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Posts published in January 2009

Snuffed out

smoke

A few blocks down the street is a pub that features, besides its beverages and pool tournaments, some above-average burgers, fries and other comfort food. We've eaten there only occasionally, though; the barrier has been its status as a smoking-allowed establishment.

After today, that will be no more, and the smoke and tobacco gradually will start to clear out. And we may become more consistent customers. The turning point is a change in Oregon law, banning smoking in most of the remaining business and public places where it has been allowed until now - a law that generally matches with one passed not long ago in Washington. Studies there showed a period of static business for some months after the change, and then growth - in many cases, new prosperity for establishments that went no-smoke. We'll be watching to see if that happens in Oregon too. We guess it will.

Memorializing the occasion, a longish set of posts - linking here to the first one - in the Portland Mercury blog - touring the end of an era in the Portland bar scene.

This could be a big one

Hard to know exactly how seriously to take this: It is marked in a number of places (seen here via the Slog, twice removed) somewhat as rumor, and yet the details of a mass layoff at Microsoft seem quite specific:

Currently Microsoft employs about 90,000 people across the world and from what we're hearing, some 15,000 of those are expected to be giving marching orders come January 15th. That's almost 17 percent of Microsoft's total work force, not exactly a small number. So far, we haven't managed to confirm what departments or regions will be hit the worst, but we're hearing that MSN might be carrying the brunt of the layoffs. We're also hearing rumors about the possibility of somewhat larger staff cuts at Microsoft EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa).

The source is described as ordinarily sound but not entirely reliable. But, as we begin 2009, something to watch for.