Apple overtakes Microsoft as biggest tech company

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, Microsoft

Apple Inc shot past Microsoft Corp as the world’s biggest tech company based on market value on Wednesday, the latest milestone in the resurgence of the maker of the iPhone, which nearly went out of business in the 1990s.
Apple’s shares rose as much 2.8 percent on Nasdaq on Wednesday, as Microsoft shares floundered, briefly pushing its market value above $229 billion, ahead of its longtime rival.
Both stocks ended down after a late-day sell-off, but Apple emerged ahead with a market value of about $222 billion, compared with Microsoft’s $219 billion, according to Reuters data.
Apple shares closed down 0.4 percent at $244.11 on Nasdaq, while Microsoft fell 4 percent to a seven-month low of $25.01.
Shares of Apple are worth more than 10 times what they were 10 years ago, as it has profited from revolutionizing consumer electronics with its stylish, easy to use products such as the iPod, iPhone and MacBook laptops.
The last time Apple had a higher market value than Microsoft was December 19, 1989, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream.
Microsoft, whose operating system runs on more than 90 percent of the world’s personal computers, has not been able to match growth rates from its hey-day 1990s. Its stock is down 20 percent from 10 years ago.
Apple, which struggled for many years to get its products into the mainstream, resorted to a $150 million investment from the much larger Microsoft in 1997 in order to keep it afloat. At that time, Microsoft’s market value was more than five times that of Apple.
Microsoft still leads Apple in sales. In the latest quarter, Microsoft reported $14.5 billion in revenue compared with Apple’s $13.5 billion.
Cupertino, California-based Apple is now the second-largest company on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index by market value, behind energy behemoth Exxon Mobil Corp.

Survey Says: iPad Is Killing Netbooks

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, iPad, Technology

A new survey shows consumers are “overwhelmingly leaning” toward the iPad instead of netbooks, and cheap laptops are also taking a toll on netbook sales. The study, which surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, was commissioned by consumer electronics site Retrevo.
Apple’s iPad has proven popular with shoppers, as more than one million devices have already been sold. That popularity is hurting netbook sales, says the survey, as the iPad offers many of the same advantages that netbooks offer over a traditional laptop, such as higher portability and longer battery life.
The Retrevo survey asked consumers whether they are planning on buying an iPad or a netbook: 78 percent said they would be choosing an iPad, while only 22 percent would choose a netbook.
Respondents were asked whether they held off on buying a netbook after Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in January. 30 percent answered that they did, and consequently bought an iPad, while 40 percent did hold back but eventually bought a netbook instead. 30 percent of respondents said they did not hold back and just bought a netbook.
Regular laptops are still popular with U.S. consumers, the survey shows, especially the cheap lower-end models. 65 percent said they would go for a laptop instead of a netbook when faced with the choice this year.
Those who preferred netbooks over laptops or iPads said that the main feature that attracted them to a netbook was the smaller footprint of the machines (55 percent), while 20 percent considered price, and 19 percent considered battery life as the main trait.
Analysts say however, that the iPad won’t cripple sales of netbooks, at least not this year, mainly because the $200 or so gap in pricing between the two types of devices. Jeff Orr, an analyst with ABI Research, reportedly said earlier this month that just one percent of potential netbook buyers would be impacted by tablets, like the iPad.

Google Buys Simplify Media To Power Music Syncing For New iTunes Competitor

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, Google

Google just announced that it bought Simplify Media, a startup that offers software that lets you share your iTunes music across platforms, including the web.
The software lets you share your photos and music using programs like iTunes, iPhoto and Windows Media player. According to the startup’s site Simplify Media “connects people directly with their content, without the hassles of synching or uploading all their files. Simplify users can also share their personal media with family and close friends in a private, secure group.”
It appears that that deal may have taken place in March, when the company announced a “new direction” on its blog, discontinuing its software to users and removing its iPhone app from Apple’s App store.
Google VP Vic Gundotra said that Simplify’s technology will be used to offer a desktop app that will give you access to all of your (DRM-free) media on your Android devices remotely, using Google’s new iTunes competitor on the web.

