Friday, December 29, 2006

MacBook Thin: Will Apple launch a new 12-inch laptop?

There are only a few days left before MacWorld in San Francisco and the Mac rumour mill is grinding up all the old stories and spitting out new grist. If speculation about the new version of Mac OSX wasn't enough, there's also the possibility of a MacBook Thin to consider.

Apple is rumoured to have developed a new 12-inch MacBook that is considerably thinner than the company's current offerings. Apple's tradition of religious silence over product launches means that there is no official word on any of the specs. However, anonymous industry insiders who are credited with bringing news of the MacBook Thin to the Internet claim battery life on the new model will push 8 hours.

Many critics think the lack of a 12-inch model in the current Mac line-up leaves a gaping hole in the range. We see a lot of old 12-inch PowerBooks still in use by journalists and photographers at press conferences. The 12-inch model remains the most portable Macintosh laptop ever made. It seems completely plausible that Apple is thinking of launching the 12-inch MacBook Thin, but whether it will be unveiled at Macworld San Francisco this year remains a mystery. -CS

Booted guest can sue hotel in New York

A New York City hotel may come to regret kicking out a guest last New Year's Eve who had spent $4,000 on two rooms to celebrate the holiday.

A federal judge has ruled that the guest, Jeffrey Dagen, can pursue a $750,000 lawsuit against the Marriott Marquis in Times Square on the grounds that innkeepers have a duty to provide safe harbor for their guests.

U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Kahn found that the hotel could be negligent for giving Dagen the boot when hotel officials knew Dagen lived 165 miles upstate in Latham, had been drinking alcohol served to him by the hotel and had little chance of finding another room in the city that night.

"It was entirely foreseeable that (Dagen's) next stop after being kicked out of the hotel wasn't going to be on the set with Dick Clark filming New York's Rockin' Eve," Kahn wrote in a Dec. 18 ruling. "Common sense and common courtesy hold that innkeepers are expected to shelter those who have sought their protection, and … not to inject those people into obviously dangerous situations."

The lawsuit, which claims breach of contract and negligence, is being watched closely by the hotel industry because the judge rejected Marriott's efforts to have the suit dismissed. Marriott argued that Dagen — who was kicked out of the hotel on the first night of a planned two-night stay — chose to drive home and that Marriott was under no obligation to protect him from his own behavior.

Joe McInerney, president of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, said his organization does not keep statistics on hotel evictions, but that they are not uncommon — especially during holiday celebrations, weddings, conventions or proms.

Details of the Marriott incident are described vaguely in court papers. Dagen arrived on Dec. 31, 2005, and got two rooms, one for himself and one for a friend who brought a date, the papers say.

Sometime after 9 p.m., the friend's date was found unconscious in the hallway, court papers say. Police and paramedics were called. A hotel official said in an affidavit he was advised the woman had been involved in an altercation with Dagen's guest.

Shortly before midnight, Dagen and the rest of his party were evicted. The hotel did not refund his $4,000. Dagen told hotel managers he had been drinking, that he had nowhere else to go and was too tired to drive home, court papers say.

On his way home, Dagen's car left a highway and struck a tree. His leg was broken and he suffered chest injuries. He was not cited for driving under the influence, said Richard Feirstein, his attorney.

Tom Marder, a Marriott spokesman, declined to comment about the incident. He said the hotel "acted responsibly in the interest of all its guests."

SPECULATION: 5 Predictions for Apple in 2007

2006 is coming to a close, and all anyone can think about (in regards to Apple, at least) is the upcoming Apple Phone…but what happens next? What are we going to be salivating over and speculating about after Macworld? What changes are in store for Apple in 2007? No one knows for sure…but it sure is fun to take a guess…

5 Predictions for Apple in 2007

1) Expanding the Mac Brand - 2007 is going to be the year of the “Mac”. Apple is going to expand upon the Mac branding to include the new Phone product (my guess is MacMobile), and possibly even the “i” software suites. MacLife anyone? The “i” branding is played out, and, with the exception of the iPod and possibly the iMac, the “i” is on the down hill slide. There will be a dramatic shift away from the lowercase “i” in 07.

2) The “true” Video iPod…Finally - After years of speculation, the full screen video iPod will make it’s debut just in time for the 07 holiday season sales push. The device will feature a beautiful screen and a new, clickwheel-free, design. My guess is it will not be touch screen, and will in no way live up to the 2+ year hype surrounding it…in spite of that, however, it will be a “must have” item for Christmas 07.

3) The Next Generation of iMac…featuring Blu-ray I hope I’m wrong about this, actually, since I do not think that Blu-ray has much of a chance of winning the format wars, but I predict that we’ll see the high end models of next year’s iMacs with built-in Blu-ray drives without a significant cost increase over the current high end iMacs. Disney is behind Blu-ray…to me that means Jobs is behind Blu-ray as well…and that means Blu-ray equipped Macs.

4) Palm CEO Ed Colligan will eat his words - “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone…PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.’’ This is one of the most asinine statements I’ve ever heard in my life, and I think Mr. Colligan is going to regret saying it when 07 comes to a close. Apple is gunning for Palm, Blackberry, and every other Smartphone manufacturer out there, and while I don’t think they will become a market leader next year, I do think Palm will be feeling Apple’s presence weighing heavily on their bottom line next year.

5) OSX and Windows, working together at last - I expect to see Parallels fully integrated into Leopard by the time the OS is released, giving us the first OS in history (to my knowledge anyway) that will allow us to seamlessly run our Windows, Mac, and even Linux programs from the same desktop. Finally, Mac Users can run those Windows only applications that seem to crop up from time to time. The new Parallels Beta already makes this possible, but if integrated into Leopard, you can officially say, “Vista…who?”

Thursday, December 28, 2006

2007 Preview: New Tech Products

The launch of major operating systems, chips, and handheld devices will give consumers plenty of incentives to switch brands

If 2006 was the year of the next-generation gaming console—after all, there were new machines from Sony and Nintendo (and Microsoft's latest Xbox out in late '05)—next year's tech headlines will be dominated by competing operating systems from Microsoft and Apple. Vista, the new iteration of Microsoft's Windows, hits the market for consumers in January, and Apple's upgrade is due soon after that.

Next year will also see the release of new chips, handheld devices, and a machine designed to make the computer a centerpiece of home entertainment. For a look at these and other tech products on tap for '07, click through this slide show.

Exotic dancers spray on latex coverings

Topless dancers in Alabama aren't really topless — dancers are spraying themselves with skin-colored latex.

Under Alabama's strict law regulating exotic dancers, any skin that would normally be covered by a modest bikini must be swathed in an opaque covering. But the law doesn't specify what kind of material must be used, so, in the legal sense, a nylon swimsuit and spray-on latex are virtually the same.

The state, which already was defending against a lawsuit filed by strip clubs challenging the law, says it reluctantly went along with the clubs rather than having a federal judge follow through on his threat to throw out the entire statue as unconstitutional.

Fred Patterson, who works on the Birmingham's vice and narcotics squad, said some clubs were covering dancers with latex long before the agreement was filed.

"You can get it that matches your skin color," said Patterson. "The only thing I hear from the girls is that it can be kind of irritating."

Apollo Hosts Public for James Brown Viewing

After a long drive through the night from Georgia, the body of music legend James Brown arrived Thursday in Harlem, where thousands of fans waited to see the singer one last time at the Apollo Theater.

The Godfather of Soul arrived in a white hearse at the Rev. Al Sharpton's headquarters just after noon.

Pallbearers lifted his gold casket into a horse-drawn carriage that was to take the body on a procession through Harlem to the historic hall.

As the white carriage, pulled by two white horses, began rolling, several hundred fans sang the chorus of Brown's anthem, "Say it Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud.''

Plans called for Brown to lie in repose from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the stage where he made his 1956 debut and recorded a thrilling live album in 1962. A program for family and close friends was planned for 6 p.m.

Some fans arrived as early as midnight for a chance to pay their respects.

The public will be permitted on Thursday to visit the Apollo from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m to have one more look at a man who helped steer modern musical tastes toward rhythm-and-blues, funk, hip-hop, disco and rap, the Rev. Al Sharpton said.

Yankees Star Bobby Murcer Scheduled for Surgery

Former New York Yankees star Bobby Murcer was set to have surgery Thursday to remove a brain tumor, the Daily News reported.

The 60-year-old Murcer, now a Yankees broadcaster, was scheduled to undergo surgery in Houston. He had been having headaches and feeling a loss of energy lately, and the tumor was discovered following an MRI on Christmas Eve, the newspaper reported Thursday.

"I'm feeling OK and we're just going to have to see what this surgery will bring,'' Murcer told the Daily News by phone Wednesday night. "I'm hopeful that everything will turn out OK and I'm thankful to have so many friends who are rooting for me.''

Murcer was to be treated at the MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, one of the top cancer facilities in the nation, the newspaper said.

