Monday, March 31, 2014

Sony Xperia Z2: Release date, price, specs and best deals in the UK

One of the biggest smartphones to come out of Mobile World Congress was the Sony Xperia Z2. Here's what you need to know about the Xperia Z2 release date, price and specifications. Sony is experiencing stock issues with the new smartphone. See also: Sony Xperia Z2 hands-on review.

Despite only launching the Xperia Z1 a few months ago, Sony has replaced its flagship smartphone with the new Xperia Z2. The device will go up against devices including the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the New HTC One 'M8' which will be announced this month.

See also: Sony Xperia Z2 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 comparison review: Android flagship are closely matched.

If you're interested in the Sony Xperia Z2, here's all the information on its release date, price and specifications.

Sony Xperia Z2: Release date

Sony has confirmed the Xperia Z2 will be released in April but the firm appears to be having stock issues with the phone.

"Xperia Z2 will be available in the UK during April and we are expecting to deliver to all consumers who have placed a pre-order through our key partners. We are working tirelessly to maximise stock levels in April but currently we do not expect to meet the high demand across all our sales channels. Please stay tuned for further information and confirmed retail availability." said Sony in a statement.

Carphone Warehouse says it will be available from 14 April while Phones 4U states you can pre-order for delivery on 11 April. Vodafone will start selling the Xperia Z2 on 10 April with a free gift those who pre-order quickly (see below).

Meanwhile, Three is stating that it will be available on 1 May. Unlocked Mobiles originally said stock was expected on 1 April (perhaps an early April fool's joke) but now agrees with Three. Clove is now says that UK SIM-free stock is deplayed until early-mid May.

Read: Price Compare-smartphones-of-2014/">18 best smartphones: The best phone you can buy in 2014

Sony Xperia Z2: Price in the UK

Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U are offering the Xperia Z2 for free on contracts starting at £47 per month on Vodafone. That will get you 3GB of 4G data but paying an extra £1 per month on O2 will take it to 5GB. As usual, contracts are 24 months.

Nearly £50 a month is high price to pay, especially when you consider the still new Xperia Z1 is available from £29 per month and the brilliant Xperia Z1 Compact is even less at £27.

Vodafone has revealed the Xperia Z2 will start from, you've guessed it, £47 per month. That on the network's Red 4G plans and as well as the usual Spotify Premium or Sky Sports Mobile TV acess, the first 3,000 customers to pre-order will get free 32in Sony Bravia TV.

If you don't want to be locked into a lengthy contract (and if you can avoid it you'll probably be better off), you'll have to pay a top-end price for the Z2 - no surprises there.

Sony's official price for the Xperia Z2 in sterling is £599 but online retailers have it on offer a little lower. Clove, Expansys and Unlocked Mobiles have the smartphone pegged for a Galaxy S5 matching £550 which is about right for a new flagship handset.

Note that both Clove and Unlocked Mobiles are offering free accessories worth £120 and £200 respectively for those who pre-order.

Sony Xperia Z2: Specs

See below for full specifications of the Xperia Z2 - not a great deal has changed compared to the Xperia Z1. Key features are 4k video recording, a dust- and waterproof design and the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor.

OS: Android 4.4.2 KitKat

Size: 146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm

Weight: 163 grams

Dustproof and waterproof: IP58 certified, dustproof and water-resistant over 1 meter and 30 minutes

Screen: 5.2in Full HD IPS (1920 x 1080) Triluminos Display for mobile with X-Reality for mobile picture engine

Processor: 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AB) quad-core Krait 400

GPU: Adreno 330

Memory: 3GB RAM

Storage: 16GB with microSD card slot (up to 64GB)

Wireless: Wi-Fi up to 11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, NFC, microUSB 2.0, MHL 3, A-GPS

Main camera: 20.7Mp with Exmor RS for mobile image sensor, LED flash, 1/2.3in sensor size

Video: 2160p@30fps (4k), 1080p@60fps (Full HD) , 720p@120fps (HD), video stabilization, HDR

Front camera: 2.2 MP, 1080p@30fps

Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3200mAh battery

SIM: Micro-SIM

Network: 2G, 3G, 4G LTE (Cat 4)

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.

DMG Mori subsidiary opens Wichita sales, service office

<Deal Of The Dayp>

Machine tool maker DMG Mori Seiki Co. Ltd. recently opened a sales and service office in Wichita, giving it direct access to customers for the first time.

