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Friday, July 25, 2014

Facebook Gain Makes Zuckerberg Wealthier Than Google Guys

By David de Jong
Mark Zuckerberg is now richer thanGoogle Inc. (GOOG) co-foundersSergey Brin and Larry Page.
The Facebook Inc. chairman added $1.6 billion to his fortune today after the world’s largest social network closed at a record. The surge elevated the 30-year-old’s net worth to $33.3 billion, moving him past Brin, 40, and Page, 41, as well asAmazon.com Inc. (AMZN) Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, 50, on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Zuckerberg is No. 16 on the ranking. The Google founders are 17th and 18th. Bezos occupies the 20th spot.
“He’s just getting started,” David Kirkpatrick, author of “The Facebook Effect,” said in a telephone interview. “He’s going to become the richest person on the planet.”
The Menlo Park, California-based company posted second-quarter sales that soared 61 percent to $2.91 billion yesterday, exceeding analysts’ average estimate of $2.81 billion. The company’s revenue gain follows Google’s results last week, when the Web-search company posted sales that topped analysts’ estimates, largely based on the strength of online ads.

Facebook (FB) has jumped 183 percent in the past 12 months, the biggest rally in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company trades at 82-times reported earnings, compared to a multiple of 18.2 for the S&P 500. Google is up 7.5 percent for the year.
Mobile promotions accounted for 62 percent of ad sales, up from 59 percent in the prior period. Net income more than doubled to $791 million, with profit excluding some items at 42 cents a share, above the projection of 32 cents. In total, Facebook accounted for 5.8 percent of worldwide digital ad revenue in 2013, up from 4.1 percent in 2012, according to EMarketer Inc.

Ad Revenue

The company’s performance also propelled the fortunes of other Facebook shareholders, including Dustin Moskovitz, the 30-year-old who started the social network with Zuckerberg at Harvard University a decade ago, and Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s 44-year-old chief operating officer who became one of the world’s youngest female billionaires in January. Sandberg owns about 9.9 million shares valued at $740 million and has collected more than $550 million in share sales.
“The company’s success is growing by the minute,” Kirkpatrick said. “There’s no sign it’s going to slow anytime soon.”

Bezos, Gates

Amazon reported its biggest quarterly loss since 2012 today as Bezos builds more distribution warehouses, adds grocery deliveries and develops new smartphones and tablets. The world’s largest online retailer had a second-quarter loss of $126 million, wider than the $7 million loss a year earlier, even as revenue climbed 23 percent to $19.3 billion. The Seattle-based company is down 10 percent for the year, and was down another 8 percent in extended trading.
Bill Gates remains the world’s richest person with an $84.7 billion fortune. The Microsoft (MSFT) Inc. chairman’s net worth has grown 7.9 percent this year, with five of his biggest holdings, including Microsoft, Canadian National Railway Co. and Republic Services Inc., accounting for almost $4 billion of the gain.
Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Facebook, didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment. Google spokesman Tim Drinan declined to comment. Drew Herdener, a spokesman for Amazon, didn’t immediately return an e-mail for comment.
The 58-year-old, who controls the majority of his fortune through holding company Cascade Investment LLC, also has collected about $400 million in dividends this year.
Gates is followed by Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim, who has a $78.8 billion fortune.
To contact the reporter on this story: David De Jong in New York at ddejong3@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Newcomb atpnewcomb2@bloomberg.net Matthew G. Miller

