Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mobile payments to reach 171 billion

Mobile payments will reach $171 billion globally in 2012, a 62 percent increase over last year's total of $105.9 billion, according to research firm Gartner Inc.
That increase corresponds with a 32 percent rise in mobile payment users expected this year. The number of users is expected to hit 212 million users, up from 160.5 million in 2011.
The forecast, announced Tuesday, also pegs mobile transaction values at $617 billion, with 448 million users, by 2016, Gartner said in a statement.
Mobile payments have been popular for years in Japan and South Korea, primarily for transit rides and small retail purchases, using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. NFC usage is still low in the U.S. and Europe, partly because relatively few smartphones and NFC-ready networks and terminals are in use, various experts have noted.
Big Jump in Mobile Payments Expected, but U.S. Will Miss OutGartner also counts in its mobile payments tally the use of Short Message Service (SMS), commonly called texting, and Web or Wireless Application Protocol (WAP). SMS is dominant in developing countries for mobile payments, while Web purchases from smartphones and tablets comprise the most popular method of mobile payment in the U.S. and Europe.
Web/WAP access is expected to make up 88 percent of mobile payments in the U.S. even as late as 2016, when NFC usage is expected to increase, Gartner predicted.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dell xps 27 all in one

(Credit: Dell)
HP and Asus released the first 27-inch Windows-based all-in-ones this year, but with 1,920x,1,080 resolution screens, they failed to match Apple's high density, 2,560x1,440 iMacs. Dell's new XPS One 27 does.
Dell says the starting price for the new XPS One 27 is $1,399. That puts it ahead of the $1,249 HP Omni 27, but on par with the Asus ET2700I. All are also at least $300 below the most affordable 27-inch iMac.
At least for now those other 27-inch all-in-one also all use second-generation Intel Core CPUs (aka Sandy Bridge). The XPS One 27 has third-generation Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs (aka Ivy Bridge). All PC vendors will move to third-gen Core chips eventually, but for now, Dell seems to have a processing performance advantage.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Google teaming up

Now that search behemoth Google is officially in the hardware business, rumors of a 7-inch Android tablet are kicking up again, this time from the stalwart rumor-monger DigiTimes. The Taiwanese tech publication causes geek hearts to flutter with reports from unnamed sources “in the supply chain” of any number of gadgets, from updated iPhones to tablets built in collaboration with Asus, like their most recent report.
Google and Asus are reportedly working on a 7-inch tablet for release in July, with an initial shipment of 600,000 units starting in June. “Google originally planned to release its entry-level 7-inch tablet PC in May, but design and costs did not reach its expectations, and the product was delayed to July for some minor adjustments,” the report said. “The 7-inch tablet PC is expected to achieve total shipments of 2 to 2.5 million units in 2012.”
Rumors of a Google co-branded tablet are not particularly new. Way back in December, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt let slip to the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera that the company was planning to directly manufacture tablet devices “of the highest quality” and mentioned a six-month window for production.
The tablet would certainly run on the latest version of Google’s open-source Android operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0, or the upcoming operating system, "Jelly Bean." The company’s recent $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility—approved by the U.S. Justice Department in February and completed just this week—paves the way for Google to start building that technology into its own tablets. Google has named Dennis Woodside, a longtime Google employee, as the new CEO of Motorola Mobility.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts

English: Nellis Solar Power Plant
English: Nellis Solar Power Plant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour - equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity - through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank said.
The German government decided to abandon nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, closing eight plants immediately and shutting down the remaining nine by 2022.
They will be replaced by renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and bio-mass.
Norbert Allnoch, director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry (IWR) in Muenster, said the 22 gigawatts of solar power per hour fed into the national grid on Saturday met nearly 50 percent of the nation's midday electricity needs.
"Never before anywhere has a country produced as much photovoltaic electricity," Allnoch told Reuters. "Germany came close to the 20 gigawatt (GW) mark a few times in recent weeks. But this was the first time we made it over."
The record-breaking amount of solar power shows one of the world's leading industrial nations was able to meet a third of its electricity needs on a work day, Friday, and nearly half on Saturday when factories and offices were closed.
Government-mandated support for renewables has helped Germany became a world leader in renewable energy and the country gets about 20 percent of its overall annual electricity from those sources.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Icann starts naming websites again

