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MORNING PREP - MORNING PREP - MORNING PREP - MORNING PREP

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! CYBER CORNER !

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IN THE NEWS: RADIO SHACK TO CLOSE SOME 1,100 STORES

NEW YORK (AP) — Radio Shack is having trouble making it in an electronics world where radios are far from the minds of the customers they want to attract. And now the company says it will try making a go of it with fewer stores around. Radio Shack is closing up to 1,100 stores — or about one in five of its current locations in the U.S. No immediate word which stores will close or how many jobs will be affected. The closings will leave Radio Shack with more than 4,000 stores in the U.S. That is still far more than Best Buy and almost as many as Wal-Mart. However Radio Shack has had trouble lining up its products to match a consumer base that has waning interest in getting things like odd-sized batteries and remote-controlled toys — and more interest in smartphones, tablets and the like.

IN THE NEWS: ANOTHER BITCOIN EXCHANGE CLOSES

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Another one bites the dust — another bitcoin outlet, that is. This time, it's the Flexcoin bank that has gone away — less than a week after the Mt. Gox exchange disappeared. Flexcoin claims it took a major hit after computer hackers robbed it of its digital currency. The Mt. Gox exchange also said its failure was due to an e-ripoff. Unlike banks that deal in government-backed currencies, Flexcoin's losses aren't covered by deposit insurance. The twin collapses of Mt. Gox and Flexcoin are raising more doubts about the ability of bitcoins to be a major player as an alternative currency.

ON THE WEB: TRAVOLTA VERBAL GAFFE REVERBERATES IN SOCIAL MEDIA

CYBERSPACE (AP) — It was the slip of a tongue that launched tens of thousands of tweets — not to mention a Facebook page dedicated to the mispronunciation. No sooner than John Travolta butchered the name of Idina Menzel on the Oscars telecast Sunday night, there was a Twitter account with the handle @adeladazeem — the name that came out of Travolta's mouth when he tried to introduce the Tony Award winning performer. That account already has some 20,000 followers. And on Facebook, there is Travolta-fier Name Generator. You type in any name — and it generates a similar mispronunciation.

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Online:

Twitter site: http://www.Twitter.com

Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com

IN STORES: TV VIEWERS TRENDING TOWARD STREAMING

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Don't look now, but there may soon be a sea change in the way people watch TV shows. And that change may be starting to take shape with the recent deal between Dish Network and Disney. The collaboration will eventually enable the satellite service to live-stream Disney-owned channels over the Internet to customers' smartphones, tablets, video game consoles and similar devices. It's seen as an acknowledgment to the video industry that a growing number of customers are cool with the idea of cutting the cord that attaches their TVs to a satellite dish or cable box. Fewer young people are opting for the big-ticket bundled services offered for TV, phone and Internet service, preferring to pick and choose which channels they want — and when and how they want to watch them. The flip side is that because such streaming services are delivered through the Internet, they can put a strain on Internet providers, such as cable companies — which not only have to provide stepped-up broadband service to satisfy existing customers — but also stand to lose customers to rivals that stream video.

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Online:

Dish Network site: http://www.dish.com

Disney site: http://www.disney.com

by Oscar Wells Gabriel II

Oscar Gabriel can be reached at ogabriel@ap.org.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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