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Thursday, January 04, 2007

2007 May Be Warmest Year Ever

There is a 60 percent chance that 2007 will break the 1998 record as the world's hottest year ever recorded, British climate scientists have reported. This is mostly due to El Nino, a cyclical warming trend now under way in the Pacific Ocean. El Nino can sometimes lead to milder weather, such as in the northeastern United States or the Atlantic Ocean, which may see fewer hurricanes this year. [more]

New Lawsuit Intensifies Scrutiny of Apple, Jobs

A civil lawsuit containing new assertions about Apple Computer's stock options practices is putting the fabled company and CEO Steve Jobs under more intense scrutiny. The lawsuit claims that Apple improperly made grants to three senior executives in August 1997, a day before the company announced a major investment from Microsoft that boosted Apple's stock. [more]

Stimulus 4.1 comes to Intel Macs

Electric Butterfly has released Stimulus 4.1 for Mac OS X, its media browser designed to manage digital music, photos, and video clips. The update is completely redesigned with a new interface that integrates the thumbnail viewer with the file browser, running natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. The software supports 28 popular file...

Apple files for five new patents

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office today published five patent applications filed by Apple Computer in Cupertino. The new patent filings include 'Run-time code injection to perform checks' relating to digital rights management; 'Methods and systems for managing data' related to methods and systems for processing data -- including metadata and an in...

LaCie launches six new storage solutions

LaCie today launched six new storage solutions to accommodate Mac users, and announced its planned presence at Macworld Expo in San Francisco (Booth #S2226) beginning next week. The new products include LaCie's d2 Blu-ray Drive, Quadra Hard Drive, d2 SAFE Hard Drive, Ethernet Disk mini & Ethernet Big Disk, Ethernet Disk RAID, and FireWire Speakers....

OWC to unveil 'Modbook' tablet Mac at Expo

Solution hardware manufacturer Axiotron and Other World Computing (OWC) today announced that they will be unveiling on January 9 the new ModBook, the "first ever" Mac tablet computer solution at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco (booth no. S2218). The ModBook is a high-end slate-style notebook computer solution that features an opt...

Does brain training really work?

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NPR's Morning Edition takes a look at competing theories on the effects of mental exercise on staving off dementia and mental degradation in old age. While the piece doesn't deal specifically with video games, the implications for brain training games like Brain Age and Mind Quiz and even puzzle and adventure games are pretty apparent.

The results are decidedly mixed. One study of nearly 3,000 elderly people showed that a few hours of directed mental exercise could show effects up to five years later, but the improvement was rather modest for most volunteers. Another researcher cited in the NPR report thinks that building a "cognitive reserve" of mental skills before old age is more effective than taking up Sudoku in your autumn years. And then there's genetics, which may play a more important role in the proceedings than a simple crossword puzzle.

The final takeaway? While games and puzzles might be a good way to keep your brain in shape, don't consider them a sure-fire way to prevent Alzheimer's disease. And whatever you do, don't get too frustrated while you play -- research suggests that's avoiding stress and depression can help you maintain good mental health.

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Acclaim & IGA link up for six-game ad deal

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2moons billboardAcclaim and in-game advertising firm IGA Worldwide have agreed to terms on a deal that will place advertisements in six of the publisher's MMOs. According to Acclaim CEO Howard Marks, the IGA partnership will allow the company to continue to offer its online games for free.

Under the terms, ads are set to appear in 2Moons, 9Dragons, DANCE, BOTS, and two additional titles yet to be announced.

See a lso: In-game ads put devs in control
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Projectors big in ME, says BenQ

Electronics vendor BenQ claims that the Middle East is experiencing a surge in popularity for home theatre projectors. According to the vendor, major regional markets such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia have witnessed a boom in demand for projectors which take home viewing to a new level in terms of quality and value for money. [more]

DIC establishes Dubai IT Association

Dubai Internet City has founded the Dubai IT Association with its partners in the emirate in an effort to develop the IT industry in Dubai. The association has been founded in conjunction with a host of vendors including Intel, HP, Nokia and Sun Microsystems. [more]

Application Integration Appliances

Can an appliance handle application integration? Cast Iron says yes.

Visit IT Business Edge for the Application Integration Appliances interview.


New Options for Managing Tiers of Storage in the Enterprise: The Role of the Networked Storage Controller (by IDC)

The most advanced and integrated storage solution is of little use if IT departments do not implement effective storage consolidation, successfully migrate data, and change existing policies to automate repetitive tasks. Learn how to enable more effective deployment of tiered storage solutions.


