According to Zakai, "Loading and saving games do work, but only until you leave the page. TODO: Use IndexedDB for persistent storage."
I remember when I first read about 3D games on cell phones. Now running Quake on a smart phone is old hat. I wonder what sort of games we'll be seeing in the browser a year from now.Discuss
The modern IT organization will get there. The investments in virtualization are being made and they are not expected to slow down.
This white paper from Trend MIcro explores the role of information security that organizations need to think about when adopting virtualization and making that journey to the cloud.Discuss
A survey released today aims to show cable providers how they can keep losing their influential viewers from cutting the cable. Ideas and Solutions, a Los Angeles-based consultant group for media and technology companies, says that 60% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 were either leaning towards or seriously considering giving up paid television.
The Ideas and Solutions report, which is greatly skewed to the point of view of the paid television operators, puts the so-called Generation Y demographic of 70 million TV watchers into three groups - "loyalists," "leaners" and "at-risk." Not surprisingly, the "at-risk" group were early adopters of technology much more likely to gravitate towards services like Hulu and Netflix. What category do you fall in?
According to Ideas and Solutions market breakdown, I would fall in to the "at-risk" group, as would probably most employees at ReadWriteWeb.
"It's not that the sky is falling, but it certainly warrants a lot of attention, and the subscription-based pay-TV providers, along with the programmers who rely on them for distribution, should really invest the time and the resources to get to know this audience better," Glen L. Friedman, president and founder of Ideas and Solutions, said in a release.
Why Gen Y Is Leaning Away From Paid Television
The report notes that consumers loyal to paid television were sports fans who found the billing cycle convenient. It says that marketers can keep subscribers by attuning television more to "at-risk" and "leaners" preferences such as on-demand, DVR options and programming more aligned with their interests.
Cost was the major factor in cord-cutters decisions, with 69% "at-risk" and 61% of "leaners" citing it as the primary reason for cutting the cord. "Other ways I can watch entertainment content" was at 36% and 35% for the two groups respectively.
Nearly 50% of those at risk of cutting the cord are Netflix and Hulu users as opposed to 29% of "loyalists" and 42% of "leaners."
Ideas and Solutions suggests that paid television providers become "need to be cognizant of their pricing and packaging models and face the challenge that many 'Gen Ys' want the features they need at affordable price points because they are
willing, ready and able to turn to alternative options, no matter what their level of loyalty to pay-TV," the report says.
The was an "integrated qualitative and quantitative study of 500 aged 18 to 19 who were current pay-TV subscribers. Friedman has developed product strategy for DirectTV and held senior positions at Time Warner Cable and Century Cable.
Despite a letter from Apple lawyers last week stating that its licensing agreements protected iOS app developers, Lodsys is moving forward with its lawsuits against developers for patent infringement.
Lodsys owns four patents that it claims app developers must pay to use, and in a series of blog posts today, Lodsys outlined its plans to continue its legal efforts to obtain those payments.
Lodsys disputes Apple's claims that agreements between the two companies cover the third party developers building iOS apps. While the company notes that Apple's defense of developers had a "very positive reaction" in the press and by developers (duh), it warns that "Developers relying on Apple's letter do so to their own detriment and are strongly urged to review Apple's own developer agreements to determine the true extent of Apple's responsibilities to them."
Although Lodsys had initially given developers 21 days to respond to its legal threats, it went ahead today and filed lawsuits against developers, saying that it opted to "move its litigation timing to an earlier date than originally planned, in response to Apple's threat, in order to preserve its legal options."
in an attempt to demonstrate that it's willing to put its money where its mouth is, Lodsys says that it will pay $1000 to any developer to whom it has sent an infringement notice if it turns out that the company's claims are baseless. Although Macrumors interprets this as a sign the company is confident that it will prevail in court, it could be seen as another grandstanding effort.
