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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Why the Boo.comeback makes sense

There has been much discussion lately, most of it negative (you can read more comments on Technorati), about the comeback of boo.com and once again, I find myself on the opposite side of the shared wisdom. Before I go into reasons as to why I think a comeback by Boo.com (a boo.comeback?) makes sense, let me [...] [more]

2007 Predictions

This year marks the 10th anniversary edition of the TNL.net predictions for the year ahead. In past years, I’ve been batting above 50 percent in terms of predictions, except when it comes to naming what will happen with specific companies. The trends are generally correct (or in some case, early) and I always look at [...] [more]

Sony CEO Stringer Reaffirms Profit Margin Goals

After a bruising 2006, Sony CEO Howard Stringer said the company is prepared to meet its operating profit margin goal for the next fiscal year, though an exact road map of how it'll get there remains in flux. Stringer said he still needs to assess with other top executives how various Sony divisions will help steer the battered behemoth back to health. [more]

SanDisk Unveils Three Media Players

Flash memory maker SanDisk announced three new digital media devices Monday at the International Consumer Electronics Show, including a video player with a four-inch wide-screen display. SanDisk launched its first challenge to Apple Computer's iPod last year with the MP3 player Sansa. [more]

British Terror Threat Alerts Go Online

Instant e-mail warnings of an imminent terrorist attack will be sent to the British public under a new UK system being launched by MI5, the branch of British government that is responsible for protecting the UK against threats to national security. The warning messages will be sent whenever the official terrorist threat level rises to "critical" -- meaning details of a specific plot have been discovered. [more]

Motorola Looks to Boost Sales With Yahoo, Warner Deals

Motorola chief executive Ed Zander rode onto the stage Monday at the International Consumer Electronics Show astride a yellow bicycle, joking that he pedaled all the way from Chicago because his company was on "expense controls." It wasn't the first poke Zander would make about the wireless equipment maker's ailing fortunes. [more]

Schwarzenegger Proposes Universal Health Coverage

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday proposed extending health coverage to California's 6.5 million uninsured residents, promising to spread the cost among businesses, individuals, hospitals, insurers and the government. The governor said his plan will save US$10 billion a year by cutting costs and redirecting money already in the healthcare system. [more]

2007: Biometric Grows, Storage Shrinks, 'Free' Disappears

Making New Year predictions about technology requires a very polished crystal ball. TechNewsWorld asked Eric Openshaw, principal and leader of Deloitte Consulting's Technology, Media & Telecommunications practice in the U.S. to share his forecasts with us. Openshaw offers some sobering insights into the world of consumer technology. [more]

Motorola Music Cell Phone Announced at CES

With Apple Computer poised to invade its turf, Motorola on Monday introduced a new music phone and software aimed at making it easier to buy music online. Apple is expected to unveil a device that mates the mobile phone with its iPod music player, an announcement that could come Tuesday at the company's annual Macworld show in San Francisco. [more]

8GB PSP Memory Stick priced at $300

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not cheapAs expected, Sony will soon roll out its 8GB Memory Stick PRO Duo, priced at $300. That's steep, but given previous trends, the price should plummet quickly. Last summer, the 4GB Memory Stick debuted at $250, but could be found for as low as $65 (SanDisk model) during a recent (but expired) Google Checkout promotion on Buy.com.

PSP firmware v2.81 or higher is needed to use the 8 GB Memory Stick with Sony's portable gaming device.
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Virtual torture experiment revisits classic psych obedience test

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A group of UK scientists recently recreated the ethically-questionable Milgram experiment using a virtual shock-victim. Instead of observing subjects' obedience patterns, the experiment was designed to determine whether or not torturing a virtual being would cause emotional distress. The study seemed to provide evidence of bond-forming between some participants and the virtual character, as 6 of 23 subjects allowed to see and hear the victim refused to carry out the shock treatment to its end.

Scientists hope to use these findings to support the use of virtual beings (in place of real people) in psychological research, allowing researches to conduct otherwise unethical studies. But, as Collision Detection notes, this recent experiment also adds to the ongoing discourse about the affects of video game violence on the human psyche. If on some level of consciousness we do not distinguish between humans and our virtual counterparts, can violence enacted upon these virtual beings in video game worlds desensitize our reactions to real-life suffering? How long before a lawyer points to this study to justify his client's heinous act as a simple case of "GTA made him do it"?

[Via Collision Detection]
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Assassin's Creed nominated for Visual Effects Society awards

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i'm kinda a big deal...Come February 11 Assassin's Creed could be taking home two Visual Effects Society awards, for 'Outstanding Real Time Visuals in a Video Game' and 'Outstanding Pre-Rendered Visuals in a Video Game', as the visual effects organization hosts its fifth annual awards ceremony at the Kodak Grand Ballroom in Hollywood, CA. A pair of impressive accolades would certainly look good on the retail box, but how can a game with an unconfirmed release date be considered for a real time visuals award next month?

We suppose nominating Assassin's Creed for pre-rendered kudos (based on the trailer?) is admissible (as long as the game doesn't win), but don't go heralding Ubisoft's title as a real time effects masterpiece when a playable demo isn't even publicly available. Why not consider Assassin's Creed for a VES award next year; and give credit to current games instead? As it stands, the PlayStation 3 version of Fight Night Round 3 is the only other title nominated in this year's 'Real Time Visuals' category.
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Game designer turns geek mafia

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Before you lynch us for recommending entertainment that's neither electronic nor interactive (books, they're the ultimate retro portable), know that GEEK MAFIA ain't just any book. First, it's hella cheap: $5. Second, the book features as hero protagonist a video game designer who gets entangled in a comic book counterfeiting scheme and uses game design skills to pull off a big con.

