‘USE MY PHONE in the shower?’ I hear you ask. ‘Who in the name of Triton Ltd would do a thing like that?’Well, here’s the thing: LOTS of people do it. The internet is full of them.But taking your phone into the shower is extremely dangerous.Here’s what could happen:
EARLIER TODAY, APPLE sent out invitations to a special event on 22 October in San Francisco, revealing little about what is expected to be a day devoted to iPad updates.Emailed invitations bore few details other than time, place and the message:“We still have a lot to cover.”A colorful graphic in the shape of an iPad showed Apple’s iconic logo under a shower of colorful leaves.The invitations came about a week after unconfirmed reports that Apple will show off a new version of its popular iPad tablet computer that will be thinner than its predecessor and boast improved camera capabilities.Scrutiny of Apple’s supply chain has industry trackers thinking the new iPad will get “narrower, thinner, and lighter” and possibly built with processors at least as powerful as those used in the freshly-launched iPhone 5S, according to Gartner analyst Van Baker.An upgraded version of the iPad mini with an improved screen is also expected.Baker will be watching for whether new iPad models have 64-bit processors as engines in a significant boost that would enable tablets to handle more heavy weight programs and games.“It has the potential to make tablets much more compelling devices in terms of content creation; making devices more sophisticated with more horsepower-hungry applications,” the analyst said.“It will increase the likelihood that tablets will displace PCs (personal computers).”Building more powerful computing engines in iPads would also ramp up gaming capabilities, Baker said, while adding: “Not that it needs a lot of help.”He also suggested that top-end full-size iPads could get a fingerprint recognition security feature that has proven a hit in the iPhone 5S.Such upgrades would promise to entice buyers to pay a bit more for full-size tablets from Apple instead of chosing lower-priced Mini models, boding well for the company’s bottom line, according to the analyst.The iPad remains the largest-selling tablet, according to surveys, but its market share is being eroded by rivals using the Google Android operating system.Apple was also expected to discuss its computer operating system and its MacBook laptop line at the event, timed for the start of the year-end holiday shopping season.Apple is coming off a wildly successful launch of two new iPhone models last month. The California firm said it sold a record nine million iPhones in the three days after launching two new versions of the smartphone.- © AFP, 2013
MINISTER FOR SOCIAL Protection Joan Burton says she would like to see traineeship systems rolled out in a number of sectors like retail and hospitality so people can “earn and train and work”.Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk this morning, Burton rejected that such programmes are cheap labour for employers. She said that some of her first jobs would have been “similar to many listeners in places like Dunne Stores” where she was grateful for the experience.“If the lack of work, and the lack of experience goes beyond six months, all of the international evidence shows that if the gap on your CV is more that six months then employers begin to blame the individual rather than the employment situation having collapsed,” she said.The minster told Pat Kenny that she has met people on the JobBridge programme who have fantastic qualifications but who haven’t had the adequate experience. “Employers have to become part of the solution”, she said and explained that Ireland needs to embrace models from other small countries where universities, employers and individuals work together to provide employment for young people.Incentives she said will come into place from the beginning of 2014 to offer employers a tax rebate if they employ someone who has been unemployed for six-months.The minister said that in some countries interning is associated with young people who have wealthy families and who can afford to work for nothing, this unfair interning system is not the norm in Ireland she said.Jobseeker’s AllowanceIn yesterday’s budget it was announced that Jobseeker’s Allowance is to be decreased to €100 for people aged 24 and under who are new claimants from the start of next year. Another reduced rate of €144 will apply to jobseekers who reach 25 fro January next year. Burton said that these changes have been brought in so that welfare does not look like a long-term option for people:“I think the worst start in life for a young person at 18, at the beginning of their adult life if you will, is to end up on their 18th birthday, going down to the dole office and signing on,” she said“You don’t want 18 to become 21, 22, 23, 24. Some of the best years of your life will have gone past, okay you have income support but you want financial independence”.Read: Telephone allowance, maternity benefit and medical cards hit hard in Budget >Damien Kiberd: Budget 2014 arithmetic not just iffy – it’s scary >Read: Core payments were protected thanks to job creation – Burton >
