With more cash on hand than the United States, Apple dominated tech and financial news pages last week with headlines like these:

“Apple closes as the most valuable company in the world,” and “The New Top 10 Giants of American Industry,” and “Apple Becomes Most Valuable Company in the U.S.” and “Apple Aces Most Valuable U.S. Firm Chart, Exxon Follows.”

Flush with cash, Apple plans to build a nearly 3-million-square-foot circular office building in Cupertino, Calif. The four-story spaceship-like curved glass structure is currently under review by the city. If approved, the 150-acre “Apple Campus 2” will house up to 13,000 employees and rely on its own electrical power system.

Apple Insider reports, “Apple’s objectives for the project are to ‘maximize efficiency and convenience’ to its employees, create a ‘distinctive and inspiring 21st Century workplace,’ and ‘exceed economic social and environmental sustainability goals through integrated design and development.'”

A day in the life…

“Seattle Police Dept.: Man exposed himself to 17-yr-old girl.
Details at spdblotter.seattle.gov
– Twitter, Aug. 14

Seattle’s Police Department recently decided to use Twitter as a kind of modern-day police scanner to keep residents informed about what’s happening in their communities.

At first, Twitterers were alarmed, then annoyed at all the tweets emanating from the Seattle PD – 478 in the first twelve hours. The police department issued tweets about nearly all the emergency calls to which they were responding. The experiment has since morphed into a full-time program, during which police officers will tweet updates on every call he or she responds to.

Police spokesman Sean Whitcomb told the Seattle Times, “If we are going out to a scene we will tweet that. If someone is a SPD Twitter follower, he’s welcome to get out of his house and hear what we’re telling the news. This is another way we can communicate.”

Could it be that with shrinking budgets, this type of project will soon be commonplace? Following the Department of Homeland Security’s slogan, “See something, say something?”

Look through any Window, what do you see?

When Google was hacked by Chinese spies about 18 months ago, it was just the beginning of what would be some pretty serious hacking operations.

TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld reports, “In a detailed blog post that is both eye-opening and a brilliant piece of marketing, McAfee’s VP of Threat Research Dmitri Alperovitch lays out the details of Operation Shady RAT (Remote Access Tool), an ongoing series of computer system intrusions that began as far back as 2006 and compromised 72 organizations, including the United Nations, the International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Agency, U.S. defense contractors, U.S. federal and state government agencies, a national security think tank, tech companies, and ‘even an unfortunate computer security firm’ [presumably a McAfee competitor].”

Schonfeld adds the scope of the attacks “makes things like the recent Sony Playstation or News Corp hacks look like child’s play.”

Everything here, one dollar!

The recent earthquakes in Japan resulted in an innovative idea by one book lover.

According to an item in Forbes, 1DollarScan founder Yusuke Ohki, the father of two young children, was concerned about bookshelves that fell over during recent earthquakes and people who were injured or died as a result. Ohki’s solution was to scan all of his books. His idea has evolved from a company working out of a tiny Tokyo apartment into a 200-employee operation with plans to expand internationally.

Send in your book and for one dollar you’ll get 100 pages scanned electronically, made digital and accessible on any device. The company is located in San Jose, and is operated by zLibro, a subsidiary of a Japanese company launched last year called Bookscan.

One dollar at 1DollarScan also will buy you 10 business cards, 10 photos or 10 business documents.

Chatting you up.

Facebook’s chat system has undergone yet another change. Last month Facebook displayed only those friends you messaged most. But after getting some blowback about it, Facebook has modified the chat function so that now you can see all your online friends.

This headline caught my eye: “Your Phone Numbers and Facebook: What You Should Actually Worry About.” If you’re on Facebook, it’s got your attention too.

California prisoners using contraband mobile phones found updating their status on Facebook? Good grief! How are they getting the phones?

According to Bay Area NBC affiliate: “Prison employees are considered to be the most likely way prisoners get cell phones, according to the Los Angeles Times, which often sell for $1,000 each in prison. Providing a mobile phone is a violation of prison rules but isn’t a crime, so employees can only be fired.

Prisoner Facebook update: Busted.

Meanwhile, the notorious international hacker group Anonymous is wreaking more damage, vowing on YouTube to “kill Facebook” on Nov. 5, England’s Guy Fawkes Day. The video has since been removed by the user.

