Friday, February 3, 2012

Bonnier's Technology Group launches its fourth tablet edition using the Mag+ platform – American Photo+

Bonnier's Technology Group, which includes Popular Science, Popular Photography, American Photo and Sound + Vision, launched its fourth tablet edition this week with the release of the new iPad app American Photo+. As its name implies, it used the Mag+ platform as its creation tool, as did the previous three apps.
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The group, led by Gregg Hano, launched its first iPad for Popular Science on the day of the iPad's launch, in April of 2010. Hano has since been promoted to Senior Vice President of Corporate Sales & the Technology Group.

Like the previous three apps, American Photo+ is free to download and offers readers the opportunity to buy individual issues at $4.99, or a monthly subscription at $1.99, or an annual subscription at $11.99. The biggest complaint about the Bonnier apps, besides the inevitable bugs that sometimes occur, is that print subscribers can not log into their accounts in order to access the issues on their iPad for free – they must pay again.



Not all of the Bonnier apps, there are now 60 of them for the iPad, use the Mag+ system – a system that Bonnier itself created before spinning it out as its own company in April of last year. I asked the Technology Group's Creative Director, Sam Syed, about how the decision is made what digital publishing platform to use when creating its iPad editions.

"It's not like a unitary decision," Syed said, "but ultimately the guy who runs the division will probably going to green light that the rest wants to do." That would be either Gregg Hano or Steve Grune, who is Group Publisher.

For the Technology Group, the choice to use Mag+ is probably a natural as many of the team were part of the group brought in by Bonnier at its development.

"We've all been very close to the development of Mag+ and we're strong supporters of it because we strongly believe this is the best platform for doing this that we have access to right now," Syed told me yesterday.

"Having said that, we are not directly against using other platforms. We're just making decisions based upon a very pragmatic approach to it. So if we were to come across a situation where we really thought something could be done using Adobe we probably would decide to do that."

Syed pointed to two reasons why the choice of Mag+ was chosen: the team creating the magazine apps have become quite good at working with Mag+; and because the platform was developed in-house, it meets the magazine's needs very well.

"We need to be bringing fabulous products to the people who like what we do," Syed said. "At this moment, the way we are doing it is the most effective and it produces stuff that is the best."



"One of the things we realize here is that its hard to do this unless you have multiple brands," Syed told me, referring to building monthly tablet editions.

"Because of the cyclical nature publications you have uptimes and downtimes," Syed said. "It never works so that its flat across all the whole time. What we had would be a designer who was not that busy, and a designer who was really busy. But we couldn't deploy them on to the same projects because they worked for different magazines."

"So we reinvented the art department," Syed told me. "Now we have a unified art department here. Although we have designers nominally listed to various projects, really its a very fluid art department. It's like a design studio at an ad agency or something like that.

Syed says that he has "extraordinarily small team." In addition to himself, there is a department art director, three junior level designers, one experienced art director "who essentially only works on the iPad editions," and a person they call a digital producer.

He thinks they are stretched at this point "because the nature of the content – I believe, very strongly – requires we don't just replicate print magazines and that we go a bit further, and that is an area that requires some level of experimentation," Syed said.
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Left: Navigation inside American Photo+; Middle: a typical article that uses scrolling to reach additional pages; Right: an article that lets the reader know they can tap the artwork to see a fullscreen version of the photo.


I asked Syed about the contrast between magazine apps that created native tablet designs and replica editions, where the tablet version is just an exact replica of the print magazine.

"I do think there is some validity to that approach (replica editions), though I don't go down that road," Syed said, being a bit political.

"I think there is this worry that you produce material that is so unfamiliar to your current readers that you kind of bring them with you (by doing a replica edition). I think that maybe that's what's driving a lot of people to use this kind of technology to emulate a previous era technology."

Syed uses the analogy of the development of the movies, where directors would simply set up a camera in front of a stage and shoot a play. Not until directors such as D.W. Griffith and Sergei Eisenstein began to shoot and edit their films did the movies start to develop into a new art form.

As for magazines on tablets and where they will go in the future, Syed said "I don't think we have even scratched the surface."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Lithuanian developer Jumsoft brings the first third party templates for iBooks Author to the Mac App Store

There was a bit of excitement this morning when word spread, via some tech sites, that a Lithuanian company – Jumsoft – had released some templates for iBooks Author and that the app could be downloaded from the Mac App Store. Unfortunately, the app was not showing up in the store, despite the fact that the company was promoting their new app, Book Palette, on their website.
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But finally this afternoon the app made its official appearance in the Mac App Store, and as you can see, I was able to download it and start to play around with it.