Bigger, faster rides may be hitting a peak

Brett Bodner, Asbury Park (N.J.) Press

JACKSON, N.J. — Engineering the tallest and fastest in amusement park rides is giving way to immersive experiences using technology, putting the "theme" back in theme parks.
Six Flags Great Adventure here opened its newest attraction July 4, Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom, which plunges riders 415 feet straight down at 90 mph — the world's tallest and fastest drop. But pursuit of the most extreme may be hitting up against the limits of human tolerance, said editor Robert Niles of Celebration, Fla.-based ThemeParkInsider.com, an online consumer's guide to theme parks.
"You're getting to the point where instead of making an attraction more popular by having it achieve some type of record, you're actually limiting the audience for that," he said.
Bret Ulozas, the New Jersey regional representative for American Coaster Enthusiasts in Grand Prairie, Texas, said once you begin to exceed 4 G's of gravitational force, you start to see a safety concern. At this point you can "gray out," almost like falling asleep.
Record-breaking rides face some financial drawbacks, too.
"Over the years, everybody tried to outdo each other because for marketing purposes it's the best thing to say you have the biggest, tallest or fastest. However, they painted themselves into a corner because as you get higher, it gets more expensive," Ulozas said. Six Flags does not release how much it spends on building rides.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando is one of the most prominent of immersive-experience theme parks. Visitors there encounter the world of the widely successful Harry Potter novels and movies as they walk through Hogwarts Castle and other venues.
"When you see the success Universal is having with its Harry Potter attractions, I think there's a pretty strong demand for story-driven theme park entertainment as opposed to just physical thrills," Niles said.
Ulozas said parks are trying to come up with more unique experiences.
"I've been seeing a lot of parks coming out with new style wood coasters that actually go upside down now, like Goliath at Six Flags Great America," he said. "This one takes it a step further and it has a different kind of metal hardware on the tracks so they're able to take this wooden roller coasters where they've never been before."
New experiences may be needed to help Six Flags (NYSE: SIX) shake out of its doldrums.
Six Flags disappointed investors with a second-quarter profit of 60 cents a share, falling short of expectations by 6%. Six Flags' revenue of $376.6 million also missed views, by nearly 5 percent.

This is the third quarter in the past five that Six Flags' profit has been short of expectations.
While high-profile injuries have occurred on amusement rides, the numbers of those hurt are quite small. 2012 had 1,424 injuries out of 324.1 million attendees — and 1.51 billion in ridership — for a rate of 4.6 injuries per 1 million in attendance, according to figures from the National Safety Council.
Jenny Mattaliano, 36, and her 10-year-old son, Donald, of Hamilton, N.J., weren't thinking about safety when they rode Zumanjaro on July 11, just the thrill of the extreme.
"When you think you're done screaming, you're still falling," Jenny Mattaliano said, still out of breath from the ride. "I love rides, and it's probably the best ride here."
New technology has opened the door for new and safer ride experiences, according to engineer Jim Seay, president of Premier Rides in Baltimore.
"You have the ability for rides to be unpredictable and have projection technologies that can put you in a very immersive environment," Seay said. "When you combine all of these technologies, I think you're going to get rides that can be highly personal and make you feel as if you're part of the attraction."

‘Zumanjaro: Drop Of Doom’ is the newest record breaking attraction at Six Flags Great Adventure and Gillian Pensavalle (@GillianWithaG) tells you all about the 415 foot drop that will make thrillseekers very happy. Video provided by Buzz60 Newslook

Making a Mark: LJA architect designs 1,000th hotel

 His first hotel was a Super 8 built in Waterloo, Iowa, by local hotel developer Gary Tharaldson in 1988.
Goldade was working for a church builder at the time. He was licensed in several different states and Tharaldson needed an architect who could work in Iowa.
A longstanding business relationship developed. Goldade consulted on a number of additional hotels before moving to Fargo to accept a full-time position with Tharaldson Development in 1997.
In 2001, he joined LJA, where he continued to design for Tharaldson as well as a number of other hotel developers.
Goldade has designed hotels in 42 states, spanning from Alaska to Texas and California to New York. He has worked with franchises including Marriott International, Choice Hotels, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Worldwide, LaQuinta and Best Western International.
One of his favorite projects was a four-hotel complex constructed on one site just a few blocks off the Las Vegas Strip.
He said what still gets him excited about the job is the challenge.
“It’s fun to get a project done at a location where it’s extremely difficult to get in there,” he said. Challenges include how much space there is to work with, getting the highest room count possible into a tight site and local jurisdictional covenants that restrict how and what can be built. All of these must be considered while still following the franchise’s guidelines for appearance.
While much of his focus today is on hotel design, Goldade has been involved in a number of other commercial projects over the years. His most recent was serving as the lead architect of the North Dakota Heritage Center’s multimillion-dollar expansion in Bismarck.
Honors: Under Goldade’s leadership, LJA has earned a number of honors including Top Architects & Designers, Top Hotel Design & Architecture Firms, Leading Commercial Architecture Firms and Top Commercial Architects.

