Blogging company Six Apart lays off 8 percent

Blogging may have been invented during the last recession, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune from tough economic times. Six Apart, the San Francisco startup that offers Movable Type blogging software and TypePad blogging services, just announced it’s laying off eight percent of its staff.

Domo arigato, Mr. Animoto, for adding text to videos

Forget those awful photo montage videos on YouTube that teenage fans make for TV shows like “Gossip Girl” and “One Tree Hill.” Animoto, the company that allows anyone to become a music video producer by syncing up photos with tunes, now lets users add text to their videos. Text that more closely resembles sleek, movie-esque sequences, not static captions or titles. Combined with the motion graphics, effects and transitions that are the signature of an Animoto production, the result is pretty remarkable. You might never have to wince through another holiday family slideshow created by Mom. Instead, you can use text to tell a compelling story, make an important announcement (“I sold my stock!”) or simply give context to your photos. Check it out:

Underscore no more: Twitter renames Al Gore

How powerful is Al Gore? So powerful that he can make Twitter change his name and move all of his followers over to the new profile, without anyone even noticing. That’s what happened tonight, as the artist formerly known as al_gore became algore, Twitter chief executive Ev Williams confirmed in a tweet (Twitter message).

Impulse movie buying comes to iTunes with movies under $5

I recently gushed about distribution of movies over the Internet supplanting the disc formats thanks to the proliferation that we’re seeing of set-top boxes for the living room. Of course, content is still king, and all of the companies doing digital distribution have shortcomings in their offerings that most consumers won’t like in moving away from a format like DVD. But iTunes took a step closer today, with a new “Movies of the Week” section.

Another iPhone app rejected, this time for bandwidth concerns?

CastCatcher is an Internet radio application for the iPhone that is rather interesting. It’s not really the app itself that’s interesting — there are plenty of Internet radio apps, namely Pandora — but rather the fact that it’s been rejected from the App Store. And that it has been rejected after three previous iterations of it were allowed, according to a post on the Return7 (the developers behind the app) blog.

With Google Reader translation tools I can finally read those Asian blogs that post Apple spy shots

Believe it or not, there’s plenty of blogging going on outside of the United States. We see it every once in a while when a site from China or Taiwan posts a spy-shot (or fake spy-shot) of some hot new product being manufacturered there. Unfortunately, unless you read those languages, you’ll need to run those sites through a site translator. But now there’s an easier way thanks to Google Reader.

Citizen Sports acquires a Sportacular trio of app developers

Citizen Sports Inc., a San Francisco-based company that builds sports-focused applications for social networks spanning Facebook, MySpace and hi5, has just acquired app developers Sportacular, Sport Interactiva and FantasyBook. The newly formed trio will expand Citizen Sports’ offerings across existing platforms. Apps include fantasy sports (Fantasy Football 2008 on Facebook is Citizen Sports’ top-ranked app) and over 600 individual team applications that extend even to Formula One racing and rugby.

Dapper MashupAds makes display ads smarter

A startup called Dapper is rolling out a way to use its mashup technology to bring the advantages of search-based advertising into the world of display ads — namely, image- and media-based ads that are normally more eye-catching but less customizable and targeted.

Keystream launches online video advertising overlay service

Keystream is an online video ad startup coming out of stealth today, joining a pack of others trying to do similar things. It lets an online video publisher run an ad that appears in the empty part of a video. For example, in this picture of a Land Rover charging through a flooded road, there’s a sample ad that says “Want to make an impression?” If you click on the ad, the video pauses and a new page launches with more information from the advertiser.

Finally, I can avoid watching Bulletproof Monk on YouTube too

YouTube is set to announce a deal with movie studio MGM that will allow for some of its content to be viewed on the extremely popular online video site, The New York Times reports. This deal, which had been previously rumored (though the studio involved wasn’t clear at the time), will bring feature films to YouTube — legally. That’s big news, but it’s not all great news.

iTunes to finally add another major label's DRM-free music?

Apple has digital rights management (DRM)-free music for sale in its iTunes store under the name iTunes Plus, but the selection is weak when compared to the likes of the AmazonMP3 store. While Amazon has all of the major labels supplying it with DRM-free tracks, Apple still only has EMI on board (the other major labels only allow Apple to sell DRM-laced tracks). But another major label, Sony BMG, is about to go DRM-free with Apple as well, if 9to5 Mac’s “hunch” is to be believed.

The T-Mobile G1 keyboard: A lesson in failed ergonomics

I have pretty average-sized hands for a guy. And trying to use the keyboard on T-Mobile’s new G1, the first phone built to run Google’s Android platform, is ridiculous. I got my hands (literally) on the device for the first time this weekend, and all I can say is that if you complained about the iPhone’s keyboard because it didn’t have physical buttons, get ready for an even worse experience on the G1.

The Onion pits OS X Snow Leopard against Windows 7

The satirical website The Onion often has hilarious takes on current events. This week, it turned its sights on what will undoubtedly be a big debate next year: OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) versus Windows 7. The new operating systems from both Apple and Microsoft are expected to come out next year; The Onion mocks their “differences” in the image below.

Judge to Apple's Papermaster: Thou shalt not work

The transition from departing iPod chief Tony Fadell to new vice president of Devices Hardware Engineering Mark Papermaster is not going to an easy one for Apple. A U.S. District Court judge ruled yesterday that Papermaster would have to cease work immediately for Apple while allegations of a breach of contract with his former employer, IBM, is looked into, reports Reuters.

FriendFeed goes where Twitter can't: IM

Back in the day before people like Al Gore were using Twitter, users used to enjoy getting updates by way of instant messages. It was useful to get updates in real time through an application (some IM service) that you probably already had open. Unfortunately, during its attempt to make the service actually usable, Twitter had to suspend its IM service. At first it promised that it would be back shortly, but recently, it admitted that it probably wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. Luckily, once again, FriendFeed comes to the rescue with FriendFeed over IM.

With his own account, Al Gore can finally claim to have invented Twitter too

Back in September during Current TV’s Hack the Debate event, former vice president Al Gore (a cofounder of Current) admitted he did not have an account on the micro-messaging service Twitter (which was helped with the event), but promised to create one by that weekend. A few days turned to weeks, a few weeks turned to months… Still, there was no Al Gore on Twitter — until today.

Tethering to make a triumphant return to the iPhone — thanks to AT&T

One of the first applications to be removed from Apple’s App Store was NetShare. The app, which lets you tether an iPhone 3G to a computer (that is, use the phone’s data service to access the web on a computer) was thought to be in violation of AT&T’s terms of service. Still, seeing as AT&T has tethering options for other phones, it was odd that the company would strictly prohibit it with the iPhone 3G. Soon, that will change.

Lights, camera, YouTube: Feature films coming to the world's video portal?

Watch out distributors of premium content online, a 900-pound gorilla named YouTube just crept into the room. For the past few years, the service has become far and away the world’s most popular online video platform on the backs of its user-generated content and often legally questionable copyrighted material. But now the service may be close to gaining the ultimate content, legally: Feature films.