I was planning on going to Serendipity3 during my trip to NYC next week, until I found out it was closed because of a rat infestation! does anyone know any nice, teen friendly, inexpensive, and informal restaurants in NYC? Something out of the ordinary, not just your average Olive Garden or Applebee’s. Thanks!
Local Marketing Reporter answers:
Pizza is always a hit. John’s Pizzeria on 44th St is right off Times Square and housed within the cavernous atmosphere of a former theater. It’s loud and hectic and touristy, but pretty exciting for a teen. you could also try John’s on Bleecker St (in the Village) or Lombardi’s (in Little Italy), or even Grimaldi’s (in Brooklyn underneath the Brooklyn Bridge) for more old-school, small-scale New York atmosphere (although all get crowded).
Right next door to John’s (44th) is Carmine’s, a family-style Italian restaurant with a long-standing reputation and a similar atmosphere to John’s.
If the weather’s nice, consider strolling down to Madison Square Park (at 23rd & 5th) and stopping by the Shake Shack. This is an “upscale” gourmet burger & milkshake stand run by a well-regarded New York restauranteer that’s nestled down right in the middle of the park. It’s something of a phenomenon in this city and provides great (outdoor) atmosphere. the lines can get really long here, so be wary of the lunch hour rush if you can help it.
I performed a little parlor trick for my nerdy friends during a recent pool party: Flattening my hand and positioning it perpendicular to my smartphone’s screen and off to a side, I made a quick sweeping motion across the display.
A flash of light on the phone gave a clue to what happened: I had just created a screen-grab shot.
It is one of many maneuvers that can be performed with Samsung’s Galaxy S III, the latest and arguably greatest smartphone running the Android operating system. such features are one way Samsung is trying to set itself apart from rivals, like Motorola and HTC, as well as from Apple and its iPhone.
What you think of such features largely depends on your preference in smartphone platforms. my pals are iPhone users for the most part, so there was a bit of eye-rolling and snarky commentary poolside.
But I am impressed with how the once-primitive Android operating system is evolving and being enhanced by hardware manufacturers with software customizations and add-ons.
The latest hardware is impressive, too. HTC’s one X, sold by AT&T, is a stand-out smartphone with a fantastic camera, terrific audio, zippy performance, solid feel, decent battery life and nice screen.
AT&T also carries the S III, which arguably makes this carrier’s Android users the luckiest ones in the United States.
Just don’t get the one X in white; it scuffs and smudges up something awful. that goes for any tech gadget. Don’t buy it in white! I mean it.
In a twist, though, Samsung is making near-identical versions of its S III available to all the other top U.S. carriers. This is unusual, as Android phones tend to be carrier exclusives, and good news for Android users because they get one of the best phones on the planet regardless.
For this column, I used the AT&T and Verizon versions of the S III and found little to gripe about.
It’s notable for its beautiful, though somewhat dim, 4.8-inch AMOLED display, smooth operation and high-quality 8-megapixel camera. It’s about as tall and wide as a one X, but thinner.
I got the best data performance on the Verizon model — no surprise there, as the carrier has speedy LTE service in the Twin Cities, while AT&T has yet to bring its own LTE data access to the metro. It will happen this year, last I heard.
Otherwise, my experiences with the two handsets, both $200 with a wireless contract, were the same.
Here are a few of the highlights:
Gestures. I mentioned the screen-grab maneuver. The S III has a ton of other gestures — some unique to the S III, some shared with other kinds of Android smartphones — that make it a super fun though somewhat gimmicky device.
You can turn the phone face-down on a table or desk to silence it; tilt it to zoom in and out on a picture; pan left and right while holding an icon to shift it to another place on the home screen or an adjacent screen; tap the top of the phone to go to the top of a list or email; and lots of others.
You’ll spend a bit of time mastering the gestures, and have a blast, but how many are necessary?
No wonder my friends were scoffing.
