Category: Internet and Technology

Can companies restrict employees use of social media?

Can companies restrict employees use of social media?

Maybe not. It is probably a case to be taken to limit the use of social networks by employees while they are at work. But Paris is opened when the employee returns home. In fact, it is likely that U.S. companies can not prevent employees from discussing their jobs, their bosses or even their working conditions on social networks at all. At least that seems to be the result of a lawsuit in U.S. government’s recent.

The National Labor Relations Board has pursued an ambulance company in Connecticut after a worker fired for criticizing her boss on Facebook. The NLRB argued that the ambulance company the right to freedom of speech of its employee when it fired him for comments.

The case was settled out of court when the company agreed to change its policy of banning social media workers to disparage the company or its officers online. The company also eliminated a provision in the policy that prohibits employees from speaking to all of the company on social networks without the authorization of the company.

The NLRB said such policies violate federal laws that protect employees against disciplinary action by their companies to discuss wages, hours and working conditions with colleagues.

In this case, the female employee engaged in a profanity-laced tirade against his boss on his Facebook page of his house. Updating the status received support from others. The company fired him shortly afterward, but argued that it was not for the comments on Facebook, but because of his poor job performance. The NLRB did not buy it.

This is one lawsuit so it is difficult to make general determinations based thereon. But many companies have policies that prohibit employees from discussing their work on social networks. These companies may soon have to reconsider.

We are in new territory here. Companies that have a history of mistreatment of employees or those of companies with bullying work environments aggressive discover that social networks are their own worst enemies. But on the other hand, companies should be able to prohibit employees from sharing trade secrets, financial information, customer data and other important documents online.

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The Social Network wins big at Golden Globes

The Social Network wins big at Golden Globes

The Facebook film takes home awards for best drama, director, score, and screenplay.

The Facebook tale “The Social Network” won top honors Sunday at the Golden Globes with four prizes, including best drama and director, solidifying its prospects as an Academy Awards favorite.

Winning the dramatic lead-acting prizes were Colin Firth for the British monarchy saga “The King’s Speech” and Natalie Portman for the psychosexual thriller “Black Swan.”

Lead-acting honors for the Globes’ musical or comedy categories went to Annette Bening for the lesbian-family story “The Kids Are All Right” and Paul Giamatti for the curmudgeon tale “Barney’s Version.”

The boxing drama “The Fighter” earned both supporting actor Globes, for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo.

David Fincher, directing winner for “The Social Network,” said he thought it was strange when “The Social Network” script came to him, since he usually makes dark character studies about misanthropes or films about serial killers. His films include the murder tales “Seven” and “Zodiac.”

“I’m personally loath to acknowledge the kind of wonderful response this film has received for fear of becoming addicted to it, so suffice it to say, it’s been really nice,” said Fincher, whose film also won the Globes for screenplay for Aaron Sorkin and musical score for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Sorkin, creator of TV’s “The West Wing,” had kind words for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network.”

“Mark Zuckerberg, if you’re watching, Rooney Mara makes a prediction at the beginning of the movie. She was wrong. You turned out to be a great entrepreneur, a great visionary and an incredible altruist,” Sorkin said.

The win by Portman for her role as a ballerina coming unhinged amid a production of “Swan Lake” sets her up for a two-woman showdown for best actress at the Feb, 27 Oscars with Bening, who won for her role as a stern lesbian mom in “The Kids Are All Right,” which also won for best musical or comedy film.

It’s familiar territory for Bening. She won the same prize at the Globes 11 years ago for “American Beauty” and went in as the best-actress favorite at the Oscars, where she lost to Globe dramatic actress winner Hilary Swank for “Boys Don’t Cry.”

Portman thanked the film’s choreographer, her fiance Benjamin Millepied, with whom she’s expecting a child. He also appears in the movie, and his character doesn’t want to sleep with hers. “He’s the best actor! It’s not true, he totally wants to sleep with me,” Portman said, giggling.

Related Link: The Social Network Full Production Notes

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Popular app Pandora raises privacy fears

Popular app Pandora raises privacy fears

The iPhone music program reportedly shares your age, gender, and even location with advertisers.

