Friday, January 27, 2012

Wireless Still Dangerous Despite the Reduced Hype

Perhaps the major overall growth area in networking is wireless. Companies and consumers are putting more data on the air every day. Wireless safety still is a big issue, of course, but it doesn't seem to be getting quite as much hype as it was a year ago.

Safety at public hotspots rightfully gets the most attention. A vnunet.com piece, which reports on a study from Sophos, strongly suggests that a parallel problem is afoot. Insecure home networks, the piece says, are being illicitly used by outsiders. The study says that 54 percent of those surveyed admitted to illicitly horning into other folks' wireless service.

This would seem to be largely an ISP/consumer problem. The corporate angle is strong, however, for two reasons. One is that people store corporate data on their home computers, and it is vulnerable if the network isn't protected. The other reason that this is worrisome is that a good portion of home PCs and MACs are connected, at least part of the time, to the corporate local-area network (LAN). Thus, the laziness or ignorance of home users can end up creating a big back door opportunity for hackers.

Perhaps the consumer media is beginning to revisit wireless security. A couple of articles have recently appeared in prominent places. BusinessWeek, in the form of a question from a reader about using Wi-Fi at trailer parks, gives a nice overview of the differences between the Wired Equivalent Protocol (WEP) and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). USA Today has a similar instructional piece [http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/computersecurity/2007-12-11-security-wifi_N.htm]. That story - a bit longer than the BusinessWeek effort - discusses the importance of encryption, the dangers of evil twins and discourages people from doing sensitive things from a hot spot.

Like many other security issues, a little attention can go a long way. Indeed, there are four steps that can be taken with fairly little trouble that greatly enhance the security of a WLAN. They are outlined nicely in this post at Network Liquidators. The four steps: rename the Service Set Indentifier (SSID); stop it from broadcasting; enable media access control (MAC) filtering and encrypt.

Consumer Wi-Fi isn't the only potential trouble spot. Companies also face challenges in their use of wireless local-area networks (WLANs) internally. AirDefense, in a survey released last month, found that 85 precent of 2,500 wireless devices it scanned at 3,000 shops in the United States and Europe were not secure.

Could We See A Xbox 360 Portable?

With the success of the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP, it should come as no real surprise Microsoft wants a piece of the pie.

BusinessWeek is reporting that Microsoft is considering entering the market themselves, with a new multimedia device that would incorporate gaming.

Peter Moore, would not confirm such a project but did say that "any Microsoft media device would have to leverage the company's most significant consumer strength, video gaming."

If Microsoft were to create such a device, would it be more like an Xbox handled or more of a PocketPC PDA with gaming functionality. Moore says about the Xbox brand, "It can't just be our version of the iPod... I think the brand is an opportunity."

On the gaming side, Nintend's DS and Sony's PSP are at the top of the market, with both offering someting unique.

If Microsoft does go ahead with just a project, they would have to decide whether-or-not it would be part of the "Xbox" brand. BusinessWeek points out that "If the new device comes with the Xbox brand, most consumers will view it as a game player, like Sony's PlayStation Portable. That might limit its appeal, since the portable gaming market is much smaller than the one for digital media."

Can 9 Out of 10 Be Wrong?

A recent BusinessWeek article reported that 90% of the nation's managers think they're in the top 10% of performers in their workplace.

There's clearly a disconnect here, though it's nice to know we're such a confident group.

What causes this sort of optimism? I wonder if part of it is survey-induced. There's a natural tendency to try to look good, especially when there's no downside.

More dangerous to individual careers, though, is the fact of performance-review politeness. All too often, managers sugar-coat written performance evaluations, usually for one (or more) of these four reasons.

Fear

What if she gets mad? What if she yells? What if she cries? What if she goes to HR and complains about me? What if she stops working on this critical project?

Compassion

I don't want to put anything negative in his permanent employee record -- it might haunt him forever. I know he's just bought a house -- I don't want to impact his raise right now when he really needs it. He's a nice person, and smart, too; he's going through a learning curve at the moment, but he'll figure it out.

Overwhelm

If I write something negative, I'll have to put her on a performance improvement plan. I'll have to write up the whole thing for HR, and we'll have to have weekly meetings, with written notes, and a three-month interim review, and another one at six months. I don't have time for all that!

Expedience

He knows one of the board members -- I've seen them out for lunch, and I know they go golfing together. I don't know what might happen to my career if I write a bad review. And wouldn't it be cool if he said good things about me to the board!

So as an employee, how can you be sure you're getting honest feedback from your manager, so that the next time BusinessWeek asks, you'll know you're in the top 10%?

