Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
"Great content costs money," Karmazin reminded analysts Tuesday during a conference call to discuss quarterly earnings.
"If Howard is on the call and listening, if he would like to extend his deal at less money, we would be interested in that," Karmazin told the analysts. "But from my history with him, I don't think that is apt to happen."
Stern costs Sirius $500 million for five years, and he's in his third year already. Add to that the billions Sirius spent on rights to the NFL, NBA, NASCAR and other content, not to mention the building and launching of expensive satellites, and its easy to see why Sirius wants so desperately to merge with XM, though regulators have yet to approve that plan.
In fact, the termination date for the merger deal is Saturday, though Karmazin said Tuesday that he expects the boards of both companies to meet before then to extend the deadline. XM will no doubt update analysts Thursday when it reports financial results.
Karmazin was once optimistic that the merger would be complete at the end of 2007, even while referring to it on occasion as "an uphill battle."
Not only has Karmazin's timetable been thrashed, but the one-year anniversary of the deal struck on February 19, 2007, also has passed, a significant milestone given that more than 200 mergers have been completed since then, each taking an average 110 days to complete.
Still, the bureaucrats aren't in any hurry. In fact, 10 months into the process, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, asked the Justice Department not to "rush through" an approval, if there is to be one.
"We wait by our telephone," Karmazin said Tuesday. "But we really have not heard anything from them. It has been more radio silence than anything else."
Even if the DOJ approves, the Federal Communications Commission must also bless the merger.
Karmazin also said that confusion about the merger among consumers is having a negative impact on retail sales, though Sirius posted better-than-expected quarterly results Tuesday.
The company added 654,000 new subscribers to 8.3 million on its way to losing $166.2 million, compared with a loss of $245.6 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose 29% to $249.8 million.
Sirius posted a full-year net loss of $565.3 million; the year earlier it lost $1.1 billion. Sirius and XM together have burned through billions in the past decade, and merging the companies, by some estimates, would save them an equal amount over the next several years.
Many observers seem to think there's not much of a reason to reject the planned merger, though that hasn't stopped Wall Street from hammering the stock prices as if deal approval were a long shot.
Since February 20, 2007, Sirius shares have fallen 22% to $3.05, while XM shares have sunk 15% to $13.13.
Regulators presumably have been considering for more than a year now the question of whether a merger of the only two satellite radio firms in the nation would constitute a monopoly that would harm consumers.
But most observers seem to have come to the conclusion long ago that the answer is no, considering that sat radio is used mostly in vehicles where competing devices like free radio, iPod docks and CD players are also options, as are DVD players. Soon, the Internet and satellite television will become mainstream attractions in cars, as well.
Anyone blocking the deal on the grounds that merging the two companies would stifle competition "may as well lay on the ground and become fossil fuel for that kind of dinosaur thinking," Motley Fool senior analyst Rick Munarriz said.
Munarriz, like others, worries that two competing satellite radio services can't survive. If they don't merge, Munarriz predicts, "one or the other will fail, and that will give the victor the monopoly it wanted."
Munarriz suggests that investors buy shares of XM and Sirius because the stocks will pop when the merger is approved. "Obviously it's a gamble to get in at this point, but the uncertainty is also discounting the shares," he said.
Steve Birenberg of Northlake Capital also advises buying the stocks, but he says to sell them once the deal is approved and buyers rush in.
"I don't think that satellite radio will ever be the pervasive technology for in-car entertainment based on the current subscription model," he said.
One particularly bearish analyst, Mark Wienkes, said recently that it is "increasingly unlikely" that regulators will block the deal, though he wouldn't buy either stock, merger or no merger.
"Our outlook for satellite radio is cautious given our view of unrealistic cash flow expectations," he said.
Karmazin touted several positive outcomes if the merger were approved, including a la carte programming and cheaper prices for consumers. Plus, the company and its shareholders will benefit from increased advertising revenue.
Sirius only sells about $35 million a year in ads, an anemic amount considering it features dozens of channels with advertising, including two with Howard Stern.
"We ought to be doing a better job in selling Howard," Karmazin said Tuesday.
