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Disney Shuts Down LucasArts | Kotaku →

April 04, 2013 |

Staff were informed of the shutdown this morning, according to a reliable Kotaku source. Some 150 people were laid off, and both of the studio’s current projects—Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars 1313—were cancelled. Disney will still use the LucasArts name to license games, but the studio is no more.

There goes one of the most iconic game development studios ever, single handedly responsible for the golden age of the graphic adventure genre: The Secret of Monkey Island, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Grim Fandango… A piece of my childhood is gone with them.

Ironically, this simpler, more intelligent way of gaming is seeing a significant resurgence in the last few years, coinciding with the explosion of smartphones and tablets as gaming devices. And it’s easy to understand why: these devices are still severely constrained in terms of raw CPU power when pitted against current dedicated gaming consoles or desktop computers. That makes them ideal for playing this type of games, where the focus is on the story and the experience, and not so much on the graphics.

Man, I loved those games.

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The cellphone is forty years old today | The Verge →

April 03, 2013 |

Wow. Forty years. That doesn’t seem possible:

On April 3rd, 1973, Motorola engineer Marty Cooper placed the first public call from a cellphone. In midtown Manhattan, Cooper called Joel Engel — head of rival research department Bell Labs — saying “Joel, this is Marty. I’m calling you from a cell phone, a real handheld portable cell phone.” The call was placed on a Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, which weighed 2.5 pounds, a far cry from today’s 4-ounce handsets.

History in the making. That reminds me that the future is ours to invent. Wall will we be talking about forty years from now? It must be something mind-bogglingly great, because if we could imagine it today, we would get there sooner.

We live in interesting times, alright.

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Leap Seconds | What If? xkcd →

March 27, 2013 |

This leads to all kinds of little headaches, particularly for programmers. For example, the clock in your smartphone’s GPS is 16 seconds out of sync with the phone’s system clock. This is because the system clock uses Coordinated Universal Time (which has leap seconds), but GPS time doesn’t. They were in sync in January of 1980 and probably never will be again.

Yep, it’s been one of those mornings.

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Ships | What If by xkcd →

March 27, 2013 |

Sea levels will likely rise a few feet by the year 2100. Current fish wet biomass is about 2 billion tons, so removing them won’t make a dent either. (Marine fish biomass dropped by 80% over the last century, which—taking into consideration the growth rate of the world’s shipping fleet—leads to an odd conclusion: Sometime in the last few years, we reached a point where there are, by weight, more ships in the ocean than fish.)

I laughed when I first read this. Then I read it again and it scared the crap out of me.

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Quote of the Day →

March 21, 2013 |

When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.

Milan Kundera (1929 - ), The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

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The Return of NetNewsWire | Black Pixel →

March 21, 2013 |

This is great news for all RSS users out there (myself included), especially given Google Reader’s imminent demise.

There is something else worth mentioning though:

As far as sync is concerned, we knew we would likely need an alternative to Google Reader as early as last year. At the time, the option that seemed to make the most sense was to embrace iCloud and Core Data as the new sync solution of choice. We spent a considerable amount of time on this effort, but iCloud and Core Data syncing had issues that we simply could not resolve. iCloud hasn’t worked out for us and Google’s announcement solidified and accelerated our plans.

This isn’t the first high-profile developer that wanted to embrace iCloud but was forced to look elsewhere due to Core Data’s shortcomings. That’s the alarming reality of iCloud today as far as third-party developers are concerned. If Apple wants iCloud to become the de-facto standard in cloud-based data sharing services, they need to step up their game and they need to do it yesterday.

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EU still unhappy with Apple over silence on two-year warranty →

March 20, 2013 |

Ars Technica:

The EU remains unhappy with Apple when it comes to informing customers about their right to a two-year warranty on their purchases, as reported by Dow Jones Business News. EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding spoke on Tuesday about Apple’s warranty practices, pointing out that the company hasn’t been forthcoming in making customers aware that they can get free hardware repairs past Apple’s standard one-year warranty period, even after facing fines and lawsuits throughout Europe.

It’s a pity, and it’s true: most people in Europe don’t know they are covered by a 2-year warranty by law. Apple could make this very clear it they wanted to, by displaying it prominently on the Apple Online Store as well as informing customers in Apple Retail Stores when they buy a product.

It’s even more of a shame given that Apple is great at honoring this 2-year warranty period, far better than most manufacturers. Precisely yesterday, I kid you not, I went to an Apple Retail Store because the sleep button in my 16-month-old iPhone 4S was stuck, and they replaced the phone with a new one immediately, no questions asked. In 15 minutes I was in and out of the store with a new phone, just like that.

Alas, great customer service is meaningless if customers don’t know their rights. And Apple has the responsibility here to inform its customers of that right. It’s that simple.

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Why Gwyneth Paltrow's no-carb diet for children makes perfect sense →

March 14, 2013 |

The Guardian:

For half a century we have been told to avoid saturated fat, even though there is no good evidence that fat is inherently fattening. By diligently avoiding it, we have ended up replacing whole, unprocessed foods, such as red meat and butter, with starchy carbs of the highly refined and processed sort, often containing added sugar. Net result? We’re getting fatter.

Great article.

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