Friday, May 30, 2008

Sex in the Shitty

Sex and the City (2008)


2,290 IMDb users have given a weighted average vote of 3.4 / 10

Demographic breakdowns are shown below.

Votes Percentage Rating
765 33.4%10
62 2.7%9
58 2.5%8
41 1.8%7
25 1.1%6
37 1.6%5
44 1.9%4
44 1.9%3
109 4.8%2
1,105 48.3%1

Arithmetic mean = 4.8.  Median = 2

This page is updated daily.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Berlin unveils 'crewed spaceship'

A model of a proposed European manned spaceship has gone on show at the Berlin Air Show.

The design, which has been produced by EADS Astrium, is based on the unmanned "Jules Verne" freighter recently sent to the International Space Station.

Astrium says a crewed version of the truck is a logical evolution, and could fly in the next decade if it received support from European governments.

Key states - Germany, France, and Italy - are said to be very interested.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

YouTube law fight 'threatens net'

A one billion dollar lawsuit against YouTube threatens internet freedom, according to its owner Google.

Google's claim follows Viacom's move to sue the video sharing service for its inability to keep copyrighted material off its site.

Viacom says it has identified 150,000 unauthorised clips on YouTube.

In court documents Google's lawyers say the action "threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information" over the web.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Microsoft demos 'touch Windows'

Microsoft's next operating system (OS) will come with multi-touch features as an alternative to the mouse.

It is hoped the successor will have a better reception than the much-maligned Vista OS, released last year.

Scheduled for release in 2009 the new fingertip interface lets users enlarge and shrink photos, trace routes on maps, paint pictures or play the piano.

"The way you interact with the system will change dramatically," said Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.

Speaking at the All Things Digital conference in San Diego, the Microsoft Chairman said Windows 7 would incorporate new forms of communication and interaction.

"Today almost all the interaction is keyboard-mouse. Over years to come, the role of speech, vision, ink - all of those things - will be huge."

Chief executive Steve Ballmer described the limited demo of the multi touch screen at the conference as "a small snippet" of the next version of Windows after admitting he wants "to do better" than Vista.

Even though Vista has suffered from a poor public image and a lukewarm welcome from many firms and users, Mr Ballmer said the company has shipped 150 million copies of the programme.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Ex-press aide writes Bush misled U.S. on Iraq

McClellan says in new book that White House used propaganda to sell war

By Michael D. Shear
updated 12:57 a.m. ET May 28, 2008

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan writes in a new memoir that the Iraq war was sold to the American people with a sophisticated "political propaganda campaign" led by President Bush and aimed at "manipulating sources of public opinion" and "downplaying the major reason for going to war."

McClellan includes the charges in a 341-page book, "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception," that delivers a harsh look at the White House and the man he served for close to a decade. He describes Bush as demonstrating a "lack of inquisitiveness," says the White House operated in "permanent campaign" mode, and admits to having been deceived by some in the president's inner circle about the leak of a CIA operative's name.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Computer generated abuse 'banned'

Drawings and computer-generated images of child sex abuse would be made illegal under proposals announced by Justice Minister Maria Eagle.

Owners of such images would face up to three years in prison under the plans.

Under the Obscene Publications Act it is illegal to possess photos of child abuse but it is legal to own drawings and computer-generated images.

Ms Eagle said the proposed move would "help close a loophole that we believe paedophiles are using".

The plans are part of the government's response to a public consultation exercise carried out last year.

If we do not address the issues these images raise now it is likely their availability will continue to grow
Ministry of Justice

The government has acknowledged that paedophiles may be circumventing the law by using computer technology to manipulate real photographs or videos of abuse into drawings or cartoons.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said the authorities had "noticed an increase in the existing availability of these images on the internet".

She said: "If we do not address the issues these images raise now it is likely their availability will continue to grow.

"They are often advertised as a legitimate depiction of child sexual abuse."

'Unacceptable' images

The spokeswoman said police and child welfare groups had expressed concern at the "growing increase in availability of these depictions of child sexual abuse".

