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


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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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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The Gilbert Gumption Gets a #ReBoot: (Headline from North Gilbert AZCentral.COM)

From the North Gilbert Neighborhood blogs section of The Arizona Republic's website (

From the North Gilbert Neighborhood blogs section of The Arizona Republic‘s website ( Read the full story here –>



4 Signs You Love Your Tech Too Much


We all love tech here – we did make a website devoted to it, after all. But there’s a fine line between loving your tech and loving your tech too much.

After much consideration, I’ve realized that I fall on the wrong side of the line between tech sanity and tech obsession. I definitely love tech too much. Do you? Here are four warning signs to look out for.

You check your phone in bed

Like most people, when I first wake up in the morning I stretch a bit, get out of bed, brush my teeth, and turn on my coffee maker. Of course, before I do any of that, I use my smartphone. Priorities. And I’m not the only one who does it either: A recent ten-city survey of mobile phone users found that 84% of Americans check a smartphone app first thing in the morning when…

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Santa Claus Recruited to Improve NSA’s Public Image & Head Intelligence Operations

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Lately, Brave New World has become one of the hottest selling novels, and many of us have become even more suspicious of that white panel van that passes our homes daily. Sure it has ice-cream and plays tinkly music, but that cover is so thin Stevie Wonder could see right through it.

After the whole Edward Snowden whistle-blowing debacle earlier this year, the Obama Administration and the Intelligence community have been up to their ears in hot water and bad press. Spying on regular citizens with no cause or warrant? Invading privacy and throwing the 4th Amendment out the window? Reading our e-mails? Monitoring our Internet? Those activities are just the sort that create an image problem.

Thus, sources tell me (sources being the voices in my head) that, in order to get back in the good graces of the American public, the current administration has decided to appoint Santa…

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Smart bike lock Lock8 clears Kickstarter goal and picks up extra funding


With car-sharing becoming so popular that it’s attracting patent trolls, it’s a logical extension to the concept to have app-enabled bike-sharing schemes, too. And wouldn’t you know it? Here come two at once.

BitlockA couple of a weeks ago, a San Francisco outfit called Mesh Motion hit its $120,000 Kickstarter goal for its Bitlock product. And on Tuesday, British-German outfit VeloLock said it had passed its own £50,000 ($81,000) Lock8 Kickstarter goal ahead of schedule, and also picked up additional funding from Horizon Ventures and Otto Capital.

Both Bitlock and Lock8 are bicycle locks that rely on smartphones rather than physical keys to unlock them. And both smartphone apps allow the sharing of the bike with friends and, in theory, through commercial bike-sharing schemes.

However, there are significant differences – in a nutshell, Lock8 ($149, shipping in July 2014) is a more advanced device than Bitlock ($129, shipping…

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iBuyPower reveals a Steam Machine prototype that won’t break the bank


The challenge of manufacturing a PC/console hybrid is a really stiff one: How do you develop a console with enough power to push high-end PC graphics without running the cost of the device above consumer’s expectations? While Steam Machine creator Valve has detailed a prototype with impressive guts — including an Nvidia(s nvda) Titan graphics card — that has the potential to cost more than $1000 retail.

But, according to the Verge, third-party hardware developer iBuyPower has revealed a Steam Box prototype to be released sometime in 2014 that strikes that balance, offering a good-quality system for the price of $499 — the same cost as the Xbox One(s msft).

The system, which is said to be roughly between the sizes of the PlayStation 4(s sne) and the Xbox One, has an AMD(s amd) CPU and an AMD Radeon  R9 270 graphics card,  which will be able to…

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Docker goes broader — supporting more Linux distros out of the box


Docker, the popular container technology that, in theory, lets developers encapsulate their apps and run them on bare metal, virtualized and private or public cloud environments, now supports nearly all the major Linux distributions right out of the box.

Before now, the Docker 0.7 release supported Debian and Ubuntu Linux,  but now Red Hat(s rhat), Suse and Gentoo are added to the mix, the company said. To be clear, developers could run Docker on the other Linux distros before, but that required them  to do some contortions using AnotherUnionFS or AUFS and then recompile their kernel which, let’s face it, could be complicated and not all that invigorating. And, by doing so, they could endanger their RHEL support contract coverage.

The beauty of Docker is that it lets developers keep using the languages and frameworks of their choosing but then deploy their application widely. In that regard, many view it as…

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Role of fiber operators in NSA surveillance scandal falls under greater scrutiny


The New York Times has published further details of an NSA operation that involves spying on the fiberoptic cables running between the data centers of companies such as Google(s goog) and Yahoo(s yhoo). The piece highlights the role played by Level 3, the company that runs such cables for Google and Yahoo. Level 3 has already been identified as one of the telecommunications firms working with the UK’s NSA partner, GCHQ. These fiber connections are crucial to the affair, as they may provide a way for the NSA and GCHQ to effectively tap into major web firms’ systems without their cooperation.

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How OpenTable competes with the telephone


Studies show that consumers are more impatient than ever when it comes to application performance. According to the New York Times, a subsecond difference in response time is enough to send a prospective customer to your competitor’s website. But what if your competitor is the phone? OpenTable finds that performance is even more important when the frame of reference is the speed and reliability of a landline. Convincing millions of people to make their restaurant reservations online or on a mobile app instead of over the phone required OpenTable to build an application that was unsurpassed both in user experience and in performance.

Watch the interview with OpenTable’s Performance Lead, Alan Novitskiy, to find out how OpenTable keeps its end users choosing apps over phones with application performance management (APM).

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Google confirms major camera improvements are coming to Android


Code uncovered last week suggested that Google was at work on a new Android camera API. It looks like that code was correct, as Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano confirmed the forthcoming update to CNet on Monday.

“Android’s latest camera HAL (hardware abstraction layer) and framework supports raw and burst-mode photography… We will expose a developer API [application programming interface] in a future release to expose more of the HAL functionality,” Scigliano said.

This means that support for features like burst-mode and capturing in RAW file formats is already built into Android. An update to the camera API will make these functions available to makers of camera apps.

The code uncovered last week also showed support for face detection and “removable” cameras. Scigliano didn’t touch on those features, but it looks like burst-mode will be a major focus. According to Scigliano:

The core concept of the new HAL and future API…

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Xbox One Sales ‘More than One Million’ in Less than 24 Hours


Not to be upstaged by its record-breaking rival, Microsoft says it, too, sold some one million units of its Xbox One console worldwide during the new console’s preliminary 24 hours on sale. In other words, scorekeepers, it’s game on.

