Robin Weng's blog

Windows 7 Sales at 150M as Live Essentials Launch

10:47, 3.08.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

Sales of Windows 7, which Microsoft is calling "the fastest-selling operating system in history," have reached about 150 million licenses -- or about seven copies of Windows 7 sold every second. In announcing the milestone on the official Windows blog, Windows Communications Manager Brandon LeBlanc earlier this week said Microsoft's assessment is that, including companies that are either deploying or evaluating, about 75 percent of all enterprises are "looking at Windows 7 for their organization."sewage pump
The sales momentum for Windows 7 appears to be accelerating. In early June, Microsoft noted that more than 100 million licenses had been sold in the first six months of the operating system's release, which was in October.
 

'Blends Together' PC and Cloud

On Thursday, Microsoft released a beta of Windows Live Essentials, its set of free applications for sharing photos, movies and communication, which the software giant said enlarges the capabilities of Windows 7.tempered glass
The applications are new versions of Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, the Write blog application, the folder-sync utility Sync, and Family Safety parental controls. The applications are set up for easy-to-use integration with other sites for photo and video sharing, social networking, blogging, Office Web Apps, and e-mail -- including Gmail and Yahoo mail as well as Microsoft's Hotmail.
"What the new Windows Live Essentials does is blends together the best of the PC," LeBlanc wrote, "with the best of the cloud."laminated glass
Laura DiDio, an analyst with Information Technology Intelligence Corp. (ITIC), said Microsoft is trying to position Essentials as a competitor to Apple's popular iLife suite. In particular, Photo Gallery has been improved so that it is better positioned against iPhoto.
"It's a good strategy to meld the new Windows with Live," she said, adding that Windows 7's sales "are clearly picking up speed," and will continue to do so.
 

Tied to Equipment Upgrades

DiDio said a "large majority" of the enterprise upgrades to Windows 7 are tied to equipment upgrades, which is now beginning to take place. In addition, she noted that many companies might have been holding back to give themselves time to retool legacy applications, which they've now had time to do or to begin.
DiDio added that ITIC's research has indicated that an overwhelming majority of Windows 7 users approve of the new OS, with about 90 percent rating it as excellent, very good, or good.insulated glass
While there has been discussion that the top mobile platforms, notably Apple's iOS and Google's Android, represent a new center of gravity for computing, DiDio said that, to date, they have not had a noticeable impact on Windows' position on enterprise desktops. She said they are unlikely to do so in the near future because of companies' and individuals' investments in Windows and the resulting huge installed base, and because of the current limited functionality for office productivity on mobile platforms.

 



'Toy Story 3,' Sandler are hot, Tom Cruise not

10:18, 3.08.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

The "Toy Story 3" gang and Adam Sandler are finding plenty of playmates at movie theaters. Tom Cruise is not so popular, though.
The Disney-Pixar Animation smash "Toy Story 3" remained the No. 1 film with $59 million in its second weekend, raising its domestic total to $226.6 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Sandler's "Grown Ups" debuted at No. 2 with a healthy $41 million. Released by Sony, the comedy costarring Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider did well despite a thrashing from critics.
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Cruise's thriller "Knight and Day" fizzled at No. 3 with $20.5 million. It was the worst result for a Cruise action flick in 20 years and a sign that audiences still have not forgiven him for erratic behavior a few years back, which included his couch-jumping incident on Oprah Winfrey's show.
"He's one of the biggest stars of all time, but no question, this has impacted him," said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. "It's not like it's irrevocable or unchangeable. Look at all the stars who have been jailed or caught in compromising sexual situations and then came back. Many stars do recover. It just may take a lot of time for him."
Reviews were fair for "Knight and Day," which features Cruise as a charming spy who finds romance with a civilian (Cameron Diaz) on a globe-trotting adventure. Yet distributor 20th Century Fox could not pull in a big audience despite a heavy marketing push that included sneak-peak screenings a week earlier and a Wednesday debut designed to build fan buzz for opening weekend.
Since Wednesday, "Knight and Day" has taken in $27.8 million. It added $12.6 million in 12 overseas markets, but the movie has a long road ahead to recoup a production budget of around $107 million.
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Playing in 4,028 theaters, "Toy Story 3" maintained a strong average of $14,647 a cinema. That compared to an average of $11,602 in 3,534 theaters for "Grown Ups" and $6,617 in 3,098 cinemas for "Knight and Day."
Even so, Chris Aronson, head of domestic distribution for 20th Century Fox, said the studio was happy with the results.
"I do think with the excellent reviews we've caught along with its playability, that it's going to be the movie of choice for smart audiences and will be for a while," Aronson said.
At the height of the Cruise backlash four years ago — sparked by odd behavior including rants about Scientology and his couch-bouncing proclamation of devotion to Katie Holmes — his "Mission: Impossible III" debuted with $47.7 million, well over twice the take for "Knight and Day." Granted, the latter is a harder sell compared to an established action franchise.
Even Cruise's Nazi Germany drama "Valkyrie," which arrived with modest expectations two years ago, did better with $21 million in its first weekend.
"Knight and Day" had Cruise's lowest action debut since the 1990 race-car thriller "Days of Thunder," which pulled in $15.5 million while playing in 800 fewer theaters. Factoring in higher ticket prices, "Days of Thunder" would have debuted with about $29 million in today's dollars.
After just 10 days in theaters, "Toy Story 3" is about to hurtle beyond "Shrek Forever After," now at $229.3 million after five weeks in theaters, to become the year's top-grossing animated movie.
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Though $300 million blockbusters "Iron Man 2" and "Alice in Wonderland" had bigger opening weekends, "Toy Story 3" now is outpacing both and could be on track to become the year's biggest hit.
"Though I would never try to call that prematurely, it certainly is the kind of movie that plays so well that you would expect the legs to put it into a pretty lofty position," said Chuck Viane, head of distribution for Disney. "The storytelling is so superb that I think it's going to play forever."
"Toy Story 3" has added $100 million in 32 overseas countries to raise its worldwide total to $326.6 million. The film has yet to open in many major markets, including most of Europe.
While Cruise once was one of Hollywood's most-dependable draws, Sandler remains a steadfast box-office earner. "Grown Ups" was his 10th film to open in a consistent range from about $34 million to $48 million, dating to 1998's "The Waterboy." "Grown Ups" features Sandler and his pals as boyhood friends reuniting as adults for the funeral of their old basketball coach. Critics usually hate Sandler's movies, while fans keep turning up. "They realize that they're the final judge, and they've chosen Adam over and over," said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony. "They know what they want to see." Overall business was down again as Hollywood lapsed back into a box office slide that persisted from May into early June. Revenues totaled $160 million, down 20 percent from a huge weekend last year, when "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" debuted with $109 million. Summer revenues are at $1.7 billion, down 5 percent from the record pace of 2009, while attendance is off nearly 11 percent, according to Hollywood.com. Business should rebound as "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" opens Wednesday for the Fourth of July weekend, one of the year's busiest times at theaters.
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Toshiba shows off 'concept' dual-touchscreen netbook

