Archive for October, 2011

Want a one-night stand with Windows Phone and a good band?

Then stop reading this post and hop on over to the Windows Phone Facebook fan page. Tickets are going fast.

As part of a smart marketing campaign to promote Windows Phone, Microsoft will hold events in five cities — New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco in order of occurrence, starting November 7. Performers: Matt & Kim, The Drums, Young The Giant, MutheMouth and best Coast. Wow, it’s a great lineup. I’ve got music from most of these groups in my digital collection. Ah, if only there was one of these in San Diego. Hey, Microsoft, why not Boston, with its quarter-million population of students this time of year? Surely you won’t be run out by iPhone idolaters, if the right group plays there.

“See where the night takes you when you challenge your friends to a Fruit Ninja battle, or chill out in one of our device lounges as you sip cocktails and sample good eats from top local chefs”, Brian Seitz blogs for Microsoft. “These events are free,” but “tickets are very limited”.

Attendees can play with Windows Phones HTC Titan, HTC Radar, Samsung Focus S and Samsung Focus Flash.

The promotion joins another I briefly mentioned three days ago — Microsoft Store buyers spending $500 or more can get a free Windows Phone.

Want a one-night stand with Windows Phone and a good band?


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    Posted by admin - October 31, 2011 at 10:00 pm

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    How to Get a Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect or PlayStation 3 Move For Free

    The video games evolved lately with revolutionary motion detection technology. while for Wii Nintendo and PS3 you still need a controller, the guys from Microsoft revolutionized the idea of full body motion detection and completely removed the need of any controllers.

    How do they do that? Simple: they incorporated high-tech motion detection sensors and cameras, allowing your body to be the controller. to go even further they have a facial recognition software in the system, that detects different players faces allowing multiple profiles.

    On the other hand, PlayStation Move is taking gaming to a whole new level. It connects the PS3 system, the PS Eye camera and the PS Move motion controller. This, unlike the wii controller, looks like a remote with a bubble. This sphere at the end of the motion controller allows the eye camera to track every movement and position within the room.

    In order to celebrate these great products and help increase the hype around them, the advertising companies are offering special offers for a free Xbox 360 Kinect or PlayStation 3 Move.

    How does it work? Simple as filling in some basic information like your email address or zip code and participating in a few surveys.

    Step.1 You have to click on the offer link.

    Step.2 then fill in the information asked for. Usually they ask for an email address or a zip code.

    Step.3 Participate in a survey and complete two reward offers. If you follow all the steps described here, you can get a Xbox 360 Kinect or PlayStation 3 Move for free.

    ATTENTION Terms and conditions apply. therefore, you must be a legal US Resident, of at least 18 years old, and must provide a valid email and shipping address. so they can ship you the free gifts.

    Finding these great opportunities available on the internet is quite easy. the best strategy and the easiest is to search the web for something like free Xbox Kinect or free PS3 move to find the websites that have this kind of offers. the trick is to do this operation before the item becomes very hot and it sells out in store.

    How to Get a Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect or PlayStation 3 Move For Free


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      DC Universe Online Is Going Free-To-Play « PS3 Blog and Community

      Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) announce today, that beginning late October, players will be able to download and access DCUO for free on the PS3 and PC. SOE is introducing three new access levels to the game: Free, Premium and Legendary. All three levels will provide access to open world gameplay and missions, general game updates and fixes to the game, with each level offering different game options and benefits.

      This is great news for players like myself, who couldn’t see spending $14.99 a month for a game I didn’t have time to fully utilize.

      All three levels provide access to the current game, but allow differing tiers of convenience and flexibility. the levels are:

      Free: New players will now have access to the current gameplay in DC Universe Online (including Gotham City, Metropolis, and all current raids and alerts), with the ability to create two characters, join a league and many other benefits. Free level players will be able to purchase downloadable game packs/updates, additional character slots, powers and more through microtransactions.

      Premium: Any player who has spent at least $5 USD (including former paid subscribers and new players who have purchased $5 of in-game items) will qualify for the Premium access level. Premium level players will have more benefits available to them than the Free level player, including additional character slots, additional inventory slots, and higher cash limits. Downloadable adventure packs, additional character slots, and more can be purchased in-game.

