TWITTER IS LOOKING to hire 100 more people by the end of next year, it announced during the official opening of its European headquarters in Dublin today.The expansion plans will see the firm’s workforce double to more than 200 over the next 15 months.Recruitment has already started for more than 30 roles, including legal, HR, sales, marketing and engineering positions.An event to mark the opening of the Dublin office will be attended by rugby player Jamie Heaslip who says the micro-blogging site has allowed him give people an insight into a professional sportsperson’s lifestyle.The man behind the popular @irishmammies account, Colm O’Regan, will also share his thoughts on the service.IDA Ireland, which has welcomed the announcement, said the expansion solidifies the capital’s position as the company’s second largest site in the world, after the US.Twitter has about 200 million active users across the world and over 500 million tweets are sent each day.According to the company, last Sunday’s All-Ireland final between Mayo and Dublin prompted more than 70,000 tweets, while the Rose of Tralee festival saw 45,000 mentions over the two days.View: These photos helped make Twitter powerfulRead: Ryanair has joined Twitter…but don’t bother with queriesMore: Twitter files for IPO
Entering into government, we always knew there would be difficult decisions to be made in order to get the country back on track.Earlier this month we presented a budget that will get us out of the bailout. On December 15, we will be waving goodbye to the Troika, and it is unfortunate that some people who were elected as Labour Party representatives will not be with us to enjoy this success. The people who are paying the price now are traditionally the ones we’ve always protected. Even in the budget you have the bereavement grant being taken, the telephone allowance – ticking away and plugging away at people.I think the Troika have told them to go to the maximum, that they need to cut money and that’s that, and if it costs lives then they’re not worried about it. KERRY COUNCILLOR SEAN O’Grady today became the latest politician in the Labour party to resign, saying the actions of the party leadership in government are “no longer compatible” with the party’s ethos.Speaking to TheJournal.ie, O’Grady said he had a problem with a number decisions the coalition government made including the implementation of the household charge and the attempt to abolish the Seanad which he described as “an awful cynical exercise”.“I understand that sometimes you have to compromise in relation to what you can have in a programme for government but there are certain red line issues that you don’t go beyond and Labour in government have gone beyond them,” he said. “They’ve basically shown that there isn’t any red line and they can cross any line they want.”If it costs lives, they’re not worried about it O’Grady said he had not yet decided if he would run in the next election but affirmed that he has “no intention of moving to any other party” if he does.Related: TD Patrick Nulty resigns as Labour Party member>Read: Labour councillors resign after Gilmore fails to meet them> “It’s completely in conflict with what we were expecting and with the party commitments,” he added.“Obviously the first thing that has to be fixed is our finance but it should be tempered with the concept of social justice and that doesn’t seem to be apparent to the leadership.”O’Grady said he has been thinking about his decision for a while and was in touch with former Labour party TD Colm Keaveney in recent weeks about various issues he was unhappy with.Commenting on O’Grady’s resignation from the party, Keaveney told TheJournal.ie that his former party colleague’s commitment to Labour had been “unparalleled”.You’ll never get a nicer man or a greater gentleman in politics and it must have been incredibly difficult for him to make this decision.“When someone like Sean loses hope, it rings volumes,” he added.Waving goodbye to the TroikaA Labour spokesperson said:
THE ROAD SAFETY AUTHORITY has urged road users to take extra care today as Met Éireann warns of further widespread gales and high Atlantic waves causing some flooding in coastal areas.Another orange alert was issued this morning with warnings of gale force winds with gusts of between 90 km per hour and 120 km per hour.The RSA advised members of the public to check weather reports and heed any advice from local councils and gardaí regarding road conditions.As the poor weather can create hazardous conditions, the RSA has the following tips for drivers:It takes longer to stop a vehicle on wet roads so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the vehicle in front;Take special care when driving behind trucks or buses as they generate a considerable amount of spray which reduces your visibility;Watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road and the reaction of other road users;Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds. High sided vehicles and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds.Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.Use dipped headlights at all times of poor visibility not parking/side lights and fog lights.Be mindful of Aquaplaning on roads where 100/120kmh speeds apply. Aquaplaning occurs where the tyre thread fill with water and the driver is at risk of losing control of the vehicle;If the road ahead is flooded choose another route, do not attempt to drive through it. Flooded roads that appear shallow could be deeper than you think. If you do drive through it, so so slowly.And a couple for pedestrians:Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are advised to be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt;Pedestrians should walk on a footpath, not in the street. Walk on the right hand side of the road, facing traffic if there are no footpaths.Stay safe, folks.Read: Met Éireann extends weather warning as wind picks up across country>
THE GREEN PARTY has picked its four candidates for the European elections in May with party leader and former minister Eamon Ryan to run in Dublin.Ryan was one of four candidates selected by members at a convention held in Dublin on Saturday with the Greens to contest the elections in the three Irish constituencies and in Northern Ireland.Ryan will run in the three-seat Dublin constituency where the main aim will be to improve the Greens’ share of the vote after its collapse at the 2011 general election where the party lost all of their TDs.In four-seat Ireland South, the party will run Grace O’Sullivan, an environmentalist, Irish surf champion and former Greenpeace activist.The party’s finance spokesperson, former senator and sitting Dundalk councillor Mark Dearey is to run in the vast Midlands North West constituency.In the three-seat Northern Ireland constituency the party will run Ross Brown, a founder of the East Belfast Green Party who has a background in green economics.Ryan described the candidates as a “our dream team, for a better future”, saying in a statement: “We want to move on from boom and bust economics, and have a business community that values something more than just short term profit and gain.“We believe that by going Green, Ireland can prosper under a new economic model. It’s in the European Parliament that we can change the rules and help make this happen.”Read: Outgoing IFA president says he has the skills for MEP jobRead: Childers will confirm constituency at the end of January as FF nominations open today
EVERY MORNING, TheJournal.ie brings you the nine stories you need to know as you start your day.1. #STORMAGEDDON: Met Éireann has issued an orange alert as very strong winds of up to 130 km/hr are set to batter parts of the country yet again, with forecasters unable to predict when the weather pattern will change.2. #DEATH: A 3-month-old baby girl has died of her injuries in a Belfast hospital after her father appeared in court charged with causing her grevious bodily harm, the BBC reports.3. #ABUSE: Woody Allen has strongly refuted allegations that he sexually abused his daughter Dylan Farrow when she was 7 years old, saying that he found the idea “ludicrous”. Dylan Farrow has responded by saying Allen’s column in The New York Times is “outright lies”.4. #NEKNOMINATIONS: Joe Byrne, the father of 19-year-old Jonny Bryne who died earlier this week after a neknomination, has called on people to avoid the drinking challenge. Speaking on The Late Late Show last night, Byrne described how he had identified his son’s body after the teenager jumped into the River Barrow in Carlow.5. #WAR: The number of civilians killed and injured in Afghanistan has jumped in the past year, rising by 14 per cent according to new figures compiled by the United Nations.6. #SINN FÉIN: Martin McGuinness has said he is willing to meet with the family of a detective garda killed by the IRA after they removed a memorial plaque from the venue where the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis is taking place in Wexford this weekend.7. #DAMAGED: The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht says it is investigating how many historic sites have been affected by the recent severe weather after a 350-year-old fort on Valentia Island off the Kerry coast suffered heavy damage.8. #ON TRIAL: Spain’s Princess Cristina will be questioned in court today over a corruption scandal involving her husband’s business dealings. It is the first time in Spain’s history that a member of its royal family has appeared in court as the subject of a criminal investigation.9. #HE’S BACK:He hasn’t gone away, you know. Bill Cullen has re-entered the Irish motor trade with a new showroom on Dublin’s Naas Road where he will be selling SsangYong cars. Cullen said he was “delighted to be back”.
