Alright, smart shoppers. Start your engines, grab your plastic cards, and let's get shopping. But not just yet. You'll want to grab this week's Firefox Extension of the Week, The Camelizer, if you want any shot at making informed purchasing decisions. And by that, I mean waiting until the time is just right to pick up whatever it is you're hunting after from one of the major retailers of your choice.
Click the jump and get ready to do some hardcore shopping... Firefox-style!
If you like to shop online, you really have no reason to not save additional money when purchasing, well, anything. That's a pretty generic statement, so let me break things down for you: A number of online retailers (or brick-and-mortar stores with online presences) have tons of deals, coupons, and promotional codes floating around the Web at any given time. These might be geared toward specific audiences; they might be sent out to locations you don't frequent or email addresses that aren't yours.
So how, then, can you save money and access these coupons or promotions when shopping your Firefox Web browser? Well, I'm glad you asked...
In case you need a reminder, we at MPC are pretty big Left 4 Dead 2 fans. In fact, if you were able to make it even half-way through our review of Valve’s fine-tuned take on cooperative zombie-slaughter without giving Valve a heaping handful of your money, well, we’re pretty sure you just hate being happy. Or, perhaps you made the mistake of wasting your precious funds on pointless causes like food and your family, and simply couldn’t afford Left 4 Dead 2. In which case, everything’s fine and dandy now, because Valve’s put the game on sale at the extremely attractive price of $24.99.
The sale runs from now until Thursday, and applies not just to vanilla Left 4 Dead 2, but also to any bundles that include the game. So basically, we recommend that you pounce on this deal like a starving, family-less guy who spent his last few bucks on Left 4 Dead 2 pouncing on free samples at the grocery store. Or something.
Valve also points out that Left 4 Dead 2’s eagerly anticipated “The Passing” DLC is coming sometime this spring, and will include – among other things – multiple brand new game modes. As in, more than one. Since Valve wrote that announcement in all caps, we’re gonna assume it’s a big deal. More details soon, we hope.
If war movies, zombies hordes, or stormtroopers have taught us anything, it's that there's power to be had in numbers--well, maybe not the stormtroopers. Regardless, a number of Web apps take advantage of this philosophy to offer increased functionality, awesome services, or cheap deals for those who are part of a herd. Kickstarter, for example, allows groups of people to team up and pledge funding for a number of independent projects. If a project meets its funding goal, then everyone who pledge an amount has to pay. If not, nobody pays a dime.
But you don't want to pay money. No, you want to save money. Have no fear--there's a Web app that takes this altruistic function and spins it on its head. Instead of pledging to donate, you're pledging to buy at group-discount prices!
To celebrate "Talk Like a Pirate Day," Telltale Games gave away free copies of Tales of Monkey Island: Episode One to gamers and scurvy landlubbers alike. But don't worry if you missed out on your chance to reap all the rewards of piracy without crossing moral (and legal) lines, because Telltale is giving you another chance to become a swashbuckler without spending all of your grog money.
The freebie offer has come and gone, but from now until midnight (Pacific Time) on Sunday, October 25, Telltale Games is slashing the price on the full first season of Tales of Monkey Island by $10. For 25 bucks, you'll have access to all five episodes, which breaks down to $5 a pop. As a bonus, Telltale says season purchases are eligible to receive a collector's CD, made available at the end of the season, for the cost of shipping
Chapters One through Three are available to play now, with the remaining episodes "coming soon."
A couple of weeks after eBay agreed to sell 65% of Skype to a group of investors, the founders of Skype, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, contrived to gatecrash eBay’s party. Joltid, a company in which the two Skype founders are stakeholders, filed a copyright lawsuit on Wednesday against Skype. Skype's founders retained control over the peer-to-peer technology at the VoIP client’s core even after selling Skype to eBay for $2.6 billion. They had agreed to license the source code to eBay.
Joltid has accused eBay of unlawfully modifying and sharing the source code. An adverse decision could even force eBay to shut down Skype until it can come up with an alternative version. The San Jose-based internet company has said that it is making arrangements to face any such eventuality. However, the presence of a contingency plan should not be construed as a lack of confidence on its part. “We remain on track to close the transaction in the fourth quarter of 2009,” an eBay spokesperson said.
