Techradar Thursday: cool things in the labs, clown computing and 3D gaming

Two by me, one by Neil Mohr that I thought was really interesting. First up, Cloud Computing – or Clown Computing?

So much for the cloud.

Can we really rely on web-based services and software? If you’re expecting us to say no, surprise!

Then a look at some of the interesting things Microsoft, Google, Yahoo! and Mozilla have got cooking in their labs including:

4. Google Mars
Fancy looking for Martians or discovering whether The Watchmen really do have a base on the Red Planet? Google Mars brings the power of Google Maps to nearby planets. Sadly Street View and Local Search aren’t yet available, so if you’re trying to find a kebab shop you’re out of luck.

This piece by Neil Mohr caught my attention: 3D gaming. Is it ace, or is it arse?

At its best with Left 4 Dead, some primal instinctive part of the brain lights up as you realise you now have depth perception. Zombies flailing towards you suddenly have a natural order and a beauty as they spiral in space with a well-placed shotgun to the head. Blood spurts in awesome Jackson Pollock-esque fashion onto your virtual camera lens that views this apocalyptic world. This is the 3D at its best; it works straight out of the box complimenting the gameplay, even enhancing it.

Yay! But it’s a qualified yay:

At its worst, though, it’s a frustrating mess. A crosshair that makes you feel you’ve drunk five pints, constant ghosting from lights and effects, while struggling to make the stereo effect work at all without inducing eye-strain. Somewhat akin to magic-eye pictures, it’s an effect that you gradually get more and more used to or not at all.