There’s rebuild of extraordinary scale and complexity that is already well underway, with an average spend of $2.5 million a day.Around 100 new buildings are being planned for Christchurch’s business district this year alone, Mathieson said.Some 1,400 new visas have been issued to skilled construction workers by authorities in the last four years — 61 per cent of whom have moved to the earthquake-hit Christchurch.Other gigsIt’s not just New Zealand construction roles that will be on offer, by the way. There’s also healthcare opportunities in both Australia and New Zealand.And there’s Canadian government jobs up for grabs in Nova Scotia and Central Okangan (which is not too far from Vancouver — at least, by Canadian standards of distance-measurement).Kelowna is the main city of Central Okangan. Since you asked… [Google Maps]The ‘Working In’ Opportunities Overseas Expo takes place in the Clyde Court Hotel in Dublin from 2pm until 7pm today.According to organisers:As well as employers from Canada, Australia and New Zealand, representatives will also be present from Immigration New Zealand, Global Immigration and Complete Migration Solutions with information on career opportunities, visa requirements and lifestyle information.Read: Leaving to work in Australia? Make sure you know your rightsRead: Central Bank governor: The bailout programme did what it said on the tin IF YOU’RE IN the market for a job (and a long-haul move), organisers of an employment fair happening in Dublin today are promising over a thousand opportunities will be on offer.There’ll be a huge focus on construction work in New Zealand at today’s ‘Working In‘ event. A large group of New Zealand employers are in town looking for help with the continuing rebuild effort in Christchurch and Auckland — following the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.“Engineers, construction managers, builders, project managers, quantity surveyors and many more,” are being sought by the companies, whose recruitment drive is being organised in partnership with government agency New Zealand Immigration.“Christchurch is now in the fourth year of the Earthquake Recovery Programme,” CEO of ‘Working In’ Scott Mathieson said.
A FRENCH HONEYMOONER was attacked and killed by a shark on Wednesday while he was surfing not far from the beach on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, authorities said.The 36-year-old was in the sea off the popular beach of Brisants de Saint-Gilles when a shark charged at him twice, prompting a nearby swimmer to raise the alert when he saw blood on the water, the local prefecture said.Lifeguards jumped in the water to fetch the victim, who had lost a lot of blood and was in cardiac and respiratory arrest. They brought him back to the beach but were unable to revive him.The shark had bitten the surfer on the arm and on the thigh. His wife was on the beach when the attack happened, and is being treated for shock, authorities said.The deadly shark attack was the first this year on the island, where three people were killed by sharks in the past two years.Last summer, another surfer in the Reunion island was attacked by a shark that tore off his arm and leg, although he survived.Sharks are not man-eaters, but sometimes mistake humans for their natural prey, like seals or tortoises, and at other times hurt surfers as they “mouth” them out of curiosity, experts say.Last year, 78 shark attacks were reported around the world, of which eight were fatal.The series of shark attacks in the Reunion island has seen a number of measures implemented. Local authorities have initiated several scientific studies to try and better understand the way of life of the animals.People have also been deployed near beaches on boats or in the water to keep an eye on swimmers and surfers and spot sharks before they attack.- © AFP, 2013Read: New Zealand man killed in shark attackRead: World’s most dangerous beach shut after shark attackRead: Great white shark kills diver off western Australia
An image of the bar shortly after the tragedy occurred. Source: Ceasefire Massacre screengrabTo this day, it is unclear why this particular pub was chosen. Irish filmmaker Trevour Birney, who produced a documentary about the massacre said last year:“I don’t think any of the authorities have ever been able to work out why that bar was chosen. There were no links to terrorists in that bar, unlike other bars where there had been some sort of incident before or some sort of knowledge. The police could find nothing that would link the terrorists to that bar and yet, it was the most humble of bars in County Down — [they were] very simple, very proud, but very humble people.16 people have been arrested, 51 searches have been conducted, 605 statements were recorded and more than 2,500 actions raised as part of the investigation but still no one has ever been charged.Senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Gareth Talbot described the incident as “a sickening, indiscriminate and completely futile attack committed by terrorists who gave no thought to the innocent lives they shattered, then and now”.He said police remain firmly committed to apprehending those responsible for the murders. Source: PA Archive/Press Association ImagesOn this 20th anniversary, with all its pain for families and survivors and perhaps reflection for those involved, I would ask anyone with information about the murders to come forward and speak to police.The anniversary should bring into focus the fact that it is never too late to do the right thing, to come forward with any information about individuals or events. Police will not give up but what we really need is for people to make statements and give evidence.Anyone with any information can contact detectives in the Incident Room on 028 3751 7390 or by email to MIT8@psni.pnn.police.uk. Alternatively, people can provide information without giving their details to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.Related: ‘They’d only gone to the bar to support the Irish team, yet they died for their love of the sport’> Source: Ceasefire Massacre screengrabTWENTY YEARS AGO today, six men were shot dead and five others injured by UVF members while watching the Ireland-Italy World Cup match in Heights Bar in Loughinisland.None of the gunmen involved have ever been charged with the murders and today police in Northern Ireland appealed for information, saying a renewed investigation is underway.Barney Green, Adrian Rogan, Malcolm Jenkinson, Daniel McCreanor, Patrick O’Hare and Eamon Byrne all lost their lives that day in the bar which was frequented by both Catholics and Protestants well away from the core areas of violence during the Troubles.
