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Archive for January, 2010

Apple set to unveil new product

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

At 1800 GMT on Wednesday the company will hold a news conference in San Francisco to launch the new product.

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Apple rockets to most profitable quarter ever (AP)

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

AP – FILE – In this Sept. 23, 2009 file photo, a customer walks near a screen showing an iPhone at a local …

Related Quotes
Symbol Price Change

AAPL
203.07 0.00

^DJUSS
431.96 +1.06

^IXK
1,115.72 0.00

By JORDAN ROBERTSON and JESSICA MINTZ, AP Technology Writers Jordan Robertson And Jessica Mintz, Ap Technology Writers


Tue Jan 26, 12:09 am ET

SAN FRANCISCO – Apple’s holiday quarter was especially sweet this year, but Wall Street’s response was muted as investors puzzled through an accounting change and lighter-than-expected iPhone sales.

Apple Inc. posted its most profitable quarter yet in the October-through-December period after selling twice as many iPhones and 33 percent more Macintosh computers as the year before.

But the company also changed how it accounts for revenue and profit from the iPhone, making it difficult for investors to see at a glance whether Apple lived up to Wall Street’s forecast.

Shares of Apple crept up less than 1 percent in extended trading after ending the regular session Monday ahead $5.32, or 2.7 percent, at $203.07.

Apple’s shining report reflected the company’s ability to lure shoppers without deep cuts to its premium prices, despite tough economic times. The iPhone’s rollout in several major new markets, including China and South Korea, helped Apple double sales of the hot gadget to 8.7 million. Still, Shaw Wu, an analyst for Kaufman Bros., was expecting Apple to sell about 800,000 more of the popular smart phone. He attributed the lower number to possible component shortages.

Mac sales were also strong, and while the 21 million iPods Apple sold marked an 8 percent decline, analysts were expecting it. Sales of the iPod have suffered as the iPhone, which has iPod features built in, has grown in popularity.

Apple’s numbers also got a boost from an accounting change. Apple started putting iPhone revenue and profit on its books when the gadget is sold, rather than deferring those results over the presumed life of the device.

Analysts hadn’t factored the change into their estimates for the quarter. Wu said that until he goes back to re-crunch the numbers, he is basing his opinion on the number of iPhones, Macs and iPods Apple sold in the quarter, and on the nearly $6 billion increase in Apple’s cash stockpile.

“That number looked pretty solid,” Wu said.

Apple, which is based in Cupertino, said Monday it earned $3.4 billion, or $3.67 per share, in the latest quarter, which ended Dec. 26. In the same period of 2008, had the same accounting standards been in place, it would have had net income of $2.3 billion, or $2.50 per share.

Revenue was $15.7 billion, a 32 percent jump from $11.9 billion in the same period last year. Apple’s chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer, said during a conference call that half of the company’s revenue growth could be attributed to the accounting change, but Apple was silent on the change’s effects on net income.

For the current quarter, Apple said it expects earnings of $2.06 to $2.18 per share on revenue of $11.0 billion to $11.4 billion.

Analysts’ estimates for the current quarter don’t include the accounting change. On average, they had been predicting profit of $1.77 per share and revenue of $10.4 billion in the current quarter, according to Thomson Reuters.

Apple offered no clues about what it plans to unveil Wednesday in San Francisco, although analysts expect the new product to be a tablet-style computer. CEO Steve Jobs indicated that investors should expect a significant event.

“The new products we are planning to release this year are very strong, starting this week with a major new product that we’re really excited about,” Jobs said in a statement.

___

Jessica Mintz contributed from Seattle.

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Testing AMD’s Five New CPUs

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Intel’s launch of its line of Clarkdale CPUs earlier this month introduced six new processors, exclusively intended for budget and mainstream systems. Ranging in price from $113 (for the Core i3-530) to $284 (for the Core i5-670), these chips offered a lot of performance variety for reasonable prices—with the added benefit of integrated graphics capabilities built right in. So it’s not that surprising that the competition isn’t far behind: AMD announced today that it’s releasing five new desktop CPUs of its own, also spread across the lower and middle price ranges.

In terms of big surprises, there’s only one: the Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition. AMD boasts that this chip is its “fastest-ever dual-core desktop processor,” with a clock speed of 3.2 GHz and, as its name implies, an unlocked multiplier for those who want to sate a craving for overclocking. They don’t have to spend a ton of money to do it, however: The X2 555 Black Edition lists for just $99, and its TDP of 80 watts won’t be piling onto most people’s power bills.

