Monday, October 25, 2010

ESPN3 now on Time Warner Cable

Time Warner Cable has added ESPN3. Time Warners customers who receive ESPN as part of their video subscription will have access to a live simulcast of ESPN on their computers as well as access to features more than 3,500 live sporting events annually. Fans can toggle between up to 20 events in a main viewing window, and with a single click, jump to another event. Video can be viewed in widescreen (16:9) and normal (4:3) views and can be expanded to full screen or reduced to a compact size. Recently completed events are archived and available for on-demand replay.

Customers can also go directly to or to register or sign in and view the programming.

At launch, the new authenticated service will give Time Warner Cable subscribers the opportunity to watch ESPN’s linear network online. In the near future, access to ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater will also be offered through this same process, as well as on other Internet enabled devices such as mobile phones and tablets. Consumers can access the channels through a centralized web site,

Friday, October 22, 2010

Obama signs autograph on iPad

On Thursday, at a rally in Seattle, Sylvester Cann IV had a novel idea. Instead of asking President Obama to sign a piece of paper, why not ask him to sign an iPad instead?

Using the Adobe Ideas app, Cann created a big place for Obama to write in his John Hancock. Cann created a website to showcase the moment.

Obama, looking amused, used his finger to write his name.

See video below.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Apple introduces iLife 11, new Macbook Air, adds FaceTime to Mac

Apple introduced its new iLife 11 software suite Wednesday. It also added FaceBook to Mac Computers and introduced a new superlight line of laptop computers that launch today.

The new iLife 11 is available immediately for $49 for existing customers and will come free for new users.

It updates GarageBand and iPhoto and iMovie with a suite of new features including the ability to create movie-quality trailers with a full orchestra sound.

FaceTime for Mac is also available for download today at and will allow customers to have video conferencing between Macs or with iPhone 4s and the new iPod touches.

CEO Steve Jobs also gave a preview of the new upcoming operating system, to be called Lion. Lion will use some of the innovations from the OS in iPad and iPhone.

Lion will use Multi-Touch gestures using touch gestures on the mouse or trackpad. Jobs said 7 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store and Lion will include a new Mac App Store.

It will have one-click download with free and paid apps, with 70 percent of revenues going to developers. The apps will auto install and auto update. These apps will be licensed for use on all your personal Mac computers.

The Apps will go into something called "the launchpad" on your doc.

Lion will also have "Misson Control" that will allow users to view everything running on the computer and interact with them instantly.

Jobs said Lion will release in summer 2011. The Mac App Store will launch for Snow Leopard users in 90 days.

-- Jobs also introduced the new Macbook Air, which he said he believes is the future of notebooks. At its thickest point, it's 0.68 inches and is 0.11 inches at its thinnest point. It weighs 2.9 pounds and has complete aluminum unibody construction with a full keyboard and track pad.

It's got a 13.3 inch LED backlit display (1440 x 900 pixels, more than on 15-inch MacBook pro). It's got a Core 2 Duo Processor. It has no optical drive and no hard drive.

Apple has gone to flash storage, similar to what is used in iPad. It allows for instant-on, starting two times faster than hard drives. It's 90 percent smaller and lighter than standard hard drives.

Battery life is 30 days on MacBook Air and 7 hours of real world wireless web use. Jobs thinks this is twice the life of the MacBook Pro.

A 11.6 display version is also available and will weigh just over two pounds. It gives five hours of heavy wireless web use.

Pricing is $999 for the 11.6 model with 64 GB of flash memory. To move to 128 GB it's $1,199.

The 13-inch model starts at $1,299 for 128 GB storage. To go to 256 GB, it's $1,599.

All models include 2 GB of memory.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Microsoft to "Kinect" us with 17 games Nov. 4

We have seen the Sony PlayStation 3 "Move" controllers, and they're quite cool. On Nov. 4, Microsoft will deliver their much-hyped "Kinect" system, which is totally hands free.

