Weekend Update, 4.04.09


Welcome once more to Weekend Update! I’ll be filling in today for your regular host, Beth Callaghan, who’s on vacation.

And what sane person wouldn’t be, after the slew of Silicon Valley silliness inspired by April Fools Day this past week? Digital pranks were the name of the game as Google (GOOG) and others heaped so many tepid hoaxes upon us that we wanted to call April Fold so as to quickly end this round of gags.

But no bag of tricks was needed for one Web site to April Fool itself into crying wolf about an imminent Google (GOOG) acquisition of Twitter, when a real story around the corner was aboutGoogle turning Turbo Tax tweets into ads.

Meanwhile, one of the biggest jokesters of them all, The Onion, won one of the biggest awards in journalism, a Peabody, meaning that the best sense of humor goes to that panel of judges. And to Stephen Colbert, who was willing to entertain (for a while) Twitter spokesmodel Biz Stone’s biz-model-less thoughts in an interview on “The Colbert Report.” Also on BoomTown this week: Facebook’s former CFO Gideon Yu is out, as was a leaked memo from Mark Zuckerberg about Yu’s departure and the company’s situation.

A sense of humor is certainly an invaluable feather to have in your cap these days. Digital Daily wrote about the most recent doom-and-gloom predictions and events to happen in this econalypse, like analysts’ predictions of YouTube losing $470 million in 2009, the barren IPO-less wasteland VCs are bemoaning and a major global slump in semiconductor sales. Other headlines weren’t quite so dreary: Google’s foray into VC land, the folks at BlackBerry HQ celebrating surprisingly good fourth-quarter results and the world’s worst-kept secret, the anticipated merger between IBM (IBM) and Sun (JAVA).

There was a similar mix of dark clouds and silver linings over at MediaMemo. The National Collegiate Athletics Association forced Twitter and partners AT&T (T) and Federated Media to take down one of its first ad campaigns, “March Tweetness,” crying copyright foul. Also running afoul with big companies in legal waters, free music Web site Seeqpod filed for bankruptcy. And video site Veoh laid off a significant amount of staff and kicked out its old CEO, replacing him with founder Dmitry Shapiro and refocusing the company on its “Video Compass” browser plug-in.

Online video is generally a turbulent space these, but the waiting is the hardest part for Hulu when it comes to the rumored Disney deal in which Disney (DIS) seems to be playing the field. Other gems of the week were URL-shrinking Web service bit.ly’s raising of $2 million and media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s Kindle envy.

In a new Mossblog, Walt Mossberg gives us his first impressions of the BlackBerry App World store in which Research in Motion (RIMM) takes a bold step into what was formerly the sole domain of Apple (AAPL). In Personal Technology, Walt reviews a network hard drive from Western Digital (WDC) that makes the technology gloriously simple for everyone. And in Mossberg Solution, Katherine Boehret takes a look at several laptop trays, designed to protect the–ahem–family jewels and family members in general from laptops’ scorching undersides.

Finally, our exciting Woz-watch, after many weeks, has come to a sad end: Steve Wozniak was voted off “Dancing with the Stars” this week after one misstep too many. Down, but not out, the Apple co-founder swore that the “geeks shall inherit the earth”… just not the dance floor, any time soon. Please.

More next week.

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle