Episode 061

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Family bets GPS will help beat teen's ticket – CNN.com
Family bets GPS will help beat teen's ticket

 

The retired deputy, Roger Rude, readily admits his 17-year-old stepson, Shaun Malone, enjoys putting the pedal to the metal. That's why he and Shaun's mother insisted on putting a global positioning system that monitors the location and speed of the boy's Toyota Celica.

Shaun complained bitterly about his electronic chaperone until it became his new best friend on July 4, when he was pulled over and cited for going 62 mph in a 45 mph zone.

Rude encouraged him to fight the ticket after the log he downloaded using software provided by the GPS unit's Colorado-based supplier showed Shaun was going the speed limit within 100 feet of where a Petaluma officer clocked him speeding.

Australian farmer became a hero to speeders everywhere when he got a ticket dismissed after presenting police with data from his tracking device.

His parents signed up to be automatically notified by e-mail whenever he exceeded 70 mph, and the one time he did he lost his driving privileges for 10 days

iTWire – Leopard's 2,000,000 weekend
Leopard's 2,000,000 weekend

 Apple sold two million copies of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard on its first weekend, including those shipped to customers with maintenance licences.

MySpace co-founder busted for faking his age – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
MySpace co-founder busted for faking his age

 

The thirtysomething millionaire who co-founded the popular social networking site MySpace has been outed as an age-faker.

Newsweek magazine reports that Tom Anderson was lying about his age since launching the site in 2003.

Anderson's MySpace profile lists his age as 32. But according to Newsweek, he will in fact turn 37 next week.

And that would have made him a 32-year-old when the site launched, not a 27-year-old wunderkind.

MySpaceTV unveils original drama – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
MySpaceTV unveils original drama

 

MySpaceTV, the video wing of the online community network, has unveiled its first original web series to give its users a television-like experience with the interactive benefits of the internet.

Roommates will track the lives of four women in their 20s who have recently graduated from college and are living together in Los Angeles.

The web show debuts Monday (local time) and runs through December 21 for a total of 45 episodes.

A new, three-minute segment will play each day, Monday through Friday.

Fans are expected to engage characters online and influence the plot.

Most US TV networks are rapidly ramping up production of short "webisodes" to recapture viewers they may be losing to the web.

Agile systems turn data into gold | Australian IT
Agile systems turn data into gold

 NEXT time you call your bank, the phone jockey may know if you've just lost your job or whether you are in the mood to increase your margin loan.

That's because some of Australia's biggest brands are among the first companies in the world to experiment with agile customer management systems capable of converting vast reservoirs of data into intimate customer profiles.

Qantas, Singtel's Optus, National Australia Bank and Vodafone are among the companies developing ways to reorganise their data stores to give their marketing arms unprecedented levels of intelligence about their customers.

According to Gartner, National Australia Bank has recently created a sales program that generates leads using analytical software that monitors customer transactions.

The sales program generates 78 per cent of the bank's new business but only accounts for about 20 per cent of all its new sales leads.

Gartner says businesses need to start shifting away from what it describes as passive marketing campaigns towards multiple-channel and trigger based marketing that can draw on a wider set of data sources.

For many organisations this will mean a shift towards creating more targeted email campaigns that interact with other marketing parts of their operations intelligently, and away from blind send-and-pray campaigns.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Wind-up lights for African homes

Wind-up lights for African homes

The Freeplay Foundation has given out more than 150,000 radios

The technology behind the wind-up radio could soon be helping to light up some of the poorest homes in Africa.

The Freeplay Foundation is developing prototypes of a charging station for house lights it hopes will improve the quality of life for many Africans.

The Foundation said the lights would replace the expensive, polluting and unhealthy alternatives many Africans currently use to light their homes.

Field testing of the prototypes will start in Kenya in the next few months.

Light and life

Kristine Pearson, director of the Freeplay Foundation, said few Africans in the continents most vulnerable areas had access to electricity to light homes.

"Their life stops or is very narrowed when the sun goes down," she said. "Two extra hours of light would make a big difference to their life."

