Jetstar to offer iPads as an in-flight entertainment option

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Jetstar Airways, a Qantas owned Australian low-cost airline, has announced plans to trial Apple iPads as an in-flight entertainment option. This trial would make Jetstar one of the first airlines in the world to offer the iPad.

Starting later this month, Jetstar plans to begin a two-week trial, during which passengers will have the option to rent iPads for $10AU on domestic flights longer than an hour. Thirty iPads would be available on each test plane. These devices would be preloaded with games, e-books, music and video content. Internet access however will be disabled as per Jetstar’s policy on internet connected devices, said spokeswoman Andrea Wait.

The iPads offered by Jetstar, will be specially customized by Bluebox Avionics. Bluebox Avionics, at present, is the only company to offer iPads as part of an in-flight entertainment system. Jetstar will be the first to offer the Bluebox Avionics iPad based systems, though, Bluebox Avionics has said the system will be available to other airlines soon.

Shortly following the initial release of the iPad, Jetstar chief information officer Stephen Tame speculated that the iPad “may lead in the future the end of airline in-flight entertainment systems”. Depending on the results of the trial, iPads may replace existing Jetstar in-flight entertainment systems.

Jetstar chief executive Bruce Buchanan said he expected the iPads to be very popular during the trial. If the trial is successful, the airline would “be looking to roll out the devices across our entire domestic and international network later in the year”, said Buchanan.

U.S. Senator Larry Craig to resign

Friday, August 31, 2007

United States Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) is announcing on September 1 that he will resign his post, effective September 30. Craig was involved in a scandal where he allegedly propositioned another man for sex in a bathroom at a Minneapolis airport. Craig has previously claimed he was “in the bathroom for its intended purpose.” The senator said in a news conference that “I am not gay. I have never have been gay,” and that he “pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in the hopes that it would go away.” This comes just before the Republican National Convention would have called on Craig to resign.

Further developments to this story are available. See:
Republican leaders accused of double standard after Larry Craig’s resignation

French parliamentarian questions Jacques Chirac’s Elysée budget

Thursday, October 6, 2005

A member of the French National Assembly, René Dosière, denounces the “opacity” in the budget of the Élysée Palace, the office of the President of the French Republic.

According to him, the president’s real budget is approximately three times the budget given for his services in the yearly national budget voted by the French Parliament, because many employees and services are provided by other ministries and public services free of charge to the presidency, and thus are counted in other budgets. As an example, the French Ministry of Defense provides republican guards and other soldiers, as well as aerial transportation; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs funds official foreign trips; and repairs, furnitures etc. to presidential offices are funded by the Ministry of Culture. Mr Dosière reports that in 2003, the total spending was 82.6 million Euros, while the official budget of the presidency was 30.5 million.

Mr Dosière started inquiring about presidential expenses about four years ago, and since then has been a critic of the opacity of accounting at the presidency. In order to obtain the necessary information, he has had to ask numerous questions to the executive and administrations.

In addition, he points out that the official budget of the presidency has boomed under Jacques Chirac’s term: between 1995 and 2005, it climbed from 5,21 millions to 26,14 millions. In 1995, the president also had at his disposal some “secret funds”, the total amount of which was voted by parliament, but which could be spent at his discretion. “Secret funds” were originally meant to fund specific missions that could not be funded within the exacting rules of public accounting, such as secret operations abroad, but they gradually also came to serve to pay various gratifications to government officials. Since 2002, secret funds have been cut and are reserved for paying for secret operations, while services that used them for normal operations were given special compensation. In 2005, the special compensation for the presidency was 5.5 million Euros.

In 2001, the French Parliament voted a law known as the LOLF (Loi d’orientation relative aux lois de finances) reforming the budget system, with a timetable for gradual implementation. This law mandates that any public spending should be traced to an identifiable “mission” of government.

Residents and business owners attend “private” meeting on Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Residents, business owners and developers attended a low profile, “private” neighborhood meeting about the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal and redesign in Buffalo, New York last night. At least 50 people from the Penhurst block, the Claremont block, the Granger block and various other locations attended. A representative from Forever Elmwood was also at the meeting. Joel Golombeck, City Councilman for the Elmwood area, was also among the attendees.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a seven million dollar proposal by Savarino Construction Services Corp. The hotel would be built on the intersection of Elmwood and Forest Aves. in Buffalo. In order for the hotel to be built, the demolition of at least five currently occupied buildings will be required.

