The console was Microsoft's last product that ventured into the video game console market, after having collaborated with Sega in porting Windows CE to the Dreamcast console. The Xbox first edition was initially developed by a small Microsoft team that included game developer Seamus Blackley. Microsoft repeatedly delayed the console, which was first mentioned in late 1999 during interviews with then-Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. Gates stated that a gaming/multimedia device was essential for multimedia convergence in the new times, confirmed by Microsoft with a press release. When Bill Gates unveiled the Xbox at the Game Developers Conference in 2000, audiences were dazzled by the console's technology. At the time of Gates' announcement, Sega's Dreamcast was diminishing and Sony's PlayStation 2 was just hitting the streets in Japan.Concentrating on making a big splash in Japan, Microsoft delayed its European launch, though Europe later proved to be the more receptive market. Two of the original members of the Xbox team, Seamus Blackley and Kevin Bachus, left the company early on. The other founding members, Otto Berkes and Ted Hase, are still with Microsoft, but no longer working on the Xbox project. Some of Microsoft's plans proved effective. In preparation for its launch, Microsoft acquired Bungie and used Halo: Combat Evolved as its launch title.
Monday, August 31, 2009
The French Open (French: Les Internationaux de France de Roland Garros or Tournoi de Roland-Garros) is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks between late May and early June in Paris, France, at the Stade Roland Garros. It is the second of the Grand Slam tournaments on the annual tennis calendar and the premier clay court tennis tournament in the world. Roland Garros is the only Grand Slam still held on clay and ends the spring clay court season.It is one of the most prestigious events in tennis, and it has the widest worldwide broadcasting and audience of all regular events in this sport. Because of the slow playing surface and the five-set men's singles matches without a tiebreak in the final set, the event is widely considered to be the most physically demanding tennis tournament in the world. Another novelty, since 2006 the tournament has begun on a Sunday, featuring 12 singles matches played on the three main courts. Additionally, on the eve of the tournament's opening, the traditional Benny Berthet exhibition day takes place, where the profits go to different charity associations. In March 2007, it was announced that the event will provide equal prize money for both men and women in all rounds for the first time ever
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Usain St. Leo Bolt, OJ, is a Jamaican sprinter and a three-time Olympic gold medalist. He holds the world record for the 100 metres, the 200 metres and, along with his teammates, the 4x100 metres relay. He also holds the Olympic record for all three of these races. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Bolt became the first man to win three sprinting events at a single Olympics since Carl Lewis in 1984, and the first man to set world records in all three at a single Olympics. In 2009 he became the first man to hold the 100 and 200 m world and Olympic titles at the same time. He turned professional in 2004, missing most of his first two seasons due to injuries, but he competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics. In August 2009, a year after the Beijing Olympics, he lowered his own 100 m and 200 m world records to 9.58 s and 19.19 s respectively at the 2009 World Championships. His record breaking margin in 100 m is the highest since the start of digital time measurements. As a result of Bolt's successes in athletics, he was named the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for 2009. His achievements in sprinting have earned him the media nickname "'Lightning Bolt"
The recognised international governing body of football (and associated games, such as futsal and beach soccer) is the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The FIFA headquarters are located in Zürich.
Six regional confederations are associated with FIFA; these are:
Asia: Asian Football Confederation (AFC)
Africa: Confederation of African Football (CAF)
Central/North America & Caribbean: Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF; also known as The Football Confederation)
Europe: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)
Oceania: Oceania Football Confederation (OFC)
South America: Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol/Confederação Sul-americana de Futebol (South American Football Confederation; CONMEBOL)
National associations oversee football within individual countries. These are affiliated both with FIFA and with their respective continental confederations.
Some of the football associations not recognised by FIFA are affiliated to the Nouvelle Fédération-Board (NF-Board).