A project to allow companies to set up a website with almost any address has relaunched after a software glitch exposed sensitive details of applications last month, forcing it to shut down.
In the most ambitious expansion of the Internet so far, the body that oversees domain names has now given organizations until May 30 to apply for their own Web address endings - for example .london, .eco or .canon - provided they have a legitimate claim to the domain name and can pay a hefty fee.
The new suffixes should allow companies or communities more control over their online presence and send visitors more directly to part of their sites.
But the process was dogged by controversy even before the embarrassing software bug: many brand owners have felt forced to take part in the expensive project or risk rivals bagging domains that could be mistaken for their own.
It has also raised questions of corporate governance at Icann, the non-profit body that manages the Internet's naming system, since some current and former directors of the body stand to make money out of the explosion of new names.
Chief Executive Rod Beckstrom said Icann now hoped to be ready to publish details of who had applied for what before the U.S. organization's next major meeting in Prague, which will be his last before he hands over to a new CEO.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Open Source moving into cloud

Mobile computing, cloud computing and analyzing huge amounts of data are among the top IT trends in 2012 and are also the focus of the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) 2012 that begins May 21 in San Francisco.
About 40 percent of the new open-source projects started in 2011 were related to cloud computing, 19 percent were for creating mobile applications and 15 percent were mobile-enterprise related, according to a survey of open-source vendors and non-vendors released on the first day of the conference.
There were 10,000 new mobile open-source projects started in 2011, up from 4,000 in 2010, according to the survey by Black Duck Software, which helps businesses develop, deploy and manage open-source software. Black Duck released an annual report on the top 10 new open-source projects of the year.
As further evidence of the increasing adoption of open-source software, the survey revealed that 32 percent of respondents said that at least 75 percent of the computer code used in their organization is open-source code and that 30 percent said that between 51 percent and 75 percent of their code is open source.
Also, the top three advantages to using open-source software are avoiding vendor lock-in with proprietary software, lowering costs and the quality of the software. This is the first survey in which quality made it into the top three; in past surveys, quality concerns were a top risk associated with open source.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Apple using renewable energy

Apple Inc plans to power its main U.S. data center entirely with renewable energy by the end of this year, taking steps to address longstanding environmental concerns about the rapid expansion of high-consuming computer server farms.
The maker of the iPhone and iPad said on Thursday it was buying equipment from SunPower Corp and startup Bloom Energy to build two solar array installations in and around Maiden, North Carolina, near its core data center.
Once up, the solar farm will supply 84 million kWh of energy annually.
The sites will employ high-efficiency solar cells and an advanced solar tracking system.
Later in 2012, Apple also intends to build a third, smaller, bio-gas fuel-cell plant.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

LightSquared files for bankruptcy protection

LightSquared, the would-be satellite 4G wireless network backed by billionaire Philip Falcone and his Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The move, it said in a May 14 statement, will give it “breathing room” to resolve ongoing regulatory issues.
The spectrum used by the network has repeatedly been found to interfere with GPS signals used by industries including aviation, law-enforcement and the military, preventing the network from receiving regulatory approval. On more than one occasion, LightSquared executives have called foul on the regulators overseeing the process, accusing them of rigging the results.
Bankruptcy, Falcone has said, would enable him to protect the company from creditors.
“The filing was necessary to preserve the value of our business and to ensure continued operations,” Marc Montagner, LightSquared’s interim co-chief operating officer and CFO, said in the statement.
“All of our efforts are focused on concluding this process in an efficient and successful manner,” Montagner added.
Montagner took on the role in February, after CEO Sanjiv Ahuja resigned, following a string of setbacks as the company adjusted the network and fought for its approval. 