YOU MAY HAVE heard of Bitcoin before, and possibly others like Dogecoin, and Litecoin, but you may want to add another one to the list.A few days ago, Stripe, the online payments company founded and ran by two Limerick brothers Patrick and John Collison, backed a new Bitcoin-like currency and payments network called ‘Stellar’, which will allow users to send any kind of currency, both traditional and digital, to one another.While it may seem like it’s just another new cryptocurrency, there’s far more to it than meets the eye.So what exactly is Stellar?The Stellar Development Foundation, to give it its full title, is a nonprofit organisation designed to provide a common financial platform and help develop common financial literacy.Patrick Collison is a board member and his company Stripe has backed it by giving the non-profit $3 million. At the start of the year, the San-Francisco company raised $80 million (€59 million) in funding to give it a valuation of $1.75 billion (€1.3 billion) making it one of the hottest e-payments services around so it’s only natural that digital currencies would come into the equation.Alongside Collison, it’s backed by a number of high-profile advisors such as ex-PayPal executive Keith Raboits, YCombinator (one of the biggest incubators in the US) partner Sam Altman, AngelList (a company which brings angel investors and startups together) cofounder Naval Ravikant, and Automattic CEO and founder of WordPress.com Matt Mullenweg.The main purpose is to act as a currency exchange network, supporting traditional currencies like the dollar, euro, as well as digital currencies like Bitcoin.How it works is relatively simple. You can use the network to send payments through one currency which will be received in another (if you pay with euro, the recipient will get it in dollars) or hold a balance with a gateway, which is a network participant that accepts a deposit in exchange for credit on the network.But it’s also a cryptocurrency, right? How many coins are they starting off with?Yes, it’s started by creating 100 billion stellar coins, but its aim isn’t to directly compete with Bitcoin (not yet anyway). Instead, it wants to educate people about digital currencies and help facilitate trade and bring the payments network together. It will act as a link between different currencies since all currencies only work only within their intended territories.The initial aim is to distribute 50% or 50 billion stellars to those who signup directly, 25% will go to nonprofits to reach underserved populations via the increased access program, 20% will go to the bitcoin program and the remainder 5% will be directed towards operational costs. It’s hoped that the first 50 billion stellar coins will be given away within the first three years, but no longer than five years. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to get mainstream coverage, but many people are still unsure how it and similar currencies work. Source: AP Photo/Rick BowmerThat’s pretty ambitious for a currency that currently has little market value. Why so many coins?That ties into another aim of the Stellar Development Foundation, which is to educate those about cryptocurrencies, and what better way to educate than to give away some free stellar coins and let them play around with them.The more people that learn how to use them, the more opportunities there will be to spend them and their value will go up.Look at Bitcoin for example. While the value has begun to settle down (one coin is worth €440 at time of writing), and more businesses and companies are beginning to accept it, many are still unsure what to make of it. That uncertainty hasn’t hurt its overall price, but it has left many skeptical about it.Also, its userbase is quite low with some estimates saying 1.2 million – out of 2.5 million people – would have a meaningful amount of bitcoin. Not a lot for a currency that’s global.So what’s the guarantee that they’ll be a success?None. Like all things in life, there’s no guarantee that it will work out or grow in value. Market value of any currency