Russians Latest to Snatch Up U.S. Real Estate

Russians Latest to Snatch Up U.S. Real Estate

April 5 (Bloomberg) — Bloomberg’s Gigi Stone reports on Russian investments in the U.S. real estate market. She speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “Taking Stock.” (Source: Bloomberg)

April 5 (Bloomberg) — Bloomberg’s Gigi Stone reports
on Russian investments in the U.S. real estate market. She
speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “Taking Stock.” (Source:

Running Time: 03:59

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New Website Design for Riverhead Town

Riverhead residents who want to send Town Supervisor Sean Walter an email can do so more easily, now that the town has just unveiled a brand new website redesign.

Dubbed the “Gateway to Town Hall,” the new site was revamped in order to better serve the public and to communicate more effectively with residents about services and events.

“Our new web presence will allow residents to keep in touch with, and interact with, their local government from their laptop or desktop, wherever they are, at any time of the day or night,” Walter said.

Much like its neighbors in Southampton Town, which also redesigned its website during the current administration, Riverhead Town’s new website sports enhanced features, a more user‐friendly design, sharpened graphics and ways for taxpayers to keep in touch with local officials.

Transparancy is key, said Walter. The supervisor thanked members of the town’s IT department, including Lori Pipczynski, for their hard work to facilitate the redesign process.

“I urge the public to take advantage of this new and improved gateway to Town Hall,” Walter said.

The Town’s new web address is Those attempting to use the previous web address,, will be temporarily redirected to the new site.

Residents should use the new web address and websites that contain links to the Town’s website should also be updated, Walter said.

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Guard your pies; the guys are back

It turns out you can go home again – but if you do, Eugene Levy’s going to be in your bedroom wiggling his furry eyebrows over your skin magazines, and the grade-schooler you used to babysit for on Teletubbies Tuesdays is about to turn 18, and she wants you to be her “first.”

And you’re married now, and you have a little kid who’s developing a rash.

Yes, adulthood – of a sort – figures into the equation in American Reunion, a Generation Y raunchfest that reteams the principals of the 1999 R-rated smash American Pie (and its most distinguished sequels) for a 13-years-on high school get-together. Jim (Jason Biggs), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), Oz (Chris Klein), and Stifler (Seann William Scott) reassemble in East Green Falls for their Class of ’99 celebration. It’s a reunion that finds the old friends grappling with new dilemmas.

For Jim, the problem is how to keep the marriage fresh. (And how to get people to stop cracking Adam Sandler look-alike jokes.) American Reunion opens with our hero on his laptop, navigating a porn site, and Jim’s highschool-sweetheart-turned-wife, Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), in the bathtub, navigating with a showerhead. Both are caught in the act – onanism interruptus. But at least they talk about it, and vow to spend some serious time over the weekend getting physical – with each other.

However, a party-hearty agenda – not to mention the “smokin’ hot 18-year-old” Kara (Ali Cobrin) with the fond memories of her babysitter – threatens to torpedo Jim and Michelle’s plans.

Speaking of torpedoes, there is Stifler, a relentless lout, who encourages Jim to philander with the birthday girl and “take what you learn from Kara, bring it home, and apply it to Michelle.”

What Stifler does to a cooler of beer in another scene – it’s an act of revenge – is similarly ill-advised.

In some ways, American Reunion is the Charlize Theron indie Young Adult all over again: In both, a small-town high school reunion is the setting for a lot of nostalgia and narcissism and nasty behavior. Jason Reitman directed Young Adult, and got Theron to bare her soul; Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg direct American Reunion, and get a bevy of actresses to bare their breasts.

And get Biggs to go full frontal.

While the focus is still on the guys (Finch is living a pseudo-sophisticate lie, Oz’s sex bomb of a girlfriend isn’t bringing happiness into his life, etc.), American Reunion does take some effort to show how the girls are making out, so to speak. In addition to American Pie veterans Vicky (Tara Reid) and Heather (Mena Suvari), there is newcomer Selena (Dania Ramirez), whom nobody paid attention to back in school, and who now fixes drinks – and transfixes the male clientele – at the local bar.

In addition to Levy, playing Jim’s advice-doling dad, and Jennifer Coolidge as Stifler’s legendary mom, Rebecca DeMornay makes an (uncredited) appearance as another of the American Pie/American Reunion parentals.

I suppose it’s a spoiler to say who ends up out on the football field, in the middle of the night, clinching with Finch’s mom. But somebody does.

Contact Steven Rea at 215-854-5629 or Read his blog, “On Movies Online,” at


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Rae Wakelin uses IDX Broker and WordPress blog to keeps buyers informed in …

EUGENE, OR – April 5, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — IDX, Inc. and Rae Wakelin have united to present Naples, Florida home seekers with a unique online real estate solution. Wakelin has enabled IDX Broker software on his professional website and created an innovative property search resource that gives his clients access to thousands of Sunshine MLS (SSML) listings. IDX Broker now extracts raw listing data from SSMLS and seamlessly displays it onto the search page Wakelin hosts, simplifying the online real estate search process for agents, brokers and home seekers alike.

Wakelin can also make his WordPress blog into a powerful lead capture solution with the IDX WordPress Plugin by displaying IDX search forms, widgets, and links both on his real estate blog and on his primary company website. He can even develop automatic page wrappers, which allow him to synchronize all his design or layout changes with the click of a button.

An administrative login page makes it simpler than ever for Wakelin to manage and maintain his IDX enabled website. Through the behind-the-scenes tools he is given with his subscription to IDX Broker, Wakelin can edit the CSS and global wrappers of his page, and create RSS feeds, dynamic title tags and custom XML syndication codes for his page and listings. With IDX Broker software, it has never been so easy to simultaneously run an effective and efficient real estate website, while marketing listings and connecting with current and potential clients online.

About Rae Wakelin

Rae Wakelin is a real estate broker with Amerivest Realty of Naples, Florida.

About IDX, Inc.

Based in Eugene, Oregon, IDX Inc. is nationally known as a leading provider of real estate search applications. IDX, Inc. actively manages over $1 trillion worth of active listings data from over 450 individual Multiple Listings Services (MLS). IDX, Inc. provides integrated IDX software, customizable listing search utilities and lead management tools for real estate based websites ( IDX Broker ). In addition to the primary web-based software, IDX also provides an integrated WordPress widget for use in WordPress based blogs and websites ( IDX Broker WordPress Plugin ) as well as a dedicated mobile application available for the iPhone and iPad ( myAgent IDX ). The entire suite of real estate software available from IDX is easy to manage and maintain and helps real estate professionals display real estate data from their multiple listing service (MLS) regardless of their technical ability. For more information on all the services provided by IDX, Inc. please visit




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Graphic and Web Design Program put together benefit show

Nick and Eddie’s was rocking Friday night as the MCTC Graphic and Web Design program put together a benefit in order to raise money for the MCTC Design Portfolio Show that will be held on May 1-2.

