Posts Tagged ‘Chronicles’

Chronicles of a Traffic Droid Lady Query Bike Pave and skittles 26 07 2011.wmv

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Makai Kingdom Chronicles of the Sacred Tome Sony Playstation 2 PS2 Video Game

Guitar Hero II (game only) (PlayStation 2) PS2

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Assassin’s Creed™ – Altaïr’s Chronicles on Android

Assassin's Creed™ - Altaïr's Chronicles on Android

Assassin’s Creed™ – Altaïr’s Chronicles on Android is NOW AVAILABLE on Gameloft’s website: j.mp Jerusalem, 1191 AD. The Third Crusade between the Crusaders and Saracens is tearing the Holy Land apart. You are Altaïr, a Master Assassin sent by the Order of the Assassins on a quest to steal The Chalice from the Templars, in order to end the Crusades. The fate of the Holy Land depends on you… Plunge into this direct prequel to the critically acclaimed Assassin’s Creed™, offering rich gameplay and a well balanced mix of stealth, chaotic action, and puzzle-solving exploration in the midst of fully 3D-rendered, historical Middle Eastern environments of the Crusades. Find Android games: www.gameloft.com Friend us on Facebook: www.facebook.com Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com Visit our blog: blog.gameloft.com

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Spotify’s Facebook Timeline chronicles over 1,000 years of music

via dl.dropbox.com

Spotify has added a number of events from the last 1,000 years to its Facebook profile, using Timeline to tell not only the story of the company, but also highlight major milestones in the history of music. Starting from 1001AD with experiments into two-part harmony by music theorists of the Christian church, the new Timeline tracks the evolution of music through the centuries, from Bach, to Beethoven, to Britney.

The list is exhaustive, with a number of widely unheard-of musicians included that are bound to please music historians everywhere. Each entry includes a link to Spotify, encouraging you to discover music that you might not otherwise have found. It also marks the rise of technology in music, from the first recording made using…

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Naruto Shippuden: Dragon Blade Chronicles (HD English Opening)

Naruto Shippuden: Dragon Blade Chronicles (HD English Opening)

Get it now on Amazon amzn.to The game will have an original storyline revolving around 5 elemental dragons. Characters can equip special scrolls that can grant them new abilities such as Earth, Water, or Fire ninjutsu which aren’t Naruto’s chakra nature. The game moves away from fighting and more into and action adventure style gameplay. The game is out on November 16, 2010. Pre-order it here amzn.to

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The TouchFire Chronicles: Still Life With Engineers

touchfiretopview

Editor’s Note: This week we’re running a three part series by Steven Isaac, a programmer with an amazing resume including stints at Sun, Microsoft, and even a hardware start-up that brought the first (non-portable) tablets. For years he’s dreamed of an easy-to-use device with a full keyboard that slides out when needed and, together with a designer, he built the Touchfire, a fully funded Kickstarter project that has only 10 days to go before production begins.

We asked him to create a series of short posts about his experience with the Kickstarter process and offer you, the hardware hackers out there, some advice and best practices. The entire series appears here.

Brad and I are sitting in his office, waiting for the FedEx guy to arrive with our B39 prototype. The fate of our company lies in the balance. FedEx comes at last, and we rip open the package.

Jubilation! Not just one but several B39 keys had the required behavior. They also feel really good to type on. Is that a tear I see in Brad’s eye? He did it, TouchFire lives! Every key design we have made since descends from one of those B39 keys.

Fast forward a few weeks. Apple announces the iPad 2 with the Smart Cover, and we are back in the depths of despair. Our complex retraction mechanism is clearly not in the spirit of the minimalist iPad 2.

The iPad 2 launch day finally arrived. I spent the day camped out on the floor of the Bellevue Square mall, waiting for the Apple store to start selling iPad 2s. My wife Dena dropped by periodically with snacks. “At least we haven’t shipped anything yet”, I thought. “We are actually in better shape than the accessory makers who are now stuck with obsolete designs on their shelves.”

The Apple store opened and I bought my allotment of iPad 2s and Smart Covers. I raced over to Brad’s office and we unpacked our prizes. Apple had once again designed a brilliant product. Magnets were used throughout the tablet and the Smart Cover. We looked at each other: “What about magnets for TouchFire?”

I immediately ordered a huge assortment of magnets in various shapes and sizes, and we spent the next few weeks immersed in them. We realized that we could use the magnets in the iPad to attach and align TouchFire over the on-screen keyboard, and the magnets in the Smart Cover would allow us to store TouchFire in the Smart Cover. We also realized that TouchFire could be quickly retracted and held in position below the screen if we put magnets in all four corners. There was still a lot of work to do, but we now knew what was necessary to optimize TouchFire.

