Monday, March 24, 2014

Amazon buys stake in Yodel from Barclay brothers

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Amazon has struck a deal with the Barclay brothers, owners of the Ritz hotel and Telegraph newspaper titles, to acquire a stake in Yodel, which was recently voted Britain's worst parcel delivery service for the second year running.

More than 10% of Amazon's $75bn (£45.5bn) global revenues are thought to be made up of sales to customers in the UK, although the US group controversially books these transactions through its Luxembourg-based office.

The decision to strike a deal with Yodel appears to signal that Amazon is prepared to support Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay's loss-making business in the crowded parcel delivery market.

Yodel accounts show Amazon has been given an option to acquire 4.2% of Yodel in a deal which values the business at £207m. The option to acquire the stake for £8.7m remains open until 2022.

Amazon and Yodel declined to comment on closer commercial ties between the two firms.

Yodel, based in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, was born out of the delivery business of catalogue retailer Littlewoods, which is also part of the Barclay brothers' business empire. Following a series of acquisitions, it now ships more than 135m parcels a year, making it the second largest delivery service after recently-privatised Royal Mail.

Yodel has more than 5,000 vans and employed more than 16,000 people delivering 14m parcels during last year's Christmas rush. Its top clients include some of Britain's largest and fastest-expanding online retailers, such Tesco Direct, Boots and Argos. But the business has lost big clients in recent years, including John Lewis, Matalan and Mothercare.

Yodel has attracted criticism from some quarters for the quality of its service. In a poll of 9,000 shoppers by in January, 58% of customers who had goods delivered by Yodel rated the experience "bad". Only 22% reported a good experience.

Responding, Yodel said it had serious concerns about the validity of the poll, noting it was "open to influence by parties with a vested interest in affecting the outcome". The delivery group's own research, which Yodel said was independent and based on verified feedback, suggested the company was, in fact, ahead of competitors on customer satisfaction.

Yodel's worst Christmas, in 2011, saw the business caught out by the leap in seasonal demand. At one stage, it was failing to deliver about 15,000 parcels a day. The episode led to an online petition calling on Amazon to stop using Yodel, which was backed by thousands of disgruntled shoppers.

Since then, however, the parcel business has brought in new management under executive chairman Dick Stead, and insists it is has transformed the quality of services it offers.

Latest accounts show Yodel Distribution Holdings sales for the year to 30 June 2013 fell 19% to £439m as the business exited a lot of unprofitable business. Pretax losses were almost unchanged at £112m.

The company directors said: "The group continues to operate in a rapidly changing marketplace in which the shift in retailing channel to online shopping presents a significant opportunity, but where overcapacity ... has created a high degree of competition."

One unexplained aspect of the option granted to Amazon over Yodel shares is the implied valuation of £207m. The warrants granting the option were issued just days before a corporate reshuffle saw the Yodel business transferred between Barclay-controlled holding companies at a value of £500m. Asked why Amazon had been granted an option at such a deep discount to Yodel's fair value, a spokesman for the brothers declined to comment.

Move over Microsoft: RealNetworks has a GOOGLE problem

Evaluating the cost of a DDoS attack

Analysis "When you start a company that has good success, then you step away from it and it doesn't continue on the trajectory you would like it to be on, your pride kicks in," says RealNetworks chairman and interim chief executive Rob Glaser.

Glaser was explaining why he returned to the company in mid-2012 after a two-and-a-half year absence.

He was speaking at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where his company announced the global availability of RealPlayer Cloud, following its 2013 US launch. RealPlayer Cloud combines a cloud storage and streaming service for personal videos with client apps for PCs and mobile devices.

The users can create videos on their smartphones or tablets, upload them to the internet, and share them with friends via social networks, email or SMS messaging. Users get two gigabytes of storage free, and subscribe to get additional space. RealNetworks is using Amazon Web Services for cloud storage under the covers.

Hasn't YouTube already got this market sewn up?

"One difference is that we keep it private," says Glaser. "We don't insert ads in front of it. I really don't want to see an ad for nappies in front of the video for my dad's memorial service. It is a very moving personal document and I don't want to be perturbed with advertising. There are a set of things are different about personal video than public video. YouTube is the king of public video, we want RealPlayer Cloud to be the leader of personal video.

"RealPlayer Cloud does three things. It creates a permanent place to store videos. We automatically make four or five different file formats, different bitrates, so we have at least one version that will play on any device. The third thing is that it is easy to share out the video. We think of it as dropbox for mac for video."

I asked Glaser why RealNetworks lost its way. In its heyday, RealPlayer was everywhere, required for watching BBC videos and more. Why did it get beaten to the punch by YouTube?

People want their video to work EVERYWHERE...

The key issue, says Glaser, was the decline of standalone video players. "YouTube became a way to do embedded video largely based on industry standards. If you look at us, if you look at Microsoft, the standalone players became less important."

That said, he believes that media clients are becoming significant again in the mobile era. "Increasing numbers of consumers want their video to work anywhere. It doesn't take us back to the era of media players, but it does mean media client software adds a lot of value in the context of a cloud." RealPlayer is also still around today. "RealPlayer is used by 25 million people a month," says Glaser. "They use it to download over 100 million videos."

Fifteen years ago, Glaser fought with Microsoft for a fair market in video players. His company then sued Microsoft for $1bn in 2003, accusing the Redmond giant of using its relationship with OEMs through control over access to Windows to make them accept Windows Media Player rather than take Real Player.

Glaser was a former Microsoft executive who helped found RealNetworks as Progressive Audio in 1993 in Microsoft's hometown of Seattle, Washington. The company cooked up the Real Audio and Real Video proprietary formats needed to consume media with its various players.

"We believe our business would be substantially larger today if Microsoft were playing by the rules," Glaser said at the time.

He settled two years later in a deal worth $761m with Microsoft agreeing to promote Real's Rhapsody music service on MSN ad offer RealNetworks' games via MSN Games and Xbox Live Arcade. The agreement was unveiled at a press event and sealed in a handshake with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

That was then, and today even Microsoft is struggling - now against a new breed of threat from Apple and Google.

Is Glaser concerned about Apple or Google today making it difficult for third parties to compete?

"RealPlayer Cloud is out in the Google Play store, and in the iPhone and iPad store, so I don't have a specific concern. I do think that the amount of control those platforms have on what software is listed in their stores is an issue that the industry and government watchdogs should keep an eye on. For instance, Apple doesn't let you have any of those keyboard substitutes like Swype.

"Google has a business policy that if you want to ship one Google app which a phone, you have to ship all of them. These platforms are more open than not open, but there are things to be mindful of."

Back in the day, a common complaint about RealPlayer was that users got more than they expected, with ads and download services coming along for the ride. Is that reputation a problem today?

"I don't think so," says Glaser. "We did a brand study with RealPlayer, it had high recognition and very positive attributes. People understand that we are the people who helped bring audio and video to life. I am sure we had a few times where we were active in putting advertising up, but we moved away from that. People are willing to judge the product on its own merits."