Murcer played 17 seasons in the major leagues from 1965-83 and was a five-time All-Star and a Gold Glove-winning outfielder. In his career with the Yankees, San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs, he batted .277 with 252 home runs and 1,043 RBIs.

After his retirement, Murcer won three Emmy Awards for live sports coverage as the voice of the Yankees.

Apollo Hosts Public for James Brown Viewing

James Brown's music career will come full circle when his body is brought to rest on the stage of the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, where he made his explosive debut, and the world changed to his beat.

The public will be permitted on Thursday to visit the Apollo from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m to have one more look at a man who helped steer modern musical tastes toward rhythm-and-blues, funk, hip-hop, disco and rap, the Rev. Al Sharpton said.

The reverend has been a close friend of Brown for decades.

"It would almost be unthinkable for a man who lived such a sensational life to go away quietly,'' Sharpton said in an interview from Georgia, where he was making funeral arrangements with Brown's children.

Sharpton said the public Apollo viewing will be followed by a private ceremony Friday in Brown's hometown, Augusta, Ga., and another public ceremony, officiated by Sharpton, a day later at the James Brown Arena there.

"His greatest thrill was always the lines around the Apollo Theater,'' Sharpton said of the Harlem landmark. "I felt that James Brown in all the years we talked would have wanted one last opportunity to let the people say goodbye to him and he to the people.''

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Post-Christmas Sales Important to Retailers

The nation's retailers ushered in the post-Christmas shopping season on Tuesday by slashing prices even more on holiday items and stocking up on fresh merchandise.

With the 2006 pre-Christmas season falling short of sales expectations for many merchants, the retail industry hoped that shoppers, armed with gift cards, would spend freely in the weeks ahead on discounted items as well as full-priced merchandise. That would boost business in December and in the fourth-quarter.

Federated Department Stores Inc.'s Macy's opened its doors at 7 a.m. and offered discounts ranging from 50 percent to 75 percent. Toys "R'' Us Inc. offered 50 percent discounts on selected toys. The toy seller was also showcasing hot toys from 2007 in its stores.

Merchants "are going to use all 31 days in December,'' and the month of January, said Marshal Cohen, chief analyst at NPD Group Inc., a market research company in Port Washington, N.Y.

At Buckland Hills mall in Manchester, Conn, about 10 people waited outside Macy's as the doors opened, including Liz Pistritto and her daughter, Nina Gioielli, 24, who go to Macy's every year for the post-Christmas sales.

"It's a tradition. We've been doing this since I was little, since I was 2 -- and I'm 46 now,'' said Pistritto, who said they spend three to four hours shopping on the day after Christmas, mostly looking for ornaments and wrapping paper.

Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink Turns 70

Happy 70th birthday, Rockefeller Center ice skating rink.

The rink, which sits next to the famous Christmas tree in midtown Manhattan, opened on Dec. 25, 1936, as the premiere artificial outdoor skating pond built in the city, operator Patina Restaurant Group said. It boasted amenities such as lights for nighttime skating, a heated changing room, piped-in music and a dining area.

Today the rink is a popular tourist destination, surrounded by restaurants and featuring views of the golden Prometheus statue. It's a short walk from St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Saks Fifth Avenue department store.

The rink, which measures 122 feet long by 59 feet wide, will be open seven days a week until April. It opens each October for the winter skating season, handling up to 150 skaters at a time, more than 250,000 of them each year.

Sharpton: Hairstyle is "My Bond with James Brown"

The Rev. Al Sharpton remembers spotting his mentor, James Brown, for the first time backstage just before an early 1970s concert. Brown, in front of a mirror combing his spiked hair, urged the impressionable teenager to aim high.

Brown advised Sharpton not to "go for little things — go for the whole hog." Then Brown, grabbing a microphone, kept talking right up to when he put the microphone to his lips and sang.

The startled Sharpton realized he had followed his American idol on stage.

"I didn't know what to do so I started dancing," Sharpton recalled Monday in an interview. Later, he sobbed as he spoke at a news conference, shortly before leaving for Georgia to see Brown's daughters and offer help planning the funeral.

'Godfather of Soul' James Brown Dead at 73

James Brown, the dynamic, pompadoured "Godfather of Soul," whose revolutionary rhythms, rough voice and flashing footwork influenced generations of musicians from rock to rap, died early Christmas morning. He was 73.

Brown was hospitalized with pneumonia at Emory Crawford Long Hospital on Sunday and died of heart failure around 1:45 a.m. Monday, said his agent, Frank Copsidas of Intrigue Music.

He initially seemed fine at the hospital and even told people that he planned to be on stage in New York on New Year's Eve, Copsidas said.

Brown was one of the major musical influences of the past 50 years. From Mick Jagger to Michael Jackson, David Bowie to Public Enemy, Brown's rapid-footed dancing, hard-charging beats and heartfelt yet often unintelligible vocals changed the musical landscape. He was to rhythm and dance music what Bob Dylan was to lyrics.

"He was an innovator, he was an emancipator, he was an originator. Rap music, all that stuff came from James Brown," entertainer Little Richard, a longtime friend of Brown's, said.

"James Brown changed music," said Rev. Al Sharpton, who toured with him in the 1970s and imitates his hairstyle to this day.

"He made soul music a world music," Sharpton said. "What James Brown was to music in terms of soul and hip-hop, rap, all of that, is what Bach was to classical music. This is a guy who literally changed the music industry. He put everybody on a different beat, a different style of music. He pioneered it."

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Ex-Miss Nevada USA apologizes for photos

The former Miss Nevada USA, dethroned over raunchy photos posted online, apologized Saturday as her attorney pleaded for the pageant queen to be given a second chance.

Katie Rees, who appeared in photos revealing a breast, exposing her thong underwear and kissing other young women at a party in Tampa, said her behavior was an "isolated incident."

"I am so sorry this happened," she said at a news conference in Clearwater, reading a prepared statement. "So many of us don't realize how our actions, even one night of poor judgment, can affect the rest of our lives."

Her attorney, Mario Torres of Tampa, asked that
Miss Universe Organization co-owner Donald Trump grant Rees the same opportunity he gave
Miss USA Tara Conner, who was allowed to keep her tiara after she tearfully admitted drinking as a minor at New York nightclubs. The Miss Universe Organization owns the Miss USA pageant and others.

"He always believes in second chances," Torres said of Trump. "We are asking for that and plead that he answer our call, allow us to meet with him and allow us to defend ourselves."

A Miss Universe spokeswoman has said organization president Paula Shugart made the decision to strip Rees of her title and Trump supported it. An e-mail sent to a secretary for Trump was not immediately answered Saturday.

Shugart has said first runner-up Helen Salas will assume the Miss Nevada title and compete at the next Miss USA pageant on March 23 in Los Angeles.

The person who posted the pictures of Rees should "in some way be held accountable," said Torres, adding that could involve legal action.

The photographer, a friend of Rees, was not identified.

Schwarzenegger breaks leg while skiing

California Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger broke his leg while skiing with his family Saturday morning in Sun Valley, Idaho, a spokesman said.

Schwarzenegger, 59, was taken to a hospital for X-rays and was discharged with a fracture to his right femur, said Adam Mendelsohn, the governor's Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications.

He will have surgery to repair the bone when he returns to Los Angeles, Mendelsohn said. The governor remained at his Sun Valley home Saturday night and still planned to spend Christmas there.

No one else was involved in the accident, Mendelsohn said.

The fracture was the third medical problem the governor suffered in a year.

He spent several hours at a University of California, Davis, hospital last December with a rapid heartbeat after coming down with a stomach flu. In January, Schwarzenegger needed 15 stitches to repair his cut lip after colliding with a car while riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle in Los Angeles.

The Sun Valley Resort, a favorite skiing destination for celebrities, includes a short ski trail named "Arnold's Run" after Schwarzenegger. The trail is categorized as a black diamond, or most difficult, for its challenging terrain.

The name and level of difficulty of the trail the governor was skiing when his accident occurred were not released.

Amateurs reach for high-end digital cameras

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A professional-quality digital camera is at the top of Nate Paulson's wish list this holiday season, and while the price tag of nearly $3,000 is still a little steep, he expects it to fall within his budget soon.

At a camera store in Manhattan this week, Paulson and other photography aficionados pondered a growing range of high-quality digital cameras that are luring even the most die-hard traditionalists away from film.

The bank employee seems to have set his heart on Canon Inc.'s 5D with 12.8 megapixels -- one of many digital single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras, which allow users to see images exactly as they will be captured.

"I'm waiting for the price to come down. I think it will," Paulson said, eyeing an advertisement for the new model.

Professional-quality digital cameras still cost far more than basic "point and shoot" devices, but prices have fallen by 50 percent or more in the last few years.

Improvements in picture quality are also helping to convince even professional photographers, who once swore by film, to convert to digital.

Digital SLR cameras, like film counterparts, enable users to manipulate light and depth of field through a mix of manual and automatic controls and interchangeable lenses, with the added advantages of digital photography.