Simple. Ask!

But don't just run into her office and blurt it out. Here are six steps for setting the stage, making it safe for your manager and yourself, so you can get the feedback you want in ways that you can use.

Be sure you really want to know

Don't ask questions you don't want answered. If you're not sure you want to know what your manager thinks, first figure out why you're feeling uneasy. He may legitimately not have earned your trust -- or you may secretly know you're not performing to the standard you'd prefer. Either way, now may not be the time for you to ask.

Don't roll it into your regular review

By stepping outside the regular review process, you side-step all the reasons why your manager might give you less than complete feedback. Yes, you want to encourage her to "tell it like it is" in your review, but if she's not, that's not the time to push the point. Instead, approach her outside the review cycle when she's not in the review mindset.

Explain why you want to know

You don't want him to think you're feeling insecure. He might start wondering if there's a reason for it! You do want to give him as much information as he needs to give you solid, useful feedback. So why do you want that feedback? How do you see yourself growing, doing things differently, and being better at your job? What improved support might you offer him and the company as a whole? You may not have specific details since you don't know what he'll say, but you can -- and should -- have a general idea.

Explain what you want to know

Asking the general question, "Hey, boss, how'm I doing?" isn't useful, and is more likely to annoy her as a time-waster than impress her with your desire to grow. What do you want feedback about? Your own management abilities with your team? How you handle other areas' requests for assistance? Whether you're providing the right financial reports in the most useful format? Go in with a clear and specific question, and you'll get a clear and specific response. You can always ask at the end if there's anything else she'd like to comment on.

Ask for a meeting

Don't make a big deal out of it, but do request time when you know you'll have his full attention. Catching him in the hallway or popping into his office informally doesn't allow him time to prepare or to focus. Your question is almost certain to surprise him, especially if he's used to a little bit of sugar-coating. Be sure to explain why and what when you request the meeting, so he has a chance to prepare.

Getting good, useful feedback is as much an art form as giving good, useful feedback. Whether you're giving or getting, these tips will help.

The True Cost of Cost Basis

Cost basis is a simple idea to understand on the surface, but becomes increasingly complicated as you dig deeper. In order to fix this, Congress did what it does best: made the issue even more complex.

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 included new tax reporting requirements, mandating that custodians, broker-dealers, and transfer agents report the cost basis of sold securities, and whether the gains or losses are short- or long-term, to the IRS on Form 1099-B.

The requirements are phasing in over three years. The first phase took effect on January 1, 2011, covering equities acquired on or after that date. So for any stock sold that was acquired in 2011 or later (considered a "covered" security), the cost basis and holding period will be reported to the IRS on Form 1099-B. However, for positions acquired before 2011 (an "uncovered" security), no cost basis information will be reported to the IRS.

This creates the first layer of confusion. Custodians will have to separately report cost basis for some positions, but not for all of them. Taxpayers, on the other hand, must still report cost basis for all positions, and they must do so on both a revised Schedule D and a new Form 8949 (or, usually, multiple Forms 8949).

To make matters worse, there is no standardized reporting for all custodians to follow, so taxpayers may be issued Forms 1099-B that look slightly different. Custodians must also adjust cost basis to reflect stock splits, spin-offs, mergers, name changes and other corporate actions, which can all have different effects on cost basis. Many taxpayers are finding that the information reported by their custodian does not match their personal records. Reconciling the difference and then figuring out how to report it can seem an impossible task - especially during the crunch of tax season.

Another complication as a result of the new rules is the requirement for custodians to make so-called "wash sale" adjustments. A wash sale occurs when a taxpayer sells a security at a loss, and then repurchases the same, or a substantially identical, security within 30 days before or after the sale. The idea is to avoid taxpayers capturing losses without really losing exposure to the securities in question. In a wash sale, the loss from the sale of the security will be fully or partially disallowed, and the cost basis and holding period of the repurchased shares must be adjusted.

As many taxpayers learned this past tax season, they may trigger more wash sales then they thought. The usual culprits are reinvested dividends, which are common for long-term investors. According to the Investment Company Institute trade group, reinvested dividends accounted for almost $173 billion of the $202 billion in dividends that long-term mutual funds paid in 2011. Each reinvested dividend is considered a separate purchase, or trade lot. When reinvestment occurs within 30 days before or after shares are sold at a loss, this triggers a wash sale, often without the investor knowing it. In this case, part or all of the loss is disallowed, and the cost basis and holding period of the reinvested shares must be adjusted. The amount of the reinvested dividend, and thus the loss disallowed, is usually insignificant, but it can still create an administrative burden and lead to confusion during tax season if investors do not make regular adjustments to both their realized and unrealized positions.

