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technology news and reviews

Updated: 2015-09-16T12:59:16.821-07:00


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Is EA's MOBA Dawngate a worthy competitor to League of Legends? You can play it today and decide for yourself


Electronic Arts has announced that its upcoming MOBA Dawngate has entered open beta, allowing anyone to try out the Battlefield publisher's competitor to massively popular free-to-play games League of Legends and DOTA 2.
You can join the beta today by registering at the game's website. Of course, the version of Dawngate you'll get to play is an in-development, non-final build.
Dawngate will also be playable this week at PAX East on the show floor April 11-13. Developer Waystone Games will also hold a special panel at the show and all attendees will receive an exclusive bonus skin.
Dawngate aims to separate itself from the growing pack of MOBAs by allowing you to choose a role that isn't specifically dependent on the character you select. This is all in the way of "celebrating personal play styles," EA says.
Finally, EA has announced that on Friday it will release a new interactive online graphic novel called The Dawngate Chronicles. EA says that with every game played, the Dawngate player community will actually shape how the story unfolds and ultimately dictate "the fate of everything."

PlayStation Vita TV review: Sony's first mini-console has some growing pains


Sony had a tiny surprise to share just ahead of the Tokyo Games Show: the PS Vita TV, appearing from inside SCE President Andrew House's jacket pocket. Having already announced a new, slender PS Vita handheld less than an hour earlier, Sony showed off this minute console -- roughly the same footprint as a smartphone -- that plays Vita games, PlayStation games and streams video content, as well as music and video from Sony's own store. It can also connect with multiple PS3 DualShock controllers, allowing for proper, responsive gaming -- something we're not quite used to getting from something so tiny.
You could see it as a brutal counterstrike from the PlayStation team against the cheap, mini-console likes of OUYA and GameStickeven Huawei. Aside from contemporary Vita titles and indie games, you can also tap into an ever-increasing catalog of hits from yesteryear -- something that the Android and iOS platforms also dip their feet into, but with the peace of mind (read: stability) of PlayStation hardware, and the ability to steer the action with a DualShock controller. Sound like something you'd like to try out? Well, unfortunately, unlike the new PS Vita, this is currently a Japan-only deal. What's more, availability in Nihon is directly tied to compatibility there, too; you'll need a Japanese PSN account to even use it. We're still getting a vague line from SCE on whether it will eventually arrive outside of Japan. (It would be a convenient bit of hardware to sell alongside Sony's PlayStation Now streaming-game service, set to launch in the US later this year, right?)
So, is this just a tenuous experiment or a whole new console line for PlayStation? Or, given that it's practically got all the same internals, would you be better off just buying a Vita?

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 review: impeccable performance and versatility make this cam an industry leader


To many photographers -- amateurs and professionals alike -- digital SLRs represent quality. The fact that you can remove the lens and swap it for another is inconsequential to those who never buy a second optic, and it's that segment of the market that Sony's targeting with its Cyber-shot RX10. Everything about the RX10 is DSLR-like -- its form factor, built-in EVF, focusing performance and image quality are all on par with many higher-end SLRs -- but its mighty 24-200mm lens is permanently attached. By opting for this comparatively inflexible design, Sony's able to deliver a constant f/2.8 aperture and very high-quality optics in a comfortable package, with a price tag far below what a similar removable lens would command, were it to exist in the first place. The result, put simply, is spectacular, but as $1,300 is at the high end of even deep-pocketed consumers' budgets, you'll want to catch our full review before making a purchase.(image)

HP Spectre 13 Ultrabook review


It's already March, dear readers, which means with the exception of this post right here, you're not going to find many laptop reviews on this site. Why? Because Intel's just three months away from launching its next-generation chips and besides, we've reviewed most of the current-gen models anyway. But not HP's. We haven't reviewed a Hewlett-Packard Ultrabook in more than a year. So here we are, picking up where we left off. The company's newest flagship, the Spectre 13, has a metal-clad body, much like the older models we've tested, except it steps up to an optional 2,560 x 1,440 display and an extra-wide touchpad designed to make all those Windows 8 gestures easier to pull off. It also starts at $1,000, making it a good deal cheaper than most of the other models we'll be name-checking throughout the review. So does that make it a good deal?(image)

