Saturday, July 28, 2012

Friend or foe, US gymnasts don't mind who watches

LONDON (AP) ? Aly Raisman can almost feel the eyes on her as she and her U.S. gymnastics teammates finish their training session. Sure enough, she'll look up and see a couple of heads in the doorway.

Russians, usually. Sometimes the Romanians.

"We always try and do a little better," Raisman said with the hint of a smirk, "maybe intimidate them a bit."

If there were any doubts the American women are the ones to beat at the London Olympics, they've been erased by the amateur espionage the last few days.

When the Americans opened Thursday's podium training session with a barrage of Amanars, the high-scoring vaults that might very well decide the gold medal, a Chinese coach made sure he had a front-row seat. Russian coach Alexander Alexandrov just happened to make his way to the bathroom when the Americans were doing vault one day, and couldn't resist stopping for a minute or two.

"They watch us, we don't watch them," U.S. coach John Geddert said.

Now, before the Americans are accused of being overconfident, they've had their London plan in mind for a while now. The gymnasts upgraded their routines months ago, and those monster vaults have been in the works for several years. If the Russians, Romanians or defending Olympic champion Chinese unveil some new tricks, there's not a whole lot the Americans can do about it now.

The women's competition begins Sunday with qualifying. The team final is Tuesday night.

And, let's be honest, the Americans have earned the right to strut a little. They are, after all, the reigning world champions, beating Russia by four points last fall in a rout.

Jordyn Wieber is the world all-around champion, and her only two losses since 2008 have been to American teammates. McKayla Maroney won the vault title at worlds, while Raisman took home a bronze on floor exercise and was fourth in the all-around. Gabby Douglas upstaged Wieber at the Olympic trials, and her uneven bars performance is a better show than anything those circus acrobats can do.

"To me, it doesn't make a difference what they're doing if we do what we do," said Geddert, also Wieber's personal coach. "We're not going to change anything because they're doing something else. We're going to do what we do."

Despite winning three of the last five team titles at the world championships, the Americans have won only one Olympic gold medal, and that was back in 1996 with The Magnificent Seven. But this is the deepest team, top to bottom, the U.S. has had since Atlanta, and those show-stopping vaults could give the Americans a decisive advantage.

The Amanar is worth 0.7 points more than most other gymnasts' vault. Execution scores still have to be factored in, of course. But assuming each American does an Amanar in team finals, where three gymnasts compete on each event and all three scores count, the U.S. could build a sizable lead over Russia, Romania and China with just one event.

"We've been working so hard on them, and it shows we really want this," Raisman said. "It's a huge advantage."

So is their attitude.

Rather than curling into a ball or hiding in a corner, the Americans have embraced the attention and the expectations. They thought it was cool to make the cover of Sports Illustrated's Olympic preview, and they've spent more time with Ryan Seacrest than those celebs angling for judging gigs on "American Idol."

They take the spying as a compliment ? those who acknowledge noticing it, that is. They even managed to steal the spotlight from that gaudy floor at the O2 Arena, showing up to podium training with leotards that were, if you can imagine, an even brighter shade of pink.

Don't let their flashy fashion fool you. The Americans' focus remains on an entirely different color: gold.

"We're like soldiers," Maroney said. "We just come to get the job done."


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Wall Street rises on GDP, stimulus hopes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street rose on Friday following a report on U.S. economic growth which met expectations and on hopes for further stimulus from the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.

U.S. economic growth slowed, as expected, in the second quarter as consumers spent at their most sluggish pace in a year. The figure was better than investors' worse fears but still weak enough to potentially push the Fed closer to pumping more money into the economy.

"The Fed's concern and mandate is employment. Annualized GDP growth at 1.5 percent cannot begin to mend the unemployment picture," said Joseph Trevisani, chief market strategist at Worldwide markets in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and other policymakers "will have all the rationale they need to open the liquidity spigot."

Stocks leapt nearly 2 percent on Thursday, erasing much of the losses for the week, as ECB chief Mario Draghi said he would do whatever it takes to save the euro. That followed a story in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, which was seen as heralding a new round of stimulus from the Fed.

Facebook Inc shares tumbled 14 percent, hitting an all time low of $23.02 after it reported a drastic slowdown in revenue growth on Thursday and failed to offer financial forecasts that quelled fears about its ability to boost advertising growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.dji> gained 182.40 points, or 1.44 percent, to 12,858.45. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> added 16.36 points, or 1.22 percent, to 1,354.25. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.ixic> added 46.66 points, or 1.63 percent, to 2,900.90.

