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1:00 AM ET, February 24, 2009

Techmeme

 Top Items: 
Ina Fried / Beyond Binary:
Microsoft backtracks on severance issue  —  This story was updated at 3:45 p.m. PST with an official statement from Microsoft.  —  Amid a wave of criticism, Microsoft is backtracking on a decision to require laid off workers to pay back money that the software maker said was in excess of its planned severance, CNET News has learned.
RELATED:
Joseph Tartakoff / The Microsoft Blog:
Microsoft will let laid-off workers keep extra severance  —  Microsoft Corp. will let laid-off employees who were overpaid severance keep the extra money, the company's senior vice president of human resources said Monday.  —  The company received heavy criticism over the weekend after it wrote …
Sam Oliver / AppleInsider:
Snow Leopard screenshots show interface tweaks  —  A gallery of screenshots from the latest build of Apple's upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard operating system showcases a handful of minor design tweaks that have been reported around the web in recent weeks.
Discussion: Softpedia News
RELATED:
Alex Brooks / World of Apple:
A Look at Build 10A261 of Snow Leopard [Images + Video]  —  The latest build (10a261) of Mac OS X “10.6″ Snow Leopard was released towards the start of February, much like many of the previous builds it contained very little user interface changes compared to Mac OS X “10.5″ Leopard.
Richard Jones / Last.fm:
“Techcrunch are full of s**t”  —  On Friday night a technology blog called Techcrunch posted a vicious and completely false rumour about us: that Last.fm handed data to the RIAA so they could track who's been listening to the “leaked” U2 album.  —  I denied it vehemently on the Techcrunch article …
RELATED:
Mathew / mathewingram.com/work:
Journalism, or irresponsible rumour-mongering?  —  TechCrunch, one of the Web's top tech blogs, sparked a firestorm of criticism with a recent story about Last.fm — the popular music-sharing network that CBS acquired last year — by reporting that the service had turned over a pile …
David Pogue / New York Times:
The Kindle: Good Before, Better Now  —  In the high-tech industry, you live for the day when your product name becomes a verb.  “I Googled him.”  “She's been Photo- shopped.”  —  Amazon, however, is hoping that its product name, a verb, becomes a noun.  “Have you bought the new Kindle?”
Discussion: Bits, Thanks:vindugoel
RELATED:
Amazon.com:
Kindle 2 Ships Today
Connie Loizos / PE Hub Blog:
Who's Advising Tom Friedman?  I Have a Guess  —  A lot of people have been expressing their surprise and disappointment in the recent writings of Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist who has, inarguably, become one of the nation's most influential journalists over the past decade.
RELATED:
Joe Weisenthal / Silicon Alley Insider:
Another Reason Friedman's Wrong: Most Startups Bomb
Thanks:jwyarow
Nick Farrell / www.itexaminer.com:
Apple to allow Verizon connections  —  When Jobs is away the cats will play  —  Apple is certain to allow Verizon to join its elite band of Iphone providers, bringing to an end the exclusive and somewhat stupid exclusivity deal in its biggest market.  —  Deep throats in Apple claim …
RELATED:
MG Siegler / VentureBeat:
Apple to Verizon: Can you hear me now? Maybe.
Discussion: IntoMobile and Gearlog
Philip Elmer-DeWitt / Apple 2.0:
Analyst: iPhone benefits from carrier rate war  —  AT&T's rivals have become more aggressive about their pricing, and that — paradoxically — could be good for Apple (AAPL), according to Kaufman Bros.' analyst Shaw Wu.  —  In a report to clients issued Monday, Wu notes that Sprint's (S) …
RELATED:
Katie Marsal / AppleInsider:
AT&T rivals seen driving down cost of iPhone service
Discussion: PC World, TG Daily and Macsimum News
Erick Schonfeld / TechCrunch:
With Chernin Out At News Corp, What Happens To FIM?  —  Peter Chernin, the long-time president and COO of News Corp, is leaving the company after protracted negotiations over his contract could not be resolved.  Chernin's salary was $28.8 million in the last fiscal year …
RELATED:
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes / Hardware 2.0:
Do you really think Apple's going to take business advice from a bunch of cheapskates?  —  I can't be the only one who'd tired of reading about the opinions of cheapskates who feel that Apple, for some bizarre reason, owes them a low-cost Mac OS powered computer.  Read my lips: It's not gonna happen!
Discussion: Tech Trader Daily
RELATED:
Gregg Keizer / PC World:
Analyst: Apple Could Score with $599 Netbook
Discussion: Computerworld Blogs
Douglas A. McIntyre / 247 Wall Street:
The Twenty Five Most Valuable Blogs  —  It is extremely difficult to put accurate financial values on blogs.  Almost all of them are private companies.  Some do raise VC money and those sums can be used as guidelines if and when they are disclosed.  Like many content businesses, the only worthwhile value is what an acquirer will pay.
Discussion: Silicon Alley Insider and MediaMemo, Thanks:atul
Stephanie Condon / CNET News:
White House names Internet team  —  The White House on Monday officially rolled out the names of its new-media team, which includes a former Google product manager.  —  Macon Phillips was officially named the director of new media, though he wrote his first White House blog post in that capacity the day President Obama took office.
Robin Abcarian / Los Angeles Times:
Hit ‘send,’ then hit the door  —  ‘SO LONG, SUCKERS!’  Jason Shugars, who left Google for the website Imeem, said, “I didn't want to send out a stale ‘good working with you, please reach me here’ e-mail.”  —  Farewell e-mails become an art form in this age of pink slips.