Twitter to Launch Twitter Business Center

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Social Networking, Technology, Twitter

It has been confirmed with Twitter that beta testing of its new business features, dubbed the “Twitter Business Center,” has begun.
According to the company, “only a handful of accounts have these features presently,” but it will expand on a gradual business to more accounts. One of the biggest additions: the ability for businesses to accept Twittter direct messages, even from people they don’t follow.
A small group of business users are getting emails from the Twitter team, inviting them to test “the Twitter Toolkit.” This is how the invite email begins:
“Congrats!
Your account has been invited to participate in testing one of Twitter’s newest business-centric features, the Twitter Toolkit. We’ll be rolling it out to you within the next few days (if you don’t have it already) for your business or organization’s Twitter account. To get started, visit your business’ Twitter account settings…

http://twitter.com/settings/account

…and look for the “Business” tab. From there you’ll be directed to fill out some information which will help us verify your business or organization.”
Once businesses clicks the link, they have to activate the business features for their accounts. It then takes them to a page where they fill in information such as business contact info and whether they are a small business, large company, or an individual/group:
Digging into the Features
Once a business activates its account, it is automatically verified. This is important because Twitter Verified Accounts have been limited to individuals thus far. It seems like Twitter has finally decided to expand the Verified Accounts program to brands and organizations.
After activation, four tabs appear: Overview, Business Info, Verification, and Contributors. Overview provides basic information about business accounts and Business Info allows a company to change the information that it submitted during initial registration. The Contributors tab, which we revealed several months ago, gives businesses the ability to add multiple users to a business account so that they can tweet on its behalf.
The tab that interested us the most though was the “Verification” tab. Take a look at the “Preferences” section in this screenshot we obtained of the Verification tab:
Twitter has a new feature for businesses: the ability to accept direct messages from any of its followers, regardless of whether they follow that person or not. This is huge for businesses that perform customer service via Twitter: they can get feedback and deal with private customer issues without having to follow the person back first.
The microblogging startup seems focused on getting more businesses the tools they need to effectively manage their Twitter accounts. There are no details yet as to how much Twitter will charge businesses for these features. For now though, the company is refining and testing its Twitter Toolkit before its eventual public debut.

Dynamic Stamps in Acrobat 9

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Adobe, Applications, Technology

Here is how I was able to create dynamic stamps in Acrobat 9 Pro.
STEP ONE – create your stamp image(s)
Create your stamp image. I used Illustrator but I suspect that most programs that will create PDF’s can be used. Export that document as a PDF and open it in Acrobat. Under the Forms menu invoked the “Start Forms Wizard”. This will convert your document (stamp) into a form. Save it.
At this point, there is one document open. It is an Acrobat PDF form.
STEP TWO – copy the dynamic element from a furnished stamp
On a Mac, using the Finder, navigated to the Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro applications folder and right click the object named Adobe Acrobat Pro. Select the “Show Package Contents” command from the menu and you will be able to see the component files of Acrobat. Navigate to this folder “Contents/Plug-ins/Comments.acroplugin/Stamps/ENU/” and open the file “Dynamic.pdf.
(On a PC I found the Dynamic.pdf inside an object named Data1.cab and was able to open it. Data1.cab resides inside the C:/Program Files/Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro folder. I suspect the rest of this will translate easily enough for Windows XP users.)
At this point you should have two Acrobat documents open on your desktop. The document you wish to make dynamic and Acrobat’s furnished dynamic stamps document. Both documents are Adobe Acrobat forms.
In the document Dynamic.pdf chose the Forms drop down menu and selected the “Add or Edit Fields” command. That allows you to select a form field. Once the field is selected copy it and paste it into your first document. Save your document.
STEP THREE – customize the dynamic field!
Now that the form field is in your document invoke the Add or Edit Fields command to change the content of the field to your own needs.
Once the Add or Edit command has been activated, right click the form field and chose Properties from the menu. This will open the Text Field Properties Controls box. Here you control the appearance of the text (font, size color, alignment, etc.) as well as the content of the field. Select the Calculate tab to see the script that controls the field. The fourth radio button (Custom Calculation Script) contains the script that makes your field dynamic.
I started from a field that showed time and date and rearranged it to read date and time. I don’t recognize the kind of script but I suspect it was java. I could not change the am and pm elements with java and so used a 24 hour clock instead. I am no scripter. What I ended up using actually fit better so I accepted that.
You can now save and close your newly dynamic PDF form.
STEP FOUR – add dynamic stamps
After saving that document you can add your new dynamic stamps to your stamps library. Navigate to Tools: Comment and Markup: Stamps: Create Custom Stamp to open the Select Image for Custom Stamp dialog box. Use the browse button to find your file, use the window to navigate to the first stamp image, click OK and the Create Custom Stamp dialog box opens. Select an existing Category or create a new one and name your stamp. Since my stamps were already PDF’s I didn’t need to use the Down Sample check box. I did this four times to select four different images as stamps.
Unlike instructions I found for earlier versions of Acrobat nothing was added to the directory where the original dynamic file existed. So it is a good possibility that the location and path to the file you created is important to their being available in the future. I haven’t checked that yet.
NOTES
I actually use my new Acrobat form document as a watermark as well as a stamp. All I have to do is select Document: Watermark: Add from the Document menu and select the PDF form I created. My proof stamp now appears on each page of my proof in the same position on each page with the date and time that the stamp applied. I achieve the positioning by starting with an InDesign document into which I placed the Illustrator stamp. The InDesign document is sized to match my target files. The PDF I worked from actually came from this InDesign file. It does not affect the size of the stamp image and it makes your work useful in other ways.