“It’s cool to see a lot of people come from different artistic backgrounds,” said Dylan Guerber who will graduate in May. “I think it’s one of the best programs in the school. The graphic department really challenges you.”

An estimated 200 people showed up to the show.

“The Graphic and Web program at MCTC is great because of the teachers, flexibility in the classes, and the freedom to find out what kind of designer you are,” said Stephanie Freund who has been a student of the Graphic and Design program for 2 1/2 years and also is the co-chair of putting the event together.

“This show is completely for the students, run by the students,” said Jade Bayonet, student in the Graphic Design program.

There was a silent auction held during the event in which students of the Web and Design program donated personal artwork. Local bands Mystery Date, Better Bones, Me My Arrow, The Set, and Breakfast Anytime performed.

“We didn’t raise a lot with the silent auction, but it was a great night,” said Freund.

“I think people appreciated seeing some art by us. Having the art on the walls kind of pulled the whole event together.”

For more information on the MCTC Design Porfolio Show in May go to

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Hacked and mangled — yet again

The price of living on the InterWebs is that eventually you’re going to get hacked. And the longer you stay on the InterWebs, the more likely you’ll get hacked again. So it is with eSarcasm, the not-quite-award-winning satirical site I co-author with my partner in juvenility, JR Raphael.

A few weeks ago I was searching for something on eSarcasm and discovered that Google’s search results looked extremely disconcerting. The URLs were correct, but instead of the usual snarky headlines, two sentence excerpts, and page previews, Google had apparently substituted text like “Buy real viagra – Approved Online Pharmacy: always 10% off for all reorders, free samples for all orders, 100% quality, low prices, 24/7 support…”

It looked something like this:


When did eSarcasm become an online pharmacy, exactly? And if we are hawking bogus Viagra, shouldn’t we be making more money?

Clicking through the search results produced either an error message or a redirect to a pharmacy site, even though plugging the correct URL into the browser produced the page that was supposed to be there. The redirect only happened from within Google results. 

It turns out that some Viagra spammer/hackers did quite a number on us. For one thing, they gained access to our WordPress directories and uploaded several bogus PHP files. They also added the following bits of extra code to our .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} (google|yahoo) [OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} (google|aol|yahoo)

RewriteBase /

RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} /

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !/conf.php

RewriteRule .+ cgi-bin/conf.php [L]

That’s what poleaxed our Google search results. Digging deeper, I turned up other folks who’d gotten nailed in similar ways, including a former tech reporter for the New York Times and the co-founder of one of the world’s most successful social networks. At least we were in good company.

Regular readers of TY4NS will remember this is the not the first time eSarcasm was hacked. Back in September 2010 the site fell victim to a vulnerability that allowed bad guys to serve up ‘malvertising’ – bogus ads that installed malware on visitors’ machines. The flaw was in OpenX, a plug in we used for rotating banner ads. OpenX had patched that hole shortly after it was discovered, but didn’t deign to notify us about the bug or the fix, so we got creamed.

Fortunately for us, our Web host Doreo quickly identified the cause and fixed that vulnerability within a few hours. This time the cause and the fix were a little harder to suss out.

We ended up paying Code Garage to scan our site and remove the malicious code. They pointed the finger at TimThumb, a WordPress utility that automatically produces thumbnail images for site landing pages. Last August, a zero-day vulnerability affected TimThumb that allowed hackers to execute their PHP code on any site that was running it.  As it turns out, the WordPress theme we bought for the site employs pieces of TimThumb code – including the flaws that were exploited.

Now we have to wait for the spammy search results to evaporate from Google’s cache before everything returns to normal.

Why did hackers do this? Odds are eSarcasm was simply part of a bundle of redirected traffic that was bartered on underground exchanges for a few pennies per page view, says Paul Henry, security and forensics analyst for Lumension, an endpoint management and security firm. 

Even if you religiously update your WordPress installation (and we’re generally pretty good about that) you may be vulnerable thanks to some easily hackable plug in, says Henry.

“My best recommendation for keeping your site secure is to gain tight control over any extensions for your WordPress installation and disable any you don’t truly need,” he says. He also suggested hiring an outside firm to periodically scan the site and validate each page several times a day.

Henry said the hacking problem is so insidious and pervasive even well-known tech security pros have fallen victim, much to their embarrassment. I asked Henry if it had happened to him.

“To date I have not been embarrassed,” he says. “I’ve been lucky.”

Wish we could say the same.

Got a question about social media? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he’ll make something up). Visit his snarky, occasionally NSFW blog eSarcasm or follow him on Twitter: @tynan_on_tech. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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Facebook Picks Nasdaq Over NYSE for Stock Listing, NYT Says

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Facebook Picks Nasdaq Over NYSE for Stock Listing, NYT Says

Facebook Picks Nasdaq Over NYSE for Stock Listing, NYT Says

Facebook Picks Nasdaq Over NYSE for Stock Listing, NYT Says

Aaron Tam/AFP/Getty Images

Facebook logo in Hong Kong.

Facebook logo in Hong Kong. Photographer: Aaron Tam/AFP/Getty Images

Facebook Said to Pick Nasdaq for IPO: NYT

April 5 (Bloomberg) — Facebook Inc. plans to list its shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market, according to the New York Times, further cementing the exchange operator’s position as the favored venue for the biggest U.S. technology companies. Julie Hyman and Matt Miller reports on Bloomberg Television’s “Bottom Line.” (Source: Bloomberg)

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Nasdaq Wins Facebook Listing

Nasdaq Wins Facebook Listing

Nasdaq Wins Facebook Listing

Peter Foley/Bloomberg

The Facebook Inc. logo is displayed on a computer screen in this arranged photo in New York.

The Facebook Inc. logo is displayed on a computer screen in this arranged photo in New York. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg

Facebook Inc. (FB) plans to list its
shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market, further cementing the
exchange operator’s position as the favored venue for the
biggest U.S. technology companies, according to a person with
knowledge of the matter.

The person declined to be named because the discussions are
private. Facebook filed for a $5 billion initial public offering
on Feb. 1. While the market capitalization of New York Stock
Exchange shares is about triple the value of Nasdaq companies,
the latter market operator has about twice as many technology
corporations trading for more than $1 billion, according to data
compiled by Bloomberg.

Exchange operators NYSE Euronext and Nasdaq OMX (NDAQ) Group Inc.,
rivals for virtually every IPO in America, competed for what may
be the biggest listing by a technology company. Winning the IPO
means more fees, a boost in trading revenue and the chance to
link an exchange’s brand with the largest social-networking
website in the world.

“There’s cachet to winning one of the biggest IPOs ever,”
Tim Hoyle, the director of research at Radnor, Pennsylvania-
based Haverford Trust Co., which manages $6 billion including
NYSE Euronext (NYX) shares, said in a phone interview. “The straight-
up value of this IPO will make for a nice gain in listing fees,
which make up a meaningful portion of the revenue stream for

Robert Madden, a Nasdaq OMX spokesman, declined to comment
on the decision. So did Jonathan Thaw of Facebook and Rich Adamonis of NYSE Euronext.

