Welcome to the first of what I hope will be many news roundups of what’s going on in the tech world today. Below are some of the interesting stories developing in technology, accompanied by a little unbiased, objective and mature commentary from yours truly. Let’s get to it!
Yesterday, the big news was that Google launched a small, private beta test of its new product called Google+. The project will let you create social circles among your various online contacts and share interesting links you find while surfing the Web. It also will suggest links to you based upon your past history, which could either be fascinating or humiliating, depending upon your surfing habits. Will this be a home run or will it fizzle like other Google projects such as Google Wave or Google Buzz?
CNET reports that RIM may be abandoning plans for a 10-inch BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. Instead, RIM will concentrate on a “superphone.” Whether the phone will be capable of making long-distance calls to Krypton remains unknown at this time. Earlier this month, sites like Mashable reported that RIM has had a tough time responding to challengers like Apple and Google in the smartphone and tablet market. Will a new superphone save the company from falling further behind?
My colleague Chanel blogged about the Supreme Court’s decision to extend to video games the same free speech protection that books, plays and other media receive. The decision strikes down a law that would make it illegal for retailers to sell games with objectionable content — always a difficult definition to pin down — to minors.
Just before I left for vacation in early June, the hacker group LulzSec was making headlines. As the group targeted various companies, agencies and organizations, it leveraged social media tools like Twitter to publicize what was going on. The six members of the hacker group eventually aligned with Anonymous, the hacktivist organization (and I use the word organization loosely — Anonymous is notoriously decentralized). Eventually, authorities from multiple agencies began to investigate the group’s activities. Perhaps coincidentally, LulzSec has now dissolved and the members are once more part of Anonymous. PCMag has an excellent summary of what the group accomplished and how it may have left a huge impact on how we view network security.
In legal news, Paul Ceglia is on the hunt for a new lawyer. Ceglia claims that Mark Zuckerberg owes him big time for the creation of Facebook. According to Ceglia, Zuckerberg hired him to help design the social network and promised him an enormous share of the site’s revenue should it succeed. Zuckerberg denies such an arrangement ever existed and journalists have cast doubt upon Ceglia’s honesty. This is the third time Ceglia has changed legal representation in the case.
Finally, in news-that-makes-my-head-explode, Capcom has gone boldly where no digital rights management has gone before. It all concerns the game Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D for the Nintendo 3DS. As Ben Kuchera of ars technica reports, Capcom has made save games on the cartridge permanent. That means when you start always start where you last saved. You can’t replay the game from the beginning. You can’t rent the game to play through it from start to finish. You can’t give or sell the game to someone else and have them play through. This sort of DRM ultimately hurts the legitimate consumer more than anything else. And historically these efforts don’t even discourage piracy, which means the only achievement at the end of the day is upsetting loyal customers.