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In the film “Ocean’s Eleven,” George Clooney robbed a casino. Soon he will build one.

Clooney, nightclub owner Rande Gerber and two Las Vegas real-estate companies are expected to announce plans today to construct a $3 billion casino, boutique hotel and condominium project near The Strip.

The 300-room, high-end hotel will be the centerpiece of the 25-acre, Spanish-themed Las Ramblas development.

“We will have some sort of dress code so that it will feel like you are walking into a more formal Las Vegas of a different age or a classic Monte Carlo casino,” the actor said.

The project will also include 1,326 condo-hotel units and 2,764 residential condos. Completion is expected in 2008.

Clooney and Gerber, husband of supermodel Cindy Crawford, will work with joint-venture partners Related Las Vegas and Centra Properties.

Apple Computer

Freescale chips still on the table

Apple Computer said it has an option to keep buying microprocessors from Freescale Semiconductor, three months after saying Macs will switch to Intel chips next year.

Freescale, which makes the computer chips used in Apple’s notebook and the Mac mini PCs, is “obligated to supply its microprocessors for orders” through December 2008, Apple said Friday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The purchase agreement comes after Apple said in June that it will switch its computers to microprocessors from Intel, whose chips run more than 80 percent of the world’s PCs, starting in June 2006.

Apple has been relying on processors from Austin, Texas-based Freescale, which was spun off from Motorola, and IBM to power its Macs.

“Apple is under no obligation to purchase Freescale microprocessors other than work in progress that was in place at the time the agreement was executed” on Aug. 22, Apple said in the filing. Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said the company had no other comment.

Freescale spokesman Glaston Ford had no comment on the filing.

Sirius Satellite Radio

Wearable player coming in October

Sirius Satellite Radio plans to start selling its first wearable music player in stores in October, about a year after rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings launched its own version.

The new device unveiled Thursday includes enough storage capacity for up to 50 hours of recorded Sirius content or audio files. Unlike XM’s portable device, MyFi, Sirius’ product will not be able to receive satellite signals on the go and must be plugged into a docking station. But, at roughly the size of Apple Computer’s popular iPod music player, Sirius’ “s50” is a bit smaller than XM’s MyFi. The s50 will sell for $360.


Program backs up laptop documents

IBM plans to introduce a program that automatically backs up documents on laptops to guard against viruses, file corruption and theft.

The software, which will go on sale Sept. 6 for $35 a laptop or $995 for each server, continuously saves changes and sends copies of documents to a remote server or memory card, said Mike Nelson, IBM’s director of Internet technology and strategy, in an interview.

The programs will help IBM tap demand from companies seeking to reduce or eliminate damage from data losses. More than 30 percent of data loss is due to human error, and 2,000 laptops are lost or stolen every day, IBM said. Rivals for similar automatic archiving software include Microsoft’s Data Protection Manager and Veritas Software’s Panther.

U.S. Copyright Office

Registration takes Internet Explorer

A government program to let artists go online to register certain works for copyright protection would mandate the use of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser, raising charges that the effort is limiting the open use of the World Wide Web.

Experts argue that the plan by the U.S. Copyright Office is setting a bad precedent and should work with all browsers. Common technical standards are designed to ensure that such programs are universally accessible, just as electrical lines are not limited to certain appliance brands or highways to certain cars.

The copyright policy, set to take effect in October, would allow certain types of works to be “preregistered” for protection before they are released in the marketplace. The goal, set out by Congress, is to discourage piracy of movies and other digital entertainment, which often are stolen shortly before their release and circulated for free on the Internet.

Copyright Office officials said the requirement to use Microsoft’s browser to file the registration was not intended to favor one company or product over others. Internet Explorer is used by a large majority of computer users, but competitors include Safari by Apple Computer, Netscape by Time Warner and open-source browsers such as Firefox.


Viiv brand aimed at home entertainment

Intel, whose chips run more than 80 percent of the world’s personal computers, unveiled its new Viiv brand for desktop models aimed at broadening sales into home-entertainment systems.

The new package of chips, whose name rhymes with “five,” will go on sale early next year. Devices with Viiv may look more like DVD players than PCs and will switch on instantly via remote control, Don MacDonald, who heads Intel’s digital-home group, said at the company’s developer conference in San Francisco.

The introduction marks Intel’s first new brand since March 2003, when its best-selling Centrino chipset for laptops debuted. Intel is adding capabilities such as TV and audio to help its PC-maker customers grab consumer-electronics orders.

Compiled from Bloomberg News, Dow Jones Newswires and the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service