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ObamaTech : under construction, no more IM 4 U potus, Mac vs PC

In his">first
weekly YouTube address, President Obama has announced the imminent launch of a new site, which will be transparently tracking "how and where your tax dollars are spent". The site will launch following the passage of the Recovery and Reinvestment plan.

It's not all been as progressive as this for the Obama tech-team however, although the President is now being allowed to keep his Blackberry (or at least a modified version of it) none of the staff are to be allowed to use any instant messaging software according to Ben Smith at Politico. Despite only being able to have one conversation at a time during their time in the West Wing, staffers can at least take some comfort in the fact that their less discrete IM chats will never be made public in the future.

Worse than all of this, further reports are suggesting that the Mac-friendly new administration are being forced to use legacy PC systems running something called 'windows', spokesman Bill Burton claimed that moving into the White House was like moving from "an Xbox to an Atari". Bringing change to the troubled United States was nothing - let's see how the new boy fares against a surly IT department.

Flight Sim grounded, sad

Recent job cuts at Microsoft have hit one of the few of their products anyone actually felt any love for. ACES studio in Washington has seen the development team of Microsoft Flight Simulator laid off in a brutal fashion, documented by a staffer's blog post. Lovers of flying might now be advised to look toward the open source Flightgear as an alternative.

Pope creates YouTube channel, unlikely to Tweet

In one of the more unexpected developments of the week, Pope Benedict XVI has launched his YouTube channel. In his most recent post his holiness speaks of the internet promoting the search for truth, a sentiment any Wikipedia user can surely align with.

Mac hits 25

Finally - with Steve Jobs away (hopefully) recovering, Apple Macintosh became twenty-five this last week. To celebrate, here's some footage of the consummate showman's first ever demo of the Macintosh.

Watching this, one begins to understand quite how central he is to the brand.

Death knol?

In the recent culling of a number of its less successful initiatives, Google has stopped development and open-sourced Jaiku, ceased developing Google Notebook but inexplicably continued development on its Wikipedia alternative Knol.

This difficult-to-understand service aims to differentiate from Wikipedia by attracting specialists to write a knol (a 'unit of knowledge') on their chosen subject, the added motivation being that writers might earn revenue from ad-views served on their pages.

Unfortunately, knol has evolved into a seemingly random collection of articles neither weighty enough to be authoritative or trivial enough to be entertaining. Surely knol must end soon?

Iain Simons writes, talks and tweets about videogames and technology. His new book, Play Britannia, is to be published in 2009. He is the director of the GameCity festival at Nottingham Trent University.