The local office of DMG Mori Seiki USA Sales Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of DMG Mori, is located at Northrock Business Park, 3450 N. Rock Road, Building 500.

Wichita is among three offices established to work directly with customers, says Jim Shiner, regional sales manager for Kansas, Oklahoma, western Missouri and Arkansas. The others are in Tulsa and Kansas City.

Customers of DMG Mori's computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools primarily include aerospace and agricultural-equipment makers, but include "anybody who cuts metal," Shiner says.

The tools typically sell for between $100,000 and $1 million, he says.

The Wichita office has two salesmen and two servicemen onsite.

"Mori took the strategy of hiring servicemen first," Shiner says, explaining that "you've got to take care of your existing customers."

While the DMG Mori office is new, it has long had a presence in the area through a distributor before opting to do direct sales and service, he says.

DMG Mori is leasing about 3,000 square feet, according to Ross Way, property and leasing manager and partner at Anderson Management Co. Inc., which operates Northrock Business Park.

John Stearns covers real estate, development and banking.

'The Elder Scrolls Online' last-minute pre-order deals

It's the Sunday before Deal Now">The Elder Scrolls Online launches to the PC officially on Friday, April 4 but the first round of Early Access has now started. This means it's time to find out where to find the best pre-order deals to save money on the game but also to start earlier.

The Elder Scrolls Online opened up at 7 a.m. EST on Sunday March 30 for those with 5-day early access and will open 7 a.m. EST on Tuesday April 1 for those with 3-day early access. Everyone else will have to wait until 7 p.m. EST on Thursday, April 3 to get in.

With that said, there are only a couple of discount offers available for The Elder Scrolls Online. All pre-orders of the Standard Edition comes with the Explorer's Pack and a 3-day early access code. Meanwhile the Imprerial Edition comes with the Explorer's Pack as well plus an exclusive mud-crab pet, rings of Mara, the ability to play as an Imperial and a 5-day early access code.

Amazon is offering the Standard Edition digital download for $59.99 plus a $5 store credit. Meanwhile, the Imperial Edition digital download is $79.99 with a $5 store credit.

GetGames is offering 15 percent off the Imperial Edition making it $67.99 as well as the Standard Edition dropping it's price to $50.99.

You can follow Scott via Facebook, Twitter, RSS feed or email alerts for all the latest game news and deals as well as the weekly Furious Fourcast podcast/videocast. All game news on Examiner can be followed at the Game On Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Residents, businesses could get discount in Chelmsford energy pact

<Discountp>By Grant Welker,

Updated: 03/29/2014 06:34:17 AM EDT

CHELMSFORD -- The town and thousands of its residents and businesses could join together in a contract to buy energy at a discounted rate using a greater purchasing power.

Known as an energy-aggregation contract, the program could save the town, including participating residents and businesses, about $480,000 a year, according to Bay State Consultants, a group that presented details of the program to the Board of Selectmen last month.

"It's really just a group purchase," said John Shortsleeve, the president of the consulting group.

The town's Energy Conservation Committee is expected to make a presentation about the program at Town Meeting, which begins April 28. Town Meeting will be asked to vote to begin the process toward adopting the program, a period of time that has taken a few years in prior cases.

Residents or businesses would be able to opt in or out at any time, Shortsleeve said. If residents approve the program, the town would seek energy agreements on behalf of everyone who agrees to be part of the contract.

A larger number of participants in Chelmsford wouldn't necessarily save the town more money, Shortsleeve said. Savings are affected more by what's known as the town's "load profile," he said -- when energy use peaks in homes and businesses, which often takes place at different times of day.

"It's not a question of bigger is better," Shortsleeve said.

Estimated savings for the town and its participants is about $480,000 a year, according to Bay State Consultants.

Another consultant, Leo Sullivan of Global Partners, said the target rate for participation is about 87 percent of homes and 60 percent of small businesses. Larger commercial properties are less likely to join, he said.

About 80 towns in Massachusetts already participate in such a program or are in the process, Sullivan said. He said Massachusetts is one of five states that allows for energy aggregation agreements.

Chelmsford has already signed on to other programs meant to save on energy costs.

A statewide program that offers solar-power credits along with other state and federal tax breaks and reimbursements includes 42 homes in Chelmsford and 54 in Carlisle. The two communities teamed up last fall to achieve the highest level of subsidies possible under the program.