After meeting Glaser, I put RealPlayer Cloud to the test. Sign-up is easy, but uploading videos was slow for me, half the speed of Microsoft's SkyDrive - which also offers private video sharing, as in fact does YouTube, making RealPlayer's differentiation challenging. The company is early in supporting Google's Chromecast, and the PC software (Mac is on the way) lets you stream videos stored on a local network as well as on the cloud, which works well.

However there are still signs of the RealNetworks of old. The RealPlayer Cloud offered to install the Google Toolbar by default. I clicked a link for "accelerated transfer" and got an offer for RealPlayer Plus 16. I clicked No Thanks and got another offer, this time for free software if I completed a third-party product trial.

Monetisation is hard when Google and even Microsoft give so much away to support their respective ecosystems, but these details spoil the user experience. However, Glaser says advertising is not on the table for RealPlayer Cloud. "We have no plan at all for advertising. The model is we wanted it to be free and to consumers to have comfort that there would not be inappropriate adverts put in front of their poignant personal videos."

What is it like to be back in the fray? "It's actually been a blast," says Glaser. "Everyone is very motivated to reinvent the company."

That is just as well, since it will not be easy. ®

4 reasons to outsource your DNS

Friday, March 21, 2014

DeLand Winn-Dixie employee accused of using coupons to steal $23,000

A Winn-Dixie in Volusia County was experiencing a worrisome financial trend when investigators said reports showed a plunge in profits due to excessive use of coupons -- not by coupon-cutting customers, but an employee.

Ibilola Badmus, 30, faces grand theft charges for using Price Compare to pocket $23,000 over the course of about five months.

Badmus was arrested Tuesday and booked her into the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach.

Financial reports in February alerted managers of the Winn-Dixie on North Woodland Boulevard that an unusually large number of coupon transactions had resulted in negative sales. Deputies said the store's loss prevention officers were able to trace the suspicious activity to Badmus, who had been collecting fraudulent refunds from the codes.

Managers determined Badmus had accumulated $23,000 since November, deputies said.

When loss prevention officers confronted the Sanford resident Tuesday, she admitted to the scheme and said she needed the money for her sick child's medical bills. Deputies, however, said she claimed to have only taken $10,000.

Store personnel then notified the Volusia County Sheriff's Office. When deputies interviewed Badmus, she said $3,000 of the stolen money was still in her bank account, which she had her husband withdraw and turn over to the Sheriff's Office.

Movie Review: Gang Of Ghosts

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The trouble with this gang of ghosts is that it is all on the surface, and all so dreary.

Director : Satish Kaushik
Cast: Sharman Joshi, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Anupam Kher, Mahie Gill, Asrani, Saurabh Shukla, Yashpal Sharma
IE Rating: * 1/2

A remake, even if it is official, is sometimes lost in translation. 'Bhooter Bhabhishyat' in Bangla, directed by Anik Dutta, was original and fresh. Satish Kaushik makes of it a pastiche which is neither here nor there : not ghastly, or ghostly, enough to be interred, nor good enough to be praised, just a thing that limps along.

Parambrata, reprising his role from the original as an ad filmmaker, shows up at a mansion which is a 'bhooton ka basera'. Sharman Joshi plays a writer who has a story full of ghosts, and who is dying to make a film of it. The two chat up a gaggle of ghosts-a yesteryear heroine overdoing the nasal twang, a Sikh Army man, a buck-toothed zamindar, a British overlord, a Jat rock musician, a loverlorn girl in a mini-skirt, and so on.

These 'bhoots' rub up against each other in a medley which includes all manner of heard-before film industry insider jokes, a couple of item numbers, a super-rich builder, his dead wife, and a lecture on the ills of urbanization : when greedy land-grabbers ruin peoples' dwellings, they become ghosts, and finally even they have no place left to hang up their shingles.

The trouble with this gang of ghosts is that it is all on the surface, and all so dreary. The loud decibel is used to hide the listless pace and gags : the idea of a `Spookbook' instead of `Facebook' could have gone somewhere, but Kaushik makes little of the occasional smart possibilities of the script, opting instead for tired laughs. A ghost that farts? Why not?

The stinging satirical tone of the original was its hook. This 'Bhootiyapanti', as it is called in the film, keeps looking for one.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Straight Talk Promo Codes are Now Available on SheNuts Website

March 15, 2014 --

Los Angeles, Ca (PRWEB) March 15, 2014

SheNuts, a website that offers the most current wireless promotional codes and coupons, has just added new Straight Talk promo codes that can help consumers save money on their next wireless purchase. The exclusive codes can be accessed by visiting the SheNuts website and clicking on the different offers.

For example, people who are hoping to save money on Straight Talk wireless services and products may now receive free ground shipping on any phone order from the company, as well as other savings and deals on plans and phones.

As an article on notes, Straight Talk offers a variety of some of the most popular mobile phones, along with plans that are easy on the budget, and outstanding service. These include the Samsung Galaxy SIII, the iPhone 4 with 8 GB, and the Blackberry Curve. For people who are looking to get a top quality popular mobile phone at an affordable price, Straight Talk is a one stop discount shop that will allow them to do just that.

In order to help people get access to the most current codes and coupons on Straight Talk phones, offers helpful instructions on how to use the website. First, an article on the website explained, once cell phone shoppers find the offer that they want to use, they should click on the handy link to get started. This will usually take them to a page where they can enter in the zip code of where they will typically use their mobile phone.

After verifying their zip code, people will then see a list of phones that are currently available, as well as the different features for each one. Shoppers can browse through the various offers, and then select the phone that best suits their needs and budgets. Once they click on the specific phone they want, shoppers can then choose from a variety of service plans.

The last step is the order details, where you will enter the coupon or Best Deals, the article said, adding that people should see a box that asks if they have a promo code, to enter it in the box.

Once you have entered it click the submit button and the order will update with discount applied.

About SheNuts: has been providing the latest wireless coupons and promotional codes for over 2 years. The website is updated daily, so people are sure to find the latest promo codes and coupons for the products they are looking for. For more information, please visit

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Democrats accuse Christie of trying to raise taxes

Democrats are accusing Republican Gov. Chris Christie of trying to create new taxes, for a change.

The governor's $34.4 billion state budget proposal for fiscal 2015 calls for imposing a tobacco tax on e-cigarettes for the first time and making out-of-state online retailers pay sales taxes for goods sent to New Jersey. Both items are listed among a handful of other provisions in the budget proposal released last month as ways to bring in $205 million by closing loopholes.

But Democrat Gary Schaer, the chairman of the Assembly budget committee, said the measures deserve extra scrutiny.

"If it walks like a tax and quacks like a tax, it is a new tax," he said in an interview.

Kevin Roberts, a spokesman for Christie, said the online sales tax is not new because it's already required for in-state businesses. Roberts said the administration would offer more details on the plans in coming weeks.

Christie, a possible 2016 presidential contender, has often boasted about adopting budgets without tax increases, and he has routinely blasted Democratic lawmakers for their calls to increase the income tax rate on high earners.

