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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

First Look: Burger King’s New ‘Whopper Bar’

Next time you have a rough day at the office, Burger King hopes you’ll cozy up to one of its new Whopper Bars set to open around America. Just don’t stay for too many rounds, or you might regret it the next day.

Whopper Bar

The Whopper Bar: All Beef

To be clear, the Whopper Bar won’t actually be serving alcohol — but it will be serving plenty of beef. The Burger King venture will offer Whoppers, Double Whoppers, and Steakhouse XT burgers, along with new Bourbon Whoppers, Three-Cheese Steakhouse XT burgers, and Pepper Bacon Steakhouse XT burgers. Each will come with options for 22 different toppings. Among the choices: guacamole, smoked bacon, or steak sauce.

A “Contemporary” Edge

The first Whopper Bar opens today at the Universal CityWalk in Orlando. Its look is totally different from the typical BK, as seen in the photo above: The bar boasts an open kitchen, a bar-like countertop, and a whole new color scheme. Employees will also wear different uniforms, matching the red, black, and gray restaurant design. Burger King hopes the updated take will give its brand a new “contemporary” edge, representatives say.

Whopper Bar Plans

Burger King is planning six more Whopper Bars around the globe by the end of 2009, with the next set to open in Munich over the summer. Los Angeles, New York and Singapore will soon see locations as well. Eventually, the company says it could open as many as 500 of the units around the world in everywhere from stadiums to casinos and cruise ships.

Everything to Know About the 591 Songs Featured in the Rock Band Catalog

NickSmith

by NickSmith

After getting word that the long rumored The Beatles: Rock Band game would be officially coming later this year we turned our attention to the existing Rock Band music. There have been two versions of the game released in Rock Band and Rock Band 2 as well as track packs full of music and hundreds of songs via DLC.

As of our research, the official tally of playable music in the Rock Band catalog is 591 songs. We wanted to take a look at this list and see what we can tell about the songs they have chosen to include so far. We took time to make graphs to show some of the data compared by genre, decade, source, and more. Some of what we found is a little surprising.

Where is the Music From?

One of the best features of Rock Band has been the compatibility of the purchased music. Both standalone games came packed with music and there have been three volumes of track packs, including one devoted entirely to AC/DC. The bulk of the music however has clearly been made available via download as either singles or full albums.

Both Xbox Live and Playstation Network are releasing new music at the same frequency and within days of each other. The Wii has been playing catch up after getting a late start on downloadable content. The developers vow to get the Wii caught up and has been delivering weekly DLC updates of back material as well as some of the new music the other platforms are getting.

Right now, the Wii has 27% of the DLC music as the other two systems. That is 118 songs that have been made available so far.

Rock Band Music Compared by Source

What Kind of Music is in this Catalog?

There are 17 genres represented in the catalog so far. It is worth pointing out that none of those include any hip-hop music, live band or otherwise. RB has dabbled in other music types like blues and country, along with the several different types of rock and metal music genres. This looks to be changing with at least some music coming from Snoop Dogg at some point down the road.

Most of the music in the catalog are the master recordings from the original artists as they recorded them in the studio. We count 28 songs listed as "cover versions", or by artists other than the original but in their style. We also counted 22 songs that were recorded live by the original artists at performances rather than in the studio.

The graph shows that the music is heavily dominated by rock, not surprising considering the title of the game. There are nearly as many alternative tracks and a decent amount of metal and classic rock.

Rock Band Music Compared by Genre

What Decades Feature the Most Music?

RB has music dating back to the 1960's and from each decade since. There is an obvious pattern shown in this graph. Most of the music is from this decade and the least is from the 1960's. The pattern is that each decade has more music than the decade before it.

Almost 40% of the music that is playable is from the last 9 years, which is about the same amount as the music from the 80's and 90's combined.

Rock Band Music Compared by Decade

Are There More Easy or Difficult Songs?

When we put together our list of the "22 Hottest Celebrity Women that Play Video Games" we got many comments around the internet that discounted the women that played Guitar Hero or Rock Band. Many claimed that these games do not count as real games, some cited the fact that they are too easy to play.

While we are not willing to remove Kim Kardashian or Megan Fox from the list, we are willing to accept that in the case of Rock Band, the game is very easy on a whole.

Rock Band Music Compared Easy vs Hard

How Difficult are the Songs?

The graph above* shows the "easy" songs versus the "hard" songs. We took the difficulty of the tracks and divided them into those two general distinctions. All of the songs that had 0 to 3 stars of difficulty were lumped together as "easy" while all songs with 4 or 5 stars plus the ones labeled "devilish" were classified as "hard".

30 songs of mixed difficulty are being used in the Rock Band competition being held at Harrah's casinos for the opportunity to win $10,000 and the chance to open up for the B-52's. It was unlikely they would be using the "devilish" songs after glancing at the graph below.

When looking at each of the levels of difficulty another pattern emerges. The amount of songs decreases as the difficulty increases. There are several songs that do not even rank one star on the difficulty meter. The songs labeled as 6X on the graph are the ones considered "devilish" and only make up around 3% of the total songs. There is no surprise that the contest features some of the easier songs, otherwise a large bulk of the players would likely be unable to enter.

Rock Band Music Compared by Difficulty

The official RockBand.com website has a list of all of the songs and more information about the game.

*Thanks for those writing in to tell me I switched the graph data on the easy vs hard, it was late and I missed it.

Report: Clemens evidence tests positive for performance-enhancers

Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee
A federal grand jury in Washington is investigating whether Roger Clemens (right) lied to congress.



NEW YORK (AP) -- Federal authorities have found performance-enhancing substances on the materials Brian McNamee said he used to inject Roger Clemens, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

McNamee turned over the syringes, vials and gauze pads to federal investigators last year, after he told baseball investigator George Mitchell he injected the pitcher with steroids and human growth hormone. The Washington Post reported Feb. 6 that tests linked Clemens' DNA to blood in the syringes given to investigators by McNamee.

Clemens has said repeatedly that McNamee, his former personal trainer, injected him with B-12 and the painkiller lidocaine.

"I assumed, and I am not surprised, that the tests were positive for both DNA and for performance-enhancing drugs, because that's what Brian said all along, and there's not much doubt that Brian's been telling the truth," McNamee's lawyer, Richard Emery, told The Associated Press. "The confirmation of that fact, once again, just seems to me to be another significant step towards jail for Clemens."

