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18/02/08 - 19/02/08 OC Edition

Obama's 'Yes, We Can' Trend and Swift Boating
By Liza Porteus Viana (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 2:33:00 AM

Target stores to be larger and greener as prototypes rolled out
By Brian White (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 2:47:00 AM

Filed under: Democrats, Barack Obama, 2008 PresidentNot only has Barack Obama's "Yes, We Can" theme caught on like wildfire on the Internet but it apparently has created some commonalities between the Democratic presidential hopeful and some foreign leaders, as well. Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiyev's favorite catchphrase, in Tatar, is Bez Buldyrabyz!" That has the same meaning as "Yes, We Can." Media in Tatarstan (which, by the way, is a Russian republic located in the East European Plain,) picked up on the similarities between the two men after they saw the "Yes, We Can" music video on YouTube that features of the Black Eyed Peas and a slew of other famous faces like Scarlett Johansson, Kate Walsh of ABC's "Private Practice" (formerly of "Grey's Anatomy), and that guy who plays "Sucre" on FOX's "Prison Break" (Amaury Nolasco). Internet portal alleged Obama borrowed the phrase, but Shaimiyev's spokesman said it's probably just a coincidence. Elsewhere, The Politicker notes that Walter Veltroni, who quit his job as Rome's (Italy) mayor to run for prime minister with the new Democratic Party, is now using the slogan as his campaign motto. In his campaign

videos on YouTube - which feature U2 singing "One"in the background all of the video text shown is in Italian, except for the very last phrase - "Yes, We Can" - which is in English. After the jump, Michelle Obama is "finally" proud of her country and her husband says he's already seen signs of "swift boating." Meanwhile, Obama's wife, Michelle, has had an apparent slip of the tongue that has some of the right wingers in a frenzy. Apparently, while speaking before a Milwaukee crowd Monday, Michelle Obama said: "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country...and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change." (You can watch the video here) Blogs like are in a tizzy, saying an "African-American, Princeton-and-Harvard educated attorney , who has achieved a great deal in her life ... and who is married to an African-American man who is a U.S. Senator, has never been proud of her country before?" The Weekly Standard also analyzes her comments. Jill Zuckman of the Chicago Tribune, said on MSNBC Tuesday Michelle Obama's remarks are nothing to get all riled up over, saying she's not used to speaking to huge audiences at such public events before, and didn't mean

anything by it. "I don't think she was saying she was ashamed of the country before," Zuckman said. And in other Obama news (because we just can't seem to get enough of him these days), the White House hopeful told NBC's Matt Lauer in an interview that he's already experienced some of this year's "swift boating" by his opponents. That's the phrase which has become mainstream political jargon after the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth clobbered John Kerry in his 2004 White House bid. "First of all, I've had to go up against the Clinton machine," Obama told Lauer (an oft-used phrase by the senator from Illinois when he tries to convince voters he's one tough cookie who can successfully fight against well-oiled Washington competitors). "We've been battle tested over the course of this primary." Obama again brought up the "scurrilous" e-mails that have circulated about him, including ones saying he's a Muslim and that he doesn't pledge allegiance to the American flag. "That may not come explicitly from the Republican National Committee but I think we'll probably see some of that coming from the underground." Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Filed under: Launches, Target Corp. (TGT)Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) is set to deploy two larger-store prototypes in 2008 that will apparently be bigger than current Target locations and green certified as the company promotes a more environmentally conscious shopping experience to its customers. In terms of more greener stores, Target joins larger competitor WalMart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), which recently held a company-wide meeting where 'being green' was the central theme of the show. One of the prototype locations will be a general merchandise store and one will be a SuperTarget location -- and both are scheduled to open in October. Both will feature added space for consumer electronics as well as grocery items. If all goes well with the new Target prototypes, the discount retailer plans to deploy the prototype designs at more than 100 locations in 2009. Target rolls out prototype designs every four to five years to keep the consumer shopping experience fresh. There's a competitive edge: there are not too many (if any) national retailers I know of that change store designs on a large scale on such a frequent basis.Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

V.P. Choices for the Dems
By David Knowles (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 12:49:00 AM

Wolf Blitzer aired at the Democrats' first one-on-one debate. ClintonObama, or Obama-Clinton.

Filed under: Democrats, 2008 PresidentThough the question of who the Democrats will pick as their nominee for president has not yet been settled, there has been much speculation as to who might fill out the respective V.P. slots on each ticket. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have different needs when it comes to a running mate, but each will try to find that perfect someone to compliment, augment, bolster, or compensate for their own relative strengths and weaknesses. Let's handicap a few of the possible lineups. First, there's the tantalizing idea of the "Dream Ticket." which CNN's

So who are the serious contenders? While there are numerous possibilities for each candidate, I'll stick to the top two. First let's look at Clinton. Nothing is rewarded in Clintonian circles like loyalty. And two men who have stayed with Hillary from the very beginning are former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack, and former Indiana governor turned Senator Evan Bayh. Each is young, energetic, smart and capable. Bayh's numerous Senate posts have given him ample foreign policy experience,and Vilsack can tout the outside of Washington angle. As for Obama, two choices jump out. John McCain has already made it clear that he, like Hillary Clinton, plans to hit Obama on the experience

While many relish the idea breaking history twice in the same bill, I just don't see it happening. The longer this race goes, the less each candidate really likes the other. The next long shot for the V.P. slot is John Edwards. Though Clinton and Obama crave his endorsement above all others, the man who already ran for the veep slot will most likely be offered another position in an Obama or Clinton administration. The words "Attorney General Edwards" have a more fitting ring to them. Edwards pulls either candidate to the left, where support is already guaranteed.

question. On that front he should consider Bill Richardson. The man who, on paper, had the best-looking resume in the Dem race, would instantly calm jitters about Obama's foreign policy weakness. Another guy who has proven he can stand toe-totoe with Republicans on the question of defense is Virginia Senator Jim Webb. Though we've been considering the Democrats, I must say that John McCain has a much more easy decision. Forget about short-lists, just pick up the phone and call Condoleeza Rice. Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


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Pakistan Elections Sweep Out Ruling Party
By Mark Impomeni (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 1:00:00 PM

Filed under: Bush Administration, TerrorParliamentary elections were held in Pakistan today, with President Pervez Musharraf's ruling Muslim League-Q Party suffering badly at the polls. Opposition paties, one led by the son of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and the other led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, were each able to claim over 100 seats in the 272 seat parliament. Musharraf's party, by contrast, was able to hold on to only 20 to 30 seats. The Pakistan Peoples Party, Bhutto's party, won the most seats and will be tasked with forming a government. It is unclear at this time whether Sharif's Muslim League-N Party will join the PPP in forming a coalition government. Sharif was said to be suspicious of Bhutto and is reported to have close ties to Islamist extremist groups in Pakistan. Taliban and alQaeda linked extremists claimed responsibility for the Bhutto assassination. Sharif was the prime minister oused from power during the coup that brought Musharraf to power. He may now feel that the election results have renewed his special claim on the office. Regardless of the outcome of the power sharing negotiations, it is clear that Musharraf's party was soundly rejected in the elections, and that will have an effect on U.S. policy in the region. Pakistan is a key ally of the U.S. in the war on terror, and the United States needs its efforts against the Taliban and al-Qaeda to be continued, even stepped up, if it is to achieve a long lasting success in neighboring Afghanistan. Taliban and a-Qaeda elements use the border with Pakistan to seek refuge from U.S. and

Afghan troops. The Pentagon recently announced that it was committing 3,200 more Marines to southern Afghanistan in an effort to help Afghan troops put down a stubborn Taliban insurgency. The Pentagon was certainly counting on help from the Pakistani Army on its side of the mountainous border. But the events in Pakistan over the past year: the Red Mosque standoff where over 100 "students" were killed in a Pakistani commando raid, the dismissal of the Chief Justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court by Musharraf, numerous bombings and assassination attempts, and the Bhuto assassination; were too much for Musharraf to survive. He will remain as president for the next five years, and his crackdown against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the Northwest Frontier Provinces is likely to continue for a while, but his position has been badly compromised. Some policy makers in the United States have wondered, during times that he was somewhat less active, what a war on terror without Musharraf would look like. It apears that they may now get to find out. Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Medtronic (MDT) higher on optimistic outlook
By Eliza Popescu (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 3:11:00 AM

Filed under: Earnings reports, Forecasts, Launches, Management, Competitive strategyShares of medical devices maker Medtronic Inc. (NYSE: MDT) were higher in morning trading after the company reported third-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates. For the quarter, Medtronic reported that its profit plunged 89% to $77 million, or 7 cents per share, down from $710 million, or 61 cents per share, in the same period a year ago. Included in the company's earnings numbers, however, was a $275 million, or 24 cents per share charge related to lawsuit settlements from its recalled Marquis line of implantable defibrillators. Excluding that, Medtronic posted earnings of 63 cents a share. Analysts, on average, expected the company to show earnings of 61cents per share. Continue reading Medtronic (MDT) higher on optimistic outlookRead | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Hillary's Delegate Endgame
By David Knowles (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 12:03:00 AM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Democrats, Featured StoriesHow far will Hillary Clinton go to make sure she gets the Democratic nomination? Readers of this column have already learned of her intention to try to seat Michigan and Florida delegates in her without a fair re-vote. The courtship of Super Delegates, too, has been a focal point for both Clinton and Obama, with many party insiders fearing an outcome in which Obama would win the pledged delegates, only to have that total overturned by the "Supers" at the convention. Well, today comes word of yet another wrinkle in Clinton's increasingly uphill quest for the White House. The Politico reports that Hillary is prepared to enact a strategy to attempt to siphon away Obama's pledgeddelegates. Roger Simon:

Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign intends to go after delegates whom Barack Obama has already won in the caucuses and primaries if she needs them to win the nomination. This strategy was confirmed to me by a high-ranking Clinton official on Monday. And I am not talking about superdelegates, those 795 party big shots who are not pledged to anybody. I am talking about getting pledged delegates to switch sides. So you see, if you thought that your vote actually mattered, you were mistaken. Turns out it was nothing more than a symbolic gesture. One that could be overturned in an instant depending on the whimsy of longstanding party alliances. Pledged delegates are not really pledged at all, not even on the first ballot. This has been an open secret in the party for years, but it has never really mattered because there has always been a clear victor by the time

mayor, Doug Wilder, predicted riots in the street should the Super Delegates trump the pledged variety, the question of what would happen if pledged delegates magically changed sides remains unclear. But one neutral Democratic operative said to me: "If you are Hillary Clinton , you know you can't get the nomination just with superdelegates without splitting the party. You have to go after the pledged delegates." By now it is clear that Clinton, ever the fighter, will play every last card in her deck before allowing Obama to wrest the nomination away from her.

the convention convened. So how will the residents of a state like Virginia feel if their pledged delegates suddenly break for Hillary Clinton? While former Virginia

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Another Dem Has Plagiarism Problem
By Dave (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 11:06:00 AM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, 2008 President The Clinton campaign just undercut themselves on the plagiarism front: Jake Tapper writes: I asked Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson and Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass, if they could assure the public that neither Clinton

nor McGovern has ever done what Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, did when he used the rhetoric of Gov. Deval Patrick without footnoting him. They would not. In fact, Wolfson seemed to say it wouldn't be as big a deal if it were discovered that Clinton had "lifted" such language. "Sen. Clinton is not running on the strength of her rhetoric," Wolfson said.

