John Herrman over at Buzzfeed FWD astutely points out that all of the flaws of cameraphones (noisy sensors, poor focus abilities, artifacting, etc.) are being exposed now that we have large screens (both in size and resolution to display our images on). Going forward, is this enough of a reason to make you go back to carrying a proper, standalone camera? [FWD]
Twitter has acquired security startup Dasient, a company that specializes in fighting spam and malware.
In terms of the size of the team this acquisition was a large one, said TechCrunch’s sources.
It could be a match made in heaven — the most likely scenario seems that Twitter wants to protect its self-serve ad product from being used as a vehicle for spam.
With Dasient being well-versed in anti-spam and anti-malware efforts, it could be just what Twitter needs to maintain the product.
- This First Example Of A SOPA ‘Blackout’ Is Pretty Lame
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- SOPA Is So Serious That Mark Zuckerberg Just Tweeted For The First Time In Three Years
See? Congress does listen to the will of the people on occasion—especially when that will is wielded as a blunt instrument. As this infographic from ProPublica illustrates, yesterday’s blackout protests not only culled the official SOPA supporters by 15 congressmen, it actually added 70 opponents.
In all, official supporters for the House’s anti-piracy bill dropped from 80 members to 65 over Wednesday night, while the bill’s opponents swelled from just 30 members to 101 with another 41 polling as “leaning no.” Granted the “leaning no” crowd hasn’t ruled out voting for an amended version of the bill at a later date, doubling opposition to the bill overnight is a promising start. It’s amazing what 24 hours without Wikipedia will do. [Propublica]
The Kindle Fire is has started to ship and w’re hearing about the thousands of apps which will work on the customized Android tablet, including Facebook, Pandora, Netflix, Angry Birds, Zynga, Hulu Plus and ESPN ScoreCenter. Today, real estate search platforms Trulia and Zillow are both launching dedicated apps for the Kindle Fire.
Trulia’s new tablet app will leverage Kindle Fire’s extra-wide viewing angle, and will focus on list-view, photo search and full-screen slideshows. Unlike the site’s other mobile apps, this will not be a map-based app.
With the app you can personalize your apartment or home search by setting filters and search parameters, use photo gallery search to view property slideshows on the tablet’s entire screen, save searches to your account, and contact the listing agent to get more details or schedule a showing.
Similarly, Zillow’s app, which is map-based, allows you to search a database of nearly 100 million homes, view homes for sale, homes for rent and recently sold homes, filter by home type, listing type, home size, beds, baths, and price, view full-screen photos, and save favorite homes and searches.
I love my iPad. It’s the original model, bought on April 3, 2010. It’s been working perfectly since then but the battery life was really bad, lasting only a couple of hours lately. It was exhausted. I had to replace it.
In the process, I got a fresh iPad 64GB at the Apple Store for just $100. The good news, you can get one too.
After so many charging cycles, my original iPad’s battery was exhausted. It took forever to recharge and only a few hours to completely run out. I remember the days when I first got it. I could use it normally for a couple of days, watching at least two Netflix movies on it or browsing the web, running some apps and reading comic books.
I went to the Apple Store to ask for a battery replacement. But, as it turns out, you can’t replace an iPad’s battery. As the guy at the Apple Store’s Genius Bar told me: “See? They don’t have screws. We can’t replace the battery.”
Then he added: “If you want a new battery, we have to give you an entire new iPad.”
How? My iPad was out of warranty. I didn’t buy Apple Care. Furthermore, the iPad itself was broken on one side. One day I dropped it on the floor and the aluminum got quite chipped on one side.
He answered that this was no problem. I only have to pay $100 for the “battery.” In return, they would give you a reconditioned iPad with the same storage size as yours, with a fresh battery inside.
So I did exactly that. I paid the hundred bucks and got back home with a perfect battery life and an iPad with no blemishes whatsoever. If your battery life is sketchy—which is probably the case if you bought it back in April 2010—you should go to an Apple store, pay your hundred and get a fresh new iPad on your hands.
And your old iPad doesn’t go to waste. These get refurbished too. Any bad parts get replaced and go back into the cycle of Apple life.
Update: A former Genius shares his tips in the comments:
• You can do the same thing with any iPhone for $79, and most iPods for $69.
• Apple will replace an iPhone in almost any condition (the only exception being for devices that are literally broken into little pieces, or ones that are missing parts) for $199, even if it’s liquid damaged or cracked.