The second phase of the new reporting requirements began on January 1, 2012, and covers mutual funds, Dividend Reinvestments Plans (DRIPs) and most ETFs. These securities are only considered "covered" if they were purchased on or after the effective date of January 1, 2012. So taxpayers will generally hold a mix of both covered and non-covered securities for years, until they sell all their pre-2012 positions.

The third and final phase was initially scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2013, covering other specified securities, including fixed-income and options. However, earlier this month the Internal Revenue Service announced that it will postpone the effective date for this third phase until January 1, 2014.

The new reporting rules are part of the government's effort to reduce the estimated $385 billion annual tax gap, which is the amount of taxes estimated to be owed versus the amount actually paid. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the new cost basis reporting requirement is estimated to raise $6.7 billion over a decade - or about 0.17 percent of the tax gap over the same time period. Thank you, Congress; now you can focus on the other 99.83 percent.

Before the new rules, the IRS only required custodians to report information about gross proceeds from sales of securities. Taxpayers were responsible for tracking their own cost basis, sometimes using information from their custodians or help from their accountants or financial advisers. Under the new rules, the IRS will be able to detect whether taxpayers are overstating losses or underreporting gains by comparing them with the cost basis information reported by the custodians on taxpayers' returns. If the information does not match, the IRS can issue a matching notice to the taxpayer.

While accurate reporting of costs basis is an important part of a fair and balanced tax system, the new rules have placed a significant burden on custodians, financial advisers and, ultimately, taxpayers. According to a recent article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, custodians are spending an estimated $528 million to implement the new regulations. (1)

As the industry adapts, there may be unintended consequences that will ultimately hurt individual taxpayers and investors. Custodians' increased costs may eventually lead to increased fees and trading costs for investors. Accountants may increase their tax return preparation fees as a result of the additional forms necessary and the complexity of reconciling discrepancies in cost basis information. Taxpayers who would have otherwise prepared their own tax returns may find the new rules too confusing and, as a result, may need to hire an accountant for the first time.

A recent report from the research firm Celent explains how the new cost basis reporting requirements present an opportunity for tax firms to offer specialized services and to regain some of the market share previously lost to do-it-yourself tax preparation software. The report found that the new cost basis reporting regulations could provide an increase of $450 million annually in tax preparation fees. (2) The wealthy generally already hire accountants for tax services, so the majority of this increase will likely come from smaller, retail investors who previously prepared their own returns.

As with all regulations, Congress should consider the costs against the benefits and understand how the new rules will affect the public - especially the smaller, retail investors that make up the politically all-important middle class. Politicians always seem to promise a simpler and fairer tax code, but the new cost basis reporting rules are anything but simple.

Cell Phone User Bill of Rights Introduced

It did not take long for Minnesota state senator Mary A. Olsen, who was elected in 2006, to introduce new legislation calling for change in the cell phone industry. According to Businessweek, wireless operators have generated more complaints than any other industry in 2007. Some statistics show them to be in upwards of around 1,000.

Because of this spike in consumer concerns, Senator Olsen called for a consumer's Bill of Rights. The Democratic senator was reported as saying in a recent interview in Businessweek, "The cell-phone industry has been making a lot of money on [questionable] consumer practices."

Currently Minnesota is leading the way in the fight for a Bill of Rights for consumers in the cell phone industry, however 22 other states are following suit and have introduced some sort of the same type of Bill.

According to Spencer E. Ante of Businessweek, "The proposals vary widely, but they typically include clearer disclosure of fees and taxes and the end of unauthorized charges for ringtones and other third-party services. The Minnesota bill, which consumer advocates say appears to have the best chance of becoming law, could be voted on in the next two weeks."

Senator Olsen says she feels good about the bills strength to pass and become law. However the group of wireless carriers, who do not like being regulated to begin with, are not feeling so good as it puts them in a situation where they will be regulated by 22 different states all with their own different laws.

As these Bill of Rights get closer to passing and become law, lobbyists for the wireless industry are working hard, running ads telling people that these laws will only drive up the cost of their services.

Offshoring - Going Beyond India

Are companies becoming weary of Bangalore, India's increasing wage rates? Will this herald the beginning of a significant decline of outsourcing revenue to the giant? BusinessWeek reports it will, in it's annual outsourcing round up. Because of steadily increasing costs in India, the fact that much of the labor market has been saturated, most notably in Bangalore, companies are now seeking to move elsewhere in an attempt to bring down their costs. Indeed, Indian based companies themselves are looking beyond their own shores to maximize profits, and not lose clients.