The e-cigarette proposal got attention at a budget hearing in Montclair last week, when some residents said it isn't right to impose a higher tax on a product that some people have used to help stop smoking. A pack of conventional cigarettes has a tax of $2.70.

The online sales tax measure has not had as much public attention.

Currently, online sales to New Jersey customers are not subject to the state's 7 percent sales tax unless the business has a physical presence in New Jersey, such as retail stores or a distribution center. Local businesses often say that structure puts them at a disadvantage.

The state did start collecting last year from the biggest online store, Deal, as part of a deal struck when the company announced in 2012 that it was building its first two warehouses in New Jersey.

The U.S. Senate last year passed a bill to mandate local sales taxes on online purchases, but the House has not voted on the measure.

Mike Proto, a spokesman for the New Jersey office of the anti-tax group Americans For Prosperity, said the national group opposes the idea and believes it raises constitutional issues over whether states can regulate businesses outside their borders. But he said his office hasn't studied the New Jersey plan in detail.

In his talks about his budget plan, Christie has focused on the state's growing contribution to the pension funds for public workers, saying changes are needed to control those costs.

The Assembly budget committee has a hearing on Christie's plan scheduled for Tuesday in Trenton.

The budget must be balanced and adopted by July 1, when it takes effect.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Holi Hungama on Electronics on Infibeam: Use Coupon codes to Avail Additional Discount on Electronics

Holi Hungama on Electronics on Infibeam: Use Coupon codes to Avail Additional Discount on Electronics

Infibeam is offering best Holi offers on electronics. Customers can get extra off on various electronic items on Infibeam using coupon codes.

Mumbai: Holi is just around the corner and most people like to buy something new on the festive occasion. Infibeam introduced Holi Hungama on Electronics offer in which additional discount is offered on various products. Customers can use the coupon codes mentioned in the site and avail additional discount on electronic items. Click here to explore.

  • Home appliances can be purchased from Infibeam using the BEATTHEHEAT coupon to avail 5% additional discount. Customers can get a maximum of Rs. 1000 discount under this. This offer is valid on cart value of Rs. 5000 and above.
  • CAM10 is the Deal Today that should be used to save an additional 10% on selected camera. maximum benefit that the customers can get on cameras that are priced below Rs. 10,000 is Rs. 999 and Flat Rs. 1000 discount is offered on all cameras that are priced above Rs. 10,000
  • Televisions will be cheaper by 5% extra on Infibeam. Customers have to use the coupon code FLASHTV5. Customers can get a maximum of Rs. 1500 discount on cart value of Rs. 20,000 and above
  • Old tablet, computer or smartphone can be exchanged with new ones on Infibeam for Rs. 5000.
  • Cashback of 10% is offered to customers with Citibank credit cards. Maximum cashback the customers can get is Rs. 2500. This is valid on both EMI and non-EMI transactions.
  • Coupon code LUCKY70NCOMP can be used to get 7% additional discount on all purchase of computers and accessories. This is valid on cart value of Rs. 10,000 and above and the maximum discount one can get is Rs. 1500
  • CARE#% coupon code can be used to avail Flat 35% discount on gadget care
  • All mobile phones are offered at best prices
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos 2 comes for up to 19% discount
  • Nokia Lumia 525 will be cheaper by 17%. This handset is available in white, yellow and black color options
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 2 N7100 in grey color will be offered for Rs. 27,990 which is 33% off on the list price
  • Nokia Asha 502 is offered for 25% discount and is available for Rs. 5,159
This entry was posted in Buy Gadgets, News, Tech on by .

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How do I redeem an iOS app promo code / download code?

App promo codes can be redeemed with iTunes on a computer. To use a Coupon Code or download code open iTunes and navigate to the iTunes Store.

The quick links section will be visible on the right side of the iTunes store window. Click redeem and enter your AppleID password if prompted.

Enter the promo code in the Code field and click the Redeem button.

Promo codes can also be redeemed on an iOS device. First open the App Store, iTunes Store or iBooks Store on your iOS device.

Scroll down to quick links at the bottom of the Featured section and tap Redeem. Sign in with your AppleID if prompted, then enter the content code.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Male Vanity Helps Drive Cosmetics Sales in China

Global Economics

Photograph by Noel Hendrickson/Getty Images

In China, job applications typically require a résumé-and a personal headshot. The emphasis Deal News personal appearance, both at work and in finding a spouse, has helped fuel China's $22 billion ( 134 billion renminbi) cosmetics industry. And today it's not only the ladies striving to look their best. Seventy-three percent of Chinese men in China's leading cities told consumer research firm Kantar Worldpanel that looking good was essential for success with both women and work.

Last year, sales in China of personal grooming products marketed specifically to men (facial cleansers, shampoos, deodorants, etc.) rose 7 percent, compared with 5 percent growth in the overall market, according to Kantar. In China's leading cities, the average man uses 2.5 facial products daily, the most of any East Asian country. Yet other product categories have been slower to catch on: Only 13 percent of Chinese men surveyed regularly use deodorant.

Sales of male-tailored skin-care lines, such as L'Oréal Men Expert, now make up just 5 percent of China's $13 billion ( 80 billion RMB) skin-care market, but analysts expect that percentage to rise rapidly as marketers increasingly target male ambitions and insecurities in China.

Three global brands-, , and Mary Kay-account for 12.5 percent of total cosmetics sales in China. While Revlon has recently announced plans to withdraw from the China market, Mary Kay is planning an expansion. The Texas-based company, famous in China for giving away pink Mercedes to its top sales staff, is now in talks to purchase a $135 million office building in downtown Shanghai, as the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

Alongside the growth in personal grooming products, more men and women in China's big cities are hitting the gym. According to IBISWorld, a business intelligence firm based in Australia, the number of commercial gyms in China quadrupled between 2004 and 2012 (to about 5,750 gyms), generating $3.69 billion in annual revenue. The fitness market is dominated by domestic companies. The top foreign brand, CSI-Bally Total Fitness, commands just 1.2 percent of the market.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Justified "Shot All to Hell" Review: Good Day for One, Bad Days for the Rest

Has there ever been a more appropriate title for an episode of Justified than "Shot All to Hell," tonight's excellent trigger-happy and body-dropping hour? I think my television is still stinking of sulfur and/or freedom from all the rounds fired and blood spilled. Justified is no stranger to excessive violence; "Shot All to Hell" reminded me of the Promo Code-personal-loss-blood-loss-136192177111/">ultra-violent "Outlaw" from last season, one of my favorites. But "Shot All to Hell" was also ultra-twisty, like a Twizzler on a rolly-coaster corkscrew, reaching inside my gullet and pulling out repeated gasps as betrayals and power shifts repeatedly terraformed the landscape of Harlan County.

