EA Won’t See Star Wars: The Old Republic Profit – Kotick

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Games and Players


LucasArts set to clean up says Activision Blizzard boss.

Star Wars MMORPG The Old Republic will be more of a money-spinner for licensor LucasArts rather than publisher/developer EA, according to rival and Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.

“Lucas is going to be the principal beneficiary of the success of Star Wars,” Kotick told Reuters. “We’ve been in business with Lucas for a long time and the economics will always accrue to the benefit of Lucas, so I don’t really understand how the economics work for Electronic Arts.”

Activision has previously co-published numerous Star Wars games such as entries in the Jedi Knight and Republic Commando series’.

“If you look at the history of the people investing in an MMO and achieving success, it’s a small number,” Kotick warned.

Although no payment model has yet been confirmed for SWTOR, EA is widely expected to employ the traditional MMO model of a montly or annual subscription.

The publisher has previously said it would be profitable with just half a million players.

Blizzard’s World of Warcraft has dominated the subscription MMO space for years, but recently dropped 800,000 players while rivals have switched to free-to-play models.

Given the commitment in terms of both time and cost, analysts have suggested that Star Wars: The Old Republic could steal players away from WoW when it launches on 20 December.

Holiday Gift Guide: the ideal iPod

Author: Arthur Ricky  //  Category: Apple, NDS, PSP, Sony, iPhone

Welcome to TUAW’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide! We’re here to help you choose the best gifts this holiday season, and once you’ve received your gifts we’ll tell you what apps and accessories we think are best for your new Apple gear. Stay tuned every weekday from now until the end of the year for our picks and helpful guides and check our Gift Guide hub to see our guides as they become available. For even more holiday fun, check out sister site Engadget’s gift guide.

If you’re planning to pick up an iPod for your loved one this holiday season, which one would you buy? Apple has a variety of models, and they are all very different. We will help you navigate the buying process and get you all the best accessories, so you can give your recipient the ideal iPod.

iPod 101

The iPod is Apple’s line of media players, and they come in different sizes and colors. The smallest and least expensive is the iPod shuffle. It’s tiny, so tiny it doesn’t even have a screen. It’s just a cube with a scroll wheel and a clip. The shuffle is perfect for folks who want music with a minimal weight and size.

Next up is the iPod nano. The nano is bigger than the shuffle and has a display, which makes it very easy to use, with on-screen controls. Its solid construction and weight and feel make it great for exercising. There’s a lot of accessories for this model, including wrist bands that’ll let you wear the nano as a watch. It’s a great all-purpose media player, with an integrated FM radio, accelerometer (with support for Nike + iPod and screen rotation) and a variety of fun watch faces.

Third in the line is the iPod classic. This model includes a hard drive and offers a relatively large 160 GB of storage. It also has the classic scroll wheel that defined Apple’s early iPod players. Unfortunately, the hard drive limits its usefulness and its battery. Running may be out of the question as the hard drive isn’t as resilient to movement as the rest of the iPod line. The iPod Classic is perfect for someone who wants to carry a large library of music, photos and videos around with them, but doesn’t need a player for exercising.

Finally there’s the iPod touch. This is one of Apple’s most popular iPods because it’s a phone-less, GPS-less version of the iPhone. It runs iOS and is a bit smaller than the iPhone. If you want the iPhone experience without the phone part, then the iPod touch is your best choice.

Headphones

If you want to get the most out of your iPod, then you need a good pair of headphones. The iPods ship with a pair of mediocre ear buds that’ll work in a pinch, but most people will want to upgrade to a better pair. Covering all the variety of styles of headphones is beyond the scope of this guide, but I will highlight a few that we have reviewed, and give you some tips on buying a new pair.

The first decision when you shop for headphones is whether you want a traditional over-the-ear model or ear buds that fit in your ear canal. You also need to decide whether you want wired or wireless. Wireless headphones are a popular option for folks that hate messing with cords. Many connect to your device via Bluetooth and are available as ear buds or over-the-ear cans. The iPod touch is the only player that can support Bluetooth headphones natively. The iPod nano, classic and shuffle can be retro-fitted with Bluetooth if you plug in a Bluetooth adapter like this one from Sony. A Bluetooth adapter is useful, but it will add bulk and weight to your player.

