May 2, 2012 by Bonnie Cha

    Faster computers and laptops are on the way, thanks to a new chipset from Intel called Ivy Bridge, but some companies are already incorporating the new technology into their products, including Dell.

    Available today are Dell’s latest desktops, the XPS 8500 and Vostro 470, both of which feature the new Ivy Bridge processors.

    The XPS 8500 is designed for those who do a lot of multimedia work, such as editing videos and designing graphics, and is also suitable for gamers. Depending on your needs, you can build your computer with either an Intel Core i5 or i7 quad-core processor, and there are several graphics card options from AMD Radeon and Nvidia.

    To ensure high performance, the XPS 8500 also has USB 3.0 for faster data transfer and various solid-state drive configurations, which will help boost application load and boot-up times.

    Meanwhile, the Vostro 470 goes after the small business segment, with its extra security and storage features. The Windows 7 desktop offers up to two terabytes of storage, 12 gigabytes of memory capacity, plus expandability options. It also works with backup services like DataSafe Online Backup.

    Like the XPS 8500, the Vostro 470 offers the same processor options and USB 3.0.

    One other factor that might attract small businesses to the Vostro 470 is its more affordable price tag. Pricing for the Vostro 470 starts at $549, while the XPS 8500 starts at $749. Both are available now through Dell’s Web site and select retail stores nationwide.

    Category computers, Dell, News | Tags: , desktops, Product News, Vostro 470, XPS 8500 | No Comments


    May 2, 2012 by Samantha Murphy

    Facebook Action Links - 600

    Facebook announced Wednesday it has added yet another way for friends to interact with your Timeline: “action links.”

    Instead of just Liking a post about a recipe or product, say, you can now hit “Save this Recipe” or “Fave this Product” in Open Graph apps.

    When a friend checks in on Foursquare and the checkin is added to their Timeline, you can remind yourself to visit that location by hitting “Save this Place.”

    SEE ALSO: Put Your Live Event on Facebook, Get Paid with Evinar

    “These customizable links provide another way for people to do something within your app when your Open Graph stories appear in news feed, timeline or ticker,” Facebook’s Alex Wyler wrote on the company’s developer blog.

    Wyler noted that these app links tie one action to another — and developers can choose what they want that action to be. Facebook also added a page to walk developers through how to add action links to apps.

    Will adding action links encourage more interaction on Timeline pages? What do you think the advantages are of adding this feature to Open Graph apps on Facebook? Let us know in the comments.

    BONUS: 10 Innovative Uses of Facebook Timeline for Brands


    1. Fanta


    The soda company’s branded Facebook Timeline page took advantage of the Leap Year by pretending that the extra day “created a rip in the Fanta space-time continuum and sucked four of our characters: Gigi, Lola, Floyd and Tristan out of the Cover Photo and into the past.”

    Fans of Fanta’s Page must engage in its “Lost in Time” game, which requires navigating through the Fanta Timeline, to bring the characters back to the future.

    Click here to view this gallery.

    More About: Facebook, Social Media

    Category Facebook, Social Media | Tags: , Uncategorized | No Comments


    May 2, 2012 by Ina Fried

    Demonstrating the increasing sophistication of mobile malware, a new Android trojan is spreading via compromised Web sites and could potentially be used to crack corporate and government networks.

    The bug, dubbed NoCompromise, is the first Android bug to spread this way, according to mobile security specialist Lookout. The trojan poses as a system update and, while the current version doesn’t appear to do harm, it could be used in malicious ways.

    “This threat does not currently appear to cause any direct harm to a target device, but could potentially be used to gain illicit access to private networks by turning an infected Android device into a proxy,” Lookout said in a blog post.

    In order for a device to be infected, the user would have to install the downloaded trojan, Lookout said.

    “Based on our initial investigation, we’ve confirmed that a number of websites have been compromised,” Lookout said. “However, affected sites appear to show relatively low traffic and we expect total impact to Android users to be low.”

    Category android, Mobile, News, security | Tags: , General, lookout, mobile malware, NoCompromise, trojan, viruses | No Comments


    May 2, 2012 by Emily Banks

    Internet users are worked up over Ashton Kutcher‘s racial depiction in a Pop Chips campaign launched Wednesday.