Amazon Fire TV review


(image) Here's the thing about Amazon: We can't figure the company out half the time. Few things embody that quite as well as the Fire TV. The company is adamant that the set-top box is not a gaming console, but it's invested heavily in original game development for it and even produced a shockingly good gamepad accessory. Still, video games are just a "bonus." One of the pillars of the streaming-media box is supposed to be openness, but there's no denying that other services like Netflix are treated like second-class citizens here. They're invited to the party; they just better not outshine the host.
The Fire TV may be the next step for Amazon as it tries to build its own ecosystem, but it's also yet another entry in the crowded streaming-media market. And the big question is: Do we need another? We've got TV set-tops for cable, satellite and fiber (at one time joined by a disc player for movies and maybe a game system or two). The next-gen game consoles do double duty as entertainment hubs, and there's no shortage of cheap boxes designed specifically to stream Netflix, HBO Go and Pandora. Add in smart TVs and the rise of pint-sized dongles, and the question of what to watch becomes how to watch. The Fire TV is trying to muscle out competitors with its $99 price and a strong focus on performance, search and openness. Now that we've spent a few days living with one, we can judge whether it's just another option among many, or truly a standout that finally fixes problems the others have so far ignored.

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 review


How do you fit 12.2 inches of tablet into your life? That's a question I'm sure Samsung must have pondered at some point before greenlighting its Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, a device that stretches the upper limits of what we can easily call a tablet. It's also something I've wondered myself, given that its size puts it within uncomfortably close competition with 11- and 13-inch laptops. That increase in screen real estate comes at a high price, too: $750 for a 32GB model and $850 for 64GB, both WiFi-only. LTE-capable models are coming soon, but Samsung hasn't announced pricing yet. As you might imagine, then, the Note Pro 12.2 isn't intended for your average consumer. No, the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is aimed at the prosumer niche of the market -- whoever and whatever that actually means. The Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 isn't a complete departure for Samsung, though. Cosmetically, it's near- identical to the Note 10.1 2014 Edition, except larger. There's that same faux-leather back replete with "stitching," and 2,560 x 1,600 display. What, then, aside from a massive screen, makes the Note Pro 12.2 different enough to justify the price? On paper, the answer to that would center on the version of Android it ships with (4.4.2 KitKat) and its ability to connect remotely to your PC, as well as Samsung's Flipboard-like Magazine interface. Let's be real, though. When it comes to the Note Pro 12.2, size clearly matters most. But that begs the question: Can you and your prosumptive tendencies handle it?(image)

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iPhone 5 shell photographed


The iPhone 5 is not coming out for months, but one site thinks it has already found its shell.

What afternoon would be complete without a new Apple rumor? Earlier today, supposed leaked shots of the new maps application for iOS 6 hit the web, and now we may have our first glimpse of the next iPhone. You don’t have to guess where this image comes from since the logos are plastered on it, but 9to5 Mac and the folks at iFixyouri believe they have discovered the iPhone 5. Or it’s shell, at least.

This part supposedly entered iFixyouri’s catalog. They believe it might be a back plate (shell) for the upcoming iPhone, though we are somewhat doubtful. To us, the design doesn’t look sleak enough to be an Apple phone and it lacks the normal pin connector that connects all iOS devices. Of course, there have been rumors that Apple is going to shrink the connector, so this may fall in line with that. The extra space on the bottom appears to be used by speakers. The black sections also come in white, but whoever sent this also said that black and white wouldn’t be the only colors. Again, according to iFixyouri.

The design of this phone appears somewhat Apple-like, but also a bit, well, ugly. What do you think? Is this the next iPhone?


Sony’s new Xperia Go and Xperia Acro S add water resistance to strong spec lists


Sony Mobile has announced two new Xperia phones, the Xperia Go and the Xperia Acro S. Both are water and dust resistant, and will be released later this year.Sony has announced two new smartphones, the Xperia Acro S and the Xperia Go, both of which fall into the same tough-phone category as devices like the Motorola Defy and Sony’s own Xperia Active.The Xperia Go (pictured on the right above) is the more basic of the two, as it comes with Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread installed, but is listed as being a candidate for an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade. However, this being Sony Mobile, when such an update will arrive is anyone’s guess.The scratch-resistant 3.5-inch Reality Display screen uses the same wet-finger tracking system as the Xperia Active, and the whole device has an IP67 rating for water and dust resistance.Inside is a 1Ghz dual-core processor, which although isn’t stated, we’d expect to be the ST-Ericsson NovaThor U8500, and on the rear is a 5-megapixel camera. The chassis is 9.8mm thick, and it’ll be available in black, white or yellow.The Acro S is a very high-spec phone for one with water and dust resistance, in this case an improved IP55 and IP57 rating, as it has a 1.5Ghz dual-core processor (possibly a Snapdragon S4 like its close cousin, the Japan-only Xperia Acro HD) and a 4.3-inch, 720p Reality Display screen. The 12-megapixel camera will also shoot 1080p video, while the forward-facing video-call lens shoots in 720p.Unlike the Xperia Go, the Acro S will have Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich installed at the start, and instead of a yellow color scheme, it’ll add pink to the standard black or white models.In case you’re not familiar with the intricacies of the IP rating system, the Xperia Go’s IP67 rating will see it survive a dunking for up to 30 minutes, provided the depth is no more than 1 meter, while IP55 and IP57 adds protection against streams of water and  resistance to dust particles too.Both phones are set to be released between July and September, with the Xperia Go being renamed the Xperia Advance for the US market.[...]

