PC Magazine has a very limited preview of a pre-production version of Sony's upcoming PRS-500 E-Book Reader, here. It has a six inch screen and is about the size of a thin paperback book. What's most intriguing about the device though is that uses the much touted, but little seen to this point, "E Ink" technology. "E Ink" essentially allows for using power ONLY when changing pages, so keeping a page displayed takes no energy. This is important, as it means battery life is not an issue with even casual recharging and any page you have up on the screen stays up on the screen, not requiring the device to go into a power saving mode or turn its screen off like current devices do. This increases its reference value/usefulness tremendously, and, along with its high resolution, places such a device in more of a competitive balance with print on paper, which of course is the ideal text display "device" to this point.
I was thinking about the relentless Sony bashing of late, which has been brought upon in big part by Sony themselves. Frankly, they have certain company representatives who simply can't help but mouth off in the most inane manner with a ridiculous amount of bravado and disregard for basic common sense. To put it bluntly, no one likes the 800-pound gorilla (especially in America, we prefer to root for the perceived underdog, justified label or not) or the "dick", and Sony has been both for some time now.
Author and Screenshots: Mark J.P. Vergeer
Editing: Cecil Casey, Mathew Tschirgi and Bill Loguidice
Online Layout: Cecil Casey and David Torre
There's a great deal of cool techie things on the net today, so I'll try to cover as many of them as possible. First off, check out DIY Projetor, which will lead you to a site that explains how to build a home projector for "pennies": Imagine a 120" HDTV screen in your living room. No problem! But wait--what about that HD DVD player? Ewww...icky format war. Don't buy anything until you've read Reasons that HD DVD formats have already failed. The article makes an interesting point about why incompatibility works for game consoles but not DVD formats--and leaves a big question mark in my mind about Sony's committment to Blu-Ray in the PS3.
As a lifetime technophile primarily interested in computers and videogames, another area that has always intrigued me, but been generally hands-off due to the various barriers to entry, is home robotics. There were some delightful robots and kits in the early to mid-80's to go along with the personal computer boom. However, the personal robotics boom was short lived and ultimately a much smaller niche than even the fledgling personal computer business at the time, dooming them to the domain of the truly hardcore. Today, toy and personal robots and robot kits from the likes of Tomy and Heathkit are still very much in demand. Much more recently, Lego made a strong impact in the home robotics and hobbyist field with their Mindstorms technology and Radio Shack carries an aggressive line of kit robots and accessories. Bottom line, today hobbyist robotics is stronger than ever and more practical than ever, though is still awaiting that "killer app" to truly push it into the mainstream.
I just saw something pretty funny over at Kotaku: The DS Sucks Folks, Look it up! I haven't seen this guy before, but apparently he's Jonathan Harchick, and he's been doing his Talking With Jon show since 2002. It's a pretty terrible show, yet at the same time, there's something oddly compelling about it. At any rate, it's worth a few chuckles, and will probably remind you all-too-well of some dork down the street who thinks he knows gaming.
With E3 long past and all the data readily available and no doubt already devoured by those reading this right now, I thought it would be a good time to make some of my thoughts surrounding Nintendo's Wii, Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PS3, as well as the GameTap service for the PC, known. (all my thoughts of course are US-centric)
Anyway, whether the Wii - and yes, I still believe the name is a poor one and an unecessary liability - releases at $199 or $249, it should still come in at a good value in comparison to the high end $399 version of the Xbox 360 and the high end $599 version of the PS3. At the same time, the high end Microsoft and Sony systems are high quality multimedia centers, whereas the Wii is not. For many, this is not a factor, as they just want a game system, but I believe the higher prices - anywhere from $200 to $400 - are still justified, particularly as they're the only consoles to offer hi-definition gaming. Nintendo really has made a clear distinction with their direction, as have Microsoft and Sony with their hardware decisions. (and again, don't use the videogames are for kids argument with me, as a kid can't afford $200+ any more than one could afford $400+; don't forget, the average gamer age is now 33 and rises EVERY YEAR)
If there's one thing that's gotten a lot of chatter on the net about the Wii (well, besides the name), it's that unique and very promising controller. Sony was obviously listening to the excitement and announced a motion-sensing feature in its new PS3 controller. David Yarnton of Nintendo UK isn't happy about Sony's plans to release a new "motion-sensing controller." To wit: "I don't know what [Sony's] decision making process is but I think if you look back, any innovation that has come in gameplay has come from us." Ouch! Perhaps Nintendo should announce some totally bogus new gameplay innovation, such as cold fusion, and see what happens at Sony...
So far the developer studio titles look run of the mill. Unless you make a notable exception for the stunning graphics in the demo of Gran Turismo HD, can you say full rate 1080p graphics in real time? Compared to that most of the other games were slightly upgraded versions of the same old PS2 titles.
EA managed to buy a slot in the show to plug their 200X versions of the cash cow sports games. Yes they now can move with out spinning in circles. But otherwise they are just another Madden.
Both Final Fantasy XIII, and Metal Gear Solid 4 looked visually stunning, but once again it looked like rendered non-interactive video clips on display.