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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

iOS 7 camera to detect blinking, smilingThe updated camera that’s coming along with iOS 7, Apple’s next-generation mobile operating system, is expected to help the photographer capture better people photos.
In addition to be completely redesigned from the ground up, the camera improvements will have facial expression detection — potentially taking a photo after someone blinks or smiles. 9to5 Mac broke the news on this little gem of a feature, reporting that the add-on was part of the iOS 7 beta 2 launch from Monday.
Facial recognition was actually introduced with iOS 5 (front-facing camera for FaceTime), the new APIs will now detect expressions like blinking or smiling — features that are now found on most new point-and-shoot cameras.
The new camera in iOS 7 includes square-cropped photos — perfect for big-time Instagrammers – and a bevy of editing filters to choose from.
As MacRumors points out, Apple has been dedicated to improving the camera with additional features. For example, iOS 5 finally let us take photos by using the volume shutter control and iOS 6 brought us panorama capabilities.
It’s no wonder that the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 rank as the three most popular cameras on the popular photo sharing site Flickr.
The new camera capabilities in iOS 7 will certainly be put to good use when the iPhone 5S is released alongside the new operating system sometime this fall — likely in late September. The camera internals of the iPhone 5S are expected to include a higher megapixel count and dual LED flash, which could help photos from looking so washed out when flash is needed.
Some critics are already complaining that Apple is taking existing technology — such as blinking and smiling recognition to trigger a camera shutter — and making it seem like they came up with the idea in the first place.
But, hey, who cares. I for one am excited about taking better photos on my iPhone.

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11 improvements Apple brought to iOS 7 beta 2iOS 7 beta 2 shows off new features of next-generation operating system
Apple gave developers the second beta version of iOS 7, the company’s next-generation mobile operating system, filled with some expected and unexpected features.
iOS 7 was formally introduced two weeks ago at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference. A finalized version for the public is expected to rollout in September, alongside a new iPhone.
According to multiple reports, iOS 7 brings several minor interface tweaks — a more polished look, as one developer described it. Here are 11 examples:
Many weren’t sure if Apple was bringing back its built-in recording software. The app is back in iOS 7 with a much simpler look, similar to the rest of iOS 7.
Just like today’s iOS devices, Apple greets us with a welcome screen the first time we use it. iOS 7 is no different, and matches its completely redesigned look.
Find My iPhone is a great app, especially if a thief nabs your iPhone. In iOS 7, iCloud now offers new languages the specify that the app will help users locate, lock, erase and prevent re-activation.
Are you ready for a male Siri? He’s here in iOS 7 beta 2. Many developers are also saying Siri is significantly faster.
In the first beta of iOS 7, some users experienced double notifications. Those have been fixed in the second version of the developer-only operating system.
Reminders have been slightly redesigned to look more like the app Clear. Again, the Apple-based app keeps with the iOS 7 clean design.
The first beta of iOS 7 didn’t include iCloud backups. Apple has returned them in the second beta.
Spotlight is said to be much quicker when searching for items on your iPhone or iPad.
Apple’s music app had a mess of problems that have been fixed in iOS 7 beta 2. Most importantly, lock screen album art looks normal on an iPhone 4/4S again.
Apple updated the weather app to include a new icon that can bring up a listing of the weather in all of the cities tracked in the app.
Everything about the completely redesigned multitasking works much smoother with the second beta.

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Microsoft reorg a reality: Xbox One OS now under Windows divisionAs rumored, Microsoft has confirmed that the company will be going through a reorg via a memo from Steve Ballmer. The memo details a massive restructuring of the company dividing everything into a number of divisions. As a result, it seems that the Xbox division will now be split across two departments.
In Ballmer’s memo [via All Things D], he outlines the new divisions: Business Development and Evangelism, Marketing, Engineering, Advanced Strategy and Research, HR, Legal, Finance, and Operations.
Under Engineering, the division will be segmented under four units: Operating Systems, Applications and Services, Cloud and Enterprise, and Devices and Studios.
As previously rumored, Windows Chief, Julie Larson-Green has been named as the person in charge of Devices and Studios, which includes the management of the Xbox One hardware. Its widely believed that Don Mattrick was pinned as the candidate to take on this role before he moved over to Zynga. Larson-Green will also be responsible for Studio management.
The Operating Systems unit will be headed by Terry Myerson, former head of Windows Phone. Myerson will oversee Windows and Xbox One’s software functions including OS and software Apps. This is a telling move, showing the direction Ballmer wants to take the Xbox in.
As a result of this reorg, financial reporting will no longer be broken out into distinct business units like Xbox/Entertainment. This may make it much more difficult for investors to determine the performance of specific products such as Windows Phone, Bing and Xbox One in the future.
Its alarming that the OS for the Xbox One will now be helmed by the Windows division. Its been rumored since back in 2001 that the ‘old school’ cronies in charge of the powerful OS division has objected to the money losing Xbox. Its not surprising as Microsoft is a software company and is used to enjoying profit margins higher than 60 percent.  
The original intent of the Xbox was to levy the game console as a Trojan horse by paving a road into the living room for Windows. With the Xbox’s OS software under Myerson, the direction of how the platform will operate will ultimately come from his area. Ballmer did emphasized collaboration between the various departments as the key to succeeding.
With Don Mattrick out, its concerning that there is no longer a ‘games guy’ in the leadership position at Microsoft.

