Unfazed by deadline, Akin vows to fight on in Missouri Senate race

JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri (Reuters) – If anyone in the Republican Party harbors illusions that Todd Akin will bow out of the Missouri U.S. Senate race by a September 25 deadline, he is quite happy to disabuse them.

Google hits all-time high

Google shares set an all-time high on Monday, with the Web giant’s reliable advertising business back in vogue among Wall Street investors disenchanted with younger social media companies

Google Announces Its Third Code-In Contest For High School Students, Starts November 26


Google today announced that its third Code-in contest for high school students will start on November 26. The contest, which aims to introduce 13-17 year old pre-university students to open source software development, will run from November to mid January and the 20 grand prize winners (and one of their parents or legal guardians) will get a trip to Mountain View to explore the Google campus and meet with Google employees.

The Code-in program will feature a number of tasks related to existing open source projects, all of which have experience mentoring students through Google’s Summer of Code program for college students.

Here are some of the tasks that students will be asked to complete:

  1. Code: Tasks related to writing or refactoring code
  2. Documentation/Training: Tasks related to creating/editing documents and helping others learn more
  3. Outreach/Research Tasks related to community management, outreach/marketing or studying problems and recommending solutions
  4. Quality Assurance: Tasks related to testing and ensuring code is of high quality
  5. User Interface: Tasks related to user experience research or user interface design and interaction

The students will earn a point for each task they complete (and even those who only complete three tasks will get a t-shirt). Each participating organization will name two grand prize winners.

Compared to other student outreach programs like Google’s own Summer of code or Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, Code-in is still relatively small (though to be fair those are aimed at college students). Over the last two years, Google says, 904 students from 65 countries participated in the program. For high school students interested in coding, this is definitely a good opportunity to get some real-world experience and also to start making connections and learning more about the sponsor organizations, which probably won’t hurt them if they want to apply for the Summer of Code program once they are in college.

Oil Company Charged For Brazil Spill

* No monetary value mentioned for fines, compensation

* Charges come amid high-profile case vs Chevron, Transocean

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 24 (Reuters) – A prosecutor from Brazil’s Public Ministry has charged state-run oil company Petrobras with environmental crimes for a spill at its Duque de Caxias refinery that allegedly contaminated the mangroves and estuary of Guanabara Bay off Rio de Janeiro.

Public Prosecutor Renato Machado also charged two employees of Petrobras in a statement released on Monday.

The spill occurred in June 2011.

“The Reduc (refinery) acted with complete negligence. They knew since 2007 at least that the treatment stations were obsolete and not functioning adequately and they did nothing,” Machado said.

The prosecutor did not mention a fine or compensation value sought.

Local courts are considering charges against U.S. oil company Chevron and driller Transocean that could carry fines of up to $20 billion and possible jail time for foreign executives in relation to a spill last November off the coast of Brazil.

Adelson Reportedly Sets New Record

WASHINGTON, Sept 24 (Reuters) – U.S. billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has set a new record in political donations by giving $70 million to help Republicans in the 2012 elections, nearly triple the previous highest amount, according to news outlet Politico on Monday.

Adelson, 79-year-old chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp , has come to symbolize a new era in U.S. campaign finance that affords great power to individual wealthy donors through unlimited-spending outside “Super PAC” groups. These groups finance millions of dollars worth of advertising on candidates’ behalf.

In a rare interview with a mainstream media outlet, Adelson told Politico he planned to spend up to $100 million — “whatever it takes” — to defeat President Barack Obama on Nov. 6, a stance he also made to Forbes magazine in June.

According to disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission, Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have contributed about $37 million, almost all of it to Super PACs backing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, primary rival Newt Gingrich and party peers running for seats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

The rest of the $70 million presumably went into tax-exempt organizations that are not required to disclose donors. Politico reported that tax-exempt groups received $20 million to $30 million of Adelson’s money but did not give further details.

Forbes magazine estimates Adelson’s fortune to be $20.5 billion, much of it thanks to the exploding casino operations in Macau in China — which are focus of a series of lawsuits and investigations in the United States and Macau.

The previous election-spending record was held by liberal billionaire financier George Soros, who has estimated he spent $27.5 million in 2004, giving to outside groups in a failed effort to defeat Republican President George W. Bush.

Adelson is credited with almost single-handedly propping up the failed presidential run of former House Speaker Gingrich as he and his various family members fed some $20 million into Winning Our Future, a Super PAC that aired attack ads against Romney and other Republicans vying for the party nomination.

