Items tagged with Stan

I finished South Park: The Stick of Truth early this morning after navigating the wilds of Canada, alien starships, the Lost Forest, encounters with Crab People, and the myriad dangers, pitfalls, and ridiculous events that weave the fabric of life in the quiet mountain town of South Park, Colorado. The vast majority of licensed games wallow in a lugubrious swamp of suckitude, snared by overwrought plotlines and poorly designed combat systems. The Stick of Truth, in contrast, celebrates its own universe while moving the game along at a fast clip. The game begins as you, the titular New Kid move to town and are drawn into the ongoing role-playing game between the humans of Zaron (led by Grand Wizard... Read more...
Imagine being able to take a picture of a CD, DVD, book, or video game on your cell phone and then receive ratings and pricing information within just a few seconds. Now, with the new SnapTell Explorer application for the iPhone, you can do just that. This free application is now available from the AppStore. Jason Kincaid over at TechCrunch put this app through its paces and was pretty impressed, claiming the app correctly identified nearly everything he threw at it, including Xbox games, Pocketbook O’Reilly manuals, The Dalai Lama’s Little Book of Wisdom, Kurt Vonegut novels, and a number of obscure books. What’s more, the app even IDed a copy of Civilization 4 even though it was covered with... Read more...
Forget David Blaine's recent antics of hanging upside down for 60 straight hours in New York City's Central Park. The real challenge of human endurance commenced yesterday morning about a mile south of Blaine's stunt, in the middle of Times Square. There in a makeshift "plexi-glass living room" for the world to see, eight brave souls commenced a competition to determine who is the world's greatest couch potato.   The Netflix Movie Watching World Championship: The Quest for the Popcorn Bowl underway in New York City (Credit: Gothamist)The contest is sponsored by Netflix, and the winner takes home "a $10,000 cash prize, a lifetime subscription to Netflix and the first-ever Popcorn Bowl trophy."... Read more...
Net Neutrality is a hot topic as of late.  It seems that not a week goes by without news breaking regarding a certain politician's stance on net neutrality, or a tech company introducing a new technology designed to inspect, detect, or shape net traffic is some way, shape or form.  Considering the importance of the topic, we thought it was a good time to get all of your opinions on the matter.  With that in mind, we have just posted a new poll that we'd like you all to participate in.What's Your Stance on Net Neutrality?  Let us know by voting in the poll, and then come back in here and give your innermost thoughts on the topic.  Do you even care that your ISP may be... Read more...
Polaroid got famous for making instant cameras and film for the impatient photographer. They've fallen on rough times as the digital camera has made capturing a photo and seeing it on a little screen almost instantaneous. But what if you want an instant artifact of your snapshot? Polaroid's betting you'd find a use for a little battery-powered printer that spits out  a two by three inch color photo. No ink to smudge, either; the colors are embedded in the paper, waiting for the printer to bring them out.The printer uses paper with billions of embedded dye crystals. It selectively heats them up to produce different colors. There is no ink, toner, or liquid chemical in the process. The prints... Read more...
You'll recall our earlier post about the AP's DMCA takedown notices against the Drudge Retort, over excerpts that most would consider "fair use," but that AP felt were infringing on copyright.  AP has back off - some - but now wants to create its own guidelines for blog posting of excerpts.On Saturday, The A.P. retreated. Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of The A.P., said in an interview that the news organization had decided that its letter to the Drudge Retort was “heavy-handed” and that The A.P. was going to rethink its policies toward bloggers.But Rogers Cadenhead, the owner of the Drudge Retort and several other Web sites, said the issue goes far beyond one site. “There... Read more...
The results of a recently published study of workers' instant messaging (IM) use shows that IM can actually improve workplace productivity. This contradicts a widely held belief that IM in the workplace is a hindrance to productivity. IM is often perceived as an interruption, and as such, "it can significantly hinder productivity by disrupting thought processes and work flows, causing individuals to take longer to complete tasks."Researchers at Ohio State University and the University of California, Irvine conducted a telephone study by randomly surveying individuals employed full-time who use computers in an office environment at least five hours per week. They netted 912 respondents, of which... Read more...
