Google Gets DOJ Approval for ITA Acquisition

Google Gets DOJ Approval for ITA Acquisition

itaGoogle has received federal approval for its purchase of travel software company ITA. Google has faced intense scrutiny over the sale from the government as well as from the competition, like Microsoft Bing and Expedia. But it's not a free-for-all, Google will have to adhere to some fairly strict guidelines.

The settlement with the DOJ would require El Goog to use ITA's technology to develop travel software, and continue to fund development in the travel software industry. ITA's existing airfare search engine would need to remain available to Google's competition for a reasonable fee as well. To really drive the point home, the DOJ threatened an antitrust lawsuit should Google pass on the settlement.

Google's goal is to integrate flight information into search results. Users would be able to search for flights, prices, and other conditions to get a list of available tickets. It's yet another effort to keep users on Google sites, instead of just linking off to other services. Do you think Google's purchase of ITA will harm competition?


Photo (Video) Awesome #26: Our Studio is up and Running!

We finally got to spend some time in our brand new video studio, where I was given my first opportunity to ever to use a green screen during a shoot, and my 1,156th (don't quote me there) opportunity to make an ass out of  myself on camera. 

All joking aside, dropping an image seamlessly over a green screen was actually a bit harder than we had anticipated, as you'll see in some slight hiccups in the video. But it was a learning experience, and we're excited to find new and fun ways to utilize the studio moving forward. But, for now, here's us acting like idiots in front of a green screen. Enjoy! 

Have yourselves a fantastic weekend everyone, we'll see ya' next week. 


Cool Site of the Week: Battlestar Galactica Online

Feel like fragging a fraking toaster? Of course you do. You could wait for the inevitable Cylon uprising (this has all happened before, after all), or you can suit up grab a Viper and get you some with Battlestar Galactica Online, our Cool Site of the Week.

Currently in open beta, Battlestar Galactica Online is a browser-based 3D tactical space shooter with content pulled from everyone’s favorite space opera of the past few years. Players can take on the role of either a Colonial or Cylon fighter pilot. At the time we tried this bad boy out, the game’s developers--Bigpoint--were rewarding players who rolled a Cylon with 50% additional experience for ten days. Now there’s some social commentary for you: Even in a world as messed up as this one is, overwhelming numbers of fighter jockeys still want to fly for the good guys. After selecting a faction (we chose to flight for the Colonials, extra experience be damned), you’ll be sent on a brief training missing, which see you quickly move from taking down a few target dummies to participating in a full blown fire fight.

As you progress through the game, you’ll encounter a number of familiar faces from the TV series, be sent on a wide variety of combat missions and be given the opportunity to make microtransactions to improve your character’s combat capabilities. Not too shabby for a free browser-based application.

Be sure to check back every Friday for another edition of Cool Site of the Week.


Jean Bartik, Pioneer Computer Programmer, Passes Away


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When the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer was introduced in 1946 as a tool for calculating the trajectory of artillery shells, it made headlines nationwide as the first all-electronic computer. But there was little mention of Jean Jennings Bartik and the other women who programmed the machine, charting new territory by converting math into a nascent machine language.

Bartik, who died last month and is on the right in the above photo, graduated from Northwest Missouri State University (then Northwest Missouri State Teachers College) with a degree in math and responded to an Army ad for a wartime project at the University of Pennsylvania in 1945. There, along with Frances Elizabeth Holberton, she lead a small team of women programmers at a time when no one even really knew what programming was.

The ENIAC, which used thousands of vacuum tubes, diodes, relays, resistors and capacitors to perform complex arithmetic calculations, was a thousand times faster than the part-electronic, part-mechanical machines that preceded it. Bartik and her team developed the system for translating those mathematical problems into a configuration for the ENIAC's myriad cables and switches.

Bartik worked on the UNIVAC, an early commercial computer, throughout the rest of the decade, leaving the industry in 1951 and returning to work as a programmer from 1967 into the mid-80s, when she was laid off. She worked as a real estate agent for the next 25 years, unable to find work in programming, though in recent years she and her team have rightfully been recognized as pioneers by the computer science community. The ENIAC represented an unparalleled jump computational power—one that no breakthrough has matched since. Jean Bartik and the rest of the ENIAC women were instrumental in making that historic leap.



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