depends on a number of factors, but if it does take off, it will likely take a few years for it to happen. This is a long-term bet, make no mistake about it.The aims of Stellar ties in perfectly with Stripe’s purpose which is to make payments simple and easier for both businesses and consumers. It’s received much praise for its approach to online payments and if stellar coins grow in popularity, it will give Stripe a significant advantage in that field.While the rewards are great, there are too many variables to suggest whether this will work or not yet through experiments like this, we become a step closer to creating a digital currency that functions just as well, if not better, than traditional currency.Read: This is how drastically your Windows computer has changed over the years >Read: Turns out videogames can benefit children (but only in short bursts) >
If you’re looking for a bag that’s big enough to carry all of your gear on a weekend trip but light and functional enough to carry your laptop to and from work or school every day, Skooba Design’s new Weekend Warrior hybrid laptop and travel bag is perfect for you. The bag comes with your choice of laptop sleeve for 15 and 17-inch laptops and a spacious zippered front organizer pocket with discrete pockets for a mobile phone, pens and notebooks, travel documents, and other items you likely carry with you every day. The Weekend Warrior also features over 24 pockets, sleeves, and zippered enclosures for larger objects like clothes, shoes, water bottles, headphones, and other bulky gadgets that you may need to take with you on a longer trip. Like any large bag, the bag also has a deep main pocket in the center of the bag that can be used to pack enough gear to get you through a business trip away from home, or compressed to contain only the papers you need for a day at the office. Skooba has the Weekend Warrior priced at $119.95 for the model with the 15-inch laptop sleeve and $124.95 for the model with the 17-inch sleeve.
Are you a bicycling enthusiast? Do you own a special pair of specially-designed biking gloves? Do you hold a vehement hatred towards people who drive cars to destinations two blocks away, and also towards pedestrians who dare tread upon your clearly-demarcated bike lane? Do you feel a sense of accomplishment at having biked through a cold winter night even when public transportation could have cut your travel time in half? AdChoices广告If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you my friend, are a biker. And we would like to put you and your protective gear to work saving the planet. One green-minded biker has created a way to convert all that wind passing over his helmet into electricity. This mobile skull-adorned windmills utilize propellers in order to charge embedded batteries (it takes a two-hour ride to fully-charge). The batteries can then be connected to other devices by USB. However, this isn’t meant to be just another green gadget, but rather [sic]:We want to use it as a medium to sensibilise the public for environmental topics and to integrate sustainability topics into the lifestye of young people by creating a positive experience. via vimeo
Weird terms trend all the time. On occasion, however, we get some true gems. Remember “Bear Gall Bladder Uses?” How about “Why Won’t My Parakeet Eat My Diarrhea?” “Is Kevjumba a heterosexual bear wrestler?” certainly follows in that proud tradition. The odd phrase pretty much dominated Google search last night, carrying into this morning, leaving folks who follow such things generally scratching their collective search engine optimizing heads.So, how does a phrase like “Is Kevjumba a heterosexual bear wrestler?” make it to the top of the Google heap? Simple. A popular YouTube video. Kevjumba is Kevin Wu–a former Amazing Race contestant. Upset that Google auto-suggests “Is Kevjumba Gay,” the reality show star suggest a more…manly search phrase. Wu has more than one million followers. The aforementioned video has 180,000 views and counting at the moment. The rest, they say, is viral. Video after the jump.
