Finally! The Google Street Views maps feature that was unique (at its launch) is now really useful.
Google has turned Street Views, the virtual street level tours, from a fun diversion to a useful feature by combining them with driving directions. The new features mean that when you’re searching for driving directions in one of the 42 U.S. cities that have Street View images, you can now preview each intersection in your route.
Rogers Canada finaly came to an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone in Canada. Customers are asking for it for almost a year now. It may means that their cost of wireless data will be reduced (now the highest in Canada).
Rogers and Apple didn’t announced yet when the iPhone will be launch. Maybe in June with the new 2.0 firmware.
Want Intel’s newest chip? Don’t buy a PC — buy a Mac. Apple has upgraded its iMac line with Intel’s “Core Duo Extreme X9100”. That’s not an energy drink, but a processor that isn’t available anwhere else — and in fact hasn’t been officially rolled out, according to tech site TGDaily.
"Je me demande si Remstar n’a pas compris plus vite que tout le monde une réalité fort simple – à savoir que les bulletins de nouvelles présentés à heure fixe n’ont pas beaucoup d’avenir. Entre l’information continue telle que pratiquée par RDI ou LCN et les nouvelles disponibles sur demande via Internet, je les vois mal continuer à vivre bien longtemps."
From the moment they go live, startups are as real as any other business. They are governed by the same set of market forces and economic precepts that wrap around every other company, new or old.
At the atomic level, all businesses need to generate revenue to pay their bills, grow their business, and stay in business. The sooner they find themselves in the black, the better chance they’ll have to survive.
So if you start something up, start a business, don’t start a startup.
[One of Apple’s latest patents] would clearly indicate that there’s a store front involved here in order for a user to know that it’s a sunny day in the fall in this virtual world. Something a little outside of the box I’d say and definitely far beyond anything known by any of us shopping at the Apple Store today.
The film involves a serial killer who rigs contraptions that kill his victims based on the number of hits received by a website (“www.killwithme.com”) that features a live streaming video of the victim. Millions of people log on, hastening the victims’ violent deaths.
I never watch (or rarely) something that has a scrore of less than 6 on the Movie Internet Database (IMDB). So I even if I had some doubt about Untraceable, I decided to give it a try as for more than 5000 reviewers the film worth an average of 6.0.
The critic have said Untraceable is like a modern The Silence of the Lambs. For me it’s simply a bad movie poorly inspired by Saw and any other movies that have a bad guy hunted by the FBI. The cast, music, scenario and even the web site the film is related to are poor.
I should always listen to Rotten Tomatoes fist - the movie is rated at 15% over 100 reviews.
Film Review > American Gangster - The True Crime Story of Frank Lucas
Yesterday I watched another film based on a true story. The film ranks at 192 of the all time 250 top movies voted by users on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) with nearly 65 000 votes to date. And I must admit that the 3 hours movie really deverses its ranking.
Following the death of his employer and mentor, Bumpy Johnson, Frank Lucas establishes himself as the number one importer of heroin in the Harlem district of Manhattan. He does so by buying heroin directly from the source in South East Asia and he comes up with a unique way of importing the drugs into the United States. As a result, his product is superior to what is currently available on the street and his prices are lower. His alliance with the New York Mafia ensures his position. It is also the story of a dedicated and honest policeman, Richie Roberts, who heads up a joint narcotics task force with the Federal government.
Interesting facts from Wikipedia on Frank Lucas:
Atkinson, nicknamed “Sergeant Smack” by the DEA, has said he shipped drugs in furniture, not caskets.Whatever method he used, Lucas smuggled the drugs into the country with this direct link from Asia. Lucas said that he made US$1 million per day selling drugs on 116th Street.
Federal judge Sterling Johnson, who was special narcotics prosecutor in New York at the time of Lucas’ crimes, called Lucas’ operation “one of the most outrageous international dope-smuggling gangs ever, an innovator who got his own connections outside the U.S. and then sold the narcotics himself in the street.” He had connections with the Sicilian and Mexican mobs, holding an enormous monopoly on the heroin market in Manhattan.
His heroin “Blue Magic” was 100% pure when shipped from Thailand and sold at 10% purity on the street.
In January 1975, Frank Lucas’ house in Teaneck, New Jersey was raided by a task force consisting of 10 agents from Group 22 of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and 10 New York Police Department detectives attached to the Organized Crime Control Bureau (OCCB).
In his house authorities found $584,683. He was later convicted of both federal and New Jersey state drug violations. The following year he was sentenced to 70 years in prison.
Once convicted Lucas provided evidence that led to more than 100 further drug-related convictions. For his safety in 1977 Frank Lucas and his family were placed in the witness protection program.
In 1981 after 5 years in prison his 40-year Federal term and 30-year state term were reduced to time served plus lifetime parole.
