The end of Apple? The latest email missive from entrepreneur and writer Jason Calacanis, who runs the search startup Mahalo, takes Apple and its founder Steve Jobs to task for what he sees as anticompetitive practices. "This note is written from a place of admiration and love," Calacanis writes in a long, anguished preamble in which he explains why he is calling for the government to investigate the much-beloved company. He also says that the situation may sort itself out, either with Apple opening up its iPhone to apps that have not been pre-approved or with competing companies winning over Apple loyalists. "Apple will face a user revolt in the coming years based upon Microsoft, Google and other yet-to-be-formed companies, undercutting their core markets with cheap, stable and open devices," he predicts.

Some good news for the economy. No joke. On Friday, the Labor Department announced that the unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent in July, down --by an ever-so-slight 0.1 percent--from June. It was the first time since April 2008 that the jobless rate fell and, according to the Wall Street Journal, a darn good sign. It's also led some economists to predict that companies are about to begin an aggressive rehiring campaign that could make the competition for top talent especially tight. What better time to plan for the upswing?

53 steps to a better business. You don't start nine companies over the course of eight years without learning a thing or two. Seattle tech entrepreneur Neil Patel shares some of the things he learned from his successes, and his failures, in this blog post, 53 Ways to Become a Better Entrepreneur. Equally as informative is the discussion that follows the post in which online commentors debate the merits of Patel's tips.

Wal-Mart alienates Girl Scouts and experiments with bodegas. peHUB links to a story in CNBC about an opinionated blog post gone awry. In her blog Authentic Organizations, management professor C.V. Harquail, wondered why Wal-Mart shared cookie samples at a BlogHer conference that tasted suspiciously like the kind sold by small armies of green-uniformed Girl Scouts. But her professional complaint about Wal-Mart's leadership and reputation got recast in the blogosphere as one angry Mom vs. a giant corporation. In more fact-based Wal-Mart news, the chain is trying out "a new Latino-themed warehouse store" and Sam's Club spin-off called the Mas Club, reports the Wall Street Journal. "It aims to satisfy the yearnings of recent immigrants for the familiar foods of home -- in American-style bulk sizes." In an effort to test out ways to tailor Sam's Clubs to local tastes, it's also targeting Latinos with a new store called Supermercado de Walmart. A similar effort by Safeway, called Tianguis (a Mexican name for a street market) fizzled twenty years earlier. Now Wal-Mart faces competition from small bodegas and mid-sized chains like Texas' Fiesta Mart.

How do Americans spend their day? This interesting graphic from The New York Times has the answers. In case you were wondering, the time between 10:20 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. is when the largest percentage (33%) of all Americans are at work. (Via Twitter page of David Hauser, co-founder of Boston-based Grasshopper.)

New law helps boost social entrepreneurship. Last week, Illinois became the sixth state to adopt legislation allowing for a new corporate structure that should make it easier for social-entrepreneurship businesses to raise capital. As the Chicago Tribune explains it, Illinois businesses with a socially-beneficial aim can now incorporate as low-profit, limited-liability companies, or L3Cs. L3Cs offer an alternative to traditional non-profit organizations which are limited in the type and scope of the funding they receive. L3Cs have a similar goal to non-profits, but they can distribute profits to shareholders, which should aid in raising capital. "This new form will leverage foundations' program-related investments to attract private capital for the benefit of all of us," said Marc Lane, president of the Chicago chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance.

A wake-up text from Mom and Dad? What if instead of going into your children's room to wake them up for school, you sent them a rise-and-shine text? According to a piece in Sunday's New York Times, that's how the Gudes family and other households are functioning as "the impulse to go online before getting out the door adds an extra layer of chaos to the already discombobulating morning scramble." Where online usage used to start at work, Arbor Networks, a Boston company that measures Internet traffic, is now seeing a huge uptick around 7am EST.

Dirty and dangerous jobs on the rise. The most disturbing finding of this Associated Press story isn't that more Americans are being forced to apply for less-than-desirable jobs. It's that someone's chief task is to slice diseased flesh off chicken carcasses. And you thought being an entrepreneur was tough. (Via Recessionwire.)

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