Explosive-laden Calif. home to be destroyed

By Jonathan Higdon

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (UTC/AP) — Neighbors gasped when authorities showed them photos of the inside of the Southern California ranch-style home: Crates of grenades, mason jars of white, explosive powder and jugs of volatile chemicals that are normally the domain of suicide bombers.

Prosecutors say Serbian-born George Jakubec quietly packed the home with the largest amount of homemade explosives ever found in one location in the U.S. and was running a virtual bomb-making factory in his suburban neighborhood. How the alleged bank robber obtained the chemicals and what he planned to do with them remain mysteries.

Now authorities face the risky task of getting rid of the explosives. The property is so dangerous and volatile that that they have no choice but to burn the home to the ground this week in a highly controlled operation involving dozens of firefighters, scientists and hazardous material and pollution experts.

Authorities went into the home after Jakubec was arrested, but encountered a maze of floor-to-ceiling junk and explosives that included 13 unfinished shrapnel grenades.

Bomb experts pulled out about nine pounds of explosive material and detonated it, but they soon realized it was too dangerous to continue given the quantity of hazardous substances. A bomb-disposing robot was ruled out because of the obstacle of all the junk Jakubec hoarded.

That left only one option — burn the home down.

San Marcos Fire Chief Todd Newman acknowledges it is no small feat: Authorities have never dealt with destroying such a large quantity of dangerous material in the middle of a populated area, bordered by a busy eight-lane freeway.

“This is a truly unknown situation,” said Neal Langerman, the top scientist at the safety consulting firm, Advanced Chemical Safety in San Diego. “They’ve got a very good inventory of what’s in there. Do I anticipate something going wrong? No. But even in a controlled burn, things occasionally go wrong.”

He said the burning of the house would provide “an amazing textbook study” for bomb technicians in the future.

San Diego County authorities plan to burn the home Wednesday but need near perfect weather, with no rain, no fog, and only light winds blowing toward the east, away from the city. They have warned residents in the danger zone that they will be given less than 24 hours notice to evacuate their homes for a day, and that nearby Interstate 15, connecting the area to San Diego, will be closed.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency, and hospitals will be on standby in case there is a rash of people getting sick, Newman said.

Some 40 experts on bombs and hazardous material from across the country and at least eight national laboratories are working on the preparations.

They have analyzed wind patterns to ensure the smoke will not float over homes beyond the scores that will be evacuated. They have studied how fast the chemicals can become neutralized under heat expected to reach 1800 degrees and estimate that could happen within 30 minutes, which means most of the toxins will not even escape the burning home, Newman said.

The county has installed 18 sensors that will measure the amount of chemicals in the smoke and send the data every two minutes to computers monitored by the fire and hazardous material departments.

Experts also have mapped how far the plume will travel and predict it will not go beyond Interstate 15. They calculate that if there is an explosion, it would probably throw the debris only about 60 feet.

“It certainly would not be a detonation that would level a neighborhood,” Newman said.

Crews are clearing brush, wood fences and other debris that could cause the blaze to spread beyond the property in a region hit by wildfires in recent years. They also are building a 16-foot-high fire-resistant wall with a metal frame between the property and the nearest home, which will be coated with a fire-resistant gel.

Firefighters, who will remain 300 feet away, are placing hose lines in the front and back yards and will have a remote-controlled hose aimed at the nearest neighbor’s home. Ambulances also will be parked nearby.

The Sheriff’s Bomb Squad will ignite the fire remotely with a sequenced series of incendiary devices, Newman said.

Air pollution control experts have installed a portable weather station on a nearby fire station that will tell them immediately when the weather shifts, while authorities observe the burn from helicopters overhead.

Afterward, officials will monitor the air and groundwater for toxins. Hazardous material crews will be brought in to remove the top layer of dirt on the half-acre property, possibly digging down as much as 6 inches.

“It’ll be a tedious process that will probably take a long time,” Newman said.

It also will be expensive, he said, although no one knows yet how much the price tag could run or who will pay for it. They could not be reached for comment.

