Tag Archives: sony

Kinect the fast growing, all down to the hackers

Sony’s War on Makers, Hackers, and Innovators

Microsoft announced today that it has sold 10 million Kinect sensors since the Xbox 360 accessory launched in November. In addition, Microsoft reported that over 10 million Kinect games have been sold. The global sales figures, according to a company spokeswoman, were tallied through the end of February.

Since its launch, Kinect–which allows gamers to control on-screen action with only the movement of their bodies rather than a controller–has surpassed expectations. Microsoft initially expected to sell 5 million Kinect units through 2010. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, however, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed that the company actually sold 8 million units through the end of the year.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-20041213-17.html

Although I’m really happy the Microsoft Kinect has outsold even the Apple iPad, The Nintendo Wiimote, Halo, etc. One thing no one seems to be mentioning is the fact Microsoft made that massive U Turn on people hacking the Kinect.

There is no doubt in my mind that being hacker friendly made all the difference. In actual fact if there was a graph of sales, I bet after the first rush to get a kinect, things were steady before sales went a little crazy once someone hacked the kinect. After Microsoft did the whole U turn, sales must have gone through the roof.

I look forward to seeing the increase sales once the SDK comes out. Microsoft are on a roll, now if only Sony, Apple, etc would see the benefits of working with the hacker community.

Comparing Apples to Oranges in advertising

Apples & Oranges - They Don't Compare

Everyone knows I’m not a fan of Apple but after watching the mass hysteria over the ipad2 which was a massive yawn. I’ve been thinking what is it with the iphone/ipad which bugs me. besides the obvious stuff like a closed platform and ecosystem, etc… Then I saw Charlie Brooker on Channel4′s 10 o’clock show ranting about the Apple ipad 2… and trust me the rant is hysterical…

Anyhow it got me thinking… after drying the tears from my eyes (from all the laughing of course) the Apple iphone and ipad adverts kind of suck.

Why? Well let me explain… Here’s a series of iphone adverts.

In my view (and I’m not a advertising exec) the iphone is too in your face. Its all about the iphone and not much else. Heck even the human is reduced down to a hand puppet. Here’s the ipad advert. Shiny Shiny... Yes you have Johny Ive talking but frankly thats not enough to break it up, because he’s talking about the device and not what it could enable.

Here’s the Microsoft Phone 7 advert which to be fair does take the mick out of the people’s use of phones but look how much time the phone actually gets on screen? Microsoft was right, the phone distracts you from whats going on around you. This can be a good thing sometimes but most of the time its a bad thing. Charlie Brooker in his lovely crafted rant hits it right on the mark. You might as well burn down the locations around the users, the users are so distracted by the ipad, they might as well be no where. Its of course not just the ipad and iphone… Here’s the mac book air advert.

Orange a long time ago use (the animals not so much) to create amazing adverts which don’t include technology. Here’s the new range of adverts which don’t include a single phone at all. This one shows some quite difficult concepts using non-tech ideas. Heck even Apple use to create interesting adverts for there ipod range.

Ok I hear the cries of fowl play. Comparing Orange to Apple is like… well comparing Oranges and Apples :) But seriously, Orange are well known for there excellent adverts so maybe its slightly unfair. But you would slightly expect well thought out adverts for a company who prides themselves so much on the obsessive methods they use to make there products and the packaging. So lets look at Sony and Apple.

Sony’s make believe adverts, not quite as good as Orange’s but once again, the technology takes a back seat in the adverts. (of course here’s the new foam one, the paint one and of course the balls one) Its all about what it enables you to do.

Its about enabling and the experiences you could have. For me this is much more seductive and fore-filling than looking at shiny shiny objects.

But heck what do I know, I’m again, not a TV exec!

Lowry and Ebay turn it around

Ebay

When I left the hospital after my bleed on my brain (Subarachnoid haemorrhage). I tried to pick up where I left off in many things including ebay selling and got really ignited me when I found out that one of the sellers i was meant to send a pc to had given me negative feedback. That was ok but then ebay changed my 100% positive score to something like 75%. I tried to get them to change it in multiple ways but nothing worked. However have a talk with a friend who works at ebay/skype I was able to talk to someone who actually understood what i was saying.

