Google’s My Tracks GPS-powered Android app the ultimate outdoor activity companion

Over at The Official Google Blog, a GPS-powered Android application called My Tracks has been announced. The application uses the GPS built into Android handsets such as T-Mobile’s G1 to capture your location during outdoor activities and presents live statistics such as speed, total distance, and elevation.

It’s a great application for running, biking, hiking and any other outdoor sport/activity that can use data analysis for training purposes. Plus you can send your performance statistics to Google Docs and mark places or describe activities for others via Google Maps.
Okay, so how’s it different? It doesn’t require a secondary GPS receiver or software installation on your computer for one. Secondly it doesn’t require you to upload your training statistics to the computer once your workout or activity is over. It can all be done directly from your phone.
My Tracks is the latest location-based service to be announced by Google coming from its 20% program. The program allows Google employees to use 20% of their work time for outside development projects. The location signatures now present in Google’s email platform Gmail is an example of another 20% project. Between these two new services and the launch of Google’s friend-finding application Latitude last week, it’s clear the company believes location is gradually integrating itself into every aspect of our lives.
My Tracks is now available to download from the Android Market. Check out the demo video below.


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iTunes on demand streaming incoming!

iTunes could be getting on demand streaming in the next update according to new reports. It would let iTunes users stream their library to any location, direct from Apple iTunes servers. Find out how Apple plans to tackleiPlayer with iTunes on demand streaming, after the jump!
Two separate - though anonymous - sources have confirmed that Apple is working on an on demand streaming service for iTunes, dubbed iTunes Replay.
The premise is simple: instead of having to download music and videos first, you’ll be able to stream them instantly from Apple’s servers. It means that, once you’ve paid, you’ll have access to your iTunes library anywhere you can get online, whether it contains music, movies or TV shows.
Very generous, we think, and while there are no further details (will it work on theiPhone? Over 3G?), it does at least raise the possibility of an iTunes subscription service. We’ll keep you posted.


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Acer X960 and Acer DX650 VGA HSDPA Smartphone Leaked

Acer first Smartphones, X960 and DX650 is leaked before the actual show down at the MWC press conference next week.

Acer DX650 is a cool looking smartphone with two screen at each side of the smartphone. The first side is filled with large 2.8-inch QVGA touchscreen with two button, while the other side is pretty crowded because of the numberic keypad, a digicam and 1.27-inch monochrome.
In the other side, Acer X960 the sibling of DX650 has no double screen convenience. The 2.8-inch screen is paired with the camera in the front view, while you will find another camera at the rear side for video calling purpose.
Both of them is operated by Windows Mobile but the version remain unknown. Other specs such as GPS, WiFi, MicroSD Slot and HSDPA is something that you’ll expect to have on both of this new Acer Smartphones. More detail specs should be available this 16th.

(via Slash Gear)

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Google Spurns Radio Ads; Will Develop AdSense For Streaming Audio Instead

Last month Google gave up on serving newspaper ads; now the search giant is calling the radio business quits. In a post on Google’s blog, the company will exit the broadcast radio business and instead focus on streaming audio. The Google Audio Ads and AdSense for Audio products will be phased out; Google also plans to sell the Google Radio Automation business, the software that automates broadcast radio programming. Advertisers will still to be able to use Google Audio Ads until May 31. Google didn’t offer a specific reason for its decision to abandon radio ads. But even the search giant has been affected by the economic downturn and radio, like newspapers, have been struggling mightily. As UBS Equities analyst Matthieu Coppet stated in his revised media ad spend report yesterday, radio ad spend is expected to fall 8 percent this year.

Google got into the radio business in January 2006, when it bought dMarc Broadcasting, a digital solutions provider for radio. The deal was for $102 million cash consideration with earn-out targets that, at the time, were valued at up to $1.136 billion. The company’s founders, Chad and Ryan Steelberg, left Google a year after the purchase offer was made.

At least one radio ad sales company is welcoming Google’s entry into the streaming audio space. In an e-mail exchange, Doug Perlson, CEO of CBS-backed streaming media ad firm TargetSpot, told us, “Having Google introduce their million-plus advertisers to ... the highly targeted streaming audio ad market further validates its value. Google will have a positive impact to the entire internet radio community. We welcome their entry into the space.”

Updated: Rafat adds: At least 40 people will lose their jobs as a result of this closure, reports NYT, and others may get different jobs at Google (NSDQ: GOOG). Also, no word on whether the founders got any earnout from Google, though we doubt considering they left a year after. Google has mentioned regularly in its filings that it has yet to realize any significant revenues from the dMarc acquisition, though that “significant” amount has never been disclosed.


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Yes, There Is a Windows 7 Upgrade Program

Microsoft issued a draft of the Windows 7 Technical Guarantee Program to their OEM partners on December 10, giving them exactly one month to provide their feedback before Microsoft finalizes the program details. We managed to obtain a copy of the draft, which tentatively refers to the program as the "Windows 7 Upgrade Program". Let's take a look at the key points outlined in the draft.
The Windows 7 Upgrade Program is designed to assist Microsoft's OEM partners in minimizing the number of end users who may postpone acquiring a new computer because of the impending release of the Windows 7 operating system. This program allows OEMs to offer an upgrade to Windows 7 to end users who qualify.

Which pretty much means nobody's qualified, yet. This is for people who are about to buy a PC with Vista, not those who already have (unless you've a very generous OEM).

And I mean we should all be upset, right? There's just no sense in developing a product over the course of years, eagerly anticipated by so many people, and then not giving it away! It's like, they're being all accountable and junk.

Man, just look, I want something and I want my money, too. Can't they get that?