Heck, two characters we were just getting comfy with died in the FIRST TWO SCENES of the episode. Paxton was on the wrong end of assisted/forced suicide thanks to Boyd, and Elias Marcos (guest star Alan Tudyk, and I might've gotten his character's name wrong) put holes through that Canadian drug dealer (guest star Will Sasso) right after that. And that would just begin the carnage. Later, Officer Mooney took a bullet before he even had a chance to order lunch at his favorite restaurant, Elias and his huge fucking gun were downed by Raylan, and Danny Crowe blew the Haitian all the way back to Haiti with a cowardly shotgun blast. Hello? That's five characters-not just redshirts-all taken out in one episode, and each one elicited a "WHOA I was not expecting that" that amplified with every murder. Leave it to Justified to kill almost a half-dozen characters thanks to its intricate and populous cast, and still have plenty left to finish off later this season.

Naturally with all that murderin' going on, some people had better days than others. High on the list of good-day-havers was Art, who, along with Raylan, captured the notorious Theo Tonin after taking out his muscle Elias. And it was suspiciously easy and almost accidental. Would Tonin be that careless to waltz back into Harlan just to have a chance to personally torture a man who ratted on him? Well, he's also the guy who screams into severed ears when he's angry, so yeah, I guess so. We're not dealing with a man who thinks rationally here. Still, pretty anticlimactic for the Kentucky Marshals to nab their most-wanted man because some grunt noticed that blood was leaking out of a crate. But also, it's about time they caught Theo. I'm conflicted here, guys! Maybe there's something bigger coming soon on the Theo front? Or is anyone crazy enough to suggest Theo got himself caught on purpose? Not me. Now Art, with eight months left 'til he's an ex-Marshal, can go out with the biggest bust of his career.

But Raylan's work isn't done, and his past transgression as a witness to the murder of Nicky Augustine came back to bite him in the ass, making his day a mixed bag. Rats in custody have been singing about a member of Kentucky law enforcement helping Sammy eliminate Nicky, and Art has raised more than a few eyebrows in Raylan's direction over the last few episodes. Knowing that his untruths were about to get truthed, Raylan made the decision to come clean, or as clean as he could ("It wasn't Barkley and I can tell you that for a fact," he semi-confessed at the end of the episode), putting Art on the clock. Does he bust Raylan for disgracing the shield and being an accessory to murder, or does he admit that Raylan's actions-while technically against the law and every oath he swore to in order to get a star-got another dirtbag off the street so no harm no foul? Art's the kind of guy who can see things both ways, and revealing that one of his own men was lawless-especially after busting Theo-would tarnish his reputation as he rides off into the sunset to chug Diet 7-Up. Isn't that so Raylan of Raylan? To shit all over Art's sundae? Good luck with your decision, Art.

But the worst day of all once again belonged to Boyd, who continues to get bent over in Season 5. Justified's writers are straight-up torturing this poor fella. And the way things went down for him in "Shot All to Hell" was particularly cruel. Boyd was on a hot streak after killing Lee Paxton, putting Darryl Crowe Jr. in his place, turning Hot Rod against Cousin Johnny, and setting up the elimination of Officer Mooney. The dominoes came crashing down all over the case against Ava, and Boyd was ready to welcome his sweetheart home after miraculously pulling all the right levers and pulleys to get the case dismissed. Nice work, Boyd!

Buuuut fate had different ideas, and Ava's cellmate set Ava up by stashing a shiv in her bunk, while the shrimpy guard from last week grabbed the sharpened contraband and stuck himself twice to frame Ava. Now Ava's got a whole new rap against her and a new cell in a mean-girls prison. We never saw who set up the set-up, but I'm guessing it was Mara, Paxton's mistress, who Boyd screwed out of the money he promised her. She wanted to get him back, and she knew that the best way to hurt him was to keep his precious Ava behind bars. Note to self: Russian mail-order brides can be ruthless. (Edit: It has come to my attention that it's also possible that shorty guard guy did this on his own because he was upset about being rejected by Ava and beaten up by that female guard. But did he seem like the guy who would do something stupid like that when he just got beat up by that lady guard? I dunno.)

And that wasn't all! Cousin Johnny cut off Boyd's plan at the pass by buying out Hot Rod's men, and they turned their guns on him. So that whole plan to re-corner the heroin market and get payback on his cousin? Pphhhhhhhhthhhh. And all that shit-talking and gun-pointing at Darryl Jr. probably only made him more upset. Boyd was so close to coming out way, way, way ahead on this one, and in a matter of minutes, he saw everything get way, way, way worse than before. If this doesn't turn Boyd into the raging maniac he's been suppressing for all these seasons, I don't know what will. (So excited!)


- Darryl was hanging up a "Hang in there!" poster with a kitten on it. Darryl just became awesome.

- Pretty cool to see Alan Tudyk on this show in a role I never thought he could pull off, and he was great. What was up with his eyes? It looked like he was jacked up on something.

- I suppose there are two other possibilities for setting up Ava. It could have been Johnny, but I don't think he would want to do anything to harm Ava. And it could have been Darryl Jr., but does he even know that Ava exists? Maybe Dewey told him? I'm sticking with Mara, because she looked awfully pissed when Boyd told her to get the F out of town without any of the $300,000 he promised her. But where would she get the money and means to set that up?

- "Shot All to Hell" was written by Chris Provenzano, who also penned last season's excellent "Decoy." Every writer on Justified's staff has crazy skills with dialogue, but Provenzano has something a little extra, and he's become my favorite scribe on the staff. He doesn't just go for knockout zingers in character exchanges, he keeps pounding away with back-and-forth body blows as conversations progress. Really, really great stuff that has its own voice while still being so very Justified.

- There were a lot of outstanding scenes in the episode, but the standoff in the diner between Art and Elias was my favorite. Tense, unpredictable, and badass. A close second? Boyd and Darryl squaring off in Boyd's bar. Fantastic chatter.

Boyd: "A small town don't run on a 24-hour news cycle. A small town never forgets."

Wendy: "Does your campaign of harassment against my family know no limits?"
Raylan: "Well I gave the boy 10 cents."

Elias: "I'm in town for the convention."

Wynn: "Does anybody mind if I order?"

Art: "I'm going to give you ten seconds to leave, and then, I'm going to shoot you."
Wynn: "FYI, that's kind of a thing with these Marshals."

Dewey: "All I'm saying is, you do a thing that you never done one day, shit changes. And you change. And things change. And everything's changing."
Whore: "Is this because I stuck my finger up your butt last night?"

Daryl: "Goddamn man that was cool as ice!"
Boyd: "I ain't gonna take your compliment after taking your insult."

Boyd: "And if I say no?"
Darryl: "Funny, I never even considered you'd say no."
Boyd: "Well, you dumbass, you might want to consider it."
Darryl: "So we're clear, you are saying no?"
Boyd: "I've been accused of being a lot of things, inarticulate ain't one of them."

Hot Rod: "You want me to move from the low-risk, high-reward weed business, into the high-risk, high-mortality trade of black tar?"

Art: "I'm gonna have a Diet 7-Up."
Picker: "I'll have one too, princess."
Art: "You can suck the can when I'm done."

Hot Rod: "Well shit."

