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Archive for December 2011


OnLive, a company that provides console-quality games streamed over the internet, has announced the launch of its app for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. The OnLive app allows portable device users to play console games that they normally would not have access to.

OnLive calls its service “cloud gaming,” and it offers access to nearly 200 console and PC games without having to install them locally. The company’s servers do all of the hard crunching and processing of the game remotely, and then stream it to users’ devices. This method allows relatively slow mobile devices to play high-end games that usually require much more computing power. Users have the ability to stream the games to their devices over Wi-Fi or 4G LTE cellular networks, though the service will obviously work much better with faster connections.

The company says that over 25 games in its library, including top-tier titles like L.A. Noire, have already been adapted to the touchscreen controls that smartphones and tablets require. The rest of the games can be played with the optional Universal OnLive Wireless Controller that connects to a device over Bluetooth and costs $49.99. The OnLive service has built-in syncing across multiple devices, so users can play a game on their tablet, and then pick up where they left off on their PC with the OnLive PC app.

The OnLive app is available for free in the Android Market now and is expected to hit the iTunes App Store in the near future. The Universal OnLive Wireless Controller is expected to be available in the U.S. and UK in the near future as well. Games can be rented or purchased for play on the service, and OnLive also has subscription options available.

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Steve Jobs,” the authorized biography of Apple’s co-founder and former chief executive written by Walter Isaacson, was the bestselling book on Amazon.com this year, according to the online retailer’s website.

That’s an impressive accomplishment considering the book was published in late October, and had less than two months to rise to the top. Jobs died Oct. 5.

Intriguingly though, while the Steve Jobs biography was one of the bestselling e-books for the Kindle, it was not THE bestselling book. That honor went to “The Hunger Games,” a young adult book originally published in 2009 that is set to become a major Hollywood movie release in March 2012.

The Steve Jobs biography was the No. 3 bestselling book for the Kindle. It was also beat out by John Grisham’s “The Litigators,” which was also published in October.

One more interesting note from the bestseller list: The parody not-for-kids book “Go the F– to Sleep” was the No. 10 bestselling print book on Amazon for the year. This is interesting because proofs of the book went viral on the Web before it was published. It turned out that rather than spoiling the surprise, the proofs fueled sales in a very big way.


Microsoft on Tuesday began wooing developers for a February opening of its first “app store” for computers powered by the US technology giant’s Windows software.

The Windows Store will open in late February when Microsoft releases a test version of its next-generation Windows 8 operating system.

It will take on Apple and Google in the booming market of fun, hip or functional programs built for smartphones, tablets, or computers.

“I think we are going to do great,” Windows Web Services vice president Antoine Leblond said as he gave developers and press a preview of the store in a San Francisco art gallery.

“The reach of Windows is absolutely huge and can’t be matched,” he continued, noting that the Microsoft operating system powers a half billion computers around the world.

Independent developers understandably devote their limited resources to making programs for platforms that promise the most potential customers, and Windows would outshine Apple gadgets and Google Android devices in that regard.

However, Windows has a meager presence when it comes to smartphones and tablets, where third-party applications such as games are typically bought.


Clinton held talks with seven opponents of Assad (AFP/Pool, J. Scott Applewhite)

The United States and France sent their ambassadors back to Syria to champion protesters, demanding that the regime protect the envoys who had been pulled out due to safety fears.

US Ambassador Robert Ford and French Ambassador Eric Chevallier had faced harassment and threats as they shone a light on President Bashar al-Assad’s nine-month crackdown, in which more than 4,000 people are said to have died.

“We believe his presence in the country is among the most effective ways to send the message that the United States stands with the people of Syria,” US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said as the two envoys flew back in.

Ford will seek to provide “reliable reporting on the situation on the ground” and engage “with the full spectrum of Syrian society on how to end the bloodshed and achieve a peaceful political transition,” Toner said.

White House spokesman Jay Carney demanded that Syria uphold international obligations to protect foreign diplomats and allow US officers “to conduct their work free of intimidation or obstacles.”

In Paris, deputy foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said that the concerns that led to Chevallier’s recall have not gone away but that “his work on the ground in Syria is important.”

“France is more than ever at the side of the Syrian people,” Nadal told AFP.

The US and French ambassadors had both traveled in Syria to document protests and show their support, amid official attempts to prevent international media and observers from witnessing the crackdown firsthand.

The United States announced on October 24 that Ford had been brought back to Washington because of “credible threats.” Assad supporters had pelted Ford and the embassy staff with tomatoes and damaged US vehicles as they visited an opposition leader in Damascus.