10:16, 3.08.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

Just a couple of months after Microsoft announced it wasditching its plans for a dual-screen tablet, Toshiba is making waves with a dual-screen device of its own -- a "concept" touchscreen netbook that's set for release in later this summer.Pallet Racking
A full-on Windows 7-powered netbook (or mini notebook, if you prefer), the Libretto W100 comes armed with a pair of 7-inch, 1024-by-600 displays that can work independently or together. For example, you could scan a length of a Web page by holding the W100 sideways, with the beginning of the page on the "top" display and the remainder on the bottom screen; you could also open a Word doc on one display and tap on a virtual QWERTY keypad on the other.
The specs for the 1.8-pound, 7.95-by-4.84-by-1.2-inch W100 are pretty impressive, at least on paper. We're talking Windows 7 Home Premium with a 1.2GHz Intel Pentium U400 processor and 2GB of RAM under the hood, along with a 62GB solid-state hard drive, a microSD memory expansion slot, a 1-megapixel Webcam with face recognition abilities, a single USB 2.0 port, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (including support for the new, speedy 802.11n standard).flexible coupling
The big question is how the diminutive W100 will handle the full-on, desktop-class Windows 7 OS with a mobile Intel processor. I haven't had the chance to try the W100 for myself yet, but Netbooked got a quick hands-on and called it "sluggish," and "much slower than the average netbook." Bummer.
Also disappointing, according to Netbooked: battery life. Netbooked says the W100's extended eight-cell battery yields just four hours of use, while the standard four-cell module delivers a mere two hours of battery life.jet pump
Perhaps that's why Toshiba is going to great lengths to call the Libretto W100 a "concept" PC, designed mainly to suss out whether there's really a market for a dual-screen netbook. And while the W100 will go on sale later this summer (no official price tag yet, although Netbooked thinks it'll be in the $1,000 range), a limited number will be available, so don't look for it at your local Best Buy.
I have to admit that my eyes lit up when I first saw video of the W100 in action. Netbooks with tiny 7-inch displays usually cramp my style, but two 7-inch touchscreens? Now we're talking. Then again, there's the reality of dealing with Windows 7 using a touchscreen interface -- probably not the best idea, given that the Windows OS is designed to be used with a keyboard and mouse. But what about Android or even a tabletized version of the upcoming Windows Phone 7 OS on a dual-screen netbook? Hmmmm.packing machine
What do you think? Is there a future for a dual-screen netbook like the W100?
 



The World's Most Expensive Cities 2010 TOP 10

10:14, 3.08.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

If you think $43 is too much to pay for lunch, you shouldn't live in Oslo. According to "ECA International", a global human resources company, that's how much an average lunch costs in Norway's capital. But Oslo is only the second-most expensive city on ECA's ranking of 399 global locations. And while the price of an average lunch in Tokyo is a comparatively modest $17.86, other costs, such as a $22 movie ticket and an $8.47 kilo of rice, earn it the dubious honor as the world's most expensive city.

ECA's ranking is based on a basket of 128 goods that includes food, daily goods, clothing, electronics, and entertainment, but not rent, utilities, and school fees, which are not typically included in a cost-of-living adjustment. ECA researchers and local partners gathered prices in September 2009 and March 2010 for domestic and imported brands that are internationally recognized--such as Kellogg's cereal or Sapporo beer. While lower-priced goods and services are available in these markets, the study estimated the cost of supporting the standard of living expected by expatriate employees, says Lee Quane, ECA's regional director for Asia. Some of the cities, such as Seoul and Stockholm, jumped up in the ranking as the local currency strengthened against the U.S. dollar. Quane says that while a slowdown in business may tempt employers to scale back compensation, "recessions only last so long" and retaining top talent in these places is critical to companies' success when the global economy recovers.

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1. Tokyo, Japan

Rank in 2009: 2

Food: Lunch at a restaurant: $18
Can of beer from grocer: $3.37
One kg of rice: $8.47
One dozen eggs: $3.78
Entertainment: Movie ticket: $22
Appliances: Washing machine: $879

The strength of the yen has brought Tokyo back to the No. 1 spot on ECA International's ranking for the first time since 2005. In addition to the costs above, rent for a two-bedroom apartment for expats is typically more than $5,000 per month in Tokyo, according to data from EuroCost International. While visitors need more pocket money here than in any other city, the monthly consumer price index in Tokyo's wards has actually dropped year-on-year for 14 straight months as of May 2010, based on figures from Japan's statistics bureau.

2. Oslo, Norway

Rank in 2009: 8

Food: Lunch at a restaurant: $43
Can of beer from grocer: $4.71
One kg of rice: $5.66
One dozen eggs: $6.72
Entertainment: Movie ticket: $16
Appliances: Washing machine: $880

Oslo rose above Copenhagen as the most expensive city in Europe when the kroner strengthened against other currencies. ECA International says an upward trend in oil prices, a short recession, and Norway's reputation as a safe haven for investors contributed to the kroner's rise.

3. Luanda, Angola

Rank in 2009: 1

Food: Lunch at a restaurant: $47
Can of beer from grocer: $1.62
One kg of rice: $4.73
One dozen eggs: $4.75
Entertainment: Movie ticket: $13
Appliances: Washing machine: $912

Angola's capital slipped to third place this year as the kwanza depreciated. Prices in Luanda have actually increased in the past year, but currency changes offset any inflation, according to ECA International. In addition to everyday goods, EuroCost International estimates that the average expat pays more than $3,500 per month for a two-bedroom flat in Luanda.

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4. Nagoya, Japan

Rank in 2009: 3

Food: Lunch at a restaurant: $19
Can of beer from grocer: $3.08
One kg of rice: $9.14
One dozen eggs: $3.33
Entertainment: Movie ticket: $20
Appliances: Washing machine: $621

Japan's fourth most populous city, Nagoya is also among the country's most expensive. The city ranks No. 1 for the cost of rice: $9.14 per kilogram, according to ECA International data. As Japan's auto hub, the Nagoya area is an important center of business: about 44 percent of automobiles produced in Japan are made here, according to the Greater Nagoya Initiative Center. Such companies as Toyota, Honda, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, and General Motors have headquarters, manufacturing operations, or distribution points in the Nagoya region.

5. Yokohama, Japan

Rank in 2009: 4

Food: Lunch at a restaurant: $17.39
Can of beer from grocer: $3.26
One kg of rice: $6.54
One dozen eggs: $3.72
Entertainment: Movie ticket: $19.50
Appliances: Washing machine: $630

About half an hour by commuter train from Tokyo, this port city has active shipping, biotechnology, and semiconductor industries. Yokohama is one of the world's most expensive cities, but companies here enjoy lower operating costs compared with the nearby capital. Nissan opened a new headquarters in Yokohama this year and reportedly will sell its office in Tokyo to cut costs.

6. Stavanger, Norway

Rank in 2009: 14

Food: Lunch at a restaurant: $33
Can of beer from grocer: $4.76
One kg of rice: $5.71
One dozen eggs: $6.34
Entertainment: Movie ticket: $15.50
Appliances: Washing machine: $749

This small seaside city earned its riches from oil in the North Sea and has become known as Norway's petroleum capital. Stavangerexpats.com says food expenses in Norway are about 50 percent higher than the EU average: A can of soda is about $2.80, and a beer at a bar can be $12.