Raylan: "Not literally, like osmosis."
FBI guy: "Oh boy, start throwing around the big words, that's my cue to go."
Raylan: "Go look it up, you mean?"
FBI: "Raylan, you're a dick."

Previously Aired Episode

Season 5 : Episode 5

Next Episode

Season 5 : Episode 6

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Savvy Shopper: 'Where's the beef?' Check out these meat deals

Coupon Code Links


Coupon Links:

Anyone who ever attended high school probably knows about the George Orwell book "1984." In case you slept through that class, this novel offers a bleak storyline where a brutal dictatorship governs society in the year 1984.

Instead of the dark age that was forecast, that year was ushered in by a Wendy's commercial featuring a harmless elderly lady shouting, "Where's the beef?" Almost immediately, America engulfed itself in a mania where even presidential candidates were repeating the catchphrase.

For those who weren't around at the time, such a fad might be hard to understand. For those who were there, it was completely impossible to grasp. I still can't wrap my mind around it. However, compared to the prison-like conditions Orwell predicted, hearing, "Where's the beef?" over and over again wasn't so bad! As a tribute to the 30th anniversary of this famous phrase, I thought I would show where the beef is by listing excellent deals on meats.

In addition to these specials, you can get a list of all the good to great offers by clicking on the provided link or coming to our Facebook page. (Click or log on to Facebook and enter "Lubbock Savvy Shopper" in the search tool.) To make things even more convenient, "like" our page to get the deals delivered right to your news feed! Don't miss out!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Review and trailer: Out Of The Furnace (15) | Movies | Showbiz & TV | Daily Star. Simply The Best 7 Days A Week

But this star-studded effort clearly has much higher aspirations. Brave director Scott Cooper seems to intent comparing his latest to The Deer Hunter.

Like that Oscar-laden classic, this is set in a decaying Pittsburgh steel town and has a returning soldier finding it hard to adapt to civilian life. If that isn't enough, at one point Christian Bale actually goes out of the furnace reviews deer hunting and bottles it when he's about it to pull the trigger.

Sadly, it's the film doesn't do too well out of the comparison. It's stylish and well acted but it is far too predictable to bother any awards panel.

After a stint in jail, Russell Baze (Bale) comes home to find his weird girlfriend (Zoe Saldana) has shacked up with the tubby local cop (Forest Whitaker). Meanwhile, his Iraq War vet brother (Casey Affleck) has gone all Christopher Walken and taken up bare-knuckle boxing.

As self-destructive sports go it's not quite as dangerous as Russian roulette. But with Woody Harrelson's violent mountain man on promoting duties it comes pretty close.

After a lot of moody shots of rusting factories, a revenge plot slowly kicks into gear pitting Bale against Harrelson. Both actors put in brilliant, film-saving performances. It's always watchable but the mix of pulpy drama and gritty realism never quite fit together.

Rating: 3/5. Out on Wednesday, January 29.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Grudge Match, review

Dir: Peter Segal; Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Alan Arkin, Kim Basinger, Kevin Hart, Jon Bernthal. 12A cert, 113 min.

As Oscar andBafta nominees jostle at the boxoffice, here is a low-fibre, high-fat alternative: The Best Exotic Marigold Punch-Up. Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone have made a comedy about two former boxers who decide, after 30 years in retirement, to settle an unpaid score.

Stallone's character, Henry 'Razor' Sharp, is a blue-collar Rocky Balboa-type, now toiling in honourable obscurity in a Pittsburgh steel mill. De Niro's Billy 'The Kid' McDonnen, meanwhile, has become round and gregarious, not unlike Jake LaMotta, and spins yarns about the old days from the stage of his downtown nightclub.

'Rocky versus Raging Bull' was surely the pitch that convinced Warner Bros. to press ahead, but Grudge Match feels less inspired by those two (very different) films than slightly struck dumb by them. Kim Basinger plays a shared love-interest, Alan Arkin a prickly trainer and Jon Bernthal an estranged son, and you can't help but suspect they're only there because, well, these are the kind of people that appear in films about boxers.

The rematch itself comes about after both men agree to lend their faces to a video game, and it is in the motion-capture studio that they meet for the first time in three decades, clad in unforgiving green leotards, their extremities marked with glowing ping-pong balls.

As the two men argue, and eventually come to blows, their digital avatars copy their movements on a giant screen in the background: it's a sharp idea, brilliantly executed, with the airbrushed past and saggy present moving perfectly in synch. In fact, it might be the only verifiably sharp idea in all of Grudge Match, which is otherwise underscored by the merry bleeping and whirring of an entire cast and crew faxing it in.

It all builds, of course, towards De Niro and Stallone actually doing battle; a spectacle which the director, Peter Segal, charitably shoots either at a distance or in tight close-up. Something about it reminds you of the sequence from the original Rocky film in which Stallone spars with a side of beef, except with Stallone replaced by a second side of beef, and the first side of beef fighting back. There's something intensely creepy about it, a sinewy weirdness straight out of On Sales.html">Jan Švankmajer, and I was thankful when it was over - as were the film's insurers, no doubt.

IN PICTURES: Robert De Niro's greatest roles

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

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10 things Taiwan does better than anywhere else

(CNN) -- Editor's note: This story is part of a series highlighting superlatives of countries around the world. Click here for pieces on , the United States, and South Korea, and watch for upcoming installments featuring other countries.

With 23 million people crammed onto an island that covers just more than 36,000 square kilometers, Taiwan ranks among the 20 most densely populated places in the world.

Although the industrious island has built a global reputation for cheap electronics, this is one Asian tiger that offers far more than stickers on the backs of calculators.

Economically there's little it has left to prove, but Taiwanese people remain a proud and determined bunch.

Here are 10 things they do better than anyone else.

For an island smaller in area than Switzerland, Taiwan sure has a lot of night markets -- an estimated 300 island-wide.

These open-air bazaars are particularly loved for street food, referred to locally as xiao-chi, literally "small eats."

Perennial favorites are oyster omelets, stinky tofu and an assortment of snacks on a stick straight off the grill.

Specialty drinks range from bubble tea to shots of snake blood.

According to the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, some 70% of tourists to Taiwan will visit a night market.

The top three Facebook check-ins for 2013 in Taiwan were all night markets; Tainan Flower Night Market (12th globally) nabbed the top spot, followed by Luodong and Feng Chia night markets in Yilan and Taichung, respectively.

MORE: The 10 best dishes from Taiwan's night markets

If literal toilet humor (eating out of miniature urinals and toilet bowls) is your idea of an amuse bouche, Taiwan provides a belly full of laughs.

Modern Toilet restaurants address taboos pertaining to dining etiquette, posing witty rhetoric on websites such as: "To eat or to pee? Now that is the question."

At the other extreme, you can get a cutesy overdose at a Hello Kitty namesake cafe, where everything from burger buns to soup bowls is shaped like the mouthless cartoon cat. (For more on the kitty obsession, read point 9 below.)

What's that? Can't get enough pink and glitter?

