Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Allegiant Starts Nonstop Bakersfield-Las Vegas Service

Allegiant announced that, beginning November 17, the travel company will offer nonstop service between Bakersfield, CA, and Las Vegas, with one-way introductory rates of $29.99 when purchased by October 2010 for travel through March 8, 2011. Following the introductory fare period, one-way fares on the route will start from $39.99.

In November, three weekly flights will travel between Meadows Field Airport and McCarran International Airport: Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Flights departing Bakersfield at 6:45 p.m. will arrive in Las Vegas at 7:50 p.m. Flights leaving Las Vegas at 5 p.m. will touch down into Bakersfield at 6:05 p.m. onboard a full-size, 150-seat MD-80 jet aircraft.

The Las-Vegas based company also offers air and hotel vacation packages with more than 40 of Sin City's hotels, including Venetian-Resort-Hotel-Casino, Paris Las Vegas, Caesars Palace and ARIA Resort & Casino, among others.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bing App for IPhone Updated With Travel, Map Features

Microsoft has rolled out an update to its Bing app, gracing it with a new travel feature, a "nearby" feature, and some map enhancements.

The Bing app is Microsoft's answer to the search-friendly Google Mobile App. Bing offers voice activated search, maps and directions, and a few other tricks meant to help iOS users get the information they need.

New in version 1.3 of Bing is a flight and travel deals search engine that predicts whether travel prices for your destination will increase or decrease in the near future. The "nearby" feature lets you know about hot places near your location by employing the iPhone's geo-location capabilities. Bing's map feature has also been enhanced with new pop ups that display over the maps, providing info on traffic, business listings, and more. Finally, Microsoft added neighborhood labels to make it easier to find certain locations.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Nestle to invest $500M in medicinal foods business

Nestle will plow some $500 million into expanding its medical nutrition business over the next decade, in a bid to capture a slice of the growing market for foods to treat chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity, the Swiss consumer company said Monday.

Nestle SA said it wants to "pioneer a new industry between food and pharma" by creating a medical nutrition institute in Switzerland and a stand-alone subsidiary called Nestle Health Science SA.

The Vevey-based company is already one of the world's biggest producers of processed foods including Nesquik cereal, Haagen-Dazs ice cream and Nespresso coffee, with sales of some $100 billion last year.

The decision to expand its medical nutrition segment is a direct challenge to North Chicago, Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories, which has steadily increased its presence outside the traditional pharmaceutical market.

Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Nestle's chairman and former chief executive, said health care systems worlwide are struggling to cope with the growing number of people suffering from diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's.

"Finding efficient and cost-effective ways to prevent and treat acute and chronic diseases" will be the goal of Nestle's research combining food and medical science, he said.

Friday, September 24, 2010

TREASURIES-Losses on strong business spending, stock rally

* Strong Aug business spending boosts stocks, hurts bonds

* Stronger economy sign dents confidence Fed will buy debt

* Stock gains lure investors from safe-haven bonds

* Aug new home sales flat, but inventory at 42-year low (Adds comment, updates prices after home sales data)

By Ellen Freilich

NEW YORK, Sept 24 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasuries fell on Friday as news businesses spent heavily in August dented bond investors' confidence the Federal Reserve would need to buy debt to help the economy.

News of revived business spending spurred stock gains, drawing investors away from safe-haven U.S. government debt after a week-long bond rally. Traders cited talk of a very large asset allocation trade from bonds to equities.

The government said total orders for long-lasting goods fell in August. But what grabbed attention was what the report said about business spending: orders excluding non-defense capital goods and aircraft rose sharply.

"Business spending has a lot of momentum," said Cary Leahey, economist at Decision Economics in New York, pointing to the data as the reason for the drop in Treasury prices.

Because the market has rallied so much over the last week - fueled by the conviction the Federal Reserve would support the economy with additional debt purchases - it was vulnerable to second thoughts, analysts said.

