Halo 4 for the Xbox 360 came out this week putting you in control of Master Chief (John-117) and his AI companion Cortana to fight once again in the year 2557. After Halo 3 you were left on a damaged ship the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn after saving the human race once again. The game gives you first thing a back story and new information on where the SPARTON power armor super soldiers come from. And at this point you are trying to survive before getting sucked on the Forerunner world Requiem. Now to find out the rest of the story you will have to play the game. But I’ll give you some understanding of what you will get into.
First thing I would like to say for the first time that 343 Industry’s, the game developer who took the story that originated from Bungie who made the first three Halo games for Microsoft and the Xbox and Xbox 360, they did a good job at keeping things feeling as they are just a continuation of the series with updated technology and story. While I would like to see the original developers able to continue their game things happen and this game turned out to be a money printer for Microsoft.
For me it only took me about 8 hours to play though the single player campaign on easy. This took place for a few hours after getting it to rent from RedBox (one day after the release at midnight might I add) and then playing though the next day while taking care of kids now and then. There were times when it was not so hard but frustrating to get past an area not so much being killed by any enemy but by getting pushed off an edge or just falling off in a strange way into a place you expected to have more room to walk.
As for how the game looked, I would like to say they did an excellent job on the almost 1 hour of cut scenes. People and environments in those videos looked almost real and while the game engine looked good the scenes looked as if they were in the same place so you didn’t get ripped out of the reality you were in because they did so well on the video. Also like I said the game engine made large areas look good an natural including a jungle area that helped you keep moving in the right way but seemed like you were just wondering for a while to what you thought was the right way. There was also times when I though JJ Abrams came in with a few too many lenses flairs or bright washouts of your screen. And the persistent overlay of the HUD seemed to annoy me when I would see a blue outline that should not be covering the screen were no information was being displayed such as around the top bottom and all four corners. But you can get use to some of these things.
The game play was good for a console game, I like PC games that use a mouse and keyboard for better control but things worked out good enough. I did have some problems with in a big fight ending up crouched and not being able to run, I don’t think they needed to have a button right by the switch weapon that put you in a crouch mode, I never used it once in the game. As before the only major time I had problems with dying was falling off ledges or being shoved off when some enemy gets too close, they could have put more railings and such.
Story wise, it was short but took you though what was fun to play. It kind of plays out like this without giving anything away; find yourself having to fight for your life, you try and save some people, meet some new enemies, get some new stuff, try and save more people from enemies, save the world, game ends. Ok that’s about it for story without giving anything away. I would have liked a longer story with more game play, but you did get a mix of different landscapes, enemies, and even fight types including a fast passed flight simulator. But as I finished this up I was glad I rented this, I know most people will play hours and hours of multiplayer but that’s only half the game, and they don’t even rent that to you. I don’t play much of the multiplayer on console because it’s limiting so the single player being so short would not make this worth the $59.99 price tag.
From messages on the starting load screen and at the end after the credits and final video they make mention of more to come from 343, I would like to see the quality that they put into this game, but increase the content for when they most likely put out Halo 5 with the new Xbox whenever it comes out.
I would say if you like shooters, have an Xbox 360, and like single player games, rent this game it will be fun and you should at least experience every Halo game once. If you like the multiplayer and all things Halo you should buy the game, or ask for it these holidays. As for a rating I would give this a 4.5/5 based on it being a quality game, good videos and graphics, but had problems with short game play and some frustrating points, but I would recommend this to anyone with an Xbox 360.
With the upcoming release of the Windows 8 and Windows RT Microsoft has been developing what they think is the ideal tablet experience for Windows RT. They call their tablet Surface and will be coming out in both a Windows RT version and Windows 8 Pro version. The announcement of the Surface with Windows RT came out today and will start at $499, shipping on October 26 2012. There are three different packages to order, the lowest priced one is just a 32GB Surface with no cover and the highest is 64GB with a Cover. You can also order extra covers in different colors or buy a cover with a built-in keyboard that comes in 5 different colors.
While I don’t see mass adoption of Windows 8 or Windows RT it looks to be an acquit tablet interface but lacks in apps and functionality that most users will expect from a tablet such as an iPad or Android device. As for running Windows 8 on a laptop or desktop is a complete failure on the part of Microsoft, and they have only shown how the start menu takes over the system and that is all they expect you to do with your computer is have the start menu up all the time. This tablet seems like a response to the iPad but done with out thinking through the entire experience along with the experience of how Windows 8 will work as a desktop interface.
