Archive for September 3rd, 2012

Play with words: Bubblis

 

Bubblis is video game developed by OnGame Creative. The game is currently released for Android and iOS. The game contains 44 languages:

English, Chinese Simplified, Japanese, Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Korean, Italian, Traditional Chinese, Dutch, Turkish, Polish, Malay, Thai, Swedish, Indonesian, Norwegian, Greek, Tagalog, Catalan, Czech, Hebrew, Danish, Finnish, Romanian, Hungarian, Vietnamese, Slovak , Hindi, Bulgarian, Afrikaans, Croatian, Lithuanian, Slovenian, Latvian, Estonian, Macedonian, Maltese, Armenian, Basque, and Galician.

 

Each screen of the game has  new music, background. The game can be played by any age group. The objective is to construct words suggested by the game using letter-filled bubbles that fall from the top. The characters Bleeb and Bloob also form part of the game. Bleeb is an ally who at the beginning indicates with luminous circles where letters can be placed. Bleeb also provides wings to slow down falling letters, allowing for more time to finish the rounds.

The evil Bloob stalls game progress using bubbles filled with: vapor, smoke, ink, bombs, mines, or resonance. The language can be changed at any time by accessing the game’s configuration menu.

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About OnGame Creative 

On Game Creative is a young Spanish company, recently established. Bubblis is its first project. The company is headquartered in Badajoz and operates through its Barcelona delegation. It is currently working on new projects and is finalizing the PC and Mac versions of Bubblis that should be launched before the end of the year.

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P3 Performance Reporting

The regular use of the P3 Procurement model to deliver new public infrastructure and improve the quality of service delivery is increasing on a global basis. As many hundreds of P3 projects enter the operational phase, it is becoming clear that most are working well and delivering significant benefits for public authorities and service users alike. It is equally clear that the value created by P3 projects is maximised when public-private relations are underpinned by a properly designed contract management framework, which outlines the service outputs that the authority requires, the P3 performance reporting methods, and the regime under which the payment due to the private partner is determined. The key to successful partnering is to ensure that the legal requirements of the contract are translated into a performance management system which is clear and operationally relevant to all users.

The performance measuring system (PMS) allows public authorities to measure and monitor performance and/or quality of service delivered by the private partner against the standards set out in the output specification. P3 performance reporting deals with what is being measured (in terms of the authority’s requirements) and how it is to be measured. Normally, the object of measurement is a matrix of key performance indicators (KPIs), which are oriented around results rather than processes. The method of measurement is usually based on weighting, where each element of the service delivered is given a weighting based on the level of salience for the authority. Three main approaches to measuring performance are evident:

• the performance scoring system, in which the performance score is derived by grouping services into ‘bundled services’ and weighted in proportion of the total services based on their salience for the public authority;
• the fixed deductions method, which is normally used for specific incidents (such as a power cut in an operating theatre of a hospital) where failures are of fundamental significance for the client and the services it is responsible for; and
• the penalty points method, in which penalty points are agreed for each incident, reflecting the requirements of the authority, with the total points accumulated compared periodically to an agreed baseline to determine payment deduction.

The contract management challenges posed by P3 projects can be addressed when specifications and processes are clear and understood from the outset. From the public sector perspective, this process provides the necessary reassurance that they will be able to monitor and obtain information from the performance management software via P3 performance reporting, once the contract is operational. By taking this approach, a partnership relationship is fostered and developed at an early stage, and a relationship based on trust can be formed.

Once “go live” has been reached and the contract is in its operational phase, the performance management software will be utilised to provide P3 performance reporting including trend analysis of availability, performance, quality and service failures. Due to the auditing requirements of P3 contracts, performance management software is required to deliver consistent, auditable and transparent management of data, ensuring that any issues are dealt with quickly and encouraging close and trusting relationships between the partners.

The performance of the service provider must be monitored on a real-time basis and in a transparent manner through the use of remote monitoring and running of P3 performance reporting. It is also essential that the system is able to be audited quickly and easily and that the integrity of the data is maintained at all times. This level of operational capability is simply not achieved by generic spreadsheet software.

Guest Post by Hollie Gibson

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TV on PC

As everything is going digital these days, it is not surprising that you can now watch TV on your computer. It is a great alternative to paying for a monthly cable service, which can be expensive. Watching television on your desktop or laptop computer can be just as enjoyable as it gives you the same TV experience but at a fraction of the cost. Below are the various ways people can watch TV on their computer.