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Monday, May 21, 2012

U.S. Cyber Guard

Up to 8,000 companies doing business with the Pentagon may be qualified to join a newly expanded U.S. effort to guard sensitive information on private networks, a senior Defense Department official said Monday.
The Pentagon on Friday invited all of its eligible contractors to join the voluntary pact aimed at fighting what U.S. officials have described as growing cyber threats that allegedly originate, above all, in Russia and China.
The Defense Department will provide intelligence-derived information on malicious Internet traffic to the companies; the firms are to share information on any cyber penetrations of their networks with the government.
"We think there are as many as 8,000 that are already cleared and could be participants in the program," Richard Hale, the department's deputy chief information officer, said in a teleconference.
Perhaps 1,000 companies are expected to take part in the permanent new program initially and if it grows beyond this, "We would be pleased," he said.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Google transmission line from wind farm clears hurdle

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

A planned $5 billion transmission line to send power from wind farms off the East Coast cleared a hurdle, allowing the Google Inc-backed project to move to the next step in the approval process, officials said.
The Department of the Interior declared on Monday there was "no overlapping competitive interest" in proposed areas for building the line off the mid-Altantic coast. The statement cleared the way for an environmental review of the Atlantic Wind Connection line. Uncertainty about offshore interests have led to delays in other wind projects.
The project faces regional and federal regulatory hurdles which backers hope to clear within two years so it can nail down financial agreements and start transmitting power by the end of 2017. The AWC, which would transport up to 7,000 megawatts of power, is also backed by a private company called Good Energies, and Japan's Marubeni Corp.
Clearing the competitive interest hurdle allows the project to "intelligently plan for the backbone transmission system," said Bob Mitchell, AWC's CEO.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Payment processing guidelines

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

UK's Patriot Act

Queen’s speech unveils UK’s ‘Patriot Act’ Web monitoring plan

Summary: The Queen has officially lifted the lid on plans for the British government to monitor all U.K. Web, email and phone traffic.
HM the Queen, in her first speech to the British Parliament in two years, announced albeit briefly the U.K. government’s plan to monitor all Web activity in the country.It puts the U.K. en par with the United States, Russia, and China in how it monitors its citizens’ Web activity.
The Queen needs no persuasion in signing the bill into law as it is her sovereign obligation, but getting to the Royal Assent stage might be easier than many would hope. The government-written speech is spoken by the Queen to address the upcoming legislative agenda.
It’s not often you see a government hedging, but when you do, it does it in style. Addressing two key issues — the European “safeguard” issue, and the “subject to scrutiny” — the speech highlights how controversial and difficult the law-making process will be in this case.
The controversial plan would see every scrap of Web traffic, every email, and Skype and landline phone calls logged with the third intelligence service, GCHQ, charged with protecting the U.K. from cyber threats.
But the bill to law transition could still be riddled with obstacles and difficulties if the Europeans get their way.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Canadian merchant fees among the highest in the world

MasterCard logo used on cards 1997 to present.
MasterCard logo used on cards 1997 to present. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fees that Canadian merchants are charged to process credit card transactions are among the highest in the world, a federal Competition Bureau tribunal heard Tuesday.
Kent Thomson, the lead counsel for Canada's competition watchdog, told the tribunal in Ottawa on Tuesday that the system of fees charged when retailers allow consumers to pay with credit cards goes against competition rules and add up too $5 billion in fees for the credit card industry annually
Under the current system, credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard charge fees sometimes in excess of three per cent to process credit transactions. Consumers, thus far, don't pay those charges directly, but retailers say the fees on some premium credit cards are becoming exorbitant and eating into their thin profit margins.
Retailers have lobbied for permission to tack a surcharge on to purchases, so customers would be more aware of the costs. But the contracts offered by the major credit firms prohibit any such surcharges. They also forbid retailers from selectively accepting only credit cards from the same company with lower fees and denying customers with so-called premium cards.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Contaminated Federal sites will cost billions

