The $32 million super-phone is dead

Canonical, maker of the popular free operating system Ubuntu, wanted to produce a smartphone to showcase what its forthcoming mobile OS can do.

So it launched an Indiegogo campaign asking backers to help make its project a reality. But this wasn't any ordinary campaign. Not only was Canonical attempting to generate $32 million in funding -- the largest crowdfunding goal ever -- it was asking everyone who actually wanted one to pony up $830 (it would later lower this price to $695).

The price matched the promise: Canonical wanted to produce the best phone on the market, a high-end device that could generate the same sort of consumer lust awarded the Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S 4.

It would have a processor faster than anything available right now. It would have a sapphire screen capable of withstanding extra abuse. And it would be able to function as a full Linux PC when connected to a keyboard and monitor, giving it functionality that most people see as a future innovation.

"Ultimately it would be a great way to bring attention to the fact that convergence is available today," said Canonical Vice President Victor Palau. 

But it wasn't to be: The campaign ended up missing its mark by quite a lot on Wednesday, generating only $12.8 million -- still the most amount of money ever raised by a crowdfunding platform.

Canonical says that it went the crowdfunding route because it had no plans to become a proper hardware maker, and didn't want to accept any sort of investment money. It simply wanted to produce a run of 40,000 devices to show how its software should look and feel on a device.

Now that the campaign is over and dead, Canonical says that it will move on from pursing the Ubuntu Edge smartphone. Instead, the company will work to partner up with hardware manufacturers and push its Mobile Ubuntu platform.

While the Ubuntu Edge project generated more crowdfunding than any other project ever, the Edge project had a fatal flaw: Interesting as its features were, it wouldn't have solved many problems currently found in smartphones.

The proposed processor speed and RAM capacity was more than we've seen in previous devices, but there was nary a word of size, weight, battery life or camera performance, which are very important features to be overlooking. Plus, we wouldn't be seeing this until the middle of 2014 at the earliest, which is enough time for plenty of superior devices to materialize from the big smartphone makers.

And ultimately, the biggest innovation it promises - smartphone/PC convergence - is just something people aren't ready for yet. Being able to use a phone as a PC is 100% dependent on having access to a monitor, mouse and keyboard wherever you want to use it. Easy access to that gear outside the home or office is hardly ubiquitous. In fact, it's quite scarce.

Combine these concerns with the fact that any mobile OS not named iOS or Android faces considerable difficulty attracting third-party app developers, and it's not hard to see why even those who are interested by the idea would have pause.

In the end, it wasn't so much that the Ubuntu edge was a bad idea, or even a preposterous one. It simply was not an idea that addressed any pressing needs or provided new insights on what role technology could play in the lives of normal people. If it had done that, it wouldn't have needed to crowdfund the phone at all.


The Right Online Car Insurance Could Offer Protection Against Criminal Behavior

Some guy in a funny costume flags you down. Here you are a good samaritan thinking you’ll help someone out with directions or something of the like. Then lo and behold, the stranger pulls out a knife and tells you to get out of the car. He jumps in and takes off. This is the new trend for car thieves and you should prepare for this worst-case scenario with the right online car insurance.

Incredible advances in car technology make it harder for auto thieves to continue with conventional car theft methods. Break-ins are becoming less common as most new cars come with built-in theft prevention devices. Still car insurance companies say car theft has not decreased as much as it should because of the new methods criminals are using to steal new cars.

Auto Insurance Companies Say Car Thieves Have Changed their Mode of Operating

Criminals have simply compensated for the new key technology by becoming more brazen. The current approach is carjacking, the theft of parts and car cloning. While online car insurance companies agree that the “traditional” type of auto break-in is less common, criminals are still taking more vehicles by stealing them directly from the owner. Carjacking is an activity that is increasing, as well as other schemes where thieves clone keys and swap the real key with the fake key, later returning to steal the vehicle.

However, car theft is not the only problem, criminals are also taking car parts. These include catalytic converters and other expensive parts that have high scrap value. These are parts that can be swiped in a matter of minutes.