Monday, July 21, 2014

James Garner dead at 86: Actor leaves big legacy as a ‘Maverick’ on the small screen

by David Hinckley NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

With starring roles in ‘Maverick’ and ‘The Rockford Files’ among the many standout turns on his resume, Garner shined as a non-traditional good guy.

Here's why we loved James Garner's TV characters: because they reassured us that even guys with no visible heroic traits could somehow beat the bad guys in the end.

Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford, who were basically the same character in different footwear, were the antithesis of almost every traditional good guy on television.

When Bret rode into town in 1957 with the drama "Maverick," justice in Western towns was almost always administered by men like Marshall Matt Dillon, played by James Arness on "Gunsmoke."

Matt Dillon was tall, handsome, rugged, fair-minded, moral and a straight shooter. Like his Silver Screen predecessors — John Wayne comes to mind — he was a righteous firewall whose very presence left no doubt justice would prevail.

Bret Maverick had no such ambitions. He was a gambler who aspired to become nothing higher than a hustler. He'd be happy, he insisted, to finesse a few bucks and leave town untroubled by any gunfire he heard behind him on his way out.

Unfortunately, that plan kept not working out. He kept getting drawn into disputes that kept forcing him to dispense justice.

He didn't use a gun much. He started with his wits and when necessary moved on to his fists.
If there were a hall of fame for TV Western fistfights, Bret's battle with Clint Eastwood's Red Hardigan in the 1959 episode "Duel at Sundown" would be a charter inductee.

The late, great Garner, pictured in 1959, broke big as the star of the television series, ‘Maverick.’ABC PHOTO ARCHIVES/ABC VIA GETTY IMAGESThe late, great Garner, pictured in 1959, broke big as the star of the television series, ‘Maverick.’
At the same time, that episode even better illustrated the real agenda of "Maverick," which was to find laughs where most shows found only the other stuff.

After the fight, Bret finds himself in a rare six-shooter showdown with the outlaw John Wesley Hardin. Except "Hardin" turns out to be his brother Bart, played by Jack Kelly. Yup, the Maverick brothers stage a fake shootout to fool Red.

As the brothers ride away unharmed, they pass the real John Wesley Hardin, who's blasting his way into town with steam coming out of his ears to find the varmint who "killed" him.


Bret Maverick wasn't the only non-traditional Western hero on TV in the 1950s. Richard Boone's Paladin on "Have Gun Will Travel" was dark and haunted. Steve McQueen's bounty hunter Josh Randall on "Wanted: Dead or Alive" was hardly a classic white hat.
But no one had the same qualities as Maverick. He wasn't the fastest or the toughest. He may not have been the smartest.

He just had the best sense of humor.

We also sensed he was on our side even as he denied he was serving any cause beyond his own. No matter how dire things looked, there was a wink in there somewhere saying things would work out okay.

Bret Maverick rode into the sunset too early, when Garner got into a real-life contract dispute with Warner Bros. during season 3.

He headed off to the movies, where he did mighty well, and in the long term that early exit probably enhanced Bret's legacy. We hadn't had enough.

Neither had Roy Huggins, who created "Maverick," and 14 years later had the idea of reviving Bret as a modern-day outlier.

So we were in a receptive mood in 1974 when Huggins created Jim Rockford, a low-budget private investigator who, like Bret, had neither the personality nor lifestyle of most of his TV colleagues.