THE HSE HAS projected a year-end deficit of €105 million in its August monthly report.It said that its year-to-date expenditure is €8.321 billion, against a budget of €8.227billion.This results in a gross deficit of €93.7 million at the end of August. The deficit in the sameperiod in 2012 was €404 million.It said that the risk assessment / projected outlook for year end would indicate that there is a direct services projected deficit of circa €105m.This includes a projected shortfall for hospitals of €75m and €25m on local schemes.There has been a three per cent (8,952) increase in the overall number of emergency admissions from January to August 2013, when compared with the same period in 2012. The HSE said that cases are also more complex, which leads to higher costs.In 2011/2013 there was a 30 per cent reduction in the number of Emergency Department patients waiting on trolleys for ward bed accommodation.Currently, 86 per cent of all adults on the elective waiting list are waiting less than eight months, and 79 per cent of all children less than 20 weeks.Meanwhile, in palliative care services 93 per cent of referrals get access to specialist inpatient beds within seven days, exceeding the 92 per cent target.It said that in August all patients requiring an urgent colonoscopy were seen within the four-week target.Medical cards At the end of August there were 1,863,062 (that’s 40.6 per cent of the population) who had a medicalcard and 124,361 (2.71 per cent of the population) in receipt of a GP Visit card.In total, 98 per cent of completed medical card applications are processed and issued within 15 days. exceeding the National Service Plan target of 90 per cent, said the HSE.Read: Hole in Health budget less than €200 million, says Reilly>Read: HSE expects deficit of over €100 million this year>
GARDAÍ HAVE APPEALED for witnesses to an armed robbery carried out on a jewellery shop in Dublin city centre this evening.Two men carrying firearms got away with three display trays of gold rings after they held-up a jewellery shop on Aungier Street in the city centre. The two men entered the shop at around 5pm this evening, threatening staff before escaping in a stolen grey Opel Astra which was later abandoned on Aungier Lane.Gardai are seeking witnesses and have issued descriptions of the two men involved who they say are aged in their 20s and early 30s.One of the men is described as tall – well over 6 foot – and was wearing a blue balaclava, a sleeveless yellow high visibility jacket, a blue hoodie, jeans and runners.The second is smaller in height – between 5 foot 10 inches and 6 foot – and was wearing jeans, a blue top, a sleeveless yellow high-vis jacket and blue hard hat.Gardaí also say that the grey Opel Astra involved, with a partial registration of 07–C, was taken during a burglary on the night of 9 November in the Harold’s Cross area of south Dublin. Anyone with information is asked to contact Pearse Street Garda Station 01 666 9000 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.
SURVIVAL RATES FOR some cancers in Ireland were as much as 13 per cent lower than the EU average.While the number of adults surviving for more than five years after being diagnosed has risen steadily, a wide variation between survival rates still remains across Europe.“The good news is that the number of adults surviving for at least 5 years after diagnosis has risen steadily over time in all European regions,” said study co-leader Dr Roberta De Angelis, ”reflecting major advances in cancer management such as organised cancer screening programmes and improved treatments.”The findings, to be published in The Lancet Oncology, show that between 2000 and 2007 both Ireland and the United Kingdom fell behind the EU average when it comes to many common cancers, such as colon (52 per cent against an average of 57), and kidney (48 per cent compared to 61).Irish survival rates for ovarian cancer were the lowest in Europe at 30.3 per cent. Sweden, at 44.1 per cent, had the highest rate in this category.Commenting on the figures, the Irish Cancer Society said that “there are currently no effective screening programmes for kidney or ovarian cancers internationally.“In addition, the symptoms for both kidney or ovarian cancers can be vague and diagnosis can be difficult.”They added that this study pre-dates the full implementation of the National Cancer Control Programme, after which there has been “improvements in survival rates across all cancers”.Thanks to advances in the early detection and treatment of cancer, overall 60 per cent of people in Ireland survive for five years or longer after a cancer diagnosis and go on to live a normal and healthy life.Almost 171,000 patients diagnosed with cancer in Ireland between 2000 and 2007 were included in the research.The figures were revealed in the latest EUROCARE-5 report and covers 50 per cent of the adult population and 77 per cent of children.Countries in eastern Europe, such as Bulgaria, Poland, and Estonia, were found to have the lowest survival rates.Nordic countries, except Denmark, and other countries such as Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Italy, Portgual, and Spain had some of the best survival rates.The authors of the report suggested that lower rates of survival in the UK and Denmark was down to “delayed diagnosis”.Childhood rates at 79 per centIn a separate study from the EUROCARE-5 report, childhood survival rates at 5 years from diagnosis for all cancers combined was at 79 per cent.This Europe-wide figure was up from 3 per cent from a similar study between 1999 and 2001.The co-leader of the study, Dr Gemma Gatta from the Istituto Nazionale Tumori in Milan, Italy, suggest lower survival rates in Eastern Europe was due to a lack of efforts coordinated nationally to increase survival rates, although it did rise 5 per cent from previous studies.“The main factors influencing poorer survival in eastern Europe include a shortage of public funding for cancer control, lack of national cancer plans,” she said, “and inadequate access to screening programmes and up-to-date treatment protocols.”Read: Global health inequality could be eliminated by 2035 — report >More: Cancer death rates for Ireland’s older women higher than EU average >
FOLLOWING CONFIRMATION that Justin Bieber has been arrested for drag racing under the influence, his mother Patti Mallette has finally stepped in front of the runaway train… to ask fans to pray for her unswervingly cantankerous nineteen-year-old. Possibly shaking her head dolefully, she mused, “So many people go into the entertainment industry with amazing Christian roots and they get influenced somehow”, otherwise known as the “Don’t look at me, it’s not my fault!” excuse.Irish parents would no doubt advocate “a good kick up the arse” for young Mr Bieber, and though I’m reluctant to demur lest my own mam get the wooden spoon out, I’m going to suggest something twice as controversial. Hear me out, ‘kay?A Justin Bieber amnesty.Naturally there would be conditions attached, but let’s face it, we’ve come to an impasse and one of us is going to have to make the first, painfully generous offer: if Justin Bieber stops terrorising his neighbours, the international DJing community, Argentina, and Capuchin monkeys, we’ll forget he ever happened and allow him to live out the rest of his natural on some lavender farm somewhere.It’s a fair deal, people, because Justin Bieber hasn’t had the best time of it.Grabbing global stardom in your teensThat in itself might seem a controversial statement, because Bieber appears to have absolutely everything a young man could want from life. He’s financially stable and will be until the end of his days (or the End of Days, whichever comes first). He’s forged a phenomenally successful career. He’s adored by millions. He can wear preposterous pants and his friends don’t slap him for it.Dig a little deeper though, and no matter how inclined you are towards begrudgery or dramatic eye-rolling, you’ll identify the disadvantages to grabbing global stardom in your teens. You can see it all over Bieber’s litany of faux pas: a person who hasn’t had a childhood is unlikely to make a decent adult.There are plenty of people who came to superstardom in childhood who grew into well-adjusted, happy and productive grown-ups, so allowing the Diva Bieber amnesty on the grounds of his not having a conventional upbringing might seem a gesture too gentle. Think Joseph Gordon Levitt, Natalie Portman, Ryan Gosling, Emma Watson, Elijah Wood, Ron Howard, none of whom resorted to peeing in mop buckets for giggles, at least as far as this writer knows (I mean, Elijah Wood looks like he’d be up for antics, no?).Former child starsBut then you have young celebrities who didn’t fare so well, who, for whatever reason, fell for the Yes Men, the glamour and the cash, and didn’t understand how fickle the whole thing was till it was far too late. Lindsay Lohan fought the law and the law won. Corey Feldman battled with addiction, and reported a culture of predatory paedophilia in Hollywood, of which he was a victim. Britney Spears struggled through several mental health crises. Amanda Bynes’ mother was granted conservatorship, including over her daughter’s medical care, after a string of bizarre incidents. Macaulay Culkin’s relationship with his parents remains painfully strained after accusations of financial mismanagement and bullying. And of course, there was Michael Jackson, about whom ugly suggestions persist, a man so grossly exploited as a boy that he appeared to choose perpetual childhood over growing up.Former child star Mara Wilson wrote a telling essay on Cracked last year in which she examined the reasons child stars don’t always turn out well (unrelated, but her essay on living with OCD is superb, so check that out too). Listing hazards such as loss of parental guidance, sexual exploitation and lack of educational or professional development, Wilson certainly makes a strong case for wrapping your young in a duvet and keeping them in the attic until they’re old enough to escape the attentions of TV talent spotters.Blossoming under spotlights is something only very exceptional people or rare orchids are capable of, and while it’s certainly possible that one’s littlest extrovert could become the next Jodie Foster, the chance that she could have to battle with drugs, alcohol, predatory adults, obsessive fans, and a legal system that stubbornly refuses to accept that “But I’m famous!” is a good excuse for drunken drag racing is surely far too significant to ignore.And so we return to Mammy Mallette, who wants to remind us that famous boys will be famous boys and that the music industry is full of dangerous non-Christians who’d shove you into a mound of cocaine as soon as look at you. Let’s say she’s got a point. Justin Bieber might be the most singularly unpleasant young chap to steam around the place shirtless since that time the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man terrorised Manhattan, but what chance did he have, Christian