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Friday, April 17, 2009

Plug-in Standards Necessary for Consumer Acceptance of Electric Vehicles Like the Chevy Volt

Slashdot It! Next week during the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) conference in Detroit, the SAE J1772™ Task Force will continue its work by committee to standardize the components that will soon become part of one of the most common driver interactions with a plug-in electric vehicle - plugging in and charging the battery. In order for plug-in electric vehicles to become part of the mainstream, a plug-in “ecosystem” must be in place when vehicles like the Chevy Volt extended-range electric vehicle hit the market. And for this ecosystem to be robust, there must be commonality, especially when owners are plugging into the electrical grid. Outlet voltages won’t always be the same and the weather will vary based on location, but the vehicle’s charge cord plug and how you use it should always remain the same - regardless of make or model. A vehicle charge cord plug is one of the standard components being developed by automakers under the new committee. A vehicle charge cord plug is one of the standard components being developed by automakers under the new committee. That’s where SAE J1772™ comes into play. You’re already aware we’re working to make the Volt as efficient as possible, but we’re also helping lead the standardization of this plug and how you interact with it as well as the electrical grid. With SAE J1772™, we’re defining what a common electric vehicle conductive charging system architecture will look like for all major automakers in North America, but more importantly, we’re working to resolve general physical, electrical and performance requirements so these systems can be manufactured for safe public use. Through SAE, our industry is working together to answer fundamental questions about plug-in electric vehicles such as battery electrochemistry, optimal battery-size and state of charge, and lifecycle among other issues, but zeroing in on the ergonomics, safety and performance of the charging interface is one of the most basic ways we can help build consumer confidence in plug-ins. Think about it, if you have no reservations or confusion about charging your vehicle, you’re probably going to be more likely to drive one. Drivers shouldn’t have to worry about electromagnetic compatibility, emission and immunity when they need to plug-in - that’s what engineers like me get paid to do. Only by consensus can we ensure the ownership experience of plug-ins will meet all of our customers’ expectations, and fit into the broader ecosystem we all need for plug-ins to be successful. Safe and convenient vehicle charging is just another step to reaching our shared goal, and we expect to have this standard completed by the end of this summer. I look forward to reading your thoughts and comments. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Car parts

Are you looking for some Ferrari parts that you can buy online and you want some really good parts but at extremely low prices? Then you had came to the right area as I am going to review this website that sell exactly what you are looking for. vauxhall insignia vauxhall corsa vauxhall dealer The website I am reviewing today is called perrys.co.uk. They are selling parts at record low prices and their pricing cannot be beaten by many other websites. They sell things like car mats, oil change kits and many more. You name it, they have it. They also include other high end names also. They also talk about the latest news happening in the car industry so that you can be informed and make the right deals and decision. You can even know when the industry is bottoming out and make a right judgement on the cars that you can buy. Check them out

Web Hosting

With the current economic crysis, it is no wonder people cut back on their spending and stop investing all together. But here is the good news, setting up a business in gloomy time would allow you to iron out some of the major knicks so that you can better take advantage of the next major upswing. What's better than setting up an online business with low or no capital at all. Here is the review for cheap web hosting sites. web hosting The website I am reviewing today is called webhostingchoice.com. They review the best and the cheapest web hosting sites that are on the market so that you can make an informed choice on the cheapest deals in town. They even rate their service level and they also categories them into various themes like Adult, Blog, Email and Business. They also have several articles on scams, quick start and basically how to get started on your new online business. It is good that they can provide you with so many free info. Do they them out before you buy any web hosting plans from other websites. About them Web Hosting Choice is a free research guide to help users choose the right web host for their personal or business website. Our focus is on providing a simple, easy to follow site to help users choose the best web hosting plan most suitable for a small site or for a large e-commerce website.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