Many companies complain that the problem with working with Indian companies, is that they're enthusiastic in the beginning, but once they've "earned" the valuable experience, pack up and leave for more greener pastures. This in turn leads the corporations to start looking elsewhere, most notably in Vietnam, Russia, Mexico and Argentina.

Many vendors like IBM Global Services, Accenture, EDS and Genpact; have started pooling together talent from various outsourcing destinations across the world, to give their clients the best of both worlds. The example cited in BusinessWeek is of EDS who works with Continental Airlines in India in developing a software application that runs on its mainframes, and in Brazil taking care of its financial operations. Accenture claims that it has split its operations into three sectors: high-cost regions with 35% (U.S and Britain), medium cost regions with 20% (Spain, Canada etc) and low-cost regions with 45% (India, Philippines, etc). Of note, is the still majority reliance on low cost regions, which despite BusinessWeek's analysis, still maintains its dominant share.

But it isn't just cost that remains a concern for these companies, it's that it comes with suitable strings, in the form of no prominent difference in time zone, and a lack of economic and language barriers. In that capacity, Bucharest, Romania is earning a steady reputation as being that location, and offshoring providers across the globe are hoping its entrance into the European Union will herald a greater shift towards its combined set of skills. Because there seems to be a shift to moving towards off shore globalization, intellectual property issues are now more of an issue than they ever were. In an effort to combat this, software and outsource giant Infosys Technologies, has taken to eliminating USB drives on their computers, thereby allowing the transport of information to be that much more limited.

But of course, all of this comes at a price. Because now we (the American & British workforce) aren't just competing with some bloke in India, but with some thousands of employees across the world, spanning from Bucharest, to St. Petersburg, to Argentina, to Brazil, to somewhere in the Philippines. Don't believe me? Consider Indian giant Wipro's CIO, Mr. Laxman Badigo's words: "Overall, in terms of productivity and quality of life, beyond Bangalore is better."

It's Not Your Brand

Many marketers see their brand as an asset they own. Not completely true. I'm not arguing that the brand is worthless. I'm just saying you don't own it. You never have. And in today's web 2.0, social media world, you never will.

I laughed out loud when I ran across this from Citi's Chief Marketing Officer. She was on a social media panel talking about her decision not to dive into social media, nor let consumers have free access to the company's graphics.

"We're not there yet, and we're proceeding very cautiously," said Lisa Caputo, Citi's first company-wide CMO. "I am very loath to put it (the brand) at risk and let some individual do what they want with it."

Lisa, Lisa, Lisa. Thanks to all the social media tools in the market, consumers already are getting your logos and doing whatever they want with them anyway. People are already talking about Citi, its successes and its failures. Your risk is twofold: you think you own the brand and you are avoiding, not engaging consumers.

You'd think someone who has risen to this level would know that a brand is community property. The company, its employees, allies and consumers share the brand. A brand is not solely graphics, logos, taglines and such. Every interaction a company has with its various publics adds to or subtracts from the brand.

Even the venerable BusinessWeek - http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/aug2007/id20070830_589214.htm? - is off the mark when it comes to brands interacting with consumers through social media. The authors of the article say that smart marketers must realize that social media users have, "the potential to become brand partners - or brand message hijackers."

Consumers will say what they want to say. It's not hijacking, it's an opportunity for marketers to hear the truth and respond to it. End of story.

The Jurassic period of marketing with its with three-martini lunches is gone. Get used to it and get social. Your organization's survival depends upon it.

Harry Hoover is a partner in My Creative Team. He has 30 years of experience in crafting and delivering bottom line messages that ensure success for serious businesses like Bank of Commerce, CruisingTheICW.com, Duke Energy, Focus Four, Jacobsen, Levolor, National Gypsum, North Carolina Tourism, Premier, Rubbermaid, Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems, VELUX, and Verbatim.

Are American Consumers Tapped Out?

Over the past 25 years, in every quarter except one, American consumer spending rose over the previous year, according to a November BusinessWeek article. Consumers have continued to shop through both good and bad times. Access to easy credit has been responsible for this spending spree. BusinessWeek sees the subprime crisis as the "beginning of the end for the long consumer borrow--and buy--boom." A recent New York Times report explores the possibility of an impending recession and notes, "It may be an unavoidable step toward purging the U.S. and...global economy of a major source of instability: an unhealthy dependence on the willingness of American consumers to keep buying even as debt mounts." Since the DR industry is heavily dependent on consumer spending, a pullback by consumers could have a big impact on our industry.

