Apple Said to Be Subpoenaed by US on Google Mobile Search

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Apple

Apple

Apple

People wait outside an Apple store on Jan. 12, 2012 in Beijing. Photograph: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

People wait outside an Apple store on Jan. 12, 2012 in Beijing. Photograph: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission
subpoenaed Apple Inc. (AAPL) as part of its antitrust probe of Google
Inc., seeking information on how the computer maker incorporates
the search engine on the iPhone and iPad, two people familiar
with the matter said.

The agency’s request for documents includes the agreements
that made Google the preferred search engine on Apple’s mobile
devices, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak
publicly and declined to be identified. Google rivals such as
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) have criticized these agreements as
anticompetitive.

The subpoena indicates the FTC is intensifying its scrutiny
of Google’s business practices. Details of the Apple-Google
relationship may show whether Google is abusing its dominance of
Internet search to boost revenue in the mobile phone advertising
market, said Allen Grunes, an antitrust lawyer at Brownstein
Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP in Washington.

“As mobile search gets more widespread, the default
setting becomes more significant,” said Grunes, who doesn’t
represent Google or its rivals.

The FTC has sent subpoenas to other handset makers and
wireless carriers, said one of the people, who declined to name
the companies.

Advertising Rates

In its broader antitrust investigation of Mountain View,
California-based Google that began about a year ago, the FTC is
examining whether the company unfairly increases advertising
rates for competitors and ranks search results to favor its own
businesses, such as its social-networking site Google+, two
people familiar with the situation said in January.

Google has been the default search engine for the iPhone
since Apple introduced the device in 2007 and on the iPad since
its 2010 debut, as well as for the iPod Touch. Apple also uses
Google Maps as a favored service on the iPhone and iPad.

The FTC’s probe of Google is also looking at whether the
company is using its control of the Android mobile operating
system to harm competition, two people familiar with the probe
said last year. Apple and Google have been vying for leadership
in the smartphone market since the first Android-based handset
came out in 2008.

Mobile Versus Desktop

“It’s very likely in the next few years, we’ll see mobile
search outstripping desktop search,” said Ben Schachter, a New
York-based analyst with Macquarie Capital who has a buy rating
on Google stock. Schachter estimated that by the end of the year
25 percent to 30 percent of searches would take place on mobile
devices, up from about 15 percent currently.

Schachter said consumers usually leave the default settings
on smart phones or other mobile devices.

“Most people don’t even know what default search means –
they just know there’s a box they can use to look for
information,” Schacter said.

Google’s Android became the dominant mobile phone operating
system last year and led the market with a 50.9 percent share in
the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with the iPhone’s iOS
mobile operating system’s 23.8 percent share, according to a
February report by Gartner Inc., a Stamford, Connecticut
researcher.

Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-
based Apple, Cecelia Prewett of the FTC, and Adam Kovacevich, a
Google spokesman, declined to comment on the subpoenas.

Search Earnings

Google last year earned $1.3 billion in search-related
revenue on Apple products, according to a March 8 report from
Macquarie Capital. Google paid Apple $1 billion to be the
default search engine, keeping only $335 million of the total
amount, the report said.

In January, eMarketer, a New York-based research firm,
estimated Google’s share of U.S. mobile-ad revenue was 52
percent in 2011, driven by searches. Google earns about 95
percent of all U.S. mobile-search ad revenue, the firm said.

Google was the leader in U.S. Internet search in February
with 66.4 percent of the market, according to ComScore Inc., an
Internet market research firm based in Reston, Virginia.

Microsoft made a failed attempt to wrest away the default
search engine position on the iPhone from Google in 2010,
according to two people familiar with the matter.

Apple sold more than 183 million iPhones and more than 55
million iPads by the end of last year. The products together
accounted for more than 70 percent of the company’s sales in the
last quarter.

Google-Apple Connection

The FTC’s subpoena is the latest twist in the relationship
between Google and Apple. The two companies were linked for much
of last decade, with Google Inc. (GOOG) Chairman Eric Schmidt serving
on Apple’s board of directors.

The dynamic changed when Google announced it would
introduce Android to compete against the iPhone.

Schmidt left the board in 2009, the same year the FTC said
it was examining whether Apple and Google were violating
antitrust laws by sharing board members. Schmidt said the FTC
probe didn’t prompt his decision to step down from Apple’s
board.

Conflict between the two companies intensified as Apple’s
late co-founder Steve Jobs opened a patent battle against
companies whose mobile devices run on Android, including Samsung
Electronics Co. and HTC Corp.

Joaquin Almunia, the European Commission’s antitrust chief,
said March 5 that he’ll decide next month on the future of the
EC’s 18-month antitrust probe into Google and notify the company
about any concerns.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Sara Forden in Washington at
sforden@bloomberg.net;
Jeff Bliss in Washington at
jbliss@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net:
Steven Komarow at
skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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Article source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-13/apple-said-to-be-subpoenaed-by-u-s-regulators-on-google-s-mobile-search.html

Twitter Buys Posterous, Eyes Tumblr and WordPress Territory

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Need more evidence that Twitter is ready to put on the big boy pants and become bigger than 140-characters per tweet? It just bought blogging platform Posterous for a unspecified amount of money.

Started in 2008, Posterous is a blogging platform that enables its users to share and create content to post on their “Spaces.” Sound familiar? It’s just about the same as a Tumblr or a WordPress, except its tools are so watered down that even your 80-year-old grandma can figure out how to get a blog going in minutes.

On the surface, the unexpected buyout from Twitter seems to be nothing more than a talent acquisition as stated on the Twitter blog: “Posterous engineers, product managers and others will join our teams working on several key initiatives that will make Twitter even better.” But it’d be naive of us to believe that Twitter acquiring Posterous has nothing to do with the threat from the incredible growth of the Tumblr machine.

For now, both companies (well, now Twitter) have happily posted amicable blog posts indicating the buyout is real. Twitter also hasn’t announced what it will do with its new Posterous staff and what its real motives are.

And while Twitter says all of Posterous’ Spaces will “remain up and running without disruption,” all we see is a big warning sign that you’d better start considering a move to another blogging platform before all your content goes kablooey. Hey, it could happen any time without timely warnings.

One of Twitter’s hallmarks is the 140-character limitations, but at the same time, it’s extremely limiting. We’re not rooting for any one social network/blogging platform, but we see the Posterous buyout as an opportunity for the company to keep shared links and content within the Twitterverse — contained, controlled and more friendly to monitoring.

It’s sort of how Facebook has grown to be more than just a place to poke people. Facebook wants to be the new Google — the most popular gateway to the Internet. We see Twitter going after the same goal. Why just be a part of the Internet, when you can try to mostly be it? Why be this machine for referring to Tumblr links, when Twitter users can start sending more traffic to Posterous links?

There’s also the matter of advertising. It’s no secret that Twitter is hard to monetize. Instead of crowding up the Twitter feed with ads, the company could offload advertisements to Posterous (or whatever new platform it becomes when Twitter’s wrapped its fingers around it).

Today, Twitter buying Posterous might seem small, but tomorrow, Twitter could become the one-stop source for all your real-time blogging/micro-blogging needs. Who will need Tumblr or WordPress, when it can be Twitter time, all the time?

Posterous Blog, via Twitter Blog

Article source: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Twitter-Buys-Posterous-Eyes-Tumblr-and-Wordpress-Territory-142556015.html

Carlyle Owners Took $398.5 Million Payout With Debt Before IPO

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Carlyle Owners Took $398.5 Million Payout With Debt Before IPO

Carlyle Owners Took $398.5 Million Payout With Debt Before IPO

Carlyle Owners Took $398.5 Million Payout With Debt Before IPO

Jonathan Drake/Bloomberg

A Mubadala Development Co. exhibition booth during the Singapore Airshow.

A Mubadala Development Co. exhibition booth during the Singapore Airshow. Photographer: Jonathan Drake/Bloomberg

Carlyle Took Debt to Pay Owners Dividend Before IPO

March 13 (Bloomberg) — Carlyle Group LP, in a transaction nine months before it filed to go public, saddled itself with debt to pay owners including William Conway, Daniel D’Aniello and David Rubenstein a $398.5 million tax-deferred dividend. Owen Thomas reports on Bloomberg Television’s “Countdown.” (Source: Bloomberg)


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Carlyle Group

Carlyle Group

Carlyle Group

David Rogowski/Bloomberg

This building at 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. stands in Washington, D.C., on July 16, 2010. The Carlyle Group, a private-equity firm, rents offices in this building for its headquarters.

This building at 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. stands in Washington, D.C., on July 16, 2010. The Carlyle Group, a private-equity firm, rents offices in this building for its headquarters. Photographer: David Rogowski/Bloomberg

Carlyle Group LP (CG), in a transaction
nine months before it filed to go public, saddled itself with
debt to pay owners including William Conway, Daniel D’Aniello
and David Rubenstein a $398.5 million tax-deferred dividend.

