Beyond that free offer, Amazon’s beta site provides a catalog of over 600 games, all available for free on a trial basis and at $9.99 or less for purchase.
Amazon acquired Reflexive in late October for an unspecified sum. In addition to its own Web portal, Reflexive has been known for selling Windows, Mac, and online games from outside developers on hundreds of GameCenterSolution Affiliate Web sites. Reflexive has developed its own games, too, including Xbox Live Arcade title Wik & The Fable Of Souls, and the Ricochet series.
Title screen from Jewel Quest II”At Reflexive we have always prided ourselves on maintaining good relationships with everyone in the industry, and are excited that Amazon shares that philosophy. We intend to provide the best distribution platform anywhere, and to continue working openly with all the participants of the casual games space. Together it is our priority to continue this inclusive attitude going forward,” wrote Reflexive CEO Lars Brubaker, in a blog post in October.
“What this means for all you developers is that it’s time to get excited about your future with Reflexive,” he said. “It means we’ll be able to expand our distribution network to include Amazon’s amazing distribution channel. With Amazon we will bring a huge new group of customers into play.”
With Amazon opening its beta site yesterday, Reflexive’s Web site remained open for business today. A search of Reflexive’s arcade by Betanews showed that the Reflexive site still offers dozens of games for free download, including the three Amazon currently offers.
However, Reflexive’s “top ten” game entries on the PC side are each priced at either $9.99 or $19.99, with the exception of Totem Tribe — a game that Reflexive is offering for free on a trial basis but at $9.99 for purchase.
Reflexive’s GameCenterSolution site for developers remained online today, too, continuing to offer developers 40% of the net receipts for sales of their games on the Reflexive Arcade and GameCenterSolution partner sites.
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It’s not uncommon to see Mac users living and dying by Apple’s Safari browser that comes built in OS X, but in a surprising bit of news today, PayPal is warning users that they are better off using an alternative if they want to avoid fraud. Just like the average Windows user usually doesn’t bother to download a browser different than Internet Explorer, Safari is commonly the browser of choice for Mac users.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean Safari is a bad option, not even an insecure browser, but in the eyes of PayPal it is lacking two important anti-phishing security features that “Internet Explorer 7 or 8 when it comes out, Firefox 2 or Firefox 3, and indeed Opera” already pack in. The two features mentioned by Michael Barrett, PayPal’s chief information security officer, are a built-in phishing filter and an anti-phishing technology, called Extended Validation certificates.
PayPal happens to be in a very unique position for making an educated assessment regarding web security, but we don’t see either of those two technologies making miracles for saving users from fraudsters. That said, we wouldn’t be surprised if Apple implemented them on its browser in a matter of weeks or months, depending on how badly they are demanded by its users. At the end of the day, there is no better anti-phishing filter than yourself, being aware that scammers are out there and they are trying to get you. Just make sure you browse the right sites and follow links where you can trust them.
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Google’s Picasa site can show a map sprinkled with thumbnails of a photo album’s pictures.
(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET Networks)
Readers of this blog will have inferred I’m a fan of geotagging–in fact, I’m trying to label all my photos with the tags that show where the picture was taken, even though the geotagging process is complicated.
I’m betting that much of the value of geotagging lies in the future, for example when I might have a harder time remembering which hike a particular picture came from. But can anything useful be done with those geotagged photos today?
But as with other aspects of geotagging, today’s cartographically clever Web sites are likely to appeal chiefly to enthusiasts who have some patience and technical abilities. Just like we’re not at the stage where most cameras can add a location stamp as easily as they can add a timestamp, we’re not yet at the stage where most folks are going to start with an online map when they want to share their photos or reminisce.
Collectively, the sites I checked show the potential of geotagging–but also the rough spots. My top pick is Flickr, with Picasa and SmugMug tied for second place. But each site has different strengths and weaknesses, so look carefully before you make any commitments.
