Posts Tagged ‘last’

Ubuntu desktop and mobile icons redesigned, united at last

Canonical’s been working for years to turn Ubuntu into a universal OS for whatever sized screen you use, be it of the television, desktop or mobile variety. Recently, the company showed off the next step in this evolution: unified icon designs for mobile and desktop Ubuntu implementations. In keeping with current UI trends, the new icons have flatter, more stylized appearance when compared to the old desktop iconography. System tiles are less colorful and more reserved in appearance, while apps and folders have been punched up with a flashier look to set them apart visually. Of course, the new icons won’t actually make their way into a Ubuntu for awhile, as the goal is to get them into the 14.04 release for mobile (13.10 is the current version). Should you want more background on the production of the new icons, there’s an hour-long video discussing it after the break. Don’t forget the popcorn.

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Source: OMG! Ubuntu!

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The US war in Afghanistan could last more than 20 years

NBC News has obtained a key security document that outlines that the United States is prepared to maintain military outposts and troops in Afghanistan while supporting the Afghan security force through 2024 and beyond. The news paints a picture of postwar Afghanistan where American troops are an ongoing presence, even as foreign leaders push to reduce the presence of combat troops in the region.

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The US war in Afghanistan could last more than 20 years

NBC News has obtained a key security document that outlines that the United States is prepared to maintain military outposts and troops in Afghanistan while supporting the Afghan security force through 2024 and beyond. The news paints a picture of postwar Afghanistan where American troops are an ongoing presence, even as foreign leaders push to reduce the presence of combat troops in the region.

Continue reading…

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Xbox 360 tops NPD console charts one last time before next-gen begins

How do you close out a console generation? By reclaiming your crown. According to NPD’s October figures, Microsoft is back on top: The Xbox 360 is once again the best-selling home console. It’s hardly surprising — Microsoft has dominated home console sales for years, losing out to the PlayStation 3 …

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No More Late Fees: The Last Blockbuster Movie Rental

last-blockbuster-rental.jpg This is a shot of what was allegedly the last Blockbuster movie rental in the history of Blockbuster movie rentals in the United States. Honestly, I thought all Blockbusters had closed awhile ago because mine has been a cycling gym for over a year now. The picture was taken on November 9th at 11PM in Hawaii. The movie rented? ‘This is the End’. How appropriate. Is dude planning on returning it after watching? I wouldn’t if I were him. Plus I would have “rented” all the video games I’ve been meaning to play too. There’s actually a locally owned movie rental place down the street from me that still rents VHS tapes and only VHS tapes. I think it’s just a front for selling drugs though. Same goes for the typewriter store. Thanks to E V I L A R E S and Luke, who have both jumpkicked Redboxes before for giving them scratched disks.

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Nikon Df Is The Latest In That Last Refuge Of The Standalone Camera – Retro Chic

Nikon has introduced a new full-frame camera, and it’s no slouch on paper; with a 39-point AF system, with nine cross-type sensors, burst mode of 5.5 frames per second, a 16.2 megapixel FX0format CMOS sensor and EXPEED 3 image processing, the Nikon Df will keep up with the big boys in terms of image quality. But its most noteworthy feature, and the one Nikon is playing up, is its retro good looks that call to mind Nikon’s classic “F” series 35mm film cameras.

Nikon’s new DSLR is its smallest and lightest with a full-frame sensor, which is a similar refrain to what we’ve been hearing from camera makers lately. Sony only just recently introduced its own full-frame smallish cameras, the A7 and A7R. Where those were mirrorless cameras, this is a true DSLR, however, which explains why it’s a slightly bigger and bulkier affair.

The body-only version of the Df comes in at just shy of $ 2,800, which is a pretty penny to spend on a camera, but it’s also quite close to the sticker price of the higher-end Sony A7R. Retro cameras in general seem to be commanding a premium, with Fujifilm seeking $ 1,300 for its fixed-lens X100s, for instance. All of these share a similar rangefinder-style design with ample manual controls on the face.