Prosecutors said the chemicals in the house include hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD), erythritol tetranitrate (ETN), and pentaerythitol tetranitrate (PETN), which was used in the 2001 airliner shoe-bombing attempt. The home has been declared a public nuisance and therefore the county does not have to reimburse the owners, who were renting the house to Jakubec.

Authorities also found a grenade mold, a bag with pieces of metal, a jar with ball bearings, three wireless doorbells with remotes, molds of human faces, handguns and a blue Escondido police shirt, among other items, according to court records.

Jakubec, who is being held without bail, pleaded not guilty Monday to eight federal charges related to making destructive devices and robbing three local banks.

The federal grand jury alleges that Jakubec made nine detonators and 13 grenade hulls containing high explosives. They were discovered in the home after a gardener was injured in November in a blast that occurred when he stepped on chemical residue in the backyard, authorities said. Mario Garcia, 49, suffered eye, chest and arm injuries.

Little is known about Jakubec, a 54-year-old unemployed software consultant. His estranged wife has told the San Diego Union-Tribune that he became increasingly unstable since losing his job several years ago.

His attorney, Michael Berg, told reporters outside the courthouse Monday that his client “is anxious to tell his side of the story” but now was not the right time. Berg said Jakubec wants to apologize to anyone who will be adversely affected by the destruction of the house and that he is upset he and his wife will lose everything inside the home.

Neighbors say the couple did not draw attention.

Since the incident, Patti Harrison has stared at the home on the knoll in front of her own and wondered what went through Jakubec’s mind.

“When I saw those pictures at the meeting with authorities I thought ‘oh my goodness, that’s just crazy,'” she said.

Harrison and her husband bought their home in 1974, when it was surrounded by avocado groves. She is grateful that they have home insurance. For the evacuation, she plans to close the windows and pack her family’s important records and treasured items.

“I’ve decided because God protected us all this time when we did not know what was there, that he will do the same now,” she said.

She said she is praying for the best: “I would like all the homes to be here when they’re done.”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Student Technology Survival Guide

It’s almost time for a new semester. Are you prepared to meet all the technological challenges waiting around the corner? Use this Student Technology Survival Guide to catch up, then get equipped to stay caught up!

By Jonathan Higdon

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) — It’s almost that time of year again. The holidays will soon be over, new calendars will be hung up on the walls, and resolutions will have been made—and broken—and we will be at the beginning of yet another semester. As the new school term begins, it might be a good idea to take a moment and evaluate the technological resources at your disposal—and as a student, those resources are virtually limitless.

Personal Computer

It’s safe to say that in the year 2011, most students are equipped with their own personal computer. However, the timeless debates of last decade still linger: desktop or laptop? Mac or PC? Everyone has his or her own opinions on these issues, but fortunately for the college crowd, most computer manufacturers have budget-friendly discounts for students and educators alike.

UTC students can order directly from manufacturers like Apple and Dell, but the University of Tennessee system has a computer store in Knoxville, which offers the same—if not better—discounts on technology. And this is not simply limited to personal computers, but includes software and accessories as well. The best part? UTC students don’t even have to travel to Knoxville. The Bookstore Technology Center will ship your purchases to Chattanooga.

Tablet PC

This is becoming a quickly growing market thanks to the popularity of the iPad. The emergence of competitors like Hewlett-Packard and Google have added further legitimacy to the market, and many students are adopting tablet PCs as alternatives to laptops for in-class electronic note taking.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab, a popular tablet computer.

As the iPad is currently the leader in tablet computing, many productivity application developers are focusing on the iPad’s iOS operating system. Several must-have apps for iPad-toting students include Pages for word processing, SketchBook Pro for drawing (much more practical than it sounds), and Dropbox for portable file management.

Media Player

Just a few years ago, an iPod would have been on the technology survival guide of any self-respecting collegiate news outlet. Thanks to the advent of the iPhone, the Android operating system, and now the Windows Phone 7, however, the iPod has gone the way of the Discman, the minidisc player, and the Walkman. Many students have traded in their scroll wheels for touch screens, opting for smart phones with media player capabilities instead of dedicated music or movie devices.

