Blog Review: Up Hill House

first_imgDecember 2009“I’ve been doing lot of reading lately about superinsulated net-zero houses and passive solar houses… As the articles say, why spend tens of thousands of dollars on a heating system when you only need to spend a few hundred a year? If you superinsulate, it makes sense to incorporate a right-sized heating system. So out with the masonry stove (sadly, I really like them) and the radiant floor (again, sadly). In with the small wood stove and some other small backup space heating system, yet to be determined.” September 2010“We have chosen our windows. If you remember earlier posts about our criteria for windows (April Update and Window Shopping), you’ll know that we were looking for low U-values (more insulation), high SHGC values (more heat from the sun), and low dollar values (more money in our wallets). We found 2 out of 3. Accurate Dorwin (based in Winnipeg, Canada) is going to make us windows with two different types of glazing. Our south-facing casement windows will have a 0.24 U-value and 0.47 SHGC. All other windows will have a 0.20 U-value and a 0.44 SHGC. The fixed window units are the most efficient with a 0.18 U-value. All values are whole window values. Serious came in second.” December 2008“The program is for a very small house (and barn, more on that in a future post), one bedroom, one bath, kitchen, living, dining and unfinished basement. We’re trying to keep it around 1,000 sq. feet, and as green as makes sense. No surprise, budget is the main driver. We want to do this without taking out a mortgage and by doing as much of the work as we can ourselves. Not just to save money, but because its just plain fun for us.” May 2010“It was a very hard decision (over 2 years in the making) but we’ve come to the realization that a wood stove is not in the cards for this house. We will however, have a patio fire pit, and reserve the right to maybe add an interior fireplace at a later date.” June 2010“We are the proud owners of a brand spank’n new hole in the ground. Foundation dig is complete. In other news, I was able to position the house precisely on the site this weekend, thanks to the new pin the surveyors placed on our boundary line last week. Which means I can now finish the site plan.“We also heard back from the engineer this weekend. Ugh, lots of work to interpret his calculations into the plans. But it’s good that we hired someone. It really was more complicated than I could do myself.” Larry and Jill Burks are self-described city folks building a house in upstate New York. It’s not any old house, but a 1,200-sq.-ft., superinsulated home that they hope will generate more power than it consumes in a year — a “net-positive” house.Their blog, Up Hill House, is the step-by-step story of how the house gets built, beginning in June 2008 when they bought 50 acres of land and a cabin near the town of Cambridge, N.Y.The couple had been looking for a place in New York City, but the best they could do was a 400-sq.-ft. apartment in Brooklyn that was on the market for $400,000. “Maybe it was my years of studying architecture, but I could not see spending the next 30 years paying a mortgage on a small soulless apartment with no redeemable architectural character,” Larry writes. “Not to mention no outdoor space. That’s when it hit me. This is crazy! There has to be another choice.”This change of direction helped launch their project, described in dozens of entries over the last 33 months. Larry offers an extremely detailed look at how the house was planned and how it’s being built, writing about everything from window selection to sitework and heating options. The tone is expert. It turns out that while Larry has an architecture degree, he designs “easy to use Web applications,” not houses. The couple has already moved out of New York to be closer to the project, and will live in the house fulltime once it’s completed.The two-bedroom, one-bath house should be finished in May, if all goes according to plan, and come in at about $142 a square foot. The house comes with R-44 walls and a R-75 roof, along with a 6.9-kW photovoltaic array.The blog can be read in two ways, either chronologically or by topic. So, if you want to follow the project as it unfolds, just start with Larry’s June 2008 post and work your way forward as the couple develops plans for the house, clears the site, and sees the house take shape. If you’re more interested in specific topics, such as windows and doors (11 posts), energy calculations (eight posts), or the foundation (eight posts), Larry has made that possible, too.It’s an engaging mix of technical and non-technical information, both personable and informative. And it gets to the inherent complexities of building a high-performance house. January 2011“As the snow piles up outside, I have turned my thoughts to Spring. Not only because it’s warmer and nature is waking from its long slumber, but also because I hope we will be conducting our first blower door test by then. Specifically I’ve been considering what type of results I should be expecting from the blower door tests, and how to interpret them.“We made the decision early on to build an air-tight house. This guided our choice of building materials, Zip system and tape for the exterior sheathing, gaskets and acoustical sealant to seal all other connections, and foam to seal gaps at the rims, windows and doors. The blower door test will help us seal any gaps we missed. But what target should we aim for? How do we know when the house it tight enough?”last_img read more

