The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

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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  • Amid Russian warning, Ukraine's in a security bind

    Ukraine's highly publicized goal to recapture police stations and government buildings seized by pro-Russia forces in the east produced little action on the ground Wednesday but ignited foreboding words from Moscow.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that Russia would mount a firm response if its citizens or interests come under attack in Ukraine. Although he did not specifically say Russia would launch a military attack, his comments bolstered wide concern that Russia could use any violence in eastern Ukraine as a pretext for sending in troops.

    April 23, 2014

  • UN seeks probe of alleged chlorine gas in Syria

    The U.N. Security Council called for an investigation Wednesday into reports of alleged chlorine gas use in some Syrian towns, causing deaths and injuries.

    Nigeria's U.N. Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu, the current council president, said the allegations were raised during a closed-door council meeting following a briefing Wednesday by Sigrid Kaag, who heads the mission charged with destroying Syria's chemical weapons.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Justin Bieber apologizes for Japan war shrine trip

    Justin Bieber apologized Wednesday to those he offended by visiting a Japanese war shrine, saying he thought it was a beautiful site and only a place of prayer.

    The Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo enshrines 2.5 million war dead, including Japan's 14 convicted war criminals, and operates a war museum that defends Japan's wartime aggression. It is a flashpoint between Japan and its neighbors that see the shrine as distinct from other Shinto-style establishments mainly honoring gods of nature. China and South Korea in particular see Yasukuni as a symbol of Japan's past militarism and consider Japanese officials' visits there as a lack of understanding or remorse over wartime history.

    April 23, 2014

  • Internet TV case: Justices skeptical, concerned

    Grappling with fast-changing technology, Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to the shows they send out without strangling innovations in the use of the internet.

    The high court heard arguments in a dispute between television broadcasters and Aereo Inc., which takes free television signals from the airwaves and charges subscribers to watch the programs on laptop computers, smartphones and even their large-screen televisions. The case has the potential to bring big changes to the television industry.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Soldier convicted in WikiLeaks case gets new name

    An Army private convicted of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks won an initial victory Wednesday to living as a woman when a Kansas judge granted a petition to change her name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.

    The decision clears the way for official changes to Manning's military records, but does not compel the military to treat the soldier previously known as Bradley Edward Manning as a woman.

    April 23, 2014

  • First lady announces one-stop job site for vets

    To help veterans leaving the military as it downsizes, the government on Wednesday started a one-stop job-shopping website for them to create resumes, connect with employers and become part of a database for companies to mine.

    April 23, 2014

  • Schultz deputy lost duties, kept pay

    Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, who is running for Congress as a budget-cutting conservative, allowed his top aide to keep collecting a $126,000 annual salary for months after deciding to eliminate his job, The Associated Press has learned.

    Schultz decided in May 2012 to cut the office's chief deputy position held for 17 months by Jim Gibbons, a former Iowa State wrestling coach and Republican congressional candidate, under a restructuring that ultimately saved money. But rather than dismiss Gibbons quickly as he did to four career workers laid off that summer, Schultz took unusual steps that kept his political appointee on the payroll through the end of the year.

    April 23, 2014

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