Monthly Archives: September 2012

Somebody That I Used to Know – Old School Computer Remix – Video

The Verge pointed out this interesting video of old tech playing Somebody That I Use to Know using an old HP Scanjet 3C that makes a sound that changes based on the speed that is quite close to sounding like the words if you have herd the song. YouTube user BD594 seems to have made a few of these types of songs, so check them out also.

There is other scanners with music talent a comment pointed out the HP ScanJet 5100c doing Ode to Joy.

Facebook Gifts

A few months ago Facebook acquired a company that shipped gifts and today has released its functionally today. With Facebook gifts you can chose one of your friend on Facebook and give them a gift for things like Birthdays or just because. Right now they only have around 100 gifts, such as cupcakes, stuffed animals, digital gift cards, and say they are going to add more soon. They also have links for businesses that may want to sell their products on Facebook gifts to contact them.

When I went to https://www.facebook.com/gifts the page still showed that it was “Coming Soon: Gifts” so they may not have it turned on for all of Facebook’s users yet. But when you can give gifts you will chose a gift, fill out a message that shows up in a card, pay for the gift or they have some kind of pay later option, and then it notifies your friend that you have given them a gift. For the recipient they enter there address so the sender doesn’t have to have that information, and other options like size or color. Then the gift is shipped, shipping fees seem to be included in the price of the gift.

This seems like an interesting way to give people gifts and as long as they get there selection large enough that most people will be happy with what they get it will probably be used a lot. As for Facebook it will also get people to add a credit card to their account and will help them sell more things though the site easer. They have a video showing the process that makes it look super simple, will see how good they do on delivering the products to people’s houses in a reasonable time.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook Sorry About Maps

Today Apple‘s CEO Tim Cook put out a letter talking about maps. Apple removed the older app they had in iOS from the core operating system that used mapping data from Google Maps when they put out iOS6 for their iPhones and iPads. A large number of users have reported a bad experience with the new maps Apple has been building, having problems like incomplete mapping data, wrong or misleading directions, and just a bad experience using the maps application.

In the letter Cook says sorry about the maps app in the first paragraph.

We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.

He also talks later about how you can also use other applications from the App Store to get maps or to use Google or Nokia web apps to get maps. He also talks about how 100 million iOS devices use the new maps and have been used to search half a billion locations. To finish, he talks about how they are working to improve the app and get it up to their high standard.

While this doesn’t fix the app or bring Google Maps to iOS in a meaningful way, it does show they how even Apple makes mistakes and like all companies has to fix them, so expect an update coming at some point to make them better. This would be a good time for Google to drop in with an iOS Google Maps app and get a lot of people to use the trusted maps they are use too.

Full text of the letter below…

To our customers,

At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.

We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS. As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.

There are already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more and more joining us every day. In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations. The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you.

While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.

Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.

Tim Cook
Apple’s CEO

25 Billion Downloads on Google Play

Google announced today that they have hit the 25 billion download mark. They didn’t specify if it was just apps or included music, books, movies, or magazines, but it means we get some good deals! They will have a bunch of apps for 25 cents along with collections of 25 top movies, 25 banned books, 25 albums that changed the world, and 25 top selling magazines at special prices.

They also gave us a number, 675,000 app and games available in the Play Store. Also in geek style they put out the numbers such as, 25 billion is twice the distance that Voyager 1 has traveled in miles over 35 years. But ether way these milestone numbers have been good things for Android users as we get good deals on paid apps and this time they are also giving deals on other content they offer. Look for these deals today and will probably be around for a week or so, so don’t miss out.

Lighter and Smaller PS3

Sony announced an update to their Play Station 3 that is slimmer and small at the Tokyo Game Show. They claim that the new model is 25 % smaller and 20% lighter than the previous version. This move is most likely done to help keep the console looking new and reduce the size like Microsoft did with the Xbox 360 in previous years. Other than the weight and size they also are putting in bigger hard drives to store more games, DLC and content, with 250GB and 500GB models being made available in both black and white colors.