Ms Eagle said the plans were "not about criminalising art or pornographic cartoons more generally, but about targeting obscene, and often very realistic, images of child sexual abuse which have no place in our society".

Shaun Kelly, safeguarding manager for children's charity NCH, said the proposals were a step in the right direction.

He said: "This is a welcome announcement which makes a clear statement that drawings or computer-generated images of child abuse are as unacceptable as a photograph.

"It adds to the range of measures to help ensure the safeguarding of children and young people."
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Cloud

In future the geography of the cloud is likely to get even more complex. “Virtualisation” technology already allows the software running on individual servers to be moved from one data centre to another, mainly for back-up reasons. One day soon, these “virtual machines” may migrate to wherever computing power is cheapest, or energy is greenest. Then computing will have become a true utility—and it will no longer be apt to talk of computing clouds, so much as of a computing atmosphere.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

A very real future for virtual worlds from BBC

By Mark Ward
Technology correspondent, BBC News website

Second Life avatars, Linden Lab
Many people spend a long time getting their avatar right for Second Life

Second Life has long been seen as as the bell-wether for the growing interest in virtual spaces. Here, founder Philip Rosedale talks about the past and future of the parallel world he is helping to create.

These are interesting times for Second Life. In the four short years it has existed, it has seen media coverage go from hysterical to hectoring. It has been hailed as both a harbinger of the next big thing and a brake on the burgeoning development of virtual worlds.

Speculation about its future has intensified as news emerged that chief technology officer Cory Ondrejka, who helped design and build Second Life, has left the company.

But said Philip Rosedale, one of the founders of Linden Lab which oversees the running of Second Life, the departure will not dent the vision all the original engineers had for their creation.

"Cory is a fantastic guy, he's fantastically capable and we will miss him a lot," said Mr Rosedale.

Philip Rosedale and his Second Life avatar, Linden Lab
Philip Rosedale and his Second Life avatar Philip Linden
"Our differences are more about how to run the company and how best we organise ourselves as a company going forward," he said. "We really do not have any differences in strategic direction."

"There's not a shift in direction in the company that I wanted to make or Cory wanted to make that was incompatible," he told the BBC News website.

"We are a core of technologists in our heart," he said. "The first 10 people that joined, there are only two that have left, they are all engineers."

For the near future, Linden Lab is looking at ways of making the technology behind Second Life much more open and easy to use.

Web worlds

"We are still in the early days so the things that are wrong are still wrong," he said, "It is still hard to figure out how to use Second Life and how to find things."

In many respects, he said, online virtual worlds are at the point now that the web reached in the early 1990s.

"We have often had fun in the office finding quotes from the early 90s that map exactly to what they say about Second Life now, " he said, "that it's disorganised, you cannot find anything and there is a lot of crap."

We are at the very early stages of something very big
Philip Rosedale
Despite the scepticism from many quarters he is fervently convinced that virtual worlds are the future of online life.

"Virtual worlds are inherently comprehensible to us in a way that the web is not," said Mr Rosedale. "They look like the world we already know and take advantage of our ability to remember and organise."

"Information is presented there in a way that matches our memories and experiences," he said. "Your and my ability to remember the words we use and the information we talk about is much higher if it's presented as a room or space around us."

Equally important, he said, was the visibility or presence that being in a virtual world bestows on its users.

By contrast, he said, when visiting a website people are anonymous and invisible.

Shopping on Amazon might be much easier and enjoyable if you could turn to one of the other 10,000 or so people on the site at the same time as you and ask about what they were buying, get recommendations and swap good or bad experiences.

Second Life screenshot, Linden Lab
Many firms are using Second Life to collaborate
Many firms and educators were starting to use Second Life as an online collaboration space that helps them work together like they do in the real world but to which is added the malleability of a wholly digital space.

For virtual worlds to be able to extend this usefulness to the mass of people a lot of work has yet to be done, said Mr Rosedale.

