Gadget Daddy: ‘The Digital Answer Man’ Jim Barry will be missed – News – News Chief

I first met Jim Barry about 25 years ago. “I’m the spokesperson for the Consumer Electronics Association (now the Consumer Technology Association),” said Barry by way of telephone introduction, “and I’ll be in Florida in March and would like to show you some of the new products introduced in January at the Consumer Electronics Show.”

And each springtime thereafter, Jim would roll through Lakeland, and dozens of other cities across the nation, visiting with tech reporters for newspapers, television and radio stations. If the Detroit Tigers were in town, we’d go see a baseball game after Barry’s presentation of intriguing new gadgets. If he was lucky, the Boston Red Sox would be playing. Barry was a huge Red Sox fan — and a season ticketholder at Fenway Park.

Barry, 71, died Oct. 20. He had been either writing or talking about electronics nearly all his adult life. The Consumer Electronics Show celebrated its 50th anniversary with the annual Las Vegas show in January. Barry had been a part of the large majority of them, either as an editor for an electronics magazine covering the industry, or as the industry’s spokesperson. He was, said the president of the Consumer Technology Association, “The Digital Answer Man.”

“Jim was a remarkable person who was dedicated to and passionate about our industry,” said Gary Shapiro, CTA’s president and CEO. “As a tireless media spokesperson, he helped introduce millions of consumers to the latest tech innovations. Jim was respected by everyone he worked with, including manufacturers, retailers and the media and made many friends along the way. Jim also was a respected journalist who covered our industry in a thoughtful and insightful style. Along the way, he helped mentor many of our staff, educating them and igniting their passion for our industry. The entire CTA family will miss him dearly.”

Barry had been involved with electronics far longer than some of the CEOs of start-up companies had been alive. “You say ‘Betamax’ to some of them and you get a blank stare,” Barry once told me, referencing Sony’s cassette-tape video format introduced in 1975 that lost the video battle to the Video Home System developed by JVC about that same time. “They might have a vague idea of what you’re talking about.”

Back when he started covering the Consumer Electronics Show, it fit into a hotel’s convention center. Now, it spills out of the massive Las Vegas Convention Center into several hotels. It takes 20 days to set up and would need 43 football fields to hold it all.

“When I started covering CES, the ‘automotive electronics section’ consisted of car stereos and speakers,” Barry said in January as we walked among self-driving cars, trucks equipped with all sorts of cameras and sensors, and — yes — a few displays of stereos. “Now, CES looks like an automotive showroom.” This year, a dozen companies made major announcements at CES — half of which were car companies.

He added that the advancements in automotive electronics are being underestimated. “The self-driving vehicles are making gains faster than people realize,” he said. “It’s building upon itself.” Indeed, we were more comfortable walking among some self-driving cars being demonstrated than we were crossing Las Vegas Boulevard.

To see the progress made in the last two decades in electronics, one only had to see him walk through the front door of The Ledger year after year. In the early ’90s, Barry came in with a steamer trunk in tow. Ten years later, he’s bringing in a large duffel bag.

During his last visit in 2016, all the gadgets easily fit into a shoulder bag not much larger than a bread box.

No matter what the size of the container, the gadgets were always fascinating. He had roamed those 43 football fields of things and found the best — and most practical — items to catch the attention of consumers: basketballs and bats that recorded all manner of statistics; audio players; digital cameras; virtual-reality devices that were so realistic you’d have to reach for a nearby table or chair for stability when you were immersed in that world.

Barry also had a knack for steering reporters away from the exotic things and focus their attention on something that deserved more attention than it was getting.

For instance: About a year ago, “wearable technology” was all the talk, mostly centered around Google Glass (think of a pair of eyeglasses that allowed the wearer to have a computer screen floating in front of them) and Samsung Gear (a wristwatch that could display information from an Android smartphone). Barry was asked about them at all his media stops. He would tell reporters:

“Everybody focuses on two things. They focus on the Samsung Gear and on Google Glass. Both of those are very cool and do a lot of neat things. But the place where people are already using lots of wearable technology is the health and fitness space. The monitors and all the rest. We’re going to see a lot more of that.”

He was exactly right. Today, smartphones not only track all sorts of physical activity and serve up exercise programs, but they also have turned into diagnostic tools for doctors.

The consumer-technology industry, Barry would tell you, supports 15 million jobs the United States and represents about $321 billion of the country’s economy.

Even so, a little poorer with Jim’s passing.

Contact Lonnie Brown at ledgerdatabase@

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Halo: The Master Chief Collection Xbox One X Patch Will ‘Rearchitect’ the Game’s Matchmaking Systems


“MCC was essentially six pretty different game engines strapped together.”

Halo developer 343 Industries is updating Halo: The Master Chief Collection to resolve lingering issues with the game’s matchmaking system and improve game performance on Xbox One and Xbox One X.

In a post on Halo Waypoint, franchise development director Frank O’Connor discussed the development history of The Master Chief Collection (MCC), highlighting areas where the developer made mistakes and detailing their plans to make it right.

The MCC has had matchmaking issues since it launched in November of 2014, and 343 acknowledges those issues were due in large part to the way the collection was developed. “It may sound simplistic, but MCC was essentially six pretty different game engines strapped together and interlinked with highly complex and highly delicate new systems,” O’Connor explained.

Recent updates, along with the release of the Xbox One X, have provided the team with an opportunity to resolve long-standing issues. 343 plans to take advantage of the new hardware and use that opportunity to “rearchitect” and update the game’s networking and matchmaking methodology. Improvements will affect all Xbox One platforms, with special visual enhancements for Xbox One X.

