Apple released its long-awaited Slingplayer Mobile App for the iPhone Tuesday, bringing live television to iPhone users around the world.
The App, which is available now in the iTunes Apps store, costs $29.99, making it one of the most expensive Apps available.
I’ve been testing the App on my iPhone here in Buenos Aires and, with some kinks, it seems to work pretty well. The video quality isn’t nearly as good as it is with downloaded iTunes videos but it’s decent enough.
To access live TV, you have to have a Sling Box simultaneously connected to 1) a TV signal and 2) the Internet. In my case, I have a Slingbox installed in my folks’ house in Colorado. There, the Sling Box takes the incoming cable signal and whips it across the Internet all the way down to my laptop or iPhone here in BA. From my iPhone, I can control the cable signal there in Colorado as if I were actually there, changing the channels, adjusting the volume, etc.
Marcelo Tinelli’s Saturday Night Live-like spoof on Argentina’s top political figures returned to the airwaves Monday night. The skits, which air on Canal 13 at around 11:309pm every night, are about as close as Argentine television comes to producing something like a Saturday Night Live sketch.
Tinelli’s political spoof’s, which are based on a satirical version of the reality show Big Brother, became famous during the failed presidency of Fernando de la Rua. Back then, and even now again, Tinelli made De la Rua look like an utter fool.
But stereotypes, of course, are often based on at least a grain of truth, and Tinelli’s take on De la Rua wouldn’t have worked had De la Rua not been so inept in so many ways.
Almost three quarters of all the software in Argentina is “trucho,” or pirated, according to the new Sixth Annual Global Software Piracy Study.
“The worldwide PC software piracy rate rose for the second year in a row, from 38 percent to 41 percent, because PC shipments grew fastest in high-piracy countries such as China and India, overwhelming progress elsewhere,” the report said.
In Argentina the piracy rate actually fell to 73% from 74% the previous year. The report’s data measure piracy for all of 2008 and do not include data from 2009.
The losses to software companies caused by the sale or downloading of “trucho” programs totaled $339 million last year, down from $370 million a year earlier.
The number of cars stolen in Argentina surged in the first quarter of 2009, according to a new report from the Road Safety and Experimentation Center (CESVI).
Between January and March, almost 15% more cars were stolen than during the same period a year earlier. But it gets worse.
“Although the quarterly increase is alarming, the number for March are even worse,” CESVI said.
Compared with March 2008, car theft is up 26.7% in the country.
This is one of the more bizarre stories I’ve heard in a while, but it’s true.
From a Fox News report:
“Government researchers are spending more than $400,000 in taxpayer money to hit the bars in Argentina. The National Institutes of Health are paying researchers to cruise six bars in Buenos Aires to find out why gay men engage in risky sexual behavior while drunk — and just what can be done about it. Doctors and specialists from the New York Psychiatric Institute are using the generous grant from NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to help tailor HIV prevention programs to work at bars and clubs.”
A National Institutes of Health document, which can be downloaded here, appears to confirm the dollar amount involved in this research. However, according to my calculations, the funding already awarded for this study totals $529,207. Another document, which can be seen here, describes the study’s aims this way:
As many of you already know, the Argentine government in late March increased a range of immigration and travel fees paid by foreigners who visit the country as tourists or live in it as expats.
Some of you have noticed the higher, 300-peso fee now charged for 90-day tourist visa renewals. Renewing the 90-day tourist visa used to cost a mere 50 pesos. For Mercosur citizens the renewal now costs 100 pesos. (You can see some expat reaction to the new fees over at Discover Buenos Aires.)
The new fees, which were published in the Official Bulletin on March 26 and can be seen here in detail (in Spanish), also include a new 1,000-peso fee for getting authorization to change a tourist visa into a work visa.
Argentina has confirmed the country’s first case of the H1N1 flu virus, otherwise known as swine flu, Health Minister Graciela Ocaña said Thursday night.
