Monday, 31 January 2011

Barnes & Noble Releases Firmware Upgrade For NOOKcolor

Barnes & Noble has released a small, bug significant firmware upgrade for the NOOKcolor. The new firmware fixes some bugs and adds a few new features including the ability to pinch-and-zoom from the Web browser. On its Website, Barnes & Noble provided a brief description for the update: Barnes & Noble is providing a minor update...

Source: http://hothardware.com/News/Barnes--Noble-Releases-Firmware-Upgrade-For-NOOKcolor/

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Why Microsoft's Ballmer Should Remain CEO

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer should probably stay in place.

I bring this up because my eWeek colleague, Don Reisinger, just published an article titled, "Steve Ballmer's CES Performance Proves He Needs to Go." Among the reasons: Microsoft's failure to craft a sizable tablet response to the Apple iPad, Ballmer's supposedly misplaced faith in Windows Phone 7's market prospects and little progress in reversing Google's search-engine dominance.

The thing is, Don's mostly right about Ballmer's missteps. Despite earning massive revenues from its flagship software, including Windows and Office, Microsoft managed to miss the proverbial boat on tablets, search and smartphones. And given how those three categories are basically defining the tech industry in 2011, that's very nearly an unconscionable mistake.

Insult to injury, Microsoft's stock hasn't moved very much in recent years, even as its rivals' market value skyrocketed. That's partially the consequence of being a mature company (once you're a multibillion-dollar conglomerate, finding new avenues for explosive growth becomes that much more difficult), but it's also a reflection of the aforementioned failure to capitalize on new tech trends.

But does that mean it's time to give Ballmer the boot?

Ordinarily, I'd say "yes." Ordinarily, a stagnant stock price and failure to maintain market share in key product segments is more than enough justification to send a CEO to retirement on some tropical island. However, Ballmer seems to realize mistakes were made. More to the point, he seems intent on rectifying those errors.

Earlier this week, Ballmer announced that Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft's Server and Tools Business, would depart the company this summer. "While Windows and Office are household words, our Server and Tools Business has quietly and steadily grown to be the unquestioned leader in server computing," he wrote in a Jan. 10 e-mail to company employees. "We are now ready to build on our success and move forward into the era of cloud computing."

Ballmer had apparently talked with Muglia "about the overall business and what is needed to accelerate our growth" and came to the decision that "now is the time to put new leadership in place for STB."

As I mentioned in an earlier Microsoft Watch posting, I thought Ballmer's word choice and tactics in dismissing Muglia were unnecessarily brutal, considering his two decades of saddle time with Microsoft.

That being said, it seems like Ballmer has some sort of larger plan here, one that involves bringing STB more in-line with Microsoft's broader cloud strategy. His e-mail suggests that, at least in his estimation, Muglia wasn't suited for guiding that integration, and he eliminated him. That's what CEOs do. It's not a particularly warm-and-fuzzy job.

Mulgia was just the latest in Ballmer's top-to-bottom house cleaning. In October 2010, the company named three new presidents to key divisions within the company, replacing those departed in a series of executive shakeups throughout the year. Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie and Business Division President Stephen Elop both headed for the door--the latter to take over the CEO reins at Nokia, the former for reasons still officially unexplained. With regard to the executive suite, Microsoft looks very different than a year ago.

Microsoft is also spending hundreds of millions to get back into the smartphone game. Its Kinect hands-free controller continues to sell well, as does Windows 7 and Office. And while its cloud initiatives have yet to generate substantial revenue, Microsoft is clearly trying to position itself at the forefront of that segment, instead of taking its usual "fast follower" role. These are the seeds of potential innovation and profit.

I feel that Ballmer needs to stay in place, at least for the short term, to give those seeds a chance to grow. Switching CEOs is a disruptive event; suddenly, the boardrooms fill with executives pressing their own agendas and sharpening their knives with an eye on each other's backs. Ballmer's departure could wipe out whatever nascent momentum the company has managed to accumulate in areas like smartphones and cloud. For that reason alone (and maybe that reason alone), he should probably remain Microsoft's CEO.

But just as long as he develops something resembling a decent tablet PC strategy.


