Media Industry Mourns the Loss of Pioneer Ray Harryhausen

Animator and special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen, 92, died on Tuesday in London, where he had been living. Harryhausen, an innovative artist whose work still inspires filmmakers, often played a principal role in the movies that featured his technical effects. “He frequently proposed the initial concept, scouted the locations and shaped the story, script, art direction and design around his ideas for fresh ways to amaze an audience,” according to The New York Times. Continue reading Media Industry Mourns the Loss of Pioneer Ray Harryhausen

CEA Forecasts 30-50 Ultrabooks Expected to Launch at CES 2012

  • At a recent CES Unveiled event in London, Shawn DuBravac, director of research for the CEA, predicted that a large number of ultrabooks will debut at the 2012 CES conference in January. “We expect to see 30 to 50 new ultrabooks launch at CES,” said DuBravac. TechCrunch responded with, “That’s a whole lot of MacBook Air clones.”
  • Each year, there seems to be a single prominent device showcased at the annual confab. “iPad killers were out in force at 2011′s show. 2010 was all about 3D TVs while netbooks was the popular product in 2009,” suggests the post. “It seems that ultrabooks might be 2012′s hot product. But can they break the dreaded CES curse that plagued the previous hot products?”
  • TechCrunch describes how Android tablets failed to challenge the iPad and how 3D TVs and netbooks failed to achieve significant adoption. If ultrabooks dominate the 2012 event, will they face the same fate?
  • “Ultrabooks are supposed to be the answer to Apple’s increasingly popular MacBook Air. Intel designed the computing platform to be as thin as possible while keeping the price low. The first batch of ultabooks start at $899 and offer competitive performance. But they’re still not built as well as the MacBook Air.”

Arthur C. Clarke: Men Will No Longer Commute, They Will Communicate

  • Some 47 years ago, author and inventor Arthur C. Clarke predicted the modern reality of “a world in which we can be in instant contact with each other, wherever we may be, where we can contact our friends anywhere on earth even if we don’t know their actual, physical location.”
  • In this 3-minute video clip from a 1964 episode of the long-running BBC series “Horizon,” Clarke also predicted that “it will be possible in that age, perhaps only 50 years from now, for a man to conduct his business from Tahiti or Bali just as well as he could from London.”
  • He emphasized the importance of advancements in communications technologies, including the transistor and satellite.
  • Clarke suggested that “the whole world would have shrunk to a point,” when cities would no longer serve as traditional meeting centers while executive, administrative and even physical skills could be made independent of distance. He concluded: “Men will no longer commute, they will communicate. They won’t have to travel for business anymore; they will only travel for pleasure.”

Nokia Kinetic Device: Gumby Phone Controlled by Bends and Twists

  • Nokia unveiled its Kinetic Device smartphone prototype at the recent Nokia World Conference in London.
  • The screen of the concept phone “is controlled by the way that it is bent or twisted or flexed, not by the way it is touched,” reports The Huffington Post.
  • The video shows how bending the phone inwards and outwards controls zoom and twisting it controls volume and playback.
  • “It’s built entirely out of plastic, which includes the bendy and attractive AMOLED display up front, and contains only the hardware required to power it and to sense user input,” explains This Is My Next in a related post. “It all looks somewhat unwieldy when you’re observing it, and it’s not all that easy to describe, but adapting to the control scheme takes only a few seconds and once you know what you’re doing, it becomes extremely natural. Honestly, bend-to-zoom is miles ahead of pinch-to-zoom in terms of intuitive human interaction.”
  • No word yet on whether Nokia has plans to develop a commercial version.

Access to Month-Long iTunes Festival Available via iOS App

  • The annual iTunes Festival kicked off Friday in England, streaming select performances live in HD to iPads and iPhones for those who downloaded the free app.
  • The event is scheduled for 31 consecutive nights at the Roundhouse in London.
  • Paul Simon was the first artist to take the stage. Additional headliners include Coldplay, Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World, Moby and more.
  • Apple funds the event by recording the live sets and selling them exclusively on iTunes.
  • Wired suggests an alternative business model: “But it makes me wish more festival organizers would do this the other way around — free recordings of the gigs you paid to see at festivals. Or perhaps a handful of free tracks to choose from an entire festival’s lineup, with the complete collection put on sale. There’s no better live recording than one created during the night you attended.”

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