EYE cream

Are you looking for some eye cream? The prices available at other websites are far too expensive for you to take it? Then you better read this review as I am going to review this website that best fits your requirement to buy the cheapest and best eye cream. eye cream The website I am reviewing today is called eyecream.org. They are a nice bunch of people who are selling eyecream at rock bottom prices and they even include some reviews on the different products available online. Check them out

NY City tickets

Are you looking to fly to NY Yankees now? Do you have sufficient cash on hand? Well, no worries, as I am going to review this website that is selling tickets to NY Yankees for a very cheap price. New York Yankees tickets The website I am reviewing today is called selectaticket.com. They sell the tickets at a very cheap price for you and it is no scram. They are verified by major websites like godaddy, control trust and many more. They also have gift cards for you to buy and give as gifts for your friends

Digital Frame

Are you looking to buy a digital frame? Then look no further as I am going to review this website that is selling digital frame at extremely cheap prices but with good quality. digital frame The website I am reviewing today is called buy.com. They are selling a bunch of digital frames at extremely low prices. However, they come from names like Viewsonic and Coby. All very famous brand names. They also sell all kinds of electronics and appliances. Check them out.

Ferrari parts

Are you looking for some Ferrari parts that you can buy online and you want some really good parts but at extremely low prices? Then you had came to the right area as I am going to review this website that sell exactly what you are looking for. Ferrari parts The website I am reviewing today is called ricambiamerica.com. They are selling phones at record low prices and their pricing cannot be beaten by many other websites. They sell things like car mats, oil change kits and many more. You name it, they have it. They also include other high end names also. Check them out

Bathroom Faucet

Are you looking for some bathroom fixes now? Then you better read this review as I am going to reveal this website that is selling the things that you are looking for at a cheaper price and a better quality then the rest. bathroom faucet The website I am going to review today is called faucet.com. They are selling things like Kitchen and bathroom fauce. Free Shipping They also have a free shipping offer where they offer free shipping for people whom spend more than 99 dollars on their purchase. Check them out

Discovery hits Amazon with Kindle patent suit

Slashdot It! Discovery Communications, parent company of the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, has filed a complaint against Amazon.com alleging that some security and copy protection features in the Kindle and Kindle 2 violate the company's patents. In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, Discovery has asked for unspecified monetary compensation. Amazon representatives were not immediately available for comment. According to a copy of the suit, Discovery charges that Amazon violated its patent for Electronic Book Security and Copyright Protection System. The patent, U.S. 7,298,851, was issued to Discovery Communications by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Nov. 20, 2007, per the lawsuit filing (PDF). It was initially filed in 1999. The technology "provides for secure distribution of electronic text and graphics to subscribers and secure storage," Discovery said in the lawsuit. My question is, why did Discovery create technology for an e-book reader? Is the entertainment company preparing to follow Amazon, Sony, and Hearst Corp. into the e-reader space? After talking to a Discovery spokeswoman, she explains that the company's founder, John Hendricks is a bit of an inventor. In the 1990s, Hendricks tried his hand at coming up with systems to digitize content. He explored technologies involving the digitization of TV content as well as e-book systems. In 2004, he sold the TV patents but Discovery kept the e-reader patents. When asked whether Discovery could build an e-book reader, the company's spokeswoman said "We are only focused on the Kindle at this time." Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Angry shareholders say Microsoft squanders billions on pointless R&D projects