Plagiarism isn't even the right word for it of course. Borrowing terms and phrases and well worn bits of rhetoric is not illegal or even uncommon. No one has a trademark on hope, or change, or whatever. It isn't bad that Obama borrowed, it might be lame, but it isn't evil. And in fact it is indeed a high compliment. if Obama uses your stuff! But the last part is incredible. If Clinton did the same, it's ok for her,

but not for Obama? That's the kind of stuff that gets you laughed out of the room. Another unforced error from Team Clinton as the team aims and fires at their own big toe. Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

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Did Obama Plagiarize Patrick?
By Jay Allbritton (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 7:25:00 AM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Breaking News, 2008 PresidentDid Barack Obama lift material from his close friend, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick? Depends on what your definition of plagiarize is. Patrick says it's not plagiarism because he and Obama share ideas all the time. The Clinton campaign claims he did. Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson told Politico, "When an author plagiarizes from another author there is damage done to two different parties. One is to the person he plagiarized from. The other is to the reader." A video circulating on the web shows Patrick speaking at a campaign rally in 2006, followed by a clip of Obama speaking Saturday night in

Wisconsin.Patrick said: But her dismissive point, and I hear it a lot from her staff, is that all I have to offer is words - just words. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, [applause and cheers] that all men are created equal." [Sustained applause and cheers.] Just words - just words! "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Just words! "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Just words! "I have a dream." Just words!Obama said: Don't tell me words don't matter! "I have a dream." Just words. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are

created equal." Just words! "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Just words - just speeches! Patrick issued a statement defending Obama: Senator Obama and I are longtime friends and allies. We often share ideas about politics, policy and language. The argument in question, on the value of words in the public square, is one about which he and I have spoken frequently before. Given the recent attacks from Sen. Clinton, I applaud him [for] responding in just the way he did.Obama's campaign shot back with a release showing "a couple of places Clinton freely borrowed rhetoric from Obama..." Obama's campaign also pointed to this video of Hillary Clinton using Obama's phrase "Fired up and ready to go". Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Castro Resigns, Musharref Ousted
By Justin Paulette (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 1:23:00 AM

It was a bad day for petty tyrants. Following half of a decade as a communist dictator and constant thorn in the side of the United States, Cuban leader Fidel Castro has announced he will resign. The announcement was met with subtle indifference among Cubans, and hopeful applause from the U.S. "I believe that the change from Fidel Castro ought to begin a period of a democratic transition," stated President Bush. However, as Castro's brother Raul (who has been ruling in his stead since mid-2006) is presumed to ascend as the next president, significant change is highly unlikely. As Mark Impomeni has thoughtfully covered, it seems Pakistan's Perves Musharref has suffered a devastating electoral loss. These events, and the events to follow, will speak to the world's tolerance of heavy-handed rulership. Pakistan has chosen a new path following the over-reaching of Mr. Musharref, and Cuba now has an opportunity to dissent from the dictatorship of Castro's regime. I hope the U.S. will not shy from supporting the efforts of democratic movements in these nations. The liberty and security of people in those countries, as well as here in our own nation, could depend upon our faithful assistance. Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Clinton's 'Cult' of Action
By Greg McNeilly (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 11:07:00 AM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, 2008 PresidentOver and over, Hillary Clinton, in press release and on the stump continues to pound the theme action is more important than words deeds over sentiment. Clinton has said, in different forms, this refrain: How will we bring about change by making sure we nominate and elect a doer, not a talker?Remember, it was this message, that got her into a troublesome historical example when she claimed that President Lyndon Johnson was a "doer" versus that talker Martin Luther King, Jr. It is true, we Americans, typically see ourselves as "doers." We cherish the action-figure over the orator. But when you hear nearly every campaign speech from Hillary Clinton mention this demand for deeds and action over vision and words, it's reminiscent of the "cult of action;" a perspective the world witnessed disquietly in 1930's German nihilism. Is action quo action really what

America needs? In times passed, when the street chant called for action not words, nations fell and people were enslaved. Change happened, but not the kind we call progress. This call for action was for its own sake. Action, making the program happen, implementing the system, is to be taken without reflection or thought. Action, to those with this perspective, is a value itself. But words do matter. And clearly, ideas matter. As has been quipped, small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, great minds discuss ideas. Voters deserve a vigorous discussion about ideas and not impulsive platitudes or slogans about action. Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

A 'Sweet' Endorsement
By Denise Williams (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 1:34:00 PM

change. There's a lot at stake in this election. All Vermonters need to make their voices heard and vote." The ice cream makers have offered the Obama campaign use of the ObamaMobiles until the state's primary. This move may get this bucolic New England state more attention than it might have otherwise having to compete for media time with significant(C) states like Texas and Ohio. Leahy, drove to American Flatbread in Burlington in "ObamaMobiles" which they designed to help get out the vote for Vermont's March 4th primary. Said Cohen, "The ObamaMobiles are true vehicles for Sounds like good eatin' to me!

Filed under: Endorsements, Barack Obama, Featured Stories, Humor Ice Cream maker Ben and Jerry's has a new flavor just for this campaign season - Cherries for Change. Ben and Jerry's founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (former Edwards supporters) joined Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to endorse Senator Barack Obama for president as a lead up to this insignificant[TM] state's Democratic Primary on March 4th. Via Politico Ben and Jerry, along with Senator

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Obama Closing GapBarack In Filed under: Hillary Clinton,
Obama, Breaking News, 2008 OBAMA page 4 By Dave (Political President, Polls at 2/18/2008 Machine)Submitted The latest poll in TX shows clear


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movement toward Obama. Since this is Hillary's firewall state, this isn't good news at all at Clinton headquarters. In OH, movement toward Obama is slower, slow enough that she might keep the state, but she has to keep it up over the next two weeks. The trend is clearly in Obama's favor on both counts. Even more since this is a big opportunity for a huge knockout blow. Tasks for Hillary for the next two weeks: • Find one single winning issue that works against Obama: and no rhetoric versus experience is not it. • Win in Wisconsin to generate some (any!) positive news. • Deflect negative attention to McCain and off of her. • Raise some money from outside her own checkbook.

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What about your Delta/Northwest Filed under: Deals, Consumer frequent flyerLines (DAL) experience,WHAT Air 5 Delta page miles?

OfficeMax (OMX) on the move after Q4 earnings
By Brent Archer (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 3:35:00 AM

By Tom Barlow Delta (NYSE: With the rumored
DAL) / Northwest (NYSE: NWA)

Filed under: Major movement, Earnings reports, Good news, OfficeMax Inc (OMX), Options, Technical AnalysisOfficeMax Inc. (NYSE: OMX) shares are trading higher this morning after the company reported a 24% rise in fourth-quarter profit, helped by lower costs and expenses. Excluding onetime items, OMX earned 65 cents per share, well above Wall Street forecasts of 52 cents per share. If you think that the company won't fall by too much in the coming months, then now could be a good time to look at a bullish hedged trade on OMX. After hitting a one-year high of $55.40 in last February, the stock hit a one-year low of $17.12 in January.

OMX opened this morning at $23.87. So far today the stock has hit a low of $23.25 and a high of $24.90. As of 10:30, OMX is trading at $23.75, up $1.61 (7.3%). The chart for OMX looks bullish but deteriorating slightly, while S&P gives the stock a positive 4 STARS (out of 5) buy rating. For a bullish hedged play on this stock, I would consider an April bullput credit spread below the $17.50 range. A bull-put credit spread is an options position that combines the purchase and sale of put options to hedge risk in case the stock doesn't do what you think but still leverage nice returns. This particular trade will

make a 4.2% return in just two months as long as OMX is above $17.50 at April expiration. OfficeMax would have to fall by more than 26% before we would start to lose money. OMX hasn't been below $17.50 by more than a few cents in the past year and has shown support around $23 recently. This trade could be risky if the US economy continues to worsen, but even if that happens, this position could be protected by the support the stock might find at its 50-day moving average, which is around $23. Brent Archer is an options analyst and writer at Investors Observer. At publication time, Brent neither owns nor controls positions in OMX.Permalink | Email this | Comments

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia set to buy Emeril empire
By Zac Bissonnette (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 3:00:00 AM

Filed under: Deals, Marketing and advertisingLast month, I reported that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO) was actively seeking an acquisition to diversify beyond its core Martha Stewart brand. Now the company has found what it hopes is it's missing piece, and is set to acquire superstar chef Emeril Lagasse's [subscription required] media and licensing empire for $45 million in cash and $5 million in stock, according to the Wall Street Journal. The purchase price will include the rights to Emeril's television programs, syndicated episodes of the "Emeril Live" show on the Food Network, cookbooks and Emeril's websites, and licensing deals from All-Clad cookware, Wüsthof cutlery, Wedgwood tableware and T-fal appliances. The acquisition also includes Emeril-branded spices, marinades, coffee, Bam! B-Q sauce and other food products, according to the Journal. Emeril's restaurants and corporate office are not part of the deal. It seems likely that the market will react positively to this development, but I wouldn't be buying here. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia hasn't been able to make much money from the Martha Stewart brand and adding another brand to a failing company hardly seems like a recipe for success.Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Analyst upgrades: NICE, WPI and MU
By Eric Buscemi (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 3:15:00 AM

Filed under: Analyst upgrades and downgrades, Watson Pharmaceuticals (WPI)MOST NOTEWORTHY: NICE Systems, Watson Pharmaceuticals and Micron Tech were today's noteworthy upgrades: • NICE Systems (NASDAQ: NICE) was upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS, as they believe NICE is wellpositioned to leverage its offerings in VoIP recording, call centre analytics, and other applications with its extensive enterprise customer base. • Hambrecht upgraded shares of Watson Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: WPI) to Buy from Hold ahead of the company's Q4 results to reflect valuation and low expectations. • Thomas Weisel upgraded Micron

Tech (NYSE: MU) to Overweight from Market Weight citing expectations DRAM pricing will stabilize in 2008, potential upside from high growth DRAM segments such as mobile, and notes cost cutting efforts and valuation. OTHER UPGRADES: • JP Morgan added Wabtec (NYSE: WAB) to its Focus List. • Keefe Bruyette raised Franklin Bank (NASDAQ: FBTX) to Market Perform from Underperform. • Morgan Stanley upgraded Wyeth (NYSE: WYE) to Overweight from Equal Weight. • Citigroup upgraded Mentor Graphics (NASDAQ: MENT) to Buy from Hold and added shares to its Top Picks List. Permalink | Email this | Comments

Has the market discounted all the bad news on Wall Street write-downs?
By Peter Cohan (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 2:35:00 AM

Filed under: Other issues, Market matters, Economic data, Recession With this morning's market rising in spite of news of Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS)'s $2.8 billion writeHAS page 5

Analyst initiations: SPSN, AUY and CRXX
By Eric Buscemi (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 3:45:00 AM

noteworthy initiations: • Spansion (NASDAQ: SPSN) was initiated with a Buy rating and $5 target at CRT Capital. The firm expects a stable pricing environment and seasonal demand to improve financial and credit metrics towards

Filed under: Yamana Gold (AUY), Analyst initiationsMOST NOTEWORTHY: Spansion, Yamana Gold and Combinatrox were today's

the back half of this year. • Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY) was initiated with a Neutral rating at HSBC. • Punk Ziegel views shares of Combinatrox (NASDAQ: CRXX) as undervalued given its broad pipeline of drugs with significant potential.

