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Titanfall for Xbox One midnight release party at Galleria



A much-anticipated video game release will have fans lining up at Walden Galleria for a midnight release party Monday.
Titanfall, a first-person shooter game, will be available for the Xbox One gaming system at the Microsoft Store. The critically-acclaimed game has won several awards and has been awaited by fans since its introduction at the Electronic Entertainment Expo press conference in June.
“Don’t remember the last time I was looking forward to anything as much as I am this,” wrote one eager fan on a Web page devoted to counting down the days until the game is available. “Getting so close.”
Fans will be allowed to begin lining up at 10 p.m.

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Pint-sized programmers....

KidsComputersGrandparents like to joke that their toddler grandkids know more about the computer than they do. And who doesn't get a chuckle when they see a four-year-old boot up the family's PC?

But it looks like early exposure to computers, gaming and coding could be the key to turning out American engineers, something this country does less of than India and China.

This article on Bloomberg takes an interesting look at pint-sized computer programmers:

Lua is one of a handful of visual coding languages that are helping kids try their hand at software coding amid a boom in online games and applications for devices such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone. The user-friendly tools are being popularized by sites like Roblox, a platform that lets users create and play games with interactive animations from zombies to medieval fortresses. They could be instrumental in helping fill what companies like Google Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. say is a shortfall in U.S. engineering talent . . . .

Some young people are picking up coding skills from online programming classes offered by startups, including Udacity Inc., Codecademy and Coursera Inc. More than 1 million people have taken Codecademy courses since its introduction in August 2011, and elementary school teachers through college professors have used the material in their classrooms, said Codecademy co- founder Zach Sims, who said learning coding is the “new literacy.”

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Olympian costs

No one is really getting their hopes up, but the latest buzz is the idea that Buffalo could team up with Toronto to make a joint bid to host the 2024 summer Olympics.

 But it does bring up the fascinating topic of what goes into hosting the global games.

Hosting this year's Olympics hasn't done much to pull London out of its recession. In fact, they are further in the hole after going over their $14.7 billion budget. This article from CBC News takes a look at how astronomically the tab has grown to host the games and with what kind of debt the games can saddle its host city.

This article from Bloomberg Businessweek says Greece's current fiscal crisis can be traced back to its hosting of the Olympics in 2004:

Hosting the event cost almost €9 billion ($11 billion at today’s exchange rate), making the 2004 Games the most expensive ever at that point. Greek taxpayers were on the hook for €7 billion, which did not include the cost of extra projects such as a new airport and metro system.

Within days of the closing ceremony, Greece warned the euro area that its public debt and deficit figures would be worse than expected. 

And this article from the Atlantic spells out "3 Reasons Why Hosting the Olympics is a loser's game."

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Trademark this!

RingsAn online knitting group called Ravelry spends each Olympic season holding its own Ravelympics, during which members knit certain projects and challenges while watching the Olympics on television, Bloomberg Businessweek reports:

...Thousands of knitters attempt to complete an ambitious project—such as knitting a hat for the first time, or finishing an entire blanket—during the two weeks the Games take place. They form teams and challenge each other to events such as “scarf hockey” and “sock put.”

Those who rise to the challenge receive a virtual medal.

OlympicsBut the U.S. Olympic Committee is cracking down this year. It has sent cease-and-desist letters asking members to take down items bearing the trademarked Olympic rings symbol, including a free pattern for a crocheted olympic ring necklace and a $2 pattern for a dish towel with Olympic rings.

The social networking site lists other crafts that use trademarked images, such as the Batman symbol, but has never been asked to pull anything else down. In fact, items bearing the Major League Baseball logo have even been tapped by MLB for display at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Speaking of trademarks, Business Insider pulled together 15 funny trademarking attempts and infringements. They include Sarah Palin attempting to trademark her name (then being denied because she forgot to sign that name to her application), Harley trying to trademark the sound of a revving motorcycle engine, mixed luck on the McDonald's "Mc" prefix and Facebook's success in trademarking the word "face."



From Business Today:


An elementary school teacher from Elma is campaigning to win Walmart's "Get on the Shelf" contest, for the chance to have her product invention sold on and possibly in Walmart stores. Tammy Gordon, who teaches in Clarence, designed something called the Study Flash, magnetic pockets for organizing flash cards. Winners are chosen according to the number of votes they get through Facebook and text messaging. Other entries with ties to Buffalo are Bubble's Q Sauce, Buffalo Games' Phone Frenzy party game and Buffalo Tom's Gourmet Hot Sauce.


Steven J. Baum P.C. is facing the music on charges it cut corners and committed abuses in foreclosure filings. Baum, the firm and a top executive in the company will pay $2 million in penalties, legal costs and fees to the state and $2 million toward programs offering assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure or who are victims of predatory lending practices, the attorney general said. They are also barred from representing lenders or servicers in new foreclosure-related cases for two years.


