- Cellphones Are Great for Sharing Photos - and Bacteria
- Best in Blogs: Debate Aftermath and Adding Up Celebrity Political Videos
- Best in Blogs: NFL Refs and Nook Tablets Teach About Subs (or Not), Facebook Nukes Fake Friends, Holidays Keep the Net Safe
- Best in Blogs: iPhone 5 Debuts, Zuck Talks Stock Drops, Nipplegate Controversy
- Best in Blogs: Eddie Murphy Didn't Die This Week, iPhone 5 Video Preview, Zuck Sits on It
- Best in Blogs: World's Oldest Facebook User (Sort of), Burning Man Online, and Obama Goes AMA on Reddit
- Best in Blogs: Best and Worst iPhone 5 Rumors, Apple & Google Go Nuclear, and a Cure for Apocaholism
- Best in Blogs: Life on Mars, NASA's Mohawk Guy, and the Next Double Rainbow Video
- Best in Blogs: Olympic Spoilers! Phelps and U.S. Gymnasts Soar
- Best in Blogs: Everything Olympics, Scorsese and Siri Remake Taxi Driver, and the Least Flattering Celebrity Pics Ever
- Best in Blogs: A New Hope for Yahoo, iPad Mini Rumors, and Bloggers vs. Comedians
- Best in Blogs: Internet Apocalypse (Not Now), Comic-Con Geeks Out, and the Olympics Are Your Facebook Friend
- Best in Blogs: The Cheating RPS Robot, Sorkinisms and the Nexus 7
- Best in Blogs: Music Piracy's Reward, Microsoft's iPad Killer, and the Island of Dr. Ellison
- Best In Blogs: Google LOL, Prometheus Spoilers, and New Lance Doping Scandal
We love our smart phones and tablets - a lot. But the next time you take your phone to lunch, hand it to a coworker to share photos, or bring it to the gym, consider this: Bacteria from a phone can cause flu, pinkeye or diarrhea. Yuck. And people are just as likely to get sick from their phones as from handles of the bathroom. Thats according to a physician interviewed by the Wall Street Journal about the hazards of taking your cell phone everywhere - and then passing it to friends to share an image or message. You dont have to be a germophobe to dread that bit of news. A lab tested eight randomly selected phones from a Chicago office and all phones showed abnormally high numbers of coliforms, a bacteria that indicates fecal contamination. Of the eight phones tested, there were between about 2,700 and 4,200 units of coliform bacteria. In drinking water, the limit is less than 1 unit per 100 ml of water. The tricky part? Most household cleaners and disinfectants can harm your phones screen or case. The WSJ has the full report and some suggestions for avoiding the worst of it. Worth a read as we enter the flu season.
To everything there is a season, and every four years near the end of baseball season comes presidential voting season - which makes it open season for political jabbering, viral videos and passionate blogging about the candidates. First, lets recap this weeks thrilling (yawn) debate. The consensus from both sides is that Mitt Romney did better than expected in the candidates first televised contest to say things that may or may not have any relation to real-life action. Asks NEW MEXICO POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN: "Is Obama bored and wants to make a race of it? How else to explain a debate performance that one post-debate analysis correctly called listless, flat and uninspired?" "Romney was on the offensive, Obama mostly on the defensive," says THE MODERATE VOICE in its roundup of post-debate news and blog reports. Even Obama partisans are giving their opponent one point. MEDIAITE says Chris Matthews on MSNBC had an epic meltdown about Obamas performance, saying "I dont know what he was doing out there." Concludes THE DAILY KOS: "Its clear that the president got spanked. Its one thing to play prevent defense, which is what he was doing, and it was another to completely ignore Mitt Romney and let lie after lie stand unchallenged. It was another thing to refuse to defend Social Security." On those points and others... THE DAILY BEAST got all fact-checky to see who lied (such a strong word) during the debate, and they fill a must-read web page with factual boo-boos from both candidates, compiled from other news reports. For example, Romney said there were five studies that prove the legitimacy of his tax plan, but "two were _Wall Street Journal _editorials," Politifact explains. President Obama said Romneys tax plan would send vouchers to older people instead of the existing Medicare program. Its actually going to be "vultures." Just kidding!
And then there were celebrity videos. Chuck Norris established his "batsh*t crazy" credentials years ago, but in his current contribution to political discourse he really nails it down. In a new video with his wife he says "We can no longer sit quietly or stand on the sidelines and watch the country go the way of socialism, or something much worse." "One wonders what could be much worse than socialism in the mind of Chuck Norris," POLITICAL SCRAPBOOK says. His wife explains: By backing Mitt Romney, she says, voters will "preserve for our children this last best hope for men on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into 1,000 years of darkness!" Which sounds bad. The blog suggests aging action men Norris and Clint Eastwood are less "ready to rumble" these days than "ready to ramble." But dissenting, OREGON FAITH REPORT calls the Norris release "a blunt and bold public service announcement giving a political warning over where the nation is heading." RAW STORY notes that "Norris has been an outspoken critic of Obama since even prior to the 2008 election. Hes claimed in recent years that Jesus would have been aborted by his mother if Obamacare were available 2,000 years ago, claimed that American progressives want to enshrine Islamic moral codes into U.S. law, and accused the Obama administration of trying to force the Boy Scouts to adopt a pro-gay position." Actor Kal Penn, whose movies are more about inaction than action, already had taken a hit (so to speak) for his _pro_-Obama video. HIT AND RUN called Penn a hypocrite: "Penn reprised his role as Kumar from the _Harold and Kumar_ movies, and takes a phone call from Obama while stoned, watching cartoons, and eating junkfood. The subtle implication is that marijuana users are easily swayed, lazy idiots....several criticized Penn and Obama for the video, as Obama has utterly failed to live up to his promise to deprioritize federal prosecutions of medical marijuana." Moving into the not-safe-for work video aisle, comedienne Sarah Silverman "has the brand new super f*cked up Voter ID laws in her crosshairs and isnt shy expressing her opposition to them," explains PEREZ HILTON. JEWCY applauds with one hand, saying this is "less vulgar than her last video, in which Silverman offered to scissor casino magnate Sheldon Adelson if he donated to Obama instead of Romney" (its a sex thing.) Explains THE CAUCUS: "In the new video, called Let My People Vote, Ms. Silverman explains that social security cards, veteran identification cards and college student identification cards will not be accepted at the polls in some states, but handgun permits can be used in some places as identification." So she fixes up her grandmother with a pistol. But RED ALERT POLITICS is not happy with the "profanity laced video" that mocks Voter ID laws: "The video continues the usual canard that such laws discriminate against black people, the elderly, students and the poor." Samuel L Jackson is in captured on video too, with a little zinger called WTFU aimed at Obama voters. Says TRUTHDIG: "Jackson stars in the profanity-laced [theres that phrase again] online video in which he urges voters to take a good look at the presidential candidates and wake the f**k up." Apparently hes seeking to atone for his lame Apple Siri commercial. BUSINESS INSIDER has an interview with the head of the political action committee that financed the SL Jacko video, the Jewish Council for Education and Research, which has a serious video-viralization strategy: "Unlike some of the other super PACs which are focused on producing advertising for TV, our videos wont be successful if theyre not shared," the guy says. "We want to make something that makes people laugh, but once they watch it, they feel compelled to share it with their friends, their family members, email it, post it on social media." Alright - thats what were talking about!