Kinect was featured on "Oprah" Tuesday. It'll be feature on "Ellen" later this month. Next month, customers can purchase a new Xbox 360 4 GB console with Kinect and the game "Kinect Adventures" for $299.99. If you already have the Xbox, you can buy the Kinect unit for $149.99, which includes the Kinect sensor and the "Kinect Adventures" game.

Microsoft will debut 17 Kinect-ready games during the first four weeks after launch. They include "Family Game Night," "Game Party: In Motion," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," and several fitness and dance games that I think will best take advantage of the system.

I can't wait to try this one.

Time Warner Cable goes 3D (and some for free)

Time Warner Cable is adding some free 3D movies for its digital subscribers.

The movies are on HD On Demand (Channel 1001) and HD Showcase on Demand (channel 1339).

Here free 3D movies being offered:

SOS Planet
Haunted Castle
Siegfried and Roy
African Adventure
3D Sun
Wild Safari
Misadventures in 3D
Alien Adventure
Dinosaurs Alive
Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs
Wild Ocean

Customers can also purchase on demand 3D movies for $4.99. The selection includes:

Under the Sea
Nascar 3D
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Deep Sea

To see the 3D movies, customers need a 3D capable TV with 3D glasses and a compatible Time Warner Cable HD or HD-DVR box connected to their television with an HDMI cable.

Monday, October 18, 2010

7-inch iPad from Apple? Not likely

Apple CEO Steve Jobs made a surprise appearance at an earnings conference call today, and perhaps all CEOs would be giddy to talk about Apple's money take.

The Cupertino, CA, company did incredible business for the third quarter. It posted revenue of $20.34 billion and a net profit of $4 billion.

Apple shipped almost 4 million Mac computers, up 27 percent from a year ago.

Quarterly iPhone sales were up 91 percent from the same quarter a year ago (thanks iPhone 4). Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones, and sold 9.05 million iPods. That was an 11 percent decline for iPod.

Now, the iPad. Apple sold 4.19 million of those during the recent quarter and Jobs was asked if the company was readying a heavily rumored 7-inch version. Competitors, including Samsung, are about to release 7-inch tablets. Samsung's, which is due in a few weeks, will run the Android operating system.

Jobs said you can hold an iPad in portrait view and draw a horizontal line halfdown down.

"What's left," he said, "is a seven inch screen. That's too small. There are clear limits to how close elements can be on the screen before users can't touch accurately. We believe 10-inch screen is (the) minimum necessary."

And so, the 7-inch iPad thing should now go away.

RedBox to offer videogame rentals in Charlotte

Redbox announced today it will now feature video games in addition to new release DVDs and Blu-ray Discs at select redbox locations throughout the city starting today.

The video game rentals here is a test to gauge customer interest in videogame rentals. Games available here will include titles for Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Videogame rentals will be $2 per night plus tax.

Redbox says the videogames will be available at 245 Charlotte locations.

Charlotte, N.C., beginning October 18, 2010. The addition of video games to the popular redbox kiosks in the Charlotte area is a test designed to gauge consumer interest in video game rentals. Charlotte-area redbox consumers now can rent a variety of video games from the top platforms, including: Wii, PLAYSTATION 3, and Xbox 360, for $2 a night plus tax.

The number of video game titles and copies will vary by kiosk and location with new games being added each week. Local residents can visit to see a current list of games offered. Then, once at the kiosk, users access the touch screen display to determine which titles and platforms are available at that particular location.

Time Warner cable launches Remote DVR Manager

Time Warner Cable has launched a new feature that will allow customers to set their DVRs remotely.

With the new feature, customers throughout the Carolinas can access their home DVR and set it to record shows and series. You can search for progamming and make necessary changes through any web-enabled computer or browser-enabled mobile device, like Android and iPhone.

Time Warner Cable recently launched My Services, a new online service that gives customers the ability to access their account information, as well as new features and tools. By going to, customers have the ability to manage their DVR in real time as if they were sitting in front of their television.