They also are putting out some limited edition bundles for Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception in a 250GB model that includes DUST 514 DLC content voucher for $30 and is available September 25th 2012 for $269.99. But the one to wait for is the Assassin’s Creed III bundle that comes with a 500GB PS3 and the game; it will be available October 30th 2012 when Assassin’s Creed III comes out for an unannounced price.

iPod Nano 7G, Touch 5G, EarPods

Apple updated there iPod line of devices this morning with a new iPod Touch 5th generation, iPod Nano 7th generation, and introduced a new headphone design that is supposed to be better for listing and fitting into your ears. They also put out some numbers like they normally do with these announcements. They have sold over 350 million iPods, 600 million earbuds shipped, and have 150 million players on their Game Center platform. There will also be an update to iTunes in October on both iOS and Desktops.

The 7th generation iPod Nano will have a larger 2.5 inch display that supports multi touch, and is 38% thinner than the Nano 6th generation. The front only has a single home button that is common on most iOS devices. There is also a built in FM tuner that supports a “DVR” functionality. This Nano also has Bluetooth built in for wireless headphones and devise. They claim 30 hours of audio playback on a charge and will come in 7 colors including aluminum, black, purple, green, blue, yellow, and red. It only comes in one size of 16GB, and has the new Lightning connector and EarPods for earphones.

Also the 5th generation iPod Touch was announced with the same 4 inch screen that the iPhone 5 will come out with and weights 88 grams. The A5 dual-core processer is powering the devices with a clammed 7x improvement in graphics performance from the 4th generation iPod Touch. There is a 5 MP 1080p rear camera that supports the new panoramic mode and has an LED Flash, and the front camera is 720p HD and can be used for video chat. One of the other big things they seemed excited about was a wrist strap that they call the iPod Touch Loop, that could be good for if you have a kid or clumsy person using this. For WIFI it has the same WIFI as the iPhone 5 with A/B/G/N on 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz with speeds up to 150 Mbps along with Bluetooth 4.0 with LE. It will ship with iOS 6 in a 16 and 32 GB model in 5 colors, aluminum, black, blue, yellow, and red.

Finally they made a big deal that they have updated there old crummy earbuds with new ones called EarPods. These were developed to fit in your ear better and not be uncomfortable even with lots of different shapes of ears. They also made it so the speaker inside points into your ear better too give a better sound. This was the only product that was announced today and is shipping today.

Now for prices and availability of the new products announced.

iPod Nano 7G iPod Touch 5G EarPods
16GB for $149 16GB $199, 32GB $299 For $29
Pre-Order September 14

Available in October

Available in October Available Now

iPhone 5 LTE

The new iPhone 5 was announced by Apple with a 4″ Retina display with a resolution of 1136 x 640, 16:9 aspect ratio, and is 7.8 mm thick weighing only 112 grams. They also include an upgraded A6 processer that is 2 times faster than the A5 processer that is also smaller and uses less battery. The phone also has LTE built in that on the same radio will work with global carriers. iOS 6 is the installed operating system, and includes updates to how iOS works, apps that are developed for the old 3.5″ screen will scale automatically.

Global LTE works with most major carriers globally, including Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T in the United States. The WIFI works with A/B/G/N running at both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz with speeds up to 150Mbps. Battery with normal use of 4G and 3G talk or video playback is 8-10 hours.

They updated the connector to a new smaller 9-pin connector called “Lightning” that is 80% smaller, and there is an adapter to convert the old connector to the new one. They also are including updated headphones named “EarPods” that are made to send the sound into your ear better and fit into your ear better.

The camera was updated to 8MP 1080p with 40% faster capture, better low light, panorama mode, and easer sharing. The front camera is 720p HD, and works with FaceTime. There was also an improvement to the speakers to include noise-canceling ear peace, wideband audio, and 20% smaller. It also includes 3 microphones on the front, back and bottom.

iOS 6 includes updates to iCloud sync of Safari, new maps with navigation and satellite imagery, share photos by saying “Share” when photo is selected, and updated Siri to include movie searches, restaurant searches, and Tweeting with your voice.