Author Rick Dakan's bio includes a hint of the intrigue that may have inspired the novel. According to his bio, Dakan dreamed up the idea for popular MMORPG City of Heroes, helped found Cryptic Studios, and was fired by his business partners three years later.

The kid's got chops, the book's getting props, and the price is right. We bought one.

[Via Seth Godin]

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Asus XG Station external GPU, it works

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http://www.engadget.com/2007/01/08/hands-on-with-the-asus-xg-station-external-gpu/
Engadget scored a CES hands-on look at the Asus XG Station, an external GPU capable of converting your aging laptop into a capable gaming rig. The demo featured two identical laptops with internal Intel GMA 945 processors. Asus reps attached the XG Station to one and left the other bare -- and struggling. The test seemed to prove that the XG Station, which also simulates 5.1 surround sound, is an adequate option for underpowered-laptop owners who enjoy the occasional peek at what's good in PC gaming.
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Image Formats

A side by side visual and size comparison of many file types and output options used in Photoshop. [more]

Windows XP Coffee Mug

How to create a Windows XP styled coffee mug icon. [more]

How to Anime-tize an Image

This tutorial will explain you how to take an image and give an anime-like style. "Anime-tize" it! [more]

Gamestop holding WoW: BC midnight launch

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For those who just can't wait to get their hands on World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade expansion, Gamestop will be holding at many locations a midnight launch on Jan. 16 at 12:01AM.

Certain stores are planning midnight events that will include "costume contests, card game tournaments, screen-shot character judging, and more! Events will vary by location, check with your loc al store for more information." Yes, please check before you show up all dressed up -- unless you're into that sort of thing.

[Thanks Joe]
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Enough talk, have at this Castlevania XBLA video

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Warning: Watching this CES video may lead to excessive yearning and gnashing of teeth upon the realization that the game in question, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is not yet available for download on Xbox Live Arcade. To cope with this inescapable sensation, distract yourself by contemplating your existence as a miserable little pile of secrets (sadly, Dracula neglects to mention exactly what a woman is).

Joking aside, let's ask a serious question: are "fresher" console titles like this more welcome on XBLA than popular coin guzzlers?
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HDR Using Layer Masks

A step-by-step tutorial showing how to achieve High Dynamic Range images using just layer masks. [more]

Sapphire Announces X1950 Pro Dual "Godfather"

Two X1950 Pro GPUs on a single PCIe x16 card... [more]

Making of Elizabeth Tudor

This image was created to improve digital painting technique and you can start the year off by taking inspiration from this artwork. [more]

Xboy's revenge: Zune to play games by July 2008

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In the continuing effort to sling a rock straight into the iPod's forehead, Microsoft has revealed plans to bring games to their Zune series of portable music players. How Zune? According to a Bloomberg.com report, you can expect pleasant beeps and boops to emanate from the player by July 2008. You might recall that Apple also recently embraced gaming on their somewhat popular iPod range.

No specific games have been mentioned yet, though recent CES developments might give you a fairly strong clue. Expect arcade games like Geometry Wars and Uno to make the jump, complete with wireless play and Live Anywhere integration. Popular franchises (hello Halo) may give Microsoft more traction in their struggle against the iPod, at least where portable games are concerned. As New York analyst Michael Gartenburg puts it, "It's not like the music enthusiasts have been flocking to Zune, and they need to really answer Apple in terms of feature pa rity."

With the battle between audio players now spilling into the gaming arena, winners and losers become more and more difficult to spot in the cloud of dust. Can music lovers be swayed by other diversions? And what do the PSP and DS have to say in the matter?

See also: All things Xboy
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Massive Link to the Past hack released

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Those of you lucky enough to get a Wii on launch day have probably already blazed through Twilight Princess and are clamoring for more Zelda goodness. Well, if you don't mind going through back to two dimensions and undertaking some light ROM hacking, Parallel Worlds means more Zelda, less waiting.

This massive hack to the SNES' Link to the Past, released on Dec. 30, was the product of four years work by dozens of contributors, and the results are pretty astounding. A completely new story, new overworld and dungeon maps, new items, new characters and a new interface make this more like a full-on sequel than a simple sprite hack. Download it now before the Nintendo lawyers inevitably swoop in and ruin the fun.

[Thanks CLShortFuse]

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Pan Arab Web Awards - open for entries

The committee for the 2007 Pan Arab Web Awards is currently accepting entries in a bid to honour the best of the web in the region. [more]

Latest ATI "R600," "R610" and "R630" Details

The latest AMD ATI roadmaps reveal details of more DirectX 10 graphics cards... [more]

CES: Yahoo upgrades mobile suite with search app

Yahoo released a test upgrade of its Yahoo Go for Mobile services suite, which includes a new search application.

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Symantec Backup Exec 11d for Windows Servers: New Encryption Capabilities

Security and compliance risks are greater than ever, and businesses depend on their data being protected when stored internally and taken offsite. New encryption capabilities offered by Backup Exec 11d for Windows Servers offer secure protection from unauthorized access. Learn more about encryption capabilities in Backup Exec 11d.

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Symantec Backup Exec 11d for Windows Desktop and Laptop Option: Best Practices for Planning and Deployment

Read this Best Practices whitepaper to learn more about how Backup Exec Desktop and Laptop Option delivers continuous data protection to desktops and laptops whether in the office or on the road. Users can restore their own files and maintain synchronization between multiple desktops and laptops.

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