Facebook may seem like it's a worldwide phenomenon, but there's actually a huge chunk of the world left out as the website is blocked from use by China. Facebook founder recently met with the head of China's largest search engine Baidu for a tour and lunch to discuss the current state of the internet in China.
According to Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo, that the meeting with Baidu chief executive Robin Li "makes sense -- he is interested in the Chinese Internet, he's made that very plain. Obviously this is one of the big dark spots for Facebook because it is blocked here in China." Zuckerberg played off the trip as a cultural experience: "I'm trying to understand the language, the culture, the mindset -- it's just such an important part of the world." Obviously, since it's one of the few parts of the world not addicted to FarmVille.
There's gonna be a lot of cool new toys unveiled at CES, and the leaks have been coming for a while. NEC's got a fun looking device of their own; a dual-screen version of their Cloud Communicator Android tablet.
While the internet hounds have not uncovered a photo yet, this dual 7-inch LCD tablet will boast WiFi, 3G, and Bluetooth connectivity and both screens will be touch-friendly with an included stylus. The tablet will even support different programs on each LCD for fun with multitasking, which will be a huge boon for many users. The folks from TweakTown will be keeping our eyes open for this and much more when we invade CES 2011!
Most people feel comfortable using an Xbox 360 controller, but a keyboard and mouse for FPS is a superior, easier and much, much more precise way of playing. It allows micro-movement of your aiming (while also being much faster) compared to much slower, un-precise aiming.
XIM devices have been around for a while, bu the new XIM3 seems to fix the previous editions issues. XIM3 is housed in an LCD box with a touch-screen display which should make connection and config much easier (and better to look at!)
Telltale Games are releasing the first episode of Back to the Future: The Game for PC and Mac on Wednesday. The game picks up 6 months after the end of the original movie trilogy.
After these 6 months in the Back to the Future world, Doc Brown's lab is on the verge of being sold off because of his absence. Marty gets a surprise visit from the DeLorean where it brings him to the past, where he must help a teenage Emmett Brown to keep all of space and time from unraveling.
Futuremark have today released the first major update to 3DMark 11. The update introduces some critical stability improvements to 3DMark 11 and addresses some specific bugs that needed squashing.
One of the fixes with v1.01 included a problem with the SystemInfo component that prevents the Physics and Combined tests from running, crashes related to the absence of DirectX 11 API and .NET, and updated SystemInfo component, etc.
The guys and gals at Valve are a very festive bunch, with Steam having another Holiday sale and this one being a doozy. Steam are discounting over 1000 games and the Holiday sales run through til January 2nd.
Each day brings a new batch of sales - today's sales include Battlefield Bad Company 2 for $6.79 (which I just picked up for my newphew as an early-Christmas present, shoutout to Cozza!), that in itself is 66% off making it a huge bargain to go along with the newly released Vietnam pack for Bad Company 2.
Sharkoon has pulled the wraps off a new flash drive that is called the Flexi-Drive Extreme Duo. the new drive is blazing fast and has write speeds that are faster than the read speeds on many flash drives. The drive uses synchronized SLC NAND to hit the super fast speeds that it is capable of. The synchronized NAND memory management feature is enables the really fast speeds.
The drive is capable of maximum read and write speeds of 130MB/s. The device uses a single chip USB 3.0 controller and consumes 1.2V of power in use. The drive is offered in 16GB storage capacity. Sharkoon says that the NAND used in the flash drive is picked and tested by hand to ensure reliable operation and performance.
The drive measures in at 68 x 12 x 9mm and weighs 12.4g. It supports all major operating systems, uses the USB 3.0 interface, and is backwards compatible with older and slower interfaces as well. The drive will stand up to 100,000 writes per cell and will ship in Europe for 49.90 euros.
There are numerous studies that have looked at gaming and the incidence of violence and other issues when it comes to players of games with violence. The studies come down on different sides of the topic often with some showing no link between video games and how people act in the real world and others showing an alleged link between games and real world behavior. A doctoral student at the University of the Rockies did her dissertation on the relationship between demographic factors, social anxiety, proneness to boredom, grade point average and Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game playing.
The student found that college students that are prone to excessive playing of MMORPG titles often miss meals, classes, and lose sleep to play their favorite video game. The study found that males are more prone to excessive play, but the effects are the same for males and females. The study author is Sabrina Neu and she claims that 42% of those in the survey cited online gaming for interfering with work or academics.
Neu also found potential good benefits for online gaming. "Players cite social opportunities as a primary reason for play. Players can overcome shyness, actualize previously untapped talents, mentor other players, free themselves from physical disabilities, develop a sense of purpose and achievement and engage in altruistic, heroic and generous acts," she said.
Things aren't looking good for Google TV. At first, the new service sounded really good and I wanted to get it so I could watch Hulu and other content on my TV without needing a computer. It didn't take long for the networks, Hulu and other sites to device to block Google TV from streaming their shows making the Google TV products just about worthless.
The NYT reports that Google has approached partners that were set to unveil new Google TV boxes and sets at CES next month and asked them to not unveil the devices. NYT sources say that the partners were surprised by the request. Apparently, Google has asked for the delays to make refinements to the software.
The Google TV software was panned by reviewers for being hard to navigate among other things. One analyst thinks that the delay could be to allow for upgrades to be made to the Google TV software to address the concerns from reviewers. I hope the delay might be something to do with working out a deal with the content providers like Hulu and all major networks that are blocking Google TV users right now.
I think I can speak for everyone when I say restocking fees suck. We all know it doesn't really cost companies 10% or more of what the purchase price of a gadget is to restock them. Those fees are just a way for the company to help talk us into keeping the gadgets we really don't like and would return if we didn't have to pay a fee. Best Buy has announced it has finally stopped being such a douche and eliminated restocking fees.
The fees were killed off on December 18 and the store will even refund you that restocking fee if you made a return in the 30 days or so prior to the 18th and were charged 10% or 15%. The old restocking fees were 10% of the price on an iPhone and 15% on other electronic devices like notebooks, TVs, GPS devices and more. Those high fees could add up to some really big losses for the consumer.