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11:25 AM ET, February 28, 2009

Techmeme

 Top Items: 
Brad Stone / Bits:
Amazon Backs Off Text-to-Speech Feature in Kindle  —  Amazon announced today it will let publishers decide whether they want the new Kindle e-book device to read their books aloud.  —  The text-to-speech feature allows Kindle owners to have books read to them in a male or female computerized voice.
RELATED:
Amazon.com:
Statement from Amazon.com Regarding Kindle 2's Experimental Text-to-Speech Feature  —  Kindle 2's experimental text-to-speech feature is legal: no copy is made, no derivative work is created, and no performance is being given.  Furthermore, we ourselves are a major participant …
Staci D. Kramer / paidContent.org:
Amazon Backs Down On Kindle 2 Text-To-Speech; Will Let Publishers Decide
Daniel Terdiman / CNET News:
Arrington: I'll go to Demo 'if we're invited' … It looks like Michael Arrington has changed his mind about the value of the Demo conference in the wake of the announcement that VentureBeat CEO and editor-in-chief Matt Marshall will be taking over the tech conference after this year.
Owen Thomas / Gawker:
CEO's $500,000 Salary Burns Startup Into Fire Sale  —  8020 Media hoped to revolutionize the magazine business.  Instead, it has circled down the drain, ending up in the hands of shadowy investors after a new CEO with a Condé Nast résumé looted the startup.
Discussion: Bits and Texas Startup Blog
Owen Thomas / Gawker:
Here's Hoping Google Does Kill the Newspapers  —  The news that Google is placing ads on Google News has sent a renewed wave of handwringing through the newspaper industry.  How dare those Googlers make online news a profitable business!  —  Of course, Google is planning to keep most of that profit.
Dawn Kawamoto / CNET News:
Yahoo's Microsoft tab totaled $79 million  —  Yahoo's tab in its efforts to fight off Microsoft last year ran $79 million, according to the company's filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  —  Yahoo spent much of that bill on outside advisers who helped it weigh Microsoft's proposals …
Discussion: Silicon Alley Insider
Erick Schonfeld / TechCrunch:
ToysRUs Buys Toys.com At Auction For $5.1 Million  —  In a heated bidding war, ToysRUs bought the domain name Toys.com at auction for $5.1 million.  ToysRus really wanted the domain, for obvious reasons.  Everyone except ToysRUs and domain holding company National A-1 (owner of domains such as free.com …
Matt Rosoff / Digital Noise:
Mufin Player organizes songs by sound  —  Earlier today, Mufin launched its music player, which analyzes the songs in your music collection based on their audio content, rather than human analysis (which is subjective and dependent on the ears of the humans) or genre (which is totally arbitrary …
Discussion: mufin blog and ReadWriteWeb
Miguel Helft / New York Times:
Yahoo Teams With Newspapers to Sell Ads  —  Terry Widener has been selling newspaper ads for 35 years.  But until last fall, Ms. Widener, a 53-year-old saleswoman at The Knoxville News Sentinel in Knoxville, Tenn., had never sold an Internet ad.  —  Then in a two-week sales “blitz” …
Discussion: Fractals of Change, Thanks:atul
Danny Sullivan / Search Engine Land:
The Big List Of Search Engines & Their Employees On Twitters  —  Yesterday, Google joined Twitter with a company account.  We twittered a few search engine-related addresses as part of our post about that, but we wanted to do one that was a little more organized.  So welcome to our big search engine Twitter list!
Discussion: Guardian, Thanks:atul
Gavin Clarke / The Register:
Microsoft cloud to get ‘full’ SQL Server soon?  —  Azure details materializing  —  Next month, after a long silence, Microsoft will finally reveal what relational features from SQL Server have gone into its Azure cloud.  Or so it seems.  —  Microsoft's SQL Data Services (SDS) …
Discussion: Beyond Search and OakLeaf Systems
Seth Rosenblatt / Download.com editors:
iVerse brings comic books to iPhone, Android  —  There's no question that comic books and magazines will eventually have a portable platform suited to them, just as the iPod took nearly four years to reach a saturation level as the de facto portable music player.
Discussion: CrunchGear and PMP Today
Michael Masnick / Techdirt:
Why Are Book Publishers Making The Same Mistake The Record Labels Made With Apple?  —  from the we've-seen-this-movie-before,-and-it- doesn't-end-well dept  —  Back in 2005, we noted that Apple's dominance over the online music space, which upset the record labels tremendously …
Shira Ovide / Digits:
Hearst to Begin Charging for Digital News  —  Hearst Corp. said its newspapers plan to hold back at least some content from their free Web sites, launching the publisher onto the vanguard of print media companies to begin charging for their digital news and information.
Discussion: L.A. Times Tech Blog and Xconomy
Ben Worthen / Digits:
Egypt: Land of Pyramids, the Sphinx...and Outsourcing?  —  India's tech boom has inspired other developing nations to promote themselves as outsourcing destinations.  The latest to try to cash in: Egypt.  —  Egypt seems like an unlikely place for Western companies to send tech work and open call centers …
Bobbie Johnson / Guardian:
Microsoft's window on the future  —  For nearly 18 years, Rick Rashid has been the man with a unique window into Microsoft's future.  —  As the company's senior vice president of research, he is responsible for an important part of the software corporation's mammoth research and development operation.
Epicenter:
Epicenter Q&A: Google's Vint Cerf on Recession, Recovery and Innovation in Hard Times  —  On assignment for Wired.com, Sam Gustin is exploring the economic meltdown's impact on Silicon Valley, and the prospects of innovating our way out of the current financial debacle.
 
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 More Items: 
Mike Celizic / MSNBC:
‘Face of Facebook’ defends his site's policies
Discussion: VentureBeat and All Facebook
Dan Frommer / Silicon Alley Insider:
Calacanis, Lindzon To Box For Charity
Michael Masnick / Techdirt:
Massive Layoffs Hit The RIAA: Maybe Focus On Building Business Rather …
Discussion: Threat Level, hypebot and Slashdot, Thanks:atul
Jason Kincaid / TechCrunch:
Mufin Incorporates Powerful Recommendation Engine Into New Native Music Player
Discussion: BetaNews, hypebot and Ars Technica
 Earlier Items: 
Bill Gurley / abovethecrowd.com:
Perfect Online Video Advertising Model: Choose Your Advertiser
Thanks:atul
Gregg Keizer / Computerworld:
Seattle PC builder beats Microsoft with free Windows 7 upgrade offer
Discussion: Softpedia News and TechFlash
Mike Cassidy / Mercury News:
Finding our own little worlds has never been easier
Eric Savitz / Tech Trader Daily:
Intel, Taiwan Semi Plan Strategic Announcement
Brandon LeBlanc / The Windows Blog:
Microsoft App-V Support for the Windows 7 Beta