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Real Madrid 3-0 Espanyol: Cristiano Ronaldo penalty sends Merengues on their way to victory

22 Sep

Cristiano Ronaldo set Real Madrid on their way with a first half penalty, before Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema added further strikes in a victory overEspanyol that somewhat flattered the home team.

Real Madrid have yet to find their top form and have been more steady than spectacular so far this season. They began the match in much the same vein, although the first opportunity fell to Espanyol and Jose Callejon who was played in by Joan Verdu, but his first time volley whistled wide of the far post.

It was a warning for the home team, and one they duly replied to when Angel Di Maria was played through on the right side of the penalty box by Mesut Oezil — but Carlos Kameni was equal to the Argentine’s shot, putting it out for a corner.

Madrid seemed more settled and were passing the ball quicker and with a sharpness not seen so far this season.

They then won a penalty when a Cristiano Ronaldo free kick struck the hand of Luis Garcia in the wall, the referee gave the spot kick much to the annoyance of the Espanyol players.

Ronaldo had to retake the penalty as he was judged to have feinted over the ball after his run-up was complete, but he held his nerve and made it 1-0 at the second attempt.

That settled Jose Mourinho’s team as they were keeping the ball well, but they were given a warning just before half time when Verdu was left unmarked on the penalty spot, but his low side footed shot went well wide.

Espanyol may have had the better chances but los Merengues certainly had more of the ball as the half-time whistle blew.


Target man | Ronaldo endured some hefty challenges

After the interval, the Periquitos looked more lively as the searched for an equaliser with the best opportunity falling to Verdu, whose shot from inside the area was well parried by Iker Casillas.

Things got worse for Madrid as Pepe was sent off for two bookable offences, but Espanyol’s numerical advantage did not last long as Ernesto Galan was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Ronaldo moments later, though it could be argued it was not a red card offence.

Madrid looked to put the match to bed and had some perfect opportunities to do so as Higuain and Sergio Ramos both squandered fabulous openings. But Higuain eventually hit the back of the net after latching onto a superb Ronaldo pass.

Karim Benzema then made it three with a late strike and Juan Forlin was sent off for his protestations after the goal which earned him a second yellow card.

The victory put Jose Mourinho’s men on top of La Liga for the time being as Valencia face off with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, while Espanyol remain in eighth place.

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Facebook Is Secretly Building A Phone

21 Sep

Facebook is building a mobile phone, says a source who has knowledge of the project. Or rather, they’re building the software for the phone and working with a third party to actually build the hardware. Which is exactly what Apple and everyone else does, too. It was a little less than a year ago that we broke the news that Google was working on a phone of its own – which was eventually revealed as the Nexus One. It was about that time, says out source, that Facebook first became concerned about the increasing power of the iPhone and Android platforms. And that awesome Facebook apps for those phones may not be enough to counter a long term competitive threat. Specifically, Facebook wants to integrate deeply into the contacts list and other core functions of the phone. It can only do that if it controls the operating system. Two high level Facebook employees – Joe Hewitt and Matthew Papakipos – are said to be secretly working on the project, which is unknown even to most Facebook staff. Both have deep operating system experience. Hewitt helped create the Firefox browser and was working on Parakey before it was acquired by Facebook in 2007. Parakey, which never launched, was described as a “Web-based operating system.” Hewitt also created all of Facebook’s iPhone web apps and then native apps, but finally quit building for the iPhone in disgust late last year. But he knows operating systems and he knows mobile. Papakipos also has a perfect background for this project. He was leading the Google Chrome OS project until June. He then quit and went to Facebook. Papakipos is considered a rockstar developer, and there are any number of jobs he’d be able to do at Facebook. But that doesn’t answer the question of why he’d leave the Chrome OS project before it was finished. It would have taken something really interesting to lure him away. Something like a Facebook Phone, for example. So what might this phone look and feel like? We don’t know yet. When will it be announced? Don’t know. But I’d speculate that it would be a lower end phone, something very affordable, that lets people fully integrate into their Facebook world. You call your friend’s name, not some ancient seven digit code, for example. I’d imagine Facebook wanting these things to get into as many hands as possible, so I’d expect a model at a less than $50 price. Pay your bill with Facebook Credits. Etc. As for timing, the holiday season is always a good time to launch new products. But that may be too soon. Or who knows, the whole project might get killed before it sees light. All we know for sure is that Hewitt and Papakipos are working on something very stealthy together. And we have a source that tells us that stealthy thing is a Facebook phone. We’re also not discounting possible partnerships around this. Spotify was said to be working on a phone with INQ last year based on a shared investor, Li Ka-Shing. It turns out Li Ka-Shing is also a sizeable investor in Facebook. So an INQ/Facebook partnership on a phone certainly wouldn’t be a surprise.