    The actor, who is also the brand’s “president of pop culture,” portrays four caricatures on a dating show, including an Indian man named Raj, in which Kutcher appears with darkened skin.

    The rap group Das Racist called Kutcher out on Twitter over the videos. “Hey @aplusk, what’s with the racist brownface video,” the account tweeted.

    So far the only tweet from Kutcher today is a promo asking “Looking for love?” with a link to the video (below).

    Other folks have turned to Twitter to express how little love they have for the campaign:


    Newsflash to @popchips – never heard of you before. Now I’ll see your name and think “racists” not “yummy snack” Fail! #BoycottPopChips

    2 May 12
    Elsbeth Tascioni @seelolago

    .@popchips proudly displaying @aplusk's offensive characters on their Facebook page http://on.fb.me/ahYtKE  #brownface

    • likes
    Max Silvestri@maxsilvestri

    Which PopChips Ashton Kutcher character is your fave? It’s so hard to pick! (how I’m gonna drown myself fastest) bit.ly/bT31PQ

    2 May 12

    In a beautifully articulated blog post, entrepreneur and writer Anil Dash recommends you don’t watch the video.

    “Don’t watch it; It’s a hackneyed, unfunny advertisement featuring Kutcher in brownface talking about his romantic options, with the entire punchline being that he’s doing it in a fake-Indian outfit and voice. That’s it, there’s seriously no other gag…

    “I think we can attack the process by which these broken, racist, exploitative parts of our culture are created. I think the people behind this Popchips ad are not racist. I think they just made a racist ad, because they’re so steeped in our culture’s racism that they didn’t even realize they were doing it.”

    Dash outlines a number of next steps for the campaign, including not pulling the ads. Instead, the ads should link to an explanation for how the campaign failed. Kutcher should apologize and the team members from the PR firm promoting the campaign and the firm that made the ads should all be named. Check out the rest of Dash’s recommendations here.

    For now at least, expect to see more of “Raj” and Kutcher’s other characters, including a half-baked “Nigel,” a diva named “Darl” who is very obviously inspired by Karl Lagerfeld, and “Swordfish,” a bumpkin-type biker dude. The New York Times reports that the $1.5 million campaign will include outdoor ads in Denver, LA, New York, Phoenix, Seattle and San Francisco, as well as social media appearances on Facebook and YouTube.

    Is any press good press for Pop Chips and Kutcher? Or is this a PR fail, and if so, how do you think it should be rectified?

    More About: Advertising, ashton kutcher

    Category Advertising, ashton kutcher | Tags: , Uncategorized | No Comments


    May 2, 2012 by Mike Isaac

    Apple’s stringent guidelines on submissions to its App Store are no secret to developers: Abide by our rules or prepare to get your app nixed.

    So why, then, did Dropbox recently blow by Apple’s guidelines with its software development kit anyway?

    Here’s the deal: Last week, developers utilizing Dropbox’s SDK in their own iOS apps started getting rejection notices from the App Store after submitting their apps for review. As evident from this saucy exchange between a developer and an Apple employee, Dropbox’s SDK included a link to the desktop version of its site, which allows users to purchase an upgrade in storage space for the service.

    That’s a feature that Apple has explicitly banned in any iOS apps submitted to its store. According to section 11.13 of Apple’s App Store penal code (er, review guidelines): “Apps that link to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app, such as a ‘buy’ button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book, will be rejected.”

    Apple confirmed to AllThingsD that this was indeed the guideline Dropbox had violated with its SDK.

    As first noticed by The Next Web, developers were peeved at their apps’ sudden rejections, and rightly so. Resubmitting an app can take a matter of weeks to move through Apple’s approval process. And in the fast moving mobile world, time is money.

    “I hope you enjoy rejecting decent apps for having normal functionality while letting all the fart apps through,” wrote independent developer Goran Peuc in an exchange with an Apple representative.

    Dropbox’s response to the dust-up? An ever-so-subtle sleight at Apple: “Apple is rejecting apps that use the Dropbox SDK because we allow users to create accounts,” a spokeswoman for Dropbox told me in an e-mailed response (emphasis mine). “We’re working with Apple to come up with a solution that still provides an elegant user experience.”

