Wednesday, February 29, 2012

CrunchGear Week In Review: Indoor Games Edition

Here are some stories from the past week on CrunchGear: Strange Video: Happinet Lets You Play Table Tennis Against Invisible Opponents Sweet DIY Book Light The Infinite Loop Tablet Holder: Actually A Cool Idea Day 1: My Week In The Nissan Leaf Weekend Giveaway: A Kobo eReader Touch (And Some Gift Cards)

Source: http://www.crunchgear.com/2011/06/27/week-in-review-indoor-games/

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Cloud Girlfriend will use a swarm of females to satisfy men

The social network Cloud Girlfriend
Cloud Girlfriend, despite what it sounds like, doesn't really have anything to do with cloud computing. Rather, it uses a cloud of women to pose as your girlfriend on Facebook, or your favorite social network of choice. The service is scheduled to launch 'soon,' and there's no indication of how much it will cost.

With the tagline 'The easiest way to get a girlfriend is to already have one,' Cloud Girlfriend promises to be a very interesting startup indeed. The brains of the operation, David Fuhriman, speaking to CNET, says it's all about fulfilling Maslow's hierarchy of needs. "CloudGirlfriend.com can fulfill Maslow's higher needs, even though the users know that the interaction is virtual. They will interact with a real person and see real profile images of the girl with whom they interact. This interaction can build confidence and esteem as well as provide real training experiences in navigating a friendship and a relationship."

Our concern, of course, is that it's very nearly April 1. We're also worried by the fact that Fuhriman has a name that sounds ominously like a social subculture that we've grown strangely attracted to here in the Download Squad bunker.

Finally, just stop and think about it for a second. Because your cloud girlfriend will be entirely virtual, she could be based anywhere. She could be underage -- or overage -- or she might be someone who you know in real life. She could even be a relative of yours, and you'd never know.

Let's not forget this is the Internet we're talking about, folks. Worst case scenario, she could turn out to be a hairy, male truck driver from Texas. Such as... your dad, perhaps?

Cloud Girlfriend will use a swarm of females to satisfy men originally appeared on Download Squad on Wed, 30 Mar 2011 06:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2011/03/30/cloud-girlfriend-will-use-an-army-of-females-to-please-lonely-me/

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Windows 8 to feature adaptive Aero colorization, get it now on Windows 7

windows 8 aero colorization aura
While we've still yet to see anything truly Earth-shattering, the tandem of Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott continues to churn out insight about interesting new features they've discovered in Windows 8 milestone 3. The latest discovery is that Aero in Windows 8 will be able to automatically adapt itself to match your current wallpaper image. It's a bit like what Windows 7 already does with your taskbar icons: if a program alert needs your attention, the icon will glow using the predominant color (e.g. Firefox should glow orange).

And yes, you can already make Windows 7 behave this way if you like. Over at CodePlex, there's a little program called Aura that parks itself in your system tray and automatically adjusts your window borders to compliment your wallpaper images. The effect is quite nice, and you can try it out by minimizing your windows and cycling through your theme's wallpapers (right click on your desktop and choose next desktop background).

Windows 8 to feature adaptive Aero colorization, get it now on Windows 7 originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 07 Apr 2011 07:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2011/04/07/windows-8-to-feature-adaptive-aero-colorization-get-it-now-on-w/

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MLB at Bat 2012 app out for iDevices and Android, brings in-app monthly subscriptions to iOS

It's that time of year when the hot stove league gives way to spring training, and people start talking less about things like El Hombre's move to LA and more about batting averages and home runs. Thus, MLB has unleashed the MLB At Bat 2012 app to keep you up to date on your favorite squads and stars, and unlike previous iOS iterations, this time it's free. That gratis version gives users limited info (scores, standings, news, and team content), but those willing to drop $14.99 get full access for the year, which includes audio game casts, live game video look-ins and the game of the day. Additionally, there's a $2.99 monthly subscription option if you find forking over for the full season distasteful. Unlike the iOS version, Android users currently only have the $14.99 option, though the same interface is present in both apps to provide a consistent UX. Subscribers of MLB.tv get all of what At Bat 2012 has to offer for free, with Android users gaining access through the existing At Bat Lite app. Sound good? Head on down to the source and get your download on.

MLB at Bat 2012 app out for iDevices and Android, brings in-app monthly subscriptions to iOS originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 29 Feb 2012 17:25:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/29/mlb-at-bat-2012-app-out-for-idevices-and-android-brings-in-app/

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Fly Or Die: Windows 8

If you were only allowed to read one piece of tech news today, I'd bet you'd read up on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. The beta became available today, though we were lucky enough to go hands-on with the OS for the past week or so, and people can't stop talking about it. Windows 8 is a merging of old with new. A Metro UI offers up live tiles much like Windows Phone, but there are still some apps that require the old-school XP interface, sending you directly into the past when you least expect it.

