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ExtraBITS for 20-Apr-09

Oracle to Buy Sun Microsystems for $7.4 Billion — In a surprise move, database developer Oracle has agreed to acquire hardware maker Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion, taking over after talks between Sun and IBM failed. Despite this merging of computer industry heavyweights, the effect on the Mac world will likely be relatively minimal, with the main question being the future advancement of Sun’s Java and MySQL technologies. (Posted 2009-04-20)

YouTube Adds Premium Content Section — YouTube, in what appears to be an effort to compete with sites like Hulu, has launched a premium content section that includes movies and television shows. YouTube’s owner, Google, has announced the initial content will be provided by studios including Sony, CBS, MGM, Lionsgate, Starz, and the BBC. The new material will be available free of charge, and supported by the recently announced Google TV Ads. While Google hopes the new section will garner extra revenue, the user-generated content for which YouTube became known
will remain the main focus of the site. (Posted 2009-04-18)

Apple Leads in Customer Satisfaction Survey — CNET reports that Apple recently topped the list of computer companies in a customer satisfaction survey conducted by Forrester Research. The survey, comprising almost 4,600 consumer responses regarding 113 companies in 12 different industries, found that Apple received an overall satisfaction rating of 80 percent. Though Apple may outperform its peers (second-place Gateway scored only 66 percent), it does so in an industry that receives poor ratings overall; according to the survey, PC companies are only slightly better liked than insurance companies and cable providers. Nevertheless, these
rankings are interesting in light of recent Microsoft ads targeting Apple, and the company’s response to them. (Posted 2009-04-18)

iPod touch Storms the Battlefield — Newsweek reports that the United States Army has begun equipping soldiers with iPod touch devices for use in language and gesture translation, analysis of data from satellites and drones, and more. (Posted 2009-04-18)

O’Reilly Shares App Store Stats — Interested in data that goes beyond the fact that Apple is closing in on the billionth iPhone app downloaded from the App Store? Ben Lorica shares some interesting statistics about iPhone apps on the O’Reilly Radar blog. (Posted 2009-04-18)

CinemaView Offers First Mini DisplayPort Compatible Monitors — CinemaView has announced that it is releasing the first non-Apple Mini DisplayPort-compatible monitors. The company is currently offering 19, 21, and 24-inch models for $299, $399, and $499 respectively. With cast aluminum construction, and black-bordered optical glass fronts, the displays capture some semblance of Apple’s design, and with the 24-inch model being $400 cheaper, these monitors might become attractive alternatives to Apple’s high-end Cinema Displays. (Posted 2009-04-14)

Apple to Offer $899 20-inch iMac to Schools — Ars Technica is reporting that Apple has updated the lowest rung of its educational desktop offerings from the otherwise-obsolete 17-inch white polycarbonate iMac to a 20-inch aluminum model. The updated model includes a 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 1 GB RAM, a 160 GB hard drive, a SuperDrive, and Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics processor – quite an upgrade considering the price will remain at $899. Unfortunately for most of us, this deal remains available only for schools and not for individuals. (Posted 2009-04-14)

Rich Mogull Interviewed by The New York Times — Rich Mogull, computer security expert and TidBITS Security Editor, was recently interviewed by the New York Times Gadgetwise blog. In the wake of the Conficker virus scare, New York Times blogger Riva Richmond asked Rich about security on the Mac, and how Apple users can stay safe. The interview piqued enough interest to prompt a followup article as well. (Posted 2009-04-14)

Microsoft Office 2008 Available in 30-Day Trial Edition — Trial software is commonplace on the Internet these days, but it’s not so easy to do with massive suites like Microsoft Office that are generally sold through resellers. Microsoft has now made a 30-day trial version of Office 2008 for Mac available, though downloading it requires running through a cart and registering with Microsoft for periodic followup messages. You can unsubscribe later, if you wish. It’s a 545 MB download. (Posted 2009-04-14)

Post Notes to Evernote via Twitter — If you use the note-taking service Evernote and the microblogging/discussion service Twitter, you can now have specific tweets saved to your Evernote account (available via the Web, the Mac, the iPhone, and more). Not groundbreaking, but a nice way to link two popular Internet services. (Posted 2009-04-14)

Apple’s Countdown to One Billion Apps — Apple is on the verge of selling the one billionth app in the iTunes App Store. To celebrate the occasion, any customer purchasing an app between 12:01 AM 10-Apr-09 and when the one billionth app is sold will be entered into a contest with the chance to win a $10,000 iTunes gift card, an iPod touch, a Time Capsule, or a MacBook Pro. A list of the official contest rules is available on Apple’s Web site. (Posted 2009-04-10)

The Little App Factory $1,000 Prize Giveaway — In celebration of its app, iPodRip, having now transfered over one billion songs, The Little App Factory has announced a giveaway contest featuring $1,000 worth of prizes. The contest, running until 01-May-09, will grant nine winners an iPod touch, nano, shuffle, or a $50 gift certificate to the iTunes Store, as well as a free copy of iPodRip. All prizes will also be exchangeable for their retail value’s worth of iTunes Store gift certificates. Contestants can enter by email, Twitter, or blogging – or by all three! (Posted 2009-04-08)

iPod Scammer Pleads Guilty — Here’s how not to run a business that’s geared towards taking advantage of the popularity of Apple’s iPod shuffle. The owner of an iPod repair shop has pled guilty to fraudulently obtaining and reselling 9,000 iPod shuffles. (Posted 2009-04-06)

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