Noisestash: Things to keep an eye on

Howdy! It’s Friday the 13th, and that means that I’ll go ahead and sum up some of the stuff going on in the tech world today. Before we get started, here’s a tune for you.

Prepare your wallets! Steam’s Summer sale is here.

Yes, that dreaded time each year that Steam drops prices and rapes your wallet. Remember, don’t buy any game until it goes on sale as a Daily Deal. If it doesn’t, then buy on the last day of the sale. Want a list of all the sales? Here’s one of the “hidden sales” that are 70-80% off, and this guy seems to do a good job of compiling deals each day. Ramen isn’t so bad, so grab your Rooster Sauce and get some games! (Like this tempting Indie Pack) [expires 7/14/2012]

Verizon wants to edit your internet access.

Sounds a bit silly, doesn’t it? Well, right now Verizon is fighting the FCC for the “freedom” to edit your internet access; or more accurately, they’re trying to rid themselves of the pesky “net neutrality” rules in place, which would allow them to pick and choose who gets first dibs on their bandwidth (and they own a lot of that). The order they’re trying to get tossed out is one that requires gatekeepers to allow anyone to access freely, and in the order they arrived. Verizon wants to pick who gets top spots, which would drive up prices (waaay up) and pretty much screw the little guys out of business, and possibly slow down competing services (such as Netflix) indefinitely. Stay tuned.

Office 2013 coming soon?

USAToday reports that Ballmer is set to unveil the next iteration of the worlds most profitable popular productivity suite. It’s expected to follow the now-typical naming standard, being dubbed “Office 2013” by the media. While we can expect a few incremental updates, I believe that a lot of time will be spent on showing how the four applications that are bound for the RT tablets have been revamped for touch use. Not super exciting, but it will be nice to see how they’ve done that.

Microsoft set to establish an Angel Fund?

Angel Funds – a moniker that represents an individual with money that assists in the start-up of projects in exchange for part ownership – are heavily used by the tons of brilliant, poor folk out there who prefer to keep their inventions under their roof, rather then sell the rights to a large company. That said, Microsoft is said to be launching its own angel fund, the Bing Fund. Yeah, I’m not joking.

Anyway, the fund was established to give start-ups with “game changing ideas” the opportunity to flourish in the tech sector. Of course, Microsoft will be making money from it, but I’m sure that if they see a badass design, fund it and let it grow, the originator would be likely to allow them to license it for their own use.

Yahoo’s Voice service was hacked.

Yes, they have one. And they had about 450,000 emails and passwords stolen and published this week. So yes, that means you should go check your passwords, and change any that share the same password. Also, get better passwords, folks!  Every time there’s a breach, the passwords tend to be severely lame. If you had a Formspring account, be sure to change that password as well – Actually, you have to.

Digg was sold to three different buyers for a total of $16M.

Yesterday it was reported that Digg, the once-formidable opponent of Reddit, was sold for a mere $500,000 to Betaworks, a tech development firm. Turns out, that was just part of the deal. Two other buyers have been unearthed. The Washington Post paid $12,000,000 (yay zeros!) for the Digg team and LinkedIn paid up to $4million for some patents. Not quite the horrific downfall we all hear about yesterday.

Eric Schmidt loves self-driving cars.

Well, we knew that, but he has a few statements about why they’re not being sold right now. One, Nevada is the only state that allows them. Kind of a big deal. Two, manufacturers aren’t ready to sell them yet. Three, Google’s cars drive the speed limit, no faster. On the freeway, however, no one drives the speed limit. That’s not saying that the cars are slow, just that they are legally responsible if the car speeds. Apparently Google has taken them to a test track and removed the speed limit then raced them against human-driven cars, and won. Check the article for more details.

Facebook “likes” don’t really mean much.

Again, we knew that. But a new BBC investigation shows that companies spend a lot of time and money getting people to “like” them on Facebook (remember too that the ads on Facebook perform horribly), but that doesn’t equate to more money. After the “shock” of the IPO and subsequent drop to $25/share (it’s hovered around $30 for a while now), Facebook’s advertising value (and thus, their value in general) has been doubted. This investigation states that an estimated 5-6% of users are fake, probably part of a network of bots that like pages for money, which means your advertising isn’t affecting real people.

Need a steadier video from that iPhone? 

Alberto has been so kind as to review the Steadicam Smoothee for y’all. Head over to see how it works.

Well, that’s all for now. I hope you enjoy your weekend, and don’t forget to throw money at Valve!

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