In 1984 he was caught and convicted of trying to exchange one ounce of heroin and $13,000 for one kilogram of cocaine.He was prosecuted and then later defended by detective Richie Roberts.He received a sentence of seven years and was released from prison in 1991.
Today, Lucas, wheelchair-bound (around 2005 Frank Lucas was involved in a car accident that broke his leg in two places and required him to use a wheelchair), fully understands the nature of his impact on his beloved NY community. His mission, now, is to amend that legacy. To the youth of the nation, he is now committed… committed to show, by example, via his Frank Lucas Foundation, that redemption is available to all, even to that venerable, retired gangster we all hate to love.
The Bank Job is a 2008 crime film based on a 1971 true-life robbery of a bank in Baker Street, London, from which the money and valuables stolen were never recovered.
Very interesting facts from Wikipedia:
A gang tunneled into a branch of Lloyds Bank at the intersection of Baker Street and Marylebone Road, in London, on the night of 11 September 1971 and robbed the safe deposit boxes there. The robbers had rented a leather goods shop named Le Sac, two doors down from the bank, and tunneled a distance of approximately 40 feet (12 metres), passing under the intervening Chicken Inn restaurant.
Robert Rowlands, a radio ham operator, overheard conversations between the robbers and their rooftop lookout. He contacted police and tape recorded the conversations, which were subsequently made public. After four days of news coverage, British authorities issued a D-Notice, requesting that news coverage be discontinued for reasons of national security, and the story disappeared from newspapers. The purpose for the D-Notice was never disclosed, and its existence was not confirmed until recently.
The film’s producers claim that they have an inside source, identified in press reports as George McIndoe, who served as an executive producer. The film’s claims that the issuance of the D-Notice was because a safe deposit box held sex pictures of Princess Margaret, and the possible connection to Michael X (whose governmental file purportedly is secret until 2054), are apparently based on information provided by McIndoe, though it is not clear what is the basis of his information or how specific it is supposed to be. The film makers apparently have acknowledged that they made up the character Martine, and The New Yorker’s conclusion that it is impossible to say how much of the film’s story is true appears to be correct.
The movie starts very slowly, but after 45 minutes, you get really hook into it. The fact the movie is based on a true story still leaves me quite amazed, as the events that happen seem purely like the stuff that happen only in movies. The performances of the actors are surprisingly well rounded, Statham is doing a brilliant job and the majority of the supporting cast are getting some great scenes.
Today The Sun (UK), reports that Madonna is going to get about $25 million for two concerts (one public and one private) in Dubai. Each concert will run some 90 minutes, which translates into about $167,000 a minute. Nice!
Conclusion: this is the slickest laptop ever done. Period.
If I ever need to replace my current MacBook Pro, it will be a MacBook Air. I have no doubt now that the MacBook Air is the best selling Mac (outperforming even the MacBook and iMac).
For sure you have to consider:
that you’ll never play advanced graphic games on it (the graphic card is integrated to the motherboard and has only a shared memory of 144 Mb),
that you need to plug it to an external display to have a descent working desktop area (the resolution of the MacBook Air is only 1280 x 800),
that you will need an external CD/DVD writer/burner or to borrow a friend/spouse Mac to install any apps and
that you will need to borrow a computer when you’ll have to replace the battery (The MacBook Air is so slim that there is no external access to the battery).
On the other hand, you get a real-size backlight keyboard, a large multi-touch trackpad, a 13.3 inches widescreen, and a built-in camera in a 3 pounds and less than 2 centimeters height super slick laptop.
A new report released today by Forrester Research is predicting that enterprise spending on Web 2.0 technologies is going to increase dramatically over the next five years. This increase will include more spending on social networking tools, mashups, and RSS, with the end result being a global enterprise market of $4.6 billion by the year 2013.
"21" is the fact-based story about six MIT students who were trained to become experts in card counting and subsequently took Vegas casinos for millions in winnings.
This is the kind of film that when you have seen the movie trailer, you have already seen the whole film.
As it is based on the actual MIT Blackjack Team, a group of students (and their successors) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who operated from 1979 through the beginning of the 21st century, utilizing card-counting techniques and more sophisticated strategies to beat casinos at blackjack worldwide, I thought the film will be good, but it is only a sucession of repetitive scenes. Wait for the TV premiere.
We all know that for the next few years Apple’s iPhone is tied to the AT&T network, or whatever carrier has won the iPhone contract in your country by sharing the biggest slice of it’s revenues.
But what’ll happen after these contracts lapse?
How about the iPhone that operates in a constant roaming mode, with no real home network, but able to connect to any wireless network around. How about the Apple/iTunes becoming the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and buying up or reserving minutes on all these networks and offering them directly to the iPhone owners?
