Facebook sues social network connector Power.com

When Power.com, a service that lets you access all your social networks through a single site, launched last year, VentureBeat editor Matt Marshall wondered whether it was violating the networks’ terms of service. At the time, Power.com chief executive Steve Vachani insisted it wasn’t, but it looks like Facebook disagrees: The social networking company just sued Power.com for breaking anti-spam laws, for violation of the computer fraud and abuse act, and for infringing Facebook’s copyrights and trademark, among other charges.

How the World of Goo became one of the indie video game hits of 2008

The growing popularity of the indie game, World of Goo earned it the No. 1 rank on Amazon’s top ten best-selling PC games recently, albeit temporarily, among giants like World of Warcraft, Spore, Left-4-Dead, and Fallout3. This independently developed game’s success illustrate the changes that are taking place in the video game and digital content distribution landscape. How appropriate, as we end this year and look for changes in the next.

2009 brings an easy option to unlock the iPhone 3G — but results vary

True to their word, the group known as Dev-Team unveiled their software unlock for the iPhone 3G, known as yellowsn0w, on New Year’s Day. This software unlock will allow you to use your iPhone with a SIM card from another carrier other than AT&T (the exclusive iPhone carrier in the US). CrunchGear did a great step-by-step walk through with pictures, and it looks very easy to do, but there are some issues, which the Dev-Team has been updating on its blog.

IE's market share: Down, down, down as the rivals go higher

This past November, Microsoft’s web browser, Internet Explorer (IE), saw its market share fall below 70 percent for the first time, according to data from Market Share. And the numbers look worse for the limited data from December so far, with IE now accounting for 68.15 percent of web browsers, The Dallas Morning News points out.

Google's iPhone app has a hidden menu

In November, Google launched voice search capabilities for its native iPhone application. It took a fairly pointless app and made it cool, interesting and useful. But alongside that update Google added a hidden menu, which it revealed today on the Google Mobile Blog.

Android netbooks on their way, likely by 2010

[Update: Since posting this story, we've had a lot of inquiries from readers, with questions ranging from whether Android is ready for laptops and full-scale PCs, why Android can't rely fully on Linux, and so on. See our follow-up Android FAQ post.]

Viacom to Time Warner: We'll take Dora, and online episodes too

Time Warner Cable and Viacom’s drawn-out feud over rights fees could result in 13 million Time Warner and Bright House customers losing 19 popular channels, including Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon, on January 1. That’s right, you could be saying sayonara to The Daily Show, The Hills and Spongebob Squarepants as soon as the clock strikes midnight. But that’s not all: Viacom is also threatening to yank online content. Happy New Year, eh?

The iPhone dominated our Apple headlines this year

There’s simply no denying that 2008 was a good year for Apple. Sales of just about everything were up, and market share went up too, but the real gems for the company were the iPhone 3G and its accompanying App Store. Our top stories about Apple this year definitely reflect that — as yes, all of the top ones were about the iPhone or the App Store

Hulu traffic not actually suffering from post-Palin depression

Professional video site Hulu saw its traffic plummet after Election Day — a drop as high as 10.8 percent, according to earlier comScore reports. Even though statistics classes emphasize that correlation doesn’t equal causation, it seemed that viewers, who flocked to the web site in droves to watch Saturday Night Live’s hilarious Sarah Palin-skewering skits, lost interest after Tina Fey retired her gun-slinging, caribou-hunting impersonation and Barack Obama t-shirts became even more scarce. Now it turns out the decline in traffic was not so steep.

Revolutionizing business markets with games

David Edery and Ethan Mollick are co-authors of Changing the Game: How Video Games Are Transforming the Future of Business, published in 2008 by Pearson Education. Edery, the Xbox Live Arcade games portfolio planner at Microsoft, wrote this piece, about the trend dubbed Funware in our past stories, for VentureBeat.

Whose mob war is it, anyway?

An intellectual property court battle around popular mobster-themed Facebook game Mob Wars has been resolved. Coincidentally, real-life mobster Salvatore Riina has recently been gaining thousands of users on Facebook fan pages — and provoking protests in his home country of Italy.

Cheesy personalized calling apps for your iPhone

You know those tourist shops that sell all that personalized name crap? You know, just in case you have a son named Matthew and you want a license plate keychain just for him? Or maybe a daughter named Samantha who needs a shot glass with her name on it? Well, now Apple’s App Store can fill the need for those tacky gifts in its own way with personalized calling apps.

An end to "dupes" on Digg?

On the social voting site Digg, a story that is submitted multiple times is known as a “dupe” or duplicate story. It’s a major problem for the service because it adds a lot of noise to the system and can prevent an important story from getting promoted to the home page, where it would be seen by the most people. But Digg thinks a solution is near.

Brightkite hooks up with Facebook Connect, makes location-based stalking easier

Brightkite, the social network that broadcasts user locations, has announced that it’s now officially integrated with Facebook Connect. Once authorized, the Brightkite application automatically updates your Facebook status and/or news feed with your location, photos, notes and anything else posted to Brightkite. One of the most recent updates to the service is that you can specify whether the action goes to your Facebook status or news feed.

