Friday, January 16, 2009

Non-union label: Bruce Springsteen silent on his Wal-Mart

read at
"Not since the heyday of John Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie has the working man had a friend like Bruce Springsteen. From his eulogies for the American Dream on “Born in the U.S.A.” to “The Grapes of Wrath”-redux of “The Ghost of Tom Joad” to the union-rallying music fueling “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions,” the Boss has championed blue collar causes.

So what led Springsteen to release his new hits package solely through Wal-Mart, a company that pro-union organizations including the AFL-CIO and American Rights at Work blame for “Main Street’s whitewashed windows and vacant stores” that haunt “My Hometown”?"

Google begins denying Google Video uploads

Read at TG Daily

"Mountain View (CA) - Google is looking to trim the fat from its global operations. The company will be looking for ways to replace or close non-performing or lesser-performing areas of its business. The first to go? Google Video, Google Catalog Search and Google Notebook."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Police Blotter: Google searches nab hit-and-run driver | Politics and Law - CNET News

read at Politics and Law - CNET News:
Police Blotter is a regular CNET News report on the intersection of technology and the law.

What: Google searches for phrases including 'hit-and-run' nab California investment banker who claimed he believed he killed a deer instead of a person.

When: California appeals court rules on January 14, 2009.

Outcome: Conviction upheld.

What happened, according to court documents and other sources:"

Google Giveth, and Taketh Away: Google Video, Notebook, Catalog Search, Jaiku, and Dodgeball to Shut Down

read at ReadWriteWeb:
"A number of Google services just announced that they are about to shut down. The Google Video team announced that it will shut down uploads in a few months, while the Google Notebook team announced that it is stopping development (the service will continue to function, however). According to Danny Sullivan, Google is also closing Jaiku, a Twitter-like micro-blogging service that was bought by Google before it even launched, but which has lingered in invite-only mode ever since. Google Catalog search, which made shopping catalogs searchable, will also be closed soon.

Update: Google will release the Jaiku code under the open source Apache license, so that other organizations can pick up where the Google team left off. It is not clear if current users will be able to transfer their accounts."

America's Most Valuable Retail Brands: Redesigned Walmart Brand Worth More Than Next 9 Retailers Combined

"Interbrand values Walmart brand at $129.8 billion, thanks in part to its new 'Save Money, Live Better' slogan, redesigned stores and about $400 billion in 2008 sales.

The first American retail brand study puts Walmart in a stratospheric class by itself with a brand value almost six times higher than that of second place Best Buy, at $21.98 billion, and almost twice as high as Coke, which is recognized as the world’s most valuable product brand. With its built-in advantages in a troubled economy, Walmart might even improve that position in 2009."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wal-Mart CEO Sees New Consumer Mind-set

read at
"NEW YORK — The economy will turn around some day — but don’t expect conspicuous consumption to make a comeback.

So believes H. Lee Scott, chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., noting the dismal economy has caused a permanent and fundamental change in consumer behavior.

The ceo of the world’s largest retailer spoke at the opening session of the National Retail Federation’s 98th annual convention and expo here Monday morning. In what he called his last public speech as Wal-Mart’s ceo — he’ll be succeeded by Mike Duke on Feb. 1 — Scott predicted the first half of 2009 will be “extraordinarily challenging. In the second half you’ll have a rough spot against the stimulus package. It will be moderately better next year. I don’t see anything that says it will turn around swiftly.”"

Interbrand Names Wal-Mart Top Retail Brand

read more at Brandweek:
"Low prices trumped panache as big-box stores crowded out department stores in Interbrand Design Forum's first ever survey of the top 50 retail brands.

In the report, released today, the New York branding agency named Wal-Mart to the top of the list. Best Buy, The Home Depot, Target and CVS rounded out the top five.

Among the study's inaugural findings: The best retail brands have a clearly defined purpose, 'surround the purchase with a relevant experience,' 'make good on the brand promise' and maintain a consistent brand quality and shopping experience over time. Moreover, the presence of such e-commerce retailers such as eBay (No. 11) and Amazon (No. 14) illustrates that the scope of retail brands is no longer defined by a purely brick-and-mortar"

Google Gets Serious About Resellers

read more at the "Google is opening the doors to resellers for its Google Apps suite of office services. Businesses who want to use Gmail, Google docs and other Google offices services in lieu of Microsoft or other solutions will be able to sign up at Google or through any qualified value added reseller that chooses to carry the products.

Google says that more than 1 million businesses and 10 million users use Google Apps today, and 3,000 new businesses sign up daily. The largest business user, Genentech, has 20,000 employees on Google Apps."

