archives : Other News 2010

     

France

Gendarmes entered a pre-school Monday where a 17-year-old armed with swords was holding several small children and their teacher hostage in eastern France.

Specialists officers in masks, their firearms pointed at the school’s windows and doors, entered the building in the city of Besancon around lunchtime. They were in contact by telephone with the hostage-taker, according to an official with the regional police headquarters.

- Monday 13 December 2010


United States

A storm that spanned parts of eight states continued to dump heavy snow in the upper Midwest on Sunday, collapsing the Metrodome in Minneapolis and forcing numerous road closures.

The storm was moving eastward a day after it dumped 20 inches of snow in some places. A Sunday NFL football game between the New York Giants and the Minnesota Vikings had already been pushed to Monday because the Giants couldn’t get to Minneapolis to play when the inflatable Metrodome collapsed Sunday. It’s uncertain when that game will now be played.

A blizzard warning was in effect Sunday for Chicago and much of northern Illinois, all of Iowa, large sections of southern Minnesota and Wisconsin, and smaller areas in North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri and Michigan, according to the National Weather Service. Most of the rest of the region was under a winter storm warning or a hard freeze watch.

- Monday 13 December 2010


Ever since Nick Fury uttered the phrase "the Avengers initiative" to Tony Stark at the end of the first "Iron Man," fans have been waiting with bated breath to see ol’ Shellhead get together with Thor and Captain America on the silver screen. But there has been some skepticism as to how it would all work out — after all, Tony is a tech-based character while someone like Thor depends heavily on mysticism.

While we’re not necessarily closer to an answer on how well they’ll share the screen in "The Avengers," we certainly have a much better idea about how the Thunder God is going to fit into cinemas next summer.

- Monday 13 December 2010


Based on reports made by sources who are close to Apple components suppliers, the next generation iPad (also quoted as iPad 2) will have not just one but two cameras—one at the front and the other at the back. And there are other reports as well which suggest that the iPad 2 is coming in early 2011 as well. Apart from all these, Reuters also reported that the iPad 2 will have slimmer profile, lighter weight and a high resolution screen.

iLounge also posted about the what it called as the first 2G case which was listed on Shenzhen MacTop Electronics’ site (a Chinese manufacturer) which was dubbed as Crystal Case for iPad 2nd Generation. The case looked slimmer and smaller with the back having an opening supposedly for a rear-facing camera. And iLounge also updated its post saying the rather large cutout at the back of the case suggests that it could either be a cutout for SD card slot, a new card slot next to a new place for speaker or a slot for ports.

- Monday 13 December 2010


British, French, German, Austrian and Italian sites were down for about 30 minutes on Sunday during a peak pre-Christmas shopping period. The outage occurred during a time of ongoing threats against major sites by pro-Wikileak activists. A group known as Anonymous is targeting firms, including Amazon, that withdrew services from the whistle-blowing site.

"The brief interruption to our European retail sites last night was due to hardware failure in our European datacentre network and not the result of a [distributed denial of service] attempt," said a spokesperson for the firm.

Amazon sites ending .it, .de, .uk, .fr and .at— which are all hosted in Dublin— were unavailable for about half an hour at about 21:15 GMT on Sunday, according to a Twitter posting by web monitoring firm Netcraft. However, all servers are now back up and running after a brief delay, the firm says.

- Monday 13 December 2010


Nigeria - United States

Oilfield services company Halliburton is in negotiations with the Nigerian government to keep its former CEO, Dick Cheney, out of prison, according to a news report.

Sources inside Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission told GlobalPost this week that a settlement keeping the charges against Cheney out of court could cost as much as $500 million.

Nigeria filed charges against Cheney this week in an investigation of alleged bribery estimated at $180 million. Prosecutors named both Halliburton and KBR in the charges, as well as three European oil and engineering companies — Technip SA, EniSpa, and Saipem Construction.

The charges allege that engineering contractor KBR, until 2007 a subsidiary of Halliburton, was among companies that paid bribes to secure a $6 billion contract for a natural gas plant. KBR pleaded guilty to the same bribes in a US court in 2009, and agreed to pay a $382 million fine. The Nigerian charges appear to stem from the US case — though, in that trial, Cheney was never directly charged.

- Friday 10 December 2010


International

I’ve made my 11 tech predictions for 2011, and it looks like it’ll be an interesting year.

