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12:20 AM ET, December 23, 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: SelectStart and GigaOM
Sam Gustin / Epicenter:
Google Buys Giant New York Building for $1.9 Billion  —  Google is down with New York City.  —  So down, in fact, that the web search titan just dropped $1.9 billion to acquire one of the largest and most historic buildings in all of the Big Apple.  At nearly 3 million square feet …
RELATED:
Dirk Dougherty / Android Developers Blog:
More Payment Options in Android Market  —  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.  Today, I am pleased to announce …
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.
Cecilia Kang / Post Tech:
Obama's deputy CTO leaves to launch start-ups  —  Andrew McLaughlin, the nation's deputy chief technology officer, said Wednesday he is resigning his post to launch two start-ups aimed at technology development in communities in the United States and abroad.
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
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.
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 …
Alexia Tsotsis / TechCrunch:
WikiLeaks iPhone App Made $5,840 Before Pulled By Apple, $1 From Each Sale Will Be Donated To WikiLeaks  —  Igor Barinov, the developer behind the WikiLeaks app that got removed from the App store, has revealed the total breakdown of his app's reach before it got taken down by Apple.  Total damage?
Hiroko Tabuchi / Bits:
Clues About the Next PlayStation Portable  —  TOKYO —Sony's gaming chief, Kazuo Hirai, expected by some analysts to be Sony's next president, gave hints on Wednesday to burning questions that have fascinated the blogosphere for months: Is there a new Sony handheld gaming device in the works to succeed its PlayStation Portable?
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.
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.
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
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
Ina Fried / Mobilized:
Mobile Security Firm Lookout Picks Up Additional $19.5 Million in Funding  —  Lookout Mobile Security, a firm that specializes in buttoning up wireless devices, is announcing that it has scooped up another $19.5 million, marking the second time this year it has taken on additional capital.
Discussion: TechCrunch and CNET News
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
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 …
Graham Bowley / New York Times:
Computers That Trade on the News  —  The number-crunchers on Wall Street are starting to crunch something else: the news.  —  Math-loving traders are using powerful computers to speed-read news reports, editorials, company Web sites, blog posts and even Twitter messages …
Eric Slivka / MacRumors:
Kinect-Like Gesture System for iPad to Be Demoed at CES  —  Mobile Magazine reports that Norwegian company Elliptic Labs is set to offer demonstrations of its new “touchless gesture” user interface for the iPad at CES 2011 early next month.  The interface, which utilizes ultrasound to generate …
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 …
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 …
 
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 More Items: 
Spencer E. Ante / Wall Street Journal:
Fortifying Phones From Attackers
Thanks:yangtime
MG Siegler / TechCrunch:
SimpleGeo's Holiday Treats: QR Codes, Geocoders, And Simple Geo For Any Site
Discussion: SimpleGeo and Under the Radar
W.J. Hennigan / L.A. Times Tech Blog:
Hedge fund to track Twitter to gauge stock market, report says
Discussion: Bloomberg and SAI
 Earlier Items: 
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
Evan Blass / Pocketnow:
Motorola's Android Tablet Dubbed “Motorola Xoom”?
Andrew Munchbach / BGR:
Verizon Wireless branded Windows Phone 7 apps surface in Marketplace
Leena Rao / TechCrunch:
Confirmed: Motorola Mobility Acquires Cloud Storage Startup Zecter
Dean Takahashi / VentureBeat:
Devicescape helps MetroPCS offload data traffic to Wi-Fi networks
Ryan Tate / Gawker:
Facebook Will Thwart Google, Says Ex Googler