Raymond’s Random Rants

Yankee Stadium new

– I’m finally done with my “pay the bills” projects! One was charismatic and one was awesome. *snicker* The good news is that I’ll be able to sleep for more than four hours a night and next week I’ll be able to focus more time on the site.

– I hope the rain doesn’t drown out the Yankee game tonight. I’m kind of bummed that it won’t be Yankees/Dodgers in the World Series. That would have been a nice story — Joe Torre and Don Mattingly taking on their old team.

– John Morrison’s Starship Pain is such an awesome move. I love watching him perform it. That and Evan Bourne’s shooting star press are currently my two favorite finishers in WWE.

– I’m thrilled that Nigel McGuiness is getting a big push in TNA, but his new name (Desmond Wolfe) is stupid. Another brilliant idea from Vince Russo. Oy.

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AT&T Exec “Urges” Employees to Fight Against Net Neutrality

AT and T logo boxWhile companies like Google and Verizon are mobilizing to support net neutrality, an AT&T executive is “suggesting” that company employees use their personal email accounts to fight against it. In what can only be described as an amazingly dickish movie, AT&T senior executive vice president James Cicconi sent out an internal email that said:

We encourage you, your family and friends to join the voices telling the FCC not to regulate the Internet.

It can be done through a personal e-mail account by going to www.openinternet.gov and clicking on the ‘Join the Discussion’ link.

Wow…just wow. If you’ve been reading my stuff for TheFeed then you know that I don’t think much of AT&T. A high-level executive asking employees to use their personal email accounts to stand up against net neutrality makes me think even less of the company. It’s just slimy.

What do you think of Cicconi’s email? Does the man have no shame?


Google Set to Launch Music Service

Google music logo

It looks like Google is partnering with iLike (MySpace) and Lala for an upcoming music service. TechCrunch claims that the service will be announced on October 28. Supposedly called Google Audio, the effort gives Google yet another way to serve ads. Perhaps more importantly, it gives the company a music service that can be leveraged by products that use Google Android. TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington reported:

Google will soon launch a music service, we’ve heard from multiple sources, and the company has spent the last several weeks securing content for the launch of the service from the major music labels. One source has referred to the new service as Google Audio.

This new service will be available for at least U.S. users, our sources confirm, although it isn’t clear if it’s a download or streaming service, or both. Google already has a decent (if little used) music search engine that can be accessed by simply typing “music:” before a query. But songs are not available for streaming or download from those searches.

Apple and Google have been competing in more and more areas, with the companies growing increasingly icy towards each other. Google has had recent difficulty integrating its products (Google Voice) into Apple’s (iPhone). A recent rumor stated that Apple was working on its own mapping program to remove Google Maps as the default on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Google starting a service that competes head-on with Apple’s iTunes is an even bigger shot. Hopefully there will be blood soon.

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Barnes & Noble Unveils “Nook” E-Reader–Amazon Kindle Beware?!?

Barnes and Noble Nook

The e-reader fight just got another player: the Barnes & Noble Nook. Set to leverage the brick-and-mortar retailer’s history and give it a much-needed boost in the digital world, the $259 Nook will compete with Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s various e-reader models. The Nook runs a version of Google Android, has both E Ink and LCD screens, and is connected through WiFi or AT&T 3G. Here are the specs:

  • Height: 7.7 inches
  • Width: 4.9 inches
  • Depth: 0.5 inches
  • Weight: 11.2 ounces (317 grams)
  • WiFi
  • AT&T 3G
  • 2GB internal storage, microSD slot
  • MP3 player
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Google Android OS

While it looks great on paper, there are a few things to note.

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Tarver Games’ Ghosts Attack Teaser Video

A few days ago, I asked you for questions for an iPhone developer that’s being headed up by a “top guy” with extensive console experience. The developer is Tarver Games. The man is Chris Cross. The game is Ghosts Attack. Some of you might be familiar with Cross as a former game design director at EA, responsible for numerous Medal of Honor titles. After a successful run on consoles, he’s turning his attention to Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch.

Ghosts Attack is being positioned as the Tarver’s flagship title for iPhone. One of the most interesting features about it is that it uses Google Maps to dynamically create levels that resemble your current surroundings. I’ll be chatting with Chris soon to learn more about the game and to ask him your questions. For now, check out this trailer and let me know what you think (please)!

T-Mobile’s Project Dark is Coming! What the Hell is It?!?