Microsoft Wireless Desktop 5000 Review


Microsoft’s Wireless Desktop 5000 is a firmly middle-of-the-road keyboard and mouse combo with some ergonomic perks.Currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, Microsoft’s hardware division has a wealth of experience to draw from when it comes to designing keyboards, mice, and other peripherals. There’s ample evidence of that design experience in the Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000.This isn’t the fanciest mouse-and-keyboard combo on the market, but it has well-placed buttons for most of the common tasks you’ll use your PC for, the primary keys provide very good tactile feedback, it’s easily programmed, and most importantly, it felt good under our hands. A large wrist rest, covered in diamond-patterned rubber, accounts for about 25 percent of the lower horizontal surface area, but our typing style kept our wrists elevated above it. Had we wanted to, we could have inserted a pair of rubber plugs into the bottom of the keyboard beneath the wrist rest to elevate it, but we elected to use these under the top of the keyboard because we prefer to type with the keyboard angled up, not down. Although the plugs provide only one height choice, they’re vastly superior to the flimsy plastic legs that flip out from the bottom of most keyboards.Ergonomic keyboards — with their wavy designs — seem to have fallen out of favor these days, perhaps because gamers demand straight planks. The letter keys on this model follow a gentle curve, with the home row from A through F curving down toward the wrist rest, and the home row from J to the Enter key curving up and away from it. The layout felt very natural to us, and we were able to type rapidly with accuracy, although we had to stretch just a bit to reach the T and Y keys. The other home row keys that your fingers don’t sit on at rest — the G, H, B, and N keys — are slightly oversized, rendering them easier to find with your index finger.The primary letter keys have just the right amount of travel: not too deep, not too shallow, and with just enough resistance that you can rest your fingertips on them without pushing them down unintentionally. This isn’t a gaming keyboard, so there are no buttons dedicated to game functions, but we had no problem playing games on it, including The Walking Dead. Some of us tend to pound the keys when we’re writing, and even though this keyboard is outfitted with membrane switches, such aggressive typing produced a surprisingly loud click, followed by a dull thud when the key bottomed out; some people found it a bit annoying.The Escape and Function keys are exceptionally small — perhaps a quarter of typical height — and each Function key plays second fiddle to commands such as undo, redo, open new document, open file, and save file. Touch typists would most likely ignore most of them in favor of key combinations such as Ctrl-Z, Ctrl-V, Ctrl-O, and Ctrl-S, because these shortcuts can perform many of the same actions without taking your hands off home row. If you use software that makes frequent use of the Function keys, meanwhile, you won’t like this keyboard at all. Programmable keys and buttonsYou can program any of these keys, as well as a larger set of buttons above the Function keys, to perform almost any function you like using Microsoft’s IntelliType Pro software. As you might expect, many of these buttons are programmed at the factory to work with Microsoft programs, such as Word, Excel, and Outlook, but it’s easy to reassign them to work with alternative programs.The keyboard doesn’t have any LEDs to indicate that Caps Lock and Num Lock are engaged, probably to preserve battery power (the mouse and keyboard operate on two AA batteries each). The USB d[...]

Meet the Orange San Diego, the UK’s first Intel Medfield-powered Android phone


UK network Orange has launched the San Diego, an Android phone powered by Intel's Medfield Atom processor.
Hot on the heels of the Lava Xolo X900 going on sale in India, another smartphone powered by Intel’s Medfield processor is about to hit the shelves, this time in the UK.
(image) Initially revealed as an exclusive device for the UK network Orange, with the codename Santa Clara, it has now been officially announced with the name San Diego. Orange loves naming its own branded devices after cities, with the ZTE Blade/Orange San Francisco being one of the best known.
Like Lava’s Xolo, the San Diego is based on Intel’s reference design hardware, with which it demonstrated the capabilities of the Medfield chip last year.
The San Diego uses Intel’s Atom Z2460 processor, with a clock speed of 1.6Ghz, making it unique amongst a sea of phones all using ARM processor architecture. The Medfield Atom chip represents Intel’s most effective attempt to break ARM’s hold on the mobile industry yet.
A 4.03-inch touchscreen sits on the front of the 9.9mm thick, 117 gram chassis, and has a 1024 x 600 pixel resolution. On the rear is an 8-megapixel camera with the ability to record 1080p video, and other features include 16GB of internal memory, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS and an HDMI-out port.
Perhaps the only disappointing aspect of the San Diego is that it runs Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but as Lava has stated an Android 4.0 update will be coming for the X900, there’s a chance Orange may offer one too.
So how much will the San Diego cost? If you select a Pay As You Go tariff, it’s a reasonable £199 (about $300), or alternatively an offer of a 24-month contract at £15.50 per-month, with the phone for free, will be provided for the first month of release. The Orange San Diego will go on sale on June 6.