The HTC Surround, one of many new phones supporting the Windows Phone 7 operating system.

Like the iPad, an “iOS” device leads the smart phone market, and student iPhone users would be wise to take advantage of the iPhone counterparts to the SketchBook and Dropbox apps mentioned earlier. However, because the iPhone is not as viable an option for note taking as the iPad, it is important to explore other options. The Dragon Dictation app for the iPhone will transcribe recorded audio, and whereas its transcriptions might require a small amount of tweaking, the app works very well when no other means of note taking are available.


I was surprised to learn that one of my friends was using her old TI-83+ from high school. Most of us remember these more for their game-playing ability than their power as a graphing calculator. However, the truth remains that graphing calculators still hold a place in a student’s backpack—even those of the more technology-savvy.

Most of the smart phones mentioned earlier include advanced calculator features—a far cry from the meager tip calculators found on cell phones from the early 2000s. There is almost no reason why a smart phone calculator would not be more than sufficient for an average college student, provided

  1. His or her professor does not object to calculating on the same device used to send and receive electronic messages
  2. He or she does not have to plot points or regression lines on a grid (but even then, one of many thirdparty apps can achieve the desired effect)
  3. He or she does not wish to play one of the many high-quality games popularized by the Texas Instruments platform

The iPhone calculator included more advanced functions when the screen is rotated.

Social Networks

You would be hard-pressed to find a student on a college campus who does not participate in some social network. Facebook is by far the most popular, but MySpace has maintained a following thanks to its dedicated musician pages. Either site provides an uncomplicated—and often more accessible—means of communication between students.

Twitter, however, is an interesting site that often gets grouped into the “social network” category. Tweets are as much a part of social networking as a blog entry; therefore Twitter is really more of a publishing platform than a true “social network.” UTC takes advantage of the publishing power of Twitter, including the handles @UTChattanooga, @UTC_Admissions, and @MocsNews, among others.

The Bottom Line

Students seem to be the most valuable consumers for technology companies. Computer manufacturers have exclusive deals and partnerships for students, developers appear to find a niche market in the student population, and students reciprocate by being among the first to adopt new technologies and innovations. In the ever-changing world of technology and the even more ever-changing world of technology sales and promotions, it’s important to stay abreast of new developments.

Websites like Wired, Engadget, and Gizmodo are excellent sources for technology news and information, but I have found one that stands above the rest for students. Lifehacker details deals (for students and non-students alike) and emphasizes free products, lending itself to be an invaluable resource for a college student operating on a college student budget. Wherever you look for student technology resources, keep your eyes open. The best is surely yet to come, and you won’t want to miss it!

Titans claim WR Randy Moss off waivers

By Jonathan Higdon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UTC/AP) — The Tennessee Titans passed on wide receiver Randy Moss once before, back in the 1998 draft.

Not again.

The Titans claimed Moss off the waiver wire Wednesday, choosing not to take any risks with receiver Kenny Britt missing at least one game with an injured right hamstring.

Tennessee, then the Oilers, drafted Kevin Dyson with the 16th pick overall in 1998. They passed on Moss and said then it was because of concerns about his character. Coach Jeff Fisher, speaking three hours before Wednesday’s waiver deadline, said the personnel department decided Dyson was a better fit.

“Randy has had a terrific career. He’s a Hall of Fame receiver. You don’t always make the right decision,” Fisher said. “The draft is an imperfect science. We’ve had No. 1’s that haven’t panned out for us before.”

Now the Titans are 5-3, a half-game back in the AFC South with five divisional games remaining down the stretch. Fisher said in a statement after the Titans were awarded Moss that the receiver offered an opportunity to upgrade their offense.

“Randy has been a tremendous threat where ever he has been,” Fisher said. “We will bring him up to speed as quickly as possible.”

Moss can help a team that has not won a playoff game since January 2004, and Fisher said Britt, who hurt his right hamstring in last week’s 33-25 loss to San Diego, will miss the Titans’ game Nov. 14 at Miami.

