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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Apple Sells More Smartphones In Quarter Than RIM

Steve Jobs is reveling in the fact that for the first time since the iPhone was launched it's sales out paced those of Research In Motions Blackberry devices. A report released Thursday by U.K.-based research firm Canalys showed Apple shipped approximately 6.8 million iPhones compared to RIM's 6 million Blackberry devices during the 3rd quarter of '08. Jobs said during a conference call announcing Apple's 3rd quarter results "I'd like to point out [a] remarkable milestone resulting from iPhone's outstanding performance last quarter," he said. "Apple beat RIM." The number gives Apple a 17.3 percent share of the overall 39 million smartphones shipped in the quarter and pushed the company into the number 2 spot behind Nokia who owns 38.9 percent of the market.

Canalys also noted however that RIM showed a year over year increase of 80% and that there were many factors at play. The 3rd quarter was expected to be high for Apple with the release of the iPhone 3G and RIM will likely have had many faithfuls awaiting the arrival of the Blackberry Storm.

CBC Story.

Friday, November 7, 2008

FBI Investigate Stolen Medical Records

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been called in to investigate an extortion attempt on a medical benefit management company from St. Louis. Express Scripts received a letter in October threatening to expose data about the companies clients, the letter contained personal information on about 75 members "including names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and, in some cases, prescription information." “We have been conducting a thorough investigation since we received this threat and we are taking it very seriously,” said George Paz, chairman and chief executive, in a statement. “We are cooperating with the F.B.I. and are committed to doing what we can to protect our members’ personal information and to track down the person or persons responsible for this criminal act.”

The company has created a website to inform it's clients about the extortion attempt, and have made the following statement "We believe we have identified where the data involved in this situation was stored in our systems and have instituted enhanced controls." That's reassuring!

The company handles prescription benefits for approximately 50 million people for various health insurers, employers and union sponsored plans.

New York Times story.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Expert Says CNN Hologram Not Technically A Hologram

During Tuesdays CNN coverage of the US Election, anchormen Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper conducted live interviews "via hologram". Blitzer told CNN reporter Jessica Yellin that "You're a terrific hologram," during a segment where he spoke with a 3-D representation of Yellin, or so it would appear. Okay, I'm envisioning you reading this quote in a Simpson's Comic Book Guy voice..."They were quite sophisticated, no doubt," said Hans J├╝rgen Kreuzer, a theoretical physics professor at Dalhousie University and an expert on holography "But I immediately said to my wife that I don't think it has anything to do with holograms."

Kreuzer believes the images were tomograms or images that are captured from all sides, reconstructed by computers, and then displayed on screen much like the way that computer-generated special effects are added to movies.

Holograms, technically, are projected into space.

CBC story here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Indian Moon Probe To Enter Lunar Orbit

A moon probe launched by India on October 22nd is maneuvering into a lunar orbit at a distance of about 100 km from the surface of the moon by Saturday, Nov. 8. The probe will produce a 3 dimensional atlas of the moon and study the chemical and mineral makeup of the surface. The craft is carrying a payload of 11 scientific components from India (5), the U.S. (2), Britain (1), Germany (1), Sweden (1) and Bulgaria (1). According to the CBC "The launch of Chandrayaan-1 is the first step of the country's long-term ambitions to conduct a manned moon mission by 2020. India has also announced plans for the launch of Chandrayaan-2 — which is expected to land a rover on the moon by 2012 — and a manned space mission by 2015 using Indian systems and technology."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Is There Hope For The Wooly Mammoth?

Japanese scientists have successfully cloned mice who's bodies where frozen for as long as 16 years and have postulated that the technique could be used to resurrect mammoths and other extinct species.

"Cloning animals by nuclear transfer provides an opportunity to preserve endangered mammalian species," they wrote.

"However, it has been suggested that the 'resurrection' of frozen extinct species (such as the woolly mammoth) is impracticable, as no live cells are available, and the genomic material that remains is inevitably degraded," they said.

Unlike other cloning attempts the mice used in these experiments where not cryogenicly frozen which posed a unique challenge as freezing causes cells to burst and can damage the DNA inside.

CBC Story.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Game Industry Not Sheltered From Economic Downturn Afterall

Game giant Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) is laying off about 6 per cent of its work force to cut costs after posting a wider than expected quarterly net loss on Thursday. “Considering the slowdown at retail we've seen in October, we are cautious in the short term,” said John Riccitiello, chief executive, in a statement. “Longer term, we are very bullish on the game sector overall and on EA in particular.” The company said it expects about $50 million in annual pretax cost savings as a result of the layoffs, which will amount to about 500 - 600 positions across all functional areas. Wow, if you use the 600 number that puts the average salary + benefits for these positions at $83,333! Globe and Mail story.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hodgman's Crystal Head Vodka Tasting

John Hodgman has prepared a Halloween taste test video for Dan Aykroyd's Crystal Head Vodka. To my surprise Hodgman is rather serious during the brief video and seems to know his geography! I'd still like to see this stuff in the wild, is this an elaborate marketing scheme or does the stuff really exist?




Update: My curiousity was getting the better of me so I surfed over to the website of the Newfoundland and Labrador Liqour Corporation's website and a quick search reveals:

Crystal Head Vodka
SKU #: 8179
Place of Origin: NL
Litre Size: .750
Retail Price: $49.99
Total Available: 86

Mystery solved! Now how do I get a bottle here on Prince Edward Island...

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