The Biz Buzz

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Archives: 2008

Dec.
31st

Is your Zune zonked out?

If your Zune is dead, you’re not alone.


The Associated Press reports that thousands of Microsoft’s Zune media players — the software company’s answer to Apple Inc.’s iPod — showed users an error message Wednesday. The problems appeared when people tried to start up their devices.


Frustrated users lit up Microsoft’s online support forum for Zunes with more than 2,500 messages by Wednesday afternoon, AP said.


The company, based in Redmond, said the outage affected only the 30-gigabyte models and was caused by a problem with their internal clock. Microsoft expected the problem to clear up as

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Dec.
31st

Panamanian airline buys Boeings

COPA Airlines has ordered four more of Boeing’s 737-800 jetliners, the airline announced today.


The Panamanian carrier expects delivery of those planes over the next three years.


The planes will seat 160 passengers, 144 in coach and 16 in first class.


COPA has a fleet of 42 planes including 17 737s. With the new order, COPA has 13 Boeing aircraft on order.

Dec.
31st

Will Boeing offer another upgrade of the 737?

Aviation analyst Scott Hamilton reports that Boeing is considering a major upgrade of its popular 737 before it develops a new single-aisle aircraft to replace the workhorse plane.


The upgraded 737, a fourth generation of an aircraft originally designed in the 1960s, would feature more fuel efficient engines, perhaps Pratt & Whitney’s new geared turbo-fans or CFM’s new generation engine.


If Boeing picks the geared engine, which is larger in diameter than the 737′s present CFM engines, it could require substantial revisions to the design: new, taller landing gear to increase the clearance between the engine and the

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Dec.
31st

Boeing sub hunter program faces cut

A sub-hunting version of Boeing’s popular 737 airliner could see its production schedule slowed if the Defense Department has its way.


The department’s proposed 2010 budget cuts $940 million from the program to build the P-8A subhunting aircraft in order to fund completion of a third DDG-1000 destroyer, Bloomberg News reports.


The DDG-1000 was partially funded by Congress last year.


The budget proposal, of course, is subject to amendment by Congress and the new administration.


The first prototype examples of the P-8A are being built on a special assembly line at Boeing’s Renton plant.


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Dec.
30th

Office space vacancies in Tacoma and Pierce County down this quarter

Say what you will about the local economy – but the sky continues not to fall on office leases and rents.


Colliers International is out today with its 4th Quarter numbers for the Puget Sound region, and Pierce County landlords are not doing as bad as, for instance, the retail industry. Actually, they’re doing relatively well.


According to Colliers, Pierce County absorbed 58,200 square feet during the quarter, thus posting a positive absorption number. Vacancy rates "fell as a result of many small office spaces being leased, specifically in Fife, South Tacoma and the central business district of

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Dec.
30th

If the recent storms closed your workplace, you may be eligible for a check

If you were out of work for a week or more because of the recent bad weather, you may be eligible for unemployment compensation.


In a decision released today, the state Employment Security Department said workers whose workplaces were closed for more than a week may apply for a check.


If you didn’t work because you couldn’t get to work, what with the bad roads, then you are not eligible. This only applies if your employer’s doors were closed – and closed for more than a workweek.


If you believe a check is due, contact ESD by

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Dec.
30th

What to do if you’re facing foreclosure

A story I wrote for Tuesday’s Business section, on the use of federal money for state and local governments to buy foreclosed properties, generated a few phone calls this morning on how people on the brink of foreclosure can get help.

The federal program I wrote about in my story isn’t intended for individuals, and I can understand the frustration of people who need help. To that end, I found this great tip sheet from my colleague Rob Carson, who wrote a story on foreclosures recently.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE IN TROUBLE WITH YOUR MORTGAGE

Helpful advice from Teresa Seeley, housing coordinator and counselor at the nonprofit agency Consumer Counseling Northwest in University Place (www.ccnw.org, 253-588-1858).

&bull Swallow your pride. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s help out there for people who look.

&bull Make sure you know what kind of loan you have. If you haven’t read your loan agreement, do it.

&bull Look for help as soon as you think you might have to miss a payment. Call your lender. Sooner is always better than later. Don’t wait until you miss a payment.

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Dec.
30th

Fife auction house closing

Ehli Turners Auctions, at 1222 46th Ave. E in Fife, is closing its doors.


Owner Walter Woodward said recently that a combination of factors led to the decision, including a family illness and the tanking economy.


Woodward also said that he and his wife, Heidi, who co-own the business, believe some of the company’s funds were embezzled and that they’ve asked Fife Police to investigate.


A Fife police spokesman couldn’t be reached for comment Monday or Tuesday.


Woodward said the auction house has 41 employees, eight of whom were fulltime. He said the business would

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