Microsoft called its 13-market Xbox One launch “the biggest in Xbox history,” but not — take note here — the biggest in history period. I guess we’ll have to turn it over to the judges to figure that one out, and hope it doesn’t end with a recount and someone suing all the crazy way up to the Supreme Court.

In any case, it’s a new record for Microsoft, “surpassing day one Xbox 360 sales.” The company claims its Xbox One is sold out at most places and that it’s “working to replenish stock as fast as possible.”

“We are humbled and grateful for the excitement of Xbox fans around…

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JFK Conspiracy theories

Anderson Cooper 360

It is simply too hard for many people to imagine a lone individual can kill a towering global figure like President John F. Kennedy. Even Secretary of State John Kerry recently said he has doubts that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Ed Lavandera takes a look at some of the conspiracy theories enduring 50 years after the assassination.

[cnn-video url=]

Anderson discussed these conspiracy theories with forensic pathologist and medical-legal expert Cyril Wecht and investigative reporter Gerald Posner.

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The JFK assassination 50 years later

Anderson Cooper 360

A half century has passed since the death of President John F. Kennedy. There is no way to know how the world would be a different place had JFK been able to serve out his term and maybe even a second. Anderson discussed the tragic events of the assassination along with JFK’s legacy with John King, Presidential Historian Douglas Brinkley and Senior Political Analyst David Gergen.

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What happened to Lee Harvey Oswald’s wife?

Anderson Cooper 360

It’s hard to imagine what life has been like for Lee Harvey Oswald’s widow for the past 50 years. Marina Oswald Porter started a new life, with a new husband, but understandably she has become somewhat reclusive as the decades have gone by. Anderson spoke to Priscilla Johnson McMillan, one of the few people alive who met both President Kennedy and his killer. She was a researcher for JFK when she was in her 20s, and later met Oswald while working as a reporter in the Soviet Union.

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Get Your Chocolate Fix Without the Guilt: Electronic ‘Lollipop’ Can Simulate Any Taste


There are plenty of ways to experience great food without actually going through the trouble of making it. We can read recipe books. We can drool over food blogs. We can even watch food-themed shows on our HD TVs. Unfortunately, no matter how good the picture, nothing can allow us to literally taste what Anthony Bourdain is eating. That is, until now.

New Scientist reports that a team of researchers at the National University of Singapore have developed a digital simulator that can synthesize four of the five basic tastes: salty, sweet, sour, and bitter (umani has not yet been added). The team, lead by Nimesha Ranasinghe, hopes their invention will one day allow viewers to taste the food they see on television, or provide video games with new taste-based reward systems (a sweet taste for completing a level, a sour taste for failing).

The taste synthesizer, which consists of two thin metal…

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Android this week: Chrome gets faster; Google Play tablet apps; Moto X gets KitKat


If you don’t mind using a beta browser, you can surf the web a wee bit faster on Android(s goog). Google announced its Chrome 32 Beta for Android this week and among the features is more speed. How Google did that though may not go over well with all Android users:

“Starting this release, responsive mobile websites will get a performance boost in Chrome for Android because we’ve disabled double-tap zoom. Previously, to support double-tap zoom, Chrome had to delay every touch event sent to the webpage by 300ms to allow the user to tap a second time. Now mobile-friendly sites that are already formatted to automatically fit in the page width will receive click events instantly and can respond to user input more quickly. “

The removal of double-tap zoom appears to be only for responsive websites, i.e.: those that dynamically adjust their layout based on the device…

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Prove You’re The World’s Biggest Lady Gaga Fan By Wearing Perfume Made From Her Pee


Think you’re a big fan of Mother Monster? Then we dare you to try this on for size–or scent. Because, yes, perfume made from the pop star’s urine indeed exists. But you can’t actually buy it. At least not yet.

On Late Night this week, Andy Cohen, host of Watch What Happens Liverevealed that when Gaga paid a visit to his show earlier this month, she relieved herself in a trash can in her dressing room. Rather than be grossed out, Cohen turned to his PAs and said, “That’s a pop culture artifact. We could bottle that up and put it somewhere in the clubhouse.”

One of the show’s PAs went online, found a recipe for homemade perfume, and through some kind of sorcery, bottled up the final product. Mother Monster knew this was happening before this week’s reveal, as she had tweeted the news, saying, “U HAVE BEEN WARNED…

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Enterprise Snapchat and other tools to keep data locked down


“What!?!” That was the general recent reaction to the news that one of the most popular apps on the market, Snapchat, was offered — and turned down! — Facebook’s more than $3 billion cash buyout offer. Whether Snapchat made the right move to hold out remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: we’re creating and sharing more data than ever before.

Thanks to all the gadgets we have access to, any event can now be chronicled online; photos and documents can be sent from person-to-person (even to the wrong people) on mobile devices in an instant. Since there’s no geographic limit to the access of files, what happens to that photo or document once you’ve sent it out into the Ether?

Part of the appeal of Snapchat is the finite length of time that data exists — offering the sender a semblance of control over…

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Women: Stop Worrying & Just Go! Girl

For more, visit: <>.


By Kelly LewisGumption Contributor

I’m writing this to you, from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere between
Uruguay and Brazil, and I can think of few times in my life when I’ve been happier.

Women are starting to travel more now than ever before, but too many of us are held
back by fear. Continue reading

#ASU #Cronkite #NovNewsletter


To see the text larger simply click the images (above/below) – OR – for even bigger font, visit the Cronkite website @:



#ASU #NickHappe Named #Pac12 #XC #ScholarAthleteOfTheYear

Happe became the third Sun Devil to earn the award in the past five years.

TEMPE – Arizona State University track and field and cross country standout Nick Happewas named the Pac-12 Men’s Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the Conference office announced on Saturday at the Pac-12 Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships. The award, which is presented in each of the 22 sports the Conference sponsors, was established to honor collegiate student-athletes that are standouts both academically and in their sports discipline. Continue reading

#ASUMensXC Finish 4th @ #Pac12 Tourney

Shelby Houlihan finished eighth overall for the ASU women in Santa Clarita, Calif.