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7. Kobe, Japan

Rank in 2009: 6

Food: Lunch at a restaurant: $16
Can of beer from grocer: $3.09
One kg of rice: $8.57
One dozen eggs: $2.81
Entertainment: Movie ticket: $20
Appliances: Washing machine: $470

The city has one of Japan's largest ports and has become home to many heavy machinery, iron and steel, and food product companies. According to the Japan External Trade Organization, 117 foreign and foreign-affiliated companies have offices in Kobe. As the price of Kobe beef, the style of high-grade meat named after the city, suggests, food is costly here, as are other living expenses.

8. Copenhagen, Denmark

Rank in 2009: 7

Food: Lunch at a restaurant: $36
Can of beer from grocer: $2.10
One kg of rice: $4.85
One dozen eggs: $6.99
Entertainment: Movie ticket: $15
Appliances: Washing machine: $1,196

A 2009 "survey" of 73 international cities by UBS found that employees in Copenhagen have the highest income. Places with higher salaries often have higher prices, but residents here enjoy good living standards overall. Some examples of the cost of living: Renting a DVD costs about $8 per night, a pair of women's jeans is more than $150, and a one-way ticket on public transport costs about $3.70.

9. Geneva, Switzerland

Rank in 2009: 9

Food: Lunch at a restaurant: $30
Can of beer from grocer: $2.02
One kg of rice: $3.81
One dozen eggs: $7.64
Entertainment: Movie ticket: $16
Appliances: Washing machine: $1,304

Geneva, home to many companies and U.N. organizations, is one of the most expensive cities for food and household appliances. Food prices in Switzerland are 45 percent more expensive than in the rest of Western Europe, and the cost of electronics and appliances in Geneva is among the highest worldwide, according to a 2009 UBS report.

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10. Zurich, Switzerland

Rank in 2009: 10

Food: Lunch at a restaurant: $25
Can of beer from grocer: $2.01
One kg of rice: $3.36
One dozen eggs: $5.81
Entertainment: Movie ticket: $16
Appliances: Washing machine: $974

Zurich, Switzerland's largest city, is the country's main business center and the headquarters city for many financial companies, including UBS and Credit Suisse. Although Zurich had the greatest number of company bankruptcies in Switzerland last year, according to Dun & Bradstreet, the inflation rate started to increase again this year after falling in 2009.



Our new national nightmare: sexviding

10:11, 3.08.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

Good morning, parents. Are you ready for another high-tech threat to your kids' innocence?
The latest round of paranoia already has a name: sexviding, a name that some have already given to what will happen when "sexting" -- explicit messages sent via text message, said to be all the rage with teens -- meets the iPhone 4's FaceTime video-chat feature.flexible coupling
In fact, it's probably been done already. After all, it doesn't take much more effort to point your phone's camera at your privates than it does to aim it at your face, as anyone who's tried Chatroulette can attest to.
Complicating the sexvid concern are larger issues surrounding the way FaceTime works. FaceTime works over Wi-Fi, not the cellular network, so any traffic being sent over an unsecured Wi-Fi connection can potentially be intercepted in an almost trivial manner. FaceTime chats are not themselves secured in any way, which means that it's probably just a matter of time before the first sexvid session is intercepted by an enterprising hacker and uploaded to the Web.jet pump
The mechanics of FaceTime also work only through collaboration with Apple's servers: In order to connect users, Apple apparently determines and logs the whereabouts of all FaceTime users when they connect to one another. The extent of Apple's logging isn't entirely known, and it probably isn't capturing FaceTime sessions themselves (the outrage would be unbelievable), but it probably does know who's talking to whom, and when. Is this too much information for Apple to have? And, more important, could it eventually be used to connect a leaked FaceTime video back to its participants to identify them?
Tread with caution.packing machine



Old phone scam makes a comeback

10:11, 3.08.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

The scam goes like this: Through some means, a telephone scammer gets enough information about you to steal your identity, particularly access to your bank account. The most common trick: You are persuaded into giving up financial details in order to facilitate some sort of monetary transaction, like a lottery payout.
But that's old news, really. The really clever part begins once the thief starts draining your account or using your stolen credit-card information to buy things. This stage involves tying up your phone line completely through a seemingly endless procession of junk phone calls, from telemarketers to recorded messages advertising some product or another to nothing but silence.air compressor
It doesn't matter what the substance of the calls is. Rather, it's the fact that your phone line is being tied up so that you can't use it.
That's important, because, meanwhile, the crooks are busily running up the bills. Scammers have wised up to the fact that banks will quickly catch on to fraudulent charges, so by now you've surely experienced what is supposed to come next: Your bank calls you to ask about "unusual activity."aluminium foil
But with the scam in full swing, the bank can't get through to you. It receives a busy signal, and, depending on the bank, the bank may let the charges continue until you turn them off -- so the tally keeps rising.
Another, simpler trick: A scammer simply changes your phone number with the bank once he has access to your account. Thus, the bank can't reach you at all since the number is wrong.aluminium sheet
The only real thing you can do if you think you've been targeted with this scam is to start contacting financial institutions immediately through another phone number and put a freeze on the account, either using an alternate line like a cell phone or even by going to a friend's house. Start with your most critical financial institutions and credit-card providers and work down. Remember, a single telemarketing phone call does not a scam make, but if you've gotten a handful in a row, one after another, the odds are good that you're under attack.
Once you've done that, you really have little choice but to ride out the attack. Chances are, once your accounts have been frozen, the calls will cease and you'll be able to resume your life again. At this point you'll have some cleaning up to do, including investigating your credit cards for false charges, ensuring your bank account balances are correct, freezing your credit report and, most importantly, changing passwords.deep well pump
You should also report the crime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, operated by the FBI.



10:10, 3.08.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

AOL Inc CEO Tim Armstrong wants to remake the 25-year-old company into an online media juggernaut by focusing on content creation and advertising revenue, shedding non-core assets.
The company, spun out from Time Warner Inc last December, recently sold its Bebo social network [ID:nN17214689] and online sampling and research arm DMS Insights, and is overhauling its sales force and ad platform.
As a result, Armstrong has warned that advertising sales would remain under pressure through the rest of the year and AOL's stock has shed about a quarter of its value since hitting a high in April.aluminium sheet
But as the advertising climate improves with the economy, could it be time for investors to take a second look at AOL?

