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What Did Apple Announce at WWDC? A Guide to iOS 6

This week in scenic San Francisco, Apple is wowing both companies and developers that make software and apps for Apple’s various platforms at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).


Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook gave WWCD’s keynote address on Monday. This was the first time WWDC was not addressed by Steve Jobs.

It’s a conference that often telegraphs Apple’s game plan for the rest of the year. In the past, the conference has been the forum where two iPhones and various Macs have been introduced. On Monday morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage, giving the conference’s keynote address.

Numbers Game
Cook started his Monday morning keynote by dazzling the crowd with some spectacular numbers:

  • Apple largely owns the digital marketplace. Apple has paid out an estimated $5 billion to app developers since the App Store was started just four years ago.
  • There are now more than 66,000 apps, resulting in more than 30 billion downloaded apps.
  • Some 400 million consumers have their credit card information on file with Apple.

One of today’s major announcements involved Apple’s latest iOS (the iOS is what developers use to make apps for the iPad or iPhone). In a nutshell, the iOS powers Apple iDevices…and it’s about to change dramatically:

Driving Developments
For years, Google Maps has been the default mapping app for Apples iDevices, but that’s about to change. Apple’s iOS 6 will introduce its own tweaked-up version of Maps, and it promises to offer some capabilities that Google Maps can’t match. This includes turn-by-turn navigation, voiced by Siri, Apple’s personal assistant program.


Apple’s new Maps app will help you find your way.

Not only will Siri guide drivers to their destinations, she’ll also provide estimated trip times, and when the speed limit changes. If traffic slows (because of an accident or other event), she’ll  suggest an alternate route. Siri will also help you find gas. Finally, the new Maps app will feature a photographic 3D view of numerous cities called “Flyover,” in addition to offering a traffic view so you can visually plan the best route for your drive.

Siri-ous Improvements
Siri will be updated with iOS 6, too – and she’ll be featured on the new iPad. For most users, the biggest improvement will be the ability to launch apps with a single voice command, which many users have been vocal about desiring. Siri will also be given a new “Eyes Free” mode that will work in conjunction with your car by simply pressing a button on your steering wheel. (To make this a reality, Apple is already partnering with numerous auto manufacturers, including Toyota, Honda, GM, Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz.)

And not only will Siri become more convenient to access; the program will become smarter and know more about a wider range of subjects. For example, if you’re looking for sports scores and schedules (and even stats), Siri can now be your go-to expert. The same applies to other entertainment, such as movies (with Siri able to serve up reviews, showtimes and trailers).

And when it comes to grabbing a bite to eat after a game or before a movie, Siri will have you covered there, too. The personal assistant will soon be able to give you a sneak peek at restaurant menus and even help you make dinner reservations.


Attendees are flocking this week to San Francisco’s Moscone Center (West) from around the world. The conference will last through Friday. 

Social Affairs
It’s a social-media world, a fact not lost on Apple. So iOS 6 will fully integrate Facebook, just as iOS 5 brought system integration for Twitter users. With iOS 6, once you log into your Facebook account from the Settings app, you can remain logged in…even if you open different apps, and (here’s the best part) you won’t be required to log in multiple times.

With this new integration, Facebook events will appear in the Calendar app. And let’s say you use both Facebook and Twitter. With iOS 6, both social media sites will be included within the notification dropdown. So if you need to post a new status, you can do it once in this location and the change will be made to both the Facebook and Twitter accounts. iOS 6 enables all of these improvements, not to mention the ability to post photos and preferred apps directly to Facebook.

“Pass Go” with Passbook
iOS 6 will feature a new app called “Passbook.” It works like Google Wallet. Passbook stores a wide variety of items (such as movie tickets, gift cards and airline tickets) in one convenient app. Passbook works in conjunction with the notification center, helpfully reminding you if you arrive at a location where you might be able to use one of the items stored in the app.

Silence-is-Golden 
Another improvement? A “Do Not Disturb” feature for iPhones that keeps things on the down-low. Don’t worry; you’ll still receive notifications when they come but you just won’t have to hear about each and every one of them.


The Do Not Disturb feature lets you customize interruptions, such as when to activate and who to accept calls from.

Making the “VIP” List
The new iOS also gives you a way to prioritize the Mail app with special instructions based on the names of your inner-posse members. By accessing the “VIPs” feature, you’ll be able to receive special notification when you receive messages from those you’re tight with. The feature will also let you batch all incoming messages from the crew with a single tap. Mail will now let users add pix and flix to message, as well as view marked messages.

Setting the Pace
The announcements made at Apple’s WWDC often have a global impact, and influence the world of personal computing for the next year. Coming up in Part Two: We look at new changes coming to the MacBook line.

Are you ready to learn app development for the iPhone and iPad? We are! iOS makes the world’s coolest gadgets even cooler!

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posted by DMA Jordan in Apple,News Blog and have No Comments

The 50th Anniversary of James Bond: The Best Bond Movies

This year a major British institution celebrates a major milestone: It’s been 50 years since James Bond first exploded onto movie screens. The cinema’s greatest action hero has been on the job ever since.