Friday, August 28, 2009
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was a British filmmaker and producer who pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in his native United Kingdom in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood. In 1956 he became an American citizen while retaining his British citizenship. Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films in a career spanning six decades. He remains one of the most popular and most recognised filmmakers, and his works are still popular today. Often regarded as the greatest British filmmaker of all time, in 2007 Hitchcock was ranked #1 by film critics in The Telegraph's list of 21 greatest British directors, which writes: "Unquestionably the greatest filmmaker to emerge from these islands, Hitchcock did more than any director to shape modern cinema, which would be utterly different without him. His flair was for narrative, cruelly withholding crucial information (from his characters and from us) and engaging the emotions of the audience like no one else. By 1938, Hitchcock had become known for his famous observation, "Actors are cattle". He once said that he first made this remark as early as the late 1920s, in connection to stage actors who were snobbish about motion pictures. However, Michael Redgrave said that Hitchcock had made the statement during the filming of The Lady Vanishes.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The first conceptions of the PlayStation date back to 1986 in Japan where it was created. Nintendo had been attempting to work with disc technology since the Famicom, but the medium had problems. Its rewritable magnetic nature could be easily erased (thus leading to a lack of durability), and the discs were a copyright infringement danger. Consequently, when details of CDROM/XA (an extension of the CD-ROM format that combines compressed audio, visual and computer data, allowing all to be accessed simultaneously) came out, Nintendo was interested. CD-ROM/XA was being simultaneously developed by Sony and Philips. Nintendo approached Sony to develop a CD-ROM add-on, tentatively titled the "SNES-CD". A contract was signed, and work began. Nintendo's choice of Sony was due to a prior dealing: Ken Kutaragi, the person who would later be dubbed "The Father of PlayStation", was the individual who had sold Nintendo on using the Sony SPC-700 processor for use as the eight-channel ADPCM sound synthesis set in the Super Famicom/SNES console through an impressive demonstration of the processor's capabilities. Sony also planned to develop a Super Famicom-compatible, Sony-branded console, but one which would be more of a home entertainment system playing both Super Nintendo cartridges and a new CD format which Sony would design. This was also to be the format used in SNES-CD discs, giving a large degree of control to Sony despite Nintendo's leading position in the video gaming market.
Spider-Man is a fictional Marvel Comics superhero. The character was created by writer and editor Stan Lee and artist and co-plotter Steve Ditko. He first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962). Lee and Ditko conceived of the character as an orphan being raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben as an ordinary teenager, having to deal with the normal struggles of youth in addition to those of a costumed crime fighter. Spider-Man's creators gave him the ability to cling to walls, shoot spider-webs using devices of his own invention which he called "web-shooters," and react to danger quickly with his "spider-sense", enabling him to combat his foes, including Doctor Octopus, the Sandman, the Lizard, and Green Goblin, although it doesn't work for his symbiote foes such as an Venom and Carnage because of his exposure of the symbiote. When Spider-Man first appeared in the early 1960s, teenagers in superhero comic books were usually relegated to the role of sidekick to the protagonist. The Spider-Man series broke ground by featuring Peter Parker, a teenage high school student to whose "self-obsessions with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness" young readers could easily relate. line included in a text box in the final panel of the first Spider-Man story, but later retroactively attributed to his guardian, the late Uncle Ben.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
A Formula One Grand Prix event spans a weekend, beginning with two free practice sessions on Friday (except in Monaco, where Friday practices are moved to Thursday), and one free practice on Saturday. Additional drivers (commonly known as third drivers) are allowed to run on Fridays, but only two cars may be used per team, requiring a race driver to give up their seat. A Qualifying session is held after the last free practice session. This session determines the starting order for the race
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Michael Schumacher and Ferrari won an unprecedented five consecutive drivers’ championships and six consecutive constructors’ championships between 1999 and 2004. Schumacher set many new records, including those for Grand Prix wins (91), wins in a season (13 of 18), and most drivers' championships (7).Schumacher's championship streak ended on September 25, 2005 when Renault driver Fernando Alonso became Formula One’s youngest champion at that time. In 2006, Renault and Alonso won both titles again. Schumacher retired at the end of 2006 after sixteen years in Formula One.
During this period the championship rules were frequently changed by the FIA with the intention of improving the on-track action and cutting costs.Team orders, legal since the championship started in 1950, were banned in 2002 after several incidents in which teams openly manipulated race results, generating negative publicity, most famously by Ferrari at the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix. Other changes included the qualifying format, the points scoring system, the technical regulations and rules specifying how long engines and tyres must last. A 'tyre war' between suppliers Michelin and Bridgestone saw lap times fall, although at the 2005 United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis seven out of ten teams did not race when their Michelin tyres were deemed unsafe for use. During 2006, Max Mosley outlined a ‘green’ future for Formula One, in which efficient use of energy would become an important factor.And the tyre war ended, as Bridgestone became the sole tyre supplier to Formula One for the 2007 season.