BUY

Analysts who recommend that investors buy or hold AOL say ex-Google executive Armstrong is rightly focusing on content, given AOL is now too dependent on income from its legacy dial-up service, a lucrative but declining source of profit.
In the first quarter, subscription revenue fell 28 percent to $282.7 million on a 26 percent drop in subscribers to about 5 million.Uninterruptible power supply
"Clearly the subscription-based access business is in rapid decline," said Benchmark Co analyst Clay Moran, who has a "buy" rating on AOL. "Their best bet is to try and build content and monetize it via advertising. Generally AOL is taking the right steps divesting non-core unprofitable businesses and focusing on the U.S. market where they are strongest."
Moran, who noted there was little point in AOL trying to compete with Google Inc in Web search, has confidence in Armstrong.
"We believe that, if anybody can turn this around, he is the right guy," he said.
David Joyce, an analyst with Miller Tabak & Co, likes that AOL management is unifying its content and advertising platform, something it did not do in the past.
"AOL has been focusing on the U.S. market and content creation that should drive more interest from consumers and viewers and therefore create better metrics that advertisers can pay for. They can't just be a portal," said Joyce, who has a "neutral" rating on AOL.electric pressure washer
 

SELL

Analysts who are more critical of AOL point to scores of competition in online content, such as newspapers, user-generated sites such as Demand Media and other big Internet names such as Yahoo Inc, which are all wooing the same advertisers.deep well pump
Credit Suisse analyst John Blackledge stamped AOL as a "sell" since the spin-off, a position he still holds.
"They are betting on content and display and the reality is it's very competitive to grow eyeballs," he said. "I just don't think they are going to grow display advertising."
Gartner Inc analyst Ray Valdes, who does not cover the stock, said AOL does not have a clear strategy.
"We know they are getting rid of distractions such as a Bebo and once they clear those decks, the question is what will remain?" he said.
"Going around trying to be a content play in my own thinking is expensive. It's a been-there-done-that kind of play. As we all know, that hasn't played out well for Yahoo and it hasn't played out well for AOL and it hasn't played out well for traditional media."
Citi analyst Mark Mahaney has a "hold" rating on AOL and says the stock is cheap, but for good reason. He has a price target of $29, assuming four times cash flow estimates this year. AOL shares were trading at just under $22 on Friday.
AOL "faces very significant competitive risk from Yahoo, Google, Facebook and a slew of social media companies. The strategy is the correct one, I just think probably the best strategy you can come up with doesn't mean it will work. One should be skeptical that there is a long term win for AOL," he said.
"It is a cheap stock -- it's cheap for a reason. I don't think there is an obvious acquirer of AOL. I'm firmly neutral on it."EAS system



How to Scope Someone Out Online

10:08, 3.08.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

dating Website, exchanged numerous personal e-mail messages, and eventually communicated through intensive, all-night Skype sessions. Sarah felt like she knew Mr. Australia so well by then--had fallen in love with him so deeply, in fact--that she hardly blinked at inviting him to stay in our apartment for a month. And he didn't think twice about springing for a $2000 plane ticket to fly halfway around the world to see her.
But as soon as they met in person, it became clear that love at first online encounter would translate into thorough disappointment at first sight.
The dating world isn't the only place where people hook up online before they meet in the flesh. Employers increasingly screen job candidates on the Internet before bringing them in for an interview or hiring a new employee. Travelers arrange carpools through Craigslist with strangers they don't meet until they're alone together in the car. Parents use the Web to find nannies. Grown children go online to find caregivers for their parents. There is no limit to the virtual matches made among strangers, and new services facilitating such pairings pop up every day.
So what can you do to minimize your chances of making a mistake--of wasting $2000 on a plane ticket or flying in a job candidate who is all wrong for the position? Take advantage of the ever-growing number of ways to poke around online first, experts say.
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Search Engines and Aggregators

Before hiring, dating, or otherwise engaging with a person met at a distance, it's always wise to start with a basic Google or Bing search. But that's not the end of such screening capabilities these days. A few new services aggregate data from various sources of public information into one place.
Spokeo advertises itself as “not your grandma's phonebook,” and offers searches by name, e-mail address, or phone number. (You can also enter your e-mail password and have Spokeo crawl through all your contacts.) It collects information from more than 40 social networking Websites and other sources of public information, and aggregates everything in one location. The data includes demographic details about a person's location and neighborhood, their Pandora playlists and Amazon wish lists, and their shared photos, videos, and blog posts; together, all of those details add up to a more vivid picture of the person in question.
A similar service is Date Check, powered by Intelius, which is pushing its mobile aggregator service for iPhone and Android. This service includes criminal-background and sex-offender checks, under the heading “Sleaze Detector.”
Both Date Check and Spokeo offer free services for basic information, with the option of a paid upgrade for deeper searches.
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Video and Voice Screening

Skype and other videoconferencing technology can help you avoid the high costs and scheduling conflicts involved in bringing in people from afar to see if they're a good match--for employment, dating, or any other type of partnership.
“The traditional résumé tells recruiters very little about an individual candidate,” says Kurt Heikkinen, the president of Expressume, a company that works with corporations to use online video technology for the interview process.
Founded in 2007, Expressume lets candidates create a video profile that answers prepared questions tailored to clients' needs. In a given period of time, a recruiter can go through many more of these short videos than they can live phone conversations, and they get a more accurate sense of the candidates, Heikkinen says. Once that step has helped to single out the best candidates, the service arranges a live video chat.
If a candidate doesn't have a Webcam, Expressume sends one so that they can record their end of the interview.
“This service is very aligned with post-recession hiring,” Heikkinen says. “Recruiting staffs have been decimated, and they're looking for ways to be more efficient and save cost. Travel is time-consuming and expensive.”
Whether you're bringing a candidate in for an interview, asking someone on a date, or hiring a person to feed your cat, a video call--in real time or prerecorded--can give you a sense of that person ahead of time.
“Are they comfortable? Do they make good eye contact?” says Michelle Krier, director of marketing and social media for Pinstripe, a recruitment outsourcing company based in Brookfield, Wisconsin. “Those types of things are really important.”
Though video-chatting with a person brings them to life a lot more than simple Google results do, it's no substitute for face-to-face interaction.
“Keep in mind, you are communicating with someone you have never met before,” advises Julie Spira, author of the bestseller The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online.
“Take your relationship from online to offline as soon as possible to see if there is any chemistry,” Spira says.
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Next: Using Social Networking Sites Effectively

Facebook profile photos all appeared to be self-portraits. Many of his friends were virtual-only, not people he seemed to know in person.
His end of the Skype conversations turned intimate too early for an exchange with a stranger, and he also jumped the gun in changing his online status from “single” to “in a relationship” before they even met. Of course, any new love affair, employee hire, or contract arrangement is a gamble--set up in person or not. But with the right high-tech tools combined with a healthy dose of skepticism, online seekers may be able to minimize the stakes.
Employers are increasingly looking at social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to get a sense for how a person might fit into their company. The same kind of search might be applied to dating or other connections made online.
According to a poll conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, online search engines and social networking sites have been growing as methods for screening job candidates. The survey, entitled “SHRM Staffing Research: Online Technologies and Their Impact on Recruitment Strategies,” showed that 26 percent of those polled in 2008 used social networking sites as an HR tool “always,” “frequently,” or “occasionally,” compared with 9 percent from two years prior. Use of search engines among recruiters also increased.
“What are the candidates like outside of the office, above and beyond what they are giving us in an interview setting?” says Damon Lovett, an SHRM technology and HR management special expertise panelist.
Lovett says companies can use social networking sites to gauge whether any discrepancy exists between what job candidates put forth on their résumés and how they present themselves--either professionally on LinkedIn or socially on Facebook. The same can be said for dating: A person might appear to have a lot of “friends,” but what's the quality of those interactions? Does the person seem well respected by colleagues and friends in their network?
Lovett recommends searching for the candidate by e-mail address--usually found on the person's résumé--rather than by name. All the major social networking sites are connected to specific e-mail addresses, and it's a way to ensure that you are in fact looking at the right “John Smith.”
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Lovett also suggests looking at a job applicant's LinkedIn profile to assess the person's true area of expertise. If a candidate is applying for a job in one category but most of the person's connections are with professionals in a different field, that candidate may not be as well suited for the job as he or she might have you believe in the résumé.
“It's all about who you know,” Pinstripe's Krier says. She notes that it's possible to use social networking to find the perfect employees who aren't even looking for a job. If an employer--or anybody else needing a service--has a specific type of person in mind, they can scan LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites for just the right person, rather than sticking only to those who saw and applied for the opening.