Source: http://feeds.ziffdavisenterprise.com/~r/RSS/MicrosoftWatch/~3/5p6Lm49YE0k/why_microsofts_ballmer_should_remain_ceo.html

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ZMP's City Simulator Experiment takes the driver out of the car, keeps the helmet just in case (video)

ZMP's City Simulator Experiment takes the driver out of the car, keeps the helmet just in case (video)
ZMP has done some great things in the past -- well, except maybe Miuro, the roving iPod dock that ensured your PMP would always be just out of reach. Lately the company has been focusing on self-driving cars like the RoboCar MEV, and while this little one most certainly does have a driver, that driver is not actually in the car. It's a potential roadway revolution. Just imagine being able to partake in your morning commute from the safety of your own home! Right now it's just a little RC car (not unlike Malte Jehmlich's telepresence Wipeout from last year) being steered by what looks like a Logitech Driving Force GT, making us hope that the next Gran Turismo offers a mode just like this -- minus the headgear.

Continue reading ZMP's City Simulator Experiment takes the driver out of the car, keeps the helmet just in case (video)

ZMP's City Simulator Experiment takes the driver out of the car, keeps the helmet just in case (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 31 Jan 2011 15:29:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/31/zmps-city-simulator-experiment-takes-the-driver-out-of-the-car/

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Bloggie Touch software finally becomes Mac-compatible

By this point, we suspect any owners of a Bloggie Touch and a Mac computer will have figured out their own ways to process media and share it with the world, but now they've get another option: using Sony's software designed specifically for those tasks. Yes, the streamlined editing and publishing utility that was available to Windows users from day one has at long last been made to work with Macs as well. You'll need to grab an update from Sony's site, though don't fret if you fear similar delays with future Bloggie models -- Sony promises that devices like the Bloggie 3D will have Mac-friendly software on board from the start. Video of the Bloggie Touch utility awaits after the break.

Continue reading Bloggie Touch software finally becomes Mac-compatible

Bloggie Touch software finally becomes Mac-compatible originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 31 Jan 2011 07:47:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/31/bloggie-touch-software-finally-becomes-mac-compatible/

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Startup America: A Campaign To Celebrate, Inspire And Accelerate Entrepreneurship

Note from the editor: This is a guest post from Aneesh Chopra, United States Chief Technology Officer. During last week?s State of the Union address, President Obama challenged the Nation to out-educate, out-innovate, and out-build our competition to win the future. A critical ingredient in this endeavor is the creative spirit of the American entrepreneur that featured prominently in the President?s Strategy for American Innovation - a framework for long-term economic growth and sustainable job creation. Today, President Obama celebrated the launch of Startup America, a national (public/private) campaign to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship across all corners of the country, and the formation of the Startup America Partnership to catalyze private support for entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/5BU7ujX2WBE/

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Facebook to empower its massive mobile platform with HTML5

Facebook, which now has 125 million active iPhone and Android users, will set its focus on the mobile part of its platform this year. CTO Bret Taylor, speaking at the Inside Social Apps conference, said that emphasis will be on HTML5-powered solutions, to maximize impact across all of the smartphone platforms.

Both iOS and Android have Web browsers capable of HTML5. The BlackBerry browser supports some HTML5, and Nokia/Symbian should really have an HTML5-capable browser sometime in 2011. The advantages of developing an HTML5-powered mobile site are clear: not only is there at least 125 million users just waiting to enjoy interactive HTML5 content on their phones, but it would also mean that Facebook could spend its time creating a standards-compliant and cross-platform mobile website, rather than developing individual apps for each of the smartphone platforms.

Don't forget the developers, either: imagine writing an HTML5 app or game that works across every smartphone. It would bring a whole new level of immersion to FarmVille and CityVille players -- you could play it on the train, in the bathroom, or in bed!

Facebook to empower its massive mobile platform with HTML5 originally appeared on Download Squad on Wed, 26 Jan 2011 06:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2011/01/26/facebook-to-empower-its-massive-mobile-platform-with-html5/

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Layar Player Leaves Beta And Comes To Three iOS Apps

For as hot as tablets are in the hardware space, augmented reality is really coming into stride in the software space. We can't think of another segment in particular that is gaining momentum the way that AR is, and Layar is obviously reaping the benefits. This app was one of the first to launch in support of next-gen AR on the mobile, allowing...

Source: http://hothardware.com/News/Layar-Player-Leaves-Beta-And-Comes-To-Three-iOS-Apps/

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Windows Phone 7's live tiles turned into a pretty convincing iOS theme (video)

Had enough of seeing grids and folders of static (Calendar app excluded, of course) icons on your iDevice? Well, here's one option to relieving your tedium: a Windows Phone 7 theme for the iPhone and iPod touch. You'll naturally need to jailbreak your iOS handheld in order to restyle it quite so dramatically, but once you do, you'll have all your precious apps sorted in a neat alphabetical pile on one screen, with the other waiting patiently for your customizations and live tile choices. It's a good looking little mod, we have to say, and it's currently going through beta testing, so why not grab your iPhone and see if it can survive a lick of Microsoft paint without self-combusting?

