Rapper 50 Cent says that he is hoping to create a sequel to his February 2009 video game “Blood on the Sand,” which is the follow up to his 2005 video game debut, “50 Cent: Bulletproof.” According to MTV, “Blood on the Sand” has been so well received by the gaming community that he’ll “try to do it again.” He added, “[Fans] said it’s a good video game. They enjoyed it. I had the opportunity to play with some people online. That was exciting and another way to reach people that are aware of me.” However, 50 Cent reportedly doesn’t fancy his own gaming skills as too spectacular. He told MTV, “I like to think I’m the best [but] I like to say ‘pretty good’ just in case somebody comes in here that really knows how to do it.”
“Blood on the Sand,” MTV says, “takes 50 to a Middle Eastern-looking city to chase down a crystal skull that’s been stolen from him and his crew. The new game has 18 unreleased 50 tracks, plus hits from several G-Unit and 50 albums and a score from Swizz Beatz.” The crystal skull detail was reportedly 50 Cent’s own addition. “”The crystal skull actually exists. It’s a diamond, an artifact. I saw it in a magazine in Dubai. I took it and said, ‘Make this what they’re after,’” he said.
In the future, 50 Cent says he hopes to pursue more video games, but adds that any other than “Blood on the Sand 2” are not likely to feature him as a character. “I’d like to be a part of designing and marketing a video game I’m not actually in,” he said to MTV.
As the computer industry grapples with the protracted recession and slowed consumer spending, rumors have surfaced that Apple plans to lower prices on its iMac and MacBook lines in the near future. AppleInsider reports that the company is making changes that will push down prices. According to AppleInsider, “Word of the changes comes just weeks after the Cupertino-based company became the target of a renewed advertising blitz from rival Microsoft Corp., which is using a new series of controversial television spots to cast Macs as overpriced novelty PCs that command a premium purely for their distinctive aesthetic. Still, people familiar with the matter say Apple’s move towards more affordable Macs isn’t so much a response to Redmond’s marketing antics as it is an interim solution to combat the proliferation of budget notebooks—often called netbooks—until the company is ready to introduce its own take on the market in the much rumored Newton-like web tablet, a project which is taking considerably longer to complete than once anticipated.”
At this point, the details of the new price points and the exact date of when they will become effective (if ever) are unclear. However, Apple could use a bit of a boost in Mac sales. Last month, when Apple released its second-quarter earnings for this fiscal year, it reported that Mac unit sales had experienced their first ever year-over-year decline, although at only three percent it was slight compared to the 6.5% decline in sales in the general PC market.
The flagging newspaper industry may receive an unexpected boost from the new widescreen Kindle, the e-book reader that sold an estimated 500,000 devices in 2008. Unlike its smaller predecessors, the bigger Kindle DX, with a 9.7” display (the original Kindle had a 6” display), is being touted as ideal for newspapers and textbooks. According to Forbes, this summer both The New York Times and The Washington Post will be offered to Kindle users at reduced rates to try to boost sales. Amazon has also created partnerships with textbook publishers such as Pearson, Cengage Learning, and John Wiley & Sons.
Of the upcoming partnership, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company, said, “This experiment will combine the immediacy of the Web with the readability of the Kindle experience.”
Not everyone is as optimistic, however. Some publishers have voiced concerns about lack of control over pricing and the Amazon proprietary format. Others have suggested that Amazon should consider offering greater incentives for publishers to offer their content on the Kindle.
Moreover, the textbook industry isn’t limping to the extent that the newspaper industry is. And thrifty college students may not be enticed to shell out nearly $500 for a Kindle when they can purchase used textbooks for far less. Still, Arizona State University, Case Western Reserve University, Princeton University, the University of Virginia, and Reed College all plan to test the Kindle on their campuses soon, says Forbes.
The issue of the Kindle’s price tag—and added fees for individual content—is perhaps the biggest obstacle to its adoption. Nonetheless, analysts have estimated that Amazon could see Kindle revenues in the $1.2 billion range by next year, which would put Kindle at four percent of Amazon’s overall revenue.