Photographers are freed from the hassle and cost of using film, and can experiment with photos before and after shooting.

Allan Weitz, a photographer and a Web editor for camera shop B&H, said that among entry-level digital SLR cameras, Nikon Corp.'s D40 with 6.1 megapixels was a popular choice, selling with a lens kit for around $600. Higher megapixels indicate better resolution.

"Two years ago, the same kind of camera cost $1,500 to $1,600, and two years before that, $3,500," he said. "Every year to a year-and-a-half, you find more cameras for less money, and better quality."

Other popular entry-level digital SLRs under $1000 include Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XTi and Pentax Corp.'s K100D

Friday, December 22, 2006

NY Times Report: PATH Tunnels Vulnerable

A carry-on bomb could flood portions of commuter train tunnels between New York and New Jersey in a matter of hours, The New York Times reported.

The newspaper said that was the worst-case scenario in a draft of a new analysis that suggests the PATH rail system is more vulnerable than had been thought.

A government official gave the newspaper a draft summary of the analysis, The Times said. Characterized as preliminary and continuing, the analysis was based on work by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.

The draft report showed that the PATH system's four tunnels, which run between New York City and New Jersey, are more fragile than they were said to be in an assessment this spring. It suggests that a bomb small enough to be carried on a train could blow big enough holes to allow 1.2 million gallons of water per minute to gush into a tunnel, flooding parts of the system within hours, the newspaper said.

A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which runs the PATH system, defended its safety.
"If we believed in any way that passengers were in danger, we'd close the system,'' spokesman Marc La Vorgna said. "That would happen immediately.''

He would not answer specific questions about the analysis, according to the newspaper. But he said Port Authority police recently upped patrols and bag searches in the PATH system, and the agency's board voted last week to spend $180 million to boost security on the rail line.

BlackBerry Maker’s Profit Beats Forecast

The maker of the BlackBerry, Research In Motion Ltd., reported a higher third-quarter profit Thursday that beat expectations and forecast an even stronger fourth quarter because of strong demand for hand-held devices.

R.I.M., which is in the midst of reviewing its stock-option-granting practices, said it earned $176 million, or 93 cents a share, for the three months that ended Dec. 2. That was up from $120 million, or 61 cents a share, a year ago. Adjusted to exclude regular stock option expenses, R.I.M. reported a profit of 95 cents a share. Revenue increased 49 percent, to $835.1 million.

According to Reuters Estimates, analysts were expecting earnings of 93 cents a share before one-time items on revenue of $815.4 million.

The strong results and forecast sent shares of R.I.M. soaring to $141.30 in after-hours trading, up $7.60, or 5.7 percent, from the regular close of $133.70 on Nasdaq.

The company, which is based in Waterloo, Ontario, said 875,000 BlackBerry subscriber accounts were added in the quarter. The total subscriber account base was seven million at the end of the quarter.

In September, R.I.M. told the markets to expect third-quarter revenue of $780 million to $820 million, along with about 800,000 subscriber additions. It said net earnings should be 88 to 95 cents a share, and adjusted earnings should come in at 90 to 97 cents a share.

Racy Pics Cost Miss Nevada USA Title

Another Miss USA contestant has taken a tumble.

Miss Nevada USA was stripped of her title Thursday after racy photos of her appeared on the Internet, pageant officials said. Some of the photos show Katie Rees, 22, kissing other young women, exposing one of her breasts and pulling down her pants to show her thong underwear at a party in Tampa, Fla.

Blonde Bonanza

RONALD Perelman is back with blond psychiatrist Anna Chapman, but there's another blonde on the scene. The Revlon billionaire had lunch Tuesday at Fred's with Elisabeth Roehm , who played the hot prosecutor in "Law & Order" a few seasons back and dated MSNBC's Dan Abrams. As much as Perelman enjoyed lunch, he is said to be very happily spending the holidays on his yacht in St. Barts with the brainy Chapman.

Oscar Prepping

PARIS Hilton can't act her way out of a paper bag, but she's not giving up hope of a movie career just yet. To prepare for her new flick, "The Hottie and the Nottie," the ditzy party animal has been going to acting classes in Beverly Hills with a script in her hand. The movie, directed by Tom Putnam, concerns a woman who refuses to marry her longtime boyfriend until he finds the perfect match for her ugly friend.



The State Liquor Authority is cracking down on all-night New Year's parties - denying a slew of clubs a special permit that would allow them to stay open extra late, The Post has learned.

For the first time, SLA officials are enforcing a little-known rule that allows them to reject requests for the special permits from any clubs that have charges from the agency pending against them.

The crackdown - one official said more than 40 clubs have been targeted and the number could be higher - comes in the wake of several violent incidents this year at or near clubs.

Those include the deaths of 18-year-old Jennifer Moore, who was raped and murdered after leaving a Chelsea nightclub, and 24-year-old Imette St. Guillen, whose murder has been blamed on a bouncer at a bar in SoHo.

Club owners and elected officials were infuriated by the SLA's surprise move to nix many requests for the special permits, which allow clubs to keep partying on New Year's past the legal 4 a.m. closing time.

"This policy has never been applied on New Year's Eve," said Robert Bookman, a lawyer for the New York Nightlife Association, noting that previously the special New Year's permits were routinely granted.



Install the Yankees as the favorite to land Roger Clemens when the Hall of Fame hurler decides to resume pitching.

With golf partner and close friend Andy Pettitte officially returning to The Bronx, the Yankees will be appealing to Clemens, who Pettitte predicted will surface at some point in the 2008 season.

Speaking on a conference call yesterday from Houston, Pettitte said he believes Clemens will pitch in 2007 even though Pettitte said Clemens hasn't told him what his decision will be.

"I would have to imagine he is going to play," said Pettitte, who said Clemens only called him after Pettitte signed with the Yankees. "He continues to come back and continues to be the best pitcher in the league. Why wouldn't he play? I am sure he will come back and play. Who with? I have no idea."

When Clemens, who will be 45 in August, decides to pitch again, it will likely be for the second half of the season, as he did last year, and be a three-horse race with the Yankees, Red Sox and Astros entered. However, the Yankees employ his closest friend in baseball, always make the postseason and may allow Clemens to get home to Houston when his schedule dictates.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

NYC Airports Welcome 100 Millionth Passenger of 2006

NYC Airports Welcome 100 Millionth Passenger of 2006

A Taiwanese woman who arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday was the 100 millionth passenger of the year at the region's three major airports.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the airports and other transit hubs in the region, said Liang Chen was the lucky 100 millionth traveler for Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International airports after taking a nonstop Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong. When she landed, she was greeted by Port Authority officials.

In honor of the dizzying distinction, she was lavished with gifts including airline tickets, hotel accommodations and tickets to a New York Mets game.

The three airports logged just under 100 million travelers last year. And they're on track to handle 104 million by the end of 2006, an increase of more than 28 percent in just four years.

The new statistic caps a series of recent records for the three airports. Last year's traffic set one, as did the more than 50.6 million passengers who trooped through in the first half of this year. Newark's passenger count hit a new high of 34.2 million this weekend, surpassing a record set in 2000.

The passenger records are a measure of a rebound in air traffic since the airborne terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which spurred a sharp downturn in air travel and led to airline bankruptcies.

Record Number of N.J. Holiday Travelers Expected

The winter holidays are not the busiest travel period of the year, but that was of little comfort to the dozens of people waiting for curbside check-in at Newark Liberty International Airport on Wednesday, five days before Christmas.

"We thought it wouldn't be so crowded this early,'' said Rik Nebeker, of Hillsborough, who was traveling with his wife to see their daughter and her fiance in Madison, Wis.

The Nebekers are among a record number of travelers expected to take to the skies and highways over the next two weeks.

The bottom line: Leave extra time and use mass transit when possible. That advice is especially true when visiting New York City, which has a gridlock alert through Friday.

Need Help with Shipping Holiday Packages?

The United States Postal Service has many resources to assist you with mailing holiday packages this year.

From mailing letters to getting packages shipped in time for Christmas Day, the Postal Service has the solutions - including package pickup from your front porch! Click here for more info from the U.S. Postal Service.

If you miss the regular mail delivery date, are looking for an alternative way to ship your packages or just need to know more guidelines, try these resources:

FedEx's Holiday Schedule and Shipping Information


UPS' and Mail Boxes Etc.'s Guide to Shipping Holiday Packages

UPS and Mail Boxes Etc. Store Locator

DHL -- Guide to the Holidays's Ordering Deadlines

Cha-Ching Brooklyn!

- A $4 billion redevelopment project that could reshape Brooklyn with an NBA basketball arena, office towers and thousands of apartments was approved Wednesday after months of maneuvering among New York state's top political leaders.

The state Public Authorities Control Board voted unanimously to authorize the Atlantic Yards development, a sprawling reuse of a downtown Brooklyn railyard that would include a new home for the New Jersey Nets.