Completing the new design would keep Brad busy for months. But I could see that we would ultimately succeed, so I started thinking about how we would fund the launch and initial production of TouchFire.

There were really two choices – the traditional angel/VC route, or crowd-funding via Kickstarter. I decided to pursue both in parallel, and then see which one was the better option.

We prepared for Kickstarter by making a video that included TouchFire user tests. No small undertaking, but I felt it was important for people to see TouchFire in actual use. I also approached several Silicon Valley investors that I knew from my GO days. Interestingly, none of the investors wanted to pursue TouchFire, because it was not a software project.

Well, that made it easy. We’d just go with Kickstarter. I submitted our Kickstarter application on October 13th. And heard back the next day that Kickstarter had rejected us.

Time was running out. Thanksgiving and Christmas were looming, and we really needed to get launched. But I waited until our video was ready before applying again, and included a link to it. That did the trick, and TouchFire was approved shortly thereafter. Whew!

I learned that Kickstarter’s Design category is especially hard to get into. Just having a good idea doesn’t cut it anymore. Be prepared to show a live Web site, a video, previous products, or other proof that your project is real.

Now it was time to build our Kickstarter page. Before doing so, I looked at a lot of Kickstarter projects, both successful and unsuccessful. This was a good way to get a sense for what works and what doesn’t. The Kickstarter crowd is very detail oriented, and not everyone will look at your video. Make sure the key features of your project are shown on your page as well as clearly demonstrated in your video.

The trajectory of a Kickstarter project is also very interesting. All of the really successful Kickstarter projects hit the ground running from the very first day. This is not simply good luck. It is up to you to get the word out about your project before it launches, so that you will get off to a great start. Once your project has momentum, all sorts of good things start happening. Kickstarter starts to feature you. Backers feel confident that your project will succeed. The press will begin to take notice.

Brad and I let everyone we knew about our upcoming Kickstarter launch. We reunited with long-lost relatives, resolved old feuds, and talked to as many people as we could. If your project is in a niche like amateur photography, be sure to let that community know what’s coming.

After we launched, I would make sure that I did something every single day to spread the word.
My wife Dena became our social media czar, using Facebook and Twitter to respond whenever there is a mention of TouchFire. Keeping a standing search running on Twitter is key; that will let you know instantly that your project is being discussed somewhere in the world and will allow you to respond.

And respond you must. Besides Twitter, you will get a constant stream of messages and comments that you need to be on top of. Not to mention creating regular updates. Writing a short, sweet but meaningful update is an art form, like crafting a haiku.

We are now in the final week of our Kickstarter project, and the intensity level is off the charts. Successful Kickstarter projects end with a bang, not a whimper, as people realize that they cannot put off a backing decision much longer.

Kickstarter is a mirror. Whatever you put in is immediately reflected back as signups or lack thereof, happy or unhappy backers, being noticed, or being ignored. Kickstarter is an amplifier. Your backers will unerringly point out the smallest flaws in your project, but will also get behind you en masse and be the wind beneath your wings (did I really just say that?). But most of all, building the TouchFire has been a whole lot of fun!



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The TouchFire Chronicles: The Year Of Bad Prototypes

TouchFireTyping

Editor’s Note: This week we’re running a three part series by Steven Isaac, a programmer with an amazing resume including stints at Sun, Microsoft, and even a hardware start-up that brought the first (non-portable) tablets. For years he’s dreamed of an easy-to-use device with a full keyboard that slides out when needed and, together with a designer, he built the Touchfire, a fully funded Kickstarter project that has only 10 days to go before production begins.

We asked him to create a series of short posts about his experience with the Kickstarter process and offer you, the hardware hackers out there, some advice and best practices. Read part one here. The entire series will appear here.

I knew what I wanted – a soft, rollable keyboard for tablets – but I didn’t have an inkling how to get my keyboard idea made. That’s when I met Brad.

Brad is both a mechanical engineer and an industrial designer, a rare but extremely useful combination. He started his career at HP, and then went to the legendary design firm IDEO. In a strange twist of fate, Brad had done the mechanical design of the EO tablet while at IDEO. But our paths never crossed.

He went on to design everything from toothbrushes to Cray supercomputers, plus a wide assortment of mobile and digital camera accessories. He was now running his own design consultancy, and seemed perfect for the job.

Brad was confident that he could wrap up my project in short order; he had designed keyboards before. He proposed using silicone as the material, and designed the first version of TouchFire in a few weeks, using a traditional key design for a rubber keyboard.