That's OK, because Taiwan is home to the world's first Barbie-themed restaurant, with Mattel-approved smotherings of pink plastic and frilly tutus.

Previous themed restaurants in Taiwan have included a cafe based on an Airbus A380, complete with trolly dollies serving food and drinks from a cart, as well as restaurants with jail, hospital and school-inspired themes.

Since 2011, Taiwanese citizens have been able to log onto iTaiwan, the island's free WiFi network.

Taiwan is one of the first places in the world to offer free WiFi on a mass scale.

In June 2013, the service was rolled out to tourists in four of the five largest cities, using more than 4,400 hotspots.

Visitors can sign up for an iTaiwan account with their passport at Taiwan Tourism Bureau centers and offices in transportation stations, then receive complimentary WiFi in Taipei, New Taipei, Taichung and Tainan.

More: Taiwan offers free WiFi to all foreign tourists

You might think it'd be in Beijing or Shanghai, but the National Palace Museum in Taipei houses the largest collection of Chinese artifacts and artwork in the world.

The impressive permanent collection comprises more than 650,000 items.

Chinese history is told through bronze statues, jade carvings, calligraphy, lacquerware and other historical pieces -- many of which belonged to Chinese imperial families -- including an intriguingly life-like, meat-shaped stone and a jadeite cabbage.

Despite several rounds of building expansion, only a fraction of the collection is on display (no more than 10,000 items at any one time), making the museum worth returning to several times a year.

MORE: 5 Taipei hotels with megabucks art collections 5. chinese lunar new year cards news

With an army of about 400 animators, Next Media Animation (NMA), a Taiwan-based animation studio, can turn any news story into a cartoon in as fast as 90 minutes ('making-of' video here).

More impressively -- the videos are usually satirical, outrageous and hilarious.

The studio, created by a Hong Kong media tycoon, takes infotainment to another level.

Founded in 2007 to create CGI-animated videos for news without real footage for Apple Daily News in Hong Kong and Taiwan, the talents of Taiwan's animators were exposed to the world with the 2009 release of their hilarious video of what might have happened during Tiger Woods' infamous car crash.

In the video, now ex-wife Elin Nordegren chases Tiger Woods' car with a golf club after finding out about Woods' affair.

After the video went viral, the company decided to service international audiences in Japanese and English.

Some of the team's most popular recent works include a video about the execution of Kim Jong-un's uncle and a review of five stories that must die in 2014.

One of the world's most vegetarian-friendly destinations, Taiwan offers 6,000 or so restaurants serving an impressive variety of delicious vegetarian fare to feed the 10% of the country that shuns meat.

But while it can't beat India in terms of the abundance and variety of vegetarian dishes on offer, Taiwan is the best place to hit when you're craving meat but don't actually want to eat any. That's right, we're talking about mock meat.

Given how important flesh is to the traditional Chinese diet, it's no surprise Taiwan's fake meat -- usually made of soy protein or wheat gluten -- can fool even hardcore carnivores.

Yes, there have been scandals that revealed actual meat inside supposed mock meat dishes. But it's is a thriving industry here and is considered a staple across Taiwan.

Mock meat stir-fries in particular taste surprisingly like the real thing.

MORE: 40 Taiwanese foods we can't live without

Baseball may be Taiwan's most popular sport -- diamonds are almost as common as dumplings around the island.

Taiwan holds the record for the most Little League World Series championship titles (17), nearly double that of its closest runner-up, Japan.

Adding to a cabinet of trophies, a team from Taiwan won the 2013 Junior League Baseball Junior World Series.

In a year when the Obamacare debacle played out in global headlines, it's worth to noting that Taiwan has what many call the best universal healthcare system in the world.

Legal residents can visit any specialist in the country.

Docs anywhere will pull up their entire medical record via smart card, consult and prescribe Chinese medicine and/or prescription drugs.

Fees are billed directly to and reimbursed by the National Health Insurance Administration, whose 2% administrative costs are the lowest in the world.

MORE: CNNGo in Kaohsiung: Taiwan's largest port and coolest art 9. Hello Kitty obsession

Taiwan's obsession with the Japanese-born Sanrio character doesn't stop at feline-themed restaurants.

Taiwan holds the distinction of being the first in the world to be honored with Hello Kitty-branded beer.

Brewed by Taiwan Tsing Beer, the drink purred its way onto the shelves earlier this year.

The light brew features fruity flavors, from lime to a distinctly avant garde banana infusion.

Eva Airways in 2013 made headlines with the resurrection of its themed planes, which feature the ubiquitous cat on everything from exterior liveries to headrest covers to fruit, which is cut in the shape of you know what.

Eva Airways' dedicated Hello Kitty Jets site offers horizon-expanding trivia, including Hello Kitty's height (five apples tall) and weight (three apples).

The Grand Hi-Lai Hotel in Kaohsiung offers Hello Kitty-themed rooms, the cat's iconic ribbon and/or silhouette stamped on everything within eye(sore)'s reach.

Pink kitty curtains, kitty bath amenities, kitty tea set and a radio that plays Hello Kitty music are all involved.

MORE: At last: World's first Hello Kitty Beauty Spa

Not reaching for the insulin shot yet? Then you can book a breakfast date with a talking and moving "live" Hello Kitty.

Yes, we recognize xiaolongbao as a delicacy homegrown in Shanghai, but Taiwan is slowly taking over the dumpling world, one broth-filled bite at a time.

Starting from a single shop in Taipei, Din Tai Fung now serves its famed xiaolongbao in destinations as far flung as Australia, Thailand and the United States.

Two of its Hong Kong branches have earned a coveted Michelin star, with the mothership Xinyi store in Taipei sneaking into the Miele Guide.

Not bad for a chain restaurant, and not a "fancy" one at that.

When Tom Cruise visited Taiwan in 2013, he joined in on the 18-pleats-per-dumpling action with a cooking class at the shop's Taipei 101 branch.

MORE: Golden chains: 20 best franchises for travelers

Even better? CNN put Din Tai Fung at number two on its list of best franchises for travelers.

With additional reporting by Hiufu Wong

Monday, January 20, 2014

Daily Deals for January 20, 2013

<Super Salep>It's time to save some of that hard-earned cash with our Daily Deals, featuring exclusive TUAW Deals, a handy list from Dealnews and our own handpicked iOS and OS X selections.

TUAW's Daily Deals

The iLoud Bluetooth Speaker [On sale for $239, down from $299]

For the musician on the go, in the studio or on the stage, the iLoud speaker is designed to meet all your mobile sound needs.

iLoud is the first portable Bluetooth speaker designed with musicians and audiophiles in mind. It allows you to reproduce your music -- in every possible mobile situation -- as accurately as you would in the comfort of your studio. Plus, it offers a quarter-inch microphone/guitar input for use with iOS music-creation apps, so you can record, edit and perform all on-the-go.

Pumped with 40 Watts of sonic power, iLoud sounds two to three times louder than comparable-sized speakers. Together with its high-power output, iLoud also delivers hi-fi sound thanks to its time-aligned two-way system, precision custom neodymium loudspeakers, tuned bass-reflex non-resonant enclosure and a high-end 24-bit DSP using IK Multimedia's proprietary processing algorithm to perfectly match the woofers with the tweeters.

