Hands on With Sony’s PlayStation 3D Display

/* Posted June 8th, 2011 at 8:51pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under News    */

Sony hopes to bring 3D to the masses with a low-cost PlayStation-branded television it announced at E3 in Los Angeles.

At 24-inches, the 1080p display is aimed at dorm rooms, bedrooms and family dens, but would be too small for large living rooms.

To see a video with the display, watch a video on YouTube.

The big benefit for gamers over other 3D displays is that Sony’s shows different full-screen images to different players.

“Ordinarily when you’re playing two-player mode you use split screen,” said Sony hardware product manager Patrick Chen. “With the new technology in this display you can get full HD per person while you’re wearing the glasses.”

The display did work as advertised. Without the glasses it looked as if two screens were placed on top of each other. A switch on the top of the glasses toggles between first and second player images. Sony wouldn’t say how it worked, but it likely has to do with the active shutter glasses.

The television can display 3D movies, which are playable on any PlayStation 3. It also has additional HD inputs, including two HDMI inputs and one component input.

The screen did look a little dim, but Chen said that’s typical of 3D displays, and it wasn’t helped by the bright show floor lights.

The PlayStation 3D display bundle comes with the television, an HDMI cord, Resistance 3 and one set of active shutter glasses for US$500. It will be available in the third quarter of this year.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

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Schwab Android app adds mobile check deposits

/* Posted June 8th, 2011 at 8:51pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Web    */



(Credit:
Charles Schwab Co. Inc.)

After launching its official
Android app (download) only two weeks ago, Charles Schwab Bank and Brokerage has already released an update with a much-needed feature: mobile check deposit. This adds some serious power to an app that already lets you transfer money between accounts, view balances, and track and trade stocks.

To deposit a check, select either your Schwab Bank or Schwab brokerage account, enter the deposit amount, take photos of both sides of the endorsed check, tap Submit, and you’re all set. But be warned: checks cannot be wrinkled or folded, and pictures need to be clear, in-focus, and free of shadows.

Since a common method of depositing paper checks to Charles Schwab accounts is via postage-paid snail mail (Schwab branches are not the most ubiquitous), the update is important to many of the financial institution’s account holders. In fact, we think this feature alone might be enough to get many of them on the Schwab mobile app bandwagon.

The Schwab Mobile app with mobile check deposit is available now for Android (download) and
iPhone (download).

Using Google Ad Planner As Part Of Your Competitive Research

/* Posted June 8th, 2011 at 8:51pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under SEO    */

The Google suite continues to expand with various tools available to help you with your business, your website, and your marketing – pretty much anything. One such tool is Google’s Ad Planner, which can help you target specific websites which your potential customers visit so you can know where to put your advertising dollars.

In today’s marketplace, advertising online is a must. With the huge amount of online traffic happening every day for any given topic or niche, it’s vital for a business to capitalize on that through online advertising. However, this can be a difficult venture since it’s hard to know what sites to consider advertising with, let alone what kind of traffic a site gets and the demographics of that traffic.

Ad Planner helps you know where to start when considering advertising options by allowing you to set the specific demographic criteria you’re looking for – age, gender, location, income, etc. – and see recommendations for related sites you should consider advertising with. The service is free with any Google account, and will not only list recommendations but will give in-depth analysis of each site – including demographic, keyword, and advertising information.

Alternatively, if you’ve found a site – perhaps by chance – that you’d like to consider advertising with, you can also search based on that website. So you can input Wikipedia.org, for instance, and see a huge amount of demographic information about the visitors to that site. It also gives related sites, which can help you on your pursuit to develop an appropriate advertising plan.

This plan – called a “Media Plan” in the Ad Planner – can all be managed through the same software. These media plans allow you to group information together for your various keywords and/or target demographics.

So how do you actually use all of this information?

Well, if you’re starting from scratch, there’s going to be a lot of initial experimentation. If you don’t really know who your target demographic is, you’ll want to start out small (especially if you have a small budget) and test a few different sites. You’ll want to base your initial strategy on similar sites to yours or on specific keywords.

If, however, you already have a target demographic for your product (or, after a few months, you’ve figured out who your target is) you can be a little more certain as to which sites will be the best places for your advertising money. You may still want to start small, but as you find success with specific advertisers you’ll want to expand your efforts in order to generate more revenue.

But even if you’re not interested in starting an advertising campaign, Ad Planner is a great resource just for research. Some companies pay good money for tools that generate this type of data, and Google is giving it away for free. The data is an estimation, but is still extremely helpful. Ad Planner gives you information about unique visitors, page views, total visits, and average time on the website. It will give estimation on users’ age, education, income, gender, and more. It will show related sites and related user interests.

