Those of us who remember the happiness of finding Encarta included in our early PC purchase are somewhat saddened by the announcement that it will soon no longer be available. The software will cease after June and most sites will shut down by October 2009. Japan will cut theirs off in December. Microsoft commented, “People today seek and consume information in considerably different ways than in years past.”
We know they mean Wikipedia, yet the concept of one disc replacing an entire set of encyclopedias was certainly high tech at the time. And the better images used by Encarta will definitely be missed.
Read More | MSN
Nokia has improved its 5800 XpressMusic software. New is a faster user interface and download time, a built-in mobile dictionary with voice playback and support for 38 languages, and an automatic/manual Application Update that can be used directly to the phone. There is second camera support for still image capture and a burst mode for shooting pictures without hitting a button. The download is available now on their Nokia Software Update site at no charge.
Read More | Nokia
Russian software hobbyist Cherkes Mihail has devised Check Flash. This free program can be downloaded so that you can test the speed of your current flash drive or others and format them if you wish. It is not necessary to use an empty drive although some of the tests will blank them, so the creator has kindly included the ability to pass command line switches and allow batch processing. Check out his home page for other tests and ideas.
Read More | Cherkes Mihail
We know you cannot get enough of Rock Star/Guitar Hero, so here is a way to take it to the next level. JamParty allows you to play, compose and share with its Music Creation Software and your controller. There are multiple genres to play with and up to two players can participate. Play guitar, drums, or other instruments and be your own rock star. Zivix is also working on a digital guitar that will turn your electric into a gaming controller. There is some symmetry in that.
Read More | Zivix
MTV Games and Harmonix have convinced Apple Corps, the Beatles’ music company, to put some of their tunes on Rock Band. Included in the deal will be:
- The Beatles: Rock Band Software - Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii: $59.99.
- The Beatles: Rock Band Standalone Guitars - Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii: $99.99.
- The Beatles: Rock Band Limited Edition Premium Bundle: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii: $249.99.
You can visit the site, but the only info available is the date, so we suppose more information will trickle out eventually.
Read More | DVICE
Worried that someone will steal data from your SD card, memory stick, MP3 player or flash drive that you uploaded to your PC? Or worse, that someone will expose it to a viral attack? NetWrix is freeware that can lockdown your USB port. If you have GPMC (Microsoft Group Policy Management) on your computer, then you can protect your data locally or remotely with the tool. The blocker is simple to use and technical support is also provided with no charge.
Read More | Netwrix
Yamaha has created a digital piano that sounds like an acoustic one with the same key, level and hammer mechanisms. They say that their Avant Grand, with 4 embedded speakers, even feels like a real piano. At about 4 1/2 feet, half the size of an ordinary Grand, it has upgradeable software and the company’s TRS (Tactile Response System) that reproduces reverb to make it sound and feel more like the real thing. The Avant Grand will set you back about $20,000, about one hundred grand cheaper that Yamaha’s CFIIIS concert grand. Look for the debut in July.
Read More | gizmag
If you dug the old NES game PunchOut, then you will surely like “kirton’s” interface. He took a foam filled bag with impact sensors then wired them to a PC game pad. This transfers the impact of the game through an NES emulator. The software also includes visual feedback as the sprite turns pink when hit and an LED indicator flashes. Eventually, he wants to include a strobe light to emulate character disorientation when punched. You can get all the details on Instructables.
Read More | Instructables
Programmer Peter Neubäcker has developed Direct Note Access, software that can allow computers to analyze digitized chords and separate them into individual notes. While it was already possible to manipulate pitch, tempo and other aspects of music, this is the the first time that a single chord can be dissected. The former German guitar maker’s software can help musicians and engineers correct notes that are out of tune as well as unreleased classic music that was recorded on out-of-tune instruments.
Read More | Technology Review
If and when a real ET arrives, Dr. John Elliot from Leeds Metropolitan University will be ready. He claims that an alien language will have recognizable patterns and has has created a program to help identify and translate them. He says that all human languages have “functional terms” such as ‘if’ and ‘but’ and that they are separated by up to nine characters or words. The software can also be utilized to break the language down into nouns and verbs. If they still can’t figure it out, perhaps a bag of Reese’s Pieces might help.
Read More | Telegraph