Just in time for spoiling only part of the current football season, the real referees are coming back. "Rejoice, NFL fans," says DEADSPIN. "After 48 regular season games that nearly brought the National Football League to its knees and turned the leagues officiating into a recurring national joke, the NFL and the referees union have agreed to a new eight-year deal and the officials will be back on the job." Things were getting hairy, and the episode provides an abject lesson in when its ok (and not) to accept substitutes. The inexperienced fill-in refs made mistakes early and often. Says DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD: "The officiating farce became a fiasco during Monday nights game between Seattle and Green Bay when 2 replacement refs standing side-by-side made opposite calls resulting in a Seattle win on a questionable touchdown." DAILY KOS adds: "All it took was scab officiating that actually deteriorated to the point where a Las Vegas casino offered refunds on bets on Monday nights game." Talk about piling on. The recurring national joke part was handled ably by Jon Stewart, who noted that the labor dispute getting Americans upset "was not the Chicago teachers strike. And not the riots at the Foxconn factory in China" but the football thing, as MEDIAITE reports. Jon and his non-brother Patrick Stewart did a sketch where Patrick pretended to be a sub for cast member John Oliver as the "senior replacement correspondent." The hot-as-lava digital tablet war may teach us a different lesson on when substitutes are acceptable. Barnes & Noble this week unveiled the Nook HD and bigger Nook HD+ tablets, which are big leaps over the older Nooks. Says GEEK.COM: "In every way the Nook HD and HD+ are a significant upgrade over the Nook tablet, but more than that give Amazon some serious competition just weeks after the Kindle Fire HD was announced." MASHABLE adds: "Amazon shocked many with the $299 starting price for its 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD, but Barnes & Noble beat it with the 9-inch Nook HD+ at $269. Of course, theres also the 800-pound tablet gorilla in the room: the iPad." Yes, in a reader survey at MASHABLE, more tableteers said theyd choose the iPad and Kindle Fire than the new Nook HD, but the newcomer did get support. ENGADGET has a hands-on review of the new Nook HD, noting it has no camera but the "highest resolution display on a 7-inch tablet," which "looks quite nice when youre watching one of those hi-res movies from the newly announced Nook Video." The new tab is sure to win some fans and market share - as a decent substitute for the reigning competitors - though GIZMODO wonders whether having the best display will be enough and concludes "well, maybe." Some "Pages" on Facebook lost thousands of so-called fans this week (in FB lingo "Pages" are things you can like but not "friend") but this time it wasnt a horrendous security or privacy breach. Facebook is purging bogus user accounts, TECHCRUNCH says, so those nonexistent people who pretended they liked things are headed back to the netherworld from whence they came. TC says the purge of fake accounts means fewer spam friend requests and comments, and a reduced risk of being scammed." Hey, Joan Jett sang it best: youve got nothing to lose when you lose fake friends. But repercussions of the fake-account scrub are being felt in the world of people who use bogus names as an innocent hobby. Among the purged were FB users using the last name "cosplay." CHICAGONOW tries to explain: "Cosplay is short for costume play. Cosplayers dress as characters from sci-fi, fantasy, video games, and more. Many cosplayers used alternate Facebook accounts to display their art... until now. Cosplayer Caleb A. lost 2 years worth of photos, memories, and friend connections. " Sob. Theres such a fine line between pretending and faking. Over on Twitter, its been reported that 27 percent of the top Twitter accounts followers are fake, and fake celebrity accounts are popular. LAUGHSPIN reports that Twitter has suspended the account of someone who, for some ungodly reason, was pretending to be Bill Nye (the TV science guy). The account had 200,000 followers. But the 22-year-old genius pretending to be Bill Nye says: dont worry, he still has another dumb-ass Twitter account where "I write it from the perspective of a 15 year-old from Ecuador who only tweets about Dragonball Z." Wow. Can we just issue a blanket WTF for this whole section? And lastly, it looks like holidays are good for something besides overeating: Internet security. NAKED SECURITY reports that on 2012 dates including Earth Day, Independence Day, and Mardi Gras, there were tremendous dips in the measured volume of website denial-of-service attacks. The theory is that people turned off home computers that have been hijacked to operate as attack bots. "If everyone turned off their computers each night, it might not just be good for the environment because of the lower levels of energy being consumed ... it could also mean a reduction in botnet attacks," the site says. In fact, why wait? Turn it off now.
"The lights have dimmed in San Franciscos Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, and journo-bloggers have published closing one-liners on their live blogs, uploading final pics of the new longer, skinnier and more powerful iPhone 5," says a journo-blogger at TECHNORATI. "It is time for Apples annual post-product and OS release ritual, as fan boys (and girls) dance proudly around the fires newly stoked by Apple CEO Tim Cook and crew, while head-shaking iHaters stand just outside the warm, orange-y ring of light, waiting their turn to jeer and mock." Hmm - somebody just got back from Burning Man. Yes, the desperately awaited, completely unnecessary and sure-to-sell-loads iPhone 5 was introduced this Wednesday. The question now: whats so 5 about the iPhone 5? The satirical ONION was quick with its satirical list of satirical new features, including "Frictionless no-grip casing eases transition from hand to floor," and "Is pathetic piece of sh*t compared to the iPhone 6." But really. Seriously. Somebody might want one. Lets see: THENEXTWEB reports that the screen is now four inches high - allowing an extra row of icons! - and the phone is 18% thinner than the iPhone 4S. So you can stack more the same pile. The phone also has faster chips for processing and graphics. And LTE connectivity with a single chip that works worldwide. Also newly designed Apple EarPods, and a better dock connector. And a better front camera. Whew! (sort of). TECHREPUBLIC says the new model "lacks a killer" feature, but its not "lackluster." "The screen is bigger. But the screens on Android devices have grown steadily over the past several years as well. Its thinner and lighter than past iPhones, but so are the latest phones from Motorola and Samsung. It supports 4G LTE. But so do lots of Android devices. It has an A6 SoC, better camera, and longer battery life. Individually, none of these upgrades are a reason to rush out and buy the phone. What will make the iPhone 5 a hit with consumers is the software and services ecosystem Apple has built around the device. From iOS and the App Store to iTunes and iCloud, iPhone buyers get a complete package -- and one that the company is also upgrading." Who was talking about lacking luster?! MASHABLE notes that whether you want one now or not, the iPhone 5s response to its Android enemies "couldnt come soon enough. Sales of the iPhone fell off a cliff last quarter....The release of the iPhone 5 should move the needle back up, and some analysts are predicting Apple will sell 10 million units in just the first three weeks." Also, some goofball has composed an awful pop/rap song video about the phones features. Maybe the least watchable telephone-related music video since the Sims 2 perfiormed Lady Gagas "Telephone" on YouTube in 2010. Meanwhile, at FASTCODESIGN a general argument is made that Apple design is wrong. Interface designers need to "stop aping real-life bookshelves and suede calendars like Apple does." Why? Basically, new inventions need new interfaces. For example, the Kindle works great as a book reader, but Apples book app, with "overtly rendered paper textures" and animated page turns to replicate a real book, is needlessly more "theatrical" than it needs to be. In other tech news, Facebooks Mark Zuckerberg denied interest in a Facebook phone, according to BGR, because "just doesnt make any sense," which makes sense. He was speaking in his first post-IPO interview, at the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference (TechCrunch of course is our favorite breakfast cereal). Zuck said the companys stock performance has been disappointing and "when asked by moderator Michael Arrington whether the stock drop is hurting employee morale, Zuckerberg quipped: It doesnt help." according to ALL THINGS D. TECHCRUNCH itself presents "the best soundbites" from the Zuckerview. THR has an interesting report on seven ways a Romney win would change Hollywood. Deregulation of course: "Restrictions on cross ownership in major urban markets might be the first regulations to fall under a Romney administration." Also more regulation: on content. Anti-pornography language made it into the GOP platform. "Envision a bunch of guys...endlessly scrutinizing ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox for wardrobe malfunctions." DAILY KOS notes that the platforms "crackdown on pornography could pit social conservatives against hotel operators and television providers" like Comcast and Verizon that offer dirty movies. Speaking of nudity, Facebook, and Apples. How about this Adam and Eve cartoon from _The New Yorker_ magazine that Facebook banned because it showed certain identifying marks that indicated it was Adam and Eve? Explains MEDIA CODER: By Facebook policy, "In a nutshell: even in cartoons, mens nipples are O.K., womens not." Thats literally the rule, as Gawker has revealed. Probably a good rule generally to keep the place clean. The NYer called it Nipplegate and in protest presented a new version with the characters clothed, so they really werent Adam and Eve anymore and there was no joke. But COMIC RIFFS reports that Facebook relented and allowed the original (sin) comic.
