A Realm Of Porn; Agency Considers XXX Suffix

Written by buzz. Posted in Business

This would definitely be a porn address

Pornography has a hero’s place in the history of the internet and some day it may have its very own realm there, too.

ICANN, the agency that manages web domains, is considering adding .xxx to choices of web address suffixes. If approved, the addition would not only give porn sites a fitting, marketable suffix, but ease parental and organizational efforts to block porn from certain computers and places like libraries.

Critics arguing against the .xxx addition say it will help porn peddlers increase their already abundant web presence, while promoters say it will only increase ability to police nudie viewing. However, even if .xxx is added, porn sites apparently won’t be forced to use it. It’s unclear why not.

Despite some peoples’ hatred of pornography, it’s viewed by many as the reason the internet exists today in its society-altering form.

When the internet first expanded from a collegiate information sharing system, it seemed doomed to failure. There was considerable expense to build and maintain the system, but virtually no money was being made for all this effort. That’s when porn illuminated the rest of the business world as to the promise of web commerce. Money was rolling in for porn peddlers and fortunes were made by new people every day. Legend has it, the web was thereby saved and porn is the reason we live as we do today.

Whether porn’s role in the internet’s existence is exaggerated is a matter for historians to decide, but it’s clear that it had an important impact on the web’s development. It should have its own realm, but I’d like to hear the reasoning why porn sites wouldn’t have to use a new .xxx suffix.

One Pallet Of Tequila Please; Costco Pushes For Liquor Selling Freedom

Written by buzz. Posted in Business

Liquor!

Washington state’s monopoly on liquor sales is facing a pallet-full of trouble. Retailer’s have long bemoaned the state’s liquor laws that preclude anyone but government run stores from selling, but none have battled to change it like the Seattle, Wash. based warehouse store Costco.

Having seen from its wine and beer sales that people like their beverages in bulk, Costco has been clamoring for the past couple years to get in on the liquor trade. Liquor-liking consumers would be happy with the pricing competition a store like Costco would instigate and, ostensibly, state residents would no longer be left dry on Sundays; or pulling their hair out when work runs late prior to a party night.

The wholesaler thinks it already has enough signatures to make the state’s November ballot with Initiative 1100. The deadline to have at least 242,000 valid signatures is July 2.

It’s anyone’s guess as to whether some voters’ worries about expanding the availability of liquor will have an impact on Election Day. There’s also the possibility that citizens won’t want to take this revenue stream away from an already cash-strapped state in such a tough economic time. It’s also possible that, with the government running these businesses, they don’t produce much more of a return than the added sales tax revenue would. Voters will now apparently have a chance to voice their opinions in five months time.

Retail Sales Drop; The Circle Of Recession Continues

Written by buzz. Posted in Business

Low ring-outs abound

This is the economic recovery that won’t get out of its own way.

Every time one sign points to a light at the end of the tunnel, the light just turns out to be an illuminated sign, pointing to another dim and winding path. Whenever unemployment numbers drop, it’s only about a week before we find out the economy actually lost jobs. When we hear the economy gained some jobs, we soon find unemployment actually ticked up. And now that a economists have rejoiced over better retail sales from a year ago, we get a report those sales actually took a pretty big tumble last month, which could mean just about anything … except impending economic recovery.

According to a government report, retail sales dropped 1.2 percent from April to May. There could be many reasons for the drop, ranging from weather to the timing of Labor Day, but the biggest one is most certainly high unemployment, which is really the only measure of economic recovery right now that matters to most people. Executives and major stockholders will get more excited over productivity and the GDP, but 99 percent of people won’t jump for joy until that translates into a thriving job market.

Since domestic sales account for more than two thirds of the U.S. economy, maybe executives and stockholders would best serve themselves by undertaking a united mass hiring; after all, unemployment is the real thing keeping the economy down. It would be like a private sector stimulus operation. Aren’t they the ones who say the private sector can do anything better than the government? Maybe they should prove it. Instead, companies are leery of any substantial hiring until a recovery begins, but it won’t. Nobody’s hiring.

A Tank Of Poplar Please: ZeaChem Breaks Ground On Biorefinery

Written by buzz. Posted in Business

Is that unleaded?