 



Hackers and Apple make for a dangerous pair

10:05, 3.08.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

Raise your hand if you've ever heard the argument "If you want a virus-free computer, get a Mac."
Raise your other hand if, in response to a story I've blogged about regarding Windows security breaches, you've left a comment like that on Yahoo!
Now put your hands down, because, as CNN puts it bluntly, "Those days are over."Uninterruptible power supply
It used to be that the Mac had a small share of the market, and its architecture was fundamentally different from its PC competition. No one wrote malware for the Mac because there just weren't that many Macs around, and the way a modern malware creator works is through the law of large numbers: You infect a lot of computers to harvest a useful number of passwords, send a significant amount of spam, or otherwise wreak a substantial amount of chaos. This is why no one writes viruses for, say, the Amiga. What would be the point? There's no money in it.crane scale
Now the world has changed. While Mac computers are still relatively rare (though not as rare as they once were), the iPhone and iPad have changed the game, and Apple -- worth more on the market than Microsoft now -- is a major player in the computer industry once again. And so the hackers have come out to play.
Last week's headline-grabbing iPad hack is probably just the start.electric pressure washer
Security will be a growing headache for Apple as the months wear on. The perception has always been that the Mac is a "safer" operating system by design, but in reality that is not the case. Plenty of exploits have been found for Mac security holes over the years, but the lack of hacks in the wild has kept users safe while the company patched the problems. In fact, Apple releases security patches just as often as Microsoft does, according to CNN; it just doesn't make headlines when it does.
Now hackers are taking advantage of the holes -- and Apple, which doesn't really put a lot of emphasis on security these days, may be caught with its pants down. CNN notes that neither the official iPhone nor iPad websites mention security, and Apple's computer-focused sites say only that Macs don't get PC viruses, mentioning nothing of malware coded especially for the platform.air compressor
Now that Apple is on top, the company has left users in a bit of a quandary. Having become famous for its alleged inherent safety over the years, Apple users may soon find itself under attack but in denial about it, firmly believing as well that "Macs don't get viruses." Well, they can, and if Apple doesn't wake up to start taking security seriously -- and training users religiously about safe computer operating behavior -- it's only a matter of time before something far worse than the iPad breach hits.aluminium foil



For-pay 'Hulu Plus' may be on tap for PlayStation 3, Web

10:02, 3.08.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

Ready for Hulu and its catalog of streaming TV shows to (finally) land on a game console? Word had it that Microsoft would announce Hulu for the Xbox 360 at the E3 gaming conference earlier this month, but it didn't happen. Now it's sounding like Sony and the PlayStation 3 might beat Xbox Live to the punch, although you may have to sign up for a paid "Hulu Plus" subscription to tune in.
A pair of anonymous sources with "knowledge of the talks" are telling Bloomberg that Sony is poised to ink a deal with Sony that would bring Hulu to the PlayStation Network, and that the news could be announced as early as next week.EAS system
Here's the catch: You'd have to pay $10 a month for Hulu on your PS3 -- or on any other device, as Peter Kafka of All Things Digital writes. Kafka has his own sources who say that Hulu Plus -- the long-threatened subscription play for Hulu.com -- may also launch next week, if only as a limited beta test.
The latest round of Hulu rumors comes amid recent chatter that Hulu might come to both the Xbox and the iPad. Bloomberg says in its most recent story that Hulu's talks with Microsoft for an Xbox Live-based Hulu are still underway. Hulu is also negotiating with CBS, Viacom and Time Warner about bringing their shows over to the on-demand video streaming site, the Bloomberg story claims. Neither Sony nor Hulu are commenting on Bloomberg's report.PVC pipe fittings
What exactly is Hulu Plus (or rather, what might it be, given that we're still in rumorville)? According to Kafka, we're talking a $9.95-a-month subscription plan that would unlock a "deeper catalog of shows" on Hulu than what's currently available for free. More important, though, you'd also have to be a Hulu Plus subscriber to watch Hulu on another device, such as a PS3, the Xbox 360 or an iPad.
Hulu mobile access as the carrot for a Hulu subscription makes sense ... well, from Hulu's perspective, anyway. I can't see a lot of Hulu users coughing up $10 a month just for the privilege of watching a larger selection of shows on the Web. Tying the subscription plan to mobile access seems like a better way to lure more paid users.PVC window
That said, how many users would really want to pay $10 a month to watch shows on Hulu that they're already paying for on cable? For "cord cutters," the plan might make a lot sense, assuming you've got access to broadband. I might consider paying Hulu $10 a month for all my network shows it if it meant ditching my $135-a-month cable bill ... but as I've blogged about before, I'm too much of a sports fan (especially the NFL) to ditch cable altogether, and I'd rather not pay $10 on top of my cable bill just so I could watch on-demand Hulu over my PS3 or Xbox 360. submersible pump
But that's me -- what about you? Are there any circumstances in which you'd fork over $10 a month for Hulu Plus, assuming these latest rumors are true?



Chinese Language Top-level Domains Win ICANN Approval

10:00, 3.08.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

Web site operators will be able to register domain names written entirely in Chinese characters, including the final characters to the right of the last dot, in a matter of months.
Until now, site operators could register Web sites in the Chinese country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) using Chinese characters for all except the final ".cn".submersible pump
The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) granted approval to three different organizations -- China Internet Network Information Center, Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation and Taiwan Network Information Center -- to create Chinese-language top-level domains (TLDs). ICANN controls the creation of new Internet TLDs.
"One in five people on the planet will directly benefit from this work," ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom said in a news conference Friday afternoon.
The changes will also affect application software developers and those who maintain whitelists or blacklists of domain names for Web filters or antiphishing tools, as they will have to update their code and filters.Speed Reducer
The Chinese-language TLDs will be created within two to three months, he said.
China uses a script that represents words as one or more ideograms, but the DNS (Domain Name System) infrastructure stores domain names using the "Latin" alphabet, the 26 letters from A to Z. That suits Internet users in English-speaking countries, but poses problems in countries for which the official language is written using other scripts, such as Chinese ideograms, Arabic script or the Cyrillic characters used in Russian. European countries such as Österreich (Austria) or España (Spain) also have problems with the Latin alphabet, as they use accented characters to spell their official name in their own language.
The Chinese-language internationationalized domain names (IDNs) are not the first IDNs that ICANN has approved. In April it allowed Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to create country-code top-level domain names in their own script.swimming pool pump
There are many more applications for IDNs pending, Beckstrom said, including requests from Tunisia, Qatar, Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian Territory for the creation of IDNs in Arabic, from Sri Lanka for names in Sinhalese and Tamil, and from Thailand to add its name in Thai.
The technical underpinnings were developed not by ICANN but by the Internet Engineering Task Force, who worked for many years on the project, Beckstrom said.submersible pump
The IDNs, regardless of the script or language they represent, will all be stored as a series of Latin characters beginning xn -- followed by an encoded sequence representing the name. Thus, the IDN for China will be stored as xn -- fiqs8S (in simplified Chinese script) or xn--fiqz9S (in traditional Chinese script), while that for Taiwan will be xn -- kpry57d or xn -- kprw13d. Converting the underlying TLD into the appropriate script for display will be left to the browser or other client software. ICANN hosts a test page to find out whether a browser can already do this.electric pressure washer