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Garmin-Asus Announces New Windows Mobile Phone

Garmin-Asus M20

The Garmin-Asus partnership announced a new phone today, the Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional-based nuvifone M20. The M20 has tri-band GSM/EDGE and dual-band HSDPA 3G radios, as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. It uses a software QWERTY keyboard for messaging features and ties many aspects of the phone’s functions to location-based services. Garmin-Asus says that the M20 integrates GPS into the calendar, contacts, email, and internet applications. The M20 will be preloaded with maps and points of interest, and can provide turn-by-turn directions. It has a 2.8-inch VGA display (640×480), a 3 megapixel that can geo-tag images, and either 4 or 8GB of on-board storage. Garmin is also introducing Ciao!, a new set of software that links GPS information to various social networks to help identify the whereabouts of friends and family. Pricing and availability will be announced later this year.

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Samsung Introduces “Blue Earth” - the First Solar Powered Full-Touch Phone

EOUL, South Korea--Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. today unveiled the innovative solar powered full-touch screen phone “Blue Earth”, alongside Samsung’s vision for environmental sustainability. Under the slogan: “The Blue Earth Dream: Eco-living with SAMSUNG mobile”, Samsung reinforced its commitment to protect the environment through the design of eco-friendly products and a programme of activities for its customers. It will be showcased at Mobile World Congress 2009 for the first time.

Designed to symbolize a flat and well rounded shiny pebble, Blue Earth is the first solar powered full-touch screen phone. By charging with the solar panel located on the back of the phone, users can generate enough electronic power to call anytime anywhere.

Blue Earth is made from recycled plastic called PCM, which is extracted from water bottles, helping to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions in the manufacturing process. The device, including charger, is free from harmful substances such as Brominated Flame Retardants, Beryllium and Phthalate.

The latest in a series of eco-friendly products, Blue Earth comes with a unique user interface which is designed to draw attention to preserving our fragile environment. Simple to set screen brightness, backlight duration and Bluetooth to an energy-efficient mode, this new user interface allows the user to be energy-efficient with just one click of ’Eco mode’. Through the ‘eco walk’ function the user can count their steps with an in-built pedometer, calculating how much CO2 emissions have been reduced by walking as opposed to motor transport. This unique function allows user to calculate the value of this footprint through the number of trees that have been saved.

The packaging for Blue Earth is designed to be both small and light, made from recycled paper, and comes with a 5 star energy efficient charger which uses standby power lower than 0.03W. As part of the Voluntary Agreement of European Commission IPP (Integrated Product Policy) pilot program, Samsung has agreed to start using rating on energy consumption on the no-load mode of the mobile device charger.

“Samsung’s ‘The Blue Earth Dream’ demonstrates our small but meaningful commitments for the future and our environment,” said Mr. JK Shin, Executive Vice President and Head of Mobile Communication Division of Samsung Electronics. "We are committed to achieving the highest eco-status with our customers and business partners by providing the best eco-products and promoting eco-activities.”

Get in touch with Samsung Mobile! Learn more about ‘The Blue Earth Dream’ and other eco-friendly initiatives at (The site will be opened on February 16) and visit us at Hall 8, Stand 8a139 at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona.

About The Blue Earth Dream

The Blue Earth Dream conveys hope and sets goals for sustainable growth and life. In increasing environmental awareness, Samsung is developing ways to reduce CO2 emissions and to save energy at every stage of the product life cycle, as an effective response to climate change. Milestones have been put in place to eliminate hazardous substances from handsets and packaging will be designed from recycled materials. Samsung will encourage its customers to recycle handsets at a growing number of special take-back points worldwide.

About Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies with 2007 consolidated sales of US$105 billion. Employing approximately 150,000 people in 134 offices in 62 countries, the company consists of two main business units: Digital Media & Communications and Device Solutions. Recognized as one of the fastest growing global brands, Samsung Electronics is a leading producer of digital TVs, memory chips, mobile phones and TFT-LCDs. For more information, please visit

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Microsoft To Open Retail Stores a-la Apple

When I heard that Microsoft will be opening retail stores a-la Apple, my first reaction was, what are they going to sell in there? Windows? Zunes? Xboxes?

In a statement, Microsoft said it hired David Porter as its corporate vice president of retail stores. The former Wal-Mart Stores executive’s first mission will be to define where and when to open the Microsoft stores.

“The purpose of opening these stores is to create deeper engagement with consumers and continue to learn firsthand about what they want and how they buy,” Microsoft said.

But in this economy, these stores will have to do more than just showcase Microsoft technologies and products; they will have to make money selling Microsoft products and even perhaps competitors!

Microsoft could be competing with existing retailers, partners

However, Microsoft’s main problem will be not to irk existing retail partners like Best Buy or Wal-Mart, and OEMs such H-P, Dell, by favouring some and leaving others out of its stores.

A dilemma that Apple did not have as it makes both the hardware and the software (operating system and applications) for its computers; although affecting some smaller Apple retailers that eventually closed shop.

At the same time, large electronic retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Fry’s and others are still important distributors of Apple computers. And large mainstream stores such as Wal-Mart or Target are selling truck loads of iPods.

But Microsoft is no Apple!


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Company, officials indicted for fraud in Iowa

DES MOINES — Federal authorities on Thursday announced the arrests and indictments of 11 people in six states — including Massachusetts — as part of an investigation into visa and mail fraud.

An indictment names Vision Systems Group Inc., a New Jersey company that has an office in Coon Rapids, Iowa.

U.S. Attorney Matthew Whitaker said the information technology company brought highly educated foreign workers into the United States to fill supposed vacancies in high-tech jobs.

The company is accused of filing documents with the government showing the workers were employed in Iowa, where they could be paid less than if they worked on the coasts.