What it might take, he said, was software that would let people browse virtual worlds like they do webpages. Built in to that software would be an identity management system that re-drew yourself to match those different spaces.

"I think it is going to happen, that kind of portability of identity is important but I could not hazard a guess right now about how quickly it will happen," he said.

"But," he said, "with a sufficiently open platform then people will move into it quite rapidly."

It might, he speculated, one day outstrip the web as a means for people to communicate and work together.

"Because virtual worlds like Second Life do not impose language barriers like the web does - that almost certainly means their ultimate utility range is larger," he said. "We are at the very early stages of something very big."
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Boom times for virtual playgrounds

For many years the average video gamer has been male and aged 24 or more.

These young men typically have the disposable income and time needed to support a gaming habit and, it has to be said, many of the titles being released were designed to appeal to such folk.

Boom times for virtual playgrounds

But casual games and the appearance of the Nintendo Wii have changed that profile and now it looks like it is about to change again.

Research suggests that there are about

158 online games and virtual worlds in development or up and running designed specifically for children.

While some of that total are recognisable games, most should be classified as virtual worlds, said Joey Seiler, editor of Virtual Worlds News, who drew up the exhaustive list.

Although these worlds, such as Club Penguin and Neopets, have games in them they are more an environment children can explore via their avatar.

"There are things to play with, like monkey bars or virtual snowballs, but it's up to the kids to figure out what to do with them," said Mr Seiler.

Big numbers

Habbo - 90m accounts
NeoPets - 45m accounts
IMVU - 20m accounts
Club Penguin - 15m accounts
Star Doll - 15m accounts
Gaia - 12m accounts
Barbie Girls - 12m accounts
Source: K Zero
Some virtual worlds are hugely popular. Habbo has 90m accounts, Neopets 45m, Club Penguin 15m and Star Doll 15m. All these virtual worlds are aimed at children under 13.

For Mr Seiler this popularity is based on three factors: friends, freedom and fun.

"One reason virtual worlds are extremely compelling is that they offer a way to get out of the house and reconnect with friends after their curfew hours," said Mr Seiler.

The virtual worlds also give kids great freedom to express themselves.

"For kids, though, when they don't have as many options in real life to decide what their house looks like, what type of clothes to wear, or where they go, virtual worlds must seem like a whole new land of opportunity," he said.

Finally, he said, these virtual worlds are enjoyable places to be.

"Successful virtual worlds encourage creativity, imagination, and fun," he said. "That's pretty appealing to any kid."

But, said Lane Merrifield co-founder of Club Penguin, creating a game that appeals to children is not easy because they are both technologically adept and very critical consumers.

Respect for the audience, said Mr Merrifield, was vital for that success.

Barbie dolls in toy shop, AP
Many virtual worlds aimed at children are tied to toys
"If it doesn't matter to an eight-year-old it shouldn't matter to them," he said.

"Kids are so perceptive," he said. "Those that enter this space for financial or business benefits, I think kids are going to see through that and there's potential for them to shun those products."

Mr Merrifield added that while children had to be engaged by the world, there was also a job to do to re-assure parents these places were safe.

Club Penguin has a limited chat system and a large number of moderators monitoring interaction in the virtual world to ensure there is no inappropriate contact.

Karla Buchl, a spokeswoman for Burda:ic which runs Hello Kitty online in Europe, said all those overseeing virtual worlds aimed at children had a duty of care for their users.

"It's in our interest to have the sites stay safe," she said, "given our target groups we really need to do that."

But, she added, virtual worlds had to walk a fine line between giving people enough freedom to communicate and limiting the potential for abuse.

Bought and sold

Beyond safety many parents are also worried about the commercial connections of many virtual worlds.

Nic Mitham, head of the K Zero consultancy which watches this industry sector, said entry to many of the virtual worlds was via the purchase of a toy or game.

For instance, he said, the Barbie Girls was won when a child got hold of the Barbie MP3 player. Similarly access to Webkinz is based around purchase of a soft toy.