Stock Moves

Nasdaq shares extended gains after the New York Times
reported Facebook had picked Nasdaq, and rose 1.2 percent to
$25.52 as of 4 p.m. in New York. NYSE Euronext fell 1.3 percent
to $28.31 today.

Nasdaq OMX lists seven of the 10 biggest U.S. technology
companies by market value, including Apple Inc. and Microsoft
Corp., the two largest, as well as Google Inc. and Intel Corp.
The NYSE is the home venue for International Business Machines
Corp., ranked third.

Nasdaq OMX had more at stake because of the perception it
gets all the technology companies, according to Sang Lee,
managing partner at Boston-based Aite Group LLC. Among Internet
IPOs since the beginning of 2011, LinkedIn Corp. and Pandora
Inc. picked NYSE, while Nasdaq won Groupon Inc. and Zynga Inc.

“Having that brand name on that listings side would be
huge,” Lee said of Facebook’s selection. “If they’re able to
do it correctly, the other social-media sites and players would
certainly be talking to Nasdaq initially,” he said. “It would
certainly put them in a very nice position.”

Blow to Niederauer

The loss is another blow to Chief Executive Officer Duncan Niederauer, who saw his bid to merge with Deutsche Boerse AG
fall apart this year when European antitrust regulators blocked
the deal. Shares of the company slid 13 percent last year, while
Nasdaq OMX climbed 3.3 percent and the Standard Poor’s 500
Index was little changed.

Robert Greifeld, the CEO of Nasdaq OMX, exacts a measure of
payback after his unsolicited attempt to acquire the New York
Stock Exchange parent fizzed out when the Justice Department
said last May it would sue to block such a transaction.
Niederauer was on the board that rejected Greifeld’s offer and
referred to it as “loosely worded and full of unanswered
questions” in an interview with Bloomberg on April 10.

Bats IPO

The decision by Facebook follows Bats Global Markets Inc.,
the third-largest U.S. exchange operator, withdrawing its IPO on
March 23. Bats planned to compete with NYSE and Nasdaq in
corporate listings, making its own shares the first to call the
Bats BZX Exchange home. A computer bug prevented Bats from
getting its own shares to trade.

Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, filed Feb. 1 to
raise $5 billion in the largest Internet IPO on record. The
amount was a placeholder used to calculate fees and may change.
The combined U.S. and German debut of Infineon Technologies AG
in 2000 totaled about $5.85 billion, making it the biggest
technology offering in history.

Facebook wants “their brand identity associated with
Nasdaq, where the leading pioneers in technology have listed,”
Philip Panaro, president and chief executive officer of IM2
Consulting LLC, said in a phone interview. He was an adviser to
Nasdaq in the mid-1990s and to NYSE in 2004 and 2005. “NYSE is
still the Big Board and Nasdaq has more technology companies.”

To contact the reporters on this story:
Brian Womack in San Francisco at;
Nina Mehta in New York at;
Whitney Kisling in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Nick Baker at;
Tom Giles at

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Wily coyote resurfaces in Beach

Video: Coyote in the GTA

Two dogs and a coyote check each other out in seemingly friendly curiousity. Video submitted by viewer who recorded the event in Toronto backyard on April 4, 2012.

Crafty coyote “Neville” appears to be back in the Beach’s ravines — that is, if the wily creature ever left in the first place.

A cellphone video taken March 26 shows a coyote — suspected to be the notorious Chihuahua killer who eluded capture after receiving a death sentence in 2009 — playing with two golden retrievers, separated only by a chain-link fence.

But instead of the menacing animal that terrorized a young family when it snatched their chihuahua Zoe from their backyard along the Neville Park Blvd. ravine, the coyote in the video seems curious and quite friendly. (The footage was taken across from backyard where dog Zoe lived.)

The attack prompted an onslaught of measures to get rid of the coyote, including airhorns, traps and paintball guns, but it and its partner were never found.

While it’s hard to say if it’s the same coyote — also blamed for a number of missing cats — resident Stuart Shabsove believes that it is. News of the coyote died down since 2009 yet Shabsove spots one at least twice a month.

“As far as I can tell, it’s never really been gone,” Shabsove said.


  Beach coyote ‘brazen,’ dog owner warns

  The curious case of the coyote-wolf

  ‘Aggressive’ coyote shot near Cherry Beach


Perhaps the coyote developed restraint when it comes to killing pets. Or maybe, Shabsove said, people are simply more diligent and have adjusted to living with the animal. His small dog, a Havanese named Tuxedo, is not allowed out unsupervised, he added. “He’d be the next lunch.”

Robert Meerburg, education officer at Toronto’s Animal Services, hopes residents learned how to live in harmony with coyotes after the incidents two years ago.

Even if animal services had removed the coyote, another one likely would have moved in, he said. He, too, suspects the coyote never left the ravine, which is a perfect habitat for coyotes.

“It’s location, location, location,” Meerburg said. “If he’s got real estate there, he’s not going to leave home.”

It’s difficult to say whether it’s normal for a coyote to play with large dogs, Meerburg said, but it’s unlikely the opportunistic feeders would try to eat a golden retriever.

“They’re going to take the easiest food source available to them — a bowl of dog food, a thrown-out chicken dinner, an animal that’s wounded and can’t escape,” Meerburg said.

He hasn’t had any recent calls from the Beaches to complain about coyotes. He advises people call only if they see a sick or injured coyote, or one that is posing a threat. Improper storage of garbage containers, improper composting and bird feeders can attract rodents, which in turn attract coyotes, he said.

“Provided we never feed it, or we never leave food out for it, coyotes will always stay away from us,” he said.

Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon said her constituents haven’t alerted her to increased coyote activity, although she did receive a message from a resident who saw a coyote in Glen Stewart Ravine March 19.

“Although very cool to see, I’m keeping my cat inside,” the resident wrote McMahon.

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Gliffy Unveils Atlassian Confluence Plugin v4.2

Gliffy, a leading provider of online diagramming tools for enabling
visually impactful, collaborative communications, today announced the
release of Gliffy Confluence Plugin v4.2. This version includes a
HTML5 viewer, links within diagrams, and other enhancements that
improve the usability of Gliffy within the Atlassian Confluence wiki
environment. This plugin also enables Gliffy to be used throughout a
business on the widest range of platforms (from Windows XP, Vista and
the latest versions, to Mac OS) and browsers.

“This release is a critical step towards making Gliffy even more
universal by continuing to support Flash and also have a path to
HTML5,” said Chris Kohlhardt, co-founder and CEO of Gliffy. “It also
represents a major stepping stone for us as we lay the groundwork for
future innovations to be unveiled over the next several quarters.”

The HTML5 viewer was one of the most requested features of Confluence
users. Anyone using Chrome or the latest versions of Firefox and
Safari will experience a noticeable difference in usability and

Highlights include:

        --  Search results are displayed in a friendlier way -- using an image
            preview. This is a time saver over clicking links that appeared in
            text results.