The firm started shares with a Buy rating and $7.50. Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Analyst downgrades: SIGM, SKYW and UBS
By Eric Buscemi (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 3:25:00 AM

Filed under: Analyst upgrades and downgrades, Bed Bath and Beyond (BBBY)MOST NOTEWORTHY: Sigma Designs, Sky West and UBS AG were today's noteworthy downgrades: • Sigma Designs (NASDAQ: SIGM) was lowered to Neutral from Outperform at Baird citing checks that indicate a more muted revenue outlook in 1H08 vs. 2H07. • Soleil downgraded shares of Sky West (NASDAQ: SKYW) to Hold from Buy to reflect the high-fuelprice environment and headwinds

from the legacy carrier consolidation. • Bear Stearns downgraded UBS (NYSE: UBS) to Peer Perform from Outperform on concerns of further subprime write-downs. OTHER DOWNGRADES: • Dresdner Kleinwort downgraded Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS) to Hold from Buy. • Morgan Joseph lowered Superior Essex (NASDAQ: SPSX) to Hold from Buy. • Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY) was downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Morgan Keegan. Permalink | Email this | Comments

Dolby Laboratories (DLB): Shares moving in bullish 'flag'
By Larry Schutts (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 3:58:00 AM

HASfrom page 4 continued
down and the potential for $203 billion worth of additional Wall Street write-downs on various "structured investments", I began to wonder whether investors have already discounted all the bad news and the market will start to rise. The Credit Suisse write-downs drew praise from analysts for their reflection of the strength of its risk management but they also shocked investors who sliced 9% of its stock. Credit Suisse took "fair-value" reductions -- an estimated price when no market price is readily available -of its "structured credit trading positions" of about $2.85 billion. I am not sure why analysts praised Credit Suisse because it's not all that different from any firm struggling with how to value illiquid securities. Meanwhile, UBS estimated that the world's largest banks could ultimately take $123 billion to $203 billion of additional write-downs on subprimerelated securities, structured investment vehicles (SIVs), leveraged loans and commercial mortgage lending. The higher estimate assumes that the troubled bond insurance companies fail -- and this assumption will soon be tested. Continue reading Has the market discounted all the bad news on Wall Street write-downs?Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Filed under: Earnings reports, Sony Corp ADR (SNE), Dolby Laboratories'A' (DLB), Technical Analysis, Stocks to Buy Dolby Laboratories (NYSE: DLB) is engaged in the development and delivery of sound processing and noise reduction systems for the entertainment industry. The firm makes its own products and licenses its technology to other manufacturers. It has about 1000 patents and 870 trademarks worldwide. In film, the Dolby Digital format has become an audio standard, being employed in more than 42,000 movie theaters.

American engineer and physicist Ray Dolby founded the firm in London in 1965 and moved it to San Francisco in 1977. Sony (NYSE: SNE) is a major competitor. The company surprised the Street late last month, when it reported fiscal Q1 EPS of 42 cents and revenues of $150.2 million. Analysts had been looking for 32 cents and $134.4 million. Management also guided FY08 EPS to $1.34-$1.44 ($1.37 consensus) and FY08 revenues to $575-$615 million ($588.94M consensus). Continue reading Dolby Laboratories (DLB): Shares moving in bullish 'flag'Permalink | Email this | Comments

WHAT page 4 continued from
merger hanging fire [subscription required], customers of both companies may well wonder what the impact will be on their hard-earned frequent flyer miles. The answer seems to be both good and bad. The good side is that traditionally when airlines have merged, the frequent flier miles were carried over, allowing customers to select among an increased number of flights and destinations. There is no reason to believe this merger will be any different. However, as travel guru Peter Greenberg cautions in his blog, airlines merge in part to take advantage of more efficient operations; i.e., fuller flights. Fuller flights mean a diminution of available seats for frequent flyers. He suggests, and I concur, that you not wait to redeem what you can. I also suspect it's not a coincidence that United is going to start charging for a second checked bag, a trend I expect to quickly become the industry standard. Might airlines next allow customers to redeem frequent flyer miles to cover baggage costs in order to sop up frequent flyer miles at a bargain price??Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Verizon's unlimited plans get official, not as stellar as previously assumed
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 1:48:00 AM

Filed under: Cellphones We had a sneaking suspicion that the lineup of unlimited plans we got wind of earlier this week was just a bit too good to be true, and sure enough, it was. Now that Verizon's Unlimited Plans have gone official right on cue, we're left with three general plans that can each have additional lines tacked on for more dough. The $99 / month Basic Plan seems to include limitless calling only (read: messaging of all types and data still cost extra), while

the Select Plan ($119.99 per month) throws in messaging but still demands $1.99 per MB of data. The Premium Plan is the one that's really attractive, offering up unlimited everything (for all intents and purposes) for $139.99 per month or $269.99 for two lines. Needless to say, we're a bit let down, but you can hit up the read link for more details on what's offered. [Thanks to everyone who sent this in] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Paramount and Universal to publish films on Blu-ray
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 3:19:00 AM

Not a whole lot to go on right now, but German site HDTV Praxis has it that both Paramount and Universal will now make the obvious choice and publish their films on Blu-ray. Notably, this follows hints seen in certain Circuit City databases as well

as word that we've received noting that both studios would indeed make things easy on everyone and simply support the one format still standing. Interestingly, DreamWorks isn't mentioned in the linked article per se, but we've all ideas it'll be following suit shortly. [Thanks, Khattab] Update: Universal's president Craig

Kornblau had this to say: "While Universal values the close partnership we have shared with Toshiba, it is time to turn our focus to releasing new and catalog titles on Blu-ray." Thanks, Kiwi616! Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments


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Top ten things to do with your nowdefunct HD DVD player
By Ryan Block (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 4:04:00 AM

Sumvision Ice 1000 tries to be an iPod touch, fails miserably
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 1:41:00 AM

Filed under: Features Finally, HD DVD users now have the empirical evidence they've been looking for to prove that the universe really is conspiring against them. We figured we'd make ourselves useful over here and give you a list of things you can do with your poor, obsolete HD DVD player -- starting with taking it out to dinner, excusing yourself to the bathroom before the check comes... then getting the hell out of there. Gimmes • eBay • Doorstop • Entertainment center cup-holder • Destroy it. Office Space style. Oh, the humanity

player now. • Finally, replace your Betamax player. • Buy the Blu-ray player of your choice, put it in the box, attempt to return it as "defective." • Channel it through Whoopi Goldberg and make some pottery with it. • Put a Blu-ray disc in the tray and then call up Toshiba when it doesn't work. Repeatedly. • Put it in a time capsule, just to confuse future generations. • Buy a few dozen of 'em and build a little hut for your Blu-ray player. • Lock it alone in a room with a few lethal weapons... let it die honorably. • Use it to upscale DVDs, which is all you ever used it for anyways. • Mail it to the office of Howard Stringer in protest of Blu-ray's victory. • Plug it into your clothes dryer's 240volt outlet. Woops, honey! My bad, guess we have to buy a Blu-ray Of course, feel free to leave your own suggestions in comments.

Filed under: Portable Audio, Portable Video Oh yeah, we've seen our fair share of iPod touch imposters, and while this one isn't out to totally knock off Apple's darling per se, it's fairly devoid of originality. The Sumvision Ice 1000 offers up a 2.8-inch 320 x 240 resolution touchscreen, up to 4GB of internal storage space, a microSD expansion slot, built-in FM tuner and rechargeable battery, voice recorder, USB 2.0 connectivity and support for XviD, AVI, MP4, MP3 and WMA file formats. The good news? It's available now for £54.99 ($108) -- see how far that gets you in an Apple store. [Via MobileMag] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Carl Freer updates Gizmondo's status: delayed already
By Donald Melanson (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 2:52:00 AM

Filed under: GamingBrace yourself Gizmondo fans, for it seems that not all of Carl Freer's recent prognostications about the resurrection of the ill-fated handheld are exactly coming to pass. While he apparently is still intent on bringing the handheld back from the dead, he now tells Swedish journalist Hans Sandberg that he was being "too optimistic" with the stated May 2008 launch date, and that it should now be

available "by the end of 2008." That deal with Plextek to build the new device apparently is still in place, however, and Freer's "co-pilot" in this latest endeavor, Mikael Ljungman, is reportedly on his way to China this week to check out the manufacturing operations. Needless to say, we'll be keeping you posted on any future developments, or future delays. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

RippleNote's T8100 tablet looks good converted
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 1:12:00 AM

Filed under: Tablet PCs We'll hand it to 'em -- we've yet to see a RippleNote emerge from South Korea that we didn't think was at least marginally good looking, and the Ripple Tablet T8100 most certainly keeps the streak alive. Boasting a 12.1-inch 1,280 x 800 resolution touch panel, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, 120GB SATA hard drive, DVD writer and a 2.1GHz T8100 (surprised?) processor, this beauty

can act as a traditional laptop or convert into a tablet should the mood strike you. As for ports, you'll find a trio of USB 2.0 connectors, built-in Ethernet, VGA, 4-pin FireWire, ExpressCard and audio in / out. Mum's the word on a price at the moment, but expect it to pop up 'round Seoul anytime. [Via AVING] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

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NDrive reveals internet-enabled G700 navigator
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 3:14:00 AM

Filed under: GPS It's not exactly likely that we Americans will ever see NDrive's G700 on our soil, but for folks overseas who can look forward to receiving it when it launches next month, here's what you can expect. This navigator sports a 4.3-inch display along with a snazzy integrated GSM / GPRS module for

connecting to the intarwebs and pulling down traffic, weather, local movie listings, etc. when cruising about. Unfortunately, that's it for the details right now, but if you've heard enough, you can round up your €480 ($704) and start counting down the days. [Via NaviGadget] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

TG's Favicon PMP / navigator gets priced, even sexier
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 2:31:00 AM

Filed under: GPS, Handhelds, Portable Audio, Portable Video Remember that elegant looking conglomerate we peeked in December of last year? Turns out, said device finally has an appropriate name and price, but sadly, it still isn't apt to head stateside. Nevertheless, the TG Favicon reportedly features a