Chelmsford also began an $18 million energy-efficiency program last fall for municipal and school buildings. Each school is being outfitted with rooftop solar panels, along with more efficient equipment, and efficient LED lighting is being installed in all street lights.

Selectmen Chairman Matt Hanson said at the Feb. 24 Board of Selectmen meeting that he hoped homes and commercial buildings could also be run off clean energy.

"It would be quite an accomplishment if all of our residents and businesses could as well," Hanson said, "and save money at the same time."

Follow Grant Welker on Twitter and Tout @SunGrantWelker.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Amazon cuts back on streaming Scripps and Discovery shows

Coupon Inc., which has furiously added streaming video content to compete with Netflix Inc., is getting more choosy.

The Seattle-based company in the past month dropped programming supplied by Food Network-parent Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. and Discovery Channel-owner Discovery Communications Inc. from its free video-streaming service...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pixely Roguelike 'Quest of Dungeons' is Now Available

<Deal Of The Dayp>You might have noticed lately, especially if you followed our GDC coverage last week, that pixely dungeon crawlers are so hot right now. Back in January, we told you about a new one called , which appeared to be a very straightforward roguelike with a nice sense of humor and a great look. Well, if you've been looking forward to it, Quest of Dungeons [$1.99] officially launched in the App Store yesterday. Here's the trailer.

Based on the early impressions in our forums and my own brief time with the game, Quest of Dungeons is pretty much what I expected it to be, a straightforward dungeon crawler. It's not heavy on features or any massive changes to the roguelike formula, but it's a ton of fun. There's four different characters to play with, plenty of loot to find, and lots of dungeon space to explore. I also really love how quick the character movement is, as sometimes these types of games can be a bit too slow for my taste.

If you're interested in a new dungeon crawler, for a couple of bucks Quest of Dungeons should fit that bill nicely for you.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Approval sought for former West Wyoming police chief's plea deal

Approval sought for ex-police chief's Amazon Deal Online

State prosecutors on Friday asked a judge to give final approval to a plea deal that allows former West Wyoming police Chief David Gashi to avoid criminal charges for receiving extra pay and payments.

When the deal was announced last month before trial, Gashi's attorney said he unwittingly received the extra payments due to forgery committed by a former borough employee who is now deceased.

The extra pay, which amounted to $3,706, led to $14,759 in extra pension payments.

Gashi has repaid the money and the charges should be dismissed, state prosecutors said Friday.

Gashi, 70, who served the department for 36 years, retired as chief on Dec. 31, 2011. He and then-police Chief Stanley Sipko were arrested in July 2012 on theft charges on allegations they overbilled the borough by filing for duplicate pay checks. Sipko later pleaded guilty and entered a probationary program.

Friday, March 21, 2014

No major deals? B's still excel

<On Salesp>By Nick Mallard,

Updated: 03/21/2014 06:50:18 AM EDT

Circle March 5 on your calendar.

That date just two weeks ago was the day critics sounded the death knell for the Boston Bruins and their hopes this season.

The experts said the Bruins needed to make a big transaction by that day, the NHL trade deadline. The defense was too inexperienced. The team needed depth. The amount of holes in the roster was akin to Swiss cheese.

Without some kind of big deal, the Bruins would fade down the stretch. If they made the playoffs, a quick and painful exit was imminent.

It can't be argued that the Bruins lacked a splashy move at the deadline. Acquiring Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter, a pair of unspectacular defensemen, was essentially all General Manager Peter Chiarelli did.

Sure, the Bruins had won their last two games as the deadline approached, but prior to that, they had dropped a pair coming out of the Olympic break. Certainly, something had to be done to make sure Boston did more than tread water down the stretch.

The lack of movement at the deadline would surely be Boston's undoing.

What's that old saying? Hindsight is 20-20?

Looking back, it certainly seems that doing very little at the trade deadline was the right thing to do. Since then, the Bruins (47-17-5) have rattled off eight more victories, running their winning streak to 10 games.

And yes, inexperience on the blue line -- the problem many critics felt could be solved at the deadline -- could still come back to haunt Boston. Who knows how defensemen like Matt Bartkowksi and Dougie Hamilton -- crucial to the team's success this season -- will react in extended playoff minutes without Dennis Seidenberg manning a defensive spot.