A federal grand jury in Washington is investigating whether Clemens lied when he told a congressional committee last year that he didn't use illegal performance-enhancing substances. McNamee, testifying before the same committee, said he repeatedly injected Clemens with steroids and HGH.

Rusty Hardin, Clemens' lawyer, did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

A Green Pimp My Ride: Ree-V Converts Cars to Electric

BY Ariel Schwartz


Control-Board

If you want your car converted to run on biodiesel or vegetable oil, there are plenty of places to turn--conversion kits are available for the DIY crowd, and the less mechanically-inclined can have professionals give their car biodiesel capability. But what if you want an electric car?

A Colorado company called Ree-V has stepped in to fill that niche by providing full-service electric car conversions. And while companies like Toyota, GM, and Ford have announced intentions to release PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) models, a conversion could cost significantly less.

Conversions to a lead-acid battery cost a pretty penny--between $17,500 and $200,000. And most converted cars are only suitable for quick trips around town. Ree-V's 1995 Geo Metro conversion, for example, has a top speed of 70 MPH and a range of 25-35 miles.

But Ree-V CEO Luc Nadeau notes that his Colorado-based customers can receive the Colorado Alternative Vehicle Fuel Credit, that reimburses the majority--and in some cases all--of the conversion. A car older than 10 years is eligible for a 100 percent credit, while newer cars receive an 85 percent credit. And in case that isn't attractive enough, electric vehicle drivers can slash gas completely from their budgets.

PHEV conversions probably won't catch on until electric vehicles become mainstream--and everyone except early adopters might want to wait until batteries become smaller and more effective--but there's nothing stopping budding entrepreneurs from setting up shop in states that offer alternative vehicle credits.

[Via CBS4 Denver]

Right

Billy Corgan wants broadcast radio to pay performers

Billy Corgan, founder of the band Smashing Pumpkins, speaks before Congress.

(Credit: Smashingpumpkins.com)

Update 3:29 p.m. PDT: Added quotes from the National Association of Broadcasters.

Internet radio has to pay performance rights but broadcast stations get a free pass.

Billy Corgan, founder of the rock band Smashing Pumpkins, told Congress on Tuesday that must change.

"This issue is one of fundamental fairness," Corgan told lawmakers. "If the performance of a song has value to a particular terrestrial radio station in its airing, I believe it is only right to compensate those performers who have created this work.

"Simply put, if a station plays a song, both the author and the performer should be paid," he continued. "These particular performances must have value to the stations or they wouldn't be playing them."

Corgan was testifying on behalf of the Performance Rights Act, which "would close a loophole in copyright law that allows music radio stations to earn billions every year without compensating the artists and musicians," according to a statement from the legislation's backers.

The National Association of Broadcasters does compensate songwriters and music publishers and has for decades. It does not, however, pay record labels or the artists. The thinking has always been that free airplay promotes the sale of music which benefits those groups.

"We think this performance tax would decimate the radio business," said Dennis Wharton, an NAB spokesman. "The reality is record labels have used artists as a shield in this debate. We welcome a discussion on who has been more fair to artists: The foreign-owned record labels (Universal Music, Sony and EMI) or America's hometown radio broadcasters."

Web radio stations have complained for a long time that they are made to pay performance fees, when traditional broadcasters pay nothing. It should be noted that online services have said they believe in compensating music performers.

Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. He is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg.

Police seize 1,200 pounds of pot in spinach cans

This undated photo provided by the New Mexico Department of Public Safety shows a seized spinach can filled with marijuana. Police with the New Mexico Motor Transportation Division found 1,200 pounds of pot packed in cans labeled as spinach during a stop at the Gallup, N.M. port of entry on March 6, 2009. An inspector noticed that only a few of the cans were labeled and that the weight printed on the side of the can didn't match the actual weight. A closer look during the bust revealed the canned drugs, which were worth an estimated $1.5 million.

This undated photo provided by the New Mexico Department of Public Safety shows a seized spinach can filled with marijuana. Police with the New Mexico Motor Transportation Division found 1,200 pounds of pot packed in cans labeled as spinach during a stop at the Gallup, N.M. port of entry on March 6, 2009. An inspector noticed that only a few of the cans were labeled and that the weight printed on the side of the can didn't match the actual weight. A closer look during the bust revealed the canned drugs, which were worth an estimated $1.5 million. (AP Photo/New Mexico Department of Public Safety)

GALLUP, N.M.—Police with the New Mexico Motor Transportation Division found 1,200 pounds of pot packed in cans labeled as spinach during a stop at the Gallup port of entry. An inspector noticed that only a few of the cans were labeled and that the weight printed on the side of the can didn't match the actual weight. A closer look during last Friday's bust revealed the canned drugs, which were worth an estimated $1.5 million.

The four pallets of cans were being transported along with fresh produce.

The 50-year-old truck driver said he was on his way from California to the East Coast. The driver and the pot were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

31 fart apps in 90 seconds


Looks like the years I spent in Spencer's finally paid off, as I was given the dubious honor of sniffing out a few dozen of the 60+ fart apps on the store. But I promise, no squeaking out a lame joke just because this is a video about farts. No silently doling out the goods while looking the other way, either -- I'll just squeeze my mind cheeks together and hold it all in. I even avoided using the "1812 Overture" as theme music. For maximum effect I highly recommend blasting this video loudly at work.

I'll own up to it: I had a hard time not laughing while taping this. Many thanks to the developers who provided promo codes and laxative audio (seriously, don't drink coffee while watching this). Not every app I tried made it to the video, but they are all included in the link list (next page).

Something you'll notice is that many fart apps are simple -- sometimes almost too primitive. Also: they are mostly just soundboard apps, with some by the same developer as derivative works designed to promote their work on the App Store. Why Apple had to make this into a circus I'll never understand (keeping them out of the store temporarily only drew more attention to them). But, like any mall with various departments, the market will eventually sort this mess out. Read on for the full list or check out the gallery of featured fart apps. You have been warned.


Only a handful of developers ignored my request for a promo code to feature their app, and I have to say, everyone who did respond was astoundingly pleasant. It's something Mac shareware users have known for years: there's a real community when developing for Apple platforms. While iPhone devs can be a different breed (many are coming to the platform with zero Mac experience), I was blown away with the conversations and great people involved. No joke there, each one of these folks deserves a buck for their fart hard work.

