Archive for January, 2012

Pepsi replaces Coca-Cola at Gwinnett Arena

In a coup for Pepsi, the soft drink company has grabbed pouring rights from Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. at the Gwinnett Center.

The Gwinnett Center, which attracts more than 1 million visitors to its Arena, Convention Center and other facilities annually, said Wednesday that it has signed an exclusive agreement with Pepsi Beverages Co.

Pepsi will provide a wide range of soft drinks, water, sports drinks, teas, juices and other beverages as part of the agreement, center officials said. Terms were not disclosed.

Coca-Cola had pouring rights at Gwinnett Center since 1992, according to General Manager Joey Dennis. Coke also signed an agreement in 2003 when the Arena opened.

The deal with Pepsi was signed Jan. 1, Dennis told the AJC on Wednesday. Pepsi was “aggressive” in its pursuit of the contract, the general manager said.

Dennis said Coke wanted the business but wasn’t as aggressive in trying to retain it. “Nothing against Coke,” Dennis said. “They’ve …

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Twitter in a tizzy over Google Plus

The folks at Twitter are in a tizzy, fearing their social network will be shut out of Google searches as the search engine begins tailoring results for its Google Plus users.

Google announced this week that it is ramping up its users’ ability to search for more tailor-made content by mining its new Plus feature for relevant photos and comments posted by a users’ friends.

Twitter, which insists it has built a reputation for breaking news first, says Google will make it harder for people to find the most relevant information during searches, including its newsy tweets.

“As we’ve seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter; as a result, Twitter accounts and tweets are often the most relevant results,” Twitter said in the statement distributed to tech sites. It notes that more than 100 million users send 250 million tweets every day “on virtually every topic.”

“We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will …

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$80,000 for a football seat! Look out Atlanta

Uh, oh.

Let’s hope this isn’t a dollar sign of things to come here in Atlanta.

In San Francisco, where the NFL 49ers will in a few years move from their longtime Candlestick Park home into a swank new billion dollar football palace in nearby Santa Clara, the price to see their playoff-bound squad is soaring. And soaring.

To $80,000. (Note: this is not a typo).

That will be the top cost, according to a report from NBC News, for what we’ve come to lovingly call the “personal seat license.” Which is what you have to buy in order to have the right to purchase season tickets to actually watch the games in person.

Premium game tickets, by the way, can run a few K apiece, on top of that PSL.

This is noteworthy here in the ATL as Arthur Blank and his Falcons head on down the road to a pigskin pleasure palace of their own.

No cost estimate yet on seats at the Georgia Dome replacement but, one might say, the San Fran deal sets the bar. A very high bar.

Continue reading $80,000 for a football seat! Look out Atlanta »

Sign economy’s back? Casino revenues up

OK, so there are some mitigating factors.

Still, the  news from The Huff Post that people spent more at casinos last month might be an indication consumer confidence (the economy, in other words) is on the rise.

Word comes from Atlantic City, No. 2 to Las Vegas in U.S. gambling establishments, that December was a very good month for gaming there, with the house’s take up several percentage points over the same period in 2010. That marked the first monthly jump in more than three years.

Slots were up, table games down _ make of that what  you will. Overall, though, things were up; good news, perhaps.

As to those aforementioned factors …

Year to year, the casino business still stunk. Annual take was off for the fifth year in a row, and revenue at 10 of the 11 properties declined including (take note all you Donald haters) at the multiple Trump properties.

The December uptick might have been a blip, too, considering that a year ago the Northeast was hit by serious storms that …

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Google ramps up Plus to rival Facebook, Twitter

Google is ramping up its users’ ability to search for more tailor-made content by mining its new Plus feature for relevant photos and comments posted by a users’ friends.

Say you want to know more about your favorite music artist. A Google search will not only provide you with the latest news on the artist but what people in your Plus “circle” have to say about the artist and photos they may have taken at a recent concert.

Google’s new Plus feature, an effort to add a more personal touch to searches, hopes to rival the more dominant Facebook and Twitter social networks. Google, however, is banking on its vast search engine, which handles about two-thirds of the Internet search requests made in the U.S., to push more content via Plus.

