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A Massachusetts Town Has Made Bottled Water Illegal

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/massachusetts-town-bans-bottled-water-2013-1

drinking bottled water

Water, water everywhere — just not in plastic bottles, says a town in the US state of Massachusetts.

A law passed by the town of Concord went into effect with the New Year, making single-serving bottles of water illegal.

The ban is intended to encourage use of tap water and curb the worldwide problem of plastic pollution.

It only applies to “non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water.” Coke or other soft drinks are exempt.

Jean Hill, an 84-year-old activist, thought up the ban, arguing that bottles fill garbage dumps, while consumers are lured into drinking water they could obtain for a tiny fraction of the cost at their own sink.

“The bottled water companies are draining our aquifers and selling it back to us. I’m going to work until I drop on this,” Hill told The New York Times in 2010.

First time offenders get a warning. Anyone caught selling the banned bottles a second time will be fined $25, and $50 thereafter.

Copyright (2013) AFP. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013 news No Comments

How the US Air Force Wasted $1 Billion on a Failed Software Plan

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5967081/how-the-us-air-force-wasted-1-billion-on-a-failed-software-plan

How the US Air Force Wasted $1 Billion on a Failed Software PlanThe US Military makes its fair share of mistakes when it comes to technology—but over the weekend, the New York Times revealed that even upgrading a single software system can go horribly wrong for it.

The New York Times describes the situation:

Last month, [the Air Force] canceled a six-year-old modernization effort that had eaten up more than $1 billion. When the Air Force realized that it would cost another $1 billion just to achieve one-quarter of the capabilities originally planned – and that even then the system would not be fully ready before 2020 – it decided to decamp.

You might expect the project to be exotic and experimental. If that were there case, the expense and failure might be understandable, if not desirable. But in fact the project was the implementation of commercial off-the-shelf software. Known as the Expeditionary Combat Support System, the plan was to improve the management of logistics using software from Oracle. Four years of development—and over $1 billion dollars—later, and neither Oracle nor the Air Force have anything to show for their labors.

So what went wrong? According to the New York Times, the plan was scuppered by constant redesigns, poor time management and lack of accountability:

[The System] was restructured many times, including three separate times in the last three years, Ms. McGrath says. “Each time, we chunked it down, breaking it into smaller pieces, focusing on specific capabilities.” But this was not enough to save the system, she says, because program managers did not succeed in imposing the short deadlines of 18 to 24 months that the department now requires for similar projects…

[A] report cited many concerns, but the main one was a failure to meet a basic requirement for successful implementation: having “a single accountable leader” who “has the authority and willingness to exercise the authority to enforce all necessary changes to the business required for successful fielding of the software.”

If anything, we should be grateful that the Air Force decided to kill the project before it haemorrhaged more cash. If you want more detail, you should definitely read the Times piece. [New York Times]

Image by expertinfantry under Creative Commons license

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Monday, December 10th, 2012 news No Comments

See The Difference Between Victoria’s Secret And Dove Models

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/victorias-secret-angels-vs-dove-models-2012-12

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show airs tomorrow night.

Standards for the show’s models are high. A Victoria’s Secret executive famously told The New York Times that fewer than 100 women in the world would be suitable to walk in the show.

Meanwhile, skincare company Dove has a “real beauty” campaign, using real women instead of models.

A Reddit user posted a photo showing the stark contrast between the two:

victoria's secret and dove models

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Monday, December 3rd, 2012 news No Comments

The Windows 8 Sales Data Is In, And It’s Horrible News For Microsoft (MSFT)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-windows-8-sales-data-is-in-and-its-horrible-news-for-microsoft-2012-11

Steve Ballmer facepalmNPD research published some horrible news for Microsoft yesterday.

  • Despite releasing an entirely new operating system on October 22 of this year, Windows PC sales shrank 21% between 10/21 and 11/17 versus the same period last year.
  • Windows 8 tablet sales during that period were “almost nonesistent” – just 1% of all Windows 8 sales.

“It hasn’t made the market any worse, but it hasn’t stimulated things either,” Stephen Baker, an analyst at NPD, told the New York Times. “It hasn’t provided the impetus to sales everybody hoped for.”

No kidding.

Yesterday, we reported other bad news:

  • Asus CFO David Chang’s comments that “demand for Windows 8 is not that good right now.”
  • Microsoft cut its order of Surface tablets for the year to two million units, down from four million.

