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May 4, 2008

Yahoo and Microsoft Deal is Over

After months of negotiations, technology mogul Microsoft is giving up and trying to by out rival, Yahoo.
According to reports on BBC.com and the Washington Post, the deal is over because the two companies could not settle on a price.
According to the articles, Microsoft has landed on a final offer of $47.5 billion or $33 per share. Yahoo said wanted $53 billion or $37 per share.
The articles added that talks of a deal that started in January were an attempt to close in on Google, the leader in online advertising.
"Clearly a deal is not to be," Microsoft chief executive Steven Ballmer wrote to Yahoo chief executive Jerry Yang yesterday.
The BBC article said that Ballmer's letter to Yang was posted on the Microsoft Web site.

April 20, 2008

In-Flight Cell Phone Testing

A technology article in the New York Times on Sunday said that several European airlines are testing the use of cell phones while in flight.
According to the article, several passengers were let down with less than stunning service.
"The technology, which allows cellphone users to make and receive calls through an onboard base station linked to a satellite, delivers a still-patchy quality that keeps most in-flight calls short and tinny," the article said.
"While airlines in the United States have shunned the use of cellphones in flight — mainly because their passengers have argued vociferously for keeping one last cellphone-free sanctuary — some European and Mideast carriers are preparing to offer the service as early as this summer," the article said.
The service may deter many passengers as roaming charges were as high as $4.72 in some cases.
Even though the tests were unimpressive, many would embrace some data access during flights, regardless of cost. The article said that while cell phones may not be an option, access to the internet could be in the future for passengers.

April 13, 2008

Northwest Delta Merger

An Associated Press article in the Pioneer Press said Sunday that a possible merger between Northwest and Delta Airlines could be announced as early as Tuesday.
Issues with pilot unions however still stood in the way, the article said.
"The deal, if announced, could see strong opposition from Northwest pilots," the article said.
The two airlines have been negotiating a possible merger since early this year. Issues with pilots' contracts are the biggest issue for the two companies.
"The deal, if announced, could see strong opposition from Northwest pilots," the article said. Delta pilots may see changes to their contracts.
"The changes being sought are related to the scope section in the Delta pilot contract, which in part spells out what planes pilots fly and what routes they fly," people familiar with the talks said in the article.
If merger talks do continue, the article said that the two sets of pilots may negotiate over one contract.
A merger between Delta and Northwest would create the world's biggest airline.

April 6, 2008

Google Maps Under Fire- Again

Google was recently forced to remove satellite images of a military base because of security issues. Now, a couple in a Pittsburgh suburb are suing the Internet giant because of breech of privacy. According to an Associated Press article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Aaron and Christine Boring are suing because images of their home in "street view" violate their privacy.
The lawsuit said that, "a major component of their purchase decision was a desire for privacy," according to the article.
Street view is a function where users can see an area from a street level, rather than a satellite picture.
Representatives of Google say "there is no merit to this action." The company provides a YouTube video with instructions on how to have images removed.
"We absolutely respect that people may not be comfortable with some of the imagery on the site," Larry Yu, a Google spokesman said in the article.
The Boring's are suing because of privacy, but the article says that Google is not the only place to find images of their home. "The Allegheny County real estate Web site has a photo, plus a detailed description of the home and the couple's name," the article said. "The site contains similar information, including pictures, of nearly every property in the county."

March 30, 2008

Scientist Says Cell Phones are More Dangerous than Smoking

Cell phones might be more dangerous than the effects of smoking or asbestos exposure, one scientist says. In an article in the Independent, Dr. Vini Khurana, an award winning cancer experts warned that the industry should take "immediate steps" to solve the problem.
"Using handsets for 10 years or more can double the risk of brain cancer," the article said. Several European countries have all ready warned against extended use of mobile phones, the article said.
"Professor Khurana – a top neurosurgeon who has received 14 awards over the past 16 years, has published more than three dozen scientific papers – reviewed more than 100 studies on the effects of mobile phones. He has put the results on a brain surgery website, and a paper based on the research is currently being peer-reviewed for publication in a scientific journal," the article said.
Other organizations, like the Mobile Operators Association, discounted Khurana's findings calling them unbalanced and "selective," the article said.