2012 Pac-12 Championships – Men’s ResultsGet Acrobat Reader

2012 Pac-12 Championships – Women’s ResultsGet Acrobat Reader

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – The Arizona State University men took fourth overall whileShelby Houlihan was eighth for the Sun Devil women as the team opened the championship season with the Pac-12 Conference Championships in Santa Clarita, Calif., on Saturday. Continue reading

#ASU : Gold Edges Out Maroon @ Wrestle-Offs

The Arizona State Wrestling team competed in their annual intrasquad match to determine their roster and open the season.

By Jourdan Rodrigue

The Maroon & Gold Wrestle-offs took place on Friday night at the Riches Wrestling Complex in Tempe. The annual intrasquad dual readies both the wrestlers’ roster and their minds for the upcoming season.

Both Maroon and Gold teams had notable alumni serve as honorary captains for the match. This year, two-time All-American, Dave Douglas, and all-time great NCAA Champion and four-time All-American, Eric Larkin, led each team respectively. Continue reading

Former ASU T&F Standouts Frazier, Nelson Inducted 2 Hall of Fame

Herman Frazier and Lynn Nelson Stott will be inducted into the Arizona Runner’s Hall of Fame in November

Former Arizona State track and field standouts Herman Frazier and Lynn Nelson Stott will be inducted into the Arizona Runner’s Hall of Fame on Sunday, Nov. 4, at the 3TV Phoenix 10K and Half Marathon.

Frazier and Stott join American legend Jesse Owens and former Paradise Valley Community College head David Barney as the four who will be honored for their significant contributions to the sport of running in the state. Continue reading

Satan Slayers

These Valley exorcists want to save your soul.

(Photo credit: Times Publications)

By Shanna Hogan
Times Publications

The elderly white-haired woman writhes in a chair, growling and grunting at the two men restraining her by her arms.

Looming over her, three teenage girls clutch ornate silver crosses in their outstretched fists. Eighteen-year-old Brynne Larson steps close to the afflicted figure and presses a Bible against her forehead.

“Who told you to come here?” Brynne hollers. Continue reading

PepsiCo Not as Good as it Looks

24/7 Wall St.

PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) reported fiscal third-quarter results before markets opened this morning. The food and beverage company posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.21 on revenues of $16.65 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $1.25 on revenues of $17.58 billion. Third-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $1.16 and $16.9 billion in revenues.

On a GAAP basis, EPS for the quarter totaled $1.20, including a $0.05 gain on mark-to-market commodity hedges.

The company reaffirmed full-year revenue and EPS guidance. On a constant currency basis the company expects earnings to fall by approximately 5% from last year’s EPS of $4.40. Taking into account the foreign currency translation effect (a negative 3%), the company is looking at EPS of around $4.05 to $4.06. The consensus estimate calls for EPS of $4.06.

Revenue for the full…

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Mortgage Applications Down, Rates Up Slightly

24/7 Wall St.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications this morning, noting a drop of 4.2% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index compared with last week’s decrease of 1.2%. Unadjusted, the composite index fell by 14%.

Applications for refinancing fell 5% (seasonally adjusted), while seasonally adjusted purchase applications increased by 1% from the previous week. Unadjusted, the purchase index fell 9% compared with the previous week and rose 12% compared with the same week a year ago. This week’s results include an adjustment for the Columbus Day holiday.

The refinancing rate fell slightly to 82% of total applications, down 1% from a week ago. About 96% of the applications were seeking fixed-rate loans, consistent with last week’s reading.

The average contract interest rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose slightly from 3.56% to 3.57%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage also fell, from…

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U.S. Embassy in Stockholm evacuated after suspicious envelope found

This Just In

[Updated at 8:35 a.m. ET] The all-clear has now been given and staffers have begun to return to the building, CNN affiliate TV4 said.

[Posted at 7:32 a.m. ET] The U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, was evacuated Wednesday after the discovery of a suspicious envelope with white powder inside, Stockholm police said.

Police are moving the envelope to a secure location for examination, Stockholm police spokesman Albin Navery said.

CNN’s Saskya Vandoorne contributed to this report.

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U.S. Bancorp Posts Record Q3 Profit

24/7 Wall St.

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) reported third-quarter 2012 results before markets opened this morning. The Minneapolis-based bank posted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.74 on revenues of $5.18 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.64 on revenues of $4.74 billion. Third-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.74 and $5.14 billion in revenues.

The company’s chairman and CEO said:

Our third quarter earnings included continued strong mortgage banking activity, which contributed to our growth in fee income, residential real estate loans and loans held for sale. Solid new lending activity outside of mortgage also helped to grow our balance sheet, particularly in commercial loans. … during the third quarter we were able to return 67 percent of our earnings to shareholders in the form of dividends and share buybacks — consistent with our goal of returning…

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24/7 Wall St.

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) has reported earnings of $0.00 per share, or $340 million in net income, after items on revenue of $20.43 billion. Thomson Reuters estimates were -$0.07 per share and $21.89 billion in revenue. We would note that there were some previously announced items that took away $0.28 in EPS and also total revenue on a debit valuation adjustment and fair value option basis was listed as $22.529 billion.

The bank still trades at an incredible discount to its book value and that book value rose in the quarter. Tangible book value per share rose to $13.48 versus $13.22 one quarter ago; the stated book value per share was $20.40 versus $20.16 one quarter ago.

Regulatory capital ratios increased in the quarter. Tier 1 common capital ratio under Basel 1 rose to 11.41% and its Tier 1 common capital ratio under Basel 3 on…

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Even tiny tweets can be big data


Datasift, the UK company that has access to the Twitter firehose analyzes a petabyte of tweets and ships terabytes of insights around the world. And the infrastructure needs to keep up. The company has replaced its older networking gear with Arista switches to support its analytics operation, Datasift CEO and founder Nick Halstead said in a conversation with Derrick Harris at our Structure:Europe 2012.

Check out the rest of our Structure Europe 2012 live coverage here, and a video recording of the session follows below.

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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades (ADT, ADTN, APOL, C, CSCO, DISCA, EQR, INTC, IBM, IP, MAA, MUR, NWSA, PSX, RYL, SON, S, TWX, TOL, DIS)

24/7 Wall St.

These are some of the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations we have seen from Wall St. research calls this Wednesday.

ADT Corp. (NYSE: ADT) started as Outperform with $45 target at Credit Suisse.

ADTRAN Inc. (NASDAQ: ADTN) raised to Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

Apollo Group Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL) cut to Neutral at BofA/ML.

Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) raised to Outperform at CLSA and reiterated as Sell at Argus.

Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) cut to Hold at Cantor Fitzgerald.

Discovery Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: DISCA) started as Underperform at Credit Suisse.

Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR) raised to Outperform at Raymond James.

Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) maintained Outperform with $32 target at Credit Suisse.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) cut to Neutral at Janney Capital and reiterated Neutral at Credit Suisse.

International Paper…

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Lance Armstrong stepping down from Livestrong charity

This Just In

Editor’s note: Controversial American cyclist Lance Armstrong is stepping down as chairman from his Livestrong cancer charity. The announcement comes a week after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said it had uncovered overwhelming evidence of Armstrong’s involvement in a sophisticated doping program. For more information read our full story here.

[Updated at 3:01 p.m. ET] Lance Armstrong is about to lose another sponsorship.

The controversial cyclist will lose his contract with Anheuser-Busch, the brewer of Budweiser, at the end of the year.

 “We have decided not to renew our relationship with Lance Armstrong when our current contract expires at the end of 2012,” Paul Chibe, Vice President of U.S. Marketing, Anheuser-Busch said in astatement. “We will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation and its cycling and running events.”

[Updated at 12:18 p.m. ET] Nike will take Lance Armstrong’s name off their Nike campus fitness center in Beaverton, Oregon, spokeswoman Mary Remuzz…

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Houlihan Clocks Fastest Time in ASU History, Men Finish 21st in Wis.

Sun Devil X-Country teams’ biggest race of season: Team answers call @ Wisconsin Adidas Invitational

By Jeremy Hawkes
Assistant Media Relations Director
(Football, T&F/XC, Wrestling, Water Polo, Olympics)

Oct. 12, 2012

MADISON, Wis. – Shelby Houlihan clocked the fastest 6,000-meter cross country race in school history and the Arizona State University men took 21st overall to earn valuable at-large points as the team finished up competition on Friday at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational in Madison, Wis.

In her first 6k of the season, Houlihan clocked a time of 19:58 for a 13th-place overall finish in a field of 327 to establish herself as having the fastest time ahead of ASU Olympian Amy Hastings at the top of the school’s all-time performance list. Continue reading

ASU X–Country 2 Face Top Teams in Wis.

The Sun Devil harriers will compete against 19 of the top 30 men’s teams and 20 of the top 30 women’s teams on Friday.

Oct. 10, 2012

TEMPE, ARIZ. – The Arizona State University cross country teams will compete both “A” squads at the same competition this weekend as the men and women take part in the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Friday, Oct. 12 in Madison, Wis.  The meet is essentially a preview of the NCAA Championships with 19 of the top 30 men’s teams in competition alongside 20 of the top 30 women’s teams.  For ASU, this weekend marks an opportunity to earn valuable “at-large” points towards a bid at the NCAA Championships as neither the men nor the women are ranked and could do themselves some favors with a strong finish at the Zimmer Championships Course.  The women’s race is slated to begin at Noon CT while the men will follow at 12:40 p.m. Continue reading

#FirstWorldProblems Tweets, as Read by Poverty-Stricken Hatians


Sometimes the grim reality of life in the First World is just so hard that you have to tweet about it.

“I hate when my house is so big that I need two wireless routers,” one brave Twitter user lamented.

The hashtag #FirstWorldProblems is one of the social media service’s most popular memes; up to five tweets per second are sent describing (it must be said, ironically) the trials and tribulations of life in the developed world.

(MORE: No More #RKOI? ‘Rich Kids of Instagram’ a Security Threat for Billionaires’ Families)

For global advertising firm DDB and WATERisLIFE, a nonprofit that aims to bring clean drinking water to impoverished countries, that sounded like a marketing opportunity.

A team from the two companies traveled to Haiti — the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with an average salary of $100 a year — to create an ad campaign in which Haitians respond…

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Americans win Nobel chemistry prize

This Just In

Two American scientists won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work revealing protein receptors on the surface of cells that tell them what is going on in the human body. The achievements have allowed drug makers to develop medication with fewer side effects.

Over four decades of research by Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka on “G-protein-coupled receptors,” have increased understanding of how cells sense chemicals in the bloodstream, according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awarded the prize.

“I’m feeling very, very excited,” Lefkowitz said in a predawn phone call from the United States to the committee in Stockholm, Sweden. The announcement caught him by surprise.

“Did I even have any inkling that it was coming?” he said. “I’d have to say no.”

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Media Digest (10/10/2012) Reuters, WSJ, NYT, FT, Bloomberg

24/7 Wall St.

The BAE merger with EADS faces more trouble from nations and shareholders. (Reuters)

The International Monetary Fund points to the eurozone crisis as the most likely cause of a worldwide slowdown. (Reuters)

The House of Representatives Intelligence Committee will continue to probe Huawei and ZTE over suspicious activity. (Reuters)

Steve Ballmer of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) says his company will become more like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). (Reuters)

The United States sues Wells Fargo Co. (NYSE: WFC) for issuing government-backed mortgages that defaulted in large numbers. (WSJ)

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) wants an exemption from Volcker rules about risky trading. (WSJ)

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) recalls 7.34 million cars worldwide. (WSJ)

Angela Merkel says she believes Greece can right its finances and remain in the eurozone. (WSJ)

The IMF says Spain and France will not hit budget targets…

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IMF Worries About Europe

24/7 Wall St.

Like nearly every other organization, economist and investor, the International Monetary Fund voiced concern about Europe in its new analysis. According to its Global Financial Stability Report:

Risks to global financial stability have increased and financial markets have been volatile as European policymakers grapple with the ongoing crisis.

The organization did not offer much in the way of helpful solutions, but it did frame the problem better than it has been done in the past.

Faltering market confidence has led to capital flight from countries on the ‘periphery’ to the core of the euro area. This has meant higher borrowing costs and a growing wedge between the economic and financial ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.

Capital markets investors and bankers have known about these problems for some time, but the IMF has upped the ante with a public statement from a major organization about the extent of the problem and its immediate…

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Yum! Brands and the U.S.-China Earnings Balance

24/7 Wall St.

Based on its latest earnings, Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) did well in the United States and China, its big growth markets. Or, China is a problem because growth has slowed there. The Yum! Brands results provide another example of why Wall St. has such difficulty dissecting how much China, the U.S. or Europe will or will not hurt corporate earnings.

