Better than expected Black Friday sales weren't enough to offset what has been a supremely disappointing third-quarter for Best Buy. For Q3 2008, Best Buy reported earnings of $52 million, or 13 cents per share on revenue of $11.5 billion. Wall Street was expecting much better numbers to the tune of 24 cents per share. The disappointing earnings represent a 77 percent tumble from the same quarter last year.
"The historic slowdown in the economy and its effect on our business over the past 90 days have been the most challenging consumer environment our company has ever faced," Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson said in a statement. "We believe that there has been a dramatic and potentially long-lasting change in consumer behavior as people adjust to the new realities of the marketplace."
Moving forward, Best Buy will look to restructure starting with offering voluntary buyouts to most of its 4,000 corporate employees, followed by possible layoffs if the buyouts aren't taken.
Rival electronics retailer Circuit City has also been going through financial woes of its own, recently entering into bankruptcy and closing many of its stores.
It's never easy telling that special someone who has been by your side for so long that you feel as though you're growing apart, and it gets even harder to break the news if you've already found someone new. Unless you're Google, in which case you dump Firefox as the default browser in your Google Pack and replace it with Chrome, but make sure to let Firefox know you can still be friends.
Google's new browser matured out of the beta phase last week after just three months on the scene, and apparently Google feels it's now ready for prime time. The Google Pack, which consists of a collection of google-made and third party applications, listed Firefox as the default browser up until Chrome dropped its beta moniker. Firefox still remains on the list, but is no longer selected by default as part of the download.
It's not surprising that Google would choose to include its own browser ahead of Firefox, but it could hint of things to come. Last year, 88 percent of Mozilla's revenues came courtesy of Google, who paid $60 million to be listed as the default search engine in the open-source browser. That relationship will last at least until 2011, as the two signed a three year extension back in August.
Could it be possible that legitimate email messages only account for 10 percent of all email? According to the Cisco 2008 Annual Security Report, the answer is 'yes.' The report claims that nearly 200 billion pieces of spam are sent and received every day, accounting for 90 percent of the world's email. Making the influx of spam messages possible are armies of hijacked computers, Cisco says.
"Every year we see threats evolve as criminals discover new ways to exploit people, networks, and the internet," said Cisco chief security researcher Patrick Peterson. "The botnet is, in many cases, ground-zero for online criminal threats."
Cisco points to the United States as by far the biggest source of spam, accounting for 17.2 percent of the messages. Turkey came in second at 9.2 percent, and Russia ranked third accounting for 8 percent.
What's most striking is that spam volumes have nearly doubled in 2008 compared to 2007. This despite a handful of recent busts by the FTC on various spam rings, which appear to have done nothing when looking at the overall picture. And because spammers "rarely use computers in their physical possession, instead renting or building botnets," the FTC will continue to fight an uphill battle until security improves across the board. Don't hold your breath.
Tired of getting a “Don’t call us; we’ll call our lawyers” from potential employers? Well, maybe listing your spec and number of epics under “Previous Experience” wasn’t such a great idea.* Apparently, job recruiters are looking for cogs who can give the money machine their all – and sleepless nights spent over at Arthas’ place just won’t cut it anymore.
“[A job recruiter in the “online media industry”] replied that employers specifically instruct him not to send them World of Warcraft players. He said there is a belief that WoW players cannot give 100% because their focus is elsewhere, their sleeping patterns are often not great, etc,” noted a member of the f13.net forums (via Shacknews).
“I mentioned that some people have written about MMOG leadership experience as a career positive or a way to learn project management skills, and he shook his head. He has been specifically asked to avoid WoW players.”
Think such an isolated example is meaningless? Read the rest of the forum thread.
Is this anti-MMO stance hypocritical? Definitely. But unfortunately, “For the Horde” Fridays probably won’t be an office standard until a more youthful, game-reared generation rules the workplace, so we might as well get used to it.
So yeah. If you could go ahead and not renew your WoW subscription before going on another job hunt, that’d be great.
*Those go under “Special Talents,” duh. What are you? An idiot?
Once again, Internet Explorer (aka "Internet Exploder") has been attacked through a "zero-day" remote code execution vulnerability. That might not seem like MaximumPC.com-worthy news, except for two factors: the flaw is affecting thousands of websites, and this time, it isn't just Firefox fans who are saying "time to switch browsers, already!" - security experts at Trend Micro, the Spamhaus Project, and the UK's PC Pro magazine are all recommending making a switch, according to the BBC. And here's why:
The flaw in Microsoft's Internet Explorer could allow criminals to take control of people's computers and steal their passwords, internet experts say.
Switching Browsers? Choices Abound!
Attacks against IE7 have been verified, but all versions of IE (including IE 8 Beta 2) have the same underlying vulnerability; a vulnerability not present in IE's competitors (Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and Safari). Switching browsers makes sense for most web surfing, but, alas, some websites and (of course) Windows Update and Microsoft Update for Windows XP won't work with anything but IE.