• Apple will replace any OOW damaged iPad for around half the price.
• On an iPhone 4, if the back glass is cracked, an Apple employee can replace it for $29 in only about 5 minutes, also not a bad idea if your camera lens is scratched beyond repair
• If you restore your device before bringing it in, there are no usage records saved and they have to take your word for it that the battery is defective.
That’s pretty good customer service indeed.
Traditionally, only the mammoth Hollywood studios could afford to work with 3D—it’s too expensive to build the necessary, air-conditioned 24 hours a day, server farms. The company behind Despicable Me decided to try something new, and cut the AC.
Illumination Entertainment, the company behind Despicable Me, decided to try something new. Instead of using air-conditioned server farms to render images, the company asked IBM to built a customized server farm using the iDataPlex system, a processing system that cuts down on energy use by 40% compared to traditional server farms.
The iDataPlex has two key advantages: a flexible configuration that doubles the amount of systems that can run in a single IBM rack and the ability to run an ambient temperature room (no costly air-conditioning required). The system has been on the market for over a year, but Illumination is the first studio to use it for animated film.
This doesn’t mean that any scrappy studio with a dream can now produce a high-end 3-D animated film. Illumination used a 330-person team of artists, producers, and support staff to produce 142 terabytes of data. And the rendering farm, which processed up to 500,000 frames per week, was built in conjunction with Mac Guff Ligne, a French digital production studio.
But the iDataPlex gives Illumination a leg up in the graphics rendering process. Illumination Entertainment’s server farm, for example, is the size of four parking spots. That’s half the amount of space the company initially allotted to the farm. “Oftentimes a small studio like Illumination really wants to put their energy behind creating as compelling of content as possible,” explains Steve Canepa, Vice President, Media & Entertainment Industry at IBM. “By minimizing the technological issues associated with building and managing the [rendering] environment, we allow studios to reduce the amount of time, energy, and resources necessary to create an underlying technological platform.”
It’s a compelling idea for studios—even major ones—that want to cut costs and look environmentally conscious at the same time. IBM is already working with a number of other studios to implement similar solutions. Canepa concedes that studios could build similar systems by purchasing off-the-shelf racks and processors, but the iDataPlex’s unique configuration of servers packs a lot of processing power into a small space—and that’s not easy to replicate. Don’t expect these rigs to be appearing in suburban garages anytime soon.
Fast Company empowers innovators to challenge convention and create the future of business.
When the iPad was unveiled and I started to imagine the types of games a 9″ touch screen might engender, I envisioned gorgeous, intuitive and, above all, immersive experiences. Osmos for iPad is one of the best I’ve found yet.
The game, which is adapted from a well-regarded PC version and costs $5 in the App Store, puts you in control of a tiny blue organism, a mote, which you direct around the screen, growing in size as you absorb the smaller blobs around you. Of course, all sorts of challenges, including bigger motes trying to absorb you, complicate that mission.
But what’s really special about Osmos is the experience of controlling that game play. Tapping behind your mote scoots him around the screen, predictably, but at any time you can pinch to zoom in or out, allowing you to navigate a tight passage or survey the level at a distance. Additionally, you can swipe with one finger to alter time—drag left and all the motes slow to a crawl, drag right and they shoot around like bouncy balls. Different speeds and levels of zoom have situations in which they’re uniquely useful, and these elegant controls are the perfect complement to the game’s polished visuals.
Osmos teaches you these gestures in early levels, but after that there’s little instruction. You’re given a basic goal and left to your own devices to go about achieving it. Depending on your style, the game play can be rambunctious or meditative, and often it’s both in the course of one level.
There’s not a huge variation in the game play, admittedly, and it’s so engrossing that I imagine most players will zip through the Odyssey track pretty quickly (there’s an arcade mode that lets you play levels one at a time, too). But in some ways this simplicity is the game’s biggest asset, because it allows for a remarkable cohesiveness between all of its elements, from game play and visual style down to the soundtrack and menus. It’s not only a “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” type thing; here, the whole is so dazzlingly packaged that you don’t really think of the “parts” as parts at all.
For me, Osmos on the iPad is an experience first and a game second, and it uses the iPad to achieve game play that would be impossible—or, at least, not nearly as compelling—on any other platform. At its best, the iPad isn’t just an app machine or a gaming device but a portal into some other environment all together, and I hope that developers will follow Osmos’ lead and strive not just to adapt familiar gaming experiences to the tablet but to create new ones for it entirely. [iTunes]
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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