Dead Zone Doldrums Test Skills of iPhone Customers

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: App Store, Apple Inc, Applications, iPhone, Technology

Owners of iPhones know that their love for Steve Jobs’s touch-screen marvel comes at a price. The iPhone’s cellular coverage, provided exclusively by AT&T Wireless (NYSE: T – News), is notoriously spotty. In some parts of New York and San Francisco, it’s impossible to connect.
If you go for a dim sum lunch at Yank Sing restaurant on the edge of the financial district in San Francisco, you are likely to miss calls from the office. Some owners can’t use their iPhones in their own homes. Even AT&T Park, the city’s waterfront stadium, can be a dead zone.
The iPhone service is affected by several factors. First, AT&T’s 3G network doesn’t cover as much ground as Verizon (NYSE: VZ – News), America’s largest carrier. Second, urban areas packed with tall buildings are bad for wireless signals. Skyscrapers can block radio waves, or they can bounce them around to create what’s called multipath interference, where signals from different directions collide and cancel each other out.
But the iPhone’s worst enemy is the iPhone itself. So many Americans use them in the same places and at the same time that they are competing with one another for use of the network. “A hundred cellphones demanding bandwidth per cell site may not be out of the question in congested downtown areas,” said Tim Pozar, a wireless engineer who installs custom repeater systems to improve cellphone coverage at offices in the San Francisco area. IPhone owners have proved to be heavy consumers of network capacity.
What to do? There is no single magic bullet to improve iPhone service. You can spend hours trying to persuade AT&T to let you out of your contract. The time you spend doing that will cost more than the contract termination fee.
Knowing a few tricks might get you a connection. If your touch screen says “No Service,” the easiest fix is to hold the phone completely vertical, rather than slanted across your cheek. The iPhone’s antenna is meant to reach furthest if it is held straight up and down. If that doesn’t work, move. Indoors, walk to a window. Outdoors, cross the street.
For the newer 3G-capable iPhones, turning off the 3G in favor of AT&T’s older Edge network is sometimes effective. Go to the iPhone’s Settings icon. Tap General, then Network. Slide the Enable 3G toggle from On to Off. But you can’t talk and browse the Web at the same time on Edge.
Another alternative is to use a Wi-Fi hot spot to make calls. Skype, the popular Internet phone service, will make and take calls as long as you leave the app running and signed in. (Until an iPhone can multitask, that means you have to have the Skype app on all the time.) Calls with other Skype users are free, but calls to and from phones cost about two cents a minute. The app is available in the iPhone App Store.
Skype call quality varied in our tests from clear to sputtery, with a delay from one half-second to three or four seconds. Also, the app works only over Wi-Fi, so you will need to juggle between Skype and AT&T, depending on where you are.
Or, for $15 a month, you can subscribe to the Line2 app that mimics Apple’s phone in look and feel, but switches calls to a Wi-Fi network whenever the iPhone connects to one.
Line2 can start a call on AT&T’s 3G network and then transfer to Wi-Fi, whereas Apple won’t allow Skype to handle calls via AT&T. If left running, it will also receive inbound calls over Wi-Fi. (If Apple were to add a Wi-Fi option to the built-in Phone app, this wouldn’t be a problem.)
But for reliable service, there is no substitute for hardware that increases range. That is why AT&T has begun offering home 3G base stations that look like Wi-Fi routers, but send and receive 3G radio signals instead. These microcells, as AT&T calls them, connect to the Internet and offer wireless coverage of up to 40 feet in any direction. They work with any 3G AT&T phone, but not with Apple’s older non-3G model of iPhone.
The catch is that you will have to pay AT&T for the boost. There are two payment plans: If you buy the microcell for $150, AT&T will charge your voice calls made using the device against the minutes on your monthly wireless plan. Or you can sign up for unlimited calling for a $20 a month fee, and get the microcell free.
Many people consider it outrageous that AT&T isn’t handing out microcells to solve what they see as a problem that AT&T created. But you do get your own personal cellphone tower without needing the approval of your neighborhood’s opposition watchdog group.
AT&T’s microcell is built by Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO – News), a company with a reputation for solid network gear. Setup isn’t exactly plug-and-play, but it doesn’t require you to be a technician. You log in to attwireless.com — you’ll need to create an account if you haven’t already — and open a URL clearly labeled on a sticker that covers the microcell’s cable ports. Enter the microcell’s serial number and the 10-digit phone numbers of the iPhones you want it to serve. Then, as the instructions warn, you must wait up to 90 minutes while the microcell configures itself.
Call quality over the microcell was almost shockingly clear, ungarbled and free of the underwater sound that plagues many cellphone calls. You also might be less likely to experience the common many-second delays between your saying something and the other party’s hearing it. Cellular experts warn that delays and stuttering calls are still possible because these are caused by Internet traffic jams rather than the microcell.
If you make a call from inside the house and then walk outside, you can expect the microcell to reliably hand off the call to a local tower. Calls made outside, though, don’t transfer to the microcell when you get home. The only annoyance you may find with the AT&T unit is that whenever it is rebooted, as home networks sometimes are, it may take about 20 minutes to come back online.
AT&T’s solution will work for homes and small offices. But the company is clear that you can’t take it with you. It may not connect if plugged in somewhere else. So how to solve the restaurant dead-zone problem?
Mr. Pozar says the best fix is for the location to install its own repeater. For $1,000 to $5,000 in parts and labor, a hot dim sum spot could route calls through an outside antenna that connects to an inside amplifier.
That’s not cheap. But instead of a Free Wi-Fi sign, what better way to attract big spenders than one that says iPhone Hot Spot?

Google Analytics Dashboard – A Powerful WordPress Traffic Monitoring Plugin

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Google, Internet, Technology, Web Design, Web Development, WordPress

