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10:30 PM ET, February 17, 2011

Techmeme

 Top Items: 
New York Times:
Apple Is Weighing a Cheaper iPhone  —  SAN FRANCISCO — Apple has been exploring ways to broaden the appeal of the iPhone by making the popular device less expensive and allowing users to control it with voice commands.  —  But contrary to published reports, Apple is not currently developing …
RELATED:
Arn / MacRumors:   Apple Not Planning to Launch a Smaller iPhone
The Official Google Blog:
An update to Google Social Search  —  Today we're doing a little bit more to bring you all the goodness of Google, plus the opinions of the people you care about.  As always, we want to help you find the most relevant answers among the billions of interconnected pages on the web.
RELATED:
Matt McGee / Search Engine Land:
Google's Search Results Get More Social; Twitter As The New Facebook “Like”  —  Your friends' activity on Twitter, Flickr and elsewhere — but for now, not Facebook — will soon be a lot more visible in Google's search results, including having an impact on how pages rank.
Popular Mechanics:
Confessions of an Apple Store Employee  —  Apple is famous for its secrecy, with a code of silence that runs from top management all the way down to its retail employees.  One Apple Store employee decided to throw protocol to the curb and tell us what it's really like working at the vaunted retail outlets.
Wall Street Journal:
Regulators Eye Apple Anew  —  Enforcers Interested in Whether Digital-Subscription Rules Stifle Competition  —  WASHINGTON—U.S. antitrust enforcers have begun looking at the terms Apple Inc. set this week for media companies who want to sell their content on its popular iPad and other devices …
David Sarno / L.A. Times Tech Blog:
Official list of attendees at Obama tech meeting: CEOs of Twitter, Netflix, Oracle, Yahoo, others  —  Here's the official list of attendees of Thursday evening's meeting of technology industry chiefs with President Obama in San Francisco.  It includes many of Silicon Valley's biggest names.
Leander Kahney / Cult of Mac:
Confirmed: Apple To Build Biggest Store Yet In Grand Central Terminal [Exclusive]  —  Apple will be building a massive store in New York's Grand Central Terminal, we have independently confirmed.  The store will open in the fall, likely early September — and it will be Apple's largest retail space in the world.
Greg Sterling / Search Engine Land:
Redesigned Bing Bar Toolbar More Like A “Dashboard”  —  Bing is introducing a totally redesigned version of its toolbar, called the “Bing Bar.”  Apparently it has been “rebuilt from the ground up,” says Microsoft's Stefan Weitz.  Indeed, it operates more like a kind of “dashboard” …
RELATED:
Connie Loizos / PE Hub Blog:
It's Not a Bubble, People; It's a Pyramid Scheme  —  Mark Cuban knows a thing or two about bubbles, having profited handsomely from an earlier Internet boom.  But ask him if we're seeing Bubble 2.0 and he'll give you a different theory.  —  “It's almost the 2011 version of a private equity chain letter …
Discussion: DealBook
Neil Hughes / AppleInsider:
Apple looking to increase battery life with dense lithium cells  —  Apple is investigating techniques to increase the energy capacity of rechargeable lithium battery cells without increasing the size of the battery, allowing longer battery life in future devices.
Jan Wildeboer:
Microsoft: Absolutely NO (GPLv3-or-compat-licensed) Free Software for Windows Phone and Xbox Apps.  —  This is rather uncool, IMHO, I stumbled upon this forum entry and was quite astonished.  It points to the Microsoft Application Provider Agreement that governs the Windows Marketplace …
Jennifer Lynch / Electronic Frontier Foundation:
Newly Released Documents Detail FBI's Plan to Expand Federal Surveillance Laws  —  EFF just received documents in response to a 2-year old FOIA request for information on the FBI's “Going Dark” program, an initiative to increase the FBI's authority in response to problems the FBI …
Discussion: paidContent
RELATED:
Leena Rao / TechCrunch:
Nordstrom Acquires Flash Sales Site HauteLook For $270 Million  —  In one of the larger exits so far in the flash sales business, retail chain Nordstrom has acquired flash sales site HauteLookfor $180 million in Nordstrom stock and three-year earn-out of up to $90 million.  HauteLook has raised $41 million in funding.
Peter Kafka / MediaMemo:
Spotify Signs On EMI for U.S. Launch.  At Least One More to Go...  It's getting closer: Spotify has finalized a U.S. distribution deal with EMI Music, multiple sources tell me.  —  Both EMI and Spotify declined to comment.  —  Coupled with last month's Sony deal, Spotify now has the approval …
Ben Fritz / Company Town:
Redbox digital service will go toe-to-toe with Netflix  —  Redbox is gearing up to challenge Netflix head-on, the kiosk DVD rental company confirmed Wednesday.  —  At a meeting with analysts, Redbox President Mitch Lowe said his company's forthcoming digital option will be subscription-based …
Bianca Bosker / The Huffington Post:
Facebook Adds ‘Civil Union,’ ‘Domestic Partnership’ To Relationship Status Options  —  Facebook has added two new relationship status options users can include in their online profiles: “in a civil union” and “in a domestic partnership.”  —  The new fields are being rolled out in the U.S …
Sascha Segan / PC Magazine:
Skype: Expect Video Calling for AT&T  —  Now that Skype and Qik have joined, they plan to bring video calls to all four major US carriers.  —  BARCELONA—Skype's video-calling prowess will improve the quality of Qik video calls on Sprint and T-Mobile devices, and the joined company is pursuing …
Discussion: Electronista and Engadget
John Paczkowski / Digital Daily:
Mac Growth Outpaces Market for 19th Straight Quarter  —  The Mac has been on a growth tear for a few years now, outperforming the broader PC market in most every sector.  Indeed, December 2010 marked the 19th consecutive quarter that it did so.  Mac shipments grew 23.5 percent for the month …
Claude Brodesser-Akner / New York Magazine:
YouTube Offering Millions for Celebrity-Created Content  —  In a move designed to vastly improve the quality of its content, Google's YouTube is undertaking what's understood to be a massive bid to attract Hollywood talent — one that has agents practically leaping out of their John Lobbs …
Ken Jennings / Slate:
Jeopardy! genius Ken Jennings on what it's like to play against a supercomputer.  —  When I was selected as one of the two human players to be pitted against IBM's “Watson” supercomputer in a special man-vs.-machine Jeopardy! exhibition match, I felt honored, even heroic.
Andrew Lyle / Neowin.net:
Microsoft planning IE9 announcement on March 14, launch imminent?  —  Earlier today Microsoft unveiled plans for a special celebration for “Beauty of the Web” hosted by the Internet Explorer 9 team.  The Internet Explorer team made the announcement today on their blog but did not specify if this will be the launch event for IE 9.
Discussion: The Windows Blog, Thanks:lylesback2
Paul Lamkin / Pocket-lint:
Acer Windows Phone 7 devices coming Autumn 2011  —  EXCLUSIVE: September or October release  —  An Acer spokesperson has confirmed to Pocket-lint that Acer will be joining the Windows Phone 7 party this autumn, with a September or October 2011 launch planned.
Tricia Duryee / eMoney:
Telltale Signs That Videogames Will Be Downloaded, Not Sold at Retail  —  The business of selling plastic-wrapped videogames for $60 apiece is becoming an ancient practice, as digital downloads take over-often at lower prices.  —  But a small San Rafael, Calif.-based videogame company thinks …
Discussion: VG247, Joystiq and GoNintendo
Evelyn M. Rusli / DealBook:
Zynga Nears Deal Valuing It at Close to $10 Billion  —  Zynga, the company behind many of the Web's most viral games, is in advanced discussions on an investment that would value the company at nearly $10 billion and could pave the way for an initial public offering next year.
 