Golombeck found out about the proposal just three weeks ago when Sam Savarino of Savarino Construction Services Corp. called Golombeck.

Golombeck said that he was asked, by the City of Buffalo to “approve” the proposal “tomorrow”, (February 28, 2006). When asked to do so Golombeck replied, “That is just not possible. I did not realize how fast tracked this plan was. My first question to Savarino was, did you talk to the neighborhood?”

Golombeck also stated that he would not approve or deny the proposal until a reasonable amount of time was given to the community to make a judgment on the new design.

Golombeck also stated that the City of Buffalo wanted Savarino to obtain both 605 Forest and 607 Forest for the proposal, but, according to Golombeck, Savarino “does not want to do that.” In order for the two buildings to be included in the development, Savarino will have to apply for a C-2 zoning permit. It is unknown if an attempt will be made to obtain those properties or make the zoning changes.

Wendy Pierce of Forever Elmwood stated that she had found out about the proposal only “two weeks ago from today.” She also stated that the original design “felt too massive.” Pierce also stated that she wanted to “speak more with the block clubs and residents” around the area.

Ms. pierce also stated that “other options” for parking will be looked into “if possible.”

The new design will have less retail space and now has at lease three conference rooms. Parking has been increased to a total of fifty-five spaces, both underground and above.

Rocco Termini, a Buffalo developer also attended the meeting still stating that the hotel would “destroy Elmwood’s urban streetscape.” Mr. Termini has proposed a second development that would not include a hotel, but increase retail shops to at least seven.

The City of Buffalo Planning Board is still scheduled to meet at 8:00a.m Tuesday. The Common Council is still expected to meet at 2:00p.m. on the same day.

Joel Golombeck is expected to attend both meetings.

Arson suspected in Namdaemun gate fire in Seoul

Monday, February 11, 2008

Around 8:50 p.m. Korean Standard Time (11:50 UTC) on Sunday, a fire broke out at Sungnyemun Gate (more commonly referred to as Namdaemun Gate), one of the most iconic South Korean landmarks, located in the center of Seoul.

Approximately 30 firetrucks and 90 firefighters were sent to the site and were able to bring the initial blaze under control by around 10:30 p.m.

However, around 10:40 p.m., the fire rekindled at the second floor of the gate, as firefighters were in the process of extinguishing embers. By 11:00 p.m. the fire had spread over to the roof of the gate. The Korean Fire Department reports that the second blaze had started as the Department was seeking permission from the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration to dismantle parts of the gate in order to stop any possible further fires from spreading.

At about 12:40 a.m. of the 11th, the second floor had collapsed, and the fire was spreading to the first floor; at 1:50 a.m. the first floor collapsed.

Officials have yet to reach a conclusion on the origin of fire, and have presented three possibilities; arson, electric faults or accidental origins.

As the interior of the second floor of the Gate is off-limits to civilians, the Korean Fire Department initially eliminated the possibility of arson, and stated that an electric short or spark from the electric lighting could have been the cause. This possibility was later discarded as a firefighter reported, after examination, that there was no electric wiring on the second floor, as Korean Cultural Heritage Administration regulations prohibit it.

Three eye-witnesses have submitted testimonies. A taxi driver has reported seeing a man in his fifties climb up the staircase carrying a shopping bag, shortly after seeing sparks. Police have stated that the driver’s testimony differs in several crucial factors from the other two witnesses.

Firefighters have reported finding two cigarette lighters on the second floor, inceasing the possibility of arson as the cause.

Police have been unable to obtain evidence from the four closed circuit televisions(CCTVs) installed around the gate.

Officials of the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration have stated that restoration will take two to three years and will cost 20 billion won, equivalent of 21 million USD.

Officials report that no sprinklers or fire alarms were installed inside the gate, and only eight fire extinguishers were placed on both the first and second floor.

Namdaemun, built during the Joseon Dynasty, is the oldest wooden structure in Seoul and was entitled ‘National Treasure No. 1’ in 1962 after restoration.

In recent years, arsons started by evangelical Christians have damaged many Buddhist temples and Korean momuments.