Merck & Co was the top boost to the Dow after it reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings despite the negative impact of the stronger dollar, with strong sales growth of its vaccines and treatments for diabetes and HIV. The shares rose 2.7 percent to $44.44.

Optimism over further stimulus measures has helped offset a mixed U.S. corporate earnings season, with many companies beating profit forecasts but often missing revenue projections and warning about sluggish global growth.

As of Thursday, about half of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings. Of those, about two thirds have beat profit forecasts. Three in five, however, have missed Wall Street's revenue projections, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Starbucks Corp cut its outlook for the current quarter, citing global economic weakness and a recent slowdown in visits in the United States, its biggest market for sales and profits, sending shares tumbling more than 10 percent to $46.85.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 1.5 percent annual rate between April and June, the weakest pace of growth since the third quarter of 2011, the Commerce Department said on Friday. (Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Kenneth Barry)


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Friday, July 27, 2012

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Where Lawyers and the Internet Meet: You ... - Traverse Legal, PLC

The internet is a very complicated place. There are web hosting companies, affiliate marketers. There are e-commerce agreements, clickwrap agreements. There?s social media defamation. There is any number of issues surrounding the DNS system, the Domain Name Server system. There?s ICANN which is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. There?s the registration of domain names which are controlled by registries and are sold through registrars to registrants.

There are subpoena issues in terms of what kind of digital information can you get from internet service providers or ISPs. If you have to identify anonymous people on the internet there?s a whole piece of technology which a lawyer or an attorney has to understand, even to know where to go.

Welcome to Internet Law Radio where we discuss the hottest topics in Internet law.? If you are facing an Internet law issue, cyber law complaint, web site or e-commerce issue, we have an Internet lawyer ready to help.

The internet is a very complicated place.? There are web hosting companies, affiliate marketers. There are e-commerce agreements, clickwrap agreements. There?s social media defamation.? There is any number of issues surrounding the DNS system, the Domain Name Server system.? There?s ICANN which is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.? There?s the registration of domain names which are controlled by registries and are sold through registrars to registrants.

There are subpoena issues in terms of what kind of digital information can you get from internet service providers or ISPs. If you have to identify anonymous people on the internet there?s a whole piece of technology which a lawyer or an attorney has to understand, even to know where to go.

My name is Internet Law Attorney Enrico Shaefer, and today we?re going to be talking a little bit about this merger between technology and the law.? There used to be, back before the internet, loosely defined technology attorneys, attorneys who understood about software and networks and hardware, and understood enough to be able to lend their legal expertise to clients who existed in those spaces.

But you know what?? The world has changed.? It?s a whole different place, and there?s a lot of business being done on the internet.? The primary calling card for every business is their website, which is a website on a domain name which consumers, and partners, and web visitors go to in order to see who you are and what you do.

So, these assets are incredibly important to virtually every business today. If you?ve got an issue, which somehow deals with your website, your domain name, or with the internet itself, you?re going to need an attorney who not only understands the area of law involved, but perhaps even more importantly understands how the internet works.? A lawyer who does not understand the back-end technology of the internet isn?t going to be able to accomplish results for you as the client.

Attorneys and lawyers today, many of them actually use the internet, right?? They use email.? They get the same spam messages that you do, and they worry about anti-spam laws. But do they really understand how different aspects of the internet and the World Wide Web actually work? The answer is a resoundingly ?no?.? Very few of the older, more experienced lawyers have any experience in internet and technology representation.

So, the most important thing that you need to understand as a client when taking a look at law firms and interviewing attorneys in order to understand who?s going to be able to help you with your internet-based client, with your internet-based problem, is that you need to ask both sides of the equation.? You need to ask your attorneys and your prospective lawyers who you?re taking a look at to hire, not only what the legal issue is, but what is going to have to happen on the technology side in order to accomplish a result?

So, let me give you a couple of examples.? Let?s say that you are a small business or start-up company that is trying to secure a domain name that matches your trademark.? So, there are a number of landing pages out there on domain names which are a good match for your trademark and no one appears to be using those web pages. So, a common question you might have is, ?Well, if I go ahead and register my trademark, can I then go get that domain name??

Well, there are special statues and policies and arbitrations which exist in order to resolve trademark and domain name disputes.? You?re going to need a lawyer who not only understands the law, but understands how the domain name system works, how the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy works, and identify for you your options of securing an unused or a lander page domain name that is going to be the one you?re going to want to launch your business on.

