Please welcome Jon Barrett, with this week’s tech news about the world’s second-larest Apple Store, robotic masturbation, eBook readers, Polaroid pictures, mega-sized Tetris games, and Facebook apologies.
Apple opened its third Manhattan store—in Chelsea—this evening. The three-story space, located at 14th Street and 9th Avenue, is the second largest Apple store in the country (just smaller than the one on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue), but the big news is that it’s the first to offer free Pro Labs. Get more information, see more pictures and a video survey of the space here. Also at Gothamist, where we found the cool composite image above.
If you want an ebook but are torn between the Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader, here’s a nudge from Sony: The company is now offering 100 free classic book titles with each purchase.
You think your thumbs hurt after a long text message? Ponder this: More than half of the top-selling fiction books in Japan for the first half of this year were written on a cell phone. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, mobile phone novels (called keitai shousetsu) have become a publishing phenomenon in the country. One book, Koizora (Love Sky), which is about a high-school girl who is bullied and gang-raped and then becomes pregnant, has sold more than 1.2 million copies since being published.
As many amazing digital cameras as there are out there, no LCD screen or photo printer provides the unique satisfaction of a Polaroid print. And now there’s a site for Polaroid fans. Polanoid.net is trying to build the biggest Polaroid picture collection on the planet and is asking people to upload their personal photos for free. You can search the hundreds of thousands they have so far—by camera type, film type, location, and more.
Google this week released the “fastest-rising U.S search tearms.” Any of these sound familiar?
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Facebook’s CEO on Wednesday acknowledged that the company has made mistakes in its Beacon advertising program. Beacon announced users’ purchases—from sizes such as Amazon and Fandango—on Facebook news feeds. “We’ve made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we’ve made even more with how we’ve handled them,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post. “We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it… Instead of acting quickly, we took too long to decide on the right solution. I’m not proud of the way we’ve handled this situation and I know we can do better.” Facebook users, many of them organized by MoveOn.org, complained about the program after they felt it not only violated their privacy but that it ruined a few holiday surprises. With his apology, Zuckerberg also announced that users would be able to completely opt out of the Beacon program. Previously the site only allowed opt-outs on a site-by-site basis.
Google has launched a new interface for users who access the site with an iPhone, complete with a menu of services to choose from—home (search box), Gmail, Calendar, Reader, and More (docs sms, goog-411, news, photos, blogger, and notebook). You can see a video of the new interface (complete with Eye of the Tiger soundtrack) here. Meanwhile, in other Google news, it seems like the company is getting a little bit sloppy in its effort to scan every book ever printed.
And, in other iPhone news, an AT&T rep told Gizmodo.com last week that the company will soon have a data-only plan for the phone. Good news for hearing-impaired iPhone lovers.
OK, this is ridiculous. But it’s good for a laugh. Introducing Rubbot, the male sex toy with the motto: Robotic Masturbation is coming. The creators are in beta stage (testers wanted, they say) and made this video to show how far they have to go.