Regardless, the lawsuits are a serious matter and as it appears that the legal threats have spread from iOS to Android developers, they could stifle innovation and development on mobile platforms, particularly if third party developers have to shell out the money to pay to use the technology to which Lodsys holds the patents.Discuss
VMware announced today that it will acquire Socialcast, an enterprise microblogging and social network software-as-a-service. The move expands VMware's software-as-a-service portfolio, which also includes Zimbra, Mozy and SlideRocket. VMware is owned by EMC.
VMware has been expanding expanding its product line-up beyond virtualization in the past 18 months. It acquired the Web-based e-mail and office suite Zimbra from Yahoo in January of 2010. In April of this year it took control of Mozy and announced its cloud computing platform CloudFoundry. Later that month it acquired SlideRocket. This month it launched Horizon App Manager, a single sign-on service for various Web applications. App Manager is just one part of Project Horizon, VMware's cloud identity initiative.
"We're realizing there's a new way to work using cloud applications," says Brian Byun, VP of VMware's Cloud Applications business unit.He says Project Horizon is at the core of VMware's strategy for enterprise applications, but it's about more than just connecting companies to existing applications. It's about creating a whole new way of working.
When asked whether Socialcast and SlideRocket would become part of the Zimbra office suite, Byun said that VMware believes in the "Modular Web" and therefore the three services will remain distinct. However, he expects integrations will come soon. Socialcast wasn't one of the apps initially supported by Horizon App Manager, but he does expect Socialcast support to be added in the near future.
Earlier this month Gary Orenstein wrote at GigaOM that VMware is "new Microsoft" but without an operating system. Robert Scoble agreed. It's been a bit easy to forget Zimbra in the Google Apps vs. Microsoft Office 365 slugfest. Zimbra has been a bit quiet since VMware acquired it. But we have the feeling we'll be seeing more action coming from VMware's stable of Web applications in the near future.
It may not be as visible as competitors like Yammer and Salesforce.com Chatter, but Socialcast is one of the most successful enterprise microblogging companies out there, having landed companies like GM, NASA and Nokia as customers. Byun points out that even without a strong enterprise brand behind it Socialcast has built an impressive customer base. He expects that momentum to be even stronger thanks to VMware.
Socialcast has long been one of our favorite enterprise social software offerings. We called Socialcast one of our Top 10 Enterprise Products of 2009, and looked at how the company knocked it out of the park in 2010.
Socialcast is based in San Francisco and was founded in 2005. It was funded by True Ventures and Menlo Ventures.
Disclosure: VMware is a ReadWriteWeb sponsorDiscuss
I'll admit I haven't been on Quora as much recently, in large part due to being unceremoniously blocked by the company for subscribing to an excessive amount of RSS feeds (but that's another story). However, today, I stumbled across a great Quora thread started by tech insider Robert Scoble. The question: "Which tech startups currently (June 2011) need and deserve angel funding?"
Of course, the resulting list is a lot of self-serving posts from startups hoping to cash in on Scoble's influence, but frankly, I don't care. I'm obsessed with this thread and the startups that keep appearing there, minute by minute. It's startup Disneyland! And if you're an early adopter itching to try new services, you should check it out, too.
According to Scoble's post, he's having lunch with Ashton Kutcher on June 17.And to stoke the fires of the eager founders, he writes:
"Last year when I had lunch with him he invested in Flipboard, which went onto be Apple's favorite iPad app of the year. Got something you want to get in front of him? This is your shot. Stealth startups preferred."
Well, that's one way to unveil the stealthy startups in hiding!
At present, the answer summary includes the following:
- Appysnap! - www.appysnap.com
- CollabraCam - world's first multi-camera video production iPhone app with live editing and director-to-camera communication, www.collabracam.com
- Cursor - www.ThinkCursor.com (and the first Cursor community, www.RedLemona.de)
- Filmaster - the ultimate video recommendation engine for new releases (local theatres, TV, VOD), www.filmaster.com
- PlayMySong - iPod app, www.playmysong.net
- Semiautomatic Semiotics - 3-d immersive bicycling, http://semiautomatic3d.com
- Spot for iPhone - Instapaper for Places, www.spot-app.com
- Virlnet - Virlnet allows businesses to reward the grassroots efforts of social network users for promoting their brand, www.virlnet.com
- Wanderfly - www.wanderfly.com - travel recommendation engine
- Zferral - www.zferral.com
- Zipongo - diet and exercise tracking, www.zipongo.com
But this summary is incomplete. There are now 42 answers on this post and counting. I want to try them all! And if you're also dying to test out (or at least sign up for) some new services, stealthy and otherwise, this is one thread you should follow. Be warned, though: Quora is often labelled a "time sucking" service, and this thread is a prime example as to why. Be sure to have a few minutes to spare before clicking through!