NOTE: All links go to the App Store in iTunes.

Animal Farts
Atomic Fart
Cheese Cutter Whoopee Cushion
Easy Fart
Excuse Me: Farts for Free
Fart+Burp = Fun Calculator
Fart and Flashlight
Fart Box
Fart Button
Fart Cushion
Fart for Free
Fart Lighter - Pull My Finger, Pro Edition
Fart Machine - the original
Fart or Die (features a full song and is listed under Health -- go figure)
Fart Studio
Fartamongus
FartCall (not shown, but a clever prank that farts when someone "answers" your phone)
Fartin' Furious
Fartmaster Deluxe
Grossinator
I LUV 2 FART!
iFart - Ultimate fart machine
iFart Alert!
iFart Mobile - #1 Fart Machine for all ages
iPhart
iToot
iWhoopi
iWhoopi Cushion: Advanced Fart Machine (a rare miss for SOPODS, whose apps I usually like)
MEGA FART
Mr. Poot!
myFart - fart machine
Pass the Gas: The Fart Sharing Network
Touch My Finger
uFart - Fart Machine
WhoFarted? (The Ultimate Fart Simulator)
WhoopieCushion
101 Farts

Yes, I realize there are over 30 more apps that include farts, belches and more. I'm sure in a year there will be twice as many.

My favorite apps in this, er, genre:
- Touch My Finger: its dynamic audio generation is ingenious and hilarious.
- Pull My Finger: for style points, although the interface was confusing. A fart app should be simple.
- Ultimate Fart Machine: best sounds, I think. Not that I'm a connoisseur of farts.
- Atomic Fart: everything you need except recording your own. If you want that, the venerable iFart is really awesome. Atomic is also the most expensive of the bunch at $1.99 (every other app was either free or $.99).

Least favorite:
- iWhoopi: I understand that if you have location calls in your app you will get a warning message -- nothing you can do about that. But once I hit the button and created a fart noise, I couldn't easily repeat the effect. I never could figure out how to reset the darn whoopee cushion! In a world of flatulent apps, this one stunk.

One Letter Off (53 movie posters)

LiLo
She'll blow you away! Original if you're not sure is You Don't Mess with the Zohan.
Source

NoCountryForOldHen
No Country For Old Men meets Colonel Sanders!

Click here for the list of 53 Movie Posters.... | digg story

14 Rare Color Photos From the FSA-OWI


Even today, many documentary photographers will tell you they are influenced by the works of the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s and 40s. Under the direction of Roy Emerson Stryker, the FSA sent photographers to document the plight of the rural farmer during the Great Depression and the progress of New Deal programs.

click here to see these amazing PICS!! | digg story

Sixth Sense Projection Technology [TED]



ted.com — This demo -- from Pattie Maes' lab at MIT -- was the buzz of TED. It's a wearable device with a projection screen that paves the way for profound interaction with our environment. Imagine "Minority Report" and then some.

About Pattie Maes

At the MIT Media Lab's new Fluid Interfaces Group, Pattie Maes researches the tools we use to work with information and connect with one another. Full bio and more links

About Pranav Mistry

Pranav Mistry is the genius behind Sixth Sense, a wearable device that enables new interactions between the real world and the world of data. Full bio and more links

Stem cell issues: State could restrict research on embryos

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A bill that would limit stem cell research in Georgia and define a living human embryo as a person, has a good chance of coming before the state Senate for a vote Thursday.

Enlarge this image

Zbigniew Bzdak/hicago Tribune/MCT

President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order on stem cell research on Monday, March 9, 2009, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC.

Enlarge this image

Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com

Lobbyist Rusty Kidd speaks during a meeting of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee Monday March 9, 2009. Kidd, who, is bound to a wheelchair from a spinal cord injury spoke against the bill that could restrict stem cell research in Georgia.


The “Ethical Treatment of Human Embryos Act” was approved in a Georgia legislative committee Monday, the same day that President Obama lifted Bush administration restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Senate Bill 169 has an 85 percent chance of coming to the Senate floor for a vote Thursday, Senate Rules Committee Chairman Sen. Don Balfour (R-Snellville) said Tuesday.

Balfour’s committee decides which bills see the light of day in the Senate chamber. The embryo bill will go before the Senate Rules Committee Wednesday afternoon and senators will decide if it will make it onto the Senate calendar for Thursday, Balfour said.

Thursday is the deadline for a bill to pass a chamber and remain alive during this year’s session.

Senate Bill 169 defines a living human embryo as a person and prohibits the destruction of an embryo for any reason, such as scientific research. Supporters say the bill does not limit study of stem cell lines already in existence or new lines that come from out of state.

The bill would also prevent a couple who decided they no longer wanted to try to become pregnant from being able to dispose of their frozen embryos kept at a fertility clinic.

Opponents say the bill criminalizes stem cell research in Georgia and would have a chilling effect on the practice of in-vitro fertilization.

Supporters say it’s an attempt to respect life — even that of a 6-day-old human embryo that might have a chance to live if placed inside a woman.

Proponents of stem cell research say embryonic cells hold the potential to find cures to many serious diseases, such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and therapy for spinal cord injuries. The cells have the ability to morph into any kind of cell in the human body.

Obama on Monday lifted an eight-year ban on federally funded research using embryonic stem cells that was in effect under President George W. Bush. Obama said his purpose was to restore scientific integrity to government decision-making.

E. Culver “Rusty” Kidd, a lobbyist for the medical industry, told the committee he opposes the bill.

“If you shuck the corn and get down to what this bill really does, you’re defining when life starts,” Kidd said.

Critics say that places the bill squarely in the debate on abortion and when human life begins.

Right to life supporters of the bill who testified at the meeting include the Georgia Baptist Convention and the Georgia Catholic Conference. The Catholic church also opposes in-vitro fertilization.

Dan Becker, president of Georgia Right to Life, argued that the bill would protect life from its earliest moment. “No one’s right for a cure supercedes another’s right to life,” he said.

Nancy Stith, executive director of Georgia Right to Life, said the fact the bill came out of committee on the same day the president lifted restrictions on stem cell research was a coincidence.

Charles Craig, president of Georgia Bio, a private nonprofit that promotes Georgia’s life sciences industry, said the legislation would hurt Georgia’s ability to recruit biotech firms.

“It would embarrass the state,” Craig said. Georgia is trying to use an international biotech convention in Atlanta in May to showcase the state as a good place to do biotechnology business.