The state would pay $100 million and New York City would pay $100 million toward the project.

Marijuana top U.S. cash crop, policy analyst says

Woman tells cop she bought 'bad crack'

FUNNYHAWTHORNE, Fla. - A North Carolina woman was arrested after complaining to a police officer that the crack cocaine she had just purchased wasn't very good, authorities said.

Eloise D. Reaves, 50, approached the Putnam County sheriff's deputy at a convenience store Friday, telling him that another man had sold her "bad crack" that contained wax and cocaine.

She pulled an alleged crack rock out of her mouth and placed it on the deputy's car for inspection, the Palatka Daily News reported for Tuesday editions.

The deputy told Reaves that she would be arrested if the crack tested positive for cocaine.

She was charged with possession of cocaine and bonded out for $1,504.

iChat AV

new to APPLE check out ichat

Leo Laporte hates the Zune!

Leo doing all his antics, but he is a character and funny
check out TECH TV for more of him

A look inside Google AdSense

Ad and image placement: a policy clarification
We've recently received a number of emails from publishers asking how we feel about the placement of images near Google ad units. There's been some confusion on this issue, and so we turned to our policy team to set the record straight.


A reputed Gambino crime-family associate - who allegedly has it in for federal agents, kids and African-Americans - was held without bail yesterday on extortion charges.

John Persing Jr., 40, allegedly chatted up feds who busted him last week, telling them he smoked joints occasionally to help him stay calm and prevent him from beating "n- - - - - s," according to documents filed in Brooklyn federal court.

As they drove from his house to FBI Headquarters, he explained that he has an understanding with the "criminal element" in his Staten Island neighborhood.

"The nature of the understanding is they leave Persing alone and Persing does not run over their children," the agents wrote.

Persing's wrath turned toward law enforcement as he waited to be processed at headquarters.

"I'd just as soon as split your f- - - ing head open," he said to an agent, adding that he had "more time on the pot" than his captor had on the job.

Persing, who has two prior convictions, faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted of extortion charges, said Assistant U.S. Attorney John Buretta.

He previously served 12 years for armed robbery.

Persing and his father, John Persing Sr., were arrested together last Tuesday and charged with extortion, along with two made members of organized crime, Buretta said.

The elder man was released on $1 million bail the same day.

Yesterday, magistrate Judge Viktor Pohorelsky ordered that the talkative younger man be detained.

Persing's behavior "evinces a willingness to engage in a kind of behavior the community shouldn't be exposed to," he said.

Buretta said the extortion victim was a loan shark whom Persing threatened, saying he was "going to split one of his orifices because he was not paying."

It wasn't known how much money he was supposed to pay and why.

According to the papers, Persing denied the charge as his arrest was being processed by saying, "I never extorted anybody in my life - I beat people up. I assault people."

Persing's lawyer, Mathew Mari, denied his client said anything derogatory about other races.

He said Persing was angry at the feds for being falsely arrested and simply mouthed off.

"He was handcuffed tightly and felt that he was being abused physically and verbally," Mari said.

"He cursed at the agents in a fit of anger."



Drug-snorting, man-eating Miss USA Tara Conner got the "second chance" of a lifetime yesterday as Donald Trump told the pageant queen she can keep her title by entering rehab for substance abuse - and not screwing up afterward.

"I think Tara is going to be a great comeback kid," Trump told a gigantic press conference at Trump Tower in Midtown.

"I believe she can be a great example for troubled people - and she's troubled," said Trump, who owns the pageant. "Tara is a good person. Tara has tried hard. Tara is going to be given a second chance."

Conner, who turned 21 on Monday, tearfully thanked The Donald for not saying "You're fired!" after days of headlines about her underage drinking, failed cocaine test, nightclub bathroom antics, and incessant hunk-hunting in Big Apple hotspots.

yoko ono news story

NYC to Give Away Hundreds of Free MetroCards

Motorists looking to avoid holiday gridlock will be in luck Wednesday.

The New York City Department of Transportation announced a program to alleviate congestion during "gridlock alert days," which includes a giveaway at Shea Stadium of a total of 350 round-trip $4 Metro Cards.

The cards are free for commuters who park at Shea Stadium and use mass transit to get to Manhattan on Dec. 20, Dec. 27 and Jan. 3, 2007, and will be given away by NYC-DOT staff.

Those days are considered high-risk traffic days because of matinees and proximity to holiday travel times.

The cards were donated by the International Gemological Institute, a diamond appraiser, to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.

The giveaway will take place at the Shea Stadium parking lot entrance at Roosevelt Avenue between 114th and 126th Streets Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Why the Chipmakers Are Down for '07

Semiconductor companies are bullish about 2008. But first, they'll have to contend with loads of challenges this coming year Semiconductor companies may be looking forward to a boom year in 2008, but first they'll need to struggle through 2007—which is shaping up as anything but great.

The beginning of January typically signals a seasonal slowdown in demand for chips used in PCs, digital cameras, wireless phones, and other popular consumer-electronics gadgets. And it usually takes two quarters for that demand to heat up again in anticipation of another tech-crazy holiday season.

But as with every year in semiconductor industry history, there are always a few unusual factors that knock the cycles off a tidy, predictable course. This year, two unusual factors stand out: the demand for flash memory and Microsoft's (MSFT) new operating system, Windows Vista. In the case of flash, chip makers can't keep up with demand, but prices aren't growing fast enough to keep manufacturers very content.

Introducing the iPhone—But Not from Apple

Cisco is using a long-held trademark on a new line of consumer handsets—less than a month before Apple is expected to release its own cell phone
A joke making the rounds on the Web Dec. 15 said the iPhone will be released on Dec. 18.

Here's the punch line: It's true. Not only that, but the company unveiling the device isn't Apple Computer (AAPL). Instead, the manufacturer behind a series of new products bearing the iPhone name is Linksys, a unit of networking equipment maker Cisco Systems (CSCO).

The company is announcing a series of Web-enabled telephone handsets designed to work with Internet calling services such as Skype, a division of eBay (EBAY), and other services, including SIP Phone's Gizmo Project.

Hundreds mourn Atlantic Records co-founder who died in New York

Turkey (AP) -- Kid Rock joined Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and hundreds of other mourners Monday at the funeral of Ahmet Ertegun, a co-founder of Atlantic Records, who died last week in New York.

Ertegun, who counted Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and the Rolling Stones among the stars signed to his label, died Thursday, days after falling and suffering a head injury at a Rolling Stones concert. He was 83.

The Turkish-born Ertegun was buried at an ancestral family site near a Muslim religious lodge on the Asian side of the city following a religious service.

Gul praised Ertegun as a man who had done much to promote Turkey's image.

"Nobody has, or ever will, do what he did for Turkey in the United States," Gul said. "He has left a large void."

Kid Rock said, according to the state-run Anatolia news agency: "I have met many people, been to many places and seen many things, but he was definitely the best. He could not sing, but he was music personified."

A memorial for Ertegun will be held in New York early next year.

Ertegun, the son of a Turkish ambassador, started collecting records for fun but eventually became one of the music industry's most powerful figures with Atlantic, which he co-founded in 1947.

The label made its name with rhythm and blues by Charles and Big Joe Turner but later diversified, making Franklin the queen of soul and carrying the banner of British rock with the Rolling Stones, Cream and Led Zeppelin and American pop with Sonny and Cher and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Orange to launch Google mobile phone by 2008

Google has held initial talks with Orange, the mobile network provider, on the formation of a multi-media partnership that will create the 'Google phone', a device which aims to make it easier to surf the web on a mobile device designed for Google's search functionality.

A partnership between these powerful brands has the potential to completely change the landscape of internet marketing. Although many mobile phones offer internet access, the Google phone will have special software provided by the Silicon Valley multinational, which will make it easier to access the internet. This development will dramatically improve user experience, adding useful features like Google Local Search, which will allow consumers to look up local cinema listings, restaurant guides and similar products depending on the geographical location of the mobile handset itself.

The initial plans look set to release a fully branded Google phone that will appeal to younger mobile users and will utilise Google software integrated into an Orange handset. The Google phone will also be manufactured by HTC, who specialise in the production of PDAs.

Larry Page, Co-Founder and President of Products in Google, appears eager to expand the search engine's power into the mobile arena, since there are twice as many mobile phones as PCs in the world. Additionally, mobile usage is growing at a very fast rate, since mobile phones are more affordable than PCs and can be used in areas with minimum infrastructure.

Windows Vista preview: Looks good, works even better

t took five years for software giant Microsoft to replace its operating system Windows XP to Windows Vista. Now, instead of having just two versions, the company is expanding Windows Vista to five versions: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate, perhaps all in the hopes of targeting specific markets with specific needs. The names of each Windows Vista versions are self-explanatory and as Microsoft Philippines Senior Product Manager Jojo Ayson would have described Vista, “it’s idiot-proof.”

