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May 16th, 2014
02:11 PM ET

A strong message against illegal ivory

This week, the Hong Kong government started to destroy almost 30 tons of confiscated ivory.

It is destroying the massive stockpile by burning it. Officials plan to incinerate about three tons of illegal ivory a month. The process is expected to take at least a year.

Ivory has long been valued in China for making prized seals and carvings - turning China into a global hub for the illegal ivory trade.

So can this high-profile government program send a strong enough message to end the public's appetite for elephant tusks?

I talked to wildlife activist Sharon Kwok for her reaction to the campaign.

May 1st, 2014
07:54 PM ET

Game Faces: Jake Kazdal

It's always special to see a product that truly reflects its creator. GALAK-Z: The Dimensional bears the fingerprints of 17-BIT's Jake Kazdal. FULL POST

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Filed under: Game Faces • Games • General • Technology
April 1st, 2014
11:11 PM ET

Game Faces: Vince Zampella

The mark of a good multiplayer game is balance. Ideally, you want it to be fair for everyone who plays your game.

One simple way to ensure a fair fight is to give everyone the same tools. It's the easiest (and most logical) way to level the playing field. If everyone has access to the same weapons and same moves, the only major difference is a player's ability, right?

Titanfall is a multiplayer game built around a unique central concept: Giant armored mechs (Titans) battling with small and agile foot soldiers (pilots).

On paper, it is not a fair fight.

And that's what makes Titanfall so much fun. FULL POST

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Filed under: Game Faces • Games • General
March 12th, 2014
12:00 PM ET

World Wide Web turns 25

It started as a project by a British computer scientist to make it easier for universities to share and navigate large amounts of information.

Twenty-five years on, the World Wide Web stands as perhaps our greatest ever creation: A way to access the collective knowledge of humanity.

You can watch our tribute to Sir Tim Berners-Lee's creation above and check out a recreation of the first ever webpage right here.

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Filed under: General • Technology
March 11th, 2014
07:22 PM ET

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Passport Mystery Solved

Authorities have identified the two passengers who used stolen passports to travel on the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.

Both are Iranian men. Neither is believed to have any terror link, easing initial fears that foul play could be behind the plane's disappearance.

Earlier in the day, Malaysian officials identified the first passenger as 19-year-old Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, who they believe was trying to emigrate to Germany.

But why were stolen passports used on the missing airliner? And how deep is the airport security flaw it exposes?

Earlier, I talked to Phil Robertson, Deputy Director Asia Division of Human Rights Watch. He contextualizes why Mehrdad would use a stolen passport to reach Germany.

Robertson says that after the Green Revolution in Iran, “There were many Iranians who fled to Malaysia. Malaysia is a country where you can get visa-free entry for many Middle East passports. And so a significant number of asylum seekers from Iran did end up in Malaysia."

As for what the incident says about airport security and screening in Malaysia, Robertson says, "It's very interesting. I was a bit surprised to see people with stolen passports elude security at the Malaysia airport. That's one of the more effective and efficient airports in Southeast Asia."

Click on to hear more from Robertson including his thoughts on whether the two men were part of a human smuggling operation, and the thriving trade for stolen passports in Southeast Asia.

January 31st, 2014
03:35 AM ET

Saving Nintendo

Nintendo is in trouble.

It's hard to disagree with that after it slashed its forecast for Wii U sales from 9 million to just 2.8 million. Less dramatic but perhaps just as troubling: It also cut its forecast for its market-leading 3DS handheld. Nintendo now expects to sell 13.5 million of them, down from the 18 million they originally expected.

But what's up for debate is how Nintendo can climb out of this hole. By far the most common solution suggested: Nintendo should put games like Mario and Zelda on smartphones and tablets.

I disagree.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Games • General • Personal musings • Technology
January 27th, 2014
10:36 PM ET

She made the Macintosh smile

happymac

Anyone with an older Mac probably knows this icon: A boxy all-in-one computer with a simple smiling face on screen.

Like all good symbols, the Happy Mac serves multiple purposes. The official reason it exists is to tell you that your Macintosh has begun the process of booting up without error.

More than that, the Happy Mac was a symbol of intent from Apple: This computer is friendly. It doesn't have an impenetrable interface filled with text you don't understand. The Mac has pictures. And it's smiling at you!

Susan Kare was the graphic designer who created the Happy Mac. She spoke to us about the process behind that and many of the other icons that made the original Macintosh so different to any computer before it.

FULL POST

December 26th, 2013
12:14 PM ET

Don't discount China's space prowess

Earlier this week on News Stream, I had the pleasure to talk with former NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao.

I was particularly riveted by his comments on China's space program.

China's first moon rover is still exploring the lunar surface, capping off a big year for China's space program.

Many pundits have pointed out that China is now doing what the United States already accomplished some 50 years ago. So how truly impressive are China's space achievements?

"I heard that argument a lot and frankly I think it's short-sighted," Chiao tells me.

"Sure we went back to the moon over 45 years ago, but the fact is we can't do it today."

Chiao goes on to say: "China's tech sophistication is very impressive to me. I've been over to see their space center and their space hardware. What they're lacking is operational experience."

"But they'll get there."

Click on to hear more of Chiao's thoughts on China's space program, and why he's calling for NASA to cooperate with the new space giant.

BlackBerry: Why breaking up is hard to do
September 24th, 2013
11:40 AM ET

BlackBerry: Why breaking up is hard to do

By Kristie Lu Stout

Hong Kong (CNN) – I can't even remember the last time I thumbed a message on its itty-bitty qwerty keyboard.

And yet, I stubbornly keep my BlackBerry in my bag and on my desk, fully charged.

As with my Palm Vx of yesterday, breaking up with a beloved gadget is hard to do, especially when you have history.

FULL POST

August 30th, 2013
07:10 AM ET

Game Faces: Josef Fares

Video games aren't always seen as the best medium for storytelling. But I think they should be, for one simple reason: interactivity.

As the player, you're experiencing the story first-hand. Whatever happens to the protagonist of the story is happening to you as a player. How you act and react forms part of the story.

I think interactivity should, in theory, allow people to have a greater connection with the story. But too many games use non-interactive, cinematic sequences to show their most important scenes. At a time when games could hammer home the advantage they have over movies, the player instead puts down the controller to passively watch it unfold without his input.

So it's funny that it took a Swedish filmmaker to make a game that avoids cinematic tricks to tell his story.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Game Faces • Games • General • Personal musings
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