Apple Unveils iTunes 11 Redesign

The redesigned iTunes that Apple promised in September is finally live. Along with a new "edge-to-edge design" customized for each album, movie or TV show in the user's library, the iTunes 11 upgrade includes a new look for the store and the MiniPlayer, as well as the ability to play music directly from the iCloud.

For most of its span, iTunes has seen little changes and updates here and there. This is the first time that Apple has undertaken a complete reimagining of the most popular media player on the planet. The biggest change is that the left-hand navigation sidebar is now hidden, but it's not completely gone; listeners can still access it by clicking Show Sidebar under View.

Expanded View browsing (similar to what is now known as Cover Flow) places album art front-and-center in this new redesign, so it may look a bit bland if users haven't bother to include album art in the library. Luckily, Apple has already solved this issue by including a Get Album Art feature under the Advanced menu.

Apple also took a few cues from popular music streaming services like Spotify by adding an Up Next feature. With a click of a button, users can see which song will be playing next, as well as reorganize the list of upcoming songs, add new songs or skip songs altogether. The Up Next feature is also available in the MiniPlayer.

Creating playlists in the new iTunes is as simply as dragging and dropping tracks or entire albums. This ease of use also applies to adding songs or other media, like movies and TV shows, to synced-up Apple devices. The synchronization of the Apple devices goes a step further with this upgrade; with playback syncing, iCloud remembers where viewers left off while watching a movie or show, regardless of whether it was watched on the iPhone, the iPad or Apple TV.

The new iTunes Store focuses on simplifying music that listeners may like. Ping, Apple's attempt at a music-based social network, has been replaced with a social recommendation engine in the store. The Store also helps listeners discover new music based on the current contents of their libraries.

The new iTunes 11 is available fo download here.


New sleeping pill may help insomnia

Merck's experimental sleep drug suvorexant helps insomniacs fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, early data suggest.

Later studies reported at a sleep conference last June confirmed the findings, says W. Joseph Herring, MD, PhD, Merck's executive director for clinical neuroscience. Those studies are not yet published, but they've been sent to the FDA in Merck's filing for approval of suvorexant.

"What we've seen here and confirmed in [the later studies] is that suvorexant helps people with insomnia fall asleep faster and wake less," says Herring, who led the published study. "It is effective over the long term and well tolerated."

The published study tested whether a range of doses, each given in a sleep lab to about 60 people suffering from insomnia, improved sleep better than an inactive placebo pill. Without knowing which was which, each study participant took either suvorexant or the placebo for four weeks, then switched to the other for another four weeks.

The main study measure was sleep efficiency -- that is, the percentage of an eight-hour night people slept. At the beginning of the study, participants’ average sleep efficiency was 66%. After falling asleep, they woke for an average 101 minutes during the night.

"There was a range of results, but generally sleep efficiency improved 5% to 13% compared to placebo," Herring says. "We also found that patients have 21 to 37 minutes less time awake during the night."

Every Bit Helps

That may not seem like a lot. But it could mean a lot to a person suffering from insomnia, says Richard Simon Jr., MD, director of the Kathryn Severyns Dement Sleep Disorders Center in Walla Walla, Wash.

"Insomnia patients seem to feel better and function better when they get 15 to 20 minutes more sleep," Simon says. "This is an intriguing study that shows this drug does improve sleep. That is big."

What Simon finds particularly exciting is that suvorexant doesn't work like other sleeping pills. Current sleep drugs enhance brain functions that increase sleepiness. Suvorexant inhibits orexin, a hormone that acts on the brain to increase wakefulness.

Brain levels of orexin are naturally lower during the night. While Merck has focused on developing suvorexant specifically for people with insomnia, Simon suggests it might be particularly helpful for shift workers, who need to sleep during the day when orexin levels are high.

Although Merck has not disclosed the date by which the FDA must decide on suvorexant’s approval, financial analysts suggest the decision is likely to come in the late summer of 2013.

The Herring study appears in the Dec. 4 issue of the journal Neurology. Simon has in the past consulted for Merck, but no longer consults or has financial ties to the company.

The study was funded and performed by Merck.

SOURCES: Herring, W.J. Neurology, Dec. 4, 2012.William Joseph Herring, MD, PhD, executive director for clinical neuroscience, Merck Research Laboratories, North Wales, Pa.Richard Simon, Jr., MD, medical director, Kathryn Severyns Dement Sleep Disorders Center, St. Mary Medical Center, Walla Walla, Wash.


BATH FITTER adds years of beauty to your home

If your tub or shower needs updating or repair— and you don’t want the costly invest-ment of both time and money for a total bathroom makeover — BATH FITTER is the compa-ny to call.

BATH FITTER can remod-el your bathroom in as little as one day. Typically, within 24 hours, your bathroom can be transformed, adding years of beauty and value to your home.

As North America’s leading bath-remodeling company, BATH FITTER revolutionized the industry in 1984. BATH FITTER specializes in manu-facturing and installing acryl-ic bathtub and shower lin-ers, as well as tub and show-er wall surrounds that can be placed over existing tub liners and wall surfaces. This meth-od has proven to be a better long-term solution than resur-facing.

BATH FITTER provides you with custom solutions that meet your individual needs — without the mess, dust or fuss of a complete remodel.BATH FITTER stays on top of the latest trends in bath-room design and style, so their renovations consistently meet and exceed ever-chang-ing customer needs.

For nearly three decades, the company has manufac-tured, sold and installed cus-tom-made bathrooms exclu-sively through its network of national franchises. Collec-tively, the franchises have transformed more than one million bathrooms since the inception of the acrylic over-lay.

When you choose BATH FITTER for a project, you have options of the best colors and accessories on the market. They have franchises in Bro-ward and Palm Beach coun-ties, as well as the Treasure Coast to serve customers in South Florida.

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What Had Meryl Streep Rocking Out?

Someone's a pop music fan! Meryl Streep was "rockin' out" on Wednesday night at the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation's annual gala at Cipriani New York, an onlooker tells PEOPLE. The Oscar winner was dancing in the aisles as Jason Derulo sang his hit, "In My Head."

Also rocking out? Derulo's girlfriend, Jordin Sparks, who performed later on, too, as Derulo proudly filmed.

Guests, who turned out to support the Reeve Foundation's work to find a cure for spinal injury and improve the lives of those living with paralysis, dined on baked tagliolini with mushrooms, prime roast filet with fresh herb melange sauce,f resh seasonal ratatouille and Yukon gold sauté and a specialty cake compliments of Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro and la famiglia of Carlo's Bakery.

Meanwhile, Streep, a close friend of the late Dana Reeve, presented the Dana Reeve Hope Award to her good friend, producer Harvey Weinstein, and the directors of The Intouchables, an inspiring film about a friendship between a quadriplegic aristocrat and the young convict who becomes his caretaker.

One of the film's stars, Omar Sy, said he was honored to share the stage with Streep and joked that Streep could play him, though "we don't look alike." – Sharon Cotliar


Wally Gonzalez on Juan de la Cruz Band’s musical legacy, Martial Law heyday

As the most influential exponents of the Pinoy Rock genre, the Juan Dela Cruz Band lives on as many of today’s rock artists continue to include their songs on their live playlist.

Razorback — a hard rock outfit featuring Tirso Ripoll, Louie Talan and frontman Kevin Roy, brother of the late Karl Roy — has time and again cited the seminal group as a major influence and recently performed their classic anthem “Beep Beep” during the launch of TV5’s new online lifestyle hub, at the NBC Tent on Wednesday.