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

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Visualized: Nokia's 41-megapixel PureView sensor (updated with video)

If you thought a bigger pixel count just meant bigger file sizes, then take a look above. That big guy at the bottom is the 41-megapixel sensor responsible for those awesome Nokia 808 PureView shots we saw at MWC on Monday. The two above it are 8- and 5-megapixel sensors respectively, and give you an idea of the real-estate cost of packing a superior snapper. At two and a half times the physical size of the N8's prized optics, we think the PureView system earns its title as the biggest thing in mobile imaging somewhat convincingly.

Update: In case you're still confused, one of Nokia's chief camera experts Damian Dinning gives a thorough walkthrough of the technology in the video after the break.

Continue reading Visualized: Nokia's 41-megapixel PureView sensor (updated with video)

Visualized: Nokia's 41-megapixel PureView sensor (updated with video) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 29 Feb 2012 08:23:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/29/visualized-nokias-41-megapixel-pureview-sensor/

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Watch the New, Awesome Avengers Trailer!

Watch the new trailer for The Avengers below, or view it on Apple’s trailers website. I have to say that while the previous full trailer didn’t disappoint me, it also didn’t fill me with confidence in the film. This trailer, on the other hand, has me stoked to see this movie. You can really see [...]

Source: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/02/avengers-trailer/

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Sharp AQUOS SH-06D arrives from Japan, we go hands-on (video)

Sharp's AQUOS SH-06D will most probably never leave the Land of The Rising Sun. That doesn't stop us, however, from lusting after its 4.5-inch. This 720p display also manages 3D, spread across a slinky 10mm frame that houses NTT DoCoMo's recently launched NOTTV streaming broadcast system. The device arrives in pink, white and blue options -- all provided with a matching dock and built-in aerial. Like several eastern phones with the ability to tune into live TV broadcasts, the AQUOS SH-06D has its own extendable antenna built into the side. The device, despite its largely plastic build felt solid in our hand, although the minuscule power and volume buttons proved difficult to manipulate at times. The screen technology is still a closely guarded secret, but it aims to bring both 3D functionality alongside a crisp HD display performance during two-dimensional antics. Viewing angles are great -- a welcome trend we've seen on plenty of handsets at this year's MWC -- but the heavily customized Android 2.3 skin took away some of that sheen. Applications are stowed away into several drop-down menus that took some getting used to -- regardless of any language barrier. Sharp hasn't revealed any plans to join its Japanese competitors in the frenzied global smartphone market, but some import options wouldn't go amiss. See why in our hands-on right after the break.

Sean Cooper contributed to this report


Continue reading Sharp AQUOS SH-06D arrives from Japan, we go hands-on (video)

Sharp AQUOS SH-06D arrives from Japan, we go hands-on (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 29 Feb 2012 15:09:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/29/sharp-aquos-sh-06d-arrives-from-japan-we-go-hands-on-video/

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Texas Instruments shows off ultrasonic stylus that can work in three dimensions

An ultrasonic stylus from Texas Instruments

Android Central at Mobile World Congress

At Mobile World Congress 2012, Texas Instruments was demonstrating a stylus that communicates its distance from a tablet over ultrasonic frequencies. The tablet in this demo has a microphone in each of its four corners, which can pinpoint exactly where the stylus is pointing at the screen, even if you're not touching it. Of course, the stylus also works perfectly well along the two standard planes, but it's particularly cool when you pull back and the model correspondingly zooms out. 

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Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/androidcentral/~3/UPCvBkyc-ok/story01.htm

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How often do you use Notification Center? [Poll]

Prior to iOS 5, Apple's iPhone and iPad notification system desperately needed updating. Since the advent of Push Notifications and background multitasking the old, outdated model alert system had become more interruption than notification, more annoyance than advantage. But are you using it?


Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheIphoneBlog/~3/uTKvsDB-JPs/story01.htm

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HTC Announces the One X, Its First Quad-Core Smartphone

HTC showed off the One X and the rest of its new One line of Android smartphones Sunday, on the eve of the Mobile World Congress 2012 show.

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Sand Trap is a fun and difficult physics maze game

Sand Trap
Sand Trap is one of those games that at first seem too hard to bother with, but when you try to stop playing it you discover you're hooked.

The goal is to get as much sand as you possibly can out of the maze and into the bucket at the bottom of the screen. You need to rotate your maze every which way to get the sand rolling around it. You then try to direct the sand to one of the exits of the maze, and hopefully into the bucket. It took me several tries to actually get sand into the bucket, but that might be due to the fact that I didn't even realize the bucket was there at first. Things improved significantly after that.

As you level up, the mazes get more complicated, with moving parts and other things making your life more difficult. Once you manage to get through all these obstacles and get enough sand into your bucket, you can move on.

As I mentioned, this is not an easy game, but it's highly addictive. The graphics remind me of some long lost game from the 80s, but this just proves that you don't need super graphics and crazy sound to make a game work. There's a soothing guitar track playing in the background and that's it, as far as I could hear, and you can enjoy it just as much with no sound at all.

If you like a fun physics challenge, don't miss out on this one!

Sand Trap is a fun and difficult physics maze game originally appeared on Download Squad on Mon, 04 Apr 2011 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2011/04/04/sand-trap-is-a-fun-physics-maze-game/

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Are Security Vendors Living in Glass Houses?

