The World Trade Center Attack The seven-building complex comprising the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan was totally destroyed in the 9/11/01 attack. News reports emphasized the impacts of the 767 jetliners with the Twin Towers and the ensuing fires. Yet these events, spectacular and deadly, produced far less loss of life, and relatively little destruction compared to the total collapses of the towers and Building 7 that followed. Buildings 1 Through 6 World Trade Center buildings One through Six occupied a super-block bounded by West, Vesey, Church, and Liberty Streets. The Twin Towers, or 1 and 2 World Trade Center, exploded into small pieces and fine dust, severely damaging the four low-rise buildings in the complex surrounding them. Large portions of Buildings 3, 4, and 6 were crushed. Severe fires raged in Buildings 4, 5, and 6 for several hours following the explosions of the towers. Our analysis of the destruction of the Twin Towers divides the events into four parts: Jetliners impact the towers Fires follow the impacts Explosions level the towers Vast dust clouds follow the explosions Building 7 Building 7, or 7 World Trade Center, occupied its own block across Vesey Street from the WTC complex. Although projectiles hurled in all directions by the exploding towers caused extensive superficial damage to buildings surrounding the WTC complex, including gashes in 3 Financial Center to the west and the Bankers Trust Building to the south, they did not produce severe structural damage to those buildings. No photographs of 7 World Trade Center that can be corroborated by other photographs or videos show significant structural damage to it. Yet the building collapsed totally at 5:20 PM, showing all the features of a standard controlled demolition. FEMA’s inconclusive report tentatively blamed the collapse on small fires that burned for most of the afternoon. e x c e r p t title: Waking Up From Our Nightmare authors: Don Paul and Jim Hoffman A question arises from the obvious demolition of WTC 7: Why destroy such a valuable piece of real estate? We know that WTC7′s developer and lease-holder, Silverstein Properties, and WTC7′s mortgage-holders, the Blackstone Group, Banc of America Securities, and General Motors Acceptance Corporation, received a Court-awarded amount of $861 million dollars from Industrial Risk Insurers in February 2002. We know that about $386 million had been invested in WTC7 before its destruction. The Court-award meant that Silverstein Properties and the mortgage-holders would share in about $475 million of profit.  Silverstein Properties is headed by Larry Silverstein, a large contributor to Democrat and Republican office-holders. Silverstein Properties became the primary owner of the WTC Twin Towers less than two months before 9/11/01 (Westfield Malls was Silverstein Properties’ minority-partner). Buying from the New York Port Authority, Silverstein Properties invested only $15 million toward a total purchase-price of $3.2 billion for a 99-year lease on holdings worth an estimated $8 billion. The low-rise office buildings WTC 4, 5, and 6, and 400,000 square feet of retail space were included with the Twin Towers in this deal. Silverstein Properties immediately took out extensive insurance policies on its new holdings. One clause in Silverstein Properties’ insurance policies for the new WTC holdings soon proved instrumental. Quoting the British Financial Times of September 14, 2001, the American Reporter wrote that ‘ the lease has an all-important escape clause: If the buildings are struck by “an act of terrorism”, the new owners’ obligations under the lease are void. As a result, the new owners are not required to make any payments under their lease, but they will be able to collect on the loss of the buildings that collapsed or were otherwise destroyed and damaged in the attacks. ’  Silverstein Properties is still contesting the amount of pay-out due for destruction of the Twin Towers—$3.55 billion for one ‘occurrence’ or $7.1 billion for two ‘occurrences’. The “terrorism” clause in his lease has given Larry Silverstein leverage in negotiating his new deal for the site.  8. ‘Rebuilding Begins for 7 WTC Despite Unanswered Questions’, Peter Grant, Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2002, http://homes.wsj.com/columnists_com/bricks/20020710-bricks.html . 9. ‘No Fraud, but Huge Profits Seen in World Trade Center Attacks’, Joe Shea, The American Reporter, August 1, 2004, reprinting piece from September 2001, http://www.american-reporter.com/2,421W/1494.html . site: http://www.wtc7.net page: http://www.wtc7.net/store/books/wakingup/index.html