        --  Diagrams on wiki pages will now be much more interactive. For example,
            users will be able to zoom and pan large diagrams, making it easier to
            see the details.

        --  Text within diagrams is now 'live' and can be selected, copied and
            pasted. Not only is this a time saver, but it also improves accuracy
            by eliminating the need to retype.

        --  Being able to link within a diagram makes it easy to access relevant
            notes pertaining to the item being clicked. This feature is ideal for
            network administrators.

        --  Enhanced Macro controls for diagram access on the Confluence page.
            Referred to as the "Pop-up Chrome," the modes range from an inviting
            fully editable (Full) with zoom and edit capabilities, to an aware but
            less inviting (Minimal) with border only showing.

In addition, this release includes a number of bug fixes.

“Gliffy provides world-class diagramming software that has the best
and deepest Atlassian Confluence and JIRA integration that I
personally know of,” said Martin Seibert, founder CEO of
//SEIBERT/MEDIA GmbH. “As Europe’s fastest growing Atlassian partner,
we are seeing a significant demand for a diagramming add-on like
Gliffy, especially for our Confluence customers. The move to a deeper
HTML5 integration is what makes me bet on Gliffy as the go-to
diagramming solution for our customers now and into the future.”


Gliffy Confluence Plugin v4.2 is available through the Atlassian
Plugin Exchange
( ),
under the Drawing category (listed alphabetically). Confluence
administrators can also find it in the Plugin Manager in Confluence
under the ‘Install’ tab. Gliffy is listed as one of the ‘Popular’

You can learn more about it here: .

About Gliffy:

Gliffy is a leading provider of online diagramming tools for enabling
visually impactful, collaborative communications. Along with Gliffy
Online, other products include fully featured, tightly integrated
plug-ins for Atlassian’s Confluence and JIRA. Gliffy offers a
powerful, cost-effective alternative to Visio, featuring an intuitive
drag-and-drop interface that combines the power of traditional
desktop software with the lightweight, low learning curve and
flexible features of today’s most popular browser-based applications.
Founded in 2005 and headquartered in San Francisco, California,
Gliffy is self-funded and privately held. More information is
available at .

        For more information, contact:
        Annie Gladue
        Jedemi Communications for Gliffy, Inc.
        Email Contact

SOURCE: Gliffy, Inc.

Copyright 2012 Marketwire, Inc., All rights reserved.

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New York Times video game invented by lovestruck teen

When Erik Andersson was 17, he invented a computer game to impress a girl. Though she may not have stuck around, two years later the game has caught the eye of a different type of suitor: The New York Times.
A missile in Erik Andersson’s game destroys the navigation bar in a story by Sam Anderson.

Andersson’s game “Kick A–” is a JavaScript bookmark that challenges users to “destroy the web” by shooting at various elements of a site from a tiny rocketship that appears on the page. When it hits a banner ad or an image, for example, those elements will “explode” and disappear from the page. Stripping a page bare is a great time-killer for any bored office drone.

For New York Times tech reporter Sam Anderson’s story about addictive online games, the game was a perfect illustration — and a great way to keep readers engaged.

“We were really glad how the NYT handled it,” Andersson, now 19, said in an e-mail. “It is open source so they could modify it and use it without our permission, but they chose to contact us, and give us some exposure and it really has helped us out.”

Andersson and his twin brother, Johan, are rolling out a new version of the game, which they’ve been working on for about a year now. Andersson calls it “a completely redone ‘Kick A–,’ where we have focused on making the experience more gamey. With achievements, profiles, more weapons and a ship designer.”

As for the girl? When we spoke with Andersson in 2010, he said that, like so many annoying banner ads in his game, the relationship “blew up.” But with his New York Times collaboration, Andersson is following that classic breakup advice: Living well is the best revenge.

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Xara Extends Capabilities of Web Designer App for Graphically-Rich Site Creation

The latest version of Xara’s code-free site creation application for Windows gets embedded font support, improved template handling and better compatibility for mobile devices.

“Xara Web Designer provides no programming tools, no script editing and doesn’t even provide an HTML view”, says Managing Director, Charles Moir, “Our design philosophy is this: You don’t need to know the PDF programming language in order to produce PDF files, so neither should you have to know anything about HTML or JavaScript in order to create great websites.” That axiom holds for the vast number of people creating and maintaining their own modest sites, whether for business or personal interests. Hence the rise of WordPress, which is free, installs easily and lets users get up and running in a matter of minutes. They can then customize the structure of their site by employing an ocean of free or commercial templates, and enhance its functionality via third-party plugins, also free or modestly priced. So what does Xara Web Designer offer as an alternative?

First off all, more design freedom. Significantly changing the layout of a WordPress or conventional site requires HTML and PHP coding skills, and Web Designer eliminates this via its WYSIWYG approach. You start off by loading one of the supplied templates and then pushing and pulling it visually until it meets your needs, thereby generating cross-browser, cross-platform XHTML-compatible pages and complete sites. Users can position text, graphics and photos anywhere on the page, at any size or angle, overlaid or with transparency. But beyond basic layout, Xara has tried to anticipate most of the requirements of the average user. For example, it supports CSS layers with advanced features such as full or graduated transparency, mouse-over effects, and animated photo pop-ups. It also includes much of the vector drawing power of its flagship Xara illustration application, as well as image editing and animation tools. Xara even provides free hosting tied to the integrated FTP functionality, so it’s painless to launch and maintain such sites.

Other niceties include a ‘magic’ snap for object alignment; footers automatically move as the page is resized; graphics and photos can be anchored into flowing text; and repeating objects, such as NavBars, headers and footers, automatically update throughout the document with just a single edit. There are also said to be a significant number of template designs and customizable graphics. Web pages can be edited in single or multi-page view, and previewed instantly in popular web browsers. It’s also possible to easily add Flash animations or JavaScript-based animated transitions to any page link or pop-up layer. Smart widgets can also be used to add photo and text animations to web pages without the need for any coding knowledge. Support for HTML5 video is present and search engine-friendly sitemaps can be automatically created when publishing the website. Notable is the ability to create PowerPoint-like presentations for the web, either as a stand-alone presentation or as a remote ‘webinar’ with one person controlling the presentation for invited guest viewers. Tools are also provided for creating graphics from scratch, including freehand and quick-shape drawing tools, shadow, bevel and mould tools, 3D extrude and feathering. Photo editing functionality adds red-eye removal and content-aware scaling.

New in version 8 of Xara Web Designer MX and Xara Web Designer MX Premium is a text styles feature that makes it possible to control the global appearance of text, by generating CSS-compatible styles; automatic object positioning and smart page resize; an inline graphics capability for embedding symbols and icons into text; improved display on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets; and new page and graphic templates, as well as more than 3000 new categorized clipart designs. The Premium version adds support for embedded fonts, with the program creating the required special font and script, as well as uploading them to the server; new photo transitions and improved slideshow widgets that work with a wide range of display devices; interactive Chart widgets; the ability to design the images for use in bulleted lists; and a live effects tool that adds support for Photoshop plugins (30 plugins are included).