There’s a wide variety of Bluetooth headphones including the popular Sennheiser PX210BT ($150), the Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 bluetooth earbuds ($80), the Creative WP-300 ($80) and the Jaybird Sportsband ($89). Many manufacturers also offer stereo Bluetooth headsets, which can be used for audio on the iPod and later with your iPhone for holding a conversation. We recently looked at the NuForce BT-860 ($79) and found a lot to like about this headset. There’s also a thread at Engadget that discusses the best BT headset for music and calls.

Wired headphones and ear buds are also popular options, as they tend to be less expensive and can have exceptional sound quality. If you can deal with the wire, you can get more bang for your buck. You also don’t have to worry about interference with a wired headset. There are tons of wired models, but you can’t go wrong if you stick with Sennheiser, Grado, Klipsch, Etymotic or Shure.

Cases

People like the iPod because of its large selection of accessories. If you want a particular color or style of case, you will likely find it among the hundreds that are available. Most cases that you find will fit the iPod touch and the classic. The iPod nano is so small that the case selection is not as robust, and the iPod shuffle has its own clip which makes having a case not as important. There are some folio-style and silicone cases for the nano and shuffle, but you will mostly find zippered pouches or arm bands for these smaller players.

Some of our favorite cases for the iPod touch and classic include the premium Vaja cases. They are pricey ($75), but are beautifully designed and hand-crafted from fine leather. A little lower on the price scale is Speck. I’ve owned a few Speck cases for the iPod touch and found them to be durable and reasonably priced (under $30).

DLO makes a variety of inexpensive hard shell cases, folio cases and silicon cases. And, of course, there’s Griffin with a large selection of hard shell, folio and Crystal Clear cases. One of my favorite Griffin cases is the Wristlet ($10) for the iPod nano. It has a wrist strap that makes it easy to find the nano in your bag, and it lets you hang the player on the arm of a treadmill. These cases are just a small sampling of what’s available for the iPods. If you have a case you absolutely love, please mention it in the comments.

Armbands and Watch Bands

The nano and shuffle are small enough that you can slip them into an armband and wear them while you exercise. Similar to the iPod’s case selection, there are many different armbands from which to choose. When shopping for an arm band, look for one that’s easy to take on and off. It should also let you access the controls of the player without difficulty. There’s nothing worse than an arm band that requires you to remove the iPod in order to adjust the volume.

Many of the same manufacturers that make cases for the iPod, also make armbands. If you like your DLO or Griffin case, you may want to look at their armband selection, too. If your looking for a basic armband, Grantwood Technology makes a nice one called the TuneBand ($20). There’s a Tuneband for every iPod touch, 1G-5G nano and the classic. It has a nice fit and feel and is compatible with the Nike + exercise system. There’s also speciality armbands like the RunWallet ($13), also from Grantwood technology, and the Amphibx Fit from H20 Audio. The RunWallet lets you carry your keys, ID, credit/bank Cards, and money; while the Amphibx Fit ($50) is a waterproof armband and headphone combo for nano and shuffle owners.

If you have an iPod nano, you also have the option of using your media player as a watch. The nano ships with several clock faces, and manufacturers like Hex and iWatchz are selling fashionable watch bands that complement the styling of the nano. These watch bands turn your media player into a fashion accessory, and are a compelling reason to choose a nano over the other iPod models.

Docks

Docks are another must-have accessory for your home or office. They let you charge and sync your iPod while keeping it safely in one location. Most pull double duty and function as a speaker or an alarm clock. Docks are one area that the iPod touch excels because it piggybacks on the success of the iPhone. Most specialty iPhone docks, like iHealth’s Blood Pressure Dock, are compatible with the iPod touch because the iPhone and the touch share the same dock connector and the same operating system.

If all you need is an all-purpose dock to charge, sync and listen to music, then you’ll want to take a look at Apple’s Universal dock. It will charge, sync and let you connect the audio out to a speaker. It’ll also pipe video out to a monitor or TV if you have the appropriate cable. The dock ships with an Apple remote that’ll let you control media playback from across the room. The dock uses inserts that’ll fit the entire iPod lineup and all the iPhone models. It ships with five inserts for the iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 3G/3GS, iPod touch (2nd, 3rd, and 4th generations) and the 5th generation iPod nano. You will have to buy an insert separately if you have a model that’s not included in the list above.

