Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Microsoft issues a service alert for Xbox Live

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

(Gamespot) – It appears as if Sony isn’t the only one with a malfunctioning online store for its games console today. Microsoft has issued a service alert for Xbox 360 and PC gamers indicating that the Xbox Live Marketplace, Games for Windows – Live Marketplace, and Indie Games channel are all suffering technical difficulties.

“We are aware of the problem and are working to resolve the issue. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience,” the company said in a message posted to its Xbox Support page. Other aspects of Xbox Live, including online matchmaking and login services, continue to function as intended.

GameSpot’s own attempts to access content have yielded mixed results. An attempt to download content from the Xbox Live Marketplace was successful. However, the same cannot be said for Xbox.com, where attempts to access the Xbox Live Marketplace largely returned page-load errors.

Microsoft had not responded to GameSpot’s request for comment on the matter as of press time. Likewise, the company has yet to indicate the cause of the service interruption, or when gamers can expect Xbox Live connectivity to return to normal working condition.

Near 100% of Android phones have a hole, and it isn’t a good hole.

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Yarr, I hope someone did'nt loot my info...dammit.

(Game Politics) – A new report claims that around 99.7 percent of phones using Google’s mobile operating system contain a security hole that can enable hackers to send unencrypted personal data. Mobile devices using the Android operating systems have a weakness that could allow hackers to gain “full access” to private information such as calendar, contact information, and “private web albums,” according to a research group from Germany’s University of Ulm. The security hole could also give hackers the ability to view, modify or delete contacts, calendar events, and private pictures. Thankfully, the security flaw only affects individual phones.

In a new research paper, researchers at the University of Ulm detailed the flaw, testing it for vulnerabilities. They found that some Android applications could transmit unencrypted data, allowing others to “eavesdrop” any of the transmitted information. Researchers were tested to see if they could hack into Android data using a simple third-party application. Apparently they found a lot of success in completing the exercise.

“We wanted to know if it is really possible to launch an impersonation attack against Google services and started our own analysis,” researchers said. “The short answer is: Yes, it is possible, and it is quite easy to do so.”

The hack was tested on various versions of the Android operating system including 2.1, 2.2, 2.2.1, 2.3.3, 2.3.4 and 3.0. Phones used in the test included the Nexus One, HTC Desire, HTC Incredible S, and newly released tablet the Motorola XOOM.

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell backs “brain fitness” website

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Nolan Bushnell founder of Atari.

(Game Politics) – A new web site called Anti-AgingGames.com launched yesterday, offering brain fitness optimized for “mentally healthy people” over the age of 35. The site is the brainchild of Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, who serves as advisor and as the company’s chief game visionary. The company also announced that 20 percent of its pre-tax profits will be given to charity.

The site will offer visitors “scientifically-based brain fitness games” optimized for mentally healthy people over age 35, for a monthly subscription fee. Brain training activities include memory, concentration and focus games, as well as games that provide relaxation and stress reduction.

Anti-AgingGames.com was co-founded by Elizabeth Amini, a former scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory with a background in cognitive science. Co-founder Brent Bushnell serves as Chief Technology Officer. Anti-AgingGames.com’s Scientific Advisory Board includes Bruce McEwen, Ph.D., Neuroscientist at Rockefeller University; Linda Kaplan, M.D., Clinical Neurologist and Professor of Clinical Neurology at University of California, Irvine Medical Center; Simon Tan, Psy.D., A.B.P.P., Neuropsychologist at Stanford University Medical Center; Muriel Lezak, Ph.D., Neuropsychologist and Professor Emerita of Neurology at Oregon Health and Science University; and Michael D. Campos, Ph.D., Staff Program Researcher at UCLA. Bill Lennartz, recently retired President and CEO of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, is Chairman of the Board of Advisors.

“It has been disappointing to watch videogames become increasingly violent and complicated over the years and lacking in fun, socially engaging and educational features. I have long believed that video and computer games could be highly effective, fun educational tools, and I am pleased to see more activity on that front,” says Bushnell.

Hulu Plus gets a date with Xbox Live

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

(Gamespot) – Though the Royal Wedding in the UK will dominate the airwaves on April 29, the day will also mark another significant event in the television realm. Following several days of rumors, Microsoft has confirmed that Hulu Plus will launch on Xbox Live starting tomorrow.

To use Hulu Plus, gamers must be Xbox Live Gold members, at a cost of $60 a year, and also subscribe to Hulu Plus, which costs $10 per month. The service allows users to stream shows and select films from a range of networks, including NBC, Fox, ABC, FX, PBS, Bravo, SyFy, and the Sundance Channel. The free version of Hulu, available on PCs, only lets players watch the most recent episodes of select shows gratis.

Hulu Plus joins such other services as Netflix and ESPN on Xbox Live, along with the Zune video marketplace, which allows for high-definition streaming of films and TV shows. Last November, Hulu Plus became available on the PlayStation Network, where it is accessible at no additional charge from Sony.