This summer, Daniel Craig stars as Agent 007 in “Skyfall,” the 23rd James Bond film.

Licensed to Thrill
The Bond character has been played by seven actors in 23 movies (including the upcoming “Skyfall,” due out later this summer). James Bond has endured as a movie mainstay because he always delivers the goods. And while not every Bond flick turns to cinematic gold, audiences keep coming back because he’s one of the best-drawn and most complex film characters ever created.

And for anyone interested in learning how to make a movie or learning film production and special effects, Bond flicks are showcases for how big-budget action movies were meant to be made.

As part of our extended tribute to “Bond…James Bond,” we’ve watched all the Bond films and selected our picks for the top five Bond movies:

1. “Goldfinger” (1964) 007: Sean Connery

Sean Connery as James Bond, wearing his signature white cocktail tuxedo. 

Why It’s On The List: ”Goldfinger” is the “gold standard” in the film franchise, and the film all other Bond flicks are still compared with. One reason for its success: timing. By this point, Bond mania was everywhere, rivaling only The Beatles as a pop-culture phenomenon. “Goldfinger” is pure film excitement.

Key Scene: It’s known on the Internet as the James Bond laser scene. Bond, abducted by villain Auric Goldfinger, is strapped to a table while Goldfinger aims an industrial laser at him. Sweating bullets, Bond defiantly asks, “Do you expect me to talk?” Goldfinger: “No, Mister Bond…I expect you to DIE!”

The action eventually lands in Fort Knox, Kentucky—and a 24-karat robbery of all the gold in the U.S. reserves located there. Add in a woman murdered by being covered completely in gold paint (she dies of skin suffocation), a massive and deadly silent henchman named Oddjob and the first appearance of Bond’s tricked-out Astin Martin sportscar (complete with passenger ejector seat) and you’ve got possibly the best vintage Bond ever.

2. “For Your Eyes Only” (1981) 007: Roger Moore

Roger Moore takes aim as James Bond in “For Your Eyes Only.”

Why It’s On The List:  “For Your Eyes Only” is the only serious-minded and less gimmick-happy Bond film of the 1970s. During the 70s, the Bond franchise starred Roger Moore, who made seven movies. And while Moore had a near-impossible job in replacing much-beloved Sean Connery, the decade wasn’t Bond’s best. ”For Your Eyes Only” returned the secret agent to a more serious tone.

Key Scene: During the opening sequence, Bond is strapped into a helicopter being flown by remote control by Blofeld, head of the evil society known as SPECTRE. After climbing into the cockpit (from outside the chopper) and disabling the remote control, Bond starts flying the whirlybird. He uses the helicopter skid to hook Blofeld’s motorized wheelchair, then flies it to the top of a factory smokestack. Bond tilts the chopper’s nose downward, releasing the villain into the smokestack’s narrow opening. We hear Blofeld’s echoing screams as he takes the big plunge all the way down. Now that’s entertainment…

3. “GoldenEye” (1995) 007: Pierce Brosnan

“GoldenEye” not only made Pierce Brosnan an action star, the film also spawned a hit Nintendo video game that still has a cult following today.

Why It’s On The List:  It’s the first Bond flick not based on one of Ian Fleming’s series of Bond novels. “GoldenEye” was also the first time the role was played by dapper Pierce Brosnan, who may actually have been closest to the author’s idea of the Bond character.

Here Agent 007 is working overtime to keep an evil arms syndicate from causing a global financial meltdown by using the GoldenEye satellite weapon against London. This film marks the first Bond picture made after the fall of Communist Russia, causing Bond to hang up his Cold War efforts against SPECTRE and become more of a global policeman working against rogue villains who operate without a political agenda.

Key Scene: Bond’s about action, right? Well, it’s hard to find more thrilling action than during the breathtaking bungee jump in the opening sequence. Shot at a Swiss dam, the 720-foot leap into oblivion was voted the best movie stunt of all time in a 2002 Sky Movies poll. At the time, it set a record for the highest bungee jump ever successfully completed off a fixed structure.

4. “Casino Royale” (2006) 007: Daniel Craig

At first, Bond fans protested the casting of actor Daniel Craig in “Casino Royale.” Now it’s almost unthinkable that anyone else could play him as well.

Why It’s On The List: By the time the franchise turned 40, it was in sore need of rejuvenation. Luckily, actor Daniel Craig entered the picture, bringing some much-needed muscle and menace back to the part. Less suave and witty, Craig’s Bond is more athletic and somber. The film that introduced Craig as Bond was a franchise reboot in the best possible sense.

Key Scene: There are quite a few in this film: the brutal torture Bond suffers while being interrogated, the final fight scene where Bond battles baddies as a building in Venice, Italy collapses in on him. But the best scene in the film—and the one that made fans believe in Craig as Bond—happens at the beginning of the movie, as James Bond parkour chases a terrorist down through the streets of Madagascar. And yes, that’s Daniel Craig doing all of his own stunts.