There’s a variety of other docks like the JBL On Stage IV ($150) and the Altec Lansing Octiv Duo M202 ($100), both of which are speaker docks and perfect for a living room. The Octiv Duo adds a bit of a twist, as it has slots for two players and software that lets you mix songs from both devices. If you want a dock to use in your bedroom, you should consider the Sony CD Clock Radio ($100) which has an alarm clock and a radio. There’s also the reviveLITE II ($35), a basic dock from Scosche that’s both a LED nightlight and a charger.

Portable Speakers

We covered some speaker options for the iPod in the section about docks, now it’s time to look at speakers you can use outside the home. If you want to travel with your speakers, you’ll have to shed the dock and look for a small speaker setup that’s battery powered. Almost all portable speakers easily fit in a handbag or backpack and are usually inexpensively priced. You won’t get Bose quality sound out of them, but they’re perfect for watching a movie on your iPod touch or listening some tunes on your nano.

One of my favorites is the Altec Lansing Orbit ($30) which has been around for a while and is a solid performer both in durability and sound quality. If you hate dealing with single-use batteries, there’s the iHome IHM79 ($50), which has a rechargeable battery and a magnetic base that lets you stick the two speakers together when you travel.

Earlier this year, we reviewed the iMainGo X ($70) which is a case-style speaker system. The speaker splits open, and the iPod fits inside a zippered compartment. Once the speaker is closed, the iPod is safe from the elements. It’s designed so you can control and view your device without opening the speaker again. Lastly, I couldn’t resist mentioning the GOgroove Panda Pal ($20) and its companion the Koala Pal ($20). They are two portable speakers that GOgroove says “look cute, sound incredible.”

Other Accessories

If headphones, a dock, a case, an armband and a wristband are not enough for you, there are even more accessories you can add to your iPod. iPod touch owners may like Seagate’s GoFlex satellite ($200), a portable drive which lets you stream media stored on the drive to your iPod touch and other WiFi devices. A must-have for travelers is the Mophie juice pack ($35-80 depending on model), a portable battery that’ll charge any iPod you own. There’s also the Nike+ iPod fitness system ($30 for the Sport kit) which uses a sensor and your iPod touch or nano to keep track of your running stats. It’s also works with Nike + iPod compatible gym equipment that has a connector for your iPod.

We hope this list of accessories helps you find the perfect gift for the iPod fan in your life. If you have a favorite product that we missed, please share it in the comments.

Holiday Gift Guide: the ideal iPod originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 28 Nov 2011 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Steam Sale: Fallout NV, Sniper, Total War And Loads More Going Cheap

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Games and Players


PC gamers rejoice, the Steam Sale is here!

Valve has kicked off it’s Autumn sale (somewhat late in our opinion) but there are some great bargains to be had until the discounts end on Sunday 27 November.

Today’s deals include Fallout New Vegas for the paltry sum of £3.75, while the Total War Mega-pack includes pretty much every Creative Assembly RTS ever made, bar the Shogun games for just £8.74.

Sniper Ghost Warrior meanwhile is just £5.99.

There are also plenty of discounted games all over Steam in the publisher sections, while the heabiest discounts will change every 24 hours – at 6pm in the UK.

Hit Steam to see what’s on offer when the time’s up on the current discounts.

Holiday Gift Guide: Buying a printer (Updated)

Author: Arthur Ricky  //  Category: Apple, NDS, iPhone, others

Welcome to TUAW’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide! We’re here to help you choose the best gifts this holiday season, and once you’ve received your gifts we’ll tell you what apps and accessories we think are best for your new Apple gear. Stay tuned every weekday from now until the end of the year for our picks and helpful guides and check our Gift Guide hub to see our guides as they become available. For even more holiday fun, check out sister site Engadget’s gift guide.

Updated to correct AirPrint availability for Lexmark and Epson.

As much as we’d all love to get away from the piles of paper that dominate our lives, it’s still hard to live without a way to commit digital content to paper. Whether you’re printing labels and envelopes, need to print a report for school, or you like to print photos from your iPhone or iPod touch, a printer may be a necessity for most computer users. Printers have come a long way from the days of the slow and noisy ImageWriter II shown above, and now even cheap printers can astound you with their high quality output.

