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The French Trade Office in San Francisco has announced the beginning of the French Tech Tour (FTT). The week long mission will introduce 11 French technology startups to the movers and shakers of Silicon Valley. The 11 finalists were selected from over 24 applicants by 9 supporting companies including AT&T, Cisco, Ebay, Google, HP, Intel Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, and Symantec. Backed by UBIFRANCE, the FTT focuses on bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and Paris. The week of workshops and one-on-one interviews will also include a mini-conference on May 21st called Valley Talk: Make It or Break It where both French and U.S. startups will learn strategies for business success.

In its second year, the FTT has quickly gained recognition in both the U.S. and France. Referred to as the home of some of the best high tech clusters in Europe, French companies continue to raise the technology bar for their U.S. counterparts. Participation in this tour furthers the collaboration between the two countries. This year’s startup companies include:

Bobex – a leading B2B e-marketplace, active in 6 countries, makes markets more transparent by matching local buyers and suppliers for non strategic products & services.

Exaprotect – a provider of regulatory and audit compliance log monitoring, event management for threat detection, and change management to allow business policy based network configuration change.

DELCREA – the inspirer in resolving the challenges of email from both diagnostic to efficiency solutions for individuals to large companies. Their software brings an innovative approach to control, organize and secure email faster and easier while reducing time building knowledge bases from existing content, and eliminating all risk of compromising internal and external business sensitive data.

myERP.com – a complete web-based ERP solution using Google technology (GWT & Google Apps) and covering all functional fields of company management around a single database: CRM, Commercial Management, Logistics, Points of sale, Finance & Accounting, Purchases, Production, Quality.

Maeglin – a mobile phone software company specialized in peer-to-peer exchanges. At Maeglin, we free people’s mobile, with Pleex a Mobile social networking software that allows content back up & sharing.

Momindum – the technology leader in the creation of rich media presentation. Our software generates, from recorded speech, professional presentations using synchronized documents and indexed video; our rich media are capitalized in a base with deep-tagging technology.

Newscape Technology – the top innovator in software graphical engines on mobile devices to enable the development of new applications using massive 2D / 3D vector data, textures, Content / Advertising and topography.

Sinequa – a search specialist created with the vision that corporate information is complex, heterogeneous and poorly organized. Sinequa has built a corporate search solution that can access to all sources and applications, managing security, using linguistic and semantic algorithms to add context to information and to offer intuitive navigation combined with efficient search.

STG Interactive – has invented a way for everybody on the planet to create their own secure and user-friendly mini-site, called a “frogans,” located on the Internet via its frogans address. STG Interactive provides developers and Internet users with free standard technology for authoring and browsing frogans, and is the directory provider of frogans addresses.

TellMeWhere – the first local search engine where relevancy of results are guided by recommendations of people you can choose and where content can be enriched and corrected by end-users, provides a better alternative to current local search engines or directories.

Twinsoft – an actor in Enterprise Mashups whose flagship product, Convertigo Enterprise Mashup Server helps companies reuse their existing assets to build new and exciting WEB 2.0 composite applications for a fraction of the cost and time needed to complete software rewrites or traditional development.

Each company will hold one-on-one meetings with supporting companies’ corporate development teams, as well as interviews with media, training for presenting and demoing at conferences in the U.S. and introductions with some of the valley’s fast-growing startups.

The Valley Talk mini-conference will host keynote speaker Eric Benhamou CEO of Benhamou Global Ventures, Chairman of 3Com and former CEO of Palm. The show will include an in-depth talk with leading editor’s and analyst from CNET, Fortune, GuideWire Group and VentureBeat. Along with demonstrations from each company the event will conclude with a panel of leading executive in business development from sponsoring companies outlining what they are looking for in partnerships as well as potential acquisitions.

“Our goal is to build deeper relationships between the tech communities here in Silicon Valley and in France,” said Aymeril Hoang, Director, Information & Communications Technology, Embassy of France in the U.S. Trade Office. “By bridging this gap we can open the door to new opportunities for both countries. It’s as much about introducing Silicon Valley to the technology leadership in France as vice versa. Hopefully we are fostering and growing the big companies and partnerships of the future.”

