Long ago, I came to the conclusion that The Sims was designed for Someone Else. I don’t know who. Hottentots, perhaps.
I played through The Sims 3 with awe, respect…and profound boredom. It’s a brilliant piece of work, and if God is kind I’ll never have to play it again this side of Purgatory.
Meanwhile, I’ve been returning to Prototype. I like Prototype. I also liked it when it was called Spider-Man 2 and Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. If a game is worth playing once, it’s worth playing two more times with different character models.
Games are all about wish-fulfillment and power fantasies. Some people are content to wield their mighty power to get three gems in a row. Others would prefer to jump 10 stories in the air and punch a helicopter out of the sky. If you have the opportunity to do the latter, I have no idea why you’d choose to do the former, but people are strange.
Open-source software is a pretty familiar concept to most geeks. But what about an open-source car? The idea is more than just a theoretical mash-up of computing terms and the automotive world. Quite a few companies are working to bring the collaborative nature of open-source idea generation to the pavement, and some of their prototypes certainly blow the best of today's automarket right out of the water. At least, they're pretty stunning in the design department. Because that's the problem with a piece of hardware as complicated as an open-source car -- a concept is one thing, but execution seems to be a bit more difficult than creating a piece of software.
Pop the clutch and click the link to speed into the world of open-source vehicles!
How about an iTunes-style interface that shows web page or content thumbnails in the main pane with media libraries, browsing history, surflists, and statistics in the left pane? Or, how about tabs, applications, and work spaces in the left pane to take full advantage of today's widescreen displays? Either way, the once-sharp distinctions between a web browser interface and an operating system management interface like Windows Explorer have become very blurry. While the jury's still out on the Firefox of the future's interface, it looks as if the Ubiquity command-line interface will definitely make it into Firefox by version 3.6.
Are you ready for a new browser experience? Take a look at the prototypes, mockups, and demos, then join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.
With the netbook craze in full swing and Intel's Atom processor opening all kinds of doors for smaller, low power devices, you can expect to see some groovy gadgets make it to market. And after two years in development, maybe we'll soon see Lenovo's svelte-looking pocket-sized PC.
Currently in concept form, the "Pocket Yoga" is an extension of a folding notebook with a detachable keyboard, says Johnson Li, director of Lenovo's Beijing Innovation Center. And like its larger inspiration, the Pocket Yoga comes covered in leather, a fitting touch for a device shaped like a large wallet.
From a usability standpoint, a 360 hinge transforms the Pocket Yoga into a multifunction device. Open at a normal angle and you can use it as a laptop complete with full-function keyboard. Flip the cover all the way back and it suddenly becomes a tablet notebook.
Ensuring that geek stays chic, the leather-covered Pocket Yoga comes with a belt. And ensuring that chic stays geek, that belt turns into a mouse when removed. Pretty slick.
No word on projected price or availability, but we already want one.
If after seeing the PowerSquid you thought to yourself, "Self, what's next in powerstrip design?," then prepare to have that question answered. Meet the movable powerstrip.
Currently in prototype form, the Movable Powestrip purports to solve the problem of needing to rearrange furniture to fit the powerstrip rather than the other way around. Six bright blue-bordered sockets can be bent into a variety of orientations, from a straight line, to an L formation and every other Tetris combination you can think of to mesh with your environment.
And here we thought the only fun to be had with power sockets was by using a fork.
Is designer Jeff Carter on to something? Hit the jump and tell us what you think.
Asus has been showing off its cool and quirky Marine Cool concept motherboard at CeBIT, and it's like nothing you've ever seen before. We say 'cool' in a literal sense, as the board's underbelly comes equipped with a backplate the company says utilizes "micro-porous ceramic" technology. According to Asus, the backplate provides "aerospace-grade thermal dissipating," while also adding to the board's structural integrity. Combined with the metal heat-pipe module covering the chipset and PWM, Asus says "these revolutionary designs improve heat dissipation by up to 2 fold."
The prototype board also boasts an onboard UPS consisting of a built-in polymer battery in the gray portion of the backplate, providing backup power and preventing damage in the case of a blackout. But the quirkiness comes in the form of SO-DIMM memory slots typically found on notebooks. We suppose the space-saving slots might have made sense on paper, but that's probably where it should have stayed. However, we do dig the built-in Failover Memory, which Asus says guarantees the system will boot when using incompatible or faulty memory.
Thoughts on the Marine Cool motherboard? Hit the jump and sound off.
If you've ever been subjected to a babel of echoing voices during a teleconference, Microsoft Research is working on a solution. As demonstrated (link requires Microsoft Silverlight) at this week's TechFest, MR's audio spatialization project enables a PC with stereo speakers to spatially separate different members of a teleconference. Audio spatialization's been used for years in 3D gaming, but Microsoft Research has added a new twist: to make it work for teleconferencing, it's also added echo cancellation. As researcher Zhengyou Zhang puts it:
Audio spatialization uses speakers to create the illusion that call attendees have different locations spatially. This allows you to use the audio sense you already have, that you normally use in conversation, to isolate who you’re talking to, and to associate a location in space with a particular individual... In a conference where there are multiple voices coming out of multiple speakers, it becomes important to eliminate the echoes that might naturally occur.
Whether talking about pint-sized netbooks or full-blown desktop replacements, mobile computing continues to gain steam, spurring innovative concepts like Asus' new G90 prototype. A 4.7-inch LCD touchpad adorns the G90's chassis just below the keyboard, but it runs separately from the main system via Nvidia's Tegra APX.
The Tegra "system-on-a-chip" architecture combines an ARM11 core with support for HD video decoding, 3D acceleration, an image processor for webcams, and a display output. To ensure longevity, the separate PC within a PC taps into the same power sources as the notebook's main internal components. By doing so, Asus says end users can browse through their video library on the touchpad and load up a marathon of flicks to be played on the main display for up to 12 hours, and all without the help of the Atom processor, RAM, or any other main components.
Catch a video of the G90 prototype in action here, and as always, post your reactions below.
And so it has begun. CES is the time for companies to show off future products, and that's exactly what Asus is doing with its prototype keyboard PC the company is calling the Eee Keyboard.
A fully functional computer sits inside the QWERTY keyboard, and several ports run along the top edge, including two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, and audio in/out ports. The sub 2-pound keyboard also sports an integrated microphone and speakers, and comes equipped with WiFi capability and support for Ultra-wideband wireless HDMI.
The laundry list of features doesn't stop there. On the side of the keyboard, Asus has installed a mini touchscreen. SlashGear spent some hands on time with the prototype and says the main menu grants access to the calendar, photo gallery, media player, and an internet browser, in addition to other usability apps.
Not all prototypes shown at CES ever make it to market, but this is one we wouldn't mind seeing on retail shelves.
Configuring your next BMW isn't as easy as touching a table yet, but in the near future, it probably will be. BMW has released a video of its prototype BMW Product Navigator (aka BMW Konfigurator), which is powered by Microsoft Surface and designed by Vectorform, which created the interactive 2008 election map used by MSNBC.
As with the 2008 MSNBC project, Vectorform's BMW Product Navigator uses Microsoft Surface to manipulate video that is then shown on an HDTV. With the BMW Product Navigator, you place chips representing product options on the Microsoft Surface tabletop computer, and the changes you make affect the BMW shown on the video screen. And, just so you can make sure you're buying the Bimmer you want, Product Navigator can email you your custom configuration, print it, or copy it to a USB flash memory drive.
What do you think about the idea of gesturing your way to the car of your dreams? Is this the best way to use Microsoft Surface? For your chance to answer these and other burning questions, join us after the jump.