And this Friday night, a group of musicians who call themselves the Renegades of Rock will pay homage to the band with the concert “Up In Arms!: The Official Juan Dela Cruz Tribute” at the 19 East Bar in Sucat, Parañaque.

The performers scheduled to perform are Charlie Ysmael of The Breed, Benedict Verzosa of Backdraft, Mutiny, Dahong Palay, Death By Stereo, Piranha, Anibughaw, Revelation Blue Jean Junkies, Lougee and The Cherry Bums, Kastigo, Times Two and Thy Holy Water vs JunoRedFeather.

“This is our own small way of paying homage to the original and greatest Pinoy Rock renegade,” declared host Ramon Zialcita, also known as The Doctor to rock radio fans.

“We have planned this for months and we hope that that the members could join us for this special event. But in my talk with their manager Bryan Garcia, he said only Pepe Smith could make it since, Wally Gonzalez has a gig on that day and Mike Hanopol has a church affair.”

Regardless of which JDLC band member could grace the tribute and even jam with the performers, the event is clearly an indication that the band’s influence remain stronger than ever more than 40 years after they played their very first gig.

The band was founded in 1968 by Alex Cruz, Sandy Tagarro, Bing Labrador, the late Edmond Fortuno and Wally Gonzales (now spelled as Gonzalez). It had a revolving door of personnel, which also included Clifford Ho, Rene Sogueco, Romy Santos and Bobot Guerrero, before achieving their greatest success in the mid-70s with the classic line-up of Gonzalez, Mike Hanopol and Joey “Pepe” Smith.

Between 1971 and 1981, JDLC recorded five classic albums of mostly original material (“Up In Arms,” “Himig Natin”, “Maskara”, “Super Session” and “Kahit Anong Mangyari”) after which they broke up and pursued solo careers.

Aside from “Beep Beep” their other classic songs include “Balong Malalim”, “Rak En Rol Sa Ulan”, “Himig Natin”, “Kagatan”, “No Touch” and “Titsers Enemi No. 1”.

Ironically, despite the generally rebellious and anti-establishment image of rock music as defined by long hair, hippie outfits and, yes, mind-altering substances, the Juan Dela Cruz band found success during a most unusual era: Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law.

Radio stardom

Founding member Wally Gonzalez, now also regarded as one of the country’s greatest rock guitarists, remember that it was DZRJ-AM, a radio station taken over and operated by the military during that turbulent period, that first gave them radio airplay.

“Actually, kaya kami nakapasok sa DZRJ, bumili kami ng one-hour special program para lang for JDLC every Wednesday para ma-promote yung album naming ‘Himig Natin’. Yun ang pinaka unang Pinoy Rock. After nagustuhan ng tao yung special program na ‘yun, sinimulan naman ng RJ yung show nilang ‘Pinoy Rock N’ Rhythm’ na sumuporta sa iba pang mga Pinoy Rock na banda,” Wally recalled to InterAksyon in an exclusive interview.

Wally is proud of the fact that the airplay enjoyed by JDLC and the favorable public response to it also altered the landscape of music radio programming at the time.

“Dati puro English ang maririnig mo eh kwela yung ‘Himig Natin’. Mabuti naman at maraming nagsunuran na gumawa ng Tagalog na musika,” he observed.

For a band that was supposed to maintain a low profile after the declaration, Wally said JDLC, like the Hotdog after them, also had a relatively easier time flourishing during that supposed dark era. He even vividly remembered where the band was on that fateful day of September 21, 1972.

“We were having a gig at Dewey (now Roxas) Boulevard. On our way home, may mga checkpoint na naka-set up na so nagtataka kami kung bakit, yun pala na-declare na ang Martial Law,” he recalled.

“Awa ng Diyos, wala namang naaresto sa min for drugs or having long hair, ang buhok ko pa naman nun, hanggang baywang. Siguro dahil madalas akala nila babae ako.”

Although he admitted that the live circuit took a hit during the early years of what Marcos also dubbed as the New Society, Wally was surprised that the Marcos children took a liking to the band and invited them regularly to play at parties in Malacañang.

“Among the venues that we played for the Marcoses during those days were the Maharlika Hall, Jade House, Ang Pangulo yacht and the house of the Romualdezes in Olot, Leyte. We were treated as guests, with the same food and drinks and we could freely mingle with the crowds. Nakikipagkwentuhan sa amin sina President and Mrs. Marcos and also their kids, maski na long hair kami at hippie attire,” he further recalled.

Wally said they were all even issued a curfew pass, which they often used to poke fun at those manning the checkpoints.

“Pagkatapos ng mga gigs naming after 2AM, ipapasyal pa namin yung mga curfew pass namin sa checkpoints. Cheap thrills ba, hehe! Sasabihin sa amin nung mga military sa checkpoints, ‘Hirap naman sa inyo, inaabuso nyo ang curfew pass nyo eh’.”

Not that they also weren’t scared of the military back then. Wally said that although they did not feel that the government was clamping down on everyone, they were still scared of what they read about the dreaded Metrocom. “Nakakatakot talaga sila nung mga panahong yun. Pag naaresto daw yung iba, nawawala na lang, ganun ang mga balita nun,” he exclaimed.

 Unhindered creativity.

Fortunately, the Martial Law crackdowns did not extend to their songs and hardly hindered their creativity. Some songs of JDLC such as “Rak En Rol Sa Ulan”, “Nadapa Sa Arina” and “Kagatan” are believed to have subtle drug references but to Wally’s recollection, none of their songs was ever censored.

“Parang double meaning ang ibang kanta ng JDLC, nasa sa iyo na lang ang interpretation. Naturally, yung mga tumititra ng drugs o humihitit ng marijuana, i-a-associate agad sa drugs yung narinig nila sa kanta. Parang wala naming paki ang gobyerno sa amin noon. Wala naman kaming kanta na-ban during Martial Law. Madalas pa ngang patugtugin sa radio eh”, he pointed out.

As for the most important legacy of the band that continues to play reunion gigs from time to time — the most recent of which was last October 20 at the Hard Rock Café in a gig called “Super Session Live!” — Wally said their biggest contribution was composing and recording songs in our very own language.

“Mabuti naman at maraming nagsunuran na gumawa ng kantang Tagalog after us. Hanggang ngayon, marami pa ring gumagawa ng Original Pilipino Music so para sa akin, okay yun.”


Ford Fusion wins 2013 ‘Green Car of Year’ award

The Fusion, which starts at $21,700 for the gas-powered base model, won because it is offered in a wide range of powertrains, said Ron Cogan, editor of Green Car Journal, which gives out the annual award to recognize leadership in cutting emissions.

“It won by virtue of the fact that it offers an array of choices,” Cogan said after announcing the award during the LA Auto Show on Thursday. “This is huge.

The second-largest U.S. automaker offers gas-powered, hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. The Fusion hybrid is estimated to get 47 miles per gallon, although early tests by Consumer Reports magazine signal that the Fusion hybrid, like other hybrids that have been tested, may fall short of that figure.

A hybrid is an automobile with more than one power source, such as an electric motor and internal combustion engine or an electric motor with battery and fuel cells for energy storage.

Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood said the company was expecting to see a wider range for fuel economy on its new generation of hybrids because it is not asking drivers to compromise on vehicle performance.

