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July 2008 Archives

The new OPEC: AT&T, Comcast and friends

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

There's a fascinating op-ed piece in the New York Times today by Columbia law professor Tim Wu on the new telecommunications cartel - OPEC 2.0 he calls it - where companies such as AT&T, Comcast and Vodafone are using their total control over bandwidth to choke access to the precious commodity.

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Rogers iPhone data outrage overstated?

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

Much has been made about the people who wanted an iPhone, but were then outraged by Rogers' initial pricing plans. The plans, when they were first announced, were roundly criticized primarily for their low data allowances. The iPhone, after all, is designed to surf the web and do all sorts of other internet goodness, so 400 megabytes - the allowance under Rogers' basic plan - just wasn't going to cut it, the protestors said. After playing around with an iPhone for a week, it's a little hard to see what all the fuss was about.

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E3: Final thoughts

By Mathew Kumar, Special to CBCnews.ca

LOS ANGELES - This year's E3 wasn't quite as quiet and low-key as it was last year, but it didn't manage to be what it once was (bombastic yet important) thanks to a lack of meaningful announcements on one hand, and on the other a continued effort to keep it small. But can it survive this way?

Blogs were abuzz over the weekend with commentary on the fact that EA head John Riccitiello said he "hated" the current E3, and in general few industry and press were happy about the direction it has taken.

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E3: Capcom Looks To The Past

By Mathew Kumar, Special to CBCnews.ca

LOS ANGELES - Game developers with as long and as varied a history as Capcom often face the accusation that after creating a number of successful properties, they choose to only ape their past successes by simply adding barely-different sequels and spinoff titles endlessly, secure in the knowledge that they’ll sell to their established fan base.

The crazy thing is that this year, Capcom is being lauded for transparent attempts to recapture its previous glories with the new iterations of the Street Fighter and Megaman franchises.

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E3: Sega’s Japanese developers see a Mad World

By Mathew Kumar, Special to CBCnews.ca

LOS ANGELES - As the video game market has expanded, Japanese game developers have been under increasing pressure to reach Western audiences with their titles. It’s exactly that which has led to some of this E3’s biggest announcements (such as Final Fantasy XIII coming to Xbox 360), but certain Japanese developers, such as the newly created Platinum Games, have a delightfully irreverent take on things.

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E3: Konami can’t keep time in the music game wars

By Mathew Kumar, Special to CBCnews.ca

LOS ANGELES - Guitar Hero versus Rock Band. It’s one of the biggest rivalries in the games industry right now, with new downloadable content (and upcoming revisions) desperately battling it out for mindshare. While Activision sat out E3 and chose not to show the next Guitar Hero, MTV Games and EA want to impress us so much they threw a free concert for certain lucky E3 attendees with The Who (yes, really) playing a blistering full set of their hits. Music games are a huge part of the industry now, and Konami want a piece of that pie.

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E3: Sony fails to inspire, but why?

By Mathew Kumar, Special to CBCnews.ca

LOS ANGELES - With the last scheduled press conference of any of the console manufacturers, Sony had to pull some major announcements out of the bag to try and outstage the prior work of both Nintendo and Microsoft on Tuesday. Sadly, however, Sony offered a show that was as flat as a pancake, with president and CEO of SCEA Jack Tretton awkwardly talking through an uninspiring list of upcoming titles.

When the most exciting segment of your E3 press conference is the sales numbers, you know you’ve got a problem.

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E3: Nintendo plays a different tune with Wii Music

By Mathew Kumar, Special to CBCnews.ca

LOS ANGELES - During its press conference Nintendo was happy to boast about its success in the currently popular music-game space, with Guitar Hero III selling more on Wii than on any other system. It also announced of a sequel to Guitar Hero: On Tour, called Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades.

But Nintendo’s first party entrance into the genre is worlds away from what we’ve come to expect.

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E3: Nintendo is smug – but with good reason

By Mathew Kumar, Special to CBCnews.ca

LOS ANGELES - Still riding high on the continuing buzz surrounding the Wii following the recent launch of Wii Fit, and with the Nintendo DS still performing strongly thanks to recent hits like Guitar Hero: On Tour, Nintendo opened the first day of E3 proper from a position of near unassailable strength. Nintendo didn’t have anything to prove, and as a result it held a press conference that was both infuriatingly smug and embarrassingly awkward.