Let?s say you?re a small business or internet start-up company and you?re looking for a lawyer, because someone has defamed you on the internet. Let?s say you?ve been in business for about four years now and you?re growing, but one of your competitors has posted a bogus customer review, alleging that you provide poor customer service and that you didn?t honor your warranties.

Well, if that is posted on a third-party website you need an attorney who not only understands defamation law, but understands how web hosts and website operators work, and what their typical policies are with regards to removing third-party user-generated content that?s alleged to be defamation.

Let me give you another example.? Let?s say you?re a nice little e-commerce business doing say $10 million worth of revenue a year and you?ve been growing very quickly. You?re selling ceiling fans online through a variety of different domain names and websites that your company has built over time.

You do all your original artwork and so all of the different graphics and photographs displaying the different ceiling fans that you have on your website are copyright-owned by you and your company. But your competitors or others start using those original pieces of artwork, those original photographs by your company to display product on eBay, on Amazon, on, on other e-commerce sites.

What are your options as a potential copyright owner to have those web pages removed, those accounts blocked by eBay and other vendors and potentially to have the photographs taken down? You?re going to need, not only a copyright law attorney to help you out, but that copyright law attorney is going to have to understand the internet and online space. Otherwise, they will not have any idea what results are achievable and who you can assert leverage against with regards to copyright infringement.

Again, there are special statutes which deal with online copyright infringement and user-generated content.? So, these are the types of things that any good technology and internet lawyer will be able to help you with.

So, when you go out and you list all your requirements on Google and you get those search returns and you find an attorney who you think is going to be good, make sure you take a look at what their technology and internet background is in addition to the substantive area of law that may apply to your specific situation. My name is Internet Law Attorney Enrico Shaefer. We?ll see you next time.

You?ve been listening to Internet Law Radio.? Whether you are facing a domain name, intellectual property or a complex litigation issue, we have an Internet law attorney ready to answer your questions.


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White Sox?sweep Twins

Associated Press Sports

updated 6:08 p.m. ET July 25, 2012

CHICAGO (AP) - Dayan Viciedo showed his resiliency, and so did the Chicago White Sox.

Viciedo homered and drove in four runs to make up for some defensive miscues, and the White Sox beat Minnesota 8-2 Wednesday for a three-game sweep of the last-place Twins.

Viciedo hit a two-run single in the second inning and added a two-run homer in the fourth, finishing with three hits. Alex Rios also homered for the White Sox, who have won 10 of their last 11 home games.

"You get that feeling back," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It's one thing to go through a tough stretch and start winning games again, expecting that. Part of this three-game series, you get back, the guys swinging the bats pretty good and guys pitching fairly well."

Jake Peavy (8-7) allowed two runs - one earned - and six hits in six innings with six strikeouts and two walks. Chicago went into Wednesday night atop the AL Central with a half-game lead Detroit, which swept the White Sox over the weekend.

"These three games we just played good team baseball," Peavy said. "It's nice to come back after the road trip we had. We had a short homestand, but we played well, got back on track."

Kevin Youkilis left the game in the fourth inning due to a sprained left ankle. He rolled it rounding first on an RBI single in the third and was lifted for a pinch hitter.

Youkilis called the move "precautionary" and said he will be ready to play Friday at Texas.

Nick Blackburn (4-6) gave up a season-high eight runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings as the Twins fell a season-worst 18 games below .500. Minnesota went 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position, stranded nine runners and lost to the White Sox for the 15th time in their last 19 meetings.

"Just a terrible series by us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But a very good series by the other team. They whacked it, and they pounded us - scored a lot of runs, and we got dominated here."

Peavy got into a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the first, but allowed only one run. Josh Willingham grounded into a double play, and Justin Morneau grounded out.

Viciedo misplayed Joe Mauer's fly ball to left leading off the fourth for an error, Willingham walked and Mauer scored on Morneau's double. But with runners on second and third, Peavy struck out Ryan Doumit, Brian Dozier and Alexi Casilla.

Viciedo's miscue snapped a 109-game errorless streak. It was his first error since moving to the outfield from third base in 2011.

"You work hard at (defense) and you figure at some point (an error) might happen," Viciedo said through a translator. "Unfortunately for me, today was that day. Just go out there and keep practicing so it doesn't happen again."

The 23-year-old Cuban responded with his 16th homer of the season in the bottom half, a 409-foot, two-run drive over the center-field wall for a 6-2 lead.

