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Google's Second Round of Shutdowns

posted Friday Oct 14, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Google's Second Round of Shutdowns

Larry Page, since taking the helm of Google, has been doing a lot of housecleaning, starting with closing up 10 under-performing products. This week saw round 2 of the shutdowns, this time with much higher profile products.

First off is Google Buzz which has had nothing but problems since day 1. The product, which was something similar to Twitter, found problems with privacy on day 1 when everyone in your email list was added to your following list. This could include ex-husbands, stalkers, business partners - none of whom should see the things you are doing or the places you go on the Internet.

The second product is Jaiku, a product I was actually pretty sure was already closed. Jaiku, also similar to Twitter, was purchased in 2007 and never really integrated into the company properly. That being said, products that Google purchases and don't immediately re-brand (such as Jaiku or Orkut), don't usually stand a chance within the organization.

Google thinks they have learned lessons from these brands, though. Hit the break to find out why we think they might not have.

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What Does the BlackBerry Outage Mean for the Company?

posted Friday Oct 14, 2011 by Scott Ertz

What Does the BlackBerry Outage Mean for the Company?

Research in Motion has been having a lot of trouble competing in the new smartphone world. When it was just them, Palm and Microsoft it was an easy world to compete in; everyone had a large marketshare because of the differing values. In the new world, with Apple and Google taking aim at a new way to use your phone, and Microsoft revamping their OS from scratch, sticking to your core and not making major changes to keep up is a nearly impossible game to win.

At least BlackBerry has been able to stay alive with their perceived level of security. RIM has always stayed where they are in the business world because of their encryption of everything that passes through the phone, but in the modern world there are a lot of ways to accomplish that without BlackBerry. Therefore, the worst thing that could have happened was a long outage of the BlackBerry servers. Unfortunately that is exactly what happened this week.

Why is this outage such a big deal for RIM? Hit the break to find out.

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A Bridge is Missing... Seriously

posted Friday Oct 14, 2011 by Scott Ertz

A Bridge is Missing... Seriously

How does this happen? A 50-foot long, 20-foot wide steel bridge is missing from North Beaver Township, Pennsylvania. Seriously. Police are saying the crime must have been committed over the course of months. Yes, months. For MONTHS, people have been removing large pieces of steel, each weighing hundreds of pounds, from a bridge, with no one noticing.

It gets better - the police say the bridge went missing sometime between September 27th and October 5th. Yes, that is a 9 day window for a massive bridge to have vanished and for no one to have really noticed. We think the 50 ton bridge disappeared Wednesday, but it could have been Sunday... we're really not sure...

Seriously, how did this happen and why did they want to steal a bridge? Well, the why is easy - the scrap metal would have been worth somewhere in the $100,000 range. That is certainly worth a month of work, I suppose. How did they transport all of that steel and who is taking it in in trade? The how turns out to be a little easier to figure out than you would think, however. It turns out it is an old rail bridge buried in the woods, but still.

The real questions here are, are they done? Will they steal another bridge somewhere else? Are we living in a John Wayne movie? I think the only way to know is to wait and find out. A modest proposal: if you own a bridge, keep an eye on it. Someone might be trying to steal it.

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Netflix to Remain Whole - Another Change in Direction

posted Friday Oct 14, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Netflix to Remain Whole - Another Change in Direction

Netflix seems to have lost their mind. First, they raise their prices, splitting DVD and streaming into two packages. Then, they announce they are splitting the DVD business into its own brand - Qwikster. This week brings us even weirder news - they have decided to axe the Qwikster brand even before it launches.

In a letter from the CEO of the company, directly to customers, he writes,

It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs.

This means no change: one website, one account, one password. In other words, no Qwikster.

While the July price change was necessary, we are now done with price changes.

So, they are still planning to keep the services as separate packages, as well as keep the prices higher, but the two websites and separate brand names will be discarded. I'm not entirely sure about their reasoning here, but I'm pretty sure they don't quite understand it.

Why are they really doing this and will it help? Hit the break to find out.

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Hank Williams Jr Compares Obama to Hitler, ESPN Pulls Him From MNF

posted Sunday Oct 9, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Hank Williams Jr Compares Obama to Hitler, ESPN Pulls Him From MNF

When you ask somebody "Are you ready for some football?", they know you're talking about Monday Night Football. Singer Hank Williams Jr. has opened MNF for quite some time and his name and football have been synonymous with each other for over 20 years, but after this week's remarks on Fox and Friends, the Disney-owned ESPN and Hank are going to part ways.

Williams was brought onto the show, for a reason I cannot even begin to figure out, to talk about politics. It should be noted that when I think about deep, thoughtful political debate, I think about Hank Williams Jr. (or Willie Nelson). When asked for his thoughts on President Obama playing golf with House Speaker John Boehner, things went a little sideways.

That'd be like Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu.

He went on to say that Obama and Biden were the enemy but the hosts certainly didn't help the situation. It seems that they were told to antagonize and encourage the actions from Williams, who clearly shouldn't be on a political talk show.

For ESPN's reaction and Williams' explanation, click the break.

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Facebook Knows What You're Doing Even After You Log Out

posted Sunday Oct 9, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Facebook Knows What You're Doing Even After You Log Out

Have you stopped using Facebook yet? Or have you not yet believed that their demise is not too far from the present? Either way, here's news that will be sure to get you to demand for a "Dislike" button. Remember when we talked about Facebook using their Like system for more than just a fun way to interact with friends? It appears that now Facebook has started to collect the information associated with you Liking something even after you have signed out of their software. They claim that this is part of their way to help protect your account and to make sure that nobody else is trying to login.

Facebook also says that all of the information from those Likes are not necessarily stored. This all stems from a discovery from an Australian computer expert, Nik Cubrilovic, who posted that some data was sent from Likes by users even after the user was already signed out. This not only raises some new concerns, but also questions Facebook's privacy policy yet again.

For more on this developing story, click the break.

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