Tony Hawk Next Generation Realism

The Tony Hawk video game series has overall been a phenomenal commercial success. The franchise continues to grow. Its grown at times through improvements in gaming capability and sometimes through better, trendier, funnier story boards.

It would appear that the next Generation of Tony Hawk video Games will be driven by imrpovements in technology.


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Nokia to beat Motorola to Market

Nokia is racing to beat Motorola to market on a new wave of cellular products. A product that could literally require every cell phone user around the world to upgrade their phone. What is the product?

Is it a new 8.0 mega pixel phone? ………….No
Is it a camcorder phone?………….No
Is it a 3d phone?………….No
Does the phone have a projector built in to it?………….No
Will it pay your taxes?…………. Almost! and then some.

The killer product is a cell phone that is an electronic wallet. Picture a phone that allows you to literally leave your wallet at home. No credit cards or debit cards to carry. No need for much cash. Its all accessible via the phone.

This is by no means a new idea, but no one has been able to launch it successfully yet. The first signs of such a product that I can trace (outside of science fiction) date back to CES 1994. At that time, Bill Gates provided a demo where he promoted the concept of a wireless mobile device that would function as a cell phone and an electronic wallet.

The combination has proved to be almost as illusive as the holy grail. Motorola actually demonstrated a concept product that could do just this at CES in 2005. At the time, they were only looking internally and had not partnered with the larger payment transaction companies. As such the unit on display seemed to lack the key requirement – Very Strong Cryptography.

Now its more than a year later. Nokia, whom undoubtedly saw what Motorola was working on, has unleashed a product that will ‘turn cellular handsets into electronic wallets’.

They’ve done it right by partnering with Visa. Essentially, this is the largest credit card payment company working with the world’s largest cell phone company. They are piloting a project in Malaysia.

Nokia will gain bragging rights for being the first in the ‘market’. The serious question to ask though is, “Who can be first in Europe and North America?”

Motorola has not offered up any progress in this category since 2005. Nokia is going public with this pilot. Motorola is strongest according to Motorola in North America, and Nokia is stronger in Europe. Nokia holds market share leads in both areas.

PayPal just recently released a technology that allows wireless payments to take place using a PayPal account. This is a very interesting start as PayPal’s service is capable of processing transactions from other card processors, however, even though their services are widely accepted on the internet, physical merchants are not ready to accept payments from a PayPal account at the cash register.

Will Nokia trump Motorola in North America? Will Motorola make it to market with a concept they demonstrated first again?

We’ll watch and see if history repeats itself.

For more information on Electronic Wallets, see our three part series on ‘The Dark Side of Electronic Wallets’

Nokia, Visa launch phone payment project – Wireless World – MSNBC.com


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Nokia Stakes out Motorola's Backyard

Your the number one cell phone maker in the world. Your closest competition, the former number one cell phone maker in the world, has been having a mostly great season with a serious hit product on their hands.

What do you do? Go on the offense.

That’s exactly what Nokia has anounced.

“Nokia plans to open a ‘flagship store’ in Chicago on June 21, with a New York store in the ‘Fifth Avenue region’ opening before the end of 2006,” according to David Watkins the Nokia Director of Multimedia Computers.

Motorola’s headquarters in Libertyville, IL are just a few miles outside of Chicago in the burbs. Chicago is the stomping ground of Motorola and has been for three quarters of a century. Sure Nokia phones have been sold in Chicago just like every major American city, but Chicago is not necessarily a strategic move unless you want to send your competition a message, like ‘We’re number one world wide and we’re coming to own your hometown next!’

With the anouncement Nokia also anounced that they will offer their ultra high end N93 Camcorder Phone, which will retail for approximately $682. The phone offers camcorder recording at 30 frames per second, 3.2 mega pixel stills, wifi, email etc, etc. It looks more like a camcorder than a cell phone does these days, however Nokia has had some success at selling ultra high end phones that are shaped like a brick, especially in their European stomping ground.

The question shall be, will Motorola be able to fight off this offensive round, or will Nokia own the windy city?

Nokia To Open Store and Bring High-End Phones to US


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Explorer Destroyer – Get Firefox Here

Some Firefox zealots are prompting visitors to their websites to fight against Microsoft and Internet Explorer by downloading and using the new Mozilla browser called Firefox (available from this site as well.)

This group is promoting Firefox’s heavier level of security which can stop Spyware, Viruses, and in the words of the authors of ‘explorerdestroyer.com’ helps to end Microsoft’s monopoly.

