Tuesday 20 January 2009

Do you own an amazing object with a great story to tell?

This morning I received the following from DK Books, who have kindly sponsored several competitions on this blog, and wanted to share.

"I just wanted to get in touch to let you know about an exciting competition that we hope may be of interest to you or your colleagues, friends or family.

We at DK are currently creating a groundbreaking book, our most exciting and innovative book project to date, which will consist of 1,000 pages of never-before-seen objects to make the reader marvel at the variety and richness of life.

Whether it’s the thing itself, such as the first football, or what the item represents, such as Monet’s paint palette, everything featured in the book will be there to astound, impress and tell a fascinating story. It is the biggest book the company has ever made and we want you to be a part of it.

We are running a competition where we are inviting people outside of DK to tell us about an extraordinary, or ordinary, object they own that has an amazing story surrounding it. The object might be something that currently lives in a garage, loft or attic, but tells an incredible story. The most unique and inspirational objects will be shortlisted and then an ultimate winner will feature in the book when it is published.

For all the information about the competition just visit www.AllThisBook.com, and all entries need to be submitted by Wednesday 28th January and if you have any questions at all then please don't hesitate to get in touch."

About DK books
Since 1974, Dorling Kindersley has published an extensive range of internationally acclaimed titles in 51 languages for adults and children. As the UK's market leader in illustrated non-fiction, we pride ourselves on creating books that combine comprehensive information and superb design.

Over the years, as the world's leading family illustrated publisher, we have inspired and informed readers who find DK books to be educational, distinctive and of consistently high quality. We value this reputation and will continue to create reference titles that are, without question, exceptional.

Monday 19 January 2009

Gadget Review: GO!VIEW on PSP

A few months ago I was asked to trial GO!VIEW on PSP! A joint venture between Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and BSkyB. Giving PSP owners the opportunity to access TV Shows, Movies and Sports on-demand and on the move.

From top entertainment shows including Heroes, Desperate Housewives and The Mighty Boosh, through to sporting highlights such as Barclays Premier League football from Sky Sports, and a wide selection of top movies, there’s content to suit every PSP owner’s tastes. With a full range of programming that is frequently updated, GO!VIEW provides a constant source of entertainment for PSP owners to use wherever they want, whenever they want.

*High quality video codec and small file size
*Available directly from the PSP's Cross Media Bar (XMB)
*Recession-proof rental and subscription tariffs

*Not platform agnostic - should support Mac OS X and Windows
*Multiple pop-up windows during file transfer
*Library settings do not stick
*No download indicator after a programme has been selected - I accidentally downloaded the same content 3 times
*File transfer is clunky and counterintuitive
*Using the PC for file transfer is cumbersome! I'd rather the service be available via wireless connection - PSN for example
*The GO!VIEW application does not boast the intuitiveness of XMB, which goes against my expectations as a consumer of Sony products

If GO!VIEW quickly addresses the negatives (no longer behaving like a half-baked product), and the PSP undergoes a refresh to include a touch screen, the iPhone and iPod touch would be battling a genuine contender for the crown of portable King! Incidentally, the PSP's recent press and television advertising campaign confusingly implied a touch screen - the whole world in your pocket, yes, only if you buy an iPhone or iPod touch!

Whereas GO!VIEW failed to convey the 'wow' factor, Remote Play stole the show for me! Remote Play allows the PSP to directly access many features on a PlayStation 3 console from a remote location using the PS3's WLAN capabilities, a home network, or the Internet. I was able to watch PlayTV anywhere! Streaming 4Music into my studio enlivened the working day!

Going forward, I'd like to see GO!VIEW integrated into a future firmware update/download from PSN on the PS3! PSP + PS3 is an excellent combo and may inspire me to buy another PSP in the future.

As it stands, the PSP continues to flounder even with the delayed arrival of GO!VIEW... Is that Nintendo's DSi that I spy on the horizon?

Tuesday 13 January 2009

FIFA Interactive World Cup 2009 final to be held in Barcelona

Record numbers already signed up for FIFA Interactive World Cup 2009.

Barcelona confirmed as venue for 2009 competition grand final in May.