Are you running a WordPress blog? One very important aspect of the blogger’s job is to keep track of his web traffic. It is good to know how many visitors you have and whether that number is climbing or tanking.
It’s also good to know as much as you can about your visitors. Where did they come from? What are they reading on your site or blog? What kind of changes do you need to make in order to get, keep, or grow that readership? If you want more reasons to analyze your traffic, check out 7 reasons why your website won’t last without analytics.
Many people reach for one of the most powerful tools out there to do the work for them. That tool is Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is probably the most popular traffic analyzing tool there is for webmasters and bloggers.
Sometimes it can become a pain signing into Google Analytics to see what’s going on. One way to save some time is by setting up email reports. Another option you have is to use a WordPress traffic monitoring plugin that gives you the traffic analysis right in your WordPress dashboard.
What if you could have the best of both worlds? What you want is the power of Google Analytics with the convenience of a dashboard widget.
Well, let me show you the Google Analytics Website Dashboard WordPress plugin. I think it can be the answer and can give you the power and convenience that you want.
Setting Up Google Analytics Website Dashboard
The plugin is hosted on the WordPress plugin site. That makes downloading and installing it a breeze from within your WordPress dashboard. Just head over to the Manage Plugins section and click “Add New.” Run a search for “Google Analytics Dashboard.” It should show up as the top result but make sure it is the one by Carson McDonald.
Once you activate the plugin, you will find a Google Analytics Dashboard option in the settings menu. Just head over there and sign in with your Google Analytics account and choose the profile to display.
That’s about all there is to installing it.
The WordPress Traffic Monitoring Plugin
Head to the dashboard and have a look at the Google Analytics widget you have just installed. You should see the graph displaying the visits you’ve had for the past month. This should give you a good overall look at how your traffic has been doing.
You’ll also notice some other information including number of visits, pageviews, and pages per visit. I also like the fact that it shows the tops posts, referrers and the top searches. This gives some good basic information about what’s been popular recently.
Analytics Information For Pages & Posts
Head on over to either the pages or posts section of your WordPress backend and you’ll see some stats for each page or post on the list. The plugin actually adds a column called “Analytics” and makes the pageview/exit/unique visitor stats very accessible.
The Google Analytics WordPress traffic monitoring plugin doesn’t show all of the data Google Analytics has to offer (visit Google Analytics for more in-depth information). I think the power of the plugin lies in its ability to save you a trip to Google’s site by displaying just the basics.

How to turn your electronics into cash

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Technology

If you’re like most Americans, you probably have a stockpile of old cell phones, laptops, or other electronics taking up valuable space in your home. It’s hard to know what to do with working gadgets you no longer need.
Luckily there are more options than ever for those who don’t want to fill landfills with stuff that others can use. In fact, it’s possible to earn a few extra bucks in the process.
How? A growing number of websites allow you to easily sell your old electronics for cash. They all work in the same basic way, although there are differences in details such as which products they buy, and, of course, in how much they’re willing to shell out.
Here’s how it generally works:

  • Search for the product you want to unload.