LCD is the predominant technology used in most of the displays we include in devices today. And while the display technology is constantly being updated to allow for better efficiency and image output, LCDs still account for the majority of energy used in portable devices.Engineers at UCLA have been working to rectify that problem, not by reducing the energy required by an LCD, but recycling it instead.Liquid Crystal Displays work by sandwiching a layer of molecules between two transparent electrodes and two polarizing filters. A combination of a backlight and control of the voltage applied to each pixel of the display allows light to escape and create images we see as the viewer.This control of light used to display images is a wasteful system because that’s all the light is used for. The engineers at UCLA realized that whenever the display is active and emitting light, it can also recycle it with one simple change: the polarizing filters can be switched out for a new filter that includes photovoltaic properties. It’s called a polarizing organic photovoltaic.By using the new polarizing filter a device can harvest energy from the LCD as it is being used. So rather than the energy being wasted just as viewable light, it can also act as an energy generator itself. But the energy generation doesn’t just happen when the display is in use. The new polarizing filter will also continue to generate energy from natural light just like a typical solar panel.If such a filter were used in a smartphone it could significantly increase battery life even if you have the screen active for hours each day. When your phone dims the screen to save power it will also continue to refill the battery as long as there’s a decent light source for the photovoltaic filter it to use, for example, you leave it in direct sunlight.The initial research done by Professor Yang and his team at UCLA has found the new filter can recycle as much as 75% of the wasted photons from the backlight. Apply that to a portable device and you gain battery life. Use it in a non-portable devices without a battery and there should be significant energy efficiency gains.This potentially breakthrough technology has the potential to quickly replace the polarizing filters currently used in LCDs if the energy harvesting potential is as high as predicted. It also offers a transparent solution to the issue of where to put a solar panel on a portable device, meaning a design-focused company like Apple should have no issue including it on a future iPhone or iPad.The research paper will be printed in the next edition of Advanced Materials.Read more at the UCLA Newsroom
In the face of both AT&T and Verizon Wireless expected to offer the iPhone 5 at launch, how does Sprint intend to compete if it gets Apple’s next smartphone too? The answer is either very clever or network crushing: the mobile network operator intends to offer unlimited data plans to every customer that signs an iPhone 5 contract.Unlimited data is something that has been scaled back of late by other networks, much to the anger of consumers, many of whom see the web and associated services as their main use for a smartphone. The reasoning behind the limits is one of keeping the network from getting bogged down by data hogs who go well beyond acceptable use limits.If Sprint does intend to offer unlimited data it is sure to be met with an initial flood of interest. However, unless Sprint has a sanity plan in place for dealing with the flood of data over its network, initial enthusiasm for the offer could be replaced with frustration if connections start dropping and data transfers slow to a crawl. Maybe Sprint plans to adopt the full-duplex system from Rice University to help with capacity.Of course, until Apple and Sprint officially announce the iPhone 5 is coming to the network this is nothing but speculation. However, if Sprint does go down the unlimited data route, surely both Verizon and AT&T would have to react? That could potentially open the market up again for a lot more data for a lot less money over what we have to pay today.The introduction of the iPhone 5 is likely to bring with it a requirement for more data transfers per user simply because of the new features on offer, most notably iCloud. Whichever networks end up getting Apple’s smartphone, handling capacity of what is certain to be a very popular phone will be the biggest challenge, as will meeting demand for the phone in the first place.Read more at Bloomberg
So, you’re looking to boost interest in a nice piece of hardware that’s been overlooked because of a competitor’s product? Just cut its price by 60%, like RIM has done with the BlackBerry PlayBook. Still not satisfied with the results? Why not get the people who work for you to help evangelize the darn thing and get as many out into the wild as you can.That’s got to be what RIM is thinking, dangling $99 PlayBook tablets to its employees just in time for the biggest gift-giving season of the year. Pick up a slate for your mom and dad, the kids, or even your co-workers for the big staff holiday party.At half the price they’re selling for to the general public, RIM is no doubt going to sell plenty of PlayBooks to its employees — many of whom are probably now banging their heads on their desks for having bought one earlier this year.It’s yet another HP-copycat move. Just recently, HP announced that it had one final batch of TouchPads inbound, but that they were earmarked for sale to employees only — also for just $99.RIM is clearly making a push to swell the PlayBook ecosystem and drum up some developer interest. Chris Wade’s already interested enough, having publicized the first PlayBook root last night.As good as this news is for RIM employees, it looks as though Best Buy is ready to wash its hands of the under-loved tablet. Online orders placed for the PlayBook are now beign cancelled according to user reports in the company’s forums, though refurbished 16GB models were still available for $149.You can’t blame Best Buy for the move. They also put a good deal of effort into the TouchPad, only to have HP inexplicably pull the plug on it after barely a month on retail shelves.via Business Insider, The Verge
