Developing videogames at USC ranks top of Princeton Review for 4th consecutive year

Mar 12, 2013

LOS ANGELES  – USC’s videogame-design graduate program continued to score big points in an annual ranking released today by The Princeton Review, finishing atop a list of more than 100 North American schools.

Conducted jointly by USC’s film and engineering schools, the 10-year-old graduate program has earned the top spot all four years The Princeton Review has conducted its rankings. USC’s undergraduate program was ranked second behind the University of Utah.

The USC program includes a one-year games course, called USC Games, in which students work with faculty to develop their dream game and present it to industry professionals. Students in the USC Games course have gone on to develop such games as “Modern Warfare 3,” “Journey,” “The Unfinished Swan” and “Farmville,” according to the university.

The Princeton Review’s 2012-13 rankings cap a year in which the work of several USC alumni garnered critical acclaim and awards, including Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago of thatgamecompany, who developed the award-winning “Journey,” a game in which players control a mysterious character as it explores a glistening, dune-filled landscape.

Tracy Fullerton, USC’s Electronic Arts endowed chair of the Interactive Media and Games Division, called it a “banner year” for the program, “with some outstanding new faculty joining us from industry, our brand new interactive building, the 10th anniversary of the program and the amazing achievements of our alumni like those at thatgamecompany, who won eight D.I.C.E. awards last month. It’s all very gratifying to see how our efforts are having real impact for our students and in the industry.”

Each year, The Princeton Review releases two lists ranking graduate and undergraduate schools based on a report from each institution detailing the curriculum, faculty, facilities and infrastructure, career services, student scholarships and financial aid.

The only other California school on either list this year was UC Santa Cruz for its graduate game design program.

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LAX modernizes international terminal; Gates to cut boarding times

Mar 6, 2013

LOS ANGELES  – An A-380 jumbo jet pulled into one of Los Angeles International Airport’s newest, state-of-the-art gates today as airport and airline officials today unveiled the north concourse and three of its newest gates at the soon-to-be expanded Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Singapore Airlines executives were on hand as the jumbo jet arrived at Gate 134 with the help of a new laser-guided docking system that automatically directs the airplane into position.

Two of the gates unveiled today are capable of receiving Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental and Airbus A-380 super jumbo jets. A total of nine of the 18 gates planned for the newly expanded international wing of LAX will accommodate these types of jets.

The modernized gates also feature three automated boarding bridges that will cut down on the time it takes passengers to get on and off of airplanes, and are outfitted with wireless Internet connection, as well as electrical and USB outlets that will allow passengers to charge electronic devices such as cellphones and laptops.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who joined airport officials today said LAX will soon be able to show the world Los Angeles at its best.

“We’re investing in LAX because it isn’t just a travel hub. It’s the gateway to the Pacific Rim and a central driver of our regional economy,” he said.

“With these modernizations at the New Tom Bradley International Terminal, LAX will showcase our city’s innovative spirit and ensure we remain competitive in the global market for years to come.”

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Apple said to be working on iWatch

Feb 14, 2013

(Photo by Wired.com) It wasn’t long ago that Apple announced their plans to release an eight inch tablet. Following the release of the Nexus 7, it was clear that there was a large market for smaller sized units. Apple’s iPad Mini was a success shipping 12 million units in 2012.

Now, inside sources reported of Apple’s production of a smart watch to accompany it’s other flagship devices like the iPhone, Ipad, and Ipod. The reported watch is said to offer some of the features through the host connected device. Viewing SMS, emails, weather, social media notifications is among the features to be offered.

Although no official report is released, Apple has confirmed they will be entering the wearable accessories market. They are currently profiting from third party devices from Jawbone and Nike.

Seeing how the Nexus 7 discovered a new market of consumers, Pebble also lead the way for smart watches. After their success on Kickstarter with a jaw-dropping $10.2M in backed funds, the smart watch came to life. It would make sense that Apple follow up with this demand.

The device is said to run on iOS, and have features like Siri; hence making it more compatible with it’s own proprietary devices than any other in the market.

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Bing Seen as an Important Asset to Microsoft

Feb 13, 2013

In a Google world of search engines, Bing is still considered a valuable enterprise for the tech giant Microsoft. CFO Peter Klein, at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Tuesday February 13, talked about it’s importance for the company. He and Microsoft believe that Bing is not only a possible flagship of revenue, but also a tool for improving their other applications as well.

Calling it a “machine learning engine,” Bing will serve for market analysis, trend searches, and user needs. By collecting and handling these large amounts of data, Klein believes this will help place the company in the new markets like cloud based services. Not explaining how exactly it is doing that, Microsoft has already made presence with the commercial cloud business.

It’s unclear how Bing plans on competing with Google in the search engine market. As of right now, 85% of all searches on the internet are done with Google. The rest if divided among Bing, Yahoo!, Ask.com, and other search engines. Google’s Adsense, the pay-per-click service that helps place your business when organic placement isn’t effective, generates an average of 4B/yearly.

Still optimistic, Klein insist that time will be on their side as they integrate Bing with all of their applications. Having MS Office, Live Exchange 365, and other popular applications with Bing can help improve user traffic. However, monetizing all this is still yet to be announce.

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