That trend was only going to grow over the next few years, he said adding that soon it would be hard to name a toy that didn't have some kind of web content associated with it.

Screenshot from Lego Star Wars, Activision
Lego Universe will builds on the success of other Lego video games
Partly this was a marketing move to engage children with the products they buy or get as presents but equally, he said, it was one of the few ways available to generate cash from virtual worlds.

To pay their way some virtual worlds, such as Club Penguin, offer access to more content for a small subscription fee.

Others use adverts on a home page or portal to offset running costs and some use make money by asking users to pay for the virtual goods used to adorn their in-game homes or avatars.

But, said Mr Mitham, there was no doubt that this stampede to entice children into virtual worlds associated with products, be they books, soft toys or films, would create casualties.

"I expect to see the first signs of fall out next year," he said. By that time the seed cash from venture capitalists behind many of the worlds will have dried up and it will be obvious which ones have managed to grab a significant audience.

"We will see some worlds closing and some acquisitions take place," he said. "In the place of the more generic virtual worlds will come those allied to a particular genre or interest group - such as Lego Universe.

For Mr Mitham there is nothing virtual about this phenomenon.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, May 26, 2008

Web worlds 'useful' for children

Screenshot from Adventure Rock, BBC
Adventure Rock is a large scale world that children can explore

Virtual worlds can be valuable places where children rehearse what they will do in real life, reveals research.

They are also a "powerful and engaging" alternative to more passive pursuits such as watching TV, said the BBC-sponsored study.

The research was done with children using the BBC's Adventure Rock virtual world, aimed at those aged 6-12.

The researcher said the BBC should have involved children early on to guide development and provide feedback.

Trial time

Carried out by Professor David Gauntlett and Lizzie Jackson of the University of Westminster, the research surveyed and interviewed children who were the first to test Adventure Rock.

The online world is a themed island built for the BBC's CBBC channel by Belgian game maker Larian.

Children explore the world alone but it uses message boards so children can share what they find and what they make in the various creative studios dotted around the virtual space.

The research looked at the ways the children used the world and sought feedback from them on its good and bad aspects.

Social climbers
Collector consumers
Power users
Life system builders
Prof Gauntlett said the research revealed that children assumed one of eight roles when exploring a virtual world and using the tools they put at their disposal.

At times children were explorers and at others they were social climbers keen to connect with other players. Some were power users looking for more information about how the workings of the virtual space.

Prof Gauntlett said online worlds were very useful rehearsal spaces where children could try all kinds of things largely free of the consequences that would follow if they tried them in the real world.

For instance, he said, children trying out Adventure Rock learned many useful social skills and played around with their identity in ways that would be much more difficult in real life.

Prof Gauntlett said what children liked about virtual worlds was the chance to create content such as music, cartoons and video and the tools that measured their standing in the world compared to others.

"Virtual worlds can be a powerful, engaging and interactive alternative to more passive media," he said.

He urged the BBC and other creators of virtual spaces for children to get young people involved very early on.

"They really do have good ideas to contribute and they are very good critical friends," said Prof Gauntlett.

"The kids know what they are doing and are very good at telling you in a brutally honest and forthright manner about what they want to see," said Wil Davies, a teacher at Peterston Super Ely primary in Glamorgan, from where some of the research subjects were drawn.

Irene Sutherland, a teacher at Merrylee primary, which also took part, said: "Children were adamant about the bits they did not play but were full of ideas about how to improve them."
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Sunday, May 25, 2008

An Unnatural Disaster

By Michael Hirsh

An Unnatural Disaster

America bears much of the blame for its waning global clout.

