat of a social bee and even I remember how every night was a party night when as a child I came to visit during the summer. Mom and dad were reminiscing the other day about one of their favorite recipes of my grandmother's,

her pulled beef, braised in BBQ sauce. Mom remembers Nana once feeding 80 people this dish at her small adobe house in Tucson. It's terribly easy to make, you can easily double, triple, quadruple the recipe, making it perfect for serving large groups of people in an informal gathering. And it's absolutely delicious. Continue reading "Braised BBQ Beef Sandwich" ?

Portuguese Salt Cod Stew (Bacalhoada) By Elise Submitted at 6/25/2008 6:57:11 PM

The first time my friend and fellow food blogger Fernanda mentioned wanting to make a Portuguese salt cod stew, I was skeptical. (Though given how well

Fernanda's salmon fish stew had turned out what was I thinking?) Salt cod isn't one of those easily-found-in-the-supermarket items. For hundreds of years codfish preserved in salt may have been a food staple in North America and Europe, but with the advances of modern refrigeration

the drying process that preserves salt cod greatly concentrates its flavor. Continue reading "Portuguese Salt Cod Stew (Bacalhoada)" ? in the last century, it's been sort of hard to come by actually, for decades. Too bad, as

One of our favorite ways to eat green beans is with salsa. The tomatoes, onions, chiles, spices, and vinegar perk up the beans in the most wonderful way. This bean salad recipe is sort of a riff on the salsa theme, taking it up a notch with pickled jalape?os, cilantro, cotija cheese, and avocados. It would make a perfect picnic salad for a Mexican themed potluck. If you love Mexican food, I'm willing to bet you'll love this salad as much as we do. Continue reading "Mexican Green Bean Salad" ?

LNP Jun-25-08  
LNP Jun-25-08  

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