Some say Minard's statistical graphing technique is the best ever drawn. This example is of Napoleon's troop level during the 1812 Russian campaign, highlighting the loss of troops in both directions. This type of graph might be useful in your other endeavors....
More detail and other examples are available at: http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/posters
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Elkhart, IN (February 26, 2008)--Crown has launched its 135MA and 160MA mixer-amplifiers. Capable of providing both 8-ohm and constant-voltage outputs (70V and 100V), the 135MA and 160MA are configurable for a variety of uses, including paging, background music, music-on-hold, security use and safety/evacuation announcements.
Both models provide priority muting, which can be voice-activated or triggered via an external switch, and are compatible with microphones requiring phantom power."Not even the best business plan can outlast the rock-solid reliability of our most compact commercial amplifier ever," says Phil McPhee, Crown vertical market manager, Commercial Sound. "Delivering the legendary Crown sound and quality at a very attractive price, the 135MA and 160MA offer music-on-hold, voice-activated paging and preamp outputs, making them ideal solutions for nearly any commercial or industrial environment.
Throw in our 3-year, no-fault warranty, and it's easy to understand why Crown makes good business sense."The front panel of each model comprises a rotary input volume knob and green signal/clip LED for every channel, rotary output volume knob with green (signal) and red (clip) LEDs, recessed pots for bass and treble adjustment, and a power switch with accompanying blue LED.
The back panel includes a balanced Phoenix-type mic/line input with threshold control, several line-level RCA input jack pairs (two for 135MA, three for 160MA), a telephone/MOH output with level control, a preamp output, screw-terminal speaker outputs, and a detachable IEC power cord. A DIP switch panel is also provided for fast, easy configuration.Convection-cooled, the new mixer-amplifiers feature protection mechanisms, including current limiting, over-temperature thermal cutout, and DC-fault load protection. The units are also protected against turn-on/turn-off "thumps.
"The units are targeted for schools, hospitals, fitness facilities, houses of worship, restaurants, retail stores, factories, offices and many other similar environments.
Stretham, UK (February 26, 2008)--Digital audio products developer SADiE, Studio Audio & Video Limited, has shuttered its doors and laid off staffers in the UK, following a severe downsizing of its North American presence. A statement on the company's website reads:
"Administrators were appointed to SADiE, Studio Audio & Video Limited, on 15 February. The company, based in Stretham, near Cambridge in the UK, is a developer and manufacturer of PC-based digital audio workstation products and had been established in 1991."
Steven Law from accountancy firm Ensors was appointed Administrator to try to seek a rescue of the business. He said 'Although we had to lay off the workforce upon my appointment, with the help of some former staff, we are carrying on the business on a limited basis in order to fulfill customer orders. In the meantime, I am interested in talking to potential purchasers with a view to them acquiring the whole or parts of the business and I would urge any interested party to contact me urgently.'"
Joe Bull, SADiE's Managing Director said 'We are all deeply saddened by the situation and would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all our customers, colleagues and friends in the industry who have contacted us to express their concerns. Our hope is that we can salvage some of the business for the benefit of our loyal customers. This has been a particularly difficult time for everyone.'
"Interested parties should contact Steven Law, or his Manager, Rachael Davison, at Ensors on +44 1473 220022 to express their interest."In recent months, SADiE was marketing its PCM-H64 multitrack digital recorder featuring SADiE 5.5 software.
In September 2007, Klark Teknik showed its DN9696 high-resolution hard-disk recorder at the PLASA show in London, targeted to live performance and featuring a customized version of SADiE's MTR software and DSP core.
January 31, 2006 marked the maiden flight of the P-791 experimental hybrid airship. Developed by Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs aka Skunk Works, the P-791 hybrid airship was flight tested at Lockheed Martin’s flight test facility on the Palmdale Air Force Plant 42.
The United States Department of Defense is interested in the development of an airship capable of transporting heavy loads, 500-1000 tons of cargo, up to 12,000 nautical miles. Such designs have been announced by DARPA ( Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ). The Walrus HULA ( Hybrid Ultra Large Aircraft ) is an example of such an aircraft. A small scale version of the Walrus is scheduled to fly this year with a 40,000 pounds payload.