The private equity firm borrowed $500 million from Abu
Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co. in December 2010, saying it
would use part of that to expand investment products. Instead,
it paid out almost 80 percent of the money to existing owners,
according to regulatory filings. Separately, the Washington-
based firm negotiated bank credit giving it the option to
distribute an additional $400 million prior to its initial
public offering, lending agreements filed last month show.

The deals, which echo the dividend recapitalization private
equity managers use to extract cash from the companies they
acquire, leave Carlyle’s future shareholders with the cost of
servicing the debt. Assuming Carlyle holds its IPO by the end of
June, Mubadala will have earned a return in excess of 50
percent, including a $200 million equity stake the owners gave
away to obtain a loan that lasted about a year and a half.

“It begs the question, ‘Why would you do that?’ ” said
Matthew Pieniazek, the president of Darling Consulting Group, an
adviser to banks in Newburyport, Massachusetts. “IPOs are not
guaranteed. They were willing to give up some of the upside for
the certainty of” a distribution.

Chris Ullman, a spokesman for Carlyle, declined to comment.

By financing the dividends with debt, Carlyle’s founders
can receive the full amount without facing an immediate tax
bill, and without having to sell shares in the IPO. Under
Internal Revenue Code regulations for partnerships, the owners
can defer paying taxes on the distribution until the debt is
retired, said Allan Weiner, a partner in the Washington office
of the law firm Kelley Drye Warren LLP.

Dividend Recaps

“They are essentially creating a distribution without
paying taxes,” Weiner said. “Presumably, because it is debt,
they are burdening the existing entity.”

Carlyle has taken advantage of borrowed money in the past
to pay its fund investors dividends before taking holdings
public. So-called dividend recaps were used when Dunkin’ Brands
Group Inc. borrowed $1.25 billion in 2010 to pay $500 million to
owners Carlyle, Bain Capital LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP.
Dunkin’ went public last year in a $486 million share sale.

Six months after the buyout of Hertz Corp. in 2005, the car
rental company used a $1 billion loan to pay a dividend to its
new owners, Carlyle and Clayton Dubilier Rice LLC.

First Investors

Carlyle, founded in 1987, is the second-biggest private
equity firm, with $148 billion in assets as of Sept. 30,
including stakes in companies such as Dunkin’ Brands and
Nielsen Holdings N.V. Its three founders received a combined
$413 million last year, mostly from distributions. Apart from
the founders and Mubadala, its owners include the California
Public Employees’ Retirement System
, or Calpers.

The firm found some of its first investors in the Middle
East
, including the Saudi royal family and owners of the Saudi
Binladin Group, the Jeddah-based construction company founded
by Osama bin Laden’s father, Mohammed. Carlyle returned the
family’s money after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The firm has weighed an IPO since at least 2007 when larger
competitor Blackstone (BX) Group LP went public. As financial markets
started to collapse, Carlyle instead agreed to sell a 7.5
percent stake to Mubadala, an investment vehicle owned by the
Abu Dhabi government, for $1.35 billion in September 2007.
Mubadala got a 10 percent discount and received protection
against a drop in the value of its holdings.

Mubadala’s Stake

Mubadala made the second investment in Carlyle in December
2010, buying $500 million in debt convertible into Carlyle
stock at a 7.5 percent discount to the IPO price. Carlyle agreed
to pay an interest rate of 7.25 percent and give Mubadala a 2
percent equity stake valued at about $200 million, an expense
booked as an “upfront cost” to secure the debt financing,
according to the firm’s registration statement with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission.

Carlyle refinanced half of that debt in October, a month
after filing to go public and securing a bigger credit line from
its banks. Carlyle borrowed $265.5 million under the expanded
credit agreement to retire $250 million face amount of the
notes. Carlyle paid Mubadala a $10 million premium, a fee that
is often assessed when bonds are retired ahead of time, and $5.5
million of accrued interest.

The private equity firm may repay the balance of Mubadala’s
debt before the IPO, according to a person familiar with
Carlyle’s plans who asked not to be identified because the
matter is private. If it doesn’t, Mubadala would be entitled to
convert the debt into Carlyle stock at a 7.5 percent discount to
the IPO price.

‘Big Win’

Private companies typically pay interest rates of about 13
percent to 14 percent when taking out so-called mezzanine loans
that rank behind senior debt, such as bank loans, when it comes
time to being repaid, according to James Hill, who heads the
private equity practice of the law firm Benesch LLP in
Cleveland.

While the interest Carlyle is paying is low in comparison,
the equity stake makes it expensive for current owners. Carlyle
has about 100 partners who own a piece of the company. The three
founders own more than half.

“As long as Carlyle goes public, it is a pretty big win
for” Mubadala, Hill said in an interview. “If they hadn’t gone
public, it wouldn’t have been as big a win because you own two
percent of a privately owned management company and who knows
what that is worth over time.”

IPO Setback

The sale was subject to Calpers waiving pre-emptive rights
that it received under a February 2001 agreement to invest in
Carlyle, according to a Feb. 14 SEC filing. Calpers also had to
consent to the deal between Carlyle and Mubadala, the filing
shows.

Carlyle’s previous IPO plans had been set back in 2007 when
a publicly traded credit fund sponsored by the firm fell victim
to the housing crisis. Carlyle, which unsuccessfully tried to
rescue the fund, had obtained an $875 million credit line at
that time from a banking consortium led by Citigroup.

Carlyle has agreed to pledge 70 percent of the firm’s
quarterly management fees, along with the carried interest of
its partners, as collateral, according to the most recent
version of the loan agreement, filed with the SEC last month.

Carlyle entered into additional collateral agreements in
December 2008, involving U.S. and U.K. bank accounts under the
name of Carlyle Investment Management LLC. The firm reported a
net loss of $514 million that year, according to the IPO filing.

Founders’ Commitments

After Carlyle filed to go public in September of last year,
its lenders — Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG and
JPMorgan Chase Co. — agreed to increase the revolving credit
line to $750 million from a prior limit of $150 million.
According to a copy of the borrowing agreement, revised again in
December, the banks will no longer require the management and
carried interest fees that Carlyle and its partners pledged as
collateral once the IPO is completed and Mubadala is repaid.

All three banks were awarded top roles managing Carlyle’s
share sale. Officials for the banks declined to comment.

The Mubadala financing in 2010 helped Carlyle distribute
$787.8 million in cash to its top executives that year, up from
$215.6 million in 2009 and $253.9 million in 2008, according to
regulatory filings.

Carlyle didn’t give a reason for the dividend payout. Its
founders were among senior professionals who had committed to
contributing $1.2 billion to the firm’s buyout and other funds
as of Sept. 30, according to the IPO documents. Such commitments
can sometimes prove burdensome for private equity executives,
said David Miller, a tax attorney at Cadwalader, Wickersham
Taft LLP in New York.

‘Managing Cash’

“It was not infrequent during the recession that private
equity managers had to draw on credit lines because they had
commitments,” Miller said.

In addition, when Carlyle’s buyout funds sell portfolio
companies, either through direct sales to another suitor or
through IPOs, the firm’s partners must recognize income for tax
purposes, even though they may not get any of the actual cash.
Instead they must wait until outside investors in Carlyle funds
have gotten all of their capital back plus a preferred return of
8 to 9 percent, according to the firm’s IPO filing.

“Managing the cash in a private equity arrangement is a
little more of a challenge than in a typical hedge fund that has
liquid assets,” said Jim Browne, a partner at Strasburger
Price LLP, a Dallas-based law firm that specializes in general
tax planning.

‘Little Kicker’

The stock grant that Mubadala received when it bought
subordinated notes from Carlyle in 2010 raised its holdings to
9.5 percent. Carlyle’s valuation of the 2 percent equity stake
assumed that the buyout company was worth $10 billion, according
to the filing. The purchase price Mubadala paid for its initial
investment in 2007 implied a valuation of about $20 billion for
Carlyle at the time.

The terms for Mubadala’s 2010 investment “could simply be
a way of giving them a little kicker for what both parties knew
was an overvalued equity infusion three years earlier,” said
Pieniazek.

Shares of Blackstone, which is based in New York, have lost
half of their value since they were first sold in the 2007
initial offering at $31 each.

Following Carlyle’s offering, Mubadala will be restricted
from selling parts of its stake for 12 to 24 months, according
to Carlyle’s registration statement. The Abu Dhabi company, the
second-largest Carlyle owner after the founders, is also
restricted from holding a stake bigger than 19.9 percent.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Cristina Alesci in New York at
calesci2@bloomberg.net;
Miles Weiss in Washington at
mweiss@bloomberg.net;
Devin Banerjee in New York at
dbanerjee2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Christian Baumgaertel at
cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net

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Article source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-13/carlyle-owners-took-400-million-tax-deferred-payout-before-ipo-with-debt.html

Fed Says Labor Market Improves; Leaves Policy Unchanged

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Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke

Michael Reynolds/EPA/Landov

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 29, 2012.

