CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., December 12 – Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have found seven galaxies that formed relatively shortly after the universe’s birth some 13.7 billion years ago, scientists said on Wednesday, describing them “as baby pictures of the universe.”
Both Twitter and Flickr have recently updated their iOS apps, adding the ability to apply one-touch, retro-style filters to mobile photos uploaded to their respective services. The features seem like me-too additions after the spectacular rise of Instagram as a top social network. Instagram’s success even prompted Facebook to swallow up the service—which generated no revenue and gave away its app and services for free—for a cool $1 billion.
Instagram is at once loved and hated for its signature filters like “Earlybird,” which makes the most banal smartphone snaps look like old family photos, or “Nashville,” which makes photos look like they were cut from a hip fashion magazine. Users love its ease-of-use, solid collection of one-touch filtered looks, and its ability to easily cross-post photos to other top social networks and blogs, while critics say its lo-fi filters are trite.
If you already use Instagram, the new filter features will likely feel redundant. If you don’t care for Instagram-like filters to begin with, you might be wondering why Twitter or Flickr are bothering with such features at all. It all seems like “too little, too late,” especially if Twitter and Flickr are hoping to compete with Instagram.
GOG.com, the classic PC game store, is giving away Duke Nukem 3D free for a limited time. Duke Nukem 3D was one of the most revolutionary games of its time, pushing boundaries of tastefulness, obscenity and nudity within a video game.
This particular version is the Atomic Edition of the game includes bonus episodes, new weapons and enemies. It also supports a number of fan made mods.
Duke Nukem, the politically incorrect celebrity and ultimate alien ass kicker, defends Earth and its babes from alien invasion.
He is a can-do hero who realizes that sometimes innocent people have to die in order to save Earth, so accuracy of gun fire is not a real concern to him. This is the award winning game that helped define the FPS genre and introduced unparalleled interactivity and a talking main character.
Duke Nukem 3D is a scant 35MB and requires Snow Leopard or above. The game is available free through January 3rd, according to DealNews.
For at least one unitholder of Citadel Income Fund the end of one era, which should occur next week when a special meeting is held, can’t come quickly enough. At that Dec 18 meeting, unitholders will be asked to vote on changing the manager given that Crown Hill, the fund’s manager and trustee, “no longer intends to manage investment funds.”
But thanks to the support received at an August special meeting, Crown Hill won’t walk away empty handed: it stands to receive 5% of the fund’s NAV – or more than $5-million. The manager also received about $5-million last September when unitholders were allowed to redeem as much of their stake as they wanted.
“It’s a cautionary tale,” noted the unitholder when referring to the past few years at the closed fund that have been marked by proxy fights, battles with regulators, substantial changes in redemption policies – and a lacklustre share performance, important because it trades at a discount to NAV.
Crown Hill said Wednesday the fund, “that has and will continue to be managed by Jarislowsky Fraser, has continuously maintained monthly distributions to the benefit of all unitholders. We believe the proposed changes will be of benefit to remaining unitholders done via a seamless transition.”
Thursday is the last possible date for proxies to be submitted for the meeting. According to the circular, “in order to be valid and acted upon at the Meeting, forms of proxy shall be deposited with the Fund’s transfer agent not less than 48 hours …… before the Meeting.” By his calculations, given that the meeting is slated for 9a.m. Tuesday, proxies deposited on Friday will be ineligible.
“If you count back, the last day is Thursday given that it’s difficult to do it before 9a.m. on Friday,” said the unitholder, noting if the 9am meeting is postponed or adjourned “because a quorum is not in attendance” the same meeting will be held one hour later. But that meeting doesn’t require a quorum.
Over time, Citadel Income Fund has shrunk substantially:
• Dec. 2011 – There were 29.912 million units outstanding – down from 32.163 million one year earlier.
• March 9, 2012 – When the fund completed its warrant offering (almost 90% invested), an additional 24.591 million shares, were issued, raising the float to more than 54 million.
• March 29, 2012. One month after announcing a partial redemption of up to five million units, unitholders piled in: requests for redemptions were oversubscribed – by at least five to one. All five million were redeemed for an amount equal to NAV less retraction costs
• July 2012. The fund had 45.454 million units outstanding.
• Aug. 2012. Prior to a special meeting, Citadel put forward a plan where unitholders could “voluntarily elect to receive an unlimited cash redemption of their units.” They would receive 100% of NAV less retraction costs less a fee of 5% of NAV.
Again investors piled in: about half the fund was redeemed.
