All posts by SacBee -- Technology

Giving word to the search

From ads placed by women seeking men.

This Valentine’s Day, like every Valentine’s Day, thousands of Sacramento singles are looking for a lifelong love … or a one-night stand … or something in between.

Photos at right: The Bee compiled a few word clouds – visual representation of the most popular words on a Web site – from Sacramento craigslist personal ads during multiple days a few weeks shy of Valentine’s Day.

We’ve left blank spots in the clouds for naughty words. The bigger and bolder the word, the more often it is used in local craigslist personals.

If you want a little help in the dating game, we’ve got some expert coaches for you. Jeannine and Keith Kaiser, authors of “Cupid’s Playbook,” will be online at at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday to chat with you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

– Phillip Reese

From ads placed by men seeking women.

From ads by men seeking men.

From ads by women seeking women.

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6 Sacramento-area Hollywood Video stores start closing sales

Six Sacramento-area Hollywood Video stores have begun going-out-of-business sales, preparing to close their doors as part of the movie chain’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, announced Tuesday.

A seventh store is closing in Vacaville, the firm said.

Eight stores from Woodland to Lodi will remain open, along with one in Vacaville, according to the movie rental company.

New York-based Movie Gallery, owner of the rental chain, said Tuesday it will close 805 U.S. stores, about a third of its total. That comes after closing 2,400 stores in the past three years as more people watch videos online or turn to $1 nightly rentals at grocery stores’ Redbox kiosks.

The company reported that it suffered “significant losses” in 2009. Revenue fell $546.3 million from the previous year, to $1.4 billion.

Area closings involve three stores in Sacramento and one each in Carmichael, Fair Oaks, Elk Grove and Vacaville.

A full geographical list of closings is available at storelocator.aspx.

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Online employment ads rise in California

Job vacancies advertised online in California rose nearly 7 percent in November, according to the Conference Board’s monthly online help-wanted study. Online ads nationwide hit 387,000 last month compared with 362,400 in October.

The West had the second largest November gain among all U.S. regions, with California’s 24,600 increase accounting for most of the 30,000 rise.

Nationwide, advertised job vacancies rose 106,500 to 3.38 million.

However, 49 of 52 metro areas showed year-to-year decreases in online advertised jobs.

In Sacramento, there were 5.5 jobless people for every advertised vacancy.

– Mark Glover

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SMUD given federal aid for energy storage test

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District is part of a group that has received $2.3 million in economic stimulus funding to demonstrate energy storage technologies.

The U.S. Department of Energy award will fund the installation of two large battery systems in the Sacramento region, each able to deliver 500 kilowatts of power for six hours when fully charged. One system will be installed at the Anatolia III SolarSmart Homes development in Rancho Cordova. The other will go to SMUD’s headquarters in Sacramento.

SMUD will evaluate how the batteries can be used to reduce summertime peak load on the electricity grid, possibly by storing power generated by solar panels in the morning and early afternoon and delivering it in the late afternoon.

SMUD is providing $2.4 million for the project and the California Energy Commission is contributing $531,000. A Massachusetts-based company is supplying the battery technology.

– Jim Downing

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UCD grad recognized for innovative speaker

A 2006 University of California, Davis, graduate’s audio creation has made Time magazine’s list of “Top 50 Inventions of 2009.”

Jason Lucash’s OrigAudio is a self-powered, portable audio speaker made from recycled materials. OrigAudio’s Illinois-based Web site says the product is composed of recycled paper materials, and the speaker units can be plugged into any audio device that has a headphone jack.

The speakers start out flat, but the surfaces can be folded to form the 3-inch speaker cubes … just like origami, according to the company. Various speaker colors and designs are offered.

OrigAudio speakers also have been featured on NBC’s “Today” show.

More details can be viewed at

– Mark Glover

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Unify to repurchase 300,000 of its shares

The board of Unify Corp., the Roseville-based provider of business software, has authorized the repurchase of up to 300,000 shares of its common stock.

As of Oct. 31, the company had about 10.1 million shares outstanding.

“Unify’s progress so far this year is ahead of our internal plans, and we believe the purchase of our own stock yields the best return on our excess cash,” said Todd Wille, Unify’s CEO.

Over the past year, the company’s stock has traded between $1.24 and $3.90 a share; it closed Wednesday at $3.07, up 7 cents on the Nasdaq market.

-Mark Glover

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SureWest results flat – with broadband boost

SureWest Communications’ broadband Internet business keeps growing and its telephone business keeps shrinking.

The result was a third quarter that was essentially flat.

The Roseville telecommunications company said Thursday that its third-quarter loss widened to $211,000 from $101,000 a year earlier. The increased loss was mainly due to higher depreciation costs. Per-share loss doubled to 2 cents.

Steve Oldham, SureWest’s president and chief executive, applauded the results in light of a weak economy. “Quite good considering the circumstances,” he said on a conference call with investment analysts.

Revenue fell 1 percent to $59.5 million. Broadband sales grew 11 percent while telephone revenue, the legacy of SureWest’s old Roseville Telephone operation, declined 19 percent.

Traditional landline telephone companies have struggled in recent years as the wireless industry grows.

Broadband accounted for about two-thirds of SureWest’s revenue in the quarter, and the company plans to roll out a new video-on-demand service in December in the Sacramento area.

SureWest also competes in the Kansas City area.

Results were announced after the stock market closed. SureWest shares closed at $9.91, up 21 cents, on the Nasdaq market.

– Dale Kasler

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Third-quarter loss tops last year’s for InsWeb

InsWeb Corp., the Gold River-based online provider of insurance quotes, reported a net loss of $870,000, or 18 cents a share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30.

The company lost $552,000, or 12 cents a share, in the third quarter of 2008.

Quarterly revenue was $8.9 million, down slightly from $9 million in the year-ago period.

Last month, InsWeb said it had reduced its work force from 87 to 61, the number of employees it had at the close of 2007. Most of the staff reductions were in its technology segment.

– Mark Glover

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Windows 7 gives lift to area computer sales

It wasn’t exactly Black Friday, but a number of local PC users scooped up Microsoft Windows 7 computers and software after the new operating system’s Thursday launch.

Francisco Austria, a graduate student at California State University, Sacramento, eyed a Windows 7-loaded Lenovo laptop computer Thursday morning at Best Buy on Arden Way.

“I’m in the market for a new laptop, and I’d heard about the Windows 7 (launch). It’s a big day, so I’m here,” Austria said.

“Customers have been anticipating this for a while,” said Tone Lutz, an associate at Staples on Truxel Road in Natomas. “Computer sales definitely went up today,” Lutz said.

Los Angeles-based retail analyst Mike Kraus of StoreTouch anticipates that advance praise for the new system after the problems that plagued the Vista operating system will boost sales through the holidays

– Darrell Smith

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