One of the main reasons I picked Flickr as tops is because the Flickr maps interface can sift data better. For example, you can see a high-level view of all your geotagged photos, and you can filter that view with parameters such as your photos, your friends’ or contacts’ photos, anyone’s photos, and most important in my opinion, specific tags. That’s a handy interface when trying to find photos of, say, Yosemite National Park, but you can’t remember which of several trips a particular photo is associated with.
Flickr displays pictures as unevocative pink dots, but the photos themselves are shown on a strip below.
(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET Networks)
In contrast, Picasa and SmugMug draw maps that only reflect the contents of a particular group of photos–called galleries at SmugMug, albums at Picasa, and sets at Flickr. (Google Maps can show Picasa images of a particular area to Google account holders who install a Mapplet application, though.)
Flickr also lets you take a set-based view of a map, with a scattering of pink dots representing your pictures. Indeed, it’s probably the most likely way somebody might want to use a map to show off pictures of a recent trip, for example.
SmugMug, though, has what I found to be the slickest geotagging feature out there: fly-through slideshows of a gallery. With this ability, the site automatically shows a gallery’s sequence of photos, displaying thumbnails along the way on a map and a red line connecting them.
It’s a bit rough around the edges–I’m guessing because the technical difficulties of combining external Google Maps data with its own thumbnails–so it can be herky-jerky at times and with missing map elements. And for slideshows, thumbnails are hardly the best way to showcase sweeping vistas. But there’s no question in my mind that the feature imparts a sense of traveling through a place, a sensation that regular slideshows completely lack.
Where Picasa has the edge over Flickr and SmugMug is in showing thumbnails of each image on the map, not just a dot or pushpin, which I like better even though thumbnails can get pretty crowded. It also shows larger pop-up versions than Flickr does. And for people who are geotagging their photos through the Web site, I think Picasa’s interface is the best.
I also like the way Picasa, on an individual photo’s page, includes a map showing where it was taken. But in part that’s because there’s a big panel of verbiage to the right of the screen on which that kind of real estate is available. A more photo-oriented site might not have that space to spare.
SmugMug lets you tour a gallery of photos on a map–a cool if still rough-around-the-edges feature.
(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET Networks)
Another major advantage of Flickr is its handling of location privacy–geoprivacy in Flickr parlance. Naturally you might not want to share with the world the location of your living room, and your pernickety aunt might be even touchier. Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield prohibited geotagging of images of a party at his house.
Happily, Flickr lets you set the geoprivacy of each image, though doing so is awkward. I’m glad the Organizr lets me change this setting, but why isn’t there a geoprivacy option in a photo’s privacy settings window or in the map that’s shown when you click the photo?
There are some other options out there that deserve a look. Google’s Panoramio has a reasonable approach to virtual tourism if not necessarily the best interface for storing your photos–it seems like a ripe candidate for some integration with Picasa.
Loc.alalize.us likewise is an entertaining way to browse geotagged photos; it’s a glitzy interface built on top of Flickr photos and Google Maps.
Like Panoramio, Locr, a German company, lets you upload your own photos. Like SmugMug, it’s got a slideshow ability, though its photos are large and its map, a strip on the left edge with pushpin locations, is more an afterthought. That makes for a nicer slideshow than SmugMug’s thumbnails, but there’s not too much of a sense of place to it. And I can’t help thinking when I see sites like Locr, though, that it must be tough building a critical mass of members when there are bigger photo-sharing sites already with major momentum.
For a journey-oriented site Everytrail lets people upload whole GPS track logs and label them with points of interest and photos. It’s also got a handy feature that can show others’ Panoramio pictures. It’s a good way to look at trips people have taken in a particular area.
Locr shows individual photos fine, but doesn’t handle groups with much aplomb.
(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET Networks)
I found Everytrail’s interface a bit difficult and unintuitive at times, but it does have the advantage of being able to piggyback on Flickr: I successfully imported my bike trip Flickr set into an Everytrail map–though the klunkiness of the process was evident by the fact that I have three copies of each photo, and I can’t figure out how to get rid of the duplicates. Also, when I inadvertently uploaded the wrong day’s track log for a batch of photos, I had a hard time figuring out my error.
