Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Lumia 900 Will Cost New AT&T Customers Zero Dollars [Nokia]

And you thought Nokia's new Windows Phone was dirt cheap at $99 to begin with. More »



7 Burning Questions About Game of Thrones' Second Season



Google Voice Search learns Latin American Spanish, Indonesian, and Malaysian

google voice search
Google Voice Search has just introduced localizations for Latin America, Indonesia and Malaysia, enabling native language search for hundreds of millions of users.

Google's official blog post offers some interesting insights into the process of collecting and analyzing the speech data needed to expand support. Thousands of hours were spent gathering voice samples and choosing key regional accents to analyze, and International Program Manager Linne Ha is clearly very appreciative of the Google users who helped the company complete the expansion. Without an enthusiastic base of users to lend a hand, Google Voice Search's polyglot powers would have been nearly impossible to deliver.

Google Voice Search learns Latin American Spanish, Indonesian, and Malaysian originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 31 Mar 2011 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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A Shorter Primer On Twitter As The Powerful Social Newspaper And Tv Resource

Says Marcome with regards to the power of Tweets: I really up and running using Twitter during the past year, and it has changed gaming. Marketers who generate tremendous sum of cash via Twitter carry out exist. Tweets should you have to be than an almost endless string of marketing Trade Unions in the Age of Social Media pitches, ads, and links. With Gravity, you can handle multiple Twitter data, save links from tweets with your delicious account, post pictures to some of the Twitter-friendly photo writing site like TwitPic of YFrog it obviously supports the rest of the Twitter functions prefer retweets, direct messages, favorites, etc.

My company name is Bill Simmons as well as I've created the final word solution to online marketing and pulling potential customers and prospects via Twitter, but more regarding that later. E also free to find the people that you desire to interact with therefore you? There exist different ways that companies not to mention Twitter users happen to be actively using for making extra income at Twitter. While it might be worth it for many, many marketers and companies simply don't enjoy the time to undertake it.

But the idea being that it is usually best to need direct control in excess of your twitter profile, especially if you have it for internet business, so that you are aware of 'real time' what's happening on a account. "Twitter is instant messaging distributed around the public, " stated dialogue show host not to mention author Hugh Hewitt. Initially revolving across the question What are you currently doing? Once you've accomplished that, feel free to incorporate local followers. This will really help significantly to give yuor web blog a higher.rate.

Twitter may be a social networking webpage, or microblog, that allows someone to update your buddies to what your are performing at that instant. Before we cover basic fundamentals on How That will Tweet and use Twitter to advantage both socially together with professionally, we will initial answer the query: What Is Bebo? Tweetie - It app belongs to the most popular Twittollower client for iPhone which includes a very impressive USER INTERFACE. This tool is really helpful but only find out how to utilize it properly. You can at the same time monitor certain statistics to help you in your own marketing efforts. Gathering clients through Twitter will not be as difficult when you think.

With increased traffic for a business site, you can be sure more sales. This can manifest as a powerful way for a company to use your brand on the internet. With Twitter, you can post hyperlinks to your site through sales messages submitted by you which may attract users for a web site and produce a lot more profits for the entity in question. The American Red-colored Cross started using Twitter to switch minute-to-minute information related to local disasters together with statistics and details.

I think they might feel like telling a friend about your internet business, and then they can be following people on Twitter too. Each letter, number, punctuation point in addition to space counts being character. You can also connect to them twenty fours several hours everyday. Not good to adhere to many people for those who have very few people today following you. Once you get someone who you're feeling is interesting you can travel to their page and in your upper right you will see the "Follow" link. They provided precisely the information I needed and displayed the electricity of contacting customers.

Flurry's analytics: Apple's App Store revenue still leading, but Amazon Appstore close behind

Not like we haven't seen this dog-and-pony show before, but Flurry's latest round of analytics -- which measured revenue of 11 million daily active users from mid-January through the end of February 2012 -- shows Amazon's Appstore pulling in a shocking amount of revenue given the short life that it has lived. Apple's strength in sales has been well documented, but the latest report shows that for every $1 generated in the iTunes App Store, $0.89 is being spent in the Amazon Appstore. Looking more broadly, the numbers show that just $0.23 are generated in the Google Play halls for every $1 spent in the App Store, but that's hardly a new phenomenon; the ease of sideloading (amongst other factors) has raised complaints from Android developers for years now. Flurry's conclusion is that Google's core strength simply isn't in running a store -- something it's about to do once more with Android slates -- while both Apple and Amazon excel in doing just that. Curiously, Windows Phone and BlackBerry were left off of this report, but we're hoping to see those cats thrown in the next 'go round. After all, RIM sure seems certain that its developers are making out just fine.