Online radio network Pandora provides users with highly curated playlists based on the Music Genome Project, an analysis of more than 400 attributes of a song that make it appealing to your specific ear taste buds. The cost of this pretty incredible service for most folks: nothing at all. Well, nothing at all if you don’t consider quietly sharing some of your web habits with advertisers a “cost.”

While you’re paying zilch to listen to Led Zeppelin Radio, someone is footing the royalty bill — Pandora, duh. As the service explains in its Frequently Asked Questions, it collects some personal information from users so it can help its advertisers — who support the service by paying Pandora cash money — target consumers that will be useful to them. The explanation for why you tell Pandora your age and gender: “The free version of Pandora is mostly supported by advertisements, and we want to be able to show the most relevant ads to our listeners.”

But just how much of your private info is flowing out to advertisers as “Black Dog” streams into your earphones? A new exposé by the Wall Street Journal seems to argue the answer is “too much.” According to the WSJ’s data, Pandora shares age, gender, location, and phone ID information with marketing firms on both its iPhone and Android mobile versions. So while advertsiers won’t have your name and email address, they’ll get their hands on a lot of info about your mobile phone behavior. .

Is that a fair exchange for hours of free music? Only users who stream more than 40 hours of music a month are billed 99 cents, and Pandora offers a premium paid version for $36 a year that comes with a few perks, like unlimited listening, no ads, and the ability to skip however many songs you want. Pandora does have a Privacy Policy posted on its website, which reveals the service employs cookies to “collect non-personally identifiable information” for tracking and advertising purposes. It doesn’t expressly say Pandora will share your phone’s unique ID number with advertisers, but it gives you a hint that that music you’re enjoying for free does indeed have a cost — whether or not you’re (somewhat) unwittingly becoming an advertising drone is up to you.

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How Twitter, Facebook and other firms pick names

How Twitter, Facebook and other firms pick names

What’s in a name? If it comes to Twitter, the answer is roughly $ 1.1 billion. In just four years, Twitter has grown from birdsong for most words in the English language, according to Global Language Monitor data for 2009. (“Obama” was second.) Twitter spokesman Matt Graves said his company’s name was flatly brilliant “the result of a brainstorming session among a small group of employees at Odeo, starting in San Francisco podcasting when Twitter started as a side project. They came up with possible names, including “jitter” and “Twitter”, and put them in a hat, “says Graves. Twitter won.

Now the race to piece the name of the next society oddly memorable. The challenge is to come up with something as powerful as Verizon or Haagen-Dazs (invented words have entered the cultural lexicon), not to mention Google (misspelling the founders themselves, the digital word “googol” ), has become even more difficult. There are over one million names, slogans, logos and office in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. And according to VeriSign, a global domain name registry, 11 million Internet domain names were registered in the past 12 months alone, an increase of 6 percent over the previous year. In all, 193 million Internet domain names are now available for new businesses.

“The days are incidental to appoint more,” said Naseem Javed, founder of ABC NameBank, a consultant based in New York specializing in the nomenclature of the business. To stand out in crowded market worldwide, “he said, the name a company must now be very strange. “Ten, twenty years ago, you can start a business and take the name in every sense,” he said. “Now, with 200 countries on the cyber platform worldwide Finding the right name has become an expert in the field. ”

More than ever companies are looking for professional advice on their identity. Although the number of customers are difficult to find, there are about 50 naming firms worldwide, the majority of them launched in the last decade, according to DMOZ, the Open Directory Project, the largest of Internet yellow pages. “It’s like modern art,” said Phillip Davis, president and owner of Tungsten Branding, a naming services firm in Brevard, NC “I study words. I saw the words inside. What could they become, what could they be formatted in, are they malleable? “He takes his job very seriously. “In our industry, we call [words] partially shaped vessel.”

One of the most popular trends of naming years, according to Javed, Google is the double-O derivative. “Many companies believe that the double-O gives them a kind of comfort level,” he said. “You have names such as Joost, Boost, Wakoopa, iSkoot, and Qool.” According to Javed, there is a guiding principle in the strategy of double-O. “Basically, you put the double-O in the center, then you drop a letter on the left and a letter on the right,” he said. “I hope this gives you some magic.” ABC estimates there are about 760 company names double-o in the world.

The real art of naming a business must be weird – but not too weird. Jay Jurisics, creative director at San Francisco-based naming and branding agency Igor, points to the array of companies that appear to have been assigned a random combination of letters: Xignux, Epizone, Spansion, Assurant, Primaxis, Qorus. “Although each snowflake is unique technically” Jurisch said, “in a snowstorm they all mix and mingle.”

An odd name with an idea behind it, however, may stand out: take hairyLemon, for example, a web development company in Christchurch, New Zealand. Graham Dockrill, co-founder hairyLemon, explains that the name comes from the Cockney slang for “here at eleven” – as in 11 hours, typically when pubs open in New Zealand.

“Would you say that” hairy lemon and I am meeting you for a pint when the pub opens, “he said. Technically, to drink in the morning has nothing to do with society itself, but attracted potential customers. Dockrill estimated that at least a third of companies hairyLemon name comes from. “People might look at three or four different companies, he said,” and they will take us because we have such a funny name. ”

Like those who have appointed Twitter and Google, the people behind hairyLemon had simply touch. Not all Namer do-it-yourself is such a success. In June 2009, Russian gas company Gazprom announced a joint venture with NNPC Nigeria, which has resulted in an offshoot company they called “NiGaz.” However, the merger of “Nigeria” and “Gazprom” has struck many Americans as more suitable for an NWA album of a Russian gas monopoly. Development of a name in the digital age, according to Davis Tungsten, is both art and science. His most famous invention is PODS, portable storage with short demand. The original name of moving company and storage has been Phones, but Davis thought it “sounded too much like a toilet.” A name like PODS, he says, creates a feeling of “what, tell me more “instead of” eh, I do not understand. ”

The biggest mistake amateur creators name, Davis believes, is overanalyzing the language. Fans can focus too much on linguistics and the number of vowels and consonants. “They are so grammatically inclined to regret their bigger picture,” he said. “They forget that it must be a story connected to it. Other people’s history, but the word is so awkward that nobody cares about history. They will say: “In America, this word means the god of business. Well, yes, but he won 16 and five syllables x and z be three.”

For those who do not have the capital to employ a professional, the Internet is now littered with generating business-free name. Not all are legitimate, others are actually making fun of you. In 2003, an advertising agency in London, The Design Conspiracy has launched a website called where visitors can type their “core values” (as “dynamic” or “passionate”) and corporate goals (as “world leader” or “client focus”) and the site put together a brand name custom. “We were laughing a number of rebrands ridiculous at the time, as Accenture and Consignia,” says Ben Terrett, a former member of the Design Conspiracy. He said that all 150 of “products” of the site names have been carefully designed to be as bland as possible. However, the case was so compelling that 20 of their false names – including bivium, Libero, and Winnovate – were registered as trademarks by real companies.

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Steven Spielberg video game cancelled

Steven Spielberg video game cancelled

The director’s much-hyped LMNO video game was reportedly in development for years.

He rescued Amity from Jaws, reminded us of Oskar Schindler’s heroic list, and, of course, saved Private Ryan. But even a filmmaker as messianic as Steven Spielberg couldn’t do the same for his latest video game project.

After years of work on the top-secret “Project LMNO,” publisher EA has officially announced that the title has been canceled.

“While EA maintains its relationship with Steven Spielberg, we ceased development of LMNO,” a company rep told game blog Joystiq.

The news came to light during a podcast with industry vet Jake Kazdal, who revealed that he worked on the doomed project for over two years.

“I don’t want to get the EA police on me. I can’t say too much. It was very ambitious,” he said on the podcast. “I don’t know exactly what was the thing that made it fall apart.”

“There was some rival game stuff that may or may not have come out of EA that was basically the same thing minus some of the stuff we were doing,” he continued. “There was just a lot of politics.”

The death of LMNO — a very ‘Spielberg’ action-adventure featuring a secret agent and a female alien — is one of the few blemishes on Spielberg’s otherwise solid game career. He’s credited as being the creator of the company’s Medal of Honor shooter series, which debuted on the Playstation back in 1999 (a reboot of the franchise set in modern-day Afghanistan releases this week, though he’s not involved.) He’s also the designer of the critically-acclaimed Boom Blox titles for the Wii.

Boom Blox and LMNO were the first two titles revealed as part of a three-game Spielberg / EA development partnership back in 2005. There’s been no word on the state of the third and final game.

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Advice for switching phone carriers

Advice for switching phone carriers

If you’re planning to ditch your current cell phone plan, here are some things to do first.

Kevin Van Dyk is perfectly willing to talk about why he is counting the days until he can ditch his cellphone service provider, AT&T, in March 2011. But you might not be able to get a hold of him.

“My phone only works half the time in my house,” says Van Dyk, a Spring Hill, Fla. resident. He isn’t sure if any of the other providers can do better — spotty service is a problem in and around the small town, too. But with rampant billing errors and poor service from AT&T, he says, they can’t do much worse.

Bad connections, dropped calls and other service quality problems are driving consumers like Van Dyk to switch carriers. In a recent study, J.D. Power & Associates notes that consumers planning to switch reported problems four times as often as those without plans to switch. And a growing number fall into the former camp: The rate of dropped calls reported is up 33% compared with six months ago.

There are ways to try before you buy — to test call quality before you’re locked in with a service provider. But it’s a labor-intensive process. And if you’re not willing to wait out your current contract, it’s also an expensive one, with early termination fees of up to $350.

The best way to find out if a new phone will work where you do is to get one and try it. Carriers will let you out of a new contract penalty-free within the first 14 to 30 days. You’ll most likely want to port your number over, but be aware of the timing: if your existing contract isn’t up yet, that will trigger an early termination fee. Use the trial period to test your phone at home, in the office and other places you frequent.

It may sound obvious, but a surprising number of people buy a new phone before going on vacation or some other shift in their usual schedule, says Kent German, a senior editor covering cell phones for CNET. Not enough bars? You’ll owe only for plan charges during that trial period, whatever plan you sign up for. Of course, then you’ll have to go through the process of porting your number and trying again with another carrier.

If you’re not up for the hassle — or you want to research options before your contract is up — there are applications such as CNET’s cell coverage maps and BillShrink’s plan comparison tool out there to estimate signal strength down to the zip code. Those applications and carrier call quality ratings aren’t foolproof, says Kirk Parsons, the senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power & Associates, because reception can vary by block. This, of course, is all subjective. People on a network with wide reports of problems are more likely to notice those misconnections, he says, “and some carriers do a better job of managing customers’ perceptions than others.”

Or you can source the crowd. Before Tariq Ahmad moved to Greeley, Colo., to attend grad school earlier this year, he visited the major carriers’ cell phone stores in the town and talked to people on the street about the quality of the service. Alternatively, have a party. Inviting other people over to check out how many bars their phones get in your home or apartment is a fast and friendly way to research other carriers. At work, poll cube-mates for similar results.

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What you need to know about 4G phones

What you need to know about 4G phones

Even heavy data users should think carefully before rushing out to get an ultrafast 4G phone.

Imagine having a mobile phone that matches what you can do on your home PC or laptop. That’s the power of 4G – the term for fourth generation mobile service – which was rolled out by Sprint (S) earlier this year and will soon be available for Verizon (VZ) subscribers. Here are the most important things you need to know about 4G.

1. It’s fast. Sprint, the first mover in the 4G market, says its 4G is up to 10 times faster than 3G, which was introduced eight years ago. Sprint promises peak downloads of more than 10 Mbps (megabits per second), with average downloads of three to six Mbps. Verizon announced on October 6 that it plans in the fourth quarter to launch its 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) network with downloads to range between 5 to 12 Mbps.