You can pre-order September 14th and ships September 21st in the United States, and September 28th in other countries. This includes 100 countries and 240 carriers. Prices below

Colors Black or White 16GB $199
32GB $299 64 GB $399

Older modules will be available at reduced prices and do get updated to iOS 6.

iPhone 4 8GB FREE iPhone 4S 16GB $99

New YouTube for iPhone and iPod Touch

With Apple not including YouTube as a default app on iOS 6 for iPhone, YouTube has built a new updated app that includes music videos, channel guide, faster search tools, and better sharing functionality. The guide shows up if you swipe from the edge of the screen, and gives you access to subscriptions. The search has suggestions as you type like when you do a Google search. And you can now share with Google+, Facebook, Twitter, E-Mail, or text message.

This updates the app to have more of the functionality found in the Android version and frees the YouTube app from only being updated by Apple, but it doesn’t get installed as a default app now. You can get the YouTube app in the iTunes App store today.

Natural Selection 2 Pre-Order on Steam

Looking for a new First Person Shooter or Real Time Strategy game? Then check out Natural Selection 2; this is an Alien vs. Humans game that is a rebuild to the original Half-Life modification called Natural Selection that lets players try to take over and build up resources to defeat the opposing team and take over a location. The Marine Frontiersmen have upgrades like jet packs, flamethrowers, exo suits with mini guns, and arc cannons that help them fight the aliens. The Aliens known as Kharaa infest the maps and have the ability to evolve into wall climbing Skulks, flying Lerks, slashing Fades, or crushing Onos.

Both teams have resource collection devices that give them the resources to upgrade their powers and give them new equipment or evolutions to help them fight the other team. The maps are large and each team has to try and control as much as they can until they can push the others base using different strategies to eliminate the other and win the game.

The game has been in beta for other the past year and is being developed by small Indie developer Unknown Worlds Entertainment who is made up of original developer Charlie Cleveland and others that built the original Natural Selection. They built their own game engine known as Spark that is made for fast development by using Lua to code the actual game in. The concept art and lots of the environment art was developed by Cory Strader, and original music composed by David John and Simon Chylinski.

I have been playing both the original and the beta of Natural Selection 2 for over a year now and have had fun playing along with the development of the game. The game relies on lots of teamwork and a commander who knows how to build strategies. The commander plays in a top down view and drops structures, researches upgrades, and supports there team players. Each member of the team also gets a set of personal resources they can use for weapons and evolutions and the number of resources they get is determined by how many Extractors or Harvesters the team has.

You can now Pre-Order the game on Steam for $24.99 and you get an upgrade to Digital Deluxe Edition that includes Natural Selection 2, a 1 hour soundtrack, a 40 page digital art book, excusive wallpapers and avatars, and exclusive in-game marine model. Once the game comes out the Deluxe Edition will go up to $40. Right now they are saying it will be release sometime in October, but I would without a thinking twice say that the date will be October 31 2012 Halloween, this is because that was the day they release the original Natural Selection.

This is a really fun game and once you learn it you will have hours of enjoyment, I have so go ahead and order today!

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7” and 8.9” 4G LTE

The new updated version of the Amazon Kindle Fire was announced today; this includes an update to last year’s Kindle Fire, the Kindle Fire HD in a 7″ and 8.9″ that is in a WIFI and 4G LTE version. They also updated the software to add things like X-Ray IMDB people look up when watching movies, Wikipedia and YouTube videos when looking at words in text.

They spent some time in the announcement talking about how fast the OMAP4 processer with built in graphics engine. The display on the 8.9″ is an HD 254 ppi 1920×1200 pixel resolution, and on the 7″ has a resolution of 1280×800 pixels. Amazon also talked about how good the WIFI is that includes both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz radio systems with MIMO technology to use two antennas to boost reception depending on what antenna is getting the best signal. As for battery life they claim 11 hours on the 7″ Kindle Fire HD.

Few extra things they included was an HD front camera, HDMI out, Bluetooth, updated email and calendar applications, Wispersync for games to keep location in the game and scores. The Dolby dual stereo speakers are supposed give great audio sound to make watching videos better.

The 4G service is kind of cool but kind of limited; it costs $49.99 a year, and includes 250MB of data a month. It also includes 20GB of Cloud Drive storage and a $10 Amazon Appstore credit.

Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE Fire HD 8.9″ Fire HD Fire
32GB $499 16GB $299 16GB $199 8GB $159
64GB $599 32GB $369 32GB $249
Ships November 20 2012 Ships November 20 2012 Ships September 14 2012 Ships September 14 2012
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