Saturday, October 16, 2010


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One of the later logos for Trilobyte, consisting of a trilobite on a pyramid.
Trilobyte was a computer game developer founded in December 1990 by Graeme Devine and Rob Landeros. They are well-known in the computer game industry for The 7th Guest and The 11th Hour games, and to a lesser extent for Clandestiny and other titles.




The official company logo consists of a trilobite superimposed on a pyramid. The design for the logo went through many changes, from the simple, to celebrating holidays on their webpage (now defunct). The logo pictured here is from a mirror of the old official company page, and is more elaborate than versions seen within the games themselves.

[] History

The company is most famous for creating the PC game The 7th Guest, one of the first computer games for CD-ROM. Most of the footage for the game was filmed with a US$35,000 budget, Super VHS cameras, and blue butcher paper as a background that would later be removed to help insert the actors in the game, a process called chromakey, or bluescreen). The game was a puzzle-solving game similar in style to Myst. However, most of the puzzles in The 7th Guest were based on versions of real puzzles invented by people such as Max Bezzel, while the puzzles in Myst were mostly fantasy-based. Unlike Myst which used static screens, The 7th Guest was the first game to use full rendered 3D animation and navigation. For the time, it had amazing graphics by Rob Landeros, Robert Stein III, Gene Bodio, Alan Iglesias, MIDI music by The Fat Man, and an interesting story by Matthew J. Costello. During planning, a sequel was already being considered in anticipation of success. The final version of The 7th Guest was released in 1993. 60,000 copies were snapped up overnight, and a bevy of requests for reorders arrived days later. When the game was released, some CD-ROM manufacturers registered up to a 300 percent increase in sales for CD-ROM drives.[citation needed]

Overall, the game proved to be a turning point in CD-ROM based technology. Bill Gates called The 7th Guest "The future of multimedia."[1] If not for the popularity of The 7th Guest and Myst, a similar-styled adventure game, the CD-ROM would not have been as popular and would have taken longer to gain a foothold in the marketplace.[citation needed]

The 11th Hour was released in the fall of 1995, after missing its original release date by more than a year. It was one of the first games to support 16-bit color. Graphically, the game was superb for the time. It featured detailed environments and fluid motion. However, the game drew criticism for several reasons. The game was released in DOS when Windows 95 had already been out for some time. The company was flooded with callers trying to get the game to run on their machines. The game still used MIDI for music, instead of CD audio. In addition, the gameplay was not well received by some, with players getting angry at the puzzles and riddles they had to solve, ranging from abstract logic to anagrams. Despite the massive amount of pre-orders from vendors, sales ended up being far below the expected amount, and the game did not recover its production costs, a key factor in the company's financial downfall.

The next projects for Trilobyte were published by Trilobyte itself. Clandestiny, with gameplay similar to the previous The 7th Guest, and The 11th Hour, though using cel animated (cartoon) video rather than live action, and Uncle Henry's Playhouse, a re-packaging of a number of the puzzles and games from The 7th Guest, The 11th Hour, and Clandestiny. However, neither of them did well commercially, and they are not well-known.

After Clandestiny, the company effectively took two internal directions. Landeros led a project called Tender Loving Care, while Devine started a Massively Multiplayer project, Millennium. Tender Loving Care (starring John Hurt), often referred to simply as TLC, was completed in 1998.

About the same time, Red Orb Entertainment, a division of Brøderbund, signed on to publish two titles on Devine's "side" of the company — Assault!, a top-down multiplayer action game, and Extreme Racing, a racing game, which ran on a shared game engine. Red Orb was also publishing the games Riven and Prince of Persia 3D at the time. Assault! was later renamed Extreme Warfare and changed from top-down to a first person perspective. Extreme Racing was likewise retitled Baja 1000 Racing and attached to a SCORE International racing license. Both games made appearances at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) trade show that year.

[] Closing

The Learning Company purchased Brøderbund in 1998. The Learning Company then canceled many of the current Red Orb game projects and Trilobyte. With "both eggs in the Red Orb basket", it was unable to find new publishers for the titles and shut down on 1998-09-15.

A third part of The 7th Guest series, not developed by, and unknown to Trilobyte, was rumored to be in development using the Unreal engine. Only a few screen shots of this canceled game exist, with few details existing about it except for a proposed introduction storyline. Later, Rob Landeros also developed a proposal for another first-person sequel in The 7th Guest series — The Collector.