Google XML Sitemaps WordPress Plugins

from WordPress › Google XML Sitemaps WordPress Plugins:
Author: Arne Brachhold

This plugin will create a Google sitemaps compliant XML-Sitemap of your WordPress blog. It supports all of the WordPress generated pages as well as custom ones. Everytime you edit or create a post, your sitemap is updated and all major search engines that support the sitemap protocol, like, Google, MSN Search and YAHOO, are notified about the update."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Google Maps Mania

GoLots more at Collaborative Google Maps.
Not sponsored by or affiliated with Google.

"Map Channels Team Maps provides an easy way for groups to create collaborative maps and for websites and blogs to create maps which can be embedded and which can be edited by site visitors."

MelZoo takes on Google with split-screen search -

read more a
Written by Phil Muncaster, 12 Jan 2009

The latest in a long line of challengers to Google emerged at the weekend with the launch of a search engine called MelZoo, which has been designed to maximise user productivity.

The site differs from most other web search tools in that the results screen is divided in two. The left side shows search listings, while the right side displays the corresponding web pages."

Ultra High Resolution Paintings in Google Earth

read at Google Earth Blog

Google has added a new layer tonight. The layer is for the 'Museo Nacional del Prado' in Madrid, Spain. This layer is special because it shows you a selection of 14 paintings from the museum which have been scanned at ultra-high resolution. You use the Google Earth Photo Overlay feature to view the paintings. First, you can find the new layer in the Layers pane under: 'Geographic Web -> Preview -> Museo de Prado'. Once there, select the layer (if it isn't already) and double-click the 'Museo Prado' placemark. This will fly you to the museum. Make sure the '3D Buildings' layer is turned on to see the outside of the museum rendered in 3D. Then select the placemark 'Museo Nacional del Prado' and you should see 14 thumbnails of the paintings Google selected for showing (they said it was hard narrowing the choice to so few, but these are among the best)."

Monday, January 12, 2009

World's largest retailer gives us a small-mart | Cincinnati Enquirer | Cincinnati.Com

read more at Cincinnati.Com:

Out of the titan discounter's more than 3,300 stores worldwide, it has chosen this location to test a new retail strategy of shrinking inventory and the size of its supercenters to generate more sales per square foot - a key retail measure - while maintaining its appeal as a one-stop shopping destination.

Once a massive, 220,000-square-foot store on Smiley Road near Interstate 275 and Winton Road, the Walmart was remodeled and shrunk by 93,000 square feet late last year, reopening in November.

Like no other Walmart in the world, the smaller store has a new color scheme, wider aisles, lower shelving, 'green' lighting, unobstructed views and a renovated pharmacy and restrooms."

Crunching the Wal-Mart numbers

read more at Vallejo Times Herald
"A recent Times-Herald article on Wal-Mart's one-year anniversary quoted me accurately but omitted the exact figures for the city that Wal-Mart has contributed. Based on publicly released figures available from the state of California (\sutax\localdist.htm), we at California Healthy Community Networks have been able to determine the following figures:

Net revenue for American Canyon from retail sales in 2007/2008 (Aug. 14, 2007 to Aug. 13, 2008) -- $1,604,658

Since Wal-Mart opened mid-fiscal quarter, we estimate based on subsequent quarters that Wal-Mart and all of the other new businesses in American Canyon generated $147,257 that are not in the above figures.

This makes the total figures for retail sales in American Canyon for the period at $1,751,915.

Total sales for American Canyon in the comparable period for 2006/2007 is 1,256,451.

This makes the total generated difference between the Wal-Mart's opening and the previous year at $495,464.

Since specific businesses do not release their actual sales tax revenues, and the other new outlets in American Canyon (including a shoe store, Radio Shack, T-Mobile cell phones, a gas station, 10 new restaurants and two hotels) also contributed to the increase, we are left with the general impression that Wal-Mart contributed between $300,000 and $350,000 to the city's coffers in sales tax revenues. Wal-Mart promised more than $600,000 of sales tax revenues to the city of American Canyon. We at

California Healthy Community Networks would love to see Wal-Mart's actual figures and see if they are significantly different from what the state seems to claim and what Wal-Mart promised the taxpayers of American Canyon.

This $350k they did receive also has to cover the increased costs of having 2-3 shift officers patrolling either Highway 29 in front of Wal-Mart or the parking lot of Wal-Mart. Also, most critically for the long-term health of American Canyon, nothing in this money is going towards the upgrade of Highway 29 to 6 lanes that the citizens are required to pay now that the city approved the Supercenter going in on that state highway.

For you folks who may not have heard this part, the Wal-Mart Supercenter was not part of the city's long-term plans submitted to Caltrans for planning purposes. The city went ahead and approved the development in spite of the fact that Caltrans had no funding mechanism to expand the highway to accommodate the increased traffic and access required by a Supercenter. Caltrans denied a funding request from the city and the city sued in state court to force Caltrans to pay for the highway upgrade.