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Nikon’s camera seems to aim for high-end pros more than the others, calling out to old-school photogs with its pyramid viewfinder hump and dedicated dials for just about everything, including ISO, exposure compensation, shutter speed, release mode and exposure mode. It has a threaded shutter release button for use with soft shutter releases and shutter release cables, too, and it works with Nikon’s existing speedlights, FX and DX lenses. It’s shipping with a new AF-S Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8G lens, which should appeal to photographers looking for a classic rangefinder experience in both body and optics.

Camera makers know that the smartphone is eating away at their market share in the general consumer category – the heyday of the pocket camera is gone. The Nikon Df is a prime example of what happens when dedicated camera manufacturers look to their past to find out what they might be able to offer camera buyers that is both special and unique. That also happens to be something they appear willing to pay a premium for.

Standalone cameras won’t die, but they’ll become the province of hobbyists, enthusiasts and specialists, and it’s actually very impressive to see manufacturers like Nikon dip back into their roots to capitalize on that trend, rather than simply ridding the consumer market to extinction.

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Indiegogo’s European Presence Grew 300% In The Last Year, 30% Of Funding Now Outside U.S.

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Indiegogo co-founder and CEO Slava Rubin took the stage today at TechCrunch Disrupt Europe 2013, and he shared some interesting stats about the crowdfunding platform’s progress to date, and he specifically addressed some of the company’s international growth. Over the past year, Indiegogo has managed to expand its business 300 percent in Europe over the past year, and international funding now accounts for a full 30 percent of its platform activity.

A lot of the hard work about that came around adding new languages, Rubin said, and then it was also challenging because of the various currencies that had to be incorporated into the platform. Most of the heavy lifting is around working out how to take and receive payments in different countries, Rubin said, and adding a number of new international capabilities in that regard has really helped speed up their growth.

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The international growth is actually a core part of Indiegogo’s vision, for an open and democratized future of funding.

“It’s really simple, we want to democratize funding across the world, the only way to do that is to be open,” Rubin said. “To be open is hard [...] The only way to create an open platform is to be totally global, if you only focus on one vertical or one country, you’re only creating liquidity in that space.”

It’s hard because you need to reach as many people as possible, you need to build a product that’s both open to all submissions but also reliable and consistent, and because you have to defend against fraud, which is hugely complicated when you’re trying to be open.

Yet defend against fraud is exactly what Indiegogo has done. The crowdfunding company has faced numerous fraud attempts since 2008, but Rubin says that they’ve had “virtually zero” actually carried out successful. Its net of anti-fraud detection, which includes community monitoring, advanced fraud detection algorithms, and people to track down and follow-up with flagged incidents, is so far pretty bulletproof, Rubin says.

As to what this means in terms of actually delivering funding to project creators, Rubin says that there’s now “millions” being distributed to between 70 and 100 different countries per week. Indiegogo may have strong competition in the form of Kickstarter, but it’s clearly focus on growing internationally quickly and covering as much ground as possible while Kickstarter moves a little more slowly on reaching new countries.

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The Last of Us

The Last of Us

The Last of Us

  • Developed by Naughty Dog, creators of the best-selling Uncharted series
  • Genre-defining experience that blends survival and action elements
  • Character driven story about a population decimated by a modern plague

Abandoned cities reclaimed by nature. A population decimated by a modern plague. Survivors are killing each other for food, weapons; whatever they can get their hands on. Joel, a brutal survivor, and Ellie, a young teenage girl who’s braver and wiser beyond her years, must work together if they hope to survive their journey across the US.

The Last of Us is a third-person Survival-Action game and PlayStation 3 exclusive featuring a unique character action driven storyline focused on the unlikely pairing of a young girl and a hardened scavenger in a post-apocalyptic gameworld. The game utilizes multiple gameplay mechanics, including “Dynamic Stealth,” allowing differing possible strategies and techniques in conflicts, resulting in different possible outcomes. Additional game features include AI that adapts to choices and situations, a variety of enemies, a live inventory system, and beautiful graphics.