The World Bank estimates that more than 500 million people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to electricity supplies that could be used to light their homes.

Hi-res images available on request (low-res images attached)
 
ASUS Eee PC to hit Australian shores in December
 
Sydney, Australia, November 1, 2007 – ASUS, a leading provider of computers, communications and consumer electronics (3C) total solutions, today announced the “world’s easiest PC” – the Eee PC will arrive in Australia in December just in time for Christmas, with a recommended retail price of AU$499 inc GST.
 
Since its introduction in June 2007 at Computex Taipei, the Eee PC has generated excitement, incredible media noise as well as enthusiastic public interest. Initially the Eee PC, aimed at the education market, was to be available only via special tender, however due to the enormous demand ASUS are now considering extending to retail and are in the process of selecting its partner/s of choice.
 
The revolutionary Eee PC is a new line of PC – a lifestyle gadget designed for internet access and learning. It is based on the three Es: Easy to learn, Easy to work, Easy to play; and focuses on providing users with comprehensive internet applications and excellent mobile online experience.
 
Ted Chen, Managing Director of ASUS Australia, said, “Standing by our commitment to aim to provide everyone a chance to own a PC, ASUS has introduced the affordable and very easy, Eee PC, giving people the chance to access the internet and share in this 21st century opportunity.”
 
“Applications on PCs today are mostly online, whether it is checking emails and communicating via other methods such as instant messaging or voice over IP, utilising online share spaces, or simply reading news. Being online has now become a big part of daily computing operations for work and fun, for young and old.”
 
The Eee PC is more compact than most PCs and is lightweight and rugged. The hard drive has been substituted for flash storage and connectivity is industry-standard. The operating system is based on Linux, however it also provides users the opportunity to opt for Windows Vista. Most importantly, the attractive cost makes the Eee PC highly affordable.
 
Overall, the Eee PC is a highly portable PC with a difference – to make a difference. Providing users with a new mobile internet experience like never before, by a mere point-and-click, it will change the way we work, live and play.
 
The Eee PC will be available in Australia from December 2007 with the recommended retail price of AU$499 inc GST.
 
About ASUS
ASUS is a leading provider of 3C total solutions. With a global staff of more than 100 thousand and a world-class R&D design team, the turnover for 2006 was 17.4 billion U.S. Dollars. ASUS has been ranked in Business Week InfoTech 100 for 9 straight years, and was ranked No.1 by the Wall Street Journal for best quality products in Taiwan. Visit www.asus.com <http://www.asus.com/> .

BBC NEWS | Technology | Why popstars are going it alone

Why popstars are going it alone

Internet law professor Michael Geist examines how musicians are taking the issue of copy controls into their own hands.

Artists, including Avril Lavigne, have spoken out about suing fans

Music industry lobby groups have long been among the most vocal advocates of copyright reform, urging governments worldwide to prioritise intellectual property protection.

Led by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and its sister national organisations, these groups frequently blame government inaction for recent sales declines, arguing that legal reforms are needed to support music industry innovation.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Leopard upgrade hits Mac firewall

Leopard upgrade hits Mac firewall

Upgrading to Leopard can mean your firewall is turned off

Upgrading to the latest version of Apple's operating system, might make a Mac less secure, say experts.

A test of Leopard revealed that installing it led to the firewall on a Mac being turned off and its default setting changed to leave it disabled.

Heise Security, who conducted the tests, said the failings meant users could not "rely" on the firewall to protect them.

Apple has yet to comment about the security shortcomings in Leopard.

Leopard, the newest version of OS X, was launched on 26 October and since then Apple claims to have sold or delivered more than two million copies of the software.

But a test of Leopard by Heise Security security expert Jurgen Schmidt found that the firewall in the updated software was set to off and allowed any and every incoming net connection.

Mr Schmidt also found that installing the software as an upgrade to a machine on which the firewall was turned on would lead to this protective software being turned off when that computer was re-started.