Copy Music from Your iPhone or iPod to Your Computer for Free


There as many applications and methods for copying music from an iPod to your computer as there are iPod models themselves, which makes finding a sure-fire, free solution a matter of tedious trial and error. To save you the work, today we're rounding up the best tools and techniques for getting music off any model iPod onto nearly any computer—for free. Whether you're a Windows user looking to yank tunes from an iPhone, a Mac fan backing up an iPod classic, or a Linux enthusiast trying to get into your new nano, we've got you covered. Follow along for a detailed look at the best ways to transfer songs from your iPod to your computer, no matter what hardware or operating system you're rocking.Update: This post has gotten a little out of date. For an updated version, read this.iPhone and iPod touchWhile it used to be as simple as enabling disk use on old school iPods to get to the music files stored there, it's not that easy with the iPhone and iPod touch models. Luckily, intrepid hackers have found a way on each platform. Here are our picks for the best ways to get at your music from your touchscreen iPod and iPhone.Mac OS X—Senuti (beta)Full sizeFree Mac utility Senuti could always copy music from regular iPods to your Mac, and a new beta version now supports the iPhone and iPod touch. Be sure to download the beta release (as of this writing, the latest beta is0.50.2b7) and install it on your Mac. Fire up Senuti to get a complete list of songs on the iPhone or iPod touch connected to your Mac. Senuti will put a blue dot next to songs that already exist in that Mac's iTunes library. Select the songs you want and hit the Transfer button to copy them to your computer.Windows—Jailbreak + SSH (Update: and Winamp!)Unfortunately, there are no free graphical applications for Windows like Senuti for Mac that can reach into your touch-based iPod's guts and move music around.Update: We stand corrected. Several readers point out that Winamp's newest iPod plug-in can indeed copy files from your iPhone in Windows without jailbreaking. Thanks, zod000, Scoops, and apprehensive!Update 2: iPhoneBrowser is also an option for those with jailbroken phones, providing an FTP-like interface to iPhone/touch files with a USB connection. Thanks to emailer Miguel and commenter halfshafter for the tip!.It's not that hard to get your files, if you're willing to jailbreak your device and do a little file-swapping. Here's how to do it.Full sizeJailbreak your iPhone/touch: Your editors have found the 45-second ZiPhone method pretty reliable, but your mileage may vary. However you jailbreak your device, make sure it has "BSD Subsystem" and "OpenSSH" packages installed through the utility.Get an SFTP application: Unless you want to hack around command-line-style with PuttY or Cygwin, you'll find it easier to get around using an FTP program.Filezilla is a free, easy-to-use option, but any client that supports SSH transfer will do.Get into your iPhone/touch: Make sure your iPhone/touch has a Wi-Fi connection to the same network as your computer, and that its Autolock setting (Settings->General->Autolock) is temporarily set to "Never" to prevent dropped connections. Find its IP address (Settings->Wi-Fi, then select the checked network), and in your FTP program, put that address in as the Host, and set a username of "root" and a password of "alpine," assuming you've upgraded your firmware at least once (it's "dottie" if not). Choose to connect through port 22 for an SSH connection, and you should get in. You ma[...]