A closer look at the numbers, however, reveals that 4G speeds may vary. Sprint says that 4G can be 10 times faster than 3G. But read the fine print in Sprint’s promotional material: Sprint bases this claim on speed comparison between 3G’s low-end 600 kilobits per second (Kbps) vs. 4G’s max 6Mbps. Sprint notes that 3G can reach 1.7 Mbps, while 4G may drop down to 3 Mbps. So that’s less than twice as fast. We will know more specifics about Verizon’s network in the weeks ahead as it rolls out its service.

2. Regardless of how much faster 4G might be, the increased connection speed lets you do more things with your phone. Early users are already enjoying features like uninterrupted video conferencing, high-definition television streaming and of course lightning fast web surfing that smartphones on 3G networks are unable to provide. Power business users and other early adopters of the new technology who experience 4G will never want to go back.

3. Casual users mostly interested in talking, texting and occasional web surfing on their cell phones don’t need to rush into buying a 4G-enabled phone (and it is not possible to upgrade existing 3G models to the new network.) Even if you are ready to buy a phone and wanted to upgrade to 4G, the network is not available in all parts of the country (see below). It will take years for 4G to roll out into every rural area, and residents of big cities could get shut out due to big restrictions on new cell phone towers.

4. You can easily find out if 4G is available in your area. Sprint says its 4G network reaches more than 268 million people in 50 markets in the United States “and counting.” To see whether 4G is available in your hometown, go here.

Verizon says its 4G LTE network initially will cover 100 million people in 38 markets by the end of 2010. The first markets with access to Verizon’s 4G network include Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.

5. 4G is more expensive. Sprint currently charges its customers with 4G-enabled devices an extra $10 per month, regardless of whether they can access a 4G network or not. With increased data usage and Verizon entering the fray, both networks are rumored to convert to “pay-as-you-go” pricing schemes rather than unlimited use packages. 4G devices will also invariably cost more – at least at first – than similar phones on the same networks.

Back in May, Sprint launched its first 4G phone, HTC EVO 4G, selling for $200 with a two-year contract. That phone runs on Google’s Android mobile operating system, and has access to nearly 100,000 Android apps. Verizon has not announced pricing and plan information for upcoming 4G-enabled smartphones.

6. Batteries take a hit on 4G. Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G can run out of battery power after only a few hours of use. While power can be conserved by switching off the 4G setting, the last thing you want to do with your new state-of-the-art smartphone is to slow it down. Extra battery packets which add to the weight of an already heavy phone can be purchased for about $100.

7. A 4G mobile hotspot can give a boost to your 3G phone. Sprint’s website displays a video showing how an iPhone user can find its 4G network and increase the iPhone’s speed. Take that AT&T. Sprint says the hotspot can work with up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices at time: a phone, a laptop, camera, a couple music players and so on. Sprint says the Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot by Sierra Wireless is the first dual-mode mobile hotspot on the market.

8. Sprint and Verizon are leading the way with 4G, but where’s the competition? They’re not snoozing. Kent German reported in CNET that AT&T will be busting a move into 4G next year. AT&T Operations CEO John Stankey says the company will light up its network with LTE service by the middle of 2011. He didn’t list cities, but he says AT&T is aiming to cover between 70 million and 75 million people by the end of 2011.

Meanwhile T-Mobile has been touting its HPSA+ upgrade. T-Mobile says the upgrade increases its network’s speed three to five times over 3G. T-Mobile describes its HSPA+ enhancement as a “super-fast mobile broadband network that delivers 4G speeds in the Northeastern U.S. and other major cities across the country.”

9. So if you are one of those people with a need for speed or rely on your phone for multimedia business communication, it makes sense to upgrade to a 4G phone right away. Just understand the geographic restrictions in accessing the network, and be prepared to pay more in your monthly bill while also making sure to charge your phone more regularly.

For everyone else, there is no need to rush into 4G. Whenever it is naturally time to upgrade your phone due to performance or an expiring contract, you should consider jumping on to the faster network. By that time, 4G will be available in more areas and on more carriers. Although I wouldn’t expect prices to go down, battery and other technical issues associated with new gadgets should be resolved.