THE CRUX OF THE PROBLEM

First, let's look at the housing slump and its possible effect on spending. Cheap credit from 2004 to 2006 allowed Americans to take out more than $800 billion a year from their homes, according to the New York Times. So the decline in home prices could definitely impact consumer spending. Christopher Carroll, a Johns Hopkins economist, told BusinessWeek that every $1 decline in housing prices cuts about 9 cents off of spending. The report further shows that a 10- to 15-percent decline in home prices will decrease spending by $200 to $300 billion, which is about two to three percent of personal income. This decline in income is likely to diminish consumer discretionary purchases of apparel, automotive and certain luxury goods. Retailers and marketers of these types of goods could be hit hard if consumers cut spending.

Next, let's look at consumer credit card debt. Not everyone believes that consumers have exhausted their ability to spend. They have about $14 trillion in unused borrowing power left on their credit cards, which should be enough to buy a few more Magic Bullets or Little Giant ladders. However, credit card issuers are being more cautious about extending credit and some feel the next financial crisis will be the issue of mounting credit card debt, as reported by BusinessWeek.

It's important to note that not all the news is bad regarding the economy. The Wall Street Journal reports a surprising and broad-based surge in retail sales for November. The New York Times notes, "...the American economy has a history of unexpected resilience..." and that many experts feel we will only experience a slowdown or mild recession. Some believe that rate cuts by the Fed and a plan to keep adjustable mortgage rates from re-setting higher may cushion the impact on consumers.

No one can predict exactly where the economy is headed, but insights from those who track economic trends provide some possible scenarios for 2008 and beyond.

Generation Y: A Click Away From the Next Move

For today’s young adults, fresh out of college and with hard skills and technological savvy, and for those who employ them, relocation has taken on a whole new meaning.

Most graduates these days know they need experience first and foremost in order to get the most desirable jobs. But they don’t want to start up with just any company to get that experience. They want to work where they’ll be valued, where they’ll learn something, where they’ll be able to interact with more knowledgeable co-workers, where they will find flexibility in dress and work schedules, and, maybe most significantly, where they will make a difference.

For these young adults, the old paradigm of the workplace—where company loyalty generally doesn’t always extend beyond its financial gain and suit and ties are the norm—doesn’t mean much. And because this generation is nearly one-quarter of the workforce, and will be the fastest growing segment for the next five years, it doesn’t have to.

This generation, the most ethnically diverse ever, grew up with limitless options and an increasingly open-minded and connected world. Subsequently, they feel like they have the world at their fingertips, and they want to do something with their knowledge and skills. As graduates, they don’t consider monetary gain alone. They want to enjoy where they work, and they plan on making a difference in the world or at least within the company.

According to a 10/23/2006 USA Today article, “Millennials are the most socially conscious consumers to date.” Nearly two-thirds of 13- to 25-year-olds feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world; most have volunteered; and 69% consider a company’s social and environmental commitment when deciding where to shop.

However, while they care about community, they equally value their own personal fulfillment and happiness, and they often find these things in the place that they live. According to CollegeRecruiter.com, Gen Yers believe “people should first choose where they want to live and then choose their employer.” In fact, FindYourSpot.com’s member demographics illustrate this trend perfectly. About one-third of FindYourSpot.com’s million members are young adults either graduating or getting ready to graduate looking for a new city or town in which to live. Of course, the job search is a significant component of their visits to FindYourSpot.com, but they first come to the site to find a place that will fulfill a variety of their needs, from recreational to cultural opportunities.

Plus, according to NAS Insights, more than half of college graduates don’t expect to get job offers just out of school, 56% of plan to relocate after school, and most believe they won’t be in the same location for extended periods of time. Companies that are not aware of this, but that want to cater to younger generations as their baby boomer employees gradually begin to retire, need to consider these factors if they want to attract and retain their talented, young employees. Not only should they have an inviting and flexible workplace, but they ought to be about to tout their city’s recreational, educational, and cultural opportunities And, they shouldn’t be surprised if their new hires are more concerned about vacation time than salary. (Think Google here. Google offers great benefits, in-house weight rooms, healthy cafeteria lunches, and even dog-friendly offices).

