Wal-Mart releases Black Friday ad:Wal-Mart has published its online ad for Black Friday on Facebook and Walmart.com, and also announced that it will be holding three Black Friday events in its huge retail push the day after Thanksgiving. Really early birds can get in on the deals for toys, home and apparel starting at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving Day — presumably fighting for deals will help you work off the stuffing. “Our customers told us they would rather stay up late to shop than get up early, so we’re going to hold special events on Thanksgiving and Black Friday,” said Duncan Mac Naughton, Wal-Mart’s chief merchandising officer for the United States, in a statement.
Siri’s British voice speaks up: How did Siri find a voice? Three weeks of recording over five thousand sentences, according to Jon Briggs, the man behind the calm and soothing tones of the digital assistant’s British version of Apple’s digital assistant. In an interview with The Telegraph, Briggs said that he only found out that he was the voice of Siri when he saw commercials for the iPhone 4S on television.
Briggs originally recorded the voice-over material for a company called Scansoft about “five or six years ago,” he told the newspaper. He made his way to the iPhone by way of Scansoft’s merger with Nuance, the company that works with Apple on the Siri program.
Apple updates iOS 5 to fix battery issues: Apple released its first patch to iOS 5 on Thursday, which included a patch that “fixes bugs affecting battery life.” The company acknowledged earlier this month that problems with its latest operating system had caused batteries to drain more quickly for some users — after iPhone owners took to the company’s support forums. Apple promised a fix within “a few weeks.”
Facebook restoring “most recent” news feed options”:Facebook has big things planned for the next stage of its development, but is taking a small step back when it comes to its news feed. On Wednesday, Facebook engineering manager Mark Tonkelowitz wrote on a company blog that the social network will again let users sort their news feeds based on what was most recently posted.
Facebook made changes to its news feed in September when it told users that it would tack posts to the top of their news feeds based on how important they appeared to be. After some initial user backlash, complaints about the decision faded to a low rumble, but it could have been enough to get Facebook to reintroduce the option.
Should celebrities write their own tweets?: Twitter: you’ve changed. At least that’s what Ashton Kutcher, the first celebrity to reach 1 million followers on Twitter, seems to think after announcing that he is taking a break from the service. As my Post colleague Jen Chaney noted, he made the decision after tweeting a message defending Penn State coach Joe Paterno, unaware that the legendary coach was fired in the wake of a child sex-abuse scandal.Kutcher then announced that he would stop sending personal messages to his now 8 million followers and turn management of the account over to his publicity team at Katalyst Media.
Zynga reportedly shuffles shares ahead of IPO: A report in the Wall Street Journal Thursday indicated that Zynga chief executive Mark Pincus is asking some employees to give back some of their stock ahead of its initial public offering. The report said that a few early employees who received stock in the company are being asked to renegotiate the terms of their holdings based on performance. Zynga declined to comment on the report.
Dan Primack at Fortune pointed out in his analysis of the article that the company’s actions may not be a sinister as they seem. Employees who underperform are often fired, especially in the fast-moving world of Silicon Valley, he wrote. But in Zynga’s case, he wrote, it seems that the company prefers to find those employees different positions in the company, though perhaps “lower down in the corporate totem pole” in the name of retaining talent.