May 15, 2008 | Updated: 1:45  p.m. ET May 15, 2008

But what was most unnatural of all about what we Americans did to ourselves was that we missed the grand opportunity staring us in the face. September 11 was an awful day, but in strategic terms it had a silver lining. The sympathy that the rest of the world sent our way post-9/11 was not just good fellowship, it was a recognition that virtually every country around the globe faced the same kind of threat. This was an extraordinary chance for American leadership to renew itself at a time when the international community was adrift. After the cold war some pundits were questioning whether the "West" would long survive the extinction of its main enemy, Soviet communism. Foreign leaders had the usual doubts about America, but even so polls still showed a remarkable degree of global consensus in favor of a one-superpower (read: American-dominated) world. Most U.S. presidents after 9/11 would have seized the chance to reaffirm America's role in overseeing the international system by achieving a global consensus. Terrorism of the Al Qaeda variety provided a "natural bonding agent" for this system, as the Yale scholar Charles Hill (later Rudy Giuliani's presidential adviser) said.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Friday, May 23, 2008

WSS 3.0 --> MOSS 2007 migration

WSS 3.0 --> MOSS 2007 migration

One of our customers had WSS 3.0, and just decided to upgrade it to MOSS 2007. The installation was successfully finished by their own operational team, and they was waiting for us to migrate the sites and other contents. OK, it's a really average task, but here is the trick: we had to keep the GUID of all documents and list items because of a custom feature. (All documents and list items are identified by GUID in this feature.)

Well, how to start a task like this? - Of course, planning. What we have to migrate: sites, lists, documents, features, custom settings and custom requirements. One of there custom requirements is the GUID-issue: how can we guarantee the proper working after migration?

Ok, let's migrate the database. Copy the content database from WSS to MOSS database server, and let the MOSS to "eat" it. I'll write it in a professional language as well, but here is an other issue: we faced that the operational team installed a Hungarian MOSS, but the WSS is an English one...
No problem, the Language Pack can make a wonder for us: let's install an English Language Pack to the Hungarian MOSS (it's not the first time to do that), and let's start the migration:

Stop the WSS Services, and detach the WSS_Content database.
Copy the MDF and LDF files to the new database server (if it's needed).
Attach the database on the new server.
If the WSS have to work on, attach back the saved database to the WSS's DB server, and start the WSS services.
Go to the MOSS Central Administration, and create a new Web Application. Give a custom name to your WebApp's content database, for example WSS_Content_Temp.
Add the WSS_Content database to the Web Application with this command: stsadm.exe -o addcontentdb -url http://

PerformancePoint Server (PPS)

PerformancePoint Server (PPS) allows to monitor, analyze and plan their business goals and performance against those goals. PPS builds on top of and requires SQL Server and Microsoft Office.

Follow the links below to learn more and evaluate;

Microsoft PerformancePoint Server 2007
PerformancePoint Server 2007 Evaluation Version (x86)
PerformancePoint Server 2007 Evaluation Version (x64)
For the IT pro - Deployment Guide, Operations Guide, Whitepapers
For the Developer - Planning Server, Business rules development guide and Monitoring SDK

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Self-similarity of complex networks and hidden metric spaces

Self-similarity of complex networks and hidden metric spaces

Abstract for "Self-similarity of complex networks and hidden metric
spaces" authored by M. Ángeles Serrano, Dmitri Krioukov, and Marián
Boguñá. Published in Physical Review Letters in 2008.

|  View full paper:    PDF  |

-----end summary of contents-----

Self-similarity of complex networks and hidden metric spaces

Published in Physical Review Letters in 2008.

M. Ángeles Serrano

Institute of Theoretical Physics, LBS, SB, EPFL,

1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Dmitri Krioukov

Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis - CAIDA

San Diego Supercomputer Center,

University of California, San Diego

Marián Boguñá

Departament de Física Fonamental,

Universitat de Barcelona, Martí i Franquès 1,

08028 Barcelona, Spain

We demonstrate that the self-similarity of some scale-free networks with respect to a simple degreethresholding
renormalization scheme finds a natural interpretation in the assumption that network
nodes exist in hidden metric spaces. Clustering, i.e., cycles of length three, plays a crucial role in this
framework as a topological reflection of the triangle inequality in the hidden geometry. We prove that
a class of hidden variable models with underlying metric spaces are able to accurately reproduce the
self-similarity properties that we measured in the real networks. Our findings indicate that hidden
geometries underlying these real networks are a plausible explanation for their observed topologies
and, in particular, for their self-similarity with respect to the degree-based renormalization.

|  View full paper:    PDF  |

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Friday, May 16, 2008

What the internet makes of some people

MarvLevyshead MarvLevyshead is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Margate, FL
Posts: 1,295

Sometimes I think the average age on this site is 15.