It looks like it worked because I can’t seem to find the negative feedback and my general score on ebay is back to 100%.

I just sold my Sony Ereader for £100+ and there were 51 people watching the auction. While when I sold my phone just after I came out of hospital, I got all of 5 people watching it.

Not only that…

The Lowry

I booked tickets to see Malcolm Gladwell before I went into hospital (of course I never knew I was going to be in hospital) of course the day of Malcolm Gladwell was on the week I was lying in bed almost dying. I booked 5 tickets mainly for people at work. Anyway I missed it but my friend Emily did go even though I had the tickets (she bought a full ticket on the day).

Anyway I spoke to the Lowry box office afterwards and they said theres little they can do because the tickets were non-refundable. Anyhow I wrote to the Lowry and they sent me a letter back saying how sorry they were to hear about my bleed on the brain and here’s 5 tickets to any performance in the next year (as long as its not Saturday).

Amazing and Thanks to the Lowry

They didn’t have to do this but they did. How’s that for customer service?!

My Kindle is here, and I love it!

I got a delivery notification in my letter box today saying I missed a deliver and the caretaker took it in. Wondering what it could it be, I looked in my inbox and found…

Dear Customer,
Greetings from Amazon.co.uk,
We are writing to let you know that the following item has been sent
to:

Ian Forrester
APARTMENT ****
** *********** ********* *****
MANCHESTER, LANCS M** ***
United Kingdom

using Royal Mail.

For more information about delivery estimates and any open orders,
please visit: http://www.amazon.co.uk/your-account

Your order #*************************** (received September 07, 2010)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Qty                           Item    Price        Delivery Subtotal

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Amazon.co.uk items (Sold by Amazon EU S.a.r.L.):

1  Kindle Wireless Reading De...  £109.00               1  £109.00

Dispatched via Royal Mail (estimated arrival date: September 24, 2010).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
This completes your order.

Yeah!!!! I got my Kindle3, so expect tomorrow a unboxing using my new camera. Its been ages since I ordered the Kindle and I’m so glad its came.

So now’s a really good time to sell my Sony e-ink PRS600 reader, although its got a slight scratch which means CEX won’t buy it off me. Its well used and served me very well in its short time.

I got the device in my hands now and yes there is a nice series of unboxing photos on flickr.com if your interested.

What really got me was the amazing difference between my old Sony PRS600 and the Amazon Kindle 3. I know the Sony PRS505 vs Sony PRS600 was always a challenge because the PRS600 had the touch screen over the top of it. But boy oh boy, the PRS600 vs the Kindle3 is shocking… I can’t believe how clear and crisp the screen is. Then there’s the weight of the device! Its almost too light, I feel like I’m lifting a paperback book! Just like the Sony, when you plug it into a computer (yes even Linux) it comes up as a mass storage device, allowing you to just shift stuff back an forth easily. Of course Calibre allows you to easily convert between ebook formats and sync with the kindle directly.

My own complaint so far is the wifi won’t connect to my wireless network, but actually I think what’s going on is my local network isn’t actually connected to the internet yet and its failing to touch the internet and giving up. But over all this device is amazing! They have done so much, even down to the screen saver (as such, because of course with a eink screen you don’t need one) which is displayed when your charging the device. I can’t wait to get the experimental browser working (actually going to the northern quarter later to try it out) and try out some of the kindle apps. I’ve not looked into the Kindle hacking yet but this is certainly one of the massive advantages over the Sony.

This has to be the first break through e-reader… Just over 100 quid for a amazing device! Can’t wait to sit out in the shared garden reading on this device.

The Kindle3 has everything I asked for…

Sony PRS600 vs Amazon Kindle 3

I’m going to sell my old Sony PRS-600 Ebook Reader for the Amazon Kindle 3. But why?