O’Connor states that these updates were not possible until recently, due to a number of improvements the platform team made over the last year. Since their work has been reliant on a number of different systems instead of just one issue, estimating the timing of the update has been difficult until now.

Some problems arose from the way testing occurred at 343. Due to smaller test sizes, the studio never experienced the issues that would pop up once the game was released. “We genuinely didn’t know until the day it released, how bad the matchmaking in particular was going to get.”

While there were other issues, matchmaking seems to have been the core of the problem. “The way the UI and matchmaking protocols interacted with each other exacerbated many of the smaller items and amplified a couple of them in unpredictable ways.”

The way the Xbox One was built also had a profound effect on the way the game systems interacted. “The short version was that for Xbox One we built some of the underlying systems to work on a brand-new platform, which was fundamentally, quite different to both the original consoles the games were designed for” O’Connor said.

Updates to the Xbox One online system have changed the game for 343, and the team can now resolve these issues by reworking the foundation of MCC.

O’Connor acknowledged his own struggles with MCC’s development issues, and said he understands player frustration. “From a personal perspective, the MCC launch was one of my lowest ebbs, professionally. Every angry mail I received, I took to heart. I felt like I had personally let our fans down.” He continues, “I also understand that silence can be frustrating. You have complaints or questions, and we try to answer them as best we can, but sometimes bad information is worse.”

343 is aware this may not answer every question players have, and promises to provide an update in the future. “I’m going to follow up next year after we have better detail on the fixes and the Xbox One X update, to follow through with an even more detailed technical breakdown of what broke, why and how we fixed it,” O’Connor said. “That’s what we owe you – that and a game we can both finally be satisfied with.”

343 recently detailed the next round of Halo 5 and Halo Wars 2 updates, and Halo 3 is one of the Xbox 360 games getting Xbox One X enhancements.

Brian Barnett is an IGN Freelancer. He has been a fan of The Chief since Day 1, and he’s looking forward to playing the Collection in its full glory on Xbox One X. You can follow him on Twitter @Ribnax.

343 Industries Reveals Updates ‘Halo 5,’ ‘Halo Wars 2,’ and ‘The Grasp Chief Collections’


Advertising image for ‘Halo: The Grasp Chief Collection’

A slew of new alterations is slated to get there on a amount of “Halo” titles including “Halo 5,” “Halo Wars 2,” and “Grasp Chief Collections.” This was announced by developer 343 Industries for the duration of a livestream held this week.

Initially off is the latest entry in the main franchise, “Halo 5.” The sport is slated for an Time beyond regulation information update which will function 4K upgrades for Xbox Just one X entrepreneurs, up to date weapon tuning, and the return of the “Oddball” multiplayer mode. New skins will also be produced out there pursuing the update’s start next thirty day period.

The information update will see the addition of a Nearby Server application. The function lets players to host a regional server on a Home windows 10 Laptop on the identical network as Xbox Just one consoles for lower-latency multiplayer matches.

“Halo Wars 2” will also acquire enhancements for the Xbox Just one X. In addition, will also get on-line cross-platform compatibility between Laptop and Xbox Just one as very well as the Xbox Arena, which lets players to organize and host their possess on-line tournaments.

At last, there’s the “Grasp Chief Collections,” the collection of the to start with 4 “Halo” titles which had been re-introduced on the Xbox Just one again in 2014. All 4 online games will also acquire updates to make the Xbox Just one X-completely ready as very well as get benefit of Xbox platform improvements because its original start.

343 Industries also uncovered their designs to apply a “general public flighting program” which will make it possible for it to include iterative patches and updates in the upcoming though at the identical time tests them in a large-scale ecosystem. The to start with of these updates are anticipated to get there next spring.

In addition to the updates, 343 Industries also announced the “Halo” Earth Championship 2018 which will have qualifiers in Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Latin The usa, and North The usa. The Finals will get area this weekend and will be streamed on Mixer and Twitch.

Apple COO Jeff Williams and Foxconn Chief Will Reportedly Meet Amid iPhone X Production Issues

Apple’s operating chief Jeff Williams will reportedly meet Foxconn chairman Terry Gou later this month, following several reports about ongoing iPhone X production issues, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

While the report did not say which topics Gou and Williams will discuss, it said the two executives will presumably look at ways to deal with the manufacturing bottleneck for Apple’s new high-end smartphone.

Williams will be visiting Taiwan for the 30th anniversary of TSMC, the sole supplier of the A11 Bionic chip in the latest iPhone models, the report said. A ceremony marking the celebration is scheduled for Monday.

Apple’s suppliers are still struggling to perfect manufacturing of the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera and 3D facial recognition system, according to the report. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo highlighted the issues last month.

Multiple reports have claimed it has taken more time to assemble the TrueDepth system’s so-called “Romeo” module than the “Juliet” module.

The “Romeo” module reportedly includes the dot projector that beams more than 30,000 invisible dots to create a precise depth map of your face, while the “Juliet” module includes the infrared camera that analyzes the pattern. Together, they help power new iPhone X features such as Face ID and Animoji.

Foxconn is the sole assembler of the iPhone X, while its subsidiary Sharp and LG Innotek are reportedly responsible for assembling the 3D sensor modules.

Today’s report cited an industry executive who said that while the yield rate has improved, it has not yet reached a satisfactory level. The executive believes it’s unlikely the yield rate will reach a level that will enable Apple’s suppliers to churn out the iPhone X at their full capacity by the end of October.

Jeff Pu, an analyst with Taipei-based Yuanta Investment Consulting, recently cut his forecast of the number of iPhone X devices that will be produced this year from 40 million units to 36 million. It was the second time he has revised down his estimate, which originally totaled 45 million earlier this year.

iPhone X pre-orders begin one week from today in the United States and more than 55 other countries. The device launches November 3.