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9:40 PM ET, February 23, 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.
Discussion: Neowin.net, Crave, MacBlogz and TUAW
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
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: TG Daily and Macsimum News
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 …
RELATED:
Joe Mandese / MediaPost:   Microsoft Wants To Be Less Hard: Unveils Initiatives To Reduce …
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: MediaMemo and Silicon Alley Insider, Thanks:atul
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 …
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 …
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.
Thanks:atul
Saul Hansell / Bits:
Surprise: America is No. 1 in Broadband  —  There is a constant refrain that the United States is falling behind in broadband, as if the speed of Internet service in Seoul represents a new Sputnik that is a challenge to national security.  —  It's certainly true that in some countries …
APC:
Sol's stolen phone wiped remotely … Where are the leaked screenshots of the supposedly top secret Windows Mobile 6.5?  After last week's pick-pocketing theft of a handset given to Telstra head honcho Sol Trujillo we'd be expecting someone, somewhere to be leaking details of the latest mobile OS from Redmond.
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.
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”.
Discussion: Mobilewhack.com and Phone Arena
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 …
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 …
Thanks:atul
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 …
Staci D. Kramer / paidContent.org:
It's Official: Chernin's Tenure As News Corp. COO Will Expire When His Contract Does On June 30  —  After hours of tom-tom beating, it's official—News Corp President and COO Peter Chernin will leave on June 30, when his current contract expires.  As expected, Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch …
Wall Street Journal:
Information Wants to Be Expensive  —  Newspapers need to act like they're worth something.  —  With newspapers in cities across the country on the brink, an old idea is being resurrected in the hope of saving them: They should charge for access to their journalism on the Internet.
Tim O'Reilly / Forbes:
Why Kindle Should Be An Open Book  —  Unless Amazon embraces open standards, the Kindle's lead will become a very short story.  —  SEBASTOPOL, Calif. — The Amazon Kindle has sparked huge media interest in e-books and has seemingly jump-started the market.
Amazon.com:
Kindle 2 Ships Today  —  Kindle 2 to arrive on customers' doorsteps one day early  —  Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced it is shipping Amazon Kindle 2.  Already the No. 1 seller in Electronics on the Amazon.com Web site in just 15 days since it was introduced on Feb. 9 …
Discussion: Gearlog, TechFlash and InformationWeek
Nicholas Kolakowski / eWeek:
Lenovo ThinkPad Laptop Toughens Up Against Panasonic, Dell  —  Lenovo is looking to bring its ThinkPad laptops into the semirugged and rugged competition against laptop offerings from the likes of Panasonic and Dell.  Lenovo announces that eight of its ThinkPad notebooks now offer the same type …
Kristen Philipkoski / Wired News:
Videogame Technology Helps With Disaster Planning  —  Thanks to disaster-simulation software inspired by videogames, David Friedman has a new family member: Jordan, a yellow Labrador retriever puppy.  The software helped emergency workers in Louisiana rescue Jordan — and 15,000 other stranded pets — during Hurricane Gustav.
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: GigaOM, NewTeeVee and Electronista
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
John Herrman / Gizmodo:
iTunes Concept Shows How iPhone App Management Should Have Worked From the Start  —  Add, delete, rate, and move—these are your app options on the iPhone.  This interface concept, though, puts full app management within iTunes, and makes us wonder why it wasn't there in the first place.
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: VatorNews and CrunchGear
Philip Elmer-DeWitt / Apple 2.0:
Apple's growing cash hoard  —  Two days before Apple's (AAPL) annual meeting — the first in more than a decade that Steve Jobs won't attend — Financial Alchemist's Turley Muller offers beleaguered shareholders a statistic that should provide some comfort:  —  Apple's cash holdings have grown …
 
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 More Items: 
Eric Eldon / VentureBeat:
AOL takes one part Bebo, one part AIM, wants to create central lifestreaming service
Discussion: ReadWriteWeb and Obsessable
Ernesto / TorrentFreak:
Pirate Bay Prosecution Hires Hypocrite Pirate Author for PR
Sara Silver / Wall Street Journal:
Motorola to Sell Email Unit
Discussion: Gear Diary
Dizzle / World of Apple:
Outcome of Mediation Proceedings in Apple v. Psystar
Discussion: Ars Technica and Softpedia News
Gregg Keizer / PC World:
Analyst: Apple Could Score with $599 Netbook
internetnews.com:
Tech Stocks Lead Market to New Lows
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
Thanks:atul
 Earlier Items: 
Dieter Bohn / PreCentral.net:
Celebrities Handle the Pre (Update: with help from Palm)
Discussion: Engadget
Mike Shields / Adweek:
Facebook Grapples With Revenue and Data