dinsdag 1 maart 2011

How Microsoft made Kinect work around the globe

Kinect unit (Credit: Josh Lowensohn/CNET)
SAN FRANCISCO--The wave is one of the most universal ways of saying hello or drawing attention, but how do you create an entire language of gestures that people know, make sure they work with your specialized camera system, then make it work around the world?
Microsoft faced that problem while developing the Kinect, which the company discussed today during a session here at this year's Game Developers Conference, which kicks off in earnest on Wednesday.
On hand was Kate Edwards, who is a geocultural content strategist for Englobe, a company that specializes in geopolitical and cartographic consultation. Edwards briefly outlined how Microsoft had been challenged with trying to make sure Kinect games were not going to offend other cultures where those games might end up.
Edwards said that while there were many ways to express the same thing, there were specific nuances for each culture that could get game makers in hot water if they accidentally crossed a line. To make sure that didn't happen, the company analyzed image captures of game movements that users were supposed to emulate, and spotted such problematic items based on where the game would be shipping.
Once identified, the company would find a suitable replacement for such gestures, as had to be done for the launch title Dance Central, which has users stringing together lines of dance moves. Edwards said one of the easiest changes to make was with the hands, whereas the more difficult ones had to do with full body movements, which often played into a particular dance, or flow of the dance movements.
Dance Central
Dance Central was one of the titles where Microsoft replaced certain gestures with ones more suitable for a particular culture.
(Credit: Microsoft)
Also discussed during the session was localizing games for various languages, which was no small undertaking. As Microsoft international program manager Yumiko Murphy explained during the same session, the company had to come up with alternate words for each voice command, then code them into the game so that users would not have to go out of their way to learn new commands. This proved to be considerably extensive with Kinectimals, a game that has users training virtual jungle cats with hand gestures and their voice.
To train the system for that game, Microsoft gathered 10 boys and 10 girls ages 6 to 12, as well as five men and five women from ages 18 to 50 to speak each command two to three times. After that, Microsoft would go through the lexicon of commands to make sure no two commands were too similar, then set four males and four females to run through them to make sure they could be identified by the system. Keep in mind this would be repeated in each of the various localized markets where the title was being launched.
Two other problems in localizing games during the run up to Kinect's release were secrecy and space. Microsoft localization program manager Lief Thompson described that time as a dramatic challenge for the company. Microsoft had originally set out to let third parties do testing of the platform for their game localization, but ran into problems trying to make sure they could keep the development units in a secured location that was out of public view. Since Kinect wasn't out, Microsoft needed to make sure that facilities where it was being tested were not just under lock and key, but under 24-7 watch by security personnel, and safe from photography.
Microsoft also ran into trouble with space. Kinect just took up too much play space at 40 to 50 square feet. The solution for both issues was to keep the test units on Microsoft's campuses both in Redmond, Wash., and in the company's offices in Dublin and Tokyo. Tokyo in particular had to create three new test bays so that it could localize five of the launch titles to Japanese, Korean, and traditional Chinese.
"We were running short on time, and well into June of last year we were digging into every nook and cranny Microsoft had," Thompson said.

dinsdag 22 februari 2011

Rumor: 3 Apple iPhone 5 prototypes include 1 with slide-out keyboard Read more: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-20031897-233.html#ixzz1EhXZfDPu

(Credit: Apple)
One Taiwanese Web site is jumping into the iPhone 5 rumor fray with the claim that Apple is testing an iPhone prototype that has a slide-out keyboard.
The lack of a physical keyboard is one of the last remaining gripes many have about Apple's revolutionary iPhone. Many longtime BlackBerry users refuse to switch to the iPhone due to their apparent love of tiny keyboards. But all this could be moot should this rumor pan out.
AppleInsider has the scoop from tw.apple.pro after an extremely thin translation. Using Google Translate myself, I can't discern much more than AI did, but it appears as though Apple.pro is suggesting that one iPhone 5 model may have a concealed keyboard that would slide out when needed.
The site also suggests that the iPhone 5 will retain most of the design of the current iPhone 4, but have upgraded insides like a faster processor and an improved camera.
Apple.pro also echoed rumors that the iPad 2 will be thinner and will include a front-facing camera.
According to AppleInsider, Apple.pro seems to have a fairly good track record concerning Apple's parts manufacturers. The site published articles about the white iPhone 4's front panel, the iPhone 4 battery, the redesigned 2008 MacBook, and the new iPod Nano's touch screen this past summer.
Of course, only time will tell what Apple has up its sleeves for the iPhone 5 and beyond. Would you buy an iPhone with a slide-out keyboard? What about the rumored iPhone Nano? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

