DONNCHA O’CALLAGHAN HAS agreed contract terms with Munster that will see him staying with the province until at least June 2016.The deal had been largely anticipated over the last few days, but the Cork man will nonetheless be delighted to have tied his future down to the team he has spent his entire career with. It does mean that O’Callaghan moves from a central IRFU contract onto a provincial one.The 34-year-old has made 94 appearances for Ireland and, with 230 Munster caps to his name, could overtake Ronan O’Gara’s all-time record of 240 this season. O’Callaghan made his debut for the province against the Edinburgh Reivers in August 1998, with his most recent appearance coming against the Ospreys in the Pro12 on Saturday night.Speaking about the confirmation of his new deal, the second row said: I love playing for this team and representing my home club and supporters each week. Running out for Munster is something I’ve always wanted and I’ve been fortunate to make my career out of it, and to continue doing so for the next few years is just what I want. The main thing for me is that I still enjoy it and I have the opportunity to do it.”Munster head coach Rob Penney was also pleased to have the deal completed and is looking forward to continuing to work closely with O’Callaghan.“We are lucky to have someone of Donncha’s calibre and experience commit his future to Munster Rugby. He is great with the younger lads and drives everyone on. His own dedication and work ethic are an example to all and it’s good to know he is on board for another two seasons.”Like rugby? Follow TheScore.ie’s dedicated Twitter account @rugby_ie >Video: French player sees red for this clothes line
GARDAÍ IN NAVAN, Co Meath are investigating a fatal single vehicle collision that claimed the life of a man.The crash occurred between 2.40pm and 3pm today on the R162 Navan to Kingscourt road at Kilberry, about four miles outside Navan.The car collided with a wall and the driver, who was the sole occupant of the car, was seriously injured. He was transferred to Navan Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.The road is closed to facilitate a forensic collision examination and local diversions are in place.Witnesses or anyone who travelled along the road between 2.30pm and 3pm today are asked to contact Navan Garda station on 046 9036100, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.
EACH WEEKDAY EVENING, TheJournal.ie brings you five things you should know before you head out the door.1. #SLAMMED: “This is the worst small country in the western world to be sick in”: Gerry Adams and Micheál Martin have slammed the Government over its medical cards policy, after it emerged that terminally-ill Marie Fleming was asked for proof of her medical condition.2. #STRIKE: Enda Kenny has said he hopes the ESB dispute can be resolved “in the national interest” after UNITE confirmed it will be serving industrial action notice on Friday, after talks scheduled for this Thursday.3. #U-TURN: Xtra-Vision has backtracked on its policy regarding pre-ordered Xbox Ones. The company says that, from today, anyone who collects their pre-ordered console will not have to purchase an additional game in order to receive it.4. #BREAKING UP: Scotland has set out its legal blueprint for leaving the UK. The independence ‘white paper’ says the new nation would cut its corporation tax rate, take-on £1.3 billion in debt from the union, keep Sterling, stay in the EU and scrap the BBC.5. #JACKIE KNOWS BEST: TV3 has announced plans to commission an entire series of ‘At Home with the Healy Raes’ after more than a half a million people tuned in to watch a documentary on the Kerry political dynasty last night.
