October 31, 2010

iPhone app rates its users' ugliness


Michael Chow/The Arizona Republic Jo Overline, co-creator of the Ugly Meter app for iPhones, shows a scan. The app snaps a picture of a subject's face, analyzes the image for symmetry, ranks one's ugliness and flings an insult or compliment.


It scans and analyzes, then it insults.

"You're so ugly, if you sat in the sand, cats would try to bury you."

An irreverent new iPhone application developed in Gilbert has attracted national attention and criticism for its caustically humorous approach to beauty-or the lack thereof.

The Ugly Meter, which costs $0.99 through Apple, enables an iPhone to snap a picture of a subject's face, analyze the image for symmetry and fling a corresponding insult or compliment based on the outcome that describes the person's appearance.

Love it or hate it, the app has sparked a fiery debate between those who defend its irreverence and others who worry it could become a psychological weapon for cyberbullies.

Co-creators Jo Overline and Ryan Allen insist the app is "supposed to be fun" and say the insults are all family-friendly.

The program uses a simple facial-recognition program to mathematically calculate symmetry and grades a person's "ugliness" on a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being the ugliest.

"You can't take it too seriously," Allen said.

But not everyone is laughing.

Critics have used national media to blast the app, calling it a potential tool for cyberbullies and suggesting it be removed from Apple's online store.

Parry Aftab, founder of wired safety.org, a non-profit that works to prevent online bullying, said numerous apps and websites allow users to anonymously harass, annoy, or embarrass someone else.

"Some claim to have legitimate purposes but grow in popularity because kids figure out there is a way to abuse them to enable them to abuse each other," Aftab said. "It's so easy to use these technologies to do what we used to just think about.

"The Internet allows us to say a lot of things out loud that we normally wouldn't. It allows us to hide behind a fake persona."

But only a bad score would potentially harm the subject's self-esteem. On the other hand, some users say a good score on the app has boosted their confidence.

Ernie Myers, senior pastor at Deep Creek Baptist Church in Chesapeake, Va., last Sunday told his congregation that his Ugly Meter score gave him an ego boost.

He said he scored a 3.9 rating, which brought this praise from the program: You're hot enough to melt ice.

"I've always believed I was only passably good looking," he said during his sermon, which can be viewed on the church's website. "When I saw that I was hot enough to melt ice, I got a little more pep in my step. I got a little bit more joy in my heart because somebody, somewhere thinks I'm good looking."

About two months after its release, Ugly Meter has generated over 100,000 downloads, peaking at No. 3 on the most popular chart, Overline said.

The success has stunned the developer duo, who have been creating apps as a hobby for over a year.

"We didn't really have any expectations," Overline said. "When we saw we broke through the top 200 we were literally in shock. We couldn't work that day. We were just staring at the screen, watching it as it went up and up and up."

Now they're preparing to develop an Ugly Meter app for the Android market and are developing a new version that would rate the ugliness of babies.

"We might as well make everybody mad," Allen said.

When the concerns over bullying swept through the national media, the developers said they received hateful e-mails and even death threats.

But even the negative attention has been "the best thing that ever happened to us," Allen said. After dozens of radio interviews and a national TV spot, sales of the app spiked even higher.

"We didn't design it to bully," Overline said. "Parents need to take responsibility for putting their iPhone in the hands of 8-year-olds. They have the whole Internet at their fingertips. Really, the Ugly Meter is one of the least harmful things they could be messing around with."

Overline and Allen said they generally rate around an 8.2. Despite their unflattering score, they're both married.

by Parker Leavitt The Arizona Republic Oct. 31, 2010 12:00 AM




iPhone app rates its users' ugliness

Researchers are closer to making superheavy element

LOS ANGELES - Berkeley researchers have produced a brand-new version of the manmade element 114 that decayed into five more novel atoms, a feat that brings them closer to their ultimate goal of making a superheavy element that can last for more than fractions of a second.

Researchers have so far made elements with atomic numbers as high as 118 in their search for the so-called Island of Stability, whose residents might have unusual and useful properties. But so far, all of these elements have been short-lived.

It now appears that a stable superheavy element will need to have an atomic number in the 120s - meaning that it must contain at least 120 protons. Creating such a huge atom is beyond the scope of today's technology.

In the meantime, researchers hope to refine their theories by studying new versions, or isotopes, of superheavy elements that have already been created, such as the as-yet-unnamed element 114.

"With each new isotope one can discover and get information about, we get more points to compare the experiment with theory," said physicist Paul A. Ellison of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, lead author of the paper describing the six new isotopes in Friday's edition of the journal Physical Review Letters.

The theory governing decay of superheavy elements "did pretty well . . . but there were some discrepancies," he said.

Element 114 was the starting point for the new experiment. It was first created 11 years ago by researchers at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia. Its existence was confirmed last year by the Berkeley team, who bombarded plutonium isotopes containing 148 neutrons with calcium isotopes that had 28 neutrons using their 88-inch Cyclotron.

They identified four different isotopes of element 114 that contained 172 to 175 neutrons, with lifetimes ranging from a tenth of a second to two seconds. Each of these atoms decayed by spontaneous fission - breaking down into two more or less equally sized fragments - or went through one or two alpha decays before fissioning. An alpha decay, which provides more information to researchers, involves the release of two protons and two neutrons.

The ideal isotope would have 114 protons and 184 neutrons. Theory predicts such an atom would be unusually stable, able to survive long enough for scientists to study it.

But to make it, scientists need to bombard plutonium atoms (which contain 94 protons) with radioactive isotopes of calcium (provider of the remaining 20 protons).

For the new experiment, Ellison and his colleagues reasoned that they could learn more about element 114 by producing a version with fewer neutrons that would be forced to go through alpha decays. To do that, they bombarded the plutonium with the calcium at a higher energy so that a resulting collision would have to bleed off five neutrons. They knew that their odds of success were only 20 percent as good as they were in their previous experiments to confirm the existence of element 114, he said.

They ran the cyclotron for a month, achieving one positive result.

That collision produced an atom of element 114 with the desired atomic weight of 285 (171 neutrons), which decayed in less than one-fifth of a second and became copernicium-281. That decayed in less than one-fifth of a second to darmstadtium-277, which lived a mere 0.008 seconds before becoming hassium-273. That lasted one-third of a second before becoming seaborgium-269, which made it three minutes and five seconds before emitting an alpha particle to become rutherfordium-265. That final atom lasted 2.5 minutes before fissioning.

by Thomas H. Maugh II Los Angeles Times Oct. 31, 2010 12:00 AM



Researchers are closer to making superheavy element

Go Daddy takes itself off auction block, report says

Race-car driver and brand representative Danica Patrick can breathe a sigh of relief.

A report in the Wall Street Journal this week says GoDaddy.com is off the auction block.

In early September the Web hummed with reports that the Scottsdale-based Internet domain registrar had hired San Francisco-based Qatalyst Partners to find a buyer. And while there were private equity firms interested, according to the report, Go Daddy had second thoughts and took itself off the market. There was enough interest to meet Go Daddy's asking price of $1.5 billion to $2 billion, according to the newspaper.