    And to Dropbox’s credit, the SDK has already been patched, so developers shouldn’t come up against the issue any longer.

    It would seem, then, that initially one of a few scenarios occurred: It was an oversight and Dropbox accidentally left a link in the SDK, or it was intentional, and the company wanted to see if the app could slide through undetected. Or perhaps the link seemed innocuous enough to Dropbox that the company thought Apple wouldn’t make a stink.

    Obviously, the latter outcome wasn’t what happened.

    Dropbox didn’t respond to my request for further clarification, but one would think that the company would have been wise to this beforehand. The slew of iOS app rejections in the past few years have been highly publicized in the tech press, especially the instance in which Apple rejected Sony’s Reader app last year.

    In other words, shouldn’t Dropbox have known better? If there’s a way for you to sell your product within Apple’s ecosystem — be it virtual goods, e-books or online storage — Apple wants its cut and always has. There’s really no way around it.

    Perhaps Dropbox wanted to play the honey badger this time — and we all know that honey badger just don’t give a s#!*.

    (Photo credit: Mark Bridge/Flickr)




      May 4, 2012 by Kara Swisher

      Of course, the Yahoo internal memo for the Yahoo internal crisis of the week!

      Here is CEO Scott Thompson’s email today to employees about the controversy around the fact that he does not have a computer science degree, as described in his bio in Yahoo’s regulatory filings.

      Oh, just read it:

      From: Scott Thompson
      Sent: Friday, May 04, 2012 4:03 PM
      To: all-worldwide@yahoo-inc.com
      Subject: Staying Focused

      Yahoos –

      I am sure you have seen the reports of questions raised regarding my undergraduate degree. As we said yesterday, the board is reviewing the matter and, upon completion of its review, will make an appropriate disclosure to shareholders. In the meantime, I’m doing what I hope all of you are doing — staying focused on our customers, our shareholders, our team and moving Yahoo! forward, fast.

      Category controversy, email, employee, filing, internal, Media, memo, News, review, Scott Thompson, shareholder, Yahoo | Tags: computer science,General,regulatory,undergraduate | No Comments


      May 4, 2012 by Tricia Duryee

      Funzio’s $210 million sale to Tokyo-based Gree this week makes it the second mobile game company with a relatively short operating history to be snapped up recently.

      In an interview, co-founder and President Anil Dharni said the company was founded two and a half years ago, but it didn’t make its first mobile game until nine months ago. Since then, it has launched three titles, including Crime City, Modern War and Kingdom Age, all of which have generated more than 20 million downloads.

      The quick multimillion dollar sale is reminiscent of Zynga’s recent $180 million purchase of OMGPOP, which had been around for awhile but only recently catapulted to the top of the iPhone charts with its overnight hit Draw Something.

      Dharni said the two back-to-back sales are not necessarily an indication of a trend in mobile games.

      “We tend to hear only about the successes,” he said. “If you look at some of the other mobile gaming companies, some have gained traction but there’s others struggling that have fallen off the charts. … I think the downward trend is also happening.”

      All three of the company’s games are free to play and monetized through in-game items. Both Kingdom Age and Modern War are among the top 25 grossing apps on the iPad. Crime City is the company’s oldest title. Neither Funzio nor Gree disclosed how much the apps are grossing, but Dharni said what makes its games stand out from the rest of the pack is player retention. And generally, the longer players engage with the games, the more likely they are to make purchases.

      Funzio, which previously raised $20 million in capital, is expecting to be completely integrated into Gree’s San Francisco operations, relocating all of its 125 employees to Gree’s offices, where the two will have more than 300 employees all told.

      “From day one, the thing we proposed was that we didn’t want to be an independent studio. We want to be integrated as much as possible in Gree,” he said.

      Gree, which is a mobile-gaming powerhouse in Japan, is aggressively trying to build a worldwide social network for games on mobile devices. Rivals include DeNA’s Mobage network, which came to market through the acquisition of San Francisco-based Ngmoco, and Apple’s Game Center.

      Funzio will now begin developing games for Gree’s mobile social platform, although they will not necessarily be exclusive.