Federally owned contaminated sites will cost the government billions of dollars to clean up, according to the 2012 report of Canada's environment commissioner.
Scott Vaughan says the government has made significant progress, closing the file on 9,000 out of 22,000 sites across the country, but the remaining sites present some major headaches.
"The government has reported its combined environmental liabilities at $7.7 billion," writes Vaughan. "Many of these sites are buried and out of the public eye, but they will impose human health risks and environmental and financial burdens for generations to come."
Many of Canada's toxic sites were created before environmental assessments were enshrined in law. Vaughan drew a parallel between these contaminated areas and the government's proposed changes to the Environmental Assessment Act, calling it a cautionary tale.
"We cannot go back and repeat the errors of the past. I don't think Canadians can afford it and I don't think they would actually accept it," Vaughan told reporters.
"When you look at the legacy of contaminated sites right across this country, this is a legacy that Canadians will be paying for – not for decades. They'll be paying for it literally for centuries," Vaughan added.
The report’s two other chapters dealt with Canada’s approach to dealing with greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).
Targets beyond reach
The chapter about the government’s new 2020 GHG target found the easier-to-meet, Kyoto Protocol replacement goals were still far out of reach.
“Environment Canada’s own forecast shows that in 2020, Canada’s emissions will be seven per cent above the 2005 level, not 17 percent below it,” Vaughan pointed out.
The big problem appears to be the government’s sector-by-sector approach. Each set of regulations takes up to five years to develop.
So far, only three sets of regulations have been written. There are two for the transportation sector, which are in place, and one for electricity, which doesn’t come into effect until 2015.
There are no regulations yet for the oil and gas sector, which is the fastest-growing GHG emitter, accounting for one-fifth of Canada’s total emissions. The auditor notes that regulations for this sector are expected to be made public by December.
All this is compounded by the lack of an overall implementation plan to show how the government’s multiple regulations will lead to the end goal of GHGs falling 17 percent below 2005 levels.
Vaughan also noted Ottawa hasn’t costed its plan.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lenovo coming with Ivy Bridge processing

Lenovo, the world's second-largest PC company—though according to enthusiastic Lenovo staff, much of the world thinks it's a pharmaceutical company, if they think of it at all—is planning to roll out new ThinkCentre and Edge Series PCs later this year that take advantage of Intel's recently released Ivy Bridge processors.
Small-business owners and IT managers, both likely to know the Lenovo name, are also likely to appreciate these machines' third-generation Intel Core processors, 15-second boot-up times, multiscreen functionality and smarter cooling methods.
The ThinkCentre Edge 92z is Lenovo's thinnest commercial all-in-one (AIO) to date. Looking more like a monitor than a whole computer, it measures 2 inches thick and features an Infinity Glass front panel covering a 21.5-inch high-definition IPS LED display. Processor options include up to Core i7, and the machine comes equipped with the Lenovo Solution Center powered by Intel Small Business Advantage—tools for remotely managing things like updates and energy settings.
The 92z can be wirelessly connected to an HDTV or other business display, using Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) technology. Also included are a high-definition camera, array microphone, and voice and video conferencing capabilities.
The ThinkCentre Edge 72 is a desktop, also with Intel Core processor options up to a Core i7, Lenovo Enhanced Experience 3 (EE3)—Lenovo's trick for such speedy boot-up times—and a "full package" of productivity tools and features that includes the ability to support two independent displays with VGA and DVI ports, so users can work separately on two monitors, according to a May 7 statement. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

