The Buzz Report
The amazing iPad-like iMacApple files for a patent on an iMac that can turn into an iPad, and a laptop that can turn into an antique. Plus, Facebook privacy backlash. Again.
Hi, I'm Molly Wood, and welcome to the Buzz Report, the show about the tech news that everyone's talking about. This week, it's Facebook Places, a touch-screen world, and your bank account drained via iTunes. But first, it's the Gadget of the Week. The Gadget of the Week is the Vizio XVT553SV. And that's why I normally don't let TVs be the Gadget of the Week. But this one is good. It's an LED-based LCD TV with a boat-load of features, including built-in WiFi, plus integrated Netflix, Amazon on Demand, Vudu video, Pandora, and Rhapsody. And for navigating all that Web content, and this is amazing, the INCLUDED remote has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. INCLUDED. You hear that, TiVo? Plus, it's Vizio, so even though it's a super nice TV, it only costs 1900 dollars. Which is a lot, but it's less than a 3D TV and it does a heck of a lot more. Winner. And now for the news. Facebook rolled out its check-in feature called Places ... and THEN! Insert privacy backlash here. Places lets you check in like Foursquare and tell your Facebook friends where you are. And if you LET them, your friends can check YOU in, like when you're all at a restaurant together. Fine, fine. But they rolled it out Facebook style. Which means, they turned it all on by default, they made it TOTALLY BAFFLING to turn things off, and it was completely unclear whether your friends could check you in by default or not. Your basic Facebook new-feature mess. Most of the press about Places was about how to turn OFF Places. Finally, even Facebook made a video this week to show you how to use their "simple and powerful" privacy controls to decide who sees what on Faces. It's so simple that it takes a FOUR-MINUTE video with SEVEN CHAPTERS to tell you how to customize your Places privacy. I think it's cute how Facebook keeps saying they're making your privacy controls SIMPLER. I do not think that word means what they think it means. In other news this week, if you've gotten your PayPal or credit card statement recently and discovered $700 in iTunes charges that you don't remember, you should drink less. OR, you may be a victim of an ongoing iTunes charges scam that Apple cannot seem to stop. Even PayPal says whatever the problem is, it's on Apple's side. It's unclear how the fraudsters are getting people's account info. It could be phishing e-mails or people buying sketchy iTunes gift cards from online auction sites. But it's been going on since early 2009. Apple says it's on the case. PayPal has been reimbursing its defrauded users, but no, that doesn't include those of you who bought the entire Nickelback catalog. You should have known better. In other Apple news, the company apparently filed a patent application for a touch-screen iMac that uses OS X when it's upright, but can swivel DOWN and act like a giant iPad. The patent application also covers laptops with touch-enabled screens that swivel around and lie flat. Which ... I don't know how you can apply for a patent on something that's been around for 10 years, but also I'm not sure even Apple can make people want that. Stay tuned. And finally, let's have a look at what's Clogging the Tubes. It's viral marketing for The Last Exorcism ... on ChatRoulette. Combined with that favorite YouTube tool ... the reaction video. Impressive. I mean, they actually found something on ChatRoulette scarier than seeing some random stranger's giblets. Also, we now have a VERY good handle on the intended demographic for that movie. Good to know. I'll wash the dog that night. And that's the buzz report for this week, everyone. I'm Molly Wood and thank you for watching.