iFive: New York Times Reacts to Gawker, Skype Crashes, Twitter Drives Hedge Fund, Facebook Leads to Mobbing, Sony’s Next PSP

The holiday season is one day closer, but innovation’s not on vacation yet: Here’s the early news digested for your convenience…

1. The Gawker hack has claimed perhaps its highest-profile side-effect victim yet: The New York Times just emailed many of its registered users because it’s concerned that it’s system is vulnerable. Though it notes that “there is no evidence of suspicious activity,” anyone who the Times has identified as having a login at Gawker is advised to change their email address.


2. Skype just suffered perhaps its worst outage ever, with millions of users around the earth cut off as its infrastructure failed to connect over half of all calls–over 10 million have gone astray. With Skype pushing to integrate more closely with Facebook, and businesses all over the planet relying on its industry-leading service, it’s a big indication of how fragile the Net’s key businesses can be.

3. Ever doubt that Twitter’s becoming a serious force for change? Here’s proof: A hedge fund, with nearly $40 million to play with, will use keyword tracking to detect how the mood of discussions about companies is changing (by watching the frequency of words like “calm”), and thus try to predict stock moves.

4. Facebook was indirectly responsible for the mobbing of a man who’s been falsely accused of being a multiple murderer in Philadelphia. His photo and details began circulating on a Facebook group about the “Kensington Strangler,” then on flyers in his community. Police have cleared him. Remember that a year ago Facebook helped a New York City teenager prove his innocence in a robbery case.

5. Kazuo Hirai, the man widely expected to be Sony’s next CEO, just hinted at the powers of the next PlayStation Portable–a key element in Sony’s battle in the billion-dollar mobile gaming war, and its chief weapon to combat the rise of Apple and Android’s touchscreen games apps. How’s Sony going to rise to the challenge? With a touchscreen.

To read more news on this, and similar stuff, keep up with my updates by following me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.

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