Near Field Communication. This wireless technology built into new phones allows the transfer of data from device to device (from one phone to another or from a phone to an NFC terminal in a store to complete a purchase).
One simpler NFC feature called Android Beam, baked into the Android OS, allows for transfer of data such as contact information from one S III (or other recent-model Android phone) to another by tapping the phones together.
Samsung has added its own variation, called S Beam, that fuses NFC with a device-to-device Wi-Fi connection for transfer of files, like pictures or videos. such transfers between the AT&T and Verizon versions of the S III worked fine for me, but they won’t with other Android devices, at least for now, and are therefore of limited usefulness.
S Voice. I’m not getting the talk-to-your-phone thing. The latest version of the iPhone has Siri, and Samsung is responding with its own voice-controlled personal assistant called S Voice. I like neither, partly because they misunderstand me too often to be enjoyable.
If you’re willing to suffer through S-Voice’s rough edges, though, you can do a ton of stuff such as opening apps, sending text messages, searching contacts, navigating using Google Maps, playing songs, setting up appointments, updating Twitter or Facebook, creating voice memos, toggling certain settings on and off, performing simple search queries and finding local listings.
Though battery life on the S III is pretty decent, it’s nice to be able to swap in a fresh one. You can’t do this with the one X. The S III also lets you add a storage card for increased capacity. one X? Nope.
An iPhone-like mechanical home button. thank you.
One minor wrinkle with the S III: as it was being rolled out, Google updated the Android operating system to version 4.1 (or Jelly Bean) from 4.0 (or Ice Cream Sandwich), which is the one on the S III.
Yet the phone can’t be updated, at least not yet. The unpredictability of when an OS update will be available for which devices is a bummer in the Android world.
Consumer technology giant Sony aims to give its next-generation gaming console an up to 10 year shelf-life, according to the CTO of its Computer Entertainment division, Maasaki Tsuruta, speaking exclusively to E&T. This is significantly longer than the market has seen historically, although the PlayStation 3 will be at least seven-years-old by the time its successor appears.
The target longevity of the ‘PlayStation 4’ (it will not be called that) is a simple question of economics – primarily the inflationary economics of electronics system design, believes Tsuruta. the Cell Broadband Engine that sits in the Sony PlayStation 3 is reckoned to have cost $400m as a joint development with IBM and Toshiba. Its successor will undoubtedly need to go further still, much further, for such elements as the main central processor and graphics processor. And not just because all consoles are expected to push chip and software design to the limit.
The company is not really talking about its budget, but analysts Like Silicon Map believe that $1bn for the silicon alone would be a lower-end estimate. given the cost of software development, support, marketing and a whole lot more that goes into launching a console, the final number will likely be a solid multiple of that. This will be a huge technological and financial play, and Sony will need to see the result maintain a steady return on its investment for some time. the PS3, meanwhile, is getting somewhat long in the tooth in console terms, with its capabilities being pushed by some of the leading-edge software designed to run on it; rival Nintendo has already announced its next generation platform, the Wii U, forcing Sony’s hand on TAT.
“You have to look at the current solutions and the current technologies and see how long you can extend those for the expected life of the product,” Tsuruta admits. “You always want ‘perfect’ technologies, but there are none. So, you look at what is available, and try to get as close as possible to that goal. Even then, some of the things that we want are still five years away [from development].”
His last point is important because it points to a change in strategy that is part of Sony’s decision to explicitly develop a longer-lasting core product, and also highlights one of the main design challenges inherent within it.
Consoles themselves are now only part of the game; highly sophisticated peripherals can deliver as much of a market advantage as the main platform. Nintendo proved this with its Wii controller, which gave a non-HD product the ability to compete on level terms with – and at times beat – its higher-revolution rivals. a better indicator is Microsoft’s Kinect add-on for the Xbox 360: it added motion sensing to that platform five years after the original launch.
