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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: January, 2012

POSTED: Monday, January 30, 2012, 12:11 PM

Has your Pennsylvania-based company or school  made great strides in technology this year? There is still time, barely, to enter a nomination for 2012 PA Tech Awards.

 Sponsored by TechQuest, a catalyst for technology business development in the state,  the awards honor winners in nine categories:

Best Application of Technology; Growth Company of the Year; Oustanding Leadership in Technology; Public Service Innovation; Technology Company of the Year; Technology Educator of the Year; Technology Product of the Year;  Technology Provider of the Year.

POSTED: Thursday, January 26, 2012, 12:11 PM

I ran into a wall with yesterday's  posting on econo-minded  cable TV packages which  eliminate pricey  sports  channels from  ESPN.

 In talking about Comcast's role, I wrote that the jock-free  $30  Digital Economy package it offers in some communities is not available in "my Philly-hood" and even if it was, wouldn't be very user-friendly.  'Cause no pay-per-view or DVR functionality is available at that low. low price.

 Turns out I was wrong and semi-wrong on these  accounts. 

POSTED: Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 11:53 AM

It's hardly  the  dream-fulfilled  of pick-your-own (or "a-la-carte") channel bundling, which some TV viewers have been craving.

 But Cox Cable's plan to go national with its bargain priced ($25 to start, $35 after six months)  TV Economy service, eliminating the mighty ESPN and other pricey channels,  certainly represents a crack in the cable industry's  wall of wills.

 And it's most especially a step in the right direction for viewers who only get interested in sports events which have the word "Bowl,""Series" or "Championship" attached.

POSTED: Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 1:15 PM

While normally front-runners with  new technology, the adult entertainment industry is decidedly "split" on shooting and showing its'  wares in 3-D. So found  trade reporters at this year's just ended Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas.

3-D porn is busting out bigger in Europe than in the U.S., declared   AEE's keynote speaker  Michael Klein, president of Larry Flynt Publications. His  Hustler Video division is now making in-your- face versions  of  all new releases.

Also offering a  thumbs-up for  the reach-out-and-touch tech is Digital Playground, which released its first 3-D Blu-ray in November, the adult comedy "Jailhouse Heat" and seen it rise  to the top of the  porno  sales chart.  Yes, the YouTube-placed trailer for "Jailhouse Heat"  is viewable in 3-D using the old-fashioned analglyph (red and blue lens) glasses. But  the production was actually shot with the same camera used on James Cameron's "Avatar," said company executive (Ali) Joone, and  requires a full-fledged 3-D TV/Blu-Ray setup with active shutter or polarized glasses to fully enjoy at home.

POSTED: Monday, January 23, 2012, 12:22 PM

Who could ever  imagine  our former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum and ultra liberal comedian  Bill Maher being on the same page on anything? 

 Yet they are. Both guys have now spoken out in FAVOR of  legislation to combat internet piracy of intellectual property, which has inflicted permanent damage on the music industry and  serious blows to  creators of TV, films and video games.

 We're talking 'bout that controversial issue  which the U.S. Congress suddenly  ran away from en masse after last Wednesday's well orchestrated shutdown of popular internet sites (like Google and Wikipedia) and a massive slam job on the U.S. Congress'  email.

POSTED: Monday, January 23, 2012, 11:56 AM
Filed Under: Tech and Gaming

It’s First Friday. The Old City art galleries are bustling with a fine mix of genuine art lovers and college kids feigning interest, the latter of which are just eager to grab some free cheese and wine. Both groups are swarming into the small boutiques and studios that line 2nd St, each a tiny refuge from the chilly Philly Autumn air. As I stroll down 2nd, making my way towards Chestnut, I spot a small line forming outside of one of my favorite First Friday venues… the office of Drink Philly. 

Tucked away above Paradigm and nestled on the second floor, Drink Philly’s annual First Friday gallery and party never fails to disappoint. On this particular day, there is a whole roast pig being carved up in their kitchen as glasses of wine and half-pint cups of microbrew beer make their way around the room. Beautiful people talk and laugh, eat, and ogle the local art on the walls. The smell of roast pig wafts through the air, and I sigh, turning away to visit the office that shares the second floor with them.

POSTED: Friday, January 20, 2012, 11:09 AM

Apples and education have always gone together. But will teachers bite for the new toys from Cupertino?

Zingy, interactive text books on an iPad  that are profusely illustrated, talk and show movies and automatically create  flash cards from any keyword which the student has touched is the stuff  to rouse the sleepiest heads. And Apple has finally convinced the major text book publishers - as Amazon could not - that there's a way to make the same money (in the end) by charging a lot less ($14.99 tops) for their e-books than for hardback equivalents. An e-textbook will not be transferable, sellable. If you want to share it, you'll have to loan the iPad it's stored on. And while printed text books are usually updated every five years, the e-texts will be revised every annum, making last year's version seem so . . . . 2011.

The harder part will be convincing teachers that they can and should download  and start using Apple's new  self-publishing iBooks Author  and iTunes U curriculum  applications. The concept is  for educators to make  their entire customized course  available on an iPad (or Mac computer) - everything from class topics and lectures  to reading and writing  assignments. Tap on the homework link and the iPad automatically goes to the right chapter and verse. Finish that section  and the gizmo  jumps to the next reading assignment, even in another book (presuming the student's paid for the content, or the teacher's figured out how to circuitously cut-and-paste it in.) Oh, and when you're done, a check mark (what, no gold star?) is automatically entered next to the assignment.

POSTED: Friday, January 6, 2012, 1:50 PM
Blog Image
Debra Messing and Christian Borle star in NBC's "Smash" Credit: Mark Selliger/NBC

"Smash," NBC's new drama about the making of a Broadway musical, won't premiere on TV until Feb. 6, but the Comcast-owned network is making the series premiere -- which stars Debra Messing -- available through Xfinity On Demand (yes, that's Comcast, too) starting Jan. 16.

Want to watch on an iPad or online at XfinityTV.com? That's happening Jan. 23.

NBC entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt, who used to run the show at Showtime, knows that broadcasters get nervous about putting stuff online before it's aired -- though Fox, he reminded us, surprised itself by employing that as a winning strategy in launching "The New Girl" last fall -- but he often did it in cable, where getting a show sampled is more important than the premiere numbers.

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