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2:30 PM ET, December 19, 2011

Techmeme

 Top Items: 
Bradley Horowitz / The Official Google Blog:
Google+: A few big improvements before the New Year  —  Today we're pleased to announce a goodie basket full of Google+ features and functionality for you to unpack and enjoy over the holidays.  Some of these were on nearly everyone's wishlist... and some we hope will be welcome surprises.
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Nick Bilton / Bits:
Wearing Your Computer on Your Sleeve  —  Technology often has a way of fixing the problems it creates.  Here's one that needs solving.  —  The invention of the smartphone has created a world where millions of people stroll through life constantly staring into a mobile device, like Narcissus at the edge of a pond.
Shaji Mathew / Bloomberg:
Prince Alwaleed Invests $300M in Twitter  —  Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the largest individual investor in Citigroup Inc. (C), and his Kingdom Holding Co. (KINGDOM) invested $300 million to buy a “strategic stake” in microblogging service Twitter Inc.  —  “The investment was the result …
RELATED:
Dan Primack / Fortune:
Twitter doesn't really raise money from Saudi prince  —  Prince Alwaleed's deal for Twitter isn't a traditional investment. deal for Twitter isn't a traditional investment.  —  Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal today announced that he has invested $300 million in Twitter, via his Kingdom Holding investment group.
Wall Street Journal:
Apple Plots Its TV Assault  —  Apple Inc. is moving forward with its assault on television, following up on the ambitions of its late co-founder, Steve Jobs.  —  In recent weeks, Apple executives have discussed their vision for the future of TV with media executives at several large companies …
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Mark Gurman / 9to5Mac:   WSJ: Apple discussing voice-powered TV, enhanced AirPlay, iCloud DVR service
Matt Brian / The Next Web:
Google gives out customised Galaxy Nexus handsets to employees for Christmas  —  It appears that Google employees are going to enjoy the latest and greatest Android smartphone that the search giant and Samsung have to offer after it emerged the company is giving its staff customised handsets as a Christmas thank you.
brian s hall:
Blackberry ($RIMM) is worth less than the Apple App Store.  Just the App Store.  Not iPhone.  Not iPad.  Not Mac.  Not iTunes.  —  I wrote earlier today that, at it's current price of $13.44, that $RIMM is worth a mere $7.04 billion.  —  Apple ($AAPL), by contrast, is worth $354 billion.
Discussion: GigaOM, The Next Web and Electronista
RELATED:
Reuters:
Could RIM's survival mean abandoning the BlackBerry?
Discussion: Mark Evans Tech and asymco
Clay Johnson / Information Diet:
Dear Internet: It's No Longer OK to Not Know How Congress Works  —  This weekend I read a post titled “Dear Congress: It Is No Longer OK To Not Know How the Internet Works.”  The author, Joshua Kopstein, is right: it's not ok to not know about something before legislating or regulating it.
Discussion: @tedr
Jon Russell / The Next Web:
Facebook introduces private messages between business pages and fans  —  Facebook has begun introducing a new feature which allows business pages to receive private messages from their fans on the social network.  —  The new communications option, which has appeared for Asia-based admins only so far …
Discussion: Computerworld, Pulse2 and Mashable!
Joe Schneider / Bloomberg:
Facebook Lawsuit Against Ads ‘Liked’ by Friends Can Proceed, Judge Rules  —  Facebook Inc., the world's most used social-networking service, can be sued by people who claim showing advertisements that their friends apparently like violates a California law regarding commercial endorsements.
Kim Zetter / Threat Level:
Forensic Examiner Found No Match of Cables on Manning's Laptop to WikiLeaks'  —  Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted from a security vehicle to a courthouse in Fort Meade, Maryland, on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011.  Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP  —  FT. MEADE, Maryland — A day after a government …
Leena Rao / TechCrunch:
Vistaprint Buys DIY Site Builder Webs.com For $117.5 Million  —  Digital marketing company Vistaprint is acquiring Webs, a popular DIY website creation service, for $117.5 million in cash and stock ($100 million in cash and $17.5 million in stock).  —  Webs, which has raised $12 million …
Frederic Lardinois / SiliconFilter:
Skype to Offer Free Wifi in Over 50 U.S. Airports This Holiday Season  —  A few years ago, Google teamed up with a number of airports in the U.S. to provide travelers with free WiFi during the holidays.  This year, it's Skype's turn to make a similar offer.
Svea Herbst-Bayliss / Reuters:
MIT to offer labs, certificates to virtual students  —  (Reuters) - The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is developing technology that will allow students taking courses online to use simulated labs, interact with professors and other students, and earn certificates.
Florian Mueller / FOSS Patents:
British Telecom sues Google over six U.S. patents allegedly infringed by Android and various Google services  —  After Apple, Oracle, Microsoft, and eBay, British Telecommunications plc (commonly referred to as “British Telecom” or simply “BT") has just become the fifth large publicly-traded company …
Reuters:
Apple supplier Pegatron says small explosion at Shanghai plant  —  (Reuters) - Apple Inc supplier Pegatron said a small explosion at its subsidiary in Shanghai, China had injured some workers but would not have a big impact on production.  —  Pegatron said in a statement released early …
 
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 More Items: 
Brian Stelter / Media Decoder:
Cablevision and Time Warner to Offer ‘HBO Go’
Discussion: GigaOM and Bloomberg
Chris Ziegler / The Verge:
‘So, what phone should I buy?’ and other unanswerable questions
Bloomberg:
Verizon, Cablevision Settle Suit Over Internet Speed Ads
Mitsutoshi Miyagi / Techie Insider:
Kazakhstan Government Blocks Internet and Mobile Networks
Discussion: TechEye
Matt Brian / The Next Web:
Google's Schmidt teases possible Nexus tablet in the next 6 months
Nicole Perlroth / New York Times:
As Patient Records Are Digitized, Data Breaches Are on the Rise
 Earlier Items: 
Dean Takahashi / VentureBeat:
Chip executive outlook reveals bleak times ahead
Discussion: eWeek and Gartner
Enigmax / TorrentFreak:
File-Sharing 3 Strikes Killed in Ireland, Government Promises Site Blocking
Discussion: The Irish Times and Business ETC
Inside Social Games:
What Does Life After IPO Look Like For Zynga?
Ernesto Londoño / Washington Post:
U.S. military, Taliban use Twitter to wage war
Wall Street Journal:
AT&T Talks to Sell T-Mobile Assets Go Cold
Steve Lohr / New York Times:
The Internet Gets Physical
Thanks:beet_tv