Well it kind of centres on a blog post I wrote a while ago when the iPad was unveiled to the world. In the blog post I touch on points which would make my perfect ereader. 2 of the main points are,

  • Add Bluetooth for file transfer, dialup, networking, etc.
  • Run an open operating system like a cleverly crafted Andriod on it
  • Add accelerometers, proximity sensors and some haptic feedback
  • Wireless 802.11b/g

Well although not all my requirements are met, the Kindle3 does have wireless and a operating system to support (as such) 3rd party apps.

Android would be great to have on there with a open marketplace so people can really develop for it. I don’t know if Android would work on a e-ink screen but you could imagine it wouldn’t take much to build a custom build just for E-ink screens. Bluetooth, Wifi and Accelerometers would open up a whole bunch of applications which the ipad has demonstrated. But the smaller screen would be much more mobile and friendly.

I assumed slightly wrongly that you would need android to have the ability to add apps, but actually Amazon have decided to go with there own OS and App platform. This might be a good idea because you don’t want apps made for a Lcd mixed up with the eink ones. Its also a good idea if developers are thinking about eink instead of building for Lcd and just converting down to eink. Battery life under ink is amazing, but I’d hate to see that going because some app took liberties with the eink technology. Kindle apps are certainly a new area with a fruitful future. I can think of some clever apps you could build with the eink screen.

I thought good and hard about swapping to the Kindle, specially with the 1984 uproar. But to be frank, I’ve never bought a ebook and won’t really be affected by this thing. I would have also perfected a open market place like Android but its the start, so who knows what may happen…

I also downloaded the kindle app on my android phone in preparation for my new Kindle (which has been ordered but I’m still waiting for stock). In the meantime I’m selling my lovely Sony PRS-600, so if anyone is interested drop me a message.

Interested in buying my Sony Ereader?

Sony PRS505 vs Sony PRS600

After buying the Sony PRS 600, it made sense to sell the old one on Ebay. The new ereader is a better machine in everyway except contrast. As you can see in the photo above the one on the right (old one – PRS 505) is much better in its range of greyscale. The black is black and white very white. While the new one (PRS-600) isn’t so black and white. This means while reading the words are not as sharp. It would be picking up a nice modern hardback and comparing it to a used paperback. Both are perfectly readable but you can see the difference when put together. Obviously I’m not the only one to see this issue.

For me all the other features out way this issue, I’m still looking forward to writing the XSL to convert Tomboy Notes into Sony Notes and back. But if your interested in picking up my old one for cheap, head over to ebay soon.

Playstation 3 price cut

So Sony finally start to officially cut the price of the Playstation 3. I've seen so many deals around the web of playstation 3 for about 70 dollars off when you buy at least 3 games but this is much better news. Its still outside of my price range but its put the debate between the Xbox 360 and PS3 back into focus.

I'm hoping Sony take their cuts seriously and drop the European PS3 down by 125 pounds in the next few weeks.

I was asking George today if he knew anyone who had put linux on their PS3. He seemed to have heard about someone who also put MythTV on top of that. He mentioned MythTV front end and back end, which I'm going to check out to see if the front end is anywhere close to xbmc. Who knows maybe I might connect a basic PC to my TV and then later on upgrade that to a PS3? Who knows…

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

The Fall out over the Sony Rootkit/DRM

Sony BMG logo

The backlash against the SonyBMG rootkit and DRM has been one heck of a rollercoaster ride which doesnt seem to be ending anytime soon. Here's some highlights in case you have missed them. interlaced with some Cluetrains.

A couple of lawsuits have been filed against Sony for breaking there EULA.

Then Sony issued a patched which is impossible to find (everything sony is impossible to find on there site to be truthful) and does not actually remove the DRM, well what do you expect?