It all adds up to quite an ambitious package for a small developer like Xara, especially at its modest price point. Worth a look for Windows users who aren’t already committed to Adobe’s Creative Suite and are seeking a template-driven website creation environment.

Xara Web Designer 8 for Windows can be purchased on the Xara site for $65, with the Premium edition priced at $130. A trial version is also available for download.

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IBM Mum on Master’s Gender Controversy

IBM Mum on Master's Gender Controversy

April 5 (Bloomberg) — Those watching the Masters Tournament are the reason why International Business Machines Corp. isn’t speaking out about its new chief executive officer possibly breaking the gender barrier at the Augusta National Golf Club. Bloomberg’s Scott Soshnick reports on Bloomberg Television’s “InBusiness With Margaret Brennan.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Those watching the Masters
Tournament are the reason why International Business Machines
Corp. isn’t speaking out about its new chief executive
officer possibly breaking the gender barrier at the Augusta
National Golf Club. Bloomberg’s Scott Soshnick reports on
Bloomberg Television’s “InBusiness With Margaret Brennan.”
(Source: Bloomberg)

Running Time: 02:27

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Texas-Sized Safety Net Supports County Voting 83% Against Obama

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West Texas

West Texas

West Texas

Eddie Seal/Bloomberg

Tractors and farming equipment in West Texas.

Tractors and farming equipment in West Texas. Photographer: Eddie Seal/Bloomberg

John Loepky’s story is one of Texan
self-reliance. Starting out in the mid-1980s with less than $100
in his pocket, Loepky first found work on farms and by the mid-
1990s owned his own land. Today he coaxes cotton, peanuts and
wheat out of 3,300 acres of parched soil in Gaines County,
getting as much as $2.4 million in revenue on a good year.

In bad years — like 2011 — he can rely on the government
for help. Record-low rainfall triggered record-high crop
insurance payouts of $125 million last year to local farmers,
with taxpayers subsidizing $30.8 million of the $46.9 million of
the premiums paid in the county that year. Loepky received about
$1 million, which paid half of his loans for the year.

Landowners such as Loepky who rely on the federal safety
net are less fond of the man who heads the government offering
it. Gaines voters backed John McCain — who voted against
reauthorizing farm payments in 2008 — over subsidy-supporting
Barack Obama by 83 percent to 16 percent, the most lopsided
margin among the top 10 aid-receiving counties in the U.S.

“Republicans understand business better than Democrats,”
says Loepky, 47. “We need strong banks, low taxes. We need a
safety net for farmers, but we need other things too.”

The landscape in Gaines, a west Texas county on the border
with New Mexico, features dry, wind-swept farmland punctuated by
oil rigs owned by Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Hess Corp. (HES) Crude, the
area’s biggest industry, is as plentiful as water is scarce.
Alcohol, at least officially, isn’t present at all. The county
has been legally dry since 1944.

‘Ugly’ for Democrats

These days, Democrats are as hard to find as a drink.
Gaines County last voted for a Democratic presidential candidate
in 1976, when Jimmy Carter won Texas with 51.1 percent of the
vote over President Gerald Ford. Carter won 53 percent of the
Gaines County tally that year.

No Democratic White House nominee has won the state or
county in the last eight general elections, and not a single
Democrat has filed to run for any county office in next month’s
primary. The local congressman, Randy Neugebauer, describes
himself on his website as a supporter of “conservative
principles” who won a 100 percent rating in 2009 by the
American Conservative Union.

“When it came to the filing period I felt like the ugly
girl at the dance” trying to recruit Democrats, says Ray Savage, chairman of the Gaines County Democratic Party. “I
don’t think this demonstrates an informed electorate.”

Political Shift

The political shift hasn’t stopped the flow of payments to
the county’s cotton and peanut growers who have relied on aid
dating to the 1930s Dust Bowl and Great Depression. Gaines
County farmers took $797 million in payments from 1995 to 2010,
including price supports, soil-conservation programs and crop-
failure compensation, according to a database compiled by
Washington-based lobby the Environmental Working Group. That
puts it second in the nation behind Fresno County, California,
as a recipient of federal funds.

Farmers use the programs mainly to give banks confidence
that the loans to finance planned crops will be paid back
regardless of weather or commodity prices, says Delmon Ellison,
Jr. who farms 4,000 acres of cotton, peanuts and wheat in the

By making sure that acreage stays in production and farms
don’t fail, “you’re making food affordable in large
metropolitan areas,” Ellison says.

Obama ‘Disaster’

Wayne Mixon, the 74-year-old mayor of Seminole, the county
seat, says he has “nothing good to say” about Obama, who he
considers a “disaster” as president. “He is continually
throwing money at problems that will probably fix themselves,”
he says.

In Gaines County, the mere mention of the president’s name
elicits responses from dismissal to disdain. Democrats have
almost disappeared, says Jim Hightower, Texas’s agriculture
from 1983 until 1991, when he was unseated by
current governor — and former Democrat — Rick Perry. The party
is seen in west Texas as lacking passion for those who work the
land, he says.

“Texans like their politics hotter than high school
love,” says Hightower, now a columnist and radio commentator.
“They really want you to get into it.”

Many farmers today see themselves as small-business owners,
says Cindy Rugeley, a political science professor at Texas Tech
University in Lubbock. Republican identification with low taxes
and less regulation appeals to them; meanwhile, government
payments that have existed for generations “are
institutionalized — they’re part of business,” she says.

Complex System

Since their establishment under Franklin D. Roosevelt,
farm subsidies have evolved into a complex system of crop-
specific payments, land improvement grants, loan programs and
insurance subsidies for companies including Wells Fargo Co. to
protect growers from low prices and weather losses.

Crop output in Gaines County depends on the weather, and in
recent years farmers have suffered from extremes. In 2004, 33.18
inches of rain fell on the county, the wettest since 1941. Last
year rainfall was 3.51 inches, about half the amount recorded in
1934, the driest since Dust Bowl days.

Freak weather patterns nationwide triggered unprecedented
insurance payouts last year. Total U.S. crop insurance payouts
topped $10 billion for the first time, Overland Park, Kansas-
based National Crop Insurance Services said in February.

In Texas, crop losses totaled $7.62 billion in 2011,
including $2.2 billion for cotton growers, Texas AM University
said in March. Texas cotton ginnings fell 55 percent from the
previous year to 3.49 million bales.

Farming Revival

Farming in west Texas has survived in the face of such
weather woes. Gaines County saw a farming revival beginning in
the late 1970s with the arrival of dozens of German-speaking
Mennonites from Mexico who bought up fallow land and began
lucrative peanut and cotton farms. Their migration contributed
the bulk of the county’s 21 percent population jump to 17,526 in
the past decade, according to Mixon.

