iFive: Sony’s Google TV, Facebook’s Checkin Patents, MacBook Air Rumor, Hypertension Cures, Facebook Revamp

Here’s the early news, crafted while you dozed by other industrious folk who’s day is already begun:

Put down your cappuccino and join me in a sigh of “Oh, Microsoft!” Some say that the reason so many PCs are riven with viruses is MS’s complacency over its operating system code, and lack of innovation in successive versions. Now an MS exec is suggesting “sick” PCs be banned from the Net. How about he gets banned from speaking to a panicky public?


1. Google’s TV has arrived, but Sony’s official prices for its partnership hardware haven’t. Luckily thanks to a leak, we know there’ll be four 24-inch to 46-inch versions. The 32-incher will set you back $1,300 and the 46-incher a whopping $1,900. Since Logitech’s Google TV set-top box was outed yesterday at $300, it looks like the price of joining the Google TV revolution is a steep one. And then you have to shell out subscriptions…

2. Facebook’s just been granted a patent for a broad sweep of location-based social networking including what appears to cover “checkins.” Yes, we know: The patent laws are becoming more of a joke everyday, and this proves it. But Facebook did apply for this in 2007, so there may’ve been some originality in the idea…rather than evil plans to license Foursquare, Gowalla and the like into oblivion. There’s even the hope that it’s just a defensive tactic. It’s a feint one though.

3. The MacBook Air refresh rumor mill is getting a high-speed new spin today. It’s been gently rotating for months, but now there’s word Apple stores are running dry of units, and are yanking the MacBook SuperDrive peripheral from the shelves. Since it’s mainly a partner device to the Air, we can guess it’s in prep for a new Air. That hot 11.6-incher everyone’s waiting for.

4. High blood pressure kills many people every single day. But thanks to new science,
doctors may be able to “switch off” the problem pretty simply. After 20
years of research into the angiotensin proteins that control blood pressure,
and a breakthrough while studying pre-eclampsia in pregnant women,
Cambridge University researchers have found the “key step” in the cause
of it all. The hope for preventing hypertension is that a drug could defuse this step. Millions of lives could be saved.

5. Lastly, Facebook revamped a whole slew of stuff yesterday–it created a new Groups system, brushed up the privacy settings and introduced a way for you to download your info from the site (so helpful…after we’ve all spent hours uploading stuff!) You’ll probably check it out this morning instead of reading work emails, but read our explainer first. And expect to see lots of people parsing the new tools today, and looking for flaws in the system.

To keep up with this news, follow me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.


About the author

I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise. I've also got a PhD, and worked in such roles as professional scientist and theater technician...thankfully avoiding jobs like bodyguard and chicken shed-cleaner (bonus points if you get that reference!)