Kenneth Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, listened to the committee debate but did not offer an opinion. All he would say was that during the upcoming biotech convention, “The eyes of the world are going to be on Georgia.”

Tom Daniel, senior vice chancellor for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, said the university system opposes the bill. “We’re concerned it would have a damaging effect on research being done now and our ability to successfully do that in the future,” he said.

Sen. David Adelman (D-Decatur) spoke against the bill, saying it addresses an area that is too complicated and controversial for a vote after only a few days of deliberation. “I’m concerned that Georgia is putting politics ahead of science,” he said. “We’ll send an unmistakable message that Georgia is an anti-science state,” he said.

Senate Bill 169 was first introduced as a bill that would prohibit another “octuplet mom” like the recent case of a California woman who gave birth to eight babies through in-vitro fertilization.

While many of the controversial provisions restricting in-vitro fertilization techniques were removed from the bill, the legislation would radically change the way clinics operate, said Dr. Andrew Toledo, a reproductive endocrinologist.

The bill would prohibit couples from donating their embryos to science or discarding them. It would place patients in an uncertain situation, paying about $500 per year to preserve embryos they no longer need, Toledo said.

50 Most Memorable Movie Cars Ever (pics)


The Dude's Gran Torino, Fozzie Bear's 951 Studebaker Commander, the Shaggin' Wagon! Priceless...

read more | digg story

Thor will be mighty, says Marvel's Joe Quesada

Owen Vaughan speaks to comic book supremo on Marvel's next superhero blockbuster

Thor

"There's so much cool stuff in the mythology of Thor that it's just going to be a huge blockbuster," Joe Quesada told Blockbuster Buzz in a recent interview. "Kenneth Branagh gets the Marvel history of the character, he gets the overall flavour and tone of the Marvel universe. He gets that it's not just about action and adventure and costumes, it's about what's at the heart of the character. It's more about what motivates Thor and Loki and Odin than just Thor swinging a hammer and smashing things."

The Mighty Thor has been a mainstay of the Marvel universe for almost 50 years - he first appeared in August 1962 in issue 83 of Journey into Mystery - but he has never had the same following or exposure as Spider-man or the Fantastic Four. Stan Lee came up with the idea of a superhero version of the Norse god of thunder while wrestling with problem of how to create a character that was stronger than the Hulk. He decided the only solution was to make his new hero a god, so went delving into Norse mythology for a suitable candidate. He then commissioned the artist Jack Kirby, with whom he had created much of the Marvel universe, to bring the hero and his hammer to life.

Kirby gave Thor a winged helmet, flowing blonde locks, a red cape and a blue tunic attached to which were six white discs and that distinctive look has pretty much survived over the decades. In addition to his pop art garb Thor was given a human alter ego. In the comic, Thor's father, Odin, teaches Thor a lesson in humility by wiping Thor's memory and spiriting him into the body of a partially disabled medical student, Donald Blake. Thor eventually discovers who he really is, learns to change back and forth into his superpowered self and embarks on a career of hero. It is this version of Thor that Branagh is attempting, although there is no word yet on who he has cast as Thor/Donald Blake.

Quesada is hoping that Branagh will transform and reinvigorate Thor much the same way Jon Favreau did with another much neglected Marvel hero: "Before the Iron Man movie Iron Man was an also ran character. In the mass market it was all about Spider-man, Hulk, Batman and Superman but now you count Iron Man as major mainstream character." He already has Babylon Five writer J. Michael Straczynski, who was recently nominated for a Bafta for his screenplay for Clint Eastwood's film Changeling, laying the groundwork in the comic. Check out issue 600 in the comic stores - it will knock your socks off.

If the film is successful, Thor is expected to appear alongside his buddies Iron Man, the Hulk and Captain America in an Avengers movie.
Quesada also mentioned Branagh's Shakesperean background as being a big bonus, although I suspect he doesn't want Thor to utter: "To clobber or not to clobber" anywhere in the film.

Thor is scheduled for release in summer 2010. The full interview with Joe Quesada will appear in Blockbuster Buzz next week

Bet (4$) * Luck = 5,000,000 $ . WTF!

FLORENCE, Ore. -- A Hillsboro woman playing a slot machine at a casino in Florence won $5 million Friday night.

The woman, who chose to remain anonymous, had been playing the Penny Wheel of Fortune machine at Three Rivers Casino and Hotel.

According to the casino, the woman initially thought she won $60 or possibly $600 when three Wheel of Fortune symbols lined up. The machine indicated she should call an attendant.

A casino spokesman said the woman had been in the casino for less than an hour and won the $5 million using a $4 bet.


The progressive slot machine is part of a network of machines linked throughout the West Coast and accumulates a percentage of the play on all machines, allowing for large payoffs.

The spokesman said the previous high slot machine payoffs at the casino have been $1.3 million in 2005 and $855,769 in 2008. The $5,284,316 win is a record for the casino.

Rare Harry Potter book fetches $19,000 at auction

(CNN) -- A first-edition Harry Potter book was sold for about $19,000, according to an auction house in Dallas, Texas.

Normal copies of the Harry Potter books go for under $20, unlike the autographed first edition that sold for $19,000.

Normal copies of the Harry Potter books go for under $20, unlike the autographed first edition that sold for $19,000.

The soft-cover book was one of 200 copies printed and is a rarity compared with later editions of the popular series that were printed in the millions, the Heritage Auction Galleries said.

The book, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," includes an autograph from author J.K. Rowling.

It's the first book in the Harry Potter series and was published in the United States under the title "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."

The auction had estimated that the 223-page book would sell for as much as $12,000.

The winning bid of $19,120 bypassed expectations, but it was not the most expensive sale of Harry Potter-related items in an auction.

Last year, an 800-word prequel to the blockbuster Harry Potter novel series fetched nearly $50,000 for a writer's group and dyslexia charity.

That prequel was handwritten and signed by Rowling.

Running the Windows 7 beta on a MacBook


Windows 7 may still be in beta, but it's good enough on a Mac. Whether you prefer a separate partition or a virtual machine, Ars can help you through installing Microsoft's latest OS on Apple's latest machines, and point out some pitfalls along the way.

read more | digg story

UBitMenu Brings the Microsoft Office 2003 Menu Back to Office 2007

Windows only: We love Office 2007's ribbon for its impressive keyboard shortcut integration, but for those of you who miss the Microsoft Office 2003 menu that's entrenched in your muscle memory, UBitMenu can help.