CES: Disk makers join to push flash-embedded drives

The five largest manufacturers of hard disk drives will work together to promote a new technology that promises to improve system performance.


Cisco to acquire IronPort for $830 million

Cisco Systems Inc. has agreed to buy IronPort Systems Inc., a developer of e-mail and Web security products, for $830 million.


Study: Most managers' info searches are useless

Middle managers spend around two hours a day looking for information -- and most of the time the data they find is useless, according to consulting firm Accenture.


Nikon D40 Eases Transition to Digital SLR World

The proverb "he who hesitates is lost" may be true if you're a member of the Danish aristocracy, but if you've been sitting on the fence about making a move from a point-and-shoot digital camera to a digital SLR, your hesitation may be rewarded. Nikon has introduced a sweet DSLR, the Model D40, aimed at consumers who may have balked at the pricing and complexity of many current cameras. [more]

What Everyone Needs to Know About SOA

The first computers were programmed by electrical engineers moving jumper cables around in the back of a giant mainframe. This is how the concept of a "bug" in software got started. A bug crawled into some of these wires, shorted a couple of them, and changed the logic of a program. In addition to the insect problem, reusability of this kind of software left much to be desired, as you might imagine. [more]

Identity Theft: 100 Million Americans and Counting

The personal information of 100 million Americans has been compromised, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. There are a few ways to avoid joining that number or to get out of the club. In the case of financial data, you will want to monitor the account in question to make sure that no purchases are made using your lost information. [more]

GameSpot editor-in-chief resigns, now a developer

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Greg Kasavin, GameSpot's editor-in-chief, has announced his resignation from game journalism to work for the enemy, an as-of-yet-unnamed game developer, "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get my foot in the door and contribute to one of my favorite gaming franchises."

Kasavin, born 1977 in Moscow, joined the website in 1996. Regardless of what you may think of GameSpot and their review system (2-point inflation, anyone?), the gaming news site is a powerhouse in the industry that carries a lot of weight. We wish Kasavin the best of luck and hope, for sake of curiosity, that we find out soon what studio (and in what aspect) he has found himself a part of.

[Thanks, Einhanderkiller]
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Etisalat boosts BusinessOne bundles

The UAE’s incumbent telco Etisalat has launched new high-bandwidth 3Mbp and 4Mbp internet connection packages aimed squarely at small and medium sized enterprises under the banner of its BusinessOne Broadband service. [more]


Transform a photo into a hand-drawn artwork. Perfect for when you need to fake some homework or just when you need a nice effect on your photo. [more]

Old Gold Text Effect

Simple tutorial, detailing the process of creating an old gold text effect for your typefaces. [more]

Abstract Text

A tutorial showing you how to create an abstract text effect. [more]

Create Realistic Speakers

Design a set of speakers for yourself. [more]

Soccer Layout

Learn how to create a nice football layout for your sport club or online ticketing shop. [more]

100G Ethernet to the masses

The need for bigger pipes for operations like YouTube -- which is experiencing 20% site traffic growth per month -- is driving the move toward 100G Ethernet.


Bluetooth Has Patent Woes

First Wi-Fi, now Bluetooth: On the heels of Australian technology agency CSIRO winning a key patent suit against Buffalo Technology over the use of very specific elements of newer Wi-Fi standards, the University of Washington's patent-licensing arm has sued four electronics makers that incorporate Bluetooth chips made by CSR into their products: Nokia, Samsung, and both Matsushita and its subsidiary Panasonic of North America. The Washington Research Foundation has patents created by an undergraduate and assigned to the school that the WRF claims are infringed by CSR chips. WRF has a licensing agreement in place with CSR's competitor, Broadcom. CSR stated today that the claims are without merit. One article says that WRF sued customers because CSR sells chips worldwide, but the customers deliver products specific to the US market that incorporate CSR chips. The patents were apparently developed in the mid-1990s, according to The Seattle Times, but one of the patents in dispu te was not filed until 2003; it was granted in Oct. 2006. The Bluetooth SIG's members agreed to cross-license technology, but WRF is outside that process.... [more]

Surf, Sand, and Wi-Fi

Wired News published this interesting round up of beaches with Wi-Fi: Florida's Haulover Beach is perhaps the only clothing-optional beach.... [more]

Briefly: reviews; 'Numbers' trademark

In brief: MacNN has reviewed Proporta 2G iPod shuffle cases ($9) as well as Altec Lansing's VS3251 Powered Audio System ($80, shown at right).... MacNN also recently discovered documentation indicating that Apple's one-time trademark application for 'Numbers' -- which was rumored to signal a forthcoming spreadsheet program to strengthen the company...

