So long iPod and thanks for all the tunes!

That’s it. It’s the end. Apple has finally put the final nail to the iPod. The Nano and the Shuffle series won’t be produced. So you would better keep them as a relic of the past. They might cost too much on ebay.com if you want to sell them.

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iPod was released all the way back in 2001, when CD players were in vogue. Steve Jobs took the industry by storm as the iDevice becomes the de-facto of music aficionados. As the times went by,  Apple released a multitude of upgrades for the iPod and hardware revisions. I owned my first iPod Photo all the way back in 2004. Back then I still used my Creative MP3 with only 128 MB of storage. As compared to my iPod Photo that held of 30 GB of data, well the difference was so big!

When iPhone was released, Apple produced a iPod touch, it was basically an iPhone without the cellular capabilities. the Touch version went through many iterations.  Apple kept producing the nano series along the side. The latest one is the iPod Nano 7.

It should be noted that Apple won’t put the touch-version of the iPod on the chopping block, as it continues to manufacture them.

So long iPod.

Sofiane MEROUANI

Amazon’s Founder Jeff Bezos to outrank Bill Gates as the World’s richest man

I sell books.” versus “I sell whatever the fuck I want.”

He finally made it to the top, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com is now on the way to outrank Bill Gates, Microsoft’s founder as the World’s richest man.

With a net worth of $ 90 billion, Jeff Bezos made his fortune and entered the private club of the World richest billionaires thanks to the Amazon’ stock option.  Right now, Bezos owns 17 % of share. Amazon is valued at $ 500 billion

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Shares of the online retailer rose 1.8 percent to $1,071.31 as of 9:30 a.m. in New York, giving Bezos, who owns about 17 percent of the e-commerce giant, a net worth of more than $90 billion, surpassing Gates’ $89 billion.

Gates, 61, has held the top spot since May 2013, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires index. But Bezos is set out to outrank him in the upcoming months with stock analyst James Cakmak predicting that Amazon shares could double to $2,000 if its recent acquisition of Whole Foods is approved by regulators.

That would make Amazon “the first trillion-dollar company,” Cakmak told CNBC Thursday. Indeed, Amazon’s market capitalization surpassed the $500 billion mark for the first time Wednesday, putting it in fourth place behind No. 1-ranked Apple, No. 2-ranked Google and No. 3-ranked Microsoft.

Bezos, who started Amazon 22 years ago selling books out of a garage, currently owns about 80 million shares of the company.

Amazon is slated to report its second-quarter earnings after the bell Thursday, and better-than-expected results could solidify Bezos’ top spot among the world’s billionaires.

Unlike Gates, Bezos hasn’t been big on philanthropy despite his riches, instead spending much of his personal wealth and free time on his space exploration company, Blue Origin.

Sofiane MEROUANI

Microsoft to remove legacy Paint app from the next iteration of Windows 10

The Windows 10 Fall Update is coming pretty soon and users are shocked to hear that the legacy Paint app is on the chopping block. Microsoft stated that the application is no longer in development and has to be removed off the next version of Windows.

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Released 32 years ago as Paintbrush, Paint became a legendary app known for every Windows user. Limited to BMP files, Paint was updated to support JEPG format back in 1998.

Paint was present in every version of Windows, but never grew up into a mature software like its third-party alternative Paint.NET.  Paint never embarrassed the Luna user interface when XP was released. It was as if the Windows engineers just ported its Windows 98-style into the eye-candy XP UX. Worse, when Windows Vista hits the shelves, the same scenario happened. Paint adopted Aero windowing interface but in its deepest root, it  sported the same Win 98 UX. When Steven Sinofsky took the helm back in 2009, Paint finally adopted the Windows 7 look and feel. Still, the version was poorly-featured.

Windows 10 came in, and engineers added a Paint 3D to simplify the presentation. But with the next version of Windows 10, the so-called Fall Update, it will be for Windows users to bid a final goodbye to a such lovely piece of software that embarrassed a legendary status as much as Solitaire.