The fact that Apple will allow for third party templates is a very, very good thing. In fact, I can hardly tell you how excited I am about this. You see one had to wonder whether Apple would allow developers to start to play around with iBooks Author. The fact that they will means that iBooks Author has a real chance to be the game changing book publishing solution we hope it will be.

"We were really excited when the news about iBooks Author first appeared," Algirdas Unguvaitis, general manager of Jumsoft, said in this company's announcement for Book Palette. "The announcement came late at night, European time, and we already had all of the key ideas for Book Palette by the next morning. I really hope that users of iBooks Author will appreciate the beautiful extra design options that Book Palette offers, and I can't wait to start expanding the current template range."

The app costs $2.99 (Mac App Store link here) and it provides users with ten new book templates. Better yet, Jumsoft uses the language "first version", meaning that they may well update the app to add more templates – at least we hope so.
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Like iBooks Author itself, Book Palette is very easy to use. One simply opens the app and clicks on a template. That template is then opened in iBooks Author and off you go creating your book.

The big advantage Blogger and WordPress have is their templates, or themes. Often these templates are free, sometimes they are "premium" templates and will cost you a few bucks to download. iBooks Author comes with a few themes, but the promise of additional themes means that authors who are not that great at graphics and access the work of designers to create better looking books than they would normally.

Now, Apple, when can we expect an iBooks Author for magazines? Bring it on.

The newspaper business: the three legged stool can not stand when all of its legs are being sawed off

Back in my newspaper days I was, for a quite a while, a classified advertising manager. We were the stars back then, at least at the management meetings, simply because we brought in the money that made the newspaper wildly profitable.

Classified advertising was the money engine, the one area that grew in year and year out. Automotive, real estate, help wanted, all those categories grew every year in the eighties, right up until the first Iraq War and the recession that followed it. After that things were a bit slower, but it wasn't until the rise of the Internet – Headhunter.com (remember that site?), Monster.com, and then Craig's List.

For years the Internet has been sawing off one of the three legs that meant life for a newspaper: classified advertising, local retail, and national advertising. Circulation was a sideshow during the golden age simply because newspaper publishers knew that the way to make money was to gather up the eyes and sell advertising. Google seems to understand that better than anyone in today's media world (though Facebook is learning fast).

Having spent all my early years in the newspaper business I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that the Internet did not kill off classified advertising, newspapers killed it off. Even before the rise of Internet publishing, newspapers were slow to react to the auto traders springing up in their midst. Then they ignored the real estate publications, the apartment guides, etc.

Newspapers simply felt that their product was the newspaper – not news, not advertising, the newspaper. So, other than those endless special sections (which appeared in the newspaper) newspapers didn't (and don't) create new media products on the fly, they circle the wagons and wait to run out of ammunition in hopes the calvary will ride in to the rescue.

So while newspapers were losing their classified ads, other competitors were taking bites out of local retail and national advertising, as well. The issue is not that advertisers are moving away from newspapers to the web, it is that advertising is moving away from newspaper to non-newspaper properties.
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In 2000, the Newspaper Assn. of America reported that newspaper advertising stood at $48.7 billion, a rise that year of over 5 percent. A decade later print advertising stood at $22.7 billion, with digital advertising only adding $3 billion more.

But Internet advertising hit $26 billion in 2010 according to the IAB (the estimate for 2011 is over $30 billion).

Funny coincidence, isn't it? If you add those two number together you get $48.7 billion, the exact same number we saw in 2000.

So from a newspaper publisher point of view, the advertising has moved away from newspapers to the web. But from the perspective of a sales person, the advertising has moved away from one group of sales people to another.

Today the mantra is paid content rather than advertising. It is a self-defeating philosophy that says that the future is ignoring the $40-50 billion of ad dollars out there and instead pursues paid digital subscriptions. It's working, ad dollars are leaving newspapers as planned. The problem, these advocates say, is just that digital subscription dollars are not growing fast enough.

Look at the New York Times Company's recent performance. Advertising revenue fell across the board: print was down 7.8 percent, but digital advertising was down, as well – 4.9 percent. Ignoring the demise of About.com, NYT properties actually grew digital advertising 5.3 percent.