This sort of forced change—in the form of more vacation time, more flexibility with work schedules, and the possibility of telecommuniting—is good for the corporate world. “Lighten up,” is the message of the Y Generation. Europeans get just as much done with their average of 30 days of vacation per year. Plus, until recent legislation passed by the newly-elected US House of Representatives, elected reps in this country worked an average of three days per week, and they still got plenty done (right?). Besides, if companies don’t adjust, Gen Y’ers will likely just head out of town.

With the attitude of “My career is not my whole world; It’s just my job,” (www.daily49er.com), and with access to unlimited relocation resources on the web, including FindYourSpot.com, this new, quirky generation’s next move is just a click away.

Podcasts For Nonprofit Organizations: Development for Leaders, Board Members, Staff and Volunteers

There are some terrific podcasts available on the subject of nonprofit organizations. They cover topics including:

Starting a nonprofit organization
Fundraising
Leading and managing
Using technology effectively

Listening to informative podcasts is a great way to learn. You can listen to podcasts on your computer or with a portable mp3 player when you are away from your home or office. I have turned my car into a classroom! Rather than listening to the radio, I listen to podcasts I have downloaded to my mp3 player. There are special accessories that allow you to play your mp3 player through your car radio.

If you have an interest in the nonprofit world, consider listening to the podcasts described below. They are the best I have found. I continue to learn from them and I know you will as well.

501c3Cast for Nonprofits

The 501c3Cast is an independent podcast that is all about helping nonprofit professionals, not-for-profit volunteers, and other "do-gooders" in the philanthropic world.

This podcast is my personal favorite. Listen to it and you will learn a tremendous amount of information on a variety of topics pertinent to your role in the nonprofit world.

The Sony PS3 To Pack "Too Much" Of A Punch

When Sony announced their next-gen system the PlayStation 3, they touted it as having a massive amount of features. These range from producing 1080p HD visuals, HD movies via Blu-Ray functionality etc. Sony even went as far as promoting TiVo capabilities and functionality, an online service being promoted by fan-boys as PlayStation Live, as well as a content distribution system quite similar to iTunes. This sounds terrific from a consumer perspective, but from a gamer's perspective, where in this list does it say that it plays games? This is a major problem being brought to our attention by such publications as BusinessWeek, whom are saying that Sony may be going a little to far away from what PlayStation 3's core function should be, a video game system.

BusinessWeek's article was titled, "This PlayStation May Play Too Much." It basically spoke of the fear that with all of these features packed in, and a high cost of production, the standard consumers may be afraid of the Playstation 3 in fear of not knowing how to use it and what to do with it specifically. This is going to be a complicated and complex machine, argues BusinessWeek. They compared the PS3 to another endeavor Sony attempted not too long ago; "Exhibit A: the PSX. Released in Japan in 2003, it was designed to appeal to a broader audience than the hard-core gamers attracted to the PS2. It comes with a 250-gigabyte hard drive and a simple Web browser and plays games, movies, and music. But the PSX bombed as consumers were confused by the hybrid and put off by its $800-plus price tag."

If the PlayStation 3 releases around a similar price tag, which is being predicted by some, it could possibly have the same fate. BusinessWeek goes on to compare the PlayStation 3 to the Sony PSP as being more popular as a multimedia device rather than a full-fledged gaming system. This would equal out to a lower attach rate for games, meaning less games sold per console sold. This causes publishers to lose money and also costs Sony money because they do not have as much leverage in negotiating licensing fees to produce games on their console. After the high attach rate of games on the Xbox 360 launch, this is a fear that Sony must have because if the PlayStation 3 does not match the Xbox 360's numbers, Microsoft could gain a lot more momentum and getting even further support for their system.

Talking more about the PS3 BusinessWeek stated, "But since the PSP also plays music and movies, fewer people are buying games designed for it. In the PS2's initial year on the market, players bought more than three games for each machine that was shipped. For the PSP, that ratio slipped to 2 to 1." If the PS3 follows this pattern it could prove quite disastrous for Sony. As the launch of the PlayStation 3 grows closer, with a lot more news sure to come at E3 2006 in May, this should be an interesting few months to come.