WHEN HE WAS young, Jez Colborne was terrified of sirens.The whaling, the lights and the commotion made him uncomfortable and scared. As an adult, he has harnessed those emotions as positives and uses the sound and light of horns and sirens to make art.The performer, musician and artist is bringing his latest work to Galway next year as part of an Arts & Disability Ireland initiative entitled Ignite.Colborne has Williams Syndrome, a genetic condition that is present at birth and is characterised by a host of medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays and learning disabilities. With those issues, Williams Syndrome also comes with striking verbal abilities, highly social personalities and an affinity for music. WS affects about one in 10,000 people worldwide.Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Colborne says the Ignite commissions from – of which there are three in Galway, Mayo and Cork – are “incredibly helpful” in terms of developing new ideas.“People would not have access to training opportunities in the same way as others,” he explained. “Quite often, a project like this is often a unique piece but also an opportunity to get involved.”Showcase of talentIgnite is the largest ever arts and disability commissioned event in Ireland, drawing the expertise of international artists with disabilities to present the biggest showcase of talent.Colborne will be working with Galway-based arts and disability programme of the Brothers of Charity Services, That’s Life, to create a large-scale performance called Trickster.It will involve hundreds of Galway based artists, musicians and performers with disabilities.Inspired by Cyclops, the piece will be a sister work to two other installations already performed by Colborne – Irresistible and Gift.Together they will form a trilogy of music performance works based on stories from Homer’s Odyssey, and linked by the themes of travelling and personal journeys.As well as his fascination with warning sirens and foghorns, audiences should also expect cranes, a cherry picker and all things industrial during the one-hour spectacle in November next year.His character – the traveller – will mainly be located around a shipping container.The commission is worth about €60,000 and is supported by a number of local authorities.“Ignite represents a major investment by the Arts Council in the area of Arts and Disability. It has involved five years of steady development work at local level with our partners in each of the local authorities and Arts and Disability Ireland,” said Orlaith McBride, director of the Arts Council.“This has culminated in a unique new creative alliance between the Arts Council, ADI, Cork City Council, Galway City & County Councils and Mayo County Council, to commission ambitious and challenging new work from artists with disabilities.We expect this to raise the bar on work being produced and presented by local venues and festivals and provide the opportunity for both new and existing audiences to experience some of the best arts and disability work being created internationally today.Pádraig Naughton of Arts & Disability Ireland, “Ignite represents the single largest investment in the arts and disability sector ever. It is an opportunity to dream big and make real, new and innovative work by artists with disabilities, on a scale previously never before seen in Ireland.”Read: National Gallery ‘disappointed’ jury failed to reach a verdict in damaged Monet painting caseMore: How can this man sell an umbrella for thousands of euro?
THE GERMAN PARLIAMENT HAS elected Angel Merkel as chancellor for third term capping months of political uncertainty as she bartered with her rivals to help govern Europe’s top economy.Merkel, who is now set to govern Europe’s top economy for another four years, was re-elected by 462 members of the Bundestag lower house of parliament, with 150 voting against and nine abstentions.Eighty-six days after Merkel, 59, swept to victory in elections but failed to grab an outright majority. The ballot is secret but the outcome holds little surprise.With a whopping 504 of the 631 seats, Merkel’s conservatives and their new centre-left partners, the Social Democrats (SPD), hold a comfortable majority under their hard-fought “grand coalition” deal.She must be confirmed by President Joachim Gauck at the presidential palace before returning to the Bundestag to be sworn in as Germany’s only third post-war chancellor to win a third mandate.The ceremony and later swearing-in of ministers followed by the first cabinet meeting will enable Merkel to finally get back down to business in earnest after the longest government-building period since World War II.Merkel is then due to address parliament tomorrow and travel to Paris for talks with President Francois Hollande the same day, ahead of an EU summit at the end of the week.A parliament debate after Wednesday’s address will be the first opportunity for a face-off across the floor since the SPD moved off the opposition benches.Merkel has defended the time spent haggling over policy and posts with an initially reluctant SPD as time well spent, voicing appreciation on signing the coalition pact Monday “that we listened to each other”. Few observers doubt though that the road ahead will be bumpy.German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures during this morning’s meeting. (Pic: AP Photo/Jens Meyer)Merkel at ‘peak of her power’ Having wrested concessions from the conservatives in negotiations to pave the way for the new coalition, SPD chief Sigmar Gabriel, the new vice chancellor and economy and energy minister, will need to impose his party’s imprint on the new government to avoid the costly mistakes of its first tie-up with popular Merkel.Cartoonists in Monday’s Tagesspiegel newspaper depicted her in a wedding dress next to her ‘groom’ Gabriel pledging “until death do us part” – Merkel clutching a dagger and Gabriel with a gun.Merkel on Monday pledged “solid finances, secure prosperity and social welfare” and said that “a grand coalition is a coalition for grand tasks — we want to make sure that the people in 2017 are better off, even better off, than they are today”.News magazine Spiegel online commented that Merkel was “at the peak of her power”.