While the Surface looks to be a decent tablet it will also come with Microsoft Office 2013 RT installed, while it will be a pre-release of Office Home and Student it should get updated to the full release when it comes out. They also include Internet Explorer 10, Xbox Music store and other Xbox branded games. Check out the specs and gallery below for more about the details of the device.
|Software||Windows RT and Office Home and Student 2013 RT|
|Storage||32 and 64 GB|
|CPU / Memory||NVIDIA T30 / 2 GB RAM|
|Display||10.6 inch 5-point multi-touch|
|Cameras||Both front and back 720p HD|
|Wireless||2×2 MIMO WIFI, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Ports||USB 2.0, mircoSDXC, HD Video Out|
|Sound||3.5mm headphone, 2 microphones, stereo speakers|
|Sensors||Ambient Light, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass|
|Price||$499-699 + $119-129 for covers + HD Adaptor|
Lenovo announced the pre-order of four new Windows 8 mobile systems, the IdeaPad Yoga 13, Yoga 11, Lynx, and Twist. The Yoga is a convertible laptop tablet that hinges to fold the keyboard flat with the display going backward, this gives it the ability to be used as a tablet or stand up in interesting ways. This was first seen at CES 2012 and got lots of attention. It will come two sizes at 11.6 inch and 13.3 inches. The big difference between the two is the 13 has an Intel 3rd Generation i7 processor running Windows 8 Pro and it earns being a Ultrabook. Where the 11 runs on a NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor with Windows RT with less battery life and won’t run any old Windows applications because it runs the ARM processor. Full tech specs of the four systems below.
As for the Lynx, it is a low powered Dual Core Intel Atom powered 11.6 inch tablet that runs Windows 8 but has a keyboard that can be attached to transform it into a laptop type computer. They claim that with the 16 hours of batter you can use it all day and also use it for applications like the included Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
The Twist is the only one specifically built for business users, it has an Intel Core i7 processor and is also a Ultrabook running Windows 8 Pro with the option to have 3G data and more storage options. They also make note that it will have a normal ThinkPad keyboard that so many people like to type on if they have a laptop. The display is also a high-definition IPS with multi-touch that twists around so you can use it like a tablet. This would be a good power user laptop if you are looking to get a Windows 8 Pro device.
|IdeaPad:||Yoga 13||Yoga 11||Lynx||Twist|
|Processor||Intel Core i7||NVIDIA Tegra 3||Intel Dual Core Atom||Intel Core i7|
|OS||Windows 8 Pro||Windows 8 RT||Windows 8||Windows 8 Pro|
|Battery||8 Hours||13 Hours||16 Hours w/ Dock||7 Hours|
|Storage||256GB SSD||64GB eMMC||64GB eMMC||500GB HDD / 128GB SSD|
|Price MSRP Starts At||$1,099||$799||$649||$849|
These specs are if you max out things such as getting the fastest processor or largest SSD, and they only gave prices for the lowest of the spec base systems so the prices will be way different. You can pre-order the Yoga 13 at Best Buy October 12 2012.
Microsoft sent out invitations to the Windows Phone 8 release event they are holding October 29th 2012 in San Francisco California. The news hasn’t hit any of Microsoft’s own websites yet but lots of sites are reporting getting invitations. This would mean that most of the new Windows Phone 8 powered devices will be coming this November. Such as the announcement that the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920 will be available this Holiday season on AT&T in the United States. We will be paying attrition to the announcements from this event to see if there is more news about Windows Phone 8.
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.
A few weeks ago I quit my normal crummy job that wasn’t helping me with my goal of working with computers, technology, or the internet. I had gotten my degree as an Information System Administrator but the job market for IT workers is very hard because there aren’t that many jobs where I live, but I had a few ideas on how I can still have an income.
First I have done some service calls for a company installing Internet, and those pay good for the work, I also have some friends that has been offering to get me doing the service calls they do but in my area. Because these calls aren’t consistent I plan to do some other stuff with my time when I’m not just taking care of my kids.