Hulu Plus

• Hulu Plus is a great TV subscription service that allows you to watch both television programs and movies on your computer for $7.99 per month. It is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux computers. Hulu even allows users to watch exclusive shows that can only be seen through its service, which is a great way to open them to great new shows. The free version of Hulu also allows people to watch great TV shows online on their computers, but it offers fewer options than the paid version.

iTunes

• iTunes is a service that is offered via Apple that can be downloaded to any computer. Aside from music and apps, TV shows can also be downloaded to it at various prices. If the individual doesn’t plan on syncing TV shows to their iPod, iPad or iPhone, they can simply watch them on their computer.

Network Websites

• Visiting certain TV networks’ websites is a great way to watch TV on your computer. Many networks present their popular shows on their websites as they are airing on TV.

TV Tuners

• An external TV tuner is an excellent device to have that can allow you to watch TV on your computer. It is especially helpful if you already have a regular cable TV subscription and have a weather emergency that prevents you from watching. The TV tuner connected to your computer can allow you to watch TV when a miniature antenna is connected to it as well. Tuner sticks connect to the USB drive of a Windows computer. One of the most popular manufacturers of these devices is Hauppauge. TV tuners are easy to set up and use.

This has been a guest post from Australia’s leading TV on PC website.

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This Unfinished Swan story trailer is delightful

This trailer for The Unfinished Swan from PAX 2012 delves into the Sony-published, Giant Sparrow-developed game’s mysterious plot. While no specific release date has been revealed for this PSN-exclusive game, the game’s official site indicates it will launch some time in 2012.

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Assassin’s Creed 3 will have new challenges and content every month

While Ubisoft has been quick to introduce Connor and focus on the single-player campaign in Assassin’s Creed 3, not much has been said on the multiplayer side, a staple of the series since being introduced in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Multiplayer developer Ubisoft Annecy says there will be a greater focus on multiplayer in Assassin’s Creed 3 ? both in terms of support from Ubisoft and its impact on the overall Assassin’s Creed lore.

Abstergo has turned the Animus into a commercial product, and you’ll play as one consumer who’s looking forward to “reliving the past in HD.” Every month, Ubisoft will give players new content to unlock through new challenges. “As you progress in the game and level up your character, you access these files and videos. Every month you’ll have new challenges to unlock new content that will continue the storyline throughout the year,” Ubisoft Annecy game director Damien Kieken told CVG.

The multiplayer environments themselves will now have a greater impact on gameplay ? weather effects such as sudden rain storms or blizzards can impact visibility and players can employ special environmental kills using objects like bottles and axes. Back at Gamescom, Ubisoft demoed Wolfpack and Domination, two modes we were able to . While Ubisoft has been quick to introduce Connor and focus on the single-player campaign in Assassin’s Creed 3, not much has been said on the multiplayer side, a staple of the series since being introduced in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Multiplayer developer Ubisoft Annecy says there will be a greater focus on multiplayer in Assassin’s Creed 3 ? both in terms of support from Ubisoft and its impact on the overall Assassin’s Creed lore.

Abstergo has turned the Animus into a commercial product, and you’ll play as one consumer who’s looking forward to “reliving the past in HD.” Every month, Ubisoft will give players new content to unlock through new challenges. “As you progress in the game and level up your character, you access these files and videos. Every month you’ll have new challenges to unlock new content that will continue the storyline throughout the year,” Ubisoft Annecy game director Damien Kieken told CVG.

The multiplayer environments themselves will now have a greater impact on gameplay ? weather effects such as sudden rain storms or blizzards can impact visibility and players can employ special environmental kills using objects like bottles and axes. Back at Gamescom, Ubisoft demoed Wolfpack and Domination, two modes we were able to sample ? a new wave-based co-op mode where players hunt down targets in the environment and take them down, and the more traditional four-on-four team-based mode, respectively.

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TiVo Stream: Put Your TiVo on Your iOS Devices

I watch TV on more devices than ever, from more sources than ever. But when I’m in my living room in front of my 42″ Vizio HDTV, almost all the TV I watch is TiVo. The DVR that’s synonymous with the DVR remains a great way to ensure that you always have copious amounts of programming you like on hand. As long as you’re in the same room as your TiVo, that is.

Starting next week, households with a TiVo DVR and iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches will also be able to watch TiVo on their Apple gadgets — up to four of them at one time. They’ll do it with an add-on box called TiVo Stream, a sort of modern spiritual descendant of a venerable-but-clunky feature called TiVo to Go which lets you move TiVo recordings to Windows PCs and Macs. The new incarnation is much, much simpler and slicker.

