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Archive for April, 2009

“On a plane, on the bus, in a theater. Babies are everywhere you don’t want them to be! They’re always distracting you from preparing for that big presentation at work with their incessant crying. Before Baby Shaker there was nothing you could do about it,”

So went the tag line for Sikalsoft‘s Baby Shaker application, a 99 cent download that ended in Apple having to withdraw it and publish an apology.

For those who missed it, here’s the YouTube video – well, until YouTube are forced to take it down. Warning: It contains scenes of piss-poor graphics.

After watching that, you will either be in the “horrific application” camp or the “it’s only a game” group. Groveling apologies were issued by both Apple and Sikalsoft, although the latter’s at least had a hint of sarcasm about it:

“Yes, the Baby Shaker iPhone app was a bad idea. You should never shake a baby! Even on an Apple iPhone Baby Shaking application. In case you are unaware Baby Shaker was an Apple iPhone application that was greatly lacking in taste. It was approved by Apple for download upon the iPhone. However, it was later taken down because it was a baby shaking video game! While GTA is a video game that pushes the limits, it is still yet to have a baby shaking mini game in it.”

This was also an opportunity for individual and groups involved in promoting awareness of Shaken Baby syndrome to get lots of free publicity. Lots. Here’s one example:

“”It is not enough to take the application off,” said Darryl Gibbs, who advocated for Cynthia’s Law, which in 2006 increased to seven years the prison time for someone convicted in New York State of shaking a baby. “Apple has to explain how it allowed it to be distributed. This has caused irreparable damage to our work to educate people about this abuse and how to prevent it.”

Not enough to pull it? Why, what should Apple do? Mmh, let me guess – fork over some “compensation” money?

And here’s another:

“Marilyn Barr, founder of the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, in Ogden, Utah, was one who expressed horror over the software.

‘Not only are they making fun of shaken-baby syndrome, but they are actually encouraging it,’ she said. ‘This is absolutely terrible.'”

Encouraging it? Seriously? Show me ONE definitive instance of someone downloading this app and then shaking a baby. This is no more than another manifestation of the old “watching X makes you do X” that has been going on since caveman in Lascaux drew on cave walls to “encourage” their pals to go hunting for deer.

I suppose we should now look forward to the withdrawal of all those apps that encourage people to go to web sites and BUY things – after all, the problem of debt affects more people than there are shaken babies. And how about those games that encourage gambling? And those that show you the nearest pub so you can go drink poisonous alcohol – another killer.

Think that’s stupid? Why? If we can ban an app on the basis it encourages baby shaking, then we can use the same logic to ban any other that encourages anything else.

Why, some might say that the iPhone “encourages” people to download music from iTunes and therefore rack up huge debts. Nah, I bet that never happens.

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I salute anyone who refuses to take the real world seriously. So I doubly applaud those who do the same for virtual worlds. There’s a wealth of talent among the World Of Warcraft (R) players. Take, for example, this example called “The Beer Song.”

It’s over three years old but deserves an airing periodically.

Enjoy!

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NCsoft has released a new teaser video for its currently-in-beta world, Aion. They hope to release the game in North America “soon,” which was originally slated as “2009.”

The world of Aion is described on the Aion web site as “a shattered world, separated into two halves with the Abyss between them.” Players will be able to take part on both land and aerial combat and engage in intense raids and other encounters with computer opponents, not to mention the opposing player faction.

Players can choose to be a member of four classes, with the option to move on to two more specialized classes once they attain a certain level of capability. These are Warrior, Scout, Mage, and Priest. You can customize your character in a multitude of ways with a thorough character creation and crafting system, as well as detailed item customization options.

