Tragedy goes high-tech
The tragic shooting at Virginia Tech is a tough story to swallow. The personal accounts are horrifying. The images are graphic. The video confession is disturbing. For better or worse, advances in technology thrust us deeper into stories these days.

Alyce Lomax covered the role of technology during -- and after -- the campus massacre. Students checked up on one another through emails, IMs, and text messages. Web-based technology also played a big role in getting the story out. The Wall Street Journal ran an article about how the Virginia Tech student newspaper was able to scoop mainstream media, scouring the Facebook social networking site for virtual memorials of victims who had yet to be publicly named.

Then we have the role of Blackboard (NASDAQ:BBBB). The e-learning software company played a part in leaking the one-act plays that the killer had written during a playwrighting course last year. A current AOL employee who was in Cho Seung-Hui's class had access to the plays because the course involved reviewing peer scripts online.

Technology doesn't make the pain go away any faster. It often doesn't answer the questions that we have during trying events like the one at Virginia Tech. However, it's here. It's not going away.

On a lighter note
It was a busy week on the news front, so I figured I would boil down many of the top stories in a form that you can share with your non-financial friends.

  • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced that Steve Jobs got paid a buck last year. That has the inner conspiracy theorist in me ticking away, though. Did he really get paid a dollar, or was the buck backdated to the most attractive inflation-adjusted date of 2006? In other words, it that $1.00 salary really closer to $1.03? I want to know!
  • Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) proved mortal, lowering its subscriber acquisition targets for 2007. It had at one point expected to close the year with 1.7 million to 2.1 million more DVD renters, but now it's unlikely to top 1.5 million net subscriber additions. Oh, that Blockbuster (NYSE:BBI)! First it encourages renters to keep their flicks longer, and now it won't return the Netflix subscribers it's been checking out.
  • Vonage (NYSE:VG) revealed that it could be forced to file for bankruptcy if it winds up on the short end of its patent dispute. I guess those Vonage ads are true after all, about making many, many bad decisions.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Blackboard is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. Netflix has been singled out as a Stock Advisor recommendation.  

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, save for Netflix. The Fool has a disclosure policy.