Japan's Sharp reports 1.3 bln dollar annual loss

Google News

Japanese electronics giant Sharp Corp. announced an annual net loss of 1.3 billion dollars, its first ever, due to a slump in sales, but it forecast a return to profit this year.
Sharp logged a net loss of 125.82 billion yen (1.3 billion dollars) for the past business year to March, against a profit of 101.92 billion yen the previous year. Revenue dropped 16.7 percent to 2.85 trillion yen.
The company, which makes Aquos-brand flat-screen televisions, blamed the poor performance on weak sales, a stronger yen, severe price competition, restructuring costs and losses on investments.
But Sharp, which like other Japanese manufacturers has been badly hurt by the global economic downturn, predicted a net profit of 3.0 billion yen this year, helped by job cuts and production streamlining.
"In the worsening global economy there are some favorable factors heading towards a recovery, including the economic stimulus packages instituted by governments around the world, and the fact that the stock market appears to have hit bottom," the company said in a statement.
"However, as for the future outlook, we expect that the business environment will remain unpredictable and uncertain for a while."

Adrenaline in Car


Bad dog

Google Profile Users Get a Say In People Search Results

Typing your name into a search engine is a great way to find out what the Internet thinks of you--at least until the first page of results shines a spotlight on that embarrassing episode from your misspent youth. Now Google, though, is offering people who share their profile information with the search giant more control over how they appear in its results.

Google has a complicated algorithm for determining which Web sites show at the top of its search results, presenting the top 10 picks on its results page. But in what amounts to an admission that this doesn't fully satisfy all the needs of people searching for a specific name, Google now will show a separate 11th result--a special "onebox" that presents links to people with a particular name and links to their Google profiles.

Google "is giving people more of an opportunity to have greater presence and to surface the most relevant content about themselves in a way they have some say about," said Joe Kraus, director of product management in Google's apps group. Google now can show special results when you search for people. (Credit: Google) To illustrate the utility of the feature, Kraus brings up the example of Brian Jones. If you happen to share the name of the Rolling Stone's deceased founding guitarist, you don't have much opportunity to show up high on Google's search results for that name.

That changes with the new people-search feature, he said, though it doesn't affect the regular search results above. There's a quid pro quo, though. To appear in Google's special people-search results you must set up a Google profile. The more information you include on your profile, the better your odds that your profile will appear among the four names that can appear in the special result, Kraus said. At least for now, Google profiles are a collection of information you are willing to share publicly--photos, interests, Web sites about yourself. Through integration with your Gmail contacts, which lets you identify people you trust and share contact information with them, Google's profiles are gradually becoming a deeper reflection of ties called the social graph.

Kraus wouldn't comment on how the profile page fits into Google's social strategy, though he did say in general that Google's strategy in general focuses "not on how you make any one site more social, but how you make the entire Web more social." One thing is sure, though: spotlighting profiles this directly in search results, given Google's immense search clout and people's concern about their self-image, extends much greater power to the profiles site. To lend even more prominence, Google is beginning a "Google Me" promotion in which people who search for "me" will get an opportunity to see their profile or sign up for one.

Google, music labels launch China download service

Google Inc. and major music companies launched a free Internet music download service for China on Monday in a bid to help turn a field dominated by pirates into a profitable, legitimate business.The advertising-supported service will offer 1.1 million tracks, including the full catalogs of Chinese and Western music for Warner Music Group Corp., EMI Group Ltd., Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music and 14 independent labels, the companies said. It will be limited to use by computers whose Internet protocol, or IP, addresses show they are in mainland China."This is the first really serious attempt to start monetizing online music in China," said Lachie Rutherford, president of Warner Music Asia and regional head of the global recording industry group, the International Federation of Phonographic Industries. Chinese pirate Web sites offer downloads of unauthorized copies of music despite repeated lawsuits and government crackdowns. Legitimate producers have no estimate of lost potential sales, but some Chinese performers have announced they were no longer recording because piracy made it unprofitable.The venture gives Google a new way to compete in a market where its research shows 84 percent of people say finding music is their main reason to use search engines, said Kai-Fu Lee, Google's president for Greater China."With today's offering, we complete the puzzle and offer a complete set of services that are fully integrated," he said.China has the world's biggest online population, with some 300 million Internet users, according to the government. Online commerce is still modest in China and most Web surfers are looking for music, games and other entertainment.Lee said the company was optimistic that use would grow rapidly but he declined to give any revenue forecasts.EMI launched a separate venture with China's dominant search engine, Baidu Inc., in January 2007 to compete with pirates by allowing free streaming pop music from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. It sells downloads for a small fee.Google's service is to be run by Top100.cn, a 3 1/2-year-old Chinese Web site partly owned by Google. The site will sell advertising on its download page and split revenues with music companies, said its CEO, Gary Chen.Providers will abide by Chinese censorship and withhold songs that are banned by the communist government, Rutherford said."When you're in the music business in China you know you have to follow the regulations," he said. "We wouldn't give files to people in China (in situations) where a song has been banned."Google, headquartered in Mountain View, California, has struggled to expand in China, where it says it has about 30 percent of the search market. Baidu's market share is just over 60 percent, according to research firm Analysys International.Google's Lee declined to comment on Beijing's blocking of its YouTube video-sharing service last week. China occasionally bars its Internet users from seeing YouTube to prevent access to videos considered critical of communist rule or unflattering to the government.

