Weekend Update 12.05.09–‘Tis Better to Give Edition


As AllThingsD.com gets its holiday hat on, the reporting team brought a little news cheer our way this week in the form of some acquisitions, freaky gadgets and reassurances that Google was not born with a heart two sizes too small.

Boom Town went Bing early in the week at the Microsoft (MSFT) event that showcased a rollout of features. New tools included an update to its mapping interface and some third-party “mash-ins.” Kara did ringside commentary for the title bout between Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt and all the so-called whiny news folk. Her translations paint a slightly less cuddly picture of the search boss’s undertones, but we’ll let you decide for yourself. Just when things were getting a little dicey, Kara lightened the mood with a post about her appearance with Walt Mossberg at GadgetFest. Kara finally got a little “me” time, getting her face exfoliated by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg live on stage. Gadget freak Greg Harper was there to showcase some of his picks, and Kara rounded it all out by getting up-close and personal with the most adorably frightening bear-toy-bot ever.

While Walt did make time to venture west to share his gadget gravitas, he was hard at work this week with the expected combo of tasty tech tips. Walt took a trip to the cloud to see if ZumoDrive could really make it rain. The smallish cloud storage company aims to solve the problem of sharing data across multiple devices by allowing you to keep a “drive” in the cloud that can be virtually mounted on any capable device. He was complimentary about the execution of the storage and was able to access his files across a broad array of devices. The caveat, for now, seems to be the price and a little glitchiness when handling certain kinds of files. Over at Mossberg’s Mailbox, Walt addressed some queries about getting rid of that pesky spam that even shows up on the iPhone. He also provided some sage advice for a laptop seeker with $500 to spend, and helped guide a fan through the super-smartphone jungle to a GPS-enabled device. Katie’s gadget of the week over at The Mossberg Solution was the FlipShare TV, a set-top box from the makers of the popular ultraportable camera line. The video-wrangling box taps into a “channel” of your own videos you create using the bundled FlipShare software. Once your videos are up on your personal channel, the set-top box can tap into and play them right on your TV by grabbing them wirelessly from your computer. The gadget got an A for effort in getting computer content to the living room, but didn’t do as well in the intuitiveness and ease-of-use departments.

Over at Digital Daily, John brought news of what may come to be known at the “great perv purge of aught nine.” Some 4,500 registered sex offenders in the state of New York had their social networking privileges revoked. Weekend Update supposes the law is in place to keep the popular and harmless “Facebook stalking” pastime of perusing your friends’ photos from turning into the less desirable “actual stalking.” Next up, we had to shout egad, gadzooks and holy-48 cores, Batman! John covered the unveiling of a next-generation superchip that boasts 10 to 20 times the computing power of Intel’s current Core CPUs. Finally, John always does a great job of sniffing out a story before it gets huge, and Motorola’s investment into a high-tech multitouch platform may trigger the next big smartphone battle. The haptic touch technology, which enables virtually any material to become touch sensitive, may pave the way for a new generation of devices.

Down the hall at MediaMemo, Peter reported on what might be the shiniest news of the week. Time Inc. (TWX) released a concept video of Sports Illustrated as it may appear on a large multitouch device. The result is a mag-as-multimedia showcase that might exist as soon as a suitable device is released to the public. In an effort to reduce some of the cash that has been weighing down its bank accounts, Google picked up AppJet, the makers of Web-based collaboration software EtherPad. Peter rounded out the week with a purchase of Apple’s (AAPL) very own: The iTunes maker purchased online music service Lala, reportedly at a steep discount.

With the holidays looming and lots of frenetic travel ahead, you can always rely on this site for a little direction in any particular (technological) storm. We cant help it, we’re just givers.

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

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