Google promises Docs editing for iPad

21 Sep

Google said on Monday that Apple iPad owners would soon be able to edit Google Docs files on their tablets.

The announcement was made the same day as the company added two-factor authentication to its enterprise-oriented Google Apps suite.

Google Apps includes Gmail, Google Docs and Google Calendar.

“Today we demonstrated new mobile editing capabilities for Google Docs on the Android platform and the iPad,” said David Girouard, president of Google’s enterprise group, in a post to a company blog.

“In the next few weeks, co-workers around the world will soon be able to co-edit files simultaneously from an even wider array of devices,” Girouard said.

Google did not set a specific date for delivering Google Docs word processor and spreadsheet editing to the iPad.

Currently, Google Docs users can view, but not edit files with the iPad. Apple’s tablet can also be used to view documents in several Microsoft Office formats when those files have been uploaded to a Google Docs account.

Also today, Google demonstrated progress in adding collaborative editing of Office documents for Docs users on Windows desktops and laptops, a move that would let companies do without SharePoint, one of Microsoft’s top money makers.

The Docs-to-Office integration will rely on on a “ribbon” that users will add to Office to link the suite to Google’s online storage and tools. DocVerse, which Google acquired last March, is developing the ribbon.

iPad owners already have Google Docs access-and-edit options via the $17 apps sold by Quickoffice and DataViz.

Google has not created its own app, but instead supports Google Docs viewing through the iPad’s browser.

Microsoft Word and PowerPoint documents can be viewed, but not edited from within the tablet’s Safari browser by using Microsoft’s Office Web Apps.

Alternately, users can import Microsoft Office documents into Apple’s own iPad-specific Pages, Numbers and KeyNote apps, which cost $10 each.

Lil Wayne Wins BMI Urban Songwriter of the Year for Second Time

17 Sep

Jailed rapper Lil Wayne has reason to smile while behind bars – he has been named Urban Songwriter of the Year for the second time at the BMI Urban Awards.

The incarcerated star, who is serving time for weapons possession, claimed the honour for the second year running at the prizegiving on Friday night, September 10.

Black Eyed Peas leader will.i.am was the big winner at the Los Angeles industry event – he took home a BMI President’s Award and also picked up the Urban Song of the Year prize for “Boom Boom Pow”.

Urban publisher of the year, meanwhile, went to EMI Music Publishing. The company was recognized for 15 of BMI most-performed R&B, rap and hip-hop songs of the past year, including Drake’s “Best I Ever Had,” Beyonce Knowles’ “Ego” and Jay-Z’s “Run This Town”.

Google to Combine Music Store With Online Storage, Reports Indicate

17 Sep

A battle of the bands is coming — a battle to sell bands online, that is. 

Citing anonymous sources, Billboard magazine reported fresh details on Google’s long-awaited music store, which will offer a la carte digital downloads and an online-only storage system — a music locker consumers can rent for $25 per year. 

The details came from a proposal the search giant is reportedly passing around to music industry heavyweights, part of Google’s efforts to have the music store up and running by Christmas. 