Kinect technology creates your own 3D action figure

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Be Your Own Souvenir! from blablabLAB on Vimeo.

This “Be Your Own Souvenir!” was a project run in January in the Catalan capital that let people do their best super pose and have a 3D printer recreate their likeness into a small little figure.

The computer takes pictures with three Kinect cameras while plugged into a network of programs that could take the person’s image in 3D, convert it into the necessary code and then have the 3D printer spit you out as your limited action figure.

I would want to get myself done in a regular “cool guy” version, a limited “I was riding on the back of a girl and fell and broke my femur” version, and the ultra rare “drunk as a skunk with my pants on the ground” version.

Attend any of our BG functions and you could get to see one of these three in person. No really.

[Source]

Commodore 64 system sells out on day 1

Friday, April 8th, 2011

(LA Times) – The new Commodore 64 computer, first released in 1982, appears the same on the outside, but is much different beneath the surface.

It’s still taupe and it’s still basically a big keyboard with a full working computer sitting beneath it, mouse and monitor aren’t included.

But while it has its retro looks intact, it’s also quite new, with modern features even some of today’s computers (Apple, we’re looking at you) haven’t caught up to, such as HDMI outputs to connect to a HDTV and the option of a combination Blu-Ray and DVD player.

“It looks just like the original Commodore 64, with even the old-style keyboard,” said Barry Altman, chief executive of Commodore USA, LLC, the company making the new all-in-one PCs. “In fact, that keyboard was the biggest accomplishment of all, so far. The keys look like a piece of clay that you pushed a marble into, so it fits your fingertip.”

The price for the new Commodore 64 basic model is even the same as it was for a similar base unit in 1982, $595.

Of course, with larger hard drives and that high-definition video Blu-Ray player, a new 64 can cost as much as $895. A $250 model will get a wanting consumer what amounts to just a Commodore 64 shell for those who want to add their own motherboard, DVD player and other innards.

The new Commodore 64 went on sale on the company’s website for the first time Tuesday and sold out within about 24 hours, though Altman isn’t saying just how many have been produced to date.

“We expected our audience to be the nostalgia crowd and that’s true, a lot of people buying them owned an original Commodore 64 back in the ’80s, like me,” he said. “But we’re also finding that there are young kids who are geek geniuses who have iPhones and iPads and things like that and they’re looking at this thing and they’re into it. They’ve actually been a big part of our customer base so far too. It’s been a surprise.”

A second run is selling now, but won’t ship until about May or June, he said.

“We’re having a hard-time keeping our online store up, because the servers are getting overloaded from the amount of traffic,” Altman said. “That’s been a bit of a surprise, too.”

A surprise that he said reinforces his idea to bring back the Commodore brand, which is a passion project for the man who spent 25 years working in the satellite telecommunications industry, which is where he first ran into the small keyboard-box computers.

“Almost 30 years ago, we were filing our paperwork and even payroll manually, we couldn’t afford the expensive IBM machines at the time,” Altman said. “And someone showed us a Commodore and it worked incredibly well to do what we needed to do and we used it for about five or six years and then we upgraded like everyone else, but I’ve always had a love in my heart for that product.”

Just over a year ago, Altman formed Commodore USA LLC and licensed the rights to the Commodore trademark in September precisely to bring back the old box he had a passion for.

The new Commodore 64 maintains the spirit of the old computers, he said.

“It’s a good basic computer for work, for email, for multimedia use, for even basic gaming,” Altman said. “It’s more like a Mac Mini than a little netbook.”

The new machines feature a dual-core Intel Atom 1.8GHz processor, a Nvidia Ion2 graphics chipset, and as much as 4GB of RAM and 1TB of memory. The units run on Ubuntu, an open-source operating system, but are also capable of running Microsoft’s latest OS, Windows 7.

[Full Article at LA Times]

Nintendo says “NO” to NES Phone

Monday, April 4th, 2011

That's a big 'Nintend-No' to a NES Phone.

(CNN) – Playing Super Mario on a Nintendo phone will remain a pipe dream.

Although Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo’s rivals among the “Big Three” gaming companies, have branched into mobile phone development, Nintendo isn’t planning to build a phone or license its games for third-party software platforms, executives for the Japanese company said in interviews.

Instead, the video-game giant is continuing to focus on machines dedicated to entertainment.

“We have no desire to get into telephony,” Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said. “We believe that we will earn our way into someone’s pocket without having to offer that (phone capability) as an additional factor.”

Nintendo isn’t completely discounting the idea, but the high costs involved in cellular carrier partnerships are a roadblock, said Hideki Konno, a top Nintendo producer.

“It’s not that I’m uninterested,” Konno said through a translator. “However, I look at the business model, and I see so many additional costs that come into play.” Splitting revenue with cell operators would affect the retail price of games, he said.