In 2002 a UK IT company was launched, called Trilobyte Technologies Ltd. The name was inspired from the Trilobyte computer game company, and they took over their original domain of Still to this day, more than 10 years after the original company's demise they still host the last ever released game patches, and have a page dedicated to them on their links section. Both Graeme Devine and Rob Landeros are aware of Trilobyte Technologies Ltd and have spoken to be humbled by their statement.

[] Released games

The 7th Guest — the first title released by Trilobyte Software. It sold over 2 million copies, making more than US$50 million for the company.
The 11th Hour — the sequel to The 7th Guest. Many production problems and release date slipped by a year resulted in lost profits and sales of only 1.7 million units.
Clandestiny — a cel animated child-friendly puzzle game. It sold only 2500 copies in the United States, bringing in a profit of just US$500,000.
Uncle Henry's Playhouse — a compilation of all the puzzles from The 7th Guest, The 11th Hour, and Clandestiny. It sold 27 copies in the United States, and 127 worldwide.[2]

[] Unreleased games

Cybernet — Little is known about this game, but The Fat Man has listed on his website that he composed the music for this game.[3]
Dog Eat Dog — an office politics simulator. At a cost of over US$800,000, it was scrapped halfway through production.
Tender Loving Care — Rob Landeros' R-rated psychological thriller interactive movie. It would later be produced by Rob Landeros' new company, Aftermath Media and released by Funsoft in Europe to critical acclaim (in Germany under the name Die Versuchung). The DVD ROM version was distributed in the U.S. by Digital Leisure and the DVD Video version distributed by DVD International.
The 7th Guest III — a highly rendered and media-rich game where the house would be back to its original form and all forms of media were to be controlled by Satan. US$500,000 went into production. Only a few highly rendered screen shots were created before Landeros canceled the project.
Extreme Warfare — Greame Devine's online top-down perspective 3D tank game, originally named Assault. Red Orb Entertainment was sold to The Learning Company, who had no interest in the project and canceled development funding.
Baja Racing — originally called Extreme Racing. It was shelved due to the lack of development personnel, as already meager resources were assigned to Extreme Warfare.
The 13th Soul — a 3rd-person real time game inside the Stauf mansion. A few rendered rooms were all that were made. The sale of Virgin Interactive killed the project.
Trojan Planet — a role-playing game set in a parallel universe where all the world is Trojans. The company went under shortly after the concept arose.
The 7th Guest III (3rd Version) — Another version in which the town was abandoned and Tad (the young boy from the 7th Guest) was grown up and a writer, coming back to stop Stauf. The company went under shortly after the concept arose.
The 7th Guest III: The Collector — A completely new version of 7th Guest III where the events took place in a German museum rather than the house. Lack of funding and interest by the producer Lunny Interactive caused it to be shelved.

[] References

  1. ^ "Haunted Glory: The Rise and Fall of Trilobyte" article, Page 1 from GameSpot
  2. ^ "Haunted Glory: The Rise and Fall of Trilobyte" article, Page 5 from GameSpot
  3. ^ The Fat Man - FAQ's

[] External links

Friday, October 15, 2010

Windows Phone 7 tablets unlikely as Microsoft maintain screen limits

Windows Phone 7 tablets unlikely as Microsoft maintain screen limits

By Chris Davies on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 0 Comments
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Reasonably positive first impressions from the Windows Phone 7 launch earlier this week has left some asking why Microsoft doesn’t focus on putting its new smartphone OS on tablet-scale touchscreen devices, rather than attempting to leverage Windows 7.  According to ZDNet, however, we shouldn’t be holding our breath for it; despite the WP7 experience being far more finger-friendly than its desktop OS counterpart, Microsoft is apparently sticking firm to its roughly 4-inch limitation on screen sizes.

That’s the official party line, anyway, and with Microsoft seemingly more interested in keeping its platforms tightly segmented – witness the screen size limitations on using Windows on smaller netbooks, for instance – it might be some time before that changes, if at all.  Instead, the company is pushing Windows 7 Embedded for larger slates.
Nonetheless, at least some of the elements are in place for a change of direction.  Microsoft has licensed ARM technology and says it plans to use the access “to enhance our research and development activities for ARM-based products,” and there are ongoing rumors of Project Menlo.  Frankly, we don’t care how Microsoft does it, we just want a Windows Phone 7 tablet.