Primary Source: Aion home

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The EON ICUBE™, is a revolutionary PC based multi-sided immersive environment in which participants are completely surrounded by virtual imagery and 3D sound. The EON ICUBE represents a significant innovative milestone in high-end visualization systems development. Typically, high-end immersive systems have until today been complex, difficult to use and expensive to maintain. Unlike the older generation CAVE®, the EON ICUBE is easy to use even for non programmers, provides an unsurpassed speed of immersive content creation and deployment, utilizes a new light enhancing rigid wall material, and has built-in collaborative capabilities.

EON Reality, Inc. is the world’s leading interactive three-dimensional (3D) visual content management and Virtual Reality software provider. Its powerful, breakthrough technology enables users to experience more by revolutionizing the way companies leverage their digital assets throughout the product lifecycle. With EON’s Virtual Reality software tools and applications, including Interactive Product Content Management (IPCM), Simulation-Based Learning (SBL), Augmented Tele Presence (ATP), Location-Based Experiences and Rich Media Publishing (RMP), users are able to create realistic and authentic product experiences based on 3D visualization technology, delivering versatile productivity to the aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, retail, defense, education and medical sectors. Industry leaders.

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According to the death certificate, Elvis Aaron Presley died on August 16th, 1977. But for many die-hards, that’s simply a cover up for the day he went into hiding. For those who want “proof” that the death was orchestrated, take a peek at the Is Elvis Dead or Alive? site, where, for me, the argument from numerology is the clincher!

But the search is over and it’s official: Elvis IS alive and living – where else? – in the Second Life(R) virtual world!!

This newly discovered video shows a vibrant, bedazzling 74-year-old Presley performing before thousands hundreds some people – and a penguin – at a secret venue. Well, not terribly secret – but secret enough.

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Being a cute, cuddly animal in a virtual world seems to be standard fare these days. Without doubt, leveraging the appeal of penguins has been a successful marketing strategy over the past few year. The Disney(R) Club Penguin acquisition in 2007 cost an estimated $700 million and the user base at that time was 12 million. That’s no smal change for a small, flightless bird!

But if you’re tired of being a penguin, you can waddle on over to Pandanda.com and start a new life as a panda. Traditionally, pandas have also scored high on the cuteness scale but apart from Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda, it would seem that pandas have been relatively unexploited by the marketing world. Pandanda hopes to change this.

Pandanda is the creation of Sunleaf Studios, which was formed in Spring 2007 by several veterans of the software game development industry. According to their home page, Pandanda is “an online multiplayer web based game for kids. Pandanda provides an exciting and fun “playground” on the internet where kids will be able to meet up and chat with their friends as well as meet new friends in a fun and safe environment. Featuring a vast virtual world for exploration, interactive games, and ongoing new content, players will always have exciting adventures awaiting them.”

Currently, Pandanda is in beta so you can sign up for a free account and explore the world. Although there is no date set for the conclusion of the beta period, Sunleaf suggest it will be “at least several month.” When that happens, the plan is to offer paid subscriptions for one month, six months, or one year.

Sunleaf Studios is located in Redmond, Washington.

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Sulake is an online entertainment company focused on virtual worlds and social networking. Currently these properties include virtual world Habbo and social networking service IRC-Galleria. However, the company has just announced a beta-test version of a new virtual world, Bobba, designed for mobile phones.

Bobba on a Nokia

Bobba on a Nokia

Currently it is available for a number of Nokia phones but an iPod version is in development. Both Bobba and Habbo are developed and published by Sulake, but Bobba is a service and brand of its own, and you have to be 16 years or older to use Bobba.

Antti Vilpponen of ArcticStartup said of his first experience using it; “I did have a chat with some of the other Finnish users in the service and liked the way the chatting worked. Unfortunately, that is then again pretty much the only thing I really liked in the service.”

He goes on to say that the “real downside I felt, that is still understandable – is the flow in the service; what do I do once I have set up my room, how do I find friends (I was unable to friend any of the other users), how do I decorate my room?”

Despite these limitations, he did say that “I guess I’m too eager – the service is in its early public beta.”

Primary Source: Bobba Home page

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