Friday, March 30, 2012

Razer promises left-handed Naga MMO mouse in 2013, achieved 10K 'likes' in less than a week | The Verge

Lefties for the win!!! 

Razer promises left-handed Naga MMO mouse in 2013, achieved 10K 'likes' in less than a week

Razer naga left

Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan promised his company would make a left-handed version of its 17-button Naga MMO mouse, but only if the community approved: 10,000 gamers had to vote in favor by "liking" a Facebook post before April 21st. It didn't take nearly that long. The post currently sits at 11,074 likes, less than a week after the experiment began, and Razer has agreed to make the mouse as promised. "It'll take at least till next year, but it will be done," said the CEO on his Facebook page. While you wait for 2013, you can make do with Razer's left-handed DeathAdder, the only other southpaw gaming mouse we can think of. Here's a triumphant Min-Liang Tan, from the press release:

"That Facebook post generated more buzz than we could’ve ever imagined, which proves that there have been a number of gamers that have had their needs ignored for some time," said Tan. "We pride ourselves on being gamers ourselves, and we all know that there is no substitute for gaming with your dominant hand."

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BlackBerry maker gives up on consumer market | Fox News

and in more news about things that died in 2007... Robert Adler - Warren Avis - Bruce Bennett

So long RiM, it's been a long, painful, slow death so far. Happy retirement!

BlackBerry maker gives up on consumer market

TORONTO –  Struggling BlackBerry maker Research in Motion said Thursday that it plans to return its focus to its corporate customers after failing to compete with flashier, consumer-oriented phones such as Apple's iPhone and models that run Google's Android software.

The shift in strategy came with a management shakeup that includes longtime executive Jim Balsillie leaving the board and severing ties with a company he helped build and later see decline.

RIM said it will focus its consumer efforts on targeted offerings that tap the company's strengths. That includes devices that employees will want to buy on their own and bring to the corporate environment. The company was exploring partnerships and other opportunities for consumer products that aren't deemed central. Those products could include software and features that are then incorporated into RIM's own offerings.

"We can't do everything ourselves, but we can do what we're good at," RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said.

RIM earnings miss Wall Street expectations

RIM has had limited success trying to enter consumer markets in recent years, particularly with high-end devices that sport touch screens popular with consumers.

Heins said a turnaround required "substantial change."

"BlackBerry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody's darling."

- RIM CEO Thorsten Heins

"We believe that BlackBerry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody's darling and all things to all people," Heins said. "Therefore, we plan to build on our strength."

Heins, who joined RIM four years ago and was most recently its chief operating officer, replaced co-CEOs Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis in January after the company lost tens of billions in market value. Lazaridis founded the company, and Balsillie had joined in its early years.

RIM said Thursday that Balsillie has resigned from its board after 20 years with the company. David Yach, chief technology officer for software, and Jim Rowan, chief operating officer for global operations, also are leaving.

The company said it was undergoing a comprehensive strategic review. Heins said he was open to selling the company, but "it is not the main direction we are pursuing right now."

The Canadian company has long dominated the corporate smartphone market. Its BlackBerrys are known for their security and reliability as email devices. President Barack Obama even refused to part with his BlackBerry after he took office.

RIM has sought to expand its appeal to consumers, but it has had trouble because the phones aren't perceived to be as sexy as its chief competitors. RIM has been counting on improvements with its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 system, but that has faced multiple delays. BlackBerrys also lag iPhones or Android phones when it comes to running third-party applications. Touch-screen models that lack physical keyboards have largely flopped.

For that reason, BlackBerrys are even losing ground in the business world, as employees demand iPhones or Android devices over BlackBerrys.

Apple sold 37 million iPhones in the last three months of 2011 -- more than what RIM shipped in the past three quarters combined. RIM shipped 11.1 million BlackBerrys in the latest quarter, which ended March 3.

RIM also bombed in its efforts to produce a tablet computer to compete with Apple's iPad. Among other things, the PlayBook received negative reviews because it launched without an email program and the popular messaging service BlackBerry Messenger. In December, the tablets that originally cost $500 were selling for $200, below the cost of making them.

BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis said it's a positive development that RIM is going to focus on its corporate clients and lower-end consumers.

"They are conceding the high-end consumer market with all these services that are wrapped around the platform," Gillis said. "At least there's some reality here. Are they going to compete against iTunes? No way."

Peter Misek, an analyst at Jefferies & Co. in New York, said RIM should have recognized that it is niche player and lost the battle with Apple three years ago. Misek said the company should have looked at partnering with other companies last year rather than now.

When he took the CEO job in January, Heins said a drastic change in strategy was not needed. He said Thursday that he changed his mind after conducting his "own reality check on where the entire company really is."

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Zanesville Ohio alpaca farm launching first tour season via

This sounds like an awesome, family friendly trip for anybody in the Central Ohio Area. Check it out!

Zanesville alpaca farm launching first tour season | Zanesville Times Recorder |

ZANESVILLE -- Becky Camma never imagined her "retirement" would consist of 38 Suri alpacas and four llamas.