But that's the future. In the present tense, Boston is firing on all cylinders. The 10-game winning streak matches the Anaheim Ducks' own stretch for the longest in the NHL this season.

Defensively, there have been hiccups, but the Black and Gold find ways to overcome the flaws. Whether it's 36-year-old Jarome Iginla finding the fountain of youth and leading the team in goals with 26 or netminder Tuukka Rask -- and backup Chad Johnson, for that matter -- stealing games, every night there's a new hero.

Depth isn't an issue, at least offensively. Iginla's play resembles his all-world years in Calgary a decade ago, while linemates David Krejci (team-leading 60-points) and Milan Lucic look as motivated and effective as ever.

And Brad Marchand, the team's pesky sparkplug, has forgotten his scoring slump that started the season, having now potted 22 goals, and is clicking seamlessly with Patrice Bergeron (20 goals) and Reilly Smith (19 goals).

And it's not just the top two lines potting markers. Defenseman Torey Krug is the two-way, puck-moving point man fans have clamored over for years, scoring 14 goals this season and providing key minutes on the power play. Captain Zdeno Chara has even gotten in on the offensive end, scoring 16 times.

Behind a solid team-defense philosophy, Rask and Johnson have combined to put up the second-best goals-against average in the league (2.10). Rask is third in both GAA and save percentage and has won 31 games, while Johnson has been sensational in relief, going 15-3-1 with a 2.14 GAA.

Combine a red-hot offense and spectacular netminding and you get a league-leading plus-74 goal differential.

The key to Boston continuing the success lies with Claude Julien. The head coach shrugged off recent comments about the team peaking too early, pointing to several things he thinks his players can do better. That drive will certainly keep the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins from falling into complacency down the stretch.

While there's still a lot of hockey left to be played this spring, it's nice to see the world didn't end following the trade deadline. They're not a perfect team, but the Bruins have embraced the idea of being a team perfectly.

Why change now?

Follow Nick Mallard on Twitter and Tout @n_mallard

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Maine lawmakers reach early morning budget accord

Members of the budget-writing committee approve proposals to plug gaps in current fiscal year and governor's bill to replenish rainy day fund.

By Steve Mistler
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA -- Lawmakers on the Legislature's budget-writing committee have reached a Amazon Deal Online to address a budget shortfall in the current fiscal year.

The committee also voted unanimously early Wednesday morning to pass Gov. Paul LePage's bill to replenish the state's rainy day fund.

Both votes, plus a third to partially address a projected shortfall in the next fiscal year, were taken around 3 a.m. Wednesday. The unanimous votes by the committee bode well for the two-thirds margin of passage of all three proposals in both houses, a prospect that had previously been in doubt.

However, potential sticking points may remain. The exact amount of the shortfall in the current fiscal year is still being calculated by the nonpartisan budget office. Overruns in the state's Medicaid program were believed to be driving the current budget gap, but the exact figure had changed, from over $100 million in January to $60 million as recently as last week.

Democratic lawmakers on the budget committee criticized the Department of Health and Humans Services Monday for not providing more data to justify the overruns in the program. The committee ultimately moved ahead without the department's assistance, relying instead on the pending analysis by the budget office.

The committee's efforts have been complicated by the governor's refusal to submit a budget proposal in what is believed to be an unprecedented move. Typically the governor submits a budget proposal, which becomes the blueprint for lawmakers to make changes.

Last week, Democrats on the committee attached the governor's proposal to replenish $21 million in the state's rainy day fund to a budget bill for the next fiscal year. Republicans on the panel objected to the proposal because it was likely to fail after a presumed veto by the governor.

In the deal reached early Wednesday morning, the budget committee voted to approve a clean version of the governor's rainy day fund proposal. It also passed a budget bill for the next fiscal year that restores about $15.4 million in cuts, including funding for education ($9.6 million), longevity pay for state employees ($4.5 million), the Head Start program ($500,000), student scholarship funds ($600,000) and the Baxter School for the Deaf ($200,000).

More details of the budget deal are expected to be released Wednesday after the nonpartisan budget office completes its analysis.

This story will be updated.

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:smistler@pressherald.comTwitter: @stevemistler

Top 10 Best Online Deals On Apple iPhone 5C Available in India

Apple launched its so called cheaper iPhone 5C for Asian markets last year, which was not as cheap as one actually imagined. Thus the device failed in India while the premium variant with the better processor did really good in the market comparatively. In fact, iPhone 5S was better option to go with.