JVC HD Everio GZ-HM860 Review


The JVC HD Everio GZ-HM860 puts handheld HD video cams to shame, but still can’t match the photo quality of far cheaper still cams.Looking for a high-quality HD camcorder? If you’re serious about home videos, JVC’s GZ-HM860 delivers smooth, high-res video right about on par with its lofty price tag, but falls short when doubling as a still cam.Features and DesignCameras by the ton take HD videos, even Full HD 1080p at 30fps. And yet, and yet…those that do it really well are few and far between. For simply taking high-def movies, nothing tops a camcorder. Why? In this Swiss Army Knife world of CE, that’s what they’re meant to do — not make calls, send email, browse the Web or play Angry Birds. Enter the new $749 JVC GZ-HM860 HD Memory camcorder designed to capture movies.The HM860 is one sophisticated-looking device. Peer at it from the side and it looks like the back of smartphone (see photos). This piano-black casing is actually part of the 3.5-inch touchscreen LCD. Check out the other side, and rather than a virtual keyboard, you’ll find the rest of the camcorder, which is extremely compact considering it has a 10x optical zoom. It measures 2.2 x 2.5 x 4.7 (W x H x D, in inches) and weighs 12.5 ounces including the battery. Overall, the GZ-HM860 has style, is small and easy to carry.Given smartphones are as important to many as breathing, JVC has paid a bit of homage to the trend by adding Bluetooth to the HM860. This lets you send movies and stills from the camcorder to your smartphone at reduced resolution so you can post them quickly to friends. Your phone can even act as a remote. Naturally all this good stuff depends on compatibility with your specific phone. Our Droid paired fairly easily.The front is dominated by the 10x optical zoom with its auto lens cover. The JVC GT lens is part of one of our favorite camcorder trends—it starts off at fairly wide angle for great group shots and landscapes. Typical camcorders are around 42mm. In this case the f/1.2 glass has a range of 29.5mm to 295mm in video mode, 29.7mm to 297mm for 4:3 stills. This extra width really expands your creative options. Beyond artistic considerations, you’ll also find a small LED light, a flash and stereo speakers as you look head-on.On the right side are the adjustable Velcro strap and two compartments. One is for DC-in while the other has A/V and component outs. As an aside: Why is any company putting A/V outs — even component — on camcorders with mini HDMI connections? Worse yet, manufacturers still include A/V cables in their kits. Who in 2011, especially someone buying a $749 Full HD camcorder, would use this? It’s a total waste of resources.The top of this very clean-lined camcorder has a zoom toggle switch, a shutter button for snapping stills and an AF key. This one gives access to touch priority Auto Exposure/Auto Focus options such as face tracking or choosing a specific focus spot. The same key is used for 2D-3D conversion on the more expensive $949 HM960 (its LCD is also auto stereoscopic for viewing 3D without glasses).Flip open the LCD on the left side of the HM860 and you’ll see a beautiful 3.5-inch touchscreen with no buttons at all on the bezel; you’ll make almost all of your adjustments tapping the screen. It’s rated a very fine 920K pixels and works well under almost all light conditions, including direct sunshine. Yet like any touchscreen, keep a lens cloth nearby to remove smudgy fingerprints.On the body itself are just a few buttons: i.Auto/manual shooting, power/info which shows remaining battery life, movie/still and user. This last one lets you pick parameters[...]



Review: The innovative JVC GC-PX10 aims to serve as a true hybrid between a still camera and camcorder, but poor low-light quality and a number of other factors make it hard to justify the $799 price tag.JVC claims this isn’t a camcorder that takes stills,nor is it a video-shooting camera—it’s a hybrid that does both. Although it doesn’t have the sexiest name in the world, this odd-looking duck has the potential to be the ultimate two-in-one device we’ve been searching for. Let’s dig in and find out.Features and designThis is a wild-looking one. It’s unlike any camcorder on the market, but looks very similar to a Sony NEX interchangeable lens camera with a zoom lens attached. In fact, some old-timers might flash back to the Sony F505, a digicam from all the way back in 2000 that had asimilar barrel-type zoom. To show far how things have come, that camera was a whole 3 megapixels and took MPEG videos; the new GC-PX10 shoots 12-megapixel stills and captures 1080/60p movies. These specs were only the stuff of dreams back in the day. The new NEX-5N ($699 with a 3x 18-55mm lens) has a 16-megapixel, DSLR-sized sensor and takes 1080/60p movies, so they’re kind of similar. JVC has a leg up with its built-in 10x zoom but on the down side has a much smaller imaging device, similar to those found in point-and-shoots. How this impacts quality, we’ll discover shortly.The GC-PX10 has a really thin body, but it’s hardly diminutive, thanks to the barrel lens. Overall it measures 5.2 x 2.7 x 4.8 (W x H x L, in inches) and weighs 1.2 pounds with battery, so forget about slipping this one casually in your pocket. The all-black hybrid has a substantial grip with a textured surface, making it easy to hold. Other than markings on the lens— which are hard to avoid—there’s little on the front other than a few logos which are tastefully done.The PX10 has an f/3.2-f/8.0 10x Konica Minolta zoom lens with focal ranges of 43.3-433mm in still mode and 37.4-374mm for shooting videos. Unlike many new camcorders with wider opening focal lengths (around 28-29mm), this is bit more traditional. We prefer wider specs for camcorders and digicams,but these will suffice for most shooters. Even though the barrel offers a great handhold, the hybrid has optical image stabilization to help eliminate blur. On the top of the lens are the hot shoe and two large mics for stereo sound. You’ll find the flash and an AF Assist lamp on the front.On the left side of the barrel are many of your key controls including power, flash adjustment, a mode dial, direct access to exposure and focus, a “set” button and a control wheel to make adjustments. The mode dial has options very similar to higher-end cameras. There’s i.Auto (a.k.a. Smart Auto, Intelligent Auto) where the PX10 recognizes the subject in front of it and adjusts accordingly. JVC uses 14 options and it works well, although newer Canons pick from 32. There’s also Program, Aperture-/Shutter-Priority and Manual (PASM), a custom User option, Scene (13 choices) as well as Touch Priority AE/AF. With this one, you can select a touchscreen option such as Face Tracking, Color Tracking and Area Select. A box appears around the subject you tap and follows it through the frame.Below this row of controls is a compartment for various inputs and outputs including a mic, headphones/AV, mini HDMI and a DC connector for the supplied charger. On the bottom of the left side of the lens is an SD card clot; it accepts everything up to SDXC and Eye-Fi media. The GC-PX10 comes with 32GB of built-in flash memory so you really don’t need [...]