Since 1983, Formula One had been dominated by specialist race teams like Williams, McLaren and Benetton, using engines supplied by large car manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Renault and Ford. Starting in 2000, with Ford’s creation of the largely unsuccessful Jaguar team, new manufacturer-owned teams entered Formula One for the first time since the departure of Alfa Romeo and Renault at the end of 1985. By 2006, the manufacturer teams–Renault, BMW, Toyota, Honda and Ferrari–dominated the championship, taking five of the first six places in the constructors' championship. The sole exception was McLaren, which is part-owned by Mercedes Benz. Through the Grand Prix Manufacturers Association (GPMA) they negotiated a larger share of Formula One’s commercial profit and a greater say in the running of the sport.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Hitmen have been at times been a notable part of crime film. A rise in such characters began in 1970s due to "mafia films" like The Godfather. A notable example from the 1980s is the final scene of Scarface, in which an assassination squad is sent to kill the protagonist, Tony Montana. In the early 1990s Jean Reno gained some attention as a hitman in Léon: The Professional. In the mid-1990s to the 20s several "offbeat" portrayals of hitmen arose. John Cusack plays a hitman named Martin Blank who attends his high school reunion in the comedy film Grosse Pointe Blank. Forest Whitaker portrayed an African American hitman influenced by Bushidō in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. In addition Jude Law, in Road to Perdition, played a hit man with a strong interest in photography. Chuck Norris made an appearance in the 1991 movie The Hitman. Loosely based on actual events, Edward Fox methodically plans a hit on Charles de Gaulle, President of France, in the 1973 film The Day of the Jackal. In a similarly named 1997 film, Bruce Willis also portrays an assassin using the codename The Jackal. The most recent movie portraying a Hitman is probably Timothy Olyphant's Hitman based on the game.
Laws were formulated in England, and were initially administered by the four British football associations within IFAB, the standard dimensions of a football pitch were expressed in imperial units. The Laws now express dimensions with approximate metric equivalents which are followed by traditional units in brackets, though popular use tends to continue to use traditional units in English - speaking countries with a relatively recent history of metrication, such as Great Britain. The length of the pitch for international adult matches is in the range 110–120 yd and the width is in the range 70–80 yd. Fields for non-international matches may be 100–130 yd length and 50–101 yd in width, provided that the pitch does not become square.Since 2006, In order to standardize the size of the football pitch for A international matches, the IFAB has decided to set a fixed size of 105 m long and 68 m wide (instead of a minimum and maximum length – from 100 to 110 m – and a minimum and a maximum width – from 64 to 75 m. The longer boundary lines are touch lines, while the shorter boundaries on which the goals are placed are called goal lines. A rectangular goal is positioned at the middle of the each goal line.
In front of each goal is an area known as the area penalty . This area is marked by the goal line, two lines starting on the goal line 18 yd from the goalposts and extending 18 yd into the pitch perpendicular to the goal line joining them. This area has a number of functions, the prominent being to mark where the goalkeeper may handle the ball and where a penalty foul by a member of the team defending becomes punishable by a penalty kick. Other markings define the position of the players at kick-offs, goal kicks, penalty and corner kicks.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Handball (also known as team handball, Olympic handball or European handball) is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each (six outfield players and a goalkeeper) pass and bounce a ball to throw it into the goal of the opposing team. The team with the most goals after two periods of 30 minutes wins.Modern handball is usually played indoors, but outdoors variants exist in the form of field handball (which was more common in the past) and beach handball. American handball is a completely different sport. The game is quite fast and includes body contact as the defenders try to stop the attackers from approaching the goal. Contact is only allowed when the defensive player is completely in front of the offensive player, i.e. between the offensive player and the goal. This is referred to as a player sandwich. Any contact from the side or especially from behind is considered dangerous and is usually met with penalties. When a defender successfully stops an attacking player, the play is stopped and restarted by the attacking team from the spot of the infraction or on the nine meter line. Unlike in basketball where players are allowed to commit only 5 fouls in a game, handball players are allowed an unlimited number of "faults," which are considered good defense and disruptive to the attacking team's rhythm.
Early performances of opera were too infrequent for singers to make a living exclusively from the style, but with the birth of commercial opera in the mid-17th century, professional performers began to emerge. The role of the male hero was usually entrusted to a castrato, and by the 18th century, when Italian opera was performed throughout Europe, leading castrati who possessed extraordinary vocal virtuosity, such as Senesino and Farinelli, became international stars. The career of the first major female star (or prima donna), Anna Renzi, dates to the mid-1600s. In the 18th century, a number of Italian sopranos gained international renown and often engaged in fierce rivalry, as was the case with Faustina Bordoni and Francesca Cuzzoni, who started a fist fight with one another during a performance of a Handel opera. The French disliked castrati, preferring their male heroes to be sung by a haute-contre (a high tenor), of which Joseph Legros was a leading example.Though opera patronage has decreased in the last century in favor of other arts and media, such as musicals, cinema, radio, television and recordings, mass media has also supported the popularity of famous singers such as Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, and José Carreras ("The Three Tenors"). Other famous 20th century performers include Maria Callas, Montserrat Caballé, Joan Sutherland, Nellie Melba, Rosa Ponselle, Beniamino Gigli, Jussi Björling, Feodor Chaliapin and Enrico Caruso.