Well, a new patent application called “Dynamic Carrier selection” filed on Oct.10 2006, shows that Apple has been thinking along these lines even before the introduction of iPhone.
Last week I decided to begin writing my Video Games Antology. It all begun with the 2D vector based Atari Asteroids released in 1979. Now the second game on my list and probably the most important video game of my life:
2) Star Wars (3D space simulator - Atari 1983) To my knowledge, this game is the first 3D space simulator ever released to the public.
The player takes on the role of Luke Skywalker and pilots an X-wing fighter in this 3-D shoot-em-up based around Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope (more specifically the game’s action covers the final act of the movie: the attack on the Death Star). The player’s goal is to fight through three different levels before finally destroying the Death Star.
I still remember the special controls of the game that consist of a yoke control (similar to a steering wheel — twisting left and right gives combined roll and yaw; twisting forwards and backwards with the side control gives pitch) with four buttons — two trigger style and two in position to be pressed by the thumbs — each of which fired a laser positioned on the four leading edges of the X-Wings.
I discovered this game with my best friend Vladimir when I was in my third years of high school. We were both huge fan of Star Wars at the time. The arcade game was in an arcade amusements park in the shopping center called Plaza Alexis-Nihon. Each evening we stopped there, added a few coins in the arcade game and tried to finish it at least three times before going home. My friend, who was living closer to the arcade amusements park, even stopped there in the morning, before school, to play the game. He was always late because of it and has to go see the director before entering class.
I said earlier that Star Wars was the most important video game of my life and this is because, at the age we had no responsabilities, it is the game I played the most. We played at Star Wars at least three times a week (five or six for my friend Vlad) over a period of 2 years. I’m sure the owner of the arcade shop knew our name and was waiting for us to help him pay the rent!
Interesting facts on Star Wars, the arcade video game:
Star Wars was the first Atari game to have speech. The game featured several digitized samples of voices from the movie. The most memorable was the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi, after losing the game, stating ‘The force will be with you—always’. There were also seven different musical themes from the movie that are played throughout the game including the Star Wars Theme, Ben’s Theme and the Mos Eisley Cantina Band’s number.
In 2005, Brandon Erickson set a world record by playing for over 54 hours on a single credit.
Players with attention to detail may notice that after the TIE fighter waves, when flying towards the Death Star, the yellow grid lines on the Death Star spell out either “MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU” on odd-numbered waves or names of some of the developers on even numbered waves.
There were also lots of hidden cheats in the game. For example, if you hit Darth Vader’s ship more than 30 times you will get 27 extra shields and in some rare cases 255 extra shields.
Vincent Mandel, photographe et père de famille en instance de divorce, voit sa vie s’effondrer à cause d’une manipulation orchestrée par un ancien camarade de classe, Joseph Plender. Meurtre, enlèvement et chantage vont conduire Vincent dans une véritable descente aux enfers… Il ne lui reste qu’un seul espoir, battre Plender à son propre jeu.
Le Serpent est tiré du roman de Ted Lewis, Plender. Dans le roman, Ted Lewis prenait ouvertement le parti du bourreau. La difficulté pour le réalisateur Eric Barbier et le scénariste Trân Minh Nâm a été de complètement réhabiliter le héros et de le rendre moins lâche afin que l’intrusion de Plender (le bourreau) dans sa vie ait un sens. Ils ont eu l’idée de structurer le film en miroir : tout ce que le méchant fait subir au gentil, le gentil le fait subir au méchant dans la deuxième partie du film. Le réalisateur avoue que cela a pris beaucoup de temps avant de trouver “l’oeil pour l’oeil et la dent pour la dent”.
Ce film un est brillant thriller policier comme il est très rare d’en voir de nos jours. Bien qu’on peut se douter du déroullement de l’histoire, j’étais cramponné à mon siège tout le long.
J’ai été très étonné et agréablement surpris de voir mon acteur fétiche dans ce film, le Grand Blond avec une chaussure noire, Pierre Richard. Il était méconnaissable sans sa barbe et ses longs cheveux.
I’m thinking, for a while now, making my personal anthology of video games that I have played since my first contact with them. I liked watching in the past and noted events or things that had some influence on me. Although I am not an avid player, video games have been, and will probably remain, memories highlights of my life.
As you know, souvenirs are good for the soul and hearth. So here is the first in a series of posts that I will write about video games that have made an impression on me.
1) Asteroids (video arcade game - Atari 1979) Asteroids was a vector based multi-directional shooter in a two-dimensional view that wraps around in both screen axes. The object of the game was to shoot and destroy asteroids and saucers while not colliding with either, or being hit by the saucers’ counter-fire.
