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Ever check out the front page on Digg.com and wonder if all those diggs are truly legitimate? Today Wired.com focuses on a trend it calls "crowdhacking," or manipulating online reputations by using the feedback tools found on sites like Digg, eBay, del.icio.us, and others. There's also a piece on Digg's "Bury Brigade," a band of users who account for the most article buries, as well as a first-person account of paying for diggs to hype a purposefully undeserving blog. Interesting stuff. In our view, it's kind of like what the skyrocketing amount of spam is doing to email -- it can't completely kill the tool's usefulness, but it sure can make it less fun.
In Apple news, everything's coming up roses. Mac sales saw 100 percent year-over-year growth in January, up from 55 percent in December. And notebook sales rose 194 percent year-over-year in January. Analysts are predicting a good quarter for iPods, too -- better than they'd thought originally.
Speaking of the iPod, Sony has announced its A800 series of MP3 Video Walkman players, which aim to compete with the iPod nano -- but, strangely, will cost slightly more. (They're coming to Europe in April; the U.S. launch is expected but still unannounced.) We just hope they won't require a firmware update to keep some songs from skipping...cough, cough, ZUNE. Also in music news, the RIAA is opposing a proposed Congressional bill called the Freedom And Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship (FAIR USE) Act (PDF), aimed to reaffirm consumers' fair-use rights. Of course they are.
Similar in one way to the RIAA, the blogosphere has its eye on your wallet: We found analysis of whether the MacBook Pro is a better value than the MacBook. (Although it's got a typo in this sentence: "While one can always upgrade RAM, and the MacBook sells for substantially less than the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Pro supports up to 3GB of RAM, while the MacBook maxes out at 2MB." That should be 2GB.) And Apple Matters estimates that the true cost of owning an iPhone at about $3,000 -- including two years of voice and data service. Which, as the sharp commenters pointed out, would skyrocket the cost of ANY phone, but OK. Apple still thinks it'll sell 10 million in the first year.
Finally, this homemade fuel-cell system can store up to two weeks' worth of power for an off-the-grid abode on on Stuart Island in Washington's Puget Sound. Cool!