Two celebrities didnt die this week, despite what the Internet said. But only one of them lives on. Which is not as complicated as it seems. Just stupid. For starters, a bogus outfit called Global Associated News generated a false alarm that Eddie Murphy died in a snowboard accident. The shocking non-news went a little viral. "The alleged accident, of course, occurred in Zermatt, Switzerland, where Murphy has been killed about a dozen times in the past, including LAST MONTH - TWICE," says GOSSIPCOP. "Were not sure _why_ Murphy is such a popular target of death hoaxes, but this new death is just as unfunny as the first hundred." FORBES tech blogger DaveThier explains what happened: Global Associated is so prolific at spewing false celebrity destruction because its a website that "allows people to plug in a celebrity name, along with a few other details, and generate a fake news story...Who knows just how many of these are produced a day, but it only takes one to catch on to viral channels and make a boatload of traffic." Ah ok. It always helps to understand where the stupid comes from. ith that in mind, heres more celebrity demise news that hit the Web this week: Bob Denver, who played Gilligan is gone! The VISUAL SIDE OF JOURNALISM rounds up a mess of new tweets lamenting the death and celebrating the life of Gilligan, with messages like "rest in peace, little buddy." People were retweeting the breaking news all week with links to obits for the comic actor in the _New York Times_ and at MSNBC. Happily - or maybe thats not the right word? - this was another fake death report. Those obits ran in 2005, when Denver actually passed away. "They keep killing Bob Denver," reports TRALFAZ, which says you cant completely blame the Internet for this. It reprints text from a 1961 newspaper article about the epidemic of fake Bob Denver death reports! So, yeah, we didnt start the fire! Its possible that the origin of the current Bob Denver re-deathing surge was a legitimate obit for Steve Franken, a longtime TV actor who co-starred in the "Many Lives of Dobie Gillis" with Denver. In other rumor and scuttlebutt, Apple supposedly is getting ready to announce the iPhone 5 on September 12. People know this partly because of a cryptic invitation to an announcement that says "because of reasons." Also because people in China seem to actually have prototypes of the iPhone 5 in hand and are showing them in videos. Reports MASHABLE, which embeds a sneaky-peek video: "Unlike most video leaks from Chinese tech news sites -- in this case, Vgoo.com -- we can vouch for this one. It matches a working iPhone 5 model weve seen independently, via sources very close to the production process. Its entirely possible that the video features a fake iPhone 5 -but if so, its a very good fake." So, that settles not much! Anyway, whether that fake video is real or not, Apple seems to have come out and revealed that the iPhone 5 is coming - because check out the shadow of the 12, genius! TECHREPUBLIC has decided that the iPhone 5 is "guaranteed to disappoint....The smart money is now on the new iPhone offering solid improvements rather than revolution. So, with no obvious killer feature, the big question is whether Apples new smartphone is simply destined to dissatisfy." Likely new features are support for LTE wireless (yawn), a better camera (zzzzz), and a smaller dock connector (coma). But wake up and never mind that: ALL THINGS D has analysts predicting sales of 10 million units in the first week, thanks to "pent-up demand for the device could generate some massive early sales." Its not entirely clear what that pent-up demand is for - is there some feature that current mobile phones desperately lack? But early adopters are fickle. Also: they are mostly male and white and in the SF area, according to a new BUZZFEED probe of three new web-based services. Thats not really a surprise, but as Anil Dash points out metaphorically, at DASHES: "You cant start the revolution from the country club....Building a social tool for just us geeks permanently privileges the few people who get in the door first, which means youre giving a huge leg up to those who already have a pretty good set of advantages to begin with." Another tech goodie that was made available mostly to the privileged few - Facebooks stock - continues to suck eggs, and people are chattering about why. The NY Timess Andrew Ross Sorkin blamed CFO David Ebersman (not a character in the Aaron Sorkin movie, but maybe if they make a sequel). At SEEKING ALPHA Felix Salmon says the CFO cant control the ongoing stock price; he has to care more about the companys actual finances. At BUSINESS INSIDER, where founder Henry Blodget knows a thing or two about ways to move stock prices, a report notes that Mark Zuckerberg committed to not selling any Facebook shares for a year. Thats really nice of him not to bail on his own company an may give the market confidence. Board members Marc Andreesen and Donald Graham are only selling a little. "Facebooks stock has been battered since the IPO, so any news about selling, buying, or standing still is a big deal," BIZ INSIDER says. "In this case, it looks like good news because big insiders are going to sit on the stock." The big question raised here, of course: wait a minute, are Andrew Ross Sorkin and Aaron Sorkin related? Oddly, no, though both went to Scarsdale High in New York, and there have been e-mail mix ups.
Conan OBrien had the funniest wisecrack this week about 101-year-old Florence Detlor, who was introduced to the world as the oldest person to be using Facebook. Conan: "She said Id like to waste what little time I have left." Early in the week, Facebooks Chief Something Officer Sheryl Sandberg had
tweeted written on her FB timeline that Detlor was "the oldest registered Facebook user." Well, maybe not after all. After MASHABLE ran a story about that, it followed up: "A commenter on our earlier story pointed us to the Facebook page of his great-grandmother, Peggy Geithrie ... Peggy was born in 1908 -- making her a spritely 104, or three years older than Florence." Hang in there, Flo. Your time may come yet. Note to budding journalists - heres a great way to do your research: write wrong information and wait for commenters to correct you. HUFFPOs headline, on its amended story, retroactively calls Flo "one of the oldest registered Facebook users." Incidentally, both women were in their forties until recently; they aged rapidly after buying shares of Facebook stock.
Speaking of transcendent human experiences, its time for Burning Man, the fabulous, flaming, not-safe-for-work festival of highbrow debauchery in Nevadas Black Rock Desert. This years theme is Fertility 2.0. Cant make it? Ustream has a live video feed and words of explanation swiped from burningman.com: "Black Rock City is a kind of Petri dish. Theme camps cling in fertile clusters to its latticework of streets, artworks tumble out of it, like pollen on the air. These nodes of interaction mutate, grow and reproduce their kind, only to effloresce and spread across five continents. This years art theme contemplates the tendency of any being or living system to create abundant life." You had us at effloresce! Of course there is the official BURNING BLOG. A sample reading: "We are told by reliable people with direct knowledge of the situation that there are more law enforcement personnel here than in previous years, and they are keeping a higher profile. More cars than ever before are being pulled over and searched as soon as they pass the Greeters stations. And almost any infraction will be cited, so make sure your tail lights are working."
SLATE celebrates the festival with a multipart series of dispatches entitled "Why Would Anyone Go to Burning Man?" (mechanized gongs are cited). LAUGHING SQUID offers up a gallery of brilliant fest photos by "Neil Girling of The Blight." BOING BOING presents a matrix of Instagram images "by long-time Burner Aaron Muszalski" and sends out a miss-you message to desert revelers: "To all out there as I type this, have lots of sex and fire and drugs and candyraving and shirtcocking for me" (you dont want to know). Reminder to candyravers and shirtcockers: make sure your tail lights are working.
Did you know that Burning Man "operates on a gift economy. The only things for sale are ice and coffee. Everything else you better hope you brought with you, or have faith someone will gift it," PANDODAILY reports. One gift you can get is an app called "Time To Burn," which helps attendees plan their BM schedules, a task not so simple due to the many possibilities there: "Despite the hippy, raver, Rich Kids of Instagram reputation of Burning Man, the variety of activities demonstrates the diverse interests of Burners."