Criminals Are Now Using Technology to Aid Their Activities

technology doesn’t really deter a criminal, but instead often helps them. Many of the car parts that are easily swiped are up online in shopping forums or on websites within minutes. Many of the websites these criminals use to commercialize these parts are even well-known, such as, or In many cases, criminals use technology to change paper documentation and vehicle identification numbers, so they can sell the car without suspicion.

What Should Car Owners Do?

Most carjacking involves a weapon, so you don’t want to confront the carjacker. In stead, your best option is to give up your car and quickly leave the scene. Your car is certainly not worth your life!

However, drivers can take precautions, suggest leading car insurance providers. They should be wary around in the gas stations, parking lots late at night, or other dark isolated areas.

Take Precautions When Buying a Car Especially Right after a Natural Disaster

Online car insurance leaders say consumers should be especially wary of buying cars just after natural disasters, as it is easier for thieves to clone vehicles at such times; a process where thieves change vehicle identification numbers for those of non-stolen vehicles which are no longer in driving conditions. Be sure to always do the following before putting money down on a car:
  • Get a vehicle history report
  • compare vehicle documentation to the VIN numbers on the engine, doors and dashboard. If these don’t all match then don’t go through with the deal.
  • Remember, if the deal looks too good to be true, it usually is.
Bottom Line

By looking for competitive comprehensive car insurance quotes, you can get an online car insurance policy that protects you against auto theft. Besides,  you shouldn’t be too concerned as the number of stolen cars has fallen in the last decade. A statistic which is reflected in the dropping price of comprehensive car insurance coverage. Still, the size of auto insurance claims on cars that are stolen has grown. The reasons for this are:
  • cars have a higher value.
  • higher valued cars are targets for criminals.
So, if you feel your comprehensive auto insurance quotes are too high, you might consider asking whether the insurance provider offers any discounts for anti-theft devices; some insurance providers and state regulations require discounts for cars equipped with these devices.


Car Insurance Discounts – Make the Most of Them

Auto insurance is one of those necessary expenses, at least, that is if, if you drive. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to make too large an auto insurance payment. You can actually find cheap car insurance rates if you shop smart.

Prices for car insurance vary and this difference could imply savings of more than a few hundred dollars, says The Insurance Information Institute.  Most car insurance providers offer many different opportunities for consumers to cut down on premiums. These cuts come in the way of discounts based on many different factors.  You can get discounts for good driving habits, for certain occupations, fancy high-tech devices on your car, and even on the fact that your kids excel at their school work.

Some discounts run across the board while others are specific to certain car insurance companies or premium types.  The following are some of the discounts out there that you should ask about:

Employee or Occupational Discounts

Sometimes the type of work you do can allow you to save money on your car insurance.  Some occupations are less risky than others, involve less time on the road and consequently, fewer accidents, so a car insurance company could offer discounts for certain occupations.

If you are a customer of Farmer’s insurance you could get discounts if you are a police officer, firefighter, doctor, dentist, registered nurse, educator, engineer, or scientist.

Some car insurance companies have long-standing relationships with certain corporations. So employees for those corporations could get discounts on their insurance policy. For instance, Geico, offers an 8% discount to employees of the Warren Buffett Berkshire Hathaway Inc, a company that has many sub corporations like Fruit of the Loom.

Even people that don’t work for anyone but themselves can qualify for discounts. If you stay at home and work from there you could be elible for a discount, especially if you don’t drive all that much.

Good Credit Scores

People with good credit can also qualify for lower traditional or online car insurance quotes. The better your credit is the lower your car insurance rate will be.  Some say a good credit score could cut your car insurance rates by as much as half.

Military Discounts

If you are in the armed forces or in a qualifying ROTC program you may qualify for a military discount. Sometimes these discounts can be as much as 15 percent for military personnel and their families, and this could even include such branches as the National Guard.

Association Discounts

Do you remember being a part of a fraternity or sorority in college? These affinities can also give you a car insurance rate discount.  Many insurance providers offer affinity discounts of up to 8 percent.  These associations could be your state’s Bar Association, Small Business Association, Alumni Association, or other type of program. Be sure to ask about car insurance discounts with both your association and your car insurance provider.

Green Discounts

There is a reason for the cheap online car insurance rates. They offer a greener solution that is ecofriendly. Cutting down on paper and business costs allows a car insurance provider to offer better discounts on policies. Some companies even give you an immediate $50 discount if you sign your policy online.