A spokeswoman said Tuesday that the company would not comment on rumors.

GoDaddy.com is the flagship company of Go Daddy Group Inc. Founded in 1997 by owner Bob Parsons, Go Daddy Group says it has more than 43 million domains under management.

by John Yantis The Arizona Republic Oct. 27, 2010 12:00 AM




Go Daddy takes itself off auction block, report says

Tech council heads to China to forge ties in growing market

The reason for going to China is hammered into Steve Zylstra on a regular basis.

Every time the president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council hears a speech by Ángel Cabrera, a native of Spain and president of Thunderbird School of Global Management, it becomes clear to Zylstra why he and others need to visit China.

"One of the things he does is he'll put up a few charts of various commodities like cellphones," Zylstra said. "He'll show how many Americans own cellphones and what the market penetration is. Then he shows how many Chinese own cellphones and he'll show the market penetration there. While the number of Chinese that own cellphones actually exceeds Americans, only a tiny percent of the market has been captured, while the American market is pretty much fully penetrated. He does this for several different kinds of products just to send the message the future markets to the world are places other than the U.S."

Beginning Wednesday, Zylstra will lead a delegation of 15, including two government officials with the Arizona and U.S. Departments of Commerce, on a five-city, 10-day trip to China.

The trip was organized after some of the technology council's board members suggested it.

"Usually you see the economic-development folks doing that, but they're usually focused on trying to attract foreign direct investment or they're trying to attract a company to locate here," Zylstra said. "But the question was posed for a little different reason. Increasingly, people understand that the emerging opportunities in the world are in places like China, India, even Brazil, for the emerging economies."

He said the council has member companies that have an interest in potentially manufacturing in China. Some hope to sell their products in the Chinese market and others are interested in finding distribution partners.

James Powers, chairman and CEO of iLinc, a Phoenix-based provider of Web and video conferencing, was one of the members who suggested the trip.

"It's a great way for small to midsize companies to be exposed to business opportunities in China," he said. "As an individual, putting together a trip like this would be somewhere between daunting and nearly impossible. The big companies - the Intels, the Avnets, the Honeywells - those organizations are in China on a regular basis and have many of their executives that are. But for the small to midsize businesses, it's more difficult to open the doors over there."

This is the first trip to China for Powers. His company employs about 50. He has a background as an entrepreneur and moved here about 10 years ago after merging a health-care company he started in Nashville, Tenn., with a public company in Phoenix.

"It's an introduction to the culture of Asian business, and I want to begin laying the groundwork for future iLinc Web- and video-conferencing-software distribution," he said.

The group from the technology council will visit Beijing and Shanghai and take trains to other cities. They will spend time in each city, visiting with local-government officials, something Zylstra said is "sort of a prerequisite when you're doing business in China."

The company that booked the trip has relationships with about 75 of 150 industrial parks in the country, Zylstra said.

"It's our first attempt at something like this. I'm sure we'll learn much. We are going to do a few side trips. We're going to see the Great Wall and we're going to see the Terra Cotta Warriors, but other than that, it's primarily a business-focused trip."

by John Yantis The Arizona Republic Oct. 26, 2010 12:00 AM




Tech council heads to China to forge ties in growing market

Samsung's iPad rival out Nov. 11


NEW YORK - The first big-name competitor to the iPad in the U.S. won't be undercutting it in price.

Verizon Wireless this week said it will start selling Samsung Electronics Co.'s tablet computer, which is half the size of the iPad, for $600. That's more than the basic version of Apple Inc.'s tablet.

Verizon will start selling the Samsung Galaxy Tab on Nov. 11. It has a screen that measures 7 inches diagonally and runs Google Inc.'s Android software. Access to Verizon's cellular data network will cost $20 per month for up to 1 gigabyte of traffic. The tablet has two cameras, which could be used for videoconferencing. The iPad has no camera.

Verizon will start selling the iPad on Oct. 28, starting at $499. It can't access Verizon's network directly, but the carrier will sell an add-on gadget for about $130 that bridges the gap, with the same $20 data plan.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs made a rare appearance on Apple's earnings conference call on Monday. He slammed both Android and the notion of 7-inch tablets, calling them "dead on arrival." Their screens are not big enough to justify the step up from a smartphone, he said.

Associated Press Oct. 22, 2010 04:37 PM




Samsung's iPad rival out Nov. 11

October 19, 2010

DJ Hero | Buy


The follow up to the award-winning #1 new videogame IP of 2009, DJ Hero® 2 will transform living rooms into nightclubs all over again with an entirely new music-gaming experience. Friends & families can become mix masters and singing sensations to experience hit music like they've never heard it before. With a host of new DJ and vocal multiplayer modes, including innovative DJ Battles, and 80+ mixes featuring the biggest dance, pop and hip-hop hits, DJ Hero 2 delivers the new standard in music gaming.

DJ Hero | Buy

October 17, 2010

U.S. studying Australian anti-hacking program

WASHINGTON - The government is reviewing an Australian program that will allow Internet service providers to alert customers if their computers are taken over by hackers and could limit online access if people don't fix the problem.

Obama administration officials have met with industry leaders and experts to find ways to increase online safety while trying to balance securing the Internet and guarding people's privacy and civil liberties.

Experts and U.S. officials are interested in portions of the plan, set to go into effect in Australia in December. But any move toward Internet regulation or monitoring by the U.S. government or industry could trigger fierce opposition from the public.

The discussions come as private, corporate and government computers across the U.S. are increasingly being taken over and exploited by hackers and other computer criminals.

White House cybercoordinator Howard Schmidt said that the U.S. is looking at a number of voluntary ways to help the public and small businesses better protect themselves online.

Possibilities include provisions in the Australia plan that enable customers to be warned by their Internet providers if their computer gets taken over by hackers via a botnet.

A botnet is a network of infected computers that can number in the thousands, and that network is usually controlled by hackers through a small number of scattered PCs. Computer owners are often unaware that their machine is linked to a botnet and is being used to shut down targeted websites, distribute malicious code or spread spam.

If a company is willing to give its customers better online security, the American public will go along with that, Schmidt said.

"Without security you have no privacy. And many of us that care deeply about our privacy look to make sure our systems are secure," Schmidt said. Internet service providers, he added, can help "make sure our systems are cleaned up if they're infected and keep them clean."

But officials are stopping short of advocating an option in the Australian plan that allows Internet providers to wall off or limit online usage by customers who fail to clean their infected computers, saying this would be technically difficult and likely run into opposition.

"In my view, the United States is probably going to be well behind other nations in stepping into a lot of these new areas," said Prescott Winter, former chief technology officer for the National Security Agency, who is now at the California-based cybersecurity firm, ArcSight.

In the U.S., he said, the Internet is viewed as a technological wild west that should remain unfenced and unfettered. But he said this open range isn't secure, so "we need to take steps to make it safe, reliable and resilient."

"I think that, quite frankly, there will be other governments who will finally say, at least for their parts of the Internet, as the Australians have apparently done, we think we can do better."

Cybersecurity expert James Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that Internet providers are nervous about any increase in regulations, and they worry about consumer reaction to monitoring or other security controls.