How quickly Moss joins the Titans remains to be seen. The Titans are on their bye and hold their last practice Thursday before breaking for the weekend. Players won’t be due back until Tuesday, but agent Joel Segal said Moss will be heading to Tennessee.

“Randy’s excited to get back playing football,” Segal said. “He’s ready to go and looking forward to get there.”

The receiver going to his third team this season already is being welcomed. Safety Michael Griffin tweeted “welcome Randy Moss” and All Pro running back Chris Johnson had been lobbying for the Titans to pick up Moss as well. Johnson shares the same agent as Moss and had been telling Segal how much he wanted the receiver in Tennessee.

“Why do we need Randy Moss?” Johnson said Wednesday, before the move was announced. “You can’t put eight in a box if you got Randy Moss out there on the outside. If you’ve got Randy Moss out there, you just can’t play him one-on-one. I feel like Randy would be a great addition to this team, be a great addition to our receiving group and really help us go deep in the playoffs.”

That’s what matters most for the Titans.

Owner Bud Adams turns 88 in January, and this franchise’s lone Super Bowl berth was way back in 2000. The Titans lost a wild-card playoff game in San Diego in the 2007 season and wasted the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage in 2008 with a divisional round loss.

Britt has the NFL’s best game receiving this season with his 225 yards and three touchdowns Oct. 24, and Vince Young currently is the NFL’s top rated passer at 103.1. But the Tennessee passing offense ranks 24th, averaging 187.6 yards per game.

“Randy is obviously a Hall of Fame player and has the ability to be a difference maker for our offense,” Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt said.

Moss is a relative bargain due about $3.39 million for the final eight games this season. He easily brings the best resume of any receiver for this team since leaving Houston. He has 948 career receptions for 14,778 yards and 153 touchdowns, though his numbers have dipped drastically this season in his stints first with New England and then Minnesota.

He has 22 catches for 313 yards and five TDs in eight games. In his four games with Minnesota, he had 13 catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns with the Vikings losing three of those four games to drop to 2-5.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

“The Social Network,” “Catfish” offer distinct looks at Facebook

By Jonathan Higdon

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) — It has become the college student routine. Wake up. Check Facebook. Go to class. Check Facebook. Eat Lunch. Check Facebook. You get the idea. A modern Animal House would look completely different from what John Belushi offered more than 30 years ago. So what’s a filmmaker to do? Make a movie about Facebook, of course! Two great films about the social networking site have been released recently, offering two very different views on what has become a cultural phenomenon.

The Social Network, from The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin, gives a slightly fictionalized take on the origins of Facebook. In the film, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg—Adventureland, Zombieland) is portrayed as the egotistical CEO Silicon Valley legend has made him out to be. Zuckerberg himself has since refuted the implications the film makes about his character, but Eisenberg truly steals the show with his superb acting.

Besides delivering an (albeit somewhat distorted) look into the origins of Facebook, The Social Network offers one of the first mainstream success stories set in the computer science industry. Students have already said they are inspired by what they saw in the film, and have expressed an interest in computer programming because of Zuckerberg’s success with Facebook. Zuckerberg has already changed the present with his creation; now it appears he will be indirectly changing the future, as well.

Whereas The Social Network lauds Facebook by immortalizing its place in today’s culture, Catfish takes a different approach. This documentary follows Yaniv Schulman, a New York photographer who begins a relationship with a family after receiving a painting from the family’s eight-year-old daughter. When Schulman travels to visit the family in person and learns that they aren’t exactly as they advertised online, he learns an important lesson which he passes on to the audience.

The movie serves as a warning to the threats posed by the socialization of the Internet. Social networking sites like Facebook can be an important tool in society, however they also have a darker side. Catfish provides a glimpse into the real story of a man who was a victim of the easy anonymity of the Internet, but also warns on the dangers of easily accessible information made available on Facebook.

Although Catfish and The Social Network explore two completely different sides of Facebook, it is safe to say that the film industry is ready to explore this new branch of social culture. Hopefully impressionable audiences will not only be inspired by Zuckerberg in The Social Network, but will also heed the warnings laid out in Catfish and deliver us into a new, better age of social networking.