The French ambassador was recalled on November 16 after mobs loyal to Assad attacked France’s honorary consulate in the northern city of Latakia and the detached chancery in Aleppo.

Toner said the United States “felt there was a sense of urgency” in sending Ford back to Damascus but said that Washington would “keep a close eye” on what it viewed as threats to him, including articles in the state-run press.

In further pressure on Syria, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday held talks in Geneva with seven opponents of Assad. She called for the protection of women and minorities, a key concern for a future without Assad, as he comes from the minority Alawite sect.

read more -AFP


Former Israel president Moshe Katsav speaks to journalists as he leaves his house in Kiryat Malachi. He accused Israel of "executing" an innocent man. Photograph: AP

The former Israeli president Moshe Katsav has entered a minimum security prison to begin a seven-year sentence for rape.

Katsav, 66, was convicted last December of assaulting a female former employee when he was a cabinet minister and sexually harassing two other women while president, from 2000 to 2007.

The Iranian-born politician, who has repeatedly declared his innocence, remained free while he appealed against his case, but the supreme court upheld the conviction last month and sent him to prison.

TV footage showed him entering the Maasiyahu jail in central Israel, where he became the highest-ranking Israeli official to be imprisoned.

Katsav looked agitated and overwhelmed as he addressed journalists before beginning his sentence. He accused authorities of ignoring evidence that could clear him and claimed “the truth will come to light”.

“The state of Israel is executing a man today on the basis of impressions, without real time testimony, without evidence,” Katsav said. “One day, consciences will prick and you will see that you buried a man alive.”

In the absence of forensic evidence, prosecutors built their case almost entirely on witness testimony. Legal experts said the similarities in the accounts of victims, who did not know one another, prompted the conviction.

Prison officials say Katsav has been placed in a section of the jail reserved for observant Jews and will share a cell with Shlomo Benizri, a former cabinet minister convicted of accepting bribes.

Security around the former president will be heightened – as part of a suicide watch placed on new prisoners and to prevent inmates from harming him. Katsav’s lawyers have expressed concern that the politician might try to injure himself.

The claims against Katsav came to light in 2006 after he told police one of his accusers was trying to extort money from him.

The twists and turns of the case have riveted and appalled the country. Shortly after the accusations came to light, Katsav held a news conference to accuse prosecutors and the media of plotting his demise because he did not belong to the country’s European-descended elite.

Katsav resigned from office two weeks before his term was due to expire under a plea bargain that would have allowed him to escape jail. Instead he rejected the plea bargain and vowed to prove his innocence in court.

He later said he did not regret that decision because it would have meant he confessed to a crime he did not commit.


Mr Clarke warned against "distractions" in the EU talks - BBC

Ken Clarke has warned Tory eurosceptics not to expect powers to be returned from the EU at this week’s summit.

The justice secretary said the prime minister should focus on resolving the eurozone crisis and talk of “wider structures” would be a distraction.

David Cameron has said he will not agree to any EU treaty change “that fails to protect our interests”.

Germany and France are pushing for treaty changes enshrining new budget rules for eurozone members by March.

Mr Clarke, the most pro-European Conservative cabinet minister said in an interview with the Financial Times it would be a distraction to open up discussions about the “wider structures of the union”.

“We’re not going to renegotiate any transfers of powers, in my opinion,” he said.

He said Britain should be prepared to accept “proper” financial regulation from Brussels but he rejected the idea of an EU “Tobin tax” on financial transactions.

“It’s the devil’s own job to collect,” he said, and added that New York and Hong Kong would not follow suit.

read more at BBC


A Google executive recently said the cloud computing market in 2012 will focus more on mobile devices and social networking in order to keep pace with businesses’ interests. Amit Singh, vice president of Google Enterprise, told eWeek that the cloud trend next year will try to move businesses more into the realm of teamwork from the era of individual production.

With the move more into social networking, Singh said Google is trying to push forward the integration ability of its social networking website Google+. Singh said businesses will start using more of a BYOD, or bring your own device, approach when it comes to using mobile devices at work. Peter Coffee of Salesforce.com said he sees the cloud helping users break through with features and capabilities they may not have had before, such as the ability to create a document on one device and view it on another.

“People do not want to be burdened by what device is holding a piece of content,” said Coffee, who added that having content that is device-neutral will be important for everyone in the business world.

Gartner’s predictions for the future of cloud computing agrees with Singh’s prediction, adding that by 2016, 50 percent of cloud-based email users will rely on a browser, tablet or mobile device instead of a desktop.


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