The virus was confirmed in an Argentine who visited Mexico and returned to Argentina on April 25 feeling asymptomatic. Within 48 hours, however, the person began to feel flu-like symptoms and sought medical help. On doctor’s advise, the unnamed person voluntarily confined himself to his home.
The person has fully recovered and has been given a clean bill of healthy by doctors, Ocaña said. “This is an imported case from an Argentine who was coming back from Mexico,” she said, urging recent travelers to contact health official if they have any flu-like symptoms. “He’s perfectly fine. None of the people he was in contact with have any symptoms.”
United Airlines this week relaxed its frequent flyer mileage requirements for travel between Argentina and the U.S.
United typically requires frequent flyers to use 110,000 miles to fly to Argentina from the U.S. In theory, United also allows customers to make the trip by using only 55,000 “saver” miles.
But until recently, I was never, ever able to actually find an open seat with the so-called “saver” miles.
That has changed, apparently. Given lower demand for travel to Latin America, United lowered the number of saver miles needed for the trip to 40,000:
In another sign that the economy may be in much worse shape than government officials seem willing to admit, companies said their need to hire workers in April fell 48% from the same month a year ago.
Demand for workers also fell almost 12% from March, according to a new labor demand survey by Torcuarto Di Tella University.
A lot of companies are laying off workers or cutting back on hours. But the government is pulling out all the stops to a) prevent firms from firing workers; and b) prevent information about layoffs from becoming public. In some cases, companies are told that if they lay off workers, they will have to deal with vigorous inspections from federal tax officials.
In others, Labor Ministry officials use stringent regulations to delay layoffs for months on end by forcing firms to engage in “conciliatory” negotiations with employees unions.
Businesses naturally complain about the local labor market, saying that the high cost of hiring employees makes them think twice before hiring them. Whatever the benefits or impediments of local labor laws, Argentina seems to be avoiding, for the most part, the mass layoffs that are slamming developed markets.
You can see more about the local jobs market at WSJ.com here and read the survey itself (in Spanish) here.
The number of homes sold in the City of Buenos Aires in March tanked almost 22% compared with the same month a year ago, the public notaries association, or “Colegio de Escribanos,” said Wednesday.
The silver lining for the housing market, if there was one in March, was that sales actually soared 43% compared with the previous month. That sounds pretty impressive. But it’s not really as encouraging as it seems because March sales always jump spectacularly from February, a spokesman for the notaries association said when asked about the data.
Sales are typically low in January and February partly because many buyers are on vacation or taking time off from their search for a new house or apartment.
Still, things could have been worse.
All told, some 3,609 homes were sold in March, compared with 4,622 a year ago and with 2,519 homes in February.
The total value of of the homes sold was 1.06 billion pesos (US $287 million), up from 946 million pesos a year ago. That puts the value of the average home s0ld in March at 295,154 pesos (US $79,556).
Of course, prices vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood, as a reader recently noted.
The California Burrito Company hosted a killer inauguration party Tuesday night to formally celebrate the opening of its new Palermo store.
Excellent live music along with quesadillas, liberal servings of chilled Corona, and a virtually unlimited supply of guac and chips kept people happy as the store’s owners mingled with the crowd and reveled in their growing success.
The CBC now has two locations: one in the microcentro, the other in Palermo. A third store will soon open in the new Dot shopping center located near General Paz and the Panamericana highway.
Lavalle 441 (corner of Reconquista)
Godoy Cruz 1781 (corner of Honduras)
DOT BAIRES SHOPPING
Patio de Comidas
Argentina has 52 possible swine flu cases being tested for confirmation, up from 45 on Monday, the Health Ministry said in a statement Tuesday night.
So far Argentina has had zero confirmed swine flu cases. This will be our last daily swine flu (or H1N1) udpate.
From now on, we’ll post on swine flu only if and when there are confirmed cases. If you need more information, email us, and we’ll try to get it to you.