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Fisker Hybrids Get Bad Karma From Superstorm Sandy 414

New submitter slas6654 writes with this excerpt from Jalopnik: "Approximately 16 of the $100,000+ Fisker Karma extended-range luxury hybrids were parked in Port Newark, New Jersey last night when water from Hurricane Sandy's storm surge apparently breached the port and submerged the vehicles. As Jalopnik has exclusively learned, the cars then caught fire and burned to the ground.' Apparently Fiskar super-duty lithium ion batteries are neither water-proof or water soluble."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Best Buy cuts 650 Geek Squad techies (

tripleevenfall writes: Best Buy has cut approximately 650 jobs from its Geek Squad division, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The cut represents about 4% of Geek Squad's total work force. The former consumer electronics giant said the workers primarily service televisions and appliances in consumers' homes.

Best Buy's performance has struggled to keep up with changes in consumer electronics, as the weight of its big-box format inhibits it from fending off competitive pressure of online retailers.


Windows 8 Won't Play DVDs Unless You Pay For the Media Center Pack 734

An anonymous reader writes "You may already know that Microsoft plans to sell Windows Media Center as a separate, paid pack, but now the company has revealed that Windows 8 will also stop default support for DVD playback. You'll only be able to play DVDs and Blu-rays if you upgrade to the Media Center pack. 'Acquiring either the Windows 8 Media Center Pack or the Windows 8 Pro Pack gives you Media Center, including DVD playback (in Media Center, not in Media Player), broadcast TV recording and playback (DBV-T/S, ISDB-S/T, DMBH, and ATSC), and VOB file playback. Pricing for these Packs, as well as retail versions of Windows 8, will be announced closer to the release date. To give you some indication of Media Center Pack pricing, it will be in line with marginal costs.'" In a comment, Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky elaborates: "(marginal is small, honest, and we just haven't determined the final prices yet based on ongoing work but we are aiming for single digit dollars but we don't control the truly marginal costs). We wanted to include Media Player for everyone without everyone incurring the cost even if they don't even have an optical drive."

Submission + - AT&T raises data plan rates (

tripleevenfall writes: AT&T on Wednesday announced new data plans and rate charges that will become effective on January 22nd. Customers currently under contract will be grandfathered in, but new customers will have to the select a data plan from the new options.

Smartphone users will have three new plans available: $20 per month for 300MB, $30 per month for 3GB, and $50 per month for 5GB. The $50 plan includes mobile hotspot/tethering. Tablet users will choose between $30 per month for 3GB or $50 per month for 5GB.

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Web usage-based billing on its way ( 1

tripleevenfall writes: The days of watching movies on the cheap via the Web may soon be over. Time Warner Cable and U.S. pay-TV companies are on the verge of instituting new fees on Web-access customers who use the most data. Cable's best option is to find ways to profit from the online shift, said Moffett. If the companies were to lose all of their video customers, the revenue decline would be more than offset by a lower programming fees and set-top box spending.

"In the end, it will be the best thing that ever happened to the cable industry," Moffett said.


Climate Change Skeptic Results Released Today 776

Irishman writes "A leading climate change skeptic, Richard Muller, will release results today showing that global warming is indeed happening. He has shown that two items skeptics look to, urban heat islands and unreliable weather stations, do not skew the data. The amazing part is that this research is funded by the Koch brothers, two investors who fund climate change skeptics whenever possible."

Submission + - Netflix loses 1 million subscribers (

tripleevenfall writes: Netflix cut its domestic subscriber forecast Thursday by 1 million users, indicating it no longer expects its U.S. customer base to grow during the current quarter after a pricing change angered many members.

"The Netflix model is a delicate balance between keeping the price right for the consumer and providing them enough content," Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said. "Suddenly, the value proposition isn't that great. The consumer gets less for a higher price."


Submission + - Two fake Apple stores closed in China (

tripleevenfall writes: Updating last week's story on fake Apple stores springing up all over China, it appears the China does not want its lucrative relationship with Apple jeopardized after all. Some of the stores have come under investigation by authorities in the city of Kunming, and two of the stores have been ordered to close for lack of the proper business licenses.

Star Wars Books Released As Ebooks 70

An anonymous reader writes "Tomorrow all of the Star Wars books that have not previously been released as ebooks are being released. This includes the Zahn books that started the Star Wars book explosion, as well as older books such as Alan Dean Foster's Splinter of the Mind's Eye, which was written prior to certain revelations in The Empire Strikes Back."

Unlocked iPhones in US For $649 334

Endoflow2010 writes "Apple on Tuesday started selling an unlocked version of its iPhone 4, starting at $649. A 16GB unlocked iPhone 4 will set you back $649, while a 32GB version is selling for $749. Both are available in black or white; the black will ship within one to three business days, while the white is available in three to five days, according to the Apple Web site. The benefit of an unlocked phone is that you are not locked into a two-year contract with a particular provider. But it also means that you don't get the subsidized pricing provided by someone like AT&T or Verizon. The same phones with a contract cost $199 and $299."

Submission + - Apple profit passes Microsoft's for the first time (

tripleevenfall writes: Apple edged out Microsoft by a cool $700 million in profits for the quarter ending March 31. While Apple had previously surpassed Microsoft in market cap and revenue in a quarter, but never before in profit.

The days when Ballmer said there was "no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share" seem so long ago.


Submission + - Apple earns more than Microsoft in Q1 (

tripleevenfall writes: Buoyed by the iPad and iPhone, Apple's profit in Q1 surpassed that of Microsoft for the first time in well over a decade. Apple had recently gone past their rival in terms of quarterly income, but this is the first time they have managed to beat them on actual profit.

Four years ago, when Steve Ballmer said there was "no chance the iPhone will get any significant market share", seems like a long time ago.


Nautilus-X: the Space Station With Rockets 121

astroengine writes "So we have a space station, now what? We've heard some rather outlandish ideas, but this is one concept a research group in NASA is taking seriously. By retrofitting the ISS with rockets, Nautilus-X will act as an interplanetary space station of sorts, including room for 6 astronauts, an artificial gravity ring, inflatable habitats and docking for exploration spaceships. When can we take a luxury cruise to Mars? 2020 by the project's estimate. It all sounds very 2001, but the projected costs of retrofitting the space station seem a little on the low side."

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