Fox vs. Cablevision TV Blackout Extends to Internet

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Joseph Pope (Linkedin), who works in Broadcast Media. He previously worked at MTV Networks as a Senior Sales Planning Analyst. He has BS, Information Studies and Technology from Syracuse University, and has a MBA, Finance and Media Management from Fordham University.

Did you catch Fox’s hottest new fall TV drama? If you don’t live in the Northeastern United States, you may have missed it. It wasn’t a new show, but a contract dispute over carriage fees between Fox and their distribution partner Cablevision.

During fruitless contract renewal negotiations in mid-October, News Corporation-owned Fox blacked-out their channels from Cablevision households, affecting 3.5 million homes in Long Island, Brooklyn, New York City, Connecticut and New Jersey. Cablevision risked losing angry consumers who might abandon their service for competitors while Fox had to bear substantial decreases in ratings.

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Facebook brings Facebook Places social location feature to BlackBerry

fb-places-bbThe world’s largest online social network with over 500-million registered users, Facebook, has updated its mobile BlackBerry application to version, bringing new key features.

The most notable addition is Facebook Places integration, allowing BlackBerry Facebook users to check in at their current location, allowing friends to know where they are.

Facebook launched Places amid the growing popularity of other social location sharing websites, most notably the New York City-based check in service, Foursquare, which has received just over $21-million in total venture capital funding since being founded in February 2009.

Read the full story search engine concedes defeat, to shut down

ask-searchThe California-based online search engine,, which launched over ten years ago in 1996, has announced the company would discontinue its web-based search business, citing intensifying competition from top rivals like Google. will be transitioned into a question & answer online community with search functionalities, and the ability for members to post questions targeted directly to other community members who could post their own replies.

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Google adds screenshot previews of websites on search results

googleThe world’s largest search engine in the world, Google, has made available a new tool called Instant Previews to its search results, allowing users to see screen-shot previews of web pages directly from the search results.

Google Instant Previews works by adding a simple magnifying glass beside the title of each result, and when clicked by the user, it displays a screen shot of the webpage.

The company says it will cache popular pages from popular websites for the previews, and for other websites, it will generate the screenshot on the fly.

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Dell to replace BlackBerry corporate phones with Android, Windows Phone 7

The computer tech giant, Dell Corporation, will be abandoning RIM’s BlackBerry smartphone platform, in favor of its own smartphones that are powered by Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 operating system, and Google’s Android mobile OS.

The company will start by replacing 25,000 BlackBerry smartphones with the company’s own Venture Pro smartphone, the company’s latest Windows Phone 7 device. Dell will later give employees the option of using smartphones powered by Google Android.

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Firesheep Puts Heat on Online Companies to Use HTTPS

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Aaron Brauer-Rieke from the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), a non-profit public interest organization based in Washington, DC. For more on online consumer privacy, visit CDT’s Take Back Your Privacy page.

A sneaky application called Firesheep has been getting a lot of attention 
in privacy and security circles the last couple of weeks. It’s an urgent reminder that online services must provide proper security to their users.

Firesheep allows a network eavesdropper to hijack another user’s unencrypted session by sniffing packets and obtaining that user’s cookie. This means that, by default, accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and many other popular sites are vulnerable to tampering. This vulnerability is particularly acute on public wifi networks like those at coffee shops.

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Google to reward programmers who find security flaws

googleThe online search and advertising giant, Google, has announced it would offer financial compensation to programmers who identify security flaws on Google-owned web properties, including the company’s video sharing site YouTube, and its social network Orkut.

The compensation ranges from $500 to $3,133.70 per identified security flaw, with the payout dependent on the severity of the risk identified as measured by a systematic process developed by the company.

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Nokia releases open-source WordPress blogging app for Symbian

With millions of bloggers and publishers using what is probably the most advanced blogging platform, WordPress, these users definitely want the option of being able to manage their web properties on the go through their smartphone.

Automattic Inc., the company behind WordPress, has already made available official mobile clients for BlackBerry, Google Android, and Apple iOS devices like iPhone, allowing those users to manage their blogs from those devices.

Nokia users previously did not have an extensive client, until now, when the company announced the availability of an open-source mobile WordPress blogging application for its Symbian powered smartphones.

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Currency Differences Prompt Apple to Lower International Mac Mini Prices

Apple has lowered prices on its Mac mini computers in select international markets, bringing significant savings to some nations, while prices North America remained unchanged by the company.

In Europe, the company lowered its most expensive Mac mini model in price by €150, bringing the new price to €999, the biggest discount in the Mac mini line.

U.S. prices remained unchanged, at $699 and $999 for both the lower and higher-end Mac mini devices, respectively. The new prices due in fact make it cheaper for European consumers even compared to the U.S. prices.

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Two top-level Google executives, including YouTube CEO, to leave their positions

In the last few days alone, two top-level executives at the world’s largest online search company, Google, announced they would be stepping down from their posts due to personal reasons.

Chad Hurley, now 33 years old, was the first executive to announce he would step down from his position as the chief executive officer at YouTube, the same company he founded which was later acquired by the search giant for $1.65-billion in an all cash deal.

Mr. Hurley founded YouTube along with co-founders Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, who also had positions at Google but later left the company.

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