Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Stock market off to rocky start in 2014

The stock market is off to a poor start in 2014, remaining in the red after the first six starts in the new year. A search for possible reasons turns up nebulous results, but changes taking place in the software industry should be discussed as a factor.

As Internet connection speeds improve and more software moves into the cloud, numerous changes are taking place. Consumers prefer the cheaper, faster-booting and virus-free Chromebooks over Windows PCs.

PC shipments fell 10 percent in 2013, which made for poor holiday sales and indicated how consumers and businesses are moving away from desktop computers and flocking to notebooks and mobile devices.

The demise of the PC market is evident in Microsoft’s plan to end support for its 13-year-old Windows XP operating system in April. Also contributing to the decline are the Microsoft Windows operating system users who are switching to PCs powered by Google’s Chrome operating system. Google doesn’t charge a licensing fee to use its operating system.

Marking further changes to the PC market, Toshiba Corp. joined the growing list of Chromebook vendors when it unveiled its Chromebook system at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. Toshiba’s Chromebook will compete with models from all major PC manufacturers.

Following is an update on two Town Crier “50” stocks impacted by changes in the software industry.

• Microsoft Corp. (MSFT; $35.26) is still looking for a new CEO. When Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally asked that his name be removed from consideration for Microsoft’s CEO position last week, the stock price dropped 2 percent.

Whoever is hired will be a breath of fresh air after 13 years of Steve Ballmer’s tenure – the stock has dropped 38 percent since he took over.

Microsoft’s strongest growth driver is its commercial cloud service. Cloud services revenue grew $261 million, or 103 percent, during the first quarter of the current fiscal year compared to last year’s first quarter. Microsoft already has two cloud businesses – Azure and Office 365 – that are growing rapidly and account for more than 1 billion in annual revenues.

Microsoft’s strong financial position allows it to support quarterly dividend payments, repurchase its own shares and buy other companies. The company just acquired Parature, a developer of a cloud-based customer support platform.

Last month Microsoft announced a $7.5 billion transaction to acquire Nokia Corp.’s mobile device business, enabling Microsoft to compete with Apple and Google in the smartphone market. Dividend income is an important factor in my investment decisions, and Microsoft pays a nice dividend and has enough money to buy its way into a position to challenge Google and Apple.

• Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO; $22.32) is another company that has taken a beating lately but still has long-term appeal. The share price tumbled more than 15 percent in the month following the release of its November earnings report, when the company revealed that sales in the following quarter would fall as much as 10 percent.

Cisco’s core business – providing a means of connecting devices to one another with security – will continue to grow. However, the company claimed its gloomy outlook via weakness in emerging markets.

The stock yields a dividend of 3.3 percent, roughly four times the industry average. Dividend stocks can make you rich even when they don’t become high-flying growth stocks.

Clyde Noel is a Los Altos Hills resident and investor in stocks. He has a small exposure in Microsoft and Cisco stock.

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