You’ll also knock down your rates when you reduce your carbon footprint. Reduce your mileage and you reduce your insurance bill.

Those who drive fuel efficient vehicles can also get reduced insurance rates. Some companies offer as much as a 10 percent discount for drivers of hybrid vehicles.

Anti-Theft Device Discounts

Those drivers that love the high tech stuff can also get better insurance rate quotes. Insurance companies offer lower premiums for drivers who use cars equipped with air bags, anti lock brakes, fuel or ignition cut off switches, alarms and tracking systems.  This could mean a savings of almost 25 percent.

The Early Bird Discount

Those who shop early for a car insurance quote can also get larger discounts. Some companies offer a 10 percent discount if you switch your contract over to them before your policy renews.

However, there are also company good-standing discounts. These are discounts offered to long standing customers, so be careful before you jump from one provider to another.

Good Grades Discount

If you have a student on your policy and he/she receives good grades, you could get a discount of up to 20 percent. This is because data shows that the better a student is in school, the less likely he is to have an accident.

Bottom Line

While car insurance discounts are great and may be substantial, and you certainly want to look into every discount available to you, there are insurance companies that still offer better rates even without the discounts.  The key to finding the best car insurance rates lies in uncovering every discount, every price drop or low insurance rate quote and then choosing the option that best fits your needs.


Ryan Gosling Shirtless, Tattooed and Holding a Baby in The Place Beyond the Pines

can't stop staring!

Ryan Gosling is sexy with his shirt off, but he's even sexier holding a baby (just scroll down).

From the look of these photos, the movie star's coming flick The Place Beyond the Pines is going to keep us on the edge of our seats.

Gosling plays Luke, a carnival motorcycle performer turned bank robber who gets entangled with a rookie cop (Bradley Cooper) while trying to provide for his girlfriend (Gosling's real-life love Eva Mendes) and their baby.

Is it just us, or does this adorable daddy-and-baby snapshot get you imagining Ryan as a real-life dad!?

Pines opens in New York and Los Angeles on March 29, followed by a wider release in April.


Debt Collection Horror Stories

Debt collector horror stories abound: There are threats to dig up the dead relatives of those who couldn't pay their funeral bills, promises to imprison debtors or take their children into custody -- even warnings that pets will be killed.

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, collectors are prohibited from threatening violence, using profane language, calling incessantly, inflating a debt and implying they are attorneys. And they can't tell consumers they will arrest them or garnish their wages or property unless they actually plan to take that action and are legally able to do so through a court order. Many states have their own rules governing debt collector practices as well.

These are some of the latest outrageous allegations of abuse:

Threatening to take away children: Last week, the Federal Trade Commission shut down a Texas-based debt collector, Goldman Schwartz, for using deceptive and abusive scare tactics to force people to pay their payday loan debts. Among the alleged offenses: collectors called consumers incessantly, saying "we can take you to jail" or "we'll send the sheriff's department to your job and take care of this the hard way," even though they had no legal basis to do so.

Collectors went so far as to tell consumers that when they go to jail, police or child protective services would take their minor children into government custody, according to the FTC. Goldman Schwartz hasn't responded to the complaint filed by the FTC, and its attorney declined to comment on the case.

Posing as a law firm: To scare consumers into paying, Goldman Schwartz also allegedly posed as a law firm or claimed to work with law enforcement authorities -- even charging unauthorized attorney's fees that it referred to as "juice."

One consumer, who asked to remain anonymous, filed a complaint against Goldman Schwartz claiming its collectors pretended to belong to a law firm one day, and the next day said they worked for local law enforcement. After calling her incessantly over a $300 payday loan debt -- which she said she already paid -- a collector even called her workplace and told her coworkers he was going to come arrest her and they would have to pick her out of a lineup.

