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      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
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  • Our pick: Top indie games of 2011

    Every game used to be an independent game, a title free from the clutches of management which could branch out and explore untapped genres. Creative freedom is now all but reigned in, with giants like EA, Microsoft and Ubisoft raking in as much cash as film studios. This is what makes the current crop of independent games so important, as they present us with a pure snapshot of gaming, injecting their inimitable spirit into our veins. The list below comprises our best picks of 2011 and is made up from released and unreleased games: Read more on Gearburn.comvar vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • IBM builds computer chip that mimics human brain

    American computing giant IBM announced that it has developed a chip which mimics the way the human brain works. The New York-based company believes that the experimental "cognitive computing chips" could eventually lead to machines capable of emulating "the brain's abilities for perception, action and cognition." "These chips are another significant step in the evolution of computers from calculators to learning systems, signalling the beginning of a new generation of computers," said Dharmendra Modha, project leader for IBM Research. Read more on Gearburn.comvar vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • RIP HP Touchpad and WebOS

    HP has killed off all production and development of the Touchpad and its entire range of WebOS smartphones. The company announced the decision in a recent statement to the press. In the official press release, the company stated that it would: ... discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimise the value of webOS software going forward. Read more on Gearburn.comvar vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Australian fired for moaning at company on Facebook

    Damien O'Keefe, a technician at Australian retail group The Good Guys was dismissed for complaining about his company on Facebook. The complaints were somewhat inflammatory, saying things like: "Damien O'Keefe wonders how the f--- work can be so f---ing useless and mess up my pay again," "C---s are going down tomorrow." The crux of the issue stemmed from his revolving pay issues. O'Keefe said his commission, which was due to him five weeks prior to the post, remained unpaid. Back payments to his commission were made and the issue was resolved. Shortly afterwards, though, the company once again neglected to pay...

  • SMS is dead. Well, almost.

    SMS is dead – more accurately, dying – and why wouldn't it be? Hundreds of millions of consumers around the world are wising up to the costs of mobile communication and because of its 160-character length, SMSes are obvious candidates for a subconscious cost/value analysis. Every so often the meme of SMSes being wildly overpriced (they are 140bytes of data after all) does the rounds. And then there was BBM. BlackBerry Messenger suddenly removed the need for SMS. It needed the BlackBerry installed base to reach tipping point before it became useful. The youth market, though, eventually cottoned on to...

  • After the hype: Why Google+ gets a great big minus

    Like every other geek in the world, I was intrigued by the prospect of a social network based on Google's platform. Once I was in, I found it a bit underwhelming. What's a platform without content, right? Skip ahead a few weeks and the opposite is true. It feels cluttered, messy, confusing, overwhelming. And I lay the blame firmly at the feet of Google's recruitment practices. The proposition is simple: Google+ is a social network built on the foundation of what you do and who you know. I'll leave off the qualifier of the word 'online' because, well, d'uh. The...

  • Googarola and the mobile marketing supernova

    Google's US$12.5-billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility has set the digital community ablaze with a fresh crop of gripping hypotheses about its mobile end-game. This is a characteristically mercenary effort to cement Android's position in the handset ecosystem. While much can be said about how this affects the balance of patent power with competitors such as LG, Samsung and HTC, Google is taking the perception of its deep commitment to "defend" Android to the bank while quietly pushing for a higher and more definite standing in mobile marketing. Having largely missed the new generation mobile zeitgeist and become locked...

  • Drug companies shut down Facebook pages

    Following a move forcing drug companies on Facebook to open their pages to public comment, many such businesses have begun shutting down their presence on the social network. Facebook is allowing a level of seclusion for drug and product-specific pages, as these will remain closed off from public comments. Facebook recently relaxed its policies regarding comments for patient-specific groups, stating that the move would "help encourage an authentic dialogue on pages". Facebook added that it would allow some pages to keep their walls blocked off from public debate, but the bulk of the drug companies will lose this privilege....