Skunk Works managed to test fly the P-791 two years earlier. Although just a testbed for future development, P-791 successors can be used in the future for a number of applications such as delivery of fighting units in a theater of operations or as a weapons/sensor/communications platform capable of operating for long periods of time. The test flight was just a short traffic circuit around the Palmdale Air Force Plant 42 airport and Lockheed did not want to comment the flight.
Monday, February 25, 2008
The comment by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin came at the start of a day-long FCC hearing centering on allegations that some broadband providers such as telecommunications and cable companies have been improperly blocking or hindering some content.
"I think it's important to understand that the commission is ready, willing and able to step in if necessary to correct any (unreasonable) practices that are ongoing today," Martin said.
The dispute over so-called "network neutrality" pits open-Internet advocates against some service providers such as Comcast Corp, who say they need to take reasonable steps to manage traffic on their networks.
Martin acknowledged that broadband network operators have a legitimate need to manage the data flowing over their networks. But he said that "does not mean that they can arbitrarily block access to particular applications or services."
The hearing, which included testimony from officials with Comcast and Verizon, is aimed at determining what network management techniques are reasonable.
Martin called for "transparency" in the way the companies manage their networks, and in the prices and services they provide.
The network neutrality dispute has been spotlighted by a series of incidents in which operators were accused of hindering certain online data moving over their networks, such as file-sharing or text-messaging.
The issue also has attracted the attention of lawmakers in Congress, who are weighing a net-neutrality bill introduced last week.
In the most recent example, the FCC has been looking into complaints by consumer groups that Comcast has blocked some file-sharing services which are used to distribute large digital media files such as TV shows and movies.
In comments filed with the FCC, Comcast told regulators that it uses reasonable measures to manage traffic moving over its network, as some of its customers overwhelm the network by using file-sharing applications like BitTorrent.
Comcast, which is the second-largest U.S. Internet service provider with more than 13 million subscribers, said the use of network management was essential to avoid congestion and impairment of some applications. The company denied that it blocks content, applications or discriminates among providers.
Internet service providers are looking at different ways of managing the increasing amount of traffic moving across their networks both for cost management and for quality of service reasons.
Critics have argued that imposing network neutrality regulations on the Internet would hinder development of the Internet by creating uncertainty for investors and Internet service providers.
(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss in Cambridge and Peter Kaplan in Washington; editing by Tim Dobbyn)
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
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Thursday, February 21, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
By CAROL MCCLEARY
February 20, 2008 10:04 a.m.
Specialty retailer Sharper Image Corp. filed for Chapter 11 protection late Tuesday with plans to quickly shutter 90 of its underperforming stores.
The bankruptcy petition, filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., lists total assets of $251.5 million and total debts of $199 million, as of Jan. 31.
The San Francisco-based retailer blamed its liquidity crisis on a host of factors, including increased competition and deteriorating gross margins, tightening credit from vendors and suppliers, and the negative impact of pending litigation over its air-purification products. The air purifiers were once one of Sharper Image's highest margin products.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
The alliance includes the design and development of the new Innoventions Dream Home attraction, a 5,000+ sq. ft. home belonging to the fictional Elias family, scheduled to open in May in Tomorrowland at the Disneyland Resort.
Keeping with Walt's vision of bringing cutting-edge and inspiring ideas to Tomorrowland, the Innoventions Dream Home will introduce Disneyland guests to newly available technology from the participating companies that will enhance their lives today, while providing them a glimpse of the emerging digital advances they may find in their homes in the future.
The attraction will provide guests with a "high-tech, high-touch" opportunity to experience technology in an entertaining, low-risk environment showing them how the power of technology can connect them to the people and things they care most about. "We're thrilled that Disney has chosen Microsoft to bring digital entertainment to life at Disneyland," said Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President, Entertainment and Devices eHome Division at Microsoft.
"Together, we're showcasing innovative technology that is both attainable and inspiring, offering park guests the opportunity to see, touch and feel digital home experiences in a simple, fun and interactive environment."
"This exciting alliance gives each of our partners a forum to inspire our guests' imaginations and motivate them to incorporate and enjoy the new technologies that are available today," said Ed Grier, president of Disneyland Resort. "Consistent with the Disney heritage of growth through innovation, the Innoventions Dream Home is just another example of how we are committed to investing in and developing exciting projects that keep our guests returning again.
