Harmony, a digital rights management translation system created by Real Networks which allows its own music formats to run on Apple iPods, may be the cause of some legal and technical issues for Real in the coming months. The company has admitted that although they believe that their software is completely legal, any disagreement from Apple that runs into a court process might jeopardize their bottom line. The company already expects to pay around $16 million in the coming year defending their software from litigation from Microsoft, but cannot afford any more. Additionally, Real also expects problems as Apple makes moves to update its software in ways that would require tweaking of Harmony’s specifications. Basically, it sounds like Harmony may represent Real biting off a bigger chunk than it can chew at this point. Stay tuned to see how these impending challenges pan out.
Read More | Macworld
You may soon be able bring your home or office system wherever you go, using almost any USB 2.0 device to carry your computer’s “soul.” SoulPad, which is being developed by IBM, stores three layers of software and information on the USB device – a base operating system, an encryption system, and a “virtual machine” which hold’s the user’s software and usage preferences. The entire process of booting any PC from your USB device should take less than 3 minutes. Once the PC is booted, the environment should look, feel, and act exactly like the system from which you took the information.
The creators of SoulPad have put together a short video demonstration of the system in action. While it does, in fact, show the SoulPad booting a PC, it will be interesting to see how the software holds up under the extreme variations of operating systems, user environments, and software packages that fall under the term “PC.”
Freedom Input just might be my hero at the moment. They have announced their Mini Bluetooth Keyboard - a credit card sized thumb board similar to those on the Treo, or Motorola Q - the difference being that this is a stand alone unit and could theoretically be used with Bluetooth-enabled smartphones, PDAs, TabletPC’s, and other devices. The problem is that it does not support the Bluetooth HID profile, so whatever device you want to use this on will require special drivers. Windows Mobile 5.0 and Windows XP already have support built in. This seems like the perfect solution for someone who does a lot of SMS or email on their phone, and wants a QWERTY keyboard without having a huge handheld to carry. The Mini Bluetooth Keyboard features backlit keys and features an innovative backlighting system for your “after hours” data entry needs. The Mini Bluetooth Keyboard is available for $60 and can run on 120 hours on two AAA batteries. The website says it will be available in Q3 2005 - not soon enough if you ask me!
For all you XM radio fans out there, Delphi has released the smallest and lightest XM radio yet for your portable needs. The RoadyXT comes with a car kit, and it’s quite easy to integrate it into your home stereo system with an additional adapter. I really wish that with a slim form factor like this they could include a small battery to let you plug in a pair of headphones and carry it around with you. Still - at only $99 this looks like a great option for anyone wanting to add a little XM goodness to their lives.
At Toy Test 2005 in Seattle I was able to get my hands on the newest demo of Burnout Revenge. There were quite a few more challenges available to try out than there were at E3, and I must have put a good 30-45 minutes or so into the Toy Test version. One thing that has totally impressed me about Revenge is the sense of speed that the game provides. I am a big fan of Burnout 3, and I thought that the sense of speed in that game was unmatched. Burnout Revenge, through its much improved graphics and more realistic vehicles, provides a level of speed that can only be described as insane.
The crashing challenge in Burnout Revenge is a bit different than what fans are now used to. You are graded as the crashes take place, rather than having to wait until all is said and done before seeing the final tally. The different scoring multipliers have been eliminated in Burnout Revenge, which was a bit disappointing to see. In Burnout 3 it was always ruckus when a few friends were gathered together and one person got a 4x multiplier, only to hit the Heartbreaker before the end of their turn.
During the races, you are now able to take down just about any small vehicle on the road, whether they are your competition or your traffic. This was a complaint that I had in Burnout 3, only because it was inconsistent that you could take down your opponents, but if you hit another car of similar size, you ended up in a tragic accident. Very nice to see. The other major addition to overall gameplay is that when you take down a rival, you become marked for “Revenge”. This means that driver will target you until they take you down. The same happens when you get taken out. The marker above the rival changes from yellow to red. Take them down, and you get extra points. Burnout Revenge is set to drop on September 13, 2005.
Burnout Revenge is definitely looking good - obviously the Xbox version is prettier than its PS2 counterpart, but the real loser here are those who only own the Nintendo Gamecube. You are missing a real winner here.
We have some great pictures of the new Xbox Guide, previously named the dashboard on the original Xbox. So, we decided to post a nice little run down for all of you to check out so when you finally get your hands on the new Xbox you’ll already know what to do. Read more for a breakdown of all the screens and pictures of the screens.
A South Korean man, identified only by the family name “Lee,” died in an Internet Café in Taegu after 50 hours of online gaming. Lee’s 50-hour game-athon had been interrupted only for trips to the bathroom and small naps. The 28-year-old gamer had recently quit his job to pursue his obsession, but died after pushing himself to the point of exhaustion-induced heart failure. If you’re reading this and you haven’t been outside or away from your computer in a few days, especially if you’re in South Korea – please, take time for a nice, long break.
Read More | CNN
Alleging that Samsung grossly exaggerated the abilities of the SPH-V4400 camera phone, two consumer groups have filed official complaints against the company for false advertising. Armed with nearly 3,000 signatures, members of the “V4400 Consumers’ Power” and “Tipsters for the Public Good” groups are very disgruntled with the lackluster video recording capabilities of the phone, pointing out that the VGA camera only films 3-5 frames per second, rather than the digital camcorder standard of 15-30, despite Samsung’s claims that it would measure up. Sales of the V4400 have been strong up to this point, having been fueled by Korean superstar Kwon Sang-woo, earning the phone the nickname, the “Kwon Sang-woo Phone.”
Read More | Chosun
Unrealart is a project developed by artist Alison Mealey. The images in the project are composed from information collected over the course of one 30-minute game each. Each game has 20-25 AI bots fighting in slightly user-influenced patterns on artist-created maps. The position of each bot is logged every second along with points of death and lines of movement. The data is put through Mealey’s custom code and outputs as the beautiful artwork you see above. There are many more examples on her website, each wonderful proof of what beauty is possible through such creative collaboration. Mealey’s art goes on live display at the CoEDD graduate exhibition in Huddersfield in the UK on August 13th.
Read More | Unrealart
Microsoft released an update to their MSN Messenger software for the Mac. The newly released Microsoft Messenger 5.0 makes some significant improvements on the previously released versions and seems to fit much better with OS X. The new version features blue gel buttons, a brushed aluminum frame, and support for newer MSN Messenger technologies such as display pictures, advanced emoticons, and easy conversation saving. Gear Live still feels that both AdiumX and Proteus are superior chat clients for OS X featuring not only support for multiple chat networks, but a highly configurable UI - but Microsoft Messenger 5.0 is certainly a step in the right direction.
Read More | Mac Messegner site