Archive for October, 2012


Geeks tend to have something of a love/hate relationship with Lucasfilm. Its namesake, the one and only George Lucas, brought us the original Star Wars and Indiana Jones films. However, he also brought us the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The news has just broken that Disney plans to acquire Lucasfilm for $4 billion in cash and stock. Not only that, but Star Wars Episode 7 is being planned for a 2015 release.

Disney has been on a real tear in recent years. After a decade of mediocre movie performance, Disney backed Pixar early on. It later bought the animation giant for $7.4 billion in 2006. Disney also got in on the super hero fad in 2009 when it bought Marvel for $4 billion. In this new Lucasfilm deal, Disney is paying about half that $4 billion in stock and half in cash. Lucasfilm has a single shareholder: George Lucas. I expect he’s planning some renovations to Skywalker ranch now.

Star Wars Disney

Discerning sci-fi fans that have been down on what George Lucas has done with the Star Wars franchise in the last 15 years will be happy to hear that Lucas is stepping away from the company’s day-to-day operation. Kathleen Kennedy, current co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become president of the new Disney-owned venture. Lucas won’t have any official decision making capacity, but is staying on as a “creative consultant.”

While the Star Wars prequels were not received terribly well, it’s still a little sad to see Lucas handing off the franchise. He’s part of history, and even with different people leading the development of a new Star Wars story, fans might never be happy. There is already an established storyline for the post-movie Star Wars universe as laid out by dozens of novels like the awesome Heir to the Empire trilogy. It’s hard to say if these tales will be honored or overwritten.

Make sure you keep an eye on coming developments as the first post-Lucas Star Wars movie takes shape. It’s an exciting time to be a geek.

via ABC News

“Apple says it needs a little longer to finish up work on iTunes 11,” Josh Lowensohn reports for CNET. “The software, which adds a handful of new features and a facelift, was previewed at an event last month, and was originally due by the end of October.”

MacDailyNews Take: iTunes 11 is more than a mere “facelift.” It is a completely redesigned player and a newly remodeled iTunes Store.

“Apple now says the software will be out before the end of next month,” Lowensohn reports. “‘The new iTunes is taking longer than expected and we wanted to take a little extra time to get it right,’ Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told CNET. ‘We look forward to releasing this new version of iTunes with its dramatically simpler and cleaner interface, and seamless integration with iCloud before the end of November.’”

Lowensohn reports, “As of last month, Apple said it had more than 435 million iTunes accounts set up with 1-Click purchasing, meaning accounts with credit cards or other payment options attached. The storefront itself has a catalog of 26 million songs available for purchase, of which there have been 20 billion purchased by consumers during the past nine years. Apple’s last major iteration of iTunes, version 10, was released in September 2010.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, by all means, from now on get it right; don’t ship anything until is worthy of the Apple brand.

Have fun stripping off skeuomorphs, Jony!

Related articles:
Revamped new iTunes 11 user interface hints at future of OS X – October 22, 2012
Apple’s new iTunes 11: Everything you need to know (with video) – September 13, 2012
Apple expected to reveal all new, built-from-the-ground-up iTunes 11 today – September 12, 2012

Studio Roosegaarde

Snowflakes painted on a highway with a special paint illuminates when the temperature drops below freezing.

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Road trips in the not-too-distant future will take on a psychedelic hue with glow-in-dark lane markers that eliminate the need for overhead lighting and dynamic paint that brightens when the temperature drops below freezing and icy conditions prevail.

The glow-in-the-dark roads are treated with a special “foto-luminising powder” that is charged up during the day and illuminates the contours of the road and lane markers at night for up to 10 hours, according to Dutch designer and innovator Daan Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure.

Studio Roosegaarde

Glow-in-the-dark roads are treated with a special foto-luminizing powder that is charged during the day to provide up to 10 hours of lighting at night.

Dynamic paint responds to changes in temperature. A pattern of snowflakes, for example, appears when it is cold and slippery. The concept should help drivers take note of changing weather conditions as they head over a mountain pass.

Studio Roosegaarde

An induction priority lane charges an electric vehicle.

The glow-in-the-dark road and dynamic paint concepts will be realized next year in the Netherlands. Other innovations to debut in the coming years include an induction priority lane that will charge electric cars as they drive, presumably via induction coils that are powered by wind.

Now, put robot in charge of the driving and the future will be now.

– via Treehugger

John Roach is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. To learn more about him, check out his website. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.

