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I don’t normally expect much to come out of Spike TV’s annual Video Game Awards, but Kotaku managed to score a gem of an interview with Valve co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell earlier this weekend. In his brief exchange, Newell said he expected to see several PC makers crafting Steam-centric gaming PCs for the living room in 2013, and that their products would rival the next generation Xbox and PlayStation.
Newell’s remarks come just days after Valve officially rolled out Steam’s new Big Picture mode to the masses. As the name sort of implies, the new feature (which has been puttering around in beta since September) swaps the traditional Steam interface with a bigger, simpler UI meant for use on televisions and other large displays. Naturally, expect to see this feature get some major play once those living-room PCs finally reach the light of day.
Curiously enough, Newell also repeatedly referred to Valve’s own hardware plans, though it may not have been what some of us were expecting. Rumblings of a Valve hardware play have been making the rounds for months now — indeed, an earlier report from The Verge speculated that the so-called Steam Box could make its official debut at GDC 2012, but the event came and went without any official word on the matter. Naturally, Newell didn’t delve into anything like hardware specifics, but did note that Valve’s potential computing package would be “a very controlled environment.”
Regardless of Valve’s current hardware ambitions, Newell’s comment raises some meaty questions. Will these custom-crafted PCs actually be able to loosen the stranglehold that modern consoles have on the living room experience? Or, better yet, are they actually even intended to? It’s probably way too early to pass any sort of judgment on these things, but I’m still leaning toward “no.”
Sure, modern PC hardware configurations have made it easier than ever to slot a computer into a home entertainment system, but I still don’t know too many people who have gone to the trouble despite the lowering of multiple technical barriers. Even when I do see people around me linking PCs and TVs, it’s not for gaming — it’s for sharing photos and videos with the folks in the same room. That’s not to say that there’s no market at all for computers that cater to the living room (that’s a generalization that’s just a little too out there) but I’m very curious as to what Newell and his colleagues at Valve would consider a success here.
Apologies if I’m being a bit too cynical here (I’ve got a truly stupid number of unplayed games in my own Steam library), but in this ever-expanding war for your entertainment, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with leaving some boundaries left uncrossed. That’s not to say that companies shouldn’t give it a whirl anyway though; it just makes the outcome that much more interesting to watch.
This is a video of Barbican’s Rain Room. It’s a room full of simulated rain that you can walk through and not get wet. Sorcery? Sadly, no. It uses 3-D cameras to track your movement and open a small pocket of dryness around you as you walk through it. Of course, it would be just my luck that the cameras would malfunction when I visited and I’d wind up soaked. It’s cool though, I like the rain. Unless it’s raining men. “Then you love it.” Then I loooove it.
Anyone who has watched Star Trek has imagined what it would be like to hang out in the Holodeck, and a new patent suggests that Microsoft may one day try to bring that experience to your living room. Described as an “immersive display experience,” the concept is to expand the game past the edges of your television — so you’ll still have a primary display, but the system will project images all around you to create a more realistic experience.
What? It’s August already? That means (for better or worse) that hordes of freshly minted college students will soon be starting the next chapter of their lives and moving into dull, cramped dorm rooms in the process.
Oh, that description applies to you? Well, congratulations — you’re in for a treat!
Before you go too nuts trying to decide which of your possessions will make that trip with you though, take a gander at this short list of gadgets that should help make the time spent cooped up in your new room just a little more pleasant.Sony MDR-NC200D Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Yeah, a fancy set of speakers will draw more “oohs” and “ahhs” than a pair of noise-cancelling headphones will, but these are arguably more useful. Those of you who end up with cool roommates may not need these as much, but let’s be honest — not everyone is going to be quite as lucky.
Thankfully, MDR-NC200D’s active noise cancelling functionality means that it’s more than capable of blocking out your roomie’s Kanye West fixation, and they sound great to boot. It’s the priciest thing on this list with a $ 199 MSRP, but there are some deals to be found if you’re diligent enough. Consider that online scouring a precursor to all the research you’re going to have to do when it comes time to get cracking on those term papers.
Amazon.com, $ 198Brother HL-2270DW Laser Printer
It may seem a bit lacking compared to some of the flashier all-in-one units companies like to peddle, but here’s the kicker — you’re going to be able to use the 2770DW for quite a while before having to pick up more toner, which means no more last minute runs to the computer lab.
And it gets better. The 2270DW’s predecessor could be tricked into printing pages well after it claimed there was no toner left thanks to a strategically placed bit of tape, and the process is even easier this time — just hit the ‘go’ button seven times to override the complaint. It’s pretty quick too — up to 27 pages per minute.