      Legendary: Maximum features and benefits are included at this level. Loaded with enhanced additional features, Legendary access will be available for a $14.99 USD monthly fee and includes all DLC packs at no cost, more than 15 character slots, more than 80 inventory slots, the ability to form unrestricted-sized leagues, and many other benefits.

      Source: Press Release

      DC Universe Online Is Going Free-To-Play « PS3 Blog and Community


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        Posted by admin -  at 8:01 am

        Categories: iPod, iPhone, Xbox 360   Tags: , , , , ,

        From smartphones to televisions, how Apple will avoid the fate of RCA

        The economics of the consumer electronics industry dictate that on a long enough timescale, all products will become low-margin commodities. the companies that make products household names are destined to fade from the public’s memory. Will Apple suffer the same fate as others before it, such as RCA, who revolutionized television sets in a similar fashion but were relegated to the dustbin of history decades later?

        It’s products will most certainly be commoditized, but thanks to its ecosystem of software and services (the Stores and iCloud), it will largely avoid the fate of RCA (and may just re-revolutionize the television itself).

        We owe Apple for cracking the smartphone nut, re-imagining what a mobile device should be, and aggressively marketing that vision to the world. Smartphones are now mass-market household items, and although about 65% of all Americans do not own one, that number is sure to change in the coming decade. (Apple did the same for tablet computers, but let’s stay focused on one market for now.)

        Years from now we will look back at the early 21st century and mark it as a true turning point in the story of our species. When smartphones and mobile broadband saturate most of humanity in the coming decade, most of us will be operating in the same river of instantaneous information, the effects of which we’ve yet to fully experience. See the slide below for an early example of these effects. [1]

        But how long will society be specifically thanking Apple for this transformation?

        RCA had done what Apple did for the smartphone: making the electronic television set a household item. Philo Farnsworth may have actually invented the first all-electronic TV, just as Palm and Microsoft had made early attempts at smartphones before, but it was the radical approach of future companies that made both devices truly mass-market. Despite RCA’s initial success, over sixty years later few can recall who deserves credit for that explosive adoption.

        I posit that Apple’s reputation as the smartphone revolutionary (and global information empowerment writ-large) will not fade from society’s collective memory in the same fashion.

        The fate of consumer electronics devices is commoditization: a decrease in prices such that gadgets descend the ladder of affordability, from expensive luxury good to cheap commodity.

        Commoditization occurs because of the underlying technology of these devices. To profitably manufacture and globally distribute a gadget like a smartphone, companies must make an extremely large initial capital investment.

        The chips that run our gadgets are scientific marvels, and the factories that produce them (semiconductor fabrication plants) cannot be built for tens of millions: they cost billions. There’s just too much precision machinery, cleanroom necessities, and other operational considerations that make it an all-or-nothing investment.

        In addition, chassis manufacturing requires costly CNC machines (tools that take 3D design schematics to create objects by sculpting metals with laser-precision) and the skilled labor to operate them. There’s also years of research and development that are factored into this equation as well.

        These costly factors of production are offset by economies of scale, which dictate that at large enough scales, companies can mass-produce consumer electronics at a profit (ironically also making them quite affordable). at the same time, gains in manufacturing efficiency and automation coupled with improvements in semiconductor design (Moore’s Law) bring down the price by several degrees of magnitude each year.

        Therefore, on a long enough time scale, selling consumer electronics is a low-margin game. the bottom line is that a company will eventually run into a corner selling hardware in the consumer electronics business, unable to distinguish themselves from other brands and losing their “upper-tier” image.

        RCA’s fate was no different. the same economics applies to the production of televisions, and even more so to the large flat-panel displays peddled at every BestBuy in the nation. the size of the machines that produce the large sheets of glass from which TVs are cut increase each year, making the production of larger TVs cheaper. this occurs year after year, with the same gains in technology and manufacturing that other gadgets like phones experience as well. throughout the 1960s and 70s, television production became globalized and cheapened, in turn devaluing RCA’s product.

