Twitter has real business partners — and fake ones

Like a lot of people, I read the story about Twitter backing its first UK ad partner yesterday and thought it was a pretty big deal. Names like Universal Pictures, Virgin Media and Gorillaz were all mentioned as using the service known as Twitter Partners to market themselves on the popular micro-messaging service. But something about it seemed a bit fishy — and for good reason. Twitter isn’t actually backing them at all.

FriendFeed's redesign has given them something to talk about

When FriendFeed launched its redesign on Monday, some users (like me) applauded the move as a step in the right direction towards a more real-time web experience. Others, simply put, hated it. But initial reactions are well, initial. Now that everyone’s calmed down a bit, and as more users are testing it out, what does the data have to say for how it’s doing?

Video: Trent Reznor's insights into the future of music as a business

By now, everyone realizes that the major music labels have royally screwed up in the transition to digital distribution over the Internet. Digital rights management (DRM) and suing consumers among other errors in judgment seem only to exacerbate problems like piracy. Even today, we’re seeing another potential problem arise with the change in pricing structure for songs on iTunes. Let’s be clear: Apple didn’t want to do this, but the music labels forced its hand if it wanted DRM-free music.

Twitter makes its commercial debut thanks to Sprint

Twitter continues to expand into the mainstream. It’s already being used by a number of celebrities, it’s all over news channels, and its founders have even started making the rounds on various television shows like The Colbert Report. Now, Sprint has released a commercial, running across the country, that features the service — and also pokes a little fun at it.

Don't like FriendFeed's real-time speed? Eat my dust.

People hate change. That’s as true on the Internet as it is in real life. For proof, look at any Facebook design tweak over the past several years. Today, FriendFeed rolled out a major change of its own, moving its aggregation and conversations from a slow stream to real-time (which had existed on the site previously, but wasn’t emphasized). Now a lot of users are freaking out, saying it’s way too fast to digest. I can think of at least 100 good lines to say to those people. Instead, I’ll just quote a line from Top Gun that speaks to why I love the new FriendFeed: I feel the need — the need for speed.

Microsoft makes yet another HP commercial

As expected, Microsoft released its second “Laptop Hunters” commercial today. But rather than the bubbly actress Lauren, this one features Giampaolo, a “technically savvy” shopper. Once again, the ad pits a PC versus Mac, with price being the key issue. Simply put, this ad is better but still odd.

The DiggBar features sponsored links as well

In reviewing Digg’s new DiggBar yesterday, I noted that it did feature advertising if you activated certain drop-downs such as a list of other stories from the same source. That seems like an okay way to make some money, but ultimately, Digg users probably aren’t going to be clicking on those ads too often. But I just stumbled upon another monetization model for the DiggBar: sponsored links.

New FriendFeed interface to roll out Monday

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed some website hits coming from beta.friendfeed.com. This is the domain for the beta area of FriendFeed, which we reported on the existence of last year and which was eventually opened to everyone. But then FriendFeed moved all of the changes there over to the regular site and closed the beta area. But now it’s back in operation internally, being used to test a new user interface for FriendFeed, co-founder Paul Buchheit confirmed to me.

Confirmed: Major Veoh restructuring, layoffs

Online video service Veoh is said to be undergoing a major restructuring tomorrow, a source close to the company tells me, that could include large layoffs and a potential change to its product strategy. [Update: We've since confirmed the layoffs and restructuring, more at the bottom of the post.]

After a funding failure, hi5 "kind of died" today

When work began today, social network hi5 had over 100 employees. Right now, that’s closer to 50, a source tells me, confirming TechCrunch’s earlier story. But why did a site with 62 million unique monthly visitors have to lay off 50 percent of its employees today? Because a round of funding it was seeking recently collapsed, I’m told.

Apple splitting the iPhone into high-end and low-end versions?

Rumors have been building over the past few months that Apple was not only working on a new iPhone, but that it could have more than one version of the device in the works. Third-party usage logs and code within the iPhone 3.0 software seem to show this. So why would there be two versions of the device, with more than capacity size as a differentiating factor? Well, it could be part of Apple’s play to get the device into areas such as China, a new report indicates.

Poor economy killed Wikia Search

Wikipedia has been one of the biggest successes in the history of the Internet. So has Google. So on paper it makes some sense that combining the two would result in a service that would also be hugely popular. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out so well for Wikia Search.

Could this be Apple's netbook? Probably not, but let's hope.

Despite Apple’s insistence that it isn’t ready to enter the market anytime soon, the public (or at least the press) remains obsessed with the possibility of an Mac netbook. This obsession apparently exists in Russia too, where a magazine has published a picture purported to be of a new Apple “MacBook mini” product, which 9to5Mac has obtained.

March of the Diggs: Trent Reznor to be on Digg Dialogg

Every so often, the social voting news site Digg holds a “Digg Dialogg,” a chance for Digg community members to submit and vote on questions that will be asked of an interesting and/or powerful person. The latest announced guest is certainly interesting: Trent Reznor, founder of the rock band Nine Inch Nails, Digg co-founder Kevin Rose announced on the company blog today.

Twitter quakes as San Francisco shakes

Earthquake news and Twitter have long gone hand in hand because of Twitter’s instant mass-communication ability. Today, an earthquake shook the San Francisco Bay area (where Twitter’s headquarters is located, along with many of its original users), and Twitter traffic went nuts.

After trying it out, I have a good feeling about Hunch

I am an extremely indecisive person. This sometimes frustrates other people, but it frustrates me even more because I absolutely hate wasting time. And being indecisive means I sit there thinking about decisions for far too long. Hunch, a new startup that helps you make decisions, offers a potential solution.

Microsoft makes an ad for people who were going to buy a PC anyway

By now, you’ve probably seen Microsoft’s new “Not cool enough to be a Mac person” ad. (If not, I’ve embedded it below.) On the face of it, it looks like a decent ad. It plays on the one thing that will catch people’s attention in a down economy: price. But if you stop to think about it, the ad is kind of pointless, because it’s targeting people who were going to get a PC anyway.

Skype for the iPhone next week?

There are well over 25,000 applications now in Apple’s App Store. But there are still a few notable omissions. One of those is the hugely popular Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) application Skype. But that could change as soon as next week, GigaOM’s Om Malik has learned.

Blogs are red, huge web sites are blue . . .

Do you ever notice how a lot of websites you visit frequently look the same? Well, it’s not just their layouts, it’s also their colors. The design site Antrepo4.com has created a list of the biggest blogs, design sites, game sites and overall sites organized by color.

OS X Snow Leopard about to don a fresh coat of "marble"?

Developer builds of Apple’s next operating system, OS X Snow Leopard, have been going around for months now. In going along with what Apple stated was a goal for the new OS, most of the changes from its current OS X Leopard (not to be confused with Snow Leopard) have been under the hood, to improve performance. But there’s long been speculation that a major change is coming to the OS’s user interface, and Apple may be getting ready to unveil that, sources tell AppleInsider.

Blockbuster wants to be on Apple products. Apple may have something to say about that.

I’ve already broken down why Blockbuster’s latest attempt to spread its content is a bit sad. It simply always seems to be one step behind in a fast evolving landscape. For example, it has said in the past that it wants to be on portable devices but wanted to use a system (kiosks) that would likely leave out the most popular portable media products by Apple. Well, now Blockbuster is changing its tune.