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U.S. FCC releases broadband testing tools
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has added tools to the Broadband.gov Web site to help users measure their broadband speeds or report that they do not have broadband available. The FCC announced Thursday that it has added new features called the Consumer Broadband Test and the Broadband Dead Zone Report to Broadband.gov. The Consumer Broadband Test measures broadband quality indicators such as speed and latency and reports that information to consumers and the FCC. A mobile version of the app, the first mobile app released by the FCC, is also available through the Apple and Android app stores.
Intel invests in social media firm
Intel invested an undisclosed amount in social media incubator Betaworks to gain insight into real-time user behavior on social networks, the chip maker said on Thursday. The investment could help Intel develop better hardware for mobile devices or servers that either access or provide real-time social media services, said Mike Buckley, managing director of Intel Capital. Buckley declined to comment on how much Intel invested in Betaworks.Intel joined other companies, including Aol, that invested in Betaworks on Thursday. An Aol spokeswoman confirmed the investment in Betaworks but declined to comment on the amount.
Xbox 360 outsells Wii for first time in two years
Microsoft’s Xbox 360 outsold Nintendo’s Wii in February to claim the top spot in the U.S. monthly sales ranking for the first time in more than two years, analyst group NPD said Thursday. Overall the industry had a poor month with total sales down 15 percent from February last year. The Xbox 360 sold 422,000 units during the month compared to the Wii’s 397,900 units. The PlayStation 3 sold 360,100 units, which while only good enough for third place represented a 30 percent increase on February 2009.
Google readys Blogger upgrade
Google will begin on Thursday a public test of a Blogger layout customization tool that the company says significantly broadens publishers’ ability to modify the look of their blogs. The Blogger Template Designer includes ready-to-use professional designs, pre-built templates that can be further modified, a color-adjustment control to tweak the blog’s color palette, stock photos for background use and an advanced interface for publishers who know HTML and CSS.