532MHz Freescale CPU, TPEG navigation, dual DMB / PIP functionality, 4GB of internal storage space, an SD expansion slot and a 7inch WVGA display. So, just how much coinage will you be asked to fork over to snag this beauty next time you're in Seoul? Around 422 US dollars, that's all. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Wow-Pen's Joy mouse is a like a fat, melted marker
By Joshua Topolsky (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 3:51:00 AM

Filed under: Peripherals It's strange how "ergonomic" devices rarely look like they'd be comfortable to use. Such is the case with the Wow -Pen Joy, a new mouse that conforms to the hand like a pen would, apparently making your computing experience a little less tough on the wrists. Although it resembles one of

your clay sculptures from elementary school, the twisted lump of plastic sports 800 dpi resolution and can be jacked right into any XP or Vista machine. We can't promise this will actually help with the chronic, stabbing wrist pain caused by your "regular" mouse (see inset), though we can tell you it won't break the bank at 20,000 KRW, or about $30. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

NEC gifts LaVie J laptop lineup with wireless USB
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 2:09:00 AM

Filed under: Laptops, Wireless We're a bit bummed that wireless USB-equipped laptops are merely trickling in versus pouring, but we reckon we'll take what we can get. Next on the docket is the LaVie J series from NEC, which consists of the flagship LJ750/LH along with the

lower-end LJ730/LG and LJ700/LH. Besides the whole cord free USB thing, you'll also find up to a 1.2GHz Core 2 Duo U6700, 2GB of RAM, a 12.1-inch display (1,280 x 800 resolution), 160GB of HDD space, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR. The pain? Around €1,735 ($2,543) for the top-of-the-line stuff. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments


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Hijacking Search: Surf Canyon and ManagedQ Rethink The Search Experience
By Erick Schonfeld (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 8:31:52 AM

Creating a new search engine seems like a futile exercise. If Yahoo and Microsoft cannot compete with Google in search, what chance does a startup have? So instead of creating new search engines, we are starting to see the rise of search applications that sit on top of existing search engines. Two recent examples are Surf Canyon, which publicly launched its browser add-on today, and ManagedQ, which launched its own site quietly a few weeks ago. I’ve been playing around with both for about a week. They both offer improvements to the pared-down search interface that we are all used to and point to areas where search can be made better. Not bad for two startups without any venture capital (Surf Canyon has raised $250,000 in angel money, and ManagedQ is run out of the founder’s basement in Palo Alto). Still, while both point in the right direction, neither one comes close to offering a better overall search experience than Google does on its own. Surf Canyon is an application that sits on top of regular search results. The startup has its own Website where you can conduct searches, but the browser add-on makes it much more practical to use. The add-on is for either Firefox or Internet Explorer, and essentially allows you to re-order search results on Google, Yahoo, or Windows Live Search. (Google doesn’t like it when other Websites re -order its search rankings, but Surf Canyon doesn’t rely on Google’s APIs to do what it does and thus feels that it is not bound by Google’s restrictions).

Whenever you do a search, a little bullseye icon appears at the right of each result. If you click on the bullseye, Surf Canyon inserts three recommended search results that are similar to the one you clicked on. They appear indented under the result you are trying to drill down into. For instance, if you search for “techcrunch,” the three recommended results might be a link to TechCrunch UK, Crunchgear, and the TechCrunch Tech President Primaries (the recommended results change over time, even for the same search). You can drill down two more times within the recommended results to keep on refining your search. So if you click on the bullseye again next to one of the recommended links, you might get a link to TechCrunch on Amazon’s Kindle store from page 8 of the regular Google results, a mention in the NYTimes Bits blog from page 12, or a link to the TechCrunch Facebook group from page 5. The results are hit or miss. Surf Canyon basically gets three chances per click to come up with a relevant recommendation. In general, it comes closer than if you hit the “Similar pages” link that Google provides with every search result, but it still feels pretty random. Showing more than three recommended results would help. But what I like best about Surf Canyon is the interface. It doesn’t take you to another Web page. The recommended results just appear underneath the appropriate link. It feels more like an application than a cumbersome Website where you have to click through multiple pages to find what you want. Google could take a lesson in interface design from Surf Canyon here with all of its Ajax goodness.

ManagedQ takes the more radical approach. It rethought the entire user interface to make it much more visual. Explains founder David Stat: Search hasn’t changed in a decade. Result quality has improved, but what you see has not changed. The search interface has remained stagnant at the command level, So why not a search application, rather than create a search engine, we can sit on top of the results of any search engine. Currently we use Google. Every time you do a search on ManagedQ, a grid appears on the right of the first six results so you can visually see what is on the other side of what is normally a blue link. If you click on one of the images, it opens up a larger, browsable window still within ManagedQ. The idea is that you can surf the Web without leaving the search application. Presenting search results visually is nothing new. Sites like ViewFour have been doing it for years. But ManagedQ combines the visual search with a guided search experience. On the left is a list of persons, places, and things to help you refine your search. ManagedQ uses natural language processing (NLP) to extract the main concepts from the entire search bin. And it does this very fast, in a distributed way using peer-topeer technology. One of the drawbacks of NLP system is that they take a lot of time to parse and chunk large data sets. ManagedQ solves that problem.

When you click on a name or concept on the left, it is highlighted wherever it appears in the miniature Web pages on the right. So ManagedQ gives you a guided search experience with suggested terms that help you narrow your search. If you search for “Barack Obama,” it will suggest related people like “John Edwards,” “Hillary Clinton,” and “John McCain,” as well as other related search terms: “Harvard University,” “Keynote address,” Voting Record,” “Early life,” and “Senate career.” The major drawback to ManagedQ is that if you want to see beyond the first result grid, you have to hit a “Next” button at the bottom. When you try to refine a search using one of the guided terms on the left, instead of bringing up the search results that contain that term, you are stuck with the existing grid half-filled with grayed-out boxes that say “No matches” on them. You have to click through the result set to find to find Web pages that match, in which case the terms are highlighted. (For more on ManagedQ, watch the tutorial). That flaw alone makes ManagedQ not much more than an interesting experiment at this point. Searching Google is still much faster and gets you the results you want more directly. But again, Google can learn something here. Why not offer a decent-sized image of each Website next to search results to give searchers a visual cue as to what resides on the other side of that link? It is that extra little piece of information that, in some cases but not all, could help people sort through search results easier. C r u n c h N e t w o r k : MobileCrunchMobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Mixx To Cluster Related Stories Digg Should Have Done This
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 2:06:27 AM

more information and perspectives on the story. Here’s a screen shot of how the clustering will look (click for bigger view): The clustering that will occur from this will very much resemble TechMeme, which is a great way to quickly find multiple perspectives on the news. Mixx, which is backed by Intersouth Partners and the LA Times, is still a tiny blip compared to competitors like Digg and Reddit. Comscore says Digg has 12 million unique monthly visitors, compared to about a million on Reddit. Mixx? They’ve got just 45,000. That’s probably a low count, since newer and smaller sites are much harder for Comscore to measure. but they have a long, long way to go before they are even no. 2 in this market. CrunchBase InformationDiggRedditMixxInformat ion provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGeardrool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Digg competitor Mixx continues to impress us with newfeatures (although the exodus of Digg users to them may have been short lived). A new feature launches this week on Mixx called Related Items. It solves a common problem found on Digg and other sites where multiple articles on the same story compete with each other to get to the home page. One person may submit a story from USAToday. Another may submit basically the same story but from the Washington Post. Those stories are tracked separately on Digg, and votes are split between them as users discover them. The result is that the story takes longer to get to the home page than it otherwise should. Or worse, both make it and the story is duplicated. Digg catches duplicate submission for the exact same link, but they are unable to determine if stores are related.

The Related Items feature on Mixx flags a submission when it thinks that a story is similar. A message appears that says “We may already have this story! Or at least one startling similar. Take a look at the stories below.” The user submitting the related story can then choose to submit it anyway, or add it as a related item to the previous submission. Digg also flags stories that may be similar to other submissions, but does not offer the ability to cluster the new story to the old ones. There is a benefit to the submitter in adding the story to the previous submission because the new story will be added, too (and traffic will flow). Users benefit because they get

Bleacher Report Gives Stage to Amateur Sports Writing
By Mark Hendrickson (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 9:00:29 AM

As someone who barely follows professional sports, it always amazes me how knowledgeable and opinionated about sports that ordinary people can be. Bleacher Report is a publishing platform formally launching this week that wants to give a voice and audience to those people who seem to always have an opinion about the current draft, drug scandal, preseason or playoffs. Bleacher Report is essentially a centralized blogging platform for BLEACHER page 9

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sports where anyone can sign up and begin writing stories about college and professional sports. It’s not an aggregation service that crawls the web for amateur sports news and editorial, but writers who already run their own blogs can manually choose to feed their stories into Bleacher Report in addition to writing them onsite. While sports writers could simply sign up for accounts at WordPress or Blogger, they’d do better to publish at Bleacher Report for several reasons. The first and most compelling reason is a better audience. The site attracts sports fans and surfaces the best content to the homepage after assessing several factors such as writer rankings, editor ratings, community ratings, and hits. Readers who like your stuff can become your “fan” and track your work alongside others’ on a special “lineup” page. And articles published to Bleacher Report are categorized into sections like “New York Giants” and “MLB” so your content is found by those interested in just those topics. Perhaps the most innovative thing about Bleacher Report is its built-in community editing system. Writers who published to Bleacher Report actually give an extensive amount of control over their articles to other members. The community serves as a collective editor that works not only to correct grammatical and spelling errors but to improve the prose more generally. Nothing is strictly out of bounds, including article headlines, but the original writers do have the power to revert changes made by the community. According to the site’s founders, this group editing system has been a very popular feature during the beta period. Like many sites we see these days, Bleacher Report also integrates typical social networking features. Members have full-blown profiles that list their recent articles alongside bios, fans, and recent activity. And news feeds called “play-by-plays” give you a sense of the activity occurring around the site. Bleacher Report recently secured Series A funding from Hillsven Capital, Transcoast Capital, and Jakob Lodwick (the founder of Vimeo), among others. I suspect the site will do quite well for itself given the passion of many sports fans and the quality of potential acquirers. Bleacher Report writers should do well for themselves too; we’re told that several have already used the site to launch professional writing careers. Crunch Network: CrunchGeardrool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Microsoft To Announce WorldWide Telescope On February 27
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 3:36:48 PM

Will YouNoodle Predict Its Own Inevitable Failure?
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 7:44:27 PM

