Sony’s tablet computers aim to stand out from the crowd

Sony Corp. last week unveiled its first two tablet computers, with some features that aim to set them apart from the herd of iPad competitors.

The Tablet S, which is about the size of an iPad, can double as a universal remote control. The tablet is wedge-shaped, with one side thicker than the other. The shape mimics that of a magazine that’s been folded over.

The Tablet P is small enough to fit in a purse and opens like a book to reveal two screens. When used for e-book reading, it can be held vertically and show one page on each screen. When composing email, the upper screen can show the message while the lower one shows a keyboard.

The Tablet P will be compatible with AT&T’s cellular broadband network. It will go on sale later this year at a price yet to be determined.

Sony said the Tablet S is going on sale immediately for $499 or $599, depending on how much memory is included.

The tablets tie into other Sony properties. For instance, they will be able to run games created for the original PlayStation and the PlayStation Portable.

Too-social media: Invitation on Facebook launches megaparty

An apartment complex near Colorado State University that used Facebook to advertise “the biggest pool party of the year”‘ got more than it bargained for.

At least 2,000 people, most of them college students, showed up. It wasn’t long before the police followed. Officers had to shut down surrounding streets while they cleared the complex.

Four people were arrested at the Fort Collins apartment complex. Ten people were taken to the hospital, most of them for overconsumption of alcohol or minor injuries.

The use of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to spread word of everything from parties to freedom movements has increased exponentially in recent months. In some cases, the events have led to street trouble.

In Los Angeles in July, a simple tweet by DJ Kaskade telling his followers about a free block party lured thousands of raucous ravers to the landmark Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Things turned rowdy, with revelers hurling bottles at police and some jumping on a squad car.

Study suggests search engines can predict unusual stock trends

Looking for a fresh place to collect stock tips? A University of Kansas research team suggests looking at data from online search engines.

Associate marketing professor Kissan Joseph said there’s growing evidence in various disciplines that online search data can predict behavior. The data that can be retrieved from an engine like Google Insights for Search is a reliable predictor of abnormal stock returns and trading volumes the subsequent week, especially for volatile stocks whose true value is hard to gauge, Joseph said.

The university says in a news release that the team’s research uses S&P 500 firms and covers the period 2005-2008.

Fearing trouble, prison wants inmates thrown off Facebook

Washington prison officials have asked social media giant Facebook to disable inmate accounts.

Department spokesman Chad Lewis says inmates are not allowed to have Internet access. He says Facebook accounts are sometimes set up by relatives or by inmates with contraband cell phones.

Lewis tells Northwest News Network that so far the communications have mostly been with friends and family and not for criminal activity.

But the department is asking Facebook for the same deal the company recently struck with California prisons, where some sinister activity had been alleged. California officials say they found an inmate who used social media to track down his victim.

— From news service reports