This data will then help you tailor your own site to your users’ needs. If you’re getting a lot of young visitors, you’re going to present your product in a different way than if most of your site’s visitors were over 55 years old. You can check out competitor’s websites and see what kind of traffic they’re getting, and try to piece together what they’re doing to get that traffic. You may want to imitate them in order to pull away a portion of that demographic, or you may want to focus on the demographic your competitors are missing.

Simply put, information is what will allow you to make educated decisions – not only about your advertising strategies, but also about your own website, products, and services. So take some time to explore Google’s Ad Planner and see what you can learn.

Scott Spjut is a writer and editor who has been featured in various magazines, newspapers and websites, including Newsweek, the Washington Post, CBS News and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. With a B.A. in Communications, he continues to write on a wealth of topics – politics, health and fitness, business, marketing and more. Scott currently works with PMI Coaching helping people change their lives.

O&O DriveLED 4 Professional Free Download with License Code

/* Posted June 8th, 2011 at 2:51pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Gadgets    */

Delicious Delicious

Looking for an application to check the right time for your computer to take a break? OO DriveLED 4 Professional is a powerful and simple-to-use HDD monitoring, analyzing as well as warning application, which is designed to warn you about an impending disk failure, problem or possibility of malfunction by monitoring the status of hard disk drives, thanks to the S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology). With OO DriveLED 4 Pro, you can avoid the annoying data loss and work downtime caused of sudden disk crash.



Key features of OO DriveLED 4 Professional:

  • Display current temperature of each drive and recommend the maximum temperature (while supported by manufacturer)
  • Display read/write access for logical volumes
  • Display storage capacity for every logical drive
  • Status reports of summarized HDD info
  • New redesigned user interface

OO DriveLED 4 Professional usually priced at $29.95 per single license. As part of OO Software GmbH / Computer Bild promotion offer, the interested Windows users are now entitled to download the full version of the DriveLED 4 Professional for free of charge.

OO DriveLED 4 Professional

To grab a free copy of OO DriveLED 4 Professional, visit the OO promotion page to submit your email address for obtaining a free license serial key and download URL of the DriveLED 4 Pro.

Alternately, you can directly download the setup installers (32 bit or 64 bit) at below.

OO DriveLED 4 Professional Edition (32-bit): OODriveLED4ProfessionalEnu.exe

OO DriveLED 4 Professional Edition (64-bit): OODriveLED4Professional64Enu.exe

OO DriveLED 4 Pro is fully compatible with Microsoft Windows 7, Vista and Windows XP operating systems.

Note: OO DriveLED 4 Server and Workstation editions are available for network computer monitoring.

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Hands On: Mario, Luigi Return for Innovative 3DS Games

/* Posted June 8th, 2011 at 2:51pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Video Games    */


Super Mario

LOS ANGELES — After taking a back seat in the era of Wii Sports, Nintendo’s main men Mario and Luigi are leading the charge on Nintendo 3DS.

Alongside other classic Nintendo franchises like Zelda, Star Fox and Kid Icarus, the company’s longtime mascots each have their own Nintendo 3DS game.

The new Super Mario might look like just another game in the series at first blush, but it’s actually a fresh take on the classic mushroom-stomping formula. Luigi’s Mansion 2 is the long-awaited sequel to a 2001 title that launched with the GameCube hardware, an action game in which Mario’s skittish little brother explores a haunted mansion filled with poltergeists and treasure.

Nintendo is deliberately focusing on making versions of its hard-core action games that will work well with the glasses-free 3-D display, said Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto at a roundtable discussion Tuesday at E3 Expo here.

“With Nintendo DS, because it was introducing a new play style with the touchscreen and stylus, we felt there was a need to introduce that to a broader audience,” with casual games like Brain Age, Miyamoto said. “3DS is more focused on bringing traditional gaming franchises to a 3-D screen.” There are many such games that Miyamoto wants to make, he said.

Wired.com’s hands-on impressions of the upcoming Mario games follow.

Super Mario

The first thing you need to know about Super Mario for the 3DS is that it’s not just a retread. In fact, it’s quite different from any other Mario game.

The Mario series split into two parts when videogames went polygonal. The 2-D games in the franchise featured linear levels with characters stuck on a horizontal plane, while 3-D titles featured wide-open levels with nonlinear gameplay. Super Mario is an amalgam of these two designs. You wander through 3-D levels that feel like something out of Super Mario Galaxy, but they’re roughly leading you down a predetermined path. You don’t have to move the camera — I’m not even sure if you can — because you’re always heading toward the other end of the level, wherever that happens to be.