Psystar, the maker of the so called “Open Computer” series, is now being actively investigated by various web communities.  One of which has dug up some fairly interesting information:"First, let's revisit what we already know.  Not only does the Miami Chamber of Commerce and BBB not know anything about any company named Psystar (confirmed by reader [Gizmodo] Travis through his contacts in the chamber), the actual physical address they listed on their website actually changed halfway through the day yesterday.  What's going on here?  Did they all of a sudden move from a home business into a new office space?  Nope."The new address is actually occupied by a completely different and seemingly unrelated... Read more...
TEAM FORTRESS 2, PORTAL, AND HALF-LIFE 2 EPISODE PACK STAND ALONE RETAIL RELEASEPC Games From The Orange Box Flying Solo Into Retail April 9 and 11March 13, 2008 - Valve, creators of Half-Life® 2 and Counter-Strike®, today announce the retail launch dates for the stand-alone, PC versions of Team Fortress® 2, PortalTM, and the Half-Life 2: Episode Pack are April 9th in North America and April 11th around the globe.Portal - the unique single player game that mixes puzzle, adventure and first-person action - is expected to retail for approximately $19.99.Portal has been named Game of the Year by over 30 publications worldwide and earned 40 more awards for special achievements in game... Read more...
HotHardware told you yesterday about Sony and Sharp teaming up to build a tenth generation LCD factory in Japan. But Sony already has ... had a partner to produce LCD screens: Korean electronic powerhouse Samsung. What happened to make Sony fall out of bed with Samsung and team up with Sharp? Is it really just a Japanese thing?Against a backdrop where Japanese and Korean enterprises have long beared [sic]grudges against each other, the head-on competition between Sony and Samsung in the TV market, and the Japanese government's repeated calls for consolidation between domestic firms, have prompted Sony to return to the "Japanese camp" by partnering with Sharp on 10G production. Many critics have... Read more...
Keith Fife and his colleagues at Stanford University have come up with they call a "multi-aperture image sensor," which allows digital pictures to collect and store depth-of-field information. Unlike other 3D camera setups, the data is gathered at the chip level, so no expensive and complicated multiple lens setups are required. Instead of devoting the entire sensor for one big representation of the image, Fife's 3-megapixel sensor prototype breaks the scene up into many small, slightly overlapping 16x16-pixel patches called subarrays. Each subarray has its own lens to view the world--thus the term multi-aperture.After a photo is taken, image-processing software then analyzes the slight location... Read more...
Apple has been on the hotseat in Europe because of different pricing between the U.K. store and the rest of Europe.  Today, it announced changes, but it also gave U.K. music labels a warning.Apple today announced that within six months it will lower the prices it charges for music on its UK iTunes Store to match the already standardized pricing on iTunes across Europe in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain. Apple currently must pay some record labels more to distribute their music in the UK than it pays them to distribute the same music elsewhere in Europe. Apple will reconsider... Read more...
Remember reading about all those Internet startups that had Venture Capitalists with wheelbarrows full of gold bars showing up at your door if you could slap together a PowerPoint presentation that had "2.0" written on it somewhere? That seems to be a very rare thing these days, and entrepreneurs with a tech outlook are growing their businesses the old fashioned way again: with an idea, no money, no sleep, and not much help. The story of Landy Ung and Wan Hsi Yuan's 8coupons.com text-message coupon business is the stuff of current startup economy.At an October startup camp in Manhattan, Ung, in a ponytail and puffy vest, and Yuan, in an "8coupons.com, One Free Hug" T-shirt, exchanged cards with... Read more...
Halloween's over, but HotHardware is still worried about vampires. Vampire devices, that is. Lots of electronic components draw power even when they're turned off, or in standby or sleep mode. Trying to help us save some wasted electricity,  Fujitsu Siemens have introduced monitors that consume no electricity when they are in standby mode.  How do they do it?  A relay cuts off the mains power whenever the video stream stops; capacitors store enough charge to flick the relay back when the signal returns. Solar panels provide enough power to maintain zero consumption mode for up to five days, after which you have to press a regular power button to bring the machine out of standby.The... Read more...