First Niagara Financial Group is just 60 days away from officially closing its purchase of HSBC Bank USA's upstate New York branches, and it's gearing up for the switch. It has begun practicing its systems transfer that will convert HSBC accounts and loans to First Niagara May 18. First Niagara sent notifications about the change to current HSBC customers a few weeks ago.


As it does every year, The Buffalo News hosted a panel of volunteer CPAs Wednesday night who took questions from readers by phone and online about their taxes. Nine volunteers from Western New York answered tax questions free for four hours. They're online answers can be read here.


Critics are protesting a State Senate budget provision authorizing the purchase of electricity generated by Western New York's coal-fired plants for three years. Environmental, energy and health groups don't think the New York Power Authority should pay "a premium for dirty coal power." Instead, it asked lawmakers to to invest in clean renewable energy.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Here's a closer look at the Study Flash:


PCB Piezotronics VP starts own company, and other stories...

From Business Today:


A successful local executive is all but walking away from a solid job in order to pursue his dream of starting an ergonomic chair company.

Kevin Cornacchio, vice president of sales for PCB Piezotronics is transitioning out of his position a the sensor maker as he launches Innovative Seating Solutions here and in San Francisco. The company sold its first chair in Buffalo in August. They start at under $1,000.


Western New York has a new leader in U.S. Small Business Administration loans. After years of dominance by M&T Bank, Five Star Bank has tied it for the number of loans and beat it in dollars. Five Star had $1.49 million in loans, compared to M&T's $948,500. Five Star Bank is a subsidiary of Warsaw-based Financial Institutions. Each had eight SBA loans in October.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?


From MoneySmart:

Looking for tickets to a sporting event? 

Today's MoneySmart cover story outlines all the options, from legit marketplaces such as to the good, old-fashioned scalpers.


It's November 14. And it's really, really nice out. Maybe this whole global warming thing is not so bad?



Baum firm fined $2 million, Seneca president blasts rival casinos and Norse Energy cuts staff

From Business Today:


An Amherst law firm accused of unscrupulous foreclosure practices has admitted mistakes and received penalties.

Steven J. Baum PC agreed to pay a $2 million fine and "extensively overhaul" its practices. The firm handles about 40 percent of all foreclosures in New York State. The firm is accused of filing misleading affidavits and other documents on behalf of lenders.


Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter testified before a Senate committee Thursday, saying corporate casino owners are trying to bar Indian tribes from gaining access to an impending boom in Internet gambling.

Porter later said that the Seneca Nation is not pushing Internet gaming, but wants a piece of the action should Congress open the market.


A Hamburg energy company has laid off more than half of its staff. Norse Energy Corp. eliminated 25 jobs last month at its main New York office in Hamburg.

The cuts will save the company $300,000 a month as it waits for New York to allow hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale Region. The Norwegian company, which is running out of cash, has also been trying to sell some of the 180,000 acres of land it controls in New York and has considered selling additional stock to raise money.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

People are still reeling from Steve Jobs' passing. What can we learn from the way he lived his life?


Ford laying off 150, Buffalo Games is looking for product testers, Profits soar at Taylor Devices and local lawyer named NLRB chairman

From Business Today:


About 150 workers at the Ford Stamping Plant in Hamburg are facing layoffs. The furloughs will take effect Sept. 12. Some of the laid off employees are making arrangements to transfer to Ford plants in Louisville, Ky. and Chicago, while others remain here, hoping to be called back to their jobs.

The Route 5 facility made stamped metal parts for an assembly plant near St. Thomas, Ont. That plant is scheduled to close in two weeks, and the reduced workload calls for fewer employees. About 500 salaried workers will be left at the Hamburg plant.


Buffalo Games is looking for game testers. The Buffalo-based maker of puzzles and party games is launching an official Play Laboratory at its James E. Casey Drive headquarters. The purpose is to test new game concepts throughout their development and before they go to market. Game testers will be observed by designers--sometimes playing with them--and answer questions. They'll be provided pizza, drinks and snacks while they play and be given some free games to keep. To sign up, click here.


Fourth-quarter profits at Taylor Devices were up by 64 percent. The North Tonawanda company makes shock absorbers, which are in big demand to protect buildings and bridges from earthquake and high wind damage. The company's profits jumped to more than $722,000, or 23 cents per share, from $439,496, or 13 cents per share, a year ago.


A local lawyer has been named chairman of the National Labor Relations Board. Mark Gaston Pearce has served on the NLRB for the past year, but was made chairman by President Obama over the weekend. Pearce was a founding partner of the Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen and Giroux firm in Buffalo, where he worked from 1979 to 1994.



Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?


Acting locally: Beer and sports

   Is is just me, or are stories about beer getting to be a pattern here? And, of course, what goes with beer [apart from more beer]? Sports!

