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Windows D.C.: Sure, Microsoft Office may be annoying, and yes, you prefer your iPod to a Zune. But free training in computer technology from Microsoft for D.C. residents, plus some special products and services for local small businesses and an effort to encourage Washingtonians to go into engineering-related careers still counts as good news. The Seattle-based software behemoth joined forces with Mayor Vince Gray today to announce a “strategic partnership,” albeit one that doesn’t include a long-ballyhooed innovation center on the St. Elizabeths campus. No word yet on whether city officials will seek to confiscate MacBooks at coffeeshops around town in exchange. +4
Home Is Where The Protest Is: There’s no good time to be homeless, but the dead of winter is a particularly bad moment. Which is why the District typically conducts its count of the city’s homeless population now, to know how many people need services at a time when you really don’t want to be living outdoors. The count this year, though, has a new population of people living outdoors to deal with in the form of Occupy D.C. So a new policy has been determined: Officials won’t count protesters as homeless, except for the small group of homeless people who have found temporary shelter within the encampments. +1
If You Can Read This, You Probably Live Here: And now for another installment of meaningless national rankings based on arbitrary stats. Today’s episode: Literacy. A study by Central Connecticut State University has ranked the District the most literate city in the nation, ahead of Seattle, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Boston. Among the categories that factored into the rankings was newspaper circulation. So if you want to keep the coveted title next year, be sure to pick up Washington City Paper tomorrow. +1
Snitches Get Stitches (And Cash): A wave of snatch and grab thefts of electronic devices has the Metropolitan Police Department planning to offer rewards between $1,000 and $10,000 to turn in the culprits, on the theory that that’s far more money than could be made by selling a stolen gizmo online. Prediction: This won’t stop anyone from stealing your iPhone (or Zune). -1
Yesterday’s Needle rating: 38 Today’s score: +5 Today’s Needle rating: 43