This plug-in adds a new Menu entry to the Office 2007 ribbon (specifically in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint). When clicked, your ribbon displays the classic Office 2003 menu, complete with the buttons and file menus you're used to from your old Office 2003 install. As Samer from FreewareGenius points out, not every single bit of functionality remains in the UBitMenu toolbar as is available in Office 2003—due mostly to changes in Office—but most of the features you're used to remain in all their glory.

Even if you're keen on the Office 2007 ribbon, UBitMenu is a nice tool to ease the transition from 2003 to 2007 while you're polishing your new Office mojo. UBitMenu is a free download for non-commercial use.

Taiwanese boy wins tropical island in prize draw

Taiwanese boy wins tropical island in prize draw

By Travelmail Writers

For many kids it is the stuff of dreams, the chance to occupy your own small Treasure Island, but, in Taiwan it seems, dreams really can come true.

A 4-year-old boy has won the use of an uninhabited tropical island, with white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters, in a Taiwan lottery aimed at boosting spending during an economic downturn.

A tropical island: Taiwanese boy wines tropical island in prize draw

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum anyone?


Officials said Yeh Chien-wei, who won the prize at Thursday's draw, will get exclusive rights to the tiny plot in the Taiwan Strait from May through September.

Penghu County, an offshore archipelago, will provide food, drinks, water and electricity to the boy.

He has been quoted in local media saying he wants to play in the sea.

Penghu has a lot of islands, and that one has water and electricity, so someone can really enjoy it,’ said county economic promotion official Lu Yan-chang, explaining why use of the island, which also has a cabin, was offered as a prize.

Many local authorities in Taiwan have offered cars, houses and other prizes to encourage locals to spend consumer vouchers worth ($103) that the government gave to every citizen in January to encourage spending to help boost the sagging economy.

Penghu, which comprises 64 islands, is known for its beautiful beaches and water sports and is a keen spot for divers.

According to the terms of the prize, the boy and up to seven family members can visit the island five times, for trips that last a maximum of three days.

5 Failed McDonald's Menu Items

Fast Food Image Gallery

mcdonald's original menu
Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Why mess with a perfect thing? Although McDonald's has had plenty of successes, it's had even more misses.
See more fast food pictures.

Back in the day, you couldn't go wrong with the original McDonald's menu. With two entree choices -- hamburger or cheeseburger -- there wasn't much room to experiment. Nowadays, there are lots of choices.

Many introductions to the McDonald's menu have been successful. Take the Big Mac: "Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun." Other chart-topping hits include the Egg McMuffin and Chicken McNuggets, which quickly won the hearts of customers and keep fans hooked.

But in 50 years of experiments, there were bound to be some mistakes. Some new items failed because customers just didn't like change. In other cases, a menu item didn't sell due to ineffective marketing or simply because it didn't appease many customers' taste buds. Many concoctions have come and gone from the McDonald's menu, proving that sticking a "Mc" prefix in a sandwich's name won't make it sell.

We'll explore five flops that went down in flames. Most of them came after the company's founder, Ray Kroc, died. However, the first flop we'll talk about was actually Kroc's brainchild.

5. The Hula Burger

Kroc's hula burger failure
Winfried Heinze/ StockFood Creative/Getty Images
Pineapple on a bun? Catholics didn't really go for Kroc's vegetarian sandwich.

McDonald's founder, Ray Kroc, was a brilliant businessman -- when he kept out of the kitchen. After buying the business's rights from the McDonald brothers, he expanded into new geographic markets but soon discovered a problem with the sales in regions with large Catholic populations.

In the early 1960s, it was still popular for American Catholics to abstain from meat every Friday. Kroc had high hopes for his nonmeat option called "The Hula Burger" -- grilled pineapple with cheese on a bun. He positioned his burger to compete against the Filet-o-Fish sandwich, which was invented by a Catholic franchisee. The Filet-o-Fish won hands down while the Hula tanked.

Since then, American Catholics have relaxed their traditional Friday custom. It's still popular to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent, however, and McDonald's typically discounts the Filet-o-Fish sandwich during that time to boost sales.

Although Kroc managed to stop his Hula Burger short and avoided reaching national embarrassment, the company wasn't so lucky with these next flops.

4. McPizza

mcdonald's pizza option
David E. Klutho//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Everybody loves Pizza… just not pizza from McDonald's.

You can have an Egg McMuffin for breakfast and a Big Mac for lunch, but what are die-hard McDonald's fans supposed to do for dinner? McDonald's tried to solve dilemma in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the McPizza. To build the dinner menu, it even tried adding similar options like lasagna and spaghetti [source: Kidd]. Theoretically, McDonald's could've been your one-stop shop -- forget Dominos and Pizza Hut!­

Unfortunately, McDonald's customers didn't forget. On top of that, McDonald's customers who were used to fast service were irritated by the long wait times for made-to-order pizza. Although the effort failed, some franchises kept the McPizza on the menu for a while. It wasn't that the McPizza fared doing better in those markets; the franchises were stuck with pizza ovens they paid fifty grand for [source: Berss].

3. Arch Deluxe

mcdoanld's arch deluxe
Todd Buchanan//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Executives were excited about the new line of "adult" sandwiches -- customers weren't so much.

­In 1996, McDonald's wanted to broaden its image, so it launched a special advertising campaign. Instead of seeing a fun-loving Ronald McDonald dancing around with kids, TV viewers saw commercials of kids grimacing in disgust at the latest McDonald's burger. This new burger, dubbed the Arch Deluxe, was supposed to appeal to adult tastes with a secret mustard-mayonnaise sauce. That's right: McDonald's -- the symbol of fast, low-priced American food -- was seeking the sophisticated, urban demographic.

As you may have guessed, it didn't work. It seems adults didn't find a child's sheer disgust at a sandwich very appetizing. The company tried another approach -- this time with commercials featuring Ronald McDonald at clubs, golfing and playing pool. This failed because it contradicted the family-friendly atmosphere that McDonald's had cultivated for so long.

Mickey D's spent more money on the Arch Deluxe advertising campaign than it had on any other -- $100 million -- making the sandwich a pricey mistake [source: Collins].