The Last of Us game logo

Story

20 years after a pandemic has radically changed known civilization, infected humans run wild and survivors are killing each other for food, weapons – whatever they can get their hands on. Joel, a violent survivor, is hired to smuggle a 14 year-old girl, Ellie, out of an oppressive military quarantine zone, but what starts as a small job soon transforms into a brutal journey across the U.S.

Joel and Ellie with their backs against the wall in The Last of Us
Diverse Survival-Action gameplay in which story development and the bond between characters is choice dependent.
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Gameplay

The Last of Us is a third-person Survival-Action game that utilizes choices in gameplay action to develop the game storyline, as well as the relationship between the two main characters, Joel and Ellie. The game features a combination of combat, exploration, stealth and platforming game mechanics. Although Joel and Ellie are both residents of a post-apocalyptic world, they have had different experiences that affect the way they see the world around them, and feel about what they see and do. Joel had a life before the pandemic, while the world of the pandemic is all that Ellie has ever known. As part of Joel’s job to smuggle Ellie out of the quarantine zone, players have to make choices in how they deal with enemies, which include, roving gangs of human scavengers not unlike themselves, military elements and infected civilians. Player also have opportunity to together interact with elements of the world around them, which helps to build the bond between Joel and Ellie. Resources in the game are scarce, making overwhelming use of firepower unlikely and unwise in conflicts, and resource gathering missions. In addition, most other residents of the ruined world that are encountered are just trying to survive – blurring the line between good guys and bad guys. Finally, game AI react differently depending on the specifics of the player’s actions, making choice in gameplay a major consideration.

Key Game Features

  • Third-person oriented gameplay that blends survival and action elements into a genre-defining video game experience
  • Character driven story about a population decimated by a modern plague, and the resulting ambiguity of good and evil
  • A unique blend of exploration, platforming, stealth, and combat game mechanics
  • “Dynamic Stealth,” which allows for multiple strategies and techniques to use in situations, resulting in different possible outcomes
  • AI (artificial intelligence) that adapts depending on the situation, player actions, and weapons/tactics used
  • A live inventory system in which the game actions and dangers continue as players organize, combine, and select items
  • Developed by Naughty Dog, creators of the best-selling Uncharted series

Additional Screenshots

Ellie watching as Joel chooses how to deal with an opponent in The Last of Us
Choice & consequence of actions.
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Joel overlooking the overgrown, post-apocalyptic world of The Last of Us
A post apocalyptic world.
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Joel hiding from an infected city dweller in The Last of Us
Survive a variety of dangers.
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Ellie using a brick to stop a gun-wielding enemy in The Last of Us
AI that adapts to situations.
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List Price: $ 59.99

Price: $ 47.00

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A Definitive History Of The Last Two Decades Of Western Civilization As Told Through Rap Lyrics

Mysteries Debunked. Scores Settled. Lessons Learned.

unclesgames.com

Over at Rap Genius, they’ve built a clever little tool called Rap Stats, which indexes a a compendium of rap lyrics and allows just about anyone chart the frequency of just about anything over the last twenty-odd years of rap songs.

But as Rap Genius notes itself, the tool is much more than that and, in many ways, offers up a salient lens from which to view the last few decades in popular culture. The rise of the iPhone and the demise of Blackberry? The sudden boom of the club drug Molly? The ages-old debate surrounding the virtues of money, power, and respect? They're all captured here in exquisite detail.

2Pac vs Biggie

2Pac vs Biggie

Proof that there's really no right answer, here.

Via rapgenius.com

Glock vs AK-47

Glock vs AK-47

The Kalashnikov may be the weapon of choice for warlords, but the Glock won the 90's and hasn't really looked back.

Via rapgenius.com


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The Twitter Documents You Didn’t Hear About Last Night

While the world was discussing its IPO, Twitter was making a case to justify massive tax breaks it received from the city of San Francisco.