"We allege those workers were actually on the coasts working in much higher-wage jobs although they were receiving wages that were the prevailing wage in Iowa and thereby, we allege, dislocating and displacing United States workers that could have done those jobs in those locations," Whitaker said.

The government also is seeking the forfeiture of $7.4 million in proceeds raised through the alleged offenses.

Whitaker said the workers came to the country under an H-1B visa, which allows college educated foreign workers to come to the U.S. to fill vacancies in high-tech jobs, such as computer programming and engineering.

"This is an enforcement effort that points to a significant vulnerability in our visa process and we're trying ... to close these loopholes and to take away the incentive to conduct these fraudulent schemes," Whitaker said. "This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as this investigation goes."

According to the 10-count indictment, Vision Systems Group and some of its workers submitted false statements and documents in support of their visa petitions, and that the false documents were mailed or wired to state and federal agencies.

The documents include certifying to the Department of Labor the name of each worker, the job they are performing, the wage they are being paid and the location where they are working.

The indictment alleges that Vision Systems Group failed to maintain a permanent office for workers in Iowa, but Whitaker declined to comment on whether the Coon Rapids office identified in documents was an operating office.

Some company workers are accused of mailing tax returns with W-2's attached to the Iowa Department of Revenue when they actually worked in other states.

Only 65,000 skilled workers are allowed into the U.S. on H-1B visas. They can stay in the country for three years with an option for an additional three years.

The workers who were arrested Wednesday are: Shiva Neeli, arrested in Boston on conspiracy and mail fraud charges; Ramakrishna Maguluri, arrested in Atlanta on conspiracy and mail fraud charges; Villiappan Subbaiah, arrested in Dallas on conspiracy and mail fraud charges; Suresh Pola; arrested in Philadelphia on conspiracy and mail fraud charges; Chockalingham Palaniappan, arrested in San Jose, Calif., on conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud charges; Vijay Myneni, arrested in San Jose, Calif., on conspiracy and mail fraud charges; Venkata Guduru, arrested in New Jersey on conspiracy and mail fraud charges; Amit Justa, arrested in New Jersey on conspiracy and mail fraud charges; and Karambir Yadav, arrested in Louisville, Ky., on conspiracy and mail fraud charges.

Vishnu Reddy, who was arrested in Los Angeles on conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud charges and named in a separate indictment, was identified as the president of Pacific West Corporation, of Santa Clara, Calif. Another indictment named Praveen Andapally, who was arrested in New Jersey on conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and for false statement in immigration matter. He identified as president of Venturisoft Inc., of South Plainfield, N.J.

Whitaker could not immediately identify the country of origin of each individual but said that some of the workers are from India and Pakistan.

Mike Aytes, acting deputy director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the H-1B program is a good program but that some adjustments will be made.

"We're because it illustrates some vulnerabilities in the program, vulnerabilities that this kind of investigation is helping to deal with and we expect we will make some additional adjustments in the program based on what we found here to ensure the integrity of the immigration system in the United States," Aytes said.

Whitaker said those who were arrested are not considered a national security risk and are interviewed before they enter the country.

"Ever since Sept. 11, 2001, we have vetted these employees ... so even though they're not in the same location they're supposed to be and there may have been fraud conducted on the documents, at the same time there are other systems in place that should review these folks for national security issues," he said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Social Security Administration all participated in the investigation.


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Beverly Eckert, widow of 9/11 victim, was aboard Flight 3407

The usually joyful meet-and-greet area of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport was a corridor of tears and sorrow early this morning as family and friends of those aboard Continental Express Flight 3407 filed in to get official word of their loved ones' fates.

For Sue Bourque, the wait for confirmation regarding her sister, Beverly Eckert, was all too familiar. Eckert is the widow of Sean Rooney, a Buffalo native who lost his life in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Eckert was traveling to Buffalo for a weekend celebration of what would have been her husband's 58th birthday. She also had planned to take part in presentation of a scholarship award at Canisius High School that she established in honor of her late husband.

Bourque said that while the family had not yet received official confirmation of her sister's fate, the reality was settling in. "We know she was on that plane," Bourque said, "and now she's with him."

Eckert, Rooney's high school sweetheart, continued to live in their home in Stamford, Conn., after the terrorists' attacks of 2001. As co-chairwoman of Voices of Sept. 11, she pushed for a formal commission to investigate intelligence failures and for a proper memorial to the victims.

Family members and friends identified two other people believed to be on the plane as Ellyce Kausner, a graduate of Clarence High School and Canisius College who was studying law at Florida Coastal University in Jacksonville, and Maddy Loftus, a Buffalo State College graduate who lives in New Jersey.

Friends said Loftus was heading here for a weekend reunion of Buffalo State women hockey players. One friend said she may have been flying with other young women heading here for the same reunion.

"You never think this is going to happen to you," Kausner's aunt, Susan Leckey, also from Clarence, said at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. "It always happens to somebody else, and you see it on TV."

Those waiting to pick up passengers from the ill-fated flight at the time of the crash were ushered to the USAirways Lounge, where airline employees answered general questions and offered consolation, beverages and snacks. A chaplain also was brought in to calm the distraught loved ones.

But formal conformation was not expected to be given until later this morning, when Continental corporate officials could be flown to Buffalo.

"We know they're dead. Why can't they just tell us or take us to ID them," said one grieving man who declined to give his name.

Passengers arriving for early morning flights also were subdued.

"I really don't feel like getting on a plane right now," said Runda Ry, who had driven from Toronto to catch a flight to Atlanta.

