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The 404 804: Where we understand your plan (podcast)

It's Natali Morris' penultimate episode and National High Five Day! Wilson's back on the show after yesterday's trip to the New York auto show, and today we're chewing the beef between Lady Gaga and Weird Al Yankovic and chatting about a 3D porno topping box office records in China, a dispute over Apple's environmental footprint, and a pair of 2D glasses that just makes things more natural.

The 404 Digest for Episode 804

Today is National High Five Day! 3D porn movie beats "Avatar" box office record in China. 2D glasses make 3D movies more natural. Turns out Apple ain't that green.

Episode 804 Subscribe in iTunes (audio) | Subscribe in iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS VideoRead more

3D Tunes: My life as a virtual karaoke star

Karaoke scares the wits out of me. I can sing in front of a crowd with a guitar and my own songs without batting an eyelash, but something about karaoke makes me want to hide under the nearest table. The only time I've karaoked was in a backwoods bar called The Rose in Cuba, Mo. I barely survived a shaky rendition of "Jumping Jack Flash" just minutes before closing time.

My karaoke phobia has now taken a turn for the better, however, as I've gone virtual. Utherverse, a provider of virtual worlds along the lines of Second Life, has introduced 3D Tunes, the latest place where virtual reality, avatars, and online karaoke collide.

You record a karaoke number through the SingSnap online karaoke service and then jump onto a virtual stage where your avatar shares your earth-shaking talent with a crowd of avatar attendees. No huge bar tab. No awkward dancing. No cab home afterward.

Taking your own turn on-stage requires a little preparation, though. Here's how to do it:… Read more

The Internet and the 'Art of Immersion'

AUSTIN, Texas--At the South by Southwest Interactive conference (SXSW) over the last few days, the bulk of the conversation, in hallways, at parties, and in panels, has been about social media. But what about the fascinating ways that people are using technology to take storytelling to the next level?

The team behind the new Jake Gyllenhaal film "Source Code" was in town and talked a bit about the interactive game associated with that film, and a few panels here also touched on the subject. One of those was about the film "Tron: Legacy," and was moderated … Read more

Leaked Microsoft CES slide touts 'Avatar Kinect'

A purportedly leaked slide of Microsoft's 2011 CES keynote speech, snapped by blog Glimpse Dog, shows off an upcoming Xbox 360 feature the company is dubbing "Avatar Kinect."

According to Winrumors, the feature will come as part of a system software update, and will make use of the Kinect camera accessory to map user body movements to their Xbox Live avatar. It's also said to bring the mapping feature to games, and other avatar-enabled areas of the Xbox dashboard and its applications.

Avatars, which came long before Kinect, offer users a way to create a virtual … Read more

3D Blu-ray 'Avatar' exclusive to Panasonic into '12?

"Avatar" on 3D Blu-ray may not be available in general release for another year, claims a report from T3 magazine.

According to U.K.-based tech publication, Panasonic confirmed that it has exclusive selling rights to "Avatar" on 3D Blu-ray through February 2012. After that, the film will be made available for general release.

Assuming that's true, consumers will have to leap some serious hurdles and cough up some serious cash just to get their hands on James Cameron's blockbuster on 3D Blu-ray. That version was released exclusively via Panasonic on December 1.

Currently, … Read more

'Avatar' 3D Blu-ray now available from Panasonic

If you've been waiting for the 3D Blu-ray version of James Cameron's Avatar, you can finally get your hands on it. But it won't be as easy as going to the store to pick up a copy.

Starting today, customers who buy a Panasonic Viera 3D HDTV VT series or GT series set will also receive the company's 3D Full HD Ultimate Pack, which includes two pairs of Panasonic 3D glasses and a copy of Avatar in 3D Blu-ray, at no additional charge. Panasonic is also allowing those who purchased one of the company's 3D … Read more

'Avatar': Behind the scenes at Weta Digital

New Zealand may be known as the home of "Lord of the Rings," but you may not know that it's also the unofficial birthplace of "Avatar."

You see, Peter Jackson's Weta Workshop in Wellington is behind the special effects of films such as "Heavenly Creatures" and "Prince Caspian." But more famously, it has produced the effects in both the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "Avatar." In fact, the company was working up until July to finish work on the Extended Edition of the "Avatar" Blu-ray version. … Read more

Intellitar avatars a poor substitute for afterlife

Of the products I've seen recently, Intellitar's Virtual Eternity is the most likely to make children cry.

It is a service, which recently released its beta, in which you create an AI-based animated avatar from a picture of yourself and the answers to a questionnaire. Why? So you can bequeath this cloud-based avatar to your descendants. They can then ask your avatar questions about your life, which it will answer by animating virtual lips on a picture of your real face, with a generic voice (unless you pay extra to have the service create a custom voice library … Read more

Microsoft execs get avatarized, sans Windows chief

Since Microsoft launched the idea of avatars with its "New Xbox Experience" system software update this time two years ago, the company's executives and employees have regularly been presented in avatar form at the company's gaming events. But that's about as far as it's gone--short of today.

In honor of the launch of Microsoft's Kinect motion-gaming camera later this week, the vast majority of Microsoft senior executives now appear as Xbox avatars on the company's press page.

One big omission is Windows and Windows Live division president Steven Sinofsky, whose mug has … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 1338: Avatar 2: The tree of money (podcast)

The New Nook Color makes its debut: is it half a loaf or a half-bottle of wine? It's a tortured set of analogies, but we hope you'll get the point. Plus, big news about the show's host lineup (welcome Brian Tong!), Spotify is in the news but still not in the U.S., and the white iPhone 4 officially reaches "annoying tech unicorn" status. Oh, and "Avatar" will never die. Ever. --Molly

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