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Archive: October 2008

DOJ Approves Verizon Merger with Alltel

The Department of Justice this afternoon approved the $28.1 billion merger between Verizon Wireless and rural carrier Alltel to create the nation's largest wireless company on the condition the merged company divest assets in 100 markets to ensure competition. Before becoming official, the merger must pass final regulatory approval by...

By Cecilia Kang | October 30, 2008; 4:42 PM ET | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Beatles Songs Coming to Video Game

A new music videogame dedicated to The Beatles is in the works and set for release next year, according to an announcement this morning from the band's management company and the upcoming game's developers. The game is being developed by Harmonix, the studio that makes the popular Rock Band music...

By Mike Musgrove | October 30, 2008; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ebay's Meg Whitman Talks Tech and Policy

Meg Whitman retired from Ebay in March after a 10-year stint as president and CEO. Since then, she's been immersed in the Republican presidential campaign, first helping to raise more than $70 million for Mitt Romney's campaign, and now pitching in as a top business adviser for John McCain's run....

By Kim Hart | October 28, 2008; 3:30 PM ET | Comments (7) | TrackBack (7)

Netflix Allows Mac Users to "Watch Instantly"

Whenever I write about Netflix -- and especially if I'm writing about the online movie rental company's "watch instantly" feature -- it seems I get a lot of e-mail from Mac fans who are annoyed with the company. Here's their complaint: While Windows users have been able to watch about...

By Mike Musgrove | October 27, 2008; 12:57 PM ET | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Washington's Role in Fallout 3 -- Radioactive

Todd Howard, executive producer at Rockville-based Bethesda Softworks, spoke to us last week about the video game studio's latest release, Fallout 3. For gamers, the new Fallout game -- which is a revival of a computer game franchise that was originally popular a decade ago -- is one of the...

By Mike Musgrove | October 26, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Dingell Writes FCC on White Spaces Proposal

A key lawmaker today called on the Federal Communications Commission to respond to questions about the agency's proposed order to use television "white spaces" for unlicensed broadband wireless services. Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin J....

By Cecilia Kang | October 24, 2008; 6:00 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sprint's Hesse Says Wireless Less Hurt by Econ; What about Big Debts?

Sprint Nextel chief executive Dan Hesse said today that the wireless industry is stable compared to the auto sector, for example, amid the global market turmoil. He said consumers see their cell phones as a necessity and won't drop their service contracts even in tough economic times. His comments, made...

By Cecilia Kang | October 24, 2008; 5:43 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tokyo Woman Jailed for Avatar "Murder"

According to an Associated Press story, a Tokyo woman is in jail today for logging on to a virtual world and deleting her virtual husband's virtual identity. The woman, a 43-year-old piano teacher, was evidently upset that her online companion in a virtual world called "Maple Story" decided to abruptly...

By Mike Musgrove | October 23, 2008; 2:10 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

No Log In, No Comment

As of tomorrow morning -- sometime between 7 and 10:30 a.m. -- you'll need to be signed into your washingtonpost.com account before you can post a comment on this blog. Don't have a registration? You can create one in a minute or two. We're doing this to stop comment spam...

By Washington Post editors | October 22, 2008; 5:41 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Want T-Mobile's Google Phone? Not in D.C.

T-Mobile's much anticipated G1 phone running on Google's Android software went on sale today across the nation -- except in the Washington region. Here, you can walk into a T-Mobile retail store and play with a G1, the latest souped-up smart phone to hit the market. But you can't take...

By Cecilia Kang | October 22, 2008; 4:57 PM ET | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Robo-goats and Nosy Toothbrushes: One Futurist's Predictions

Don't we all kind of expect by now that it's just a matter of time before computers become smarter than we are? One tech industry pundit is now throwing in his best guess for a year by which this will happen. Futurist Richard Watson makes a living by telling companies...

By Mike Musgrove | October 22, 2008; 2:30 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bill Gates Talked White Spaces With FCC Commissioners

The Microsoft Chairman had phone conversations with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and Commissioner Michael Copps on Monday. According to the an ex parte filed with the agency, "Mr. Gates commended the Commission for all the work it has done in the white spaces proceeding, and for seeking to adopt final...

