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Archive for July, 2011

Damn you alarm!

July 30th, 2011

Damn you alarm!

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Google acquires 1,030 patents from IBM

July 30th, 2011

Google acquires 1,030 patents from IBM

Google may have passed on the recent Nortel patent feeding frenzy, and allowed Apple, Microsoft, Research in Motion, Ericsson, Sony, and EMC to buy a huge patent package with more than 6000 individual patents for $4.5 billion in cash.

However, Google isn’t standing still and recently purchased 1030 patents from IBM’s virtually infinite patent portfolio. It is a significant step for Google and more than doubles the company’s current patent holdings.

For Google, this purchase has less to do with actual technology licensing, but more of a move to protect itself from lawsuits. According to SEO by the Sea, the IBM package includes patents relating to the fabrication and architecture of memory and microprocessing chips, to other areas of computer architecture including servers and routers as well. There is a decent chunk of patents relating to search technology, and could also be used to improve the defenses for its core search business. For IBM, which has been known to be building a business out of patents, it is not a particularly large loss; the number of patents sold is below than what the company typically gets granted in a 3 month period.

There was no note of the purchase price, but the overall purchase may fuel speculation whether Google is interested in moving into new markets that it does not address at this time. Why would Google be interested in the fabrication of memory and microprocessors? Perhaps those patents just came with the deal, and may not relate to Google’s intentions – especially since CEO Larry page recently said that Google is going to focus on its core strengths?

SOURCE via SBTS

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EA Says the iPad is its Fastest Growing Platform

July 30th, 2011

EA Says the iPad is its Fastest Growing Platform

Thanks to app stores and mobile games like Cut the Rope and Plants vs. Zombies, mobile gaming has become a huge market and it’s one that’s growing at an extremely fast pace. Even big name developers are taking mobile gaming seriously. In fact, EA says the iPad is its fastest growing platform.

Speaking during an interview with IndustryGamers, Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitello said that consoles currently only account for 40 percent of the games industry and that the iPad is the fastest growing platform. While discussing the regularity of console refreshes (in particular, whether or not Nintendo is ‘off-cycle’ with the rest of the industry because of the Wii U), Riccitello said the length and timing of these refresh cycles is no longer as relevant because consoles are not the dominant force in gaming.

“Consoles used to be 80 percent of the industry as recently as 2000,” he told IndustryGamers. “Consoles today are 40 percent of the game industry, so what do we really have? We have a new hardware platform and we’re putting out software every 90 days. Our fastest growing platform is the iPad right now and that didn’t exist 18 months ago,” he continued. “So the idea that we’re categorizing the industry as being [cyclical]… Nintendo is off cycle with what? I mean, the point of reference is gone.”

The advent of the iPad has led to an explosion for mobile gaming, for sure. The fact that Angry Birds’ publisher Rovio is collaborating with 20th Century Fox and has the capacity to push out updates for every major holiday and season is a testament to how lucrative and strong the market really is. To ignore mobile gaming completely would be a bad call, but is EA right to be putting so much stock in mobile gaming? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

SOURCE via Industry Gamers

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Updated Windows Phone 7 Mango SDK now available for developers

July 30th, 2011

Updated Windows Phone 7 Mango SDK now available for developers

Between signing off on the RTM build of Windows Phone 7.5 and celebrating the unveiling of the world’s first Mango smartphone, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Windows Phone team might take a few days to just breathe easy. However, the Window’s Team blog was updated again today with the news that Microsoft is releasing a new SDK for developers.

“We’ve received positive feedback on the Mango tools and bits we’ve shared, but appreciate that many devs are still interested in working with a more complete build,” Microsoft’s Cliff Simpkins said via the Windows Team blog. “Today’s refresh of the tools represent a month of great progress by the engineering team, further refining and improving the Mango developer experience.”

Simpkin’s recommends that those interested in learning about all of the changes from Beta 2 to Refresh check out the release notes on Mango Connect. However, he does list his ‘top five’ improvements that he thinks devs will find most useful. Check them out below:

  • Application platform APIs are now locked; you can feel confident to start getting ready for submitting your apps next month.
  • Emulator now has a nifty screenshot capability built in, allowing you quickly snap quality images of your app without the need of separate tools or cropping time. The images are great for use in app submission process or to share on your blog or with folks such as my team (hint hint).
  • The profiler has been greatly improved and provides memory profiling.
  • As of this drop, you can install NuGet into the free version of the WPSDK tools. I find NuGet to be one of my favorite productivity boosters and I’m happy to see the extension supported in the free tools.
  • The drop includes an initial peek at the Marketplace Test Kit; with the RC release, you’ll be able to use the included version of this toolkit to test your XAP file against the same certification testing tools that we use when ingesting apps for the Marketplace. For this refresh, it’s there but not fully functional; but more on this in a future blog post.

