Weekend Update 02.06.10–The Winter Ain’t Over Edition

Torrential rain in the West and a blizzard of death in the East can mean only one thing: Using a fat rodent to divine the weather is at at least as accurate as $100 million geosynchronous weather satellites. So as AllThingsD battens down the hatches on both coasts, Weekend Update is here to be the perfect accompaniment to hot tea and power-outage candles. So charge up the laptop while you can, and read on for a full week’s tech trends straight from our intrepid team.

Boomtown was in the front row when game exec Dan Rosensweig left the stage at Guitar Hero to take over as CEO of Chegg, the Web’s top textbook renter. Rosensweig had only been strumming along at Guitar Hero since March, so the move was unexpected. Kara did the full-disclosure dance with AOL’s earnings report. Hit her post for all sorts of great source documents from the new republic of Aol. (AOL). She closed out the week with a thinky piece on Facebook and what it could do in the news aggregation biz. With nigh 400 million users, the number of traded links just to Rick Astley music must be staggering. This one is worth the read.

From deep in his snow-covered technology bunker, Walt let fly a Personal Technology column on two tiny new laptops with a lot to offer. Dell’s (DELL) M11x, the latest release from its Alienware line, is a move to pack lots of power into a tiny package. Sony’s (SNE) Vaio X on the other hand, is all about the lightness. The Dell got high marks for performance, even if the battery life wasn’t as killer as the graphics. The Sony, however, received a rare Mossberg superlative. Being the lightest laptop Walt has ever tested does come with some drawbacks, of course. Chief among them was measly battery life. Mossberg’s Mailbox was short but potent this week. Walt gave some quick clarification to an iPad question and reassured readers that YouTube will be available on the device, even if Flash won’t. He then gave some no-nonsense advice about dumping the older IE6 in favor of a newer, safer, and more supported browser. Katie got to do a little online shopping this week in her review of Flit.com, a Web service that allows you to search multiple stores at once and aims to streamline the shopping experience. She liked the novel way Flit deals you out to store’s Web sites but lets you see their offerings before you click over. No word on if whether or not she bought those black heels she was looking for.

John brought some great news to Google Nexus One users with a post early this week about a meaty software upgrade. Just like that, Google (GOOG) flipped the switch on multitouch functionality in the device. We can now add pinch-zoom to the list of Googleable words. It seems that 12 percent of Americans had something in common with Monster.com (MWW) this week; they were both looking for job listings. Monster purchased Yahoo’s HotJobs for $225 million cash. We drove by earlier today, and Carol Bartz still has Yahoo (YHOO) Games and Yahoo Shopping out on the lawn next to the “for sale” sign. John rounded out the week with a little crystal ball-gazing about the future of Apple and TV. The speculation is centered around Apple’s (AAPL) recent moves in the TV space and how the iPad might play a role. We can add TV to the list of things the iPad might be.

MediaMemo always gets to cover those wonderfully chewy stories where the tech sector and the mediascape bump and grind. This week Peter opened up with a post about YouTube’s most recent foray into legitimate movies. The Google-owned video giant offered up paid views of Sundance films and considered the effort an overall success. One of the big what-ifs of 2009 was actually more of a “when,” as in, “when will Hulu start costing money?” Peter reported that a Disney (DIS) exec said the decision hasn’t yet been made. Weekend Update will be stocking up on old episodes of “The A-Team” and “Another World” in case Hulu finally puts up the wall. Peter rounded out the week with the answer to a question that’s been on our minds for some time now; will we live in a world with a publicly traded porn Web site. When investors didn’t seem to be hot for FriendFinder Networks, the company canceled its pending IPO. Weekend Update supposes that porn will just have to remain the Web’s biggest nonindustry.

Put on your rain slickers or snow shoes, depending on where you live, and enjoy the winter weekend. Or, you could stay indoors and play some Guitar Hero, futz with a new laptop, hunt for a job, shop for some shoes online and watch TV at Hulu. That’s what we’ve been doing.


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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”