Today in Tech: News around the Web

October 11, 2010, 10:30 AM UTC

A round-up of the companies, deals, and trends that made headlines.

Every day, the Fortune staff spends hours poring over tech stories, posts, and reviews from all over the Web to keep tabs on the companies that matter. We’ve assembled the weekend’s most newsworthy bits below.

Illustrator Randall Monroe’s 2010 edition of his “Map of Online Communities.” Photo: xkcd

“The world doesn’t need another platform.”
— Google VP of Engineering Andy Rubin on Windows Phone 7 (Google 24/7)

  • In an interview, Disney CEO Bob Iger explains his hiring of of former Playdom CEO John Pleasants and Yahoo exec Jimmy Pitaro. “My premise is that technology is about an opportunity for us,” he said. “And we cannot will it away and should not…because you can’t stop these things from happening.” Disney’s history with new media has been rocky at best, one of the most notorious flops being the the company’s acquisition of search engine Infoseek and the creation of web portal (BoomTown)
  • Crazy, but true: After more than nine months of planning, North Korea is plugged into the Internet. A web site for the country’s official news agency was the first to show up, among a group of 1,024 Internet addresses that had been reserved for the country but never used. The connections comes as the the country gets ready to celebrate its 65th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea. (The New York Times/IDG)
  • The Wall Street Journal profiles Facebook’s Vice President of Product, Christopher Cox, who’s main job is to help the social network maintain and improve upon its compelling user experience. (He’s managing the team behing the new Groups feature.) (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Though cloud computing is beginning to take off in Asia, widespread adoption remains hampered by regulations governing where data is stored, security worries and subpar Internet connections. (The New York Times)
  • The UAE dropped plans to ban BlackBerry services, though no details were revealed about what actions Research in Motion (RIMM) performed to meet compliance. (The New York Times)
  • Lessons learned from the recent Facebook and Foursquare outages: users really appreciate transparency (ie. post-mortems in this case), caching strategies for keeping data in fast memory as opposed to slower disks have potential consequences, “sharding” (ie. spreading large amounts of data across numerous smaller databases)
  • Austin, Texas startup ATX Innovation raised another $2.05 million for TabbedOut, a mobile app that opens a tab at supporting restaurants and bars and closes your bill via credit card when ever you’re ready. (MobileBeat)
  • Agree or disagree? Brazen Careerist founder Penelope Trunk says the reason most women don’t want to run startups is because they’d rather have children. (TechCrunch)
  • To celebrate Google’s recent announcement of its traffic-savvy, self-driving Prius fleet, Henry McCracken put together this cool bite-sized retrospective on the topic. (Technologizer)
  • Mashable explores how social media, which enables individuals to quickly coordinate actions and influence others, can (and is) reinventing activism. One low-key example:’s e-petitions win a campaign once a week, resulting in changes to an unjust law, policy, or practice. (Mashable)
  • The Social Network ruled the weekend box office again, with $15.9 million. (Variety)
  • Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata addressed the issue of piracy, which has dogged the Wii and DS platforms. “I do not think we should attribute bad software sales solely to piracy,” he said. “Even with piracy, as long as we can create products which can attract attention from many consumers and which can greatly entertain them, that software can make it to the number one position of the hit software sales chart.” In other words developers: innovate! (Joystiq)
  • ArsTechnica’s smartphone evolution gallery, starting with the Symbian-powered Sony Ericsson R380, will remind you how far mobile has come in a decade. (ArsTechnica)