“Would we increase the price of the software itself?” Konno asked. “The distribution couldn’t be free.”

On March 25, Nintendo released the 3DS, the first mainstream gadget available that can show 3-D graphics without the need for special glasses. Games cost about $40, compared with the free and inexpensive applications available for phones. In addition to games, the 3DS also is designed to be able to download movies or stream them via Netflix.

[Full article at CNN.com]

New computer system plays music with brain power

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Think "happy music" now.

London (CNN) -A new computer system which plays music using brainpower alone is being developed by researchers in the UK with the aim of helping people suffering from severe physical disabilities.

The brain-computer music interface (BCMI), which creates music in response to electrical impulses given off in the brain, was recently tested on a patient suffering from Locked-in Syndrome at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability (RHN) in London with encouraging results, say the researchers.

“It started as a musical project which became a scientific project,” said Eduardo Miranda, a composer and computer music specialist from the UK’s University of Plymouth, who co-developed the system.

Technological advances in recent years have fueled interest of brain-computer interfaces, but their ability to provide musical therapy for people who would benefit from it the most remains relatively unexplored, Miranda says.

So, four years ago he set about developing a prototype, before enlisting the help of computer scientists from the UK’s University of Essex and RHN music therapist Wendy Magee to create a working device.

Miranda created four icons which flash at different frequencies on a computer monitor.

When a person looks at a flashing light at a certain frequency, Miranda says, this shows up in an electroencephalograph (EEG), an instrument which measures neural activity on the scalp.

Electrodes pick up these faint signals which are amplified and then fed into a computer.

“When a person looks at one of the flashing icons we can detect which one the person is looking at. What is interesting about this approach is that it is also possible to detect the intensity of the gaze, the more you look at the icon the stronger the EEG signal becomes,” Miranda said.

Miranda created four different music algorithms which translate an icon’s light frequencies into distinct musical processes. Looking at one of them would sound a note, staring at it would change its pitch.

Working on the same principal, the other icons allows users to activate and manipulate rhythm, volume and speed.

[Full article at CNN.com]

Nintendo 3DS: Gaming just may be it’s second mode of operation

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

3DS to pack a multi-media punch!

(CNN.com) – Nintendo 3DS, a glasses-free 3-D handheld video game system, arrives March 27 for $249.99.

But calling it a gaming console may be the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American public. Gaming, it turns out, might be among the least of the system’s capabilities.

The device will also deliver an array of other fully-connected entertainment experiences, according to Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime at the 2011 Game Developers Conference.

From 3-D movies to TV shows, digital music to augmented reality applications, the company is clearly assigning tremendous importance to non-gaming applications.

Though they won’t say it directly, Nintendo clearly plans to make the system a Trojan horse for the larger world of 3-D multimedia. This should scare the competition.

It’s an infinitely more practical, and reasonably priced, 3-D argument than a $1500+ HDTV that tethers you to your couch.

If Nintendo can make this portable device as common and trusted for 3-D entertainment as smartphones are for e-mail or Web surfing, it may single-handedly deliver the breakthrough that carries this technology to mainstream prominence.

Yes, the system will play 3-D versions of premium game franchises like “Street Fighter” and “The Legend of Zelda,” says Fils-Aime. Yes, in the wake of increasing pressure from tens of thousands of readily available free and 99-cent apps, it will redouble efforts to justify $39.99 average software prices by offering “premium experiences you can’t get anywhere else.”

But with free AT&T WiFi hotspot availability, Netflix movie streaming and the ability to create, download and physically interact with 3-D content among its arsenal of tricks, the company may have yet to play its trump card.

[Full article at CNN.com]

Choosing a healthy lifestyle could earn you 200xp.

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Do you lose xp for beer drinking?

(MedGadget) – If a longer, more comfortable life isn’t enough motivation for you to make health-conscious decisions, why not turn the tasks into a game? That’s what San-Francisco startup GreenGoose plans to with its innovative lifestyle tracking platform. The company recently raised $100,000 in funding to build the platform, which uses wireless sensors attached to household objects such as a water bottle, toothbrush, or vitamin container.

GreenGoose’s service doesn’t just track the number of times each week you pick up your toothbrush; the service is part of a points-based game based on the number of healthy activities you perform. GreenGoose has developed adhesive sensors for bottles and containers, a credit-card sized pedometer, and toothbrush sensor, all which communicate with a base station attached to a broadband router. At the moment, the points you earn are not worth anything, but GreenGoose is currently developing an API and seeking partners to help develop the program.

For parents, GreenGoose could be one way to teach your kids proper lifestyle habits and encourage them to stay healthy. For seniors, it could be an enjoyable way to keep up with your medications and stay active.

And, for gamers, a level 50 Health Overlord could be only a few miles of exercise and days of flossing away!










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