In this edition of our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide, I’ll provide some hints on what you should consider when purchasing a printer to work with your Mac or iOS device. We’ll start with the basic questions you need to ask yourself about the way you print and the features you can’t live without.

All-in-one or print-only?

Most printers these days come in two styles — all-in-one printer/scanner combos (often referred to as multi-function devices or multi-function printers) and just plain printers. All-in-one printers are very useful if you often need to scan documents that have been signed, or if you want to be able to scan printed photos.

Those who are thinking about doing high-quality photo or slide scanning should opt for a separate printer and a specialized photo scanner. While the scanners in the all-in-one models have improved dramatically over the years, they usually can’t match the high resolution, scanning speed, and retouching software that comes with a dedicated photo scanner.

There are some differences in the all-in-one printers as well. Some are designed just for printing and scanning, while others provide the ability to send and receive faxes. If you’re still using the ancient technology of faxing to send documents, you’ll want to look for a model that has the built-in fax modem and RJ-11 telephone port.

Photos, printouts, or both?

The next thing to think about is what you’ll be printing. Photo printing is done on special coated paper that provides either a matte or gloss finish to your images, and even a low-cost photo printer can turn out fairly good printed pictures these days. On the other hand, if you do a lot of photo printing, it’s going to be much less expensive in terms of consumables (ink cartridges and photo paper) to just take your images to a local drugstore or photo shop on an SD card or flash drive for printing.

A 2005 New York Times article noted that printing a 4″ x 6″ photo from a home printer could cost anywhere from 28¢ to 50¢ per image. Consumers in the US can go to a number of retailers and get prints in the range of 10¢ to 16¢ a piece, or easily use one of a score of online photo printing services (including Apple’s built-in print service in iPhoto). Prices of consumables — the print paper and ink — haven’t dropped much, so these numbers are probably still accurate.

What are you paying for? Convenience. You can do one-off prints of favorite pictures in a minute or less. I’ve often been able to upload photo files to a local Walgreen’s store and pick them up in about an hour, which is still pretty convenient.

Most inkjet printers will do both photo and regular printing, so if you still think that you need a printer that does a decent job of making photo hard copies, go with inkjet. Which brings us to our next topic:

Laser or inkjet?

Laser printers have dropped considerably in price over the years while capabilities have soared. In fact, a quick look at the HP website showed two black and white laser printers with a price tag of less than $100. The least expensive color laser printer is now running $149 on sale.

What’s the big attraction of laser printers? Speed. Many laser printers can pop out a first page in less than ten seconds, then churn out pages at anywhere from 12 to 42 pages per minute. For the impatient folks in the crowd, that’s a plus. However, inkjet printers are no longer as poky as they used to be, with print speeds up to 35 pages per minute. Once again, it’s the consumables that will bite you every time.

Toner cartridges are expensive, especially for color laser printers that generally require four cartridges — black, cyan, magenta, and yellow — to print a full range of colors. It’s not uncommon to spend well over $200 for toner cartridges for a color printer, and $75 – $100 for black toner cartridges.

Inkjet printers are also quite inexpensive. HP has a low-end color inkjet printer that is available for $30. How can printer manufacturers sell printers cheaply? It’s easy — they’re using the pricing model that was pioneered by razor manufacturers years ago. You basically give away the razor and then make money on the consumables — the razor blades. In this case, the manufacturer makes a ton of money on ink (or toner) cartridges.

With that $30 printer I was referring to, you get a single black ink cartridge and a single color cartridge, good for about 165 pages of printing. When it’s time to buy a new set of cartridges, you’re looking at $58 — almost twice the cost of the printer! The page yield on those replacement cartridges is about 330 (color) to 480 (black) pages, which adds up quickly.

If you do a lot of printing, I’d recommend a laser printer. The toner cartridges are more expensive, but they also last a lot longer — usually in the range of 1,300 (color) to 2,000 (black) pages. The extra speed is also going to make you happy if you’re printing big reports all of the time.

For photos or casual color printing, it’s inkjet all the way.

USB or wireless?