New startup YouNoodle debuted to some first class press coverage this morning - a headline in the NYTimes that reads “A Start-Up Says It Can Predict Others’ Fate.” The really choice quote from the article from CEO/co-founder Bob Goodson is this: “Give us some information, and we’ll give you some idea of what the company will be worth in five years.” The best part about the article is that the prediction feature hasn’t launched, so no one can see if it’s for real. For now, the site is a database of startups with very light information. Hardly what I would consider NYTimes material. If not for the investors, which include Founders Fund, Peter Thiel and Max Levchin,

there’s no way we would have covered this. The NYT did cover themselves somewhat by bringing in some venture capitalist quotes calling bullshit on the whole thing. “If their tool did such a good job, they’d raise a fund themselves and beat the tar out of us,” said Paul Kedrosky, who didn’t bother to write about the company on his blog. And he’s exactly right. Just like the people who say they can sell you a book and a seminar to help you get rich quick off of distressed real estate - if these guys found some sort of magic formula that actually predicted the value of a startup down the road, they’d keep the information to

themselves and make, well, unlimited amounts of money. It’s hype and nonsense, and it won’t work. The NYTimes bit on it hard, but our readers are smarter. In a poll that Duncan ran earlier the vast majority say there’s no way YouNoodle can pick winners based on some algorithm. I propose this as a test - If and when YouNoodle launches this magic predictor thingy, they should run their own founding team through it. If it predicts failure, then it’s spot on and we know it will work. So far, Goodson says, they haven’t run themselves through the model. Smart move.CrunchBase InformationYouNoodleInformation provided by CrunchBase C r u n c h N e t w o r k : CrunchBoardbecause it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

Rackspace Offers Cloud Computing with Mosso
By Erick Schonfeld (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 6:00:15 AM

Last week’s incident with Amazon Web Services briefly going down may have raised questions about the reliability of cloud computing, but demand is high enough for competitors to keep trying to get into the game. The more companies that enter this space, the cheaper and more competitive that Web-scale computing should become. Today, hosting provider Rackspace is offering a new cloud computing service through its subsidiary Mosso. The service competes with Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), although it doesn’t require any load balancing or other administration. It also competes with Joyent and Media Temple’s Grid Service. Pricing starts

at $100 a month for: —50 GB of storage —500 GB of bandwidth for transferring data —3 million HTTP requests. From there additional capacity per month costs: —$0.50/GB of storage —$0.25/GB of bandwidth —$0.03/1,000 HTTP requests This is a bit more expensive than Amazon (which charges in a different way) but a lot cheaper than the $350 to $400 a month Rackspace charges to host a dedicated server for a Website. Mosso bills itself as a Web app hosting service. Applications are

hosted on redundant server clusters (although the data center is only in one location, so something could take the whole thing out—like, say, if a truck were to run into a nearby power transformer). Coders choose what technology stack they want their apps to run on and upload their code. Mosso supports both Windows and Linux, PHP, Ruby on Rails, .Net, Perl, Python, MySQL, and SQL Server. (Amazon, in contrast, does not support Windows). Mosso does not yet support Java applications, but it is working on that. The company actually has been testing the service for nearly two years and already runs 37,000 apps. Crunch Network: CrunchGeardrool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

A source close to Microsoft says the company will launch new desktop software called WorldWide Telescope on February 27 at the TED Conference in Monterey, California. Our guess is that this is what Robert Scoble was talking about last week when he said he saw a new Microsoft project that brought him to tears. The service will be accessed through a downloadable application Windows only for now is what we hear. Users will be able to pan around the nighttime sky and zoom as far in to any one area as the data will allow. Microsoft is said to be tapping the Hubble telescope as well as ten or so earth bound telescopes around the world for data. When you find an area you like, you can switch to a number of different views, such as infrared and non-visible light. Dan Farber posted his own educated guess that the project might be WorldWide Telescope, based on the fact that Curtis Wong and Jonathan Fay were involved, and he’s right. Last year Fay gave a presentation called “”The WorldWide Telescope, bringing the Universe to a PC near you.” In 1993, Wong started a project called “John Dobson’s Universe,” a virtual sky tour on a CD-ROM, narrated by John Dobson. The two began working together at Microsoft in 2005. From what we hear, WorldWide Telescope will be significantly better than Google Sky, which launched last August as part of Google Earth, and the open source Stellarium (which is hugely better than Google Sky already). The key is the user interface, which is seamless as you move around the sky and zoom in and out. Much of the Photosynth technology is said to have been used for the project. And the sheer amount of data Microsoft is accessing, said to be measured in the terabits, gives that great user interface something to show off. Look for an announcement at TED, and more at Microsoft’s upcoming TechFest in early March. C r u n c h N e t w o r k : CrunchBoardbecause it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0


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Ex-Apple Team To Launch Stealth Startup Fotonauts
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 5:08:50 PM

A team of five former Apple software engineers, led by former Apple Exec Jean-Marie Hullot, have been working on a new stealth desktop/web photography focused startup called Fotonauts since late 2006. Sometime in the next couple of months, they’ll launch publicly. The company is based in Paris, France. Hullot, who worked with Steve Jobs at Apple in the 1980’s, left with him to serve as CTO of NeXT Software. Hullot returned to Apple when it acquired NeXT in late 1996 for $400 million, and served as the CTO of the software devision, reporting to SVP Sina Tamaddon. He was a key part of the early thinking on the iPhone - a recent French television program actually says he came up with the idea in the first place. Hullot and much of the Paris engineering office was let go from Apple in 2006 after Hullot reportedly lost an internal political battle over

the direction of the iPhone. But under French law, laid off workers can receive 80% pay for up to 18 months after losing their jobs, directly from the government. Hullot kept five of his top engineers to work on fotonauts, while the French government paid their wages. I don’t know much yet about the product, other than that it is photography related and includes both desktop software and a website component. A private beta should be available in the next month or two. Keith Teare, who formerly cofounded Edgeio with me, has recently joined the Fotonauts t e a m . C r u n c h B a s e InformationFotonautsJean-Marie HullotInformation provided by CrunchBase C r u n c h N e t w o r k : CrunchBoardbecause it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

Bungee Connect Launches Ambitious New Online Development Product
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 9:13:12 PM

Microsoft To Give Students Dev Software For Free
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 9:00:42 PM

At a talk tomorrow at Stanford University, Bill Gates will announce that they are making much of their developer software free to college and university students. The program, called Microsoft DreamSpark, will be run by Joe Wilson, Senior Director of Academic Initiatives. Covered software includes Visual Studio Professional Edition, XNA Game Studio, Expression Studio, SQL Server and Windows Server. Students were previously able to license this software at greatly reduced prices, or got access via their CS department at school (or through other, less legal, means). Now they’ll be able to get the software for free. Only students in Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and

the U.S. will have access for now, other countries, and pre-college students, will be added later this year. Microsoft requires verification that you are an actual student - in the U.S. they are partnering with Journeyed, who maintains a database of students. This is a smart (and obvious) move for Microsoft, who needs to get as many students as possible comfortable working on their platforms. It also signals that they recognize they have real competition (including open source alternatives) when it comes to IDEs and other developer tools. C r u n c h N e t w o r k : MobileCrunchMobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Yeah, we’ve seen a ton of online application builders before DabbleDB, Zoho Creator, LongJump, Coghead and WyaWorks, among others. And Salesforce weighed in with their own in late 2007. Bungee Connect , which leaves private beta today, competes with all of these. But the company, based in Utah, thinks they have the advanced features to attract a much different audience than most of those startups. They’re targeting hard core developers, not non-developers who want a way to create simple software

programs to solve problems at the office. Bungee Connect is a single online environment for developers to write, test, deploy and host applications. Like, it is a platform-as-aservice. The service is free until end users actually start using the products built and deployed on the service. Dana Gardner wrote an excellent overview of the service a year ago when Bungee Connect was first introduced. CrunchBase InformationBungee LabsInformation provided by CrunchBase C r u n c h N e t w o r k : MobileCrunchMobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

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the last several months). You can find the story, as I did, at the BBC page, though the Wikipedia Blog has a few more salient details. Here’s the run-down, though. In January of last year, Wikileaks launched to a torrent of traffic, thanks to a warm welcome to the web from Slashdot. Shortly thereafter, it recieved widespread coverage in TechDirt, Newsreal, and a host of DAILY page 11

They May Have Lost Their Name, But Wikileaks Goes On
By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 7:20:14 PM

Daily Poll and Story History: Did Wikileaks Deserve Deletion?
By Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 8:05:07 PM

The United States has joined China and Thailand in attempting to censor Wikileaks, however the site itself goes on. A Californian judge ruled that Dynadot, the name registrar for, should remove all traces of Wikileaks from its servers and further should “prevent the

domain name from resolving to the website or any other website or server other than a blank park page, until further order of this Court.” The ruling followed an application from Bank Julius Baer, a Swiss bank named by Wikileaks as being involved in money laundering, to have documents relating to the company removed from the site. Although Wikileaks has lost its URL, the site is hosted in Sweden, and is

s t i l l u p a t Unfortunately for Bank Julius Baer, the legal action will probably result in more people reading the documents in question. C r u n c h N e t w o r k : MobileCrunchMobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

This story is so infuriating that I received several tips in the mashable tips email box as well as one in the tips email box for my personal domain (which has been offline for DAILY page 10

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mainstream media sites. In September of last year, Wikileaks finally hit paydirt in terms of a big story, when they broke a $3 billion corruption story in which the expresident Moi of Kenya looted public coffers and possibly altered the outcome of a then impending national election. After that, several major leaks were made through the site, including most notably a sensitive Guantanamo Bay manual, that afforded a “rare inside glimpse into the institution where the United States has imprisoned hundreds of suspected terrorists since 2002.” In fact, the controversy over the Gitmo manuals lasted on into January of this year, when reports of a Bavarian ‘trojan in the middle’ emerged “activities of the Bavarian police, Ministry of Justice and the Prosecution office in intercepting encrypted data submitted via SSL or Skype via the internet.” Other notable scoops by Wikileaks included suppresed video of a Japanese reactor sodium leak and documentation of the German government’s struggles to tap encrypted Skype calls. That brings us to the present, when around fourteen hours ago, Wikileaks came under fire, according to Slashdot, when the “DNS entry [became] unavailable, reportedly due to a restraining order relating to a series of articles and documents released by WikiLeaks about offshore trust structures in the Cayman Islands.” It appears that the DNS records were pulled at the request of Julius Baer Bank and Trust by Judge Jeffery White. The documents describe alleged money laundering and tax evasion activities, according to various reports. Perhaps I’m a bit cynical in my next statement, but I always figured it was a matter of time before the site got shut down, but I must admit that it getting shut down by this angle is a bit surprising. The court order came as a result of a lawsuit filed by the Swiss banking group, but obviously the Swiss courts have no jurisdiction in America, where the takedown action occurred. If you are interested in examining the documents on your own, to determine for yourself whether they deserve to be taken down in this way, you can still access the site at its ip address: (thanks to Wikipedia’s blog for that). Did Wikileaks have it coming, or are they deserving of special protection? • They are a valuable resource - they should be preserved. • They are compromising national security - they should be taken down. • They are providing a valuable service - but it was only a matter of time. View Results ShareThis

Scribd: iPaper in Flash, an API, and an Ad Network
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 4:33:30 AM

