Archive for March, 2012

White collar criminals get lesson on how to act in jail

So what’s it really like for white collar criminals behind bars?

Fine cuisine, serious thread count sheets and a personal trainer, perhaps?

Not even close.

Try getting a fork stuck in your arm if you should try to reach across the plate of another inmate at the dinner table.

But inside traders and others who’ve wound up in jail can avoid committing gaffes like that _ and the bodily harm that can result _ simply by undergoing a little advance training.

That’s right. According to The Wall Street Journal, a whole cottage industry apparently has developed to guide them on the dos and don’ts of the prison system.

For a price, former inmates are more than happy to tell them how to behave. The main tip, it seems: be polite, and mind your own business.

Some of the particulars: Don’t interrupt conversations; always say ‘excuse me’; don’t change the TV channel; don’t sit in another prisoner’s seat or bunk; and don’t stare at another guy in the shower.

Or else.

The “consultants” offer to …

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Should Apple offer bigger iPhone screen?

Days after a report that the next new iPhone will have a bigger and sharper screen comes another one that says the screen will remain the same size but there will be other changes.

In a posting, says the screen of the “iPhone 5,1” will be the same size but the dock connector will be more “mirco”, reducing the size of the 30-pin dock to allow for more auxiliary connections. The website also says that if the screen size grows it won’t be as large as the 4.6 inches speculated earlier this week.

South Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper reported a high-definition 4.6-inch Retina display is on the way, with several times as many pixels as the existing iPhone 4S display. Maeil, without disclosing its source, said Apple has already started placing orders for the bigger screens.

LG Display and Samsung Electronics Co., Apple’s major display suppliers, declined to comment. And Apple, which began selling the 4S last October, isn’t talking, either.

And according to PC …

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Feds: AT&T makes millions off scam calls

Is AT&T relying on Nigerian scammers to make millions of dollars off the U.S. government?

The company insists it is not, but the Justice Department claims it is and is suing AT&T to get its money back.

The department said AT&T is improperly billing Uncle Sam under a Federal Communications Commission program that allows the hearing-impaired to make international calls, according to a report on the lawsuit.

Under the program using Internet protocol relay, the hearing-impaired place calls by typing Internet messages that are relayed by an AT&T communications assistant. The FCC reimburses  AT&T at a rate of about $1.30 per minute.

The company instead is knowingly allowing people who aren’t hearing-impaired to use the service to order goods with stolen credit cards and counterfeit checks, according to the Justice Department  suit.

AT&T was ordered in 2009 to verify that callers were hearing-impaired, but it didn’t, the Justice Department said. The suit says …

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100 grand a year: The new minimum wage?

To most people, a hundred grand a year might sound like a pretty nice income.

But these days, it’s barely-getting-by-money, at least according to one Florida couple.

Laura Cone said her family in Tampa figured they’d be set when they crossed the six-figures annual threshold, which they recently did, but then reality set in.

She detailed their salary and expenses in a first-person piece for Yahoo.

She writes: “My lifestyle isn’t extravagant. We are spending less money on clothing, entertainment and anything that is not a necessity. We don’t have money to burn because of the high cost of gasoline, car insurance, groceries and college tuition. We also have a high tax bill every year.”

Cone said the family got burned by the housing meltdown and the stock market decline, and that its costs, most of which seem pretty normal, aren’t going down.

The one good thing, she said, is they avoided debt, so their heads are still above water.

She notes: “Although I admire people who live on …

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Report: Bigger screen for next iPhone

A week after the latest Apple iPad hit store shelves, the buzz is turning to new features that might show up on the next iPhone.

The iPhone 4S’ successor, expected in the second quarter, will have a larger and sharper screen, according to Reuters, citing South Korean media reports.

South Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper reported the high-definition 4.6-inch Retina display will have several times as many pixels as the existing 4S display. Apple rolled out its newest iPad with the sharper screen.

Says PC magazine’s website:

If the rumor is true, it would put the iPhone on par with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus from a size perspective, which boasts a sprawling 4.65-inch screen. In comparison, every version of the iPhone to date has had a 3.5-inch display.

Maeil, without disclosing its source, said Apple has already started placing orders for the bigger screens. LG Display and Samsung Electronics Co., Apple’s major display suppliers, declined to comment. And Apple, which began …

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Firestone settles decapitation case

Tiremaker Firestone and its parent company, Bridgestone Corp., have settled a 7-year-old lawsuit that claimed a defective Firestone tire caused a crash that decapitated an Indiana couple traveling toward Georgia.