By Kim Hart | October 22, 2008; 11:50 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Will DTV Transition Crash and Burn?

If it goes down anything like the Digital TV Transition Ford during the Virginia NASCAR race this weekend, TV watchers could be in trouble. The FCC spent $350,000 to sponsor NASCAR team No. 38 in three races. During the team's first race on Sunday, Tums QuikPak 500 at the Martinsville...

By Kim Hart | October 20, 2008; 6:01 PM ET | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0)

Venture Capital Takes Hit in Third Quarter

Half of U.S. venture capital firms believe the current financial crisis is worse than the tech bubble crash of 2000. That's according to the newly released DLA Piper survey of technology and venture capital executives. The survey also found that 66 percent of technology companies are reducing revenue forecasts. And...

By Kim Hart | October 20, 2008; 4:50 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Talkin' About the Digital Generation

This week, the Post's tech podcast featured a guest: John Palfrey, co-author of the just-published book Born Digital. Palfrey is a director of the Berkman Center for internet & Society and a professor at Harvard Law School. His new title looks at the young, Internet generation now coming of age,...

By Mike Musgrove | October 17, 2008; 5:10 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

YouTube Passes Yahoo in Search

Looks like there may be a new runner-up in the online search world. For years, Google has been the number one most widely-used search engine, followed by Yahoo and Microsoft -- but a new report from Reston-based market research firm ComScore shows the Google-owned video site YouTube as having edged...

By Mike Musgrove | October 17, 2008; 4:26 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (2)

Slow Down? What Slow Down?

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- The economy may be in turmoil with financial markets swinging wildly amid investor uncertainty, but at T-Mobile, the nation's fourth largest wireless carrier in terms of subscribers, there is no plan to slow down on deployment of 3G wireless broadband services. I sat down with Neville Ray,...

By Cecilia Kang | October 17, 2008; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Broadcasters Question FCC's White Space Conclusion

Not so fast, broadcasters are telling FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. The National Association of Broadcasters says Martin's support of 'white space' devices is contradicted by the FCC's own engineering report. In a press release yesterday afternoon, the NAB points to a "stark contrast" between the executive summary and the more...

By Kim Hart | October 17, 2008; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Debates Are Over, But Push For More Openness Continues

Yes, the debates are over. But a group of online activists -- comprised of folks from both sides of the aisle -- isn't done yet. The Open Debate Coalition is pushing to remove copyright restrictions on clips of the presidential debates, so bloggers, YouTubers and MySpacers can post snippets on...

By Kim Hart | October 16, 2008; 11:05 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Is The Timing Right for WiMax?

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Timing in the extremely capital intensive telecommunications industry can make or break a company. For WiMax carrier Clearwire, their timing is both really good and really bad. It's good in that the broadband wireless service operator sealed its merger agreement with Sprint Nextel last May, before the...

By Cecilia Kang | October 16, 2008; 10:18 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

FCC Chair Wants to Go Forward With Use of White Spaces

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin said he wants to allow portable devices to use the airwaves between TV channels for wireless broadband service. After months of testing and over a year of lobbying by tech firms Google, Microsoft, HP, Dell and others, the FCC's engineering office is releasing a...

By Kim Hart | October 15, 2008; 2:32 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Going Green in Virginia

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and his cabinet members took a whirl-wind trip through Northern Virginia today, and made a quick stop at the Arlington headquarters of the Consumer Electronics Association. Eco-friendly business was on his mind. When he took office in 2006, energy issues weren't on the agenda. Now, they're...

By Kim Hart | October 14, 2008; 3:23 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Apple Shows Off New Laptops

Apple revamped its laptop line this morning, just in time to take advantage of what is usually the computer industry's busiest time of year. The company's least expensive laptop, the white plastic MacBook, now costs $999 -- down from $1,099, the company announced at an event thrown at its headquarters...