Yum! Brands issues what may be the most unnecessarily complex financial statements of any large company in America. Buried in the data were numbers that showed that U.S. sales were up 1% and China’s up 22%, but margins in China did not improve while operating profit in the region was up 24% to $374 million. Additionally:

China Division system sales increased 22%, prior to foreign currency translation. Same-store sales increased 6%, overlapping strong prior year same-store sales growth of 19%.

Maybe sales are good, or same-store sales are slowing, or…

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Toyota’s 7.43 Million Car Recall — No Harm, No Foul

24/7 Wall St.

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) recalled 7.43 million vehicles worldwide today for what its said were power window switches that could cause fires. Toyota said that there had been none of these fires as far as it knows. Recalls in 2008 that included 5 million cars with floor mat problems and 2.2 million for accelerator problems probably were much worse. Toyota was slow in admitting the previous problems, which prompted Congress to haul CEO Akia Toyoda to Washington to explain the matter. Toyota’s sales prospects and quality reputation were hurt by, among other things, Toyoda’s poor showing.

The new 7.43 million recall could be seen as overly cautious by Toyota. But as it was burned in 2008, the car maker may have learned that it is better to handle potential mechanical problems as quickly as possible. The latest action involves cars and light trucks made between July 2005 and May 2010. Among these are the…

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What’s Important in the Financial World (10/10/2012)

24/7 Wall St.

Ballmer and Microsoft’s Future

Much of the recent discussion about Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) has centered around the cut in CEO Steve Ballmer’s bonus, which to some extent was due to ongoing losses in the company’s online operations. A bit less prominent in the news are Ballmer’s comments in the annual report of the world’s largest software company:

There’s a remarkable amount of opportunity ahead for Microsoft in both the next year and the next decade. As we enter this new era, there are several distinct areas of technology that we are focused on driving forward — all of which start to show up in the devices and services launching this year. Leading the industry in these areas over the long term will translate to sustained growth well into the future. These focus areas include:

  • Developing new form factors that have increasingly natural ways to use them including touch, gestures…

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Wall St. Compensation Back in the Spotlight

24/7 Wall St.

The office of New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released its annual report on the state of Wall St. The focus of the report, at least according to the press, was this information:

The average salary (including bonuses) paid to securities industry employees in New York City fell sharply in 2009, but rose by 16 percent in 2010 and by another 0.5 percent in 2011 to reach $362,950. This was a higher average than before the financial crisis and was the highest average among New York City’s major industries. The disparity between the average salary in the securities industry and the rest of New York City’s private sector narrowed slightly but it remains wide at 5.3 times greater than the rest of the private sector ($67,900).

The data will reopen the argument about why investment professionals should be compensated more than teachers, firemen, the police or, for that matter, any…

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Pizza Hut Wants You to Ask the Presidential Candidates about Their Favorite Pizza Toppings


Other than a cameo made by a certainSesame Street character, the first presidential debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama was refreshingly light on late-night comedy laugh lines and heavy on wonkish tax policy stances. But beware: the day after the next debate we might just be talking about pizza topping preferences.

That, at least, appears to be the hope of the marketing folks at Pizza Hut. In a Tuesday press release and video ad, the company announced that it’ll give a lifetime’s supply of pizza to any debate attendee willing to do thefollowing:

[Ask] either of the participants the age-old burning question – Sausage or Pepperoni? – during the live telecast town hall format presidential debate on Oct. 16 at Hofstra University.

If you go through with the stunt, as USA Todaynotes, you’ll actually just be getting a $520 Pizza Hut gift card every year for…

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Mortgage Applications Declined Slightly Last Week

24/7 Wall St.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly report on mortgage applications this morning, noting a drop of 1.2% in the group’s seasonally adjusted composite index compared with last week’s increase of 16.6%. Applications for refinancing fell 2% (seasonally adjusted), while seasonally adjusted purchase applications increased by 2% from the previous week. Unadjusted, the purchase index rose 3% compared with the previous week and rose 12% compared with the same week a year ago.

The refinancing rate fell slightly from last week’s record highs, but refinancings still accounted for 83% of total applications, flat with a week ago. About 96.1% of the applications were seeking fixed-rate loans.

The average contract interest rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose slightly from 3.53% to 3.56%. The rate for a jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage also fell, from 3.82% to 3.74%. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased from 2.90%…

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ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Comm. Sept. Newsletter

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ASU Wraps Up Competition @ Grand Canyon Invite

(Oct. 6, 2012)
Walker paces the ASU men with a second-place finish @ the
Estrella Mountain Regional Park on Saturday.

BUCKEYE, Ariz. – The Arizona State University cross country teams competed at the Grand Canyon Invitational in Buckeye, Ariz., on Saturday with the men taking third and the women finishing fourth.

Josh Walker had what may have been the best race of his collegiate career, finishing second overall, covering the 8,000-meter course as Estrella Mountain Regional Park in 24:58.6 and finishing as the top finisher for the Sun Devils. Continue reading

ASU Women’s XC Takes 10th @ Notre Dame Invite

(Sept. 28, 2012)
Sophomore Shelby Houlihan paced the team for the second consecutive race, finishing 13th overall.

By ASU Athletics
Press Release 

2012 Notre Dame Invite Results Get Acrobat Reader

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Arizona State women’s track and field team ran its complete ‘A’ team for the first time this season to the tune of a 10th-place finish at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind.

Sophomore Shelby Houlihan followed up her season-opening victory at the George Kyte Classic with a 13th-place run at the Notre Dame Golf Course on Friday, clocking an impressive time of 16:58 over the 5,000-meter course.

Houlihan was just 13 seconds out of third with the finish and continued her streak of pacing the ASU women at every event she has competed in as a Sun Devil. Continue reading

ASU Women’s X-Country 2 Compete @ Notre Dame

 Share on Twitter by clicking here.
The Sun Devil women will face their first real test of the season on Friday as the team takes part in the Notre Dame Invitational.

By ASU Athletics
Press Release 

Senior Natasa Vulic uses her experience to help the Sun Devils this weekend against Norte Dame. (Photo Courtesy of Sun Devil Athletics)

TEMPE, ARIZ. – The Arizona State University women’s cross country team will compete in its first big test of the season as the team heads to South Bend, Ind., to take part in the Notre Dame Invitational at the Notre Dame Cross Country Course on Friday, Sept. 28.  The women will be taking part in the women’s ‘Blue’ race and will compete  on the 5,000 meter course beginning at 4:15 p.m. ET.  This will be the 26th running of the women’s event.