Satellite providers, like DirecTV, also offer a similar feature.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

iPad to hit AT&T stores as well as Verizon

After this morning's announcement that iPad was coming to Verizon on Oct. 28, AT&T has also announced it will begin carrying the device on the same date.

It won't be hard to find iPad as Best Buy plans to expand available and Target, Amazon, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club will all be carrying the tablet computer soon.

AT&T will offer all three iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models at its 2,200 stores nationwide. The company will offer pre-paid 3G data plans that can be turned on or off on the machine itself. The plans are available without contract and come with access to the company's 23,000 domestic Wi-Fi hotspots.

Pricing you ask?

It's $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB, and $829 for 64GB. Domestic data plans for iPad are priced at $14.99 per month for 250MB and $25 per month for 2GB with no term contract.

Verizon Wireless will offer three bundles, all featuring an iPad Wi-Fi model and a Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot, for a suggested retail price of $629.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 16GB + MiFi, $729.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 32GB + MiFi and $829.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 64GB + MiFi. Verizon Wireless is offering a monthly access plan to iPad customers of up to 1GB of data for just $20 a month. In addition, Verizon Wireless will also offer all three iPad Wi-Fi models on a stand-alone basis.

iPad is coming to Verizon

Get your iPhone rumors ready.

Verizon Wireless will carry Apple's WiFi iPad beginning Oct. 28.

Verizon Wireless will offer three bundles, all featuring an iPad Wi-Fi model and a Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot, for a suggested retail price of $629.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 16GB + MiFi, $729.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 32GB + MiFi and $829.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 64GB + MiFi. Verizon Wireless is offering a monthly access plan to iPad customers of up to 1GB of data for just $20 a month. In addition, Verizon Wireless will also offer all three iPad Wi-Fi models on a stand-alone basis.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Panther Devin Thomas in Fantasia's new video

New Carolina Panther wide reciever Devin Thomas has a strong cameo in Fantasia's steamy new video for her hit song "Bittersweet."

Where does Michael rank Kobe? Top 10?

Speaking to USA Today about the new NBA2K11 videogame that features his likeness, Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan was asked where he would rank Laker Kobe Bryant among the all-time greats.

Jordan said Bryant, one of the two best players on the planet right now along with the Miami Heat's LeBron James, belongs among the top 10, among a certain position.

"I think he is always going to be within the conversations of some of the greatest players who've played by the time he is finished," Jordan told USA Today. "Where does he rank among those, if you are talking about positions? If you are talking about guards, I would say he has got to be in the Top 10."

Jordan also talked about how today's NBA differs from when he played.

"It's less physical and the rules have changed, obviously," he said. "Based on these rules, if I had to play with my style of play, I'm pretty sure I would have fouled out or I would have been at the free throw line pretty often and I could have scored 100 points."

Jordan said he's played the new NBA 2K11 videogame, which I think is one of the best ever (click here for review)

He said his kids are better than him at it.

Me, too, Michael.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sony unveils Google TV

Google TV is here.

At a big news conference in New York late Tuesday afternoon, Sony unveiled a line of TV sets featuring integrated Google TV, which will allow users to surf the internet on their TV as well as watch traditional TV programming.

Sets go on sale Oct. 16, with prices running from $600 to $1,400. Set sizes, for now, range from 24 to 46 inches. If you already have an HDTV, you can buy a Blu-Ray DVD enabled set top box for $399.

Sony is aiming this at people who are already watching TV programming on their computers, such as early broadcasts of sporting events and YouTube videos.

Google TV uses the same Android operating system that has become uber-popular among cell phone users. Google TV comes with a Chrome Web browser. Several partners are already on line to provide content including Amazon, Netflix, NBC Universal, the NBA, Time Warner and USA Today.

The Google TV comes with a remote that has a full QWERTY keyboard.

VIDEO: Microsoft Windows 7 phone keynote and demo

If you want to see what Steve Ballmer and Company have cooked up with the new phone, see the video below.

