Blog Posts by Tori Floyd

  • Visitors play with Microsoft's Xbox 360 consoles at the Tokyo Game Show. (REUTERS)Well, there goes the neighbourhood.

    Neighbourhood video game stores, specifically, which have already suffered greatly at the hands of big box retailers. Their last glimmer of hope was the used video game market (and even that has been largely dominated by GameStop, EB Games and Best Buy). But if the rumours about Microsoft’s new upcoming game console are true, selling back your used games or trading them in for a new title may soon be a thing of the past.

    The latest rumour about the upcoming Xbox 720 (not necessarily its final name) is that the system will require an ‘always on’ Internet connection to function, likely integrated with a new iteration of Xbox Live, according to a story from Edge Online.

    [ Related: SimCity developers’ Reddit AMA turns sour over copyright protection ]

    Unnamed sources have told Edge that games will be made available in physical form on 50GB Blu-ray discs, and will ship with activation codes that will only be usable for the initial user. Wanted to share a

    Read More »from Xbox 720 rumoured to have ‘always on’ Internet connection, effectively killing used game market
  • Luigi and Toad in 'Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon' (Nintendo)It’s common for most people who approach their 30th birthday to get a little melancholy as they reflect back on their lives. For one mustachioed, green hat-wearing plumber, his life has largely been spent in the shadow of his shorter and much more famous brother.

    Ahead of Luigi’s approaching birthday on June 1 — which was the release date of the Mario Bros. arcade game back in 1983 — Jose Zagal, assistant professor of game development and interactive media at DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media, is lamenting Luigi as the unloved brother of the Super Mario Bros.

    "Robin at least was his own character," said Zagal, comparing Luigi and Mario to Robin and Batman. "Though Robin was young and inexperienced, he was portrayed as competent and even somewhat cool. Luigi, however, is often portrayed at best as a clone of Mario and, at worst, the more cowardly brother who still pulls through in the end."

    [ Related: Nintendo to post unexpected loss as Wii successor falters ]

    Read More »from Luigi celebrates his 30th birthday still in Mario’s shadow
  • Photo of Zach Bussey from @asponsoredlife on TwitterZach Bussey, a Toronto-area blogger, has decided to let the pitches and product reviews he receives as part of a job sustain him for the rest of 2013.

    The Globe and Mail reports that Bussey, who is also a social-media consultant, has cleared his apartment of all his belongings and is attempting to go an entire year living off product reviews and advertisements posted to his blog, asponsoredlife.com.

    Advertisers can buy ad space on his website, with rates dependent on the day of the year. January 1 was only $1, and by December 31, an ad will cost the buyer $365. Alternatively, companies can sponsor Bussey with food, clothing or services and get a mention on his blog.

    [ Related: Buy yourself a Facebook girlfriend for only $39 ]

    Bussey says that despite the sponsorships, he is still writing objectively about the products and services he receives.

    “Just because a company is providing me with something does not mean that I’ll give them a favourable review,” he said to the Globe. “I have to

    Read More »from Toronto blogger hopes to survive only on online sponsorship
  • No matter if you’re a loyal iPhone, Android or Windows Phone user, there’s one thing we can all agree on: running out of battery power sucks. Thankfully, companies have developed some creative ways to make sure you don’t run out of power again, and can re-charge your device while you’re on the move.

    The Piggyback Solar Powered Gadgetbag is an eco-friendly way for you to get power to your portable devices. Attach the solar panel to any existing backpack, and you’re pretty much ready to go. Tuck your device into one of the two zippered pouches (one measures 8”x12”, the other 8”x5”), plug your device into the USB cable (so for many devices, you’ll need an adapter), and soak up those rays. The Piggyback converts full sun into 1000mA at 5.6 volts, which is enough to charge a smartphone, tablet or ereader. And for those days where you can’t enjoy the sunshine, there’s a backup 800mA lithium ion battery pack.

    Who would love it: Students and business people who have to tote around a backpack

    Read More »from Must-Have Monday: Never run out of batteries again with device-charging bags
  • Alexander went on to speculate that the challenges many have had with learning the new Windows 8 operating system could be at least partially to blame.
    Microsoft’s first tablet, the Surface RT, is undeniably a pretty cool piece of hardware. However it seems that there’s something that might be stopping people from running out to get one – and prompting others to return it.

    In an interview with CNET, Rhoda Alexander, an analyst at iSuppli, said that the number of Surface RT tablets being purchased is only at about 55 to 60 per cent of the number that have been shipped out to stores. That means that of the 1.25 million Surface RTs available through the Microsoft Store online and in brick-and-mortar locations, as well as Staples and Best Buy stores, roughly 680,000 to 750,000 have actually been purchased.

    [ Related: What people have to say about the Windows Surface RT ]

    While Alexander says that she has seen those types of figures before, such as with the launch of new Android devices, she has noticed another interesting trend: while she wouldn’t give a specific number, Alexander says the return rate was “very high.”