5. “Thunderball” (1965) 007: Sean Connery

“Thunderball” culminates with a massive underwater war, with teams of spear-gun carrying divers. A pair of armed nuclear weapons hangs in the balance. Check out the “Thunderball” trailer.

Why It’s On The List: In terms of sheer movie coolness, no Bond was ever frostier than Connery in the fourth flick. Much of it takes place in the Bahamas (a key Bond locale) and “Thunderball” features a sensational villain in the eyepatch-wearing Emilio Largo and one of the most gorgeous of all “Bond women” in French actress Claudine Auger.

More than any other early Bond flick, this one (the all-time box office champ among Bond movies) provides the blueprint for the modern action film. It’s stuffed with amazing action sequences, including one of the biggest underwater combat scenes ever filmed, complete with spear-gun warfare.

Key Moment: In the opening, Bond attends a funeral, only to later go into hand-to-hand combat with the “widow,” who is actually a male SPECTRE agent in drag. After Bond snaps the villain’s neck with a fireplace poker, he casually grabs a handful of flowers and tosses it on the dead man’s corpse—strictly for his own amusement. Then Bond straps on a Bell Rocket Belt jet pack and flies away as the villain’s henchmen stare in dazed wonder.

Coming up next in our extended tribute: 50 pieces of James Bond trivia.

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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments

Who Was Ray Bradbury? And Why He Matters…

The world of science fiction lost an icon of the genre this week with the passing of writer Ray Bradbury. Bradbury was a key founder of science fiction, and one of its strongest and most influential voices.


A lifelong fan of other writers, Bradbury posed sitting in the movie prop from H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine.” (Decades later the same prop turned up in an episode of “The Big Bang Theory.”)

Not all sci-fi books make the grade as quality literature, but Bradbury’s work was often exceptional and he personally elevated the entire genre. And at least one of his masterpieces is still regularly taught in American schools.

Three Reasons Why He Matters
Writers come and go and most are lucky to have a single work become a classic. Bradbury wrote several and in the process helped turn science fiction into a major literary form. His legacy is based on the following:

1. He Saw the Future. Bradbury is best known for his 1953 triumph “Fahrenheit 451,” which paints a stunning portrait of a dysfunctional future in which intelligence is viewed negatively and books are actually outlawed and burned in piles whenever discovered. (The title refers to the temperature at which paper ignites.)

In its depiction of a world in which television entertainment rules popular culture, he predicted our modern world, warts and all. (The book, written during nine days in a study room in UCLA’s Powell Library, also envisioned the use of ATMs and BlueTooth headsets.) Surprisingly for a master of science fiction—a term he didn’t like—Bradbury was suspicious of technology and man’s increasing dependence on it.

A lifelong believer in public education and libraries (where he educated himself because he couldn’t afford to go to college), he was no fan of e-books. In fact, when renegotiating his publishing rights to his most famous work in 2011, Bradbury gave publisher Simon & Schuster the permission to offer it via digital download only if the book could be downloaded by any library patron free of charge. Among Simon & Schuster’s huge catalog, “Fahrenheit 451” is the only book with this distinction.

2. His Work is Everywhere. Bradbury had a powerhouse work ethic that makes even the always-busy Stephen King look like a slacker. Bradbury literally wrote every dayfor approximately 70 years. (Imagine working 25,000 straight days without a single day off. His last story (for “The New Yorker” magazine) was published just a week before his death at age 91.

Insanely prolific, he authored at least 27 novels and more than 600 short stories, many of which found their way onto movie and TV screens. His huge body of work was plenty successful, too: Bradbury’s writing has been translated into more than 36 languages, with more than eight million copies of his works in circulation.

3. He’s Incredibly Influential. While Bradbury’s body of work is here to stay, so is his lasting influence on many other titans of film and literature. Stephen King offered this tribute: “Ray Bradbury wrote three great novels and three hundred great stories.

One of the latter was called ‘A Sound of Thunder.’ The sound I hear today is the thunder of a giant’s footsteps fading away. But the novels and stories remain, in all their resonance and strange beauty.” Another dedicated fan, Steven Spielberg, called Bradbury “his muse for the better part of his sci-fi career.

In the world of science fiction and fantasy and imagination he is immortal.” And it’s the rare sci-fi writer indeed whose death prompts comment from a U.S. president. President Barack Obama issued the following statement: “For many Americans, the news of Ray Bradbury’s death immediately brought to mind images from his work, imprinted in our minds, often from a young age. His gift for storytelling reshaped our culture and expanded our world.”


“Fahrenheit 451″ predicted a world where intelligence was considered dangerous and books were illegal.

Bradbury’s other major novels include “The Martian Chronicles,” “The Illustrated Man” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” each of which was eventually adapted for film. His influence is so far-reaching that NASA named a lunar crater after him. His legacy as a writer, thinker and social critic will endure permanently. “I don’t need an alarm clock,” he once said. “My ideas wake me.”

Visionaries like Ray Bradbury don’t come along every day, but the exciting world of science that he treasured is open to everyone with an interest and an imagination. He was a firm believer in the power of the human intellect and its ability to positively reshape our world. And wherever he is now, you can bet that the sound of typing can be heard clearly.