Bio-refining company ZeaChem Inc. broke ground June 2 on a cellulosic fuel plant in Boardman, Ore. The new facility’s focus will be on making transportation fuel from fast-growing poplar trees in the Northwest, along with the chemical ethyl acetate, which is used in myriad products.

The federal government and many businesses have been interested for some time in making fuel from non-food plants. Forest giant Weyerhaeuser has teamed with oil behemoth Chevron to study the prospect, though nothing very solid has come from it. Weyerhaeuser is leaning toward harvest grass from its tree farms, rather than using the trees themselves, which are best suited for lumber.

The Boardman facility is different in that it will be using poplar. There is a small market for poplar for hardwood and furniture, but it doesn’t reflect the tree’s possibilities. Poplar is one of the fastest growing trees in the U.S. In certain states, the trees can grow up to 10 feet a year, and they can become so abundant they annoy foresters trying to get to more lucrative wood.

This new bio-refinery is expected to have a capacity of 250,000 gallons a year. In a press release, ZeaChem says success of the Boardman plant will lead the company to build more commercial scale bio-refineries.

Boeing, US Targets EADS “Subsidies” — Should Target Taxes

Written by buzz. Posted in Business

Fillerup

For years politicians and Boeing have been calling foul on what they say are subsidies that Airbus parent EADS receives from the European Union. Thursday, they did something about it – the US House of Representatives voted to force the Department of Defense to consider it as an unfair advantage when reviewing bids for its massive upcoming fuel tanker contract.

This is a long-standing dispute wherein Boeing claims EADS funding from the EU are illegal subsidies that allow Airbus to undercut Boeing prices while still turning a profit. Airbus counters that an excess of government contracts in effect give Boeing a leg up.

Maybe there’s another solution for Boeing proponents. EADS supporters will say it’s patently unfair, and it would definitely give Boeing an advantage in competitive negotiations, but I believe it’s honest. It is this: subtract the money the government gets back in the form of taxes when considering the true cost of one contract or another.

This could include the 35 percent Corporate tax on Boeing’s contract-related profit and taxes employees pay on their contract-related income, plus related shareholder taxes. And then there are the US companies from which Boeing might buy materials and services for the job. Subtract their related corporate, shareholder and employee taxes. Of course, the same consideration would be given to all bidders, but Boeing would likely win out against Airbus.

Hey, through taxes, the government is making this money back from these contracts. Shouldn’t that be considered?

Google’s New Frontier For Conquer? TV

Written by buzz. Posted in Business

TV!

Google is taking another tremendous leap toward its apparent aim of becoming the central portal to not only the internet, but all of sedentary life.

Futurists have long predicted the melding of television with the internet, the world’s number one time suck and its No. 2 (which is which varies depending on who you ask). Others have tried it, but so far no one I know has an internet TV, and especially not one that fully combines the two in a way that fulfills the potential as foretold by tech soothsayers. It’s still inevitable.

I lived more than half my life without the internet, and I wouldn’t dream of it now. Today’s kids already get most of their video entertainment from the internet, and television isn’t about get e-victimized like newspapers.

It’s just a matter of who would do it, when and how. Well who else would it be but Google? And when is a better time to start than now? And how else but by making some smart partnerships with the technological experts that could bring it all together?

Google, Logitech, Intel and Sony have come together to make TVs “smart” (think: evolution of cell phones). This wave of the future is set to come out in the fall in U.S. Best Buy stores. The rest of the world will have to wait. No price has been set. There is no timeline for when Google will take over the world.

Putting Butts To Use: Cigarettes Can Be Recycled

Written by buzz. Posted in Business

Beach near you?

Maybe doctors of the early and mid 20th century were just really ahead of their time. Cigarettes, it seems, may be healthy for at least one thing: steel. A recently published Chinese study says that chemicals drawn out of cigarette butts by water can protect a type of steel most commonly used in oil drilling operations.

The finding is considered potentially useful for the industry because of the millions of dollars companies spend annually to replace this corroded steel. It’s considered important for the world because there aren’t many, if any, more common types of trash; and it’s a type of trash that emits fish-killing chemical that ultimately find their way into rivers and oceans. It’s considered important for China because the county hosts the lion’s share of the world’s smokers (and cigarette butts), as well as the planet’s biggest smoke stick factory.

Because of how cigarettes are often disposed, like flicking on a sidewalk or beach, and how they degrade, recycling is likely a better option than any ordinary manner of disposal.

