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Microsoft upgrades Xbox Live But Rumored Skype Integration is False

December 5, 2011

The upcoming Metro update to Microsoft’s Xbox, will start to be pushed down to your Xbox console some time this week, but alas it doesn't appear to contain the rumored Skype integration, which several rumors hinted at a Fall release. Well it's winter and the latest release doesn't appear to contain Skype integration with Xbox live. At least that is my assumption from reading the various news articles on the latest Xbox Dashboard, including Microsoft's official announcement, which make no mention of any Skype integration.

Just in Time for Christmas, Xbox Live Gets an Update

November 22, 2011

Just in time for Christmas, Microsoft is releasing a new update for Xbox Live, which surely will only enhance the frenetic ripping of Christmas wrapping paper that mom and dad Santa and his elves lovingly wrapped. According to Major Nelson new features include:

  • New personal and social features including Cloud Storage for Game Saves and LIVE Profile
  • Beacons and Facebook Sharing
  • Enhanced Family Settings
  • Integrated voice and gesture controls across the dashboard and in apps
  • Bing voice search (Available this year in the US, UK and CA)

He also added that starting on December 6th through the holiday months, a treasure trove of new content will be coming to Xbox 360. Also, new, customized applications for television, movies, internet videos, sports and music will begin rolling out from major providers in more than 20 countries.

Netflix Brings Revamped Interface to Android Before iPad

November 15, 2011

Apple's iPad may be the tablet market leader right now, but certainly not for long. Today, a report was released by Gartner saying that 50% of all mobile phones sales are Android. That may explain why Netflix gave some love to the Android platform via a slick new user interface before Apple iOS. I can't remember any major app or new version of a major app coming to the Android platform before iOS.

iMainGo XP Portable Stereo Speaker & Case for iPad

November 7, 2011

Portable Sound Labs has a new product called the iMainGo XP (model: 11BWB04), which is a portable stereo speaker for the iPad but also doubles as a protective case. It works on both the iPad 1 and iPad 2. It sports a rechargeable lithium ion battery, so it doesn't suck the power from the iPad and delivers at least six hours of playtime between charges. What's nice is that you can play audio and view your iPad without removing it form your protective iMainGo case.

Netflix Abandons Qwikster DVD Name - Goes Back to Unified Netflix Name

October 10, 2011

Google Bankrolls $100M to Get into Video Entertainment Biz

October 4, 2011

Last week I reported how Amazon should buy HBO or at least start creating their own TV shows and movies so they can be in control of their own destiny. I also mentioned last week Apple and Google as also potentially getting into the entertainment content creation business. Well it turns out I was prescient since it is now being reported that Google is getting into entertainment content creation. So Hollywood there is a new sheriff in town!

From The Next Web:

According to a recent tweet by Wall Street Journal’s Marketplace Editor, Dennis K. Berman, Google is reportedly putting up $100 million for new, original content on YouTube, including a big deal with Tony Hawk, the retired professional skateboarder and actor.

Why Amazon Should Buy HBO from Time Warner

September 30, 2011

I was just thinking about how Amazon’s goal is to subsidize their new Kindle Fire by selling content – in particular video content, which can then be streamed using their Amazon Prime “Netflix-like” service.

In fact, on Monday Amazon said its online streaming service will offer Fox movies and television shows under a new content deal, so Amazon seems to be expanding their content licensing portfolio.

However, Amazon is at the mercy of whatever the content providers charge for TV shows and movies.

Kindle Fire Silk Browser Proxying Stokes Privacy Concerns

September 29, 2011

The new Amazon Kindle Fire will use Amazon's very own completely new Web browser called Silk that leverages Amazon's EC2 architecture to proxy and cache web content for faster performance. You might think of it as something similar to Opera Mini, a former favorite mobile browser of mine, which does something similar. What I liked about Opera Mini on my old Windows Mobile phone was that it compressed images and made pages load faster on slower connections. But as 3G speeds became more prevalent, the need for Opera Mini diminished.

Amazon Kindle Fire - Hot or Not?

September 28, 2011

The Amazon Kindle Fire 7-inch tablet aims to take on the Apple iPad, but will the Fire catch fire with consumers? Amazon has loyal Kindle e-reader users, but part of its draw is the e-ink screen which works in direct sunlight for beach book reading. It's the one-up Amazon had over the iPad which doesn't do so well in direct sunlight.

The new Kindle Fire is a color screen and not e-ink, so it loses that advantage. Further, the new Kindle Fire doesn't have a camera!

Madison Cain, Daughter of Journey's Jonathan Cain, uses Skype for Vocal Teaching

September 21, 2011

Madison Cain, 17 year old daughter of legendary Journey keyboardist and song writer Jonathan Cain apparently works with a vocal teacher via Skype to improve her singing skills. Score another useful feature for Skype! I knew Skype was used for teaching others how to speak other languages, but didn't know the "universal" language of music was also taught via Skype. You would think that the acoustics would be different speaking into a microphone which is then transmitted over VoIP to a vocal teacher wouldn't be as accurate as the vocal teacher being there in person.

Then again, sometimes a room's acoustics can "hide" weaknesses in a singer's voice, especially if they are a loud singer with the sound bouncing off the walls.

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