A Georgia man, William Chastain of Walker County, was driving his Ford F-250 pickup on Nov. 10, 2005, when he lost control after one of his tires separated and exploded on I-24 near Manchester, Tenn. Chastain crossed the median and crashed into a vehicle driven by Leonard and Nancy Heavrin, who were decapitated. The Indiana couple were on their way to visit family in Georgia and then Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Lawyers for the Heavrins’ family claimed Firestone and Bridgestone were negligent because cost-cutting measures at a Decatur, Ill., plant that manufactured the Firestone Steeltex Radial R4S II tire resulted in substandard tires being produced. Firestone recalled the tires and the plant was eventually closed.

Terms of the settlement were …

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Georgia’s jobless rate falls for 7th straight month

Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped for the seventh consecutive month to 9.1 percent in February, matching the lowest rate in nearly three years, the state labor department said Thursday.

February’s jobless rate fell from 9.2 percent in January and from 9.9 percent a year ago. It tied the lowest rate since March 2009.

“We created 15,600 jobs, lots of unemployed Georgians went back to work, and fewer people were laid off,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement. “After back-to-back quarters of declining unemployment and continued job creation, it looks like Georgia’s businesses are trending toward a comeback.”

Still, the state’s jobless rate remains considerably above the national rate of 8.3 percent.

The number of jobs in February increased to 3,880,400 in Georgia, with 70 percent of the growth coming in the private sector. Also, newly revised numbers show the state gained 41,800 jobs in the past 12 months.

The employment sectors showing growth over the year …

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Metro Atlanta No. 2 in job growth

When it comes to major metropolitan areas, Atlanta ranks No. 2 in job growth, according to a new study by Arizona State University.

Only Houston beats Atlanta, according to researcher Lee McPheters, whose findings are based on the latest jobs figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Atlanta had 3.1 percent job growth between January 2011 and January 2012, compared with Houston’s 3.7 percent growth. The figures reflect non-agricultural job growth among populations of at least a million workers.

Rounding out top job-producing metro areas were Denver (3), Dallas (4), Seattle (5), Cincinnati (6), Phoenix (7), Riverside, Calif,, and Tampa (both tied for (8) and Pittsburgh (10).

The research supports a growing consensus that the gradually improving economy is fueling job growth across the country and in Georgia.

A recent Manpower survey of 140 Georgia employers found that 20 percent plan to hire more workers in the second quarter, while 69 percent plan to …

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Draw Something, Words with Friends apps in merger deal

When it comes to competing game apps, the company behind Words with Friends has concluded, if you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em.

Zynga Inc. announced Wednesday it is buying OMGPOP, which created Draw Something, today’s the hottest downloaded game app.

Draw Something is crushing Zynga’s top apps, according to the latest figures by AppData, which said Draw Something had 13.3 million daily active users last week, 5 million more than Zynga’s top games.

David Ko, Zynga’s chief mobile officer, said Draw Something was downloaded 35 million times since being launched six weeks ago.

Draw Something also tops the Apple App Store’s lists for top paid, top free and top grossing apps. The app comes in a free version and a no-ads .99 cent version.

Draw Something players take turns figuring out what opponents have drawn on the screen of their iPhone, iPad or Android device.

Zynga didn’t disclose how much it is paying to acquire OMGPOP, which also has more than 35 other game app titles. PC …

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Kraft Foods changing its name

The name “Kraft Foods” has been around for decades, but the maker of all sorts of cereals, snacks and other well-known food products says it’s time to go in another direction, starting with a name change.

Pending shareholder approval, Kraft Foods will become Mondelez International. The company, which is splitting into two units (snack foods and grocery),  said it chose “Mondelez” to reflect its goal to expand its snack food business globally.  according to a MarketWatch report on the name change. The word means “delicious world.”

“For the new global snacks company, we wanted to find a new name that could serve as an umbrella for our iconic brands, reinforce the truly global nature of this business and build on our higher purpose – to ‘make today delicious’,” said Chief Executive Irene Rosenfeld, according to MarketWatch.

Of course, the company hasn’t said the name change will extend to products. Can you imagine a kid asking, “Mom, may I have some more Mondelez …

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