Pretending to have legal authority has become a popular tactic among debt collectors. In a separate lawsuit filed by the Pennsylvania Attorney General that's still pending, a debt collector, Unicredit, was charged with decorating an office to look like a courtroom and holding fake court proceedings. The attorney for Unicredit's vice president said "he was not personally involved" in the activities that the lawsuit alleges, and the president's attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

Threatening to dig up dead bodies: Another collection agency, Rumson, Bolling & Associates, was fined more than $700,000 last month for taking harassment to a whole new level. One of the worst offenses listed in the FTC's lawsuit: collectors allegedly threatened to dig up the bodies of debtors' deceased children and hang them from a tree or drop them outside their door if they failed to pay their funeral bills. The defendant's attorney, Christopher Pitet, said the company's owners did their best to ensure collectors complied with the law -- so if any wrongdoing was done, it was done by employees and was against company policy.

Promising to hurt pets: The harassment didn't stop at dead bodies, according to the FTC. Collectors at Rumson, Bolling & Associates also allegedly threatened to kill a debtor's dog. Specifically, collectors told a woman they would have her dog "arrested ... shoot him up and ... eat him," before sending the police to her house to arrest her, the FTC claimed.

Collecting debts owed to other companies: Along with all the harassment, the FTC has seen a new collection scheme pop up: scam artists are stealing customer information from payday loan websites and then disguising themselves as debt collectors and going after the loans customers take out, said Tom Pahl, an assistant director at the FTC.

 In one case, a phony California-based debt collection outfit run by a man named Kirit Patel allegedly collected more than $5.2 million in debts that were owed to payday loan companies -- or weren't owed at all, according to the FTC. The defendant's attorney, Andrew Steinheimer, said Patel was duped into opening the company by someone else and was unaware of any wrongdoing.

The case was referred to the Justice Department, and a federal grand jury indicted Patel last year. If convicted, Patel will face up to 20 years in prison or a fine of $250,000 (or both).

"[These debt collection agencies] continue to taint the professionalism of the vast majority of collectors that do it the right way -- respectfully and in compliance with federal and state laws," said Mark Schiffman, a spokesman for debt collection trade association ACA, which represents more than 3,000 debt collectors.


Warren Buffett's Best Stocks of 2013 Helping Him Beat DJIA/S&P500

2013 is yet another year getting off to a great start for stocks, and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) is actually outperforming the broad stock market so far in 2013. As of Tuesday, the S&P 500-tracking SPDR S&P 500 (NYSEMKT: SPY) is up about 6% and the DJIA-tracking SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEMKT: DIA) is up about 7%. With a 1% gain on Tuesday, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) A shares are up 9.3% and the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-B) B-shares are up by about 8.7%.

We have looked at the year-to-date performance of Warren Buffett's portfolio holdings of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-B) to see which stocks he has that are helping to drive gains so far in 2013.  We looked through all of Warren Buffett's top stock holdings to identify the biggest winners. What is so interesting today is that the actual Berkshire Hathaway shares are outperforming about 90% of the actual stock holdings that make up the Buffett and Berkshire investment portfolio.

We have included the purchase or sale transaction history of each pick. We have also provided color and the implied upside to the Thomson Reuters consensus (mean) price target objective.

Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) remains a relatively new holding for team Buffett but was kept steady last quarter at 27.1 million shares worth more than $1.65 billion. It is also Buffett's top stock in 2013 so far with gains of more than 15%. We expect that the way Mr. Buffett talked so positively about this oil refinery that he may add to the position ahead. We expect upside to the 1.6% dividend yield and this trades with more implied upside as the $61.30 price is short of the consensus analyst price target of $66.38.

Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) has been on fire in 2013 and shares have been hitting new 52-week highs and this DJIA consumer products giant is up about 13.5% so far in 2013. What is interesting is that Mr. Buffett had been lowering his stake and it had fallen by nearly half of its share amount down to 52.8 million shares. That number may be even lower ahead as Buffett tends to keep selling stocks he starts selling out of. If the position is somehow static, that position would be worth more than $4 billion. This hit a 52-week high on Tuesday above $76.50 and the consensus analyst price target is $78.75 with a 3% dividend yield as of now.