Back in the day, every printer had a cable. Whether it was AppleTalk, Ethernet or (more recently) USB, you were constrained to printing from a computer that was tethered to a printer. Now many printers come with built-in Wi-Fi (or Bluetooth, rarely) connectivity so that you can print from anywhere on the network.

For those who just want to print from a desktop Mac or PC and don’t mind being anchored to a printer, then USB is just fine. For those who want to print from a laptop, Wi-Fi is the way to go. And for those who want to print wirelessly from an iOS device without an intervening personal computer running something like Printopia, you want to look for an AirPrint-compatible printer.

There’s a full list of AirPrint-savvy devices in this recently updated Apple knowledge base article. Lexmark is represented with the fewest devices (3) and Canon’s list is deceptively long, since most of those model numbers are variations on the three announced printers. Epson & HP, on the other hand, have a relatively complete suite of options there.

HP has the most AirPrint printers, with more than 20 models listed on the company’s US site as supporting direct printing from iOS (Apple’s list of HP devices is longer, including some not sold in the US). Canon recently added three AirPrint-compatible printers to its line and promises that future Pixma photo printers and all-in-ones will also support AirPrint. Epson supports AirPrint on most of the devices that fall under its Epson Connect feature branding; the three printers that don’t support AirPrint do work for photo printing using Epson’s iPrint app.

Conclusion

There are a lot of good printers on the market. Remember when you’re looking for one to use with your Mac that you should make absolutely sure that it supports Mac OS X printing. Printers from most manufacturers, including HP, Canon, Epson, and Lexmark, work very well with Mac OS X, but be sure to check older models for compatibility. If you’re trying to ditch the PC or Mac and just go straight from iOS, then be sure to look for AirPrint compatible printers from HP, Canon, Epson or Lexmark.

Be sure to check manufacturer online stores for deals that you can’t usually find in stores, and also keep an eye out on the Apple Online Store (or ask at Apple retail locations) for free or low-cost printers added to a Mac package.

Whatever printer you decided on, remember that consumables are the biggest part of the lifecycle cost of your printer. Look at the replacement toner or ink cartridge costs before you buy, and try to get a feel for the cost per page that you print.

Printers are becoming less of a necessity for computer users, so think about your needs before you choose. Don’t buy one with all the bells and whistles unless you have money to burn or really need all those capabilities.

Holiday Gift Guide: Buying a printer (Updated) originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sat, 26 Nov 2011 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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PS Vita vs Nintendo 3DS vs iPhone 4S: Specs Compared

Author: Arthur Ricky  //  Category: Games and Players, Nintendo, iPhone

iPhone 4S v PS Viva vs Nintendo 3DS


We compare the PS Vita, Nintendo 3DS and iPhone 4S to see who wins the spec shootout on processor speed, graphics, battery life and screen size

Cookies for Christmas – a newly released holiday app for iPhone

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Apple, NDS, iPhone

San Francisco, California – CulinartMedia, Inc. introduces Cookies for Christmas 1.1, for iOS devices. Thoughts of family gatherings and visiting friends and bringing in the season with delicious treats means it’s time once again to begin baking Christmas cookies. With over 50 recipes, including traditional favorites like gingerbread and shortbread to new favorites like panettone and sevillanas, this app makes it easy to bake great-tasting treats at home. Each recipe displays step-by-step color photos, ingredient listings, in-built timer, and shopping and favorite lists along with videos and a “know-how” section.

Take the hassle out of the holidays, with an app that features delicious recipes from A-Z, including categories – Traditional, Quick & Easy, Contemporary and International – all making it easier for you to locate recipes, create shopping lists and prepare and bake Christmas cookies at home.

The iPhone app is fully downloadable with no wait times or connections needed to import recipes or other features, making access to recipes, favorites and shopping lists quicker and easier.

Feature Highlights:
* Descriptions of key ingredients with color photographs and illustrations
* Simple preparation and dispatch of invitations for events
* Innovative shopping and favorite list generation
* Instructional videos
* “Know-How” section with cooking tips and photos
* Built-in timer
* Convenience of adding notes to recipes
* Ingredient calculator that determines exact quantity of ingredients for each recipe based on quantity needed
* Saves recipes to one shopping list, combining and saving all ingredients into one list
* Quick sharing of recipes through social networks like Facebook and email

About iCook2day:
iCook2day is a new international publisher focusing on food and drink related content for mobile applications developed by CulinartMedia, Inc. Our main objective is to fully utilize the technical capabilities of the new electronic media to provide consumers with a more dynamic, livelier and more useful food preparation experience.