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 More Items: 
Daniel Eran Dilger / AppleInsider:
Apple nearing CDMA iPhone 4 deal with China Telecom
MG Siegler / TechCrunch:
Google Opens Developer Preview Of Chrome Web Store In 15 More Countries
Discussion: Chromium Blog and Mashable!
Tricia Duryee / eMoney:
Amazon Lets Users Buy Android Apps Before Their New Device Even Ships
Discussion: NBC Bay Area
Darryl K. Taft / eWeek:
Google Asks Patent Office for Second Opinion on Oracle's Android Claims
Elias Biryaberema / Reuters:
Uganda bans SMS texting of key words during poll
Wall Street Journal:
Accel Targets $2 Billion for New Venture Funds
Discussion: PE Hub Blog and SAI
Matthew Lynley / VentureBeat:
Y Combinator founder: There is no tech bubble
Discussion: SAI and PE Hub Blog
 Earlier Items: 
Stacey Higginbotham / GigaOM:
Presenting Our National Broadband Map. It's a Start.
Michael Arrington / TechCrunch:
Benchmark Capital Bets On Super-Quiet-Stealth-Shhhh ccLoop
Farhad Manjoo / Fast Company:
Are Silicon Valley's Engineers Underpaid?
Reuters:
Intel says will find new MeeGo partners
Larry Dignan / Between the Lines Blog:
IBM Watson's next adventure: Healthcare with Nuance
Matt Rosoff / SAI: Silicon Alley Insider:
Sony Exec: We Are Not Abandoning iTunes
Ben Rooney / Tech Europe:
Motorola Executive Defends Tablet Price Tag
 

 
From Mediagazer:

Mark Sweney / Guardian:
Andy Coulson leaves prison after serving five months of 18-month term

Mark Sweney / Guardian:
Pro-independence daily paper the National to launch in Scotland

Catalina Albeanu / Journalism.co.uk:
Changes at FT to promote thinking ‘in digital terms’

 
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