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Books

Kindle Allowing Chinese Unfettered Access To Web 138

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-for-long dept.
jcl-xen0n writes "Apparently, some Chinese Kindle owners have discovered that they are able to access banned sites such as Twitter and Facebook without a problem. The article speculates that Amazon may be operating a local equivalent to Amazon Whispernet with a Chinese 3G provider. Professor Lawrence Yeung Kwan, of the University of Hong Kong's electrical and electronic engineering department, told the paper that mainland internet patrols might have overlooked the gadget (perhaps because they consider it solely a tool to purchase books). How long before Kindle traffic is locked down?"
Cellphones

8pen Reinvents the Keyboard For Mobile Devices 214

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the good-luck-with-that dept.
An anonymous reader submitted linkage to a company called 8pen that has a new take on one-handed input. I've attached the video if you click the link below, but it's a strange idea using outward spreading swipes that somewhat mimics handwriting. It ships for Android tomorrow, but even if you don't want to try it out, it's an interesting idea for anyone who is tired of finger tapping on a tiny screen.
Games

Why Are There No Popular Ultima Online-Like MMOs? 480

Posted by Soulskill
from the risk-is-not-our-business dept.
eldavojohn writes "I have a slightly older friend who played through the glory days of Ultima Online. Yes, their servers are still up and running, but he often waxes nostalgic about certain gameplay functions of UO that he misses. I must say that these aspects make me smile and wonder what it would be like to play in such a world — things like housing, thieving and looting that you don't see in the most popular massively multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft. So, I've followed him through a few games, including Darkfall and now Mortal Online. And these (seemingly European developed) games are constantly fading into obscurity and never catching hold. We constantly move from one to the next. Does anyone know of a popular three-dimensional game that has UO-like rules and gameplay? Perhaps one that UO players gravitated to after leaving UO? If you think that the very things that have been removed (housing and thieving would be two good topics) caused WoW to become the most popular MMO, why is that? Do UO rules not translate well to a true 3D environment? Are people incapable of planning for corpse looting? Are players really that inept that developers don't want to leave us in control of risk analysis? I'm familiar with the Bartle Test but if anyone could point me to more resources as to why Killer-oriented games have faded out of popularity, I'd be interested."
Earth

Yellowstone Supervolcano Larger Than First Thought 451

Posted by timothy
from the even-superer dept.
drewtheman writes "New studies of the plumbing that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano in Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park shows the plume and the magma chamber under the volcano are larger than first thought and contradicts claims that only shallow hot rock exists. University of Utah research professor of geophysics Robert Smith led four separate studies that verify a plume of hot and molten rock at least 410 miles deep that rises at an angle from the northwest."

Comment: Re:Ahh, it takes me back. To 1999. (Score 3, Interesting) 205

by afedaken (#26945455) Attached to: We're Just Not That Into You, iPhone Apps

I think that the revolutionary change that Apple brings to this situation is the accessibility. For Palm, and WinMob, a PC was usually necessary to install new applications. (Not sure about BlackBerry, Symbian, or the other common Phone OS environments.)

For an iPhone user it's 2 taps and maybe a password, and boom, there's your app. Microsoft has obviously seen what this means for users; they have an app store coming. Google made it a launch feature for Android too, and IIRC even Nokia will be getting into the act for Symbian.

Comment: Re:I knew it!!! (Score 1) 205

by afedaken (#26945429) Attached to: We're Just Not That Into You, iPhone Apps

IMO The current crop at 1024x600 is useable, if not ideal. Like the OP implied, if I have to do anything resembling heavy lifting, I'll tether my phone to my Aspire One, and do the job from a "real" machine. Much like how my phone is always at my hip when I leave the house, the A1 is small enough that I usually just grab it on the way out of the house and toss it in the back seat of the car, just-in-case. (And in lieu of my much larger, but much more capable ASUS notebook.)