"The signs of strength caught (the market) off-guard," Leahey said. "The market had leaned too far. It got slapped by the report, and now it's overreacting."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tata Motors green bus: Hybrid buses to be used for public transportation

For a city that has for so long been at the forefront of adopting clean fuels for its public transportation, the Delhi Transport Corporation has now taken its 'going green' tag to an entirely different level with the recent introduction of four new CNG-Electric Hybrid Bus, courtesy Tata Motors.

This is the first time in Indian automobile history that hybrid buses will be used for public transportation. Coming into force at a time when the city's cry for logistic assistance is the loudest, the four Hybrid buses of Tata Motors will run in the city during the Commonwealth Games period. Tata Motors will also maintain the buses, as it does for the fleet of Tata low-floor CNG buses running in the city.

Gracing such a strategic move by Tata Motors at the advent of an even greater sporting event, Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit, flagged off the hybrid buses in the presence of ministers, top Government of Delhi officers, senior DTC management, Tata Motors' Managing Director - India Operations, P M Telang, and the President -Commercial Vehicles, R Pisharody.

On behalf of the very first Indian OEM to ever manufacture a public transportation vehicle of this nature, Mr. Telang said, "The CNG- Electric Hybrid Tata Starbus is a result of Tata Motors' advances in alternate fuel technologies, including electric vehicles. We are grateful to the Government of Delhi and the DTC for giving us this opportunity of showcasing hybrid buses in the city of Delhi during the Commonwealth Games. We will eagerly look forward to the feedback of the DTC and passengers."

The Hybrid Tata Starbus has been built for intra-city transportation, and is powered by a parallel hybrid engine comprising of an internal combustion CNG engine and an electric motor using regenerative energy storage system. Offering substantial improvement in fuel economy compared to a conventional bus, this technology leads to lower emissions, thereby contributing to cleaner air and a more environment-friendly commercial passenger transportation application.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dell CEO: Overall Business Likely To Grow 20% In Current Quarter

SAN FRANCISCO (Dow Jones)--Dell Inc. (DELL) unveiled its second tablet computer Wednesday, a move that expands its portfolio of mobile devices and ramps up the competition for Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPad device.

The 7-inch tablet will run Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android smartphone operating system, Dell Chief Executive Michael Dell told an audience at Oracle Corp.'s (ORCL) annual conference in San Francisco. He did not provide other technical details or its expected release date.

Representatives of the Round Rock, Texas-based company did not immediately respond to requests for more details.

The move comes roughly five months after Apple began selling its iPad, igniting consumer interest in the emerging tablet computer category. Apple sold more than 3.3 million iPads in its first quarter of sales, while a host of other computer makers are rushing similar devices to the market.

Dell released its first tablet device, dubbed the Streak, earlier this year in Europe before releasing it in the U.S. That device is 5-inches--half the size of the iPad--can make and receive calls, and runs Android.

The Streak's impact on Dell's financial performance is expected to be muted. Shortly after its debut, Dell said initial sales were "interesting, exciting, but immaterial to Dell's $60 billion in revenue."

Dell said the Streak would be available at Best Buy Co. (BBY) stores soon.

Dell has indicated that it is willing to take chances in the tablet computer market. In June, Chief Financial Officer Brian Gladden said in an interview, "We'll have a series of these devices," adding that low development costs allow the company to test different form factors on the market.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Travellers furious over hidden airline fees

FED-up travellers have vented their frustrations about hidden airline fees as part of a new campaign hoping to provoke change in the industry.

Three US travel advocacy groups: the Business Travel Coalition, the American Society of Travel Agents and Consumer Travel Alliance have joined together to create a new website,

The site encourages travellers to vent about situations where they feel they’ve been ripped off or surprised by extra fees as part of a push to make airline pricing more transparent.

“(Travellers) are tired of arriving at the airport and finding huge unexpected costs for travel services they thought were part of the ticket price,” Kevin Mitchell, Chairman of the Business Travel Coalition, said.

Common passenger gripes include being hit up for advanced seating, extra baggage and wanting more legroom.

