The Secret Service Plays Video Games to Prepare for Trouble. The Secret Service is scrapping the tabletop model, dubbed Tiny Town, that it has used for security training scenarios over the past 40 years.
Now, instead, the agency will practice on something called the Site Security Planning Tool, a kind of "Virtual Tiny Town" that uses 3-D models, game-based virtual environments, touch interfaces, and virtual disaster response scenarios to help Secret Service members prepare for the worst. In other words, the Secret Service is prepping for possible disasters with video games. Virtual Tiny Town is made up of three 55-inch touchscreen monitors, a computer running the Virtual Battle Space simulation game, and an attached projector and camera.
Plentyoffish CEO: We Were Hacked, Almost Extorted – So I Emailed The Hacker’s Mom. Nordstrom Acquires Flash Sales Site HauteLook For $270 Million. In one of the larger exits so far in the flash sales business, retail chain Nordstrom has acquired flash sales site HauteLookfor $180 million in Nordstrom stock and three-year earn-out of up to $90 million.
Can you fire someone for disparaging your company on Facebook? (Editor’s note: Curtis Smolar is a partner at Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley.
He submitted this column to VentureBeat.) A reader asks: I have an employee who has gone onto Facebook and griped about my company. Can I institute company policies that prevent employees from doing this and terminate their employment them if they continue? Answer: It’s a frustrating and embarrassing situation for a business to see its employees assailing it via social media platforms – but penalizing them for it is a tough, if not impossible, task.
The debate over the First Amendment rights of the employee to post their negative feelings about a company and the rights of the company to protect its private informa tion used to skew in the employer’s favor. That message was delivered in a recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) case. An AMR employee requested union representation at an internal investigation that the employee believed would result in disciplinary action. The case settled this month. Nowhere to Hide: Assessing Your Work Reputation Online: Tech News and Analysis « In the Future, Robots Will Surf Their Own Internet. If robots are to become our overlords, they will need their own Internet to communicate with each other.
RoboEarth, a just-launched robot information sharing network, gets them that much closer to world domination. The EU-funded RoboEarth project is bringing together European scientists to build a network and database repository for robots to share information about the world. Cynthia Breazeal: The rise of personal robots. Livestream: Debating the National Broadband Plan : Tech News and Analysis « As the Federal Communications Commission strives to deliver broadband access to every American under the National Broadband Plan, it faces the challenge of connecting residents — and keeping them connected — at competitive rates and with competitive features in a not-so-competitive market.
How Bradford Cross Plans to Save the Media Industry: Tech News and Analysis « By now, it’s become obvious that the web is disrupting the media business in some fundamental ways — and not just the distribution of content, but the monetization of it as well. Publishers and content producers of all kinds are desperately trying paywalls, metered access, iPad apps and pretty much anything else they can think of, while users are turning increasingly to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook for their news, as well as aggregation apps like Flipboard. Bradford Cross, co-founder of a new startup called Woven, thinks most of those solutions attack only part of the problem. He wants to solve the entire thing — the content-discovery side and the monetization side. That’s a pretty big assignment, as Cross freely admits. In fact, it’s a little like saying you want to cure cancer and make hospitals fun places to stay at the same time.
Paper.li ? read Twitter as a daily newspaper. Paper.li Raises $2.1 Million For Social News Curation, Hits 2 Million Users. Disney looks beyond apps with HTML5 game maker Rocket Pack. Disney has acquired gaming startup Rocket Pack, a specialist in games which use HTML5, the latest version of the Web’s lingua franca.
The deal signals a move in the game-development community towards HTML5 games, which can be played across almost every modern device and Web browser. Games and other apps built specifically for Apples iOS devices or Android devices have to be rebuilt in order to work on other platforms, so HTML5′s portability makes it appealing to developers and game publishers alike. Social Games vs Multiplayer Games: A Commentary on Raph Koster’s Social Mechanics Presentation. [Editor's note: Guest columnist Tadhg Kelly has an in-depth review, below, covering a presentation recently given by veteran game developer Raph Koster at the Game Developers Conference happening this week in San Francisco.
Please note that in order to follow along with Kelly's commentary, you'll need to reference Koster's original presentation. Please view the presentation itself, here, for reference.] Zynga buys social browser Flock … or maybe just its engineering team. The Future of Cities, Information, and Inclusion. The Future of Cities, Information, and Inclusion Over the next decade, cities will continue to grow larger and more rapidly.
At the same time, new technologies will unlock massive streams of data about cities and their residents. As these forces collide, they will turn every city into a unique civic laboratory—a place where technology is adapted in novel ways to meet local needs. State, Local Government Agencies Reach Agreement with Facebook on Legal Concerns. State and local agencies are now more enabled to use Facebook to disseminate information to the public after attorneys general from 15 states reached an agreement with the social network.
Specifically, Facebook and representatives of the state worked on the company’s terms of service in order to address legal concerns some of these public entities encountered when using the site. The deal shows that Facebook is willing to cooperate with governments, meaning future deals regarding other things like government access to private information or compliance with potential privacy legislation might similarly go smoothly. Facebook could become a more significant way for communities to become closer. Climatopolis: How Our Cities Will Thrive in the Hotter Future.
2010: the year in internet stats. Five overhyped tech trends for 2011. January brings with it enough hype and hyperbole to confuse even the most hardened of technology trend watchers.
With CES now behind us and a few weeks to hone our forecasting skills, here are the trends we believe are worth your attention and the ones that should be looked at with a skeptical eye. Top 5 overhyped technology trends for 2011 Google Chrome OS An innovative new OS for netbooks sounded great — in 2009. Consumers looking for netbooks are already shifting their attention to tablets, a trend which will intensify as Android tablets hit the market en masse later this year. Chrome OS will be among the biggest casualties of this shift, as businesses will ignore Chrome OS and consumers will be too busy playing Angry Birds on their iPad 2 to care.Internet TV.
Top 5 technology trends you actually should pay attention to in 2011: Windows Phone 7 will be a sleeper hit. Mobile market fragmentation will lead us back to the future. Social Media Week / Event Spotlight: Startup Lab, Hosted by Augmendy. MindJolt to feed games to 110M users through deal with local web site aggregator. Social game company MindJolt is expanding its reach to more than 110 million users through a partnership with Broadcast Interactive Media.
The deal will give MindJolt the kind of reach it needs to attract better games and become a player in the social game market. MindJolt operates a social game platform for third-party game developers. Under the deal, MindJolt will distribute hundreds of games to the BIM network of 900 web sites, which reach 110 million unique visitors per month. Gartner Forecasts Mobile App Store Revenues Will Hit $15 Billion in 2011. How big a business are mobile apps? In a new report, market research firm Gartner forecasts that global mobile app store revenues will triple from $5.2 billion last year to $15 billion in 2011, and keep growing to an astounding $58 billion by 2014. More Tech Tools for Egypt's Protesters: Movements.org, an Online Hub for Grassroots Activists. Technology 500: Tech industry is on an upward swing. How Social Media Is Pushing the Limits of Legal Ethics: Tech News and Analysis «
Game Design Has Become a Game. Social media case studies from JetBlue Airways, Saab, Sony Ericsson, and 10 more. Hacking is the new cheat, News from GamePro. How LinkedIn Today Will Change Your Social Media Life.