On Sunday, the secretive hackers issued a retaliatory threat against the California Bay Area Rapid Transit BART for shutting off cell phone service at a planned protest last Thursday. Anonymous plans its protest for 5 p.m. Monday and is urging participants to wear blood-stained shirts in memory of a homeless man killed in that BART station. The activist group also published email addresses and telephone numbers of BART directors.

“We will set those who have been censored free from their silence. That’s a promise,” the group threatened. “Anonymous demands that this activity revolving around censorship cease and desist, and we know you are already planning to do this again. We will not issue any more warnings.”

BART has been criticized for temporarily shutting down cell service in four of its stations to stifle potential violence associated with protests.

Instant messaging used to spread Britain’s riots

“If you’re down for making money, we’re about to go hard in east London,” messaged one looter in a real-time call for rioters to rally.

According to The Mail, “encrypted messages sent via BlackBerrys are being used by mobs to encourage rioting across Britain.” Social media along with video of the rioting have bolstered the mob mentality.

“BlackBerry’s messaging system is popular among youths because it’s free, compatible with multimedia and private, compared with Facebook and Twitter,” the Mail writes. “Its encrypted messages give troublemakers an added benefit: Police aren’t able to immediately trace message traffic the way they can with regular cell phones.”

“Social media have been a potent force in fueling the riots that began Saturday in London’s boroughs and later spread to other cities such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds and Bristol,” the Associated Press echoes. “Messages have also been sent via regular texts and on Facebook.”

Britain’s police are trying out facial-recognition technology to help them track down those who have taken part in the riots that struck London this week, according to the LA Times. The technology was already slated for use during the Summer Olympic Games of 2012 in London.

I’ve got you under my skin.

During dinner out with a group of friends last week, I noticed that whenever the conversation lagged or turned to a topic of little interest to them, several grabbed their smart phone (conveniently placed within easy reach of the dinner plate) and began scrolling thru emails, tweets, and the latest headlines. It was a bit disconcerting, and borderline rude.

Turns out they’re among a growing number of Americans who are addicted to their phones. According to a recent survey by technology firm TeleNav, our addiction to technology trumps alcohol, caffeine and chocolate! One third of us would be more willing to give up sex than our mobile phones. We are so attached to our phones we sleep with them next to us!

“Not surprisingly, smart phone users were more attached to their devices than were feature phone users, with iPhone users leading the pack,” TeleNav reports. “In fact, iPhone users were more likely than their Android or BlackBerry counterparts to spend a week without their significant other, exercise or shoes – rather than go a week without their phone.”

That’s just crazy!

S’cuse me … I have to check my iPhone for messages.

Bits & Bytes

Mozilla introduces universal sign-in button.

Are you ready for a cloud-based smart phone?

This tiny chat iPhone lets you talk with up to 12 Facebook friends.

Roku: A little box filled with TV goodies

Roku is a device that streams web content to your television whenever you want it, no PC needed. It connects to your TV and Wi-Fi network at home. Channels include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, Pandora Internet Radio, Fox News and many others. It has collected $8 million in investor money.

The Time Capsule

1935 – Social Security Act signed into law

1935 – Will Rogers killed in plane crash

1945 – Japan surrenders; Allies celebrate VJ Day

1960 – Francis Gary Powers sentenced to 10 years for spying

1965 – Riots erupt in Los Angeles; National Guard deployed

1977 – Memphis, Tenn. – Elvis Presley dead at 42

1998 – President Clinton admits to affair with Monica Lewinsky

Now playing at the Princess Theater in Urbana, Ill.

Congratulations to WND readers Karl W. Randolph of San Francisco, Calif., and Chris Cousins of Indiana, Pa., who correctly guessed actor Paul Newman in his portrayal of Gen. Leslie R. Groves in the 1989 movie “Fatman and Little Boy.”

The film re-enacted the Manhattan Project, a secret wartime project in New Mexico where the first atomic bombs were designed and built. The Manhattan Project was led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, producing the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The film also starred Dwight Schultz and Bonnie Bedelia.

The quote was: “I want three stories. The first, if we succeed. The second, if we fail. The third, if we disintegrate.”

This week’s quote: “We’re not gonna have a war; we’re gonna have the appearance of a war.”

Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me at the email address below. Please be sure to add your town and state. Good luck!

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