Tuesday Morning Cyber Corner

IN THE NEWS: AT&T AND JUSTICE DEPARTMENT DELAY ANTITRUST TRIAL

WASHINGTON (AP) — AT&T and the Justice Department have agreed to lay down their swords — for now, anyway. The two sides have delayed their upcoming antitrust trial over the phone company's proposed acquisition of rival T-Mobile. For now, the two companies are still hashing out whether the deal will be consummated. And that meant that U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle could move quickly to cancel the February trial and set a January 18 hearing about the future of the deal. The corporate marriage, worth $39 billion, has been under increasing government opposition — and analysts now give it a slim chance to go forward. The two companies say the delay in the trial will give both firms "time to evaluate all options."

IN THE NEWS: OOPS! VERIZON EMERGENCY ALERT SCARES THOUSANDS IN NEW JERSEY

NEWARK, New Jersey (AP) — Imagine how you would feel if you got a text on your phone warning that there was a "civil emergency" and that you should "take shelter now." Then, imagine how you'd feel once you found out it was all a mistake. That's what some customers of Verizon in New Jersey experienced yesterday when the company sent out a text alert to three counties warning of an emergency. The message was supposed to be a test — but it wasn't labeled as one. That caused hundreds of concerned people to call local and state offices, trying to find out what was going on. Within 90 minutes, the state homeland security and emergency management offices posted on Twitter that no emergency existed — but that was too late for those who were already panicked. In an email, Verizon apologized for any inconvenience or concern the message caused. The company didn't say why the message was sent without being labeled as a test — or whether yesterday's incident was the first time something like that had happened.

ON THE WEB: RICK PERRY'S "BROKEBACK" JACKET

NEW YORK (AP) — Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry's newest campaign ad has become an online sensation. But not for the reason Perry had in mind when he made it. The ad has gotten nearly 650,000 "dislikes" on YouTube, compared to just 20,000 likes. And it has triggered nearly 700 spoof videos. The ad claims President Barack Obama is waging a "war on religion" by supporting gays in the military. But some who responded to the Perry ad claim he looks like a gay cowboy from the movie "Brokeback Mountain."

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Online:

YouTube site: http://www.youtube.com

IN STORES: POWERBAG

NOVI, Michigan (AP) — It's one thing to put your phone or portable media device into a backpack. But what about a backpack that can put a charge into one of those devices? That's the idea behind the Powerbag series of backpacks and cases. No matter the color, style or size, each contains a complete charging system that can provide the power for any number of things that need juice on the go. There are varieties of sizes and colors and power supplies — but each of the bags has a built-in battery and connectors that can hook up to an Apple device, mini- or micro-USB port as well as to a standard USB port. All four devices can be powered at the same time — and the battery is strong enough to charge the average smartphone at least twice. The bags are both lightweight and strong enough to carry a laptop as well as a number of devices — and there are any number of compartments, pouches and pockets to fit it all in. The carrying strap is comfortable enough to wear the bag easily, so you don't drain yourself of power while topping off the batteries on your devices. And for a limited time — if you buy online — you can get free ground shipping on your order.

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Online:

Powerbag site: http://www.mypowerbag.com

by Oscar Wells Gabriel II
Oscar Gabriel can be reached at ogabriel@ap.org.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


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