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 29, 2012. Photographer: Michael Reynolds/EPA/Landov

Fed Says Labor Market Improves; Policy Unchanged

March 13 (Bloomberg) — Federal Reserve policy makers raised their assessment of the economy as the labor market gathers strength and refrained from new actions to lower borrowing costs.
“Labor market conditions have improved further; the unemployment rate has declined notably in recent months but remains elevated,” the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement at the conclusion of a meeting today in Washington. Michael McKee reports on Bloomberg Television’s “Bottom Line.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Romer, Jersey Discuss Fed Policy Decision

March 13 (Bloomberg) — Christina Romer, former head of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, and Ira Jersey, head of U.S. interest-rate strategy at Credit Suisse, talk about today’s decision by the Federal Open Market Committee to leave monetary policy unchanged.
Fed policy makers raised their assessment of the economy as the labor market gathers strength and refrained from new actions to lower borrowing costs. Romer and Jersey speak with Mark Crumpton on Bloomberg Television’s “Bottom Line.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Lieberman, Swonk Discuss Fed Policy Decision

March 13 (Bloomberg) — Charles Lieberman, chief investment officer and managing partner at Advisors Capital Management, and Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, talk about today’s decision by the Federal Market Open Committee to leave monetary policy unchanged.
They speak with Betty Liu, Adam Johnson and Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Bernanke Feb. 29 Remarks on U.S. Employment

Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke testifies before the House Financial Services Committee in Washington about the U.S. unemployment rate.
(This is an excerpt from the hearing. Source: Bloomberg)

Federal Reserve policy makers
raised their assessment of the economy as the labor market
gathers strength and refrained from new actions to lower
borrowing costs.

“The unemployment rate has declined notably in recent
months but remains elevated,” the Federal Open Market Committee
said in a statement at the conclusion of a meeting today in
Washington. It also said “strains in global financial markets
have eased, though they continue to pose significant downside
risks to the economic outlook.”

Stocks advanced, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average
toward its highest closing level since 2007, after the Fed
statement and as JPMorgan Chase Co. increased its dividend.
The best six-month streak of job growth since 2006 prompted Fed
Chairman Ben S. Bernanke to acknowledge an improved path for the
economy, even as policy makers repeated that unemployment is
likely to stay high enough to warrant keeping borrowing costs
“exceptionally low” at least through late 2014.

“The Fed still doesn’t know which way the economy will
go,” Roberto Perli, a former senior staff economist at the Fed,
said in an interview on “The Hays Advantage” on Bloomberg
Radio. “Therefore I think they’re more inclined to ease than
they are to tighten.”

U.S. stocks advanced, sending the Dow Jones Industrial
Average to the highest level since 2007, as retail sales
increased by the most in five months and JPMorgan Chase Co. (JPM)
increased its dividend.

The Standard Poor’s 500 Index added 1.8 percent to
1,396.06 at 4 p.m. New York time. The Dow rose 219.10 points, or
1.7 percent, to 13,178.81. The yield on the 10-year Treasury
note rose to 2.12 percent from 2.03 percent late yesterday.

The Fed said it expects “moderate economic growth” and
predicted the unemployment rate “will decline gradually.” In
its last statement in January, it said growth would be
“modest” and unemployment “will decline only gradually.”

Operation Twist

Policy makers also said they will continue to swap $400
billion in short-term securities with long-term debt to lengthen
the average maturity of the central bank’s holdings, a move
dubbed Operation Twist. The Fed didn’t alter its policy of
reinvesting its portfolio of maturing housing debt into agency
mortgage-backed securities.

Inflation “has been subdued in recent months although
prices of crude oil and gasoline have increased lately,” the
Fed said today. The increase in oil will “push up inflation
temporarily, but the committee anticipates that subsequently
inflation will run at or below the rate that it judges most
consistent with its dual mandate.”

Rate Target

The central bank in December 2008 lowered its target
overnight interest rate to a range of zero to 0.25 percent, and
it later purchased $2.3 trillion of assets in two rounds of so
called quantitative easing.

“If the recent economic strength continues, then of course
all the plans for QE3 or other potential easing moves will be
set aside,” said Perli, managing director at International
Strategy and Investment Group Inc. in Washington.

Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker dissented for the
second meeting in a row, saying he doesn’t anticipate that
economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low
levels of the fed funds rate through late 2014. In the
explanation of his dissent after the January meeting, the 2014
time horizon was omitted.

The U.S. economy has gained strength as payroll growth
boosts consumer demand. Household confidence climbed earlier
this month to the highest level in four years, according to the
Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index.

“All of the data we’re seeing suggests the overall economy
and customer sentiment are improving,” David Dillon, chairman
and chief executive of Kroger Co., the largest U.S. grocery
store chain, said in a March 1 earnings call.

Retail Sales

A government report today showed a 1.1 percent advance in
retail sales in February for the most in five months. The gain
followed a 0.6 percent increase in January that was larger than
previously estimated. Demand improved in 11 of 13 industry
categories, including auto dealers and clothing stores.

Consumers are getting a boost as job prospects brighten.
Employers added 227,000 workers in February, completing the best
six months for payroll growth since 2006.

“There’s real improvement here, and we’re definitely on
the recovery path” for employment, said Scott Brown, chief
economist at St. Petersburg, Florida-based Raymond James
Financial Inc., which oversees $300 billion.

Stock-market gains are contributing to consumer optimism
and spending power. The Standard Poor’s 500 Index rallied 9
percent this year through yesterday after completing its best
February since 1998. Before today, the benchmark for U.S.
equities rose 25 percent since concern about Europe’s debt
crisis pushed the gauge to a one-year low on Oct. 3.

Fed Forecasts

Still, most Fed policy makers in January forecast the
economy would grow 2.2 percent to 2.7 percent in 2012 and the
unemployment rate would end the year at 8.2 percent to 8.5
percent. By the end of 2014, the FOMC expects a jobless rate of
6.7 percent to 7.6 percent, still above their goal for maximum
employment of 5.2 percent to 6 percent.

Policy makers will update their economic forecasts at the
April 24-25 FOMC meeting, which will be followed by a press
conference with Bernanke.

“The economy from our vantage point is moving sideways,”
Dave Denton, chief financial officer of CVS Caremark Corp., the
largest U.S. provider of prescription drugs, told analysts today
at a Barclays Capital conference in Miami. “I don’t see it
moving down at this point in time. But at the same token, I
don’t see it moving up in any significant fashion either.”

Fuel prices are a risk to consumer spending. Rising oil has
pushed the national average cost of gasoline up to $3.81 a
gallon, from $3.28 at the start of the year, according to the
American Automobile Association.

Date Extended

At its January meeting, the FOMC said that economic
conditions would likely warrant keeping rates “exceptionally
low” at least through late 2014, extending a previous date of
mid-2013.

In November, the Fed joined with five other central banks
to cut the interest rate on swap lines providing dollar
liquidity to banks strained by Europe’s financial crisis.

These actions propelled the central bank’s balance sheet to
a record $2.94 trillion on Feb. 15, more than triple its size
before the 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

The European Central Bank is pausing its own easing
campaign after returning its benchmark rate to a record low of 1
percent in December, freeing up collateral rules and lending
banks an unprecedented 1.02 trillion euros ($1.34 trillion) for
three years.

Italian Bonds

Steps in Europe have paid off, with investors crediting ECB
President Mario Draghi for helping stabilize Europe’s two-year-
old debt crisis. Italy’s 10-year bond yields have fallen below 5
percent from more than 7 percent in January, and the Bloomberg
Europe Banks and Financial Services Index gained about 14
percent from Dec. 30 through yesterday.

“It’s certainly a much better time now than it was even at
the last meeting, and in multiple ways both in the U.S. economy
and in foreign markets,” George Mokrzan, director of economics
at Huntington Bancshares Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, said before the
Fed’s statement.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Joshua Zumbrun in Washington at
jzumbrun@bloomberg.net;
Jeff Kearns in Washington at
jkearns3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Christopher Wellisz at
cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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Article source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-13/fed-says-labor-market-improves-leaves-policy-unchanged.html

Netbiscuits Bakes Off "Tactile" HTML5 Framework

Web application player Netbiscuits has introduced Tactile, a design and development framework that utilizes web standards and the firm’s own cloud SaaS platform. Tactile’s USP rests in its option to create HTML5 touch-enabled mobile web apps that render properly no what matter the device, operating system, or country in which the consumer is using their smartphone.