    Answer a few simple questions about its overall condition and which additional accessories you have.
    Company will calculate an offer for you.
    If you decide to sell, you can print out a pre-paid shipping label. Some will send a box for you to ship in.
    Payment options vary, but most allow you to choose between receiving a check in the mail or a credit to your PayPal account. In some cases, you can choose to donate the payment to charity.
  • Some tips before you get started:

  • Shop around to find the best prices. For an iPhone 3G, 8GB, in good condition bids ranged from $119 to $186, so it’s definitely worth the extra time it takes to visit a few websites.
    Be sure to check what the terms are if the item you send isn’t in the expected condition. Some websites will offer you the chance to change your mind and have the product sent back to you. Others will send products with no value to be responsibly recycled.
    Don’t wait too long to sell your old gadgets because the prices decrease as they get older.
    Remove your personal data before shipping out your product.
  • Below is a sampling of websites that will pay cash for your castaways.
    Gazelle buys a large assortment of products — everything from cell phones, PDAs, and MP3 players to laptops, digital cameras, gaming systems, and more. You can even sell old movies, games, and camera lenses.
    Choose between a check, credit to your PayPal account, an Amazon gift card (pays an extra 5%), or a donation to a charity (you choose from a list of organizations). If a gadget has no value, they’ll recycle it for you. Gazelle says it removes all personal data from every item it receives (you may still choose to erase data before you drop it in the mail). The company also has a program with Costco where you can receive a Costco cash card in exchange for old devices.
    You Renew buys or recycles cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, calculators, laptops, gaming devices, external drives, and tablet eReaders. If your device has no value, you can still ship it for free to YouRenew for safe recycling. As an added bonus, the company will either plant a tree or give a donation towards a domestic renewable energy product.
    NextWorth purchases iPods, iPhones, cell phones, cameras, e-Readers, laptops, video games, game console, GPS, DVD, and movies. Your choices for payment include: PayPal, check in the mail, Target gift card, or donation to the Red Cross for Haiti relief. The site tells you exactly how to remove all the data from your iPhone, which is a nice touch.
    Flipswap offers a set price for cell phones only. No questions are asked, but the company says phones need to be in “working condition.” If they don’t meet conditions, Flipswap will either pay you a portion of the money promised or they’ll recycle it.
    Payment choices include: Check or donations to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Sierra Club, or ASPCA. Several cell phones are listed as “no value,” in which case the company pays your postage to send it back for recycling. It plants a tree for every phone that’s recycled.
    Cell for Cash, as its name suggests, only buys old cell phones. They offer a set price without asking questions, but expect the phones to be in good condition. It wasn’t entirely clear in the terms and conditions how the company handles phones that don’t meet its expectations, so it’s worth checking out before you commit. Cell for Cash will send you a check in the mail.
    Just interested in recycling your old electronics?
    Search for local recycling events or visit Earth911.
    Major manufacturers will often take back their products, and some will even offer you a discount on buying a new product. Apple, for example, will give you a 10 percent discount on a new iPod when you bring in your old one to be recycled.
    Several retailers will allow you to bring in your gadgets for free recycling. And some, such as Radio Shack, allow you to trade in old devices for store credit.