Ngannou could go from homeless to UFC heavyweight champ

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Next Embiid pulled in Ngannou for a bro hug and predicted the No. 1 contender would win by knockout in the second round.“That’s a good prediction,” Ngannou said.It would also be a long night of work for Ngannou. The 31-year-old Ngannou (11-1) hasn’t needed to go beyond the first round in any of his last four bouts and has never gone past the second in his 12 pro fights.Knock out Miocic, and Ngannou would complete the made-for-movies tale of homeless to heavyweight champ and position himself as perhaps UFC’s most dominant big man since Brock Lesnar.Ngannou fights just seven weeks after his stunning victory of Alistair Overeem at UFC 218 on a left uppercut that rolled the eyes of the fallen foe to the back of his head. The crushing KO has been replayed in perpetuity to hype Saturday’s fight.ADVERTISEMENT John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding MOST READ “I wasn’t able to have a kid life,” he said. “It’s not a good one. I don’t like it.”Ngannou found his way in his 20s and eventually visited the MMA Factory where he met his eventual coach, Fernand Lopez. Lopez would convince Ngannou to forget about boxing and drilled him in jiujitsu and wrestling and a career in MMA.Ngannou made his pro debut in 2013 and was in UFC about two years later in December 2015.Ngannou, who speaks French and English, has not forgot his past and was offended when President Donald Trump reportedly used a profane term to describe African countries last week.“All those people that he was talking about are people like us,” he said. “It’s kind of difficult to accept a thing like that. For myself, the goal for me was to lift my country and (to) see someone who just wants to break that dream, that hope for people (is tough). This guy is like a shame for America. America was built from immigration. America is the country that the world, the poor countries look at and, not expect America to give them something, but just to look at them as an example and build their own country and get a better situation.”Ngannou’s family is still in Cameroon and he wanted his mother and a 17-year-old brother (“he’s very smart”) to come live in the United States.Up first, a shot at the title.Standing in his way is Miocic (17-2), who has a date with heavyweight history and will set the UFC record for consecutive title defenses in the division at three with a victory.Ngannou has one plan — for that UFC title to get wrapped around his waist.“Life beat me up a lot of times,” Ngannou said, “and I want to take my revenge.” He’s not afraid to go face-to-face with anyone — even against his fellow Cameroon native, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid. Ngannou, 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, was absolutely dwarfed by the 7-2 Embiid in a visit Thursday morning at Sixers shootaround .Ngannou was ready to pull on his MMA gloves.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“He should be my next opponent,” Ngannou said.“I think I’d kick his ass,” Embiid said, laughing. Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics PLAY LIST 00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH01:42Stars face off at ONE: Dawn of Heroes01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City At Fenway Park, the heavy hitter said he can’t escape the clip of his biggest swing.“Any time I open my email, my Instagram, my story, people send it to me in different versions,” Ngannou said. “I think I did very well. It was all about to connect. And I connected.”Blink and you might miss the crowning of a new champ.“Good for him. He got a great knockout,” Miocic said.Ngannou’s rise was hardly as swift.Much like his Embiid, who only started playing basketball at 15, Ngannou was a late-bloomer to mixed martial arts. He was raised as one of five children in the poverty-stricken village of Batie and was only 12 when he went to work in the sand mines to support his family. Basically raised by a single mother, Ngannou was a Tyson fan and wanted to box, so he dabbled and drained in the sport for a few years. He knew there was little future in fighting stuck in the mines and realized if he wanted to become serious about the sport, he’d have to leave Cameroon.“If it was easy for me, I would have stayed in Cameroon,” Ngannou said. “I like to be close to my family. But one day, I felt like I didn’t have a choice. I left everything of my 26 years life behind me, closed the door and go somewhere where I don’t know what it looks like.”His new home was Paris. But Ngannou had no friends, no plan, no support system and lived on the streets. Ngannou worked in the kitchen for a humanitarian organization that helped homeless in Paris.“Being in the street in Paris, it wasn’t scary,” he said. “I embraced that situation because I knew worse than that. I’ve been in a worse situation than that one. Being in the streets in Paris was more comfortable than almost all the situations I’ve been though in my life.”And the worst situation? Australian Open: Svitolina into 4th round, ends 15-year-old Kostyuk’s run Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasacenter_img 8th Top Leaders Forum assessed the progress of public-private efforts in building climate and disaster resilient communities LATEST STORIES Do not bring these items in SEA Games venues FILE- In this Dec. 2, 2017, file photo, Francis Ngannou, left, hits Alistair Overeem in the first round during a UFC 218 heavyweight mixed martial arts bout, in Detroit. Ngannou defeated Overeem by first-round knockout. Ngannou has knockout power that snaps heads back like Pez dispensers and earned him comparisons to Mike Tyson in his ferocious heyday. Ngannou will compete in the heavyweight champion bout against Stipe Miocic in the main event of UFC 220. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez, File)BOSTON — Francis Ngannou has knockout power that snaps back heads like Pez dispensers and earned him comparisons to Mike Tyson in his ferocious heyday.Ngannou has stood tall against all opposition in his UFC career and his terrifying run has shaped the challenger into the betting favorite in the heavyweight champion bout against Stipe Miocic.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC View comments Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Asian shares slide on weak Japan data; US markets closed BI on alert for illegally deployed OFWs to Iraqlast_img read more