Device Requirements:
* Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch
* Requires iOS 4.0 or later
* 200 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Cookies for Christmas is $1.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Books category.

CulinartMedia
iCook2day
Cookies for Christmas 1.1
Purchase and Download
Media Assets
App Icon

Based in San Francisco, California. CulinartMedia, Inc., a US and German based software developer, specializes in developing revolutionary culinary apps and software that offer users heightened skills and techniques to increase their cooking capabilities. CulinartMedia is climbing the ranks of culinary apps, and is quickly making a prominent stamp on the food world. CulinartMedia is focused on creating user-friendly apps that appeal to both professional chefs and the broad population. Copyright (C) 2011 CulinartMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Microsoft Doesn’t Get It, Episode 65,536: TellMe versus Siri

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Apple, Microsoft, NDS, iPhone

As with all new technologies developed by or associated with Apple, competitors are stumbling over one another to dismiss Siri. Google has already played the “yawn” card, and now Microsoft’s Craig Mundie has joined the fray during an interview with Forbes. Here are Mundie’s remarks when asked about Siri, proving for the 65,536th time that Microsoft Doesn’t Get It:

“TellMe facility’s been in the Windows 7 Phone (sic) for more than a year! I just think that people are infatuated with Apple announcing it… it’s good marketing. At least as a technological capability, you could argue that Microsoft has had a similar capability in Windows phones for more than a year. You could take these Windows phones and pick them up and say, ‘Text Eric,’ and it’ll say, ‘What do you want to say?’ and it transcribes it… You can query anything through Bing by just saying the words. I mean, all that’s already there. Completely functional, been there for a year.”

Can you really just pick up one of these Windows phones and use it right out of the box in the way Mundie claims? Not if the results of a video comparing TellMe versus Siri are any indication. Using Siri and TellMe simultaneously, an Australian user tries to create a meeting, send a text, check the time in Perth, and play songs by a certain artist. Siri doesn’t miss a beat, while TellMe fails every time, often with hilarious results.

Let’s issue some apologetics for TellMe: maybe it’s tripping over the Aussie accent. Maybe it needs to “learn” the speaker’s voice over time to deliver better results. Maybe the handset’s microphone wasn’t picking up his voice well enough to decipher his commands accurately. But the side-by-side comparison doesn’t lie; Siri kicked TellMe’s butt up and down the block.

The comparison video even handicapped Siri by using the sort of stilted, standardized voice commands that Android and Windows Phone 7 have indeed “already had for over a year.” But the thing that Siri’s detractors must keep in mind is that Siri is not just speech recognition. In fact, if you’re one of Apple’s competitors, and you’re going to try talking about Siri intelligently, I’d say the first step is writing “Siri is not just speech recognition” on a chalkboard 100 times.

Certainly Android and Windows Phone 7 have had basic speech recognition functions before Siri’s debut, but can you have a conversation with those implementations, or do you have to stick to a strict set of commands that the OS can interpret? You’re certainly going to have a hard time convincing me that I can have this sort of interaction with TellMe on Windows Phone 7:

“I’m in Chicago. I want pizza.” (I’m actually over 13,000 kilometers from Chicago, but never mind that.)
“I found a number of pizza restaurants in Chicago, IL, US.”
“How about New York City?”
“I found a number of pizza restaurants in New York City, NY, US.”
“Maybe hamburgers in Miami instead.”
“I found a number of burger restaurants in Miami, FL, US.”
“How windy is it?”
“The wind speed is currently 26 kph (ENE) in Miami, FL, US.”
“No, how windy is it here?”
“Wind speed is currently 21 kph.”
“Is it shorts weather?”
“Here’s the forecast for today through this Thursday.”

What makes Siri a revolutionary voice-controlled interface is the fact that you don’t have to stick to the standard “Search for pizza restaurants in Chicago” or “What is the current wind speed in Palmerston North, New Zealand” language that other interfaces require. Even more than that, Siri understands conversational context in a way that competing voice interfaces don’t.

