Cisco study: U.S. wins TV and mobile-watching world olympics

Cisco Systems has released results from its new Visual Networking Index survey looking at video consumption habits around the world, and some of them may surprise you. Among other things, it gauged people’s attitudes toward online, mobile and television viewing of video content in the U.S., China, Germany and Sweden. Below, we’ve broken down the report’s findings for optimum factoid digestion:

Details about Google's layoffs — actually, no, none

Rumors circulated late last year that Google was planning to make significant cuts to its temporary workers to cut costs. That definitely did happen, but details remain murky, even after a new regulatory filing showed up this week. Interestingly, Google seems to be going to some lengths to keep some of this information under wraps.

A hard day's night: Norwegian Beatles podcast yanked

The rumors are true, the Beatles have fled Norway. NRK, the Norwegian public broadcasting company, had to pull all 212 episodes of its podcast “Our Daily Beatles” last night. The free podcasts, which we discovered on Monday, included anecdotes behind the songs and offered the original Beatles tunes in their entirety.

If the New York Times dies, does the news die?

The death of an institution isn’t far off, writes the Atlantic in an article titled End Times, and with it an entire industry may be preparing to slip underwater. Low on cash, high in debt, the legendary New York Times is reeling from the recession. There’s no guarantee that it, or many others of our best newspapers, will survive the next year.

Vain model Googles herself, sues over "skanky" findings

The internet is serious business. Just ask Canadian ex-model Liskula Cohen, who’s suing Google to unmask the individual or individuals behind the blog Skanks in New York, a site hosted by Google’s Blogger publishing service. The blog didn’t release Cohen’s social security number, credit card info or home address — it just crowned her its “#1 skanky superstar,” among other glowing accolades, according to the New York Daily News.

Fair weather fanboys

Apple’s final Macworld Expo keynote today drew reviews that ranged from boring to awful. For a company that has been no stranger to praise from the press in recent years, there’s a growing concern that Apple can no longer live up to expectations, and that this may be a sign of a larger problem for the company going forward. I have to laugh at that notion.

F-A-I-L: Official Scrabble Facebook apps still smaller than Scrabulous was

This summer, board game makers Hasbro and Mattel forced the popular Facebook gaming application Scrabulous to shut down, claiming that it violated the companies’ copyrights on the crossword board game Scrabble. But nearly half a year later, the official Scrabble applications that Hasbro and Mattel replaced Scrabulous with have yet to reach the user traffic numbers of their erstwhile opponent.

Facebook: The new battleground for popstars? Lily Allen takes on Katy Perry

British singer/songwriter Lily Allen has revived a feud with U.S. pop star Katy Perry (of “I Kissed a Girl” song fame), threatening to post Perry’s phone number on Facebook should Perry make any more disparaging comments about her. Isn’t that the sort of drama that MySpace is usually associated with, not Facebook? It looks like celebrity tastes in social networking sites are changing, if not exactly growing up.

Pandora Radio version 2.0 launching for iPhone today

Pandora Radio, Pandora’s iPhone application, was the top downloaded app in Apple’s App Store for all of 2008. By the end of the year, it had been downloaded over 2 million times. But the streaming music discovery service apparently isn’t content to rest on its laurels: Version 2 of the app launches today.

One prediction down: iTunes goes DRM-free

When most people make predictions for the coming year, they probably don’t expect them to come true six days in. But that’s the case with our 2009 prediction that iTunes would go DRM-free this year. Apple announced that its music store will lose its DRM at the Macworld Expo today. But in reality it was an easy prediction to make, because it just makes sense.

Replaceable battery be damned, give me 8 hours of life!

One thing announced at today’s Macworld event in San Francisco that is sure to cause a lot of discussion is the new 17-inch MacBook’s eight-hour battery. That discussion will undoubtedly be both positive and negative as there will be two camps: Those who will hate that the battery is no longer replaceable, and those who will drool over the new battery’s supposed eight-hour lifespan. Count me in the latter category.

DRM close to extinction on iTunes?

One of my key predictions for 2009 was that Apple’s iTunes store would go DRM-free. There are always a lot of Apple rumors out there, but I was so confident in this one that I actually made the prediction twice. It turns out that may have been a good call, as Apple and the major music labels have come to terms on a deal, reports CNET’s Greg Sandoval.

Norwegian Wood? Podcast offers every Beatles song for free

Well, 2008 is over and The Beatles catalog of music still isn’t legally available on the internet. However, a free and legal download of every tune is now available from a very unexpected source. Norwegian broadcasting company NRK is releasing a podcast that tells the story behind each Beatles song, followed by the actual tune in its entirety — all 212 of them. Did we mention it was free?

If you build it, they will come — on Google Earth

Those of us in the San Francisco Bay Area can watch the construction of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge anytime we want. Unfortunately, most of the time that means sitting in traffic on the current Bay Bridge. But now there’s another option, and it’s not just for us locals: Watch it on Google Earth.

Roku's second act: Amazon Video on Demand

When it launched last year, Roku was a compelling device because it was the first set-top box that streamed Netflix Watch Instantly movies to your television. Now, several other devices do that as well, including Blu-ray players, TiVo, the Xbox 360 gaming console and now LG televisions. Roku needed something else to help set it apart from the others — and today it got just that: Amazon Video on Demand.

Twitter: Gone phishing? Obama, Britney, and Facebook accounts hacked

Twitter, after suffering from a weekend phishing attack that stole the usernames and passwords of site users, has been hacked, with prominent Twitter accounts affected. Fox News’ account declared for about an hour that “Bill O’Reilly is gay” while Barack Obama’s account, which was last used in November on election day, posted a long link to a third-party survey with the lure of a gas card prize — at least the hacker is sort of non-partisan?

Red iPhones? Maybe eventually, but this isn't it.

Apple has dabbled in a number of Product Red items over the years, most recently with a red version of the new iPod nano and iPod shuffle. Today, a French blog, Nowhere Else, posted some pictures of a supposed red version of the iPhone (which ReadWriteWeb reposted). So should we chalk this up to another product launching at Macworld in a couple days? No — at least not the one in this picture.

Soonr nails the desktop to cloud to iPhone connection for documents

In today’s world, rarely do we get the opportunity to be sequestered somewhere for a long period of time to work on a project. We end up doing business on the go, using laptops and, most recently, mobile phones. Soonr, of Campbell, Calif., is a company that’s banking on that need for mobility by granting you access to your documents on the go, and today it’s launching an application to extend its reach to the hot iPhone platform.

Indecent proposal? iPhone fart apps continue down the gutter

I know a lot of you are sick of hearing about iPhone fart applications, but keep in mind that iFart Mobile is still the number one app in Apple’s App Store and is making its developers tens of thousands of dollars each day. Also keep in mind that fart apps are still showing up in the App Store in droves each day, and today brings perhaps the crudest one yet: Fart Machine.

Mr. Tweet speeds up its Twitter recommendations

I’ve gained several hundred followers on Twitter over the past month, and I credit (blame?) most of it to Mr. Tweet. The service, which adds social context to Twitter by recommending new people you should be following based on their other connections, has seen a surge in usage since it started in November. And now it’s improving its services to make them quicker and more useful.

EyeJot This lets you share links with video explanations

Quite often on the Internet I find something that I want to share — but I want to tell you why I’m sharing it. While Facebook, FriendFeed, Google Reader and Twitter all let you do that to varying degrees with text, sometimes I wish I could just explain it in my own words while you’re reading the actual story. Video mail service EyeJot’s “EyeJot This” bookmarklet lets you do that, and thanks to support, I can send it to the masses.