Slashdot It! Welcome to the second article in a series on Microsoft shareholder activism. These posts examine why investors, through the power of the stock price, aren't buying the idea that Microsoft has a great future. In this post, one of the top Microsoft securities analysts weighs in, Brendan Barnicle from Pacific Crest Securities. (To summarize his take, "Yeah a lot of people are frustrated … the stock should have grown."). We reveal more details on what activist Craig Montgomery wants Microsoft to change. We'll give you a sneak peek of the third post in the series, a candid interview with an outspoken shareholder who likens Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates to fraudster Bernard Madoff. When we last left off, we had explained Montgomery's viewpoint that Microsoft's lagging share price was not a result of the soft economy. Montgomery of The Crandrea Group is creating a grassroots shareholder activism movement. He thinks – and others interviewed for this story agree – that Microsoft's stock is underperforming and has been for years. One of the biggest problems, Montgomery says, is the astronomical amount of money that Microsoft spends on R&D. Not that he wants Microsoft to stop all R&D spending, but he, like the other investors we talked to, want an R&D reality check. By trimming the now-nearly $8 billion annually R&D budget, it is their belief that Microsoft frees up cash to do something truly game changing – like purchasing a mobile carrier. "During 2007, Apple spent $782 million on R&D, Oracle spent $85 million while Microsoft spent about $7.5 billion. In 2007, Apple annual revenue amounted to $24 billion and net income totaled $3.5 billion," says Montgomery. "According to 2008 annual report, Apple increased revenue to $32 billion and net income to $4.8 billion. During the same period Microsoft spent $8 billion on R&D and increased revenue from $51 billion to $60 billion. Therefore, Apple has a R&D budget that equates to approximately 10% of Microsoft’s; however, during this period Apple increased revenue by $8 billion and Microsoft increased revenue by $9 billion." Some of these billions have gone to Windows Live (and other cloud computing initiatives) and MSN. This should make sense. As software moves from the fat desktop to the cloud, it moves from software licenses to a subscription (which few are willing to pay) and advertising-supported freeware. Ergo, Microsoft needs to create a healthy cloud/advertising/search business Problem is, activists say that what Microsoft has been doing isn't paying off. Montgomery notes that Google has spent about $1 billion annually on R&D in '05 and '06, increasing to $2 billion in '07. Meanwhile, in '05 its online advertising revenue was about $6 billion. In '07 that rose to $16 billion while its market share moved from about 30% to today's range of over 50%. He contrasts that to, in 2005, Microsoft generating online advertising revenue of $1.5 billion (compared with Google's $6 billion), reporting a mere 8% market share. In 2007, Microsoft reported revenue of $2 billion, which it says represents an even tinier 6% of the market. "Google within this period has increased revenue by $10 billion and increased market share by 20%. Despite a larger R&D budget, however, within the same period, Microsoft has increased revenue by $500 million and potentially has lost 2% market share," Montgomery spells out. So, then, if you can't develop your own home grown, you can always buy your way into a potential market with brilliant futures, right?. Wrong again, for Microsoft, says Montgomery. It has bought Motionbridge, Medstory, Jellyfish, Fast Search and Transfer (that one for over 1 billion) and paid an astronomical sum of $6 billion for aQuantive. Then there's investments like Onfolio, bought in 2006, which was integrated into the Windows Live toolbar "and by 2008, Microsoft announced that this was discontinued," Montgomery recounts. "Microsoft needs to stop telling the consumer what it wants and start asking what the customer wants. It is very ironic and yet a very sad commentary that Microsoft is a company that sells CRM software to clients (Microsoft Dynamics CRM)," he says. While Montgomery would like to see Microsoft strike a deal with Yahoo on search – which would give Microsoft an instant about 30% market share in advertising -- he knows that if the company doesn't understand how to aptly serve advertisers, then it would simply be wasting more money. In agreement is shareholder Mike McDonald. McDonald owns 118,000 shares of Microsoft, bought in 2000 at an average price of $36 share (adjusted for splits and dividend payouts). He has since seen the company grow its revenue and profits while his equity has been halved. And he's