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December 3, 2012

Technology News Briefs — Dec. 3, 2012

iTunes 11 Receiving Good Reviews

iTunes 11 has been receiving rave reviews for its new look since it was launched late last week.

“Gorgeous,” “beautiful” and “pretty” were bandied about. Other adjectives used included, “clean,” “fresh,” “stronger,” “faster” and “simpler.”

While most technology blogs and new outlets reviewing the update agree it is superior to its predecessor design-wise, some are saying the update offers little else.

Other reviewers have given the changes “two thumbs up” and have indicated it is “worth the upgrade.”

In the end, however, it comes down to user preference.

Amazon to Open Publishing Arm in Europe

Amazon will enter the publishing fray in Europe next year.

The company will compete to sign up English language authors from its base in Luxembourg. Led by Vicky Griffith, who currently runs Amazon’s publishing efforts on the U.S. West Coast, the new unit is seen by critics as a bid by the company to increase its dominance.

Thus far, Amazon’s American publishing efforts have had only limited success.

Time Warner Cable Scrambles to Compete With Google

Time Warner Cable has launched 14 new Wi-Fi hot spots in Kansas City in an apparent bid to compete with Google’s new high-speed fiber service there.

Time Warner has said it will offer Internet access to households with students for less than $10 a month, as long as the homes had never previously been hooked up.

According to news reports, the company is going door-to-door to determine if residents are satisfied with their existing Time Warner connection.

Time Warner, it seems, is now scrambling to compete with Google Fiber’s lower prices and faster connections. For example, Google’s most expensive package is $120 a month. That package includes TV service and a free Nexus 7 tablet.

Google’s Internet-only service costs $70 a month and includes free 5 Mbps connections for seven years to residents who pay a one-time fee of $300.