Normally when I write about Google, it is to talk about a terrible decision the company has made about their Android product, or a product launch gone terribly wrong. It isn't often I write to congratulate them on something they have done. This will be one of those times I break convention.
Google has always had a very firm, open policy on hiring. They believe that a good mix of people is the best way to get a good mix of ideas. Because of this, they openly encourage LGBT candidates to apply and encourage their employees to be themselves. In addition, they also support LGBT causes, most recently at Pride last weekend in NYC.
What did they do and what does the image have to do with it? Hit the break to find out.
We have talked in the past about what some people might do to get an iPhone, such as
selling a kidney on the Internet. Well, it turns out that a kidney is worth a lot more than we expected. In fact, it is worth about the same as the virginity of a teenage girl.
Instead of a Chinese boy and a kidney, this time we have a Chinese girl who has offered her virginity in exchange for an iPhone 4. While the boy found a broker to sell his kidney, the girl took to a Twitter-like service in China, called Weibo, looking for sex. She says that her dream is to own an iPhone 4 but her father refuses to purchase one for her.
There are a couple of possible situations here. First, it's possible that a friend or hacker has gained access to her account and is playing a really weird prank on her. Second, Apple's marketing has finally affected the morality of the population as a whole instead of just those who work for the company. The most likely situation, however, is that the Chinese media blackout has prevented this girl from knowing an iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4s) is right around the corner and she should just wait a few months.
In an age where young kids are growing up in a world of technology, they are hanging up your calls to your brother, ordering pay-per-view movies on your TV, disconnecting your phone from its Touchstone charger and running rampant on your tablet PC. (Side note: With a 16-month old running around my own house, I have never experienced any of these things personally...)
The good news is that developers are picking up on these trends and are creating apps to go on your devices. The bad news with apps on grown-up products is that the kids can still get into stuff they shouldn't and can sometime cause severe problems for your laptop, or a $99 charge on your TV bill.
LeapFrog wants to change all of that. With more and more kid-based Apple apps, LeapFrog is taking it in a whole new direction with the LeapPad Explorer. Sure we've seen baby computers and things like that before, and LeapFrog has some of those products already on the market, but this is a full-on tablet for kids ages 4-9.
We have details on the product after the break.
All companies who have any information stored on the Internet should absolutely respect Internet security and make it their number one priority at all times. Lately, it seems like companies such as
Sony (and their related brands) and Sega have taken this matter lightly. Well, add Electronic Arts to the list of companies who have had a breach in security, as this week their BioWare brand fell victim to the hacker groups who are going after videogame developers and manufacturers. I guess the good news here is that the attack was on Neverwinter Nights servers. Does anyone still play that game?
In the onslaught of attacks, user information like phone numbers, email and mailing addresses, CD keys and birth dates were taken, which is pretty much the lower level, usual data that we see snatched up in breaches like this, at least to begin with. No credit card information or social security numbers have been reported to be stolen. To date, we have not heard who is responsible for this attack, although it is rumored that Anonymous members went to work outside of the group's defined operations.
EA has posted a Q&A about the attacks, and we have excerpts from it and our thoughts after the break.
You might be asking yourself right now, "Doesn't Office 2010 already have web apps?" Well, yes, they do. In fact the Office 365 program suite is available right now in 40 markets according to the Steve Ballmer. The things Microsoft realized with the current Office 2010 web apps is that they are a relatively weak solution and with the growing demand for cloud applications, Google Apps could pose a problem in the near future. That alone was probably enough reason for Microsoft to take Office to the next level.
Of course Microsoft is talking about full service Office web apps that would deliver the entire Office experience online over a network and not on a hard drive. This would provide another way for Office users to access and interact with Office products so long as Internet access is available. It will also be very beneficial for wallets according to Microsoft Office Division President Kurt DelBene,
Customers can save money with the product, which eliminates the need to maintain server computers and software. Microsoft estimates the average 1,000-person company will save about $350,000 a year over a four-year period.
Along with the potential cost savings for businesses, Microsoft is looking to grab more of the corporate spending in the technology sector by making the subscription to Office 2010 web apps a month-to-month, per user, kind of licensing. They think that this model will allow them to sell more to small and medium sized businesses.
At $6 per month a user will be able to enjoy Office Web Apps and exchange e-mail services, if they want to, for an additional $12 per month, $18 total, they can have a full version of Office as well. Microsoft says that Office 2010 is being adopted five times faster than Office '07 and it will be interesting to see what effect these changes will have in the near future.
In November of last year, a California bill was signed into law that banned the sale of "violent" video games to minors,
AB 1179. Opposition to the bill has not made its way to the highest court in the land where Denny Crane argued that violence is American and the ban would make our children "namby panbies."
On June 27th of this year, the Supreme Court of the United States finally rendered a verdict that ultimately upholds the First Amendment, under which video games are protected by freedom of speech. Justices Elena Kagan, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor echoed sentiments from Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote in his opinion,
The Act does not comport with the First Amendment. Video games qualify for First Amendment protection. Like protected books, plays, and movies, they communicate ideas through familiar literary devices and features distinctive to the medium. And 'the basic principles of freedom of speech... do not vary' with a new and different communication medium.
How have other organizations responded and how might this still affect you? Hit the break to get the facts.