Diablo III: No more delays, despite Blizzard layoffs


The wait is nearly over. Diablo III game director Jay Wilson, and Blizzard President Michael Morhaime, have both confirmed that the long-awaited title is coming soon.The highly anticipated Diablo III has been gut-wrenchingly delayed many times before. And after the massive 600-employee layoff at Blizzard, we’ve been wondering if we would ever see Diablo III’s release in our lifetime. Luckily, the waiting game is nearly over.Thankfully we'll be playing D3 during our lifetime.Following the troubling layoff announcement, Blizzard President and co-founder Michael Morhaime took to the forums to make it clear that the cuts would have no effect on the release of projects including World of Warcraft, Blizzard DOTA, Diablo III, Starcraft II, and other unannounced projects. As Morhaime was quick to point out, 90 percent of the layoffs were non-developer roles.“We determined that while some areas of our business had been operating at the right levels and could bnefit from further growth, other areas had become overstaffed,” wrote Morhaim “I also want to emphasize that we remain committed to shipping multiple games this year, and that our development teams in particular remain largely unaffected by [Feb. 29’s] announcement.”To back this up, Jay Wilson, Diablo III’s game director, encouragingly responded to a tweet from a fan just yesterday.The Diablo III fan, Chris Wright, asked, “On a scale of 1 to 10, (1=not even close, 10=immenent,) how close are we to that all important #D3 announcement? :)”Wilson merely responded, “9”, but that was all that was needed to be said.[...]

Leaked Assassin’s Creed 3 images hint at war, American Revolution style


A handful of new images for Assassin’s Creed 3 have hit the internet.When it rains it pours. Such is apparently the case for information on Assassin’s Creed 3, which has gone from no info to a flood of info faster than a Ferrari can go 0 to 60. Yesterday the glimpse at the game came to us by way of the officially unveiled cover art. Shortly after Game Informer unleashed several images that will accompany its upcoming feature article on the game.All of that gave us a few hints on the story. Based on that we made a few educated guesses on what to expect, which you can read.Then earlier today, a few more images hit the internet courtesy of the website All Games Beta.Now, we cannot confirm the total validity of these images. Someone at home may have been insanely bored and decided to fake the graphics, but they not only look genuine, they fit with what we already know, and what we suspect. So check out the gallery, then head back to our post from yesterday and let us know your theory on what it all means.[...]