Bantamweight champ Reymart Gaballo demolishes Japanese foe for 2nd round KO

first_imgMOST READ Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes View comments Buoyed by the raucous home crowd, Gaballo had bad intentions from the get-go, unleashing combinations that had Nakamura on his heels.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparc ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants Read Next Private companies step in to help SEA Games hostingcenter_img Rising bantamweight Reymart Gaballo. Photo by Mark Giongco/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—Rising bantamweight Reymart Gaballo had high praise for his Japanese opponent Yuya Nakamura ahead of their 10-round fight.Gaballo predicted his bout with Nakamura would go the distance.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte But it wasn’t even close.The General Santos City native was too much for Nakamura with Gaballo needing only two rounds of light work to remain unblemished at 21-0, 18 of which by KO in the main event of ESPN5’s fight card Saturday night at Midas Hotel and Casino.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesThe 22-year-old Gaballo, the WBA interim bantamweight champion, knocked down Nakamura thrice, twice in the first round with an array of punches and the last in the second round in front of the Japanese corner.Gaballo was just stronger and quicker as he outclassed Nakamura, who had little to show. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss LATEST STORIES Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town US-based Romero Duno impresses in front of hometown crowd for WBA Asia lightweight title Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more

AUSTOUCH WEBSITE CHANGES

first_imgThe Touch Football Australia website will be undergoing a number of exciting changes to the layout and content of the site in the coming weeks.If you have any problems locating information throughout this time please contact Tara Steel technical@austouch.com.aulast_img

