Forbes tells female game developers what to wear to E3 game expo

I recommend not clicking the following link. Seriously, don’t even give them the page views.

Going to E3 2013? Here’s What To Wear:

If you’ve been to E3 before, you know the challenge.  How do you convey credibility in promoting your game, your studio and yourself at the convention in a room full of guys gawking at larger-than-life, theme-park-like attractions and scantily clad ‘booth babes’?

Many women prefer to keep a low profile with “non booth babe” wear – like a baggy t-shirt and jeans.  But in an industry trying to attract more female gamers, its worthwhile to spend some time thinking about how what you wear can help you stand out as the savvy gaming industry expert that you are.

Here are two outfits to inspire your E3 wardrobe – one for a day at the convention center and one for the even more popular after parties.

There’s a lesson to be learned here: Forbes’s video game section is a joke.

Electric cars becoming cheaper than gas-powered competition

Electric cars are getting as cheap as gasoline rivals :

Forced by state regulators to sell more zero-emission vehicles, automakers are tripping over each other to offer consumers rock-bottom lease deals. For the first time, electric vehicles are penciling out cheaper than their gas-powered counterparts.

Honda joined the price war this week by dropping the lease on its Fit EV from $389 to $259 a month. It threw in collision and vehicle theft coverage, maintenance, roadside assistance — even a charging station at your house. Factoring in a state rebate, a customer can drive off the lot with an all-in, three-year commitment of less than $7,000. That may make the Fit EV the cheapest $37,000 car in history.

Still, the Honda will have to compete with recently announced $199-a-month leases on the Nissan Leaf, the Fiat 500e and the Chevrolet Spark. Ford is offering its Focus EV for $284 a month.

$200-300 per month and charging costs almost nothing compared to filling up a traditional car at the pump?

Sign me up.

Facebook is becoming a social media hydra

The great defriending of Facebook:

When friends’ posts do show up in your feed, a lot of times they’re just sharing another image or link or video. External content, i.e., stuff that isn’t native to Facebook (memes, articles, pretty science photographs), is the network’s new social currency. Facebook is mutating into a social media hydra, a bit like Twitter, which dominates live events (Facebook even experimenting with hashtags) and a bit like Tumblr, which rules entertainment and fandom. The only problem? Those companies are already the very best at what they do, and to compete against them Facebook has to dilute the highly personal network of real relationships that makes it unique.

Soon you’re going to start judging Facebook friends on how good they are at sharing stuff—not on their actual relationship with you.

Among my friends, Facebook is considered something a necessary evil in the social scene. No one really likes using it, but it’s still where everyone uploads all their photos with friends and family and where we go to set up plans with groups of people. But no company wants to own the site that people feel they have to use despite hating it – that’s like being MySpace in 2007.

(He said as he posted this to The Russell Bulletin’s Facebook page and shared to all his friends.)

Boeing using robots to make more planes with the same amount of people

Speaking of machines doing increasingly more complex tasks, it turns out that Boeing is now using robots to paint the wings of its massive 777s. Unsurprisingly, they’re way better at it than humans are:

Manually, it takes a team of painters 4.5 hours to do the first coat. The robots do it in 24 minutes with perfect quality. Boeing began using the machine in February. By midsummer, all 777 wings will be painted this way.

Both the head of the of the 777 program and the director in charge of their manufacturing were quick to point out that no one was laid off because of the robots, but the reality is that more work being done with fewer people means fewer jobs to go around.

Cloud gaming startup thinks the next generation of AAA gaming will be pay-by-the-hour

Today I had the chance to interview Peter Relan, Chairman of cloud gaming startup Agawi – short for Any game, anywhere, instantly. We had an interesting discussion about the state of gaming, why past entrants into the cloud gaming space have failed, and what he sees as the future of the industry.

We started by looking at gaming today and the recent console announcements made by Microsoft and Sony. The first thing Relan pointed out is that both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 have moved to what amounts to PC hardware. Fairly fast PC hardware mind you, but not very different from what you’d get in a low- to mid-range gaming desktop using parts from AMD: both have an x86 processor, 8 GBs of RAM, and a decent graphics chip.

In Relan’s view, this means that we’re going to see almost every title that comes out for the major consoles – minus platform-exclusive titles like Microsoft’s Halo series – on the PC as well. Unlike in the previous generation, where developers had to put extra work to port games from the PowerPC-based processors of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 over to Windows (and maybe Mac), developing games for all three platforms should be relatively painless.