This is a very scary time for Microsoft.

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Friday, November 30th, 2012 news No Comments

Zara Has Fundamentally Changed Fashion And There’s No Going Back

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-zara-is-changing-fashion-forever-2012-11

zara clothing

Fast-fashion retailer Zara is on a mission to take over the world, and in the process it has changed the whole fabric of the industry. 

Zara’s strategy involves stocking very little and updating collections often. Instead of other brands that only update once a season, Zara restocks with new designs twice a week, reported Suzy Hansen at the New York Times

That strategy works two ways, according to Hansen. First, it encourages customers to come back to the store often. It also means that if the shopper wants to buy something, he or she feels that they have to in order to guarantee it won’t sell out. 

As a result of its massive success, Zara is making luxury retailers pretty nervous. Zara tries to build their stores as close as possible to the luxury boutiques like Stella McCartney and Chanel. Meanwhile, those retailers are trying to stay far away from the fast-fashion company. 

“They broke up a century-old biannual cycle of fashion,” an analyst told Hansen. “Now, pretty much half of the high-end fashion companies” — Prada and Louis Vuitton, for example — “make four to six collections instead of two each year. That’s absolutely because of Zara.”

Another important way that Zara has impacted the fashion is by negating the idea that expensive clothes are more desirable. Kate Middleton has often been photographed in the brand, and getting something chic for a steal is something to brag about. 

Zara also fits in with another trend: today’s demanding consumer. 

Now that shoppers can get what they want from virtually any channel for a variety of prices, they’re becoming much more discerning about what they want.

That means that a company that sells high fashion for low prices and offers constant new merchandise is set to do well in today’s marketplace, and other retailers should be rushing to emulate Zara’s model.

DON’T MISS: 19 Years In The Evolution Of The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show >

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Saturday, November 10th, 2012 news No Comments

Sales Of Wall Street’s Favorite Computer Have Stagnated

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/bloomberg-terminal-sales-2012-10

Bloomberg Terminal

Perhaps this is an indicator of how Wall Street is really doing.

Via Zerohedge, the New York Post’s Keith J. Kelley reports that Bloomberg LP has grown its Bloomberg Terminal sales by only ~1,000 units in the first nine months of this year. 

In 2011, Bloomberg sold 13,672 terminal subscriptions, which was short of the sales goal of 15,000, the report said.

A Bloomberg Terminal is basically a computer that Wall Streeters use to obtain real-time market data, news and stock quotes among many other cool functions. 

There are about 315,000 Bloomberg Terminals installed worldwide.  A subscription costs about $20,000 per year, the report said.

The other problem is 50 percent of Bloomberg employees’ bonuses depend on terminal sales and non-terminal revenue growth.

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Friday, October 26th, 2012 news No Comments

Destroyed By Blogs, "Variety" Magazine Will Sell For Less Than $30 Million

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/variety-magazine-sale-2012-9

varietyscreenshot

In case you need another example of the digital missile that has slammed into the traditional media world, check out Reed Elsevier’s ongoing attempts to sell Variety magazine.

Variety, you will recall, used to rule Hollywood.

Now, its price has been chopped to less than $30 million, Keith Kelly of the New York Post reports.

That’s less than AOL paid for a tech blog, TechCrunch, a couple of years ago.

Why have Variety’s fortunes deteriorated so badly?

Digital competition.

Specifically, sites like Nikki Finke’s Deadline, TheWrap, and a host of new entertainment-related properties that are eating Variety’s lunch.

Variety has tried to protect itself with a paywall, but judging by the price, that hasn’t worked.

What’s left of Variety may now be sold to the company that owns Deadline and other upstart sites, Jay Penske’s Penske Media Corp.

Keith Kelly has more >

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Monday, September 10th, 2012 news No Comments

Here’s How Much Money The New York Times Was Losing On About.com (NYT)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-how-much-money-the-new-york-times-was-losing-on-aboutcom-2012-8

new york times building, new york times, nyt building, nyt, night shot, nyc, sept 2011, business insider, dng

IAC has agreed to buy About.com from the New York Times for $300 million in cash, according to Bloomberg, and no wonder—the encyclopedia site was losing barrowloads of cash.

But the sale won’t fix NYT’s overall digital problems—it’s still seeing declining digital revenues, which mostly come from selling ads.

NYT bought About for $410 million in 2005, in one of those great, doomed attempts to move a newspaper brand into the digital age.