But digital advertising in the U.S. is set to grow 18%, if the IAB's numbers are right. That means that even in the area of digital, newspapers are lagging behind the pace of growth of the category as a whole.

Some traditional media observers are almost (but not quite) declaring victory for the paid digital subscription strategy, even as the water is reaching the feet of the string quartet on the upper deck. (Those that left the newspaper industry, though, are enjoying the music being played by those left on board the sinking ship.)

Avid releases iPad version of Avid Studio

Fresh from pissing off the video production community with its new version of Final Cut Pro, Apple beat a hasty retreat by issuing an update that brought in multicam support, as broadcast monitoring. Whether the update will reverse the impression that Apple has made a terrible blunder is yet to be seen.



You, too, can "Ceate" a new video project using Avid's new iPad app, priced at $4.99.


Many believe that Apple's new version of Final Cut Pro is good news for companies such as Avid, which offers both high-end professional software solutions, as well as its own pro-sumer product, Avid Studio.

Today Avid got into the tablet game with a $4.99 video editing app, also called Avid Studio.

If you are thinking of using your iPad to edit video, it might be smart to get this one now, before the price rises to $7.99 – though, to be honest, these app prices are ridiculously low.

After the jump you can see all that the app says it can do:
Description

Big-screen moviemaking comes to the touchscreen with Avid® Studio for iPad. We’ve distilled the world’s leading film-editing technology into an easy-to-use app that enables you to edit video, audio, and photos at the speed of your creativity.

Swiftly arrange your clips in the Storyboard, make precision edits using the Timeline, and add high-quality transitions, effects, and a soundtrack. Then share your movie directly to YouTube, Facebook, and more—or export your project to Avid Studio for the PC and continue editing with even more advanced tools.

Easily Access Your Media
- Work with any media on your device—video, audio, and photos
- Access media from external devices via an iPad Camera Connection Kit (sold separately)
- Capture video and photos from within the app
- See your media organized by Albums, Events, Faces, and more

Edit
- Get started quickly with how-to materials
- Easily navigate your project with intuitive gestures
- Swiftly arrange clips in the Storyboard
- Make precise edits and trim individual frames in the Precision Trimmer
- Use the Razor Blade tool to cut on the fly and delete or replace the second half of the clip
- Easily replace one clip with another

Enhance
- Quickly create multi-layer 3D animations, transitions, and titles with included Montage templates
- Easily composite video tracks to create layered looks
- Add high-quality fades and dissolves to help your story flow
- Generate professional-looking motion titles and graphics with full control over text, font, color, size, position, and rotation
- Create amazing Picture-in-Picture effects with full control over position, size, and rotation
- Pan and zoom on your photos to create high-impact slideshows
- Enjoy full-screen playback

Create Soundtracks
- Use your own audio or choose from the included sound effects
- Trim audio to any length, set levels, and fade audio in or out

Share
- Easily share movies via YouTube, Facebook, email, and more
- Export projects to Avid Studio for the PC

Pro Technology, Pro Results
- Created by Avid, the maker of the world’s leading film and music editing technology
- Easy enough for the hobbyist, powerful enough for the pro
I haven't been that interested in video editing since Apple updated its iMovie and made a very good and simple video software solution much harder to work with, and far less powerful. That was quite a number of years ago and since then they have released new versions of iMovie that have been somewhat better.

But, frankly, it was too late, they had lost me, and I think this is one area where Apple has really fallen down. They are so insular that they really don't care if you don't like their new vision for a product, they know they are right.

That is why I use Audacity for audio editing, so much easier to use than GarageBand for what I need to do with audio.

Media app updates: TNT updates its famously buggy TV app; Hearst Newspapers issues updates for its four titles

Many cable channels are issuing stand alone app such as HBO GO which was well received before users started to complain about bugs. The biggest complaint, though, is usually that a viewer must sign into their cable TV provider account in order to access the content. The reason for this is that since the cable provider to paying the channel for the privilege of including the channel in its offerings they do not want the channels themselves to be able to stream content for free.
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As a result, if you download the HBO GO app and get your TV from a cable provider not on the list of providers on HBO GO's log-in page you are out of luck.

Then there is the issue of app bugs. TNT's iPad app has been panned by users for being buggy (as well as having too many commercials).

Today TNT got around to updating its TNT for iPad app so we will soon see if users think the new version is an improvement.

I found the app functional – barely. The video is jumpy and low resolution. There is no AirPlay capability, which frankly at this stage is incredible. As for the offerings, they are very limited depending on the series selected.



Hearst Newspapers updated all four of its iPad apps for its newspaper titles: San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and Albany Times-Union.
Most of the complaints about the previous apps have been from users who don't understand what happens when an app is updated to include Newsstand support. The standalone app icon is moved in Newsstand, but some users think the app has disappeared completely. Unfortunately, those reviews stay in the App Store even though they are mistaken.

The new app updates bring in a new games section and fix some bugs. The look and feel of all four apps remains the same – which is my biggest complaint about the approach, each newspaper loses its local look and feel.

Oh well, at least they work.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Longform launches new iPad app for reading long-form magazine content on your tablet

I have asked the question many times, "what is the barrier to entry for content aggregation apps such as Flipboard?" The answer I always come up with is that there isn't one, other than the act of creating the app itself.
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Another new app, but one with a different business model, was launched today. Longform is sort of like Instapaper or Read It Later in that users add content they find online to the app. The difference is that Longform also works with these aggregation tools, and, most importantly, the content is "curated" by Longform.

The editors behind Longform are Aaron Lammer and Max Linsky who started Longform as a website the curated long stories found on the web – the iPad app is just the logical next step, I suppose.

The purpose of the site is to find great stories and, most importantly, repackage them into more reader friendly formatting.

"It's a terrible way to read a story, and unless you're an absolute long-form diehard or the piece is about someone in your immediate family, you're not going to put up with it," Max Linsky told Jack Shafer, then of Slate. It was his tweet, and a link to a story on the Capital website that called attention to the new app.

Unlike other aggregation apps that have an ad model supporting them, Longform charges $4.99 for its app. This will probably seriously limit its appeal – as will the fact that this is getting to be a very crowded field, even taking into account that Longform offers a curated experience rather than a user aggregation one.

I personally did not download the app, so I have no opinion of its design – and as someone who is online over 10 hours a day, I already feel overwhelmed with the amount of content I read in a day. But Longform – both the website and the app – may be just what you are looking for.

Here are the remaining screenshots used in Longform's app description:

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Italian newspaper, Il Foglio, delivers replica edition to iPad owners, but also more in its recently updated app

The Italian center-right newspaper, Il Foglio, is hardly a circulation powerhouse at around 13,000, but it, too, has entered the tablet era with its own branded iPad app. Today it has been update the app has been updated bringing the publication into Apple's Newsstand, and fixing some bugs.
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The newspaper was founded by Italian journalist Giuliano Ferrara, and although I do not read Italian, its Wikipedia description makes it sound like a typically pro-Berlusconi newspaper – not one I'd be very interested in.

But the app edition of Il Fogli ("The Sheet") is pretty interesting.

The app basically presents a replica edition to its readers, and because of its text heavy look, this really doesn't work too well – better to read the more standard looking mobile website on your iPhone.
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But the app does give readers text versions of the stories, as well as more ways to access content. In this way, the app makes a more pleasant reading experience than might otherwise be possible.

Italian reviewers have give the app fairly positive reviews, though a few have complained that the PDF-like look of the replica edition is lacking in vision. Of course, with any newspaper with an obvious political point of view, this one is looked at with pretty biased eyes.



Generally speaking, designing for tablets when you product is a daily newspaper is difficult if one wanted to have a native look. That is why many have decided to adopt the NYT's look and feel – a fully automated design that I find not very attractive, but usable. The tablet-only publications, such as The Daily, have it easier – are can design once and therefore have a more magazine look to them.

Newspaper print design has evolved for several centuries, hopefully it won't take a similarly long time to get to a more creative and readable state on tablets.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Digital Subscriptions for Dummies" from Mag+

Seaking of Mag+ (mentioned below in the post about Bonnier): they have posted a "Digital Subscriptions for Dummies" on their website in any attempt to clear up any confusion publishers might have concerning selling digital subscription via Apple's Newsstand.
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One thing that I think is missing – or else I missed it myself – is that a subscription can be free. For consumer magazines this would seem a strange concept, but many B2B magazines and many alternative weeklies will want to keep their publications free of charge. Apple's subscription policies, and its Newsstand, will accomodate this. The advantage is that when a reader subscribers, even for free, the issues will download automatically to their device, theoretically improving readership.

