Cybernaut 

Tablet breakdown

I promise that this will be my last tablet update for a little while (at least until the RIM Playbook comes out in a few weeks), but I couldn't resist calling attention to a gallery on Canoe of the "Top 10 tablets for 2011." You can find it at www.canoe.ca.

Basically it's a photo gallery of available tablets, but the editors did a good job calling attention to what makes a tablet different - e.g. Xoom has Android 3.0 AND new 3G models, the HTC Flyer comes with a pen, the HP Touchpad has WebOS, the Dell Inspiron Duo doubles as a laptop, the Acer Iconia has two screens, the LG Optimus has a 3D camera.

Cnet also has a video for the "Top 5: iPad competitors" that you should probably check out as well.

That is all.

 

Game companies loving Canada more than ever

Maybe it's our dependable supply of donuts. Or our cosmopolitan cities. Or our low corporate taxes, built-in health care and incentives for high-tech companies...

For whatever reason (hint: it's probably the last one), game companies are flocking to Canada. In fact, Canadian studios are publishing some of the top games of the day.

Bioware's Edmonton campus (so much for cosmopolitan) has produced Mass Effect I and II and Dragon Age I and II, which are among the top-rated games of recent years.

Ubisoft's Montreal campus has produced the Assassin's Creed series, which hit their stride with the sequel, Assassin's Creed 2, and Assassin's Creed Brotherhood.

In 2009, Ubisoft opened studios in Toronto and Vancouver, with Toronto taking over the Tom Clancy Splinter Cell property.

Recently, THQ opened a studio in Montreal, raiding top talents from Ubisoft, which caused a minor controversy with Ubisoft going to the courts for an injunction against THQ to honour a "no solicit" clause in employee contracts. No idea what games THQ will be doing, although it's a rumoured project with director Guillermo Del Toro at the helm.

Silicon Knights is hit or miss, but is working on a new X-Men: Destiny game, as well as other projects.

Electronic Arts has been a fixture in Burnaby for a while now, and is Canada's oldest studio dating back to 1983. They produce dozens of games, but some hot properties include Skate, The Sims, Medal of Honor, Need for Speed, FIFA, Fight Night, NBA Live, NHL, SSX, etc. EA Montreal collaborates on many of the same titles and produced the Army of Two titles.

Rockstar, which produces the infamous Grand Theft Auto series, has studios in Toronto and Vancouver. The Toronto studio has collaborated on several titles, including Oni, Max Payne, Manhunt 2, Bully: Scholarship Edition, Grand Theft Auto IV, The Warriors and other titles. Rockstar Vancouver produced the original Bully, worked on Bully: Scholarship Edition and is working on Max Payne 3.

Radical Entertainment, based in Vancouver, is working on a sequel to Prototype and a new Crash Bandicoot title with parent company Activision. Its past games include CSI titles, Scarface, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, The Simpsons Hit and Run and a dozen other titles.

That's just a sampling of game studios in Canada, and the list is growing all the time.

Next time someone hassles you for playing games, you can tell them you're just doing your patriotic duty.

 

Dictionary dumbs it down

The once scholarly Oxford Dictionary shocked a few people last week with chat phrases making the list this time around. The newest update to its online dictionary includes 900 new phrases, some of which are texting abbreviations - OMG, LOL, BFF, TMI and IMHO - and some of which are slang, like muffin top and meep, the latter of which is basically a filler exclamation with no meaning. YouTube "Beaker" from the old Muppet Show to see it used in a sentence.

 

Google goes aggregator

Last week Google launched a new function to its browsing and news service, a little vote box that's similar to the "Like" button on Facebook. With Google +1, all of the people in your network will be able to see what links or stories that you like.

You can also navigate to see what stories your contacts +1, or would recommend, which is a new way to cut through the noise of the Internet.

The service has drawn mixed reviews, but there's no question that Google knows what it's doing. Aggregator sites - where people post links and people vote on them, such as Reddit.com, Digg.com and Stumbleupon.com are big these days. If you don't know where to go or what to do, and you're face to face with a computer, aggregator sites are a great way to kill time, to find sites and stories that appeal to your interests and to broaden your horizons.

No word on whether you can turn it off.

 

 

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