Weekend Update 02.27.10–”Get to High Ground” Edition

Everyone up here in the Bay Area is still a little on edge from all the earthquake/tsunami talk this weekend. People here know that the devastation seen in Chile could just as easily be visited along any of our own dozen major faults. Weekend Update’s heart goes out to those coping with disaster in Santiago, Concepción and the rest of the Bay Area’s doppelgänger cities in Chile. Weekend Update is definitely going to text some relief funds down that way.

Kara was full-tilt geek this week with an early post from TED’s viral video division. It seems Bill Gates told the assembled geekerati his one true wish. Wanna know what it is? We guess you’ll have to watch the video to find out. Kara then gave us some perspective on Yahoo (YHOO) playing social catch-up with its recent Twitter deal. Everyone may be muttering “too little, too late,” but it could be worse. The Internet giant could have tried to release its own social network. Kara then jetted off to sunny Mexico to give a keynote at SISCTI, Mexico’s major infotech conference. We’re hoping she brings us back a sombrero.

Everyone is chattering about Web-delivered video this week, but Peter brought some real perspective to all the racket. It looks like Walmart (WMT) is coughing up $100 million for Vudu in its theoretical bid to compete with the iTunes store. That’s a way bigger ticket than had been expected, but it looks like the world’s largest retailer is getting some serious skin in the game. Midweek, Peter brought us a story of triumph from the world of newspapers. It seems that the financial situation at the Washington Post (WPO) was “less bad” last quarter. The bleeding has slowed, but the patient is still in the ICU. Peter rounded things out with a dose of reality for Apple’s (AAPL) otherwise magical rhetoric. Billions of songs, billions of apps and download volume that leaps every quarter do not equal impressive profits, apparently. Don’t feel too bad for Steve though. We all know songs and apps are just fuel for the iFire.

Digital Daily started off the week all aflutter with news that Twitter is pumping out 600 tweets per second. That means if all those tweets are paced end to end, multiplied by 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day, Twitter still isn’t making any money. After a slew of posts early in the week, John tied up Palm coverage with some thoughts on “Project Jumpstart.” It seems Palm (PALM) should be thinking about a different sort of project, maybe one that involves getting bought. Finally, in everyone’s favorite category, John covered some more Apple speculation in the iPad afterglow. It looks like analysts are expecting a refreshed iPhone that will cost less and potentially have some new gesture-based features.

Walt’s column was of particular interest this week, especially if you’ve got finances to deal with or a certain gray-bearded uncle to pay in mid-April. Walt gave the rundown on the latest Mac version of Quicken. The Mac-Quicken relationship has always been tricky, and people (Weekend Updaters included) have used some tricky workarounds to keep using the Windows version of Intuit’s (INTU) popular finance program. Sadly, the latest version for Mac doesn’t really close the gap, and Walt wasn’t too up on making the switch. Mossberg’s Mailbox was full of magicJack mail this week–sort of like the leftovers from last week’s wild VOIParty. It turns out that it’s not the best idea to try to fax over the magicJack, even if it does sort of work for some people some of the time. That settles it. Weekend Update is gonna get one and hook it up to our Clapper-activated file-server.

Finally, Katie brought the cloud down to ground level this week with a review of Pogoplug, a device that lets you host and stream your files from a home hard drive over the Internet to your devices. You can be your own cloud, sort of, and Katie said she liked it just fine. Low-level clouds…maybe we can get the term fog computing to catch on.

Stay safe, be well, and have a look at the some of the stuff coming out of Chile this weekend. This time it was Santiago, but AllThingsD HQ sits on the ring of fire too.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald