All Aboard The Prometheus

A new contest sponsored by Verizon and promoting Ridley Scott’s forthcoming Prometheus is now active. Register now for a chance to win a trip to London, then play the game to unlock more entries and exclusive movie content. Enter your e-mail address {link no longer active} and register to get five entries for a chance to win. Then join the crew of the Prometheus and use Verizon Home Monitoring and Control to search the ship, unlock exclusive movie content and solve the ultimate mystery. Plus, earn even more entries just for playing.

Google Criticizes Closed Services, Citing Facebook And Apple

Certain governments have managed to clamp down on the access their citizens have to the Internet. While this is worrying, Google co-founder Sergey Brin says that “walled gardens” such as Facebook and the App Store are obstacles in the way of further innovation and freedom on the web.

“There’s a lot to be lost,” he said. “For example, all the information in apps – that data is not crawlable by web crawlers. You can’t search it. The kind of environment that we developed Google in, the reason that we were able to develop a search engine, is the web was so open. Once you get too many rules, that will stifle innovation.”

Brin also criticized Facebook for taking in Gmail contacts over the years but now allowing for easy transfer of data from their service.

Source: Guardian

Unity Technologies Gets Shanghaied

Unity Technologies has opened a Shanghai office, which is the ninth regional office for the company. Led by Microsoft veteran Allen Foo, Unity will look to expand its support for developers in the region.

“We’ve been aggressively expanding Unity into Asia for over a year and opening offices in Shanghai is a big move for us to meet high demand in China,” said Unity CEO David Helgason. “Partnerships with key Chinese internet firms, agreements with local software resellers, and opening of the China office are all part of a dedication to support the Chinese development community as intensely as we’ve supported it in the west.”

Unity also revealed two deals with Chinese technology companies. China Cache will provide 12,000 servers to help meet demand for the Unity Web Player and Qihoo 360 will handle distribution of the middleware.

Tumblr Dances Around Ads

Tumblr CEO David Karp’s has launched a toolset for users that will let them highlight posts for $1 to gain higher visibility for their work. Despite 20 billion posts, 50 million blogs, 120 million users and about 4.5 billion impressions a week, there’s no desire to fully embrace ads, however.

“We could very easily throw a Google Adsense on and be profitable tomorrow — that’s so far down the list, I mean, we’re selling our desks to avoid that, it’s a complete last resort,” said Karp. “There are two in production — the highlight posts and the ability to purchase and sell themes,” says Karp. As for brands, “We designed it without brands in mind, trying to work it in such a way that it makes it clear that this isn’t the killer feature for you. We’re not expecting Vogue to spend a buck on every one of their posts to make it stand out. In fact, that would make the experience kind of crappy.”

Source: AdAge

Wasteland 2 Kickstarter Winding Down; New $30 Tier Added

The Kickstarter for Wasteland 2 will soon be concluded and will be funded with well over $2.5 million raised. Brian Fargo posted on the site talking about what an amazing experience it has been.

“I am very anxious to start diverting all of my energies to production of the game itself,” said Fargo. “I am constantly asked about other projects I might consider, but for now it is Wasteland, Wasteland, Wasteland.”

“Also we have spent some time thinking about and asking fans what we could put into the $30 tier to make it more interesting and to not disrupt what has already been offered,” he added. “I think we have come up with an interesting list that may persuade a few people to upgrade.”

Now, those who spend $30 will get an extra download in any format and will gain access to a four-episode Video Development Blog. Those who spend this amount or higher will also receive double the number of Ranger character portraits and a novella by Chris Avellone based on the universe of Wasteland.

“Also we will have a live streaming party on Monday night (16th) from 10 p.m.-12 a.m. EDT to celebrate the green light of production on the game,” said Fargo. “Our Kickstarter does not close until 5am the next morning, but we wanted to get some of our friends and family together to celebrate this little bit of history and share it with you. On attendance will be Nolan Bushnell the founder of Atari, Chris Avellone and a few other surprise guests. We will be answering questions received through live chat on the TwitchTV stream as well as from Facebook fans.”


Instagram Spin-Off Promotes Breast Cancer Awareness

Two French men have taken it up the crusade against breast cancer with Boobstgram.  Marking a collection of lingerie pics on Instagram, the site runs under the tagline “Showing breasts on the web is good, showing them to a doctor is better.”

Currently over 24,000 pics tagged are tagged #boobstagram on Instagram. Boobstagram’s Facebook page {link no longer active} has almost 5,000 likes and features a “boob of the day.”

Source: Business Insider {link no longer active}

Cliff Bleszinski Wants Next-Gen Graphics To Melt Faces

CD Projekt lead level artist Marek Ziemak recently said that he wants the next-generation of consoles to have real-life animation. Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski is going so far to say he wants the graphics to be “face-melting.”

“I really want our next-generation consoles to pass what I call the ‘Mom Test’,” Bleszinski added. “So that if you were to show this console and games to your mom, she would be like, ‘Wow, that clearly looks better than your last console,’ and it’s an essential step that needs to be taken by both Sony and Microsoft.”

“Always-connected consoles that basically require an Internet connection. So that I can just wake up in the morning and say, ‘Oh a new demo has been downloaded on my hard drive, so I can check it out.’ As well as considering streaming gaming from the cloud, which would be very nice,” he added. “”The other things I want to see are gesture-based controls. I think Kinect is quite cool, and I’m a big fan of using Kinect to control movies with Netflix. Maybe it will be built-in [to a future generation Xbox], maybe it won’t. We’ll have to see what actually comes out of that.”

Source: GameSpot {link no longer active}

Lexus Takes Cues From Apple For Tech Experts

Lexus wants to emphasize its easy-to-use technology in its cars by hiring specialists to emphasize these features in their dealerships. What they’re doing is not unlike Apple and their famous Genius Bars.

“We’re focusing on improving the delivery process, so [dealers] are hiring for new positions aimed at improving customer satisfaction,” said Mark Templin, general manager of the Lexus division.

Lexus is looking to increase their sales departments by as much as 20 percent at their 230 U.S. dealers. They know they have to do a better job of helping their customers understand and fully utilize the intricacies of the proliferation of new interior technologies, from Bluetooth to digital-audio systems to the brand’s Enform telematics system to in-car internet connectivity; its customer-service lines got 13,000 calls last year about navigation, audio and other infotainment technologies, up from about 5,000 calls two years earlier.

Lexus dealers send personnel to Lexus College in California for a half week’s training in the brand’s new initiative, with a total of 2,400 dealership personnel expected to go through it by the end of June. Many will become full time “delivery” or “technology” specialists, an idea Lexus borrowed from Apple’s in-store Genius Bar as well as from a handful of its own dealers who had been using it.

“Technology issues are easier to explain at the dealership when you’re with a real live person as opposed to doing it over the phone,” said Salisbury. “That’s what’s really driving this.”

Source: Brand Channel

Book Exchange Mixes Images

A Colombian library was looking to have a book exchange and came up with some clever ads. Use optical illusions the posters combine Moby Dick and Red Riding Hood, Harry Potter and the Trojan Horse, and Snow White and Sherlock Holmes.

Source: Ads of the World