Buzz Out Loud 667: Take-Two gets a bear hug

Electronic Arts isn't taking no for an answer from Take-Two, and Pakistan shows us why censorship is bad: they took out YouTube and their own nationwide Internet.

Molly Wood Former Executive Editor
Molly Wood was an executive editor at CNET, author of the Molly Rants blog, and host of the tech show, Always On. When she's not enraging fanboys of all stripes, she can be found offering tech opinions on CBS and elsewhere, and offering opinions on everything else to anyone who will listen.
Molly Wood
9 min read
Electronic Arts isn't taking no for an answer from Take-Two, and Pakistan gives us an object lesson in why censorship is bad: in an effort to block YouTube in that country, they took out YouTube for the entire world (for about two hours) and then got themselves taken offline altogether. Wow. That's a day's work, right there.


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James from Alaska
Hungry for burgers.

What's with the huh?


iTunes refund
Hey, just finished your last podcast about will iTunes refund those session pass.
I don't have the same experience; but I did get a refund from Apple after NBC pulled their stuff off iTunes. I also got 2 free episodes as extra. All these are unexpected to me; since I did not ask for question them on this at all. Here is the e- mail I got.
Future episodes of "Psych" will not be available on the iTunes Store. We realize that you purchased a season pass and regret that we will not be able to deliver these episodes to you. I have issued a pro-rated refund in the amount of $13.12 for the remaining episodes. You will see this credit in three to five business days. If Store Credit was used for this purchase, you should see the credit applied to your balance immediately.
I have also granted two free video credits to your account which you can use to purchase of any two TV episodes, music videos, or short films on the iTunes Store.
Your credit balance should display in the upper-right corner of iTunes next to your account name. If it does not, please sign out and sign back in to refresh. The sign out/sign in functions are found under the Store menu of iTunes. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and thank you for being an iTunes customer.
Take care,
Ray from Alameda

Digital TV and some hate to Apple
Hey Buzz crew,
This Roque (aka Rocky) from Guadalajara, Mexico, I have been planning in writing to you guys for some time, but finally got some time while I'm at school, in my boring class (Electronic design with integrated circuits, is not as cool as it sounds, and yeah I'm taking my degree as an Communications and electronics engineer) but anyways going to the point of the mail, I was listening to show 663 I think about the cable companies forcing customers to switch to digital, and well I can give you some information about Comcast, because I work as a Comcast account executive (yes that's right we are in Mexico) and don't hate us too much, we are not that evil, well at least in Comcast in the California market, you don't need to worry if you have Comcast, it won't make any change in the basic and standard analogue services, they will keep working at least for the next 5 years, but as you said in episode 664 there will be change, is obvious if over the air TV (free TV) is going digital why not cable?, satellite is digital, over the air TV is digital, only cable is missing... and well everything is going digital, as they tell us at school, all what we are learning will be old when I finish!
And now going to the other reason to my mail, I know you have lots of complains about Apple, but I can't help myself, let me tell you I'm in my second iPod, and yes is an iPod touch, and you know it works fine, love to have Wi-Fi in it that way I don't need to carry my laptop that much, but you know I bought I think 1 week before the damn iPod update in January, after sometime I decide OK I'll pay for the updates (I want the e-mail one) and guess what I can't! What's wrong with Apple why so much punish to people!, the truth I wanted to buy a zune, but well you know they don't sell them outside the states. so sad, and the last thing that is missing is able to download podcasts to the touch, most of the time I don't have a chance to plug it to my PC till late in the night so I'm always 1 show behind, if I could download the show while I'm school, I will be able to listen it on the way to work.
But anyways should go back to pay attention to my class or I'll be working for Comcast for a long time!
Great show keep the good work!
Rocky your Comcast account executive for today!

A senator and the digital transition
Tom, Molly, and Jason,
I am an intern at a senator's office and after receiving a lot of calls about the digital television transition. When these calls came in they were directed to me since I understood what I was talking about. My boss overheard me and called me into her office and after 30 min of one on one time she assigned me a project of putting together something for the senator to help his constituents with the switch. On previous shows there were a lot of calls about possible fraud from cable companies and electronics retailers, I would like to include these in my report. If you would be willing to put out the call it would be greatly appreciated, I have created a gmail account for this project but it forwards to my main account so fell free to give it out on the air. It would be a great help if you could help me out with this project, and keep up the good work because there are geeks getting into the government and we will fix the problems that need fixing but you need to keep us informed and united.
Thank you,

Xbox 360 Blu-ray player
Hey Molly, Tom, and Jason,
I happened to be out this weekend with a few buddies who work over in Redmond. After a few (OK, a lot) of drinks I asked them how they felt about the death of HD DVD and the 360 add-on drive.
Don't worry, they all said, the Blu-ray add on will be available by June-ish. It's fully designed and ready to begin manufacture, as soon as a marketing plan is ready. According to my sources it will run somewhere in the range of $199 to $250, and will work and look exactly like the HD add-on. Probably to save costs since I'm sure they have tons of unused HD DVD shells laying around. From what I've learned in the from these guys in the past, and the quantities of booze in them, I'd give this a 80 percent chance of being accurate. Keep up the awesome work!
D in Seattle