In the first level of the demo (called “World 2-1?), you begin by walking into the horizon, stomping Goombas and Piranha Plants with wild abandon. The A and B buttons jump and the Y and X buttons run (and attack, depending on what power you have). Pressing R makes Mario crouch, and pressing it when he’s running does a crouching slide — you can slide underneath a barrier and grab some coins, early on. R is also used for going down pipes. The L button is for butt-stomping while in the air.

Eventually in this level, you get the Leaf power-up, and this puts Mario in his old duds, the Tanooki Suit5. With this, Mario can wag his tail in midair to glide and get a little more distance from his jump, and also swing his tail around to smash blocks and enemies. At this point, the game has become more of a side-scroller. Star Coins (or whatever it was those bonus coins were called in Super Mario Galaxy 2) are scattered in hard-to-reach spots throughout the level, rewarding exploration and intelligence and such.

As you might have guessed from the Tanooki Suit, Super Mario on 3DS is something of a revival of the aesthetics of Super Mario Bros. 3 for NES. Besides the signature raccoon-tail power, there are other little nods to the game, like those white blocks with musical notes on them that you can bounce on, or the Koopa Kids‘ airships. That’s the second level of the demo; you traverse the automatically scrolling airship, jumping over Bullet Bills and those guys in the manholes that throw the monkey wrenches at you, then get to the Kid and stomp him into oblivion in a fight that uses the whole 3-D screen rather than locking you to a fixed plane.

My Super Mario experience wasn’t entirely positive. The third level I played was simply frustrating — I had to jump over a series of small, disappearing blocks with bottomless pits all around me, and I just couldn’t get Mario to jump where I wanted him to go. It felt like the camera was zoomed so far out that I couldn’t really gauge how far it was, 3-D effect or no, and Mario himself seemed to jump a little too sluggishly. I burned through five lives in record time and never finished the level.

Luigi’s Mansion 2

The Super Mario 3DS game is trying some new things, but Luigi’s Mansion 2 seems like it’s sticking pretty closely to the original formula.

Underappreciated in its day, the haunted-house game was a very different direction for the Mario series, ditching platform jumping for skulking around a mansion, vacuuming up ghosts and finding hidden secrets. It was quite a lot of fun and so is this version, which is developed by Next Level Games (creator of Punch-Out! for Wii, which means the studio knows how to re-create the fun of a classic Nintendo series).

In Luigi’s Mansion 2, the title character is shoved back into a series of ghost-filled old houses, and his job is to go ghostbusting with limited equipment. When you encounter a ghost, you first flash light in their eyes to shock them, then start sucking them in with the vacuum. As you pull them in, you’ll have to tap the A button at certain times to keep them within range. You’ll also have to run around and make sure that no other ghosts attack you while this is going on.

Besides ghosts, the mansions will be filled with all sorts of secrets — you can suck and blow with the vacuum, pushing and pulling various items to see what’s hidden beneath them. A blanket over a treasure chest can be removed so you can find what’s inside, for example, or you could pull in coins and dollar bills from a high shelf.

While it’s tough to really get a sense of how a slow, exploration-based game like this will work from a brief E3 demo, I can say that the controls feel good and the animations are occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. Nintendo says it will release Luigi’s Mansion 2 in 2012.

All photos: Jon Snyder/Wired.com, screenshots courtesy Nintendo

RoboForm: Create Your Own Custom SearchCard

/* Posted June 8th, 2011 at 2:51pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under General    */

One of my favorite and now indispensable toolbars is the RoboForm toolbar. I use it extensively and basically it has replaced my browser’s bookmarks and favorites since nowadays so many websites require you to log in. RoboForm makes logging in as easy as clicking a button and takes you automatically to the bookmarked page, fills in your saved log in info, and you’re in the site just like that.

Another great feature of RoboForm is the built in search. The default SearchCards let you do the basic stuff like searching Google or Bing or Youtube, but most people don’t realize it can actually do much much more. If you head on over to RoboForm’s SearchCard website, you can actually download other user-created SearchCards for just about anything. Want to look up a stock ticker symbol from RoboForm search? There’s a SearchCard for that. Want to stop for stuff on Amazon? That’s there too. There are really just so many you have to take a look for yourself.

If there is something that you want but don’t see there, you can actually create your own custom SearchCard quite easily. Though the documentation is hidden a bit, I’ve explained it pretty clearly here with screenshots so you can follow along.

In this example, let’s say I want to create an easy search that will look up the whois info for any domain I type into the RoboForm search bar. I will be using the website who.is for this. First thing you do is navigate to your target website’s URL.