        There is no doubt that Apple is on the same course. but unlike RCA, Apple has a plan in place to circumvent the problem (thereby keeping its image high in the public consciousness as long as possible). The writing is on the wall. within five to ten years, producing the hardware for iPhones and iPads will be dirt cheap, and competition will keep driving prices down, eroding margins for every player in the industry.

        The solution is in the Stores: the App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, and all other digital media stores. with the iCloud mobile storage and syncing solution as the final glue that binds all stores across all devices, once users bring their digital lives into Apple’s ecosystem, it’s extremely difficult for them to get out.

        Technology analyst Horace Dediu has crunched the numbers on precisely this type of “lock-in” effect, estimating average revenue per year per iOS user of about $150. He’s careful to note that they are recurring figures, meaning customers are expected to spend this amount indefinitely.

        Why will Apple’s name as bastion of the information age last into the ages? Because their ecosystem of software and services will keep everyone entrenched in their system, making it too costly and inconvenient to switch over to other providers. Each new purchase opportunity will yield to Apple, reinforcing their presence in consumers’ minds. These recurrent purchases are not only good to the public image but also to the bottom-line. Dediu’s valuation of the company based on the recurring revenues of its install-base is a whopping $620 billion by 2014 (see chart below).

        The long-term value of Apple, not just its image, rests on keeping customers entrenched, not selling hardware (though that will continue to be lucrative for some time as well).

        To compete against this strategy, companies will need to fight over the consumer experience. Apple has understood this for a while (that’s why they don’t advertise detailed specs like RAM for iPhones and iPads). the entire battlefield has changed. Even the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs is quoted in his latest biography as saying that competitors like Microsoft and Android “just don’t get it” (referring to the overall consumer experience).

        Apple has built a vast playpen, locking in its customers with walls as high as the sky. as this site has covered before, Apple is likely to extend this playpen to televisions soon. Consumers will be delighted to experience the same software and media on their iPhones and iPads in their living room. but competitors are not standing by idly: just yesterday Google signaled their intention to compete in the re-imagined TV space using the same weapons of software and services: Google TV will now directly support Android apps. this will ultimately benefit consumers greatly. Apple will trump the introduction of apps to TVs with a new user interface built on their Siri voice-recognition technology introduce in the iPhone 4S. thus, Apple is well-placed to re-revolutionize the TV market and be recognized for it through the ages.

        It’s a pity RCA never had any apps to sell!

        [1] Slides are from Kleiner-Perkins-Caufield-Byers partner Mary Meeker’s presentation on Internet Trends given at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on October 18. it can be found here.[2] Image of Chinese iPhone factory from WIRED U.K.

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        From smartphones to televisions, how Apple will avoid the fate of RCA


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          New tools transform finances

          Smartphones and tablet computers have made it easier to build wealth. Picture: John Fotiadis Source: National Features

          TECHNOLOGY, just like the share market, is changing at a furious pace and can confuse and frustrate many of us.

          However, unlike shares, technology has been delivering huge gains to investors and consumers in recent years.

          The rapid rise of smartphones, tablet computers and online businesses has made it easier than ever for people to invest, shop and manage their money.

          "it comes down to convenience, and that’s what mobile devices always deliver," says Joseph Hanlon, deputy editor of product review website cnet.

          "It’s being able to transfer money while you’re standing outside at an ATM, or it’s about being able to monitor your personal finances while you are in a cafe."

          TAKING OVER THE WORLD

          Telco and media analyst Telsyte says Australia has about 18 million mobile phone users, and already 8.8 million of them have smartphones. it forecasts 10 million more smartphone users by 2014.

          Apple’s iPhone is the dominant player in smartphones, with a forecast 42 per cent of the market this year, with Google’s Android platform the main competitor, says Telsyte research director Foad Fadaghi (left).

          "One of the consequences of all these mobile devices is the immediacy of information that’s around. There is no limit to the amount of alerts and up-to-the-minute information that can be delivered to people’s handsets," Fadaghi says.

          Smartphones grew up and spawned tablet computers, and Apple set the pace with its iPad launched last year. Telsyte says 380,000 tablets were sold in 2010 and it forecasts another 1.2 million sales this year, with Apple holding a 71 per cent market share.

