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The Roundup September 22

Just in time, it seems, for our Shoestring Venture Apps Business Bible

Intel, hoping to emulate the success of Apple’s App Store, is leading an initiative that would encourage developers to sell applications for netbooks, PCs and other devices powered by its chips. . . .

Mr Otellini said Intel’s goal was for developers to be able to write a program once and have it run on any device based on Intel’s architecture.

Intel will provide tools for developers to build on the Atom platform for both Windows and Intel’s new Moblin Linux-based operating system. Microsoft has long opposed the free Linux operating system, but Mr Otellini announced Microsoft’s Silverlight software framework for Web-based applications would support both Windows and Moblin under its initiative.

Silverlight competes with Adobe’s Air framework. “They want Silverlight to be successful, so they are being pragmatic [in supporting Linux],” Mr Otellini told reporters before his speech.

(“Intel in drive to create version of App Store,” Financial Times, September 22) For those of you who missed the iPhone Apps boat (it still hasn’t quite sailed, though), skeptical about the Palm Apps boat, here comes Intel with a brand new apps store with the emphasis on Silverlight. Just in time, as we say in our headline, for our apps bible. We have about a dozen books being authored as I speak, and our apps business bible is undergoing daily rethinks as the apps business moves so quickly. So it’s back to the drawing boards for a good chunk of what we have drafted!

Good news for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and just about everybody else.

Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the two biggest U.S. banks by deposits, are cutting overdraft fees amid criticism from lawmakers over the way the lenders charge customers. . . .

JPMorgan will cancel fees for accounts overdrawn by $5 or less, according to an e-mailed statement from the New York-based bank. Bank of America will end fees on accounts that are short $10 or less, it said in a statement today. . . .

JPMorgan will apply the changes to all current and new checking accounts, to take effect in the first quarter of 2010. The bank said it will deduct charges as they occur instead of at the end of the day, starting with the largest amount.

(“,” Bloomberg, September 22) Overdraft fees, like death and taxes, are one of the certain things in life, but Chase and Bank of America have turned them into a money minting machine. Chase’s policy of deducting payments starting with the largest first can easily turn a 50 cent total overdraft into $100 of fees. For shoestring entrepreneurs in particular, you want a personal or merchant account with the simplest, least onerous fees. In most cases, that means a credit union. But if Bank of American and Chase — and all the rest — decide bank customers are there to serve rather than fleece, you might consider returning to the fold.

Humor may never be out of season, but it’s hot during a recession.

Humor sites on the Web scored the biggest gains of all categories of subject matter tracked by ComScore Media Metrix in August.

The category was up 21% in visitors compared with a year earlier, according to the ratings firm. Overall, the laughter sites attracted nearly 33.7 million visitors during the month.

The leading humor site in the survey was, which features video clips, often of accidental, painful falls — for laughs. Second most popular was Comedy Central. And third was, a collection of mostly PG-rated clips that avoids face plants.

(“Take this recession, please: Humor sites gain 21% more viewers in August,” Los Angeles Times, September 22) Maybe we should start being funny? Notice that both and are crowdsourcing sites (with unbelievably expensive server farm and bandwidth bills). Of course, the funniest aspect of are the descriptions they write for their videos. You’ve seen one person fly face-first off a BMX, well, you’ve seen them all. The real joke are the totally unhinged comments by Break copywriters who enjoy their job a little too much. Got a funny idea for a Web site? Now’s the time. Have at it.

The Chinese call “spam” “laji youjian” 垃圾邮件 (garbage mail) and the Russians just call it plain old спам like the rest of us . . . just to give you the absolutely precisely right word for all the s*** they shovel into your inbox every day.

McAfee Inc., the Silicon Valley network-security giant, estimates that spam in general now accounts for about 93% of the more than 200 billion e-mails that traverse the Internet daily. Of that number, the Canadian pharmacy spam is believed to comprise about three-quarters of the total. . . .

But when I checked out the spammer’s domain registry, it turned out the messages were originating from China. The various domains could be traced to a Beijing company called China Springboard, which creates and maintains Web addresses for Chinese businesses.

No one at China Springboard responded to my e-mail seeking more details about the pharmaceutical company (and I use the term loosely) or the products it sells. I also received no response from the Chinese businessman listed as the site’s operator.

(“Spammers quickly adapt in anti-spam territory,” Los Angeles Times, September 22) You know, I think we were better off when the Russians and Chinese were communist. Nuclear bombs on hair trigger alert now seem pretty harmless compared to the endless stream of Viagra and Canadian pharmacy garbage pouring out of those two countries.

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