2. McLean Deluxe

mcdonald's mclean deluxe
Pam Francis//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Long before Super Size Me, McDonald's tried to help customers shrink their waistlines. Unfortunately customers couldn't stomach the taste.

More than a decade before the "Super Size Me" documentary, nutritionists were attacking McDonald's for what they considered an unhealthy menu. To appease these critics and lure the health-conscious crowd into its restaurants, McDonald's unveiled the McLean Deluxe in 1991. It advertised the burger as 91 percent fat free; it had 10 grams of fat compared to the Big Mac's 26 [source: McCullough].

The secret was in the seaweed. To make the burger so lowfat, the company replaced the fat content with water. The recipe called for carrageenan -- a seaweed extract -- to bind the water to the beef. Beef made up only 90 percent of the patty, and water and carrageenan made up the remaining 10 percent [source: Riley]. Despite the addition of "natural" beef flavor additives, the result was a dry failure of a burger that was later called "the McFlopper" [source: Collins].


1. McAfrica

mcdonald's mcafrica sandwichiStockPhoto
With Africa suffering famines, people considered the McAfrica tasteless.

In its efforts to cater to people with expanding cultural palates in the U.S., and to appeal to an international audience, McDonald's has released some themed sandwiches throughout the world. Take the McArabia -- a flatbread sandwich with chicken, salad and garlic sauce -- released in Arab countries and in Egypt to help stop a boycott of American products in respon­se to the Iraq War [source: Reuters].

But the company made a major faux pas with a different sandwich. This one was released in Norway in 2002 and called the McAfrica. It consisted of beef and veggies in pita bread. It wasn't that it tasted bad -- but it was in bad taste, according to critics. That's because McDonald's happened to release this sandwich at a time when massive famine was occurring in Africa. The irony was too glaring for people to ignore. After being attacked as insensitive, the company agreed to roll back on its plans for the sandwich and kept donation boxes for hunger-relief charities at the restaurants that did offer it.

Octomom Halloween Costume

California Planning for Alternative Fuel Highway

Biofuels, electricity and hydrogen will all feature on California's highway of tomorrow

By Colin Sullivan


Delayed: California's hopes for a hydrogen-fueled highway don't appear to be on track to materialize by 2010.
FLICKR/DRB62

SAN FRANCISCO – Soon after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) took office in 2003, he set in motion a campaign promise to build, by 2010, a "hydrogen highway" composed of 150 to 200 fueling stations spaced every 20 miles along California's major highways.

Schwarzenegger's "Vision 2010" plan promised that every California motorist would have access to hydrogen fuel by the end of the decade. He has since repeatedly mentioned the highway in a standard stump speech on his environmental accomplishments.

But the program has fallen short of expectations. With less than 10 months until the end of the decade, only 24 hydrogen fueling stations are operating in California, most of them near Los Angeles.

The vision of a hydrogen infrastructure, with fueling stations dotting the interstates, has not materialized, partly because the eager governor may have set unrealistic targets.

Gerhard Achtelik, manager of the hydrogen highway program at the Air Resources Board, admitted in an interview that the state would not hit its 150-station goal by 2010.

"That was a very optimistic guess," Achtelik said. "It's certainly been a learning experience."

The state's hydrogen-highway experience points to a fundamental question confronting any effort to build an alternative car market, be it powered by hydrogen or electricity: What comes first, the vehicle or the infrastructure?

Of the hydrogen effort, Achtelik conceded that the public has "not received the vehicles as quickly as we hoped."

Automakers have developed test models and advanced fuel-cell technology in labs around the world, but this test phase has not yet resulted in anything close to a commercial hydrogen car market.

"If all the cars were there that would be needed for the infrastructure, then the stations would be there," Achtelik said.

Vision with 'hiccups'


Roy Kim, of the California Fuel Cell Partnership, also said developing hydrogen stations when there are not enough cars to serve them does not make sense. The most likely candidates to build the stations in the private sector -- the oil companies -- still see the infrastructure as a questionable investment, while public dollars, especially in cash-strapped California, have been scarce.

But Kim sees reason for optimism, with General Motors Corp., Honda Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Daimler AG moving closer to putting hydrogen cars in the hands of customers. Once the Honda Clarity or GM Equinox catches on, the stations will come, he argued.

"It has had its hiccups," said Kim of the hydrogen highway program. "But this is characteristic of any emerging new technology. It takes time to realize a vision, and it takes patience to get there."

Kim compares the hydrogen fuel cell to the personal computer and likes to reference Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates' famous prediction that he would one day see a personal computer in every household. Hydrogen fuel cells are getting slimmer and safer, he said, and commercial pilot projects have shown promise.

Catherine Rips, managing director of the California Hydrogen Business Council, puts it another way. She said the alternative car market in the United States – with hydrogen matching up against plug-in electrics, hybrids and biodiesels, to name a few – has spread itself outward rather than imitating the internal combustion engine's more linear path. This means the highway concept, which was adopted early in the decade, may not apply, at least for the time being.

"What sounded like a good idea in 1999 doesn't necessarily match up with reality a decade later," Rips said. "New technology doesn't follow a straight path."

Joan Ogden, director of the Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways program at the University of California, Davis, says the 150-station idea was a "broad-brush vision" that experts quickly realized was unlikely to be fulfilled after the governor launched his program.

Transportation planners and policymakers, Ogden said, several years ago stopped taking the highway concept literally. They came up with a new image – the cluster – and decided a more doable pilot program would be to create a network of 10 to 20 stations in a specific region, to fuel the cars where they reside.

Shell Hydrogen BV, an industry leader, and GM soon advocated the same concept in a study that called for the creation of station clusters in three locations, including Los Angeles. So now you have, in theory, a developing network in a region where automakers can directly market their cars.

"GM has repeatedly said the development of such a cluster is what is needed to take their learning to the next level," Rips said.

Zero-emissions rule

Crucial to the emergence of the cluster, in Ogden's view, is California's zero-emissions vehicle rule, which goes into effect in 2012. Under the regulation, which was advanced by the state's Air Resources Board, automakers will be required to make 7,500 "pure ZEVs" in the 2012-14 time frame, and 25,000 in 2015-17.

Because pure ZEVs emit no greenhouse gas emissions from their tailpipes, that means fuel-cell cars powered by either hydrogen or electricity. "I'm actually pretty encouraged," Ogden said. "When I started watching this 15 years ago, it took the whole back of a minivan to hold a fuel system. You have a very attractive car now."