"Wal-Mart Moves Closer to Russia

Read more at the Moscow Times
12 January 2009

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, has registered a legal entity in Russia and joined a local retailers' organization, the latest in a series of moves indicating its interest in expanding into the country.

The company registered a subsidiary under the name WM Eastern Europe Holdings and joined the Russian Association of Retail Trade Companies, or AKORT, which includes the 28 largest commercial organizations in the country.

'Wal-Mart is working on the Russian market,' Ilya Belonovsky, the executive director of the 28-member industry group said Dec. 29. He declined to elaborate."

Hello Walmart Shoppers

read more at Today’s Trucking

"Beginning as a one-truck operation serving Eastern Ontario in 1990, Seaway has grown to over 65 units and has made a specialty out of serving the tightly scheduled Wal-Mart distribution Center, also located in the Cornwall Business Park.

Known as Supply Chain Management, the Wal-Mart depot handles all the stores' merchandise east of Ontario."

Wal-Mart Taps Agentrics to Support Great Value Re-Branding, Private Label Development

PR release at eMedia Wire

"Agentrics PLM Platform Core to World's Largest Retailer's Private Brand Growth Strategy

Chicago (PRWEB) January 12, 2009 -- Agentrics, a leading solution provider to the world's largest retailers and their trading partners, today announced that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT), the world's largest retailer, selected the Agentrics product lifecycle management (PLM) platform to support the collaborative development of its private brand products, beginning with the Wal-Mart Great Value line. Agentrics PLM features a Web-based, collaborative, end-to-end work process, database and production environment to drive speed, innovation and consistency across the product lifecycle. Agentrics has rebranded the Wal-Mart system, which is now referred to as 'Wal-Mart ASPECT' across the retailer's network.

In October, Wal-Mart and more than 500 suppliers began using Agentrics PLM to support the re-branding of the Wal-Mart Great Value line.

. . . Great Value is the highest selling consumer brand in North America..

Is Verizon Deal A Big Loss For Google? - 01/09/2009

Read more at MediaPost Publications "How big a loss is the Verizon mobile search deal for Google? BusinessWeek's Rob Hof says it depends on how Verizon positions search on its devices. However, as browsing via the mobile Web becomes more important, Hof wonders whether such deals are 'less important than they used to be.'

According to Nielsen Mobile, only 20% of mobile subscribers use search on their phones. Of those, 60% use Google, 18% use Yahoo and only 6% use Microsoft. Hof deduces that since Google's only exclusive deals are with Sprint Nextel and the Android-based T-Mobile G1 phone, 'it's clear that most people are choosing Google regardless of what the default search option is.'"

TiVo Redesigns Search Function, Wants to be the 'Google of TV'

read more at Gadget Lab from
". . . Still, this is a feature that is most helpful during passive browsing – if you're the type that already knows what you want, the new search will look much nicer but it won’t make a huge difference.

Already, some are saying that the search function is not fast at all but TiVo reps promise they're working on boosting that speed. That’s an important development that is critical if the company really wants to make this feature the 'Google of TV search.'"

Pen Computer

read more at BBC NEWS | |

"LiveScribe Pulse

After seeing a fellow journalist using this computer-in-a-pen at the show, I was already impressed, and the presenters here showed it off really well. So you're at a press conference or lecture. You take notes with the pen, which also records audio, on special paper with microdots built in. If your shorthand, like mine, is non-existent, you'll look back at your notes and puzzle to understand them. But tap on any word you've written down, and your recording will replay at the exact same point in the lecture. Clever, really clever.

So take your pick. I was most impressed by Bug Labs Bug and by the LiveScribe Pen but, like the judges on Strictly Come Dancing, I was out of tune with the public. The online audience voted for the Emware stress reliever, while the hooters and the hollerers in the hall chose the Eye-Fi video card. As an American politician said after being voted out, 'the people have spoken, the bastards.'"

T-Mobile G1 Powered by Google Android �

read more at Last Gadget Standing:
"Pros: As the first Android device, the G1 has a lot to prove; thankfully, in most key areas it’s a tour-de-force of functionality and user-friendliness. Eye-catching features like the Street View-controlling compass start off looking like gimmicks but end up must-haves, while HTC’s sturdy design may not win too many beauty pageants but doesn’t, at least, fall apart in your pocket.

Cons: Despite the hype, this is no iPhone killer; the G1 appeals to a whole different segment of users looking to tinker with their handset and have the open-source blessing of Google to do just that. For the rest of us, that means a smartphone with a few obvious omissions, like no on-screen keyboard, and the inevitable teething pains of a spanking new platform.

Recommendation: Undercutting the iPhone 3G’s outright purchase price, together with recently lowered monthly price plans, make the G1 a serious budget option as well as an open-source dream. Future Android devices may heap on the glamor, but they’ll owe no small debt to the G1. For innovation, flexibility, and promise, the G1 has to go forward."