The only problem with this situation, according to Relan, is that in an age where people find themselves splitting their time between their PCs, tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, and e-readers, there’s an increasingly minuscule amount of time left to dedicate to playing through massive 10-100 hour AAA games on dedicated consoles. At a time when games for the iPhone and iPad – arguably the most-used gaming platforms today – generally cost somewhere between between $0.99 and $15 (and there aren’t many games at that price for long), people don’t want to drop $60 on games that they may or may not want to play through entirely.

Relan’s grand plan to save the AAA industry thus takes a page from the games market that has emerged on smartphones and tablets. Rather than pay upfront for big-budget games and installing massive 15 GB+ files, gamers will instead download a 15 MB app from the Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android app stores onto their desktop, laptop, or tablet – for free – that serves as little more than a link to Agawi’s servers. These servers will run hundreds to thousands of Windows virtual machines at a time, each serving up a dedicated version of the game that the user purchased.

After a quick Agawi splash-screen, the player will proceed to the game’s normal main menu. From here, they will be able to play any aspect of the game – still for free – for a given amount of time set by the game’s publisher. After that time (usually 30 minutes to an hour), the player receives a notification that they have run out of trial time and that they can continue playing for a small fee, usually $5 for two hours. Depending on the platform, this can be done from within the game (on PC or Mac) or online (on iPad or Android tablets – like Netflix or Spotify, publishers don’t want to have to pay the 30 percent cut that Apple takes for in-app purchases).

While gamers might gawk at the idea of paying $5 for only two hours of gameplay, Relan thinks that this business model works in everyone’s favor. The small downloads and trial periods will let gamers have a chance to try games before putting any money down, while the small increments let them only pay for the amount of enjoyment they think they’ll get out of it as opposed to paying $60 for a 30-hour-long game and being disappointed when they only have time to play through the first 10 hours.

As for publishers, they get to adapt to the realities of the post-App Store world by offering free-to-play AAA content using the free-to-play plus IAP business model that’s proven to be lucrative for mobile developers. While they do have to pay Agawi a fee for hosting (about a penny per minute of game time), the upside is access to an entirely new market: casual gamers who don’t want to buy dedicated consoles, don’t have expensive gaming computers, and those whose only experience with gaming is on their tablet devices – think the 30-40 crowd of “non-traditional” gamers.

Unfortunately, the first thing that comes to mind when a gamer hears “cloud gaming” is OnLive and its failure. Relan addressed this in our conversation as well. OnLive attempted to be a Netflix for games: it bought rights to the backlogs of several publishers and offered them via a monthly subscription, while newer games had to be purchased individually at full price. Relan pointed out that his put them in competition with the publishers, so why would they let OnLive have any of their good games? In addition, OnLive was ahead of its time: “the cloud” as a concept was still fairly new when it started, they had to make their hardware infrastructure themselves, and average Internet connections were slower.

In comparison, Agawi’s platform is based on nVidia’s GRID architecture – which is designed from the ground up to handle cloud gaming – and Internet speeds today are fast enough that Relan says that the latency when playing a game on its servers is about that of playing an online game on the Xbox 360. Plus, the company is already bringing in money – at a profit. Last year, the company generated over $4 million in revenue, and expects to more than double that this year.

For those of you who are interested, Agawi will be announcing its publishing partnerships next week at E3, so we’ll get to see what major titles they’ll be offering then. For those interested in the technical details of the service, here’s a presentation that Relan made at the 2013 Cloud Gaming Summit back in March:

Fox News: Obama is waging psychological warfare on Americans

Is Obama waging psychological warfare on Americans?:

I believe that the Obama administration is conducting psychological warfare on conservative Americans. Not only that but it is also waging this war on all Americans who previously viewed themselves, their country, their Constitution and their overwhelming belief in God as a force for good in the world.

The psychological warfare began with an apology tour in which President Obama publicly “confessed,” presuming to speak for all of us, for the shortcomings of America and our supposed contributions to tyranny and all manner of evils around the world.  

This confession planted in the American mind the notion that our values and beliefs might not be in line with freedom and truth.

Ugh. 

Gun rights are inextricably entwined in the American psyche with freedom to defend oneself.  Attacking gun rights, I believe, is an element of the psychological warfare on the American belief that force is justifiable when confronting evil.

Right. Which is why Obama didn’t have Osama Bin Laden killed or intervene in Libya, am I right?

If liberal Americans stand by and do not seek swift and severe justice for those who perpetrated these acts, then they will have tacitly been victimized, too. Because they will have tacitly agreed that it is acceptable for their government to target certain political movements for persecution—and that will have fundamentally changed the psyche of America.

