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July 28, 2010

LaBarge wins $4.9M rocket deal from Boeing, Lockheed

Filed under: term — Tags: , , — Snowman @ 12:45 pm

LaBarge Inc. said Tuesday it received a $4.9 million contract from United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of the Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., to continue making complex wiring harnesses for the Atlas V rocket.

Production on the new contract is taking place in Berryville, Ark., and is expected to continue through late 2013.

For the past 17 years, LaBarge has made wiring harnesses and select hardware assemblies for the Atlas family of launch vehicles, which take satellites into orbit.

ULA's Atlas, along with the Delta IV and Delta II, provides launch services for Air Force, NASA and National Reconnaissance Office missions payday loans. NASA recently awarded ULA a $6.7 million contract to develop an early detection system as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Development Program for human space flight.

St. Louis-based LaBarge Inc. (Amex: LB), led by CEO and President Craig LaBarge, manufactures electronics for various industries. The company has operations in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

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July 24, 2010

Flipboard hype crashes iPad app’s servers

Filed under: technology — Tags: , , — Snowman @ 1:24 am

Just hours into its public debut, the highly anticipated, glowingly reviewed, social media aggregating iPad application called Flipboard crashed.

The new app promises to create a "personal magazine" by bringing in content from Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. But when a sea of eager downloaders tried to log into their various social media accounts on Tuesday, the requests overwhelmed Flipboard’s servers.

Users encountered error messages that said, "Due to overwhelming interest we are currently limiting the rate at which we are accepting new Facebook and Twitter connections." Flipboard urged users to follow its Twitter account, @flipboard, for updates on the status of the server delays, saying, "We promise it will be worth the wait."

Flipboard’s solution is still pending. As it works to add more server capacity, the company is set to debut a new version of its software that will create a wait list for users trying to connect to their Twitter and Facebook accounts. When the app is ready for users to sign in, it will send them e-mails notifying them that they’re next in line.

Though Flipboard encouraged patience, Twitter users sounded off on their frustrations installment payday loans.

"Has Flipboards 15 mins of fame come and gone? The backlash begins!" said one Twitter user.

Many blamed tech blogger Robert Scoble for creating too much hype about Flipboard. He posted nearly 30 tweets on Wednesday about the new iPad app.

"24 hours later, where is @Scobleizer after destroying the launch for @flipboard? Too much hype too soon. I hope @flipboard can recover," tweeted another user.

It’s not the first time that incredible demand has overwhelmed an app or website.

Twitter famously displays its "Fail Whale" several times a month, as it is routinely over capacity. The company said Wednesday that it is building a new data center in Salt Lake City that it will move into later this year.

Apple’s Store app crashed last month on the day it launched, as iPhone 3GS users bombarded it with requests to buy a new iPhone 4.

And users looking for information online about Michael Jackson’s death last summer caused a host of websites — including mighty Google — to crash or slow down to a crawl. 

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July 21, 2010

Foreclosures down in July, up for year

Filed under: news — Tags: , , — Snowman @ 9:21 am

The number of property foreclosures in Harris County was down in July as compared to a year ago, according to Foreclosure Information & Listing Service Inc.

The Woodlands-based service reports that 1,252 properties went into foreclosure in July. That’s a 2 percent decline from July 2009, when 1,278 properties experienced the same fate.

A total of 4,092 properties were posted for foreclosure this month — 8.4 percent less than the 4,466 properties posted for foreclosure in July 2009.

Foreclosure postings in Harris County have decreased each month in the second quarter when compared to the same time periods in 2009, reports Foreclosure Information & Listing Service.

Year-to-date, 26,974 properties have been posted for foreclosure — a 21 percent increase over the same time period in 2009 when 22,325 properties were posted.

So far this year, 7,839 properties have gone into foreclosure —24 percent more than in the first seven months of 2009, when 6,310 properties fell into foreclosure.

