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Canned Oxygen Canned Oxygen Could be the Next Bottle Water

The emergence of another possible billion dollar business, based on bottling and selling a natural commodity.

Why Bribe a Judge when You can Buy One

Article Submitted by Failed Success on 12/14/04 at 12:12 AM

GavelA Manhattan housing court judge said he was “not amused” by an advertisement on eBay that listed him for sale - with worldwide shipping included - posted by a disgruntled litigant.

The ad criticized Judge Jerald R. Klein for the way he dispensed justice and showed a photograph of him smiling, seated in the courtroom. It drew 6,400 views and 21 bidders over four days.

“I’d like to know their rules for this,” said Klein, who first learned about the posting from a reporter who called him at home.
“I’d like to know what investigation they did before they put this out there,” he said in Monday editions of The New York Times.

An eBay spokesman said the company never investigates listings before they are put up for auction on its Web site. There are more than 30 million listings on eBay and 3.6 million are added daily, making it impossible for the company to screen advertisements, the spokesman said. However, after eBay was made aware of the listing, it took the posting down, citing a number of rules that it said the ad violated, including misleading description, unauthorized use of a photo and unauthorized use of a name.

The ad, entitled “Judge for Sale,” was posted last Wednesday by Janet Schoenberg, a disgruntled litigant in a landlord-tenant dispute in New York City Civil Court who said Klein was mishandling the case and that she had exhausted other ways of drawing attention to her case.

“In today’s world, this is how people who are not celebrities can get their voice heard,” said Schoenberg. She maintained, however, that she meant the ad as a joke. “I didn’t expect anybody to actually bid on this,” she said. “It was satire, it was parody.”

She said that the judge himself was never for sale. In fine print, after accusing the judge of lying and breaking the law, she explained that her posting is a “work of art” and what was actually for sale was an audiocassette of the judge’s proceedings, which are public record. She said the tape provided proof that she was being wrongly evicted from her rent-controlled studio.

After four days on eBay, the best offer for the judge was $127.50.

Klein declined to comment on the potential libel issues, saying that he would discuss his next action with court administrators.

Polar Express Finally Chugging Along

Article Submitted by Failed Success on 12/13/04 at 09:45 PM

Polar ExpressThe future seemed dim for Warner Bros “Polar Express” when it opened 5 weeks ago against Pixar’s “The Incredibles” and was thoroughly destroyed in the box office. But word-of-mouth and a recent release in IMAX has fueled its fire.

Despite a $165 million price tag and power players Zemeckis and Hanks behind it, the computer-animated wonder became an underdog after its disappointing $23.3 million opening weekend at 3,650 venues in the wake of The Incredibles. But it has seen minimal drop-offs since, buoyed in part by its run in IMAX 3D.

The 61 IMAX theaters showing The Polar Express have contributed $14.4 million of the picture’s current $100.2 million total. They are the reason for its high-for-a-family-movie weekday numbers this past week, IMAX ranged from 24-30% of each day’s gross propelling it ahead of former No. 1 National Treasure on Wednesday and Thursday. On each weekend, IMAX has consistently generated over $2 million.

At its current pace, The Polar Express should come to stop at over $150 million and may become a perennial not just on home video but on IMAX as well. That’s not exactly a financial windfall, given the high cost of production and marketing, but it’s a respectable feat for a movie experimenting in new technology and telling a fanciful children’s story that on the surface lacks the “cool factor” of an Incredibles. More information on grosses, theater counts, and other stats can be found at Box Office Mojo.

Geminid Meteor Shower

Article Submitted by Failed Success on 12/13/04 at 09:17 PM

Meteor ShowerMsnbc.com is carrying a story on the upcoming Geminid meteor shower, which will peak on December 13th. This has historically been a high-rate meteor shower, and this year will most likely be no different. The early morning hours are the best time to see them. Be sure to avoid larger cities if possible as the city lights can obsure the light from the meteor shower. Space.com is also reporting on the shower. This shower was also covered by Slashdot in 2003, 2002, and 2001.”

You’re Kidding, You Still use IE?

