Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sorry Microsoft, Blackberry may take your place in the new Fords.

Millions of Ford cars are already equipped with smart technology, called Ford Sync. Since it was introduced in 2007, Ford has partnered with Microsoft to operate the system.

The automaker would not confirm if it was dropping Microsoft for Blackberry. Spokeswoman Susannah Wesley said: "Ford and Microsoft are longtime partners, and we continue working together for the future."

She said Ford works with a variety of companies for its in-car connectivity systems and that it does "not discuss details of our work with others or speculate on future products for competitive reasons."

Neither Microsoft nor Blackberry responded to requests for comment. Both companies work with automakers on providing similar technology.

Microsoft has partnerships with Fiat, Nissan and Kia.

The Blackberry-owned software system called QNX is used in Audi and BMW vehicles for navigation and music. Earlier reports suggested that QNX would operate future versions of Ford Sync.

If true, Ford would be one of QNX's biggest customers. The car company faced criticism in 2011 for the Sync system freezing and crashing. Ford said it expects to make its newest Sync version available on another 3.4 million vehicles this year.

Source: CNN

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Play Pokemon with 50,000 other people in "Twitch Plays Pokemon".

No one was quite expecting "Twitch Plays Pokemon," the massively-multiplayer Pokemon game being streamed on Twitch.tv for more than 150 hours straight, to virally erupt within a week of going live, let alone accomplish anything by way of in-game progress. Yet the channel has ballooned to mind-boggling popularity as the group of tens of thousands of Twitch users have managed to make surprising advancements in tandem with hilarious missteps.

In the process, a community unlike anything the Internet has ever seen has sprouted up, the strangest aspect of which is the disturbingly elaborate religious narrative crafted by thousands of meme-hungry participants. It would be an understatement to say it's one of the weirder things to happen on the Internet lately.

Currently, the stream has garnered more than 15 million total views and the active viewer count has at times exceeded 100,000, up almost 10 times what its peak was last Friday. The self-described "social experiment," started by an anonymous Australian programmer last week, began as a fascinating look into collective behavior and group dynamics.

Want to see the game live in action? Or jump into the game? Visit Twitch.tv/TwitchPlaysPokemon.

Source: CNET

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The T-Mobile / AT&T battle is heating up! Court rules T-Mobile owns the color magenta.

A squabble over who stole the magic marker seems more fitting for a classroom than a courtroom. But a federal judge has sided with T-Mobile in a recent trademark lawsuit, saying that Aio Wireless, an AT&T subsidiary, isn't allowed to use colors resembling T-Mobile's promotional magenta color.

The Texas court has ordered AT&T to stop using Pantone 676C, a.k.a "plum," over fears that it might cause consumers to confuse the two brands. According to the presiding judge, T-Mobile successfully argued that letting Aio continue to use a variant of magenta would cause it irreparable harm.

In a statement declaring victory, T-Mobile called AT&T's actions a "transparent effort to infringe" and that the court rightfully defended T-Mobile's sole ability to use the color magenta.

A spokesperson for Aio, Alejandra Arango, said the company has already given up using its controversial color of choice.

"While we disagree with the court's decision, it addresses advertising and store designs that we are no longer implementing. Accordingly, this decision has no effect on our advertising plans," Arango said.

T-Mobile's claim stems from its parent company, Deutsche Telekom, which in the 2000s trademarked a pinkish hue known as RAL 4010 for its promotional campaigns. A side-by-side comparison back in August showed that what T-Mobile argues is magenta seemed pretty distinctive from the wine-colored tone that Aio used. In fact, T-Mobile's definition of magenta appears to have expanded beyond its original trademark; rather than owning a specific shade of pink, the company is now claiming nearby colors as well.

With due respect to the importance of trademarks, if there were an Academy Award for silly lawsuits, this one might qualify. After all, few things speak more loudly than price and service quality — characteristics of a business that tend to transcend marketing materials. Promotional colors can engender valuable feelings of trust and loyalty, to be sure. But I'd wager the share of Americans who select their wireless carrier on the basis of their favorite color is pretty small.

Source: The Washington Post

Monday, February 10, 2014

Have Flappy Bird on your iPhone? Sell it for 6 figures!