However, slowly the glossy-finished iPhone 5C has also received price cuts in the past because of the fact that it didn't do well in the market. Thus the gradual rise in the sales paradigm of the device has now made us bring Amazon Sales pertaining to the device in India to your notice.

But before going ahead with the deal, you might want to check out the specs of the device.

Recommended: Top 10 Newest Smartphones Under Rs 25,000 To Add To Your Wishlist

The Apple's iPhone 5C comes with a polycarbonate plastic body and features 4-inch Retina Display. The iPhone 5C is powered by a 1.3GHz Apple A6 dual-core processor with triple-core PowerVR SGX 543MP3 graphics. It runs on iOS 7 os which is upgradable to iOS 7.0.3. it is also supported by 1GB RAM.

The iPhone 5C comes with an 8-megapixel rear camera with autofocus, LED flash and 1080p video capture with video stabilization and 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera. And in terms of connectivity it features 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and USB support. One of the major drawback of Apple iPhone 5C is that it lacks microSD card slot. However, it comes in 16GB and 32GB storage variant.

You can now take a look at the deals on the device in the sliders below:

Click Here For The New Apple iPhones 5C Smartphone Photos Gallery Recommended: Top 10 Karbonn-Made Dual-Core Budget Smartphones To Buy In India

Monday, March 17, 2014

Disney's Frozen: Exclusive Deals At Best Buy & Target This Tuesday

Disney's Frozen will be in stores this Tuesday, March 18, and only Promo Code Buy and Target are offering these exclusive deals to their customers.

Best Buy customers will receive a bonus with select Blu-ray combo packs. The combo pack, which includes Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy is $19.99 (the DVD is $16.99).

They also have the Frozen soundtrack for $11.99, featuring "let It Go" which won Best Song at this years Oscar Awards.

Target customers will get an exclusive bonus disc when they purchase the Blu-ray combo pack( includes DVD/digital copy - the DVD is $14.99).

The bonus disc has: deleted scenes, the Frozen art gallery and the voices of Frozen.

Targe t is also offering their customers $5 off the Frozen Blu-ray when you buy a Frozen toy worth $20 or more.

All Blu-ray discs will have: "Breaking the Ice - The Real Making of Frozen", a making-of the movie feature and 'D'Frosted:Disney's journey from Hans Christian Anderson to Frozen.

Frozen is the heart-warming, funny, animated film starring the voice of Kristen Bell as Anna, who must free the kingdom from the ice spell placed by the evil Queen.

These exclusive deals will be available starting this Tuesday, March 18, but only while supplies last. Quantities are limited.

Will you be purchasing this movie? Which deals are you interested in? Let us know what you think below.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Day 3 NFL FA grades: Jags make decent moves (Clemons, Young)

Day 3 of NFL free agency saw the market slow down in a big way, but there still were some interesting moves made, calling for more grades.

So here goes:

DE Chris Clemons to the Jacksonville Jaguars: He is 33, always a concern, but can still rush the passer. It took him time to get going in 2013 after suffereing a torn ACL in the playoffs in January of 2013, but he looked to be back to normal late last season and during the Super run. The Jaguars haven't had a pure speed pass rusher for a decade. This signing makes a ton of sense. He got $17.5 million for four years. Grade: B

DE Willie Young to the Chicago Bears: I like this move for a team that badly needed an edge pass rusher after letting Julius Peppers walk. Young had only three sacks, but he did get a lot of pressures last season after being a starter for the first time. He can be an 8- to 10-sack player. The money wasn't bad either. Grade: B

DT Ziggy Hood to the Jacksonville Jaguars: He has been a disappointment with the Steelers since being a first­round pick. But he is a big body who will add depth to the line. He reportedly got $16 million for four years. That's a lot of money for a guy who is likely a rotation player. He will play inside, which is where he played in college. Grade: C

DE Justin Tuck to the Oakland Raiders: It's a two­year deal for $11 million, so it's not bad. And Tuck played better last season than he did in 2012, when I made him the league's most­overrated player. He might have a year or two left, and he does offer versatility. He had 11 sacks last season and did a nice job against the run. Grade: B-­minus

