How to get your Davos fix on the Web

In case your invitation to the exclusive World Economic Forum got lost in the mail, you can stop feeling so down about it. The closed-doors event in Davos, Switzerland, has loosened up a bit, thanks to the Web and the whole "transparency" thing that's been trendy for the past few years.

Besides, you can bet a few people will be blogging photos from their iPhones anyway.

This year, the World Economic Forum, which runs Wednesday through Sunday, has chosen to take advantage of just about every kind of social-media app you can imagine.

Broadcasts of many of … Read more

News Corp.'s MySpace, 'WSJ' partner on Davos contest

The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is one of those exclusive, highbrow affairs with a guest list tighter than your belt after a pie-eating contest. But social network MySpace is leveling out the playing field by partnering with the Wall Street Journal for a competition called "MySpace Journal," in which an aspiring "citizen journalist" will be awarded the chance to attend the summit later this month.

MySpace is now accepting video submissions in which entrants explain their reasons for wanting to attend and be a member of the Davos press corps. One winner, chosen by … Read more

Yelp jumps across the pond

User-generated business reviews site Yelp has officially launched a U.K. edition, meaning that no business in England, Scotland, or Wales is safe any longer from the wrath of notoriously opinionated Yelpers.

Yelp had already gained a following in the U.K., the company said, because travelers bound for the U.S. use it to look up hotels, restaurants, bars, and the like. More than 100,000 of its visitors in the past month came from the U.K.

San Francisco-based Yelp, which accepts reviews of any business in the U.S. but also clusters businesses into subdirectories by city, … Read more

Zuckerberg: New year, 150 million Facebook users

It was only a matter of time. Social network Facebook says it has hit the milestone of 150 million active users, just more than two months after reaching 120 million and about four months after reaching 100 million. The site hit 140 million in the middle of December.

The announcement was made on the Facebook company blog by founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Should Facebook sustain this rate of growth, the 5-year-old site could hit 200 million users before Zuckerberg reaches his 25th birthday this spring.

Nearly half of those 150 million members, Zuckerberg wrote, use Facebook every day. Most … Read more

The easiest international call you've made

The VoIP solution to international calling isn't for everyone. Luckily, Packet8 offers an easy alternative with Mobile Talk, a no-fuss app that nestles onto your phone and connects you to a local number for a cheaper international call.

MobileTalk lives inertly on your phone until you dial your number, then delays the call by a few seconds to connect you to a local number, then pushes the call through to your destination. Payment conveniently arrives as a separate credit card charge on your statement when you set up your account. The costs are comparable to other phone card and … Read more

International call and response

EQO's handsome display proposes three solutions for keeping in touch with international family and friends: calling, texting, and IM. Calls and texts are free between EQO members, which is a sweet sell for users whose pals dot the globe. Initiating outbound communication within EQO to non-EQO members is also affordable, thanks to rates that compete with "VoIP-out" accounts and calling cards.

EQO's phone book, which accepts imports from your cell phone's contacts roster, features a search-as-you-type field and serves as the launchpad for sending calls and mobile-to-mobile texts. The misleading Messaging tab only stores notes … Read more

Hi5 launches virtual-gift emporium

Social network Hi5 has launched a virtual-gift store and currency called "Hi5 Coins."

Hi5 is big on multiculturalism--the San Francisco-based company enjoys its most loyal following in a number of Latin American countries--so many of the gifts have regional cultural significance. The payment system is handled through the third-party service ClickandBuy, and a total of 36 gifts are available at launch.

Expect virtual-gift services to get even hotter in the social-network world over the next few months, as companies scramble for another form of revenue besides advertising. Facebook has modified its in-house Gifts application to allow for … Read more

The 404 244: Where we're knee deep in Heavy & Flo

Today's show features a new recurring guest segment featuring our two favorite ladies, codenamed Heavy and Flo! They'll join us once a month to bring a very refreshing female presence to this bromance. We're testing their ability to keep up with the dudes, and they pass with flying colors, discussing stories like Bill Murray's spot-on Bruce Wayne impression, Indiana's strict driver's license rules, Heavy's visit to the Playboy mansion, and Rock Band's foray into the Country music scene.

Last week, the dudes and I realized one glaring downfall to our show: all … Read more

Intel completes 32-nanometer chip development

Intel has completed the development phase of its next-generation manufacturing process that shrinks chip circuitry to 32 nanometers, the chipmaker said Tuesday night.

Intel processors are currently made on a 45nm process. Generally, smaller geometries result in faster and more power-efficient processors.

"The company is on track for production readiness of this future generation (of transistors) the fourth quarter of 2009," the chipmaker said in a statement.

Intel said it will provide technical details about the 32nm process technology at the International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) next week in San Francisco.

Finishing the development phase for 32nm … Read more

Twitter: No more outbound texts for Canada

This can't be good. Just a few months after restricting its U.K.-based text-messaging number due to cost issues, Twitter has done the same for Canada.

The microblogging service has cut outbound SMS messages for the folks up north, citing "unexpected changes in our billing." Costs had been doubling for a few months.

Basically, this means Canadian Twitter users will be able to send numbers to its short code, 21212, but not receive them that way. They can instead use the Twitter mobile site or one of many third-party mobile apps to see what their friends … Read more