Samsung has been licking its wounds after losing a kajillion buck intellectual property lawsuit to Apple (a company that has never borrowed any ideas). The NY Times said Samsung will be fine and the biggest losers will be consumers, because phone makers will pass along Apple licensing fees to shoppers, and now the next great phone might never come to market. "I disagree," says DARING FIREBALL. "What this verdict should prevent is any of them making phones that are disturbingly similar to Apples." In probably related news, Samsung became the first phone maker to show a Windows 8 phone, which is disturbingly dissimilar to the iPhone. Says BITS: "Samsung in the past has been quiet about its support for Windows Phone, but perhaps now it will be more enthusiastic about working with Microsoft in the aftermath of its patent battle with Apple."
While it men were burning it up in Nevada, and the GOP was dodging hurricanes in Florida, President Obama was busy doing an AMA- that means "ask me anything" - on Reddit. We learned that his favorite basketball player is Michael Jordan and that "we will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody ." ALLTHINGSD interviewed Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who said theyd been trying to snag Obama for years and suddenly got a ping: "POTUS is doing an AMA." Ohanian added, "Nothing different about this, except for keeping it a secret. Also, the President only has thirty minutes or so to answer questions, which we made sure they said up front." If you believe some sources, the Obama team could have saved time and written their own questions.
Here we go again! A new iPhone is imminent from Apple, and everyone who ever fingered a one-button mouse is wondering what it will be like. "Rumors swirling around the iPhone 5 have gadget watchers dizzy with anticipation. Bigger screen size, thinner display, Siri song-and-dance numbers -- when will the madness stop?!" says MASHABLE, which links to a "leaked video" that supposedly explains it all but which is in fact a withering parody by ADAMTHINKS.COM. Folks just love a good Apple rumor, or a bad one. Lets just say its not the first time someone has been tempted to take an Apple bite that turned a little sour. In case you missed this one: Swedish design firm Day4 exploited Applemania in a prank to demonstrate how easily fake information can become big news online. As READWRITEWEB reports: the design company "produced a mock-up image of a screw with an asymmetrical head, ostensibly designed by Apple to prevent users from tinkering with their devices. After posting it to Reddit, all they had to do was sit back and wait for tech reporters to take the bait." Yep, soon, "Apple-watching blogs and news sites across the Web" were off and running with the screwy news. Saps! But one bad Apple leak doesnt spoil the whole bunch, girl. A guy named Justin who works at SMARTPHONE MEDIC, where they medicate busted phones, made a sneaky video showing real iPhone 5 parts of the future, which the public hasnt even had a chance to break yet! "The biggest noticeable difference is definitely the screen size [larger] and the home button size," Justin says. Then it gets pretty graphic: he shows "flex cables." BUSINESS INSIDER has embedded this momentous iPhone 5 parts preview video for posterity and says: "What really struck us was how the new iPhone looks compared to Samsungs flagship phone, the Galaxy S III. Even with a larger screen, the iPhone 5 looks tiny in comparison." MACRUMORS, meanwhile, says "observers are still waiting for a good look at the most crucial part of the device: the logic board." Well, thats logical. Speaking of Samsung, its becoming clear that the little "i" at the beginning of Apple products stands for "intellectual property." The companys late cofounder Steve Jobs once vowed to "go thermonuclear" to destroy Android because he called the whole idea stolen. Now Apple is pursuing patent lawsuits against Samsung across the planet. For gripping tech-patent-law drama, you cant beat CULT OF MACs blow-by-blow live blog from proceedings in the San Jose courtroom: "4:10PM: We dig into the world of modes one more time. Attorney: Can a device have more than one mode at once? Srivastava says no." Stay tuned for the thrilling verdict. Also, as VENTUREBEAT reports, "Motorola, the phone company Google acquired this year, filed a patent infringement suit against Apple that effectively seeks to ban the import of the iPhone, the iPad and the iPod Touch to the U.S." So theres that. "Google could e trying to change the momentum in a battle that until now made Googles Android look more vulnerable than Apples iOS platform." A VENTUREBEAT columnist says "Google vs. Apple equals WWIII: Hows that for thermonuclear? ... Its the clash of empires ... The open mobile operating ecosystem versus the closed, vertically integrated ecosystem. The propeller-heads versus the designers." But dont worry about World War 3 or 4 or thermo-nukes. The world really isnt ending. So says WIRED in its August issue in an article by science author Matt Ridley: "Prophecies of doom on a colossal scale have become routine ... we are now, in writer Gary Alexanders word, apocaholic. The past half century has brought us warnings of population explosions, global famines, plagues, water wars, oil exhaustion, mineral shortages, falling sperm counts, thinning ozone, acidifying rain, nuclear winters, Y2K bugs, mad cow epidemics, killer bees, sex-change fish, cell-phone-induced brain-cancer epidemics, and climate catastrophes. So far all of these specters have turned out to be exaggerated." Of course, bloggers are seeing this argument through the refined lenses of their own arguments. CASTNETTING says "not so fast, ... If I were a random guy, say waiting in line at Whole Foods, and skimmed this magazine cover, Id feel relieved that _WIRED_ told me I didnt have to worry." But "lumping todays climate crisis" with those overhyped threats of the past "has just thrown thousands of extra battle droids in our path towards [educating] people about climate change." (Battle droids? Why drag Google into this one?) Coming from a different angle, ON THE MARK sees the _Wired_ feature as an indictment of "Big Science" and "State Worshiping collectivists" who might suggest a concerted global effort against, say, climate change: "They are green on the outside and red on the inside - watermelons." Whatever you think about global warming, or the likelihood of apocalypse, you have to admit: that may one of the best melon metaphors all week.
The Curiosity Rover landed in Marss Gale Crater, with an assignment - as ENGADGET once explained - of "finally answering Bowies nagging questions." (Is there life on Mars? Do you remember your president Nixon? Rebel Rebel ...how could they know?) But GIZMODO does wonder "why do the Mars rovers images look so bad?" Cripes, dont they have Instagram up there? The answer is "Two words: dust cap. All the cameras onboard Curiosity are covered with transparent dust caps." But soon the images will be much cooler. TUAW investigates claims that an iPhone 4S is actually more powerful that the Curiosity Rover: "Its true ....the iPhone 4S does have a much more powerful brain than the Curiosity rover, but its a moot point. Engineers design products, whether theyre mass market smartphones or one-off Mars rovers, to handle the conditions that theyll see in everyday usage. To quote Elton John, Mars aint the kind of place to raise your kids. That delicate flower of an iPhone wouldnt last a minute on Mars." You think Samuel L. Jackson is getting gazpacho help from Siri on Mars? Think again, pal. TECHCRUNCH notes that a recent Google Doodle, which ostensibly celebrates the Olympics, also secretly pays homage to all this Mars business because look up in the sky! Behind the javelin thrower! Viva science nerds! ENGADGET also lets us know about the Lego Mindstorms builders who have created a fully operational Lego model of Curiosity, and you know something is important once its rendered in Lego bricks. Besides interplanetary info, the Mars mission has given the world a new Internet character, Mohawk Guy. Explains COSMIC LOG: "Its been a crazy 24 hours for flight director Bobak Ferdowsi, and not just because he and the rest of his team at NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory landed an SUV on Mars. Ferdowsi has catapulted to Internet fame -- thanks to his star-spangled Mohawk hairdo and the warm-hearted hotness he exuded during TV coverage of the Curiosity rovers landing. Hes picked up 20,000-plus Twitter followers ... hes getting come-ons from fans of both sexes... A Tumblr tribute site has been created in his honor. And theres a widely distributed LOL picture with the caption, "Becomes an Internet sensation ... Too busy landing a robot on Mars to notice." Adds SEATTLES BIG BLOG: "Turns out, the NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory control room is tough place to be an attractive guy with an unusual haircut. No one wants to hear about how you just landed a car-sized space probe on another planet when you have a mohawk and a Hollywood smile." MASHABLE has an exclusive post game video interview with him here. And speaking of viral memes (which is how they become viral memes after all), BOING BOING has proclaimed that this new video of an excited vintage train fan describing a vintage train may be classified as "the new Double Rainbow." Which is really saying something.