Article Submitted by Failed Success on 12/12/04 at 06:37 PM

Firefox LogoUnless you have taken a sabbatical from the internet these past couple of months or have been living under rock, then you have surely heard of a new browser that is taking the internet by storm. Firefox.

What is Firefox. Well put simply, Firefox is a web browser that you use to view web pages. Most people who have Microsoft Windows on their computer currently use the bundled Internet Exporer to view web pages. But as you may have heard, Internet Explorer is ridden with security holes and increases your chances of viruses and malicious programs infecting your computer.

There are many reasons that Internet Explorer continues to be so vulnerable to attack; mainly its size (85% of all computers in the world use Internet Explorer for web browsing). But a lack of support from Microsoft, bad implementation of features and code, and many other problems have also contributed to the lacking standards in Internet Explorer. Security issues aside, Internet Explorer is also just way too slow compared to its competitors. This is mainly the result of Microsoft not keeping up with proper updates for the browser.

As many of you have heard this whole rhetoric already, ill just cut to the chase. Mozilla (and open source software organization) has released a browser called Firefox 1.0. Firefox has found itself at the head of the pack for alternatives to Internet Explorer mainly because it is the total opposite when it comes to IE’s flaws. Firefox is much more secure, regularly updated by thousands of programmers all over the world who contribute to the open source project, and it is fast. And when i say fast, i mean FAST!

Using the latest page rendering technologies and standards, Firefox is able to display pages much faster than IE making the whole web surfing experience much more enjoyable. Firefox automatically supresses popup advertising, prevents malicious programs and virus from installing themselves onto your computer, and their is a whole host of plugins and add-ons that can be integrated into Firefox so that you can get exactly what you want out of the internet.

Firefox is quick and easy to download and setup. In just a few minutes you’ll be up and running. And trust me, you will love it. So if you are ready to take back the internet and enjoy using all of the great functionality and features out there without compromising your computer or your enjoyment, then Get Firefox!

The Grinch Hits St. Louis

Article Submitted by Failed Success on 12/12/04 at 04:49 PM

GrinchIn a page right out of the immortal Dr. Suess classic, an unknown thief has stolen 92 Christmas trees from a fundraising charity Christmas tree lot.

Volunteers in the Affton Athletic Association of St. Louis, MO realized this week that they had been victimized. Someone apparently came onto the confines of their fund-raising Christmas Tree lot, at the Affton Ice Rink, and made-off with some of the merchandise.

Organizers are missing 92 trees, which would have been worth thousands of dollars.

Apparently the powerful theft deterrent system in place, the orange plastic mesh that surrounds the Christmas tree lot, could not withstand the sophisticated tactics used to perform this heist. One can only hope that their consciences get the better of them.

“That’s ridiculous,” said Bob Puhl. He showed up to buy a tree Saturday afternoon, after he heard about the theft.
“I hope they have a terrible Christmas.”
Tim McCoy agrees.
“I think it’s horrible.”

Is Tom Coughlin scared of the playoffs?

Article Submitted by Failed Success on 12/12/04 at 04:06 PM

Kurt WarnerBenching Kurt Warner after 1 bad game sealing NY’s fate.

While most of the NFC is struggling to make the playoffs, the NY Giants seem content on not making the playoffs.  Tom Coughlin benched Kurt warner 4 weeks ago and the Giants have not been IN a game since.  Eli manning has yet to even throw a touchdown and has shown no signs of life to date.  The Giants have a tough, 2 time MVP sitting on the bench with a QB rating this year in the high 80’s and a history of making plays. 

It seems to me that if you wanted to make an attempt at the playoffs (where anything can happen e.g. 2003 Carolina Panthers) you would put K.W. back in the driver’s seat and let Eli learn some more.  While most coaches are trying to get to the playoffs this year Tom is shooting his team in the foot and daring them to try and make it.  I guess if Kurt isn’t throwing 3 TD’s a game and got a QB rating over 100 he’s just not cutting it.

‘BitTorrent’ a thorn in Hollywood’s Pocketbook.

