Wladimir Balentien apologizes to his team for his arrest

HardballTalk

Wladimir Balentien — recently arrested for domestic violence and false imprisonment — gave a press conference yesterday in which he apologized to the Yakult Swallows and their fans:

“I’m here in front of you guys today because, first of all, I just want to apologize to my fans, I want to apologize to the Yakult Swallows fans, I want to apologize to the organization, the Yakult Swallows, and I want to apologize to my teammates for all the stuff that’s going on. I’m glad I’m here today on time for starting spring training. I’m going to do my best this year—try to be [the best] player I can and help my team to win a lot of ballgames this year. Those are my goals”

Japan’s single-season home run champ reiterated that he was happy to have made camp on time and now is focused on getting ready for the season.

And thank…

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Google Chrome Launches Virtual LEGO Land

Tech

Google and LEGO have launched an insidious plot, er, app that lets users play with virtual LEGO bricks in their web browsers during work hours while deadlines are rapidly approaching.

Google unveiled the productivity-sapping feature, “Build With Chrome,” on Tuesday. Users can stack, rotate and snap a variety of bricks onto a virtual pad, powered by WebGL, a 3D graphics technology for web browsers.

And suppose you’ve lost months building an impossibly elaborate choo choo train? You can publish your creation on this Google map, which is rapidly filling up with monuments to time creatively wasted.

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One Shot: Battle Evome Round 2 – The Winter War

evome2

 

The brisk grounds of Tsukuba played host to the second round of Battle Evome this morning, and as quickly as it came, the battle has ended.  While not all contenders came out unscathed, a good amount came up on personal bests or some very fast times.  This is quite the contrary to what the first round resulted (thanks be to warmer track temps).  I think I’ll take a different approach to covering Evome this year; an approach I think you will all enjoy.

Stay tuned for in depth look at the cars that make up the grassroots time attack scene in Japan.

 

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Incipio Cashwrap Case Gives Your iPhone NFC Capabilities

Tech

Mobile accessory manufacturer Incipio recently unveiled the Cashwrap Mobile Wallet Case, a protective shell for iPhone devices that also offers near-field communication (NFC) capability.

The case is meant to interface with the Isis Mobile Wallet app, a Google Wallet competitor, to allow for mobile payments at select retail locations. It is compatible with the iPhone 4, 4S, 5 and 5S.

NFC technology is often associated with mobile payments. Android phones typically have NFC built in to allow for tap-to-pay functionality at certain major retailers. The concept is simple – you connect a bank account via an app, then give your phone permission to act as your credit card.

Apple, meanwhile, seems to have intentionally rejected NFC technology. The company hasn’t bothered to include it in any of its flagship iPhone devices, and its recently implemented iBeacon technology seems to be a direct NFC competitor.

Personally, I’m not sure…

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South Africa’s Mxit takes on WhatsApp in India

Gigaom

The South African messaging app Mxit is moving into the booming Indian market, with the hope of grabbing some share from WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat.

WhatsApp is the most popular app in India with over 30 million users in that country alone. Mxit is much smaller, boasting 6.4 million users in its native South Africa and around a million elsewhere.

WeChat is probably a better point of comparison for Mxit than WhatsApp, however, as both Mxit and WeChat act as platforms for other apps (the same can arguably be said for Facebook(s fb) Messenger, currently number 2 in the Indian market, if you view it as an entry point to the wider Facebook). All effectively act as social networks, which — along with their effect on traditional SMS revenues — makes their development very interesting to watch.

Also interesting: again like WeChat, Mxit has its own virtual…

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Jazz Age January: Farewell to Arms

Book of words

Moving away from lavish parties, exuberant lifestyles and Wall Street, “Farewell to Arms” is an anti-war book published in 1929 by World War One veteran Ernest Hemingway.

Set in Italy during the war, the book details the military experiences of Frederic Henry, an American who volunteered with the Italian ambulance services, and his romantic relationship with nurse Catherine Barkley. Wartime love stories have time and time again tugged at the heartstrings of readers, particularly at moments of separation when Henry was forced to leave for the war front leaving Catherine behind.

Yet “Farewell to Arms” elevates this love story to the next level by drawing upon Hemmingway’s personal experiences to express the brutality of war in a subtle but brilliant manner. As the Italian army retreated in disarray, the actual frenzy could be seen through the demoralization of the solders’ spirits, inside their crumbling minds, emotions and lives.

“I had…

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Sounding the Arizonan (Classroom) Alarm Bells

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BY: Cary L. Tyler
Guest Contributor & Author of DoThGrin BLOG

Do not let the state end up like your neighbor to the east.

According to an article from Kris Nielsen, just before New Year’s Day, New Mexico had nearly 400 teacher positions open.

Just to make sure one does not think this is a typo, let me write it again: 400.  The largest school district, Albuquerque Public Schools, had 170 positions open.

Here is a link to this article: http://atthechalkface.com/2013/12/12/teachers-fleeing-new-mexico-districts/, plus another one reinforcing the argument from an Albuquerque writer: http://www.dukecityfix.com/profiles/blogs/no-teachers-won-t-stage-a-walk-out-but-next-fall-might-bring-a

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Facebook data scientists predict total Princeton depletion within 7 years

Gigaom

The Princeton research that used a disease model to suggest Facebook(s fb) would lose 80 percent of its users in 3 years deserved the hammering it got – it’s simply a bad analogy for the subject. But now a bunch of data scientists from Facebook itself have stepped up to the plate, dryly using the researchers’ own methodology to prove that Princeton enrollment will have depleted entirely by 2021, and the air around us by 2060. Luckily I’m done with my studies, but I’m pretty annoyed about the breathing thing. Damn you, badly-chosen search data and your extrapolations!

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Netflix grows, Beats Music launch woes and disparity in the Bay Area shows

Gigaom

On this week’s episode of the Gigaom Show we get into the good, the bad and the ugly of technology. Netflix (s NFLX) reported another strong quarter this week, setting its sites on international expansion and new potential price plans. Famed headphone maker Beats expanded its brand into a new music streaming services, with a few skips in that particular record. And finally, we talk about the increasing disparity in the Bay Area, between the young tech-haves and the-can’t-afford-to-live-here-anymores.

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SHOW NOTES:
Hosts: Chris Albrecht, Tom Krazit
Guest: Janko Roettgers

Today’s episode is brought to you by Host Gator. Use the coupon code “GigaOM” and get 25% and to let them know you support this show.

Netflix wants to introduce three pricing tiers for new members

Beats Music app goes live in the iTunes app store

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