Scribd’s claim to fame is its ability to share documents in the same way you share YouTube clips. The documentsharing network is looking to make that even easier with the introduction of iPaper, which is a new Flash widget for sharing a wide varity of document formats, namely PDF files. The tool itself is far smaller than Adobe Reader, so it loads faster, and is easily embedded in other websites. iPaper is also fully integrated into Scribd’s other social features, including emailing, and security for document protection. While the new iPaper feature is another step in the right direction for Scribd, the company is taking things SCRIBD: page 13

Google Nixes FeedBurner’s “All Time” Stats
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 8:21:56 PM

Google has made some bad decisions in the past, and doesn’t always handle its customers with white gloves. When the company launched Street Views maps without blurring out personally identifying information like faces and license plate numbers, I scratched my head. And when Google decided to get rid of its premium video services without letting its customers keep the videos they’d paid for, I felt the customers’ pain. So in another questionable move by Google, it’s somewhat slighted its web publisher clientèle by getting rid of ‘All Time” stats for FeedBurner data. That’s not to say that there’s no data left at all–daily, weekly and monthly numbers are still available for your use. But as Louis Gray noted, Google liberated FeedBurner’s premium services by making them free, so is this a sad result of getting what you pay for? The effect that this change could have is rather far reaching. Several blogs and other web publications rely on FeedBurner stats to postion themselves in regards to other sites, and for comparison purposes of their own progress. For any publications out there that look to such data as a marker on their growth and current valuation, it looks like they’ll need to

Variety Launches a Branded Jobster Network
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 4:30:14 AM

begin compiling their own data. Perhaps they can start by using mashup tools like Strata, which are also free. In regards to those services out there, like RatingBurner, that look to comprise FeedBurner’s data in order to conclude some comprehensive data for more far-reaching purposes, the loss of such data from FeedBurner could essentially kill their business. Knowing Google, it’s rather unlikely that the “All Time” stats will be gone forever. Whether it returns as a premium service or is merely offered in a different capacity, I imagine there’s a possibility that we’ll be seeing the option return in one way or another, somewhere down the line. [image credit: Louis Gray] ShareThis

Printed publications have been doing a lot to get additional brand recognition and ad support in the online world, and lately, a lot of this has been in the way of integrated networking solutions, with existing networks and with networks of their own. One area that’s been melding with social networks on a larger scale is the job sector, as we’ve seen with Monster, and entertainment news publication Variety is launching a social network for this purpose. In conjunction with Jobster, this new network, called “The Biz,” is actually a white-labeled version of the popular job-finding service. This network isn’t just for Variety to reach out to potential employees, but its a selfcontained network where employers can post jobs and seek out potential

new hires. As Jobster is known for its take on social networking for the purpose of enabling users to build relationships and leverage those relationships in the job-hunting and hiring process, “The Biz” allows Variety to offer both ends of this spectrum for entertainment jobs, under a brand that people recognize. What Jobster hasn’t fully begun to offer, however, are some of the newer, emerging tools that employers can now use to network with each other for the specific process of seeking out new employees. While such newer tools are still in the experimental phase, I do wonder at such white label offerings’ ability to fully extend all the necessary networking opportunities. However, one thing remains certain: “The Biz” lets Variety extend its network brand across the web in a rather practical way. ShareThis

HD DVD is officially dead
By Allison Waldman (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 3:19:00 AM

Filed under: TV on DVD, HDTV, PVR Wire, HardwareDo you hear that? That's the sound of "Taps" being played for HDTV players and recorders. Toshiba has announced that, "it will no longer develop,

manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders." Yes, it's true. Just like Beta was phased out in favor of VHS, HDTV has lost in its head to head battle with Blu-ray. As of March 2008, the manufacture of the hardware will cease, and production of HD DVD disk drives for PCs and games as well. The only exception, said Atsutoshi Nishida, President and

assess the position of notebook PCs with integrated HD DVD drives." Continue reading HD DVD is officially dead Permalink | Email this | | Comments CEO of Toshiba Corporation are laptops. "[Toshiba] continues to


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Comcast Asks the FCC: How Stupid Do We Look?
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 9:34:13 PM

Over the weekend, Paul brought to our attention BitTorrent’s commitment to circumventing the promise by Comcast to continue to place limitations on the P2P’s filesharing capabilities as it sees fit. This act by Comcast was emphasized by the fact that it has filed a statement in defense of the case brought against it by the FCC a few months back. And in doing so, Comcast did something that could make the company appear even less qualified to make such executive decisions in the regulation of broadband dispersement. As the P2P blog picked up via Ed Felten’s Freedom to Tinkerblog, the definition of a BitTorrent as presented by Comcast is in fact one that was used in a speech by a member of Congress. Now,

considering the potentially grave outcome of Comcast as a result of the case brought against it by the FCC, and the rather “official” nature of such a case, I can’t be entirely surprised that Comcast is looking to Congress for a “respected” definition of what BitTorrent actually does. This aside, the biggest problem with Comcast’s use of a Congressman’s speech quote being used as definitive in regards to BitTorrent is the fact that it’s down right incorrect. This leaves room for a lot of holes to be poked in Comcast’s argument, but its really a matter of the FCC being able to poke them. ShareThis

Battle On: Microsoft to Launch Proxy Fight at Yahoo
By Adam Ostrow (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 6:30:19 AM

Are Gmail’s Antispam Filters Leaking?
By Stan Schroeder (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 2:58:17 AM

Last week, Microsoft responded to Yahoo’s rejection of their $44.6 billion acquisition offer by writing that they “reserve the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure that Yahoo!’s shareholders are provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in our proposal.” Today, confirmation that Microsoft will go hostile in their efforts to acquire Yahoo, with DealBook reporting that the software giant will attempt to seize control of Yahoo’s Board of Directors, setting the stage for a vote to approve the deal. The move follows news last night that Microsoft does not intend to raise its

offer to acquire Yahoo at $31/share in cash and stock. According to DealBook, waging what’s known as a proxy fight against Yahoo will cost the company about $20-30 million, versus an additional $1.4 billion for every dollar they add to their acquisition offer. So what are the odds of Microsoft successfully acquiring Yahoo via proxy fight? Pretty good according to the report. Yahoo’s entire board is up for re-election, meaning that if enough of Yahoo’s shareholders feel that Microsoft’s offer is the best move for the company, they can elect Microsoft’s nominees to the board and force a deal. ShareThis

When I first noticed a spam message in my Gmail account I actually thought it was a genuine message simply because I was so used to Gmail’s antispam filters working so well. From my previous experience, zero spam passed through Gmail’s protection, and other users I’ve talked to have had similar experiences as well. Now, some friends have called and told me that their Gmail accounts are filled with spam. We’re not talking one or two spam messages; we’re talking dozens of them. Some are also reporting that the overall number of spam messages which have been recognized by Gmail as spam and put in the spam folder has also increased significantly. Unfortunately, I personally can now confirm these reports. I’m looking at

a Gmail inbox full of spam; the screenshot below is just a part of it, since I’ve been deleting spam manually entire morning. Of course, I’m aware that we’re talking about a small set of users here - me and a couple of friends and coworkers - but since Gmail was so efficient in battling spam so far, even tiny incidents like these seem significant. I’m interested in your experiences, our dear readers; is Gmail’s spam protection still working good for you, or is it leaking? Kindly respond in the comments. ShareThis

Bill Gates: We’re Not Raising the Yahoo Bid
By Stan Schroeder (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 10:19:34 PM

While everyone is expecting for Microsoft to dig just a little bit deeper into their pockets (speculations said that $35 per share is a possibility) to try and change Yahoo’s mind, Bill Gates is playing it tough, saying they’re not raising the bid. He made this quite clear in an interview with Reuters: “We can afford to make big investments in the engineering and marketing that needs to get done. We will do that with or without Yahoo.” In other words, if Yahoo doesn’t want the 44.6 bil, they’re gonna spend it elsewhere: at least the $19 billion they have in cash.

Of course, we all know that Microsoft is only acting indifference. In fact, if they don’t buy Yahoo, they’ll have a tough time turning those 19 billion dollars into a web platform that will be a decent competitor to Google; that’s why they went unsolicited on Yahoo in the first place. Gates, now a part-timer at Microsoft, had this to add: “There is nothing new in terms of the process. We’ve sent our letter and we’ve reinforced that we consider that it’s a very fair offer.” Meaning: it’s the only such offer you’ll get, Yahoo, and you better take it while it’s not too late. He might just be right with this one. ShareThis

Mozilla Messaging Spins Off To Develop Thunderbird 3
By Stan Schroeder (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 3:43:28 AM

The Mozilla Foundation has decided to further divide their efforts to create the perfect web browser and email application into two separate projects. Thus, Mozilla Messaging was created as a subsidiary of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation, with one initial goal: development of Thunderbird 3. Some concrete improvements for Thunderbird 3 are mentioned in the

official announcement, although it’s nothing we haven’t heard before: “…Thunderbird 3, which will deliver significant improvements, notably integrated calendaring, better search and enhancements to the overall user

experience.” In a long blog post, CEO David Ascher gives a bit more insight, especially about the long term plans for Thunderbird 3. Mozilla Messaging is wholly owned by the Mozilla foundation; it’s a

small team that will work together with the community of contributors from around the world. The board of directors consists of David Ascher, CEO, Mozilla Messaging; Christopher Beard, VP and General Manager, Mozilla Labs; and Marten Mickos, CEO of open source database vendor MySQL AB. ShareThis

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SCRIBD:11 continued from page
even further by releasing its API tools today as well. The new Scribd Platform allows web publishers to include the Scribd document-sharing tools in their own feature sets, including the new iPaper. As we’ve seen with FeVote and, Scribd has in fact been working on its thirdparty developer options for some time now, and is very much interested in bringing its tools to more developers out there. If that wasn’t enough for you, Scribd is sweetening the deal by offering monetization options for the first time, using the new iPaper technology. In conjunction with Google AdSense, documents viewed with iPaper can be sidled with Google ads directly in the viewer, displaying the ads in Flash. While Scribd isn’t the only to do this (both Yahoo and Adobe have dabbled in ad displays across PDF files), Scribd extends the monetization rewards to the publishers without requiring downloadable software and upgrades. ShareThis

John Munch strikes again!
By Jonathan Toomey (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 1:07:00 AM

Filed under: Law and Order, Celebrities, The Wire So who saw this past Sunday's episode of The Wire? If you did, then you probably saw the quick little cameo by Richard Belzer as a bar patron near the end of the episode. After I watched it, one question came to mind: was he playing John Munch? According to this NPR article, he was. However, the basis for the logic was subtle and only a serious TV buff would have picked up on it. Not even I caught it and I'm a huge Wire and Homicide fan. At one point during his conversation with the bartender (as Clark Johnson's character Gus Haynes walked by) Munch mentioned that he owned a bar once. Now if you recall, in the later seasons of Homicide, Munch did own a bar. Here's where it gets interesting though. Do you remember who he owned the bar with? Detective Meldrick Lewis... played by Clark Johnson. Crazy, huh? Anyway, here's the real point of this post. With this appearance on The Wire, Belzer has now played Munch on eight different programs. That's

insane! The only other characters to come close to that are Norm and Cliff (George Wendt and John Ratzenberger) from Cheers with seven distinct appearances each. Read on for more... Continue reading John Munch strikes again! Permalink | Email this | | Comments