Its a sporting event that brings people together once every four years: crying about Olympics TV coverage! "If pissing off the Olympic audience were an event in London, NBC would be winning gold, silver, and bronze, every single night," says BUSINESS INSIDER. "Please dont watch NBC tonight. Or any night," says TECHCRUNCH. The gripes are spewing all over Twitter (because its the "Twitter Olympics," says CNN Tech.) Wah! Dont cry, Boehner Baby! One guy - a legit-ish news reporter named Guy --- even complained about NBC so much, on Twitter, that NBC and Twitter conspired to suspend his account! BOING BOING explains: "Twitter suspended Guy Adams, a journalist from the UK paper _The Independent,_ after Adams posted the email address of an NBC exec and urged his followers to send in email complaining about the networks (shamefully bad) handling of its Olympics broadcasts." Shamefully bad! Also, Twitter was shamefully bad and "totally, boneheadedly stupid" for that censorship, because GMail addresses are tweeted on Twitter all the time anyway. "People tweet out email addresses every minute (heres a search for Gmail addresses being tweeted right now)," says THE NEXT WEB (though maybe most of those are shared voluntarily?). It gets worse, the Boing people report... "Twitter has confirmed that their own employees alerted NBC - who are working in partnership with Twitter on the Olympics - that the Adams had tweeted the email address of an NBC executive, and encouraged NBC to fill in a form officially complaining." Spoiler alert: the reporters account soon was reinstated, and he joked that the incident made him feel "like Nelson Mandela walking through the streets of Cape Town, circa 1990." There you go. The egg remains on NBCs face, though, because the suspension "amplified Adamss message rather than minimizing it," says THE ATLANTIC, with a chart to prove it. Oh - the big complaint against NBC? They are saving video of live London events until USA prime time, to get a bigger audience (for the audience and advertisers). As Simon Dumenco at AD AGE explains: "Some people are throwing hissy fits because NBC is showing tape-delayed events during American prime time, and in some cases those people - horrors! - have already found out who won those events via news reports and social media." Yes, you can watch stuff live at NBCs web site, which people who are active tweeters presumably can figure out how to do. But apparently everybody wants to watch events live on REAL TV SETS in the middle of the weekday. "How many people in America who are gainfully employed have the sorts of jobs where they can actually stop working during the day if they feel like it and instead watch the Olympics? For starters, I guess, cranky-ass bloggers who can set their own hours," Dumenco says. A Web producer for an NBC affiliate, IN A BLOG POST on his stations website, said _enough with the whiners_: "Put down your smartphone. Close your Facebook account and get back to work." There are actual sports happening on London Town too. Theres been debate about whether swimmer Michael Phelps now is the greatest Olympic athlete of all time, since hes won the most medals ever, competing in a sport where one person can win the most individual medals (eight per Games, which is seven more medals than athletes in many sports can even compete for). "The greatest Olympian? There is no doubt," says THESPEC.COM. "Its beyond dispute: Phelps is the greatest Olympian of all time," agrees the swimming writer for SIs LONDON 2012 blog. "No Olympian, including Usain Bolt, has been a slide under the global microscope as long as Phelps." Really - more pressure than Jesse Owens? The UKs Telegraph says no. Runner Sebastian Coe says no. "Medal quantity is meaningless for swimmers," says ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, which offers three other pretty accomplished candidates for greatest, including Paavo Nurmi, whose 12 medals in three Olympic games were all individual (more than Mike), or Clara Hughes, who medaled in the Summer and Winter games. The American womens gymnastics team, meanwhile, just crushed it. Kayla Maroneys vault was so breathtakingly perfect that one judge sat there with her mouth open. "The judges reactions were absolutely perfect," says BUSINESS INSIDER. BUZZFEED has created a shrine to the vault. And of course there was the incredible Gabby Douglas. The young teams enthusiasm is getting as much attention as their exquisite performance. Says POPWATCH: "What we witnessed was five miniature young women at the top of their game having the time of their lives and SMILING. This was by far the smiliest team gymnastics final I can remember." "The American womens gymnastic team excels not only at tumbling and vaulting, but also at being teenage girls," says NY Mags THE SPORTS SECTION. "They squeal at every teammates success. They rub backs and throw comforting arms around a girl who flubbed a landing. They could be at a slumber party."
Its crazy to think that four years ago the Olympics were in China, George Bush was president, and there was no such thing as an iPad (and without the time-chewing obligation to manufacture millions of electronic tablets, China put on a terrific opening ceremony). Well, the Olympics are in London starting this Friday, and theres so much to blog. Where to watch online? NBC has paid 8.9 zillion dollars for the rights to the carry the Games in the U.S. across its numerous platforms, so you need to suspect the legitimacy of WatchGamesFerFree.com types of sites that promise Olympics action in high-def. The THREATMETRIX FRAIDS & ENDS BLOG presents the top five cyberthreats for Olympic fans including downloading unauthorized apps, clicking on shortened URLs from non-trusted sources on Twitter and Facebook, and images of athletes "laced with malware" on rogue sites. Scary! NBC OLYMPICS is the main legit place to start. HONGKIAT.COM runs down a total of five sites for following the Olympics, although the video is region-restricted on some of them. But cheer up! "Its practically a holiday around our house. Or a quarantine ward because we catch serious Olympics Fever," says the spirited blog THE CLOTHES MAKE THE GIRL, which has devoted its weekly "Tuesday 10" to "10 doses of words and images to afflict you with Olympics Fever." These include links to stirring pictures and stories around the web like the arrival of female Saudi Arabian athletes and recent stories about Olympic Village hanky panky. MENTAL FLOSS has a fashionable gallery of uniforms the teams will be wearing in the fabulous opening parade, including the U.S. outfits by Ralph Lauren: "They look quite traditional and patriotic, but the oversized Polo logo screams prep school. And then theres the beret, which has American fashion critics howling. But the biggest part of the upset over these uniforms is the fact that they were manufactured in China." Right, that beret. Mon dieu! SLATE - which is tagging its Olympian stories with the clever label "Five Ring Circus" - calls the beret "poufy," "ungainly," "hideous headgear, "a monstrosity." So apparently not a fan. Separately, SLATE has assembled a goofball quiz asking whether various names like Brent Cross and Theydon Bois are Olympic athletes or London Tube stations. Meanwhile, yeah, get ready for the London mascots: one eyed alien thingys that are confusing everyone. The _Globe and Mail_ guessed someone on the mascot committee must have said: "Sure, go with one-eyed creatures that resemble surveillance cameras, because surveillance cameras say London 2012 to me." The paper decided mascots Wenlock and Mandeville look like the result of "a drunken one-night stand between a Teletubby and a Dalek." Ha! TOP DRAWER SOCCER says: "Between Spains Olympic uniforms and this, you have to wonder if Pee Wee Herman is behind these Games." HUFFPO gets down to business and says the mascots look like a penis to pretty much everyone. MACRUMORS says Apple has relased its fourth ad showing a celebrity using the iPhone 4S and Siri in an annoying way. This time director Martin Scorses is alone in a cab and "uses Siri to reschedule appointments, find where a friend is, and see how traffic is in Manhattan." Its in a taxi, get it? But they blow the chance to use the classic lines. _You talkin to me? Im the only one here. _FUNNY OR DIE takes care of that oversight by cutting Robert DeNiro as creepy taxi Driver Travis Bickle into the commercial._ _Probably related to these annoying ads, Apples new quarterly earnings have fallen short. Apple Whiffs On Earnings After Coming Up Short On iPhone Sales," headlines BUSINESS INSIDER. "Whats particularly crazy about this quarters earnings miss is that Apple just barely beat its own guidance. Typically it blows away its own guidance." FYI: "Guidance" is the fake number a company gives analysts in advance to set expectations, misdirect, or whatever it wants to do. ALL THINGS D says there are various excuses floating around but "the most oft-cited by analysts is this: iPhone sales are slackening ahead of an expected fall refresh of the device." That means expect your current iPhone to break by November. And if you peek at just one silly celebrity-related meme this week, please let it be the work of photographer/artists DANNY EVANS, whose hobby is taking photos of beautiful and handsome celebs and manipulating them brilliantly to look like chubby everyday Americans. "Evans project envisions A-list stars as just any average people with double chins, bad hair, tacky clothes, and cheesy poses," says PSFK. "Evans has worked his Photoshop magic on celebrities like Madonna, Jennifer Aniston, Rihanna, and power-couples like Kanye and Kim Kardashian, Kirsten Stewart and Robert Pattinson, and Jay Z and Beyonce." "There is sweet justice in taking Photoshop, the very tool that makes celebrities seem so insufferably flawless, and turning it cruelly against them," says CO.DESIGN, which features a gleeful gallery.