We have two runner-ups which we are not formally counting as Buffett's best performing stocks even though they have been in the holdings before. United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE: UPS) is technically the third best position in the Team Buffett portfolio, but there is just one small problem. This had been almost entirely eliminated down to 59,400 shares from 261,900 shares last quarter and versus 1.429 million shares two quarters ago. That being said, this 9% gain year to date is almost immaterial for Berkshire's $242 billion market cap. Ingersoll-Rand (NYSE: IR) is yet another one which would have been great had Buffett remained on its side, but he has sold out of that position in late 2012 as well. That is too bad as this was up 8% year to date in 2013.


Barclays to Slash 3,700 Jobs Amid Cost Cutting

Barclays is axing at least 3,700 jobs and pruning its investment bank as its new boss put his stamp on the troubled British bank by aiming to cut 1.7 billion pounds ($2.7 billion) in annual costs and raise standards after a series of scandals.

The plans form part of an overhaul which Chief Executive Antony Jenkins hopes will convince a sceptical public that he can change a bank which has been dogged by controversy, including a $450 million fine for rigging Libor interbank lending rates.

"I understand the cynics and the sceptics out there, but cynics and sceptics never built anything. It will take years before people actually change their impression of us. I'm not daunted by that at all," Jenkins told BBC radio.

Jenkins is taking a harder line on pay and Barclays said it had cut the average bonus for its investment bankers to 54,100 pounds for last year, down 17 percent on the year. It will pay 1.85 billion pounds in bonuses, down 14 percent on the year.

Barclays said the job cuts will include 1,800 in corporate and investment banking and 1,900 in its European retail and business banking. Finance Director Chris Lucas said 1,600 of the investment bank cuts had already been made.

Jenkins plans to focus investment in Britain, the United States and Africa, and reduce the bank's presence in continental Europe and Asia.

That will include a scaling back of the investment bank's equities and advisory businesses in continental Europe and Asia. It will refocus its retail businesses in Italy, Spain, Portugal and France on mass affluent customers.

Jenkins, 51, has said he expects his plan, dubbed "Project Transform", to take five to 10 years to rebuild Barclays, and has told staff they should leave if they do not want to sign up to the new standards.

Barclays shares were up 4 percent by 0930 GMT, the best performer in a flat European banking index.


Jenkins aims to cut the bank's cost base to 16.8 billion pounds in 2015, excluding one-off costs to achieve that of 2.7 billion over the next three years, and lift its dividend to achieve a 30 percent payout ratio.

The bank will pay a dividend of 6.5 pence per share for 2012 from 6p in 2011, which analysts said was encouraging given that UK regulators are telling banks to conserve capital.

"We take this as a positive for the UK banks - the fact that a bank was allowed to increase its dividend in a backdrop where the Bank of England has been talking about capital holes in the UK banks," said Chira Barua, senior analyst at Sanford Bernstein.

Jenkins, a retail banker who was picked at the end of August to run the bank after his predecessor Bob Diamond was forced to quit, will unveil more details on his plan to media and investors later on Tuesday at London's Edwardian Royal Horticultural Halls.

He will reduce the balance sheet by cutting legacy assets. Barclays held 387 billion pounds in risk-weighted assets at the end of December, but that would be equivalent to 464 billion under stricter capital rules coming into force, and Jenkins said he aims to reduce that to 440 billion by the end of 2015.


Much of his focus has been on changing standards and culture that have been criticised as too lax after the bank's Libor fine, the mis-selling of products to millions of customers and investigations into whether Barclays provided enough disclosure in fundraisings from Middle East investors.

The Financial Services Authority and Serious Fraud Office are investigating certain commercial arrangements between Barclays and Qatari investors related to two 2008 fundraisings.

The bank confirmed it will close its controversial but profitable tax advisory business.

Jenkins' plan to keep but scale back the investment bank was expected, as it contributes more than half of group earnings.

Unveiling the strategic plan alongside annual results, the bank reported a 2012 pretax profit of 246 million pounds, down from 5.9 billion in 2011 due to the cost of compensating customers and losses on the value of its own debt.

However, the bank said its adjusted pretax profit for 2012 was 7.05 billion pounds, up 26 percent on the year and in line with the average forecast by analysts.

Pretax profit at the investment bank rose by 37 percent to 4.1 billion pounds, stronger than expected. Income in the investment bank was down 2 percent from the previous quarter, but up 13 percent on a year ago, with fixed income, equities and advisory arms all up.

The bank said it had a good January. "We've had a good start to the year, pretty much across the board and all businesses so we move into the rest of 2013 with confidence," Lucas told reporters on a conference call.


Grammys Ratings Second Best in 20 Years

Sunday night's Grammy Awards drew 28.12 million viewers, a 29.5 percent drop from the record-breaking CBS telecast in 2012. (Viewers between 18 and 49 also dropped 27 percent.) The decline was no surprise – last year, the extraordinary circumstances of Whitney Houston's unexpected death a day before the show led to a hastily arranged tribute starring Jennifer Hudson. Still, the numbers for this year's 55th annual ceremony were strong, as the live broadcast from the Staples Center in Los Angeles landed its second-best TV ratings since 1993.

Albums may not sell the way they did 20 years ago, but the record industry's star power remains surprisingly resilient, and the broadcast nicely mixed established names with rising talent and drama both manufactured and poignant. The world's two best-selling pop stars, Taylor Swift (in a circus-like opening performance of "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together") and Adele (whose acceptance speech for Best Pop Vocal Performance for a live version of "Set Fire to the Rain" was far briefer and less all-encompassing than last year), were present, of course. So were veterans such as Mumford & Sons, Justin Timberlake and Kelly Clarkson.

But the show's most intriguing performances came via big-time debuts – Miguel (who dueted with rapper Wiz Khalifa in black-and-white jackets), Frank Ocean (who performed "Forrest Gump" and won Best Urban Contemporary Album), Fun. (which performed "Carry On" and won both Song of the Year and Best New Artist) and Gotye (who won Record of the Year). Making a case for the future health of rock were the Black Keys (who won for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Album and killed it with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Dr. John on "Lonely Boy") and Jack White (who provided old-fashioned rebellion with an apparent f-bomb during "Love Interruption").

Subplots, amplified by Twitter and Facebook, were also plentiful – Katy Perry's cleavage openly flaunted the Grammys' (perhaps savvy) pre-show memo mandating that stars cover up;  Chris Brown pointedly remained seated during a standing ovation as his rival, Ocean,  accepted his award; Brown and Rihanna, once embroiled in domestic violence, sat with each other; and online GIFs replayed Swift cheerily bopping to Mumford and other acts.

As with last year's broadcast, the "in memoriam" section was sadly robust. Two of the show's most emotional highlights were tributes to the Band's Levon Helm (starring Elton John and an overwhelming Mavis Staples) and the closing hip-hop homage to Beastie Boy Adam "MCA" Yauch (with Public Enemy's Chuck D, host LL Cool J and Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello). If Ocean, Miguel, Fun., Black Keys and Gotye develop to their potential, perhaps future Grammys won't need death for ratings success.


Stars load up on freebies

Sundance is as much about movies as it is about swag. Maybe even more so, in recent years, as celebrities have loaded up on clothes, gadgets, even pet gear.

We're talking about loads of freebies showered on the stars who attend the film festival in Utah.

This year, one of the most coveted items is the special edition white Burnett jacket from Canada Goose, one of the festival's sponsors. Only 300 are being given out. Two of the recipients thus far: Ellen Page, Dave Grohl and Josh Radnor. And there's a version for sale for $650 for regular non-Hollywood folk.

And on the beauty side of things, Fresh is gifting stars -- including Very Good Girls cast members Elizabeth Olsen and Dakota Fanning -- with its Lotus Youth Preserve face cream and Sugar Petal lip balm.

Meanwhile, in the nation's capital, inaugural activities are in full swing.

And that also means gifting.

One key item: The simulated pearl necklace from jewelry designer Kenneth Jay Lane, which is included in the official inaugural gift bag handed out at the Creative Coalition gala.


Oprah interview with Lance Armstrong airs January 17

(CNN) -- Lance Armstrong will give his first television interview since being stripped of his Tour de France titles to Oprah Winfrey, her network announced Tuesday.

A news release from the Oprah Winfrey Network said the 90-minute "no-holds-barred" interview will air at 9 p.m. ET January 17 and will be simulcast on

Winfrey will ask the disgraced cycling star to address the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's report, which said there was overwhelming evidence he was directly involved in a sophisticated doping program, the statement said.