Flurry's analytics: Apple's App Store revenue still leading, but Amazon Appstore close behind originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 31 Mar 2012 11:26:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Digital Distribution: Exchanging Control For Convenience

Digital distribution can be a good thing, eliminating shipping, packaging, printing, storage, etc. and allowing instantaneous order fulfillment. Unfortunately, it has its downside, especially when digital products are tied to "walled gardens." The possibility always exists that the product you purchased, for all intents and purposes, never really belongs to you. We've seen it previously with Amazon's decision to suddenly remove purchased e-books from customers' e-readers.

Stuart Campbell at Wings over Sealand has another example of this unfortunate byproduct of digital distribution: the fact that you don't own what you've purchased. This means that at any time, for nearly any reason, the product you paid for can be rendered completely worthless.

In the case of iTunes, customers are not entitled to refunds on purchases, with the product in question being treated much in the same fashion as opened software, DVDs, etc. in brick-and-mortar stores. Once you've opened (installed) the product, it's yours forever, no matter how terrible it is.
"According to the iTunes Store Terms of Sale, all purchases made on the iTunes Store are ineligible for refund. This policy matches Apple's refund policies and provides protection for copyrighted materials."
In Campbell's case, the product in question isn't actually a bad piece of software, unlike the many clones and scamware inhabiting app markets. By his own account, he purchased and enjoyed the game (Touch Racing Nitro). After he purchased it, the developer (Bravo) went through a series of price adjustments, trying to find a sweet spot, ranging from £1.19 - £4.99. When this failed to make the impact on sales, Bravo offered a few free trial periods before marking it all the way down to 69p, which moved it back into the top 10 for a short time.

It's at this point that things get ugly.
Last October the game went free again, and stayed that way for four months. Then the sting came along. About a week ago (at time of writing), the game received an "update", which came with just four words of description - "Now Touch Racing Free!" As the game was already free, users could have been forgiven for thinking this wasn't much of a change. But in fact, the app thousands of them had paid up to £5 for had effectively just been stolen.

Two of the game's three racing modes were now locked away behind IAP paywalls, and the entire game was disfigured with ruinous in-game advertising, which required yet another payment to remove.
Campbell's paid-for software suddenly became indistinguishable from the free version, despite his having anted up for the game months ago. He fired off an email to Bravo, asking the developers to explain their reasoning for removing previously paid for content and asking these same paying customers to pay up again in order to return the game to its previous state.

He received a reply a day later from Ana Hidalgo, Bravo's "Social Media Manager":

Thanks for contacting us.

I'm really sorry about that. I knew that this could happen. The team had no option but to do that.

We're not trying to make money from people who have already bought the game like you did. It is not an excuse, but only 4% of the 2MM downloads have been paid ones. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't provide with any methods to know when an user has paid or not for an app. We just want to monetize the game from that 96% who are enjoying the game for free. Our goal is to monetize them via advertisement. We understand that this is annoying for the players that have paid for it.

Yes, maybe we could have released a LITE version, but if we release a new free version, we couldn't monetize near 2 MM free downloads we already have. And why we have 96% free downloads? A very bad old decision.. We've begun a new phase at Bravo Games and we definitely need some revenues from those downloads.

At the moment all our efforts are focused in new projects. When we finish those projects, we'll evaluate the possibility of adding new content to previous games like Touch Racing Nitro.

I regret to hear that you never buy another of our apps."
For all the supposed "entitlement" game fans have attributed to them constantly, nothing quite matches the entitlement "radiating from Sra. Hildalgo." For starters, if a developer feels that making an app free was a "mistake," it only compounds its errors when it starts taking it out on paying customers, especially when those customers number in the thousands.
If 96% of those were free downloads, that means that a whopping 80,000 people who paid money for Touch Racing have just been screwed. If we assume an arbitrary but reasonable average price of £1.19 (the second-lowest App Store price tier at the time most of the sales were made, though the app has cost at least twice that much for most of its life), that's just short of £100,000 that Bravo have extracted from consumers for what is in effect a "Lite" demo version of the game.