Sheldon and Miriam Adelson have given $10 million to the pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future; $5 million to YG Action Fund, run by former aides of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor; and another $5 million to Congressional Leadership Fund, linked to House Speaker John Boehner, among other donations disclosed to the FEC.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

… Reports A Popular Business Newspaper

“But this month, the 40-year-old was a featured speaker at a popular tech conference in San Francisco along with the founders of Twitter Inc. and new Yahoo Inc. YHOO +1.18%CEO Marissa Mayer.”

Heh. Sigh.

Announcing The CrunchBase Developer Portal And API Access Keys

crunchbase developer portal

Three weeks ago, we had announced that CrunchBase has partnered with Mashery to move the CrunchBase API to a managed solution. At the time, we simply cutover the API calls to their proxy servers. Over the past three weeks, we have been monitoring the API usage and were quite frankly blown away by the volume of calls to the API. The API numbers average nearly 100K calls per hour! Today, we are ready to announce the CrunchBase developer portal and a transition plan to help migrate third party developers over to registering their applications.

We have now opened up a dedicated portal at http://developer.crunchbase.com. The portal offers improved documentation including IO Docs, a forum for developers to ask questions, identify bugs, and make API requests. In addition to this, we’d like developers to start registering their applications and use an API key. As with any API, we’d like to prevent abuse, allocate and scale resources more efficiently, and potentially offer custom endpoints of the CrunchBase API in the future. Our target date to have all CrunchBase applications use access keys is December 1st, 2012 — approximately two months from now. To get there in the least intrusive (to your application) and effective manner, here is our migration plan:

Access Keys Required From December 1, 2012

Unregistered (using no access key) Applications Throttling

Starting today, all unregistered calls will fall under the ‘Unregistered’ bucket. A rate limit of aggregate 100K calls per hour will be instituted on this bucket. This means the sum total of all calls in this bucket will be capped, not per application. This rate limit will decrease by 10K calls/hour for every week thereafter.

Essentially on 9/24 (i.e., today), the aggregate call volume for all unregistered apps is capped at 100K/hour. On 10/1, this will be capped at 90K/hour, on 10/8 to 80K/hour, and so forth until December 1st, when this limit will effectively drop to 0.

What happens if my app hits the rate ceiling? If a call from your unregistered app is made once the aggregate cap (across all apps) is reached for the hour, your app will receive a 403 response as shown below.

This application has exceeded the hourly rate limit. API calls are being made without an access key. Your application must start using access keys by December 1, 2012 in order to continue using the API. Please register for free at http://developer.crunchbase.com/member/register and start using access keys to avoid being rate limited. More details at http://developer.crunchbase.com/.

If you start seeing failures in your app, please check your server logs for this message. To protect against this, simply register for a key (see the section below) and use it in every call.

Registered Applications

If you register your existing (or new) application and start appending the access key in every call to the API, you will _not_ be throttled/rate limited. We therefore highly encourage you to register as soon as possible to create your developer account and start using keys. Registration is free.

The API calls will remain the same except that you will need to append the access key in every call. Example below:


Summary Of Changes

To summarize, these are the changes coming to the CrunchBase API

  • on December 1st, 2012, required use of access key for every endpoint and application
  • unregistered applications to be throttled at aggregate call volume of 100K calls/hour, progressively degraded by 10K calls/week, and effectively dropping to 0 on 12/1/2012
  • no rate limiting for registered applications

Quick Start Guide

Here is a quick start guide to the portal and to help you migrate your application to using an API key:

Register — http://developer.crunchbase.com/member/register
Documentation — http://developer.crunchbase.com/docs
Interactive IO DOcs — http://developer.crunchbase.com/io-docs
Developer Forum — http://developer.crunchbase.com/forum

We value our developer community and have thought about this transition carefully. If you have any feedback, please leave it in the comments below.

Apple to Launch Personal Pickup for iPhone 5 Tonight

9to5Mac reports that Apple is planning to launch Personal Pickup for new iPhone 5 orders starting tonight at 10:00 PM Eastern. The program allows users to place and pay for orders online in advance and then pick up their items at an Apple retail store.

Customers can use the Apple Store App or website between 10PM-4AM nightly to pre-purchase available iPhone 5 inventory for the next day.

AppleInsider notes
that the program is new for U.S. iPhone 5 customers, as sales in many other countries have already been made available on a reservation basis.

An announcement about the policy change was reportedly made internally to Apple’s employees on Monday. Word then began spreading as the day went on.

For now, Apple’s website still says that iPhone 5 purchases are available on a first-come, first-served basis. In contrast, customers in other countries, such as the U.K., have the option to reserve an iPhone 5 and pick it up the next day at an Apple retail store.

Reports differ on how long customers will have to pick up their purchased iPhones, with 9to5Mac saying that customers will have “upwards of 2 weeks” while AppleInsider says that customers will have to pick them up the following day or the units will be returned to the pool for purchase by other customers.