Traveller Paul, from New York, said he was shocked when he was hit with extra charges while booking discounted airline tickets online.

"I first joined the $9 fee club from Spirit Airlines for the cost of $39 in order to receive a discounted fare," Paul said.

"Just as I was about to submit my payment information I was prompted to the seat selection screen and to my dismay I discovered there was a hidden charge of $85 and 10 minutes to choose a seat.

"Needless to say I am miffed and I think this is an unfair practice."

Passengers aren't the only ones frustrated by the fees, with travel agents complaining airlines are making it difficult for them to compare ticket prices.

“For a travel agent, comparing air travel costs without fee transparency is like trying to read a book with half the pages torn out,” Paul Ruden, Senior Vice President of Legal and Industry Affairs for the American Society of Travel Agents, said.

To coincide with the launch of their website the groups conducted a survey of nearly 1400 travellers, finding that two-thirds of respondents had been surprised at the airport by unexpected fees and 99 per cent want airline to disclose all of their fees on all sites selling their tickets.

Monday, September 20, 2010

IBM to buy Netezza for $1.7bn in cash

IBM on Monday announced an agreement to buy Massachusetts-based Netezza Corporation for $1.7bn in cash, in a deal which adds to recent deal-making momentum in business software and services.

An acquisition by the US technology group of the data warehousing and business analytics company would follow Hewlett-Packard’s victory over Dell this month in the battle to acquire storage technology company 3Par for $2.4bn.

There was no immediate sign of a rival to IBM’s bid, but analysts would not rule one out as Netezza’s share price climbed 13 per cent to $27.80 in midday trading on Monday, above IBM’s offer of $27 a share.

“Someone could swoop in at the eleventh hour and try to outbid IBM,” said Shawn Rogers, analyst at Enterprise Management Associates.

“There were whispers on the street that Netezza was on the block and many of us thought that HP would be the one to buy them, so [a counterbid] would be no surprise.”

Netezza would have to pay IBM $56m if it terminates the deal. 3Par paid Dell a $72m break fee in order to accept HP’s final offer of $33 a share, which was more than three times the $9.65 3Par was trading at before Dell’s initial $18 bid.

IBM’s offer represented only a 10 per cent premium to Netezza’s closing price on Friday, although analysts at Stifel Nicolaus pointed out that Netezza was trading at only about $14 prior to Dell’s 3Par bid in August.

“We expect [the IBM deal] to continue to support ongoing M&A-driven valuations across the technology landscape,” they said, citing likely future investor interest in technology companies such as CommVault, Compellent, Isilon and NetApp.

IBM said the Netezza deal would help it expand its business information and analytics offerings. Net-ezza’s 500-strong workforce would supplement 6,000 IBM consultants in this area. IBM’s analytics business grew 14 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter and it has spent $12bn in 23 analytics-related acquisitions over the past four years. Sam Palmisano, IBM chief executive, said in May he was planning $20bn in acquisitions over the next five years.

Friday, September 17, 2010

No. 8 Cornhuskers travel west to face Washington

The Cornhuskers spent the first two weeks of the season cleaning up on Western Kentucky and Idaho before a sea of red, piling up impressive stats on their way to a pair of blowouts.

There will still be plenty of red inside Husky Stadium on Saturday, but facing Washington on the road is clearly the first challenge of Nebraska's season.

"We need to play well Saturday. I can tell you that. We expect to play very well Saturday, and I think we've been a pretty good road team," Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. "I like our approach on the road. I like the way our team comes out and the attitude they take. This will be a different kind of challenge going farther away, but I think our guys are ready to play. Our guys are looking forward to this game."

Saturday's intersectional matchup will help determine whether the Cornhuskers (2-0) are worthy of their lofty early season ranking. A true assessment won't arrive until Big 12 play starts next month, after Nebraska closes out its nonconference slate next week at home against South Dakota State.