Zurich, Switzerland, 13th January 2009: FIFA, the world’s governing body of football, Electronic Arts Inc (NASDAQ: ERTS) and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) today announced that Alfonso Ramos, the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2008 Champion, has received his official winner’s trophy at the FIFA World Player Gala in Zurich. Ramos was joined by some of the world’s greatest footballers, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Fernando Torres at the star-studded event which also saw XXX crowned the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year.

The FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) 2009 has received a record number of entrants with around 320,000 competitors already signed up to compete in this year’s competition. The FIWC has become one of the largest and fastest growing sports gaming competitions in the world with players from around the globe battling it out on EA SPORTS™ FIFA 09 for PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) in a bid to be crowned the best virtual footballer in the world and receive the $20,000 1st place prize. For anyone who thinks they’ve got what it takes, there is still time ahead of 31st March to enter and show the world what you’re made of, so get registered and start laying your claim to the crown.

FIFA, EA and SCEE have also announced that the FIWC 09 grand final in May will take place in Barcelona, one of the world’s greatest football cities. The glamorous grand final marks the culmination of months of qualifying rounds currently taking place both online via the PlayStation®Network and at FIWC 09 Live Qualifier Events around the globe, in countries including Australia, Brazil, UK, Germany, France, Italy, South Africa and the US.

“We got involved in the FIFA Interactive World Cup with the intention of creating an iconic gaming competition, but to achieve the huge increase in competitors that we have seen this year is something that exceeds even our most optimistic predictions”, said Darren Carter, Vice President for Brand and Consumer Marketing, SCEE. “Everything about the FIWC this year is bigger and better and to see so many competing online on PlayStation Network really highlights how PlayStation® has grown along with the tournament. We can’t wait to welcome the best virtual footballers to Barcelona, Spain.”

“We are extremely proud to once again be supporting the FIWC alongside FIFA and Sony Computer Entertainment”, said Matt Bilbey, Vice President International Marketing, EA SPORTS. “We believe that FIFA 09 is our best ever football title and we are delighted to see so many gamers battling it out in the game both online and at physical qualifying events around the world. The FIWC has grown over the years to become a truly global gaming competition which captures the heart and spirit of football and gaming and we look forward to crowning this year’s victor at the grand final in May.”

Details about the live qualifier events near you will be made available over the coming weeks at www.FIFA.com/FIWC, so check in regularly to keep your fingers on the pulse of the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2009.

Footage and photography of the FIWC 08 is accessible on the FIFA Media Channel** now: http://mediachannel.extranets.fifa.com/regproc.aspx

* Feature not active in FIWC tournament settings
** Requires registration at http://mediachannel.extranets.fifa.com/RegProc.aspx

Thursday 8 January 2009

iTunes DRM-free switched me to Amazon MP3!

Over Christmas Day and Boxing Day, Amazon.co.uk offered a £3 off promotional gift certificate on any purchase from its newly launched MP3 store! I brought this to the attention of my Twitter followers!

Joyfully, I purchased and downloaded Katy Perry's "One of the Boys" for free (after applying the £3 discount code)! The sampling quality is more than acceptable, for listening to music on the go, and devoid of any draconian DRM limitations!

Before making any purchases download the Amazon MP3 Downloader! I recommend you use Firefox 3 (or later) for all purchases from the Amazon MP3 store!

Fast forward to this week's nondescript Macworld Keynote, which will be the last Apple attends, where Phil Schiller announced that the iTunes store will be entirely DRM-free by the summer!

Just for fun I checked my iTunes account and discovered that, currently, I can upgrade 432 songs for the grand total of £67.01:

140 songs
26 albums
2 music videos

At the moment there are too many limitations on the path to the promised land of DRM-free music! The biggest 'deal breaker', for me, is the lack of an a la carte option! What if I only wanted to upgrade selected albums/songs? And what about the Single of the Week? Why should customers pay now?

Until Apple rethinks this strategy, my future digital music purchases will be exclusively from the Amazon MP3 store! A few months ago, the notion would've been anathema to me! What say you?

You should follow me on twitter here.

Thursday 1 January 2009

New Year's Day 2009

Happy New Year!

May 2009 be your best year yet!

Regular posts will resume next week! However, you can follow me on Twitter!