Turkish ship on fire off Croatia

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Croatia’s sea and transport ministry said the UND Adriyatik, a Turkish freight ship caught fire in the Adriatic Sea 13 nautical miles west of the town of Rovinj on the early morning hours of February 6, 2008. An SOS was launched at 4.04 local time. It said that the 193-metre long ship was sailing from Istanbul in Turkey to Trieste in Italy and was carrying 200 trucks and nine tons of dangerous material, in addition to between 100 and 200 tons of ship fuel, causing fears of environmental damage. An official said Croatian fire-fighting planes and ships were trying to extinguish the blaze. As the fire started inside the ship, there was no way of extinguishing it from the outside. The ship’s 22 crew members and nine passengers were rescued by the Greek ship Ikarus Palace that was sailing nearby and were on their way to Venice.

There were fears of an explosion if the fire was to reach the fuel tanks. Also, the water currents were pushing the ship towards the Croatian coast. However, reports said the fire was diminishing by the end of the day.

Management Software: A Tool For Measuring Quality

Management Software: A Tool For Measuring Quality by George PurdyIn the past 30 or 40 years, the business community has been completely changed solely because of automated operations and management. Since the advent of robust software packages a profound effect has been seen in the business world. The software revolution is responsible for the transformation in business today. In this article management software will be discussed , demonstrating it’s impact .One of the most crucial individuals in any small or large company is the manager. The first step in product production comes from the technical people who come up with wonderful toys. Afterwards, the manager needs to turn those concepts into something that can be put out in the marketplace. Managers are also in charge of materials, guaranteeing efficiency at the assembly line. Quality managers accomplish these varied tasks using the appropriate software.The right programs will assist managers in making sure that all aspects of a production plan are actually carried out. This software monitors the output of each production line, thus allowing it to identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks. Once the software has pointed out the problem areas, the managers can enact changes to alleviate the problems.The quality of produced goods can be monitored through special software packages. The popularity of the product is often determined by the quality. Management software takes inputted product tolerances and matches them to electronic measurements. Managers can then determine if manufacturing procedures are compliant. Bottlenecks can be avoided by using these types of software applications.The deciding factor that governs whether a business succeeds or fails is the people who take part in it. Managers can also make use of management software that helps them keep track of their vendors, the suppliers of their inputs, their distributors, and providers of logistics and placement, among others. From the point of view of a product manufacturer these functions might not seem important, but in fact they are also vital for business profits.There are many aspects that must be considered when a company purchases management software, making the purchasing process lengthy and complicated. Price, known bugs, frequency and availability of software updates, platform compatibility, and ease of use are just some of the factors that are in play. A company may decide to consult outside experts to determine which packages suit the company best.Over the last decades, the advent of computer software has transformed companies of all sizes. Every company now needs software, and many could benefit from management software. Managers are required to perform many difficult tasks, and good software can help to make this much easier. Special software for managers helps ensure that the production plans are actually followed in practice, and can also help monitor the quality of your products. Software can help managers coordinate vendors and keep supply lines running smoothly. Purchasing this specialized software, however, can be complicated so you should be careful before you purchase. Make sure the software is free of bugs and includes software updates.George Purdy recently published some new articles on management software. He is an established public speaker and writer on this subject matter. Looking for other great resources on management software, then the following site on management software might be interesting for you. Article Source: eArticlesOnline.com

iPad 2 goes on sale in United States

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The new version of Apple Inc.’s tablet computing device, the iPad 2, has gone on sale in the United States at Apple Stores and a number of other retailers (including Wal-Mart, Target, Sam’s Club, Best Buy, Verizon, and AT&T), a shift from last year’s launch which was only available through Apple’s stores. The product will go on sale internationally on March 25.

The device was announced on March 2 at an event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California. CEO Steve Jobs emerged from sick leave to make the announcement.

The iPad 2 has an all-new design and has several improvements over the original iPad. The device runs on a dual-core Apple A5 CPU. According to Jobs, the CPU’s new dual-core capability enhances multitasking and doubles the processing speed. Apple additionally introduced a magnetic ‘Smart Cover’ accessory that snaps to the front screen of the device along with several new apps ported from the Mac OS X operating system and the iPhone. These include iMovie, GarageBand, and Photo Booth. The new iPad introduces front and rear cameras which enable FaceTime and video. The new tablet is fifteen percent lighter and 33 percent thinner than the previous version—thinner than an iPhone 4—and has beveled edges. It is available in black and white and continues to be capable of ten hours of battery life on a single charge.