Google is the company that is world famous for its motto “Do No Evil”, but in the world of online book scanning, the Open Book Alliance isn’t ready to take them at their word. The OBA, founded by the Internet Archive, has become a united voice for those who feel Google was handed a monopoly with its $125 million settlement with publishers. The primary argument is that competitors such as the Internet Archive, are forced to negotiate individual contracts with rights holders, while Google can simply scan now, and pay later when the author makes a claim.
“If this deal goes ahead, they’re making a real shot at being the library, and the only library” claims Internet Archives founder Brewster Kahle. Until recently the Open Book Alliance has been lacking any real corporate muscle, but with the recent inclusion of Microsoft, Yahoo, and Amazon into the alliance, they definitely will be taken much more seriously. With the outcome of the Department of Justice investigation into the matter still pending, Google is quickly finding itself in a very public battle over digital book rights, and they seem to be making many more enemies than friends these days.
According the OBA, anti-trust and anti-competitive concerns are an important focus, but they also worry about Google’s commitment to privacy. The American Libraries Association claims “When it comes to privacy, the agreement is silent on the issue with regards to what Google intends to do with the data it collects”.
Will the addition of Microsoft, Yahoo, and Amazon into the alliance help ensure equality in the book scanning industry?
The saga that began with Microsoft’s failed attempt to acquire Yahoo has finally culminated in a unique partnership, which puts Microsoft in charge of Yahoo’s search engine business and hands over the reigns of Microsoft’s online ads business to Yahoo. However, the 10-year deal will not have any impact on the two companies’ respective display ads businesses. The partnership is expected to triple Bing’s U.S. market share to 28%.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is currently on cloud nine. "This is what I have basically been saying for the past 18 months: The world will be better served for consumers, advertisers and publishers, and there will be more competition for Google, if we can somehow figure out how to get Microsoft and Yahoo together in search,” he said in an interview.
It won’t be easy to figure out an effective way to merge Bing and Yahoo! Search into a single search solution. The two companies expect the deal to be fully implemented in the next 24 months. Though Yahoo hasn’t been promised any money upfront, it expects its annual operating profit to swell by $500 million due to this arrangement, as it won’t have to spend much on improving its search technology.
Rumors that Microsoft and Yahoo were back at the negotiation table have been floating around since April, but nobody held out much hope that a deal would ever be reached. After enduring nearly a year of roller coaster negotiations, even we started to lose interest in the back and forth chest thumping between the two tech giants.
When the acquisition deal fell through last November Microsoft stockholders let out a collective sigh of relief, while Yahoo shareholders watched their fortunes fade rather quickly. Now that the reality of the situation has finally sunk in, it would seem even Carl Icahn is eager to make a deal with Microsoft. This time however, only the search engine is on the table. "I've been a strong advocate of getting a search deal done with Microsoft," Icahn, who owns about 5 percent of Yahoo and sits on its board, told Reuters in a phone interview Friday. "It would enhance value if a deal got done, because of the synergies involved."
The deal is said to be “Down to the short Strokes” and According to a separate posting made by All Things Digital, several key Microsoft online executives are in Silicon Valley attempting to iron out the details. Microsoft is likely hoping the deal will allow them to tap into Yahoo’s lucrative search advertising network, but with all the recent success Bing has enjoyed recently, do you think they would phase out Yahoo search as a brand?
The U.S. Department of Justice officially confirmed on Thursday that it has launched a formal investigation into the settlement between Google Book Search and publishers over digital publishing rights. The primary focus of the case is antitrust concerns which allege that Google may have engaged in anticompetitive practices involving intellectual property rights and their distribution.
Google’s foray into the world of digital books has been a turbulent one, and though their troubles appeared to be coming to a close last November with a $125 million settlement, the DOJ appears to be less than satisfied. The concern is that following the settlement, Google was effectively given a monopoly over copyright on out of print works. Anyone outside of Google who wished to pursue publishing of these titles online would need to negotiate with the individual authors, many of whom are difficult, if not impossible to find.
Google’s counter argument has always been that the digital book market is still wide open. They claim that any potential competitor who wanted to enter the book scanning market could simply negotiate a deal with the Books Rights Registry. The Registry is a nonprofit organization that was established during the settlement to represent the interests of the authors. Critics argue that Google’s head start makes competing difficult, and many worry about having so much information in the hands of one company. Google continues to shrug off concerns, and likes to remind everyone that competition “is just a click away”.
Do you agree? Hit the jump to leave your thoughts, and to read the official letter from the DOJ.