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Video Secret Lab Develops Games and Teaches Others How to Develop Them as Well (Video) 29

On the Island of Tasmania, there is a Secret Lab. More accurately, it is a business called Secret Lab, run by co-founders Paris Buttfield-Addison and Jon Manning. On their website they say, “Secret Lab is an indie game developer and mobile app training studio based in Hobart, Australia. We're responsible for some of the world's most popular mobile apps -- recently, we've worked on Meebo for iPhone, ABC Play School Art Maker for iPad, ABC Good Game for iPhone and ABC Foodi for iPad. Secret Lab also offers intensive training workshops on iOS and Android development.” They recently presented at OSCON in Portland, OR, where Timothy Lord and his camcorder caught up with them there (as did Rachel Roumeliotis of O'Reilly Media with her camcorder). At just over 30 minutes, this is the longest Slashdot video interview we've ever run. It's worth the time, despite some rough sound patches, if you are interested in mobile game development -- or even if you are just interested in seeing what kind of colorful people do this sort of thing.

Digg Hints Its Replacement For Google Reader Will Include Social Media Content 78

RougeFemme writes "To capitalize on Google Reader's shutdown, Digg is building an RSS reader from scratch. But this Reader replacement will go beyond RSS to include social media content, like Facebook, Tumblr, Hacker News, Reddit, LinkedIn, etc. From their blog post: 'Google did a lot of things right with its Reader, but based on what we’re hearing from users, there is room for meaningful improvement. We want to build a product that’s clean and flexible, that bends easily and intuitively to the needs of different users. We want to experiment with and add value to the sources of information that are increasingly important, but difficult to surface and organize in most reader applications — like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, LinkedIn, or Hacker News. We likely won’t get everything we want into v1, but we believe it’s worth exploring."

Blender 2.66 Released 158

First time accepted submitter hochl writes "The Blender Foundation has announced a new release of the popular, free 3D design program Blender. From the release page: The Blender Foundation and online developer community is proud to present Blender 2.66. This release contains long awaited features like rigid body physics simulation, dynamic topology sculpting and matcap display. Other new features include Cycles hair rendering, support for high pixel density displays, much better handling of premultiplied and straight alpha transparency, a vertex bevel tool, a mesh cache modifier and a new SPH particle fluid dynamics solver."

Canonical Announcing Ubuntu Tablet Tomorrow? 121

hypnosec writes "Canonical has a countdown on its site that indicates a possible tablet announcement tomorrow. With the Ubuntu Touch developer preview launching this week, the announcement about a tablet or at least an operating system for a tablet from Canonical has, it seems, taken a backseat. From the countdown that reads "Tick, tock, tablet time!" it is evident that Canonical is going to make some announcement about tablets tomorrow."

Microsoft Surface Pro Reviews Arrive 320

The release date is approaching for Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet, and reviews for the new device have started appearing. The Surface Pro differs from the Surface in that it runs a full version of Windows 8 Pro, rather than the tablet-centric Windows RT. It also has much beefier hardware specs: 4GB RAM, an Intel Core i5 CPU, and a full HD display with 10-point multitouch. Ars describes it as having the expected good performance at the expected costs of heat, noise, and battery life. "This is not an all-day machine. Surface RT probably is. But Surface Pro is not." The review praises the screen and the stylus, but points out some odd scaling issues as well. The Verge's review also mentions the scaling, and notes the strangeness of dealing with issues inherent to a Windows desktop OS — like antivirus — on a tablet. BGR looks at the big picture, calling the Surface Pro Microsoft's "declaration of war" on its hardware partners. All three reviews dwell on how the Surface Pro exists at the intersection of laptop and tablet, and doesn't quite fulfill either role. Ars says, "From the tablet perspective, Surface Pro is not acceptable. It gets too hot for a hand-held device, its battery life is woefully inadequate, and it's too thick and heavy to be comfortable to hand hold for long sessions. ... From a laptop perspective, Surface Pro falls down too. The traditional laptop has a stiff hinge to hold the screen at an angle of your choosing. ... In practice, the Surface RT and Surface Pro have a bigger footprint on my lap even than my old 15-inch MacBook Pro. And if I move a little, whomp, the screen drops off the back of my knees and folds out of sight." The Verge adds, "The real dealbreaker for me was that it's just unusable in my most common position — sitting on my couch, feet on the coffee table, with the computer on my lap."