Loepky, a Mennonite and the middle one of 13 children,
arrived in Texas illegally in 1984 from Chihuahua, Mexico, and
became one of almost 3 million people given legal residence
through the 1986 amnesty program signed by Ronald Reagan with
bipartisan support. He became a citizen in 1997 and says a
similar program would help him recruit farm workers.

“I owe Ronald Reagan a big thank you,” Loepky says.

Spanish, German, English

On a blindingly bright March day outside Seminole, Loepky
drives through his holdings in a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado pickup
that’s seen 166,000 miles. Checking the center-pivot irrigators
that dispense the precious water, Loepky speaks Spanish to farm
workers, German in a phone call with his wife, and switches back
to English to talk to a visitor.

Loepky says subsidies are as important to survival as
water, though he accepts that Washington eventually will reduce
payments. Congressional agriculture committees have bipartisan
support for a $23 billion cut in subsidies over 10 years. House
Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican,
last month proposed $30 billion in farm aid cuts over a decade,
a plan praised by Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney
as a “bold step.” Ryan’s reductions are similar in size to
those proposed by Obama in his 2013 budget.

Federal policies have helped guide Loepky’s business
decisions. In 2009, he stopped cultivating chili peppers in part
because he couldn’t find workers for the labor-intensive plant
and federal crop insurance didn’t cover the crop. Wanting to
diversify against farm risk, he established JNL Steel Components
, a building-materials business near his farm last year that
employs his wife, his three children and seven other workers.

“I’ve been able to make this work for the past 20 years,
even though I’ve lost some pretty good money some years,”
Loepky says. “I will continue to try my best.”

To contact the reporter on this story:
Alan Bjerga in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Jon Morgan at

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BSkyB’s Sky News Channel Approved Hacking of E-Mails Twice

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British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc (BSY),
the pay-TV broadcaster in which News Corp. owns 39 percent, said
its Sky News channel approved the hacking of e-mails on two
occasions. BSkyB shares dropped 3.4 percent.

U.K. regulators are already probing whether News Corp. and
its deputy Chief Operating Officer James Murdoch are “fit and
proper” to own a stake in BSkyB as other parts of the company’s
British business illegally accessed voice mails and paid police
for stories. The scandal prompted Murdoch, the son of Chief
Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch, to step down as chairman of
BSkyB this week.

Executives of Sky News cleared a reporter to access e-mails
as part of his investigations into criminal activity, including
the 2008 case of a British couple who faked the husband’s death
in a canoe accident to collect life and mortgage insurance, the
channel said in a statement today. Sky News said the hacking of
e-mails was in the public interest.

“The announcement adds to concerns over whether News Corp. (NWSA)
will be found to be fit and proper, making a renewed bid for
BSkyB, in our view, unlikely,” Bernstein analyst Claudio Aspesi
said. “Greater scrutiny is also likely to distract management
at an important time.”

The phone-hacking scandal, which involves reporters of News
Corp.’s News International publishing unit illegally listening
to voice mail messages of politicians and celebrities, prompted
the company in July to drop its 7.8 billion-pound ($12.5
billion) offer to buy all of BSkyB and close its most popular
title, the News of the World.

Focus on Wrongdoings

BSkyB fell 22.50 pence to 635.50 pence in London trading.
The stock had declined 13 percent this year.

Sky News head John Ryley said today the hacking of e-mails
was “editorially justified and in the public interest” and
that the channel provided the e-mails to police to assist in the
couple’s prosecution.

“This is clearly unhelpful for investors that yet again
the focus is on alleged wrongdoings rather than on the
fundamentals of the business,” said Alex de Groote, an analyst
at Panmure Gordon Co. “Anything that undermines the
regulatory or legal basis on which Sky exists as a broadcaster
is going to be a cause for concern. Without a license, the
company has no value.”

Fit and Proper?

U.K. lawmakers are preparing a report on the phone-hacking
scandal following testimony James Murdoch gave that has been
contradicted by former subordinates. The committee began its
inquiry in July after Murdoch said lawmakers had been misled
about the extent of phone hacking during a previous probe in
2009. It has questioned him twice for the new report.

U.K. media regulator Ofcom said it will take parliament’s
report into consideration when evaluating whether News Corp.
should have a broadcast license on behalf of BSkyB.

BSkyB earnings contributed $498 million, or more than 18
percent, of News Corp net income of $2.7 billion in the year
ended June 2011.

News Corp. shareholders in October lodged a protest vote
against Rupert Murdoch and his sons, following an annual meeting
at which investors called for governance changes and an end to
voting practices that cement the family’s control. James
received the highest percentage of votes against his election to
the board, at 35 percent.

In November, one third of BSkyB’s independent shareholders
voted against Murdoch’s re-election as chairman.

Public Interest

Chris Watson, a media lawyer at CMS Cameron McKenna, said
that Sky News’ defense of public interest probably wouldn’t work
in a court of law.

“There is no public interest defense to interception of
communications that I’m aware of,” he said. “It may answer the
accusation that they were wrong to publish, but it doesn’t deal
with the more serious charge that it may have been unlawful for
them to have obtained the e-mails that way.”

Sky News said today it commissioned both an external review
of e-mail records at Sky News and an internal audit of payment
records. No grounds for concern have been found so far, it said.

Simon Cole, who was the managing editor who approved the
hacking at Sky News, is retiring after 17 years, a BSkyB
spokeswoman said today. Cole, whose current title is news
editor, will leave in the next few weeks and his retirement is
unrelated to today’s announcement, the spokeswoman said. Cole
said on his Twitter account that he had been planning to retire
for “some time” and that there is “no linkage” to the
hacking story.

A News Corp. spokeswoman and an Ofcom spokesman declined to

Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes with
News Corp. units in providing financial news and information.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Amy Thomson in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Kenneth Wong at

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Bop Design Suggests that the End is Near for Internet Explorer 7

April 5, 2012; 09:14 AM

San Diego, CA (PRWEB) – In 2011, Microsoft officially said goodbye to Internet Explorer 6 and even started their own corporate website monitoring the worldwide usage of IE6. According to the website, only 0.9% of the Internet users in the US are still using IE6. Bop Design, a San Diego website design agency with clients throughout the US, contends that this is good news for web developers. Jordan Paraso, Bop Design Director of Web Development, says, “I’m sure many web designers and developers are smiling about this statistic.” Microsoft has also stated that the official end of Extended support for IE6 is on April 8, 2014. That date is also the same day that the Extended supports ends for Windows XP.

In late 2011, Microsoft stated in a blog that in 2012, they will start automatically upgrading Windows customers to the latest version of Internet Explorer via Windows Upgrade. Paraso states, “This is huge news for the future and the progress of the Internet. Since Windows XP users will be encouraged to upgrade to IE8 and Windows Vista/7 users will be encouraged to upgrade to IE9.” With this transition, the question arises, do web developers still need to develop for IE7?

