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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Best Team Ever in Basketball

UCONN has set an all time record of consecutive wins in College Basketball.

With 89 straight victories the women of the University of Connecticut Huskies have surpassed the previous record, set in 1974 by UCLA with 88 wins.

Newspapers' Gamble on Higher Ed May have led to major missteps

The impact of a major newspapers shift in focus to higher education ha been both good and bad. Education is assessable and well finances. But according to the Huffington Post, the move is not without its drawbacks.

DECEMBER 22, 2010

A still taken from a commercial for Kaplan University shows an empty desk on the ledge of a building. According to Education Department data, 27 percent of students at campuses owned by the for-profit school default on their student loans within three years.   

Arlen Castillo had just begun an online associates degree program at Kaplan University when a family emergency forced a change of plans. Her mother in Florida learned she needed extensive surgery that entailed months of recuperation. Only two weeks into her first term, Castillo promptly withdrew to lend her mother support.

As Castillo recalls, a Kaplan academic advisor told her she could simply fill out a withdrawal form and incur no additional expenses beyond the registration fees she had already paid. But a year and a half later, in 2006, collections agents began hounding her, she says, demanding that she pay some $10,000 in supposedly overdue tuition charges. Despite having attended only two online sessions, Castillo had remained officially enrolled at Kaplan for nearly a year after her withdrawal.

Far from an aberration, Castillo's experience typifies the results of a practice known informally inside Kaplan as "guerilla registration": academic advisers have long enrolled students in classes they never take, without their consent and sometimes even after they have sought to withdraw from the university, in order to maximize the company's revenues, according to interviews with former employees.

Managers at Kaplan--the highly profitable educational arm of the Washington Post Co.-- have for years pressured academic advisers to use this method to boost enrollment numbers, the former employees said, offering accounts consistent with dozens of complaints filed by former students with the Florida Attorney General's Office and reviewed by The Huffington Post.

Note: not all for profit or non-state schools use tactics under investigation by the federal government, These schools fill niche needs not fully met by state schools, particularly in a recessed economy. They take risks and help students who may not have access to the programs or education they need through other "traditional" channels. Always do due dilligance when investing in your or a loved one's education.

Net Neutrality, Music Crash, Avatar and American Airlines

Concerts recorded music sales crashed in 2010: Even music downloads were flat at 2009 levels, following a record period of growth from 2007 to 2009. The U.S. music business closes 2010 in an atmosphere of continuing uncertainty and decline, as the events of the last 12 months evince more questions than answers about the industry's future.

Net neutrality, the aftermath: As expected, the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday released its rules to regulate the Internet. The controversial 3-2 vote went along party lines, with the three Democrats -- including Chairman Julius Genachowski -- voting in favor and the two Republicans voting against the new regulations which seek to prevent Internet service providers from playing favorites with Web content. There will also likely be some legal challenges to not only the rules but also to whether the FCC has the standing to make the rules. Coverage from the usual suspects, including the Los Angeles TimesWall Street JournalNew York TimesWashington Post andHillicon Valley.
An honor Fox would rather not have: According to TorrentFreak, a blog about all things BitTorrent, 20th Century Fox's "Avatar" was the most pirated movie of 2010. The site says the filmm was downloaded 16,580,000 times on BitTorrent alone. Others in the top-five include "Kick-Ass," "Inception" and "Iron Man 2." More on this and other news from Company Town on the LA Times blog....(click here).

American Airlines yanked its flights from Orbitz yesterday due to how they allege Orbitz was driving prices unrealistically low. It will be difficult for Orbitz to call itself "a one stop shop" when the countries largest international airline missing from its services.

The war has only just begun: Republicans smell blood with the 2010 census redistricting now in place. The US Congress could shift decisively in 2011, with gains tin Republican states and losses in "rust belt" union states. While the line is fine and the country is near evenly split, the truth is that what comes out of each state may better reflect the power of Republican "just say no" to compromise tactics. The future of the nation may be in the balance.

Dont' Ask Don't Tell: President Obama signed the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" legislation, allowing gays and lesbians to be open about their sexual preferences when entering the military and to no longer fear the attacks and "outing" used as an act of personal vengeance over the past years. The military says that existing regulations, process and procedures should do well to mediate any conflicts or change that may occur. Of the forces surveyed, only the marines came out with a majority in opposition to ending "don't ask, don't tell.

Sony to take on iTunes, Pandora and other music services...

Sony Corp. on Wednesday launched a music streaming service in a bid to boost sales of its consumer electronics and break Apple's dominance of the online music business.
The Japanese company's "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" is a digital music service based on cloud technology that does not involve downloading tracks like Apple's iTunes, which started in 2001.
Instead, a subscription gives users access to a catalog of about 6 million songs, which can be streamed across Sony's Internet-connected devices like the PlayStation 3, personal computers and Bravia TVs. The service can be synchronized with a user's existing music files, including iTunes, Sony said.
The service debuted in the U.K. and Ireland on Wednesday and will be rolled out in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and New Zealand and the U.S. next year. "Music Unlimited" follows the launch this year of an on-demand video service that is now available in the U.S. and several European countries.
For Sony, the two services represent an effort to better integrate the company's consumer electronics with content like music, movies and games in a fiercely competitive market. Sony is banking on Qriocity - its new online entertainment platform announced earlier this year- to help make that happen.