Online customers, he said, may not want their service provider to cut off their Internet access if their computer is infected.

But they may be amenable to having their Internet provider warn them of cyberattacks and help them clear the malicious software off their computers by providing instructions, patches or anti-virus programs.

They may even be willing to pay a small price each month for the service - much like telephone customers used to pay a minimal monthly charge to cover repairs.

Lewis, who has been studying the issue for CSIS, said it is inevitable that one day carriers will play a role in defending online customers from computer attack.

Comcast Corp. is expanding a Denver pilot program that alerts customers whose computers are controlled through a botnet.


U.S. studying Australian anti-hacking program

Microsoft bets big on new smartphone software

NEW YORK - After years of declining sales of phones based on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Mobile software, the company is starting with a fresh slate - a completely new operating system for phones.

The new handsets will go up against Apple Inc.'s highly popular iPhone and the expanding number of phones running on Google Inc.'s Android operating system.

The first phone with Windows Phone 7 will be the Samsung Focus, which hits AT&T Inc. stores Nov. 8 for $200 with a two-year contract requirement, Microsoft said Monday. It will be closely followed by two more phones for AT&T, made by LG Electronics Inc. and HTC Corp., and one for T-Mobile USA, also made by HTC.

In May, Microsoft launched another new phone-software package, Kin, only to yank it about two months later in the face of dismal sales. Windows Phone 7 is a different beast.

In all, Microsoft announced nine phones for the U.S. market on Monday, including one from Dell Inc., and it has lined up 60 carriers in 30 countries to carry Windows 7 phones.

Another U.S. carrier, Sprint Nextel Corp., is getting a Windows 7 phones in the first half of next year.

In the most recent quarter, Microsoft's older system, Windows Mobile, accounted for just 5 percent of the worldwide smartphone market. That compares with 41 percent for Symbian (mainly used by Nokia Corp.), 18 percent for Research in Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry phones, 17 percent for Android and 14 percent for the iPhone, according to research firm Gartner Inc.

From a hardware standpoint, the Windows 7 phones are indistinguishable from high-end Android phones: They have big touch screens, and a few models have slide-out keyboards.

But Microsoft has given the software a different look. It is centered around "tiles" on the front screen that are supposed to tell the user at a glance about important new information, such as e-mail and Facebook status updates.

For example, a weather program might show a constantly updated snapshot of weather conditions; photo or music libraries would be represented by a recent snapshot or the cover of the last album played on the device.

Both the iPhone and Android are fundamentally more application-centered. However, some companies including Motorola Inc. have designed overlay software for Android that's reminiscent of Windows Phone 7's information-at-glance idea.

"We want you to get in, get out and back to your life," Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer said at a launch event in New York. He called it "a very different kind of phone."

Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said the user interface is "a huge improvement" over Windows Mobile, but Microsoft "is catching up with the competition rather than leapfrogging it."

by Peter Svensson Associated Press Oct. 12, 2010 12:00 AM



Microsoft bets big on new smartphone software

October 16, 2010

Fool.com: The Two Words Bill Gates Doesn't Want You to Hear...A Motley Fool Special Report

On October 30, 2005, something incredible happened...

In Redmond, Washington, one of the world's richest -- and most powerful -- businessmen sent an urgent memo to his top engineers and most-trusted managers.

It sounded the alarm that a very disruptive "wave" was about to wash over the entire world -- forever changing the way we get information and do business.

It also warned this would wipe out the $200 billion business empire he'd spent his life building.

Meanwhile, a few hundred miles south, on the banks of the Columbia River, a mysterious outfit known only as "Design, LLC," quietly constructed two massive windowless warehouses.

This mammoth undertaking was code named "Project 2," and the International Herald Tribune described the towering monolithic structures as "looming like an information-age nuclear plant."

This may sound like something out of a Tom Clancy novel, but you'll want to have all the facts because...

Merrill Lynch estimates this "wave" has grown into a $160 billion tsunami.

And experts say it's going to upend a $1 trillion industry. Yet very few investors understand just how huge it's going to be.

That's why it's crucial to take the next few minutes to read this report in its entirety.

At the very least, you'll get the full story so you can decide for yourself if you'll be front and center when the big money starts rolling in.

But be warned, the smart money is on the move...

A handful of investors are already quietly positioning themselves to cash in on this incredible economic shift. Soon, tens of thousands will be rushing to join them.

One of the most lucrative investment opportunities we'll ever encounter

The next great technological revolution is already under way.

And now that the last pieces are falling into place, the floodgates are beginning to open.

Which is exactly where you come in...Just ask David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool. He's convinced that this technological shift will dump millions of dollars into the portfolios of investors just like you.

You've probably seen David on CNBC discussing his favorite growth stocks with some of the nation's other top-tier equity analysts. Or perhaps you've read one of his many best-selling investment books...

Or maybe you're just familiar with some of his remarkable stock recommendations... eBay in 1999... Starbucks in 1998... AOL in 1994... Amgen in 1998... Amazon in 1997.

Regardless, it's not hard to see why Money.com says he's "among the most widely followed stock advisors in the world."

And surely you can understand why anytime David gets excited about an investment opportunity, people stand up and take notice...

He's been closely tracking the development of this blockbuster technology and the 3 dominant players heading the revolution.

These are the companies he believes will rule their respective industries over the next 5 to 10 years and hand investors life-changing wealth along the way.

Recent developments have him particularly excited about one of the companies. Right now he considers it the No. 1 way to profit from this coming technological boom. And he's telling his followers to snap up shares immediately.

To see why he's so convinced about this company, you must learn the six traits he looks for in a growth stock -- and how they have led him to companies that have soared 266%, 317%, 671% and even 769% in just the past four years.

But first, a little bit more about this amazing technology and why, once again...

The Unimaginable Is Fast Becoming a Reality

You probably remember when computers took up entire rooms and were used only by companies that needed to do intense mathematical calculations.

That all changed when Intel unveiled the microprocessor and a geeky college dropout started writing software with his former high school pal.

Thanks to the virtual desktop they developed, the PC quickly replaced the mainframe as the center of corporate computing and began showing up in homes across America.

Before long, companies began building interoffice networks so that their employees could run programs like Microsoft Word and Excel on their PCs and also access programs, files, and printers from a central server.

But this model was far from perfect.

Due to a lack of standards in computing hardware and software, competing products were rarely compatible -- making PC networks far more inefficient than their mainframe predecessors.

In fact, most servers ended up being used as single-purpose machines that ran a single software application or database.

And every time a company needed to add a new application, it was forced to expand its data centers, replace or reprogram old systems, and hire IT technicians to keep everything running.

As a result, global IT spending jumped from under $100 billion a year in the early 1970s to over $1 trillion a year by the turn of the century.

Here's the dirty secret behind this mind-boggling growth -- and the two words that will put an end to the party

IT consulting firm IDC reports that every dollar a company spends on a Microsoft product results in an additional $8 of IT expenses.

And one IT expert admits, "Trillions of dollars that companies have invested into information technology have gone to waste."

Yet, companies have had no choice but to run these obscenely expensive and highly inefficient networks.

