News of the Day 5/6/2010

Lots of changes in printing, more strangeness from Arizona, and more attention from consumer groups for Facebook.  More is not always better . . . but we do have plenty of geek news!

Credit checks are being used to determine employability or may get people fired – and a lot of this is illegal. Something to stay aware of – and something that, if more of this comes to light, could generate quite a few lawsuits in an age of less employment.

Geek Law:
On top of all the OTHER stuff in Arizona, Northern Arizona State intends to track class attendance with RFID. Of course there's plenty of ways this can be abused, the necessity of it is questionable, and I'm sure it won't exactly be popular (it certainly doesn't seem to be). I see potential legal challenges here as well – though it is based on some existing practices and technologies.

Scribd, the online publisher, is moving to HTML 5. They're obviously, publically, leaving Flash behind. Of coruse I'm sure the iPad has something to do with it. This is a bit of a blow to Adobe (and makes me wonder what other publishing services and the like will follow suit and how).

Hachette launches a digital short fiction program – Continuing their rather hip and smart strategies as of late. Needless to say, they're one of our crush objects here, and I predict a strong future for them.

Wikipedia allows you to print books out of its contents – I've seen similar tech at other wikis, so it's not surprising, but it is surprising at Wikipedia. Now that we have someone like them doing this, and with plenty of self-publishing online (Lulu, Scribd), are we going to see books neither vanish nor turn into eBooks, but a kind of odd fusion of media where they run into each other?

Social Media:
Facebook's privacy issues are Drawing the attention of consumer groups. Facebook's continuing time in the spotlight seems to be less and less a good thing for it lately, and I suspect we'll see some changes coming very soon unless management is tone-deaf.

Google is adding even more functionality to Google Apps. Which isn't surprising considering they're competing with . . . well, everyone.

Video Games:
Nintendo income falls for the first time in six years. Pretty hefty amount (18.1 %), though the reasons seem obvious, sales decreases and a stronger Yen. Not anything shocking, but something to watch, mostly to see what Nintendo does, if anything, about it.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Will Wikipedia's printing options inspire other websites to do similar?

– Steven Savage