The story of Old Yeller is about a dog who wins the heart of teenager Travis Coates tasked with helping manage the family farm while his father is away on a cattle drive. But by the time his father returns, Yeller becomes infected with rabies while fending off a rabid wolf. Travis is left with little recourse but to shoot the dog.
Now imagine the above summary in video form lasting for about 20 minutes. Would you pay $10 to watch it? HarperCollins thinks so, and has kicked off the concept by launching a video edition of Jeff Jarvis' "What Would Google Do?" that it's now selling through Amazon's digital-download store for $9.99.
"We're looking to create new revenue streams," said Brian Murray, chief executive of HarperCollins. "There is a tremendous amount of search and discovery of video on the Web. Some consumers won't spend the money or invest hours in reading a book, but they will watch a 23-minute video."
Depending on the interest the video book concept generates, HarperCollins said it could release up to six more before the end of the year, all of which would be produced in-house. Twenty-five percent of the net revenue would go towards the author.
Hit the jump and tell us what you think about the future of video books, but first a protip: HarperCollins has made available the entire text of "What Would Google Do?" for free right here. We'd summarize it for you, but then we'd have to charge you.
Big blue is seeing green, and it wants its business partners to see the same color. To that end, IBM has launched its "Ready for Energy & Environment" validation program for business partners, which currently sits at 100,000 strong. But out of those, only a very small number will qualify.
"We've set a fairly high bar," said IBM's ISVs and developer relations VP Chris Wong. "Only 30 or so partners will make it through the first year."
IBM says that in order for a business partner to pass validation and earn an endorsing mark, its products and services must first meet "stringent criteria" geared towards reducing energy, water, and paper materials. IBM didn't say what those criteria are, saying only that they were "established by the IBM Energy & Environment Review Board" and "are based on IBM's long history of environmentally responsible practices in its own operations."
Business partners who meet IBM's eco-friendly requirements will be allowed to market their product or service as "Ready for IBM Energy & Environment," as well as participate in various IBM marketing campaigns.
Multiverse might be on the verge of revolutionizing web-based gaming, or so it claims. Using its technology platform, Multiverse says it's possible for developers to create 2D, browser-based versions of a full-scale downloadable 3D game, and then allow players to interact between them.
"Now, you can have proven genres of videogames, really popular games, like shooters, real-time strategy, sports, and things that exist on consoles or specially installed games, and those types of games can live in your web browser without a download," said Corey Bridges, Mulitverse co-founder.
To showcase the technology, Multiverse released a simple Flash game called Battle that runs on Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, and Kongregate. According to Bridges, Battle is one of the first-ever multiplayer, real-time, action or combat-based Flash games. And unlike most multiplayer Flash games, Battle isn't turn-based.
But the real value to developers in having a 2D to 3D cross-over capability might come from being able to offer free online trials where potential game buyers can jump in and play with other people without requiring a download.
Whether or not Multiverse's platform catches on, only time will tell. But according to Bridges, we may not have to wait long. He says a small handful of developers have begun taking their in-development 3D worlds and "are making a window into those worlds that can be done in Flash."
Well, kinda. GameStop has reopened its palace doors to Dawn of War II and – by virtue of its inclusion with the game -- would-be assassin Steam, but THQ’s Saints Row II and 2K’s NBA 2K9 remain conspicuously absent.
Upon its removal from GameStop’s pre-order list, Dawn of War II was thought to be the opening volley in a scuff between storefronts – retail vs. online, to be specific. GameStop employees, however, insisted that the retail giant merely exhausted its pre-order supply for a short period of time.
Certainly, GameStop’s passive refusal to slow its waterfalls of boiling oil for Saints Row II and NBA 2K9 seems a little odd, but re-stocking Dawn of War II – PC gaming’s first heavy-hitter of 2009 – pretty much puts the kibosh on any sort of cold war between GameStop and Steam.
Although Microsoft is concerned about the likelihood of EU requiring it to bundle other browsers with Windows, Firefox architect Mike Connor isn’t exulting. He, personally, despises the idea of other browsers, including Mozilla Firefox, being packaged with Windows. Connor told PC Pro in an interview,” The choice [when installing Windows] would be weird. There's no good UI [user interface] for that.” Connor’s views on this particular issue are his alone and should not be construed as Mozilla’s official line.