Fine, Android and Windows Phone 7 beat Siri to market by being able to ask your phone questions, but that’s like the difference between issuing commands to your dog versus talking to a three-year-old human being. My greyhound is pretty much a canine genius, but once you stray from the hundred or so commands and concepts I’ve programmed into her doggy brain, she’s every bit as lost as TellMe would be if I asked it “Is it shorts weather?”

Siri is far closer to being able to understand natural speech the way a human would; it’s not quite there yet, but it’s often amazing how close it gets. On my first day with the iPhone 4S, I set a half-hour timer and later asked Siri “How’s that timer doing?” fully expecting it to choke. Instead, it showed me the timer immediately. I was startled that it worked at all, and worked well, and moments like this prove that Siri isn’t the also-ran that people like Microsoft’s Mundie are trying to claim it is.

Here’s the funniest part: just like Multi-Touch, I suspect Apple’s competitors are only being dismissive about Siri for as long as it takes for them to copy it… badly. Meanwhile, Siri and I will be over here waiting for you to catch up.

“Play some Led Zeppelin.”
“Here’s your Led Zeppelin.”

And of all things, what plays? “Communication Breakdown.” Siri, you so crazy.

Microsoft Doesn’t Get It, Episode 65,536: TellMe versus Siri originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 25 Nov 2011 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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All PS3 Games Remotely Playable On PS Vita – Report

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Games and Players, PS3, Sony


Does future firmware holds the key to rumoured feature?

PlayStation 3 games will all be remotely-playable on PS Vita following a  firmware update according to report.

Remote-play has been demoed as a PS Vita function in the past, but Sony has yet to confirm it as such an all-encompassing feature.

We saw PS3/PS Vita cross-play demoed at Sony’s PS Vita experience event earlier this week and can report that cross-platform multiplayer on games like Wipeout 2048 worked perfectly smoothly, with both systems delivering 60fps visuals.

The recent PS Vita press release cited the Cross-Play feature as “the ability to play head to head in real time across platforms. PS Vita can connect wirelessly to PS3 allowing PS3 quality graphics to be seen on the PS Vita’s beautiful five-inch OLED Screen.”

PS Vita launches in Japan next month, before hitting the US and Europe on 22 February – get all the UK release details here.

Kindle Fire vs iPad: How to decide

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Apple, iPhone

If there’s any real comparison to be made between Apples and orange, it’s the iPad and Kindle Fire use cases. After having spent a couple of weeks with Kindle, there’s much to be said for the device. I’m quite fond of mine, frankly. But to paraphrase the late Sen. Bentsen, I know iPad, I served with iPad, and the Kindle Fire is not the iPad.

As we enter into the holiday shopping season, a lot of people are asking me: should I buy a Kindle Fire or an iPad? Here’s a run-down to help explain how you can make that choice, and you can also watch TUAW TV Live at 5 PM ET today (or later when the video is embedded) to see Steve Sande and me talk about this very topic.

At just under $200, the Kindle Fire offers many of the same surface features the iPad does: a small mobile device powered by a touch screen interface. However, the Kindle Fire functions primarily as an Amazon multimedia consumption device.

An accessory to the Amazon Prime service, the Fire offers a huge library of streaming movies and TV shows, tight integration with your Amazon Cloud music account and your Kindle ebook library. If you are a big Amazon customer and you subscribe to Prime, you’ll love the way you can seamlessly access this media.

The Fire’s wins include its size, portability, low cost factor, and streaming media integration. I can easily put my Fire in my purse (not my backpack, my purse) and pull it out to read books using a significantly bigger screen than my iPhone.

The drawbacks are these. First, there’s no 3G on offer for the Fire. You can only consume streaming TV and movies when you’re located at a Wi-Fi hotspot. Although you can purchase and download video, music, apps, and books the Fire goes “network dark” (so to speak), away from those hotspots you can only enjoy the material stored locally on the device.

Second, the apps and book reader are acceptable but they are not compelling reasons to purchase the device. The apps aren’t as good as those you find on the iPhone or iPad, and the book reader isn’t as good as the eInk rendering you get on traditional Kindles. The screen is shiny, no getting around that.