solar power to grow 300%

The world's solar power generating capacity will grow by between 200 and 400 percent over the next five years, with Asia and other emerging markets overtaking leadership from Europe, a European industry association said on Monday.
"Europe has dominated the global PV (photovoltaic) market for years but the rest of the world clearly has the biggest potential for growth," the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) said in its market outlook until 2016.
The fastest PV capacity growth is expected in China and India, followed by the southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa in the next five years, said the report distributed at a PV conference in northern Italy.
Global installed PV capacity, which turns sunlight into power, is expected to have risen to between 207.9 gigawatts and 342.8 GW in 2016, depending on the level of political support, from 69.7 GW in 2011, the report said.
This year, the world's total PV capacity is expected to rise to between 90 and 110 GW, EPIA's Secretary General Reinhold Buttgereit told the conference.
"The growth will depend on the support of politicians. It's not only about money, it's also about reducing bureaucracy," Buttgereit told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference.
Germany, the world's biggest PV market, is likely to be the main global driver this year, followed by China, the United States and Japan. The pace of growth will slow in Italy, which was the fastest growing solar market in 2011, he said.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

PayPass Wallet Services

Think there are too many digital wallets out there? MasterCard would disagree.
The No. 2 payments processor today unveiled PayPass Wallet Services, its own take on the digital wallet. Initially, it will pop up in the form of a payment icon at merchant Web sites. The wallet will allow users to store all of their cards, and MasterCard plans to distribute developer tools to allow other wallets to work with its network. The move is an attempt to broaden PayPass beyond contactless payments and into something more ubiquitous.
MasterCard is just the latest to be lured in by the prospect that comes from managing a consumer's multiple credit and debit card accounts. As such, it enters an already crowded field attempting to stake their respective claims in this burgeoning field.
There are already competing efforts to put out a digital wallet by rivals Visa and American Express, the wireless carriers, and PayPal. Interestingly, the move could be interpreted as counter to Google's own digital wallet, in which MasterCard is a key partner.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Clamping down on Fracking

Against fracking 01
Against fracking 01 (Photo credit: Bosc d'Anjou)

The Obama administration wants to clamp down on shale gas drilling on public lands and set standards that proponents of tougher regulation hope will provide a blueprint for drilling oversight nationwide.
Industry sources said the Interior Department could propose a new rule on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as early as Friday.
The measure would require natural gas drillers to disclose chemicals they use to frack wells, a controversial process that involves injecting water, sand and chemicals deep underground to extract fuel from rock formations.
Fracking has been essential to unlocking the nation's massive shale gas reserves, but critics argue that the practice has polluted water and hurt the environment.
The administration has said it supports shale oil and gas development, but has also called for strong oversight.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Facebook users too open with information

Millions of Facebook users may be getting too open with their personal information on the Web's biggest social network.

According to Consumer Reports an estimated 13 million Facebook users in the U.S. either do not use or are not aware of the site's privacy controls. In addition, 28 percent of the people the magazine polled said they share either all or almost all of their Facebook posts with people beyond their 'friends.' In addition, only 37 percent of users say they have used the site’s privacy tools to limit how much information apps are allowed to see.

“Facebook really is changing the way the world socially communicates and has become a successful service in part by leveraging copious amounts of personal data that can be spread far wider than its users might realize,” said Jeff Fox, Consumer Reports Technology Editor, in a statement.

“Our investigation revealed some fascinating, and some disquieting trends–but ones always worth knowing for consumers who wish to keep their personal data under better control.”

The figures were extrapolated based on a sample of 2,002 adults with an Internet connection, including 1,340 that were active on Facebook. According to the magazine, an estimated 4.8 million people have posted where they plan to go on a certain day, which the group argued is a potential tip-off to burglars. In addition, Consumer Reports projected 4.7 million have "liked" a Facebook page about health conditions or treatments. But that was hardly the only personal information Facebook users were sharing online.
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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Canadian banks funded