Joe McDonald

Taste Central

Semarang is a steamy coastal city that is usually given a miss by tourist more interested in Yogyakarta's draws. When it comes to food, however, the capital of Central Java has something for everyone,
Toko Oen
Jalan Pemuda 52 - Semarang
I visited the restaurant for the first time as a boy in 1981 with my grandfather. Its was a memorable experience. I remember very well the delicious croquette he ordered as starter; warm an fat, with crunchy fried breadcrumbs giving up tender mashed potatoes with chunks of chicken.
Heavenly! A full 30 years later, it seemed nothing had changed in this Dutch-style restaurant. There were the same low wovwn chairs, old piano, yellowing photos and white-outfitted waiters in peci (traditional caps), Oen's icons. I sat down by the old piano close to the bakery counter and ordered Oen's Symphony (a bowl of assorted homemade ice cream). Then I Commenced to enjoy not only the ice cream but the relaxing ambience.
Toko Oen Semarang was wstablished in the 1930s in Bodjong street (now Jalan Pemuda, in front of Sri Ratu Supermarked) after the old Toko Oen founded in Yogya in 1922 (the Toko Oens of Yogya and Jakarta are long closed, although the Malang Oen, no longer affiliated with the Semarang eatery, is still open). Toko Oen Semarang's main claim to fame is the appetizing Dutch menu and Indonesia cuisine, as well as the nostalgic atmosphere. Its homemade cakes (my favorite is oentbijkoek, a spicy cake heady with cinnamon and nutmeg), breads, cookies and ice cream are standounts. For me, Toko Oen is a place where I can sit back and think back to the goog old days.
Istana Wedang
Jalan Pemuda 121

In kampong my uncle, wedang (say whey-dunk), means beverage, usually hot ones, such as tea, coffee, wedang jahe (a ginger drink) and wedang ronde (a fiery ginger drink served in a bowl with glutinous balls filled with palm sugar and sprinkled with peanuts). Usually hot tea or hot coffee are served in a tall glass or a cup. Wedangan is the term for when friends hang out over hot drinks, the traditional forerunner of today's urban coffee culture. Wedang are easy to find in warung (food stalls) and local restaurants in Semarang. But Istana Wedang venue in Semarang. It also serves delicious traditional snacks and Chinese food. Price range Rp. 3,000 - Rp. 30,000.
Tahu Pong
Jalan Gajah Mada 63B
Pong or kopong or kosong means empty. The tahu (tofu) is cut into dice shapes and then deep fried. A bite into the crispy tofu reveals the empty center, and it has became one of Semarang's local specialties. My favorite is Tahu Pong at Jalan Gajah Mada, located near Gumaya Hotel, right in front of Bethany Church. The Stall's stamp of authenticity is that it has no brancher and has been in business since the 1970s.
Tahu pong is served with bumbu kecap ( soy sauce mixed with fried chopped shallots and garlic), and acar timun (pickled cucumbers). special is served with egg and gimbal udang (shrimp fritter). Price range Rp. 3,000 - Rp. 15,000.

Lumpia Mbak Lien
Jalan Pemuda Gang Grajen

As with many foodies traveling to Semarang, lumpia (spring roll) is always top of my list, with Mbak Lien's my all-time, must-have favorite. The spring rolls filled jullienned rebung (bamboo shoots), chopped shrimp, chiken meat, egg, garlic and pihie (a dried fish touted for enhancing virility). When other lumpia stalls abd shops sell their wares in a Rp. 3,000-Rp. 7,500 price range, Mbak Lien's are Rp. 8,000, and the thick, fat and so luscious rolls are worth every penny. Many love the fried version, with the flavorsome filling encased in the crunch pastry, but I am devoted to the unfried ones (lumpia basah) because I focus on the succulent stuffing. Enjoy either version with spring onions, acar timun (pickled cucumbers) and saus kelwa (a jelly-like sauce) for truly authentic Semarang spring rolls.
Semarang's spring-roll history reportedly began at the end of the 19th century when Tjoa Thay Yoe moved to the Java town from China. He sold authentic versions of the rolls of his homeland. Mbak Lien's is a third generation seller.