Yes, this is the first video game I played in my life. I was about 8-9 years old at the time. My mother brought me in Florida to visit Disneyland. At the hotel where we stayed, they had, in a small room, four or five video arcade games, one of them was Asteroids. I was hooked at the first sight of it. Each morning before our departure and in the evening, at our return, I stayed for hours playing the game. I’m sure, that week, the machine had swallowed over $40 in quarters.
Like many who already played to this game, I didn’t use, at first, the ship truster and its space drift effect to move around in the screen, I was simply spinning in the center, smashing all the large asteroids in smaller pieces coming toward my ship.
Funny facts about Atari Asteroids from across the Web:
Asteroids was a hit in the United States and became Atari’s best selling game of all time.
Asteroids was so popular that video arcade owners sometimes had to install larger boxes to hold the amount of quarters that were spent by players.
The main Asteroids game program uses only 6 KB of ROM code.
The game was conceived by Lyle Rains, Atari’s vice president of engineering in 1979, and programmed and designed by Ed Logg. In fact, Rains called Logg into his office and said “what about a game where you smash asteroids - big rocks into small rocks?”
Working on Asteroids was so intense that Lyle Rains and Ed Logg often dreamt about their work. Ed Logg: “I was shooting the asteroids all night long… I’d just play the game over and over and over in my head, just as if you were playing it in real life”.
A good barometer of a game’s future success was how popular it was within the labs at Atari. The software developers often had to chase people away from their prototype machines when they arrived at their desks in the morning or returned from lunch. Lyle Rains: “The development on the really good games gets bogged down, because people want to… play them all the time”
On November 13, 1982, 15-year-old Scott Safran, of Cherry Hill, NJ, set a world record of 41,336,440 points on the classic arcade game Asteroids.
After hearing of a charity event to raise money towards research on muscular dystrophy in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Safran became interested in helping out, and agreed to “marathon” a game of Asteroids. Safran managed to continue his game for an astonishing eighty-one hours, occasionally stopping for food or bathroom breaks. He stopped the game voluntarily after this extended period of time and went home with his parents. His score was 41,336,440 points, a record that still stands to this day, making it the longest-standing world record in arcade history.
In July of 1982, two men in Hyde Park, NY played on one quarter and got a score of 48,830,930. Matthew Collier and John Denver both of Hyde Park at the time, alternated every 100,000 pts which took about 12 minutes, trying to briefly nap on their off time. The lengthy session took 84 hours, as they played in a laundry mat after convincing the owner to allow them to lock themselves in at night. They actually quit the game because they were just too run down.
Three American brothers who have not spoken to each other in a year set off on a train voyage across India with a plan to find themselves and bond with each other — to become brothers again like they used to be.
It’s the fifth feature film by director Wes Anderson The films starts Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray in cameo role. Note that Owen Wilson and Bill Murray appears in all the movies of Wes Anderson. Like in all his movies, The Darjeeling Limited includes many of Anderson’s signature themes and styles, such as forbidden love, parental abandonment and/or death, sibling rivalries, and timeless fashions and props.
Before doing this feature film, Anderson directed Hotel Chevalier, a 13 minutes short film that acts as a prologue to The Darjeeling Limited. It stars Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman. The last writing of Jack at the end of The Darjeeling Limited makes reference to the conversation he has with his ex-wife in this Paris hotel. Before I finish this post I decided to download and watch the short film.
Now I have only one word for the movie and its prologue: Wow! The actors are good, the scenario is king, the music soudtrack is awesome. A feel good movie at its best.
The service is launching in beta and has a number of limitations.
First, only the first 10,000 developers to sign up for the beta will be allowed to deploy applications.
The service is completely free during the beta period, but there are ceilings on usage. Applications cannot use more than 500 MB of total storage, 200 million megacycles/day CPU time, and 10 GB bandwidth (both ways) per day. We’re told this equates to about 5M pageviews/mo for the typical web app. After the beta period, those ceilings will be removed, but developers will need to pay for any overage. Google has not yet set pricing for the service.
One current limitation is a requirement that applications be written in Python, a popular scripting language for building modern web apps (Ruby and PHP are among others widely used). Google says that Python is just the first supported language, and that the entire infrastructure is designed to be language neutral. Google’s initial focus on Python makes sense because they use Python internally as their scripting language
Producer J. J. Abrams conceived of a new monster after he and his son visited a toy store in Japan while promoting Mission: Impossible III. He explained: “We saw all these Godzilla toys, and I thought, we need our own [American] monster”.
This is exactly what Cloverfield is, a mix between The Blair Witch Project and an American Godzilla, as told from the point of view of a small group of people through a handy-cam.
The movie is short, about 80 minutes. It costs 30 millions and has grossed $152,959,793 around the world. Nod Bad, and again very similar to the Blair Witch Project (minus the World Guiness Record for the highest profit-to-cost ratio for a motion picture).