But that's just what she got.

Camma and her husband, Albert, own The Alpacas of Spring Acres, a 180-acre alpaca farm on Big-B Road in Zanesville. The Cammas started the farm in 2007 when they bought seven alpacas -- "the original seven," they call them -- at an auction.

In April, the farm will open up to tours for the first time. The details aren't quite worked out, but the plan is to host tours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, said Jamie Morgan, Camma's daughter, who helps run the farm with her husband, Shane.

The tours will include a short educational talk about alpaca care and life on the farm. Guests also can visit with the animals and check out the gift shop, which features rugs, sweaters and scarves made of alpaca fleece.

The family is trying out the tours at least for one season, just to see how it goes, Morgan said.

"We're basically just saying, 'Hi, we're here; we're ready now,'" she said. "It's an educational process. That's all we're out here for."

Originally from Newark, Camma's retirement didn't start with alpacas. Five years ago, when she was 48, she and Albert bought a retirement house in Hilton Head, S.C.

But Albert, a neurosurgeon, was spending a lot of time traveling back to Zanesville to help at the hospital, Camma said, and she wanted to start a farm to give her grown children the chance for a different lifestyle "than nine to five, punching the clock."

They looked for land in South Carolina for a while, but Albert already owned the Zanesville land, so in 2008, they moved back to Ohio, Camma said.

Camma loves using the Suri fleece, rich in fiber, to make scarves and rugs. One of her goals is to help create a significant source of Suri fiber in the U.S. In order to compete with Peru, which is where most alpaca fiber comes from, there would have to be a flock of about one million Suri alpacas in the U.S., she said.

Life on the farm is great, but caring for the animals is more work than she initially thought, Camma said. The animals require a lot of medical attention, and there's also plenty of work in determining which animals to breed and when.

"It's not just put the food and water out and hope for the best," she said.

Camma has three grown children and Albert has two, but Morgan and her husband are the only ones who decided to work full-time on the farm.

Before, Morgan was working in collections for a bank, she said, while Shane was a computer consultant. Morgan also recently earned a business degree from Muskingum University, but after having her own daughter, Emma, three months ago, she's not sure what will come of that, she said.

So for now, Morgan and Shane handle most of the day-to-day work on the farm, including the feeding, monthly shots, breeding and ultrasounds for pregnant alpacas.

They also show alpacas in competitions, recently earning four first-place ribbons and two second-places at a Columbus show, Morgan said.

Neither Morgan nor Camma has a favorite alpaca -- Morgan jokes she has plenty of non-favorites -- but strolling past the different pastures, they both know each by name.

There's Brianna and Bridgette, a mother-daughter pair who are each pregnant. At night, Brianna and Bridgette find each other to sleep side-by-side, Morgan said.

Then there's Goose. Goose's real-name is Electra, but she earned her nickname for the loud, honking noise she makes.

There's also Billie Jean; Lulu, Lilu and Lily; Jemma and Jetta; Eve and Everest; and Midory, who used to be Morgan's favorite until Midory became pregnant and turned out to be a neglectful mother.

Other breeders warn not to get attached to the animals, but Morgan tends to ignore that advice, she said.

"The first time we ever lost an animal, I think I cried for three days," she said.

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

MasterCard, VISA Warn of Processor Breach — Krebs on Security

This is all kinds of bad... all kinds of ugly and is just the beginning, I'm guessing. I'm sure they've known of the breech for more than a while, before going public.

Not good.

Tip of the iceberg.

MasterCard, VISA Warn of Processor Breach

VISA and MasterCard are alerting banks across the country about a recent major breach at a U.S.-based credit card processor. Sources in the financial sector are calling the breach “massive,” and say it may involve more than 10 million compromised card numbers.

In separate non-public alerts sent late last week, VISA and MasterCard began warning banks about specific cards that may have been compromised. The card associations stated that the breached credit card processor was compromised between Jan. 21, 2012 and Feb. 25, 2012. The alerts also said that full Track 1 and Track 2 data was taken – meaning that the information could be used to counterfeit new cards.

Neither VISA nor MasterCard have said which U.S.-based processor was the source of the breach. But affected banks are now starting to analyze transaction data on the compromised cards, in hopes of finding a common point of purchase. Sources at two different major financial institutions said the transactions that most of the cards they analyzed seem to have in common are that they were used in parking garages in and around the New York City area.

It’s not clear how many cards were breached in the processor attack, but a sampling from one corner of the industry provides some perspective. On Wednesday, PSCU — a provider of online financial services to credit unions — said it alerted 482 credit unions that appear to have had cards impacted by the breach, and that a total of 56,455 member VISA and MasterCard accounts were compromised. PSCU said fraudulent activity had been detected on a relatively small number of those cards — 876 accounts — and that the activity was geographically dispersed.

If any readers have more information about the source, cause or true size of this breach, please contact me.

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This entry was posted on Friday, March 30th, 2012 at 1:23 am and is filed under A Little Sunshine, Latest Warnings, The Coming Storm. You can follow any comments to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a comment. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart