Monday, March 26, 2007
By Lisa Baertlein (Los Angeles Reuters)
Japan's Nintendo has been on a mission to expand the $30 billion global video game market far beyond the children and young males who make up its core consumers.
And the company, a former underdog best known for fun, high-quality games based on off-beat characters like plumbers -- think Mario Bros. -- has sent shock waves through game industry with the unexpected and runaway success of the Wii.
That $250 console has been stealing the show from Microsoft Corp.'s
While those rivals focused on cutting-edge graphics and high-tech bells and whistles, Nintendo focused on making game play easier, more intuitive and more appealing to a mass market.That bet paid off.
The Wii outsold the new Microsoft and Sony consoles in January and February and is generating its own buzz with everyone from nuns to cancer patients to toddlers.
There are Wii parties and Wii bowling contests. Players, who often look quite silly and occasionally injure themselves in fits of overzealous play, upload video of their Wii antics to a variety of technology Web sites like GameTrailers.com and Google's
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Friday, March 09, 2007
BOSTON (Reuters) - The Massachusetts Institute of Technology will become by year's end the first U.S. university to offer all of its roughly 1,800 courses free on the Internet, a school official said on Friday.
"We started this project because MIT believes that one of the best ways to advance education around the world is through the Internet," said Anne Margulies, head of online curriculum.
Online students will not be able to earn an MIT degree or have contact with faculty at the university, located across the river from Boston in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
MIT launched its "OpenCourseWare" program in 2003 and already offers hundreds of courses online. A small number of other U.S. schools are following suit. Stanford put some classes on line last year and Bryn Mawr plans to do so soon.
Last month, 1.5 million users went to the MIT course site, sampling offerings like Cognitive Robotics, Inventions and Patents, and Superconducting Magnets.
Most users -- 60 percent come from outside the United States -- gravitate toward the subjects MIT is best-known for: computer science, physics and mathematics, Margulies said.
Even MIT students who pay thousands of dollars in tuition fees for each course use the free online service to study for exams or sample what courses they may want to take on campus, Margulies said.
by Elizabeth Millard, newsfactor.com (Yahoo.com)
Apple might begin selling notebook computers that use flash memory instead of hard-disk drives, an analyst has predicted, and the change could come before the end of the year.
Apple already uses flash memory in its music players, and several digital camera manufacturers also employ the technology. The memory uses less space, is lighter than a traditional hard drive, and also requires less power.
Although Apple would not confirm the accuracy of the rumors, American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu noted in news reports that he believes Apple is working on creating smaller computers called "subnotebooks" that will be unveiled in the second half of 2007.
Wu was one of the first analysts to predict the launch of Apple's iPhone music player and phone, which caused a huge splash at its recent unveiling. The analyst cited unnamed industry sources for that report, and is keeping mum now on how he might have gotten the subnotebook information.
If Apple does pursue flash memory, it could put pressure on manufacturers of traditional disk drives, Wu noted. Some chip memory producers, such as Micron Technology, have stated in the past that a switch to flash could be inevitable because flash has several advantages and prices have been dropping recently.
In his prediction, Wu noted that price declines have made it an ideal time for flash memory makers to gain momentum in the laptop arena. Because flash memory does not have moving parts, they are less likely to be damaged than hard drives. This fact has saved many iPod owners from finding their music players kaput after they're dropped.
The small size of the memory also could spur innovation in creating smaller laptops. Flash is already used in small devices like cell phones and digital cameras, and laptops could undergo a similar miniaturization.
Even if the speculation surrounding Apple does not pan out in the near term, flash-based portable computers are likely to be the wave of the future, said Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler. "The benefits to consumers are big," he noted. "Longer battery life, more flexibility in form factors, much more durable, smaller computers."
Apple is particularly well poised to create a flash-based laptop, he added: "With Apple's modular operating system built on open-source components, they are in a good position to build a flash-based notebook computer."
One drawback to such a system is that it would be more expensive than the types of laptops made now, but that higher price is also in line with Apple, Schadler said. Because of Apple's proprietary systems, Mac fans are used to paying more than they would for a PC.
"It's in line with Apple's strategy and premium customer base," Schadler said. "If Apple builds a flash-based computer, consumers will buy it."
Opposition to folk pop for popes...What do Popes listen to in modern times? Benedict definitely not a hip pope...
Pope Opposed Bob Dylan Singing to John Paul in 1997
By Phillip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) -
Benedict, who wasat the time of the concert in Bologna, Italy, makes the disclosure in a new book of memoirs about his predecessor, who died in 2005.
"There was reason to be skeptical, -- I was, and in a certain sense I still am, -- to doubt if it was really right to let these types of prophets intervene," Benedict writes, only mentioning Dylan among the stars who appeared.
At the 1997 concert, Dylan, the anti-conformist troubadour of the 1960s and one of the 20th century's greatest influences on popular music, sang three songs before the Pope as part of a concert that included a number of other, mostly Italian artists.
Dylan sang "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," his 1960s anti-war classic "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," and "Forever Young," a song of hope and courage.
In his new book, Pope Benedict does not explain why he does not like Bob Dylan or why he considers him a false "prophet."
Benedict is a lover of classical and sacred music, and an accomplished classical pianist. Last year, he canceled the Vatican's traditional fund-raising Christmas concert, which was a magnet for pop stars.
Dylan, born Robert Zimmerman into a middle-class Jewish family in Minnesota, has been at times agnostic, Jewish and a born-again Christian during his musical career.
At the 1997 concert, John Paul referred to what is perhaps Dylan's most famous song, "Blowing in the Wind," which became an anthem for young people seeking meaning in life in the 1960s.
John Paul told the crowd of some 300,000 young Italian Catholics that the answer was indeed "in the wind" -- but not in the wind that blew things away, rather "in the wind of the spirit" that would lead them to Christ.
After Dylan sang, he took off his beige cowboy hat and went up to a podium to greet John Paul.
Benedict's new book, called "John Paul II, My Beloved Predecessor," is mostly a reflection on John Paul's personality and his religious writings.