But that's all about to change...

And that's precisely why the two words "cloud computing" scare the hell out of Bill Gates.

You see, thanks to the thousands of miles of fiber-optic cable laid during the late 1990s, the speed of computer networks has finally caught up to the speed of the computer processors.

Suddenly computers that were once incompatible and isolated are now linked in a giant network, or "cloud."

As a result, computing is fast becoming a utility in much the same way that electricity did...

"The next sea change is upon us." -- Bill Gates

Think back a few years -- anytime you wanted to type a letter, create a spreadsheet, edit a photo, or play a game, you had to go to the store, buy the software, and install it on your computer.

But nowadays, if you want to look up restaurants on Google... find directions on MapQuest... watch a video on YouTube... or sell furniture on Craigslist... all you need is a computer with an Internet connection.

Although these activities require you to use your PC, none of the content you are accessing or the applications you are running are actually stored on your computer -- instead they're stored at a giant data center somewhere in the "cloud."

And you don't give any of it a second thought... just like you don't think twice about where the electricity is coming from when you plug an appliance into the wall.
But cloud computing isn't going to be just a modern convenience -- it's going to be an enormous industry.

You see, everyone from individuals to multinational corporations can now simply tap into the "cloud" to get all the things they used to have to supply and maintain themselves. This will save some companies millions and make others billions.

"Is cloud computing the next big thing?"

That's the title of an article in PC Magazine.

The answer was an overwhelming yes. And PC Magazine isn't the only one taking note of this sweeping trend...

Computing Heads for the Clouds

Computing Heads for the Clouds

Computing Heads for the Clouds

The Economist claims, "As computing moves online, the sources of power and money will increasingly be enormous 'computing clouds.'"

David Hamilton of the Financial Post says this technology "has the potential to shower billions in revenues on companies that embrace it."

And Nicholas Carr, former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, has even written an entire book on the subject, entitled The Big Switch. In it, he asserts: "The PC age is giving way to a new era: the utility age."

He goes on to make this prediction: "Rendered obsolete, the traditional PC is replaced by a simple terminal -- a 'thin client' that's little more than a monitor hooked up to the Internet."

While that may sound far-fetched, in the corporate market, sales of these "thin clients" have been growing at over 20 percent per year -- far outpacing the sales of PCs.

According to market-research firm IDC, the U.S. is now home to more than 7,000 data centers just like the one constructed on the banks of the Columbia River in 2005.

And the number of servers operating within these massive data centers is expected to grow to nearly 16 million by 2010 -- that's three times as many as a decade ago.

"Data centers have become as vital to the functioning of society as power stations." --The Economist

The simple truth is that cloud computing is becoming as big a part of our everyday lives as cell phones or cable television.

And one company is shaping up to be a remarkable way for investors like you to cash in on the fast-moving cloud computing technology.

You may already know what it is... and you may have even guessed that it's the real face behind Design, LLC.

But what you may not realize is that this is still an excellent time to get invested -- despite what many so-called "experts" in the financial media might be telling you...

Buying This Tech Juggernaut Today Is Like Buying Microsoft in 1990

Don't forget, even after the dot-com collapse and the recent market sell-off, every $10,000 invested in Microsoft would now be worth over $400,000.

Even a modest $3,000 investment would have grown into more than $120,000!

Just imagine what you could do with that kind of money...

Now imagine being given a second chance to secure that kind of profit.

Well, look here... this is your second chance.

You see, like Microsoft in the early 1990s, Google [Nasdaq: GOOG] is just getting started.

It's already won the search engine war, set the standard for online advertising, and turned the company's name into a word tens of millions of people use daily.

And now it's fast becoming synonymous with the future of computing...

Over 500,000 companies -- including GE [NYSE: GE] and Procter & Gamble [NYSE: PG] -- have already signed up for Google Apps.

This grab bag of business applications can be purchased and run over the Web for just $50 per year and is just one of many Google products now giving Microsoft a run for its money.

Considering that Google Apps costs just one-tenth of what a traditional business software suite does, it's no surprise that more than 2,000 businesses are signing up per day.

No wonder the Financial Post says, "The cost savings in offering scaled-down versions of large enterprise software is making cloud computing a huge business."

But at just $50 a pop, you might be wondering how big this business can really get.

Industry research firm Gartner, Inc., says the market for Internet-based software recently hit $5.1 billion and conservatively estimates it will more than double to $11.5 billion by 2011.

But don't forget, this is just one small part of the giant and highly profitable cloud computing world.

Given its dominance over the online world, massive network of strategic partnerships, and unmatched ability to innovate, you can bet the great majority of the fortunes generated by cloud computing will flow through Google's coffers.

Even so, you may be wondering...

Isn't it too late to buy Google?

Not at all!

Well, let's just say this isn't the first time David has recommended a stock after the hotshots on Wall Street declared it was "too late"...

Back in 2005, he recommended robotic surgery specialist Intuitive Surgical to a small group of opportunistic investors.

At the time, shares were selling for $44.17. One year prior, shares had sold for $17.46, and a year before that they were selling for just $8.68.

You read that right... Intuitive Surgical had risen 500% in the two years before he recommended it -- and that scared lesser investors off.

But this visionary investor recognized that Intuitive Surgical was both "top dog" and "first mover" in its industry and still had plenty of room to run...

Shares traded as high as $359.59, and even after the recent market downturn, those who followed his lead are sitting on a whopping 671% gain.

Had you joined them, you could have turned $10,000 into a brand-new car... or a year or two of college tuition... or a prestigious golf-club membership -- and all in just 3 short years.

And this wasn't just some sort of lucky break or fluke, either.

You see, David's world-famous career began when he caught the financial media's attention by recommending AOL in the summer of 1994 - after it had quadrupled in just 12 short months.

Of course, the story is the same with AOL -- he recognized it as both a top dog and a first mover in an important emerging industry and knew it was only getting started.

Six years later, AOL was a 200-bagger, turning every $10,000 invested into a whopping $2 million -- and this growth investor into a living legend.

Here are just a few more of the top dogs and first movers he's uncovered recently:

  • Myriad Genetics -- locked in 253% gains
  • MercadoLibre-- up 317% and counting!
  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals -- up 241%... and counting!

Surely you'd love to have gains like that in your portfolio... Any investor would.

Well, you're in luck because now David is extremely excited about the incredible profit potential of 3 companies he calls...

The 3 Kings of Cloud Computing

These are 3 exceptionally well-run companies that David and his team of cutting-edge equity analysts have identified as both top dogs and first movers in their respective industries.

You already heard about Google, and just ahead you'll get all the details on the others -- including David's No. 1 cloud computing pick.

But first, you're probably wondering how David can be so sure about these companies. It's quite simple really -- they all have...

The 6 traits of a Rule Breaker

David begins his search by looking for what equity analysts call "top dogs" and "first movers."

A "top dog" is a company that dominates its industry... and a "first mover" is a company with a technology or product so revolutionary that it disrupts an existing industry and creates an entirely new one.

On the rare occasion that you find a company that is both a top dog and a first mover, the chances are pretty good that you've found your next big winner...

