AP Technology NewsBrief at 5:09 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Internet service goes out across SyriaBEIRUT (AP) _ Internet service went down Thursday across Syria and international flights were canceled at the Damascus airport when a road near the facility was closed by heavy fighting in the country's civil war. Activists said President Bashar Assad's regime pulled the plug on the Internet, perhaps in preparation for a major offensive. Cellphone service also went out in Damascus and parts of central Syria, they said. The government blamed rebel fighters for the outages.
Microsoft prices Pro version of Surface at $899LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Microsoft's Surface tablet running a full version of Windows 8 Pro will start selling in January for $899 and up, the company said Thursday. But you'll have to pay more if you want a keyboard cover and the popular Office suite of software. The current Surface uses the slimmed down Windows RT operating system. As a result, it runs only specially designed applications from Microsoft and others sold through the company's online store. The Pro version of Surface will also run regular Windows applications written for desktops and laptops.
Deals site LivingSocial cuts 400 jobs worldwideNEW YORK (AP) _ Online deals company LivingSocial is cutting 400 jobs worldwide, or about 9 percent of its work force, as the deals market continues to face challenges. LivingSocial spokesman Andrew Weinstein said Thursday that all but a few dozen of the cuts are in the United States. The company's sales force faced the highest number of cuts, while others are in customer service and editorial, the people paid to write up the deals. LivingSocial said it is moving its customer service operations to Tucson, Ariz., from Washington, where it has its headquarters.
NPD: PC sales got no boost from Windows 8NEW YORK (AP) _ Sales of personal computers in the U.S. didn't get any boost from the launch of Windows 8, confounding the hopes of Microsoft and PC makers, research firm NPD Group said Thursday. In the three weeks after Windows 8 launched on Oct. 26, sales of Windows PCs and tablet computers fell 21 percent compared with a year earlier, according to NPD, which tracks U.S. retail sales.
Empire State Building surprises NY with new lightsNEW YORK (AP) _ In the middle of the night, as most of New York slept, something big and bright lit up the Manhattan skyline for just seconds _ a tightly kept secret to all but a handful of people. It was a tiny test for the huge public surprise four days later: the flipping of a switch at the Empire State Building to turn on its dancing new LED lights. They burst from the skyscraper while synchronized with R&B star Alicia Keys singing "Empire State of Mind" on nationwide radio.
RIM stock rises after Goldman Sachs upgradeTORONTO (AP) _ Research In Motion rose Thursday after Goldman Sachs upgraded the phone maker's shares, saying there's a "30 percent chance" RIM's much-delayed BlackBerry 10 smartphones will be a success. THE SPARK: Goldman Sachs analyst Simona Jankowski lifted RIM to "Buy" from "Neutral," the latest analyst to voice a slightly more optimistic view for the troubled company. Goldman lifted its 12-month price target to $16 from $9.
Superheroes, Bond, hobbits vie for effects OscarLOS ANGELES (AP) _ James Bond, Snow White and a whole lot of hobbits and superheroes are in the running for the visual-effects prize at the Academy Awards. The superhero blockbusters "The Avengers," "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Amazing Spider-Man" are among 10 films that made the cut for visual-effects nominations for the Oscars on Feb. 24.
Past hosts teaming for Spike Video Game AwardsLOS ANGELES (AP) _ The Spike Video Game Awards are assembling past hosts. The cable network announced Thursday that the gaming extravaganza's previous emcees would join "The Avengers" star and four-time VGAs host Samuel L. Jackson at next week's show.
Greater email privacy won't hinder law enforcementWASHINGTON (AP) _ Over objections from law enforcement officials, the Senate Judiciary Committee has approved legislation that would require police to obtain a search warrant from a judge before they can review a person's emails or other electronic communications. The bill passed Thursday makes it slightly more difficult for the government to access the content of a consumer's emails and private files from Google, Yahoo, Facebook and other Internet providers. Under the current law, the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a warrant is needed only for emails less than 6 months old.
Review: Rooming with strangers _ a game of trustNEW YORK (AP) _ "Do we still have a TV " That's the text message I got from my husband as I walked up the steps to our Brooklyn apartment on a Friday afternoon this fall. I was fairly sure that we did. I opened the door. Cats, check. TV, check.
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