Advertising May Soon Follow You From One Device To the Next 132

moon_unit2 writes "We're all familiar with ads that seem to follow you around as you go from one website to another. A startup called Drawbridge has developed technology that could let those ads follow you even when you pick up a smartphone or tablet. The company, founded by an ex-Google scientist, employs statistical methods to try to match and identify users on different devices. The idea is that this will preserve privacy while making mobile ads more lucrative, although some experts aren't convinced that the data will be truly anonymous."

Google Wallet May End Up Inside Your Actual Wallet 190

Several outlets are reporting, based on screenshots posted by Android Police that Google is (or "may be" — CNet calls the report "loosely sourced") about to introduce a lower-tech variant on its smartphone-based Google Wallet payment system. Instead of transferring payment information from an NFC-equipped phone, this would mean a physical payment card (like a conventional plastic credit or debit card), but one linked via Google's databanks to the user's existing bank or credit accounts. Upsides: less to carry, a simple way to suspend or cancel service on them (should the card be lost or stolen), and doesn't require you to carry your phone to make a credit or debit transaction — handy, since NFC readers are still thin on the ground. Downside: while perhaps no worse than putting the same information on your phone, it's one more step toward giving a third party all of your personal information in one place. A card that fits in a wallet probably makes a lot of sense: I live in a city with at least three pay-by-phone options in trials or fully available (CitiBank, Isis, and Google Wallet), but I can't buy ice cream or coffee with them yet. And there's no reason a card-shaped token couldn't use mag-stripes and NFC, too.

GNOME Developers Lay Out Plans for GNOME OS 208

From the H: "Allan Day has written a blog post on the concrete plans for 'GNOME OS' and provided background on the ideas that have motivated those plans ... Day starts by emphasizing that GNOME OS is not an attempt to replace existing distributions. Although the creation of a standalone GNOME OS is part of the plans, the idea is to make that a testing and development platform, and any improvements that come from GNOME OS should 'directly improve what the GNOME project is able to offer distributions.' Many of the drivers for GNOME OS are, Day says, old ideas to improve the development experience, such as automated testing and sandboxed applications, and while the developers could have separate initiatives for each feature, the idea is to work on them as a 'holistic plan' under the moniker 'GNOME OS.'" A few slides provide more context. In the works are stabilizing the platform APIs, improving deployment of applications, making everything automatically testable, and probably the most controversial: "The increasing popularity of mobile and touch devices represents a challenge to existing desktop solutions. This situation is complicated by the emergence of new hybrid devices that combine keyboards, touchpads and touchscreens. During our discussions last week we talked about how existing types of devices – primarily laptops and desktops – have to remain the primary focus for GNOME ... At the same time, we also want to ensure that GNOME remains compatible with new hardware. ... We have set the goal of having a touch-compatible GNOME 3 within a maximum of 18 months." The drive toward touch may seem obnoxious to desktop users, but spreading Free Software to a hardware ecosystem that is currently locked down and proprietary seems like a good goal to have.

Video Introducing SlashBI Screenshot-sm 339

By now you’ve noticed that Slashdot is growing. We recently introduced Slashdot TV, which offers up everything from “amateur” rocket launches to the return of Leisure Suit Larry. We revamped our newsletters. Now we’re launching some new sites devoted to very specific corners of tech. Our first one, SlashBI, focuses on the fast-changing world of business intelligence, and features articles and opinion pieces on everything from how Big Data and analytics could make salespeople extinct, to B.I. apps for your iOS device, to choosing the right database for a business. No matter what your background, chances are good you’ll find something of interest here. Swing on over, give it a look-see, and let us know what you think.

The first version always gets thrown away.