Fare Thee Well Paint.

Sofiane MEROUANI

Smell like the 80s. Meet the new Ataribox

25 years since the release of Atari Jaguar and here we are back with a reboot.  During the E3, Atari unveiled the new Ataribox, a console that would certainly appeal to the hardcore collectors as well as the newcomers.

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In an email to Atari fans, the company reveals “our objective is to create something new, that stays true to our heritage, while appealing to both old and new fans of Atari.” The new Ataribox is clearly inspired by the classic wood found on the Atari 2600, and the new console features ribbed lines, a raised back, and a front panel that can either be glass or wood. Indicator lights glow through these materials, and Atari is including SD card support, a HDMI port, and four USB ports on the Ataribox. Two versions of the Ataribox will be released, one in wood, and one in black / red.

But until now, the release of Ataribox and its price tag still remain a mystery.

To be continued…

Sofiane MEROUANI

 

 

PlayStation 4 titles playable on Windows!

Starting today, you can run you favorite PlayStation 4 games on Windows thanks to PlayStation NOW service.

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PlayStation Now breathed life when Sony acquired Onlive Streaming Services. When the PlayStation 4 launched, it did not support backwards compatibility, and since Sony couldn’t get PlayStation 3 games to run on its latest console, it introduced the streaming service. After the launch of PSNow, Sony has received backlash for its pricing structure and the fact that if you owned any of the games on the service, you would have to pay to play them again. Since then it changed the service with a monthly subscription.

Sony will add more games to the library as the times goes by.

  • Killzone Shadow Fall
  • God of War 3 Remastered
  • Saints Row IV: Re-Elected
  • WWE 2K16
  • Tropico 5
  • F1 2015
  • Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition
  • Evolve
  • MX vs ATV Supercross Encore
  • Resogun
  • Helldivers
  • Broken Age
  • Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition
  • Grim Fandango Remastered
  • Guilty Gear Xrd Sign
  • Castlestorm Definitive Edition
  • Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky
  • Arcania Complete Tale
  • Nidhogg
  • Super Mega Baseball

PlayStation Now is available on Windows & PS4.

Sofiane MEROUANI

Volvo to sign death warrant for the combustion engine. To introduce electric car by 2019.

In the past years, there have been a lot of talks about Elon Musk’s Tesla. How it revolutionizes the auto-industry by introducing the fully electric Tesla models to the market. Despite making fewer cars than its counterparts behemoths Ford and GM, Tesla appears to have a bright future. As Elon Musk’s company market share value soars up, outsmarting and surpassing both Ford and GM in their own ground, leading up to believe about the investor’s clear idea of “what’s next” in term of more efficient energy alternative.

And now, it’s turn to Volvo to take a major part in making history.

A Volvo XC 90 car is seen during an interview with CEO Hakan Samuelsson at the Volvo Cars Showroom in Stockholm

Volvo, the Swedish automaker is now betting on the electric engine and phasing the combustion one by 2019. They plan to introduce the first model in the next two years.

While major automakers are still producing combustion-powered engines, none of them are taking risks to bet on the electric cars. An example in the United States, where cars produced still run in gasoline partly due to a cheap fuel price tag.

Volvo’s battery-powered car  will be produced first China, before moving to Europe and at a new factory the company is building near Charleston, South Caroline.

Hybrids which combine battery power with gasoline or diesel engines, accounted for about 2 percent of passenger car sales in the United States last year, a figure declines due to low fuel price tag.

And cars that run solely on battery power, like Tesla  are still rare in most countries because of high purchase prices, lengthy charging times and limited ranges. Elon Musk promises an entry level for Tesla.

Many carmakers believe that the share of electric cars will grow quickly in the next decade as the technology would improve efficiency, public charging become commonplace. Rapid advances in self-driving cars will also encourage a shift to battery power: It is simpler to link self-driving software to an electric motor than to a conventional engine.