Here are About’s most recent top and bottom lines, according to Bloomberg, almost all of which come from ad sales:

The website’s revenue fell 8.7 percent to $25.4 million last quarter, and it posted an operating loss of $186.8 million

IAC boss Barry Diller will combine About with Ask.com. Hopefully, he has a plan to fix About’s pitiful revenue side.

Meanwhile, here’s the picture at the Times before the sale, per the most recent 10-Q:

Digital advertising revenues decreased 4.0% and 7.2% in the second quarter and first six months of 2012, respectively.

That portends more structural changes at the paper in the near future.

Related:

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Monday, August 27th, 2012 news No Comments

Here’s How NY Times’ Frugal Traveler Finds Hotels When Websites Don’t Cut It

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-ny-times-frugal-traveler-seth-kugel-books-a-hotel-2012-8

kugel

When New York Times columnist Seth Kugel sits down to plot his next ‘Frugal Travel’ adventure, he’s not the only one to weigh in. 

“It’s not like some gold mine, like I have a stash of gold coins in my office and I can go anywhere I want and then write about it,” said Kugel, whose most recent travels took him to Norway and Denmark. “There’s where I want to go and where my editors want me to go. But by the way, I never say no. There’s pretty much no where I don’t want to go.”

Once a destination is locked in, each step is plotted by Kugel himself, from which airline to choose––discount carriers aren’t his favorite––to where he’ll lay his head at night (“Anything over 100 a night is pretty much unacceptable.”).

“I have a lot of colleagues who’ve been traveling for 20 years,” he told Business Insider. “There’s a little bit of a learning curve for me.”

Lodging is of particular concern, since it’s likely to take up the biggest chunk of any traveler’s budget, including Kugel’s. There are countless sites dedicated to giving consumers the cheapest hotel rates in a specific area, but when he was ready to book a stay at Martha’s Vineyard for an upcoming column, he found an even better way to search:

“I went to every hotel site I could think of, Hotels.com, the chamber of commerce website, and every site had a slightly different list of hotels. I thought this is ridiculous,” he said. “I went to Google Maps, zoomed in on a specific area and search! ed for ‘ hotels.’ Eighty-seven [options] popped up and I just went through every single one.”

It’s the simple, most organic way to search, he said.

“Anything else is somehow biased. Some of these sites, the hotel has to agree to be a part of them and they pay a fee. Other places are based on critics. This works much better in places where there aren’t 4,000 hotels though. I wouldn’t try this in NYC.” 

DON’T MISS: This couple retired on an Argentina vineyard >

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Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 news No Comments

MSNBC.com Is Now NBCNews.com

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/msnbccom-is-now-nbcnewscom-2012-7

nbc news

Msnbc.com renamed itself NBCNews.com after Comcast bought out Microsoft’s share of it for a reported $300 million.

The sale, which had been expected for weeks, ends the partnership of the internet giant and NBC, which stretches back to the mid 1990s. The sale price was not disclosed, but The New York Times reported it was $300 million.

“When msnbc.com launched 16 years ago, it set the standard for how people consume news online — creating trends and leading the marketplace,” said NBC News President Steve Capus. “Today, NBC News enters a new phase of its history better positioned to compete and grow in a digital environment, as well as deliver consumers and clients a multi-platform news experience unlike anything else in the industry.”

Capus also thanked Microsoft “for everything they’ve done for this partnership and for helping us build these properties into what they are today.”

The site’s editor in chief, Jennifer Sizemore, delivered the news in a message to readers.

“While our name is changing, our commitment is not. In fact, in the weeks and months ahead, we’ll be bringing you more of what you love today, and NBCNews.com will stay true to its mandate of delivering the news you need with the innovative spirit you’ve come to expect across all of our digital platforms.”

NBC NewsMicrosoft relinquished its stake in the cable news channel MSNBC in 2005, and the channel has branded itself as an outlet for left-leaning political coverage and analysis. But because of MSN and NBC’s joint ownership of the website, the online news site has not reflected the voice of the cable channel.

Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, now becomes the full owner of msnbc.com, and the purchase signals a major investment in the future of the news division. People familiar with the deal told the Times that some of the purchase price came from the joint venture’s past profits.

Visitors who typed in msnbc.com on Monday morning were immediately redirected to the new site.

SEE ALSO: This week’s box-office roundup >

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Monday, July 16th, 2012 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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