The UpStream

US Secret Service Employs a Human

posted Saturday May 21, 2011 by Scott Ertz

US Secret Service Employs a Human

It turns out that at least one member of the United States Secret Service is human, despite the evidence from their official Twitter account. After only 9 days in existence, the account had its first major PR blunder - a message was posted by an employee saying,

Had to monitor Fox for a story. Can't. Deal. With. The. Blathering.

This was meant to be posted to the user's personal account, of course, but was not. The secret service, after saying an internal follow-up was in progress, released this statement:

An employee with access to the Secret Service's Twitter account, who mistakenly believed they were on their personal account, posted an unapproved and inappropriate tweet. We apologize for this mistake, and the user no longer has access to our official account. Policies and practices which would have prevented this were not followed and will be reinforced for all account users.

Honestly, this was the first tweet from the organization that didn't feel like it was written by a robot. I'm disappointed that it was deleted so swiftly. Maybe people would have decided the organization was interesting, but we wouldn't want that.

I'll Buy Anything If It's Shiny and Made By Apple

posted Thursday May 19, 2011 by Jon Wurm

I'll Buy Anything If It's Shiny and Made By Apple

It was just recently that Apple retail stores celebrated their 10th year anniversary with some staggering results. Q1 sales figures are up $1.5 billion to $3.2 billion, a 90% increase from Q1 last year. The iPad definitely had something to do with this as Apple sold about 4.7 million iPads in Q1 this year and unit sales estimates for 2011 are around 44 million and thanks to Apple's retail success their financial statements aren't the only things sparking like a Twilight movie.

I know that making a pilgrimage to the nearest Apple store is a common occurrence for those enamored by shiny objects, so it comes as no surprise that shiny retail stores for shiny products has ended up a resounding success. Ron Johnson, who is well known in the industry for his imagination, is credited with the success Apple is experiencing in the retail store department. He is also responsible for the ironically named "Genius Bar" that Steve Jobs wasn't a fan of right away. Michael Graves who is one of the "New York Five," a influential architect group, said that Johnson was way ahead of the game when it came to knowing what designs role would play in the future of retail stores. Apple analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray seems to agree,

They basically took the old book of retail and threw it out and started over. The irony of the whole Apple retail story is that nobody believed it could work. Nobody believed a computer maker would make a good computer retailer.

Even non Apple people have taken risks by exposing themselves to dangerous amounts of Appleation, hit the break to find out more.

Hulu's Sticking Around as Well as Their Content

posted Sunday May 15, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Hulu's Sticking Around as Well as Their Content

Is Hulu finally seeing some light through the dirt on top of the grave they dug themselves? It seems so, after first seeing the 360 pick up Hulu Plus and now we are hearing that after the trouble Hulu's been in with keeping some of its content, the company is nearing a deal with NBC, ABC and FOX to maintain their programming.

Word is that an extension to the contract that Disney, News Corp. and NBC Universal signed two years ago should pan out in the next week or so. This deal is being headed by Hulu CEO Jason Kilar and reps from News Corp., Disney and Investor Providence Equity Partners. NBC Universal, part owners in Hulu, gave up their board and management positions earlier in the year and must accept the result of all this negotiating.

We have a more in-depth look after the break.

Record Labels Squeeze LimeWire for $105 Million

posted Sunday May 15, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Record Labels Squeeze LimeWire for $105 Million

I had all forgotten about LimeWire since November of last year when RIAA actually managed to win a lawsuit. It was originally filed in 2007, two years after the Supreme Court ruled that file-sharing companies could be sued for illegal distribution even if the service could be used legally. This left LimeWire on the hook for for damages that could have exceeded $1 billion in regards to 10,000 recordings released after 1972.

Arista Records LLC et al v Lime Group et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 06-05936 went before a jury trial the first week of May where Edgar Bronfman, the CEO of Warner testified that LimeWire not converting to a legal service was "devastating, frankly." The jury seems to have sided with Bronfman and the 13 record companies LimeWire was forced to settle with. Some of which were Atlantic, Capitol, Interscope, Arista, BMG Music, Motown, Elektra, UMG, Virgin, Sony and Warner. Damages were awarded in the amount of $105 million which is a win for both sides considering that the labels received compensation and LimeWire didn't have to shell out anywhere near $1 billion. All parties seem to be relieved that all this is behind them, even law firm Willkie, Farr & Gallagher who represented LimeWire,

Lime Wire and its founder, Mark Gorton, are pleased that this case has concluded.

Maybe everyone except RIAA which is basking in the glory of it's 0 for 10,000 record with lawsuits. Their CEO Mitch Bainwol said,

We are pleased to have reached a large monetary settlement. He called the accord a victory for music providers that 'play by the rules.'

Do you think this is a fair settlement? Let us know in the comment section below.

Xbox 360 Update for the Spring Coming on May 19th

posted Sunday May 15, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Xbox 360 Update for the Spring Coming on May 19th

Coming off the heels of benefiting from the Hulu Plus service rolling into the Xbox 360 yard, the Xbox, as per usual, is staying in the news. This week, being in the media certainly helps as we have gotten a hold of a couple of slides from a Microsoft tech support employee that hints to a new Dashboard update that will start to hit the consoles on May 19th.

From the docs, we should expect to see six different rollouts of the update from May 19 through May 30, which probably means heavy users and previous beta testers will get their hands on it first, which seems to be the typical deployment plan for the 360.

What's included? A bunch of cool stuff that's waiting for you after the break to find out about. We have the documents, too.

Legendary RPG Chrono Trigger Comes to WiiWare

posted Sunday May 15, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Legendary RPG <i>Chrono Trigger</i> Comes to WiiWare

It seems like there's just less and less about Nintendo that gets my juices flowing, which is why reliving some of the old glory days is such a treat. Those of you born after 1990 probably won't have a clue why us veteran gamers are making such a big deal out of an old game coming to WiiWare and we don't really care. It's your loss that you weren't around to experience its glory in the good old days. Deal with it.

Chrono Trigger was originally released in 1995 for the SNES and is definitely one of the highest regarded RPGs of all time. I fondly remember a compelling story mixed in with unique gameplay mechanics such as team attacks that required collaboration between two or more characters to deal some serious damage. Let's also not forget about being able to replay the game from the beginning with your characters starting out at the level they were when you finished the previous time. SPOILER!! I do remember your characters needed to be at least level 75 to have a chance at the last boss.

To find out when you can get your hands on this legendary classic, hit the break.

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