Just think of eBay in the online auction market... Amazon in the online retail market... or Netflix in the DVD-rental market (David led investors to big gains on all three).

These companies redefined the way business was done, launched entirely new industries, and continue to dominate those industries to this day. And you don't need me to tell you how handsomely they've rewarded shareholders along the way.

So you can see why David and his Rule Breakers teamwork around the clock to find companies that are both top dogs and first movers.

But they don't stop there... Because David discovered long ago that in order to find companies that will deliver truly life-changing investment returns, you have to break the rules and go against much of what passes for "wisdom" on Wall Street.

That's why he searches for companies with...

  • a sustainable competitive advantage that can be exploited for years to come
  • strong past price appreciation
  • excellent management
  • strong consumer appeal

And here's the big one...

  • documented proof that the financial media thinks it's "overvalued"

Remember, many of David's biggest winners were recommended after all the fast-talking experts on Wall Street already declared you'd missed your chance to buy.

And it's much the same story with the second king of cloud computing he's recommending you buy today...

A Bona Fide Rule Breaker With Very Real Profits

Not only does this company meet all of David's criteria for a classic Rule Breaker, but it also has a stranglehold on a niche market that's absolutely essential to the future of cloud computing.

This rising tech superstar designs extremely complex software that allows central servers to function in the first place.

While the market for this software sits at roughly $1 billion today, it is estimated it will soar to $5 billion by 2011.

And thanks to various patents, a considerable head start, and immense technical know-how, there is very little chance competitors will be able to wrestle the lion's share of that $5 billion away from this company.

So it's no wonder over the past five years, VMware [NYSE: VMW] has seen its revenue climb at an annualized 56% clip.

David is also convinced another revolutionary company is changing everything about how we use computers. As more and more people and businesses go online, its rampant success will continue -- and richly reward savvy investors who buy shares now...

This Company Makes the Internet Fly

When David first recommended this company to the
Rule Breakers community back in 2005, he admitted it wasn't "cheap." Since then, it's up 266% -- handing our group some nice gains.

David still admits it's not cheap... but with the arrival of cloud computing, he's more excited than ever about its potential to make investors rich.

In fact, its potential currently outshines both Google and VMware -- making it the No. 1 cloud computing play for new money.

You see, it works behind the scenes to make sure you can access everything the Web has to offer at lightning-fast speeds.

And thanks to the ever-growing number of people now using the Internet to do everything from watch movies to buy houses, this once-flailing refugee of the dot-com meltdown is now one of the most important tech companies in the world.

Apple [Nasdaq: AAPL], Microsoft [Nasdaq: MSFT], Sony [NYSE: SNE], and Nintendo [NTDOY.PK] are among its top clients -- and they're all more than happy to pay up for the quality this company consistently delivers.

While this usually runs somewhere in the neighborhood of $275,000 per year, more and more complex applications are coming online all the time -- giving this company even greater pricing power.

At last count, it had more than 100 clients paying $1 million or more per year. So it's no wonder that cash from operations has more than tripled from $83 million in 2005 to over $420 million today... Or that the cash on its balance sheet has grown from just $92 million to over $170 million today.

You can bet that this growth will only accelerate as cloud computing becomes an even more vital part of our personal and professional lives.

And because it is both a top dog and a first mover, it has been able to gain an almost insurmountable lead in market share -- allowing it to sport superb operating margins.

Gross margins currently sit at an incredible 74%; meanwhile, net margins have climbed to 17% -- and continue to grow.

All things considered, you can understand why David thinks this will be one of the most dominant players in the cloud computing world for years to come.

And by becoming a Rule Breaker, you can get its name and stake your claim before the big money gets behind it.

But you may be asking yourself...

Is now really a good time to be buying growth stocks?

Sure, the market looks pretty grim.

But David's not worried.

For one thing, our current economic situation bears a striking similarity to the economic downturn of the early 1990s. And Morningstar reports that during that recession, growth stocks more than doubled the return of "value" stocks.

For another thing, SmartMoney recently confirmed that "growth stocks can excel even if the broad market continues to stumble." In fact, it reported that right now, "analysts expect better profit prospects for growth stocks than for value stocks."

Money manager Dan Becker says, "Growth is as rare as a diamond, and everyone's looking for it."

Meaning, right now, we have a historic opportunity to snap up Hope Diamond investments at cubic zirconia prices.

by Motley Fool June 18, 2010


Fool.com: The Two Words Bill Gates Doesn't Want You to Hear...A Motley Fool Special Report

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October 10, 2010

Facebook Founders Donate $170K to Pro-Pot Initiative | News & Opinion | PCMag.com

You can advertise it on Facebook, but you just can't post pictures of it on facebook – marijuana, of course, which can be a fairly spotty subject for the social networking giant when dealing with those that seek to express their love of "herbal remedies" across their online personas.

Of course, that hasn't stopped those connected with Facebook's development team from jumping on the pro-pot bandwagon themselves. ABC News is reporting that Facebook co-founders Sean Parker and Dustin Moskovitz have both donated fairly significant sums in support of California's Proposition 19 campaign, which seeks to legalize marijuana use across the state come this November's election cycle.

Moskovitz, who left Facebook in 2008 after serving as a vice president at the company, has reportedly donated $70,000 in total toward the measure. Parker—co-founder of Napster and, perhaps more importantly, depicted by pop star Justin Timberlake in the recent release of The Social Network—has kicked in $100,000 to support the measure.
"What's interesting here is that [Parker] is a member of the generation that really gets it," said Drug Policy Alliance spokesman Stephen Gutwillig in an interview with the Associated Press. "We think he's pivotal to the future of drug policy reform in the country."

Approximately $2.4 million has been raised in support of Proposition 19 thus far, reports ABC News. Though significant in that few others have given six-figure (or near-six-figure) donations toward the campaign, Moskovitz's and Parker's gifts pale in comparison to the $1.5 million in support coughed up by Richard Lee, a medical marijuana entrepreneur based out of Oakland, CA.

Parker currently works as a managing partner at The Founders Fund, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm that focuses on early-stage funding for Web 2.0 startups. Moskovitz is the co-founder of the Internet startup Asana, which is currently working on developing a free project management application for use by small businesses and individuals.

by David Murphy PCMag.com October 9, 2010


Facebook Founders Donate $170K to Pro-Pot Initiative | News & Opinion | PCMag.com

Phoenix area to get Verizon's 4G network by year's end | Nerdvana


Verizon Wireless announced Wednesday that the Valley will be among the first markets to experience its fastest network when it rolls out by the end of the year.

The Phoenix region is one of 38 metropolitan areas to get the 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, which will be a foundation of the next generation of mobile devices. It’s one of two competing standards that also includes WiMax, which is used by Sprint for its 4G network.

Verizon’s embrace of LTE is a huge indication it may win the race to be the global 4G standard.

“We are driven by the vision to provide ubiquitous wireless broadband connectivity and mobility to rural and urban Americans alike,” Verizon president and COO Lowell McAdam said in a statement. “With our initial 4G LTE launch, we will immediately reach more than one-third of all Americans where they live, right from the start. And, we will quickly introduce 4G LTE throughout the Verizon coverage area.”