The market for the vehicles and the infrastructure, Ogden added, should "really be driven by this ZEV regulation." The automakers have announced plans to introduce hundreds of fuel-cell vehicles into Southern California in the years ahead, in hopes that a cluster would emerge.

"Clusters make a lot more sense at this point," agreed Achtelik, who predicted "bridge stations" to Las Vegas and Santa Barbara, Calif., from the Los Angeles region by 2014 or 2015.

But just who will build the fueling stations beyond the experimental stage is still an open question.

Ogden said the oil companies, unlike the carmakers, are not regulated to build the infrastructure or participate in the fledgling market. Shell Hydrogen and Chevron Corp. are involved in demonstration stations, but they have been resistant to all-out investment for a reason.

"There's some question as to how this is going to take place," Ogden said. "What we really need is a network demo."

'It's in the mix'

To the automakers, the bumps on the hydrogen highway are emblematic of the state of the alternative car market and the difficulties associated with building cars during the economic downturn.

The manufacturers are developing a number of models to meet increasing fuel economy standards, with an eye on greenhouse gas emissions reduction policies like the one adopted in California under A.B. 32. That means flex-fuel, compressed natural gas and biodiesel vehicles in addition to hydrogen and electric fuel cells.

What are lacking, said Charles Territo, spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, are clear signals on stations and how drivers will be able to drive long distances. "Our industry is committed to offering the vehicles," he said, "but the reality is there needs to be a very significant effort to expand the alternative fuel infrastructure."

Ultimately, Territo added, consumers will likely decide on a region-by-region basis what technology they prefer. Some regions in the Midwest could see ethanol-85 networks emerge, while more urban areas could see electrification.

And hydrogen? "It's in the mix," Territo said. "Our goal as manufacturers is to provide as many different technologies as possible."

In the short term, hydrogen advocates have applauded the federal stimulus package, which has billions set aside for research into fuel cells and $300 million earmarked specifically for alt-vehicle infrastructure projects. In the long term, they would like to see more public dollars to build the stations, possibly alongside state and federal facilities in highway rest stops.

"There's not yet a commercial case for an infrastructure provider," Rips said. "It's going to take public support, or a mandate."

Back in California, state officials say all this is part of what they now view, in the words of ARB spokesman Dimitri Stanich, as a "retooled" hydrogen highway.

"It's very much alive," Stanich said of the program. "This vision is still there. It's just being groomed."


Reprinted from Greenwire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500

Kanye-designed Sneaker looks like Homer-designed car

Kanye’s LV Sneakers

Would you be caught dead in these?

klv1.jpgklv2.jpgklv3.jpgklv4.jpg

Is anyone else reminded of the episode of The Simpsons where Homer gets to design his own car?

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Ronald McDonald is Falling On Hard Times Too

6 Action Words That Make Your Resume Rock

This article is part of a series called How to Write a Resume. To start this series from the beginning, read the introduction.

It’s time to activate your resume with some action words. Action words, or verbs, ignite an otherwise dull resume by setting your skills on fire - giving your credentials authority and power. Verbs are important to include on your resume since they show hiring managers what actions you’ve taken in previous jobs.

You’re being hired to DO something - so show what you’ve DONE in the past by preceding your skills and experiences with action verbs!

Finding the right verbs for your resume is also key to standing out above the competition and landing a job interview.

Finding Your 6 Action Verbs

It’s easy to find the right verbs to make your resume rock. Start by taking your desired job description and highlight the 6 verbs that best reflect what you offer a prospective employer. Depending on the job description and your experience, you may find 3 or you may 30. The point is to identify the actions employers value and match them to your qualifications. The idea is to tailor your resume and cover letter to the position.

For example, below is a sample job description for an administrative assistant containing 6 highlighted action verbs.

resumewords_administrativeassistantjob1

If you’ve applied to several jobs within the same area, you may notice the same verbs are repeatedly requested in your job descriptions. So be sure to use these verbs in your resume to capture the attention of hiring managers.

A word of caution though, using too many verbs can lead to buzzword overkill and harm, rather than help your chances of landing a job interview. No hiring manager likes a resume saturated with lots of action and little substance. When I’ve been on hiring teams, I’ve been know to yell, “bingo” when too many matchy words are buzzing in a job application. So choose your action verbs with care by starting with 6 and going from there.

If you’re having difficulty seeing how the verbs in a job description match your skills, try using the Make Your Match Worksheet to help activate your resume.

Using Action Verbs on Your Resume

You’ve found some verbs, now put them into action. The idea is to precede your skills and accomplishments with a verb, and hopefully end each statement with concise facts and figures.

For example, let’s look at a job description for a software developer. I’ve highlighted the 6 verbs that match the applicant’s skills best.

resumewords_developerjob1

Now let’s get these 6 action verbs working for us in resume format! Here’s how:

1. VERB: coding

  • Coded a web-based shopping cart supporting 3200 customers using C#.NET.

2. VERB: programming

  • Programmed web-based applications using object oriented methods for 5 years.

3. VERB: writing

  • Wrote database layer for an online shopping cart using stored procedures in SQL Server 2008.

4. VERB: building

  • Built custom web-based applications to process credit card and financial data to meet customer requirements.

5. VERB: design

  • Designed a three tier object oriented architecture using web services.

6 VERB: develop

  • Developed industry leading high-transaction financial software using over 5 years experience in C#.NET, web services, SQL Server, AJAX, and object orientated methods.

Resume action words make it easy to add fire to your facts and make your skills sizzle.

Download Your List of Resume Action Words

If you’re challenged to find verbs to match your skills, download this list to get your resume rocking!

resume_action_words_printable_download
Download: Printable Resume Action Words (PDF Format)

iPhone: Renegade app store opens but Apple wants to kill it

Software
By Christian Zibreg

Chicago (IL) - Yes, Apple's App Store carries great stuff for your iPhone. But some of the best applications Apple banned from the App Store are now found at an unauthorized store, called Cydia. Many have not yet heard of Cydia because it cannot be used unless you jailbreak your iPhone, a hacking process that preps the handset for running Apple-sanctioned programs. As of today, The Cydia Store gets into the game by enabling sales of sanctioned applications for the same 70:30 revenue sharing model that Apple offers. But Apple is already prepping to send its legal sharks after The Cydia Store by leveraging DCMA in order to push jailbreaking into illegal territory. The question is, does it make any sense at all? If you ask authors of ingenious programs that Apple banned from the App Store for questionable reasons, or for the users who obviously want to run them, Apple's response is a stifling action against competition, one that threatens to kill the best iPhone software out there. But if you ask Apple they'll say: a lawyer a day keeps the illegals away.


