Screw the Emmys! The best gift bags of the past week came at Microsoft’s BUILD conference. The Redmond crew put their money where their mouths were and provided 5,000 developers with a tablet based off of the Samsung Series 7 Slate and packing a version of the Metro-tized Windows 8 Developer Preview. Theoretically, the gift was supposed to spur on app development for the upcoming operating system; instead, some not-so-gracious recipients have turned the tablets into quick cash on eBay.
While you can always put Windows 8 through its paces by downloading the Developer Preview, there is nothing quite like an absolutely free Windows 8 tablet with decent innards. Microsoft gave away 5,000 such Samsung Windows 8 tablets to developers at last week’s BUILD conference. A few of those developers are apparently so unimpressed that they are now desperately trying to get rid of these gratis tablets for whatever amount people are willing to pay. It turns out that people are willing to pay thousands of dollars.
The last time we checked in with our skeleton-raising Diablo 2 necromancer, the blood of the three Prime Evils – Mephisto, Diablo and Baal – stained the hands of our summoned golem and the world had been saved from sure destruction yet again. That was way back in 2000. Now, over a decade later, we're beginning to hear some solid facts about the upcoming Diablo 3. Or at least facts about in-game transactions. Apparently Blizzard doesn't want to let the item-selling money train plow on without them; the company just announced that a couple of item-selling auction houses would be built right into the game.
What's the most you ever paid for a videogame? We're willing to gamble it's considerably less than what eBay user "shinsnk" is asking for an ultra rare copy of Tetris for the Sega Mega Drive (Japan's equivalent to the Sega Genesis console). If you read the title, you know this guy's asking for cool $1 million, but how exactly can he justify such an exorbitant price tag?
It's no secret that News Corp. wants to wipe its hands of MySpace, the once popular digital playground that's seen all the cool kids pick up their gear and head over to that other social networking website, the one with over 500 million members. The question is, how much can News Corp. get for MySpace? That will depend on whether or not there are any buyers to begin with, which News Corp. will reportedly find out later this week as it puts MySpace up on the auction block.
Satellite billionaire Charlie Ergen, who owns Dish Network, outbid at least three other suitors in pursuit of Blockbuster in a bankruptcy auction, Reuters reports. That means Dish Network, the second largest U.S. satellite TV provider in the U.S. (behind DirecTV), now owns Blockbuster, for which it will pay around $320 million. What will this mean for Dish Network?
Apple has no qualms about selling last generation hardware for new-gen prices, but seeing others rake in as much as $2,500 on eBay for Steve Jobs figurines is where the Cupertino company draws the line.
According to consumer advocate group The Consumerist, here's what happened. A Chinese company called M.I.C. Gadget tried to get away with selling said figurines for $100/pop, up until Apple stopped the manufacture from doing so. Shortly after, the banned dolls began appearing on eBay fetching up to $2,500. The hand-painted figurines depicted Jobs in his familiar New Balance 991 sneakers, black turtleneck, removable sunglasses, an iPhone in one hand, and speech bubbles to write your own quotes.
Not only did you have to be willing to spend a small fortune on a figurine to get one, you also had to act fast. Apple convinced eBay to remove the listings, citing a California statute "which prohibits the use of any person's name, photograph, or likeness in a product without that person's prior consent."
Most reasonable tech enthusiasts would agree that the Apple tax is a bit unreasonable, but if you could go back in time and invest in an original Apple-1, I think you’d agree it was worth the money. I say this because one of the few surviving models is being auctioned off next week, and many estimate it will go for anywhere between $161,000 and $242,000.
On the hardware front the computer sports 8KB of RAM, a cassette board connector, and a 6502 8-bit Microprocessor clocked somewhere in the 1-2 MHz range. Unfortunately the machine will come sans monitor or keyboard, so anyone interested will be buying this as a 4th device (somewhere between a computer or an iPad) will be somewhat disappointed.
In addition to the hardware the winner of the auction will also score the original box, manual, receipt, and a letter to the first owner from Steve Jobs typed on lined notebook paper. The price is a total rip off of course, but you know what they say about one man’s junk.
Apple has a reputation for being rather controlling when it comes to its hardware and software designs, but a new story coming out of Gizmodo really pushes this perception to a new level. Ex Apple employee Mark Burstiner is in legal hot water with Apple over allegations of theft, but his story isn't as clear-cut as it might sound.
Over a year and a half ago Mark was coming off a shift at the Fifth Avenue New York Apple store, while construction workers were hauling away pieces of a broken step that needed to be replaced near the entrance. Mark was dressed in civilian clothing, and for some unknown reason, asked if he could keep the cracked 250lb glass step that was presumably being hauled away to the dump. The construction crews helped him load up his price, and if this were a normal story, it would end here.
Fast forward to eight days ago when Mark was preparing to move, and decided to list his prize on Ebay. Rather than being mocked and ridiculed for attempting to sell a broken piece of trash, he received several bids, and was eventually contacted and harassed by Apple legal representatives who requested he return the broken step. You could argue the legality of this case on behalf of Apple, or squatter's rights, but either way it is a bizarre story.
Feel free to read his entire testimony for yourself, but can anyone come up with a plausible theory for why Apple would care? It certainly adds evidence to the theory that some people will buy anything from Apple, even trash. The current bid was $6,300 at the time of this posting, go figure.
Don't burn your credit cards or start sending recruit-a-friend notices to everyone in your address book: World of Warcraft is not going open-source. You will still have to pay a monthly fee of $14.99 for the privilege of stomping your virtual friends and NPCs into corpse dust, and you will not be permitted to split WoW off into a side project that grants anyone with your name a free pass to level 80 (and/or a fixed "I win!" button). Blizzard isn't stupid.
WoW might not be going open-source, but the company behind it is using the 1-2-3 trick of the open-source world to encourage increased adoption and interest in its core piece of software. In what I believe is a first for the genre, you'll soon be able to access in-game mechanics from a separate Web or mobile app. You might not be able to run your daily quests off of your iPhone, but for WoW enthusiasts looking to make a tidy profit throughout their adventures in Azeroth, Blizzard's mobile access should give you up-to-the-minute information for your business profiteering.