This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 2010-01-04 at 1:26 a.m.
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ExtraBITS for 4 January 2010

by TidBITS Staff

Though we weren't writing much during our end-of-year vacation, we were keeping up with what was going on in the Apple industry. Steve Jobs was named the top CEO in the world, Microsoft was banned from selling Microsoft Word (at least in theory), and Apple tablet rumors continued to build. Also, MacTech is soliciting fun Mac stories, David Pogue continued to browbeat cell carriers for usurious business practices, Google donated millions to charity, and Apple both apologized for iMac shipping delays and made it possible to buy iTunes gift cards via Facebook. We also did a few podcast guest appearances, and Glenn wrote a great article comparing nine GPS navigation apps for the iPhone.

Apple Tablet Rumor Roundup [1] -- Apple's late-January booking of a stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco has ignited yet another round of furious Apple tablet speculation. With all the theories, assumptions, and stories kicking around, it's easy to feel completely lost on the subject. To help you wrap your head around the buzz, Gizmodo has compiled a summary of all the Apple tablet rumors to date... or you could just wait until Apple's announcement to see what happens.

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Harvard Business Review Names Steve Jobs Top CEO [3] -- The Harvard Business Review has named Steve Jobs the top-performing CEO in the world. The article ranks almost 2,000 company leaders from around the world by analyzing each company's performance over the CEO's full tenure. Jobs, since returning to Apple in 1997, has increased the company's market value by $150 billion and overseen an industry-adjusted return of 3,188 percent.

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Court Bans Microsoft From Selling Word 2007 [5] -- The Wall Street Journal reports on a recent federal appeals court decision to fine Microsoft $290 million and ban the company from selling copies of Word 2007 after 11 January 2010. The plaintiff, a Canadian software company named i4i Inc., sued Microsoft in 2007 for infringing on a patent for technology that improves the handling of XML code. Microsoft, while looking further into its legal options, has plans to remove the contested code from future copies of Word 2007 and the forthcoming Office 2010 - though the company notes it does not expect shipments of the program to be disrupted.

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MacTech Soliciting Best Mac Stories for 25th Anniversary [7] -- Our friends at MacTech Magazine are kicking off their 25th anniversary celebration by soliciting the Mac community's best Mac-related stories, to be printed in upcoming issues of MacTech over the next year. The first issue of MacTech came out in December 1984, after which it was published as MacTutor for the next 7 years, before eventually reverting back to the MacTech name.

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Pogue Pursues Verizon Plundering [9] -- New York Times columnist David Pogue is holding Verizon Wireless's toes to the fire regarding the carrier's dubious pricing schemes. The profit centers in question include doubling early cancellation fees for smartphones and charging users $2 a pop for hitting those hard-to-miss arrow buttons on the keypad. Despite the involvement of the FCC, which formally asked Verizon for answers, Verizon continues to deny culpability. In other words, the grass isn't always greener in other cellular carrier pastures.

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Instead of Holiday Gifts, Google Donates $20 Million [11] -- In recent years, Google has sent holiday gifts to large AdWords purchasers and AdSense publishers, but this year is instead donating $20 million to a variety of charities. Kudos to Google for putting its money where its "Don't be evil" mouth is, and for not adding to the world's ever-increasing layer of cheap plastic crud.

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Apple Offers iTunes Gift Cards on Facebook [13] -- The holiday buying season is over, but there are plenty of other gift-giving opportunities throughout the year. If you're scrambling for a last-minute gift idea and you and your recipient are Facebook users, consider an iTunes Store gift card. You can now purchase virtual iTunes gift cards through Facebook, without needing iTunes at all. To purchase one, you must become a fan of iTunes on Facebook, then click the iTunes Gifts tab to follow customization and purchase instructions. The certificates come in $5 (which isn't available normally via iTunes itself), $10, $15, and $25 values.

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Apple Apologizes for iMac Shipping Delays [15] -- In a statement to CNET, an Apple spokesperson has apologized for a two-week shipping delay on all 27-inch iMacs that affected many people prior to Christmas. While Apple isn't giving a specific cause for the delay, other than implying the 27-inch's wild success has made filling orders difficult, it would seem likely that the delay is related to the recent reports of broken displays (see "New iMac Screens Cracking and Flickering [16]," 10 December 2009). The 21-inch iMac is still shipping within 24 hours.

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Head-to-Head Tests of Nine GPS Navigation iPhone Apps [18] -- TidBITS editor Glenn Fleishman spent weeks driving aimlessly for Macworld, where his overall look at GPS navigation for the iPhone appears, along with reviews of nine apps and the TomTom car kit.

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MacJury Podcast Pages through Electronic Readers [20] -- Chuck Joiner interviews a slew of electronic book authors about electronic book readers, like the Kindle and Nook. Chuck talks to Michael Cohen, Glenn Fleishman, Joe Kissell, Kirk McElhearn, and Matt Neuburg, all Take Control authors who have strong opinions about print books, too.

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Adam Recaps 2009 on the Tech Night Owl Live Podcast [22] -- It's hard to remember everything that made Apple news in 2009, but Adam and host Gene Steinberg roll through a variety of headlines from the past year, talking about what Apple has done well and not so well.

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