Mag+ continues to offer its digital publishing tools free of charge to download and experiment with. Recently they introduced three levels of paid app publication: Go!, which is a one time app for $199; Grow! which is the company's standard multi issue solution at $2500 to start; and Lead! which is a $3000 per month fee for unlimited apps for those companies producing multiple titles and multiple issues.



In the interest of fairness, I should also mention that WoodWing will be conducting a series of webinars on Thursday that will focus on integration of Adobe's Digital Publishing Suite with WoodWing's Digital Publishing Solution.

WoodWing Evangelist Victor Cardoso will conduct the webinars which are offered at various times throughout the day to accomodate users in different time zones. Check the WoodWing website for more information, or e-mail me here at TNM and I will pass along the webinar announcement.

Bonnier updates many of its apps, but they remain disappointing tablet editions even after the updates

It's pretty hard to figure out what is going on at Bonnier – they are both way ahead of others when it comes to their tablet editions, but mostly way behind. The company that was behind Mag+ – before spinning it out – continues to update its magazine apps, but most remain replica editions that present readers with no real reason to dump their print editions (and maybe that is the point).

Bonnier updated its apps for Working Mother Magazine, WaterSkiMag, Yachting Mag, TransWorld WAKEBOARD, Sport Fishing Mag, Snow Mag, Spa Mag, Ski Mag, Skiiing Mag, and Scuba Diving today. But though each update promises the same thing – "fullscreen video playback and other HTML5 enhancements" – I didn't really see much different in the apps I downloaded. It is likely that the app updates only tweak the software so that these features are possible should the editors decide to incorporate them.

Readers are not very happy with the Bonnier apps, in general, mainly because they continue to force print readers to buy the digital versions if they want to access the magazines on their iPad. It is a policy that, I bet, is driven by the circulation department and, frankly, speaks to a lack of management vision at the company.

This conclusion is hard to deal with knowing that Bonnier also produces one of the better tablet editions for its Popular Science magazine. That magazine uses the Mag+ digital publishing solution, as signified by the app's name, PopularScience+. That the other Bonnier titles haven't copied Popular Science, or moved beyond it (which is what is expected Saveur to do), remains a mystery.

Last day for Quark's special upgrade price

This is very old news, but I thought it worth a reminder: Quark is offering a special upgrade price for QuarkXPress 9 until January 31 – meaning you only have until the end of the day to make your decision.

The price is $299 and it allows QuarkXpress users to upgrade from any previous version of the software. If you use QuarkXpress and haven't upgraded then now is the time.

The big disappointment with Quark, for me anyways, is that Quark is partnering with Aquafadas to create iPad publications, rather than developing their own solution. This isn't a criticism of Aquafadas, mind you. I have sat in on their webinars and kept up with their product. But the idea that Quark would not have its own front to back solution is mind boggling.

As for Aquafadas, it remains a very expensive way to go – especially in comparison with Mag+. This price sheet from the company will get you the details.

A single monthly magazine that wants a newsstand app will be charged $13,250 for the first year license, with monthly issues costing $250 each. For a major consumer magazine this is a drop in the production bucket – but then again those magazines are using Adobe's digital publishing solution. For everyone else this one will make you look a long time at your P&L to see if you really want to do this – and that alone is costing sales.

Maybe the prices will fall if the Euro collapses.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Retweet: New survey finds book publishers less positive about tablets as 'ideal e-book reading platform'

A survey conducted by Forrester Research for Digital Book World, the F+W Media, Inc. property, finds that publishers are less optimistic that tablets are "the ideal e-book reading platform".

The survey results appear today on the Digital Book World website in a post by Jeremy Greenfield, the editorial director.

What the survey found was that 31 percent of publishers survey believe that the iPad and other tablets are "the ideal" e-book reading platform, down from 46 percent in last year's survey. The use of the phrase "the ideal" may be a mistake by the author as he uses the phrase "an ideal" when saying that only 30 percent of those surveyed believe that the NOOK Color or Kindle Fire are "an ideal" reading platform.

According to the post, book publishers that represented 74 percent of U.S. publishing revenues were surveyed for this report.

In the end, however, what book publishers think the "ideal" platform is pretty irrelevant – the big question will be whether new owners of tablets will be reading books and other periodicals on their tablets. With Apple announcing that they now have 55 million iPads sold, book publishers will be hard pressed to ignore a market that continues to show amazing growth.

