iFive: Facebook User Privacy Abuse, Yahoo Connect, WikiLeaks’ Iraq Stash, Toddlers and Smartphones, Megapixel Wars

Monday’s early news, from people who’ve been awake for hours:

Benoit Mandelbrot died over the weekend–a mathematician aged 85. Why’s this big news? He coined the word “fractal,” and accidentally made math cool again with his Mandelbrot Set–something you’ve seen a thousand times, but probably didn’t know. On with the news:


1. Facebook’s in the news again, for the wrong reasons: The Wall Street Journal has popped up with another rumor about abuse of user privacy. Facebook, it seems, was sending your User ID out to third party apps and advertising agencies as part of its massive money grab. Some Facebook insiders are saying it was an accident, the company itself is saying it’s taking “dramatic” steps to limit the transmission. But basically millions of user’s privacy was abused. Nice one, Facebook.

2. Facebook’s naughty, but at least its mission is straightforward–something you can’t say about Yahoo. In its spirit of “compete with everything!” it’s now due to launch a competitor to Facebook Connect. The extra-site login service will be called, you guessed it, Y Connect, and it’ll be targeted at media sites. Will it make any money for Yahoo? Or will users just go with the big blue F they already know?

3. WikiLeaks, the whistleblower website, was in the news last week with funding woes. It’ll be in the news this week too, as it’s about to release 400,000 secret documents from the Iraq war–more than five times as many as it’s already controversially released about the Afghanistan war. Expect to see the issue debated, decried, and denounced in the mainstream news, and WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange’s boyish face–and hip grandpa hair–everywhere.

4. Those ubiquitous “experts” are stirring up controversy about smartphones again: This time they’re concerned that the “screen time” that toddlers are spending on their new favorite toy (the iPhone!) is actually detrimental to their educational development. Your opinion may, and probably should, vary–the amount of educational info (and fun) a smartphone can provide is astonishing.

5. Ah the megapixel wars–they never really went away, and here they are again: Sony in Japan is releasing a featurephone with a 16.2 megapixel camera inside. Will it tempt consumers, with its minuscule pixels that aren’t as good at capturing light as other ones with fewer “megas”? Sadly, probably yes.

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