values or no Christian values?Carefully moulded for a career in entertainment, he now finds himself surrounded by people whose own sustenance depends on their indulging his every ridiculous whim. Expected to remain a cute adolescent so that prepubescent girls will continue to coo and fling their money at him. Allowed to sign to a massive label at thirteen years of age, as if his supposed talent was due to run out once he started shaving. Maybe we should all feel a little bit concerned for Justin Bieber. And, dare I say it, a little bit impatient with the hand-wringing of his mother, who has said that she prayed that God would make a prophet of her son, who was fine with his performing in public since he was six years of age.Micromanaged through his first years of stardom by coaches for everything from vocals to urban attitude, it should hardly come as a shock to discover that as an adult Bieber is keen to give acting the maggot a chance long overdue. If there’s a moral here, maybe it’s if you raise them as performing monkeys, don’t be so shocked when they turn into chest-beating apes.Read more of Lisa McInerney’s columns here >Read: Justin Bieber arrested over ‘DUI and drag racing’Pic: Here’s Justin Bieber’s police mugshotWe’re interested in your ideas and opinions – do you have a story you would like to see featured in Opinion & Insight? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
LAST WEEK, PHOTOGRAPHER Donal Moloney allowed us to explore a delapidated, rural house that had been left untouched since its occupier, Birdie, had left 14 years ago.This week, he discovered a car graveyard in the “middle of nowhere” in Kilkenny.“I was on the way back from Waterford and spotted the pile of cars about a half mile away from the main road,” he told TheJournal.ie, adding that he had to investigate further.“The nearest exit was another five miles, so I took it and had to drive around for about 20 minutes to find the place.”
Stinger (Robert S Donovan/Flickr/Creative Commons)Just out of shot: A grown man, weeping (Fallen Ice Cream/Shutterstock)Poetic (Imgur)(A Little Fragile/Tumblr)Hundreds of abandoned cats saved after China truck accident>Man rescued from truck hanging over New York street> EVERYBODY BE COOL! Be cool!Yes, 22 tonnes of ice cream were involved in a crash in Tennessee, but not a drop was spilled, and nobody was injured.Nashville TV station WSMV reports that rescue crews have been brought in to transfer the ice cream to another vehicle, after the truck hauling it jack-knifed.Via Buzzfeed/Fox News/WSMVThat was a close one. These people weren’t so lucky:YouTube/GIFS Forum
AS WE AWAIT the election of a new pope, there are many interesting things happening during these interim weeks.What I find most surprising, and hopeful, is the fact that it is being increasingly accepted across the board that the Vatican itself is in urgent need of reform. So much has come out in the last couple of years that shows conclusively that it is a dysfunctional system.What is really surprising is that even some of the cardinals are voicing the need for reform of the Curia. Words like scandal and corruption are being used widely. So those of us who hope for reform and renewal in the Catholic Church will look to the actions of the new pope in his first few months to see if he is serious about reforming the Curia. If we get a pope who continues the policies and actions of the last two, then the Church is in enormous trouble.I am not optimistic. The system itself militates against change. For instance, some people are hoping for a pope from Africa or the Far East, or maybe Latin America. If that happens my fear is that the curial system will quickly gobble him up, and he will be rendered ineffective. No system wants to relinquish power, and the Curia will certainly resist in every way they can any effort at reform.The other way in which the system militates against change is in how the new pope is chosen. When Benedict retired all the heads of the different ‘congregations’ within the Vatican had to step down from office. The new pope will not know he is getting the job until the votes are cast. And when that happens he will immediately be caught up in the ritual, – the dressing up, receiving congratulations from all the cardinals, and then out to the window to be greeted by the people. He will have no time to think or to plan.When Enda Kenny, for instance, was elected Taoiseach he was fairly sure for some time that he would get the job, and he also had his own team coming in with him. The new pope will have none of those advantages.It would be an extraordinarily courageous action by him to tell all the heads of the congregations that he was not re-appointing them, and then to proceed in a very short space of time to replace them by people from outside the system who would come in with fresh ideas and approaches. But that is the only way that the system could be cleaned out. The easy way for him will be to tell all the existing heads to resume their official positions. In which case there will be no change.I am sorry that Keith O’Brien will not be at the conclave. He showed some signs that he is a man of open mind, willing to think in new ways. He did make mistakes in his life, as he has admitted. But as a society and a Church we are obsessed with matters sexual. When O’Brien said over a week ago that many priests found it hard to live the celibate life, we