Continue reading Windows Phone 7's live tiles turned into a pretty convincing iOS theme (video)

Windows Phone 7's live tiles turned into a pretty convincing iOS theme (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 31 Jan 2011 03:46:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://feeds.engadget.com/~r/weblogsinc/engadget/~3/groyhYqIdPc/

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LG G-Slate makes guest appearance on MysteryGuitarMan's YouTube channel (video)

LG's promotional strategy for the G-Slate seems to be to keep officially mum about the device, while letting random pseudo-celebrities tease it out in brief glimpses. A week ago, K-Pop artist Seungri gave us our first sighting of the dual-camera array on the back of the G-Slate, which has today made its triumphant return to YouTube, courtesy of one MysteryGuitarMan. The rear of the device here doesn't look identical to the one in Seungri's video, however the metallic strip separating the cams and its "with Google" branding look nearly identical to what LG has on the back of its Optimus 2X Android smartphone. We're also seeing a single LED flash for the first time, there are a couple of unidentified connectors at the bottom, at least one of them likely to assist docking in landscape mode, and we do get to see the tablet in profile for an idea of how thin it is. Video after the break.

Continue reading LG G-Slate makes guest appearance on MysteryGuitarMan's YouTube channel (video)

LG G-Slate makes guest appearance on MysteryGuitarMan's YouTube channel (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 31 Jan 2011 02:38:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://feeds.engadget.com/~r/weblogsinc/engadget/~3/ePH5coeHrmY/

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Amazon to buy out European movie rental and streaming service LoveFilm

After merging its DVD rental business with LoveFilm in 2008, Amazon has now agreed to buy all of the remaining shares for $312 million. Pending regulatory approval, the deal will complete in the first quarter of 2011.

LoveFilm, with extensive distribution rights in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark, is usually referred to as the 'Netflix of Europe,' and this purchase is obviously intended to give Amazon a strong entry into the European DVD rental and online streaming market. Amazon is hoping that LoveFilm's entrenchment will be enough to beat out Netflix, which after conquering America must surely have its sights set on Europe.

Amazon to buy out European movie rental and streaming service LoveFilm originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 20 Jan 2011 07:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2011/01/20/amazon-to-buy-out-european-movie-rental-and-streaming-service-lovefilm/

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UPDATE: Better video of Honeycomb on Nook Color

This one just keeps getting better and better.  First, photos were posted of Android 3.0 Honeycomb booting on the Nook Color, then the developer posted a video of Honeycomb booting, and now a new video has surfaced that shows Honeycomb in much more action on his, erm, "e-reader."

Since the first video, dev deeper-blue now has graphics acceleration "more or less working."  While still an early build with laggy touchscreen response, he obviously has gotten a lot working in the mere four days since the SDK preview was released! [xda-developers

UPDATE: Better video of Honeycomb on Nook Color posted originally by Android Central

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Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/androidcentral/~3/dtXMg9DvaG0/video-honeycomb-nook-color

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Switched On: A suite segment for PlayStation games

Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.

One thing that has set Sony apart from its home console rivals has been the extended lifecycles of its hardware. Riding the momentum of a massive install base, both the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 each kept selling strong nearly a decade after their debut, and years after their respective successors were introduced. In fact, as late as 2009, Audiovox began offering a PS2 integrated into an aftermarket ovehead car video system with a 10" screen. Sony could pursue this strategy in home consoles because the PS2 was the runaway unit volume leader of its generation. Not so with the PSP.

When Sony introduced the PlayStation Portable, it entered a portable console market with fierce, entrenched competition from the incumbent Nintendo, and the powerful widescreen handheld was outsold by the Nintendo DS and its later derivatives. Sony couldn't attain the market share it needed to steamroll existing competition.

With Sony's announcements this week, however, the PlayStation purveyors seem to have found a way to take their one-two punch on the road with a strategy that takes the PSP and segments its evolution.

