Next Xbox won’t bring Anti-rental Technology

March 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Components, News

There have been a heap of rumors of the new Xbox to bring anti-rental technology with it in stow. Which meant that effectively you could only play the game if you bought it brand spanking new yourself. This had the whole used game industry (and the zillions of friend networks) up in knots with worry. However major retailer Gamestop which caters to this market isn’t worried.

Recently Gamestop CEO appeared relaxed about the issue saying that the market for used games is huge and such games have a ‘residual’ value. According to him,  (their) “…partners are good partners. The console companies have great relationships with us”.

But the whole premise of this anti-rental tech seems a tad shallow to me. Its highly unlikely to boost sales significantly, and the market which thrives on used games includes many people who would just not play them otherwise, and spend on DLC packs with the difference.

What do you think, likely to happen?

A Touch Missing: A Glance at the Limitations of Touchscreens

March 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles, Blogs

It doesn’t take a PhD to decipher that no industry has boomed like the cellphone industry in the last decade. Squinting further reveals that the cellphone industry has its own revolutions materializing with the introduction of touch and motion sensitive cellphones. For me, one feature has refused to budge from the legacy it has managed to build: texting.

The iTouch phenomenon may have lured the world into falling in instant love with the addictive and contagious blockbuster called Angry Birds, finding that perfect woman in Siri, and revolutionizing paper wastage in Paper Toss, but when it comes to texting, people still find their hearts and hands longing for feel-able keypads.

It would take regular text-aholics more than all of the goodies iPhones offer, to give up the rounded keys and the satisfying click at every button pressed on a physical keypad. Physical keypads have a language of their own, which stands in stark contrast to the silent, unresponsive and temporary keys that appear on touch-screens. Although the “vibrate on key press” option does its best to compensate for the deprivation, the effort is only adorable at best. It takes me back to the introduction of Tamagotchi pets half a decade back, which only ended up as feeble attempts at making people develop feelings for virtual pets which anyone would struggle to remember now.

Apart from sheer pleasure at discovering how superhumanly fast you can type, its common for people to discover God made their fingers too thick on each side to be able to touch a single letter key at a time. It takes considerable time mastering the techniques to get “in touch” with the letters

even on the qwerty keyboard format you have spent a childhood trying and succeeding in deciphering. Android did come up with creative ideas to try to counter this dilemma. It introduced Swype texting which entails the continuous connecting of letters on the virtual keypad to make up a word. The idea is rich only till you promise to have glossy fingertips every one of the hundred times of the day you need to text back the best friend who knows your sleep patterns better than you, so that your finger wont make premature stops on the G and Y as you struggle to type “fun”.

But then there comes the extent of usability of touch phones for the visually impaired college student. Being a sizeable chunk of the target market means we have a voice that must be heard. This faction of the society must text back while focusing on anything BUT the screens of their cellphones. Their fingers know their way around the physical keypads like the backs of their hands. Their typing speed is admirable as they multi-task; pretending to give a crap to the calculus being taught and texting back pronto. The plastic keypad is braille to the blind. The tragedy of the touch phone is most visible and incurable when the visually impaired (by my definition) use it. They’d be lost on the texture-less surface of the touch screen. Their fingers would wander aimlessly, bearing hope of stumbling across familiar wedges, scratches and raised dots.

Not that I don’t like that glossy bright touch screen as a whole, on the contrary. But apparently some manufacturers seem to know our sorrows too. HTC and Samsung both have mainstream offerings with both a touch screen and a slide-out keypad. Blackberry retains the ubiquitous keypad on almost all its products.

However, it is only too early to make such swiping rulings against the texting conundrum touch phones offer. Who knows what an App tomorrow might bring?

AMD almost acquired NVIDIA before ATI

February 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Industry, Internet, News


Recently, Forbes magazine got an ex-AMD employee to open up about the company. It turns out back in 2006, before AMD acquired ATI in order to get into the GPU business, it almost went ahead and acquired NVIDIA. According to the ex-AMD employee, AMD actually had NVIDIA as first pick ahead of ATI but the deal went under because NVIDIA CEO Huang, insisted on being chief executive of the resulting combined company.

So instead, AMD went ahead with the acquisition of ATI for its fledgling graphics division. And the rest as they say, is history.

NVIDIA has since developed massively on a number of fronts.  It has dominated the graphics processor industry, introduced new technologies like PhysX and stereoscopic 3D vision, and then made a splash in the mobile industry with its Tegra graphics chips and it is still going strong. But then again, who can say that NVIDIA under AMD would have been such a success?

Microsoft to shut down Zune and Windows Live brands

February 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Internet, Microsoft, News, Software


After changing its logo a shortwhile ago, it looks like Microsoft might be doing some major overhauling with its brand names as well.

Apparently Microsoft is planning to shut down the Windows Live and Zune brand names next week when it will announce the preview version of Windows 8 in Barcelona. No reason has been given, but presumably its for better integration of all its services in one place (like that Google Privacy Policy you might’ve heard of).

Most industry watchers say its about time Microsoft fixes the bewildering cocktail of brand names its dumped on the consumer. Especially, why Windows Live was called that when it was accessible from non-Windows devices has long seemed to be beyond comprehension.

In the upcoming Windows 8, Windows Live apps will be put into a collection of pre-installed applications called Windows Communications while Windows Live ID is set to become Microsoft Account. The Zune services will be added to the Xbox Live for Windows brand name.

