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Daily Update: Google's Do Not Track Solution, Apple Stuff, Crysis 2 Demo, More

Good morning.

Yesterday, I complained that Mozilla's proposed attempt at implementing a "Do Not Track" feature in Firefox was even less useful than Microsoft's. Today, let's see what Google is doing: It has already released a Chrome add-in called Keep My Opt-Outs that allows users to permanently opt out of ad-tracking cookies. This appears to be much, much closer to what I've been asking for--i.e. something that just works and doesn't require the user to figure anything out--than the IE or Firefox solutions. That said, it's not part of the browser, and its not granular in any way, though Google says that's coming. I'm curious to see if Microsoft discovers/publishes any bad news about this add-in.

Apple has prevented its employees from being transparent in any way for years, banning them from discussing their products on blogs, Twitter and other social networking services. (Compare this to Microsoft, whose employees are the source of thousands of blogs.) So is it ironic or hypocritical that Apple has started a Twitter account for its App Store (@AppStore). Neither. This account is all about selling apps, so it's entirely in keeping with Apple's real philosophy. And that's not a dig, so relax: Apple is a multi-billion-dollar corporation, not a charitable operation. They're in business to make money.

Speaking of Apple, a one-man theater show called The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs isn't about what you think it is. Instead, this show focuses on a topic I think deserves more attention (and Apple has tried explicitly to cover up): The inhuman conditions at the factories that make its products.What's amazing is that this guy did what journalists are supposed to do: Actually visit the places and find out what's really happening. And it's not a pretty picture. "I was shocked at the scale of it. I was shocked at the inhumanity of it," monologist Mike Daisey says. "We exported our jobs, but none of our labor values." And yes, before some Captain Obvious points this out, this problem isn't unique to Apple. What is unique to Apple, however, is the success of its products and thus the more devastating effect the manufacture of those products has on the humans that build them. Read more about this, please.

In fact, read this.

ZD's Larry Dignan says that Apple could dominate car tech (if it wanted). It already does, and unlike with, say, Microsoft, it didn't have to create its own in-car tech to make it happen. You can't buy a car stereo (aftermarket or with a new car) without finding iPod/iPhone compatible connectors. Consider the job done.

Remember when the PC videogame Crysis was so high-end that it would never be ported to consoles? Well, apparently Crysis 2 doesn't have that problem. And a demo version of the upcoming game is now available for the Xbox 360 and PS3.  This should tide me over nicely until the first Call of Duty: Black Ops map pack appears next week.

InformationWeek's Dave Methvin claims that Microsoft's CES presence this year was a misdirection and that the software giant has much, much bigger plans in store: By porting Windows 8 to ARM, it is giving developers "a nearly pain-free path to ease into the mobile world," one that has all the benefits of x86 Windows with none of the viruses. I'm not sure I buy this, but in typical Microsoft form, this plan, whatever it is, is unfolding very slowly, over years of time.

Reminder: Microsoft will announce its quarterly financial results Thursday after the market closes. Analysts expect Microsoft's net income to slide about 7 percent as revenue edges up just 1 percent, while forecasting a net income of 69 cents per share on $19.2 billion in revenue. 

CNET has published a series of Microsoft slides that explain how Windows 7-based tablets really do compete with the iPad, especially in businesses. It's a hilarious little bit of justification. Don't read it while drinking or you may find yourself cleaning off your display.
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