The many rumors of Apple's final Macworld

The Macworld Expo, formerly the most anticipated Apple event of the year (before Apple kicked out its legs by pulling Steve Jobs and announcing it was pulling out entirely next year), starts on Monday. Not surprisingly, rumors of what we can expect from Apple at the event are all over the map. Apple’s senior vice president of product marketing, Phil Schiller, will be giving the keynote address in place of Jobs and he certainly will have some things to announce, but what?

Hulu will live-stream New Year's Eve in Times Square so you don't have to freeze

Hulu will be streaming live coverage of the New Year’s Eve festivities in New York City’s Times Square on Wednesday night starting at 10 p.m. ET. This means you can theoretically watch the famous ball drop from the cozy confines of your couch or bed and be thankful you’re not part of the huddled, freezing masses. But I’m sure you have more exciting plans than that, right?

Yes, there are cheats for SimCity on the iPhone

When I first wrote about SimCity coming to the iPhone back in November, the first question someone asked me was if the cheat codes would work. Managing a city can be rough — some people just want to build stuff and see what happens without having to worry about money. Well, I have good news for that crowd: the cheat codes do work — at least some of them.

Facebook vs. Breastfeeding moms: Fight!

Last Saturday, the group Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene! got over 11,000 people to participate in an online protest of Facebook’s decision to remove user-uploaded breastfeeding photos. Dubbed the first ever Mothers International Lactation Campaign (M.I.L.C., get it?), protesters posted a profile photo of themselves breastfeeding, along with supporting status messages. Offline, about 30 M.I.L.C members staged a “nurse-in” outside of Facebook’s Palo Alto headquarters.

iPhone app developers put on New Year's sale

No doubt in response to the huge Christmas sale numbers coming out of the App Store, a group of independent iPhone application developers have gotten together and decided to deeply discount their apps in celebration of the new year. Starting on December 31, all the apps found on this page will be discounted for at least 48 hours.

Text messaging further exposed as a colossal rip-off

I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that The New York Times decided to take on the colossal rip-off that is text messaging in a story this weekend. Text messaging is a great service, but it should be included for free with your “unlimited” data plans. Instead, carriers charge an absolutely ridiculous rate to send a tiny amount of data.

France now selling Freedom iPhones…for around $1,200

If you live in France and want to buy an iPhone but refuse to sign a long term commitment with the French carrier Orange, there’s good news today: You don’t have to. A recent government ruling in that country threw a wrench in Apple’s exclusive deal with Orange to sell the device, and the French store Fnac is taking advantage of that ruling by selling the phone online without a contract, as MacNN points out.

Ocarina maker Smule back with a holiday iPhone app, Zephyr

Nearly everyone agrees that Ocarina is one of the coolest iPhone applications to come out this year. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based startup Smule created the app to turn your iPhone into a musical instrument and share your music with others around the world. And today they’ve launched another app along those lines, but with more of a holiday theme: Zephyr [iTunes Link].

A Christmas iFart explosion: Nearly 40,000 downloads and $30,000 net

A few days ago, we wrote about how an iPhone application that makes farting noises, iFart Mobile, had reached the number one paid application spot in the App Store and was making the developer nearly $10,000 a day. Developer Joel Comm shared some updated data with us today and it blows the other numbers away (pun intended): Christmas Day saw 38,927 downloads of iFart Mobile, making Comm’s InfoMedia $27,249 in net income!

Watch this: Our top ten videos of 2008

The best viral videos of 2008 weren’t necessarily the ones that got the most page views, in my humble opinion. Or the list below would feature Fred — whose helium and sugar-fueled antics often make me want to chuck my dying laptop out the window — a music video, or Paris Hilton.

The $99 iPhone lives! (Through AT&T, not Wal-Mart)

Some of you are likely upset that we now know for certain that Wal-Mart won’t be selling the iPhone for $99, and instead will give it a measly $2 discount when it goes on sale on Sunday. So I’m happy to report today that there is one outlet that’s started selling iPhones for $99 — perhaps you’ve even heard of it: AT&T.

Wal-Mart confirms iPhone 3G for Sunday, $2 off

No real surprise here, but Wal-Mart has finally confirmed that it will, in fact, be selling Apple’s iPhone starting this Sunday. The retail chain plans to have the 8 gigabyte model available for $197 and the 16 gigabyte model for $297 — yes, a full $2 off what the device normally costs through Apple and AT&T.

Sony Vaio Pocket leaked — hope you have cargo pants

Rumblings the past few days had Sony getting ready to unveil its first entry into the currently hot netbook category of computers. Netbooks are small, low-weight and low-cost laptops that, while not as powerful as their bigger counterparts, can handle things like surfing the web just fine. The leaked specs for Sony’s Vaio Pocket, as it’s to be called, are calling into question just how low cost it could be.