Part 2 -- Avian Flu Fright: Politically Timed for Global "Latrogenocide"

BusinessWeek expects avian flu vaccine stockpiling by government officials will help the Sanofi-Pasteur company on behalf of Sanofi-Aventis and Chiron. "Tamiflu," it reported is an antiviral manufactured by Roche, . . . considered effective against avian flu. . . . The U.S. owns enough for 4.3 million people, with more on order." BusinessWeek failed to report: 1) Tamiflu's safety and effectiveness has not been determined in people with other chronic medical conditions--a significant percentage of the U.S. population-- and common side effects of this drug include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bronchitis, stomach pain, dizziness, headaches, and much, much more; 2) Roche (Hoffman-LaRoche) was found guilty of price fixing the world's supply of vitamins in 1999 as part of the global petrochemical/pharmaceutical cartel evolved from Nazi-Germany's I.G. Farben organization;(2)(6) and 3) Sanofi-Aventis's corporate colleagues include Merck, a company that received a lion's share of the Nazi war chest at the end of WWII, whose earnings plunged after the withdrawal last year of its deadly Vioxx arthritis drug. According to recent news reports, Merck is partnering with Sanofi-Aventis to produce the world's first sexually-transmitted-cancer vaccine to be given to prepubescent boys and girls.(7) Merck is infamous for having developed the first hepatitis B vaccines that triggered the international AIDS pandemic according to published scientific research and stunning documents reprinted in this author's national bestselling book.(3)(8)
In the weeks and months following the 9-11 attacks on America, I traced the widely publicized anthrax mailings "mystery" to U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) commissioned biological weapons contractors with ties to Britain's MI6, Porton Down, and this same Anglo-American pharmaceutical cartel.(9) The anthrax mailings fanned fears of bioterrorism throughout America and economically served primarily vaccine and drug makers with administrative and financial links to these avian flu profiteers.(10)
People willingly relinquish their civil rights and personal freedoms in the wake of such engineered frights. The passage of the infamous "Homeland Security Act" in America, and its counterpart in Canada, are classic examples of this societal direction, forced legislation, and egregious manipulation.
Why Asia?
How convenient that Asia is said to be the origin, as with SARS, of this latest plague when Chinese-Anglo-American relations are strained to say the least.
In the days preceding the emergence of the first SARS cases, America raced to the Pacific Rim to impact escalating aggressions on the Korean peninsula. Communist China--a "most favored" trading partner with America--is politically allied with several American enemies, including those said to possess weapons of mass destruction, including Iraq. Coincidental? Not likely when viewing the larger political picture involving the Ango-American oligarchy's RMA, its global enterprises, and instigated planet-wide "conflicts short of war."
Consider also the fact the media's mainstream has been heavily influenced, if not entirely controlled, by multi-national corporate sponsors protecting and advancing the interests of a relatively small number of global entities. Also recall that the focus of news providers, on any given day or hour, results from intelligence agency directives, according to reputable authorities including myriad retired news officials and intelligence officers. So ask and answer the following intelligent questions:
* Why have American military officials, beginning with Secretary of Defense William Cohen during the Clinton years, publicized America's greatest vulnerability lies in the realm of biological weapons wielded by terrorists? Is this not a form of treason against the United States to relay such sensitive intelligence to potential enemies through the mainstream press?
* Why does the mainstream media continue to foretell of the expected arrival of the "Big One"-an influenza virus that will produce a super-flu that will kill billions of people, like the "Spanish flu" did between
1918-19, while totally disregarding the individuals, organizations, and laboratories that have labored to produce these weapons of mass destruction? Even the devastating Spanish Flu virus has been, literally, unearthed for further study and, do you suppose, deployment?
* Why was the "Spanish flu" influenza virus called the "Spanish flu" when it originated, by historic accounts, in Tibet in 1917? It is said that Spanish newspapers were the only ones reporting on the great plague due to their neutrality over World War I politics. However, Spain was as dear to America then as Communist China is to the United States today. The "Spanish flu" was named such following two decades of disputes between America and Spain over colonization of the Caribbean Islands, Hawaii and the Philippines beginning with the Spanish American war that ended in the Philippines in
1902. In fact, the grand Spanish flu began in military camps. Does this history appear to be repeating?
*Doesn't it make sense that America is being manipulated, if not targeted, for the purpose of advancing globalistic agendas, central among them is population reduction?
The "Big One"
As mentioned above, during the 1960s and early 1970s, military biological weapons contractors with intimate ties to leading drug industrialists prepared mutants of influenza and para-influenza viruses recombined with acute lymphocytic leukemia viruses. In other words, they stockpiled a quick spreading cancer virus which may also be deployed.(3)
Alternatively, many infectious disease experts and government health officials oblivious to this scientific reality say this avian flu might be the 'Big One." Several days ago, the United Nations released a report that stated as many as 150 million people worldwide might die from this avian flu.