The people responsible have been fired. What else does this guy want? Oh yeah, nothing short of Obama’s resignation.

Seen through the lens of psychological warfare, the failure to defend our embassy in Benghazi need not be understood simply as a screw-up. It could reflect an actual strategy on the part of the administration to reinforce the notion that homicidal violence born of hatred toward America is understandable—even condonable—because we have generated it ourselves and are reaping the harvest of ill will we have sown. In other words, we should take our punishment.

Yes, the President deliberately let Americans be killed. Okay.

There will be those that say that many American leaders have sought to target groups hostile to their views. Some will point to President Nixon or Senator McCarthy or J. Edgar Hoover. And that debate can be had.

But I assert that this administration is engaged in a coordinated attempt to dispirit, disarm and disenfranchise large portions of the American population and to weaken our founding principles through what is best understood as psychological warfare.

Obama is engaging in psychological warfare against the American people, but “the debate can be had” as to whether Nixon, McCarthy, or Hoover targeted groups they didn’t like?

What universe does this guy live in?

Georgia Senator attributes sexual assaults in the military to hormones

Saxby Chambliss Attributes Military Sexual Assault To ‘The Hormone Level Created By Nature’:

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) called on the military to do more to crack down on sexual assault in its ranks on Tuesday, while also worrying that they may be hard to stop because of the natural “hormone level” of the young men serving.

“The young folks who are coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23. Gee whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur. So we’ve got to be very careful how we address it on our side,” Chambliss told top military officials at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. “But guys, we are not doing our job. You’re not doing yours, and we are not doing ours with the rates we are seeing on sexual assaults.”

While he’s at least making the point that something should be done, “hormones” don’t explain why this kind of behavior is so disgustingly prevalent – a study by the Pentagon found that 26,000 service members were sexually assaulted last year alone.

What makes this possible is the perceived lack of repercussions for such behavior. And it’s no wonder they think they can get away with it: they can. Hell, just this April an Air Force pilot convicted of sexual assault had the decision overturned by a three-star general and is now reinstated. In an environment where there’s no punishment for acting like an animal, the worst of the young men in the military are doing just that.

The Next Web’s Jon Russell fails at math

First sign of a comeback? HTC sales hit $970m in May, its best month of business since June 2012 :

It’s fair to say that things couldn’t have got any worse financially for Taiwan’s HTC after it posted a mere $2.88 million in profit in Q1 2013. But it appears the worst may be over as the phone maker took its first step back to respectability after announcing NT$29 billion (US$ 970 million) in revenue for May 2013.

That figure is still 3 percent lower than May 2012, but it’s close to double the NT$19.5 billion ($652 million) that the company grossed in April and represents its best month of business since June 2012.

I know tech journalism isn’t very math intensive, but seriously –  that’s not even a 50% increase, let alone “close to double.”

Update: Jon and I had a fun little exchange on Twitter. He thought I should add: no relation.

Chilean company lets you 3D print your thoughts

Your Thoughts Printed As 3D Objects:

First, users start by donning an Emotiv EPOC headset that uses an array of sensors to measure electrical signals in the brain that are associated with feelings and expressions. Next, Thinker Thing software shows users a series of basic, on-screen shapes. As those shapes begin to mutate and evolve, users can approve or disapprove each change according to the object they have in their mind. The EPOC headset transmits these thoughts to the system, which eventually whittles the user’s idea into a design that can be 3D printed.

‘Our software will allow the user to evolve 3D models with the power of thought which will then be created in ABS plastic using a MakerBot Industries Replicator, the latest in desktop 3D printing,’ explains the company’s website.

Yup, we live in the future.

Native American student’s diploma withheld for wearing tribal feather at graduation

Native American student denied high school diploma for wearing tribal feather:

A high school graduate in Alabama is being denied her diploma after being fined $1,000 for wearing a feather reflecting her Native American heritage.

‘I don’t think it’s fair at all,’ 17-year-old Chelsey Ramer told WPMI-TV. ‘I feel like its discrimination.’

Ramer, a member of the Poarch Creek Band of Indians, wore the feather while taking part in the graduation ceremony at Escambia Academy High School in defiance of school policy forbidding ‘extraneous items’ from being worn without school permission.

The school sent a contract for graduating seniors to sign before the May 23 event, but Ramer told the station she never signed it. Escambia is now withholding her diploma until she pays the fine.

I’m always surprised by the amount of bullshit bureaucracy at high schools and other aspects of local government in the South- you’d think that kind of thing wouldn’t be a problem in places where the Tea Party is so influential.