The Seven Coolest Things Online This Week

Sure, you're sick of Twitter, Bush, and bad news about the economy. But this topics still gin up some entertaining news--so check out the related stories that bubbled to the top of the social Web this week. FastCompany.com's best of the week is below.

Oh, Ope...

As of this morning, Oprah's on Twitter. But her tweet begs the question: is today the first time she's used a computer, too? Luckily Shaq was nice enough to set her straight.

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Everything You Want to Know About the Pre

Pre-crazy? We are too. Check out this dynamic site by Sprint, where the carrier is collecting every piece of press--nay, ever mention--that's pertinent to the Pre, whether it's in the media or on Twitter. Specs, videos and 360-degree images are there too, natch. But if you want a Pre-to-iPhone 3.0 comparison, you don't have to go that far; check out FastCompany.com's side-by-side here.

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Profile of a Twitter Virus

Four viruses hit Twitter last week, causing spontaneous outages and service interruptions for some users with infected accounts. While the viruses themselves, which spread under the moniker "Mikeyy," were relatively anodyne, users were immediately curious who perpetraited the trick. Tech blog The Drill Down got an interview with the reported prankster, who said that he executed the hacks because he wanted to expose security flaws in the service. "Twitter really wasn't really well developed in terms of security, so I just decided to code a little worm" that would point out all the flaws, he said. Oh, the other reason: "I was bored." Listen to the whole interview on The Drill Down.

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4G iPhone on Verizon?

AT&T may have a shot at retaining iPhone exclusivity til 2011, if it asks nicely; its contract with Apple is supposed to expire next year. That would leave the iPhone maker free to partner up with the other GSM phone provider in the States, T-Mobile. Verizon and Sprint work on different networks, called CDMA, that are less common in other parts of the world; presumably Apple made the iPhone GSM so it could sell the same device overseas. But when it comes to 4G networks, the game will change, according to an interview with Verizon's CEO.

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AT&T and Verizon are both pursuing the same 4G technology for their next-gen networks, and the latter's network will begin rolling out next year. That may put Apple in the position to produce a phone that's compatible with both carriers--meaning a bidding war could erupt between Big Red and Ma Bell.

Remembering Lincoln in Folk Art

One hundred and forty-four years ago this week, John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. Almost immediately, an anonymous diarist began touring the country collecting art created by average Americans to memorialize the fallen President. In this stunning slideshow, The New York Times shows 26 of the artifacts, as they are presented by Brown University's McLellan Lincoln Collection.

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Pay Your Car Payment

The Consumerist reports that the gritty world of car repossession is getting a little more high tech. Remote vehicle disablers are becoming increasingly common, the site says, enabling lessors to disable a car's engine from afar if a lessee misses too many payments. There are a few companies that make the devices used in this operation: On Time, PassTime and PayTeck are examples the site gives. The disablers are wired to the ignition switches before the car is handed over to the buyer, and give the buyer a few day's warning before the engine is disabled. It won't happen while driving, so keep your car running, and you could be immune--but that ain't the greenest strategy.

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Obama Releases Bush Torture Memos

Depending on your political stripe, you either think that "enhanced interrogation" is a crime against the Constitution, or a just desert for the scum of the earth. Now you can see what former President Bush thought of the CIA's divisive measures, too, by reading the just-declassified torture memos from his administration. The documents, culled from between 2002 and 2005, have some CIA information redacted, and describe several interrogation techniques in detail, so you can decide yourself where the line between the criminal and the clever lies.

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