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Archive: July 2008

Guitar Hero Battle at Hard Rock Cafe

Local Guitar Hero fans showed up at the Hard Rock Cafe downtown Sunday night to battle for a chance to win a trip to Boston and a motorcycle designed by Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler. The contest, sponsored by Spin magazine and Hard Rock Cafe, was thrown to promote a new...

By Mike Musgrove | July 28, 2008; 3:31 PM ET | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

Scrabulous Saga Continues

It looks like Scrabulous is in for a battle with Hasbro, which owns the rights to the original Scrabble board game. Hasbro has apparently sued Scrabulous, the popular Facebook application, and has asked Facebook to disable the application. Hasbro has been unhappy about the unauthorized application for some time. And...

By Kim Hart | July 25, 2008; 11:28 AM ET | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

XM-Sirius Merger Decision Could Come Today

The five members of the Federal Communications Commission are at a split 2-2 vote on the merger of XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio with Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein announcing today his vote against the union. That leaves just Republican Commissioner, Deborah Tate, to decide whether the companies can create...

By Cecilia Kang | July 23, 2008; 2:00 PM ET | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)

Digital TV Transition: Lost in Translation?

I got several emails over the weekend in response to the story that ran on Saturday about how Spanish-speakers and Spanish-language stations are handling the upcoming switch to digital television. Many of the surveys and research done lately indicate that awareness of the transition continues to rise. Now the big...

By Kim Hart | July 22, 2008; 7:05 AM ET | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

LivingSocial gets $5 million

Hungry Machine, a Georgetown firm that has made a dozen or so popular Facebook applications, got its first round of venture capital funding this morning--$5 million from Grotech Ventures in Vienna and Steve Case. The company is officially launching its LivingSocial site, which has been in beta until now. Tim...

By Kim Hart | July 21, 2008; 2:52 PM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

New iPhone: Pretty Much Sold Out Everywhere

Don't count on getting your hands on the new iPhone 3G today. News service Bloomberg is reporting that only three of 188 Apple Stores -- in California, New York and New Hampshire -- have phones available to sell today. One analyst has predicted that the shortage will last well into...

By Mike Musgrove | July 21, 2008; 11:42 AM ET | Comments (28) | TrackBack (0)

Local PR Firm Joins the Growing Social Media Industry

Social media isn't just for Web-addicted teens anymore. It's now a full-blown marketing business that has sparked a cottage industry of public relations firms that specialize in helping corporations infiltrate the world of blogs, wikis and social networks. Geoff Livingston has been a well-known evangelist for social media marketing in...

By Kim Hart | July 21, 2008; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Guitar Hero Gets Jimi Hendrix

The Guitar Hero videogame franchise has landed another real-world guitar hero's music for inclusion in the next version of the bestselling game: Two Jimi Hendrix songs will be in this fall's "Guitar Hero World Tour." The upcoming title will let players fake-rock their hearts out to "Purple Haze" and "The...

By Mike Musgrove | July 18, 2008; 1:56 PM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Company-sponsored Social Networks Slow to Take Off

Shortly after people started flocking to Facebook and MySpace, companies tried to get in on that action by starting their own social networks to connect with customers and employees. The hope was that, by starting a conversation with these communities, the companies' brand names would spread, people would discover new...

By Kim Hart | July 17, 2008; 1:45 PM ET | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

What Exactly Did Jerry Yang Say

One of the most interesting parts of the Senate hearing yesterday, which examined the proposed search-advertising deal between Yahoo and Google, was a short scuffle over a comment reportedly made by Jerry Yang, Yahoo chief executive, at a meeting last month with Microsoft executives. Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel, recounted...

By Kim Hart | July 16, 2008; 5:21 PM ET | Comments (6) | TrackBack (2)

TiVo Gets YouTube

TiVo has announced that users will soon be able to view YouTube content on their devices as a free new service. "We're continuing to bridge the gap between TV and the Web and YouTube is certainly a critical part of that plan," said Tara Maitra, vice president and general manager...

By Mike Musgrove | July 16, 2008; 4:11 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

E3: Nintendo and Sony Show What's Next

Many videogame fans are pining to be in LA this week, as the industry's major annual trade show, E3, kicks off at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The show, once known for huge crowds and loud parties, reinvented itself as a small, business-focused event last year, but one tradition remains...