"The technology companies will showcase a wide range of technologies and products in the exhibit, including the latest in mobile phones, PCs, digital music and gaming. The Innoventions Dream Home demonstrates how home technology can be simple, intuitive and fun while helping guests understand how to seamlessly interconnect their home, the surrounding community and the world, helping consumers stay closer to the people, places and entertainment that are most important to them.
The alliances also help ensure that the Innoventions Dream Home remains on the forefront of technology with the newest devices and products as part of the exhibit. Guests will actively engage in this experience as they help members of the fictional Elias family prepare for a trip to World Soccer Championships in China, where their son is competing. Elias family members rotate throughout the house, randomly interacting with guests in the various rooms. Upon exiting the house, guests can learn more about the companies that collaborated to create the Innoventions Dream House, exploring the technologies for themselves first-hand.
The notion of a Dream Home has deep roots at the Disneyland Resort. Walt Disney was fascinated with the concept of a futuristic home and he introduced concepts at World’s Fairs that led to the first "House of Tomorrow" exhibit in Disneyland (1967). Those early versions featured modern conveniences for housewives, but the story line always focused on progress that led to a better way of living.
In 1998, Disneyland opened Innoventions, an interactive pavilion featuring what was then considered breakthrough technology: voice-activated computers, high-definition TVs, smart-cars and satellite broadcasting.
The intent was not to predict the future, but to let people play with emerging technologies and imagine how those technologies might enhance everyday life. The precursors to the Dream Home enabled people of all ages to experiment with interactive devices, games and exhibits, demonstrating both the fun and the significance of modern innovations.
Now comes the Dream Home, a convergence of five companies and their fascination with technology. The combination of Disney’s strong storytelling heritage, cutting-edge technology expertise from Microsoft, HP and Lifeware, and Taylor Morrison's talent for building an environment that will bring it to life, will inspire Disneyland guests’ imaginations for years to come.
As More-Realistic Films Hit Theaters, U2 and Miley Cyrus Compete for Screens
In the nation's theaters, Hannah Montana has rocked U2 -- and delivered a lesson in both the promise and limitations of new 3-D film technology.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
This is a day of relief and optimism for everyone in the entertainment industry. We can now all get back to work, with the assurance that we have concluded two groundbreaking labor agreements - with our directors and our writers -- that establish a partnership through which our business can grow and prosper in the new digital age. The strike has been extraordinarily difficult for all of us, but the hardest hit of all have been the many thousands of businesses, workers and families that are economically dependent on our industry. We hope now to focus our collective efforts on what this industry does best - writers, directors, actors, production crews, and entertainment companies working together to deliver great content to our worldwide audiences.
Peter Chernin, Chairman and CEO, the Fox Group
Brad Grey, Chairman & CEO, Paramount Pictures Corp.
Robert A. Iger, President & CEO, The Walt Disney Company
Michael Lynton, Chairman & CEO, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Barry M. Meyer, Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros.
Leslie Moonves, President & CEO, CBS Corp.
Harry Sloan, Chairman & CEO, MGM
Jeff Zucker, President & CEO, NBC Universal
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
Friday, February 8, 2008
February 8, 2008 4:52 p.m.
CAIRO, Egypt -- A ship's anchor lying at the bottom of the sea was behind one of the two cuts last week in undersea Internet cables around the Middle East that caused dramatic outages across the region, the cable-owner company said Friday.
FLAG Telecom said its repair ship managed to recover one end of the cut Falcon cable in the Persian Gulf, 35 miles north of Dubai, between the Emirates and Oman.
At the site, the FLAG crew discovered an abandoned ship's anchor which the company said was behind the cut last Friday. The anchor, weighing over 5.5 tons, was pulled up to the surface. The FLAG repair ship is now trying to reconnect the cable. The repairs are expected to be done by Sunday despite rough weather conditions, FLAG said.
Meanwhile, a second ship was continuing repair work off the north coast of Egypt, where the first undersea cable was cut Jan. 30, near the Egyptian port city of Alexandria.