Remember Yahoo? Theyve been big but rarely supreme in nearly every online category: search, mail, messaging, news, finance, sports, games, horoscopes. Now theyre trying on a new CEO with hopes of regaining your attention. Former Google exec Marissa Meyer is bringing optimism. Michael Arrington at UNCRUNCHED calls Mayer "a new hope for Yahoo." At AVC, venture capitalist Fred Wilson says because of Meyers hiring, Yahoo is no longer dead to him. Marc Andreesen calls it a hiring well done and told BUSINESS INSIDER he was amazed Yahoo could attract someone so talented. Now what? STREET FIGHT, a blog focusing on "the business of hyperlocal," says Mayer "must take a product that has lost relevance and either add entirely new product sets or reshape it for the times." That means becoming the king of local news, shopping and so forth. THE ATLANTIC advises "What the Internet Wants From Marissa Mayer, in Five Words... _Actually, one word: Flickr..._ the Internet has a suggestion for what she should put at the top of her agenda: making Flickr awesome again." Elsewhere in the Valley, rumors of an iPad Mini continue to gurgle, because imagine a device with a smaller reading screen than a normal iPad but larger than an iPhone and unable to make phone calls! Bloggers are pointing to a NY Times piece as proof the rumors are legit. APPLE 2.0 says Apple is strategically spilling its own beans: "Those unnamed people with knowledge of Apples new product plans cited in Mondays _NEW YORK TIMES_ have been busy. Two weeks ago, identified as two people familiar with the plans, they appeared in _BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK_. The next day people familiar with the situation showed up in the _WALL STREET JOURNAL_. On John Grubers DARING FIREBALL they flew in as little birdies from Cupertino. The message is the same: Apple is preparing to extend its dominance of the tablet computer market with a 7.85-inch model that would complement its current family of 9.7 inch iPads." The second part of the rumor is that the Mini will make an Apple pad affordable. "If Apple wants to own the tablet category and fend off (i.e. crush) rivals like the $199 Google Nexus 7, aggressive pricing is one way to do it," a CNET columnist says. Its been bloggers versus comedians this week after a blog post blew up and put the comedic stylings of Daniel Tosh and his Unconscionable Rape Jokes into the spotlight. The previously obscure COOKIES FOR BREAKFAST posted a story about a woman who attended a performance by the Comedy Central TV host Tosh at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles: "Tosh... starts making some very generalizing, declarative statements about rape jokes always being funny, how can a rape joke not be funny, rape is hilarious, etc. ... I didnt appreciate Daniel Tosh (or anyone!) telling me I should find them funny. So I yelled out, Actually, rape jokes are never funny! Even though being disruptive is against my nature, I felt that sitting there and saying nothing, or leaving quietly, would have been against my values as a person and as a woman... Tosh paused for a moment. Then, he says, Wouldnt it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her..." Whoa. Set this one to: explode. Reports of what actually happened in the club vary, as apparently its historys only stand-up performance that isnt on YouTube. Much backlash ensued. VOICES AGAINST VIOLENCE blogged: "Banning offensive jokes is certainly not the answer, but regulating our tolerance of them _is..._If society stops laughing when a comedian crosses the line, the comedian will have no choice but to find other means to elicit the same response. "Hate 1, Laughs 0," says THE SOLIPSISTIC ME, in case you are keeping score at home. Maybe the most effective response was from THE ONION, with the story "Daniel Tosh Chuckles Through His Own Violent Rape." Tosh apologized on Twitter, "albeit half-heartedly," says LAUGHSPIN. He wrote: "All out of context misquotes aside, Id like to sincerely apologize. The point I was making before I was heckled is there are awful things in the world but you can still make jokes about them #deadbabies" Comedian Patton Oswalt was outraged by the backlash, tweeting, "Wow, @danieltosh had to apologize to a self-aggrandizing, idiotic blogger. Hope I never have to do that (again)." Oswalt told POPWATCH "Obviously, I dont agree with what he said...but theres something really, really dangerous about [reacting to] something you dont like by shouting it down so its not heard." Louis CK went on _The Daily Show_ say he tweeted a compliment about Tosh amid the brouhaha without realizing what was going on (uh, ok), making the media report that he was rising to Toshs defense. As MEDIAITE repoirts, Louie deftly zigzagged from alleged rape-joke apologist to social analyst, explaining that the main problem was that it was a battle between sides that will never back down: comedians vs. bloggers, and comedians who cant take criticism vs. feminists who cant take a joke. "While C.K. explained that he still thinks any topic, no matter how awful, should be fodder for jokes, he realizes that the dialogue going on, no matter how angry, is always a good thing." Meanwhile, humorist Andy Borowitz has been acquired by _The New Yorker_, which will run his fake news blog THE BOROWITZ REPORT as a NYer blog. The NYer brass told PAIDCONTENT that it is expanding its web humor and bloggery significantly and that that June was the best traffic month ever for newyorker.com. In a report to loyal readers, Borowitz answers some questions: "How will moving to _The New Yorker_, known for its excruciating fact-checking, change the Borowitz Report, which is composed entirely of lies? Not at all. The Borowitz Report will be as inaccurate as always, and if I ever write something that turns out to be true you have my deepest apology and my promise that it wont happen again."