1. Iron Man shows up WAY before the hour and 15 minute mark.

2. It is an origin movie...that is just how things go. Favreau decided to give this movie some character, which, is good for people with intelligence, but horribly bad for people with ADD.

3. If you think that Downey Jr. was anything but PERFECT in his role as Stark, you know absolutely Jack and **** about the character.

Which would invalidate your opinion.

Have a nice day.

Good Traders/Buyers: Simple_Man, Mandarin Spawn, babact, Indy J(x2), Walden, Grim123, Mattman2, unsungweezer, Deansta(x2), Raeus, Manga_Spawn, Bttl Rvgd Hnk, Sumner
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Yahoo faces struggle for control

By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley

Yahoo sign
Shareholders are angry that directors rejected Microsoft's bid to buy the firm

Yahoo faces a proxy fight for control of the company by a billionaire activist with a history of closing controversial corporate deals.

Carl Icahn has announced he will file a slate of alternate directors to replace the present board when it gets together for its shareholder meeting on 3 July.

Mr Icahn purchased 50 million shares in Yahoo after Microsoft walked away from talks in May to buy the net portal.

Yahoo told the BBC it would "pass" on the opportunity to comment on the move.

Mr Icahn has been unavailable to discuss his plans but news reports say he has lined up at least 12 potential board candidates. The deadline for nominating a dissident board is 15 May.

Mr Icahn's manoeuvre follows much anger and criticism over Yahoo's decision, led by co-founder and chief executive Jerry Yang, to turn down Microsoft's $47.5bn (£24.4bn) offer earlier this month to buy the company. Yahoo had wanted Microsoft to increase its bid of $33 a share to $37.

The Wall Street Journal says that over the last few days some large Yahoo shareholders have contacted Mr Icahn, urging him to get involved.

Bill Miller of Legg Mason, Yahoo's second largest shareholder, says he is eager to see what Mr Icahn and other activists can do.

"To the extent he can get the parties back to the table I'd be all in favour of that."

But he maintains that unless that happens, "it will be a lot of wasted time and effort".

'Sabre rattling'

News of Mr Icahn's involvement in the "Yahoo soap opera certainly raises the heat of the situation" says Shirley Westcott, managing director of policy at Proxy Governance, an independent proxy advisory firm.

Carl Icahn (file)
Mr Icahn has a history of waging corporate battles

She told the BBC she believes his emergence as a player will add to the pressure the Yahoo board is being put under to go back to Microsoft and restart talks.

"When Microsoft backed off there was a lot of investor anger and now Carl Icahn is sabre rattling there will now be more pressure on Yahoo to renegotiate with Microsoft. There needs to be a meeting of minds."

For the last 24 hours, Silicon Valley and the investor community have been waiting on tenterhooks to see if Mr Icahn would go ahead with a decision to launch a proxy fight to oust Yahoo's current board.

Now that he has, the focus will shift to Microsoft - which has already said talks with Yahoo are over and that it will go it alone in trying to establish a presence in the world of search.

As Bill Gates and executives of the Redmond-based company played host at a CEO summit, the only word from the company was: "Microsoft does not comment on rumour or speculation".

Grassroots campaign

Mr Icahn's proxy fight is not the only effort being waged to replace the present board of directors at Yahoo.

Disgruntled investor Eric Jackson is launching his own grassroots "vote no" campaign urging shareholders to oust all 10 directors on 3 July.

Yahoo's stock has essentially been flat for the last four years... the board has not been doing its job
Eric Jackson

Mr Jackson, who runs Ironfire Capital, had originally threatened to run a proxy campaign to elect new members. He says a million-dollar fight that he could not afford forced him to switch tack.