The International Cycling Union, which choose not to appeal the USADA's lifetime ban, stripped Armstrong of his record seven Tour victories in October.

The World Anti-Doping Agency also agreed with the sanctions, which means Armstrong may not compete in sports governed by WADA code.

Before the ban, he was competing in Ironman triathlons and had won two of the five events he had entered. Since the ban he has entered two non-sanctioned events.

According to his Twitter feed, Armstrong has been biking, running and swimming in Hawaii. The Winfrey interview will take place at Armstrong's home in Austin, Texas.

The New York Times reported last week that Armstrong, 41, was contemplating publicly admitting he used illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Such an admission might lead toward Armstrong regaining his eligibility.

One of his attorneys denied Armstrong was in discussion with the two anti-doping agencies.

Attorney Tim Herman, in a recent e-mail to CNN Sports, did not address whether Armstrong told associates -- as reported by the newspaper -- that he was considering an admission.

Armstrong has repeatedly and vehemently denied that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs as well as illegal blood transfusions during his cycling career.

In the past, Armstrong has argued that he took more than 500 drug tests and never failed. In its 202-page report that detailed Armstrong's alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions, the USADA said it had tested Armstrong less than 60 times and the International Cycling Union conducted about 215 tests.

The agency did not say that Armstrong ever failed a test, but his former teammates testified as to how they beat tests or avoided the tests altogether.

The New York Times, citing unnamed associates and anti-doping officials, said Armstrong has been in discussions with USADA officials and hopes to meet with David Howman, chief of the World Anti-Doping Agency. The newspaper said none of the people with knowledge of Armstrong's situation wanted to be identified because it would jeopardize their access to information on the matter.

Under World Anti-Doping Agency rules, an athlete who confesses to using performance-enhancing drugs may be eligible for a reinstatement.

Armstrong has been an icon for his cycling feats and celebrity, bringing more status to a sport wildly popular in some nations but lacking big-name recognition, big money and mass appeal in the United States.

He fought back from testicular cancer to win the Tour from 1999 to 2005. He raised millions via his Lance Armstrong Foundation to help cancer victims and survivors, an effort illustrated by trendy yellow "LiveSTRONG" wristbands that helped bring in the money.

But Armstrong has long been dogged by doping allegations, with compatriot Floyd Landis -- who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after failing a drug test -- making a series of claims in 2011.

Armstrong sued the USADA last year to stop its investigation of him, arguing it did not have the right to prosecute him. But after a federal judge dismissed the case, Armstrong said he would no longer participate in the investigation.

In October 2012, Armstrong was stripped of his titles and banned from cycling. Weeks later, he stepped down from the board of his foundation, Livestrong.

It is unclear whether Armstrong would face criminal prosecution for perjury should he confess. Armstrong was involved in several cases where he gave sworn testimony that he never used banned drugs.

Ground search called off for missing skydiver

(CNN) -- Police have abandoned a ground search for a man who went missing five days ago over the Cascade Mountains in Washington.

Kurt Ruppert of Lake City, Florida, disappeared Thursday after he jumped from out of a helicopter at 6,500 feet while wearing a special jumpsuit known as a "wingsuit," which allows a person to soar and glide before deploying a parachute.

"The only areas left to search are areas (authorities are) not able to search on the ground. They're steep cliffs and ravines, and when the weather clears, we'll hopefully get our helicopter back up there to look," Sgt. Cindy West, a spokeswoman for the King County Sheriff's Office, said Monday.

It is unlikely Ruppert is still alive given the low temperatures on Mount Si where rescuers have focused their search, authorities said.

"Initially we thought he was probably flying 50 to 60 miles per hour," West said, "but after talking to his jump friends, we found more likely he was traveling 80 to 100 miles per hour, which ... in just a matter of a few seconds he's going to be over a large area. And then the other issue is we don't know exactly what direction he went."

In a written statement issued Sunday, West said: "There are cliff areas that could not be searched due to the extreme risk to searchers. The Sheriff's Office said they will search those areas by helicopter when weather permits."

CNN affiliate KOMO reported there was too much fog on Monday for air crews.

Searchers covered 9 square miles looking for Ruppert, West said.