But the special meeting was poorly attended: in all 5.508 million units (12.86% of the outstanding) voted on the resolutions, But 94% of the votes were cast in favor of the two key resolutions: “an unlimited redemption and amending the provisions relating to the termination and replacement of the Manager.”
• Nov. 9 2012. The fund had 23.658 million units outstanding. Next month another one million units can be redeemed by, Artemis Investment Management, the new manager provided the change receives two-thirds support.
By linking interest rates directly to the rate of unemployment, Bernanke is acknowledging that the Federal Reserve Board has two mandates: not just price but also employment. But the sad fact is near-zero interest rates won’t do much for jobs because banks aren’t allowing many people to take advantage of them.
Sears Canada Inc., which has been getting out of unproductive stores by selling its leases back to landlords in this robust time for retail real estate in Canada, announced Wednesday that it is selling its stake of a mall in Medicine Hat, Alta. for $43-million.
The department store chain also said late Wednesday that it will issue a special dividend of $1.00 per share, or about $102-million, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 24.
Sears, which has struggled to increase its sales and revamp its merchandise and stores before rival Target enters Canada in March, said it will remain a tenant of the Medicine Hat Mall and continue to operate its store there, but has sold its 40% ownership of the leasehold interest in the mall to its joint venture partner, Sleeping Bay Building Corp.
Earlier this year, the company closed three of its stores located in busy urban malls in Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa back to landlord Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd. for $170-million.
Sears Canada has operated in the Medicine Hat Mall since 1978.
While chief executive Calvin McDonald has said getting out of underperforming locations is not a part of the company’s turnaround plan, he is open to evaluating good offers from landlords.
“When people call, our due diligence is to evaluate that conversation,” he said earlier this year. “When we evaluate our portfolio of stores and look to find the balance between trading value and real estate value, our focus is very much on trading value in the organization. We are not in discussions with anybody, but we constantly evaluate our portfolio and look for opportunity for value.”
Retail real estate is a hot topic these days. Shares in grocery company Loblaw Cos. Ltd. shot up in value last week after the retailer announced it will create a real estate investment trust to hold the lion’s share of its rich property assets. Hudson’s Bay Co., another major Canadian retail landowner, said on Tuesday that it will consider the same strategy at some time in the future.
For over a year, third-party manufacturers have been showing off prototypes and making announcements regarding Thunderbolt docking stations, accessories that would allow users to connect a variety of peripherals to a hub that would then connect to their Mac with a single Thunderbolt cable. Apple offers such functionality as part of its $999 Apple Thunderbolt Display, but many users have been looking for similar hub functionality that does not require also purchasing a large display.
Matrox is one of the manufacturers that has been working on a Thunderbolt docking stations, having announced its $249 DS1 hub back in June. At the time, the product was scheduled to launch in September of this year, but the company later pushed back the launch to December as it decided to roll out separate models for DVI and HDMI monitor compatibility.
Matrox will be announcing tomorrow that the DS1 docking station is now available for sale in the Americas at a price of $249, with worldwide availability set for next month. The DS1 contains a Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB 2.0 ports, audio in/out jacks and either an HDMI or DVI port on the rear of the device, with a combination USB 3.0/2.0 port and the Thunderbolt port for connection to the user’s machine on the front.
We chatted a bit with product manager Charles Amyot about the development of DS1, in particular asking why it has taken over a year and a half to bring a Thunderbolt docking station to market. The issue is not unique to Matrox, as Belkin and other manufacturers have also been working to launch their products but have yet to begin shipping.
Amyot noted that there were a number of hurdles that needed to be overcome throughout the development process, due in large part to Thunderbolt being a new standard with little in the way of support available yet. Matrox worked closely with both Apple and Intel on the development of the DS1, but ensuring a good user experience with proper drivers and other features of the device turned out to be a time-consuming process. Amyot also noted that Matrox is the first company to deliver USB 3.0 connectivity over Thunderbolt, a step that required a significant amount of work.
Thunderbolt remains in its infancy, and many users have been frustrated with what feels like a slow pace of adoption. Until recently, Thunderbolt accessories have primarily been limited to expensive professional devices such as RAID storage arrays and PCI Expansion expansion chassis. Only in recent months have consumer-level products begun integrating Thunderbolt on a widespread basis, but even then many of them such as hard drives can only make maximum use of Thunderbolt when equipped with expensive solid-state storage.
Regardless, as Apple continues to slim down its Macs and eliminate such features as Ethernet ports, docking stations like the DS1 that offer a single-cable connection for a variety of peripherals are likely to become increasingly popular with users seeking simple expansion solutions.