But what are the new additions to Microsoft’s new operating system? The company claims there are hundreds of new features, but of these, ordinary users will be able to use or even be aware of only a handful. Microsoft Philippines recently briefed Philippine journalists about the new features and revamps in Windows Vista.

First of all, the entire Windows graphical user interface has been overhauled. The Start button, which has been the staple of the Windows OS for 10 years since Windows 95, is finally gone and replaced by the four-color Windows logo in an orb. There is also an additional opaque side-view panel called Sidebar and contains the most frequently used applets or “gadgets” in Windows, including a clock, thermometer and calendar.

Microsoft described its overall change of the interface as “Aero,” which may not mean anything but would probably be the biggest GUI change since Windows XP. Among those traditional Windows actions that have been changed is the venerable Alt+Tab hotkey, which toggles back-and-forth the active applications. This hotkey in Windows Vista now allows users to see translucent mini-windows of their applications instead of just the logo of the active application. Minimized applications on the Taskbar below the screen will also show off a translucent image when the mouse pointer floats over them.

Piper Jaffray disputes report of weak iTunes sales

Digital music sales surged at Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes service over the first nine months of 2006, Piper Jaffray said on Wednesday, contradicting a report that sales collapsed in the first half.

Apple shares fell 3 percent on Tuesday after Forrester Research reported a 65 percent drop in monthly iTunes revenue in the first six months of the year, based on a survey of North American consumers.

Retired Cop Charged With Running Drug Mart at Marina

A retired police officer and eight others have been arrested on charges of running a drug market at a city-owned Manhattan marina, officials said Friday.

Jerome O'Rourke, 42, who retired from the New York Police Department in the late 1980s, and the others were charged with several counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and conspiracy, Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan reported.

A six-month long investigation recorded 48 sales of cocaine, heroin, crack, ecstasy and marijuana to undercover narcotics officers at the Dyckman Street Marina or in the vicinity since May of 2006, Brennan said.

The prosecutor said O'Rourke brokered many of the deals, turning the marina into a place where large-scale dealers could meet with drug buyers who were actually undercover officers.

NYC Strip Club 'Phenomenon' Ordered Closed

A strip club in Queens that has been the scene of three fatal shootings in the past three years has been shut down after a five-month investigation in which officers posing as patrons were sold drugs and offered sex for cash, authorities said Friday.

The nightspot, known as Club Phenomenon, located in the Woodside section of Queens, was padlocked Thursday night thanks to a court order, two months after the most recent shooting death. The drug side of the undercover probe has led to one arrest, according to the Queens district attorney's office.

The investigation into the club occurred amid a citywide crackdown prompted by the case of a New Jersey teenager who was abducted, raped and killed after a night of partying earlier this year at a Manhattan nightclub.

Last month, during one such undercover operation at the Kalua Cabaret in Jamaica, Queens, police officers fired shots at three unarmed men and killed one, 23-year-old Sean Bell, on his wedding day. The case stunned the city. A man who answered the phone at the Kalua Cabaret on Friday said the establishment was still open.

On Friday, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly applauded the closure of Club Phenomenon.

"Drugs and prostitution are neither harmless nor victimless crimes,'' Brown said in a statement. "They erode a neighborhood's quality of life, instill fear in its residents and create an atmosphere in which more serious crimes can flourish.''

A second nightclub, known as Club Fantasia, also was ordered shut Thursday because it is in the same building and shared an exit with Phenomenon. Phone calls to a number listed for Club Phenomenon resulted in busy signal Friday. There was no answer at Club Fantasia.

Toward the end of their investigation, officers in November arrested 29-year-old Billy Diaz of Queens on charges of selling cocaine to undercover officers six different times, the district attorney's office said.

Officials also allege that a club employee agreed to sell cocaine to officers but then told them he had sold out of stock for the night.

Diaz's attorney, Marvyn Kornberg, declined comment Friday.

The officers also were offered sex with various women at Club Phenomenon for prices between $400 to $500, but no arrests were made so as not to impede the drug investigation, the district attorney's office said.

A series of shootings have led to three deaths at the club scene, including the October death of 22-year-old Ernesto Salgado of Queens, who was sitting in a car outside the strip club. Also killed were Francisco Rosa, 32, an off-duty court officer working as a security guard at the club, in May 2004, and David Garcia, 23, who died after being shot during a fight outside the club in November 2003.

Charges have been brought against a suspect only in the case of Rosa.

The club's "closing will improve the quality of life for members of the community previously threatened by activities in and around this location,'' Kelly said in a statement.

Authorities pursued the court order for the club's closure under nuisance abatement laws. They also are seeking to have the club evicted from its building.

The body of Jennifer Moore, 18, of Harrington Park, N.J., was found in a West New York, N.J., trash bin in July. Draymond Coleman, 34, has been accused of killing Moore in a Weehawken hotel room after he lured the drunken teen, who had been partying at a Chelsea nightclub, into a taxi.

Mayor Bloomberg Named 'New Yorker of the Year'

NEW YORK -- Daily News is calling Mayor Michael Bloomberg the "New Yorker of the Year.''

In Monday's issue, the editors of the Daily News write that Bloomberg was key in helping to iron-out World Trade Center development.

They also cited his campaign against trans fats, which led to the nation's first ban on the heart-clogging oils.

Under Bloomberg, the editors say, crime continues at historic lows in New York City even as the police department focuses on anti-terrorism.

They also cite Bloomberg's national gun control crusade and his support of development along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sprint Mobile Broadband USB Modem

Access your company network and databases, send and receive email with attachments, and surf the Web with ease from your PC laptop or their PC desktop when accessing Sprint Power VisionSMnetwork - the nation’s largest wireless broadband network - while using the Sprint Mobile Broadband USB Modem by Novatel Wireless (Ovation U720) that plugs into a computer’s USB port. The Ovation U720 is equipped with a new chipset that supports increased upload and download speeds available with the upgraded Sprint Mobile Broadband technology beginning in late 2006. This device is backward compatible with all versions of the Sprint Vision and Power Vision networks.

Queen is way out of line

Miss USA Tara Conner is on the verge of losing her crown after testing positive for cocaine, lustily kissing Miss Teen USA in public and sneaking men into their Trump Place apartment, sources tell the Daily News.

"Tara was a party animal," said a source who knows Conner, 20, and Miss Teen USA Katie Blair, 18, from some of the city's top nightspots. "I've seen them kiss before. They always dance all sexy on the tables. ... They definitely get close."

Conner packed her bags and left the bachelorette pad Thursday, and canceled a scheduled Miami charity appearance tonight. Pageant sources said she has no other public appearances this year.

Pageant boss Donald Trump scheduled a Tuesday news conference to announce her fate.

"First and foremost he is concerned about Tara and wants to do what is best for her," Trump's office said. "Then he will think about what is best for the very successful Miss USA pageant."

One clubgoer described for the Daily News seeing Conner snort cocaine in one of the nightclubs where she drank regularly despite being underage, and The News learned she recently failed a drug test.

The Miss USA runner-up, Miss California USA Tamiko Nash, would inherit the crown if Conner can't finish her reign.

Conner was named Miss USA just eight months ago, but quickly started blazing a trail through New York's late-night club world, scenesters told The News.

"She really is a small-town girl. She just went wild when she came to the city," one nightlife veteran said. "Tara just couldn't handle herself. They were sneaking those [nightclub] guys in and out of the apartment."

Conner and Blair shared a Trump Place apartment with Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera, 19, but sources say Conner and Blair got in hot water with pageant bosses for getting Rivera drunk on her birthday.

Rivera cleaned up her act, sources said, but Conner still brought boyfriends home.

Conner grew up in a tiny town in rural Kentucky, trying her luck in regional pageants before winning the Miss USA title.

An unhappy ending for O.J. editor

Judith Regan's recent projects - O.J. Simpson's 'If I Did It' and a Mickey Mantle novel - drew protest.

Yoko's after me!

Driver tells The News he's innocent, fears OnoIn jail interview, Koral Karson (shown after arrest Wednesday) says his ex-boss is 'using everything against me.'

Thursday, December 14, 2006

CNBC poll predicts sales of 17M iPods this holiday

According to the second edition of CNBC's Holiday Central survey, some 8 percent of those polled expect said they expect to buy one of Apple Computer's iPod digital music players this holiday shopping season.

Based on the network's extrapolations, that means the Cupertino, Calif.-based company will likely see sales of around 17 million units.

Assuming an average selling price of $159 per iPod, Apple stands to reap $2.7 billion in revenue from the sales of the players alone, CNBC reported on the its Monday edition of "Power Lunch."

The same survey found that only 3 percent of those polled plan to buy a Nitendo Wii or Sony PlayStation 3, while just 2 percent have their sights set on Microsoft's Xbox 360.

The findings suggest that for a second straight year, the iPod will be the top selling "must have" holiday gadget.

CNBC's prediction of 17 million iPods falls smack in the middle of various Wall Street analyst estimates, which range from 14 million to 20 million units.