That eInk and size factor is the big win for traditional Kindles. If you want to read books outside with a screen that remains readable despite sun glare, you’re not going to do better than a standard Kindle. What you don’t get includes apps, video, full web browsing and so forth, items brought to the table by the Kindle Fire.

Then there’s the iPad. The most expensive of this bunch, it does everything well but it does it with a shiny screen and a larger form factor. My knee jerk response when it comes to the iPad is this: if you don’t have one and you don’t know why you need one, just go and buy one. In a couple of weeks, you’ll know why this is the best mobile device in your life ever. (You’ll want to pick up an iPhone a few weeks after that. The iPad is a gateway drug.)

The iPad excels at many things: movie watching, game playing, book reading, checking in at work, editing documents, downloading apps, etc. If the current iPad 2 entry price is too high for you, go ahead and buy a second-hand original iPad for about the same cost as a Kindle Fire.

That doesn’t mean I don’t recommend the original or Fire Kindles. I do. Their price points are insanely good, and the hardware fits well into your life for either book reading (eInk) or Prime customer enhancement (Fire). If you’re parenting a bookworm, consider a traditional Kindle. If you want to watch streaming videos at the gym (with local Wi-Fi), pick up a Fire.

What I’m saying though, is neither one replaces the iPad — and neither should. Life with both iPad and Kindle is great if you can swing the costs.

Kindle Fire vs iPad: How to decide originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 23 Nov 2011 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Microsoft Could Do More To Stop Xbox Live Fraud – Ex-Hacker

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Games and Players, Microsoft, NDS, Xbox


Poacher-turned-gamekeeper comments on XBL claims.

Microsoft should have better measures in place to prevent Xbox Live users’ accounts being compromised according to former hacker, and current developer/security expert Cal Leeming.

Microsoft has recently reiterated that the Xbox Live network has not been hacked – in spite of consumer claims to the contrary – and has blamed the reported issues on phishing scams.

Leeming, who works with businesses to improve their online security, thinks the latest claims that Xbox Live has been hacked could be down to one of two things.

“From the users perspective, some of them have been de-frauded and are 100 per cent positive they have not entered their details into a phishing site,” explained Leeming. “But people tend to have a habit of re-using their login credentials, so it could be that there was a huge breach of email/passwords list (we’ve seen lots of these leaked out over the last few months) from a completely different place, and that scammers are basically going through and seeing which ones are valid on the Xbox login portal.”

While not a breach of Xbox Live, it could be a widespread issue for users.

“We see a lot of this on one of our clients, and we’ve actually developed investigation tools to find possibly leaked accounts, and issue a password reset – something which Microsoft (and many other companies) don’t actively do,” Adds Leeming. “In which case, it’s MS’s fault for not providing good enough account security (maybe they should go down the WoW route and issue people with hardware token ids).”

Alternatively, Leeming alleges that Microsoft could be downplaying any Xbox Live breach bto avoid losing “millions in fees/reimbursements” and “a roasting by Visa/Mastercard and their merchant” as well as negative publicity.

“MS (like many other companies) aren’t doing enough to prevent this behaviour, nor are they doing enough to help themselves and their customers once the news hits the media,” Leeming concludes.

NowGamer has been contacted by numerous gamers whose Xbox Live accounts have been compromised – Microsoft today reiterated it’s statement from yesterday that Xbox Live has not been hacked.

As a precaution, we suggest changing your XBL account password via Xbox.com.

We’ve contacted Microsoft for further comment. The platform holder currently advises customers that it is:
 
- Working closely with affected members who have been in touch with us to investigate and/or resolve any unauthorized changes to their accounts resulting from phishing scams;

- Warning people against opening unsolicited e-mails which may contain spyware and other malware that can access personal information contained on their computer without their knowledge or permission;

- Reminding all customers that they should be very careful to keep all personal information secure whenever online and never supply e-mail addresses, passwords or credit card information to strangers.
 
Microsoft remains vigilant at all times regarding the security of Xbox LIVE customers. As always, Xbox LIVE customers who have any queries or concerns should contact Xbox LIVE Customer Service on 0800 587 1102 or visit www.xbox.com/security.”