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E3: EA’s Dynamic DNA

By Mathew Kumar, Special to CBCnews.ca

LOS ANGELES - As purely a software publisher (and the largest in the world, even with the recent merger of Activision with Vivendi to create the behemoth Activision Blizzard), Electronic Arts don’t face the same kind of pressure the hardware manufacturers do when it holds a press conference. Journalists aren’t going to pick apart its strategy and debate market share – they’re only going to care about the games. And while EA delivered on that front – showing a succession of games from Sim Animals to Mirror’s Edge that portray a company comfortable with allowing its studios to innovate – the surprise was that there were so few surprises.

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E3: Xbox gets lips, Final Fantasy XIII

By Mathew Kumar, Special to CBCnews.ca

LOS ANGELES - The Electronics and Entertainment Expo (E3) doesn’t kick off until tomorrow, but Microsoft tried to steal the early spotlight today with advance annoucements. They ranged from the actively exciting (a sequel to classic arcade title Galaga from the team behind the superb Pac-Man Championship Edition with Galaga Legions), to the utterly boring (we really don’t need a Banjo Kazooie sequel, honestly).

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E3 2008: Microsoft looks to Wii to take on PS3

By Mathew Kumar, Special to CBCnews.ca

LOS ANGELES - E3 doesn’t kick off until tomorrow, but Microsoft has already fired the first shots in what is shaping up to be an epic battle this year between the three console manufacturers.

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World's 'oldest' blogger dies

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

The 108-year old woman from Australia who was promoted as the world's oldest blogger died on Saturday, July 12, two weeks after writing her 74th and final post.

Olive Riley, who picked up blogging at the age of 107 through the encouragement of a tech-savvy friend, filed posts at http://www.allaboutolive.com.au and later http://worldsoldestblogger.blogspot.com.

"She will be mourned by thousands of Internet friends and hundreds of descendants and other relatives," said a posting on her website.

Olive Riley of Australia, a 107-year-old great-great-grandmother, started blogging on Feb. 16.
Born in the remote mining town of Broken Hill in 1899, Riley blogged regularly about her life growing up in the Outback.

She was also the subject of a documentary, All About Olive, directed by Australian filmmaker Mike Rubbo. Rubbo, who also helped Riley set up the blog and type her entries, worked at the National Film Board of Canada for 25 years, making the films as Waiting for Fidel, Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller and Vincent and Me.

Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corp., Rubbo said Riley's death was unexpected, despite her age.

"We're very shocked because Ollie had become such a big part of our lives and we loved here so much," he said.

Riley took the presumptive title of world's oldest blogger from Spain's Maria Amelia, who was 12 years her junior.

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iPhone 3G launch: Have your say on smartphones

CBC Staff

Smartphones have been around for years, but that term has been wide open to interpretation - and misuse. Many of these phones have been anything but smart, offering clunky controls and limited multimedia features. Not to mention the fact that surfing the web on their small screens, slow connections and primitive browsers has been an experience in frustration.

Now the market is undergoing a renaissance, and the latest contenders for the smartphone crown in Canada are the Apple iPhone 3G (launched in Canada today through Rogers Wireless/Fido), the low-cost Samsung Instinct, and Research in Motion's yet-to-be-released but much-talked-about 9500 touchscreen phone, dubbed the "Thunder."

Do these phones represent a long-awaited leap forward for the mobile internet? Which one would you consider buying, and why? Have you used one and want to share your experiences? Visit CBCnews.ca's Smartphone Forum, weigh in with your views, and debate the pros and cons of the latest smartphones.

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Tech eats into vacation time: Poll

CBC Staff

Oh what busy beavers we are. At least the cutting edge types who respond to online surveys.

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Human vs. machine

The Canadian Press

Can robots and computers take the place of a human being? A new study involving research on brain activity in humans provides some food for thought in the evolving debate about interactions between man and machine: People seem to prefer people.

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