Lady Gaga Launches Born Brave Bus Tour

first_imgThe Born This Way Foundation (BTWF) has announced yesterday it will launch the Born Brave Bus Tour, which will join Lady Gaga on the road for the U.S. leg of her Born This Way Ball tour.The pre-concert “tailgate” will provide a space for young people, ages 13-25, to gather and celebrate their individuality in a safe arena where everyone is encouraged to be the person they were born to be. The Born Brave Bus Tour will allow youth to get more deeply involved in the Born This Way Foundation movement while also connecting them with local resources in their communities in an effort to inspire bravery and promote self-acceptance. Guests will join like-minded peers as they enjoy food, music by Lady Starlight, and fun, interactive activities.For the tour, BTWF has joined forces with several distinguished frontline partners at a national and local level including Campus Pride, GLSEN, Hive & YOUMedia, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Council for Behavioral Health, MENTOR, Mentoring USA, The Trevor Project and YSA (Youth Service America). Each organization will have an on-site presence, offering visitors access to resources available in their communities including behavioral and mental health services, school psychologists, mentoring, volunteer opportunities and bullying and suicide prevention resources. Guests to the Born Brave Bus will also have the opportunity to learn new digital media skills and to participate in research supported by BTWF.“Now more than ever, our kids need access to support within their communities, including mental health services,” said Cynthia Germanotta, BTWF President and Co-Founder. “By connecting youth to these local resources, we hope to plant the seeds that will help them deal with today’s challenges and inspire them to continue exercising their strength and bravery well after the Born Brave Bus leaves town. We are incredibly grateful to our partners for helping to make the Born Brave Bus Tour a reality. To have this many reputable, national organizations come together at a local level is revolutionary.”With Viacom as its lead media partner, the foundation has also partnered with the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The California Endowment and The Berkman Center at Harvard to explore the best ways to reach youth and create a new culture of kindness, bravery, acceptance and empowerment.Connie Yowell, MacArthur’s Director of Education, said, “MacArthur’s support for the Born This Way Foundation will help create opportunities for more youth to engage in learning that is relevant to their lives and prepares them for success in school, the workplace, and their communities. But for this to happen, teens must first feel safe and have access to information and resources to provide for their health and well-being, and the Born Brave Bus Tour will seed opportunities to do so across the country.”“The Born Brave Bus is highlighting the importance of youth service organizations around the country for a celebration of bravery and self-acceptance,” said Dr. Bob Ross , CEO and President of The California Endowment. “Add in a tailgate with music and food to make it cool, Lady Gaga is redefining bravery to mean it’s okay to have fun but also seek out services for anything from behavioral health challenges to safety issues in a youth person’s local community.”Philippe Dauman , President and Chief Executive Officer of Viacom, said, “We are proud to stand among the worthy organizations that have come together for the Born Brave Bus Tour. In the spirit of Viacommunity, we are engaging our partners to connect with youth where they live, through on-the-ground activities to deepen our collective impact.”The first stop of the Born Brave Bus Tour will be January 14th in Tacoma, Washington. For additional U.S. tour dates, click here. Before and after the bus’ arrival, head to the BTWF website for area-specific updates and later this month, youth will be able to pre-register for the Born Brave Bus experience in their area online at www.bornthiswayfoundation.org.To donate to the BTWF movement, please visit www.bornthiswayfoundation.org. Donations will go toward empowering young people, and addressing the issues of self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development. Together we will change our culture, and create a braver and kinder world.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