17" PowerBook owners cry out to Apple

Numerous PowerBook owners are crying out to Apple amidst rampant display issues that are reportedly plaguing their recently-purchased 17-inch notebooks. Many of the affected models, which develop one pixel-wide vertical lines of various primary colors on the screen, begin displaying symptoms about 1-1.5 years after the owners made their purchases. ...

SilverFast 6.5 offers Multisampling

LaserSoft Imaging has released SilverFast 6.5, offering a new function that utilizes various exposures of each scan to increase dynamic range and allow for recognition as well as enhancement of subtle nuances in both shadow and highlight areas. "The SilverFast Multi Exposure function is based on the principle of the distinguished Multisampling Feat...

Rumorang: NiGHTS returning on the Wii

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This is one recurring rumor we'd rather not toss away, instead warmly embracing it and gently scratching behind its furry little ears. Unfortunately, much like realizing the kitten in your hands is actually a squirrel infected with rabies, the truth about a sequel to NiGHTS may just upset you. And tear your face clean off.

If you follow the dubio us rumor treasure trail, you're bound to end up at a Wii release list published on Japanese website, G-rev. Stashed between Animal Crossing and a Naruto game is the tantalizing mention of NiGHTS (or Naitsu), though no accompnaying release date can be found. It could be a remake, a sequel or an elaborate dance interpretation -- or a complete fabrication.

Is the modern Sega even capable of producing a good follow-up to NiGHTS? Would Wii controls shine through the possible dreck of NiGHTS 2: Into Dwiims , now with fly-by shootings and a talking rabbit? Perhaps, but they'll have to make the game before we know.

(In other news, G-rev's Xbox 360 page lists a Radiant Silvergun 3 ... )

[Via Siliconera, Insert Credit]
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GameTap VP of Content: Episodic games should reflect TV shows

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Rick Sanchez, Vice President of Content at GameTap, outlines his thoughts on the potential of episodic games. After defining episodic content -- regularly scheduled chapters of a game that can stand alone -- he focuses on why this method of game design fits the market.

Sanchez says that the production and life of episodic games could reflect a TV show. When looking for a publisher, developers could create an episodic pilot of a game, like t he TV pilot season allows producers to attempt a variety of shows at a relatively low cost. A publisher could order a series of episodes based on the game pilot, and even more episodes could be schedule based on consumer purchases and feedback.

Sanchez also notes that the casual gamer could support the bite-sized style of episodic publishing. We sometimes avoid -- or don't complete -- 60-hour games because we don't have the time. While we're not casual gamers, we prefer frequently playing a game for a short duration. Does the pick-up-and-play aesthetic inherently relate to gameplay -- like Katamari Damacy or Tetris -- or can chapters of a first-person shooter also fit that ideal?
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Play Halo 2, get invited to Halo 3 beta

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Having failed miserably at obtaining entry into this Spring's Halo 3 beta program, you'll no doubt be pleased to learn of yet another opportunity to partake in first-person shooting and having your sexuality questioned by obnoxious brats. In fact, there are 13,333 such opportunities -- all you need to do is endure three hours of Halo 2 online.

It's easy. Play Halo 2 online for three hours between Thursday, Feb. 1, 2007, 12:01 a.m. EST and Feb. 3, 2007, 11:59 p.m. EST. If you survive, rush to the official < a href="">Halo 3 website and be part of the first 13,333 gamers to register in the "Rule of Three" program. If, however, you end up being number 13,334 ... well, you'll have to buy Crackdown.

As previously reported, copies of Crackdown will contain invites to the Halo 3 beta program. Releasing on February 20, the game disc will act as a key to download the required data from Xbox Live Marketplace. Microsoft promises to release further information regarding the program for each region, though NTSC importers stuck in exotic countries may wish to consider the Crackdown route in the meantime.

[Full press release after the break.]

Continue reading Play Halo 2, get invited to Halo 3 beta

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Video game violence documentary trailer

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Dean Takahashi points to the trailer for Spencer Halpin's new documentary, Moral Kombat. Halpin, the brother of the Entertainment Consumers Association founder, Hal, interviewed many people about videogame violence; Jack Thompson, Joe Lieberman, and other frequent speakers against videogame violence join developers, journalists -- including Takahashi -- and others in the movie.

It's hard to read tone into the trailer, but we hope the movie presents a balanced look at the issue. Takahashi notes that production has been finished; we hope to see the full documentary soon.

[Via A+E Interactive]
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