maandag 21 februari 2011

Wolf Link and Midna Speed Painting

Me painting Wolf Link and Midna
Enjoy!!! :D


Downloadable at: http://kevinbrok.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=24#/d1o2uey

zaterdag 19 februari 2011

Fails of the Weak

Here I will be posting the Fails of the weak every friday.
Enjoy!!! :D

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Fails of the Weak 2

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Fails of the Weak 23

vrijdag 18 februari 2011

Chris Speed Painting

Me painting Chris from Family Guy.
Enjoy!!! :D

Downloadable at: http://kevinbrok.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=24#/d1plu4o

The National Enquirer gives Steve Jobs 6 weeks to live

Apple's ailing CEO Steve Jobs has been give a dire diagnosis — six weeks to live — based on photographs taken by the National Enquirer.
The tech world runs on rumors. But this is one we’d rather not have to report: Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs, who is on indefinite medical leave from his company due to undisclosed health complications, has a mere six weeks to live, according to the National Enquirer.
That’s right, the National Enquirer — not exactly the most reputable publication in the world. So, needless to say, this particular “revelation” should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Here’s what we know for sure: Photographs of Jobs looking particularly thin while walking into the Stanford Cancer Center in Palo Alto, California, appear in the notorious grocery store tabloid’s most recent issue. The authenticity of the photos has been further supported by celebrity news site RadarOnline, which says it has received confirmation that Jobs is receiving treatment for cancer at Stanford. The pictures of Jobs were reportedly taken on Tuesday, February 8, at the Stanford Cancer Center, a day after the chief executive had put in a full day’s work at Apple.
The photos represent the first concrete evidence that Jobs is in fact suffering from cancer, the details of which Jobs has refused to release.
The morbid “six weeks to live” estimate was delivered to the Enquirer by Dr. Gabe Mirkin and Dr. Samuel Jacobson — neither of whom have seen Jobs in person. They make their claims based entirely on what they saw in the photos.
“Judging from the photos, he is close to terminal,” says Dr. Jacobson, a critical care physician. “I would say he has six weeks. He is emaciated and looks to have lost a lot of muscle mass, which spells a poor prognosis.”
Jobs, who turns 56 on February 24, handed over day-to-day responsibilities to Apple’s chief operating officer, Tim Cook, last month. Upon announcement of his leave, Jobs wrote:
“At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.
“I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.”
Later reports show that Jobs, who also underwent a liver transplant in 2009, has maintained a high level of oversight at Apple, and continues to take part in the tech giant’s “major strategic decisions,” according to an Apple spokeswoman.
The only possible reason to believe this story is because the National Enquirer was right at least one time, when it reported that former presidential candidate John Edwards was having an affair. He indeed was.
This story, on the other hand, lacks any real authority. That doesn’t mean it’s not true, of course. But it does mean we can still hope, for the sake of Steve Jobs and his family — and potentially the future of Apple Inc. — that they’ve got it wrong once again. Fingers crossed.

donderdag 17 februari 2011

Coming soon: Wave your hand to control your phone

BARCELONA, Spain--Here's another reason besides video chat that you might want a front-facing camera on your next mobile phone: controlling it by waving your arm or moving your hand.
This type of touchless gesture interface is coming to mobile phones from top-tier handset makers this year, promised Ofer Sadka, chief technology officer of a start-up called Extreme Reality based in Herzeliya, Israel, that's commercializing the technology.
In the Texas Instruments booth at the Mobile World Congress show here, he demonstrated two variations of the gesticulation-sensitive interface being used to flip through a photo gallery. One used close-range hand gestures, including rotating a fist to zoom in and out. The other was from several feet away--it's got an 8-meter range--and used more sweeping arm motions, an experience more akin to Microsoft's Kinect game controller.
The touchless interface could be useful for controlling devices in a car, Sadka said, where a driver might for example not want to have to focus specifically on hitting the right button.
Sadka demonstrated the technology on an Android-powered, bulky TI hardware development system, but said it'll work on conventional phones, too.

Extreme Reality's touchless gesture interface software runs on a bulky Texas Instruments system for developing mobile phones, but it'll arrive on real-world models later this year.
Extreme Reality's touchless gesture interface software runs on a bulky TI system for developing mobile phones, but it'll arrive on real-world models later this year. The start-up demonstrated the technology at Mobile World Congress.
(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)
Read more: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13970_7-20032732-78.html#ixzz1EDpB7bA0