Video: Cardboard bicycle gets rolling thanks to origami


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  • weather

Anyone who followed the smartphone scene would know that the LG Nexus 4 has been in the pipeline for quite some time already, and even Hurricane Sandy is unable to make a dent despite the botched Google event in New York City. Natural disasters or not, Google and LG have teamed up to announce the existence of the LG Nexus 4 in an official capacity today, touting a new smartphone that merges best-in-class hardware alongside the best of what Google offers.

Being part of the newest member of the Nexus family, the LG Nexus 4 will be available from next month onward in select markets. This also marks the first time that Google has worked with LG to build a Nexus device, having first partnered with HTC for their first Nexus, followed by the good people over at Samsung.

The LG Nexus 4 is no pushover in terms of hardware specifications for sure, where it will carry a high performance 8-megapixel camera which is capable of capturing stunning Photo Sphere images that lets you shoot photos in every direction which will come together later on. Not only that, you will be able to upload the photos using Instant Upload to the cloud, ensuring that you never need to suffer from the indignation of losing a captured image ever again.

In terms of its display, the Nexus 4 sports a vibrant 4.7″ True HD IPS Plus display at 1280 x 768 pixels resolution that is supported by Zerogap Touch technology. There will be gently curved glass edges that enables your finger to slide smoothly on and off the 320ppi screen that incidentally is protected by scratch resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 2.

Other than that, the LG Nexus 4 will also run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, accompanied by 2GB RAM and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean right out of the box, in addition to the latest Google apps such as the newest version of Google Now which is built-in. There is no word on pricing, but it should reside on the high end side of things for sure.

Press Release
[ LG Nexus 4 officially announced copyright by Coolest Gadgets ]

Hurricane Sandy is due to hit land on late Monday or early Tuesday, and some areas are already experiencing severe weather conditions due to wind and rain. If you’re in the hurricane’s path, make sure you and your iPad are prepared with this list of must have emergency apps.

First Aid and Disaster Preparedness

  • Hurricane by American Red Cross (Free) – This is an iPhone only app, but it’s still handy to have on your iPad. Includes tracking tools and preparation tips.
  • American Red Cross: Shelter View (Free)- A list of all shelter locations during emergencies.
  • WebMD Free – For tips on symptoms and how to treat common injuries.
  • Emergency First Aid & Treatment Guide ($1.99) – Includes CPR guidelines and tips on how to treat burns, shock, heart attacks, and more.
  • SAS Survival Guide for iPad ($5.99) – The definitive guide for survival in any situation with text, videos, photos, and more.

Flashlight

  • Flashlight (Free) – Uses the LED of your phone or ups the screen brightness on your iPad to provide light.
  • Flashlight for iPhone, iPod, and iPad – This is another app with the same functionality. Works on all touch devices and offers bright light when you need it most. Also comes with a built-in SOS signal.

Radio

  • Police Scanner+ ($2.99) – Keep an eye on what’s going on around you. Includes police, fire, EMS, airport, and railroad stations.
  • NOAA Weather Radio HD ($2.99) – Provides NOAA Weather Radio feeds for up to the minute information about storm systems.
  • TuneIn Radio (Free) – Offers access to more than 70,000 radio stations worldwide, so you can get information from sources like CBS, BBC, and more.

Weather

  • Weather+ Free – Offers full screen video and hourly forecasts of weather conditions.
  • NOAA Now (Free) – Keep up to date with the hurricane news with this free app from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • NOAA Hi-Def Radar ($1.99) – Gives a high definition look at the approaching hurricane, where it’s located, and where it’s headed.
  • Hurricane HD ($3.99) – This is the ultimate hurricane tracking app with a live map, exclusive videos, and more.

Maps

  • City Maps 2Go ($1.99) – This app offers more than 7800 maps worldwide. You can access these offline which is great if the power goes out.
  • Pocket Earth Maps Offline ($2.99) – A comprehensive and interactive worldwide map with more than 100,000 locations. Can be used offline.

News Apps

  • CNN app for iPad (Free) – Get the latest up to date coverage with this app.
  • Fox News for iPad (Free) – This app provides all of the Fox News coverage of the hurricane and more.
  • ABC News for iPad (Free) – All the news from ABC.
  • CBS News for iPad (Free) – All the news from CBS.
  • AP Mobile (Free) – For all the latest stories from around the country, you’ll want to get AP Mobile. This is where the news sites get their news.

