Video game anti-violence crusader Jack Thompson is disbarred

You could say it was a long national nightmare for the video game industry. Whenever there was a school shooting, anti-violence crusader Jack Thompson was there to blame it on violent video games. But the industry can breathe a little easier now. The Florida Supreme Court has ordered that Thompson be disbarred 30 days from today.

More rumors of a convergence of the MacBook family

While it’s still very much in the rumor stage, there’s another report today that Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro lines could soon be twins of sorts. New 13-inch MacBooks and 15 and 17-inch MacBook Pros have apparently been spotted with matching aluminum enclosures, AppleInsider reports.

Hey güey, here's how to translate an OpenSocial application into 26 languages

Hi5 is releasing a way for its users to translate third party applications on its site into other languages. This means developers can reach new users — and use the translated application on any other social network that also uses the OpenSocial code specification. See the always-funny Chuck Norris quote application as it goes through the various stages of translation into Japanese, below.

Yahoo's Right Media ad exchange was so broken some turned it off

After Yahoo confirmed it has been experiencing problems with latency at its Right Media exchange on Monday, I’ve heard from those at ad networks using RXM, verifying latency issues were widespread. How bad was it? One Right Media client actually turned off Right Media exchange for a period until latency issues improved. It’s not clear if the problems have been fixed for everyone yet, though, or what the problems were. As of this writing, Yahoo hasn’t responded to my request for comment.

RescueTime actually rescues time — nine percent of it for productivity

Anyone who sits in front of a computer every day — all day — realizes how many ways there are to get distracted. There are games, instant messaging software, music — hell, I even have fun using the calendar application when I’m procrastinating from doing work. Then there’s the Internet. If it wasn’t invented as a time suck, it has grown into just that. RescueTime is a startup that aims to evaluate and help you manage the distractions.

Stayin' alive: Roku to open its box

Roku is a compelling little device — right now, anyway. The living room box streams Netflix “Watch Instantly” films. These are movies and television shows that Netflix members can watch anytime for free. The mixture of free instantaneous content and a box that costs only $99 is a nice combo. The problem Roku has is that competition from major players is coming fast.

Gmail hits 7 gigabytes of storage

Gmail, Google’s online email system has an interesting take on the storage it gives users. Rather than give out a flat number, like say, 5 gigabytes, Gmail has a policy called “Infinity + 1.” Basically, this means that the amount of storage you get is always growing. Today, the amount of storage each Gmail user gets surpassed 7 gigabytes for the first time.

Q&A with Kareem Ettouney on Sony's great hope: LittleBigPlanet for the PlayStation 3

NEW YORK CITY—Sony is pulling out the stops to celebrate the launch of a critical game, LittleBigPlanet, from developer Media Molecule. In the game, you can customize a group of ragdoll characters and use them to solve puzzles to navigate a visually cute world that makes you feel like you’re moving through a model railroad landscape. The console maker needs this game to attract mainstream audiences to the PlayStation 3 and so it held a 24-hour Game Jam at Parsons The New School for Design to celebrate the October 21 game release. Kareem Ettouney, art director of LittleBigPlanet and co-founder of Media Molecule, was on hand to judge the competition. He talked about the competition, as well as the current shift in game design from narrative to user-generated playgrounds, in this exclusive interview.

New data: Technorati releases second and third parts of its blogger survey

Blog indexing company Technorati released more data in the last couple of days from its new blogosphere survey. In part two and three of its report, the company has more to say about the profiles and habits of bloggers. (See my coverage of part one here.) The summary: bloggers are a diverse lot, but not so raggedy as their stereotype would have you believe.

Digg beefs up its funding for major expansion plans

With over 30 million monthly unique users, Digg is a juggernaut of a site. Despite perpetual rumors of an imminent acquisition by major players like Google or Microsoft, the social voting site is now gearing up for a major expansion on its own. And it’s just secured a big round of funding to make that expansion possible.

At TechStars, 12 teams show that Boulder, CO, can produce fantastic tech

“Boulder is good for engineers — if you’re into innovation in rock climbing technology,” a friend once quipped about the outdoor-loving Colorado college town. But today, 12 startups from TechStars, a Boulder-based incubator, demoed their products in Mountain View, Calif. and did a good job of building on the city’s reputation as a budding center for high-tech. Almost down to a team, each of companies that presented this morning felt strong.

Platforms and developers, part two: What have the new platforms learned from the old ones?

[Editor’s note: Facebook and Apple have each built formative platforms for third-party developers over the last year. They’ve created new opportunities for outside companies to make money — but now rivals are also offering platforms to woo developers. Facebook and Apple are both trying to deliver the best applications available (much like an operating system should), but they’ve both been accused of hampering third-party potential through opaque regulations governing which apps can succeed. Yesterday, in the first article in this three-part series, venture capitalist and entrepreneur Lee Hower discussed the nature of the dilemma facing platform companies. Today, he compares these new platforms versus older ones. Tomorrow, he'll look at ways companies can capitalize on their platform potential.]

