The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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April 4, 2013

Facebook introduces smartphone software

Facebook Thursday unveiled smartphone software that puts social-networking features front and center on a handset, stepping up efforts to boost sales of advertising on small screens.

The new software, which the company calls Home, makes it easier to access Facebook features — such as friends' photos, messages and status updates — on a smartphone's home screen, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said at an event in Menlo Park, Calif.

The application is available starting April 12 on Samsung Electronics and HTC phones that run Google's Android operating system.

Now that the majority of users access Facebook via mobile devices, Zuckerberg needs ways to keep them engaged longer while coaxing advertisers to pay to place promotions on small screens. The company is betting that handsets with Facebook-centric software will do a better job wooing users and marketers than current downloadable applications, Howe said.

"The problem with apps is they're a click away from wherever you are," said Carl Howe, an analyst at Yankee Group. "Facebook wants to remove that barrier."

HTC executives announced the HTC First device that will prominently feature Facebook's Home application. Ralph De La Vega, head of AT&T Inc.'s mobile business, said HTC First will run on his company's most advanced wireless network.

Home will have monthly updates, can be installed from Google Play, Google's online app store, and will be available on tablets in the coming months, Facebook said.

Facebook isn't building a smartphone or creating an operating system, Zuckerberg said.

Amazon.com uses a version of Android in the Kindle Fire tablet. In Amazon's case, that means bypassing Google's preloaded applications, such as Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube, which generate revenue for Google.

Software crafted by Facebook will more prominently display the social network on handsets and could challenge competitors such as Apple and Google for the attention of smartphone users, Howe said.

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  • Medicaid paid $12M for Illinois dead

    The Illinois Medicaid program paid an estimated $12 million for medical services for people listed as deceased in other state records, according to an internal state government memo.

    The memo dated Friday, which The Associated Press obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, says the state auditor compared clients enrolled in the Medicaid database last June with state death records dating back to 1970. Auditors identified overpayments for services to roughly 2,900 people after the date of their deaths.

    April 19, 2014

  • Ohio couple married 70 years die 15 hours apart

    A couple who held hands at breakfast every morning even after 70 years of marriage have died 15 hours apart.

    Helen Felumlee, of Nashport, died at 92 on April 12. Her husband, 91-year-old Kenneth Felumlee, died the next morning.

    April 19, 2014

  • Prince reaches agreement with music label

    Prince now owns the rights to the music he recorded on Warner Bros. Records after years of disputes and battles with the record label.

    Warner Bros. announced Friday it had reached an agreement with the pop icon, who was signed to the label from 1978 to the mid-1990s, during which time he released key projects like "Purple Rain," ''1999," ''Diamonds and Pearls" and "Around the World in a Day."

    Financial terms weren't disclosed.

    April 19, 2014

  • Ill. GOP officials who wanted Brady out replaced

    A crop of Republican officials who wanted to oust former Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady for his statements supporting same-sex marriage have been replaced in their party positions.

    Illinois Republicans across the state held elections for all 18 state central committee member posts this week, replacing six of the seven officials who signed on to a letter last year to hold a vote on removing Brady as chairman. The seventh person to sign the letter, Mark Shaw of the 10th Congressional District, was re-elected to a four-year term.

    April 19, 2014

  • Iowa gets nearly $72M in yearly tobacco payment

    Iowa received $71 million this week from tobacco companies — its annual share of a 1998 landmark legal settlement in which tobacco companies pay states for smoking-related health care costs.

    The Iowa Attorney General's Office says that since 1999, the state has received more than $960 million in tobacco payments.

    April 19, 2014

  • U of I burn center sees jump in ammonia burns

    The University of Iowa Burn Treatment Center is reporting a higher-than-normal number of patients suffering from anhydrous ammonia burns.

    The center says it has treated five people in the last two weeks. The center's medical personnel say they usually only see one or two cases each year. Official say the high number of patients in such a short amount of time is concerning.

    April 19, 2014

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    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

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  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

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    April 19, 2014

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  • John Hood A year after 'chaos'

    It happened two hours after John Hood finished his run. Like many, he thought the loud boom was just the sound of cannons going off, something that shook the ground. It was odd, but Hood — a 1989 Clinton High School graduate — tried to make it logical, associating the noise with another good happening at the Boston Marathon.

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