“The red-hued coalition agreement admittedly asks a bit of the (conservative) Union but when you get more than 41 percent in a federal election that’s enough to calm your own people.”Merkel keeps her trusted lieutenant Wolfgang Schaeuble as finance minister to continue Berlin’s tough loans-for-reform stance toward troubled eurozone countries and as the watchful guardian of the German public purse.The SPD gets the foreign ministry, where Frank-Walter Steinmeier returns as Germany’s top diplomat, while the CDU’s rising star Ursula von der Leyen, a worldly high achiever and mother-of-seven, takes over the defence ministry.Despite its poor election outcome, the SPD came out of coalition talks with trophy concessions such as a national minimum wage and pension benefits that helped win over the party base, who signed off on the deal at the weekend.Berenberg Bank’s chief economist Holger Schmieding however has echoed business concerns that softening tough decade-old labour and welfare reforms in rapidly ageing Germany will harm its still humming economy in future.“These policies will weaken Germany over time,” he wrote. “They are the opposite of what Germany is urging other European countries to do.“But due to its strong starting position, Germany can afford such costly policies for a while.”Read: After two months, Merkel forms coalition government in Germany >Read: Officials to work out Kenny-Merkel deal on loans for ‘real Irish economy’ >© – AFP 2013
5. City show more signs of complacencyThe good and the bad of Manchester City was on display against Swansea this afternoon.For much of the match, they demonstrated the vast array of attacking talent at their disposal, winning 3-2 against the Welsh side in the process.Nevertheless, they did not always appear convincing at the back, and Swansea at times even looked the better side.Moreover, City have won the Premier League just once, despite surely having the best squad of players for the past three seasons, and even on that famous occasion, they stumbled over the line with a fortuitous victory against QPR.With the talent they have, Manuel Pellegrini’s men should claim their second league title this year, but elements of complacency in their game, mainly away from home, still threaten to derail their bid for glory6. Irish faces fail to flourish as Keane watches onRoy Keane was at Everton-Stoke today, with James McCarthy, Seamus Coleman, Marc Wilson, Glenn Whelan and Jon Walters all in action.However, he is unlikely to have been particularly impressed by any of the five, with the Toffees only managing a 1-1 draw against the Potters.None of the footballers in question made any real impact on proceedings, with the ineffectual McCarthy substituted on 72 minutes to boot.Martin O’Neill, on the other hand, will likely be more encouraged by what he saw, with Wes Hoolahan setting up Norwich’s goal amid their 1-1 draw with Palace.First published at 22.32Celtic see off Thistle in Glasgow derby>Arsenal players send Michael Schumacher a get well message from Emirates dressingroom> Updated at 23.061. United’s reliance on the brilliant Januzaj is tellingDURING MAN UNITED’S 2-1 defeat by Spurs today, there was at least one player who did not deserve to be on the losing team.For the last half an hour, Adnan Januzaj dictated the game and was easily the best attacking player on the pitch, as United grew increasingly dominant while still ultimately failing to find the equaliser.At every available opportunity, a United player looked to pass to the talented youngster, hoping he would create a chance out of nothing, as he did when he played a fantastic through ball for Danny Welbeck’s goal.Yet for United to be effectively asking an 18-year-old to be their main man in this desperate circumstance is an indication of the lack of confidence and strength in depth, which the club has suffered from badly in recent times.2. Jose Mourinho shows some refreshing honestyThe Chelsea boss has been criticised in the past for his post-match interview style and in particular, for defending his players stringently, to the point where it seems as if they can do no wrong and his words lack credibility.In recent weeks, he has lamented the prevalence of diving in the league — with many critics subsequently accusing Mourinho of hypocrisy, given that he has managed, and simultaneously failed to condemn, several players over the years that have been known to engage in this practice.However today, when quizzed on Oscar’s blatant play acting, his response was refreshingly honest.“It was deserved — a good yellow card from Martin Atkinson,” the Portuguese coach told reporters. “Oscar is a clean player who was waiting for the goalkeeper to smash him.”3. Arsenal have finally mastered the art of winning ugly(Arsenal’s Tomas Rosicky [left] tackles Cardiff City’s Declan John — Clive Gee/EMPICS Sport)It must drive Arsenal fans mad that for years they were given the faint praise of being ‘the most attractive team in the league,’ while still winning nothing of major significance.On numerous occasions in the past, the Gunners have exhibited their extraordinary technical ability and superior skill consistently over the course of a game, and yet somehow failed to come away with a victory.However, this bad habit no longer seems to be a problem.They were at far from their best as they beat Cardiff 2-0 today, but while it wasn’t a particularly stylish display, they still came away with all three points.Consequently, if they do win the league this season, Arsenal’s remarkable consistency in beating the smaller sides — in contrast with many of their rivals — will surely be seen as a primary factor in their triumph.4. Suarez’s attitude epitomises his excellence Luis Suarez scored another vintage free kick today, to make it an incredible 34 goals in 34 games for Liverpool.“Luis will get the plaudits because he is a world-class player but nine out of 10 players would not have played today,” Brendan Rodgers told reporters after the game. “He had a real bad knock on the top of his foot from the Chelsea game.”The fact that Suarez not only played today but made such a significant contribution to the game is a telling indicator as to why he has risen to such heights.Save the occasional well-publicised aberration, his attitude while playing for Liverpool has been faultless.