Struggling Vanderbilt still in SEC East race

By Jonathan Higdon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UTC/AP) — Vanderbilt coach Robbie Caldwell is wearing all black and jokes he’s in mourning.

That likely is the best reaction to his Commodores coming off their highest scoring game since 1999 only to be shut out for the first time since 2003.

Yet the Commodores (2-4, 1-2) still control their own fate in the Southeastern Conference despite their 43-0 loss at Georgia. If the Commodores can bounce back Saturday night against No. 19 South Carolina, they would sit atop the Eastern Division.

“It’s in our hands,” Caldwell said Monday. “There’s not a team on our schedule that we can’t beat, and there’s not a team on our schedule that can’t beat us. That’s exactly what I’ve told them, and how it’s up to us to step up and take the fight to them.”

First, Caldwell must get his offense working again, which won’t be easy.

The Commodores managed a measly 140 yards of offense by Georgia. They hadn’t been shut out since a 48-0 loss to Tennessee back in 2003, and all that came after a 52-6 win over Eastern Michigan that had been Vanderbilt’s biggest scoring win since 1999.

They got across midfield just twice against Georgia, the first on the opening drive and reaching the Bulldogs 37. Caldwell said he was informed they faced fourth-and-4 instead of fourth-and-2. He decided to punt only to see a touchback, and he said Monday he would have gone for first down had he known what the yardage actually was.

“I was mistaken. My fault,” Caldwell said.

The second trip across midfield didn’t come until the fourth quarter when Jared Funk replaced Larry Smith and faced Georgia’s third-string defense.

Vanderbilt also had two turnovers and gave up a safety on a bad snap by fifth-year senior center Joey Bailey that ended one drive in the second quarter on the first play. The Commodores finished with 48 yards rushing, their fewest since managing 33 last season against Mississippi State.

“Physically up front, we got manhandled,” Caldwell said. “We could not run the ball in the middle. We need to be able to do that to set up some perimeter runs. We ran the option pretty good. We got a little outphysicaled there too at wideout, having to make blocks.”

The Commodores did have some luck. Replay reversed a fumble returned for a touchdown into a dropped pass by Mason Johnson, which would have given the Commodores a first down in the first quarter if he had held onto the ball.

As a result, Vanderbilt now ranks 102nd out of 120 FBS teams on offense with 315.2 yards per game. Caldwell said his offense has to help the defense when asked how the defense needs to improve.

“First of all, we’ve got to help them offensively. Leaving them on the field, got to give them the spark of hope. This is a team thing …. We never gave the defense a spark, a hope, sustain a drive go down and score some points,” Caldwell said.

It may not get much better against South Carolina.

Bailey likely won’t play Saturday night with a high ankle sprain, meaning Caldwell has to choose between a pair of freshmen — either Logan Stewart or James Kittredge — to start at center.

“Hopefully, we’ll get the ship steered in the right direction, bounce back this week,” Caldwell said. “That’s our objective. Started on it (Sunday) and had a good day of practice and try to get everybody’s wounds healed, licked and ready to go.”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Weber has goal, assist in Preds win over Thrashers

By Jonathan Higdon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UTC/AP) — Shea Weber scored a power-play goal and added an assist as the Nashville Predators beat the Atlanta Thrashers 2-1 in a preseason game on Monday night.

Predators Coach Barry Trotz talks about the team’s victory over Atlanta.

Sergei Kostitsyn scored the first goal of the game 3:06 into the first period with a tip-in off of a shot by Weber from high above the right circle.

Ben Eager got the Thrashers even at 15:30 of the second period when he scored with a wrist shot from a few feet in front of the crease.

With Nashville on a power play, Weber gave the Predators a 2-1 lead 11:02 into the third when he blasted a shot from just inside the blue line that went through traffic and past goalie Ondrej Pavelec.

Pavelec and Nashville counterpart Pekka Rinne went the distance in goal. Pavelec stopped 29 shots, and Rinne made 21 saves.