Discussion: Beyond Search and Slashdot, Thanks:atul
Kelly K. Spors / Wall Street Journal:
So, You Want to Be an Entrepreneur  —  First, answer these questions to see if you have what it takes  —  Thinking about starting a business?  Make sure you're cut out for it first.  —  In this bleak economy, lots of people are contemplating striking out on their own …
Discussion: RyanSpoon.com and Independent Street, Thanks:atul
Jay Yarow / Silicon Alley Insider:
Google Shakes Up Its Philanthropic Division  —  It looks like Google is getting more disciplined, reorganizing Google.org, its philanthropic arm, to become a more tightly focused organization.  —  Through the company's official blog, Dr. Larry Brilliant announced that he'd be stepping down as director of Google.org.
Microsoft:
Microsoft Advertising Announces Formation of Publisher Leadership Council  —  Consortium of leading Web publishers will consult on next-generation advertising platform, Microsoft PubCenter.  —  Microsoft Corp. today announced the creation of the Publisher Leadership Council …
Greg Kumparak / MobileCrunch:
HTC uses Twitter to confirm Touch Pro2 coming to North America  —  Last time HTC used Twitter to confirm something, it was to let everyone know that the HTC Touch HD wouldn't be coming stateside.  This time, they bring good news!  —  We were already pretty sure that the Touch Pro2 was headed …
Kara Swisher / BoomTown:
Yahoo News Head Khemlani Departs for Hearst as VP Digital Media  —  [UPDATED: With Hearst press release confirming the move at the bottom.]  —  Neeraj Khemlani (pictured here), Yahoo's general manager and executive editor of news, is set to leave his job-right in the midst of a major restructuring …
Timothy B. Lee / Ars Technica:
Publisher speculates about Amazon/Google e-book “duopoly”  —  Speaking at Princeton on Thursday, Richard Sarnoff, chairman of the Association of American Publishers, discussed the landmark settlement in the Google Book Search case.  Sarnoff speculated that the agreement could effectively give Google …
Discussion: CrunchGear, VatorNews and DigitalKoans
Monica Chen / DigiTimes:
SSD-based 8.9-inch netbooks seeing sharp price drops  —  Netbook vendors are dropping prices of their 8.9-inch netbooks models to clear inventory, and solid state drive-based (SSD-based) models are seeing the sharpest drops, according to sources at channel vendors.
The Boy Genius / Boy Genius Report:
AT&T pulls Quickfire handsets from shelves, floor  —  We got a couple tips this morning that AT&T has issued a notice to all store managers to stop selling AT&T Quickfires, and they've even been asked to pull the demo handsets from the floor.  We heard the reason that AT&T is bailing on the phone is due to “quality issues”.
Marshall Kirkpatrick / ReadWriteWeb:
Could Wikipedia's Future Be as a Development Platform?  —  Content creation at Wikipedia is slowing down.  The already small number of active regular editors is on the decline and Jimmy Wales has called for live edits to be held for approval on many pages, a step sure to slow contributions even further.
Discussion: The Noisy Channel
Kevin Marks / TechCrunchIT:
Social Web Q&A with Google's Kevin Marks  —  This guest post is written by Kevin Marks, Developer Advocate for OpenSocial at Google.  Over the last 20 years he has alternated between giant companies and founding startups - BBC, The UK MultiMedia Corporation, Apple QuickTime, Technorati and now Google.
Stephanie Condon / CNET News:
Obama picks Leibowitz as FTC chairman  —  President Obama plans to appoint current Federal Trade Commission member Jon Leibowitz to lead the agency, which partially enforces antitrust laws and has taken a recent interest in online advertising.  —  An administration official on Monday confirmed …
Steve O'Hear / last100:
Chumby bets on Internet-connected TVs  —  Hoping to move beyond being a geek's favorite boutique gadget to something more mainstream, Chumby is partnering with chip maker Broadcom to make it easy for consumer electronics companies to embed its widget platform into Internet-connected TVs, Blue-ray players and set-top boxes.
Discussion: Electronista, GigaOM and NewTeeVee
Kevin Poulsen / Threat Level:
Hidden Cameras in DTV Converters?  YouTube Hoax Fans Conspiracy Fears  —  Ever wonder what the government is really up to paying for all those digital TV converter boxes?  Last week a Spokane, Washington man claimed he'd discovered the horrifying truth, and he produced a YouTube video to prove it.
 
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 More Items: 
Founders at Work:
A Note About Sabeer Bhatia's Interview
Eric Eldon / VentureBeat:
AOL takes one part Bebo, one part AIM, wants to create central lifestreaming service
Discussion: ReadWriteWeb and Obsessable
Kristen Philipkoski / Wired News:
Videogame Technology Helps With Disaster Planning
Ernesto / TorrentFreak:
Pirate Bay Prosecution Hires Hypocrite Pirate Author for PR
Sara Silver / Wall Street Journal:
Motorola to Sell Email Unit
Discussion: Gear Diary
Deborah Gage / The Technology Chronicles:
How to protect your privacy online
Camille Ricketts / VentureBeat:
Obama's deficit plan hikes tax on carried interest for VCs, hedge funds
Discussion: Private Equity Beat, Thanks:atul
Dieter Bohn / PreCentral.net:
Celebrities Handle the Pre (Update: with help from Palm)
Discussion: Engadget and WebOS Arena
 Earlier Items: 
Anthony Ha / VentureBeat:
Widgetbox wants to make widgets more productive
Nicholas Kolakowski / eWeek:
Lenovo ThinkPad Laptop Toughens Up Against Panasonic, Dell
Mike Shields / Adweek:
Facebook Grapples With Revenue and Data