THREE MEN ARE due in court this evening over an armed robbery at a shop in Cheekpoint, Co Waterford on Thursday morning.The robbery happened shortly before noon, as three raiders entered the premises and demanded cash from workers — threatening them with a knife and what’s believed to have been a gun.The men — aged 18, 28 and 36 — were arrested yesterday.All three are due before a special sitting of Waterford District Court at 9pm tonight.Read: Whistleblower wants an independent inquiry into penalty points allegationsRead: Ballymount industrial estate fire could burn for rest of day
WELCOME TO THE WEIRD Wide Web – where we take a look at the week’s best offerings in tech and social media news.Emotional book of the weekSome really great works of fiction can make you feel like you’re part of the story but this book allows readers to actually experience the protagonist’s emotions, which are conveyed through vibrations on a wearable vest and other indicators like lighting.Internet addiction quiz of the weekFalling asleep with your phone in your hand, browsing on the sly all day at work, having a zillion tabs open all at once – the telltale signs of an internet addict. But just how MUCH of an internet addict are you? Take Buzzfeed’s quiz and tell us how you get on… (Image: Shutterstock)Forgotten music library of the weekIf you love Spotify, you may be surprised to hear that there are about four million songs on it that have never been played by anyone, ever. Poor, lonely songs. This site, Forgotify, will help to to explore these forgotten tunes and give them the attention they deserve… though some of them don’t deserve that much, admittedly. [Business Insider]Google Glass facelift of the weekSo Google Glass is getting better looking with the new Titanium Collection. These bad boys come with prescription frames which the device clips onto and corrective lenses can be fitted into them for those of you with less than 20/20 vision.(Google Glass/YouTube)Read all previous Weird Wide Webs>
The Eurogroup would subsequently, on the basis of a Troika analysis that needs to be undertaken, be prepared to continue negotiations in an adjustment programme, while respecting the parameters defined earlier by the Eurogroup. After the conclusion of such negotiations the Cyprus authorities should begin legislating the elements of such an agreement.The Eurogroup also reaffirmed the importance of fully guaranteeing deposits below €100,000 in the EU, adding that the Euro area member states continue to stand ready to assist the Cypriot people in their reform efforts and ensure the stability of the euro area as a whole.Also this evening, Sky News reports that Cyprus’s second biggest lender has limited cash withdrawals.Meanwhile, employees of Laiki Bank are among those who took part in an anti-bailout protest outside the Cypriot parliament in Nicosia today.RTÉ reports that a bill has been submitted to the country’s parliament that would allow capital controls to be imposed on banks.Banks will remain closed until Tuesday. Earlier today, Bank of Cyprus said that it urged a bailout deal to save the island from ruin.Read: Bank of Cyprus urges bailout deal to save island from ruin> THE EUROGROUP HAS said it is ready to discuss a new proposal with the Cypriot authorities.In a statement this evening, the Eurogroup said it had held a teleconference, and that following this it “stands ready to discuss with the Cypriot authorities a draft new proposal, which it expects the Cyprus authorities to present as rapidly as possible”.