The network will extend inside the boundaries of the Loop 101 in the north and central Valley and inside the boundaries of the Loop 202 in the south East Valley, according to Verizon. Also included: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, as well as about 60 other commercial airports coast to coast.

“The company’s 4G LTE network ultimately will connect a full range of electronics devices and machines to each other,” according to Verizon.

Enter: Skynet!

East Valley Tribune October 6, 2010

Phoenix area to get Verizon's 4G network by year's end | Nerdvana

October 6, 2010

Gamers Welcome "Left 4 Dead 2" to a Growing Mac Library

The zombie-killing video game Left 4 Dead 2 launched on the Mac today. It’s available for download through Steam, a computer gaming platform that aims to elevate Mac gaming from its past reputation as second-rate to Windows-based gaming.

Left 4 Dead 2 was developed and published by Valve Software, a video game company famous for the Half-Life series and Portal. Most recently, Valve has dedicated most of its efforts to promoting Steam, which includes a direct download store and Xbox Live-like community features.

Valve released Steam for Mac computers earlier this year — a big event for gamers on a platform that has for at least two decades played second fiddle to Windows-based machines when it comes to gaming. Other than the critically acclaimed Portal and the pseudo-indie Diablo clone Torchlight, the initial library of Mac titles on Steam was unimpressive, but it’s growing.

Valve’s own Half-Life 2 was added to the Mac version of the service in May while third-party support has been limited to smaller games with just a few exceptions like Sid Meier’s Civilization IV. Even though Steam has been slow to take off, Mac gaming overall has become more impressive than ever in recent months.

Major titles available on the Mac in addition to other platforms include Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Dragon Age Origins, StarCraft II, The Sims 3, The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition, BioShock and Spore. The Mac library still doesn’t rival those that Windows, Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 gamers enjoy, but it’s been steadily gaining steam — no pun intended!

Mac Gaming: We Still Have Problems, People
Valve has been vocal with criticisms for the platform even as it commits resources to support it. Most importantly, Valve insists that the Mac’s overly standardized video drivers — the software that operates the computer’s graphics processing unit (GPU) — are ill-optimized for gaming, and that Apple and GPU manufacturers will have to take action.

I noticed this myself when I took Left 4 Dead 2 for a whirl on a MacBook Pro from early 2009. I had previously played the game in Microsoft Windows 7 on the same machine at max graphics settings. The 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, four gigabytes of RAM and GeForce 9600M GPU ran the game very smoothly in Windows with the default drivers from the GPU’s manufacturer.

I was forced to disable anti-aliasing and other graphical bells and whistles to achieve a playable state in the Mac version of the game, and even then I experienced frequent errors and crashes, as depicted in the image below.

In theory, a standardized platform like the Mac should be better optimized for gaming. Game developers are forced to consider an infinitude of hardware configuration options when optimizing and testing their products for Windows users, so PC gamers have always been plagued with technical problems simply because their unique configurations were not considered.

Those same developers could focus on only a few standardized hardware configurations with Mac machines, but Apple’s strong grip of control prevents drivers optimized for gamers from being easily available.

We’re thrilled to see all these games coming to the Mac, but we’ll be even more thrilled when Apple dedicates the same amount of effort to Mac gaming as it does to gaming on the iPhone and iPod touch.

Gamers Welcome "Left 4 Dead 2" to a Growing Mac Library

The zombie-killing video game Left 4 Dead 2 launched on the Mac today. It’s available for download through Steam, a computer gaming platform that aims to elevate Mac gaming from its past reputation as second-rate to Windows-based gaming.

Left 4 Dead 2 was developed and published by Valve Software, a video game company famous for the Half-Life series and Portal. Most recently, Valve has dedicated most of its efforts to promoting Steam, which includes a direct download store and Xbox Live-like community features.

Valve released Steam for Mac computers earlier this year — a big event for gamers on a platform that has for at least two decades played second fiddle to Windows-based machines when it comes to gaming. Other than the critically acclaimed Portal and the pseudo-indie Diablo clone Torchlight, the initial library of Mac titles on Steam was unimpressive, but it’s growing.

Valve’s own Half-Life 2 was added to the Mac version of the service in May while third-party support has been limited to smaller games with just a few exceptions like Sid Meier’s Civilization IV. Even though Steam has been slow to take off, Mac gaming overall has become more impressive than ever in recent months.

Major titles available on the Mac in addition to other platforms include Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Dragon Age Origins, StarCraft II, The Sims 3, The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition, BioShock and Spore. The Mac library still doesn’t rival those that Windows, Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 gamers enjoy, but it’s been steadily gaining steam — no pun intended!


Mac Gaming: We Still Have Problems, People


Valve has been vocal with criticisms for the platform even as it commits resources to support it. Most importantly, Valve insists that the Mac’s overly standardized video drivers — the software that operates the computer’s graphics processing unit (GPU) — are ill-optimized for gaming, and that Apple and GPU manufacturers will have to take action.

I noticed this myself when I took Left 4 Dead 2 for a whirl on a MacBook Pro from early 2009. I had previously played the game in Microsoft Windows 7 on the same machine at max graphics settings. The 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, four gigabytes of RAM and GeForce 9600M GPU ran the game very smoothly in Windows with the default drivers from the GPU’s manufacturer.

I was forced to disable anti-aliasing and other graphical bells and whistles to achieve a playable state in the Mac version of the game, and even then I experienced frequent errors and crashes, as depicted in the image below.

In theory, a standardized platform like the Mac should be better optimized for gaming. Game developers are forced to consider an infinitude of hardware configuration options when optimizing and testing their products for Windows users, so PC gamers have always been plagued with technical problems simply because their unique configurations were not considered.

Those same developers could focus on only a few standardized hardware configurations with Mac machines, but Apple’s strong grip of control prevents drivers optimized for gamers from being easily available.

We’re thrilled to see all these games coming to the Mac, but we’ll be even more thrilled when Apple dedicates the same amount of effort to Mac gaming as it does to gaming on the iPhone and iPod touch.



Gamers Welcome "Left 4 Dead 2" to a Growing Mac Library

October 3, 2010

Report: 1 trade cited in Dow 'flash crash'

NEW YORK - A single trader executing an unusually large and fast sale using a complex computer algorithm triggered the "flash crash" that sent the Dow Jones stock index plummeting nearly 998 points in matter of minutes on May 6, a new report from two regulators said Friday.

The 104-page report by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is likely to lead to new restrictions on computer and technology-accelerated trading of stocks. It's also sure to put super-fast trading - called high-frequency trading - under the regulatory microscope.

The dizzying drop erased billions of dollars in stock-market wealth in seconds and is largely blamed for an exodus of average people from the market amid a growing perception that the game is rigged in favor of large Wall Street players.

The report identified the trader only as a large investment fund, though McClatchy Newspapers has learned the culprit was Waddell & Reed Financial, based in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kan. Last May, Waddell & Reed executives said their own analysis led them to conclude they did not spark the flash crash.

The report was silent on whether criminal charges could result. The firm had no comment Friday on the report, and a phone call placed to its office wasn't answered.