The music marketplace will be akin to that of iTunes and Amazon, Billboard reported, where users can pay per song. The big difference lies in the storage: For $25 a year, users can also subscribe to a digital locker where they can stream or download their libraries from anywhere as long as there’s an Internet connection.

One of the key features: the option to automatically upload personal music libraries to the online storage site — which may be hard for record labels to swallow, given the possibility that stolen or pirated tracks would be uploaded along with legitimate ones.

Google’s suggested revenue sharing plan probably won’t go over well either, Billboard noted. Google is asking for a 50-50 split with master rights holders, with music publishers receiving a 10.5% share — though at this point, it’s not clear which half of the split that share would come from.

Despite those challenges, the music industry hopes to benefit from a battle between Apple and Google. The technology giants are clearly going head-to-head in a wide range of media and consumer technology areas, including online TV and movies, mobile phones, software and even advertising.

“Finally here’s an entity with the reach, resources and wherewithal to take on iTunes as a formidable competitor by tying it into search and Android mobile platform,” a label executive who asked not to be identified told Reuters. “What you’ll have is a very powerful player in the market that’s good for the music business.”

Apple currently controls 70% of the digital music industry. And the news isn’t particularly surprising, experts point out. Apple is suspected to have something similar in the works following the company’s 2009 purchase of Lala, a cloud-based music streaming service.

But no one knows what Apple’s plans for Lala are, pointed out Tim Gideon, lead audio analyst for PCMag.com.

“A lot of people see the Apple TV, which rents and has no storage — and thus is using a cloud-based model — as a test for what Apple may try to do with iTunes,” he told FoxNews.com. “What if the purchase of Lala was to facilitate taking your online purchases and having them always ready ‘on demand’ for you, and no longer taking up space on your hard drive? That would be interesting.”

Music executives — who often see Apple’s business practices as too overly restrictive — are reportedly interested in an Apple-Google competition in order to push for better contracts for content, Reuters reported. The only other major player in the digital music business is Amazon, which commands 12% of the industry.

And what of Amazon, that other company? Its service has foundered, Gideon pointed out, mainly because consumers are lazy.

“Why leave iTunes, where you are already organizing your music, to purchase something from Amazon when you can do it all within iTunes?”

Google Pitching Online Music Service To Labels

16 Sep

Internet search powerhouse Google is trying to put together an online music service that would take on Apple’s market-ruling iTunes, according to a report at Billboard.com.

Google is courting record labels for a service that would let people download songs in digital format or store music in the Internet “cloud” for streaming to online devices, according to unnamed sources cited by Billboard.

Google is reportedly proposing charging annual subscriptions of about 25 dollars to let people store music online and then stream or download tunes to Internet-linked gadgets as desired, Billboard said.

Google is seeking to have the service include letting customers listen once to any song all the way through before limiting them to a 30-second sample of the song, according to Billboard.

The service would reportedly have aspects of Lala.com, an online music website bought by Apple in December and closed early this year.

Lala boasted a playlist of more than eight million tunes and hosted users’ digital music collections on the Web, allowing access from varied locations in what it described as “music in the clouds.”

Apple has not disclosed its plans for Lala but there has been speculation that it may adapt its technology to create a Web-hosted music subscription service of some kind.

Lala launched in 2006 as an online vision of a vintage San Francisco record store where people tipped each other off to artists, shopped for CDs and traded used ones.

50 Cent Will Not Be Appearing In Eastenders

16 Sep

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but bosses at Eastenders have quashed reports that 50 Cent will be given a cameo in the hit BBC soap.

Just as we were looking forward to Fiddy taking a trip to Albert Square, doing a spot of shopping on Walford Market or talking bling with Pat Butcher, the BBC have stated that the rapper will not be starring in the show.