The ASU women are returning to the Notre Dame Inviational for the first time since 2009, which was also the team’s first-ever apperance at the event. Kari Hardt led the charge for the women’s fifth-place team finish as the senior finished 18th overall in the race. As a team, the No. 13 Sun Devils scored 170 points and were fifth overall behind No. 1 Washington (33), No. 6 Princeton (68), No. 15 Florida (104) and No. 22 Penn State (152). ASU did finish ahead of two programs that were higher ranked, including No. 3 Florida State (seventh) and No. 12 Providence (tied for eighth). Continue reading

Five Alternatives to Apple’s iOS 6 Maps


I lived near London, England for nearly two years. I now live roughly as near London, Ontario (yes, such a place exists) from my haunts in southeast Michigan. Apple Maps, Cupertino’s new substitute for Google Maps — which no longer exists on the iPhone as of iOS 6 — thinks the former is in fact the latter. Really, see for yourself.

That’s an embarrassing mixup, albeit, I’m assuming, an easily remedied one. When you confuse one of the largest cities in the world with one that’s only a few hundred thousand strong and located 3,600 miles on the other side of the pond, chances are you’re going to hear about it. A few tweaks and presto, fix-o. For all we know, it’s already done and we’re just waiting on the inevitable iOS 6 update, comin’ round the mountain any day now.

(MORE:New Maps App Is a…

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The Inside BlackBerry Blogs: Your BlackBerry Jam Americas Headquarters

Inside BlackBerry

Next week we’re off to San Jose to cover all the action from BlackBerry® Jam Americas, our headline show of the year for developers. The show starts on Tuesday September 25, so be sure to make the Inside BlackBerry Blog your home for news from the ground. Also, don’t forget to check in with our friends over at the Inside BlackBerry Developer Blog and Inside BlackBerry for Business Blog to follow along with news for devs and the enterprise, respectively.

As usual, we’ll have all the action here from the keynote on Tuesday, some exclusive interviews, and maybe even a little taste of what we’ve been working on for BlackBerry® 10. Are you a developer interested in knowing more about the show? Swing by the Dev Blog for all the details, and check out this special message from Alec Saunders on why you should attend.

If you’re…

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iOS’s lead over Android in app monetization is shrinking


Conventional wisdom has held for a while that Apple’s iOS(s AAPL) platform was by far the best way to monetize apps. Sure, Android’s(s GOOG) platform was big but the users who tended to pay for apps were most likely using an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. That’s changing thanks to the greater diversity of app monetization strategies — in-app purchases, driving traffic through social channels, and advertising — a panel of app experts said during a session at GigaOM Mobilize conference today.

For a long time it was reported that iOS monetization was five times better than what you could make on Android, said Raj Aggarwal, CEO and co-founder of Localytics. But because there are so many more ways of examining the data that tells a developer who is interested in their app, and different methods of making money from users, things are changing. “iOS’s lead, in terms of the minds…

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Introducing the solar pocket factory


Making mini solar panels, which can power devices like cell phones, in your own backyard — that’s the aim of Shawn Frayne and Alex Hornstein’s new project called the Solar Pocket Factory, which recently successfully raised $77,500 on Kickstarter. The duo’s idea is to make a modular machine that people can use to make microsolar panels — the kind used for cell phone chargers — because a big chunk of the cost of making microsolar panels is in the factory assembly of them.

NPR’s Science Friday made this fun video of the guys, who look like they’re having a lot of fun geeking out over microsolar. Combine a pocket Solar Pocket Factory with a Makerbot 3D printer and you’ve got yourself a mini industry in your own backyard.

You’re probably wondering why a company or person would want one of these solar pocket factories. If you watch the videos…

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4 startups to watch from Entrepreneur Roundtable Accelerator’s demo day


From e-commerce to e-mail to politics and paperwork, startups of all kinds were on display Friday at the Entrepreneur Roundtable Accelerator’s Demo Day in New York. The accelerator program, which just launched last year, debuted its third class of startups, bringing its total portfolio to 30 companies.

The 10 startups ran the gamut from marketplaces for custom goods, catering and yoga gear to companies looking to optimize online video, totally digitize paperwork processing and simplify group travel.  Here are a few of my favorites:


Email may be decades old, but mxHero is trying to make sure it keeps up with the times. The Sao Paulo-based company has a bunch of cool services – from self destructing messages to the ability to hide email addresses from out-of-company recipients to enhanced email monitoring – to help enterprise clients improve email.  It also allows people to send attachments…

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At Square, we’re building technology that sells itself, says COO Keith Rabois


Square made headlines this year after its landmark deal with Starbucks (s sbux), which will put the mobile payment darling’s product in stores across America. But Square’s chief operating officer Keith Rabois said Friday that the company isn’t running out to hire new salespeople.

“We’re in the software business, so we produce technology that substitutes for human beings,” Rabois said at GigaOM’s Mobilize conference in San Francisco, noting that the physical Square reader sells itself through physical stores that use the product. “When I go to the coffee shop, I see it, when I get in the taxi, I see it,” he said.

Rabois commented on the partnership with Starbucks, noting that one of the biggest benefits for Starbucks stores and customers is that the national chain will be able to better recognize local customers and treat them the way a local coffee shop might.

“75 percent of Starbucks payments are anonymous…

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Letters to the President #1341: ‘Promises, promises’

Anderson Cooper 360

Reporter’s Note: President Obama appears to be doing very well with Hispanic voters. Which is not to say that they are all happy with him…as I note in today’s letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

So I saw some of the comments you made to that gathering of Latino voters and one of them really caught my eye. I can’t quote it, but it went something along the lines of…you’ll admit that you didn’t succeed at comprehensive immigration reform, but it wasn’t for want of trying. You explained how the economy was a wreck, and other matters became very pressing, and on and on…

All of that is valid, I suppose, but I was still a bit surprised to hear it. The truth is, like politicians everywhere all the time, you had to choose some priorities and immigration reform was not one of them; or at least…

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Rafter CEO: The innovation curve hasn’t hit education yet


Educational apps and interactive textbooks may look flashy, but we still have a long way to go before we can truly leverage tech in the classroom: That was one of the key takeaways from a mobile education panel at GigaOM’s Mobilize conference, where Rafter CEO Mehdi Maghsoodnia complained that most educational applications still feel like mobile apps before the iPhone, adding: “The innovation curve hasn’t hit educational content yet.”