China bans military from blogging

09:56, 3.08.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

China has issued regulations banning its 2.3 million soldiers from creating web sites or writing web blogs, adding to the nation's existing Internet curbs, state press said Saturday.
"Soldiers cannot open blogs on the Internet no matter (whether) he or she does it in the capacity of a soldier or not," Xinhua news agency quoted Wan Long, a political commissar of the People's Liberation Army, as saying.electric pressure washer
"The Internet is complicated and we should guard against online traps," it said, citing concerns about military "confidentiality".
The new rules are laid out in revised PLA Internal Administration Regulations and went into effect on June 15, the report said. They ban soldiers of the PLA, the world's largest standing army, from creating homepages, web sites or blogging.
China operates a vast system of web censorship, sometimes referred to as the "Great Firewall," that blocks access to or censors content deemed unacceptable, ranging from pornography to political dissent.submersible pump
Earlier this month, the government cited state security as it defended its right to censor the Internet and warned other nations to respect how it polices the world's largest online population of 400 million web users.
At the same time, the government insisted it "guarantees the citizen's freedom of speech on the Internet as well as the public's right to know, to participate, to be heard and to oversee".PVC pipe fittings
The latest moves come after a very public row with Google over web freedoms earlier this year that prompted the US Internet giant to shut its Chinese search engine.
The spat over censorship and cyberattacks touched off a war of words with the United States, at a time when ties were already suffering due to US arms sales to Taiwan and trade and currency issues.PVC window



9 ways to compliment your date

09:40, 3.08.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

Wow. You’re face to face with a woman who has you dazzled... and tongue-tied. Learn the right way to flatter her from our pair of etiquette experts.
The statement, “Gee, Suzie, you look nice today,” used to arouse giggly tingles on the playground, but as a post-pubescent suitor, your compliments better be more focused. Warm praise can defrost those first icy moments of early dating, as well as subtly advertise your attraction. Later, compliments are standard daily fare for keeping a relationship fresh. How do you spice it up? Allow us to share nine secrets:

1. Offer praise that’s original, not stale.
A dating-scene veteran with luxuriant locks has heard dozens of times how lovely her hair is. Either craft a new quip (“Your red and gold highlights make me long for autumn”) or else bypass obvious compliments in favor of lesser-named qualities (“Your posture is flawless... do you take ballet?”).
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2. Look for cues.
Where has your date invested her energies in preparing for your time together? A freshly-painted French manicure begs for recognition. Also, when someone has clearly invested their time or money in an area of interest, you’ve got a ready-made subject to compliment. “Wow... that’s quite a collection of snow globes.” This particular phrasing has the secondary advantage of making an observation without actually saying whether you like it or not.

3. Make it specific.
Vague, wide-beam flattery lacks the focused impact of a well-honed, explicit comment. “You’ve got a cool apartment,” is fine, but it doesn’t evoke pride as well as “Your jazz/art/fiction collection is amazing.” Instead of acknowledging her “pretty face,” pick one winning feature, like lips: “Your lips remind me of those coy silent-film stars.”

On to more compliments, with this note: Cheap flattery will get you nowhere. Keen compliments are never you-have-nice-eyes commonplace. Instead, it’s those rare remarks spotlighting subtler traits (e.g., sultry phone voice, bistro-picking savvy, and paparazzi-worthy glamour) that resonate longest. Next time you’ve got the chance to brighten a date’s day, issue one of these sincere forms of praise... you’ll know you’ve struck a chord when her cheeks blush. Here, the specifics:
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4. “That color looks great on you.”
This phrase works on a number of levels. Your compliment suggests an appreciation of style and signifies attraction while demonstrating your own sharp eye.

5. “Your space is so inviting/hip/splendidly decorated” or “You have great taste in ______.”
Anyone who has taken time to enliven their home with objects d’art or contrasting pillow fabrics relishes this kind of accolade.

6. “I love your friends.”
If you are fortunate enough to be meeting her network of pals, put some praise out there. Acknowledging her friends will settle half of your date’s “Will they all get along?” doubts, while also casting a vote clearly in favor of those who might be bridesmaids or groomsmen one day in the rosy future.

7. “You must spend hours at the gym/yoga studio.”
Your date’s toned arms and trim gams are likelier the result of a gym membership than just splendid genes. When you notice the firm effects of someone’s workout regimen, say so. One simple compliment affirms months of labor sweatin’ to the oldies.
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8. “You have the most alluring ______.”
If you’ve been dating for a bit of time, go ahead and mention eyes, toes, shoulders, back, hands and legs for this fill-in-the-blank. But beware of suggestive compliments that are more lewd than flattering.

9. “Being with you is really ______.”
This kind of statement cleverly compliments someone by signaling your own feelings. For those too shy to directly gush, “I really like you,” the above turn of phrase lets you reveal a little without coming on too strong.

Incidentally: Remarking upon a ring or earring offers the added bonus of an excuse to lift your date’s hand or brush soft curls from a delicate ear. As for necklaces, mind your manners... no pawing at pendants plunging down the bust line.

Bonus tip: End the date on a good note
After some tasty lip lock, offer immediate praise: “Now, that was a stupendous kiss.” And at the end of the date, close with a broad-stroked, three-word compliment: “You are fantastic.” This may not be terribly specific, but it ends the date on a high and succinctly announces your desire for more.
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A Uygur Folktale

09:32, 3.08.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

Once upon a time a landlord hired a shepherd boy whose name was Aniz. He was very well liked. What people liked most of all was to listen to him playing the flute. His flute looked very simple, no more than a length of bamboo; but in his hands it became a wonderful instrument. Whenever they were free, people would sit around Aniz and entertain themselves by listening to him play. The landlord was heartily sick of both the boy and his flute. He was constantly finding fault with him and scolding him, "You little wretch! Do I pay you to sit there playing the flute?" In point of fact, Aniz' flute-playing did not interfere with his work in the slightest.

One day the landlord found some slight pretext to give Aniz a terrible beating. That was not enough; he was not content until he had driven him out and trampled his flute into little pieces. "Good! I should like to see you play the flute now!"

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Poor Aniz left the landlord's house and, with tears trickling down his face, wandered through the streets.

He chanced to meet an old man. "Hello! What's the trouble, young fellow? Who are your parents? Why are you out here all on your own, crying?" the old man asked, stroking Aniz's head.

"Grandpa! I am a shepherd. My name is Aniz. The landlord beat me, drove me out and trampled my lovely flute to pieces..." Aniz began crying again.

