On Friday Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave the commencement speech at the University of Southern California--and we've reproduced the text as a wordcloud here. Ballmer may have had some speech coaching, compared to his previous attempt. Meanwhile today sees another launch attempt for the final flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour, so here's a fun fact: Keeping the Shuttle program alive would cost $1.5 billion a year, while the Dept. of Homeland Security cost nearly $43 billion in 2010.
1. Over the weekend, following high-profile hacks, Sony finally brought its PlayStation network back online around the world. The global staged roll out seems to have been a success, but there's one nation still unconnected: Sony's home Japan. The government has refused Sony permission based on a few outstanding security concerns, including a requirement to protect credit card info from breaches in the future.
2. A key area for competition between Google and Microsoft is their mapping systems, and the battle just got an interesting twist: Nokia may be about to replace MS's Bing Maps infrastructure with its own mapping solution including data and algorithms. Such an agreement is rumored to have quashed earlier purchase talks between Google and Nokia--and it would sideline much of the millions of dollars of work MS has done in this area.
3. RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook has suffered a minor glitch on its launch, and RIM is now recalling around 1,000 of the tablets which seem to be a faulty batch--suffering problems in an incorrect build of the OS loaded on the machines. This would seem to be a serious enough error that would prevent fixes being uploaded to the tablets via a simple USB connection. A list of the affected serial numbers is available online.
4. Netflix's growth continues: It's just signed a deal bringing Miramax's movie catalog to the digital streaming service, marking the first time Miramax's content is being transmitted in such a way online. The deal may be worth up to $100 million over five years, and famous titles like Pulp Fiction will be available to Netflix users from June.
5. Underlining how popular Twitter is becoming, Lady Gaga over the weekend became the first Twitter user to earn over 10 million followers--just beating Justin Bieber who was closing on Gaga's lead as the most-followed Twitterer. In April 2009 Ashton Kutcher garnered headlines by becoming the first to one million followers. Gaga has 34 million followers on Facebook, which suggests Twitter's also closing on Facebook's lead.