If the next PlayStation has to deliver stellar performance out-of-the-box, it also has to have enough processing headroom to carry on delighting the consumer for long after with new options. that means that Sony is, as Tsuruta’s earlier comment suggests, creating a new product with a view to peripherals that will be added post-launch – in some cases, quite some time after – and being more open today about what they are likely to be.
At December 2011’s International Electron Devices Meeting, Tsuruta delivered a keynote on ‘Interactive Games’ that was as much shopping list as strategic vision. It set out a Sony gameplan that includes games which can respond to a player’s emotions, with controllers that incorporate more motion-sensing accelerometers, and even vital signs sensors. There’s even been talk of systems that read players’ eye movements.
Then the company wants to up the ante in haptics technology. Current controllers may vibrate or give some sense of resistance to the user’s movements, but this vision is one that incorporates sufficient touch sensitivity to, say, reproduce the full tactile sensation of stroking a cat. then there’s Augmented Reality (AR), a Sony concept that will make its first-generation debut in the handheld PlayStation Vita, launching in Europe next month. This feature uses the camera on the tablet-like player to capture your real-world surroundings, and CGI characters are then inserted within them for you to interact with.
For the future of AR, Tsuruta’s presentation imagined a 3D version using lightweight glasses to create a hybrid gaming environment – no mean task. Locating 3D virtual objects within ‘flat’ environments is hard enough, particularly in real-time – only a handful of research projects, including SLAM (Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping) at Imperial College, London’s department of Computing, have even begun to tackle the same challenges for 3D rendered ones.
“For the haptics and the very advanced graphics, we are talking about those five years at least,” Tsuruta says. the fact remains that means Sony’s ambitions and design plans today must already capture the next PlayStation’s peripherals market. that raises several challenges, he acknowledges, not the least of which concern where the digital muscle should go.
These kinds of technology will require more advanced types of sensor technologies such as micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS, a technology branch that includes accelerometers). not a straightforward design task, but an easier one to locate: they will go in the controller/headset. a bigger question surrounds the traditional ‘heavy-lifting’ processors.
“It took five years before we saw games that used the full power of Cell, so we are used to looking ahead and having capacity,” Tsuruta says. “We are looking at an architecture where the bulk of processing will still sit on the main board, with CPU and graphics added to by more digital signal processing and some configurable logic.”
This type of system integration is becoming more common (Sony has always been a master of all types of integration), but the real challenge here lies in the scale. to give a further, more metric-driven sense of that, Sony’s target is to get latency for a typical playing experience to below 50ms for framerates of more than 300fps. now, 50ms is an absolute best performance level to start with – most displays actually increase it – for framerates of about 60fps ceiling. moreover, the target is not for 1080p resolution, but reflect a drive towards 8kx4k.
There is then another factor why Sony is still set to locate the bulk of the processing power for launch and future use within the console. It believes that packaged media, typically BluRay discs, remain the way forward if next generation systems are to offer compelling enough experiences that current PS3 (and rival box) owners will trade up. Online is exciting, possibly profitable, but it is not – yet – sufficient.
“We think that the core games will continue to be the most important,” says Tsuruta. “We don’t want to limit what people do on the console and we will have to do more on the server side, account for some aspects of thin client computing. Many people like the ability to play simultaneously, and when the networks are available we would like to open the platform up to more complex content through them… but we will have to wait for a while because current networks have limitations in bandwidth. a typical PlayStation console game is 50GByte – transferring those kinds of size over most of today’s [public IP] networks won’t work. but more important is the experience. the [public IP] networks cannot yet deliver it.”
So while there will be some features that aim to make the cloud-based gaming experience more immersive – “and, this is key, more secure”, Tsuruta adds – the focus remains local.