"Don't cry, Aniz," said the old man kindly. "Come along and stay with me! I shall show you a way to avenge yourself." He took Aniz to his home. There he used a length of bamboo to make him a new flute which was much better than his old one. He taught him how to play it, and after his lessons with the old man, Aniz could play more beautifully than ever. This time it was not just people who enjoyed his playing; even the various animals in the forest came and sat round him, listening to him quietly and never wanting to leave. As time passed, Aniz and the animals became close friends.

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One day the landlord summoned his sons and said, "Last night I dreamt of a beautiful rabbit, white as snow, with a black spot on the top of its head. I liked the look of it very much. You must try your best to catch it for me in the forest."

"Father, we have never even heard of such a rabbit!" his sons replied. "Where can we go to catch it for you?"

"You hopeless creatures! Didn't you hear what I said just now?" cried the landlord in a temper. "Go and look for it. Whoever finds it will inherit all I have when I die."

The eldest son thought to himself, "I am the eldest. I should inherit father's property anyway, whether I catch the rabbit or not. But supposing they..." He stepped forward and said, "Brothers, let me go! I fear no danger, if only I can make father happy!"

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He set off on his way looking around him carefully, and after a while an old man came towards him and asked, "Young man, where are you going?" The eldest son told him why he had come.

"Go to the forest then," said the old man, "and look for the rabbit! Aniz is tending my cattle there. Tell him what you want and he'll help you."

The eldest son went into the forest, found Aniz and asked him for his help. "Of course!" Aniz smiled, "I can help you to find the strange rabbit. Come and get it this evening. But you must bring with you a thousand strings of cash to pay for it."

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The eldest son reckoned gleefully, "Compared with the property I am going to inherit, a thousand strings of cash are nothing!" In the evening he returned to the forest with the money and found Aniz sitting on a tree stump, playing his flute. All the little animals were squatting round him entranced, pricking up their ears to listen to the music. The eldest son saw the white rabbit among them at once. It really did have had a tiny black spot on the top of its head.

Aniz saw the rabbit too. He put down his flute, stretched out his hand, took hold of it by its long ears and handed it to the eldest son. "Here you are. Hold it tightly! If it escapes, it's none of my business."

The eldest son paid the money, thanked Aniz profusely and set off home with the little white rabbit. He was about to leave the forest when he heard Aniz playing the flute again. As soon as the rabbit heard the music, it burst from his hand and ran for all it was worth. The eldest son searched for it for a long time but could not find any trace of it. In the end he gave up and went to see Aniz again.

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"The white rabbit has run away. What can I do?" he asked.

Aniz answered, "There is nothing I can do about it. Didn't I warn you a moment ago to hold it tightly? It's no use blaming me."

The eldest son had no alternative but to go home empty-handed and tell his story to the landlord.

The second son said, "Father, don't worry. I'll go and catch it tomorrow." Next day, the second son went to try his luck and met the same fate as his elder brother -- time wasted and another thousand strings of cash down the drain. On the third day, the youngest son went, but he fared no better.

It made the landlord very angry to watch his three sons lose three thousand strings of cash like this, without so much as a piece of fluff to show for it.

"You fools!" he cried. "You worthless pack of fools! Tomorrow I shall go and catch it myself!"

So the following day the landlord went into the forest. When Aniz spotted him, his eyes blazed with hatred. Before the landlord could open his mouth, Aniz took out his flute and began playing. All the beasts of the forest -- rabbits, bears, snakes, wolves, foxes and many different sorts of birds -- came and encircled the landlord. Terror drove the last drop of color from his cheeks. He fell to his knees in despair and entreated Aniz, "My lord, save me ! Save me!"

"Landlord! Do you remember Aniz? At one sound from my flute, these animals will eat you alive!"

"Alas... Ah! My lord! Don't treat me as once I treated you!" He lay prostrate at Aniz' feet and sobbed, "I promise to give you anything you want. Don't let them... I'm so scared...."

"Very well. I will spare your wretched life this once. But you must never bully poor folk again! If you don't turn over a new leaf, I won't be so easy on you next time. And when you get home, you must give half of all your worldly goods to the poor villagers. Is that clear?"

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"Yes! Yes!" The landlord rose to his feet and fled in abject terror. He followed Aniz' instructions and distributed half of his estate to the poor. That made Aniz more popular than ever.



"WHERE TO TODAY?"

03:50, 21.05.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

For six days Ridley did not alight except to eat, drink or relieve himself, and occasionally sleep. It was all so new. Learning to navigate from an entirely different perspective was easier than he thought it might be. He simply learned to recognize shapes of intersections and tops of buildings. He really felt as though he had been reborn. He felt free in a way that he could not explain. Nobody else could do what he could do. Anywhere he wanted to go he could go and nobody could tell him otherwise. For the first few days he had had to leave and return via a vacant parking lot. But not anymore. His dexterity and agility increased with each day and he had begun to understand the nuances of moving in such a different manner. So, once again, Ridley looked out over his city from his thirty-story perch in front of the Paramount Clock.

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Times Square was bustling with life below. Screens and billboards that boldly displayed adverts for Coca-Cola, Samsung and Haughty Couture took up entire sides of buildings. The Virgin Mega Store flashed its stuff like a hawker in a bazaar. He saw the little cars that had to adhere to the strict concrete grid-work. He saw pedestrians that had to wait for signs to signal their right to cross streets. He was one of them, once. Once upon a time. But not anymore. Six days ago everything changed when he awoke to find that it had not just been a dream. So Ridley leaped off the ledge in a perfect swan dive. His wings shot out and spread ten feet to either side. He caught an updraft that blasted up the side of the building and spiraled into the sky. "Where to today?" he asked his city.



The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

03:49, 21.05.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

A Wolf found great difficulty in getting at the sheep owing to the vigilance of the shepherd and his dogs. But one day it found the skin of a sheep that had been flayed and thrown aside, so it put it on over its own pelt and strolled down among the sheep.

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The Lamb that belonged to the sheep whose skin the Wolf was wearing began to follow the Wolf in the Sheep's clothing. So, leading the Lamb a little apart, he soon made a meal off her - and for some time he succeeded in deceiving the sheep, and enjoying hearty meals.
Appearances are deceptive.



The Tortoise and the Hare

03:49, 21.05.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

The Hare was once boasting of his speed before the other animals. "I have never yet been beaten," said he, "when I put forth my full speed. I challenge any one here to race with me."


The Tortoise said quietly, "I accept your challenge."
"That is a good joke," said the Hare; "I could dance round you all the way."
"Keep your boasting till you've won," answered the Tortoise. "Shall we race?"
So a course was fixed and a start was made. The Hare darted almost out of sight at once, but soon stopped and, to show his contempt for the Tortoise, lay down to have a nap. The Tortoise plodded on and plodded on, and when the Hare awoke from his nap, he saw the Tortoise just near the winning-post and could not run up in time to save the race.Flexible Coupling
Then the Tortoise said: "Slow but steady progress wins the race."



The Tidy Drawer

03:47, 21.05.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

One Saturday morning Abby's Mum came upstairs to see Abby in her bedroom. Or tried to. There was so much mess on the floor she could only poke her head around the door. Abby sat in the middle of it all reading a book.


