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Yesterday's President Obama inauguration had U.S. citizens flocking to the Internet in record numbers. According to Bill Woodcock, the research director at the Packet Clearing House, Internet traffic in the U.S. hit a record peak at the start of President Obama’s speech -- higher than the election of President Obama.  

CNN served up more than 21.3 million video streams by mid afternoon. At their peak, CNN.com fed 1.3 million live streams simultaneously, according to Jennifer Martin, a spokeswoman for CNN. Akami, a web company that provided streams to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Viacom, said they streamed over seven million videos.

Although some reported of wait times or disconnects, tech companies said it went off without a hitch, and cubicle rats all over the country were able to check out the Presidential inauguration.

The past record for Internet video traffic was 5.3 million streams provided during all of 2008's Election Day. At its peak, according to Woodcock, the surge of traffic for the inauguration was mostly a U.S. thing, so it's unlikely to set worldwide records.

I watched the inauguration on CNN, which integrated with Facebook. That allowed me to watch the stream of the event while making comments about Aretha Franklin's hat to my friends. It was surprisingly seamless and integrated and worked perfectly... But I also TiVoed it, just to make sure.

How about you? How did you watch the inauguration? Did your streams work?  Or did you skip it? What did you think?


Steve Jobs recently stepped aside as CEO of Apple, taking five months off to deal with health problems stemming from his battle with cancer. If you've been following Apple's stock price, it tends to rise and fall with the health of Jobs.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (ask your dad) will be conducting a review of Apple's reveal of Jobs's health to determine if they attempted to manipulate their stock price by concealing or timing the release of information.

An SEC review, however, does not mean guilt is assumed and no one is saying that yet. In fact, Apple stock price has actually gone up since the SEC review was revealed. Wacky, huh?

Hit the jump for in-depth financial analysis from the only "person" that understands how the stock market actually works: Dr. Snuggles.

Read More »

Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech

A slow moving, sweeping change occurred over the course of last year's cell phone sales: Korea's LG Electronics overtook America's Motorola in handsets shipped to snatch up 3rd place, worldwide.

Global phone juggernaut Nokia has solidly remained at the top of the list with 470 million phones shipped, while Sweden's Sony Ericsson brings up 5th place with a very respectable 96.6 million handsets shipped.

Not making the list this year was the G4TV E-Z Phone 3.8 with a disappointing 0 handsets shipped.

The actual numbers (in millions):
Nokia - 470
Samsung - 200
LG - 100
Motorola - 99.9
Sony Ericsson - 96.6


Tags: Products, Tech

Yesterday, I wrote about a naughty Belkin employee that was paying people to game Amazon.com's user reviews on the company's products. Belkin has fessed up to the dastardly deed (dramatization). InformationWeek has obtained a letter from Mark Reynoso, Belkin's president, that states:

"Belkin does not participate in, nor does it endorse, unethical practices like this. We know that people look to online user reviews for unbiased opinions from fellow users and instances like this challenge the implicit trust that is placed in this interaction. We regard our responsibility to our user community as sacred, and we are extremely sorry that this happened."

Reynoso also said that the company is taking action to remove the fake reviews. It's nice to see Belkin taking responsibility for this. It shouldn't have happened and it sucks that it did, but Belkin is trying to make things right.

A few of you left comments saying that you don't think much of user reviews. Certainly there are some that are just dumb (browse through EB Games, for example), but I find a lot of Amazon user reviews very useful -- especially when it comes to thinks I know very little about (vacuum cleaners, for example). What don't you like about user-generated reviews?


Get A Free Peek Email Device!

Posted January 20, 2009 - By r_pad

For a second there, I thought Peek was holding a special promotion to celebrate the awesomeness of Reggie Jackson, but that's not the number 44 it is talking about.

To celebrate the inauguration of President Barack Obama, America's 44th leader, Peek is selling its mobile email device for $44.44. If you happen to have the number "1600" in your address -- as in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue -- then you can snag a Peek for free! Service for this device costs $19.95 a month. This offer is good for the next 44 hours.

Anyone out there lucky enough to have a "free" address? Anyone out there actually use a Peek? I've always found the device mildly interesting, but unnecessary for most people since most modern phones can handle email duties.