Although no other traditional carmakers have declared their intention to bury the internal combustion engine, virtually all of them are investing in hybrid and battery technology.

Daimler, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars and trucks would invest $735 million, in a new battery factory it will build in Beijing with its Chinese partner, BAIC Motor.

The major American automakers are moving forward with their own electrification strategies, albeit on a much smaller scale than Tesla and now Volvo.

General Motors, for example, this year introduced the Chevrolet Bolt — a battery-powered model that sells for about $35,000 before government incentives are applied. The Bolt can travel 238 miles on a single charge and will be the basis for other electric models that G.M. expects to add to its lineup.

Ford has sold electric versions of a few mainstream models, but it has not yet developed an all-electric vehicle from the ground up. That is changing, however. The company has said it will introduce a battery-powered S.U.V. by 2020 and will add other electric models thereafter.

The third big domestic automaker, Fiat Chrysler, has lagged. It sells an electric version of its Fiat 500 subcompact car and a hybrid gas-electric variation of its Chrysler Pacifica minivan. But the company has yet to announce any plans to build a new vehicle that is available only as an electric model.

Volvo’s transition will be gradual. It plans to still produce existing models with conventional engines after 2019, but it will no longer introduce new models with the older technology. Depending on demand, Volvo will completely phase out cars powered solely by gasoline or diesel by around 2024.

But by focusing on electrification, Volvo can concentrate its limited research and development resources on new technologies rather than continuing to invest in fuel-powered motors that may become obsolete. With sales of 534,000 cars last year, Volvo is dwarfed by companies like Toyota, Volkswagen and General Motors, each of which sold about 10 million vehicles in 2016.

So, let see how Volvo will perform with its own combustion-alternative strategy in the next two years.

Sofiane MEROUANI

Read X-Files “Flight 180”. The spec script that would become Final Destination.

Unless you have been living under the rock, Final Destination is a huge financial success that started back in 2000, spanning four sequels that concluded in 2011. Not to mention movie tie-ins and other related medias. (Final Destination 5 is a  prequel whose final scene was directly connected with the events of the first movie that sets off the franchise)

The story resolves around a teenager who must cheat death in order to survive. Using his premonition of the upcoming calamity, he or she tries to save life of those who were supposed to perish on a particular accident.  Final Destination was first conceived as a spec script for X-Files TV Show entitled : “Flight 180” , written by Jeffrey Reddick.

The main protagonist is supposed to be Dana Scully’s brother who has some sort of premonition, an asset that would be essentially used by the protagonists of the franchise to cheat death.

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Dated all a way back in 1994, Jeffrey Reddick wrote Flight 180, using Word processor instead of Final Draft. The spec script is available right here.

“I decided to use the basic concept of people cheating Death as the catalyst,” said Reddick, “But when you write a spec for a series, you want to follow the framework of the show and go deeper. So, I had Scully’s brother have the premonition, which made the story more personal. I won’t spoil the rest, but for the spec script, the concept isn’t front and center, it’s more about Scully, Mulder and her relationship with her brother.

“But when I decided to write it as a feature [Final Destination], I made the story all about the concept. And tweaked it.”

Reddick continues :

I think fans will be most interested in seeing how the kernel of the concept started in 1994. Death worked differently in this version. Since Mulder and Scully had the believer/skeptic relationship, I had to keep Death vague enough, but clear enough, to fit the concept and investigation in to a one-hour show.

“But it’s interesting to see how this kernel evolved in to the original draft of Flight 180 in 1997 – and finally the finished version of the 2000 Final Destination.”

Reddick revealed he’s been carrying some frustration for the past 15 years. Here, he clears the air about rumors that Final Destination was inspired by the real life crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996.

“The biggest misconception about the original spec script is the one that has bothered me the most… When the movie came out in 2000, a lot of reviewers said the story was inspired by the real life crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996. I got flack for that,”

Sofiane MEROUANI