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Today in Tech: Tech stocking stuffers, Facebook, Apple store in Grand Central

Techie stocking stuffers: Given the latest estimates from comScore, which say that stores took in $6 billion dollars in sales over Cyber Week, it’s likely that holiday shoppers already have most of their big-ticket items in place for their loved ones. But what about the little “just because” items that make the holidays fun? We’ve put together a list of 15 techie stocking stuffers meant to generate some Christmas morning grins.

Facebook releases top trends of 2011: Getting into the “year in review” spirit, Facebook has released its top 10 most-discussed topics for 2011. The social network’s data team explained that they looked at the number of status mentions per topic to figure out the list, though the company didn’t release the number of mentions associated with each story. Osama bin Laden, the Green Bay Packers and Casey Anthony top the list.

Photo bug on Facebook fixed: Facebook has fixed a bug that inadvertently revealed users’ personal photos. The bug was discovered after people used it to post personal pictures of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The flaw, as first reported by ZDNet, was originally found by members of a body-building forum. The bug took advantage of the network’s mechanism to report inappropriate images. When Facebook users clicked on the “Report” menu to flag an image as pornography or nudity, they were then shown other photos from that reported users’ account — some of which were private — to determine whether they were also inappropriate.

Nintendo releases 3D video update: Nintendo announced Wednesday that it has pushed out an update for the 3DS handheld devices that will let users shoot 3D video. The update, which the company has been promising for months, gives gamers the chance to make their own glassesless 3D stop-motion and continuous videos. Videos can be up to 10 minutes long.

Apple stores: Apple’s stores are recognizable at a glance. Whether you’re looking at the famous glass cube on New York’s Fifth Avenue or marveling at the skylights in London’s Covent Garden store, it’s always clear that you’re looking at an Apple establishment. As the company prepares to open its newest location in New York’s Grand Central Terminal, reports are surfacing about how, exactly, it has carved out a place in one of the city’s most iconic buildings.

The Apple aesthetic goes beyond some maple tables and some shiny gadgets. In an interview with the New York Times, architect Peter Bohlin said that the New York stores were meant to evoke “great marketplaces,” adding that late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was an integral part of the firm’s design plans.

Apple and the iPad trademark: A judge in a Chinese court may have thrown a wrench into Apple’s smooth-running retail operations after finding that the Taiwanese-owned company Proview Technology owns the trademark for the iPad.

More specifically, the Financial Times reported, Proview has owned the trademark for “IPAD” for years, and the two companies have disagreed over whether or not a 2006 deal that granted Apple the “global trademark” to the name in several countries included rights for China or not.

Xbox Live updates TOS: The slick Xbox Live update that finally rolled out to users apparently came with a fly in the ointment — a mandatory change to its terms of service that requires members to agree not to sue or join class-action lawsuits against the company. Instead, the terms ask users to agree to private arbitration in cases of disagreement. Sony rolled out a similar update to its terms of service in September; EA’s Origin cloud gaming service followed shortly thereafter.

The Xbox update is different, however, in that it doesn’t appear that users can opt out of the arbitration agreement. Microsoft confirmed to Kotaku that users have to okay the new clause in order to use Xbox Live.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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