That makes facing Washington (1-1) the lone opportunity for getting a true gauge of the Cornhuskers. Are they the dominant force that scored 87 points in their first two games with redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez darting around the field like Eric Crouch and Tommie Frazier in years past? Is this the same team that in its last game versus a BCS conference opponent shutout Arizona 33-0 in the Holiday Bowl last December?

Or will it be the team that hasn't won a road game against a BCS conference team, outside the Big 12, since a 2007 win at Wake Forest?

"The first two opponents were good teams, but going against a team like Washington, we're really going to see how far we've come and what we're made of," Nebraska defensive tackle Jared Crick said. "It's going to be a great challenge. If we can come out of there with a 'W,' it's going to tell a lot of things for us."

Washington also has a streak it would like to see end and has a bit of eerie similarity on its side. Take away a 2007 win over Boise State and a handful of Pac-10 victories and the Huskies have not beaten a ranked team from the other five power conferences - plus Notre Dame - since a 2001 win over Michigan to open the season. They're 0-9 during that stretch with losses to Ohio State (twice), Oklahoma (twice) and Miami, to name a few.

The Huskies got attention with their upset of then No. 3 Southern California a year ago. A win over Nebraska could return even more respect.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

UPDATE 1-US Democrats reject R&D tax credit bill

U.S. Senate Democrats rejected a bill on Thursday to make a business research tax credit permanent after Republicans tried to attach it to a long-stalled small-business bill.

Democrats rejected the research and development tax credit on the grounds that it would delay passage of a larger small-business bill, which President Barack Obama is pushing for as part of his efforts to jump-start the economy.

Democrats later on Thursday passed their small-business bill, which Republicans had delayed since late July, to show voters they are working to improve the economy ahead of the Nov. 2 elections.

Democrats argued that attaching the R&D measure would cause further delays by forcing it back to the committee level.

"These motions are the way that folks score points, these motions are the way that folks try to embarrass," Democrat Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus said.

Making permanent the research and development tax credit is one of Obama's signature proposals to jump-start the economy, and enjoys bipartisan support. The federal tax credit is now expired but is typically renewed annually.

"If Senate Democrats really want to do something for private sector jobs in this country, they should support Senator's Hatch's bipartisan R & D tax credit," Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said.

Most Republicans oppose the small business measure, calling it a bailout because it includes a $30 billion lending fund.

Republicans have blocked most of the Democrats' job creation bills this year and Democrats are eager to pass the measure before facing voters in November

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Queens Airports Provide Many Travel Options

Queens holds two major airports: LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport, known as LGA and JFK, respectively. Both airports are run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and fly millions of travelers to their destinations every year.

LaGuardia was the first to open, in 1939 at the site of the old Gala Amusement Park originally owned by the Steinway family. It began as Glen H. Curtiss Airport and its name was changed to North Beach Airport shortly after. New York City bought the airport and expanded it, and it was reopened in 1939 as New York Municipal Airport-LaGuardia Field. The Authority took over the airport in 1947; it still operates the airport and plans to continue until 2050.

LaGuardia now consists of 680 acres and 72 gates and is home to more than 20 national airlines, including airlines to Puerto Rico, Canada, the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic. Last year it flew 22,142,336 passengers in a total of 354,048 plane movements.

John F. Kennedy Airport is the top pick for international flights, with more than twice as many passengers as LaGuardia and 414,928 plane movements last year, as well as serving as the takeoff and landing site for more than 70 airlines with destinations around the world.

The airport was built on the site of Idlewild Golf Course in 1942 and given the name Idlewild Airport. Six years later, commercial flights began, and in 1963 the 4,930-acre airport was renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport, after Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was assassinated on November 22 of that year.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ahead of the Bell: Business Inventories

Business inventories are expected to have shown a solid gain in July, providing evidence that companies remain optimistic enough about the economy to keep restocking their store shelves.

Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters are looking for inventories to post a 0.5 percent increase in July following a 0.3 percent gain in June. The Commerce Department will release the report at 10 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

The government reported last week that inventories at the wholesale level rose 1.3 percent in July, the best showing in two years. The new report will cover not only wholesale inventories but also inventories held by manufacturers and retailers.