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

E3 2012: Console Updates, New Features for Wii U, Xbox

Welcome to Day 3 of E3 2012, the biggest tradeshow dedicated to the art and business of video games. In yesterday’s Day 2 report we showcased ten of the most anticipated video games of 2012 being shown this week at the L.A. Convention Center. Today let’s look at the console side of things—particularly newly announced features for two game platforms: Nintendo’s Wii U and Microsoft’s Xbox.


For Nintendo, this year’s E3 show was all about the Wii U.

Wii U: Still Connecting the Dots
For Nintendo, this E3 has been all about the Wii U, the game giant’s next-generation handheld game console. The device is built around a touchscreen controller (as with the Nintendo DS) and it supports the same motion-sensitive gaming that Nintendo’s Wii remote used to transform family dens everywhere into arm-waving, foot-pounding game salons. In addition, Wii U will enable streaming media from content providers like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and Amazon Video. And in a nod to the social-media revolution, Nintendo has pledged that Wii U will deliver features that enhance the experience of connected gaming.

There have been changes to the Wii U controller GamePad that was shown at last year’s E3, although most of the alterations involve tweaks to make the unit more ergonomic and functional (a pro gamer controller—which looks more like an Xbox controller that was also announced). The big selling point for Wii U is the console’s second screen, which can be used to activate different game controls, trigger alternate camera views and switch perspectives. For example, during certain games, players will be able to hold the controller pad up to their television screen and scan for enemies. Similarly, a new karaoke game will utilize the second screen as a teleprompter for displaying song lyrics.


The Wii U will ship with “NintendoLand,” a mini-game sampler with a theme-park feel. 

Despite not delivering more information about the Wii U (such as its price point and its exact release date, although Nintendo assured attendees that the device will be released in time for holiday shopping), Nintendo was able to point to an initial batch of Wii U games—nearly two dozen of them—that will be ready to instantly support the new machine. Nintendo also unveiled a mini-game sampler called “NintendoLand,” which will ship with the Wii U.

Xbox: Ruling the Roost
E3 attendees hoping to get an early look at Microsoft’s much-rumored Xbox 720 (which sources say will arrive sometime during 2013) were disappointed by this year’s show, but Microsoft had plenty of news to keep gamers satisfied. Besides, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is still currently winning the “console wars.” And that’s for a couple of reasons—one is the games, the other is Xbox Live being a superior online service. To that extent, a large majority of Microsoft’s announcements were focused around updates to the Xbox Live services:


Microsoft brought famed 49ers quarterback Joe Montana out of retirement. He was on hand to promote “Madden 13″ —while R&B star Usher opened the Microsoft press event showing off “Dance Central 3.”

  • Microsoft announced that the Xbox’s streaming media capabilities will be enhanced by the addition of new broadcast networks, such as ESPN and all of the major pro sports leagues in the U.S. Likewise, new media apps from entertainment providers (like Paramount Movies, Nickelodeon and Univision) will find a home on the console.
  • Featuring a reported 30 million tracks, Microsoft’s retooled music service will simply be called “Music” (as opposed to “Zune,” its former title). In addition to Windows 8, Music will be brought to the Xbox.
  • Possibly in response to the intense popularity of rival Nintendo’s “Wii Fit” exercise program, Microsoft announced a partnership with Nike to bring the sports company’s Nike+ training platform to Xbox Kinect. With it, users will be put through their exercise paces by a virtual trainer and will be able to receive helpful fitness reminders directly on their smartphones.
  • Microsoft also unveiled its plans for Xbox SmartGlass, a new application that will let users bridge their different electronic devices (e.g., Xbox, smartphone, tablets and TVs) and enjoy the same content across all of them. For example, via SmartGlass a user could start out watching a movie on their tablet computer, then pick up where they left off by resuming watching on their phone or Xbox.


Microsoft wowed the crowds with the eagerly awaited “Halo 4.”

See Ya Next Time!
E3 2012 will be wrapping up soon, but the news coming out of the show will be rocking gamers for months (and years) to come. Whether you’re a gamer or someone interested in learning how to design video games, check back here for more video games news.

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posted by DMA Jordan in Featured and have No Comments

Biggest & Best Games of E3 2012

It’s Day 2 of E3 2012, and the L.A. Convention Center is jumping with software companies trying to one-up each other. We’ve been wowed by a few titles already and still have lots more to see, but let’s take a look at some of the titles everyone’s talking about:

“Star Wars 1313”

Publisher/Developer: LucasArts
System: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 11/12

Why We Want to Play It: Star Wars 1313” is a gamers game—complete with M rating—and the first serious “Star Wars” game in a long time. (Yes, we enjoy the “LEGO Star Wars” games but we also love nail-biting action.) The game, which is primarily a shooter, takes place between the franchise’s trilogies, and is set in the Imperial capital of Coruscant (on Level 1313).