Also, Quora? Please unblock my IP.Discuss
Bing has unveiled some changes to Bing Maps today that give users a much better view of the street. The newly improved Streetside feature in Bing Maps doesn't just show you the street, but lets you pan up and down it with a seamless, panoramic view of the surrounding location.
It's easy to see this update to Bing Maps as something that will differentiate the product from Google Maps, the former offers Streetside View and the latter offers Street View. And lest one make too much out of the different names here, it definitely feels as though the update to Bing Maps gives you a better glimpse from the side of the street, not just from the street itself (or from a vehicle snapping photos to build those very maps).
In unveiling the update, Microsoft says that "In the past you explored Streetside imagery by navigating between 'bubbles,' or discrete 360 degree views, and moving down the street was accomplished by jumping from bubble to bubble."
Now the navigation through the map is smoother, and you can easily pan up and down the street. Above the street view is a map so you can keep track of where you are via the visual cues from the photography or via a more traditional map of streets and addresses.
This new feature is the result of technology developed by Microsoft Research's Street Slide project, which ReadWriteWeb's Marshall Kirkpatrick called "better than Google Street View" when he wrote about a video demo of the technology last year. For its part, Google has sent its Street View vehicle all over thee world, raising numerous privacy concerns along the way. Bing Maps' Streetside isn't available everywhere yet, but if Microsoft wants to take on Google in this realm, it will have to make sure it's mapping cars aren't too far behind.
Cyberattacks are part of the defense landscape and have been for a while. Among the more high-profile instances in the last year are the Stuxnet attack by the U.S. and Israel on Iranian nuclear facilities, the attacks by the Chinese government on Google and even a hack of a Pentagon project.
Now, the Wall Street Journal says a soon-to-be-released Pentagon policy document will announce officially that a cyberattack can be a jus ad bellum, or act of war.
In addition to the Pentagon's Joint Strike Fighter project being compromised, a main military supplier, Lockheed Martin, was hacked earlier this month. The military felt that an ad hoc response was no longer adequate, hence, this official policy was drafted.
The finding of a cyberattack as an act of war is one that "for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force."
"If you shut down our power grid," one unnamed military official told the Journal, "maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks."
That's not just chest-beating. The notion of "equivalency" is based on the internationally-accepted Laws of War (formed from such agreements as the Geneva Conventions). This equivalency seem to be integral to the U.S. military's new official approach to cyber-threats.
However, retribution will depend on how closely the attack or the tools used to make it can be traced to a government entity. That will be the element of the report critics will probably focus on the most. What mechanisms will the military put in place to make legitimate determinations of blame?
The Pentagon will release the 12 unclassified pages of the 30-page document next month.
Other sources: PopSciDiscuss
RIM has released its BlackBerry Java SDK v7.0 into beta, which allows mobile developers to build applications for the new version of the BlackBerry operating system, BlackBerry 7 OS. Among other things, the SDK offers app developers device integration capabilities for access to the phone's features, including the magnetometer (compass), location data, maps and more.
It also adds support for NFC (near field communications), the short range wireless technology that enables the forthcoming digital wallets and mobile payments systems, in addition to serving as a barcode scanning replacement technology. Thefirst NFC-enabled BlackBerry phones, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930, are due out later this summer.