JBL OnBeat Xtreme Review


Despite it's odd design, JBL's OnBeat Xtreme manages to be one of the best all-around iPod speaker docks -- offering up quality sound and an easy to use interface.We’ve always had a healthy respect for JBL’s professional audio products. It has consistently built rugged, high-performance PA speakers and monitors for over 60 years and remains a favored brand of many a musician and sound engineer to this day. Its consumer audio division, on the other hand, has had its share of ups and downs. We recall a period in the late 80’s/early 90’s when JBL, like Infinity and KLH, fell out of favor with the North American audio enthusiast community, perhaps in reaction to a sudden influx of, shall we say, rather mediocre (Northridge) speaker products. Since then, it seems as if JBL’s home audio products haven’t been able to recoup the prestige they once had. But when we ran into JBL and its $60,000/pair Project Everest DD6600 speaker at CES 2007, it was glaringly obvious that JBL was on the rebound.Over the past five years JBL has released several high-end speaker models, which have wowed us every time we’ve had the opportunity to hear them, but the company isn’t pouring its entire engineering prowess strictly toward esoteric floor-standing speakers with stratospheric price tags. It is working to make relevant, accessible products it hopes will resonate with the public, and backing them with some heavy-hitting marketing, which features the legendary Paul McCartney as front-man, no less. Case in point: The OnBeat Extreme speaker dock.We’ve been wondering if JBL’s latest home audio products could deliver the goods, so we accepted the opportunity to evaluate the OnBeat Xtreme with no reservation. Read on to find out how this new speaker dock compares to the likes of B&W’s Zeppelin Air and Klipsch’s G-17 Air.Out of the BoxThe OnBeat Xtreme’s “weave” shape makes it an attention grabber, for sure. In fact, without an iPod or iPad mounted, you might not immediately recognize it as a speaker. We think someone with some eccentric design chops really got creative while developing this thing’s shape. Its geometry is strange, yet oddly appealing to your author (the rest of our crew thought it was…challenging to look at). To be sure, it’s one of those love-it-or-hate-it designs. At one point we actually heard someone comment that “it looks like it’s hugging itself”. Sure…that works!Aside from its unique shape, the OnBeat Xtreme has other appealing aesthetic features including a wrap-around grill, chrome accents (yeah, they’re plastic) and an arching dock support which doubles well as a handle. Even the metal buttons on the right hand side of the dock have a solid feel to them.As we started pulling accessories from the box, we noticed there was no bulky power brick to deal with (yay…those things are a pain in neck!). With this much beefier model, the power supply is built in, so only the provided detachable AC cord is needed. Also provided in the box was a remote control, USB cable, docking clips for iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad and a product manual. Though this unit offers composite video output and a ⅛-inch auxiliary input, cables for these connections are not included.The unit weighs 9 respectable pounds and measures approximately 9 x 17.5 x 9.5 (H x W x D, in inches).Features and DesignOne of the OnBeat Xtreme’s key benefits over competing speaker docks is its floating docking connector and the clips that come with it. The iPhone and i[...]

Mega jump cheat - cant die


This game is one of the games i have played the most. The thing is that the app closes in the middle of the game, I wish apple would fix that. Last time i was on level 29 and when it was about to goo to the next level it closed. We as clients that pay a lot of money to get a nice device and still got mayor bugs in some apps. Thats not fair. Anyway the app is great, just they really need to think about their customers.

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'Zombie Highway' Review - Like Zombieland, Gives The Zombie Thing a Little Extra Mileage


The human intellect is a remarkable beast. Just when we think that all possible Zombie concepts have been duly wrung out from our collective minds, developersrenderPaz go and throw us a curve-ball. Picture this: you're driving down the post-apocalyptic interstate, weaving through abandoned vehicles strewn everywhere-- when you see a hitch-hiker. Naturally, this being post-apocalyptic America, the rule of thumb (think Zombieland) is to just keep on driving. In Zombie Highway [99¢] you aren't afforded that luxury.The object in Zombie Highway is to just keep on driving-- pedal to the metal, you have only one speed-- faster. That's not to say you're get very far, as zombies don't generally take kindly to your brains being cocooned inside an SUV's hard exterior. And unlike the variety in Zombieland, these zombies are willing to work to get them.Zombies in Zombie Highway will pounce on your car's side rails as you speed past them, doing all they can to bring the car to a stop-- generally by using their superhuman undead strength to wrestle it till it topples over. There are 7 types of zombies all up, from the skinny fledgling variety, to the stronger, health-regenerating, weightier monsters that do a world of hurt to your center of balance. As zombies stack up on one side, this is only compounded, with your only recourse being to get the buggers off as quickly as possible.Fortunately, your own driving prowess and an arms dealer friend in the back provide all the tools you need to get through the zombie least for a couple of miles. Zombies can be exited from the vehicle by tilting your device to sideswipe them onto one of the many ruined cars littered across the highway. Each zombie has a health bar, and whittling that to zero will ensure they won't be sticking around. To help, your aforementioned friend riding shotgun (ho ho!) has a formidable arsenal that is gradually unlocked as you accumulate collective mileage across all your games. Weapons are fired by touching the corners of the screen-- if a zombie is on the right near the front of your car, tapping the top right area will fire at it.It's a straightforward formula that creates a fun and remarkably gratifying zombie slaying experience. It's also quite challenging, as zombies are super aggressive, and your car's physics are fantastic. For instance, don't expect to steer out of a lean by driving the other way-- it'll only tip it further. Instead, a bit of load balancing and fast firing fingertips are required to keep the rubber on the road.Our only gripes with the game are that for all the great 3D models and presentation there is a notable lack of any real sound effects. Your car is effectively muted until it's being weighed down, and then the creaks it makes are whisper quiet. Not hearing the engine at all detracts from the experience dramatically. In fact, the only sound you'll really hear from the car are the squeaks of your tires as you slide around the road. There is absolutely no music to be found either, which would have done a world of good to further build atmosphere and character.We're also not quite sure why the developers didn't stick with Openfeint or a similar platform for its social functions, as their current Twitter implementation is rudimentary at best. And though the Facebook option results in a neat competition feature where you can track your friends, those who keep their gaming separate from Facebook are left [...]