The LOI movement
Hey Buzz crew,
Love the show. I started a Facebook group to promote the usage of LOI over LOL. It's called "The LOI Movement". Mention it on the show. Hey, if we can buy Revver, we can destroy LOL.
P.S. Love the mullet, LOI.
Also feel free to mention my full name, just don't give out my any of my personal information listed in the signature below.
-- Thank you for your time,
Ron Landreth

Grandma Mary listens!
First--I am a 53-year-old grandmother who has listened to your podcast for about a year. I teach language arts and have used computer and Internet technology in my classroom for years. http://www.mrswieseman.org I just wanted you to know that just because I'm old doesn't mean I'm not interested in new technology. I do love my toys:) LOI
Secondly--I purchased a song on iTunes plus just yesterday, and there was a notice that for only $2.70 I could upgrade some already purchased songs. How did Jeff get the freebies?
Lastly--love the show, keep up the good work keeping semitech savvy old- timers like me informed.
Grandma Mary

New features on the Zune?
Hi Buzz crew,
So the Zune offers gaming now? Is that a firmware upgrade? If so, where is the $20 charge for it? Shouldn't Microsoft and Apple have the same accounting rules? Or is Apple just making this up to get even more money from you? Just a thought.

Another turtle-y update!
Hey Buzz crew,
JaMoTo nested again on the night of the 22nd (Friday). It is the very tail end of the leatherback sea turtle nesting season in Gabon and I expected that she would leave the area after nesting again, but it appears she is still lingering. This means she will probably nest again in another 9 or 10 days. She must be a very fertile turtle!
Bonus video! I have posted some video I took of JaMoTo on the beach and a couple of previously unposted photos on my blog to share with Buzztown.

Google balloons already over Sao Paulo
Just to let you know. Google already launched balloons over Sao Paulo. They said it was a advertising for Google maps (a red balloon, like their red pin point in Google maps--got it?) but I thought it was bizarre. Sine when Google needs to advertise anything on the real world?
Or they were testing their new balloon Wi-Fi technology.
Some photos on an advertising blog here (Portuguese only, sorry). And here.
Alex, from Rio.
No, not the other Alex from Rio that runs while listening to BOL. But I can try to do mountain climbing listening to BOL, does that counts?

OK, not as serious as all that but...
Molly, Jason, and Thomas,
It's Rick, the "balloon scientist" and amateur radio operator from Colorado.
:-) Hey everyone as to be the xyz occupation from somewhere right?
Allow me to drop a "well actually" or two on you folks. And in no way would I expect you to know any of this stuff without doing a fair amount of research so this isn't a rag on you guys just a friendly "well actually."
Balloons. Hmmm, at last something I know something about. This just goes to show, your audience can probably address just about any issue under the sun with some level of expertise, assuming they are sufficiently interested to respond. And, this time out apparently I was motivated to do so.
This e-mail is in response to the very brief mention you made in episode 665 where at the end you discuss Google's possible acquisition of Space Data's balloon borne cell system technology. Your discussion of this issue is probably dwarfed by my wordy response. But, I'm sure you say things like smurf and get 100 page diatribes all the time. It's the nature of a large audience right? Some of us have no common sense or word governors.
I tend to write voluminous tombs about inconsequential stuff so, here is the short version:
I know what I'm talking about (more or less).
$50 bucks for a balloon to fly these airborne cell towers...no way! The balloon has to be around $100 and the helium to fly it around the same.
Tom's idea that we should bomb the countryside with high velocity projectiles from the sky, well...possible but not a good idea and not necessary. The parachute will solve this problem.
Molly's worry about balloons going off on their own and disobeying the laws of atmospheric physics, I don't think so. But again, it is possible under some circumstances that generally won't crop up except infrequently.
Molly's concern about the polluting nature of balloon debris all over the place. Well again, as is true of much in life, yes and no. Yes, in the short term it can be a problem for wildlife. No, in the long term, latex balloons degrade to nothing and actually are eaten by the bacteria in soil. So, we're helping the little guys and should be applauded for our supporting the underdogs.
Jason's brief thoughts about tethering balloons, no way! But, Jason pretty much gave up on that idea almost before he finished the sentence he suggested it in. Never the less, I address it below.
Now, on to the ridiculously long version. I'm a lot less snotty and there are some good links that show neat photos, videos, and interesting information so if you have a few minutes ...
Rick von Glahn
Parker, Colorado
PS. If you ever have questions in this area (like that's ever going to happen), feel free to drop me a line.