 

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27 Ways to Save the Consoles (page 2 of 4) Feature on GamePro.com

XBOX 360

Evil…evil…

The D-pad sucks
This one hurts. The Xbox 360 controller is a fine device in most ways, but its directional pad is an inaccurate mess. Part of the problem is that Sony and Nintendo own all the best directional pad patents (ever wonder why you always see the same d-pad design on Sony and Nintendo consoles?), and Microsoft had to engineer its own solution. We're excited about the upcoming release of Street Fighter II HD …but not about having to pull of Dragon Punches using that awful, awful d-pad.

The continued hardware failures
The Xbox 360's games are grand; its hardware isn't. Microsoft made a major gamble by rushing development of the Xbox 360 so they could hit their 2005 launch, and unfortunately gamers are paying the price for that haste. The Xbox 360 is one of the poorest-constructed game consoles in recent memory, with a huge number of known hardware flaws, several of which can permanently kill the system. Heat is the key problem, and it's a problem that Microsoft has carefully dodged. It took a team at Nikkei Electronics to confirm the overheating problems, and their thermal design expert commented "the heat sink on the graphics [chip] is so small, I wonder if it can really cool down the board." They even found that a supposedly "repaired" unit had the exact same heat flaws, which included a too-small fan and an overly cramped interior that reduced air flow.

Red Reings: happening all-too frequently

Not good. Microsoft made a few other key errors, too, such as promoting the Xbox 360's vertical orientation — a configuration that actually blocks the largest vent on the Xbox 360, increasing heat and further risking damage. The company should be commended for extending its Xbox 360 warranty (three years!) to cover victims of the dreaded Red Ring of Death. But if you read the fine print, there's a catch: the warranty extension only covers the Red Ring failures. That's a major limitation, because some Xbox 360 manufacturing runs are known to use substandard DVD drives that scratch discs or give false disc read errors.

So there's no major fix here, no magic button that Microsoft can press to fix all of these hardware problems. Upgrading the warranty to cover DVD-related flaws would be a great step, as would offering vouchers to existing 360 owners for a discount on the inevitable

No Wi-fi on the Elite
Who wants more cables and clutter? Apparently Microsoft. Integrated Wi-fi on the Xbox 360 Elite should have been a no-brainer, but Microsoft didn't include it when every other console maker did – even the handhelds have Wi-fi! So why Microsoft's blatant omission? The only possible reason is cost-cutting, but even that's a lame excuse: Wi-fi chips cost under $10 when bought in bulk.

Enough with the double-As
Short and sweet here. Microsoft should include the rechargeable controller pack as a standard feature, at least in the Pro and Elite lines. Who buys disposable batteries anymore, anyway?

Same 120GB hard drive, half the price

Overpriced hard drives
On what planet does a basic 120GB external hard drive cost $179 plus tax? Planet Microsoft, apparently. Identical 120GB drives run for $85 on Newegg, which means Microsoft is essentially marking them up 100 percent. Memo to Microsoft: please stop nickel-and-diming gamers.

Subscription fees: lose 'em!
Xbox Live is the leader in online game matchmaking and community. But with Sony and Nintendo offering free online alternatives, Xbox Live is also the leader in charging way too much for online play. To keep costs low, Microsoft could introduce a few banner advertisements and reserve ranked play for paying subscribers.

27 Ways to Save the Consoles (page 3 of 4) Feature on GamePro.com

Wii

Continued supply issues make us say "hmmm"
It's funny. During the launch of the PS3 and Xbox 360, mainstream reporters from respected pubs like The New York Times frequently asked us we thought Sony and Microsoft were purposefully restricting launch console supplies to create a "false shortage" and jack up interest and sales. We didn't believe that then, and we don't believe Nintendo's doing it now…or, at least, we don't want to believe it. But Nintendo's continued inability to keep Wii consoles on the shelves — almost a year after its launch! — is a puzzling situation indeed.

There are two core possibilities. Maybe Nintendo really is incapable of keeping up with demand on Wii production…though considering that Nintendo is one Japan's biggest entertainment companies, this idea becomes increasingly unlikely with each passing month. The other, more Machiavellian possibility is that Nintendo really is constricting its Wii manufacturing in order to keep supply tight and encourage people to buy early. This wouldn't be the first time Nintendo has been accused of holding back on launch hardware to bolster interest: industry insiders have claimed for years that the company performed a similar bait-and-switch move with the Nintendo 64's 1996 holiday launch.