TiVo formally announced that the Stream box was in the works back in May; it’ll show up for sale on TiVo.com on September 6, and is “coming soon” to Best Buy stores. The company loaned me a TiVo Premiere and a Stream for this review.

Wait — if I’m already an avid TiVo watcher, why did TiVo have to lend me a DVR? My own unit is an aging TiVo HD, which I bought in 2008. The Stream only works with TiVo Premiere, the company’s current-generation model, starting at $149.99. As always with TiVo, you also have to pay for service, which is $14.99 a month or $499.99 for the life of the box. (Existing subscribers get breaks on these service prices.)

And you need the $129.99 Tivo Stream itself. Looking a little like a blue-and-black cousin of Apple’s petite Apple TV box, it’s a grilled-cheese-sandwich-sized gizmo. It plugs into your Wi-Fi router, not the DVR itself, and compresses video streams from the TiVo, then forwards them wirelessly to up to four iOS devices.
TiVo

You might also have to upgrade your home network. Unless your TiVo is already hooked up to a hard-wired Ethernet connection, TiVo recommends connecting it using MoCA, a technology which sends data over the same coaxial cabling your cable TV and cable modem use. (A TiVo can accomplish other tasks over a Wi-FI network, but sending up to four bandwidth-hogging video feeds to the Stream at once is too taxing to do without wires.)

The company sells MoCA adapters for $79; you need one to plug into your cable modem and router. Some TiVo Premiere models also need an adapter, while others have built-in MoCA capability.

As long as you follow the instructions and are comfortable stringing together devices to put them on a network, setting all this up is straightforward enough. Once it’s working, you use a new version of TiVo’s iOS app to watch the video which Stream relays wirelessly from the TiVo DVR.

Up until now, the TiVo app has been a super-fancy remote control which let you manage the TiVo DVR and choose what to watch on your TV. It still has all those features. But now, whenever you navigate to a recorded show or pull up a live broadcast, you can choose to watch it right there in the app.

How does the video look? For the most part, really good. The stream on my iPad occasionally froze for a moment, but I blame this on my home network, not the TiVo: It also happens from time to time with other streaming set-ups such as Roku. Except for those sporadic glitches, video looked…well, just like it did on my HDTV, only smaller.

The show you watch in the app don’t have to be whatever the TiVo is displaying on your HDTV. And as long as your TiVo has a sufficient quantity of tuners — there are two- and four-tuner models — different people in the house can be watching different live broadcasts on different devices. (I only had the pre-release app on one iPad, so I didn’t attempt to stream multiple shows to different devices.)

You can’t use TiVo Stream to watch video from the third-party streaming services available on the TiVo box itself, such as Amazon Instant Video and Netflix. Those offerings have their own iOS apps, so that’s no great loss. You also can’t use it to stream video onto your iOS device except when you’re on your home network. That’s a shame: Being able to watch your TiVo over the Internet, as you can do with a Slingbox, would be pretty nifty.

But if you want to watch shows you’ve recorded on your TiVo when you’re not on your home network, you’re not out of luck. Rather than streaming them, you can download entire recordings onto your iOS device and play them back anywhere, no Internet connection required.

This option involves transferring files in the hundreds of megabytes over your home network; the TiVo app usually estimated this would take less than twenty minutes when I tried. In my tests, it wasn’t always that zippy, and you can’t watch a video stream (or use other iOS apps) while the transfer is in progress. So I tended to initiate one or more transfers and then just go away and let the TiVo app do its thing.

One snag with downloaded videos: Pay channels such as HBO may use copy protection to prevent you from transferring their shows. If so, they’ll still be available for in-home streaming.

All in all, TiVo Stream does its job well. At $129.99, it’s reasonably priced, and it doesn’t involve any additional service fees. It is, however, only one piece of the puzzle. If you aren’t currently a TiVo user, you’ll need Stream and a TiVo Premiere and a subscription to the TiVo service and (possibly) one or more MoCA adapters.

That’s a lot of ands, especially given how many other ways there are to watch TV on iOS devices, from Hulu Plus to HBO Go to Comcast’s Xfinity app. Unlike TiVo Stream, these options don’t involve buying and setting up any hardware at home, and many of them let you watch much of the same stuff you might record on a TiVo.

So the ideal TiVo Stream customer isn’t really someone who isn’t currently a TiVo owner — it’s someone in a household which has already grown accustomed to organizing its TV-watching habits around TiVo. If you already own and love TiVo Premiere, and love to watch TV on an iPhone or iPad, the odds are pretty good that you’ll love TiVo Stream.

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