That cuts involved two cables -- the FLAG Europe-Asia cable, owned by FLAG, which stands for Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe, and another cable lying next to it, identified as SEA-ME-WE 4, or South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe 4 cable, owned by a consortium of 16 international telecommunication companies.
It wasn't yet clear what had caused the other cut, on a very narrow route linking Egypt and Palermo, on the Italian island of Sicily. Egypt's telecommunication ministry has said no ships were registered near the location when the cut occurred north of Alexandria. The repairs off Egypt are also expected to be completed by Sunday, FLAG said.
The two unusual cuts -- within two days of one another and involving three Internet cables -- led to disruptions in services, slowed down businesses and hampered personal Internet usage. FLAG said it has fully restored circuits to some customers and switched others to alternative routes.
Large-scale Internet disruptions are rare, but East Asia suffered nearly two months of outages and slow service after an earthquake damaged undersea cables near Taiwan in December 2006.
Feb 8, 2008 8:17 AM
Football fans in northwest Oklahoma got their first taste of the untested interference issues surrounding the DTV transition over Super Bowl weekend.
The FCC had allowed KOMI-TV, an independent station in Woodward, OK, to increase the power of its signal. However, KOMI’s new signal strength meant that residents from the towns of Alva to Elk City could no longer see the digital/HD signal for rival station KOKH-TV. Instead, they now see KOMI’s programming.
This wouldn’t be such a big deal if KOKH weren’t the Fox affiliate in Oklahoma City and thus the only station in the northwest Oklahoma market with the rights to broadcast the Super Bowl in HDTV.Cable and off-air antenna viewers in a large portion of northwest Oklahoma were not able to see the game in HD, though the analog signal was still available.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
- Social networking giant Facebook.com reaped the benefits of opening registration to all users, jumping 81 percent versus December 2006 to 34.7 million visitors in December 2007
- Wikipedia Sites gained 34 percent to reach nearly 52 million visitors, continuing its reign as the Web's most popular reference hub
- Craigslist.org jumped 74 percent to 24.5 million visitors
- AT&T grew 27 percent to 30.2 million visitors boosted by its exclusive deal with Apple as carrier for the iPhone
- Yellow Book Network jumped 137-percent to 10.4 million visitors
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Monday, February 4, 2008
Sunday, February 3, 2008
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- A gunman who shot and killed five women in a clothing store at a suburban Chicago strip mall Saturday remains at large, police said.
Police investigate the scene of a shooting at the Brookside shopping center in Tinley Park, Illinois.
The motive for the shooting at the Lane Bryant store was a robbery that "at some point went rather poorly," said Tinley Park police Sgt. T.J. Grady.
All of the victims -- ranging in age from 22 to 37 -- were found in a back room of the store, he said. Their identities were not released.
"This is a very serious and sensitive investigation," Tinley Park Police Chief Michael O'Connell said Saturday evening.
At least one of the victims was a Lane Bryant employee, O'Connell said. The store did not have a security camera, he added.
A 911 call reporting the shooting came in at 10:44 a.m., Grady told reporters.
The shopping center was locked down while stores were thoroughly searched. It was reopened after police determined the gunman had left the area. Watch police describe the crime scene »
Shoppers described a tense situation after the shooting.
"I was so scared I couldn't think," said Selena Kujawa, who was in a Target store across from the Lane Bryant store, according to The Associated Press.
She and other customers watched as police checked aisles with weapons drawn, the AP reported. There was a similar scene in a pet supply store nearby.
"Six police entered the store with their hands on their gun holsters," Tracy Caccavella told the AP.
The gunman was described as an African-American man, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing between 230 and 260 pounds, Grady said. He was wearing a waist-length black winter coat, a black cap and dark jeans.
Authorities believe there was only one shooter, Grady said. Helicopters helped in the search for the gunman, who is no longer believed to be in the immediate area, he said.
Authorities were downloading surveillance video from businesses within a mile and a half of the Lane Bryant store to see if any cameras captured the gunman.
Police appealed to the public for help, urging anyone with information to contact police at 708-444-5368.
The Chicago Tribune reported the shopping center is just south of Interstate 80 and contains a Super Target, a Kohl's clothing store and several restaurants.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Friday, February 1, 2008