    7 Reasons Apple Shareholders Should Be Cautious

    Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, Technology

    Apple (NYSE: AAPL – News) investors could be excused for feeling on top of the world. Another blowout quarter has sent the stock booming to another all-time high. The iPad seems to be a success. Everything the company touches seems to turn to gold.
    Savor the moment, by all means. But don’t get complacent. If you’re an Apple shareholder, here are seven things to be concerned about—and one thing you can do about it.
    1. Apple’s good — but not that good. It’s just that the competition is so bad. Nokia (NYSE: NOK – News), Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT – News), Samsung, Palm (NasdaqGS: PALM – News): From smartphones to Internet tablets to computers, it’s hard to believe so many big companies have blown it so badly. And they’ve committed mainly unforced errors, such as terrible user interfaces. I bought a non-iPod MP3 player the other day. It’s great … except making playlists is nearly impossible.
    As long as the competition acts like this, Apple will keep winning. But its success owes less to the genius of Apple than the incompetence of everyone else. And that’s something you can’t control.
    2. Apple fatigue. Was anything so ridiculous as the coverage of the new iPad? A computer company launched a new computer. Time and Newsweek put it on the cover, for heaven’s sake, complete with fawning copy from the likes of Stephen Fry. A lot of people are getting absolutely fed up with this circus. Fashions come, but fashions go. Is Apple becoming overexposed? Right now Steve Jobs could sell his old underwear for $200 a pair (the “iPants”), and the sheep would line up at your local Apple store. If this mania lasts, it will be a first in human history.
    3. The share price. At $260, Apple’s stock price has more than doubled in a year. Amateur investors say, “It’s going up.” Present tense. Serious investors say, more accurately: “It has gone up.” Past tense. No one knows the future. And the more it rises, the less attractive it gets. It’s now 20 times annual cash flow and 5 and a half times annual sales. At $235 billion, the company is being valued at more than Sony (NYSE: SNE – News), Research In Motion (NasdaqGS: RIMM – News), Dell (NasdaqGS: DELL – News), Motorola (NYSE: MOT – News), Nokia, HTC (Taiwan 2498.TW – News), SanDisk (NasdaqGS: SNDK – News) and Palm … put together. That assumes a lot.
    4. Steve Jobs’s ego. I don’t care how much of a genius he is: Nobody is perfect. Yet Mr. Jobs has been subject to extravagant cheerleading, and it’s not as if he was overendowed with a sense of humility to begin with. Bottom line: If and when he makes mistakes, who is going to stop him? A small but telling example: One thing keeping Apple from lots of extra iPhone sales to business users is that Mr. Jobs, for some reason, has a thing against keyboards. There’s no business reason for it. It’s a silly, unforced error.
    5. The cellular networks. At what point will they stop giving away the store? Right now they’re paying most of the cost of each new iPhone, and under-charging for the data plans too. That’s great for customers and great for Apple, and bad for the networks. The iPhone is an expensive data hog that soaks up airtime, and there’s always a risk the networks will start playing tougher. Verizon, which lost out to AT&T three years ago for the right to carry the iPhone in the US, doesn’t seem to be suffering as a result. Its investors have done no worse than those of AT&T. And its data traffic just jumped 20%, even without the Apple phone.
    6. Apple backlash. As the competition forfeits game after game, Apple is starting to dominate industries from cell phones and games to music and media. Now it looks like it wants to dominate ebooks too. But if Ken Auletta’s account in the latest New Yorker is correct, Apple’s game plan to defeat Amazon means teaming up with book publishers—and that may mean higher book prices for consumers. How will consumers react? And what will that do for Apple’s “friendly,” rebel image? Anyway, you can’t play the underdog when you’re the third-biggest company in the world by market value. Apple is already worth more than General Electric (NYSE: GE – News), Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT – News), Chevron (NYSE: CVX – News) or Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG – News). It is worth nearly as much as Microsoft. At some point it starts to look like the Big Brother it once vilified. It may even look like the new Microsoft.
    7. Steve Jobs’s health. This is the “ick” issue. But Apple cheerleaders can’t have it both ways. They can’t hail Steve Jobs as a visionary genius and the world’s greatest CEO, and then say it’s none of shareholders’ business whether he will still be running the company in three years’ time. It’s only a year since he had a liver transplant, and investors can hardly feel confident they got all the relevant information clearly and early. We all hope Mr. Jobs enjoys the best of health and lives to a ripe old age. But he still looks worryingly thin. This is something for investors to keep an eye on.
    Some of these are issues that could erupt into problems quickly. Others, if they do emerge, would take more time. But if you’re a nervous Apple investor, what are your alternatives? Sure you could sell some stock and take your profits. But if you don’t want to get off this train quite yet, here’s another idea: You could buy some insurance using “put” options. These pay out if the stock falls. So for $19 you can buy $200 puts, good until January 2012. These will limit your downside on the stock to $200. But if Apple keeps booming upwards, all you can lose is the $19.