By Mike Musgrove | July 15, 2008; 2:43 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

A Tool for the Traffic-Averse

For all you road-weary commuters, I just heard about a handy service launching in the Washington region. Using an application you download to your cellphone, you can get live video streams and photos of the traffic on the roads you travel most. It's a partnership between NBC and 3rd Dimension...

By Kim Hart | July 14, 2008; 2:16 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

SGN Gets Funding Boost From Bezos

Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, has invested in Social Gaming Network (SGN), which develops gaming applications on social networks such as Facebook. SGN, based in Palo Alto, was spun out of Webs.com, the Silver Spring company formerly known as Freewebs. VentureBeat had the news this morning. It's...

By Kim Hart | July 14, 2008; 2:14 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Want an iPhone? Get in Line.

Anybody else having problems with their iPhones today? IPhone owner John Carnett, who I quoted in a story for today's paper, said that trying to update to the iPhone's new 2.0 firmware has left his iPhone useless and stuck in "emergency" mode. I'm stuck without a cell phone today after...

By Mike Musgrove | July 11, 2008; 11:18 AM ET | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Peer Pressure in Online Shopping

I was browsing through book titles on Amazon.com last weekend and realized how much weight I was giving to the reader reviews listed for each book. If one reader gave a book high marks, I was skeptical. Maybe it is a friend of the author giving it a rave review?...

By Kim Hart | July 9, 2008; 3:43 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

Sony Re-releases PS3 Updates

Last week, I posted an item about how Sony had to take a software update for the PlayStation 3 down after it caused problems for some users who downloaded it to their systems. The PlayStation blog now says they have fixed the problem and put the update back online. If...

By Mike Musgrove | July 8, 2008; 5:50 PM ET | Comments (33) | TrackBack (0)

Activision Blizzard: It's Official

This afternoon, game publisher Activision announced that its shareholders have voted to approve a merger with Vivendi Games. The proposed merger between the two video game giants was announced in December, but required the blessing of Activision shareholders. The game publisher said that 92 percent of shareholders approved the deal,...

By Mike Musgrove | July 8, 2008; 4:14 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1)

Anatomy of a Venture Capitalist

The life of a venture capitalist sounds like a pretty sweet gig, right? Spend your days meeting creative entrepreneurs and deciding which new ideas are worthy of the millions of dollars you have at your disposal. Not to mention the fact that you're quite a popular person at parties frequented...

By Kim Hart | July 8, 2008; 3:33 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Conversation with Yelp's Jeremy Stoppelman

Jeremy Stoppelman, co-founder and CEO of Yelp, was in town today for a few quick meetings. So I had the chance to grab a bite to eat with him before he jetted back to San Francisco. What's new in Yelp's world? Well, besides a swanky new office in New York...

By Kim Hart | July 8, 2008; 2:24 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Scrabulous Founder Speaks

Yesterday I wrote about an official Scrabble application being launched on Facebook by Hasbro and Electronic Arts. I had e-mailed the founders of Scrabulous to ask them if this new game was a threat to their business. I heard back from them this morning. Jayant Agarwalla, who founded the India-based...

By Kim Hart | July 8, 2008; 10:23 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Scrabble vs. Scrabulous, Take Two

Back in January, board-game makers Hasbro and Mattel, who share global ownership over the Scrabble trademark, told Facebook to remove the popular Scrabulous application, claiming copyright infringement. The request sent online Scrabulous fans into a tizzy, forming "Save Scrabulous" groups on Facebook. The episode probably drove even more users to...

By Kim Hart | July 7, 2008; 2:30 PM ET | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

Sony Pulls PS3 Update After Users Report Problems

PlayStation 3 owners had been looking forward to the features offered with a downloadable update for the game system's operating system due this week. But looks like some of the software bugs might not have been squashed before the update, called version 2.40, went online yesterday. Sony has taken the...

By Mike Musgrove | July 3, 2008; 9:34 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

IPO Drought: A Crisis for the Start-up Community?

The absence of a single initial public offering by venture-backed companied has investors quite alarmed. The National Venture Capital Association reported this morning that, for the first time in three decades, zero start-ups went public. Here's the story I wrote about the report. According to the report, 57 percent of...

By Kim Hart | July 1, 2008; 11:05 AM ET | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Sell Out With Sprint

You can now get $20 in exchange for shameless product placement in a YouTube video. In an effort to promote its new Samsung Instinct cellphone, an iPhone look-alike offered by Sprint Nextel, the carrier is paying customers to feature the phone in a homemade video. Just a short, random appearance...

By Kim Hart | July 1, 2008; 9:42 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

 

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