Keyboard B1, as we called it, was a failure. No matter how hard you pushed on a key it wouldn’t actuate. My hacked together prototype worked better. It became clear that designing an all-silicone keyboard overlay that allowed users to rest their fingers on home row that was also easy to type on, was not going to be a snap. It would require fundamentally re-inventing how the tactile aspects of the keyboard worked. And we hadn’t even begun to figure out how to make it magically disappear at the user’s command.

But that was OK. Every significant project I’d ever worked on reached a point of hopeless despair somewhere along the line. It was time to make failure our friend.

I challenged Brad to design a keyboard overlay that worked better than my prototype. 19 attempts later, keyboard B20 finally achieved that goal. It still didn’t allow users to rest their fingers on the home row, but the typing experience had significantly improved. We brainstormed a dozen ways to quickly get the keyboard overlay out of the way, and settled on a mechanism that retracted the overlay when the user pulled a lever. We would build this into an iPad case.

Now we were cooking! I decided to spin up a separate company for TouchFire, and offered Brad an equity co-founder role. This meant that he would no longer be paid as a consultant. It was a big decision that he struggled with, and then agreed. We were off and running; what could possibly go wrong?

We found out a few months later. We were up to revision B38 by this time, and we still hadn’t cracked the puzzle of the home row rest keys. The way we were going was looking more and more like a dead-end. Meanwhile, the magic retraction mechanism was getting more and more complex, starting to resemble the rigging of a 16th century sailing ship.

We had to make a bold move. Brad proposed building a keyboard prototype where each individual key was a completely new design. We would try every crazy idea we could think of, and if none of them worked, TouchFire was toast.



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The TouchFire Chronicles: How Two Guys Raised $100K To Make A Magical Keyboard

scaled.B39

This week we’re running a three part series by Steven Isaac, a programmer with an amazing resume including stints at Sun, Microsoft, and even a hardware start-up that brought the first (non-portable) tablets. For years he’s dreamed of an easy-to-use device with a full keyboard that slides out when needed and, together with a designer, he built the Touchfire, a fully funded Kickstarter project that has only 10 days to go before production begins.

I asked him to create a series of short posts about his experience with the Kickstarter process and offer you, the hardware hackers out there, some advice and best practices.

My love affair with tablet computers began in 1988, when I became the seventh employee at a secretive startup called GO. I came from Sun Microsystems, where I led the team that made Sun’s Network File System (NFS) an industry standard. We succeeded beyond all expectations, and I had become restless. A new, scrappy startup like GO seemed like the perfect antidote.

GO was building one of the world’s first tablet computers, both the hardware and an entire operating system called PenPoint from scratch. My job was to write the mobility and connectivity software. Irresistible!

I was at GO for 5 years. During that time the hardware group spun off into a separate company called EO, which made a line of tablets that looked like iPads with ears. Not to mention a whip antenna and a full size telephone handset, complete with curly cord, that was used to access the clunky analog cellular networks of the era. The EO tablet was quite a sight to see, but we loved that machine and all the software we built on top of it.

AT&T bought EO, then EO bought GO, and then AT&T shut the whole thing down. Tragic! But truthfully, PenPoint was all about the pen as the input device, and handwriting wasn’t the greatest way to get information into a computer. We had failed.

I went on to Microsoft, where I worked on a series of 1.0 products – Microsoft’s first mobile operating system Windows CE, Internet Explorer 1.0, the first MSN.com, and ASP.NET 1.0. I left Microsoft in 2000 to start my own consulting company. The years went by.

Then in the spring of 2010, Apple released the iPad. I felt as if I had stepped into a time machine. The iPad was everything we hoped for and dreamed of 20 years ago, done to perfection.

Well, almost perfect. Multi-touch typing was much better than every previous tablet input approach. But it still wasn’t great. Even Apple said that the iPad was primarily a consumption device. But I wanted to use my new iPad for everything – taking notes in real time, writing long emails, blogging, etc.

So then I started thinking about how to make typing on an iPad great. And there was only one answer: add a tactile layer on top of the on-screen keyboard. Let people feel where the keys are; make typing comfortable (my fingers already hurt from banging away on the glass).

I realized that it was essential for the tactile layer to disappear when the user was finished typing. And it had to be stored within the tablet somehow, so it would always be available. How to do this?

I started prototyping ideas, settling on an approach that used stacks of thin elastic material. I didn’t know how the magic disappearing act would be done, but I thought that something lightweight and flexible stood the best chance.

After a few months, I finally had a promising prototype. It was now time to find a mechanical engineer or industrial designer who could take my precious prototype to the next step. The search led to Brad, my future co-founder.

When he saw what I had made, he wasn’t impressed.

“The prototype is pretty bad”, Brad said. “But you are a software guy and the concept could really rock if done right. Let’s get going on this.”

Next: The Year Of The Prototypes

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