Tech 2.0 for Thursday, September 19, 2013

Contributor: Matt Davenport
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Updated: 9/19/2013 2:33 pm


A U.S. court has ruled that "likes" on Facebook are protected as free speech under the Constitution. The case came about when employees at Hampton Sheriff's Office in Virginia lost their jobs after expressing support for their boss' opponent by liking the opponents Facebook page. Facebook and the American Civil Liberties Union became involved, both filed friend of the court briefs for the case. The decision reverses an earlier ruling that said "likes" were just button presses.

An odd-jobs hiring service has some news for people who can't wait to get their hands on the new iPhone, but can't stand the thought of camping out in line. Taskrabbit launched its "Skip the Line" campaign immediately after Apple announced its new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. The site says people can pay "line-sitters" to go to apple stores early on Friday. Users can set their own rates, but the company is suggesting a price of $14 an hour for people to wait in line. Taskrabbit charges a 20 percent service fee. The company suggests people swap places with their line-sitters about 10 minutes before they reach the beginning of the line. A Taskrabbit spokesman says Apple is okay with this practice. Other sites, such as Craigslist, have also featured people seeking or offering to be iPhone line holders.

By year's end, tablets are expected to outsell PC's. According to new research from IDC, consumers continue to favor mobile devices over personal computers. Laptops are still expected to beat out sales of tablets for the majority of this year, but are expected to fall short in the final quarter of the year. IDC also found that price is part of the reason that consumers are increasingly turning to smartphones and tablets instead of laptops.

It's been one of the most anticipated video games of the year. Now "Grand Theft Auto V" has left its competition in the dust. The controversial game generated record-breaking sales. Stores across the country opened at midnight and for good reason. Sales of “Grand Theft Auto V” smashed records, bringing in $800 million on the first day. Not a bad return on investment, when you consider that Take-Two Interactive spent $265-million making the video game. It appears to be one of the biggest openings not just in the video game world, but in the entertainment industry. When tickets went on sale last month for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, FIFA raked in $334-million in ticket sales, less than half of what “Grand Theft Auto V” made. The numbers are even more stunning when you consider the “Grand Theft Auto” franchise is 16 years old. It does well partly because there's pent-up demand, the last game came out five years ago. Take-Two Interactive is reaping the benefits, its stock is up more than 55-percent this year.
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