Click here

Whoa, Happy Meal doesn't decompose....after 171 days

Think about this the next time you want to give the kids a little Ronald McDonald love:

A British newspaper reports
that a New York photographer named Sally Davies conducted a little experiment in the post "Supersize Me" world.

Unlike Morgan Spurlock, who ate McDonald's for days on end -- and risked his health -- in a popular feature film, Davies decided to take a picture of a McDonald's Happy Meal every day for months to see what would happen.

And not much happened.

Davies' "The Happy Meal Project" has gone viral.

"I bought the meal on April 10 of this year and brought it home with the express intention of leaving it out to see how it fared," she said. "I chose McDonald's because it was nearest to my house, but the project could have been about any other of the myriad of fast food joints in New York."

On day two, Davies said, the food lost its familiar smell of McDonald's goodness. Her dogs stopped circling near the shelf where she kept it.

Davies thought the food would mold. After two weeks, it still looked just as fresh as when the workers dropped it in that little white bag.

"It was then that I realised that something strange might be going on with this food that I had bought," she told the newspaper. "The fries shrivelled slightly as did the burger patty, but the overall appearance of the food did not change as the weeks turned to months."

After six months, she said the food is hard like plastic with an "acrylic sheen to it."

Anyone else ready for a Big Mac and fries?

Frustrated Panther fan makes song "Teach Me How To QB"

Tip of the hat to reader Carmen F., who sent me the link to "Teach Me How To QB," a song aimed at original Carolina Panthers star Matt Moore.

I won't make any commentary about being patient with a young team with young QBs. Enjoy

Monday, October 11, 2010

Nike's new Machspeed driver to hit stores next month

If you're a golfer who loves gadgets, you've got to love fall. That's when all the golf companies show off what their R&D departments have been cooking up all summer.

Nike today announced its new SQ MACHSPEED black driver, due Nov. 26. It is available with a round or square 460 cc head. It's designed to reduce air drag and has a deep face to still give golfers good distance on off center hits. It also has a lightweight shaft to increase swing speed.

Nike said it designed the head with a tall club face that tapers quickly, to increase forgiveness. All this results in a club with a slightly lower ballflight than last year's MACHSPEED model and one that spins less. That means your ball won't curve as much.

Men's lofts are available in 8.5 to 11.5. Women get an 11.5 and a high launch. MSRP is $359.99

Report: Apple won't support 4G with iPhone 5

Now things are getting interesting.

With Verizon's announcement last week that it's new 4G network would be deployed by year's end in nearly 40 markets, including Charlotte -- and media reports that the company would be getting an iPhone in January -- many assumed the iPhone would be Verizon's first 4G device.

To quote ESPN's Lee Courso, "Not so fast my friend."

Techcrunch, a popular and reputable blog, is reporting that Apple will not support 4G in 2011, much like it didn't initially support 3G when the original iPhone debuted on AT&T's Edge Network.

Techcrunch says the Verizon iPhone (or Veriphone as folks have begun to call it) will not support the 4G standard, and when a mid-2011 refresh is out, the iPhone 5, that the new model won't support it, either.

According to the blog, Apple will make a dual-mode phone that supports GSM (AT&T) and CDMA (Verizon) standards, but only on 3G. Apple won't support the 4G network until sometime in 2012.

Consider this Steve Jobs saying he doesn't want to have his users testing out a brand new service that may have some bugs. This, of course, will give Android momentum, even as Veriphone finally arrives, by saying it Droid Does 4G and iPhone won't.

Android actually supports 4G on Sprint's WiMAX networks right now and I've been able to use it around Charlotte with pretty good results. But 4G is spotty and I'd imagine that AT&T and Verizon will suffer some 4G growing pains next year, not to mention that the chips needed to power the 4G devices are a little power hungry. Anyone who has tried Sprint's otherwise cool 4G phone, the HTC Evo, knows you have to basically keep a charge cable in your pocket.

