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9:00 PM ET, December 22, 2010

Techmeme

 Top Items: 
Peter Parkes / Skype The Big Blog:
Skype downtime today  —  Earlier today, we noticed that the number of people online on Skype was falling, which wasn't typical or expected, so we began to investigate.  Skype isn't a network like a conventional phone or IM network - instead, it relies on millions of individual connections between computers …
RELATED:
Ina Fried / Mobilized:
Skype Details Problems, Says May Take Hours to Fix  —  Skype users were sent scrambling for one of the few remaining pay phones on Wednesday as the Internet telephone service experienced a widespread outage.  —  A page deep in the company's support site confirms the issue, but appears to significantly understate the problem.
Matt Rosoff / SAI: Silicon Alley Insider:
Skype Outage Lesson: Don't Rely On Consumer Services For Business Functions  —  Skype is still down hours after crashing this morning, and Twitter was briefly down today as well.  —  As Ryan Kim at GigaOm points out, businesses who depend on these and other online services should always have backup plans in place.
Discussion: GigaOM and SelectStart
Zee / The Next Web:
Skype Goes Down.  —  Skype is currently down for the large majority of its users; its first down time spell since 2007.  The enormity of Skype going down is appreciated when you consider that last year it accounted for 12 percent of the world's international calling minutes.
David Radcliffe / The Official Google Blog:
Investing in New York  —  Google New York started in a Starbucks on 86th Street with one person in 2000—a scrappy, highly-caffeinated sales “team.”  After moving to a larger office in Times Square, in 2006 we relocated to our current home in Chelsea, at 111 Eighth Avenue—a former Port Authority building.
Zi Wang / Google Mobile Blog:
Android In Spaaaace!  —  Here at Google, we're all about exploration.  It's no surprise that some of our favorite products are built to let you explore the world in ways never before possible.  Google Maps lets you find your way all around the world.  Google Earth lets you explore the planet in detail, complete with trees and oceans.
Dirk Dougherty / Android Developers Blog:
More Payment Options in Android Market  —  [This post is by Eric Chu, Android Developer Ecosystem.  —Dirk Dougherty]  —  A key to a great purchasing experience is providing users with simple and fast payment methods.  The Android Market team has been working hard to deliver more forms of payment to further reduce purchase friction.
Adrianne Jeffries / New York Observer:
The Hottest Startups Are Full of Bros  —  The absence of women in tech is not really news, but since it remains a Situation, it's worth hammering away at.  —  This morning we wrote about the lack of women at the top positions at Twitter, Facebook, Zynga and Groupon, arguably the biggest four companies on the social Web.
Wall Street Journal:
Microsoft to Reveal New Version of Windows  —  Microsoft Corp. next month plans to discuss a new version of its widely used Windows operating system that targets low-power devices and adds support for a second strain of chip technology, according to people briefed on Microsoft company's plans.
Greg Kumparak / MobileCrunch:
SkyFire for iPad Launching Tonight For $4.99 [Update: It's Live!]  —  It's been a busy couple of weeks for the folks over at SkyFire.  They launched their Flash Video-friendly browser for the iPhone back in early November, only to pull it down almost immediately to ease the onslaught of users hammering their video transcoding server.
Zachary M. Seward / Digits:
Everything the Internet Knows About Me (Because I Asked It To)  —  Editor's Note: Zach is outreach editor for The Wall Street Journal, where he helps manage the newspaper's relationship with companies like Twitter and Foursquare.  Below, he explains one way that he makes use of those and other services.
Discussion: EngageDigital
Om Malik / GigaOM:
Google's Big Problem: It Ain't What You Think  —  When I first met Larry Page and Sergey Brin back in the 20th century, my first impressions about them included phrases like super-smart, engineer's engineers and minimalists.  They argued against the clutter that was AltaVista …
Sarah Nahm / Google Chrome Blog:
60 million tabs towards good causes  —  In 2010, the Chrome community has joined us in moments of fun, invention, exploration, and now, giving.  Last week, we invited Chrome's users worldwide to “donate” their opened tabs in Chrome to drive a charitable gift of one million dollars.
Ryan Tate / Gawker:
Facebook Will Thwart Google, Says Ex Googler  —  Does Google have any chance at all of competing with arch-rival Facebook?  Not really, former Google bigwig Paul Buchheit says.  Buchheit tells us his old company will probably find it easier to land on the moon.  —  It's an important issue.