According to W3Counter, global usage of IE7 during January 2012 was 5.93%. Bop Design suggests that based on current web browser statistics and Microsoft’s efforts to encourage their customers to upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer, it appears safe for web developers to stop developing for IE7. Paraso maintains, “The browser statistics for IE7 are only going to decrease every month. Unless the client absolutely needs the website to work in IE7, developing a website for IE7 compatibility is development time that could be better spent elsewhere.”

The phasing out of IE 6 and IE 7 has made it easier for all web developers. Paraso elaborates, “Developing for IE7 usually isn’t as bad as IE6, but there are still challenges. Most of the time, IE7 will behave as expected if the HTML and CSS are coded to W3C Standards. But there are those certain CSS elements and jQuery scripts that gives IE7 fits. On some sites it can take just a few minutes to fix, other sites it can take hours. Sometimes it even requires that hacks be used to get things to work.”

Bop Design recommends that web developers consider developing only for the top web browsers: Chrome 16, IE 8 9, and Firefox 9.

About Bop Design, San Diego and New Jersey Web Design

Bop Design is a boutique marketing communications firm headquartered in San Diego with offices also in New Jersey. The marketing agency expresses a business’ values through web design, branding, advertising and print design. They also help attract a firm’s ideal customer through search engine optimization and search engine marketing. Bop Design’s focus is on small businesses that want an external team of marketing specialists to help give their brand an edge in the marketplace.

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MocoSpace proves power of HTML5 based games

Rating: It’s not just young girls who are suckers for vampire games

MocoSpace claims to be the largest HTML5 mobile gaming community in North America. It recently introduced a new game called True Night which was developed for it by New Game Town. Although you’d think the game was old hat because it features vampires, in fact True Night has rocketed into the fourth most-played game on MocoSpace in just two weeks. “We developed True Night with MocoSpace’s young audience in mind and thought that the theme would bring in all kinds of players,” Jeremy Wang, CTO of New Game Town. commented. “We had no idea it would grow such a large fan base so quickly,” he added. Significantly, half of all True Night players are male, and the vast majority of all players are over 17 years old. This contradicts the general impression that vampire games are just a teenage girl phenomena.“There are great opportunities for monetisation within games like this, and the potential for brands to get in on the action with in-game product placement,” claimed Justin Siegel, CEO with MocoSpace.

“We are thrilled to be working with New Game Town, because their games are consistently engaging, with wonderful graphics and stories,” Siegel added.

True Night is the third game developed by New Game Town for MocoSpace. Its launch brings the total number of HTML5 mobile game on the MocoSpace platform to 33.

The revelation that young girls aren’t the only ones interested in vampires. According to the Goodreads blog here, Mormons are, too.

Goodreads says that Utah is the 34th most populous state in the USA, but it generates the 6th most reviews of Twilight ( a book about vampires).

More significantly in terms of cities, Salt Lake Cit (which is the 125th largest city in the USA) is second only to New York in number of Twilight reviews.

Hard to believe but true, apparently.

To download MocoSpace games for iPhone, click here and for Android click here.

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Coty Prefers Closely Held Structure for Avon Turnaround

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Coty Inc., the closely held perfume
maker seeking to buy Avon Products Inc. (AVP) for $10 billion, has
determined that a private-company structure will make it easier
to turn around the door-to-door seller of cosmetics, said people
with knowledge of the matter.

Coty initially pushed for an all-stock sale to Avon that
would have left it as the biggest shareholder of a combined
public company, said the people, who declined to be identified
because the talks were private. Coty has since ruled out selling
itself and concluded any combination should be closely held so
it can focus on resolving bribery charges and reviving sales
growth at Avon without the scrutiny of public shareholders, the
people said.

To persuade Avon’s investors to support a deal, Coty is
seeking to secure committed financing from Byron Trott’s
Chicago-based advisory firm, BDT Capital Partners, JPMorgan
Chase Co. (JPM)
and majority owner Joh. A Benckiser as soon as next
week, the people said. New York-based Avon rejected Coty’s
offer, saying in a statement this week that a deal undervalued
the company and wouldn’t be in the best interests of

“This may be the best option Avon shareholders will get
for a long time,” Ali Dibadj, an analyst at Sanford C.
Bernstein Co. in New York, said today in an e-mail. “Avon is
likely fixable, but it will take time.”

Avon’s board has a fiduciary duty to consider Coty’s
proposal, Dibadj said. He rates the shares “market perform.”

Coty’s Value

The board didn’t discuss details of a possible deal after
receiving Coty’s earlier proposal for an all-stock merger, one
person said. While Avon got access to some non-public financial
and operational information about Coty, it determined it didn’t
know enough about the company to make an offer or consider
specific terms, said the people.

A spokesman for New York-based Coty declined to comment, as
did an Avon spokeswoman.

Coty, which has about $800 million in earnings before
interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, would be valued
at about $8.6 billion in an acquisition, based on the median
price to Ebitda ratio of 10.8 for a basket of Coty’s peers,
according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with
Avon’s $9.9 billion market value.

It may take three years to turn around Avon’s operations,
one person said. In December, the company said it would seek a
replacement for Chief Executive Officer Andrea Jung, who will
remain chairman. Avon is close to naming a new CEO and has
narrowed down its list of candidates to a small number, said one
person. One focus has been on finding an executive with overseas
experience, the person said.

Avon Probes

More than 80 percent of Avon’s sales last year came from
outside North America, and the company is dealing with internal
and federal investigations into whether executives bribed
foreign officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices
Act. In 2008, the company began investigating its Chinese
operations’ compliance with the law, leading to the firing of
several executives. Avon expanded the probe to other developing
, and the Securities and Exchange Commission opened its
own investigation.

Coty’s next steps will be to meet with Avon shareholders,
possibly as soon as next week, to try to persuade them they
should pressure Avon’s board to consider their overture to buy
the larger beauty company, according to two people.

Coty’s Backers

BDT’s equity investors won’t support a hostile offer, and
Coty’s management is also opposed to an antagonistic process
because there are too many unknowns to commit to a deal at a
certain price, one person said.

Avon rose 2 percent to $23.20 at 10:50 a.m. in New York.
The shares soared 17 percent on April 2 following Coty’s offer,
and are up 33 percent this year.

Coty and Avon agreed that a combination makes some
strategic sense, with Avon bringing skin care and make-up to
Coty’s perfume-focused offerings, along with an entry into
Brazil and other developing markets, the people said. Avon would
get access to Coty’s marketing and research and development
resources, along with some higher-end Coty products its
representatives could sell.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Jeffrey McCracken in New York at;
Lauren Coleman-Lochner in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Jennifer Sondag at;
Robin Ajello at

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Lee Westwood leads US Masters but Tiger Woods within striking distance

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Bloggers & Affiliate Marketers Gain Income Potential with New 3dcart WordPress …

Online merchants promoting their products through affiliate marketers now have a simpler way to implement and track affiliate progress.

TAMARAC, FL (PRWEB) April 05, 2012

WordPress bloggers looking for ways to monetize their audiences can now get a full shopping cart up and running with 3dcart, no migration required. Today, 3dcart officially launched a WordPress plugin that integrates a comprehensive ecommerce software suite into an existing WordPress website.

