The fans of rival women’s volleyball teams clashed leaving one dead.

Amateur videos of the violence, broadcast on Greek television, showed scores of people arriving at the scene on scooters before clashing with rival supporters, wielding bats and knives, and hurling petrol bombs and rocks. Police arrested 13 at the scene, seizing knives, flare guns, brass knuckles and other weapons, and three more were arrested later.

Have I mentioned before that group identity is a powerful force? Women’s volleyball. Sheesh. Is there a special Darwin Award for groups?

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Samsung Ubicell

April 2, 2007

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Samsung announced the Ubicell for Sprint’s CDMA network. This is like a WiFi access point for your cell phone. It connects to your DSL or Cable Modem connection allowing your cell phone calls to be made over TCP/IP thus avoiding cell phone towers altogether. The following pdf says the Samsung Ubicell is for WCDMA/HSPDA so it looks like they will offer them for different wireless technologies. The question is why? Why do customers want/need it? Why do carriers want to offer it?

I think customers might want it for the following reasons:

  1. cheap calls – if carriers can offer free or low pricing
  2. good signal – some people have terrible coverage in their homes
  3. high speed data – EVDO/HSPDA speeds when you are at home
  4. one phone

So what about the wireless carrier:

  1. defensive move against phones with WiFi
  2. defensive move against Skype and other VOIP offers
  3. get customers to move away from landline phone carriers

Its kind of an interesting technology. Will it get adopted? Time will tell.

Twirled and Furled

April 2, 2007

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Real-estate magnate Sam Zell buys the Tribune Co. which includes two major newspapers, the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times. Zell is known for buying out-of-favor real-estate properties in down cycles. Are newspapers in a down cycle rather than generally in decline? Warren Buffet is known for buying an undervalued company or two but his formerly bullish attitude no longer holds with newspapers.

Zell will be restructuring the company into an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). This will allow him to invest company 401K investments back into the company. I guess an ESOP has other tax incentives as well. I wonder if this is the kind of outcome envisioned by the writers of the ESOP tax laws?