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Cuba lifts ban on Home Computers

100°
333w ago - The first legalised home computers have gone on sale in Cuba, but a ban remains on internet access. This is the latest in a series of restrictions on daily life which President Raul Castro has lifted in recent weeks.

Crowds formed at the Carlos III shopping centre in Havana, though most had come just to look. The desktop computers cost almost $800 (£400), in a country where the average wage is under $20 (£10) a month.

But some Cubans do have access to extra income, much of it from money sent by relatives living abroad. Since taking over the presidency in February, Raul Castro has ended a range of restrictions and allowed Cubans access to previously banned consumer goods.

In recent weeks thousands of Cubans have snapped up mobile phones and DVD players. But only now have the first computer stocks arrived.

Internet access remains restricted to certain workplaces, schools and universities on the island.

The government says it is unable to connect to the giant undersea fibre-optic cables because of the US trade embargo. All online connections today are via satellite which has limited bandwidth and is expensive to use.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, Cuba's ally and a critic of the US, is laying a new cable under the Caribbean.

It remains...
 

The Wright Stuff: Why mobile games are failing!

100°
336w ago - You might think this is a depressing way to start a series of columns about the all-exciting, all-conquering sphere of mobile gaming, but let's face facts: if mobile gaming hasn't actually failed yet, it hasn't been the massive success everyone in the industry expected five years ago.

The market, so the analysts keep telling us, is going to be huge, but in five years' time. That's what they said five years ago, and that's what they're saying now. Always jam tomorrow.

The reason is actually very simple but it's something no-one in the industry is willing to own up to. The problem is that mobile games are simply not appealing enough to get most people to play them. That's why the percentage of people who've downloaded a game onto their mobile remains stubbornly stuck at five per cent.

Technically mobile games are okay, but what's vital is that there are few games that aren't done better on a different console. To that extent, the mobile is the ultimate also-ran gaming device, suffering from badly ported versions of games designed for other platforms.

Everyone know it, but in the desperation to keep the money flowing, it seems we're prepared to buy up any old film or TV licence and try to make another mobile game. Licences that have no right being made into games seem to be announced...
 

Quake 3 on iTouch with Multiplayer!

50°
337w ago - Courtesy of GameTrailers, here is a video of Quake 3 via iTouch... with multiplayer!

Check out this video uploaded by blueomega below:



 

Cuba lifts curbs on Mobile Phones

50°
338w ago - Cubans are to be allowed unrestricted access to mobile phones for the first time, in the latest reform announced under new President Raul Castro.

In a statement in official newspaper Granma, state telecom monopoly ETECSA said it would offer mobile services to the public in the next few days.

Some Cubans already own mobile phones, but they have had to acquire them via a third party, often foreigners.

Cuba's rate of cell phone usage remains among the lowest in Latin America.

Now Cubans will be able to subscribe to pre-paid mobile services under their own names, instead of going through foreigners or in some cases their work places.

However, the new service must be paid for in foreign currency, which will restrict access to wealthier Cubans.

Reforms

ETECSA says the revenues will be used to fund telecommunications development in Cuba.

Two weeks ago, a ban on a wide range of consumer electrical appliances was lifted, after Raul Castro said in his inaugural speech as president that he would act to ease some of the restrictions on Cubans' daily lives.

Tight restrictions remain in place on internet access in homes and on foreign travel.

Raul, 76, was selected as president in February, after the retirement...
 

Mobile calls on Emirates flights

50°
339w ago - Dubai-based airline Emirates has become the first commercial airline to allow passengers to make mobile phone calls during flights.

Emirates said the first permitted mobile phone call was made on a flight between Dubai and Casablanca.

The aircraft, an Airbus A340, is fitted with a system which stops mobiles from interfering with a plane's electronics.

Emirates plans to extend the system to more aircraft and later this year add BlackBerry and other data services.

According to the airline, the mobile service will only be activated when the aircraft is at cruising altitude and the cabin crew will be able to monitor and control the use of the system.

Passengers will be able to receive and send text messages, but the crew will be able to prevent voice calls at certain times, such as during night flights.

Passengers will also be requested to keep their phones on "silent" mode, said the airline.

High demand

Emirates said it decided to introduce the use of mobile phones in its fleet after experiencing high demand for the phones already installed in aircraft seats.

The airline had to obtain approval from international air safety organisations before adopting the system, which was developed by the AeroMobile company....
 
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