The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Dungeons & Dragons
By Brad Trechak (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 3:09:00 PM

Podcast: A Conversation with Metacafe’s Michelle Cox
By Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 10:17:11 PM

Filed under: OpEd, The Sarah Connor Chronicles(S01E06) This episode was a definitive step up for the series. I have one or two minor quibbles about it, but this episode has been the highlight so far. The viewer is presented with the story of Derek Reese, who is Kyle Reese's brother and John Connor's uncle. This is done in the style of "future-flashes" in which we see Derek's story postJudgment Day and learn a lot of new information that answers some questions and creates a few more. I also got a little nerdy thrill out of myriad of references to the first Terminator movie (more on that shortly). I should have recognized the set used for the Resistance shelter. Was the "Hang In There Baby" lion picture in the first movie? If so, I don't recall it. I did like how they retouched the

Last week’s changes to Metacafe’s Producer Rewards Program spurred some really great conversations spanning from the technicalities of what the changes to the program were, what they should have been, what it was exactly that Metacafe was trying to bring out in their community with those changes, and the meaning of brand building for the online video content producer. Michelle Cox dropped me a couple of

emails over the course of the week, and that spurred a conversation that spilled over into the Mashable Conversations podcast that covered all of these topics, as well as the future of online video as Metacafe sees it (especially in light of the recent Revver purchase). The embed is available below, or you can download the MP3 file directly here. Get the Mashable Conversations podcast here. You can check out Metacafe here. ShareThis

Linda Hamilton photo to put in Lena Headey's image instead. It's like one those time changes from the movie Back To The Future in which you see time changing around the travelers. Continue reading The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Dungeons & Dragons Permalink | Email this | | Comments

Idol reveals first theme week; more upcoming changes
By Jason Hughes (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 2:05:00 AM

Filed under: American Idol, Alumni, News and GossipLooks like the promised Idolchanges are going to keep coming. Rather than wait until we have our Top 12, the "theme weeks" that Idol made famous are actually starting tonight with the full Top 24! This week's them is music from the '60s. Furthermore, producer

Nigel Lythgoe has announced that rather than a cavalcade of celebrity mentors traipsing in each week, there will only be four throughout the season meaning we'll definitely be getting that increased focus on the contestants we were promised. And how about that recently announced expansion of the results show to a full hour? Well, they're going to fill some of that extra time with "Where are they now?" segments on previous contestants. It's worked for other reality shows and I

have to say I applaud this move. After all, Idol alumni are part of the extended Idol family, and true fans like to know what they're up to and how things have been going for them. Of course, they should probably skip the Jessica Sierra catch-up just now. Permalink | Email this | | Comments


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Adam Carolla to appear on Dancing with the Stars
By Brad Trechak (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 12:19:00 PM

Do we still need PBS?
By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 4:27:00 AM

Filed under: OpEd, Dancing With The Stars, CastingAccording to MSNBC, former co-host of The Man Show and radio personality Adam Carolla will be appearing on Dancing with the Stars. He will be partnered with two-time winner of the show, Juliane Hough. I used to be a big fan of the Man Show and I cannot help but think that this is the sort of show that Adam and Jimmy Kimmel would have incessantly mocked when that show as on the air. Mind you, they mocked most anything that wasn't drinking, sports or Juggies. Mostly they mocked themselves. When a celebrity makes it to shows like Dancing With The Stars, it's a sign that their star has faded. I really hope Carolla surprises me and ends

up being a phenomenal dancer, but I think it'll end up being like Jerry Springer's appearance. It's interesting that he's on, but once he's booted from the show his participation will be forgotten. Permalink | Email this | | Comments

Filed under: Industry, Programming This question comes up at least once a year: do we still need PBS? Of course, I think the real question people want an answer to is, do we still need to fund PBS? Charles McGrath looks at both sides of the issue in this New York Times piece. The Bush administration (and let's face it, more than a few citizens) want to slice the annual budget for PBS in half. They've been trying for several years (there was even a West Wing episode where this was one of the plots), but every year they get their money. The main arguments against funding are twofold: 1.) is PBS really necessary in this age of 150 channels, and 2.) should we keep funding PBS since they do their own fund raising every year and also make money on the stuff they sell? The network pulls in less viewers now (though the

viewers that remain are loyal and help save the network every year). So what should happen? Continue reading Do we still need PBS? Permalink | Email this | | Comments

American Idol + Apple = BFF
By Allison Waldman (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 12:01:00 PM

Medium: Do You Hear What I Hear - VIDEO
By Paul Goebel (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 1:00:00 AM

Filed under: Industry, American Idol, PVR Wire, News and GossipYou can call it the beginning of a beautiful relationship, or it may seem like a license to print money, but any way you view it, today's announcement that Apple will be the signature sponsor for Fox's American Idol-that Apple will have exclusive audio and video performance download rights for AI -- is huge. The deal, effective immediately, ensures that all Idol performance downloads will now only be available on Apple's iTunes store. In addition, iTunes will sponsor online streaming of contestant performances on the official American Idol web site. Each and every time you click on the AI site, you'll see links for iPods and

iTouches and iPhones, all the cool players and gadgets that Apple sells. And every time you click on the Apple site, you'll see links to Idol.

Filed under: Medium, Video, Episode Reviews (S04E04) " " - The cast of Medium There are probably a lot of things about being deaf that are not pleasant but not being able to listen to a Godzilla movie is one that never occurred to me. I understand that actors will often be typecast into a certain role and may play similar characters on television, but I would think the casting director for Mediumwould have a little more sense than to cast Dr. Martin Candle

from Lostas the hearing specialist. Continue reading Medium: Do You Hear What I Hear - VIDEO Permalink | Email this | | Comments

Continue reading American Idol + Apple = BFF Permalink | Email this | | Comments

Prison Break: The Art of the Deal (season finale) - VIDEO
By Jonathan Toomey (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 1:01:00 PM

Filed under: OpEd, Video, Prison Break, Episode Reviews (S03E13) "You know, you're the first person to ever break out of Sona." Gretchen This was a great episode. Really solid and enjoyable. However, you can see

why it was originally meant to be the mid-season finale and not a season ender. There are just simply too many questions left hanging and, for lack of a better way to put it, it just doesn't feel right. Fans of Prison Break, you know what I mean. As far as finales go, this wasn't satisfying. While it left me yearning for more, I'm equally annoyed. Plenty of other shows are coming back with four or five new episodes starting in about a month, so

could be the last we'll see of Michael and Lincoln. Continue reading Prison Break: The Art of the Deal (season finale) VIDEO Read | Permalink | Email this | | Comments why not Prison Break? What really worries me? No word on any sort of renewal from FOX. This very well

Stump the King: Transformers - VIDEO
By Paul Goebel (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 12:00:00 AM

Filed under: Video, Animation, Ask TV Squad I may be wrong but I think last week's question may have been the first one to go the entire week without being answered. The question was, "In the TV Movie, The Nashville Grab, what was the name of the restaurant chain owned by Conaway's

This week's question comes form a Transformers fan who really made me work. Michael Fantauzzo asked me, " Who did Blackarachnia fall in love with?" Continue reading Stump the King: Transformers - VIDEO character Buddy Walker?" The answer was Spaghetti in a Sack. I swear, it really was. Permalink | Email this | | Comments

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New DVD Picks of the Week: 'American Gangster' & 'Michael Clayton'
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 4:02:00 AM

Filed under: New Releases, DVD Reviews, New on DVD, Home EntertainmentAmerican Gangster There's nothing quite as unsightly as smuggling your heroin into the country by hiding it with the slain soldiers returning from Vietnam. But what is quite slightly is a cast of excellent actors to tell the story -namely Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Josh Brolin, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. From the directorial hands of Ridley Scott, the film follows the story of the infamous Frank Lucas -a man who soared from lowly driver to huge drug kingpin -- one who controlled Manhattan's heroin trade. On the one side there's Frank, making boatloads of money and being a heroin powerhouse. On the other, there's the man (Crowe) who tries to bring him down. And, in my continuing efforts to give Joe Morton as much props as I can, he pops up in the film as Charlie Williams. As for the DVD, the main one looks pretty darned tempting. You've got both the original theatrical version and extended, unrated version on the first disc, plus a whole slew on the second: deleted scenes (inc. an alternate opening), a feature-length documentary on making the film, and "Case Files" -- 3 segments on how the film was brought to life. However, there's also a super 3-Disc

at a big law firm who knows how to clean up the messes and avoid embarrassment at work, but not so much at home. When his colleague goes nuts, he is not only struggling with himself but also the fight to save the company's name. As James Rocchi described it in his review: "Michael Clayton is at its best when it sticks to hard-bitten, this-is-how-theworld-works scenes between employers and employees, fathers and sons, executives and lawyers. Gilroy (with the help of supremely talented cinematographer Robert Elswit) captures a chilly world of urban grandeur and decay where the light's as gray as the choices people make." The DVD features aren't plentiful, but there are some additional scenes and a commentary that features writer/director Tony Gilroy and editor John Gilroy. Check Out James' Review | Buy the DVD Other New DVD Releases (February 19) Lust, Caution In the Valley of Elah Rendition Margot at the Wedding Check out Peter Martin's Indies on DVD for even more new releases.Permalink | Email this | Comments

Oscar Predictions: José the Cabbie
By Christopher Campbell (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 1:02:00 PM

Filed under: Awards, George Clooney, Oscar Watch The last movie José saw was The Simpsons Movie. And he didn't seem to know much about this year's Oscar race. And he was much more interested in telling me about the fare before me, a beautiful woman who apparently flashed him. But I decided to ask him for at least some random predictions anyway. See, it was late Friday night (actually technically early Saturday morning), I'd had a few too many to drink and I really, really wanted someone to just make sense of the 2008 Academy Award nominees. Aside from the Best Actor race, none of the categories seem to have a sure thing. It's really anybody's guess who will pick up Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress. So why not ask José, a NYC cab driver originally from El Salvador, for his less-than-expert opinion? He's got a good chance of bettering the predictions of the pundits anyway. Before I get to José's picks, though, I must acknowledge that I borrowed the ask-a-cabbie idea from the NYC publication The L Magazine, which includes in each issue a regular feature called Fare is Fair, in which random cab drivers around the city are asked their opinions on a topical issue. I've never before seen The L do this with the Oscars, so I've done it myself, and I hope they don't mind. Consider it a form of flattery, because really it's my favorite piece to read on the subway every other week when the latest issue arrives in the street corner bins. And now a transcript of my and José's conversation: Continue reading Oscar Predictions: José the CabbiePermalink | Email this | Comments