Targeting the programmer market for rich mobile applications (many of which will reside on gesture-driven devices), Netbiscuits is combining what CEO Michael Neidhoefer lists as server-side optimization, client-side optimization, device detection, and responsive design.

“Using next-generation web standards such as HTML5 and CSS3, web apps can be rapidly created without wasting time and resources compensating for browser, operating system, and device fragmentation,” said Neidhoefer.

Playing the increasingly common tactic of producing a tool suited to both developers and designers, Tactile works to identify the specific device classes requesting access to content. It then tailors multimedia content from a server and delivers that content (with, as they say, “native look and feel”) in formats optimized for a device’s specific profile and screen dimensions.

Netbiscuits Tactile delivers four main benefits:

  • Tactile Markup replaces a large portion of JavaScript, reducing the size and also potentially reducing the complexity of the code.
  • There are a large number of “out of the box,” cross platform optimized display and behavior effects and events.
  • Device Information Services provide device characteristics from the device and from NB Testing Intelligence to all touch points of a web application.
  • Tactile’s HTML5 framework allows developers to extend the JavaScript library at all layers — from kernel to UI components — or using CSS Preprocessor capabilities.

Article source: http://drdobbs.com/web-development/232602539

Netbiscuits Bakes Off "Tactile" HTML5 Framework

Web application player Netbiscuits has introduced Tactile, a design and development framework that utilizes web standards and the firm’s own cloud SaaS platform. Tactile’s USP rests in its option to create HTML5 touch-enabled mobile web apps that render properly no what matter the device, operating system, or country in which the consumer is using their smartphone.

Targeting the programmer market for rich mobile applications (many of which will reside on gesture-driven devices), Netbiscuits is combining what CEO Michael Neidhoefer lists as server-side optimization, client-side optimization, device detection, and responsive design.

“Using next-generation web standards such as HTML5 and CSS3, web apps can be rapidly created without wasting time and resources compensating for browser, operating system, and device fragmentation,” said Neidhoefer.

Playing the increasingly common tactic of producing a tool suited to both developers and designers, Tactile works to identify the specific device classes requesting access to content. It then tailors multimedia content from a server and delivers that content (with, as they say, “native look and feel”) in formats optimized for a device’s specific profile and screen dimensions.

Netbiscuits Tactile delivers four main benefits:

  • Tactile Markup replaces a large portion of JavaScript, reducing the size and also potentially reducing the complexity of the code.
  • There are a large number of “out of the box,” cross platform optimized display and behavior effects and events.
  • Device Information Services provide device characteristics from the device and from NB Testing Intelligence to all touch points of a web application.
  • Tactile’s HTML5 framework allows developers to extend the JavaScript library at all layers — from kernel to UI components — or using CSS Preprocessor capabilities.

Article source: http://drdobbs.com/web-development/232602539

Posterous Acquisition Drives WordPress Migration Surge

Posterous Acquisition Drives WordPress Migration Surge

Yesterday we brought you news that Twitter had acquired mobile blogging platform Posterous for an undisclosed amount of money. The two companies announced the sale on their respective blogs yesterday. While no one from Twitter or Posterous is saying so, it seems likely that Posterous will be closed.

Now it looks like Posterous users might see the writing on the wall, too. It seems they’re leaving Posterous for WordPress in significant numbers. Since February of 2010 WordPress has offered new users a tool for importing their Posterous blogs to WordPress. It seems that since yesterday’s announcement that tool has seen a massive spike in use. In fact, use of WordPress’s Posterous importer has risen by over 250% since yesterday’s announcement, according to a post on the official WordPress blog.

Now, as previously noted, neither Twitter nor Posterous said anything in their announcements about Posterous being shut down. Each post, however, included a promise to offer tools to migrate or back up their Posterous content “in the coming weeks.” It looks like a sizable portions of Posterous’s users have decided to get a jump on things and move their stuff now.

Of course, WordPress isn’t the only option available, but it does appear to be the easiest. As Lifehacker points out, it is also possible to migrate your Posterous account to another blogging service like Blogger or Tumblr. Until Posterous/Twitter release their own export tools, however, the process for moving your stuff to Blogger or Tumblr is a bit more cumbersome.

Posterous users, will you be moving your content? If so, will you go to WordPress, or to another service? Do you think Twitter will shut down Posterous? Let us know in the comments.

Article source: http://www.webpronews.com/posterous-acquisition-drives-wordpress-migration-surge-2012-03

Drupal, Joomla and WordPress face challenges in Germany


Last week, I attended CeBIT, the enormous technology trade fair that takes place every March in Hanover, Germany. This year, as I walked through the building devoted to content management and other enterprise technologies, I spied a booth with Drupal, WordPress, Joomla and Typo3. All except for the latter are well known in the United States, but I was surprised to find that those three are struggling to find market share in Germany.

I found it remarkable that the three open-source web content management systems that are so popular in the United States were having trouble getting the same level of recognition in Germany.

Part of the problem, it turns out, is the chicken-egg theory.

Without programmers and consultants who support Drupal, Joomla and WordPress, it’s hard for businesses to embrace these systems. The spokesperson at the WordPress desk said that Typo3 was a big player in Germany precisely because it had already built that ecosystem of people who understood it and had implemented enterprise-class projects.

The spokesperson at the Drupal desk explained that there is no Drupal certification program in Germany, so it’s difficult to find Drupal programmers.

Tom Erickson, CEO at Acquia, the American company which acts as a commercial layer on top of Drupal, says it’s clear that Typo3 has a big head start in Germany, even though it doesn’t have much market share elsewhere.

“There is no doubt that Typo3 has a larger presence in Germany than in other countries. Germany has a tradition of starting with systems that may not be dominant elsewhere. When I first started doing business in Germany in the 1980s, Adibas from Software AG was the dominant database and Oracle had virtually no presence there, despite Oracle being dominant in the U.K., France, Benelux and Nordics,” Erickson said.

He said in spite of this, there are thousands of Drupal websites in Germany, including one from Mercedes that uses Acquia’s Drupal Commons service to run a key external community website, but he acknowledges that it’s still going to be a challenge to gain market share in Germany.

To that end, Acquia will be opening an office in Germany later this year that Erickson hopes can act as that missing champion in Germany for the open-source web content management system.

“We believe that Germany is the next frontier for Drupal, and the only thing holding it back is a stronger ecosystem, supported by [a strong] champion–in this case ourselves, Acquia. While we have several partners in the region today, we will be establishing a commercial presence there later this year. As we begin to market there, awareness of the diversity of Drupal solutions will undoubtedly help to increase Drupal market share,” he said.

Erickson strongly believes that the tide is about to turn for Drupal in Germany, and he says if we check back again in six months or a year we will see a different picture.

For now though, Drupal along with Joomla and WordPress struggle to gain the critical mass required for open source to thrive, and until they do, Typo3 will continue to dominate, no matter how well the other competitors may do outside of Germany. – Ron

Article source: http://www.fiercecontentmanagement.com/story/drupal-joomla-and-wordpress-face-challenges-germany/2012-03-13

[Poll] What Company Provides the Best HTML5 Framework and Toolset?

html5_150x150.jpgHTML5 and the mobile Web is starting to catch up with native apps, at least in terms of developer attention. Many developers are rushing to create HTML5-ready mobile websites or hybrid apps and need the proper tools to create dynamic apps that will function across platforms. As such, there is an arms race in the HTML5 ecosystem to create tools that developers will need to produce quality apps and content for the mobile Web, Android and iOS.

Within the last several weeks there have been several companies that have released products for HTML5 developers. Sencha released Touch 2, appMobi upgraded jqMobi to its first public version, Brightcove made updates to its App Cloud and Adobe continues to invest in HTML5 tools. Frameworks like Zepto.JS and jQuery Mobile have environments and libraries for developers. What company has the best offering? That is the topic of this week’s ReadWriteMobile poll.

Article source: http://www.readwriteweb.com/mobile/2012/03/poll-what-company-provides-the.php

Nokia Maps Comes to iOS, Android as HTML5 Web App

Nokia Maps and its voice-guided, turn-by-turn walk navigation is now available for iOS and Android.

The service is available via an HTML5 Web app rather than separate apps in each of the platforms’ app stores, though it can be added to your home screen by tapping the middle button on the menu and selecting “Add to Home Screen.”

Users can access the maps via m.maps.nokia.com on their iPhone or iPad, or a device running Android 2.3 and higher, Nokia said in a blog post.

“No one is stuck with other mapping services, anymore, you can access Nokia Maps extensive places directory and high quality directions also on m.maps.nokia.com and from today with voice-guided walk navigation too,” Nokia said.

When navigating to the Nokia Maps mobile site, the company will first ask you for permission to access your location, and it will do so each time you access the site.

Nokia Maps Routing

“If it’s precise mapping and routing you’re after, then you’ll need to accept this,” Nokia said. “But don’t worry, this is only used for routing purposes.”