The only other thing you’ll have to worry about at that point is when it makes sense to upgrade to the fifth generation of cell phone technology.

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Biggest video games never released

Biggest video games never released

StarCraft: Ghost is one massively hyped game that never made it into players’ hands.

So, the unthinkable has happened: once-dead tongue-in-cheek shooter sequel Duke Nukem Forever has been uncancelled, and should be heading to stores sometime in 2011. But what games weren’t so lucky? Which high-profile projects were cancelled and won’t ever rise from their graves? Read on for some of our favorites.

Starcraft: Ghost

Starcraft II is ruling the charts this year — but this console-based spin-off probably never will. A stealthy, third-person adventure set in the popular Starcraft universe, it was abandoned in 2006. It’s technically “suspended” and not cancelled as such, and some fans still cling to the faint hope that it might see the light of day at some point.

Super Mario 128

First named in the late ’90s as a follow-up to the seminal Super Mario 64, Mario 128 originally saw the light in 2000 as a tech demo for the then-new Gamecube. Rumors around its development persisted for years but to no avail; bits and pieces of the Mario 128 concept have shown up in other Mario titles, including Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy, however.

Halo MMO

This World of Warcraft-style Halo spin-off was never formally announced, and details only emerged after it had been canned by Microsoft around 2007. With a budget said to have been as much as $90 million, it could be the most expensive cancelled game around.

Warcraft Adventures

Warcraft fans were devastated when this point-and-click adventure was dramatically canned in 1998. It was to have been a light-hearted, hand-drawn 2D affair in the vein of the early Monkey Island games, but developer Blizzard decided it had been outpaced by its competitors and pulled the plug.


The mid-00s didn’t exactly go well for publisher Take Two. Reeling from the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas “Hot Coffee” debacle, it took steps to clean up its image — and one of them was to quietly cancel Snow, which was to have been a drug-dealing sim that let players advance from small-time marijuana pusher to cocaine kingpin.

This Is Vegas

Open-world gambling and womanizing sim This Is Vegas always sounded like a bit of a risky bet. Publisher Midway poured as much as $50 million into development of the project, but came up snake-eyes, filing for bankruptcy last year. Warner Bros. picked up the company’s assets — including Vegas — but word is the game is no more.

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Apple’s iPad to face new BlackBerry rival

Apple's iPad to face new BlackBerry rival

The device will reportedly be smaller than Apple’s popular gadget, but will include a camera.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion could unveil its new tablet computer—as well as the operating system that will power it—as early as next week at a developers’ conference in San Francisco, said people familiar with RIM’s plans.

The tablet, which some inside RIM are calling the BlackPad, is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of this year, these people said. It will feature a seven-inch touch screen and one or two built-in cameras, they said.

It will have Bluetooth and broadband connections but will only be able to connect to cellular networks through a BlackBerry smartphone, these people said. Since the tablet won’t be sold with a cellular service, it’s not clear which carriers or retailers will sell the device.

In a significant development, RIM’s tablet will eschew the recently revamped BlackBerry 6 operating system in favor of a completely new platform built by QNX Software Systems, these people said.

RIM bought QNX, a maker of operating systems used in everything from cars to nuclear reactors, earlier this year, in what industry watchers said was a bid to replace software criticized as slow and buggy.

RIM eventually plans to transition its BlackBerry smartphones to the QNX operating system as well, people familiar with RIM’s strategy said.

The RIM tablet is being manufactured by Quanta Computer Inc. of Taiwan, and will run on chips from Santa Clara, Calif.-based Marvell Technology Group Inc. (NasdaqGS: MRVL – News), according to people familiar with the tablet’s manufacturing.

RIM said it doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation. A Quanta spokeswoman said the company is developing tablets for clients but declined to comment on whether RIM is one of them. Executives at Marvell, which already supplies chips for RIM smartphones, said the company has developed a new series for tablets but declined to say whether they are supplying an upcoming tablet for RIM.