Imagine if the rest of the world worked this way. Imagine you went to Tesco and bought three boxes of Corn Flakes on a "three-for-two" offer, only for a Tesco employee to turn up at your house one day a month later and confiscate not only the "free" box but also the second one that you'd actually paid for. There'd be riots, or at the very least a long court backlog of assault cases and battered workers. Yet apparently, for videogames it's the dynamic economic model of the future.
Campbell is, unfortunately, right. Digital distribution puts control of purchased products completely in the hands of the developers and the distribution service. There are some game developers who would love nothing more than to go to 100% straight digital distribution, not only for the previously mentioned savings, but to allow them to retain complete control of their products. A fully digital distribution disguises DRM as a facet of the service (constant online connection, some or most content inaccessible offline) and helps eliminate the used game market which seems to rank very slightly below straight-up piracy in their minds.

Whatever pluses there are for the consumer are greatly negated by these factors. Any dispute between the distributor and the developers puts purchased products in the firing line. Should a developer suddenly pull out of the walled garden, customers may find themselves without support or updates for their purchased products, or worse yet, find themselves without functioning products.

Campbell has adjusted his tactics accordingly:
WoSland is a pretty wily consumer, and currently has eight apps sitting in its iPhone's "update" queue which are never going to get those updates, because the "update" in question is in fact a downgrade, removing functionality and/or adding ads. We've deleted many others altogether for the same reason.
Of course, this is far from convenient. Once you run into this situation, you're left with the choice of allowing all updates (even those that downgrade your software) or tediously updating all of your apps one at a time after verifying that said update won't remove functionality. Hardly ideal.

As he points out, console owners aren't so lucky. Most updates are forced, giving you the "choice" of updating or not playing your purchased game. And it's not just games and apps. As referenced above, e-books readers have been victims of distributor meddling in the past. Users of "services" like Ultraviolet and the "drive your DVD to the retailer to rip it to the cloud" may find their copies bricked if these services are shut down or (more likely) get caught in the middle of a contractual dispute.

If it's all about "control" with gatekeepers and walled gardens, digital distribution is playing right into their hands, turning what should be an advantageous situation for everyone involved into little more than a mixed curse.


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Sony Music Unlimited

Sony Music Unlimited doesn't do anything special to distinguish itself from the Slackers and MOGs of the Internet, but its PlayStation support will satisfy music-loving gamers.



What Foxconn Changes Mean for Workers, the Industry and You



Survival Lab is a fun pixelated game where dying doesn't matter

Survival Lab
In most games, dying is a bad thing. You have to start all over again, or at least revert to the last save point and lose some progress. Not so in Survival Lab: in this pixelated gem you play as a lone individual pitted against ruthless weapons in a sealed chamber. You have to run, jump and duck, collecting little yellow things (I have no idea what they're called).

For each donut-like yellow thing you pick up, you gain a bit of experience. If you manage to collect several in a row without getting hit, this counts as a combo. You can see my mad combo skills in the screenshot, of course. Collecting combos is a good thing, because a ten-point combo gives you for more experience than just collecting ten dounts one by one (getting hit in-between).

Having experience is useful, because once you die, you get to a screen where you can upgrade your skills. You can learn to run faster, double-jump (and then double-jump higher), and duck. You can also gain more armour so that getting hit won't kill you so quickly.

What makes this simple game so addictive is that when you die, your experience doesn't reset. You just go back to the same level, or another level of your choosing, and keep accumulating more and more experience. Lots of fun, especially if you're into the whole retro-gaming thing.

Survival Lab is a fun pixelated game where dying doesn't matter originally appeared on Download Squad on Mon, 28 Feb 2011 16:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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SwitchEasy Colors case for iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 only $9.95 [Daily deal]

For today only the iMore iPhone accessory store has the SwitchEasy Colors case for iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 for only $9.95! That's a steep 34% off! Get them before they're gone!



Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City review

What do you get if you cross Resident Evil with a team-based shooter? This.



BenQ XL2420T

The BenQ XL2420T is a feature-rich 24-inch monitor designed for gamers, but it doesn't come cheap.



LG BP620

The LG BD620 is one of the best budget Blu-ray players we've seen this year, with tons of features and fast performance for just $150.