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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Texting loses it's "phat: Carriers Sweat as Texting Cools Off

"It's not cool anymore to SMS," 

Eelco Blok, chief executive of Dutch telecommunications company -Royal KPN NV, acknowledged on an April earnings call. 

Cellphone carriers are in danger of losing very profitable text messaging fees. Kelsey Hubbard talks with WSJ's Anton Troianovski about how Apple's iMessage and other instant-messaging apps pose a threat.
From "The Wall Street Journal", click here.

Growth in the volume of text messaging is slowing sharply, just as new threats emerge to that lucrative source of wireless carrier profits.

While U.S. cellphone users sent and received more than 1 trillion texts in the second half of 2010, according to CTIA, a wireless industry trade group, that was just an 8.7% increase from the prior six months. It was the slimmest gain since texting exploded last decade.
Text traffic will come under more pressure in the months ahead. This week, Apple Inc. showed off an application that will allow iPhone and iPad owners to bypass carriers and send text messages over the Internet to other people with Apple devices.
Google Inc., whose Android software is the most popular operating system on smartphones, has also recently worked on a messaging application, a person familiar with the matter said.

The new messaging tools—answers to Research In Motion Ltd.'s popular BlackBerry Messenger—are a growing threat to a texting business that generated $25 billion in revenue in the U.S. and Canada last year.

The challenges posed by alternatives to text messaging reflect the broader changes roiling the wireless industry as carriers scramble to adjust to devices like the iPhone and Android handsets, which give cellphone users more flexibility in how they communicate.

To read more, for video and for other news, click here to return to the Wall Street Journal (subscription may be required).

Do you do HDTV?

Study explores what's driving HDTV sales ... and what's not
A report from DisplaySearch finds that advanced TV features such as 3D and Web TV are not driving sales of HDTVs as much as originally expected. The research firm's survey found that price, screen size and even LED backlighting (in some countries) are more important to most consumers. Home Media Magazine 

UNLV Still Cut Deep by Sandoval's Budget Ax

Nine departments will be eliminated at UNLV. Eighteen degree programs will be gone.
Two hundred fifteen jobs will go, and 685 students will be shut out because of budget cuts.
Those numbers, revealed Wednesday by UNLV President Neal Smatresk, are far below what was predicted weeks ago, before the governor and the Legislature came up with a deal that lessened budget cuts in higher education.
"In this budget, there is still very real pain, and there will still be people who lose their jobs,"

Ghost of Screw Nevada Bill lives on in a new Republican House of Representatives

I am not sure how to take Republicans in the House of Representatives. Now they say science is not sound or to be believed. No, I am not talking about evolution or global warming, both of which have sound scientific proof behind them. I am talking Yucca Mountain and Nevada.

That's right the area that the New York Times calls "parched", "barren", "uninhabited" and "wasteland."

Republicans vote where their campaign dollars are and after all it has long been a nuclear power industry goal to "screw Nevada."

Republicans believe what they want to to convince the public that their policies are right, regardless of the truth or science. They are believing a report prepared for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by the utilities that want, or they say need, to see Yucca Mountain become the nation's high level nuclear dump over sound research over two decades by other government agencies, by independent researchers and the vast majority view of the citizens of Nevada.

What's more, Republicans who control the House Science and Technology Committee released the report, which remains incomplete and was drafted to be highly confidential. So much for ethics and even handed government.

I guess state's rights only count if you are advancing the Republican agenda. As George W Bush proved, as the first US President to ever override a governor's veto (Republican Governor Kenny Guinn vetoed the use of Yucca Mountain as a "repository"), when Republicans want it states be damned.

But if Democrats want it, it is in violation of "states rights" as a republic.

The language is the site "could be safe". not it is safe. Yet that is read as another way to attack the Obama Administration, which at the bidding of both Nevada US Senators (including heavy Obama backer Majority Leader Harry Reid), cut most of the funds and declared the site Bush had given the green light to, dead on arrival.

The site has been the only site under study for a permanent high level nuke repository since the early 1980's, during which time the rules kept being rewritten to justify dumping the spent power rods on Nevadans. Rules concerning water seepage, earthquake danger (a major fault runs under Yucca Mountain and has produced major quakes), container construction, transportation safety have been revised each time a problem or obstacle were discovered to justify that the site is "safe" and transportation "minimal risk."

The current belief of most nuclear safety engineers and scientist is that there is no way to guarantee that safeguards will work for a half life longer than anyone alive will live and perhaps longer than our society's commitment to keeping the site and the fuel safe. Storage on site at reactors in the containers proposed for transport is many multiples safer than transport and "burying" them in a porous earthquake zone.

But Nevada is desert, deserted and nobody lives here. Everyone knows that.

Click here for an editorial cartoon trip through the history of Yucca Mountain, or the "Screw Nevada Bill".

it's a Hard Knock Life, auditioning for Annie on Broadway

Brynne Norquist isn't taking any chances with her audition for a new Broadway revival of "Annie." The eight-year-old with a moon face and blond pigtails got rid of her friendship bracelet so she won't fiddle with it during her tryout. She worked on her performance style with a private coach. She attended a workshop to perfect her song, "Born to Entertain," under the steady gaze of other wannabe orphans.
"She wants to be a Broadway icon," said her mother, Lauren Norquist of Irvington, N.Y.
Hundreds of children with similar ambitions are expected to line up Sunday outside an audition space on Manhattan's Upper East Side. It's an open call, so anyone can come: no agent necessary, no experience, either. The girls, 6 to 12 years old, will hand over a photo, sing without instrumental accompaniment and hope for a call-back for the late 2012 production.
The opportunity has prompted parents to seek out Annie boot camps around New York to get their daughters ready. Workshops—many led by former Annie cast and creative-team members—are helping little girls figure out what to sing (no age-inappropriate love songs), what to wear (no prissy dresses) and how to enter the audition room (fearlessly).