Via Cnet

Apple iPad 3 to be launched this March

February 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Apple, Gadgets, Industry, Tablets

Apple is set to announce its next-gen iteration of the popular iPad in the first week of March, a new report from AllThingsD reveals.

Sources say Apple is likely to host the launch event for the device in San Francisco, almost exactly year after the company announced its current iPad model. There is no concrete data on when it will be available to buy, but if last years launch of iPad 2 is anything to go byexpect it to be available for purchase two weeks after the launch.

Specifications of the new device are said to be almost entirely what we’ve been led to expect from all the rumours. Experts expect a device similar in form factor to the iPad 2, but powered by a much faster chip (though most probably not a quad-core), with a much improved graphics processing unit, and a wonderful 2048 x 1536 Retina Display resolution to feast your eye on.

Along with the new device, expect a newer version of the OS bringing the necessary iPad 3 exclusive features.

No invites have been sent as yet to the major industry watchers, and Apple has said it wont comment on speculation or rumours.

Source: AllthingsD

Paulo “The Alchemist” Coelho would have you pirate his books

January 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Internet, News, Security

Novelist Paulo Coelho has sold millions of books, including the all time bestseller “The Alchemist” that sold more than 65 million copies worldwide. It is a lesser known fact that he is also a frequent BitTorrent user and has admitted to pirating his own books.

The Brazilian born writer believes that file-sharing is a good thing which should be seen as a means of promotion for writers like himself. He went as far as to volunteer to support The Pirate Bay in a trial all the way in Sweden. Speaking to a popular BitTorrent site Coelho was convinced of the need to see P2P sharing as a helpful, useful tool.

“Since the dawn of time, human beings have felt the need to share – from food to art. Sharing is part of the human condition. A person who does not share is not only selfish, but bitter and alone,” Coelho said, explaining his decision to to share his books on P2P sharing sites.

Publishing his books freely on The Pirate Bay and other BitTorrent sites has actually worked out really well for Coelho. He has sold tens of thousands of extra books because he shared them.

The Pirate Bays main page today shows the collaboration of the most famous BitTorrent site with one of the biggest names in literature of our times. Maybe those pesky anti-piracy lobbyists need a total, ground-up rethink of their ideas.

Counter-Strike map brings ‘The Office’ show to life

January 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Internet, News, Videos

If you’re a fan of the TV show “The Office,” and like Valves evergreen Counter-Strike franchise, you need to see this video. The video shows how a fan of the show has mapped the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Products company in painstaking, bone-breaking detail. The cubicles, the chairs, even the lamps and office supplies are almost exactly like how you would see them placed in the show.

It seems that this project began a good two years ago and the mapper has since logged around 500 hours worth of mapping and amazingly he feels that the map is not yet complete. Since the map is not available for public download, its hard to judge how fun or playable  it will turn out to be.

Apparently, the mapper is now looking for an experienced enthusiast to now take over and take the project through to completion. If you have the necessary skills, do go over to his YouTube page and give him a shout.

Xbox Live games headed to Android, iOS

January 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Mobile Apps, News, Smartphones

One of the best features of Windows Phone, apart from the wonderful user interface, have been the exclusive Xbox Live titles available to them. Although yes, some SonyEricsson phones do have a PlayStation certification which enables them to play PS titles, they remain limited to the Xperia range. Lately an interview with Forbes magazine has indicated that this all might soon begin to change, and we might actually see Xbox titles becoming available on Android/iOS. According to the interview by the Microsoft spokesman,

While the Xbox Live experiences and games always work best on the Windows platform, we understand that some Xbox fans may be using other types of devices. To satisfy that need, we are working to extend a few of our Xbox experiences and titles to other platforms.

Although its too early to say, it does seem like Microsoft is thinking of giving up that exclusivity to Xbox titles which Windows Phone users enjoy. Is such a move wise in the long run? Only time will tell. As of today there are already two titles available for iOS, XBOX Live and Kinectimals, both of which are said to be quite popular.

LG reveals quad-core smartphone

January 21, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Smartphones

LG has recently unveiled the X3, one the first smartphones to pack a quad-core processor. This follows in the footsteps of the earlier HTC Edge (or  Endeavor), and the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S III. Whether the world needs the power is apparently beside the point.

The X3 also packs a Tegra 3 graphics power plant, a generous 4.7″ high-resolution display at 720P resolution, an eight meg snapper on the back and an internal 16GB memory (which can be increased; microSD slot) to complete a rather impressive spec-sheet. And the most impressive part is still managing to cram in all those goodies while keeping thickness at 9mm.

Industry experts expect LTE connectivity along with the standard Bluetooth and WiFi, and the OS to be Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Expect to hear more on the X3 at the Mobile World Congress next month.

Google Plus moves beyond 90 million

January 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Industry, Internet, News

Yesterday Google, the search giant, had some impressive announcements to make about its products. According to the company, Google+ now has over 90 million registered users. According to the report, 60% of them engage the site daily, while 80% engage it weekly. Pretty impressive numbers considering their foray into social networking hasn’t been up for a long time. It was also reported that there are now over 1 million Google+ Pages for businesses.

Other interesting Google statistics include: over 250 million Android devices have been activated in total, over 11 billion downloads have taken place on the Android Market, and Gmail now has over 350 million active users. While Google might not have the 800 million members that Facebook has, it is slowly but surely carving itself a piece of the pie.

Google Plus is the search giants latest service, and offers a significantly different networking experience from Facebook.

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