Article Submitted by Failed Success on 12/12/04 at 03:18 PM

Brad CohenBram Cohen didn’t set out to upset Hollywood movie studios. But his innovative online file-sharing software, BitTorrent, has grown into a piracy problem the film industry is struggling to handle.

As its name suggests, the software lets computer users share large chunks of data. But unlike other popular file-sharing programs, the more people swap data on BitTorrent, the quicker it flows—and that includes such large files as feature films and computer games.

Because of its speed and effectiveness, BitTorrent steadily gained in popularity after the recording industry began cracking down last year on users of Kazaa, Morpheus, Grokster and other established file-sharing software.

The program now accounts for as much as half of all online file-sharing activity, says Andrew Parker, chief technology officer of Britain-based CacheLogic, which monitors such traffic.

“BitTorrent is more of a threat because it is probably the latest and best technological tool for transferring large files like movies,” said John Malcolm, senior vice president of anti-piracy operations for the Motion Picture Association of America. “It is unusual, perhaps unique, in that the moment you start downloading you are also uploading,” he added. “It’s what makes it so efficient.”

Cohen created BitTorrent in 2001 as a hobby after the dot-com crash left him unemployed. He says the aim was to enable computer users to easily distribute content online—not specifically copyrighted content.

“It seems pretty clear that a lot of people are actively interested in engaging in wanton piracy,” said Cohen, 29, who now lives in Bellevue. “As far as I’m concerned, they’re just pushing around bits, and what bits it is they’re pushing around is not really a concern of mine. There’s not much I can do about it.”

For his part, Cohen said he has received just one legal warning, over a computer game that was being distributed using BitTorrent.

“Someone else was doing something with BitTorrent that I had no knowledge of,” Cohen said. “It’s not being done on any machines I have any control over ... what do you want me to do?”

Bittorrent is a very effective way to share any type of file as this author can attest. If you would like to try it out just to see how “bad” it really is. Visit Bittorent.com to download the client. Then try out one of these sites for access to thousands of files out in the Bittorrent community.


Sprint to Buy Nextel For $35 Billion

Article Submitted by Failed Success on 12/11/04 at 11:07 PM

Hey Verizon, can you hear US now?

CellphoneSprint is nearing an agreement to purchase Nextel in a $35 Billion mostly stock deal. A merger between Sprint and Nextel would combine the #3 and the #5 wireless phone companies. Even though this would gain the merged companies a much larger combined customer base as well as a broader coverage area, there will be many technological problems to overcome as their wireless systems are currently incompatible.

Nextel has mainly catered to the higher end wireless market, including mostly business professionals; whereas Sprint is known for targeting the very broad mass-market consumers such as families, teenagers, etc. Bringing these two companies together seems like a good match when you consider their current target markets. This advantage will most likely outweigh any technical difficulties that they may encounter. The obvious aim of this merger is to create a wireless media giant to take on rivals Cingular Wireless and Verizon Wireless. This will put Sprint/Nextel into a position where they can really increase their grip on the wireless media market.

Sprint LogoWhat does this mean for the consumer?  Many analysts and forecasters are divided on what a merger like this will mean for the industry. Some feel that a combining of strengths will help the two companies overcome their weaknesses leading to better profits, stock prices, and eventually better products for the consumer. Others are sure that reducing the amount of competitors in the wireless phone market leaving only a few mega-corporations to compete will result in higher prices and increased chances of monopoly type strangleholds on the industry. Whatever the outcome, it would seem that there will definitely continue to be some shaking up in the wireless phone industry.

Another one bites the Dust

Article Submitted by Failed Success on 12/11/04 at 04:36 AM

Kerik ducks out:

Bernard Kerik is the latest victim of political correctness run amuck.  Probably the most qualified nominee to date in the new Bush cabinet is forced to remove his name from nomination, after questions about the immigration status of a house worker came into question, ABC is reporting.  Mr. Kerik was NYPD commish under Mayor Giuliani and was thought to be a shoe-in at Homeland Security.  Too bad for us. The US would have benefitted greatly from such a great hands-on leader.  Kerik, even praised by the likes of Sen. Hillary Clinton, was a popular choice and a good fit. 

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