A REMARKABLE FEATURE of Ireland through the past half-decade has been the relative lack of major protests compared to those seen throughout southern Europe. We haven’t seen very many massive rallies or, thankfully, riots like those in Spain or Greece. No Italian Five Star type movement has emerged to hoover up those disaffected with a political system that has quite measurably failed to preserve the economic wellbeing of the nation.I can only recall the one major protest march of several hundred thousand through Dublin during the Cowen years. It was organised by the unions but attracted a much broader audience than just their membership. We have had plenty of smaller, but still significant enough, marches and protests that disrupt traffic for a little bit before dissipating.Most of the time we have been quite civilized in our protesting. I remember one protest outside government buildings when the protestors managed to storm the gates, and then sort of lost their fizzle as if not knowing what to do next. Had it happened in Athens, about ten times as many people would have got in and quite probably burned the place down.Student protests tend to get a bit rowdy, but flinging paint and eggs at the Department of Finance is still a far cry off the Arab Spring.Abortion campaigns have a particularly nasty undercurrent to them, with plastic foetuses and much worse being sent to politicians; but it has always been like this. Those who perpetrate the more extreme attempts at intimidating public representatives tend to be in the minority. We haven’t seen pro and anti-abortion campaigners knocking lumps out of one another when they meet outside Leinster House.Slow learners among the republican movement, the type occasionally march around parts of Dublin dressed in the haute couture of 1970s bogside, are also fans of bully-boy tactics. These people are extremists, easily spotted and dismissed as cranks.Thuggish forms of protestThere has been a worrying trend, however, among protest groups with more reasonable concerns turning to unreasonable tactics. I’ve said before that property and water taxes make sense, but not when loaded atop an already onerous tax base in a depressed economy. For or against the taxes, however, I believe that people have a natural right to protest against them.The trouble is that these groups are moving to more and more thuggish forms of protest.Earlier in the month the Taoiseach was met with anti-water meter protestors at an event he was attending. Normally this is a fine way to get some attention for your protest, as most news cameras enjoy catching a shot of a politician passing placard waving people. What was not edifying was shouting and roaring and scuffling with Gardai outside a medical facility for elderly and infirm people.The Taoiseach took the time to speak with the protestors, which he often does much to his credit. He took one man’s telephone number and then left, whereupon some protesters got physical with Gardai and an arrest had to be made.The prominent mortgage debt campaigner and independent candidate in the Dublin West by-election David Hall, who is also a member of the Beaumont Hospital Foundation, described the protestor’s behaviour as “thuggish” and intimidating to staff and patients.A Labour TD in Dublin North East, Sean Kenny, has had anti water meter protesters camped outside his home in the evenings for most of the week. Sean Kenny’s job is as a TD. He lives more in the public eye than most, but he is still entitled to a private life. His neighbours and family do not deserve having people show up to intimidate him, which is essentially what protesting at a person’s house is designed to do.There are enough people opposed to water metering for it to deserve organised protests against it. Setting out to intimidate people, and as a consequence any bystanders caught up in a protest, does not edify any cause.Effective protests do not involve violenceWe do not have a violently oppressive government that requires reciprocation on the streets. Some may say we have been muted in our response to years of economic hardship – but so, too, we can say that unlike the Greeks, for example, we’ve never burned a bank down with staff trapped inside.There are appropriate places and ways to protest against whatever particular policy irks you. These gain attention and support. Resorting to intimidation, and even violence, turns the story away from the substantive issue and over to the means rather than the end.Groups that are engaging in these sorts of protests ought to take a step back and consider how much traction they will get if they are simply viewed as a pack of thugs and bullies. A good protest tends to have people we can relate to, features children and a good atmosphere. People don’t join protest groups that have a reputation for screaming, swearing and getting into scuffles with Gardai.A trend towards personalising protests and increasing the vitriol at them would be highly unfortunate. If these tactics begin to take root, particularly among those on the hard left who tend to show up at the core of many groups, then it will forever coarsen our national discourse and public debate.Politics isn’t conducted to Queensbury rules, nor should it be. But so too it shouldn’t devolve into lager lout football hooliganism. We’ve been mostly good at striking a balance, and it’s something we should strive to keep.Aaron McKenna is a businessman and a columnist for TheJournal.ie. He is also involved in activism in his local area. You can find out more about him at aaronmckenna.com or follow him on Twitter @aaronmckenna. To read more columns by Aaron click here.Read: Protesters have been camped outside a Labour TD’s house for the last five days