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Canada's biggest banks accepted tens of billions in government funds during the recession, according to a report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Canada's banking system is often lauded for being one of the world's safest. But an analysis by CCPA senior economist David Macdonald found that Canada's major lenders were in a far worse position during the downturn than has ever been previously believed.
Macdonald pored over data provided by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and the big banks themselves for his report published Monday.
It says support for Canadian banks from various agencies reached $114 billion at its peak. That works out to $3,400 for every man, woman and child in Canada, and also to seven per cent of Canada's gross domestic product in 2009.
The figure is also 10 times the size of the amount Canadian taxpayers spent on the auto industry in 2009.
"At some point during the crisis, three of Canada’s banks — CIBC, BMO, and Scotiabank — were completely under water, with government support exceeding the market value of the company," Macdonald said. "Without government supports to fall back on, Canadian banks would have been in serious trouble."
During October 2008 and June 2010, the banks combined to report $27 billion in profits on their balance sheets.
Report says mortgages taken off bank balance sheets
One of the most well-known ways in which policymakers helped the banks during the crisis is through a $69-billion CMHC program whereby the housing agency took mortgages off the balance sheets of big Canadian banks. In contrast with other support facilities, all of the funds granted by the CMHC were through selling assets (in this case mortgages) to the housing agency. They were not funds that had to be paid back.
The CMHC has provided the aggregate total of how much was given out, but has yet to release specifics on which banks sold how much to them, and when.
But Canadian lenders also dipped into a program set up by the U.S. Federal Reserve aimed at providing cash to keep American banks afloat. CIBC and BMO took almost $3 billion each out of the fund, RBC and TD took out $8 billion and Scotiabank drew down almost $12 billion, the CCPA report found.
That data came from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which released it publicly. But Macdonald's analysis found that Canadian banks got a comparable amount — $41 billion — from Bank of Canada facilities, an agency that has been far less transparent in sharing the information.
"Despite Access to Information requests for the data, the Bank of Canada refuses to release it," the CCPA report states.

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Monday, May 07, 2012

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Sunday, May 06, 2012

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Saturday, May 05, 2012

Microsoft and Barnes & Noble enter agreement

Microsoft and Barnes & Noble have entered into an agreement by which Microsoft will invest $300 million in Barnes & Noble’s new digital and college book business, thereby settling its patent battle with the book seller, contributing to the creation of a new subsidiary and taking a 17.6 percent share of that business.
The new Barnes & Noble subsidiary, which will build upon the history of innovation in digital reading technologies from both companies, has not been named and will be referred to as Newco. The partnership will accelerate the transition to e-reading, which is revolutionizing the way people consume, create, share and enjoy digital content, the companies said.
The new subsidiary will bring together the digital and college businesses of Barnes & Noble. After Microsoft’s investment, Barnes & Noble will own approximately 82.4 percent of the new subsidiary, which will have an ongoing relationship with the company’s retail stores.
Barnes & Noble and Microsoft have settled their patent litigation, and moving forward, Barnes & Noble and Newco will have a royalty-bearing license under Microsoft’s patents for its NOOK eReader and Tablet products. This paves the way for both companies to collaborate and reach a broader set of customers. Microsoft filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Barnes & Noble last year.

Friday, May 04, 2012

New Texas dump may not be that safe

A 1,300-acre dump to bury low-level radioactive waste has opened in a remote corner of west Texas, the fourth U.S. site to allow such waste, despite concerns about water seepage at the site, which sits above the huge and vital Ogallala aquifer.
In a letter to Waste Control Specialists LLC of Dallas, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality granted approval to the company's dump near Andrews, Texas, about 45 miles northwest of Midland and close to the New Mexico border.
"Initially we will be disposing of Texas waste - medical waste - it is coming in from destinations around the state," Chuck McDonald of dump owner Waste Control Specialists said in an interview.
McDonald said waste from as many as 38 other states will soon be trucked in to the site.
"That will probably happen in the next couple of months. We will see limited amounts of waste from outside the state," he said.
The Texas Commission said the majority of space at the site is reserved for waste generated within Texas.
According to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, low-level radioactive waste typically consists of contaminated clothing, rags, mops, filters, reactor water treatment residues, equipment and tools, luminous dials, medical tubes, swabs, needles, syringes and laboratory animal carcasses.
An agency spokesman said Texas has authority over its new dump site. The only three other low-level radioactive waste disposal facilities in the United States are in Barnwell, South Carolina; Richland, Washington; and Clive, Utah.
There is still no long-term U.S. repository for high-level nuclear waste, such as spent fuel rods from nuclear plants, which are stored in pools or dry concrete casks on-site.
Environmental activists have raised concerns that the Texas dump could poison underground water supplies, including the southern portion of the Ogallala aquifer and the Dockum aquifer.
"It could affect the Ogallala Aquifer, which underlies eight states ranging from Texas all the way to the Canadian border," said Tom Smith, Texas Director of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.
Potential risks to the aquifer in Nebraska have been a key sticking point in the dispute over possible routes for TransCanada Corp's Canada-Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The dump's owner has said the dry clay in the soil will prevent contamination of underground water supplies, Smith said.
But Texas state Representative Lon Burnam, a Democrat, said he received documents under the Freedom of Information Act which indicate that the dump may not be as safe as officials have claimed.
Burnam said groundwater is seeping into the perimeter of the site, which he said could be from the aquifer.
"They have pumped out 23,000 gallons (87,000 liters) of water that is inside the perimeter since November, and they don't seem to be able to reduce the water level," he said. "That means the water is being replaced from underground."

