Introducing Technologizer’s T-List

Our roundup of what's important, intriguing, exhilarating and/or exasperating in tech.

By  |  Thursday, July 31, 2008 at 10:45 am

New Technologizer feature! Starting this very moment, I’ll round up five items a day, give my take, and refer you to discussion elsewhere. They may be the day’s biggest stories. Or not. List starts after the jump…

Absolutely Scrabulous
On Tuesday, the Agarwalla brothers began denying Facebook users in the U.S. and Canada access to their beloved, quite possibly illegal Scrabble clone Scrabulous. Outrage ensued. The official Hasbro Scrabble Facebook app, which seems to have more enemies than fans, was taken down by a hacker attack. And then, on Wednesday, the Agarwallas launched Wordscraper, a game that’s very much like Scrabble, except that it’s customizable. Oh, and the letter tiles are round, not square. Wanna bet it’ll be a long time before Scrabble makes the headlines so often in one week?

The Olympic Non-Global Village
In a development that should shock absolutely nobody, the International Olympic Committee admitted that the uncensored access to the Internet for reporters covering the Beijing Olympics that it had crowed about turned out to be a fantasy. Foreign journalists are being blocked from sites that cover touchy subjects like Tibet and Tiananmen Square. At least most of those reporters will go home to an uncensored Internet; 1.3 billion other people in China won’t have that luxury. (Side note: When I visited Beijing and stayed in a posh Hyatt, I couldn’t even get through to a story about fake Chinese Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets.)

Ceremony Surprise
Yup, more Olympics news! A sneaky Korean camera crew shot footage of a rehearsal of the Beijing Olympics’ opening ceremony, which involves 10,000 performers and reportedly cost $300,000,000 to mount. The clip got out, and while it’s been taken off YouTube, it’s still available elsewhere; if you don’t mind spoilers, you can watch it now. (See Huffington Post link below.) As you can imagine, nobody involved with the Beijing Olympics is too pleased with this development. My instant review: Not worth almost a third of a billion dollars, but may look better when viewed in its entirety in person, or at least on a screen that isn’t tiny and pixelated…

Another NetFlix Box
LG is getting ready to ship the LG BD300, a $500 Blu-Ray player that also includes the ability to stream movies and TV shows from NetFlix’s library of 12,000 items. It will compete, sort of, with the $100 NetFlix box that Roku introduced a couple of months back–as well, of course, with Apple’s Apple TV. It sounds kind of interesting, and it seems inevitable that most movies will eventually be consumed via on-demand streaming or digital downloads. But it also feels like that’s not going to happen until a truly killer movie streaming box comes along, and a lot more movies are available.
Read more at: Crave, PC World, NewTeeVee

Yahoo to Music Buyers: “Drop Dead, But Here’s Your Money Back”
Last week, Yahoo told folks who had bought music from its defunct, DRM-hobbled download service that it was shutting down its DRM servers and therefore those music buyers would lose the ability to transfer their songs to new PCs and devices after September 30th. This week, it apparently occurred to the company that if you’re going to take away something you sold, it might be unreasonable to keep the money. So it announced that it’ll provide coupons for said buyers to repuchase their music at Yahoo’s new Rhapsody-powered music store–or, if a buyer grouses about that offer, will provide a full refund. The situation eerily replicates ones in which Google and MSN gave up on DRM and only provided refunds after catching flack.
Read more at: Ars Technica, LA Times
 
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