THE WORLDS MOST POPULAR CHILDRENS GROUP – THE WIGGLES – RETURN TO

first_imgWinnipeg, MB LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Tuesday, 10/24  Belleville, ON  Facebook Le Capitole de Quebec Burlington, ON  Wednesday, 10/18 The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts Saskatoon, SK  Friday, 9/29   Brantford, ON  Toronto, ON  The Fredericton Playhouse          Vic Juba Community Theatre Sunday, 10/8    Monday, 10/30  The Théâtre St-Denis Centrepointe Theatres Advertisement Arts Commons, Jack Singer Concert Hall The Burlington Performing Arts Centre Edmonton, AB  Advertisement Thursday, 9/28   Monday, 10/16   Québec City, QC Hamilton, ON   Northlands Coliseum Thursday, 10/12    Friday, 10/20    Brandon, MB Centre In The Square London, ON Centennial Hall The Capitol Theatre Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Friday, 10/13    Tuesday, 10/10  Saturday, 10/7   “We can’t wait to bring our favourite songs, both new and classic, to Canadian audiences this year!” says Emma. “It’s so exciting to see parents who grew up singing and dancing to The Wiggles now bringing their own children to experience the magic for themselves!”The Big Show! tour will include classic Wiggles songs like Hot Potato, Rock-A-Bye Your Bear, Do the Propeller and Get Ready to Wiggle and new music from the Nursery Rhymes album. The Wiggles will be bringing a full band (including bagpipes!), and will be joined by Scottish highland dancers, ballet dancers, Irish dancers, and many more!Canadian Tour Dates and Cities Include: Sunday, 10/15   Aultsville Theatre Central Alberta Theatre Thursday, 10/5  Red Deer, AB  Wednesday, 10/11 Saturday, 10/28 Guelph, ON   River Run Centre Halifax, ON   Peterborough, ON Thursday, 11/2    Plus more cities to be announced soon! Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, July 21st (check venue for local time).For a complete list of tour dates and ticket information for the Big Show! tour, please visit: www.thewiggles.com. Tour date and ticket information is subject to change.Anthony, Simon, Emma and Lachy can also be seen on ABC Kids in their wonderful Wiggle Town TV series.In 2016 The Wiggles performed 332 shows across the globe to some 330,000 fans, at 143 locations. 2017 will have seen The Wiggles tour extensively through Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland and North America.For even more Wiggly fun, like The Wiggles official Facebook page Facebook.com/TheWiggles, follow them on Twitter via Twitter.com/TheWiggles, follow them on Instagram @thewiggles, and subscribe (it’s free) to The Wiggles Youtube channel youtube.com/thewiggles. Join in on the conversation using the hashtag #wigglescanadabigshow.About The WigglesThe Wiggles are the world’s most popular children’s entertainment group which formed in Sydney, Australia in 1991. Having performed for over 26 years, it’s now the case that children who once saw the fab four of fun are now bringing their children to enjoy the best in early childhood entertainment! The last year has seen The Wiggles confirmed (GFK charts) as the #1 selling children’s artist on DVD, the #1 children’s entertainment live concert attraction, awarded a record 13 ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) awards for the Best Children’s Album (making them the most awarded artist in any one category). Award-winning and popular children’s entertainment group The Wiggles, return to Canada for their Big Show! tour, their biggest, yet most affordable show to date. The tour kicks off on September 27th and runs until November 2nd, 2017. Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday July, 21, 2017 (check venue for local time). Visit www.thewiggles.com for a complete list of tour dates. L to R: Anthony, Emma, Simon, Lachy. (CNW Group/The Wiggles) Burton Cummings Theatre Wednesday, 10/4 Monday, 10/23   Moncton, NB  TCU Place, Saskatoon’s Arts & Convention Centre Showplace Performance Centre Kitchener, ON   Friday, 10/27   Lloydminster, AB Wednesday, 9/27  TORONTO, July 20, 2017 – Get ready to Wiggle, Canada! Tickets go on sale Friday for the world’s most popular children’s entertainment group, The Wiggles, as they prepare to return to Canada for their Big Show! tour – their biggest show yet!Last year was a great year for the Aussie Fab Four, as they played 332 high-energy shows around the world to enthusiastic crowds. Emma, Lachy, Simon and Anthony are once again ready to delight families across the country with their incomparable brand of preschool entertainment. Audiences across the country will Wiggle down to their biggest and best show yet!  Best of all – since The Wiggles want every Canadian family to be able to enjoy their fun songs and dances, ticket prices for their new Canadian tour are the lowest yet.The tour kicks off on September 27th and runs until November 2nd, 2017. Canadian audiences will get the chance to see Anthony Field (Blue Wiggle), Emma Watkins (Yellow Wiggle), Simon Pryce (Red Wiggle) and Lachlan Gillespie (Purple Wiggle), along with their Wiggly friends Dorothy the Dinosaur, Captain Feathersword, Wags the Dog and Henry the Octopus! Montreal, QC  Cornwall, ON  Sunday, 10/1  The Empire Theatre Thursday, 10/26  Vernon, BC   FirstOntario Concert Hall Calgary, AB  Login/Register With: Advertisement Fredericton, NB  Ottawa, ON   Tuesday, 10/31 Scotiabank CENTRE Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium The Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts Twitterlast_img read more

Californias legal cannabis marketplace By the numbers

first_imgLOS ANGELES — After one year of broad legal sales, California’s marijuana marketplace remains in transition, as companies adapt to new rules and illegal operators continue to flourish. A snapshot of the emerging legal economy:— Estimated 2018 sales at licensed dispensaries and delivery services: $2.5 billion.— Breakdown of sales at dispensaries, by category: buds, 39 per cent; concentrates, 33 per cent; edibles, 16 per cent; pre-rolled, 8 per cent; topicals, 2 per cent; accessories, 2 per cent.— Number of cultivation licenses: 4,795— Number of retail storefronts: 531— Distributors: 996— Testing labs: 52___Sources: BDS Analytics; California Bureau of Cannabis Control; California Department of Food and AgricultureThe Associated Presslast_img