ticked about it. "I still hold Microsoft so I still hold hope it will achieve what I think is its potential. By now it should have been $100+ per share. We've seen Apple rise and I remember when MS was handing out Apple oxygen because we didn't know if it would survive. (Funny. I don't even use Windows … I love the Mac.) I also believe Bill Gates is a charlatan because what he has said, implied, promised to shareholders and stakeholders and all of these visionary things that he mumbles and jumbles about and doesn't make reality of. MS is spending billions of dollars on R&D. Where is the return on investment? Who is there saying, as IBM eventually did, 'We need to get a return on our R&D, we're a business'?" One big part of the solution, in Montgomery's eyes, is for Microsoft to buy a mobile provider – and not simply to partner with one, as it did with Verizon last month. He notes the math (per Citi analyst Mark Mahaney) that says Microsoft's recent deal to provide search to Verizon mobile users won't be a winner for Microsoft, as it will require each user to conduct 17 searches per month on their phones in the next five years just to break even. He wants Microsoft to leverage its R&D money to buy a mobile carrier – in his mind, the perfect one would be the beleaguered Sprint, with $40 billion in revenue, 40 million mobile subscribers and trading at about $3 per share (at that rate, a market valuation of $7 billion). McDonald agrees that a mobile acquisition would be good for Microsoft – though thinks Research in Motion is a better fit. Pacific Crest Securities' Barnicle isn't gung-ho on either idea. "As for buying a mobile carrier like Sprint, we just saw Microsoft divest itself in cable, its Comcast investment. It didn't work out. They didn't lose much money on that, but it's a similar principle to own its own mobile network so it can then control it … Buying something like Sprint is not something the shareholders would be happy about ... it would send the stock lower." He doesn't see investors wanting Microsoft to buy into any business that the company doesn't know how to run, and when it comes to wireless, operating margins are deterorating even faster than on Windows products. Barnicle says that Microsoft's main problem is an image battered by Vista. "There's the perception that Vista wasn't a successful product launch but it's been fairly successful from a financial standpoint. There have been mounting concerns all decade that Microsoft's business is going to be hurt from open source and that has never materialized, hurt from Google's Web Office application offerings, from open source versions of Office and those things never materialized," he said. "Microsoft has made its numbers. If you look at the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) analysis, the stock price is suggesting that cash flow is going to decline at 3% a year in perpetuity and that's not going to happen." Barnicle believes that the stock is also suffering from a nostalgia effect -- people remembering its glorious reputation in the 1990s and think it can't grow like that again. "It was a huge growth stock in the 1990s and it has experienced multiple compressions year over year. …Yeah a lot of people are frustrated … the stock should have grown -- if you look objectively at the numbers Microsoft has put up the last couple of years. In 2008 it grew revenue 18% and earnings 21%, it is expected to grow revenues at 2% in 2009, which is good in this economy, and earnings per share is down maybe 6% which is pretty stable. Plus, given its enormous cash position, [the stock is definitely underperforming]." But McDonald says the numbers don't lie and investors are not fooled. Microsoft is losing market share on its high-margin products. Barnicle confirms this, "As for declining net operating revenues, that's part [of the reason the stock has underperformed]. Also declining margins. Investors are also frustrated with Microsoft's investments in its online business and entertainment devices." In the company's defense, he says management is listening to its shareholders and doing what they ask of it. "There are lots of activist shareholders – and these are big, institutional investors. So you see management doing things like the Dutch auction [on a $20 billion buyback of shares in 2006], increased dividends, increased buybacks. They've done all the things investors have asked for and the stock is still underperforming. Shareholders are frustrated and management is frustrated." Shareholders also aren't buying it. Stay tuned for the next installment where we will explore McDonald's guest blog entitled "How to screw up a monopoly." 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Cisco buys Pure Digital Technologies