Given all these factors, if there is a feeling that Sony is ‘late’ in launching a fourth generation PlayStation, these ambitions suggest it is with good reason. Although Tsuruta (obviously) will not disclose the detailed specification, it now seems reasonably obvious that Sony is developing not so much an immersive games console as something that could evolve into a fully-realised virtual reality machine, rather than simply paving the way for one. for sure, there is a lot on that IEDM shopping list that needs to be refined, but most of it already exists in some form, some quite well developed although some is nascent.
Whatever that near-term future holds though, Sony will need to leverage the best of current technologies and it is here that the company is working in emerging fields. Setting aside the intellectual property that will need to sit in the processing architectures on the system, there is the simple challenge of making the chips.
This vision will need to leverage an emerging chip manufacturing technology: through silicon via (TSV). It stacks multiple pieces of silicon in 3D structures interconnected by pathways that run through the chips themselves. the technique promises to hugely reduce latency and boost performance by greatly reducing the wires signals must traverse. It offers a high integration of traditional and graphics processing alongside analogue.
Given that today’s advanced fabs are operating in 28nm nanometer process geometries and advancing on 20nm, it becomes clear how incredibly delicate and complex a task this is. after all, it’s hard enough right now to lay out a ‘flat’ 28nm chip and get it to yield in profitable quantities with such minute features. as a result, the leading chip foundries are working hard on 3D but offer typical customers an interim/2.5D alternative, often called a silicon interposer. This looks to integrate silicon more closely side-by-side than stacked.
In this Issue…* Currencies & metals rally…* big Ben disappoints the markets again…* Oil price rise pushes petrol currencies higher…* Sorting out the Sing dollar…And, Now, Today’s Pfennig for Your thoughts!Taking Their Frustrations Out On the Dollar…good day… And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you! I turned the iPod on this morning the first song that played was Cat Stevens’ song: Morning has Broken… Now, how appropriate is that! I always put the iPod on “shuffle” so I never know what’s coming up next. I always laugh when I walk away in the morning after Mike has come in, and I come back and something like Frank Sinatra or the Pet Shop Boys are playing… Not exactly stuff on Mike’s hit parade!Well… we settled down in the currencies and metals yesterday, after Tuesday’s wild swings. big Ben Bernanke was on the hot seat yesterday, as Ron Paul asked some questions that made the Fed Chairman squirm in his seat… I watched some of the proceedings, but then decided I had seen big Ben not really answer the question that was asked of him enough, and decided to get back to work… the market gurus were still wishing and hoping and thinking and praying, planning and dreaming, each night that big Ben would mention additional stimulus, but were disappointed once again… At least, this time, the didn’t take their frustrations out on the risk assets… No… this time they took their frustrations out on the dollar!I hate to beat on this subject so much, but one thing that really ticked me off yesterday during the testimony on the outlook for the economy was, the lawmakers kept asking big Ben about his previous implementations of stimulus, and all he would say was that it was “productive” , but would never give examples of how “productive” they were… we, as Pfennig Readers all know what he meant by “productive”… the dollar was sold, and stocks rose in value… our Central Bank verified a couple of years ago that their main assignment was to prop up asset values…OK… enough, Chuck! Can’t you see the people want to move along, and not spend all morning on your problems with the Central Bank? Sorry… Let’s see… Well, this morning, the currencies have added to their gains from yesterday. the euro is back to 1.23, and the Aussie dollar (A$) is trading with a $1.04 handle this morning!we could see more gains today in the risk assets if the economic data that prints continues to be weak… the main piece today is the Weekly Initial Jobless Claims. this data has come front and center today because of last week’s fall in the number of claims… I explained on Friday that apparently nobody in the media had noticed that the data was from the holiday shortened week, so it was bound to show a fall in the number of claims… so, today, we’ll see if I was right… if