know now that he was speaking out of his own experience.People who speak the truth out of their lived experience should always be listened to. I would be much more interested in banning from the conclave those cardinals who did not promote reform and renewal in their diocese, or who did not make place for the voice of women at all levels in their church.So, watch the first couple of weeks of the new pope. See what he does with the Curia. In particular, take note of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. If the existing incumbent is re-appointed, then you can take it that there will be no real change, that things will go on as they have done for the last thirty five years.Tony Flannery is a member of The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP). The ACP is an association for Catholic priests who wish to have a forum and a voice to reflect, discuss and comment on issues affecting the Irish Church and society today. He recently refused to sign a letter supporting Church teachings on women and sexual issues.Read: Protest at Papal Nunciature over treatment of Fr Tony FlanneryMore: Fr Flannery ‘couldn’t look in the mirror’ if he signed Church statement
MICHAEL NOONAN HAS described Fianna Fail job spokesman Dara Calleary as “like the arsonist that set fire to the building giving out to the fire brigade for not putting out the fire fast enough”.The Finance Minister was responding to accusations in the Dail this morning that he has failed to deliver a deal on retrospective recapitalisation for bailed-out Irish banks.Calleary retorted: “You’ve had three years to put out the fire…but you haven’t put any water on it.”He said that the Government had trumpted a 2012 agreement on the European Stability Mechanism as “a game changer” and “a big deal”.“Now it seems it’s wait and see”, he told the minister.Noonan said that a decision will be made on whether or not to apply for retrospective bank recapitalisation in November, when it is anticipated the ESM will be in place.Last year a deal was struck that could allow retrospective applications to the €500 billion fund.Brussels, however, is reportedly playing down the possibility of a deal on recapitalisation of the Irish banks.Nama staffIn response to questioning from Sinn Fein finance spokesman Pearse Doherty, Noonan admitted that the departure of staff from Nama to private sector property companies was “an issue of concern”.He added that there was no current example of it causing a problem, but acknowledged that many employees may be tempted away from the state’s bad bank as it approaches its wind-up date.He said that he is “open to discussion” on remedies to the issue, including potentially a “golden handcuffs” deal for employees, whereby some of their remuneration would be conditional upon staying with the agency until a certain date.Doherty said that “the private sector are poaching the best in Nama…the problem is that the cooling off periods are not active.”He continued:“There does seem to be a conflict…there is a massive concern that we’ve allowed that situation to develop”.Read: Noonan – Taxpayers put lots of money into BoI and AIB, now we could get some back>Read: Infographic: How much have the Irish put into their banks?>
Your pricy DSLR and your pricier lens beep when they’re in focus and ready to shoot. But are they really in focus? With Datacolor’s SpyderLensCal ($59 direct), now you’ll know for sure. It’s a photo target (nothing new there) with a ruler at a 45-degree angle (that’s new). Shoot an autofocus test photo at the camera’s widest aperture and see which ruled lines are most in focus (right side above). If it’s not the ones near 0, you should form an O with your mouth, as in uh-oh, and think about a repair. In the photo above right, you can see that the focus is sharpest at 0, which is where the angled ruler crosses the vertical card, and that means the image is in proper focus right at the sensor, not in front of or behind it. If it isn’t in focus, then your digital single lens reflex camera may need service, or user adjustment for the DSLRs that allow it. Protection for DSLR Owners, Protection for DSLR MakersTwo groups need SpyderLensCal: Owners with a big investment in cameras and lenses who want to show the camera-maker there’s something wrong with their camera (if there is), and camera-makers and dealers who want to show the cranky buyer that the problem is with the user (or a fast-moving scene) not the camera. Autofocus Adjustment Lets You Fix It YourselfA handful of high-end cameras have autofocus adjustment (sometimes called microfocus adjustment). It lets you zero in your autofocus setting even if you’re out in the field and you have a way to verify focus. Take a test photo with the SpyderLensCal by autofocusing on the focus grid, use the camera LCD to zoom in on the calibration rule, adjust the microfocus if needed, shoot another test photo, wash, rinse and repeat. SpyderLensCal folds flat for storage (but lacks a protective pouch), then quickly snaps into position, and a bubble level insures the test target is perfectly vertical. Does My Camera Let Me Adjust Autofocus? Cameras with autofocus adjustment include, according to Datacolor:Canon 50D, 7D, 5DMkII, 1DMkIII, 1DMkIV, 1DsMkIII, 1DIV Nikon D300, D300s, D700, D3, D3s, D3x Olympus E-30, E-620Pentax K20D, K7DSony A850, A900 If SpyderLensCal takes off, watch for more DSLRs to offer microfocus adjustments.