"What a tip," Mum said. "You need to have a clear up in here."
"Why?" Abby asked.
"Why?" Mum repeated. "Because things get broken or lost when they're all willy-nilly like this. Come on, have a tidy up now."
"But I'm very busy," Abby argued, "and it's boring on my own. Can't you help me?"
"No I can't, I'm busy too. But I'll give you extra pocket money if you do a good job."
When Mum came back later all the toys and clothes and books had disappeared.
"I'm impressed," said Mum. "But I'll inspect it properly later."
"It was easy," said Abby. "Can I have my extra pocket money now?"
"All right. Get it out of my change purse. It's in the kitchen tidy drawer."
In the kitchen Abby went over to the dresser and pulled open the tidy drawer. She hunted for the purse.
"Any luck?" Mum asked.
Abby shook her head.
"It must be lurking at the bottom," Mum said. "Let's have a proper look."
She pulled the drawer out and carried it over to the table. Abby kneeled up on a chair to look inside. There were lots of boring things like staplers and string but there were lots of interesting things as well.
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"What's this?" Abby asked, holding up a plastic bottle full of red liquid. Mum laughed.
"Fake blood, from a Hallowe'en party years ago. Your Dad and I took you to that, dressed up as a baby vampire. You were really scary."
"I don't remember that."
Abby carried on looking through the drawer. She found some vampire teeth, white face paint, plastic witchy nails and hair gel. Mum pulled out a glittery hair band. It had springs with wobbly balls on the top that flashed disco colours. She put it on her head while she carried on looking through the drawer. Abby found some sparkly hair elastics to match the hair band. She made her Mum put lots of little bunches all over her head so she looked really silly.
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"I remember this," Abby said as she pulled out a plastic bag. "This is from my pirate party." Inside there was a black, false moustache and some big gold earrings.
She peeled the sticky backing off the false moustache and stuck it on Mum's top lip then found a paint brush in the drawer and painted a fierce red scar down her cheek using the fake blood. Mum clipped on the pirate earrings.
"Come here," Mum said and smeared white face paint all over Abby's face. She dribbled the fake blood so it looked as if it was coming out of Abby's eyes and mouth. She put gel all over Abby's hair and made it stand up into weird, pointy shapes. Abby put in the vampire teeth and slipped on the witchy fingers. She made scary noises at Wow-Wow the cat. He ignored her and carried on washing himself on the seat next to her.
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"Wotch thish?" Abby asked, holding up a flat rubbery thing. It was hard to speak through the vampire teeth.
"It's a whoopee cushion," Mum said. "You blow it up and sit on it. It makes rude noises." She blew it up and gave it to Abby.
Suddenly there was a knock at the back door. A voice called out. "Hello, it's only me. I've let myself in."
It was their nosy neighbour, Mrs Hislop. She was always interfering and complaining.
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Mrs Hislop entered the kitchen. Her mouth dropped open.
"We're jush wooking for the change pursh," Abby explained.
"Yes, well, er," Mrs Hislop said, "I just wanted a word about your fence. Some of it's blown down on my side."
At that moment Abby sat on the whoopee cushion and let out an enormous, rude noise. Wow-Wow jumped off his seat and ran away. "Well!" said Mrs. Hislop and hurried from the room and out of the house.
When the door banged shut Abby and Mum burst out laughing until Mum's moustache hung on by a whisker and Abby's vampire teeth dropped out.
Abby came to sit on her Mum's knee.
"It's fun doing this together," she said.
"Maybe. But we still haven't found the change purse." They both looked at the enormous heap of things spread over the kitchen table.
"Well, you know things will get lost, or broken, when they're all willy nilly," Abby said.
"You cheeky monkey!" Mum laughed. "But what shall I do with it all?"
"I know, it's easy," Abby said and began to scoop everything off the table into her arms. She dumped it all back in the kitchen drawer.
Mum looked at her suspiciously.
"Let's go and inspect your bedroom shall we."
Abby followed her upstairs and into her bedroom. Wow-Wow was sitting in front of her fish tank looking hungrily at the goldfish. He dashed under the bed when he saw Mum and Abby. Mum kneeled down and lifted the bed cover to get him out. Underneath were heaps of Abby's toys, books, tapes, clothes and shoes, empty plastic cups and wrappers and a half-eaten sandwich on a plate.
"Abby! What's all this?"
"It's my tidy drawer," Abby said. She wrapped her arms around her Mum and gave her a kiss. "Let's sort this one out together now."



The Princess and the Pea

03:45, 21.05.2010 .. 1 Kommentar(e) .. Link

Once upon a time there was a prince who wanted to marry a princess; but she would have to be a real princess. He travelled all over the world to find one, but nowhere could he get what he wanted. There were princesses enough, but it was difficult to find out whether they were real ones. There was always something about them that was not as it should be. So he came home again and was sad, for he would have liked very much to have a real princess.

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One evening a terrible storm came on; there was thunder and lightning, and the rain poured down in torrents. Suddenly a knocking was heard at the city gate, and the old king went to open it.

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It was a princess standing out there in front of the gate. But, good gracious! what a sight the rain and the wind had made her look. The water ran down from her hair and clothes; it ran down into the toes of her shoes and out again at the heels. And yet she said that she was a real princess.

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Well, we'll soon find that out, thought the old queen. But she said nothing, went into the bed-room, took all the bedding off the bedstead, and laid a pea on the bottom; then she took twenty mattresses and laid them on the pea, and then twenty eider-down beds on top of the mattresses.

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On this the princess had to lie all night. In the morning she was asked how she had slept.

"Oh, very badly!" said she. "I have scarcely closed my eyes all night. Heaven only knows what was in the bed, but I was lying on something hard, so that I am black and blue all over my body. It's horrible!"

Now they knew that she was a real princess because she had felt the pea right through the twenty mattresses and the twenty eider-down beds.

Nobody but a real princess could be as sensitive as that.

So the prince took her for his wife, for now he knew that he had a real princess; and the pea was put in the museum, where it may still be seen, if no one has stolen it.

There, that is a true story.



The Peacemaker

03:43, 21.05.2010 .. 0 Kommentar(e) .. Link

Salo stepped off the train shortly after dawn. Black-bellied clouds pushed the sun's wan light toward a boggy green. He was alone in the station except for the three men he believed had been left two days down the tracks. Salo took up all of his six and a half feet as he weighed the disheveled mongrels huddling under their dusters. Apparently "fair and square" meant nothing to them.
"Give us our money, mister," said the sloucher on the right.
"Royal flush. It's my money," replied Salo in a voice as dusty as the streets waiting for the clouds to open above them.
"Think three forty-fives to your one says it ain't, son," snarled the middle man as he hunkered farther into his coat.
"Dangerous thoughts, boys."Pallet racking
The trio spread out slightly. Their fingers teased the air around pearl pommels. The breeze tugging at dusters was the only other movement. Then the steam whistle screamed. Blue-finish barrels cleared their leather and four shots boomed for dominance. The echoes faded off and the breeze died down before Salo limped away to the general store for some 80 proof and gauze.



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