The UpStream

Department of Justice Blocks AT&T-Mobile Merger

posted Saturday Sep 3, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Department of Justice Blocks AT&T-Mobile Merger

Since AT&T's announced plans to purchase T-Mobile USA, there has been a lot of talk about why and how. What are AT&T's real reasons for the purchase? Will the federal government allow said merger? This week we got the answer to the last question.

The US Department of Justice filed a suit to prevent the $39 billion merger between the only 2 GSM carriers left in the US. They claim that the merger would damage the state of the wireless industry, essentially eliminating the low-cost alternative to the Big 3 (Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint). They also claim that no amount of technology gain from the combination of spectrum would offset this damage to consumers.

What did the DoJ say and what do the carriers think about this move? Hit the break to find out.

Apple Employees Raid Home with Help of Police (Again)

posted Saturday Sep 3, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Apple Employees Raid Home with Help of Police (Again)

I think we all remember the iPhone 4 prototype that was lost and the controversy around the termination of an employee for showing an iPad prototype to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. I don't think anyone would expect another prototype issue to arise, especially one that is exactly the same as the first one, right after the legal battle has ended. Apple lost an iPhone 5 prototype handset at a bar. Yeah, that's right... another prototype, another bar.

Clearly, Apple needs to stop letting their moron "engineers" leave the property with the prototypes because, while drinking away their frustration of working for Apple, they tend to lose them. The reaction from Apple has been very similar to the first time, but the strategy has been altered based on what they learned in raiding the home of a Gizmodo editor. Instead of contacting the FBI and hiring private security firm Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team, they went to the local police and had them accompany their in-house security team while they raided the house.

For the full details on the home invasion and the police's involvement, hit the break.

Google Does a Little Project Downsizing

posted Saturday Sep 3, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Google Does a Little Project Downsizing

Ever since Larry Page reclaimed the reigns of Google a few months ago, he has been making a lot of changes to get the company back to their roots. He has even tried to regain the fun start-up feel by mathematical constants vs regular whole numbers on an important auction. This week he is working on trimming some of the corporate fat by closing some of the many worthless Google projects.

The most notable product to be axed is Google Desktop. For those who do not know, Google Desktop was a system add-on that allowed you to search your computer with the same familiar style of any other Google search. The product was originally created for Windows when XP did not have an indexed search option for the platform, so the ability to index your files and search quickly was a definite advantage. In modern operating systems like Windows 7 or MacOS X, files are indexed regularly by the OS itself, eliminating the need for an add-on like this. September 15 will mark the end of Desktop, including all support and APIs.

For us here at PLuGHiTz Live!, the one that really hits home is Google Pack. For those of you who have been following us from the beginning, Google Pack was one of our first sponsors for the site and the show. While the products that have been a part of the pack have lost a lot of relevance over the years, it is still a little odd for us to know the product that got us started will be no more. Google's announcement made the closure immediate, so the product is already gone. The website, however, is still around and you can still download the products directly from their respective websites from the links.

What are other 8 products that will end? Hit the break to find out.

Nokia's Plans to Make Us Remember Them With Windows Phone 7

posted Saturday Sep 3, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Nokia's Plans to Make Us Remember Them With Windows Phone 7

Nokia has had a rough ride over the past half-decade or so. They were never particularly big in the US and still managed to maintain a leading global market share, that is, until they decided not to compete with Android, iOS and HTC. As a result, in April of this year HTC passed up Nokia to claim the number 3 spot, in terms of market value, behind Samsung and Apple. The struggling Symbian and MeeGo operating systems Nokia had developed in-house were antiquated and Nokia just couldn't seem to bring them up to par. This has forced them to cut 4,000 jobs and move 3,000 more to Accenture who would be taking on Symbian and MeeGo development. All this makes it feel like Nokia did a hard reset on themselves and just forgot how to be Nokia. The uncertainty of their future even earned them a spot on 24/7 Wall St.'s 10 brands that will not survive in 2012.

Then from Microsoft came hope that Nokia could rise again. September of last year, Stephen Elop, the former Microsoft executive who headed up the $18.6 billion business division, took the reins from former CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. Elop was faced with solving Nokia's market erosion problems which resulted in Nokia giving up on Symbian and MeeGo completely, in favor of Windows Phone 7 earlier this year. Now, Nokia has come forward with some information to reassure us that they weren't making a bad decision by signing their life away to WinPho7.

Marko Ahtisaari, Nokia's head designer, plans to design phones that will save us from our phones. Sound familiar? Find out more after the break.

Facebook Un-hides Your Privacy Controls and Trades in Places for Tags

posted Thursday Sep 1, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Facebook Un-hides Your Privacy Controls and Trades in Places for Tags

It's been a bumpy ride for Facebook in terms of privacy management. At times they have taken liberties by changing default settings like back in 2009 and even though there have been constant complaints from users wanting more simplified privacy management for year now, their attempts at doing so have been unsuccessful at best. This is why the new changes that recently took place are a bit surprising. Facebook's concept about how the user interacts with their entire profile is changing, seemingly for the better.

It was also back in 2009 that Facebook gave users the ability to control who sees individual pieces of content and now Facebook has finally taken things a step further by using inline controls to put privacy management in the forefront, instead of burying it away in an obscure manner under your "Account Settings." For example, the user will finally have more control over photos that other people tag them in. Now they have the ability to approve or deny tagged photos, ask the person who posted the photo to take it down or block the person. It's also worth noting that if you block the person or deny the tag, the picture will not show up in your profile. Take a moment to read over the previous sentence and give your self a minute to let that marinate... okay. The only downside is that now anyone can tag you in a photo, not just your friends. Given that what happens on the Internet stays on the Internet indefinitely, these enhancements will make that mostly a non-issue.

Facebook is putting privacy management in the limelight and moving Facebook Places backstage. Find out more about that after the break.

Ubisoft Reminds Us You Don't Need Limbs to be a Smash with Rayman Origins

posted Sunday Aug 28, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Ubisoft Reminds Us You Don't Need Limbs to be a Smash with <i>Rayman Origins</i>

I've been eagerly awaiting Rayman Origins since the demo at the Ubisoft Keynote from E3 this year. With big MMO-style FPS titles, such as Battlefield 3 and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier getting a lot of press, it's games like Rayman Origins that remind us there is still a place in this world for 2D games without guns... or limbs.

From what I've seen, the super realistic 2D artwork integrates with the action taking place in the foreground of the game so that everything works in tandem. Simply put, it just looks stunning and like a tremendous amount of fun and or/pain. Based on the demo at E3, even the most experienced gamer will be attempting levels over and over again. Even developers from Ubisoft had some difficultly completing levels during the demo and gamers who are familiar with Rayman from previous experiences already know that its high degree of difficultly makes it very rewarding in the end.

If you haven't seen Rayman Origins in action yet you can check out the E3 demo after the break.

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