By Mike Musgrove | October 14, 2008; 2:30 PM ET | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0)

Obama Reaches Out To Gamers

Drive through the virtual streets of Burnout Paradise this week and you might find, among the usual mix of deodorant and fast food billboards, a new one featuring an image of Barack Obama. The Democratic presidential nominee is looking to connect with young voters through campaign billboards planted in the...

By Mike Musgrove | October 14, 2008; 12:15 PM ET | Comments (49) | TrackBack (0)

Tech Sector Braces for Pain as Quarterly Results Roll Out

Today marks the beginning of third-quarter earning season for the technology industry, with Intel releasing its latest financial figures and giving investors an indication of the potential pain that lies ahead. Third-quarter results may not be too far off-target, some analysts say, because product sales were already on the books...

By Kim Hart | October 14, 2008; 10:47 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Slowdown for Venture Capital World, But Not Quite a Nuclear Winter--Yet

If you've been reading the tech blogs lately, you've likely noticed the chatter about what the economic situation means for venture capital investors and the companies they fund. Some say things feel similar to tech's nuclear winter in 2000. Others say it's simply a dip in the cycle and the...

By Kim Hart | October 13, 2008; 1:20 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Local Firms Get Glimpse of NASA

Who knew there were so many cool things to see in Hampton, Va.? From the flight simulators to the world's largest cryogenic wind tunnel, a few Northern Virginia executives took a tour of NASA's Langley Research Center in search of business opportunities and how to capitalize on the center's multi...

By Kim Hart | October 13, 2008; 11:34 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mixx Reaches The One-Year Mark

Today's the one-year anniversary of local Web start-up Mixx, a company trying to make a business out of delivering customized online news to its users. The idea behind the McLean-based Mixx, as I wrote in a piece about the local start-up this past summer, is that users can vote on...

By Mike Musgrove | October 9, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

FCC Wants to Know If Gov't Paid Military Officers To Sell War

The Federal Communications Commission today said it has launched a probe into allegations that the Department of Defense paid former military officers to present favorable view of the war in Iraq on television shows. The allegations were brought to light by The New York Times in April, and key lawmakers...

By Cecilia Kang | October 8, 2008; 5:20 PM ET | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Gov. Palin's Alleged Hacker Indicted; Password Was 'Popcorn'

A 20-year-old student at the University of Tennessee has been indicted for breaking into one of the email accounts of Gov. Sarah Palin and then posting screenshots of personal information obtained there to a public Web-site. David Kernell, the son of a Democratic state lawmaker, was led into a Knoxville...

By Peter Whoriskey | October 8, 2008; 3:05 PM ET | Comments (48) | TrackBack (0)

Fallout 3 Hits Metro Center

Don't get too freaked out, commuters: It's just a video game. Local game studio Bethesda Softworks has blanketed the advertising space in downtown's Metro Center Metrorail station with some dark and kinda disturbing images of DC landmarks, such as a bombed-out-looking Capitol building and Washington Monument, lifted from its upcoming...

By Mike Musgrove | October 8, 2008; 1:48 PM ET | Comments (35) | TrackBack (0)

Chat with FCC's McDowell; Sees More Media Rules Under Dems

Federal Communications Commissioner Robert McDowell dropped by The Washington Post yesterday to meet with some members of the paper's editorial board and newsroom. McDowell said the FCC has set an ambitious agenda for the rest of the year, and time is running short. Whether Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) or Sen....

By Cecilia Kang | October 7, 2008; 5:50 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Megachurch Minister Protests Use of 'White Spaces'

You probably know him from TV -- the megachurch minister from Texas who never seems to have a shortage of motivational religious sayings. Now he's trying to make sure no one messes with those TV airwaves -- and more importantly, the microphones he uses during his services. Joel Osteen sent...

By Kim Hart | October 7, 2008; 1:47 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Google Wants You to Think Before You Drink and Send

Google's e-mail service Gmail just introduced an unusual new feature, called "Mail Goggles," designed to help keep people from sending emails that they'll later regret. That's right, the new email feature is an effort to help keep people from emailing after they've had a drink or two too many. Turn...