I am right, the markets are going to jump on that “we need additional stimulus” bandwagon again, and that would send the dollar to the woodshed…there is one piece of data today that normally gets pushed to the back of the closet, and that is the Philly Fed Index… this is one of those regional manufacturing indexes, that normally don’t get much attention… and this one won’t either by the masses… But here at my desk in St. Louis Mo. Home of the 11 time World Champion Cardinals, I came across something last month that was very interesting… And that is the relationship of the Philly Fed Index and the risk assets…it appears to me from the graph I pulled, that the Philly Fed Index’s performance dictates the performances of the risk assets… Take last month’s print for an illustration… Last month the Philly Fed Index (PFI) printed a negative -16.6 and the risk assets performed very poorly, the euro fell 1%, the A$ fell 1.5%, stocks fell 2%, and oil fell 3.5%… Since then, these risk assets have recovered considerably… (except euros, which has other problems also weighing on it)So, if this relationship holds true today, we could be in for some poor performances that hopefully would be offset by the markets wishing and hoping for more stimulus… I say that because the consensus for the PFI that will print this morning, is for a negative -8 figure… (better than last month, but still very weak)… so, it could be a very interesting day… Traders will love the volatility, I will sit here and shake my head, for these knee jerk reactions to things drives me crazy!While we’re talking about economic data here in the U.S. Housing starts yesterday printed strong for June, and June Capacity Utilization and Industrial Production printed OK… They didn’t show the rot on the vine they showed last month. so, the hand basket the U.S. economy is in, isn’t exactly going to hell right now… but, these tiny sparks of economic strength, will die out when the rest of the economy weighs too much on it.Today, we’ll see Leading Indicators for June… I expect them to turn negative… which will be a very good indicator that the economy is headed south… there will be no data prints tomorrow, so today is the last shot of data for the markets until next Monday, so, a lot of attention will be on today’s prints…Well… the euro was rallying this morning to 1.2320, and then the results of Spain’s latest auction became a real drag on the euro, causing it to fall to 1.2270… But, has recovered back to 1.23, while I’ve been typing my fat fingers away here… Recall that about a week ago, I told you that German T-Bills were auctioned with a negative yield? Well… yesterday German 2-year notes also had a negative yield… That’s absolutely crazy folks! the demand to own German debt by Europeans is very strong… obviously my old line about how investors now “look at a return OF capital being more important than a return ON capital, holds true here, eh?Besides being unlawful for them to do so… You can see why the Germans throw such a fit about issuing a Eurozone bond, as long as they can get such cheap financing, why would they want to have to pay much higher interest rates that would be assigned to a bond that included the peripheral countries like: Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain… Club Med…In Asia… the market gurus there are also hoping for additional stimulus, but not from the U.S. Fed, although they wouldn’t mind see it come from there… No, here, they are looking to the Chinese to announce additional stimulus measures…one of my fave currencies, and that’s not a solicitation to buy it, it’s just a statement of fact… the Singapore dollar (Sing $) continues to follow the Chinese renminbi/ yuan, but now that the renminbi / yuan is appreciating VS the dollar again (3 consecutive days this week) the Sing $, is pushing the envelope of what the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the people responsible for setting the trading bands for the Sing $, their tolerance for Sing $ strength. And with inflation under control in Singapore, it gives the MAS more room to maneuver the Sing $…I don’t think the MAS, who all central banks should follow, use the Sing $ as their main tool for keeping inflation under control. That’s right, the MAS uses the exchange rate of the Sing $ rather than borrowing costs to conduct monetary policy, adjusting the trading bands that the Sing $ is allowed to move in. this all may sound complicated, but it’s not… and the MAS has always been very transparent with their moves…so.. having said all that… the Sing $ will appreciate, IF the Chinese renminbi/ yuan appreciates… Because right now, the trading band for the Sing $ is sloped to appreciation, but