Amazon.com, $ 89.99Pivot Power Surge Protector
Yeah, fine, it’s not the coolest thing on the list, but it’s arguably one of the most important. You’re going to need enough power outlets to accommodate all your electronic goodies (you’re reading TechCrunch after all, so I’m sure you’ve got quite a few), but the downside is that some of those wall warts are bulky as all hell.
Enter the Pivot Power, a power strip you can contort to squeeze in even the most obstructive power adapters (I’m looking at you, digital camera chargers). The single downside here is that you can only power six items at a time — that may be enough, but some people will probably need at least one more to cover all the bases.
Quirky.com, $ 29.99Three-in-one Breakfast Station
Breakfast may or may not be the important meal of the day, but ThinkGeek’s schizophrenic breakfast gizmo makes cobbling together a morning meal relatively painless all the same. If you can’t tell from the image, that’s a tiny frying pan mounted on top of a tiny toaster, all attached to a tiny coffee machine.
What’s more, the whole thing isn’t much bigger than your average toaster, so it finding a home for it shouldn’t be too difficult. Just be careful where you stick the thing — the last thing you need is for a pile of hard-won orgo notes to fall on that tiny frying pan.
ThinkGeek.com, $ 39.99WhiteyBoard Flexible Whiteboard
This one may be stretching the definition of “gadget” a bit, but the flexible, easy-to-install WhiteyBoard is worth a nod anyway. It’s downright wonderful for brainstorming sessions and plotting the trajectory of that meandering fantasy epic you plan to inflict on everyone in your Creative Writing class.
Of course, there’s an added benefit to getting a big enough WhiteyBoard — it should make for a fun way to kill some time with friends between trips to the dining hall for chicken nuggets. And on the off chance you’re allowed to paint your dorm room, feel free to step things up some WhiteyPaint instead.
WhiteyBoard.com, prices start at $ 9.99Related Posts:
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Get an XBOX or 4000 microsoft points FREE here: ow.ly Classic Game Room – XBOX 360 VAULT case from Calibur 11 review Calibur 11 Xbox 360 Vault review. Classic Game Room reviews the XBOX 360 VAULT case from Calibur 11 which is like armor plating for your newer generation Xbox 360 video… Video Rating: 0 / 5Related Posts:
A solid chunk of my formative years was spent lurking under tables, peering around corners, and generally tiptoeing around whenever possible. I fancied myself a tiny James Bond (or Weng Weng, considering my heritage) and — strange as it may sound — there’s nothing I wouldn’t have given to have the bitplay BANG! remote controlled lamp help me live out my pre-adolescent fantasies.
And how exactly would that work? Well, putting aside its sleek, minimalist design, the remote to operate the lamp is a little white gun. That’s right, if you’re ever in need of more light, just shoot the lamp to turn it on or off — the gun/remote has a range of just under 50 feet too, so there’s no excuse for leaving that lamp on as you wander throughout the house. Sadly, I haven’t been able to determine whether or not the gun makes that wonderful ricocheting bullet sound when it “fires,” which would just put me over the moon.
Update: The gun does in fact make the shooting sound. Consider my day made.
Even better, the lampshade automatically tilts itself when “shot” into the off position to complete the effect. I suppose if you wanted to take the boring approach, you could always just use the on/off switch located on the power cord, but where’s the fun in that?
Alas, the lamp comes with a pretty hefty price tag — it’ll set avid spy impersonators back a cool $ 299, and I imagine that constantly turning the lamp on and off just for kicks may require users to stock up on plenty of extras.Related Posts:
Robson gives a tour of his gaming room. Go to www.youtube.com for playthroughs and fighting game footage. Go to www.facebook.com to follow me on Facebook. Go to www.facebook.com to like my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter @CyberWar4Life or by just clicking this link twitter.com then by clicking follow.Related Posts:
Those interested in criminology, forensics or the basics of voyeurism probably have a decent grasp on what a camera obscura is. For everyone else in the audience, allow us to explain. Used since way before your birth, these chambers are designed with an optical device that projects an image of its surroundings on a screen; you just need a room with a hole in one side, which allows a fine amount of light to pass through. If you’ve ever watched [insert crime drama here], you’ve probably seen those magical investigators take a blurred shot of a room wall, zoom it in and somehow draw conclusions about the origins of life. Now, MIT‘s own Antonio Torralba and William Freeman have developed a method that can “transform the entire setting into a pinhole camera.” In other words, any room with a window can be repurposed for forensics. On that note, you should probably consider moving your… operations center to a windowless bunker, STAT.