Additional reporting by Hugh O’Connell and Daragh Brophy.Open thread: What do YOU think about the Garth Brooks concerts being cancelled? > Updated 6.42pmGARTH BROOKS HAS pulled out of all five concerts at Croke Park, a statement from Aiken Promotions confirmed this afternoon.The cancellation affects over 400,000 ticket holders.It follows Dublin City Council’s refusal to grant a licence for two of the five concerts — on the grounds that three concerts have already been held at Croke Park this year.Local residents were divided on the issue, with some taking legal action while others petitioned the council to renege on their decision.Brooks himself released a statement in the wake of the announcement, saying that for him it was “five shows or none at all”.Read: What do you do now if you have a Garth Brooks ticket? Speaking to RTÉ’s Six One News this evening, Peter Aiken said that Brooks was “devastated”.‘”He’s down for millions in this deal [but] he’s sticking to his principles,” Aiken said.He noted that Brooks had been coming up with his own alternatives, such as changing what nights were played and considering matinée shows.Contacted by TheJournal.ie, a spokesperson for Brooks said the singer would engage with the issue in a press conference planned for this Thursday, which will be streamed on his website. No statements or comments are expected from the Brooks camp before then.ReactionReacting to the news, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil it was “a great disappointment” to the hundreds of thousands of fans who had bought tickets.Kenny described it as “a shock to the system… and the reputation of the country”.He added:I do hope these kind of issues can be more efficiently handled on the next occasion they arise.Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan has said that the saga is “certainly” an embarassment for the country.“It is a huge disappointment and when you consider that 400,000 people were going to come to Dublin for these concerts, it’s a huge loss as well to the city,” the Minister said, “but it will result in reputational damage too for the country as well. ”What I’ve said from the beginning actually is that a whole new process has to be put in place so there will never be a repetition of what has happened again. So we have to learn lessons from this whole debacle.This afternoon’s announcement comes after Peter Aiken flew out to the United States for crisis talks with the singer.The ‘four night’ optionMeanwhile, it’s emerged that the prospect of the country star playing four of the five nights originally booked was discussed earlier in the negotiation process.According to a brief statement from the Council press office this evening, “prior to a decision being made on the Garth Brooks concert event licence application a conversation took place between the Chief Executive of Dublin City Council and a senior representative from Aiken Promotions”.In the course of that conversation the Chief Executive advised the representative of Aikens (sic) that the likelihood was that only three concerts would be permitted.However, on being advised that Brooks would not perform just three concerts, the Chief Executive, Owen Keegan, “offered to discuss with the decision maker in the Planning Department the possibility of permitting a fourth concert if a guarantee was given by the promoter that Garth Brooks would fulfil the four events”.However:Before any conversation took place between the Chief Executive and the decision maker a response was received from Aiken Promotions that unless all five concerts were permitted Garth Brooks would not appear. The offer to approach the decision maker was then withdrawn by the Chief Executive.Dublin councillors voted last night in favour of reviewing license conditions for all five concerts to go ahead. However, Keegan reiterated that a decision had been made not to a grant a licence for two of the five nights.Dublin Lord Mayor Christy Burke said he “tried everything” to try to find a solution.In an interview with TV3′s 5.30 News at 5.30, he called on Garth Brooks to “please, please, please” reconsider the cancellation of the gigs.“I feel so sadden for the fans, the businesses, the community, and everyone in this nation and further afield”.“Maybe if all heads together… maybe we’ll get a solution”.Speaking later to RTÉ, Burke described the cancellation as:A funeral with out a corpse, there is a sadness throughout the nation.‘Five or nothing’The singer said in his statement last week that choosing which shows to do and which not “would be like asking to choose one child over another.”However this plays out, Ireland has my heart and always will.Here is Aiken Promotions’ statement in full: It is with great regret that Aiken Promotions today announce that the 5 concert Garth Brooks Comeback Special Event at Croke Park has been cancelled.No concerts will take place.The ticket return process will be outlined tomorrow.Aiken Promotions have exhausted all avenues regarding the staging of this event.We are very disappointed for the 400,000 fans who purchased tickets for The Garth Brooks Comeback Special Event.
In 2003, LA-based graffiti writer, publisher, and activist TEMPT1 was diagnosed with the degenerative neuromuscular disease ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease). The disease has left him almost fully-paralyzed, except for his eyes. He has since teamed up with the Not Impossible Foundation and Graffiti Research Labs to create the Eyewriter, an open-source project that will allow users to control what a machine draws using only the movement of their eyes.I’ve never been a huge fan of graffiti art, but knowing that an image like this was created only using the movement of an eyeball is beyond impressive.AdChoices广告Eyewriter 2.0 made its debut at the recent 2010 Cinekid festival in Amsterdam. The technology combines the Eyewriter software with the ROBOTAGGER, an industrial arm that is able to replicate human-like marks on a huge scale. (Video after the jump) The Eyewriter project not only aims to develop this technology as a low-cost communication tool for those whose physical bodies may otherwise be impaired, it is also a shining example of how a group of artists, hackers, and assorted techno-folk can create an impressive piece of technology outside of a corporate setting.And that’s hopeful for so many reasons.