Whatever the cause, it's time for Nintendo to fix the supply issue. Enough with the excuses. The Wii has enjoyed enormous success already, and Nintendo owes it to their fans to release enough consoles to satisfy demand.

Lack of storage and storage options
Doesn't Nintendo want Wii owners to download games? And what about the upcoming Wii Ware titles? The internal drive is limited to a paltry 512MB; that's less than a CD-ROM! And with Nintendo confirmed that there are no other storage options in the works, it looks like gamers are stuck. What to do? Why, offer an external USB drive, of course. Why Nintendo doesn't do precisely that is a mystery, but it's a huge inconvenience for otherwise happy Wii players.

WiiDVD playing could be a lot of fun

STILL no WiiVD playback
Nintendo spent the past year telling us how great the Wii is, how many sales records it broke, how it beat Microsoft and Sony, yadda yadda yadda. Yet they haven't done much to expand or extend the console, and DVD playback is a great example. Nintendo originally planned to offer DVD movie playback, but dropped it at the last minutes to save a few bucks on DVD licensing fees. Now that the Wii's a smash hit, why not add it back as a downloadable update? DVD players are a dime a dozen, but the Wii Remote seems like a fun, natural way to navigate through DVD menus and chapters. And it's a nice way to say "thanks" to the gamers who made the Wii so successful. So Nintendo, why haven't you offered a WiiDVD player function yet?

Bring on the rechargeable battery pack
Much like our complaints about the Xbox 360 controller, it's high time Nintendo start offering a rechargeable battery pack with the Wii. It'll cut down on waste (green is in, right?) and it's far more convenient for the gamer. At the moment, the only rechargeable batteries come from third-party manufacturers like Joytech and Nyko. Come on, Nintendo, it's time to join the party!

Where's the online play?
Nintendo may think that it doesn't need to focus on online play in order to sell a ton of Wiis, but this is an out-of-date philosophy. Gamers expect online play and community features these days, and the Wii doesn't have them. It takes years to create and perfect a great online gaming service — even Microsoft didn't get it right with the first version of Xbox Live.

Too many bad games
Ask any hardcore Wii player: there are a lot of awful, worthless Wii games. It seems that by reaching the much-desired "casual gamer," Nintendo actually opened Pandora's Box. Now the Wii software lineup is littered with hastily developed games with little or no lasting value. This isn't exactly Nintendo's fault, per se, but the company could put a larger focus on quality. Say, by bringing back the "Official Nintendo Seal of Quality" and making it mean something for a change.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | US TV shows threatened by strike

US TV shows threatened by strike

The screenwriters' current contract runs out at the end of October

Hit US television series such as Heroes and Grey's Anatomy could be threatened by a strike of Hollywood screenwriters.

Los Angeles-based writers are poised to take action over the terms of a new three-year contract, with the current agreement running out on 31 October.

The Writers Guild of America wants its members to receive payment when their work is featured on the internet and via mobile phones.

Broadcasters are preparing to screen reality shows if the strike goes ahead.

Screenwriters last took industrial action in 1988, delaying TV series and costing a reported $500m (£249m).

Film production

If writers walk out, the effect would not be felt immediately as TV networks have enough episodes of shows written and in production to last until the end of the year, industry executives and analysts said.

But after that, schedules will run into trouble.

US viewers could start seeing an onslaught of repeats, game and reality shows when TV shows run out of new episodes.

The next Bond film is due for release in 2009

A prolonged writers strike could also affect next year's TV season as pilots for next autumn are being written now.

Hollywood film production is also expected to be hit, but would not suffer the effects of even a prolonged strike immediately because of the long time required to make films.

But movie studios could soon be wrestling with plots and endings for unfinished 2008/9 blockbusters such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the next James Bond instalment.

Negotiations are set to resume later at the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers offices in Los Angeles.