Edition: Aside from the above goodies, there's a booklet, and a whole third music-centric disc if you want to get down with guns, drugs, and tunes. Check Out James' Review | Buy the DVD Michael Clayton It's already surprised many for scoring itself 7 Oscar nominations this year, including Best Motion Picture and Best Director, but while it may come as an awards surprise, it is still a solid film and a great alternative to George Clooney's Ocean's fare. This time around, Clooney stars as Clayton, the "fixer"

Ryan Reynolds Suits Up for 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine'
By Erik Davis (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 2:02:00 PM

Filed under: Action, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Casting, RumorMonger, Fandom, Comic/Superhero/Geek, Remakes and Sequels Definitely, or maybe? According to AICN, Ryan Reynolds is definitely showing up in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as the character Deadpool -- which not only means there may be a new spinoff franchise in the works, but that this new Wolverine prequel will be chock-full of groovy comic characters. As per Wiki, the character is "Nicknamed the "Merc with a Mouth", Deadpool is a high-tech mercenary known for his wisecracks, black humor, and satirical pop-culture references. Like the X-Men's Wolverine, Deadpool is the product of the Canadian government's paramilitary Weapon X program, although his place of birth is unknown. After Weapon X cured his

terminal cancer by implementing a regenerative "healing factor" extracted from Wolverine, Deadpool is left disfigured and mentally unstable." Sounds like the perfect comic book character for Reynolds, who's made a

name for himself in the comedic realm and always looks relaxed in front of the camera. But can he kick ass? Additionally, Film School Rejects also claims to have received information indicating that The Blob will make an appearance in Wolverine as well. The character is just that -- a friggin' giant blob-ish mutant who "possesses an extreme amount of pliable body mass, which grants him superhuman strength and his own gravitational pull. Possessing the mindset of a bully, he mostly uses his powers for petty crime and as a member of the Brotherhood of Mutants and Freedom Force." Fat dudes, funny men -- seems like Wolvy will get rather dirty in this one. What do you think about adding both these characters into the mix? Too much? Permalink | Email this | Comments



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Gambit Cast in 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine!'
By Erik Davis (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 1:32:00 AM

Filed under: Action, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Casting, RumorMonger, Fandom, Comic/Superhero/Geek, Remakes and Sequels Have we finally reached an age where practically the entire cast for a huge, highly-anticipated movie is announced not through the trades, but on various movie news websites? I think we have, and I think the name of that movie is X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Last night, we told you how Ryan Reynolds was suiting up to play Deadpool in the spin-off flick, and now Superhero Hype tells us Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) has signed a three-picture deal to star as Gambit (aka Remy Lebeau) in the Gavin Hood-directed film, due out May 1, 2009. Gambit, a fellow mutant and member of the X-Men, "possesses the ability to manipulate kinetic energy as well as limited hypnosis. He is also skilled in card throwing, hand-to-hand combat, and the use of a Bo, " so says Wiki. When you compare a picture of the character to Kitsch, they look almost exactly the same -- so it's a good match in that department. Fans have been itching to see Gambit show up on the big screen for some time

now; the character had his name show up in X2 when Mystique hacked a system holding mutant names, and he was rumored to be involved in XMen: The Last Stand, with a bunch of actors auditioning for the role, but never showed up. Originally, he was supposed to appear in the prison convoy scene. X-Men Origins: Wolverine will star Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Liev Schreiber (Sabretooth), Danny Huston (William Stryker), Lynn Collins (Silver Fox) and (we think) Ryan Reynolds (as Deadpool). Talk about an eclectic cast! What do you think?Permalink | Email this | Comments

Tuesday Morning Poll: No Love for 'The Incredible Hulk?'
By Erik Davis (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 3:02:00 AM

Filed under: Action, Fandom, DIY/Filmmaking, Movie Marketing, Comic/Superhero/Geek, Remakes and Sequels, Monday Morning Poll I'm still amazed that we've only seen two images from this summer's The Incredible Hulk so far (not counting toys), considering the other big summer blockbuster flicks have already shelled out loads of images, trailers, behind-the-scenes featurettes -- what have you? At this point, we've seen more from the new Star Trek film (which bows in May, 2009) than we have The Incredible Hulk (which comes out on June 13). And at the beginning of each week, I usually predict the Hulk trailer is only two or three days away -- but alas, it never comes. Could this be why fans are so hesitant to put Hulk on their mustwatch list this summer?

The First Trailer for 'Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D'
By Jessica Barnes (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 1:02:00 AM

Filed under: Action, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, New Line, Family Films, Movie Marketing, Trailers and ClipsSo while I haven't read Journey to the Center of the Earth in years, after watching the new trailer for the 3-D kid's flick, I doubt it would matter even if I did remember the source material. Cineplex is now hosting the first trailer for the digital kiddie flick based on Jules Verne's classic novel. The film was directed by Eric Brevig (who has the dubious credit of Captain EO on his IMDB resume) and stars Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, and Anita Briem. Besides being the first wide-release film to be released exclusively in the Real D Cinema format, Journey is an update on Verne's original story about three adventurers in, well, a journey to the center of the earth. Michael Weiss' script does away with a lot of the original plot; Fraser now stars as Trevor, a scientist who is the laughing stock of the academic community and who likes to teach his son (Hutcherson) about Jules Verne's book. It turns into the field trip of a lifetime when Trevor proves to the

We recently asked you which films you were most anticipating in 2008, and only a very small amount put The Incredible Hulk on their list. Furthermore, Moviehole cites a recent Blockbuster poll (asking readers which summer film they were anticipating the most) which found the flick coming in dead last with 1% of the vote, behind Speed Racer. Yet, it's hard to imagine why folks would be so iffy on this new version of the Hulk when the cast absolutely rocks (c'mon -- Tim Roth is your friggin' villain!). So why isn't there more love? Is it because the Ang Lee version left a sour taste? Is it because the studio refuses to promote the film? Is it because there are that many better looking films to choose from? Let's try to figure this one out in the poll below -- and please answer honestly. View PollPermalink | Email this | Comments

Madonna's Movie: Straight to iTunes?
By Eric D. Snider (Cinematical)
kid that these stories are very real. Erik had brought us the poster for the film back in January, and there have been a few photos, but this is the first trailer to hit the net. After watching the trailer once or twice, I'm afraid to tell you that there isn't all that much to recommend (I guess you really do need the 3-D). Luckily, I don't have any little ones that I have to take to the movies, so I think I will be skipping this one. Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D opens July 11th, 2008. [via Empire]Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments
Submitted at 2/19/2008 2:32:00 AM

Filed under: Drama, Independent, Distribution, Cinematical IndieRemember Madonna? Talented, cone-chested singer, somewhat less successful in the movie department? You may have heard (possibly from us) that she directed a movie called Filth and Wisdom that had its world premiere at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival. Kim Voynar reports that it was mostly positively received, while Anne Thompson at Varietysays it was "badly reviewed." Either way, it's Madonna, and she's really famous -- and now it looks like her film might skip theaters and DVD and go straight to iTunes. Variety is our source, and while their headline -- "Madonna puts 'Filth' up for download" -- makes it sound like it's a done deal, the subhead and the

story make it clear that the download option is merely being considered. (Note to Variety: It's better if the headline conveys information that is a) true and b) found in the story. I'm just sayin'.)

MADONNA'S page 17

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Mattel's LedgerInspired Joker Doll Revealed!
By Erik Davis (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 2:02:00 AM

It's Official: Toshiba Dumps HD-DVD!
By Erik Davis (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 3:32:00 AM

Filed under: Action, Warner Brothers, Celebrities and Controversy, Fandom, Newsstand, Home Entertainment, M o v i e M a r k e t i n g , Comic/Superhero/Geek, Remakes and Sequels, Images Though it's only been a week since Heath Ledger was permanently laid to rest, Warner Bros. is slowly bringing back its marketing campaign for The Dark Knight. Mattel has revealed images of its Ledgerinspired Joker dolls; the first of which will retail at $7.99 and features a rocket launcher that can be placed in the Joker's hand. The second doll (pictured to the right) is a slightly larger, more detailed version created by action-figure designers the Four Horsemen. It will retail at $10.99. The image comes from The New York Post, who revealed it along with a quote from the Ledger family: "Heath was very proud of his work in the film, and his family is aware and supportive of Warner Bros. and its partner's plans for the movie." Mattel will sell two versions of the doll, with both hitting toy shelves this May (two months prior to The Dark Knight landing in theaters on July 18). Mattel claims Ledger's death is "not exactly a marketing point," and that

"kids are going to buy the toy if they like the movie." Yes, but the toy comes out two months before the movie does. Then again, the character is so recognizable, I really don't think it matters. But what do you think: Should Mattel and Warner Bros. have waited until closer to the film's release to shovel a Ledger-like doll onto toy shelves? Or is this marketing tactic a normal one?Permalink | Email this | Comments

Filed under: Tech Stuff, Newsstand, Home Entertainment Well, it's just about done. We told you the other day that Toshiba would most likely concede to Blu-ray this week, and they have officially done just that. With the manufacturer and distributor of HD-DVD consumer products out of the way, one assumes Blu-ray will reign supreme within the next couple of months. For those that have already invested in Toshiba's HD-DVD products, they will still offer support and continue to stock parts for the next eight years. There's no word as of yet whether Paramount and other Hollywood HD-DVD supporters will turn, though we should expect announcements in the very near future. Keep in mind I don't know all the technical differences between the two formats (sorry folks, I'm limited in that area), but at first glance -- and from a marketing standpoint -- I totally thought HD-DVD would eventually win this war. My friend and I always said that consumers would go with the name they most

easily related to. If they had an HD TV, they would buy an HD-DVD player. It just seemed right. But I guess the flashier name won out. On a personal note, I'm happy I opted to side with Blu-ray this past Christmas, because now I'm not out all that money. Had you picked a side yet? And how do you HD-DVD supporters feel about all this? For the complete Toshiba press release, head on over to our sister site Engadget.Permalink | Email this | Comments

SF Indiefest Scene Report -- The 5th Annual The Big Lebowski Party
By James Rocchi (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/18/2008 12:02:00 PM

Filed under: Comedy, Festival Reports, Fandom, Images, Cinematical Indie One of the SF Indiefest's best-loved events is the Annual The Big

LebowskiParty, where San Francisco's film fans drink and dress up in honor of The Dude. Cinematical was there at this Saturday's party, held at Space Gallery on Polk Street, where nihilists milled among bathrobe-clad slackers, White Russians were served and cries of 'Over the line!" filed the air. The

by Kristi Highum. Gallery: SFIndiefest Big Lebowski partyPermalink | Email this | Comments gallery of photos below should give you a sense of the fun; all photos are

MADONNA'S continued from page 16
The Material Girl tells the trade publication: "I've been speaking to iTunes about releasing it through them.... I want the most amount of people to see it as possible.... I don't like to do anything conventionally." Ah, yes. It's not the lack of interest from potential distributors that has made Madonna consider releasing the film online; it's her desire to be unconventional. Continue reading Madonna's Movie: Straight to iTunes?Permalink | Email this | Comments