Can't get into Sony's Home? You're not alone

I’ve been trying to get into Sony’s Home since yesterday. I was in the closed beta. But now that they’ve opened it up to 15 million people in an open beta, it’s like nobody is answering the phone. Sony spokesman Patrick Seybold posted this on the Sony game blog:

The new risque Apple allows Pull My Finger into the App Store after all!

Apple definitely appears to be changing its stance with regards to certain applications it will allow in the App Store. A couple days ago we saw the first NC-17 game be approved, now today Pull My Finger, the app that was once rejected by Apple for being of “limited utility” — which read a lot like “too crude” — has been approved for sale in the App Store!

A slight tweak in the App Store promotes paid apps

Apple has a problem with the App Store — but it’s a problem many companies would love to have: It’s growing too quickly. What worked when there were only 500 applications doesn’t work as well when there are more than 10,000. Amid growing criticism that the App Store is catering to the lowest common denominator by highlighting applications in a way that the cheapest will be most popular, Apple has made a small tweak, AppleInsider notes.

Reader poll: Will the game industry sales keep rising in December?

Some technology companies are seeing their worst December sales in memory. But the video game industry is expected to post an increase in sales in December compared to a year ago. Do you believe that will happen? In November, U.S. video game sales grew 10 percent, reinforcing the perception that games are resistant to recession. Please leave your comments.

Twitter in Gmail will further distract me from using it for email

I love that Gmail is adding a massive amount of functionality to its service via its Labs area (which allows you to test new features). In the past several weeks, we’ve gained the ability to send SMS chat messages from Gmail, to send video messages and to create to-do lists. I can also access Google Calendar and Google Docs data from small widgets in my Gmail sidebar. And today, a widget has appeared that may let me to close yet another tab in my browser window: TwitterGadget.

Sony takes micro-transactions into a whole new world with launch of Home

Sony launched its Home virtual world for the PlayStation 3 today, opening up its beta test to all 16 million PS3 owners. We’ve tested Home in a closed beta so far, but now we will find out if it is ready for millions of people. Jack Buser is the director of Home for the U.S. market. We talked with him by phone yesterday about Sony’s plans for expanding the world and what’s there now. [FYI: At the moment, I'm having trouble logging into Home; apparently, it's crowded]

Copy and paste (kind of) comes to the iPhone (again)

Everyone wants copy and paste capabilities on the iPhone. That’s why I’m sure it’s not a question of “if” but “when” Apple will implement them. Still, the device has now been out for a year and a half and they haven’t added those capabilities yet for whatever reason. Instead, some determined developers continue to come up with work arounds, and the one involving Safari bookmarks is the best yet.

Atari president Phil Harrison on creativity and the future of video games

When he was president of Sony Worldwide Studios, Phil Harrison was focused on creating new gaming experiences like the karaoke-based SingStar franchise, the Hollywood cinematic series, The Getaway, and the user-generated toolbox called LittleBigPlanet. Harrison, now president of Atari/Infogrames, explains how the decisions he made in building some of these successful global gaming franchises for Sony Computer Entertainment are impacting the choices he makes in leading Atari down its revitalization path.

Sad news hits the airwaves: Layoffs at NPR

It’s a sad day. We saw Yahoo! go through its second mass layoff in under a year. And now it’s being reported that National Public Radio — of which shows including All Things Considered, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me and Car Talk have attracted a wide audience via iTunes — has eliminated 7 percent of its workforce, or 64 positions, and canceled two shows, News & Notes and Day to Day, in what is the organization’s first major layoff in more than 25 years, The Washington Post reports.

Text messaging comes to Gmail Labs — SRSLY this time

It happens to all of us. You’re chatting with someone online through instant messenger and they leave abruptly when you still have something to say. Maybe they lost their Internet connection or maybe they “lost their Internet connection” (you know, the excuse version), but either way, you have something that you still need to say to them. Now you can thanks to the SMS text messaging option now available in Gmail Labs.

Le Web: Like a web conference, without the web

I didn’t go to Le Web. No offense to Parisians, but I much prefer visiting Europe in the non-winter and non-conference months. Still, I know some folks who were headed there with much excitement, so I figured I’d tag along virtually (can one still use that expression?) via blog and Twitter feeds. After all, it was Europe’s largest web 2.0 conference, with 1,800 entrepreneurs each forking over €1,500 for the chance to demo their startups and meet with their peers from around the world.

Where are all the Android apps?

[Editor's note: With the iPhone and Google's Android dominating media attention in the mobile space, it's only natural to start drawing comparisons. Applications represent a prime arena for such a competition, except for one thing -- Android doesn't even come close to rivaling the iPhone when it comes to app offerings. Below, ad network executive Rana Sobhany, explains why Google seems to be dragging its feet.]

Hollywood is pulling movies from iTunes so my grandma can watch her movie of the week

You have got to be kidding me. Maybe you’ve seen some movies disappear from services like iTunes over the past few weeks, I know I have, and I’m not alone. Well, that’s because the movie and television powers in Hollywood are demanding they be yanked while these movies get special treatment on television. You know, like being the movie of the week on some channel my grandparents watch.

Computing pioneer Alan Kay on the future of tech (he wants you to play less Guitar Hero)

Fellow VentureBeat writer Dean Takahashi and I caught up with computing pioneer Alan Kay at Stanford University yesterday, at an event celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first public demonstration of the computer mouse. Yesterday he said that Engelbart was far ahead of his time with inventions such as a computer display for viewing computer output.

First on Mars launches, wants to be a TV show aggregator

First on Mars, an application that aggregates network and cable television shows for online viewing, officially launches today. The site, which has been in public beta-testing since September, lets users create custom playlists (along the lines of personalized music sites Pandora and of shows they’re watching online. First on Mars brings you directly to the network sites of available shows but lets you stream and watch the shows within the frame of the First on Mars’ site. In essence, the company wants to be a programming guide for TV on the internet, a cable box for the web.

Can't get tickets to the NBA All Star game? Watch it in a movie theater in 3D

The NBA’s All Star game is rarely a good game because no one wants to play defense. But it’s fun to watch because all of the world’s most talented players take the stage trying to one-up one another. Naturally, it’s nearly impossible to get a ticket to the game, but the NBA, TNT and Cinedigm hope to provide fans not able to go with the best possible viewing experience this year by showing the game in movie theaters around the county — in 3D.

Why did Apple kill the iTunes $5 movie deals?

A month ago I wrote about a potentially problematic new section of iTunes — potentially problematic because it was going to bankrupt me with its great deals. The section was an “Under $5″ area which offered up a handful of movies for $4.99 or less. But now, it’s gone.