"What he's doing offensively as far as his approach, you can tell by the way he's hitting the ball, just the velocity coming off the bat that he feels pretty good at the plate," Ventura said.

Viciedo got into more trouble in the fifth when he failed to catch Denard Span's one-out line drive - ruled a double. Viciedo tumbled forward, bending his left wrist as he fell to the ground.

Ventura and a White Sox trainer came out to check on Viciedo, who recovered to make a nice retreating catch on Mauer's fly ball and strand Span at second.

Rios' two-run homer in the fifth chased Blackburn, who allowed eight earned runs for the first time since Sept. 28, 2010, at Kansas City.

Span had two doubles for Minnesota. Morneau's double in the fourth was the 250th of his career.

NOTES: White Sox C A.J. Pierzynski (mild right oblique strain) sat out for the second consecutive game. Ventura expects Pierzynski to return Friday. "He could play, but we don't want him to re-injure it and be out for any longer than he has to be," Ventura said. ... Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe (bruised right thumb) missed his fifth straight game. Gardenhire said a trip to the 15-day DL is possible if Plouffe doesn't improve by Friday's series opener against Cleveland. ... Scott Diamond (8-4, 3.16 ERA) will pitch the series opener for the Twins against the Indians' Josh Tomlin (5-7, 5.34). ... Chris Sale (11-3, 2.37) starts for Chicago against Yu Darvish (11-6, 3.88) at Texas on Friday.

? 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Marlins fans deserve a lot better

HBT: Jeff Loria gets a sweetheart stadium, gets fans' hopes up, then in 3 months sells off much of the team, including Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers. Why even root for this team?


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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Nexus (Unlocked)

Finally, an unlocked smartphone we can get excited about. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus ($349 direct from Google) is tempting to begin with, since you can use any AT&T or T-Mobile SIM card, even prepaid or monthly ones, plus it will work overseas. And the price is very low for an unlocked phone, which typically costs $500 to $600, leading us to believe Google is subsidizing it somehow. But the Galaxy Nexus ?is also in the unique position of being the only phone running Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" (Free, 4.5 stars) right now, and it's the only?phone you can buy that's guaranteed to get quick Android OS updates. As such, even though some other phones now beat it on pure hardware specs, the unlocked Galaxy Nexus is our Editors' Choice for unlocked smartphones.

Design and Screen
Measuring 5.33 by 2.67 by 0.35 inches (HWD) and weighing 4.76 ounces, the Galaxy Nexus is constructed of all dark gray plastic with the exception of the glass screen. The textured back panel is pleasantly grippy, although it's also hard plastic and not a soft-touch material. The phone isn't particularly eye-catching, but it's finely crafted nonetheless, and the unlocked version is a shade thinner than the CDMA model, which is welcome. The left side holds a volume rocker switch, while the right side houses the Power button and the three-dot docking connector.

The 4.65-inch Super AMOLED screen offers full 720p (1,280-by-720-pixel) resolution. Fonts look exceedingly sharp and crisp. Colors are vibrant, and you get deep blacks. But solid whites looks like pale gray. And like older AMOLED screens, the lowest brightness setting is still pretty bright, which is an issue when using the phone in a dark room. Used within its limits, though, it's still a beautiful screen, but the state of the art has moved forward a bit.?Typing on the screen in both portrait and landscape mode is a pleasure. There's plenty of room to work with, and Jelly Bean's improved predictive text puts it on an even keel with iOS 5.1.?

Connectivity and Voice Quality
The unlocked Galaxy Nexus is a quad-band EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) and quintuple band HSPA+ 21 (850/900/1700/1900/2100 MHz) device with 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. It supports HSPA+ 21 speeds on both AT&T and T-Mobile networks here and overseas. It works with regular mini-SIMs (not micro); I tested the Nexus with an AT&T SIM, which worked perfectly.?Inside there's NFC, a gyroscope and compass, and a barometer in addition to the typical accelerometer and proximity and light sensors.

Unfortunately, you're not going to see the same data speeds with this phone as you would with an LTE or even HSPA+ 42 device?and frankly, we've seen HSPA+ 21 devices that test faster than they do here. In a series of tests, the unlocked Galaxy Nexus with an AT&T SIM averaged just 800Kbps to 1200Kbps down, and roughly 100 to 130Kbps up, with 230ms ping times, thanks to a combination of spotty reception quality and the slower data radio. That's decidedly 3G, even when testing outside in midtown Manhattan. We'll chalk it up to a bad test day for AT&T, but even with clear sailing you'd be hard pressed to top 3Mbps down.