In the search bar for who.is, I am typing exactly the text rfarg which you can imagine stands for “RoboForm argument.” This is a specific string that RoboForm looks for to differentiate between a real search and the creation of a custom search.

roboform custom searchcard guide

The second part of the trick is to hold down the ALT key on your keyboard and then click on the search button. Alternatively you can also SHIFT-ENTER directly from the text input. Whatever you choose, RoboForm will detect that this is not a normal search, see the “rfarg” text you typed, and then pop up a dialog to create a new SearchCard.

roboform searchcard save dialog

Now give it a name you will recognize, in this case I used “who.is” and then I also like to tick the “Save 1-step SearchCard” checkbox. This makes it so you don’t see RoboForm bring up the page, paste in your search text, and then hit the enter button for you. Instead, it’s completely seamless and you don’t see any of that happening. Once you type in the search term and select the new SearchCard you’ve created, it will direct you to the results page.

Go ahead and give it a try. Type in the text you want to search, in our case “google.com” and then select the new SearchCard “who.is” from the dropdown. That’s it!

roboform custom whois searchcard

Hello Chrome 12, good-bye Google Gears

/* Posted June 8th, 2011 at 8:51am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Web    */

Google updated its stable browser channel today, pushing Chrome 12 to its widest base of users. Chrome 12 stable (download for Windows | Mac | Linux) doesn’t contain any surprises from the Chrome 12 beta that was released a month ago, but it does bring more hardware acceleration support and better browsing security. It also marks the end of public support for Google Gears, the offline Web app tool.

The security improvements are the biggest change in version 12. In addition to 14 security holes getting patched, including five marked high priority, Google has expanded its “Safe Browsing” technology to include malicious file protection. It won’t block all malicious file downloads, but it does do a better job of examining your downloads before they reach your hard drive. In the blog post announcing the new Chrome release, Google was careful to address privacy concerns and point out that the enhancements don’t track which sites you’ve been downloading files from.

Another security change adds the user’s ability to delete Flash cookies. This makes sense, given that Flash has come baked into Chrome for some time.

The hardware acceleration has less of an immediate impact, although it can be used immediately and really will affect Web browsing down the line as more and more people get computers with powerful graphics cards that the browser can leverage to render content, especially video, faster. In Chrome 12, 3D CSS gets some love, and if you’re running
Windows Vista or
Mac OS X 10.6 or above, you can watch this Chrome Experiment provided by Google, which shows how 3D CSS can be used to rotate the video, change its size, and add a playlist.

Minor changes in Chrome 12 include the ability to launch Web apps from the location bar; giving sync its own settings page, as other options have received over the past few months; improved screen reader support; and for Mac users, a better warning using Command-Q to close the browser. The full changelog can be read here.

How to Enable Audio Waveforms in the Final Cut Pro Timeline

/* Posted June 8th, 2011 at 2:51am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Uncategorized    */

These are instructions on how to display audio waveforms in the Final Cut Pro timeline.

Step One
Open your Final Cut project by selecting Open from the File menu.

Step Two
Click the tiny Right Arrow at the bottom left of your Timeline window and choose Show Audio Wavefrom from the popup menu that appears.

Step Three
Notice the audio waveform is now visible in your timeline.

Shortcut:
Option+Command+W will toggle the waveform on and off.

Permanent:
If you want to show audio waveforms for every new sequence created select User Preferences… from the Final Cut Pro menu at the top left of your screen.

Choose the Timeline Options tab.

Check the box called Show Audio Waveforms and click the OK button.

Xbox 360 Gears of War 3 Limited Edition Console

/* Posted June 8th, 2011 at 2:51am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Xbox    */


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E3 2011: Sony NGP now called PSVITA, coming Fall 2011!

/* Posted June 8th, 2011 at 2:51am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Uncategorized    */



We knew the NGP name was  a codename, but Sony just announced the PSP2 aka NGP is now called the PlayStation or for short. Bad name? We think so. PSP Go 2 or PSPII or PSP2 would have been nice, but hey were not Sony. Its very similar to the NGP prototype we saw earlier. Only changes I see is the new slots on the bottom of the unit where the game card will go and next to that the users own memory card for saves and user data.

PSVITA will launch this year (Fall) with two models the Wifi model for $249 and the 3G+Wifi model on ATT for $299. The price is about right and good on Sony for keeping the price down. Launch titles included: Uncharted, Golden Abyss, Street Fighter X Tekken, LittleBigPlanet, Modnation Racers, CritterCrunch, Ruin, WipeOut 2042, Stardust HD and Hot Shots Golf. More to come, but its a huge line up and impressive to say the least.

/ PSVita Photos and press photos:


PSVita image 007

PSVita image 008

PSVita image 001

PSVita image 000

PSVita image 005

PSVita image 009

ps-vita

PSVita image 002

PSVita image 010

PSVita image 003

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ps-vita

PSVita image 006

Source: Engadet

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