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9:50 AM ET, January 6, 2009

Techmeme

 Top Items: 
Greg Sandoval / CNET News:
Sources: Apple to expand DRM-free music, new pricing  —  Apple has cut deals that will finally enable iTunes to offer songs free of copy protection software from the three largest music labels, according to two sources close to the negotiations.  In exchange, Apple has agreed to become more flexible on pricing, the sources said.
Motorola Media Center:
Motorola Unveils World's First Mobile Phone Made Using Recycled Water Bottle Plastics and New 3G Touch Tablet with Customizable Home Screen  —  Latest devices to be displayed at 2009 International CES in Las Vegas  —  Las Vegas - CES - Jan. 6, 2009 - Today Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) …
RELATED:
Kent German / CNET News:
Surfing with the Motorola A3100  —  Motorola got a jump start on CES when it announced its new crop of phones two days before the show opens.  The most high-end of the bunch is the new Surf A3100 smartphone, which offers an expansive touch screen and support for Windows Mobile 6.1.
Discussion: Electronista
Dan York / Disruptive Telephony:
Skype 2.8 Beta for Mac OS X provides screen sharing, WiFi access, chat features and Twitter-like mood messages  —  Tonight out at the “ShowStoppers” event at MacWorld in San Francisco, Skype announced the new 2.8 Beta for Mac OS X. The new version will apparently be available for download tomorrow, January 6, 2009, from Skype's website.
Jessica Dolcourt / CNET News:
SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone announced  —  Six months after announcing its intention to bring SlingPlayer to the iPhone 3G, Sling Media has another announcement to make—just not the one you're wishing for.  —  SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone isn't ready yet, Sling said on Tuesday, but it is on its way.
Daniel Terdiman / CNET News:
Early returns show strong holiday video game console sales  —  Updated at 5:28 p.m. to include additional data and analyst perspective.  —  Though the retail economy suffered what appears to be one of the bleakest holiday seasons in recent memory, it looks as though the video games industry bucked that disastrous trend.
RELATED:
Microsoft:
Xbox 360 Records Its Biggest Year Ever
Discussion: the Econsultancy blog and I4U News
Alex Pham / L.A. Times Tech Blog:
Microsoft: Xbox 360 widens lead over PlayStation 3
Discussion: GamesIndustry.biz and Kotaku
Michael Arrington / TechCrunch:
Following The Twitter Hack Trail To DigitalGangster  —  One thing that didn't make a lot of sense about the 33 celebrity Twitter accounts hacked this morning - the messages left on the various accounts weren't consistent and were clearly written by different people with different agendas.
Discussion: Music Ally
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BIZ / Twitter Blog:
Monday Morning Madness
Dan Whitworth / BBC:
Facebook ‘sets Christmas record’  —  Facebook has set a new record as it had its busiest day ever over the Christmas holidays.  —  The social networking site accounted for one in every 22 online visits on Christmas Day, according to internet research company Hitwise.
Discussion: Going Social Now and Bloggers Blog
Dean Takahashi / VentureBeat:
HP unleashes a series of new low-cost computers at CES  —  Hewlett-Packard is launching a bevy of new products today that show it is designing its products to take into account the lighter pocketbooks and energy usage concerns of consumers.  —  These products being unveiled this week …
RELATED:
PC World:
AMD: Creating a New Laptop Category (PC World)  — Netbooks have their appeal—tiny budget machines with just enough oomph to run Windows XP.  Ultraportables have horsepower in spades, but they cost too much to suit some people.  This year we're going to see a whole new category of notebook …
Discussion: Engadget and Gizmodo
RELATED:
Susanna Leng / The Official Google Blog:
Introducing Picasa for Mac (at Macworld!)  —  Sometimes I find it hard to describe Picasa without sounding like a late-night infomercial for a multi-bladed thingamabob: “It's a photo organizer!  A photo editor!  A web-savvy photo sharing and management system in just one tiny package!”
RELATED:
Arik Hesseldahl / Business Week:
Was Apple ‘Adequate but Late’ on Jobs?  —  Some corporate governance experts question whether the tech giant could have been more forthcoming about its CEO's hormone imbalance  —  Apple (AAPL) investors got answers to some of their nagging questions about the health of the company's chief executive …
RELATED:
BBC:   Apple's Jobs admits poor health
InfoWorld:
