Tag Archive: media & entertainment


Xbox Boredom Controller

Heart rate, temperature, respiration, and perspiration: These are our autonomous functions-our core physiological processes-that signal stress or arousal and can betray our otherwise cool exteriors. Stanford researcher Gregory Kovacs is reading these signals through a modified Xbox game controller. By adding a new, sensor-laden back plate, he can measure heart rate, blood flow, rate and depth of breath, and how hard and fast the user shakes the controller. In response to these measurements, Kovacs has designed a game that can maximize excitement by adding more stimulus (like bad guys or explosions) whenever a gamer’s heart rate drops. Or it could do the reverse, ramping down the zombie factor for someone who wants to take it easy (but insists on playing zombie games to do so).

Read the full story at Fast Company Design.

BEYONC

Apple Inc. has begun pressuring the major record companies to offer new releases exclusively through its iTunes store – a move that would initially block availability on streaming services such as Spotify or Beats Music, according to several people familiar with the matter. Apple executives contend that on-demand music services have begun to cannibalize download sales, and its representatives are demanding the labels create a period reserved for digital purchasing. Music industry insiders, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals from the industry’s dominant retailer, said Apple’s push for a new release window – similar to the one that some Hollywood studios impose for films newly released for home viewing – shows the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant is scrambling to retain its competitive advantage in an evolving digital music market.

Read the full story at The Los Angeles Times.

Archival Disc

Sony and Panasonic have named the next-generation storage discs that will be the successor to Blu-Ray. They revealed it will be called the Archival Disc. It will eventually hold 1TB of data, the equivalent of 250 DVD films. 300GB versions of the discs will be launched in 2015. They will be aimed at big companies that need to store vast amounts of data. The firms signed an agreement to work on the next-generation storage medium last summer. The first iteration will be a double-sided disc with three layers of data per side with 300GB capacity, it revealed. Current dual-layer Blu-ray discs can store up to 50GB of data. Over time the firms will roll out 500GB and 1TB versions of the disk, a joint statement from the firms said.

Read the full story at The BBC.

Kinect 2.0

North Korea and South Korea are separated by the most heavily armed border on Earth. But rest easy, there’s a new guard on the lookout: Kinect. Self-taught South Korean programmer Jae Kwan Ko developed a Kinect-based software system to monitor the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), which separates the two countries. It was deployed at the border last August, but its existence wasn’t made public until recently. According to news site Hankooki (via tipster Sang), the Kinect-based system identifies objects crossing the DMZ. It can discern the difference between animals and humans. If the system detects a human, it will alert the nearby outpost. Further details are sparse-probably, because this involves national security. “I’ve never even thought of a game system performing national defense tasks,” Ko is quoted as saying.

Read the full story at Kotaku.

Best iPhone Games of 2013

I love year-end lists! It’s my favorite thing about turning over the calendar. Here are my picks for the best iOS games on iPhone and iPad of 2013.

Ridiculous Fishing ($2.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

Ridiculous Fishing is my vote for Best iOS Game of the Year. A ridiculously (no pun intended?) simple concept had me hooked (again with the puns!) for hours. The game asks you to cast your line and avoid fish as long as you can on your way down. Once you hit the bottom – or once you hit a fish – you start to reel your line in and try to snag as many fish as you can on your way back up. When you make it to the surface, blast those fish out of the sky with shotguns and rocket launchers! If you’ve ever played a mobile game that’s had you saying, “Just one more run. I promise,” Ridiculous Fishing is for you. It’ll have you casting your reel just one… more… time… in the goal of getting that top-tier weapon to blast more fish to smithereens.

Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time (free for both the iPhone and iPad version)

In just about any other year, the amount of time I put into Plants vs. Zombies 2 would have far surpassed any other game; that should tell you how much I love this game. The first Plants vs. Zombies game is one of my favorite computer games of all time. This mobile-only sequel works perfectly on the iPad, and makes me forget about playing with a mouse altogether. The game has you defend your house from increasingly tougher hordes of zombies by using plants to ward them off. With dozens of plants and even more zombies, there’s no end to the variety you’ll encounter. Since it’s free, there’s no reason for you not to check this game out. Plus, PopCap is doing its part to help keep this game around – every couple days, I get push notifications to return to my game for new levels, new challenges or new seasonal upgrades.

Knightmare Tower ($2.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

Knightmare Tower is like Fruit Ninja, except the fruit fight back. And instead of fruit, it’s monsters. You’re tasked to rescue a dozen princesses from an evil overlord, and progressing through the levels earns you coins to unlock new stronger weapons, bigger bonuses and better potions. And once you beat the main game, you unlock a Survival Mode where you can keep playing forever… if you’re good enough to survive. The great art style, addictive gameplay and easy-to-understand controls will hook you instantly and keep you coming back for more. I loved this game.