Mango phones are expected this fall and Microsoft has started preparing for the update phase already. However, Simpkins also noted that devs can refresh retail Windows Phones that have been updated to Mango over the last month and get a new build (7712), which corresponds to today’s WPSDK 7.1 release. Unfortunately, this new build is not the RTM build that was signed off on earlier this week.

“Before you ask (and I know you will, because folks started asking yesterday :) ), this build is not yesterday’s RTM build – it’s still a pre-release build,” Simpkins clarified. “For RTM, you’ll need to wait for the official update like everyone else.”

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I think I should lower down my daily coffee dose

July 30th, 2011

I think I should lower down my daily coffee dose

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Hyundai is making better interiors by using volcanic rock?

July 30th, 2011

Hyundai is making better interiors by using volcanic rock?

Cloth, leather, Alcantara and that weird netting on the dashboards of some Chevrolet Cruze sedans are all examples of the varied materials employed to build the interior spaces of modern automobiles. Hyundai is exploring new ways to bring the passenger cabin together, and the newest item at the Korean automaker’s disposal is volcanic rock.

Hyundai wanted to add a bit more luxury to the passenger space of its newest models. The Elantra and Accent both needed fabric-wrapped A-pillars to up the class quotient inside, but that would have raised the customer’s purchase price. Alternatives were sought and engineers concocted a blend of plastic resin, fibrous material and volcanic rock. The end result is a plastic material that provides the look and feel of being wrapped in cloth, with the apparent cost savings that come from stuff belched forth from the Earth’s underground.

SOURCE via Hyundai

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The Homer theory

July 30th, 2011

The Homer theory

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Google launches Hotel Finder, just in time after watching ‘No Strings Attached’

July 30th, 2011

Google launches Hotel Finder, just in time after watching ‘No Strings Attached’

The mighty search engine giant has just launched Hotel Finder, a service that lets you find a place to lay your weary head in these great fifty states. At first glance, it’s little more than a specific use case for Google Maps — just type in a city or US zip code to get a map with the usual spreads of pinpoints.

Though Google won’t be the middleman booking your hotel reservation, you can use the tool to fine-tune your search, drawing circles on the map to scour multiple neighbourhoods. As you’d expect, you can also whittle the search by price and rating, and read reviews that people originally posted on Google Maps.

One thing we’re liking about the UI is that you don’t have to open a new tab to read the full spill on a hotel — you can just click the listing to see it expand right there, alongside pretty photo collages.

SOURCE via Google

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HP tells developers to start submitting apps for Pre 3

July 30th, 2011

HP tells developers to start submitting apps for Pre 3

Summer is almost over already, and well where’s the promised HP Pre 3? Last we heard, the flagship device would miss its launch window, but a new directive from the company suggests its release isn’t too far off. Registered webOS developers received an email about an updated emulator and deets regarding the App Catalog’s newfound acceptance of Pre 3 submissions. Speaking of digital storefronts, the company also noted the latter’s expansion into the following territories: Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Read more…

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Technical details of the new ‘i’ cars from BMW

July 30th, 2011

Technical details of the new ‘i’ cars from BMW

The i3 will tip the scales at 2,755 pounds, while the i8 will come in under 3,300 pounds. While that might sound slightly chunky, consider that the average gasoline-powered car converted to EV duty normally tacks on around 500 pounds courtesy of the battery, motor and cooling system. When looked at in this way, both models could be considered rather svelte.

The carbon fiber “Life” structure that envelops the i3′s passengers is so strong (yet very light) that BMW’s engineers didn’t have to include a B-pillar for structural rigidity. That means ingress and egress should be easy, aided by the fact that both models utilize ultra-thin carbon fiber and plastic bits for the interior elements. Click past the jump for a whole mess of videos featuring the new i3 and i8 concepts in more detail. Read more…

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