So it seems that you'll be able to get iPhone 5 for AT&T or Verizon (and I'm assuming Sprint and T-Mobile, too, if the multi-standard thing is true). AT&T is lighting up its new 3G mode, called HSPA+, which some feel can deliver speeds close to what we're seeing in early 4G devices.

Be interesting to see what happens moving forward when we get some official announcements, but considering there will likely be a premium charge for 4G, something like Sprint's $10 per month, I'm not sure how many folks will sign up for it anyway. At least initially.

Wilson to give away 11 free set of irons next month

Attention golfers, Wilson plans to give away 11 sets of its new Di11 irons on Nov. 11. The irons are made for distance and accuracy.

To enter, visit Wilson's web site Submissions will be accepted until Nov. 8. Winners will be announced Nov. 11

Wilson Staff Di irons have pushed the distance and accuracy envelope since the original first launched in 2005. Now, 11 is the magic number as Wilson has created a promotion that awards 11 lucky golfers a free set of Di11 irons on 11/11 (Nov. 11, 2010).

The new irons are the fifth generation of the Di in the super game improvement category. Wilson says they feature "modifications and updates in virtually every performance area, all designed to deliver added power and greater accuracy for players of all skill levels."

The changes include a wider sole and bigger sweet spot, meaning these will be easier for the average 100-shooter to hit, and hit far.

Microsoft launches Windows Phone 7, hopes to boost sales

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer introduced his company's latest offering into the smartphone industry, Windows Phone 7, Monday morning in New York.

Microsoft is going the Google/Android route by developing software and allowing hardware manufacturers to create the handsets. Customers will get touchscreen thin handsets as well as QWERTY keyboard devices.

Ballmer describes the new phones, which will be GSM only for now (read: no Verizon) as "different" and "more modern" in design and usage.

He said the new phone focuses on how real people want to use their handsets.

The device will use something called Windows Phone Hubs, which appear as large box-shaped tile displays on the phone. They react in real time. Get a new email or a voicemail or even Twitter or Facebook updates, and the "hub" changes on your home screen.

The phone ships with six hubs: People, Pictures, Music/Video, Games Hub, Office and the Market (for apps).

The phone also can connect to Xbox Live. And the hubs are totally customizable.

There's a hard button to snap a photo with the camera which also helps access on board photos. Microsoft said uploading photos to the cloud is a snap.

Microsoft Office is also included here with a mobile version of Outlook and office document support. Users can also edit Office files from the phone, but until early next year the phone cannot copy and paste (ugh).

This could be huge for business users.

Is this going to be the device to get Microsoft on the field with Apple and Google and RIM? The devices out so far look slick and more and more customers are trying smartphones. The market is expected to grow to nearly 300 million sold devices next year from about 190 million expected this year.

The phone will be available in several versions from AT&T and T-Mobile for $199 with a two-year contract.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Halo Reach" a masterpiece, (possibly) a fitting goodbye

There have been few videogame series as good as Halo, and this is a fitting finale (at least for Bungie, the game's developers). It's a masterpiece, one of the best games of 2010, along with NBA2K11.

The game is set a few weeks before the start of the original Halo, when we were introduced to one of the most iconic heroes in videogame history, Master Chief. Only now, dialing back in time, we meet the Noble Team, a group of super soilders, taking control of one of them known as "Noble 6." You never get to see his face. This is Noble 6's story. Master Chief is not here.

The best thing here is you don't know the Halo mythology, you're OK. Everything is explained and makes sense, at least as much as videogame stories can.

The game is set on the lovingly drawn Planet Reach, which is where one of the biggest battles between humanity and an alien species known as the Covenant took place. The Covenant has long sought to eradicate the human race.

We are introduced to Planet Reach to start the game and find Noble 6's team stationed at the center of humanity's military operation. You'll work with other members of the team as you complete missions, getting to know -- and care -- about them. The other members show their faces under the helmets, and you quickly understand that this is a war the humans are not winning.