For the most part, Samsung is pretty straightforward with their equipment. They typically brag about “best in class” something or other, and provide you with features, specifications, and expectations of use. Take, for instance, the Galaxy S line of phones. We know for sure that there are 1GHz processors, Super AMOLED displays, and whatever extra goodies come along for the ride. When you walk away from their events, you usually have no idea of price, and if you got a few precious minutes with the device, the PR folks monitor you pretty closely.I am extremely happy that Samsung opted to go a little out of the box for this event. Samsung’s Kim Titus walked on stage today with a sense of purpose. He, J.K. Shin, and Omar Khan all had a unified message when describing their new devices at CTIA today. When I heard things like “Samsung will not be beat.” or “Samsung’s goal is to lead the industry.” the scene felt different. Samsung brought a new tablet and a re-made tablet to the show, ready to wow us all.The Galaxy Tab 8.9 and Galaxy Tab 10.1 focus heavily on being thin and providing what Samsung considers to be a great user experience, rather than touting amazing specs and the fastest processors. In each case, Samsung pushed hard on the notion that different kinds of users would want different size tablets for different kinds of usage. The Galaxy Tab (with the 7-inch display), having already been out for some time now, focuses purely on mobility and replacing the book or magazine. The 470 gram Galaxy Tab 8.9 is still highly portable, as was demonstrated when Omar Khan removed it from the inside breast pocket of his suit coat this morning, is for the mobile businessman focused on productivity but not bound to a desk. The Galaxy Tab 10.1, now matching the 8.9’s 8.6mm thin casing, is for consuming media, enjoying the high-definition experience and playing games. Whether or not these are finite use cases or not, it’s clear Samsung wants to reach as wide an audience as possible.Samsung had also setup the new Android 3.0 ready Galaxy Tabs with their user experience software, TouchWiz. Previously, Touchwiz was a complete overlay, leaving very little of the original stock Android experience to use. Not so much in Honeycomb, as not even the launcher has been messed with. What seems to be a series of powerful widgets like the Live Panel, a customizable information system including weather, and email are just the start. The app dock, Samsung’s attempt at “true multitasking” on the tablet, allows for a quick draw to several productivity apps, even when they are not running. Finally, the Social hub brings forth your social networking systems right to your email account, pulling it all together to provide an all in one socially productive solution.Shockingly, we were given prices! The 8.9 will come out at $469 for WiFi only and $499 for the 10.1 for 16GB versions. Details regarding where the devices will be sold, Gg/4G versions, or any other real information has yet to be released. Combine the price with the aggressive statements and basically no information regarding screen quality or processor speed, and it’s clear that Samsung has a single opponent in mind, and it will be interesting to see if targeting Apple will actually yield results.