          Hanlon says anything you can find for the iPhone, you can use on the iPad as well.

          "some of these things benefit from having a larger screen, where you can manipulate data easier," he says.

          IT’S ALL ‘APPENING HERE

          Search for the word "money" in Apple’s app store and you’ll have a choice of more than 3800 finance-related apps.

          The banks have a big presence, but there’s much more, ranging from budgeting tools to currency converters to complete personal investment tools.

          Fadaghi says financial applications have always been popular among smartphone users, particularly those aged over 30.

          Hanlon says banks of all sizes have been busy creating apps for phones and tablets.

          Apart from managing accounts and paying bills, users of these apps can find branches or ATMs, invest online and check interest rates.

          "There has always been a rich collection of personal finance and budgeting apps, but it does seem that the polish of these apps is improving," Hanlon says.

          SHARES STEP UP TO PLATE

          Researcher Canstar Cannex says online share trading opened up the share market to the general public.

          "In effect, share trading is no longer exclusive to investors with their own broker," it says in a recent report.

          The price of online trading – already well below stockbroker costs – has been falling this year, down 12 per cent to less than $10 in some cases, Canstar says.

          Telsyte’s Fadaghi says the growth of smartphones has made them a preferred share trading tool among many investors.

          The internet was already a great tool for researching shares, managed funds and other investment opportunities.

          Today it’s available on our phones and tablets through both their standard internet browsers or specific finance apps including the ASX, CommSec and global finance group Bloomberg.

          PROPERTY’S NEW FRONTIER

          Property websites such as realestate.com.au have been popular among investors, house hunters and stickybeaks, and most of the big players have introduced apps that enhance the experience.

          For example, pick a suburb on realestate.com.au and you’re given a map of the suburb showing all the properties for sale.

          "The major banks are also seeing an opportunity," Fadaghi says. "Those apps, particularly the ones where you hold the phone outside the property and it tells you the last sale and other data, that’s the future of real estate.

          "it is bringing a vast amount of information to the average person in the street. And it is changing how people make decisions, which are less based on inspiration and more based on facts and data."

          SHOPPING GETS SMARTER

          "People go to stores and compare prices with things they are about to buy. It’s changing how you conduct your business," Fadaghi says.

          "It’s still early days, but soon you won’t remember how you used to do it in the past."

          Online product comparison sites such as getprice.com.au are rolling out new apps, while supermarket giant Woolworths has an app that allows shoppers to make lists, check specials, and browse the catalogue for their favourite store.

          The explosion in group buying or "daily deal" websites has quickly moved on to mobile devices. "All the daily deals sites have apps, and there’s some separate sites that aggregate all the daily deal stuff," says Hanlon.

          SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS CAN CLOBBER COSTS

          The internet spawned a new generation of business owners, mainly online retailers who enjoy cheaper overheads because they don’t need a physical store.

          The new generation of mobile devices can cut their costs more.

          Vodafone head of corporate communications Greg Spears says it is now possible to run an office "from the palm of your hand".

          "More businesses are finding that they need to be smarter about where their business dollars are being spent and look at new approaches, such as mobility, to keep an edge on the competition," he says.

          Spears says business owners should consider travel times between work and home, travel between meetings, customer service and access to data before deciding on the best mobile option.

          Fadaghi says new technology gives small business the same tools as the big end of town in areas such as customer relationship management, sales software and servers.

          "you can conduct yourself like a much larger business but still operate as a small business," he says. "a few years ago, it was in the realm of science fiction that a small business operator would have that capacity."Spears says businesses of all sizes are tapping into the "virtually unlimited marketing potential" promised by the growth of social media in recent years.

          "The business community is starting to tap into the power of mobile apps and we are seeing enormous growth in this area of the mobile internet market," he says.

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

           Get all the latest personal finance news and expert advice in the your Money liftout every Monday.

          You’ll find it in The Daily Telegraph, The Courier-Mail, Herald Sun, The Advertiser and The Mercury.

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

           

          New tools transform finances


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            Posted by admin - October 30, 2011 at 7:01 pm

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