There were apocalyptic forecasts about the impact that the dreaded DNS Changer Malware thingy would have on Internet users this past Monday. "Internet Blackout Threatens Thousands Worldwide," MSNBC reported. DNS Changer Malware Could Shutdown Internet for Quarter Million Monday, reported security firm BIT9 on its blog. "Thousands, if not millions of computers could lose Internet access on Monday, July 9, 2012," warned sites including THOMASON TECH. Ok, so heres what didnt happen: that. "No major companies experienced issues related to the so-called Doomsday Virus," MASHABLE reported. BITS called it "the Internet Apocalypse That Wasnt." Why no disaster as promised? "As part of a federal court order, the F.B.I. arranged for a private company to swap the rogue DNS servers with legitimate servers to keep millions of infected users connected to the Internet." Then "Internet service providers like AT&T and Verizon temporarily substituted their own DNS servers for those set up by the F.B.I. " So it may its not Apocalypse Now. Maybe later. Comic-Con is in full swing, and that means cosplay - with the cos standing for kooky kostumes. "Theres just something about the convention that brings out the inner geek in all of us, and for some that means duct taping butter knives to their knuckles, spiking their hair into two devilish curls and calling themselves Wolverine," says SCREENCRUSH, which presents a gallery of the best cosplay on the scene this year. FILM SCHOOL REJECTS says "Arguably the biggest and best part of Comic-Con is the Exhibition Hall, which offers a mind-boggling 460,000 square feet of exhibition space, featuring all manner of items for sale...a true example of something for everyone (ball-jointed doll collectors, gather round!)." FSR marvels particularly over some knit dolls that look like the characters from Miyazaki anime films. Sci-fi site IO9 roudns up the coolest exclusive toys at Comic-Con this year: "If youve ever wanted a statue of the poor schlub Darth Vader force-choked in _A New Hope_, rejoice. The Admiral Motti mini-bust from Gentle Giant can be yours for $80."And THEFW takes us beyond Comic-Con to recommend 8 other pop culture geekfests worth knowing about this Summer, including Blobfest in Phoenixville, PA, and Lebowski fest in Louisville. True Geeks also are excited this week about Ouya. Its a cheap open-source Android-based video game console that just became the fastest project to raise a million bucks on Kickstarter. "Ouya hit the total in just over _eighthours_, shattering the previous record," says the KS BLOG. "With completely open hardware and software, an emphasis on free-to-play gaming and an all-important $99 price, the system is a gamble that at least a subset of players are frustrated with the status quo," says ENGADGET, which chats with Yves Behar, its famous industrial designer who also did the $100 laptop and other cool stuff. UNCRATE says "it could up-end the console business as we know it. Or its Yves Behar-designed interface might get bludgeoned by Apple. But hey, its only $100, so its worth a shot. Right?" Its going to be all about the games. Right? And everyones getting ready for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, which it turns out are happening later this year! Because Facebook really needs more exposure, the social network of "The Social Network" fame has made a deal with broadcaster NBC. Explains ALLFACEBOOK: People who like the NBC Olympics page on Facebook will have access to exclusive content, and something called the Talk Meter will inform NBC viewers about what Facebook users people are saying about the Olys. "So even if youre not on Facebook, youll be prompted to log on while youre watching the Games on TV." Is Farmville an Olympic event yet? MASHABLE marvels at how much mobile and social media will be part of the Olympic experience this year, saying: "Thank your lucky pixels - consumer tablets werent even a _thing_ for the last Summer Olympics, in 2008." Lucky pixels? That was awkward. In 2008 in China they probably were too busy _making_ mobile devices. Meanwhile, McDonalds plans to build the worlds largest McDonalds in London for the Games, and HUFFPO has the photos to prove it. BOING BOING provides an update (via the Guardian) on the developing French fry situation over there: apparently a sponsorship deal made McDonalds the only place workers could buy chips (aka fries) without fish. Other vendors could sell fish and chips. A chorus of complaints from site workers has led to a relaxation of the terms so workers can buy their chips from the vendor of their choice, even if theyre not served with fish, but spectators still have to but from Ronald if they want fries without fish. So get ready: between fast food and social media, there will be plenty of ways at the Olympics to not stay in shape while watching the worlds fittest athletes. Theyre training all over the world to become the best. A recently viral video shows a 9-year-old Australian kid who can apparently throw a ping pong ball into a cup from anywhere on Earth. It has bloggers wondering about his future. Says GUYSPEED (SFWBSC- Safe For Work But Super Cheesy): " While sticking him on the beer pong circuit now would probably violate some sort of child law, just imagine how good hes going to be when he finally hits college."
Fans of mano-a-mano competition are having mixed feelings about a marvelous Japanese robot called Janken that can compete with the best human rock-paper-scissors players. It made its video debut on the Web this week. The technology is wild. In fact the darn thing wins every time, which doesnt auger well for the future of humanity. "When machine finally decides to rise against man, the human race is going to have its hands full," says HOT HARDWARE. "I, for one, welcome our new rock-paper-scissors-playing overlords," says BLAME IT ON THE VOICES. But heres the thing, as ENGADGET explains: "this sneaky little future overlord wins 100 percent of its matches by using an oh-so human trait known as cheating." sorkSteroids, right? No...? "Researchers at the University of Tokyo came up with the idea of combining high-speed vision with a high-speed hand. It figures out what youre planning to do and reacts according...way too fast for you to catch it in the act," HACKADAY explains. "Apparently one millisecond is all it takes to analyze what move youve chosen." Robots, man. We gotta keep an eye on them. No wonder it was so hard to kill Yul Brynner in _Westworld_. Another video getting viral love and a blogger bump this week is "Sorkinisms," a brutal homage to Aaron Sorkin, whose new TV series _The Newsroom_ debuted on HBO on Sunday. Its a mean mega-mashup (clocking in at 7:22) of scenes from the wide Sorkin oeuvre, which includes _The West Wing_, and films such as _The Social Network_, _A Few Good Men_ and _The American President_. Evidently Aaron, er, recycles lines of dialogue that hes used before - A LOT. "If you havent seen Aaron Sorkin repeating himself, then you havent seen Shakespeare the way it was meant to be done," says The LA Times SHOW TRACKER. Adds I WATCH STUFF: "Just in time for making us even more judgmental of _The Newsroom_, editor Kevin Porter has pieced together this truly eye-opening supercut/Sorkinian masters thesis on the ridiculous amount of reused lines and recurring turns of phrases used in the works of Aaron Sorkin. Even if youre already somehow aware of how much Sorkin dialogue is either purposely or subconsciously repurposed, prepare to be shocked." JIM ROMENSEKO got hold of the 22-year-old creator, Kevin T. Porter, who says he started building the montage in his head when he was 14 years old. "Hes noticed for years that Sorkin has favorite phrases that he recycles. Highlighting them on YouTube wasnt an insanely original idea because within Aaron Sorkin fandom its a known thing. He was just the first to document it in one video." Ya think? Google is out with a new device to watch all these kooky web videos on, its Nexus 7 tablet, "the first device that will run on Androids next-generation Jelly Bean mobile operating system," says MASHABLE. Its $199 for 8GB and $249 for 16GB- putting it right the line of fire of the $199 Kindle Fire. "The move is a part of an effort to give Amazons Kindle Fire a run for its money, but Google might run into trouble getting consumers to buy e-books, music and movies on its own platform." "Built specifically for Google Play [app store] consumption, the Nexus 7 tablet built by Asus seems to be Googles answer to both the iPad and Kindle Fire," says TECHCRUNCH. ANDROID COMMUNITY digs into the handy-dandy device from every angle: "Google has really stepped up their game with Jelly Bean...Google called this project butter, where they wanted the OS to be butter smooth and theyve achieved just that. Animations are as swift as ever, and Im seriously loving this tasty treat even more than the frozen Ice Cream." Its really hard to tell which foods mentioned there are literally foods and which are product code names, but you get the idea. Finally, its hard not to admire a piece of "journalism" about "journalism" so smartly nasty as GAWKERs recent takedown of a _NY Times_ Style section piece about two rich kids named the Brant Brothers. "The _New York Times _profiled the Brant Brothers because the _New York Times_ hates you" is merely the headline getting things started. "No one at that paper could possibly think these two teenagers--who have yet to contribute anything meaningful to society--are inherently interesting. A much more reasonable explanation is that someone at the Times Style section sits down every week and is like, Oh hey, how can we piss off everyone this week? I KNOW! Lets profile a pair of privileged dipshits!" However you feel about Gawker generally, this line-by-line dissection of a horrid report is solid gold.
