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When A Blogger Meets Public Relations 193

fermion writes "The New York Times is running a story on the evolving relationship between PR departments and bloggers, specifically between the Wal*Mart PR people and sympathetic bloggers. The interesting thing in this story is not so much the astroturfing, which is old news, but the transformation of blogging from a personal statement to a corporate bullhorn. The bloggers mentioned in the story, who presumably are able to articulate their own opinions, received Wal*Mart email and began to simply copy the PR text into the blogs. What is the use of a blog if bloggers are just going to copy sentences and sentiments from the puppetmaster's email?"

George Lucas Predicts Death of Big Budget Movies 561

H_Fisher writes "Before the red carpet had cooled at last night's Academy Awards, George Lucas told the New York Daily News that big-budget movies will soon be history. From the article: "'The market forces that exist today make it unrealistic to spend $200 million on a movie,' said Lucas, a near-billionaire from his feverishly franchised outer-space epics. 'Those movies can't make their money back anymore. Look at what happened with King Kong.'" Lucas' prediction: "In the future, almost everything that gets shown in theaters will be indie movies ... I predict that by 2025 the average movie will cost only $15 million.""

Alien Rain Over India 241

tintinaujapon writes "The Observer is reporting that scientists may have found the first evidence of panspermia, the idea promoted by Hoyle (among others) that life on earth was seeded from space, in samples of a strange rain which fell over India for two months in 2001. To quote the article: "There is a small bottle containing a red fluid on a shelf in Sheffield University's microbiology laboratory. The liquid looks cloudy and uninteresting. Yet, if one group of scientists is correct, the phial contains the first samples of extraterrestrial life isolated by researchers."" This is a continuation of a story two months back or so.

Building Online Stores with osCommerce 146

Stephanie Brain writes "Have you ever considered building your own online store and entering into the booming e-commerce arena? If you have, you may have come across some of the many open-source software available for downloading from the Internet. One of the most popular of these is OsCommerce which has been developed since March 2000 and has a full team of staff dedicated to its development. It is overseen by the founder, Harald Ponce de Leon and today there are around 6000 live, registered OsCommerce sites and 70000 registered community members, many of whom are active on the OSC forum you can log on to. This forum can provide a wealth of information when you come up against any obstacle when developing your own OsCommerce website." Read the rest of Stephanie's review.

U.S. Investigating Online Music Pricing 213

An anonymous reader writes "Times Online has a story about the U.S. Federal Government investigating whether the music labels are fixing prices for online music sales. 'The antitrust division is looking at the possibility of anti-competitive practices in the music download industry ... Mr Jobs suggested such a move would drive owners of Apple's iPod, the hugely popular digital music player, to piracy, a problem that has cost the music industry billions in revenues in recent years.'"

Testing Cell Phone Radiation on Humans 159

Palm Addict writes "News.com reports that Finland's radiation watchdog is to study the effects of mobile phones on human proteins by direct tests on people's skin. From the article: 'A pilot study, to be conducted next week, will expose a small area of skin on volunteers' arms to cell phone radiation for the duration of a long phone call, or for one hour, research professor Dariusz Leszczynski said on Friday.'"

Pen-Based PDA Market on Death Bed 281

An anonymous reader writes "The traditional pen-based PDA market is destined to evaporate within the next four years, according to HP, and it will be focusing its handheld efforts on converged smart phone devices, such as its latest BlackBerry rivals unveiled this week -- the iPAQ rw6800 and the iPAQ hw6900." From the article: "This won't come as a surprise to many, as HP hasn't given its traditional pen-based product line a refresh since the launch of the iPAQ hx4700 towards the middle of 2004. It released the iPAQ rx1950 in September of last year, but this was very much an entry-level product and made few waves among the high-end, tech-savvy consumers that dominate the PDA segment."

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