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Sharper Image Files Chapter 11

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 A 26% sales drop, dwindling margins and tighter credit terms from suppliers push specialty retailer Sharper Image to seek Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

TomTom and Garmin are among the company’s largest creditors, with unsecured claims of $2.1 million each.

Caught in a severe liquidity crisis, Sharper Image will shut 90 out of 184 stores. They had $251.5 million in assets and $199 million in debts at Jan. 31. The company wants a $60 million loan from current lender Wells Fargo while Chapter 11 protection allows it to sell off underperforming stores and escape unfavorable leases.

A Less-Sharper Image

Adobe’s Breath of Fresh AIR

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 AIR, a new software development system from Adobe will power tens of thousands of new applications to connect internet and PC (and also PCs and new mobile devices like smartphones).

AIR will help developers create apps that exist in part on a user’s PC or smartphone and in part on servers. Applications will look and run the same whether the user is on his notebook, at his desk or using a mobile device or at an internet kiosk. The AIR applications can mimic the functions of a Web browser but do not require a Web browser to run.

The first commercial release of AIR takes place this week, but dozens of applications have been built around a test or beta version. New AIR applications exist (from beta sites) with companies such as Salesforce, FedEx, eBay, Nickelodeon, Nasdaq, AOL and Yahoo.

Like Adobe’s Flash software, AIR will be given away. The company makes its money selling software development kits to programmers.

Fresh AIR

iThings to Adopt GPS Features

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Apple finds new directionsApple develops a solution to access complete directions and maps using a portable device. Their “podmaps” patent describes the "Creation, Management and Delivery of Map-based Media Items."

The patent seems to link audio, video, and images with map for a solution that would enable users to access complete directions and maps using a portable device. Another threat to TomTom, Garmin, and Mio…

Apple Finds New Directions (Literally)



Europe Overtakes America in Spam Masters

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Asia leads the world in spam. While USA generated far more spam than any other single country, Europe for the first time surpasses USA--with Russia (8.3%), Turkey ( 3.8%) Italy (3.5%) Poland (3.4%) Germany (3.2%) Spain (3.1%) and UK (2.5%) all in the Top 12.

Spam Chart

SophosLabs reveals a dramatic rise in the proportion of the world's spam messages come from compromised Russian computers. The country now accounts for 8.3% of the world's spam (or 1 in every 12 junk mails in our In Box).

"Responsible for a third of all unwanted email, USA and Russia can be viewed as the two dirty men of the spam generation, polluting email traffic with unwanted and potentially malicious messages," says Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos. "It's not the case that a third of the world's spammers are based in those countries, but that legions of computers are poorly defended, allowing hackers to break in and turn them into botnets for the spreading of spam and malware."

EU Raids Intel and Retailers

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 European Commission’s anti-trust unit carried out “unannounced inspections” at Intel's Munich offices and at Media Markt and Dixons.

An investigation into restrictive business practices and abuse of a dominant market position, the EC is concerned about alleged rebates when OEMs buy most (or all) of their processors from Intel and alleged payment to OEMs to delay or cancel AMD-based lines. The EC wants to find out: Did Intel offer CPUs at below cost when bidding against AMD?

Go EC Investigations

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