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8:40 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  —  Following criticism by some authors, Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) is pulling back on the experimental Text-to-Speech feature in the new Kindle 2.  Instead of making the automated reader available across the board …
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
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 …
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: OakLeaf Systems and Beyond Search
David Kaplan / paidContent.org:
NYT Gets Hyperlocal; Community Sites Planned For NY, NJ Neighborhoods  —  On Monday, the NYTimes.com will announce plans for hyperlocal sites throughout New York and New Jersey.  The new online channel is called The Local and will blend citizen journalism and staff reports, according to a draft of a release obtained by paidContent.
Discussion: Recovering Journalist
RELATED:
Robin Wauters / TechCrunch:
The New York Times Expected To Launch Local Blog Network On Monday (Confirmed)
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
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.
RELATED:
Zachary Rodgers / ClickZ:
Ads in Google News Search May Tempt Media Lawsuits
Discussion: Search Engine Land
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 …
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 …
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.
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.
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
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 …
Michael Masnick / Techdirt:
Massive Layoffs Hit The RIAA: Maybe Focus On Building Business Rather Than Suing Customers Next Time?  —  Details have been spilling out over the last few days that the RIAA has been making pretty massive cuts to staff.  We already knew that EMI was cutting back on its support of the RIAA/IFPI …
Discussion: Threat Level, hypebot and Slashdot, Thanks:atul
The Boy Genius / Boy Genius Report:
BlackBerry 9630 is the Niagara, Verizon World Edition?  —  So... we've just got word from a really trusted source, dropping bombs all around on the BlackBerry “Niagara”.  First off, the model number we're told is the BlackBerry 9630, not 8930 or 9030, or anything like that.
Jacqui Cheng / Ars Technica:
Cellular providers want Nokia to drop Skype from cell phones  —  Two cell service providers in the UK are supposedly up in arms over Nokia's inclusion of Skype software on its N97 handset, and are threatening not to carry the device unless the software is ditched.
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.
Gregg Keizer / Computerworld:
Seattle PC builder beats Microsoft with free Windows 7 upgrade offer  —  Launches free Vista-to-Windows 7 upgrade program to tempt hesitant buyers  —  Computerworld) A Seattle-area PC seller will offer free Windows 7 upgrades to customers who buy new Vista-powered machines starting next week …
Discussion: Softpedia News and TechFlash
Dan Frommer / Silicon Alley Insider:
Calacanis, Lindzon To Box For Charity  —  It's on: Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis and Stocktwits/Wallstrip co-founder (and SAI investor) Howard Lindzon, who periodically spar on Twitter, will duke it out in real life.  —  The two will box for charity 100 days from tomorrow, which is... sometime in June.
Mike Celizic / MSNBC:
‘Face of Facebook’ defends his site's policies  —  CEO of red-hot social network says that users control their own information  —  The face of Facebook, the burgeoning social networking site, was supposedly in damage-control mode, but you wouldn't have known it from looking at the site's 24-year-old founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
Discussion: VentureBeat and All Facebook
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 TechFlash
 
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 More Items: 
Jason Kincaid / TechCrunch:
Mufin Incorporates Powerful Recommendation Engine Into New Native Music Player
Discussion: mufin blog, BetaNews and Ars Technica
Bill Gurley / abovethecrowd.com:
Perfect Online Video Advertising Model: Choose Your Advertiser
Thanks:atul
Mike Cassidy / Mercury News:
Finding our own little worlds has never been easier
Eric Savitz / Tech Trader Daily:
Intel, Taiwan Semi Plan Strategic Announcement
Schneier on Security:
Privacy in the Age of Persistence
Discussion: BBC
Camille Ricketts / VentureBeat:
VCs challenge Obama plan to up carried interest tax
Thanks:atul
 Earlier Items: 
Brandon LeBlanc / The Windows Blog:
Microsoft App-V Support for the Windows 7 Beta
Jeffrey Scott Shapiro / Wall Street Journal:
Confessions of a Facebook Social Climber
Michael Masnick / Techdirt:
Canadian Court Apparently Decides That Private Facebook Profiles …
Sarah Lacy / TechCrunch:
Will the Future of the Web Be More Like the Present?
Jason Chen / Gizmodo:
Apple Officially Brings Back MobileMe's Push, Improves Features
Discussion: TUAW, CNET News and 9 to 5 Mac