Online merchants promoting their products through affiliate marketers now have a simpler way to implement and track affiliate progress. Affiliates that run their websites through WordPress gain simple access to online stores, easing how they promote the retailer’s products.

The new integration also simplifies how online retailers connect their social channels (like corporate blogs) to their store, bridging the gap between marketing and sales. Merchants simply incorporate their online store into their WordPress blog; actual products run alongside content, increasing conversions.

To get started, WordPress users simply:

  •     Sign-up with 3dcart (for new stores)
  •     Download implement the plugin
  •     Start selling

“WordPress is one of the most popular website blogging platforms on the web today, so it made sense to build an integration to help us extend our reach,” said 3dcart CTO Jimmy Rodriguez. “It’s also a huge step forward for affiliate marketing programs, offering online retailers viable extensions of their websites for WordPress users.”

The new WordPress plugin is just one of 3dcart’s new social features. The launch of 3dcart 4 debuted social tools like group daily deals, and the company just announced new services to help setup and track social initiatives.

To access and download 3dcart’s new WordPress plugin, visit

About 3dcart

3dcart (, located in Tamarac, Florida, is a complete ecommerce software solution for merchants to build, promote and grow their online business. The company’s services include the tools, advice, support, and technology to manage an entire online operation. Since 1997, 3dcart has been developing internet solutions for small to medium size businesses. Today, 3dcart is an Inc. 5000 company, a Visa PCI Certified provided and a pioneer in Mobile Commerce and Social Marketing.


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Gap, Target Same-Store Sales Gain on Warm March Weather

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Target Same-Store Sales Exceed Estimates on Warm Weather

Target Same-Store Sales Exceed Estimates on Warm Weather

Target Same-Store Sales Exceed Estimates on Warm Weather

Victor Blue/Bloomberg

Shoppers pass in front of a Gap Inc. store in New York.

Shoppers pass in front of a Gap Inc. store in New York. Photographer: Victor Blue/Bloomberg

Gap Inc. (GPS) and Target Corp. (TGT) reported
March same-store sales that topped analysts’ estimates as
unseasonably warm weather and an earlier Easter holiday boosted
purchases of spring merchandise.

Sales at Gap, the largest U.S. apparel chain, climbed 8
percent, beating the average projection for a 4.6 percent gain
from analysts surveyed by researcher Retail Metrics Inc. Target,
the second-largest U.S. discount chain, posted a 7.3 percent
increase in same-store sales, topping the 5.7 percent estimate.

Retailers are benefiting from warm weather that boosted
demand for spring products and accelerated Easter shopping as
the holiday moved more than two weeks earlier this year. Last
month was the warmest March for North America in more than 50
years, according to Planalytics, a weather data provider.

“It puts people in the frame of mind to buy the product,”
Dorothy Lakner, an analyst at Caris Co. in New York, said in a
telephone interview. “The other important thing to keep in mind
is just the fashion trends — the color is really appealing to

Same-store sales for the more than 20 companies tracked by
Swampscott, Massachusetts-based Retail Metrics rose 3.9 percent,
beating the average estimate for a 3.3 percent gain. Sales have
topped estimates for four straight months.

Gap, based in San Francisco, fell 0.3 percent to $26.56 at
11:10 a.m. in New York. Minneapolis-based Target gained 1.1
percent to $58.48. The Standard Poor’s 500 Retailing Index
gained 1.1 percent, compared with a 0.2 percent increase for the
SP 500.

Easter Spending

Easter spending is expected to rise to $145.28 per person
this year, an 11 percent increase from last year, according to a
March 20 report from the National Retail Federation. Total
spending will be about $16.8 billion, including $3 billion in
apparel purchases, the Washington-based NRF said.

TJX Cos., operator of T.J. Maxx discount stores, reported
same-store sales that rose 10 percent, topping the 4.8 percent
average estimate. The company also boosted its first-quarter
earnings forecast to as much as 52 cents a share from as much as
47 cents. The shares gained 2.7 percent to $40.44.

Macy’s Inc. (M)’s comparable-store sales rose 7.3 percent last
month, beating estimates for a 4.8 percent increase. The gain
led the owner of Bloomingdale’s and namesake stores to boost its
forecast for March and April same-store sales to an increase of
4.3 percent to 4.5 percent, from 3 percent to 3.5 percent.

‘Received Enthusiastically’

The sales “exceeded our expectations beyond the benefits
we anticipated from an earlier Easter and a shift in a cosmetics
event from April last year to March this year,” Macy’s Chief
Executive Officer Terry Lundgren said in a statement. “The
early warm weather drew attention to our outstanding assortments
of fresh spring goods, which were received enthusiastically by

The Cincinnati-based company’s shares rose 0.3 percent to

Limited Brands Inc., the Columbus, Ohio-based operator of
the Victoria’s Secret lingerie chain, posted an 8 percent
increase in same-store sales, topping the 4.6 percent estimate.

Gap’s March same-store sales gain was the company’s biggest
since April 2011 and follows a 10 percent decrease in March

Target now projects first-quarter profit of as much as
$1.10 a share, up from a previous forecast of as much as $1.07.
Food sales led the gains, increasing at a mid-teen percentage
rate, CEO Gregg Steinhafel said on a conference call today.

Teen Retailers

Teen retailers Wet Seal Inc. (WTSLA) and Buckle Inc. (BKE) missed
analysts’ estimates for same-store sales. Wet Seal, based in
Foothill Ranch, California, reported sales that fell 7.8
percent, steeper than the estimated 5.9 percent drop, as
purchases of tops and jewelry declined. Kearney, Nebraska-based
Buckle said sales rose 6.4 percent, trailing the estimated 7.8
percent gain. [bn:WBTKR=ZUMZ:US]

Zumiez Inc. (ZUMZ) [], the sports-apparel retailer that also targets
teens, yesterday reported a 14 percent increase in same-store
sales for March, beating estimates for a 10 percent rise. The
company “continues to be one of the least promotional teen
retailers,” and is snapping up market share, especially as
competitor Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. (PSUN) shrinks, Adrienne
, a Washington-based analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott
LLC, said in an e-mailed note today.

Costco Trails Estimates

Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST), the largest U.S. warehouse-club
chain, reported sales that rose 6 percent, missing analysts’
estimates of 6.5 percent. The Issaquah, Washington-based company
cited a decline in its electronics business and impact from
foreign currency exchange rates in a conference call today.

Excluding Walgreen Co. (WAG), which posted a 6.8 percent decline
in comparable sales, same-store sales for the chains tracked by
Retail Metrics rose 6.5 percent for March.

“We’re not expecting the same kind of numbers in the month
of April, but certainly February and March are two very good
months,” Lakner said. “You do have to consider March and April

Most chains count locations open at least a year to
tabulate same-store sales. The revenue is a key indicator of a
retailer’s growth because new and closed sites are excluded.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Sapna Maheshwari in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Robin Ajello at

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