Archive for October, 2012

Apple unveils new iPad Mini, starting price $329

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller unveils the new Mini. (Associated Press)

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller unveils the new Mini. (Associated Press)

Apple unveiled its new iPad Mini on Wednesday, pricing it at $329 for a 16 GB Wi-Fi-only version,

$429 for 32 GB Wi-Fi-only version and $529 for 64GB Wi-Fi-only version.

The Mini’s cellular counterparts start a $459, $559, and $659, for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions, respectively.

Pre-orders start Friday. The Wi-Fi-only models will ship Nov. 2 and the cellular models two weeks after that.

The 7.9-inch tablet is as thin as a pencil and weighs .68 pounds. “It’s as light as paper,” said Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller in unveiling the new tablet in San Jose, Calif.

The Mini’s chief competitors, Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire, priced at $159 to $199, and Google’s Nexus 7 at $199, are cheaper devices. Both the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 have Android-based operating systems.

Apple has sold more than 100 million iPads in the two years it has been on the market. Pre-orders for the Mini start on the …

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Employee perks: work here, and they’ll come clean your house

Working grunts accustomed to low or no pay increases, higher health care costs and heavier workloads with little appreciation from the boss will really love this.

Out in California’s Silicon Valley, employers so need good employees that they are rolling out unheard-of perks that might attract and hold on to them.

According to The New York Times, the 250  employees at a company called Evernote get their homes cleaned for free twice a month. Beats just getting your office wastebasket dumped overnight, doesn’t it?

Here are a few other perks:

– The Stanford School of Medicine is providing doctors with housecleaning and dinners delivered to their homes.

– Genetech is providing take-home dinners and helping its employees find baby sitters for their kids when they are too sick to make it to school.

– Facebook gives its employees who are new parents $4,000 in spending money.

That’s in addition to all those gourmet cafeteria meals, on-the-job massages, vacation spending money and …

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Boomers most worried about health care costs

Americans age 55 to 65 say the rising cost of health care will have the biggest impact on their retirement plans, a new study shows.

According to the 2012 Retirement & Politics Survey from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, 67 percent of people in that age bracket _ who are known as “transition boomers”_ said health care expenses were their major concern.

Social Security was the second biggest concern among the group, with 53 percent of transition boomers listing that. The other big concerns, in order were: changes in the tax rate, 31 percent; the rising national debt, 26 percent; unemployment, 19 percent; and education, 4 percent.

Allianz had 1,200 baby boomers surveyed.

The poll broke down respondents by political affiliation and found some differences depending on a person’s party preferences. For example, transition boomers who called themselves Democrats were more concerned with Social Security than Republicans.

Republicans, on the other hand, were more …

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Channel 2 presents Clark Howard, Kids and Money at 7 p.m.

Consumer Advisor Clark Howard and Channel 2 Action News anchor Jovita Moore host this primetime special live from Centennial High School in Roswell.

There has never been a more critical time to talk with your children about money,” said Howard. “I will share the secrets I teach my kids that will help yours become savers now and in the future.”

“As parents, nothing is more important than our children,” said Moore. “But what do they really know about money and how should you answer their concerns?”

Clark Howard, Kids and Money tackles subjects like how to save for college as well as buying a car, shopping smart, saving for retirement and how to calculate an allowance.

The program will be simulcast on 95.5FM and AM750 News/Talk WSB and streamed on wsbtv.com. Viewers and listeners are encouraged to call 404-872-0750 with questions or join the conversation on Channel 2’s Facebook and Twitter pages. (#Clarkon2)

Program Director Condace Pressley from 95.5FM and AM750 …

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Ted’s Montana Grill CEO: ‘In a 100-yard dash, I give people a 99-yard leash’

While successful, Ted Turner hasn’t partnered with many people in his business career. In fact, he grew even more gun-shy after losing most of his wealth in the Time Warner-AOL merger. Still, Turner put up $5 million a decade ago to partner with veteran restaurant owner George McKerrow. They started Atlanta-based Ted’s Montana Grill, partly to create a commercial demand for the threatened American bison, which Turner raises on his vast land holdings.

George McKerrow

George McKerrow

McKerrow, 62, is a self described serial entrepreneur who began in the restaurant business as a teenager. The founder of LongHorn Steakhouse and current co-owner of fine-dining restaurants Canoe and Aria, McKerrow is also CEO of Ted’s. The casual-dining restaurant firm has grown to $104 million in revenue from 44 company-owned locations in 16 states. Making it in the restaurant business is difficult, but McKerrow shares some of what he’s learned since his early days as a busboy.

