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

Fails of the Weak 1

Fails of the Weak 2

Fails of the Weak 3

 Fails of the Weak 4

 Fails of the Weak 5

  Fails of the Weak 6

 Fails of the Weak 7

Fails of the Weak 8

 Fails of the Weak 9

Fails of the Weak 10

 Fails of the Weak 11

Fails of the Weak 12

Fails of the Weak 13

Fails of the Weak 14

Fails of the Weak 15

Fails of the Weak 16

Fails of the Weak 17

Fails of the Weak 18

Fails of the Weak 19

Fails of the Weak 20

Fails of the Weak 21

Fails of the Weak 22

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 

Sony banning PlayStation 3 hackers for life

Sony came down hard on PlayStation 3 hackers today, saying they will be permanently banned from the company's online services.
"Violation of the system software license agreement for the PlayStation 3 System invalidates the consumer guarantee for that system," reads a notice posted to Sony's official PlayStation blog. "In addition, copying or playing pirated software is a violation of international copyright laws. Consumers using circumvention devices or running unauthorized or pirated software will have access to the PlayStation Network and access to Qriocity services through PlayStation 3 system terminated permanently."
(Credit: Sony)
To avoid the lifetime shutout, Sony said, consumers must "immediately cease use and remove all circumvention devices and delete all unauthorized or pirated software from their PlayStation 3 systems."
In the post, Social Media Manager Jeff Rubenstein said the policy represents an initial response to questions from PlayStation.Blog readers about how Sony plans to deal with breaches of its policy.
The company did not say when the ban will begin, but the blog PS3 News is reporting that many users of its PS3 forums have already confirmed receiving e-mail notices from Sony followed by their PlayStation 3 consoles being banned.
According to one account, "If you get error 0x8002A227, Sony banned your PS3 from the PSN."
This is just the latest step by Sony to thwart PlayStation 3 jailbreaks.
In the most well-publicized battle, the company last month requested a restraining order against famed iPhone jailbreaker George Hotz, also known as Geohot, for coming up with a jailbreak that lets people run unauthorized software on the PS3.
Sony alleged that the jailbreak, created with the assistance of the hacking group fail0verflow, violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and asked a court to stop Hotz from making any material related to his hack available on the Web. Hotz countered Sony's claim, saying his solution was a jailbreak for a closed system, just like any jailbreak for mobile phones, which are explicitly allowed by the DMCA.
A U.S. District Court granted a temporary restraining order, and Hotz has since removed all mentions of the jailbreak from his site, but Sony mistakenly retweeted the jailbreak code.
That case is ongoing.
Sony also took legal action last year to halt the sales in some places of PS Jailbreak, a USB dongle that allows PlayStation 3 owners to dump borrowed games onto the system's hard drive.
In addition, Sony has tightened security with each successive firmware update.
In its statement today, the company said that "by identifying PlayStation 3 systems that breach our guidelines and terminating their ability to connect to PlayStation Network, we are protecting our business and preserving the honest gameplay experiences that you expect and deserve."
A majority of commenters to the blog seem pleased by Sony's latest move.
"Thanks for acknowledging this officially. Good to know Sony is not just hoping that this goes away," wrote one poster. Wrote another: "Thank You Sony! Ban these punks!"
But a few voices of dissent popped up on the forums as well.
"If Sony actually took the time to know what us (the consumers) wanted, maybe they would see less piracy," one person wrote. "I mean the whole reason hackers want to hack the PSP Go is to play games that are still only available in UMD only."
Wrote another: "While I understand the security and legal issues relevant to piracy and hacking, if I felt companies' motivation was pure, I [might] be OK with this stern stance. But, I think it is motivated more by greed and control than anything else. They want to keep all the $$$ for themselves."

woensdag 16 februari 2011

Police chief: Hack your kids' Facebook passwords

Where are your kids tonight? Virtually speaking.
You know they're up in their rooms. But they have laptops. And they've been pouting more than usual lately. So who are they talking to? What are they saying?
The police chief of Mahwah, N.J., James Batelli, believes that you shouldn't be sitting there and wondering. He believes parents should be using any methods they can to spy on their kids.
According to NBC New York, Batelli, who is the father of a teenage daughter, says a parent's biggest mistake can be naivete.
"If you sugar-coat it, parents just don't get it. Read the paper any day of the week and you'll see an abduction [or] a sexual assault that's the result of an Internet interaction or a Facebook comment," he said.

Will Apple find publishing execs 'technologically innocent'?