- Brothers to convert Cold Storage building into Wilson brewery -  Teresa Sharp/The Buffalo News
   WILSON — Good news is brewing in the village, with the planned conversion of the long-vacant, century-old Cold Storage building on Lake Street into the community’s first microbrewery.
   The property at 638 Lake St. recently was purchased by a local family, and sights have been set on opening the Woodcock Brothers Brewing Co. by next summer.
   Mark Woodcock and his wife, Andrea, of Youngstown, and brother, Tim, and his wife, Debbie, of the Village of Wilson, are behind the estimated $1.3 million project.
   They also envision the addition of a small restaurant and plenty of rental retail space in the nearly 50,000-square-foot complex.
   The brewery would use about 24,000 to 30,000 square feet in the stone building portion of the site, Mark Woodcock said.
   “We will leave about 12,000 square feet across three levels in the stone building open, which we feel would be perfect for a winery to join us,” he said. “We feel this could really enhance this as a destination.”

- Businessmen to tap 'fandemonium' - Dino Grandoni/The Buffalo News|
   Athletes who have played in Buffalo have said over and over that sports fans here are among the most devoted in the country. In the words of legendary sportscaster Van Miller, it's "fandemonium" at Buffalo sporting events.
   Which is why a pair of businessmen are trying to create a local sports museum that will be the first of its kind in Buffalo, one that they want to call -- yes -- Fandemoneum.
    The museum, named after the term coined by Miller, the longtime Bills play-by-play man, is the brainchild of two native Buffalonians: Gregory D. Tranter, who lives in Massachusetts, and Michael R. Weekes, who recently moved back to the area. ...
   What Fandemoneum (ending in "eum" like "museum") [like Newseum] will look like isn't the biggest question mark. Where to put it and how to finance it are. ...
   Tranter and Weekes met at the "Buffalo Bills 50th Season" exhibit at the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, where Tranter took guests on tours through the memorabilia, most of which was from his sizable collection of over 100,000 Bills items. ... They did some research and saw existing sports museums for the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh's sports franchises.

   OK. All together now:

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

Autos roll. Mercury plummets. God drives away in a Fury.

   Business news from P.1 and Business Today:

- Booming sales outpace incentives, local car dealers say - Matt Glynn/The Buffalo News
   Area new-car dealers reported strong sales in May, riding the wave of strong gains by Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Chrysler. ...
   Across the country, both Ford and General Motors saw double-digit sales increases over the same month last year, when GM was headed into bankruptcy protection, and Chrysler Group was already there. If the trend holds for other automakers, May would be the seventh straight month of year-over-year sales increases for the industry.

- Ford will end Mercury, expand Lincoln - Keith Naughton/Bloomberg/Buffalo News
   Ford Motor Co. made it official on Wednesday, announcing that it will discontinue its 71-year-old Mercury Mercury brand by the end of the year and expand its Lincoln lineup with a new small car. ...
   Three Mercury
dealers are in the Buffalo Niagara region: West Herr in Amherst, Towne in Orchard Park and Emerling in Springville. Each sells at least one other brand from the Ford family. ...
Mercury would join Pontiac, Saturn, Oldsmobile and Plymouth among the departed Detroit brands this century. Edsel Ford, son of founder Henry Ford, established Mercury during the Great Depression as a midpriced alternative to mainstream Ford and upscale Lincoln.
   The Pontiac, Saturn and Oldsmobile websites above are more like fresh gravesites, with links to other brands they hope you will want to buy instead. Plymouth, phased out in 2001, is not mentioned on the Chrysler site.
   But it is mourned here, on a cool site that argues that when DaimlerChrysler phased out Plymouth, it actually did a blasphemous thing.
   After all, Plymouth was the brand of automobile which God used to drive. It's in the Bible: "... then God drove Adam and Eve from the Garden of Paradise in a Fury."


- Mercury's end lifts Lincoln - Mark Phelan/Detroit Free Press
   Let's face it: If Ford hadn't announced it was closing Mercury, nobody might have noticed the brand's departure. It's been decades since Mercury was anything more than a way to spread Lincoln dealers' overhead over more cars.
   Lincoln hasn't set the world on fire either, but it lives to fight another day.
- Mercury created memorable rides - Scott Burgess/Detroit News
- With Mercury Departing, Should Lincoln Be Next? - Jonathan Welsh/Wall Street Journal
- Ford to close Mercury division  - Jerry Hirsch/Los Angeles Times
   Analysts saw Ford's decision as a smart but difficult move that could be for naught if it is unable to pull off a massive renewal of the Lincoln brand, which through the first five months of this year trailed GM's Cadillac and every other major German and Japanese luxury line in sales.
   "Lincoln needs to be more youthful, and it needs to be a luxury brand with sex appeal, and it doesn't have those characteristics right now," said Rebecca Lindland, an auto industry analyst at IHS Global Insight.
   Some dealers say closing Mercury will help Lincoln.
   "Previously, with Mercury paired with Lincoln, it was kind of like selling Cartier watches and Timex watches side by side. It was hard to get the luxury experience," said Brian Allan, general manager of Galpin Premier, a Lincoln Mercury dealer in Van Nuys.
   Freed of Mercury, Lincoln can now become a "true competitor to Lexus and other imports," he said.

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

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