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Insert Obligatory Valentines Day Post Here

cupid is dead

It’s Valentines Day Eve and all through the house, not a creature is stirring, not even a….
Oh my bad, that’s the other highly commercialized holiday.
I’m not going to sit here and gripe about how much I detest Valentines Day (well maybe just a little) but I just find it to be another useless time of year manufactured and perpetuated by card & chocolate makers. Even when I wasn’t single last year, the sociopath and I were returning from a week in Puerto Rico a day or two before Valentines Day and I didn’t want to deal with the hoopla then, so not much has changed.
I remember growing up and the whole concept of Valentines Day was force feed in elementary school. Everyone had to bring in those little single sided cards you’d get from the grocery store and hand them out. I remember sitting at the kitchen table scribbling the same message over & over & over again, twenty something cards later, I was cursing under my breath because my hand caught a cramp. Oh and lets not forget the nasty little candy with the messages on them, to me they reminded me of fruit flavored Tums or chalk.

In 7th grade I have one memory stands out vividly. The girl who smelled like pee (you know every school had one), decided to join in and give out cards. I felt bad for her because every time she passed someone’s desk and gave them a card, you could hear the laughter from the students. I remember seeing her during recess sans cards and with tears in her eyes. Now I’m not sure whatever became of her, but, I’m hoping her Valentines Days have drastically improved. Actually, I think I’ll look her up on Facebook, because everybody and their momma (well probably just my mother) has a Facebook page nowadays.
Now that I have a child of my own, I don’t force the idea of Valentines Day on him, but I still see schools haven’t changed. This week he came home with a letter requesting snack donations for their little party.
Now here’s what I dont’ understand.
It’s ok for Valentines Day to be celebrated in the schools, but it’s not ok for each kid, regardless of their religion to pray in school? It’s ok for kids to believe that there was actually some cross-dressing midget with a cloth diaper flying around assaulting people with his bow & arrow in hopes that they’d fall in love, but it’s not ok for a kid to pray to either Jesus, Allah or whomever?
So needless to say, my son will not have any cards to give out or little chalky tasting heart candies with messages on them. When I did give him the option earlier this week to hand out cards, his only question was, did he have to pay for them himself or if I would, because if it had to come out of his own money, he’d rather spend it on something worthwhile. Now, I’m not sure if that thought process will follow him down the road when a female tries to get him to buy her something for Valentines Day when he’s older, but he definitely gets his sarcasm honestly.
So this year for Valentines Day, more than likely I’ll spend it doing my taxes, maybe grab dinner & drinks with a “friend”, but there will be no pomp & circumstance. Honestly, I look forward to the day after, when all of the boxes of candy go on sale at CVS, it’s a recession, 50% off, you can’t be that!


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Review: Friday the 13th

'Friday the 13th' (2009)
They nearly did it. The first 20-25 minutes of the new Friday the 13th threatened to tear the roof off my lowered expectations for a reboot of a devalued franchise that began nearly 30 years ago. After a tentative flashback, the set-up in the present day was classically simple, the action flared up in mean and bloody outbursts, and Jason's appearance was note-perfect. I was starting to tense up, feeling the weight of gut-level dread in the pit of my stomach.

Then came a narrative pause, after which the movie never quite regains its footing.

Oh, Friday the 13th delivers the goods, in the same sense that Domino's delivers pizza. By now, anyone who goes to see "a Jason movie" knows what to expect. Before the screening began, in fact, audience members were betting how the first victim would be dispatched: In the bathroom! Swimming! Having sex! Wandering alone in the forest! We expect a high body count, creative 'kill scenes,' some nudity, some tasteless jokes, dumb behavior by good-looking teenagers, and a plucky yet tough heroine as the 'final girl.' Jason must wear a hockey mask, wield multiple weapons of mass destruction (including a machete), and appear suddenly behind his victims, looming out of the shadows, just before he strikes.

Director Marcus Nispel, producer Michael Bay, and their numerous writing, producing, and behind-the-scenes colloborators provide all that's expected, as well as some changes (which I won't spoil). For all their apparent willingness to try out new ingredients, though, they don't tamper too much with the recipe. While the film maintains a serious edge -- with the expected and welcome comic relief -- it never delves too deeply into darker territories.

The original Friday the 13th may have been a shameless rip-off of John Carpenter's Halloween, but director Sean S. Cunningham tapped into a primal fear. It's scary to think that you might be killed by a stranger for no apparent reason. The prospect of a bladed weapon, be it an ax, an arrow, or a hunting knife, tearing into your flesh is frightening. No less unsettling is the idea of facing a murderous creature when you're at your most vulnerable: completely naked, as Hitchcock and Spielberg understood.

I feel foolish now for hoping that Friday the 13th would dare to explore some of the more sinister aspects of its basic premise, but the early sequences led me to believe that Nispel would be able to pull off what he did in his remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That was a movie where I knew (basically) what was going to happen and yet found myself dreading the outcome, feeling the inexplicable, involuntary clenching of stomach muscles and shortening of breath.

Nispel uses some of the same tools here -- driving and metallic soundtrack, claustrophobic setting, a steady and intensifying pace -- to somewhat lesser effect. In spurts, it's incredibly effective. You can pick out scenes that work quite efficiently as adrenalin delivery machines standing on their own. But it feels more like a collection of set-pieces, strung together almost at random. The momentum doesn't build to the point of being a thriller, yet neither does the violence erupt unexpectedly from the drama, as in Cunningham's original.

In other words, we know what's coming, we're glad when it arrives on time, and it's pretty much what we expected.

Along the way, Friday the 13th provides traditional teenage treats in the form of undressed women (topless camping, topless water-skiing, fully-naked sexing), pot smoking / stoner humor, and even overly-ominous warnings about venturing into the wrong part of the woods around the legendary Camp Crystal Lake. (Remember Crazy Ralph?) It would be fairly difficult, though not impossible, to conjure up new ways for Jason to kill people. Instead, the film uses old methods with slight variations and in different settings. I think they've all been used before in one or another of the Friday the 13th movies, but I'm certainly not an expert.