Newspaper and magazine publishers are mulling over the price that Apple requires to be part of The iPad and App Store.
(Credit: James Martin)
While there's no shortage of people criticizing Apple's new App Store subscription service, some executives at major media companies are still unsure what to think.
Some said Apple's plan to allow app publishers to sell subscriptions for the first time through the iTunes App Store was a step in the right direction. Others saw many of Apple's new requirements for app sales, which include a guarantee that publishers offer their best subscription price at the App Store, as the newest way for the company to grab more control of online media.
One possible reason for why reaction was so mixed was that Apple didn't prepare the media world for what it intended to offer. Apple was expected to roll out a subscription service, sure, but the company doesn't appear to have sought any early feedback from some of the nation's top media companies. An executive at a top newspaper said leaders there were huddling in the afternoon to try to understand the significance of Apple's announcement. A manager at a media conglomerate said most companies would have tested reaction by running the plan past top publishers before going public. Not Apple.

In a Rolling Stones interview, Steve Jobs called music industry leaders 'technologically innocent.' How will he find magazine and newspaper execs?
(Credit: Rolling Stone)
The magazine and newspaper sectors are among the most affected by today's announcement. Since the iPad went on sale last spring, Apple has mostly limited their app sales to individual issues. But they aren't the only industries that must figure out whether the iPad and the App Store are now a viable option.
Companies such as Netflix, the Web's top movie-rental service, and Spotify, a popular European streaming music trying to make the jump to the United States, could be forced to start paying Apple 30 percent of the subscription fees they see from the App store, although that sounds difficult to believe in Netflix's case. Netflix's distribution network now includes more than 200 devices and the company boasts more than 20 million paying subscribers.
The iPad and the tablet market, on the other hand, are still early in their development and soon a glut of iPad competitors will debut. Netflix could conceivably swat Apple's demands away by announcing that anyone signing up for Netflix via the App Store would be forced to pay 30 percent more--thanks to Apple.
So, which company needs the other more? Spokesmen for Netflix and Spotify didn't respond to interview requests.
The deal
Here's a couple of questions: if Apple execs didn't run the new requirements past big media companies, can Apple be sure how they will respond? What if Apple succeeds only in pushing them into the arms of Amazon or another competitor?
At first glance, Apple appears to have yielded ground to magazine and newspaper companies. The Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple said publishers now have the ability to sell subscriptions through the App Store, which they didn't have before. Where Apple once took 30 percent from every app sale, the company now says publishers can sell their iTunes apps on their own sites or elsewhere and Apple won't expect a cent.
But if Apple became more flexible in some areas, it didn't budge nearly enough on other important issues, such as the sharing of customer information, say observers. In prior talks, Apple refused to hand over customer data, such as names and e-mail addresses, to publishers. Now the company says it will share info with publishers only if a subscriber permits it. That is unlikely to go far enough to appease some publishing companies, experts said.
In other ways, Apple became even more restrictive. The company will no longer allow apps to include links to other app-selling sites and established a most-favored nation stipulation. Publishers that sell their iTunes apps from their own sites or third-party Web stores must offer the same price, or less, at iTunes.
Web pundits howled over this one. Some suggested Apple is trying to fix prices, and even The Wall Street Journal speculated that the company could be inviting antitrust scrutiny.
Tablet kings
Some newspaper publishers suspect Apple is trying to lock them into the App Store and is "setting itself up as a toll taker," according to Joshua Benton, director of Harvard's Nieman Journalism Lab who formerly worked for the Dallas Morning News.
"It's disappointing to learn that in exchange for the convenience of a 'Buy' button in their iPad app," Benton wrote, "[publishers will] have to give up 30 percent of the revenue."
Benton also noted that Apple's offer to allow newspapers and magazines to keep the revenue generated from outside sales won't mean much. Newspapers already enjoy a relationship with older audiences so converting them isn't a necessity. The iPad is supposed to help draw younger audiences, and they are likely to discover a new digital publication, not from picking up a newspaper ad but from finding it on the iTunes store.
When they do, the newspapers must hand over 30 percent to Apple.
No doubt Apple and the iPad are the kings of the tablet market, but the company is also taking a big risk. Magazine and newspaper publishers won't like much of what Apple proposes, but it goes further than that. There's plenty of distrust of Apple in many media circles.
Nobody talks about Apple making a foray into a new area without bringing up the music industry. After Apple all but took ownership of the music sector's digital distribution, the company began dictating terms on pricing, promotion and practically anything else that mattered. The top record companies have been looking for an iTunes challenger to loosen Apple's grip for 10 years.
Back when iTunes first launched, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was dealing with music industry executives who didn't have a lot of tech savvy. He once called them "technologically innocent."
The question now is, as magazine and newspaper publishers try to navigate the new tablet world that Apple helped to forge, are they just as "innocent."

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-20032143-261.html#ixzz1E7WKKVsu

dinsdag 15 februari 2011

Skull Beast Speed Painting

A new drawing.

This time its a skull beast. (Like the title says :P)
Enjoy!!! :D

Downloadable at : http://kevinbrok.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d22s4of

maandag 14 februari 2011

Skull Kid Speed painting

A speed painting video of Skull Kid from The legend Of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Enjoy!! :D

Downloadable at: http://kevinbrok.deviantart.com/art/Skull-Kid-114636741