By Mike Musgrove | October 7, 2008; 11:50 AM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (2)

Craigslist Founder Gets Political

Craig Newmark really doesn't want to be bothered with politics. In fact, he can't wait until the election is over so he can catch up on his favorite TV shows, like "Pushing Daisies" and new episodes of "The Simpsons." Still, he's on the road for the next month, traveling to...

By Kim Hart | October 3, 2008; 5:11 PM ET | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)

Goohoo Delayed To Allow Justice Department More Time To Review

Google and Yahoo will delay the implementation of their joint advertising deal to give anti-trust lawyers at the U.S. Department of Justice more time to review the deal, according to a source close to the negotiations. The additional delay will be less than a month, said the source who could...

By Peter Whoriskey | October 3, 2008; 5:00 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Microsoft's Mundie: U.S. Broadband Efforts 'A Total Policy Failure'

Craig Mundie came to Washington this week, and as Microsoft's chief strategic thinker, replacing Bill Gates in that role, he has a lot on his mind. Watch what Mundie had to say about robot receptionists, holding on to our white spaces and how he's different from Bill Gates here. During...

By Peter Whoriskey | October 3, 2008; 11:41 AM ET | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

What's A Song Worth? Still about 9 Cents, and iTunes lives

A federal panel ruled yesterday that song publishers and writers are entitled to 9.1 cents royalty for each song downloaded, a ruling that holds the status quo and apparently keeps Apple's iTunes in business. In a proceeding before the Copyright Royalty Board, song publishers had argued that the per-song fee...

By Peter Whoriskey | October 2, 2008; 5:24 PM ET | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Sirius Unveils New Pricing Plans, But Cost Benefits Unclear

Newly merged Sirius XM Radio unveiled today a dizzying range of new pricing plans for its programming, as part of an agreement with the Federal Communications Commission to approve their merger. While consumers are given more choices, it's not always clear they are getting cost benefits from the nation's sole...

By Cecilia Kang | October 2, 2008; 1:47 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Northern Virginia's Top Tech Advocate Celebrates 10 years

Bobbie Kilberg has been an influential fixture in the Northern Virginia technology world for the past decade. She makes it her business to know what local firms are up to and works to find ways to attract the workers and resources they need to thrive. She's outspoken on policy issues...

By Kim Hart | October 2, 2008; 1:37 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Verizon Appoints Milch Top Lawyer

Telecommunications giant Verizon Communications named Randal S. Milch general counsel, replacing William P. Barr who will retire at the end of the year. Milch is a Verizon insider, who joined the Basking Ridge, N.J.-based firm in 1993. His new role as the company's top attorney will begin Oct. 15 and...

By Cecilia Kang | October 2, 2008; 11:20 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Nintendo Rolls Out New DS

Nintendo rolled out an upgraded version of its bestselling mobile game device, the DS, at a press conference in Tokyo last night. The new device, called the DSi, comes with a digital camera built in and an SD memory slot that can be used to take advantage of the device's...

By Mike Musgrove | October 2, 2008; 10:12 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sirius Execs Get Seriously Paid, According to Filings

The salaries of newly appointed Sirius XM Radio executives were revealed today by the company in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Dara F. Altman, Sirius' chief administrative office and an executive vice president, will get $446,332 for each year of her three-year contract. The 50-year-old former XM...

By Cecilia Kang | October 1, 2008; 5:36 PM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (9)

FCC Finally Fills Long Vacant Chief Technologist Post

The Federal Communications Commission appointed a Carnegie Mellon University professor as its new chief technologist, a position that has been vacant for the last three years. Jon M. Peha, a professor of electrical engineering and public policy, started his one-year assignment today. He was picked by Chairman Kevin J. Martin...

By Cecilia Kang | October 1, 2008; 4:27 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Recording Industry to Webcasters: Don't Get Too Excited

The copyright negotiations between Webcasters and the recording industry may continue under a bill approved by Congress over the weekend. But the trouble for Webcasters may be far from over. While Webcasters responded to the extension from Congress with renewed hopes for a settlement, today, recording industry officials expressed a...

By Peter Whoriskey | October 1, 2008; 12:11 PM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

 

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