The outcome of any talks between writers and the studios will set the stage for discussions with actors, whose deal runs out at the end of June 2008.

nintendo.com.au – News from Nintendo

POKÉMON MANAPHY CHARACTER – AVAILABLE IN JB HI-FI STORES NATIONALLY
– 7 November – 13 November 2007 –
 

Melbourne, Australia, 31 October, 2007 – For one week only, Pokémon fans will have the opportunity to use their Nintendo DS in JB Hi-Fi stores nationally to receive the sought after Manaphy Pokémon character.

The Manaphy distribution celebrates the release of Pokémon Movie 9: Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, which stars mysterious Manaphy, and will be available in JB Hi-Fi stores from 7 November.

Manaphy has an exclusive move called Heart Swap, which switches healing effects with other Pokémon. To add to the excitement, Manaphy will appear inside the elusive Cherish Ball, a special Poké Ball only available through character distribution at events.

To receive Manaphy, Pokémon fans can visit any of the 78 JB Hi-Fi stores around Australia during the 7 – 13 November 2007. 

Game Library

Guitar Hero III – Legends of Rock Wii Out Now!  
 

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock – Fire up the fretboard, crank up the amp and get ready to rock like never before. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock drops you into the spotlight of the largest and most legendary rock concert ever. The star-studded soundtrack includes master tracks by such legendary artists as Guns N’ Roses, The Rolling Stones, Beastie Boys, Muse and Pearl Jam. With added songs as made legendary by Kiss, Alice Cooper and Heart. Now drop that air guitar, tune your exclusive new Wireless Les Paul Guitar Controller and shred the night away with Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.

  • Category:
    Party
  • Rating:
    PG
  • Publisher:
    Activision
  • Skill Level:
    Beginner – Intermediate

Big Brain Academy for Wii

Guitar Hero III – Legends of Rock

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

BBC NEWS | Technology | Google opens up social networking

Google opens up social networking

Developers will have wider distribution for their widgets

Google has launched a system that will allow developers to create applications for a variety of social networks.

Developers currently have to customise their designs for a particular site with many partnering with the hugely popular Facebook.

Google's OpenSocial system will allow a wider distribution for tools like Facebook's music recommendation service iLike and its Top Friends application.

It has long been reported that Google has big ambitions in social networking.

Last week it missed out on the chance to buy a stake in Facebook with the founders choosing instead to do a deal with Microsoft.

"Facebook-fear"

Google said that around a dozen social network partners had signed up to the system, including business site LinkedIn, Friendster and Google's own social network Orkut.

Developers already onboard include Flixster, iLike and RockYou.

Unlike Facebook, OpenSocial allows developers to write in normal javascript and html with only minor adjustments needed for the code to work on its platform.

According to blog TechCrunch the plan is likely to be a big hit with developers as well as Facebook's rivals.

"Developers have been complaining non stop about the costs of learning yet another markup language for every new social network platform, and taking developer time in creating and maintaining the code," wrote TechCrunch's Michael Arrington.

He is impressed by the number of social networks that have signed up so far.

"Facebook-fear has clearly driven good partners to side with Google," he wrote.

The Apple Store (Australia) – Mac OS X Leopard Retail

Mac OS X Leopard Retail

 

Add a new Mac to your Mac. Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard is packed with over 300 new features, installs easily, and works with the software and accessories you already have.

Choose a single-user license for home or office. Or if you have more than one Mac at home, choose the five-user Family Pack.*

Select your product:
  Single User A$ 158.00
 
  Family Pack A$ 249.00

BBC NEWS | Technology | Intel backs wireless Africa plan

Intel backs wireless Africa plan

Intel chairman Craig Barrett is on a tour of Africa

Africa needs to embrace wireless broadband as a potential solution to the digital divide, the chairman of Intel Craig Barrett has said.

"It's cheaper, easier and more efficient to communicate wirelessly," he told the BBC News website.

Less than 1% of Africans have access to broadband and only 4% use the net.

The International Telecommunications Union has predicted that the Intel-backed Wimax system could become the dominant mobile standard in Africa.