Accessed on an iPhone 4, the Nokia Maps mobile app looks much like the pre-installed Google Maps app, with a few additions – most notably, the audio option. To access spoken, turn-by-turn directions, you have to download a 1.9MB audio file. At this point, it only works for walking directions since Nokia Maps mobile was “designed for an urban use case,” Nokia said.

There are, however, options for non-speaking driving routes and public transport, as well as different views – the default Map view, Satellite view, Public transport view, and Live traffic view.

When you first sign in, tap the green button on the bottom left to find your current location. To get directions, type your destination into the Search bar up top. If you search for a business, there will be the option to call them, share on social networks, route from your current location, and add to favorites.

Nokia Maps also provides “Nearby places,” like restaurants, shopping, nearby sights, and public transportation options.

For more from Chloe, follow her on Twitter @ChloeAlbanesius.

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.

Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2401502,00.asp

5 Things I Hate About HTML5

I love HTML5. So does Viki Hoo and her recent article, 5 Things I Love About HTML5, states why. But not all is rosy in the HTML5 garden. So, in order to restore balance to the SitePoint universe, here are my five pet peeves:

1. Superfluous Tags

HTML5 (the technology) provides 30 new tags although you’ll never use half of them. That’s fine, but consider how we coded navigation lists in HTML4/XHTML1:


ul id="nav"
	lia href="link1.html"link 1/a/li
	lia href="link2.html"link 2/a/li
	lia href="link3.html"link 3/a/li
/ul

Here’s the HTML5 equivalent:


nav
	ul
		lia href="link1.html"link 1/a/li
		lia href="link2.html"link 2/a/li
		lia href="link3.html"link 3/a/li
	/ul
/nav

It has a small semantic advantage, but does it really make a difference in the real world? No.

It also has the disadvantage of increasing page weight and adding unnecessary DOM elements. I’m using the new syntax but, after many years of extolling the benefits of clean code and avoiding DIVitis, it makes me feel a little dirty.

2. Poor Developer Tools

Does your IDE or editor fully support HTML5, CSS3 and the new JavaScript APIs? I bet it doesn’t.

In the old days, I loved using Firefox extensions such as HTML Validator which highlighted issues in your mark-up when you viewed a page. Today, we have a few HTML5 validation tools, but they’re usually buggy beta releases and you need to submit your code to an online service. It’s slow and cumbersome — I rarely bother.

3. Multiple Media Madness

The new video and audio tags are great. Unfortunately, the ongoing vendor battles mean your video must be encoded in WebM, H.264 and Ogg Theora to work in HTML5 browsers. Oh yes, you’ll then require a Flash fallback for IE6/7/8 — and if you’re doing that, why bother with the video tag?

4. Browser Support

I could rant about IE6/7/8 and IE9/10 not being released on Windows XP. However, in my opinion, it’s the diverse range of implementation levels that annoy me most. If you want to use a HTML5 feature, you must continually consult documentation and test code thoroughly.

Consider something as basic as the date input field. Opera shows a lovely calendar picker. Firefox, Chrome and Safari know a date’s required, but offer rudimentary controls and validation. IE9 falls back to a dumb text box. Ironically, you’ll probably want to disable Opera’s implementation and revert to JavaScript solutions.

5. Hype and Confusion

The media pounced on the term “HTML5″ and it’s applied to any cool web effect. Even if it’s an animated GIF. While that’s not necessarily a problem when you’re talking to clients, it is causing developer confusion:

  • Some consider HTML5 to be radically different to HTML4 when it’s really an evolution.
  • Some think effects are achieved using HTML when it’s actually CSS3 or JavaScript APIs.
  • Some won’t touch HTML5 because the W3C specifications are still at the draft stage.
  • Some won’t consider HTML5 because they need to support legacy browsers.
  • And let’s not forget the trouble CSS3 vendor prefixes have caused and why we need to fix it.

These concepts may be obvious if you’ve been working in the trade a few years, but who’d want to be a newbie?

Let’s be clear: HTML5′s benefits outweigh the problems. I use it and recommend you switch as soon as possible. But remember that you’re paying a price to use cutting-edge techniques; don’t assume code will work as you expect on every HTML5-aware browser!

Written By:

Article source: http://www.sitepoint.com/5-things-i-hate-about-html5/

Internationally Renowned Backgammon Gaming Site Play65.com Unveils Newest Web …

Play65.com, the world’s largest online backgammon community, has unveiled new and exciting changes to their website. The fresh web design offers players new backgammon game options, tips, and information regarding upcoming tournaments.

/EINPresswire.com/ TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – Backgammon players now have more options than ever before when they play the virtual version of this classic board game. Play65.com hosts the world’s largest backgammon community, with thousands of players across the world competing against other players for fun, real money, and championship titles.

Play65.com has undergone a complete transformation, and players will be able to take advantage of the newest developments to this virtual gambling game. In addition to revamping their digital designs, Play65.com has added a plethora of information to the website, including easy to understand rules for backgammon, backgammon game tips, tournament promotions and much more.

“At Play65.com, we have been diligently working to optimize our website for our players. This has lead to a complete transformation of the site: Everything from our visual graphics to our web content has been updated to the highest standard. We want our players to have the best gaming experience possible, and we believe that our new web design provides just that,” said Jonathan Carmel, Product Manager of Play65.com (http://www.play65.com/).

In addition to enjoying the new website design, players can also take advantage of the newest options offered to them throughout the site, including the ability to download Play65.com’s backgammon game to their computer, where they can enjoy full access to the game and all of the features offered within; An instant gaming experience by playing directly on Play65.com’s website without being required to download the game; Striking it rich, virtually or in real life, by playing for fun or for real money.

To take advantage of the newest design and features throughout the site, play against friends or other backgammon enthusiasts or sign up for tournaments, backgammon players can visit Play65.com at: http://www.play65.com/.

About Play65.com – Play65 (http://www.play65.com) is the largest online backgammon community with more backgammon players than any other site. Players can choose between an online game play option or download the Play65 software to play with real money. The site offers players a secure playing arena with a guarantee of gambling with real players, not bots.

Media Contact:
Jonathan Carmel
Play65.com
0526663905
http://www.play65.com


PR courtesy of Online PR Media: http://bit.ly/AElI3I

Article source: http://world.einnews.com/pr_news/85522275/internationally-renowned-backgammon-gaming-site-play65-com-unveils-newest-web-design

Twitter buys Posterous, eyes Tumblr and WordPress’s territory

Need more evidence that Twitter is ready to put on the big boy pants and become bigger than 140-characters per tweet? It just bought blogging platform Posterous for a unspecified amount of money.

Started in 2008, Posterous is a blogging platform that enables its users to share and create content to post on their “Spaces.” Sound familiar? It’s just about the same as a Tumblr or a WordPress, except its tools are so watered down that even your 80-year-old grandma can figure out how to get a blog going in minutes.

On the surface, the unexpected buyout from Twitter seems to be nothing more than a talent acquisition as stated on the Twitter blog: “Posterous engineers, product managers and others will join our teams working on several key initiatives that will make Twitter even better.” But it’d be naive of us to believe that Twitter acquiring Posterous has nothing to do with the threat from the incredible growth of the Tumblr machine.

For now, both companies (well, now Twitter) have happily posted amicable blog posts indicating the buyout is real. Twitter also hasn’t announced what it will do with its new Posterous staff and what its real motives are.

And while Twitter says all of Posterous’ Spaces will “remain up and running without disruption,” all we see is a big warning sign that you’d better start considering a move to another blogging platform before all your content goes kablooey. Hey, it could happen any time without timely warnings.

One of Twitter’s hallmarks is the 140-character limitations, but at the same time, it’s extremely limiting. We’re not rooting for any one social network/blogging platform, but we see the Posterous buyout as an opportunity for the company to keep shared links and content within the Twitterverse — contained, controlled and more friendly to monitoring.

It’s sort of how Facebook has grown to be more than just a place to poke people. Facebook wants to be the new Google — the most popular gateway to the Internet. We see Twitter going after the same goal. Why just be a part of the Internet, when you can try to mostly be it? Why be this machine for referring to Tumblr links, when Twitter users can start sending more traffic to Posterous links?

There’s also the matter of advertising. It’s no secret that Twitter is hard to monetize. Instead of crowding up the Twitter feed with ads, the company could offload advertisements to Posterous (or whatever new platform it becomes when Twitter’s wrapped its fingers around it).

Today, Twitter buying Posterous might seem small, but tomorrow, Twitter could become the one-stop source for all your real-time blogging/micro-blogging needs. Who will need Tumblr or WordPress, when it can be Twitter time, all the time?

