Father of Atari and Pong to launch Restaurant/Entertainment restaurants

Nolan Bushnell, the original founder of Atari and the classic game, Pong, is planning on opening a restaurant chain for 20-somethings focusing on bringing together food and electronic entertainment.

Bushnell already hasd experience in the restaurant/entertainment business, as he also founded the ‘Chuck E. Cheese’s’ restaurant chain for pre-teens.

This new venture, called uWink, will be using table-top game machines, presumably so you eat while you play…

Microsoft’s Virtual Earth worlds away from Google Earth

Microsoft’s Virtual Earth service was launched today, but the service is worlds away from what you can find at Google Earth.

I tried browsing around several places, but the map scrolling is clunky and slow, several tiles fail to load, and when I zoom in on areas in California they don’t have any aerial photos of the areas I was looking at.

This service is pretty poor compared to TerraServer that they used to run, despite that it’s satellite imagery was black and white. I guess it’s early days, but Google Earth is still the ultimate in this area.

Sony PS3 predicted to have over 60% market share by 2012

Market research company Strategy Analytics are forecasting that the PS3 will have 61% market share of the next generation console market by 2012, despote the fact that Microsoft will be releasing the XBox360 some six months earlier, and in time for Christmas 2005.

Both Microsoft and Sony will be making a loss on their new consoles in an attempt to reach an attractive price point, but the PS3 is expected to be the more expensive of the two new consoles, possibly starting at around $400.

Despite not being released until Spring 2006 and being more expensive than the XBox360, which rumours say will be released in November 2005, Strategy Analytics still think the PS3 will gain the major share of the market.

Microsoft following Google Earth – launch ‘MSN Virtual Earth’

It seems that recently Microsoft can only follow and immitate the current innovators, rather than getting out to the market first with new products. But after all, this is how Microsoft have always made their money, ever since buying the rights to QDOS from Seattle Computer Products in 1980, and licensing it to IBM as MS-DOS for the first IBM PC.

Microsoft has announced their own version of satellite image browsing, a la Google Earth (technology which Google gained from acquiring Keyhole), called MSN Virtual Earth.

To give Microsoft credit, they actually had a very innovative service a few years ago, not unlike Keyhole/Google Earth today, called TerraServer, which allowed the user to browse black and white satellite imagery and purchange prints online. This Microsoft site has an interesting history of the project, which was I believe a project to demonstrate the use of Microsoft SQL Server operating with over a terrabyte of online data. What’s interesting, is that at the time the system was being put together (in the late 90’s), in order to acheive a terrabyte of storage, the system was using over 300 9GB hard drives. I don’t think it will be too much longer before terrabyte drives will be available to home users in desktop PCs…