The continent's geography and political barriers have made it difficult to roll out wired broadband.

There is a shortage of fibre cable links between African countries and very few states have extensive copper wire networks for ADSL broadband.

Mr Barrett, who is in Africa as part of the Intel World Ahead programme, said: "In every African country, except some of the more established economies, cell phones vastly outnumber fixed line phones.

"You always have to put the backhaul channels in – which is why you need an overlaid fibre network.aussi

Aussie Tech Head – Have you heard of Zoho before now
Have you heard of Zoho before now?

128 km Brisbane (Marburg) Radar Loop

Aussie Tech Head – POF's – Aussie Tech Head

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Telstra gets virtually political | Australian IT

Telstra gets virtually political

Siobhain Ryan | October 31, 2007

TELSTRA has taken its slanging match with the Howard Government a step further, launching a federal election website.

The publicly listed company, which has campaigned aggressively against the telecommunication policies of its former government owner, set up the site yesterday.

It will give the public the chance to rate the telecommunications policies of parties contesting the November 24 poll.

Dedicated space is allocated to the Coalition and Labor, Democrats, Greens and Family First, with all six parties free to publish their own content, according to the telecom giant's release.

"The individual party blog spaces will not be editorially controlled by Telstra (beyond any defamatory legal issues) and each participant will be free to say and debate anything they wish," it said.

Leopard strikes two million times | Australian IT

Leopard strikes two million times

Dilipp S. Nag in Bangalore | October 31, 2007

APPLE said it sold more than two million copies of the latest version of its operating system, Mac OS X Leopard, since its release on Friday.

Local figures are not available as the company doesn't break down results by country, an Apple Australia spokeswoman said.

The sales of Leopard far outpaced the first-weekend sales of Mac OS X Tiger, which was previously the most successful OS release in Apple’s history, the company said.

Leopard introduces new features to Apple PCs, including automatic backup, a quick way to browse and share files over multiple Macs, and a new way to see files without opening an application, the company said in a statement.

3 Skypephone unveiled in Australia | Australian IT

3 Skypephone unveiled in Australia

Fran Foo | October 30, 2007

THREE Mobile is banking on a new handset, produced in conjunction with internet communications company Skype, to help increase its small business subscriber base.

3 Skypephone transcends a specific demographic and would be aimed at business users, expatriates and international students

Dubbed the 3 Skypephone, the device allows users to easily access a list of their Skype "buddies" and shows who is online, offline, or available to talk – a feature called Presence.

Pre-paid customers would pay $179 for the phone. For post-paid users, the 3 Skypephone comes as part of normal capped plans which start at $29 per month.

Both sets of customers would receive 4,000 minutes of Skype-to-Skype calls and 10,000 Skype chat messages each month.

The new 3G handset transcends a specific demographic and would be aimed at business users, expatriates and international students.

But Noel Hamill, 3 Australia sales and marketing director, singled out small business users.

"This batch of customers are heavy users of communications.

"If they can pay nothing, apart from the usual flat monthly fee and get 4,000 minutes of calls for free to other Skype members, I think this is a very compelling proposition for them to get the phone," Mr Hamill said.

27 Ways to Save the Consoles Feature on GamePro.com

PLAYSTATION 3

Freezing Sixaxis controllers
This is a widespread phenomenon, but it's been shockingly underreported. The Sixaxis controller connects to the PS3 via a wireless Bluetooth signal; from time to time, this connection is apparently interrupted. When the signal drops, all controller input will "freeze" for as long as five seconds (seen countless times in Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection) before re-connecting and playing as normal.

Some evidence points to the Bluetooth technology, as freezing never happens when the Sixaxis is connected via a USB 2.0 cable. It also seems to happen more frequently when the battery is more depleted. A firmware fix might fix or better manage these disconnects — they really are a drag during marathon sessions of Tekken 5 and Warhawk.

No Sixaxis auto-off
It's almost 2008. Wireless controllers should know when to shut off. Period. But the Sixaxis stupidly remains on, sucking at the internal battery even when it hasn't been touched in hours. It's not a huge problem now, but when the DualShock 3 and its battery-gobbling rumble mechanism are added to the mix, battery life could suffer. A software patch could theoretically enable this sorely needed feature.