Otherwise, the new CPUs offer a fairly typical blend of filling out and rebalancing the line. There are three Athlon II CPUs, the X2 255 ($74), the X3 440 ($84), and the X4 635 ($119); and another Phenom II, the $169 X4 910e, which has a maximum TDP of 65 watts. All the CPUs use AMD’s AM3 socket.

To accommodate the new CPUs, AMD is also renaming the quad-core Athlon II X4 620 the Athlon II X4 630, but keeping its price at $99.

The full specs for AMD’s newly released processors are as follows:

Processor Name Clock Speed # of Cores L1 Cache L2 Cache L3 Cache
Phenom II X2 55 Black Edition 3.2 GHz Two 256KB 1MB 6MB (shared)
Athlon II X4 635 2.9 GHz Four 512KB 2MB N/A
Athlon II x3 435 3.0 GHz Three 384KB 1.5MB N/A
Athlon II X2 255 3.1 GHz Two 256KB 2MB N/A
Phenom II X4 910e 2.6 GHz Four 512KB 2MB 6MB (shared)

AMD sent us test units of each of its five new CPUs to play with and compare. Our findings start on the next page.

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Canada says “no” to Yes Men website

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

When corporate pranksters The Yes Men staged a December stunt against the Canadian government’s emission proposals, the group had no idea that the resulting backlash would take down more than 4,000 unrelated websites. Whatever you think of the hoax, the saga is a reminder of the power of ISPs and Web hosting companies. If they don’t like what you’re saying and doing, there are often no consequences to shutting down or blocking sites, even when tremendous collateral damage ensues.

The scenario played out in December when The Yes Men and another group called ActionAid staged a hoax aimed at the Canadian government. They put out press releases and launched official-looking websites at domain names with more than a passing similarity to their official counterparts. All of the materials said the same thing: on the eve of the international climate change shindig in Copenhagen, Canada was committing itself to the most aggressive emissions reduction targets of any country. In addition, it was willing to pay developing countries cash to compensate them for dealing with climate change.

None of it was true. Canada went to Copenhagen with much more modest emissions targets, but soon found itself responding to the hoax and defending its own position on issues like the Alberta oil sands. The Environment Minister, Jim Prentice (yes, that Jim Prentice), soon had his staff blaming the hoax on the cofounder of an environmental group called Equiterre. Equiterre angrily denied the charges.

Soon, someone else from Environment Canada located the hoax Internet domains and sought to have them removed. He sent an e-mail to a German hosting service called Serverloft (with points of presence in Frankfurt, Germany and St. Louis, Missouri). “We trust you appreciate the importance of avoiding confusion among the public concerning Canadian governmental affairs and that you will assist us in preventing this hoax from spreading further,” said the message, which also asked Serverloft to “make every effort to prevent any further attempts concerning other environment-related domains (enviro, ec-gc, etc.) originating from your servers.”

Serverloft was obliging. Without any sort of court order, it blocked the IP address range for the entire server in question. This eliminated offending domains like “www.enviro-canada.ca,” but it also blocked everything else on the machine.

According to a notice from the server’s administrator, “Serverloft blocked the IP-range without a warrant and without calling us and thus affecting servers hosting [for] 4,500 of our customers’ websites until we ourselves discovered the problem and convinced Serverloft to unblock. Serverloft did send us an email explaining that they would not unblock the IP-range until the websites were taken offline. The e-mail was sent 5 minutes after they cut off the access to the mail server, so we only received the e-mail after the 4,500 websites were back online.”

The Denmark-based administrator went on to note that the Canadian government could have just gone to CIRA, the group that handles .ca domain names, and targeted only the particular sites in question through their DNS addresses (much as we’ve just seen the Australians do).

But the approach taken generates problems for server resellers. “As we cannot go through every single page that our customers put on their websites, we anticipate a similar situation may arise again. We have therefore asked Serverloft to revise their procedures so we at least would get a phone call before they cut our connection. They have so far refused to do so… While I appreciate Serverloft respond [sic] fast, it is no good if the collateral damage is more than 1,000 times as big.”

The hoax sites were taken down, The Yes Men crowed about their prank, and a few thousand small websites went offline for a while. If there’s a moral to all this, it would seem to be: small server resellers, check the fine print in your contract. If the server provider or ISP suddenly decides to block every IP address used by your machines, there may be little you can do but comply with their demands… and then spend the next few days apologizing to your other customers.

Further reading

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