October 2011 archive

$16 muffins were never the full story

The Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice just issued its revised audit report 11-43 regarding conference spending. Last month, this report received substantial press attention. The revision is explained as follows: This revised report supersedes the original version of the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) report, “Audit of Department …

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Wrong Solyndra Participants are Being Investigated

On Friday, the White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley said that they appointed Mr. Herb Allison to investigate the Department of Energy loans that included Solyndra. Mr. Allison is a former president of Merrill Lynch and former chief executive of the insurance company TIAA-CREF. He led Fannie Mae when it was forced into a …

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On October 27, the SEC announced that: The Securities and Exchange Commission today ordered the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to hire an independent consultant and undertake other remedial measures to improve its policies, procedures, and training … The SEC’s order finds that on Aug. 7, 2008, the Director of FINRA’s Kansas City District Office …

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Apple Patents Slide-to-Unlock, For Now.

On October 25th the US Patent Office issued Patent number 8,046,721 to Apple Computer for the process of unlocking a cell phone by sliding one’s finger horizontally across the screen.  The following are from the patent application. A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device …

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Unemployment in a Global Perspective

The problem of rising unemployment during and after the Great Recession has a global character, as confirmed by data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD’s report “Society at a Glance 2011 – OECD Social Indicators” shows that unemployment rates overall have increased across the globe. Despite a few exceptions to …

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Morgan Stanley turns bearish, and likes … actually, nothing

In an October 6 bulletin, Morgan Stanley provided a grim assessment of the economy, and what should be done with one’s investments. Morgan Stanley summarized their conclusions as follows: The risk of recession in the US and the rest of the developed world has grown significantly in recent weeks, so we are adopting an overweight …

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Practical Lessons from the Oracle vs. SAP Damages Case

In early September 2011, a trial court ordered a new trial involving a jury verdict in which Oracle obtained a $1.3 billion verdict from SAP. By all accounts, Oracle’s verdict is (or actually, was) the largest ever awarded for copyright infringement. The Court summarized copyright damages law as follows: The Copyright Act allows recovery of …

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You MUST make this change in your iPhone 4s Settings

Several security sites are reporting the default setting on the iPhone 4s is to have the Siri voice command system be accessible even if the phone is locked.  This means that if anybody gets a hold of your phone, even for a few seconds and even if it is locked, they can say a few words and …

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The iPhone 4s and Language Conformity

The iPhone 4s with the Siri voice command system has been out for a while, and as expected there are now several examples available of how well it works with real people using real accents.  Here is one with a Scottish Accent. And cnet did a methodical test with several East Asian accents. Frankly with …

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California Passes Tough Independent Contractor Law

On October 9, 2011, Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill 459 regarding independent contractors. The law significantly increases the risks and penalties for misclassifying workers as independent contractors by imposing significant penalties on employers found to have engaged in a misclassification, as well as on non-lawyer advisors (like accountants) who advise an employer to …

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