Posterous Blog, via Twitter Blog

Article source: http://dvice.com/archives/2012/03/twitter-buys-po.php

Camera+ Sees Major Update: Dozens Of Features, New API, Integration With …

focus:exposurelock

Following increasing competition, most recently from SmugMug’s nifty Camera Awesome app, everyone’s favorite iPhone camera replacement app Camera+ is rolling out a major update today. There are a ton of new features in version 3.0 of the app, including speed improvements, multiple photo import, better sharing options, and more, but the biggest change isn’t really a consumer-facing feature at all – it’s an API.

Starting today, developers can integrate Camera+ into other apps or create web services that make use of the photos shared by the app’s millions of users. According to Camera+’s maker, Lisa Bettany, several developers are already integrating Camera+ into their apps using the new APIs, including WordPress, Tweetbot, Twitterific, Foodspotting and Twitterlator Neue.

For those unfamiliar (Android users?), Camera+ is the 10th best-selling paid iPhone app of all-time, and it recently shipped its 7 millionth copy. The app serves to replace the iPhone’s built-in camera with a number of additional options for editing and sharing photos.

With Camera+ version 3.0, which rolled out a day earlier than expected, there’s a long list of improvements, including the following:

  • A new app icon: The first thing you’ll notice is a new app icon, which is basically just a more polished version of the old one.
  • Better sharing: You can now share to multiple services, or multiple accounts on the same service, all at the same time. Sharing is also much faster than before.
  • Multiple photo library import: You can now import multiple photos from your photo library all at once. The import panel also now includes large thumbnails, zooming to view your photo large, and photo info.
  • Workflows: New workflows let you either shoot a lot of photos in a row, without worrying about editing and sharing, or you can choose to edit and share each picture right after you take it.
  • Focus exposure locks: With this feature designed more for photographers, you can now lock the focus and exposure of the camera, independently of each other.
  • APIs: There are a few, new comprehensive APIs for Camera+. The first part of the API is web widgets, which lets you add the photos from Camera+ to your own website. Next, there’s the app integration API for iOS. This one allows app developers to integrate Camera+’s high-quality photo shooting, editing, and sharing in their own iOS apps. Finally, there’s the web sharing API.
  • Improved Lightbox UI: In Camera+ 3, the Lightbox has been reworked to be more usable. The company warns it will “take a couple of seconds” to get used to the new Lightbox.
  • Create web link: This improvement to the Message feature (SMS sharing) aims to be even easier.
  • Tuned Clarity: Clarity is one of the app’s standout features. This improvement makes clarity even better, with specific tweaks just for the iPhone 4S
  • VolumeSnap setting in menu
  • Status bar in Lightbox: In the new version, the iPhone’s status bar is now visible.
  • Improved performance: The app’s performance has gotten a boost, and is more fluid and faster.
  • Notifications: Opt-in notifications can now alert you to update info, news, and about contests.

While this feature set will definitely have everyone hitting up their App Store app today to grab the update, the most interesting change is the Camera+ API. With some nearly 600,000 iOS applications, offering other developers the option to integrate Camera+ into their own applications will lead to even more usage and visibility. Not only will Camera+ be able to serve as the photo-taking interface within other non-photography focused apps like Foodspotting, it will also allow developers to include Camera+ users’ photos as an option in apps related to social sharing, like those Twitter apps, for example, mentioned above.

More than that, it positions Camera+ as a service, instead of just a utility. And that, in turn, means it could one day take on the default photo-sharing services like Flickr and Photobucket, if the company chose to do so. After all, where do most of your photos come from today? Your phone! Wouldn’t it make sense for the service that manages your online photos to be built from the ground-up for mobile photo sharing? Camera+ isn’t discussing its future plans in this arena, but it seems like an obvious next step for the company as the mobile photo-sharing market continues to grow.

The updated version of Camera+ went live in iTunes this morning.


  • CAMERA+

Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or someone who’s barely touched a camera, Camera+ will make you love taking photos.

Everybody has a creative side; Camera+ will help bring that creativity out in you, all with a fun, innovative, and beautiful design.

Learn more

Article source: http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/13/camera-sees-major-update-dozens-of-features-new-api-integration-with-wordpress-foodspotting-more/

Idealism vs. Pragmatism: Mozilla Debates Supporting H.264 Video Playback

The HTML5 video element promised to be a game-changer for internet media publishing. It provided a vendor-neutral standards-based mechanism for conveying video content on the web without the need for proprietary plugins while offering a path for tighter integration of video content on the web and broader platform support than has historically been available through plugins.

But the HTML5 video element has yet to live up to its full potential, because a dispute over video encoding has prevented the standard from being implemented consistently across all web browsers. Mozilla, which has long resisted adoption of H.264 on ideological grounds, is now preparing to support it on mobile devices where the codec is supplied by the platform or implemented in hardware.

The popular H.264 format is widely viewed as the best technical choice for encoding Internet video, but its underlying compression technologies are covered by a wide range of patents. This has raised the question of whether its appropriate for a standards-based web technology to rely on a patent-encumbered video format that requires publishers and software implementors to pay licensing fees.

The ubiquity of the web and its strength as a platform for innovation are partly due to the royalty-free licensing model that the W3C mandated for web standards. As Mozilla and other parties have argued over the past few years, the use of a patent-encumbered video format is antithetical to the principles of the open web. Critics of the H.264 licensing model have advocated the use of other video codecs, causing a split in the browser landscape.

Apple and Microsoft both support H.264 while Mozilla and Opera oppose the use of patented codecs. Google previously favored H.264, but shifted its position after opening VP8, a codec that the search giant has put forth as a viable alternative to H.264 for Internet video. Google vowed to remove H.264 support from its Chrome web browser at some undisclosed future date, but has not yet done so.

The lack of universal support for a single codec has proved problematic because it compels content creators to either encode their video in multiple formats or fail to support large segments of their audience. Building consensus around a single codec would remove one of the biggest remaining impediments to widespread adoption of the HTML5 video element.

A Change in Course

Mozilla’s strong commitment to the open web made it seem as though the organization’s position was intractable. Mozilla’s resolve on the matter appears to have cracked, however, as the organization confronts the challenge of bolstering its credibility as a mobile platform provider.

Andreas Gal, Mozilla’s director of research, announced on a public mailing list today that he wants to proceed with a plan that would enable H.264 decoding on Mozilla’s Boot2Gecko (B2G) mobile operating system. The proposed change would allow the video element in Mozilla’s HTML rendering engine to rely on codecs that are supplied by the underlying operating system or dedicated video hardware.

In addition to enabling H.264 playback in B2G, the proposed patch would also enable it in the Android version of mobile Firefox. Gal further expressed support for eventually taking similar measures in the desktop version of Firefox, with the stipulation that it would only be practical if the implementation ensured support for virtually all users.

Modern versions of the Windows operating system expose an H.264 codec to third-party software, but Windows XP does not. Gal said that he’d favor supporting H.264 in Firefox on the desktop if a means could be identified for ensuring that XP users (which represent a very significant portion of Firefox’s audience) aren’t left out. This is a radical change of policy for Mozilla, one that could have significant ramifications for the future of video on the web.

Despite the pragmatic concession, Gal says that Mozilla’s ideological position in favor of open codecs remains unchanged. The organization is still hopeful that an unencumbered codec will eventually prevail.

“We will support decoding any video/audio format that is supported by existing decoders present on the system, including H.264 and MP3. There is really no justification to stop our users from using system decoders already on the device, so we will not filter any formats,” he wrote. “I don’t think this bug significantly changes our position on open video. We will continue to promote and support open codecs, but when and where existing codecs are already installed and licensed on devices we will make use of them in order to provide people with the best possible experience.”

The option of using system-provided codecs is an obvious solution that would allow Firefox to play H.264 video without having to ship the code itself. We’ve discussed (and endorsed) this approach in some of our previous coverage, but Mozilla has historically rejected it on ideological grounds. In the past, Mozilla’s position was that it didn’t want to take any steps that would legitimize or encourage the use of a patent-encumbered codec. The organization is no longer maintaining that argument.

Google’s major investment in advancing its unencumbered VP8 codec gave open web advocates hope that H.264 could still be displaced, but it hasn’t happened. The lack of follow-through from Google on its promise to remove H.264 from Chrome has eroded faith in the search giant’s ability to popularize VP8. Gal says that it’s no longer feasible to wait for the open codec to gain additional traction.

“Google pledged many things they didn’t follow through with and our users and our project are paying the price,” he wrote. “H.264 wont go away. Holding out just a little longer buys us exactly nothing.”

The proposal to support H.264 in mobile Firefox has generated a tremendous amount of controversy among Mozilla developers. The critics include Mozilla employees and independent contributors. Mozilla’s Joe Drew characterized the proposal as “capitulating on Free codecs” and expressed concern that the mobile-centric rationalization amounts to pushing an ideological compromise through the back door.