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July 18, 2010

Honolulu parking among nation’s priciest

Filed under: marketing — Tags: , , — Snowman @ 3:30 pm

Daily parking in Honolulu is nearly $2 more than in downtown Manhattan, according to a survey out this week.

The median price of parking for one day in Honolulu is $32.75, ranking the city second on the list of most expensive cities in which to park.

Honolulu’s daily prices were more than the $31 median found in Manhattan but not as much as the wallet-crippling $40 forked over in New York City’s Midtown area.

The median monthly rate for an unreserved stall in Honolulu rose 4.7 percent, or $10, to $222.33 in the 12 months ending in June compared with the preceding year.

This year’s median monthly rate made downtown Honolulu the ninth most expensive area out of 44 major metropolitan markets surveyed by commercial real estate firm Colliers International no fax payday loans.

Midtown New York topped the list with a median rate of $538.

Nationwide, the average price for monthly parking was $161.56, up 1.1 percent year over year.

With the economic recovery unfolding in slow motion, parking rates are expected to show little change over the next 12 months, Colliers said. Rates are expected to trend upward beginning in the second half of 2011, however.

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July 15, 2010

California to workers: It’s minimum wage for you

Filed under: marketing — Tags: , — Snowman @ 10:24 pm

A year ago, California dealt with its budget crisis by handing out hundreds of thousands of IOUs to contractors and taxpayers. This year, it’s threatening to cut state workers’ wages to the bone.

Most of California’s 240,000 state employees could see their salaries temporarily cut to the federal minimum wage because government officials can’t reach agreement on a new fiscal-year budget for the financially troubled state.

It’s the latest manifestation of state budget dysfunction, and workers have found themselves caught in the crossfire as the state’s Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, tussles with the Democrat-led legislature.

With no end in sight to the impasse, Schwarzenegger’s administration last week moved to to cut 200,000 state workers’ wages to $7.25 an hour unless a budget is reached soon.

The salary reductions would cut across all job types and pay scales — from a lifeguard who makes $16 an hour to an accountant who nets $6,000 a month. The average California state worker’s salary was $65,484 last year.

Affected workers would receive back pay when the budget is passed. But state employees have already gotten the short end of the stick. Some have been forced to accept furloughs that have decreased their salaries by an average of 14%.

To help close the $19.1 billion budget shortfall for the fiscal year that began July 1, Republican lawmakers have proposed severe cuts to state social services such as welfare and Medicare, instead of hiking taxes.

By contrast, Democrats oppose the program cuts and instead want tax increases on industries like oil production. They have also proposed a delay to some corporate tax breaks.

Workers will at least receive minimum wage thanks to a 2003 California Supreme Court ruling, which said the state can withhold salaries during budget impasses as long as it complies with federal law payday loans. (Read ‘Stimulus: The big bang is over.’)

Controller sues over cuts: State Controller John Chiang has refused to carry out the cuts, saying he would wait until he completes an appeal of another court’s ruling on a similar pay cut order from 2008.

Schwarzenegger’s office sued Chiang on Tuesday, seeking an injunction to force him to make the cuts. Chiang promptly filed a cross-complaint alleging the order violates federal and state law.

"Withholding pay from state employees until a budget is enacted does nothing to solve the budget deficit, but will only make it worse," Chiang’s office said in a separate statement. Chiang has also said the payroll computers aren’t equipped to make the pay cuts.

A spokesman for Schwarzenegger said that an appellate court ruling on Friday upheld a trial court’s decision that Chiang must enact the cuts. "That’s the law here, and despite several courts’ rulings, he’s still going to defy the law," the spokesman said.

The Service Employees International Union, the largest union of California state workers, said in a statement that the cuts will only add to the state’s budget crisis. The union claimed that it negotiated an agreement last year that would have saved the state some money, "but the governor walked away from that deal." 