Business restocking of empty store shelves has been a major driver of the economy since late last year. A solid gain in July should help alleviate fears that a slowdown in activity could be a warning that the country is about to slip into another recession.

The overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, slowed to growth of just 1.6 percent in the April-to-June quarter, down from GDP growth of 3.7 percent in the first quarter.

U.S. businesses have helped spur the current recovery by rebuilding inventories that they had slashed during the recession.

The inventory rebuilding has boosted orders to U.S. factories and helped provide support for overall economic growth.

An increase in inventories in July would mark the seventh consecutive monthly gain.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Travel Industry Uses Facebook and Twitter to Reach Customers

Hotels, airlines and other segments of the multibillion-dollar travel industry are aggressively tapping into social media, ramping up their use of online sites such as Facebook and Twitter to build loyalty to their brands.

Airlines are maintaining a presence on YouTube and offering deals through social-mapping networks such as Loopt. Hotels are promoting their properties through bloggers, and they're using social-networking sites to gather feedback, monitor trends and provide concierge services.

"I definitely think that social media is about to change the way we do things entirely," says Jill Fletcher, social media and communications manager for Virgin America. "We're able to admit over social media if we've made a mistake or if there's a weather delay. So we're able to communicate much faster and more effectively."

Social media are being incorporated at a rapid rate into every part of a journey, from making the reservation to finding out where to eat. For instance:

•As of August, Delta passengers can buy tickets on Delta's Facebook page.

•Southwest has three staffers dedicated to monitoring and responding to queries made through social-media channels.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Business as usual as Brady practices after crash

Tom Brady went through his normal stretching then tossed soft passes as usual at the start of practice.

The New England Patriots' quarterback seemed fine Thursday less than seven hours after he was involved in a two-car crash near his home in Boston's Back Bay.

He lay on his back on the practice field, his hands under his helmet. He raised his left leg high, then did the same with his right leg. Then he ran to one end of the field and began throwing passes.

Patriots linebacker Tully Banta-Cain said players were told by coach Bill Belichick that Brady might be late because of the accident.

The team opens the regular season at home Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Tip sheets help Virginia players prepare for travel to West Coast

The Virginia football coaching staff and 67 players will board a west-bound flight that will take them roughly 2,500 miles to Los Angeles. When the Cavaliers land they will be three hours behind East Coast time, and their body clocks will need to adjust quickly before Saturday’s game against No. 16 Southern California.

To aid the players in that regard, the Virginia coaches passed out tip sheets earlier this week with instructions as to how to prepare their bodies for the time zone shift. According to junior defensive tackle Matt Conrath, the key notes included staying hydrated throughout the week, going to bed a little later than usual and making their rooms “really bright” as soon as they arise in the morning to make sure they’re fully awake.

Coach Mike London said he consulted with other coaches whose teams have traveled from the East Coast to the West Coast to play games before drawing up a plan for his own squad. When the game kicks off Saturday night, it will be around 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

“Going Thursday helps, and then being there Friday, another full day, will help,” London said. “And then playing in the evening on Saturday will help also. You just have to get used to it, you know? We've talked to different people about nutrition, about sleep, about what you can do and how you can minimize the effects of traveling like that. We'll see, but we'll try everything we can to make sure the guys have the best opportunities to perform.”

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Leak: HTC's New Android Targets Global Business Travelers

he HTC PD42100 will likely be what's known as a "world phone," since its support for both standards will effectively allow it to operate anywhere on the planet. Users of the new device will be able to tap the CDMA network in the United States, for example, yet they'll also be able to piggyback off of regional and national GSM carriers in other parts of the world.

Also supported by the device will be EV-DO Rev. A 3G, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n/), and Bluetooth, according to the leaked documents. Taken together, such broad support could make the device an ideal one for business travelers.

Android 3.0?