“If you want to drive for maximum fuel economy, the car has the tools. You can do it,” Sherwood said. “If you want to drive 80 miles per hour on the highway you aren’t going to get 47 miles per gallon.”

All five finalists for the 2013 award are available to the mass market, underscoring the auto industry’s ramped-up focus on boosting fuel economy over their entire lineup, not just in low-volume, specialized vehicles.

The finalists included the Dodge Dart Aero, a turbocharged version of Chrysler Group LLC’s compact car, and Mazda’s CX-5 SkyACTIV crossover, both of which start around $20,000.

The others were Toyota Motor Corp’s subcompact hybrid, the Prius c, which starts at $18,950, and the Ford C-Max, which starts at $25,200 for the hybrid model.

“(The LA Auto Show) used to be all about electric vehicles, which really don’t suit everyone,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing. “Now you’re seeing fuel economy for everyone.”

Previous winners of the Green Car award have included General Motors Co’s plug-in Chevrolet Volt, which costs just under $40,000, and Honda Motor Co’s natural gas-powered Civic, which starts around $26,300.

Ford’s transformation

The award has been presented since 2006, when Ford won for its Mercury Mariner hybrid, a since-discontinued sport-utility vehicle that got about 27 mpg and had a starting price of nearly $30,000.

The 2013 Fusion’s gasoline-powered base model gets 34 mpg on the highway, while the hybrid version gets 47 mpg, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency. The plug-in Fusion Energi includes 20 miles of all-electric range, with a backup gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain.

Ford has revitalized sales in recent years in part because of a renewed focus on fuel economy and smaller, more efficient cars. Ford has also adopted a more flexible manufacturing strategy that allows it to build gas-powered, hybrid and electric models all on the same assembly line.

The average fuel economy of Ford’s cars and trucks for model year 2011 was 21.3 mpg, up from 18 mpg in 2006, U.S. government data shows. The industry average for 2011 was 22.8 mpg.

Early tests by Consumer Reports indicate that the Fusion and C-Max could fall short of EPA’s estimates of 47 miles per gallon for both models, Fisher said.

“I’d be surprised if we get near that,” Fisher said.

But he added that it was not uncommon for hybrids to fall short of the EPA estimates, citing the Prius as an example.

Official testing by the influential consumer watchdog is just beginning, but in routine driving by researchers, “we haven’t seen anything close to 47,” Fisher said.

‘Nothing eartch-shattering’

While the industry is shifting focus to improving fuel economy, hybrids like the popular Toyota Prius and the Volt still account for less than 3 percent of U.S. auto sales, said Lonnie Miller, analyst with Polk Automotive.

Sales of electric cars like Nissan’s Leaf and the Volt have lagged expectations, despite high gasoline prices, in part because the cost of the batteries that power them is very high and normal internal combustion engines are getting much better mileage per gallon than in the past.

Fisher said that the past couple of years have been characterized by incremental improvements rather than big breakthroughs when it comes fuel economy of new vehicles.

“There’s not a whole lot of ‘hit ‘em right out of the park’ vehicles here,” he said. “There’s no new Tesla being introduced. You look at the Green Cars of the Year. There is nothing really earth-shattering.”

The winner was selected by a panel of environmental leaders, including Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, Ocean Futures Society President Jean-Michel Cousteau, Global Green USA President Matt Petersen, television personality and car enthusiast Jay Leno and staff of the Green Car Journal.

Ford shares closed 2.5 percent higher at $11.53 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday


BMW sees room for more growth in China’s luxury car market

BEIJING — German carmaker BMW sees continued double-digit sales gains in China next year as the luxury car market there, at 9-10 percent of overall sales, still lags the developed world, where the luxury segment accounts for 15 percent of the total.

The German firm, which is building a second plant in northeast China to initially double its capacity to 200,000 vehicles, later rising to 300,000, expects to sell 1 million cars in China over the next three years, Duan Jianjun, deputy sales chief at BMW’s venture with the state-owned parent of Hong Kong-listed Brilliance China Automotive Holdings, told Internet portal at the Guangzhou auto show.

China’s luxury car market has lost some of its steam after years of break-neck growth, though demand for high-end cars remains robust as personal wealth grows.

“We have sold 1 million cars in China so far. We will strive to sell another million in the next three years,” Duan said.

BMW’s China car sales grew 35 percent in January-October from a year earlier, five times the growth rate of the overall market, and topping Audi’s 31.2 percent and Mercedes-Benz’s 8 percent growth.

Daniel Kirchert, senior vice president at BMW’s China venture, told separately that the venture was preparing to launch a China-only car. He did not elaborate. BMW and Brilliance plan to produce 200,000 4-cylinder, 2-litre petrol engines a year at an engine plant in Shenyang.


Steven Tyler Apologizes to Nicki Minaj; Ex-American Idol Judge Says He's "Not a Racist"

Steven Tyler isn't looking to feud.

The former American Idol judge is sorry that Nicki Minaj found his comments to be racist. "I apologize if it was taken wrong, Nicki," the Aerosmith rocker said Tuesday on eTalk, a Canadian entertainment show.

"But I am the farthest from [being a racist]," he said. "I am the last thing on this planet as far as being a racist. I don't know where she got that out of me saying I'm not sure how she would've judged Bob Dylan."

Minaj was outraged after Tyler told MTV he thought the "Starships" singer "would have sent [Dylan] to the cornfield" if he'd come on Idol. But Tyler insisted he only meant, "if Bob Dylan came on the show, he would've been thrown off."

"Maybe I spoke out of turn," he said. "But a racist I'm not, Nicki."


Lantana to save $1 million by bond refinancing

The town council voted unanimously at this week’s regular meeting to approve a bond refinancing that would save it nearly $1 million during the next decade. The town had obtained the $9.215 million bond for its wastewater system in 1998, with a rate that started at 3.6 percent. It’s now up to 4.65 percent, with a balance of $4.845 million. Finance director Stephen Kaplan told council members Monday the town had negotiated a new rate of 1.48 percent. That will save the town $105,000 to $110,00 a year, or about $990,000 by the time the bond’s paid off in 2021. The closing is set for the beginning of January.


Bonefish Grill caters to seafood lovers and beyond


Dinner only. Bonefish features a nice variety of entrees, though seafood and fish are plentiful. Grilled entrees include fish, chicken and steak. There also is pasta, soup and salad, burgers, tacos and numerous seafood appetizers.


Upscale casual. The eatery was packed during our weekend visit.


We enjoyed all three of our entrees, so it was tough to choose a favorite. The chicken marsala ($16.80) featured two large grilled chicken breasts with mushrooms and a tasty Marsala wine sauce. The bang bang tacos ($12.20), with the eatery’s signature shrimp, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream, were delicious. The Kobe beef burger ($10.90) also was a hit. For dessert, we shared a macadamia nut brownie ($5.90), which featured a flourless brownie with raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream.


Good food at good prices.


Our entrees arrived quickly once we were seated, following a 75-minute wait. Our server was a little flustered as she was handling numerous tables, but others pitched in.


It was somewhat loud, particularly near the bar area and outside as we waited for our tables. We had no problem carrying on dinner conversation once we were seated, though.


For older kids, yes. We’d leave the younger ones at home



11658 U.S. 1, North Palm Beach, 561-799-2965

Hours: Sun., 4-10 p.m.; M-Thurs., 4-10:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 4-11:30 p.m.