The gore is sometimes explicit and in a couple of instances looks and sounds extremely painful; while most of Jason's kills are quick, those exceptions draw things out. Early indications in the film to the contrary, Friday the 13th doesn't end up relentlessly pushing ratings boundaries, at least in the theatrical release version.

Plot-wise, the movie begins with a brief flashback to June 13, 1980, and then unreels in the modern day. Jason's origin story is covered in a campfire conversation. As in Friday the 13th Part 2, he's still described as the grown-up young boy who saw his mother hacked to death after she went crazy and killed a bunch of camp counselors. Though elements are borrowed freely from the sequels -- Jason didn't wear a hockey mask until Friday the 13th Part 3, for example -- the new version is clearly intended as a reboot of the series rather than a remake or a direct sequel.

This is a body count flick, not a movie about the characters that happen to inhabit those bodies, so character development is not a prerequisite. The cast is composed of likable, good-looking, anonymous young men and women whose roles are interchangeable. Jared Padalecki, the ostensible lead, plays Clay, a motorcycle-riding good guy looking for his missing sister Whitney (Amanda Righetti). He meets up with good girl Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) and her friends, who are spending a weekend at the luxurious lakeside home of her would-be boyfriend, Trent (Travis Van Winkle). Trent is far too much of an uptight asshole to have such laid-back friends, but he has a role to play in the narrative as a kind of one-man deus ex machina factory. Comic relief is provided by the reliable Aaron Yoo (as "Chewie") and Arlen Escapeta (as the stereotypical "black guy" in a horror movie), while Julianna Guill, Ryan Hansen, Willa Ford, and America Olivo provide additional eye candy. Derek Mears portrays the legendary Jason.

Better acting might have helped the film escape the clutches of a third act letdown, which includes several groan-inducing moments, but who am I kidding? It's been said many times that we get the movies we deserve, and the new Friday the 13th is exactly that, no more and no less.


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Lee Redmond fingernails: Lee Redmond fingernails broken (video)

Lee Redmond, of Salt Lake City, had her name listed in the Guinness Book Of World Records for the longest finger nails. Lee Redmond’s fingernails were broken when she was in a car accident on Tuesday, Feb 10. Lee Redmond had serious but non-life threatening injuries.

Lee Redmond has thrown out of her SUV in a car crash. She was a passenger. Redmond’s condition is serious but she is expected to survive. Redmond had not cut her finger nails since 1979. Redmond’s longest nail was on her right thumb. Lee Redmond’s longest nail measured 2 feet and 11 inches.

Redmond has been on many TV shows to show off her nails and how she manages her life with them.

Lee Redmond’s car accident link.

Lee Redmond fingernails on Ellen DeGeneres Show - video link.

20/20 lee redmond video link.


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Microsoft te da $250,000 por información del programador del gusano Conficker

Microsoft está ofreciendo una recompensa de cuarto de millón de dólares por información que conduzca al arresto y condena de los creadores Conficker .
Microsoft is trying to put some pressure on the criminals responsible for the worst Internet worm outbreak in years, offering a $250,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Conficker’s creators.

The software vendor said it was also working with security researchers, domain name registrars, and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to try to take down the servers that have been launching the Conficker attacks. ICANN is the nonprofit corporation that oversees Internet addresses.

“The best way to defeat potential botnets like Conficker/Downadup is by the security and domain name system communities working together,” said Greg Rattray, ICANN chief Internet security adviser, in a statement released Thursday. “ICANN represents a community that’s all about coordinating those kinds of efforts to keep the Internet globally secure and stable.”

Conficker, also known as the Downadup worm, takes advantage of a critical bug in Microsoft’s Windows operating system, which was patched last October. Since late December, the worm has emerged as one of the worst computer threats in years, infecting more than 10 million computer systems worldwide, including PCs within the British and French militaries.

If Conficker’s author lives in a part of the world that’s known to be soft on cybercrime — Russia, the Ukraine, or Romania, for example — it may be hard to get a conviction, said the editor of the cybercrime research site, who goes by the pseudonym Jart Armin.

On the other hand, the $250,000 reward may be an incentive to hackers who may know who’s responsible. Typically, hackers get paid about $10,000 by organized crime groups for writing an attack that reliably works on a significant number of computers, Armin said.

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has offered such a bounty. In 2005, it paid $250,000 to two people for identifying Sven Jaschan, the teenager who wrote the Sasser worm.[...]


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The worst news site ever -

I have been following a website for a few months now: The site never ceases to amaze me with the crap that it reports, or maybe I should say it publishes. Many news items on this website are merely titbits of information, often taken from leading newspapers in Andhra Pradesh. Although the site has separate sections for movies and politics - often these two are so intertwined, given the state of politics in in Andhra Pradesh.

Most published stuff on this site is merely opinion and is often presented as if it were a fact. Very little is of any consequence and the language is so poor that it begs a grammar check from stupid MS word. What threw me off the cliff was this article filed under the section titled "Special News": Attempting To Understand Religions and Gods! I don't think I have read anything more banal or nonsensical in my entire life.

For example, a paragraph begins as follows:

Listening to this the humans understood that there is someone beyond them who is divine. They started adoring the Sun. They understood the feel of adoration. They felt the fear of being controlled. Masters were happy. Their noble mission took an initial step towards the vision of bending the humans towards spirituality.

"they understood the feel of adoration" ? What in whose name I dare not take, does that mean?

