The Week in Tech: McAfee meltdown, Twitter vs. Instagram, more

By Mark Hachman | Published on 09 Dec 2012
The Week in Tech: McAfee meltdown, Twitter vs. Instagram, more

From John McAfee playing Butch Cassidy to Instagram vs. Twitter, here's what you missed this week.

Probably the oddest story of the past week has been McAfee founder John McAfee's rambles around Latin America, and, possibly, sanity.

McAfee is at least a person of interest the shooting of Gregory Faull, a 52-year-old American expatriate and McAfee's neighbor on the Belize island on which he lived. Although McAfee's role in the case remains uncertain, he clearly is paranoid about remaining in Belize police custody, fleeing to Guatemala and asking for political asylum.

McAfee's case is certainly less about the technology than about the man; McAfee sold his stake in the company in 1996, two years after he resigned as chief executive. Since then, McAfee has led his life in relative obscurity, until recent weeks.

One would think, in the weeks leading up to the holiday season, that the most prominent stories would be on holiday sales, or what the most popular toys of the holiday season will be. But there's been little of that this year. Instead, following the Black Friday/Thanksgiving weekend discount orgy, the Web's eyes have turned to (okay, unsurprisingly) T-Mobile's deal to get the iPhone next year. That's good news for the nation's fourth-largest carrier, although the real news may be the push toward the company's "Value" plans, where consumers will pay for the phone up front, or at least on a monthly basis that's clearly delineated.

And, in other Apple news, the Web roused itself over the news that at least some future iMacs would be manufactured within the U.S.A. If Tim Cook and Apple can't keep secrets of the new iPhone 5 from leaking out in Taiwan, how will it stop snaps of the new iMac from making it onto the Web? (Hey, how are iMac sales doing these days? Maybe Apple needs some free publicity...)

We've included the most popular stories of the week, the ones you need to know. Click on through for our takes on the Twitter/Instragram spat, a new Mars rover, and that Tumblr worm, among others.

McAfee's Brush With the Law

McAfee founder and anti-virus software pioneer John McAfee was detained in Guatemala Wednesday night for being there illegally. McAfee asked for, and was reportedly refused political asylum. (Although the word "asylum" seems particularly appropriate in McAfee's case.) 


Twitter vs. Instagram

In some instances, Instagram photos posted to Twitter appear cropped on either side. Instagram took responsibility for the glitch, admitting that the bug showed up after it disabled its Twitter Cards integration. 


In Dubai, Delegates Debate the Internet

U.S. officials worried that an 11-day telecom conference being held in Dubai should not address Internet regulation issues. Vint Cerf, long known as one of the "fathers of the Internet," and now an employee for Google, warned that the meeting could give rise to new censorship and access controls in various regions. 


Pick on Someone Your Own Size, Schmidt Says

Google's Eric Schmidt played action hero in the press this week, challenging Apple to bring it on, in not so many words. Schmidt this week admitted that he's confused as to why Apple has not taken its patent fight to the online search giant and instead targeted the phone makers that produce devices running Google's Android OS. OK, so they're not exactly fighting words, but it's the best we've got. 


New Mission for New Mars Rover

Enthusiasm for research on Mars hasn't been dampened, and now the U.S. space agency has announced plans for a brand new Mars rover scheduled for 2020. And for space buffs, NASA this week unveiled several photos that it says provide an "unprecedented new look at our planet at night." 


Tumblr Worm

A virus circulating on the microblogging service Tumblr published a fake post criticizing Tumblr for the "propagation of the most f**king worthless, contrived, bourgeoisie, self-congratulating and decadent bulls**t the Internet has ever had the misfortune of facilitating." Be sure to check out PCMag analyst Samara Lynn's take on it


Thumbs Up for Facebook Voting?

Facebook asked users to vote on whether or not you should be able to vote on things like voting. On Facebook. Well, there were some things about rights and responsibilities and stuff, too, but...


iMacs, Because AMERICA

Apple chief executive Tim Cook bought himself a ticker-tape parade in New York City to announce that some Macs would be made in the greatest country in the world beginning next year. Cook dressed himself in a star-spangled cape and tights, while being carried down the Avenue of Kings on a massive white stallion perched on a Boeing Harrier jet. A truthful version of this story is available here



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