NOTES: Weber’s goal was the first on the power play for Nashville in four preseason games. Nashville goaltender Chet Pickard dressed for his first preseason non-rookie game, but didn’t play. This was the first road game of the preseason for the Thrashers.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Twitter unveils updated interface

by Jonathan Higdon

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (UTC/The Loop) — Social publishing website Twitter has announced an all-new interface and will begin rolling out the new look to users over the next several weeks.

The new interface is based around the idea, outlined by Twitter on the company’s corporate blog, that “life doesn’t always fit into 140 characters or less.” The new interface will be centered around the familiar timeline, but underneath each individual “tweet” will be more information, including deeper context and related media from external websites. An embedded “details pane” will reveal this information, and opens the possibility for more features as the site continues to evolve.

The new Twitter interface, as previewed on Mashable.

Twitter has forged partnerships with the following companies to provide related media integration:


Such integration eliminates most of the need to link to an external site from Twitter, keeping more users on the site longer and, more importantly, prolonging exposure to paid advertisements. Social media news site Mashable calls the new Twitter “an attack on all desktop apps.” Twitter Chief Executive Officer Evan Williams said in the announcement that 78% of all users log in to the service’s website, as opposed to third-party applications, to access their accounts. The Twitter redesign seems focused on competing with the features and benefits of third party applications. Mashable claims, “the competition for your desktop was already fierce. Now each and every one of them … will have to fight harder to attract new audiences that continue to show a preference for using Twitter.com.”

This announcement comes just a few weeks after the announcement of the Twitter for iPad app, which was lauded for its innovative new design, giving users both the control of accessing the most relevant information on their mobile devices and the convenience of staying within the app to access information from external websites. Twitter’s new Web interface mirrors the new features from the iPad app, from the multiple-panel view to the “mini profile” pop-ups found within both interfaces.

Left, the "mini profile" from the iPad app. Right, the "mini profile" from the new interface.

The company has released a video teasing the upgraded service:

As the new Twitter interface has already started appearing on current users’ computer screens, reviews from individuals have already started rolling out. User @JoannaLord tweets, “the “unfollow” button on the #newtwitter is quite intimidating. I may just never “unfollow” another person ever again.” Seemingly pleased user @CharMoonUnit writes, “FINALLY got the #newtwitter … so fun!” As these lucky users “microblog” their reviews, others are becoming more impatient to use the updated service. “Still waiting on #newtwitter. This has become punitive…” says user @twbell.

Twitter has yet to announce a definitive rollout schedule, saying the service will come to all users “over the next several weeks.” For now, impatient users like @JoannaLord, @CharMoonUnit and @twbell (and myself) must simply wait.

New iPod models add, subtract features

By Jonathan Higdon

CUPERTINO, Calif. (UTC/The Loop) — Mobile media giant Apple, Inc. updated its popular line of iPod media players, refreshing its iPod touch, iPod nano and iPod shuffle models.

iPod updates have become an annual September event for the Cupertino, Calif. company, and are usually coupled with updates to the iTunes media jukebox software and other media-related peripherals. Wednesday’s event was no exception, as Apple also introduced the second-generation Apple TV, iTunes 10, and a new social music sharing service called Ping. It was the new additions to the iPod touch, however, that received the most attention after the event.

View the all-new iPod models here:

Also check out the new iTunes 10 with Ping, and the new Apple TV.

A representative from Chattanooga-area Apple reseller MacAuthority said she expected the new iPod line to arrive “within about a week or so” and that the devices had already started shipping from Apple. She also said that the demand for the new devices has already been “pretty high.” Anxious iPod enthusiasts can expect to see the new models in-store soon, but early adopters have had the option to purchase them directly from Apple’s online store for the last week.

Apple added the new FaceTime video calling technology to its fourth-generation iPod touch devices. The feature eliminates the need for a two-year contract with AT&T or even an iPhone, for that matter, to place video calls with other fourth-generation iPod touch and iPhone users. In addition to the necessary front-facing camera used for video calls, the new iPod touch includes a rear-facing camera capable of recording high-definition video. All of these new features run on Apple’s A4 processor, which, according to Apple, “provides iPod touch users with exceptional processor and graphics performance along with long battery life.”

