Yelp describes itself as a "fun and easy way to find, review, and talk about what's great (and not so great) in your world." In Christopher Norberg's world, taking advantage of what Yelp has to offer has landed him a lawsuit accusing him of libel.
The San Franciscan was in a car accident in 2006 and sought the services of a local chiropractor. But after a dispute over billing took place, Norberg posted a negative review on Yelp essentially accusing the doctor of being dishonest. Now the 26-year-old custom furniture builder will have to defend his comments in court.
"If Christopher loses then anyone on Yelp who writes a negative review better be careful," said Michael Blacksburt, an attorney representing Norberg. "This strikes at the heart of Yelp's business model and other websites that provide a bulletin board for people to state what they think of businesses in their community."
Not surprisingly, Eric Nordskog, the attorney for chiropractor Steven Biegel, sees the situation differently. According to Nordskog, "Dr. Biegel has no problem with people expressing their views and opinions about his service," but the question is whether or not Norberg posted a false statement as fact.
Should Norbert be held responsible for his review, or is the chiropractor getting too bent out of shape? Hit the jump and tell us what you think.
We don't know if Verne Troyer's into the whole netbook scene or the open source movement, but if he is, he can now order HP's shagadelic Mini 1000 Mi. Sporting a 9-inch screen, the pint sized mobile PC gets randy with the Linux community by trading in Microsoft's Windows XP for a customized version of Ubuntu.
A baseline configuration starts at $330 and includes an Intel Atom N270 (1.6GHz) processor, 512MB of DDR2 RAM, 8GB SSD drive, and HP's Mobile internet (Mi) software. But if baseline's not your bag, the Mini 1000 Mi's mojo allows for custom configurations, something not common in the netbook sector. Upgrade options include a 10.1-inch display, 1GB DDR2 RAM (currently a free upgrade), 16GB SSD or 60GB 4200 RPM hard drive, and Bluetooth.
Toshiba sees a future in which Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) power technology steps into the limelight to prevent scenarios in which "a busy business person making a presentation to clients" runs out of battery power, or "a woman talking on her mobile phone while walking around town" being forced to cut her conversation short (see these and other scenarios laid out in humorous fashion here). With DMFC technology, these and other devices can be quickly recharged without having to swap out the batteries or cut off power.
More than just a concept technology, Toshiba was touting a new DMFC internet viewer device at CES. Using a dual-methanol power source, Toshiba says its internet viewer can run for about a week of normal usage before having to replace the methanol. The wireless prototype was shown running Windows, but no information was given on what hardware it was using.
Intrigued? Get the full scoop, as Toshiba sees it, on DFMC technology here.
In a time when the tech industry has been making concerted efforts in going green, startling new research reveals that we may be mucking with mother nature simply by using Google. Alex Wissner-Gross, a Harvard physicist researching the environmental impact of computing, claims that for every two Google searches performed, the same amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) is burned as it would take to boil a kettle for a cup of tea, which is about 7g.
"Google operates huge data centers around the world that consume a great deal of power,” said Wissner-Gross. "A Google search has a definite environmental impact."
Wissner-'Gross isn't the only one to question what impact Google searches might be having on the environment. According to an estimate from John Buckley, managing director of carbonfootprint.com, CO2 emissions of a Google search sit at anywhere from 1g to 10g, depending on whether or not you have to start your PC. And Chris Goodall, author of Ten Technologies to Save the Planet, puts the average higher at 7g to 10g.
For Google's part, the company hasn't disclosed its energy consumption or carbon footprint, nor has the search giant revealed the locations of its data centers. That makes it hard to come up with a clear consensus on how much CO2 emissions Google searches create, but the company did say Wissner-Gross' estimation is many times too high. Instead, Urs Hölzle, senior VP of operations at Google, says the actual number is equivalent to about 0.2g of CO2, and that it would take roughly a thousand Google searches to produce as many greenhouse gases as an average car driven for one kilometer.
Both Senators and Congressmen now have a dedicated Youtube hub each that will make it easier for people to browse all their videos. Each hub allows the user to choose his area using Google Maps and subsequently points him to the Senator or Congressman from that region.
But there is a question mark against the worth of this whole exercise. Many of these channels have been in oblivion having garnered handful of viewers. Perhaps if they begin to post parodies of themselves they might become more popular.
Lock manufacturer Schlage is about to roll out Schlage Link, an assortment of web-controlled locks, lights and thermostats. The package allows a person to control these devices using an internet-enabled cellphone or computer. Schlage Link is designed to operate in concert with Webcams. However, the product elicits a bit of skepticism as such attempts in recent times have met with little success.
There are three ways to open the lock, using a key, by entering a four-digit code, or through a web interface. It constantly relays information to the owners and alerts them if it suspects something fishy. Schlage Link’s price is not what people might be willing to pay with a smile. It carries a price tag of $299 besides a monthly fee of $12.99.
“WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior.”
WARNING: The above label could soon take top billing on all of your favorite game packages – that is, if Congressman Joe Baca has his way. Last week, he introduced the “Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009.” His reasoning? A masterpiece of misinformation.
“The videogame industry has a responsibility to parents, families and to consumers – to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products,” Baca said in a statement.
“They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility. Meanwhile research continues to show a proven link between playing violent games and increased aggression in young people. American families deserve to know the truth about these potentially dangerous products.”
Of course, Baca fails to mention the other, equally valid studies that kind of, you know, “prove” that gamers are, by and large, normal people. We think one of them might’ve been titled “Real Life.”
So yeah, odds are, this bill won’t be sitting on Capitol Hill for long. Sorry, Baca. Same time next week?
Blighted electronic retail chain Circuit City is in discussions with several interested buyers, the company’s CEO Jim Marcum revealed to its employees in a letter. He also informed them about the likely course of action for Circuit City, which has filed a motion with the Bankruptcy Court seeking permission “for a process that formally puts the company up for sale.”
Marcum wrote that parleys with interested buyers have been focused on a “going concern” transaction, whereby the buyer will not dismantle Circuit City’s business, but just reorganize it. If the company fails to secure a sales agreement by the 16th, it will have to be liquidated. He asked employees to stay focused on the job at hand and work hard.
Microsoft has released a free iPhone app called TagReader. It happens to be the software bellwether’s second iPhone app after SeaDragon Mobile. Using TagReader, iPhone users can photograph a tag (Microsoft’s vivid version of barcodes) to search for information related to that particular tag without having to type in anything.
If you snap a tag on a person’s visiting card using the TagReader iPhone app, then your search will, in all likelihood, yield results related to that person. The app sounds fun from the off, but its usefulness is contingent upon the success of Microsoft Tag, which is currently in beta. You can create your own tags here and eventually test the usefulness of TagReader by snapping them.