Semawis, the Semarang Chinatown

Semarang, like almost every large city in Indonesia, has pecinan (Chinatown). In all my years livingin the city I had never visited this section of town, which is known for the ethnic Chinese community's efforts to preserve and revitalize their culture. After the repression of Chinese-Indonesians during the New Order regime through draconian regulations, in 2003 the Chinese community set up the Komunitas Pecinan Semarang untuk Parawisata (Semarang Chinese Community for Tourism) populary known as Semawis. In the beginning it was proclaimed as a Chinese New Year Marked where people could purchase food and worship items such as candles, flowers and fragrance. Klentang (Chinese temples) are in every corner and deliver magical ambience through their bright red and gold decorations. The area has since emerged as a place to visit during a trip to Semarang.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening, Pasar Semawis becames a lively, exciting nightspot. red lanterns, karouke joints playing Mandarin songs, fortune tellers and stalls offering jade accesories stalls are part of the Sun. Some of the Chinese dishes include sate babi (pork satay) and swikee (frog soup) are at every corner, and Muslims like me seeking halal food (prepared according to islamic dietary rules) also will not go hungry because there is a whole smorgasbord of delicious food to be found. My favorites include nasi ayam, rice with chicken meat and egg in coconut milk soup ( Rp. 7,000) and Es Cong Lik; ice cream-like, served with jelly, shredded coconut and ripe durian (Rp. 7.500). Mouth-watering! The food price range in the area is abaut Rp. 2,000-Rp. 25,000, which is a steal for the taste.
How to get there: Semawis is located at Gang Pinggir, abaut 10-15 minutes by becak (Rp. 10,000) from Simpang Lima or Jalan Pemuda.

Kedai Mama
Jalan Gajah Mada 125

Its tag line-the heritage cuisine-on the sign outside the restaurant drew me in. Mr. jongkie Tio, the owner, told me the story of how he and his wife, Puspawati set up the small restaurant in 1991. In the beginning they offered European and Indonesian dishes but then chose on Indonesian heritage cuisine. jongkie Tio knows very well abaut local cuisine. In his book, Kota Semarang-Dalam Kenangan (Semarang City in Memories), he describes the interraction between Chinese and Javanese in Semarang, culminating in its unique cuisine.
My favorite beverage in Kedai Mama is bir Jawa (literally Javanese beer but actually a non alcoholic refreshing spicy beverage). And the Lontong Cap Go Meh reminds me of my grandmothers's lontong opor (ricecake served with chicken and egg in coconut milk) Price range from Rp. 5,000-Rp. 35,000

New Orangutan population found in Indonesia

Conservationists have discovered a new population of orangutans in a remote, mountainous corner of Indonesia - perhaps as many as 2,000 - giving a rare boost to one of the world's most endangered great apes.A team surveying forests nestled between jagged, limestone cliffs on the eastern edge of Borneo island counted 219 orangutan nests, indicating a "substantial" number of the animals, said Erik Meijaard, a senior ecologist at the U.S.-based The Nature Conservancy."We can't say for sure how many," he said, but even the most cautious estimate would indicate "several hundred at least, maybe 1,000 or 2,000 even."The team also encountered an adult male, which angrily threw branches as they tried to take photos, and a mother and child.There are an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 orangutans left in the wild, 90 percent of them in Indonesia and the rest in neighboring Malaysia.The countries are the world's top producers of palm oil, used in food, cosmetics and to meet growing demands for "clean-burning" fuels in the U.S. and Europe. Rain forests, where the solitary animals spend almost all of their time, have been clear-cut and burned at alarming rates to make way for lucrative palm oil plantations.The steep topography, poor soil and general inaccessibility of the rugged limestone mountains appear to have shielded the area from development, at least for now, said Meijaard. Its trees include those highly sought after for commercial timber.Birute Mary Galdikas, a Canadian scientist who has spent nearly four decades studying orangutans in the wild, said most of the remaining populations are small and scattered, which make them especially vulnerable to extinction."So yes, finding a population that science did not know about is significant, especially one of this size," she said, noting that those found on the eastern part of the island represent a rare subspecies, the black Borneon orangutan, or Pongo pygmaeus morio.The 700-square mile (2,500-square kilometer) jungle escaped the massive fires that devastated almost all of the surrounding forests in the late 1990s. The blazes were set by plantation owners and small-scale farmers and exacerbated by the El Nino droughts.Nardiyono, who headed The Nature Conservancy's weeklong survey in December, said "it could be the density is very high because after the fires, the orangutans all flocked to one small area."It was unusual to come face-to-face with even one of the elusive creatures in the wild and to encounter three was extraordinary, he said, adding that before this expedition, he had seen just five in as many years.Conservationists say the most immediate next step will be working with local authorities to protect the area and others that fall outside of national parks. A previously undiscovered population of several hundred also was found recently on Sumatra island, home to around 7,000."That we are still finding new populations indicates that we still have a chance to save this animal," said Paul Hartman, who heads the U.S.-funded Orangutan Conservation Service Program, adding it's not all "gloom and doom."Noviar Andayani, head of the Indonesian Primate Association and Orangutan Forum, said the new discoveries point to how much work still needs to be done to come up with accurate population assessments, considered vital to determining a species' vulnerability to extinction."There are many areas that still have not been surveyed," she said, adding that 18 private conservation groups have just started work on an in-depth census based on interviews with people who spend time in the forests.They include villagers and those working on plantations or within logging concessions."We hope this will help fill in a few more gaps," said Andayani, adding that preliminary tests in areas where populations are known indicate that the new interview-based technique could provide a clearer picture than nest tallies."Right now the information and data we have about orangutans is still pretty rudimentary," she said.Some experts say at the current rate of habitat destruction, the animals could be wiped out within the next two decades.