What's New in BlackBerry 7 OS for Developers
According to the SDK's download page, the following new features and APIs will be available in this beta version:
- Rich graphics: BlackBerry 7 OS supports accelerated graphics and the Open GL ES 2.0 standard. With the Open GL ES 2.0 Graphics APIs, you can incorporate compelling graphics and create a better mobile gaming experience for your users.
- Rich Multimedia:
- Native Window API: display Open GL graphics, UI and information (stats, subtitles, etc.) over native screens such as the camera viewfinder, video, browser and pictures to provide an experience that combines the real and virtual worlds
- HD video recording: users can record stunning videos with a default setting of HD (720p), then share them via MMS with the MMS Mode (176x144)
- Audio Buffering API: allow your app to set the buffer size (in milliseconds) before playback starts
- Audio Bitrate: change and retrieve the audio bitrate during video recording and specify the audio bitrate for AMR codec for video recording
- OpenVG API enhancements: support common OpenVG operations and simplify porting 2D canvas style code to OpenVG
- UDP Multicast API: receive multicast packets and send UDP packets to multiple destinations with a single multicast group ID
- Device Integration:
- Magnetometer (Compass) API: detect magnetic fields in your app to determine the smartphone's direction and orientation relative to the real world
- Send Menu API: provide a "Send..." menu and allow users to share your app content with contacts the same way that core BlackBerry smartphone apps do
- Geofencing APIs: specify geospatial boundaries and provide notifications when a user crosses the boundary
- Maps APIs: add complex geospatial shapes such as polygons, images and markers to a MapField and create items that inform the MapField when their state has changed
- Travel Time API enhancement: allow users to find out the departure time needed to arrive at a location at a specific time based on current traffic conditions
- Unified Search enhancement: dynamically add or remove indexed keywords for an indexed object and use a single interface to provide "searchable data" to the Unified Search Service
- Near Field Communication:Leverage the NFC capabilities of the BlackBerry smartphone to read and write NFC tags. With the API functionality available, you can access a secure element (JSR 177) for mobile commerce and loyalty apps, and include tag/Card emulation, and tag reading and writing in your app. Your app can also include support for NFC IT Policies.
- Enterprise support: BlackBerry Balance technology enables BlackBerry smartphones to be used for business and personal purposes without compromise. When connected to an organization's BlackBerry Enterprise Server or BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express1, specific IT policies along with features built into the device software2 help keep personal information separate and business information highly secure, allowing users to enjoy the fullest BlackBerry experience on a single device.
3rd-Party NFC Apps Now Possible
Of particular interest is the added support for read/write NFC in this new SDK. At this year's BlackBerry World, RIM demoed this technology by having its new BlackBerry 9900/9930 phones scan an NFC-enabled tag, which would then launch a URL. But when we asked to talk to someone at RIM more openly about the company's vision for NFC and how the technology would play a role in the way we communicate going forward, BlackBerry PR turned us down flat. RIM simply wasn't ready to discuss such a thing. This either means that RIM doesn't have a vision (unlikely) for NFC, or it's in active talks with potential partners to offer its own version of a mobile payments service, and other NFC-enabled offerings. For what it's worth, one company representative told us that RIM was talking to "banks and credit card companies," but wouldn't name which ones.
In any event, at least mobile app developers can begin to take advantage of this new feature now, by building and testing NFC-enabled applications that will run on RIM's upcoming smartphones.Discuss
Twitter has begun offering an embeddable button for one-click subscription to a Twitter account associated with any website, called the Follow Button. Previously, a website owner could link to their Twitter profile page off-site but users had to visit that Twitter page and click to follow the account from there.
Users interested in subscribing to updates from a website itself can, as always, subscribe to the Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds offered by many sites for years. Those are the orange buttons with the little white lines on them, and without the word Subscribe. RSS requires the use of a different application, called an RSS reader, where a user is probably less likely to encounter poorly written little jokes or the daily ennui of Hollywood starlets. Or your mom, who is more likely to Tweet than knowingly publish an RSS feed.
