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Ursula M. Burns: Diva In Charge!

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Ursula M. Burns serves as Madam Chairman and CEO of Xerox. She is the first African-American woman CEO to head a Fortune 500 company. She is also the first woman to succeed another woman as head of a Fortune 500 company. In 2009, Forbes rated her the 14th most powerful woman in the world.

 

 

 

Apple’s next-generation iPhone liveblog!

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Larry Levan: International DJ

 

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Larry Levan (born Lawrence Philpot, July 20, 1954 – November 8, 1992) was an American DJ best known for his decade-long residency at the New York City night club Paradise Garage, which has been described as the prototype of the modern dance club. He developed a cult following who referred to his sets as “Saturday Mass“. Influential US DJ François Kevorkian credits Levan with introducing the dub aesthetic into dance music. Along with Kevorkian, Levan experimented with drum machines and synthesizers in his productions and live sets, ushering in an electronic, post-disco sound that presaged the ascendence of house music

 

Levan got his start alongside DJ Frankie Knuckles at the Continental Baths, as a replacement for the DJ from The Gallery, Nicky Siano. Levan’s DJing style was influenced by Siano’s eclectic style, and by The Loft’s David Mancuso, who briefly dated Levan in the early 1970s. As Knuckles was still trying to make his way in the New York club scene, Levan became a popular attraction perhaps due to his “diva persona”, which he developed in the city’s notoriously competitive black drag “houses”.

 

At the height of the disco boom in 1977, Levan was offered a residency at the Paradise Garage. Although owner Michael Brody, who employed Levan at the defunct Reade Street, intended to create a downtown facsimile of Studio 54 catering to an upscale white gay clientele, Levan initially drew an improbable mix of streetwise blacks, Latinos, and punks.

 

Open only to a select membership and housed in an otherwise unadorned building on King Street in Greenwich Village, the club and Levan’s DJing slowly engendered themselves into the mainstream. The DJ and programming director from WBLS, Frankie Crocker often mentioned the club on air and based his playlists around Levan’s sets. The Richard Long & Associates Sound system,(RLA) of the club included custom-designed “Levan Horn Bass Speakers”.

 

Filling the void left by leading remixer Walter Gibbons, Levan became a prolific producer and mixer in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with many of his efforts crossing over onto the national dance music charts. Among the records that received Levan’s touch were his remixes of “Ain’t Nothin’ Goin On But The Rent” by Gwen Guthrie and “Heartbeat” by Taana Gardner, as well as his production work on “Don’t Make Me Wait” by the Peech Boys, a group that Levan formed and was part of (and who became the New York Citi Peech Boys when the Beach Boys threatened a lawsuit due to the similar sound of the name).

 

With a strong gospel tinge in the vocal arrangements and driven by a tinkling piano, the latter song is a quintessential example of the deejay’s soulful aesthetic. One of the first dance releases to incorporate a dub influence and an appended vocal-only edit, Levan tinkered with the song for nearly a year to the consternation of Mel Cheren, whose label, West End Records, was nearing bankruptcy. When it was finally released, much of the song’s momentum had been lost and it stalled in the lower reaches of the charts.

 

As the popularity of the Garage soared in the mid-1980s just as many of his longtime friends lost their battles with AIDS, Levan became increasingly dependent upon PCP and heroin. While performing, he began to ensconce himself within a protective entourage of drag queens and younger acolytes.

 

At the Paradise Garage, Levan was described as being ‘worshipped, almost like a god’. As beat-matching and stylistic adherence became the norm among club DJs, Levan’s idiosyncratic sets (ranging the gamut from Evelyn “Champagne” King and Chaka Khan to Kraftwerk, Manuel Göttsching, & British synth-pop) elicited criticism from some quarters. Nevertheless, he remained at the vanguard of dance music; recordings of Levan’s later sets at the Garage demonstrate his affinity for the insurgent sounds of Chicago house and hip-hop.

 

The Garage ended its run with a 48 hour-long party in September 1987,weeks before Brody died from AIDS-related complications. The closure devastated Levan, who knew that few club owners would tolerate his quirks and drug dependencies. Although Brody had verbally bequeathed the club’s sound and lighting systems to Levan, they were instead left to Brody’s mother in his will. This change was reportedly instigated by the late impresario’s lover and manager, who reportedly despised Levan.

 

Despite protestations and pleas to the Brody family from Mel Cheren, the systems remained in storage as their property. Unable to secure a long-term residency after a stay at the short-lived Choice in the East Village alongside DJ/proprietor Richard Vasquez and Joey Llanos, Levan began to sell his valuable records for drug money. Friends like Danny Krivit would buy them back for him out of sympathy.