He lived in a mobile home. He liked to eat Mexican food. He really liked to go fishing. He couldn't keep a relationship with a woman for more than one episode. He hung out with a bizarre posse whose help often got him beaten up. He constantly was taking cases so low-end you wondered how they ever got on television.

His one seeming indulgence was that every season except the last, 1979, he got a new Pontiac Firebird. That may have been a contract demand. In real life, Garner loved great cars, and what beat the muscle cars of that era?

Garner holds a dollar bills in one hand, and a handgun in the other in a 1977 publicity shot for 'The Rockford Files.’SILVER SCREEN COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGESGarner holds a dollar bills in one hand, and a handgun in the other in a 1977 publicity shot for 'The Rockford Files.’
However much fun he made the ride for himself, he made it just as much fun for us.

"The Rockford Files" developed characters like a good drama and put them in situations that sometimes seemed closer to a good sitcom.

As with Bret Maverick, it's probable that some other actor somewhere could have played Jim Rockford. It's just hard to think who, since Garner had a rare ability to look like he was telling the joke at the same time he was putting it on pause for just long enough to solve the problem.

He was one of those characters, all of whom we love, who would look down at their feet, go "aw shucks" and then when it mattered dash out and save the damsel from going over the falls.

As a matter of fact, that's how we see the founding fathers of the whole country, as a bunch of farmers and tradesmen who, when things just got too oppressive under King George, held a meeting and said, ‘Enough, it's time to run this thing by ourselves.’

Granted, we don't always immediately think of the founding fathers when we think of Bret Maverick or Jim Rockford.

But if you went to a ball game, who would you rather sit next to? Bret Maverick or James Monroe?

Sometimes you don't need to found a country. You just want to have some fun.

Riding the Juggernaut That Left Print Behind

by David Carr
Even if you aren’t one of those people worried about media consolidation — there are many in that number — the big bolt of lightning last week that pierced a summer of ennui in entertainment and publishing news was hard to resist.

The unrequited bid that Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox made for Time Warner Inc. had it all: defensive consolidations taking shape in both distribution and content production; two like-size media behemoths in an awkward, high-stakes dance; secret meetings; board intrigue; and a naked grab for size and power. Plus, there was the gift that keeps on giving: Mr. Murdoch on the prowl.

It was as if a big train with the word FUTURE emblazoned on its side was revving up. But it was difficult not to notice that one car had been uncoupled and would not be leaving the station.

Even though both companies involved in the merger discussions were built on print franchises — Mr. Murdoch’s newspaper empire, and the storied Time Inc. magazine brand — neither owns print assets anymore. In fact, 21st Century Fox is in a position to make a deal and Time Warner is an attractive target partly because they both got rid of slow-growth print divisions. To the extent that the proposal offered a crystal ball on the future of media, print doesn’t seem as if it will be much a part of it.

Mr. Murdoch moved onto his next quarry only after he had quarantined his own print assets under a separate public company. And Time Warner took on new allure when it shed those dowdy old magazine properties that now trade under their own ticker. Print has lost value in business realms because it has, in fundamental ways, lost traction with you and me.

Think about what happened when the Malaysian airliner was shot down in eastern Ukraine. No matter where you were, or what you were doing, an ambient feed of information pulsed and heaved all around you. Graphic images soon appeared in social media feeds and breathless news alerts arrived in the inboxes of anyone with even a casual interest.

I happened to be at CNN for a taping session when news of the downed jetliner broke, and you could see the entire apparatus come roaring to life, getting everything in place to cover the kind of story — big stakes, scary pictures and international consequences — that a 24-hour news channel was made for. Then again, given the ubiquity of information and delivery devices, we already sort of live in an always-on news network.

Between the flood of information online and the wall-to-wall television coverage, what is left for print? The Wall Street Journal devoted special reports and remarkable video to the events in Ukraine and Gaza. And The New York Times responded like the digital news organization it is becoming. Vivid on-scene reporting was accompanied by early video, with step-back analysis of what it all meant.

