Listen up iPod nano (3rd Generation), iPod Classic and 5th Generation iPod owners! Your ability to abstain from buying iPod games could be challenged, for Apple have quietly released Sonic the Hedgehog for your favorite pocket music players. Yes, Sonic the Hedgehog. I can wait here — you go celebrate this gaming icon making it to Cupertino via the iTunes Store.

You’re back? Excellent. Complete with MIDI-esque soundtrack for true ‘throw-back-to-Sonic’s-golden-era’ effect, this new game will cost you $4.99 / £3.99 (yes, almost $8 – pity us Brits) or €4,99 via the iTunes Store and is available now; there’s also the usual gifting option, should there be an iPod user in your life you’ve yet to find gift inspiration for.

If you own a MacBook or MacBook Pro and have had keyboard problems, Apple just released a software update that will (hopefully) fix this issue! This problem was first spotted when users started upgrading to Leopard. Some users have reported that their keyboards temporarily freeze, especially in Carbon apps such as MS Office 2004.

Apple states, “Some MacBook and MacBook Pro systems may occasionally experience a temporary suspension of keyboard input which can last a minute or longer.” You can download the update from the Apple Support website or via Software Update.

(Source: An anonymous reader found that “For the last 30 years, Lucasfilm has created special holiday greeting cards for its employees and business partners. For the first time ever, we have compiled most of the Star Wars-themed Holiday Cards on one page.” My favorite is 2005. That would make a cool poster or something

Take a look:

What’s better than a replica of Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet? A life-size fully animatronic, remote-controlled replica of Robby the Robot, of course. Only available from luxury goods purveyor Hammacher Schlemmer, this bot is made by the same artist who restored the original after it was sold to the Southern California prop museum in 1970.

Preprogrammed to speak lines from the movie, you can also project your own voice through the robot’s sound system using an included wireless microphone. One thing it won’t do is walk, however, so if $50,000 is too much for a sedentary, seven-foot robot, this may not be the Robby for you.

It may be hard to believe, but there are even more DVD editions of “Blade Runner” being released today than there are versions of the movie (if you count HD-DVD and Blu-ray formats). Your options are:

Blade Runner: The Final Cut Special Edition“: two-disc set, $20.97.

Blade Runner: Collector’s Edition“: four-disc set, $34.99. Includes the final cut, plus the U.S. and international versions and the director’s cut. Also available as “Blade Runner: Complete Collector’s Edition” on HD-DVD and Blu-ray (both five-disc sets, both $39.99).

In what appeared to be a change in its negotiating strategy, the Writers Guild of America informed its membership Saturday that it plans to seek to hammer out individual deals with the studios, networks and production companies. “Each signatory employer is required to bargain with us individually if we make a legal demand that it do so. We will make this demand on Monday,” the writers said.

In an interview on Fox News Channel’s Your World With Neil Cavuto Thursday, News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch accused the writers of attempting to impose “some sort of Socialist system and drag down the companies.” Murdoch predicted that the strike “is not going to last as long as everybody says,” but quickly retreated on that forecast by adding, “But, if it does, it does.”

A new funding deal between the Welsh Assembly Government and the University of Glamorgan will allow the digital animators of Wales to fulfil their potential.

The Assembly Government has provided a £500,000 loan to ensure that the University’s ‘Render Farm’ facility can be used by both students and commercial companies across Wales. Render Farms provide the industrial-scale processing power for Computer Generated Imaginary (CGI) and computer animated cartoons such as Shrek and Toy Story. They provide the basic building blocks that allow life like images to be produced.

The facility will be based in the new Atrium building that houses the Cardiff School of Creative & Cultural Industries.

(Source:          EyeQube Studios Pvt. Ltd, a joint venture between Eros International Plc and international talent Charles Darby is all set to attract a pool of creative talent to fill in its immediate requirements of more than 250 visual effects artists including animators, designers, matte painters and developers at its upcoming facility in Mumbai within the next two months.

This will be one of the biggest recruitment drives to attract talent in the visual effect industry.

(Source: What marked 2007? Among other things, the Autobots battling the Decepticons in Transformers; The Maelstrom overtaking Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; the web-slinging superhero taking on Sandman and Venom in Spider-Man 3; 300’s triumph in next-gen moviemaking; the marvelous daemons of The Golden Compass; Beowulf’s advancement in the performance capture hybrid; and Ratatouille’s great leap forward in vfx for animation, propelling it to Oscar consideration on the long list. Here’s a recap of our top five each from digital acting and 3D environments in this Year in Review:

Transformers -

DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. announced today that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase program of $150 million of the Company’s outstanding shares of Class A common stock. Under the new program, the Company may purchase shares in the open market, in block trades or in privately negotiated transactions. The timing and actual number of shares purchased may depend on a variety of factors, such as price, regulatory requirements, corporate considerations, alternative investment opportunities and other market conditions.

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