The announcement came after months of rumors about the successor to the original iPad. Competitors have designed tablets to compete with the iPad, such as Motorola’s Xoom powered by the Android operating system. Apple, who normally follows a yearly product cycle, has pressed its iPad successor into the marketplace almost a full month earlier than usual.

Tablet computers have existed for years but, until recently, have not been popular amongst consumers. Tablet sales totaled 90,000 in 2009. Apple sold nearly fifteen million iPads worldwide in 2010, generating US$2 billion in revenue within three months. In 2010, Apple held a 75% share of the tablet computer market. According to one analyst, even with competition, iPads will still make up at least 20 million of the more than 24 million tablet computers sold in the United States in 2011. An analyst predicted ‘conservatively’ that 35 million iPad 2s will be sold in 2011. One analyst credits Apple’s enormous App Store for the iPad’s continued domination. Apple also holds an advantage in price over other tablets, many of which are still first generation devices. An analyst at J.P. Morgan predicts an overabundance of tablets caused by faltering demand. This could have drastic effects on competitors.

The iPad connects to the Internet over Wi-Fi and 3G models of the new device can connect to the wireless networks of AT&T or Verizon Wireless. The iPad 2 will start at US$499—the same starting price of the original iPad. The equivalent model of the original iPad has been reduced to US$399.

Timeline of Apple touchscreen devices

UK bans export of fraudulent bomb detector; arrests director of manufacturer

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The government of the United Kingdom has banned the export of the ADE 651, which is advertised by the manufacturer, ATSC Ltd., as a hand-held “remote portable substance detector.” However, critics say it is just a “glorified dowsing rod.”

In a statement, the Department for Business said, “Tests have shown that the technology used in the ADE651 and similar devices is not suitable for bomb detection. As non-military technology it does not need an export license, and we would not normally need to monitor its sale and use abroad.”

The statement went on to say, “However, it is clearly of concern that it is being used as bomb detection equipment. As soon as it was brought to the attention of the Export Control Organisation and Lord Mandelson we acted urgently to put in place export restrictions which will come into force next week. We will be making an order, under the Export Control Act 2002, banning the export of this type of device to Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Adding, “The reason the ban is limited to these two countries is that our legal power to control these goods is based on the risk that they could cause harm to UK and other friendly forces.” The statement closed by saying, “The British Embassy Baghdad has raised our concerns about the ADE651 with the Iraqi authorities.”

Meanwhile, the Avon and Somerset Police have arrested the managing director of the manufacturer, ATSC, 53-year old Jim McCormick on suspicion of fraud. McCormick is a former police officer from Merseyside. He has been released on bail.

These two events come after an investigation by the BBC’s Newsnight program where they tested and revealed the device as a fraud.

The device, manufactured by ATSC Ltd. which operates from a former dairy in Sparkford, Somerset, contains an antenna attached to plastic hand grip which is attached to black box. It requires no battery or other power source, and is supposedly powered solely by the user’s static electricity, the manufacturer claims. It can supposedly detect minute traces of explosives, drugs, human bodies, money, and even elephants provided it has the right card.

The black box of the device is intended to read “programmed substance detection cards” that are supplied with the device. The device supposedly works on the principle of “electrostatic magnetic ion attraction”.

Newsnight brought the device to Sidney Alford, a renowned explosives expert who advises all branches of the UK military. Alford opened up the card reader of the device which was empty. Alford said, “Speaking as a professional, I would say that’s an empty plastic case.” Alford believes that the selling of the device is “absolutely immoral”. He added, “It could result in people being killed in the dozens, if not hundreds.”

They then brought the “programmed substance detection cards” to the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. The cards were examined by Dr. Markus Kuhn. When the layers of the card were peeled away, it was found that cards contained nothing but RFID security tags.

“There is nothing to program in these cards. There is no memory. There is no microcontroller. There is no way any form of information can be stored,” said Kuhn. Adding, “These are the cheapest bit of electronics that you can get that look vaguely electronic and are sufficiently flat to fit inside a card.”

The device along with several others has been previously tested by Sandia National Laboratories in the United States. The test concluded that “none have ever performed better than random chance.” The United States Department of Justice has warned law enforcement agencies against buying the device.