Voice calls sounded great, though. Callers sounded clear in the earpiece, with plenty of volume, and transmissions through the microphone were crisp and detailed. I heard a good amount of street noise through the mic, but my voice always cut through loud and clear above it.?Calls sounded fine through a Jawbone Era Bluetooth headset ($129, 4 stars). Voice dialing worked perfectly over Bluetooth using Android's stock voice dialer, which you can also trigger from a headset. The speakerphone is pretty weak, both for calls and alert sounds; I barely heard the alarm when I tested it, and it was set to maximum volume. The 1750mAh battery is slightly smaller than what you get with the CDMA versions; we're testing battery life and will update this review as soon as we have a result.


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Speedy Broadband Services Outpace the Internet | in the loop

July 25th, 2012 Posted in News

Over the past five years, Daniel Sofer has signed up for every boost in Internet speed offered by Verizon Communications Inc., his home service provider.

But when he got Verizon?s newest high-speed service, it was ?the first time I?m not feeling that thrill of exhilaration when I connect,? said Sofer, a photographer and website designer in Hermosa Beach, Calif. The problem: The extra speed made no difference.

In the highly competitive cable market, broadband speed is a major selling point for Verizon and broadband rivals like Comcast Corp.?s Xfinity service. Carriers frequently boost the broadband speeds they offer in their relentless pursuit of new subscribers. But while the extra speed can pay off for households with multiple users, it can be overkill for many consumers.

FiOS Quantum, the ultra-swift broadband service that Verizon launched in June, offers Internet download speeds of up to 300 million bits per second for a price of up to $209.99 a month. The company says that?s fast enough to download a high-definition Hollywood movie in about two minutes. ?That?s like driving a Porsche or a Ferrari,? said Roger Entner, an Internet analyst for Recon Analytics LLC in Dedham. ?You know it can go really fast. But does it really make a difference in the real world? No.?

The problem is that most of the Internet isn?t transmitting data fast enough to take advantage of such rapid broadband speeds, Entner said. If a server computer transmits an Internet video at, say, 20 million bits per second, having a 300-million-bits-a-second connection won?t make any difference. ?The website you are connecting to is the bottleneck,? he said.

The Federal Communications Commission, responding to reports that the United States lags behind other major countries in Internet speed, is also encouraging cable providers to introduce superfast broadband services, Entner said. ?At least we can quote it in our studies .?.?. and say, ?Hurrah, the US has the fastest Internet,??? he said. ?It?s actually a game of bragging rights.?

Verizon officials were unavailable for comment, although a spokesman said Quantum will be available to most of the 5 million people who use FiOS Internet service in Massachusetts, 13 other states, and the District of Columbia.

Catherine Avgiris, executive vice president and general manager of communication and data services at rival Internet provider Comcast, said her company?s premium online offerings are mainly intended for homes where multiple family members engage in heavy Internet use.

?The average household has a laptop, has a gaming system, they have a tablet,? said Avgiris. ?The more devices there are in the home, the better performance you get by having greater speed.?

Avgiris wouldn?t say how many customers sign up for Comcast?s Xfinity fastest broadband service, which tops out at 105 million bits per second. But she did say that about a quarter of Comcast?s 18.6 million Internet subscribers choose speeds of 25, 50, or 105 megabits. Most subscribers choose speeds of three, six, or 20 megabits. At about the same time Verizon announced FiOS Quantum, Comcast said that 30-megabit subscribers would get a free speed increase to 50 megabits, while existing 50-megabit users would be bumped up to 105 megabits, at no extra charge.

Avgiris said Comcast?s data network is quite capable of matching FiOS Quantum?s 300-megabit speed, adding that the Xfinity system delivered data at 1 billion bits per second in a demonstration in Chicago last year. But she said that for now, there?s no sign that consumers are interested in such massive bandwidth. ?I?m not sure there?s a market today for one gigabit,? she said. ?In five years, 10 years, who knows??

Even skeptics like Entner predict that consumers will eventually need superfast Internet connections. For example, TV companies are beginning to develop ?4K? technology, a new video standard that would make TV images far sharper than today?s high-definition sets. Streaming 4K programs over the Internet would require a big speed boost, and could lead to surging demand for snappier connections.

But for most consumers today, the fastest Internet services are solutions to a nonexistent problem. ?It?s one of those nice things where technology has progressed faster than our need for it,? said Entner.

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