Emma Ross of the Associated Press reported on SARS as the World Health Organization (WHO) launched its "crisis plan to attack" the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. WHO, as you may recall, is a U.N. sponsored organization that is rumored to have helped spread AIDS to Africa by way of contaminated hepatitis B and/or polio vaccinations. There is a reasonable amount of evidence to support this contention.(1)
More disconcerting, the U.N. is known to be heavily influenced by Rockefeller family members and their petrochemical-pharmaceutical interests. History shows Rockefeller fortunes built the U.N. building in New York City. During WWII, the Rockefeller family and their Standard Oil Company supported Hitler more than they did the allies according to court records. One federal judge ruled Rockefeller committed "treason" against the United States. Following WWII, according to attorney John Loftus-an official Nazi war crimes investigator-Nelson Rockefeller persuaded the U.N.'s South American voting block to favor Israel's creation only to assure secrecy regarding his support for the Nazis. Earlier that century, John D. Rockefeller joined Prescott Bush and the British Royal Family in sponsoring the eugenics initiatives that gave rise to Hitler's racial hygiene programs. During the same period the Rockefeller family virtually monopolized American medicine, American pharmaceutics, and the cancer and genetics industries.(2, 3)
Today, the Rockefeller family, its foundation, U.N. and WHO remain at the forefront of administering "population programs" designed to reduce world populations to more manageable levels. As per an advertisement in Foreign Affairs--a prestigious political periodical published by the David Rockefeller directed Council on Foreign Relations--the U.S. population is being targeted for a 50% reduction.(2)
"We've never faced anything on this scale with such a global reach," said Dr. David Heymann, of the WHO, not regarding the avian flu, but SARS.
"This is the first time that a global network of [Rockefeller-directed infectious disease 'surveillance' outposts and] laboratories are sharing information, samples, blood, pictures," added Dr. Klaus Stohr, a WHO virologist coordinating labs internationally. "Basically overnight, there are no secrets, there is no jealousy, there is no competition in the face of a global health emergency. This is a phenomenal network."(1)
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* The term "iatrogenocide" is derived from the combination of words "iatrogenesis," meaning physician induced illness, and "genocide," defined as the mass killing and/or enslaving of people for economics, politics, and/or ideology.
About the Author Leonard G. Horowitz, D.M.D., M.A., M.P.H., is an internationally known authority in the overlapping fields of public health, behavioral science, emerging diseases, and bioterrorism. He received his doctorate in medical dentistry from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 1977, was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship in behavioral science at University of Rochester, earned a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard University, and another Master of Arts degree in health education from Beacon College, all before joining the research faculty at Harvard. Dr. Horowitz is best known for his national bestselling book, Emerging Viruses: AIDS & Ebola - Nature, Accident or Intentional?
(Tetrahedron Press, 1998; 1-888-508-4787) which recently resulted in the United States General Accounting Office investigating the man-made origin of AIDS theory. (See: http://www.healingcelebrations.com/gao.htm) Dr. Horowitz's work in the field of vaccination risk awareness has prompted at least three Third World nations to change their vaccination policies. His stunning testimony before the United States Congress' Government Reform Committee, literally brought the hearing to a halt. (See: healingcelebrations.com) Dr. Horowitz questioned government health officials regarding a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) secreted report showing a definitive link between the mercury ingredient
(i.e., Thimerosal), common to most vaccinations, and the skyrocketing rates of autism and behavioral disorders affecting our children and the future of our nation.
Incredibly, Dr. Horowitz alerted the FBI, in writing and in person, one week before the first anthrax mailing was announced in the press, that a "major anthrax fright" was in the process of unfolding that demanded the FBI's urgent attention. Needless to say they did not heed Dr. Horowitz's prophetic warning.
Moreover, three months before the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Dr. Horowitz released his thirteenth book, prophetically titled Death in the Air: Globalism, Terrorism and Toxic Warfare. The book focuses on the West Nile Virus as an act of Bioterrorism, and considers what and who is really behind this and other recent outbreaks. Dr. Horowtiz argues that his disclosures expose the roots of global terrorism, along with the individuals and organizations at the heart of what he calls "the petrochemical-pharmaceutical cartel". He believes this "multi-national corporate beast" is in the process of committing global genocide, profiting from engineered frights, and at the same time, most efficiently culling targeted populations considered excessive.
As you may have heard, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called for an investigation into the links between recent West Nile Virus outbreaks and bioterrorism. Dr. Horowitz is among the leading pioneers of this theory.
Dr. Horowitz's most recent book is DNA: Pirates of the Sacred Spiral, a reference text on the electro-genetics of biology, disease therapy, and human spirituality. This work also details links between the anthrax mailings and human genome project heist, and leading intelligence agency, genetics industry, and pharmaceutical company officials.