The device first came to light in November of 2009, by The New York Times after an increasing amount of car bomb attacks were occurring in Iraq, including the devastating bombing on October 25, 2009, that killed 155. The bombers drove through checkpoints that were equipped with the ADE 651. However, the American magician and skeptic James Randi has been skeptical of the devices since at least October 2008. He offered a $1,000,000 prize if someone could prove the device worked.

Despite what was brought to light by the Times, the Iraqi Interior Ministry stood by the device. Major General Jehad al-Jabiri, who is the head of the Ministry of the Interior’s General Directorate for Combating Explosives, said, “Whether it’s magic or scientific, what I care about is it detects bombs.”

In response to the tests by Sandia Labs and the warning from the Justice Department, “I don’t care about Sandia or the Department of Justice or any of them. I know more about this issue than the Americans do. In fact, I know more about bombs than anyone in the world,” the general said.

Even after the Newsnight program earlier this week, the Interior Minstry still stands by them, “We conducted several tests on them, and found them successful. In addition, we have a series of achievements officially documented by the Baghdad operations centre, from all the provinces, which establish that these devices detected thousands of bombs, booby-trapped houses and car bombs, and we’ve noticed a reduction of bombing activities to less than 10 per cent of what it was,” said General al-Jabiri.

Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani even chimed in saying, “The thing is, the instrument is being operated by a user. Not all those who use the instrument are fully trained, the user needs to be alert and adept at using it.” The interior ministry has spent over $85 million on the devices, which cost from $40,000 to $60,000, much higher then price given by ATSC, $16,000, despite being warned by the ministry’s inspector general, Aqeel al-Turaihi.

“There was corruption associated with this contract and we referred to this and submitted our report to the Minister of the Interior,” al-Turaihi told Reuters. He added, “We said that the company which you made a contract with is not well-regarded internationally in the field of explosives detectors, and the price is very high and not commensurate with the abilities of this device.”

Meanwhile Iraqi Members of Parliament have called the Iraq Security Forces to stop using the devices. Hussain al-Falluji, a Sunni MP, said, “I proposed to parliament the withdrawal of these machines from service, the formation of an investigative committee and that Iraq recover its money.” Others in parliament are backing his suggestion.

Iraqi citizens are also criticizing the devices. Aqeel Yousif Yaqoub, a 39 year-old man who was caught in the October 25th bombing, said, “If they were effective, how did the suicide car bomb reach this area?” Another man, a perfume salesman named Malik Farhan, noted in June 2009 that the device was attracted to his perfumes.

Farhan said, “They stop us every time. There’s nothing we can do.” Jasim Hussen, an Iraqi Police officer, said, “The vast majority of the people we stop, it’s because of their perfume.” Another officer, Hasan Ouda, added, “Most people now understand it’s what gets them searched, so they don’t use as much.” McCormick said in email, “cheaply manufactured perfumes and some cosmetics” contain trace amounts of the explosive, RDX.

Other police officers have been doubtful of the device. “I didn’t believe in this device in the first place. I was forced to use it by my superiors and I am still forced to do so,” said one police officer who spoke anonymously to the New York Times because he was not authorized to speak. Another officer blamed corruption: “Our government is to be blamed for all the thousands of innocent spirits who were lost since these devices have been used in Iraq.”

McCormick still stands by the device, saying, “I have tested it in practice and it works effectively and 100% reliably.” McCormick also talked to the The Times of London saying, “We have been dealing with doubters for ten years. One of the problems we have is that the machine does look a little primitive. We are working on a new model that has flashing lights.” However, an associate of ATSC, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of possible retaliation, said, “Everyone at ATSC knew there was nothing inside the ADE 651.”

Main Page/Sandbox4

Relief efforts continue

Over 116,000 are reported dead in the coastal areas of Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and other regions. As international aid begins to flow to the region, casualties caused by outbreaks of cholera, typhoid and related diseases, as well as by increasingly unsanitary conditions, threatens to push the death toll even higher.

‘Fockers’ set to meet another weekend title

With no new wide releases, last weekend’s films are set to rule U.S. and Canadian box office receipts once again.

Yushchenko claims victory in re-run

In Ukraine, the opposition candidate wins, and the Ukraine Elections commission rejects Prime Minister Yanukovych’s claims over election.

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