The introduction of a tablet and new operating system come at a critical time for RIM, whose BlackBerry phones are facing increasingly tough competition from Apple iPhone as well as handsets that run on Google’s Android operating system. Research firm Gartner Inc. estimated BlackBerry’s share of world-wide smartphone sales fell one percentage point to 18% in the second quarter of this year versus the previous year—even as the share of Android and Apple devices rose.

A key challenge for RIM has been convincing software developers to create applications for its phones, and the company will spend much of next week’s conference showing the kinds of things that can be done on its new devices—including the recently released Torch.

RIM is readying announcements and demonstrations, including an update on BlackBerry’s mobile advertising platform and an Inc. music application, said people familiar with the plans.

Still, RIM’s tablet will face stiff competition in an increasingly crowded market. The launch of Apple’s iPad in April sparked a rush to build similar devices by a raft of firms from Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics to Taiwan’s Acer Inc. and Cisco Systems and Dell of the U.S. Many of those competing tablets will run Android, meaning RIM’s new operating system will go head-to-head with Apple and Google offerings in tablets as well.

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‘Inception’ world may live on as video game

'Inception' world may live on as video game

Christopher Nolan says he has lots of ideas that couldn’t fit in the film. But game won’t come soon.

Christopher Nolan might have the Midas touch when it comes to making movies, but he hasn’t had a lot of luck in the videogame arena. But that’s not dissuading the writer / director / producer, who plans to bring his hit film “Inception” to a console near you.

“We are looking at developing a videogame based on the world of the film, which has all kinds of ideas that you can’t fit into a feature film,” Nolan told reporters at a press conference in Rome, according to a report in Variety. “That’s something we’ve been talking about and are looking at doing long term, in a couple of years.”

The move makes sense. “Inception” has grossed over $750 million dollars at the box office since its release – and the film’s target audience lines up perfectly with the core gaming demographic.

But Nolan has tried to bring one of his movies to the gaming space before – 2008’s “The Dark Knight” – and it didn’t go well.

The game first missed a coordinated launch with the theatrical release, then failed to materialize when the DVD hit shelves. Ultimately, Electronic Arts cancelled the title after shutting down the studio that was working on it.

The world of video games is, of course, littered with forgettable movie-based tie-ins. The vast majority of those were rush jobs done by developers who were far removed from the film process, rarely (if ever) coordinating with the director.

'Inception' world may live on as video game

If Nolan were to take an active role in the “Inception” game’s development, that would be an encouraging sign – but it would hardly be a guarantee of success.

Just ask James Cameron. The most successful director of all time worked closely with Ubisoft when that publisher was creating the videogame companion for “Avatar”. But when the game launched, it didn’t come close to mirroring the film’s success, failing to even crack the list of the top 20 best-selling games last December.

Atari had better luck when it worked with the Wachowski brothers on “Enter the Matrix”. Launching simultaneously with “The Matrix Reloaded” in 2003, the game went on to sell 5 million copies – but it was lambasted by critics and players, and future “Matrix” games weren’t big sellers.

Other Hollywood directors have been able to extend their cinematic prowess to the gaming screen, though. Peter Jackson worked closely with Ubisoft to create the gaming adaptation of his “King Kong” film, a game that went on to become one of the premiere launch titles for the Xbox 360. And Steven Spielberg has worked on non-movie related games with Electronic Arts — including his “Boom Blox” puzzle games — that have gone on to become critical smashes.

More recently, developers at Disney Interactive Studios worked closely with Pixar on the video game version of “Toy Story 3.” That game became one of the most lauded movie tie-in titles in the company’s history.

Nolan’s not the only celebrated director expressing interest in exploring the game world these days. Guillermo Del Toro, director of the “Hellboy” franchise and “Pan’s Labyrinth,” is said to be close to signing a deal with publisher THQ to work jointly on “games that are going to be technically and narratively very interesting.”

Like Nolan, del Toro has an artistic vision that’s distinct from the rest of Hollywood. Gamers are wary, having been burned by too many bad Hollywood tie-ins already, but hopeful that the magic the directors bring to the big screen is something they can deliver to the consoles as well.

Related Link: Inception Movie Full Production Notes

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