The study, authored by scientists in Xi’an, China, has been published in the journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

No word yet on how all those stubbed out butts might be collected.

Nobody Likes An Empire: Apple’s Turn With DoJ Monopoly Queries

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Should she be blind?

Is Apple starting to be seen as an evil empire? For years Apple has reaped the rewards of the underdog, gaining a cult-like following from hipsters who revel in, and pay a premium for, not only product performance but counter-culture symbolism, too. While Microsoft took a beating the public and the DoJ for trying to be a monopoly, trying to starve competitors and corner any market they could, Apple was hailed as a kind of freedom fighter.

Well, now it’s Apple’s turn to answer questions about shady strategy.

For years the company has been inching toward vertical monopoly, making it difficult to get music from non-iTunes e-stores onto its devices and even more cumbersome to get iTunes music onto non-iPod devices. It’s just that its devices were too rad to make much of a stink about it; plus, doing so would only make you a pariah amongst the cooler-than-thou hipster class. Not so much, anymore.

Now that another high-cool-quotient company (Google) is turning out products to compete with Apple’s, such as the G1 phone, Apple absolutism is slowly eroding among tech-consuming trendsetters. And as that’s happening, the Department of Justice’s sometimes blind eye is starting see some things.

The DOJ and the Federal Trade Commission are considering a probe into Apple’s app rules, according to a report in the New York Post. It centers on the company’s ban on third party app development tools. But Apple has other more alarming practices, i.e., it decides which company is allowed to do what and say what on its hardware. Television manufacturers like Toshiba can’t control what on-air personalities say or do, can they? No, but Apple to a large degree does. It’s just that its iPhones are too hip for hipsters to worry about it. Maybe times are changing some more.

iPhone Could Turn It’s Revolutionary Touch to Mobile Banking

Written by buzz. Posted in Business

iPhones may replace banks. All of them.

Apple, the best fruit to ever make electronics, now boasts the strength to make mobile payments the next big thing; the only trouble is that the banks aren’t quite a focal point in their vision. Recent patent applications have revealed that the company is looking to incorporate near-field communication chips in their iPhone. While several attempts have been made to develop NFC systems that can transform a regular phone into a swiss-knife style financial tool, none have gotten beyond the pilot phase, since phone makers and wireless providers are reluctant to incorporate the chips – often considered a vital element to successful mobile payments – into their hardware.

Take a bite

In the shadows, many bankers secretly hoped that the techno-monster would demonstrate once again how it has the capacity to evolve the marketplace in a single bound. This instance appears no different, as payment executives stand convinced that an NFC-capable iPhone would change the game of mobile payments within the United States; however, recent disclosures have suggested that Steve and his company aren’t planning on doing what the financial institutions had hoped.

As it stands, Apple doesn’t want to just morph the iPhone into a payment device that relies completely on credit or debit cards. They want to introduce an iTunes on steroids, where cd’s aren’t just bought, but cars are paid off.

Visa Joins with CyberSource to Improve Internet Security

Written by buzz. Posted in Business

All of youse work for Visa now

As Visa Inc. gears up for mobile and online commerce, their planned purchase of Cyber Source Corp. proves that their also keen on sharpening their eye on security breaches. A $2 billion cash agreement was a portion of what will be an immensely orchestrated effort to tighten Visa‘s grip on security at retail locations, where anti-fraud campaigns have evolved and dramatically improved over the past few years.

Visa hired CyberSource as an internet bodyguard

Visa’s chairman and chief executive, Joseph W. Saunders said that a combination of Visa and CyberSource technologies and services will position the company on the crest of an immense mobile e-commerce wave.  Cybersource sports over 295,000 merchant clients,and is notorious for its cutting-edge security technology. Visa’s head of global e-commerce and authentication, Gerry Sweeney, agreed that the acquisition will greatly improve upon Visa’s solitary anti-fraud effort, and equip them for online transactions.

Mobile banking is still a baby, and widespread attacks occur constantly as hackers repeatedly attempt to access valuable information that is stored on smart phones. VP of the Stamford, Connecticut, market research organization, Gartner, Avivah Litan said that a solution for mobile fraud has yet to come about, because it isn’t prevalent enough to pose a high-priority threat; however, she anticipates that it will change in the near future.

Glad to see visa has a handle on things – which makes me wonder: what’s in your wallet?!

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