This isn’t an April Fool’s joke. The Xperia Play, better known unofficially as the PlayStation Phone, is now available for sale in Europe, and launching right alongisde it are five PlayStation One titles:* Syphon Filter* Destruction Derby* MediEvil* Jumping Fish* Cool Boarders 2The games cost about $6.38 each. Crash Bandicoot, incidentally, comes pre-loaded on the Play for free.Via Tech Tree
Watch out, Netflix and iTunes, there’s a new movie rental service in town. YouTube will be expanding its previously short-film-only videos into mainstream full-length Hollywood blockbusters in the next few weeks.YouTube’s movie-on-demand service has already partnered with Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Brothers, and Universal, as well as independent studios like Lionsgate, and Kino Lorber. These companies will be licencing their movies to the YouTube service, but there are still a couple big names missing from the group. It appears that Paramount, Fox, and Disney aren’t jumping on the bandwagon.A YouTube spokesperson told the entertainment site The Wrap that the company has been steadily adding more and more titles since it launched movies for rent on YouTube over a year ago. He said YouTube now has thousands of titles available. The movies are mostly indie rentals, so this new service will be a huge step for the video-streaming site.As of now, the rentals range in price from $1.99 to $3.99, but pricing details and the exact date that the service will start with mainstream movies is still unknown. At a time when brick and mortar rental stores, like Blockbuster, are having trouble bringing in business, and home entertainment revenues are continually declining, this new service could be a welcome change for Hollywood.This news comes not long after we heard that YouTube will be offering a number of premium content channels. With YouTube offering premium TV series, and original programming, which Google has devoted $100 million to, it’s possible that YouTube may be taking away some of iTunes and Netflix’s popularity.However, Netflix just announced that its profits were almost double that of last year, so I don’t think Netflix will have to worry about losing too much of its popularity.Read more at The Wrap
In addition to “doing it for the lulz” it appears LulzSec has a bit of a political position as well. Their most recent dump of sensitive information consists of documents and emails from the Arizona state police pertaining to SB1070, a controversial law dealing with immigration passed earlier this year. The group said in a statement that they plan on releasing more documents like these in the near future.If you’re not familiar with SB1070, it was a broad and controversial anti-immigration law passed in the state of Arizona that supporters praised for taking a hard line against illegal immigration, but critics decried for opening the door to racial profiling and the erosion of civil liberties.Controversy around the law aside, LulzSec’s statement that accompanied the dump promised future information dumps targeting the military and law enforcement in order to “reveal their racist and corrupt nature” and to undermine their “efforts to terrorize communities” by fighting the so-called war on drugs.For their part, Arizona state officials have affirmed that the documents and emails are real, and they’re investigating how the breach happened in the first place. The dump contained over 700 documents, all of which were marked as “sensitive” or “for official use only,” but none of which were actually “classified,” in the legal sense. Officials also warned that information breaches like this threaten officer security, although they were vague on exactly how.LulzSec, on the other hand, says they targeted the Arizona law enforcement agencies specifically because of SB1070, and the “papers please” conditions in the law. They require all immigrants in Arizona to carry their documents at all times and be ready to show them if asked by law enforcement.It’s definitely a shift for an organization that’s said in the past that their only motives are that they do these things “for the lulz,” but it definitely falls in line with “operation anti-security,” the major campaign that LulzSec claims its setting out on as they target other government agencies in a bid for transparency.Read more at TechCrunch and Wired
The 3DS is the first Nintendo portable gaming unit to use region protection as far as we know, it’s also the first machine to get a game with permanent save games on a cartridge.Capcom has decided to make the save games on Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D permanent. In other words, as soon as you start playing, the cartridge will fill up with your saves that cannot ever be removed. The reason for Capcom deciding to do this? To stop you selling the game once you’ve finished/become bored with it.Apparently in Japan the amount retailers will pay for a used game drops significantly if it is found to have save games still present. By making them permanent Capcom ensures you won’t get much for selling your game. But it also raises another issue: eventually the cartridge will run out of save game space meaning a potential buyer has to run the risk of a used copy not having enough space left for their new game saves, again discouraging used game sales.While it may be clever of Capcom’s part to attempt this, it will do nothing but anger gamers. Selling your games is now a common part of the video game business and something gaming retailer increasingly rely upon. If it gets enough press during release it could negatively impact sales to the point where it hurts Capcom more than used game sales do.In case you are wondering, the same permanent save feature is expected to be present on the U.S. (confirmed in the game’s manual) and probably European versions of the game too. It’s also worrying to think that this might turn into a regular feature on Capcom games and therefore will spread to other publishers/developers too.More at NeoGAF and TinyCartridge
