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Grand Theft of Gaming Market

By Brian Horowitz   |    April 29, 2008

The gaming industry is abuzz over today's unveiling of [Grand Theft Auto IV](http://www.take2games.com/index.php?p=games&platform=PLAYSTATION_3&title=gta4). Rockstar Games, a division of Take-Two Interactive Software (NASDAQ: TTWO), aims to raise the bar of game design with what the company says is a lifelike interactive experience -- and immersive, too.

gta4reuters.jpg

*The New York Times* [reports](http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/29/technology/29game.html?ref=technology) that the game can take more than 40 hours to complete.

The graphic details, the music and the ability to accommodate 16 players sound impressive.

Take-Two Interactive has released this new version of the game as a takeover attempt by rival Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) ensues.

Grand Theft Auto has returned amid the usual controversy for the heavy violence and sexual content, but the innovation in game design promises to stimulate curiosity in those not normally prone to game playing.

E-mail Marketing Revisited

By Brian Horowitz   |    April 28, 2008

Recently I [interviewed](http://blog.internetnews.com/bhorowitz/2008/02/innovations-and-email-marketin.html) Sheldon Gilbert, CEO of Proclivity Systems, regarding the company's e-mail marketing engine, called Proclivity Mail.

*Fast Company* magazine also [published](http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/125/barneys-and-friend.html) a story about Gilbert and Proclivity in its May 2008 innovation column.

It had been debatable whether customers would go for the targeted spam the software sends to customers, but Barneys says people are responding to the predictive e-mails in droves, according to the piece.

Min Summit: Engagement And Online Media

By Brian Horowitz   |    April 15, 2008

NEW YORK -- At today's [Min Day Summit](http://www.minonline.com/mds) in New York City, several print, advertising and digital media executives laid out their tips on how to succeed in [online media](/bus-news/article.php/3741031/From+Print+Magazines+to+Online+Communities.htm).

One theme of the day was engagement -- that media sites need to keep their core audience in mind and engage their readership in various forms. At [TVGuide.com](http://www.tvguide.com), for instance, every writer has a presence on Facebook and interacts with readers in that space, said the site's managing editor Matt Mitovich.

One surprising tidbit came from Richard Glosser, executive director, emerging media at [CondeNet](http://www.condenet.com), who spoke about podcasts as almost a thing of the past.
"Every advertiser needed a podcast; now people aren't talking about podcasts," he said.
"Advertisers are more interested in widgets."

More to come on today's Min summit.

Collaborative Book Publishing Hits The 'Net

By Brian Horowitz   |    April 10, 2008

A Web 2.0 company called [WeBook](http://www.webook.com), based in Bethesda, Md., launched yesterday a beta version of its service that allow writers, editors, reviewers and illustrators to collaborate online on books.

No publishing companies needed, and the works will be sold at online retailers such as Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com, in addition to WeBook's site. You can even preview chapters of the site's book via mobile phone texting or a mobile Web browser.

In a statement, Sue Heilbronner, president of WeBook, said the site could be the Linux of the publishing world.

Perhaps the name of the site should be Wikinovelpedia.

Scientists Take Music Files Beyond MP3

By Brian Horowitz   |    April 06, 2008

This week we got a taste of what music files could look like on iTunes in the future.

Researchers at the University of Rochester announced that they have digitally replicated a music file 1,000 times smaller than an ordinary MP3.

Mark Bocko, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Rochester, developed the technology along with his doctoral students Xiaoxiao Dong and Mark Sterling. They were able to condense a 20-second clarinet solo from an MP3 to a file smaller than a kilobyte.

Imagine how much more music could fit on an iPod? Would this dilute music sales for record companies, fitting more content in files for a lower price? Or would this be a boon for consumers?

You can listen to the two versions of a 20-minute clarinet solo on the [University of Rochester site](http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=3136): one in MP3 size and one using Bocko's compression method.