Tech Roundup: Killings Over Firing, Consumer Credit Slashed, Ubuntu for ARM, More

Last Updated Nov 17, 2008 9:04 AM EST

Killings at tech firm over firing -- Someone fired (not laid off) by SiPort allegedly went into the offices with a gun and killed three people. Killed were CEO Sid Agrawal, Vice President of Operations Brian Pugh, and HR Manager Marilyn Lewis. Our sympathies go to their families and friends. [Source: VentureBeat, GigaOM]

Customer credit getting slashed -- Not only are people more reluctant to spend money this holiday season, many won't be able to. Even people who claim they have been making more than minimum payments are hearing from credit card companies that their credit limits are being reduced. [Source: Washington Post]

Microsoft sees Xbox as social network -- Microsoft is trying to turn Xbox 360s into social network gateways. With the New Xbox Experience, it wants to broaden its reach from matching people for gaming to general social networking, particularly as Nintendo's Wii is cleaning everyone else's clock by appealing to a broader audience. But it does seem like wishful thinking, assuming that people gaming on consoles will suddenly see them as a real Internet gateway, especially if their online networks lie elsewhere -- Facebook or MySpace, to name a couple of dominant services. [Source: VentureBeat]

Shift in instant messaging habits -- Many consumers are walking away from standalone instant messaging systems and looking for such capabilities to be built into their favorite sites. Why depend on an application to be installed when you can just get into the web sites you use all the time? That's creating a challenge for vendors in the space -- how to stay relevant and get audience share. [Source: BusinessWeek]

Ubuntu moving to ARM-based netbooks -- Canonical will port Ubuntu to two different chip families from ARM. These processors are generally used for devices like mobile phones and will appear in netbooks. Now the devices can have a full operating system that generally includes an office productivity suit and is known for running with far lower system requirements. It may be that people will have a choice of ultra-small, ultra-cheap mobile devices that ultimately will have a pretty impressive feature set. [Source: CNET]

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    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.