On NPRs ALL SONGS CONSIDERED BLOG, a post written a little while ago by a 20-year-old intern named Emily White just this week started to shake up the Web. She wrote that despite being "an avid music listener, concertgoer and college radio D.J.," with an iTunes library of 11,000 songs, she has bought only 15 CDs in her life. She wrote she hadnt illegally downloaded much but collected music files from friends and other places. "I honestly dont think my peers and I will ever pay for albums. I do think we will pay for convenience. What I want is one massive Spotify-like catalog of music that will sync to my phone and various home entertainment devices." This routine state of affairs to anyone young has detonated a panic bomb online. Says MEDIA DECODER: "It has been debated for days on music industry forums and in blog responses." DEATH AND TAXES says: "The most ardent downloader has to at least partially know something is wrong here." Most notably, at THE TRICHORDIST, professional musician David Lowery (Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven count, right?) scolds Miss Emily for her insolent ideas: "I must disagree with the underlying premise of what you have written. Fairly compensating musicians is not a problem that is up to governments and large corporations to solve. It is not up to them to make it convenient so you dont behave unethically." El scorcho!! But some bloggers jumped to the interns defense. "In a way...I am Emily," admits ALASKA ROBOTICS. And different person also named Emily White (really!) who works for an indie record label was alerted to the news and decided to defend White over Lowery. "Miss Emily White, I admire you. I would be honored if you considered coming to intern for us (though we dont want to poach you from your sweet NPR gig). Please consider me a resource if you ever need anything." What?! Who says piracy doesnt pay? While were looking at the evolution of entertainment, check out this cool graphic made by software engineer Vijay Pandurangan diaplaying the dominant colors in movie posters since 1914. Why did he do this? "I felt that most movie posters these days were very blue and dark. She didnt fully believe me and challenged me to prove it." Things change. Think back to your childhood and - remember Microsoft? This week the company unveiled Surface, a tablet computer that seems to be impressing people. Says ENGADGET: "Lets take a moment to realize what just happened here. Microsoft just pulled off a showy, big-time event in which they unveiled not one but _two_ pieces of hardware (plus a suite of accessories) that wed speculated about but not actually seen in the flesh. Thats a hell of an achievement, and even more impressively, that hardware looks good. Really good." Never mind that something about the demo felt awfully familiar... A CNN TECH blogger offers five reasons why Surface may be better than an iPad! CNET has highlighted five facts to take away from the Surface intro, including "Dont confuse this with the table thing," Microsofts previously known touchscreen device that was basically a glasstop coffee table where you could move digital photos around with your hands. Until now it had the same name! "The Microsoft Surface as weve known it for the past five years is now called Microsoft PixelSense... this isnt the first time Microsofts gone with one brand and used it for something else. Remember Zune ending up a content channel on the Xbox 360?" Also, since the Surface tablet comes with a thin keyboard, it not just a competitor to iPads and Android tabs but potentially to ultrabook PCs: "your tablet can work like a PC, complete with a full version of Windows." Microsofts motives are another issue. Says BUSINESSWEEK: "Microsoft making hardware is not a natural action. Its what the company does in times of desperation." You know who will surely buy a Microsoft Surface? Facebook. Theyre apparently buying everything with "face" in the name. The just acquired face.com, and as NEWMEDIA ROCKSTARS says: "theyre set to corner the market on faces." (Maybe next theyll acquire "Face the Nation" and revive Pillsburys Funny Face, the "artificially sweetened imitation drink mix" from the 1970s.) Face.com is an Israeli developer of facial recoignition software for which Facebook has paid $60 million. Says NMRS: "Theyre so serious about facial recognition that they were willing to dig through Mark Zuckerbergs couch cushions to pony up the change." What will the new tech do on Facebook? PEREZ HILTON says "be prepared to have another new feature you have no say in and have to use on Facebook." Or at least have to say no to. TECHNORATI figures Facebook is "gearing itself not only to be the top social network site in the world, but the number one photo sharing destination on the Web." Finally, what do you buy the man who has everything (and who doesnt really want face-related stuff)? If youre Larry Ellison, it would seem a Hawaiian island. Ellison reportedly is buying 98 percent of Lanai, a pineapple island formerly owned by Dole. Says HOLLYWOOD GOSSIP: "To put it in perspective, an unnamed source equated Ellisons purchase of Lanai as the continental U.S. equivalent of buying Montana." Were just thinking: here comes a high-tech remake of Gilligans island.
Lets have an honest talk about TLDs. You may think they dont affect you at all. You live a clean life, lets say. When you visit a website, the details of the URL and the stuff that comes after the final dot arent really what you care about most. But recent developments in the field of top-level domains demand attention. "If Google has its way we will soon see .Lol, .Google, .Docs and .Youtube domain names available for use," says INQUISITR. "The Internet search giant has submitted approximately 50 domain name extension requests to the Internet Corporation for the Assignment of Web Names and Numbers (ICANN), the agency that overseas domain name use and extensions for internet websites located around the world." Wait, .lol? "Is Google looking to buy a sense of humor?" asks BRANDCHANNEL. "Too funny," says MASHABLE. "OMGWTF" says (is "says" the right verb?) BUSINESS INSIDER. Amazon also has applied to control dozens of TLDs. But its not all laffs and lols. It could affect the wider world and even you. "There is also something interesting that both Google and Amazon could be trying to do here in their wide-ranging list of names," TECHCRUNCH says. "Given that both have already made extensive investments into becoming all-in-one platforms, offering content, cloud services, data management, devices, ecommerce and more, it seems like they are one step away from running their own one-stop shop internet platforms for others that want to go online." (In other words, setting up their own private luxury Internets!) Furthermore, TC quotes a guy named Abe Garver saying the new domains "will radically change organic search results and further swing the advantage from the haves to the have nots ... not just in the U.S. but around the world." LOL indeed. Spoiler alert: the new Ridley Scott sci-fi movie Prometheus is so hard to understand, it makes the plot of Lost seem like shampoo instructions. "Even in a flawed film Ill still find value -- it may not be an _entertainment_ value, but storytelling done badly has _educational_ value, at the very least," says TERRIBLE MINDS, where it is suggested that the Gods of Plot are punishing the movies characters. Numerous blogs have risen to the challenge of cracking the code. Movieline "jumps right into the spoiler goo" to ponder the biggest unanswered questions that Prometheus raises, and the first question listed is simply "why?" "Why does pretty much anyone in Prometheus make any of the decisions they make? Like... Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) with the helmet-taking-off. Really, is sniffing (and contaminating) the alien world atmosphere on the planet you just landed on and know nothing about such a good idea? Vickers (Charlize Theron), running in the one direction that will lead her to being squashed by a giant falling spaceship?" Good questions! But questions are easy. We want answers. Sci-fi authority IO9 promises "all of your lingering Prometheus questions, answered! ... We asked everyone we could get a hold of, from the actor who played scientist Charlie Holloway to screenwriter Damon Lindelof." [Lindelof also wrote Lost, if that explains the inexplicableness.] "I do feel like, embedded in this movie are the fundamental ideas behind why it is the Engineers would want to wipe us out. If thats the question that youre asking," Lindelof says. Switching gears - heh - American cyclist Lance Armstrong is in the news for all the wrong reasons again. "For Lance Armstrong, the doping allegations arent going away. In fact, theyre starting all over again," reports HuffPo. "The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has filed formal charges against the seven-time Tour de France winner, threatening to strip him of his victories in the storied cycling race." Its possible that Armstrong would lose his seven Tour de France wins all in one day, which would set a new record. If guilty he could even be forced to give up his heroic sounding name (not really). THE CONVERSATION provides a thorough rundown of the details and the chemistry involved in the unfolding situation: adding "Obviously, these topics cannot be discussed freely. Commentators often refer to an Omerta within professional sport, a Mafia-like code of silence which prevents anyone speaking out. Drug users who come clean are routinely portrayed as corrupt, bitter or litigious people, regardless of the truth or falsity of their stories." Interesting take on the matter over at DRUNK CYCLIST, which says: "They call it a massive doping conspiracy... We call it racing. I do not see this ending well for our Mr. Armstrong. As an aside, if any or all of Armstrongs Tour titles are stripped, who in the hell can they rightfully call the winner? The top five is a whos who of the disgraced and implicated in professional cycling." Brutal. Lance has maintained his innocence. In a poll at TMZ.com, more than 60 percent of respondents voted that Lance is innocent. Hope is a higher gear.