The Internet has connected the worlds people com

first_imgThe Internet has connected the world’s people, companies, and governments like never before. Is it any wonder then that it’s also a major focus for politicians?In his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, President Obama once again predictably called for a new package of cybersecurity legislation.We talked last week about some of the problems with new cybersecurity legislation and suggested the issue should be left to the market. While we stand by that position, it’s clear that many of the security products currently out there don’t do their jobs as well as they should. A survey of IT professionals published last week found that the average large organization wastes an enormous amount of time and money sifting through the nearly 17,000 malware alerts each week to find the 19% that are considered reliable.On top of cybersecurity rules, the president promised to push for net neutrality rules, as the White House has been doing for the last few weeks. Unlike so many of the programs listed in last night’s speech, this one could actually happen. The insistence on using ancient Title II regulations to do it is a message to Congress: the FCC has the power to make this into law all by itself, and if a Republican congress wants to stop it, it’ll have to either sue or pass a law, attempting to hand over more power to the telcos—something that probably won’t sit well come next election cycle. No wonder Obama waited six years to touch his campaign promise on net neutrality—it’s a powerful populist weapon.Last, Obama also promised more transparency in the government’s surveillance program. Considering the federal government’s record on transparency, I’d be skeptical about that one.As television viewership of the State of the Union has fallen steadily for years, the White House tried a new tactic to reach the American people on Tuesday: it broke its own media embargo by posting the entire text of the speech online before the president even began.Maybe one day they’ll realize we’re all tuning out specifically because we already know what they’re going to say.Windows 10—Free, with Lots of Bells and WhistlesMicrosoft is beginning to create a big buzz for the forthcoming Windows 10. It helps that the company will be giving it away for free to those with Windows 7 or 8 already… but only if they act fast and adopt it within the first year after release.Bribes to upgrade aside, the company is touting some pretty cool new features for the operating system, which will run on everything from cellphones to full-fledged PCs.First, it’s bringing its own personal assistant, Cortana, to the desktop. You can bet Apple will rush out a Siri app for OS X sometime before that happens. But with the possibilities available to Microsoft with Kinect’s array microphones and cameras, the company could finally get back ahead of its shiny Silicon Valley nemesis for some time again.The company is also doing away with the dated Internet Explorer, rebuilding and rebranding it as Spartan. Whether it can slow down the enormous growth of Google’s Chrome, which has soared to the top browser spot, remains to be seen. But with Firefox now defaulting to Yahoo search and Spartan most-likely doing the same for Bing, your browser choice may soon be more dictated by your search engine choice than its own features.The desktop isn’t the only place getting some love: Windows Phone is also getting its own version of Office, as well as deep Skype integration.The company also revealed the Surface Hub, a massive 84-inch, 4k resolution touchscreen for enterprise meetings. It uses Kinect-style sensors and its massive touchscreen to try and replace the whiteboard, the conference phone, and every other meeting gadget in one shot… when it will be released and for how much are still a mystery.And last but not least, it dipped even further into the research vaults to show off its own augmented reality headset and development platform: Windows Holographic and the HoloLens.The new OS won’t hit retail availability until late this year—much longer for the aforementioned gadgets, we’d guess. However, it already seems that—unlike the timid Windows 8 release cycle—this time the company is playing for keeps.Market-Moving FinancialsEarnings season is kicking back into gear once again, with the Q4 numbers starting to trickle in. On January 20, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) reported weak quarterly results. The chipmaker’s PC segment turned in a poor performance, despite stabilization in the PC market. AMD hopes to turn things around with its new line of Carrizo chips.In Q4, AMD’s sales totaled $1.24 billion, down from $1.59 billion in the year-ago quarter and roughly in line with the consensus. Adjusted EPS came in at $0.00, compared to $0.06 in the year-ago quarter and a penny less than the consensus. Revenue for the Computing and Graphics segment, which deals in laptop and desktop chips, was $662 million, declining from $888 