You’re a bounty hunter, fighting your way through an underworld full of criminals—both human and droid. With the environments, elements and settings “Star Wars” fans love, “Star Wars 1313” brings together talents from LucasArts, Industrial Light and Magic, Lucasfilm Animation and Skywalker Sound to produce what looks to be a truly next-generation gaming experience.

“Gears of War: Judgment”

Publisher/Developer: Microsoft/People Can Fly
System: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: TBD

Why We Want to Play It: If you’ve played “Gears of War,” you already understand the importance of Emergence Day—a key event in the “Gears of War” universe. That said, “Gears of War: Judgment” takes place just after Emergence Day, making the game a prequel of sorts. The developer promises new multiplayer experiences for Kilo Squad, as it engages in heavy combat with Halvo Bay hanging in the balance. Lock and load, gamers!

“Assassin’s Creed III”

Publisher/Developer: Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal
System: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 10/30/12

Why We Want to Play It: A new hero takes the lead in “Assassin’s Creed III.” Part Native American and English, Connor fights in the war between the Assassins and Templars. This gameplay is amazing, and the overall experience more of what you expect from an already phenomenal franchise. It’s also set during the American Revolution, which makes it additionally appealing.

“The Last of Us”

Publisher/Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment/Naughty Dog Software
System: PS3
Release Date: TBD

Why We Want to Play It: From the guys that brought us “Uncharted” comes a survival game to end all survival games. Meet Joel and Ellie, a pair of mismatched traveling companions trying to make their way across the good old U.S. of A. The only problem is that America as we know it is gone, decimated by a fungus-spread plague that more-or-less creates zombies as it sows death and destruction everywhere. “The Last of Us” is one of the few shining stars Sony has at the show, so expect to see and hear a lot more about it in the months ahead.

“Call of Duty: Black Ops 2”

Publisher/Developer: Activision/Treyarch
System: PS3, Xbox 360

Release Date: 11/13/12
Why We Want to Play It: Want to see a brutal yet entirely possible vision of our near-future? Look no further than the latest “Call of Duty.” Most of the action takes place in 2025, with gamers playing as David Mason (son of Black Ops hero Alex Mason).

“ZombiU”

Publisher/Developer: Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal
System: Nintendo Wii U 
Release Date: TBD

Why We Want to Play It: Originally the game was going to be titled “Killer Freaks from Outer Space.” Ubisoft says that this entry into the survival-horror shooter game space will take extensive advantage of the Nintendo Wii UTM GamePad, which will contain the player’s “Bug Out Bag” (or BOB), a backpack with all the maps, tools, weapons and supplies needed to survive.

“Halo 4”

Publisher/Developer: Microsoft Game Studios/343 Industries
System: Xbox 360
Release Date: 11/6/12

Why We Want to Play It: Space Opera. Master Chief. Questions? Seriously, it’s no surprise that this game’s already generating loads of buzz, given the franchise’s enormous popularity. Master Chief is back in “Halo 4,” and this time there’s a new multiplayer mode (“Halo Infinity Multiplayer”) centered around the UNSC Infinity, a mega-starship.

“Tomb Raider”

Publisher/Developer: Square Enix/Crystal Dynamics
System: PS3, Xbox 360

Release Date: 3/5/13
Why We Want to Play It: Lara’s back and she’s ready to reveal more about her mysterious origins and how she became a tomb raider. This franchise reboot will mix origin elements (a la “Batman Begins”) with the amazing physics of “Half-Life 2” and the rich environments of “Uncharted.” In addition, video game fanatics can expect to be challenged with finding special artifacts and items that help Lara make a “core discovery.”

“Splinter Cell Blacklist”

Publisher/Developer: Ubisoft/Ubisoft Toronto
System: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U
Release Date: Spring 2013

Why We Want to Play It: Sam Fisher returns in the third-person actioner that’s as hard as nails. Beware the Blacklist—a terrorist faction dedicated to weakening and bringing down the United States through a variety of covert attacks. That’s the enemy gamers will face in “Splinter Cell Blacklist,” the latest update to the Tom Clancy “Splinter Cell” series.

The Greatest (Video Game) Show on Earth!
E3 is the main event of the video game year and that’s why we’re devoting special editorial coverage to it this week. Check back tomorrow for more about the trends and titles that will be keeping gamers busy during the next year. Whether you’re a gamer or someone interested in learning how to make video games, we’ve got E3 covered.

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog,Video Game Design and have No Comments

E3 2012 Announcements & Surprises

This week, the 18th annual E3 is taking place in Los Angeles. Started in 1995 (because video game companies felt lost among the massive Consumer Electronics Show, or CES) E3 has developed into a showcase for gamers and game developers alike.


Video game journalists and fans from across the globe descend on the halls of the LA Convention Center.

This week we’re covering the announcements and surprises that come out of the show – and the games you’ll be playing in the months ahead. Let’s start our coverage with a look at what trends we’re seeing coming out of the show at the end of Day One:

Trend: The Death of the Handheld
Why You Should Care: Gaming on the go will never be the same.