Still no Xbox Live equivalent
It's been twelve months since the PS3's launch, and there still isn't a decent alternative to Microsoft's Xbox Live service. Sony deserves major props for introducing free online matchmaking, but the lack of a holistic, integrated online community and store make PS3 online play a pale shadow of the Xbox 360's offering. No standard voice chat? No in-game buddy lists or messaging? That's completely unacceptable. We hold out hope that Home, Sony's budding virtual community, will somehow address these massive shortcomings, but there's been no word on whether it features in-game messaging or buddy lists.

It's ugly, but it's free!

No bundled microphone
This is another one of those small, smart details that Microsoft mastered: virtually every Xbox 360 sold comes equipped with a small, cheap headset/microphone. This means that almost every Xbox Live user can voice chat right away – no extra purchases needed. None of the PS3 models comes with a headset, so the vast majority of online PS3 matches are eerily silent affairs. Sony should follow Microsoft's lead: package a cheap USB headset (possibly powered by the Sixaxis's mini-USB port) with the 80GB PS3s.

Developers aren't taking advantage
The PS3's technologies sure sound impressive — Blu-ray storage, the Cell processor, hard drives, et cetera — but you wouldn't guess that by seeing the third-party games released thus far. Sony's in danger of losing developer interest for the PS3, mostly because the PS3's highly specialized technology is far harder to program for than the Xbox 360's more straightforward approach. The new-fangled Cell CPU is a particular sticking point for game developers, who are forced to make a difficult choice: spend lots of time mastering a complicated CPU, or cut corners and treat it more like the Xbox 360's standard CPU. Most developers are trending towards the latter solution, which hurts third-party PS3 games. The solution: Sony needs to spend more energy on teaching game developers how to program for Cell, as well as building better middleware solutions to ease PS3 development. Otherwise, third-party PS3 games will continue to suffer when compared to their Xbox 360 counterparts.

Motion sensing: not a strong suit

Motion sensing: use it or lose it
The Sixaxis's motion controls continue to be ignored by the vast majority of PS3 developers. Why is that? Because, as a primary input method, the motion controls in the Sixaxis leave a lot to be desired. Ever play Lair? Sony needs to think hard about the future of Sixaxis, and find a way to make the motion sensors matter for all games. We suggest looking at Gran Turismo HD's use of the motion sensors: setting the controller down brings up a menu screen; picking it back up resumes the game.

The backward compatibility problem
Sony recently introduced a new, low-priced PS3 that costs $399 but drops the PS2-era backward compatibility. This triggered a mini-outcry among some blogs and forum threads, yet there seems to be a middle ground that Sony isn't exploring. Why not offer $10 or $20 downloadable PS2 games that are compatible with all of the PS3 models? Compressed, many of these games could be squeezed to a more manageable size for storage on your PS3's hard drive. Even offering Sony-developed PS2 games, especially legendary games like God of War II and Shadow of the Colossus, would be a great start.

Check out MonoPrice.com for good deals

No bundled HD cables
In theory, the PS3 is intended to be the ultimate HD set-top box. So why does it come with crappy low-def cables? Throwing in a free set of component or HDMI cables would be a huge convenience for consumers. How much can these things possibly cost? They're dirt-cheap on Monoprice.com, and you know Sony can get even better prices from their suppliers. Include 'em already!

It's the games, stupid
Don't be fooled: the PS3's sales problems revolve around games, not its high price. If there was a Halo 3-sized hit on the PS3, gamers would gladly shell out $500 to play it. Sure, the PS3 is pricey, but games talk. All in all, North American gamers just haven't been that impressed by the PS3's lineup of exclusives. Where are the Halo 3s, the Mass Effects, the BioShocks? One problem is that Sony relies too heavily on its Japanese developers — a strategy shared by Nintendo — and too little on its European and U.S. studios. Microsoft was wise to focus on its Western development studios, as these games resonate more with North American gamers.

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