iTunes and Facebook in the news

Illinois governor advocates copyright infringement

Ok, that's not really true, but he might as well! In a desperate attempt to balance the out-of-control budget, Illinois governor, Pat Quinn, has suggested that a 6.5 percent sales tax be placed on downloads from services like iTunes and Rhapsody. If passed, the tax on music and movie downloads would allegedly provide up to ten million dollars per year in additional revenue. Of course, this assumes that the volume of legal downloads remains the same. This is not only bad for the industry but gives the pirates yet another reason to obtain their media from illegal sources. States taxing downloads is nothing new. There are 19 other states who currently have a provision for taxing media downloads.

Speaking of iTunes….

Everyone who owns one of Apple's iDevices (Pod, Pad, or Phone) is familiar with iTunes since it's the only legal way to get anything loaded on them. Purchasing music, movies or television shows is simple and intuitive. But, did you know that there is a huge repository of free information available besides Podcasts? Next time you load up iTunes, check out the iTunes U tab. iTunes U has lectures, college courses, and other educational resources all for free! If you're interested in the workings of the government and military, check out the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Looking for research information on the environment, go to Open University's extensive collection of lectures. Want to hear opinions from the heads of industry, then Stanford Technology Ventures is the place to be. There are language courses and technology courses both in video and audio. Some collections even have transcripts available for printing for offline reference.

It's never too late to learn and this is a great way to do it without spending any money. There is something for every interest and educational level.

Facebook's F8 Developers Conference 2010

Facebook's 26 year-old CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, took the stage at the F8 developer's conference today in jeans and a hoodie to announce some ground-breaking news for Facebook and social media in general. The first platform announcement was "Open Graph". This is a technology that will bring together partner sites and your friends activities on them. If a Facebook member is on, say, Amazon, there will be a "Like" button so that friend can share his purchases with his Facebook friends. This is just one example of the underlying idea behind Open Graph. Users will also be able to share restaurant reviews, tips and opinions using these tools on partner sites. There is a lot more to Open Graph and you can read about it here

The next big announcement came from Fuse Labs, Microsoft's social media think-tank. They are working with Facebook on the introduction of Docs.Com a document collaboration project for sharing and working on documents with your Facebook friends over the web. is still in beta, but I tried it and it has a clean interface and the editor is built on Office 2010 Web Edition. Creating, editing or uploading documents is quick and could mean big competition for the Google Docs application.