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Wednesday, August 24, 2005
  blackhole- update
Camera phones: realistic morphing

An application that MNC wireless will be launching soon is Moblife P-Unit, an entertainment app which allows users to put mugshots in an illustrated background or even give the person in the photo a new “look”.

Mobile P-Unit deals with face morphing and it’s quite high-tech in that it really recognise where the face in the photo fits and also where the facial features are.

In lot of face-morphing technologies the software just basically changes your face. It doesn’t really recognise where your eyes, nose and mouth are.

How do you use it? Simply take a photo, log in to the WAP browser on the phone, go to www.mobilife.tv, choose a service mask (mask me, greetings, facial make-over, cosplay (costume play), comic me or morph me), upload the photo, and the result will be sent back to the user.

MNC wireless believes Moblife P-Unit will be popular with users who are thinking of going for plastic surgery as the “facial mae-over” option will allows them to see what they might look with bigger eyes or a sharper nose.



US celcos seek profit in music services

First there were musical ringtones. Then came “ring-back” tones – tunes that play while a caller waits for someone to pick up a mobile phone.

Now cellphones are offering streaming music, with access to online music stores on the way.

The wireless industry is making a big push into the music business, taking cues from Apple Computer Inc’s iPod and from its own success selling more than 182 million mobile phones.

Verizon Wireless in the United States said recently it would offer a music-store service and a music-player cellphone around year-end.

Cingular Wireless LLC is considering a similar deal with Motorola Inc and Apple’s iTunes music store; Napster Inc and Sweedish phone maker Ericsson plan a similar joint venture.

Apple really pioneered digital music and has created such success that everyone’s eyeing it and wants a piece of it.

But there are pros and cons to making cellphone multitask as music players.

The success and profitability of other add-on functions, such as picture messaging, ringtones and various entertainment services, is bolstering the case that the cellphone could become the Holy Grail of consumer electronics: the all-in-on device.
Cellphones will do the music market what they have already done to the camera market.

Playing music can limit the phone’s battery life. It’s also difficult to replicate the iPod’s simplicity on cellphones.

Cellphones headsets often come with one earbud, for example, a potential turn-off for consumers who want to listen to music in stereo.



MyGamma creating a new buzz in town

A new trend is catching on among mobile phone users: being part of a mobile community such as MyGamma.

Just like its online cousins – Friendster, myspace etc. – MyGamma allows users to express themselves and interact with each other. The only difference is these are all done with a WAP-enabled mobile phone.

There may be many websites but there aren’t many WAP sites and people with WAP phones rarely know where to go.

MyGamma has all the functions offered by online community sites.

Apart of that, there are features on the MyGamma site that are not available on any other online community sites.

One of them is the “virtual marriage” feature where users get “married” and are entitled their own “living room” and “bedrooms”.

A user can propose to an online friend and when the other party accepts, they are considered married.

As not all marriages are made in heaven, couples can file a “divorce”. They can also automatically divorce if there has not been any interaction between them within 30 days of marriage.

Another feature on the site is the Gamma Life Ladder game. Here, users play a popularity game by receiving gifts from online friends bought with Gamma Money.

Users can also keep a blog on MyGamma. The moblog or mobile blog feature allows users to share their own thoughts, ideas and pictures instantly of their phones instead of having to look for a computer to upload them.

For more information, check out www.mygamma.com.my



Playing LAN games over the Internet

Many games that are playable over the Internet have their own servers that can act as game lobbies. Here, gamers look for game hosts that can accommodate them in terms of number of players and ping rate.

Sometimes, games would require the use of Game Spy, a games lobby of sorts for bringing online gamers together. As such, a lot of game developers have opted to include Game Spy as part of their offering instead of developing their own games servers.

Game Spy can also be used to find gamers who are interested in playing old games that no longer have game lobbies of their own.

Very clever this Game Spy thingy. Thus, not surprisingly, it has competitor called Computer Gaming Alliance (CGA) by Holdfast which believes behaves much like Game Spy.

However, CGA is slightly different, in that it is aimed at games that are played by means of local area network (LAN) mostly such as Counter-Strike, WarCraft, StarCraft, Need for Speed and FIFA.

For that matter, the way you access a game for playing online using Holdfast’s CGA is via the LAN option. So theoretically, you can bypass a game’s requirement of paying fees to the game publisher if you want o play via the Internet.
Anyway, Holdfast has over 90 million subscribers and the highest record for simultaneous online users is over 410,000 people.

The beta version of CGA is downloadable for free, and if you do not mind playing online with hosts located outside of your region, you do not have to pay a single cent to use CGA to play online.

However, the beta version does not come with an uninstall option. So you will have to resort to some amount of techno-voodoo to get rid of it.

Also, if you require faster ping rates, it is best that you play using host servers located within the your region. And for that, you would need the CGA starter pack (you need to pay for it), which is inclusive of login identification and first month subscription. Thereafter, you need to pay a monthly fee.

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