T-Mobile Project Dark

T-Mobile’s Project Dark is supposed to be huge…if you can understand what the hell it’s all about. First thing’s first — Project Dark revolves around a pair of new plans that are supposed to be significantly cheaper than the competition’s. The other big feature of Project Dark is that one of the plans will not require the customary two-year agreement and will allow you to pay for a phone over 20 months. This information is based off of leaks collected by Boy Genius Report; while the BGR scans look accurate, things are subject to change before Project Dark’s October 25th launch.

Still not clear on things? Don’t worry, Project Dark is confusing. Thankfully, Tmonews has simplified the two basic plans:

Even More — Contract required, subsidized phone
Even More Plus — No contract required, lowest rates, no phone subsidy, phone can be paid in 20 installments

The exact price will depend on how many minutes you require. Rumors of a $60 all-you-can-eat plan with unlimited voice, text, and data have been floating around. Sexy hardware (perhaps the Nokia N900) to launch the campaign has also been rumored.

Now that you know more about Project Dark, are any of you interested in jumping ship to T-Mobile? Or are you sticking to your current carrier?


Boy Genius Report Gets Down and Dirty with Verizon’s Motorola Droid

Motorola Droid BGR

The boys (and presumably no girls) at Boy Genius Report have gotten their hands on Verizon’s Motorola Droid…and it looks awfully impressive. I’ve been waiting for a Google Android phone with a better CPU and the Droid deliver that (and more!). It looks like the best Android phone to date. BGR noted:

  • It’s running Android 2.0. Duh.
  • It’s thin. Just slightly thicker than an iPhone 3GS and the thinnest QWERTY-slider we’ve ever seen.
  • It is the fastest Android device we’ve ever used. (It’s running a TI OMAP3430 processor)
  • Awesome capacitive display. Plus it’s huge. Easily the best screen we’ve ever seen on an Android handset, and an amazing screen overall.
  • Have we mentioned this phone flies? It’s the Android device to beat, and easily the most impressive. From what we’ve been told, Google had a direct hand in the Motorola Droid. Something to the point of almost dictating every move Motorola made when designing and making the phone. Interesting, huh?

All of this sounds awesome on paper. I can’t wait to get my hands on the Droid so I can see for myself!


Verizon Rolls Out “iDon’t, Droid Does” Campaign, Targets iPhone

Verizon is getting ready to position the Motorola Droid (the phone codenamed Sholes) as it’s anti-iPhone. Following up its clever “There’s a Map for That” campaign is the “iDon’t, Droid Does” TV spot. Check it out the commercial below.

As much as I dig Google Android and detest AT&T, I really don’t think the Motorola Droid (coming in November) has a chance in hell against the iPhone. While I really like the OS, the hardware has been lacking — particularly in the CPU department. Unless it happens to be a phone that isn’t Sholes, I’m not expecting anything difference from the Droid.

With the iPhone having years to gain mind and market share — not to mention the luxury of having a $99 option to boost the installed base — going up against it with one model is a difficult quest. While I think a Verizon + Motorola victory is impossible, it’s another solid step for Google Android, which many analysts say will own a significant percentage of the mobile-phone market within two to three years.

iPhone 3G vs. iPhone 3GS Graphics Comparison

iPhone graphics comparison

Gizmodo posted a cool graphics comparison of the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS running Iron Fist Boxing 3. The site noted:

You see shadows, sweat and bloom lighting (edit: experts in the audience say it’s technically specular mapping) while playing on the 3GS (all of which you’ll notice in the lead shot). Plus, you’ll notice additional in-game effects like motion blur on the 3GS, too. Still, the 3GS only handles this advanced content at 30fps. The graphic improvements can be turned off so the handheld can reach 60fps.

The iPhone developers I spoke to said that supporting the 3GS’ superior graphics adds anywhere from 10 to 30 percent to the development costs, mostly on the art side.

Anyone else out there rockin’ an iPhone 3GS? Any games impress you? I’m always looking for recommendations.


(Most) T-Mobile Sidekick Users Get a Happy Ending

T-Mobile Sidekick

After suffering a massive data disruption and offering its customers an olive branch, it looks like most T-Mobile Sidekick users will have their data restored! The company’s latest update said:

We are pleased to report that we have recovered most, if not all, customer data for those Sidekick customers whose data was affected by the recent outage. We plan to begin restoring users’ personal data as soon as possible, starting with personal contacts, after we have validated the data and our restoration plan. We will then continue to work around the clock to restore data to all affected users, including calendar, notes, tasks, photographs and high scores, as quickly as possible.

T-Mobile and Danger (a Microsoft company) have dodged a huge bullet. Permanent data last would have meant legions of pissed of customers that it would have to pacify with gift cards and free service. There are certainly some customers that will jump ship, but this situation could have been way, way worse.