iFive: HP Re-Friends Oracle, iPad Mini Rumors, Ivi TV Fight, VLC on iPad, Unwanted Facebook Party

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift–that’s why the call it the present. And here’s our gift to you: The early news, digested.

IF you’re lucky enough to live near a coast, and your morning cuppa tea and choc-chip cookies are accompanied by the distant call of seagulls, then spare a tiny thought for this: Portuguese scientists have been checking out gull poop and have found out the migratory birds may be spreading drug-resistant super bugs. And it’s our fault, as they’ve been eating tainted garbage. With the thought of that ringing in your brain, here’s the news …


1. HP and Oracle, once best buddies, recently fell out over the appointment of Mark Hurd–the former HP chief–as Oracle’s president. Hurd was sued by HP in a scandal of sorts, there was a war of words … it got nasty. Oracle hired him mere weeks later. Now, in the best spirit of play yard dust-ups, the two companies have shaken hands and made up. Who blinked? They’ve been “important partners for more than 20 years” according to HP’s temporary CEO, which must’ve been the key motivation here. Hurd has taken a personal hit as part of the settlement though, as he’s had to waive the rights to hundreds of thousands of HP stock options he’d previously been granted. Still, he’s now free to spill the beans on all those juicy HP trade secrets to his new team.

2. More rumors of a 7-inch iPad Mini are surfacing, this time sourced in the speculation of financial analysts who’ve been working their contacts and brains. It’ll probably have a front and rear facing camera, borrowing iPhone or iPod Touch tech and thus adding to Apple’s growing FaceTime video calling empire. Other commenters are arguing the logic behind the rumor is sound (like we did a while back), and there’s beginning to be a feeling in the air a little like that which preceded the original iPad launch–a gentle indicator the rumor may ring true. We’ll probably have to wait until early 2011 though.

3. In what seems to be a concerted effort, big-name TV and movie companies are ganging up and giving a tiny 18-man company a swirly in the toilet. The “victim” is Seattle start-up ivi Inc, which rebroadcasts live TV programming over the net to people anywhere in the world. The “bullies” are Fox TV, NBC, CBS, Disney, 20th Century Fox, MLB, and others, who are pissed at ivi and are alleging, in stiff-worded cease-and-desist letters, that ivi doesn’t have the rights to the content, and is in fact stealing it. The startup is relying on an obscure fragment of the Copyright act in its defense, and it almost makes sense–if true it could shake up the Net TV business good and proper. But since the content industry has recently (legally) killed off other similar services, it doesn’t look good for ivi.

4. Ignore odd claims the iPad isn’t a good platform for consuming movies or TV shows–they’re patently not true, and now seem doubly false: Making the most of recent adjustments to the Apple Store policy, potent video player VLC is now on the iPad. Where previously you’d had to convert files to iTunes compatibility or stream them using a service like StreamToMe, now you can simply plop them directly onto your iPad’s storage and play ’em in their native format–right up to HD quality.

5. Spare some sympathy for 14-year-old Tracey Livesey, a young British schoolgirl who’s caused increased police patrols in her sleepy corner of Herfordshire. Why? Because the poor lass messed up an invite to a party on Facebook by popping in her address and phone number, and accidentally tripped up on Facebook’s not-necessarily-straightforward privacy settings and made the invite public. It became a meme: 21,000 people have confirmed their attendance. That’s a lot of juice and fairy cakes.

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