This E3 could be known as the “last roundup” for handheld game devices, although Nintendo will likely remain in the arena it helped build (with its Game Boy). Still, Nintendo hasn’t been able to find much support for its Nintendo DS device, just as Sony has struggled to find an audience for its PS Vita handheld. So what’s responsible for the rapid decline of this game niche? That’s right—the massive success of smartphones and tablet devices, which are now leading mobile gaming.

Trend: Xbox Becomes More Integrated with Your TV
Why You Should Care: Microsoft is light years ahead of Apple and Sony and on a track to be a full-service media provider.

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is dominating Day One and Microsoft wants to go a step further – and dominate your living room. To that end, Microsoft is continuing to use the Xbox as a type of “Trojan horse” to gain more access to your living room. This includes new music and video services being served up by – you guessed it – the Xbox.


“Star Wars 1313″ was one of the major titles announced at E3 2012. 

Trend: Reviving and Reconnecting “Star Wars” Fans with “Star Wars 1313”
Why You Should Care: It’s the first serious gamers “Star Wars” game in years.

While fans are still taking in the recent announcement that George Lucas is retiring from filmmaking (at least from big-budget movies), the game company he inspired is gearing up for a comeback. LucasArts hasn’t introduced a new title in almost two years, so expectations are already running high for “Star Wars 1313,” in which a bounty hunter makes his way through “a ruthless criminal underground.” (Think “Mass Effect” meets “L.A. Noire.”) The big difference around this time is the targeted audience; whereas most “Star Wars” games are marketed to younger gamers, “Star Wars 1313” will aim to strike a chord with older players; the game is already touting an “M” rating.

Trend: Blockbuster Sequels/Kinect
Why You Should Care: Motion games and sequels continue to drive the industry — and that’s not necessarily a good thing…

The Kinect system keeps charging ahead, and so do new titles that support it. Games announced at E3 that support Kinect include “Madden NFL 13” and “FIFA 13.”  “Halo,” “Gears of War” and “Forza”—each of which has been a certified Xbox smash—all have sequels announced at this E3. It means more mass-market games and less indie titles, although we must confess, we’re drooling over “Halo 4,” which is slated for a November release.

Trend: Saving Sony
Why You Should Care: Gamers are a passionate bunch who don’t easily forget.

At this year’s event, Sony will be trying to soothe the tempers of gamers still fuming over network hacks and botched system launches…cough, PS Vita. Sure there are some stellar titles on PS3, but gamers haven’t been bowled over by Sony’s corporate missteps and the company needs to work hard to mend relationships with its audience.

Stay Tuned!
As industry events go, E3 has something for everybody, from those who play games to those want to learn how to make video games. Check back in with us this week, as we present special editorial coverage of E3 2012.

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog,Video Game Design and have No Comments

Making the Jimi Hendrix Movie: Will Anyone “Experience” It?

Rock guitar god Jimi Hendrix lived a troubled life…so maybe it’s fitting that making a Jimi Hendrix movie is also a rocky experience. That’s the tale of the new Hendrix biopic, which so far has been a film production nightmare.  
Here’s a first look at Andre 3000 as Jimi Hendrix in the new film “All is By My Side.”

Tentatively titled “All is By My Side,” the new bio will be set in 1966 England, during the recording of Hendrix’s brilliant debut album, “Are You Experienced.” However, fans expecting to hear trademark Hendrix hits from the album (like “Purple Haze” and “Foxy Lady”) may be disappointed.

All Along the Watchtower
John Ridley, the film’s director, is facing a legal stand-offs with Experience Hendrix LLC, the family estate that continues to oversee all things Hendrix—everything from T-shirt merchandise to the latest reissues of Hendrix albums.

Experience Hendrix LLC is run by Hendrix’s sister, Janie Hendrix, who issued the following statement on the matter: “The family-owned company entrusted with safeguarding the legacy of Jimi Hendrix, and administrator of the music and publishing catalogue, has made it known many times in the past that no such film, were it to include original music or copyrights created by Jimi Hendrix, can be undertaken without Experience Hendrix LLC’s full participation.”

That’s not to say that the family estate will outright forbid a movie, but it has expressed that the estate would need to be actively consulted from the get-go. “The EH LLC board have not ruled out a ‘biopic’ in the future. Though producing partners would, out of necessity, have to involve the company from the inception of any such film project if it is to include original Jimi Hendrix music or compositions.”


Hendrix’s debut masterpiece was as much a part of 67′s “Summer of Love” as The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”…and just as revolutionary.

So the question remains: How do you tell the story of one of Rock Music’s greatest albums without playing any of the music from it? For his part, director Ridley has indicated that he will rely upon archived footage of Hendrix live performances and personal interviews.

Beyond that, he may reach an “understanding” with Experience Hendrix which provides clearances for some of Jimi’s music. Audiences will have to wait to find out; the movie has only started shooting in Ireland and is set for a 2013 release.

The Life of a Rock Star
Despite a brief and troubled life, the music of master guitarist Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) endures to this day, inspiring new generations of music fans and those that want to learn how to be a hit music producer. Although he only recorded for about three years, his musical legacy (which includes Rock ‘n’ Roll, Heavy Metal, Psychedelic Rock, Funk and Jazz)  has endured long beyond nearly all of his contemporaries.