But 90% of my mobile web use is fine from the phone itself. The A1 still isn't really usable standing upright, or any place where I can't locate a surface on which to place it.

Comment: Re:I knew it!!! (Score 1) 205

by afedaken (#26945369) Attached to: We're Just Not That Into You, iPhone Apps

Ya know, a 15 inch screen sure is nice when I've got a place to sit. And yeah, it does provide a nicer browsing experience than my little WinMob phone.

But firing up my notebook is not at all as convenient or quick for doing a quick price check, whipping off a one or two line e-mail, checking a quick headline, checking movie showtimes, or doing a restaurant search. Even given Opera for WinMob's slower render times (to speak nothing of Pocket IE which is slower, or Safari which appears to be significantly faster) I can still get most MOBILE tasks done in less time than it takes your typical notebook PC to finish boot device detection.

Apple users might get there quicker from sleep with a macbook, and I know how much y'all love your macs, but even the staunchest of fanboys isn't gonna lug around a 2lb air where an 8oz iPhone would do the job. More to the point, the macbook isn't a constantly connected device either; it'll need a data card or wifi to get there.

Different needs, different users. iPhone users obviously value portability over browser experience. (Being a longtime WinMob user, I don't necessarily agree with the device choice, but I agree with the sentiment...)

But hey, thanks for assuming that our mobile data needs and wants are nothing more than "ooh shiny thing."

Comment: Re:I don't see the difference... (Score 1) 205

by afedaken (#26944989) Attached to: We're Just Not That Into You, iPhone Apps

Several fundamental differences:

- DS apps cost a heck of a lot more than your typical iPhone app. Perceived value alone will account for more usage of most DS games.
- DS apps can be traded in for credit, or even returned to some retailers if sub-par. AFAIK you can't do that with the appstore.
- Barring signal range, the iPhone is constantly connected. The DS needs wifi to get online. (Yes, iTouch, blah blah...) Since it's so easy to get AppStore products, the perceived investment is lower.

All that aside, this might also just indicate your taste in gaming. I own all of the current and previous generation of consoles, and more than a smattering of handheld devices, including a DSLite, and an iPod Touch. And I can say in all truthfulness that when it comes to hours spent gaming per console, I've spent more time gaming on my DSLite than I have on all the other systems.

I'd be able to say all the other systems COMBINED, but the number is skewed... ...because I'm on my second DSLite having worn out the controls on the first one. (I've got the parts and it's scheduled for a refurb as soon as I get around to grabbing my soldering iron.) IMHO, that says more about me and my gaming habits than it does about the viability of any of the particular platforms. I like to squeeze gaming into times between other tasks. I'll sneak a few minutes in while I'm on the can, while waiting for meetings to start, while in line, or when traffic grinds to a halt on the commute. I'm not however a casual gamer; I like a little more meat to my games.

The DS offers just the right combo of portable convenience and depth to its gaming that it wins my attention. Most of the iPhone games I've tried have been just a little to lite for my tastes.

Now all that said, if Nintendo has proven anything with it's Wii, it's that there's quite an audience of people who like to play lighter, more casual fare. Apple is doing a great job of capturing large swaths of that market. IMHO, these are also folks who are just as likely to move right on to the next neat game. (That's merely my observation, not an indictment or accusation.) And if so, so what?

Apple has been paid. The developer has been paid. The user received the application. By my standards, this is the best possible conclusion!

All the reports I've been reading on this topic seem to judge this to be a bad thing; I'm not sure it's bad at all, merely a reflection of the tastes of the iPhone community. The parent poster likes his games on PS2, with all the advantages (complexity, control, graphics) that it confers. I prefer a little more meat than the iPhone, but place portability at a premium. iPhone users obviously like things fresh and new.

Isn't it nice that this market is big enough to fill all our needs?

"I've seen the forgeries I've sent out." -- John F. Haugh II (jfh@rpp386.Dallas.TX.US), about forging net news articles

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