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The Internet Content Syndication Council (ICSC) issued a white paper entitled “Content Creation and Distribution in an Expanding Internet Universe” last week at the headquarters of the AAAA (American Association of Advertising Agencies). It was presented during the joint meeting of the AAAA’s Digital Marketing Committee and Search Engine Marketing Committee.

The 12-page study details the benefits of Internet Content Syndication to the four main constituents of the media industry: content creators, publishers, advertisers and users. The paper defines “Internet Content Syndication” as “The controlled placement of the same content on multiple partnering Internet destinations.” One the of paper’s main conclusions is that Internet Content Syndication offers a powerful solution to online audience fragmentation, a daunting problem facing online advertisers today.

The white paper was prepared by a working committee selected by the ICSC Board of Advisors and distributed to its membership for comment. The organization is comprised of market leaders in the rapidly expanding areas of Internet content creation, distribution, licensing, measurement and advertising sales.

Andrew Susman, chairman and founding member of the ICSC and CEO of Studio One Networks said, “The purpose of the ‘White Paper’ is to present in a clear and concise way the principles of Internet Content Syndication and the opportunities it offers those involved in today’s burgeoning online marketplace. Our heartfelt thanks to the council members for their valuable contributions.”

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A Missouri woman was indicted on federal charges for fraudulently using an account on the social networking Web site MySpace, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Thomas P. O’Brien announced today. The woman posed as a teenage boy who feigned romantic interest in a 13 year-old girl, who later committed suicide after the “boy” spurned her and told her, among other things, that the world would be a better place without her.

Lori Drew, 49, of O’Fallon, Mo., was named in a four-count indictment returned this morning by a federal grand jury. The indictment charges one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization to obtain information to inflict emotional distress on the girl who, because of juvenile privacy rules, is referred to in the indictment only as M.T.M.

The indictment alleges that Drew, along with others, registered as a member of MySpace under the name “Josh Evans.” Drew and her co-conspirators then used the Josh Evans account to contact M.T.M. and began what the girl believed was an on-line romance with a 16-year-old boy. In taking those actions, the indictment alleges, Drew and her co-conspirators violated MySpace’s terms of service that prohibit users from, among other things, using fraudulent registration information, using accounts to obtain personal information about juvenile members, and using the MySpace communication services to harass, abuse or harm other members.

After approximately four weeks of flirtatious communications between “Josh Evans” and M.T.M., Drew and her co-conspirators broke off the relationship. Within an hour, M.T.M. had hanged herself in her room. She died the next day.

“This adult woman allegedly used the Internet to target a young teenage girl, with horrendous ramifications,” said U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien. “After a thorough investigation, we have charged Ms. Drew with criminally accessing MySpace and violating rules established to protect young, vulnerable people. Any adult who uses the Internet or a social gathering Web site to bully or harass another person, particularly a young teenage girl, needs to realize that their actions can have serious consequences.”

To become a member of MySpace, individuals are required to submit registration information – including name and date of birth – and have to agree to certain terms of service that regulate their use of the Web site. Among other things, MySpace terms of service require prospective members to provide truthful and accurate registration information; to refrain from using any information obtained from MySpace services to harass, abuse or harm other people; to refrain from soliciting personal information from anyone under 18; to refrain from promoting information that they know is false or misleading; and to refrain from posting photographs of other people without their consent. The indictment alleges that Drew and her co-conspirators violated all of those provisions.

“Whether we characterize this tragic case as ‘cyber-bullying,’ cyber abuse or illegal computer access, it should serve as a reminder that our children use the Internet for social interaction and that technology has altered the way they conduct their daily activities,” said Salvador Hernandez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles. “As adults, we must be sensitive to the potential dangers posed by the use of the Internet by our children.”

The conspiracy count carries a maximum statutory penalty of five years in federal prison. Each count of accessing protected computers, each of which alleges that the access was for the purpose of intentionally inflicting emotional distress on M.T.M., carries a maximum possible penalty of five years in prison.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty. Drew will be summoned to appear for an arraignment in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles in June.

This case was investigated by special agents with the FBI in St. Louis and Los Angeles.

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Apple will open its newest retail store on Boylston Street in the heart of Boston’s historic Back Bay on Thursday, May 15 at 6:00 p.m. EDT. The Apple Store Boylston Street is Apple’s largest store in the US with two floors of Macs, iPhones and iPods for customers to experience hands-on, as well as a top floor dedicated to innovative services including the Genius Bar and personal training through Apple’s popular One to One program. The Apple Store Boylston Street also introduces Pro Labs to Boston, offering free, in-depth training on Apple’s industry-leading pro applications including Final Cut Pro.