Following a similar leak last month about what appears to be the same phone, the FCC documents also reveal a horizontal slider form factor combined with a full QWERTY keyboard.

With a 4-inch touch screen, the new, red handset looks to be a big one, and Verizon Wireless branding is visible. It also appears to feature a rear-facing camera with single-LED flash, a removable battery and microSD memory expansion capability.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

US travel fee to be introduced tomorrow

Britons planning on visiting the US can still obtain authorisation free of charge if they complete their application today at The form must be completed at least 72 hours before departure, and can be used for multiple entries for up to two years, after which Britons will be obliged to complete the application again, and pay a further £9.

Anyone who has already received an ESTA can apply again today to extend its validity to the full two years without paying.

The website has reportedly been struggling to cope with the number of Britons trying to beat the deadline.

The US Senate introduced the charge in an attempt to reverse the declining number of visitors to the country – the majority of the money raised will be used to fund promotion of the US as a holiday destination, but some believe it will in fact put people off travelling there.

Earlier this year, John Bruton, the European Commission’s ambassador to Washington, said the fee would be counter-intuitive.

“Only in Alice in Wonderland could a penalty be seen as promoting the activity on which it is imposed,” he said.

In an online poll carried out by Telegraph Travel, 44 per cent of readers said that the fee would put them off visiting the US.

The cost of visiting the US will rise further in November, when the latest rises in Air Passenger Duty (APD) – introduced by the previous government – take place. APD for travellers visiting the US will increase by £30 per person, to £120.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Obama to call for business tax credit

Under mounting pressure to intensify his focus on the economy ahead of the midterm elections, President Obama will call for a $100 billion business tax credit this week, using a speech in Cleveland on Wednesday to launch what administration officials said was a new policy push.

The business proposal - what one aide called a key part of a limited economic package -- would increase and permanently extend research and development tax credits for businesses, rewarding companies that develop new technologies domestically and preserve American jobs.

It would be paid for by closing other corporate tax loopholes, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the policy has not yet been unveiled.

This is not the first time Obama has called for making the credit permanent. But with the economic recovery moving more slowly than the administration had hoped - and Democratic candidates nationwide panicking as the issue threatens their majorities in the House and Senate on Nov. 2 - he is increasingly eager to show he understands the depth of the problem and is trying to act.

Holiday travel expected to be a bright spot in an otherwise dull economy

Despite reams of gloomy economic news, Labor Day travel could provide a bright spot as more than 34 million people are expected to travel for the long holiday weekend.

Weekend travel is expected to increase 9.9 percent over the holiday last year, which was one of the worst showings since 2000, according to the AAA. Last year, 31.3 million people hit the road for summer's final weekend, which was only lower in the past decade than 2006 when 30.6 million people traveled.

AAA officials are crediting the better economy, even one that's slowly improving, with providing a boost to travel numbers after last year's slump.

"A strong recovery in travel is anticipated after last year, when Labor Day travel tumbled more than 30 percent from 2008," the AAA said in a release.

Travel hit a record high in 2008 when 45.1 million people were on the move for Labor Day, by far the highest level in the past decade with only 2003 in the 40-million range at 41.6 million.

"While job growth has been disappointing, gross domestic product, household net worth and consumer confidence have increased, while consumer debt has decreased," the AAA said. "The U.S. travel industry began to gain traction in the fourth quarter of 2009 and that momentum has continued this year."

AAA estimates that if Labor Day was earlier in the month, traveling would have easily eclipsed the 10 percent increase.

Overall, travel has increased during the year and through the summer.

The hotel industry reported increases in year-over-year numbers through the end of August with occupancy up 10.6 percent, average daily rates up 2.4 percent and room revenue up by 13.2 percent over last year, according to Smith Travel Research.

At the start of the summer season, 66 percent said they were planning a vacation this, up a smidge from 2009.

If the national parks are serving as a barometer 2010 is shaping up as a nice improvement for the travel industry.

Although visitation to the parks is lower this year compared with 2009, matching last year's numbers would be a "big deal," National Park Service spokesman Jeffrey Olson told The Hill.

