Archive for March, 2011

Verizon’s LTE Network for Voice [Mossberg's Mailbox]

March 31, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Q: I live in an area where the cellular voice service is very poor. I was going to buy the Verizon ThunderBolt LTE phone since the network map indicates I am in the LTE (4G) coverage area, so I thought my call problems would be over with. But based on your article, it sounds like my voice calls would remain the same. Do you have any insight as to when voice will move to LTE? A: As I noted in the column, Verizon is using its fast new LTE 4G network for data only. It still routes voice calls over its older networks, which are highly rated for voice, but work poorly for you

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Die Standing Up (Morir de pie)

March 31, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Film Reviews: Conceptually striking and emotionally piercing documentary contains such a remarkable twist in its telling that auds and critics will be wise not to spoil it.

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The Secret to Some of Lucasfilm’s Magic: Nvidia’s GPU Chips [NewEnterprise]

March 30, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Like the visual effects you’ve been seeing in movies these days? Of course you already know that in most cases they’re computer-generated. And as you’ve seen over the last few days, during my visit to Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic, the computing power used to render the visual effects isn’t exactly consumer grade . But as I learned, the effects wizards at ILM have a secret weapon that shares a lot in common with your PC at home. If you play any graphics-heavy games, your PC probably has a graphics processing unit in it, and chances are pretty good that GPU card came from Nvidia. As you might expect, displaying ever-more realistic scenes in a PC game is similar in many respects to what you need to make a wicked cool effect in a movie. And in certain cases they’re better than even the most powerful traditional CPU chips from the likes of Intel or Advanced Micro Devices. The story goes that when he was working on a scene for “Harry Potter and the the Half Blood Prince,” Chris Horvath was asked to create a “tornado of fire” (the picture above is borrowed from that scene). At the time, the conventional way of doing it just didn’t produce a satisfying result. “We needed to do this very complicated fire simulation and we just didn’t have a solution to do it,” said Craig Hammack, an ILM visual effects supervisor who was sitting near Horvath at the time. Someone suggested to Horvath that he try working with GPUs, and not only that but writing an effects program to take advantage of their unique computing capabilities. (Horvath tells the story in the video below.) The result was n piece of internal ILM software called Verté that reduced the fire effects needed to a series of flat two-dimensional images linked together to look like they were 3-D. Next came a new tool called Plume, used to simulate the movements of fluids. It’s written to take advantage of a newer Nvidia parallel computing technology called CUDA .

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United Kingdom Film Council shutters

March 30, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

International News: British Film Institute takes up the torch -- Blighty's film support body, the U.K. Film Council, shuts up shop today.

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Google Jazzes Up Kansas City’s Broadband [NewEnterprise]

March 30, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Google’s goin’ to Kansas City. Having promised last year to provide a community with Internet access that’s 100 times faster than most people in the U.S. have today, the company named Kansas City, home of jazz greats and some pretty good barbecue , as the first place it will do it. It plans to start offering service there next year. One can only wonder how neighboring Topeka, Kansas feels after briefly renaming itself Google, Kansas last year. Google’s video on the subject is below Little Richard’s rendition of the R&B standard written for the city.

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With $3 Billion on the Line, Buyers Plot NFL Alternative

March 30, 2011  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

If the prospect of a NFL-free 2011 has football fans scrambling for the Cymbalta, advertisers are facing an even more disheartening reality. According to media buyers, clients that invest a good chunk of their TV budgets in NFL games now face the daunting task of trying to find a replacement for the only game in town.

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FTC Goes After Google Over Social Network Buzz

March 30, 2011  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement with Google, which the FTC says violated the promises it made about consumers’ privacy when it launched the social network Google Buzz in 2010.

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FTC Goes After Google Over Social Network Buzz

March 30, 2011  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement with Google, which the FTC says violated the promises it made about consumers’ privacy when it launched the social network Google Buzz in 2010.

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Kudos, Brown Eyed Boy pact in Scotland

March 30, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

TV News: Jemma Rodgers to head joint venture -- LONDON -- Shine Group shingles Kudos and Brown Eyed Boy have formed a joint venture in Scotland aimed at working with local talent.

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Google, With Prodding From Feds, Apologizes For Buzz, Again [MediaMemo]

March 30, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Remember Buzz? Google’s ham-handed attempt at Twitter competitor, launched last year, remains a case study on how not to do social. We got a reminder of that today, when Google settled Federal Trade Commission privacy violation charges in connection with the service. The settlement doesn’t seem to involve much more than a statement of public contrition on Google’s part, and a promise not screw up again, backed up by a commitment to two decades of privacy audits. Still, it’s something — or, if you ask the FTC, a lot: “This is a tough settlement that ensures that Google will honor its commitments to consumers and build strong privacy protections into all of its operations,” says FTC chair Jon Leibowitz. Google’s apology, meanwhile, is bit more muted. “We don’t always get everything right,” the search giant announced on its blog . “The launch of Google Buzz fell short of our usual standards for transparency and user control—letting our users and Google down…We’d like to apologize again for the mistakes we made with Buzz. While today’s announcement thankfully put this incident behind us, we are 100 percent focused on ensuring that our new privacy procedures effectively protect the interests of all our users going forward”

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