The Tech 10: Facebook Markets You, Apple Soups Up the iPod and YouTube Ads Yield Rants

Note: John Paczkowski is on vacation and won’t be writing or posting videos until he returns Monday.

To keep you abreast of tech news while he’s away, we’re compiling a daily digest of 10 must-read tech stories. We’re calling it the Tech 10 and it appears below.

  1. Getting to know you: Facebook is developing targeted ads based on the information that users of the social-networking site reveal about themselves. Quoting anonymous sources at the company, The Wall Street Journal says the advertising system is at an early, changeable stage, but Facebook hopes to launch a basic version late this fall.
  2. It looks like Apple will turbocharge its iPods with the Mac OS. According to AppleInsider, the upgraded digital music players will debut at a media event next month and are part of the computer maker’s master plan to create devices around its legendary operating-system software.
  3. Dude, where’s my YouTube? Initial response to ads overlaid on downloaded videos from the popular online site is overwhelmingly negative, Computerworld reports, noting that the comments on a YouTube feedback blog could be summarized by the one-word review of a user from Oro Valley, Ariz.: “Yuck.”
  4. Hoping to shore up anemic sales of its PlayStation consoles in the face of competition from Microsoft and Nintendo, playtv.jpgSony said it will market a recording-transfer device (pictured here) in Europe enabling users to record TV programs on their PlayStation 3 video-game consoles for transfer to the PlayStation Portable. According to the Associated Press, the new gadget, dubbed PlayTV, will give game consumers an additional function for their PlayStations beyond playing video games.
  5. Too hot to handle? Microsoft announced that it’s offering a free retrofit to the Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel after reports from a number of users that smoke issued from the device when used on AC/DC power, according to PC World. The retrofit comes six weeks after it extended the Xbox warranty for “flashing lights of death” failures–and took an earnings hit of $1.15 billion for the anticipated repair bill.
  6. Paper trail, indeed. Many iPhone customers are irked over the book-sized bills they are getting from wireless provider AT&T, reports the New York Times. The bills itemize all phone calls, as well as every text message and online data transfer. In response, AT&T announced that beginning Sept. 28, customers would get summarized bills removing the wireless detail.
  7. Microsoft and Nokia won’t sit back and watch while the iPhone marches through Europe, apparently. The companies are joining forces to put Windows Live services on selected Nokia S60 handhelds, reports IDG News Service. Customers in 9 countries in Europe and two in the Middle East will be first to get the services, including Hotmail and Live Messenger. A Microsoft spokesman couldn’t say when the functions would be available for cellphones in the United States, however.
  8. Speaking of teaming up, MTV and MySpace are collaborating on a series of one-on-one dialogues with the major Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. CNNMoney.com reports that the hourlong events will be streamed live on MTV.com and MySpaceTV throughout the fall on college campuses.
  9. Palm’s Foleo computer, first exhibited at this year’s D Conference, is having trouble leaving the gate, writes Tech Trader Daily, quoting a Deutsche Bank analyst who disclosed that the debut in stores of the stripped-down laptop scheduled for this week “was delayed after software bugs were detected. … Palm now expects the device will ship in late September/early October.”
  10. Playboy Enterprises is, uh, unveiling Playboy U, a social-networking site targeted exclusively at college students. The move online by the granddaddy of the skin rags, says the Associated Press, playboyu.jpgis an attempt to capitalize on the Playboy brand as the 54-year-old magazine continues to lose money and readers. The site is modeled after Facebook and MySpace, with users allowed to “friend” other college students. Although there will be no nudie shots, users will be able to discourse on such topics as how many sex partners they’ve had or what they think of penis enlargement.

–posted by Associate Editor John Sullivan


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— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google