At times, the costs of war can get depressing.

Like the previous titles, this is a first person shooter and action comes fast. Something new is the ability to use powers you pick up permanently. You can use jetpacks when you want and even give yourself a brief amount of invincibility. I did find that it was hard to use some abilities concurrently.

I couldn't find much to quibble with this game. It will take large chunks of your life to play. It's immersive. It's hard. It's engaging.

It's fun.

I only wonder where Halo goes from here. The guys at Bungie, who have made all the Halo games, are pulling off to concentrate on a new game. Microsoft will handle the franchise's future, if there's to be one.

If we never see another Halo title, though, this is a great way to go out.

"Spider Man Shattered Dimensions" worth a try

This is like four mini-adventures in one, plus more Peter Parker one-line cracks than many fans will be able to take.

Really, it does kind of get old.

"I break pots," Peter says at one point. "It's what I do."


Luckily, the game just rocks.

The game begins with Spider Man battling with Mysterio when they break something called the Tablet of Order and Chaos.

This causes reality to split. To restore order, a clairvoyant named Madame Web reaches out to the Spider Man of each reality to help restore order. Along the way, you'll face off with famous Spidey villains like Green Goblin and Sandman. And you get to play as a future Spider in 2099, today's guy and two others.

Basically in each world, you have to work your way through a series of battles, while saving civilians along the way. It's kind of easy at first. Walk into a room and stop the enemy threat there, but when you get to the big enemies, the bosses, things get tougher.

Of course, how well you do is really about how well you learn the button-mashing combos that allow you to unleash your powers.

I enjoyed playing with Spider Man of today and tomorrow (with the flying cars and neon colors). But I enjoyed the "Noir" version

In the 1930s Depression era, Peter Parker kind of handles business like Batman, doing his work behind the scenes with a much higher degree of stealth than we're used to seeing from Your Friendly Neighborhood Web Slinger.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

UVerse customers to use Xbox 360 as a set-top DVR?

According to Engadget, AT&T UVerse customers will be able to use their Xbox 360 as a set-top box in November.

A wired software update will come out next week bringing a Dashboard app to the Xbox. To use Xbox with UVerse, however, customers will still need at least one other standard DVR to enjoy the four streams of HD programming available.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

WSJ: Apple to produce Verizon iPhone by year's end

With news today that Verizon will deploy its 4G network to 38 cities, including Charlotte, by year's end, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple will begin to mass produce a Verizon iPhone by the end of the year.

The Journal writes that Verizon could sell the smartphone in early 2011, quoting sources who had been briefed by Apple.

Apple has long touted the iPhones ability to do voice and data at the same time, something that users of Verizon's current 3G network are unable to do. With 4G arriving soon, that would no longer be an issue. The initial Verizon iPhone apparently would be based on the company's current 3G network, however.

This news, if true, could be big for Apple and hurt AT&T, Apple's current provider which allowed current customers to get the new iPhone 4 in mid-contract without penalty this year.

Many speculated that was done to lock up those users in new two-year agreements with an increased termination fee.

AT&T chairman Randall Stephenson said last month that he felt that because so many iPhone customers were in family plans, he didn't think the company would be too hurt by a new carrier for the Apple phone. The thinking there is, say, if a family has three iPhones on AT&T, it would have to pay three termination fees and buy three new iPhones somewhere else. That would cost well over $1,000.

But what if Verizon is able to offer the buy-one-get-one-free specials it's been running with Android phones, or even offers to buy out the contract for AT&T customers switching over?

This is an important time in the cell phone wars for sure.

Also, a Morpace Omibus poll of 1,000 Americans showed that more than half of current Verizon customers intend to get an iPhone with Verizon.

A Deloitte study
found that close to half of all U.S. iPhone customers on AT&T would be 'interested' in a Verizon iPhone.

