News Of The Day 3/14/2011

Things in Japan are changing quickly, and there are people trying to help, from donations from gaming companies to At&T and Verizon offer free calls, texts to Japan.

The important thing now is to help the people of Japan and the surrounding region.

Looks like "Anonymous" decided to dump their dirty on Bank of America which, interestingly, actually involves some insurance fraud and foreclosure fraud. BofA is in the crossharis of a lot of people, but I'm not sure this is going to get as much play as it could as it's somewhat esoteric. Of course it's obvious there are serious issues in housing, but I don't think this is quite the public smoking gun – it just may lead to one.

An interesting study on unions that's food for thought. Basically they seem to be good for rates of pay and economic dynamism, but the evidence they remedy income inequality isn't there. Really fascinating.

Some thought on the Mideast uprisings and urban density supported by social media. A good read, and more relevant as people focus on megaregions – are their exports also going to be change in the world?

An amusing look at just what a city is.

Remember how I was curious if Michigan's attempts to woo the game industry and media would be good for the state. Forget it, the new governor is aiming for radically expanded powers that would allow the dissolution of assorted entities – from school districts to cities. Sounds like an easily abusable recepie for disaster that could be bad for the state (and this is an expansion of some other laws). A reminder that if you move, check a state out carefully.

Solopower lands $13.5 million and has some government backing. Plus they're in San Jose. Sounds like a company that needs the resumes of greentech enthusiasts . . .

Turkey is rocked by protests over a crackdown on press freedom. Seems that freedom of communication, news, and media are big drivers in a lot of unrest . . . something media companies and internet companies will need to remember as they may get unexpected pressure and support.

Interesting company to keep an eye on: Altobridge, who raised $12 million and addresses emerging mobile markets. They've got some interesting tech and a broad potential audience. is still around and is going mobile. I wonder if "mobile" is going to be the panacea many troubled companies may use to try and distinguish or improve themselves.

There's been a music video getting lambasted on the internet – turns out its part of a kind of talent cultivation company called Ark. Seems their model is sort of attempting to pull a Beiber with various photogenic kids. I wonder if this is possible, so I want to keep an eye on what they're up to – remember "I Am Number Four" came out of its own kind of mill.

Infographic history of eBooks.

Where tomorrow's biotech is coming from. May give you an idea of where to live.

AT&T is to impose overage caps on big bandwidth users. Not entirely clear how they do this, and I'm a bit surprised they're being so aggressive.

Video Games:
Amazon lands an exclusive license to distribute Angry Birds Rio for Android. Beyond telling us how powerful the AB brand is, it also shows Amazon can and will make specific deals for it's app store ambitions.

Disney Interactive cuts 2% of their staff. This seems to be a drive to flexibility and profitability. I have to wonder if they're even going to think that much about the games . . . it seems they're doing a more casual/social approach.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Just what do you think Disney Interactive's plans ARE?

– Steven Savage