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The Techday Weekender - Sep 17th 2011

17 Sep 2011

The next year will be an exciting time for IT developers, if the news events from this week are anything to go by.

On Thursday, Alcatel-Lucent introduced the tech media to its LTE showcase, a room bursting with devices and apps running on next-generation network technology. Entering the showcase, it is instantly clear LTE can do some seriously cool things, but the real purpose of the display is to demonstrate to developers and other stakeholders how LTE can be used to create innovative business models. So the interactive gaming screen that I instantly thought would make a great coffee table is turned upright and presented as a ‘smart sign’ to be placed around shopping malls and events, or a ‘virtual concierge’ to provide a slick interface with staff at hotel or bank lobbies.

Unfortunately, the showcase isn’t open to the public; instead, Alcatel-Lucent will be hosting partners, customers and ‘members of New Zealand’s innovation community’ during September and October, in the hope of sowing a few seeds of ingenuity.

Speaking of ingenuity, there was good news from several kiwi start-ups this week. On Monday, kiwi Content Management System (CMS) provider Contegro was added to the top 30 list compiled by Bryan Ruby, editor of CMS Report. Tuesday saw event marketing and ticketing platform Eventfinder touting the initial success of its launch in Australia, and Wednesday saw merchant service provider SmartPay achieving certification for two of its EFTPOS terminals in the same region.

Ending the successful week was the announcement that Auckland-based game developer Outsmart would receive $1.8 million from the government to encourage growth for its online game, SmallWorlds. The boost adds to the funding Outsmart received when it launched the game in 2008; since then it has amassed more than 6.5 million users.

In international developer news, Microsoft hosted thousands of IT professionals at its Build conference in California this week. The conference was promoted as the developer launch of Windows 8, and Microsoft didn’t disappoint, giving each attendee a Samsung tablet running an early version of the software in order to tempt more people to develop apps for the platform.

Google opened its data centre in Finland over the weekend, in a move that could foreshadow more expansions to colder climes as companies look to keep cooling costs down, while over at Apple, new CEO Tim Cook made his first big break from the policies of predecessor Steve Jobs by announcing the company will match any charitable donations made by its full-time US employees to a maximum value of US$10,000.

Finally, for gamers we published an interview with Tim Willits, who has been creative director of groundbreaking game developers id Software – responsible for titles such as Wolfenstein 3D and Commander Keen – since back in 1995. Willits joined just a little late for these classics, but did work on titles like Quake and Doom 3. He discusses id Software’s forthcoming title, Rage.

Have a great weekend readers, we’ll see you Monday.

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