I am a faithful reader of The Journal’s and The Times’s print edition. Both are built on a wonderful technology for discovering and consuming news, and a large part of their profits still reside in that daily artifact. But when big things happen, I stayed glued to the web, at The Times and other great news sites.

Nothing can compete with the shimmering immediacy of now, and not just when seismic events take place, but in our everyday lives. We are sponges and we live in a world where the fire hose is always on.

But once a sponge is at capacity, new information can only replace old information. Last month, researchers at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand published a study that found that comprehension, concentration and retention all went off a cliff when information was taken in online. (Then again, there are those who say that we see everything and remember nothing because we don’t have to, that the web now serves as our memory.)

Online, we are always beckoned forward to the next great thing, often right in the middle of what we thought we wanted to read about. Consider how many times you have clicked a link early in an article and never returned to what brought you there in the first place.

As somebody who lives in the news cycle, is far too engaged on Twitter and has almost as many devices for consuming media as I do fingers, I’m not so much a digital native as a digital casualty.

For the last six months, my magazines, once a beloved and essential part of my media diet, have been piling up, patiently waiting for some mindshare, only to be replaced by yet another pile that will go unread. I used to think that people who could not keep up with The New Yorker were shallow individuals with suspect priorities. Now I think of them as just another desperate fellow traveler, bobbing in a sea of information none of us will see to the bottom of. We remain adrift.

As Alexis Madrigal wrote in The Atlantic, “it is easier to read ‘Ulysses’ than it is to read the Internet. Because at least ‘Ulysses’ has an end, an edge. Ulysses can be finished. The Internet is never finished.”

I don't miss the smudged ink on my fingers at all. Far too my ruined ties and dirty white shirts to mourn the loss of newsprint.

My husband and I are both writers and avid consumers of information. But that's where the similarity ends and our worlds diverge.

Most of the "breathless news alerts" in my Inbox arrive from The New York Times. Who still own a print division, from what I understand.

Some days, when I board the bus or train to the city, I’ll stash a print copy of The Journal in my bag with a magazine or two, in high hopes of reading them. And after I settle in, I will check my email on my phone. The relevant message usually comes in faster than I can get rid of it. Sometimes when people ask what I do for a living, I am tempted to say that I write emails.

On Thursday, I was scheduled to take a three-hour train ride up the Hudson Valley and I decided this was it — a clean block of time to rectify my print deficit. I picked a doozy of a day: The news cycle seemed to go on tilt, with the downed jetliner, the Israeli ground invasion in Gaza and the untangling of an immense proposed media merger. But I resisted, leaving my devices in the bag and pulling out a stack of magazines.

I read New York magazine’s delicious profile of the journalist Kara Swisher of Recode, took in a long interview that the Virginia Quarterly Review conducted with one of the world’s leading origami makers and stared at an exquisite photo essay in The Pitchfork Review. I grazed the sassy delights of The Hollywood Reporter, and in Fast Company, I learned how Mark Zuckerberg wants to own our (increasingly) mobile lives.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
Purposefully, but not in a hurry, I caught up on the remarkable television and film writing in The New Yorker and contemplated interesting, different versions of being a male in GQ and Esquire.

I was having a moment, one without informational angst or FOMO (fear of missing out). And when I finished something, I spent time staring out the window at the unspeakably pretty Hudson River. I came to rest.

Still, there was some trouble in paradise on the Ethan Allen Express. More than a few people around me were cursing the indifferent Wi-Fi as they desperately tried to remain tethered to the grid. Behind me, a passenger made serial phone calls in a mind-erasing loud voice. “I’m on the train!” he would always begin.

It struck me that part of the reason we always stay jacked in is that we want everyone — at the other end of the phone, on Facebook and Twitter, on the web, on email — to know that we are part of the now. If we look away, we worry we will disappear.

We are all on that train, the one that left print behind, the one where we are constantly in real time, where we know a little about everything and nothing about anything, really. And there is no quiet car.