They are seizing on Google’s incentive to web publishers and providing code that checks visitors web browsers to identify explorer users and prompt them to switch or at least try Firefox.

If you want to see what all the hype is about you can try Firefox by downloading it from Google here. (Note Google benefits because their toolbar is installed with Firefox.)

iTWire – Firefox zealots offer users money to switch from IE


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New! MindManager Update Available at Mindjet

Mindjet has released Service Pack 1 (build 6.1.809) for use with MindManager Pro 6 and MindManager Basic 6.

MindManager users can access this update from their MindManager program by navigating to the Help Menu and Clicking on Check for Updates or by going to the link below and selecting the update to download according to the program version that they are running themselves.

Mindjet: Software for Visualizing and Managing Information


ClustrMaps Track Visitors Geographically World Wide

ClustrMaps came to my attention last week. ClustrMaps provides a small Icon displaying a map of the world. Within the map, the geographic location of visitors to a website or blog are tracked. It’s a visually powerful tool that quickly gathers information from visitors ot websites from locations around the world.

A picture is worth a thousand words and in this case maybe worth several worlds. By clicking on the picture, the viewer can go to the URL for ClustrMaps where a larger representation allows a bigger view of the world including plots of the locations of various visitors.

Red dots pinpoint the location and the larger the dot, the larger the number of visitors or impressions from that corner of the Earth.

The service is free if a site has visitors totalling less than 2500 visits per DAY (correction original aricle stated ‘per month’ actually ‘per DAY!’). There is a $9.99 per year fee for sites with visitors up to 25,000 visitors per DAY(correction original aricle stated ‘per month’ actually ‘per DAY!’). Then for sites with daily visitors totalling 100k – 10m, ClustrMaps will quote a price and display one publicly this quarter sometime. (See Products at ClustrMaps for more details. )

Another interesting twist is that with the paid version, users are provided the ability to zoom to a continent and view hits by country or (states and provinces in North America).

There are a number of reviews available from ClustrMaps or from Del.icio.us.


Samsung, Microsoft & Intel Execs Can't Drive Home Origami

It should be a slam dunk press event.

The Cast: Heavy weight partners Samsung, Microsoft and Intel all on stage together.

The Plan: Show off the latest and greatest gadget to full effect doing it what its designed to do.

The Audience: News and technology vendors from all walks in one of the most advanced technology cities in the world, Seoul Korea.

The Product: Samsung Q1 Ultra Mobile PC alias Microsoft Origami.

The Problem: Either the executives from each of the big 3 can’t work the product or the product doesn’t work or some combination of the two!

The Korea Times details a presentation Snafu during a press conference designed to show off the Samsung Origami device named Q1.

Executives from the three partnering companies gathered together to provide a presentation on the new Origami unit from Samsung named the Q1.

Three Strikes and their out!

Strike 1
Samsung’s Vice President of the PC Division attempted to make his presentation using the Samsung Q1, but could not get the device to toggle to the 2nd page of the presentation (the device has no keyboard).

Strike 2
After getting help from his staff, the VP made it several pages into the presentation only to be stomped on when the batteries ran out(the device has a 3 hour battery life as projected)

Foul Ball
Microsoft Korean unit President was next up to pinch hit, but couldn’t get started without assistance from the Samsung staff, and then watched as the device rapidly scrolled through the entire presentation in just a few seconds.

Strike 3
Confidently rising to the podium Intel’s Exec claimed he could avoid the problem by “‘do it my own way as my predecessors have had a difficult time.’” Unfortunately, he received the third strike for the group as he also required help from the Samsung team to make the device function appropriately.

Samsung is hoping to sell 100,000 units in the first 12 months, but will need to practice their presentation and consider improving battery life and increasing the availability of user training, especially within their own ranks.


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Wizard's Arenas focuses during halftime with Online Poker

People from all walks of life have different methods for developing their focus in high stress situations. Gilbert Arenas plays online poker at half time.

“‘I’m a little offbeat. I think of myself as the Dave Chappelle of the NBA, that nobody knows about. Like, at halftime, while everybody’s getting ready, I’m playing poker online. It’s just a mental challenge, to keep my mind going.’ “Online Poker at Halftime? Works for Arenas — Newsday.com

Online Poker has grown substantially over the last 6 years, and despite some poker sites ties to nefarious offshore groups, its audience is becoming more and more mainstream.

People need to exercise their brains, and release tensions. Many famous NBA players from Michael Jordan to Dennis Rodman have made headlines due to their gambling habits. Arenas has managed to bring the habit right into the locker room. It will be difficult to imagine where this trend will evolve next.


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