Q: You got the …

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Are TSA workers conducting thorough inspections?

Travelers have had their share of run-ins with Transportation Security Administration agents at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and many other major airports across the country.

Top complaints have included overzealous searches (from hair to bandages), items suddenly missing from checked carry-ons and other luggage, and rudeness. TSA workers also have had to deal with their share of uncooperative travelers.

Now comes word from Newark , N.J. that 44 TSA workers face either firing or suspension for not screening checked luggage properly, which is one of the procedures that lie at the heart of the effort to prevent explosive devices and other weapons from getting on aircraft. Last year in Honolulu, 48 TSA workers also faced firing or suspension for not screening luggage properly.

According to an Associated Press report, “Among the allegations is that screeners failed to open up and physically check bags that had been flagged by X-ray machines.”

The union …

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Benefits gains outpacing wages for workers

Workers gripe about not getting raises.

Employers gripe about their rising employee costs.

Who’s right?

Both, it seems.

An analysis of government data by USA Today shows that while wages rose only $777 per full time worker from 2007 to 2011, an increase of just 1.4 percent, benefits per full time worker increased $1,302, or 10.8 percent.

In effect, employers are making up for what they are not giving in wages by paying more  for benefits including health insurance.

Here’s another indicator of the trend: Employer-paid benefits, which accounted for less than 10 percent of worker compensation back in the 1960s, now account for 19.7 percent  of compensation_ a record. It was just 16.6 percent in 2000.

The trend kicked in to overdrive during the recession.

One reason cited for the shift to benefits from wages is taxes. Wages are heavily taxed for employers and employees, but benefits aren’t.

As for all that griping, there’s a reason why workers may not be satisfied, experts say. …

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Georgia’s jobless rate falls to 9 percent in September

Georgia’s unemployment rate fell to 9 percent in September from 9.2 percent in August as fewer employers laid off workers.

“The unemployment rate dropped in September because Georgia had the fewest new claims for unemployment insurance benefits in five years, since before the start of the Great Recession,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement.

The number of initial claims in September declined to 39,564, down 6,161 from August and the fewest since September 2007. Most of the decline came in administrative and support services, retail trade, health care and social assistance, educational services, and accommodations and food services.

The state did lose 400 jobs from August to September. But it has gained 61,800 jobs since September 2011, when the unemployment rate was 9.8 percent.

Over the past year, the growth sectors were professional and business services — up 23,500; trade, transportation and warehousing — up 23,100; education and health care …

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N.C. college considers Chick-fil-A ban

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

(Updated 7:18 p.m.)

A high-priced North Carolina liberal arts college is considering kicking Chick-fil-A off campus because of the Atlanta-based company’s leader’s position on marriage.

Several months after they were made, comments by Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy in support of traditional marriage between a man and woman continue to reverberate. Earlier this month Cathy reaffirmed his commitment to “biblical families.”

The Student Government Association at Elon, a $38,000-a-year private college in north-central North Carolina, recently voted in favor of a resolution asking administrators to stop offering Chick-fil-A sandwiches on campus, according to The Times-News newspaper.

“We are honored to serve the students, faculty and staff of Elon University and to be a part of their campus,” said Chick-fil-A spokesman Jerry Johnston in a statement Wednesday. “The Chick-fil-A culture and 66-year service tradition in all of its locations is to treat …

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Atlanta No. 2 most affordable housing market

Metro Atlanta hasn’t been the greatest place in the country to own a home, as everyone with a devalued house in these parts knows.

There is some good news, relatively speaking, though.

It doesn’t cost that much to buy here.

Atlanta ranks second in the U.S. among the top 25 metro areas in terms of home affordability, new research from Interest.com, a Bankrate company, shows.

The median household income in the Atlanta area exceeds the income required to purchase a median-priced home here by 40 percent. That’s better than every other  big market except for Detroit, where it’s 45.32 percent.

The rest of the top five most affordable metro areas are Minneapolis, Phoenix and St. Louis.

Of course, Detroit is hardly the symbol of economic success, and Phoenix has had major housing issues.

The least affordable markets: San Francisco, New York, San Diego, Miami and Los Angeles.

Housing affordability is key concern nationally, and nationwide a  median-income household can afford a …

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