Weekend Edition

The Amazon of Stocks

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Amazon, the incredible company that is upending traditional retail and driving consumers from malls to laptops, first sold shares to the public 20 years ago this week. And its stock price just hit yet another all-time high, giving me a new low in my ability to win on Wall Street. To help drive my fragile ego even lower, some analysts are predicting another 20% upside this engine of growth.

I’ve missed my fair share of winners on Wall Street, but this one is especially painful. Had I invested $1.00 in Amazon right after its Initial Public Offering in 1997 it would be worth $500.00 today, a huge return on a modest investment. Sure, we all have our stories of opportunities lost. But this one is personal. Here’s why.  read more »

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Facebook Finding Families

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Love it or hate it, social media has changed the way we live. Facebook and Twitter or LinkedIn and YouTube, now help us connect to millions of other social media users and often band together for a greater good. By example, Twitter has helped millions of victims communicate after natural disasters, from fires to hurricanes to the recent Haiti earthquake.

Consumers now have the option to participate in a true cross section of sharing tools, community websites, blogs, audio and video tools and more to create truly rich social media experiences. And that can have profound implications in our personal lives, as the dramatic story below points out.  read more »

Buy a camera-sell your pictures

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Millions of consumers now own and easily operate high tech camera phones that can take both photos and video with incredible quality. At the same time, media outlets facing severe money problems are cutting the staff that provides content vital to their future success.

Enter fizwozTM, a San Francisco-based start-up that provides the first ever online auction site for mobile phone captured photos and video. Utilizing a state-of-the-art auction engine and cutting-edge mobile applications, fizwozTM helps consumers sell content to media buyers, from multinational media powerhouses to local newspapers and social networking sites.  read more »

Lady Golfers in the Spotlight

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Today marked the final round of the year’s biggest professional tournament for female golfers, the United States Women’s Open. And in typical fashion, it was a dramatic ending, with a come-from-behind victory by Eun-Hee Ji of South Korea. The 23-year old sunk a 20-foot birdie putt on the finishing hole to finish ahead of crowd favorites Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer.  read more »

We Lost Mikey Today

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During my early years working at KTVU Channel Two News in the San Francisco Bay Area, I often found newsroom staff members so overcome with grief over the loss of a loved one that they were unable to come to work for days after the passing. I certainly understood. It was after all a tragedy to lose someone so close.

But when I found it was the family cat or dog that had died, and not a human family member or close friend, I became irritated. How could our best cameraman, Don McCuaig, not show up because his black lab passed unexpectedly? But that cold and caustic attitude quickly changed when we welcomed animals into our own home.  read more »

The Best of Times - The Worst of Times

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Just this past week the Hearst Corporation announced from New York that “in an effort to reverse the deepening operating losses of its San Francisco Chronicle, it is seeking significant near-term cost savings that would include deep cuts in both union and non-union staff.” In its statement Hearst said “if the savings cannot be accomplished quickly the company will seek a buyer, and if none comes forward, it will close the Chronicle”.

The Chronicle lost more than $50 million in 2008 and is on a pace to lose more than that this year, Hearst said. The company had announced January 9th that if a buyer is not found by March for one of its other 15 newspaper holdings, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, it will close that paper, which has lost money since 2000.  read more »

The Dark Day My Blackberry Fell Into The Toletta

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When I first asked my wife if she could take enough time off for a long anticipated vacation trip to Italy, she said “only if I can keep in touch with the office and my clients”.

No problem, I thought. Plenty of my golfing buddies travel on business around the world. But I should have remembered that they have “people” who handle the details. I was on my own.

My descent into international telephone and e-mail madness began with a series of trips to the local ATT Wireless store to test drive various products guaranteed to keep them and my wife in business, while driving me nuts.  read more »

Signs of the Times

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I read this very interesting summary provided by Reuters, documenting the times we live in. Reuters points out that, “The global recession manifests itself in big ways and small: most gloomy, some quirky and many reflecting the inventive human spirit.”

Here is Reuters look at some signs of the times.

* The Church of England published two new prayers, comforting people who lost their jobs and those still in work after a round of cuts. "Hear me as I cry out in confusion, help me to think clearly, and calm my soul," says the "Prayer on being made redundant." The "Prayer for those remaining in the workplace" focuses on guilt and increased workload: "In the midst of this uncertainty, help me to keep going: to work to the best of my ability, taking each day at a time."  read more »

Buyers boycott Saddam yacht

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The luxury mega-yacht “Ocean Breeze” is up for sale, but is not getting much interest. Not because of its price, but its pedigree.

The ocean-going palace was built in 1981 by then Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. It was one of thousands of extravagant toys in Saddam’s entertainment arsenal, which also included palaces and planes available to the dictator at a moment’s notice. But while land-based palaces might be tough to sell, this floating palace is also proving problematic.  read more »

Newspapers Writing Their Own Obituaries

These past few days’ local and national newspapers have been busy writing obituaries….their own. Pages have been filled with news articles documenting the carnage. The Christian Science Monitor says that after a century, it will cease publication of its daily newspaper. To stave off its demise, the Star Ledger of Newark will slash its editorial staff by an astonishing 40%. Gannett, the nation’s largest paper, will cut 10% and the Los Angeles Times will shed another 75 newsroom workers.  read more »