Correspondents in California | October 12, 2007
SEEKING to fill gaps in its product line-up, video game publisher Electronic Arts said it would acquire two software studios from Elevation Partners in a deal worth $US860 million ($956.65 million), the largest in its history.
The studios, BioWare and Pandemic Studios, are known for their action, adventure and role-playing games. Elevation owns their parent, VG Holding.
EA, the world’s leading video game publisher, is known for blockbusters such as “The Sims” and “Madden NFL,” but it has at times had less than 10 per cent of the lucrative market for role-playing, action and adventure games.
“These guys are powerhouses there, and this acquisition puts us in a strong competitive position now,” Frank Gibeau, president of EA Games, said.
Under the terms of the deal, EA will pay VG stockholders up to $US620 million in cash and issue as much as $US155 million in equity to some of the company’s employees. The shares will be subject to certain time- and performance-restricted vesting criteria.
EA will also assume about $US50 million in outstanding VG stock options and has agreed to lend VG up to $US35 million until the deal closes.
Correspondents in North Carolina | October 12, 2007
GOOGLE is bringing the world of online video and map-making closer by allowing users of its Google Earth software to watch and hear YouTube videos mapped to specific locations.
Google is offering a new YouTube video overlay on top of its Google Earth three-dimensional visualisation software, which combines satellite images, maps, terrain and buildings of the world.
By allowing YouTube creators to geographically locate their videos on a map of the world, Google enables internet users to zoom in on locations around the planet and watch
YouTube tied to that place.
For example, travellers to Maui might find videos of surfing, snorkelling or exotic fish, while virtual visitors to Chamonix-Mont Blanc can watch mountaintop ski videos in the Alps.
Google Earth users can already view user-contributed photos uploaded to Panoramio, a photo-mapping service Google acquired in May. In the case of YouTube videos, video creators assign geographical information to their works – a process also known as “geo-tagging” – as they upload them to the site.
Google Earth users can watch but not geo-tag videos, a Google spokeswoman said.
Coonan 1 – Telstra 0
Michael Sainsbury | October 11, 2007
TELSTRA has failed in a bid to get the federal Government to release confidential documents relating to the $1.9 billion regional broadband project, as part of the telco’s court case against Communications Minister Helen Coonan.
Communications Minister Helen Coonan vindicated after Justice Peter Graham dismissed Telstra’s application to access confidential Opel documents
Telstra’s shareholders will now be forced to pay the minister’s costs.
Federal Court judge Peter Graham dismissed Telstra’s application, which sought access to government documents about the $938 million tender awarded to the Optus/Elders (Opel) consortium in order to determine whether Telstra had grounds to sue over the decision.
It is the latest blow in Telstra’s multi-pronged legal attack on the Government. Telstra recently withdrew a legal action against the Government over new conditions on its licence regarding regional mobile phone coverage.
But Telstra is still fighting the Government in the High Court, where it wants the entire telecommunications regulatory regime declared unconstitutional.
“The judgment speaks for itself,” a spokesman for Senator Coonan said of the latest decision.
Telstra’s regional broadband bid was dismissed by the Government because the telco did not want to commit any of its own networks or funds to the project.
The winning Opel proposal committed $900 million in cash, networks and other assets to the Broadband Connect project.
Telstra yesterday continued to argue with the umpire’s decision.
Sony Computer Entertainment have just released the new 40GB model PLAYSTATION®3 for the amazing price of just $699.95. There are some key differences between the new 40GB model, and the old 60GB model. See the chart below for exact specifications of the new 40GB model, as well as a chart outlining the specific differences between the new and old systems.
NEW PLAYSTATION®3 40GB SPECIFICATIONS
|CPU||Cell Broadband Engine™ Processor|
|Sound||Dolby 5.1ch, DTS 5.1ch, LPCM 7.1ch, AAC, others *1 *2|
|Memory||256MB XDR Main RAM, 256MB GDDR3 VRAM|
|HDD||2.5″ Serial ATA||40GB|
|Communication||Ethernet||x1 (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)|
|IEEE 802.11 b/g||Included|
|Bluetooth 2.0 (EDR)||Included|
|Wireless controller (Bluetooth)||Included|
|AV Output||Screen size||576i, 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p|
|HDMI OUT||x1 *3|
|AV MULTI OUT||x1|
|DIGITAL OUT (OPTICAL)||x1|
|Maximum Read Speed||BD 2x (BD-ROM)
DVD 8x (DVD-ROM)
CD 24x (CD-ROM)
|Dimensions||Approximately 325mm (W) x 98mm (H) x 274mm (D)|
|Weight||Approximately 5 kg|
Sanitation campaigner to live in toilet
By Lim Chang-Won in Seoul
October 11, 2007 02:01pm
SIM Jae-Duck was born in a toilet and now he plans to live and die in one – a $US1.6 million ($1.8m) toilet-shaped house designed to promote his tireless campaign for cleaner loos worldwide.