      Dharni said both he and the company’s co-founder and CEO Ken Chiu started talking with Gree a few months back, and since then had discussions with a number of other suitors, whom Dharni characterized as the “usual suspects.”

      What stood out about Gree was its vast experience and knowledge about the mobile gaming space, he said.

      “Mobile games in Japan make a ridiculous amount of money and we are just getting started in America. They are two to three years ahead of us in terms of understanding game mechanics and monetization. We can learn so much from them,” he said. “They are super smart and hungry folks and their vision matched ours. We had excellent alternative options, but we found the perfect partner.”

      Category Apps, Commerce, iPad, iPhone, M&A, Mobile, mobile gaming, News, ngmoco, Zynga | Tags: Anil Dharni,Crime City,DeNA,Draw Something,Funzio,General,gree,Ken Chiu,Kingdom Age,Mobage,mobile social gaming,Modern War,OMGPOP | No Comments


      May 4, 2012 by Tricia Duryee

      Selling a pair of tickets to see New Kids on the Block for $10,000 today didn’t stop Groupon’s stock from closing below $10 a share.

      The daily deal company’s shares slid 3.3 percent, or 34 cents, to settle at $9.97 a share today, marking the first time its stock closed in single digits.

      At that price, the company’s value hovers around $6.4 billion, which is getting uncomfortably close to Google’s $6 billion buyout offer that the Chicago company turned down in late 2010.

      Groupon has been unable to regain investor confidence since revising its fourth-quarter results at the end of March despite putting out a string of press releases. Over the past couple of weeks, it has hired a new SVP, Kal Raman, and appointed two new directors with accounting expertise.

      Today, it sold a package that included a pair of tickets to see New Kids on the Block, a ride on a roller coaster with the teen heartthrobs and round-trip airfare, among other activities, for $10,000, or roughly half off.

      Now Groupon is also half off its IPO price six months ago. (I’m pretty sure the NKOTB’s lyrics “Hangin’ Tough” can apply.)

      At less than $10 a share, Groupon’s stock is trading 50 percent below its IPO price of $20 a share.

      For CEO Andrew Mason, it means watching his shares decrease from $1.3 billion at the stock’s peak on day one to roughly $470 million today.

      GRPN Chart

      GRPN data by YCharts

      Category Andrew Mason, board of directors, Commerce, daily deals, Groupon, News, stock price | Tags: Kal Raman,New Kids on the Block,single digits | No Comments


      May 4, 2012 by Mike Isaac

      In a move reminiscent of Facebook’s revamped timeline pages, Foursquare rolled out an expanded check-in history page on Friday. Users can now sort through their past locations visited via the Web interface, and can also filter the search history based on who they were with and the type of establishments visited.

      Category Facebook, foursquare, News, search, Social, timeline | Tags: Discovery,filters,General,history page,user history | No Comments


      May 4, 2012 by Mike Isaac

      Winning is sweet. Especially when you’re underwriting one of the most hotly anticipated tech IPOs of the decade and stand to make hundreds of millions on it. And JPMorgan Chase wants to relish every last moment.

      The firm went all out to celebrate Facebook’s forthcoming roadshow, which kicks off Monday, bedecking their New York offices with blue-and-white banners, flags with giant thumbs-up “Like” symbols, as well as assorted other Facebook-related booty to celebrate the occasion.

      It was also, in part, to welcome Facebook management to the J.P. Morgan headquarters, as top Facebook execs are doing the rounds with each of the three lead underwriting firms — including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — to practice their pitch before doing it over and over with investors all across the country.

      As CNBC captured on camera earlier Friday morning, Facebook CFO David Ebersman was escorted to his car by J.P. Morgan Vice Chairman James Lee and his colleagues, all of whom were clad in Facebook-themed track jackets, fully flying the company’s colors.

      Among the other items J.P. Morganites created in celebration of Facebook’s visit: Paper coffee sleeves, banners hung across the firm’s lobby windows and baseball caps.

      So far, no hoodies or flip-flops in sight — but Mark Zuckerberg has yet to arrive on the scene.

      (Photo credit: ischafer/Instagram; Screenshot: CNBC)