The sudden popularity of mobile hit Flappy Bird isn't the only thing soaring.

Several auctions have popped up on the online marketplace eBay featuring iPhones that included an installed copy of Flappy Bird, which was removed from app stores by its developer after it skyrocketed to the top of the Google Play and Apple App Store.

Some listings for the smartphones feature bids reaching hundreds and thousands of dollars, including one with a top bid of $99,900. Yes, that's almost 6 digits...for a simple game.

As we previously posted, the game developer removed Flappy Bird on Sunday, which surged to the top of the Games charts on both iTunes and Google Play. A series of previous tweets from Nguyen's Twitter account suggest the developer may have grown uncomfortable with the sudden attention his game attracted.

"Press people are overrating the success of my games," said Nguyen in a tweet on February 4. "It is something I never want. Please give me peace."

Flappy Bird stars a tiny bird that players must fly between a series of green pipes sprouting from the top and bottom of the screen. Players must tap the touchscreen to keep the bird airborne. Along with visuals reminiscent of classic video games, the game also gained a reputation for being very difficult.

Source: USA Today

Looking for that addicting Flappy Bird game? You may just be out of luck...

Flappy Bird was removed from app stores on Sunday, just hours after its creator warned that the popular game's demise was inevitable.

The free smartphone game for iOS and Android took the mobile market by storm, reportedly earning $50,000 in ad revenue each day. Flappy Bird had been download upwards of 50 million times and earned 47,000 reviews on the App Store.

After Flappy Bird secured the number one spot on the App Store and Google Play Store late last month, several media outlets attempted to explain our fascination with the ad-based tapping game, which sported a pixelated art style inspired by Super Mario Bros. However, all that attention proved too much for Dong Nguyen, the app's creator.

Nguyen tweeted Saturday that he would remove the game from the app stores on Sunday, saying that he was overwhelmed by the game's success: "I am sorry 'Flappy Bird' users, 22 hours from now, I will take 'Flappy Bird' down. I cannot take this anymore."

Nguyen went on to tweet that he would continue to make games but that Flappy Bird was not for sale. The Hanoi-based game maker is reportedly working on a simple take of the jetpack endless runner, made popular by games like Jetpack Joyride.

Source: CNET

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Another big storm is coming. Here's some useful emergency tips...

  1. Limit non-emergency phone calls. This will minimize network congestion, free up “space” on the network for emergency communications and conserve battery power if you are using a wireless phone;
  2. Keep all phone calls brief. If you need to use a phone, try to use it only to convey vital information to emergency personnel and/or family;
  3. For non-emergency calls, try text messaging, also known as short messaging service (SMS) when using your wireless phone. In many cases text messages will go through when your call may not. It will also help free up more “space” for emergency communications on the telephone network;
  4. If possible try a variety of communications services if you are unsuccessful in getting through with one. For example, if you are unsuccessful in getting through on your wireless phone, try a messaging capability like text messaging or email. Alternatively, try a landline phone if one is available. This will help spread the communications demand over multiple networks and should reduce overall congestion;
  5. Wait 10 seconds before redialing a call. On many wireless handsets, to re-dial a number, you simply push “send” after you’ve ended a call to redial the previous number.  If you do this too quickly, the data from the handset to the cell sites do not have enough time to clear before you’ve resent the same data. This contributes to a clogged network;
  6. Have charged batteries and car-charger adapters available for backup power for your wireless phone;
  7. Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers in your phone;
  8. If in your vehicle, try to place calls while your vehicle is stationary;
  9. Have a family communications plan in place. Designate someone out of the area as a central contact, and make certain all family members know who to contact if they become separated;
  10. If you have Call Forwarding on your home number, forward your home number to your wireless number in the event of an evacuation. That way you will get incoming calls from your landline phone;
  11. After the storm has passed, if you lose power in your home, try using your car to charge cell hones or listen to news alerts on the car radio. But be careful – don’t try to reach your car if it is not safe to do so, and remain vigilant about carbon monoxide emissions from your car if it is a closed space, such as a garage.
  12. Tune-in to broadcast and radio news for important news alerts.