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Posted at 8:26 AM ET, 12/23/2010

The Circuit: Skype still down, possible FCC steps on merger, American politics goes mobile

By Hayley Tsukayama

LEADING THE DAY: Skype says service is still down for many Thursday morning after a massive outage hit the Internet telephone service yesterday.

As of 7 a.m., "skype outage" was still in the top 10 Google trends, and many users were still reporting problems on Twitter, which is backed up after also suffering a brief outage yesterday. Skype is one of the main ways that family members and friends in far-flung places connect, particularly during the holiday season.

The outage also exposed how many businesses rely on Skype for basic, daily operations such as remote teleconferencing. As those companies scrambled yesterday, GigaOm highlighted the trend with its piece, "Is Your Internet Disaster Plan in Place?" For alternatives to Skype during its downtime, check out Faster Forward's suggestions from yesterday.

FCC might move forward on merger today: As Post Tech reported yesterday, the Comcast-NBC merger process will continue into the new year, but sources tell Post Tech that it's possible the FCC will circulate its order on the merger to be voted on by five members Thursday.

Mobile politics: The Pew Internet & American Life Project dropped a new study of mobile participation in elections Thursday, with the headlining find that 26 percent of American adults used their cellphones to learn about or participate in campaigns during the 2010 midterm election. The study counted calls, texts, mobile browsing, photo-sharing and app use among the ways those surveyed used mobile technology during the election.

TSA privacy concerns: Privacy issues with the TSA's new security measures are resurfacing today as folks head to the airports for holiday travel. As The Washington Post reported, these concerns cut across many religious lines. Muslims, Sikhs, Orthodox Jews and Christians all weigh in with their concerns about the policies and the way the searches violate modesty.

Obama on Jobs: The president issued remarks on Jobs yesterday, and he wasn't talking about employment. The president mentioned Apple chief executive Steve Jobs as an example of someone who has achieved the American dream by working hard and being inventive. He added that people like Jobs deserve wealth.

Obama's comments came in response to a question from CBS reporter Mark Knoller who asked whether there is a divide between middle-class and wealthy Americans. Fortune Tech has the full conversation here.

McLaughlin leaving as deputy CTO: In case you missed it yesterday, Post Tech reported that deputy CTO Andrew McLaughlin will be leaving his post to go into business for himself. McLaughlin is planning to launch two start-ups for technology development in the U.S. and abroad. His last day at the White House is Thursday.

Microsoft creating Yelp competitor?:" Last Thursday, according to Tech Crunch, Microsoft filed a trademark registration for something called "POSTBOX," described as an online business directory for food and entertainment venues. As the Tech Crunch article points out, Microsoft is definitely interested in a Yelp-like site, citing Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports from February that the company actually made a bid for Yelp.

Tech Crunch is careful to note that it's speculating here but has contacted Microsoft for more information.

By Hayley Tsukayama  | December 23, 2010; 8:26 AM ET
Categories:  Apple, Comcast, FCC, Social media, Twitter  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama's deputy CTO leaves to launch start-ups
Next: FCC will circulate merger order today

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