25 billion App Store downloads comes closer, Apple offers $10,000 prize


Apple's App Store is fast approaching its 25 billionth download, no mean feat for something which only started out in 2008. To celebrate, the company is offering a $10,000 gift card for its various online stores.Since launching on iOS devices in 2008, the App Store has become a huge success, enabling users to spend countless hours browsing its virtual shelves for games, books, news apps, health and fitness ideas, navigational aids, lifestyle suggestions….the list goes on. Countless software companies have sprung up along the way, creating a whole new industry and enabling anyone with an original idea to grab a piece of the app pie.Less than four years down the road, Apple’s App Store is about to see its 25 billionth download. To celebrate the milestone, the Cupertino-based company is offering a $10,000 gift card redeemable in the iTunes Store, App Store and iBook Store.On a countdown page, Apple says, “Download the 25 billionth app and you could win a US$10,000 App Store Gift Card.” All well and good, but look a little closer and you discover that actually anyone can enter, downloader or not.That’s right, to have a chance of picking up the gift card, you don’t actually have to buy or download an app, but you will have to hand over some personal information to Apple, including your name, address, birth date, phone number and email address. A maximum of 25 entries per person per day is allowed.“The prize will be awarded for the entry (either through an app download or through the non-purchase online entry) sent immediately following the download of the 24,999,999,999th app,” the rules explain.“The potential winner will be determined by the order of the entries received.“ In other words, if you do enter using the online form, you’ll need to do it around the time the app counter hits 25 billion, which is expected to happen in the next couple of days. Oh, and the counter is “for illustrative purposes only” so you needn’t sit staring at it for the next three days waiting for it to reach the magic number.A UK woman bagged a $10,000 App Store gift card in January last year after downloading the 10 billionth app, which was, for the curious among you, the free Paper Glider game.In the period between January 2010 and January 2011, Apple said seven billion apps had been downloaded. Since then, another 15 billion apps have found their way onto iOS devices. At this rate, we can expect the 50 billionth download well before year end.[...]

Blizzard announces 600 layoffs, game development staff spared


Blizzard, developer of WoW, Starcraft and Diablo has announced that it has cut 600 global jobs, though its game development staff remains largely untouchedVideo game developer Blizzard Entertainment, Inc announced a sizable cut in its global workforce on Wednesday. 600 employees were stripped of their positions; nearly a tenth of Activision’s 2011 reported 7,300 employees.Blizzard is the development studio best known for its World of Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diabloseries. In a statement, the company said that 90 percent of the lay offs would come from departments not related to game development. Blizzard stressed that World of Warcraft’s development team would not be touched.“Over the last several years, we’ve grown our organization tremendously and made large investments in our infrastructure in order to better serve our global community. However as Blizzard and the industry have evolved we’ve also had to make some difficult decisions in order to address the changing needs of our company,”said Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime. The CEO also said that laid off employees would be entitled to a severance package and benefitsThough there weren’t any specifics on which jobs were affected, The Verge reports that its sources say customer service took the biggest hit thanks to increased automation. The Blizzard statement points out that the company “remains committed to mainlining its high standards of quality for customer service delivery.” In a December 2007 piece on an Activision deal with Vivendi games,The Telegraph quotes Blizzard as having more than 2,000 people doing customer relations globally. Interestingly, while 600 employees have been let go, the development studio is actively recruiting qualified developers.Morhaime took the forums to elaborate on the layoffs saying: “In order to keep making epic game content while serving players effectively, we have to be smart about how we manage our resources. This means we sometimes have to make difficult decisions about how to best maintain the health of the company. We’re in the process of making some of those hard decisions now.”Morhaime stressed that, while overstaffed departments needed to be scaled down in order to further the company’s growth, development teams were largely unscathed and Blizzard remained committed to shipping multiple games in 2012. The company will soon be beta testing for World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard DOTA and Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm, and has other “unannounced projects” up its sleeves. Morhaime also commented on the long-awaited Diablo III, saying that there would release date news revealed in the coming weeks for the game.With phrases such as “changing needs” and “health of the company,” the decline of World of Warcraft could possibly be the reason for the cuts. The seven years old MMORPG’s subscriber-base dropped 12 million players in 2010 to 10.3 million subscribers in November 2011. Free-to-play games such as League of Legends, as well as EA’s popular Star Wars: The Old Republic have been to blame by analysts for Blizzard’s ailing franchise. While Blizzard is cutting back, the company is stressing that it isn’t dying and has much planned for the future. As far as the “unannounced projects” Morhaime mentions, Develop’s sources have said that Bl[...]