Point taken - everyone has a right in the new brave digital world. Therefore, I too have a right to criticize a pseudo-news site that is probably up and running because it manages to attract thousands of visitors and thereby makes money. What amazes me is the banality of news reporting and the very fact that the site has actually managed to get so many online advertisers. I read it for my everyday share of slapstick reporting.

Please, if you are in the business of making money off of Chiranjeevi's entry into politics, the upcoming election in Andhra Pradesh, the role of Junior NTR and Illeana in shaping Andhra Pradesh - please stick to that. You will have your share of idiots visiting your site. But, please do not pretend that you are a comprehensive news site. If you want to write bull, start a blog and do what millions of aspiring writers have done all over the world, including me. It is my bull and I do not call it news - it is often opinion and yes, it is biased.

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BREAKING NEWS: Continental airplane crashes into home in Buffalo, 49 dead

A Continental Airlines plane crashed into a home near Buffalo, New York, late Thursday, killing 44 passengers and four crew members on board, according to New York State police. Authorities said one person in the Clarence Center, New York, home was also killed.

Four people were injured at the crash site, including a mother and daughter inside the house that was hit. They suffered minor injuries and were treated and released, said a spokeswoman at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Williamsville. Two firefighters also were brought in for treatment of smoke inhalation and minor injuries.

Continental Connection Flight 3407, a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 74-seat turboprop, operated by Colgan Air, was en route from Newark, New Jersey, to Buffalo when it went down at around 10:20 p.m. ET. The crash occurred about seven miles from Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

Dave Bissonette, Clarence Center's natural disaster services coordinator, said it was "clearly a direct hit" on the house.

"The only recognizable piece of the plane left is the tail," Bissonette said.

The ferocity of the fire was such that officials don't expect the crash site to be safe for investigators until about noon Friday, nearly 14 hours after the crash.

CNN has listened to a tape of communications between air traffic control and the flight crew. The first officer had no sign of stress in her voice. The plane was cleared for approach. About two minutes later, the air traffic controller came back, with stress in his voice. Radar contact was lost.

The question goes out: Can other planes see anything? No one responds. The controller says they might have a plane down. The pilot's last comment was "Colgan Flight 3407." There were no sounds of distress.

It was not clear whether the mix of sleet and snow in the area played any role in the crash of Flight 3407. Other planes continued to arrive and land safely at Buffalo about the time the flight went down. Delta Flight 1998, an MD-88 jet, landed at approximately 10:17 p.m. The Delta crew did not see Flight 3407.

The Delta flight reported rime icing, a condition in which ice quickly builds up on the leading edge of the wings.

Authorities said the plane went down near a local fire hall, so firefighters were quick to respond to the crash site. At least nine volunteer fire departments responded to the scene. Are you there? Let us know

Area resident Keith Burtis said he was driving to the store about a mile from the crash site when he heard the plane go down.

"It was a high-pitched sound," Burtis said. "It felt like a mini-earthquake."

Shortly after the crash, Burtis said he saw a steady stream of fire trucks rush by him as smoke billowed into the sky. Other witnesses told CNN they saw the plane nose-dive toward the ground.

According to CNN affiliate WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, one of the crash victims, Beverly Eckert, was the widow of 9/11 terror attack victim Sean Rooney, a Buffalo native. Eckert was traveling to Buffalo for a weekend celebration of what would have been her husband's 58th birthday.

She also had planned to take part in presentation of a scholarship award at Canisius High School that she established in honor of her late husband, the Buffalo News newspaper reported.

Twelve residents were evacuated from the area of the plane crash. Law enforcement officials are asking people not to go to the crash site in fear they may hinder the investigation.

"I felt the impact ... sounded like a large explosion," said Brendan Biddlecom, who told CNN he lives two blocks from where the plane crashed.

Biddlecom ran out his home and to within a couple hundred yards of the crash. The smoke was thick and acrid, and the heat was intense, he said.

Chris Kausner, who had a sister on the flight, rushed to the Clarence Municipal Center, where he waited for additional information after emergency teams turned him back from the scene.

"My parents are on vacation in Florida and I had to call down there and tell my father what was going on," he told CNN affiliate WIVB-TV.

When asked how his parents were handling the news, a shaken Kausner responded "To tell you the truth, I heard my mother make a sound that I have never heard before."

The Erie County Medical Examiner's Office established a command post at the scene and had investigators there, a statement from the office said. Officials said relatives of passengers aboard the flight should call 800-621-3263 for information.

A statement from the airline said: "At this time, the full resources of Colgan Air's accident response team are being mobilized and will be devoted to cooperating with all authorities responding to the accident and to contacting family members and providing assistance to them."

The National Transportation Safety Board said early Friday that was preparing a "go team" to head to Buffalo to investigate the crash.

According to the National Weather Service weather observation for Buffalo, there was light snow, fog and mist shortly before 10 p.m. Flight 3407 was originally scheduled to depart at 7:45 p.m., but it was delayed.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the crew, the passengers and our residents on Long Street," said Clarence Supervisor Scott Blylewski.

Thursday's incident is the first fatal crash of a commercial airliner in the United States since August 2006 when Comair Flight 5191 crashed when it attempted to take off from the wrong runway.


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Judd Gregg Withdraws As Commerce Secretary

Just saw it on MSNBC.

The reason why the Commerce Secretary is important this time, is because of the 2010 Census. Getting folks accurately counted, and holding onto Black political representation - through Congressional Districts - is important to me. That’s why I thought it was a positive to see The Census moved into The White House.

Also, the Commerce Secretary also holds the office of the SBA, if I’m thinking correctly. And, if there’s anything Black folk need, it’s more businesses in the community.

So, that’s why I think the Commerce Secretary is still needed.