What does all that mean? That it provides a richer, more powerful sound for any type of music style from rock to hip-hop to electronic music that can't be found in any other portable speakers in its category.

Save 20% on the iLoud Bluetooth Speaker at TUAW Deals.

Deals from Dealnews

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iOS Software Discounts

OS X Software Discounts

Note: All prices are USD and subject to change. Some deals may expire quickly. TUAW is not responsible for third-party deals and cannot guarantee availability or quality of any particular product at a specific price.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Around Where Does Nelson Cruz Start To Make Sense?

Here's a thing about Nelson Cruz: nobody really wants him. Mariners fans have been afraid of the Cruz possibility from the beginning of the offseason, and the rumors haven't gone away, with Ken Rosenthal chiming in Friday. Nevermind the performance-enhancing drug suspension; Cruz, simply, is overrated by people paid to talk about the game. He turns 34 years old in July and he doesn't really walk or play defense. People have been terrified that the Mariners would give Cruz the massive contract he entered the offseason looking for.

Here's another thing about Nelson Cruz: nobody really wants him. It's the middle of January and Cruz remains a free agent, and he's a free agent without a strong market. The best fit, at this point, is probably Baltimore, but Baltimore hasn't done anything. Seattle's the only other fit, and they haven't done anything. The Phillies looked obvious from the get-go, but they instead went with Marlon Byrd. Maybe, in the past, Cruz would've secured a major payday, but teams are smarter now, and one of the first things smart baseball people learn is that players like Cruz are overrated.

Used to be people talked about five years and $75 million, like Cruz was going to get it from somebody. That would make for a certain disaster. That's what turned people off from Cruz in the first place, as they wanted to avoid stepping on a landmine. But in reality, the choice isn't Nelson Cruz for five years, or something else. Cruz will have to play for his best offer, and his best offer is going to be quite a bit lower than the nightmare offer we imagined in November.

Certain players, you don't want under any circumstances, because they don't make sense under any circumstances. Yuniesky Betancourt, for one. Yuni sucks, and he's not getting better, and if you're in a position where you're considering a job for Yuniesky Betancourt, you'd be better off giving it to somebody younger. I wouldn't want the Mariners to sign Betancourt for the league minimum. Other players, you don't want at high salaries, but you can tolerate for something more reasonable. Any player who makes a positive contribution makes sense at some kind of deal, and Nelson Cruz isn't a replacement-level outfielder. He's just overrated and aging.

So as much as we've all been afraid of Cruz, we've really been afraid of an expensive Cruz. There is a point at which the Mariners could be sensible in signing Cruz to a deal. Even with the lost draft pick. The thing to consider isn't the player, but the value of the player relative to his contract. Cruz could sign a reasonable contract. And look at the Mariners' outfield right now. I like Michael Saunders, but he isn't a star. Dustin Ackley might be charitably referred to as "developing". Franklin Gutierrez spends half his take-home on bubble wrap. Logan Morrison hasn't actually been good for years. Corey Hart's neat, but after surgeries he might be a DH. Abe Almonte is interesting, but unproven and in possession of options. The Mariners have one of the worse projected outfields in the major leagues.

So Cruz could actually be an improvement. Maybe that means you put him in left and you make Hart the regular DH, and Morrison's around to give breaks to Hart and Justin Smoak. And Cruz, too, for when he's day-to-day. I don't know, I'm not worried about the alignment right now. Cruz would probably make the Mariners better. So what would it be worth paying him, in exchange for his making the Mariners better?

The last three years, by FanGraphs, Cruz has been worth about 3.9 WAR. Baseball-Reference says 3.7. Steamer projects Cruz to be worth 1.6 in the coming season. Let's just call it an easy 1.5. That's worth about $9 million, flat.

Maybe you bump it to $10 million, given how close the Mariners are to being competitive. Now, there's the matter of the draft pick. Let's assume Kendrys Morales does sign somewhere else before June. In that case, the Mariners lose that compensation pick for signing robinson cano agent Cano, and then they'd lose a second-rounder for signing Cruz. The slot value of the pick last year was about $1.2 million. Let's value that pick at, say, $2 million. That pick could turn into a pretty good prospect. Subtract $2 million from $10 million and you have Cruz making sense at a year and $8 million.

But Cruz would probably like more security. Give him two years. Bump him down to roughly 1 WAR in 2015, because he is getting older, and if his skills don't decline, he might still become more fragile. There's, say, $6.5 million of value for a year from now. So we're up to $14.5 million over two years.

Maybe Cruz wants three? You give him 0.5 WAR in the last year, and that'd be worth something in the neighborhood of $3.5 million. Which would take you up to $18 million over three years. John Buck, as it happens, is coming off a three-year deal worth $18 million. He signed when he was 30, and he'd been worth three or four wins over the previous three years. This offseason, Carlos Ruiz signed for three and $26 million. Scott Feldman signed for three and $30 million. Phil Hughes signed for three and $24 million. James Loney and Jarrod Saltalamacchia signed for three and $21 million. Javier Lopez, Boone Logan, and Joe Smith earned three-year contracts as relievers somehow. Cruz might not love the idea of $18 million over three years, or about $15 million over two, but he isn't really the guy with the leverage here. He doesn't have a market, and while he'd fit with the Orioles, the Orioles might prefer Morales, who also doesn't have a market.

So all that - that would be reasonable. Cruz would make sense around:

  • one year, $8 million
  • two years, $14.5 million
  • three years, $18 million

And these are estimates, so while three years and $20 million would be more than three years and $18 million, that still wouldn't be terrible. Things start getting messy around three years and $30 million, and you definitely want to avoid a fourth guaranteed year, but even $30 million wouldn't be a catastrophe, relative to what we expected a few months ago. That might be overpaying by about $4 million a year, but that's a somewhat small fraction of the budget. Overpaying is seldom a good idea, but there are shades, there are degrees, and Cruz could be an awful lot more overpaid. We thought he would be. It's not the end of the world to be a little bit off.

Look - gun to my head, I think Abe Almonte might actually be better than Nelson Cruz right now, given their respective overall packages. If that were true, then signing Cruz would be almost a complete waste. But Almonte could be put in Tacoma, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with having depth. Depth allows you to re-visit things down the line. I'd love for Almonte to be good - I'd love for all the players to be good - but Almonte doesn't need to be on the Opening Day roster. He's not going to start to suck a lot if he isn't in Seattle in April.

I don't think I'm ever going to love the idea of the Mariners signing Nelson Cruz. It's hard to love the idea of a team signing anyone who doesn't even project to be overall league-average. The last three years, Cruz has been about as valuable as Joe Saunders, and nobody really wants him back. But Cruz could probably improve this team, and this team could absolutely use some improvements. So there's a price at which Cruz would actually, really, genuinely make sense. With that in mind, I'm not totally opposed to the Mariners going the predictable route. I'm just opposed to them paying too high a toll.