Apple Store being built on Boylston Street.

“We are thrilled to bring Apple’s unique retail experience to Boston,” said Ron Johnson, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail. “Our Boylston Street store has a fantastic location to serve people where they work, live, study and play, and we think everyone in the Back Bay community will embrace it as their own.”

The knowledgeable staff at the Apple Store Boylston Street includes more than 165 highly trained Specialists, Geniuses and Creatives with amazing talent drawn from the local community and Boston’s finest universities. This incredible team offers personalized instruction and hands-on experience for customers who want to learn more about everything from getting started with a Mac to making a Hollywood-quality movie. Last quarter Apple retail stores delivered more than 580,000 one-hour personal training sessions through its One to One program.

Every Apple retail store offers customers great ways to get the most out of their Mac, iPod(R) and iPhone(TM), such as free advice at the Genius Bar, popular in-store workshops and special programs for kids. Customers can also book a free appointment with a Personal Shopper to get expert buying advice or help selecting the perfect gift for everyone on their list. The hands-on Apple retail store experience gives customers a chance to test-drive Apple’s entire product line including the all-new MacBook Air, the world’s thinnest notebook, as well as the revolutionary iPhone and widescreen iPod touch.

Nearly 350 million people on three continents have visited Apple retail stores since they opened in May 2001. Apple now operates 210 stores in five countries including the US, UK, Japan, Canada and Italy.

The Apple Store Boylston Street is located at 815 Boylston Street, convenient to the Prudential Center and Copley Square, the Berklee School of Music and Fenway Park. It joins eight existing Apple retail stores in Massachusetts including popular stores in Cambridge, Chestnut Hill, Burlington and Hingham.

New flagship Apple store on Boylston.

Apple Store Boylston.

Apple Store, Boylston

Picture Courtesy: Jeff Dlouhy, brokentrinkets

At this point in time I cannot reveal much. But all I can say, the new Apple Store at Boylston Street will look something like this (minimized version): šŸ˜‰

Apple Store Boylston Street.

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Roughly one-fifth of all U.S. heads-of-household have never used e-mail, according to National Technology Scan, a forthcoming study from Parks Associates. This annual phone survey of U.S. households found 20 million households are without Internet access, approximately 18% of all U.S. households.

Email“Nearly one out of three household heads has never used a computer to create a document,” said John Barrett, director, research, Parks Associates. “These data underscore the significant digital divide between the connected majority and the unconnected minority that rarely, if ever, uses a computer.”

Age and education are factors in this divide. One-half of those who have never used e-mail are over 65, and 56 percent had no schooling beyond high school.

National Technology Scan found just seven percent of the 20 million “disconnected” homes plan to get an Internet subscription within the next 12 months. Still, the study reports a steady decline in the number of disconnected households when comparing findings with previous years. National Technology Scan reported at year-end 2006 that 29 percent of all U.S. households (31 million homes) did not have Internet access, citing low perceived value.

“Internet connections have slowly increased in U.S. households, but getting the disconnected minority online will continue to be difficult,” Barrett said. “Age and economics are important factors, but the heart of the challenge is deeper. Many people just don’t see a reason to use computers.”

National Technology Scan provides an accurate picture of current adoption levels, demand, and total available market for technology products and services in the U.S. For more information, visit http://www.parksassociates.com or contact sales@parksassociates.com, 972-490-1113.

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has selected Jeff Raikes as the next CEO of the foundation. Raikes, formerly president of the Microsoft Business Division, will assume the role presently held by Patty Stonesifer on September 2, 2008.

Jeff Raikes, CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.“Bill and I considered many extraordinary candidates from around the world during the search for our foundation’s new CEO,” said Melinda Gates, foundation co-chair. “Jeff brings more than 25 years of experience in the private sector and has earned a reputation as a trusted and respected leader. Equally important, he shares our passion for these issues and for continuing Patty’s work to build a great culture at the foundation. Jeff is the right CEO to lead the strategies we have in place to help reduce inequities in the United States and around the world.”