Robin McDowell (JP)

Naming and shaming, the Indonesian way

I was assigned by a magazine for to write about family planning in Europe. I was sent to the Oxford Family Planning Association to meet the director, only to find that his name was, ahem, Tim Lusty! Naturally I told him how appropriate – or ironic? – his name was. He just grinned. ‘People always comment about it’, he said. No. Really?
Eric Chen is another name that would cause embarrassment if its owner worked for the Family Planning Association (just read it out loud quickly, if you don’t see what I mean).
And what about DR. Happy Bone Zulkarnain, an MP from Golkar? He’s clearly in the wrong job (or maybe not…?)
And then there’s my Japanese journalist friend from many years ago, who appears in his card simply as “S. Awanohara” because when he gave his full name, ‘Susumu’, Indonesians would start giggling. Why? Because in Indonesian it means “your boobs”!
Malaysians, always happy to get tough to make sure everything stays polite and boring, have cracked down on all this sort of indecency.
I read that their National Registration Department will no longer allow names with silly double meanings in the country’s main ethnic languages — Malay, Chinese, and Indian.
Thus Malay names — such as Zani (male adulterer), Zaniah (female adulteress) or Woti (sexual intercourse) — are banned, as are Chinese names including Ah Kow (dog), Ah Gong (loony), Chow Tow (stinky head) and Sum Seng (gangster).
Ah well, Malaysia’s loss I suppose! Back here across the straits in Indonesia, no such strictures exist. Our government does not impose niceness restrictions like Malaysia and that means the well-established social rule for Indonesian names continues to apply: there are no rules.
Indonesia thus remains a global paradise for weird and wacky names (or hell, if you’re the bearer of one of these names), and the sheer crazed lunacy of some Indonesian names continues to amaze even the most hardened observer.
Let me offer you just a small selection …
Some of you may have read about the now famous Batman Suparman, a 19-year old Singaporean of Javanese descent, who had problems with the Department of Homeland Security in the US when he tried to enter, as they thought his name was a joke. Can’t imagine why.
I’ve also come across a Hitler in Kalimantan, and my husband Tim knew a Goering from Medan.
I’m not sure if his that was his first or last name, or whether his first name was Hermann, or if he had met another Hitler Tim also met (that would be a worry), but their names would probably be criminal offences if they had been born in Germany, another country with lots of rules about names.
Wiwik and Toto are other (common) Indonesian names that create problems in the West. Toto is usually a boy’s name but it also happens to be the brand name of a well-known sanitary ware company and, of course, the little yappy dog beloved of Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz’.
As for Wiwik, it can be used for both boys and girls, but in either case it is pronounced “wee-wee”, which always causes great hilarity for Anglo-Saxons, for whom it means taking a pee.
And there’s the class-mate of a researcher I know, named Eva. I‘ve always thought Eva a nice name, except that in her case it’s short for ‘Evaluasi’ (evaluation). A testing name by any standard! Her parents must have been avid project managers, I suppose.
It’s not hard to find utterly bizarre names anywhere in Indonesia. In fact, the recent flood of posters
promoting candidates for election that now plaster every available meter of public space across the country, has proved to be a real motherlode. Take for example Flavius O Caesa of the Justice and Unity Party (PKP).
Caesar is, of course, an imperial title, derived from Julius Caesar (100-44 BC), and Flavius Augustus Honoris (384-423) was an exceptionally weak emperor whose most notable achievement was the assault and sack of Rome.
So the exact source of the inspiration for the parents of the Indonesian Flavius O Caesa remains mysterious, as does that enigmatic ‘O’ (unless, of course, he’s part Irish as well!).
But the best example of Indonesian parents naming their kids after their heroes or figures they admire must be a legislative candidate from the Christian Peaceful and Prosperous Party (PDS): Tom Jones Tarrigan. His mother probably had the hots for the Welsh singer, Tom Jones, famous for being sexy-as-hell (even now, aged 69).
If so, I hope she hasn’t been disappointed — while not bad looking, her son comes nowhere close to his namesake’s raw magnetism. Seems this is yet another case where one can’t help wonder what the parents were thinking when they decide to burden their child with a name against which he or she will be measured for the rest of their lives.
And that is a question that should especially be put to the parents of a friend of one of my nephews. Dad was a gyneacologist, so when his lovely daughter arrives, what name does he pick?
Brace yourselves folks, yes, it’s…. Vagina Modesiana. Talk about not bringing your work home! Let’s just hope her friends call her Gina or, better still, Desi.
Well, the very least we can do is match-make her with her logical counterpart, a participant in a training course on intellectual property law that my husband was involved with in Kalimantan. His name is (I swear this is true!) Hansem Pinis. Thank God his parents were bad at spelling.
Or perhaps they could try a threesome, with Ms Modesiana and Mr Pinis getting together with another legislative candidate, also from PDS. His name is (I kid you not) Rimhot Turnip. Turnip is, of course, a root vegetable. As to what Rimhot might mean, I suggest you just google the first syllable and see what the bottom line is.
I’ve had so much fun researching this column that I may well write another one. But I need your help, dear readers. Please email me more bizarre Indonesian names, with evidence (a photo or document to prove the name is real). I will send a free copy of my book “Sex, Power and Nation” to the one I like the most.
So, start naming and shaming, folks!
The Jakarta Post