Shameful new book pimps Mick

O.J. publisher's latest trash invents talks with Yank legend

The woman who crassly championed O.J. Simpson's kill-and-tell book is now pushing another blasphemous tale - and this time Judith Regan is taking on one of New York's sacred heroes.

The memory of Mickey Mantle will be sullied by ReganBooks in a "biographical novel" that has the Mick recounting an imagined past replete with pornographic passages and foul jokes.

Author Peter Golenbock admits that much of "7: The Mickey Mantle Novel" - including a steamy scene where Mantle beds Marilyn Monroe behind Joe DiMaggio's back - are based on "not documentable" stories.

But Mantle's family is outraged and has denounced the novel, which is being published on March 1 by ReganBooks - an imprint of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

"The Mantle family had no participation in this book and insists that any suggestion that they did ... is ludicrous and offensive," family spokesman Marty Appel said.

The publisher gives this description of the novel's premise: "Mickey finds himself in heaven - much to his surprise - and realizes he's carrying a huge burden around with him. He needs to tell someone all the horrible things he did."

So Golenbock does it for Mantle in 286 lurid pages, some of which read like they were ripped from the pages of Penthouse Forum.

Golenbock, who co-wrote Johnny Damon's autobiography and "The Bronx Zoo" with former Yankee reliever Sparky Lyle, makes his reasons for writing this book clear in the prologue, where he imagines himself talking with Mantle.

"Maybe this is the book that will make me rich," he writes. "I'll publish the raunchiest book about you, and my guess is it'll be a smash because no one has ever written a book like this before."

In galleys of the book obtained by the Daily News, Golenbock describes Mantle succumbing to Monroe's charms, even as she "just lies there staring at him with cold, accusing eyes" while they are having sex.

Mantle expresses no remorse in cuckolding DiMaggio. "What had he ever done for me?" he says.

In a scene that is bound to pain relatives of former Yankees skipper Billy Martin, Mantle states, "I don't believe in having sex with women against their will the way Billy sometimes did.

"Billy and I didn't just want a woman every night - we needed to have a different woman every night," Mantle says.

Golenbock didn't return calls for comment. But he told Publishers Weekly the book was based on Mantle stories he heard from other ex-Yankees.

"My choice then became to write a biography and leave these stories out - but that wouldn't be Mickey Mantle," he said. "It really didn't leave me any other choice."

Former Yankee pitching star Whitey Ford said the idea that Mantle would seduce Monroe "is the stupidest thing I ever heard."

"We met her once at a ballpark in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Joe was with her," Ford told The News. "Mickey was too bashful to say hello to her."

Another former Yankee pitcher, Jim Bouton, whose memoir "Ball Four" sent shock waves through Major League Baseball with its depictions of Mantle and other carousing Yankees, said he saw "early chapters" of Golenbock's book. "I told him that he had Mickey's voice down pretty well," he said.

One of the most beloved and talented baseball players of all time, Mantle died of cancer in 1995. In a moving eulogy, NBC sportscaster Bob Costas summed up the feelings of all Yankee fans when he said, "He was our guy."

Bob Thompson, a Syracuse University professor and pop culture expert, said what Golenbock has done "has a long literary tradition."

"I've read novels with Ronald Reagan as a major character," he said. "What makes this different is No. 1, it's Mickey Mantle, and No. 2, it's Judith Regan."

True Yankee fans said they won't buy the book.

"I think it's a bunch of lies and mistruths," said Walter Hines, 42, as he nursed a beer at Mickey Mantle's Restaurant on 59th St. "I don't appreciate somebody profiting off of him, especially now that he's passed away. Why tarnish someone who's looked up to?"


IF yesterday's "interview" with Martin Scorsese in the Los Angeles Times seemed familiar, it's because the quotes were nearly 2 years old. Reporter Paul Lieberman couldn't get "The Departed" director to talk to him. "Marty is giving no interviews. He is hard at work on the documentary about the Rolling Stones, and doesn't have time," said a pal. So, for yesterday's piece in "The Envelope" section of the paper, Lieberman recycled quotes from his interview with Scorsese that ran on Feb. 27, 2005, when "The Aviator" was nominated for Best Picture. "It is outrageous that the L.A. Times, which likes to think it competes with the New York Times and the Washington Post, would recycle a 2-year-old interview with Marty just so it looks like they have an 'exclusive,' " said Scorsese's friend. The director, who's been nominated five times for Best Director and never won, is said to be purposefully not campaigning this year. "He was embarrassed by all of the hoopla over 'The Aviator' and 'Gangs of New York,' " said Leslee Dart, Scorsese's rep. "I think this is at best dubious ethics." Lieberman didn't return calls.

THE spirit of Frank Sinatra

THE spirit of Frank Sinatra was alive and well the other night when his daughter, Nancy, paid tribute to the Chairman of the Board at his favorite eatery, Patsy's, on what would have been his 91st birthday. Nancy dined with Rep. José Serrano, who bought the house a round of drinks. Then she stood up and thanked Patsy's owners, Joe, Sal and Frank Scognamillo, for feeding her dad over the years. Finally, she offered a toast to the Big Apple, tearfully telling the crowd how much he loved the city.

Naomi Watts flashes a mega-watt smile on the CBS Early Show.

Gwen Stefanias she leaves "The Late Show with David Letterman."

Golden Globe Nominations Announced

Helen Mirren, Leonardo DiCaprio and Clint Eastwood were among the multiple nominees, while the multinational ensemble drama "Babel'' led Golden Globe contenders Thursday with seven nominations including best dramatic picture.

Also nominated for best dramatic picture: the Robert Kennedy story "Bobby,'' the mob tale "The Departed,'' the suburban drama "Little Children'' and the royalty-in-crisis "The Queen.''

Mirren received nominations for playing both Queen Elizabeth I and II. She was nominated for dramatic movie actress for playing the current monarch in "The Queen,'' and for the title role in the TV miniseries "Elizabeth I.'' She also had a nomination for best actress in a TV miniseries or movie for "Prime Suspect: The Final Act.''

Other multiple nominees included DiCaprio, who had two nominations for best dramatic film actor in "Blood Diamond'' and "The Departed''; Eastwood, who had two directing nominations for his World War II companion films "Flags of Our Fathers'' and "Letters from Iwo Jima''; and Toni Collette, nominated for best actress in a movie comedy or musical for the road-trip romp "Little Miss Sunshine'' and TV supporting actress for "Tsunami: The Aftermath.''

"Babel,'' a story of families around the globe connected by a tragic shooting in the North African desert, also had nominations for performers Brad Pitt, Rinko Kikuchi and Adriana Barraza, director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, and best screenplay and musical score.

The Globes also include a category for best comedy or musical film, the nominees for which included the American culture satire "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.'' The movie's star, Sacha Baron Cohen, also was nominated for best actor in a movie comedy or musical.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Apple May Be Carrier for IPod Phone, Analyst Says

Apple Computer Inc. may serve as its own wireless carrier if it delivers an iPod-based cell phone next year and rely on the company's network of retail stores to sell service contracts for the device, UBS AG said.

To operate as a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, Apple may partner with Cingular Wireless LLC to provide wireless service for a so-called iPhone, Benjamin Reitzes, a UBS analyst in New York, said today in a note.

Analysts have anticipated Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs will parlay the success of the iPod into new devices, including a combination music player and cell phone that works with its iTunes music software and online store. Apple has sold more 67.6 million iPods since 2001, and Jobs may be able to convince current iPod users to buy the iPhone, Reitzes said.

``Apple is embarking on another chapter in multiplying its revenue streams as it sells more accessories and cellular services,'' said Reitzes, the second-ranked computer analyst by Institutional Investor magazine. ``While there are number of challenges with an MVNO, Apple may be the best positioned of any player yet to make it work given its distribution, brand, installed base of iPods and software and iTunes integration.''

Reitzes rates the shares ``buy'' and doesn't own any.

Apple may announce the iPhone in March or April, relying on its network of 174 retail stores to promote the device, he said. The iPhone may include 4 gigabytes to 8 gigabytes of flash memory and a digital camera, Reitzes said, citing unnamed sources. If the Cupertino, California-based company sells 5 million phones in 2007 for an average selling price of $300, that would add $1.5 billion to Apple's sales, he said.

Shares of Apple fell $2.61, or 2.9 percent, to $86.14 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. The stock has gained 20 percent this year.

Actor Peter Boyle Dies

Peter Boyle, who gained fame playing everything from a tap-dancing monster in "Young Frankenstein'' to the curmudgeonly father in the long-running TV sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond,'' has died. He was 71.

Boyle died Tuesday evening at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He had been suffering from multiple myeloma and heart disease, said his publicist, Jennifer Plante.

Boyle was beginning to gain notice playing hard-bitten, angry types when he took on the role of the hulking, lab-created monster in Mel Brooks' 1974 send-up of horror films. The movie's defining moment came when Gene Wilder, as scientist Frederick Frankenstein, introduced his creation to an upscale audience, which watched as Boyle, decked out in tails, performed a song-and-dance routine to the Irving Berlin classic "Puttin' On the Ritz.''