EHSI Watching Human Stem-Cell Trial Carefully

EHSI Watching Human Stem-Cell Trial Carefully

Private Company Sponsors First FDA-Approved Human Testing of Stem-Cell Treatment

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Emerging Healthcare Solutions, Inc. (PinkSheets: EHSI) eagerly anticipates the results of the first FDA-approved human embryonic stem-cell treatment on a patient with spinal cord injuries, which began this week.
The revolutionary early-stage clinical trial is being funded and carried out by Geron Corp. (NASDAQ: GERN) and aims to repair severe spinal injuries suffered by a patient whose identity has not been disclosed. The patient, the first human to receive stem-cell injections under federal approval, was enrolled at Shepherd Center, a spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation center in Atlanta. In order to participate in the groundbreaking study, the patient must have sustained the injury within the previous 14 days.
The treatment being tested involves millions of stem cells being injected into the damaged area of the patient’s spine. Researchers hope that these cells will travel to the site of the recent injury, transform into nerve cells and help the spinal cord to regenerate. Geron will test the effectiveness of the stem-cell treatment as well its safety and the patient’s tolerance. The company has stated plans to enroll eight to 10 patients in similar trials across the country. The therapy has been previously tested in animals, but the FDA only approved its use on humans in July. Emerging Healthcare Solutions executives hope the research helps transform stem cells from a promising curiosity into a true medical asset.
Geron, based in Menlo Park, Calif., is one of numerous companies focusing on embryonic stem cell therapy as a medical treatment. Moral objections have been voiced by some to the use of embryonic stem cells, which are harvested from human embryos that are destroyed in the process. Other companies focus their research on adult stem cells, which can be gathered from a person's skin.
Emerging Healthcare Solutions keeps a close eye on stem cell research worldwide. In March, the company signed a profit participation deal with Celulas Genetica, a biotech firm dedicated to developing radically new medical solutions using adult stem cell research.
EHSI invests in technology developed to compete in the stem-cell research industry alongside Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NASDAQ: TEVA), Allergan, Inc. (NYSE: AGN) and Forest Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: FRX).
About Emerging Healthcare Solutions, Inc.
Emerging Healthcare Solutions, Inc. invests in and participates in the profits of emerging breakthrough medical technologies. The Company believes the secret of leveraging future value for its shareholders is the proper timing of its investment in promising new medical technologies. EHSI aims to capture future profits of promising new medical technologies by investing in these technologies at the inflection point of product development. We believe this model will deliver long-term positive results for our investors.
For more information, please visit
Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: This news release contains forward-looking information within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including statements that include the words "believes," "expects," "anticipate" or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the company to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. In addition, description of anyone's past success, either financial or strategic, is no guarantee of future success. This news release speaks as of the date first set forth above and the company assumes no responsibility to update the information included herein for events occurring after the date hereof.

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Walking protects brain from dementia: study

Walking protects brain from dementia: study

Last Updated: Friday, October 15, 2010 | 1:00 PM ET Comments7Recommend8

Brain health is another reason to get regular exercise like walking, a dementia researcher says.Brain health is another reason to get regular exercise like walking, a dementia researcher says. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)Seniors who regularly walk around 10 kilometres per week suffer less brain shrinkage, which may help stave off dementia, researchers have found.
Brain size shrinks in late adulthood and can cause memory problems. Studies suggest that activities like walking preserve brain volume, but U.S. researchers wanted to test if seniors who walk more are better able to fight off dementia.
In the study, 299 volunteers in Pittsburgh with an average age of 78 who were free of dementia recorded the number of blocks they walked in one week. Then nine weeks later, scientists took brain scans of the participants to measure their brain size.
After four more years, researchers tested the subjects to see if they had developed dementia or other memory problems.
Study author Kirk Erickson of the University of Pittsburgh and his co-authors found that people who walked at least 72 blocks per week — 10-14 kilometres — showed greater grey matter volume in their brain compared with people who didn't walk as much.
"Our results are in line with data that aerobic activity induces a host of cellular cascades that could conceivably increase grey matter volume," the study's authors wrote.
Trekking more than 72 blocks did not seem to offer any further increases in grey matter volume, the researchers found.
The findings held true regardless of other risk factors such as family history.
Erickson's team called for more studies on the effects of exercise on dementia, but noted that in the absence of effective treatments for Alzheimer's that walking could help.
"If regular exercise in midlife could improve brain health and improve thinking and memory in later life, it would be one more reason to make regular exercise in people of all ages a public health imperative," Erickson said.
The study appears in this week's online issue of the journal Neurology.
The study was funded by the U.S. National Institute on Aging.

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Armenia to help US investigate Medicare scam

Armenia to help US investigate Medicare scam

Click here to find out more!

Armenia says it will cooperate with the United States in an investigation of Armenian gangsters accused of using phantom health care clinics to try to cheat Medicare out of $163 million.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan said Thursday that his nation was "sorry."
The operation was allegedly led by crime boss, Armen Kazarian, who was in custody in Los Angeles. He is known by the Soviet term "thief in law," which is is the rough equivalent of a "godfather."
A top Armenian police official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity that about 40 ethnic Armenian "thieves in law" operate in Europe, the U.S., Australia and the Middle East. The official is not authorized to speak to the press.
U.S. authorities say it is the largest fraud in program's history.