The Wall Street Journal said the upcoming Verizon iPhone would be similar in design to the current iPhone 4 and is expected in the first quarter of 2011. The WSJ also said Apple is working on iPhone 5 and it will have a "different form factor" than those currently available (larger screen iPhone XL perhaps?).

I would expect that if iPhone is not compatible with Verizon's 4G network, iPhone 5 would be. But would you want to get a 3G iPhone on Verizon in February, knowing the faster version was coming in June?

Interesting days ahead. The next time Steve Jobs puts on the black turtleneck and hits the stage might be the biggest "And One More Thing" news conference that company has seen yet.

Charlotte one of 38 cities to get Verizon 4G coverage by December

Verizon plans to have its next-generation "4G" cellular network launched by the end of the year. At a news conference in San Francisco Wednesday, the company said that its 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) network would launch in 38 major metros, including Charlotte, and touch more than 110 million Americans by December.

Verizon is also putting its 4G network into 60 commercial airports in the U.S. -- in launch cities and other key areas.

The new network will allow much faster speed than the current 3G network provides, much closer to type speed customers see on at-home DSL or cable modem networks.

The launch areas include Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. as well as Rochester, New York in the Northeast.

The launch will also touch customers throughout Miami and south Florida, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and New Orleans as well as Charlotte and Nashville, Tennessee.

Others are Chicagoland, St. Louis, the Twin Cities, Pittsburgh and major cities in Ohio, plus major population centers in California as well as Seattle, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas and West Lafayette, Ind., home of Purdue University.

The company said Purdue is using several software applications on its 3G network that improve student engagement and success, and Verizon Wireless is working with Purdue to explore the next phase of how 4G LTE technology can improve e-learning across the nation.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Apple makes Maiden couple nearly $2M richer

Bloomberg reports that Apple recently made millionaires out of Maiden's Donnie and Kathy Fulbright.

Turns out the Cupertino, California company needed some land that Fulbrights lived on to complete its new billion dollar data center there. The Fulbrights brought the land for about $6,000 and built a modest single-story home there.

After turning down an initial offer, the Fulbrights sold for $1.7 million.

With their winnings, the Fulbrights bought a new 4,200 square foot home with a jacuzzi in the master bedroom. It sits on a 49-acre lot.

Thanks a lot Steve Jobs.

The data center is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. Analysts believe it will herald the arrival of Apple's cloud-based computing, allowing users to stream and store videos and music on its servers instead of on user's computers. It could also be used to stream video content to Apple's just announced and recently released Apple TV set-top box.

2KSports in talks for NFL2K13, competiton for Madden

According to a published report from GoFanBoy, 2KSports has approached the NFL about a licensing deal to create a football simulation in 2013.

EA Sports' exclusive agreement with the league for its Madden franchise is set to expire, reportedly, in 2012.

2K hasn't made a football game since the critically acclaimed NFL2K5 five years ago and recently released its new NBA simulation, NBA2K11, which I think is one of the best videogames of its generation.

If nothing else, it would be interesting to see what type of football game 2KSports could produce and it would also push EA Sports to work harder on the Madden series, which I think has been consistently good.

Stay tuned.

The Age of Android: Android dominating smart phone sales

Two new press releases out today illustrate how hot the new Android smartphone service is.

According to a Nielsen study, Android was the most popular smartphone operating system purchased in America over the past six months.

The Google system accounted for 32 percent of new smartphone purchases. RIM, the BlackBerry folks, were second at 26 percent and Apple was third at 25 percent.

In overall market share, RIM still leads at 31 percent, Apple is second at 28 percent and Android is third at 19 percent.

Also today, Samsung announced that its Android-based Galaxy S series of phones have sold more than 5 million since launching in June. That figure includes more than 2 million U.S sales.

What to make of the numbers?

Android has gotten popular very fast. The operating system is available from a number of handset makers and on virtually every network. So, some of the growth is not surprising, and with a slew of new Android tablets due, including a promising one from Samsung, the format should only continue to expand, especially when many carriers are offering buy one get one free specials.