It showed another side of the Emmy-winning actor, one that would be exploited in countless other films and perhaps best in "Everybody Loves Raymond,'' in which he played incorrigible pater familia Frank Barone for 10 years.

Windows Vista preview: Looks good, works even better

t took five years for software giant Microsoft to replace its operating system Windows XP to Windows Vista. Now, instead of having just two versions, the company is expanding Windows Vista to five versions: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate, perhaps all in the hopes of targeting specific markets with specific needs. The names of each Windows Vista versions are self-explanatory and as Microsoft Philippines Senior Product Manager Jojo Ayson would have described Vista, “it’s idiot-proof.”

But what are the new additions to Microsoft’s new operating system? The company claims there are hundreds of new features, but of these, ordinary users will be able to use or even be aware of only a handful. Microsoft Philippines recently briefed Philippine journalists about the new features and revamps in Windows Vista.

First of all, the entire Windows graphical user interface has been overhauled. The Start button, which has been the staple of the Windows OS for 10 years since Windows 95, is finally gone and replaced by the four-color Windows logo in an orb. There is also an additional opaque side-view panel called Sidebar and contains the most frequently used applets or “gadgets” in Windows, including a clock, thermometer and calendar.

Microsoft described its overall change of the interface as “Aero,” which may not mean anything but would probably be the biggest GUI change since Windows XP. Among those traditional Windows actions that have been changed is the venerable Alt+Tab hotkey, which toggles back-and-forth the active applications. This hotkey in Windows Vista now allows users to see translucent mini-windows of their applications instead of just the logo of the active application. Minimized applications on the Taskbar below the screen will also show off a translucent image when the mouse pointer floats over them.

Samsung Sued for Trademark Infringement

NEW YORK -- The maker of BlackBerry mobile devices is suing the maker of the new "BlackJack" smart phone, charging Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. with trademark infringement.

The suit brought by Research in Motion Ltd. in U.S. Distinct Court for Central California alleges that "Samsung's use of the name `BlackJack' in connection with a smartphone" amounts to "unfair competition and trademark dilution.

TV prices dropping too fast, Sony says

Television prices are dropping faster than expected, and Sony's not too happy about it.

Prices for liquid crystal display TVs should drop between 25 percent and 30 percent this year. That's between 5 percent and 7 percent more than Sony anticipated, Stan Glasgow, president of Sony Electronics, said in a meeting with reporters in San Francisco last week.

While this is good for consumers--and it would be hard to find a thrifty buyer sympathetic to Sony's concerns--the quick plunge in prices could hurt the industry as a whole because it could leave consumer electronics manufacturers financially weakened and less able to invest in future technologies, Glasgow argued.

"LCDs will continue to experience heavy price erosion, but not at this level," he said. "It is hard to see that business model (of drastic price cuts) sustaining itself."

While Glasgow's comments can be attributed in part to the natural disinclination of a manufacturer to cut prices, analysts agreed that the big drop in prices for LCD and plasma TVS has been surprising.

"Prices have come down pretty aggressively," said Steve Baker, an analyst at NPD Techworld. "We saw more big names on Black Friday come out with more aggressive prices than expected. The surprise was that the big guys got dragged into the muck."

Vizio, for instance, a bargain plasma TV maker, sold a 42-inch plasma for $999 while Panasonic also touted 42-inch plasma deals for around $1,300.

A variety of factors have played a role in the dramatic drop. LCD and plasma TV makers are engaged in a turf war for the key 40-inch to 49-inch TV market, Baker said. Many manufacturers are also trying to get rid of excess supplies of TVs shipped to Europe in anticipation of a big selling binge before the summer's World Cup soccer tournament. Not as many sets sold as expected.

Best Holiday Computer Bargains....

Looking for a PC or Mac as a gift to a loved one—or yourself? Check out these notebooks and desktops, all high on performance, low on cost recently went on a search for the best deal in the low-priced computer market. We scoured retailers—Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, and the Apple store—and combed the Internet for bargain-basement prices.

We kept an eye out for price-reducing rebates, affordable high-end components like dual-core processors, and free upgrades to software such as the new Microsoft operating system, Windows Vista, due in January.

Ranging from $400 to $800, five notebooks and five desktops made the final cut. Retail prices may vary by location.

New Drivers for Dell

The PC giant is bringing in a raft of new talent to lift it out of a financial slump and get it back on the path to growth

Dell, in the midst of a lengthy turnaround, is gaining momentum in attracting newcomers to help reenergize its management ranks. The world's second-largest PC maker, which in the last two years has suffered a rash of defections at all managerial levels, in recent weeks has brought in a handful of new hires to lead some key areas (see, 11/7/06, "Dell's Executive Search").

James Kim tragedy tells our best impulses

It was like you knew them.

A lot of us do, in a sense. The successful, youngish couple with the interesting jobs, a couple of adorable kids, a nice car to take on a weeklong road trip.

What Does ‘Hero’ Really Mean?

By Richard Martin, 12-12-06

For the last week the tabloid TV shows and print media have been fixated on the tragic tale of James and Kati Kim, who were stuck in their car for nine days in a remote, snowy part of the Oregon Coast Range. Kati, 30, and the couple's two young daughters were finally rescued; James, 35, unfortunately, was not: he died of exposure trying to hike out to safety.

"Hero Father," went the headline on the Larry King Show, which devoted an hour to the Kims and other "miraculous survival" stories. " "Hero Dad" was the headline on most accounts of the ordeal. Even Kati Kim's father said, "He's a very heroic father."

Well, I don't mean to cast aspersions on the dead, and I certainly don't want to add to the burdens of Kati Kim, who now faces raising two daughters on her own. But James Kim was no hero.

In some ways the Kim story reminds me of the Jon Krakauer book Into the Wild, a harrowing account of Chris McCandless, a young, inexperienced would-be frontiersman who attempted to make it through an Alaskan winter living in an abandoned bus. He also perished. Krakauer's book didn't glorify McCandless, who was utterly unprepared for his misadventure; but by its very retelling it made his sad, and slightly ridiculous, tale into something more emblematic.

The difference, of course, is that James Kim didn't set out to get his family stuck in the snow. They were on their way from a Thanksgiving visit with family in Seattle back to San Francisco, where Kim worked as an editor for the online tech media co. CNET. They were driving south on Interstate 5 after 10 p.m. and, after apparently missing a turn, took a winding logging road called Bear Camp Road to try to get to the coast, where they were scheduled to spend the night at Gold Beach, Ore. Turned back by heavy snow, they decided to spend the night in their Saab station wagon. The next morning they couldn't drive out.

I've driven those roads between I5 and the Oregon coast, and they're as wild and remote as any in North America. To attempt to drive Bear Camp late at night, in winter, in a Saab station wagon, with a storm coming on, without supplies and with your two young daughters in the back seat -- that's beyond risky. It's criminally foolish.

Again, don't get me wrong: James Kim didn't deserve to die. But he shouldn't be lionized either. He got not just himself but his young family -- his daughters are 4 years and seven months old -- into a life-threatening situation by vastly underestimating the risks he was taking. Calling him a hero does him no service, and it does a disservice to those who risk their own lives almost daily, rescuing people who get in trouble in the mountains in winter.

Let me put it this way: what if James Kim had made it out, and his family had died in the car? Would we be calling him a hero then?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Memorial Fund Set Up For Kim Family

A memorial fund has been set up for the family of James Kim, who died last week trying to find help for his stranded family.

KimKim and his wife and two daughters were traveling from Seattle to San Francisco when they took a wrong turn in Southern Oregon and became stranded in the snow. They spent nearly a week in their car before Kim set off on his own.

Kim trekked about 16 miles through dangerous terrain before succumbing to the elements. Investigators think he likely died the day rescuers found his wife and children.

CNET, the San Francisco company where he worked, has set up a memorial fund.

Warning signs marked Kim family's journey

We came to Oregon to retrace the path James Kim and his family took the day they got stranded in the Rogue River wilderness.

When we finally reached the spot where the Kims' car stopped after a long, winding journey, our traveling companions -- Sgt. Joel Heller, Josephine County Sheriff's office, and John James, owner of the Black Bar Lodge -- both had the same exact thought: Why did the Kims continue down such a desolate path when they so clearly did not know where they were going?

Though it is heart wrenching to question the decisions made by a man who died trying to save his family, it is hard not to wonder. (Watch why the wrong road looked so right and how they missed the 'dead end' warning Video)

Three times, we passed large yellow signs warning that snow may completely block the roadway.

At private funeral, James Kim praised by friends and family

The family and friends of James Kim gathered privately at his funeral in Oakland over the weekend to eulogize the husband and father who died after struggling through Oregon's freezing mountains to find help for his stranded family.