Tags: Tech

A business development rep from Belkin, makers of computer and gaming accessories, has supposedly been paying people to write five-star reviews on Amazon.com. Using a service called Mechanical Turk (Reno and Rude's side business?), Belkin's Michael Bayard was apparently paying people 65 cents a pop for each rigged review. Furthermore, he was supposedly encouraging people to mark low reviews as "not helpful". The Daily Background did some excellent sleuthing, exposing Bayard and his connection to Belkin. The site reported:

"Yep, that’s right, according to his LinkedIn profile, Bayard is the Business Development Representative at Belkin International in charge of 'Sales of Belkin products to major .com accounts such as Amazon.com.' In other words, this guy is paying people to post fake good reviews of his own products which, according to most people who actually use them, suck (and ironically, he’s using Amazon’s own service to screw up their own review system)."

Should this story be true, It's a shame that Belkin has stooped to such shady practices. User reviews on Amazon can be a great resource and it sucks that companies are trying to game a community-driven effort. Fake reviews can really break the system. That said, I have to admit at laughing out loud at a fake review of The Beatles' White Album, which said that it was good, but didn't measure up to classics like Guns 'n Roses' Use Your Illusion II.

Does this news make you think less of Belkin? How about Amazon's user reviews?


Tags: Tech, Videogames

The iTunes App Store, which has been running since July 2008, has now hit 500 million application downloads. As EngadgetMobile notes, it took Apple two years to hit this milestone with music downloads from iTunes. People love applications.

If you had any doubts about the fact that the App Store is the iPhone's killer app, put them to rest. This number includes both paid and free applications, but it's definitely making some developers money (see: Trism developer).

There are over 15,000 applications available in the App Store, but none of them are Saito's Gabo, which was completed but shot down by Apple. I'm still mad about that.

Let this be a note to Google, Palm, and RIM. This is how you build a platform that's greater than just a smartphone. Sure, open source platforms are better than closed source platforms and you might have an app store... but you need apps to sell. Developers flock to the platform that will make them money.

Either way, there are a lot of great applications. What are your favorites? Mine are Tweetie (Twitter), Facebook, iTalk, Pandora, Galcon, and Scrabble.


Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech

Welcome to the Tech News Countdown, hosted by Alison Haislip. Every Friday, Alison brings you the top 5 tech stories of the week so be sure to watch the show. Otherwise, she'll be sad and you don't want that, do you?

This week Alison brings you the latest in the world of technology.

Here now, is the Tech News Countdown.


Tech News Countdown - January 16, 2009 »


Give it a watch and tell us what you think in the comments section. You can also cast your opinion in the Tech News Countdown forum.

Subscribe to G4's Tech News Countdown Podcast by clicking your preferred service:

iPod Earbuds Breed Bacteria

Posted January 16, 2009 - By Stephen Johnson

Are you wearing an iPod right now? Are you thinking to yourself, "Hey, I'm so awesome with my expensive music player!" Well how awesome would it be if I told your that your ears might be filling with millions of harmful bacteria cells while you're reading this and have those earphones on?

A study from The Journal of Health and Allied Sciences (my fave journal of them all)  has determined that frequent use of earphones increases bacterial growth in the ear, so those earbuds are practically petri dishes filled with with yucky micro organisms!

If that wasn't bad enough, other researchers in India have determined that people who share their earbuds share their filth, as well: Harmful bacteria is present on 92 percent of ear swabs taken from people who shared their earphones, compared with only eight percent of those who shared less frequently. My own team of scientists have determined that people who share earbuds are gross.

"But I'm a real man! I'm not afraid of bacteria, baby!" you might be saying, but you have no idea how foolish you are to utter those words.  Who knows what those bacteria are up to... maybe they're going to give you a painful infection, or maybe they have worse plans. Maybe they're going to burrow into your mind and make you think that robbing a liquor store is a good idea. If so, we'll see you in jail.

Do you share your earbuds? If you do, gross!



Circuit City Liquidating Assets

Posted January 16, 2009 - By Stephen Johnson

Troubled electronics retailer Circuit City is going down for the count: The company announced it's reached an agreement with liquidators to sell the merchandise in its 567 U.S. stores after failing to find a buyer or a refinancing deal. Ouch. The company, which was the second largest retailer of electronics in the country,  filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November.

I'm a staunch defender of Circuit City. There's a location right near my house, and when I need some blank DVDs or something, that's where I go -- it's never crowded like Best Buy or other gigant-o-marts. How are you on the CC? Like it? Hate it?


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