Computer discovers perfect game of draughts: it's a draw

Andy Merrett Computers, Gaming

draughts_board.jpgIn a tale reminiscent of “WarGames“, a computer has finally played out the 500 billion possible positions in the game of draughts (checkers). It only took Chinook 18 years to do so.

Now, computer scientists at the University of Alberta say that they have “solved” the game.

Guess what? Perfect play on both sides leads to a draw. Sounds a bit like tic-tac-toe to me – or perhaps “Global Thermonuclear War”.

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Any wall's a cinema screen with Alien Tech's AL-100 TV projector

Andy Merrett Home cinema

alien_tech_al_100_tv_projector.jpgAnyone in the market for some high definition projection goodness can safely skip over this fairly budget affair from Alien Tech, a budget compact projector that will turn any wall into a cinema / TV screen.

Its 960 x 240 barely qualifies it to handle standard definition content, but it’s compact and self-contained, and can throw an optimum image just 80 inches from the wall.

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PocketSurfer2 handheld mobile Internet device coming to UK in August

Andy Merrett Gadgets, Internet, Laptops / Notebooks

pocketsurfer2_portable_internet_communication_device.jpg

Earlier this month we said that DataWind’s PocketSurfer2 was coming soon, and today more specifications, and a definite UK launch date and price, have been announced.

The PocketSurfer2 is an ultra-thin and portable Internet communications device featuring a built-in GPRS modem and SIM card, GPS location information, 5 hours of battery life with 5 days standby, a built-in high performance antenna, 640×240 VGA colour screen with transreflective backlighting, and a backlit QWERTY keyboard.

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Steve Jobs tops Blender's chart of online music influencers

Andy Merrett Internet

steve_jobs_ipod.jpgUS music magazine Blender has crowned Steve Jobs the most influential people involved ‘behind the scenes’ in web music.

They view Jobs as a technology trendsetter, thanks to the iPod and iTunes

“The iTunes Store and the iPod have done more to change the way people listen to music than anything since the CD, and maybe since the sound recording,” said Craig Marks, Blender’s editor-in-chief.

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Survey reveals 7-year-old girls hooked on Nintendo DS, not Barbie

Andy Merrett Gadgets, Gaming

nintendo_ds_pink.jpgA new survey by the kids gift wish list web site Gogoblin.co.uk shows that a lot of young girls are no longer interested in the likes of Barbie – gaming technology is definitely the way to go if you want to remain a popular parent with your little darlings.

Boys tend to develop an interest in Gameboys and other hand held consoles from the age of four onwards, with girls latching onto the Nintendo DS by age seven.

From there on in, games consoles rule their lives until the teenage years, when technology had better consist of iPods, mobile phones, and computers, so that they can keep up with their hectic 21st century social life.

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Lite-On announce lower 'strategic' price for internal Blu-ray drive in Europe

Andy Merrett Blu-ray

bluray.jpgLite-On has announced that, since Blu-ray lasers are no longer in short supply and the company has accumulated enough stock of the product, they are lowering the price of their internal Blu-ray PC drive – titled as the particularly uninspiring LH-2B1S.

The drive launched back in November last year, when there was a distinct shortage of components. Now, says Katrin Ackermann, European Sales Manager for Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions, “we can see already a growing demand of Blu-ray. It looks like the format is getting more popular now that there are more playback devices and movie titles available in the market. Now we have the possibility to lower our prices, to make our product available for a bigger group of customers and increase our sales quantity.”

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Londoners love their gadgets, and Brits spent £7.8bn overall

Andy Merrett Gadgets

money_bags.gifNew research from GfK shows that Brits spent over £7.8 billion on consumer electronics between May 2006 and April 2007. That equates to an average £311 for each household.

Londoners easily top the pile, spending at least twice as much on gadgets as any other region, with £2.2bn spent, or £431 per household.

Those in the south west of England spent the least, at just £195m, or £245 per household.

Average increase in spending on the previous year was 10.6%, proving that we’re still happily spending more on consumer electronics products than ever before.

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