Robert Galbraith / Reuters

Last night, while the tech and business world pored over Twitter’s freshly released IPO filing, the company quietly made a different pitch in a hearing room in San Francisco's City Hall. The meeting regarded Twitter's charity work in San Francisco, which the company promised in exchange for large, multi-year tax breaks from the city. It was a six-month checkup, and the mood was less than celebratory.

Colin Crowell, Twitter's head of global public policy, stood behind a podium in front of a city's Citizen Advisory Board to defend the company's efforts — just the latest installment in the city's heated debate over the tech industry's economic and cultural effects, now carried out in polite committee jargon under florescent lights. (Jenna Sampson, the local community liaison, was out of town.)

The question: What has Twitter really done in exchange for the ongoing tax breaks, estimated in 2011 to be worth about $ 22 million over a multi-year term?

So far, Twitter's list of charity efforts includes one mass volunteer day, $ 75,000 and 40 computers donated to non-profits, scores of summer internships, ongoing one-on-one volunteering and tutoring, legal help for citizens fighting evictions, and personal tech assistance to over 30 local organizations. Four employees joined non-profit boards, while other employees have opted to bike around the neighborhoods, reporting road problems to the city. The company also instituted a street cleaning day.

And of course, it gave away $ 60,000 in promoted tweets.

But giving back, according to Twitter, also includes hosting a sneak peek performance of the Broadway hit, Jersey Boys, for its own employees, as well as giving their workers discount theater tickets. The company also disclosed it spent over $ 750,000 on food items, all bought within 50 miles of the office in order to support local businesses, which it said constituted a sort of charity. The list was substantial but filled with grey area; of course, so were the tax breaks. And so is Twitter's effect on its neighborhood.

The city advisory board went through Twitter's twenty-five item volunteer plan point-by-point, politely challenging the company. Did the mass-volunteer events cause more problems for the non-profits than they were worth? Did a fifty-mile purchasing radius count as as local? Just what exactly is the value of a promoted tweet?

Crowell was adamant that the company-wide volunteer days weren't “volunteer-istic tourism” but instead made lasting connections in the community. He also suggested that TechSF, the city's tech training and hiring program, which Twitter had promised to help with, isn't working — the local graduates aren't truly ready to work at a tech company like Twitter.

The board's main concern: demanding that Twitter focus on its own effects on the neighborhood, such as increased housing and commercial rent prices.

“A lot of times with organizations, you volunteer in ways that make sense to you like IT training, community gardens, and food justice,” said Peter Masiak, the committee chair. “Tweets, etcetera, are great, but without focusing on the affordable housing issue and cost of live in the city I worry that the clients are being priced out of the city.”

“A huge result [of Twitter's presence in the Bay Area] is that commercial rents are jacked up,” he said. “[Residents] lose the place where they got a buck and a half coffee, not the four dollar latte and the neighborhood is not for them anymore. They are no longer welcome in the community.”

Crowell refused to disclose financial information to the advisory board, despite the company having publicly disclosed its IPO information only hours earlier. Crowell did not answer an ongoing burning question: how much, exactly, are its tax breaks worth? The company's six year, 1.5% payroll tax break on new hires is public, and rough 2011 estimates place its dollar value at around $ 22 million. But Twitter has frustrated the board by not sharing its own projections, despite demands.

“It would be helpful to get a number so we can temper our expectations,” said board member Robert Marquez, last night, pointing out the generous amount of financial information provided to potential investors in the company's IPO filing.

Twitter responded that quantifying that number was meaningless, since there is also no real way to calculate the value of volunteering.

“What is the value of a person on a board? There is a lot we can quantify, but other aspects that are always difficult,” Crowell responded. “To the extent we can, we will.”

“It's not an abstract question about the value of volunteerism. There's a Federal scale for measuring that,” Marquez later told BuzzFeed. “You'd have to wonder what's upside of not disclosing the tax break value at this point.”

“Twitter is a young company that speaks with good intention, but I believe their decision around full disclosure… will give us a better insight about our new neighbor and community partner,” he said. “It's a learning process.”

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