iFive: Hurricane Igor, Obama’s Solar Snub, Nokia’s Brain Drain, Google Quicksee, Facebook’s Page Discoverer

While you laid down in bed, the rest of the world didn’t rest its head. Here’s what went on instead:

I once completed Halo (the original reason to buy an Xbox) on all levels, including “ridiculously impossible” with a gamer flatmate in a couple of days. Halo Reach is due tomorrow, the final installment, and it’s got excellent reviews. So you too can attempt to recreate my feat. After a hard day’s work, of course.


1. There’s trouble at Nokia HQ, or so you might be tempted to think: After last week ousting its CEO, Nokia’s is soon to see another big figure leave. This time it’s Anssi Vanjoki, the former head of the firm’s smartphone division. Yes–the bit of the company that many commenters are blaming for Nokia’s woes, AKA the division that was blind-sided by the iPhone’s revolution. His departure won’t happen instantly, as Vanjoki has a six-month notice period to work through: He’s noted he’s “100%” committed to delivering for Nokia in this time, so can we expect more poorly thought-out, old-fashioned-design smartphones to arrive well behind the innovation curve? Hopefully new CEO Elop will change this.

2. Hurricane Igor might put a bit of a bend in your week’s plans, if you’re an East-coaster. Yesterday Igor (or is he iGor, Apple?) ballooned in strength, size and windspeed as he swept in over the Atlantic. Now he’s a Category 4 storm, with some predictions that he’ll reach Category 5 today–as bad as they get, and the biggest yet this Hurricane Season. His maximum sustained windspeed is over 150 mph, and even miles away from his core the gusts are damaging. Igor’s one saving grace is that weather forecasters can’t agree on his trajectory, which means he may not reach U.S. shores while at his maximum destructive power. Watch the news though–most forecasters think this season is going to be a bad one.

3. President Obama made all sorts of exciting pre-election promises about forward thinking and science, but he’s just taken another step to dim the promising glow: His administration has rebuffed attempts to get solar panels installed on the White House. They wouldn’t stop global warming, of course, but they’d send a powerful political message–there’s even a precedent, with Jimmy Carter’s ill-conceived installation of solar-heating. Apparently this is an era Obama wants to distance himself from, however, and party politics looks like it’ll squish environmentalists hopes for now. Shame.

4. Currently a rumor, but a good one: Google’s pushing $10 million over the table to buy Quicksee. This company makes software that quickly creates 3-D panoramas from regular video camera footage. Google’s one obvious use for this is to take Street View into the (crowd-sourced) next dimension, with user-uploaded 3-D panoramas of places of interest. The trick is going to be when these “places of interest” include 3-D panoramas of things people object to, like their front yard–anything that might give thieves better, faster access after they’ve checked your Facebook status to see if you’re not home.

5. Facebook’s trying something new: The Pages Discovery Browser. It’s a categorized way to find new and interesting Facebook Pages, based on the most popular pages in your network, combined with a list of shared interests you have with your existing friends. Driven by clever algorithms, the intention is publicly to help users get more out of Facebook, and go to places in the site they may have never seen. Privately, of course, the game is all about getting you to spend more time there so they can serve more ads to your eyeballs. It’s all about friends! (and money).

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