While many of us are busy preparing to toast and dine with our friends and extended families over the next few weeks, some industrious folk are still grinding away, foregoing the joys that the season affords for the sake of squeezing a few additional pennies out of the markets before they close for the holidays. For those who of you who prefer to wash their eggnog down with a bit of work, there’s Google Finance, our Chrome Web App of the Week.
Whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s no denying that WikiLeaks posts stuff that lots of folks would rather remain hidden in the shadows. Those people have (kind of) gotten their wish: WikiLeaks has said that it will temporarily halt its publishing operation to focus instead on raising cash. The reason for the dire financial straits? Many of the major global financial institutions in the world, including banks, credit card companies and even PayPal, have refused to process donations for the controversial site, causing a precipitous drop in funding.
Microsoft’s performance during the fourth quarter not only exceeded the Street’s expectations but also saved some blushes. The Redmond-based company earned $16.04 billion in revenue, a 22% rise compared to the same period last year, and enough to get it past Apple’s quarterly revenue of $15.7 billion. The Street had foreseen Apple bettering Microsoft’s quarterly revenue for the first time ever, but MS had other plans.
Windows 7 continued its stellar performance during the quarter and, along with Office 2010, accounted for a large part of the company’s growth. “We saw strong sales execution across all of our businesses, particularly in the enterprise with Windows 7 and Office 2010,” said Kevin Turner, chief operating officer.
According to a press release issued by the company, “Operating income, net income and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $5.93 billion, $4.52 billion and $0.51 per share, which represented increases of 49%, 48% and 50%, respectively, when compared with the prior year period.”
The stock market wasn't the only thing to come crashing down last Thursday. So too did several financial sites such as Yahoo Finance, Fidelity.com, and Google Finance, all of which buckled from the increased traffic as panicked investors hopped online to make trades an keep and eye on their portfolios, Infoworld.com reports.
Fidelity noted near-record peak transaction volumes, which resulted in a site slowdown but no interruption during the day, said Vin Loporchio, a Fidelity spokesman. That may not be entirely true. Several people complained that they weren't able to use Fidelity's website, some of which claimed that the downtime caused them to lose money.
"I also have been warning for months that our regulators need to better understand high frequency trading, which appears to have played a role today when the US market dropped 481 points in 6 minutes and recovered 502 points just 10 minutes later," said Senator Ted Kaufman, a Democrat from Delaware, in a statement. "The potential for giant high-speed computers to generate false trades and create market chaos reared its head again today."
Kaufmaun's remarks were prompted by the 1,000-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average last Thursday afternoon.
The social sharing site Blippy is all about transparency, allowing users to publish all their credit or debit card purchases to the web. But yesterday someone figured out that maybe they were a little too transparent. Using only a "from card" modifier on a search directed at Blippy, this industrious individual was able to uncover 127 full credit card numbers according to VentureBeat.
Blippy has always been very clear about their commitment to security, but the nature of the site meant this was a possibility. Blippy founder Philip Kaplan responded to the situation calling it, " a lot less bad than it looks." Kaplan explained that the error on their part was related to their beta period several months ago. During this period Blippy was storing a lot of the raw data as HTML, and it turns out that Google indexed the HTML making it visible on the search engine. He also claims that the error affects only four unique cards, but we can't confirm this.
Kaplan promised that current Blippy users are not at risk and they are working with Google to remove Blippy from the search giant's cache. While the explanation seems reasonable to us, we're still a little dubious. Does anyone out there use Blippy? Does this worry you enough to stop?
While there is no gainsaying the fact that the Pre did lend a fatally rudderless Palm some direction, the much anticipated forward thrust is an entirely different matter. The impetus that Palm hoped to receive from its dapper webOS products hasn't materialized. The Sunnyvale-based company has lowered its guidance for the current fiscal. It blamed the move on lower-than-expected sales of its new webOS-based phones.
“Since the quarter has not yet closed, it is too soon to offer exact numbers, but we stated that we expect to report revenues for Q3 between $300 and $320 million. We also announced that we expect our revenue for this fiscal year to fall below the guidance we gave to Wall Street, which ranged from $1.6 to $1.8 billion,” CEO Jon Rubinstein announced in an internal email meant for employees. Its full financial results will be announced next month.
Rubinstein clarified that the the abrupt announcement was being made in order to “prevent a surprise for Wall Street when we announce quarterly earnings in March.” But this announcement did take many by surprise and sent its shares down south. Its share price dropped 13% on the news before eventually making a bit of a come back.
The company is currently pursuing a new strategy to improve sales. “To accelerate sales, we initiated Project JumpStart nearly three weeks ago. Since then, nearly two hundred Palm Brand Ambassadors, supplemented by Palm employees from Sunnyvale, have been training Verizon sales reps across the U.S. on our products.” It clearly believes that lack of awareness and Verizon's poor handling of its products are the two major factors hampering sales.
Two things are certain in every life: Death and taxes. While we have yet to find any good freeware tools to help with the former, we've been on a kick to find alternatives to pricy software like Quicken or Microsoft Money. The good news? We were able to find five separate programs that can help you track the money coming in and flowing out. The bad news? It's slim pickings beyond this. We came across plenty of paid-for applications and a proverbial bucket full of online applications that help you track your finances. But when it comes to freeware financing applications, there just isn't a huge market for this kind of stuff.
But while we're blabbering, your fortune is surely ticking away! So what are you waiting for? Stop reading! Start downloading! Put on your accounting hat!