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

Best Memorial Day Movies

Memorial Day is not just a three-day holiday weekend. It’s also the time when we pause as a nation to remember the brave men and women who defend the United States, and risk life and limb to protect this country and its core freedoms. So, if the weather puts a damper on those outdoor plans this weekend, consider screening one of the following war movies, each of which puts a distinctive spin on a particular American war.

Glory (1989)

The Civil War rages once more in “Glory.”

Last spring marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War – the nation’s deadliest war. “Glory” is about human dignity as much as it about conflict, but that’s no slam against the film’s battle scenes, which chronicle the rifle-and-cannonball action seen by the Union’s first division of black troops. Hugely entertaining film with memorable performances from a dignified Morgan Freeman, a somber Matthew Broderick and (especially) Denzel Washington, as a runaway slave turned angry soldier…with a major score to settle.

The Dawn Patrol (1938)

Errol Flynn keeps the “lads” flying as a WWI commander in “The Dawn Patrol.”

Civil War Gen. Sherman famously said, “War is hell,” and many films have echoed that theme. Here’s one with a British accent. “The Dawn Patrol” tells the WWI story of an English aerial combat squad waging a seemingly endless air war against German fighter aces. British pilot Errol Flynn mocks his C.O., until he has to replace him. Suddenly, Flynn learns what it’s like to send young and inexperienced aviators to their deaths. Lots of aerial dogfights and camaraderie…plus the most rickety flying contraptions ever seen.

Patton (1970)

WWII from two different perspectives. “Patton” celebrates individual genius…

Maybe it’s unfair to pick two movies to represent WWII – but then again, it was a pretty big war. “Patton” celebrates individual genius, and how it contributed to the war effort, while “Saving Private Ryan” is about the collective sacrifice of battle and how soldiers unite to achieve the impossible. “Patton’s” opening scene will inspire you to battle, while the blood-and-thunder opening of “Saving Private Ryan” (i.e., the Omaha Beach landing on D-Day) will make you glad you weren’t there – but grateful that others were.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

…while war is a team effort in “Saving Private Ryan.”

Tom Hanks and Matt Damon starred in Steven Spielberg’s epic. The Omaha Beach scene cost $11 million and required more than 1,000 extras to shoot. The movie’s riveting early sequences capture what it was like to face the combat of D-Day from an almost video-game-like first-person perspective. The movie went on to influence other war filmmakers and even spawned the HBO television series, “Band of Brothers.”

M*A*S*H (1970)

The original Hawkeye (Donald Sutherland) and Trapper (Elliott Gould) play the Army for laughs in 1970′s “M*A*S*H.”

If you only know the TV show, it’s time you see why critics (and everyone else) got knocked for a loop by Robert Altman’s absurd take on American surgeons operating in an Army hospital during the Korean War. Whereas the show went first for broad laughs, then for a mix of comedy and social activism, the film has its own subversive vibe and crazy rhythm. No wonder it made stars of Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould and many others. Bloody battlefield surgery collides with umpteen types of humor, and the war comedy is never the same again.

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Here come the Americans.

Many films admirably portrayed the Vietnam War, but none captured the sheer confusion quite like Francis Ford Coppola’s war opus. “Apocalypse Now” is not just about the madness of a renegade colonel gone native, but also the insanity of trying to graft an American design for war on a country like Vietnam. A fool’s paradise of cinematic riches,  “Apocalypse Now” is a massive spectacle of a film, which nearly killed and bankrupted its makers. And its centerpiece – a dizzying helicopter assault on a coastal village (scored with opera, no less) – is still arguably the greatest battle scene in all of film.

Black Hawk Down (2001)

Although set in 1993 in Somalia, “Black Hawk Down” speaks to our current conflicts.

Modern warfare has gotten even more complicated than it was in ‘Nam. Ridley Scott’s re-enactment of all the various things that went wrong in 1993, when an American helicopter crew crash-landed in Somalia city streets, is terrifying even before the chopper is down and the crew is savagely overrun by violent locals. What happens next is a sobering look at the dangers faced by our military personnel everywhere the U.S. is not wanted. “Black Hawk Down” is the link to recent movies that deal with America’s ongoing wars.

This Memorial Day, the staff and instructors of Digital Media Academy applaud the service of America’s military personnel, no matter where they find themselves stationed during this holiday weekend. We also thank military families for the lifetime of sacrifices that they make on behalf of our nation.

Digital Media Academy was ranked the World’s Best Tech Camp in 2011.

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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments

The Apple Garage

It resembles most homes in suburban Los Altos. But the modest ranch style house at 2066 Crist Drive is a historic place—and hallowed ground for any Apple Computer follower.


Edison had his lab; modern inventors Jobs and Wozniak started Apple in the garage of this Los Altos house.

This was the boyhood home of techno-genius Steve Jobs. It’s also where he and partner Steve Wozniak kick-started the global revolution in personal computing by inventing the first Apple computer in the garage of the California home in 1975.