Redmond Readies Security Update
Since the vulnerability was detected on December 10th, Microsoft code jockeys have been working hard to patch the flaw (Redmond doesn't want you to switch, naturally, and given the way that IE and Windows work together, a broken IE isn't good for anybody), and a patch will be available tomorrow (December 17th) for all versions of IE from 5.01 up, applying to all versions of Windows and Windows Server from Windows 2000 on up. It's rare for Microsoft to perform a security update between Patch Tuesdays, but when a "Critical" vulnerability (the most dangerous category of vulnerability) is discovered, there's no time to waste.
If you must use IE and you're looking for workarounds until you can get the update, join us after the jump for details.
According to a recent poll taken by the Ponemon Institute and TRUSTe in San Francisco, Google has fallen off the most trust companies list along with Countrywide Financial, Bank of America and Weight Watchers.
This has almost everything to do with the recent rise in piracy, with only 45 percent of the users stating that they felt they have control over their personal information. On top of that, 60 percent of the surveyors claimed that identity theft negatively impacts their thoughts about a company. “Consumers are getting more astute about” privacy, stated Fran Maier, CEO of TRUSTe, a company that evaluates online privacy practices.
Think you’re a client of one of the most trusted? Be sure and check out the full list of the most trusted companies right after the jump.
Citing those always un-named sources (this time at graphics card makers), DigiTimes reports Nvidia will launch its next generation GT 300 GPU, a high end gaming chip, in the first quarter of 2009. The new part will be manufactured on a 55nm process, just as the company is also planning a 55nm refresh of its GTX 260 videocard.
DigiTimes also says Nvidia will show off a pair of new GT 200 videocards at CES next month. First on tap will be the GTX 295, which will consist of two 55nm GT 200 GPUs. The graphics card maker also plans to show its GTX 285, which will ship with a single GT 200 GPU. Core frequencies for both cards are expected to run 10 to 15 percent faster than existing Nvidia videocards, while also consuming 10 to 15 percent less power.
Starting today, any clientele of Delta Airlines that choose to fly between New York, Boston and Washington D.C. will be treated to the option of in-flight Internet.
The sky-fi (see what I did there?) will run those on flights under three hours $9.95 for the entirety of the flight. Any flights that go over three hours will cost you an additional three buckaroos, bringing the grand total to $12.95.
It’s expected that the feature will be available in all flights (including on Delta’s merger partner, Northwest Airlines) on May 31, 2009. The technology is slated to be brought on board by IBM, HP, Dell and newcomer Super Micro.
Thankfully, this should provide a nice alternative to watching V for Vandetta three times in a row (it loses its edge after the first time) because the rest of the movies are terrible choices. Now, you can just browse your favorite sites, like Maximum PC!
According to Valve’s November hardware report, a majority of you gamers using Steam are favoring Windows XP, Nvidia graphics cards and Intel processors.
These numbers come as very little surprise. Windows XP has remained dominant for gamers due to a lack of any significant DirectX 10 enabled titles, Nvidia has been heavily strutting their stuff in the graphics game and Intel is up to their usual, benchmark-crushing shenanigans.
The exact numbers show that there really is a startling majority. 70 percent of users were running Windows XP, 65 percent viewing on Nvidia, and 64 percent thinking with Intel.
Be sure to check out the survey yourself and check out what piece of the pie you reside in!
Some Neflix subscribers are finding that their pricey Blu-ray player has been sitting around with nothing to do. That's because Netflix doesn't have enough Blu-ray titles to go around, particularly when it comes to hot new releases. It's not uncommon for a movie to sit in a subscriber's queue for a month or more with an expected availability listed as "Long Wait." Bummer.
Cnet talked to Steve Swasey, a Netflix spokesperson, about the problem, who said part of it has to do with studios not providing enough Blu-ray copies of new releases that the company would like get. But it isn't always the fault of the studios.
"There is an expense to that," Swasey said. "These things cost money. We deploy money where we think it's going to be most efficient to keep subscribers and investors happy. It's always check and balances."
Not all subscribers can be happy hearing Swasey lay the blame on the cost, considering that Netflix started adding a $1 surcharge for Blu-ray renters back in October. Jessie Teitz, Neflix's VP of marketing, said the surcharge was to cover the "significant cost difference" between Blu-ray and standard DVDs, which brings up another tidbit that active subscribers can't be happy about. When there aren't enough copies to go around, users who rent less frequently jump to the front of the line.
"What we're doing is giving new releases to the person who hasn't rented as much," he said. "We've been doing this for a couple of years and fully disclose this in our terms of agreement. If we have a shortage of titles we do what we think is equitable and give the title to the person who hasn't rented as much or who hasn't gotten as much enjoyment from the service."
In short, the $1 surcharge that all Blu-ray renters pay is going towards not enough Blu-ray copies, which are then doled out to infrequent renters.
Hit the jump and tell us whether you agree or disagree with how Netflix is handling Blu-ray movies.