Rolling Stones Face Heavy Fine

Band could be charged £200,000 for breaking London curfew.

The Rolling Stones kicked off their "50 & Counting" shows Sunday in London before a packed 02 Arena crowd of 20,000 fans.

The Stones delivered a 2-hour plus set with hits taken from every decade of their career.

Although the Rolling Stones played to 20,000 ecstatic fans on Sunday, they could be facing a heavy fan for breaking curfew rules. The group started their two and a half hour set half an hour later than planned, and so were not wrapping up the show until after 11pm.

The Sun reports that the fine could be as much as £200,000.

The Stones will play a second night at the O2 Arena on Thursday, before heading across the Atlantic for three shows: New York’s Barclay Center on December 8, and the Prudential Center in Newark NJ on December 13 and 15.

Don't forget, YOU can win tickets to see that historic gig on Thursday, thanks to Planet Rock and Viagogo. Simply go to the home-page and answer our Rolling Stones question. Or if you are a VIP you can enter for free in the VIP Competitions section.



Video: Izzy Stradlin Performs “14 Years” with Guns N’ Roses

Closing out their first-ever Las Vegas residency with a bang, the current incarnation of Guns N’ Roses was joined by original member Izzy Stradlin on both Friday and Saturday night for a rendition of the Use Your Illusion classic, “14 Years.” Check out the fan-filmed video below.

Stradlin joined Axl Rose in sitting out the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction earlier this year, issuing a statement beforehand thanking Guns N’ Roses fans.

“Big thanks to all my bandmates who helped get us to where we are today,” he wrote. “And, of course, thank youto all of the people on this planet (including, but not limited to, the entire universe and beyond, etc., etc., etc.) who have supported Guns N’ Roses from day one. Adios, Amigos!”


New Jimi Hendrix Album!

"Lost" material will be released.

A new Jimi Hendrix album of previously unreleased material is set to be released in 2013.

Entitled 'People, Hell And Angels' it was recorded in 1968 and 1969. The songs were originally intended for 'First Days Of The New Rising Sun', the follow up to 'Electric Ladyland' which Hendrix was working on at the time of his death. Although set for release in the US on March 5 2013, a UK date is yet to be named.

Tracks on the record apparently feature Hendrix experimenting with horns, keyboards, percussion and a second guitar.

Banks favor short sales over debt forgiveness

WEST PALM BEACH — Florida homeowners have received more than $3 billion in mortgage relief and benefits from the nation’s five largest banks since a landmark settlement was signed in March to atone for foreclosure-related offenses.

But the majority of the banks’ debt forgiveness has come in the form of short sales, a gesture that homeowner advocates say doesn’t match the goal of the agreement, which was to keep borrowers in their homes.

More than $2.2 billion, or 63 percent of Florida’s total take so far from the settlement, has been in deficiency waivers for short sales, according to quarterly progress reports submitted this week to settlement monitor Joseph Smith.

A short sale is when a lender agrees to take less for a home than what the borrower owes on the mortgage. Banks can still pursue borrowers for that unpaid debt, unless they waive that right in the deal.

As part of the nationwide $25 billion agreement with Bank of America, Ally Financial, Citimortgage, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, forgiving short sale debt is one way lenders can meet their financial obligations.

Nationwide, about 60 percent of the debt forgiven through Sept. 30 has been through short sale deficiency waivers.

“We believed the intent and motivation for this settlement was to keep people in their homes,” said Laura Johns, a community organizer with the Home Defenders League, a national organization whose Florida base is in Orlando. “What we see happening in Florida is people being pushed out of their homes and the homes going to investors.”

The average borrower’s relief in Florida from the settlement has totaled $74,673.

About 5,110 Floridians have received an average of $10,850 in “transitional” money to leave their homes, while $6.9 million in debt has been forgiven to homeowners who have deeded their property to the bank rather than going through a lengthy foreclosure proceeding.

Johns said banks should be focusing more on primary mortgage principal reductions that will leave fewer homes underwater and make monthly payments more affordable.

While principal forgiveness on first mortgages has totaled $386.7 million in Florida between March and Sept. 30, it makes up just 11 percent of the overall relief so far. About 3,240 Floridians have received a first lien principal reduction, averaging $119,256.

Banks have forgiven $2.5 billion in first mortgage debt nationwide between March and September for 21,833 homeowners. The average forgiveness amount was $116,929.

“First lien principals are our highest priority as it’s the one program that has a clear ability to prevent foreclosure and keep people in their homes,” said Bank of America Senior Vice President Eric Telljohann. “We expect one-third of homeowner relief to come from first-lien principal forgiveness.”

Bank of America, which services about 900,000 mortgages in Florida, has provided $113 million in first lien principal reductions statewide to 830 borrowers. That’s compared to $1.2 billion in short sale forgiveness to 11,170 borrowers.

The settlement requires 60 percent of each bank’s total commitment to be met by first- and second-lien principal reductions. No more than 10 percent can be met by deficiency waivers.

Smith said in a press release the banks’ progress is “encouraging,” but cautioned that he hasn’t confirmed the lender reports. Lenders have until March 2015 to meet the settlement deadline.

“No credit will be awarded to a servicer until I, as monitor, am satisfied that the servicer has met its obligations,” Smith said.

Paul Baltrun, director of homeowner assistance at the Law Office of Paul A. Krasker in West Palm Beach, said he had a client receive a $390,000 reduction on a Bank of America first mortgage, dropping the balance to $231,000.

A second client had his entire second mortgage of $63,252 forgiven by JPMorgan Chase.

“The majority of our clients come in our door and don’t even know what the mortgage settlement is,” Baltrun said. “Sometimes they just don’t believe they can qualify because they’ve been turned down so many times for other plans.”

Homeowners whose loans are backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not qualify for benefits through the National Mortgage Settlement.

In Florida, about $383 million in second mortgages has either been forgiven or canceled by lenders.

Lenders do not earn a dollar-for-dollar match on relief provided to borrowers. For example, for every dollar forgiven by a lender on a second mortgage, it receives only a 10-cent credit toward its required settlement amount. Lenders and servicers receive between a 20-cent credit and a dollar-for-dollar match on short sales depending on the kind of debt being forgiven.

Baltrun said he agrees with the criticism that too much is being forgiven through short sales.

“The whole point of the settlement is to keep people in their homes,” he said. “The vast majority of short sales we’ve completed in the past year and a half have come with a full deficiency waiver anyway.”


Rough seas will greet beachgoers in Palm Beach County

Beachgoers in Palm Beach County can expect heavy rip currents today, the National Weather Service reported.

The morning is starting off cool — low to mid-40s inland and mid- to upper-50s along the coast — because of a weak cold front that is pushing in from the north. It’s bringing drier air during the day.

Temperatures should reach into the 70s this afternoon.

The cold front will move through Tuesday night or Wednesday morning with a minimal chance of showers and little change from normal temperatures.

A “lingering northeast swell” is causing the higher surf and rip current conditions, according to the National Weather Service Miami station forecast. The approaching cold front will also cause building seas, so marine warnings likely will be renewed mid-week.


