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The Biz Roundup January 4

Apple isn’t worried. They knew this was coming someday and so they made it impossible to change the batteries in their products.

More than half of U.S. consumers plan to cut back on purchases of high-tech products this year . . . The findings are particularly gloomy for newer categories of devices.

(“Consumers to Pare High-Tech Purchases ,” Wall Street Journal, January 4) The good news is that the coming slaughter will include the Zune and Vista, we should all hope.

Thank God! Maybe Web 2.0 is done with and it couldn’t have been sooner! If the recession does one thing right, it would involve more investment in businesses with paying customers. “Free” is soooo 2008.

On Sand Hill Road, the wide boulevard here where investors study ideas in offices tucked behind palm trees and redwoods, the recession has tempered their optimism with caution. . . . But as growth in ad spending online cools and social networking becomes commonplace, the days of trying to be the next YouTube, Facebook or Yelp are over, said Jeremy Liew, managing director at Lightspeed Venture Partners. . . . Instead, investors are looking for sites that make money in ways other than selling ads, like selling subscriptions or virtual goods.

(“In Silicon Valley, Venture Capitalists Turn Cautious and Focus on the Short Term,” New York Times, January 4) I don’t remember Sand Hill Road as a “wide boulevard.” More like a freeway with stop lights. But, nostalgia aside, this is a must-read article. Must. Read. Now. Click the link. Must. Read.

Let’s see. Okay. Search Images. Okay. Hu Jintao sex tape. Yep. Safe search off. Darn! That doesn’t work anymore!

China has launched a nationwide crackdown against websites that officials accused of spreading pornography and threatening youth morals, including the big search engines Google (GOOG.O) and Baidu (BIDU.O).

(“China targets big websites in Internet crackdown,” Reuters, January 5) I’m going to tell you a funny story about doing business in China. I’ve done quite a bit there from a distance and been involved in all sorts of manufacturing deals. But here’s the thing about doing business in China. I can’t send email into China. I’m serious. All my emails get stopped at the Chinese Internet border, what they call “The Great Flaming Wall” or some such nonsense like that. Stopped, stripped, cavity-searched, and deported to the bottom of the virtual ocean the way Augusto Pinochet used to deport people he didn’t like. Why? Because my last name is “Hooker.” That’s right. I can’t send email into China unless I take all mention of my name out of the email. Not in the “from” line, not in the signature, nowhere, no how, or the email gets booted as an affront to delicate Chinese morals. Good thing my first name isn’t Peter, eh?

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