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On the Net

By CHRIS H. SIEROTY, UPI Technology News

Slate.com picks Kinsley successor

Slate.com named Jacob Weisberg, the e-mag's chief political correspondent, to replace departing Michael Kinsley in the editor's seat. Weisberg beat out Jack Shafer, Slate's deputy editor, after each took a turn as editor once Kinsley announced he was stepping down in February. Weisberg, who has been a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and Time Magazine, will remain in New York and will supervise by phone and e-mail an editorial staff of 30 in Redmond, Wash., and Washington, D.C. In March, Slate had 3.2 million unique visitors to its Web site.

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State workers fired for raunchy e-mail

At least six Washington state employees who used their e-mail to send raunchy jokes, sexual overtures and even make plans for an orgy will be fired, the state's Department of Labor announced. The agency said it is investigating 14 more of its workers to find out if they also abused their e-mail. The department said it has uncovered hundreds of off-color e-mail messages that, while not illegal, violate department rules on misusing state resources. Eva Santos, the agency's deputy director, said the department first discovered the messages last September and traced them back to a small number of workers spending a large number of working hours swapping steamy e-mail.

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Calif. State official quits in Oracle scandal

A top official in Gov. Gray Davis' (D-Calif.) administration has stepped down in a growing controversy over a $95 million software contract with Oracle Corp. Barry Keene, director of California's Department of General Services that among other things negotiates state contracts, resigned after a critical state audit revealed the contract -- awarded without competitive bids and for software that is little used -- could cost taxpayers an additional $41 million over the next six years. Davis ordered state Attorney General Bill Lockyer to expand an investigation into the contract to determine whether any state laws were broken.


Fandango.com sues Moviefone

Online movie ticketing site Fandango.com has sued AOL Time Warner Inc.'s rival service Moviefone, alleging it interfered with a ticketing deal with the Lowes theater chain in a way that threatened Fandago's survival. The suit, filed in a Los Angeles court, claims Moviefone negotiated with the Loews Cineplex theater chain to abandon the chain's exclusive advanced-ticketing agreement with Fandango for a competing deal with Moviefone. The suit also names as a defendant Onex Corp., a Canadian conglomerate that took a controlling interest in Loews after the theater chain emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month.

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EMI division will allow CD burning

A Nashville, Tenn.-based division of EMI Music is cooperating with BurnItFirst.com, a Web site that allows music fans to download files that can be transferred onto CDs or portable players. The site, which is operated by Liquid Audio, a developer of piracy-prevention technology, lists 131 artists whose work can be purchased, 20 songs for $9.95. Liquid Audio has signed an agreement with EMI's Christian music division to provide the Web site with its music catalog.


Survey: Web newspaper readers spend more money online

People who read online newspapers tend to be Internet "power users," spending more time and money online than general Web users, according to a new report from the Newspaper Association of America. Newspaper Web sites also were rated the number one source of local news and information online, beating out other local media sites and national brands such as Yahoo!. In addition, the report said the longer someone has been an online user, the more likely he or she is to turn to online newspapers for news and information. John F. Sturm, NAA's president and chief executive officer said, "Rather than becoming the replacement for its print version ... the Internet has afforded newspapers a unique opportunity to leverage the news and information, and the interested audience, into a new medium."

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$40 million to be spent on Trip.com

Trip Network has unveiled a $40 million advertising campaign to relaunch its Trip.com travel site, in an attempt to capture a segment of the online travel market dominated by Expedia and Travelocity.com. As part of the promotion, the company is giving away 10 free airline tickets a day between April 30 and May 13. Travel giant Cendant acquired Trip.com when it purchased computer-reservation systems company Galileo in October. A previous version of the Trip.com site debuted in January.


Apple introduces $1,000 eMac

Apple Computer has introduced a new $1,000 computer with all the computing power of an iMac for about three-fourths the price -- but there is a catch. The offer is only for students and teachers. The new machine called the eMac -- as in "education" -- looks like a glossy-white gumdrop and functions much the same as a $1,400 iMac, except that it features a 17-inch video monitor instead of the iMac's adjustable flat-panel screen. The machine will be available in May but only to schools.


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