As president of the Microsoft Business Division, Raikes built a strong team of leaders and transformed the Information Worker business, delivering dramatic growth in the company’s business productivity line and nearly doubling revenues to more than $16 billion annually. In January 2008, he announced his retirement from Microsoft and currently serves on the company’s leadership team.

“Joining the Gates Foundation is an honor and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to focus on improving the lives of others,” said Raikes. “Patty Stonesifer is a remarkable leader who has cultivated equally remarkable leadership at the foundation. I am thrilled to join Bill and Melinda and this team because I’m convinced that through strong partnerships, ambitious goals, and a commitment to impact, we can transform people’s lives.”

“I’ve known and admired Jeff for more than 25 years,” said foundation co-chair Bill Gates. “He’s a smart, independent thinker who’s passionate about using innovation to help people change their lives. I’m excited to be working with him again.”

The Seattle-based foundation has a $37.3 billion endowment and more than 500 employees. It is organized into three program groups, Global Health, Global Development, and the U.S. Program, each led by a president. Since its inception, the foundation has committed more than $16 billion in grants intended to ensure that all people have the opportunity to live healthy, productive lives.

Raikes has been deeply involved in philanthropy in the Pacific Northwest, focusing particularly on education and children’s issues. He co-founded the Raikes Foundation and is an active member of the United Way of King County, where he served as co-chair of the 2006-2007 fundraising campaign–its most successful campaign ever. A native Nebraskan, Raikes is also a trustee of the University of Nebraska Foundation.

“Jeff will step into this role at a good time,” said Warren Buffett, foundation trustee. “Patty Stonesifer has spent the past 10 years building a broad, highly experienced leadership team and has designed the right approach to accomplishing the foundation’s mission. I’ve known Jeff for years, and we have chosen a leader who embodies the characteristics essential to continuing this work: an extraordinary mind and an uncompromising commitment to getting the job done.”

In February 2008, Stonesifer announced her plan to transition from her current position as CEO. She was the foundation’s first CEO, joining after a long career in technology that included eight years as a Microsoft executive. The work of the foundation and its partners to date has led to millions of lives saved globally through immunizations and other health advances and more young people in the U.S. graduating high school ready for college and life. Beginning in September, Stonesifer will transition into a new role, still to be defined, at the foundation. For more information visit http://www.gatesfoundation.org.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people-especially those with the fewest resources-have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Patty Stonesifer and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

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Frank Sinatra was instrumental in turning Las Vegas into one of the most popular entertainment destinations in the world. Throughout his career, and as the leader of the Rat Pack, he performed and played at numerous resorts and hot-spots along the world-famous Strip.

On May 14, Las Vegas will pay tribute to one of its most beloved entertainers, officially declaring the day, the 10th anniversary of his passing, as “Frank Sinatra Day.” The proclamation is amongst a series of events planned to honor the entertainment legend, which begin with the dedication of the USPS Frank Sinatra Stamp:

TUESDAY, MAY 13

  • 12:00 p.m. (PDT) – Tina Sinatra (Frank’s daughter) joins Postal Service Governor James Bilbray and stamp artist Kazuhiko Sano at the Bellagio fountains main alcove to officially dedicate the Frank Sinatra stamp. Remote post offices at the Bellagio and Wynn will sell the first-day issue stamp and other merchandise.
  • 12:00 p.m. (PDT) – Rossi Ralenkotter, President and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, will read an official proclamation from Mayor Oscar Goodman declaring May 14 as Frank Sinatra Day.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 14

  • Frank Sinatra Day in Las Vegas
  • 12:00 a.m. (PDT) – Across the Las Vegas Strip, marquees at Bally’s, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Circus Circus, Excalibur, Fremont Street Experience, Golden Nugget, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, New York – New York, Palms, Sahara, The Mirage, Treasure Island and Wynn Las Vegas will post a special tribute to the man who helped define Las Vegas.
  • 12:00 a.m. (PDT) – Steve Wynn to lead members of the Sinatra family and other guests in a special toast at a private VIP reception in Wynn Las Vegas.

Frank Sinatra’s children will join U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Alan Kessler May 13 to celebrate the return of the “Chairman of the Board” – Frank Sinatra – as he is immortalized on 120 million 42-cent First-Class stamps. Dedication ceremonies will also take place in New York City and Hoboken, NJ. The events take place on the eve of Sinatra’s death and are free and open to the public.

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