    McAfee antivirus program goes berserk, freezes PCs

    Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Internet, Technology

    NEW YORK – Computers in companies, hospitals and schools around the world got stuck repeatedly rebooting themselves Wednesday after an antivirus program identified a normal Windows file as a virus.
    McAfee Inc. confirmed that a software update it posted at 9 a.m. Eastern time caused its antivirus program for corporate customers to misidentify a harmless file. It has posted a replacement update for download.
    McAfee could not say how many computers were affected, but judging by online postings, the number was at least in the thousands and possibly in the hundreds of thousands.
    McAfee said it did not appear that consumer versions of its software caused similar problems. It is investigating how the error happened “and will take measures” to prevent it from recurring, the company said in a statement.
    The computer problem forced about a third of the hospitals in Rhode Island to postpone elective surgeries and stop treating patients without traumas in emergency rooms, said Nancy Jean, a spokeswoman for the Lifespan system of hospitals. The system includes Rhode Island Hospital, the state’s largest, and Newport Hospital. Jean said patients who required treatment for gunshot wounds, car accidents, blunt trauma and other potentially fatal injuries were still being admitted to the emergency rooms.
    In Kentucky, state police were told to shut down the computers in their patrol cars as technicians tried to fix the problem. The National Science Foundation headquarters in Arlington, Va., also lost computer access.
    Intel Corp. appeared to be among the victims, according to employee posts on Twitter. Intel did not immediately return calls for comment.
    Peter Juvinall, systems administrator at Illinois State University in Normal, said that when the first computer started rebooting it quickly became evident that it was a major problem, affecting dozens of computers at the College of Business alone.
    “I originally thought it was a virus,” he said. When the tech support people concluded McAfee’s update was to blame, they stopped further downloads of the faulty software update and started shuttling from computer to computer to get the machines working again.
    In many offices, personal attention to each PC from a technician appeared to be the only way to fix the problem because the computers weren’t receptive to remote software updates when stuck in the reboot cycle. That slowed the recovery.
    It’s not uncommon for antivirus programs to misidentify legitimate files as viruses. Last month, antivirus software from Bitdefender locked up PCs running several different versions of Windows.
    However, the scale of this outage was unusual, said Mike Rothman, president of computer security firm Securosis.
    “It looks to be a train wreck,” Rothman said.

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