million in the year-ago quarter.AMD’s turnaround plans include shoring up its position in PCs, the company’s core market. To that end, AMD is rolling out its Carrizo line of chips, which will ship in the second quarter. With Carrizo, AMD hopes to improve the battery life and performance on laptops. It’s also focusing on squeezing more graphics performance from the low-power chips—useful when playing games and watching high-resolution video.Following the report, AMD climbed over 5%.On January 15, Intel (INTC) reported a solid quarter, thanks to stabilization in the PC market and torrid growth in the data center segment. Mobile, on the other hand, was a drag on results.For Q4, Intel posted sales of $14.72 billion, up 6% from $13.8 billion in the year-ago quarter. Consensus called for sales of $14.70 billion. Adjusted EPS came in at $0.74, up 45% from $0.51 in the year-ago quarter and well ahead of the consensus of $0.66. For the full year, sales totaled $55.8 billion, compared to $52.7 billion in 2013, nearly a 6% increase. It was the first full year of revenue growth since 2011.In Q4, the company’s PC segment posted sales of $8.9 billion, up 3% from the year-ago quarter. This segment is benefiting from stabilization in the PC market, which stems from several factors, including Microsoft’s discontinuance of technical support of its Windows XP operating system, which encouraged users to upgrade to newer devices. Also, the rising popularity of hybrid tablet-laptop computers was a factor.The company’s data center segment was the main bright spot, at least in terms of growth. For Q4, revenues were $4.1 billion, up a whopping 25% from the year-ago quarter.Intel is desperately trying to make inroads into the mobile market. But revenues are heading in the wrong direction. For the quarter, mobile revenues actually totaled negative $6 million. That’s because Intel is paying subsidies to customers to take its mobile chips.On January 20, Netflix (NFLX) smashed earnings estimates and posted stellar growth, thanks to strong subscriber growth, especially overseas.In Q4, the company’s sales totaled $1.48 billion, up 26% from $1.17 billion in the year-ago quarter. Sales were roughly in line with consensus estimates. Adjusted EPS was $0.72, down 9% from $0.79 in the year-ago quarter, but well ahead of the consensus estimate of $0.44.Netflix continues to reel in loads of subscribers. For the quarter, the company added 4.33 million subscribers globally, ahead of the 4 million the company had previously forecast. International subscriber growth was especially robust, with the company adding about 2.43 million subscribers, a 40% increase from the 1.74 million added during the year-ago period. The company currently has 57.4 million subscribers globally.Netflix is making a strong push into original content, which provides a better ROI than licensed content. This year, the company will launch roughly one original series a month.On the heels of the report, Netflix soared 17%.On January 20, IBM (IBM) released financial results. In Q4, the company reported sales of $24.1 billion, slightly below the consensus estimate of 24.9 billion. Adjusted earnings per share came in at $5.81, well ahead of the consensus estimate of $5.41.For 2014, IBM’s sales were $92.9 billion, falling 7% from 99.8 billion in 2013. Adjusted earnings per share were $16.53, a 3% decrease from $16.99 in the prior year.Though the company blew away earnings estimates, share price slid over 5% in early trading. That’s because in addition to weaker than expected sales, the company issued a disappointing outlook for 2015, with midpoint guidance for earning per share at $16.13 versus consensus expectations of $16.51.Q4 marked the 11th straight sequential quarter that IBM’s sales have declined as the company fights to transition away from its traditional hardware, software, and tech services businesses to higher-margin and growth areas like cloud, security, analytics, and mobile. “We are making significant progress in our transformation, continuing to shift IBM’s business to higher value, and investing and positioning ourselves for the longer term,” says CEO Virginia Rometty.Analysts are worried, however, as they contemplate whether those new businesses can grow fast enough to keep up with deterioration of the old one. IBM’s destiny is beginning to look like a race against time.On January 20, Super Micro Computer (SMCI) posted top- and bottom-line results that smashed the Street’s estimates, thanks to strong demand for the company’s servers. For Q2 2015, Super Micro booked sales of $503 million, up a scorching 41% from $356 million in the year-ago quarter and miles ahead of the consensus estimate of $467 million. Adjusted EPS came in at $0.65, up 85% from $0.35 in the year-ago quarter and well ahead of the consensus estimate of $0.47.Super Micro makes servers, server boards, and power supplies. The company has a tight relationship with Intel, which allows it to be among the first to market products utilizing