In the months that I’ve been trying this out, though, geotagging has been improving. I’m certain that these sites will improve as geotagging photos in the first place gets easier, more people try it, and programmers hammer away at the computational and user-interface challenges.
Another area with potential is software to deal with geotagging on computers. Mostly that’s limited today just to utilities to marry geographic data with image files. But the rudimentary geotagging support in Adobe Systems’ Lightroom and Apple’s Mac OS X 10.5, which both can show a photo’s location on a map, is a harbinger of things to come. Better geotagging abilities on people’s computers will fuel improvements on the Web and vice-versaSource: Extra Tech
This Skype Phone doubles as an 800 DPI optical mouse making this an excellent idea for managing the area around your desk. It also has a built speaker for handsfree skype communication or listening to music.
The Mouse Skype Phone with 2.5mm Earphone Jack retails for $22.26 (Sample 1+) from the Chinavasion website.
What good is a browser unless you can tweak it, hack it and bend it to your will? No good at all. The more you can hack it, the better it is.
And that means that Firefox must be a great browser. It’s infinitely customizable, via editing a text file called userChrome.css, making changes via a command called about:config, and using free add-ons to extend the features of the browser.
In this article, with those techniques and others, Preston Gralla will show you 15 great Firefox tricks, including how to build your own Firefox search engine, how to speed up your browsing, how to hack the interface and plenty more. So launch your favorite browser, and get ready for some great tricks.
We are proud to announce opening of our new website – Mobile Toys. The site is aimed to provide its users recent up to date news about cell phone/gadget releases and give full access to directory of the cell phones available on the market. All users are free to leave any comments about phones they like/use.
Currently we are gathering affiliate information to provide more details and information about best prices available for the corresponding phones. If you want us to become your affiliate – please contact us via email/skype. Your link will be placed next to each phone in our database as buy here.
I hope you like our initiative and will let us know what else you’d consider to obtain for Mobile Toys
BOSTON (Reuters) – “w00t”, an expression of joy coined by online gamers, was crowned word of the year on Tuesday by the publisher of a leading U.S. dictionary.
It’s like saying “yay”, the dictionary said.
“It could be after a triumph or for no reason at all,” Merriam-Webster said.
Visitors to Merriam-Webster’s Web site were invited to vote for one of 20 words and phrases culled from the most frequently looked-up words on the site and submitted by readers.
Runner-up was “facebook” as a new verb meaning to add someone to a list of friends on the Web site Facebook.com or to search for people on the social networking site.
Merriam-Webster President John Morse said “w00t” reflected the growing use of numeric keyboards to type words.
“People look for self-evident numeral-letter substitutions: 0 for O; 3 for E; 7 for T; and 4 for A,” he said. “This is simply a different and more efficient way of representing the alphabetical character.”
One Web site, www.thinkgeek.com, already sells T-shirts with the word “w00t” printed on the front.
“w00t belongs to gamers the world over. It seems to have been derived from the obsolete ‘whoot’ which essentially is another way to say ‘hoot’ which itself is a shout or derisive laugh,” Think Geek said on its Web site.
“But others maintain that w00t is the sound several players make while jumping like bunnies in Quake III,” it added, referring to a popular video game.
Online gamers often replace numbers and symbols with letters to form what Merriam-Webster calls an “esoteric computer hacker language” known as “l33t speak.” This translates into “leet”, which is short for “elite”.
A separate survey of words used in the media and on the Internet by California-based Global Language Monitor produced a different set of winners on Tuesday. “Hybrid” took top honours as word of the year with “climate change” the top phrase.
Global Language Monitor, which uses an algorithm to track words and phrases in the media and on the Internet, said “hybrid” had broad connotations of “all things green from biodiesel to wearing clothes made of soy to global warming”.
Runner-up was “surge,” based on the “surge” of 30,000 extra U.S. troops deployed to Iraq since mid-June, followed by the word “Bluetooth,” a technology used to connect electronic devices via radio waves.
“The English language is becoming more and more a globalised language every year,” said Global Language Monitor president Paul Payack, noting that this year’s list included words also culled from India, Singapore, China and Australia.
Source: Yahoo! News