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Best of Today (7/25)

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Best of Today (7/22)

Netflix coming to Facebook overseas, but not in U.S. A legacy of Robert Bork's Supreme Court nomination hearings means Americans won't get to use Netflix on Facebook.

Netflix coming to Facebook overseas, but not in U.S.

In a letter to investors that accompanied its financial results Monday, Netflix said that this fall it will launch its Facebook integration in Canada and Latin America but not in the U.S. The reason: The Video Privacy Protection Act, a 1988 law that forbids the disclosure of people's video rental information. Companies that violate the law are liable up to $2,500 for each infraction. Google+ and the loss of online anonymity. Why Google cares if you use your real name. It's official: Time machines won't work. Doc's super fast car won't do it.

It's official: Time machines won't work

Neither will Bill and Ted's magic telephone booth. Physicists at the Hong Kong University of Technology and Science have just proved that no machine will ever allow a person to travel through time because time travel is flat-out impossible. Not just unlikely, or we don’t have the technology yet, but, beyond the limits of the physical laws of the universe. You might think time travel has always belonged in the world of fantasy, but 10 years ago some scientists began to believe time travel might actually be possible when superluminal -- or faster-than-light -- propagation of some specific medium were discovered. It was later found to be a visual effect, but the idea that a single photon could exceed the speed of light lingered, and with it, the possibility of time travel. Design View / Andy Rutledge - News Redux. Digital news is broken.

Design View / Andy Rutledge - News Redux

Actually, news itself is broken. Almost all news organizations have abandoned reporting in favor of editorial; have cultivated reader opinion in place of responsibility; and have traded ethical standards for misdirection and whatever consensus defines as forgivable. And this is before you even lay eyes on what passes for news design on a monitor or device screen these days. In digital media—websites in particular—news outlets seldom if ever treat content with any sort of dignity and most news sites are wedded to a broken profit model that compels them to present a nearly unusable mishmash of pink noise…which they call content. In an effort to disguise and mitigate the fact that they have little idea how to publish digital content properly—often sneakily called “differentiation”—some news outlets release apps for digital devices.

Borders Books is down -14 square miles to go... - Jonathan Steiman. Bing Becomes a Costly Distraction for Microsoft - Breakingviews. Earth to Microsoft: Don’t sell Bing. Apple Sales in China Zoom Ahead of Competitors. Huge crowds descend the store’s glass staircase, only to discover legions of mostly young Chinese crowding around spare displays of Apple’s devices.

Apple Sales in China Zoom Ahead of Competitors

Another Apple Store, four miles away, is also packed. To cope, Apple says it is now planning a third, even larger Shanghai store, as well as dozens of other stores throughout the country. The expansion is driven by customers like Wang Shangyan, a 17-year-old professed Apple maniac. “I have many Apple products, like Touch, , 2 and MacBook,” Mr. Wang said after browsing the Apple Store here this week. Apple says its Chinese outlets — two in Beijing and two in Shanghai — are now the four most heavily trafficked Apple stores in the world.

Analysts say few global brands have achieved such a feat in China. “Apple has done what Google and Facebook cannot do: become No. 1 in China,” said John Quelch, former senior associate dean of Harvard Business School and now head of the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai. SEO Shop Puts 50 Google +1s on Sale for Just $9.99 - Alexis Madrigal - Technology. You knew it had to happen, right?

SEO Shop Puts 50 Google +1s on Sale for Just $9.99 - Alexis Madrigal - Technology

As soon as Google opened up its search engine to "social signals," the search engine optimization shops had to find ways to game the system. One, Plussem.com, an arm of SEOShop.biz*, is offering +1s at the rate of 50 for $10, 250 for $30, or 2,000 for $170. Why Do Viral Videos Go Viral? Kobo, WSJ Halt Direct Sales on Apple-Device Apps. Sidestepping Apple: From Amazon to Condé Nast, Companies Rethink App Strategies. We all knew that once Apple starting enforcing new rules for in-app purchases, it would change how media companies do business on the iPhone and iPad.

Sidestepping Apple: From Amazon to Condé Nast, Companies Rethink App Strategies

Now, we’re beginning to see just what that looks like for companies trying to avoid giving a 30 percent cut to Cupertino. Amazon, Kobo and Barnes & Noble all removed the stores from their iOS applications on Monday, as well as any hyperlinks to or mentions of their online stores. Google Books — recently announced distribution and retail partner for the new multiplatform Harry Potter e-books — is simply gone from the App Store, without explanation from either Apple or Google, although possibly a revised app may be forthcoming.

Users of these newly-storeless apps can still download and read all content purchased elsewhere. But the apps are no longer an easy direct or indirect portal for sales, to the chagrin of their developers and some of their customers. The absence of this portal will hurt some retailers more than others. OS X Lion: Macs are no longer beginner-friendly.