Intel’s latest chips. The close collaboration is paying off in spades, much to the dismay of server rivals such as Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, and Dell, all of which move much slower and charge much larger margins.Despite the strong quarterlies, Super Micro shares shed 5%.Bits & BytesIf you miss the satisfaction of snapping your phone shut like the good old days, you may be in luck. Rumors indicate that LG may be working on an Android flip phone.Meanwhile, Samsung is going on its own, dropping Qualcomm chips in favor of house-built ones.Amazon’s going greener. The company recently announced that it’s working with Pattern Energy Group to construct a 150MW wind farm in Indiana to help power its data centers.In other Amazon news, the company has also recently announced plans to make movies for theaters and Prime streaming. Amazon plans to produce up to 12 movies each year as part of the new initiative; the films will become available to US Prime subscribers just four to eight weeks after they hit theaters.For how much we talk about cyberwar, cybercrime, and cybersecurity in these pages, you regular readers may be shocked to read the list of the 25 most popular passwords of 2014. Spoiler alert: “123456” and “password” topped the list once again.Not quite as intimidating as The Terminator, this military cyborg biker that was presented to Russian President Vladimir Putin makes me think that our judgment day at the hands of killer robots is still a ways off.Apple has acquired the British startup Semetric, the company behind the music analytics service Musicmetric. The acquisition could be part of Apple’s plans to rebrand and relaunch the Beats Music streaming service it shuttered in September of last year.It turns out HealthCare.gov is more than just a crappy website. According to the Associated Press, it’s also quietly sending personal health information on millions of Americans to a number of third-party websites.SpaceX just raised $1 billion in new funding in a round that was four times larger than all its other rounds combined and included Google and Fidelity. The two new investors will now own just less than 10% of the company.Of course car-hailing service company Uber is in the news again this week… this time with its announcement that the four-year old company is already 3.5 times the size of the whole taxi market in its most mature market of San Francisco.Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that VCs pumped $48.3 billion into US startups during 2014, up 61% from 2013 and the most since the $105 billion invested in 2000.The Sony hack is back in the news again. New reports suggest that the only reason US officials were confident that North Korea was behind the attack is because the NSA has been spying on North Korea for years.Speaking of the Sony hack, Netflix will begin streaming the movie that was at the center of the controversy, The Interview, this weekend. If you’re a Netflix customer, you’ll be able to watch it for free starting Sunday.Overstock has announced plans to launch its own video streaming service to directly challenge Amazon Prime Video. The company plans to have about 30,000 titles available for on-demand service by mid-2015 and then start a streaming service with both acquired and original content by year end.Google Glass is dead, at least for now. The company said it will stop selling the current version of Glass. But Google insists this isn’t the end. The Glass team will move out of its Google X labs and into its own independent division. And according to the company “we’re continuing to build for the future, and you’ll start to see future versions of Glass when they’re ready.”Last week we reported that CNN was going to begin to use drones in its newsgathering and reporting efforts. Now the New York Times, Washington Post, and NBC are getting into the drone game as well, through a partnership with Virginia Tech to test drones for news gathering.If you’re worried that our skies will be littered with drones in no time and that privacy even on one’s own property will be a thing of the past, take solace in the fact that a team of commercial drone developers are creating a drone whose sole purpose is to seek, intercept, and destroy other drones that get too close.Facebook is trying to juice its app numbers by blocking third party apps from using the WhatsApp service it purchased last year. Maybe those ad growth numbers are slowing?Last, in a sign that despite the rapidly changing times, high-school students are still mostly the same—picking on each other, sharing dirty pictures, and rebelling from the traditions of their parents’ generation (like Facebook and Twitter)—Apple has had to ban for the second time in a matter of weeks the pseudo-anonymous chat app “After School.” The service has also proven, thankfully, less than fully anonymous: it provided data to Detroit police after a third student used it to threaten to bring guns to school, which resulted in an arrest.last_img read more