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Best Buy to Cut Workforce by 2,400 Jobs by August 1st

posted Sunday Jul 15, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Best Buy to Cut Workforce by 2,400 Jobs by August 1st

A little over a year ago, Best Buy announced they would be shrinking their store footprints and moving to smaller, Best Buy Mobile locations in order to keep costs down. Well, it appears that cutting the size of the stores has not been enough and now the workforce cuts will commence. Best Buy will be eliminating 2,400 jobs, which comes out to 1.4 percent of Best Buy's positions. It is also being reported that the reduction will happen immediately.

Inside the 2,400 people who won't be working for the blue box anymore are 600 Geek Squad employees and 1,800 other jobs in the stores, all to be cut by August 1st, which gives those who will be termed about two weeks warning before they no longer have a job with a blue polo or black tie. Best Buy will be offering severance and employment assistance to those who will be fired. This all comes as no surprise to people in the retail space, as Best Buy has been trying to fend off Amazon and Wal-Mart as their top competitors, after successfully putting Circuit City to shame no more than three years ago. Best Buy posted a $1.7 billion Q4 loss earlier this year and announced it was closing 50 stores right off the bat but we knew the job cuts were only the next step of the plan.

For more on the job cuts, follow the break.

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Hulu Brings Israeli Series to the Network, First Foreign Language Series

posted Saturday Jul 14, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Hulu Brings Israeli Series to the Network, First Foreign Language Series

Since its inception, Hulu has been known as the place for Americans to watch American programming. This is not to say there isn't foreign language programming available. In fact, Hulu has more anime available than Manga Entertainment, as well as Spanish language programming. What Hulu has never offered, however, is exclusive foreign language programming.

This week, Hulu has changed that. Their first exclusive foreign programming is the critically acclaimed Israeli drama Prisoners of War. The series, whose first episode is available now, is the highest rated Israeli television drama, and even won nine Israeli Emmy Awards. The series, which will be published in 10 parts, follows the lives of two soldiers as they try to reintegrate into modern society after being in a prison camp for 17 years. As if that is not enough, during their debriefing, their stories do not match, initiating an investigation into who they are.

The CEO of Keshet Broadcast, Avi Nir, who owns the rights to the program, said,

We are looking forward for this great opportunity to bring the unique voice of 'Prisoners of War' to a worldwide audience. We are happy and proud to partner with a market leader such as Hulu in this U.S. debut.

It is good to see Hulu expanding its lineup, especially so close to the possibility of the company going up for sale. Obviously foreign broadcasters are starting to get excited about the Hulu platform, and if they can gain more traction with foreign exclusive programming, they could solidify their place in the industry, worldwide.

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US Navy to Buy $700 Million of Hardware and Software from Microsoft

posted Saturday Jul 14, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

US Navy to Buy $700 Million of Hardware and Software from Microsoft

Have you ever wondered where our tax dollars end up going? Well, luckily for you I love to cover that kind of stuff. Just under three years ago, I wrote about the Air Force buying 2,200 PlayStation 3 consoles for the building of a supercomputer, bringing their total to 2,536 units. If you thought the $118,000 used to spend on Sony's gaming machine was a lot, you better prepare yourself for this news.

This week, the United States Navy has signed a three-year business deal with Microsoft that is worth $700 million. This licensing contract deals with both the Navy and the Marines and will consolidate the existing agreements into one big deal that will have Microsoft delivering desktop and server software to our men in uniform and will be the "first-ever department-wide Enterprise Software License Agreement." This follows a memo issued back in February that requires all departments in these branches to acquire their software through an enterprise deal. Apparently Cisco, EMC, HP, IBM and Oracle also had the ability to get in on a contract but Microsoft ended up winning the bid.

For more on the story, follow us beyond the break.

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Sony Preparing Its Third Generation PS3

posted Saturday Jul 14, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Sony Preparing Its Third Generation PS3

While Sony readies their next generation console, Orbis, it appears that they are also preparing to launch a 3rd generation of their current console, the PlayStation 3. Much like the second generation, currently available, the new model will be significantly thinner than its predecessor.

It is a little surprising that Sony would put forth the energy and resources to redesign their current generation of console when a whole new device is right around the corner. There are a couple of possibilities as to why they would be doing this. As with the launch of the PS3, the PS2 was retained as an active SKU for at least 2 years. With that precedent being set, it is possible that this redesign is to keep the existing console fresh during its final 2-3 years of life on the market. If the Orbis is going to be a slim console, not the behemoth that we have come to know the PS3 to be, then it would make sense that the PS3 would have to have a sleeker look to stand on shelves next to it.

Hit the break to find out my opinion on what else might be the circumstances behind the new console and to see what it looks like compared to its predecessors.

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Verizon Brings COWs and COLTs to Baseball Games to Improve Data Capacity

posted Saturday Jul 14, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Verizon Brings COWs and COLTs to Baseball Games to Improve Data Capacity

Take me out to the ballgame. Take me out to the crowd. Buy me a cell phone with 4G speed. COWs and COLTs are what's needed for me. Does my rendition make sense? No? Well, let me explain. Verizon Wireless is looking bring COWs and COLTs to the Major League Baseball stadiums in both Detroit and Kansas City. However clearly Verizon Wireless has no stock in anything farm-related so those terms must mean something else, like Cells On Wheels and Cells On Light Trucks. These are mobile cell towers that Verizon can actually use in emergency situations, or in this case when they think their services may be in high demand in certain areas, perhaps like CES for example. Now, Sprint and other carriers have had these truly mobile services for a while but the difference is that Verizon's COWs and COLTs are 4G LTE.

So with that, Verizon recognized that the KC and Detroit stadium attendees have been using Big Red's 4G network so much that they are now placing these mobile trucks around the venues, just in time for the MLB to get ready for it's race for the playoffs in October. This also means Verizon's network has grown so much that it can't hold up to the demand and ever increasing usage during massive events such as concerts, sporting events and conventions.

However, the animal acronyms are only the first step to Verizon's 4G future. For a look into the rest of what's in store for the company, check after the break.

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Facebook's Newest Privacy Bypass for Games

posted Saturday Jul 14, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Facebook's Newest Privacy Bypass for Games

Anyone who has ever used an app on Facebook knows the personal access screen. The first time you use any app on the platform, you are presented with the "This app needs to access your personal information" screen. Whether it be name, birthdate, friends list or anything else in your profile, it all goes through this single validation screen. While a little annoying sometimes, it is there for a reason: you don't want apps accessing your personal information when you don't expect it.

Don't get too comfortable with this policy, however, as Facebook has made agreements with companies like Zynga and EA, that will allow them to access your personal information without permission, with just the click of a "Play Now" button. The only information available through the instant play feature is your basic information (name, profile picture, birthdate, friends list) and information that you choose to provide as public. If you have made anything, like phone number and physical address, private, it will not be accessible to the app without permission.

I'm not really sure that the annoyance of a single permission dialog the first time you start a new game really warrants a special feature to bypass your personal privacy. When I access an application, I appreciate the platform letting me know what information it wants to know about me. It actually will influence my decision about whether or not to use the app; if the app is requesting information that is seemingly irrelevant to the usage, I might decide not to interact with it.

By allowing me to bypass that decision, I will be much less likely to use any Facebook apps. Hopefully, while giving people who are less interested in the usage of their information the ability to start playing immediately, they will continue to give the rest of us the ability to see what information the app or game wants to know. Are you like me, worried about who has access to your personal information, or are you excited about the ability to play now? Let us know in the comments section.

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