Every December since 1990, I have published a list of predictions for the New Year. If you’ve followed my predictions over the years, you know that I have had a lot of hits and some spectacular misses, such as my prediction two years ago that Microsoft would buy RIM and its BlackBerry products. At the time, Microsoft was way behind in the smartphone industry and it was not clear that it had an answer to the Apple iPhone. But to be fair, I clearly stated that this was a wild prediction and not necessarily one that I thought really could happen.

So, here is my list of predictions for 2011:

1. Tablets will have a negative impact on laptop sales. Although I believe laptop computer sales will continue to stay strong, it’s becoming clear that Tablets will have a noticeable impact on overall laptop sales in 2011. In fact, various market researchers are now suggesting that it could reduce the total amount of laptop units sold by as much as 10 to 12 percent over the next 1 to 2 years. At the moment, consumers’ questions about whether to buy a tablet or laptop will actually hurt sales of laptops in Q4. Many are simply waiting to buy a new laptop until they see what types of new tablets come out in early 2011. I believe this will be evident in the laptop sales numbers for this quarter when they come out early next year. This is both good and bad news for the industry. For Apple, it validates its iPad product and is forcing the rest of the industry to innovate around the tablet platform. But for the traditional laptop vendors, they need to aggressively pursue their own innovative tablets to make up for lost laptop sales. But the good news is that combined they will sell even more mobile digital devices overall. However, 2011 could be a tough year for the traditional PC vendors as they scramble to make this transition in portable computing devices.

2. Skype will be sold again. eBay bought Skype some years ago to try and integrate this telephony service into its overall selling service. It was a nice idea but it didn’t work, and the service was spun back out last year. Skype is still a hot property, though, and a serious acquisition target for someone. Rumors say Facebook wants to integrate Skype into its social network, but I don’t get the sense that it will buy Skype. I could be wrong, as it might make sense for Facebook, but I believe the perfect acquirer is Cisco. Cisco has made solid moves to get closer to the consumer in the past, and Skype would give them direct access to over 125 million monthly users and 500 million overall user accounts, most of them consumers. If there is any company that could help Cisco move closer to the consumer, it would be Skype.

3. The Cloud will get personal. At the moment, the concept of cloud computing is getting the most attention in the business world, as companies like Salesforce.com, Oracle, Microsoft, Google, etc. are all championing their moves to software as a service. Of course, all of these services are cloud based. But I believe that Apple will take a major position in cloud computing in 2011 and be the company that makes the cloud very personal. How will it do this? I believe that Apple will heavily exploit its new data center in North Carolina early next year by offering a set of services that allow Mobile Me customers to put their entire music, video, and imaging library in the cloud and make it accessible on any device. More importantly, it will deliver a solid synchronizing layer so that when something changes on one device, it changes on all of the other devices in a person’s private cloud network once connected to the service. HP might have the slogan "the PC is personal again," but Apple will add its own spin on this to "The cloud is finally personal."

- Thursday 9 December 2010


The porn star, selling a purported sex tape of herself with Tiger Woods, has claimed that the golfer paid her off to not release it.

So Devon James, who claimed she had an affair with the star, is now closing the website where she collected 19.99 dollars from buyers, reports the Daily Mail.

The orders were to be shipped to buyers by December 1. But according to RadarOnline, several people who ordered the tape said they have neither received it nor had heard any explanations about it.

James’ relatives have repeatedly alleged her claims of a relationship, a tape and even a love child with Woods as attempts at self-promotion.

And she has refused to produce any portion of the alleged tape or even a screen grab as proof of its existence.

But James insisted that the tape was real and the reason it has not been shipped was due to a settlement.

- Thursday 9 December 2010


United States

Actor Wesley Snipes heads to a Pennsylvania prison Thursday to begin a three-year sentence for failing to file tax returns.

The 48-year-old actor has until noon to report to McKean Federal Correctional Institution in Lewis Run, officials said.

Snipes’ attorney said he is appealing his client’s misdemeanor convictions for not filing tax returns in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

Snipes was acquitted of felony charges.

He is nervous, he said, but hopeful that his prayers will be answered.

- Thursday 9 December 2010


United States

Aretha Franklin, music’s Queen of Soul, is battling cancer, several news sources confirmed Wednesday.

The National Enquirer reported Wednesday that Franklin was diagnosed recently with pancreatic cancer, which has a 5 to 10 percent overall survival rate.

Fox News and The Detroit News confirmed through Franklin’s relatives that she has cancer, but not what kind.

- Thursday 9 December 2010

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