It was a busy week in the world of technology news and, in case you were away from your computer, we've got a rundown of the most popular and most important stories from the week gone by.
Both Microsoft and Yahoo have struggled to close the gap between their search engines and Google's. Cuil, a new search engine unveiled this week by some ex-Googlers, hopes to change the search game. We were mildly impressed by what we saw, but don't think Cuil will become a Google killer anytime soon.
What do you get when you combine a popular board game with a popular social networking site? Lawsuits and rebranding, mostly. Last week, the makers of popular Facebook app Scrabulous were sued by Scrabble creator Hasbro. Scrabulous vanished, only to be resurrected mid-week as Wordscraper. Will the name and graphics changes be enough to avoid a legal smackdown?
We've been very impressed with Firefox 3 here at the Orbiting HQ, and Mozilla is moving full steam ahead with Firefox 3.1. The first alpha was released this past week and offers some interesting tweaks, including improvements to tabbed browsing and the Awesome Bar.
Speaking of open source software, we got the lowdown on Canonical's plans for Intel's Atom CPU and the nascent subnotebook market. Ubuntu wants to be the OS of choice for subnotebooks, and Pete Goodall of Canonical demoed the Ubuntu Netbook Remix on an Atom-based subnotebook for us. If you want Ubuntu on your Eee PC now, we've got a handy tutorial for you. In other subnotebook news, Portugal ordered 500,000 Classmate PCs from Intel, which may be a nail in the OLPC Project's coffin.
Another battle is being fought between Rock Band and Guitar Hero for hosting the best bands. Guitar Hero has Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, and R.E.M. in its arsenal, while Rock Band 2 is loaded for bear with Bob Dylan, AC/DC, and some new Guns n' Roses material. If you love rhythm games, you've got some hard decisions to make.
Some other stories of note from the week gone by:
Attack code is now available for a significant DNS vulnerability. Software patents are problematic for a number of reasons. The US Patent and Trademark Office seems to be taking note of the problem.KDE 4.1 is out, and the update includes a number of interface enhancements, bug fixes, and application improvements.Are you ready for some football? NBC and the NFL are partnering to stream live games over the Internet, a first for the league.Remember the late and unlamented Dell DJ? The PC maker once again has the iPod in its sights and is hard at work on a new digital music player.Optical storage could get a big boost as researchers have built a system capable of storing a full terabyte of data on a standard-size optical disc.