The Home Business
The “Apple Garage,” as it’s commonly known, was actually the second place where the start-up made computers. The first fifty Apple 1 computers were constructed in a spare bedroom at the house (which had an original street address of 1161 Crist Drive, when Los Altos annexed the land from the county during the mid-80s, the address was changed).

Jobs and Wozniak set up shop in the garage after the first batch of Apple computers were purchased by Paul Jay Terrell’s Byte Shop (for $500 apiece). And just as the Apple Computer company was much simpler during those start-up days, so was the product Jobs and “Woz” were creating; the first Apple 1 was just a circuit board.

The computer had no case, no keyboard and no monitor—which were purchased separately. These were the days when people were just learning computer programming and what computers could do.


Jobs and Wozniak in the early days of Apple. Back then there were only three employees in the struggling company.

Origins
The original Apple company was not strictly a two-man enterprise. Both Jobs and Wozniak were working day jobs at the time—Wozniak at Hewlett-Packard and Jobs at Atari. Another Atari engineer, Ron Wayne, was the third employee.

Because Apple’s early days were rocky and required multiple loans to keep the struggling company afloat, Wayne eventually doubted the venture and resigned his 10% share for $800. (Had he kept his stock, it would have been worth over 36 billion dollars today.) Wayne told interviewers, “I have never had the slightest pangs of regret, because I made the best decision with the information available to me at the time.”

The rest of the story has become modern folklore, Apple moved to bigger quarters and started to build on it’s success in the 1980′s. Eventually Steve Jobs was driven out of the company he and Wozniak had created in 1985. Jobs eventually returned to Apple and lead it to its current glory as the most-admired manufacturing company in the world.


The first Apple 1 prototype, complete with homemade cabinet. Built in a humble garage…this unit now resides in the Smithsonian.

But once upon a time, it was only two guys working in a humble garage, trying to build a dream. “It was just the two of us, Woz and me,” Jobs recalled during a mid-90s return visit to 2066 Crist Drive. “We were the manufacturing department, the shipping department…everything.” It’s a story that’s sure to wow film audiences, just as it continues to inspire young peope who want to learn to create iPhone apps – or any technology for that matter.

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posted by DMA Jordan in Apple,News Blog and have No Comments

Who is Robert Moog?

He was the Steve Jobs of Electronica. Robert Moog created the Moog synthesizer, one of the very first electronic musical instruments. And recently Google’s Doodle celebrated the 78th birthday of this electronic genius with–believe it or not–an actual working synthesizer.


The Google Doodle for May 23, 2012 is an interactive Moog synthesizer.  

A Sound Idea
The Moog synthesizer has drifted in and out of style, first coming to prominence during the time of its creation and greatest use–the 60s and 70s. It was patented in the mid 60s, and then was utilized in classic hits from all kinds of music – from The Beatles classic “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” to The Doors “Strange Days,” which was one of the earliest uses of the Moog synth. 

More recently, app developers and independent creators who learn how to develop iPhone and iPad apps, have made apps that re-create the classic synthesizer. It’s amazing to see this old-school analog technology being adapted in the digital age. More interestingly, how the lower price of the “digital version” of the keyboard has made it more accessible.


Bob Moog at his workbench building another synth. 

The Moog keyboard has been a staple of modern music since its creation and continues to inspire and bring to life great music. Let’s take a look back at some Moog classics:

  • The Doors “Strange Days” (1967) One of the earliest uses of a Moog synth, this song features the moody sound of the instrument (played to perfection by the band’s keyboardist, Ray Manzarek) rolling behind Jim Morrison’s booming voice.
  • The Beatles “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” (1969) The “Abbey Road” album has several Moog songs, but none as amazing as the closing track on Side One, where a building wall of synthesized white noise finally overtakes the song.
  • Pink Floyd “Wish You Were Here” (1975) The progressive space-rock group’s classic ode to loneliness is delivered using the Moog sound.
  • Donna Summer “I Feel Love” (1977) The recently departed Queen of Disco melted turntables with this pulsating romantic song, whose main sound is the Moog (played by keyboardist Giorgio Moroder).
  • Blondie “Heart of Glass” (1979) Blondie charted an international Number One single (it sold nearly 3.5 million copies) with this New Wave/Disco song. It features not only a Moog synthesizer but it’s also the first use of a Roland CR-78 drum machine on recorded single.
  • Coldplay “Paradise” (2011) The band uses a wide range of synth sounds on this track, along with its traditional piano and guitar attack.

Numerous other artists and bands have created tracks with a Moog synthesizer, including musical acts as diverse as the Beastie Boys, Parliament, Santana, Stevie Wonder and The Doors. More recently, artists like Deadmau5 and Alicia Keys have also been spotted using a Moog.

Watch Brett Domino play Daft Punk’s Aerodynamic using the Google synth. 

Living in an Electronic World
Although his invention was embraced by musicians around the world (even today by students eager to learn music production or those who want to learn how to make your own beats), Robert Moog remained humble, stating “I’m an engineer. I see myself as a toolmaker and the musicians are my customers. They use my tools.”

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posted by DMA Jordan in Featured and have No Comments