As Twitter power user Kevin Marks said today, it would be nice if the button included rel="me" in the code. That way outside parties analyzing the social graph across the web will know, programmatically, that the two pages are owned by the same people. Twitter profile pages have links in the user bios that include rel="me" markup already.Discuss
Heroku, the platform-as-a-service provider that Salesforce.com acquired last year, has added Node.js to its existing Ruby offering as part of its new public beta called Celadon Cedar. Other new features include consolidated logging, real-time dynotype monitoring and instant roll-backs.
The first question asked at the post-acquisition press and analyst Q&A was how long it would be until Heroku/Salesforce.com had a Node.js PaaS. We now have our answer.
Heroku has been a popular choice among Ruby developers and its name has become practically synonymous with PaaS. but it faces increased competition in the PaaS marketplace with companies like RedHat and VMware bringing Ruby-capable PaaSes online.
In short, Heroku is in a strong position and the new beta brings several important new features, but has its work cut out for it.Discuss
Web based mapping platform GeoCommons launched its 2.0 version today with a long list of free, enterprise and API features that bring the service up to date on contemporary web technologies. GeoCommons is a community site run by GeoIQ, a private company that sells software and support to enterprise customers. Data and maps posted to GeoCommons are published under a Creative Commons license.
The new version of the platform includes HTML5 display, a visualization engine GeoCommons says is capable of displaying hundreds of thousands of data points, web based editing, time-release views of mapped data and many other changes outlined in the announcement blog post.
GeoCommons says it contains 50,000 open source geo data sets now. Open community platforms for geo data have come under heavy criticism by some in the geo community over the years. Mapping community thought leader James Fee called GeoCommons the geo equivalent of a spam blog in 2007 but in 2008 wrote "it really is amazing how far we've come in a year...[community mapping platforms] are really proving that if you give people a platform to collaborate and share data, they'll do really amazing things." Fee went on to quit his job and become Chief Evangelist for another of these types of services, WeoGeo.
Now in 2011, the Geo 2.0 community has begun to earn a lot more respect, probably in large part due to the proliferation of interest in consumer location data and independent geo hacking. The new version of GeoCommons continues in the tradition of attempting to bring the new and old worlds of mapping together.
Online notes platform Evernote has been growing rapidly over the past year and is putting some of its venture funding to good use: A developer app-building contest with $100,000 worth of prizes.
Evernote has raised around $45 million with its latest round a Series C $20 million injection in October 2010 from Sequoia Capital. Developers can use the Evernote API to build extensions or features onto the platform with the grand prize winner taking home $50,000. Evernote developers and users: what do you want to see built onto the platform?
Curious what to create that Evernote has not already built itself? See what they have to say on their contest page:
"When coming up with your app, be creative," the company wrote. "We're not expecting an Evernote-powered jetpack (though that would be sweet) but, why not create an Evernote-enabled location-based shopping companion or a game that uses your notes to strengthen your memory? The possibilities are endless."
Busy Growing A Platform
Evernote was founded in 2007 and has around four million users across any operating system or device you can think of. It can clip the web, save personal notes, record audio from a mobile device and upload to the web, store pictures or articles to read later.
It has been busy rolling out updates over in the last couple years. Its Windows app got a social feature, redesigned its iPhone app, made its Android app more secure, updated its Web interface, integrated with StudyBlue, opened an app store, created a Mac interface, will introduce Android tablet functionality, created a Web clipping extension for Chrome and other browsers and created sponsored accounts.
So, it has certainly been putting its funding to good use. Perhaps they are out of ideas after rolling out so many new features, mostly in the last six months. Nothing better to dangle a carrot to developers and have them create new features for your platform. The move is similar to what Netflix started in 2009 with a developer prize of $1 million to create new products, features or technology to its predictive technology.
We wrote in Jan. 2010 that prizes can be a good way to foster a community around your platform, support innovation, gain recognition and create a set of challenges for developers to strive for. Contests are also a sign that a company has matured past just trying to survive the market and trying to conquer it, a la Netflix and its competition.
Another sign of Evernote's maturity is their first conference - the Evernote Trunk Conference in August in San Francisco. Winning apps will be showcased then.