Confirmed: Amazon brings its MP3 store to Android. But no video yet

Amazon will have a media store launching on Google’s Android platform, just as VentureBeat first reported yesterday. It will launch on the G1 device which will be available on October 22 through T-Mobile. The over 6 million DRM-free songs from all four major music labels and thousands of Independent ones will be available to buy and download right to the device.

Pandora launches mobile monetization strategy for the iPhone, but the royalty problem still looms

A service like Pandora is able to exist because of advertisements. The free online music discovery service has made headlines over the past year because the government decided to up the royalty rates online music streaming services have to pay when a song is played. Without advertising, the service would be finished. So it should be no surprise that the service’s brilliant iPhone application added advertising today.

Platforms and developers, part one: Facebook, Apple and the cottage industry problem

Editor’s note: Facebook and Apple have each built formative platforms for third-party developers over the last year. They’ve created new opportunities for outside companies to make money — but now rivals are also offering platforms to woo developers. Facebook and Apple are both trying to deliver the best applications available (much like an operating system should), but they’ve both been accused of hampering third-party potential through opaque regulations governing which apps can succeed. In a three-part series we’re publishing this week on VentureBeat, venture capitalist and entrepreneur Lee Hower discusses the nature of the dilemma facing platform companies, evidence for how they’ve already shown themselves to behave, and ways they can capitalize on their platform potential.

AndroidTunes? Amazon launching a mobile music/movie store for Google's platform

We’re a day away from the official announcement of the first phone running Google’s Android mobile platform, T-Mobile’s HTC-built G1. While the phone won’t be out until next month (October 17 remains the date we’re hearing), the device is out there in the wild right now in the hands of select Google and likely T-Mobile employees. In fact, we’ve just received a tip that not only did a G1 make an appearance at a bar in the San Francisco Bay Area over the weekend, but it had a special surprise: An Amazon music and video store application running on it.

How many times can my identity be stolen?

I’m starting to lose track of the number of times my identity (or my family’s) has been stolen, lost, or otherwise defrauded. On Saturday, I received yet another notice that something untoward has happened to my personal information, and I suspect many millions of other consumers got the very same letter in the mail.

Is Latency Crippling Yahoo's Right Media? Yep.

Right Media, an online ad exchange that Yahoo acquired in 2007, is having some serious technical hiccups, sources within the online ad world tell us. This is leading to problems with capacity and latency. Think messaging service Twitter and its formerly-frequent use of the Fail Whale, but instead of not being able to see what everyone is doing for happy hour, people are losing real dollars on real ad investments.

12seconds wants everyone to talk like a pirate; more invites for all

In case you forgot, it’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day today — a day when a lot of websites and online networks get into the pirate spirit (check out Google Pirate). Recently launched 12seconds, a video website that limits all video posts to 12 seconds, is taking the opportunity to bring some extra attention to its service, still in private alpha.

NBC content and the web: It just works

When NBC made the decision to pull its television content from Apple’s iTunes store late last year, a lot of users were upset. Ten days ago, Apple announced an agreement with NBC to bring the content back, and since then it’s already sold 1 million shows on the service, according to numbers from Apple. That’s pretty amazing, considering that most of the new fall shows have yet to premier.

The first "I'm a PC" Microsoft ads: Much better

The first post-Seinfeld/Gates Microsoft commercial has just aired. The theme is simple, various people from all walks of life saying “I’m a PC,” and then telling a little bit about who they are. It’s a direct challenge to Apple’s “Mac vs. PC” ads, but doesn’t try to emulate it directly except in the opening — which is smart.

After months in hibernation, Twitter redesign finally goes live

We first caught a glimpse of the Twitter redesign in mid-July, when apparently an overzealous employee of the micro-messaging service jumped the gun on the roll out. Seeing its shadow, the redesign went back into hibernation for another couple months. Now it’s ready, and looking good, but really not all that different. Instead, Twitter focused on subtle changes to the site we all know and love (are addicted to).

New FriendFeed leaves beta, and one more thing: Dupe detection!

FriendFeed, the social content aggregation site has moved some of the new beta features it was working on to the main version of the site today. On the main site you’ll now find friend lists, photo posting, quick navigation, the ability to see other’s feeds as they see them and an updated UI. We detailed all the changes in a post last month.

Q&A: Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon on Second Life's latest evolution

Virtual worlds are in fashion now, drawing investments of $184 million in 23 worlds in the first quarter. But the original player here is Linden Lab, which launched Second Life in 2002. Mark Kingdon came aboard as chief executive of Linden Lab in May, replacing longtime CEO and founder Philip Rosedale, who remains chairman. More than 15.1 million registered users have tried out the virtual world. Kingdon was formerly the CEO of online creative/marketing agency Organic. Today, Linden Lab announced Direct SLurl, a way to get into Second Life from the web. We chatted with Kingdon about the state of Second Life and the virtual world industry.