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Amazon Launches Outlet for Online Art Shopping, Guess What They Called It!

We don't know much about Amazon Art, but we know what we like.

Want to build an art collection but hate stuff like galleries, artists themselves, and leaving the house? No problem. Amazon just partnered with dozens of art vendors and galleries to let users shop for more than 40,000 pieces of fine art. What did they call it? "Amazon Art." That's soooooo postmodern.

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Yahoo Pays $1.1 Billion for Cat GIFs (Gets Rest of Tumblr Free With Purchase)

Yahoo is holding a big media event in New York tomorrow, at which everyone was expecting them to announce they would be buying Tumblr. Instead of waiting for the big event, The Wall Street Journal reported that Yahoo's board has approved the Tumblr purchase and its $1.1 billion price tag, which will be paid in cash.

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Rumor: Apple Could Have a Cheaper iPhone in the Works

The Apple iPhones, since its launch, have been at the high end of the smartphone price range. Anyone hoping for a break in price has been relegated to buying previous versions, but there's a rumor going around that says that won't be the case for much longer. Apple may be releasing a cheaper version of the iPhone concurrently with the flagship model, similar to how they recently launched the iPad mini as a more affordable alternative to the full-sized version. This is just a rumor, and considering it's CES week, we'll probably be seeing a lot more of those.

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Google Maps Could Return to iOS, Apple Users Can Stop Asking For Directions Like Savages

One of two things was bound to happen: Apple was going to fix its terrible Maps app, or Google was going to do it for them. It looks like it's going to be the latter. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is getting ready to submit a new Google Maps app to the iTunes Store. iPhone users the world over rejoice.

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Amazon Reportedly Looking to Launch Netflix Style Service for Books

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon is currently talking with a variety of book publishers in hopes of launching an eBook rental service in the same vein as Netflix. While book renting has been around as long as libraries have been, the prevalence of eBooks could, and probably will, permanently change the book rental landscape.

Considering the amount of control publishers have historically had over the publication and distribution of the books in their stables, it's understandable that they might not be willing to surrender control to Amazon. It doesn't help that Amazon is looking to distrubute eBooks of all things, a product many publishing companies are still wary of. As such, it's reported that Amazon is prepared to offer publishers a sizable chunk of change if they agree to get involved in the program.

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Confirmed: Microsoft Buys Skype for $8.5 Billion [Update]

If the business press is to be believed, VoIP and video-chat service Skype's fortunes have taken an interesting turn since the rumors just a few days ago that Facebook or Google might, just might buy it for 3 or 4 billion dollars, but were more likely to enter into a major partnership with it. Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft is in advanced negotiations to buy Skype for "between $7 billion and $8 billion," with a deal possibly to be announced "as early as Tuesday." But why? Update, 5/10/11, 7:53am ET: According to Forbes, this deal is happening for $8.5 billion, and we should expect confirmation within the hour. Update2, 8:20am: It's official: Microsoft has confirmed the deal.

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Wall Street Journal’s WikiLeaks Clone Gets Low Marks from Security Watchers

Despite a history of bashing WikiLeaks in its editorial pages, yesterday, the Wall Street Journal launched a whistleblower site of its own called SafeHouse, the aim of which is to allow potential leakers to keep their identities confidential while using "a special system built to be secure." Whatever opinion one holds of WikiLeaks, however, SafeHouse is probably not the best option for would-be whistleblowers: It has gotten low marks on both preserving confidentiality and observing good web security practices.

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iPhone Tracking Even When Location Services Disabled, Steve Jobs Responds (Maybe)

On the heels of the furor over the iPhone's unsecured location log, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the iPhone continues to store location data in the consolidated.db file even when location services are disabled on the phone. This is in direct opposition with previous statements from Apple, unrelated to this recent revelation, which claimed that users could opt out of all location gathering operations. In their follow-up research to last week's revelation about the consolidated.db location information, the WSJ found that deactivating location services from the iOS settings panel did not stop data from being logged.

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Disney Is Actually Developing Three Marvel-based TV Shows

Last month fans jumped at the news that Disney and Marvel would be bringing two Marvel properties to the small screen, and one of them would be an Incredible Hulk show. There was, however, no official announcement from ABC television regarding Marvel's statements. Well, now we've got it from an even higher source, Robert Iger, the CEO of the Walt Disney Company.
We're developing three live-action series for ABC and ABC Family.
There's no confirmation yet on which Marvel properties will be chosen for the TV treatment, but there are some indication of which ones are most likely.

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Geekolinks: 10/23

Report: Facebook Apps Breaching User Privacy

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that many Facebook applications are sharing users' personal information in violation of the company's privacy policy. According to Facebook's terms of service, apps cannot transmit users' personal IDs, the unique strings numbers assigned to every user, with which a simple Google search can determine the identity even of someone with the strictest privacy settings. But many of Facebook's 550,000 apps, including all ten of the top ten apps, are doing this anyway, covertly giving access to "people's names and, in some cases, their friends' names—to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies." Update: Many people hate this WSJ article and think it is dumb.