Independence Middle hosting holiday shopping bazaar

JUPITER — Independence Middle School at 4001 Greenway Drive will host its sixth annual IMS PTO Holiday Shopping Bazaar from 3:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Guests can shop from more than 35 vendors. Pizza, drinks and sweets will be available for sale. The event includes a raffle and a performance by the Independence Middle School Chorus. For information, contact (561) 799-7500 or


Black Friday Sale at Revolver’s Online Store: Get 35% Off Everything Through Sunday

Happy Black Friday from everyone at Revolver!

You’ll be happy to know that everything at the Revolver Online Store is 35 percent off today through 11:59 p.m. (just before midnight) Sunday, November 25! It’s all part of our annual Black Friday Sale.

Just be sure to enter this special code at checkout:


Stock up on magazines, books, calendars, gear guides, T-shirts and more!

Head to the Revolver Online Store now!

Here’s that code again:



Monique Wilson admits she’s lesbian

MANILA, Philippines—London-based theater actress Monique Wilson has admitted she is a lesbian.

“The reason I decided to come out is linked to (the project) ‘One Billion Rising.’ Every time I come home, I see that young gay people here are so marginalized, are so discriminated against and that there’s so much violence going on toward them,” Wilson said.

“One Billion Rising” will be held on Valentine’s Day in 2013. A billion women from all over the world will dance simultaneously to demand for the end of women abuse.


Thanksgiving by the numbers

(CNN) -- 1.5 -- The number of pounds of turkey the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line recommends per guest so that you have plenty left over for sandwiches.

2 -- The ranking of Thanksgiving in the list of America's favorite holidays. Christmas is No. 1.

2 -- The total number of days the FDA suggests keeping a fresh turkey before cooking it.

2.5 -- The number in miles of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

4 -- Americans celebrate Thanksgiving every year on the 4th Thursday of November.

4-5 -- The number of months it takes for a newborn turkey to reach maturity.

4.5-5 -- The number of hours it takes to cook a stuffed 20 to 24 pound turkey in an oven set to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

10-12 -- The number of hours it takes to thaw a frozen 20 to 24 pound turkey in cold water. Compare that to the five to six days it takes to thaw in the refrigerator!

31 -- The number of years between 1981, when the Butterball Talk-Line opened, and Thanksgiving 2012.

36 -- The number of years it took Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Ladies Magazine, to crusade for an annual Thanksgiving holiday. National and local days of thanksgiving had been celebrated over the years, but President Abraham Lincoln finally proclaimed the fourth Thursday in November Thanksgiving in 1863.

46 million -- The estimated number of turkeys eaten in the U.S. on Thanksgiving 2011.

50 million -- The approximate number of people who watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on television.

65 -- The number of years between 1947, the very first National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation at the White House, and Thanksgiving 2012.

69 -- The approximate percentage of Thanksgiving Day fires caused by cooking.

71 -- The number of years between the year Congress rules in 1941 that the fourth Thursday in November will be observed as Thanksgiving Day and a federal legal holiday, and Thanksgiving 2012.

88 -- The approximate percentage of Americans who eat Turkey on Thanksgiving Day, according to a National Turkey Federation survey.

88 -- The number of years between 1924, when the very first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade took place, and Thanksgiving 2012. It was called the Macy's Christmas Parade.

91 -- The number of years between the very first NFL Thanksgiving Day games in 1921 and Thanksgiving 2012.

149 -- The number of years between October 3, 1863, when President Lincoln proclaims a national annual Thanksgiving Day, and Thanksgiving 2012.

223 -- The number of years between 1789, when President George Washington issues a proclamation naming November 26 a day of national thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving 2012.

391 -- The number of years between 1621, the year the first Thanksgiving is observed in Plymouth, and Thanksgiving 2012. A good harvest leads Massachusetts Gov. William Bradford to plan a festival to give thanks. Around 90 Native Americans attend.

248.5 million -- The number of turkeys raised in the United States in 2011.

254 million -- The number of turkeys expected to be raised in the United States in 2012. That is up 2% from the number raised during 2011.

12,000 -- The number of calls the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line was braced for Thanksgiving morning 2011.

Joe Perry: Aerosmith Are 'Getting Along Better Than Ever'

Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry sought to quell rumors that the band was squabbling again in a recent chat with Eddie Trunk on his Sirius/XM show Eddie Trunk Live. "It must have been a slow news week," Perry joked, when asked about a recent item in the New York Post that said band members were "barely speaking" to each other.

"We were wondering, 'Who's saying this?' and 'Why are they saying this?' It's totally wrong and irrelevant," Perry went on. "The least they could have done was get [the facts] right." Perry said the Post talked to people who haven't been connected with Aerosmith for a decade or more, adding, "The band is getting along better than ever. We were thinking about [releasing a statement], but then why even validate it by even answering."

Having just released their latest record, Music From Another Dimension, Aerosmith are also finishing up their North American tour with Cheap Trick.

"No matter what goes on" behind the scenes, Perry added, "we do everything and put aside everything for the fans. We give everything up for the audience."

Perry also noted that following the tour, he's planning to keep working on his book and also some "solo stuff."


Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry sought to quell rumors that the band was squabbling again in a recent chat with Eddie Trunk on his Sirius/XM show Eddie Trunk Live. "It must have been a slow news week," Perry joked, when asked about a recent item in the New York Post that said band members were "barely speaking" to each other.
"We were wondering, 'Who's saying this?' and 'Why are they saying this?' It's totally wrong and irrelevant," Perry went on. "The least they could have done was get [the facts] right." Perry said the Post talked to people who haven't been connected with Aerosmith for a decade or more, adding, "The band is getting along better than ever. We were thinking about [releasing a statement], but then why even validate it by even answering."
Having just released their latest record, Music From Another Dimension, Aerosmith are also finishing up their North American tour with Cheap Trick.
"No matter what goes on" behind the scenes, Perry added, "we do everything and put aside everything for the fans. We give everything up for the audience."
Perry also noted that following the tour, he's planning to keep working on his book and also some "solo stuff."

Read more:
Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry sought to quell rumors that the band was squabbling again in a recent chat with Eddie Trunk on his Sirius/XM show Eddie Trunk Live. "It must have been a slow news week," Perry joked, when asked about a recent item in the New York Post that said band members were "barely speaking" to each other.
"We were wondering, 'Who's saying this?' and 'Why are they saying this?' It's totally wrong and irrelevant," Perry went on. "The least they could have done was get [the facts] right." Perry said the Post talked to people who haven't been connected with Aerosmith for a decade or more, adding, "The band is getting along better than ever. We were thinking about [releasing a statement], but then why even validate it by even answering."
Having just released their latest record, Music From Another Dimension, Aerosmith are also finishing up their North American tour with Cheap Trick.
"No matter what goes on" behind the scenes, Perry added, "we do everything and put aside everything for the fans. We give everything up for the audience."
Perry also noted that following the tour, he's planning to keep working on his book and also some "solo stuff."

Read more:

Jimi Hendrix Clothing Line Coming to Bloomingdale's

Jimi Hendrix clothing line designed by Lyric Culture with input from Experience Hendrix, the family-owned company that safeguards the legacy of the late guitarist, is set to hit shelves exclusively at Bloomingdale's in early November.

The menswear collection – which comes with the approach of what would have been Hendrix's 70th birthday – will features designs that combine images of the guitarist along with lyrics from some of his most memorable songs. The line will include graphic screen print t-shirts, scarves, dress shirts, hoodies and cuff links.