Those of you enthused by the recent spat of new fighting games, we’re talking Street Fighter IV and BlazBlue, will be pleased to know another much-loved fighting series is making a return.Namco designer Daishi Odashima created a Twitter account on Christmas Day to announce to the world that a new game is in development. The tweet simply said:SC is BACK! Get ready, fans! It was also backed up with an image posted on Twitpic that showed Daishi holding a pen over the easily-recognizable Soul Calbur sword.Here’s hoping for a return by the series on a par with what Capcom has achieved with Street Fighter IV.I still remember countless nights playing the original Soul Calibur on Dreamcast. I’m hoping for more of the same, but using the full power of the PS3 or 360.Read more at Joystiq
It may seem unsual for Sony to release a PlayStation app for the iPhone, but this isn’t an app to play PlayStation games with, it’s more of an information tool for keeping up-to-date away from your console.The PlayStation Official App as it is called, allows you to sign in to your PSN account using your ID. Once logged in you can:AdChoices广告Keep up to date with your trophies, friends’ games and online statusCheck out all the latest games, news and hardwareRead all exciting announcements from PlayStation.BlogThis is version 1.0 of the app suggesting Sony intends to update it with more features in the future. The good news is it’s free to download and use.Read more at SlashGear and the App Store
If you have a Roku set-top box and you’ve been enjoying the ability to watch YouTube videos from the comfort of your couch, we have some bad news for you. The YouTube channel in the Roku channel lineup was actually an unofficial and unsupported one, and Google recently caught wind of the fact. They’ve asked Roku to pull it from their channel list, and Roku complied. Reportedly, the issue at hand was the fact that the channel used the MP4 version of YouTube videos that the service provides to mobile devices. That alone isn’t too bad, but the problem is that pre-roll advertisements and pop-up ads that appear over videos weren’t displayed, which made the service virtually ad-free. Roku noted that they’ve been in negotiations with Google to bring YouTube support to Roku boxes for a long time now, and while they don’t have an ETA for when Roku owners will be able to officially watch YouTube videos on their TV, they’d love for it to happen. If you already have the channel added to your list, you can still enjoy it, but as of now, it’s gone and new users can’t add it. [via GigaOm]
Tap through to apps, and you’ll see a screen like the one on the right — where Google is giving a little extra nudge to the games section of the Android Market even though you’ve clearly entered the apps department.The Market app’s new look bears a slight resemblance to the tiled Windows Phone 7 home screen. The redesign has already introduced one gripe here, however: the bar across the top that shows categories, featured apps, and top paid/free is rather narrow. Once again, this caused me to accidentally tap an app below instead of the option on the bar I intended. I’m testing on an HTC Incredible with a 3.7″ screen, so it might be less tricky on current models with 4+ inch displays. You can, however, work around this problem by swiping across your screen to change tabs.Press on into a category, and you’ve now got three choices: featured apps, top paid, and top free. There’s no longer a “just in” option, which will frustrate users who liked to stay on top of new releases that way. In truth, it wasn’t the most ideal place to discover apps, especially on days where the market was flooded with new packaged RSS feeds or “beautiful girls” apps. It hasn’t been all that long since the Android Market app on our smartphones received an update. The last retooling came in December of 2010 and introduced the curved, green header that caused me to mis-tap so frequently when trying to pick a main category.Now Google has readied another update, this time pushing a cleaner, gridded design. You’ll also find a quartet of main category buttons: apps and games are now joined by books and movies (which are both U.S. only at the moment). As is the case with apps and games, you can browse books and movies by category, staff picks, top rentals or purchases, or new releases, and you can also search. App detail pages have been updated as well, and as you can see above the installation process now takes place without redirecting you away from the page. A progress bar will slide in at the top, and it’s replaced with the open and uninstall buttons when the process completes.Nestled up next to the search icon is the new share icon, which makes it easy to pass Android Market links along to your friends and other contacts. As you’d expect, it’s integrated with the Android share menu, so any of your previously installed methods will work here — like Facebook, Heywire, and Twitter, as well as the Google defaults.Overall, it’s a nice update. Navigation is easier, search results generally seem more accurate (AppBrain now appears first in the list when I search for AppBrain, for example), and pages load very quickly.The updated Android Market app will automatically roll out to Android 2.2+ phones in the coming weeks, but if you just can’t wait you can manually install the app right now. Just download the .APK installer from the XDA-Developers forums — and make sure you have the unknown sources option checked on your Application Settings screen first.More at Google Mobile Blog