He then proceeded to take Opera to task for having complained to the EU about Microsoft’s bundling of IE with Windows. Connor thinks that the quality of the product is paramount and bundling doesn’t necessarily lead to market share. He labeled Opera – based on other people’s feedback – a “geeky browser” that is difficult to use.
Legally besieged Mac clone maker Psystar has registered its first legal victory against Apple. U.S District Court Judge William Alsup has given the permission necessary for Psystar to continue its countersuit. The judge lent his assent to those revisions to the countersuit that had been suggested by Psystar after its antitrust charges against Apple were dismissed in November 2008.
Now Apple will have to defend itself against charges pertaining to copyright misuse. “Moreover, if established, misuse would bar enforcement (for the period of misuse) not only as to defendants who are actually party to the challenged license but also as to potential defendants not themselves injured by the misuse who may have similar interests,” Alsup said on Friday. The court’s latest fiat has rekindled Psystar’s hopes of surviving its legal ordeal upon which its actual survival hinges.
This summer the world’s leading thinkers in exponentially growing technologies will gather at NASA Ames Research Center in the heart of Silicon Valley for ten weeks of hardcore discussions about how to change the future, and you’re more than welcome to join in.
The gathering, also known as Singularity University (a new academic institution co-founded by Ray Kurzwell, Peter Diamandis and Yahoo’s Salim Ismial) is allowing applications from anyone that wishes to join in on the discussions. But make sure that you’ve done your homework, among the studies that will be available are biotechnology, bio informatics, future studies and forecasting, nanotechnology, AI, robotics, cognitive computing and finance and entrepreneurship.
Kurzwell, Diamandis and Ismail are hoping that students will attend from all around the world, and that the program will result in the founding of new companies, the evolution of scientific and technological thinking, and even the solidification of professional and personal networks among the elite students and faculty.
EVGA has to be feeling awfully confident in its videocards. Not only does EVGA allow its registered users to overclock its GPUs without invalidating the lifetime warranty, but its giving owners the tools to do so.
EVGA's Precision overclocking utility already makes it stupid simple to increase the core, memory, and shader clockspeed on its videocards, and now the company has made available its GPU Voltage Tuner utility to registered owners. With it, GTX 295, 280, or 260 graphics card owners can set custom voltage levels, potentially paving the way for greater overclocking headroom. Of course, increasing voltages also increases the risk of killing components, and so far EVGA doesn't allow sliding the tuner into the red zone, a feature which may be unlocked in a future version, EVGA states in its FAQ.
A prerequisite for using the utility is installing GeForce 181.22 drivers or later. EVGA notes that "it is possible to damage your hardware while adjusting your GPU Voltages - use at your own risk." We'd have to agree.
Microsoft’s Windows Vista Ultimate was supposed to be a fun-filled version packed full of extras, but as anyone with the OS knows, this is a promise that Microsoft didn’t exactly make good on. So, on that note, Microsoft has decided to announce that Windows 7 Ultimate will feature absolutely no extras whatsoever.
“Our new approach to planning and building Windows doesn't have the capacity to continue to deliver features outside the regular release cycle. While our core development team is focused on building the next release, our sustained engineering team is focused on updates to existing features. As a result we don't plan to create Ultimate Extras,” Microsoft stated in a recent bit of Windows 7 SKU news.
Windows 7 Ultimate won’t be available on a retail level, but instead will be offered during promotional periods. It has been speculated that it will be $80 cheaper than Vista’s Ultimate, making it $320.
The Gyration Air Music Remote is absolutely awesome when it comes to controlling the cursor in a home-theater PC. But this device doesn’t deliver on its bigger promise to be a high-end universal remote control.
Like all Gyration remotes, this one uses a gyroscope to determine its own position in three-dimensional space. With its position established, the remote translates those coordinates to move a mouse cursor on the two-dimensional plane of a computer screen. Hold the remote in front of you, push the primary button, move your wrist up, and the cursor moves up. Point the remote to the left and the cursor moves the to the left -- and so on. Buttons to the right and left of the primary button perform the same functions as the left and right buttons of a conventional mouse.