Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Call of Duty Elite a cash grab ?

Activision Looks For Another Few Bucks With Call of Duty Elite
Activision today has released some details on the new Call of Duty Elite service. With more than 30 million people having played a "Call of Duty" game online this year, with the average player spending an impressive 170 hours a year they have an attentive audience all vying to be the best and now you can be better, for a fee. The new service will allow you to do the following:

1) Connect with people you want to play with
2) Compete in tournaments and events
3) Improve your gameplay with stats and strategy videos with tips for weapons and maps

They will allow users to test the new service for free with Call of Duty Black Ops with the focus of the service being the fall release of MW3. There is two levels of service with a free basic service and a premium one with a rumored $10 / month fee.
Playing on a PC you can already easily join your friends matches using steam and the stats are already available in black ops (although they may be more detailed which is to be determined). The real value to me seems to be in the tournament play (as all tips will be released online the day after it makes it to the Elite service). For console gamers these may indeed be features but why aren’t these already built in as a part of the games initial cost.
We have increasingly seen additional content (DLC’s) being released after a games release. The sad part as we saw with MW2 is that a majority of the content (if not all) was already created at the time of the games release but was left out so they could charge you for it later. To me this was a blatant cash grab of which this new Elite service is a further extension of. I wonder now though what will be new and exciting in MW3 that will justify the upgrade besides just having the pleasure of also paying a monthly fee. Battlefield 3 please do not follow the same route.
So what do you think?

Use the comment section below to let me know your thoughts, is Elite a cash grab or money well spent and a worthwhile addition ?

The release video for the Elite service below:

Apple Unveils Streaming Music Service iCloud
Apple has officially confirmed a cloud based music streaming service Apple iCloud. It will be officially unveiled at the WWDC keynote speech by Steve Jobs on June 6th in San Francisco. In addition to the iCloud service we see a definite focus on software with releases of ‘Lion’ the eighth release of the Mac OSX as well as the iOS 5 which powers the mobile platform used by the iPod touch, iPad, and iPhone.


When Hot Wheels Comes To Life!
Tanner Faust Broke the world record for a distance jump in a four-wheeled vehicle at the Indianapolis 500 on May 29th 2011 The jump broke former record holder Johnny Greaves' mark of 301 feet. The record breaking jump was set with a 10 story drop down 90 feet of orange track and flew 332 feet through the air."
Foust said: "You're basically going down a really poorly designed rollercoaster, because there are no guard rails... We accounted for everything you could imagine outside of the weather."

Monday, 30 May 2011

Nvida's Project Kal-El, Greek Protests, Iran To Turn Off The Internet

Mobile Gaming About To Look A Lot Better Thanks To Nvidia’s Project Kal-El
All I can say is WOW! The next gen Tegra quad-core chipset code name Kal-El (Superman’s birth name)
The demo below showcases the new tech and demonstrates the power of the new technology (primarily dynamic lighting) beautifully. This is a first of it’s kind for a mobile device I for one can’t wait!

Click HERE for the announcement / post from Nvidia
Greek Protests Erupt in Athens (Again)
The Greeks held a massive 100 Thousand strong protest today in Syntagma square Ekathimerini reports: "Greeks inspired by the Spanish “Indignant” or “Indignados” movement held their largest protest so far in Athens on Sunday, which some estimates put as high as 100,000 people, although a more accurate assessment seemed to be that those taking part exceeded 30,000. No official figure was given for the number of people packing into Syntagma Square in front of Parliament but it was clear that the protest was by far the largest since the movement began on Wednesday."

These protests follow news from the FT that the new bailout of the Greek Economy will include:
unprecedented outside intervention in the Greek economy, including international involvement in tax collection and privatization of state assets, in exchange for new bail-out loans for Athens”
A restructuring of the Greek economy seems to be imminent however prerequisites for the current bail-out have been delayed with the new austerity measures having failed cross-party agreement last Friday. Furthermore a restructuring of Greek debt that can be interpreted as changing the terms of the debt is opposed by the European Central Bank as it could be ruled a default.