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July 11, 2010

Alaska Airlines says half its planes Wi-Fi equipped

Filed under: finance — Tags: , , — Snowman @ 3:24 pm

Alaska Airlines said that more than half of its airplanes have been equipped with Wi-Fi capability.

In May, the airline, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group Inc. (NYSE: ALK) of Seattle, said it plans to have its entire fleet equipped with Aircell’s Gogo inflight internet service by the end of the year. Initially free, after July 31 the price goes up to a minimum of $4.95 per flight.

Alaska said Wi-Fi has been installed on 55 of its Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) 737-800s and 10 of its 737-900s cash advance loan. Its two remaining 737-900s should have Wi-Fi installed by the end of this month, Alaska said.

The airline added that Aircell “will expand its network by early 2011 to provide Gogo inflight internet service on key routes to, from and within the state of Alaska.”

Alaska Airlines and sister airline Horizon Air fly nearly half of the passenger traffic at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

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July 8, 2010

Aitken named DunnhumbyUSA CEO

Filed under: marketing — Tags: , — Snowman @ 5:33 pm

DunnhumbyUSA has promoted Chief Operating Officer Stuart Aitken to CEO, the company said Tuesday.

Aitken joined Dunnhumby in August 2009, replacing Simon Hay, who returned to the company’s parent corporation in London. He had previously been chief marketing officer for arts and craft retailer Michaels Stores Inc.

During Aitken’s tenure, Dunnhumby opened an office in New York, expanded its partnership with Macy’s Inc. and in partnership with Dunnhumby Canada, signed Canadian Tire as a client.

“Stuart’s keen sense of what matters most to customers is helping us strengthen our connection with our loyal shoppers,” said Don Becker, executive vice president for Kroger Co paydayloans. Cincinnati-based Kroger (NYSE: KR) is a part-owner of Dunnhumby USA and its largest client.

DunnhumbyUSA, headquartered downtown, has more than 350 employees and 2009 revenue of $190 million. The company is in the process of adding more than 150 new employees to its U.S. operations.

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July 3, 2010

Court backs state worker pay cuts, Chiang will appeal

Filed under: marketing — Tags: , — Snowman @ 12:36 pm

A California appellate court on Friday backed the Schwarzenegger administration’s attempt to cut pay for 240,000 state workers to the federal minimum wage until a state budget is signed — but it doesn’t look like the order will take effect any time soon.

This is the second time the governor has attempted to take this action and state Controller John Chiang is balking again.

The ruling comes a day after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger again ordered the pay cut until this year’s budget is signed, but it’s unclear whether it will be implemented any time soon.

Friday’s ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed two years ago, when Schwarzenegger first attempted to cut state worker pay while lawmakers debated a budget fix. Chiang, who issues state checks, refused to comply with the order, citing the state’s outdated computer systems.

The administration sued and won at the trial court level, but Chiang appealed and the order was never implemented. The Third District Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court Friday.

“We … conclude the Department of Personnel Administration has the authority to direct the controller to defer salary payments in excess of federally-mandated minimum wages when appropriations for the salaries are lacking due to a budget impasse,” the ruling states check cash advance.

If the controller disagrees, he “may seek judicial resolution in court but may not simply disregard the DPA directive,” the appeals court concludes.

Chiang is going back to court, he said in a statement Friday.

“This is not a simple software problem. Reducing pay and then restoring it in a timely manner once a budget is enacted cannot be done without gross violations of law unless and until the state completes its overhaul of the state payroll system and payroll laws are changed,” he said in a news release.

“I will move quickly to ask the courts to definitively resolve the issue of whether our current payroll system is capable of complying with the minimum wage order in a way that protects taxpayers from billions of dollars in fine and penalties.”

The next step: The California Supreme Court.

Schwarzenegger has cited a 2003 state Supreme Court as grounds for the move, but Chiang argues it never addressed the feasibility issue.

“It would be highly unusual for the California Supreme Court to overturn its own decision,” countered Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear in a news release.

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