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Intuit buys demandforce

Image representing Demandforce as depicted in ...
Image via CrunchBase

Intuit Inc, the maker of tax preparation software TurboTax, said it agreed to buy Demandforce, a software-as-a-service application provider, for $423.5 million in cash.
"Demandforce sits at the sweet spot of Intuit's small- and medium-sized businesses customer base," said Kiran Patel, the executive vice president and general manager of Intuit's Small Business Group.
The acquisition — Intuit's largest ever — is expected to close in May.
Founded in 2003, San Franciso-based Demandforce bundles marketing and communications tools into a Web-based application and targets small local businesses — like salons, auto shops, chiropractors, dentists, and veterinarians.
Demandforce boasts of 35,000 small business clients in the United States and Canada.
The deal is expected to add one to two points to Intuit's revenue growth in fiscal year 2013 and to be neutral to modestly dilutive for earnings per share in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, Intuit said in a statement.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Google fined $25,000. by FCC

Logo of the United States Federal Communicatio...
Logo of the United States Federal Communications Commission, used on their website prior to 2002 or 2003, and still used on some publications and areas of their website. The central part of the logo is also used on products which conform to FCC requirements. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Google said it would have been of little help to U.S. regulators to give them access to the engineer who wrote a computer program that let its Street View cars collect emails, passwords and other personal data from people's home wireless networks.
"The fact that the engineer was legally unavailable did not leave any significant factual questions unanswered," Google wrote in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission's Enforcement Bureau on Thursday.
Google was fined $25,000 by the FCC for impeding its investigation into the matter, in which the company's Street View cars collected the Wi-Fi data over several years while crisscrossing the globe taking panoramic pictures of streets.
Google, which generated roughly $38 billion in revenue last year, said it would pay the FCC fine to "put this investigation behind it," but disputed the agency's claims that it did not cooperate with the 18-month investigation.
Google said in the letter that it was legally unable to provide access to the engineer - referred to as Engineer Doe - because the engineer had declined to testify and invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Bernanke warns on economic outlook

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke calls it the “fiscal cliff.” It might be better thought of as the next economic Armageddon.
Unless Congress acts to soften the blow, economists are warning that a looming year-end collision of massive, “automatic” cuts in federal spending and the expiration of sweeping Bush-era tax cuts could crush an already weak U.S. economic recovery.
And unlike the central bank’s response to the Panic of 2008, the Fed would be powerless to offset the catastrophic impact on the economy and financial markets.
"There is absolutely no chance that the Federal Reserve would be able to have the ability whatsoever to offset that effect on the economy," Bernanke told reporters Wednesday, following a two-day meeting of the Fed's policy-making committee.
The risk of a potential economic train wreck stems from a series of contentious political decisions that Congress has been ducking for years, postponing a long list of tough choices until the end of the year, until after the national elections.

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Best Cuba City Guide – Interactive City Guide

Best Cuba City Guide – Interactive City Guide