Mr Sim will open what is billed as the world’s one and only toilet house on November 11 to mark the launch of his World Toilet Association.
The 419 sq m concrete and glass structure is rising on the site of Mr Sim’s former home in his native city of Suweon, 40km south of Seoul.
Before he moves in, anyone who is flush with funds can rent it for $US50,000 a day – with proceeds going to his campaign to provide poor countries with proper sanitary facilities.
YouTube – Worlds Smallest Mobile Phone Wristwatch
Worlds Smallest Mobile Phone Wristwatch
Welcome to the future! The M500 Cellwatch ™is the world’s smallest mobile watch phone.
Keeping time and keeping Contact will never be the same again. The M500 Cellwatch ™takes mobile communications to a whole new level.With over 80 hours standby time, full sms functionality, full blue tooth compatibility, Internet Browser, WAP, GPRS, MMS,Mp3 Mp4 Player, Flight Mode, A2DP Stereo Sound, 128 Mb Memory, USB and Data Cable for connectivity and software uploads and downloads, 300 number memory storage and its sleek sophisticated design make this the world’s first truly mobile Cellwatch ™.
Disk technology takes Nobel Prize
French scientist Albert Fert and Peter Grunberg of Germany have won the 2007 Nobel Prize for physics.
They discovered the phenomenon of “giant magnetoresistance”, in which weak magnetic changes give rise to big differences in electrical resistance.
The knowledge has allowed industry to develop sensitive reading tools to pull data off hard drives in computers, iPods and other digital devices.
It has made it possible to radically miniaturise hard disks in recent years.
Matin Durrani, editor of Physics World, a journal published by the UK’s Institute of Physics, said the award had gone to “something very practically based and rooted in research relevant to industry”.
“It shows that physics has a real relevance not just to understanding natural phenomena but to real products in everyday life,” he added.
Games violence study is launched
The government is asking for evidence for a new study of the effect of violent computer games on children.
Psychologist Tanya Byron will head the study, which will also examine how to protect children from online material.
The review is due to be launched by Dr Byron – together with Schools Secretary Ed Balls and Culture Secretary James Purnell – at a school in east London.
The games industry’s association Elspa said it would co-operate – but it was too often blamed for society’s ills.
Paul Jackson, of Elspa (the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers’ Association), said the body had already met with Dr Byron and would work with the government on the review.
Industry reacts to games review
| The government is launching a review into video games, violence and children, headed by psychologist Dr Tanya Byron. The review will also look at how to protect young people from net pornography.
Leading figures in the games industry give their views on the review.
DAVID BRABEN, FOUNDER FRONTIER GAMES
A review might be useful but the review should not just look at one media, especially when media are intersecting. One of my concerns is that the application of ratings and consideration of ratings is largely spoken to by how people consider film.
Unifying the two would be helpful. Creating a review that is just one narrow part of the entertainment industry is a mistake.
Historically there has always been in government a Luddite sentiment – whatever the new industry trends to take the blame of the latest ailment of society. This is an industry which often does not answer back.
All current plasma TVs and many LCDs could be removed from sale by 2011. (File photo)
Photo: Reuters/Las Vegas Sun
Most plasma television sets are in danger of being banned from sale in Australia if a proposed energy-efficiency rating system is adopted.
A report commissioned by the Federal Government says there is a growing demand for plasma and LCD televisions, which use more power than traditional TV sets.
It says energy rating labels are needed to tell consumers about the performance of the TVs.
But under a proposed six-star rating system, most current plasma TVs do not meet the requirements and could be removed from sale.
The report also suggests “minimum energy performance standards” be introduced which would eliminate the worst performing TVs.
It would mean all current plasma TVs and many LCDs could be removed from sale by 2011.
Manufacturers say they support the introduction of energy efficiency standards, but they need more time before the measures are implemented.
Australian Digital Suppliers Industry Forum coordinator Tim O’Keefe says it is unrealistic to expect manufacturers to meet the guidelines so soon.
“It’s just totally unreasonable considering that we’re a very small part of the global market,” he said.
“They’re expecting that the global suppliers will actually introduce or develop the technologies in such a time frame to be introduced for the Australian market.”
But Australian Greenhouse Office spokesman Gene McGlynn says it is likely manufacturers will have two years to meet any standard that is introduced.
“By the time the standard came into place, with the industry knowing that the these standards are coming in, they can adjust their supply chains to make sure that the products will [meet the requirements],” he said.
“Again the history is that all the reputable suppliers will meet the standard.”