March 9, 2008

Google Maps Banned

Google Maps has been banned from producing "close-up, ground-level imagery of US military sites," according to the BBC.
The search engine feature was banned from "making detailed studies of US military bases by the US defense department," on Friday according to the article.
"The move follows the discovery of images of the Fort Sam Houston army base in Texas on Google Maps," said the article.
The new feature called "street view" provided 360-degree views of areas from a street level. Images that were of concern to the government have been removed, said the article.
According to the article, the defense department was quoted by the Associated Foreign Press saying, "such detailed mapping could pose a threat."
"Google has now been barred from filming and conducting detailed studies of bases, following the discovery of detailed, three-dimensional panoramas online - and in particular, views of the Texan base," said the article. A view of the front gate at Fort Sam is still visible online because it is on a road said the article.
"Military officials are currently looking into exactly what imagery is available - though it may not be able to order its removal if images are taken from public streets," said the article.

February 26, 2008

New Blu-ray Players From Sony

The Associated Press wrote today that Sony Corp. will release new high definition Blu-ray players this summer.
"It will be the first new player from Sony, the inventor of Blu-ray, since the format beat out the other technology that vied to become the high-definition replacement for the DVD," said the article appearing in The New York Times.
The other technology was Toshiba's HD DVD format which the company announced would be dropped.
Sony's new player will include features like broadband connectivity to download bonus materials, and a picture-in-picture option. "The picture-in-picture feature, called Bonus View, can be used to show director or actor commentary in a small window while the movie plays," said the article.
The new players will sell for $400 to $500. The more expensive model will be ready to connect to online content out of the box said the article. The $400 model will require an update.
"In these respects, Blu-ray players are playing catch-up to HD DVD players, which have had Internet- and picture-in-picture capabilities since they first came out in 2006," said the article.

February 23, 2008

Texas Wind Farms

Texas is quickly changing from the oil capital of North America to the wind power capital.
According to The New York Times on Saturday, the recent growth in wind power farms can account for more than 3 percent of the electricity in the state. "Enough to supply power to one million homes," said The New York Times.
With the continued crisis over greenhouse gases and foreign oil, wind turbines are appearing all over the country. "Installed wind capacity in the United States grew 45 percent last year," said The New York Times. The growing number of turbines is providing clean energy to American homes, and also surpassing European countries like Spain in the numbers according to The New York Times.
There are still issues to work out, however. "Though the gap is closing, electricity from wind remains costlier than that generated from fossil fuels," said The New York Times. "Wind power is intermittent and unpredictable, and the hottest days, when electricity is needed most, are usually not windy."
But with all the issues, wind power is getting cheaper, and experts are working on solutions.
Meanwhile, wind powered energy is still growing, providing a clean, renewable resource to Americans. "At the end of 2007, Texas ranked No. 1 in the nation with installed wind power of 4,356 megawatts (and 1,238 under construction), far outdistancing California’s 2,439 megawatts (and 165 under construction). Minnesota and Iowa came in third and fourth with almost 1,300 megawatts each (and 46 and 116 under construction, respectively)," said The New York Times.

February 17, 2008

HD DVD/ Blu-Ray Battle Near End

Reuters reported today that Toshiba is expected to abandon its HD DVD format and its stocks rose 5 percent.
With HD DVD being scrapped, Sony's high definition DVD format, Blu-Ray, will become the standard. Sony's stocks also rose 2.5 percent.
Toshiba's decision to stop production on HD DVD came, "after losing the support of key retailers and several movie studios including Warner Brothers," said the article.
Many financial analysts applauded the decision because of the high cost of promoting the product. "Nikko Citigroup raised its rating on Toshiba to "buy/high risk" from "hold/high risk". JP Morgan maintained its "overweight" rating while predicting the elimination of sales promotion costs would add 30 billion yen ($280 million) to Toshiba's operating profit in the next business year from April," said the article.
With the high competition between HD DVD and Blu-Ray, many consumers have waited to upgrade their equipment until one format was standardized. The article mentions a similar battle between VHS and Betamax in the 1980's.

February 3, 2008

Across "Our" Universe

Feb. 4, 2008, has been titled "Across the Universe Day," among Beatles fans.
According to a news release from NASA, the organization will use its Deep Space Network, an array of satellites that support space space exploration, to transmit the famous Beatles tune "Across the Universe" to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the day the Beatles recorded the song.
The transmission will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of NASA's beginning and the 45th for the Deep Space Network. All of which happened on Feb. 4. "The transmission is being aimed at the North Star, Polaris, which is located 431 light years away from Earth."
Beatles member, Paul McCartney said," Amazing...send my love to the aliens."
The Lede said in its report of the event that the last time NASA used the array to send a signal rather than receive was the first and only time.
"Across the Universe" is set to go, well, across the universe on Monday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m Eastern time.