The Google plan seems to be to get its system into everyone's hands. It may prove to be a smart choice.

Apple, unlike Android and RIM, are only selling the iPhone on one carrier, AT&T. It speaks to how popular the device is that it still accounts for 25 percent of the market for most of this year when you can only get it from a provider that many feel is inferior.

Apple badly needs to get onto multiple U.S. providers, if it cares about these kinds of penetration numbers. Many potential Apple customers say they'll still buy iPhone if and when it comes to Verizon or Sprint or T-Mobile. But with the new Androids, they may get tired of waiting -- and that appears to be happening now.

RIM has just released a new BlackBerry model so it'll be interesting to see the numbers six months from now.

From a consumer standpoint, there have never been this many good smartphone choices on the market at the same time. No matter which carrier you use, chances are you can get a killer smartphone for it right now.

Monday, October 04, 2010

NBA 2K11 with Michael Jordan, "a love letter to basketball"

There’s been a lot of anticipation surrounding the new 2K Sports “NBA 2K11” videogame, which hits stores Tuesday (10/5).

That anticipation is more than warranted. This NBA basketball simulation looks more like the real thing than any other sports game ever created. There’s never been a Madden this good. In fact, there’s never been too many games better. Put this one up there with Halo and Mario and Guitar Hero.

This is one of the best video games in a generation.

It features Bobcats owner Michael Jordan on the cover and in the game. You can try to recreate 10 of Jordan’s greatest games. These are quite challenging. Those Lakers and Trail Blazer teams were pretty good, and it was neat to see some of the legends like Magic Johnson and Scottie Pippen recreated so vividly. Scottie even had his flat top.

And if you can get Michael and the Bulls over the top, you unlock a special mode where you can draft Jordan as a rookie and play out his career.

You can also pick many of Jordan's best Chicago Bulls teams and play against some of today’s best. If you choose one from early in his career, you get a thinner Jordan who wanted to drive and dunk. Choose one of his final three championship teams and you get the more crafty guy who liked to head-fake, spin, and fadeway.

The ShotStick control system is easy to learn and basically asks you to use two buttons to call plays or make sudden moves. It also allows for precise movements, allowing you to pull off the “oh-my-goodness” moves you see on TV. There are not very many animations that are predetermined like we’ve seen in many a sports game.

But the thing that stands out here is the presentation. Sure, there’s all the important modes: career mode, create-a-player, draft-your-creation-and-earn-enough-skills-to-get-drafted. You can update your season in real-time with the real season, so if your star gets hurt in real life, he gets hurt in your game.

While always welcome, most titles have these type of features nowadays. They don’t have this attention to detail.

Other than Kobe Bryant, these guys look a lot like their real life counterpart. They also play like them. You won’t see Raymond Felton driving and dunking over a 7-footer. You’ll see the defensive help.

No longer can you just come down the floor, mash a few buttons and easily beat your defender for a dunk.

The game really looks and feels like a real TNT broadcast, down to the soundtrack and sound effects. The crowd sometimes will arrive late, and leave early if you’re at home and getting blown out. I noticed all kinds of fan animations, celebrating big baskets -- or berating you for giving up some. I even lost my place in the game a few times because I caught myself looking at all the “little things” going on around me.

The PlayStation 3 version is compatible with the new PS3 move controller. Using the wand controller, you can easily shoot, pass and block shots. It took awhile to get used to playing with the wand, but I enjoyed it.

And I enjoyed playing this game. There’s little to quibble with. It plays fast enough. It looks good enough. This is a love letter to basketball. It’s definitely worth a try.

Hilarious: Wayne Brady, Mike Tyson remake Bobby Brown hit

Tip of the cap to reader Dee F. who forwarded me the link to Wayne Brady and Mike Tyson remaking (uproariously) Bobby Brown's old hit "Every Little Step I Take."

Brown makes a cameo to do the rap from the song.

This is fun.