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The Wall Street Journal Rewrites Verizon iPhone Article, Confirms It for Next Year

Yesterday, when we wrote that The Wall Street Journal was reporting that Verizon iPhones were going into production by the end of the year and on sale early next year, we apparently should've taken the checkmark in the Verizon logo as a hint. As John Gruber of Daring Fireball pointed out today, WSJ rewrote the article since yesterday, which was mainly based on insidery speculation, and reposted the Verizon iPhone as fully confirmed with a much more fleshed out article.

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Apple Producing Verizon iPhone by Year’s End, Release Early Next Year? [WSJ Report]

According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple will be producing a Verizon-ready iPhone by the end of this year that would allow Verizon to start selling the phone early next year. Finally. The Verizon iPhone is said to be similar in design to AT&T's iPhone 4, though would use the CDMA technology used in all Verizon phones, a technology that was speculated to one of the reasons why a Verizon iPhone wouldn't happen. If true, this news would prove that Apple's exclusivity with AT&T would be coming to an end and bring hope to subscribers of other carriers. Along with this, WSJ reports that Apple is apparently developing a fifth-generation iPhone which will have a different form factor than the current iPhones on the market, though there was no word regarding how soon the new version would be available to Verizon. (via The Wall Street Journal)

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Those 6 Million Forms of Communication Probably Don’t Include Koro

Koro is a new (well, old) language discovered in 2008 by a couple of field linguists, doing research in northeastern-most state of India. They announced their findings, along with their efforts to date to preserve it against its eventual extinction yesterday. Koro is spoken by only about 800 people in Arunachal Pradesh, and the most striking thing about it is its uniqueness. According to Gregory Anderson, the director of the nonprofit that funded the research:

Their language is quite distinct on every level—the sound, the words, the sentence structure.
The researchers themselves said it was "as distinct from [the languages] spoken by other villagers as English is from Russian."

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Facebook Went to See the Facebook Movie

Here's the thing about Facebook's Places: if you use it, people can tell where you are. Just as the Wall Street Journal noticed that a whole bunch of Facebook employees were checking in at the Century Cinema theater in Mountain View, California, for a showing of The Social Network. Even Mark Zuckerberg checked in, although he checked in at a nearby restaurant just a few minutes later. A frustrated walkout? Unlikely, since Places doesn't require you to actually be in a certain location in order to check in there. Technically, either check-in could have been a fabrication. Or both.

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Google’s CEO Proposes Future Where People Will Have to Change Their Names to Escape Social Media

A few days ago, the Wall Street Journal published an interview with Google's CEO Eric Schmidt. It delved into a number of things like the Verizon deal and Schmidt's excitement for Minority Report-style "targeted advertisement," but the folks at the Telegraph noticed a truly interesting quote nestled unto the discussion. Schmidt apparently believes that, as time goes on and we reach a point where every single person has embarrassing information and pictures from their adolescence posted on social media sites online, it will become commonplace for people to automatically change their name once they reach adulthood.

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Sony Working on New Handheld Gaming Device: Report

One of the big disappointments at E3 this year was that Sony's rumored PSP 2 never materialized: Instead, the grand finale to their presentation was a Twisted Metal reboot. Well, according to a new Wall Street Journal report, Sony is working on a new portable device that you'll be able to play games with.

Intriguingly, it doesn't sound like a new PSP, but rather like a new cross-category gadget that melds handheld gaming consoles, e-readers, and plain old computing:

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Today in Coffee: Free WiFi at All American Starbucks Locations Starting Next Month

Today, at Wired's Disruptive by Design conference, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that, beginning July 1st, Starbucks will offer free WiFi internet access in every one of its American stores.  No time limit, no registration required.

Right now, patrons are only allowed to surf for two hours at a time, and have to have a Starbucks card in order to get access.  By this fall, Starbucks will also be rolling out The Starbucks Digital Network, offering free access to a number of for-pay-only sites to its customers.

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Zipcar Files for $75 Million IPO

Zipcar Inc. is looking to go public: According to the Wall Street Journal, they filed for an initial public offering today. If you're not familiar with the company, it allows customers to rent cars by the hour at fairly low rates: If you've ever lived in a city where parking costs as much as a saner city's rent, you can appreciate that option, and may already have employed their services. Moreover, in an era concerned with sustainability, Zipcar's strategy is seen as a promising way to cut down carbon emissions. But as great a deal as Zipcar may be for impoverished college students, it's not in the black just yet.

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New iPhone Coming in Summer of 2010? — WSJ (Update)

Have the rumors of a new iPhone coming in 2010 just been confirmed?

In a terse, Drudgelike headline that'll excite some tech geeks as much as most days' Technology sections, has just put up a "Breaking News" headline atop their site, as yet unlinked to an article, to the effect that a new iPhone is coming out this summer -- and it'd be Verizon-capable.

"Apple is developing a new iPhone to debut this summer and also appears to be working on another model for Verizon Wireless."

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