Early yesterday, someone at Microsoft accidentally pushed an update to the Zune website that removed references to the Zune Player line from its pages. The update caused several blogs to announce that Microsoft had killed off its PMPs, though a Zune team member quickly responded via Twitter that these reports were false. The Zune HD product page was still there. Just a publishing gaffe, the staffer said.Today, however, it’s official. Microsoft has once again updated the site and this time there’s no question: the Zune HD is dead. It’s still available for purchase for now, but Microsoft won’t be producing any more Zune players. Current owners will still receive warranty coverage and can send their Zunes in for repair, recent orders will still ship, and devices will continue to work with Zune services.The Zune didn’t achieve massive retail success, but it certainly performed much better than the Kin phones. The focus now, however, is on the Windows Phone 7 devices produced by Microsoft’s many manufacturing partners. Could we see a Windows Phone powered PMP in the future? Certainly. It took a while for Android OEMs like Sony and Samsung to finally produce non-phone devices, but as long as Apple continues to make the iPod touch there’s a market for alternatives.Not everyone wants a media device that’s tied to a contract, after all, and Windows Phone is certainly capable of powering a device like the Zune HD. Microsoft definitely won’t be producing one, but someone might. We’ll just have to wait and see — perhaps the Tango update aimed at low-cost phones will make this possible.More at WPCentral
If you were to ask any PC gamer over the age of 30 what title help them to cut their teeth with the first person shooter genre, most of them would immediately respond with the 1992 classic Wolfenstein 3D from id Software. With the runaway success that it still enjoys as one of the most played games of all time, it was only natural that someone would attempt to recreate the Wolfenstein gameplay experience inside of Minecraft, everyone’s favorite voxel sandbox.The first video above shows the work of one David Ruzicka, a fan of both games that decided to tackle a 1:1 reconstruction of the E1M1 level using a Wolfenstein texture skin to achieve his goal. Comparing his work to a run-through of the original level, we have to say that Ruzicka did a darn good job! He certainly spent a lot of time working on this.Trying to create the most authentic experience that he could, Ruzicka created the level to include the sights and sounds that are most likely burned into your brain from spending many long hours in front of your old PC. The background music alone will have you peeking around corners for mutant Nazi soldiers looking to to capture and kill you.While this isn’t the first recreation of the classic video game, this is one of the first that has been done using Minecraft as a platform and has even garnered the attention of Notch himself! Not too shabby to get a nod from the creator of one the most popular games around today. Currently this modified level isn’t available for download, but Ruzicka states that he’s planning to release it in the future, and is even contemplating a full recreation for public enjoyment. Let’s hope that he decides to move forward as it would be a bit of nostalgic fun to run through the game again in this way!Read more at Ruzicka’s blog.
Of the many things Google announced at the I/O conference day one keynote, the most curious in my opinion was Google Now. Acting as an extension of the Google Knowledge Graph and Google Voice Actions platforms, Now is Google’s “whole new world” search system.The software seems to be designed to provide you with information about the world around you in a seamless fashion. What Google didn’t talk about is how that data is collected in order to be able to provide you with all of that wonderful information. Google Now relies heavily on you as the user feeding all of your personal information into the Knowledge Graph, so you can get something cool in return.The idea behind Google Now is pretty amazing — if I go to an area of town I am not normally in, Now will look for local places to eat and rate them based on what food I like and what is good in the area. That sentence sounds pretty unbelievable, until you look at how this is accomplished.By checking in at restaurants and by posting recommendations/reviews on Google Local when near your home, your information is added to the graph. By allowing Maps and Latitude to track your location, the Knowledge Graph knows that you are not in a place that you normally frequent. By combining that information with Google’s already massive data collection, like the information from Zagat, Google Now is able to provide all of that information just by paying attention. All you have to do is let it.Google Now needs you to feed it information, and while it makes that really easy, it also relies on you being completely plugged in to Google’s services. If you check in to places using Foursquare instead of Google Local, for example, that information isn’t added to the graph. If you us Yelp to review restaurants instead of Google, that information is also missing.There’s a lot of moving parts in order for Google Now to be truly useful in the situations that were shown in the demo, but there’s nothing to really tie you in to services you may not already be using. Like many of Google’s other individual services, there was no talk of an API for third party developers to hook in to Google Now.Some people are going to see Google Now as downright creepy. It tracks everything you do under the guise that it will provide you with some information that might be useful to you somewhere, sometime. In my opinion, that’s exactly why I would use Google Now — I like the idea that when in an unfamiliar part of town my phone would tell me there’s traffic on the highway I would usually take to go home and offer an alternative route. My phone simply being aware of my behavior and anticipating a question I might have is also an extremely powerful idea. It”s not a giant leap from this position for Google to be able to offer ads or preferred placement for businesses, either. When I search for a gas station, Google finds me the “preferred” gas station on my route, and offers me a Google Offer for a free car wash with a full tank.Google is in the process now of figuring out what to do with all of the information it has collected and continues to collect. The next step is how to make money off of people using that information. If you decide to use Google Now, you’re one step closer to Google being able to complete that puzzle for you specifically.Read on for more Google I/O 2012 coverage