Despite the Candy Shop rapper himself claiming that a one-off appearance had been organised with the soap opera, a spokesperson for the BBC has denied the reports, claiming it’s not true.

A rep for the BBC stated: “We’re flattered he’s a fan, but there have been no talks about him appearing in the show,”

Fiddy had previously joked that his ‘biggest showbiz dream’ would been for Peggy Mitchell, played by Barbara Windsor to have thrown him out of the Square’s boozer, The Vic but now it seems that Mr.Cent won’t be walking the East End cobbles after all.

Jennifer Lopez Seals American Idol Deal – For $12 Million

16 Sep

A month after the singer-actress’s initial deal with American Idol fell apart — thanks, in part, to demands that had gotten “out of hand,” according to a source — Lopez will after all be joining the judging panel for the show’s upcoming 10th season, sources tell PEOPLE.

Lopez’s $12 million contract, which was first reported by Deadline.com, comes two weeks after DioGuardi confirmed she was leaving the show, following in the footsteps of both Simon Cowell and new judge Ellen DeGeneres.

According to the report, Lopez was hoping for movie and TV development deals to accompany and even larger Idol salary as well as input about her new co-judges, but Fox made no commitments and she settled for a cool $12 million.

“She’s very excited,” a source close to Lopez says of the final deal.

Fox has no comment and a rep for Lopez did not return calls for comment.

No official word on who may be Lopez’s fellow judges but Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler said he will “probably” be a judge. Shania Twain, Harry Connick Jr., Elton John and Chris Isaak had also been rumored as possibilities

ELLE Celebrates 25 Years With Megan Fox

15 Sep

ELLE is one the top fashion magazines in the world and they’ve been rocking that world for 25 years now.  To celebrate this huge milestone they are releasing four different covers for the October 2010 issue.   Each one profiles a star, under 25.

Google Engineer Fired for Spying on Minors

15 Sep

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

A Google sign at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

A Google engineer was fired for spying on the accounts of at least four minors — the second instance of employees violating user privacy, Google confirmed Tuesday.

David Barksdale, 27, met the teens online while working as a Site Reliability Engineer at Google’s Kirkland, Wash., office, reported Gawker.com. The site claims that he exploited his position as a member of an elite technical group to keep tabs on minors of both sexes, though the harassment did not seem to be sexually motivated, sources told the site.

A Google official confirmed the report, explaining that Barksdale was dismissed for breaking the company’s strict internal privacy policies.

“We carefully control the number of employees who have access to our systems, and we regularly upgrade our security controls — for example, we are significantly increasing the amount of time we spend auditing our logs to ensure those controls are effective,” senior vice president of engineering Bill Coughran told TechCrunch.com.

“That said, a limited number of people will always need to access these systems if we are to operate them properly — which is why we take any breach so seriously,” he said.

Google also acknowledged an earlier case in which an employee was fired for spying, though it didn’t involve minors. TechCrunch reporter Jason Kincaid applauded Google for acknowledging the issue — unlike Facebook, where at least two employees were reportedly fired for accessing user data.

“I asked Facebook about this repeatedly, and they refused to directly answer how many times this had happened, if ever,” Kincaid said.

Barksdale reportedly tapped into the Google Voice call logs of a 15-year-old boy he had befriended after the minor refused to tell him the name of his new girlfriend. Barksdale allegedly retrieved the girl’s name and phone number from the boy’s account and threatened to call her, all while acting as a Site Reliability Engineer for the search firm.

Site Reliability Engineers have access to Google’s most sensitive data and are given full access to users’ accounts they oversee, Gawker reported, citing a former Google Site Reliability Engineer.

Barksdale also purportedly accessed contact lists and chat transcripts and, in one instance, unblocked himself from a teen’s buddy list, reversing the teen’s actions to cut off communication with him.

Barksdale, a self-described hacker, confirmed to Gawker that he had been fired by Google, but refused to discuss the nature of his termination. Google did not immediately respond to requests for additional information.