Do you know where your kid is? Check Google's maps

With an upgrade to its mobile maps, Google Inc. hopes to prove it can track people on the go as effectively as it searches for information on the Internet.
The new software to be released Wednesday will enable people with mobile phones and other wireless devices to automatically share their whereabouts with family and friends.
The feature, dubbed "Latitude," expands upon a tool introduced in 2007 to allow mobile phone users to check their own location on a Google map with the press of a button.
"This adds a social flavor to Google maps and makes it more fun," said Steve Lee, a Google product manager.
It could also raise privacy concerns, but Google is doing its best to avoid a backlash by requiring each user to manually turn on the tracking software and making it easy to turn off or limit access to the service.
Google also is promising not to retain any information about its users' movements. Only the last location picked up by the tracking service will be stored on Google's computers, Lee said.
The software plots a user's location - marked by a personal picture on Google's map - by relying on cell phone towers, global positioning systems or a Wi-Fi connection to deduce their location. The system can follow people's travels in the United States and 26 other countries.
It's left up to each user to decide who can monitor their location.
The social mapping approach is similar to a service already offered by Loopt Inc., a 3-year-old company located near Google's Mountain View headquarters.
Loopt's service already is compatible with more than 100 types of mobile phones.
To start out, Google Latitude will work on Research In Motion Ltd.'s Blackberry and devices running on Symbian software or Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Mobile. It will also operate on some T-1 Mobile phones running on Google's Android software and eventually will work on Apple Inc.'s iPhone and iTouch.
To widen the software's appeal, Google is offering a version that can be installed on personal computers as well.
The PC access is designed for people who don't have a mobile phone but still may want to keep tabs on their children or someone else special, Lee said. People using the PC version can also be watched if they are connected to the Internet through Wi-Fi.
Google can plot a person's location within a few yards (meters) if it's using GPS or might be off by several miles (kilometers) if it's relying on transmission from cell phone towers. People who don't want to be precise about their whereabouts can choose to display just the city instead of a specific neighborhood.
There are no current plans to sell any advertising alongside Google's tracking service, although analysts believe knowing a person's location eventually will unleash new marketing opportunities. Google has been investing heavily in the mobile market during the past two years in an attempt to make its services more useful to people when they are away from their office or home computers.
Michael Liedtke

Crying Child-Crying Child and his crying doll-Random fun doll

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