Iran Is Planning To Close Open Access To The Internet
Iranian officials have stated that in two years the country will have state controlled internet as a means to enforce Islamic values and reduce influence from the Western world. The new network will run in parallel with the existing open internet at first but a full switch is expected within two years. Users will be forced to use a non-Microsoft Operating System and a search engine like Google or Bing called “Ya Hagh” . The question remains how effective these means to control information can be. We saw recently in Egypt when the government turned off the internet completely for five days it’s citizens were using voicemail versions of Google and Twitter services to communicate with each other and the outside world instead.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Nude gaming parties all the rage in NYC

Nude Gaming
Good Afternoon Internet! I wanted to start today's blog with a new craze spreading throughout New York city, nude gaming parties! No longer do you have to sit at your keyboard in your birthday suit all alone. Check out the video below to watch an interview from such a party:

OK so this whole naked gaming craze is a promotion from Michael Krivicka and his gang at ThinkModo. Essentially the video is in fact an elaborate ad for XtendPlay ergonomic controllers, but come on this was a great idea and has garnered a company that I knew little to nothing about a fair amount of attention.


Lockheed Martin Network hacked!

In a much serious vein  Lockheed Martin, one of the largest defense contractors has suffered a huge security breach. A few months ago RSA was the target of an attack and the keys to it's SecurID tokens compromised. Once breached it was predicted by NSS Labs after an analysis of the attack that one or more clients of RSA would likely be the end target.
Well that prediction has come true and attacks like this threaten the security of current and future weapons technology.  Luckily it has been reported that their broader security has prevented any data from becoming compromised. But as this attack has been described as  systematic targeted attack indicating the party responsible may have been state sponsored and thus with deep pockets and possibly endless resources it serves as a reminder that all the data you think is safe can be vulnerable.


Orlando Bloom to star in The Hobbit movie

It was revealed that Orlando bloom will play Legolas in The Hobbit movie set to release in 2012. This despite the fact that Legolas is not in the book at all. While I did enjoy Orlando's performance in the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy I do find it sacrilege that they would modify the story just to insert an actor. In the LOTR there were many occurrences were characters were cut out, or in the case of Arwen characters merged to provide a larger role for the actor but this seems to cross a line.

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Thanks and have a great weekend!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Water Powered Car, Pip boy 3000, Boston Wins the East

Happy May 28th Internet, I am posting early and will likely not post again today but here are a few stories that caught my eye this morning:

Water powered car!
Japanese company Genepax has unveiled a water powered car!
 A liter of water will keep the car running at 80KM/Hour for an hour and it can run on any kind of water, even tea is reported to be able to run the car. The engine takes hydrogen from the water and releases electrons to power the car.  Details are slim at this point however I would like to know how this car gets around the laws of thermodynamics in that it takes more energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen then is generated by burning the hydrogen.  If it is real this would be a truly revolutionary technology.
The company is currently looking to partner with a major manufacturer to put the car into mass production. You can see the video from Reuters about this story HERE
If you are interested in learning more about water powered cars Wikipedia has an article on them HERE

Real life Pip boy 3000!
OK it’s not “real” but it is a very cool art project over I found on deviantart.com by  user chanced1.  It has also been made to accept an iphone4 for all the touch screen goodness although no word if there is software for it or not to replicate the Pip boy menus . Now all I need is my vault  13 jumpsuit and I will be dressed to impressed this Oct 31st :
Check it out and buy your own HERE

Boston Bruins Win the East
Congrats to Boston on winning the Eastern Conference Finals last night. I think Tampa did a great job and far exceeded everyone’s expectations this season. Roloson was INSANE and stole goal after goal from Boston. Tampa is going to be a beast  of a team in the east for the foreseeable future.  Boston played a good game Thomas posts the shutout but Nathan Horton saved the day scoring the only goal in the game with just over 7 min left on the clock in the third period. You can watch the game winning (and only) goal below.

The Stanley Cup Final will start Wednesday

Friday, 27 May 2011

Microsoft loves Android, PS4 a go, Battlefield 3 love, Paypal VS Google

Lots of great stories out today in the tech world, Microsoft making a pretty penny off of Android phones, the new Playstation 4 console is underway, Paypal declares war on Google and why I will choose to play Battlefield 3 and not Modern Warfare 3.