Last month, word started to spread that AT&T was throttling customers with unlimited data plans after only 2GB. It didn’t require an academic study to conclude that something fishy was going on, but that didn’t stop wireless analysis firm Validas from conducting a study of its own to get to the bottom of it.Validas (who sells wireless bill analysis to help customers save on their monthly bills), analyzed data from AT&T and Verizon bills, and determined that the difference in data usage between the top 5% of unlimited data users and the top 5% of limited data users was minimal. In the case of Verizon, unlimited data customers actually used less data than capped users did:It’s a fascinating study, which confirms what most of us had already surmised: that throttling of unlimited data customers is simply a ploy to convert them to (sometimes more expensive) capped data plans.It’s probably no coincidence that the reports of AT&T’s unlimited throttling at 2GB popped up right after the company introduced its new (more expensive) data plans. John Cozen, the blogger who initially reported the throttling, was paying $30 per month for his “unlimited” data, the same as what capped customers pay for 3GB of data. He gets throttled at 2GB, but they enjoy 3GB of high speeds.So, surprise surprise, AT&T was capitalizing on the assumption that unlimited customers are data hogs who forgo a home broadband connection and use 100GB of wireless data per month. The results of this study show that there is no basis for this discrimination in throttling — and unlimited data customers are getting the shaft.As aggravating as it is to see the customer-hostile policies that carriers like AT&T get away with, hats off to Validas for coming up with some solid numbers to call them out on it. It would be nice to think that AT&T would have to either present some contrary evidence or renege on its throttling, but, as it will continue to rake in the dollars either way, we wouldn’t advise you to hold your breath on that one.More at Validas, via BGR
Blizzard does not have to worry about money for the foreseeable future. Even though World of Warcraft subscriptions have fallen, the game still counts roughly 10 million players scattered around the world. Then there’s sales of StarCraft, and the forthcoming Diablo III launch to help refill the company’s coffers once again. So it may come as a surprise to find out Blizzard is apparently developing a free-to-play title. It hasn’t been officially confirmed yet, but Develop has heard from a reliable source that an upcoming unannounced title will embrace free-to-play and the revenue model that accompanies it.Although we don’t know what the game is, it’s definitely not going to be Diablo III. There’s Project Titan to consider, but that isn’t expected until the fourth quarter of 2013. Therefore, if the source is correct, we will be seeing a brand new game appearing from Blizzard as some form of free-play experiment.Blizzard has experimented with allowing free-play in WoW up to a level 20 character, but that has none of the associated systems for revenue generation that a true free-to-play game includes. Whatever the game is, it will certainly include micro-transactions and advertising. There is another possibility, however. Instead of an unannounced game, Blizzard may finally be opening up WoW to free-to-play. But would they really risk losing some of those 10 million paying players to free accounts and hope they buy stuff in-game? Most of the high-profile MMOs that have made the switch to free-to-play now enjoy much healthier incomes. That includes a player base increase of 300% for EverQuest II and a 700% increase in revenue for DC Universe Online. The same switch for WoW could work even with its popularity already being so high.Read more at Develop
British artist Olly Moss was a little upset after he discovered the art inside the Borderlands 2 game box was more than a little similar to his own artwork.It wasn’t a direct copy, but the image above is a comparison picture he posted on his Twitter that clearly shows the Borderlands 2 art looks a lot like the movie posters he created for Star Wars. In fact, the design looks like a copy and paste from Olly’s work. He wasn’t angry though, he was just surprised as he’s a big fan of developer Gearbox.Well, Gearbox head Randy Pitchford wanted to fix the problem, even if Olly didn’t seem to mind all that much. Randy has now offered Olly a job with Gearbox, stating he thinks he’s amazing and that having a piece of his artwork lifted, however small, was wrong. Quite right, too. This offer came as a bit of a surprise to Olly who told Randy on Twitter he wished he’d never even mentioned the whole ordeal.It’s good to see Randy trying to make it up to Olly. Copying artwork, even if it’s just an element of it or a certain style is pretty lazy and hopefully the artist who plagiarized got into trouble for it. Olly Moss is most well known for designing the box art for Resistance 3, he also makes a number of commissioned movie posters. He’s an incredibly talented guy and any game or movie studio would be lucky to have him. It seems that now, Gearbox have that privilege if Olly accepts. I for one can’t wait to see what they create together if he does.via Develop Online, Olly Moss