"I want to send a message to all board directors that they are accountable and need to be replaced."

In an interview with BBC News, Mr Jackson claims there is a "high level of anger and confusion at the board's decision to turn down Microsoft's offer".

This, he contends, was a major mistake and one of many the board has made over the years.

"Yahoo's stock has essentially been flat for the last four years while the market has gone up over 30% and Google has gone up 440%. So the comparisons are stark and the board has not been doing its job."

Over the next seven weeks, Mr Jackson's "vote no" campaign will rally support through the web and by hitting the phones.

Heavyweight investors

Ms Westcott at Governance Proxy says while Mr Jackson's campaign will fire up small shareholders, the vote that will really count is that of the big players.

"I think there are plenty of shareholders who will oppose the re-election of this board, and this grassroots campaign will have a lot of success, but it is the institutional investors who will carry the day."

And it is those investors that Mr Icahn is expected to carry.

For any director to be voted off or on to the board, all it takes is a simple majority vote.

"If there is no progress between Yahoo and Microsoft over a deal you could end up with enough angry shareholders and institutions voting the whole board out of office," Ms Westcott says.

"And that would be a horrible scenario for Yahoo."

Mr Icahn is no stranger to such battles. Earlier this year he was instrumental in persuading BAE Systems, a San Jose software maker, to accept an offer to be bought by Oracle for $8.5bn. In March he pressured Motorola to split into two companies.

While he has a reputation for shrewd deals, even he cannot win over management all the time. But he mostly always makes money.

In 2006 he unsuccessfully pushed for the break up of Time Warner. In a recent interview on America's 60 Minutes programme he said: "Maybe I made a mistake, but I made $300m on it. So is that so bad?"

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, May 12, 2008

HP confirms in talks to buy EDS: Dumb deal of the decade?

HP confirms in talks to buy EDS

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has confirmed that it is in talks to buy the information technology provider Electronic Data Systems (EDS).

It followed a report in the Wall Street Journal, which said that HP was close to a deal to buy EDS for between $12bn (£6.1bn) and $13bn.

EDS is a Texas-based information technology services company, of which HP is among the biggest customers.

EDS shares closed up 27.9% while HP shares ended the day down 4.7%.

HP issued a short statement after the market closed.

"HP today confirmed that it is engaged in advanced discussions with Electronic Data Systems Corporation regarding a possible business combination involving the two companies," it said.

'Relatively stagnant'

Some analysts were uncertain about the logic of the potential deal.

"Unless HP has some synergies where they can dramatically impact earnings growth of EDS, I'm not sure why they'd want to buy it," said Jim Huguet of Great Companies in Tampa.

"Earnings growth has averaged 2.8%, so it's not a major earnings growth company."

But others saw the potential deal as a chance for HP to become a big IT services provider.

"EDS has been relatively stagnant over the past few years," said Chad Hersh from Novarica.

"HP has been trying to promote themselves as a major services organization over the past few years.

"This will certainly help them with that."

Blogged with the Flock Browser

So much for democracy

Elections with political constitution will always fail

Pakistan government set to split

Nawaz Sharif (L) and his brother Shahbaz Sharif wave to supporters upon arrival from London, in Islamabad on May 12, 2008.
Mr Sharif has staked his name on restoring the judges to their jobs

One of the main parties in Pakistan has announced it is pulling out of the government, just three months after landmark general elections.

Ex-PM Nawaz Sharif says his PML-N is quitting because of differences over the reinstatement of judges sacked by President Pervez Musharraf.

Mr Sharif wants the judges, who became a focus of opposition to Mr Musharraf, to get all their old powers back.

But the biggest party, the PPP, wants limitations on their powers.

Both sides were eager to avoid the appearance of a major rift, but analysts called the pull-out a huge set-back that could lead to growing instability.

The BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says further cracks in the alliance may give a lease of life to pro-Musharraf parties which were defeated in recent elections.

Blogged with the Flock Browser