This week, Groupon takes the money and runs, Microsoft takes away the things we love and Blockbuster takes one on the chin.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.
With over ten years of audio engineering experience, Nick's addition to PLuGHiTz Corporation is best served when he is behind the mixing board every Sunday night to produce the audio side of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Piltch Point and PLuGHiTz Live Night Cap. While mixing live every week, his previous radio show hosting experience gives him the ability to co-host as well, giving each show a unique flare with his slightly off-center, yet still realistic take on all things tech. An integral part of the show, you can find Nick always enveloped in coming up with new (and sometimes crazy) ideas and content for the show and you can always expect the most direct opinion on the stories that he feels need to be shared with the world. During the few hours where Nick isn't sleeping or working on ways to improve the company, he spends his free time going to hockey and football games and playing the latest titles on Xbox 360. Email him for his gamertag and add him today for a fun escape from the normal monotony and annoyance that the Xbox LIVE gaming community can sometimes be!
Jon is a F5 Live co-host and UpStream contributor as well as the Chief Cash Officer of PLuGHiTz Corporation. We don't know how he wears so many hats so well or how he still finds time to feed his need for all things tech but some questions are best left unanswered. If you're up for a challenge go find him on Xbox Live @shinobiJon and if you figure him out...let us know.
Allante - also well known as Wolff - is the newest member and co-host for PLuGHiTz Live! Radio. A gifted artist, he is usually found drawing up a character or two or sketching up whatever comes to mind. Do not think that he is not a hardcore gamer because he is about as hardcore as it gets! His favorites range from fighting games to RPGs, adventure and even a racing game here and there. Fighting games are his forte and he relays this message for all who oppose: You mess with the Wolff and you get the fangs!
XB360 - Enigmatic Wolff
PSN - Tsukuyomi_Okami
We all know that the wireless industry is a cut-throat business, and with everyone competing on who will get to a wide-spread LTE network first, it is no surprise that national carriers are considering purchasing regional carriers, or even smaller national carriers. We've seen AT&T purchase regional carriers like Dobson Cellular and, of course, Verizon's purchase of Alltel. Most recently, there was the failed attempt at an AT&T/T-Mobile merger, but there are always smaller deals in the works.
The past 16 months have been interesting for T-Mobile USA. The wireless industry has changed around them and they have fought back with deceptive advertising instead of improvements. In October of 2010, T-Mobile's USA Chief Network Officer Neville Ray said that 4G Networks weren't important, which has certainly explained the company's direction of the last year or so.
In an age where spectrum and cash are king, wireless carriers need to be able to stay afloat financially, but also need to be able to innovate and move forward with the technologies. For companies like Clearwire, financial troubles have been plaguing them for over a year now. Sprint was going to leave them for 4G company LightSquared, except last week LightSquared ran into a roadblock called the FCC and it may put a permanent halt on rolling out a 4G LTE network.
Ever since the //build/windows conference, Microsoft has been showing off all the cool new features you get with Windows 8. We saw things not only from the Developer Preview, but even directly from Ballmer during Dell World. Since December, rumors were flying around that we would see the public beta drop as soon as this month and we now know Leap Day will be the bearer of the riches.
The state of Oklahoma, or more their House Revenue and Tax Subcommittee, tried to pass a law adding a 1% sales tax to videogames sold within the state that are rated T (Teen) or higher. The bill was defeated in committee, but the fact that they thought about this is concerning. There was some discussion from Representative Pat Owenby (R) which made the committee seem less crazy:
What do you do when you have conned all of your customers, exhausted all of your resources, failed at the "confidence" portion of your IPO and have PayPal breathing down your neck? If you're Groupon, you switch tactics completely and try something entirely different. That's what we're seeing this week, as Groupon is testing a new annual fee platform in the Tampa Bay area.
Blockbuster has found itself in a precarious position since September 2010 when they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after previously closing 1000 stores and putting together some failed distribution deals with movie studios. Even after Dish Network came along and potentially saved the day by winning Blockbuster Video's auction last April, Blockbuster can't seem to find it's way out of the horror section. The 1500 locations that survived the Dish Network cutbacks last July are experiencing another round of closings.