According to AP’s report on Google’s plans:

The Internet search leader eventually hopes to know enough about each of its users so it can tailor its results to fit the unique interests of each person looking for …

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Nokia’s challenger to iPhone praised

When Apple brought forth the iPhone it signaled the decline if not the demise of former mobile phone kingpin, Nokia.

Now, one critic suggests, the one-time leader may be about to reclaim  prominence with a device that outstrips its rival.

The Nokia Lumia 900, introduced this week at the Consumer Electronics Show, might be the next big thing, according to a dispatch in The Daily Beast. It is sleeker than the iPhone, better-looking and easier to use, the critic says. It runs Microsoft’s latest mobile phone software, and has a 4.3-inch screen.

Here’s some of the praise:

“This is a stunning piece of software that is radically different from what you get on an Apple iPhone or any of the Android phones. Instead of a bunch of same-sized icons, Microsoft uses big, bright-colored tiles. They can be moved around and customized. Some are ‘dynamic,’ meaning they display information that is constantly updated when, for example, one of your friends posts something on Facebook.”

One bit of …

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Pay cuts coming to Wall Street

Just about everyone has had to tighten his belt in recent years, what with jobs being hard to come by, and the pay for those who still enjoy employment generally not rising with the cost of groceries.

So it can be a little hard to feel too badly for the Wall Street crowd. Lately, they have been criticized  for receiving excessive compensation.

But now, The Wall Street Journal reports, as noted in The Daily Beast, they stand to take a hit, too, with their 2011 year-end compensation (including bonuses) being seriously reduced after a lousy year.

Pay seems likely to fall to its lowest point since the peak of the financial crisis in 2008.

Workers at Goldman Sachs  got $431,000 on average in 2010, which will be trimmed to $385,000 in 2011. Back in 2007, they got $661,000 each.

Partners at Goldman will feel the pain, too, although we should all be so fortunate.

Including bonuses, their pay for last  year will range from $3 million to $6.5 million. That’s half what they might get …

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Are you more optimistic about finding a job?

Yet another employment report was released Friday that suggests employers are feeling more at ease about boosting their payrolls, or at least maintaining current levels of employment.

That appears to be good news for the legions who have been looking for work for months (and in many cases years), for the underemployed and for those who still have jitters that more downsizing is on the way, which is possible for some industries. AT&T just announced it plans to cut 250 management positions in its wire line call center operation, but it’s not certain how many employees in Georgia will be affected.

The question is, do you believe the job creation hype? Has the country finally turned the corner when it comes to job creation? Are you more confident that the job you are looking for is out there, or are the recent reports masking a more ominous reality?

Here’s a recap of recent employment developments:

The Labor Department said Friday that employers added a net 200,000 …

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Worst college majors to land a job

It pays to be tactical when it comes to choosing a course of study to major in during college.

Pick the right one, you could be on the path to a nice career.

Go for the wrong one and you can end up at an endless string of job fairs.

So it’s worth considering the findings of a new report from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce.

The study looked at what majors had the highest unemployment rates for recent graduates.

The winner (loser?): Architecture, with 13.9 percent of  recent grads unemployed.

Next in line, arts majors, with an 11.1% unemployment rate for recent grads.

Those figures do improve a good bit for people with those majors who have some work experience.  Architecture grads age 30 and over have a 9.2 percent unemployment rate while comparable arts majors had a 7.1% rate.

Who’s doing well by their choice?

Education and health majors have the lowest unemployment rate, both at 5.4%.

The Georgetown report, detailed in a CNNMoney item, studied data …

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Is your physician going broke?

While the pay has languished in recent years, median annual compensation for your local doctor remains in the six-figure range.

The median for a physician in internal medicine, for example, is $205,379, according to Medical Group Management Association’s Physician Compensation and Production Survey. The results were based on a 2010 compensation analysis of nearly 60,000 physicians.

In the South, the median for primary and specialty-care physicians is $216,170 and $404,000, respectively, MGMA reported.

Many would say that’s “good money”, but according to a CNN Money report the high salaries mask the reality that many doctors are “going broke.”

CNN says the red ink “is spreading nationwide” and “claiming a wide range of casualties, including family physicians, cardiologists and oncologists.” Among other things, doctors are blaming cuts to insurance reimbursements, high malpractice insurance premiums, higher costs for drugs, more regulation and, for many, …

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