Daily News Brief: Virtual Santa Gets Axed!


Microsoft Puts Santa on Naughty List

Turns out Santa has a potty mouth , or at least Microsoft's virtual representation of St. Nick does. MS created the automated bot on Messenger, which was designed to give kids a chance to chat with Santa and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. But rather than create some yule tide joy, Santa threw out the term 'oral sex' when continually pressed to eat pizza. The conversation ended with both the writer and Santa calling each other a 'dirty bastard,' forcing MS to pull the plug. To be fair, it took some prodding to get those lewd responses, but why the terms weren't on the filtered list in the first place is beyond us.

Facebook Apologies

The social networking site took a lot of heat from its members when they introduced the Beacon adware program, which tracked a user's surfing habits and publicly displayed any purchases made. Despite the outcry and bad press, Facebook didn't abandon Beacon, which stands to be a big money maker, and instead altered the policy so that users now have to give permission to display purchases made. Hoping that will be enough, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also issued an apology , stating " We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for that. "

Black Friday Boosts Blu-ray

HD-DVD players went on sale for as little as $99 during the Black Friday sales, but it was the surge in Playstation 3 consoles the propelled Blu-ray penetration to the 2.7 million mark. Meanwhile, the HD-DVD camp sits at 750,000 large, a slight lead over non-PS3 Blu-ray players, which is believed to be around 700,000. How this all translates into the ongoing format war will depend on how many PS3s are used to watch high definition movies.

Grand Theft Auto Teaser

Fans of the Grand Theft Auto series can view the new trailer released today for GTA IV, which is expected to start shipping in early 2008. New screenshots have been posted too, giving anticipatory gamers plenty to salivate over. In related news, analyst Michael Pachter stated that GTA developer Rockstar North may split from Take Two Interactive when their contract expires in February 2009, a precedent set by Bungie Studios when the Halo developer split from Microsoft earlier this year.

IBM in Dispute with Asus

Patent infringement complaints are tossed around the tech world more often than a football on Monday Night, and the latest has IBM playing quarterback to wide receiver Asus . In what could be a game changing play, IBM will seek to ban the import of Asus notebooks and other hardware, including power supplies, computer cooling, routers, computer clustering capabilities, and more. Specific notebooks have not been named, but Asus recently put the low cost Eee PC onto the playing field.

Is Your PC Possessed?

That's what you might be led to believe if your PC suddenly starts belting out Fur Elise or It's a Small, Small World , but it's not a virus or a demon causing the melody, it's your BIOSt. Every once in awhile we stumble across an amusing Microsoft Knowledgebase article, and this one explains that the mentioned tunes are warnings from some Award/Unicore BIOSes that your CPU fan isn't working properly, or that your power supply voltages have gone wonky.

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