Bringing Macs into business: Real-life IT stories  —  As more businesses bring Apple Macintoshes into their regular operations, IT has to figure out how to ensure the Macs play well in the typical Windows-dominated environments.  Several companies share the lessons — good and bad — that they have learned.
Discussion: The Register
Mike Butcher / TechCrunch UK:
If a 13 year-old can launch a startup you have no excuse  —  “My name's Scott.  I'm 13 and have launched a web startup.”  So began an email exchange over last weekend which culminated with me chatting to Scott's mum today to verify, that, indeed, he was actually 13 and really had launched a blogging site for people in Scotland.
Gizmodo Australia:
New Kogan Agora Shots Get Us Excited For Android All Over Again  —  Australia's first Android phone, the Kogan Agora, is only a few weeks away from its official release, and they've decided to keep us excited by sending us these spy shots of it in action.  While the photos aren't fantastic …
Nate Anderson / Ars Technica:
MediaSentry may be gone, but RIAA tactics will live on  —  The Wall Street Journal reported Monday (subscription) that the Recording Industry Association of America has dropped long-time P2P investigator MediaSentry in favor of European firm DtecNet.  —  The move comes as the RIAA switches tactics …
Discussion: p2pnet and PC World
The Boy Genius / Boy Genius Report:
HTC announces HTC S743: U.S. edition, suckaz  —  Not forgetting about those ever-important arrogant American consumers, HTC has crafted a U.S.-specific version of their HTC S740 Windows Mobile Standard device.  Supporting 850MHz/1900MHz HSDPA bands (sorry, T-Mo users), they're taking …
Discussion: wmpoweruser.com and Engadget
Ryan Paul / Ars Technica:
Debian 5 release approaches... binary blobs included  —  The developers behind the Debian Linux distribution are preparing for the upcoming release of Debian 5, which is codenamed Lenny.  The decision to move forward with the release follows a contentious vote over whether to permit the inclusion …
Discussion: Linux-Watch.com
Electronista:
HP updates Mini 2x netbooks with Atom, 10in LCD  —  HP in its pre-CES run-up introduced its first major update to its Mini 2100 netbook.  The Mini 2140 replaces the Mini-Note 2133 and abandons VIA's C7-M processor in favor of a 1.6GHz Intel Atom that HP claims should extend its battery life …
Liz Gannes / NewTeeVee:
Time Spent Watching Video Jumps 40% in One Year  —  One way to think about online video is to consider how big a chunk it takes out of our daily lives.  The amount of time U.S. Internet users spend watching video is up an impressive 40 percent year over year.
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 Techmeme Sponsor Posts: 
Microsoft:
5 mind-bending facts about quantum computing  —  In GIF form, five of the most mind-bending things scientists have learned about life on an atomic and sub-atomic level.
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Pure Storage:
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 More Items: 
Robert McLaws / Windows-Now.com:
I Am Boycotting IE Mobile Until Microsoft Gets Its Act Together
Discussion: IntoMobile
Jeremy Kirk / Computerworld:
Amazon adds new S3 twist: Make people pay to access your data
Discussion: InfoWorld
William M. Bulkeley / Wall Street Journal:
IBM Chief: IT Investment Will Create Jobs
David Kravets / Threat Level:
Top Internet Providers Cool to RIAA 3-Strikes Plan
Discussion: Techdirt and P2P Blog
Emily Steel / Wall Street Journal:
Ad Shops Eye Web Space
Discussion: paidContent.org
Ernesto / TorrentFreak:
Mininova's Torrent Downloads Double to 7 Billion in a Year
 Earlier Items: 
Jart Armin / Internet Evolution:
Battle for Gaza Fought on the Web, Too
Jason Kincaid / TechCrunch:
VixML: A Revolutionary New iPhone Development Platform For The Masses
Discussion: SitePoint
Stacey Higginbotham / GigaOM:
Comcast Can Now Slow Bandwidth Hogs Across Its Network
Discussion: DSLreports
Judy Lin / Associated Press:
Ex eBay CEO prepares run for Calif. governor
Tom Ohanian / MediaPost:
Why Apple and Wal-Mart Are Poised To Rule The World Of Mobile Media
Don Reisinger / Webware.com:
How to downsize your social network portfolio
 

 
From Mediagazer:

Juliette Garside / Guardian:
BSkyB to buy Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland for £4.9bn cash

Financial Times:
Financial Times says digital subscriptions up 33%, making up 2/3 of paying audience; overall circulation up 13%, year-on-year

Nick Davies / Guardian:
The pervasive power of Rupert Murdoch: an extract from Hack Attack by Nick Davies

 
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