    “If you put the

    Read More »from Microsoft Surface RT returns may signal problem with operating system
  • Almost everyone has been in the position at one time where they’d like to stick it to a company that just fired them. But few ever get the chance to depart in the extremely public fashion that a group of HMV employees did.

    The UK branch of the struggling HMV let go 190 of its employees in England on Thursday, and one who still had access to the @hmvtweets official company Twitter account didn’t go quietly. The Tweets have since been deleted, but not before some speedy Twitter followers snapped screengrabs of what the disgruntled ex-employee had to say:

    “We’re tweeting live from HR where we’re all being fired! Exciting!!” began the Twitter-spree, The Independent reports. What followed was a flurry of tweets, including “Just overheard our Marketing Director (he’s staying, folks) ask ‘How do I shut down Twitter?”

    [ Related: Twitter’s Vine: How to get the most out of the new six-second video sharing app ]

    Screengrab of @hmvtweets account on January 31, 2013

    While the Marketing Director didn’t succeed in shutting down the entire service

    Read More »from HMV employees ‘live-tweet’ their departure from the company on official channels
  • Photo of David S. Gallant (via @Ananagurl)It seems that a Brampton, Ontario game developer got his wish after being fired by Canada Revenue Agency for a computer game that mocks his day job.

    Game developer David S. Gallant created ‘I Get This Call Every Day,’ a point-and-click PC game with rudimentary graphics and a very basic premise: you’re an office worker, in a cubicle, taking phone calls from customers and are given a limited number of reactions to choose from to progress the game. You can choose to be snippy with the frustrating customer, or string along the tedious conversation for as long as you can. Most of the time, no matter what you do, you end up getting fired.

    If this doesn’t sound like much fun to you, don’t worry, it wasn’t for Gallant either. He created the game as a means of expressing the doldrums experienced at his part-time job answering phone inquiries at Revenue Canada.

    Now, in a case of life imitating art, Gallant’s been let go from his position. Gallant said in a tweet on Wednesday morning that he was

    Read More »from Revenue Canada employee fired over customer service video game
  • After months of speculation about its new device and countless problems for RIM, the excitement for today’s announcement was almost palpable. And with the unveiling of the new BlackBerry 10 operating system alongside two brand new devices, things are starting to look up.

    At today’s launch events in Toronto, New York and other cities around the world, journalists were eager to get their hands on the new devices and start putting them through their paces. Here’s what you need to know about the much-hyped BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10:

    BlackBerry Z10

    BlackBerry Z10 (Getty Images)

    • Touch-screen QWERTY keyboard
    • Dual-Core 1.5GHz processor (Snapdragon S4 Plus)
    • 4.2-inch LCD display with 4-point multi-touch and 1280x768 resolution
    • 8MP rear-facing camera with 5X digital zoom and 1080p HD video
    • 2MP front-facing camera with 3X digital zoom and 720p HD video
    • NFC, microUSB, microHDMI-out, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy and 4G LTE connectivity
    • 16GB Internal Storage with a hot-swappable microSD card slot
    • 2GB RAM
    • Removable 1800mAh battery,
    Read More »from BlackBerry Z10, Q10 launch to eager and welcoming crowds worldwide
  • One week ago, it was the top paid iPhone app in Canada. Now, Canada’s privacy commissioner is slamming it for contravening Canadian and international privacy laws.

    WhatsApp, an instant-messaging application that lets users chat across various platforms without having to pay text messaging fees, requires access to users’ entire address books in order to function. Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart and her Dutch counterpart Jacob Kohnstamm say that since the app doesn’t ask for permission before accessing the address book, it violates privacy laws in both countries.

    The investigation also revealed that the app sends unencrypted messages, which could potentially make them susceptible to eavesdropping or interception. The issue has since been resolved as a result of the commission.

    [ Related: WhatsApp breaches privacy laws ]

    “Our investigation has led to WhatsApp making and committing to make further changes in order to better protect users’ personal information,” said

    Read More »from WhatsApp violates Canadian privacy law, commissioner says
  • If you’ve received an email telling you that Facebook may be sending you $10, it’s (potentially) not a scam: as the result of a class-action lawsuit over Sponsored Stories, Facebook is paying out a small portion of the settlement to many of its users.

    I say “potentially” because the chances of someone capitalizing on this turn of events to make some money off of unsuspecting folks are high, but for many users, the news is true.

    Unfortunately, for many users, that $10 will never make its way to your pockets, and will instead line the pockets of the lawyers and privacy groups that helped get that money in the first place.

    [ Related: Three reasons Facebook’s Graph Search might not be the Next Great Thing ]

    GigaOM reports that a class action lawsuit was filed against the social network in response to “Sponsored Stories” that ran on its website. If you were to “Like” a Page, your friends may see a targeted post in their feed advertising a product or service related to that Page.

    Read More »from Facebook could pay users $10 apiece – but who’s going to get it?

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