Slashdot It! Pure Digital Technologies thought small and simple, and it paid off big time. The tiny, eight-year-old start-up famed for its inexpensive and easy to use Flip video cameras has defeated a down economy. On Thursday, the 100-person company wasbought by Cisco Systems, a technology infrastructure giant, for $590 million in stock. The deal caps off a bumpy and unpredictable rise for Pure Digital, which bested the Asian companies that dominate the camera industry from an office located above the Gump’s department store in the heart of San Francisco. “At a time when everybody has just been hammered with stories of misery, this is a really fabulous tale of what is possible against all odds,” said Michael Moritz, a venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital, which invested in Pure Digital. Over the last couple of years, Cisco has expanded beyond selling networking equipment for large computing centers, making inroads into the home via set-top boxes, routers and — most recently — digital stereos. The company has been clear about building upon these efforts by aiming much of its nearly $34 billion in cash at future acquisitions. In Pure Digital, Cisco found a local talent to complement its consumer ambitions and extend its business videoconferencing technology to mobile devices. Pure Digital started selling the Flip line of products in 2007 and has since shipped more than two million units, which cost $150 to $230, depending on the model. The device’s claim to fame has been its minimalism. The Flip recorders have just a few buttons, weigh a few ounces and have 1.5-inch screens. In addition, they arrive without cables, relying on a built-in connector that plugs into a computer’s U.S.B. port for both recharging and transferring video files. Along with the device, Pure Digital offers software that helps shift videos from a personal computer to online services like YouTube and Facebook with the click of a couple of buttons. The simple software, simple design and low cost opened digital camcorders to people put off by more complex devices but still hungry to pass around their videos. “They were able to capitalize on an opportunity to reach consumers that had traditionally shied away from camcorders,” said Ross Rubin, an analyst for NPD Group. Over the last few years, the sales of digital camcorders have either stayed flat or declined, according to Mr. Rubin. Meanwhile, Pure Digital tripled its sales of the Flip products over the last year and now holds close to one-fifth of the market. Sony, the market leader, has since mimicked Pure Digital’s products, as have a host of smaller competitors. The no-nonsense Flip design set Pure Digital’s path on a new trajectory. “We became a profitable business from the day we launched Flip,” said Jonathan Kaplan, the company’s chief. The company started off selling single-use digital still cameras at drugstores. Customers would rent the cameras and bring them to make prints. The business worked, at first. But as nondisposable cameras became increasingly affordable, Pure Digital’s sales tumbled. “The market demand for that product just melted away,” Mr. Moritz said. “We found ourselves selling disposable cameras into a market that was shrinking by the hour.” The company next moved to single-use digital camcorders, also distributed through drugstores, where the videos could be burned onto DVDs. Despite trying various approaches, Pure Digital remained in search of a big hit. Luckily, the company’s partners — and, somewhat surprisingly, computer hackers — helped to nudge it in the right direction. For example, hackers were removing the memory chips from the single-use recorders so they could put videos onto their PCs. In addition, the drugstores asked Pure Digital to limit the accessories it shipped with its cameras, a demand that gave rise to the built-in U.S.B. connector. With such prodding, Pure Digital’s staff hit upon the idea of a cheap, easy-to-use digital camera that could funnel videos between the device, PCs and Web sites. Ever since, the company maintained its simple approach while working to make products more attractive via colorful designs and better-quality video. Cisco’s deep pockets could help Flip, financed by close to $70 million, succeed outside of the United States and Britain, according to Mr. Moritz. “You have to scale up your inventory to satisfy demand in lots of different countries, and that is a very expensive proposition,” he said. Such a consumer play is still a curious one for Cisco. The company tends to operate in the background, providing products that companies use to link phones and computers to the Internet. But Cisco has also made large investments in videoconferencing. The more the Flip encourages consumers to videoconference, the more money the company looks to make selling the routers and switches needed to process the large video files flying off Flip devices and onto YouTube. Less than 5 percent of Cisco’s $40 billion in annual sales comes from consumer products, said Brent Bracelin, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities. Cisco is already familiar with Pure Digital’s product. The family of John T. Chambers, the chief executive at Cisco, owns eight of the Flip devices, and executives at the company often post their own videos to an internal version of YouTube. In the future, it is expected that Cisco will release versions of the Flip recorders that can connect to wireless networks. There are other surprises in store as well, said Mr. Kaplan. “The Flip will find its way into some very obvious places and maybe some not-so-obvious ones,” he said. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare