Category : newspapers

Jackson’s death a homicide?

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Yesterday members of the Drug Enforcement Administration and LAPD obtained a warrant permitting the search of Michael Jackson’s most recent doctor’s (Dr. Conrad Murray of Huston) office. During the search, which was officially documented as for the purpose of obtaining evidence that may suggest that the offense of manslaughter was committed at the time of Jacksons death, authorities collected some 21 documents from Murray’s office stating that these documents may prove useful in determining Murray’s correlation to Jackson’s death, if any.

So, do you guys think he did it?

Assuming I don’t know all of the facts, its tough for me to speculate, but my initial feeling is, this man was being paid over 150k a month to care for Jackson’s heath – Who would cut off a cash cow like that?

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Apple: Astonishing Sales In a Slumping Economy

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In the midst of  a recession that has swooned the US economy, many corporations both large and small have felt the effects and thus, have anticipated down turns in almost all areas of financial performance. Even so, a small percentile of the top performers have managed to continuously witness substantial growth in both sales and revenue. Among these top performers is Apple, one of the leading high-end consumer level electronics manufacturers around the globe.

Just this month Apple recorded its best nonholiday quarter ever when other electronics makers were hurting because of a downturn in consumer spending. According to various estimates, PC shipments for the industry fell 3 to 5 percent over the last three months. But Apple said it sold 2.6 million Macs in the quarter, up about 18 percent from the 2.2 million it sold in the previous quarter, which ended March 28.

Apple also benefited from the June introduction of a new smartphone, the iPhone 3GS. Apple sold 5.2 million phones in the quarter, up from 3.79 million in the April quarter. The 3GS includes new features like the ability to record video, send picture messages and dial with voice commands. Apple previously said it sold more than one million 3GS handsets in the first three days of the product’s availability.

The company’s overall gross profit margin grew to 36.3 percent, from 34.8 percent in the year-ago quarter.

Apple reported that its net income grew to $1.23 billion, or $1.35 a share, up from $1.07 billion, or $1.19 a share, in the quarter a year ago.

Revenue rose to $8.34 billion, from $7.46 billion last year. That exceeded even some of the optimistic expectations of analysts, who projected Apple to announce revenue of $8.16 billion and a profit of $1.16 a share, according to a survey conducted by Thomson Reuters.

So the question for today is: Why are companies like Apple thriving so painlessly when millions of others are struggling to simply stay afloat?

Id love to here what some others have to say!

Banner to accept city’s loan offer

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The Bay State Banner, Boston’s only black-owned newspaper, plans to accept a $200,000 loan from the city to stay afloat, despite criticism that the money could compromise its impartiality during an election year. The newspaper, which has a weekly circulation of 30,000 copies and has struggled with slumping advertising revenue, said last week that its last issue would be July 9. Miller has not disclosed the company’s revenues, but said he decided to close the operation because the paper was struggling financially.

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Watching Your Every Tweet!

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Many people wonder who is interested in reading tweets about what people had for breakfast. Well, here’s one answer: cereal makers like Kellogg’s and Quaker Oats.

Advertisers are starting to target ads to you based on what you say on Twitter. And if you tweet something nice about a product, you might even see your blurb in bold type on an ad, just like a Jeffrey Lyons movie review. So says Seth Goldstein, the chief executive of SocialMedia, a company that has created advertising formats for Facebook, MySpace, and now Twitter.

Of course, Twitter itself doesn’t put ads on its Web site and doesn’t include ads in the streams of tweets from users. But SocialMedia has found other ways to help advertisers bind their messages to Twitter users. One, called Twitter Sparq, places ads on some Twitter applications, including PowerTwitter (a Firefox plugin) and TwitterFon (an iPhone application).

Twitter Sparq is designed to be an automated auction of text ads, much like Google’s AdWords. But while ads on Google relate to what you are searching for, Twitter Sparq ads are shown to people based on “the list of historical keywords that the user has tweeted in the past,” the company’s site explains.

Is that an invasion of your privacy? It’s not like advertisers are sneaking around watching where you surf without telling you. They are listening to what you have chosen to shout to the whole world.

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TripAdvisor banishes fake reviews

The influential travel Web site TripAdvisor has been quietly posting disclaimers to warn customers of hotels writing fake reviews to improve their popularity rankings or hurt competitors.

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The red disclaimers near the names of hotels show that TripAdvisor has a problem with fake reviews, travel bloggers and industry experts say. One blogger, Jeff Tucker, warned that without changes to restore credibility to the reviews the site is “going to come crumbling down behind them.”

Experts say manipulated reviews can be overly positive, citing features — such as the brand of faucet fixtures — regular travelers rarely notice. Or they can be extremely negative, with a competitor bashing a hotel that generally has more favorable reviews. Fake posters often have only one or a few reviews, whereas many regular TripAdvisor users post numerous reviews.

Travel industry insiders — but often not casual travelers — understand the financial incentives hotels have to artificially inflate their rankings on the site. Some offer discounts or freebies to patrons who write positive reviews or hire public relations companies who say they can improve the reviews.

The company has policies to weed out suspicious reviews, screens reviews before they are posted, and uses automated tools to identify attempts to corrupt the system, Ferencsik said. Users can also report reviews they find not credible.

Full story here

Social Networking = Cohesion or Division?

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Is the social media revolution bringing us together? Or is it perpetuating divisions by race and class?

An important question asked by New York Times’ Riva Richmond.

I know, your all probably thinking, “what do you mean division, social media is all about bringing people together.” Your right, most social media is, well, just that. Social. It functions as a wonderful, easy-to-access, and often free medium in the online social stratosphere. But take a second and think to your self. Does social media always help promote diversity in your own life? Think about the people you communicate with via social media. Aren’t the overwhelming majority business partners, co workers, old college buddies, home town friends, family. In short, most people tend to connect with other people like them. It’s true outside social media as well.

I hate to bash the leverage of social media, but are people really being brought together in a new way? My opinion is, not always. Even as I examine my own social media endeavors I realize, the majority of the people that I interact with are my college friends, hometown buddies, co-workers, clients, family, and career-like minded people. Other than that, I can’t really account for much of the other engagement that occurs across my array of social networking profiles.

In addition to people centralizing their social conversation around a relitivly narrow selection of genres of people (way to wordy), studies also show that certain socioeconomic groups tend to flock to specific social media networks over others. For example, during the 2006-7 school year, conversations with high school students showed a trend of white, upper-class and college-bound teenagers migrating to Facebook. Meanwhile, less educated and nonwhite teenagers were on MySpace. The interviewer, Danah Boyd, a social media researcher at Microsoft Research New England, noted that old-style class arrogance was also in view; the Facebook kids were quicker to use condescending language toward the MySpace users. “What we’re seeing is a modern incarnation of white flight,” Says Boyb. “It should scare the hell out of us.”

Others have mounted quantitative studies that confirm these divides. A December 2008 study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project showed that, over all, Facebook users were more likely to be male and have completed college, while MySpace users were somewhat more likely to be female, black or Hispanic, and to have not completed college. Since that study, however, Facebook has boomed and the social network landscape has no doubt changed significantly.

Ms. Boyd’s contention is that social media “mirrors and magnifies” our social divisions, rather than removes them. “We can use technology as a tool to connect with people, but we can’t assume that it will eliminate all of the serious issues we have to face in this country,” Ms. Boyd said at PDF. “Pervasive social stratification is being reified in a new era. If we don’t address this head-on, inequality will develop deeper roots that will further cement divisions in our lives.”

So my question to the reader is, do you think Social Media (and more specifically social networking) is in fact fostering an online environment of Cohesion among all people, or one reinforcing the haunting socioeconomical divisions that remain so deeply rooted in America’s past, present, and possibly future?

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Trusting the brand to the lowly ‘twintern’

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Many corporate higher-ups are demonstrating a genuine concern for the level of discretionary decision making invested in todays corporate “twinterns” (Twitter/social media interns). The thing is, many companies such as Pizza Hut are now choosing to hire paid interns to focus on their social media endeavors. Great idea, in theory.

One of the most common myths surrounding social media is the idea that teens and college students, because of their inherent involvement in the social media realm, must be great agents for corporate social media management and counsel. True, an overwhelming majority of Americans between the ages of 17-23 are now not only engaged but completely consumed with social media. But even so, many of these Gen Y Social media “Gurus” only know social media from an individual perspective. They understand how to harness the power of social media for networking with friends, but not for improving brand recognition, employing marketing campaigns or generating social buzz around a companies product.

One London based home-furnishings retailer, “Habitat” ‘s twittering intern got in big trouble last month after he sent out misleading tweets that included commonly searched words related to the protests in Iran. He added keywords — called “hashtags” in Twitterspeak — such as Iran and Mousavi to messages so that people who searched for information about the protests would see his employer’s ads instead. His bosses were not pleased. “This was absolutely not authorised by Habitat,” a representative said in a statement. “We were shocked when we discovered what happened and are very sorry for the offence that was caused.” Habitat has since deleted the tweets and vowed to “do better for the Twitter community.”

For this very reason, many organizations have refrained from employing under experienced interns to handle their social media loose ends.

Even so, companies like Pizza Hut, who have entrusted single social media interns with entire twitter campaigns, have witnessed amazing success within just months of hiring their twinterns. Robinson, Pizza Hut’s first official “twintern”, spends much of the day on the free microblogging service Twitter sending out messages about special promotions, responding to customer complaints, and trolling Twitter for mentions of Pizza Hut.

Despite a lack of in-house experience — she worked for only one day in a Pizza Hut restaurant — Robinson seems to be doing a fine job thus far. She has increased Pizza Hut’s Twitter followers from 3,000 to more than 13,000 and successfully executed a sales promotion over the Fourth of July weekend. And despite having only been on the job for a month, she seems well-informed about the company offerings. In response to a customer inquiry, she tweeted on Tuesday: “Currently the Stuffed Pizza Rolls are only available with pepperoni. I’ll keep you posted if anything changes.”

But she might have added this caveat: if anything changes this summer. The twinternship ends come September, at which point the posting duties will presumably change hands once again.

So the Question is, do you think trusting a “twintern” with your brands social media endeavors could prove useful or fatal?

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IE is to Windows as Google Crome is to Google OS.

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Thats right. Google has officially announced that it has plans to jump on the operating system band wagon that Microsoft had been able to ride and steer since the commodification of the PC it self. The software, which will be called Google Chrome Operating System, will likely be pre-released later this year and as a standard OS on a number of the industries many ‘net books’ available in the upcoming year. Google states that “Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS”, all things Microsoft has redundantly received flak for. Netbooks running the software will go on sale in the second half of 2010.

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The Bay State Banner Suspends Publication

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As economic times become increasingly adverse to the success of American businesses, more and more are feeling the burden of having to many bills, and not enough income to continue operations. The Bay State banner, a local paper serving Bostons African American community has officially announced that the Banner will immediately suspend all operations including the print and publication of their weekly paper. Although it is unclear as to how long this suspension will stay in effect, the banners Publisher Mel Miller stated that the Banner does intend on reinstating their weekly issue, once their financial situation permits.

Full story here

The New York Times wants out of the Bay State

Scoops Here. It is no surprise to us now that the New York Times wants nothing left to do with the Boston Globe, but talks are now circling around the Worcester Telegram. The Times Company bought the Telegram in 2000 and are now looking to ride itself of yet another Bay State paper. What’s up with that!

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What is up is that in  April, the Telegram’s parent company reported a first-quarter loss of $74.5 million. Executives by then already forseeing grim results for the second quarter that ends next week.

Why such bleak circumstances? Same ole, same ole…declining advertising dollars.

Good for the Telegram is their online presence @ telegram.com. In a March ABC report, the Web site had 629,704 unique visitors that month. Page views for the same month were more than 9 million.

 

Check out the full story for more information.