This Digital Book World post, and one recently on paidContent have made a lot of recent data from Bowker and the Book Industry Study Group that shows that the number of book buyers who bought an e-book only increased 17 percent in 2011. But these posts show a shocking lack of understanding of trends. Instead it would be better to look at total sales rather than adoption rates (the reason is that growth is always huge at the beginning of a platform and slows as more and more people have already adopted a platform – it's simple math).

With e-books already making up over a quarter of adult fiction purchases, the market is already huge. But because tablets require a considerable investment prior to the e-book purchase, one can probably expect penetration growth rates to continue to slow, even as sales of e-books continue to grow in total numbers (after all, not every can afford $500 to buy an iPad).

I will be curious to see what the numbers look like for e-book (as well as digital newspaper and magazine) sales in Q1 of this year. A lot of iPads and Kindle Fires were sold during the holiday season. That is a lot of new tablet owners who will be looking to add media to their new devices over the next weeks and months.

Later: the more I think about this survey the more I think it is without much merit. First, if a survey supposedly shows that a smaller percentage publishers now think that the iPad is an "ideal" platform the question should be asked why, in 2010, when so few people actually owned an iPad, did these same publishers think it was an ideal platform? In other words, what evidence did they have for their opinions?

Surveys are great, and certainly too few good ones are conducted. But with all such surveys it is better to see the actual survey numbers, along with the questions, and let the reader draw their own conclusions.

Gannett announces sharp decline in profits as newspaper and television ad revenues fall; digital revenue up 9.4%

For some media companies with diverse media holdings, newspaper ad declines are being offset somewhat by their other media properties. But Gannett this morning reported a 33 percent drop in Q4 earnings as revenue fell for both newspaper and television divisions.

The McLean, Va. headquartered company said revenue from broadcast fell 14 percent due to lower political advertising (guess they should have bought up stations in Iowa and New Hampshire).

As expected, Gannett's newspaper revenue continues to decline – 7.1 percent in Q4 to $671 million from $722 million, according to the WSJ report.

Digital revenue grew 9.4 percent to $181.5 million, but that represents only a $17 million increase, not nearly enough to overcome declines in print and broadcast.

Short takes: Greek and German governments spar over budget control; Apple wins patent victory against Motorola

The debt crisis in Europe is beginning to look less like a dry exercise in budgeting, and more like a national aggression via banking. In Greece today leaders and citizens bristled at the news that the German leaders wanted to take control over the Greek budget as the price for further bailouts.

For the past week the focus has been on negotiations taking place between Greece and its lenders, with Greece trying to win lower interest payments, especially after Eurozone finance ministers warned that they would not support final outcome with more funding if rates were not below 4 percent. At first the bankers balked by walking out of the negotiations. But now the two sides seem near an agreement.

But it is the Germans who are aggravating the situation. This weekend the Financial Times reported that the Germans were calling on the Greeks to surrender sovereignty over its budget by allowing its European partners to set tax and spending levels.

"Budget consolidation has to be put under a strict steering and control system," the German proposal reads. "Given the disappointing compliance so far, Greece has to accept shifting budgetary sovereignty to the European level for a certain period of time."

"A budget commissioner has to be appointed by the Eurogroup with the task of ensuring budgetary control. He must have the power a) to implement a centralized reporting and surveillance system covering all major blocks of expenditure in the Greek budget, b) to veto decisions not in line with the budgetary targets set by the Troika and c) will be tasked to ensure compliance with the above mentioned rule to prioritize debt service," the proposal concludes.

This unprecedented intrusion into Greek sovereignty is not sitting well with the Greeks, and it is leading to some jitters in the financial community.

"If the [new bailout] process is not completed successfully, we could face the spectre of bankruptcy with grave consequences for society and especially for the poor," said Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, according to the Athens News.

Stock prices in Europe opened down slightly on the news of the rift.



Apple won an important victory last week in federal litigation with Motorola in the Northern District of Illinois. The ruling involves "realtime API".

But according to Florian Mueller who writes the FOSSPatents blog, the most important thing may be who the judge is in the case: United States Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner. Posner, according to Mueller, is a "living legend of U.S. law.

Further, he writes, "his understanding of the '263 patent will clearly bear more psychological weight with the CAFC than the final ITC ruling (or the position of the ITC's Office of Unfair Import Investigations). Apple convinced an ALJ at the ITC and convinced a legendary, high-ranking judge. If the CAFC also agrees to interpret the '263 patent in a technically logical way, Android may face a major problem."