Heavy multi-taskers know the pain that only someone who has tried to encode a movie while opening a web browser, word processor and a multi-IM program can know: the most annoying wait of the average day.Sure, some technology has promised to fix this, especially hybrid and solid-state disk drives, but both of those technologies aren't quite ready for prime time just yet.  Enter the Milpitas based Phoenix Technologies and their latest idea:“Essentially, the applications become self-contained software appliances that can be embedded into new computers by system vendors. Applications can include such frequently used ones as instant-on instant messaging, e-mail, Web browsing, shopping, or video... Read more...
Wow, soon we won't even need to show up. Oh wait, we still have to show up so we can be searched, x-rayed, prodded, and take off our shoes.Major airlines have agreed on a standard that will allow travelers to check in using a bar code sent to their cell phones, the International Air Transport Association said Thursday.Passengers will register their cell-phone number when buying a ticket and receive a bar code by text message, the group representing most commercial carriers said.That's actually very cool, and we understand the IATA wants to completely phase out paper tickets, but what happens if you leave your phone at home?... Read more...
This year's Nobel Prize in Physics has gone to two scientists who discovered "giant magnetoresistance." If that doesn't ring  a bell, it should. It's the method used to read and write information on high density hard disks. Albert Fert of France and Peter Grunberg of Germany share the 1.5 million dollar prize, and get to hang the neat medal up with their bowling trophies. This phenomenon is where weak changes in magnetic resistance give rise to big differences in electrical resistance. This is one of the core principles that allows for the development of sensitive reading tools for retrieving magnetically sorted data in devices from computers to portable media players. The Nobel Foundation... Read more...
Google has begun challenging various governments (via the U.N.) to adopt a global standard for protecting users' private data.Peter Fleicher, Google's chief privacy officer, has set himself up with quite a serious challenge.  Laws in different countries are quite different, as is they degree to which they are enforced.  Even here in the United States laws vary from state to state, and even within each state. “Another problem facing companies such as Google is that many of the laws are extremely out of date when compared to how the Internet has progressed.  An Internet law created by lawmakers just 10 years ago cannot fairly be used today.”With technology changing faster than some government bodies... Read more...
It appears that the early 'leaked' images of the new iPod Nano might be the real deal, as the legal team from the Cupertino giant is launching law suits to have sites take down the image.This reaction is typical of Apple when an upcoming product has been leaked, as we all witnessed when Apple lashed out at ThinkSecret for revealing the existence of the Mac Mini & iPod Shuffle just prior to their official debut.  Apple doesn't (historically) sic their law team of mock-ups and wild news that isn't related to upcoming offerings, which would lead us to believe that this could very well be the genuine article.While the appearance might seem a tad odd at first, there are 2 points we'd like to make:... Read more...
It wasn’t that long ago that the loss of a laptop or hard disk containing sensitive information about consumers was big news.  Sadly, it’s becoming much more common these days.  In fact, it’s so common that U.K. Information Commissioner Richard Thomas and his staff have looked into some 6000 complaints. "The roll call of banks, retailers, government departments, public bodies and other organizations which have admitted serious security lapses is frankly horrifying," Richard Thomas wrote in a report. "How can laptops holding details of customer accounts be used away from the office without strong encryption? How can millions of store card transactions fall into the wrong hands?" The best leak... Read more...
The concept of using a small, quick-access NAND flash device to offset the latency of larger mechanical hard drives is nothing new.  In fact there are already numerous players in the storage market that are planning to ship hard drives integrate both technologies in one package.  There is a second concept that some companies have taken to that has the flash module connected to the southbridge.  The idea is that this enables users to upgrade the flash module completely independently of their hard drive(s).  Here's what ArsTechnica is reporting: "Currently, the interface between the southbridge's flash controller and the flash memory itself is standardized, but the interface between the OS and... Read more...
This Memorial Day weekend, if you're really looking  put the spread on for family and friends,  you might want to bring out the  heavy artillery -  The Infrared Gas Grill. Fire in the hole! "Infrared is really hot," said Leslie Wheeler, a spokeswoman for the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, an industry group in Arlington, Va. "They're great for searing and then either you turn it down or move over to another burner for cooking." The grills are still powered by propane and have traditional gas burners that heat mostly by convection — or hot air. But they also can cook foods with radiant heat generated by one or more infrared burners. (Infrared falls between visible light... Read more...
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