National / International News
The Wall Street Journal reports that Coca Cola has plans to lay off as many as 2,000 employees in the next few weeks. Coke announced in October that it is seeking to cut costs amid falling profits. The company is slashing budgets: asking executives to take taxis instead of limousines, and reportedly canceling a Christmas party for Wall Street analysts.
The belt-tightening comes as America's love affair with soda pop has chilled in recent years. U.S. consumers are increasingly turning to healthier, cheaper beverages to quench their thirst, including water. Coke owns the water brand, Dasani, and recently started selling milk, in an attempt to keep pace with changing tastes.
Like most of us, you have probably flown coach recently. Did it seem spacious to you? Probably not. Airlines are hoping to change that—not with bigger seats, but by creating the impression of more room with larger video screens and new headrests.
Joe Brancatelli runs JoeSentMe, a website for business travelers. He says the illusion is just that: an illusion. Coach seats have gotten smaller he says and they continue to get smaller.
The whole shrinking airplane seat situation makes Joe Brancatelli thinks of a Marx Brothers' joke. It's the one where Groucho calls up room service and asks them to send up more room. Instead, they send up more people to his tiny space.
Brancatelli says airplane perks like larger video screens are distractions from slimmer seats which are now seven inches less than an average desk chair. Meanwhile, he says first class keeps getting nicer.
The difference in comfort between first class and coach is growing Brancatelli says. “It really is a yawning gap culturally,” he says, “and people are beginning to seize on this and say it's like what is going on in society.”
Chris Lopinto has noticed the increasing difference between the two airplane classes. Lopinto is co-founder of ExpertFlyer.com. He points to how American Airlines is concentrating more on first class as it upgrades its fleet. Lopinto says, “That's the way it is because that's where a lot of the revenue comes from.”
Lopinto says in American Airlines' new planes, economy fliers will get some upgrades like more personal video screens, power outlets, and pay-as-you-go wifi.
As for the seats, he says if anything they are going to get a tad smaller.
The Canadian smartphone company Blackberry has partnered with Boeing to make a phone that can self-destruct if it gets into the wrong hands.
The phone is designed for people in the defense and security industries. Blackberry is hoping this emphasis on security will tap into a growth market and turn the company around. Aptly named the “Boeing Black,” any attempt to crack it open triggers a Mission Impossible-style deletion of data and renders the phone inoperable.
Apple and Samsung may rule the consumer-side of smartphones for some time, “…but on the business-side and the government-side, Blackberry is gold,” notes Jeff Kagan, a tech industry analyst based in Atlanta. He says smartphone security is growth industry, and it won’t be just the Boeings of the world, who want these added protections.