The update to the iPod nano was the most dramatic revelation at the event. The device’s form factor was completely changed and was repurposed primarily as a music player, completely eliminating the video playback capabilities of the previous three models. The new iPod nano did gain a Multi-Touch interface and a “wearable” clip like the one utilized by the second-generation iPod shuffle in 2006. Apple may be putting itself in a position to shift the way it markets the iPod nano, with Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs offering the possibility of wearing the device in creative ways—for instance, as a wristwatch.

The all-new iPod nano line from Apple.

The fourth-generation iPod shuffle builds on the success of the previous iterations of the device, but takes a step backward to appease critics of the third-generation model. The new iPod shuffle adds buttons to the previous “buttonless” device, putting its square size somewhere between the second-generation model, introduced in 2006, and the third-generation model that was introduced last September. The buttonless controls are still featured in the new iPod shuffle, but physical buttons were added again for consumers who found last year’s design too confusing.

Apple entered the social media market by establishing Ping, billed as “a social network for music.” Designed to allow users to discover music from their friends and favorite artists, the service is free to anyone 13 years and older—the age requirement for obtaining the necessary iTunes Store account. Ping generates a feed of friends’ activity based on music purchases in the iTunes Store, reviewed music, and “liked” music. The service is only available for iTunes Store music purchases, however, and no plans have been announced to extend the social network to other iTunes Store products like iPhone apps, movies, or television shows.

Recall on Campus

by Jonathan Higdon

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) — It looks like political controversy has made its way to the UTC campus.

Organizers of a recall campaign have come here to sign up students for the recall efforts. They have set up a table at the foot of Cardiac Hill for the past few days.

Chris Brooks is manning the table. He’s part of a group that says too much corruption is taking place in city politics and it has to end. Brooks and others want to recall Chattanooga city mayor Ron Littlefield and two members of the city council. “So we feel that the best thing we can do is hold our leaders accountable by removing them from office and forcing a new election,” Brooks says.

The group already have 13,000 signatures and they only needed 8,950 to prove the recall will go through.

For more information about the recall of Mayor Littlefield, visit The Chattanoogan.

Six new coaches with little time to rebuild

By Jonathan Higdon

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/AP) — Often coaches get a grace period when they take a new job. Not these guys.

Six coaches who will be under heavy scrutiny from the get-go in their new jobs.

  • Jimbo Fisher, Florida State. It’s certainly not Fisher’s fault that Florida State felt compelled to push Bobby Bowden out to make room for him. Still, for the move to be justified, Fisher has to win right away.
  • Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech. In Lubbock, Mike Leach was similar to Bowden. The Red Raiders were never more successful than they were in Leach’s 10 seasons. Fans adored him and many were angered when he was fired. Winning over those Texas Tech supporters won’t be easy for Tuberville.
  • Brian Kelly, Notre Dame. Kelly has one thing going for him that Fisher and Tuberville don’t. The guy Kelly is replacing (Charlie Weis) was not particularly well liked by Fighting Irish supporters. So while another 6-6 season will not go over well, he doesn’t have to take a giant step forward in year one to win over the faithful.
  • Derek Dooley, Tennessee. Much like Kelly, Dooley is replacing a guy the locals won’t miss in Lane Kiffin. But the Volunteers can’t afford a long rebuilding process and another down season. Not when their main competition is Florida.
  • Mike London, Virginia. The Cavaliers have slipped so far behind rival Virginia Tech, they can barely catch a glimpse of the Hokies these days. It would be surprising if Virginia didn’t have another losing season, especially in a tough ACC division, but London really can’t afford for the Cavs to take another step back before they start moving forward.
  • Turner Gill, Kansas. Much fuss was made when Gill was passed over for the Auburn job for Gene Chizik, who ended up having a very solid first season with the Tigers. Now Gill, who did a remarkable job at long downtrodden Buffalo, gets his shot to prove he can get it done in one of the six power conferences.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.