T Anthony Collins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Collins started last season on the Bengals bench, but came on to play left tackle and did a good enough job that the team opted to start him there and move Andrew Whitworth inside to guard. Collins did a nice job in pass protection and will be an upgrade over Donald Penn in Tampa. The money ­­ five years, $30 million ­­ is a little high, but his Deal Of The Day football is in front of him, a nd those are the players you pay. Grade: B-plus

LB Kavell Conner to the San Diego Chargers: He is a solid run defender who received a three­year deal. This move is strange in that the Chargers have Donald Butler and Manti Te'o, unless they want to sit Te'o. Butler isn't going anywhere. Grade: C

CB Tracy Porter to the Washington Redskins: He has bounced around some lately, but the former Super Bowl hero actually played pretty well last season for Oakland. The Redskins badly needed help at corner, and he will step in and start opposite DeAngelo Hall. He's not a kid anymore, but this move makes sense. Grade: C-plus

TE Jim Dray to the Cleveland Browns: He is little more than a blocking tight end, but that's what they need with Jordan Cameron. People who don't think he can block need to put on the tape from the 49ers- Cardinals season finale and watch him against Pro Bowl outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks. Grade: B-­minus

QB Charlie Whitehurst to the Tennessee Titans: They gave him a two­year deal for $8 million. Why? Coach Ken Whisenhunt likes Whitehurst, who he had in San Diego. I don't get it for that money. Grade: C-minus

NT Al Woods to the Tennessee Titans: Like Dray, he was on my list of down­the­line free agents who could be steals. Woods came on late last year for the Steelers and can play nose and defensive end. I like this move as they transition to a 3­4 defense. Grade: B-plus

More observations

* I get that receiver Steve Smith, who was released by the Panthers on Thursday, is one of those players who always plays with a chip on his shoulder. But he went a little overboard when he said "there would be blood and guts everywhere" if he plays the Panthers again.

Really? Since his former teammates are the ones who decided to release him? That's just babble­speak. Smith will likely get a look by the Ravens, but he's 35. That's old for any receiver, and he didn't get the big plays last season you expect from him.

* Why do the Eagles need Darren Sproles? When they traded to get him Thursday, most slobbered over the move. I won't. Sproles is slowing down and LeSean McCoy can do most of the things he can do. Yes, he might help in the return game, but that's a young man's job. It's just a weird fit for him.

* Every free­agent period, the Green Bay Packers fans get testy. They wonder if general manager Ted Thompson is doing the right thing not bringing in outside help. Every year, my answer is: He is. Thompson re­signed corner Sam Shields and outside linebacker Mike Neal so far, keeping two players he wanted back. That's the ideal way of handling free agency. Then draft well to supplement what you have. Thompson gets it.

* With the Jaguars signing Clemons and Red Bryant from Seattle, everyone is saying they are now "Seattle East." That's also because their coach, Gus Bradley, came over from Seattle. Familiarity matters, but they are not the only team doing this. The Chargers are signing players Chuck Pagano had when he was in Indianapolis. San Diego signed two former Colts ­­ running back Donald Brown and Connor ­­ who played in Indianapolis when current Chargers general manager Tom Telesco was with the Colts. So it's not only the Jaguars. Teams like signing players they have some idea of what they are like ­­ and not only on the field.

* People wonder how Rodger Saffold could pass one physical but fail another? It happens more than you know. Team doctors look at things in different ways. It's up to the individual doctor. But the whole Saffold thing smells for the Raiders. If reports are true that owner Mark Davis didn't want the deal to happen because of a pending surgery, then he stepped on the toes of general manager Reggie McKenzie. That's never a good thing.

The Rams view Saffold as a much better guard than tackle, which I think is true. Getting him back was a decent move, but why were they willing to let him walk anyway? The deal he got isn't much different than the one he signed with the Raiders.

* The Giants opted to bring back linebacker Jon Beason, who they acquired last year from Carolina. He helped steady a bad linebacker group when he came over, but how much does he have left? He's already just so­so in pass coverage and doesn't run like he used to. They needed to get faster, but this signing will provide a nice veteran starter.

* Smart move by the Texans to re­sign tight end Garrett Graham. They let an older Owen Daniels walk, and kept the younger player. That's how you do it.

* James Harrison's release in Cincinnati is proof that you better be able to run and cover if you want to play linebacker these days. Harrison can't run anymore.

* Vince Wilfork is coming off an Achilles' tendon injury and always has weight issues. That said, he can help a contender if the Patriots release him, as he reportedly requested.