So my plan is to write on my Technology and Gadget blog Tek4.ME as much as I can. It will have topics such as news about upcoming Apple, Microsoft, Google, and other Companies new products and services. The blog will also have tips and tricks for best using your technology and online services. Some of the articles already up include my Hands on Review of the Nexus 7, information on why YouTube won’t be part of iOS 6, and what’s new in Windows Essentials 2012.
Finally I would also like to start building a few websites a month; this would be things like setting up and building a site using WordPress or Drupal for any type of business or organization. If interested check out more information at Grand Junction Computers web site.
If you have a Windows 7 computer you most likely had Windows Essentials installed by the maker or would want to get this set of applications that help do more with your Windows system. It was also called Windows Live Essentials but they seem to have dropped the “Live” from the name.
The main pack includes the following programs: Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Messenger, Mail, Writer, Outlook Connector, SkyDrive, and Family Safety. Lots of these applications were part of Windows in the past, but they now get updated more often than when Windows OS gets updated.
The two applications they are showing the biggest updates include Movie Maker and Photo Gallery. Movie Maker is a free video editing package that lets you easily edit home videos and put them up on sites such as YouTube.com or make them into DVDs. Photo Gallery is a photo organization and manipulation tool, it lets you fix problems with your images and do things like panoramas.
The update to Movie Maker includes a new Video Stabilization to reduce the shake that may be in your videos if the camera wasn’t on a tripod or a windy day. There are also more options for adding music from online music sites and how they are added to your video. They also improved adding text overlays to the videos so it will be easier to read. And finally they now by default encode video in H.264 rather than Windows Media Video making sharing easier.
As for the Photo Gallery they only did a few little updates such as making a Auto Collage and updating services you can export to.
Another note that the other applications get bug fixes if you had them installed and will require you to restart your computer for them to be setup so expect that. But this is a nice set of additional applications that make using Windows better, there are a lot of other applications that do all of this but these integrate with Windows. In most cases you can do all of this Online now using Google or Office Live.
Now that CES 2012 is over lets look over what came from the show. There were a lot of new products introduced over the week, but it wasn’t anything all that new.
Some of the most innovative things out were the OLED TV’s that were 55″ from LG and [OTHER NAME]. These were very thin screens with great colors, and they were looking as if they were going to be put into production not just showing that they could make it but will be selling it soon. But I would have to say hold off on getting one of these screens when they first come out and give it one to two years from when they come out so that the price will drop, sizes will increase, and more options on who makes them will increase.
Another big deal at this CES was the Ultrabooks being introduced. These were thin and light laptops that are built to exceed the Ultrabook spec by Intel in most cases. What makes these different from normal laptops is that they are thin, light, long battery, and fast. Most of the laptops that were thin and light were slow and didn’t get much in the way of battery, but most of the ones shown looked very nice. If you were looking at a nice portable system then these would be one to get, and the prices weren’t all that much more than a normal laptop with the same specs.
There were a lot of Android phone announcements most having big screens, LTE, and having fast processers. One thing to look past on these when hearing the hype matchean is that they will be running Android 2.3, while this sounds bad because Android 4 just came out, it has to do with the fact that Android 4 is only a few months old and these were developed when Android 3 was a tablet only version and Android 2.3 was all there was. I’m sure by the end of the year a new set of phones will come out in the summer and will be all build running Android 4 and also be faster. But for now these phones will be running faster processers, have more storage, and be able to run on LTE 4G networks for the carrers who are working on setting them up. But one thing to know about LTE is that it is only avalible in a select set of Major Cities and you would want to see if your city is on their list.
Android tablets were also a big item, but not as much as last year, most of these will run Android 3.2 and be able to update to Android 4 at some point. There are a few good looking ones, and also a bunch of cheep tablets that are also lacking in a lot of specs. The less expensive, but better tablets are contract locked with phone companies.
Windows 8 was a big thing for some of the tablet makers and PC makers, they were showing it running and talking about products that will have it when it is out, but Microsoft talked only a little on it and how it is part of their phone stratigy coming up. But from what I see it may be good on a tablet but not so good on a desktop.
Windows Phone 7 had some press and also a few new phones including Nokia making a comeback, but we will have to see if anyone will every buy these phones. I think all the hype seems a lot like the Palm Pree [FIX NAME]. Most people only know the iPhone and they want an Android Smartphone, but that may change because Microsoft will be paying the people at stores commissions to sell the phones so who knows marketing is what sells products, that’s why the iPhone is doing good.