Firefox developer Justin Dolske also expressed some concerns. He pointed out that the possibility of enabling support for system codecs was discussed once before in relation to Fennec on the Nokia tablet devices and that it was rejected at the time for ideological reasons. He asked that the issue receive further discussion, specifically some clarification about what circumstances have changed that necessitate a reversal of the previous policy.

“The state of HTML5 video started off from a bad place, and to be fair still isn’t in a good place. So reassessing Mozilla’s stance is not unreasonable. But I think if Mozilla is going to do an about-face on open video standards (and it is an about-face), then there should be some serious discussion about it. Certainly more than than a few terse words saying it’s hopeless and obvious,” he wrote. “We spent a lot of time and made a lot of blog posts about why H.264 was bad for the web. Leaving those who advocated for us suddenly high-and-dry doesn’t feel like the right thing to do.”

The debate has continued on the mailing list. There is also some preliminary discussion from certain participants in the debate about whether it would make sense at this point to simply license the codecs and ship them directly in the browser. Such a move, which would be a step further than merely supporting external codecs where available, would ensure support for Windows XP users but would detrimentally impact downstream distributors of Firefox code.

The outcome of the debate is unclear, but it currently appears probable that the plan to support system-provided codecs will be upheld and carried out. There are already some patches that have been hashed out, which means it can be practically implemented without much difficulty. The questions about how to proceed on the desktop and whether to license and ship the codecs are more tentative in nature and will likely take more time to be resolved.

This article originally appeared on Ars Technica, Wired’s sister site for in-depth technology news.

Article source: http://www.webmonkey.com/2012/03/idealism-vs-pragmatism-mozilla-debates-supporting-h-264-video-playback/

Connect Your Home Introduces New Website Design For a Seamless User Experience

New Connect Your Home Homepage Web Design

Visitors can now find it easier to navigate across the different provider offers and company information, due in large part to the user-friendly online layout.

Santa Ana, CA (PRWEB) March 13, 2012

Connect Your Home, an award-winning authorized retailer for nationwide home services, has recently launched a complete re-design of the company’s website: ConnectYourHome.com. The new look of the site was created by an internal web design team to give users a more seamless experience on the website. Visitors can now find it easier to navigate across the different provider offers and company information, due in large part to the user-friendly online layout.

In addition to a cleaner makeover of the website, there are several consumer centric features that were added to the site to enhance the user’s experience. When visitors to the new Connect Your Home website land on the homepage, they will be able to use a “Service Area Lookup” tool that easily allows them to compare home services available in their immediate area, in a matter of seconds. On top of seeing what services are available in their area, users can also compare pricing on the different packages that are offered by their service providers. Consumers who are looking to switch to a new home service can then fill out a quote form and be contacted directly by a Home Service Specialist, or they can call the phone number on the website to speak with someone who will help them setup all of their services in one phone call.

“Making sure that anyone who visits our website has a positive and straightforward experience, was our number one priority when starting this re-design project. Not only has the look and feel of navigating the website improved, but we’re hoping it makes consumer’s lives a little easier when choosing which home services to purchase,” said Michael Ryan Grier, vice president of marketing for Connect Your Home.

To see the new look of the Connect Your Home website, visit the company online where you can search and compare home services in your local area at ConnectYourHome.com. To speak with a Home Service Specialist directly, call 877-537-3554.


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Article source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/3/prweb9270307.htm

Gizmox Unveils First Enterprise Platform for .Net Developers to Build HTML5 …

/PRNewswire/ –

Gizmox, the developer of the award-winning Visual WebGui (VWG) cloud and mobile platform, announced today the availability of the preview version of its Visual WebGui Enterprise Mobile, the first platform for .Net developers to build secure, efficient data-centric enterprise HTML5 applications for cross platform mobile devices including iOS, Android and every W3C browser using their existing development skills.

“Enterprises need to extend their custom client/server applications to mobile devices and tablets to stay relevant but they require a solution that will provide data/IP security and support the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ trend by employees. Currently there are 60 billion Microsoft-based lines of code applications within enterprises and Gizmox Enterprise mobile framework enables developers to write mobile accessibility and make those applications available on HTML5 devices,” said Navot Peled, Gizmox CEO. “Analysts predict that HTML5 will be adopted by more than 61% of enterprises in the next two years. This release of VWG Enterprise Mobile brings a much needed solution for .Net developers that will let them begin building cross-platform secured-by-design HTML5 mobile apps that extend existing enterprise apps.”

The preview version includes a suite of tools that enable developers to start building applications now including:

  • Visual Drag and Drop Form-based Designer
  • Point-and-Click Theme Designer
  • Designated Mobile Control Suite
  • Effective Ajax-based communication
  • Easy and simple data-binding  

Gizmox’s VWG Enterprise Mobile is secure by design with applications running on the server behind the firewall. On the client side applications are highly responsive because the user interface (UI) renders on the device browser using meta-data commands level communication for the lowest web protocol available today – 10% of the bandwidth used traditionally by the web. VWG also utilizes PhoneGap to enable client resources accessibility and within 90 days will provide support for off-line running of the application using local device storage. In future releases, the VWG will support developing enterprise data-intensive desktop, web and mobile applications from same code base.

Click here to download the preview version:
http://www.visualwebgui.com/mobile.aspx

To see a Live Demo please click here.

About Gizmox

Enterprises have been investing Trillions of Dollars in building business applications and in developer’s skills to maintain them for the last 2-3 decades.  With the emerging post PC era, those investments threaten to become obsolete. The cloud replaces classic data-centers, web replaces local networks and tablets and mobiles replace the local PC entailing yet new investments and new developer’s skills. Gizmox mission is to enable reuse of those software investments without rewrite, by offering platform and tools to extend and reuse existing local applications and existing developers’ skills in the post PC era. Gizmox started with open source development tools that leverage classic .NET developer’s skills into web development. With over 1,000,000,000 downloads of its software, and 40,000 Visual WebGui web applications already in production, Gizmox now extends its platform and tools to support  HTML5 web and mobile. Gizmox also extends its product selection to offer premium toolkit and services to automatically transpose local applications to post PC deployments without rewrite. It starts with Microsoft stack, going back to Visual Basic and .NET which it transposes to web and mobile, and it will extend its offering to Java platforms as well. With the new tools Gizmox sees itself as a pioneer in migration and modernization of enterprises to the post PC world    

For more information:

Roy Goffer
Gizmox
roy.goffer@gizmox.com
+972-9-7673062-3
or
Suzanne Moran
Rainier Communications
smoran@rainierco.com
+1-617-515-8005

SOURCE Gizmox Ltd.

Article source: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/03/13/4332962/gizmox-unveils-first-enterprise.html

EverFrugal.com Endorses WordPress for Profitable Blogging

www.everfrugal.com

Making money is easy with WordPress Adsense because it can make you build web pages in just a matter of minutes. With the combination of Google and WordPress Adsense, you can start making money today.

Sydney, Australia (PRWEB) March 13, 2012

The blogging community is consistently growing and WordPress is completely establishing itself as the ideal profitable blog-hosting service. Bloggers from all over the world easily take to the simple process that this service has for starting a blog. With the support of EverFrugal.com, more and more bloggers are encouraged to use WordPress instead of the other blog-hosting services out there. EverFrugal.com endorses its blogging services that are typically free so that blogging newbies can get started right away on their tasks and earn money.

Bloggers who are intent on making their blogs greatly profitable actually have an easier time doing so with WordPress Hosting. There are several provisions for business blogs that are incredibly user-friendly and efficient. Business bloggers can use promotional videos to help get their good news out there in a cost-effective manner. “If you’re a small business that wants to do online promotion without having to spend much, you can produce the video and then upload and share it yourself. If you want to use a blog as a marketing tool, many people recommend WordPress. It has many plugins and adding a video can be a simple process,” shares Serena Lin of EverFrugal.com.

Actually, even non-business blogs can earn without selling anything and again, the process is very simple and can be followed by blogging neophytes. “Making money is easy with WordPress Adsense because it can make you build web pages in just a matter of minutes. With the combination of Google and WordPress Adsense, you can start making money today. You can just simply log in to your account and make money by posting your thoughts. With WordPress Adsense you can blog all you want and have advertisements on every page. When someone clicks on the ad, you get a commission every time. WordPress Adsense is so smart that advertisers match the article that you write. The ad is relevant to your reader and it instantly makes them click on it when it catches their attention,” adds Lin.

Those who have a knack for writing and sharing their views will surely benefit greatly from having WordPress as their bog-hosting service. Meanwhile, Everfrugal.com always provides its readers and WordPress users the latest tips on how to maximize blogs for different purposes; promotions, business or just simply getting sentiments out there for other people to know about. This is clearly proving to be a great provision for the blogging community and more people will likely venture into blogging to experience the benefits for themselves.