* Anybody taking odds on where Darrelle Revis plays next year when his one­-year rental is up in New England. Good player. Weird deal.

* When Terrence Cody came out of Alabama, a lot of people expected him to become the next Wilfork. He was a major flop with the Ravens, and he's still on the market. Can he revive his career with a new team? He is a big body.

* More mighty have fallen: Former first­round picks Michael Oher and Kenny Britt are still on the market. Britt has a ton of talent, but his off­field problems are well documented. Oher just hasn't played well in his time with the Ravens, not even when they moved him to right tackle. But both are worth a look for a smaller deal.

Monday, March 10, 2014

BAKERSFIELD OBSERVED: A blog about life, media, politics and people

Jersey: The oddest story of the week has to be the New Jersey teenager who is suing her parents for financial support, seeking $650 in weekly child support plus tuition at a private high school. Really? Rachel Canning's parents say they cut her off because she refused to do chores and honor a curfew, which sounds reasonable to me. As the skeptical judge said: "Are we going to open the gates for 12-year-olds to sue for an Xbox? For 13-year-olds to sue for an iPhone? We should be mindful of a potentially slippery slope." No kidding.

Novak: My comment questioning Kim Novak's appearance at the Oscars drew this response from reader Anne Russell: "I was so disappointed to see that you have joined the bullying bandwagon with your remarks about Goldie Hawn and Kim Novak. Gossipy comments about an individual's appearance are something I would expect to find on Twitter and other social media that are mired in poor taste, cruelty and 'judgy' mentality. I am saddened to see such unkindness from you."

Trash: This note popped up in my mailbox: "Just returned from a trip and noted that Bakersfield has achieved the dubious honor of having more trash than New York City. Congratulations, Bako! Many people, organizations, etc. are working hard to reverse this trend; however, the Litterazzi seem to be several steps ahead. What's it going to take?"

Trees: The big fundraiser for the Tree Foundation of Kern next week has been postponed. No word on when it will be rescheduled.

Scouts: Who can say no to the Boy Scouts? Troop 147 will hold its 25th annual car wash this Saturday at Brookside Market & Deli on the corner of Coffee and Hageman roads. It will run from 8 a.m. until noon.

Swensen's: From reader Greg Laskowski: "I remember working at Swensen's Ice Cream when it was located next to a hair salon and the Brocks department store at Valley Plaza. It was my first summer job after eighth grade. Dr. Russ Karlen, former mayor of Bakersfield, was one of the owners, along with his brother-in-law, Dewey Langdon. He hired me to show silent movies during the day. People would come in and enjoy ice cream and some Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, and Harold Lloyd flicks. Sometimes, I would have to go into the back kitchen area and splice film when it came off the sprockets. I think people got a kick out of watching the film melt when the 16 mm projector jammed on several occasions. Best part though was the free ice cream I got while working there."

Memories: Gene Bonas offered these thoughts of growing up in Bakersfield. "As a child during World War II, I remember walking with my mother from east Bakersfield to a building on the corner of 23rd and L streets to buy meat and sugar. If I'm not mistaken, this building was a small market and had its meat cooler right in front. One could only buy meat or sugar on certain days and you had to have coupons for each item purchased. In going through old navy coupons family pictures and mementos, I found a couple of five-pound sugar coupons. They, along with three brothers' Navy uniforms and letters, are carefully stored for my grandchildren. A previous writer indicated a building at 21st and L streets was a pool supply store. I believe the building at 2230 L St. was once a pool supply store, too. Maybe one of your readers can shed light on these buildings. I would like to know if the building at 23rd and L was actually a market during WWII."

Email Richard Beene, Californian president and CEO, at His column appears on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; the views expressed are his own. Read more on his blog at

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Late deals and last minute holiday bargains from Mirror Travel

<Best Offerp>Mirror Travel's guide to the best late deals and last minute holiday bargains on the web

Comfy: The living and dining area at Dairy Farm House on the Isle of Wight


Alicante - 3nts B&B at the 4* NH Alicante for £298pp based on 2 sharing and flying from Belfast on Mar 14.

Lisbon - 2nts r/o at the 3* Vip Executive Zurique from £149pp for travel in Mar from Heathrow. 0844 493 0758.