For being such a modern, forward-thinking browser, Google Chrome still has a few rather curious feature omissions — like the ability to right-click an image and set it as your wallpaper, something just about every other browser around can do. Chrome also only recently added a print preview, one other key feature it had been missing for the first 10-plus major releases.One of Chrome’s strengths is its profile synchronization abilities. What began early on as a way to keep your bookmarks silently updated across all your Chrome installs evolved into something much more full-featured, syncing themes, extensions, apps, preferences, and just about everything else that makes your Chrome install yours. Now, one more piece of the sync puzzle is nearing readiness: your active tabs.You’ll find the new option in bleeding-edge versions of Chrome (including the Dev Channel, Canary, and recent Chromium snapshot builds) on the about:flags page under “enable syncing sessions.” Once you’ve flipped the switch, relaunch Chrome and head to chrome://settings/syncSetup. The option “Foreign Sessions” will now appear in your sync options.Check it out, and you’ll be able to enjoy a more seamless experience when changing computers and using Chrome. Power off your iMac and sign in on your 3G Chromebook, and Chrome will sync your last set of active tabs — letting you pick up right where you left off. It wouldn’t be a complete surprise to see this extended to the Android web browser at some point, especially since Chrome-to-Phone already allows a similar kind of syncing (albeit a more manual incarnation).
It looks like we just saw one of the first moves Apple is making with its nearly $100 billion cash reserve. The company has reportedly bought app discovery service Chomp.Apple sells apps. Chomp makes finding apps easier. It doesn’t take much imagination to think of what Apple might do with this acquisition. You can expect Apple to eventually integrate some of Chomp’s functionality into a revamped App Store search system.The App Store has so many applications that it isn’t always easy to find what you’re looking for. Sure, if you know the exact name of the app a quick search will give you what you want. But what if you have a vague idea of the type of app you want, and would like some ideas?Chomp eases that burden by organizing apps by function. So if you’re looking for, say, a great VoIP app, search for “VoIP apps” and get more appropriate results than you would by conducting the same search in the App Store. It also lists free and discounted apps, as well as trending apps.Chomp has apps for both iOS and Android, as well as a website that lets you search for apps on both platforms. Now that Apple has bought Chomp, we wouldn’t expect to see the Android part stick around for long. Chomp also has an existing deal with Verizon to power the carrier’s app-based searches, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. The source reports that the Android features will hang around until the acquisition is complete and the team has been integrated into Apple.It’s hard to say what kind of timeline we’ll be looking at for this overhauled App Store search mechanism. Will it be ready in time for iOS 6 (possibly introduced at WWDC in June and released in Fall), or will it take longer? For reference, Apple’s most prominent recent acquisition, Siri, had about a year and a half turnaround time between the company’s purchase and the service’s release.via Techcrunch
It’s always a bit annoying when you have to take time away from your online gaming schedule to download firmware updates, but sometimes the updates are actually worth the hassle. PS3 Best Price at Amazon system software version 4.25 fits that bill if you happen to be someone who hops from PS3 to PS3, have signed up for Sony’s premium PlayStation Plus service, and have a huge ton of save files.The biggest functional change with the new firmware is that cloud storage for game saves has been upgraded to 1GB for all PlayStation Plus users. Save files remain just about the least data-intensive applications of the gaming universe so this will only be a really welcome addition to the highest end of the power users out there, but more storage is always good no matter who you are.Unlike the Xbox 360 Best Price at Amazon , connecting online with the PS3 has always been free. Users can watch Netflix and Hulu Plus, play their favorite online games, and partake in video chats with friends, all without paying an extra monthly or yearly fee. What Sony does instead of charging for basic services is it offers a premium subscription plan that gives users access to exclusive discounts, free game downloads, and in some cases, like cloud storage, added functionality not afforded to regular users.Previously, the cloud save feature gave users access to 150MB worth of online-hosted save files. Most save files run a couple megabytes at most, with many tipping the scales in terms of kilobytes, not megabytes. So this should truly be more than anyone needs, and hopefully Sony will at some point open this up to other content in addition to save files.via PlayStation Blog