Jailbreaking was/is a commonly used hack, one that opens up the handset to install third-party applications -- originally at times when there was not yet an App Store or even the official software development kit (SDK) to allow the creation of third-party programs. [Editor's note: When iPhones are jailbroken, Cydia and Installer are both automatically installed as part of the jailbreak process, from there the Cydia App Store is accessed -- it does not have a generic homepage.].

Soon after jailbreaking allowed access to non-Apple software, central repositories like Installer and Cydia emerged to allow users to browse, download and install unofficial iPhone programs on jailbreak phones. This unfed desire of consumers convinced Apple to bring the official SDK and unveil the App Store in July of 2008, but it was through Cydia and Installer that we discovered and installed the first innovative iPhone programs -- bar Apple's own.

In many ways, Cydia has offered us a glimpse of the true potential of the iPhone platform with applications like iBeer and Popcorn which first appeared as unofficial releases.

Cydia Store challenges the App Store

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Jay Freeman, a 27-year-old California graduate student who created Cydia, is now upping the ante and challenging Apple by opening The Cydia Store for business. And why not? After all, Cydia hosts a number of interesting applications you're unlikely to see on Apple's App Store. Titles like Cycorder, the application that enables you to use iPhone's camera to record video. Or the $29 PdaNet tethering program which replicates the functionality AT&T promised they would deliver "soon" -- but is still nowhere to be seen. For a more comprehensive outlook, check this handy Mac World list of the best iPhone applications not in the App Store.

As of today, programmers can even sell their applications on either Apple's App Store or Freeman's Cydia Store. Both stores offer similar sales terms. Freeman told the Wall Street Journal that Cydia will charge developers "no more than the commission Apple does for his site's billing services." According to the paper, two more unofficial stores are also coming, like Rock Your Phone and another that plans selling adult iPhone games. But why even bother anyway -- you might ask.

Did Apple's App Store kill jailbreaking?

It is true that the advent of Apple's App Store at first subdued consumer interest in jailbreaking. But as more and more great programs were rejected from their App Store, some are once again turning to Cydia (and similar sites) to get the software that would've otherwise never reached consumers because of Apple's App Store policies. For example, when Apple banned the podcasting program called Podcaster on the grounds that it replicates an iTunes feature, the developer who created it simply posted it on Cydia. Many other iPhone applications banned from the App Store for various reasons have also found their home on Cydia as well. The only problem is, using Cydia to install sanctioned applications requires jailbreaking the handset, and Apple plans to leverage this fact in order to kill the rival stores.

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CYDIA HAS THE BEST SOFTWARE
Cydia offers programs that would have never been approved by Apple. Pictured above is the home screen of a jailbroken iPhone to accommodate two unauthorized stores: Cydia and Installer. Using these two stores and the jailbreak iPhone, you can browse and install all the software that Apple says is no-no on the iPhone -- like skinning application to personalize the UI, video recording, modem tethering, direct podcast downloading, and much more. But it does require you to jailbreak your iPhone first, which not only reduces stability of the handset -- but may become illegal if Apple gets its way.

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SANCTIONED APPS NOW SELL ON CYDIA
As of today, programmers who saw their applications banned from App Store can sell them on Cydia. Jay Freeman (who created Cydia) says he's offering a comparable 70:30 deal like Apple does, whereby authors receive 70% of the sales price of every download, and Freeman keeps 30% to cover the billing system costs.

Jailbreaking: Breaking the law or not?

Apple obviously saw this one coming and has prepared for it in advance. When EFF proposed an exemption to the DMCA that would legalize jailbreaking, Apple opposed it. And last month, Apple even filed a 27-page opposition to the proposal with the U.S. Copyright Office. The company claimed that jailbreaking reduces the security and reliability features of the handset by adding unauthorized changes to the iPhone OS. This is true to some extent as jailbreaking does put iPhone users at more security-related risks -- but it's often a price consumers are willing to pay because of the increased software benefits.

However, Apple also argued that jailbreaking might enable piracy as well. While every App Store application, paid or not, is wrapped with FairPlay DRM to prevent it from running on iPhones and iPod touches which are not authorized for the iTunes Store account used to purchase an application, hackers have recently cracked this copy-protection mechanism. Please note that jailbreaking and unlocking are two different things. Although unlocking your handset (for use with any carrier) requires jailbreaking first, jailbreaking a phone does not also require that you unlock it.

While pirated fee-based App Store programs have not yet appeared online, they may arrive at anytime, tempting users to jailbreak their phones and install them. Does this possibility put Cydia developer Jay Freeman on a collision course with Apple's legal sharks?

Ecosystem to protect

Many legal experts stress that pirating paid App Store programs does break the law, but warn at the same time that the DCMA gives users freedom of choice to jailbreak their device in order to install unofficial applications. Susan Crawford, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, told NY Times that federal courts have ruled that the DMCA was used to stifle competition. "Courts have said you shouldn’t use the DMCA to leverage your copyright monopoly into other markets."

It remains to be seen if Apple can get away with leveraging the DCMA to deem jailbreaking illegal and thus put Cydia and other unofficial installers out of business. No matter how you look at it, Apple has a lot to lose if the letter of the law says jailbreaking is legal and rival stores begin to gain ground because of Apple's self-imposed "ban any software" policies.

In January, Apple reported a record 500 million applications download and 15.000 applications in less than six month of App Store existence. Piper Jaffray estimates that the App Store raked in $150 million in sales last year and expects this to grow more than 5x to $800 million in 2009. Other analysts also expect the App Store to soon become a one billion dollar business. There is an ecosystem here to protect and Apple will use all means at their disposal to protect it -- and vigorously.

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A BILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS
App Store was estimated to have cashed in $150 million in sales in 2008, but analysts expect it will zoom past one billion mark in annual revenues soon (with $800 million in sales in 2009). But the App Store is in a more favorable position compared with Cydia as it comes factory-preloaded on every new iPhone and is also a part of the company's free iTunes jukebox software. However, companies like Cydia don't have to make a billion dollars to be extremely successful, providing consumers with what they want and making millions themselves in the process.

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