Talking about the EULA, some very interesting clauses and points to consider when buying your next CD

Sony's Exec, Thomas Hesse (President of Sony's Global Digital Business) replied to the whole issue of Rootkits and DRM by saying What users dont't know cant hurt them… (A must listen by the way!). And echoing Miles thoughts, Apple and Microsoft must be pissing themselves with laughter. Thomas Hesse has some balls saying what he said and the bloggers will have the last say about his ridiculous comment.

#14 Corporations do not speak in the same voice as these new networked conversations. To their intended online audiences, companies sound hollow, flat, literally inhuman.

New virus uses Sony BMG software, yep that very badly written code for the RootKit has been lerverged for a virus which hides via Sony's Rootkit.

The complete list of SonyBMG Rootkit CDs at the EFF

Apple Anti rip software found on the same Sony BMG CDs. Usual discussion on Slashdot about Mac users and will Sony bring DRM to linux too?

The power of the blog outlines what's been already seen by in other areas like the Kryptonite lock. When will the mainstream media actually pay attention to what there children are reading online?

#6 The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.

#94 To traditional corporations, networked conversations may appear confused, may sound confusing. But we are organizing faster than they are. We have better tools, more new ideas, no rules to slow us down.

And of course some fun, Sony I download your music


At long last,
Sony halts production of 'rootkit' CDs

Sony BMG Music Entertainment said Friday that it will suspend production of CDs with copy-protection technology that has been exploited by virus writers to try to hide their malicious code on PCs.

The decision by the music label comes after 10 days of controversy around the technology, which is designed to limit the number of copies that can be made of the CD and to prevent a computer user from making unprotected MP3s of the music.

Security experts blasted the technology because it uses “rootkit” techniques to hide itself on hard drives and could be used by virus writers to make their malicious code invisible. The first remote-control Trojan horses that took advantage of the cloak provided by Sony BMG surfaced this week.

“We are aware that a computer virus is circulating that may affect computers with XCP content protection software,” the record label said in a statement Friday. “We stand by content protection technology as an important tool to protect our intellectual property rights and those of our artists. Nonetheless, as a precautionary measure, Sony BMG is temporarily suspending the manufacture of CDs containing XCP technology.”

Lets hope thats the end of XCP and its rootkit. Somehow, I know it wont be.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Make no mistake the battle lines have been drawn, Sony Rootkits and its DRM

Sony, Rootkits and Digital Rights Management Gone Too Far. Plain and simple, if you buy a Sony DRM CD like Get Right with the Man by the Van Zant brothers, agree to the EULA and install the DRM on your machine. Sony will also install a rootkit to make sure there XCP DRM is never removed. Is Sony taking this too far? In the words of Miles Money talks, Ian.

What makes this different from the other DRM currently deployed on CD by Macrovision, SunnComm, etc? Well a kernel rootkit will give access to your whole system and is undetectable by Virus killers and Spyware scanners. It will also rewrite the routines of your system, so you, your administrator and even the system can not see the files and/or process. Once installed, its pretty impossible to get rid of without erasing your whole system drive. As Microsoft themselves say, Be afraid, be very afraid.

Slashdotted and Digged. But Miles diggged a little deeper. Its really interesting following Ceri Coburn (a developer from first 4 internet, makers of the XCP DRM) around the internet. I wasnt sure of exact what he was doing but Miles explain some of his postings and where First 4 internet have been hacking stuff up.

Some examples, Trying to write a Snort logfile parser, maybe XCP is Ceri's first windows driver? We wonder if the XCP dll's are dialing home? Dont get us wrong, I'm sure Ceri is a nice guy but the posts and dont suggest a very well thoughout, stable and secure rootkit (if there is such a thing). And even when you read through Mark Russinovich entry, he points out mistakes and things which could have been better thoughtout to avoid detection and deletion. So Instead we're wondering how soon will it be till others exploit XCP, specially if Sony/BMG avoid being sued and other Record labels deploy XCP like have deployed DRM from Macrovision and SunnComm.

This is indeed a worrying trend for digital music lovers and does not look like ending at root access to your machine. As someone said in the comments. Forget ghosts and goblins. This scary Haloween story sent shivers up my spine.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]