Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 3:27 pm
Each Friday we round up the big conversations in tech and culture during the week that was. We also revisit the work that appeared on this blog and highlight what we're reading from our fellow technology writers and observers at other organizations.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 1:25 pm
Time Warner Cable has come up with an old-school solution for the CBS blackout: In an email to customers, the provider offered free antennas for subscribers who wish to watch CBS.
If you remember, Time Warner and CBS have been fighting over retransmission consent fees. The failure to reach an agreement means that for close to three weeks, Time Warner customers in some big markets have been unable to watch CBS through the cable company.
"In the meantime, Ballmer will continue as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company that empowers people for the activities they value most."
The stock market revealed its vulnerability again on Thursday, in this age of high-speed electronic trading. The Nasdaq, where more than 3,000 tech-related companies are publicly traded, was shut down for more than three hours.
Mark Mercer, 54, has been standing in Philadelphia's financial district holding a sign that reads: "I don't want your change. I need a job." Dressed for the office in black shoes and a black suit, Mercer says he's handed out more than 100 resumes.
New questions are being raised about the reliability of U.S. financial markets after all trading in Nasdaq stocks was shut down for three hours on Thursday. Nasdaq blamed the problem on its system for quoting prices. The trading halt immediately led to calls for markets to make their software systems more robust and compatible.
Soaring sales figures suggests that the world has developed quite a taste for American whiskey. And to satisfy the masses, Jack Daniel's is expanding its distillery in the small city calls home, Lynchburg, Tennessee.
Blake Farmer from member station WPLN reports.
BLAKE FARMER, BYLINE: Last year, Jack Daniel's hit a sales record - 11 million cases of charcoal-mellowed, sour mash whiskey. But the nearly 150-year-old brand still only controls three percent of the global market, says senior vice president John Hayes.
After decades supplying the American consumer with every import imaginable, Wal-Mart now says it wants to stock its shelves with more goods made in the U.S. In Orlando Thursday, the giant retailer sponsored a conference aimed at encouraging U.S. companies to bring their production back home.
"Remain aggressive." That's the message Attorney General Eric Holder says he has given to prosecutors around the country about pursuing wrongdoing by financial institutions — particularly, wrongdoing related to the financial crisis of 2008.
But as the five-year anniversary of the crisis approaches, the record of prosecutions against high-level Wall Street executives has been dismal.
Trading on the Nasdaq exchange was halted today due to an unspecified technical glitch. The shutdown rattled investors and raised fresh concerns about the safety and stability of financial markets. Nasdaq in particular has experienced technological mishaps, most notably during the Facebook IPO in 2012.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 4:10 pm
The Packard plant, which once symbolized the might of America's auto industry, is at risk of heading to auction if a pending development deal fails. If that happens, The Detroit Free Press reports, the 35-acre site eventually could be sold "for as little as $21,000," a figure that comes from Wayne County Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 4:16 pm
(This post was last updated at 6:14 p.m. ET)
Nasdaq has resumed trading in all securities following a prolonged halt Thursday afternoon caused by a technical glitch.
"NASDAQ will first re-open trading in symbols ZVZZT and AAIT with a 15-minute quoting period beginning at 14:30, with trading beginning at approximately 14:45. All other securities will then be released at 14:55 with a 15-minute quote only period with trading resuming at approximately 15:10," the exchange said in a statement.
And today's last word in business is: Dress like Diller.
In Beverly Hills, Phyllis Diller's estate will be auctioned off next month.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
On stage, the late comedienne dressed like a disheveled, chain-smoking housewife with freakish hair - and now some lucky bidders can too. The sale will include many of her trademark props: blond fright wigs, feather boas, ankle boots and cigarette holders.
Some Bank of America branches with drive-through tellers from Georgia to Texas have already closed the lanes, according to spokeswoman Tara Burke.
She wouldn't divulge exactly how many are closing. She did say the decision is not a cost-cutting move but a response to the way people are banking.
About 13 million customers bank by mobile phone and 29 million participate in online services. Among them is 19-year-old Brittney Sprague who says, "Not too many folks will really miss the drive-through teller because everybody uses apps. It's all about the new technology."
We'll begin NPR's business news with fallout from the Fed.
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GREENE: Stock markets across Asia fell and India's currency continued its plunge after minutes from the July meeting of the Federal Reserve were released yesterday. The records from that meeting showed that officials were comfortable with scaling back its huge bond-buying program as the economy grows stronger.
In just the past week we've seen a bunch of signs that the housing recovery is gaining steam. Data out Wednesday showed that existing-home sales rose to their highest level in nearly four years, while prices were up 14 percent from a year ago.
Retailers Home Depot and Lowe's both reported strong earnings growth and attributed that to the housing rebound.
And most important for the economy, homebuilders are hiring more workers and building more houses.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has teamed up with other tech giants to pursue the goal of providing Internet service to five billion people in the developing world. The group, called Internet.org, says data can be used more efficiently and participating partners can work cooperatively to make access to the web affordable in emerging economies. Zuckerberg makes the case on his Facebook page for how a global Internet infrastructure can be created. But the document doesn't have tangible commitments from Facebook or other participating companies.
Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 11:45 am
What's a baker to do when all foodies can talk about, on both sides of the Atlantic, is the cronut craze, a croissant-doughnut that NPR reported on earlier this year? Simple: Come up with an equally addictive hybrid dessert.
Citing the billions of people worldwide who can't access the Internet, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the leaders of other technology firms are launching an ambitious project to narrow the digital divide Wednesday. The plan focuses on widening access via mobile phones.
"There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy," Zuckerberg says. "Internet.org brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making Internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it."
Home Depot says it has had "one of the best quarters in its recent history." It credits the recovery in the housing market. Main rival Lowes also benefited from the housing recovery, and strong demand for home refurbishings.
NPR's business news starts with some home improvement.
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MONTAGNE: Home Depot says it had one of the best quarters in recent history. The number behind that claim, a 17 percent jump in earnings this past quarter. The company credited the recovering housing market in the U.S. and said spending by both contractors and regular customers was up.