"We're delighted to partner with Lyric Culture to launch this line of Jimi Hendrix apparel and jewelry," Janie Hendrix, the guitarist's sister and Experience Hendrix CEO, said in a statement. "Jimi's words, music and handwriting have been cherished by so many for so long and this underscores how resonant his art has been all this while and, certainly into the future."

To mark the launch, Janie Hendrix will also be signing copies of the recently published Jimi Hendrix: The Ultimate Lyric Book, at Bloomingdale's flagship store in Manhattan on November 8th. The book, which Janie compiled, includes lyrics to all of Hendrix's classics as well as previously unpublished songs and photographs. The event will also feature an appearance from Billy Cox, who worked with Hendrix live and in the studio as bassist for both the Band of Gypsys and Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Fans will also be able to check out an interactive kiosk on loan to Bloomingdale's from the permanent Hendrix exhibit at the Experience Music Project in Seattle. The kiosk allows viewers to see the guitar icon's handwritten lyrics.


President Obama Wins, Seals Victory With A Tweet

It will be four more years for President Obama. After the most expensive presidential campaign in history, Obama secured a second term shortly after 11:15 p.m. ET, celebrating his hard-fought victory with an appropriately modern-age touch: a tweet.

With the simple message, "four more years," Obama posted a picture in which he is seen hugging first lady Michelle Obama.

After a nail-biting evening in which he ran neck-and-neck with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for much of the night, Obama was able to secure the necessary 270 electoral votes by taking one of the biggest prizes of the night: Ohio. At press time, the final tally according to CNN was 274 electoral votes to 201 for Obama, with the president slightly behind in the popular vote by a 50-49 percent margin, with fewer than 700,000 votes separating them.

The good news for Obama was tempered by the fact that the president would once again face a divided congress, with Republicans retaining a majority in the House and Democrats a razor-thin lead in the Senate. Pundits immediately predicted that Obama would need to make a move to mend fences with Republicans in his second term in order to secure more cooperation on his ambitious agenda, which includes major legislation on immigration, the environment and tax reform.

MTV News correspondents James Montgomery and Andrew Jenks were at Romney and Obama headquarters, as both candidates waited out the results. Before the final numbers were announced, young voter Sophia at Obama HQ was overwhelmed by the electricity inside McCormick Place as the throng of supporters watched the results roll in.

"It's electric. It's amazing," she told MTV News. "I'm so excited to be here."


Bob Dylan predicts Obama in a landslide

Bob Dylan says he thinks President Barack Obama is going to win in a landslide.

Dylan made the prediction on Monday night midway through the song Blowin' in the Wind during a concert in the battleground state of Wisconsin.

Dylan spoke to the Madison audience as he was wrapping up his concert that came just hours after Obama appeared at a morning rally in the same city with rocker Bruce Springsteen.

Dylan made his comments during his encore when he said, 'We tried to play good tonight since the president was here today.'

He went on to say he thinks Obama will prevail on Tuesday.

Dylan says, 'Don't believe the media. I think it's going to be a landslide.'

After his comments, Dylan completed the song to the roar of the crowd.


Three reasons Obama will win; three reasons Romney will win

The most expensive election in U.S. history is almost over, and most public polls suggest President Obama has a small, but persistent, edge over his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.

But before the final vote counts, here are three reasons each candidate has to expect victory, and a key place to watch to see who is right.

Reasons Obama will win

Economic optimism: Yes, unemployment remains high at 7.9%, and the recovery has been slow. But slow growth and no growth sit worlds apart. Incumbent presidents presiding over a growing economy with rising job numbers in the election year almost always prevail. Moreover, ever since the summer, the number of Americans expressing optimism about the economy’s future has grown. That shift shows up in pre-election polls as well as in rising consumer confidence.

Increased optimism has provided crucial lift for Obama — he wins overwhelmingly among voters who say the economy will be better next year — and it could be particularly important in key Midwestern contests, including Wisconsin and Ohio.

Latinos: For at least a decade, Karl Rove and other Republican strategists have warned that the party risked failure if it could not find a way to reach out to the country’s fast-growing Latino population. Instead of doing so this year, Mitt Romney ran a primary campaign that stressed hard-line positions against illegal immigration. The goal was to outflank Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and it succeeded, but at high cost. (And ultimately, Perry did so poorly that he might have lost anyway.)

Polls of Latino voters show that Obama probably will get 70% or more of their vote. Already, early vote statistics indicate that strong support from Latinos has given Obama a big lead in Nevada. Depending on the size of the Latino turnout, he could add Colorado and Florida to his column.

Ground game: From strategists David Axelrod and David Plouffe and campaign manager Jim Messina on down, Obama campaign officials have said for more than a year that the organization they were building to identify, register, mobilize and turn out supporters would provide the difference in a close election. So far, in the early voting, that organization has largely performed as advertised.

Even in North Carolina, where most polls have pointed to a Romney victory, Democrats have a slightly larger edge in the early vote than they had in 2008, when Obama won the state by the slenderest of margins. In Ohio and Florida, long lines, mostly of Obama supporters, circled early voting locations over the weekend and Monday. The campaign has benefited from new techniques in identifying and targeting supporters and motivating them to show up at the polls. And although Republicans also have proved they can turn out their supporters — they showed that this spring in Wisconsin’s recall election, for example — the Democrats appear to have an edge.

Reasons Romney will win

Economic performance: Yes, optimism is on the rise, but there’s no denying that a majority of Americans believes the country is headed in the wrong direction and doesn’t have confidence that Obama’s economic policies will fix it. With the economy as the issue that the great majority of voters consider their top priority, Republicans have argued that wavering voters in the end will come down on the challenger’s side. The most recent Pew Research Center survey showed Obama with a slight edge, but also showed that the number of voters who said they might yet change their minds was enough to switch the outcome.

Understating the GOP vote: Among Republican pollsters, several believe that the public polls conducted by news organizations, universities and research centers like Pew have all understated the Republican vote. The arguments for that position vary. A chief one is that the methods pollsters use to identify likely voters have overstated the partisan gap between Democrats and Republicans.

In the 2004 election, exit polls showed the number of voters identifying with each party was roughly equal. In 2008, Democrats had a substantial edge. Most,  though not all, public polls look more like 2008 than 2004, with more self-identified Democrats than Republicans. The Republicans who doubt those polls say the Democratic edge in 2008 was a one-time thing, brought on by Obama’s popularity that year. This year’s party identification should look more like 2004, they argue. Nonpartisan pollsters dispute that argument, but if it’s correct, Romney almost certainly will do better than the polls have indicated.

A smaller, older and whiter electorate: In 2008, 61.6% of the population potentially eligible to register and vote actually cast ballots. That was the highest level since before 1971, when the 26th Amendment to the Constitution gave 18-year-olds the right to vote. Most analysts expect this year’s turnout percentage to be lower. But how much? And which voters will stay home?

Professor Michael McDonald of George Mason University, the leading expert on voter turnout, estimates that 60% to 61% of the voter-eligible population will turn out. That would put the 2012 turnout level slightly lower than that of 2008, but likely higher than 2004’s 60.1%.

Some Republicans expect a bigger decline. They believe turnout of younger voters will drop significantly from 2008 levels and that minority turnout also will decline because of what they see as lowered enthusiasm for Obama. Turnout of older, white voters will rise because of greater intensity on the GOP side, they predict. The result would be an electorate that is both older and whiter than the one in 2008, which was 74% non-Latino whites, according to exit polls.

