Saturday, November 17, 2007
Forbes.com has a story predicting the Wii to be the hot toy this Christmas with a limited supply even though Nintendo is churning out as many as it can. GN GamerMetrics analyst Nick Williams says "There's a limited supply, a continuously high demand." The XBox 360 out sold the Wii in September when Microsoft launched Halo 3, but the analysts are expecting Nintendo to come out on top for Christmas. There are no shortage of stories circulating about the Wii being a big hit with the traditional non-gamers and perhaps it's simplicity, the physical nature of the game play, not to mention the $250 price tag, will keep the Wii hot for the foreseeable future.
Friday, November 16, 2007
You don't have to be a musician to appreciate this... it's Gibson's Robot Guitar! While it doesn't play music as I imagined when I heard the name, this guitar tunes itself and it's coming soon to select Gibson dealers. I'm pretty useless when it comes to musical instruments but I'd sure love to demo this guitar. Check it out - with video!
A 17 year old Dutch teen finds himself in hot water, having been arrested by police for theft of virtual items from other users of the social networking and gaming website Habbo Hotel. The teen is accused of stealing 4000 euros ($5700) worth of virtual furniture from other users, and since in game items are purchased with real money, the theft is being treated as it would in the real world. The crime was committed through a phishing type scheme where users were lured to fake websites where their user names and passwords where harvested. The CBC has more here.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Last year Netflix offered programmers a challenge, and dangled a $1 million reward as incentive. The task was to improve upon the company's recommendation system by at least 10%, and to date none of the more than 27,000 entries have succeeded. In order to keep developers interested Netflix is awarding it's first annual prize of $50,000 to the team that achieved the closest margin of 8.5%. The team is composed of 3 employees of AT&T who were paid to work on the project by their employer, the company is being awarded the prize and plans to donate the proceeds. Kudos AT&T! It's nice to see companies embrace these challenges and allow employees to follow such pursuits! CNN story here.
Billboard.com is quoting Paul McCartney as saying "it's all happening soon. Most of us are all sort of ready. The whole thing is primed, ready to go -- there's just maybe one little sticking point left, and I think it's being cleared up as we speak, so it shouldn't be too long. It's down to fine-tuning, but I'm pretty sure it'll be happening next year, 2008." Saying that the delay in bringing the Beatles online is due mostly to contractual details and getting the timing right, McCartney says "You've got to get these things right," Just get it done Paul! The world is waiting...
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
It seems that Check Point is celebrating Patch Tuesday with a little gift... you can download ZoneAlarm anti-spyware from this link today, until 5:00 PM PST, for free! I've never tried their anti-spyware but can honestly say that I ran ZoneAlarm firewall for many years and was quite happy!
In a move that is well past due, comic giant Marvel has made it's classic back catalog available online. Marvel will charge $4.99 per month on a one year membership subscription or $9.99 per month with out the years commitment. As news broke yesterday there must have been a flurry of hits, as the server seemed unreachable for a while, it's up this morning though and for a limited time you can view 250 titles for free. The look is nostalgic, don't expect any slick new images... it's like an e-version of that stack of comics in your closet as a child! Check out Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The CBC is announcing that the number of jobs in Prince Edward Island's fledgling video game industry is about to double to approximately 120 positions. This on the announcement of two new players into P.E.I.'s video game industry. The Province's higher education institutions are seeing the trends and will be pitching in by offering a new video game art and design program at Holland College starting this January. While the University of Prince Edward Island has already begun offering three courses this year, with a full degree in video game programming to be announced in the near future. "If we can do the training for them, then that helps them," said UPEI computer science department chair David LeBlanc. The companies include Longtail an independent game studio with ties to Ubisoft and an unnamed testing and quality assurance company.
The Open Handset Alliance headed up by Google is offering a peek at the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) and some big money to spark creativity amongst developers. In an announcement last week that many believed would be a so called gPhone, Google introduced Android a software platform for mobile phone developers, and the Alliance of over 30 software and hardware companies. This video by Sergey Brin and Steve Horowitz discusses the availability of the SDK and offers a little peek at phone applications developed using the Android Platform. Looks interesting, and with $10 million in incentives you can expect developers to be putting their thinking caps on!
Monday, November 12, 2007
Canada's largest software developer, Cognos, has agreed to a $5 Billion buyout by IBM. The move comes on the heals of similar deals for Cognos competitors Business Objects by SAP and Hyperion Solutions Corp. by Oracle. "We chose Cognos because of its industry-leading technology that is based on open standards," said Steve Mills, senior vice-president in IBM's software group. CBC has more here.
Google faces a federal patent infringement lawsuit filed last week in Marshall, Texas. Marshall is the U.S. court with a history of decisions that have been highly favourable to plaintiffs in patent cases. The plaintiffs are Boston based Jarg Corp. and Northeastern University; Jarg is a startup that was founded by a Northeastern professor and is the exclusive licensee of a search technology that was patented in 1997 ahead of Google incorporation. The Globe and Mail says "The case centres on U.S. patent No. 5,694,593, entitled “Distributed Computer Database System and Method,” which was invented by Dr. Kenneth Baclawski, an associate professor in Northeastern's computer science department." This should get interesting!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) says a supernova discovered last year was caused by two colliding white dwarf stars. A Harvard press release says "The white dwarfs were siblings orbiting each other. They slowly spiraled inward until they merged, touching off a titanic explosion." The image to the left is an artists depiction of the event that was previously only believed to exist in theory. Cool!
There are plenty of ways to sell your home, real estate agents, for sale by owner, and now vizzvox.com. The online service allows agents or individuals to create narrated ads complete with images or video, includes hosting and domain name registration for an annual fee. www.640hobart.com for example is an ad created by a San Mateo, California based real estate agent and helped sell the property within a week of posting. It's a little like Power Point however, an application that I've never really liked... it's very easy to make your presentation really cheesy. The NY Times has more.