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Article source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/3/prweb9278342.htm

ManageEngine Fortifies Password Manager Pro with HTML5-Powered, First-in-Class …

PLEASANTON, Calif., Mar 13, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) –
–RDP and SSH sessions also from iPad and other tablet devices

–Secure, offline access to passwords with auto sync to mobile devices

–Download fully functional, free 30-day evaluation edition at

http://ow.ly/9xwpb

ManageEngine,
the real-time IT management company, today announced HTML5-powered,
first-in-class remote login mechanisms for Password
Manager Pro, its privileged password management solution. Now, end
users can launch secure, reliable Windows RDP, SSH and Telnet sessions
from their browser windows, with a single click. Password Manager Pro
now also integrates with the popular file sync service, Dropbox, for
automatically syncing password lists to users’ mobile devices for
secure, offline access to passwords.

Organizations are deploying privileged password management solutions to
mitigate cyber threats and control access to sensitive IT resources.
Access requirements themselves, meanwhile, are changing in response to
evolving business demands such as partners and contractors who need to
access internal resources. In turn, IT is seeking solutions that are
secure, easy to use and let end users launch a remote login session with
a single click, regardless of the target system type or authentication
method and, at times, without disclosing the passwords.

“Despite a strong business case for secure, direct access to remote
resources, current solutions in the market require inconvenient and
insecure practices like deploying end-point agents, helper programs at
user desktops and browser plug-ins to make remote login work,” says
Rajesh Ganesan, director of product management at ManageEngine. “Ease of
use and security have always been orthogonal goals, nevertheless a
constant search by IT admins in a space like remote access. Password
Manager Pro helps them realize their goals while evolving to be the best
remote access solution for various types of systems.”

Password Manager Pro Perfects Remote Sessions

Password Manager Pro employs first-in-class, remote login mechanisms to
deliver on both ease-of-use and security. From any HTML5-compatible
browser, users can launch highly secure, reliable and completely
emulated Windows RDP, SSH and Telnet sessions with a single click,
without the need for additional plug-in or agent software. Desktop,
laptop and tablet devices — including the Apple iPad — can take
advantage of improved remote login.

Remote connections are tunneled through the Password Manager Pro server,
requiring no direct connectivity between the user device and remote
host. In addition to superior reliability, the tunneled connectivity
provides extreme security as passwords needed to establish remote
sessions do not need to be available at the user’s browser.

Beyond its remote login improvements, Password Manager Pro now provides
secure offline access to privileged identities. Users can export
passwords in the form of an AES-256 encrypted, HTML file that can be
opened in a browser for offline access. Users also have the option to
automatically synchronize the exported HTML file to their smartphones or
tablet devices via Dropbox. To ensure security, passwords exported to
the offline copy can be automatically reset in the remote systems after
a specified time period.

Pricing and Availability

Password Manager Pro (6.5) is available immediately. In addition to a
fully functional, free 30-day evaluation edition, Password Manager Pro
is available as a Free Edition, Standard Edition, and Premium Edition.
Standard Edition prices start at $495 per year for two administrators.
Premium Edition prices start at $1,195 per year for five administrators.
All editions can be downloaded directly from the ManageEngine website at
http://ow.ly/9xwpb .

For more information on Password Manager Pro, visit
http://www.manageengine.com/products/passwordmanagerpro/ .
For more information on ManageEngine, please visit
http://www.manageengine.com ;
follow the company blog at
http://blogs.manageengine.com ,
on Facebook at

http://www.facebook.com/ManageEngine

and on Twitter at @ManageEngine.

About Password Manager Pro

Password Manager Pro is a secure vault for storing and managing shared
sensitive information such as passwords, documents and digital
identities of enterprises. The benefits of deploying Password Manager
Pro include eliminating password fatigue and security lapses by
deploying a secure, centralized vault for password storage and access;
improving IT productivity many times by automating frequent password
changes required in critical systems; providing preventive and detective
security controls through approval workflows and real-time alerts on
password access and meeting security audits and regulatory compliance
such as SOX, HIPAA and PCI. For more information on Password Manager
Pro, visit
http://www.manageengine.com/products/passwordmanagerpro/ .

About ManageEngine

ManageEngine
delivers the real-time IT management tools that empower an IT team to
meet an organization’s need for real-time services and support.
Worldwide, more than 55,000 established and emerging enterprises —
including more than 60 percent of the Fortune 500 — rely on ManageEngine products
to ensure the optimal performance of their critical IT infrastructure,
including networks, servers, applications, desktops and more.
ManageEngine is a division of Zoho
Corp. with offices worldwide, including the United States, United
Kingdom, India, Japan and China. For more information, please visit
http://www.manageengine.com/ ;
follow the company blog at
http://blogs.manageengine.com/ ,
on Facebook at

http://www.facebook.com/ManageEngine

and on Twitter at @ManageEngine.

ManageEngine is a trademark of Zoho Corp. All other brand names and
product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their
respective companies.

Tags: ManageEngine, real-time IT, Zoho, Password Manager Pro,
Dropbox, HTML5, RDP, SSH, Telnet, iPad, tablet, password management,
network monitoring, managed service providers, MSP, integrated IT
management, cloud monitoring, virtualization, cloud, IT management,
business service management, application performance monitoring, user
experience monitoring, network management, server management

SOURCE: ManageEngine


        TECHMarket Communications
        Dottie O'Rourke, 650-344-1260
        ManageEngine@TECHMarket.com
        or
        ManageEngine
        Ashish Kuriakose, 408-352-9116
        Ashish@ManageEngine.com

Copyright Business Wire 2012

Comtex

Article source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/manageengine-fortifies-password-manager-pro-with-html5-powered-first-in-class-remote-login-2012-03-13

Browser Firm Opera Talks HTML5, Successes, and Challenges

PC World

 Norwegian browser maker Opera took me out to dinner last night, and we talked about what the company has been up to. In a nutshell, Opera – the only browser maker located outside the US – says it’s doing well.

The company says it has all but abandoned the strategy of getting phone makers to ship its browser on new phones. The company’s focus today is on selling its browser in emerging markets and marketing its various browsers through wireless operators.

HTML5: Dream Big The big Opera news hit last month at Mobile World Congress when the company announced its new Opera 12 browser, which contains some cool HTML5 functionality. All the browser makers–Apple (Safari), Google (Chrome), and Microsoft (Internet Explorer) –are working hard to bring new HTML5 functionality to both the desktop and mobile devices such as phones and tablets. For a look at how well mobile browser firms are doing supporting HTML take a look at this chart from the site Mobile HTML.

Now comes the hard part of integrating HTML5 into Opera and other browsers.

The hope is that once apps that run in the browser can do everything that free standing mobile apps (the kind you download and that run on your device) can do, the type of phone or OS you use won’t matter anymore–all apps will run on all phones. This could be huge for the app developer community, which would then focus on building one app that runs on everything. Right now, making different versions of apps for different OS’s and different flavors of OS’s is a huge resources sink.

The benefits would also be a boon for browser makers too, putting the browser a be it desktop or mobile a into the center of the action. Instead of download, installing, and launching apps users would spend far more time in the browser.

HTML5 Hurdles: Hollywood and DRMBut Opera says building its product to run HTML5 pages is no walk in the park. It says working within the red-tape-restrictions of standards bodies and in a landscape where competitors must agree on how HTML5 should handle things such as video and touchscreen functions is a challenge.But the reward of making HTML5 a new browser standard is well worth the heartache. With HTML5 pages audio and video play within the browser (now external player required). HTML5 also delivers a cavalcade of new slick interactive features ideal for the touch interface.

But it’s Hollywood, not just technical hurdles, which are proving the equally as thorny when it comes to development of HTML5. Hollywood wants Opera and other browsers to support a full set of DRM controls. These controls would make sure the browser can decrypt only non-free music or video that had been paid for, and then that the user could watch and listen to it for a prescribed amount of time. Naturally, the browser makers aren’t that excited about building this in. One Opera exec told me they want to make a browser that operates on the open Internet and can display or play any content the user decides to consume. That kind of talk sends shivers up the spine of music and movie industry types. The record and movie industries are notoriously avid (A.K.A. paranoid) about content security on the Web. They fear that delivering paid content on something as connected as a browser might make it easier to steal content.

Standards Body Standoff? And to add another level of complexity to the equation, issues like the above aren’t being discussed in just one standards body. There are two major ones–the World Wide Web Consortium (3WC) and the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group. The oldest and arguably most influential one, the 3WC, is known for acting very slowly, and merely “recommending” standards without having much power of enforcement. So it’s no wonder that the development world isn’t speeding toward HTML5. There’s a lot to work out, and the more I learn about the process the more it sounds like a Herding Cats scenario.

Article source: http://www.cio.com/article/702052/Browser_Firm_Opera_Talks_HTML5_Successes_and_Challenges