Microsoft is making a ton of cash from Android phone sales, and more to come
Citi analyst Walter Pritchard released a report this morning that revealed Microsoft is receiving $5.00 per HTC Android phone sold. This fee is collected thanks to a settlement with HTC over patent infringement. The kicker is that Microsoft is suing other Android phone manufacturers as well and is looking to receive between $7.50 and 12.50 per device sold.
For the full story check out the article from Business Insider HERE

Work on the PS4 is “already under way”
According to the Sony’s Chief Financial Officer Masaru Kato “For the home equipment the PS3 still has a product life," said Kato. "But this is a platform business, so for the future platform - when we'll be introducing what product, I cannot discuss - but our development work is already under way.”
Thank god is all I can say, I had previously read reports that they were going to try and string along the 5 year old PS3 for another 5 years. Now we can look forward to E3 2012 where we might get some substantial info on the new console.
You can find more info on this topic HERE
Paypal sues Google for stealing mobile payment secrets (and employees)
I haven’t had much love for Paypal in quite some time and currently only use their service under great duress. I was quite happy to see that Google launched their Wallet service yesterday and although I wish they would have their checkout service have greater adoption first it was still a step in the right direction. Then today I find out that Paypal is suing Google for stealing secrets and recruiting employees. Paypal isn’t fighting a little retailer now with the mom and pop shop, Google has the resources to drag this one out for a while.
PC Mag has the whole scoop HERE
Battlefield 3 VS Modern Warfare 3
The two big war gaming franchises are set to collide this fall with new releases. There is one major difference though. While MW3 is developed for the consoles first and foremost (After all this is where the big cash seems to be these days). The PC version of the game that gets released feels clunky and restrained by the limitations of console hardware.
I personally have many gaming friends that flat out refuse to buy another Modern Warfare title at this point after the huge disappointment of MW2.
On the other hand Battlefield 3 embraces the PC and is one of the only companies in recent times to release a premier title for PC first and will make console versions second. As a PC gamer this is music to my ears. For those that fight in the multilayer battles BF3 will support up to 64 players! This will feel like war and not simply a block party with guns.
Ben Kuchera's article on this very subject can be found on ars technica HERE

Thursday, 26 May 2011

May 26th Premier (test?) post!

Hello Internet, this is the premiere post a test of sorts for this blog.
Please feel free to leave comments below. All constructive criticism is appreciated.

1) How Many Spam Mails Does It Take to Sell $100 of Viagra?
This was a great post from Gizmodo today where it revealed that it takes approximately 12.5 MILLION emails to generate $100. Can you imagine how much trouble those 12.5 million emails cause? For the spammers it still works out well though it costs them pretty much nothing to send out the emails.
For the full story at Gizmodo click HERE

2) Chinese Prisoners Forced to Play World of Warcraft
This story was from the Guardian in the UK where it was revealed that prison camps in China are making more money forcing the prisoners to work in online games then working doing manual labor.
for the full story see HERE

3) Very cool story from ABC News where this guy Daniel Kish who went blind at 13 months has developed a way to use Echo location (like a bat) to "see" objects! He has also been teaching other blind people how to use this ability. Now Scientists have hooked him up to an MRI machine in order to find out what was happening in his brain when he used his talent and they discovered that instead of activating the areas for interpreting sound it was instead using the visual cortex. You can check out the whole story HERE

4)American Idol was won yesterday by Scotty McCreery. While I am not much of an Idol fan these days or of country Music I did see parts of this season and managed to listed to at least one performance from Scotty and his co-finalist Lauren Alaina and honestly I wasn't getting into either one's music. But if you did like them they are talking about doing a duet on Scotty's debut Album.

5) Lindsey Lohan pleaded no contest int he necklace debacle today and was sentenced to 120 days of house arrest. No doubt she will be back out on the streets long before that from her "Good behavior"

6) A possibly ground breaking release from Autodesk who revealed an upcoming web service that will transform a minimum of 40 photos of an object from all angles into a 3D object. This could be from a statue, to your pet. They also indicated that these 3D models will be editable in their most famous product Autocad and that the 3D images will be sharable via Youtube. For the whole story go check out the Autodesk site HERE