Although it's getting a lot easier to build your own video games, many of the tools out there for doing so require you have a background in programming. Not so with with Stencyl, a new game creation studio that launches today.
"Our goal is to build the ultimate game creation experience, one that democratizes the game creation process by eliminating all technical barriers, leaving one's imagination as the limiting factor," says Stencyl co-founder Jonathan Chung.
For those familiar with MIT's Scratch, Stencyl's game design tool will look pretty familiar. Stencyl uses a similar drag-and-drop system, where users pull together different building blocks in order to create programs. More advanced users can also create their own building blocks that can in turn be shared with others.
And like Scratch, this means that Stencyl could be a great tool for placing game creation in the hands of some of gaming's biggest fans: kids. "Teaching kids how to code is a hard problem because the rules of syntax and other similar intricacies get in the way of learning the core concepts of learning how to think logically," says Chung. "I believe that kids, even younger ones, have the ability to think logically. As we've seen in our beta program, using a visual programming environment like Stencyl or MIT Scratch, breaks down barriers and allows kids to grasp those fundamentals and build sophisticated games on their own."
The success of Scratch doesn't just come from that visual programming element or from having an easy-to-use toolset. Rather it's a result of a great community around the project as well. Stencyl has also modeled itself on Scratch in this way with its "StencylForce," its own game development community. This will allow users to get support and ideas from one another, as well as share and download openly-licensed resources.
Currently, the game creation tool lets users build Flash games for Mac and PC, but the company plans to roll out support for iOS over the summer. It has a much larger roadmap as well, with plans for an iTunes-like marketplace - for games and for the games' building blocks - as well.
Stencyl's game creation software is currently free and works on Mac, Windows, and Ubuntu.Discuss
Thou Shalt Have No Other Jobs Before Me: Geek Fanatacism Lights Up Same Part of the Brain as Religion
Recently, a neuroscientist scanned the brains of an Apple devotee with an MRI machine. What he found was that each time the Apple logo was flashed onto the screen, this acolyte's brain lit up in exactly the same region that lights up when a religious person is shown an icon of their faith.
Alex Riley, in his documentary, "Secrets of the Superbrands," set out to figure out "how (the world's most powerful technology) brands - such as Apple, Microsoft and Google - have grown so explosively to become some of the world's biggest companies."
According to his piece on BBC News:
"The scenes I witnessed at the opening of the new Apple store in London's Covent Garden were more like an evangelical prayer meeting than a chance to buy a phone or a laptop. The strangeness began a couple of hours before the doors opened to the public. Inside the store, glassy-eyed staff were whipped up into a frenzy of excitement, jumping up and down, clapping and shouting."
If this doesn't bother you, well, maybe it should.
Apart from what Riley has to say about the topic, and that topic includes sex and gossip, what the religion element reminded me of was the transition from the Roman Republic to the Empire.
(Hey, where'd everybody go?)
Anyway, the public (well, at least the free, male, moneyed public) that took such a hands-on role in shaping the policy of the Republic was displaced by an Imperial government that consolidated power in one man, whose will was carried out by a bureaucracy. When that happened, the formerly most influential elements of the society turned away from public life to "mystery religions": Mithraism, the worship of Isis and of course Christianity.
In the same way, it feels that we've lost something in turn. I'm not sure what it is - religious faith, political will, tribal affiliation? - but I can feel it. With the loss of that thing, people have turned to brands, particularly to tech brands, with their promise of connection, amplification, justification, belonging. The promise of salvation and relevance.
I'm not a cynic when it comes to tech. I could hardly be here, doing this, if I were. I get embarrassingly enthusiastic when somebody comes along and punks up some crazy tech doodad or process that lets us, say, discover 17 new pyramids or cheat the switches on the machinery of repression.
But I am a skeptic. If I had to sum up my philosophy in one sentence it would be this:
The unexamined tech is not worth using.
So if an influential minority of us is responding to Apple or Google or Microsoft as though they were gods, we need to put on the brakes, reinforce our skepticism and examine the tech we use before it winds up using us.Discuss