In 2004, when Bush won reelection, non-Latino whites made up 77% of the electorate, and in the 2010 midterm elections, when Republicans regained control of the House, the white share was 78%. Many Democratic strategists expect the white share of the electorate to fall to 73% this year, but some Republicans expect the white share to rise, which would give Romney an edge in key states because of the sharp racial polarization of the vote.

Early clues to which side is right?

Look for the returns from Virginia, which has among the earliest poll-closing times in the country: 7 p.m. Eastern time. Minority turnout, economic optimism and the strength of Obama’s ground game all will be in play there. If the results come in strongly for one candidate or the other, it could set the pattern for the night.

Stevie Wonder, Dave Matthews, Pitbull and More Rally for Obama

A high-profile cast of musicians fanned out in support of President Obama at rallies around the country over the weekend as part of a final push in his re-election campaign, according to multiple news reports. John Mellencamp appeared with Obama in Iowa, Stevie Wonder warmed up a crowd in Cincinnati, Pitbull introduced the president in Hollywood, Florida, and Dave Matthews joined Obama Saturday in Bristow, Virginia, and yesterday in  Aurora, Colorado.

Wonder, who recently released a song for Obama, joked with the crowd in Ohio before he played "Sir Duke," saying, "You know, I've not looked at either candidate," then pausing for a wave of laughter as the joke sank in. "So it's not based on that, the color of their skin. But I must tell you, it's based on their spirit."

Pitbull didn't perform in Florida, but the first-generation Cuban-American did talk about "what my family went through to be able to appreciate the opportunity that this country gives me," and emphasized a sense of commonality.

"We ain't got to worry about those that dislike and – I don't like to use this word because to me it's a bad word – but those that hate," the Cuban-American rapper told the crowd. "All we got to worry about is sticking together and doing this together, and that's what we're doing here today. So it doesn't matter whether we're, mira, Latino, black, pink, purple, orange, white, it doesn't matter, because we're all Americans."

Neil Diamond and Burt Bacharach showed their support a different way, according to The Hollywood Reporter, dropping by an Obama phone bank in Los Angeles to sing "Sweet Caroline" for get-out-the-vote volunteers making calls. Diamond stayed afterward to help with phone calls, tweeting, "Working the phones for Obama . . . If I call you, don't hang up. It's really me and I need you."

Also, Katy Perry played her third Obama event in Milwaukee yesterday, and Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z join the president for rallies today. Election Day is tomorrow.


Iommi can’t see Ward return

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi says he can’t see Bill Ward returning to the band.

The drummer withdrew from the original lineup reunion in February, saying he hadn’t been offered a contract he regarded as “signable”. They proceeded to work with Tommy Clufetos, sticksman with Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band, but Ward recently said he’d like to be part of Sabbath’s future.

Now Iommi reveals he thinks that’s unlikely.

The axeman tells Blairing Out: “We’ll always have a heart for Bill – but I think it’s gone past that now. It’s gone on so long that I don’t see it happening at the moment. Maybe at some point we might do it.”

 In the meantime he’s focusing on recording Sabbath’s first album with Osbourne since 1979, and says the singer got his facts wrong about how far they’ve got.

It had been reported that Iommi had recorded all his guitar parts, but he explains: “That’s wrong. When Ozzy said it I think he meant we recorded them at my house first, just as demos.

“Now we’re doing them for real. We’re about six tracks in at the moment.”

The band haven’t revealed the album’s title and the guitar icon says he can’t pick any favourite tracks just yet. He describes producer Rick Rubin as a “vibe merchant.”

Iommi attended the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund away night on Wednesday, where he was presented the King of Rock’n'Roll Award.

Having been diagnosed with cancer at the end of 2011, just 18 months after former bandmate Dio died of the disease, he says the event means a lot to him.

“I’m a survivor up until now,” he says light-heartedly. “I’m still very new to it. It’s great that there’s somebody doing something about it and trying to get rid of this awful disease. Things like this is what’s needed to make people aware of what’s going on.”

Earlier this week Osbourne revealed that he’d been unaware of the extent of his band’s influence until he heard Metallica playing Sabbath music – and suspected they were “taking the piss” out of him.


Buying a Car with Bad Credit: Your Options

No matter how many times our mothers warned us to pay our bills in full and on time, some of us just had to find out for ourselves what the repercussions for making late and partial payments would be. Surprisingly, we’ve found that our credit cards weren’t cancelled and no one came knocking on the door to collect that brand new TV we bought and couldn’t afford. Nope, instead they hit us where it hurt the most. They lowered our credit score. And because they were so sneaky about it, we didn’t even realize it was happening until it was too late!

If you’ve got a broken down car, can’t get to work, and can’t get financing on a new car because of bad credit, don’t panic. There’s a way to drive yourself out of this mess, and while it may not be in a new Mercedes-Benz, no need to worry. You’ve still got that fancy TV.

First things first. Go online and get a copy of your credit report. Pay the extra fee to make sure the report includes your credit score. The score is reported by three bureaus, so get your score from all three (Equifax, Transunion, Experian).

Beg the Bank

Understand your credit score and decide the best way to proceed. Most banks won’t lend to people with scores below 640. However, if you’re within a reasonable range of that, many banks will still give you a car loan if you have a good history with that particular bank. If you’ve got $1000 cash, go to the bank where you have your checking account and see if that’ll do for a down payment. Depending on how close you are to 640, sometimes only $500 is enough. If they say no, don’t lose hope. Keep pressing on.

Buy in Cash

Depending on how mechanically inclined you or your friends are, you might want to check out what’s available within your cash range. $1000-2000 can often get you a decent 10 year old vehicle. Unfortunately, most 10 year old vehicles aren’t always in the best mechanical condition, so this is where knowing someone who’s good with engines will be of help.

If you don’t know a mechanic, usually it’ll cost you about $50 to have one accompany you to the dealership to do a thorough inspection on the car you are interested in. However, you should make sure he doesn’t have a connection to the dealership to ensure you’re getting unbiased advice. Older cars come with a lot of problems, so you might want to avoid this option and consider buying from a “Buy-Here-Pay-Here” dealership.

Buy from a “Buy Here Pay Here” Dealership

You know that annoying radio commercial? “Bad credit? No credit? No problem! If you’ve got $500 and job, you can ride away in a new car today!” These guys are what you’d call a “Buy-Here Pay-Here” dealership. “Buy-Here-Pay-Here” dealerships will finance a car purchase and keep the loan in-house, so you’ll owe them money, not some anonymous bank in Phoenix or Cleveland.

These dealerships get a lot of flak because they are in the business of selling loans, not cars. They’re taking chances on people with volatile credit and know that most of their customers will eventually get behind on their loans. Therefore, the cars they sell only have to last as long as it takes for the owner to default on the loan. If you buy from a dealership like this, make sure not to leave your mechanic at home. But not all Buy-Here-Pay-Here dealerships are dangerous. Some of the more reputable ones will offer mechanical warranties, so keep your eye out for those.

In sum, if you’ve got bad credit and you need a reliable way to get around, do your very best to obtain financing from a respectable dealership. However, if you can’t, purchasing from a Buy-Here Pay-Here dealer is a slightly better idea than paying for an old beater in cash, especially if you don’t have any mechanics in the family.


Remember To Check Your Credit Reports!!!!

If you are not already monitoring your credit reports now might be a good time to start. I recently had a run in with someone who I advised to check his credit report. .He ordered his reports from…which gives you FREE credit reports from the three major bureaus every 12 months.

