Skate It is the handheld version of the popular EA game Skate that most will recognize from console versions. On the iPhone, your control system includes using the accelerometer to turn your skater, a couple of buttons for kicking and grabs, and various swipes of your finger to pull off tricks. Having played the console games quite a bit on the Xbox 360, we were amazed at how many of the original locations are available on the iPhone version. The graphics are predictably not as good as on console versions of Skate, and older 3G iPhones may struggle to keep … Read more
Phones make trusty sat-navs, MP3 players, and cycling computers--as well as handy phones--so they can replace a pocket full of gear on your daily commute or monthly trek. But short of lashing them to the handlebars with duct tape, you need a decent way to keep them front and center, without them flying off to become the puck in a horrifying game of . You'll be needing a mount.
With all the mounts we tested, we were surprised how much we enjoyed having our phone at our fingertips while pedaling. Not only did our sat-nav apps benefit from … Read more
Everybody loves a bargain. With the iTunes App Store, it's getting to the point that apps go on sale almost every week. Of course, app sale prices can be either good or bad, depending on your perspective. If you bought that fancy game for $9.99 a few weeks ago only to find out it went on sale later for $1.99, you can't help but feel a bit cheated. But it also gives you the opportunity to swoop in and grab apps you wouldn't ordinarily buy.
This week's apps are both games and are both … Read more
Imagine traveling by rail at 200 miles per hour between cities, and then catching a local line to your final destination.
IBM on Wednesday plans to announce details of three rail projects outside the U.S. that bring that vision of efficient and convenient rail travel closer to reality. Overall, the projects in China, Taiwan, and the Netherlands show how rail travel can reduce urban congestion and cut down on pollution from transportation, said IBM.
Investments in rail--and high-speed rail, in particular--are a significant portion of many of the government-sponsored stimulus spending programs around the world. The U.S. is … Read more
TouchGrind is good game for anyone who likes skateboarding or fingerboarding, but it could use a little work to make it a great game. Pick a board and either practice your moves in your backyard (Warmup); practice tricks and attempt your single-trick high score at the main park (Jam Session); or go for the high score in a timed format at the main park (Competition). TouchGrind lets you use two fingers on your touch screen to control your board for turning and performing tricks. An easy-to-understand How To section helps you get used the controls. The physics are very good, … Read more
We finally get CNET photographer Sarah Tew into The 404 lair and I screw it all up in the preshow. 'Twas totally unintentional, Ms. Tew, I promise! Ahh, this big, dumb mouth of mine. Anyway, Sarah was dragged in by Corinne Shulze, another CNET shooter visiting from the City by the Bay. In nothing short of a miracle, they still agree to do the show and we get right into it.
Wait, not quite...we have to talk about medical ailments and weekend buffoonery, right? Corinne tells us about her fight with a MUNI rail (you should've seen the … Read more
Today has proved to be much busier than expected, but there were a few interesting articles worth exploring:First, 63 percent of IT departments surveyed by Forrester "expect social technologies to impact the business world." The other 37 percent apparently don't realize just how much time their employees are wasting each day on MySpace. :-) Ruby on Rails hosting and optimization company Engine Yard just nabbed a $15 million Series B round of financing from NEA, Amazon.com, and Benchmark. This makes a total of $18.5 million raised so far. Finally, Apple sold over 1 million 3G iPhones in the first weekend … Read more
Studyrails is a relatively new tool for students who want to get their class schedule and study time synced up. It's mainly a calendaring tool, but thrown in is a mobile reminder service, and a forceful lock-out system that will keep you from slacking off on your computer when you're supposed to be studying.
The core calendar product is one of the more interesting efforts I've seen. After you've plugged in your class schedule, you have the option to schedule in study time. You guesstimate how much time you'll need for each discipline or project … Read more
I have had it with this Twitter situation. I know it's a free service, and I know that a lot of you are frankly sick of hearing about it, but I cannot keep pretending that Twitter is the savior of the modern Internet, the message-bearing standard of Web 2.0, and the most important thing to happen to online communication since Gopher, when the site itself is only slightly more reliable than a late-model Saab. And I'm sorry, but being down all the time is not excused by the fact that people who think they're cool think Twitter is cool. … Read more
Twitter is still an early-adopter application, and if the system is running into scale issues already it's unlikely that it will be able to keep up when mainstream adoption occurs.
Twitter appears to have a fundamental design flaw that's not easily dealt with. It was designed to be a stand-alone system functioning in a multiparty/multiprotocol world. In the current architecture Twitter is an application, where it really needs to be a distributed system.
Maybe Twitter needs enterprise service bus (ESB) functionality that runs in enough distributed locations (Yahoo, Google, Amazon.com, desktop) to ensure that messages are reliably delivered. This could be achieved in a wide variety of ways without having to maintain a massive infrastructure like the carriers do for SMS. It would also enforce pervasiveness and adoption.
The fact that Twitter is based on Ruby on Rails is probably only part of the real issue, though Ruby does require a fair amount of tweaking to run reliably. Scale issues are less likely to happen with PHP or Java, but Ruby apps are generally easier to build.
I came up with a few analogous systems that might help to explain some of the technical ways Twitter-scale could be achieved: … Read more