The Wii U’s launch lineup includes a solid base of well-known multiplatform titles. Because you have the option of buying these games on other systems, you need to take care in choosing between them. Some of the titles on the launch list have been out for months, and their Xbox 360, PS3, or PC versions can be found cheaper than the $60 you’ll pay for a WiiU copy.Pricing isn’t a problem for Scribblenauts Unlimited (also coming to 3DS and Steam) and Disney Epic Mickey 2 (also coming to Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, 3DS, and PC), since both of those games are releasing on other platforms the same day the Wii U hits shelves. So if you’re looking forward to playing either one, you might as well get it on your WiiU. Of the two, however, Scribblenauts Unlimited’s text-entry and object-editing will benefit more from the Gamepad. Disney Epic Mickey 2 seems to be using the second screen mainly for viewing area maps.Next page: Multiplatform megahits, casual games, and more If you’re getting a Wii U on day one, you probably want some unique games that will put the touchpad controller through its paces. Nintendo Land is this console’s Wii Sports — a first-party minigame collection that’s a proof-of-concept for the system. If you’re getting the $350 Deluxe version of the console, you’ll get Nintendo Land as part of the deal. If you’re only buying the $300 Basic model, you’ll have to pay $60 to buy Nintendo Land separately — which means you’ll actually be spending more than if you just bought the Deluxe.After two consoles without a Mario game at launch, Nintendo has finally realized the value of putting their best-known character up front. New Super Mario Bros. U will no doubt be a highly polished first-party title, and there’s something glorious about seeing those classic characters jumping around in HD. The new co-op boost mode, which lets one player place blocks using the touchscreen, sounds like it could be an interesting addition as well. If you like platforming, New Super Mario Bros. U is a solid choice.As the only third-party game designed specifically for the Wii U (not counting casual and party games, which have their own section below), ZombieU is definitely an intriguing entry on this list. When I tried ZombieU at PAX 2012, I found that it used the Gamepad in a variety of ways that ranged from “useful and immersive” to disappointingly “less efficient than regular controls.” But if you enjoy zombie-survival settings and want a non-Nintendo game that makes heavy use of the touchscreen, ZombieU is a good call — as long as it reviews decently.Multiplatform new gamesDisney Epic Mickey 2Scribblenauts Unlimited The Wii U is hitting store shelves in a month, and next to it will be a fairly hefty lineup of launch games. Out of the big list Nintendo released a few months ago, 23 will actually be available when the console releases on November 18th, (the rest are planned for a “launch window” that extends through March 31, 2013) which means that early adopters will have a lot to choose from. So if you’re soon going to be standing in line clutching a pre-order ticket, or anxiously awaiting a delivery truck, here’s what you should know about the Wii U launch titles.Major Wii U-only gamesNintendo LandNew Super Mario Bros. UZombiU 1 2
We know there are thousands of people on Earth that consider themselves followers of the Jedi faith, but it also seems there are a few thousand Siths around, too.More than 25,000 people have signed a petition that demands the US government fund and build a full-size Death Star by the year 2016. As the petition has hit the 25k mark, it is now eligible for an official response from the White House.The petition hit its goal just before the 30-day expiration date and the creator, John D, even has a reasonable argument as to why building a Death Star would be good for the country. He said that putting defense resources into a weapon such as the Death Star would create many jobs in construction, engineering, and space exploration, as well as strengthening our national defense.There are obvious flaws in John’s demands, though. Three years is not a suitable timescale for creating a Death Star, also the money and resources required would be astronomical. Apparently, it would take 800,000 years just to produce all the steel needed to build it.It’s already clear that this project will go absolutely nowhere, and it’s hard to tell whether the people signing the petition are serious or whether it was a joke just to see if an official response could be garnered. On that front at least, they succeeded.I can’t see President Obama going over to the dark side and building a space station the size of a moon any time soon, but the reply from the White House is sure to make for an interesting read.via CNET