Hundreds ($4.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

What year-end best list would be complete without my first favorite mobile game of the year? This game came out waaaaaaay back in January and occupied most of the time on my flight to and from CES. If you’re looking to show off your iPad’s multi-touch abilities, check this out. This is game is deceptively difficult; you’re asked to make circles grow until their combined total hits 100. The first level is one circle with nothing around it. Hold down your finger and beat the level. Sounds easy, right? Not when you have spikes popping your circles, or when the circles are dancing all around. This made my five-hour flight to CES much more tolerable, and it can do the same for you.

Rayman Fiesta Run ($2.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

Rayman’s returned in a big way the past few years. The franchise has seen two awesome platformers make their way to home consoles, and two on-rails platformers – that might be even better! – make their way to mobile. Fiesta Run is the sequel to Jungle Run, which launched a few years back. It’s very approachable for anyone who picks up an iPad, but can really ramp up the difficulty if you want a challenge. Collecting all the lums throughout the levels will require timing, skill and a whole ton of patience. Plus, the game is gorgeous to look at, so even if you’re frustrated, you can sit back and enjoy the art!

Best (of the Rest) iPhone Games of 2013

BEST OF THE REST: Games I Haven’t Tried Yet

My video game backlog is obscene. I buy far more games every year than I could ever get through. There are a handful of games on the iPad that I think I’ll totally love – I just haven’t played them enough (or at all) to recommend them. If you’re looking for some more games to check out, here are a few I’m looking forward to playing.

  • Badland ($3.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)
  • Cut the Rope 2 ($0.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)
  • DEVICE 6 ($3.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)
  • Pathogen ($0.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)
  • The Room Two ($4.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

Intel

Intel is asking about $500 million for OnCue, the online pay-TV service that the world’s largest chipmaker developed before dialing back its ambitions, according to people with knowledge of the process. Intel is seeking to secure a sale by year-end, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. One suitor, Verizon, has begun talking with owners of broadcast and cable channels about terms for a streaming TV service, the people said. A sale that meets Intel’s asking price would let the company recoup its costs as it retreats on a plan to enter the pay-TV business, while still supplying chips to the new owner. Samsung and Liberty Global also met with Intel, people said earlier. Intel’s TV efforts slowed under Chief Executive Officer Brian M. Krzanich, who took the reins in May and has focused on getting chips into mobile devices.

Read the full story at Bloomberg.

Shelly Palmer chats with Juliet Huddy and Ben Simmoneau on Fox 5 s Good Day Wake Up about the BlackBerry Q10.

Apple

Apple has a new trick up its sleeve as it tries to launch a long-awaited television service: technology that allows viewers to skip commercials and that pays media companies for the skipped views. For more than a year, Apple has been seeking rights from cable companies and television networks for a service that would allow users to watch live and on-demand television over an Apple set-top box or TV. Talks have been slow and proceeding in fits and starts, but things seem to be heating up. In recent discussions, Apple told media executives it wants to offer a “premium” version of the service that would allow users to skip ads and would compensate television networks for the lost revenue, according to people briefed on the conversations. Consumers, of course, are already accustomed to fast-forwarding through commercials on their DVRs, and how Apple’s technology differs is unclear.

Read the full story at JessicaLessin.com.

Aereo

In another victory for Aereo, the controversial TV-over-the-Web startup, a federal appeals court on Tuesday refused to rehear an earlier decision allowing the service to continue in the New York City area. Aereo, which is backed by IAC Chairman Barry Diller, uses antenna/DVR technology to let consumers watch live, local over-the-air television broadcasts on some Internet-connected devices, including the iPad and iPhone. That capability provoked a lawsuit from TV broadcast giants including NBC, ABC, and CBS (the parent of CNET), which allege that the service violates their copyrights and that Aereo must pay them retransmission fees. Today’s decision lets stand a ruling in April in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied a preliminary injunction (PDF) from the TV networks preventing Aereo from transmitting recorded broadcast television programs to subscribers.

Read the full story at CNET.

Google

Google has approached media companies about licensing their content for an Internet TV service that would stream traditional TV programming, people familiar with the matter say. If the Web giant goes ahead with the idea, it would join several other companies planning to offer such “over-the-top” services, delivering cable TV-style packages of channels over broadband connections. Chip company Intel and Sony are both working on similar offerings, while Apple has pitched various TV licensing ideas to media companies in the past couple of years. If launched, the Internet TV services could have major implications for the traditional TV ecosystem, creating new competition for pay TV operators that are already struggling to retain video subscribers. Existing online video players like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon offer on-demand TV, but the latest efforts are aimed at offering conventional channels, allowing consumers to flip through channels just as they would on cable.

Read the full story at the Wall Street Journal.

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