 

As the nineties dawned, Levan was on the brink of a comeback. Although dismissed as a relic in New York, his popularity had soared among connoisseurs of disco and early American electronic dance music in Europe and Japan. In 1991, he was brought over for the weekend to London by Justin Berkmann to DJ at London’s Ministry of Sound nightclub where he ended up staying for 3 months remixing, producing and helping to tune the club’s sound system.

 

Although he was still dependent on heroin, Levan’s 1992 tour of Japan garnered gushing accolades in the local press. Encouraged by Cheren, he entered rehab and made a tentative return to the studio. On the contrary, he informed his mother in June 1992 that he had “lived a good life” and was “ready to die”; Francois Kevorkian described Levan’s final Japanese sets as nostalgic and inspirational, imbued with an air of bittersweetness and closure.

 

 

Shortly after returning home from Japan, Levan voluntarily entered the hospital. He died four days later on November 8 of heart failure caused by endocarditis.In September 2004, Levan was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame for his outstanding achievement as a DJ.

 

iPhone6: Coming Soon?

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Apple is exploring launching iPhones with bigger screens, as well as  cheaper models in a range of colors, over the next year, said four  people with knowledge of the matter, as it takes a cue from rival  Samsung.



The moves, which are still under discussion, underscore  how the California-based firm that once ruled the smartphone market is  increasingly under threat from its aggressive South Korean competitor.  Samsung has overtaken Apple in market share through the popularity of  its bigger-screen Galaxy “phablets” and by flooding the market with a  range of products at different prices.



Apple is looking at  introducing at least two bigger iPhones next year — one with a 4.7-inch  screen and one with a 5.7-inch screen — said the sources, including  those in the supply chain in Asia. They said suppliers have been  approached with plans for the larger screens, but noted it is still  unclear whether Apple will actually launch its flagship product in the  larger sizes.



“They constantly change product specifications  almost to the final moment, so you’re not really sure whether this is  the final prototype,” said one person with direct knowledge of the  matter.
Apple declined to comment.



Under pressure
Apple’s  possible shift to offer what is often referred to as “phablets” —  chunkier smartphones not quite big enough to qualify as tablets — comes  as the long-time consumer and investor darling faces pressure to deliver  more than one new handset model a year. Critics say its pace of  innovation has slowed since the death of legendary co-founder Steve  Jobs.



The iPhone 5 launched last September was the first to veer  away from the Apple phone’s 3.5-inch screen, which Jobs famously deemed  “the perfect size for consumers” and had been used in every iPhone since  the iconic device was unveiled in 2007.



The current iPhone 5 has  one of the smaller screens among the best-selling smartphones in the  mobile market, where consumers spend more time browsing the web and  streaming content. Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 2 have 5-inch and  5.5-inch screens, respectively.



For this year, Apple is expected  to launch two new models, widely referred to as the iPhone 5S, with new  fingerprint technology, and a cheaper version in plastic casing, supply  chain sources have said. Apple plans to dress up the cheaper phone in a  range of 5-6 colors to differentiate it from the more expensive model  that has traditionally come only in black and white.



The U.S. firm  has discussed a price of $99 for the cheaper phone, the timing of which  could slip to next year, one of the people said. It’s not yet clear  what the final price would be.



Apple — whose revenue growth has  decelerated from the heady days of 2010 when it introduced the iPad and  when the iPhone was the world’s top selling smartphone — has sought ways  to re-energize its flagship line.



Broader product range
Analysts  say the company needs a cheaper gadget to push on in growth markets in  China and India, and to counter Samsung’s edge in having phones priced  up and down the spectrum. China, the world’s biggest smartphone market,  is set to grow 48 percent this year, outpacing the global increase of 31  percent, according to industry forecasts.



While Apple only  offers a single phone model across all markets, it has successfully  marketed the iPod music player and its iPad in different sizes and at  varying prices. Asked at last month’s AllThingsD industry conference why  Apple hasn’t launched different sized iPhones, CEO Tim Cook said: “We  haven’t so far. That doesn’t shut off the future.”



He explained  that the range of iPods serve different audiences and needs. “On the  phone, that’s the question. Are we now at a point to serve enough people  that we need to do that?”
Cook noted a larger screen comes with trade-offs on features such as battery life, resolution and brightness.



Test  production for both the standard and cheaper iPhone models aims to  start next month, with mass production ramping up in August to meet a  September launch target, two people said.



“Trial production was  originally planned to start in June, but the mixing of colors is taking  longer than expected as Apple has very high and idealistic standards,”  said one source in Asia, adding 20 million plastic iPhones are expected  to ship in the October-December quarter.



Japan’s Sharp and Japan  Display and South Korea’s LG will supply the panels for the aluminum  iPhone 5S and the plastic iPhone, while Hon Hai Precision Industry will  assemble the higher-end phone and Pegatron will put together the cheaper  model.

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