Trading was already volatile on that May day, the regulators said, when the large trader executed a sell order totaling $4.1 billion on what's known as the e-mini futures market, an electronic market that bets on the price of futures contracts.

The trader was trying to take advantage of a price difference between the e-mini futures market for the Standard & Poor's 500 and a stock index fund that tracks the S&P 500. (Futures are financial transactions based on a price anticipated at some point in the future, and stock index funds seek to mirror the movements of a stock index.)

In executing the trade, the large trader used a computer algorithm that sold on the basis of volume, not price. That triggered a chain reaction as high-frequency traders rapidly bought and sold in a high-tech version of hot potato. Then, with the market overheated, the computers shut down, leading to a collapse in prices.

Bart Chilton, a member of the CFTC, which regulates the futures market, said the situation could have been even worse, had the trade been executed earlier in the day, when markets in Europe were still open. That might have set off a global financial panic.

by Kevin G. Hall McClatchy Newspapers Oct. 2, 2010 12:00 AM



Report: 1 trade cited in Dow 'flash crash'

BlackBerry maker offers tablet aimed at businesses


NEW YORK - The company that gave us the BlackBerry - still the dominant phone in corporate circles - thinks its business customers will have room in their briefcases for at least one more device: the PlayBook.

Research in Motion Ltd. showed off the tablet for the first time Monday and is set to launch it early 2011, with an international rollout later in the year. With it, RIM is betting on a smaller, lighter device than Apple Inc.'s iPad, which kicked-started the tablet market when it launched in April.

The PlayBook will have a 7-inch screen, making it half the size of the iPad, and weigh 0.9 pounds to the iPad's 1.5 pounds. And unlike the iPad, it will have two cameras, front and back. RIM didn't say what it would cost but said it would be in the same range as the iPad, which starts at $499.

The PlayBook will be able to act as a second, larger screen for a BlackBerry phone, through a secure short-range wireless link. When the connection is severed - perhaps because the user walks away with the phone - no sensitive data like company e-mails are left on the tablet. Outside of Wi-Fi range, it will be able to pick up cellular service to access the Web by linking to a BlackBerry.

But the tablet will also work as a standalone device. RIM co-Chief Executive Officer Jim Balsillie said its goal is to present the full Web experience of a computer, including the ability to display Flash, Adobe Systems Inc.'s format for video and interactive material on the Web. That means the tablet will be less dependent on third-party applications or "apps," Balsillie said.

"I don't need to download a YouTube app if I've got YouTube on the Web," said Balsillie, who leads the company along with co-CEO Mike Lazaridis.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has resisted allowing Flash on any of the company's mobile gadgets, arguing the software has too many bugs and sucks too much battery life.

"Much of the market has been defined in terms of how you fit the Web to mobility," Balsillie said. "What we're launching is really the first mobile product that is designed to give full Web fidelity."

In part, the PlayBook is a move by RIM to protect its position as the top provider of mobile gadgets for the business set. Balsillie says he has had briefings with company chief information officers and "this is hands-down, slam-dunk what they're looking for."

Analysts agree that RIM's close relationship with its corporate clients could help the company establish a comfortable niche in the tablet market despite Apple's early lead.

"We do think that RIM has a play with enterprise customers because it has established relationships with so many businesses, and its technology is so deeply integrated with their IT departments," IDC analyst Susan Kevorkian said.

RIM is using a new operating system, built by QNX Software Systems, which it took over earlier this year, to harness the power of the tablet, but Balsillie said it will run existing apps for BlackBerry phones.

IDC predicts that the corporate market for tablet computers will grow as a portion of overall sales over the next few years. The firm forecasts that roughly 11 percent of overall tablet shipments, or 6.5 million units, will be to businesses, government agencies or schools by 2014. That would be up from just 2 percent, or 300,000 units, this year. And that figure doesn't count those who buy tablet computers on their own and use them for work.

RIM doesn't want the PlayBook to be just for work - the company invited video-game maker Electronic Arts to help introduce the PlayBook at an event in San Francisco on Monday - but it's clear that its advantages will lie in the work arena. Amazon.com Inc. announced it would make its Kindle e-book reading software available for the tablet.

The iPad has prompted a wave of competitors, so RIM won't be alone going after the tablet market. Computer maker Dell Inc. came out with its own tablet computer in August called the Streak. Samsung Electronics Co. plans to launch the Galaxy Tab next month and has already lined up all four major U.S. carriers to sell it and provide wireless service for it. Cisco Systems Inc. is also going after business customers with a tablet called the Cius early next year.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC

Tablet computers

• Apple iPad - The product that started it all, after others had tried for years to make tablet computers a mainstream product. Came out in April. Screen is 9.7 inches diagonally. Starts at $499.

• BlackBerry PlayBook - Revealed Monday, it has a 7-inch screen and is expected to be available early next year. It runs BlackBerry software and will be able to connect with a nearby phone, acting as a bigger screen for it. The price hasn't been announced.

• Dell Streak - A 5-inch tablet with full cellphone functions on AT&T Inc.'s network. Runs Google Inc.'s Android software. Costs $300 with a two-year AT&T contract. Released in August.

• Samsung Galaxy Tab - A 7-inch tablet, to be released soon by the four largest U.S. cellphone companies: AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA. Prices have not been announced. Will run Google Inc.'s Android software.

• Cisco Cius - A 7-inch tablet for business use, to launch early next year. Price has not yet been announced, but the goal is to keep it under $1,000, Cisco has said.

by Andrew Vanacore - Sept. 28, 2010 12:00 AM




BlackBerry maker offers tablet aimed at businesses

New iPod Nano tells time, being worn as watch


From the All That Is Old Is New Again Department comes this: The new state-of-the-art high-tech iPod Nano is being used as a wristwatch.

Turns out that the compact portable music player, with its 1 1/2-inch-square screen, has a function that tells time. Not by using a digital readout but by creating a digitized analog clock face. And, we assume, instructions on how to tell time using big and little hands.

Because the small clock face is reminiscent of the face of a wristwatch, it didn't take long for people to start attaching the iPod Nano to wristbands and wearing it as if it were a watch.

During his announcement of the new Nano earlier this month, Steve Jobs, the head of Apple, said, "One of our board of director members is going to clip it onto an armband as a watch."

Good thing that big watch faces are the trend these days.

The iPod Nano is designed to go for 24 hours continuously before needing a charge, so there shouldn't be worry about draining the battery.

After a few minutes of no activity, the screen goes dark. But it can be awakened from its sleep with a touch and will display the correct time again.

Making it into a wristwatch is easy, although several companies have seen the opportunity to make it even easier by selling wristbands designed specifically for the iPod Nano.

But all you really need is a one-piece watch band. The Nano has a spring-loaded clip on the back. Just attach it to the band and you're ready to go.

There's a fairly basic cloth strap sold by Country Comm for $17. iLoveHandles sells a strap that appears more like a traditional band for $20. Incipio Linq adds a shell for the device for $25 and additional straps for $10 each.

Similar bands can be found online and in watch shops for the same price or less. Just not specifically made for the iPod Nano.

