Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Afternoon news briefs: Google and Apple in buying moods; more toys for the rich, complete with app; the NTSB recommends total ban on cell phone use in cars

A couple of reports are today that Google and Apple are in a buying mode. I suppose that's better than the typical news about patent lawsuits and the like.

According to a WSJ report, Google has bout the Alfred restaurant recommendation app maker Clever Sense. Their iPhone/iPad app was updated just today ("Hi, I'm a lot less buggy people!" the app description says.

A TechCrunch report passes along a report from the Israeli site Calcalist that claims that Apple will be buying Anobit, an Israeli semiconductor company that provides flash storage solutions.

The price tag mentioned is $400 to $500 million.

The two moves have some logic to them: Google's acquisition can be integrated into their other products like Google Maps, etc.; Apple's acquisition would lock in supply and lock out competitors, especially those wanting to introduce competitive ultralight laptops.

There has been a few posts about this product around the tech sites today and yesterday: the Topbrewer from Scanomat. If there needed to be more proof that the rich simply don't have enough things to buy, this is it.

I'm a big coffee drinker, but I know my coffee makers tend to break down after one year or less. Can you imagine the headache of trying to repair or replace this model? But then again, when you own the world, what's a few thousand dollars to replace your coffee maker? After all, it comes with an iPhone app!

Some of the better financial blogs, including FT.com/Alphaville are looking at the falling value of the Euro and calling it "a rout". (The Euro stands at a bit over $1.31.)

But it is funny how a little perspective is helpful. A year and a half ago the Euro was at the same level, and going back further the Euro was priced below one dollar (that was a while ago, I know).

In any case, if you are thinking of a trip to Paris for the holidays, now might be the time to go. (Have fun.)

My iPad made a funny little noise as an alert came in from USA Today about the NYSB recommendation that cellphone use be banned except in an emergency. The story has been picked up by many other outlets since then.

CNN's little story is less than 100 words but there are almost 1400 comments already on the story. Amazingly, to me, most are in favor of a total ban. The same people who complain about government intrusion in their lives don't bat an eye when told they can no longer use their cell phones in their cars. I suppose they will change their tune when told my Sean Hannity that this is another example of big government. But for now, ban cell phones!

Retweet: Rebecca J. Rosen penned a nice post on The Atlantic's website about a recent ruling that has more than a few bloggers up in arms. The headline is "Why We Should Stop Asking Whether Bloggers Are Journalists" and it argues that the recent Oregon ruling by Judge Marco Hernandez that a particular blogger couldn't claim to be a journalist is both more and less than it appears.

While it was nice to see some in the mainstream media come to the defense of the blogger in question, it was less nice to see them do so in quite such a hurry – many are stepping back now to reexamine their initial thoughts on the case.

If you are not familiar with the Oregon case Rosen's piece will get you there.