Happy Meal stays forever young

Forget “where’s the beef?” - where’s the mold? It’s the latest front in the fast food wars: What does a Happy Meal look like after it sits out for six months?
A New York City photographer took a Happy Meal burger and fries and photographed it every few days for more than six months. The result: day one's photo looks almost identical to day 180. No mold, no decay - it’s the Happy Meal fountain of youth.
“The Happy Meal Project” has raised a ruckus. People love it or hate it, just as they love or hate fast food.

As it turns out, lots of folks have been saving Big Macs and other fast food fare to bolster the argument that they must be full of preservatives - one guy even has a hamburger museum. But, a neutral food scientist we talked to blames the lack of decomposition on low moisture rather than anything dastardly.

Love: A natural painkiller?

Love: A natural painkiller?
Updated 3h 21m ago |  Comments 30  |  Recommend 8 E-mail | Save | Print | Subscribe to stories like this
Some call it puppy love. Stanford students who responded to the study identified as "wildly, recklessly in love."
Some call it puppy love. Stanford students who responded to the study identified as "wildly, recklessly in love."

Lasting love, marriage age, personality quiz and sexless marriages 

October 15, 2010, 1:47 p.m.

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In a study involving a group of lovelorn Stanford undergrads, researchers discovered that high-octane romantic love might be a natural analgesic.
Love's painkilling effect isn't just that the person is distracted by thoughts of the loved one — although that works, too. Instead, the researchers found that feeling "head-over-heels" activates the same dopamine-oriented centers of the brain that tune in to illicit drugs such as cocaine.
"These pain-relieving systems are linked to reward systems," said Dr. Sean Mackey, senior author of a paper appearing online Oct. 13 in PLoS One. "Love engages these deep brain systems that are involved with reward and craving and similar systems involved in addiction.
"This gives us some insight into potential ways of further probing and ultimately translating that into treatment for pain," added Mackey, who is chief of the pain management division at Stanford University School of Medicine.
The authors recruited 15 Stanford undergrads who were "wildly, recklessly in love," said Mackey, adding that the recruitment process took "only days."
"It was the easiest study I've ever recruited for," he said. "Within hours they were all banging on my door, 'Study us! Study us!' When you're in that kind of love, you want the world to know about it."
The besotted seven men and eight women, who were still in the newly smitten phase of their relationships, came to the study with a picture of their beloved.
Researchers flashed the picture of the beloved while inflicting pain with a handheld thermal probe. As a control, participants were asked to name every sport that doesn't involve a ball, a form of distraction, while also activating the probe.
"To our pleasant surprise, both love and distraction reduce pain to an equal amount and that was good because it more fully allowed us to compare them," Mackey explained.
The pain relief afforded by looking at the picture of the beloved seemed specific to that act — when participants were asked to look at a picture of an equally attractive and familiar acquaintance, their pain levels did not recede.
Functional MRI imaging of the participants' brain also revealed that, "the brain systems involved in distraction are entirely different from those involved in love," Mackey said. "In distraction, there was a much higher level of the newer corticol systems involved with classic attention and distraction."
On the other hand, "in love, very primitive, reptilian brain systems that are classically involved with the reward systems that motivate our basic drives were involved," he said.
Although the students in this study were at an age when love is often in the air, Mackey believes the results would easily translate to older folks.
"This doesn't require you to be an undergraduate at a university to fall head-over-heels in love," he said. "Even older people can do that."
Nor would someone have to be in the initial throes of a love affair to benefit from love's soothing effect.
"This gave me a greater appreciation that, for a patient in chronic pain, being in a loving relationship may actually provide some analgesic benefit," Mackey said.
Still, love can be an elusive prospect for many. Dr. Joe Contreras, chair of pain and palliative care at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, believes that distraction might be more a more accessible (but often ignored) pain remedy.
Finding ways to distract yourself is "definitely something that is unfortunately underutilized, I believe, because our (medical) system does not incentivize it and insurance companies don't pay for it," he said.
And Anna Ratka, professor and chair of pharmaceutical sciences at Texas A&M Health Science Center's Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy in Kingsville, inserted a note of caution.
"This is still very far from (being useful clinically)," she said. "In my opinion, this is just another demonstration of the fact that pain is an extremely complex phenomenon and it's heavily dependent on perception, and that is actually very different across people."


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