Continue reading Switched On: A suite segment for PlayStation games

Switched On: A suite segment for PlayStation games originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 29 Jan 2011 23:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/29/switched-on-a-suite-segment-for-playstation-games/

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Sunday, 30 January 2011

Next PS3 update rumored to add 'Online Saving' for PlayStation Plus users

Say it with us, finally a PS3 firmware update that actually does something useful! We've grown so accustomed to Sony refreshing the software on its console just to spite jailbreakers that we almost started to believe that's all the word "update" entailed. But, here comes Kotaku with word that v3.6 of the PS3's firmware will come with a neat little addition: saving games to the cloud. This seems a very logical step toward delivering Sony's overall goal of giving users a holistic, integrated experience. Indeed, during the NGP presentation, guest speaker Hideo Kojima specifically referred to saving your PS3 game on the console and resuming it on the Next Generation Portable. "Online Saving," as Sony's reputed to be calling it, would be the conduit through which that can be realized, though it doesn't appear like it'll come for free. Kotaku's sources indicate it'll be part of the PlayStation Plus subscription, at least initially. Still, we like cloud storage, and if it means never having to see another hard drive again, we're all for it.

Next PS3 update rumored to add 'Online Saving' for PlayStation Plus users originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 29 Jan 2011 13:10:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/29/next-ps3-update-rumored-to-add-online-saving-for-playstation-p/

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Barnes & Noble Releases Firmware Upgrade For NOOKcolor

Barnes & Noble has released a small, bug significant firmware upgrade for the NOOKcolor. The new firmware fixes some bugs and adds a few new features including the ability to pinch-and-zoom from the Web browser. On its Website, Barnes & Noble provided a brief description for the update: Barnes & Noble is providing a minor update...

Source: http://hothardware.com/News/Barnes--Noble-Releases-Firmware-Upgrade-For-NOOKcolor/

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Reserve Bank Of India Restricts PayPal Payments To Merchants To Under $500

This is sure to cause a backlash among Indian online merchants. Due to restrictions from the Reserve Bank of India, PayPal has amended its user agreement for Indian merchants, imposing a number of restrictions on merchants using PayPal as an online payments mechanism. Now Indian merchants will not be able to accept payments via PayPal that are above $500 per transaction. As stated in PayPal's blog post announcing the change, "For purchases or payments above this transaction value, you will have to use an alternative payment method." The fact that Indian merchants won't be able to receive payments above $500 per transaction is a big blow to entrepreneurs in the country. As one anonymous developer tells us, "we're fucked."

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/kInaKL4nIaQ/

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Microsoft invites PS3 jailbreak dev to take a crack at Windows Phone 7

20-something firmware magician GeoHot (George Hotz) has already been sued by Sony for jailbreaking the PlayStation 3, and caused a major stir in the iPhone dev community when he released limera1n. So what next for the ambitious young hacker? How about taking a stab at Windows Phone 7?

The invitation has been handed out, with WP7 lead Brandon Watson offering to ship Hotz a device so that he can give it a go. Microsoft, of course, has said that it fully supports "official homebrew" development for WP7 and met recently with the Chevron WP7 team to discuss community and development-related issues.

The exploit used by Chevron WP7 is due to be patched in the January update for Windows Phone 7, so GeoHot will need to look elsewhere. Still, he's done it twice before, so we wouldn't be at all surprised if he can do it again.

Microsoft invites PS3 jailbreak dev to take a crack at Windows Phone 7 originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 21 Jan 2011 07:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2011/01/21/microsoft-invites-ps3-jailbreak-dev-to-take-a-crack-at-windows-phone-7/

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Razer trots out mildly overhauled DeathAdder Black Edition USB gaming mouse

When you've got a good thing rolling, why stop? That's the mantra applied to Razer's latest, which is actually the third DeathAdder to be released. You may remember the original slinking out way back in 2006, with the southpaws in attendance finally getting one of their own in March of last year. Today, in order to celebrate the device's Wood Anniversary, Razer's loosing the USB-connected DeathAdder Black Edition. For all intents and purposes, this is the same DeathAdder that we came to love last decade, but with an ever-so-slightly tweaked design that adds non-slip rubber sides and an all-black finish. It'll ship globally next month for $59.99 / €59.99, with orders being taken right... about.. now.

Continue reading Razer trots out mildly overhauled DeathAdder Black Edition USB gaming mouse

Razer trots out mildly overhauled DeathAdder Black Edition USB gaming mouse originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 28 Jan 2011 14:45:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://feeds.engadget.com/~r/weblogsinc/engadget/~3/h4Q6t8Jfyko/

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