He found that everything on the report was what he expected with the exception of a newly opened credit card…at an address in a state that he had never been to.

The credit card had been opened about a year earlier and actually had a small balance on it that he did not know about. I quickly informed that person that he needed to notify the credit bureau so they could investigate the matter because he was sure it was not his card.

The sooner you find out about errors on your credit report the better it is for you. Early detection means you can get the problem taken care of soon and you can potentially avoid a big disaster later on.


ASUS Intros The Windows 8-ready 23” ET2300 All-in-One PC Series

ASUS has announced the ET2300 All-in-One PC Series — a fully-fledged desktop PC with a 23” multi-touch display. With Intel i7 desktop processors, lifelike audio and user ergonomics all incorporated in its sleek and neat design, the ET2300 is perfect for productivity and home entertainment. The ET2300 has a unique double-hinge design that allows it to be used both as a traditional desktop with an upright display and as a digital canvas that folds flat parallel to the table top.

It is the first All-in-One PC with a built-in array speaker and subwoofer, an external subwoofer, and ASUS SonicMaster technology — these enable the ET2300 to deliver incredible acoustic fidelity unheard from other PCs. In addition, Intel Thunderbolt, Intel Wireless Display (WiDi), and USB 3.0 provide flexible and future-proof connectivity.

High-performance specifications with ultra-fast connectivity

The ASUS ET2300 is powered by the 3rd generation Intel® Core i7 desktop processor with discrete NVIDIA GT630M (1GB/2GB) or Intel HD 2500/4000 graphics for impressive performance.

WiDi makes it easy to enjoy audio, video and photos with family and friends through seamless wireless streaming to WiDi-enabled HDTVs. Two Intel Thunderbolt and four USB 3.0 ports provide ultra-fast data transfer speeds and flexible expansion options, while HDMI input turns the ET2300 into an HD display for game consoles and Blu-ray players.

10-point multi-touch screen with an innovative hinge design 

The ASUS ET2300 has an innovative double-hinge design that allows it to fold flat parallel to the table top for easy and intuitive use of Windows 8 apps on its 10-point multi-touch 23” display.

A 178° wide-view angle IPS display ensures clear and vibrant images, making the ET2300 an ideal shared entertainment platform for all family members.

The best audio ever on an All-in-One

The ASUS ET2300 is the first All-in-One PC to use an array speaker and an internal subwoofer to deliver an expanded soundstage with immersive, cinematic surround sound.

Developed by the ASUS Golden Ear team of audio experts, SonicMaster technology further refines sound quality for a wide frequency range that reproduces every acoustic detail. In addition, the external subwoofer extends bass response by a full octave.

ASUS desktops – leading in overall satisfaction with reliability

ASUS desktops reflect a tradition of the finest product quality, innovation, and longevity.

Based on PCWorld USA’s 2011 Reliability and Service Survey, users ranked ASUS as the leading choice for Windows-based desktops, citing high satisfaction due to reliability, value, and quiet operation.

ASUS desktops received further praise for performance, design, and connectivity.


HP Wireless Printers At MSI-ECS

MSI-ECS, one of the largest HP distributors in the country has announced the availability of HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 3525e and 4625-e All-in-one printers from its authorized resellers nationwide.

These newly released multi-function wireless printers feature HP Ink Advantage System for ultra-low cost, consistent and flawless high-quality printing.

HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 3525 e-All-In-One Printer

Count on affordable wireless performance to do more at home and on the go.

Print wireless from virtually anywhere, using HP ePrint technology and print two-sided documents automatically.


• Print, copy, scan

• Print technology

• HP Thermal Inkjet

• Print quality black (best)

• Up to 1200 x 600 rendered dpi (when printing from a computer)

• Print quality color (best)

• Up to 4800 x 1200 optimized dpi color (when printing from a computer on selected HP photo papers and 1200 input dpi)

• Number of print cartridges

• 4 (1 each black, cyan, magenta, yellow)

• HP ePrint capability: Yes

• Mobile printing capability

• HP ePrint, HP wireless direct printing, Apple AirPrint

• Wireless capability

• Yes, wireless operations compatible with 2.4 GHz routers only

• Duplex printing

• Automatic (standard)

• Media sizes supported

• Up to A4 size

HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 4625 e-All-In-One Printer

The HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 4625 e-All-in-One is designed for business users wanting to be able to print more for less from a web-connected, wireless-ready all-in one with easy-to-use copy, scan and fax tools.


• Print, copy, scan, fax

• Print technology

• HP Thermal Inkjet

• Print quality black (best)

• Up to 1200 x 600 dpi

• Print quality color (best)

• Up to 4800 x 1200 dpi optimized on select HP photo papers with 1200 x 1200 input dpi

• Number of print cartridges

• 4 (1 each black, cyan, magenta, yellow)

• HP ePrint capability: Yes

• Mobile printing capability

• HP ePrint, Apple AirPrint

• Media sizes supported

• Up to A4 size


Wakeboard Steps Up Olympics Bid

With the International Olympic Committee currently reviewing all eight new sports for a place in the 2020 Olympic Games, organizers of the 2012 World Cable Wakeboard Championships guarantee no less than a successful staging of the event when it is held Nov. 10-11 at the Deca Wakeboard Park in Clark in Angeles, Pampanga.

In fact, wakeboard fans around the world will get the rare chance to watch the live webcast of the event on YouTube Sports Hub link for the first time in full HD. The free live webcast is scheduled to cover both the Junior and Open men’s and women’s finals.

The conduct of the upcoming event will have great significance for the International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation as it bids to put the event for inclusion in the 2020 quadrennial games.

Wakeboard action actually gets going on Nov. 6 with the qualifiers up to Nov. 9. For details, log on to with live webcast at www.IWWF.TV. 

The event is backed by Rixen Cableways, IWWF Wakeboard 2020 Vision, Smart, Gatorade, Deca Homes, Stoked Inc, RipCurl, Monster Energy Drink, Devant LED TV, Bacardi, Department of Tourism Region 3, Aktion Parks, Plus Event Marketing and organized by Eventking Corp. in cooperation with the Waterski and Wakeboard Association of the Philippines.

Defending champions Nick Davies and Kirsteen Mitchell of Great Britain head the elite cast that also includes the gold medal Open winners in the recent Tokyo World Cup – Austria's Angelika Shriber and Germany's Frederic von Osten.

The number of countries seeing action in Clark has also doubled to 32, underscoring the tremendous growth of the sport with top bets from Brazil, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia and the Philippines, to be led by Samantha Bermudez, Mark Griffin and Carlo dela Torre, joining the hunt for top honors.

The Deca Wakeboard Park will also showcase its world-class facility, including a Rixen German made cable system with a 5-corner design most desirable layout. All of the obstacles are sourced from Germany as well for world class and the ultimate wakeboarding park riding experience.

The World Cable Wakeboard Championships will feature men's and women's competitions in the open, juniors, veterans and masters categories as well as the highly technical Wake Skate discipline.

The growth of Cable Wakeboard Parks around the world has caught many by surprise. The unique combination of low cost, environmentally friendly and high return on investment features have given cities around the world a whole new lifestyle attraction for active young sports enthusiasts with additional new parks put up in Belgium, Turkey, Russia, France, Great Britain, Germany, Egypt and the United States in recent months.