AN alleged conman concocted an elaborate scheme in a bid to steal millions of dollars from mortgage lenders while ripping off innocent homeowners, a Melbourne court has heard. Former solicitor Gabriel Werden, 45, has been charged with six counts of stealing $1.5 million from banks and financial institutions in the past year, the Melbourne Magistrates Court heard today. Police allege he fraudulently tried to obtain a further $2.5 million from lenders, with up to 10 false mortgage applications still in the system. Fraud squad officer Detective Senior Constable Blake Young alleged that Werden placed advertisements in a Melbourne daily newspaper in 2010 and 2011 spruiking a mortgage refinancing business. But instead of refinancing clients’ homes, he would apply for loans and buy their properties under false names, pocketing the cash through false bank accounts when the transactions settled, Det Sen Const Young alleged. Werden would pretend to be the buyer, real estate agent, conveyancer and solicitor when applying for the loans, it was alleged. Werden, who was arrested in North Melbourne on Tuesday, allegedly used his black BMW sedan as a mobile office and juggled his affairs on three different mobile phones. “I believe that the accused is a professional fraudster,” Det Sen Const Young said in opposing Werden’s bail application. He told the hearing Werden had a long-term gambling problem and allegedly outlayed $37,300 at Crown Casino over 28 days this year, and more than $90,000 over 50 days last year. Werden brought in more than $5 million to the casino in 1998, $2 million in 1997, $5 million in 1996 and $570,000 in 1995, Det Sen Const Young said. He told the hearing he believed Werden’s gambling problem sparked the alleged fraud. Det Sen Const Young argued Werden would flee overseas if he was released on bail. Werden, who represented himself in court and indicated he would plead not guilty to the charges, argued he was not a flight risk and should be granted bail. Magistrate Franz Holzer disagreed. He said the charges Werden faced involved large sums of money and were “at the extreme end of offending”. He said the offences, if proven, were “sophisticated, planned … behaviour which involved repeated and gratuitous fraud over a lengthy period of time, on a large scale”. Mr Holzer remanded Werden in custody until his next court appearance on November 30.
The other day I was browsing through the App Store on my iPad when I noticed something: both the top free and top paid applications for the device were apps for accessing Facebook. And as I kept going down the top apps lists, I kept seeing Facebook apps. In fact, of the top 40 apps (free and paid combined), a full 7 of them were ways to use Facebook on the iPad.
In other words, nearly 20 percent of the top apps being downloaded for the iPad are apps that allow you to use Facebook on the device. And not one of them is actually made by Facebook. Because they refuse to make their own iPad app for some seemingly illogical reason.
Facebook, it’s time.
Facebook not having their own iPad app is strange for a few reasons. First of all, they’ve been making an iPhone app since day one of the App Store. And in fact, it’s the most downloaded app of all time in the App Store. And they regularly update it and use it to release new features that aren’t available on the site yet (like event check-ins recently).
So it’s not like they hate iOS. Nor do they hate native applications. They also make apps for Android, Windows Phone, and other devices.
And it’s very clear that there’s a huge demand for a native Facebook iPad app. See: the information up top.
What’s crazy is that Facebook is letting other developers not affiliated with the company own this space. That’s great for those developers, but it’s potentially bad for Facebook. Most of the apps that promise a “native” iPad Facebook experience are simply Facebook’s touch-optimized site wrapped in skins. And most of them are mediocre — not to mention very ugly. And many of them even charge customers for those experiences!
That’s the way thousands (if not millions) of users are experiencing Facebook on a daily basis. These developers effectively own the Facebook brand on the device. In fact, many of them use “Facebook” in the title of their apps, which just leads to further confusion that they may be official apps. (I wonder how many customers think they’re paying Facebook money for these apps?)
Facebook has come down on this type of brand-jacking in the past in the App Store. But it keeps happening because there is so much demand for a Facebook iPad app. A search for “Facebook” in the App Store on the iPad brings up 989 results. Some are simply apps that use Facebook Connect and have it in their descriptions, but many of them are apps designed solely to give users a native app Facebook experience. And many do subtle things to try and trick users into thinking that they’re official apps.
It has been over a year and Facebook still has not gotten out in front of this problem.