Maghsoodnia was joined onstage by Vineet Madan, SVP of New Ventures and Strategic Services for McGraw-Hill Education, who agreed that there is still lots of room for innovation. “The answer isn’t putting a piece of paper on a screen,” he said. McGraw-Hill Education has partnered with Inkling for some interactive publications, and Madan said that the feedback has been very positive. “It’s certainly gotten a lot of buzz,” he said, adding that these kinds of interactive experiences offer much richer…

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You shouldn’t need a computer science degree to write a mobile app


Just like a drunk boyfriend, the web is unreliable and not always available to apps. That means that mobile app developers need to think differently about building for the mobile experience as compared to the desktop experience. And figuring out how to do that is hard for all the people out there who may want to build a mobile app without knowing how to set up Facebook authentication or manage a collection of virtual machines on Amazon Web Services.

“There’s no reason developing an app has to be something esoteric that requires a lot of knowledge,” said Kevin Lacker, the CEO of Parse, speaking at GigaOM Mobilize in San Francisco. “Someone else should be doing that boring work for you.”

Parse is that someone, and because he sees a lot of applications, Lacker also offered up a few tips for aspiring programmers to use in their apps to help with…

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Former Navy SEALs died after coming to the aid of others in Libya

Anderson Cooper 360

Two former Navy SEALs who were among four Americans killed last week in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, died after rushing to the aid of their colleagues, according to sources familiar with the incident.

Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were in Benghazi as part of a security contractor force.

On September 11, they were ensconced in the safety of an annex location in another part of the city when they got word that the main consulate building was under fire and the diplomats there — with an armed force of only nine people — were overwhelmed by the deteriorating situation.

Doherty and Woods, along with other security personnel, left the secure annex and made their way to the chaotic scene, rounding up the consulate staff who were under attack and guiding them back to the second safe building.

Read more…

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ASU Men’s X-Country Takes 3rd @ Pac-12 Meet

Senior Darius Terry paced the team with a third-place finish in his return to the team.

By ASU Athletics
Press Release 

Published Sept. 21, 2012 @ 9:50 P.M.

Pac-12 Preview Results Get Acrobat Reader

<Source: ASU Athletics />

TEMPE, ARIZ. – The Arizona State University men’s cross country team ran their “A” squad for the first time on the season and the results were impressive as the team took third at the Pac-12 Preview in Santa Clarita, Calif., on Friday.

Senior Darius Terry picked up where he left off last year before being sidelined with injury, clocking a third-place finish in 24:35 over the 8,000-meter course at the Robinson Ranch Golf Course – the site of this year’s Pac-12 Championship. Continue reading

‘Run With Robles’ Wrestling Fundraiser Event Rescheduled

The program is looking at a date in early 2013 to reschedule the event.

Sept. 20, 2012

By ASU Athletics

(Source: ASU Athletics / <>)

TEMPE, ARIZ. – Due to a series of unforeseen circumstances, the Arizona State University wrestling program has announced that the first annual “Run With Robles” fundraising event will be rescheduled to a later date.

The event, meant to honor one of the most inspirational student-athletes in the history for collegiate athletics in Anthony Robles, was originally scheduled to take place on November 3.  The wrestling program is now looking towards a possible date in early 2013 to host the event. Continue reading

ASU Men’s X-Country Heads 2 UCLA

The Sun Devil harriers will be running their `A’ team for the first time this season at the course that will host the Pac-12 Championships.

Sept. 19, 2012

2012 UCLA Pac-12 Preview – Meet Notes Get Acrobat Reader

TEMPE — The Arizona State University men’s cross country team will give most of its top runners their first taste of action in 2012 as the team heads west to take part in the Pac-12 Preview, hosted by UCLA at the Robinson Ranch Golf Course in Santa Clarita, Calif.  The venue will be the location of the Pac-12 Championships, set to take place on October 27.  The Sun Devil men will see season debuts from Darius TerryNick Happe and CJ Albertson.  The event is schedule to kickoff at 6:20 p.m. PST.  The women’s team is not slated to compete. Continue reading

Shark Rescues Man Adrift in Pacific Ocean


Toakai Teitoi of Kiribati, a Micronesian island nation 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii, did not think calamity was awaiting him when he agreed to get a lift on his brother-in-law’s boat. A two-hour sea journey turned into a 105-day odyssey, filled with death and despair, that ended with a miracle.

On May 28 Teitoi, 41, and his brother-in-law Ielu Falaile, 52, got into a 15-foot wooden boat that would take them back to Teitoi’s hometown of Maiana from the capital of Tarawa, where Teitoi had flown to be sworn in as a policeman.

(LIST: 10 Things You Didn’t Know about Sharks)

Halfway through their journey the two men came upon a school of fish and decided to stop for a while to catch some. But engrossed in the fishing, the two soon lost track of time — and worse, their reserves of water and gas, Teitoi told the…

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At Facebook cache is king. Here’s how it keeps it up.


Facebook’s engineering team has created a tool to help determine how well cache stores are performing at the social networking giant. The tool, dubbed Claspin, is detailed on a Facebook(s fb) engineering blog published on Wednesday.

The solution is an elegant example of translating institutional knowledge about how Facebook’s cache systems work into a easy-to-understand data visualization that allows others to quickly spot a problem and fix it. Sean Lynch, a Facebook engineer, described how, with tens of thousands of memcache servers and a caching graph database called TAO, it was sometimes hard to quickly figure out when a faulty cache was bogging down the system.

Caching is one of the most essential features of the Facebook infrastructure because it keeps the data stored most often closer to the web servers, delivering content to users as fast as possible. This is essential when you realize that Facebook is pulling up content…

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ESPN builds a Twitter-style firehose for sports news


ESPN (s dis) is giving sports fans a way to hook up to its firehose of content with a new Twitter-style stream called SportsCenter Feed. The sports cable and online network is amassing almost every bit of content it pushes out over into a single feed, more than 1,000 updates a day.

The feed, which is in beta and will be accessible through, will include personalization and filtering tools so users can narrow the focus of the updates they see. For now, users will be able to select their favorite team or sports league but eventually it will include filters for players and conferences.