Microsoft recently unveiled a new software program called Stimulus360 designed to help government agencies monitor projects that have received funding from the economic stimulus program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. According to the company, “the Microsoft Stimulus360 solution can help public agencies track funded programs, monitor progress, and provide intuitive views of the data for different audiences. The solution also supports key performance indicators (KPIs) and other government-backed performance metrics, automated workflow, and comprehensive analysis across consolidated data sources.” Stimulus360 also includes links to legislative and regulatory sources, report templates, and a news feed that provides stimulus-related updates. It may be deployed on-premise or may be hosted elsewhere to minimize deployment costs.
On the company’s website, Microsoft said that the benefits to state and local governments of using Stimulus360 include:
- Geospatial features that link data and mapping capabilities.
- Integration with familiar Microsoft Office applications, including Microsoft Office Outlook and Microsoft Office Excel, to reduce the learning curve.
- Automatic capture of actions and events to facilitate quick, informed decisions and to improve transparency.
Gail Thomas-Flynn, general manager of Microsoft’s state and local business, added in a press release that “Stimulus360 provides a tool that governments can immediately use to meet the specific and often complex requirements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It helps manage the details and coordination required while, most important, allowing leaders to focus on implementing projects that will create jobs and promote economic recovery.”
The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) has named its 2009 CODiE Award winners. The awards, originally called the Excellence in Software Awards, are given “to showcase the software and information industry’s finest products and services and to honor excellence in corporate achievement and philanthropic efforts.” According to the SIIA, the CODiE Awards are the only peer-reviewed awards in the industry. The following is a list of this year’s winners in the software category:
- Best Asset Management Solution
- Novell ZENworks Asset Management, Novell, Inc.
- Best Business Intelligence or Knowledge Management Solution
- Adaptive Planning 5.0, Adaptive Planning
- Best Business Productivity Solution
- Adobe Creative Suite 4, Adobe Systems, Inc.
- Best Business Software Solution
- Salesforce CRM, Salesforce.com
- Best Collaboration Solution
- Salesforce Ideas, Salesforce.com
- Best Communication Solution
- Adobe Acrobat.com, Adobe Systems, Inc.
- Best Content Management Solution
- www.clickability.com, Clickability
- Best Data Security Solution
- GuardianEdge Data Protection Platform, GuardianEdge
- Best Database Management Solution
- MarkLogic Server 4.0, Mark Logic Corporation
- Best Digital Rights Management Solution
- CodeMeter – A Universal Software Protection and DRM solution, WIBU-Systems USA
- Best Document Management Solution
- Adobe LiveCycle ES, Adobe Systems, Inc.
- Best eCommerce Solution
- Billeo, Billeo
- Best Enterprise Search Engine
- Lexis Search Advantage, LexisNexis Group
- Best Financial Software Solution
- Intacct – Enterprise Edition, Intacct Corporation
- Best Human Resources Solution
- Taleo Performance , Taleo Corporation
- Best Identity Management Solution
- Authentify IAM, Authentify, Inc.
- Imprivata OneSign 4.0, Imprivata, Inc.
- Best Mobile Solution
- Studywiz Spark Mobile, Etech Group, North America
- Best Multi-Media Solution
- Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro Extended, Adobe Systems, Inc.
- Best On-Demand Platform
- Boomi On Demand, Boomi
- Best Open Source Solution
- Sugar Professional On-Demand V5.1, SugarCRM, Inc.
- Best Project Management Solution
- @task, AtTask, Inc.
- Best Relationship Management Solution
- Salesforce CRM, Salesforce.com
- Best Security Solution
- Novell ZENworks Endpoint Security Management, Novell, Inc.
- Best Social Networking Solution
- ELAvate, Neighborhood America, Inc.
- Best Software as a Service Solution
- Salesforce CRM, Salesforce.com
- Best Software Development Solution
- OutSystems Agile Platform, OutSystems
- Best Software Testing Solution
- Fortify 360, Fortify Software, Inc.
- Best Storage Software Solution
- http://www.box.net, Box.net
- Best Systems Management Solution
- Netuitive Service Analyzer, Netuitive, Inc.
- SolarWinds Orion NPM, SolarWinds
- Best Web Services Solution
- Force.com, Salesforce.com
In addition, Collaborative Software Initiative was named the “Software Newcomer of the Year.” For more information about this year’s CODiE award winners, visit http://www.siia.net/codies/2009/default.asp.