Contrast this with Twitter which is proactively trying to take control of their user experience across platforms by telling third-party developers not to focus on making new Twitter clients. Obviously, that has caused some controversy since Twitter has long thrived on such community-built clients. But it also makes sense: Twitter wants to control the way users experience their product. It’s just hard to believe that Facebook doesn’t.
Or do they?
Even though Facebook has indicated time and time again that they’re not too interested in building a native iPad app, there are no shortage of whispers that (at least) one such app has been in testing for quite some time. Facebook CTO Bret Taylor has indicated that the iPad was an unfortunate casualty in the way Facebook’s device teams were broken up until recently. At the same time, he would only commit to the company being at work on a better tablet-optimized experience — not necessarily a native application.
In fact, Taylor and Facebook have been talking up the HTML5 benefits in recent months, as opposed to native app development. On paper, that sounds great. But Facebook has to realize that native applications are still going to be far superior to anything done with HTML5 for at least a few years. Even Facebook employee (and the guy who built Facebook’s iPhone app) Joe Hewitt clearly understands this.
Facebook’s actual website works pretty well on the iPad in the Safari browser, but it lacks key features such as new message notifications when you’re away because it’s not native. And there’s no way to upload media. And it can’t access some of the powerful APIs that native apps can access. And Facebook’s single sign-on aspect won’t work without a native app.
Again, Facebook needs an iPad app. And if I had to bet on it, I’d bet that despite their stubbornness on the issue, we will eventually see one. Some are projecting Apple to sell upwards of 45 million iPads this year. Facebook simply cannot ignore that. Imagine Friendly or one of the other popular Facebook iPad apps making up a sizable chunk of visitors. I can’t see Facebook allowing that to continue happening.
Finally, with a native iPad app, Facebook can actually innovate in the space. Just like Twitter pushed new ideas forward with their iPad app (which pointed towards the work they would eventually unveil for New Twitter), Facebook can play around with new types of touch interfaces and interactions on the platform.
A Facebook-built iPad app would be the most popular app on the device without question. It would be installed on nearly every device out there. It’s time for Facebook to stop playing around and build the damn thing.
After months of waiting, Google finally unveiled on Tuesday its new social project, Google+. It’s an ambitious gambit that aims to turn all of Google’s services into one giant social platform, and in the process steal some thunder from Facebook while making Google – for once – a big player in social networking.
Google has redesigned the top navigation bar to work across all of its services. It’s very similar to the notification bar found in Facebook, which alerts users about new activity concerning their accounts.
“We’d like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software. We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships and your interests,” wrote Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra in a blog post.
Google+ has a handful of sub-services designed to match various social needs. Circles lets users decide which of their friends and followers can see individual updates or other pieces of content. It’s a feature Facebook took quite a while to develop with “Lists”. Hangouts works with each social Circle by creating access to a multi-person video chat. Sparks is a customized feed aggregator of content curated from across the web.
Google+ also has a mobile aspect, which could be especially appealing to people using Android phones. Nearly every update made through Google+ lets users add location data. The company also addressed the problem of unreliable data networks by building in Instant Upload. The feature will save pictures that get cut off through faulty connections and upload them later on. Finally, there’s Huddle, a real-time group messaging feature.
While it’s clear that Google as spent a lot of effort on Google+, the company has a poor track record with social products. Social network Orkut, Google Buzz and Google Wave are all examples of products had at best mixed results.
Some, like blogger Dave Winer, are skeptical of Google’s ability to challenge Facebook by turning its search product into a social network. In a blog post titled “Google Yawn“, he writes:
“…All you do is make your core product heavier. The thing you wanted to kill (Facebook) doesn’t go anywhere. It hardly notices what you did. The users might care to the extent that they’re annoyed… Products like the one Google just announced are hatched at off-sites at resorts near Monterey or in the Sierra, and were designed to meet the needs of the corporation that created it. A huge scared angry corporation.”
At least in Facebook’s case, it didn’t need a series of videos to explain how to use its service. Google, on the other hand, has six total videos demonstrating the various uses of Google+.
Google+ is now available on Android Market and the mobile web. The company is testing the full roll out of the service, which is available by invitation only.