I’m not sad about Gregg leaving. I believe there has to be a business-minded Democrat, interested in improving AMERICAN Businesses, that could be chosen. I admit that I'd like to see a Black businesswoman get the post.


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'Banned Dutch MP flies in... and is sent straight home again '

"A far-right Dutch MP was turned back at Heathrow as he tried to defy a ban on entering Britain.

Geert Wilders was barred earlier this week after Home Secretary Jacqui Smith learned that he was planning a trip to show his controversial film which links the Koran to terrorism.

Mr Wilders, 45, was classed as someone considered likely to incite hatred and his visit a threat to 'community harmony and therefore public security'.
......Mr Wilders accused the Government of cowardice and compared its decision to the policies of Neville Chamberlain, whose appeasement of Adolf Hitler in the run-up to the Second World War allowed the Nazis to invade neighbouring countries.

Mr Wilders said: 'This is the beginning of the end of freedom of speech, of democracy in Britain.

'No other government has stopped me going anywhere. This is weak, it is cowardice and it is a blow for freedom of speech. "


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Joaquin Phoenix on David Letterman - Entire YouTube Interview

Via the Buzz Newsroom YouTube Channel, we have the exclusive, entire interview with actor/rapper Joaquin Phoenix on the Late Show with David Letterman from last night. You can watch below, or watch in HD on our YouTube Channel. First, Dave was hilarious; perfect way to handle a drugged out celeb. And what a shame, Joaquin Phoenix is a real talent. Time for an intervention.


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Developing: Collision in Space

They say that it was bound to happen. But in what can only be described as a high speed crash on the Intergallactical Highway between a Russian military satellite and an American commercial satellite from Iridium, has created what officials are describing as a shotgun cloud of space debris. The crash created thousands of pieces of space debris that now threaten the International Space Station, the space shuttle and Hubble Space Telescope. Scientists note that it could take decades for these fragments to start to hit the Earth. The increased risk however, is not being assessed as significant. It may affect the space shuttle Discovery mission.

The U.S. and Russian communications satellites collided at an altitude just below 500 miles, or on the fringes of a belt around the Earth extending to 625 miles high. The region is populated with weather and other Earth observation satellites as well as military spy satellites and some unmanned communications spacecraft. The region looms just above the Hubble Space Telescope.
What may be more significant is the reaction of Russian space experts to this first known example of a satellite collision in space that occurred above Siberia in the lower earth atmosphere.

It was unclear yesterday why the US and Russian satellites collided. One expert questioned why the Iridium satellite had not manoeuvred to avoid the defunct Russian satellite.
"The American Iridium apparatus, unlike the Russian satellite, had an engine and enough fuel supply. It is unknown why the American satellite did not manoeuvre upon coming into the vicinity of the Russian satellite," said Igor Lisov, a Russia-based expert on space rockets.

"Perhaps the company Iridium did not receive the warning of the probability of a collision, or perhaps they ignored it. The fact is, however, that the American satellite could have been moved to avoid the collision and for some reason it wasn't."
Surprising is that the US tracks over 18,000 pieces of space objects including debris and 800 satellites launched by over 40 countries. Notable also is that the Russian satellite stopped operating in 1995.

This may not relate directly to a "threat" or homeland security per se, but does begin to describe a future problem.


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Happy 200th B-day Darwin!

Today marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, and later this year will see the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species. Scientists have a reputation of being a bit unsentimental, but we do have a habit of marking major intellectual milestones; 2005 was the Year of Physics, celebrating Einstein's anno mirabilis, and this year is also notable as the Year of Astronomy in recognition of work by Galileo and Kepler.

Still, the celebration of Darwin seems to focus on the man himself as much as the theory he produced, in part because he seems to have accomplished what every scientist wishes they could do. He made insightful observations in locations from remote islands to his own back yard, integrated them with information from everyone from Thomas Malthus to pigeon breeders, and produced a theory that was argued in such compelling terms that the Origin was widely read by the public. All that, and he appeared to remain a generous and humble person, by all accounts.


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Obama celebrates Lincoln bicentennial

The 44th president of the United States tonight honored the 16th president. President Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln share not only a connection to Springfield as the city that launched their presidencies, but Obama said they also share an appreciation of the ideology that "individual liberty is served -- not negated -- by a recognition of the common good."

Obama said during a Springfield event honoring Lincoln's 200th birthday that the experience was humbling, "humbling for me, in particular, because it's fair to say that the presidency of this singular figure, who we celebrate in so many ways, made my own story possible."

Sounding much like one of his campaign speeches, Obama's roughly 16-minute talk emphasized Democratic ideology that government can play a positive role in channeling energy and innovation for a common cause, particularly in times of crisis.

"Only by coming together, all of us, in union and expressing that sense of shared sacrifice and responsiblity -- for ourselves, yes, but also for one another -- can we do the work that must be done in this country. That is part of the definition of being America."

He inserted some comedy by laughing at his own troubles in trying to appoint a secretary of commerce. Obama described Lincoln, the Springfield lawyer, resting his heels on a cluttered desk, "maybe wondering if someone might call him up and ask him to be commerce secretary." Obama's second nominee, Judd Gregg, a Republican, today withdrew his name and cited irreconcilable differences with the president's economic policy. Obama's first nominee, New Mexico's Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson, withdrew his name because he was subject of a federal investigation.

Two years ago this week, Obama launched his presidential candidacy from the Old State Capitol in Springfield, the city where Lincoln served as a legislator and where he departed from on his train ride to Washington, D.C. "It was here nearly 150 years ago that the man whose life we are celebrating today, who you've been celebrating all week, bid farewell to this city that he had come to call his own. And has already been mentioned on a platform at a train station not far from where we're gathered, Lincoln turned to the crowd that had come to see him off and said, 'To this place and the kindness these people, I owe everything.' And being here tonight, surrounded by all of you, I share his sentiment."