  • China’s Todou sees shares tumble on Wall Street debut

    One of China's largest online video companies has seen its shares fall sharply in the wake of its Wall Street debut. Shares in the Shanghai-based Todou, which raised US$174-million with its US initial public offering, were priced at US$29.00 on the Nasdaq Stock Market and closed at US$25.56, a loss of 11.86 percent on the day. Trading under the ticker symbol "TUDO", the company has a market capitalisation of US$867 million at the IPO price. The company, which went live in 2005 and was serving some 65-million videos a day by late 2007, is one of the largest video...

  • Budweiser, Facebook, and football create history

    Creating a small slice of history, non-league sides Ascot United and Wembley FC will be the first teams ever to have their football match streamed live on Facebook. The match, an extra-preliminary FA Cup qualifying-round fixture to be played at United's 1 150 capacity home stadium, will streamed live via the social network on Friday evening UK time. The stream is being organised by brewing giant Budweiser, which recently was announced as the new title sponsors of "The FA Cup with Budweiser", as the tournament is now officially known. In a press release, Budweiser marketing director Ian Newell said, "As a...

  • Following Motorola deal S&P downgrades Google in opinion reversal

    Analysts from ratings agency, Standards and Poor (S&P) have downgraded Google's stock.The ratings agency has given a simple explanation for the downgrade: It believes that Google's purchase of Motorola Mobility was a bad one. S&P analyst Scott Kessler, in a widely reported statement from the ratings agency, has been quoted as saying, "...we see greater risk to the company and stock. We expect the transaction to be consummated next year, but later than early '12, which GOOG indicated". Kessler adds that the reasoning for the downgrade of Google's stock from "Sell" to one to "Buy" is that, "…despite MMI's extensive...

  • Time releases 50 best websites of 2011

    What does a site encouraging people to upload personalised eight track playlists, mixtape style, have in common with one that donates ten grains of rice to the UN for every question you get correct on a multiple choice quiz? They're all on Time Magazine's 50 Best Websites of 2011. The renowned magazine says the aim of the annual list is to honour "the scrappy newcomers and established players that make the Web so useful, entertaining and just plain indispensable". Artistic, conceptual sites like Dear Photograph, therefore, can rub shoulders with an established gaming and tech site like The Escapist....

  • Rumours of the PC’s demise have been greatly exaggerated

    The personal computer is not dead nor is it dying. Hype and slick marketing may be painting such a scenario, but that is not even part of the picture when you look at the facts. The first consumer computers were introduced by IBM in 1974/75. In 1981, Microsoft introduced the computer operating system called DOS, and followed up with Windows in November 1985. Although it took around 20 years before almost every home and every office had at least one, the PC revolution as we know it had begun. Headlines of late though have been screaming things like the "Let...

  • Mobile and the future of African entertainment: Q&A

    From rural communities to small business owners, the impact of mobile technology in Africa is widespread. In addition to the impact on commercial business, education and services, the popularity of mobile entertainment has also grown exponentially. But is mobile changing the way consumers engage with this entertainment media, and is the media itself changing in response to the platform? In the run up to the 2011 Mobile Entertainment Africa conference in Cape Town on 23rd and 24th August, we pose these and other questions to international filmmaker Aryan Kaganof and Obi Asika, chairman and CEO of Nigerian entertainment company Storm...

  • Googarola and our four top predictions

    As many words have already been written about Google snapping up Motorola as dollars changing hands in the deal. Here’s a Twitter-length analysis: "$12.5-b from GOOG for fading maker of mobiles and set top boxes to stymie Apple lawyers with 17,000+ patents; other Android OEMs poker-faced". Now, Gearburn predicts what it will do for you – and to you – over the next few years. 1. Stop squabbling over patents, start building better phones The last year has been an ugly mess of patent fights and sabre rattling – more recently breaking out into a full-scale shooting war of lawyers and...