will be held back if the Chinese renminbi / yuan goes into hibernation again…Speaking of pushing the envelope of appreciation… the Japanese yen is back in the 78 handle this morning. this has just got to tick the Japanese officials off to no end… They’ve tried everything in the book and some things outside of the book to get the yen weaker… It’s just not happening on their time table!the price of Oil has really rebounded this week, and trades with a $90 handle this morning… when the price of Oil moves like this, the petrol currencies of: Norway, Canada, Brazil, Russia, U.K. and even Mexico, perform better… for instance, the Bloomberg tells me that the Russian ruble has gained for 8 consecutive days, which is the longest winning streak for the ruble since December 2010, when it gained for 10 consecutive days.the Canadian dollar / loonie also is seeing a boost from the rising price of Oil, as the loonie moves past 99-cents on its way back to parity! (maybe, just my opinion, I could be wrong!)And Gold is up $14 this morning… That’s a nice figure this morning. Silver is up 30-cents, so all around a good strong performance this morning for the metals. Now… we sit here and wait for the price of Gold to get taken down by the manipulators… it will happen, maybe not today, and not because they fear it to be too brazen, they have no fear of the regulators…
Then there Was This… I saw this on Reuters this morning… another California city seeking bankruptcy protection (maybe)… And yet, the media wants to focus on Greece? this stuff is going on here in the U.S. and our media doesn’t cover it? But, somebody setting a building on fire in Greece is important to us…. Oh well… here’s the story… get ready for this kind of stuff to come to a city near you!“the City of Compton, a city of 93,000 people located on the outskirts of Los Angeles, must decide by September 1 whether to seek bankruptcy, according to its two most senior financial officials.
Such a move would see it join a growing number of deficit-hobbled California cities that have used the filing to restructure onerous debt loads.Compton, which has an accumulated $43 million deficit and has depleted what had been a $22 million reserve, will run out of cash to make its payroll on September 1 at its current cash consumption rate, city comptroller Steven Ajobiewe told the city council during a July 17 meeting.”Chuck again… I’ve said enough about this trend… I’ll just continue to report on it, because eventually this will make the news…to recap… big Ben was at his best yesterday, not answering questions… That’s called in media training, deflection… But the markets took their frustrations out on the dollar this time, and the risk assets are stronger this morning. the euro is back to 1.23, and the A$ $1.04… the price of Oil is rising again, and pushing the petrol currencies higher. And the Singapore $ is pushing the envelope of appreciation that the MAS allows.Currencies today 7/19/12… American Style: A$ $1.0425, kiwi .8045, C$ .9920, euro 1.23, sterling 1.5685, Swiss $1.0235, … European Style: rand 8.1550, krone 6.0810, SEK 6.9185, forint 231.15, zloty 3.3815, koruna 20.6025, RUB 32.02, yen 78.55, Sing 1.2545, HKD 7.7560, INR 55.14, China 6.3725, pesos 13.13, BRL 2.0215, Dollar Index 82.83, Oil $90.62, 10-year 1.50%, Silver $27.52, and Gold… $1,587.30That’s it for today… Chris sent me a note last night, that he and his lovely wife, Tina, were taking a balloon ride over Napa Valley yesterday, and another rider noticed Chris wearing his EverBank baseball cap. He asked Chris if he worked at EverBank or just liked them… Chris said, “both!” and then the rider introduced himself as a Pfennig Reader! You just never know when you’re going to run into a Pfennig Reader! I had a reader send me note the other day, from a remote river in Australia! great stuff! I’m doing very well on my new medicine, which makes me happy… the last time, the medicine caused me to gain weight… that can’t happen this time, because if I gain any more weight, I’ll burst! Not even a wafer! HA! And with that… I’ll get out of your hair for today… I hope your Thursday is a Tub Thumpin’ Day!
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Posted at: 07/16/2012 9:23 PM
Security officials at Rochester's airport aren't laughing at a joke made by a New York City doctor on Friday.
Doctor Hany Mossad-Boktor says he was only kidding about having explosives in his luggage. After he made the joke, though, the TSA and Monroe County Sheriff's Office brought in bomb-sniffing dogs to search his bags.
The dogs didn't find any evidence of explosives, but the doctor was arrested and charged with falsely reporting an incident, which is a felony.