Heading into a watch shop for a band might seem particularly cruel. Those stores were already dealing with a trend among young people to use cellphones to tell time instead of watches. Now this. Strapping on a music player that has a clock face.

But Dave Donaldson, co-owner of Donaldson Watch Repair in Tempe, doesn't think the iPod can supplant wristwatches forever.

"The younger generation may be wearing an iPod Nano," he said, "but when they get to a certain age, they graduate. It's a status symbol to have a nice watch."

Even if all it does is tell time.

by Richard Ruelas The Arizona Republic Sept. 27, 2010 12:00 AM




New iPod Nano tells time, being worn as watch

New rules may grow names for Internet domains

A proposal that could add hundreds of new Internet domain names to the network beginning as early as next year has industry insiders concerned about confused users, squabbling businesses and security.

After years of study, a guidebook for registries that want to acquire new generic top-level domains is in its fourth draft. Generic top-level domains, or gTLDs, are typically the three letters at the end of Internet addresses, such as.com, .net and .org.

Those who follow the addressing issue say the new domain rules likely will be approved next year or early in 2012.

The proposal has created a brouhaha in Internet circles, with some arguing the market should decide what addresses are acceptable, and others worried the expansion could increase cyber crime.

"It (the expansion) looks like it's on the horizon," said Brad White, a spokesman for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the non-profit based in Marina del Rey, Calif., charged with coordinating the worldwide addressing system. The group is considering expanding generic top-level domains beyond the 21 it now allows, arguing there is no reason to artificially set limits.

Some examples include addresses that end in .eco, for use by environmentalists, .food for foodies, or .sports for sports enthusiasts.

The expansion also could allow business names, such as .ford, and place identifiers, such as .nyc or .paris.

At least one proposed domain name is already controversial: .xxx, which would create a sort of red-light district on the Internet.

Those in favor of the changes say opening up the system would allow like-minded groups to find each other more easily and would help companies improve their online identities. ICANN is also considering adding more characters to international domains, now restricted to Latin characters. It aims to add characters in the Arabic, Japanese, Cyrillic and Chinese alphabets that would add significantly to the 1.5 billion estimated Internet users.

The ICANN board is expected to take up domain-name expansion at a meeting in December in Cartagena, Spain, where board members may decide to begin processing new registry applications or say they need more time.

"The technology is there" to go beyond 21 top-level domains, White said.

Still, some that worry opening up Internet addresses will lead to criminals duping consumers.

The International Trademark Association says the plan will lead to higher levels of trademark and intellectual-property abuse.

Others say there will be disputes over the addresses.

Coordinating body

Few people know much about ICANN, formed in 1998 by the U.S. government to coordinate the Internet-addressing system. The plan was to grow ICANN under the U.S. Department of Commerce. Eventually, the government would pull out.

Last year, the Commerce Department transferred the group to a multi-stakeholder, private-sector-led model.

Besides generic top-level domains, ICANN also controls country code top-level domains, such as .us for the United States and .eu for the European Union. Generally reserved for the countries, the domains can be used for other purposes.

For instance, Scottsdale-based Go Daddy, a domain-name registrar, recently began marketing .co, a country code introduced during the summer for Colombia.

A domain-name registry is the wholesaler in the process. It applies for top-level domains. For example, VeriSign Inc. is the registry for.com and .net.

ICANN makes 18 to 20 cents annually for each registration name, additions, transfers and renewals. The revenue covers its administrative functions.

The group estimates it will cost a registry as much as $185,000 in application and legal fees to start a new top-level domain.

The registrar in the addressing process is akin to a retailer. Those looking to buy a.com or .net address deal with a registrar such as Go Daddy.

Criminal opportunity

The Anti-Phishing Working Group, an industry association combating identify theft and fraud from phishing and e-mail spoofing, said a larger number of top-level domain names would allow more opportunities for organized crime to gain a foothold in registries.

They point to a registrar that was convicted in 2008 of cyber crime, including credit-card and document fraud. Officials said the registrar was a haven for cyber criminals who wanted to register websites that supported a range of criminal activity.

"Some members of our community assert that anyone running such a TLD should come under particularly heavy scrutiny and perhaps even regulation or audit to ensure the TLD is run meticulously," the group wrote in a draft report on the issue.

The trademark association argues that the proposal does not protect businesses from cyber squatters, entities that register and traffic Internet domain names with the intent to benefit from another's trademark by confusing consumers.

Experts say it's fairly easy to determine who should get, for example, .ford. Ford Motor Co. could make strong arguments that it owns the copyright and that the creation of the domain is an intellectual-property issue.

But what about a domain such as .delta? Should it go to the airline or the water-faucet manufacturer?

The process for deciding is complex, White said.

"Is it going to make everybody happy? Probably not," he said. "It's the closest we can come because nobody has ever done this before."

Warren Adelman, Go Daddy president and chief operating officer, said he was unsure how consumers would react to so many name combinations.

Go Daddy has had some success with some newer top-level domains, including .co and .me. For instance, the address used for the movie "Despicable Me" was despicable.me.

"Today in the world there are just about 198 million top-level domain names, " Adelman said. "If you look at a world population of 7 billion, it's still a pretty small number."

MORE ON THIS TOPIC
Generic top level domains

• .aero, (air-transport industry) sponsored by Societe Internationale de Telecommunications Aeronautiques.

• .arpa, (Reserved exclusively to support operationally critical infrastructural identifier spaces as advised by the Internet Architecture Board) sponsored by Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.

• .asia, (From Asia, for Asia) sponsored by DotAsia Organisation.

• .biz, (businesses), operated by NeuStar Inc.

• .cat, (Catalan linguistic and cultural community) sponsored by Fundació puntCat.

• .com, (unrestricted but intended for commercial registrants) operated by VeriSign Inc.

• .coop, (cooperatives) sponsored by Dot Cooperation LLC.

• .edu, (U.S. educational institutions) sponsored by EDUCAUSE.

• .gov, (U.S. government) sponsored by the U.S. General Services Administration.

• .info, (unrestricted use) operated by Afilias Limited.

• .int, (Organizations established by international treaties between governments) sponsored by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.

• .jobs, (reserved for the human-resource-management community) sponsored by Employ Media LLC.

• .mil, (U.S. military) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense Network Information Center.

• .mobi, (reserved for mobile providers and users ) sponsored by mTLD Top Level Domain Ltd.

• .museu, (museums) sponsored by the Museum Domain Management Association International.

• .name, (for registration by individuals), operated by VeriSign Information Services Inc.

• .net, (unrestricted but intended for network providers) operated by VeriSign Inc.

• .org, (unrestricted but intended for organizations that do not fit elsewhere) sponsored by Public Interest Registry.

• .pro, (professionals) sponsored by Registry Services Corp.

• .tel, (reserved for individuals and businesses to store and manage their contact information in the domain-name system) sponsored by Telnic Ltd.

• .travel, (travel and tourism community) sponsored by Tralliance Registry Management Co LLC.

by John Yantis The Arizona Republic Sept. 26, 2010 12:00 AM




New rules may grow names for Internet domains

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