He closed with a challenge. "As one nation, as one people -- that's how we will beat back our present dangers. That is how we will surpass what trials may come. That's how we will do what Lincoln called on us all to do and nobly save the last best hope on earth.

"That's what this is: The last best hope on earth. Lincoln has passed that legacy on to us. It is now our responsibility to pass it on to the next generation."

His speech capped off a day of nationwide attention on Lincoln's birthday and his Illinois connections, as well as his appearance in East Peoria, where he campaigned for public support of his economic stimulus plan at Caterpillar Inc.'s headquarters.

Throughout Springfield, Gov. Pat Quinn appeared at Lincoln-related events. He later hosted an open house at the Governor's Mansion, where he greeted a line of visitors that wrapped around half a block.


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Joanna Pacitti Disqualified from American Idol

We didn't think it would happen, seeing as Carly Smithson, another major label refugee, was allowed to continue on through the top 12 of American Idol last season, but Joanna Pacitti, the 24-year-old stunner who made it to the Top 36 on this week's episode, has been disqualified from competing on season 8.

The show's website,, posted the official Top 36 late last night, noting that Pacitti was deemed "ineligible" and would be replaced by Felicia Barton. FOX did not respond to our request for comment on Wednesday evening, but we hear a statement is forthcoming.

In the meantime, let us bring you up to speed: there's been a decent amount of hub-bub surrounding Pacitti's professional past, including not only her former record deal (with A&M/Geffen, which released her debut album, This Crazy Life, in 2006), but also an opening slot on the last Nick Lachey tour (Lachey is signed to Jive Records, which is owned by SonyBMG, the company that awards a recording contract to the Idol winner), dubious connections to staffers at 19 Entertainment, including Pacitti's former manager, songs of hers that made it to soundtracks that sold well (like Legally Blonde) and later onto albums by major pop stars, like Britney Spears, not to mention a long, sad battle with the producers of a national tour of Annie, who released Pacitti from a starring role after she contracted bronchitis — a scandal covered by major news outlets at the time. And there are the numbers: unlike Smithson, whose ill-fated Carly Hennessy debut sold only a few hundred copies out the gate, Pacitti's moved more than 16,000, which, by today's standards, is a decent sales tally for any indie-rock band of note. Plus, as a protegé of power player Ron Fair, current head of Interscope/Geffen/A&M Records and the man credited for discovering Christina Aguilera (another SonyBMG artist) and Fergie, she has a lot of contacts in the industry, as we learned this past Grammy weekend when we constantly ran into people who either knew her or worked with her in some capacity....

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Microsoft Appoints David Porter as Corporate Vice President of Retail Stores

Twenty-seven-year retail veteran will focus on transforming the PC and device- buying experience for retail consumers and developing and rolling out new Microsoft-branded stores.
REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp. today announced that David Porter will join the company as corporate vice president of Retail Stores. He will lead Microsoft's efforts to create a better PC and Microsoft retail purchase experience for consumers worldwide through the development and opening of the company's own retail stores. Porter will report to Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner. He is joining Microsoft from DreamWorks Animation SKG, where he was head of worldwide product distribution.

'I am delighted to welcome David to Microsoft,' Turner said. 'This is an exciting time with our strong lineup of upcoming product releases including Windows 7 and new releases of Windows Live and Windows Mobile. We're also working hard to transform the PC and Microsoft buying experience at retail by improving the articulation and demonstration of the Microsoft innovation and value proposition so that it's clear, simple and straightforward for consumers everywhere. David's unique and diverse background, coupled with his deep retail roots and distribution understanding, will be an invaluable asset in this long-term effort.'

'There are tremendous opportunities ahead for Microsoft to create a world- class shopping experience for our customers,' Porter said. 'I am excited about helping consumers make more informed decisions about their PC and software purchases, and we'll share learnings from our stores with our existing retail and OEM partners that are critical to our success.'

Defining the time frame, locations and specifics for planned Microsoft- branded retail stores will be Porter's first order of business. The purpose of opening these stores is to create deeper engagement with consumers and continue to learn firsthand about what they want and how they buy.

Porter, whose new role and focus will complement the work Microsoft is already doing with its retail partners, will work in close partnership with leaders of existing retail programs in Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices Division.

Before joining DreamWorks Animation in 2007, Porter spent 25 years at Wal- Mart Stores Inc. in roles of increasing responsibility and seniority in store operations, merchandising and information technology. In his last role at Wal- Mart, Porter was vice president and general merchandise manager of Entertainment, where he served as a strategic point of influence throughout the Wal-Mart business.

Porter's first day at Microsoft will be Feb. 16, 2009.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.

(Source: PR Newswire )

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Kindle 2 text to speech: is it a copyright violation or help for those with disabilities?

Kindle 2 text to speech: is it a copyright violation or help for those with disabilities?

Have you heard that the text to speech feature on the Kindle 2 is creating quite a stir? Some people are concerned the text to speech ("Read-to-me Feature") on Kindle 2 is in violation of copyright.... while others are maintaining this is the best thing the Kindle has done for those with disabilities yet!

I've seen stories about this all over the internet recently.... in a nutshell, it seems some are concerned that because the Kindle 2 has text to speech, this may violate the copyright of the authors whose books are being "read" in text to speech. But what about those with disabilities, who can benefit from the text to speech features the Kindle 2 offers?

To read more about the text to speech feature on the Kindle 2, go here and scroll down to "Read-to-me Feature."

Wow, does anyone have any comments about this? I am in disbelief!


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