This post came from: U.S.S. Mariner, and is copyright by the authors. This RSS feed is intended for the personal use of readers and not, for instance, spam blogs.

Around Where Does Nelson Cruz Start To Make Sense?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Here's the Cool Graph Reddit Fans Should Show Haters Who Still Claim It's Not a Legit News Site

Known as the "front page of the Internet," reddit">Reddit is one of the most interesting websites around. As everything from a news aggregator to collection of discussion forums to a launch pad for anything viral, it's a vast website that does its best to condense everything around the Internet into one fairly digestible place. But it hasn't always been so easy to use or so popular.

A new graph created by Michigan State University PhD student Randy Olson shows how Reddit and its network of subreddits have evolved over the past few years.

In his research, Olsen tracked the evolution of the site since its inception in 2005 and saw that while the primary user base has been "horny programmers" for much of the time, the development of topic-specific "subreddits" have made Reddit and much more inclusive community with a vast array of users talking about many different topics. Although Olsen developed several interesting graphs to track this (as well as this very cool interactive map), the most reveling one shows how the site's 24 most popular subreddits have developed over the past few years.

As you can see from the graph, 2008 was the year when Reddit really started to take off by allowing users to create their own subreddits, making it even more possible for users to make the community their own. This quickly prompted the creation of subreddits such as r/pics, r/WTF and r/funny, as well as a variety of subreddits dedicated to pictures and videos (which has always been Reddit's bread and butter).

Despite the bad jokes, Reddit always has been somewhat of a haven for horny programmers (subreddits like r/gaming and r/gonewild (NSFW) have always been among the most popular), but as Olsen's graph demonstrates, it has become an increasingly diverse and open place for just about anything.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Buying Discount Baby Formula? Another Win for Perrigo!

<On Salesp>Swapping out branded products for store brands is a trend that's picked up steam since the Great Recession. However, eager-to-please parents have been less willing to make the shift to generic baby formula -- until now.

In yet another win for private-label giant Perrigo Company ( ) , high-profile recalls for well-known brands including Abbott Laboratories' ( ) Similac and Mead Johnson Nutrition Company's ( ) Enfamil have shifted more and more parents to store brands.

Recalling the past
Abbott and Johnson haven't done their marketing teams any favors in the past few years. Following the death of an infant in 2011, the media circled around Mead Johnson as retailers including Wal-Mart voluntarily pulled Enfamil from shelves. The media frenzy surrounding that story was one reason Mead saw its North American sales fall 12% year over year in the first quarter of 2012.

Abbott took a similar hit when it voluntarily recalled Similac in 2010. That caused Abbott's U.S. pediatric nutritionals business to sag 7% in 2010.

Couple those two high-profile fumbles with tightening post-recession purse strings, and the share of private-label formula is climbing steadily, improving from 11.2% to 12% over the past year.

Profiting from private labels
Of course, Perrigo is no stranger to taking market share from branded counterparts. The company has a long history of winning retail shelf space by offering cheaper versions of over-the-counter, or OTC, drugs such as cough syrup and painkillers.

Industrywide sales of private-label OTCs have grown to represent 35% of all OTC sales being collected across retail, and that share growth has increased Perrigo's revenue from those store-branded alternatives to $933 million in the first fiscal quarter of 2014. That was 21% higher than the same period a year ago.

And Perrigo believes there's plenty of running room left for growth, given that it launched 60 products in fiscal 2013 worth $130 million in annual sales and plans to launch 75 products in fiscal 2014 worth $190 million in annual sales.

Perrigo also thinks there's $10 billion in branded sales that could move to OTC over the next five years, and potentially a larger opportunity if drugs currently sold behind the counter, such as statins for lowering cholesterol, move out front.

Bulking up on formula
Sales of private-label baby formula fall under Perrigo's nutritional segment sales, and that business has been growing nicely.

Perrigo generated sales of just $171 million from the segment back in 2008. But the company racked up sales of more than $500 million in 2013.

The broader infant-formula category grew 2.7% in the year ending in September. Meanwhile, sales of private-label formula grew 7.7%. That helped lift Perrigo's nutritional segment sales 25% year over year to $129 million in the fiscal first quarter. The segment's operating margin also improved, increasing by nearly 1% to 11.7% in the quarter from the year prior.

Perrigo thinks it can grow that business even more thanks to larger, bulk containers and packaging that more closely resembles the branded version. Perrigo is also looking to increase sales by boosting its presence in overseas markets, such as China.

Going global
The push into overseas markets isn't limited to baby formula. The company just completed its merger with Ireland-based Elan in December.

As part of that deal, Perrigo lands a nice recurring royalty stream from the blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri, which Elan co-marketed with NASDAQ: Biogen ( BIIB ) . Sales of Tysabri have grown by a compounded 19% over the past four years.

Biogen bought out the remaining rights it didn't own from Elan back in February 2013 for $3.2 billion. But Biogen remains on the hook for royalties that will hit 18% of Tysabri sales up to $2 billion and 25% of sales above $2 billion. Tysabri had sales of $1.6 billion in 2012 and $401 million in the third quarter, and a phase 3 trial for expanding the drug to include secondary progressive MS remains under way.

That deal not only gives Perrigo the Tysabri royalty stream,but also provides shareholder-friendly tax relief.

Perrigo forecasts the shift of its corporate tax structure out of the U.S. to Ireland will drop its tax rate from the mid 30% range to the high teens. Combined with operational overlap, the merger is expected to save the company $150 million a year.

Fool-worthy final thoughts
Across Perrigo's many businesses, the company expects fiscal 2014 sales to climb 12% to16% in fiscal 2014. It's also forecasting 23% to 25% operating margin and 13% to 18% EPS growth. Sales of nutritionals, including infant formula, will grow 8% to 12% this year. If that plays out as hoped, the company will generate $6.35 to $6.60 per share in earnings. That projection has analysts modeling for $8.01 in earnings per share in fiscal 2015, suggesting Perrigo will have plenty of profits to reward shareholders going forward.

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Medical examiner identifies man found dead in snow on Cleveland's East Side

CLEVELAND - The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner has identified the man who was found face down in the snow on Cleveland's East Side Saturday.

The man on Sunday was identified as 43-year-old Brian sears parts.

Sears was found near the 10400 block of Meech Avenue Saturday morning. His cause and manner death have not been released.

Cleveland police are investigating his death. Police have said Sears was found to have head injuries. The homicide unit was called to the scene where Sears was located.

Police said Sears was first spotted around 8:30 a.m. Saturday by a security guard for a nearby auto parts company.

Meech Avenue is off of East 93rd Street.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Intel's Haswell NUC: D54250WYK UCFF PC Review

<Deal Of The Daya href="">G1.Sniper Mid-Range Expansion: GIGABYTE Launch Z5S and Z5Battlefield 4 Mantle Update Delayed Until JanuaryAnandTech Google Hangouts Live with ARM's Peter Greenhalgh