Discussion: MediaPost and TechSpot
Nate Anderson / Ars Technica:
How Wikileaks killed Spain's anti-P2P law  —  Spain last night killed a controversial anti-P2P bill that would have made it easier to shut down websites that link to infringing content.  The move was a blow to the ruling Socialist government, but it may be of even bigger concern to the US …
Discussion: TorrentFreak
Leena Rao / TechCrunch:
News Corp. Sells Fox Mobile Group To Investment Firm Jesta  —  It looks like News Corp. has unloaded its Fox Mobile Group division.  According to a release, investment company Jesta Group has acquired Fox Mobile Group (FMG) from News Corporation.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed in the release.
Discussion: PR Newswire, Mobilized, mocoNews and SAI
Ryan Singel / Epicenter:
Craigslist Shuts Down International “Adult Services” Sections  —  Craigslist, the popular online classified ad service, has seemingly shut down its controversial “adult services” section worldwide.  —  In early September, Craigslist shuttered that section in the U.S., following years …
Jon Evans / New Scientist:
Banknotes go electric to outwit counterfeiters  —  GOOD old-fashioned cash is to go down the electronic route, now that it is possible to stamp simple electronic circuits directly onto banknotes.  —  Modern banknotes contain up to 50 anti-counterfeiting features, but adding electronic circuits programmed …
Discussion: Fast Company and Popular Science
Peter Kafka / MediaMemo:
YouTube Hands Out $500,000 to Video Makers, Prepares to Spend a Whole Lot More on Next New Networks  —  Here's a cutesy press stunt from YouTube: It is handing out $500,000 to some of its semi-pro video makers.  —  The money, doled out via 500 $1,000 credits to photography mecca B&H Photo …
W.J. Hennigan / L.A. Times Tech Blog:
Hedge fund to track Twitter to gauge stock market, report says  —  A British hedge fund said it plans to track Twitter to predict moves in the stock market.  —  According to a report by Bloomberg, “The Derwent Absolute Return Fund Ltd., set to start trading in February with an initial 25 million pounds …
Discussion: Bloomberg and SAI
Erick Schonfeld / TechCrunch:
Where Is Awarded The “Mother Of All Geofencing Patents”  —  Just as geo mobile services are taking off, the U.S. Patent Office has awarded an extremely broad patent on “Location-based services” to Where.  Patent No. 7,848,765 covers 31 claims ranging from sending an alert to offering a coupon …
Louis Gray:
Ex-Googlers Launch Beluga for Mobile Group Chat  —  Simple social apps, from photo sharing to intimate networks, to group texting services are gaining in momentum with the success of TextPlus, GroupMe, Path, Instagram and others.  A new entrant to the scene is a company called Beluga …
Discussion: VentureBeat
Loretta Chao / Wall Street Journal:
In China, Zuckerberg Meets Top Tech Executives … This photo taken December 14, 2010 shows a map on a page from Facebook.  The map displays friendships as lights on a deep blue background.  The eastern half of the U.S. and Europe shine the brightest, while China, Russia and central Africa …
Matt Brian / The Next Web:
RSS app Reeder blasts MobileRSS for stealing its design  —  They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - that's great when someone decides to buy a new hat that they first saw worn by you, it's not so great when its a app you have designed and your competition has lifted nearly every feature …
Andrew Munchbach / BGR:
Verizon Wireless branded Windows Phone 7 apps surface in Marketplace  —  If you're waiting for a Windows Phone 7 device on Big Red, we have some encouraging news for you.  It appears as though Verizon compatible WP7 applications are starting to make their way into the Windows Phone Marketplace.
 
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 More Items: 
MG Siegler / TechCrunch:
SimpleGeo's Holiday Treats: QR Codes, Geocoders, And Simple Geo For Any Site
Discussion: Under the Radar and SimpleGeo
Greg Miller / Washington Post:
CIA launches task force to assess impact of U.S. cables' exposure by WikiLeaks
Amruta Sabnis / Reuters:
Sony to buy back chip plant from Toshiba: report
Discussion: SlashGear and Electronista
Evan Blass / Pocketnow:
Motorola's Android Tablet Dubbed “Motorola Xoom”?
 Earlier Items: 
Daisuke Wakabayashi / Wall Street Journal:
Sony Launches Music Service
Leena Rao / TechCrunch:
Confirmed: Motorola Mobility Acquires Cloud Storage Startup Zecter
Dean Takahashi / VentureBeat:
Devicescape helps MetroPCS offload data traffic to Wi-Fi networks
Phone Arena:
EXCLUSIVE: Real photos of the HTC EVO Shift 4G
Matthew Lasar / Ars Technica:
FCC: Yup, we're going to stop “paid prioritization” on the 'Net
Latoya Peterson / NPR:
The Worst Ideas Of 2010: Ping