iFive: Obama Visits Jobs and Mayer, Moon Oasis, Microsoft Game Store, China’s Map World, Facebook’s Gay Ad Targeting

iFive is alive. Are you?

1. President Obama enjoyed a 45-minute tete-a-tete with Steve Jobs last night to talk about “the economy, technology and innovation, education,” according to POTUS’s spokesman Robert Gibbs. And then it was off to the Palo Alto home of Google’s Marissa Mayer where he told the $30,000-a-head crowd that his job wasn’t just to stop the bleeding but to find out how the country can deal with the issues “that have prevented more Googles from being created.”


2. Following an experiment last year when a lunar probe was smashed into a crater, NASA scientists have learned that at least one oasis on the moon’s surface contains more water than the Sahara desert. Traces of silver were also found. That means 11 to 12 gallons of water could be extracted for every ton. Now all NASA needs to do is invent a helmet that incorporates a shower head and it’s clean hair for all.

3. Next month, Microsoft is launching a browser-based games store. Games for Windows Marketplace is set for November 15, enabling fans of the shooty-uppy, the savey-princessy and the landy-plany to get their hands on new and existing games without having to leave their dungeons and go to a physical store, or even use Amazon. Users will benefit from ultra-speedy downloads, discounts, and will be able to pay via either credit card or using Microsoft Points.

4. The Chinese authorities have released their very own version of Google Earth, which could well pose a problem for the California-based search engine giant in mainland China. Map World made its debut yesterday, a product of the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping. While it offers hi-res images of China (including some of central Beijing that show last year’s National Day Parade), only high-altitude pictures of other territories are included. Close-ups of North Korea are, apparently, verboten, with just a blank page appearing.

5. Capping an already bad week for Facebook when it comes to privacy issues, it now appears the social network may be inadvertently outing its gay users to advertisers. A study (pdf) found that advertisers can tell gay users from straight users by looking at who’s clicking even when the person’s sexual orientation is hidden. To be fair, advertisers claim to be able to divine the same information from your credit card purchases–but on Facebook the ads being targeted to you are more blatant.

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.