The park service had 285.6 million visitors last year, up 3.9 percent from 2008, boosted by two factors -- the Obama inauguration -- which added 1.5 million visitors -- and the reopening of the Gulf Islands National Seashore off the coast of Florida, which boosted visitor numbers by 1 million, Olson said.

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill has affected the park and possibly lowered this year's visits, Olson said.

So far, more than 165 million have visited the parks this year, down about 3 million from last year. But Olson expected that the parks could very likely turn in solid August numbers, especially with two fee-free days in the month.

Three out of the five busiest parks in the country have seen increases in visitors through July -- the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is up 130,000, Yosemite is up 103,000 and Yellowstone has seen an increase of 110,000 so far.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Read all 'Mini 210' posts in Business Tech

The newest welterweight laptops from HP, introduced on Wednesday, offer more than flashy new skins. Inside is Intel's newest chip technology that offers more performance without a significant hit to battery life.

First up is the 3-pound Mini 210. This Netbook offers, for the first time, a dual-core Atom processor, a break from a long line of single-core-only Atom Netbook processors. Dual-core processors are better at handling multiple data streams than single-core processors and thus boost performance significantly for certain applications.

Despite having two cores, Intel's 1.5GHz Atom N550 has a thermal envelope of only 8.5 watts, only two more watts than its single-core N455 cousin. And this thermal envelope is even more impressive when you consider the fact that it also includes the 200MHz graphics chip, which is built onto the same piece of silicon as the main processor.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Despite Earl, heavy travel expected in North Carolina over holiday weekend

While Hurricane Earl is expected to impact Labor Day travel along the nation’s eastern seaboard, more North Carolina residents are expected to hit the roadways this holiday weekend as compared to last year during the same period.

Travel by Carolinians has been increasing all year and this holds true for the last vacation of summer,” David Parsons, AAA Carolinas CEO and president, said.

AAA Carolinas officials said Wednesday the state will see an 8.1-percent increase in Labor Day travel this year, as compared to last year. There will also be a 9.9-percent increase nationwide in travel during the holiday weekend, according to AAA.

National Weather Service forecasters expect Earl to pass about 100 miles off the state’s coastline late Thursday before moving north toward the Mid-Atlantic then move on a track towards Nova Scotia, Canada. AAA Carolinas cautioned travelers heading to the coast this weekend to pay close attention to forecasts, warnings and evacuations prior to hitting the road.

UPDATE 2-Borders posts loss as sales continue to fall

Borders Group Inc (BGP.N) reported a quarterly loss as the second-largest U.S. book store chain cut prices and continued to grapple with lower sales amid a shift to electronic books.

Like its larger bricks-and-mortar rival Barnes & Noble Inc (BKS.N), Borders has had to contend with fierce competition from the likes of Inc (AMZN.O) whose Kindle, introduced in 2007, has helped it garner a commanding position in the growing digital books market.

But Borders has been much slower than Barnes & Noble, which introduced its Nook e-reader last year, to attack the e-books market and only launched its own e-bookstore in early July.

Borders' sales fell 11.5 percent to $526.1 million. Sales at its superstores open at least a year, or same-store sales, fell 6.8 percent, which follows a 17 percent decline in the year-ago quarter.

Underscoring how much ground Borders has to make up, the retailer said sales on its website had risen 56.2 percent to $15.5 million, but that only represents 3 percent of sales. At Barnes & Noble, they make up about one-tenth of sales.

As part of its strategy to catch up, Borders has cut the prices on some of the e-readers it sells.

In contrast to Barnes & Noble, Borders opted not to design its own e-reader, preferring to offer as many devices as possible to lure shoppers. It currently sells six e-readers, including a co-branded device with Kobo, and said it would add others in the coming weeks.

Borders reported a net loss of $46.7 million, or 67 cents a share, for the second quarter ended July 31, compared with a loss of $45.6 million, or 76 cents a share, a year earlier.