Mon10202014

News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Business Briefs

WIMM partners with Foxconn

Los Altos-based WIMM Labs received a second round of financing from Hon Hai Precision Industries, which will enable a new class of personal connected micro devices.

“As digital information becomes increasingly vital to our daily lives, we need ways to make it more accessible, timely and relevant,” said Dave Mooring, WIMM chairman and CEO.

Foxconn was a trade name of Hon Hai before becoming a subsidiary of the company in 2000. WIMM initiated technology collaboration with Foxconn and received a Series A investment from the company in 2010.

The WIMM platform includes embeddable, touch-screen-driven hardware, an open-application environment and tightly integrated Web services. The company enables consumer brand licenses in mobile, sports, health, fashion, finance and consumer electronics to roll out connected smart devices that deliver functionality such as command and control, personal productivity and information monitoring and display.

To expand its platform in the market, WIMM Labs has access to Foxconn’s development resources, reach and turnkey scale.

“Foxconn is synonymous with world-class manufacturing and supports many of the largest names in the computer and consumer technology industries,” said Michael Gifford, WIMM’s vice president of product development. “We have had the unique opportunity to collaborate closely with an exceptional development team on a new platform for connected wearable technology and other types of smart devices.”

Guardian Analytics earns ‘visionary’ distinction

Gartner Inc. has positioned Los Altos-based Guardian Analytics in the “visionary” quadrant of the Magic Quadrant for Fraud Detection. Gartner’s quadrant applies graphical information and a uniform set of evaluation criteria to assist people in analyzing a company. Other quadrant categories include challengers, leaders and niche players.

Guardian Analytics focuses on preventing Web-based banking fraud and offers advanced solutions to institutions of all sizes. The company’s approach to detecting account takeover and fraudulent transactions is built on behavioral analytics, online banking and online fraud.

In Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report, the company’s vice president and analyst, Avivah Litan, reported that the Web-fraud detection market grew 35 percent in 2010 as cybercrime and malware-based attacks proliferated. Banking Trojans, such as Zeus, spread across the globe, circumventing strong user authentication, often stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time.

“Some hackers studied user and account behavior before pouncing on their targets, and were able to evade some advanced profiling systems where models were not tuned or were out of date,” Litan wrote. “Thus, the ability to ward off these online attacks was an important factor that went into the product rating for the vendors evaluated in this Magic Quadrant.”

Guardian’s FraudMAP protects financial institutions and their customers by identifying suspicious activities relative to normal behavior that inform the detection of account takeover and fraudulent transactions, identifying a wide range of manual and malware-driven attacks.

Guardian uses a mathematically predictive-behavior scoring model that is self-learning, as opposed to a rules-based system, to detect fraud.

“Our customers say that FraudMAP has been very effective at stopping fraud, saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars, as well as reputational integrity,” said Guardian CEO Terry Austin. “We believe the recognition as a ‘visionary’ coupled with our rapid new customer acquisition is proof that our approach is what is needed to prevent fraud in the online banking environments of today and the future.”

Senate bill expands small-claims court access

The state Senate last week voted unanimously to approve SB 221, a bill to expand access to small-claims court by raising the jurisdictional limit from $7,500 to $10,000.

Authored by Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), the increase follows the senator’s successful effort in 2005 – SB 422 – to increase the previous limit from $5,000 to $7,500.

“This bill seeks to close a gap in the justice system,” Simitian said. “For individuals with damages of less than $10,000, justice is difficult to come by, and the usual result is to settle at the jurisdictional limit – just $5,000 a few years ago, and now $7,500. Senate Bill 221 will help close that gap, and provide civil litigants access to a process that is fair, timely and affordable.”

Early concerns that a jurisdictional-limit increase would generate an unmanageable rise in new cases proved unfounded following SB 422’s implementation, and the Judicial Council of California subsequently concluded that small-claims court “provides a more speedy and efficient forum for resolving relatively small disputes.”

The council’s senior attorney, Daniel Pone, said rising litigation costs make it difficult to find attorneys willing to take cases valued at relatively low amounts.

“The current jurisdictional limit forces individuals with claims between $7,500 and $10,000 to represent themselves in a limited civil case, which is inefficient and burdensome for both litigants and the courts,” he said.

The new bill retains key protections in the 2005 legislation, including enhanced training requirements for temporary judges and increased funding for small- claims advisers.

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