Users who create an account will be able to click on any update and view it in a larger window. It will include stories, blog posts, videos, pictures and score updates but it won’t include longer journalism pieces at launch or content from Grantland

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Fast and Furious report finds DOJ management failures

This Just In

[Updated at 2:31 p.m. ET] Fourteen employees of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Justice Department face disciplinary action for their roles in the botched Fast and Furious weapons-tracking program, according to a report released Wednesday by department investigators. No criminal charges are recommended, according to the report.

The program was doomed by a “series of misguided strategies, tactics, errors in judgment and management failures” on the part of line agents, prosecutors and senior Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington, Justice Department investigators concluded in a report released Wednesday.

The report does not recommend any criminal sanctions against individuals in connection with the controversial gun-trafficking operation.

The report finds that Attorney General Holder was not informed of the controversial ATF operation until 2011 after the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December 2010.

Parents say slain agent’s death exposed flaws of gun-running operation

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WATCH: Navy Cadets Perform ‘Gangnam Style’ Lip Dub


Correction Appended: Sept. 20, 2012

Sorry, Carly Rae Jepsen, but we think it’s safe to say your reign has ended. Now that Navy sailors have performed a  rendition of PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” it looks like the South Korean rapper has officially galloped in on an invisible horse and dethroned you as the world’s favorite viral video star.

Jepsen’s infectious summer hit “Call Me Maybe” received the Internet parody treatment over and over and over (and then again — oh, wait, and again) so it was really only a matter of time until the “Gangnam Style” adaptations began sweeping across the web too. The latest video, already more than 1 million views strong, comes from the U.S. Naval Academy’s 22nd Company. It features winsome sailors in dress whites, plenty of PSY’s signature “invisible horse” dancing and even some pelvic thrusts for good measure.

(MORE: This Is the Inevitable ‘Gangnam…

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The inexact, but improving, science of mobile ad targeting


The pipe dream for companies trying to make money from mobile data is to know exactly when users are near a particular business and to hit them with the perfect ads to win their business before they’ve moved on. As it stands, however, it’s still quite difficult for software to determine what businesses consumers actually frequent, as opposed to the ones they just happen to hang out by. However, adding the right data into the mix or taking mobile payments mainstream could change everything.

Prospects vs. shoppers

The gap between where we are and where we want to be struck me on Monday as I was reading about Sense Networks’ new Retail Retargeting service. The service aims to help mobile advertisers reach consumers based on where they’ve been and what businesses they’re likely to be nearby again. So, if someone is nearby a Target (s tgt) three times a day, five…

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Holder on Fast &amp; Furious: Justice didn’t OK ‘use of flawed strategy, tactics’

This Just In

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday released the following statement regarding Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on Operation Fast and Furious:

“I have reviewed the Office of the Inspector General’s report on Operation Fast and Furious and the key conclusions are consistent with what I, and other Justice Department officials, have said for many months now:

The inappropriate strategy and tactics employed were field-driven and date back to 2006;

The leadership of the Department did not know about or authorize the use of the flawed strategy and tactics; and

The Department’s leadership did not attempt to cover up information or mislead Congress about it.

“Beginning in 2011 shortly after public concerns were first raised about Operation Fast and Furious I referred this matter to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Throughout the next several months, I instituted significant policy reforms, stronger…

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Everything you ever wanted to know about WebRTC


Companies like Google, (s GOOG), Cisco (s CSCO) and Microsoft (s MSFT) all have been working on bringing voice and video chat to the browser, with no downloads necessary. These efforts are commonly known as WebRTC. But what does WebRTC actually do, and how does it work?

There’s likely no one who could explain this better than Cisco’s Cullen Jennings, who co-chairs the Internet Engineering Task Force’s WebRTC working group. Jennings recently posted an introductory presentation about WebRTC on Vimeo, and you should watch it if you want to know what people are talking about when they’re saying WebRTC:

RTCWeb Explained from Cullen Jennings on Vimeo.

Two things are worth noting: First of all, Jennings actually does a really good job at breaking down the complex technology behind these efforts. And secondly, he’s trying really hard to steer clear of some of the politics in this space…

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Clips From Last Night: Wyclef Jean on his passion for politics and the rumor that he was to perform at the RNC

Piers Morgan

On Tuesday, Piers Morgan welcomed musician and politician Wyclef Jean to the program. The once presidential candidate for Haiti and author of the new book, “Purpose, An Immigrant’s Story,” shared with Morgan the source of inspiration for his love of politics:

“Politics really came from my uncle, Ray Joseph, who was the Haiti ambassador to America,” said Jean. “So politics has always been an undertone in the household.”

Jean, a staunch Democrat and Obama supporter also clarified the rumor that he was slated to perform at the Republican National Convention this past August. “I did not agree to perform at the RNC,” said a definitive Jean.

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Four of Five Smartphone Users Go Shopping (AMZN, EBAY, AAPL, WMT, TGT, BBY)

24/7 Wall St.

The number of U.S. smartphone owners who use either their mobile browser or a dedicated app to visit a retail site totaled 89.5 million in July, representing about 4 out of every 5 smartphone owners in the country. The data comes from the latest survey of smartphone users by comScore Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR).

The leading sites for retail visits belong to Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) with 49.64 million unique visitors and eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) with 32.58 million unique visitors. The next four retailers are all multi-channel sellers, with both brick-and-mortar locations as well as popular websites. These are, in order, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) with 17.68 million unique visitors, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) with 16.3 million unique visitors, Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) with 10.04 million unique visitors, and Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY)…

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Only in America: As good as gold

Piers Morgan

On Tuesday, Piers Morgan used his “Only in America” segment to put some shine on a story he found to be “as good as gold.”

Rolling video of a speech given by then-presidential candidate Ron Paul, the host reminded viewers of the 77-year-old Texan’s goal of going back to gold:

“We should have a full audit of the federal reserve and get back to a sound currency, as the constitution mandates, a gold standard,” said Paul to a collection of supporters.

“Well at least one American took Ron Paul very, very seriously,” explained the “Piers Morgan Tonight” host.

Introducing viewers to the late Walter Samasko, Jr., Morgan told the tale of a recently deceased Nevada man, who after not working in four decades, had merely two hundred dollars in the bank.

However, while his checking account was nearly empty, Samasko’s garage was an entirely different story.

After the…

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