What would happen if you paid taxes or protection money but didn't get protected because your protectors themselves were getting clobbered? Worse still, what if they didn't tell you they had been compromised and that you might not be safe? That situation played out recently after yet another company suffered a system breach and kept largely silent on the matter.

Source: http://www.technewsworld.com/rsstory/74519.html

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Farragomate is a social fridge magnet game where you make up sentences

farragomate
You know those fridge magnet kits composed of a whole bunch of words? The ones you put all over your fridge door and then try to arrange into all sorts of juvenile and/or amusing sentences. Well, Farragomate is the social, webby version of that very same pastime.

You get to play with a bunch of random strangers in real-time, and make up sentences out of a pre-set collection of words, including some fairly naughty ones, and all players' nicknames. As you can imagine, some of the results are not child-friendly.

There are ten rounds to a game. Once a round is done, players get to vote for their favorite sentence from that round. You can't vote for your own creation, of course. There's in-game chat, too.

I think the vocabulary could be made a bit more eclectic, but even as it is, it's a nice way to spend a few minutes and meet random strangers on the Internet (always a thrilling experience).

Farragomate is a social fridge magnet game where you make up sentences originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 25 Feb 2011 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2011/02/25/farragomate-is-a-social-game-where-you-make-up-sentences/

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Windows Home Server 2011 released to manufacturers

windows home server 2011 whs
Just a little under two months after its release candidate went live, Windows Home Server (WHS) 2011 has been finalized and released into the wild. The new version of Microsoft's slick, do-it-all server OS is a big step forward from its predecessor.

Built on the Windows Server 2008 R2 base, Home Server 2011 features a simpler dashboard, a better backup solution, dead simple remote access to your home computers, and Silverlight-powered remote media streaming. For a more detailed look at what's new in Windows Home Server 2011, you check out Microsoft's official breakdown.

Drive Extender, of course, didn't resurface for the final release of WHS 2011 and that's something a lot of power users are still pretty irked about. Even without Extender, Windows Home Server offers a boatload of useful functionality and might be a good fit for your home network. Manufacturers have already begun building hardware, so you should be able to pick up a device in the very near future.

An evaluation download for Windows Home Server 2011 will be made available in April -- we'll let you know when the links are ready.

Windows Home Server 2011 released to manufacturers originally appeared on Download Squad on Wed, 30 Mar 2011 08:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2011/03/30/windows-home-server-2011-released-to-manufacturers/

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VMware adds Mozy to its cloud and virtualization empire

mozy vmware
Mozy is one of the most popular cloud backup services around, with more than one million users storing around 70 petabytes of data. Its popularity apparently put it on the acquisition radar of VMware -- which has now made Mozy part of its virtualization empire.

VMware's official blog post makes it clear that the company wasn't so much interested in Mozy as a consumer offering. Rather, it's the inner workings of Mozy which piqued VMware's curiosity. CTO Steve Herrod says, "Over the past 5 years, Mozy has built one of the best examples of a globally distributed, large-scale cloud offering." He adds that the move will allow VMware to "further ramp our own cloud-related learning and accelerate new IP, scale, and capabilities" of its existing offerings.

Existing Mozy customers don't need to worry, of course. VMware has pledged to continue running Mozy's service without interruption.

VMware adds Mozy to its cloud and virtualization empire originally appeared on Download Squad on Tue, 05 Apr 2011 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2011/04/05/vmware-takes-over-operation-of-mozy/

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Toshiba Excite 10 LE gets March 6th launch date, confirmed $530 price, yet another name

Toshiba Excite 10 LE gets March 6th launch date
First it was the AT200, then the Excite X10, and now it's the Excite 10 LE. But behind the onion-like layering of names sits a singular and rather beautiful slate, with a 10.1-inch LED backlit display, a 7.7mm (0.3-inch) chassis and a righteous 1280 x 800 resolution. Toshiba says it'll arrive at select US retailers on March 6th, which happens to coincide pretty closely with another possible technology incident. And since there could well be some tough buying dilemmas on the horizon, let's recount just a few more specs: The $530 version of the 10 LE has 16GB of storage, while 32GB can be had for $600. Both variants are WiFi-only and will run Android 3.2 out of the box, but they'll be upgradeable to ICS sometime in the spring. The 1.2GHz TI OMAP 4430 processor will whirr for up to eight hours on a charge; connectivity includes micro-USB, HDMI and microSD; the rear camera shoots 1080p video and 5-megapixel stills. There, does that make things any easier? No? Then there's a full press release after the break. Gosh, you're demanding.

Continue reading Toshiba Excite 10 LE gets March 6th launch date, confirmed $530 price, yet another name

Toshiba Excite 10 LE gets March 6th launch date, confirmed $530 price, yet another name originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 29 Feb 2012 09:34:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://feeds.engadget.com/~r/weblogsinc/engadget/~3/cniWyH5FN1A/

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Tablets Get In the Game at Toy Fair 2012

There were enough iPad add-ons, kiddie tablets and smartphone accessories shown at Toy Fair 2012 to keep your kids--and your wallet--in stiches for a long time.

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