Recent Games

  • Tentacles: Enter the Dolphin ($0.99) – A fun title to keep your mind off of things. Play as Lemmy, a creature trapped in a dolphin.
  • Dead Stop ($0.99) – A fun zombie-themed tower defense game.
  • Spell Rift for iPad ($2.99) – A great game for word lovers with plenty of gameplay.
  • Letterpress (Free) – A multiplayer game that’s plenty of fun, great if you have internet access.
  • Rayman Jungle Run ($2.99) – This fun game will keep the whole family entertained with its series of jumping and running mini games.
  • Totem Runner ($0.99) – This gorgeous endless runner will keep you amused for hours on end.
  • Finger Tied ($0.99) – A kinetic puzzle game that the whole family can play. It will have your fingers in knots.
  • Crazy Taxi ($4.99) – This hit driving game from Sega has made its way to the iPad.

Magellan has offered quality GPS tools for years, so I shouldn’t be surprised that their GPS Car Kit for the iPhone and iPod touch is a quality product. Apple’s maps app may not be world class, currently, so Magellan offers their own proven Roadmate app

Regardless of the navigation app you use, their GPS Car Kit works great. It rotates and locks in either portrait or landscape mode. Using a clever vise-like grip, it can adjust to accommodate the thickness of an iPhone or

It looks like Samsung’s smartphones are becoming even more popular, according to research firm Strategy Analytics, Samsung shipped a massive 56.9 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2012.

The report also says that there were a total of 162 million smartphones shipped in the third quarter, that means that Samsung shipped around 35 percent of all smartphones for the quarter.

Galaxy Note II

A first look at Apple’s thinner, smaller, cheaper tablet. For more technology stories, click here: abcnews.go.com

Watch today’s Pocketnow Daily as we go through the photos of the Sony Nexus X that were recently discovered. Then we talk about the leaked price rage that we may find for the iPad Mini later this month along with the possible storage and wireless variances. We then discuss Softbank’s recent purchase of Sprint, which still doesn’t necessarily mean anything good or bad for current customers. Then we go through our coverage of the LG Optimus G and our first impressions. We end today’s show by talking about Microsoft’s new Xbox music and what’s good and bad about it. All this and more after the break.
Video Rating: 4 / 5

iMpulse keychain game controller and key finder gains Kickstarter funding

The iMpulse keychain game controller and key finder has gained Kickstarter funded status with pledges of more than double what it needed. The iMpulse is a rather neat looking game controller but where this one differs to all of the others that have come and gone is in the size department. The iMpulse is tiny and is designed to go everywhere your keys go as it comes with its own keychain. On top of being a game controller with dedicated buttons and joystick, it also acts as a key finder to help you find your keys too.

iMpulse is the SMALLEST wireless controller for mobile devices – it’s also a key finder & media controller! (iPhone/iPad, Android, PCs) The iMpulse is built for mobile gaming. You can ALREADY play hundreds of iOS and Android games on the iMpulse, and we’re constantly adding support for more games!

The iMpulse is cute, tough, and kicks butt. You can finally play games like Temple Run, Pac-Man, Air Attack HD, and Dynamite Jack with the true tactile response of real trigger buttons, while you slide the thumbstick with abandon. NO MORE having to dodge your own thumb to SEE where you’re trying to go.

If all of these features were not enough, the iMpulse can also be used to control media playback and become a remote camera shutter controller too. If you like the look of the iMpulse, it’s not too late to become an early adopter. You can be one of the first to get your hands on one by pledging at least $25; be quick as there are only six days left to go. The iMpulse has already attracted nearly $100,000 of pledges so has almost doubled its pledge target for funding.

What do you think of the iMpulse?

Source: Kickstarter

All evidence is pointing to Valve planning on a Steam for Linux beta launch next week during the Ubuntu Developer Conference (UDC). An external beta was already planned for this month with up to 1,000 external players being sought. If Valve intends to keep to its timetable that beta has to happen before the end of Wednesday next week.

UDC begins on Monday and runs through November 1. Valve software engineer Andrew Bliss is already scheduled to give a talk during the conference on Monday, and a page has also appeared on Steam for the official Linux Beta Access group, which already has over 2,500 members.

There’s also an Open Steamworks listing gone live that lists Portal, Serious Sam 3, and Team Fortress 2 as part of the Steam for Linux beta. That’s most likely the final list of games being made available for anyone lucky enough to get accepted into this external beta test. However, Left 4 Dead 2 has already been confirmed as the first Linux-compatible Valve game, so it would be surprising if that title didn’t also feature as part of the beta.

The games line-up makes sense as it consists of both single-player and multiplayer-focused games. The use of Serious Sam 3 also acts as a good test for a third-party title already setup to run on a Linux platform without any help from Valve’s development team.

All will hopefully be revealed next week. If not by Andrew Bliss during his talk, then over on the Valve Linux Team Blog. I’m also hopeful that by the time Steam for Linux launches we will be able to access at least 15 games, all of which are already on Steam and Linux compatible.

via OMG!Ubuntu

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