New details of his ordeal have also surfaced, including that the 35-year-old San Francisco Web site editor had hiked 16 miles, not 10 miles as authorities first thought, before he was found dead Wednesday in Oregon's Big Windy Creek.

Apple extends SoHo hours; posts holiday shipping deadlines

Apple Computer in an email to customers this week announced that it will hold "twelve days (and nights) of shopping" at its Manhattan-based flagship retail stores leading up to Christmas.

"Starting Wednesday, the Apple Store, Soho, and the Apple Store, Fifth Avenue, will be open 24 hours a day until December 25th," the company wrote. "So you can shop whenever you want and enjoy free special events along the way.

Meanwhile, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has also posted a comprehensive list of holiday shipping deadlines for its various Mac and iPod products.

"Need it by December 25th?," asks Apple. "Simply place your order before midnight local time on the dates listed and select the corresponding shipping method at checkout."

In order to qualify for free shipping, customers looking to purchase standard Mac models through the company's online store must do so by December 18th. Some popular iMac, MacBook, and MacBook Pro configurations can also be ordered up until that date.

For the most part, however, Apple says the majority of custom Mac orders should be placed by December 16th in order to qualify for free shipping, with the exception of the Mac Pro, which must be ordered by the 15th.

Standard iPod models can also be ordered up until the 18th with free shipping, though gift-wrapped and laser-engraved orders must be placed by the 16th.

Last minute shoppers will still be able to place orders for most Mac and iPod models on the 19th or 20th for delivery by the 25th but must pay for overnight shipping. Again, the exception is the Mac Pro, which must be ordered by the 18th even with overnight shipping.

Apple said laser-engraved iPod orders placed after December 16th will not ship in time for Christmas.

Monday, December 11, 2006


WE are shocked - shocked! - that Paris Hilton may have bought her own faux engagement ring to start speculation that Stavros Niarchos is going to marry her. Hilton wore a fake diamond solitaire on her left ring finger to an alice+olivia dinner party last week and wouldn't answer questions about her and Niarchos. But close friends say they're not engaged - and moreover, the shipping heir's parents have no intention of even meeting their son's sometime succubus. "They refused to meet her last year when Paris and Stavros had dated for a while," a source said. "Paris even followed him and his family to Hawaii, where they go every New Year's, and they still wouldn't meet her. They think she's tacky." It's a sentiment that seems to be shared by the father of Nicky Hilton's paramour, David Katzenberg. A family friend said Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former Disney exec who co-founded DreamWorks, "thinks the Hiltons are just . . . lowbrow and that his son is young and should be dating around." Meanwhile, it's only been a month, but Nicky and David are already saying, "I love you."

Friday, December 08, 2006

Sources confirm plans for a smaller, ultra-thin form factored MacBook Pro

MacScoop has obtained reports from sources believed to be very reliable, claiming that Apple is developing a smaller and ultra-thin form-factor MacBook Pro.

The new laptop should be even thinner and weigh less than the current models in the MacBook Pro line-up. In spite of this very tiny and lightweight form-factor, the miniaturized MacBook Pro should keep its built-in optical drive and sport a dual-core processor, providing unequalled size/performance ratio in the PC industry, sources told MacScoop.

As it was claimed in former reports we obtained, Apple should use the 12 inch form factor while the use of "widescreen" a aspect ratio sounds obvious.

Sources added that the exact price tag for this product is not defined yet, but discussions with people who are very well informed on Apple's pricing strategy for current and forthcoming products brought us in the conclusion that Apple's new laptop could be priced in the $1700~$1800 range.

Release timeframe remains the most uncertain point in all the reports we could gather, as no information has filtered from manufacturing sources. Some sources even believe that Apple hasn't yet placed any orders to its suppliers, as the product is said to be in the final stage of its development. Though manufacturers might have kept mouths closed regarding this project, current information makes us believe that the ultra-thin MacBook Pro shouldn't be expected before February 2007.

Back in February late March of this year, we were the first to report that Apple was working on an ultra-thin 12 inch sized Mac laptop based on the Intel architecture as a replacement of the, now defunct, PowerBook 12 inch. At the same time, most of the Mac-centric publications claimed that Apple would abandon the smallest form factor in the MacBook Pro line-up, in favour of the entry-level 13 inch MacBooks.

Since that first report, some analysts also pointed out that Apple should enter the sub-notebook market next year but provided no details and release timeframe on the products. Moreover, we can note that in a "market share gains strategy" context, Apple could certainly benefit from providing more choice to its customers and widening its target market.

Any further information is welcome and you can be sure that we'll keep you updated if we obtain more details.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

CNET editor James Kim found dead in Oregon wilderness

"The dead body of missing CNET editor James Kim has been located, authorities announced Wednesday," Leslie Katz reports for CNET News.

"Arrangements are being made to transport Kim to an undisclosed location, according to a police statement. Kim has been missing in the remote southwestern Oregon wilderness for 11 days. The family has asked not to be contacted," Katz reports.

"After being rescued in good condition Monday, Kim's 30-year-old wife, Kati, and daughters Penelope (4 years) and Sabine (7 months) have been reunited with family members," Katz reports.

"The body of a San Francisco man who had walked into the Oregon wilderness to summon help for his stranded family was found Wednesday in a steep ravine where he had left clues for searchers," CNN reports. "Officials confirmed that James Kim, 35, an editor at the Web site CNET, had been found dead."

"Brian Anderson, Undersheriff of Josephine County, broke down and could not finish speaking as he announced that Kim's body was found at 3:03 p.m. ET," CNN reports.

"Searchers were attempting to remove Kim's body, and his family members have requested that their privacy be respected, officials said," CNN reports. "Kim walked into the snowy Oregon mountains Saturday to find help for his wife and two young daughters. They were rescued by searchers on Monday."

Remembering James Kim

CNET senior editor James Kim was found dead Wednesday in the snow-covered mountains of southern Oregon, 11 days after he and his family went missing.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas seven or eight years ago, I ran into a familiar face on the edge of the main floor area. We started chatting about a watch-style organizer he was testing, and although I don't think we could pinpoint exactly how we knew each

other, we hit it off immediately. This fellow who would become my friend was James Kim, and he did the same sort of stuff at TechTV that I did for CNET -- testing products, writing reviews, and so on.

TechTV eventually announced that it would move to L.A. -- just as I was planning a move of my own, from to the company's new acquisition. James dropped me an e-mail around that time saying that he wanted to stay in San Francisco after TechTV moved to L.A., and that he was considering freelance tech writing -- something he had wanted to do for awhile -- but he didn't think he'd be able to provide well enough for his family by pursuing the freelance lifestyle.

For the sake of his family, he wanted to know whether I knew of any openings at CNET. Less than one minute later, I walked into my boss's office and told her that I had found my replacement, for sure. "This is your guy!" I exclaimed. Out of everyone I knew, he was the most competent, knowledgeable, friendly and responsible man for the job. He had the perfect combination of playfulness and gravity, and there was no doubting his intelligence.

During his interview, he emphasized once again the central importance of family in his life. As alluring as the freelance lifestyle was, and as successful as he would have been at it considering his experience and reputation, he wanted a bulletproof plan for providing for his family and their future.

I relate this story here to demonstrate that James Kim's brave, dogged attempt to find help for his family was no aberration. Far from it. He died as he lived, doing everything he could to provide for those he loved. This was a happy man, confident enough in himself to have had extra concern left over for those around him. I am proud to have known him and will not forget him.

James' body was found Wednesday by one of four helicopters paid for by the family. Although some rescuers had reported seeing a flash of light near him from their helicopter, by the time they arrived at the location, it was too late. I could go on and on about the tragedy of someone so well-loved being found dead after being missing for eleven days, with a full-fledged search not starting until about a week after the Kim family went missing, as well as the fact that the family had to fund the helicopters themselves, but that's not the point right now.

The point is this. During his life, everyone who knew him felt the considerable warmth of James Kim, who died alone in the cold. Nothing could be less fair.

Distraught rescue crews come up just short

Searchers were ‘treating this like a member of our own family is missing’

For rescue workers searching desperately for James Kim, some of whom camped on the ground at night with his footprints so as not to lose the trail, the news that Kim was found dead Wednesday was a heavy blow.

Kim, his wife, Kati, and their two daughters, Penelope, 4, and Sabine, 7 months, went missing Nov. 25 when they left Portland, Ore., and headed home after a holiday trip. Sometime along the way, they missed a turnoff and got lost. Saturday, James Kim left to find help, heading about two miles down the road into a drainage area called Big Windy Creek.

Kati Kim and the girls were rescued Monday and are OK. But James Kim had been missing for a fourth day when rescuers reached his body at 12:03 p.m. PT Wednesday.

Josephine County Undersheriff Brian Anderson broke down and had to step away as he prepared to relay the news that Kim was dead, leaving the task to Lt. Gregg Hastings of the Oregon State Police.

“You have to understand, we’re treating this like a member of our own family is missing out in the wilderness,” Anderson told NBC News’ Peter Alexander.

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