Marrakech - 2nts B&B in May/Jun at the 4* Les Trois Palmiers for £139pp (saves £110pp). Flights from Bristol, Manchester, Luton and Gatwick.


St Lucia - 7nts a/i at Sandals Regency La Toc for £1,445pp inc flights from Manchester and transfers. Selected departures between Jun 5-Jul 10. 0800 597 0002.

Corfu - 14nts s/c at the 3* Stema II Studios for £333pp (saves £237pp, based on 2 sharing). Fly from Birmingham on May 23.

Tenerife - 7nts h/b at the 3* Miramar Hotel in Puerto De La Cruz from £279pp based on 2 sharing flying from East Midlands on Mar 14.


Isle of Wight - 7nts s/c in Jun at Hill Top Dairy Farm House near Newport (sleeps 10, pet friendly) from £1,096 in Mar sale (saves up to £198). 0844 7044987.


Singapore Airlines - book by Mar 11 for Langkawi from £670, Koh Samui £695, Bali £695 and Phnom Penh £675 on selected dates from Heathrow and Manchester.


Ireland - book by Mar 6 for 10% off all Irish Ferries 2014 self-drive holiday packages - eg 7nts s/c in Kerry for a family of 2 adults and up to 4 children now from £824 in Jul/Aug inc crossings from Holyhead-Dublin or Pembroke-Rosslare.


Val d'Isere - 7nts chalet board at Grand Choucas apartments from £899 (based on two sharing, saves £550pp) inc flights from Manchester on Mar 9 and transfers. Gatwick departure £999pp (saves £450pp). 0844 557 3119.


Jamaica - 7nts f/b Mayan Treasures cruise on Thomson Dream followed by 7nts a/i at Thomson's new Sensatori Jamaica from £1,849pp inc £50pp on board credit and tips. Montego Bay sailing for Roatan (Honduras), Belize City, Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. Based on 2 sharing, inc flights on Jan 20 from Birmingham, Cardiff and Manchester. 0871 230 2800.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

'Scandal' Star Joshua Malina on Show Cast's Decision to Be There for Fans on Social - Lost Remote

ABC's hit show "Scandal" returned from an over two-month hiatus last night to its fans delight, with Kerry Washington's Olivia Pope back on the president's-and her lover's-reelection team, who had their hands busy dealing with a gone-rogue Vice President Sally Langston.

As we've covered extensively on Lost Remote, the show is one of social media's most popular, with heavy engagement between actors and fans happening between episodes and in real-time as the show airs.

Lost Remote recently spoke to one of the show's stars, Joshua Malina, who plays good guy-and sometimes mischievous-U.S. District Attorney David Rosen, about the show's social media prowess.

LR: Why do you think your show resonates so much particularly on social media. Does the topic of politics and corruption create more of a reaction from TV viewers driving them to comment over other topics like romance, crime, etc.?

Molina: Well, SCANDAL is such an everything plus the kitchen sink kind of show, that it encompasses a breadth of topics - politics, romance, and crime high among them. So, whatever floats your boat, you can discuss it or argue about with your Twitter pals.

LR: It has been a norm for your actors and producers to engage social media fans, livetweeting during the show in some cases. What do you think drives the interaction between the face of the show and the viewers?

Molina: Not "in some cases!" Very early on, we as a cast made the decision to livetweet every episode on both coasts. It was a way of telling our fans that if they would commit to watching live, we'd be there for them - to answer questions, provide behind-the-scenes information, and just generally shoot the breeze with the people who keep us employed. And Scandal fans have really responded. In this age of time-shifting television watching, we are getting terrific numbers for live-viewing, and an important part of that is the Twitter crowd.

LR: Do you foresee the potential of integrating social media even more into the actual show and plot, like a scandal born from a tweet or Facebook post, that drives episodes or storylines?

Molina: I have given up the attempt to foresee anything to do with Scandal. Early on I played the "Where's Shonda (Rhimes) Going With This?" game, and I was a repeat loser at it. I have come to accept that there is no predicting what she'll do next. That woman has an unbelievable imagination and a ballsiness that I admire.

LR: Overall, how important is it for popular shows to build online communities to better bolster a loyal following and viewership?

Molina: I believe that the scandal cast and crew's engagement with fans through social media is an integral part of the success of the show. It was a significant ingredient in helping us jump from struggling series to hit. I can't imagine why any new show - or currently popular one - would not pursue the same online connection to viewers.