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Sony and Insomniac Games recently announced a new entry into the Ratchet & Clank series with Into the Nexus. This will be a proper Ratchet & Clank adventure experience, unlike the last two entries in the franchise.
Insomniac tried their hand at co-op multiplayer with Full Frontal Assault and All 4 One. The studio is going back to the roots of the series with Into the Nexus with a story that acts as a epilogue to where things left off from A Crack in Time.
As a fan of the Ratchet & Clank
series, I am looking forward to checking the game out. Into the Nexus is part of the Future Series part of the cannon storyline starting with Tools of Destruction. The game is set to drop this holiday over Blu-ray and PSN download.

In other news, Guerrilla Games dropped a nine minute gameplay video of Killzone: Shadow Fall. The gameplay session focuses on the OWL drone that seems to do pretty much everything including making you dinner. The video shows off some interesting application such as performing remote hacking by sending the OWL out to it. It can also act as a portable zipline that can be used anywhere.
The OWL has several modes of operation you can activate via DualShock 4‘s touch pad: a stun mode, which creates an area-of-effect shock blast that stuns enemies and disrupts electronics; an attack mode, in which the OWL attacks anyone within range or targets a specific enemy; a shield mode, which creates a one-way energy shield in front of you; and finally, a zipline mode, which allows you to quickly and safely reach lower areas.

You can also customize your OWL with a unique skin. Pre-ordering your copy of the game at certain retailers can net you a bundle pack that includes several OWL Skins, Soundtrack and special MP moves.
Posted in Games, Industry, PlayStation 3, PS3, PS4 | 10 Comments » Read more from Mike Ferro
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Apple was once the king of commercials, with its ads being head and shoulders above the competition. Unfortunately that’s no longer the case, with Apple’s new iPad ads failing to inspire. Other companies, including its sworn enemy Microsoft, are happily filling the void left by Apple’s disappearance into the advertising abyss.
Apple recently unveiled several new ads for the iPad. The ones released so far have been titled Alive
, Together, and Hollywood (embedded below), the latter making its debut during the 2013 Academy Awards. They’re all OK, but just “OK” doesn’t compare to the quality of commercials Apple has become renowned for over the decades.
Part of the problem Apple faces is that for the first time in its history it’s absolutely on top. The world is changing, and the post-PC era has definitely arrived. This means that Apple, with its trio of iPad, iPhone, and iPod goodness, is at the peak of its powers.
This is a problem, though it’s obviously a nice one to have. Everybody has heard of Apple, knows what products it sells, and knows whether they want one and whether they’re ever likely to buy one. Which makes commercials much less important in terms of turning people onto the company and its wares.
The knock on effect of this is that the drive to innovate and be creative has been removed. When Apple was the underdog it took an incredible effort to get people to even notice the company. Now, it’s the other way around, with insipid and uninspiring commercials only likely to turn people off.
In other words Apple has become Microsoft, the company that never quite got advertising because it never actually needed to do so in order to make money. Microsoft has more recently broken out of this decades-long funk and released positive adverts with a strong message at its core. Because it’s had to in order to stay in the game.
The question that must be asked then: Has Apple got too big, too successful, and too powerful to really care what promotional efforts it’s pumping out into the ether?

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LG G2 Smartphone to Arrive in August
The upcoming LG G2 Smartphone will arrive in the United States as early as August, according to LG CFO David Jung.
The FCC documents don’t provide a lot of details about the phone, but we know it’s got the model number LG-D801, and it’ll support HSPA and 4G LTE wireless networks.
Speaking to Korea’s The Kyunghyang Shinmun (translate) recently, the executive spilled a few beans about the flagship smartphone. The device will reportedly launch in South Korea in August, followed by North America and Europe in September, and by additional markets in October.
In terms of U.S. carrier support, Jung noted that Verizon is in line to offer the G2. Engadget reminds us that recently leaked FCC details also suggest that AT&T and T-Mobile will offer the smartphone.
I would love to see all four major carriers stand behind the Optimus G2 the way they do HTC and Samsung’s flagships. Not only would it put additional pressure on these two rivals, it would also enhance LG’s image. Seeing as how the Moto X is rumored to have a wide release, LG would look out of place selling its biggest device in a limited capacity.
The way LG has been teasing the forthcoming G2, I suspect the phone-maker has big plans for the device.

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